Saturday, November 19, 2011

ELVES: Take the "S" Out of Selves

Francesca (left) and Sammi were on stocking duty.
Last weekend my children totally got the meaning of the classic adage: "It's better to give then to receive." While I have learned that there's also great merit to receiving, as a mother who tries to teach compassion to her kids, it is a really good thing when a child can experience the spirit of giving firsthand rather than just be told about its benefits.

Renee gathered all the fixins...
and hung the stockings with care.
 We brought some holiday cheer into the home of a family-in-need. Guided by our friends who did all the planning and purchasing, we entered the family's home like a band of elves. This act of kindness actually began some time ago when the family, whose oldest daughter Deana was diagnosed with  leukemia, applied for aid from the Arielle Anacker Cancer Foundation. The  Foundation, created by my friend Diane Trivelli in memory of her daughter Arielle who, at the age of 11, lost a 3-year battle with Ewing's Sarcoma, has been helping in many ways to ease the financial strain put upon the family.

Renee, friend to me and Diane, was touched by the family's plight, and wanted to also help. She raised money to buy a kitchen table, new Christmas decorations, and individual presents for the family members. Her daughter Francesca used her own savings to buy a welcome mat for the front door.

We worked like elves for 2 hours. We put a crisp red cloth on top of the table, put up the tree, flung some tinsel around, and hung a wreath on the front door. The girls personalized felt stockings with glitter glue. We all signed a holiday card to the family and Diane made out a special one to Deana in celebration of her last chemo treatment. And then we waited to surprise them.

A new place to gather 'round.
Well, not all of us waited. Dylan and I unfortunately couldn't stay, but Sammi stayed as the Dagmi rep. She reported that the homecoming was "sad and beautiful" and that everyone hugged, and that the mom and oldest daughter were crying happy tears. They loved the kitchen table and  kept touching it. "You should have been there," she said. "It was awesome!"

Saturday, November 12, 2011


This story on CURATOR was originally slated for EAST magazine. After I submitted the story, however, the publishers decided not to run it. On a scale of 1-10, my disappointment was a 10.

I interviewed Dave Hall from Moto Art for a Bob Vila story and when he saw that I lived in Ft. Lauderdale, invited me to CURATOR as his guest. I hadn't heard of the event and thought it sounded like a fun one to cover. I pitched the idea to EAST and they said "Go."
 Had I not been "working" the event, I may have gone as the guest I had been invited to be, and I could have experienced the evening without the baggage of cameras, notebook and pen and  without the pressure of getting the shot. And, I actually may have eaten some food and had a drink.

But c'est la publishing vie, and I did leave with some nice swag compliments of New Beauty.
Thank you Matthew. Along with a delicious scent, you made my night!
New Beauty Swag
Souvenirs included my very own fragrance from Memoire Liquide, personally blended right before my very eyes by scent genius Matthew Aguilar from New Beauty at Fred Segal, as well as a bunch of random beauty products.
Here is a revised photo essay: 

Curator: an evening of flight, fantasy, fast cars, and fun.
Fiction created a swanky setting that included wonderful characters.
One thousand forty nine miles south of the publishing metropolis is a growing media company gracefully gathering magazines and entertainment companies under the sun. Sandow Media, now a decade young, known for thick slick glossy mags like Luxe, New Beauty and Worth, is now putting some focus on treating its audience to experiential luxury events such as CURATOR.

Sponsors first:
(l to r) David J. Archibald, President, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars NA, LLC; Ronald B. Laconi, President, Chartis Private Client Group; Andrea Bezark, VP Marketing Communications, Chartis Private Client Group; and
James N. Dimonekas, Executive VP, Group Publisher, Sandow Media.
CURATOR, Presented by WORTH magazine and Chartis Private Insurance, and held on the grounds of Sheltair in Ft. Lauderdale, was a platform for exclusive exhibitors to target a luxury-seeking quality-demanding public.
 The red dress makes (and the woman wearing it) the shot.
At 5'9" plus 3" heels, I found it hard to slink into the Lamborhini Adventador.

As late afternoon turned to evening, dramatic lights lit up the tarmac, and guests climbed into planes, slunk down into sports cars, and washed down  BurgerFi fare with fruity vodka drinks.

Though the Occupy Wall Street movement was protesting nearby at the Boat Show, the decadent mood at CURATOR, was enjoyed free of guilt.

Compliments of Chartis, photographers Thomas Daniel of Splashlight and Maicol Diaz of Unique Photography & Design, snapped crisp black and white portraits of guests all night long.
L.A. designer and wardrobe architect David August (left) sifted through swatches with clients
Mia Foley (left) and Lorena Arbelaez model DeWitt timepieces as....
guests, each handed a key upon check-in, tried to unlock the box holding a $26,000 DeWitt Twenty-8-Eight Regulator A.S.W. Horizons.
Inside a top-of-the-line Hawker 4000 that smelled so leathery good: Hawker Beechcraft demo pilot Dan Raffaelli (left) and Vicente Miralles, Sales Consultant with Avia Service.

A Wynn-win situation with Larry Altschul, Executive VP of Player Development at WYNN ENCORE in Vegas, and friends Teahnna Suriano and Jacqueline Bicknell who flew in from LA.

The Moto Art group: David Hall (right) with sales execs Melissa Pelligrini and Mike Rudden, and a few recycled airplane creations, including 2 fuselage partitions, a propeller sculpture, and desk from the private collection of Sandow Media CEO Adam Sandow.

I loved this computer animated artwork by Julian Opie called "Susanna Walking Forward". Click here to see her walk forward.

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A School Assignment I Didn't Like

I think I might be channeling the curmudgeony spirit of Andy Rooney. It's a phase, and I'll be back to my happy-go-lucky self in no time. But while I'm feeling particularly disappointed today by a homework assignment, I thought, "Why not blog about it?"

Sammi and the entire fifth grade class is preparing to spend a day at Biz Town next week. Biz Town is a very cool local interactive exhibit where kids get to act out business and job-related roles. Sammi and her friends are totally psyched about this field trip, and in preparation, the class is learning about jobs, taxes, and expenses, and economics-lite. The kids have special homework assignments that digress from the usual. Today's assignment was to watch television,  find 8 good commercials and write the reason why you like them. The class had discussed some of the properties that constitute a good ad.

Sammi started watching TV at 6:30 and by 9:00 had managed to write down 7 examples that were likeable. Besides the ad for a cellphone with a 3D camera, it was hard for her to articulate why she actually liked the ads. She liked the Hershey ad because she loves chocolate, and the pizza ad pleased her in the same way. Perhaps she was used to clicking the "like" button on Facebook -- an easy to express opinion that requires no comment.

Early on in her assignment, I asked, "Can you write down commercials that you do not like and explain why?" "No," she told me pointing to the form that provided a 3 1/2" L x 1/2" H "like" space for writing her reason. I said, "But I bet you could as long as you explain yourself." She didn't agree.

I took a shower, and found myself getting more pissed at the assignment. Was I over-reacting or was it narrow-minded to only ask kids why they liked ads? It wasn't like it was even the Superbowl or Oscars. As the holidays approach with ads for all the things we fake need, I would be much more interested in tapping into a healthy dose of budding skepticism.