Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit, Part 2

At the Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit New York on Pier 36, when you exit the rooms with videos, you come across the quote, “What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?” This quote, and the fact that Van Gogh only sold one painting during his lifetime, spoke to me and my writing journey. Thank you, Vincent, I am brave!

I recently Tweeted a comment from a friend. Upon hearing how hard it is to break into Kidlit, she said, “A lot of people get famous after they die.” Ummm…WHAT?! First of all, I don’t write Kidlit to become famous and, secondly, WHAT?! Was that meant as encouragement? Was she volunteering to be my “manuscript historian” and, once I depart this Earth, make sure my stories and characters see the light of day and laps of children?

Back to Vincent. Turn the corner from his quote and you see mannequins adorned in interpretive fashion. I disagree with Jason Farago, whose review “Submerged in van Gogh: Would Absinthe Make the Art Grow Fonder? in The New York Times said that the mannequins were wearing “shockingly tacky van Gogh-inspired clothing. (Where might these dresses festooned with wheat and sunflowers be appropriate? The Miss Provence pageant? Is there a Saint-Rémy drag night I don’t know about?)” Funny, but as a former student of fashion history, I enjoy seeing how designers create clothes, even if they’re made from unwearable material. A fashion exhibit at The Metropolitan Museum of Art comes to mind; dresses made of blue and white Chinoiserie were extraordinary.

One more thing to try before you leave the exhibit is a booth where you can “hear” color. I didn’t know Van Gogh experienced chromesthesia, a condition where sound evokes different colors.

Hon, still thinking about the “better off dead” comment? Me, too. And still shaking my head.

Style Essentials For Every Season, Published In Elegant Lifestyles Magazine

The November issue of Elegant Lifestyles Magazine is out!

While I was doing research on classic clothes, guess what I found? Clothes that were designed for British and French militaries which became popular when soldiers returned home. Truly functional to fashionable! Camouflage is certainly a print that’s worn by U.S. soldiers and also stocked in stores. The most interesting info was how men’s watches transformed from pocket watches to wristwatches (future post for sure).

Camp: Notes on Fashion Part 2

Ashish, 2017

Hon, here are more of my favorites from the collection of bizarre and humorous clothes on exhibit at The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “Camp: Notes on Fashion,” (running through September 8).

And accessories…

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Camp: Notes on Fashion Part 1

Touring “Camp” with two of my daughters.

Driving on the NJ Turnpike recently, I saw two kinds of cars: those filled with so much stuff, you couldn’t see inside (college-bound) and those weighted down by roof cargo carriers and bikes (beach-bound). This is the time of year when camp is over, kids are home, and what to do with the days is (hopefully) open-ended. Need a fun activity for fashionable tweens and teens? If you haven’t seen it, The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibit: “Camp: Notes on Fashion,” which runs through September 8, is filled with interesting, bizarre, humorous, and gender-bending outfits and accessories. While you’re at The Met, another great exhibit is “Play it Loud, Instruments of Rock & Roll.”

Here are some of my favorites from the costume exhibit:


DIY Fashion Favors

Party Favors Wrapped Up & Ready To Go.
Party Favors Wrapped Up & Ready To Go.

Fact:  I love a party.

Fact:  I love a theme.

So, what’s a theme-loving girl to do when she’s in charge of favors and the party doesn’t have a theme? There would be fun invitations, beautiful flowers, a nice atmosphere, a good meal and a whimsical cake. (And there were.) But, what about the favors? I did what I always do and thought about the main character, the birthday girl.  (Hon, you know I’m a writer, right?) These Fashion Favors fit my friend.

Here’s how to make these super easy, DIY chocolate favors.

What You’ll Need:

Candy Melts
Candy Melts.

1.  Candy Melts come in a variety of colors. The light and dark chocolate melts taste chocolatey while the brightly colored melts taste like white chocolate. Candy Melts can be purchased at party and craft stores.

Candy Molds.
Candy Molds.

2.  I borrowed these candy molds from a friend. Craft stores, such as Michael’s, carry lots of different molds, or they can be found online. The shoes, handbags, lipsticks and nail polish were perfect for my chic friend.

3.  A glass or ceramic bowl, spoons, spatula and microwave and refrigerator nearby.

4.  Gift bags and anything else you want to add to favors. I found initial notecards to include, wrapped them in cellophane, and tied the candy bags and notecards together with ribbon.


Candy Melts in microwave.
Candy Melts in microwave.

1.  Follow directions on the Candy Melt package and melt candy disks in the microwave until they are smooth and gooey*Do not over melt or the candies won’t be the right consistency to spoon into the molds.Trust me, this happened to one batch.

2.  Spoon gooey candy into molds. Smooth with spatula so, when hardened, candy backs will be even.

3.  Place candy-filled molds in refrigerator to cool and harden.

4.  In about 15 minutes, test candy for done-ness, meaning candy has solidified.

5.  Turn mold over, slightly twisting sides of mold to release candies.

6.  *I smoothed rough edges with a sharp knife.

7.  Assemble favor bags.  *If the weather is hot, I recommend storing favors in the refrigerator.

8.  Molds wash easily in hot, soapy water.






 Have you made these?  Any tips you want to add?  I’d love to hear from you.


"Peacock" chair for Cappellini, 2009, Dror Ben Shetrit, Israeli, felt with powdwer varnished metal base
“Peacock” chair for Cappellini, 2009, Dror Ben Shetrit, Israeli, felt with powdwer varnished metal base

Departures cover, May 2013
Departures cover, May 2013′

Guess what’s featured on Departures‘ May cover? The very same chair whose felt folds intrigued me enough to include them in my recent post “Patterns at the Met.” The flash on my camera washed out the chair’s color, but the distinct design is a show stopper. The Peacock chair was included in the glossy mag’s “Please-be-Seated” layout of “the six most beautiful chairs in the world.”

Back in the day when I was an assistant buyer at Bloomingdale’s, my buyer and I visited a color forecaster to pick yarn colors for our own line of cashmere sweaters. I felt like a kid in a candy shop, only I was surrounded by hundreds of yarn samples with intriguing names. Who wouldn’t want to know how “Bunny Gray” compares to “Feather Gray” and “Gray Timber Wolf”? Picking colors for the next season was as exciting as buying a few of my own lines of women’s clothes. (I’d like to be the person who comes up with color names!)

I left the world of department store retail to research starting my own business. Treks to Manhattan’s fabric district yielded bolts of fabric. A season later, I’d see the same fabric on clothes in stores.

I packed up my business along with that part of my life when I became pregnant with triplets.

But, even though my designs are still sitting in my attic and my aspirations have transformed into something else, a funny thing happened. Those triplets have a knack for picking out trends. One daughter invariably picks out outfits that subsequently appear on  Pretty Young Things in magazines. She once bought an owl necklace at a mall kiosk months before the same necklace became all the rage.

My son considered wearing multi-crayon colored sneakers when all the other seventh grade boys’ sneakers were white and black. (He likes color as much as I do.) I said, “Buy them, they’re fun!  You’ll be a trendsetter.” My hubby thought they were hideous and a magnet for obnoxious comments.  Hmmm, bet you can figure out which sneakers made the cover of the New York Times Style section!

The third triplet, an artist, started her own business selling her designs on IPad and IPod covers as well as pillows and canvases. She’s put a lot of thought into what designs will sell and is constantly working on new designs.

I’m not sure what happened to those trendsetting days and I sure can’t predict if my new aspirations will come to fruition.  But, the Peacock chair opened up the window in my attic where dusty boxes of designs and my past sit, waiting to be cleaned out.

My Top Ten Questions For Visitors To The “N” (as in Naked) Resort

a dense forest
a dense forest

Hon, if you read my last post you’ll know what the “N” in The “N” Resort stands for.  If not, let me fill you in.  It stands for naked, as in your birthday suit, as in sans clothing!  On a van ride from the airport in Jamaica, I chatted with a friendly, funny and extremely tan couple who frequent the resort.  Since discovering what “N” stands for, questions have swirled in my head like hot fudge swirled on ice cream with a cherry on top!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not judging.  As far as I’m concerned, just because I’m not comfortable parading around like the Emperor who lost his clothes doesn’t mean other people shouldn’t.  In fact, I’d be considered a heretic by the Puritans (why I’m not that modest might be a future blog post), and my teenagers would tell you that what comes out of my mouth is completely inappropriate (motto for getting through the teenage years with triplets:  Puberty is fun!).

But, everyone has their comfort level and putting on something to go out in public is mine.  Besides, I studied fashion and there’s always a cute new bathing suit, coverup, t-shirt, shorts and dress to wear!

Here are my Top Ten Questions For Visitors To The “N” Resort:

1.  Is it SANS clothing or clothing OPTIONAL?

2.  So, you don’t get dressed up for dinner?

3.  Question # 2 leads me to…Do you eat all your meals in your birthday suit?

4. What kind of chairs do you sit on?  Metal gets hot, plastic and leather are sticky and cloth just doesn’t seem sanitary.  Wood–the chairs must be wood.  Oh, but what about splinters?

5.  Are the waiters and waitresses also in their birthday suits?  The bartender? The lifeguards?

6.  Do you reapply sunblock?  This is an important question, trust me!  I’ll explain in a future blog post.

7.  Isn’t it awkward if you bump into someone, bend over, or have a “food baby belly” after a big meal?  (sorry if I’m getting too graphic but once you’ve been pulled in, there’s no turning back!)

8.  Do you wear pajamas to bed?

The last two questions I can ask on a G-rated blog…

9.  What happens if you’re happy? (really happy!)

10.  And…what’s “in?”  Does it depend on what part of the world you’re from?  Dense forests? Forests cleared for subdivisions? Or deforestation?

Do you have any G-rated questions?  Or answers to my Top Ten?  If so, hon, I’d love to hear them!