me and my drum

'Hello. I'm Bing.'

The first part is so cheesy, but I love this song:

Just heard the lovely original version, on the radio, driving to the beach on Christmas day, in Florida. I didn't swim in the ocean, because of the Portuguese Man o' War jellyfish, but it was a lovely drive, playing Christmas carols full blast on the radio with the windows open and the ocean breeze on A1A, singing (poorly, alas) at the top of my lungs.

I'm moved how my Jewish friends are sending Merry Christmas wishes on facebook: it reminds me all that it's not about what faith we are, as long as we have some. Faith, I mean.

And hope. Because after all, what today is about - FOR ME - is celebrating the birth of a man, many years ago, who was born - not even, it has been established, in December. His birthday was moved to this date, the darkest, coldest day of the year, so everyone would pull together, light a fire and the candles and dig out the food they had been squirrelling away to get them through the winter. To have faith that we'd make it through the dark days, and weather the storm. And survive to see the spring, and reap the harvest.

So today we celebrate the birth of one man. Who, by the way, never said he was the ONLY son of God - he said we were all God's children, but somehow that got lost in translation. So I guess what I'm trying to say is, today is as good a day as any to stop worrying about the future, or regretting the past, but instead, to appreciate the ones we love, who are with us either literally, or in spirit. Today is a good day to simply celebrate life.

My little gift for you - which cost me nothing, except the small gift of my time - is three versions of this beautiful song.

Merry Christmas, everyone. Hope you're all having fun, beating your drums.


christmas juxtaposition 2011

Years from now, we all will be together, if the fates allow. But for now, we'll have to muddle through somehow. So have yourselves a merry little Christmas now.

That song keeps playing on the radio as I drive to the beach, and it gets me every time. I love this version by James Taylor: one of my little gifts, to you.


seven swans a swimming

It is totally surreal to be here in paradise, in Florida, during the lead up to Christmas. I keep forgetting and thinking it's summer. I had done this before I realised, it's actually seven swans a swimming! Okay, flying, same thing. Swimming feels like flying, in liquid sky.

Now I'm trying to think of other things to do with the song... which swims through my head, while I do. As before, images by me, of The Foolish Aesthete: a creative collaboration with my virtual friend. It's like Paris in the Thirties, artists inspiring each other.

Hope you're having fun, wherever you are, and not letting all the pre Christmas craziness get under your skin.


swan lake

Everything happens everywhere, all at once.

That was what someone once wrote, long ago, in graffiti on the wall of the post office on Spring Street, in NY's Soho, when I was working for the most talented (and very cute) animator, doing the early MTV animations. I'd pass it and it felt like the Word of God.

I love the way sometimes, everything feels connected. I love serendipity.

I don't know how I found The Foolish Aesthete, or whether she found me: through link minded friends, no doubt. We haven't yet met, but I've been playing around with images of her - by her - of the ballet, even before my friend Maralee too me to see the excellent Degas: Picturing Movement exhibit at the Royal Academy, which ended on Sunday. I had already done these images (that's her: I took the photo this summer in the Coltswolds, in England) and then I saw her recent post: Waltz of the Snowflakes.

In it, she was talking about the Nutcracker. I wrote such a long comment that I won't replicate it here (you can read it on her comments) about my happy childhood memories of the Nutcracker, and how now, when I'm in England - I've seen such AMAZING performances, with the Royal Ballet, or at Covent Garden.. and the start of certain songs brings out this automatic, visceral, Pavlovian response of tears of joy. Memories of being so young - one bright and shiny white Christmas, I couldn't have been older than 6, maybe 5, and my sister two years younger, and my parents gave us (or rather, Santa did) the most perfect, authentic, pale pink satin tutus, and matching ballet shoes. And they bought a stereo record of the Nutcracker suite, put it on the new modern wall hung stereo unit in the danish modern living room, all designer decorated, looking very Jonathan Adler in shades of blue, aqua, indigo, purple and green, with white, and we danced and danced and my father took colour slides.. images that I want to do now, as paintings, inspired by Degas.

I also received - found it in my junk folder - an email from a nice woman named Tania, telling me about a line of skirts from 'Doris Designs', which really captured my imagination. I love when people start companies that aren't trying to cash in on a trend, that just feel sprung from the heart. I could see a million ways to wear these classic skirts:

Okay, I'm done. I'll shut up now. Time to dive back into the pool!


one swan a swimming

Just flew in to Florida from London last night. Tropical rain this morning, and as I type this, sun's coming out. Off to swim, just sending my love. xox


star bright

More from my Oxford Street Christmas lights series: Juxtaposition with Corrie Nielsen's September show, as before. And just to remind you: this weekend is going to be amazing on Oxford/Regent Street. I just hope I"m well enough to go - before flying to Miami on Sunday!!

So inspired by the Degas show: Picturing Movement, that my darling friend Maralee brought me to yesterday. So inspired, I can't even talk about it. But I do know what I want, for the moment, with my blog: you don't come here to see the latest trends, and you know I rarely do street style anymore - I mean, I might again at some point, but once everyone's doing something, creatively, I need to move on. And what Degas was doing so brings me back to what my art was, before moving to London, and that's what I want to do now. And to show you. So, stay tuned... hope you like it.



So: I don't expect you to remember - we all have busy lives - but way back on 9th November, I posted my dilemma about which jeans from the Raw Denim Bar to keep: I had narrowed it down to two, the pair with the zippers and the 70s style pair from Habitual ('blue jean baby', 9.11). And I was lamenting my indecisive self.

Well, reader, I kept both.

As shown here, worn on Flora, she is shaped quite differently than me, and I'm amazed that these jeans are so well cut that they flatter both our shapes. I'd love to do a self style post in them - actually, that day, I asked my husband to shoot me in this same outfit - but I can't show you them. I just look terrible in the shots. Not because of the jeans: it's just the way I look, I can't explain: they're just really crap shots.

Also - I don't know about you, but I'm kind of going thru a phase where I'm off the idea of posting photos of myself online. I don't know if it's a phase, cause I'm actually quite happy with the way I'm looking these days - and dressing. That's not the problem. I'm just kind of off the whole concept. Even the Times Style section - I can't get the piece for you, but it was last Sunday -they even quoted my lovely friend Carrie of WishWishWish - who is WAAAAAY younger than me, and it was along the lines of 'everyone's doing a self style blog these days' and that was never my intention.. I only started out behind the camera, shooting street style.. anyway, you're going to have to just trust me: for an old lady, I look really hot in these jeans.

But here's the best part: the RAW DENIM BAR, where I got these, are taking part in this week's first VOGUE Online Fashion Week, which you all know about, because you are a) quicker than me b) more fashion savvy and c) already know that it's halfway thru: running from 5-9 December.

For this week only, 30% of all The Raw Denim Bar sales will go to their charity (Give as you Live) and will have exclusive denim style edits, gift ideas, designer blog posts, and special OFW offers, including a competition to win a £300 gift certificate, just by subscribing to the newsletter.

But if you're gonna shop there, can you do me a small favour please? You know I never run ads. But I've decided to run one with them, because I love them so much. And I've got my ad!! It's the icon above. Please click on it and if you shop there, I might actually get a commission. Which would mean that I'd be bringing some income in thru my blog. Which would make my husband get off my back about how I spend so much time on my blog. So, if you think about it - in the spirit of Christmas - it's kind of your way of donating to a worthy charity. i.e., yours truly.

Flora is wearing jeans by Habitual, via the Raw Denim Bar (click on icon to buy, babes!) and blouse from my late, darling, very stylish Great Aunt Ruth. Head scarf and rose ring from Lucie, of the Vagabond Van, shot at their lovely flat in Notting Hill.

How's your December going so far, btw? Hope all is feeling, for you, merry, and bright.




This juxtaposition - as before - Oxford Street, Christmas lights, in the rain, and a girl at London Fashion Week, wearing glittery shoes.


rouge allure

More from my Oxford Street Juxtaposition series.

I am so on a roll. I can't get this song out of my head (see 'sweet silver bells'). Please play it, then I won't be the only one.

It was going thru my head last Thursday when I got caught in the rain on Oxford Street, and has inspired me to go thru photos, like memories, making collages. This model was backstage after some show - I forget now, which - last February at Somerset House. She was really nice.

There's such a fuss at the moment for red lips: I read about it in the Times Style section, but I've been thinking about red lips even before reading Odyssey's posts ('makeup' and 'matte'. I so wish I could wear red lips: it is the best way this season to be instantly glamorous. I don't know if it's my age, because I never felt I could wear it. My lips were always thin, and.. I can't tell you how bad I look in red lips, you'll just have to trust me. Stephanie swears by Chanel's Rouge Allure Velvet lip colour #37 (her new "red"), and I do know there are enough different types of red, blues and orangeys, as there are Eskimo words for snow, but still, that is a line I cannot cross. I cannot wear red lippy.

Can you? Do you? Which red are you?


oxford street blues

As per 'sweet silver bells': part of my Oxford Street Christmas Catwalk Collage juxtaposition series. Since yesterdays had so many words, just read that, I guess. This one uses one of my shots from Bora Aksu's S/S 2012 show, Somerset House, last September.

There are so many ways to go right now, stylistically: it's really inspiring. Ladylike, bright (like wearing all red, or pure, bright, emerald green - but please, no, never both at once!) But the trend I'm loving most right now isn't really a trend: it's more a craving, for the mysteries of Christmas night: twinkling stars, midnight blues.. luxury. Velvet. Sequins. Lace. Balanced out with something rock and roll: like denim. All that glitters, if not gold, then silver, or crystal. Dress it up, then dress it down. Bright red lips, if you can get away with it (I can't). But most of all: having fun. This is so not the season to take any thing seriously. Or personally.

Best viewed listening to video of previous post. It is now a running theme in my head. And btw, as before, for more info about the coming weekend's events when they close Oxford/Regent's Street for shoppers, carols, festivities, go to West End VIP.


sweet silver bells

Okay: first of all, do you have any idea how hard it was to find this song on youtube? Try typing in 'merry merry merry Christmas,' which was the only part of the lyrics I remembered at first, and then 'Christmas is here'. I'll save you the trouble: you'll just have to trust me, you can come up with a hell of a lot.

Thursday night, I ventured out with the bug I had been trying to nip in the bud, via bus then on foot, in the rain, because my friend Veronika, who is a knitwear designer, was part of a catwalk show at the London College of Fashion. I was walking down Oxford Street and finally admitted to her by phone that I just couldn't do it. She was totally understanding, because she's lovely, and gave me her blessing to go back home, and as I turned to do the reverse journey home and pick up noodle soup at Wasabi along the way, suddenly I was hit with a flash of memory: the lights on Oxford Street, the taxis in the rain, and, suddenly, my heart swelled with something absolutely MAGIC, deep, mystical memory, and my head started playing this song:

Hark how the bells, sweet silver bells, all seem to say, throw cares away, Christmas is here, bringing good cheer, to young and old, meek and the bold, Oh how they pound, raising the sound, o'er hill and dale, telling their tale, Gaily they ring, while people sing songs of good cheer, Christmas is here, Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas, Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas, On on they send , on without end, their joyful tone to every home Dong Ding dong ding, dong Bong

Weirdly, on the comments, someone wrote this: "This is the song that plays in my head when I'm epic-ly shopping for Christmas presents."

So sick as I was feeling, I pulled out my camera and started shooting, in a trance.

Sartorically, what I'm craving now - what I feel like wearing, all of a sudden - is dark, black, navy, midnight, shiny shiny shiny sparkles, velvet and sequins and for the day, denim and black jumpers and gold and silvery jewelry.

This is the first of my new series of juxtapositions: instead of giving you two separate shots, I'm mixing images together now. The catwalk shot is from Corrie Nielsen's show last February: her A/W 2011 show, ('corrie, corrie'), the show that had intrigued me because she was from Florida, studied at Central Saint Martin, was influenced by Vivienne Westwood, and, having never seen her work before, she had said her inspiration came from the both the Elizabethan period, and 1940s and 1950s French haute couture. THAT juxtaposition caught my curiosity.

I will continue this series - mixing Corrie's and other designers' work with Oxford Street Christmas lights, and want to remind you about next weekend's VIP weekend: Oxford/Regent Streets, traffic closed to the public, really magic Old English themes going on, for kids, adults, carols: I really hope I"m well enough to go. Oh and anything you spend in the West End, American Express will donate £1 to Kids Company, so bring your AmEx card!


a cinderella story

Home with a cold, looking for something else, stumbled on this shot- a blast from the past. When I first started my 'street style' blog, before everyone and their cousin was shooting street style (hence me backing off - creativity DEMANDS change, all mediums stagnate if you keep churning it out), one of my earliest photos: shot with my dad's Pentax, when I'd only allow myself one or two shots. I had been in Hyde Park with a friend, walking her dog, when we met Imogen Excell: totally surreal, looking almost like a black and white cutout on such a vivid early spring day.

I remember chatting for a bit: Imogen was such a delight, we just became instantly friendly. She said when she was done with Uni she wanted to move, with her boyfriend, to London, and to work for a great vintage shop called ROKIT. We stayed in touch - became friends in the various social network ways that you do - and guess what? She's not only working with Rokit now, but, she's become their Digital Community Manager.

She's always a delight to communicate with, easy and breezy. We keep meaning to meet but we're both so busy - but, for example, she helped arrange when I had to choose my favourite London shop for a shoot for what I was told was China's largest upscale fashion magazine - their Vogue - and I chose Rokit.

And here's the freak part: she had happened to send me an invite to their Christmas party, and said if I wanted to mention to you guys, til 20th December, if you go online, and use the unique code RSSLONDON2,you'll get 15% off. And I'm only mentioning this because a)I happen to be home, like I said, with this stupid cold, missing everything I wanted to do, b)it was just a freak coincidence that I stumbled on her shot and put two and two together, and c), I've been trying to do a much more complicated post but can't wrap my thick head around it. So this is the easy way out.

Now if only to think of a title for this post. My head is so thick - hence this post being so LONG - and I've tried and dismissed 'Imogen Rocks It', 'Rokit Imogen', 'blast from the past' and half a dozen others that were even MORE naff, but really, it's a Cinderella story - kind of rags to vintage riches. And besides, I love when people get to do what they dream of doing. I love a happily ever after story.

Oh and if you want in on the party invite, email me and I'll see what I can do. And now that I think of it: I must meet up with her soon, and shoot an update. I'd love to see what she wears to work, on a daily basis: she's got such great style, don't you think?


small world

Rain: cold. Trying to nip a bug in the bud, and I went out (more about that later) only to turn around, with take away Wasabi noodle soup, while watching the One Show. And who should be on it but Chris Martin and the guys from Cold Play, talking about KIDS COMPANY and how impressed they are with them, and Camila B, and the work they're doing, and asked how they could help. And as a result, they're playing at the O2 Arena, along with Rob Brydon, Steve Coogan, etc.

OR, I've got a cheaper way to give to the Kids Company ('kids today'). Put the weekend of 10/11 December in your diary: go to Oxford/Regent Street for the West End VIP weekend: they're closing off the traffic, it's going to be absolutely MAGICAL: old fashioned Christmas, with carollers and revellers and by shopping you're donating, provided you use your Amex card.

American Express will give double rewards to cardmembers and £1 to Kids Company every time an American Express Card is used in the West End over the weekend [American Express will donate up to a maximum of £50,000 to Kids Company. Only UK Cardmembers are eligible for double rewards. For full details and terms and conditions visit westendlondon.com.]

This art, btw, is by me, adapted by a shot I took on Monday of Camila Batmanghelidjh's feet. And for your viewing pleasure, a clip from the 1964 NY World's Fair. I hope you're not taking LSD while watching this, or it will freak you right out. But I WAS THERE, and it brings me happy memories of my childhood - privileged in more ways than simply financially. Which is all the more reason why I am so blown away by what Kids Company are doing.

madi can you fetch daddy's slippers

Like with the Cutey bracelets recently, this is the other post that SHAME ON ME for not doing sooner: a lovely young woman named Ella asked if I wanted to review a pair of a new line of slippers - 'home boots' - called KUSKUS. I chose these green pair. She sent them to me - a gift, and I've been happily wearing them ever since, but did I respond in kind by telling you guys about it? NO. Why? Because I am a lazy old cow.

But I love them. They are loverly. They're not all fuzzy inside - some styles are, these aren't - but that's okay, because sometimes I wear soft socks inside. It's better, actually, because this way, they won't get all.. foot stinky. They're comfortable, they're fun, and more importantly, they remind me of Peter Pan. When I wear them, I kind of skip around the house, singing. They're my Happy Slippers.

Can't embed it, but I love this one: 'Madi, can you get daddy's slippers?'

And further to the My Fair Lady theme (leap of synapse, I know): while trying to find a clip of Rex Harrison telling Eliza to fetch his slippers, I found this: someone took the time to dub Audrey Hepburn being dubbed by Marni Hendricks, with the Julie Andrews version. Like life imitation art, this is life dubbing life dubbing life. Or something like that.

KUSKUS: slipper boots, made for home, but with leather soles so you can run outside, if you'd like. Approx. £30. Rather fetching, don't you agree?


kids today

Have you ever been so inspired that you can't sleep? That you miss a yoga class you really wanted to go to just to stay home, play music and play around with photographic images: abstractions of colour and shape and light?

That's what's happening to me today.

Yesterday, I was invited to a small, intimate, private event at the beautiful Covent Garden Hotel on Monmouth Street, hosted by American Express/West End VIP (that's Very Important Pedestrians), to spread the good word about an event: 10th & 11th December, they're closing Oxford and Regent's Street, there will be a 30 hour Carol-a-thon, starting in the day on the streets, and continuing thru the night in the House of Fraser's windows. It's going to be absolutely MAGIC this year: proper, old fashioned, Dickensian Christmas, complete with old buses, organ grinders.. I'll be there, with camera. Hope you will, too.

The event yesterday was one of the most incredible things I've been to, and I'm still buzzing from it. A small, carefully selected group of journalists and bloggers, sitting down to champagne, tea, sandwiches, and Lauderee macarons and cakes, to meet Camila Batmanghelidjh, who has founded the Kids Company.

This year, they are the charity of choice for the West End VIP event. Camila told us about what they do, and we asked questions (well, the others asked really good questions, I don't know about me) and basically sat and chatted with her. She explained how the cycle of abuse operates - I mean, how a child can absorb an early experience, in the base part of their brain - scientists are now able to scan, and measure, the activity of heightened stress. Somehow, 'acting out' - violent actions - have the effect of calming that activity down. And what they focus on is breaking that cycle, and art therapy is one of many ways that they achieve that: and they continue to be connected to these children, into adulthood. As they get places in colleges, into places like Oxford, and have lives transformed beyond any expectations.

So my way of thanking the team at RainPR, and American Express and the New West End Company, for making this happen, is to spend a little of my own time, making art. Bearing witness to what I experienced: and I haven't even become really involved. Not yet.

With Camila, inevitably the question of her fashion style comes up. She said she's always chosen to dress this way: in reaction, she feels, from growing up in a wealthy Perisan family - her mother was Roman Catholic, her dad Muslim - and having a mother who dressed elegantly 'A cross between Sophia Loren and Liz Taylor. And, as a child, she became inspired by the Iranian women in the mountains.

So as she dresses in this colourful style every day - each outfit, like a snowflake, uniquely different - but with the same kind of exuberance and style abandon, she is giving the clearest message to the kids to express themselves creatively. Encouraging them to style themselves as individuals, not to follow trends. It may seem a superficial thing, but from this sense of fashion confidence, of individuality - well, as we all know, anything is possible. Any goal is achievable.

This Christmas, for example, they will be giving over 3000 children a Christmas beyond their wildest dreams. Children will come into the centres, and taxis will be donated to bring them in, and volunteers will be coming to thousands of homes, bringing food and gifts. Phenomenal.

Camila is: how can I describe the experience of being in her presence. It's akin to being in the presence of a large, multi patterned Dalai Lama, on acid. Somehow, you'd think in a room made of patterns, with all that sugar and confectionary.. I cannot describe how calming the experience is. Because what Camila exudes is happiness. She spends her days with children - and into adulthood - who have had the most traumatic of experiences, and she transforms their lives. She and her team. I have spent nearly 24 hours now, digesting this experience, and since I don't have the words yet to tell you. Not yet.

Because I also feel that sometimes, while images are better at conveying experience than words - especially MY words, as brevity is not my strong point - I also feel that actions speak louder than words.

So with that in mind, I'll be going to KIDS COMPANY this week, to help out. Wrap presents (I'm a great present wrapper: Virgo, perfectionist, super slow but it will be perfect: they'll lucky if they get two out of me in a day), but also roll up my sleeves and do whatever needs doing. If you want to join me, pop me an email. Or, give any way you see fit. Money is always nice.

What are you doing the weekend of the 10th and 11th December? Care to join me on Oxford Street?

And I'll leave you with a clip of a song that has happy memories from my idyllic childhood: all the more precious, when I realise how blessed I am: our childhoods stay with us all our lives. But the good news is, thanks to the inspiration of people like Camila Batmanghelidjh and her staff of hundreds, and thousands of volunteers, we don't have to be defined by the traumas of childhood. We can heal. We can live happily ever after.

Save the date: 10th & 11th December, Oxford & Regent's Streets: they'll be shutting it off to traffic, huge discounts - 30% off - magic magic magic Christmas spirit. Be there or be square.


and while the Pope owns 51% of General Motors

My gift to you on this autumnal Monday morning: a juxtaposition of a different kind. Sound and image that seem, at first, in contrast (catwalk shots, George Harrison) but.. well, what can I say. Click below, turn up the volume, even if you're in the office, and let me know if it works.

Let's just say: I've been up to here with the dark side of the fashion blogging world, and it's time for me to go into the light. And both this show, and this song.. I'm all about the spiritual for me, these days.

I have not been able to get this song out of my head for over a week, ever since I saw Scorcese's BRILLIANT film. I love how, in the film, he described writing this song: he was friggin' BRUSHING HIS TEETH and humming the melody, and thinking 'you don't need no bedpan, you don't need no blah blah'.. and I keep picturing my first, and favourite show, Corrie Neilsen's, this September. And I'm sorry I'm not linking her, or telling you more about her - she's amazing - but I'll be showing you more photos, I promise, and I can tell you about her then.

In the meantime, check out these lyrics.

I've been invited to something today that I'm really excited about: and it has nothing to do with selling stuff. This time of year especially, I am turning my focus to what really matters.

Have a nice day, dear friends. And Hari Krishna!



I like people who keep things simple. And I like people who do what they say. So when I was contacted by Ashley, at CUTEY, who managed to say in less time than it will take me to write this post, that.. actually, I'll quote her email, in its entirety:


I saw your blog and wondering if you would be intrested in reviewing one of our bracelets, or running a givaway?
I'm from the brand cutey(http://www.cutey.co.uk), we produce a range of charm bracelets.
We've only just launched.

Let me know, thanks.

Ashley Peach

I said yes, sent my address, couldn't choose between four styles, she sent all four - they retail for £12.99 each - and they arrived like two days later. And shame on me for not doing this post sooner, because Laura of A Daisy Chain Dream already did hers. And Ashley asked me to be honest, and critical - because they are the manufacturers as well - and let her know anything that I didn't like.

My only complaint - and this is a very small complaint - is, coincidentally, what Laura said: the clasp is a bit 'fiddly'. Can you see tho: it's really strong and well made, and it's like a barrel that opens, and it's really just a question of getting the hang of it.

But what I love - besides the price, and the quality for the price - is that each one has this unique little mixture, and the names are connected to Greek gods. And they're great Christmas gifts. Really CUTEY.

Thank you, Ashley, you're a Peach!


altered egos

For a coon's age, I've been wanting to join in with the wonderful women who do the FBFF posts (that's Fashion Beauty Friend Friday, a generous creation by Katy Rose of Modly Chic): this is the week I'm ready to dive in.

The question is: who is the person we'd be if circumstances allowed? We're meant to create an outfit - a self style post - but it's dark and I only have the cat at the moment to shoot me, so I'm cheating and drawing from my pre-blog, pre-marriage, NY Sex and the City days (this was pre S&tC, too: I was kind of a cross between Carrie, I guess, and Charlotte. Okay, I admit it: sometimes I was Samantha).

I've been musing for days now, back then, what did I want to be, and how does it shape up with who I am today? I wanted to be an artist: I expected I'd be an artist. I also at that time was being mentored by probably one of the greatest living art collectors, and I kind of chickened out. Many careers seemed too scary: the art world seemed more for the Big Boys. But what I did do - and there was no outlet for it - was bring my dad's old Pentax, and a tripod - in this case, onto a roof - but anywhere. On trains, cars, planes.. I was doing self style, and calling it art.

So I guess part of me wanted to be a ballerina. I still have this vintage swimsuit somewhere - yes, it is a swimsuit, with a pleated skirt - and in those days, I wore bare legs with black boots and slouchy socks, even tho no one else was.

Fascinating post, btw, from blinking against the brightness, on the subject of self style bloggers, and the idea of fame and yes - appropriate for this post - ego. While a boyfriend at the time thought I was pretty weird for always taking photos of myself - for my art - I was mainly doing it because I knew what I wanted, I was my own best Muse, and I wouldn't inflict that on anyone else. Nor expect them to have the patience.

But I've been reflecting a lot lately on the idea of women - they're mostly women, altho there are a few blokes - round the world, patiently, regularly, taking photos of themselves and putting it on the internet. There's great book I read years ago, by Susan Sontag, called ON PHOTOGRAPHY, and she talked about the different ways that we use photography. How we can go on holiday and not really be present: we're just going for the photo album. In those days, people had photo albums. She dbecame, fittingly, Annie Leibowitz's partner, and she died, tragically too young, several years ago - but I wonder what she would have made of this phenomenon.

I don't know if I had a burning desire to wear the white dress and for some man to give me a big rock: I had my share of boyfriends, really cute ones, too. And I did, just when it seemed my mom was going to give up on me, become a wife. But I never did get round to being a Mom. And I don't know why. And I don't know, yet, if I regret it, but sometimes I think, that if we did have kids, my husband and I might have been pretty good parents. I guess we'll never know. But my friend Linda sent me this shot, from before we moved to London. I have no idea whose baby it is. I guess I was just trying it on for size, but I don't seem to be paying it very much attention. Perhaps it's better that we just have a cat: he practically takes care of himself.

Big thank you to LILI of RELATABLE STYLE for hosting the post this week. If it was your concept, thank you as well!


with thanks

A friend said recently that I'm writing my posts as if no one was reading. In a way, it feels like that, especially today: if you are in American, you're probably not. You're either cooking, or trying to get out of work in time to get on the road, on a train, to the airport, in time for dinner, in the middle of the afternoon.

And here in London, you'd never know Thanksgiving existed. I bought up one of the six cans of Libby's tinned pumpkin last week: any ex-pats now in the area - and there are many - are basically screwed.

I think of the flip side that Jonathan Adler was talking about, the flip to his bling side: the craftsman in his soul. The potter. Jonathan was a 'production potter' for five years. I asked what that meant and he said 'I produced pots, by hand. Night and day.' He said he was basically unhire-able: he just made pots. I asked if he knew the St. Ives school of potters, and he, too, had been there. To Bernard Leach's (as shown here). That's what I was dreaming of last night: his studio. His pots.

That's what my husband and I want this year: not more shoes. We want to find a pottery studio in London, to take a course. We have been collecting pottery for years: now it's time to get our hands dirty.

Last night I kept waking and having images: of these shots I took with my husband, a few years ago in St. Ives, or of Georgie and my lovely friend Estelle (Serendipity2307), in Regent's park. That's me, in the black swimsuit, years ago, shot with my dad's Pentax on timer. I was thinking of something a friend wrote yesterday, about 'doing service.' How he'll hold a door open for people, and they won't say thank you, but he'll thank them, for allowing him to 'do service'.

Each morning, I try to think of the things I am grateful for each day, because I believe that that attitude of gratitude is the core of what makes me a happy person. The attitude of want, envy, jealousy, competitiveness, backstabbing, bitchiness, and all the things that can become exploited through the fashion blogging world - that 'I need those shoes' 'I'm jealous of your legs' mentality - that idea that our blogs are like the X Factor, and there is only one winner.. it is all so toxic, and so poisonous.

So Thanksgiving, for me, besides being a sacred holiday for my family - it felt like we OWNED Thanksgiving, growing up - it was our special time, and also my father's birthday - Thanksgiving is for me the sacred time to look back, to reflect, to look forward.

This year, I am grateful for all the things I don't ever want to take for granted: my life, my health, the life and the health of all the people I love - and who love me. And there are so many, so very many, in varying degrees.

I am grateful that I can still move around, and dance, and swim, and relish in nature, free from pain, free from danger.

But I am also grateful to my enemies: the people who once pretended to be my friend. Who I helped, did service for - people at magazines, large companies, who had wanted me to work for free - and the ambitious bloggers, whose photos I shot, whose 'profiles' I helped raise, even at times doing someone's logo, masthead.. I even spent a day, home in bed with the flu, designing magazine layouts for a girl who wanted to be an intern, and instead of thanking me, she wanted more: changes, and contact names, and then when I saw her at fashion week and asked her if she had anything to say to me, she just looked at me in surprise and said 'I already said you did a good job.'

All those hours, thousands of emails and cupcake get togethers and photos, photos and photos, for people who now want to harm me, who want me banned from fashion week, who want to turn people against me, and all I ever did was finally step away.. I am grateful to you all. Because you have helped me realise, this year, that I am stronger than I thought I was. That I have a voice, and that voice will not be shut down.

I'm grateful, too, to the two girls at Spanish Elle, for ElleGate: it was just a year ago, come to think of it. They might not have ever said a proper apology, or come thru with any financial compensation for me or Roz, but hey- they brought the most wonderful friend, a Spanish lawyer, into my life, and they showed me how much support there was from people like you. Out there, around the world. The love I received far outweighed the pain. Living well, I always feel, is the best revenge.

I love this quote: "Forgiveness is NOT excusing what the other person did. Its refusing to be defined by what they did."

I was thinking about when I studied karate, in NY, a lifetime ago, with my then boyfriend. How we'd say 'please teach me,' then have a nice little punch up, and then say 'thank you for the lesson.'

I am grateful to my enemies: you have helped me define who I am, and who I don't want to be. And what, in the end, really matters.

I am grateful for all my experiences, good and bad, happy or sad. They all have helped me to grow, and, I hope, to better be able to serve my fellow man.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone: today I shall roast a free range chicken, and make all my favourite dishes, stuffing and pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce, a mini Thanksgiving for my grateful husband and very grateful cat (he loves chicken), and I will think of you all, my lovely friends, with gratitude, and wishes of health and happiness.