Wednesday, December 12, 2012


I am wearing 2 new pieces of jewelry. 
They are both silver and gold,  go with everything, and
are decorated with positive thoughts that go with everyday.
 Both were gifted to me... selected from the fab jewelry trove at Watson Kennedy.
Lucky me!
A super big thank you to Ted and Cairn, wonderful givers!

"Live imperfectly with great delight"
"Dwell in Possibility" has a little gold rectangle that can be flipped over the quote so that only the word "in" shows.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


I passed his station. He eyed my boots, I caught his glance. He was looking down at them disapprovingly. I proceeded past him to the coffee bar, ordered a latte, and considered a shine. My boots were awesome but they definitely needing some TLC.

Latte in hand, I walked back to his shoe shine station. “Hi, how much is a shine?” “8 dollars.” “ I caught you staring at my boots like 'Girl, you should let me shine those for you!' Right, isn't that what you were thinking?"  I climbed up into the chair, placed my vintage tan Acme boots into position, and knew that I was in the right place. I then proceeded to find out as much about him as I could in the length of time it took him to return the luster to my boots.

Simmie, short for Simeon, was born and raised in Minneapolis. His uncle was a preacher. He is twice-married and has six children total, a bunch of grandchildren and great grandchildren too. Simmie worked for the Minneapolis Transit Authority for over 25 years, driving a bus, and now rides the Light Rail for free to his job at the airport.

He is semi-retired and works Monday and Tuesday. It’s a 12 hour shift that begins at 5:30 a.m. He works in the G gate, toward the higher numbers. The best part of the job is the different people he comes across. “I always ask their names, like I did you,” he says.

He first learned how to shine shoes in 1963 but didn’t practice the craft much until 7 years ago when he started with one of two companies that rent airport stand. On an average good day he will shine 35-40 pairs of shoes. Sometimes more. Morning time seems to be the indicator of a day’s success.

In Simmie’s ungloved experienced hands my tan boots started shining like caramel. “What’s the most important part of the shine,” I asked him. “The cleaning. The shoes have to be cleaned,” he answered. Once cleaned, Simmie puts life back into shoes via a process that includes conditioning, applying color, and then going over the hide with repeated soft brush strokes and a few professional snaps of his cloth. For the finale, he deepens the color of the sole. This he assured brings out leather. 

“You’ll be walking better and smiling,” Simmie predicted. By Jove, he was right.  I had happy feet and was contented knowing that I treated my boots well. I smiled all the way back to the gate. And people smiled back.

Thank you Simmie!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

I XOXO Apple Care: Battery Life iPhone Issue Fixed

I thought I would pass on some information that I recently gathered after placing 3 phone calls to AppleCare. I was having serious battery draining issues on my iPhone as in it was fully charged at 2 a.m. and was totally drained by 6:30 a.m. with no apps running but the basics. An in-store appointment at the Genius Bar did not help. But after my third call to Apple Care, the problem appears to be fixed.

If you are having iPhone battery life issues, and don't have AppleCare, here are some things you can do. Start by going into your settings. From there:

1. Under NOTIFICATIONS: set to "Manually"; limit # of things IN NOTIFICATION CENTER, I only have "phone, messages, and calendar" in there now. All my other apps are NOT IN NOTIFICATION CENTER.

2. Turn off BLUETOOTH whenever you are not using one, otherwise battery is always looking for it.
(you can do the same for WIFI)

3. Under PRIVACY > LOCATION SERVICES, limit what you have running. I am only running Maps and Weather. I don't necessarily want FB and Twitter to keep tabs on me.

In addition to futzing with my settings, I also restored my phone via iTunes. But this did not seem to help it as much as changing the settings did.

Monday, November 26, 2012

FOUND: An Apology/Love Letter to Mom

I found this letter on the sidewalk near where I live. It was sitting on a bit of grass as if the wind had swept it there for the time being. It was not folded; the creases came after I put it in my pocket. It's personal between a daughter and mom, but it's not super detailed. The spelling and grammar are good enough (I love how she spelled "exsample"); the handwriting is neat. This is a gem of a find!

Friday, October 5, 2012


Caviar by Laura Kirar for Arteriors Home
Laura Kirar was in Florida last month at the Adriana Hoyos showroom at DCOTA to promote her 4th collection of lighting (and accessories) for Arteriors Home. I didn't know much about Kirar prior to the event, but after the presentation, I really liked her and admired her holistic approach to design.

Maize and Chainmail Lamps
Kirar seems down to earth. Her evolution from painter and sculpture to product and interior designer has been graceful as her creative ambitions are inspired by melding art and functionality -- two of life's essentials. In fact, some of Kirar's very first metal sculptures were illuminated. And now she's designing lamps!

Here are 10 things I learned about Laura Kirar

1. Laura knew how to weld at 13.
2. Her office is painted coral pink.
3. Before striking out on her own, she worked at Holly Hunt and Ralph Lauren.
4. "I'm one of those girls who likes to be busy all the time."
5. She is a world traveler, and never takes off without camera and sketchbook.
6. She's loving dark charcoal walls now and loves how art looks on the color. 
7. Mexico will prove very influential in her next lighting collection and we will see inspiration from colonial architecture and terracotta..
8. She adopted 3 chihuahuas.
9. "I have lots of ideas and they don't include reality TV."
10. She has a studio in Miami................

which means maybe I'll meet her there one day and learn 10 more things about her.

Thank you Adriana Hoyos for hosting the event so we could all hang out amongst the beauty. Cheers!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

We XOXO (Rescue) Dogs

I was very excited to attend the red carpet premier of the newest Designing Spaces' "Pet Spaces of Hope". The episode, featuring improvements at Big Dog Ranch Rescue in Wellington, FL, airs on Lifetime Thursday morning at 7:30 and features valuable information for dog owners, potential dog owners, and part-time canine caregivers like me. 

Dylan & Sammi: That is Sammi's 3rd chocolate-covered strawberry.
I brought my kids along. Whenever possible, I like to expose them to a world beyond their friends, school, and what they think they know. I had been invited last minute and hadn't a clue where we were headed. But I heard there would be dogs (and we XOXO dogs) and I heard there would be cocktails and hors d'oeuvres (my favorite!). I put in the address and followed my GPS.
The great lawn via iPhone Panorama
We turned right into a wildlife preserve, and I was immediately intrigued. I was in a part of Jupiter, FL that I had never seen, never heard of. We followed the directions down rural roads, past some beautiful homes, and then thru the big iron gates of  the Russell Ranch, a tremendous Alpine-style party house on a hunting preserve.

The valet took my car and we stood at the entrance to the party. Our eyes scaled the large estate, and then panned for dogs. We arrived just as the "Paw-parazzi" (I did not make that up) were shooting canines and VIPs from BDRR. My girls were smitten by the pups. I too loved seeing these lovable and adoptable canines held by beautiful women in fancy dresses. But of course, I was dieing to see the house. Giddyup!

setting out on my venture
We entered the front hall.
 I ventured through a small part of the 24,000 sq ft. home decked to the nines in "upscale hunting lodge" decor. The house had stone floors, wood ceilings, suede and leather upholstery, ornate iron work, feathered centerpieces, and lots of taxidermy. Room after room was decorated in rich, warm earth tones differentiated in tribal-inspired fabrics, plush patterned rugs, and heavy window draperies.
Here are some of the design details.

a personalized floor mosaic
trophies look down on  the great room.
Hats for all.
Fringe binge bar stools
Quintessential steer symbol pillow with optional bling bag.
Ornate iron work features an outdoorsy theme.
Animal aesthetic: Bear sconce above tiger.
 Beyond the adventurous Western decor, it was just a fabulous place to host a luxe party with dogs.

Newly adopted Luke with his owner
Words of gratitude and acknowledgment.

...and everyone ended up in the kitchen!

Designing Spaces and its partners have been working with Big Dog Rescue Ranch over the past year on a makeover that provided a more comprehensive and better organized facility. Improvements to the rescue include an operating room (compliments of Butler Schein Animal Health and Leading Edge), more efficient storage rooms, and a year's worth of pet food donated from By Nature.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Yesterday was my first visit to the Soho Beach House. I was invited by Schumacher for a breakfast and fabric viewing. I wore my new pants, of course.

I put the address in my GPS, blinked, and missed it, as the 100-room hotel is set back a wee bit from the curve of Collins Avenue @ 43rd Street, and somewhat enshrouded with palms. But finally I found it, and oh, what a treasure. I XOXO it.

Schumacher had taken a large suite on the 8th floor. In addition to having fabrics laid out on tables, they had added a lotta pillows to the existing upholstery. I am happy to report that besides the amazing fabrics and swank setting (which smelled so good on the spa floor), my Ikat-inspired pants fit right in. I was told that the pattern is several hundred years old and has appeared on an Uzbekistan priest's robe.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


The arrival of an actual magazine in my mailbox trumps a new on-line issue. Paging through paper feels more intimate and user-friendly than clicking. Paging through in bed in the middle of the afternoon is the ultimate luxury. Yesterday, it was under these luxurious conditions, compounded by soothing storm clouds, and a quiet kid-less household, that I got cozy with the October issue of House Beautiful.

According to me, here are the issue's 10 most memorable moments (where I responded internally with a "XOXO",  "WANT", or "WTF"):

1. Page 30
WANT the Ethan Allen Quincy Bed in a color( caption reads "now in more than 15 bold colors and finishes" but the EA website does not reflect this exciting color spectrum)

2. Page 3
WTF/XOXO that Mario Buatta carries around a toy cockroach named Harold  in his pocket. Buatta says, "I get a kick out of dropping him onto the table at a restaurant."

3. Page 56
WTF -- that little pot of Sisley Global Anti Age is really $475!?! (I simply can't afford to not age!)

 Image from
 4. Page p.66 -
WANT Genevieve Gorder's green and white funky kilim-ish flat-woven wool rug for Capel.

5. Page 68
XOXO using the House Beautiful iPhone app and did it a lot in this issue including taking the video tour of Kathryn Ireland's house. Kathryn's very good on camera and I am impressed that she makes breakfast for her boys. I also love her comment, "I love not sharing a bedroom -- it's the secret of all successful marriages."

Hooker Furniture ad, left (as seen in House Beautiful); Page from Resto catalogue, right.

6. The ad after p.80
WTF - more fascination with colorless castle style a la Resto.

7. Page 97, #3
XOXO that rug-turned-curtain!!!

8. Page109
XOXO that simple vibrant delicious green in a rather stark space!!!!

9. Page110
WANT to travel with One King's Lane's Susan Feldman. Loved seeing all the different designers shopping all over the world.

 Image from
10. Page 118 -
XOXO the vintage Bahamas-themed art and the way Amanda Linthrop displays it.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Kill the Spill: I XOXO The DrinKlip

Image swiped from Design Milk FaceBook page
This image swiped from DrinKlip FaceBook page
I just spied the DrinKlip on Design Milk's FaceBook page and had to bring it over here immediately. The DrinKlip --oh how I XOXO you -- not just what you can do for me, but by providing a dedicated extension of space for all, people and pets alike. Fits on strollers, tables, wheelchairs, school desks. It's a big ass clamp with a cup on the end. Not just for drinks, it can hold something small that you feel needs its special little place like those Ikea screw thingies when you're putting something together.

What a great addition this will be to my desk, since I am forever paranoid about spilling drinks on my laptop. The DrinKlip will erase my concern (not totally erase it because conceivably I could see a giant spider which would cause me to flail my arms up in all directions, thereby potentially rocketing the beverage from the cup.)

I could also use it bedside, as I also have paranoia about knocking over my water glass during a bad dream or in the morning when I reach for my iPhone to turn off the alarm. I'm in the habit of keeping my phone on another plateau for safekeeping, but the DrinKlip will also afford me more space.(Gee...I have major paranoia surrounding technology and liquids, don't I? That's because it happened once. Coffee down my printer and keyboard. Not fun at all.)

Dear DrinKlip geniuses, I hope I have conveyed my extreme elation over your simple lifestyle invention. Do you think it would be possible to tweak the design so that the DrinKlip is wearable? I am sure you've been to a cocktail party, just like me, and wished for another hand to manage hors d'oeuvres plate, camera, drink, etc. I realize that a soft, pliable, active medium is not the ideal platform, but you seem really smart, so........please notify me if this ever comes out. Thank you.

Friday, August 10, 2012


I can spend inordinate amounts of time checking out the seashells and rocks that the tide has brought. Random riches. Free treasures.
Today I picked up just a few more since I already have hundreds at home. 
From the bazillions of shells on the beach,
here's why I honed in on these lovelies:

3 flat rocks with holes (top): I keep thinking I'll string them for jewelry or a mobile or ?
2 heart rocks (right): I have a small collection of natural heart-shaped objects. Plus I thought maybe my daughter will want to give one to her boyfriend.
gray rock (bottom right): it looks like a whale, just needs an eye.
3 striped shells (left side): I XOXO striped anything!
4 corkscrew shells (middle): Kind of skeletal; worn down but still strong.
1 small round gray stone: not sure but it caught my eye.

And then there were these feathers. As I mentioned on Facebook, my mother always told me not to pick them up because they were dirty. 
I just don't believe that every feather is dirty. Especially pink ones.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


It's 8 a.m. and the Kids In Distress "Labor of Love" reveal has just aired on Designing Spaces. That means that I can finally show you some of the photos that I took when I went to see the kids recreation center makeover. It was a major improvement as you will see.

This is the main space before
It was ho-hum blue and brown with a tired rug and artwork stapled to the walls.

This is the main space after
 New laminate plank flooring makes the space bright and fresh. Red accents give it energy and artwork is easily pinned onto cork. Miss Luzette, the art teacher, is so happy and so thankful.

The other side of the room has a large flat screen so everyone can see, even if sitting in the back of the room.

There is now a little game room with checkers, fuseball, a pinball type of game, and board games.

And there is a small teen lounge just beyond it.

The Designing Spaces Dream Team created a library with the help of Carl Buddig & Co. and Reading is Fundamental.
I love the abundance of natural light, the sky/cloud Ikea lights, the big whiteboard and all the books!!

Now onto where Miss Luzette keeps her art supplies and projects.

This is the craft storage room before. Scary!

Now Miss Luzette has several rooms devoted to storage.

I love this last one because of those wall mounted laundry lines.

Check them out closer. 

I could be really happy here. I have already invited myself down to play art teacher's helper. Just waiting to hear.

If you missed the show, you can watch Part 1 here and Part 2 should be in the vicinity soon.