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All content copyright 2009 by Holly Gleason. Web design by Lauren Carelli.

July 2010

Orange Dufflebag, Sound Opinions, Frozen Grapes & Ernest Hemingway

hot HOT Hot

Ooh La La Grace Potter & the Nocturnals

The jam band rockers again dig in, twist down and grind out some delightfully fraught pheromonics with this – easily – the best track on their brand new self-titled album.

Howling with rank abandon, Potter taunts and baits a would-be lover with as direct a come-on as anyone this side of Prince has issued and the chugging rhythm section lunges and surges with the same thrusting-trust worthyness of true lotharios.

“If I were a man, I’d make my move/ If I were a razor, I’d shave it smooth/ If I were a judge, I’d break the law/ And if I were in Paris, ohhhh-LA-la…,” comes the come on chorus. Always two sheets to the wind, Poett & Co. fill their sails and move hard at the bull’s-eye of their libido.

“Airplanes” – B.o.B. w Hayley Williams

Worlds collide as Hailey Williams – the maraschino haired siren from Paramore teams with emergent rap sensation B.o.B. for a churning song of hope and yearning that brings the punk/pop thrush into a mash-up with some serious rhymes and thick beats. It is each’s strength of formed merged to where the intensity of the melody and guitars – not to mention Williams’ laser shaft of shining soprano – finds an overlap with the thump’n’bump of throwndown wordplay a track cut for maximum impact.

When the dust settles, this could be the summer song of 2010 that lasts after the freckles fade.

Tousle Me Gently Shampoo with the essence of wild violet & pomegranate by Herbal Essences

Straight from the drugstore, this fruity, floral shampoo imbues thickness and just enough “stay” that your hair does indeed have some bend it wouldn’t otherwise. Not quite mermaid on a half shell stuff, but certainly a hint of day at the beach bounce and body.

Fifth Avenue, 5 a.m.: Audrey Helpburn, Breakfast @ Tiffanys & the Dawn of Modern Woman by Sam Wasson

Today, “Breakfast at Tiffanys” is the charming film about a somewhat soigné free-spirit who makes her way through Manhattan on her own terms, in spite of convention and with more than a little sadness at the lonely edges. When Blake Edwards was tapped to make the film – anchored by the ultimate waif/vixen Audrey Hepburn—there was no shortage of controversy over what would become of Truman Capote’s story of the young woman who made her way turning tricks and answering to no one.

Sam Wasson tackles the cultural shifting points, looking into a studio system that was coming to an end, a society that was about to go their a seismic shift, young women’s will to live on their own terms and the emergence of truly unique individuals. With Decency Boards vetting content, a piece of literature being adapted for mass consumption, a young director, maverick producers and an Oscar winner seeking depth for her craft and couture sensibility, “Breakfast at Tiffanys” beguiled a “Mad Men” nation—and cast a brand new way to be, all deftly captured in this quick-reading hardback.

“Truth is, everybody is going to hurt you; you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for.”

Funny the Rastaman wisdom of Bob Marley only grows better over time. There is wisdom in recognizing that humanity is fraught without total knowledge—and in that, people will hurt you without meaning to. Some may even draw dead aim out of fear or manipulation. Before drawing lines, look at the motivation, consider the relationship, know the truth about the human being—and know that forgiveness is the cornerstone of love.

But also remember, love does not mean being hurt for the sake of love. Not everyone is good—or well-intentioned. To know the difference is to invest in the one’s who will be there… and to honor the truth that we shall all unknowingly do things we wish we hadn’t. But it’s in knowing the difference that we protect ourselves without losing the ones who matter.

1/3 can frozen limeade + two liters fresh iced tea
One pitcher. A third a can of frozen lime-ade. Two liters of fresh steeped sun tea…
Instant summer quaffage. Fresh and cold and bright and tartly fruit! Nothing is easier—or chicer.

Eyelet Caftan at C. Orrico Private Label, Palm Beach FL

Bracelet length sleeves and a thick band of contrasting eyelet along the hem, this is an a-line dress that opens like a kurta to give a sexy without pandering neckline and has enough detail that the pull-over-the-head of ease of getting ready is upgraded with a sense of sophistication that suggests a great deal of trying. Caribbean blue, azalea pink and always chic black, this all cotton number goes from brunch to errands to dinner somewhere lovely without changing one little detail. Even little sandals or flip flops work!

A singular summer uniform at a very reasonable pricepoint. www.corrico.com or 561-659-7820—and tell them the Yummy List sent you.

“The Kids Are Alright”

What seems rote – lesbian couple and the bio-dad come together in the name of the children’s curiosity – Hollywood shuffle is turned into a charming film with heartwarming performances by Annette Benning, Julianne Moore and TOM RUFFALO as the grown-ups navigating a new world dynamic of what is a family, how powerful is love and what happens when what you know gets turned upside down. Razor-written, the dialogue feels real and the back and forth volleys with a acuity we only wish we could have in our own day-to-day discourse. In a time of bigger, louder, harder, wow-er films, this is more compact and shows what character development and human interaction can yield.

Spanish Mustangs of Currituck Outerbanks, North Carolina

They are not ponies, but genuine Mustangs – and they exist beyond the hand of man. Protected by the people of North Carolina, these wild horses can be seen flying over the dunes, eating the grass and standing as a symbol of what freedom means. They are gallant and inspiring… and they remind us of life beyond the taming.

What Would Keith Richards Do by Jessica Pallington West

Subtitled Daily Affirmations from a Rock’N’Roll Survivor, this is a collection of bromides and bon mots from rock’s most enduring bohemian rogue pirate. Keith Richards has seen it all, done it all, drunk, shot or snorted the rest – and still he remains impossible charming and desperately quixotic. A genuine rock & roll texture, the rhythm guitarist half of the Glimmer Twins has been culled into 100 pages of quotes, a timeline and various sources for same.

The philosophy of taking it as comes, learning from mistakes, seeing the joke in the poke and mostly surviving whatever befalls you, this is in some ways more than just a souvenir of an outlaw spirit. There is wisdom to be gleaned beyond the laughter – organized to get to the appropriate topics.

Sound Opinions: Greg Kot & Jim DeRogatis from WBEZ, via Public Radio through PRX

Two of America’s best informed, thoughtful and curious music critics – once competitors at Chicago’s two major dailies – meet weekly to talk about records that matter, news that’s percolating and engaging guests who share their thoughts, history and music with the two men who’ve written for Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, Vibe and Request beyond The Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times (though DeRogatis who wrote a definitive bio of Lester Bangs is now found at Vocalo,org).

Having begun on Chicago’s rock powerhouse WXRT, the move to public station WBEZ frees the pair up to romp farther afield – from the history of the vocoder (a fascinating show) to Guilty Pleasures, guests ranging from Trent Reznor to Neko Case, Buddy Guy to Steve Eatrle and Allison Moorer,  Flaming Lips, Tom Morello, Yoko Ono Radiohead… you get the idea, and the more meaningful insight. For anyone who loves music at the core, this is a show worth getting religious about.

http://www.soundopinions.org

My Orange Dufflebag Sam Bracken

Sam Bracken is the almost impossible American success story: raised in a home of extreme drug addiction, domestic violence and sexual abuse, he digs in, gets through high school, faces a “career ending” injury that sinks his shot at a football scholarship to college—and comes back to earn a ride to the University of Georgia, where another injury torpedoes his shot at a big NFL career, but his grades keep him in school, his coach helps him get the surgery to maintain his life and he graduates with a mandate to make the world a better place.

Subtitled: A Journey to Radical Change, this is a map to living a life of ecstasy in the face of the storm, passion wherever you are and the vision to get to where you dream. The world won’t change, you have to accept its limits, but you can. With lots of graphics, pictures and juxtaposed words, this is anything but a how-to-book, it’s a whirlwind ride—“brought to life” the credits read by Echo Garrett—that is a whole different take on a life and the philosophy that inspired them, as well as rules to get you where you wanna be. A quick read, a triumphant truth… for anyone not quite sure where they need to be, happy with where they are or wondering else there could be, this is an inspiring place to start.

Mojo Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

It’s called the blues, and once upon a time, rock bands looking for their grounding steeped in it. And while garage bands now may not realize that Jack White and the Black Keys goes to the crossroads to get their music started, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers came from a time when local bands were equal parts British rock a la the Yardbirds, the Stones and even Faces as well as Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin and the straight from the spigot blues of Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Sonny James, Sonny Terry and Robert Johnson. And there’s an exultance in these down in the groove, yet somehow shining bits of hook-driven music that reminds all comers about the exultance of what bands embody.

“Jefferson Jericho Blues” is pure roadhouse, while much of the shimmering, sinewy Mojo is a journeyman musico’s rambles through life in the cracks. There’s a murky dampness to “The Trip To Pirate’s Cove,” complete with partying with hotel maids, a preacher and lost hours driving into the sunset, the percolating “Candy” that’s straight up blues chug, the low slung freedom of “Let Youself Go,” the rejectionista’s “The Running Man’s Bible,” the cautionary “High In The Morning” If ever there’s been a modern soundtrack for being on the run, being outside the fringes, being lost below the median, Mojo’s it.

A Patch of Blue Sky—Kevin Welch

The last of the louche Bohemian post-Nashville songwriter/singers, in a different world, Kevin Welch would’ve been the successor to Jackson Browne. Instead, he walked away from the last outpost of major label freedom—Warner Nashville in the 80s—and became a maverick independent, aligning with peers like Kieran Welch, Tammy Rodgers and Fats Kaplan for projects as well as his own.

An Oklahoma ruminator who was raised on limitless skies and far off horizon lines, Welch’s writing captures that same far flung, sunbleached sense of love – coming, ablaze, lost and long gone—and the resolve it takes to get through life as a man in full. It takes sensitivity to be strong, and that tempers vocals that’re comforting in the desolation—be it the hopeful title track, the intricately detailed “New Widow’s Dream” or the wistfully honest “Long Gone Dream.” With a band that is rock solid, this is the kind of music that makes the Band at their leanest such a simple, juicy pleasure.

Coconut M&Ms

It is like a Mounds bar in a candy coating – only there is no stringy coconut involved. More than likely, no coconut was hurt to make this latest counter confection, but as a quick fix for something a little chocolate and a little tropical, it more than suffices – and crushed and dumped on frozen yogurt, it adds crunch and a double dose of flavor.

Stillwater T-shirt at my www.mypartyshirt.com

“How would you know?! I’m just one of the out of focus guys…,” snarls Jeff Beebe at Russell Hammond, the lead guitarist with mystique in “Almost Famous” as the band’s t-shirt arrive and the band’s hierarchy becomes indelibly clear. In the tumult, Dick, the manager/tour manager, declares, “Tshits gone, band happy!”

But what about the fans? Well, now you can buy the very banned band tshirt for $14.95. The exact shirt featuring Stillwater from “Almost Famous” and fly the colors of the band that never was in a movie that anyone who loves rock & roll will never forget.

Island Books           Corolla, Kitty Hawk & Duck, North Carolina

Lots of light, enough room to mill about and even more books – artfully arranged to pull you in. Featured titles suggest intrigue and readability, the kind of things best friends talk about late into the night. Biographies, histories, fiction with titles and covers that invite closer looks. Cookbooks with enough depth that you can’t help but pick them up, and dream of the deliciousness inside.

But in these days of Barnes & Noble and Borders, the coziness of the odd chair and the small sofa there makes one feel welcome – and invited to take one’s browsing even deeper. Art books, local interest, clildren’s titles, this is the place for anyone who thinks heaven can be found with a perfect binding.

http://www.islandbooksobx.com/

Damage Lipstick   NARS

Not quite darkest pink, not quite red-tinged purple or maroon, Damage is an impossibly sheer lipstick that leaves the illusion of serious kissing. It sweeps over the lips leaving a juiciness that turns the mouth ripe and alight with some kind of fraughtness – and it does so without making the wearer seem made up. In a world of high gloss spackle, this is natural, yet very much cast to the notion of passion.

Frozen Grapes

It is hot. Entirely too hot to be outside – or even barely moving all but the most air conditioned of buildings. Put a a few bunches of big juicy grapes in the freezer. Let the juiciness within drop below 32 degrees Farenheit – and watch as the fruit takes on a near-solidity, but maintains the water content that is a thirst-quenching mass that melts and intensifies the flavor as it does!

50 UPF Sun Hat Scala

Somewhere between the L.L. Bean field hat, what Katherine Hepburn would wear to garden and a proper Southern sun bonnet, Scala’s 50 UPF Sun Hat protects your dermis from the bad UV rays and adds a jauntiness to your outdoor endeavors that’s a bit salty and a bit louche stylista. Wide brimmed, perfect crowm, a paper bag brown khaki or putty grey, as well as lemon chiffon, pink, two kinds of blue and salmon, this is instant je ne sais crois with a deep vein of practicality.

The War of Art   Steven Pressfield

To get inside the creative process, it often seems a whip, chair, snake charmer and chloroform is required, but in The Art of War, the man who wrote The Legend of Bagger Vance and Gates of Fire not only makes the process orderly, he tells the truth about the demons, doubts and other foibles. Clearly written with a sense of how to manage the impossible and inspire magic, the 3 sectioned paperback moves from Resistance: Defining the Enemy to Combating Resistance: Turning Pro to Beyond Resistance: The Higher Realm to create a trail to creativity that works.

Introduced to this by a not-quite-young-songwriter who’s been around to know it takes more than moonbeams, the practicality and candor make this an indispensable guide to getting outside the box without losing your perspective. Whether you’re city planning, trafficking appointments, writing grants or trying to inspire others, there is much here that’s of value. And in morsels, it will not overwhelm.

Smokin Buds Skull Candy

They sound like far more expensive ear buds—and they look impossibly hip. One of those street legal meets technology operations that offers quality for a reasonable price; wicked cool appearance that doesn’t sacrifice sonics for the look. For about 22 dollars, you can have tiny in-ear speakers in rasta colors, cyan and black, pink & white Tolkidoki skull and cross bones, mint green and white. You get the idea. But the feel good in the ears, give sound that’s even better and transcend the standard issue iPod buds without braking the bank. Plus, how cool to tell you friends about your Skull Candy?

www.skullcandy.com

“The lunatic, the lover and the poet, are of imagination all compact.”

Ahhhhhh, the leave of one’s senses when pursuing pleasure, love or art. Untethered for the sheer joy of the sensation, the thrill of the moment and the possibility. Sometimes just going crazy is required, and when love (or inspiration) calls, to follow without thinking is everything. A slave to the imagination, the density and absolute over-ride is everything. Shakespeare was right; we should all listen.

Sea grass and Sand Dunes

Tall and almost beige, it tufts up and waves in a wind seemingly generated by the ocean itself. Sea grass is perhaps one of the most romantic surface covers, suggesting the sting of salt in the air, the feel of sun beating down on the sand and the weightlessness that is summer vacation when you’re young. Growing on sand dunes, it begs you to run through them, to grab a blanket and stare at the water or watch the stars rise—and from away, it suggests all those things, as well as innocence, sunburn and the way passion spreads when you’re young and life continues no matter what gale force might come.

Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work

The documentary that shows the wear, tear, passion and doubt behind one of America’s most acerbic – and enduring – comedic presences. Whether you love her no-punches-pulled take on American culture or not, the curtain is pulled back on Rivers, and the struggles to get her, the difficulty of maintaining, the reality of show business is all exposed for the harsh reality that is.

And harsh it is. Fame is less the driving reality than crap gigs, interminable criticism, choices made that often plague in the rearview mirror, loneliness and the drive to stay on top. Compassion is not a word one would associate with someone who’s comedy often hinges on criticizing others, yet that’s what emerges. Not to mention for anyone thinking of entering the fray, educational in ways that defy the fantasy or worst case provisos!

Specialities de la Maison by American Friends of France

With a forward by Vanity Fair’s Graydon Carter, Specialities de la Maison marks a collection of recipes dating from 1946 from Hollywood and Broadway celebrities, top socialites, couturiers, royals and the top restauranteurs of the day. Drawing on a more formal style of dining, these recipes draw on whole foods, basic techniques and a certain decadent sense of luxury – be it the chafing dish creations, various soufflés and wild game preparations.
Vintage cakes and cocktails, appetizers, breads, this is another way of eating. If not for every day, it is marvelously haute “Mad Men” inspired cuisine for special occasions. And knowing it was good enough for Elizabeth Arden, Cecil Beaton, Fanny Brice, Eleanor Roosevelt, Salvador Dali, Katherine Hepburn, Mary Pickford, Noel Coward, Mdm Igor Stravinsky, Aldous Huxley, Mary Pickford, Helen Keller, Emily Post and Christian Dior is an awful awesome endorsement.

Dog Heaven   Cynthia Rylant

Where good babies go when their time here is over. A picture book with clouds for beds, treats and nice angels who love them until their owners can meet them in the next life. A comfort for both children who want to know and grown-ups who can’t quite cope with the loss of their best friend.

It is a sense of the next world our puppies encounter, and a refuge for the doggies who don’t have happy homes here on Earth. It is a place where angels bring them back to Earth to check on us, and then return to a place where they are petted, loved and happy. What more could we want for our best friends?

Springsteen: We Were Connected To The Street Mojo August

On the crest of Springsteen’s “London Calling” live DVD, the British music magazine examines the life through the music, cultural impact and mirroring of Freehold, NJ’s most famous rock & roll sun – and the man who became a cultural beacon for the working class, the outcast and the fringe dwellers opens up for one of the most thoughtful profiles ever written of the man who wrote “Born In The USA,” “The Rising,” “Rosalita,” “Hungry Heart” and “Born To Run.”

Working through the life course, the way the music was received and the events that shaped the songs, what emerges is a contemplative artist who considers his fellow man as much – or more – than himself, and in the prism of the unseen, large truths about the state of the nation and Springsteen’s consciousness emerge. They also explore the toll of time and the pressures of unforeseen forces in the realm of what the music means and what the cost can be.

Feta & Spinach Pierogies by Mrs. Ts

The Eastern European mashed potato and cheese stuffed into a noodle wrapper – fatter, fluffier ravioli almost – gets an Aegean turn as frozen pierogi denizens Mrs T’s introduce a Feta & Spinach to the line. It is a different kind of tangy and not enough spinach to put off a finicky child, but boiled then quick sautéed in a little olive oil, then garnished with some dill weed and a bit of yogurt and you have a whole new spin on a classic side dish. Subtly addictive, they bring a Greek taste to classic Midwestern comfort food! Yummmmmmmy.

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are stronger at the broken places.”  E. Hemingway

No matter who you are, where you live, what you’re worth, something is coming that’s gonna test your mettle – and you will fail. It is the nature of being human, and it is the essence of growth. Leave it to the ultimate man’s man of letters to distill the essence of life into 13 words. But it’s true: lots of people face lots of things, many emerge stronger, wiser, more compassionate for the reality. In that is the seed of evolution – and the knowledge of just how tough we are.

Pimento cheese sandwiches Sam & Omeys, MLP 16 ½  Nags Head, NC

A truly good pimento cheese is more labor intensive than one might imagine, which is why there are so many barely worth the calorie options out there. But to find one that has that balance between pungent wang, creamy spreadability and the comfort that is classic cheddar is to have an ultimate lunchtime experience..

Sam & Omeys, a longstanding Outerbanxs tradition, understands. There is the tinge of the pimento, the smoothness without losing a sense of texture, the creamy thickness that makes this seem so indulgent! It has the pucker of sharp cheddar and the earthy tiinge of pimentos – and it comes generously spread on classic white bread cut on the diagonal, dressed with lettuce and tomato OR just cheese on bread. To toast or not to toast depends on whether you want to suggest meltingness; either way you will sink into the conflicting tastes and emerge feeling more satisfied than fancier lunches do.

Rolling Stone Making Journalism: a Factor in Open Reporting & Accountability

Not since Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein broke the Watergate burglary has print journalism so impacted a story—and saw justice served. For the pair of Washington Post reporters, their story ultimately resulted in the resignation for President Richard M. Nixon. For Michael Hastings, the writer on assignment to capture the high level military workings behind our efforts in the Middle East, it was Stanley McChrystal, the man in command of the Armed Forces in Afghanistan.

If It was a source named Deep Throat who provided The Post with the damning information about the break-in at the Democratic National Headquarters, it was a self-inflicting unraveling for the General—who didn’t understand that a journalist’s presence means reporting is going on, and in the time spent acted at his most base self. What emerged was hardly the heroic, selfless man of discipline Americans believe their military leaders to be, and in the cold harsh light of that, the truth was staggering.

Journalism doesn’t have to die. It requires depth of reporting, paying attention and—for the publications—the willingness to invest time rather than churn what everyone else’s spewing. For Rolling Stone, it was a coup de grace; but for the American people, it was a wake-up call about how little attention any of us really pays to the story.

The Golden Age of Couture   Frist Center for Art, Nashville, TN     through Sept. 12

The only American stop for this collection of the great masters of fashion, The Golden Age of Couture comes from Londons Victoria & Albert Museum and traces fashion’s evolution in the years following World War II when – starting with Christian Dior’s shocking New Look—silhouettes did seemingly scandalous things. And the show runs through the year 1957, when Dior died.

In its galleries, filled with the most lush clothing, shoes and adornments, sparkle with the best of the French fashion houses of the day, including the Givenchy dawn that beguiled Audrey Hepburn, Balmain and Balenciaga – and many of the post-War emergent British names who created stunning works for the rich and the royals. Running the gamut of uses – from daywear to ball gowns – and featuring striking images from Cecil Beaton, Richard Avedon and Irving Penn, this beautifully-curated show illuminates the birth of modern couture as few have.

Hot Pink #120 Maybelline Express Finish Quick-Dry Nail Enamel

The brightest, shiniest, happiest nail polish on the market – and it’s got that drugstore accessibility that makes joyous, happy finger/toe nails anyone’s domain. For a few bucks and the easiest application on the block, you, too, can have summer names appear professional without being excessive. Quick, the kind of bright pink that is pretty without screaming tropical and edgy enough to rock club without being prissy.

My drive-by East Nashville pal who works in the dirt all day was flashing a perfect 10 the other day. So ebullient, she almost outshone the cupcake she was devouring, This is her secret, and the always up with whatever Megan Hayes was willing to share her trick… one that survives landscaping, recording studios and the general wear and tear of life.

BONUS Top coatClear Shine Nail Protector   Wet’n’Wild. Another cheap drugstore basic that delivers maximum shine and polish protection while amping up the professional of your DIY ‘cure.

Sitting on the front steps in the rain

It is a whole new world, being washed clean before you. Under the eaves, rain coming down at any number of velocities: you can smell the world being filtered through the clouds and the water, permeating grass and dirt. There are rhythms and veils of droplets. There is the sense of a new balance being stuck. But especially, there is an awe at the way the earth and the heavens trade precious resources back and forth – and the gentleness and intensity of nature at work.

Silly Goose   1888 Eastland Ave,  Nashville

Most people wouldn’t build a restaurant around the Israeli and Middle Eastern staple of couscous, but thankfully the mid-Tennessee-grown, wildly creative Silly Goose does! Preserved lemon couscous, sesame, whole wheat couscous, red chili couscous – each mixed up with seasonings, vegetables, some proteins, served chilled with salad greens and a snap! pop! deliciousness.

Fresh fresh salads, sandwiches and wraps of a higher order – both in terms of quality ingredients and inventiveness. The crunch, the way the tastes deepen and shift… and they make their own crazy not-what-you’d-expect ice creams, plus a cinnamon cannoli that’s to die for. Locally grown, chef Graeme Dennis throws open a whole new window on eating without too much fuss, just yumminess.

Suma Recording Studios     Pailnesville, Ohio

There is magic in the woods: a sprawling Tudor on the banks of the Grand River that sets at the end of a mostly gravel road that exists under a canopy of old trees and often grey skies. Not of the Hobbit, and yet evoking an otherworldliness that defies time and logic – still decorated in the vintage high style of the late ‘60s and ‘70s, but just as importantly, with a real echo effect vintage mics and the ability to master true analog.

The main room – with its stone fireplace – is the kind of cavern that is all vibe and essence and presence. To record here is to stand naked, but be bathed in a sonic bath that makes you somehow more golden for the experience. A jewel that is unknown to many, a treasure for any who can let go of the notion of LA/New York/Nashville.

“I believe in optimism and plenty of white paint.”—Elsie de Wolfe

It is that simple: a bright shiny attitude that will carry through anything and a layer of thick optic white to cover up whatever nicks, dents or scratches that might happen. White paint makes everything fresher, lighter, cleaner – and offers a sense of purity that is not restrictive. In that opaque coat that refreshes is the same renewal as believing the best will happen, focusing on the outcome that offers the most joy and keeping your eye on the sky rather than the ground.

Elsie de Wolfe knew how to create pleasant, whimsical rooms that had great comfort and more joy. They fairly begged to be inhabited, just as the most pleasing attitude will draw people to you like moths to a streetlight in the middle of the summer.

Bats

Twice of late, I’ve found myself racing bats home… Well, not racing, but the winged creatures flying in front of and alongside my car. What should be scary, isn’t. Which led me to look into their totemics – and naturally, they are messengers to call “for the end of a way of life and the beginning of another.”

The murkiness of the night, the emerging through it into the light. They are beacons, beckoning you to face your fear and come into the future. And they eat all the mosquitos!

Striped Storage Bags

Easier to cope with than plastic tubs, these bright striped, floral print or varying polka dot zip bags are mini-locker size, but have soft edges and take up significantly less space. Easily tucked under a bed or in a closet, they are a cheerful reminder of what you’ve put up – I use mine for storing linens and extra tshirts, they can also serve as giant bags to take everything you need for a short trip with a pet, work or outdoor gear. Zip and go, and you’re ready for anything with everything you need.

Sea Salt Rice Chips Lundberg

Boasting “Crunch Sensation” on the label, these brown rice chips are wheat free, gluten free and have no artifical flavors or colors. But more importantly, they have the body of a corn chip and the sensation of really good potato chips. Organically grown on a family farm, but more importantly, all the junk food punch we all sometimes crave. A fairly guiltless pleasure, yet pleasure all the same.

Eloping—& Telling Everyone in Advance

They are two of the most gorgeous young people – on the inside even more so than out – and the people they love are vast and farflung. Pinned to the centrifugal force of “the big wedding,” the easy au naturel couple begin smothering and suffocating. So not them, so not true to who they were or the lives they were merging; from that, the plan emerged.

Run off and get married, but set the celebration for not long after. Send out invitations, explain the deal and let everybody share in the joy, while removing the heavy and heavier production wedding. Ahhhh, if only most of us were so sane.

Sunflower Cuvee Lynch Importers

A white Cote du Rhone can be an odd thing, and yet, the good folks at Kermit Lynch figured out how to create one that is light on the tongue, slightly fruity without being treacle and very fresh on a summer’s day. 60% Marsanne, 30% Roussanne and 10% Picpoul grapes create something utterly enjoyable and easy to drink.

Peonies

  A fistful of petals so tightly clenched, it’s like a hand grenade that blossoms. Always in ethereal colors, peonies are the torn edged antiquities of the garden – and their scent is equal parts powder, floral and greens. Heavily leaning from their dark green bushes or adding timelessness to an arrangement, their beauty is stunningly perfect. Few things are as lovely, and that’s saying quite a lot.

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