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

December 2007

February 2007: Thunder, Exile, Exuberance   Lavender Lemonade Tea

Behind The Counter Cards Vivi’s, 3 Via Parigi, Palm Beach, FL

  You have to know to ask. And you have to not stammer when you do it. But they do keep bawdy, tawdry, slightly naughty cards for those bold enough to inquire. Nothing so scandalous or salacious as to render an aunt speechless, but piquant enough to provoke a belly-laugh or a bit more juicy conversation. Ask, and ye shall receive. And yes, I do believe you can “do it” by phone.

www.perezhilton.com 

   Tawdry. Junky. Salacious. Bad. Taken with a grain of salt, it’s an escape online - not unlike The Weekly World News with bold-faced names. As a gossip-fix, Perez Hilton dishes, but there’s enough of geeky tweaky fan to it, that you almost get lost in his own star-struck “who me?” breeziness. Escapism like an old school movie magazine, launched somewhere in cyberspace.

Lucille Ball & Tallulah Bankhead “You Tube”

   A moment pulled from an old “I Love Lucy,” that finds America’s inimitable redhead going long and playing for laughs against the hoitiest toitest of grand dames of film. In a clip that is sheer riffage from two comedic braintrusts utterly in possession of their creative mojo, they chew the scenery, push each other’s buttons and just keep going past the point of orchestration to a vat of hilarity that says in a world beyond the scripted, artists who know their craft can seek greater depths than even they might know. Watch it, and untether your own sense of self-editing.

The Things Old Boyfriends Tell You


   They know you in ways few do. They look at you in ways no one does. They say things that never occurred to you… and they often pull you up short, long after the fact, after the relationship, after all that time—and they just say it.
   The why of the had to meet you—“but, you were… hot,” the things they remember—“you could lay there with all these unthinkable questions and dream…,” the reasons they loved you—“you were the clearest person I’d ever met, and it was hard, but it changed everything about how I looked at life…,” even the filter they forced you to use—“if you could see what I see, you’d recognize the purest soul I’ve ever seen.” And they mean it, because after the all of it, why would they bother? To what end, and why?
   It’s why old boyfriends are some of the best vessels of our own inner wisdom. All you have to is listen when they talk, and embrace—rather than let it bead up and roll off—what they say.

The Things Old Boyfriends Tell You


   They know you in ways few do. They look at you in ways no one does. They say things that never occurred to you… and they often pull you up short, long after the fact, after the relationship, after all that time—and they just say it.
   The why of the had to meet you—“but, you were… hot,” the things they remember—“you could lay there with all these unthinkable questions and dream…,” the reasons they loved you—“you were the clearest person I’d ever met, and it was hard, but it changed everything about how I looked at life…,” even the filter they forced you to use—“if you could see what I see, you’d recognize the purest soul I’ve ever seen.” And they mean it, because after the all of it, why would they bother? To what end, and why?
   It’s why old boyfriends are some of the best vessels of our own inner wisdom. All you have to is listen when they talk, and embrace—rather than let it bead up and roll off—what they say.

It All Blows Up

  Just when it can not be any worse, it is. One more thing. And another. Until it seems everything is rolling down hill and gaining momentum. Somewhere in the tumble and the velocity of it all, everything drops out. It is a disorienting pinwheel of circumstances—but one that leaves you strangely void, oddly calm, utterly centered in whatever’s left, quite possibly the core of who you are.
   Just when you’re sure you can’t go on, you find you do. It is as simple as no other choice and enough dignity to refuse to let whatever it is win. In letting go, you find out the hanging on was white knuckles and clenched muscles with your being already on the floor. And so you are free… shaken, stirred, but able to shake it off and walk on. An odd revelation, indeed.


Catching The Big Fish David Lynch

   Quick hit takes on what makes meditation work, where ideas come from, how tiny bolts of inspiration can be, this is a one stop catalytic converter for people trying to find that jolt of insight. That it is easy, unforced, to be settled into seems almost too… simple, and yet film noirist Lynch’s straightforward language makes enlightenment within one’s grasp without grasping. Read it, and breath… or drift… or wherever the current takes you.

Chunky Coral Necklace

   They look almost like blobs, these unrefined chunks of orange-red from the sea. Not the sprays and tentacles that come alive in the high end engravatures of old school biology manuals and interior design bibles, but something stronger, sturdier, more solid. Worn around one’s neck, it is a reminder of the power of nature, the permanence of the ocean and the beauty that occurs in the intersection of the two.

Seeds of Change Chocolate Bars

   100% organically grown dark chocolate from the Dominican Republic, Seeds of Change’s oversized bars combine natural embellishments with fanciful destinations—evoking the best of other places while titillating one’s tongue with textures, tastes and the complexity of the cocoa bean. Whether it’s the Venetto expressing Italy’s espresso with a bit of lemon peel on the side, the Bayano with its Caribbean pungency of cinnamon and cacao nibs or the Naragansett offering a Cape Codian merge of candied pecans, cranberries and orange essence, these starkly rich candy bars evoke destinations with their sweet-satisfying potential. Any chocoholic should head directly to the high end organic retailer in search of these wondrous bars.

“Take Fountain.”
—Bette Davis (and Sam Kinison)

   It is the street that no one patrols—and it moves faster, is a bit beyond the law and gives passage in a way that is unfettered. For Davis, no doubt, it was about the ease of travel. For Kinison, more the survival of compromised driving. For the rest of us, it is metaphoric, for getting their the way that is safest, least obstacle strewn and perhaps more vivid for it.

1999 Cims de Perrera Priorat

   My friend the wine broker showed up at the door, ready for adventure with a small corkage fee. In a funky little restaurant specializing in South American fare, he unsheathed to bottle from the Catalunya region that is also the home state of the impossibly romantic Barcelona. And that deepest plumy red was the essence of Spain in a bottle, sunny and dusty and dry; opening up on the tongue like light streaming through a window with the curtains just pushed back, scattering through the lace veil of a mantilla, opening up the potential from the vast reservoirs of our mind.
   To taste this Cims de Perrera is to plunge into a life without rails, sweat-soaked-through shirts, chasing the night and molten candles, patchouli and food slow cooked until the flavors almost explode. This is the pledge of all it can be - just seize the glass and the moment, and drink til you’re dizzy for them intensity of the flavor.

“Come Early Morning”

   Joey Lauren Adams, who charmed America as the little girl voiced lesbian cartoonist Ben Affleck set out to bring back to “the other side” in Kevin Smith’s “Chasing Amy,” makes her directorial and writing debut in this white-trash bar-fly-in-training emancipation paean to life in the squalid zone of the bluest collar economic plane. Ashley Judd is equal parts flint and hurt, hope and screw-up—facing the messed-up lives around her, careening through her own jagged mistakes, seeking more and ultimately not finding the love she ought to want but a salvation of her own in this unflinching look at life just above the Arkansas poverty line.
   Played out in shot-gun shacks, cheap beer joints, beat-up pick-ups, offices in trailers and cheap-paneled churches, these are broken people smashing into their own pain and each other. Complicated, true without reducing to stereotype - and perhaps more rugged because of it—“Come Early Morning” demonstrates how hard just getting by can be, how small the flickers of hope and attachment are and how jaded souls can snuff out those sparks in an instant. Perhaps Judds’ best performance since “Ruby In Paradise,” easily her most satisfying.


The smell of homemade bread

   Yeasty. The warm fingers of perfume that is flour and water, salt and whatever sets this bread apart, left to rise then kneaded into the flesh that is baking and scenting the air is intoxicating in its comfort factor, seductive in its plain return-to-womb implication. Hearth and fire, nurture and sustenance promised with that odor that moves to the deepest recesses of our subconscious. What could be more seductive? More satisfying? More luring us to it? Indeed.

Personalized Toile Notes The Dotted Line, Bandywood Dr, Nashville, TN

   Classic vintage patterns that evoke old French wallpaper, these oblong foldover notes have an off-kilter charm of their own. When personalized—preferably with some kind of cursive type—there’s a sense of bringing people into a cozy world that’s warm and homey, without being cloying. Chic in a Pierre Deux way, yet pastoral for those who’ll just be taken with the retro-pretty print and the notion of a demi-script identifier.


Town & Country Travel Supplement to Town & Country

   Looking like a cross between National Geographic and a high end coffee table book, elevated lifestyle monthly Town & Country offer a luxe vacation and appreciation of the world we live in quarterly that embraces the diversity of India, Madrid, Manhattan’s Meat Packing District, Mexioo’s Cabo San Lucas, Tibet and Seattle, plus London, Paris, California wine country and beyond. Hotels, spas, food, local points of interest—and tips for women traveling on their own, this is beautifully shot publication that is strong colors, captured images and enough sheen to intoxicate. As worldly the aspitred reader-base, yet accessible wherever one might be… think of it as an escape without physical commitment to moving.

Striped Cotton-Cashmere Boatneck Sweater J. Crew

   Whisper-thin. Terribly nautical. Absolutely appropriate, whether worn for play with Bermuda shorts or to work with a pencil skirt and heavy gold bangle. This is the sort of Francophile take on nauticissism that never goes out of style - and offers up a casual ease that screams “elegance” without ever opening its mouth. In saffron, paprika, navy or black - the options are endless, the moods as you choose to weave them. And, it appears if you go to the website, they’re also on sale.

www.jcrew.com 


Town & Country Travel Supplement to Town & Country

   Looking like a cross between National Geographic and a high end coffee table book, elevated lifestyle monthly Town & Country offer a luxe vacation and appreciation of the world we live in quarterly that embraces the diversity of India, Madrid, Manhattan’s Meat Packing District, Mexioo’s Cabo San Lucas, Tibet and Seattle, plus London, Paris, California wine country and beyond. Hotels, spas, food, local points of interest—and tips for women traveling on their own, this is beautifully shot publication that is strong colors, captured images and enough sheen to intoxicate. As worldly the aspitred reader-base, yet accessible wherever one might be… think of it as an escape without physical commitment to moving.

Thunder

   Off in the distance, rolling and thrumming. The implied power of natural forces, the notion of how big the celestial plane. It is a sound that is humbling, awe-inspiring and ultimately grounding. For when thunder rolls—especially for those raised on the notion of “God bowling”—there is a sense of the elements in their unfettered glory.

Slimelight

   In a world where kids want to be famous as a life aspiration rather than achievement, there’s a creepy attraction to the flash and the sizzle. This is an oily ooze of klieg lights and mockery that captures and expands the tragedies and embarrassments of the bold-faced and hope-to-bes in a way that makes humiliation a currency brokered for our superiority confirmation jones. Slimelight… It’s the next frontier in the lust for being known for, well, being known… and like the Exxon Valdez oil spill that clung to all those Alaskan ducks pin-feathers drowning them at sea like so many neck wrung rats, it’s the lifejacket of sand that will pull all-but-the-very-strongest below the water.
   It’s my word, but you’re welcome to it! With compliments and a strong urgency to get it into the parlance. It is, after all, both defining and damning in all the most exact ways.

Gifts for No Special Reason

   Just because. There it is. In your home. Somewhere along the way. Maybe it’s a purse made from the shaft of a cowboy book. Or a chocolate brown thin partially cashmere cardigan. Perhaps the perfect t-shirt for a Southern belle displaced too beyond the Mason Dixon. Or even a new kind of chocolate bar. It is the little things… unannounced… that make trudging through this world a little bit brighter.
   Surprises are the POOF! of goodness that give more to the bestower than the recipient. Though there’s nothing like being remembered, when you didn’t even know you were thought of. A joy - and joy delivered by US Postal Service, Fed Ex or your own two hands—that brightens, lightens and inspires us with how easy it is to create happiness out of such very small unexpected things.

Exile On Main Street The Rolling Stones

Tawdry. Frayed. Sloppy. Ragged. Raw. It has none of the “signature” classics, yet taken as a whole the debauchfest that is Exile on Main Street, supplemented by Bobby Keys’ squalid sax honk and cushiony pads of B-3s like so many springing mattresses, defines the louche excess that is the Rolling Stones’ hallmark. Sure, there’s the plaintive hillbilly “Sweet Virginia,” the crackling “Tumblin’ Dice,” the turbo “Rip This Joint,” the bawdy roadhouse shuffle “Stop Breakin’ Down” and the gospel hope of “Shine A Light,” but as a mood, as a record to kick out the night, it’s an unrelenting mood shifter. To be reckless and raucous and wild is to have Exile surging through your veins, the top down on the car and an urgency that short-circuits any kind of analytic thought.
   With its braying soul queen choruses, Mick Jaggers’ bleating witness and Keith Richards’ low slung, just deep enough downstoke, this is the reason rock & roll scared the decent. It’s also the reason nothing like unhinged rock & roll—beyond measure, caution or production—will do.

“However far you go, you will never find the boundaries of the soul.”
—Heraclitus

   There is no end to our potential, which is perhaps the ultimate reason to dream, to seek, to quest. We are given a limitless horizon—and as far as we wish to explore, there will always be new dawns to find. It is inspiring to know how much there is, and Heraclitus hands us the map and the manifesto to feel empowered in the journey to see how much we truly be.


Forward Folding Bend Standing or On Ground

   At the waist, where our body is technically cut in half anyway, there is flexibility we never even consider. This beyond basic yoga stretch reminds us of our duality—even as it gets you in touch with how stiff those two aspects of self can become. Gently lean forward. Softly let gravity do its work. Breath out and feel the bend deepen. Inhale and go lower still.
   Do not push, force or shove. Your body will open into itself, and you shall settle into a doubled over whole that demonstrates how solid we are. To feel your collected strength, your staying power, the core of your foundation, lean over and let the forces of the world around you go… Where you find yourself going, where your body finally settles with continue slowly over time if you let it.


Unabashed Exuberance

   She is a movie star, a pop star, a glossy could be magazine selling name. In a world of jaded cynicism masquerading as liberal empowerment, she has no fear of saying “wow,” and leaning in and waving her hands when she talks like hummingbirds in a hibiscus field. No fear of enthusiasm here, no embarrassment about being passionate about the things that catch her fancy - a veritable study in being in love with being alive that sets her aglow from the inside.
   Yes, it is easier to be cool from the removed pose of disengaged ennui; but why? Isn’t it more fun, more exciting to get in there, waist deep in the current and feeling the centrifugal force of the moment and the gravity of the curve being turned? Looking at her, there is absolutely no question… only the inspiration to feel even more, seek even more and be thrilled by it all.


Lavender Lemonade Tea Urth Café, Santa Monica + West Hollywood, CA.

   A quiet herbal tisane that comes in a French press, it brews to the color of citrines and refreshes like the first glass of homemade lemonade of the season: fresh, clean, bright, yet somehow settling. The lavender offers a note of tranquility, something herbal beyond the citrus and the co-mingling of fruit and flower give the subtlest complexity beyond that first taste.
   As something to languish over, killing time with catching up and laughter, casual conversation and excavated insight—especially by the roar of the Moroccan tile fireplace on a chilly night—this is a narcotic elixir of the most unwinding sort.

Lavender Lemonade Tea Urth Café, Santa Monica + West Hollywood, CA.

   A quiet herbal tisane that comes in a French press, it brews to the color of citrines and refreshes like the first glass of homemade lemonade of the season: fresh, clean, bright, yet somehow settling. The lavender offers a note of tranquility, something herbal beyond the citrus and the co-mingling of fruit and flower give the subtlest complexity beyond that first taste.
   As something to languish over, killing time with catching up and laughter, casual conversation and excavated insight—especially by the roar of the Moroccan tile fireplace on a chilly night—this is a narcotic elixir of the most unwinding sort.

Pink Overnight Bag Isaac Mizrahi for Target

   It is one tone more yellow than bubble-gum, and it bursts with that happy-to-be-going-somewhere zeal people feel when it’s not merely the drudgery of transcontinental commute. With its licorice wheels and well-thought-out compartmentalization, this makes getting organized for a quick getaway impossibly orderly and painless to do. Fold, Pack, Zip. Roll. Gone.

Chivita NoLa’s West End, Nashville

   Sauteed onions and peppers and mushrooms, deeply seasoned and slathered atop of a mojo marinated piece of steak. It is topped with raw onions, lettuce and tomato, slathered in some kind of sauce that defies description but tortures the tastebuds in trying to figure out just what it is. All stacked on the light, yet crunchy Cuban-style baguette… and served with some of the very lightest crunchiest fries you’ve ever eaten. Easily the best sandwich Music City has to offer…

Chivita NoLa’s West End, Nashville

   Sauteed onions and peppers and mushrooms, deeply seasoned and slathered atop of a mojo marinated piece of steak. It is topped with raw onions, lettuce and tomato, slathered in some kind of sauce that defies description but tortures the tastebuds in trying to figure out just what it is. All stacked on the light, yet crunchy Cuban-style baguette… and served with some of the very lightest crunchiest fries you’ve ever eaten. Easily the best sandwich Music City has to offer…

Les Folies Du Ciel Bangles Hermes

   The sky circus… A cocktail of myriad colored hot air balloons, some classically round, others inverted pairs, a bird carried by two circles and yet, even a fish that flies by virtue of the flame that inflates. They come in all three widths - the wide, the medium and the thin - and the crimson one is set off by lavender and lilac, golden yellow, lime, pink and dusty blue. Joyful, yet elevated, they can suggest a playful esprit do corps or an in-your-face insurrectionist streak in the face of seriousness. Either way, they adorn in a way that is adorable and enduring.

Les Folies Du Ciel Bangles Hermes

   The sky circus… A cocktail of myriad colored hot air balloons, some classically round, others inverted pairs, a bird carried by two circles and yet, even a fish that flies by virtue of the flame that inflates. They come in all three widths - the wide, the medium and the thin - and the crimson one is set off by lavender and lilac, golden yellow, lime, pink and dusty blue. Joyful, yet elevated, they can suggest a playful esprit do corps or an in-your-face insurrectionist streak in the face of seriousness. Either way, they adorn in a way that is adorable and enduring.

The Calling Mary Chapin Carpenter

   Mary Chapin Carpenter has always hunted where the heart beats the faintest, the places most people won’t bother looking… and in that gap between the slam of right now and the sigh of the loneliest moments, she has defined herself as the woman most likely to reveal our fears and shudder and also the source of hope in the shadowy places. The Calling, her 11th album, is no different; offering up tales of the seeking (“Houston,” explores the recognition that the Katrina displaced may never get home) and the sought in that husky, dusky alto that suggests things no reasonable man would turn down, no smart woman would fail to emulate.

10 Minutes

   What is 10 minutes? Not even the number of commercial minutes in an hour of network television programming! Not even the time it takes most people to blow their hair dry or shower - and yet, properly applied 10 minutes is the world…
   If you give your self 10 minutes, every day, to walk, to stretch, to do push-ups against the wall or crunches or lunges or squats… Just 10 minutes… you’d be amazed the change. It is the littlest thing, yet it yields pretty stunning results. And this year, many of my girlfriends who love the sanctioned denial of lent are supplementing it with the gift of 10 minutes.

Trunk Show Lilly Pulitzer Mens C. Orrico Palm Beach March 24th

   There is an outrageousness to grown men in wild Technicolor prints of oversized flowers, rampaging pink elephants, turquoise tiki huts that is flamboyant and swashbuckling all at once. Not for the faint of heart or the unsure of the virility, and yet… the tailoring is so lean, so clean, it is hard to imagine anything but the sleekest European lines being better cut.
   Leave it to Lilly Pulitzer, a social doyenne and dame who defined the refined a socialista way of life that far-flung and firebrand, to reinject menswear with that same sense of beyond… This is for peacocks and lipsticks sunsets, denizens of modern industry and men who need no explanation. Only the boldest need apply, though everyone can come and see how far the frontier has traveled at 336 South County Road on March 24th.

Trunk Show Lilly Pulitzer Mens C. Orrico Palm Beach March 24th

   There is an outrageousness to grown men in wild Technicolor prints of oversized flowers, rampaging pink elephants, turquoise tiki huts that is flamboyant and swashbuckling all at once. Not for the faint of heart or the unsure of the virility, and yet… the tailoring is so lean, so clean, it is hard to imagine anything but the sleekest European lines being better cut.
   Leave it to Lilly Pulitzer, a social doyenne and dame who defined the refined a socialista way of life that far-flung and firebrand, to reinject menswear with that same sense of beyond… This is for peacocks and lipsticks sunsets, denizens of modern industry and men who need no explanation. Only the boldest need apply, though everyone can come and see how far the frontier has traveled at 336 South County Road on March 24th.

Good Friends In Love


   Perhaps what we want for ourselves, we want for our friends even more. And every now and then, one of them grabs hold of a moonbeam, spin around it like a trapeze and finds out it’s not just a dream, but something akin to happily every after made real. Yes, it takes work… and compassion… and understanding… Being thoughtful… and brave… and willing…
   Somewhere in the gray area between, “well, maybe…” and “yeah, okay…,” as the surrender washes in and over them, they start to shine. It’s an incredible and inspiring thing to see. But in recognizing their bliss, you also realize it can happen to you… and that is where the next reason to believe comes from.

Doggy Door-Jam

   It is about the cutest little thing: a little longer than a yard, plush spun synthetic with two floppy ears and a tail you can move to your liking. The doggy door jam can be placed at the base of any exit to the great outdoors where it will break the chill of the elements trying to make their way in. It buffers dampness, thwarts cold winds, keeps the heat in.


It All Blows Up

  Just when it can not be any worse, it is. One more thing. And another. Until it seems everything is rolling down hill and gaining momentum. Somewhere in the tumble and the velocity of it all, everything drops out. It is a disorienting pinwheel of circumstances—but one that leaves you strangely void, oddly calm, utterly centered in whatever’s left, quite possibly the core of who you are.
   Just when you’re sure you can’t go on, you find you do. It is as simple as no other choice and enough dignity to refuse to let whatever it is win. In letting go, you find out the hanging on was white knuckles and clenched muscles with your being already on the floor. And so you are free… shaken, stirred, but able to shake it off and walk on. An odd revelation, indeed.


Claire Danes Fashion Spread New York Feb 26

   Not only are the pictures breath-catchingly beautiful—casting ivory light against urbane settings, extravagant rooms and zinc countered boites and gilded bars—and the clothes lush in their cocktail of innocence and opulence, but Claire Danes, the girl we loved from the too-biref “My So-Called Life” and trenchant “A Polish Wedding,” has grown into a serene loveliness that evokes cameos and Victorian portraits. Yet for all the lushness of the images, the pull quotes and headlines celebrate the real deal beneath the plumage: “prefers the comforts of jeans and her Soho bistro” and “I have a real weakness for animals on clothing, and hearts and stars.”
   Bonus: The sheer genius of co-ed brittle punk demi-icons Veruca Salt in elevated basics. As lean and to the point as their seething, teaming raucousness, the urban edge gets a bit of polish and cred. Ahhh, to clean up the gutter and the insurrection with such vicious aplomb.