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A Natural Path

27 Jul

Some months, like June and December, denote a fleeting romance, but these months are the name of a motown business for Katie and Nick Forte. The couple’s website junedecember.com and business is named after the months in which their children were born.

The company, based in Michigan and produced in Michigan with mostly all American-made products, is a home decor and paper goods business with many themes of nature. They sell napkins, pillows, notepads, desk pads and pencil sets. Their newest product is a pencil terrarium.  This set includes five fern patterned pencils packaged in a glass tube. The glass tube can be turned into tiny terrarium.

In their previous work lives, Katie worked in advertising and graphic design while Nick was a restaurateur.

Katie designs the many kitchen style motifs and paper good products. Some have catchy phrases like Smitten with the Mitten. (Michiganders know that we carry a map of the state with us at times and show where we live on our hand.)

Michigan is more than a place to live for Katie and Nick, “It’s where we share our journey with children and where our roots go deep.”

The business started out at the NYNOW trade show and now is nationwide in many boutique stores.  For more information, go to junedecember.com

 

 

Artful Bargain

30 Jun

 

Dollar store materials and art collide at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit (MOCAD) in the newest exhibit”99 Cents or Less.” The museum invited artists to create works made from items purchased at dollar stores.

The New York Times featured the exhibit in an article aptly titled, “Riches of the Dollar Store.”  More than 100 artists from across the country participated. Motown artist Scott Hocking, known for using decayed objects in his exhibits, strung together old empty shopping carts. Another exhibit featured candles.

Kudos to curator Jens Hoffman and the Leadership Circle of MOCAD.

Not only will your next dollar store experience be filled with bargains, it will also be artful.

Amazon Bookstore: It’s Not Online!

23 Jun

While I was in Chicago last week, I visited the Amazon bookstore — a bricks-and-mortar store.   Amazon, the king of online purchasing, now has a storefront. How ironic!  The store was packed. There was a coffee shop –just like Barnes & Noble — and lots of books to browse. I also noticed all the Amazon tech products like Alexa and Kindle. It has a wide range of merchandise for all ages, including some toys. (Again, just like Barnes & Noble.)  Will this strategy work?

For sure, I will not give up my loyalty to independent bookstores, which are having a resurgence. Check out this article on Indie Bookstores. Authors Emma Straub, Ann Pachett, Jonathan Lehem, Jeff Kinney, Louise Erdich and Judy Blume all own bookstores. The New York Times featured a profile on the authors and their recent book suggestions here.

My favorite local bookstores are: Bookbeat in Oak Park, Mich., Barbara’s Bookstore in Chicago, and East City Bookshop and Politics and Prose, both in D.C., Palm Beach Bookstore and Classic Bookshop, both in Palm Beach.

What’s your favorite independent bookstore?

 

At the Movies with Mara

16 May

Here’s the newest and best site for movie reviews. It’s www.maramovies.com

Yes, this is the source for everything cinema. Why? Because, it’s written by Mara Reinstein, the former movie critic at Us Weekly. She’s talented, witty and spot-on brilliant when it comes to movies and pop culture.

Catch all of her summer previews now on her site.

Pass the popcorn, please.

 

 

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Visit the “D”

12 May

 

Detroit is a hot destination! This New York Times article, 36 Hours  mentions some great spots, but only highlights some of the restaurants. All the new Detroit restaurants are making it quite the foodie capital. Come visit my hometown! Click here for the original story.

 Photo : Kevin Miyazaki

 

 

A Fashionista Bargain

3 May

Who can resist a fashionable bargain? Not me. I purchased this dress at Target for $35. It’s from the Victoria Beckham Collection. The clothes are fun and chic. There are pops of fuchsia and orange and even some honeybees and flowers. Check it out here.  And there is a sale.  (My dress is now $24.50.)  A bigger bargain !

 

Online Shopping in a Store?

17 Apr

Touch it. Try it on. Purchase it online? Yes, that’s the concept of the Guideshop for Bonobos. It’s an untraditional store, where customers try on clothes and salespeople order it online. The merchandise is sent directly to your home. The staff can even take your measurements, if needed.

I had the opportunity to visit the Bonobos Guideshop store in D.C. recently with my husband. Since he hates shopping, this works for him.

So, what will shopping be like in the future? New York Times writer Elizabeth Patton believes the possibilities are endless. Perhaps there will be robots and virtual dressing rooms. Read her article here.

Many articles have been written about the demise of the shopping malls. Personally, I love shopping at malls and looking in the windows, but I realize the ease of online shopping. My first priority is always shopping local.

What do you think about the future of shopping malls?

 

 

 

View the Glass Half-Full

5 Apr

I always enjoy writer Jane Brody of the New York Times. Her recent column “Turning Negative Thinkers into Positive Ones,” provides food for thought. It’s scientifically proven that positive thoughts can help with physical stress, depression and overall health. There are even some tips she garnered from the experts she quotes in the article. The tips are below, and here is the link for the entire article.

Do good things for other people. In addition to making others happier, this enhances your own positive feelings. It can be something as simple as helping someone carry heavy packages or providing directions for a stranger.

Appreciate the world around you. It could be a bird, a tree, a beautiful sunrise or sunset or even an article of clothing someone is wearing. I met a man recently who was reveling in the architectural details of the 19th-century houses in my neighborhood.

Develop and bolster relationships. Building strong social connections with friends or family members enhances feelings of self-worth and, long-term studies have shown, is associated with better health and a longer life.

Establish goals that can be accomplished. Perhaps you want to improve your tennis or read more books. But be realistic; a goal that is impractical or too challenging can create unnecessary stress.

Learn something new. It can be a sport, a language, an instrument or a game that instills a sense of achievement, self-confidence and resilience. But here, too, be realistic about how long this may take and be sure you have the time needed.

Choose to accept yourself, flaws and all. Rather than imperfections and failures, focus on your positive attributes and achievements. The loveliest people I know have none of the external features of loveliness but shine with the internal beauty of caring, compassion and consideration of others.

Illustration by Paul Rogers

Crazy Moms. . .

31 Mar

Do you have a crazy Mom? Kate Siegel does, and she wrote a book  Mother Can you NOT? 

Siegel created an Instagram account Crazy Jewish Mom, because her mom would text her nonstop about everything from her expiring fertility to sex to prospective husbands. Her mom even stalked the Princeton admissions representative. But, it’s working. . .Siegel graduated from Princeton and the mother/daughter duo is on the road promoting the book.

Siegel, a social media guru, is working on another book, and there is a possibility of a TV show. They are both talented and funny. That Crazy Jewish Mom, Kim Friedman is a trailblazer in Hollywood. She’s a TV and movie producer and director who began directing in the late 70s.

I had the opportunity to meet author Kate Siegel and her “crazy mom,” Kim Friedman. We bonded at the Blue Martini restaurant in West Palm Beach as part of the JCC Book Festival. In the photo top left, I’m between Kim Freidman and Kate Siegel. The bottom photo are my friends enjoying the Girls Night Out.

Seigel describes her mom as the ultimate helicopter mom.  Friedman describes herself as a drone mom. Hilarious.

An Interesting Dinner Party

28 Feb

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If you’re looking for a fun and fast read, check out the The Dinner Party by Brenda Janowitz. I recently met Janowitz and heard her speak about the book. It’s about a family anticipating the upcoming Passover dinner; however, it can resonate for any family gathering. The story deals with an overbearing matriarch preparing to impress some guests who are wealthy and might possibly join the family as in-laws.

The relationships between the siblings and the parents are poignant and stressful. Forgiveness, disappointments and expectations unfold throughout the novel with a tender tone, but overall the book is laugh-out-loud funny.

 

Janowitz is as funny and endearing as her book. She left her high powered law career to become a novelist. It turned out to be a great choice.

 

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