Book pics:Newtonville 2

If you love books, you’ve really got to like Newtonville Books. First, let me just note how much affection I have for any bookstore that keeps a separate area for Europa Editions.  Yes, I’m judging a book by its cover (they are wonderfully designed) and by its content. Europa is the publisher of dozens of notable novelists including Fabio Bartolomei, Seth Greenland, and Elena Ferrante, whose “Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay” has become a book club staple since its release in September 2014. (It is the third in a series.)

Speaking of book clubs, Newtonville hosts a half dozen book clubs. The store runs and stocks a number of books that are favorites of area book clubs. The selection is well-curated to reflect a broad taste – both popular and new and titles that have been on shelves for a while and might just be gaining a following.

But back to the task at hand: The Staff Picks. This bookstore’s staff clearly has as much love for fiction as it does for non-fiction (something that appears to be rarer than I might have guessed.)

Some of the staff choices that I’d like to point out:

Book pics-Newtonville

David Peace’s “The Damned UTD,” which The Times of London called “probably the best novel ever written about sport.” The book was originally released in 2006 and was made into a movie. (See The Guardian’s review here:  I would suggest, Peace’s book from last May, “Red or Dead” but I do so with a warning. It is a 700-page experimental novel about a soccer coach. Yeah, I know.

Notable in the non-fiction category is Eula Bliss’s “On Immunity: An Inoculation” from Gray Wolf Press that was released last fall. This title was among the “Buzz Panel” titles from last spring’s Book Expo America, which means that the industry and stores had a head’s up about the its release. What I can’t figure is that why a book about how humans are afraid of vaccinations hasn’t prompted even more discussion. Even if this book weren’t as well written and researched (and, I hate to admit an easy to read and share 216 pages), it should be a book all parents are required to read.

Book pics:NewtonvilleAnd, finally, something from the staff recommendations that you can just enjoy as we wait for the weather to get nicer: “The Good Lord Bird,” the National Book Award winner by James McBride. It’s a historical novel with a raft of new characters and voices. McBride, who was first trained as a journalist, imbues the book with historical accuracy and precision that shines throughout.

Newtonville Books, 10 Langley Road, Newton Centre, MA

Bikram student in bow pose

I am a certified type A personality – high energy, constantly moving – a multi-tasker, who despite the occasional setback, is very optimistic about life in general. I am also a runner, or was, until last February when I found something that surpassed even that endorphin high we runners crave so much.  The epiphany? Bikram Yoga, a seemingly unlikely replacement for the cardio workout I had incorporated into my daily life for the past 20 years. Yoga? Come on, that’s for granola eating, Birkenstock wearing vegans, who wouldn’t know an endorphin high if it hit them on the head. How wrong I was.

Introduced to the United States in the early 1970’s, the yoga practice was suggested to me through a good friend, who is also a runner and had been preaching the benefits of Bikram for some months before I actually set foot in the door. The fundamentals of Bikram are the same 26 postures in the same sequence every class, breathing and heat – a Bikram studio is hot…very hot. The temperature hovers around 105 degrees, with 40 percent humidity and is an essential element to this type of yoga. Breathing in and out through your nose only takes some getting use to, but it is an effective way to control your discomfort with the heat and regulate your heart rate. I have come to love the heat, it is absolutely necessary to achieving the length in limbs needed to do the postures, but when I first walked into the class I turned to the instructor and said ‘There is no way I am staying in this heat for 90 minutes…no sir.” Not only did I finish the class, but I felt so cleansed afterwards I couldn’t wait to go again. That was a year ago.

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There are a handful of locations in the Boston area, including Back Bay and Harvard Square, but the classes I attend are held in a little gem of a studio on Hancock Street in Quincy, where I have come to understand and embrace all its benefits. Bikram is not just a workout, although the physical demand is great. It is about connecting your mind and body for 90 minutes, a time that includes meditation, focus, hard work and a respite from the bombardment of information that has become an integral part of our daily lives.

You sweat – a lot – and the detoxification is addictive. Bikram benefits range from the obvious-improvement in flexibility, balance and an increase in strength and muscle control to the not so obvious – it has been proven to help with depression, and many practitioners believe it wards off arthritis and controls stress levels. My experience has seen improvement in focus, flexibility, significantly lessened joint pain, and emotion regulation. (My two kids will gladly back me up on that.) Hydration and nutrient replacement are key to practicing this kind of yoga, as your body sweats out not only water but potassium, sodium and other electrolytes.

I have pretty much given up running and take classes at least four times a week. When I travel, I google the area to find the Bikram studios nearby as I have become reliant on how good these classes makes me feel. I am still that certified type A, but with a stronger, focused, and more balanced perspective on how I run around like a maniac.

Namaste.

 

Lagerfeld fashion_western

One of the reasons I really like going west to ski is because it’s one of the few places in the country where I feel comfortable wearing my western gear. Lucky for me, my summer home in the Adirondacks is also western-friendly as the area is loaded with dude ranches, one which hosts a rodeo every Tuesday and Friday night. Then there’s the upstate New York place we go for Christmas, a store called The Westerner in Greenville that is everyone’s dream come true for last minute shopping – everything from cowboy hats to belts to horse blankets.

Meanwhile, I was thrilled in 2005 when Brokeback Mountain was nominated for best picture because it gave me the chance to go all denim and fringe to my neighbor’s for a party. I’ve got the hat of course, a great little fringed purse, boots, belts and of course some western style skirts and shirts.

Kristen Stewart and Ashleigh Good for Chanel 2014 — Pre-Fall

Kristen Stewart
Ashleigh Good

And now I’m here to launch an all out campaign to go western in New England. I’ve got a good friend – a guy who wears western all the time, including the hat, a bolero, and great white shirts and he never leaves home without the boots. Women, we need to give it a try. I know Christy Cashman can pull it off for sure.

Our dear friend Bill Brett shared these photos with us of a very special night. I have known Cathy and Rob Griffin for many years and I knew their son Corey from the time he was born. He had a big heart, embraced everyone and is missed every day. Through this foundation his memory and spirit lives on.

-Terri Stanley-

 

More than 900 guests attended 7’th annual Winter Ball held this year to support the Corey C. Griffin Charitable Foundation, named in honor of Corey, who died in an accident last summer. Corey’s family launched the foundation as a vehicle “to continue Corey’s great philanthropic works and loving spirit – with the mission to improve the quality of life for children in need through healthcare and education programs.”

 

 

Bristol BarTo celebrate the re-opening of The Bristol Bar, Daniela Corte partnered with Boston Common Magazine, Winston Flowers and The Four Seasons to launch the new space. We feted the night with Wagyu Beef meatballs, Tatinger Champagne, and the biggest shrimp cocktail I’ve ever seen (equally delicious).

The space was transformed into a sexily lit club-like atmosphere, as music pumped loudly to welcome the guests. Not tame the Bristol Bar of late, that’s for sure! A wall of roses adorned the back wall as 5 models stood atop podiums modeling Daniela Corte’s newest collection.

The designer herself looked gorgeous in a lace coverup over neon orange by her own label. This look reminded me of Herve Leger, or some kind of nod to bondage. This was an interesting prelude to my movie outing afterwards…

bristol1My favorite look was this swing top with lace pencil skirt on model Erica Almeida.
bristol2Another one of my favorites, this two piece bandage dress.

I wish I could have stayed until the bikini finale, and heard that it caused quite a stir and many onlookers from the windows on Boylston St with zero degree weather outside, but alas, I had to run to a “Ladies Only” 50 Shades of Grey movie screening hosted by Linda Henry and Sue Brady Hartigan at the Super Luxe Theater in Chestnut Hill. I wore my pearls as bondage accessories to stay in with the theme! (Though I wish I could share those moments with you, I cannot disclose the participants…private screening=private pictures)

*Don’t miss the Dessert Bar at Sundaes on Saturdays, something not to be missed if you are awake at 9pm on a Saturday and crave delicious homemade crepes, ice cream and other delights!

young-summerPalm trees, salty air, ocean breeze and driving with the top down…the small things that make up a whole season of summer. Some might even call it a Young Summer. DC-based electronic pop songstress Bobbie Allen did just that. Her band, Young Summer, started when she found herself opening for American singer/songwriter Trent Dabbs from Mississippi. With great anticipation and hard work, Bobbie released her debut EP, Fever Dream, which made her songs infectious across the country. With her song, ‘Waves That Rolled You Under’ making TV placements from hit shows including “Grey’s Anatomy”, “Pretty Little Liars” and “Vampire Diaries”, to name a few.

Bobbie Allen’s voice, which has been compared to Sarah McLachlan and Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine, is smooth and soulful. Her voice is light, but is strong enough to carry heavy lyrics. Signed to Ready Set Records, her debut album, SIREN- a collaboration with Trent Dabbs- dropped August 26, 2014. Get it now on iTunes: http://bit.ly/ysSIREN.

 

Tremblant

There is something for everyone at Tremblant, Quebec’s most upscale mountain resort destination. The skiing and riding is superb, but what really makes Tremblant worth the trip is the charm of the pedestrian village, the après scene, and the myriad of activities available to those who don’t get their thrills on the hill. Join the worship of everything maple syrup, go shopping, get your spa on, experience dog sledding, ice skate under the stars, and enjoy the diverse cuisine. Tremblant is a great choice for couples, families, and singles looking to mingle.  Teeming with Brits and Europeans, there is always “a party on the patio” regardless of what the temperature is.

I love the French chic that is evident everywhere you look in Tremblant. Here skiers and riders step it up a notch, maybe several notches actually, with what they wear both on and off the mountain.  Paging Dr. Zahivago: Real fur is the big story at Tremblant and the fashion forward are mixing it up a by wearing furs of different origins at the same time. Not your ‘80’s neons, yellow, pinks, and graphic prints stood out boldly against the snow and metallic touches were everywhere. The hottest accessory is the knit hat with an oversized pom pom, with spikey fox or raccoon fur poms being the most sought after. Tremblant boutiques cannot keep these hats in stock right now and remember fashion fans, the bigger and higher your pom pom, the closer to god.

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50-shades-of-bad-boysThis week I bit the proverbial bullet and went to see 50 Shades of Grey.  I have been very vocal in my seething hatred of the books, and I figured the movie would be just as bad.  Why did I hate the book? Because it was written by someone whose grasp of the English language is that of a high schooler.  It was embarrassing to read.  Not because I was openly reading smut in public, but because the writing was so bad it made me feel dumber.  I got through half the book and threw it across the room as I could not hear our heroine say “oh my” one more fucking time.  That said, a screenwriter got a hold of the script so there was hope.

I attended my screening at the SuperLuxe in Chestnut Hill.  If I’m going to sit in a dark room watching soft core porn, I want Davio’s to cater it.  I took my assigned seat in the back and waited.  The theater slowly filled with maybe 25 people.  There were those, like me, the single women.  We were in the majority.  We were strong in number, we the sad ones.  There was one mother/daughter pairing, which was just plain odd and one real full-fledged couple. That poor bastard.  The lone man.  NO WAIT!  A guy just came in alone.  Clearly there is something very wrong with him.  Women are the only ones allowed to watch this kind of movie solo.  Right?  That sounds sexist but I’m standing by it.

I overhear the waitress talking to the mother/daughter.  It’s clear they know each other.  Waitress is overheard saying “It’s no love story!  He had her hanging from the racks grrrrrlllll!”  I.  Was.  Dying.

The woman next to me was in full recline sending out huge deep exhalations for no apparent reason.  I’m worried about her making it through the rough stuff.

The story is as old as time.  Boy meets girl.  Boy likes girl.  Boy asks girl to sign confidentiality and bondage agreement.  Boy falls for girl.  Girl gets flogged and finds herself.  I mean the whole thing happened to me when I studied abroad.

I’m not going to go into elaborate detail, you know you are going to see it so I’ll let you make your own judgements, but here are my highlights.

-If a man buckles me into a helicopter to go on a date, I’ll absolutely give him a safe word.

-I laughed OUT LOUD a few times during the movie where I’m pretty sure I wasn’t supposed to.  The first was when he opened the door to his play room I was in hysterics.  “like, where do you keep your Playstation?”

-After he took our heroine’s virginity, he played her a concert on his large grand piano.  I got half a Purple Passion and a walk home.

-When there is a scene of two people in a tub acting comfortable I call bullshit.  Someone always ends up with the spout in their back.

-Laugh out loud moment #2: when they are going over the “contract” line by line and she says… “Anal Fisting .. hard limit.”  I was laughing so hard I went into a coughing fit.  I’m sorry, but those two words never need to be said aloud in the same sentence.  EVER.

-The longer I watch, the more I’m convinced he’s total stalker, less Dom to her Sub.  I mean if some dude I was .. whatever you call what they were doing .. showed up in GEORGIA while I was visiting mom, we’d have bigger things to worry about than the above fisting.

She bit her lip 19 times and put things near her mouth at least 6.  This is sexy you see.

There is much to be said about the erotic nature of this movie (21 minutes of sex) and the nature of that sex.  Many women say they loved this book and wanted their husbands to be more like Christian Grey.  I don’t think they do, I don’t think most of the women I know would put up with any of this nonsense.  Most women I know have no desire to be submissive.  And, I’m sorry, when Target comes out with a line of 50 Shades adult products, the whole concept pretty much looses it’s umph.  Did the movie make me tingly in places?  Sure.  Did the shopping spree I did after the movie take care of it?  Yep.

At the end of the movie we are left with a big old cliffhanger.  I’m sure the second movie is going to suck worse than this one because I understand they are letting the actual author do the screenplay.  Either way, I’ll be there, waiting in the dark. To laugh.

 
Paul Endres Jr., American (b. 1985) The Surviving Members of the Sullivan Seven, 2014 Oil on panel, 36 x 36 inches

Paul Endres Jr., American (b. 1985)
The Surviving Members of the Sullivan Seven, 2014
Oil on panel, 36 x 36 inches

You might think that running Childs Gallery, one of Boston’s most established purveyors of fine art, would mean that Richard Baiano is stuffy, living like a citizen of the mid-20th century. But you would be wrong. Very wrong. Richard and his business partner, Stephanie Bond, who have co-owned the gallery since 2009, are constantly on the prowl looking for the next great artist all while honoring the 70-year history of the Newbury Street gallery that was founded by Charles D. Childs. Baiano got the art bug while working as an architect at GUND Partnership. We check in with him not just about the current state of Boston’s visual arts scene, but where he thinks it is going and which artists will be blazing that trail

 

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The 87th Academy Awards was a night of pearls, embellishments, simple high ponies, lots of red, strapless downward turned necklines, and statement necklaces.

THE HITS:

LUPITA NYONGO, custom Calvin Klein Collection

FAITH HILL, J. Mendel

DAKOTA JOHNSON, St. Laurent

MARGOT ROBBIE, St. Laurent

JENNIFER ANNISTON, Versace

ROSAMUND PIKE, Givenchy

ZOE SALDANA, Atelier Versace

SIENNA MILLER, Oscar de la Renta

REESE WITHERSPOON, Tom Ford

JENNIFER LOPEZ, Ellie Saab

THE MISSES:

FELICITY JONES, Alexander McQueen

NAOMI WATTS, Armani Privé

JULIANNE MOORE, custom Chanel

KERRY WASHINGTON, Miu Miu

VIOLA DAVIS, Zac Posen

GWYNETH PALTROW, Ralph & Russo

JESSICA CHASTAIN, Givenchy

NICOLE KIDMAN, Louis Vuitton

EMMA STONE, Ellie Saab

SCARLETT JOHANSEN, Versace

Margot Robbie

Margot Robbie

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dabin bloodless

This track blew me away on so many levels, the first being that I did not believe it was the bass heavy, synthesizer enthusiast and producer Dabin, whom I discovered via Pandora last summer. The track is unlike any of his previous work, which tended to be on the heavier side of the electronic music spectrum. Dabin brings his signature electro style to Bloodless with impeccable melodic instrumentation, but with a softer touch. It is filled with screaming synthesizers, hand claps, ominous horns and an interchangeable bass line that gives you enough time to let it all out on the dance floor, take a break and start all over again. The composition of the track, combined with breathy vocals provided by guest feature Sarah Lee – not to be confused with the cake – conjoin in an effortless, electro dance production. I give Dabin’s new sound five stars and look forward to hearing more from this illusive DJ. His newest track was just featured as a premier on the popular Euro based UKF, which could be a real sign to rising recognition. Give Bloodless a listen below and see if you agree.

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upper east side

THE SCENE The Upper East Side. A luxury streamlined visit.

THE MUSTS: Ultimate destinations – all within 10 blocks.

THE STAY: The Pierre, A Taj Hotel at 61st and 5th on Central Park- Old World Elegance – Recently underwent a $100 million renovation. Sublime – the quintessential hotel team- (including elevator operators –true PR agents) no request too big; no detail too small; Frette linens and robes; grohe fixtures in the marble baths.the pierre

THE EATS – Day One: Rev your engine with – Ralph’s coffee at the Polo Store 5th & 55th – THE best cup in the city – An exclusive blend of Nicaraguan, Peruvian, and Columbian beans. Pair it with a cured salmon sandwich on country bread with watercress and preserved lemons, and an all American chocolate walnut brownie (A secret recipe from Mr. Lauren’s mother-in-law.)

Day Two: Breakfast- La Viand Coffee Shop at 61st & Madison – real authentic diner for locals – can’t beat the eggs over easy, bacon, rye toast and hash browns – in and out in 20 minutes!

Dinner- Le Bilbouquet at 61st between Madison & Park – chic neighborhood spot –order the signature endive salad with granny apple, candied walnuts and Roquefort and the Branzino –practice your French with the uber charming maître d’s.

THE COCKTAIL – Sirios at the Pierre – sip the “PEAR SE” –grey goose pear, alchemia ginger vodka, pear puree, solerno, lemon juice or the “Bitter Love” – a potion of Greenhook Ginsmith gin, Campari, strawberry puree, lime juice.

THE SWEETS – Laduree at Madison – The original Macaron from Paris – drool over the rose water, pistachio and salted caramel flavors.laduree

THE SHOPPING – Bergdorf’s on 5th Ave for Old world experience, Barney’s on Madison Ave for New world experience, and Ralph Lauren Women’s store on Madison for a combination of the two– The Beaux Art Hotel Particular Style Building is a recent addition to the street – All three are a part of the true luxury retail fabric of New York.

THE SHOW – “The River” – Starring the charismatic Hugh Jackman at the Circle in the Square at 50th –get “hooked” on this darkly romantic tale about a fisherman in a remote cabin and the 2 women he entertains there. 1 hour 25 minutes with no intermission.Hugh Jackman

ColoredMuseum Billy Porter

Billy Porter, Tony-winning star of the colorful musical “Kinky Boots,” trades his drag gown for the director’s chair with Huntington Theatre Company’s production of “The Colored Museum,” a scathing comedy that cycles through nearly a dozen vignettes that explore slavery, modern gender roles, beauty standards, and other issues as they relate to the African-American culture. Each theatrical exhibits offers a chance to comment, critique, and frequently satirize — as any good “Museum” would.

WHERE: Avenue of the Arts/BU Theatre
WHEN: March 6 — April 5

I found this armoire back in July which I previously posted about and had yet to finish until now – here’s a quick back story on my original idea. My first thought was to create a shabby chic, black and gold armoire for myself. After realizing it wouldn’t fit in my apartment, (I pretty much knew that already) I decided to go back to the drawing board and give it another look. Shabby chic was still the direction I was going in, but this bulky, hard angled piece needed a softer, more neutral look for potential buyers-more of a rustic influence the second time around.

Armiore - Before
Armiore - After

Both mirrored panels were nearly unsalvageable, with a good amount of scratches on them. After I dropped and shattered one, they were ultimately scrapped. I began to fear that the true nature of this soon to be “armoire from hell” was too dark without the mirrors and I had to start over. Previously the black stain worked well because the mirrored panels brought light to the armoire. While the gold Victorian-esque pull handles and crown molding added elegance and detail, they now looked out of place without the mirrors and black stain. Adding anymore black to the piece would have made it even darker and a lighter color for the doors, paneling and drawer faces would have brought out a contrast I wasn’t looking for.

With a pile of vintage pine tongue and groove bead board, some scrapped pallet wood and a can of oil based, high gloss, cream paint, I achieved the softer, more rustic look I envisioned without the mirrors. The warmer tones, custom made pull handles and a glossier sheen transformed the hard angled bulky armoire to something softer and a lot more neutral. I added two vintage brass knobs from my hoarded hardware collection to each door and stayed consistent with brass on the pull handles – though the hinges are still brushed chrome.

Scrap Pallet WoodChopped pallet wood ready to be turned into handles.
Handles Mid StagePull handles mid-stage, sanded and alligned.

Pull handles stained and attached.

Pull handles stained and attached.

I like this piece because of how it evolved into something completely different than I first pictured, all while using salvaged materials. It’s eclectic, though not perfect, shabby chic and unique. It was a pain in the ass using the materials that I did but at the end of the day I created a statement piece from something a person tossed in my dumpster (still wondering why and how they managed to actually put it inside the dumpster).

Side viewA before shot of the side. Lots of water damage on the paneling and was most likely the reason it thrown out.
Side view after. After the damaged paneling was cut out and filled. A tedious but easy fix as an alternative to throwing something away.

Inside the armoire. The piece is compact and not very deep but perfect for hanging nice shirts. The smaller area is a little more than a foot tall and is great for toiletries.

Inside the armoire. The piece is compact and not very deep but perfect for hanging nice shirts. The smaller area is a little more than a foot tall and is great for toiletries.

Like what you see? Visit my website to see more of what I do. Perhaps you have furniture that needs to be seen in a new light.

Valentine’s day is just around the corner so I thought I would make it easy for you guys and feature a few great gifts in every price range.

These days, my favorite thing in jewelry is personalization. I love being able to give people meaningful gifts, and what better way to do this than showing some love with an engraved pendant. A favorite of mine is the Melene Kent single letter pendants. A great gift idea is the use of the initial of the person’s child, or pet, or first letter of their name. I love to shop local and this company is based in Massachusetts.

Melene Kent

Three Sisters Jewelry Design makes gorgeous hand engraved name plates. I was lucky enough to get one with the names of both my children and my husband’s and mine initials “B M T”, all on three separate pendants layered in a single chain. Imperial Palace Gold Name Charm Necklace I love the idea of layering, so if you really want to splurge, consider more than one.

 

In the medium tier price range, but also sticking with the personalization theme, I found these gorgeous GV Gemvara customizable stacker rings:

GV by Gemvara rings

These are very cool when worn on the knuckles of the younger set. I love the idea of birthstones for every family member, and adding a fifth one for your anniversary date! My ring would be 14K yellow gold with ruby, aquamarine, smoky quartz, sapphire and amethyst. Depending on the size of your family, there are one stone, two stone and five stone options. There is also the option of customizing necklaces the same way. This is another local company started right here in Boston, which makes it a more meaningful purchase.

GV by Gemvara customizable necklace

Also in the medium tier price range is the new T Square bracelet from Tiffany in rose gold. Their new boutique at the head of Newbury Street in the Taj Hotel, has a wide range of pricing, from $100-$10,000.00 And who doesn’t love getting the teal blue box with a neatly tied white satin ribbon?

TiffanyIf your price range teeters on the luxury end, I have also recently fallen in love with Mimi So’s diamonds. I first met her when she came to town for the MGH Storybook Ball, where she had donated a $25,000 package of her baubles. Don’t worry, there are items below $25,000 in her collection. What I suggest for a gift from her collection, are the stacker bracelets, though I LOVE the unexpected nature of the split rings and bows which are a huge signature item of Mimi’s.  However, rings are often a dicey gift item unless you are already married…(according to my hubby). For the stackers, try a single one in rosegold, and add on the white gold stacker at a future birthday and the black diamond one at Christmas. Here are a few more favorite looks from Mimi So.

In any event, if you are late with your shopping—as we all often are!– some of these, such as Gemvara.com have a very quick turn around for customization. But you could also order it, and give a romantic handmade card with a “token” or “coupon” for the item, which will be coming in at a later date. Simply attach this to the bouquet of flowers you are getting your honey and you are guaranteed a smash hit.

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