Tuesday, July 22, 2008


We are all looking for that magical fountain of youth that either comes in a beautifully designed jar or an ordinary plastic tube. You know which one will cost you more, both promising to give you the same results, making the skin plumper, firmer, smoother, "lifted," and supple - proven to dramatically decrease the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and dark circles.

I can't begin to tell you how many of these products I have used over the years, and needless to say, I still look like a racoon and the "crepiness" is still with me. I am looking for long-term truly visible results.

I was flipping channels a few weeks ago, and HSN was advertising Serious Skin Care, so I decided to watch the presentation. I was so excited about the price, and the quantity of the product you would receive, along with the bonus gift at no extra cost. The results on the model looked promising, so I rushed to my daughter's room and asked her to order the package for me. I have been using my latest fountain of youth in a jar not quite a month now, and I am still waiting to see even a hint of my fine lines and wrinkles even try to decrease themselves. I know, "Rome was not built in a day," so I will try to be patient and continue the process. But in the meantime, I will start my journey searching for my next magical fountain of youth in a jar or ordinary tube. I will keep you posted on my anticipated dramatic results.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Art of the Japanese Masters - UTAMARO (1753-1806)

Japanese prints have become sought after and desirable art objects, yet when they were painted they were little more than mass-produced ephemera, sold for next to nothing in huge numbers to a working-class public. Hundreds of artists and craftsmen made their living supplying popular demand for such works. Yet amazingly, despite the rapidity with which they were published, early Japanese woodblock prints are paintstaking works of craftsmanship that required three highly skilled workers to produce; the artist to devise the design, the woodcutter to cut the printing blocks, and the printer to bring the concept to fruition. Finally, a very necessary fourth person was needed, the moneyman- the publisher. The style that the great Japanese printmakers worked in is called Ukiyo-e, which translates as "a picture of the floating world." The floating world was a world of leisure and the pursuit of pleasure. Early Ukiyo-e works celebrated contemporary city life and city panaramas; then in the second half of the 17th century kabuki theater and mass entertainments such as circuses and acrobats became very popular. The daily goings on of the merchant class started to be shown - the fashions of the ladies and the pastimes of the men.

Many Japanese print enthusiasts consider Kitagawa Utamaro (1753-1806) to be the preeminent printmaker - not least for his prolife output and variety of subjects during his active period of work, 1775-1806. He was also one of the first Japanese artists to be known and collected by Europeans. He numbered many Impressionists among his admirers and Toulouse-Lautrec was a particular fan of his work.

He came from Musashi province and moved to Edo (modern day Tokyo) after his father's death in 1775. In the big city he joined the studio of Sekien, who was known for his townscapes. It is possible that master and pupil were related, at any rate he stayed there for seven years. At first Utamaro illustrated poems and plays until he progressed to depicting the actors themselves.

In 1780 he was invited to join the house of the important publisher Tsutaya Juzaburo, whose residence was a well-known meeting place for artists and poets.

In 1782 the situation was formalized when Utamaro accepted a permanent contract from Juzaburo: he also changed his name to become Utamaro. In 1788 he produced Insects which was revoluntionary as a color print in naturalistic style. Utamaro became prominent in the 1790's, by which time his style was fully developed and his work was the most sought-after of all the ukiyo-e artists.

Utamaro is noted for his brilliant compositions, his refined color sense and his mastery of a variety of printing techniques. But above all he is known for the delicate, feminine eroticism of his portrayal of beautiful women. His gift for catching character and mood. His principle subjects were the fashionable ladies of Yoshiwara and in particular the famous courtesans. These erotic pictures of fabulous women were widely collected in his lifetime and were even quietly exported to China and Europe where they found a small but enthusiastic audience.

Utamaro used bright, fresh colors, often lavishly embellished with gold dust or powdered mother of pearl. His backgrounds were often covered with sparkling mica dust. Utamaro produced many sketches and studies of natural history-seashells, fish, flowers, plants, birds, animals, and landscapes. Not many subjects escaped his scrutiny: popular stories, mythology, and Japanese legends as well as genre scenes, all proved successful. Towards the end of his life the quality of his work suffered as he tried to produce even more paintings - over production. Due to his popularity there were many contemporary forgeries, none of which were as good as his work, but Utamaro's reputation suffered as a consequence.

In 1804 Utamaro went a step too far for the authorities' liking with a tryptich of satirical scenes which were suspected to allude to goings on at the shogun's court. The censor was instructed to detain him and Utamaro spent 50 days in handcuffs under house arrest. According to some sources, the experience crushed him emotionally and ended his career as an artist.

He died two years later, on the 20th day of the 9th month, 1806, aged about fifty-three, in Edo.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


All of us want to keep up with the styles and trends, but this can be quite costly. There are a few ways to help make this a little less expensive. Watch for sales. If you see an item you really have your eye on , ask a sale associate when the store is having its next sale. You can even give the associate a description of the item, the size you need, and the associate will notify you when that particular item goes on sale. This keeps you from wasting your costly gas to see if the item is on sale. Another way to dress for less is to shop at Target, Wal-Mart, K-Mart, and Kohl's. All of these stores have clothes designed by actresses and designers who want to give you and I the opportunity to dress for less. Burlington Coat Factory is another good place to try. Also try consignment shops. I rarely spend more than $20.00 for an item on sale. I have purchased trousers that originally cost $88.00, and got them on sale for $20.00. I was lucky enough to find a Vera Wang shirt on sale for $6.80, the original price was $50.00.

I know you are thinking, why would I want to purchase clothing from a discount store, it won't last as long as something purchased from a top well known store. Well, the key is taking proper care of your clothing. Even though the care instructions say to day in the dryer, hang them up. I never ever dry my tops or trousers in the dryer. Also use the proper clothes hangers when you put them in the closet.

So look for those sales, and you will have a great dress for less wardrobe you will be proud of.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


I have never been a real t-shirt type of gal. The few t-shirts that I have owned in the past (just to wear around the house) were the typical plain old boring shirts. But the t-shirts today are to die for!!! They are so chic. The material is soft, the colors and embellishments are out of this world, and the styles are fantastic. Needless to say, I have several of these t-shirts. I just purchased two more last week, and I have my eyes on a few more (waiting on a good sale) that I can't wait to get my hands on. These t-shirts can be worn for casual or dress, with jeans or trousers. Put on that trendy cropped jacket and you are ready for the office or a night on the town.

If you are like me, I will not wear a halter top or a sleeveless shirt. But the trend today is to wear that gorgeous halter top or sleeveless shirt with a t-shirt underneath. Great idea!

Thursday, July 3, 2008


Like every Fourth of July, America will be celebrating this holiday with parades, fireworks, and family picnics filled with hot dogs, hamburgers, barbecue, potato salad, baked beans, and mom's peach cobbler. The American flag will be proudly displayed in our neighborhoods. For most of us we look at this day of celebration as a day off with pay.

The true meaning of Independence Day or Fourth of July is the annual celebration of the United States' "birthday," the date of the passage of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. As we celebrate another Fourth of July full of parades, fireworks, and family picnics, take a moment to remember that our American peoples from all heritages and ethnic backgrounds can truly celebrate the enormous progress that has been made over the years. Our struggles to truly bring equality and equal rights to everyone has triumphed with many victories and progress continues to this day. Also on this day of celebration, take a moment to read the powerful and moving speech delivery by Frederick Douglass on July 5, 1852 at an event commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence. This speech has been called "probably the most moving passage in all of Douglass' speeches."

Have a safe Fourth of July!!!!!!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


I know somebody's heart has to be broken, but why Jeremy's? It broke my heart to see him rejected by DeAnna last night. I don't think anyone watching last night could believe what happened.

So now DeAnna is down to two bachelors, which one is the man of her dreams: Jason or Jesse?Each have one last chance to win her heart. I like Jason, I feel he is the better choice. He is loving, caring, has a good sense of humor, knows what he wants in life; an all around good guy, and would make a great husband for DeAnna. I don't think it will matter to DeAnna that he has a three-year old son, she loves children. Don't get me wrong, I like Jesse. He makes her laugh, and he is caring, but maybe just friends. I just don't think he is good husband material at this stage of his life, he has some growing up to do.

Choose wisely DeAnna, you already let the best man walk out of your life.