Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Images- Sophisticated Exuberence

(The Sartorialist)

Images- Red & Gold Accents

(The Sartorialist)

Images- Floral Length

(The Sartorialist)

Music- Flamenco with the Masters of Spain

SPAIN is one of the countries I have had the pleasure and opportunity of visiting on various occasions. It is also one of the few places I feel completely and utterly at home.


I really enjoy and am excited about its cuisine, art, landscape, architecture, lifestyle and culture. Every aspect is filled with invigorating PASSION and reflective simplicity. A country, where it is not unusual to have tapas at 2 o'clock in the morning, is an HEAVENLY proposition to me.


However, more than that, I feel a deep rooted CONNECTION to this land that I have yet taken the time to revel or fully COMPREHEND... I hope one day soon, I will.


Till that times comes, however, I wanted to share with you some of the music of Spain that I deeply enthralled with. 
FLAMENCO.


An intangible FORCE, this audibly RIVETING and visually STIMULATING style of music and dance, has been an expressive ECHO of story tales, passion, pain, STRENGTH, redemption and LOVE. The rhytmic steps of the dancers pounding on the floor, the gentle caressing movements of the fingers, the poignant body curves and TRANSPORTIVE voice of the singers and guitarist, is a MESMERIZING experience.


The following is a clip of a BULERIAS improvised performance of singers EL TURRONERO & CAMARON accompanied by guitarists PACO CEPERO and PACO DE LUCIA. Watch this ORGANIC and DYNAMIC performance as it adapts to the abilities of the talents, instrumentation, and mood of the MOMENT:




THE DANCERS


The amazing Carmen Amaya





Clip from the movie "Flamenco" by Carlos Saura



There is so much to discover about Flamenco and Spain!


You can also follow the life of famous flamenco singer Jose Monge Cruz, also known as Camaron de la Isla in the movie "CamarĂ³n" by Jaime Chavallari released in 2005. http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x49xc8_soy-gitano-camaron-bso-camaron_music

For more information about Spain or to plan a trip to the country please visit- http://www.spain.info/en_US/

I hope you enjoy, explore and SHARE!


With Love,


Minou

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Music- 'Strange Fruit' Billie Holiday


A very dark subject matter, so subtly and poignantly performed and composed.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Journal- A Lesson from The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill

"Lauryn baby use your HEAD,
But instead I chose to use my HEART
Now the JOY in my world is in..."

Lauryn Hill, "Zion" from The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Journal- Diane Sawyer: Oprah Winfrey Presents Master Class

Journalists are known to have the responsibility to report on the facts about current events and give a voice to those who do not have the opportunity to be heard.

However, nowadays, the state of journalism and news reporting is often questioned for its validity and a topic of controversial debate for many people. A journalist's credibility is constantly tested or interrogated.

Regardless, I was drawn to the story of Diane Sawyer, not particularly for her reputation as a journalist, but because of her intriguing journey and sharp characteristics.

"Wake Up Curious, and determined to Find the Answer."

These UNFORGETTABLE words continue to ring in my mind.

Discover for yourself the power of CURIOSITY:



http://www.tudou.com/programs/view/wmkAg8JPJbI/

Keep in mind, nevertheless, every STORY told or written, from a movie, book or news report, is presented from the PERCEPTION of its interlocutor. The valiant goal of journalism is to be an objective source of information that presents all sides of a story without influence or prejudice. A noble attempt, but to me everyone's perception, whether of a similar event or other, is DISTINCTIVE and different; always diversify your source of information and formulate your own educated opinion.

Journalism at its best is when the journalist or reporter delivers the news speaking from within, from his or her own truth. We all instinctively recognize and relate to TRUTH when it is revealed to us.

FUEL YOUR CURIOSITY!

With Love,

Minou

Image- Cascading Spring Beauty

(The Sartorialist)

Music- 'See You Soon' Coldplay


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Journal- Maya Angelou: Oprah Presents Master Class

 My inspiration, the incomparable and glorious Maya Angelou.

Follow the Journey of this UNBELIEVABLE woman who continues to gracefully rise, with LOVE:

http://www.tudou.com/programs/view/i9bwAfwuYyg/



 With Love,

 Minou

Journal-Promising Encounter

We went out, the night was young and filled with promises...

We began the evening festivities at a lovely bistro in Renaissance Harlem. The convivial atmosphere made for great company; from the patrons at the tables and bar, to the charming staff. The conversations were endless and flowing as easily as the wine poured into every empty glass... The night was filled with promises...

After the delectable dinner, we hopped on a cab and  made our way downtown to the mystifying and vibrant Lower East Side. We were excited because LES is a neighborhood for all; no pretensions. A  place that embraces and welcomes those who just want to be and have fun... The night was young and filled with promises...

We arrived at the bar before our joining party and decided to proceed with cocktails as we waited for them. The music in the background was an eclectic mix of Top 100's, a salute to the late Michael Jackson and Prince's "Purple Rain" album. We sat down at a table and looked at the large flat screen television by the bar showcasing none other than Michael Schultz "The Last Dragon" as only befitting to an LES venue. We smiled as we knew... the night was filled with promises...

Our friends enthusiastically came pouring into the bar. We were all determined to have fun and make this night one to remember... little did I know how true that would be for me... The night was still filled with promises...

There he was, the connection was instant. We had a few idle chats and shared a few witty & sarcastic remarks. "What can you tell about me by simply looking into my eyes?" he asked me. I looked at him without flinching, "If you don't acknowledge when you care about someone and learn to trust the person in the moment, you will lose her, and hopefully you catch her before it's too late!" I said fearlessly. He was stunned by my ballsy statement because, as he knew himself, there was truth in what was stated. He knew right then what type of person I was... The night was filled with promises...

The rest of the evening felt like snapshots of an unfeathered reality. He and I got in his car and drove around the city. The streets were wrapped in a dark blanket and filled with spotted golden freckles from the beaming building lights. We talked incessently and effortlessly, like childhood friends, catching up on the whereabouts of each others lives.... He and I shared a common thread that was filled with promises...

He took me on a tour, although I have lived in the city nearly 10 years, I felt I was seeing it for the first time. Every bridge, every corner and house was accompanied by an anecdote of his childhood in New York... Every red signal street light became a moment in time where, for mere seconds, we would stare at each other and hold the world still... our glares were filled with promises...

The Queensboro Bridge laid ahead, he and I remained quiet, holding hands, staring out from the car window as the sun was rising on the horizon and its rays softly gleamed on the East River. The colors of the sky blended from green, to yellow, pink and a towering blue. In the background, He and I listened to the effusive sounds of KIDDING ON THE SQUARE "Talk About It" on the radio, that simply encapsulated the transition from an LES night to a morning filled with promises...

The tour continued in Queens with visits to museums, parks, restaurants and monuments.  He and I were unbewildered by the morning glare, we had a chance encounter and wanted to delight in every second we spent together... For fear to lose this opportunity, our hearts were filled with promises...

We sat at a neighborhood cafe for brunch to quench our demanding appetites. Coffee, eggs, muffins, salad, hot sauce.... he and I did not shy away from the menu selections. We continued our conversation until the sweet aromatic smell of our meals filled the morning air with promises...

He drove me home. Neither of us made any proclamations or PROMISES of lasting friendship or any other relationship... For we both felt we embraced the moment and shared this chance ENCOUNTER to its fullest glory. It did not bother he and I if we should not meet again...

Some encounters have no hidden agenda or targeting goals... They are simply an OCCASION in time where you get the chance to connect with someone and be yourself... TRUST and "catch her before it's too late."

Life has a funny way of creating these experiences only later to REVEAL something about yourself or some PROMISING TRUTHS about the world around you.

Embrace Life!

With Love,

Minou

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Images-Some Fav Looks from Fall 2011 Runway Season

Azzaro
Lanvin

Haider Ackermann

Haider Ackermann

Haider Ackermann

Hermes

Hermes

Hermes

Hermes

Hermes
Oscar de la Renta

Roland Mouret


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Journal- "Les Amants de Paris" Part 3

.... I call my friends to come pick me up and we decide to DRIVE around the city. We had no particular DESTINATION in mind because the city has an ARRAY of restaurants and night activities to choose from. As we circle around, I capture the SCENERY of Paris in lights in my mind, the sight of the CHAMPS ELYSEES gleaming in the dark night, the ARCH DE TRIOMPHE and the ARCH DE LA DEFENCE facing each other in the distant HORIZON. We sit in various restaurants and BRASSERIES tasting the sinful DELICACIES of the local chef's froie gras, smelling the familiarity of cigarette smokes that accompanies so many CONVERSATIONS.

Michel Thomas "Les Momes" Postcard

We start to talk about various subjects such as ART, ANTHOLOGY, PHILOSOPHY, POLITICS, MOVIES, LIFE in general and current events. A debate quickly ensues when the topic of laicite or secularism was brought to our ATTENTION. The French law banning students from wearing RELIGIOUS symbols in French public primary and secondary schools was just passed, and many believe it discriminated the Muslim COMMUNITY in the country. "They are asking me to deny WHO I am. I can't get a proper EDUCATION because of what I BELIEVE in. This violates our human RIGHTS," said Nabil. Of Morrocan decent, he is an ADAMANT political ACTIVIST, FERVENT idealist and an ELOQUENT speaker. The sensitive subject matter filled the air with somber THOUGHTS. Julien, the EXTEMPORANEOUS member of the group, stands up, grabs the bottle of wine from our table, drinks it to the last drop and STANDS on a chair. "VIVRE la France et la REVOLUTION!" he shouts out "On y vas!"  Soon, we all followed suit, shouting and CHANTING the war songs of the Army of the Rhine; putting ASIDE all petty differences & worries... The night was still YOUNG.

Michel Thomas "Les Momes" Postcard

MORNING was just a few hours away, you could almost FEEL the sun's GLARE rising up on the horizon. In the dark corners of every street, we could hear the distant SOUNDS of the VIOLINS playing songs of broken hearts and DREAMS, reciting the stories of distant LANDS and loved ones. I was completely INTOXICATED with the SOUNDS, SMELLS, TASTE and FEELINGS that are UNDENIABLY part of the city.

Michel Thomas "Les Momes" Postcard

When I RETURN home, my neighbor had closed her SHUTTERS and I knew this DAY was over. I close the drapes to stop the RISING SUNLIGHT from penetrating the apartment. I put on my pyjama and slip under the covers. I close my eyes and SMILE as my mother did when I was young because I had finally UNDERSTOOD what made her so HAPPY.

PARIS is a city that TEACHES you to LOVE and embrace every MOMENT through its beauty and most of all, its JOIE DE VIVRE. I sing myself to sleep with the help of none other than EDITH PIAF's lyrics:

Paris, tu es ma gaite, Paris
Tu es ma douceur aussi
Tu es toute ma tendresse
Paris, tes gamins, tes artisans
Tes camelots et tes agents
Et tes matins de printemps
Paris, l'odeur de ton pave d'oies
De tes marroniers du bois
Je pense a toi sans cesse
Paris, je m'ennuie de toi mon vieux
On se retrouvera tous les deux
Mon grand Paris



FIN

With Love,

Minou


Images- Raw Sensuality & Beauty

(The Sartorialist)

Images- Franca Sozzani... Spotted

Franca Sozzani Editor in Chief of Vogue Italy (The Sartorialist)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Journal- "Les Amants de Paris" Part 2

... Across the Pont de L'Archeveche lies the majestic Cathedral of NOTRE DAME de Paris, flocked by tourists with their flash bulb cameras.


Amused to see them in such AWE, I sat on a bench, observing the characters around the area, trying my best to SKETCH them in my notebook. You could see the ROSY cheeks of the children enjoying their ice creams and cotton candy. Some danced together in circles singing along to familiar LULLABIES like "Au Claire de la Lune" while others played with their imaginary friends. The Hawaiian shirts, waist bags, the cameras hanging from the neck, were the stereotypical tourist UNIFORM. The women share sun block lotions, directions, and maps all the while trying desperately to control their children. The men in their navy hats and sunglasses were sharing a few laughs and ANECDOTES. The colors, diversity and beauty of the city were JUMPING out of my notebook.

The sun was warming up and to escape the mass, I headed to MONTMARTRE, home to the Sacre-Coeur Basilica. Strolling through the narrow COBBLESTONE streets of old Paris, I watched the artists sketching caricatures of people and painting the scenery of the local market. I could hear the steps of the horses pulling on the chariots and the local entertainment acts singing their lungs out to CATCH the tourists' attentions.





 Feeling a petit creux in my stomach, I sat down at the cafe, A La Bonne Franquette, to SAVOR the local delicacies. A woman was standing in the corner, a microphone in her hand and violinist by her side. She was interpreting Edith Piaf's "Milord" to ENLIVEN the spirits of the waiters. Volumptuous, with dark brown eyes and long dark brown hair FRIVOLOUSLY pulled together in a bun, she reminded me of tavern singers in the Spanish countryside. She wore an oversized red provincial dress and a belt that ACCENTUATED her waist. Her eyes were filled with passion as she sang every NOTE.

Allez, venez, Milord!
Vous asseoir a ma table,
Il fait si froid, dehors,
Ici c'est confortable.
Laissez-vous faire, Milord
Et prenez bien vos aises,
Vos peines sur mon coeur
Et vos pieds sur unce chaise



The rest of the day, I venture through the city's museums, libraries, bakeries and flea markets. I was mesmerized by the beauty of the Impressionistic paintings at the Louvres, COMPELLED by the words of Simone de Beauvoir' Second Sex and launched into pure ECSTASY by the taste of the olive tapenades of Marseille. As the day was ending, I was falling desperately in LOVE with the city once more. I head home with a bottle of red wine, two baguettes, goat cheese and a RUSTIC 18th century book that I found for a bargain. My apartment was chilly because the open windows let through the cool EVENING air. As I go to close the shutters, I can still hear Edith Piaf's record playing at my neighbors place. Through the melancholy in her VOICE, I hear her reaching out for the cool nights and the animated SPIRITS of her native French women and men. Feeling a similar HINT of nostalgia, I knew the day was not over YET, it was merely the beginning of an ENCHANTING evening.

A SUIVRE...

With Love,

Minou