"Those who have experienced Paris have advantage over those who have not. We are the ones who have glimpsed a little bit of heaven, down here on earth." - Deirdre Kelly

Thursday, April 04, 2019

my mother's garden...

"Youth is a gift of nature, but age is a work of art." - Stanislaw Jerzy Lec

As my mother's 90th birthday approached, I asked how she'd like to celebrate. Her reply: "something simple and quiet, with the family." But for such a momentous occasion, mom reaching her ninetieth year of life: all that she's seen and done; won and lost; created and nurtured - simple, small and quiet just wouldn't do. As I thought of how to start planning mom's celebration, my favorite quote I've ascribed to her came to mind...

"Whatever she planted grew as if by magic...
A garden so brilliant with colors, so original in its design, so magnificent with life and creativity...
she is radiant...Guided by my heritage of a love of beauty and a respect for strength-
in search of my mother's garden, I found my own." - Alice Walker

With this quote and my Mother as inspiration, I decided that the theme to her birthday celebration would be a Garden Party. After that, everything else seamlessly fell into place. I hired Karl Kunston, a dreamy jazz crooner (and good friend) to provide the music (jazz trio & D.J.); my Mother's Bible study group - the Sunset Sisters - provided the appetizer tables; my dear friend (Ellen) catered dinner; my beloved Denise (principal photography), and Mr. G carted home three cases of Bubbly. 

"I must have flowers, always and always." - Claude Monet

I splurged on several bunches of exquisite silk flowers (for the doors and four planters), then set about creating three fanciful interior gardens, in the main rooms where the party would be held. I searched in vain for the flowers I wanted (live and faux). They weren't large enough, not colorful enough, not...fantastic enough - I felt like Goldilocks ;-} In the end, I decided to make them myself. Huge tissue flowers (of every Spring-hue). Nearly every night, for six weeks, I cut, shaped, taped and glued... 

In the sitting room, I created a carpet of flowers for the fireplace mantel and put one of my green couches beneath it. To my pleasant surprise, several of our guests provided the decorations for the champagne bar: a gorgeous handmade D and half a dozen potted Orchids. 

"Gardens and flowers have a way of bringing people together..." - Clare Ansberry

While discussing the musical details, Karl told me he was bringing a portable Photo Booth. The only things required were a blank wall and something for the guests to sit on. Blank wall? I don't think so! Thus was the inspiration for my 2nd garden. I created and installed an intimate garden in my entryway - a vintage, toile upholstered, bench set amid a garden of my flowers (some with ribbon stems, others freestanding, on 'stems' I made from Solo cups, concrete, chicken wire and sparkly green mesh fabric). The final effect was pretty fabulous and the guests loved it!


"Let us dance in the sun, wearing wild flowers in our hair." - Susan Polis Schutz

My 3rd fanciful garden was a request from the Birthday Girl. For our White Room, that I turned into a private jazz club and dance hall, Mom wanted only white flowers. Above our piano I created a mural of my favorite photos featuring Mom.

Club La Dorothy

The Trio thrilled our guests with a 2 hour Jazz concert, then Karl spun dance music for the rest of the night. Mom and her 70 guests had a grand time. It was a magical evening.

Karl Kunston Trio: Karl (dulcet vocals), Liza (pianist extraordinary), Daniel (electric bass)

Cake & Song

Happy Birthday Mom!

We laughed, danced, sang, nibbled and sipped. Surrounded by her family, grandchildren and friends, mom celebrated 90 late into the night. It was, simply, perfect.

Vivre, Rire, Aimer!

Thursday, February 14, 2019

amour rouge: sweet, simple, always...


"Your love is king. Crown you with my heart...
Your kisses ring, round and round and round my head. 
Touching the very part of me. It's making my heart sing..." - Sade

Hello my darlings, happy day of Love and welcome to Amour Rouge 2019. The premise of this annual post is based on the assumption that you have the basics of this special day completely planned (what to wear, dinner reservations, dancing, boom-chika-wow-wow). And all you need are a few last minute, easy to find and do, suggestions that will  take your romantic celebration up a notch to Extra, Extra. This year I'm keeping it sweet and simple...

"And that has made all the difference." - Robert Frost

"A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars." - Victor Hugo

Flowers are the quintessential symbol of love, and thus Valentine's Day. But why should you give colorful, fragrant blooms to your love only on this or any other holiday? Go to your local Goodwill or T.J. Maxx and purchase a unique vase - at both stores you'll find a varied selection (in size, shape and material) for $10-20 dollars. Next, at your local Trader Joe's, Costco or Grocers - you'll find a small but lovely and affordably priced selection of flowers. On your way home from work or picking up the kids, stop and get a bunch or two to put in your special vase. Repeat: weekly,  monthly. Make it your thing. The gift that keeps on giving...

Temple Tip: lasting bunches of fresh blooms 
Two or three bunches of the same blooms, of the same color, in one vase, pack a major visual punch. Wherever you get your flowers, go to the customer service desk and ask what day and general time they get their floral deliveries. Thus you will be able to get flowers at their freshest. Add the floral food provided, change the water often and your flowers can/will be fantabulus for ten days or more.

Good News Unlimited; Pinterest

The Atlantic; Woman Getting Married

"Workin' on a love letter. Listenin' to a love song.
I'm writing you a love letter. Got the radio on."
- Bonnie Raitt

On top of the armoire in my closet, one of my dad's wood cigar boxes houses one of my greatest treasures: the love letters Mr. G wrote me during his university year abroad in Europe, thirty years ago. After he returned, and to this day, not often but when I least expect it, Mr. G writes me a love letter. Sometimes in a Mother's Day or birthday card, sometimes a letter, sometimes on a Post-It - I've kept them all. They are more precious to me than diamonds or pearls. Go to your local OfficeMax and purchase a box of the thickest and heaviest weight plain paper/stationary stocked. Then sit down, grab a pen and...write. Maybe start with a lyric from your favorite song, tell him/her how you feel - on that day, in that moment. When you get the yen, write another. Then another. Don't stop.


"Champagne is one of the elegant extras in life." - Charles Dickens
"All you need is love. But a little chocolate doesn't hurt." - Charles M. Shulz


You know I firmly believe that champagne should be enjoyed daily but especially on Valentine's Day. I was going to tout the budget advantages of buying champagne by the half bottle. They're half or less of the price of a full size bottle and have become so popular all the major labels offer them, and liquor warehouses have a dedicated aisle. But what's a more worthy Valentine's splurge than a bottle of bubbly? Get the full bottle! The perfect partner of Valentine's Day champagne? Bien sur, high quality chocolate. My favorite are those big bars of Ghirardelli chocolate. You haven't lived until you've had their dark chocolate anything/flavor with champagne.

Temple Tip: Everyday Bubbles, Bubbles Everyday
Enjoying Champagne every day, can get very expensive. Luckily, there are several tasty, reasonably priced alternatives to be found: namely Sparkling and Prosecco wines. My favorites are J Cuvee 20 Brut NV (@$30); Chandon [@$15 (at Binnys) especially Brut and Blanc de Noirs)]; 90+ Cellars [@$10 (This Prosecco tastes very much like champagne, also makes a yummy Mimosa)].

"This isn't sometimes, this is always. This isn't maybe, this is always. This is love..." - Irene Kral

In my humble opinion, there is nothing sweeter, simpler or more romantic, way to celebrate the love you share with your someone than a slow dance (on Valentine's Day or any/everyday). Oui, you can go to a club, to dance with your love (always a great option). But why not gather, on a table in your living room or bedroom,  arrange your flowers, love letter, champagne and chocolates; pull your lover into an embrace and...dance?  

Start with a Harmon Kardon Onyx Speaker [@ BestBuy ($150)] and a dedicated playlist. Sync, press play, et voila - your private, most romantic, dance floor, your Valentine's moment. My top 10 romantic song suggestions:

1.   "Yearning For Your Love" - Gap Band 
2.   "Cherish" - Kool & The Gang
3.   "This is Always - Irene Kral
4.   "Feel the Fire" - Peabo Bryson
5.   "The Sweetest Taboo" - Sade
6.   "Tequila" - Dan & Shay
7.   "Tennessee Whiskey" - Chris Stapleton
8.   "Location" - Khalid
9.   "Hasta Fin" - Luis Miguel
10. "Fuck Love" - XXXTentacion

"You wanted me to love you. When you said, simply: reach out and touch me.
My love is in your hands. Feel me. I want to feel the fire." - Peabo Bryson

Lately, the world is angry/topsy-turvy. It's a hopeless feeling, where/when a person feels out of control, like they're trapped within the political, cultural, economic and social whims of powerful crazy people who don't give a gotdamn about individuals; about love in its simplest purest form. Do I have a viable solution to all this mishagas? Nope. But I can do everything in my power to affect my little slice of the world. It begins and continues via living my life with love and positivity. And there's nothing more positive and life affirming than passionately clinging to the ones I love, and the ones who passionately love me. And that goes for you too. Can we solve the problems and hatreds of this world? I think so. And I think it starts with: grabbing the one(s) you love, loving the one(s) you're with. Happy Valentine's Day, my Lovelies!   

Vivre! Rire! Aimer!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...