Feel-good Friday: Puttin on the Ritz

If you’re blue and you don’t know where to go to
Why don’t you go where fashion sits?

Photo: d. king

Recently I went to the Ritz Rancho Mirage for a cocktail.  Making a right turn on Frank Sinatra Drive, winding my way up the hill to the clifftop setting overlooking Coachella Valley It was easy to see why this iconic luxury hotel was inspired by the desert. It’s actually in the desert. the scenery was certainly incomparable.

Photo: d. king

The Ritz has always had an opulent and stylish past. The one in Montreal is special to me. Being from Montreal I remember many summer brunches in the restaurant garden at the Ritz watching the ducks and swans in the pond swim by.  It’s where my best friend’s wedding took place and I was a bridesmaid, and my husband and I spent a couple nights celebrating an anniversary there.  Something else you many or may not know…dating back to 1912, this was the first Ritz-Carlton hotel and is where Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton wed in the Royal Suite in 1964.

Photo: d. king

I visited the Hôtel Ritz Paris didn’t get past the bar where the hotel’s rooms and suites bear the names of Coco Chanel, F. Scott Fitzgerald or Marcel Proust – all of whom considered the Ritz “a second home”.  But getting back to the bar…Cole Porter was said to spend up to 9 hours a day in the Hemingway Bar: he’s said to have composed “Begin the Beguine” there. F. Scott Fitzgerald had his favorite seat; Ernest Hemingway and Gary Cooper made it the epicenter of their life in Paris and would sit and talk for hours.  There’s no question it has a glamorous past.

Different types who wear a day coat, pants with stripes
And cutaway coat, perfect fits

Dressed up like a million dollar trooper
Tryin’ hard to look like Gary Cooper

Come, let’s mix where Rockefellers walk with sticks
Or umbrellas in their mitts

Photo: d. king
The Edge Steakhouse – the Daily Meal

Have you seen the well-to-do?
Up and down Park Avenue
On that famous thoroughfare
With their noses in the air
High hats and arrow collars
White spats and lots of dollars
Spending every dime for a wonderful time

Ritz-Carlton Residences
David A. Lee Photography

If you’re blue and you don’t know where to go Why don’t you go where fashion sits?

Puttin’ On the Ritz lyrics – written by Irving Berlin.

The title derives from the slang expression “to put on the Ritz”, meaning to dress very fashionably. The expression was inspired by the Ritz Hotel.  It was also a musical in 1930.

A bit of history with a healthy dose of glamour – why not?

Photo: d. king “The SWEET Life”

 

It’s SWEET!

Happy Weekend!

 

 

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Tammy’s Wall Art

I’m inspired by other people’s choices of home décor including artwork.  Art tells a lot about a persons personality.

Artist: Michael Poitier from Montreal

My friend Tammy (who obviously has a penchant for champagne, dogs & Palm Springs) has invited me over for several really scrumptious dinners including the one where I first met Daniel (the artist) and his partner Karl.  In fact, this dynamic duo was responsible for re-designing Tammy and her husband David’s beautiful condo which is also situated on the same golf course.  There’s something tranquil about facing a golf course.  Tammy and David reside in Palm Springs for the winter preferring to escape the rainy (and now snowy) Vancouver landscape.

For this post I wanted to feature some of their artwork

by Gary Dorothy; Imageville Gallery  (this is in their hallway)
Will Alistair in the living room.
Pamela Masik original.  If you look closely you can find images of people + animals.
Artist: Connie Townsend
Artish: Connie Townsend.  Bichon pets Timbit & Lily Bella in a car that used to belong to Tammy. fyi: they weren’t really driving.
Tracy Verdugo

How about you? Are you inspired by other people’s artwork?

 

 

Feel-good Friday:  Spaces & Places

Here in Palm Springs

Photos: d. king

There’s no lack of decadent little hidden gems that I’ve encountered tucked behind the hedges of unassuming boutique hotels, alleyways and restaurants. I’ve discovered so many attractive spots since the last time I was here.  These photos were taken from a narrow corridor at the”La Plaza” shopping centre which used to house workers and now instead, a handful of quaint little shops.

I’ve discovered some secret bars inside of a few restaurants that I’ve been to and didn’t  know about until someone in the know showed me….very inconspicuous. One is hidden behind a phone booth (really!) and the other behind an ordinary curtain.  I love that!

I’m spending time scouting cool locations for my Destinations page.  And let me tell you what a pleasure it is to do so.  It’s a pleasure! I’ll share them with you soon.

Getting back to Film Fest:  Since my last post I’ve viewed two foreign films.  “Everybody Knows” (Todos los Saben) shot in Spain with Penelope Cruz and her sexy real life husband Javier Bardem centering around a kidnapping at a family wedding and Israeli film “Working Woman” about a married woman with children who takes a  job selling high end real estate, only to encounter a “me too” experience when her boss tries to sexually abuse her in the workplace.   Both films were extremely well done.

After my hike tomorrow I’m looking forward to an independent film which centers around gambling, two documentaries from Mr. Rogers to Aretha Franklin on Saturday – (could they be more opposite?) and a Hollywood ending on Sunday.  I’ll be reviewing these throughout the week.

Have a Happy Weekend

 

 

 

 

 

Moving forward as another year comes to a close…

Reflections on what 2018 taught me

About Staying Strong: while I lean towards improving overall bodily strength in the new year, 2018 was mostly about building inner strength.  Inner strength will help get you through tough times and give you the courage to move forward.  That, plus a good glass of wine and a hearty laugh.  Speaking of;

My witty friend Michael has this to say about humour: humour is like a tickle with a pitchfork.   The purpose of using humour is about expressing aggression, fear, taboo desires and life’s absurdities in an engaging and entertaining way.

About Feeling it Fully – the good, the bad and the ugly.  Learning to embrace it all whatever that may be.  Staying open. Learning to accept whatever life throws my way has been a happy, hurtful, grateful, sad, sometimes infuriating, overall empowering learning experience.

I like this excerpt from Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change by Pema Chödrön:

You build inner strength through embracing the totality of your experience, both the delightful parts and the difficult parts. Embracing the totality of your experience is one definition of having loving-kindness for yourself.

About Relationships: when you spend more time analyzing a relationship than enjoying it – something is wrong.  But you know what? – maybe we should try to analyze what’s wrong.  Because maybe we can resolve it; or not! If it’s worthwhile it will be resolved. In the meantime….respect is essential and enjoyment is key.  As Oscar Wilde once said:

Never love anyone who treats you like you’re ordinary.

About Good Girlfriends: always keep your girlfriends close – they are a gift.  They’re the ones who know you, know what’s good for you and how to make you laugh. A good friend will always stab you in the front. ― Oscar Wilde

About Dogs.  No matter what, they never change.  They love you for all that you are and all you’re not.  I aspire to be the person my dogs think I am.

About Life: it’s pretty simple actually….if you keep it simple.  Confucius said: Life is really simple but we insist on making it complicated. 

About making a leap:

Most importantly of all, there’s hope, perhaps the most powerful force in life.

Wishing you a Happy Holiday!

Website:  https://www.ihg.com/evenhotels/hotels/us/en/reservation

 

 

Style of Summer

What makes Summer so special besides sunshine, picnics at the beach & BBQ?

A beautiful white lace cover up which can go everywhere and looks super chic on everyone.  The pom-pom detail all along the front is kinda special and fun.

 

 

A chic straw bag.  This black and white is timeless and roomy enough to carry all essentials.  Very St. Tropez.  Bonus: it’s also collapsable which makes it a perfect travel companion.

 

Little Extras:  Playful and Glamorous fringe earrings.  A multi-purpose beach, picnic, pool blanket – a travel must have.  Something you can roll up in your beach bag for a quick getaway.

 

All in the Rachel Zoe Summer Box of Style.  Once again; it’s always fresh, fashionable and never disappointing.

You can order yours here:

https://www.boxofstyle.com/

Images: from website

Monday Mood: Meaning

My Monday mood board is normally light but sometimes we just need to vent. And sometimes it takes more than that.  Sometimes it takes an army to get a message across. Sometimes our lives depend on it.

March For Our Lives 

Looking west, people fill Pennsylvania Avenue during the “March for Our Lives” rally in support of gun control, Saturday, March 24, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The kids have spoken.  We cannot keep America great if we cannot keep America safe. 

On Saturday, March 24, kids and families in cities across the country and around the globe took to the streets to demand change to gun control laws, so that their lives and safety become a priority in order to end gun violence and mass shootings in schools NOW.

The main protest was organized by students from the High School in Parkland, Florida, where a gunman from the same school killed 17 people and injured others on Valentine’s Day. March for Our Lives was anchored by the main event in Washington, D.C.

Sometimes it’s the very people who no one imagines anything of who do the things no one can imagine.

On Grief and Grieving:

Death can give focus to what money can and cannot buy.  It can teach us what being rich is all about.  No amount of money can ever replace the loss of someone we love.

Wealth and poverty are states of mind.  Many people without money feel wealthy, while many rich people can feel poor.  Death is a factor that changes all our views as we are forced to evaluate our worth and what ultimately matters in life – by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, M.D. & David Kessler.

I like this quote from Mahatma Gandhi – Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.

On life Lessons:

Maya Angelou told Oprah Winfrey: When people show you who they are, believe them the first time. Your problem is you have to be shown 29 times.

How many of us have to be shown 29 times or more?  Why do we have a lack of discernment for things that appear to be obvious?

Character is very much a defining matter in everything.  Integrity is important.

If we’re not living life to the fullest we can at least create meaningful moments. That to me, seems reasonable.  Because someone’s idea of living life to the fullest can mean jumping out of a plane every day while someone else might feel that reading a book a week is the answer.

What do you think?

 

 

 

 

Monday Mood:  Sinatra state of mind

The Place He Called Home

I could change the heading to Melancholy Mood a song sang by Frank Sinatra but that sounds pretty gloomy.  After viewing a special screening of the fabulous documentary film by *Leo Zahn which ended Modernism week here in Palm Springs, we know Sinatra’s life was anything but gloomy.

Sinatra in Palm Springs – The Place He Called Home.

I, like so many others have always loved Sinatra’s music, his style and well…the lifestyle was anything but dull. Because I’ve spent the last several years coming to Palm Springs and now live here part of the year I was really looking forward to seeing this film if only because it explored Frank Sinatra’s deep attachment to Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley, his primary home for almost 50 years.

His wife Barbara called him a desert rat.  Meaning he embraced the dreamy “desert rat” lifestyle of tennis, golf, cocktails, cards and entertaining.  Very similar to my lifestyle minus the tennis, golf and cards.

Nelda Linsk, one of the subjects of “Poolside Gossip,” the famous photograph shot by Slim Aarons in 1970, was Barbara Sinatra’s best friend (she’s the one in yellow).  She is also interviewed in this doc.  She’s still beautiful.

The film captures the spirit of the Sinatra era and pays tribute to the unique lifestyle especially surrounding the renowned racquet club. Revealing interviews bring to life a bygone era . . . beginning with the post-WWII years and Sinatra’s 1947 home in Palm Springs, tumultuous times with Ava Gardner, his 1954 move to Rancho Mirage, his marriage to Barbara, and life at the “compound.” Major sequences are dedicated to historic restaurants Sinatra frequented for decades.  Many still here and some I’ve gone to.  My husband and I had the pleasure of meeting and sitting with Mel Haber who owned the historic Ingleside Inn and Melvyn’s cocktail bar which Sinatra frequented.  He described Sinatra as having “an aura” about him. He’s the first and last person to be interviewed in this wonderful documentary.  It didn’t matter which president or other famous person frequented your estabishment.  Everyone wanted to know if Frank or “Mr. S” as they referred to him came in.  If he showed up with his entourage and liked it, you were good.  If he didn’t like the pasta it could get thrown against the wall.

‘Sinatra in Palm Springs’ tells the story of a man whose generosity and compassion for his fellow citizens had no bounds. He loved the desert and its people. He loved the local restaurants and bars. His best friends lived nearby.

How many people can aspire to live like him?  It’s a large, legendary life and that’s why the screening was sold out.  He really did do it HIS WAY.

At the end of the screening Mr. Zahn (*the filmmaker) was here for an audience Q&A.

And that’s another thing I love about being here.  The filmmakers are on hand to answer questions especially during Film Fest and Modernism.

 

 

 

 

 

Modern Lifestyle: For the love of Architecture

I wanted to prove that I, as an individual, deserved a place in the world – Paul Revere Williams.

Focus on Palm Springs Modernism and Preserving the Legacy of Paul Revere Williams (1894-1980): Architect to the Stars…and Everyone Else.

Residence in Hollywood, Calif., designed in 1928 by Paul R Williams for banking executive Victor Rosetti.

“Expensive homes are my business and social housing is my hobby,” Williams once said.

Paul Williams added the Crescent Wing to the Beverly Hills Hotel

One of my favorite months to be in Palm Springs is February, if only for the numerous events surrounding Modernism Week.  A feast for the senses; especially the eyes.

The mission of Modernism Week is to celebrate and foster appreciation of midcentury architecture and design, as well as contemporary thinking in these fields, by encouraging education, preservation and sustainable modern living as represented in the greater Palm Springs area.  But you don’t have to be here to appreciate it.  But if you are here, you’ll certainly enjoy it!

Paul Revere Williams Wins 2017 AIA Gold Medal, LAX Theme Building, 1961
Paul Revere Williams

The Man:

“California represented an acceptance of both Williams, as an African-American and his work. Maybe Southern California was the only place he could have achieved all this.” -Robert Timme, dean of the USC School of Architecture 

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz tapped Williams in 1954 to design their Palm Springs residence.  The Ball Arnaz home is an excellent example of his uncanny ability to transform a client’s dreams into substance.

Frank Sinatra also hired the architect to build a house. Williams recalled the experience designing for the crooner as particularly challenging.

“Frank Sinatra wanted a bedroom; press a button and the doors open to the patio. Press another button and the bed rolls out into the patio.”  Ahhhh….. if you can, why not?

In a nutshell….

Paul Revere Williams is an important part of Southern California’s architectural legacy. He’s well known for his sumptuous residential designs for movie stars, entertainment and business leaders, mastering a range of styles from Southern Colonial to Spanish Colonial, from Hollywood Regency to Modern. While residential design would remain an important part of his practice, in the course of his five-decade career, Williams designed thousands of buildings of all types, served on many municipal, state and federal commissions, and was active in political and social organizations earning the admiration and respect of his peers.

Modernism Week – February 15-25, 2018.

http://www.modernismweek.com/

In addition, Modernism Week will feature two talks about Williams and his influence in midcentury modern architecture.

The world is a better place because of him.

 

 

Self-care: take this!

I always thought of self care as more than mud masks and bubble baths.

contributed image – thecord.ca

It really is a total package encompassing mind/body/spirit + other life essentials.  So when I saw this article from another website it was only fitting to share it with you.  Because life is simple and complicated at the same time.  We need to focus on what needs to be fixed on the outside in order to feel good on the inside.  I’m not the only one who thinks this way.

Self-care is often a very unbeautiful thing – by Brianna Wiest: thoughtcatalog.com

It is making a spreadsheet of your debt and enforcing a morning routine and cooking yourself healthy meals and no longer just running from your problems and calling the distraction a solution.

It is often doing the ugliest thing you have to do, like sweat through another workout or tell a toxic friend you don’t want to see them anymore or get a second job so you can have a savings account or figure out a way to accept yourself so that you’re not constantly exhausted from trying to be everything, all the time and then needing to take deliberate, mandated breaks from living to do basic things like drop some oil into a bath and read Marie Claire and turn your phone off for the day.

A world in which self-care has to be such a trendy topic is a world that is sick. Self-care should not be something we resort to because we are so absolutely exhausted that we need some reprieve from our own relentless internal pressure.

True self-care is not salt baths and chocolate cake, it is making the choice to build a life you don’t need to regularly escape from.

And that often takes doing the thing you least want to do.

It often means looking your failures and disappointments square in the eye and re-strategizing. It is not satiating your immediate desires. It is letting go. It is choosing new. It is disappointing some people. It is making sacrifices for others. It is living a way that other people won’t, so maybe you can live in a way that other people can’t.

It is letting yourself be normal. Regular. Unexceptional. It is sometimes having a dirty kitchen and deciding your ultimate goal in life isn’t going to be having abs and keeping up with your fake friends.  It is deciding how much of your anxiety comes from not actualizing your latent potential, and how much comes from the way you were being trained to think before you even knew what was happening.

The act of self-care has become yet another thing women are expected to be good at. Did you use the right filter for that ‘gram of your impeccably prepared acai bowl? Are the candles you just lit in your Snap story made from organic hand-poured soy or are they that mass-produced factory shit? And how can we stem the inevitable capitalist tide from turning something as simple as self-care into yet another thing to be bought and sold? These are all things I wrestle with as I order Dominos in sweatpants under the guise of ‘being good to myself.’ –  Amil Niazi

If you find yourself having to regularly indulge in consumer self-care, it’s because you are disconnected from actual self-care, which has very little to do with “treating yourself” and a whole lot do with parenting yourself and making choices for your long-term wellness.

It is no longer using your hectic and unreasonable life as justification for self-sabotage in the form of liquor and procrastination. It is learning how to stop trying to “fix yourself” and start trying to take care of yourself… and maybe finding that taking care lovingly attends to a lot of problems you were trying to fix in the first place.

It means being the hero of your life, not the victim. It means rewiring what you have until your everyday life isn’t something you need therapy to recover from. It is no longer choosing a life that looks good over a life that feels good. It is giving the hell up on some goals so you can care about others. It is being honest even if that means you aren’t universally liked. It is meeting your own needs so you aren’t anxious and dependent on other people.

It is becoming the person you know you want and are meant to be. Someone who knows that salt baths and chocolate cake are ways to enjoy life – not escape from it.

Well said! Who else agrees?