Category Archives: Objects of Desire/Fashion

#(RED) Hot Gift List

#(RED) Hot Gift List

This holiday season (RED) products make a red hot gift list while offering a great way to really make an impact with your purchasing power. When you choose a (RED) product proceeds go directly to The Global Fund where 100% of that money is used to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.

These are fabulous finds you would want to give anyway because (RED) partners with the world’s most iconic brands to produce super cool products, that happen to save lives. Here are a few of my favorites:

(RED) Hot Gifts! Read the rest of this entry

UncommonGoods $75 Giveaway!

UncommonGoods $75 Giveaway!

 Enter To Win Our UncommonGoods $75 Giveaway!


Bike Chalk Trail Kit, Art Print, Kalaidascope Necklace, Golf Cufflinks & periodic Table Tie

UncommonGoods is my absolute favorite gift catalog out there!  I was thrilled to write about their  Better To Give program back in September, Where with every purchase you make, $1 is donated to the non-profit of the customers’ choice. 

Now I am even more thrilled that they have offered a $75 giveaway for my readers just in time for holiday gift shopping! Their catalog is filled with fantastic gift ideas, creative, fun and unique items you will love! Check out their HOLIDAY GIFTS COLLECTION! Here are a few more of my own personal favorites!


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For A Chance To Win You Can Sign Up for UncommonGoods e-mail updates and specials & add entries below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway



UncommonGoods is based  in Brooklyn, NY, and supports artists and environmentally friendly products, always finding unique items that take gift giving to a new level. You can Follow UncommonGoods on Pinterest or on Instagram to keep track of all their fabulous finds!

UncommonGoods For The Common Good

UncommonGoods For The Common Good

PicMonkey Collage

As I pull my mail out of the mailbox my pulse quickens… I see my new UncommonGoods  catalog sticking out between the rest of the mundane mail items. Oh, come on, you know you have one too! What is it Williams Sonoma? B & H? We all have that one catalog…and this is mine.  I prepare to dig in and check out what’s new, knowing I’ll find some great ideas among the pages, witty, whimsical, or creative, this is my go to shop for unique gifts. I tear out the things circled for my wish list, or the perfect gift for a friend.  This catalog is always fun to look through because UncommonGoods supports artists and environmentally friendly products keeping its inventory fresh and innovative.  I know I can always go online to order through the website, but I like the little paper reminders on hand to flip through when I am stumped for a present.  Inevitably in a few days, when I’m going through my desk papers a tiny shred from the catalog will flutter to the floor.  It might be the picture of the eggs in a nest necklace I’ve been pining for, or the Mathematical necktie for my husband that I know he’ll love.


Of course it’s the great selection they offer, but even more so I feel passionate about supporting companies that make giving back part of their business model.  Not only has Uncommon Goods managed to curate a collection of items to find the perfect give for the perfect person, but while doing so their business has donated over $700,000 to non-profits as part of their Better To Give campaign over the past 12 years.  The Better To Give program connects customers with charities around the globe, and with every purchase made a dollar is donated. Customers can choose to which of the Uncommon Goods non-profit partners the donation goes.  Through supporting the arts community, the environment, and non-profits while providing a fantastic gift selection to us, the Brooklyn based company fulfills their goal to collectively “support the planet and to make it a better world for the people who live on it”.

“As an independently-owned business, we have the freedom to support causes we believe in and to impact the world in a positive way. Giving back is important to us and we want to share that passion with you, our customers. Through our Better to Give program, we’ve been able to build a better business by connecting our customers with charities around the globe. With every purchase you make, we’re proud to donate $1 to the non-profit of your choice.”-Uncommon Goods

Better To Give w/ UncommonGoods

They  had been my favorite gift source before I learned about the Better To Give Program. I have often included items from their store in documama gift guides in the past.  Now that I am aware that every time I shop with UncommonGoods, I am also donating to a charity I care about, I am thrilled to spread the word. UncommonGoods is donating $50.00 to Women for Women International , one of their partner charities, on my behalf in return for doing so.  Women for Women International provides women survivors of war with the tools and resources to move from crisis and poverty to stability and self-sufficiency.

Along with my humanitarian interests, I am a big fan of design meets function. I strive for that in any purchase I make,  and design meets function is just one of the philosophies I share with the folks at UncommonGoods.  The goals of documama and those of UncommonGoods overlap; share great finds,support the arts, take care of the environment, and give back.

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Turkey On My Mind

Turkey On My Mind

With everything that is going on in Turkey these days, the country and our family members there have been in the forefront of our minds. I decided to re-post this post I did a while ago on the symbolism of the evil eye. The people of Turkey could use some protection from ill will about now.

The Evil Eye

In the midst of exploring the magnificent architecture, history and culture of Istanbul,Turkey it was hard not to notice the tiny blue evil eye icons glinting at me throughout the city.  It was on that first visit to Istanbul in 1997 that I learned the significance of the evil eye in the region. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica “Belief in the evil eye is ancient and ubiquitous: it occurred in ancient Greece and Rome; is found in Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist, and Hindu traditions and in folk cultures and preliterate societies; and has persisted throughout the world into modern times.”    The symbol of the blue eye is meant to ward off the “evil eye” look given intentionally or unintentionally of ill will, usually due to dislike or envy.  The charm serves as protection by deflecting bad luck back at the offender or absorbing it.  Word is that if your talisman cracks or breaks you know it worked to protect you.   Speculation is that long ago due to the rarity of blue eyes in that area of the world, the color came under suspicion as powerful in some way.

Photo by Elizabeth Atalay

By the time we returned home from that first visit we had acquired numerous evil eye souvenirs from our trip, items I looked at as beloved travel memorabilia and cultural artifacts.  Two years later we went back to Istanbul with our infant daughter. Before we left for Turkey my husband’s sister gave us a tiny safety-pin with a plastic blue evil eye dangling from it. It was meant to be pinned to our baby’s clothes for safe travel.   At night I would remove the tiny pin and place it on the dresser, but put it back on her each morning as we got dressed.  The earthquake hit on our third night there, it registered as a 7.6 on the Richter Scale and when it was over our room was a jumble of toppled furniture and broken belongings.  No one in our apartment had been injured, so we considered ourselves extremely fortunate. As we straightened up the mess in the room, atop the dresser sat the tiny plastic pin exactly in the spot I had set it the evening before. Nothing had fallen on it, in fact it had not moved at all, but it was cracked down the middle in a sharp jagged line.  I gasped when I saw it, in my mind the superstition had been proven true.  My baby had been protected by it.  Sometimes a moment can alter your perception of something, consciously or not, when that internal shift takes place, the seed of that idea is planted. Rationally I remained skeptical, but spiritually I became a believer in the evil eye in that moment.

My father-in-law and husband tell the following story:  For scientists, science and superstition are mutually inconsistent. A neighbor visiting Niels Bohr in his country home found the great Danish physicist (recipient of the 1922 Nobel Prize) nailing a horseshoe above the front door of his house. The friend laughed, “Professor Bohr, I cannot believe you believe the old superstition of horseshoes warding off bad luck!”

Bohr quipped, while continuing to fix the horseshoe in place, “I don’t, but this is just in case”

To this day I wear evil eye jewelry whenever I think of it, we have evil eye house wares throughout our home, and my car keys dangle from an evil eye key chain. Do I believe in the evil eye? I suppose I do, and I display it everywhere….just in case.

My key chain

Behind The Scenes At The ONE/FashionABLE/AnchorArtists Photo Shoot

Behind The Scenes At The ONE/FashionABLE/AnchorArtists Photo Shoot

A photo of Maren taken the same year we met

I will never forget the first time I laid eyes on my friend Maren. I was sitting in a classroom freshman year of High School.  My curly hair was probably pulled back by a painted barrett on each side, with my bangs straightened and curled under. Most likely I was sporting some chinos and a Lacoste shirt, just trying to fit in.

The “new girl” who walked in the room had just moved East from California. She was as exotic to our East Coast high school as I imagined California to be. And she was spectacular. She had short red hair feathered to the side and was decked head to toe in purple, right up to her eye shadow!  I eagerly told her that I was going to California soon to visit my aunt and asked her what it was like. I had never met anyone like Maren, and knowing her is to understand the phrase “she has  je ne sais quoi” .  Dressing with such style, often in patterns, bright colors, designs made by her mother, and jewelry by actual artists, made it hard to fit in at our New England high school. Maren never wanted to, or tried to change to fit in, and this was one of the things I loved about my new friend.  She always remained confident and true to herself.  Being friends with Maren is similar to the way someone with a British accent is perceived to have a higher IQ.   It makes you feel that much more cool and hip, just by association.    Lord only knows why she took gawky little me under her wing, but she would meet me in the bathroom early before school and yank my unruly hair into tight French braids. We have been best friends ever since, and I continue to feel lucky to be graced by her friendship, and at this point in life cherish the long shared history we have together.  She has made me a better person, taught me so much along the way, and continues to influence my style to this day. 

It is no surprise that by now she has spent over 25 years as a leader and style-maker in Boston’s fashion industry.  Maren grew up to become a stylist, Run an agency for stylists, and now is at the helm of her own company, Anchor Artists. Maren founded Anchor Artists out of her dedication to the success of clients and artists, and to use her unique creative vision to see them thrive.  Still willing all these years later to continue to help me with my own fashion challenges, I recently asked her advice on styling my gorgeous new ONE/FashionABLE Genet scarf.

This scarf, the Genet, is a collaborative effort between ONE, fashionABLE and the Alt Design Summit. Each Genet scarf is handmade, taking three days to make with the handiwork of three women. The Genet scarf design was created as a limited edition in honor of  Mother’s Day, and  is only available while supplies last through or fashionABLE.  Each scarf purchased helps to support improving the lives of women and children in Ethiopia.

Photo by Hornick/Rivlin

Maren had immediately connected to the story behind fashionABLE and the Genet scarf. Her own mother, Joanne Rossman, had once been a single mother, like Genet, the woman for whom my scarf is named. Also, like Genet, she had supported her own children by designing, and creating scarves (along with the fabulous clothes Maren wore back in high school).  Instead of just showing me how she would style it, as only Maren could, she generously assembled a professional team of stylists, a hair and make-up artist and top photographers to take on the challenge, ultimately telling the story of Genet in a beautiful, visual way.  I visited the set on the day of the photo shoot to give you a peak behind the scenes!

Hornick/Rivlin were the photographers gracious enough to donate their day to beautifully capturing the stylists interpretations of how to wear the Genet scarf.   The Hornick/Rivlin Studio is a collaboration of 2 photographers, Rick Hornick and Sandy Rivlin.  They joined together in 1981, destined to make photographs which go far beyond commercial, toward a classic interpretation of picture taking enjoyed by the industries of home/interiors, lifestyle, portrait, apparel catalogue and still life.  They work in concert technically and aesthetically, and were both compelled by the story behind the women who create the FashionABLE scarfs to help make the shoot a success.

Photographers Sandy Hornick & Rick Rivlin at work

Of course to polish any photo shoot you need the perfect hair & make-up artist , enter Anchor Artist Kathleen Schiffmann, a true professional with a big heart.  Her talent is legendary and Kathleen is the artist of choice for many of Boston’s top photographers.  She has travelled the world on commercial and fashion shoots applying her magic touch to the worlds top models, able to produce just that right look for any photo situation, she has  remained  grounded and friendly attitude .

Hair & Make Up Artist Kathleen schiffmann puts the finishing touches on Alisa.


The Shoot location was at the home of Joanne Rossman, designer, one of the models, and Maren’s mom. Behind the scenes you can see her home studio where she creates her own line of goods to be sold at her store Joanne Rossman. Maren and her mom are both consummate foodies so of course they provided the talent and crew with an amazing food for sustenance. Rita Rose, Joanne’s Muse and often the subject of Joanne’s blog, acted like the diva she is lounging by the fire, while Maren’s pug Hugo looked on.

Photo of Joanne & Rita Rose by Hornick/Rivlin

Check out the fabulous results of the day, and see the styles created by Anchor Artists Anna WallackJenny Wilson, and Alisa Neely  that were posted on the ONEMoms website.