Marriage Equality – the Law of the Land

In an epic decision, the Supreme Court of the United States of America finally legalized same-sex marriage across this great nation. The United States was not the first country to legalize same-sex marriage and hopefully it will not be the last. Gay couples should be entitled to the same rights and privileges that heterosexual couples have and now they will in this country and in twenty others across the globe. This decision was a ‘no-brainer’ and was favored by a majority of Americans.

Doors, doors, and more doors



I love doors, all kinds of doors.  I love them when they are colorful, architecturally detailed, barn-style, even decrepit, just as long as they are visually interesting.  Here is a collection of doors that I photographed in Paris and in the French countryside.  I love photographing them because, in addition to their beauty, I often wonder what lies behind these closed doors.  In Paris, there is often a beautiful courtyard or a car park that you can occasionally glimpse when the doors are open.  In the countryside, perhaps the door leads to a beautiful manor house or a barn.   

A French Country Wedding

I attended my cousin Amanda’s wedding at a beautiful manor house in Normandy, near the town where she and her husband grew up and where they met as high school students.  They chose the site, situated a short distance from the seaside town of Dieppe, for its beauty and for the bucolic feel of the property.  The grounds of the manor were perfectly suited to the style of wedding that they had.  They set up chairs in rows on either side of an aisle strewn with rose petals.   The wedding canopy was made of a white organza fabric.  Each seat had a white umbrella ttied to it to be used to protect guests from sun or rain, since the weather in Normandy can change on a dime.  Amanda and her husband Soufian left no detail to chance.  

The wedding was called for 3:30 PM, so they set up a garden style reception to immediately follow the ceremony and a dinner reception was held a few steps away and several hours later in the manor’s dining room.  The French certainly know how to throw an elegant, yet fun and exciting wedding.  We finally excused ourselves at 2 AM because we had to rise early to visit the sites where the United States and its allies stormed the beaches of Normandy on D-Day during World War II.  The party was just getting hopping at that point battle sites and cemetery Normandy’s D-Day battle.

Les fleurs de Paris

Flowers and horticulture abound in France.  There are beautifully planted gardens such as the Luxembourg gardens and the Tuileries in Paris, planter boxes filled with flowers on the streets, and exquisite bouquets in shops and restaurants.  The French certainly take pride in the beauty and happiness that these decorative arrangements and plantings bring to their residents and visitors.  

Gov Ball

IMG_7917Tens of thousands of people descended upon Randall’s Island in New York City last weekend for the 5th annual Governors Ball Music Festival.  They arrived by boat, by foot, and by car to see sixty musical acts perform over a three-day period.  The fields were muddy from a week’s worth of rain and the weather teetered between awful and beautiful.  Nothing dampened the spirits of the festival attendees, who came primarily for the music but for the party atmosphere, as well.  The acts varied from rap to pop to rock to country.  I saw Florence and the Machine, Drake, Flume, Black Keys, and several other up-and-coming indie bands. It is fun to people-watch, too, because festival attendees put a lot of thought into what they wear.  The outfits are predominantly hippie-chic, while some are a bit outlandish and others are a bit risqué.  There were times when the crush of the people was a little scary, but overall it was a fun and very entertaining weekend. 

You Go Girl!

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Courtesy of Vanity Fair magazine

At this point people are well aware of Bruce Jenner’s gender transition. Bruce, who now goes by the name Caitlyn, was recently photographed by Annie Leibovitz for the July cover of Vanity Fair. The shoot meant more to Jenner than just a collection of photos, though. Jenner saw it as the unveiling of her new identity as a woman.  The shots were sexy and feminine, and no one will confuse her with the man that she once was.  While the revelation of her transition has gotten tremendous publicity, she stresses the fact that she did it entirely for herself, so that she could live a happier and better life. It took a lot of courage to do what Caitlyn Jenner did. It would have been easier to remain Bruce for so many reasons. However, she would have been regretful until her dying day that she did not live the life that she always felt she was  meant to live.  You go girl!

Click to read the full Vanity Fair cover story!

The Spell Has Been Broken


AP_Pharoah_ml_150606_16x9_992It has been thirty-seven long years since a horse has won the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing.  The last time that it occurred was back in 1978 by a horse named Affirmed.  Several horses have come close, winning the first two races, the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, leading to high hopes of a Triple Crown win.  All of them, however, fell short in the final, longer race at Belmont, until yesterday when American Pharoah broke the spell, at long last.  This colt’s owners, Zayat Stables, his trainer Bob Baffert, and his jockey Victor Espinoza all knew that American Pharoah was remarkable and had the potential to win, but nothing is certain until race day, when anything can happen and, usually does, to thwart the dreams of a win.  This was American Pharoah’s day to shine and he dominated the race practically out of the gate, winning by a large margin of 5 ½ lengths.  Part of the allure of the Triple Crown is that it remains elusive, but hopefully it will not take another 37 years before another horse comes along to claim the title.  Bravo American Pharoah!

Memorial Day Weekend

Some things that I enjoyed over Memorial Day weekend:IMG_1996

When we think about Memorial Day, we think of a three day weekend filled with fun, family, and food. However, we should not lose sight of the true nature of the holiday, which is to commemorate our nation’s fallen heroes, who died defending the freedom that we hold so dear.  As you enjoy your weekend, please pause to remember those who gave their lives and those who are currently serving in our military to ensure our American way of life. 

Frieze Arts Fair

May has been a busy and exciting month in the New York City art milieu.  The early part of the month saw the opening of the hotly anticipated, brand new Whitney Museum on Gansevoort Street. Earlier this week, the contemporary art auctions took place at Christie’s and Sotheby’s, with Christie’s achieving its first billion-dollar week ever.  Currently opened on Randall’s Island is the fourth annual Frieze New York Art Fair.  

If you drive along the FDR Drive, you can see the gigantic serpentine tent across the East River, seemingly hugging the river.  This climate-controlled tent is about a quarter of a mile long and is over 250,000 square feet in size.  There are nearly 200 prestigious galleries from all around the world, exhibiting the works of living artists. I spent yesterday afternoon walking around the fair, but I could have spent many hours, if not days, more.  There was so much to see and so much to take in.  I took so many photos of my favorite works, but pared them down to just these few.  The show runs for four days, ending tomorrow.  You can buy tickets online at FriezeNewYork.com.

Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day! We had brunch at my house with my mother, my two grandmothers, a few sets of aunts and uncles, and assorted cousins.  The weather was perfect and the food was plentiful.  This has become an annual tradition in our household.  Far from expecting breakfast in bed, my mother is usually up very early, setting a beautiful table, arranging flowers, putting out food, and getting ready for no fewer than twenty people to descend upon our home.  This is why we celebrate our mothers:  for all that they do for everyone, all of the time.

I was curious, however, how this day came to be.  After all, it was not based upon a religious holiday nor did it commemorate a historic event or pay homage to a famous person. It was the idea of a West Virginian woman named Anna Jarvis who wanted to pay tribute to her mother, upon her mother’s recent death. Ms. Jarvis’ mother had worked tirelessly during her lifetime to help improve the lives of others.  The younger Jarvis organized the first known Mother’s Day celebration in 1908, which was a resounding success.  She spent years lobbying government officials to declare it a holiday and, finally, on 1914 President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

Anna Jarvis was soon repulsed by the commercialization of Mother’s Day by floral companies, candy makers, and other businesses.  She believed that their efforts undermined the true purpose of the holiday, which was to intimately celebrate one’s mother, without the interference of greedy companies. Her efforts were unsuccessful, though, and the holiday remains as commercial as ever.  Without ever knowing Anna Jarvis’ story, our family has always tried to make our celebration a family event at home, without an emphasis on gifts and other commercial purchases.  I look forward to many more Mother’s Day celebrations in the future.

and… a pic of me and my mama:)