Fashion. Beauty. Health. Life. Style. Music. Art.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Just For Him. Beauty & Youth Shoes

In collaboration with design team Mata and Mark McNairy, Japanese retailers Beauty & Youth create a rich collection of men's footwear for the fall featuring suede wing tips and a variety of saddle shoes and hiking boots (which I still refer to as desert boots going back to my junior high school days).

Click the header of this post to find out more.

Photo: (via)

Daily Bliss.

Taking time to reflect. Taking time to do something you love. Always keeping alive a part of the little person who still lives inside no matter how old you grow to be..

Photo: David Handley, Nouvelle Images

Friday, August 20, 2010

Music Notes. The New Music Business and Social Media For Veteran Artists

It's no secret that the music business is in shambles. Sales have plummeted for most artists with 98 % of albums released supposedly selling less than 5,000 copies. New paradigms are constantly being created and those with enough vision, occupational stamina and enough emotional fortitude continue to work outside of the corporate infrastructure looking for ways to market their music. The definition of success needs to be revised for companies, artists and fans. In the music business one of the primary discussions, aside from how to replace shrinking revenue and sales is figuring out the most effective way to cultivate, grow and maintain increasingly fickle fan bases. Generally, this discussion is surrounding new and younger artists.

With the realities of ageism which exists more and more in the business; where do still viable, marketable veteran, legacy or career artists over 40 fit into this new landscape beyond the various "Classic Hits and More" commercial radio formats? Where are we beyond satellite, internet radio, various streaming outlets, Pandora, and TMZ's "Memba Them"? Many continue to work on a regular basis stateside and abroad doing it in what some would call the old fashioned way; earning it. Performing live in a variety of venues and formats from festivals, intimate venues to select private/corporate events become standard. Selling branded limited edition merchandise to the faithful is also the norm for many. I'm not talking about the usual superstar rock bands like Paul McCartney, The Eagles and U2, etc. I'm talking about your everyday working artists in R&B, Jazz, Country, Rock, Adult Contemporary, etc. The faithful I refer to are what are called 'Superfans'. They aren't concerned with record sales and current pop culture status, they simply want to experience the bands and artists they love and continue to support. These fans will take the time to listen and purchase current musical endeavors and provide strong word of mouth support to their friends or out of the loop fans.

Some people assume if they don't hear you or see you these days amongst teen idols such as Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus, or fill in the blank of the latest teen or pop idols from any era - an artist must no longer be in the land of the living or no longer working in the music industry. It's an unfair and rather lazy assessment from my point of view. It couldn't possibly be an artist is continuing to improve their craft doing what they love which happens to be their job of choice. I always find this mentality a bit disappointing. I get it from time to time online and off. I'll be honest, my stomach always sinks a little. It's always an appreciative love of your past "I used to love you. Where have you been? Do you still sing? We miss you. We need you back out there.., etc." that they express but they just don't know if it's not commercially high profile, not a part of a reality TV strategy - and they just don't seem to venture out of the very narrow box created by today's media and music industry. Great places to start are Google, Facebook and iTunes to look for the artists they 'used to love' to see what's going on, it would seem, but even in this day and age the casual fan doesn't seem to take advantage of the technology in this "information age".

Tony Bennett has been working for decades, to name one legacy artist. He went 30 years between Grammy's and won his first "Album of the Year" nearly 45 years after his debut, having survived turbulent private issues and a changing music climate. His return, as well as Tina Turner's ultimate success in her later years, as well as that of Bonnie Raitt returning from what many thought to be total obscurity are true comeback stories. In today's climate I'm unsure if those opportunities could happen within the standard industry. Today, each album for any artist is called "a comeback" instead of a new release, marginalizing the impact of when an artist has really overcome some major form of personal or career struggle.

The music and art of performing doesn't go out of style. You may not pack them in at arenas and stadiums or sell as much but that's not what performing and making music should be all about.

The growth and creativity of the music industry began to go into a bit of free fall once the focus generated from the business end was geared to strictly 'the numbers', like first week of release movie box office receipts. Focus groups, massive marketing dollars or not, tighter play lists; FCC deregulation all changed the game. The numbers mentality eventually trickled to the casual fan or consumers to the detriment of the quality of artists and variety of choice in popular music.

Some artists have chosen to no longer record new material choosing to stick to the nostalgia route, a solid pipeline to perform the familiar based upon the material most known to the public as the go to comfort zone. This area is quite lucrative for some. Fans of nostalgia acts are less likely to support new music, they just like what they grew up with allowing them to reminisce on their lives back then.
Nostalgia acts are also less likely to have any active online presence to keep their brand alive from what I've seen. Perhaps that category of artist may be painfully aware the chances are extremely remote to be given airtime on commercial radio or face time on the late night talk shows. Others have lost their creative mojo and no longer enjoy the uncertainty of the business and decide to simply move on to other careers or interests.

No matter how good the music or regardless of how many fans may be interested it's been tough for most career artists for well over a decade; that is unless of course you have a scandal or controversy of some sort that can be marketed and capitalized on.

Then there are those, like myself and a handful of others who continue to work independently immersed in the new music world order. Performing at select engagements and events, writing, releasing independently, blogging, social networking with fans while also planting seeds with newer audiences mined from collaborations with respected DJ/Remixers and taste-makers from a global pool in diverse genres such as dance, electronic and jazz. In the independent realm there is a plethora of quality music and numerous alternative fusions.

My suggestion is that it's important to find the format which best suits you and your online strategy, beyond promoting a new album or concert, that is unless you'd like to take the Prince point of view and declare the internet dead.

Blogging (personal interests a bit more humanizing and less based on immediate reaction), Twitter (real time happenings), Facebook Fan Pages (be sure to add a band app like Root Music or Reverbnation) each provide a different experience. Soundcloud is another terrific tool to post new music and get feedback from your fan base and continue to develop a new one, one fan at a time.

Reverbnation is multi-faceted and enables you to create a mailing list, newsletter, stream music and also offer free downloads to those who have signed up among it's benefits. Each outlet offers a different experience for you to continue to build and connect with your fan base, which is highly recommended. The service also gives you the ability to see how effective your newsletters are and who opened or not. It's important to view and analyze your online data.

Balancing accessibility and authenticity in the evolving platforms of social media is a constant learning experience. Most artists choose to outsource and have management or personal assistants act as the artist removing any chance of real interaction or personal presence with fans, I'm at a crossroads on that one currently, seeing the downside of being hands on. There's always the chance of being ambushed by 'haters', or other highly toxic encounters. I've discovered that less and more effective use of your online time reduces the likelihood of those situations.

In most modern business and marketing information there is a general consensus that simply inundating your audience with impersonal concert and release dates isn't effective. People want to feel connected to the brand, or artist and so it's important to find out where to draw the line without being generic. I'm still figuring it all out.

Here are two of my top suggestions navigating your online brand and presence:

#1 - Create and structure a personalized online plan, including time.
#2 - Define your goals, short and long term; remember them with each post.

More to come..

Nature's Beauty. 'Epsom Salts' The Affordable Spa Treatment.

With a down economy, many people are looking for ways to cut costs for themselves and their families. Of course a day at the spa isn't something to splurge on regularly for anyone looking to save whenever possible. That said, I believe in creating a calming and relaxing atmosphere at home.

Though I enjoy luxury bath salts and body washes, one of the most overlooked and inexpensive 'spa' treatments you can give yourself is with 'Epsom Salt', or magnesium sulfate. There are numerous benefits including relieving stress, potentially lowering blood pressure and easing muscle soreness and sprains, in addition it may aid in preventing blood clots and hardened arteries. Pour a couple of cups into your next bath and relax! I also like to add a splash of lavender for a bit of aromatherapy.

Beyond those wonderful benefits, Epsom salt has hundreds of other uses such as being an effective organic gardening aid (helps seeds to germinate and makes plants grow bushier). Have a splinter? Use the salt as a soak to draw it out.

You can also mix Epsom salt with olive or grape seed oil to make your own exfoliant to remove rough skin.

Notes. Quote of The Day

"May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light. May good luck pursue you each morning and night." - Irish Blessing

Global Style. Marie Claire South Africa

In an editorial titled 'Showroom' newcomer Milan is featured wearing some of South Africa's top designers including Terence Bay, David Tiale and Amanda Laird Cherry in The September issue of Marie Claire South Africa. Gorgeous. I like the funky edge mixed with the classic aesthetic. I always notice the greater diversity of models featured in magazines outside of the U.S.

Photographer: Steve Tanchel
Location: 12 Decades Hotel

Photos: (via)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I Like His Style. Lenny Kravitz

T by Alexander Wang

Zoe Kravitz (daughter of the oh so fine and talented Lenny and the lovely actress Lisa Bonet) is featured in the fall ad campaign for T by Alexander Wang along with model Max Motta. The line of super soft T-shirts and casual pieces will only be seen in New York's Soho, East and West Village this fall. I really like the look of the ads. Zoe knows her angles.

Photos: (via),

Daily Bliss.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Notes. Quote of The Day

"Do not complain, make every effort to change things you do not like.
If you can not make a change, change the way you have been thinking, you might find a new solution." - Maya Angelou, "Letter to My Daughter"

Nature's Beauty. Oats

Consumption of whole grains and dietary fiber is known to lower your cholesterol, blood pressure as well as reduce risk of heart disease.

Just don't add too much butter and sugar to that bowl of oatmeal!

Photo: (via) Flickr

Style Tip. It's Worth Spending Major Coins When..

1. It's seasonless.
2. It's versatile.
3. It has great craftsmanship, high quality and made to last.
4. It's timeless.
5. It's rare and unique.

Get The Look For Less at Forever 21

Miu Miu's whimsical satin cat print Mary Jane platform which retails for approximately $590.00 gets the 'inspired by' treatement from Forever 21 with it's own polka dot version coming in at under $30.00.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Music Notes. Esperanza Spalding "Little Fly"

Update Your Style. 2 Quick Tips For Women

1. Change your lipstick, try something new.

2. Get your eyebrows done professionally, and while you're at it take care of your lip line, remove that mustache! A clean lip line and beautifully groomed brows really do wonders for your face. You'll see the difference.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Before it Hits Stores. Target Partners with Gilt

Get a jump on the limited edition fall fashion Friday August 20.

Read the full post by clicking header of article.

Photo: (via)

Notes. Quote of the Day

"You may not control all events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them." - Maya Angelou

In My Beauty Bag. RoC Daily Moisturizer

Despite rumors and special effects photo's seen out of context on a few blogs several years ago from my album 'The Makeover', I have not had any facial plastic surgery. The concept of those photo's was in fact inspired by a layout from Italian VOGUE in July 0f 2005 called "Makeover Madness". The issue featured Linda Evangelista and was a satire on the lengths some women will go through to appear younger. I haven't even tried botox or any of the many fillers available either. Living in Los Angeles I see the stretched, pulled and overly plumped faces all the time. From my eyes it doesn't make anyone look younger, just 'different'.

What I have done is become somewhat of a moisturizer and anti-aging skin cream addict. I'm always trying new products. We all get older which is a blessing of course and rather than going nuts bemoaning the fact, I believe we can slow the down the wrinkle process by simply pampering our skin in addition to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

When choosing moisturizers, especially if you're over 40, Retinol (one of the animal forms of Vitamin A), Matrixyl 3000, Resveratrol (produced naturally by several plants) is something to look for as well as SPF and other essential minerals, fatty acids, and collagen. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.
I'm currently using this daily moisturizer by RoC which was under $20.00 having just finished another by Chanel. I try them at all price points.

Photo: (via) Jody Watley

Liya Kibede Rocks Italian VOGUE

The always gorgeous fashion icon Liya Kebede appears in a more edgy layout for Italian VOGUE photographed by Tom Munro. These are two of the 7 page layout. Feathers and velvet for fall it is!

Italian VOGUE, August 2010

Art and Fashion.

Sketches from designers Christian Lacroix and Diane Von Furstenberg for First Lady Michelle Obama for 2009's inauguaration. Many wondered what she'd wear and which designer. She went with Jason Wu, though it was fun to see the inspirations of others.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


"There is everything you know and there is everything that happens. When the two do not line up, you make a choice." - For One More Day, Mitch Albom