Follow by Email

Monday, October 31, 2011

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: BITS AND PIECES (INSPIRED BY FALL) / DAY 1 -- MOOD...

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: BITS AND PIECES (INSPIRED BY FALL) / DAY 1 -- MOOD...: courtesydesiretoinspireblog Peeps, I am so drawn to this eclectic living room. The owner(s) seems to have gotten all the disparate el...

BITS AND PIECES (INSPIRED BY FALL) / DAY 1 -- MOODY + CHIC

courtesydesiretoinspireblog


Peeps,

I am so drawn to this eclectic living room.  The owner(s) seems to have gotten all the disparate elements wonderfully combined to create a visually compelling tableaux which is enigmatic, moody, and cozy.  I am attracted to the decorative arts and crafts of Africa, and so the long banners framing the doorway, suggest Kuba cloth patterns from Zaire (formerly Republic of the Congo).  Over-sized photographs propped against dead-black walls pop (right into the space).  The silvered, tufted sofa reminds me of the 60's futuristic vibe in furniture and fashion, such as the creations of Pierre Chardin, Paco Rabanne, and Andre Courrreges.  All three European designers introduced new shapes in apparel, utilized new fabrics such as plastics (PVC), paper, and other synthetic blends, and exemplified changing aesthetics and cultural mores through the 'unisex'  and 'space-pop' looks.  While those fashions may have been before my time, I can remember sneaking looks through my sister's fashion magazines, as well as the thrill in seeing Jane Fonda unravel in Barbarella.  Even to this day, straw + a spacesuit + feathers have never been so creatively photographed, or erotic.


The giant clam shell on the glossy, white floor, as well as the horn sitting on the trunk/coffee-table, add a touch of nature/the exotic.  And classical elements such as the formal sitting chair, and tripod plant-stand are smart contrasts to the otherwise casual informality.  Macrame hangers, usually found only at the thrift stores or in the craft pages of Martha Stewart's Living magazine, seem almost ghost-like and other-worldly.  I can imagine a designer, artist, fashionista, or writer plying their craft (and nurturing creativity) within these walls.  Love, love the look (and hope you do too).


Enjoy today's visual treat, as well as tricking for treats (and lots of eye-candy at the bars tonight).


Sincerely,
Shane


PS:  Tonight's fave song is Cerrone's Supernature ....

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: " PAY IT FORWARD, PAY IT OFF "

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: " PAY IT FORWARD, PAY IT OFF ": imagecourtesymeganonamission Peeps, Going to bed hungry is an ordeal that no child (or adult) should have to experience. Due to man...

" PAY IT FORWARD, PAY IT OFF "

imagecourtesymeganonamission


Peeps,


Going to bed hungry is an ordeal that no child (or adult) should have to experience.  Due to many factors, the number of folks who depend on food assistance has steadily increased over the years.  The reasons are many:  single-working moms, the newly-arrived, laid-off-and-cannot-find-steady-income, struggling to make ends meet with rising medical bills, absent parents, and so forth. In order to provide for their families, many of our neighbors (in Arlington County) rely on the Arlington Food Assistance Center for help in getting through times of need.  In turn, the AFAC needs our help with donations, contributions, and volunteers in order to meet a growing need within our community.


On November 10 at the Clarendon Ballroom (in Clarendon, VA), a gala fundraiser is being hosted by the Arlington office of Keller Williams Realty.  Gayle Fleming, a KW agent, and chairwoman of the event " Pay It Forward, Pay It Off, " is determined to retire the mortgage of the AFAC permanent-home site, and hopes to exceed last year's efforts which raised over $40,000.  Mark your calendar, and come out for a good time, as well as for a worthy cause.  This year's gala will feature music, refreshments, a live auction with incredible items, and the opportunity to meet celebrity guests and TV personalities.  


Tickets may be purchased online at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/203978.  Please consider becoming a sponsor, making a donation or in-kind contribution to the Center, or if your schedule permits, become a volunteer.


Thank you so much for your kindness and generosity.


Sincerely,
Shane

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Little Shop(s) That Could + Did / Day 5 -- PEAR TREE COTTAGE (Vienna, VA)

photocourtesypeartreecottage


Peeps,

Frances Brayshaw had a life-long dream of opening her own shop filled with beautiful objects.  A few years ago, after various stints with other design shops and boutiques, she did just that in a tiny historic cottage on Maple Avenue in Vienna (VA).  A crisp green-and-white striped banner proudly reads 'The Pear Tree Cottage', and a seasonal arrangement of pumpkins, kale, pansies, and assorted garden statuary lures passersby into to her little atelier where scented candles burn sweetly, and numerous lamps and mirrors provide beautiful illumination.  Frances loves the Hollywood vibe of Kelly Wearstler, Trina Turk, and other West Coast designers who mine the 40's and 60's for inspiration.  The shop's offerings include lots of silver-mirrored vases and lamps, lacquered boxes of horn and shagreen, crystal-decorated iron chandeliers, and Lucite tables. Another vibe that runs concurrently to the glam of old Hollywood, is the weathered and worn patina of nature.  Sort of like peeking into Hollyhock, Ted Muehling, or John Derain's treasure trove, antique urns/stripped columns/cement cherubs/rusted garden armillary/gazing balls flirt among branches, feathers, shells and nests quite charmingly and make for a romantic pairing.  The shop also carries case goods, notably bureaus and chests, as well as Sheraton/Chippendale inspired chairs, table linens, and tea/coffee paraphernalia for the discerning host/hostess.


Almost any and every item in the shop could be easily incorporated into a transitional or modern home, and this fluidity, as well as quite reasonable pricing, makes the inventory turn quite frequently.  The two antique Chinese vases I coveted will probably be gone upon my return, so perhaps I should have taken advantage of a 24 hold policy, yet I forgot in a hurry to get home before the rains started.  Nevertheless, upon each visit, something unique grabs my eye, and except for space limitations (and a tight budget), I could have taken everything home and loved it all. If looking for a unique item to update your current look, or as a special gift for a loved one, consider dropping into this charming little shop on the main street of Vienna (VA) at 130 Maple Avenue.  You'll love the experience, as well as meeting the dynamic and charismatic owner/buyer/merchandiser/packer/seller/design whiz -- Frances (and her great staff), so call ahead for shop hours at 703 938 1331, or visit online at www.thepeartreecottage.com.


Please enjoy today's visual treat, and stay warm and dry during this weekend's unexpected rain and sleet.


Sincerely,
Shane



(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The Little Shop(s) That Could + Did / Day 5 -- PEA...

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The Little Shop(s) That Could + Did / Day 5 -- PEA...: photocourtesypeartreecottage Peeps, Frances Brayshaw had a life-long dream of opening her own shop filled with beautiful objects. A f...

Friday, October 28, 2011

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: Friday Night Visual Treat---A Shot of Color (to th...

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: Friday Night Visual Treat---A Shot of Color (to th...: imagecourtesyautomatism/ marieclairemaison Peeps, It's hard to believe that winter could almost be upon us. This morning called for w...

Friday Night Visual Treat---A Shot of Color (to the Brain)

imagecourtesyautomatism/
marieclairemaison

Peeps,

It's hard to believe that winter could almost be upon us.  This morning called for windy and overcast working conditions, as well as temperatures not above 50; I purposely pulled out a RL wool sweater (given to me last year by my play-mother and which I had been saving for a special occasion), and layered with my favorite button-down and cords, headed out for a day filled with out-door activities.  The forecast calls for rain and the possibility of snow tomorrow, so like a good pilgrim, I headed to the grocery-store for cans of soup, instant coffee, and powdered milk.  Thankfully there was not a frenzied mob free-wheeling carts piled with milk, t-p, bread, candy, bottled water and so forth.  After a light supper and a glass of Royal Oporto, I pulled out bags of snow-melt just in case tomorrow morning gets ugly.  Seemingly in the blink of an eye summer is gone, and striding out with surfer shorts and short-sleeves is courting disaster (or flirting with a winter cold or pneumonia). 

After watching The Namesake earlier this evening, my head was filled with images of intense color, such as those of the luscious silks and wall colors found in India.  I reckon the only white there is the Taj Majal, and the complexion of visiting tourists.  Well, maybe the robes reserved for widows and those in mourning are the exception.  I remembered this image of the Paris apartment of Eric Bergere that I had saved while browsing through various design blogs, and wanted to share with you tonight.  Hope you enjoy it as much as I did, and stay tuned for more visual treats.

Sincerely,
Shane



  

Thursday, October 27, 2011

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The Little Shop(s) That Could + Did / Day 4 -- CH...

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The Little Shop(s) That Could + Did / Day 4 -- CH...: imagecourtesypinchgallerycom Peeps, Finding the shop--CHINOISERIE--can be quite a challenge; tucked quietly between Hank's Oyster Ba...

The Little Shop(s) That Could + Did / Day 4 -- CHINOISERIE (Alexandria, VA)

imagecourtesypinchgallerycom




Peeps,

Finding the shop--CHINOISERIE--can be quite a challenge; tucked quietly between Hank's Oyster Bar and Alexandria Cupcakes (on King Street in Old Towne Alexandria, VA) very little reveals its location, and only the introduction by a fellow design-addict made me aware of its existence.  Once stepping beyond the door, one feels like you've discovered an untold secret, a mecca of sorts devoted to the pursuit of design and aesthetics, and a celebration of the decorative arts.  Quite tiny, yet filled with a tightly edited array of modern jewelry, Italian and European glass art, Scandinavian pottery and dinner-ware, Middle-Kingdom vases, Heath ceramics, mid-century furniture and lighting, vintage art-books (on graphic design and architecture), limited edition greeting cards, clothing from obscure West Coast designers, and oversized abstract paintings, Peter Zi's point of view is quite apparent.  The mix is informed, defined, and shows an affinity for clarity in both objects and presentation.  The mood invites repose, and soft music (and ambient lighting) made me relive days of traipsing (and chilling) in tiny shops located in then questionable parts of London and Amsterdam.  

Please drop into CHINOISERIE on your next visit to Alexandria, and see some of the beautiful objects offered by Peter Zi.  His hours vary, so please call ahead for his availability, or to schedule an appointment.  The shop's address is 1024 King Street, and inquiries can be directed to 703 838 0520.


Enjoy today's visual treat (vases by Middle Kingdom), and have a wonderful evening.


Sincerely,
Shane

The Little Shop(s) That Could + Did / Day 3 -- KLARADAL (Olney, MD)

LarsSjoberg18cSwedishMansion
imagecourtesytrouvaiscom


Peeps,


Gleaning through the IKEA catalogue, and numerous design blogs devoted to the 'Nordic Style,' I assumed that all interiors followed the sparse format with pale grey/beige/white walls, stream-lined furnishings, scrubbed table-tops, and undressed windows; not so, shared Sue (Susan Kopperman) who owns the charming Swedish shop called Klaradal, located in Olney, MD.  Sue had spent quite some time in Sweden and explained that all Swedish interiors are not pale and filled with painted white furniture, light fabrics, worn surfaces, and bereft of ornamentation.  Historical Swedish interiors reveal an amalgamation of influences:  French love of curves and carvings in the style of Louis XIV/XV/XVI (Baroque and Rococo); German and Eastern European love of heavy pomp and solidity via the Biedermeier style; the arrival of the exotic via blue and white ceramics and textiles from the Far East; exposure to Spanish and Portuguese culture through the introduction of tile production methods (and design) via Amsterdam.  Today, what has become quite popular is the style based on peasant cottages, farm-houses, and country estates where informality and practicality was paramount.


Klaradal, housed in a picturesque farm-style building sits in a field of happy daisies and sunny black-eyed susan plants, and seemed charming, very inviting and almost fairy-like.  The inventory includes painted Swedish furniture, tiny oil-paintings, lovely textiles, wall clocks, chandeliers and other decorative objects.  Her offerings are lush, warm and there does seem to be more than a pop of color.  Sue acknowledged that many interiors in Sweden do share a propensity for the pale, yet many homes utilized bolder and richer colors (combined with lots of lamps and crystal chandeliers, as well as mirrors) which seemed to work best against gloom during the long, dreary months of winter.  In urban areas, where uncovered windows can run the risk of encountering the risque, interiors are much more luxurious, layered, and reveal global influences and contemporary design trends.  A recent viewing of Bergman's Cries and Whispers offered evidence that Swedes are not averse to the attractions of aubergine, blood-red, absolute-black, greener-than-green green, and yellowier-than-egg-yolk yellow.  


Good news indeed, for I am all about color, passion, and going against the grain (of white/beige/greige/grey), and plan to head back out to her shop for the unveiling of the newest arrivals (early next month).  Buying trips to Sweden (as well as finds by a secret army of pickers in Sweden and Estonia) allow her to offer beautiful pieces at reasonable prices.  And not unlike a good Swede, I value practicality and comfort; longevity (in quality of materials and construction) is a must; as well as the opportunity for a 'deal.'  Please stop in at her shop in Olney, MD or visit the website at www.klaradal.com.


Sincerely,
Shane


PS:  Thanks for being a devoted visual-treat reader (and peep).....








(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The Little Shop(s) That Could + Did / Day 3 -- KL...

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The Little Shop(s) That Could + Did / Day 3 -- KL...: LarsSjoberg18cSwedishMansion imagecourtesytrouvaiscom Peeps, Gleaning through the IKEA catalogue, and numerous design blogs devote...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The Little Shop(s) That Could + Did / Day 2 -- HE...

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The Little Shop(s) That Could + Did / Day 2 -- HE...: imagebycalfindercom Peeps, Many years ago while working on the living room for a client who I have affectionately nicknamed 'The Lone ...

The Little Shop(s) That Could + Did / Day 2 -- HERAT ORIENTAL IMPORTS (Alexandria, VA)

imagebycalfindercom
Peeps,


Many years ago while working on the living room for a client who I have affectionately nicknamed 'The Lone Wolf' for his ability to track the best of the best at the best price, all the while juggling CEO responsibilities and the demands of a brood of beautiful kids, I was introduced to Zia and Firoz, the nicest guys in the carpet business.  The brothers own and run Herat Oriental Imports, and offer possibly one of the most comprehensive inventories of Oriental carpets on the East Coast.  Housed in a industrial complex located near the train-tracks, their warehouse (just recently opened to the public) is the place for professionals in the design trade to obtain just about anything woven within the past hundred years (or two, or three).  Hand-woven carpets come from about nine premier weaving centers located in Iran, India, Pakistan, Egypt, China, Turkey, Afghanistan (and parts of the other Caucus countries); can be generally classified into tribal or city carpets, and are based on traditional designs with small variations based on the aesthetic preferences of certain localities.  The colors range from subtle variations of earth tones to spectacular combinations of brilliant blues/corals/turquoise, with just about something for every taste (and price point).


Recently, Zia shared, there has been a huge demand for vegetable-dyed carpets which depict crisp geometric and abstract shapes somewhat resembling an idealized 'nature;' the Tibetean carpets are very popular with designers today, and show up in all the glossy home magazines where they easily blend with transitional or modern components, and confer the 'of the moment, yet timeless' feel.  Also, quite popular are tribal carpets where pattens and color are bold and rich, and perfect for homes filled with antiques, overflowing libraries, and pooches who trample in and out of the garden.  I love worn, thread-bare tribal carpets which can be tossed over tables, or used as bed-coverings in the winter months, or hung on the wall to be admired from near (and afar).  Art critic David Sylvester's London loft featured in Architectural Digest is forever imbedded in my mind.  Although I no longer have that particular issue, I clearly remember soaring ceilings with miles of moldings; deep and moody colors; aged carpets on walls and floors, an antique table or two with art-books; African masks, and paintings by Bacon and Twombly.  Really, the pinnacle of Western civilization as evidenced in the arts, creatively displayed within two rooms - and all this without fuss!!


If looking for a beautiful carpet to start (or finish) the room, please consider stopping by the warehouse and be prepared for a dazzling display of Orientals, or visit their website at www.heratimports.com.  You'll be extremely satisfied by their personalized service, find whatever your heart desires, and you'll never purchase another over-priced imitation from the chain-store catalogue (or from those questionable places where going-out-of-business have hung for the last six or seven years).


Please enjoy today's visual treat, as well as the latest issue of ELLE DECOR which proudly states 'The Return of Color.'  What a relief, cause for some time now, I felt like the bewildered camper paddling upstream (against a tide of beige/white/beige/white).


Sincerely,
Shane

Monday, October 24, 2011

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The Little Shop(s) That Could + Did -- Day 1 / DAR...

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: The Little Shop(s) That Could + Did -- Day 1 / DAR...: photcourtesy1stdibs/darrelldean Peeps, The question -- what happened to Georgetown? -- cannot be easily answered, yet some of the ...

The Little Shop(s) That Could + Did -- Day 1 / DARRELL DEAN (Washington, DC)

photcourtesy1stdibs/darrelldean




Peeps,


The question -- what happened to Georgetown? -- cannot be easily answered, yet some of the reasons for the change from charming shops to chain retail-stores are obvious to the perceptive passer-by.  The flocks of tourists, teens and early-20 somethings, students, and party-goers who traverse M street and Wisconsin Avenue on weekends through the wee hours of the morning are attracted by the likes of Diesel/Club Monaco/H & M and other catchy retail darlings; drinking holes/pizza joints/raw bars, and the many clubs clustered along the main drag offer live music, discounted drinks in over-sized glasses and the allure of being trendy/in/cool (in Georgetown).  On the strip of Wisconsin Avenue heading north, once home to small antique shops like Gore Dean, David Bell, and various art galleries, the scene is now about nail and beauty shops, women's clothing boutiques and (more) pizza shops.  My bi-weekly nightly walks to peer into beautifully displayed shop windows is now sadly confined to the establishments of a small number of stubborn shopkeepers who have dug their heels and continue to offer superb wares, in spite of rising rents and the influence of the Internet where seemingly everything can be had at the click of the mouse.  I am never disappointed or uninspired at the changing vignettes and design goodies at Marston Luce, Darrell Dean, Carling Nichols, Moss & Co/Oliver Dunn, and Metro Interiors.  


Of these aforementioned establishments, none is more provoking than Darrell Dean whose eye is trained upon the unusual/iconic/idiosyncratic object, art-piece (and furniture).  Today I ventured (boldly and without a penny in my pocket so I had nothing to lose) into his shop, where everything is wonderfully worn and carries a patina worthy of celebration.  Heart-stopping finds in the current inventory include a Lalanne-like tortoise, shell-encrusted mirrors, soulful wooden santos, root-wood planters, twig-leaved carved folk-art chairs, quartz-crystal table lamps, several emblematic pieces of prison-art, and what seems like a million aluminum glove molds (all reaching upwards towards the sky).  He is friendly as always, and seems pleased to see me (cause I do admire his aesthetic and philosophy, which is: carry the things that speak to you and hopefully others will love them too).  He concedes that the design and retail spotlight has shifted to some areas like Cady's Alley, U Street NW, and of course, on-line commerce.  Yet, business has been good and he has maintained a steady clientele through his current brick-and-mortar location as well as through 1st dibs (a premier source for decorative objects, antique and unusual objects offered by stellar merchants and dealers).  Actually, he shyly admits, most of the AD Top 100 designers have purchased from him, and plans to expand into another shop on the coast are moving quickly ahead.  " Objects of beauty that show process and the human-hand, objects that have history and touch our emotions, are the things I look for, both for myself and for the shop, " he shared when I asked what drove the search and selection of the shop's offerings.  


 I am happy that he has been able to offer wares of a different kind without comprising his integrity, and applaud his continued efforts to remain independent.  Small shops have become increasingly rare as our world becomes ever more standardized, and monopolized by multi-national corporations and big-box retailers offering questionable and soul-less stock through thicker and ever-glossier catalogues.  If in search for the rare, beautiful, or unusual, consider visiting his website at www.darrelldeanantiques.com, drop in to the shop at 1524 Wisconsin Avenue NW (in Washington, DC), or through the dealer search on 1st dibs (www.1stdibs.com).  


Thanks for being a design-obsessed peep, and enjoy today's visual treat (sitting near the front-door at Darrell's shop; so cute and life-like that I expected this iron doggie to wag his tail at any moment).


Sincerely,
Shane

Sunday, October 23, 2011

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: Saturday Night Visual Treat (for all the devoted p...

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: Saturday Night Visual Treat (for all the devoted p...: imagecourtesyjjjjound Peeps, Just a quick thank you for all your emails. It seems everyone applauded the wonderful individuals profil...

Saturday Night Visual Treat (for all the devoted peeps)

imagecourtesyjjjjound


Peeps,

Just a quick thank you for all your emails.  It seems everyone applauded the wonderful individuals profiled in this week's peep show, 'ICONS (Of A Different Kind)/My Personal Super-heroes,' namely Robert Parry of Consortium News (www.consortiumnews.com), John Fales of The Blind American Veteran Foundation (www.bavf.org), Chuck Fields of The South Arlington Lions CLub, Jonathan Gilbert of The Gilbert Clinic (www.thegilbertclinic.com), and Anne Boston Parish of the Queen Street Clinic (www.queenstreetclinic.com).  Everyone who participated in any of the occupy movements should also be applauded, as well as the vigilant bloggers and passionate individuals who keep the spirit alive on FB and other social media sites.  Have a great weekend; you're the best(est)!!!


Sincerely,
Shane


PS:  Tonight's soundtrack is courtesy of SSRadio Deep & Soulful, spinning out of London/UK.

Friday, October 21, 2011

ICONS OF A DIFFERENT KIND (My Personal Superheroes) -- Day 5 / Queen Street Clinic

imagesourceunknown


Peeps,

It's Friday and for some that means the end of the work-week and two days of relaxation during one of the most beautiful times of the year (at least here in the Washington DC metropolitan area).  The mornings are cool and pleasant, the day-time temperature just about perfect for light tweed jackets or cashmere sweaters, and the nights encourage endless glasses of full-bodied Chilean red, autumnal fare, and long conversations in front of a blazing fire.  It would be naive to believe that everyone is able to just unwind on Saturdays and Sundays; for shop-clerks, wait-staff, delivery drivers, landscape workers and practically anyone who works in the retail and service industries, the pressures of getting it done (before the various holidays) has begun to be felt, and once the costumed revellers have gorged themselves on treats (or tricks), the countdown really begins in earnest.


The countdown to passing the Jobs Creation Bill seems to be stalled somewhere on the Hill, where some well-paid politicians choose to forget that for the majority of Americans, the superb medical care available to Senators and Congresspersons is sadly out of reach (or falls outside the coverage of one's health insurance plan or exceeds what can be scraped up to fulfill co-pay/out-of-pocket/deductible requirements).  I know very little about economics, yet I believe that universal health coverage seems to benefit everyone, and most certainly would cost less than the burgeoning expense of keeping our troops engaged in two wars--all for the reasons of stopping terrorism or spreading 'democracy.'


Today's ICON (and my personal super-hero) is Anne Boston Parish of the Queen Street Clinic (in Alexandria, Virginia).  On bestowing Washingtonian Award of the Year (2002) to Ms Boston Parish, the Washingtonian magazine wrote:


With over 30 years of nursing experience and 3 degrees under her belt, Family Nurse Practitioner Anne Boston Parish has seen almost everything, but she always had a desire to do more! She was ready to pursue her dream of making a difference in her community. In August 2001, she opened the Queen Street Clinic, a facility dedicated to providing care for the un- and underinsured. The clinic, located in Alexandria, Virginia, meets a critical need; in the U.S. alone there are more than 60 million medically uninsured individuals. Alexandria is home to more than 24,000 un- and underinsured working poor. These are the people who get up every day and go to work to put breakfast on the table, who are either not offered or cannot afford health insurance for themselves or their families.

Parish's clinic provides a full range of services-from check-ups to treatment of illness or injury. Thanks to support from local churches, she is able to offer services (e.g. mammograms) to indigent patients who reside in Alexandria. She has also negotiated agreements with specialty service-providers, including laboratories, x-ray facilities, and pharmacies, to offer their services to her patients at reduced rates . . .  since the Queen Street Clinic opened, Parish and her small staff have treated more than 20,000 patients. More then 60% of all treated patients return regularly for medical treatment and consider the clinic their medical home.

Peeps, I find Anne Boston Parish to be an amazing, generous, and inspiring individual.  Her little clinic on Queen Street is a beacon of hope for many (who would have no other options for health care other than the emergency room).  Please visit the website at www.queenstreetclinic.com, and be sure to let others know of her services.


Hope you enjoyed today's visual treat (Minerva-Roman goddess of medicine), and have a wonderful weekend.


Sincerely,
Shane


Thursday, October 20, 2011

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: ICONS of a Different Kind (My Personal Super-heroe...

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: ICONS of a Different Kind (My Personal Super-heroe...: imagesourceunknown Peeps, This is the season of sniffles, headaches, sore muscles, coughs, mild colds and so forth. This week the lan...

ICONS of a Different Kind (My Personal Super-heroes) -- Day 4 / Jonathan Gilbert

imagesourceunknown


Peeps,

This is the season of sniffles, headaches, sore muscles, coughs, mild colds and so forth.  This week the landscaping crew exhibited many of these symptoms; I am acutely aware that plenty of rest and liquids are called for, yet with a tight schedule leading up to the holidays, one must press on, and thankfully not a single individual has been absent for work.  Last week Friday, Jane, the kind nurse, insisted that I get a flu-shot and without hesitation I did just that, knowing that it is the best prevention against getting the flu, as well as hoping that new strains of the bug will remain in parts yonder.  I still remember the first (and only) time that I got the flu, and something with which I had had no experience.  In January 1995, I woke up one morning unable to move and in a condition closer to a corpse than I had ever felt before (or since).  In the weeks that followed, this a period of slow, slow recovery, tiny steps as such from the bed to the bathroom to the sitting room and then back in bed, normal activities remained out of the question, and the thought of bustling, energetic good health seemed so remote, and almost unattainable.  I had the good fortune of being visited by a friend who recommended acupuncture and helped me to get down to the Chinese doctor's clinic on Wisconsin Avenue (in a unassuming white building opposite the mirror/glass store).  After some visits, and drinking a tea (brewed at home from a small bag of herbs), I was soon back on my feet and moving--and grooving--again.  I can still remember the burst of energy I felt after leaving an acupuncture session--practically dancing down the street towards Book Hill Park, the Social Safeway, and normalcy. Ever since, I have been a staunch believer in the healing powers of acupuncture. 


My current acupuncturist Jonathan Gilbert, thankfully has not had to rescue me from the lowest depths of existence (as this is how I view the period following my one and only bout with the flu).  Light tune-ups and preventive maintenance keeps the old body going strong--thankfully--and I am always grateful to be able to visit his clinic for compassionate, insightful, and knowledgeable holistic treatment.  While visiting the Gilbert Clinic, I had the opportunity to chat with another patient who revealed that for the past 19 years she had once been unable to undertake basic necessities such as personal hygiene, mobility, light house-keeping; employment had long ceased with disability as the primary source of income.  Under the care provided by Jonathan, she had stepped forth from a meager, limited existence to slowly regain control of her life, now with hope in sight.  Jonathan has had considerable success in the treatment of Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome through a protocol comprised of acupuncture, herbal remedies, Western medicines, and mental wellness programs.  It seems that quite a number of individuals who had been deemed incurable, and beyond the reach of traditional (Western) medicine, have experienced remarkable improvement(s) within the walls of the small clinic tucked away in Bethesda, MD.  Funny, unassuming, and quite approachable, Jonathan Gilbert delivers superb--if unorthodox--treatment to many individuals who had long resigned themselves to lives of extreme pain/debilitating fatigue with no end in sight.  For many, hope is now tangible.


Please enjoy today's visual treat (of the healing Buddha), and kudos to an unsung hero.  More information about Jonathan and the Gilbert Clinic can be viewed at www.thegilbertclinic.com.


Sincerely,
Shane

ICONS OF A DIFFERENT KIND (My Personal Super-heroes) / Day 3 -- Chuck Fields

sourceofimageunknown

Peeps,

In an insightful article for online magazine Being Latino, writer Nick Baez lamented the slow decline of community involvement within today's society, particularly within immigrant communities where the newly-arrived are eager to 'fit in.'  He acknowledged the tremendous pressure placed upon the head of households, indeed on all of us, to succeed, usually at the cost of tremendous isolation.  As we are all aware, success -- portrayed by Madison Avenue advertisers, steamy tele-novellas on the Spanish-language channels, radio marketing campaigns, and even free circulars sitting next to the bus-stops, involves two important facets, namely consumption and transformation.  

Success, as one moves up the socio-economic ladder, demands larger and more; bigger autos, newer electronics to fill the kitchen, den, and bedroom.  Larger vacuums, barbecue-pits, freezers, lawn-mowers and leaf-blowers are obligatory to appear as being part of the now/the current/that which is at the forefront of the next best thing.  More clothes in the closet demands a larger home/containers and shelving systems/an attic or basement for the surplus;  a larger selection of shoes and bags, cosmetics, perfumes, and jewelry for every event is advised by shop-clerks/fashion-gurus/magazine editors should the occasion arise.  Buy! Buy! Buy!  is the name of the game, and Americans surpass the rest of the world in consumption.  Whether or not one needs an item, catchy slogans/price-point bargains/bulk discounts ensure that even the most disinterested among us succumb to the allure promised by materialism.  

Success, as one moves from origin to destination, rewards the subjugation of the idiosyncratic/individual/unique for a bland, thoughtless, unquestionable 'normalcy' seeming within reach of  all amongst us.  Here, in the comfort zone promised by integration and assimilation, anyone can look like everyone else (or tries to) and aspiration is reserved for those who are deemed 'successful'.  These exalted role models stare down at us from the billboards/TV screens/magazine covers as personalities/celebrities/actors/
athletes/politicians/captains of industry are lauded for their every move/twitter feed/purchase/preference.   Note:  family doctors/teachers/grocery-store cashiers need not apply!!  Accents are best erased, preferences for ethnic or original are ditched in favor of 'fusion,' and eager-beavers quickly learn that the past is gone, the present is long enough for one quick trip to the mall, and the future is just near enough for the scheduled unveiling of a newer/updated/more advanced object or 'necessity' to distract even the staunchest critic among us.


The need, or want, of more objects demands increasingly longer hours spent working, and thereby less time spent qualitatively with the family, and undoubtedly zilch time spent in the community.  Activities such as getting to know one's neighbors, participating in civic groups, and most certainly volunteering (or volunteerism) plays second fiddle to all efforts concerned with the process of 'getting ahead.'  Organizations such as the Rotary Club, the Lions Club, the Jaycees and others find it increasingly hard to recruit new members as individuals today prefer to interact on social media sites, electronically, or in front of the largest available HD-TV screen while reciting obscure sport statistics.


In the past, men (and women) considered volunteering and membership in such organizations as integral to fulfilling one's civic duty, remembers Chuck Fields.  Chuck joined the South Arlington Lions Club 48 years ago, and every Christmas season with a small group of members, volunteers from local high-school sports teams, and assistance from the Better Sports Bureau, has operated the Christmas Tree Lot Sale at the corner of Columbia Pike and George Mason Drive (now running for 20 years).  All funds raised through the sale of trees, wreaths, and roping is dispersed between Sight and Sound Clinics which provide free eyesight and hearing tests for low-income and uninsured residents of Arlington County; high-school athletic teams who need additional funds to purchase equipment, repair existing facilities, or undertake travel to sports meets; and to disaster relief efforts here and abroad.  In the true spirit of humanitarianism, all those in need are serviced or directed to the appropriate source(s).  Even when the temperature drops to 30 F or less, my man Chuck can be seen on-site moving trees, sweeping the lot, or pulling away debris to the county dump.  This holiday season, please drop in and say hello, or thanks.  And consider getting involved for the sake of the community (and yourself).


Please enjoy today's visual treat, and consider how you too may make a difference (by volunteering).


Sincerely,
Shane


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

VISION OF BEAUTY (MID-WEEK VISUAL TREAT)

imagecourtesyjjjjound


Peeps,

I wanted to take this opportunity to provide you with a mid-week visual treat, and to thank you all for your many comments on the peep-show entitled "ICONS (Of A Different Kind)/My Personal Super-heroes." Robert Parry and John Fales Jr are truly inspiring individuals, and role models for all of us.  Please remember to visit the blog site next week for our show (The Little Shop(s) That Could (And Did)) devoted to small, independent design-shops (and the wonderful persons who run them).

Sincerely,
Shane

PS:  Hope that you are all enjoying these beautiful days (and nights) of soft rain!!

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: VISION OF BEAUTY (MID-WEEK VISUAL TREAT)

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: VISION OF BEAUTY (MID-WEEK VISUAL TREAT): imagecourtesyjjjjound Peeps, I wanted to take this opportunity to provide you with a mid-week visual treat, and to thank you all for y...

Monday, October 17, 2011

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: ICONS OF A DIFFERENT KIND (My Personal Super-heroe...

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: ICONS OF A DIFFERENT KIND (My Personal Super-heroe...: imagesourceunknown Peeps, I know that fall is here by the sight of falling leaves, and deepening shadows at about 6 or 630. Some morni...

ICONS OF A DIFFERENT KIND (My Personal Super-heroes) / Day 2 -- John Fales

imagesourceunknown

Peeps,

I know that fall is here by the sight of falling leaves, and deepening shadows at about 6 or 630.  Some mornings are brisk and require a T-shirt worn under my favorite Gap plaid work-shirt, and the line at the nearby 7/11 for coffee and hot-tea is much longer than a few weeks ago.  Sadly, the relentless whine of leaf-blowers continues throughout the entire day as well-meaning landscapers remove every evidence of nature's seasonal cycle, and in driving down Rt 50 one has to be ever mindful of 18 wheelers (groaning under the weight of towering stacked pallets of bagged mulch) trekking into garden centers and nurseries.  I'm a staunch advocate of on-site composting and remain critical of this new sub-category of the landscaping industry where the garden is stripped of natural additives/nutrients (in the form of leaves), and then blanketed under a too liberal application of mulches mined from slowly depleting sources and transported from distant parts.  A glance around neighborhood gardens reveals oversized bouquets of mums that dot the landscape like alien heads from the planet Bogo-Bago Intergalactic 172, or bales of dry straw and corn-stalks slumped over picket fences like dejected county suitors.  There is no denying that the end is in sight.  The end of the year, that is, as well as the end for millions of turkeys who by now should have realized that the gig is almost up.  Oh well, there is some comfort in the familiarity and regularity of it all...


On a brighter note, my friend John Fales Jr (aka Sgt Shaft) is today's ICON (of a different kind) and one of my personal superheroes.  David Hagel profiled John Fales in Leatherneck Magazine (April 2010), and writes:   In 1991 Sgt Shaft started a weekly column in The Washington Times, addressing veterans' issues such as health care, opportunities to attend colleges and advanced degrees through educational programs, pension and survivor benefits, military records, and the eligibility for awards.  Every inquiry sent to the column (both snail-mail or electronically) is answered by John.  Earlier, in 1985 with two blind Navy veterans (Don Garner and Dennis Wyant), John Fales founded the Blinded American Veterans Foundation (BAVF).  The organization’s main goal is to improve services to disabled veterans through research, rehabilitation, and re-employment.  Since its founding, BAVF has distributed audio versions of the ' Federal Benefits for Veterans and Dependents ' handbook to thousands of blind veterans, provided financial grants to VA Medical Clinics and Blind Rehabilitation Centers, and given awards to congressional and community leaders for their advocacy of legislation and financial support to efforts aimed at improving the lives of disabled veterans.  


One of the major projects funded by the BAVF was the development of the American, a telescoping sensory aide that has given greater mobility to thousands of blind veterans.  As BAVF's long-time president, Fales is a familiar face on Capitol Hill where he regularly testifies in congressional committee hearings.  Fales is proud of BAVF accomplishments on behalf of blinded veterans since the organization's founding 25 years ago, and the fact that BAVF has no paid staff and its directors receive no compensation. ' 


For the curious among us, Hagel notes that, ' One might wonder how someone who is blind carries on business in this era of the Internet where rapid communications often is a necessity.  Fales uses state-of-the-art electronic devices provided by the VA.  One such device automatically translates e-mail messages to audio messages.  Using this device, Fales listens to messages on headset and responds using the computer keyboard almost simultaneously.  He has another piece of equipment that allows him to download audio books from the Internet onto a memory card that he can then play back on a device much like a small tape recorder.  As for reading letters and documents, he has a handheld document reader about the size of a cell phone that allows him to scan any written document, such as restaurant menu, and hear the document's content as an audio message.  Still another device gives him audio updates on important messages and upcoming appointments.  According to Fales, all of these devices are available to qualifying blinded veterans from the Veterans Adminstration (VA). '



Truly a remarkable American, a service-member of distinction, and a man of courage, compassion, and dedication who is committed to improving the lives of the all veterans.  Please visit their website (www.bavf.org) to learn more about the organization, as well as ways in which you too can play a part.


Sincerely,
Shane


PS:  David Hagel's article on John Fales Jr can be viewed in its entirety by visiting the archives at www.mca-marines.org/leatherneck.  







Sunday, October 16, 2011

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: ICONS of a Different Kind (My Personal Super-heroe...

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: ICONS of a Different Kind (My Personal Super-heroe...: imagesourceunknown Peeps, For the past couple of weeks, social media sites and vigilant bloggers alerted us to a phenomena known a...

ICONS of a Different Kind (My Personal Super-heroes) / Day 1 -- Robert Parry

imagesourceunknown






Peeps,

For the past couple of weeks, social media sites and vigilant bloggers alerted us to a phenomena known as the Occupy Wall Street Movement.  It seems that tens of thousands of ordinary Americans are fed up with the trickery practiced by financial institutions as top executives reward themselves with bonuses, while service fees on checking accounts/debit purchases/loans and so forth increase inexplicably and unreasonably, and all this perfectly legal thanks to the successful efforts of powerful lobbyists, lax oversight by government regulators, and (until a few a weeks ago?) a general reluctance on the part of the American public to voice dissatisfaction at this state of affairs.  Was it the Arab Spring movement(s) in the Middle East and parts of the African continent, or the deepening debt crisis around the world; was it rising unemployment as well as spiraling living costs here at home that spurred middle-class voters and tax-papers to take to the street in dissent?  Certainly the huge debt now carried by ourselves and future generations as we undertook a bailout of big banks made apathy a less desirable alternative to sitting by as the sh*t hit the fan--and cleanup at our expense.


Whether in deference to misguided editorial policies or the objections of certain advertisers, major newspapers and television networks choose not to report on the Occupy Wall Street movement until well into the second week, during which time social media sites had seized the mantle of ground-breaking and on-the-spot reporting.  The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New York Observer, The Boston Globe, and Mother Jones, panned the movement as unorganized and misdirected, or ignored the small but growing protest(s) as irrelevant and unworthy of coverage.   Since the movement's inception on the 17th of September, Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter has buzzed all day and night with updates, photos, and calls for action, and thousands of individuals from all walks of life have responded in kind in other major cities, as well as other world capitals and banking centers.  Enough is enough, seems to be the shared message, as well as demands for redress and a fairer distribution of our shared assets and resources.  And who can argue with this?


Never has the need for balanced and fair reporting been more critical, reasoned award-winning investigative journalist Robert Parry in establishing consortiumnews.com, an internet-based investigative news magazine (in 1995). Parry writes that, ' the site was meant to be a home for important, well-reported stories and a challenge to the inept but dominant mainstream news media of the day.  As one of the reporters who helped expose the Iran-Contra scandal for the Associated Press in the mid-1980s, I was distressed by the silliness and propaganda that had come to pervade American journalism.  I feared, to, that the decline of the U.S. press corps foreshadowed disasters that would come when journalists failed to alert the public about impending dangers. '





He notes that, ' We have written extensively about the U.S. media imbalance, tilted by a well-funded right-wing media machine. Indeed, a founding idea of our Web site was that a major investment was needed in journalistic endeavors committed to honestly informing the American people about important events, reporting that truly operated without fear or favor.  Regrettably, the distortion of information remains a grave problem with millions of Americans brainwashed by the waves of disinformation coming from Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and the hordes of other right-wing media outlets – distortions often reinforced by the careerist mainstream press.  Because of this media dynamic, many average Americans have bought into a propaganda frame that seeks fewer regulations on powerful corporations, lower taxes on the wealthy, tighter restrictions on unions, and fewer programs to help working Americans with problems ranging from educating their children to caring for the elderly.


Meanwhile, Official Washington is basing international decisions on a false narrative that excludes the real history of the past several decades. Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush are hailed as honorable leaders, rather than viewed as politicians who countenanced gross abuses of power.  Even in the Age of Obama, government decisions are being made with only limited knowledge of what was really done by Republican presidents who have dominated the modern era. This ignorance represents not only a threat to a meaningful democratic republic but a danger to the world, as the “last remaining superpower” lurches about, half-blinded by its own propaganda. '


Peeps, Robert Parry is my kind of superhero.  More real than the celluloid he-men who catapult across the silver-screen, and more relevant than the designer-clad crooners of the lounge set, or the over-paid athletes on the court, as well as the so-called movers and shakers of the cocktail circuit, and the so-called captains of industry whose motives are ethically ambiguous, and without any doubt, the elected officials of every stripe and color whose interests seem to stop just short of their own door-step.  Please visit his web-address at www.consortiumnews.com to learn more about this note-worthy online investigative journal.


Thanks for being a devoted blog reader, and enjoy today's visual treat.


Sincerely,
Shane 


PS:  Robert Parry's books entitled:  Neck Deep:  The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush; Lost History:  Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth;' Trick or Treason:  The October Surprise Mystery; Secrery & Privelege:  Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Irag; Neck Deep:  The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, can be purchased from Amazon or your local bookseller.











Saturday, October 15, 2011

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: Beautiful Gardens, A Source Of Constant Inspiratio...

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: Beautiful Gardens, A Source Of Constant Inspiratio...: photocourtesymichaeltrapp Peeps, The work-week draws to a close, and I look forward to sleeping late tomorrow, at least until 9am. Rai...

Beautiful Gardens, A Source Of Constant Inspiration -- Day 5 (Michael Trapp)

photocourtesymichaeltrapp

Peeps,

The work-week draws to a close, and I look forward to sleeping late tomorrow, at least until 9am.  Rains during the week, especially last night and this morning were quite pleasant.  In the garden, dahlias and zinnias are still quite vigorous and the pineapple sage is almost chest-high and shows no sign of slowing-down.  At this time of the year, ferns, Japanese anemones, and maples are glorious, as are clematis-covered fences highlighted by tiny, fragrant flowers.  John Brooke's Small Garden has been a late-night read for the past week or so; on the subject of small gardens, he states that, " Resist the temptation to work on a small scale just because you are dealing with a small space. " I live in a tiny space where larger furniture, objects, and paintings, when placed carefully and used most judiciously, are dramatic, unexpected, and blur the distinction between real or physical space, and perceived space.  The same approach can be applied to a small courtyard garden, through the use of larger containers, more mature plantings, and ample furniture; thereby keeping the eye (and mind) focused on all the elements contained within the space, and ignoring the perimeters or boundaries.   In today's visual treat (above), over-sized urns sit atop substantial columns, tall box-wood topiary and other lush plantings, and a cobbled floor contribute to a mood that feels dreamy and almost mysterious. 


Hope you all enjoyed this week's visual treats, and have a lovely weekend.


Sincerely,
Shane  

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Beautiful Gardens / A Source of Constant Inspiration -- Day 4 (ARTERRA Landscape Architects)

photocourtesyarterra.com






Peeps,

Too often lighting is an afterthought.  Beds are planted and a light layer of fine mulch has been applied; sprinklers set for 540 am; the cafe table and chairs beckon invitingly and visions of paradise fill the evening sky as well as the imagination.  Yet, in the time between waiting for the landscaper's truck and helpers to leave, loading a picnic tray with wine-glasses/snacks/sparkling, fruity Portuguese white wine, and finally getting all the gang out in the new garden, night has fallen and very little can be seen because landscape lighting was forgotten in the hurry to get everything perfect for Easter Sunday supper and Grandpa's visit.  Planning and planting done in the fall allows one to fully visualize the completed garden which entails hardscaping, plantings, irrigation, and lighting requirements.  To trample and unearth newly-planted beds in order to run electrical wires is no fun; solar-generated path lights and spotlights have considerably improved, yet for uplighting trees and downlighting special garden features they prove woefully inadequate.  The poorly-designed and ill-constructed offerings hastily bought at the big-box store frequently resemble runway lights giving the impression that both the front entrance and back-garden are subsidiary flight-pads of Reagan National Airport.  Peeps, schedule an appointment with a competent landscape architect or garden designer, and discuss your vision, budget, and time-table.  Any capable professional will be able to help in creating a pleasing environment for family gatherings and social events, while avoiding costly mistakes and the omission of necessary components such as illumination, irrigation, plant suitability, containers, and deck furniture.  Any improvement made to the garden or back-yard enhances the enjoyment of one's home, as well as adds to property value at selling time.


Hope you enjoy today's visual treat courtesy of San Francisco-based ARTERRA.


Sincerely,
Shane


PS:  Tonight's soundtrack is Chrystalfilm by Little Dragon (from the album Ritual Union)




(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: Beautiful Gardens / A Source of Constant Inspirati...

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: Beautiful Gardens / A Source of Constant Inspirati...: photocourtesyarterra.com Peeps, Too often lighting is an afterthought. Beds are planted and a light layer of fine mulch has been ...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: Beautiful Gardens / A Source of Constant Inspirati...

(VISUAL TREATS) For All of My Design-Obsessed Peeps: Beautiful Gardens / A Source of Constant Inspirati...: photocourtesydesiretoinpsire Peeps, I love the sense of purpose one gets in viewing and experiencing this path. As well the feel of a...

Beautiful Gardens / A Source of Constant Inspiration -- Day 3 (Paths + Walks)

photocourtesydesiretoinpsire


Peeps,

I love the sense of purpose one gets in viewing and experiencing this path.  As well the feel of a lush, carefree and joyous garden.  In the distance, shrubs and plants spill deliciously over the walk's border, and little creepers seem to wink impishly and lead the eye forward.  An ingenious combination of old brick, pea-gravel and clam-shells have been utilized to great effect.  Old bricks, cedar landscape timbers, slate shingles, molded concrete forms, and metal edgings (of iron) work best at containing the garden within and keeping the lawn or hardscaping materials out; it's much easier to run the lawnmower to the edge of the bed, or if one is so inclined, slanting the weed-trimmer to cut alongside the edge.  The roll of plastic edging commonly sold at the box-store garden centers quickly breaks after a few encounters with a lawnmower or wheelbarrow, never sits quite level, and is pretty expensive for something that is just plain ugly.  For others who prefer the look of non-edging, diligence, weed-pulling, and a sharp pair of scissors work best to keep lines sharp, and and to keep grass, weeds and other little rascals out of the garden bed.  Hope everyone has fun this fall with gardening projects and preparing the garden for the winter.


Thanks for being a devoted blog reader, and I love getting all your comments and suggestions.


Sincerely,
Shane