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August 29, 2007

The Cat Connection

Cats fascinate me. For my fellow ailurophiles, Texas boasts a superior store and animal shelter called The Cat Connection.

Cat Connection

Their site is fun and easy to use. As a designer, I am always interested in great-looking and great-functioning  — not to mention, gorgeous colored — products. Animals often get short shrift when it comes to well-designed, eye-catching wares. Not here. Hey, if you're happier using the stuff, your cats will be too. Besides which, I presume that cats of my acquaintance can tell the difference between a well-designed object and a poorly designed one and will turn their discerning noses up at inferiority. Staff and owners at The Cat Connection are knowledgeable about cats since they run a shelter besides selling excellent cat-related merchandise. Here are a few examples of their products I love: the best carriers, beautiful ceramic dishes and helpful behavior-related items, such as litter that attracts felines to the litter box and hard-core stain removers.

Katie Recommends The Cat Connection 

August 27, 2007

Design by Color

Easily sorting by color is one of the things I love about shopping online.

Shopping by Color

Well-organized online stores such as Bluefly, Nordstrom and Zappos make it easy to shop by color and find just what you're looking for if they have it. This concept is at the center of InMyFavoriteColor.com. You will be taken to multiple retailers but you choose a color to begin. I think it's a great idea. I find that thinking in color categories gets the creative juices flowing. The ability of web stores to let you think this way is a tremendous capability. I no longer want to go to physical stores to plow through racks to find what I might like. It can be fun occasionally to meander with a friend and wile away an afternoon but then I'm really just hanging with that friend, not shopping. To find what you like quickly and plentifully, being able to sort by colors and other smart categories is a huge boon.

August 25, 2007

Night and Day

If music be the food of love, play on, to quote Shakespeare.

Night and Day

Have you ever wanted to gorge yourself with music? One song that elicits that response from me is the Cole Porter gem, "Night and Day." (My favorite version is by the Temptations from the movie "What Women Want," a great movie despite critical questions.) A clever conversation between lyrics and melody ensues throughout. The hero/heroine sings about a love that torments exquisitely all day and all night long. Music follows words in their delicious pain. When doubt is felt, the notes express that and you hear uncertainty. This musical exactitude that still contains the freshness of artistry is rare.

August 24, 2007

In Vino Veritas

In wine, there is truth — translated from Latin. What a provocative statement.

Katie Recommends Some Great Summer Wines

If wine is a truth serum, that's one more reason to like it, as far as I'm concerned. Truth is the greatest seducer of all. It's time to list some great wines I've been enjoying that are reasonably priced. Here is my short list from this summer, not in any particular order:

1. Ona, Syrah, Chile, 2005 — about $18 — BUY IT
2. Avalon, Cabernet Sauvignon, California, 2004 — about $10 — BUY IT
3. Armador, Odfjell Carmenere, Chile, 2004 — about $8 — a bargain — BUY IT
4. Duckorn Vineyards, Merlot, California, 2004 — about $50 — expensive — BUY IT
5. Montecillo, Crianza, Spain, 2002 — about $12 — BUY IT
6. Huntington, Petite Syrah, California, 2005 — about $15 — BUY IT
7. One other one I have to get the name of — about $13

Red wines all, these nectars will transport you to a place of tranquil well-being without wiping out your bank account while you're away (except the Duck Horn, which is more expensive). These elixirs are so good, they deserve mention. The "good life" has to include some culinary indulgences.

August 23, 2007

The Right Underpinnings

Recently, I had occasion (a family wedding) to wear a glamorous bare dress.

BCBG Max Azria Dress with the NuBra Underneath
at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

A scientific wonder, the NuBra is a patented product that does what nothing else can, which is to support your boobs without straps of any kind. Kudos to Diana Limjoco at NuBra.net, who was incredibly helpful while I learned the new skill of stick-on boobs. With gorgeous super bare dresses, you can't wear normal lingerie. Wearing nothing underneath is not always an option, depending on the fabric and where you'll be going.

One pair was ruined before I got the hang of how to work with the NuBra. The key to wearing the NuBra is to have the skin where it attaches clean of moisturizer, which you can do by rubbing a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol over your skin. You also have to be sure to wash your NuBra with only pure glycerin soap after every wearing to restore the adhesive.

NuBra makes you a bit bustier than you are naturally, which most women will like. If you want to feel and look beautiful in a bare top, buy one from Diana at NuBra.net. Her prices are the best and her service is unbeatable. Now I can wear drop-dead gorgeous bare concoctions I couldn't consider before. Here's to great products that enhance our fun, design sense and looks.

August 21, 2007

Can Men and Women Be Friends?

When Harry Met Sally is a much-loved movie that addresses this question.

Can Men and Women Be Friends

The couple starts out not even liking each other but put into each other's path by fate. They form a bond, possibly partly because there is not pressure to do so. Years go by and they witness each other's trials and tribulations and a real bond starts to form. They end up realizing they love each other. I like this story and I like the idea. To me, this story backs up my mother's admonition that it makes sense to take it slow, become friends and then see if there's more. But I also happen to think men and women can be friends without the romantic angle. And in fact, right or wrong, I do have several good male friends as well as a boyfriend and the differences are clear.

I've always liked guys. I don't just mean lusted after guys, although I do that too. I have always had a lot of male friends. And I do think that there is often a physical spark that underlies part of the relationship but I do not think it always means that every straight male is just friends with you because they are hoping to score.

Can Men and Women Be Friends

I now have a boyfriend who agrees with me and we both have friends of the opposite sex. He is a very attractive guy. We both know that each other has enough to give to be friends with more than just each other.

Still, I encounter men who tell me that men and women can't be just friends and I sometimes begin to form friendships with men who confuse the situation due to no mixed signals. I'm not making pronouncements, just stating that in my preferred universe, which sometimes occurs on this planet, men and women can share the rich mixture of views, insights and chemistry (without sexuality always) they each have to offer and can make this life a richer experience as a result.

August 16, 2007

Colorful Interior Life

My design career has headed in the direction of interior design recently.

Interior Design

This is a photograph of my gallery / hallway design in my last apartment in Manhattan. My designs are drenched in color, with plenty of open space and beautiful textures, such as Murano glass lamps with ceiling medallions (available from many architectural and hardware resources) and wrought iron details (the flower stand here is from the Gramercy Park Flower Shop).

For those who are interested, the paint-flecked slotted doors attached to the kitchen entry were found in an antique store in New Jersey. The blue over-painted small armoire is from Chester, New Jersey, an abundant antiquing town. The small stool is an Eames classic, available from Design Within Reach. The large mirror is a great value at Pottery Barn. The small lamp is from an antique store with a new shade. The small edge of a corner table you see was designed by me to fit in the corner of my previous apartment's kitchen to make more counter space. The rug is by Susan Sargent, who helped inspire my own rug design collection.

August 15, 2007

Jazz Cats

This kitty is named Mingus, after the great jazz musician, Charlie Mingus.

Charlie Mingus Inspired Kitty

He lives with my boyfriend, David, who is also a jazzy guy, being a trained saxophone player with a vast knowledge of jazz. I'm sure Mingus is an inspiration to David in his musical purrrsuits. Mingus is the color of champagne and he does, indeed, go to your head. Another fantastic feline to soothe our days and help guide our ways.  

August 9, 2007

Animal Magic

I've been fostering a kitty. Here he is:

Cats are fascinating. We cat lovers could observe them all day and night. This kitty, who is exceptionally tall and the sweetest cat I've ever met, was being discarded by a nearby church. He belonged to a retired rector who simply left him when he moved on and the new rector wasn't interested. He was in danger of going to a shelter. He is slated to become pals with my boyfriend's other cat, Mingus (yes, think Charlie and jazz). I will write more about the process of bringing him together with my existing diva kitty. They are both magnificent and so different. These furry creatures teach us a lot.