H+'s HIP HOP DANCE INTENSIVE FOR THOSE RESOLVED TO DROP POUNDS LIKE THEIR HOT
BY TAMARA BECK
THE writing is on the wall. In those jeans. And on the scales. Doubtless, our No. 1 New Year's resolution is to drop some of those pounds that have been piling on since Halloween. How to do it, though? With something that goes above and beyond. It is close to flying but you are not completely off the ground. Introducing the New Year's Challenge 2015 from the H+ The Hip Hop Dance Conservatory, or H+, for short. The two-week Hip Hop Dance Intensive (2 Jan.-17 Jan.) is as its name suggests. Of course, there is the weight-loss piece. It is designed to graduate pupils who have better eating habits, who are exercising more and better managing stress. And they should go back out into the world happier individuals. One would hope. (Hurry, fellow procrastinators, late registration deadline is 2 Jan!; $600) Read more: http://www.vevlynspen.com/2014/12/hs-hip-hop-dance-intensive-for-those.html
2013 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE
HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE DAY 1: ‘SENDING YOU A LITTLE CHRISTMAS’ FROM JOHNNY MATHIS
ONE of the voices most associated with the holidays is that of Johnny Mathis. Fans can turn to the venerable and classic “Merry Christmas,” or “Give Me Your Love For Christmas.” Both will please a body who has a love jones for Christmas carols and holiday music. JM fans or fans of sounds of this season can also get their hands on “Sending You A Little Christmas.” It is the crooner’s first holiday CD since 2002’s “The Christmas Album.” In a word, “Sending You A Little Christmas” is smashing. In another word, it is tender. In yet another word (or phrase), it is a classic in the making. (See video at right of the title track). Read more: http://www.vevlynspen.com/2013/12/sending-you-little-christmas-from.html
2012 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE
HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE DAY 11: STUFF FOR THE STOCKINGS
PULL out those sharpies. Here’s an opportunity for you and you and you to decorate your very own Unicorno. With the DIY Unicorno Vinyl Toy, the artist within can turn the little white collectible into a multi-hued creation or as many colors as can be derived from blending sharpies in Adios Black, Bruttino Blue and Stellina Magenta. This is a new deal from Milan-based tokidoki. Could co-founder/artist and lover of many things Japanese Simone Legno be weary of painting/coloring his cute-as-a-button figures and is now handing over the reins to fans? No, not exactly. As anyone who is familiar with the six-year-old lifestyle brand knows, there are a number of other characters that need makeup for the myriad platforms on which they exist. Read more: http://www.vevlynspen.com/2012/12/holiday-gift-guide-day-11-stuff-for.html
HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE DAY 10: 'HAIRDRESSER'S INVISIBLE OIL'
BY ANAISABEL GARCIA
FINALLY ladies, a hair oil that will never leave your hair feeling greasy or dirty! Introducing Bumble and bumble “Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil,” my new hair weapon. Blow drying and ironing hair is either an everyday practice or a chore for some. Taming the frizz can either make or break the hour spent in smoothing out the locks. The "Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil” is a high-performance product that contains a blend of natural oils and extracts. It will leave your tresses feeling soft, giving it a lightweight feel that will have you saying oh la la with every flip of the hair. Personally, I think I’ve tried more than 13 different hair oils in an attempt to tame the frizzies after I iron my hair. All have weighed down and greased up the strands. “Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil" leaves the hair shiny, static and frizz-free with a clean, light scent that is not overbearing. Read more: http://www.vevlynspen.com/2012/12/holiday-gift-guide-day-10-finding-magic.html
HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE DAY 9: DIZZY'S CLUB COCA COLA'S 'HOT FIVES'
BY TAMARA BECK
GRAB a fistful of dollars – at least the ones with Honest Abe on them – take a quintet of officemates or visitors to New York City and head over to that corner where Jazz overlooks Central Park. A nap beforehand is advised, since the Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday sets start at 11 p.m. Once at the “house of swing” as Jazz at Lincoln Center likes to call itself, you and your guests can enjoy these particular late-night jam sessions to the tune of a $5 Cover, $5 Menu and $5 Drinks. Dizzy’s Club Coco Cola calls these sessions “Hot Fives.” You and your crew will call them a treat. Named for legendary jazzman Dizzy Gillespie, Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola is an intimate setting, with curving bamboo walls and soft tones to accommodate live jazz in a lush re-invention of the basement dive. Read more: http://www.vevlynspen.com/2012/12/holiday-gift-guide-day-9-dizzys-club.html
HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE DAY 8: YOGA TWINS & CARRERA Y CARRERA
FROM two very different spectrums on the jewelry continuum issue forth little trinkets that won’t go unnoticed. What started out as a bookmark business in 2005 has in just a few years morphed into a jewelry line of fetching pieces. It is Brooklyn-based Yoga Twins. There is story behind that, too. Meanwhile, Madrid-based Carrera y Carrera has for many years enthralled the world with its exquisite geegaws from artisans extraordinary. So what to do when you've just about done it all? Create your first line of men’s silver cufflinks for everyday wear, of course. Read more: http://www.vevlynspen.com/2012/12/holiday-gift-guide-day-8-yoga-twins.html
HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE DAY 7: ORIGINAL RABBIT CORKSCREW
BY TAMARA FISH
ASK wine lovers if they need a new corkscrew and undoubtedly they’ll say no. They probably have too many already. And if they do, the last thing they’ll want – so they say – is that stupid little rabbit thingy that people keep talking about. Anyone who knows anything about wine knows that the waiter’s wingtip corkscrew is the best: compact, lightweight; it travels everywhere, except when a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agent swears that the dull ½-inch foil clipper can be wielded as a deadly weapon. Who needs another? That was the argument I had with my brother as he pulled out The Original Rabbit Corkscrew by Metrokane. He placed it on the bottle, and in one swift, very cool effortless ergonomic motion. the cork eased out of the bottle. Read more: http://www.vevlynspen.com/2012/12/holiday-gift-guide-day-7-original.html
HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE DAY 6: A MAGIC WAND FROM VUPOINT
BY ANAISABEL GARCIA
THIS is reserved only for the receipt, press clipping and photo hoarders. A magical wand will alleviate the million receipts that live in your purse, wallet and drawers with one simple glide. (See demo video at above.) THE VuPoint Magic Wand Portable Scanner (Model No. PDS-ST415PU-VPS) is a handheld, wireless, battery-operated scanner that scans and saves documents and photos as a PDF. on a microSD chip that can later be transferred to a computer. The wand, which is available at Staples, Best Buy, Target, eBay, Amazon and elsewhere, scans almost anything that is on a flat surface. It also does not take up the desk space that a conventional scanner does. It is also portable; it can be taken on the go, to meetings, or just to keep handy in a drawer. Read more: http://www.vevlynspen.com/2012/12/holiday-gift-guide-day-6-magic-wand.html
HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE DAY 5: BLINKZGEAR BAGS SEND A MESSAGE
THE basic black messenger bag is perfectly serviceable. But every now again a body wants a little more color, right? Red would do the trick. And maybe a print every once in an ol’ while. How to make it happen? Once answer is the Blinkzgear Messenger Bag with Urban+Life Zip Out Covers. You read correctly. It is possible to switch out the cover on that messenger bag if an investment is made in a Blinzkgear and at least one detachable or zip-out cover. Unzip one and zip on another and – voila! – mama or papa's got a brand new bag! The covers are bold and eye-catching in mostly prints. That includes florals, bicycle motif, bull’s eye, old-school record player with album on turntable, racing motifs. Read more: http://www.vevlynspen.com/2012/12/holiday-gift-guide-day-5-blinkzgear.html
HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE DAY 4: 110 YEARS OF CADILLAC IN GLOSSY PHOTOS
“CADILLAC.” Like Madonna and Prince, it only requires one name to be recognized. It is the title of the new book about the iconic American car released by Assouline Publishing. “Cadillac” is the first high-toned book to celebrate this country’s first luxury car. It coincides with the 110th anniversary year of the vehicle that has conveyed both presidents and queens. “Cadillac” is a history of the car told in photographs. And what photographs! Do cast your eyes on the 1904 Cadillac Model B Touring vehicle. It looks like a horseless horse-drawn carriage. Now, take a look at the 2013 ATS. Since founder and engineer Henry M. Leland created the 1902 prototype boasting a single-engine with valve timing and rack-and-pinion steering, Cadillac has come a long way, baby! Read more: http://www.vevlynspen.com/2012/12/holiday-gift-guide-day-4-110-years-of.html
HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE DAY 3: ORNAMENTS W/A LONG HISTORY
BY TAMARA BECK
HERE’S a chance to “hang” with some of your favorite Broadway musical shows. The Playbill Holiday Ornaments is a set of miniature playbill covers from Broadway’s Top 6 longest-running musicals. They come in gold metal and resin with a bright red silk ribbon for hanging on the tree or mantel. Each ornament is 2-3/8 X 3-1/2 and is packaged in a custom-designed gift box, which is convenient for year-round storage. The covers in this inaugural collectible release commemorate ”The Phantom of the Opera,” “Cats,” “Chicago,” “Les Miserables,” “A Chorus Line” and “The Lion King.” Read more: http://www.vevlynspen.com/2012/12/holiday-gift-guide-day-3-ornaments-wa.html
HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE DAY 2: LINKS OF LONDON, PEACEKEEPER CAUSE-METICS MAKING EFFORT
IN theory one could spread the Yum Glaze Strawberry on his or her toast. However, it is recommended that the balm be spread on the lips to provide moisture and sheen. What? Lip balm on toast?!?! Yes, conceivably. The Yum Glaze Strawberry along with Blueberry, Citrus and Raspberry are USDA organic, making them consumable as food, though they were not created to be eaten. The lip balms are from PeaceKeeper Cause-Metics, a newish non-profit cosmetics company that doesn’t use toxic ingredients – "No Nasty Anything!” is it slogan – in its lip balms, Lip Gloss, Lip Paint, Nail Paint, Lip Balm, YUM Balms or Nail Polish Remover. These products have been doing a world of good and can continue to do so, if PeaceKeepr Cause-Metics can pull it off. Read more: http://www.vevlynspen.com/2012/12/holiday-gift-guide-day-2-links-of.html
HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE DAY 1: BIG HELP FOR MODEST NEEDS
“JUST to think that someone would care enough to respond and make my life a little easier after enduring so much loss in the last year is truly touching,” are the sentiments of a Massachusetts single mother of two who needs $240 for bi-focals. An individual who suffers in part from post-traumatic stress syndrome recently landed a job with a forestry agency in Minnesota. Standing in the way of this opportunity is $580 required for commercial liability insurance. These individuals are among the thousands who have turned to Modest Needs for help because it is not available from any other corner. Read more: http://www.vevlynspen.com/2012/12/holiday-gift-guide-day-1-big-help-for.html
2011 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE
PAGETURNERS FOR THE INDIVIDUAL WITH DISCERNING TASTES
COOK, landscape designer and third-generation Georgia gardener James Farmer III (yes, Farmer is his surname) has delivered in “A Time to Plant: Southern-Style Garden Living” ideas and tips for cooking and decorating with what grows in the garden. Bringing his ideas to life are the scenic backdrops that are the homes of family and friends. Taking a page from Ecclesiastes, JF reminds readers that there is a season and a time for everything. That sage advice informs every section in the book. As JF notes in the book’s introduction: “Timing is everything in the garden.” To that end, “A time to …
Make a Plan”: before starting a garden, create renderings of the garden; label and graph out cutting beds; map out a spot for vegetables.
Cut and Arrange: Take hydrangeas, JF’s favorite flower. Cut them early in the morning or at night so the blossoms don’t wilt during the hottest part of the day, especially in high-humidity climes such as Georgia. Submerging the stems in deep water also prevents premature wilting.
To Plant: Foxgloves like fall, while Mums, (aka Chrysanthemums) Asters and Daisies like spring.
For Tea: JF declares that, “Tea is the house wine of the South.” Rather than Lipton, he recommends Chamomile, Lavender, Mint and Rosemary.
Harvest and Eat: “A major aspect of the garden living lifestyle is the understanding of each season’s produce,” JF says. That is, knowing when fruits and vegetables are in season. Late spring and summer in Georgia bring blackberries, then the famous peaches and pecans in the last quarter of the year. Read more: http://www.vevlynspen.com/2011/12/pageturners-for-individual-with.html
CHANCE TO DO A STAR TURN ON THE GREAT WHITE WAY
BY TAMARA BECK
IF you can’t yet make it on Broadway – maybe, just maybe – you make it on Be a Broadway Star, the board game. The new game ($39.95) joins Charades, Monopoly, Clue, Chutes and Ladders as a fun and entertaining way to spend time with family and friends. Unlike in Charades&Co., though, players can find an agent, go to an audition, get the part, win a Tony, sign lots of autographs ... Perhaps even be inducted into the Broadway Hall of Fame.Show business is tough, so no one expects to be an overnight success. Perseverance and luck go hand in hand with talent in hoisting a name up on the marquee. For some aspiring stars, dedication to honing their craft is almost like a calling. For Be a Broadway Star players, it’s just plain fun. Read more: http://www.vevlynspen.com/2011/12/chance-to-do-star-turn-on-great-white.html
GET YOUR SWAGGER ON IN A ... SWACKET? YES!
SOME days a body just wants to mix it up.That’s what convertible clothing is all about – one frock worn several ways. For example, Harputs Own swacket. Made from cashmere, wool, nylon and cotton, the jackets ($375-$800), or swackets, are small wonders. Put one on and wear it open and it is an ordinary, yet stylish shawl-collared affair. One of the secrets is the placement of snap fasteners. Grab the hem of the jacket and wrap it over the shoulders and snap. The result is a jacket with an asymmetrical cowl-neck and lapels. Put it on upside down to create a cowlneck-peekaboo/crisscross-at-the-waist effect. The swackets are designed to be worn in more ways than are shown in the video. Each individual owner is encouraged to unlock the secrets to his/her jacket. The brains behind the outfits is Gus Harput, who sells his creations out of his shop, Harputs of San Francisco, located in the city by the bay. Read more: http://www.vevlynspen.com/2011/12/get-your-swagger-on-in-swacket-yes.html
FIGHTING THE COLD WAR WITH A CHILL COLLABORATOR
BY TAMARA FISH
EXPLORE the world of velvet, that noble winter wrap. Lower a bottle inside, and watch the transformation take place, as if by magic. The thick dark velvet wine bag’s cord winds securely around the bottle, a glint of gold dangling along the shapely silhouette, mysterious and seductive. People nod and smile at an upright velvet sack, held up by nature or a special force from within. Soon their eyes begin to tell another story. Is that for me? What could possibly be inside? Only one hand will extend the richly encased treasure. Only one other hand will greet it. The fingers will brush against the plush softness. A gentle caress will ripple along the palm. The weight of the bottle will recall the hand from its daydream, as it grips the softened glass. For a while, all is still. Suspense lurks. The wine (or spirits) inside must be special to merit such careful presentation. Read more: http://www.vevlynspen.com/2011/12/fighting-cold-war-with-chill.html
PRESCRIBING 'RAW FOR 30 DAYS' & 'FORKS OVER KNIVES'
By JANET COOK NYC Healthy Chick
WHAT will inspire you to change the way you eat, thereby significantly improving your health and prolonging your life? No, not simply to eat healthy for as long as it takes to look better in a bathing suit or to lose those extra pounds or to knock a few numbers off the blood-work results and blood pressure. Are you prepared to make a lifelong commitment to it? Two insightful and powerful documentaries address the health crisis in the United States (and increasingly the world) and offer solutions. They reveal how processed foods are making us sick and what we can do to take back our health – to live healthier, happier and longer lives naturally. Every day, individuals are improving their health and seeing how their lives are transformed by simply eating the way nature intended. Read more: http://www.vevlynspen.com/2011/12/prescribing-raw-for-30-days-forks-over.html
PAUL TAYLOR'S DEMOCRATIC OFFER TO POTENTIAL PATRONS
BY TAMARA BECK
HERE’S an affordable opportunity to finance a piece from a master of vibrant dance. Commissioning a dance work can cost in the many thousands of dollars. Once, only royalty could afford to be patrons of the arts, investing heavily to have masterpieces produced for their pleasure. Now, commoners have that opportunity through January 2012. An investment as small as $5 buys behind-the-scenes views of PT creating his special brand of magic. Read more: http://www.vevlynspen.com/2011/12/paul-taylors-democratic-offer-to.html
PAINTING CHURCHES DESPITE A JAUNDICED EYE
BY TAMARA BECK
HERE’S an opportunity for that dramatic teen to strut his or her stuff in front of a captive audience. Team Play is a seven-session, intensive workshop from Primary Stages workshop. It encourages students to unleash the performer buried deep inside or residing just below the surface. The class, which is geared to 14- to 18-year-olds and begins in January, is led by working theater artists. Playwright-director Eric Holmes and actor-musician Chesney Snow will guide participants through exercises meant to generate theatrical ideas and unlock their skills. Read more: http://www.vevlynspen.com/2011/12/painting-churches-despite-jaundiced-eye.html
2010 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE
IS NO ‘MICHAEL’ PREFERABLE TO A FLAWED VERSION?
THE world, of course, loves and is still mourning Michael Jackson. Is it any wonder, then that the posthumous record, “Michael,” is the word’s No. 1 album at the moment. The release has been the source of controversy because MJ died before it was finished. Critics, including the legendary Quincy Jones and MJ uber-collaborator, believe the record should not have been released for this reason. Many in favor of the release, except for fans, stand to gain financially from its release. Read more: http://vevlynspen.blogspot.com/2010/12/is-no-michael-preferable-to-flawed.html
OBJECTS FROM ANOTHER TIME/PLACE @BUCK HOUSE
BUCK House is a "store" in the Carnegie Hill section of the Upper East Side that is filled with an array of objects - mostly old and ancient - for the home. An extension of the studio of its mistress, Deborah Buck, it is a space in which forms, shapes and colors are constantly moving and changing. The nearly decade-old Buck House is popularly described as an antique shop. True, but only in part. Read more: http://vevlynspen.blogspot.com/2010/12/objects-from-another-timeplace-buck.html
MUCH ON THE MIND AT ‘BRAIN: THE INSIDE STORY’
THE language acquisition table is doing brisk business. It is located in “Your Thinking Brain,” one of seven sections in “Brain: The Inside Story” at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). The ambitious, heavily interactive exhibit relies on the latest information, newest findings/innovations and uses state-of-the-art technology to illustrate its main thrust. Read more: http://vevlynspen.blogspot.com/2010/12/much-on-mind-at-brain-inside-story.html
OPEN WINE: PUT A NEW-FANGLED CORK IN IT!
BY TAMARA FISH
DON’T you hate it when you’ve got seven bottles of decent wine left open after your dinner party? Does it pain your heart to have to choose between finishing a fine bottle of wine and finishing off your liver? Well hello world, there’s no need to suffer. In fact, the solution is quite simple. Read more: http://vevlynspen.blogspot.com/2010/12/put-new-fangled-cork-in-it.html
GADABOUTING WITH LOVE PEACE THEATRE
BY TAMARA BECK
THAT ballet-class taking sister will have plenty of room for her leotard and slippers; the auditioning actor can carry sides, a bottle of water, props and a lot more. The Peace Love Theatre Tote Bags ($20) are the tickets for anyone who needs to schlep things around, which means most everyone. Read more: http://vevlynspen.blogspot.com/2010/12/gadabouting-with-love-peace-theatre.html
‘EATING’ AND ‘FOOD MATTERS’ FOR GOOD HEALTH
TWO of the best documentaries about food in recent years are available on DVD. Both “Eating” and “Food Matters” offer useful, shocking and controversial information – from experts who have no profit motive – about how one can eat one’s way to good health and life longevity. Read more: http://vevlynspen.blogspot.com/2010/12/eating-and-food-matters-for-good-health.html
PEACE LOVE HAPPINESS IN A MAD, MAD WORLD
PANETTONE: NO NUTS/PERFECT AMOUNT OF FRUIT
A WAY OUT OF THE CHAOS FOR THEATER LOVERS
AT HARLEM FLOW, A PREMIUM ON THE UNIQUE
WINNING BIG WITH TIFFANY PLAYING CARDS
TWO KEEPERS FROM RALPH LAUREN BLUE LABEL
2009 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE