Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

Biographies / Style Icons Archive

Thursday

29

May 2014

Inspired by: 10 Maya Angelou Quotes

Written by , Posted in Biographies / Style Icons, Quote of the Day

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Maya Angelou. image via Oprah.com

Maya Angelou. image via Oprah.com

Her poetry was beautiful, she was an author several times over, as well as recognized civil rights activist; Maya Angelou was a woman of influence, and her life and words have inspired so many.

Today, I’m reflecting on her impact with 10 Maya Angelou quotes that have inspired me.

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”

“Nothing will work unless you do.”

“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

“You shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.”

“Find a beautiful piece of art. If you fall in love with Van Gogh or Matisse or John Oliver Killens, or if you fall in love with the music of Coltrane, the music of Aretha Franklin, or the music of Chopin – find some beautiful art and admire it, and realize that it was created by human beings just like you, no more human, no less.”

“Among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.”

“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”

“When you learn, teach; when you get, give.”

“All great achievements require time.”

“One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue consistently. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.”

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Monday

5

May 2014

Charles James: Beyond Fashion

Written by , Posted in Arts / Culture, Biographies / Style Icons, Dresses, Fashion, Women

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Charles James, 1952: Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photograph by Michael A. Vaccaro / LOOK Magazine Photograph Collection, Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Look Job 52-1129 Frame-18

Charles James, 1952: Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photograph by Michael A. Vaccaro / LOOK Magazine Photograph Collection, Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Look Job 52-1129 Frame-18

Tonight is the highly-anticipated Met Gala, the annual fundraiser ball for the Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. Besides the amazing (and sometimes over-the-top) fashions displayed on the red carpet, what I love about the annual Gala is that it signifies the commencement of another exciting exhibit at the Museum. This year’s exhibition is entitled Charles James: Beyond Fashion, and is an examination of the illustrious couturier’s career, as well as his often-imitated design methodology.

Charles James "Taxi" Dress, ca. 1932, Black wool ribbed knit The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Alan W. Kornberg Gift, 2013 (2013.309)

Charles James “Taxi” Dress, ca. 1932, Black wool ribbed knit
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Alan W. Kornberg Gift, 2013 (2013.309)

Charles James was born in 1906. He attended Harrow School alongside Cecil Beaton (the famous photographer). James’s designs first caught attention during at a showing in Paris in 1947. He was the father of many firsts in fashion design, including his taxi dress innovation (made first in 1929, given the name “taxi dress” because, according to Costume Institute curator Harold Koda, it was “so easy to wear it could be slipped on in the backseat of a taxi”. Interestingly enough, James had no formal training in fashion design, however he is to this day regarded as one of the most innovative designers of his time.

Charles James Evening Dress, 1948, Black silk satin and black silk velvet The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Millicent Huttleston Rogers, 1949 (2009.300.734)

Charles James Evening Dress, 1948, Black silk satin and black silk velvet
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Millicent Huttleston Rogers, 1949 (2009.300.734)

Charles James: Beyond Fashion will be exhibited in two locations: Both at the Anna Wintour Costume Center as well as on the Met’s first floor. According to Metmuseum.org, the exhibit will include approximately seventy-five of James’s most iconic designs.

I am particularly eager to check out the exhibit this summer, not just because of this years subject, but also because this is first exhibit at the Institute since its renovation. Some of my favourite exhibits from the past several years include the American Woman collection, Alexander McQueen’s “Savage Beauty”, and “Impossible Conversations” with Schiaparelli and Prada.

For more information on Charles James: Beyond Fashion, visit the Met’s official website.

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Wednesday

19

March 2014

Bill Cunningham: Facades

Written by , Posted in Arts / Culture, Biographies / Style Icons

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GM Building, New York City. Photograph by Bill Cunningham, via New York Historical Society.

GM Building, New York City. Photograph by Bill Cunningham, via New York Historical Society.

Cannot wait to check out Bill Cunningham’s Facades exhibit at the New York Historical Society Museum! As much a landmark of New York City streets as the subjects in his photographs, Cunningham has dedicated a lifetime to capturing a whole history of the city’s architecture and fashion scene. What makes his images really stand out is how natural they are; there’s nothing too posed or too expected.

Bill Cunningham: Facades opened last week at the New York Historical Society Museum and runs through June 15. Facades follows Cunningham’s photographic essay of the same name, in which he paired models in period costumes throughout different historical settings throughout the city. Interestingly enough, one of the models featured in Cunningham’s Facades essay was his own muse, Editta Sherman.

Besides the artistic significance, the photographic essay indirectly touches on a pensive period in New York City’s history, where there was a lot of focus on the urban landscape. The collection features 88 prints (which Cunningham originally donated to the Society back in 1976).

Bill Cunningham’s Facades is on exhibit at the Historical Society Museum March 14-June 15, 2014. You can find more information here: http://www.nyhistory.org/

 

 

 

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Friday

7

February 2014

Inspired By: Charles Dickens

Written by , Posted in Biographies / Style Icons, Quote of the Day, Robertson's Reads

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Quote from Nicholas Nickleby.

Quote from Nicholas Nickleby.

British novelist Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812 in Portsmouth, England.

Yes, my friends, today we are celebrating the big 202.

Throughout an incredible career, Dickens penned numerous novels and short stories. His first big success was The Pickwick Papers, which was published under Dickens’s pen name Boz. The Pickwick Papers were printed in a monthly publication, and became a huge phenomenon. Some of Dickens’s other popular works include A Christmas CarolOliver Twist, David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cities, and Great Expectations.

Part of my personal fascination with Dickens’s works is the fact that the characters he created are each so intriguing. Even if you haven’t read any books by Charles Dickens, chances are you likely know who Scrooge is, or David Copperfield, or even Nicholas Nickleby.

Fun facts about Chuck:

  • In addition to his status as a novelist, Dickens served for a time as the editor of the Daily News.
  • Charles Dickens had 10 children.
  • The Pickwick Papers was published in 1837, the same year Victoria became Queen of England.
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Saturday

25

January 2014

Robbie Burns Day

Written by , Posted in Arts / Culture, Biographies / Style Icons, Robertson's Reads

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An excerpt from "Winter Night" by Robert Burns.

An excerpt from “Winter Night” by Robert Burns.

Every year on January 25, thousands and thousands the world over get together in their own ways to remember the great Scottish poet, Robert Burns (January 25 was his birthday). Most popular among the celebrations are Burns Suppers, which come in all shapes and sizes. Some individuals celebrate with a rigid seriousness and incredibly formal dinner affair, while others prefer a more casual evening. I’d venture to say that some people who don’t even know who Robert Burns was use the Bard’s birthday as an excuse to do some heavy partying.

A Burns Supper is usually marked with a traditional Scottish meal — think haggis, clapshot (turnip and potatoes mashed together, otherwise known as ‘neeps and tatties’), and whiskey — and followed after with the recitation of select Burns poems and lyrics. Interestingly enough, I have some friends who in past years have even written their own songs and poems in memory of the Bard.

An excerpt from "Auld Lang Syne" by Robert Burns.

An excerpt from “Auld Lang Syne” by Robert Burns.

For those of you who don’t know, Robert Burns, “Rabbie” as he’s known in his homeland, was one of the original founders of Romanticism (before it actually became a recognized movement). Burns is known as the national poet of Scotland, and for being a brilliant scholar who had a lasting influence on Scottish literature.

It wasn’t until after his death that the idea of Burns Night came into being, and is today celebrated around around the world. In fact, it’s been said that Robbie Burns Day is more celebrated than St. Andrew’s Day (the actual official national day of Scotland).

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Tuesday

31

December 2013

Robertson’s Reads: Wild Tales by Graham Nash

Written by , Posted in Biographies / Style Icons, Reviews, Robertson's Reads

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Graham Nash's Wild Tales

Graham Nash’s Wild Tales: A Rock & Roll Life

As a young boy, Graham Nash loved going to church. He sang in the choir, and even from a young age, it was “all about the music” as he puts it. He also used to sing the Lord’s Prayer every day in school. And he idolized the Everly Brothers. Guess you learn something new everyday. And that’s just within the first few pages of his autobiography, Wild Tales: A Rock & Roll Life.

I’ve never been an avid Graham Nash admirer; no, as most of you are aware, I’ve always been more fond of Neil Young. That being said, I have long been appreciative of Nash’s artistic abilities and curious about his story, and I’m sure that Wild Tales only scratches the surface. Graham Nash had humble beginnings in post-war England (which he testifies left an indelible mark on his mind and shaped his opinionated and outspoken political views), and it was the memory of his father and his mother that pushed him to live for and to do more. Which he did.

After his career was launched with the Hollies, Nash went on to cross paths and perform with some of the greatest names in rock and roll, several of which he considered personal friends: Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, the Everly Brothers, Mick Jagger, David Crosby, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell… you get the point. Nash is quite open about his circle of “friends”, and Wild Tales features no shortage of anecdotes about said friends. From the Hollies to CSN (and even CSNY), Nash divulges details that rock lovers are sure to soak up. He criticizes Neil Young for being “utterly self-centered” when, ironically, it’s Nash who comes across throughout the book as being egotistical and over-confident, what with his no-big-deal-just-naming-names attitude. It’s not until his poignant recollection of intimate, life-altering relationships with Cass Elliot, David Crosby, and Joni Mitchell that Nash’s heart begins to show through.

As he bounces back and forth from childhood to his life in America as a young man, Graham Nash weaves a tale that’s anything but average. “Rock stars”, as we label certain celebrities, live in a different world. It’s as though their every experience is extraordinary — for Nash, thanks due in part to heavy substance use, — and they always seem to have some kind of heightened sense of reality. With the help of his wife and the birth of his three children, it would appear that Nash eventually comes to the realization that a rock and roll life isn’t always what it seems (albeit in a part-cool-part-caution way).

Even as Nash ages, one thing that never grows old is his passion for music, and his love of art and photography. For me, it’s the pages in this book where Nash opens up and expresses his more vulnerable side about exploring his talents, developing his own processes for song-writing, and augmenting his artistic abilities, that truly inspires and makes Wild Tales worth the read.

Wild Tales: A Rock & Roll Life
by Graham Nash
368 pages, Crown Archetype New York, Buy it now on Amazon.ca
 
 

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Friday

22

November 2013

Remembering John F. Kennedy

Written by , Posted in Arts / Culture, Biographies / Style Icons, Quote of the Day

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50 years after the tragic event in Dealey Plaza, we remember John F. Kennedy. More than his incredible personal style (we’ll talk about that later), JFK was an eloquent speaker and an influential leader. Whether Democrat or Republican, no one could deny his power of persuasion.

Kennedy’s words flowed like poetry, and while many attribute his sound speeches to chief speechwriter Ted Sorensen, no one can argue that Kennedy’s words were some of the most prolific of a generation.

President John F. Kennedy on the topic of gratitude.

President John F. Kennedy on the topic of gratitude.

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Friday

3

May 2013

Inspired By: Audrey Hepburn

Written by , Posted in Biographies / Style Icons, Quote of the Day

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Audrey Hepburn Dancing.

It’s fitting that the subject of today’s ‘Inspired By’ subject is Audrey Hepburn, who May 4th would have celebrated her 84th birthday.

Three things we can learn from the late Hepburn:

  1. Choose your words wisely. “You can tell more about a person by what he says about others than you can by what others say about him.”
  2. Give back. Pay it forward. Volunteer. “People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed.”
  3. Nothing is impossible. “The word itself says ‘I’m possible’!”
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Sunday

21

April 2013

Inspired By: Margaret Thatcher

Written by , Posted in Biographies / Style Icons, Quote of the Day

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Get Inspired by Margaret Thatcher

So much more than just a politician, Margaret Thatcher taught us many things throughout her eight decades on Earth. She was not just an incredible example of a strong woman, but of a leader as well, which is why she is a female I am inspired by.

Here are three of the most impactful insights from the Iron Lady:

  1. Do your best work. “What is success? I think it is a mixture of having a flair for the thing that you are doing; knowing that it is not enough, that you have got to have hard work and a certain sense of purpose.”
  2. Keep your heart with all diligence. “To wear your heart on your sleeve isn’t a very good plan; you should wear it inside, where it functions best.”
  3. When it comes to personal style, balance is best. “…You have to have some classics, and then you have to have some things which are nothing like so expensive that you can… change more frequently.”
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Saturday

29

December 2012

Robertson’s Reads: Waging Heavy Peace by Neil Young

Written by , Posted in Biographies / Style Icons, Reviews, Robertson's Reads

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Neil Young's Waging Heavy Peace

Neil Young’s Waging Heavy Peace

Neil Young’s Waging Heavy Peace opens on his Broken Arrow Ranch in California, where he’s opening a gift from wife Pegi and daughter Amber. It’s a locomotive switcher with Lionel markings. For the reader, this could be a “huh?” moment, but as Neil explains, he was just really starting to get back into one of his favourite pastimes, trains, when his son Ben was born. And so the story begins, Neil embarking on his first entry to Waging Heavy Peace, strolling down memory lane to various parts of his past, including details about his relationships with his CSNY and Crazy Horse bandmates, his wife Pegi and his two sons, details of his extensive car collections, his PureTone start-up venture, and so on. Neil even candidly discusses the fact that he’s stopped smoking and drinking, and how at “the straightest I have ever been since I was eighteen”, he’s curious to see how his song-writing abilities will be affected.

Neil navigates back and forth from his past adventures to present-day times, whether he’s sharing melancholic memories of his Dad and his Mom, or presently checking out some of his car collection in the barn at his California ranch. It’s not all really serious, heavy subject matter with Neil. He’s a true hippie, using his musings in Waging Heavy Peace to “slow down”, and his child-like candidness to weave together a web of real-life anecdotes into an entertaining and inspiring life story.

Nothing like laying it all out there. This whole memoir is an experiment of types. And that experiment is what makes Waging Heavy Peace so very, truly Neil. It’s not your typical autobiography, and the fact that each chapter reads more like a blog entry is precisely what makes this such a pleasant piece of work. This book presents Neil Young more as a human than an artist, and his journal-like prose provides readers with a real insider’s view to where he’s been and how that’s directly affecting where he’s at today. If you’re looking for an orderly, chronological account of Neil’s life and times and works, this book is not for you. No, Waging Heavy Peace is more like a gift for the Neil fan who’s interested in Neil as the person, the family man, and the individual.

Now, if only I could get a ride in Lincvolt or be a real-life tester for his PureTone audio system [rebranded to Pono since his book was published].

Waging Heavy Peace
by Neil Young
512 pages, Blue Rider Press, Buy it now on Amazon.ca

 

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