Tag Archives: Realized Life

The Row Row Rows Our Boat

Queens of Re-Invention. That’s what they are. The Olsen twins may have had advantages the rest of us did not — they had money and connections almost from the start, which must have come in handy when they decided to make the luxury tee that would launch a brand — but they didn’t build their business by skating by on their wealth and celebrity. They built it the old-fashioned way, by filling a need — for the perfect t-shirt, for luxury basics with elevated design — and doing it better than just about anyone else.

These are hard working women these, with the clarity of vision to cast down their nets where they are, and pull in a mighty load. Mary Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen launched The Row in 2006. Six years later, in 2012, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), the influential fashion industry trade association, crowned The Row 2012 Womenswear Designers of the Year.


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You Should Know About:

I first became interested in Jenni Kayne, the L.A. based fashion designer, when I read about the monthly, lunchtime cooking classes she and nutrition guru Pamela Salzman host in Kayne’s Los Angeles home. I was so taken by Kayne and Salzman’s easy, stylish way of turning their friends on to eating — and preparing — simple, elegant meals made from locally sourced, unrefined and largely plant-based ingredients. As a former vegetarian, I loved their sense of moderation. While plant-based foods predominate their menus, meat is not off the table by any stretch. And as someone who just loves life, I fell deeply, madly, platonically in love with Kayne, who’s living the kind of robust, authentic, fully-realized life I aspire to.


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Billy Reid’s Shindig

Billy Reid: Southern Hospitality on Nowness.com.

The life of Florence, Alabama-based womenswear and menswear designer Billy Reid is so insanely beautiful, authentic and inspired it’ll have you wanting to decamp to some sleepy town in the Deep South…if only to prove that it isn’t so sleepy after all. Florence Alabama alone, which the New York Times dubbed the fashion capital of the deep South (never mind that moniker only shows up in the Google search, and never in the article itself). Florence alone is home to Billy Reid and filmmaker turned designer Natalie Chanin’s Project Alabama, (since re-dubbed Alabama Chanin), the fashion house that found its place in the fashion firmament by combining high fashion with a community revitalization project that employs local women ages 20 to 70, former factory workers, retired teachers, widows, stay-at-home moms, and secretaries who help sew Alabama Chanin’s one-of-a-kind, handmade garments. Alabama Music Hall of Fame is just down the highway, and if you stop on in, you’ll learn a thing or two about Alabama native son Hank Williams and the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, which influenced the sounds of Aretha Franklin and so many more. You’ll even find a Frank Lloyd Wright house right there in Florence, the only one of its kind open to the public in the deep South.

But I digress. There’s a whole world of riches in the Deep South — and just about any place if you look with an open mind. But this is about Billy Reid. Billy’s life is a living example of what a fully realized life can look like — and a reminder that sometimes our best life can only be accessed by riding the stormy waves that life sometimes brings until it carries us to some new shore. Billy rode his wave to Florence, Alabama, where he hosts his annual Shindig each year. One of these days, Billy Reid is going to invite me to his Shindig. Until then, I’ve got this video from Nowness.com, one of the most inspired destinations on the Web.


One. Because, when his business failed on the heels of an economy turned south, Reid and family packed up and moved his family to that deeper, sweeter South.

Two. Because Reid created a new reality — and invited us all along.

Three. Because, in rebuilding his business, Reid rose like a Phoenix from the ash.

VIDEO BY Nowness.com

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Revel Wisdom:
Find Out Who You Are

At the end of the day, what we all really want is to live the life we came here for, the life that reflects who we really are under the layers of fear that keep us bound to the gods of external validation long after we’ve lost our faith. Losing your faith can be as simple as learning that the longed-for thing did not bring the satisfaction we sought. Consider the words from Tom Brady, speaking on 60 Minutes with 3 Super Bowl rings to his name. He said, “there has to be more than this.”


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