Wednesday, April 28, 2010

9 By Design: SoHo, Vintage Eclectic: Make Good on Your Dreams

Last night was the second airing of Bravo TV's new reality series, 9 by Design, a show dedicated to the lives of Robert and Cortney Novogratz, their seven children, and their eighth "baby"; their business, Sixx Design. (Bravo TV show is called 9 by Design.)

This couple is NOT by any means, the Duggars. Cortney is a wonder-woman able to pull off raising the lot of children while running and managing a super successful real estate design business. She amazes me. She is 'New York busy', but in a very friendly relatable way. She softens the hustle bustle with her subtle southern accent and charm. She is the antidote to the harshness that is what is perceived with working with a Downtown New York business. Part of the reason that they are so successful with their family life and business life, is that they are one and the same. I believe this to be the key to their success.

Sixx design has been renovating and redecorating homes and businesses for over 10 years. Cortney and Robert have a book available on (list price $29.70); where you can find a lot of innovative decorating and design ideas.

Last night's show was fun to watch as Robert deals with a client who has an extremely tight budget and has to call in Cortney to warm him up to the idea of putting up more money in order to demolish an eyesore of a bar that ruins the whole vision of their redesign.

Last night's episode also offers a glimpse of the family's personal life as the Novagratz's plan for the Christening of their seventh baby, Major. Major is quite possibly one of the CUTEST babies I have ever seen, with the exception of my two gorgeous boys, but I digress. Viewers get to see the spiritual side of the Novogratz family and how they relate to friends and family members in their life.

I think that this show has potential to have a huge following of people who are drawn to the personalities of the family, relating to the dynamic of Robert and Cortney, their children, and how to run a family business. A lot of their design ideas are easily implemented in any setting with a little creativity and muscle. The Novogratzes show us that anything is possible no matter what your family circumstances are or are not, that you can have your own vision and follow it, and most importantly that our dreams are life on own terms, NOT someone else's. Make good on your dreams!!!!

9 by Design can be seen on cable's Bravo Network @ 10pm on Tuesday nights.
Full episodes and fun clips can be found @
Visit the couple's website
You can follow Robert and Cortney on Twitter @

Monday, April 26, 2010

Cover Girl Blast Line Review Coming Up for BzzAgent.Com

I will be working on Cover Girl Blast Eye Shadow/Lip Gloss campaign for I will be reviewing the products on my Blog! Please post your opinions of the product if you have tried them! Thanks so much. XO J.

Flee Bags::: LOVE Them!!

During the summer of 2007, after a 9 year hiatus from the Boston area, I fell upon the most DARLING handbag shop in the town of West Newton, MA called "Flee". Intrigued by the beautiful window display, I ventured in and was very excited by the concept of these cool bags, totes, laptop cases, and picnic coolers.The small store was jam packed with the most beautiful bags; all made from oilcloth, a practical, water repellent fabric that is perfect for women on the go; career women, women with children, all women. Made from a real USABLE fabric, the oilcloth is one that looks beautiful and can be wiped down in the event of an any spillage or the times that an errant lipstick manages to mark the inside of your bag.
Forest Backpack $96.00

Grenadine Mini-Flee $58.00
In addition to their practicality and beauty, Flee Bags have a very retro, yet stylish vibe. The "Flee" name comes from the owner's use of practicality: bags in which you need to "flee", to run, to be on the go..these bags are perfect for that purpose! I'm sure that there are women that you know or possibly yourself that would love to own a backpack, tote, makeup bag or even lunch box from Flee.
Flee Bags have left their little nook in West Newton, and are now centered in Chicago, but most of their sales are now online at:

Saturday, April 24, 2010

9 By Design: A Must Watch Show for Anyone Interested in Interior Design

Robert and Cortney Novogratz believe that you can bring charm to any four walls. They have renovated some pretty uncommon spaces and made them into charming, creative and more importantly, LIVABLE homes. Robert and Cortney can do this, because they are not common people. They are risk takers; they have the ability to see what others don't, to find the beauty and potential in a condemned building, a old gun factory, a once popular bar...anything has the potential to become beautiful, useful and livable.

This is what I love about this couple and their business, 9 by Design. (Now a reality TV series on cable channel Bravo.) Oh, and this couple, they have 7 (SEVEN) kids (within the group there are two sets of twins). I am in awe of this family, their creativity, their bravery and tenaciousness. If you have any interest in building, real estate, or interior design, then this show is for you!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Kelly Cutrone Bluefly Video "Boyfriend Style" T Shirts and Jeans

Kelly Cutrone is one of my favorite PR/Fashion people. She is very honest and certainly does not ever hold back her opinions. Here she gives her fashion advice on the whole "Boyfriend" is only Kelly can deliver!

Justine Bateman and Her Thoughts on Fame

For those of you who do not know, Justine Batemen is a actress, producer, writer and fashion designer. She experienced fame at a very young age, co-starring in the 80's hit sitcom "Family Ties" as Mallory, sister to Micheal J. Fox's character, Alex Keaton. She comes from a entertainment industry family; brother Jason is a well known actor, father Kent is founder of a repertory stage in Hollywood.

Justine is no stranger to fame. What separates Justine from many of her contemporaries is how she has handled that "cloud" of fame over the years. As she explains it the video below, she gives her philosophy on the matter and how it relates to each of us; famous or not. Justine is one of those unique people, who truly are real, raw and unapologetic. We need more people like her in the media. She is an honest voice.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Interview With Cynthia McGrath: Entrepreneur, Designer and Owner of Original Cyn Jewelry

Cynthia Cox McGrath knew since graduating from college that she could not work for someone else. Evident in her free spirit; she started crafting seed bead necklaces and sold them at Grateful Dead and Phish concerts. Through her love of fashion, design and creativity coupled with her never give up attitude and belief in her products, Cynthia has created a successful business for herself where she can create her own hours, design what inspires her, and call her own shots.

She spends her summers on beautiful Martha's Vineyard off the coast of Massachusetts, where she sells her jewelry and gets to showcase her designs to islanders and celebrity visitors as well!

I recently had the opportunity to ask Cynthia a few questions about how her business started, what inspires her, and who she has met along the way.

When did you start designing jewelry?

Sometime around 1989 I started designing seed bead necklaces. I called them Love-Beads, and I sold them at Grateful Dead and Phish concerts. I used to weave hemp jewelry with funky beads while on the road. I'd buy a poster board and pin them on, and walk around the parking lots for hours. I'd have a change pouch and would sometimes trade my jewelry for concert tickets, handmade clothes or even a grilled cheese! The best part was, watching someone walking by smiling or dancing, wearing something I made.

I am always asked where I went to art school. I didn’t. But I studied business, marketing and management. I knew that I wanted to be self employed in business before I started designing jewelry. I have too much of a rebellious streak to work for someone else, or to be told just how to do something. I have my own way and am completely self taught. I just make what comes naturally to me. Techniques I've learned from just trying everything.

I have always loved fashion. Even as a child. It may have come from having to wear a plaid uniform to school as a child. And a uniform for summer camp. When ever I got the chance to wear whatever I wanted, I’d put crazy outfits together. Having fun with the freedom of choosing for myself. My mother used to call me a rag-a-muffin. Dresses with sneakers, that sort of thing. At ten years old I went through the family's attic of old clothes and shoes. I put price tags on them, and set up a shop in the foyer of our house. I created invitations and went door to door around the neighborhood inviting neighbors to my shop.

When did you officially start your business?

1992. I had just moved to Martha’s Vineyard and I set up a little pushcart at a busy intersection near the ferry. I also set up at flea markets and small art shows. I had maybe $20 in the bank. I have never borrowed a dime from anyone for my business. Ever. And I am very proud of that. I started literally, from the ground up, with ideas and dreams in my head. I've worked my way up.

How did your business name come about?

I thought of the name when I was traveling by myself in Indonesia. I was walking on a beach
in Bali staring out at the ocean and listening to "Tango" by Patty Larkin my walkman. There's a line, "kind of like Original Sin" and I thought –that’s it! I still have it written down in an old journal – "I am going to name my business Original Cyn". People love it and they remember it. It's a little about guilty pleasures; its lustful, like commiting a sin. Some women feel guilty treating themselves. But they shouldn't.

Necklace from the Sty'land Collection Surfing Betty $105.00 Original Cyn

Which are your favorite pieces?

My favorite is usually the one I just finished. The latest design. The only similarity between any of my pieces is that they're well made. I only get about four pieces a year that need to be restrung or fixed in some way. I think that says a lot.

What's unique or unusual about your jewelry design?

I rarely draw or sketch a piece. Its spontaneous. I start grabbing materials and it starts. I work with some very unusual materials. I've been working with snake vertebrae for years. Resin plated in sterling silver. I mix plastic and 22K gold vermeil. Beetles wings. Buffalo teeth. Glow-in-the-dark glass. I like my pieces to be versatile. Something you can wear with jeans, or a dress.

One thing I try to do is to keep changing my jewelry to keep it fresh. I think that’s why I have so many repeat customers. I have new jewelry all the time. I never make the same piece more than once, so everytime you see me – I have new! One thing about beading for me is it never gets old. There are so many colors and textures in beads that you just can’t get from other mediums. I am all about color. If I ever get sick of it, I’ll move on. But I don’t believe beading is a ‘stepping stone’ to other mediums. Not for me at least.

Anyone we know wearing your jewelry?

Goldie Hawn and Kate Hudson have some of my pieces. Michelle Obama has a necklace of mine. Meg Ryan was recently checking out my work.

What exposure / encounters have you had with high profile VIPs and the like?

I think the first high profile person to buy from me was Alan Dershowitz and his wife Carolyn. They both really like my work and have been buying from me for over 10 years. I also became friends with their daughter Ella, who was also at the time getting interested in jewelry making. I’ve seen Bill and Hillary Clinton at Flea Markets, Michelle Pfeiffer, Bruce Willis, few others.

Who, or what inspires you?

I see beauty in a lot of things. Even broken glass in a parking lot. Foiledcandy wrappers. I use all my senses for inspiration, to combine colors,personalities, the sounds of nature, music, the rhythm of machinery, the curves of a staircase. Being around friends, many of whom are painters,ceramicists, potters, is very inspiring too.

Getting compliments from customers is inspiring too. My favorite is "your jewelry is SO Rock and Roll!" I am always listening to music when I’m working. Usually pretty loud, ha. And I have music at shows all the time too. I think they sort of go together.

I want my jewelry to remind people of what makes them unique. No two people are exactly alike, so why should my jewelry be? If jewelry is a sign of self expression, then my jewelry says "I’ve got my own style." Sometimes when I’m making a piece -- or I have just finished one -- I think, I can’t wait for this person. I can’t wait to see who this was meant for. I'll know it when I see them. And especially when I see the look on someone’s face when they're looking in the mirror and I see their face light up. I love making people feel like their bringing out their inner beauty and making them realize how special they are.

Cynthia's beautiful creations can be found on her site:

She travels regularly to jewelry shows throughout the Northeast during the winter months and spends her summers on Martha's Vineyard, MA.

You can follow Original Cyn on her twitter page: or become a fan on Facebook.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Kitty Kills the Bill and Ode to Pet Names

Our cat, Sammy; whom I have re-named Tiny, goes nuts on our most recent cable bill. I always seem to do this; re-name my creatures as their personalities evolve. We had two dogs an American Eskimo that my cousin and I found together back in the early 90's when we lived together in Boston. We wanted to name him 'Benjamin' after our late grandfather, so we gave our beloved Eskie the name, only to call him 'BJ'. Well, suffice to say, the conclusion our in the gutter male and (some female) friends immediately jumped to oral sex jokes, we just brushed it off. Then one day while watching tv, we started calling the dog; 'bejuz Philbin'. Regis Philbin was a TV star even back; we unofficially started calling him 'Philbin'.

My next dog, a regal looking Belgian Tervuren we named 'D'Artagnan', after the noble French Musketeer who defended the King of France during the seventeenth century against the evil Cardinal Richelieu in Alexander Dumas' epic classic tale. "Tous pour un, un pour tous" (All for One and One for All).

While D'Artagan was too long and effected for most to say easily, his name was shortened to 'Dart' and then 'Tachie' (even too complicated for me to explain in this post.)

Do you re-name your loved ones? Your pets? I always seem to do this. Even with my children. A habit which I am sure will one day embarrass them to no end....thank you for reading and enjoy the video !


Friday, April 2, 2010

Surfacing Trend: Pleated Tanks; What do you think?

Draped Front Pleated Tanks; are they pleated in the right places or in the wrong ones? It would depend on your body type, but I think these tanks could be extremely flattering for most people. Please let me know if you have tried them on or if you have seen them on others and how they look. Available at

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Rachel Ashwell: Shabby Chic Classic Comfort Never Dissapoints

Photo: Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic

Heavenly Comfort. Beautiful Simplicity. California Casual meets the English Countryside. Rachel Ashwell's shabby chic has gone much farther than collecting antiques and flea market finds. She's shown us a mindset, a way of looking at our worlds in a simple, relaxing, yet elegant way.

What makes Ashwell's method of designing so appealing to me especially, is the fact that as long as you spend some money on the basics; a good sofa, comfy armchair,an ottoman, the rest of the things you need to decorate a house can be acquired on the cheap. As long as you slipcover your finds in unifying colors, you will never go wrong. White is Rachel's canvas for her design, and I believe you can never, ever misstep by having things all white. But there is a danger here, I don't mean the "blah" basic apartment white. There IS a difference. There are MANY shades of white, it has many tones. You can play with these tones in your scheme and make a beautiful space for yourself and your family.

Slipcovers are family and pet friendly. You don't have to worry about spilled drinks from kids, (or party happy sloppy adults either!) when you can simply whip off the cover and throw it in the wash. Pet hair problems are easily remedied this way as well. I find most of my slipcovers on e-bay. There is a wealth of choices online this way and they sell covers from Pottery Barn and Surefit for a fraction of the price.