Animal intelligence. From an interview with Sheryl Jordan, equestrian director at Salamander Resort and Spa in Middleburg, Va.
“A group of young men came from Baltimore for the day as part of a program at their school, Morgan State University. Many had never seen a horse close up. The men had bristly energy. The horses picked up on their aggressiveness and went into flight mode, galloping hard in circles. They wouldn’t let the men near them. Finally, one man sat cross-legged in front of the horse as a sign of passiveness. The horse eventually softly walked over and put his nose on the man’s head. Another man lay flat on his back; the horse put his head on his stomach. By the end of our session, everyone had tears rolling down their faces. The lesson: In vulnerability lies great strength.
Aspiration. I hope to age gracefully and with some style. I hope to never squash my quirkiness, even when told it’s inappropriate at my age. I hope to make grand entrances wearing funny hats. In short, I hope I will look a little bit like Iris Apfel who, at 93, is still a fashion icon. Asked whether she thought style could be taught, she answered: “No. Fashion expertise, yes. But style has nothing to do with how much you spend on your clothes. The most stylish people I’ve seen in my life were in Naples right after the Second World War. They were all practically in tatters. But the way they threw themselves together and carried themselves, they really looked like a squillion dollars.”
Travel. Matera, a city in the Basilicata region of southern Italy, has been experiencing a Renaissance of sort in the last few years. After the poorest inhabitants were relocated out of their cave-like dwellings in the 1930s to more more apartments, the structures lay fallow for decades. With them, though, gone was all the sense of community that living at close quarters had always meant to the inhabitants of Matera. Well, now the donkeys and cows are gone and the hipsters have taken over: many of the sassi, as these dwellings were called, have been renovated, and tech companies, fancy restaurants and boutique hotels have moved in. A sort of Brooklyn in the heel of the boot. Maybe a stop on my next trip home?
Dinner centerpiece. If you are worried conversation might be stilted at your next dinner party, forego the tablecloth and put the plates right on this table. It will start people talking. I love a lot of what Roche Bobois makes, especially this modular, and very impractical couch that necessitates limber guests and, now, this table. All very much out of my price range but looking and inspiration come free.
Around L.A. Here at C&S we try to avoid meanness. We believe in exercising empathy and practicing the art of being non-judgemental – and we certainly don’t think celebrities are fair game (even when they might deserve it). But when I saw these going up in my town, I had to laugh. The graffiti artist Plastic Jesus placed these parking signs, seven of them, all around Hollywood, even in front of the Kardashians’ clothing store. As he explained to the Hollywood Reporter: “The No Kardashian signs are intended to encourage a dialogue about our obsession with celebrity. The Kardashians are probably the highest profile media celebs. Whenever they leave their home it turns into a media event. What happened to real news about issues that matter? The media and consumer has become lazy.” So, that is the p.c. explanation. Personally, they made me laugh because parking signs are so convoluted in Los Angeles that it takes an average of 5 minutes to figure out if and when one is able to park in a miraculously obtained spot – and I can just imagine the bewilderment of drivers trying to park on Melrose!