Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the 42nd Annual Toronto International Film Festival But Were Afraid to Ask (or didn’t know to ask)



Director Garth Davis with the Cast & Crew of "Lion" at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival


The Toronto International Film Festival (aka TIFF) was originally conceived in the 1970s as a festival for the public. While it has grown in size and has corporate sponsors and industry folk at screenings, it prides itself as having its grand prize not be chosen by a jury but by the people. The Grolsch People’s Choice Award has gone to recent Oscar contenders including Slumdog Millionaire, The Kings Speech, and La La Land.  Although NYC is home to the New York Film Festival and the Tribeca Film Festival, they don’t have the true scope of TIFF which screens over 300 films from around the world.

Since 2012, I have been attending TIFF annually.  Some friends of mine had been going to the festival as attendees (they are not in the industry) every September for some time now, so I thought why not?  Toronto is a 90 minute flight (friendly tip: if you can easily get to Newark Airport, take Porter Airlines to the Billy Bishop Airport, forget Pearson.  It's also fun to have spotted Ralph Fiennes, Cynthia Nixon, Susan Sarandon and director Rebecca Miller on my Porter flights) and the favorable exchange rate makes the trip to Canada more affordable.  There are also plenty of condos in downtown Toronto that can be rented on Airbnb.

Besides the easy access (as long as you have a valid passport) and the exchange rate, Toronto is a beautiful city to visit in September.  Although the weather can be unpredictable, generally it’s typical early fall weather.  The city itself has a similar energetic vibe as NYC, and its ethnic diversity means lots of great restaurants.  The TTC subway offers an easy way around town to the festival venues. As a New Yorker who doesn’t drive, not needing a car to get around is a plus in any city. If you need a car, Uber operates in Toronto and there are plenty of taxi cabs around.  

In order to attend the festival, it makes sense to join TIFF as a member to get advanced ticket sales.  There are many membership tiers depending on budget, but part of the donation is tax deductible when you join American Friends of TIFF. Ticket sales are generally a two-step process with ticket packages on sale to members in late May but once purchased, packages aren’t redeemed until late August, after the official schedule is released.

One of the more frustrating aspects of planning for the festival is making up one’s schedule.  With 10 days of programming and 100s of films, the process can be daunting. (I usually only attend the first few days, which makes it more intense). There are a few unofficial sites (such as TIFFR) that have popped up to aid in this process, since the official site is not very user friendly.  When scheduling films, things like travel time between venues, fitting in time for meals and sleep must be considered! 

In the past few years, I’ve seen many good films (The Theory of Everything, Arrival, Lion, Only Lovers Left Alive), excellent documentaries (Citizen Jane, Miss Sharon Jones) and seen plenty of A list talent do Q&A’s following their films (Tom Hiddleston, Elisabeth Moss, Jason Bateman, Emma Watson, Nicole Kidman, Ewan MacGregor, and Eddie Redmayne among others). 

The initial slate of films is usually announced in July, so watch this space for more updates and my wish list of films.  This year’s festival runs from September 7-17, 2017.

#FILM #LALALAND #LION  #socialMedia #filmFestival   #Toronto  #TIFF #Canada #TIFFR

Friday, May 26, 2017

Happy 150th Memorial Day America, Monday, May 29, 2017

This blog is an update from previous Memorial Day blog posting. Enjoy!

Happy 150th Memorial Day Weekend America!


“We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies." 
 ~~ Moina Michael (aka Poppy Lady)
U.S. professor and humanitarian who vowed to always wear a red poppy as a symbol of remembrance for those who served in the war. In 1915, inspired by the poem "In Flanders Fields," Moina Michael replied with her own poem, We Shall Keep the Faith, November 1918


In Flanders Fields by John McCrae 
In Flanders Fields the poppies blow,
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky,
The larks, still bravely singing, fly,
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead.
Short days ago,
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved and now we lie,
In Flanders Fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe
To you, from failing hands, we throw,
The torch, be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us, who die,
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow,
In Flanders Fields. 


We all seem to forget that we celebrate Memorial Day for the many service members who have lost their lives serving our country. Memorial Day is one of the special times of the year to honor loved ones who have passed and "In Flanders Fields" reminds us of those who have died protecting our country and freedom.

FASHION TRENDS ON MEMORIAL DAY 
 Memorial day marks the first day of the year for white-wear. The traditional fashion trend, “no white before Memorial Day or after Labor Day” gained popularity as the wealthy began wearing white in the summer. 


Light clothing was the symbol of leisure and black and navy were always the norm for the working class. This fad continued until years later as many began replacing white pants with the likes of bold solids and floral prints, pastel jungle prints, red jumpsuits, neon pink and cobalt sun dresses. 





I was fortunate to receive this 
article from one of my very 
dearest cousins about our late 
fathers and their 2 brothers 
(total 7 brothers, 1 sister).

All 4 brothers served during WWII. We were blessed as all 4 survived; However we always remember those soldiers who sacrificed their lives. 


FASHION FOR MEN TOO THIS MEMORIAL DAY 
 For all you men out there, check out GQ for ways to wear white on Memorial Day, Three Ways to Wear White on Memorial Day http://www.gq.com/style/blogs/the-gq-eye/2015/05/memorial-day-three-ways-to-wear-white.html 


What to do in NYC on Memorial Day weekend 

► Memorial Day weekend events in NYC, TimeOut http://www.timeout.com/newyork/things-to-do/memorial-day-weekend-events-in-nyc?package_page=36341
Best beaches near NYC http://www.timeout.com/newyork/attractions/best-beaches?package_page=36341
► The best NYC parks, TimeOut http://www.timeout.com/newyork/parks?package_page=36341
► Memorial Day Parade, NYCCO.com
► New York Memorial Day Weekend Events https://www.eventbrite.com/d/ny--new-york/memorial-day-weekend/
► Best Things to do in NYC, NYCtrip.com
► How to Observe Memorial Day , http://www.usmemorialday.org/observe.htm 


HISTORY OF MEMORIAL DAY 
 The first Memorial Day celebration traces back to May 30, 1868. Memorial Day honors men and women who fought for our country so that we can all be free. 

Originally coined "Decoration Day," Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service. Memorial Day is less about barbecues and more about celebrating our nation’s veterans. Don't forget -- raise your flag half-staff -- honor more than one million Americans who gave their lives in service of this country for our freedom. 

Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states.

The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war). It is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 - 363) to ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays), though several southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead: January 19 in Texas, April 26 in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi; May 10 in South Carolina; and June 3 (Jefferson Davis' birthday) in Louisiana and Tennessee. 

Memorial Day Fashion Trends 

► Enjoy the Long Weekend with Memorial Day Fashion Finds on Glamour.com http://www.glamour.com/fashion/blogs/dressed/2015/05/memorial-day-fashion-sales-2015
► What To Wear For Every Kind Of Memorial Day Weekend http://www.luckyshops.com/article/memorial-day-outfits
► Do You Have to Wait Until After Memorial Day to Wear White? | http://ksoo.com/do-you-have-to-wait-until-after-memorial-day-to-wear-white/?trackback=tsmclip
► Moina Bell Michael: the Idea for the Flanders Fields Memorial Poppy 

Other Resources 

USmemorialday.org
Memorial Day Calendar 
Memorial Day History 
► How to Observe Memorial Day
► Buddy Poppy
► The Story Behind the Poppy
► InflandersFields-YouTube
► InflandersFields-YouTube 


Please share this on your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media networks you enjoy! Thanks for visiting.

Wishing you and yours a wonderful Memorial Day weekend.

All photos courtesy of Wikimedia unless otherwise indicated.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

“News and Shoes” – NYWICI Panel at Time Inc. HQ



NYWICI's "News and Shoes" Panel

New York Women In Communications (NYWICI) held their annual meeting at Time Inc. on May 24th where incoming President Meredith Long, Sr VP/GM –News, Luxury and Style, moderated a panel called “News and Shoes.” The panel featured two Time Inc. executives; Laura Brown, the new Editor-in-Chief at InStyle and Nancy Gibbs, the first woman Editor-in-Chief at Time.

Gibbs, a 2016 Matrix Award recipient, told a fascinating story where she was recently invited to the White House to meet with President Trump.  She said that the President spent almost 20 minutes discussing the size of his inaugural crowds, insisting that the crowd was the largest ever, even bringing in photographic evidence to prove his point. By contrast, she has met with other Presidents in the past who spent the time discussing new policy or issues they were interested in.

Nancy Gibbs (right) discusses her meeting with Trump
Brown, a native Australian, had just returned from a trip to Sydney to cover her homeland’s fashion week.  She also divulged that her fellow Aussie and friend, Nicole Kidman, will be on July’s cover.  She gushed that Kidman is enjoying her career resurgence as she turns 50 with several prominent films and her hit HBO series, “Big Little Lies.”

Brown also discussed the editorial path InStyle has taken under her direction.  Whereas she referred to their previous philosophy as “Cashmere and Malibu,” the magazine is now tackling more serious issues with a political bent.  She points to a recent profile of ACLU members or discussing activism with their celebrity cover stars as examples.

Brown discussed the impact of social media and her Instagram, saying that it’s essentially “a magazine of your life." She and Gibbs also talked about how female journalists are more likely to be harassed on social media than male journalists.

Gibbs discussed the current political climate and the proliferation of “fake news.” She feels a strong responsibility to bring facts to light but also run stories that male editors may ignore such as the implications of subjects such as artificial intelligence, depression and anxiety in teenagers, and immunotherapy.

She also spoke about the despair that many Americans feel about the political system and how Trump won the election.  There is a desire of many to “blow up the system” and they see him as the person to do that.  This feeling is not going to disappear, no matter who is in the White House. 

The panel concluded with a picture of Trump’s recent visit to the Vatican and Gibbs said she would’ve loved to be a fly on the wall in that room.  Having met both Pope Francis and the President, she described them as their own distinct “weather systems.”



#NYWICI, #MeredithLong, #InStyle #NancyGibbs #socialMedia #blog #article #NewsAndShoes #AndreaGoldstein #Time #Matrix, #Trump

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Red Carpet Style with Hal Rubenstein at the Museum at FIT



Hal Rubenstein at FIT

Hal Rubenstein’s LinkedIn profile headline is Writer, Designer, Consultant, Critic, Speaker, Educator, and Brand Facilitator.  Perhaps most well known as InStyle’s Founding Editor for two decades, he was more than qualified to speak about Red Carpet Style at the Museum at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) on Tuesday, May 16th. Reading passages from his 2011 book 100 Unforgettable Dresses he engaged the audience with stories of fashion moments that made certain Hollywood women famous.


Think of Nicole Kidman in chartreuse John Galliano for Dior at the 1997 Oscars, Jennifer Lopez in the deep v Versace gown at the 2000 Grammys, and more recently Lupita Nyong’o at the 2014 Golden Globes in red Ralph Lauren.  These are all examples of what Rubenstein refers to as “the right dress on the right woman at the right time creates this memorable moment that influences how we see beauty, how we see femininity.”  These women, along with their stylists created iconic moments on the red carpet that established them as style stars.


Rubenstein talked about the evolution of the red carpet at the Oscars, which orginally didn’t exist as a fashion runway, but a simple entrance for stars to get into the building.  He started his lecture with a picture of Elizabeth Taylor at the 1976 Oscars in a red strapless Halston gown.  The only pictures or video of her in the dress was on stage. Only in the late 80s did the red carpet become a big deal when designers such as Giorgio Armani offered to “dress” stars for the Oscars, including Susan Sarandon, Jodie Foster and Michelle Pfeiffer.  

He went on to discuss other actresses who had their red carpet moments in the past two decades including Halle Berry, Tilda Swinton, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Lawrence and Lady Gaga. In 2017, the concept of a red carpet goes beyond award shows.  With social media everywhere and entertainers Instagramming their every move, any opportunity to be photographed is an opportunity to create a fashion moment.  Rubenstein said that stylists are now putting together 150-200 outfits per junket to choose from when their client is promoting a project.

Rubenstein also decried the obsession with young celebrities such as Selena Gomez, Emma Stone, Taylor Swift and Emma Watson.  While he says they rarely make fashion mistakes, they are not creating style moments.  He closed his lecture instead with a radiant Jane Fonda on a 2015 red carpet in a blue Versace gown, celebrating that she will be 80 on her next birthday.



Hal Rubenstein at FIT

A Q&A was held after the lecture, where Rubenstein talked about fashion (ephemeral) vs. style (permanent), his love for Uniqlo jeans, and the state of retail vs. ecommerce.  He said that ecommerce has its place but so does a well curated physical store where the staff know each item well and the element of surprise and discovery still exists. 


@nydigitalmarket @hal_rubenstein @InStyle @NYMag @NYTimes @NewYorker, #Fashion, #FIT, #NYC #RedCarpet #Instyle, #Designer, #BrandFacilitator




Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy 103rd Mother's Day America! Enjoy this easy 1-2-3 cookie recipe

This Mother's Day blog post has been updated from previous Mother's Day blog posts. Enjoy!
Did you know  Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey's favorite twitter account is his mom, Marcia Dorsey  @marciadorsey?  Marcia Dorsey 


"A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world. 

And candy!

You take a box to Mother—and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment."
 ~~ Anna Jarvis, Founder of the Mother's Day holiday in the United States, on the true meaning of mothers.







Photo left, photo collage of my mom to celebrate Mother's Day.







Photo right (courtesy of Wikipedia) of The International Mother's Day Shrine was designated a National Historic Landmark October 5, 1992. T

he Shrine, constructed in 1873 is located at Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church at 11 E. Main Street in Grafton West Virginia. Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church also called the "mother church" of Mother's Day, was incorporated as the International Mother's Day Shrine on May 15, 1962, as a tribute to all mothers.



Will update Google doodle for this year when ready. In the meantime, enjoy this lovely, bicycle-themed doodle (May 2014).
Happy 101st Mother's Day America

Below is MD blog post from 2015. Enjoy!

Happy 101st Mother's Day America
Mother's Day, this year is Sunday, May 10th and always a great day to celebrate love, friendship and moms.

Did you know that U.S. President Woodrow Wilson in his 1914 presidential proclamation, by the U.S. Congress proclaimed the very first Mother's Day celebration?

Mother's Day was originally created by Anna Marie Jarvis in 1907 when she had a memorial to celebrate her Mother, Ann Jarvis who passed away on May 12, 1905. Anna's mother Ann Jarvis had founded Mothers' Day Work Clubs in five cities to improve sanitary and health conditions. The Mothers' Day Work Clubs also treated wounds, fed, and clothed both Union and Confederate soldiers with neutrality. Anna Marie Jarvis never married and had no children. She and her sister Ellsinore became disappointed with the commercialization of Mother's Day. They spent their family inheritance campaigning against what the holiday had become. Both died in poverty.

Yellow roses are very popular on Mother's Day as they indicate joy, gladness, friendship and "I Care?" Our way of remembering and celebrating is sharing our photo of beautiful bouquet of 2 dozen yellow roses my husband and I presented to our mom in May 2011. And I like to share her special cookie recipe.


As a child my mother would often bake all sorts of foods, pies, desserts, cakes and cookies. One of my favorite, all time cookies is a famous Italian cookie called "Anginette" (aka Anginetti), in the USA popularly called "Lemon Drop Cookies." The great thing about this cookie is that it is popular all year round and with just a few ingredients, anyone can prepare and bake this great cookie in less than 30 minutes. {Photo left, mother and photo below right me and mom on our Wedding Day, March 2008)

I use to always enjoy rolling the dough into extra long cigar shapes and coiling the cookie into 2 and 3 tiers high with my mother. The sky is the limit in regards to creativity; although Anginetti are delightful plain they are lovely and appetizing garnished with frosting and sprinkles. The prep time including rolling the dough into cigar shapes was slightly less than 15 minutes and it baked in 8 minutes. I try to bake these as much as I can. I once baked Anginettes and decided to bring in a tray for an early meeting where I was leading a direct marketing presentation to a group of about 30 people. The cookies were a big hit as was my presentation. Besides adding a personal touch, they were a surprise breakfast treat especially while sipping coffee and tea.


INGREDIENTS:
► Eggs 6
► Baking Powder 4 - 6 teaspoons max
► Baking Soda 1/2 teaspoon
► Flour 6 cups
► Vanilla 1 - 2 teaspoons
► Sugar 1 - 2 cups (can substitute with alteratives, e.g., splenda, equal, etc.)
► Butter 4 sticks (can substitute with vegetable oil)

OPTIONAL ICING:
► Powdered Sugar (aka Confectioners Sugar) 3 tablespoons
► Milk, Lemon Juice or Water (just a dash, about 1/2 teaspoon)

OPTIONAL OTHER:
► Lemon or Orange Skin (grated or peeled, optional with flour mix)
► Caraway seeds, almonds, walnuts, cream cheese, etc.
► Be Creative

Step 1 : Make Dough (5 min) 
► Prepare oven at 375°; In large bowl combine ingredients
► Eggs
► Baking Powder
► Flour (put about half and add the remaining flour while mixing in bowl)
► Vanilla
► Sugar (or alternative, e.g., splenda, equal, etc.)
► Butter 


Step 2 : Knead, Cut & Shape Dough (10 min) 
► Knead dough when ready divide into amounts enough to roll into long cigars (about 6" to 8 inches); Then create circular coil shapes. Place in baking tray. Makes about 36 cookies or so depending on shape and size of cookies. You can make many more if you use a simple flat, round conventional shape cookie, but then again, it won't have the look and feel as a true, anginette. 

Step 3 : Place tray in 375° oven (8 - 18 min) 
► Depending on your oven, bake anywhere from 10to 20 minutes, keep watching and when the cookies are golden brown color on the bottom it is done. If you want to have frosting, mix the powdered sugar and water and stir until paste like. Wait at least 10 minutes for baked cookies to cool and dip cookies into frosting mix, or simply pour a little on each. Should set within 15 minutes. Can serve plain or with the traditional sugar frosting. Be creative, try cutting a few plain ones and adding cream cheese in the middle.
► Don't forget to wait at least 10 minutes before adding the icing and sprinkles or serving without icing.

Total time - 23 - 33 Minutes 


   

These cookies are great plain or with icing. There are different textures and styles. The neutral-colored frosting was made using lemon instead of milk with powdered sugar.


“The sweetest sounds to mortals given. Are heard in Mother, Home, and Heaven” -- William Goldsmith Brown (1902-1982);
Survivor of the sinking of the RMS Titanic. Later he wrote a book about his experiences on the ship, and had his story featured in the documentary, Titanic: 


The Legend Lives On, as well as a children's book about the disaster, Inside the Titanic.
Below is our mother's Eulogy from her Funeral Mass. May our mom RIP knowing how much she is loved and remembered.