Summer Glam 9/11 SURVIVORS Ten Years Later Toxic Chemicals
in Skin and HaiR PROdUctS
Family, Fashion & Fun
eMMYLOU HARRISâ€™ Hard Bargain
Organic Wine Making
a feast for the senses
AMbeR & SAM JAeGeR
Going Green In Los Angeles
Emmylou Harris’ “Hard Bargain” Debuts in Billboard 200’s Top 20 A 12-time Grammy winner and Billboard Century Award recipient, Emmylou Harris’ contribution as a singer and songwriter spans 40 years. She has recorded more than 25 albums and has lent her talents to countless fellow artists’ recordings. In recognition of her remarkable career, Harris was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2008.
We made this record in about a month, which is quite unusual for me. But I had all the material beforehand. I’d written 11 of the 13 songs and I really wanted to include two more by other writers,” Harris explains. “One of the covers is Ron Sexsmith’s ‘Hard Bargain’ which I absolutely love. The other is by Jay Joyce, called ‘Cross Yourself.’
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The Secret - Planet Earth HD When you experience Planet Earth, the positive vibration of your energy will emanate out like a stone thrown into water, touching our planet and every living thing on it. As you rise higher, you take the world with you.
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the magniďŹ cent music in this video was composed and graciously gifted for this clip by composer Jo Blankenburg. From the Secret to you, here is Planet Earth - our home.
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THE FIRST GRADER www.theﬁrstgrader-themovie.com
Directed by Justin Chadwick
In a small, remote mountain top primary school in the Kenyan bush, hundreds of children are jostling for a chance for the free education newly promised by the Kenyan government. one new applicant causes astonishment when he knocks on the door of the school. He is Maruge (oliver litondo), an old Mau Mau veteran in his eighties, who is desperate to learn to read at this late stage of his life. He fought for the liberation of his country and now feels he must have the chance of an education so long denied - even if it means sitting in a classroom alongside six-year-olds. Moved by his passionate plea, head teacher Jane obinchu (naomie
Harris), supports his struggle to gain admission and together they face ﬁerce opposition from parents and oﬃcials who don’t want to waste a precious school place on such an old man. Full of vitality and humour, the ﬁlm explores the remarkable relationships Maruge builds with his classmates some eighty years his junior. through Maruge’s journey, we are taken back to the shocking untold story of British colonial rule 50 years earlier where Maruge fought for the freedom of his country, eventually ending up in the extreme and harsh conditions of the British detention camps.
Maruge (Oliver Litondo) at his desk, towering over his classmates in The First Grader, written by Ann Peacock, directed by Justin Chadwick. The First Grader is a BBC Films, UK Film Council in association with Videovision Entertainment, Lip Sync and ARTE France, a Sixth Sense/ Origin Pictures Production. ©2009 Photo courtesy of Kerry Brown.
Letter from The Editor Happy Summer everyone and welcome to the 15th edition of A Distinctive Style Magazine! In this issue you will find heartfelt stories about selfless people with a true passion for helping others. And as we near the 10 Year Anniversary of 9/11, we are reminded of the remarkable spirit of unity and service that existed in our nation in the days following the attacks.This year I’m going to make a point of honoring the lives of those who parished, and those who were injured, mentally and physically, by dedicating one day of service. See how you can help by listening to the video on page 30. When I read, hear or listen to a video about a story that touches me, I can’t wait to share it with everyone! I bring these amazing people to you through the magazine, hoping they will touch you as they did me. In a time when our world is so toxic, I focus on the “Feel Good” stories and will continue to pass them on to you. I’ve been reading about “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne, and if you haven’t already listened to her videos or read any of her books. I would highly suggest it, She says; “Everything is Possible, Nothing is Impossible.” Don’t you love that? She continues; “You are just one feeling away from changing your life, just one feeling away from the life of your dreams.” See the video below and also the one on page 12. and get ready to be inspired! There are so many wonderful stories in this issue that I don’t know where to begin. Our cover story with Amber and Sam Jaeger is truly entertaining and as you’ll see, they have a wonderful sense of humor and a fantastic outlook on life! Three of our “Feel Good” inspirational stories include, “My Grandfather Had a Secret,” “Everyone Deserves a Shot,” and the write-in “9/11 Survivors, 10 Years After.” Our Summer issue touched my heart in so many ways and I hope it will do the same for you! Have a wonderful and fun-filled Summer!
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cover photo ERIc BlAckMON WWW.ERIc BlAckMON.cOM
editor in chief DENISE MARIE
fashion editor TERESA lOuISES JOHNSON
features editor | usa JANE WAIDE
features editor | australia PETER D MAck
copy editor NADIA BRYDEN
director of sales MIcHEllE lINDSAY
staff writers MATT kRAMER | RAcHEl SOkOl STAcEY kuMAGAI | MIcHEllE lINDSAY
contributing writers MIkEAlA JONES | DR JENNY TYlEE | cHESNA EllIS
director of sales MIcHEllE lINDSAY | MIcHEllE@ADISTINcTIVESTYlE.cOM
story ideas EDITOR@ADISTINcTIVESTYlE.cOM
cOntEntS SuMMER 2011 | ISSuE 15
IN THIS ISSUE 2 6 12 16 18 19 31 35 36 39 46 56
Emmylou Harris’ Hard Bargain No More Fracking Trailer The Secret – Planet Earth Video The First Grader Trailer EDITOR’S lETTER MASTHEAD Patricia Welsh Interview Toxic chemicals in Skin & Hair care Products Northern lights Video Toys for Autistic children Firewater Documentary The Art of Transformation with Eric Grohe
60 Trust Movie Trailer 62 The Last Mountain Trailer 64 The Extension of Native cultures
72 Ben and his Helmet Books for Autistic children
78 Our Favorite Things 80 Patriotic Duty– Taking Part in My Generation's conflict
84 EcO FASHION 96 Maria Menounos Interview 98 Jewels in Nature
40 cOVER STORY By RACHEl SoKol | CovER PHoto: ERIC BlACKMon . CoM
SAM AND AMBER JAEGER Go GREEN IN LoS ANGELES
Sam and Amber know what it’s like to raise a family in los Angeles, and they do so with class and a sense of humor. They share with us how they keep their marriage alive and spicy, and the ways they embrace Mother Earth.
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66 INSPIRATIONAl JOuRNEY
This self-proclaimed “blind wine chick” was born with the sensual gift of a discriminating palate. Meet this amazing organic winemaker.
John Raymond kahl Jr., known as “Papa Jack,” had a secret life that she had never known about—he was a killer. Her journey to find out more....
52 REuTERS PHOTOJOuRNAlIST
The red carpet correspondent, entrepreneur, author and host of ‘Dancing with the Stars’ discusses family, fashion, and fun.
A global artist and visionary, Dan Eldon’s safariinspired works adorn the Summer collection of TOMS shoes.
9/11 SURVIVoRS, 10 YEARS AFTER
EVERYoNE DESERVES A SHoT
Hear from survivors about their recovery process and where they are today...10 years later.
courtney Bent is an activist for people with disabilities. See how she’s changing lives.
A FEAST FoR THE SENSES
BEING BRooK BURKE
MY GRANDFATHER HAD A SECRET
THE JoURNEY IS THE DESTINATIoN
~ Ole. C. Salomonsen
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Benfante wasn’t a ﬁreﬁghter, he was a salesman working on the 81st ﬂoor of the north tower when the ﬁrst plane hit. not only did he organize his entire team and get them to the stairway within four minutes, but on his way down he saw a woman in a wheelchair who needed help and carried her down 68 ﬂights of stairs and into an ambulance minutes before the tower imploded.
IN HIS oWN WoRDS… “My life now? Well, it’s not the way it was ten years ago, I can tell you that. Once you’ve seen certain things they can’t be unseen, or unremembered. I remember all of it. It sits in me. It sits in me every day I wake up. How’s my life today? It’s different. I don’t count on sleep. I’m more cautious in many ways. Trauma changes you. You’re still you but fundamentally, almost molecularly, rearranged. It’s like when you have children for the first time (if you’ve ever had children). There’s just a whole new standard for what’s important to you. 9/11 did that to me. “You ask me what I’ve learned? I’m not sure, really. But I know that on that day, I learned that for whatever measure of human cruelty exist in the world there is a hundred-fold measure of human decency ready to respond to it. What confuses me is how much of that human decency – the countless and unrecorded acts of kindness, aid and mercy – that happened on that day were lost on so many in the years that followed. My hope is that we can remember that higher calling so many heard and acted upon when the fire came and let it be the call we answer every morning, fire or no fire.” Benfante encourages us all to commemorate 9/11 each year with random acts of kindness for strangers, like the one that he did on 9/11 when no one was watching. He says that through selﬂess actions we remind ourselves that we’re all in this together, and that we can survive anything as a nation. Mike Benfante has written a book called Relectant Hero a memoir of his most intimate thoughts immediately before, during, and in the decade following 9/11, along with his reﬂections of who we are and where we’ve come as a nation.
9/11SUR 10 YEAR
A Distinctive Style will interview Mike Benfante for the Fall 2011 issue, and he would like 3 of our readers to receive an autographed copy of his book Relectant Hero. Click the button for a chance to win!
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PHOTO CReDIT: U.S. Air Force Photo|De
RVIVORS S LATER
enise Gould | Department of Defense
Maureen Santora IN HER oWN WoRDS... “My son Christopher was one of the youngest firefighters to die in the attacks on September 11. He became a hero that day by giving his life to saving others; but to me, he was always special because he was my son. Initially, I was just profoundly sad all the time. I cried myself to sleep for months. But then I started to think about Christopher and what he would’ve wanted from us. His father Al and I felt that Christopher would be very angry with us if we just shriveled up and died into ourselves. So we decided to work very hard to remember Christopher’s life. One of the first things I did was to write two children’s books about 9/11. I wanted to help children overcome their fears and understand what happened. So I wrote The Day the Towers Fell to teach them that this terrible event was an act of hatred, and that we all have to work very hard not to be consumed by hate. With My Son Christopher, I wanted children to know that their parents love them very much, no matter what happens, just as I loved Christopher. There is a rainbow at the end of terrible events, but you have to actively look for the rainbow. You have to make the death meaningful, and share the lost loved one’s personality and gifts. That’s what Al and I have decided to do in our journey. The books I wrote, the causes we got involved with, the scholarship fund that we started in our son’s name, our 9/11 advocacy—all these efforts are steps along the path that we’ve walked together since Christopher’s death. It’s been tremendously helpful to us personally, and, I hope, to others as well. Maureen will commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11, by giving 11 days of public readings from her children’s books all around new york City. Her goal of the 9/11 Speaking tour is to raise the funds need to donate 5,000 of the books to nyC elementary schools. you can ﬁnd out more at www.maureensantora.com/Speakingtour0911. Maureen Santora would like readers of A Distinctive Style to have an opportunity to read her books. She is donating 3 autographed copies of My Son Christopher and The Day the Towers Fell. Click the button for a chance to win!
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Eighty-one ﬂights of stairs awaited Jean Potter and her will to survive. In a desperate eﬀort to escape the collapse of the north tower of the World trade Center, Jean and her coworkers knew that there was no other option to survive. At this moment, Jean’s story of survival began, and her husband’s, too. Serving as a new york City ﬁreﬁghter, Jean’s husband, Dan, was a ﬁrst responder to the scene. Anguished by the fate of his wife, but with a duty to serve his city, Dan was determined to ﬁght for not only his life, but all those that he could during the 9/11 attacks Against all odds, Jean and Dan survived and now live to share their incredible story of survival both during and after the terrorist attacks.
Jean & Dan Potter
IN THEIR oWN WoRDS…
In one way it’s very easy to explain the effect that 9/11 had on us. Everything Dan and I had prior to that deadly day was taken from us, everything, that is, except our lives. It’s as if everything we knew had vanished in the blink of an eye. Our home was no longer. Our careers would soon be over. And we lost so many friends and associates. The loss was so great, and affected us in so many ways, that it’s almost impossible to explain. We have since relocated to Northeast Pennsylvania and live in a lovely new home in Hemlock Farms. This place has helped us heal. It has been an adjustment though. The biggest difficulty for me was not working. Dan is still able to do what he did when we lived in Manhattan – at least on an administrative level due to his injury. He’s still training volunteer firefighters and has developed fire safety courses for seniors. He also volunteers as the disaster services manager for the American Red Cross. Just as when he was a fireman, he’s still responding to dire situations and taking care of those in need. By the Grace of God is the story of how Dan and Jean’s faith enabled them to come to terms with their experience and to ﬁnd a new life of love, hope, and healing. “We must never forget about 9/11. We must honor all those who perished,” Jean says. to help those still aﬀected by the 9/11 attacks, Jean is donating a portion of the proceeds from her book sales to the Wounded Warrior Project and the FealGood Foundation. you can purchase the book here: www.authorhouse.com/ Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-000458190
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PHOTO CReDIT: U.S. Air Force Photo|D
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enise Gould | Department of Defense
The events that changed the world, the tragic events of 9/11, happened ten years ago. When they occurred, the World had a wakeup call. The rules had changed. No longer could you take for granted the simple, even comforting unconscious routine of going to your office and doing your work. That day was a great equalizer. It didn’t matter where you were from, what you did, or what plans you had for your life - if you were up there, it didn’t matter. That day showed how ugly people can be to one another. It also displayed of how loving, caring and considerate people could be towards each other, as so many came together in the aftermath, helping one another, sharing water, Mike Jaﬀe supplies and oxygen in the midst of the toxic cloud. Either way, it was a choice people made. A decade later, as we look back, we are reminded of the loss of that day. Sometimes it feels as if much of the spirit, strength, vision, and community that was forged by that event has waned somewhat. First responders are dying years later from inhaling that toxic dust cloud from the weeks and months immediately after the fall of those two magnificent towers. Yet, they have to fight for both life and death benefits, despite the fact that these were our “heroes” back then. As time has indeed passed and some of the emotional and terrifying holds that 9/11 had on us have eased, we must dare to get past the past and look forward to answer the personal question of “what now?” Never to forget, but to move onward. As we accept the inevitability that we can never go back and as we let go just a little bit, new growth and creativity will be able to emerge in that newly available space. We will find that we are different not in spite of that event, but because of it. Additionally, how dare us not to? We must honor the losses we’ve experienced by creating anew. Never to replace them, but to continue generating, building, experiencing, doing, and being. For that is the very cycle of life. By acknowledging and sharing the insights I have experienced since that infamous point in time, my goal is to shift some of the focus away from the tremendous sadness and loss of 9/11 and offer people the hope of growth, wisdom, and new possibilities that have also occurred in its wake. With every change comes both loss and the opportunity for a new beginning. Always. Much has happened since September 11th. Much is still to come. We are all survivors, every one of us, every day. Together, let us honor those we lost and embrace the strength and wisdom that experience has created as we forge ahead into our lives—never to go back, and more resolute and wise as we move forward. Remember, every one of those who were lost would give anything for the chance to have our worst day. www.humanwakeupcall.com
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High School for Leadership and Public Services was as unique as a high school experience can be and my junior year began like any other. Situated next to the American Stock exchange, students traveled from Chinatown, Harlem and all five boroughs to attend the small public high school. From the 14th floor lunchroom, to the “gym” in the basement, the one-time office building was as unlikely a school building as could be. Still downtown Manhattan was our playground and on September 10th, 2001 I walked through the mall beneath the World Trade Center. That night back in the Brooklyn apartment where I lived with my mother and three siblings I hadn’t a clue it would become my last night as a normal sixteen year old girl. Kerri Quigley The following day was beautiful and bright. My mother, the principal’s secretary, and I commuted separately to the school. My first class was in a windowless classroom on the 10th floor. I was in my seat by 8:25, just about the time American Airlines Flight 11 made a 100 degree turn towards New York City. The next few days were a blur as I tried to locate my firefighter father who as it turns out, was working in the wreckage. My mother says I watched footage of the attack over and over again. I don’t remember much about the weeks following the attacks. School was cancelled, reconvening months later in another location. Our first day back was filled with emotional electricity; students and faculty were crying, hugging, cheering – we had become a five hundred person family with an uncommon bond. Speaking of 9-11 however was difficult and I never fully shared my experience with anyone. Instead I shut down, insisting to myself that I was unfazed and just fine. Now almost ten years later, I find myself reminded of the attacks constantly. Every time I’m confronted with 9-11 in a movie, in artwork, or a book I break down. It took me ten years to realize I’m not fine and the only way to heal is to confront my memories of that day. To relive what I saw, heard, felt, and tasted. Go back inside the choking ash cloud, completely grey and alone as the world crashes, literally, around you. I did go back, and remembered a lot that I’d forgotten. It’s funny the things that stay with you – a Japanese tourist giving me his water on the bus that finally took me out of lower Manhattan, or the sickly sweet burnt smell that permeated the air for months, yet I have no recollection of my reunion with my mother that evening. She remembers it, and it was amazing to hear about her ordeal that day. Talking about 9-11 brought my family closer together and my healing process has, finally, begun. ______________________________ "I still live and work in NYC as a wardrobe stylist and fashion writer; I invite you to visit my website at: www.kerrirenae.com."
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PHOTO CReDIT: U.S. Air Force Photo|
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I am a World Trade Center Survivor. I worked at 2 WTC on the 73rd floor and was still on the 44th floor with the plane hit the building. I have images forever etched in my mind which have not diminished through the years. There are times in which I’ve been depressed, angry, overwhelmed with grief and grateful to be alive. Indeed I’ve suffered from survivor’s guilt and I question where my family would be if I had not survived. I had a very successful, promising career in the financial securities industry positioned to blossom. I was a young, African American certified financial planner with the right industry credentials who had opportunity was snatched away Nicole B. Simpson in an instant. In the immediate aftermath, I was so grateful to be alive. I thought with my experience and expertise, I would be capable of rebounding. I didn’t consider sleepless nights, physical pain, flashbacks and severe depression in the equation. Those emotions coupled with my fear of returning to New York City placed me on a life course I had not considered. I floundered in my field until I hit rock bottom in 2007. A year filled with disappointment and pain because I could not recover physically, mentally and financially. The nightmares were worse each year and my breathing was difficult. I felt as if I carried a heavy weight on my chest as an accessory and finally, I reached the point of no return. A decision had to be made. Was I going to continue to allow September 11th 2001 to defeat me or would I make every attempt to find myself again. In 2008, I chose to live. It began with a speech I gave titled Dare 2 Dream. While preparing the speech, I began to dream again. I decided to speak to people who suffered from catastrophic and traumatic events to encourage them to not allow their situations to define their future. In encouraging others, a spark was ignited in me. Today I still suffer from bouts of depression, anxiety and stress but I simply continue to dream new dreams. ___________________ nicole B. Simpson, CFP represents the survivors. She spent almost three years talking to individuals who were directly impacted by the tragedy of 9/11/2001. In June, 2011, she released the survivor’s story titled 9/11/01 A Long Road Toward Recovery. ___________________ nicole would like readers of A Distinctive Style to have an opportunity to read her recently published book. She is donating 3 autographed copies of 9/11/01 A Long Road Toward Recovery. For a chance to win, click the button and register...
looking back at that day is still difﬁcult. I can still hear the silence, smell the smoke, see the sirens and taste the aroma of death. I thank God that I didn’t have to touch 9/11 for myself. God help the families of the thousands who did. I was visiting new york on September 11, 2001. My schedule said that I was to be in the north tower at 8:30am that very morning. My friends, nathan and Gabriel, were to be in town for the Michael Jackson concert at MSG. But at the last minute, they changed their ﬂights to mid-afternoon. It was for that very reason that my plans were changed. normally, I’m a stickler for schedules, but for some reason I was okay with the change. My mother called me the morning of the 11th and woke me up. I’m not a morning person so I pleaded with her to let me sleep. She made me turn on the tv and it was then that I began to wake up, not physically but spiritually. I thanked God for all He had done in my life and prayed that He would be with my family for the rest of their days as I counted the minutes on my day. the events on tv that were being shown were happening right outside my window. local tv asked us to stay where we were due to uncertainty of the subways, trains, etc. “the attacks may continue,” they said. I was deathly afraid like never before. I walked that day in search of refuge or escape. I found nothing. the oddest thing occurred during this time. My pastor, Bishop t.D. Jakes, was on the front cover of TIME Magazine. As you know, in nyC and many other cities, there are newspaper stands all over. As I’m walking under the cloud of destruction, I’m seeing my pastors’ face all over Manhattan. For some reason I knew that God was in control. I heard every sermon that my pastor had ever preached, and I began to strengthen myself through his words. September 11th is a landmark in my life, one that I wish would have never happened. ten years later, the memories have not gone away. I pray for the families everyday, God be with them as you are with me.
John Jontez Montes
John nontez is a recording artist who went on to join Kirk Franklin's multi-platinum pop group God's Property (the #1 smash hit single Stomp). Jontez is now touring in support of his solo album, "And So It Is" — available at itunes. you can visit John’s website at: www.facebook.com/jontezonline
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF
A Voice That Ignites Passion By Michelle Renee lindsay
the 9/11 tragedy deeply aﬀected Patricia Welsh and her husband Pete DuBarry. DuBerry’s reaction was to write the lyrics to “United We’ll Stand.” Patricia notes: “He stayed up all night and the words just poured out of him. the following morning, he gave me the lyrics to read and immediately I said to him, I have performed many great songs with great lyrics, but these words so perfectly described that tragic day.” Welsh went on to say: “We want it to be a source of hope and encouragement to all Americans and a tribute to the heroes of that day. We hope that it will live forever in our memories and hearts.”
atricia Welsh knew she wanted to sing after performing in her ﬁrst school musical. Despite being only nine years old, she realized the joy of communicating through music and acting. once she began, there was no stopping her. Welsh comments: “the thing that ignites my passion to sing is the reaction from my audience. When I sing, it moves them. that gives me purpose, satisfaction and the drive to keep performing. I also have to believe in what I am singing. When I feel what the lyrics are saying, so does my audience.” Welsh had the privilege of being trained by her inspiration, Francis yeend, the American classical soprano. “Francis yeend was a great inspiration to me. She believed in my talent. Having others believe in you, is as important as believing in yourself,” Welsh divulges. “It is the fuel that keeps me going. She gave me encouragement and inspiration. It is always good to have a mentor whom you admire.” What was her ﬁrst audition like? “A cattle call,” Patricia recalls. “I had heard that there were over 4,000 people that auditioned for “the King and I” musical. It was a long wait in the hall.” She describes waiting for days, morning till night, wondering if she would be seen. “I was not a member of Actors Equity yet, so my wait was much longer because the casting directors saw Equity members ﬁrst.” Her patience was not in vain. “Finally I had my opportunity to audition and it seemed like I was in the room for only a few minutes. I performed tuptim’s song My Lord And Master. the casting team asked me to come for a callback in a few days.” Welsh performed the same song a second time, and was asked to return once more to perform personally for yul Brynner. “Finally that day arrived: I was at the theatre with nine other women singing My Lord And Master with yul Brynner in the audience.” “After I performed, Brynner came up on stage, asked me to take oﬀ my shoes and move around the stage while performing
the song again. the next day, I received a call from producer Mitch leigh, oﬀering me the role of “tuptim.” I was ecstatic! It was truly a Cinderella story for a country girl from West virginia who arrived in nyC only a few weeks prior to this audition with only $1,400 spending money.” It may have seemed like a lucky break, but Welsh’s successful role launched almost an immediate career. the next thing she knew, she was touring with the “the King and I” for four years. then she performed it on Broadway for six months after that. Welsh tells us that this experience helped her mature into a seasoned performer. She was truly inspired by yul Brynner’s professionalism and great talent. Patricia moved on to become a featured soloist, signing with various orchestras though out the United States. “there is no greater feeling than performing with live musicians, in notable venues and to have a huge orchestra behind me. this is the ultimate experience,” she declares. Welsh recalled her ﬁrst performance as a soloist before an orchestra: “Delightful. From the rehearsal to the performance, it was an all-time-high. the beauty and power of the instruments was amazing. From the warmth of the string section to the power of the percussion and tympani was an experience that I will never forget.“ Patricia Welsh has been busy with numerous projects. She recorded the singing voice for the animated “Happily Ever After: Fairy tales for Every Child” with Cyndi lauper. She contributed her marvelous voice to the movie “Brave new Girl,” and sang the French Aria “Habanera.” When asked if she had any advice for newcomers into her profession, Welsh shares: “this is a very competitive business. So, ﬁrst and foremost, make sure that you truly are good at what you do. If not – train until you master it. Always be creative and do not be afraid to show your creativity. Perseverance is the key. you will never get anywhere without that.” Words of wisdom worth following from Patricia Welsh, who embraces her creativity every day, spreading enthusiasm to ignite passion everywhere she turns. Website: www.patriciawelch.com
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Toxic Chemicals in Skin &
Hair Care Products By Dr Jenny Tylee
It is important to be careful about the chemicals that are placed on the skin with skin care products and cosmetics. Many skin products and cosmetics have dangerous chemicals as a part of there components. our skin is not a barrier to these chemicals it acts as a transporter for these chemicals and they can end up in our blood stream and from there to the rest of our body. these chemicals will add to the toxicity of the body and will potentially add to ill health or delay the healing process. More than 500 ingredients are used to make cosmetics products. We are unsure of the safety for the majority of these chemicals. the most common reactions to the chemicals are eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis. However, there is evidence that people who work with these chemicals (such as hairdressers and beauticians) suﬀer from the cumulative eﬀects of the chemical. the studies concluded that: • there is an increased risk of lung, uterine, ovarian, breast, digestive and respiratory cancer. • of the 169 permanent hair dyes, 150 are mutagenic (cause changes to our cells genes). • the use of permanent and semi-permanent hair dyes is associated with increased risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, multiple myeloma, leukaemia and Hodgkin's disease. THE INGREDIENTS THAT YoU NEED To AVoID • Foaming agents including sodium laureth sulphate (SlS), ammonium lauryl sulphate and 1,4-dioxane. • ARTIFICIAL FRAGRANCES — many chemicals are able to gain access to our body via our olfactory system or sublingually (under the tongue). In the case of toothpaste a single fragrance can be made up of 200 chemicals which don't have to be labeled. Many fragrances are based on petroleum products and some reactions to these include dizziness, skin irritation and brown tinges to the skin. Products that are fragranced with essential oils are your safest choices.
• ARTIFICIAL CoLoRS. things have improved since Queen Elizabeth 1 died from lead poisoning caused by her trademark white make up. However, there are still many questionable colorants. Synthetic colors are made up from coal tar containing heavy metal salts that deposit toxins into our systems. • EMULSIFIERS — these are used in just about all personal grooming products. they keep the texture uniform and stop the ingredients from separating. Eggs can be used for this but skin care companies prefer a more synthetic version. Glyceryl monostearate and stearic acid are two commonly used emulsiﬁers and oral care products that are known to cause side effects - in particular skin irritations. Another commonly used emulsiﬁer is triethanolamine, a substance that is converted in living tissue into nitrosamines — some of the strongest carcinogens known. triethanolamine causes skin irritation problems. Ethoxylates is another commonly used emulsiﬁer which is a strongly mutagenic. It damages the DnA which increases skin aging and the risk of developing skin cancers. • PRESERVATIVES — these are used to slow the rate at which the products decay and therefore increase the products shelf life. Some of these that need to be avoided are: • IMIDAZoLIDINYL UREA - FoRMALDEHYDE. this is known to cause dermatitis, skin irritation, nerve damage and cancers. • PARABENS — over 90% of cosmetics contain a preservative from the parabens family. Some of the latest research suggests that these may work as endocrine disruptors. these chemical play a role in increasing the rate of breast cancer and decreasing rates of male fertility. • CARRYING AGENTS — this is the ingredient that provides all the other ingredients a means to be suspended. Water is the most common carrying agent and some are derived from vegetable glycerine or seaweed. However, it is usually a petroleum derivative. • PoRPYLENE GLYCoL is commonly used and there are general warnings about it when it is in contact with the skin. It can cause brain, liver and kidney problems. yet this is the agent that is commonly used in stick deodorants, toothpaste and most other personal care items! • other ingredients to watch out for are PvP/vA copolymer, stearalkonium chloride, petrolatum and paraﬃn. Skin and hair care products are used in an attempt to enhance our appearance or preserve our skin — however this is not what many of the product that are commercially available actually do. Many are far from safe and add to the toxic burden of the body. If you have been using unsafe skin and hair care products (and anybody who uses the usual commercially available products will have) then you need to detoxify your body to remove these toxic chemicals and limit the damage that they can cause. Dr Jenny Tylee is an experienced health professional who is passionate about health and wellbeing. She believes that health is not just absence of disease and seeks to actively promote vitality and wellness through empowering others. She encourages people to improve their health by quit smoking, cleansing their body, taking essential vitamin and mineral supplement and many other methods, including herbal remedies.
All sequences in this video are shot in or close to tromsø in northern norway. I have spent over 6months collecting footage for this, I have shot approx 50.000 stills to choose from in making this video. A goal for me has been to try to preserve the real-time speed of the northern lights, or come as close as possible, and present it the way I experienced it, instead of the northern lights just ﬂashing over the sky in the blink of an eye.
OlE C. Salomonsen
With two small children at home under 2 years, it goes without saying I could never have done this without the fantastic understanding and help from my girlfriend. this has been an insanely time-consuming project. Both hours after hours out in the cold, but also all the hours in postprocessing during late nights has led to a severe lack of sleep. And although you always feel like there is something you could have improved, even slightly, before releasing, you come to a point when you just have to ﬁnish. And that time is now.
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PHOTOGRAPHY Ole. C. Salomonsen www.arcticlightphoto.no MUSIC Aurora in the Sky by Per Wollen Available on iTunes
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Toys that Aid in Development of Autistic Children By Chesna Ellis
When we had our ﬁrst child nine years ago, I wanted to teach my children well. I wanted the right books, the right toys, and the right experiences. But I was disappointed often with the toys that looked so cute in the store but turned out to be boring when we brought them home. then we had our second child, Seth, and the word ‘autism’ entered our world. our family had so much to learn about how children learn and develop. We learned that most children have an innate desire to connect with people. Children with autism also desire this connection, but it is so much more diﬃcult for them. Seth would ﬁnd one or two toys that he liked and would use repeatedly…in fact, at seven years old, he still loves those same toys! In my desire to provide the best tools for him to use, I found Discovery toys. I was drawn to this company because of their dedication to building layers of learning into every toy. this means that the toys have many diﬀerent ways to be played with, and can progress across skill levels as your child progresses developmentally. In 2006, Discovery toys partnered with Autism Speaks and the Princeton Child Development Institute to create these helpful labels for autism. they label every toy with learning Pathways, learning Styles, and Autism and Special needs symbols. this helps family members, teachers, and therapists choose toys that are developmentally appropriate for the skills a child of any ability is working on. the learning Pathways include exploration, motor skills, thinking, math, reading and language, and expression. the learning Styles basically signify whether a toy is good for an auditory learner, a kinesthetic learner, or a visual learner. What I was most impressed with was Discovery toys’ symbols for Autism and Special needs on every toy. Children with autism have speciﬁc areas of diﬃculty; some struggle with some diﬃculties more than others. Discovery toys indicates which toys help to develop independent play, promote sustained engagement, build skills for cooperative play, create opportunities for children to talk about their play experience, have obvious completion criteria, and encourage pretend play. As a mom of an autistic son, this helps me identify toys that won’t just sit on a shelf, but will be engaging
and useful in my child’s development. one of Seth’s favorite toys is Hammer Away! this toy is a boat with four colored holes on the top to hammer the corresponding colored balls through. the balls then disappear through the holes, twist through the toy to come out at an incline, disappear again, and come out the bottom. As the balls roll through the toy, you can hear them bumping the ridges built into the ramps. the important concept taught here is object permanence; in other words, when you go to the other room, you still exist and are going to come back! Seth loves to match the colored balls and wait for them to reappear. It’s a wonderful toy! Another toy that Seth loves is the Castle Marbleworks. this toy has a castle theme. the big chime balls are placed in the top and then race, spin, and zigzag down the track of the marble run building system. the balls go right to left and left to right, which helps to strengthen the muscles of the eye that are so important in learning to read, known as visual tracking. I love that the balls move slow enough that he can keep track of them. Both of these toys help to develop independent play and promote sustained engagement, which are areas where we want him to grow. But Discovery toys is not just for those with special needs. this company has been around for 30 years because of its dedication to the education of children of all abilities. We now have 4 children and they all love these wonderful toys! After seeing the heart of the company and the quality of the toys, I decided to start my own business as an Educational Consultant with Discovery toys. I want to be able to share these amazing toys with families everywhere and children of all abilities. I hope that families affected by autism get to experience what we have with Seth. teachers and therapists love these toys as well! to learn more about the products oﬀered by Discovery toys or to get more information please visit my website or email me: www.discoverytoyslink.com/chesnaellis | email@example.com. If you are local to the Dallas, texas area, I would love to do a product demo at your home with your friends and family! A DIStInCtIvE StylE . CoM 39
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Sam Jaeger of NBC’s “Parenthood” and his wife Amber ‘go green’ in los Angeles By Rachel Sokol
It’s no secret that few Hollywood couples really ‘make it’— meaning their marriage lasts more than a few years, free of public scandals. (Hey, not every Hollywood couple can be Paul newman and Joanne Woodward.) Sam and Amber Jaeger know what it’s like to raise a family in los Angeles, and they do so with class and a sense of humor. they also work hard at keeping their marriage alive and spicy, so we couldn’t resist inquiring about their secrets to romance, how they make their Hollywood family unit work, and the ways they embrace Mother Earth. Sam Jaeger, who plays Joel Graham on the hit nBC sitcom “Parenthood,” recently made his directorial debut with the comedy Take Me Home, which he wrote and starred in along with Amber, also an actress. “I knew I wanted to be an actress when I did my first and only high school play, and it just clicked for me,” says Amber. “For me, it was a matinee of Dead Poets Society when I was 13,” recalls Sam. “I walked out of the Southwyck Mall [toledo, oH] and announced to my best friend, ‘I'm going to be an actor.’ Curiously, there's a character in the film who pursues acting only to kill himself in the end. not sure how I saw that and said, “Wow, that's for me!’” their midwest dreams came alive at young ages, and Amber’s first acting gig was an educational play about two holocaust survivors, performed for middle schools. “I learned not to assume how people may or may not connect to the story you're trying to tell,” she explains. Sam laughs when recalling his first professional role. “I handed a check to Diana Ross and Brandy in the tv movie ‘Double Platinum.’ I learned that I knew essentially nothing about professional filmmaking, and that I was a terrible waiter.” the couple met at ohio’s otterbein College, and Sam spent some time doing theatre in new york before they settled in los Angeles and had their son. “I knew I wanted to marry Sam when we had our ‘Seven year Itch,’” jokes Amber, and Sam
agrees there is an element of truth to that. “It was perfect timing for us. I feel like we'd already gotten through the struggles that newlyweds go through,” he says. “our marriage was more a celebration of what we'd gone through than a hope of things to come.” the couple swears that when it comes to their acting careers, they’re not competitive with each other. “It's too isolating. Success for one of us is success for the whole family,” says Amber. “We champion one another,” adds Sam. “life is just better when Amber's around.” Maintaining acting careers—and now writing and directing, in Sam’s case—while raising a child can lead to a hectic, long-day schedule, especially since the third season of “Parenthood” films this summer. But Amber makes sure she and Sam get some quality time together. “For me, that spark is always there. Even to wake up and see my husband's face,” she says. “But we have to prioritize more with a kid in the house. So date night is mandatory.” Active in the green movement, the couple recently tore out their lawn and put in a garden of vegetables and native plants. It uses a quarter of the water a regular lawn requires and they love sharing it with their family and neighbors. they also use predominantly cloth diapers for their son, have a clothesline to dry laundry, and drive a hybrid. “It certainly takes more time to do it all, but I've found real reward in the doing of simple chores,” says Sam. “It slows down the frantic pace of modern life.” While they both feel settled in California, Sam says that los Angeles is a wonderful place to be. “now we'll see how long it lasts!” When asked about fashion, the couple makes reference to a movie they’ve evidentially seen a few times: Nacho Libre. “like Nacho Libre, I’d have to say my favorite article of clothing is stretchy pants. they’re a gift to all of us with jiggly parts.” Sam says stretchy pants makes Amber the ‘better dresser’ between the two, but admits men have an advantage in the fashion world. “All a guy has to do is put on a nice jacket!” CONTI NU E D
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Sam, who plays a father on “Parenthood,” says his young son has made him more patient and more direct. Amber echoes his sentiments: “I have a friend who says, ‘Children give you the best opportunity to be your best self.’” Amber’s mother apparently told her she was a stubborn, passionate child. “I suppose my son and I share a ‘don't tell me what to do’ streak,” she says. “But I think we often try to see similarities in our kids, but he's truly his own unique self.”
Sam views his own childhood quite diﬀerently. “I apparently threw up nonstop for the ﬁrst year of my life,” he says. “My aunt said that no one wanted to hold me. thankfully, my son didn't inherit that. All he got was my butt chin!” Sam Jaeger recently wrote, directed and co-starred in the Indie comedy, “take Me Home,” which is making its rounds through various ﬁlm festivals. the movie also stars Amber, victor Garber, and lin Shaye. Stepping outside his comfort zone as an actor feels natural to Sam, but Amber has other ideas. “I wouldn’t direct Sam in a ﬁlm the way he directed me!” she cries. “Good God, no! I only like acting. I don't want the responsibility of telling people what to do.” Her husband joking quips, “though she's quite good at strongly suggesting!”
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Although the couple studied acting in college, neither of them is interested in teaching acting to others in a classroom environment. “I feel like I'm still learning! I don't know jack!” teases Amber. Sam analyzes teaching on a deeper level. “We went to college for acting, and I think the most valuable trait I retained was conﬁdence. But is that necessarily teachable? I still don't know. Maybe to a degree.” Amber says that college “shaped me by the people it brought into my life: my husband and some of my dearest friends. But there's never one path for us all. Meryl Streep has a Masters, Johnny Depp didn't have any formal training…” Sam adds that he thinks acting is a career “we see so many untrained actors excel. they think, "Hell, if the Fresh Prince can do it...!’ It's a dream job, and people pursue it as such for better or worse.”
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Fire Water D O C U M E N TA R Y
“Fire Water” is a groundbreaking indictment of Australia's mandatory water ﬂuoridation policy, featuring health and scientiﬁc professionals, state members of parliament, former MPs, activists, suﬀerers and concerned citizens. the ﬁlm exposes the truth about the industrial-grade ﬂuoridation chemicals used to ﬂuoridate Australian public water supplies, backed by exclusive FoI documents. “Fire Water” also considers both the current and inevitable impacts of these toxins on the population, explores the ethical issues of mass medication without informed consent, critiques the ﬂawed science of ﬂuoride promotion, and documents gathering momentum of community ﬁght back against the practice. Watch the entire documentary... www.cultureunplugged.com/play/7227 46 A DIStInCtIvE StylE . CoM
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Feast For the
By Stacey Kumagai
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Senses. We take them for granted and don’t often indulge ourselves in what they have to oﬀer us. If native new yorker, entrepreneurial businesswoman and winemaker, Alexandra Elman were a wine, she declares she would be a Pichon lalande from Pauillac. “It’s not the best of the best, but its delicious, underrated and people who know it adore it because of its simplicity and complexity. this interesting and inspirational self-proclaimed “blind wine chick” was born with the sensual gift of a discriminating palate. Her senses were heightened after losing her sight at the age of twenty-seven due to complications from diabetes.
Elman knew from childhood what she automatically did and didn’t like in food and wine. “I loved to make a game out of how wines change the taste of certain foods,” explains Elman. She was raised as an only child by her Brazilian chef mother and American wine-loving stepfather and credits both parents for her palate being strongly developed and her senses reﬁned.
makes her wines taste so much richer and fuller. She goes on to explain that she thinks organic wine tastes better because it is better, from the ‘terroir’ (which means ‘land’).
After an illustrious childhood ﬁlled with many culinary and varietal learning experiences, Elman went on to work at PerrierJouët Champagne in Epernay, France, where she learned about wine production at the Chateaux level. now she celebrates her own label, Alex Elman – Authentic Wine treasures. Her ﬁrst four organically grown wines from Argentina include an ultrasmooth Cabernet Sauvignon; a buttery and fruity Chardonnay; a rich and pleasingly balanced Malbec; and her ultimate favorite, a torrontes. torrontes is like comforting sunshine in a glass, warm and bright at the same time, which most people ﬁnd as versatile as a dry Riesling.
Her organic wine epiphany occurred in 2005 after meeting a man from Madrid and discovering how organic wines were becoming certiﬁed through the rigid national organics Program (noP). After attending tastings in France and new york City, she felt ‘alive,’ without the usual residual eﬀects or aftertaste she would experience at regular wine shows. “I felt like I could run a marathon afterward, I didn’t feel bad,” states Elman.
Elman, who spent her youth growing up in Brazil, France and new york, learned quickly about the diﬀerences in wine culture and how wines are grown and embraced. one of the things she is learning by launching her Argentine wines, is that it’s all about ‘demystifying what wine is.’ Her wines have an element of surprise when people discover just how smooth they are. Why organic? Why not?! Elman attributes her improved health situation (she is no longer diabetic due to a transplant) to herbs and holistic medicine, and prefers a natural lifestyle. this is no surprise as Elman is a healthy and vibrant woman with a passion for living. She does regular ﬁtness workouts, stays physically active and has a zest for life. “Most people are afraid to try something new and tend get into a wine rut because they are afraid of doing wine wrong. I want to ﬁx that. I want to open people up to enjoy new wine tastes,” she elaborates. “organic wine isn’t a new thing, it’s just a new niche – wine has been organic for thousands of years. Alcohol dissipates from the human body within six hours; it’s the liver that has to work overtime when you are consuming chemicals. Wines generally have 1.01% sulﬁtes, which is a natural preservative. It’s not the sulﬁtes that make you feel horrible when drinking non-organic wine, it’s the added chemicals, the pesticides and weed killers – that is what most people have a reaction from or are allergic to,” she proclaims. Elman is passionate about organic wine for many reasons, but it is most evident when you speak with her about sustainability. Her dedication in educating people about organic wine is both comprehensive and intense. Her uplifting spirit and energy bounce joyfully when she speaks of the fertile sandy clay soil of Mendoza and how it is full of organic materials. She believes this
Elman continued her research, learning about algae and bee propolis combating fungus in organic winemaking in other regions. While visiting many wineries, she would also learn about the moon and the planets and how they aﬀect the water and how everything grows. She witnessed pristine non-organic vineyards against the organic ones, which weren’t so precise and perfect. Mostly because nature was actually doing what it was supposed to do with animals, birds and bugs. Having her name on an organic wine was a conscious choice. Elman not only stands behind her wine, she practices what she preaches in taking care of the planet. “We need to take care of the world that we will be leaving behind.” While doing her part to leave behind a cared-for world, one thing is truly evident: getting the chance to meet her makes just as much of an impact as her eﬀorts. this woman enthusiastically shares her love of spicy food and her passion for organic wine, planet Earth, and education while bringing together people and indeed, all things living. She truly isn’t blind when it comes to understanding how life is meant to be lived. She infuses infectious energy into everything she does…some might even say she herself is an authentic wine treasure. Website: www.aewines.com A DIStInCtIvE StylE . CoM 49
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The Journey is the
Transforming your bold ideas into positive action A global artist and visionary, Dan Eldon’s safari-inspired works adorn the Summer collection of TOMS shoes. By Rachel Sokol
A lover of anything safari, london-born Dan Eldon relocated to nairobi, Kenya at a young age, sparking his intense fascination with the people of Africa and the African landscape. A professional photojournalist and artist, Dan has ﬁlled more than 15 journals with drawings, writings and photographs, emphasizing his love of painted faces, vivid colors and even elephants. He was one of the youngest photojournalists to ever work for Reuters news agency and promised a future that shone brighter than the artworks he created. Sadly, in 1993, Dan’s personal safari came to an abrupt, unexpected end. Along with three friends while on assignment, he was beaten to death by a mob of citizens who were reacting to a United nations bombing in Somalia. He was only 22 years old. Flash forward almost 20 years later. Entrepreneur, texas native and former “the Amazing Race” contestant Blake Mycoskie launches toMS in 2006, a company that sells lightweight shoes inspired by an Argentinian design concept. With every pair sold, toMS donates a new pair of shoes to a child in need. Seeking a new design concept for his 2011 Spring and Summer shoe collection, Blake researched the inspirations of Dan Eldon, an artist he didn’t know much about at the time. Dan Eldon was dedicated to raising awareness about the famine and civil unrest— and Blake found himself drawn to Eldon’s passion and visions. “About a year ago, en route to Costa Rica, I pored over Dan’s journal collection on the plane. It struck me that the toMS community should know Dan's story and that his life and journals would be a great inspiration for a future collection,” recalls Mycoskie in an exclusive interview. “His vivid collages chronicle a child’s journey into manhood, a lifelong struggle with the forces of good and evil, and Dan’s enduring belief that every individual has a creative spark within that can ignite positive change in our world.” Blake is proud to announce that his own vision has ﬁnally become a reality, and Dan’s spirit lives on through toMS. toMS Spring and Summer 2011 shoe collection was inspired by the work of Dan Eldon’s journals, which he began creating at the tender age of 14. “this is the ﬁrst time direct inspiration— Dan's journals and his safari approach to life—is reﬂected in an entire collection,” says Blake. Safari tones and patterns are show52 A DIStInCtIvE StylE . CoM
cased on the shoes themselves, and some styles even feature direct prints of Dan’s artwork on canvas. these include his passport thumbprint, colorful faces, elephant drawings, and his famous motto: The Journey is the Destination. Blake and his design team immersed themselves in Dan’s work, building a room covered in his art, and even listening to his favorite music as they created the design line. the Spring 2011 shoes even contain a special hang-tag that outlines Dan’s personal journey. All proceeds received by the family of Dan Eldon support the Dan Eldon Project/Creative visions Foundation, which informs, inspires and empowers “creative activists” like Dan to ﬁnd solutions to local and global issues. “Dan was an unstoppable spirit trying to make change in the word, which he is doing to this day. I admire Dan's passion for his work and hope to inspire more people to pursue their own passions and dreams to become a creative activist like Dan— transforming your bold ideas into positive action,” says Blake. “not only do I relate to Dan, but I see his inspiration in a lot of our community, who desperately want to make a positive impact on the world.” toMS shoes are made of canvas or cotton fabric and currently manufactured in various styles. the soles are constructed of rubber, and vegan-friendly styles are also available. to learn more about Dan Eldon, visit daneldon.com. to learn more about toMS, visit toms.com.
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E ric G rohe By Stacey Kumagai
life is about transformation. People often ponder the question about art imitating life or life imitating art. For 3D artist Eric Grohe, designer and painter of murals and architectural facades, his artistry transforms life and art full-circle. A work of art in 3D is like looking at real life. you want to reach out and touch what looks like a sculpture, lean on a beam, shake the hand of a person or let your hands feel the water that is ﬂowing. In many instances you feel as if you are exactly ‘in the moment’ or experiencing what the 3D mural is depicting live; you are literally transported to the time and space you are looking at. But to look at the work of Eric Grohe and appreciate all he does outside of the jaw dropping, awe-inspiring artistic vision, carried forth in his colorful interpretations of his clients’ needs, you’d have to ﬁrst understand Grohe’s artistic ﬁber as the human behind the artist. Clients come to him – and he only commits to projects he’s passionate about. With projects taking typically a year out of his life to create, each project is handled with great personal value and care. First and foremost, Grohe is a solution-oriented artist. He creates works of art that actually produce results in the best light of each client and community in which he leaves his creative signature. “I have a mission to solve a number of practical problems. When dealing with client projects, I want to educate with an understanding of the art and the heart of what they are trying to accomplish. Adjusting emotional content, body language of people in the scene, grand or subtle to adjust the feeling…can have an amazing eﬀect in conveying a message through an image,”
shares Grohe. Grohe’s enthusiasm, passion and dedication to his craft go further than just paint and design. His creations have gone from his ﬁrst mural, just twenty feet across, to 24,000 square feet and beyond what the eye can see. the labor behind the creative process is arduous, in order to make the work of art itself even more purposeful and real. the work involves preliminary sketches, sectioning, planning, and understanding of scale, elevation and distance – all so the end result of the art is on point. But Grohe is an artist of integrity and also likes to ensure that all he creates is literally a custom ﬁt for the location where the art will reside. “there are a lot of variables you have to take into consideration and really make sure that you haven’t overlooked an opportunity. CONTINUED A DIStInCtIvE StylE . CoM 57
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the opportunity I am fortunate to have is to create meaningful work. often my clients don’t realize that I don’t just create and paint, but I like bringing people together who have never talked. I like to talk to the oldest people in town and the youngest and bring their perspective back to the client, making them think of things and images they haven’t considered or thought of before to be incorporated into the proposal for the creation of the project. this helps make the artwork reﬂective of the culture that is there. And since I work with city, county, state, all kinds of communities and businesses, it’s important that the art upgrades the community,” states Grohe. Part of that upgrade is addressing the question his clients have most, and that is: “How long will this work of art last?” Grohe has committed himself to using Keim Mineral Paint (www.keim.com) for large-scale exterior projects. the paint comes from Germany and is non-chemical. He prefers using this kind of paint because the pigments are ‘true;’ there are no petrochemicals beaten into the molecules and the pigments are vibrant and happier-looking. He guarantees his creations to last longer: “I have a low guilt threshold… If I’m not putting in the time or the work, if it’s not the best I can do, it haunts me. I don’t like to waste time – both my time and the client’s time, which is why I took the time to talk to the chemist of the paint, not the salespeople. I made sure I got all the technical information on the paint, did a background check and did a lot of interviews before contacting the company. I went through the drill and learned how to use the paint. It’s nice to know that you can create something wonderful and your client only has to hose down a creation once every ten years for maintenance. they can feel good about something that is made to last,” explains Grohe. Grohe’s focus, attention to detail, hard work and commitment to quality, in addition to his passion for art, is only part of the ‘big picture’ of what this man is all about. this world-traveling artist, who has maintained a professional art career since 1961 has painted a sense of liberation and freedom into all he creates because he truly understands the value of what he is creating, keeping his mission in mind: “you have one life going. you might as well live it and do what you love with love and enthusiasm. I have an opportunity to change things. I realize how lucky I am to do the work I do. there is gratitude, and I am happier for the experience…and that just makes me work harder.” While there are numerous examples of Grohe’s enthusiasm at
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work all over the globe, one particular project deﬁnes the meaning of his work on another level, titled “liberty Remembers.” lady liberty comes alive in Grohe’s mural as she cradles a dying soldier in her arms. Surrounding her are the portraits of 284 veterans from Crawford County, ohio. the story behind this mural is as amazing as the mural itself; Grohe wanted this piece of work to have profound meaning to the community. With the 9/11 tragedy near the project’s completion, he took the process to another level by dedicating an interior memorial arch to casualties. Five thousand submissions arrived in response to Grohe’s newspaper advertisement inviting anyone with a relative from the War of Independence to Desert Storm to come forward with their stories. these touching experiences were later published in a book. Grohe didn’t initially know what to expect in terms of community response, but it has been overwhelmingly positive. “You can ﬁnd success in just doing the right thing,” aﬃrms Grohe. Eric Grohe lives his life in moments of realization, knowing there is honesty in hard work. He appreciates that his reputation is on the line with every piece of work he creates. But along with his reputation comes a sense of adventure…. “theme music starts...and you feel the straps and soles of your shoes. the wind starts to blow a little bit. And then you say let’s have fun, let’s do it right.” Art imitating life? life imitating art? Perhaps it’s just Eric Grohe living the life of a true artist practicing the art of transformation. Website: www.ericgrohemurals.com
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MPAA RAting for disturbing material involving the rape of a teen, language, sexual content and some violence. SynoPSiS: A dark drama about the damaging effects an online sexual predator has on a family. clive Owen and catherine Keener will play the parents of a 14-year-old girl who are stunned to discover she has been victimized by an adult who gained her trust posing as a teenager on a chat room.
DIREctED by DAvID ScHwIMMER
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DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT the central front in the battle for America’s energy future, with enormous consequences for the health and economic prospects of every citizen, is the ﬁght for Appalachian coal. In valleys and on mountaintops throughout the heart of the eastern seaboard, the coal industry detonates the explosive power of a Hiroshima bomb each and every week, shredding timeless landscapes to bring coal wealth to a few, and leaving devastated communities and poisoned water to many. With politicians siding with their corporate donors, it falls to a rag tag army of local activists to stand alone for the welfare of their families, their heritage and for a principled and sound energy future. our ﬁlm is their ﬁlm – the uplifting story of the power of ordinary citizens to remake the future when they have the determination and courage to do so. – Bill Haney
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The Extinction of Native Cultures By Jane Waide
n June 26, 1975—during what Steve Kroft of “60 Minutes” called “a time of well-documented government misconduct against dissident groups, including the American Indian Movement”—a shoot-out occurred on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, resulting in the deaths of a young native American man and two F.B.I. agents. Based on what has since been found to be questionable evidence and coerced testimony, leonard Peltier, a young native American man and member of the American Indian Movement (AIM), was found guilty of the deaths of the two F.B.I. agents and was sentenced to two life terms in prison. today, 36 years later, Preston Randolph, a young ﬁlmmaker who is passionate about human 64 A DIStInCtIvE StylE . CoM
rights and dedicated to the long-sought exoneration of leonard Peltier, is making a ﬁlm. the project, entitled Wind Chases the Sun after Peltier’s native name, is currently in pre-production and slated for release in late 2012. Randolph and co-producer Dan Battaglia intend to create a feature-length docu-drama that brings to light the inconsistencies and biases which they feel led to Peltier’s conviction, subsequent imprisonment and most recently, denial of parole. Preston cites his father and grandfather, both historians specializing in native American culture, as primary inﬂuences in engendering his long-time interest in and commitment to Peltier’s case. He considers himself an activist and speaks with
passion and conviction when he refers to the time during which these tragedies occurred on the Pine Ridge Reservation, a time that has come to be known as the “Reign of terror.” “I grew up learning about these topics and actually began my own research into leonard’s case about 10 years ago. When the parole hearing came up in 2009, I wanted to be there. It was then that I realized how necessary it was to document this. As a ﬁlmmaker, I decided to take on this project and produce this ﬁlm.” this “Reign of terror,” and the circumstances surroundingPeltier’s conviction, occurred amidst deplorable conditions of abject poverty on the reservation, with U.S. Government policies seemingly hell-bent on the extinction of native Cultures. Even today, all this time later, the conditions of squalor and poverty on the Pine Ridge Reservation are unmatched anywhere in America. Woven into the ﬁlm’s larger story surrounding leonard Peltier, is a smaller story of a young girl named Sandra Wounded Foot. She was last seen alive on the morning of August 14, 1976, in the company of Paul Duane Herman, Jr., a Federal Bureau of Indian Aﬀairs Investigator. the events that followed tell yet another grisly and shameful story that supports the sad disregard for the lives of native Americans during this time. on August 16, two days later, her naked body was found in a remote area of the Pine Ridge Reservation. She had been shot twice in the head. Whatever other gruesome events occurred during this time, we will never know. Sandra Wounded Foot had apparently been beaten and raped. Herman pleaded guilty to a code violation and voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to ten years in the custody of the Attorney General. Randolph tells me this story and points to the disparity in sentencing between native Americans and Whites. Randolph has lined up an impressive list of notable talents to work on the ﬁlm: actor Peter Coyote, a longtime friend and supporter of leonard Peltier’s is expected to do the voiceover work for the ﬁlm. Actress Q’orianka Kilcher, most recently known for her role as Pocahantas opposite actors Colin Farrell and Christian Bale in the ﬁlm the new World, is contributing her time and talent toward making the ﬁlm. Grammy Award winning guitarist tom Morello, formerly of Rage Against the Machine, will be recording a new song for the ﬁlm’s soundtrack. Guitarist Stevie Salas, who’s been a part of many notable bands, including having toured with Mick Jagger, will be working on the soundtrack along with composer Mark Brandon Hill. I asked Preston, why now? 36 years after the tragedy that occurred that day on the reservation, for which leonard Peltier serves two concurrent life sen-
tences. He tells me that while other ﬁlms have been made in the past, since that time a multitude of documents and evidence have become available that clearly point to leonard Peltier’s innocence. “there’s a whole generation of people out there who are completely unaware of what has happened to leonard Peltier; that we have a political prisoner right here in the United States. In an age of instant, electronic information, these same people are interconnected across the globe through innumerable social networks. Even as recently as 10 years ago, this wasn’t the case. We’re making this ﬁlm to get the word out and create political pressure that will result in his (leonard’s) release. We’re not just skimming over the top of the case. We’re digging deeply and the results will no doubt be shocking to many people. the goal of the ﬁlm is to spread the word about leonard, have an impact and bring him home. that’s been our goal since day one.” WInD CHASES tHE SUn: www.windchasesthesun.com FUnDRAISIInG: www.indiegogo/Wind-Chases-the-Sun lEonARD PEltIER IntERvIEW AnD vIDEo www.adistinctivestyle.com/issue/17112/59
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randpa Jack was estranged from his father at an early age. When he was eleven, he was sent to a reformatory, when he was thirteen, he was living on the streets stealing food to survive.
had been incarcerated in several prisons, made seven prison escapes; eleven suicide attempts, was taken to Alcatraz Island in 1952. His prison career spaned twenty-ﬁve years, up until Dawn was twenty-one.
Dawn Shields started documenting the life of her grandfather after getting a call from her sister saying: “you’re not going to believe what I found out. I just Googled Grandpa Jack’s name and found out that he was inmate number 942 in Alcatraz!”
When he wasn’t escaping, Papa Jack was such a model prisoner that he would occasionally be granted a furlough and would come home for the weekend. Grandmother would invite the family to come visit; Shields would come into the house and see her grandfather relaxing in an easy chair; she never knew that on Monday, he would be living in a prison cell.
John Raymond Kahl Jr., known to Dawn as “Papa Jack,” had a secret life that she had never known about—he was a killer. As a girl, Dawn Shields knew that her grandfather had spent some time in jail. the story she heard was that he had been in a bar ﬁght, and someone had died but he didn’t spend too much time in jail because he was ﬁghting in self-defense. She didn’t know that Papa Jack had a rap sheet (a list of a criminal’s oﬀenses) that was the same size as Al Capone’s. He 66 A DIStInCtIvE StylE . CoM
Describing Papa Jack, Shields said, “My papa was, for me, the most consistent, strongest man in my life … you never felt you knew everything about him. While I didn’t know he was in Alcatraz, I wasn’t surprised. I wanted to know more, I needed to understand why he was there, what had happened that put him in that place.”
My grandfather had a secret and I was on a journey to piece together his past. ~ Dawn Shields
By Matt Kramer
one of Shields’ best friends, renowned wedding photographer Bambi Cantrell said, “Dawn, you’ve got to make a story out of this!” At that point she started to consider making a photo album about her grandfather. Shields, who is one of the most respected portrait and wedding photographers in the ﬁeld, had a wedding to photograph in San Francisco, a short ferry ride away from Alcatraz that was coming up. As long as she was going to be there anyway, she decided to begin her journey to ﬁnd out more about Papa Jack. When she got to the prison, she read through the ﬁles and began piecing together a hidden past of a grandfather she loved dearly. “He kept his past fairly hidden from all of us,” she says. She asked to see his cell, took some photos and went home. After she returned home and looked at the photos, she felt that something was missing. She realized that her visit to Alcatraz was as a granddaughter; she had to go back as a photographer
and dig deeper into Papa Jack’s life. on the second visit, she knew that she had to look at his life from his side of the cell. Shields had huge, diﬃcult questions to answer. She didn’t know how to reconcile with the man who showed her such love, with someone who spent two and a half decades in prison. Her perception was that he was someone who truly wanted her to be happy and he seemed to be really attuned to her feelings and needs. He was the best male role model she had ever known. yes, he was complicated but he only showed her love. He even made sure that she had the kind of makeup she wanted, especially when she ﬁrst left home and was struggling to build her own life. He told her that if she ever had any problems with anybody, he would take care of it. In retrospect, she was glad she never took him seriously on that oﬀer. CONTI NU E D
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CONTI NU E D
over the course of six months, while putting the album together, Dawn went through some very diﬃcult times. She would get headaches and feel sick to her stomach. looking through the album would bring out diﬀerent emotions — frustration, anger and sadnesss. there were even times when she didn’t ever want to look at the album again.
endured on the street, and having to deal with a traumatic experience at the reformatory, it makes sense that he wrestled with demons.
When asked to sum up how making Papa Jack's album impacted her, Shields replied; “the biggest thing I learned was; whether we want to or not, we are all guilty of judging people. We weigh what they wear, what they weigh, what they drive. When you learn something about the most rock solid person in your life, the only person who loved you unconditionally; it makes you stop judging so much.”
Dawn Shields’ won the award for her grandfathers story entitled “legacy,” at the 2010 WPPI annual conference. When they announced her name it brought the crowd of over 2000 photographers to a standing ovation. the Wedding & Portrait Photographers International is one of the most prestigious associations for professional photographers.
“Everyone has their own battles to ﬁght on some level. Many will look wrong in society’s eyes, but you never know what took them to that place in life. I think Papa Jack had a hard time thinking people could love him. Anyone who has dealt with that kind of rejection from such a young age, will always question love,” Sheilds tells us. “Papa Jack always treated us like gold; if you showed him love, you received love.” Given the lack of a role model in his life, the harsh life he
“I had to reconcile. How can I love someone who hurt other people? Is it ok for me to love him? It’s a strange place to be. Jack was clearly meant to be in my life and everyone deserves love.”
Dawn says; “Everyone has stories about their family that they may be embarrassed or ashamed about. I made peace with my past, so I was okay showing my story to people. Since WPPI, people have been emailing me and telling me that they are going to do personal projects. A photographer told me that she wants to do a story on autism because she photographs her autistic brother. I know this has made an impact on others.” to view Dawn Shields work on her website and blog go to: www.dawnshields. com and www.dawnshieldsblog.com.
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Register to win
ben AND HIS
Helmet books for free!
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Helmet Helping children learn how to cope with the characteristics of Asperger's Syndrome and Autism By Peter David Mack
hile standing at the check-out line at the grocery store, a woman in front of me said, “Just listen to that! It's disgraceful, that kid shouldn't be allowed out of the house.” She and her friend were shaking their heads and looking at a small boy sitting in a nearby shopping cart. What appeared to be his grandmother was shouting, “yelling and screaming is very naughty and you will be in trouble when mom and dad ﬁnd out.” Another woman in line behind me said quietly to her partner, “look at that poor little guy, he obviously has ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), and the poor woman has no idea how to deal with him or help him.” two people, same situation, two totally diﬀerent responses. the woman who understood had sympathy for both the child and the woman with him. I had heard of ASD but wasn't sure what it was. When I arrived back at the oﬃce, I turned the radio on just in time to hear an interview with nelle Frances, the mother of an autistic child. She was talking about a workshop she was holding in town the next day, so I called the station, got nelle's number and gave her a call. I attended the workshop and had one of the most emotionally draining days of my life. I realized that I had absolutely no knowledge of ASD whatsoever, and was almost certain that the little guy in the shopping cart wasn't being naughty; he likely had autism. Frances is the author of a series of ﬁve ﬁction books called “Ben and his Helmet.” the books help children on the Autistic Spectrum learn to cope with the characteristic symptoms and self-manage their behavior. Children are using these social stories as a reference as they look for assistance in navigating:
• School routines • Social skills • Facial expressions • literal meanings • Sensory issues • transition and change Children make a connection to Ben—his character becomes familiar and safe. the use of repetitive text provides predictability and conﬁdence to struggling readers. Each book oﬀers a chance to consolidate the ASD child's progress towards selfmanagement, at the same time reinforcing desired classroom practice and social behavior. over the past decade, Frances has been raising awareness through educating communities and supporting parents and teachers with eﬀective strategies for coping with autism in the classroom, in the community and in our homes. the majority of autistic children will ﬁnish school and go on to a job or to further their education. they will become graphic designers, engineers, shopkeepers, business owners, street sweepers, bus drivers and will do everything else that you and I do every day. they will drive their own car to work and will live very well with their parents or by themselves. they will get married and enjoy loving relationships blessed by children. nelle's son is a graphic designer who drives to and from work and is in a relationship. the condition does not go away or improve with age. It sits there awaiting the triggers when the soap scent is too strong, a friend’s perfume is overwhelming, the noise from the chatter in the room is like a football crowd with screaming fans around them, or church bells ringing in the background. It is everpresent but it can be controlled in many ways. As a parent of three adults and three beautiful grandchildren, I cannot in my wildest imagination comprehend how parents of ASD children cope with their everyday lives. But they do; they roll with the punches and do what needs to be done and we as onlookers can only admire them and try to understand their position, though we never will. they do not want our sympathy; they do not need it. All they silently ask is for us to be a little more understanding when confronted with ASD incidents and respond only with the patience that their beautiful and intelligent children so richly deserve. I believe it is incumbent on us to become a lot more knowledgeable about ASD for the sake of our own inner peace. We need to educate ourselves.
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Do you feel powerless to make any difference to those affected by all of the natural and maninflicted disasters unless you can donate a sizable amount of money? While contributing through monetary donations or our hands, hugs, and love can bring unparalleled transformation to a desolate situation, please know you can also help towards creating a peaceful, healed people and planet. And you can do it from simply sitting in a chair in your own home…preferably a comfortable chair. I’m not talking about sitting in your favorite chair and watching as many news reports on the disasters on television as possible. For many, when a crisis hits, we feel pulled to watch the endless parade of horriﬁc images across the television screen. It’s like a part of our humanity feels the instinct of “all for one and one for all,” and we feel if we watch the reports and talk on the phone with all of our friends about how horrible it is, then we are somehow participating with the aﬄicted. We feel that if we suﬀer, they will not be alone in their suﬀering. the truth is that they are not alone nor are you. Quantum physics tells us that at the most basic energy level, we are all connected. So no matter how big your heart or well-meaning your intentions, we do not help anybody when we are predominantly in a state of worry and fear because we are simply sending out negative energy. numerous studies have supported humanity’s energy connection and the power of focused intentional energy. In one transcendental Meditation study, the twenty-four cities, which had one percent of the city’s population participating in the meditation experiment, experienced an 89 percent decrease in the overall crime trend over the study’s experiment! 74 A DIStInCtIvE StylE . CoM
How do you step into well-being when you’re freaking out? one way is to play some soothing music, close your eyes, take some deep breaths, and tap into the inﬁnite reservoir from the Source within you... Step into the positive feeling-state of peace, capability, and well-being (recall memories when you felt this way if necessary), and ‘send’ it as a prayer to those people and places in despair. What does ‘sending it out’ look like? Simply set your intention to the idea that all those who could beneﬁt, will receive the energy. Picture the area lighting up with little lights (signifying empowerment and well-being). Imagine seeing the RElIEF on people’s faces…visualize the person/people wiping their tears away, looking capable and strong. you might notice yourself begin to smile. Do this as soon as a crisis hits, and keep doing it…even after all the news reports and the talk has dwindled because a new crisis has sprung elsewhere. Make it a part of your daily prayer and/or meditation practice. not only will you be beneﬁting others, you too will beneﬁt by bathing in the feeling-states of peace, capability, and well-being every day. And it doesn’t need to be long; even a few minutes will help. And by all means, donate whatever you can, and feel good about doing it. As a species we are called human beings and yet most could be more accurately described as human doings. Many say there is great magical power in a name, and now is the time to wake up to the true power of our name…and use it with intention. I believe that it is only when we become Intentional Human Beings, and use the awareness of our oneness and the power of our thoughts and feeling-states with positive intention, that we will create a peaceful and sustainable earth. So remember Bobby McFerrin and sing along: Don’t worry… be happy. Go inside and open the Source of peace, power, and well-being inside of you…and then beam it out to the world. For more spiritual and energy science tools to help you be the bright light you intend to be, visit www.MikaelaJones.com, where you can download her free Light Meditation to help you begin each day centered In your light! Mikaela Jones is the author of “The Little Book of Light: 111 Ways to Bring Light Into Your Life.” She is the creator of the Delight Frequency® Practice and CD/MP3, and is also an inspirational speaker. Mikaela is excited to be launching a regular column with us at “A DISTINCTIVE STYLE MAGAZINE,” entitled LIVE YOUR LIGHT beginning in the Fall Issue.
Ten things people with Down syndrome would like you to know...
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Being Brooke The red carpet correspondent, entrepreneur, author and host of ‘Dancing with the Stars’ discusses family, fashion, and fun. By Rachel Sokol
Brooke Burke is everywhere: chatting up celebrities, appearing in commercials, running a successful website, and hosting ‘Dancing with the Stars’ (DWtS) … From her dazzling, infectious smile right down to the amazing gowns she wears as a DWtS co-host, everything about Brooke is radiant and ﬂawless—from the outside, that is. In her raw-truth debut book, The Naked Mom: A Modern Mom's Fearless Revelations, Savvy Advice, and Soulful Reﬂections, Brooke reminds readers that nothing in life is perfect, especially not her. Right from the start, in a warm, conversational tone, she tells her readers how much makeup and how many hair extensions she wears for her gig as co-host of DWtS…even her toes have some type of glitter sprayed on them! She also reminds fellow moms that even though she operates a mommy-oriented website, she is far from the perfect mom, though she tries to be the best parent she can be. A mother of four, Brooke is currently engaged to actor David Charvet, the father of her third and fourth children. the family resides in California. “Recycling, education at school, and putting wastefree products in the kid's lunch boxes are just a few ways we embrace a green home,” says Brooke in an interview with A Distinctive Style. “We’re also very conscious of power while at home and not home and we use as little as we can.” In The Naked Mom, Brooke candidly discusses how hard 76 A DIStInCtIvE
divorce was on her eldest child, neriah—Brooke is divorced from plastic surgeon Garth Fisher, the father of her ﬁrst two children. She admits it took a bit of time for neriah to warm up to David, but the family unit always remained intact and strong. “I always knew that I wanted to have a big family. Family is ﬁrst for me; it's everything to me,” she says. “I am so blessed to have my four beautiful healthy children, it's the greatest part of my life and I always knew I'd be the mother of many children.” In the position of a ‘famous parent,’ Brooke, who grew up in Arizona, wonders how her Hollywood lifestyle will aﬀect her children, especially her three daughters. Prior to her appearance as co-host of DWtS with tom Bergeron, Brooke was a contestant—and won the seventh season of the show. In her book, Brooke candidly discusses how badly she wanted to quit the show, how she struggled to see eye-to-eye with her dancing partner Derek Hough, and how much it hurt to leave her family to rehearse. She was constantly in pain from the hours of dance rehearsals and missed her family so much it made her bitter and grouchy, but she didn’t want her children and David to see her as a “quitter.” She was always a tomboy, but never a dancer (in fact, she quit her high school cheerleading squad) so the show ended up being a new albeit tiring challenge for her. no matter how exhausted she was after a day of dancing when she was a contestant, Brooke always took a few moments to dance with her children when she arrived home, embracing the fun and family time. She believes it is important keep her children motivated and positive. “I praise and compliment each child on their own talents and really encourage them to try new things that they might be great at,” she says. “I don't preach to them for perfection, I preach to them to be their personal best. I love them unconditionally and madly.” In fact, in her favorite dance of her awardwinning season, Brooke touched the faces of her daughters who were sitting in the audience, a personal connection that meant so much to her and drove her to succeed as the season’s winner despite constant stress. In the end, it wasn’t about winning the show; it was about stepping out of her comfort zone. “I love the feeling of doing something new and I think that's how you discover things about yourself,” she explains. “I also think all women should write a bucket list and write down their dreams and try new things and make them happen. Eleanor Roosevelt said: “Do something that scares you,” and I one hundred percent believe in that. I think it can apply to everyone, whether it's with your kids, yourself, your friends…” … And sometimes that ‘doing something’ can be very simple, like taking a fashion risk. Brooke explains in her book that in a
pinch, she needed to put together a nice outfit for a birthday party, and was heading to the party from the DWtS studio. She opted for a casual outfit from her dressing room but something was missing: a standout accessory. Worried about being ‘sized up’ at the party, since she would be arriving in a rush, she asked to borrow the amazing necklace a show staﬀer frequently wore on the show. Unbeknownst to her, the particular necklace Brooke selected cost a mere ﬁfteen dollars, but Brooke was complimented on it all night—a reminder that conﬁdence comes from within and things aren’t always what they may seem…including jewelry! “Sexy is a state of mind that comes from a very deep place,” she says. “I’m a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl, but I get to dress up and play princess every night at work, so I get the best of both worlds. I love fashion, I love it all, but I always go back to the basics. I love jewelry, I wear the best of the best, but I am also obsessed with play accessories. I'll go from a $20,000 ring to a $20 ring and I love it all.” nFl star Hines Ward and his professional dance partner Kym Johnson recently won the 12th season of “Dancing with the Stars,” allowing Brooke to spend some quality time with her family and work on other projects. “I don't know what's coming up for me towards the end of the year. I love my job on ‘Dancing with the Stars’ and Season 13 will be coming up this Fall. I have lots of campaigns going on right now; I just did two ﬁtness spots for Skechers, which are incredible and I love that brand,” she says. I am promoting the healthy drink UnderWAy, and raising my children keeps me extremely busy. I never know what's coming up but I'm open and happy…and, of course, I’m looking forward to summer vacation with the family.” A social media junkie, Brooke will continue to oversee and operate her website, ModernMom.com. “I love the power of being able to publish my own material, correct it, discuss it and open a full circle conversation with the public,” she says, evidently an “open book” when it comes to sharing her personal dreams and spreading love. “I love the community at ModernMom.com, and I ﬁnd blogging to be therapeutic. It’s a great way to vent and share and learn from each other, woman to woman.” A DIStInCtIvE StylE . CoM 77
VITALITY GLASSWARE Keep your food fresh by storing it in style. vitality glassware’s violiv line of elegant violet-glass containers block damaging visible light while allowing enhancing UvA an infrared light to pass through, slowing the decomposition of natural substances. the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany has tested the eﬃcacy of violet glass by storing rosewater for two months in both brown and violet glass containers.
• Maintaines superior quality in all natural substances • Delys rancidity in oils, nuts and seeds • Prolongs shelf life dramatically
Favorite Things VASKA Whether you’re washing your high-tech workout clothing or your toddler’s favorite blanket, we know that getting your laundry to look, feel, and smell clean without using chemicals that harm fabrics, people, or the planet is important to you. that’s why we developed vaska laundry products – for people like you, who want exceptional textile care, but without the human and environmental costs. www.vaskahome.com 78 A DIStInCtIvE StylE . CoM
EArth-ConSCiouS PEt ProduCtS Planet PEtCoˇ heps you take care of your pet while helping you give back to our planet with a wide selection of natural and sustainable products for pets of all types. Products made from natural or renewable materials.
PHILIP STEIN WATCHES Philip Stein watches have a metal plate embedded inside them that impart natural Frequency technology. of these key frequencies is the Schumann resonance of 7.83 Hertz waves per second, which is the earth’s chief harmonic frequency and the main resonance of balanced nature. Clinical studies show that these frequencies reduce stress and jet lag, promote overall well-being, increase concentration and promote better, longer and more refreshing sleep. www.philipstein.com
mAriS SAn FrAnCiSCo Experience our ultra-rich body crème, made of the ﬁnest natural ingredients, including shea butter, orange wax, and lavender water. the orange wax is an all- natural wax derived from the rind of the orange. In nature, the orange wax protects the fruit from the environment, while still allowing the ﬂow of oxygen and maintaining the essential water balance. this orange wax oﬀers similar protection to the skin. the crème deeply moisturizes, and protects to give your skin a supple texture. Choose from one of the natural perfume blends. www.marisnaturals.com A DIStInCtIvE StylE . CoM 79
lIFe, DeATH, lOVe, WAR: A Picture Paints
More Than A Thousand
WORDS FOR Photographer Jayel Aheram 80 A DIStInCtIvE StylE . CoM
By Stacey Kumagai
icture this: discovering who you are just by showing up in life and doing what you have to do. For internationally published photographer Jayel Aheram, a veteran of the Iraq War, this is exactly how one of his many talents became a true passion. Aheram was honorably discharged from the United States Marine Corps in early 2010. But while in Iraq he had discovered that photography was more than just pictures and art – it was a unique way to share stories by capturing even more than he saw behind the lens.
“My desire to join the Marine Corps was motivated by lots of diﬀerent factors; chief among them was a sense of patriotic duty to take part in my generation's conﬂict. My beliefs have since changed, of course, but that was the motivation. I am not one to regret my past actions since my experiences have been
instrumental in my growing up as a person. Photography was never meant to be an art form for me, but rather a medium to tell my story. the adage "a picture is worth a thousand words" can be true sometimes. Photography's ability to tell a story gave dimension to the narrative I was sharing with my friends and family. the fact that the world also paid attention was unexpected,” explains Aheram. While no one expects to discover a passion or reﬁne a talent while deployed in Iraq, Aheram most certainly did. He may have been caught oﬀ guard when the world started paying attention to his photography, upholding it as art in a diﬀerent light, but sometimes just doing something for the love of it can have this unforeseen connection. His work has been published in multiple print, television, and online venues. He is a popularly exhibited artist, having appeared in more than a dozen exhibitions
including three critically acclaimed solo exhibitions. the world of entertainment stood up and proudly watched as he received acclaim from Rosie o’Donnell and yoko ono. His photography has been featured in anti-war music videos including Sam Harris’ “War on War” and Italy’s the Abuﬀos’ “Stop What you’re Doing.” “My photography becoming art was never intentional. I create for the sake of creativity, I tell stories for the sake of telling them, and I take photographs as an exercise in extrospection. It started out as a mere hobby to complement my writing, but I think photography has since transformed into a lifelong fascination for beauty in the still. (I have) an innate desire to ﬁnd the objective beauty that is inherent in everything and everyone; CONTINUED
Beauty can be found even in the most forsaken of places.
and a documentary of the world and its people as I perceive it,” Aheram tell us. the arts, for many, are a means of discovery and rediscovery, and sometimes a method of survival just by allowing a platform for expression. When asked if there were any parallels between military duty and his artistic side, Aheram simply replied, “the only parallel I could think of is that military life and photography are both very lonely eﬀorts.” Aheram’s ‘lonely’ eﬀorts certainly do drive his ambition into another dimension as he comes from a place where he lets photography become the vehicle, taking him to new territories to explore. Beyond artistry, he is a student in Mass Communications, a web and graphic designer, and a writer. His ability to shift gears across many arenas comes naturally from his background of having a family in the military and moving incessantly. “I ﬁnished high school in Japan and my family still lives there. I am a navy brat; I really do not have a hometown to speak of. Home for me is where my family is. or where my laptop is. I have learned that I am never satisﬁed with what I am doing, and I am always doing something. or two somethings. or three. or four... I am driven, insuﬀerably so,” he explains. Aheram’s worldly outlook, ambition and depth come from many inﬂuences in his life: his travels, the people who have been good to him, his appreciation for diﬀerent cultures and the people he has met along the way in his life. “People are good and people are fascinating. I enjoyed every person I have 82 A DIStInCtIvE StylE . CoM
met (usually). Also, I love every single one of my Marines, even the [ones] I would knife-hand and yell at,” shares Aheram. Jayel Aheram currently has an exhibition called "In Martial Hues," which features photographs he took while serving with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit. He traveled to Japan, the Philippines, thailand, and just outside Myanmar. He is also working on an art installation to be revealed in the fall. there is no real 'formula' for how you discover who you are, what you're about and what you love. Everyone stumbles across who they are in the process or journey we call life – this is where distinctive style is developed. For Jayel Aheram, the journey of being an artist is truly about perspective and what can be shared. “the one thing I hope people will take away from my work is that beauty can be found even in the most forsaken of places. And if beauty can be found in a hopeless place, then there is always hope and there is not a reason to despair. My distinctive style is that beauty is everywhere; we just have to take the time and look for it,” he declares. life, death, love and war. If we could all ﬁnd beauty everywhere we looked, we would know the beautiful perspective Aheram has found on his journey. to keep up with all of Jayel Aheram’s works, visit his website: www.aheram.com
By Melissa Hutton
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nine:inthe:morning premium demium
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Nine In the Morning: Environmentally Conscious Innovation for Your Jeans By Teresa louise Johnson
Umberto vendramin comes from a long line of entrepreneurs, with his Grandmother Giulia founding the family textile business many years ago and her five daughters carrying on as leaders in business as well. Umberto, however, is the man behind nine In the Morning, an Italian company with a propensity toward thoughtful process in denim production. Denim to nItM is not simply denim: it’s a passion not only for the maker but for the wearer as well. nItM’s the natural Morning collection of jeans is created using organic cotton and natural indigo dye. they consider the jeans in the collection to be “an ethical choice in addition to an artistic one”, as thought is put into everything from fit to the purity of the fabric to style. the research put into the fabric alone is outstanding, with study done in both Italy and Japan and collaboration with both launderers to research wash and suppliers to research fabric performance. Even if only 20 washes are chosen, up to 150 washes and treatments are developed to find the ideal 20 each season.
And the woman wearing nItM’s Summer nine collection? She’s someone with the confidence to know what she wants. She has her own know-how and the elegance to carry it off. though nItM puts a lot of thought into studying fabric and dye, they also put time into studying the figure of a woman to create different fits so that “every woman can have the perfect fit for her.” they want to offer what other brands can’t and don’t offer, to surprise their customers and to always stay upto-date. WEBSItE: www.nineinthemorning.com
Summer nine is this season’s collection of nItM denim. It’s a playful collection, as evidenced by the mood of the site, www.nineinthemorning.com. the models play about by the pool, and in it, in the summer sun. the philosophy behind the collection is that of comfort; the jeans are meant to fit not even like a second skin but like a high-end cosmetic cream: light, natural, “designed-on-you.” there’s a cast metal tag added to the fifth pocket of the jeans and an insert made of champagne-colored silk added to the inner belt of the jeans. Even the pockets are adorned with a floral print. the attention to detail put into nItM jeans is the company’s self-proclaimed know-how: “unmissable Made-in-Italy” expertise.
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PHOTOGRAPHeR NATALIA YeROMINA
Eco-Style: Summer Glam 2011 By Teresa Johnson
Summer’s ice cream cones and warm breezes sprinkled with dew are best accessorized with the best in Summer 2011’s eco-fashions. the problem is: which eco-designers do I choose? they’ve all come into their own with each season’s passing. From one to the next, as seen in last issue’s fashion week centered column, designers shine in 2011. this summer though, I’m giving the glory to CheryAna organic atelier, vitamin A swimwear by Amahlia Stevens and Patricia Brown Designs jewelry. CherylAna’s S2011 (www.cherylana.com) designs move right through spring and into summer with an airy quality and light fabrics that are sustainable and made with natural dyes, ﬁbres and yarns. the Happiness Dress, done in organic cotton knit, is a sexy summer option with its close ﬁt and black trim designed to accent the wearer’s curves. Add a ﬂoppy hat and a big bag to this dress for a complete ensemble but on its own, the dress is certainly a head turner. no accoutrements necessary. the soft drape of the Inﬁnity Shear top, made of peace silk, is elegant tucked into the extremely eco-glam youShorts. Both items pair beautifully with the hand loomed Present Cardigan, with its detailed cuﬀ and shot of pretty pink. on the other hand, the top with your favourite jeans or the shorts with a simple tank suit summer nights or boardwalk days. Going out on the town? the CherylAna asymmetrical tranquil top with cap sleeves and exaggerated hipline is a summer party knockout. With a gold necklace trailing down the front and a ﬁtted pant with high heels, it will not be your average black top but it will be a wardrobe staple. Call it a variation of the lBD, the cut of this piece is made to ﬂatter. the Amazing Sheath Dress is another party piece (beach party anyone?); it’s done in woven cotton organic Pima sateen and a 86 A DIStInCtIvE StylE . CoM
true bright and bold alternative to the lBD. I dare the wearer to try not to smile when wearing something so intensely patterned and body-celebratory. Each description of a CherylAna piece is accompanied by an uplifting quote, giving insight into the nature of the piece’s name and into the spirit of the collection. this is what thoughtful eco-couture is about; everything from fabric down to worker’s rights and fair trade is considered at CherylAna organic atelier. When the clothes come oﬀ, the designer to keep in mind is
PHOTOGRAPHeR NATALIA YeROMINA
Amahlia Stevens of vitamin A swimwear (www.vitaminaswim.com). the brand boasts a line of “green” bikinis that are made with 100% recycled nylon ﬁbre and a dedication to the bigger picture, as a fraction of the bikini sale proceeds goes to Heal the Bay. the “green” bikinis come in several styles and colors, including eco green/black/white/nomad print and three bottom styles or 3 top styles. the standout combination for me is the eco chic bandeau top with the eco chic keyhole haute pant in eco nomad print. It’s
an outstanding blend of pieces with a knockout pattern to top it oﬀ. If you’re in the market for something that sparkles or shines, Patricia Brown Designs (www.patriciabrown.com) handmade (to minimize waste and pollution) jewelry is made by the experienced Patricia Brown. Before she began designing her own collections, her impressive background included a vP position at Banana Republic and stints at Gapkids & Baby and Ann taylor. CONTINUED A DIStInCtIvE StylE . CoM 87
Her jewelry pieces are extraordinary enough to stand alone, transforming a simple dress or outfit to something with pizzazz. though they are designed with a “neutral based color scheme”, that doesn’t mean the pieces fade into the background. they are no doubt showstoppers designed to make an outfit rather than simply to accessorize it. From the Botanical Collection, the Coral Branches necklace is full of movement and evocative of nature. the Milky Way necklace, of the Galaxy Collection, is 3 tiers of sterling adorned with Swarovski clusters and perfect with a lBD as a showpiece. the Crystalline links/Fringe Cuﬀ of the Geo Collection, however, is a showstopper from its sparkling links to its fringed edge. CherylAna, vitamin A, Patricia Brown...all three are not to be missed, but what else is grabbing me this summer? Fancy face a top priority? though every girl might be tempted to go without makeup in summer, it’s not likely that many of us 88 A DIStInCtIvE StylE . CoM
are actually going to forego enhancing our looks altogether, especially on special occasions. ProEMM Artistry (www.proemmartistry.com), out of vancouver BC Canada, promises a natural look done by professionals using the natural makeup line Elements Mineral Makeup line. Photo shoots, weddings, corporate photos-ProEMM Artistry allows you the choice of a natural makeup that is free of chemicals and preservatives and is never tested on animals. Shoes, anyone? Charmoné shoes (www.charmone.com) are made using materials like Italian microﬁber, a fabric free of PvCs and done with a polyurethane coating that is gentler on the environment than your traditional leather shoes. the company is committed to sustainability and to using boxes and business cards made with recycled materials. there’s a large range of styles and patterns to browse through this summer in the selection of open-toe heels and ﬂats. they range from attentiongetting adorned shoes to less dramatic choices.
A warm weather wear-with-anything Charmoné option I’m fond of is the Joni-Smokey Deco slide. neutral enough to suit any outfit but pretty and sophisticated at the same time, it’s a blend of faux leather and organic cotton. on the other hand, the norah shoe is ideal with a black pant and blouse for work or with a cute dress for weekends but for the diva in you, might I suggest the longwing-Warm Burgundy with removable embellishment? Picture it on a mother-of-the-bride, along with an elegant dress or at anything from semi- to formal events. It’s available in a pretty Cool Blues pattern as well. Sweatshop-free and dedicated to animals, people and the environment with 5% of proﬁts going to charities, Charmoné is guilt-free designer footwear you can’t help but feel good about (and look pretty in.) top it oﬀ with a bag? this summer season, AmyKathryn Handbags (www.amykathryn.com) are nothing short of extraordinary in faux leather and hand-printed patterns. the bags come from
a family-run factory with designer Amy Hall at the helm. In particular, the Wyland Canvas totes are pretty in tan with blue, red, green or yellow. the sturdy rope handles add a nautical feel to the already beachy tote (the prints are water animals.) the collections aren’t limited to totes; there are shoulder bags, duﬀel bags and even diaper changing pads, all in various interesting patterns and prints mixed with solid shades. the Gladiola Gold Red Weekender or Diaper Bag stands out among the other large bags with its textured red and patterned gold outer shell. the addition of a stylized strap and numerous storage pockets make the bag a one-of-a-kind piece with ﬂair and practicality. Whether you’re lounging about at home this summer or throwing parties at the beach house, this season’s eco-fashion won’t leave you lacking. Bags, shoes, jewelry, clothes...the only problem is where to begin.
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Everyone Deserves a Shot
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People who appear
solated or alienated
rom the mainstream
o grow beyond their
mitations and are
ble to touch many
more people in the
rocess. CONTI NU E D A DIStInCtIvE StylE . CoM 91
Activist for People with Disabilities courtney Bent – life changer By Matt Kramer
any articles are written about people who touch the lives of others in healing, loving and heartfelt ways. Photographer/ﬁlmmaker Courtney Bent goes miles further. In her work, people who appear isolated or alienated from the mainstream become empowered to grow beyond their limitations and are able to touch many more people in the process. on the surface, Bent accomplishes this by sharing her expertise and passion for photography, inventing ways for even the most disabled to be able to handle a camera and take a picture. Her drive is fueled by a love for people and joy in watching others blossom as they learn to use the camera to share their inner world. Bent has also worked with at risk teenage girls. She has seen girls who appeared completely shut down… open up, transform their lives and earn scholarships to study photography. When asked about her experience working with the girls, she replied, “It was an honor to feel like I could guide someone to ﬁnd a way to express themselves when, for so long, their life situation was so challenging.” Bent was born into a fashion conscious family; both parents worked in aspects of the fashion industry. As early as eight years old, looking at a child leaning out of a window, Bent remembers seeing life in terms of images, wishing she had a camera to catch that moment. She still treasures a photo of a couple on a Harley Davidson she took from the back seat of her parents’ car at the age of fourteen. Bent’s father and grandfather were enthusiastic photographers; cameras were 92 A DIStInCtIvE StylE . CoM
always available and accessible. While it was easy to follow their path, which she did early in her career as a fashion photographer, she never really felt at home in the rariﬁed world of fashion. In her experience, the fashion industry’s concept of beauty often misses the beauty of real people, their goodness, who they are and the magic in the ways they interact with each other. Bent’s transition from fashion photog to her life as a teacher and arts activist for people with disabilities, began as a project to photograph the folks who attended a cerebral palsy day program. the project was supposed to last a few weeks but evolved beyond the photographer/subject relationship, into friendships that have now lasted for years. the transition began when Bent realized that the photos she was taking were dark and missing the vibrant life that she was beginning to experience in this new community. In her words, “the photographs I was getting were not what I was feeling in that moment. I was feeling their humanity but it wasn’t coming across.” As she puzzled over her photos, it became clear to her that she had to switch the roles and help her subjects take their own photos. Because many of them had limited or had no control of their arms or hands, Bent invented ways for them to use a camera. She created rigging to attach to the wheelchairs and added or invented various kinds of buttons to make the cameras usable. In some cases, a large and strategically designed button made the cameras workable for those who were paralyzed from the neck down and
could only move their tongues. Bent explained, “I love adapting cameras for people with disabilities. It’s amazing to be able to be with someone the moment they take their very ﬁrst picture.” the photo project became an awardwinning documentary, Shooting Beauty, that Bend produced with her husband and director, George Kachadorian. the ﬁlm has become successful in a number ways, most notably in how it has opened the eyes and hearts of its audience. tony Knight, one of the stars featured the
My disability is not who I am – Tony Knight
movie, ﬁlmed his travels through crowds on his motorized wheelchair, catching the strained reactions and non-reactions of the passersby. learning to use a camera has transformed Knight’s life; he now sets
up his own photography exhibits. the ﬁlm has been so moving and insightful that it is now being used in schools and corporations to help teach diversity and tolerance. Bent remembers
being nervous at the ﬁrst such screening in Durham, nC. teachers around the city had been invited to bring their classes for free; about a thousand middle and high CONTINUED
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CONTI NU E D
school students were in the audience. As the ﬁlm began, a teacher, not knowing she was sitting next to the director, conﬁded, “My kids will never sit still through this.” At the end of the ﬁlm, Bent and Knight came onstage to talk about the ﬁlm. the kids yelled, cheered and jumped to their feet chanting tony’s name; afterwards many of them came and hugged Knight and had their photos taken with him. Bent describes the moment; “It was like nothing we had ever experienced. tony's disability was no longer the ﬁrst thing
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these kids saw. they truly wanted to embrace tony for being tony, the inspiring and cool person that he is.” Bent’s journey with Shooting Beauty continues to take her to surprising places. She is partnering with the Girl Scouts to create a patch program based upon the principles in the ﬁlm. She has also developed a school program with a curriculum that engages students in activities before and after watching the ﬁlm. But she will never have the time to reach the hundreds of communities around the nation that are home to people with disabilities. Bent invites everyone to get involved, even if only for one day, to pick up a
camera, visit a center or even one person who is shut in and isolated, and help them ﬁnd a way to reach out, gain positive life skills and integrate better with the community. She encourages; “Don’t let yourself feel like you can’t do it. Don’t let your fears get in the way. Just get the camera in their hands – it’s not about expecting pictures that can be shown in national Geographic; it’s about what this opportunity can do for someone.” If you’re not sure what to do, visit the website, get the DvD and take it from there. www.everyonedeservesashot.com
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Actress, Red carpet correspondent, Activist, Author Maria Menounos shares her secrets to success By Rachel Sokol
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ournalist Maria Menounos, best known for her hosting gigs on Today and Access Hollywood, has just wrapped up a book tour in which she promoted her latest project, The EveryGirl’s Guide to Life. only in her 30s, Maria, a former pageant contestant and Emerson College graduate, has already accomplished so many of her professional dreams. She’s even interviewed President obama! She wants other women to know that at the end of the day, when the makeup and the heels come oﬀ, she’s an EveryGirl.
Her book ﬂows sweetly, divided into sections such as Maria’s secrets to healthy cooking, ﬁtness, cosmetics, safety, home organization and more. Maria talks to the reader as if she’s talking to a loyal girlfriend, reassuring them that even though she’s on tv and has traveled the world, she’s just one of the girls. little life lessons she’s learned along the way enhance The EveryGirl’s Guide to Life, proving that Maria’s secrets to success was avoiding negativity while focusing on self-fulﬁllment. “I’m much more centered now. I reﬂect more on my life and my decisions. I’m more appreciative of blessings. overall, I’m happier and more successful for it,” she tells A Distinctive Style in an exclusive interview. “I never could have written the book in my 20’s. Women who fret about being 30 are not thinking things through. At this age, you’re so much more conﬁdent and so less apt to get walked on by people. you earn more respect and all that helps make for a much happier life.” Maria grew up in suburban Massachusetts with parents of Greek descent. She worked as a housekeeper, and at a Dunkin’ Donuts. She shares with us that she is proud of the jobs she had before ‘hitting it big.” In fact, she says, memorizing the donuts lined up on the shelves while working improved her memory skills later in life, a handy skill she needed as an on-air reporter. She maintains that her childhood strongly inﬂuenced her adult life in The EveryGirl’s Guide to Life. “Women must always be learning and growing ‘till the day we die, when we stop doing this, we get old inside and out. Be open always to new experiences, people, situations and possibilities.” Success happened fast for Maria, but when she ﬁrst moved to los Angeles she taught herself how to be self-suﬃcient and remain on a budget. today she still carefully manages a budget and ﬁnds creative ways to reorganize her home, keeping it clutter-free. “only buy what you need. that’s the rule. the more you buy, the more clutter you’ll acquire, which isn’t good for those little new york City apartments,” she says. “Buy clothes at the end of their season for the best buys. Shop at stores like H&M, target, Express, Forever 21 and Kohls. there are so many cute options there, enabling you to have more, for less money. Spring to have these clothes tailored for you to give it a high end
look and feel.” Maria devotes the early section of her book to home organization. of course she has friends, a sweet boyfriend and a successful career, but Maria doesn’t like to rely too much on others when it comes to home design. She loves being hands-on in the home, and stresses that the EveryGirl should have her own tool kit. “In Hollywood most stars and big producers are sparse with décor. For organization spaces like closets, drawers and cabinets it’s about maximizing the space that you have within each. Every crevice within a storage unit should be used. Items should be in view and easy to access,” she says. “Stores like Home Depot and lowes are great for closets, carrying a wide array of add-on accessories such as poles, shelves, brackets and hooks. other spaces, such as under your bed are useful. I ﬁnd the plastic containers that hold rolls of wrapping paper are great to slide under the bed, ready to access whenever you need.” In her book, she even makes carpentry sound, and look like fun. A friend to the Earth, Maria embraces her green lifestyle. “I was never green until I learned more about it,” she admits. “I discovered it’s easy and more cost-eﬀective to be green, so I try to do my part. Just take baby steps with it if you feel you don’t have time. It will pay oﬀ for you and the environment, too.” She advises those who are cleaning, to place a recycle bin next to trash receptacles. “Clothes and shoes should be given to friends or donated to places like Goodwill,” she adds. When she’s not organizing, traveling, hosting, writing, working out or acting (phew!), Maria likes to unwind with her best (furry) friends, her dogs. “I walk my dogs, play and cuddle with them,” she gushes. “We all watch tv and movies together, too, which I love.” Maria is also an avid reader. “one of my favorite books is The Guru in You by Cameron Alborzian,” she says. “It’s a life changer. the book will help you to eat, breathe, think, feel and live healthier. I love it.” one of the keys to Maria’s success, both personal and professional, is to avoid toxic people. “By 30, I learned we all have less time, which means we really have to discriminate whom we hang out with. there is less time for BS and minutia than in the teens and twenties,” she says wisely. “you cannot succeed or be happy with toxic people – including family members who are toxic. Have the courage to separate from them and keep a healthy distance. It will pay oﬀ later.” The EveryGirl’s Guide to Life (It Books, 2011) is available on amazon.com and at bookstores nationwide. to watch how Maria organized her personal bathroom, visit bing.com/maria. A DIStInCtIvE StylE . CoM 97
Nature By Chris Shaw
‘living with joy’ need not be restricted to the Dalai lama, meditative monks and ‘old souls.’ you too, can tap into such blessings of life. living with joy means, in part, understanding and really appreciating the natural world around you: the animals, the trees and the flowers. Most people concern themselves with shopping, money and children, home and food. I would like to change that focus even if it’s just for a little while. I would guess that 99.9% of people just glance at the natural things around them but never ‘get to know’ them. Here’s your chance to take a moment to become ‘0.1% special’ and
gain an appreciation of one exotic creature, presented here by my guest. Michael Cermak, living in Cairns, Australia, is the sort of organized person we all wish we were. this man has a passion, many gifts and happens to be at his ‘boy-happy best’ in the tropical rainforests and cloud forests of the world with a camera in hand. Michael, how would you describe yourself, what you do and why you put yourself in harm’s way in the jungle terrain? I hate cold and dry weather. Hot and humid conditions agree with my personal biology. Poisonous and parasitic dangers around the world can mostly be avoided with some common sense and a few medications. I have a pretty broad knowledge of the rainforest environment now. Since childhood, I’ve been fascinated by poisonous and venomous creatures, possibly the result of the excitement of flirting with danger as a child, but I’m very careful now. Whether they’re harmless or dangerous, each is fascinating. Michael, your particular passion is snakes, tell us about them. People instinctively shy away from snakes and never give themselves a chance to appreciate what I see. the pattern on snakeskin is part camouflage, but also manages to deceive the brains of would-be predators. When most snakes move, the skin pattern appears to flicker, causing
Photos by Michael Cermak
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momentary disorientation for the predator and a chance for the snake to escape. Snake skins have great beauty of colour and pattern, a depth of patina like polished wood and great natural camouflage. they are graceful, elegant and sensitive creatures. the biggest mistake people make is that they think snakes are cold and slimy. tHEy’RE not! they actually feel like very expensive leather handbags: cool, dry and luxurious.
Snakes are not cuddly and they don’t interact, play or form any sort of relationship with humans, correct? no, snakes are not “cuddly,” and their “moods” are limited to biting or not biting! However, the popularity of snakes as pets has risen dramatically in Australia in the last two decades. Surveys tell us that their low maintenance, silence, and their acceptability in places that won’t allow dogs or cats are the main contributing factors.
Can you give us, the general public, some rules about snakes? that’s easy. Unless you REAlly know what you are doing, leave snakes alone. Most creatures, including snakes, will not attack unless provoked — so, don’t provoke them. If a snake’s in your garden, stand back, admire it, and remember the experience. Most snakebites happen to pseudo-heroes trying to kill them. If a snake is indoors, and you are not completely happy with that (he says with a wry smile), then call your local zoo to capture and release it elsewhere.
How endangered are Green Tree Pythons? logging of rainforest habitats, all around the world but especially in Indonesia and the Amazon, continues. It kills All the animals that inhabit this unique and very prolific world, so numbers are decreasing.
Michael, tell us a bit about snake venom. Saliva helps us to digest our food, but snakes have modified saliva containing highly concentrated poisons to kill prey quickly, thus conserving their energy. this has been honed over millions of years of evolution. Australia has nine out of the top ten most poisonous snakes, but in truth, they are extremely hard to find.
The main attraction of Green Tree Pythons for you is…? It would be the change that takes place at around one year old: from yellow, near-ground dwelling juveniles, to limegreen, canopy-dwelling adults. the beauty and elegance of these snakes can only be appreciated in photographs, or close up in person. now to me, that’s beautiful! let my pictures work their magic. thank you, Michael, for sharing your time and experience with us. visit Michael’s website for more beautiful pictures: www.thegreeneﬀects.com.au and www.zlmc.smugmug.com.
This issue is full of diverse and amazing people such as Amber & Sam Yaeger of NBC's Hit Show "Parenthood" who are going green in Los Angele...
Published on Jul 5, 2011
This issue is full of diverse and amazing people such as Amber & Sam Yaeger of NBC's Hit Show "Parenthood" who are going green in Los Angele...