LAURYN HILL: MY OPINION…EVERYTHING IS EVERYTHING

LAURYN HILL: MY OPINION…EVERYTHING IS EVERYTHING

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“Be honest, brutally honest. That is what’s going to maintain relationships”–Lauryn Hill

I wrote an honest opinion about the restuarant La Cremaillere on Super Bowl Sunday. It’s just my opinion. A lot of people read it. I have graditude for that support base. Opinions matter. I always have one. You should have one, too. It should come from a good place. It should be brutally honest. I ask guys that I date, “Do you want to get married, yes  or no?” There is a very simple answer to this question. My answer for the record is yes.

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Lauryn Hill says, “Everything is everything, Everything is everything, After winter, must come spring, Everything is everything”.  

This is just one of her philosophies that has paid off over time and lead to multi-million dollar record sales.  I recently went to her concert and formed an very positive opionion. Lauryn Hill, like me, is also not married. I don’t know if her answer would be yes or no,  but I do know she had five of her six children with one Marley man. Hill is a working mother, nearing 40 and very clearly taking care of herself and her kids.

Her maternal energy on stage is strong making it hard to imagine that like all of us said mortals her path went through high school.  Lauryn’s resume as I understand strictly through the record of Wikipedia, reads deep. It is clear she is the decision maker behind what relationships she does and doesn’t keep.  An over-achiever in high school, she juggled academics, the student body, sports and music with a budding acting career that brought her small rolls like the one beside Whoopi Goldberg in the Sister Act. She has worked hard to get here and continues.

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BUILDING RETURN TOUR

Ms. Hill came live to The Capitol Theater in Port Chester on Friday night, January 31st. This is a very initimate venue reserved for independent artists that operate on the highest of playing fields but appreciate the most basic levels.  The theater is unique like that. The floor is general addmission, no seats. The upper balcony is better seating, a different vantage point but no better acoustics. You can’t buy the perfect seat in this theater and that is what makes it perfect. You can also park free on the street and walk to the venue.

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LAURYN HILL
LIVE, CAPITOL THEATRE JAN 31

I image that for preformers who have repeatedly sold out MSG, the small venue is a humbling place of graditude. Not everyone fits here. Lauryn Hill is one of those exceptions. A little after 9PM, she took the stage with Killing Me Softly in a version of the song that came from years of studying her step-father (loose term) Bob Marley and his Rasta culture.  Native to New Jersey, her energy transends into an ethnically delivered style that provides a rhythmic sense of roots and celebrated culture in songs.

Her choice of songs drew on her childhood influeced by Stevie Wonder, her years as a Fugee, her celebrated Mis-Education and Bob Marley. The Fugees cover of Marley’s No Woman No Cry was a part of the masterfully woven multi-platinum album, The Score.  It was perhaps kismet that she went on to build a relationship with his son, Rohan and have an instrumental part in his continued legacy baring his grand-children. Marley’s grandsons and daughter played in the dim lit corners of the stage more or less dancing to their mother’s beat. Musicians born.  They appeared as a squad of support.

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Toss the rumors that Hill is angry for her life or somehow irrevocably scorned. The mother of six does not come across that way. Nurturing and in control of her band, she let them shine independently on more then one occasion. Her guitarist jammed solo as did her back up singers. Her eye-contact with her band was sharp and not overly rehearsed.

Hill entertained and reminded us all that the Mis-Education was among the smartest decisions of her life. Songs like X-Factor, Doo-Whop, Everything is Everything, now  7-years their prime sounded fresh and current. Each was a complementary version of the original compiled on an album that won five times at the 41st Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year and Best New Artist.

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“Tell me, who I have to be
To get some reciprocity
No one loves you more than me
And no one ever will”

Work she does. Lauryn Hill is waging a comeback from a prison sentence that could have been avoided had she paid her back-taxes in a manner that showed the judge she took her penalty seriously. Returning to court with just a slim percentage paid, she was asked to serve out her remaining sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury. She served three-months. At that hearing, she is quoted to have indentified herself as a child of former slaves, ...”who has a system imposed on them”.

What ever her relationship is with our government is, it seemed not to have impact on this paritcular preformance. In a poodle-like skirt and expensive high-heel snow-booties, she appeared to enjoy working the inner core of the capital system, generating revenue from a live show just five months since her prison release. Her live appearances are limited in geography during her probation.

Lauryn Hill lives an open book which only adds freedom to her performance.  Search google and her life story ebbs and flows like any other great achiever in history. There are moments of extreme success in High School, the Fugees, success as a independent artist along side her lowest moments that include her willingness to be lead in council by a religious zealot critics say orchestrated a cult, to her failed philathropy The Refugee Project  to the highly disfunctional sexual relationship she had for years with bandmate Wyclef.

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Perhaps in the past Hill has shown an entitlement to walk away from the public and its demands. She has changed since then, humbled in a way that the old and the wise carry when they realize the secret to life is happiness. She is also a preformer. The audience is her blood, she seemed to feed off of it and transend.

As she closed and on more than one occasion she thanked the audience. It is as-if to say she loves the people that have brought her much success. Afterall, it has been a success so grand it allowed her to identfy with roots beyond New Jersey and gave her the courage or furstrated humor to say to a judge first and foremost despite ambition and privilege, she is the daughter of slaves that will not pay taxes.

Her energy was magnetic. So instead, I  thank you Lauryn Hill for sticking around and showing that reinvention is possible everyday when you live from truth. ##ONE LOVE

“To those supporters who were told that I abandoned them, that is untrue. I abandoned greed, corruption, and compromise, never you, and never the artistic gifts and abilities that sustained me.”–Lauryn Hill
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BEFORE & AFTER: SAMANTHA KNAPP, FILM CRITIC “DON JON”

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SAMANTHA KNAPP
INTERIOR DECORATOR, FILM CRITIC, DOG HOLDER
LONNY.COM NOV. 2013

BEFORE & AFTER: SAMANTHA KNAPP, FILM CRITIC “DON JON”

Introducing Samantha Knapp, film critic.  I share so much of my life, including in this blog new pictures from Lonny.com that pop up now when you #googlesearchme.  To stay creative in my business, http://www.tigerlilysgreenwich.com, I am all about broading my stroke. I am always selling the business, just so you know.  Good business is  pushing the boundaries. It is in that vein that I offer my movie critique of Don Jon, it debuted at a film festival in 2013, and just came to appletv.

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DON JON
JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT
ACTOR, AUTHOR, DIRECTOR

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, stars, wrote and produced this screen play. That is no small feat. The last impressive story line to start and finish from one source is Goodwill Hunting.  Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are good company and set the bar high. Gordon-Levitt delivers in a way that makes you doubt he grew up on the television set of Third Rock From The Sun in exchange for the version where he spent his most formative  years in coffee shops brushing elbows with struggling writers day dreaming on their craft.  You want to touch muscles like that and never mind he writes. The prose reads like a novel pennedof an established writer like JD Salinger, riffing on contemporary love.

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HAND FOR WRITING
STRONG ARMS FOR LIFTING

There’s only a few things I really care about in life. My body. My pad. My ride. My family. My church. My boys. My girls. My porn.“–Don Jon

We see a character transform in Gordon-Levitt who at open protrays the a sterotypical Jersey guy. Jon is an italian junior to his father played Tony Danza. Football watching, wife-beater wearing Danza is much harder then the soft spoken poor man-nanny in the 1980s sitcom favorite Who’s the Boss. Acting as the senior, Jon, he has a sharp temper and narrow vision of family life.

Danza arguably is not the only character stuck in define roles and realms of how relationships are set to work. Enter Scarlett Johansson as Barbara.  A relationship for Barbara boils down to the money you have on the table and the potential in the cards you are handed to make more.  You play the hand that’s dealt and you climb. You sure as hell don’t do your own house-cleaning.  That’s the base of the relationship. The foundation above this is constantly tested on a scale of what have you done? Among her many demands are strict guidelines on school, friends, family time and it turns out, porn. She wants none of it.

Gordon Levitt is never able to comply on the porn. He is caught twice and the relationship ends.

BEFORE:

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BEFORE
RELATIONSHIP REALITY IN A DIGITAL AGE
IS IT BETTER IN REAL LIFE?

“Achievement is real life. You achieve for yourself. That’s human nature. No one teaches us to breathe. We just do it” — Samantha Knapp
For what it is worth, I don’t think the character was less of a person for not being able to comply to every demand. Arguably I would prefer he default on the church thing, but the point remains that we can’t control other people and there is always a reason behind an unkindly act.
You have to want to do it for yourself. That’s achievement. Achievement is hard work and a personal experience. That’s the broad stroke, underneather which you create sub catagories of where you want that achievement to apply. 9 out of 10 people want  love, the other 10% I think want money. There’s a perfect world that I am trying to create where both exist 🙂  According to the Huffington Post there are things success people do differently.
TRAITS OF HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE:
1. Express Gratitude
2. Cultivate Optimism
3. Avoid Social Comparisons
4. Avoid Over Thinking
5. Practice Acts of Kindness
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LOVE YOURSELF
BE ALL YOU CAN BE
LONNY.COM Nov. 2013

Become your own person. Gordon-Levitt teaches us that when he seeks out pure happiness after his failed Barbara relationship.  If you are authentic in youself and open your mind, you will arrive at a place where love, achievement, success all coexist.

AFTER:

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In the end Jon finds love and kicks the porn habit. Gordon Levitt opens the movie with what he got out of porn that he couldn’t experience from his relationship.

“I don’t gotta say anything, I don’t gotta do anything. I just fucking lose myself” –Don Jon

He closes with what he gets out a relationship of love.  Julianne Moore plays the recently widowed and open hearted Esther who teaches Jon how being current in love is a good reality to lose yourself.

“This fuckin’ lady! Now I don’t usually like it when a girl looks me right in the eye, and this girl does that a lot. But I don’t know what it is about her, when she does it, I don’t mind. I just look right back at her, and pretty soon, I’m hard as a fuckin’ rock. It’s like she knows what I’m thinkin’, or I know what she’s thinkin’. I don’t know, it’s a two-way thing. Fuckin’ love it! And I don’t mean love like, oh I love her or wanna marry her, definitely not thinkin’ about all that shit. And she’s not either… she can’t. I guess I just mean love like, you know like… we’re making love. And while we’re doing it, all the bullshit does fade away, and it’s just me and her right there, and yeah I do lose myself in her. And I can tell she’s losing herself in me. And we’re just fuckin’… lost together.”--Don Jon

ABOUT SAMANTHA KNAPP

I liked this movie. Gordon-Levitt gives us a true American love story. It is two-thumbs up!  How about me, you ask? I could say a lot, pictures sure do… I will wait for the movie 🙂

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PICTURES SAY ENOUGH
WAIT FOR THE MOVIE
LONNY MAGAZINE, NOV. 2013

#ONE LOVE

BEFORE & AFTER: YOU’RE PERFECT JUST THE WAY YOU ARE.

BEFORE & AFTER: YOU’RE PERFECT JUST THE WAY YOU ARE

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BEFORE
CHINOISERIE CABINET
PERFECT “AS-IS”

BEFORE:

I like the idea that a object and a person can be considered perfect “as-is.” We are talking no change, just look at the piece recognize its value. See a scratch or a paint chip as character not an imperfection. I found this piece at a dealer’s warehouse in Fairfield. Case-goods for the record are not high in commodity. It makes them cheap. Buy Now 🙂  I love the toile-style detail.

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AFTER:
PERFECT “AS-IS”
STYLED AT HOME IN LONNY.COM

 

AFTER:

I didn’t change anything about this piece. Its image, “as-is” was published in November’s Lonny Magazine. I just found its perfect home. Saddled between two windows and holding vintage blooming 70s lamps. Tiger Lily’s is a bloom after all. I will plug now, http://www.tigerlilysgreenwich.com.  A rock-solid sketch of a lady, skull and some booze round out the cabintry.  I found the perfect marriage of style with the detail on the cabinets and the toile drapes.

Marriages are love. May we all have that in this lifetime.

Confucius said, “It is easy to hate and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things works. All good things are difficult to achieve; and bad things are very easy to get.” Confucius said that when he was alive somewhere in the period between 551 BC – 479 BC. This before and after is long past that time, but it makes sense in modern day.

Love what is in front of you and appreciate what it gives. It opens life up to a series of before & afters that you can live with.

##ONELOVE

TEACH THE CHILDREN WELL

TEACH THE CHILDREN WELL

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Walt Disney said, “I would rather entertain and hope that people learned something than educate people and hope they were entertained.” I love that perspective and in that vein, I welcomed the Greenwich High School interior design class. It has been a banner month for me and with as much as I have been given, I am a strong proponent of giving back and inspiring through my own design.

GREENWICH HIGH SCHOOL INTERIOR DESIGN FIELD TRIP

GREENWICH HIGH SCHOOL
INTERIOR DESIGN FIELD TRIP

If you have never been to our workroom, http://www.tigerlilysgreenwich.com, allow me to introduce the concept with this field trip and Disney inspired thought: Tiger Lilys is a land of creative imagineering where hand craftsmanship still takes place. I believe what the mind sees, can take place.

BEFORE: 

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BEFORE:
TIRED OLD CHAISE

 

I loved the actual size of this wicker chaise. It has double function. Someone can rest and read here and a child can sleep. That was the initial attraction. The texture was an added bonus point. When I am out looking for design inspiration, I have a set criteria.

1. What is the function?

2. What is the future?

3. Is it a fair price?

I like to educate when I can. It is a moment where you can think back and the road you have been on and offer a small glance into a listeners future. Before & Afters are my foundation after all and I think education is the grounds from which the future takes shape.

TEACHABLE MOMENT

TEACHABLE MOMENT

If you want to get better at something you have to learn. If you want to get better at something, you have to put in the hard work. I told my story to the High School kids the same way I told my story to Lonny Magazine and the same way I share it on my blog every day. I hope threw my entertaining the kids learned something.  We are all made up of moments that are big and small. It is hard to know in the middle of those moments what they will turn out to be.

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AFTER:

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AFTER:
LONNY MAGAZINE PROFILE
http://www.lonny.com

The moment I saw the chaise, I knew it was for me. I upholstered it in a faux snake cobra snake skin and added a tassel trim. The chaise sits in my master bedroom behind a glass coffee table, on top of a geometric rug, where a hot pink ombre tie-died custom throw sits.  On the table I have a shell, a symbol of protecting life, with new growth. I have a pair of love birds and a a candle.  Love, peace, happiness. Never stop learning and thank you again Lonny Magazine.
S o again, I close in admiration of those who have paved amazing paths in front of us. We learn from others and we pass it down.”If you can dream it, you can do it. Always remember that this whole thing was started with a dream and a mouse,” Walt Disney.

# ONE LOVE

BEFORE & AFTER: A MIRROR’S IMAGE

 

 

BEFORE & AFTER: A MIRROR’S IMAGE

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BEFORE:
AMERICAN HISTORY X

BEFORE:
This is a mirror of Monticello. I see it clearly hanging on the walls of the historic presidential retreat. It signifies everything that is America. Thomas Jefferson, the Declaration of Independence and critical thinking that brought about ideals of life, liberty, equality and the pursuit of happiness.

I bought the look and feelings the style and shape evoke. It is a American Federal Style Convex mirror with eagle surmount ca. first half of the 20th century.

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AFTER:  The finish needed an update to work with contemporary color stories. I chose a blue to play off  Red, White & Blue of american heritage. In small and meaningful placement, it brings out the details of the Eagle, leaves and bullets.  I painted directly over the old finish to give layers of color and age and play to the idea that change can happen by working with what is existing, rather then starting from scratch.

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AFTER:
THE FUTURE OF AMERICA

I like to leave all blogs with a quote. For this, I select Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson said, “I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.” Think ahead and plan the outcome. Jefferson saw and put in motion ideals and platforms for the perfect society to grow and be nourished in. I am forever thankful to live and work in this wonderful country USA. It is has returned to me as much as I have given. I hope it has done the same for you!

##ONE LOVE

BEFORE & AFTER: OH DEER YOU NEED A MAKEOVER

OH DEER YOU NEED A MAKEOVER

Deerly beloved we are gathered here today to discuss a quick & stylish BEFORE & AFTER on a pair of mounted deer antlers. In the interest of reusing, renewing and revitalizing I decided to bring these antlers back to life. A small tribute to a little guy that paid the piper, or in this case a hunter, with his life.

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BEFORE:
OH DEER YOU NEED A MAKEOVER

 

BEFORE:
I found this set of antlers at the Elephant’s Trunk Flea Market in Danbury. If you have never been, make it a point to get there in the summer months! It is a huge lot with aisles of vendors selling antiques, oddities and, frankly, sometimes just junk.

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I decided to white wash the plaque then sand the edges to create a still old rustic look. I concealed the center skull area (gross but true) with a piece of cowhide, secured by french natural nails.

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AFTER:
BUY ME: ONE KINGS LANE
SALE STARTS TOMORROW, TASTEMAKER “SAMANTHA KNAPP”

AFTER:
I like to think like a cat- we are all capable of more than one life.  I am on a second incarnation myself if you will. Transiting from a reporter for television news to an interior designer has been a exciting and proud move. I am excited to celebrate my new successes with a One Kings Lane “TASTEMAKER” sale tomorrow starting at 11:00AM EST.  If we’re lucky, like me,  you’ll have a few more opportunities to reinvent yourself and try to accomplish something you never thought you would do.

When possible, I try to end blogs with a quote. For that, I move from Deer to Cat…Maggie the Cat, from Tennessee Williams Cat on a Hot Tin Roof:

“I’ve got the guts to die. What I want to know is, have you got the guts to live?”

#ONE LOVE

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BEFORE & AFTER: I G-OTTOMAN!

I maybe single but “I G-Ottoman!” The ottoman below came into the http://www.tigerlilysgreenwich.com workroom as a giveaway. You can get a sense of why given the stains and the dated fabric.

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BEFORE:
I G-OTTOMAN

As a single girl living in the city and working in the suburbs, I like to keep my options open. Everything and everyone I see has potential. It is the old glass half-full trick. I liked this giveaway ottoman immediately.

BEFORE:

The appeal was the tufts and the wooden legs with castors.

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TUFT IN MUSLIN FIRST
ADD FABRIC NEXT

Even with the tufts already in place, we still take every piece down to the frame to ensure the quality of the interior foam, dacron and webbed seat. This is where you begin to see the difference in quality of what you buy. In this particular case, there was no muslin between the fabric and the base. That is the first indication of a cheap job. Or in terms that relate to dating, it like going out for first cocktails with a guy only to discover he is a recovering boozer who doesn’t drink. This is how everything and everyone gets weeded out 🙂

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LAY OUT THE PATTERN
THEN CLOSE THE SIDES

I chose a think natural Belgium linen to reupholster the ottoman with. When you are working with deep tufts, it is up to the upholster to fold the fabric evenly, make sure the sizing on the tufts are the same and pull evenly across the frame.

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HAND TUFTING
TIP OF THE TRADE
“MEASURE THE FOLDS”

This takes time and experience and when complete you can clearly distinguish between hand & machine tufts. Inside the tuft we finish with a button in the same fabric as the face.

The outcome is stunning. Back to the dating analogy or perspective its that moment that makes you smile when you leave thinking, “I am glad I gave that guy a shot.”

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TUFTS FINISH WITH BUTTON

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IN YOUR FACE BABY:
SQUARE TUFTS

AFTER:

How do you know which and what everything and everybody is meant for you? I say it is in the details and what people but forth that makes it special and unique.  I finished this ottoman with a french natural nailhead design that connected a string of squares. We centered the pattern on the center tufts and worked out way out in a measured repeated line.

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AFTER:
TUFTED OTTOMAN WITH SQUARE NAIL DETAIL
BUY ME: http://www.tigerlilysgreenwich.com

I like to finish the blog with a quote and I think after looking at this after, It feels like I should kick up my feet and do just that. “I g-ottoman” just not a man. Dating ladies and gents is tough, so I leave you with this:

“Life is hard enough as it is without choosing someone difficult to share it with”
― Greg BehrendtHe’s Just Not That Into You: The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys

#ONE LOVE

                  BEFORE & AFTER: I G-OTTOMAN!I maybe single but…