Kendra: The Girl with Flair!

A young Kendra; outside Yves Saint Laurent, Milan, Italy 2009

Kendra, Easter day in Villefranche sur Mer, 2008


One of the joys of writing my blog is meeting and collaborating with photographers. I love sharing my vision and ideas and then waiting for my partner to take over and bring the ideas to life. I have been especially lucky with my dear friend Kendra Olson. Kendra is a natural photographer, yes, but she is so much more: Kendra is a creative force! Working with Kendra has elevated my blog to new levels of experimentation and creativity. Kendra tries new angles and perspectives and truly brings my vision to life. It is no wonder that Kendra is an original young woman, with her own unique style and flair! We have been working together for over a year, and I could go on taking photos with Kendra forever. But I am heartbroken because Kendra and her family are moving to California today. The Olsons have been world travelers for Kendra’s entire young life – it is what makes her a free spirit – and now, her travels take her out West. I will miss Kendra immensely. But I will take her with me as I go forward. And of course, I am already dreaming of taking fashion photos with Kendra as soon as possible – with the Pacific Ocean as our backdrop!

Love to you, Kendra and Hang Ten! x Melissa

Photos: Susan Olson


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Betsey Johnson Feels Very Lucky

Designer Betsey Johnson with CBS correspondent Serena Altschul. Courtesy CBS News

Betsey Johnson in her new home, California; Courtesy CBS News

And to me, it’s just a lot of good luck, and the talent and the work. But the luck for me has been the most important.” ~ Betsey Johnson

Betsey Johnson feels very lucky. CBS Correspondent Serena Altschul interviewed the 74 year old fashion designer about her life and her loves. Although she has hinted that she may be done with her runway shows, she is certainly not ‘done’ with other things! In fact, there is too much left for Betsey Johnson to create. For more than 50 years, since the 1960s, Betsey Johnson has given girls and women the chance to feel unique and fun. Growing up, Johnson never studied fashion or design but she always felt that she knew how to “do it,” as she says. Just doing it seems to come naturally to Betsey Johnson; she raised her daughter Lulu on her own, she survived breast cancer and bankruptcy. And though she says that it takes hard work, talent, and luck to be a success, I would say that Betsey Johnson’s story is as much about inspiration and resilience as anything else. Just ask the hoards of young girls and women who would follow her anywhere – put me in that category!

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Mary Turned the World on With Her Smile!

American actress and commediene Mary Tyler Moore (as Mary Richards) smiles broadly as she sits at a desk in a scene from ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’ (also known as ‘Mary Tyler Moore’), Los Angeles, California, 1970. (Photo by CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images)

When I was in my early teens I had a Saturday ritual of watching The Mary Tyler Moore Show with my best friend Alice. Even after Alice moved away, I continued to watch because Mary Richards was so inspiring! I wanted to be like her. She played a 30-year old, single, working woman in a Minneapolis newsroom. Although she was warm and full of smiles, she was also strong, capable, and independent, with a winning character. In 2002, in a CNN interview about whether her character Mary on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” was a feminist, Moore responded: “She wasn’t aggressive about it, but she surely was … the writers never forgot that. They had her in situations where she had to deal with it.”

Not to mention the fact that it was the 70s and Mary’s fashion style was of-the-moment and in-the-groove. I loved it all: Mary, her friends and colleagues, the story lines, the fashion. It was heady stuff for a teenage girl and each week I kept coming back for more.

It was with great sadness that I heard of Mary Tyler Moore’s passing – I felt like I did all those years ago when the show went off the air – like I had lost a great friend. A strong urge came over me to watch an episode of the show and see Mary again. One of my favorites, “Put on a Happy Face,” aired early in the show’s history. In an unlikely moment for Mary, she is having a series of bad days, just before the television award ceremony called ‘The Teddy’s,’ where she has been nominated for an award. Her hair gets puffy and things get worse from there. Rest in Peace Mary Tyler Moore, and thank you for showing me the way to be a woman in the world – all these years later.


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A love letter to Joan Hamburg

At Sardi's - wearing my Prabal Gurung for Target dress

It was just about a year ago (June 5th to be exact), that I won a prize from WOR Radio: a chance for me and a guest to attend a live broadcast of The Joan Hamburg Show from Sardi’s in NYC. It was then, as it is now, just days before the Tony Awards. I brought my mom with me, to watch Joan do her magic as she interviewed her distinguished guests and actors on Broadway. But of course, the highlight for me, was meeting Joan herself. It was a day I will cherish always and I wrote about the experience and the dress I chose to wear, on Turning Fashion Inside Out.

I just heard the news that after 35 years, Joan was let go from WOR Radio. Without any warning and regard. In New York columnist, Cindy Adams’s words,’WOR stands for With Out Respect.’ I so agree and I am quite upset.

Joan, I am thinking of you and wish you well. You have meant so much to me and I look forward to following you on your next adventures. I re-post this feature from last year, with love and gratitude ~ Melissa Kaplan GuarinoContinue reading

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