The Pin and The Message for 2015

My lady bug bee pin, by Joan Rivers, paired with a tee by Missoni (for you, Joan)

“The bee pin has been my signature.”  ~ Joan Rivers

As I move into 2015, I look back at TFIO 2014 for the stories and the messages that meant so much to me. I treasure stories like Ilene Beckerman’s who created the book which later became the play – Love, Loss, and What I Wore – as a way to document the clothes and the moments and memories of her life; like Isabella Rose Taylor who as an artist and a fashion designer at 13 was told she was never too young to dream; like Daniel Silverstein, a New York designer who is 100% committed to creating beautiful clothing with Zero-waste technology; like Pro-Age revolutionary Cindy Joseph who wowed me (again) with her outlook on life and true beauty; like Lisa Curran, a swimsuit designer who never forgets the importance of bringing out the best in a woman’s self esteem, and like my dear cousin Drew Ann Rosenberg, who as a Director and Assistant Director of films and television, is a woman working in a male-dominated profession.

But perhaps the single most important message came from comedian Joan Rivers. On Labor Day we heard that Joan Rivers, one of America’s hardest-workers (forget the fact that she was 80 years old!) was in critical condition following a medical procedure, and finally the news followed that she had passed. To honor Ms. Rivers I wrote about her in a piece I titled, “Joan Rivers: Beeautiful!” As a designer for QVC, Joan Rivers had a signature bee collection as part of her jewelry line. With a name like Melissa, which means bee in Greek, I have collected several of Ms. Rivers’s bee pins. But I never understood why the bee meant so much to her until I heard her tell the story: “The bee pin, for those of you who don’t know, has been my signature. It represents achieving the impossible because the bee absolutely cannot fly, cannot get off the ground, the way it’s built; yet it flies and makes the world beautiful. So it gives you hope … When people say, ‘give up,’ … no, no, no, no, no … don’t give up, up and at ‘em, make the world better.”

That is the message that I carry with me into 2015 and I happily share with youDon’t give up, never give up – even when people say you can’t or you shouldn’t. If you believe in it, do it. Do it. And make the world better for it. The bee somehow finds a way to fly. Joan Rivers did it. And we can, too!

Photo by Alexandra

 

 

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Meeting my new best friend, Ilene Beckerman

Just two girls dishing (me with Ilene Beckerman)

Just two girls dishing (me with Ilene Beckerman)

Here is what I wore to meet my new best friend, Ilene Beckerman: my most comfortable (ripped) jeans and a long-sleeved tee. Not the most elegant of my outfits, but certainly a favorite. And after all, Ilene Beckerman, author and illustrator of several books, including the runaway hit, Love, Loss, and What I Wore, and now, a playwright, insisted that I stay casual. I listened.

We sat down over coffee and dished about … well, about love, loss and what we wore. Ilene was as charming as I imagined (how could she not be) and entirely warm and generous. I asked her about how and where she got the inspiration to write the book, what happened when she met Nora and Delia Ephron (who picked up the option to the Off-Broadway show), and what she is doing now …

On the inspiration behind Love, Loss, and What I Wore: “I had a story to tell about my life, and this was the best way to be heard. At first, one dress that my mother had made for me came to mind, and then another, and another. I started to draw the dresses, put words to my drawings, and they began to tell the story of my life. At that time, there were no selfies, and no way to instantly record memories. This was my own personal photograph album. I made it to keep alive the memory of my mother, who passed away when I was twelve. Continue reading

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College bound and purple polka-dot pajamas

photo-83This is what I was wearing two nights ago, at 10:15, when my son Eric started screaming: my purple polka-dot pajamas. I remember the moment perfectly: my younger son, Cam, had just gone to bed, as had Eric. It had been a long day in a series of long days, watching Eric pace and panic (as every high school senior does) as he waited to hear from all of his colleges. After hearing him scream, I ran to Eric and then I saw it: the biggest smile I had seen in months. He had news that he had been accepted to his favorite school, marking the last of the schools on his list. He was thrilled. We hugged and cried. It was over. Now we knew.

I will remember this evening and never forget what I was wearing. Ever since reading Ilene Beckerman’s book, Love, Loss, and What I Wore,  which I feature on the blog here, I am reminded of every important moment in my life in terms of the clothes I wore. Think about it: go back to the moments of your life, the good, the bad and the ugly, and you will probably remember what you were wearing. In my life, I don’t always remember the events, but I always remember the clothes. That won’t be the case with my purple polka-dot pajamas. Funny, too, that I am wearing Pantone’s 2014 IT color: Radiant Orchid. Who knew???

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Move over moto – the elusive “get” is the varsity jacket!

The elusive "get" for a teenager: the Varsity Jacket

The elusive “get” for a teenager: the varsity jacket

If you’re a teen, there is one item of clothing highly coveted: the varsity jacket. Perhaps it’s because I am reading Ilene Beckerman’s book, Love, Loss, and What I Wore, which I reference here, but I have been thinking a lot about what clothes mean to us at certain times in our lives. And so there was an interesting moment during my morning walk, when I saw three high-school-aged girls walking ahead of me. At first glance I thought one of the girls was wearing a varsity football jacket and assumed it had been given to her by her boyfriend. Continue reading

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Clothes tell the story of our lives: the good, the bad and the ugly

Me as a bride, the second time; the first time I was 5 years old

The second time I am a bride; the first time I was 5 years old

I believe that our clothes tell the story of our lives: that we can remember an event, a moment, a mood or a feeling, by the clothing we were wearing. I remember being five years old and wanting, more than anything, to be a bride for Halloween. I lived in an apartment building with many steps, and I was traumatized to discover that by the end of the evening my beautiful bride’s dress had been torn to shreds from trick-or-treating and continuously stepping on the hem. Years later, I remember being a bride in my grown-up wedding dress and how I felt like a princess for the day. I remember my brownie outfit and the sash that held my badges and how I wore it with pride, like a true soldier. I remember being in eighth grade, putting on a pair of bell-bottoms, wedge shoes and a Huckapoo shirt, and feeling confident and cool; the first time I really felt that way as a young teen (after months of feeling awkward and gangly). My clothes are my memories and I remember it all.

This holiday, I was moved when my friend gave me the charming book, Love, Loss, and What I Wore, written and illustrated by Ilene Beckerman. It is the story of a woman’s life and memories, told through the clothes that she wore.

Love, Loss, and What I Wore - written and illustrated by Ilene Beckerman

Love, Loss, and What I Wore – written and illustrated by Ilene Beckerman

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