Friday, December 7, 2018

Meet The Cast: Martha May Whovier

Annually I have the privilege of creating a fantasy world for myself and my family to disappear into for an afternoon. This year I chose an iconic holiday film to celebrate in our holiday card.

Martha May Whovier was my character because she is in love with the Grinch, who my husband David graciously stepped into the character of. Martha is the glamour girl of Whoville so I naturally welcomed the opportunity to pay homage to her in the card.

I created her wig and curated her wardrobe so it had the air of Martha May with my own personal spin and details.


Sadly I have constraints for my budget (Imagine the production if I didn't? ) So I inexpensively purchased the base wig from Amazon, HERE

I used synthetic hair that I had on hand from one of Kaleigh's past Halloween Costumes  and I purchased Miniature Assorted Holographic Foil Gift Boxes from the Dollar Store and used the Gold and Red packages. I wrapped the other packages with Christmas paper and then with the hair. Hot glue required and some patients. I finished it off by tying off the packages with red ribbon. 
 I glued the finished packages together and started to stack and pile them. I also used bobby pins to secure them. I knew I was doing a second look with the wig down so I didn't want to glue the hair wrapped packages to the base wig.
 She also has a waved bang so I set a foam roller and dampened the wig and sprayed it in advance.

I also had Strep throat (as did my kids) during the wig process which made for an interesting project! For extra holiday drama I left the ribbons long and let them hang down along with some tendrils. 


The character of Martha May Whovier had a total of 6 costumes in the film. I chose to have 2 looks for the shoot. The first being the iconic red and green look.

She wore it with and without her bolero jacket.

My look is a two piece to give the feel of a gown. For the bodice I used a corset (order here ) It comes in literally all sizes. Ignore the "size" and order by measurements. Martha's bodice is trimmed in green tulle and to save trimming my skirt hem (which was the perfect length) I used an old holiday themed tea towel I had on hand. It was the perfect color and texture for the trim. No room in the house if off limits when I am creating! 

I used fabric glue to affix the piece to the top of the bodice.

The Bolero was sourced from the 55,000 Dress Collection and from my own closet. 

Skirt: Comes in all sizes and has an elastic waist!

Shoes: SJP Collection "Gelsey" flat in red metallic "poison" color. The silhouette can be found on Amazon but not the color. Contact the SJP Store for more info.

Jewelry: It was a costume jewelry set with matching bracelet, earrings and necklace. Similar in shape to Martha's

I did a costume change for the end of the shoot. I sourced a gorgeous baby blue chiffon, feather and sequin gown from the 55,000 Dresses Collection. The choice was inspired by the two baby blue looks Martha May wore in the last scenes of the film.



Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Merry Grinchmas and a Happy Who Year!

Merry Grinchmas from our Who's down in Whoville, the tall and the small, sending you warm holiday greetings one and all.

Every year my family shoots a themed holiday card to print and send to family and friends in Canda and across the United States. This is the first year that we have went with a Christmas theme. There is nothing more iconically Christmas than the tale of 'The Grinch That Stole Christmas'. The story was written in 1957 by Dr. Seuss and spawned a cartoon almost a decade later in 1966 with the main character voiced by Boris Karloff. The fantasy Seuss world was expanded into a live action film by Ron Howard, Starring Jim Carey as the Grinch which was released in 2000. I saw it for the first time in 2001 when my cousin brought the DVD over Christmas Day to share with our family. Seventeen years later I have brought this story to life in Christmas Card form starring my family of Whovinille delinquents.

I want to go through the characters one by one in a blog series to follow, sharing the details of their costumes, props, hair and makeup. I always enjoy dreaming about my characters, acquiring and making costumes/accessories, props and building the backdrops and sets depending on the shoot. I hope it will inspire you to bring your own holiday visions or any fantasy you can conceptualize to life! 

 Special gratitude to my team!

Kori Savoie - Photographer 
Hanna Fisher - Makeup Artist
Brooklyn Truderung - Hair + Makeup Assist.
Michela Cagliero - Graphic Designer
Taylor Ramirez - BCBA / Blake's Assistant

Merry Grinchmas
and a
Happy Who Year!

Monday, October 29, 2018

DSAM: I Dream Of Jeannie

Down Syndrome Awareness Month (DSAM) is coming to a close but not before I have the opportunity to share this years themed collaborative images. My friend Nicole and I worked together to bring you Danny and Sandy with our 'Grease' themed shoot last year (read it here). This year we chose to pay homage to the first episode of the classic show "I Dream of Jeannie" that originally aired in September of 1965.

The episode is that of unique discovery and Nicole and I thought this makes a fabulous analogy pertaining to having a child with Down Syndrome.
 Blake (AKA Major Nelson) stumbles upon the surprise of a Genie (Well, Jeannie)bottle washed up on the shore where he is stranded, alone. Our diagnosis of Down Syndrome came as a surprise and instantly I felt alone, stranded in an unknown land. 

I quickly came to find out that I had a unique and beautiful tour guide and I most certainly wasn't alone. What a beautiful community we instantly became a part of. I have connected with local mothers like Nicole and mothers from all over the world who were also once stranded on their own unique islands. 

Our children land into this world, in their unique form with their gifts and abilities. Nicole makes a great point about her magical daughter Amelia, that this world wants her to keep her magic hidden and wants her to be like everyone else. But Amelia, Blake and everyone else in their community can't help but share their magic with everyone they come in contact with. 

As a community we should not have to explain our children's worth, justify their existence, or constantly fight the systems that were designed to help them. We do still, every day. We also continue to advocate, educate and start meaningful conversations in an effort to share the magic we experience as well as the challenges. 

This adventure is full of twists and turns. No day like the last. Just like raising any other children. 

Society places limits on our community based on antiquated, myths and a hyper focus on what they CAN'T Do. Instead, imagine you looked at someone with a disability and saw only their strengths? or what they love to do? or ponder how you can assist them in achieving their individual dreams and goals? I am under no grand delusion about my son and his present levels. He will never be an astronaut like Major Nelson but he may love to study outer space, take an internship or job at NASA in another capacity if that is what he wants, or simply love space movies. The sky is the limit and I love him to the moon and back no matter what.

People with Down Syndrome want what everyone wants: To love and be loved. 
They wan't to be understood, respected, supported and given opportunities, just like you and I. They want to be meaningfully included in their communities, classrooms and conversations.

The celebration of differences is long overdue in our world. Why would we want to be like anyone else? (boring) Our humanity is what binds us in similarity, our differences are what help us evolve and grow to be the best version of ourselves. This is a quest that is never ending, for all of us.

Never loose sight of the magic in others or in yourself.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Siblings: The Unsung Hero's

Down Syndrome Awareness month (DSAM) is October and for the entire month  I usually bombard my social media feeds with facts, blogs, and images in an effort to raise awareness about my son Blake and his community of people with Down Syndrome. I actually do this all year round, so it is always "awareness" and education month for us. This year for DSAM I want to focus on the not so talked about topics like siblings during this awareness month.

In the past Blake's siblings have written a blog that was feature on The Mighty (Read here) and expressed how they felt having a brother with Down Syndrome. Today it's my turn. I also will include the thoughts and perspective of another mom, Nicole in our community who is a few years behind us on this adventure.

Just like everything else in life there are both positive and negative aspects to being a sibling and I feel both sides are more enhanced when that sibling has a disability. In my home the highs are really high and the lows are devastatingly low. My daughter is along for this roller coaster ride. As mother's we do our best to divide our time if we have multiple children but to be honest my son gets more than his "fair" share of my time and energy, because the nature of his disability requires more. I know this leaves my daughter feeling frustrated and hurt as she approaches her tween years. She has expressed it to both my husband and I. As she is aging, I know she also has fears and concerns for his future, much like I do. She asked me, "what happens to Blake when you and dad are gone?" not to long ago. I explained that we are working for Blake to be independent and live alone but reminded her that he will likely always have a need for support. I don't want her to feel pressured to have to be his sole caregiver in the event of our deaths. It may seem premature to be discussing with a 10 year old but anything can happen in life at any time. I want her to know that she can care for Blake if she chooses but it is not her responsibility.

Fears and frustrations aside she is  his biggest fan, my greatest helper and an amazing big sister! I know that his presence in her life is making her a better, more patient, compassionate and understanding young lady. Blake has opened a whole new world for everyone. We have met so many people we would have not otherwise, attended special events, and participated in activities in a way we wouldn't have been able to otherwise. The benefits are not lost on her, neither is the joy he brings or the love they share.

She is and always will be my SHEro .. and his.

Nicole shares her perspective ...

With Down Syndrome awareness month coming to a close, I  feel it necessary to pay homage to the unsung hero in my house. This would be my 6 year old (typical) daughter, Olivia. Olivia is less than 2 years older than my daughter with Down Syndrome, Amelia. Like most parents with two or more children, we struggle to divide our attention equally. The fact is that Amelia needs us more, plain and simple. That is hard for a six year old to understand, but Olivia does. Amelia has odd behaviors that make even the simplest tasks, like walking one block to school, difficult and time consuming. For the most part, Olivia seems to have unlimited patience with her sister. Olivia and Amelia’s relationship, like Amelia, is more typical than different. They fight, they play, they fight some more, they love each other.  They are siblings. 

Overall, I think having a sister with Down Syndrome has made Olivia more patient, kind and selfless. This year Olivia and Amelia are attending the same school. I asked Olivia what the best part of going to the same school as Amelia; her answer? “Getting to hug her everyday day at lunch”. Olivia makes my heart full. When I asked her what the worst part was; she responded “ Sometimes Amelia hugs me too tight”. 

I guess for Olivia, she only knows what it’s like to have a sister with Down Syndrome. I’m sure that Olivia notices her friends with typical siblings play together and I often wonder if she’s jealous, if she wishes that Amelia didn’t have Down Syndrome. If she does, she never lets it show. Olivia just accepts Amelia how she is...her sister.

Cheers to raising strong girls, supportive siblings and SHEro's!

Saturday, June 16, 2018

It's Not Easy Being Green

Sustainable editor at large for VOGUE Australia and ethical fashion activist.

It's not easy being green was a phrase I first heard in relation to Kermit the Frog, but it also applies to myself and countless others who are putting forth effort for a sustainable lifestyle. My focus on fashion is 2 fold.

1) I am passionate about fashion and personal style as a form of expression, language and art form.

2) The fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world, behind fossil fuels. FACT!

In our fast paced, disposable culture I don't know how much the average person stops to think about their environmental impact as they get dressed in the morning and/or shop for clothes.

Think about the message above today and every day!

This is not about complete anti-consumption but looking at what you have, re-style what you own, be mindful of what you consume and who you consume it from. Look at a supply chain and see if your ethics are in line with how the garments are produced. Also consider  the environmental impact of your fashion choices knowing that the fashion industry is the SECOND most polluting industry in the world, behind fossil fuels who is the obvious first. 

How can you make a change?

1) Shop and Wear Vintage 

2) Shop Contemporary Second Hand (Thrift)

3) Re-Style what you have in your closet (get things tailored, remove sleeves, etc.) and make them "new" to you. Wear what is hanging in your closet with tags still on it. 

4) Shop from ethical brands who are environmentally friendly (using sustainable materials) and who have ethical production (fair wages, good working conditions, don't use child labor, etc). 

This is a great start to Sustainable Style and moving away from a throw away culture mindset. 

 LG  ♻️ 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Bubble Beautiful

Moire Bubble Dress - 80's Christian Lacroix

The bubble skirt or dress is something many of us associate with the 1980's. The dress was seen over and over in mini and midi lengths as well as skirts of the decade.

The bubble dress, however originated in the late 1950's. This was a popular silhouette in 1957/58.


Many designers in the 1980's drew inspiration from the 1950's with many shapes and details of the time.

It was interesting to compare 2 sewing patters from exactly 30 years apart. The 80's lost their straps but the bubbles were still as beautiful as the 1950's.



As I always say, Fashions past is always present! The bubble is BACK for Spring 2018!

ERDEM 2018

Mary Katrantzou 2018

Bubble Beautiful! 

Which decade do you prefer?