Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Under The Tuscan Sun: EuroThrifting Treasures

With Love. Photo Courtesy B. Shere.

Looking forward to trolling Firenze tomorrow again. Top 3 Musts:
1. Gelateria dei Neri yoghurt gelato
2. San Lorenzo & Piazza dei Ciompi Flea Markets 
3. more phregging Gelateria:)))

And be jealous--I scored the red little shirt in the middle for all of 0.50 Euros--the grey gorgeous dress in the right ran me all of 3 Euros.  KoKOFIFI Living in Europe babe--style does not cost a dime when you're born this way! lol, will post more on Italian's infatuation with all things design, including their love affair with my Accra-made hair...

Ciao Bellas
An Education: The Americans Taking Europe. Those Purple skinnies are from A.N.G.E.L.O. Nice! Photo M. Makhene.

Jumping Brooms--Nigerian Style

Gorgeous Color Display in Nigerian Wedding Captured in Destination I Do. Photo Courtesy, Christopher Duggan.
You may never have heard of Ouagadougou or Burkina Faso and forget about the Upper Volta (who can blame you?) but surely, saving-facingly, absolutely, you can redeem yourself by promising you know who African revolutionary hero and bonifide heart-throb Thomas Sankara is? Well, from the legendary Sankara clan comes another young lion roaring in talent and a revolutionary (read untired) take on modern Africa. Jean-Baptiste Sankara runs Kauri Media along with creative mind Aurelien Tanguep of Cameroon.  Kauri Media is a video and photography outfit that does beautiful African weddings on the East Coast archival justice.  If you getting married or have a fashionista Nigerian cousin (feel we all do, even if you not Nigerian somehow you got one of these, lol) shacking up, don't say I aint given you the 411...

Monday, June 27, 2011

Shoppping Florence Like a Local

Martine Carol & Atelier Emilio Schuberth, Courtesy Angelo Frontoni

When Florence does vintage, it's old world glamour on speed. Living here is already a celebration of historic opulence and design in abundance. Living here with an eye for design is like dying and being remembered in heaven with a daily procession of golden light. 
Courtesy, Valdirose.
I visited A.N.G.E.L.O Vintage Clothing Firenze yesterday and was so inspired. And then to learn Firenze is hosting a beautiful photographic exhibition featuring vintage photographs at Aria Art Gallery? Heaven!  And as if that's not enough glut on good, discovered this little gem blog and b&b today--Valdirose--gush girl fantasies do come true:)

Vintage Reimagined. Photo Courtesy A.N.G.E.L.O Vintage Clothing

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Talking Movies : Life Above All

Life Above All, starring Khomotso Manyaka (Chanda) and Lerato Mvelase (Lillian) ,picture courtesy web

Life Above All, wether it's the title of a movie or just a mantra to live by, Life really is Above All.

In this adaptation of Allan Stratton "Chanda's Secrets", director Oliver Stoltz attempts to de-mistify the ever present cloud that hangs over so many small towns like Elandsdoorn not so far outside of Johannesburg, South Africa.

When 12 year old Chanda's baby sister unexpectedly dies and her mother soon falls ill, her step father turns to alcohol for solace leaving little Chanda in charge of her two younger siblings and the once welcoming, doting neighbours soon become distant gossip mongers.

The film follows Chanda as she sets out on a journey to find answers and confront a deeply ingrained, unspoken taboo.

Chanda's Secret has recently been picked up by Sony Pictures Classic for international release, so check you local listings for screenings.

African Woman

Beautiful. Dying for African suns, African women and that i-will-kill-for-it gorgeous dress Becca rocks. LUV!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Mrs.O Romancing South Africa

With One Mrs. Zuma. Who Grabbed Who's BFF Hand First?
Michelle Obama. What's left to say that isn't better quoted in her own words? "It is a story that has unfolded across this country and across this continent, and also in my country — the story of young people ...who marched until their feet were raw, who endured beatings and bullets and decades behind bars, who risked, and sacrificed, everything they had for the freedom they deserved.

And it is because of them that we are able to gather here today. It is because of them that I stand before you as First Lady of the United States of America. That is the legacy of the independence generation, the freedom generation. And all of you are the heirs of that blood, sweat, sacrifice, and love.

So the question today is, what will you make of that inheritance? What legacy will you leave for your children and your grandchildren? What generation will you be?"

Excerpts from her keynote at Regina Mundi, Msowawa. Soweto--How Many Ways Do I LOVE Thee?
AP Images

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Inked in Love

A Thinking Woman's Shoe. LOVELUVLOVE! Donna-Ballin Shoes.

Legatorio la Fenice. Photo: Eddy Buttarelli
Did i mention the little writer's heaven we dipped into in Venice? Gorgeous murano-glass stemmed fountain pens with jet black ink wells, thick cotton-woven paper with tattered ends, hand-bound journals infused with earthen craft scent of rich butter leather and of course, of course, a most charming (and beautiful) proprietress who joked about her birth city of "Fe-ne-cia" and pointed to a glistening perfectly cut diamond (still timeless) to indicate the time she moved to another island and the love she still carries for Venice. Legatoria la Fenice--you are the life-spring and joy of a writer's words. But what words can i offer these Donna-Ballin shoes? What words, why words? Only lust licking my lips in desperate longing, lust pant and la ultima....LUV!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Venician Venus Fly/Beauty Trap

Modern Interpretation--Hot! Blogger Susie Bubble Modeling Natasha Lawes mask. Photo Courtesy Style Bubble.

Even on an unassuming Monday, Venice is a tourist venus trap. The city begs for walking only to lead you in circles through its labyrinth alleyways for hours; locals born in Venice speak of it's beauty with the wistfulness of intense love--Venice thanks them with exuberant real estate, out of pocket but in clear alluring sight. I wondered into a quiet Future Centre dedicated to communications research, the building had served before as a monastery then army barracks and office of defense before decaying in war years--emerging re-imagined from the rubble as the home of future invention.

Your Girl Swallowed Whole By The Venus Trap. Image, M. Makhene 2011.
It's quite like a beautiful tattered white shirt that you bought in your youth and venerated as a Sunday best bit. You outgrew it's lace and delicate designs during your punk-rock inspired reinvention but remembered it a hidden gem when an exacting occasion demanded, only to fall in love again with its quiet sense of self and reassurance in its beauty. Like Venice, this shirt knew all along you'd return to it, in awe of its hand-stitching and timelessness.

Drying Dirty Laundry In Public. M. Makhene, 2011.
The Adriatic Queen does not need you to worship her beauty, she does not need you to publicly postulate, calling on her Sundays. She knows you will return. She knows her power and is self-possessed in it. She understands the true beauty she holds behind her mask and knows how to fan it just so, leaving you smitten and repulsed, ready to swear her off but already plotting how you will unveil what's beyond that mask upon your return.

Related gossip:  The Venice Biennale is on, attracting a hive of celebrities and feted artists to prominent national exhibitions/pavilions. And in the case of South Africa, apparently, also some drama. One of my favorites, Mary Sibande, is in the show but the photographer genius Zwelethu Mthethwa pulled out of the show because of a lack of transparency. Much ado about nothing, or art doing its job best--casting harsh light inside our shadows?

Monday, June 20, 2011

The African Take Over

Nigerian recording artist D'banj

Africa has long been recognised as the home of humanity and so naturally by way of logic the home of music too, no?

And yet we're living in the year 2011 and I can count on my hand the number of easily recognisble African artists on the world stage, the jury is still undecided as to whether Akon counts or not.

With the arrival of Mtv Base to African shores and Trace Tv playing African music on heavy rotation, African audiences have finally been exposed to what their brethren across the borders have to offer and it's nothing less than FIYAAAH!

June 17 saw Kanye West's G.O.OD. Music imprint sign D'banj (pictured) and Don Jazzy in a signing ceremony witnessed by Jay-Z and Kid-Cudi. (video below)

Could this finally mean the dawn of  a new age, where
Africa finally takes her rightful place on the worlds music stage?

Bootylicious Winter Shorts-A How To

Thank god its winter, I can finally wear my shorts...Yours Truly. 
Photo Courtesy Dammien Gounden
My mom says that I was a tiny baby but when I turned one out came the booty and hips!
So apart from when I was an infant, I have always had a more than generous helping of the derriere.
This coupled with my small waist means:
 a) finding clothes that fit me properly can be a problem and
b) certain clothes are a no go area! among these, white pants, super tight pencil skirts and of course shorts.

Every girl who is gifted in that area knows exactly what I'm talking about. In truth I have often found myself enviously staring at petite girls as they happily walk around in their shorts, scantily clad and all.
So imagine my delight when I realised that thanks to current trends, chilly Winter and stockings (yes stockings!) I can finally wear my shorts out.

I purchased a pair and wore them to friends party, quitely wondering what everyone would think of this display of booty. My motto for the evening was "stomach in, chest out" as I said my secret thank you's to my stockings that were keeping it all tucked in and should we say kosher!

By night's end I was, if only for that night, a petite girl walking around in my shorts, scantily clad. So, here's to southern hemisphere winter wonders (yes, it does get cold in Africa)--phat booty girls in shorts and all.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Captivating Chianti Captures

Captive in Chianti. Photo Courtesy, Andrea Ozment. Tuscany, 2011.

Photo Courtesy, Caitie Goddard, Be The Change Tuscany Italy, 2011

Monday, June 13, 2011

African Wedding Wonder

The Wedding Dress Was Hand-Painted & Inspired by A Butterfly Design. 
Not to Mention the bride's beauty. 

Colorful Guests Arriving.

When an African Butterfly Princess marries, she begins by spreading the kind of beauty only the likes of Ms. KG are born with. She sprinkles in the kind of flair and bold embrace of color only the African horizon shines and then she leaves us salivating in awe at such a marvelous display of tradition enlivened for today. My girlfriend from high school held her traditional Tswana ceremony a few weeks ago in South Africa. The custom--
Hlapiso ya Magadi-- is an age-old honor joining two families through the exchange and celebration of the bride's wedding dowry. Kgomotso was a wonder to behold and knowing the woman she is, this wedding is the mark of many wonderous years to come. Congratulations Ms. KG!

All Photos Courtesy Kgomotso.
Traditionally-dressed Xhosa Guest

Just Phreggin Do It

The Beautiful Greek Australian Zandie in Pea-Green,
Being The Change in Italy, the Tuscan Way,
Photo Courtesy, Caitie Goddard.
Yours Truly, Walking the Florentine Street Runway. 
Photo Courtesy, Caitie Goddard
Another beautiful day in Tuscany, surrounded by beautiful minds dedicated to lives of meaning. I am so inspired by not only the lessons being shared here by the Global Volunteer Network Be The Change team, but also by the inspiring life stories and ideas & passions shared by program participants.

Be The Change is a 5 day getaway bootcamp that gives you the tools (and time off!) to dive deep into living outloud in true style--by being a catalyst for change in your community.

It's an inspiration board
It's a toolbox shed
And it's a moment of silence for yourself
To finally give yourself the permission to Just Phreggin Do It.

Live. Love, Outloud!

Photos here by the talented Caitie Goddard.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Rules for Radicals

Religious Rebels: Lady Gaga & Daria for Vogue. Courtesy, Vogue US & Nippon.

"Men (and women) don't like to step abruptly out of the security of familiar experience; they need a bridge to cross from their own experience into a new way"-Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals.

Growing & Learning at Be The Change in Italy with Global Volunteer Network. Spent the morning considering how movements are ignited, the power and leadership of followers (who legitimize a leader, see the Derek Sivers TED lecture) and how to save the world while enjoying bloody good pistachio gelato--will post you an invitation to this utopia once we've perfected the world to our imagination. Thinking maybe the end of the week...meanwhile, RISE REBELS. RULE!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Labadi I Love You

Labadi Bellas. Photos Courtesy Annie & Ethan, ListenIn Pictures. 

Fierce & Fearless Talent Finds Beauty... Nothing less expected from our friends at ListenIn Pictures, who are in Accra, Ghana, working with eco-conscious fashion brand Of Rags.

Que Bella, No?

Tuscan Sexy: Trendiest Secret

Lara Stone in Tuscany for Vogue, Mario Testino & Dree Hemingway shot by Tom Craig shoots for UK Vogue 

La Chiara Di Prumiano villa, Where I'm Crashing This Week With
 Global Volunteer Network's Be The Change Crew. Photo Courtesy of the villa.

Left are my +400 year old digs for the next couple days--room just right of that balcony, Tuscan hills lulling me to starry night sleeps, heavenly morning light playing catch with grass flowers and ripening grape vines awash in the golden shimmer. 

Heaven Lives Here.

And if you're jealous enough, this paradise can be yours too, that plus a blueprint to living your dream. Skeptical and sickened by my car salesman pitch? Don't be. Just be jealous:) And check out Be The Change program--the sexiest trend this fall is finally doing something about that thing you've been meaning to do with your life all season. Be The Change can help you start on that little something. Who knows, you may even get Italian style with your deal? 


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Africa Abroad

Liz Ogumbo. Great Profile by This Is Africa. Photo Courtesy Liz Ogumbo/House of Iman.

Inspired by SuperWomanSuperheroSuperStar Liz Ogumbo. The Kenya-born, Mzantsi-based hotness in a voicebox cum designer business chick (yup, she's that fierce. does it all) earns mad respect for the sweet cinematography (and costumes!) in the video below.

Am reporting from a beautiful room with a view in Italy--more on that to come. In the meantime, eat this...

Monday, June 6, 2011

True Love: Long Live A. Sisulu

The 1944 Sisulu Wedding Party. Courtesy Sisulu family Collection--South African

This week, a lioness passed. Saluting Mme Albertina Sisulu and the iconic African womanhood she stood for; and the mother's mothers she stood in for (see Mrs. Lithuli below). There are so many things to shout and celebrate and venerate in salute of Mme Sisulu--her unfaltering dedication to the struggle against oppression/colonization of mind+body; her fierce, fearless and beautifully afro-headed leadership of the democratic against apartheid South Africa; her clarity of mind, values and focus about what ultimately matters most in life: abuntu, people. But not mater what you fixate your admiration on, so much of it centered on the enviable relationship she shared with her husband--Walter Sisulu. Separated by political imprisonment for most of their married life, they still managed to live out a model of true give of yourself without expectation, to live in faith of love against reasonable hope, to act for and from love in action and even in fault, to live for something greater than the embellishment and promise of romantic love. 

Mme Sisulu will be laid to rest this weekend next to her husband at Croesus Cemetary, following a funeral at the landmark Orlando Stadium, Soweto. One of their great-grandchildren, Shaka Sisulu, tweeted a reflection in his grand's passing, “as more and more of the stoic, respected elders withdraw from office, public life or this world, there is the danger they leave with their values”. Let it not be so.

With Dr. Jassat, Mrs. Lithuli (wife of first African Nobel laureate & Freedom Fighter Chief Albert Lithuli).