5 Things I No Longer believe About Aging.

5 Things I no longer believe about aging. 1. Menopause is this horrific situation. I'm fortunate in that I am still waiting for that hot flash, but if or when I get one I 'll just have a collection of fabulous Read more

Quote

I connected with this quote. It is easy to focus on yesterday and the day before, especially if it is something negative, I have been guilty of this on many occasions. Does it really help? No. If anything those Read more

"How to be a good friend"

Bad Feminist, by Roxane Gay is the selection we read in my book club. It is a collection of essays covering politics, pop culture and feminism. These essays were the basis of a lot of interesting discussion at our Read more

True Confessions

I host a photography event called "Fresh & Fabulous", 4-6 women come to my studio and do a beauty, boudoir or fashion inspired session. We have professional hair and makeup, a stylist, refreshments, a little bubbly and a lot Read more

Quaintrelle

Quaintrelle- n. a woman who emphasizes a life of passion expressed through personal style, leisurely pastimes, charm, and cultivation of life's pleasures. Someone used this word to describe moi. Off the top of my head, I was not sure of Read more

5 Things I No Longer believe About Aging.

Posted on by Gigi in Aging Leave a comment

5 Things I no longer believe about aging.

1. Menopause is this horrific situation.

I’m fortunate in that I am still waiting for that hot flash, but if or when I get one I ‘ll just have a collection of fabulous little fans. Yes, menopause is the official marker that there are no more babies coming out of this body and that too is okay. Middle age is whatever you want it to be, I know some 50 plus ladies that could give the 20 plus girls a run for the money. It is all a mind set and how you take care of your self physically and mentally. I don’t know what I was expecting, I come from a family where no one talks about the “change” so I did not know what was going to happen if anything.

2. Don’t wear your hair to long.

Well after my Fresh & Fabulous event…I’m a believer in whatever makes you feel good. No, I’m not going to get a waist length weave or anything but if I’m wanting a “look” for an event or something, why not? Life is short.

Gigi

Gigi

 

3. Accept a “middle age” body.

Hell no!!! Yes it is a lot more work to keep things from shifting, but I am going out fighting. I enjoy having a waist line and want to keep one even if it means a little more time or a lot more time in the gym. Watching my diet and eating “clean” are a way of life. This does not mean never indulging, for me it is choices, skipping desert for a nice glass of champagne etc.. My body may not be what it was when I was in my 20’s, but I’m constantly working on being the best 50 plus body.

24 year old GIGI

24 year old GIGI

4. Fillers and Botox are for “Beverly Hills Housewives”.

As I continue to mature, I’m doing my homework and staying on top on the latest in skin care and anti aging solutions. No, I don’t want to look ridiculous or anything, but I know there will be a time sooner than later where I’m going to explore some options. Some days I look in the mirror and give myself a nod of approval, and other days I look and I see an older lady who looks like me. Yes I drink gallons of water, use lots of lotions and potions, but the aging process skips no one and for me it is not wanting to look “younger” I just want to look good for my age.

5. Don’t wear bikinis, minis or shorts if you are over 50.

I used to read this a lot in those articles about dressing for your age, but there are exceptions. If your legs are fabulous why not? It is that simple, wear what makes you happy and feel good about yourself. If you can walk in 4 inch heels rock those too, I do. Why should women of a certain age be banished to one piece bathing suits? Break the rules.

legs

legs

What is your philosophy on aging? I loved to hear…

Happy Thursday,

Gigi

Logo_1698


Quote

Posted on by Gigi in Quotes Leave a comment
quote

quote

I connected with this quote. It is easy to focus on yesterday and the day before, especially if it is something negative, I have been guilty of this on many occasions. Does it really help? No. If anything those feelings come up to the surface again and put a damper on the current day. Each day is opportunity to embrace something new, go forward and keep it moving. Spending time on yesterday takes away from new experiences and memories you could be creating. Of course it is okay to share something the key is to know when to let it go. I’m still learning this…

On another note I read about something that uber is doing today in Los Angeles…puppy bowl. Sponsored by Animal Planet  every year around the same time as the Super Bowl, Uber and Animal Planet coordinated to provide the puppies, most which are available for adoption from local animal shelters. Between the hours of 11 and 3 you can order a uber to come to your office and bring puppies for you and your staff to play with for 15 minutes. The cost is 30.00 which goes to the local animal shelters. If I had an office in LA I know what I would be doing this afternoon…

Happy Wednesday,

Xoxo,

Gigi

photo-133


“How to be a good friend”

Posted on by Gigi in friendship 1 Comment
Bad Feminist

Bad Feminist

Bad Feminist, by Roxane Gay is the selection we read in my book club. It is a collection of essays covering politics, pop culture and feminism. These essays were the basis of a lot of interesting discussion at our meeting. Of all the essays the  following one got the most dialogue. Women are complex in their relationships with one another, this essay could be the “rules” for women friendships. Let me know your thoughts.  I especially love #1, 1B, 5 , 5A, 11 & 12.

How To Be Friends With Another Woman

by Roxane Gay

1. Abandon the cultural myth that all female friendships must be bitchy, toxic, or competitive. This myth is like heels and purses — pretty but designed to SLOW women down.

1A. This is not to say women aren’t bitches or toxic or competitive sometimes but rather to say that these are not defining characteristics of female friendship, especially as you get older.

1B. If you find that you are feeling bitchy, toxic, or competitive toward the women who are supposed to be your closest friends, look at why and figure out how to fix it and/or find someone who can help you fix it.

2. A lot of ink is given over to mythologizing female friendships as curious, fragile relationships that are always intensely fraught. Stop reading writing that encourages this mythology.

3. If you are the kind of woman who says, “I’m mostly friends with guys,” and act like you’re proud of that, like that makes you closer to being a man or something and less of a woman as if being a woman is a bad thing, see Item 1B. It’s okay if most of your friends are guys, but if you champion this as a commentary on the nature of female friendships, well, soul-search a little.

3A. If you feel like it’s hard to be friends with women, consider that maybe women aren’t the problem. Maybe it’s just you.

3B. I used to be this kind of woman. I’m sorry to judge.

4. Sometimes, your friends will date people you cannot stand. You can either be honest about your feelings or you can lie. There are good reasons for both. Sometimes you will be the person dating someone your friends cannot stand. If your man or woman is a scrub, just own it so you and your friends can talk about more interesting things. My go-to explanation is “I am dating an asshole because I’m lazy.” You are welcome to borrow it.

5. Want nothing but the best for your friends because when your friends are happy and successful, it’s probably going to be easier for you to be happy.

5A. If you’re having a rough go of it and a friend is having the best year ever and you need to think some dark thoughts about that, do it alone, with your therapist, or in your diary so that when you actually see your friend, you can avoid the myth discussed in Item 1.

5B. If you and your friend(s) are in the same field and you can collaborate or help each other, do this without shame. It’s not your fault your friends are awesome. Men invented nepotism and practically live by it. It’s okay for women to do it too.

5C. Don’t tear other women down, because even if they’re not your friends, they are women and this is just as important. This is not to say you cannot criticize other women, but understand the difference between criticizing constructively and tearing down cruelly.

5D. Everybody gossips, so if you are going to gossip about your friends, at least make it fun and interesting. As a corollary, never say “I never lie” or “I never gossip” because you are lying.

5E. Love your friends’ kids even if you don’t want or like children. Just do it.

6. Tell your friends the hard truths they need to hear. They might get pissed about it, but it’s probably for their own good. Once, my best friend told me to get my love life together and demanded an action plan, and it was irritating but also useful.

6A. Don’t be totally rude about truth telling, and consider how much truth is actually needed to get the job done. Finesse goes a long way.

6B. These conversations are more fun when preceded by an emphatic “GIRL.”

7. Surround yourself with women you can get sloppy drunk with who won’t draw stupid things on your face if you pass out, and who will help you puke if you over celebrate, and who will also tell you if you get sloppy drunk too much or behave badly when you are sloppy drunk.

8. Don’t flirt, have sex, or engage in emotional affairs with your friends’ significant others. This shouldn’t need to be said, but it needs to be said. That significant other is an asshole, and you don’t want to be involved with an asshole who’s used goods. If you want to be with an asshole, get a fresh asshole of your very own. They are abundant.

9. Don’t let your friends buy ugly outfits or accessories you don’t want to look at when you hang out. This is just common sense.

10. When something is wrong and you need to talk to your friends and they ask you how you are, don’t say “Fine.” They know you’re lying and it irritates them and a lot of time is wasted with the back-and-forth of “Are you sure?” and “Yes?” and “Really?” and “I AM FINE.” Tell your lady friends the truth so you can talk it out and either sulk companionably or move on to other topics.

11. If four people are dining, split the check evenly four ways. We are adults now. We don’t need to add up what each person had anymore. If you’re high rolling, just treat everyone and rotate who treats. If you’re still in the broke stage, do what you have to do.

12. If a friend sends a crazy e-mail needing reassurance about love, life, family, or work, respond accordingly and in a timely manner even if it is just to say, “GIRL, I hear you.” If a friend sends you like thirty crazy e-mails needing reassurance about the same damn shit, be patient because one day that’s going to be you tearing up Gmail with your drama.

13. My mother’s favorite saying is “Qui se ressemble s’assemble.” Whenever she didn’t approve of who I was spending time with, she’d say this ominously. It means, essentially, you are whom you surround yourself with.

Excerpted from “Bad Feminist: Essays,” by Roxane Gay. With permission from HarperCollinsPublishers.

Happy Tuesday,

XOXO,

Gigi

my straight hair sans the clip ons

my straight hair sans the clip ons


True Confessions

Posted on by Gigi in Beauty 2 Comments
Gigi Glam

Gigi Glam

I host a photography event called “Fresh & Fabulous”, 4-6 women come to my studio and do a beauty, boudoir or fashion inspired session. We have professional hair and makeup, a stylist, refreshments, a little bubbly and a lot of fun. The premise is a transformational experience where you allow yourself to tap into your inner goddess and let her reveal herself. Some of my clients have not been photographed since their wedding day or graduation, we do what I like to call “big girl” dress up, where you try something different, if you don’t do sequins normally do them today. My focus is tapping into that inner beauty that is tucked away waiting to come out, modern glamour.

So Saturday at my event I told the “glam squad” to do me, no restrictions. Those of you who know me, know that I have been a natural curly girl for a long time, before it was a trend. The last time I can remember having my hair straightened was at my 50th birthday party. So when the team decided to straighten my hair and add clip on extensions I was nervous. I have never wore added on hair, no reason per say, I’ve always been blessed with a lot of hair and just never explored that option.

OMG so about an hour later I had this loooooong waist length blond “Beyonce” 20 years in the future “do”. The color was perfect! I felt like cinderella. So I rock my new locks for the day feeling very “housewife of some sexy city USA” flipping and tossing this mane every which a way. So at the end of the day, Edwin our hair stylist, told me it is time to take the magic down, and of course I say let me keep it for the weekend  “PLEASE?”.

working the hair for the rest of the weekend

working the hair for the rest of the weekend

So of course I had to question the “why”? After pondering that thought for a while it came to me…I was brought back to my childhood where I was the little girl who wanted really long hair, blond would have been a bonus. The little girl who took her mother’s old stockings and braided them together and attached them to my pony tails to make them butt length. So I dug a little deeper and remembered going to school in racist New Jersey where I was the only little black girl at the catholic school I attended, and the prejudice I experienced was so unbearable, from the nuns as well as the other students. It was so baaaaad that when my parents were divorcing I was secretly happy because it meant we would be moving from this racist place, I did not know what California was like, but I knew it had to be better than this situation. Somehow little 8 year-old me was convinced that if only I had long blond hair, everyone would like me…how sad was that?

Moving forward this 55 year-old was pretty happy with her “hair” it was fun to explore that option for a minute, I worked it for the weekend and became pretty comfortable. I may have to invest in a few clip ons for those moments when I want that “long hair don’t care” look. It is amazing how easily you can transform yourself into whatever…most days I’m a little makeup and my ponytail but it is always nice to change it up.

my straight hair sans the clip ons

my straight hair sans the clip ons

Happy Monday

Xoxo,

GIGI

A few more shots of the transformation

under the dryer...old school wet set

under the dryer…old school wet set

They are "working" on me...

They are “working” on me…

The "magic"

The “magic”

Fabulous glam squad--it takes a village

Fabulous glam squad–it takes a village

 


Quaintrelle

Posted on by Gigi in My Life Leave a comment

Quaintrelle- n. a woman who emphasizes a life of passion expressed through personal style, leisurely pastimes, charm, and cultivation of life’s pleasures.

Someone used this word to describe moi. Off the top of my head, I was not sure of the definition so of course I looked it up in the dictionary. Yes . I would say on most days I aspire to be a “Quaintrelle”. I find it so much easier to seek pleasure than to let pain take over. I didn’t always have this attitude, there was a time where “bad news” could ruin my entire day, now I handle the situation to the best of my ability and keep in moving.

One of life’s pleasures that I absolutely love is fresh flowers. I love getting up at the crack of dawn going to the Los Angeles Flower market and literally picking up buckets of flowers that are beyond affordable. My arranging skills are okay, I can look at pics and get inspired and I have a lot of vases that I have collected over the years. It one of those little things that make my day brighter. Gone on the days where flowers were just for special occasions, everyday is special!

So while you are out today pick up a bunch at your local Trader Joe’s or grocery store and brighten your day.

Xoxo,

GIGI

 

Gigi at the flower mart

Gigi at the flower mart

Los Angeles Flower Mart

Los Angeles Flower Mart

so many flowers...

so many flowers…

my collection...cost little-

my collection…cost little-

tropical flowers

tropical flowers

White roses

White roses

roses

roses

my arrangement

my arrangement

 

 


Quote

Posted on by Gigi in Aging 2 Comments

“I don’t like to throw things away, but I also have the ability to end chapters of my life.”

- Helmut Lang

I came across this quote yesterday, I’m getting better at the “throwing things away” but every since the big “5-0″ I’ve been able to “end chapters of my life” and keep it moving. Perhaps at the half century mark there is a sense of urgency to do it now or never. I have permission to to stop doing things that don’t enrich my life and to figure out what does work.

Closing chapters in my life allow me to move on to the next book. Some of the past books are best sellers, some are classics some are really bad…and some are unbelievable. All these “books” the good and the bad make up who I am today, I can’t erase this history, or pretend it does not exist. There are lots of characters in these books, some are in all the books and some have mysteriously disappeared.

I’m on a quest to discover the “best” me and let her shine, polishing some rough edges. I’m human and far from perfect, but if I work on “best” I know I will have a lot of “good” that will come to the surface and I’m okay with that. The consistent effort is what I am aiming for, developing habits that keep me on point. I want to be the character in the book that you love and admire, but at the same time you find her interesting, daring, a little racy, unpredictable and not boring at all.

On the physical note, I’ve recommitted to my body, this post half century body needs a lot of care like an old vintage car. Every since I was diagnosed with osteoporosis I have these nightmares of being a hunchbacked lady, so I have become obsessive with my strength training. My workouts are like doctor appointments, I have to go, I can’t reschedule. I don’t want the to be the hunchback heroine in my next book.

Have you closed any chapters? Working on a bestseller? Happy Tuesday!

Xoxo,

Gigi

Gigi

Gigi

 

 


Life Lesson

Posted on by Gigi in friendship 2 Comments
Friends

Friends

Relationships change, sometimes for the better and sometimes for worse. Last week a long term friendship came to an abrupt end. Initially I felt bad and hurt, so I started wondering what had I done, or what could I have done differently. After exhaling and soul searching, I thought to myself  “she might not have meant to hurt me, in which case I’m not going to be offended.”.

When you lose a friend unless you tell someone, no one even knows, if both of you are part of a larger community of women it can be awkward. Long term friendships shape the the person you are today, which is why it is so difficult when they end, it feels as if a part of you is lost. The moments cannot be duplicated and have a rare and powerful affect in a way that nothing else will. For me the most painful element is the realization of how important I really wasn’t to someone who meant the world to me.

Friendships enrich our lives, yes there is something special about those friends who have been in your life for decades, that  get every reference to your crazy past, and know all your secrets, but there is also something special about nurturing a new friendship as well and the discovery of commonalities.

I’m at an age where I’m witnessing unwelcome life changes, over the weekend a friend of ours lost her battle with cancer. As many of us are going through life changes, girlfriends have a way of making everything better. I’m always working on being a better friend, making time to “see” friends in person or just being there to listen. We are all flawed and if only I could go back and do somethings differently of course I would.

So 2015 is here, I will go forward embracing life each day to its fullest. Have you experienced the end to an epic friendship? If so, how did you cope? I’d love to hear…

Happy King day and I hope you are enjoying the end of your long weekend.

Xoxo,

Gigi

“Somewhere in my sadness I know I won’t fall apart completely”  Sade

quote

quote

Quote

Quote


Black-Eyed Peas and New Year’s

Posted on by Gigi in Recipes Leave a comment

Our New Year started off with black-eyed peas, collard greens and corn bread, according to southern folklore, the first food to be eaten on New Year’s day for good luck and prosperity throughout the year ahead. The tradition of eating Black-eyed peas is believed to date back to the Civil War. The crop was planted for livestock, and later was a food staple for slaves, the peas representing coins, the greens paper money and corn bread gold.

Growing up I did not care for black-eyed peas, my mother prepared them with okra and ham hocks and as a child I hated and still do, slimy okra. As an adult I discovered I loved black-eyed peas and discovered a lot of different ways to prepare them. My favorite recipe is one from Marcus Samuelsson.

Marcus Samuelsson

Marcus Samuelsson

According to Marcus, black-eyed peas originated in West Africa, where it is a popular ingredient in a number of dishes. I love this recipe because it has coconut milk and curry which I love.

Black-eyed Peas

1 cup black-eyed peas – I use the fresh ones when I can find them, if not the frozen ones will do as well

olive oil – the recipe calls for butter but I prefer olive oil

1 medium red onion

2 tomatoes

1 scotch bonnet chili, seeds removed, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves chopped

one 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 cup of coconut milk

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 cup non-chicken stock (the recipe calls for chicken stock I use the vegan version

1 teaspoon of salt

2 cilantro sprigs, chopped

1 scallion trimmed and sliced

Prepare peas separate ie. cook until tender but not mushy.Drain and set aside.

Heat Oil in deep pot over medium heat. Add onion, tomatoes, and chili and saute until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, chili powder, and coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Stir in the turmeric and broth and bring to simmer, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the sauce thickens, about 20 minutes.Add the peas and salt and simmer until most of the liquid is absorded, about 20 minutes.

Stir in the cilantro and scallion, and serve.

fresh black-eyed peas

fresh black-eyed peas

Scott Bonnet peppers

Scott Bonnet peppers

Black-eyed Peas

Black-eyed Peas

I like to serve my black-eyed peas with quinoa or brown rice, along with a salad or collard greens and I’m a happy camper.

Xoxo,

Gigi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Happy New Year, I’m Back…

Posted on by Gigi in Holiday Leave a comment

Okay. I’m back after my little hiatus. Happy New Year!!! Hope you had a wonderful holiday.

2014 ended with a bang, lots of photo shoots, both kids home for a few weeks, holiday shindigs, Kinky Boots, hubby’s birthday, Selma, sprained ankle, Christmas and the hustle and bustle of life.

holiday 2014

holiday 2014

Did you make New Year resolutions? I skipped them this year because they typically are the same ones year after year…”get in shape”, “eat cleaner”, “spend more quality time with friends and family” yada yada yada. I realize I’m always working on these, part of who I am, however I do make goals for the New Year. Most are business related, master artificial light, make more short films and work on some personal projects- like “glorious silver hair” capturing gorgeous women, maybe men too, with silver, grey, and white hair, some sort of book featuring “post 50 women”, a self portrait project, and perhaps even a show.

As far as GGM’s I have a lot of things planned, like sharing more recipes, interesting finds, tidbits of making life more enjoyable and my quirky take on this thing called life. Of course, more images, have to share them some where and an occasional short film.

Lots of happiness to you, its nice to be back! XOXO,

Gigi

Quote

Quote

Reggie celebrated 63 years on planet

Reggie celebrated 63 years on planet

New's Years Eve

New’s Years Eve

Shopping

Shopping

Holiday

Holiday

kinky boots

kinky boots

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve

holiday shindig

holiday shindig

mommy & daughter

mommy & daughter

out with the girls...

out with the girls…

Me and Mister...

Me and Mister…

 


Christmas Salad

Posted on by Gigi in Recipes 2 Comments
Christmas Salad

Christmas Salad

We were eating brussel sprouts before they were a trend. My mom always made this salad around the holidays and it was always one of my favorites. So I decided to make it this past weekend, so of course I called my mom for the recipe and she told me that she lost it…or that one of my sisters borrowed it and she never got it back. So of course I was disappointed. I knew the main ingredients were brussel sprouts, cherry tomatoes and a really good vinaigrette dressing.

So I decided to make it from memory of what I thought it tasted like. So here is what I came up with, and I must say it was better than what I recalled.

Gigi’s Christmas Salad

1 package of brussel sprouts (I got mine from Trader Joes)

1 basket of cherry tomatoes (I had a basket from the farmers market- you want tomatoes that taste really good- I can’t wait to replant mine)

 

farmers market tomatoes

farmers market tomatoes

tomatoes

tomatoes

1 bunch of green onions chopped

green onions

green onions

2 cloves of garlic finely chopped

garlic

garlic

sea salt & pepper

Make dressing first so flavors can blend and set aside. Trim brussel sprouts of dead leaves, and snip the little ends off. Bring a pot of salted water to boil, add brussel sprouts and cook for about 10 minutes, test one, you don’t want to over cook and make them mushy. Drain brussel sprouts and add ice to stop the cooking process, blanching makes the sprouts crisp and the green color “pop”, I’m into the appearance of food and I want it to look good.  Wash and cut cherry tomatoes in half, chop the “green” of the green onions, and finely chop the garlic, mix everything in a large bowl with dressing and gently toss, careful not to destroy the tomatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve. You can make this salad early, because the brussel sprouts are firm and will not get soft.

Dressing

1/2 cup of honey

1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar

juice of one lemon

1 shallot minced

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

In small bowl, whisk together honey, vinegar, lemon juice, and shallots. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to form dressing. Season with salt and pepper. I double the recipe so that I can have a batch ready for another salad. The dressing is sweet and tangy.

Christmas Salad

Christmas Salad

I served this salad twice this weekend and it was a hit both times.

The main Tree...

Entry Way Tree…

Friday evening I hosted my book club holiday party and I was pleasantly surprised, Robin Alexis one of our newest members shared some yuletide cheer. I looooove Christmas music and this was a treat. Robin and I met on Facebook a couple of years ago, she was living in Chicago and we connected via our interest in healthy living, and then about a year ago at a house party in LA she recognized me and we immediately hit it off. So take a moment and listen.

 

So my friends Happy Monday,

XOXO, GIGI

 


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