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The OpuluxeLtd.com™ Style Muse of The Year is ……The Forever Alluring Shala Monroque!!!

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Style Spotlight – Shala Monroque via [redcarpetfashionawards]

Shala Monroque is a fashionista who shouldn’t be under the radar.

The fashion writer, Editor-at-Large for Pop magazine and blogger has impeccable taste.

She’s not afraid of fashion often wearing bright bold pieces, but she can also been seen wearing more timeless classic pieces like the look above.

I love how she accessorizes with stand out pieces to add a touch of pizazz to some of her looks.

Like most fashion editors footwear is vitally important. Her Prada studded heels are still one of my favourites of that Spring 2010 season.

Her trademark has to be her turbans. She’s been donning this head-wear long before they were deemed cool.

This simple strapless LBD is instantly transformed with Shala’s Delfina Delettrez skeleton hand belt and black satin Prada turban.

I love the dark smokey Grace Jones-esqe make-up Shala wears here, as you’re more likey to see her without much make-up.

Her shortened modified Miu Miu dress suited the sexier look she was going for which she paired with bronze platform heels.

With her trademark turban and statement necklace, this Miu Miu maxi print dress is transformed into a more ethnic look.

Not many people would pair a Prada turban with a Rodarte Fall 2009 mini dress, but Shala is bold enough to do just that.

Love her Prada heels.

Shala does seem to favour Miuccia Prada’s work as you can see from her love of both Prada and Miu Miu.

Here are those stunning chartreuse Prada heels I referred to earlier, which she wore with a Prada ensemble.

Her love for Prada heels continues as she goes from an edgy look wearing Christopher Kane.  Her sophisticated look of a red dress was paired with a mustard bag, and my favourite was this chic Prada look.  I just love that tiered skirt.

Credit: Style.com, Jak&Jil & Getty

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Shala Monroque + Industrie Magazine

via [bryanboy]

The incredibly chic and gracious Prada Ambassadress Shala Monroque (who I first met at the Miu Miu show in Paris a few months back) hosted an intimate soiree for the very smart folks over at Industrie Magazine at her apartment in New York last week.

Shala Monroque

Click click click!

To be honest, it’s been quite awhile since I was last captivated by someone’s beauty, both in and out. With her tall, lithe figure, amazing bone structure, beautiful skin and high-voltage infectious smile, Shala Monroque is STUNNING! She’s the woman who lit up the room, the woman you’d want to know… assuming you didn’t know who she was. THANK YOU SHALA FOR YOUR EXISTENCE!!!

Shala Monroque

Shala Monroque

Shala Monroque

Jason wu

Christian Remrod

Stephanie LaCava

Greg Kessler and Jane Keltner de Valle

Derek Blasberg

Industrie Magazine

Bryanboy

Thank you Shala and Industrie Magazine for the lovely evening.

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Girl of the Month: Shala Monroque via [WhoWhatWear]

When trying to articulate the style of bon vivant Shala Monroque, a few bon mots come to mind: daring, vivacious, sophisticated, cosmopolitan, eclectic, well-traveled, elegant, and unique. In a rather dizzying pace, Monroque, whose post as editor-at-large of Dasha Zhukova‘s incarnation of Pop magazine, has made waves on the international party circuit for her fearless taste and boundless joie de vivre. Whether Monroque is reporting on the Amelia premiere at the Doha Film Festival in Qatar (her very inspiring blog is a must-read), dancing the night away at a speakeasy in St. Petersburg, or hosting a fashion week fête attended by the jet set and art world elite, one thing becomes very clear: Shala Monroque’s wonderful wardrobe is a collection of great beauty and her artfully crafted ensembles have made quite a bold impression! 

Speaking of fashion week, it seems as though no one racked up more invitations (and best-dressed nods) during the S/S 10 season than our gorgeous GOTM. Spotted outside of the Miu Miu show in Paris (above, far left), Monroque looked magnificent in a head-to-toe Prada ensemble. This particular outfit highlights one of our favorite aspects of Monroque’s artistic assemblages: her fearless approach to incorporating color and patterns into her picks. (Though our subject du jour claims to be experiencing a post-fashion month shopping hangover, she did cop to having a serious velvet crush this season.) We love her bright yellow printed skirt and the way it plays off the Mohawk-inspired heels from Prada’s F/W 08 collection and tribal beaded necklace. Try Loeffler Randall‘s Loop Skirt ($325) and Jenni Kayne’s Roll Sleeve Tank ($350) with Fiona Paxton’s Metallic Necklaceicon ($375) or the Beaded Collar Necklace ($58) from French Connection.

Monroque offered yet another great skirt-and-top outfit at the Museum of Modern Art’s 41st Annual Garden Party last May in New York City. Though her Prada tiered skirt and chemise aren’t bold and bright, the satin and cashmere combination certainly showcase Monroque’s deft ability to weave luxurious textures into one killer look. The aforementioned pieces are no longer available for purchase, so try Theory’s Carmela Sweater ($100) tucked into Forever 21‘s Exposed Zip Mesh Skirt ($29) for a close approximation. Though Monroque’s jeweled sandals are from Prada’s S/S 09 collection, make sure to achieve a similar final polish via snakeskin platforms like Chinese Laundry’s Tied Python T-Strap Sandals ($80) and lots of faux-pearl baubles—Monroque’s are from H&M—but any costume jewelry piece will do the trick!

Of course, what is a sophisticated social without a few strong and standout frocks? Fortunately, in Monroque’s case, we’ll never have to know, as she has a wardrobe packed with directional dresses from daring designers, such as these two stellar examples from Rodarte. The cobweb Hand Knit Dress she wore to a Mike Myers-hosted benefit late last year (second from left) has been an editorial and celebrity favorite; we like how Monroque styled it with a wide black belt and ombre ankle boots. Make sure to try ASOS’ Loose Stitch Knitted Dress ($68) for a look-a-like alternative and pair it with Georgina Goodman’s Riva 1 Booties ($665) to achieve Monroque’s enviable ensemble. Last but not least, we have another cleverly crafted Rodarte design, specifically their Rafia Fringe Dress ($2500) from the spring collection. This plum-colored creation, which she wore to sit front row at Narciso Rodriguez’s S/S 10 show (far right), incorporates organic material such as fiber tassels, as well as bold colors and patterns too, and is the perfect piece to steal the show. And though this exact style is not yet in stores, we think Anna Sui’s Ditzy Floral Print Dress ($374) or Vena Cava’s Mandala Dress ($495) would be equally vibrant additions to your holiday rotation. Just make sure to slip into a pair of complimentary hued heels, like Nine West’s Fuchsia T-Strap Platform Sandals ($79) and you will be the object of outfit-centric attention everywhere!—KM

Photo of Shala Monroque from Getty Images.

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Shala Monroque: Girl About Town via [harper’sbazaar]

The chic art maven takes her singular style to the streets. Check out some of our favorite candid shots of Monroque on the fashion party circuit. By Anne Monoky



“I don’t have a high threshold for pain,” jokes Shala Monroque. No, the slender 31-year-old isn’t speaking about exercising or medical procedures; she is talking about her heels. “I have to have comfortable shoes,” she insists. Her preference? Well, Monroque hasn’t been named the proverbial queen of the kitten heel for nothing. In fact, the striking St. Lucian has been wearing the barely there heel for several seasons now, long before they were deemed in style again for fall. Such daring decisions have grabbed the attention (and admiration) of the fashion world, gradually landing Monroque on the It-girl map. 

Proenza Schouler dress, by special order. proenzaschouler.com. Dannijo necklace, $595. Miu Miu shoes, $990. Hermès bag, Monroque’s own.

As venerable designer and close friend Miuccia Prada puts it, “She has an incredible sense of fashion, and, more importantly, it’s all very instinctive and natural. It’s really a gift.” Unlike her boyfriend, art mogul Larry Gagosian, whose more reliable style she describes as “preppy — he has worn the same look his whole life,” Monroque is continually pushing the boundaries. 

Monroque in artist Tom Sachs’s studio. Miu Miu sleeveless coat. Prada shoes.

She wore full midcalf ’50s-style skirts before Marc Jacobs sent them down the runway, turbans before Mrs. Prada reinstated them, and cat’s-eye sunglasses before Alexander Wang made them cool again. And for fall, she has her very discerning eye on a specific set of runway looks that she is coveting: the belted autumnal trenches at Dries Van Noten, the vivid glow-in-the-dark linear outfits from Balenciaga, and the fun, flirty party dresses from Giambattista Valli. 

Chris Benz jacket, tank and pants. Marc Jacobs shoes.

As for accessories? She can’t get enough of Fendi’s animal-print-lined Peekaboo bag or the luxurious snakeskin heels from Lanvin. And while her out-on-a-limb fashion sense may be innate, Monroque is banking on another theory. “Ironically, some of the outfits that receive the most attention from the fashion crowd are the ones that are a little off,” she admits. See, this girl on the go hates to pack and is actually quite bad at it, often forgetting key components of her ensemble. So she improvises. 

3.1 Phillip Lim cardigan. Louis Vuitton skirt. Tory Burch necklace. Delfina Delettrez cuff.

For best friend and fellow fashion favorite Dasha Zhukova, Monroque’s innovative style can be summarized with a simple anecdote. “One time, Shala was hosting a party for a designer whose clothes she didn’t have in this particular remote location,” says Zhukova. “In order to be politically correct, she found a random piece of fabric, belted it, and turned it into a cute minidress.” 

Trying on a chapeau at the Hat Shop in SoHo, New York. Prada dress. Yestadt Millinery hat. Delfina Delettrez cuff.

Such occurrences are de rigueur for this jet-setter, who spends less than six months a year on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, where she lives. Instead, she’s in Paris, sitting front row at the Valentino couture show in a leggy lace number; in Rome for the opening of the Maxxi museum (“It’s unbelievable,” she reports back); or off in Colombia for an intimate dinner party honoring young designer Esteban Cortazar. 

3.1 Phillip Lim blouse. Rodarte skirt. Tory Burch necklace.

But international expeditions aside, New York City still holds a special place in her heart. She arrived in the city 10 years ago, and after several jobs (she was a maître ‘d at 60 Thompson’s eatery, Kittichai), she found her footing as both a Pop magazine editor at large and blogger and as an art consultant. Through the latter, she has forged strong bonds with artists like Taryn Simon, Ellen Gallagher, and Tom Sachs, who opened his awe-inspiring studio for Monroque’s photo shoot. During which, for effect, she slipped on a pair of jeweled Miu Miu stilettos, Cinderella-style. As is true for any ardent follower of fashion, if the shoe fits and is divine, she’ll wear it. 

In Giambattista Valli.

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Shala Monroque: Fashions Newest Muse Speaks via [Divalocity]

As one of NYC’s hottest “Uptown Girls” who is now reaching fashion icon status with her elegantly-chic look. Shala Monroque, writer and Editor-at-Large for The Pop Magazine has been rising to the top of the fashion heap for the past three years. With her ever-changing coif and sophisticated lady like vibe, the fresh faced beauty and St. Lucia native is making her mark as a writer and a modern-day muse. 

This fashionable beauty is all over the web and her chameleon like traits are getting her noticed. Whether this fashion renegade is jetting off to Paris, France or to St. Petersburg, Russia on choice assignment’s for her job or off to the many art exhibits, she’s often found in NYC where she is a part of the cultural scene.

I was interested in talking with Shala to find out a little more information about her, so I got up the nerve and asked her for an interview. As the saying goes, ask and you shall receive and she was gracious enough to allow me to interview her. No, I didn’t fly to NYC, which would have been great, but I conducted the interview the way we do them in these modern times-over the phone or via the web.

I’m sure there will be more from other individuals in the future because she is now, one to watch. And everyone wants to know who is this Shala Monroque? She’s not a singer. She’s not an actress. She’s not a model, but she sure looks like one.

Fashions newest muse gives us a taste of who she is.


Shala in front of one of artist, Richard Princes,
Naughty Nurse Paintings.


Shala looking fabulous in Valentino.
(Photos:The Pop Magazine)

Divalocity: “Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to interview you.
First of all, how are you?”

Shala: “Very well, thank you.”

Divalocity: Give us a little history about yourself. What is your occupation and where were you educated? It doesn’t matter where you attended school, I just want to show women that they can do and be anything that they set out to be with or without a higher education, just as long as they have the desire and determination to succeed. We tend to concentrate on the superficial of women and dismiss their intellect and accomplishments and I want to show them that how we think and act counts first before how we look.

Shala: I grew up in St.Lucia and went to secondary school there. I’ve attempted college, and I’m still in the process of slowly getting a degree. It’s taking forever but I’m also learning a lot by travelling as well. That works for me. I’m not going to advise anyone against pursuing higher education, I would encourage it. I’m very curious and have lots of questions and so its possible I may keep going to college for life.

Divalocity: Vogue magazine and other’s are labeling you as a socialite, do you consider yourself only a socialite? If not, please elaborate about the various philanthropic endeavors that you are involved in.

Shala: To quote Whitney Houston, “I’m every woman, its all in me” I would hate to think that I am capable of doing only one thing, its just not me. I’m very fluid and enjoy being in various environments. It’s a good way to learn. I’m currently not involved in any philanthropic endeavours. I haven’t been moved that way yet, not that I don’t care but I like to do things genuinely. I sometimes donate to Doctors Without Borders.

Divalocity: Who are your fashion influences and icons?

Shala: I don’t know that I really have any. Everybody influences me. The list would be too long.

Divalocity: I believe that Haute Couture is an art form and should be protected and preserved for future generations to see. Do you feel that there is a relationship between fashion and art?

Shala: Art speaks, fashion speaks. That’s the relationship between the two.

Divalocity: Who are some of your favorite designers? You seem to have a penchant for fabulous accessories and I love how you play them up, who are some of your favorite handbag designers?

Shala: Right now, I’m over the “It Bag” phenomenon. Actually I was never really into it. I am not into “it-anything” for that matter. I like what I like no matter what anyone thinks. That said, I am into Hermès now because they are classic bags that are very utilitarian and chic. Some of which have been around for decades.

Divalocity: I saw the pictures on The Sartorialist Blog of you taken during PFW and every one commented wanted your Birken bag.

Divalocity: Who are your favorite artists? Which do you prefer, Modern Art or that of the Old World Master painters?

Shala: Difficult to answer, so I’ll stick with Picasso for the moment because he can never be erased. I’ve learned that sometimes the paintings I hated most are the ones I’ve come to love the most.

Divalocity: Where do you see yourself five years from now?

Shala: I don’t really look at life that way, especially now. My motto of the moment is “Inshallah” God willing, what will be will be et cetera.

Divalocity: What words of inspiration can you give our readers?

Shala: “This too shall pass”

Divalocity: Jet-setting from place to place seems like a glamorous lifestyle, please tell my readers how important it is for women to travel the world and learn about other cultures.

Shala: Travel is important to learn about the world. But I also know people who have zero interest in travelling and are quite happy. So its all about knowing oneself and what one wants out of life. I’ve always wanted to travel, I was always curious and so that has led me down this path but before I could physically travel, I travelled by way of books and its also a great way to see the world. Read, read, read, ask questions, its like travelling through the minds of others.

Divalocity: What are some of your favorite cities in the world?

Shala: Paris, Rome, Venice, Marrakesh, and of course, New York City.

Divalocity: What simple health, fitness and beauty tips can you give us to continue looking fabulous?

Shala: I’m the worst person to ask that question. I’m all about a healthy mind, a curious mind, intelligence, these are the things that are beautiful to me.

Divalocity: What are some of your fashion words to live by and words of inspiration that get you through tough times?

Shala: It’s not that deep. Always Wear Confidence.

Divalocity: You are so right and that’s one of my favorite accessories.

Divalocity: What are some of your favorite home essentials that you can’t live without? Do you bring a touch of home with you when you travel?

Shala: Music.

Divalocity: What are some of favorite shopping destinations and why?

Shala: Souks, because there’s just so much to see. Prada because of the whole environment, the music, the art, you sometimes walk into a Prada store and every single person is dressed alike right down to the red lipstick. I like that sort of madness. But in general I love to shop, I always have and suspect always will. Growing up as a child I would save the bus fare just to walk around “town” and window shop. I could have told you where to find anything.

Even when I moved to New York and had no money, I loved walking into expensive or 99cent stores just to see what was going on. One can tell a lot about a people by the merchandise of their stores. Like I could tell there were Chinese living in Harlem because at Pathmark they sold chicken’s feet. I look at shopping mostly from that angle. So mostly its shopping for ideas and information.

Divalocity: You are indeed a style chameleon when it comes to everything about your style and there’s never nothing routine about it. When I first your picture in the NYSD, I was in awe of you because you wore your hair natural, now with many women of African descent embracing their beautiful hair, what is your favorite way of wearing your hair and why? Women of African descent have various ways that they can wear their hair styled and always have, I just feel it’s refreshing to see a woman self-define what she deems as beautiful by embracing who she is.

Shala: HAIR. The one constant is that my hair is always changing. Mainly because I’m easily bored. I had my hair short and natural then because at that point wanted one less hassle in my life. But then I wanted to look less like a boy and more “feminine.” Only black people truly understand the difficulty of black hair, and also the pride that black people take in their hair.

I have a book that documents the various hair-styles from Africa for maybe two hundred years, and basically black people have always had fun with their hair. None of these hairstyles are new. Afros, cornrows, Mohawks, dreadlocks, weaving, its centuries old. I don’t know why people take it so seriously. For black people hair is like the “It Bag” or a blank canvas, same thing.

Divalocity: How can I score an invite to NYFW, my daughter and I have been dying to get there forever?
Shala: I have to think about that one for a bit. I go because of work. Maybe you can do it through your blog, get a press pass.

Divalocity: I’ll do just that and I’ll start writing the PR’s of the designer shows that I want to see.

Divalocity: Again, thank you for your time and the wonderful opportunity to interview you.

Shala: Thanks.

Divalocity: There you have it ladies and gentlemen. Shala has given us a little information about herself and she seems to be just as down to earth as ever. She’s what I call, “Living Well” and that’s what we all should strive for because we deserve it.

You can read more about Shala’s adventures in the art world, travel and fashion world at her blog.

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Closet Crush: Shala Monroque via [clutchmagazine]

– By Audra E. Lord

There’s no question that the editor-at-large of Pop Magazine is a visionary. Just take a look at her personal style. Her coveted fashion sense is best described as classic meets edgy—a sophisticated yet eccentric blend of tailored designer pieces (think pencil skirts and flirty A-line dresses) and bold statement-making accessories (chunky necklaces and animal-print clutches with unexpected pops of color). She has definitely been on our style radar for a minute. This is one crush that’s not going anywhere. Check out her blog here!

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You Should Know : Shala Monroque via [fashionbombdaily]

by Claire

Hey Guys!

Today I wanted to profile a new Fashion Bomb worthy stylista on the scene, Shala Monroque:

Shala Monroque Fashion style

The young editor-at-large of Pop Magazine (and girlfriend to famously wealthy art mogul Larry Gagosian) has been busy on the party circuit, meriting a place as one Style.com’s Top Party People of 2009 and Who What Wear’s Girl of the Month, thanks to her fearless style, sick shoe collection, and indisputable beauty. We thought it was high time to see what all the buzz was about, and we weren’t disappointed!

Shala Monroque Fashion style

For international fashion weeks, Shala brings out the boldness in vibrant colored skirts and simple shirts, punched up with tribal heels and chic statement necklaces.

Shala Monroque Party

Shala Monroque Fashion style

At fashionable fetes she keeps the flavor going in fun mini dresses set off by cute feather adorned stiletto sandals or slim cut airy separates with interesting details.

Shala Monroque Fashion style

For more casual engagements, she skews towards simple in solid colored blazers worn over conservative shifts.

Shala Monroque the Fashion Bomb

But whatever she wears, it’s clear: homegirl is fierce!

If you want to channel a bit of her essence, do so with these fun picks:

She might give Genevieve Jones a run for her money on the socialite scene!

What do you think of this new Fashion Bomb addition?

If you need more Shala, check out her blog, Shala the Pop, here.

Photo Credits: Jak & Jil & Getty.

Book Review: ROGUES’ GALLERY The Secret History of the Moguls and the Money That Made the Metropolitan Museum By Michael Gross via [nyt]

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Exhibitionists

By AMY FINNERTY

Michael Gross, a journalist and best-selling author, organ­izes “Rogues’ Gallery,” his tirelessly detailed and gossipy history of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, not around its more than two million artworks — many gouged from tombs, many magnanimously donated; many venerated by humanity, many coveted by jealous curators — but around the handful of men (and rare women) who have run what may be America’s pre-eminent cultural institution. The Met’s gatekeepers are the “rogues” of the book’s title.

The museum’s directors (there have been nine since its inception), its curators and board members, and the moneybags who have donated important collections together form a blockbuster exhibition of human achievements and flaws. Gross maintains that the place has bred in its stewards “arrogance, hauteur, hubris, vanity and even madness.”

The urban planner Robert Moses — “a 20th-century czar of the city,” as Gross puts it — was aware of the problem. In the late 1930s, he pushed the elitist mu­seum to be more democratic, entertaining and responsive to the community. But proximity to treasure, the author suggests, is a potent narcotic, and the Met has always attracted — and magnified — big egos (many having lived within a few blocks of one another on the Upper East Side).

Luigi Palma di Cesnola became the Met’s first director in 1879. This former soldier of fortune had a provenance as dubious as some of the collections he presided over. In 1865,trading on a wispy connection to the recently assassinated Abraham Lincoln, he managed to be named United States consul to Cyprus, and there, smelling opportunity, started digging up tombs. Within a few years he had 12,000 objects, many of which he later installed at the Met.

Cesnola revealed his contempt for the public during a debate about opening the young museum on Sundays to accommodate the city’s working folk. Calling them “loafers” and “scum,” he declared the idea unthinkable, envisioning visitors who would “peel bananas, eat lunches, even spit” in the museum.

Gross, whose previous books include “Model” and “740 Park,” has a quiverful of damning items about his subjects. The Met president J. P. Morgan became paranoid and delusional toward the end of his life; William Ivins, acting director of the museum in 1938, had an “absolutely ungovernable” temper, according to his assistant, and was nicknamed Ivins the Terrible; Arthur Houghton, the president from 1964 to 1969, was “a serial marrier whose new wife was always younger than his last.”

In a typical revelation, Thomas Hoving, the museum’s charismatic director from 1967 to 1977, recalls a conversation he had with Robert Lehman, who would become the Met’s first chairman. Hoving says that when he suggested a Jewish financier for the board, Lehman, who was himself Jewish, objected to the nominee and went on to explain to Hoving the difference between “the Episcopalian Jews” and what he coarsely deemed the less desirable sort. (The author reports that Lehman’s son questions Hoving’s reliability on this matter.)

Hoving — who, unlike those who have recently run the museum, cooperated with Gross — is central to many of the book’s most pungent passages. In one, he calls Nelson Rockefeller “a cheap grifter.” In another, he recounts his delicate dealings with what was known as Culture Gulch, the culture desk of The New York Times. (Arthur Ochs Sulzber­ger, chairman emeritus of The New York Times Company, served as chairman of the museum from 1987 to 1998.)

The philanthropists and former Met trustees Charlie and Jayne Wrightsman make for a rich source of material, including pages of Vanity Fair-worthy name-dropping and social climbing. In a passage that may be as snobbish as the museum is reputed to be, Gross says that Charlie Wrightsman hired tutors to teach his wife not only table manners and French but also “proper English.”

Certainly, the Met has been used to launder reputations and fortunes, and in turn has used its supporters. But in this telling, sadly, its magnificent art is buried in lurid details.

OpuluxeLtd.com’s Hot NEW Fashion Designer Spotlight: ShapeShiftr via [worshipworthy]

The Shape of Things to Come

Shape Shiftr is a new label we are loving. Based out of our own Williamsburg, they are made up of “2 Triangles” Meghan Lavery and J’aime Lizotte. Their first pieces sold out right away at Pixie Market. Luckily, they refreshed with their new Fall line which is a cerebral blend of pretty neutrals, offbeat mix of silk, leather, and velvet in wearable basic styles that’s just about 15 degrees off. Just right.

For more info, visit their website. Their blog is lovely too.

Shape Shiftr is available at pixie market


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An Insider’s Affluent Report: The Black Supermodel Mega Success Stories via [MyraPanacheReport]

The Black Supermodel Mega-Success Stories

*I notice a pattern emerging with black
supermodels of today and the past, they tend to date and marry well and
they also invest their money well. I once knew a black model (born in
Compton) who didn’t achieve supermodel status but worked on a regular
basis on the European catwalks.

When she first started out, she had an edge,
after spending considerable time working in Paris and Italy, she became
polished, cultured and well traveled (she also learned languages) and
became engaged to a millionaire doctor, despite the engagement, wealthy
playboys and businessmen were in constant pursuit of her and she
invested her money quite well after her modeling days ended.

NAOMI CAMPBELL:

Naomi Campbell has never had financial problems
and she never will because she surrounds herself (like Halle Berry)
with the right people. Not only does she continue to date rich but she
also takes advantage of the money and investment tips given to her by
rich boyfriends, wealthy associates and powerbrokers in the political
arena.

Allegedly, like Baby (from Cash Money) and
Condoleeza Rice (former Secretary Of State), Naomi also has her money
invested in the oil industry (including oil rigs). This is how it works,
according to a close friend who works in the oil industry. (Keep in
mind, all investment opportunities are structured differently).

You or an investment group invest anywhere from
$1.8 million to $2 million in the oil industry (including oil rigs)
and you are guaranteed a “high” a of $56-$58 million over a seven year
period. This isn’t a ponzi scheme but an great investment opportunity
that’s available on a very rare basis.

Naomi also had an agency (not advertised) that
represented stylists and makeup artists in the entertainment and
modeling agencies on an exclusive basis.

Supermodel Naomi Campbell rarely drives, she’s
usually driven in a Rolls Royce or limousine by a chauffeur/bodyguard
supplied by her boyfriend. Surprisingly, she was recently spotted in
France (Champs-Elysees) departing from a blue Lamborghini.

Few people outside of Europe know the
following: In the 90’s, Campbell developed “The Design House of Naomi
Campbell.”

Through this house, Campbell has created seven
fragrances for women, most of which were released and sold in Europe
exclusively.

The following fragrances were created by Naomi
Campbell: In 2000 Campbell dropped, “Naomi Campbell,” and “Naomagic.”
In 2001, Campbell introduced her third perfume, “Cat Deluxe,” and in
2003 released “Mystery.” A year later a fifth fragrance was made,
“Sunset,” and in 2005 another fragrance was released, “Paradise
Passion.” Campbell’s latest fragrance is a new version of her Cat
Deluxe perfume called “Cat Deluxe at Night.”

Campbell is paid between $25,000-$50,000 per
runway show.

IN RELATED NEWS:

Former model/actress Maria McDonald used to
have food (her favorite meals) flown in from Switzerland to New York via
a private elite air cargo.

McDonald was also known to hop a private plane
enroute to the Swiss Riviera to view the Montreux Jazz festival on Lake
Geneva.

McDonald remains close friends with Iman and
Beverly Johnson. She says Johnson was very generous and helpful to her
in regards to her career. When McDonald was just starting out, one
evening Johnson called and asked her would she like to replace her for a
Harper’s Bazaar fashion shoot?

When McDonald arrived in Los Angeles, Johnson
called the top modeling agencies and asked them to consider signing
McDonald.

Despite both of McDonald’s parents having brown
eyes, all of the McDonald girls (4) have green eyes and their one
brother has brown eyes, all of the girls are model types and stand 5’9
and up, the brother stands 6’7.

In her prime, McDonald often ran into Gia at
auditions (the model who died of AIDS). She said Gia was often withdrawn
and kept to herself.

“MODEL TRIVIA & UPDATES”

(Stunning TV Couple)

When actress/model Maria McDonald appeared on
“Miami Vice,” off set, strangers would often ask her if she was related
to actor Philip Michael Thomas because they share similar features
(they’re not related). Others told them, they were a stunning pair.
Maria will be appearing in an upcoming Tennessee Williams play in New
York. One of Maria’s sisters is Suze Lane, she had a smash disco hit in
the 70’s “Harmony,” which was recently voted the number #2 dance record
of all-time.

Model Maria McDonald (above) once said that
Iman is very business savvy and smart. Iman proved her business savvy
when she launched a successful and lucrative makeup line aimed at women
of color.

Black supermodel Mounia (above) attained her
supermodel status overseas. She equaled Naomi Campbell on the runway and
she was a favorite of designers Versace and Yves St. Laurent. They
considered her exquisite, elegant and classy.

Early in her career, Mounia showed up for
fashion bookings (she wasn’t booked for), before the day was over, she
had the booking!

She is extremely business savvy with solid investments
and she frequently travels between Paris and Martinique (where she
owns a fashion boutique).

(UPDATE!)

Black model Mounia (above) was the first
African-American model to write a book on modeling, “Princesse Mounia.”

Mounia’s actual name is Monique-Antoine, she
felt that the unusual combination had power, granting her a special
connection.

She worked as the airport in Fort-de-France as
an announcer and she was also an on-ground hostess at Orly airport in
Paris.

It wasn’t until 1976, when an important
American client withdrew her patronage from Givenchy after Mounia had
modeled a suit before her, that Mounia was slapped in the face by the
ugly realities of racism in the modeling industry.

Suddenly, she was forced to see that history
was not separable from the present and that she was part of them both.

As she developed her career, Mounia began to
work with designers other than Givenchy. They included Emanuel Ungaro
and Karl Lagerfeld.

Lagerfeld, an iconoclast who did “not detest
provocation” hired her to do Chloe and his own line. When he took over
the design responsibilities at Chanel, he hired Mounia for that house as
well.

She became the first Black model to present the
Chanel collection.

It was her connection with Yves St. Laurent,
however, which was to prove the most fruitful and long-lasting of her
career. Not only was Mounia his star runway model for almost a decade,
she was also propelled by Saint Laurent’s fame onto the pages of fashion
magazines around the world.

Source: Barbara Summers

 

(PAT EVANS)

Black model Pat Evans was a trailblazer. Her
bookings increased significantly when she shaved her head and went bald.
During the late 70’s and 80’s, Evans was a top model. She appeared in
all the major black magazines and she also received exposure in skin
care and makeup ads.

Evans and Isaac Hayes caused a stir when they
were often photographed walking down the street with gleaming bald heads
in full length furs.

Evans also posed for album covers, most
notably, the Ohio Players (above).

After Evans’ retired from modeling, we heard
she became a teacher.

A famous quote from Pat Evans that appeared in
Essence Magazine: Evans herself was a bold as her personal style. She
sent tongues wagging when she criticized the racist attitudes in the
industry and predatory photographers. She said that modeling would never
be an “open” profession for black people until there were more black
owned agencies, products, magazines and above all “black owned minds.”

Former Halston supermodel Alva Chinn was the
first African-American woman to purchase a Ferrari (in cash) in the
United States; her Ferrari was red.

Fashion designer Oscar De La Renta (3rd photo)
is the godfather of black model Alva Chinn’s son. De La Renta also
adopted an African American son who is now his spokesperson.

(BLACK MODEL BREAKTHROUGH-VERSAILLES)

For black models, the defining moment of change
took place at Versailles on a date to remember: November 28, 1973. For
the first time ever, a group of Black American models-no longer
isolated, individual stars-walked off an unusually opulent runway and
onto the pages of history.

The scene was set: The stage of the Opera House
at the Sun King’s imperial chateau. Five American fashion designers
were invited to show their work along with five French couturiers. The
home team: Pierre Cardin, Christian Dior, Hubert de Givenchy, Yves Saint
Laurent and Emanuel Ungaro. The American visitors: Bill Blass, Stephen
Burrows, Halston, Anne Klein and Oscar de la Renta.

Although the numbers were even, the match
seemed to favor the Europeans. They were, after all, playing on their
own court.

But, the American designers had a secret
weapon, Black women. African-American women were the surprise element,
the shock troops on the runway. Billie Blair, Alva Chinn, Pat Cleveland
(above), Norma Jean Darden, Charlene Dash, Bethann Hardison. Barbara
Jackson, Ramona Saunders and Amina Warsuma.

The most dramatic moment came when Bethann
Hardison stalked down the runway in a tight-fitting yellow silk halter
by black designer Stephen Burrows. Hardison held a floor-length train by
a tiny ring on her pinky, wrote reporter LaVerne Powlis. “When
Hardison made reached center stage, she made a dramatic turn and
haughtily dropped the train. The audience exploded in a frenzy of
approval. They stomped, screamed and tossed their programs into the
air.

According to NY Daily News photographer-Bill
Cunningham: “The bejeweled Paris audience was stunned by the showmanship
of the black models from America. The aristocrats were even thrilled.”

Fashion was never to be colonized in the same
ways again. And Black American models, who had moved over the previous
25 years from near invisibility to grudging recognition, now commanded
center stage, never again to be ignored.

Alva Chinn described the Versailles gala as a
gift from God. Our side was so simple. We didn’t have props and things,
we just had us.

Norma Jean Darden added, “Stephen Burrows stole
the show. People were just clapping for days.”

Charlene Dash said simply: “We killed them!”

The Black girls led the Americans to such and
overwhelming uncontested victory that one important American socialite
present at the gala enthused: “Not since Eisenhower liberated Paris have
the Americans had such a triumph in France.”

Source: Barbara Summers

“FASHION SENSE CONTINUED” (KHADIJA)

Khadija (above) originated from Nairobi, Kenya.
She was a beauty queen (Miss Africa) and in 1985 she went to London to
do the Miss World pageant where she selected as an finalist.

A photographer called her up and suggested that
she go to Paris to meet fashion designer Yves St. Laurent.

Her debut with Saint Laurent led to the cover
of Cosmopolitan (above). She received tremendous exposure and won an
exclusive makeup contract with Saint Laurent cosmetics, the first
transracial line to feature a Black model and the first to be named
after an individual (Khadija).

Unfortunately, in the 1980’s, people wrote
nasty letters because a black woman represented this line. Sales went
down and the line didn’t last long.

At her peak, Khadija generated $350,000 per
year in income.

In the 1990’s, Sonia Cole (above) was a huge
runway star in Europe, the United States and Japan.

Before her success, she worked at Caesar’s
Palace dressed as Cleopatra. She walked around handing out money to big
winners, giving directions, greeting people and posing for photos with
tourists.

While working a casino hosted-private party,
Cole met Bill Cosby. He asked her what she really wanted to do and she
told him: “I want to go to Paris to model.”

Within two weeks of meeting Cosby, Cole was in
Paris (with her husband) doing shows.

The rest is history!

 

BACKSTORY: (PAT CLEVELAND-RUNWAY QUEEN)

According to supermodel Janice Dickinson: “Pat
Cleveland (above) was one of the greatest runway models ever!  When she
moved, she painted the air around her with the clothes-a veritable riot
of living color.”  She was Halston’s favorite model!

 

Author and former model Barbara Summers
described Pat Cleveland (above) as the model who dominated the stage,
“the stage belonged to her.” Flights of fantasy were her specialty.
Airy, winged spins and long, liquid gestures were standards in her
repertoire. Impossibly ethereal, she could, as model Rene Hunter said,
“tell a story in a dress.”

Pat also spoke fluent Italian and liked to
frequent outdoor European cafe’s that served freshly squeezed orange
juice.

Pat says, “My aunt was a dancer with Katherine
Dunham. When I was five years old, I used to dance with her, too.”

“My great aunt was Josephine Baker’s Sunday
school teacher. So I always heard these stories about this little girl
who went away to Paris and never came back. And that’s what my plan
was.”

“During my modeling years, I was looking for
fun. I used to go out dancing at Le Club and Cheetah because I had the
right clothes. If you want to get famous, dress up! Yes, fame was on my
list. I had to get out and get famous because those people were the
ones who were having all the fun.”

Pat recalls of the more intense days spent
traveling with the Ebony Fashion Fair in the mid-60’s.

“I was in a bus in Arkansas not long after
those little girls got killed in the church. People were throwing bombs
around our hotel. Disgusting things would happen.

Another time we were pulling out of Arkansas,
and the Ku Klux Klan were coming, and they were throwing things at our
bus with flames and fire, trying to kill us. I’ll never forget that.

They didn’t want to hurt us, they wanted to
kill us because of our color. People threw rocks at us because we were
Black. They tried to rape this one girl. It’s so awful to see what can
happen.

PAT CLEVELAND & STERLING ST. JACQUES

Pat Cleveland (pictured above with late
designer-Halston) and Sterling St. Jacques had become so popular and
famous on the NY party scene; including Studio 54 that several magazines
did interviews on them; including “After Dark,” magazine. They also
created a stir at the “Black & White,” ball in New York with their
sophisticated dance and runway moves.  They were also in demand on the
European dance circuit and were very popular in Champs Elysees and they
were a hit at Halston’s masquerade ball.

After a fashion show in Paris, the legendary
Josephine Baker was so impressed with Pat Cleveland that she went on
record as saying, “If my story is ever brought to film, I want Pat
Cleveland to portray me, she even resembles me.”

In Paris, Pat was roommates with Donyale Luna
(above), the first black women to grace the cover of Vogue. Luna became
so popular in France. Four French boys would camp outside of her
apartment each night and follow her throughout the day. When she wore a
dress with a long train, the boys would walk behind her, carrying the
train of her dress. Luna died in 1979 of an accidental pill overdose in
Rome, Italy.

Pat would go on to marry a multi-millionaire
Park Avenue executive. They have homes in Italy and Switzerland. In the
summer, you can find them relaxing on their luxury yacht.

Pat has a son who stands 6’5 and her daughter
is 6’0.

I left America the first time and said I wasn’t
coming back until I saw a Black model on the cover of Vogue. It took
me a long time. In 1974, that’s the year I went back.

Just living it up in the South of France or
taking off with backpacks and going to Egypt. The opportunity to see the
world is definitely there.

“You have to keep your fantasies alive. If you
think you can be something, go for it. If you think you can go
somewhere, try. You have to be a bit bold.

Darnella Thomas was the first African-American
woman to model for the “Charlie,” ad campaign. One day, while she was
shooting a fashion catalog, she said to herself, “This is boring, I need
something else, something that’s really stimulating.”

A friend on Wall Street was into coal tax
shelters and he had coal mines in Kentucky. He told Darnella if she was
looking to get out of modeling, he could set her up in
business-brokering coal.

Darnella got a chance to go into some coal
mines. She says, “You had to crawl down there. Some people went in and
got scared, and they had to be taken out, but I was fine.”

“It was really exciting. We even visited the
Department of Defense. We got our first contract through the Southern
Alabama Power and Light Company for 25,000 tons of coal.”

Darnella did very well financially in this
industry.

Source: Barbara Summers

Former model Grace Jones has defended infamous
New York City nightclub Studio 54, insisting “moderation” was always
practiced by its patrons.

During her modeling days, the singer was a regular
fixture of the 1970s hot spot, which became known for sexual activity
and rampant drug use that occurred after hours.

But Jones maintains the discotheque was a far more
civilized place than its notorious reputation suggests.

Jones claims she had wilder nights at Big Apple
gay bar the Paradise Garage-because venue bosses allegedly provided
partygoers with drugs instead of serving liquor.

She adds, “At the Garage, there was a big bowl of
whatever concoction they had there. The Garage was the club that opened
at four, with a blend of juices or something and they used to spike it
with acid and stuff. Because actually they didn’t have a liquor
license so you know, hey let’s put acid inside!”

Renowned modeling scout Claude Mohammed Haddad
had an exceptional eye for potential models.

“I went to New York,” he says, “I found Grace
Jones, the one black girl, in an elevator. She was coming down from an
agency. She looked so angry.

She said, “They don’t like black people in this
country.” I said, come to Paris.

Grace arrived in Paris and became a success!

(THE WOMAN WHO HELPED CREATE THE BLACK MODELING
INDUSTRY)

Madame Ophelia DeVore (above-both photos) is an
institution. She was not only the first model of color in the 1940’s
but she used the power of the media via her fashion column in the
Pittsburgh Courier to showcase black models. Although the major New York
City department stores had never done so before, they lent her clothes
for Black models to wear in photographs in the paper.

Doing what no others had done before on such an
ambitious level, she took it a step further by refining skills and
expanding into public relations, fashion shows and television. She took
the black modeling industry to its zenith.

“I started putting on contests so the models
could get experience walking on a runway and on stage to develop stage
presence.”

DeVore was the teacher, agent and promoter.

In 1959, and again in 1960 and 1961, her
protege’s were crowned Queen of the International Film Festival in
Cannes. Cecilia Cooper was the first Black woman to win. When she won,
she had the seat of honor over all the top movie stars. According to
Madame DeVore, “UPI (the wire service) almost died because a Black
American had won the title.” Devore models LeJeune Hundley and Emily
Yancy won in succeeding years.

Source: Barbara Summers

BACKSTORY:

Madame DeVore began modeling at the age of 16.
As a fair-skinned African American, Madame Devore gained contracts
throughout Europe. In 1946, determined to create a new market for
non-White women in the U.S., Madame DeVore would establish The Grace Del
Marco Agency.

In the agency’s early days, it was a stepping
stone for countless household names; Diahann Carroll, Helen Williams,
Richard Roundtree, Barbara McNair, Cicely Tyson and others. Racism was
rampant in New York’s fashion business and the Grace Del Marco Agency
was one of the few places non-White models could gain work.

Her agency’s shows took place in churches,
college campuses, and in the ballrooms of the Diplomat and
Waldorf-Astoria hotels. Like many non-Whites in the mid-twentieth
century, DeVore’s breakthrough came in Europe; specifically through the
French fashion world.

The initial impact took place at many of the
Cannes Film Festivals during the 1950’s and 1960’s. Madame Devore also
seized media for business equity by co-hosting ABC’s Spotlight on
Harlem. Her intensity to “make it” demanded relentless dedication and
work ethic; enough to cause her a heart attack while still in her
twenties.

In the agency’s later years, it was renamed
Ophelia DeVore Associates, and then the Ophelia DeVore Organization. In
1985, DeVore broadened her enterprise globally to include Swaziland as a
client, and published her late husband’s newspaper The Columbus Times.

“Her specialty is polishing black diamonds
(models),” declared one newspaper article.

Due to her business acumen, she has served as
consultant to many of America’s Fortune 500 corporations. DeVore has
received more than 200 awards and honors from corporate, political,
educational, governmental and social agencies.

It was already bad enough that the Ford Modeling
agency was nicknamed “The White House,” but agency head Eileen Ford put
her foot in her mouth when she told the author of “Skin Deep,” that a
book about Black models would be a short one.

Barbara Summers’ is a former Ford model who proved
Eileen Ford wrong. Summers traveled to three continents to do research
for this book and she doesn’t disappoint.

Summers’ also provides interesting and insightful
information on black model Donyale Luna.

By the end of the 60’s, Naomi Sims (who we
featured last week) was earning $1,000 per week and now Sims wasn’t
alone.

When Donyale Luna (above) was asked where she
hailed from, she answered, “I’m from the moon darling.”

Her feline looks and wild behavior made her a
sensation in London and Paris.

Although she was the first black model on the
cover of British Vogue, her career was cut short. She died in a clinic
from an accidental pill overdose in 1979. She was 33.

Source: “Model,” by: Michael Gross


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Meet Dan Phillips CEO of Phoenix Commotions… He Builds Dreams Through His Green Economy Homestead Project in Texas via [N.Y.T.]

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One Man’s Trash …

Michael Stravato for The New York Times

CYCLES Dan Phillips builds houses out of salvaged items, like frame samples, which he used on a ceiling.

By KATE MURPHY

HUNTSVILLE, Tex.

AMONG the traditional brick and clapboard structures that line the streets of this sleepy East Texas town, 70 miles north of Houston, a few houses stand out: their roofs are made of license plates, and their windows of crystal platters.

They are the creations of Dan Phillips, 64, who has had an astonishingly varied life, working as an intelligence officer in the Army, a college dance instructor, an antiques dealer and a syndicated cryptogram puzzle maker. About 12 years ago, Mr. Phillips began his latest career: building low-income housing out of trash.

9
Michael Stravato for The New York Times

Dan Phillips with a “tree house” he built and rents to low-income artists in Huntsville, Texas.

In 1997 Mr. Phillips mortgaged his house to start his construction company, Phoenix Commotion. “Look at kids playing with blocks,” he said. “I think it’s in everyone’s DNA to want to be a builder.” Moreover, he said, he was disturbed by the irony of landfills choked with building materials and yet a lack of affordable housing.

To him, almost anything discarded and durable is potential building material. Standing in one of his houses and pointing to a colorful, zigzag-patterned ceiling he made out of thousands of picture frame corners, Mr. Phillips said, “A frame shop was getting rid of old samples, and I was there waiting.”

So far, he has built 14 homes in Huntsville, which is his hometown, on lots either purchased or received as a donation. A self-taught carpenter, electrician and plumber, Mr. Phillips said 80 percent of the materials are salvaged from other construction projects, hauled out of trash heaps or just picked up from the side of the road. “You can’t defy the laws of physics or building codes,” he said, “but beyond that, the possibilities are endless.”

While the homes are intended for low-income individuals, some of the original buyers could not hold on to them. To Mr. Phillips’s disappointment, half of the homes he has built have been lost to foreclosure — the payments ranged from $99 to $300 a month.

Multimedia

The Recycled HousesSlide Show

The Recycled Houses

Building Homes with Recycled Materials on Living Smart with Patricia Gras

via [YouTube]

Some of those people simply disappeared, leaving the properties distressingly dirty and in disrepair. “You can put someone in a new home but you can’t give them a new mindset,” Mr. Phillips said.

Although the homes have resold quickly to more-affluent buyers, Mr. Phillips remains fervently committed to his vision of building for low-income people. “I think mobile homes are a blight on the planet,” he said. “Attractive, affordable housing is possible and I’m out to prove it.”

Freed by necessity from what he calls the “tyranny of the two-by-four and four-by-eight,” common sizes for studs and sheets of plywood, respectively, Mr. Phillips makes use of end cuts discarded by other builders — he nails them together into sturdy and visually interesting grids. He also makes use of mismatched bricks, shards of ceramic tiles, shattered mirrors, bottle butts, wine corks, old DVDs and even bones from nearby cattle yards.

“It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a complete set of anything because repetition creates pattern, repetition creates pattern, repetition creates pattern,” said Mr. Phillips, who is slight and sinewy with a long gray ponytail and bushy mustache. He grips the armrests of his chair when he talks as if his latent energy might otherwise catapult him out of his seat.

Phoenix Commotion homes meet local building codes and Mr. Phillips frequently consults with professional engineers, electricians and plumbers to make sure his designs, layouts and workmanship are sound. Marsha Phillips, his wife of 40 years and a former high school art teacher, vets his plans for aesthetics.

“He doesn’t have to redo things often,” said Robert McCaffety, a local master electrician who occasionally inspects Mr. Phillips’s wiring. “He does everything in a very neat and well thought-out manner.” Describing Huntsville as a “fairly conservative town,” Mr. McCaffety said, “There are people who think his houses are pretty whacked out but, by and large, people support what he does and think it’s beneficial to the community.”

Michael Stravato for The New York Times

Other materials used in Mr. Phillips’s houses include bull vertebra for decoration.


Indeed, city officials worked closely with Mr. Phillips in 2004 to set up a recycled building materials warehouse where builders, demolition crews and building product manufacturers can drop off items rather than throwing them in a landfill. There’s no dumping fee and donations are tax deductible because the materials are used exclusively by charitable groups or for low-income housing.

Michael Stravato for The New York Times

WHIMSY For the windows on the house, Mr. Phillips used crystal platters and lids of Pyrex bowls, creating a series of playful porthole-like accents.

“I’ve been recycling all my life, and it never occurred to me to recycle a door,” said Esther Herklotz, Huntsville’s superintendent of solid waste. “Dan has changed the way we do things around here.”

Officials in Houston also consulted with Mr. Phillips before opening a similar warehouse this summer, and other cities, including Bryan, Tex.; Denham Springs, La.; and Indianapolis have contacted him to inquire how to do the same.

Phoenix Commotion employs five minimum-wage construction workers but Mr. Phillips also requires the labor of the home’s eventual resident — he tends to favor a poor, single mother because his own father walked out on him and his mother when he was 17, which left them in a tough financial situation. “My only requirement is that they have good credit or no credit but not bad credit,” he said.

One of his houses belongs to Gloria Rivera, a cashier at a doughnut shop, who built the home with Mr. Phillips and her teenage son in 2004. Before then, she lived in a rented mobile home. Constructed almost entirely out of salvaged and donated materials, the 600-square-foot wooden house is painted royal blue with various squares of red, maroon and fuchsia tile glued to the mismatched gingerbread trim.

Inside, there is imported Tuscan marble on the floor, though the tiles are not of uniform size, and bright yellow stucco walls that Ms. Rivera said she textured using her thumb. “It’s not perfect but it’s mine,” Ms. Rivera said, touching the stucco, which looks like very thick and very messy butter cream frosting. “I call it my doll house.”

Phoenix Commotion homes lost to foreclosure have resold to middle-class buyers who appreciate not only their individuality but also their energy efficiency, which is also part of Mr. Phillips’s construction philosophy.

Susan Lowery and Alfredo Cerda, who both work for the United States Department of Homeland Security, bought a Phoenix Commotion house after the intended low-income owner couldn’t manage the mortgage. It has mosaics on the walls and counters made of shards of broken tile and cushy flooring made out of wine corks. “My wife likes the house because it doesn’t look like everyone else’s, but, being a guy, what I like is that it has a galvanized metal roof that I’ll never have to replace,” Mr. Cerda said.

Mr. Phillips said it bothered him when his low-income housing became “gentrified.” But if it leads to an acceptance of recycled building materials and a shift away from cookie-cutter standardized construction, he said, “I’m O.K. with it.”

Although it has a social agenda, Phoenix Commotion is not a nonprofit. “I want to show that you can make money doing this,” Mr. Phillips said.

He said he earned enough to live on but he was not getting rich. While he declined to be more specific, he allowed that the business has become more profitable as he has gained construction experience. It now takes six months to build a home rather than the 18 months it took when he started.

But Mr. Phillips said his biggest reward was giving less-fortunate people the opportunity to own a home and watching them develop a sense of satisfaction and self-determination in the course of building it.

An example is Kristie Stevens, a single mother of two school-age sons who earned a college degree last spring while working part time as a restaurant and catering manager. She has spent the months since graduation hammering away on what will be her home.

“If something goes wrong with this house, I won’t have to call someone to fix it because I know where all the wires and pipes are — I can do it myself,” she said. “And if the walls are wonky, it will be my fault but also my pride.”




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Book Review: Rich Like Them by Ryan D’Agostino via [thesimpledollar.com and blog.budgetpulse]

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Rich Like
Them: My Door-to-Door Search for the Secrets of Wealth in America’s
Richest Neighborhoods
by Ryan D’Agostino

Buy new: $10.40 / Used from: $9.40
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One: Open Your Eyes

We’re all almost drowning in opportunities. The problem is
that many of us simply don’t see them. We’re either too focused on the
specific little thing at hand or simply aren’t keeping our mind open
when we’re “off the clock.” Every person you meet and every situation
you’re in is an opportunity not only to improve yourself, but to connect
to others and open the door to money-making possibilities.

What steps can you take? Build relationships with people – and, even
better, try to connect those relationships to each other, because
bringing people together in a useful way is one of the best things you
can do. Listen to what people are actually saying and doing – and try as
hard as you can to keep your own conclusions out of the mix.

Two: Luck Doesn’t Exist

Luck is mostly about preparation. If you have the
ability to record great ideas and to take immediate advantage of
opportunities that come your way, you’ll seem much more lucky than the
guy who never writes anything down and doesn’t have a hefty savings
account.

What steps can you take? Write down ideas as soon as they come to
you. Have an “opportunity fund” in the bank in cash form that
you can use when something great comes along. Surround yourself with
people who are doing useful and interesting things.

Three: The Economics of
Obsession

Find something you’re passionate
about and throw yourself in head first. Become obsessed with
what you’re doing. Read everything you can get your hands on. Meet
everyone even remotely related to your passion. Try it all. Practice,
practice, practice.

What steps can you take? Figure out what you’re truly passionate
about, then when you find it, make it central to your life. Surround
yourself with people and activities that reinforce that passion. Become
so obsessed, in fact, that others sometimes find it almost scary.

Four: The Myth of Risk

Risk is real, but most people use risk as an excuse not to try things.
Instead, you should build a safety net for yourself and take that leap
sometimes. A risk that others aren’t willing to take is often the source
of an incredible opportunity for someone who is passionate and is
prepared.

What steps can you take? Make your own life as financially secure as
you can. Dig into opportunities and figure out their real risks. Realize
that if something is truly in your wheelhouse, you’re likely to face
less risk than someone less impassioned.

Five: Humility

Above all, no matter what happens, be humble. Humility takes you far
in life – you can mess up and you will. The way you
treat others often winds up matching the way they treat you, especially
at that key moment when you really need their help.

What steps can you take? Treat everyone well. Don’t
complain about the behavior of others – instead, set your own example.
Be humble about your accomplishments instead of bragging about them.

The Best Part: Little
Points of Wisdom

The part of this book that
really stuck with me was the short principles and quotes inserted
throughout the book every few pages. I collected these pieces together,
simply because I thought they were so incredibly worthwhile:

Don’t forget your goal – even when you’re on vacation
Where
others see death, imagine life
When you hear someone say “If only I
could…,” you’re hearing an opportunity
Connect the people you meet

Even when you find the sure thing, save some money for a rainy day

Once you connect the dots, follow through
Choose your purpose, and
don’t let anyone tell you you’re wrong
Remember: with time comes
free money
Watch your pennies, no matter how many you have
Keep
your cool – it’s a big part of persevering
Don’t deviate from your
planned path to get a quick gain
Perseverance doesn’t take forever

Once you find your calling, persevering is easy
Remember that you
can’t do a business transaction with yourself
Prepare to get lucky

Find a driver other than money – it’s usually more lucrative than money
alone
Do one thing and do it well
Obsess over whatever job you
have
Take your mind off the money – you’ll earn more
Don’t plan
a career – plan a life
Obsession makes you work harder
If you
look forward to going to work, that’s a good sign
Discover love
through immersion
Turn fear into passion
Never stop being a
student
Calculate every risk – even the one you live in
Look for
your window to go solo
You want autonomy? Let it motivate you

Be cocky when it counts
Don’t worry about what other people think

Reduce risk by believing in yourself
When you fail miserably,
rejoice
If you hate your career, um, change it
Sometimes the
biggest risk is doing nothing
Never let pride get in the way of
profit
Be humble even if you’re as rich as Brooke Astor

Understand your limitations
Don’t be a slave to Plan A – it’ll
prevent you from seeing plan B
Don’t be afraid to make less than
your spouse
Never feel as if you’re too successful to sweat

Remember that you are not, nor will you ever be, a god or goddess

Good stuff, all around. Somewhere in there is a piece of advice that
is probably a life changer for you.

Is Rich Like Them Worth Reading?

Rich Like Them is a spectacular handbook for
someone who is a self-starter with an entrepreneurial bent. If you’ve
got a strong desire to build your own success, the advice in this book
can provide a great foundation.

If that doesn’t sound like you, Rich Like Them doesn’t have as much to offer.
Unlike The Millionaire Next Door and The Difference, the focus here is strongly on
entrepreneurial behaviors – taking advantage of the opportunities around
you.

So, here’s the deal: if you have an entrepreneurial nature, Rich Like Them is an excellent read; if not, I
highly recommend giving The Millionaire Next Door and The Difference a read.


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Analyzing The 5 Biggest Flaws of The NEW Apple iPhone 4g… via [yahoofinance]

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5 Big Blemishes for the Apple iPhone 4

by Scott Moritz

 

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Apple’s (AAPLNews) redesigned
iPhone is destined to be a knockout success. The phone scores high on
style points with its sleek glass and stainless steel design, and it
wins points for its multitasking software and improved screen.

There are, however, a few shortcomings.

The Apple iPhone 4 is set to go on sale Thursday. Judging by the
record demand during the pre-sale period, the newest iPhone will make a
huge sales splash, especially with old iPhone owners trading up.

All the presales excitement and Apple-driven hype have set
expectations very high. But mighty Apple plays to a tough crowd. It’s an
affluent group that has been eager to buy the next new thing out of
Cupertino, Calif. It’s also a highly discerning group with a refined
taste in gadgets, and that makes them a bit fussy.

Here are five bruises on the new Apple iPhone that may engender
complaint.

No. 5: A Skimpy Camera

As smartphone challengers like HTC, Motorola (MOTNews) and Nokia (NOKNews) embrace the
megapixel race with 8-megapixel and 12-megapixel cameras, Apple’s new
iPhone keeps it cheap with a 5-megapixel model.

This will be a bigger point of contention this week when Verizon (VZNews) and Motorola
unveil the Droid X Wednesday, the newest Google (GOOGNews) Android
phone, which features an 8-megapixel camera. Android phone giant HTC has
also been generous with 8-megapixel cameras in its Droid Incredible
and Sprint’s (SNews) EVO.

Meanwhile, Apple, always the laggard in cameras, won’t enter the
8-megapixel class until next year when it debuts a sweet Sony (SNENews) camera in its
2011 iPhone. But by then, who knows where the rest of the pack will be?

No. 4: No Swype

If you’ve seen Swype or used it, you know why this omission makes
the list. Typing on a touchscreen is a challenge as the flat glass
surface offers few clues to where your fat fingers are precisely making
contact. It’s an error-prone process that gives one a longing for the
raised keys of the BlackBerry keyboard from Research In Motion (RIMMNews).

But the Swype keypad software helps tame the new medium. Swype
follows the pattern of your finger movements to type words or predict
words without the usual hunting and pecking.

Apple did wonders with the touchscreen, but Swype makes it more
useful for those among us who like to type.

No. 3: Video Calling

Okay, it’s not totally bait and switch, but Apple’s hot new iPhone
video calling feature, FaceTime, comes with lots of asterisks and a
limited applicability.

Say you want to video chat with someone using the Apple iPhone 4.
That someone has to have a WiFi connection and he has to use the same
application on his own iPhone 4. You’re looking at a small club of
people — not exactly an application of global Skype-like proportions.

No. 2: iPhone 4 Shortages

Strong demand is only half the story for Apple’s iPhone sales debut.
Limited supply is the other. A shortage of in-plane display panels,
the crucial part of Apple’s touted retina display screens, has forced
Apple’s contract manufacturers to cut production rates in half to 1
million iPhones a month.

This means there won’t be enough iPhones on hand to meet the
presumably high demand. Though it’s not a terrible problem to have if
you are a gadget maker, sellouts and delivery delays will mar Apple’s
big iPhone 4 debut. The frustration could push buyers toward other
phones.

No. 1: No Verizon iPhone.

A new iPhone is big. But a new iPhone at Verizon? Much bigger.

Apple’s exclusive partnership with AT&T (TNews) has been a point
of discord among iPhone owners and it has tarnished the public
perception of both companies. It also has done almost nothing for
AT&T’s stock.

Investors have been waiting for the Verizon iPhone. But that’s
apparently not going to happen until next year, if ever.

So Apple fans who want the new iPhone have to lock in for another
two years with AT&T. This scenario is not particularly pleasant
considering that AT&T’s new subscriber plans put penalties on
people (like iPhone users) who happen to be heavy data users.

–Written by Scott Moritz in New York.


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