Fancy Pants (and Perfect Party Pieces) at Topshop

Star Print Ruffle Plisse Blouse. Tuck into jeans makes an interesting dichotomy.

Topshop is killing it in the Holiday and New Year’s Eve fancy pants department.

Since I’ll be home with kids this year, there won’t be a need for a lot of these pieces, but if you’re one of the lucky ones planning a night on the town, you MUST check out the line!


The Cold Shoulder Jumpsuit; pair with golden shoes for sparkle, and big hair for height!

The Gold Star metallic Ruched Top was the first piece I saw that made me go, “WOW!”

Joggers are seen a lot now-a-days, but Velvet Sequin Joggers?!!!  Wear them low on the hip bones, with a heel. My pick if I was going out.

Usually anything in crushed velvet is hard to pull off. If you dare… do it! Crushed Velvet Twist Midi Dress

While not as VAVAVOOM as the rest, All Over Embellished Midi Dress is a lovely choice.


Tuck the Pleated Lace Foil Skirt into simple black tee or turtle neck. Wear with a bootie or heel. A classic that can be pulled out for many years to come.

This Bergman Dress by Unique was shown on the runway.

Wear the Ombre Gold Foil Lace Top with jeans or a simple black pant. Even a legging and a flat, since it can be worn un-tucked, too.

04. December 2016 by Martha Merrill
Categories: Fashion, Shops, Simple Shapes | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 comment

Lularoe Prints, Shapes & Basics for Every Wardrobe


Pretty Lularoe prints and fabrics.

According to Forbes, Lularoe has become a “direct selling powerhouse,” easy to understand when you look at its recipe for success; simple shapes, creative patterns and prints, sold by inspired consultants.

It’s a great combination that’s working.

Ms. Wackerly in her classroom wearing the Perfect T and Lularoe leggings.

Ms. Wackerly in her classroom, teaching decimals wearing a Perfect T and Lularoe leggings.

I met my friend Ashlee Wackerly when I meandered into her classroom after substitute teaching on the 3-5 hall of my kids’ school. There to pick her brain about a teaching job, it was her Lularoe Irma tee and leggings that started a new conversation. I’d been reading a lot about Lularoe after attending a house party where a small group of ladies and I tried on the clothes. The line of 33 styles adhered to my belief that good fashion is based on simple shapes. The variety of fabrics and prints (which are only produced in small quantities, read limited, and then retired) spoke to my lifelong obsession with textiles and pattern.

The designer/head of production, Patrick Winget, had worked in the fashion industry for years before joining forces with LLR. Not only had he made custom skinny jeans for a pregnant Heidi Klum, he developed Forever 21’s denim line, and partnered with companies and brands like Urban Outfitters, Kohl’s, and Tony Hawk. He brought his knowledge of the industry, and an eye for what women wanted directly to the consultants to pass on to the consumer.

And it’s been the enthusiasm of those consumers/customers that has flamed the Lulalove. Talk to Lularoe fans and there are some of the things you’ll hear:

  • The clothes are super comfy, made from soft knits in styles that flatter a real woman’s body.
  • The styles are consistent (ask us about sizing because some pieces fit larger than others), and the prints are fun. Some are so great that they turn into “Unicorns” (pieces you see and want to buy, but have been scooped up too quickly),and have women searching high and low. My unicorn is a dragon print I once saw on a girl’s legging!
  • Facebook updates alert to new sales, to make it easier to catch new inventory. Consultants sell through Facebook Groups, which once you ask and are accepted to join, you’ll be added and given access to the sales.
  • The price point is excellent for the target customer; generally women who need to be put together for work, but not overly so (think teachers), and mom’s on the go who like the idea of sweat pants as a fashion statement, but read too much vogue, so they know better.
  • Friendships develop, and community among women grows through support of small businesses.

Please join me tomorrow night, December 1-2, as I host an online party to spread the love, and support my friend. In order to take part, follow the directions below! And have fun!

  1. Join Ashlee’s Lularoe page on Facebook. Then…..
  2. Create a ‘Roe with Me’ account (takes 3 seconds), and check Ashlee’s Facebook page for the link, shared a few hours before the event.

Enjoy, and please ask Ashlee and me any questions you may have.


The classic Tee.

The classic Tee.

The leggings are what made Lularoe famous. They claimed to be buttery soft, but I didn't believe it until I tried. The patterns are great, but the solids are some of my favorites, especially the heatherds.

The leggings are what made Lularoe famous. They claimed to be buttery soft, but I didn’t believe it until I tried. The patterns are great, but the solids are some of my favorites, especially the heatherd’s.

The Irma tee is a bit lower in the back to cover the behind. The sleeves hit at the elbow, and the neckline is rounded and high. Modest, but still on trend. One of my favorites for teaching.

The Irma tee is a bit lower in the back to cover the behind. The sleeves hit at the elbow, and the neckline is rounded and high. Modest and easy, but not sloppy.


Quite possibly the best traveling outfit. The model here is Susan Boylston, Ashlee’s team-mate and the one who invited me to my first party. 🙂

The Carly dress. I own a few, and was my go to this past summer.

The Carly dress. I own a few and they were my go to this past summer.

I love prints, but often shy away. Here's a summer Carly with flip flops at the grocery store.

I love prints, but often shy away. Here’s a summer Carly with flip-flops at the grocery store.

Ms. Wackerly getting ready for a fifth grade meeting.

Ms. Wackerly wearing a Randy tee and Nicole kimono, just before for a fifth grade meeting.

The Julia is a favorite style; a pencil dress with a longer sleeve. Pregnant women can side up and it still works.

The Julia dress. A simple shape can go miles in a wardrobe. Pencil narrow with a longer sleeve, the Julia can be sized up or down for different fits. It can be turned under to be worn as a tunic or layered under just about anything.

The Amelia Dress is a classic fifties silhouette. elbow length sleeves, fitted bust, nipped waist and full skirt. With pockets.

The Amelia Dress (Patrick Winget’s favorite) is a classic fifties silhouette; elbow length sleeves, fitted bust, nipped waist and full skirt. And bonus… it has pockets.

***Disclaimer: As a hostess I am gifted with Lularoe pieces, the number of which is based on the results of the sales through Roe with Me. Those who read my blog know, however, that I only write about things I truly believe in. xo

30. November 2016 by Martha Merrill
Categories: Fashion, Shops, Simple Shapes | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Garmentory – Supporting Small Boutiques and Emerging Designers

velouria Medici

The Gravel and Gold Medici Dress carried at the shop Velouria in Seattle, Washington. Love the print.

If you love, appreciate and support new designers (and small boutiques), I suggest you check out

Described as a “curated marketplace of indie boutiques and designers,” Garmentory gives direct access to thoughtful artisans (shop owners and designers) who might otherwise have less opportunity for their work to be shared.

For full price merchandise, the customer buying process is familiar; similar to what we already practice. But, the sale system is different. Instead of offering a piece at a regular discounted price, customers can make an offer, which can either be accepted or declined by the shop owner or designer themselves. While there is a suggested offer price, which I believe should be considered as these people do need to make a profit, any offer can be placed for approval.

It’s not easy for smaller businesses to survive in the age of the mass market. It’s often hard to pass up the less expensive, and easier found offerings that the big guys carry. But once in a while, if you feel like you’re needing something special, and made by truly creative design, go to Garmentory. It’s a genius idea, much-needed, and long overdue.




The Bella One Piece by Beth Richards. Richards is becoming a popular name in swimwear. Rightly so. To buy directly from her, you can purchase through Garmentory.

Ulla Nimes Blouse

Designer Ulla Johnson has become more well known as of late thanks to her line for Madewell. Still, there’s been lots of press about how little the designers actually earn from these collaborations, so supporting small designers through boutique sales is still really important. This piece is carried at BOCNYC, and the order would come from them.


Libertine-Libertine is one of my favorite design labels. The shows are always really fun, and the design is interesting and playful. This piece is being sold by Lowell, a boutique in Montreal, Quebec.

Amelia Toro Light Weight Tunic Top.

Amelia Toro Navy Light Weight Tunic Top. Sold in Seattle at Baby&Company.


Shaina Mote makes the most amazingly simple pieces, which have earned her a bit of a cult status. This Lucid Dress is carried at Lyocell Boutique in NYC.


21. February 2016 by Martha Merrill
Categories: Art, Fashion, Shops | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Friends in Fashion

When your work involves the buying of organic and (preferably) sustainable clothing for a yoga studio, having a friend in fashion who shares the love for particularly special and difficult parts of garment design is a gift!

Sent to me by my favorite, sustainable and organic-loving-clothing-buying friend and former co-worker with whom bonding happened on the fashion front, our secret Pinterest page (the non-private Pinterest here) is how we now communicate our passion for the subject.

Post inner squealing, I figured I’d send her (and you) my initial, worded response ….

“My GOD it’s the most gorgeous thing I’ve ever seen!”


“Can we talk about that boning and where it falls on the under bust?”

I’ll head back over to Foat  in a minute, because I’m loving their work, too (Click here to see their story and yoga line), but for now I’m reminded of the many things that bring people together, whatever and wherever they may be.

Friends, love, and fashion is the equation for some.

Always, always the equation for me.



Hochzeiten – Brautwäsche

30. September 2015 by Martha Merrill
Categories: Art, Fashion, Love, Shops | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Awesome Graphic Tees for Men

premier kiss

Premier Baiser (kiss) by Ami.

I woke up this morning motivated to write a post about men’s graphic tees after a male friend insisted that his favorites were found at Good Will!

Since I’d recently stumbled upon some really great men’s graphic tees online, I decided that I needed a post to prove that a lot of today’s offerings are better than the old and tattered tees found on the second-hand-store shelves. Though many of those have been worn and loved, they’ve often been loved by too many (and for too long) to be right for public wearing.

A few of these I might even go for the ladies… sizing down and wearing tucked into paper bag skirts and sandals. Cute!

Take a chance boys.

Your girls will thank you for making the effort, but buy your shirts big enough that they stay in your closet and don’t disappear into hers!


Primal Scream Therapy

Primal Scream Therapy by The Fourness.

Aviator Nation Gamer Tee.

Aviator Nation Gamer Tee.

Sunset Wave tee by Aviator Nation.

Sunset Wave tee by Aviator Nation.

Dibasic Turn Down for What.

DiLascia Turn Down for What Tee.

Julien David X Quicksilver at Farfetch.

Julien David X Quicksilver at Farfetch.

astronaut cat tee Design by Humans

Design by Humans Astronaut Cat.

Dsquared2 All seeing Eye tee at Farfetch.

Dsquared2 All seeing Eye tee at Farfetch.

Florence and the Machine

Florence and the Machine at Urban Outfitters.

Stamina Phys. Ed

Stamina Phys. Ed by Hugo Guiness for J. Crew.

Lurker tee by Mollusk at Steven Alan.

Lurker tee by Mollusk at Steven Alan.

Love Wins by FamousDC

Love Wins by FamousDC

29. June 2015 by Martha Merrill
Categories: Fashion, Love, Shops | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

COS Dresses as Year Round Wardrobe Basics

COS Bow Dress. Super cute later with a jacket and tights.

COS Bow Dress. Super cute now or later with a jacket and tights.

Known for their really simple but interesting shapes that border the avant garde, COS (sister to H&M) is a good place to shop for those of us wanting something more than your basic, loose tank dress. Having bought from them in the past I can attest to the quality (better than H&M) and functionality.

The cotton is crisp, and the design is on point.

With comfort and ease as necessities, and my newfound appreciation for less is more, adding a dress or two from the COS SS15 collection makes sense. It’s tough to want to get dressed (or shop) when the weather heats up. Buying easy pieces that cross seasons is a plus, and keeps me on target when it comes to conscientious wardrobe building.

Layer later. Throw a turtleneck and tights (or denim) underneath when it’s cool. But for now get a good haircut, try an easy, thoughtfully designed dress (and sandals that suit) and smile.

It’s finally summer!

And aren’t we glad!

cos printed tunic

COS Printed Tunic. Any print with black as a base is pretty easy to keep in the wardrobe all year round.

COS cocoon dress. So easy, and easily dressed up at cooler times of the year.

COS cocoon dress. So easy, and easily dressed up at cooler times of the year.

Cos Transluscent Tunic. Great with a white tank dress for summer, but equally cool looking in winter with all black underneath.

COS Translucent Tunic. Great with a white tank dress for summer, but equally cool looking in winter with all black underneath.

COS Draped Dress. White is totally ok after labor day. And I love a good drape!

COS Draped Dress. White is totally ok after labor day. And I love a good drape!


28. May 2015 by Martha Merrill
Categories: Fashion, Shops | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Mindful Closet

A couple of months ago I realized the error of my shopping ways.

In my “fashion is art” loving heart, I’d created a wardrobe of things that weren’t ever worn, hanging reminders of things I loved, some still bearing tags from years ago. Over-abundance had created chaos in dressing, serving as proof that more isn’t necessarily more.

Around the same time, I started gaining interest in eco-clothing. It was slow going, as the eco-clothing industry itself had been (hemp equated to frump for a long, long time). The recent John Oliver program about the fashion industry’s terrible record when it comes to mass production was the straw that broke the camel’s back, propelling my decision to share my eco-friendly evolution.

As the process of creating a more mindful closet began I was amazed by the things I’ “had to have” lined up next to the things that I hadn’t thought twice about. All together a sad mess of a wardrobe, never mind that in all of those clothes I never had anything to wear.

Unlike the many times before I’d embarked on a closet clean-out, this time I was much more careful about what I did with the old, and thoughtful about the new pieces if need to find to  buy and wear and the future.

And so it began.

The Madewell popover reminiscent of 1983 Esprit? Put away for my girls.

The outrageously expensive, but gorgeously embroidered calypso tunics that made me look like a balloon? Given to a smaller chested friend who wears them as they were meant to be worn.

All of the cheap t-shirts that lined my drawers, but had shrunk or fit weird? Sent off to good will, some cut and used by my kids as blankets for Barbie’s bed.

Needing some things for a three-week trip this summer, I searched high and low finding some great designers working in sustainability and vintage materials.

One company that I fell in love with was Gaia Conceptions. Based in North Carolina they work with sustainable fibers, dye their fabrics with natural plant dyes, and hand make each piece to order. Because of this, the cost for a piece is a bit higher (they’re sale page is good to check once a week), but the benefit of creating a garment specifically for you is that you know it will fit (and isn’t that more than worth it?). There are a zillion styles and variations of fabrics (hemp vs. organic stretch vs. N.C cottons, etc.). Their Love Me 2 Times line is ingenious and a best seller with its tube like tops attaching to various bottoms, which work as great layering pieces.

gaia flip

Gaia Conception Flip Wrap Dress. I have this dress in green, but chose the below the knee-length as it’s more flattering for me. Keep in mind, my measurements put me in XL, but I found that the fabrics stretch and give, so I’ve bought L and am contemplating M for their double V dress.

Hammer Time Blockprint Pants. Gaia Conceptions works with the Rao family in India. Textiles are printed one at a time on wood blocks.

Hammer Time Blockprint Pants. Gaia Conceptions works with the Rao family in India. Textiles are printed one at a time on wood blocks.

Knowing what shapes work best on me, and in my effort to look less like a balloon on a string, wrap-dresses that flatter and tees with elbow length sleeves and deep cowl necklines ensure that I feel good in what I wear and how these things were made. Never again will I own a thousand tee-shirts that fit me weird after being washed, or dresses that would be perfect if only the sleeve had been longer. Being able to choose your design has its benefits.

Etsy has become a place that has helped me streamline my wardrobe, keeping it simple, but also letting me support small-business and remain creative in dressing. A wonderful designer named kari at Clementiny Clothing uses vintage fabrics for her made to order pieces. She’s super easy to work with, and I’m thrilled with what she’s made for me (a three-quarter-sleeve length tunic with neck tie in a cream vintage fabric and the most adorable flowered off-the-shoulder frock to be worn over a bathing suit or with jeans). Her jumpsuit is next on my list. I’m hoping to talk to her soon about starting on it.

My latest obsession. I've been wanting a jumpsuit but everyone I've tried leaves something to be desired. With Kari using my measurements I think this will be perfect.

My latest obsession from Clementiny Clothing. I’ve been wanting a jumpsuit but each I’ve tried leaves something to be desired. With Kari using my measurements I think this will be perfect.

None of this is to say that I’m completely finished with larger brands and pieces that fit into my life. There is a place for those companies, though I wish they were more conscientious about their best practices. In my effort to be more mindful I will try to stay within the borders I’ve created for myself (mostly black, blue, gray, denim all day, with a vintage pattern on occasion). And for my kids, sticking to companies like Hanna Anderson that use 100% organic fabrics and European certification standards which are much more strict than we have in the states. They have a recycling programs for customer’s older styles, too.

Hanna Anderson Organic Pajamas. really the best pajamas made.

Hanna Anderson Organic Pajamas are really the best pajamas made.

Will my kids still wear leggings from Target and bathing suits from Boden? Will I still buy flannels from Madewell and jeans from Hudson?

Yes. I’m sure we will (BTW Madewell, a division of J. Crew has a denim recycling program which is a good start for such a large company).

By finding balance and being mindful about what I buy I’m hoping that it will not only make it easier for me to get dressed in the morning, but also give me the peace of mind that my choices are made with my very best intentions.

It might be a tiny, little effort. But, it’s time to get the party started.


p.s. If you haven’t seen the John Oliver show on mass-produced clothing, I highly recommend it as I do with every program he airs (the antibiotics, and the “It sucks to be a working mom in America” episodes….) wow.


20. May 2015 by Martha Merrill
Categories: Fashion, Shops | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 comment

Pretty Rash Guards for the Skin Smart

Lime Ricki. 47.50 looks a lot like a Tory Burch that is 5x as much.

Lime Ricki. $47.50 looks a lot like a Tory Burch that is 5x as much.

Eight years ago as the calendar inched closer to summer I was recovering from melanoma that had developed while I was pregnant. From November until June as the scars began to heal I shopped for beach cover, but was left uninspired by the choices that were offered.

With my babies in tow I headed to Maine for a month by the sea, but sadly spent more time looking out of windows at beach visitors jealous that their ignorance was also their bliss.

Over time my eagerness to get out and play was met with the reality that appropriate beach coverage was neither fashionable nor practical. The little time I allowed myself outside was spent wearing uncomfortably tight rash guards made for teenage surfers, gigantic hats, and pareos to my feet.

Mummy was mummified.

Mara Hoffman. $185.00

Mara Hoffman. $185.00

Thankfully this has changed, though many women still don’t know the dangers that await them when the weather and the season grows warm. Out of the many spots that were biopsied, the biggest area of melanoma tumors was my back (many pre-cancerous tumors were found elsewhere, but caught early enough we were able to extract before they grew). 

The sun is not a friend to our largest organ, and it doesn’t matter if you were born light-skinned or dark. Even in small doses (some would argue the sun is the best way to get your Vitamin D) many dermatologists fear the damage outweighs the benefits (take a D capsule a day and move on).

But with over 74,000 new cases of melanoma expected for the year 2015 (and let’s not forget the other skin cancers that though not as quick to kill are still incredibly painful to treat… See this shocking selfie), rashguards are as imperative as hat-wearing, reapplying your sunscreen and avoiding the sun at the peak hours of the day.

Nanette Lepore Maharaja Long Sleeve. $92.00

Nanette Lepore Maharaja Long Sleeve. $92.00

Companies like Roxy and Billabong have been doing rash guards for years, but the sizing is “Juniors” and a tough fit for adult women.

J. Crew has been ahead of the game (also Athleta and Land’s End), and Cynthia Rowley might be one of the first womenswear designers to have created really cute surf suits.

But now, many more traditional womenswear designers (i.e Tory BurchNanette Lepore, and Trina Turk) have jumped into the swimwear game giving grown-up ladies a lot more options.

Commando Buddah. $120.00

Commando Buddha. $120.00

Safely Field Trip Scuba Vest.  $152.00 I find Seafolly runs a little small so consider before buying.

Seafolly Field Trip Scuba Vest. $152.00 Debated putting this one up since its sleeves are so short. Still it’s a pretty cover for a bikini.

With the newer high-waisted bikini bottoms, cropped rash guards allow fashion-forwardness to remain. New swimwear companies have popped up, and older swimwear businesses have found new popularity by adding fresh ideas to the market (two of my favorite are Basta Surf and Seafolly) pushing swimwear and rash guards into more creative and playful territories. Price points are all over the place, but there is finally something for everyone.

Tory Burch Persica Rash Guard. $250.00

Tory Burch Persica Rash Guard. $250.00

Next Solid Maibu ZIp One pIece. $88.00 Read great things about this one... also comes in long sleeve.

Next Solid Malibu ZIp One pIece. $88.00 Read great things about this one… also comes in long sleeve.

Covered, safe and finally looking good? Yes, thank you!

Ignorant, stuck inside or unable to play in the sun? Never, ever again.


p.s. While rash guards have grown in popularity, swim leggings still have a long way to go. Onezie (a great company that makes yoga pants) and Lululemon (active gear) have some options that are heading on vacation with me this year. Report to follow. X

18. May 2015 by Martha Merrill
Categories: Fashion, Shops | Leave a comment

Youth Art Month – Exposure to Art and Art Education for Kids

I was recently contacted by the auction house (and website), who asked to me to write about kids and art for Youth Art Month. My strong belief that art education is imperative for children’s growth and learning, made it a job I was happy to accept. Invaluable is an advocate for all forms of artwork, whether it be children’s paintings, or classic fine art.

Exposure to art begins at a very early age, and many people know that such exposure helps to develop the right side of the brain. We’ve all heard of child therapists using art to help children express themselves when they often don’t have the cognitive word skills to do so. Kids, especially, haven’t yet developed the internal self-filter that judges their work. It’s pure, in this sense. And wonderful.

But there are other reasons that exposure to art at an early age can benefit our kids, and I believe are just as important for their future development.

1. Allows for Critical Thinking
Last night my daughters walked into my room as I was watching the Salma Hayek film, Frida. While not a movie made for children, knowing the importance of Frida Khalo to the art world (and to me, personally), I let them hover as the story unfolded.

Questions began to be asked.

“Why did she cut her hair off and paint herself in men’s clothes?”
“How come her eyebrows look like that?
“Why are they tearing down that man’s art work?”

The discussion of who Frida was as a person and how her art reflected her life became an outlet for my daughter’s critical thinking.

“She was sad, and in frustration or anger she chopped off her own hair. Her painting represented how she was feeling. I’m not sure why she wore men’s clothes, but maybe it was because she felt like it represented her mood? Maybe she thought it made her look stronger than she really felt?”

“Frida is almost as famous for her eyebrows as she is for her art. It’s not often that we see a woman with eyebrows that touch in the middle, is it? What do you think of that? Isn’t it cool that she was different, and that she was also so talented!”

“The work they’re tearing down is that of another artist named Diego. The people he was painting the mural for didn’t like it, so they destroyed it. Wouldn’t you be mad? Do you blame him for yelling out in anger?”

The discussion around the film and the art made them think and ask relevant questions. My opinion matters, but so does theirs. A discussion about personal expression, the appearance of someone who looked different, and the rights of expression versus payment for a job were not on my agenda as lessons for the day. The best lessons usually are not.

2. Creates an Understanding of Self

While young children who create art are innocently expressing themselves, for older children the exposure to all kinds of art helps them build opinions of self that couldn’t be formulated otherwise.

Take for example my experience as a child of a mother who valued the arts herself. As a kid I was fortunate to be taken to museums. Wandering through I would pick out pieces that I liked. And we’d talk about why or why not I felt the way I did. These experiences helped formulate my own ideas of what I found beautiful, and not. My mother was a fan of fashion, and so my days of being able to see fashion as an art became one of the reasons that my love for such design exists and has grown with me.

Being exposed to creative thinkers at the Elementary schools I attended helped me to recognize artistic endeavors in other areas not always valued as “art.”

It was in school that I began to recognize that teaching I was an art form in itself. My favorite teacher, Mrs. Clark, who had an energetic and loving way to pass information to her students became the very person I conjured when I grew up and became a teacher with a classroom of my own.

It was exposure to the arts that allowed me to formulate ideas of myself, though I didn’t recognize this at the time. I wanted to teach in a way that inspired. My passion for being passionate about all the things I do was born thanks to the adults around me who let me see the parts of themselves that I had in me, too. As an adult it is my hope to expand on this philosophy making it clear to my own kids that what they feel about a piece of work or a person’s talent says a lot about who they are, and what makes them great.

3. Knowing Your Medium Teaches A Lot About You

A part of the exploration of the artistic self is the discovery of mediums.

In art school I learned quickly that chalk and pencil were not my favorite, but a flat paint called gouache, and paint pens with different tips were wonderful (you never know until you try). Pattern making and draping on fashion figures were fun and exciting, but sewing required more skill than was inherent to me (despite many hours at the machines). As kids are exposed to different mediums they build skills, sometimes with success, other times failing miserably. Both are important parts in the discovery of art, self, and knowledge.

4. Builds an Appreciation for Embracing What’s Different

Let’s face it. In today’s world there’s not a lot of appreciation for what’s different. It’s getting better with the movement toward body positivity and the embrace of individual freedoms, but for a long time (especially when I was growing up in the 80’s; the age of Super Models and over-abundance equating to value) being different wasn’t seen as a plus.

Today, when my kids are bombarded with images in the media they are able to point out the differences and see what makes those differences so special or unique.

Banksy is a good example of an artist who creates his work for the people, with the funds from the sale not going to him directly. This is a very different way for an artist to express himself, and his belief that art is for the people. Of course there are people who don’t agree with that statement (or his talent). And that’s okay, too.

5. Builds an Understanding of History as It Pertains to Today

A visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art was one of the first places I discovered that art is as old as the ages. Head right, into the museum catacombs where the mummies now lie, and chipped bowls and partitions of etched stone are the living reminders of a world that no longer exists.

Did I, and do I love ancient Egyptian art? Not so much. But my appreciation of the history expanded my appreciation of all art.

In college, when I’d finished my figure drawing class and moved onto other courses such as the Fashion History, and even Perspective Drawing where lines on buildings were examined, I learned the foundation for modern day fashions, and sky scraper building. Why weren’t ankles shown pre-Victorian era? How come buildings in the sixties looked so different from those built before? Knowing our art history gives us a better understanding of why things are the way they are today.

5. Opens Eyes to Beauty, Talent, Pain, and Life

Not everything in life is always as we want it to be. Sometimes the things we see make us feel emotions that we aren’t comfortable with, but that teach us lessons we wouldn’t learn otherwise. By allowing children to form opinions about the art that they see, create, like and dislike, we are teaching them about life in itself.

Back to Frida.

As my kids watched the film, which fades between images of her work juxtaposed against the experiences in her life, they could see that the reason for the troubling painting of a bleeding Frida on the bed correlated to a visit to the hospital. Her self-portraits often painted with flowers atop her head were examples of how she presented herself, and what she found beautiful.

The discussions can go on and on when we begin to speak about such things. And for all children, exposing them to the art all around gives them a basis for which they can begin to see the beauty, talent, sometimes sadness and pain that happens in every human life.

Visit’s Fine Arts page for ongoing auctions, and participate in the discussion by sharing what you find!

The Two Fridas by Frida Kahlo

The Two Fridas by Frida Kahlo.

17. April 2015 by Martha Merrill
Categories: Art, Fashion | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

On Falling in Love

I used to think the concept of falling in love was magical. It meant that something dramatic and intense was happening. Like Alice falling down the rabbit hole, winding and lurching toward that thing called love.

But, somewhere along the path my thoughts about this phrase, and our societal view that this is how love happens began to feel like a big, fat (lovely imagery but) untrue lie. It aligns with what I call “pretty princess thinking.” The romantic idea that love is uncontrollable, and out of our hands.

If I were to believe in the term, you could say that since yesterday I’ve “fallen in love” approximately 1000 times.

I’m a sucker for love. I love to feel it. I love to share it. I like to see it grow. I feel it immediately, and not in a Single White Female kind of way.

It’s probably a strange concept to some (especially men) that you could love someone you’ve just met. The idea that you could find things so immensely pleasurable in a person that you suddenly feel excited and happy and filled up in a way that equates to love. Learning about them and liking them more doesn’t mean you’re falling.

Here’s my example.

I recently met a man who is twenty years younger than me (insert cougar joke…go ahead).

He’s beautiful.

I love his face.

He’s smart.

I love his brain.

Even the way his pants hang on his frame, for crying out loud.

What’s not to love?

What it doesn’t mean is that I expect any kind of commitment. It doesn’t mean I’m some sort of crazy love freak that’s suddenly going to text him a hundred times a day, have expectations for him that he must love me back, and draw our names inside of hearts, daydreaming about our wedding (right?).

Am I falling in love? Nope.

I already feel it.

Could it grow?

Who knows?

And who cares. I’ve accepted that I don’t have a crystal ball, so I can’t worry about what I think will or will not happen. Though, let us not forget Demi and Ashton.

The truth is I feel love all the time.

Having just come back from the Scholastic book fair with my kids, my heart is full of love from being in a room of excited, emerging readers.

I’m loving the yard guy who just came by to pick up the pine tree branches that had fallen after all of those awful storms.

That sweet check out lady at Target? Love her!

Love is a feeling, like hunger or boredom.

We don’t fall into hunger. We just feel it.

We don’t fall into boredom. We just need to get moving.

And if hate is love’s direct opposite (some would say it’s actually apathy, but hear me out) why don’t we say that we “fall” into that terrible feeling?

When it comes to love between partners it either grows or it doesn’t. No one has control over another person. No one can make someone want to be with them. Love is not something that can be forced, and partnership isn’t required to be complete.

Maybe it has something to do with finding and accepting my own worth? Quite possibly it does.

My ideas about monogamy have changed, but not the part about the love. I’m not sure humans were meant to spend their lives with just one person, but that’s another post, another time.

Commitment is something that is chosen. And when the shit hits the fan, I’m together enough to deal with it on my own. A partner might be nice, but I don’t need one to live a happy life.

We come into the world alone. We die alone. Shouldn’t we love all we can, and teach our children that they must discover the things they love, too?

Look at what happens when you feel it, even if it’s for a second. Your heart lifts and opens because it craves the emotion. It feels good. Begin to generate those feelings and they become as easy as easypeasy. Not worrisome or scary. Living in the moment makes it all ok.

Whether I choose to love a beautiful twenty-something for five minutes or spend every night for the rest of my life alone with Showtime and Ben & Jerry, it’s the one thing I know can crystal-ball predict my future happiness; my capacity for great love.

It hasn’t always been this way, I assure you. With age, life’s traumas and heartbreaks, some wisdom seems to have grown.

It’s a part of my evolution. A part that I’m loving very, very much.


Christian Louboutin Golden Boots that I love and would look very pretty in my closet.

The way I feel about men is the same way I feel about clothes and shoes. These Christian Louboutin Golden Boots I loved in an instant!


11. March 2015 by Martha Merrill
Categories: Fashion, Love | Tags: , , , , | 4 comments

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