a magical sendoff

In the midst of mixed emotions during Jenifer Ringer's farewell performance, it was undoubtedly a magical sendoff. Former dancers, partners, and colleagues paraded on stage to bring her well-wishes and flowers. But my favorite part of the celebration? The confetti and streamers that practically shot out of a cannon from overhead.

I couldn't help but share a few more of the magical photos from the day:

she says, "Please, no more!"

she says, "Please, no more!"

final bows

final bows

Just as the last curtain falls

Just as the last curtain falls

I wish I had gotten clearer photos, but there are more from Rosalie O'Connor and NYCBallet.

in her most beautiful, humble glory


I only recently learned what a grand jete was. 

And that was because my six year old friend, Grace, showed me. 

Needless to say, I don't know all that much about ballet. But over the last two years I've begun to educate myself, both directly and indirectly, through the art and work of one ballerina in particular: Jenifer Ringer.

To me, though, she's always been Jenny Fayette, mom of Grace and Luke who became a dear friend. I spent a great deal of time getting to know Jenny and her family when I became the nanny for her two amazing children a couple years ago. I was handed the job from a friend in New York as she packed her bags and left the city for a new adventure and home in Colorado. 

I knew a little about Jenny before I met her and her family, but not much—most of my information had come from her spotlight during Sugarplumgate a few years prior. She spoke on Oprah and The Today Show after she'd been called "fat" by a New York Times dance critic following opening night of the Nutcracker. There was an outcry of support from the masses, and she made a few television appearances regarding the topic. She spoke in every interview with such grace and poise, especially considering she'd been very outspoken about her past eating disorders. 

Despite the spotlight (because of a successful ballet career, not just this one incident!), from the first time I met her, her graciousness, warmth, and radiance shone bright. Her kindness was evident in every word she spoke. I'd never met anyone quite like her—her genuine smile, her warm words (both of which are a rare find for someone who's been living in New York for over twenty five years), and her constant affirmation were so welcoming. After I began keeping her kids, I realized every bit of that warmth and kindness was real. It was who she was on the inside, not who she portrayed to the world to be. 

The longer I've known her, the more I've found something to be true. She's an extraordinary woman who has been given much talent, grace, and beauty, but she has given back even more. 

Knowing her as a friend has been such a gift to me. What I naively didn't realize—until I witnessed her farewell performance last Sunday—was that her life, her artistry, and her dance have been a gift to thousands of other people as well. She's inspired everyone: the aspiring dancer, the person struggling with an eating disorder, the avid fan of the ballet, and the girl living in the Big Apple trying to make the most of the difficulties that come in this city. No doubt, the love and admiration in the audience last Sunday were palpable. If I've learned one thing about the ballet in my two years of informal understudy, it's this: Jenifer Ringer is the people's ballerina.  

I fought back tears with a lump in my throat for the duration of the performance and especially during her final bow. I'm sad never to have the chance to see her perform onstage again. But even more so, I'm sad for those who have watched her for years with such delight and will never see her perform again. While Jenny's career as a professional dancer came to a close last weekend, she accomplished something many of us may never know. She found something she loved as a very young girl, and she used that gift and talent to inspire others. 

And that is the true loss in her farewell. The ballet world has lost in Jenny's retirement what many may have never known existed: someone who pursued a career for the pure joy and beauty it provided for those experiencing it. She is a true, genuine, and lovely-to-the-core ballerina—not only because of her loveliness as a person, but because of the beauty she imparted with a deep, passionate perfection of the art itself. 

It was a glorious goodbye. Merde, Jenny, in all that is coming next for you!

[photo via New York City Ballet facebook page]

eye candy

After all the craziness this past weekend from Irene and the endless rain over the last two weeks, I could use some serious inspiration. Thank goodness for the Pinterest app for iphone! I've been using it frequently for my daily dose of beauty and creativity.

anthro display

I've been to a lot of Anthropologie displays in my day, but this was one of the best I've seen! Although, I think I say that every time... I love all the different shades of wood tone and colored drawers with the various pulls.

i finally got one!

Back in November, LA's co-blogger Holly posted about this beautiful Kate Spade book that was being published. I immediately fell in LOVE with this book, and asked LA if Holly knew where I could purchase one. Turns out...they weren't for sale! Kate Spade had done it as an internal inspiration piece. Then a couple months later LeeAnne told me the name of the printing company (Graytor Printing) and that it was located in NJ..AND that Holly had gotten one as a gift! Then set in my persistence...

Last week I decided to call the printer and see if I could persuade them into letting me buy one. I spoke with a guy who was so nice and helpful and seemed intrigued that I even knew about the book in the first place. After a quick chat, he said he would be happy to send me one and to send over my contact information to him. I was more than thrilled...and now I have one of these for my very own that I can look at every day!

Aren't these inspiration images so beautiful? They make me want to design something! Thanks LA and Holly for the lead!

i could look at this alllll day long...

Balloons! I saw this picture on my friend Kyo's blog and immediately fell in love with it. THEN! I found a birthday card that LA, Pamela and V gave me for my birthday 2 years ago (as I was going through drawers and drawers of old stuff looking for an important document, which unfortunately was never found... but at least I came out with this jewel!). Now, I really can't stop looking at it. And to top it off, I put it as the background screen on my blackberry. I wasn't kidding when I said I could, quite literally, look at this all day long.

the best chocolate cake in the world

Been there, done that and eaten a slice. Brendan and I went to a much anticipated restaurant on Saturday night (more anticipation by him than me) to see if we had finally found what the rest of the world has long been searching for: the best chocolate cake in the world. The name of the restaurant actually is The Best Chocolate Cake in the World. I was skeptical, but the cake was good. Sadly, though, it was far overshadowed by the incredible design of this tiny little hole in the wall. It was tee-niny space in SoHo where only about 10 people, max, would fit. Brendan spent the whole time eating the cake while I spent the whole time swooning over this beautiful, fabulous sofa. It was like nothing I had ever seen before, but I'm pretty sure it is now on my list to own something like this someday...

The sofa was covered in a cork fabric! I had seen fabrics like this before for commercial use when I worked at Perkins Eastman, but I had never seen any application of it. You can find different variations of the fabric, here, at Stratford Hall Textiles.

Then, as you can see in the photo below, it had a deep chocolate brown rope piping that offset the color of the "cork" so perfectly... the two neutrals especially set the stage for the main effect: the buttons in the tufting.

Every button in every tuft was different! They had one American flag button, solid color, multicolor, buttons with rhinestones...every button imaginable! It added such a nice pop of color but not so much that you were confused about the main design idea. I've been thinking about this couch all week and can't get over how amazing it was!

Then, for proof that we really did try out the cake, I took a pic of our clean plate!

This place gets two thumbs up from me: one for the pretty good dessert and another for the superb atmosphere and design.

autumn in new york city

not too shabby, huh? I snapped these pics on my walk home through Central Park yesterday afternoon. Apparently, the island of Manhattan somehow maintains its own climate which creates a difference in the weather patterns, like delaying the peak time for fall foliage. I'm not really sure what all of that means (or if it's even true...), but it's worth the wait for this!

paste art

If you like art, you will love this lady! I met Denise from Paste today at my office. She came over to bring the bulldog print and I fell in love with her stuff. She takes vintage book pages and collages them together to make these images. How brilliant! Coincidentally, I had seen an ad for her in House Beautiful this month, earmarked the page, and then totally forgot to check out her website. And who would have thought that I would get the chance to meet her? She was a lovely lady with especially lovely art!

[I chose a few of my favorites...which you can tell, are quite a few!]

perfectly imperfect

Call me crazy, but I think this easel with paint splatters and spills already on it is brilliant. Of course, Anthropologie thinks of everything. It's like buying jeans with the holes already in the knee! Except buying hole-y jeans is a little more reasonable than this beautiful pre-splattered easel for $2100...