March 21 - April 19 Aries
Aries is a fire sign, ruled by the planet Mars. You’re a mover and a shaker. Next time you’re moving and shaking in West Hollywood, I advise you to consider doing so at The Charlie at 819 N. Sweetzer. Glamorous old L.A. at its finest, just steps away from the adrenalin rush of the Sunset Strip, this brand new hotel is a collection of 14 bungalows that were once owned by Charlie Chaplin. Chaplin built this enclave of serenity in 1924 and used it as his creative center of operations. While writing his films there, he was visited by iconic screen legends like Marilyn Monroe and Marlene Dietrich. I’d like to thank the redoubtable Vanity Fair (June 2009 issue) for the tip off to this lovely hideaway. Bungalows are available by the month or daily.
April 20 - May 20 Taurus
Taurus is all about the senses, you love the pleasures of the material world. Allow me to clue you in to the sensual world of Lampe Berger - a diffusion system that improves the air quality of your home and fragrances it. Their patented technology allows extremely fine diffusion of fragrance into the room, which provides fast, long-lasting, and homogenous performance. A mere 20 minutes of diffusion lasts for several hours. The first Lampe Berger lamp was created in 1898 by pharmacy dispenser Maurice Berger, who fashioned it to purify the air in hospitals. Take the quiz on their website to determine what the best fragrance for you might be, based on air quality in your home and the kind of atmosphere you want. Find a retailer near you that sells these marvelous elixirs.
May 21 - June 20 Gemini
It’s almost birthday time for you Gemini folks. Your sign is ruled by Mercury and is what’s known as a mutable sign – which means changeable. As you march on towards the imminent anniversary of your date of birth, how about taking a look backwards utilizing our website/blog of the week, Childhood Memory Keeper. CMK is all about the cartoons, toys, TV shows, books, and music of the 1960’s, 70’s, and 80’s. And it’s a fun ride! This week CMK remembers the primetime soap opera Knots Landing, which ran an astounding 14 years on CBS from 1979 to 1993; a 1985 commercial Karl Malden did for American Express traveler’s checks (don’t leave home without them!); and Schoolhouse Rock (unpack your adjectives, why don’t you). Take a stroll down Memory Lane and explore the cartoons, commercials, and toys of your youth. Garbage Pail Kids, anyone?
June 21 - July 22 Cancer
Cancer – The Crab – ruled by the Moon. Your intensity and sensitivity play often into your modus operandi, n’est-ce pas? Therefore I bet if this week’s Poetry Jam at the White House flicked across your consciousness, you allowed yourself a smile or even a joyous huzzah! President Obama and the First Lady hosted an evening of music and poetry on Tuesday, May 12 in the East Room. Michelle Obama told the audience that she wants the White House to be a place where all voices can be heard. Performers at the event included Chicago poet Mayda del Valle, writers Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman, actor James Earl Jones, and playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda, among others. They were also joined by two finalists from HBO’s Brave New Voices national teen poetry competition: Jamaica Osorio from Team Hawai and Josh Bennett from Team Philadelphia. The event was streamed live on www.whitehouse.gov. The Brave New Voices finals are broadcast on HBO tomorrow, Sunday May 17 at 10pm. Dial up a poem every day (and tons of other great stuff) at www.poets.org.
July 23 - August 22 Leo
Our Leo of the Week is American songwriter Jimmy Webb, who wrote many, many fantastic hits for many great artists. By the Time I Get to Phoenix, Wichita Lineman, Galveston, Up Up and Away are just a few of the massively successful songs he’s penned for artists as diverse as Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Glen Campbell, and the Fifth Dimension. But I’d like to turn you on to (or reacquaint you with) MacArthur Park, which was a hit for Richard Harris in 1968. To say it was an anomaly is putting it mildly – in an era of AM radio hits that rarely broke 3 minutes, this song was over 7 minutes in length. It was originally written as part of a cantata for the rock band The Association, who rejected it. It’s been covered over fifty times by a wild group of folks ranging from Vic Damone to the Supremes to Waylon Jennings to Donna Summer (who had a huge hit with it) to the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain (and the Wu-Tang Clan reworked the lyrics on one of their albums). But the original is, I think, still the best. The glorious sadness in Harris’ voice is unmatched and flush with beauty as he sings “I recall the yellow cotton dress foaming like a wave on the ground around your knees / The birds, like tender babies in your hands / And the old men playing checkers by the trees.” Listen here. Read the lyrics here. And throw back a melancholy glass of red wine as you contemplate the sweet, green icing flowing down.
August 23 - September 22 Virgo
Virgo, your sign is an earth sign and you’re known for your practicality, intellectual acuity, and love of beauty. I know you’ll be all over The Emancipation Network, a national organization dedicated to fighting human trafficking – AKA slavery. TEN helps survivors of slavery rebuild their lives, with sustainable income, education and help reintegrating into society. They also work to prevent slavery in high risk locations such as red light and refugee communities, by creating jobs for adults and through volunteer trips and donations to our shelter partners for rescue, school fees, emergency needs and reintegration. Support their wonderful work by buying beautiful handcrafted products made by survivors of slavery at their online store, or visit their retail outlet in Cape Cod, or host a home party/community Awareness Event. Thanks Rosie A. for this tip!
September 23 - October 22 Libra
Libra, you hold us all in balance. And you love to keep it all together, am I right? There are oh so many ways we can take care of ourselves and that’s what the horoscoop is all about. Whether it’s music, film, art, or food. This week for Libra it’s all about Nutty Steph’s Vermont Granola, which I recently sampled and fell in love with. You know, once you’ve had good granola, there is no going back. Made by hand and shipped fresh, it’s available online and also at some specialty shops like Zabar’s (more, soon, please!). This addictive nutlicious blend is made with almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, and pure maple syrup (from Vermont – the home of maple syrup). Oh God, it’s so good. And Nutty Steph’s also makes trail mix, chocolate bars, and fabulous gift items (check out Tropical Intercourse – now that’s a gift). Thanks Elizabeth M. for this lead!
October 23 - November 21 Scorpio
Since Scorpios traditionally love beauty and movement, and are open to art of all types, no matter your age, I want you to know about the marvelous and talented Tina Sugandh. Tina’s debut album, TablaGirl, was released this week after three years in the making. They say everything happens when it’s supposed to and you know what, this is the perfect time for this record, now that the collective consciousness has been stoked towards Indian music by A.R. Rahman’s stunning soundtrack for Slumdog Millionaire. Tina grew up in a musical household in New Jersey after her parents moved to the States from Bombay when she was an infant. She’s been performing since the age of five. She started playing the tabla at a very young age and became an expert player on this very difficult instrument. TablaGirl is mainstream pop shot through with seductive Bollywood overtones. Check out her YouTube show, The Making of a Bollywood Popstar. The most recent webisode has her teaching Ringo Starr (yes, Ringo Starr) how to play the tabla.
November 22 - December 21 Sagittarius
Sagittarians love to stimulate their minds and one of the best ways to do that is by reading. Therefore this is the slot for Independent Bookstore of the Week. I’ve been spending a lot of time on the Upper East Side of late, and I recently was clued in to The Corner Bookstore at 93rd and Madison (1313 Madison Ave. to be exact). They’re open every day and have received all kinds of kudos for their knowledgeable, attentive staff and lovely atmosphere. They are also known for their extensive selection of children’s books. Imagine – going into a bookstore and having the people behind the counter actually know books to recommend. Like the olden days. Support this store, and all independent bookstores.
December 22 - January 19 Capricorn
Capricorn, thy name is pragmatism, order, and structure. How about smelling good and feeling great? These important items also figure in to your daily plan. We recently found the good folks at C.O.P.A. Soaps at a street fair in New York and they fit the bill nicely. C.O.P.A. stands for coconut, olive, palm and almond oils which are the key ingredients of these fabulous soaps. And they smell absolutely divine. Go with the sensory qualities of Spice, rife with warming essential oils. Or the delicious olfactory yumminess of Harvest, which mixes cinnamon, clove, and pimento berry with fresh pumpkin. Wake up with Peppermint, which is so stimulating they recommend it for adults and not children. Shop online here for one of the best gifts you can give yourself – or someone else.
January 20 - February 18 Aquarius
Aquarians love the great outdoors and now that we’re finally ensconsed in the deep heart of Spring you can take a trip to the Hudson Valley to scope Maya Lin’s new permanent installation, Storm King Wavefield, at the Storm King Art Center. The Storm King Art Center is a sculpture park which is 500 acres in size and the Lin installation covers 11 acres. You may remember Ms. Lin from her stunning and deeply felt work of art, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., which was designed while she was in graduate school at Yale. The New York Times this week called Lin’s Storm King Wavefield installation a soul-soothing place of retreat. The Storm King Art Center is located on Old Pleasant Hill Road in Mountainville, New York. More information here.
February 19 - March 20 Pisces
Our Piscean brothers and sisters are oh so spiritual and extremely creative when they want to be. That’s why your slot is all about the Bay Area’s Café Gratitude, ‘cause I know you will massively dig this great organic outpost which is now in 6 locations in and around San Francisco. Their motto comes from the learned Hippocrates: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” The menu is peppered with names like I Am Enlightened, I Am Worthy, I Am Luscious, I Am Cool (my favorite: hazelnut milk, vanilla bean, raw cacao nibs & mint milkshake), I Am Great, I Am Joy (another favorite: sweet coconut filling, almonds and vanilla in a chocolate shell), etc. etc. The food is super healthy organic and locally farmed and ranges from salads and pizza and veggie enchiladas to coffees, teas, and desserts TDF. Yeah you heard me right; organic and healthy can still be delicious! Now, if they would just open up some east coast locations, they would be (I Am) Perfect. Thanks Neha and Ritu for turning me on to this marvelous place.