Baby Found…Aided by Guardian Angel

Here is the embroidered pillow I unwittingly bought in Spain not knowing the pillow was earmarked for the then unborn precious Alexandre Elliot Soures. My assignment allow self to be led unknowingly to ‘magic’ pillow and bring back to America-then…find the once and future deserving infant; (truth be told) difficult task seeing my friends were all without babiesIMG_7227C. Below, the rightful owner lounging soulfully with his guardian angel pillow.

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Alexander reserves his charismatic poses for his sheep chair. For whatever his reasons, he becomes a performer in this chair.

Rock On To Glastonbury Festival

If you’re considering attending Glastonbury, make sure you’ve got your ‘hippie look down pat; after all this is the UK’s biggest music festival and you’ve got to look sensational in a throw away manner. I’ve put together a look highlighting the appropriate manner of unconcerned attitude with some rock and roll flair thrown in. Rock on!Claudia_9990 Claudia_9981I found this Turnball & Asser tuxedo shirt at the 26 Street flea market in New York City. The fabric is made of the finest cotton, extremely delicate yet durable. The jeans are by Ferre. The faux fur vest I picked up in a vintage shop on LaBrea Ave, L.A. The hat from a costume shop. I’m selling the jeans, if you’re interested, let me know. Thanks.

Photo: Donna DeMari        Styling & Make-up: Cecille


The Film Festival That Could.

Mahen Bonetti was in a hotel room in Geneva one Christmas holiday nearly two decades ago. The television set was on in the background when the realization dawned on her that the  media’s depiction of the African continent never varied, predictable gloom and doom represented by images of war, death, famine and diseases. Her thoughts instantly flashed to her daughter who was then a toddler. There was no way she could leave this world without insuring that her daughter was aware of the diversity and creative ingenuity of the Continent’s artist.  Her choice for visibility and diversity was through the power of cinema, and so the African Film Festival (NYAFF) was born.IMG_4462 IMG_4442

The African Film Festival is one of the most exciting film festival in New York City. Without great fanfare, the filmmakers create some of the most compelling cinema using an ancient and universal method…the art of story telling. And what glorious stories they have to tell!

The festival opens this week May 7th at Lincoln Center. The upcoming roster, is impressive. The festival opens with Kenneth Gyang, Confusion Na Wa, followed by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie acclaimed book, Half of a Yellow Sun adapted by Biyi Bandele, , Med Hondo, Sarraounia. The diversity of talent is awesome. Check out the series itinerary.

The NYAFF is co-presented with the Film Society of Lincoln Center. NYAFF screenings will take place at the Walter Reade Theater. Tickets are available on line. Run don’t walk. IMG_4333Below is a photo of the formidable, lovely, funny and ‘mountain mover,’ Mahen Bontetti who cold called Lincoln Center many moons ago to propose a vision;  they listened and said Yes.

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The Things I Do For Art #2

My wonderfully talented Art photographer friend Lorenzo Poccianti and I worked on recreating this commissioned Isabel de Portuga painting for the sitter in the photo.















I made everything from scratch. The rich, lush taffeta fabric I found in the garment district.The crisp texture of the material allowed me to arrange the folds exactly as in the photo above. From a red panty hose I was able to create the arm covering. The rose garland was strung together from flowers I purchased at the flower market on W 28th Street. We shot the photo in the sitter’s humongous penthouse apt on Beekman Place in New York. My gifted friend  Cathy Maquire did an awesome job recreating the gown from the portrait by painter Francisco de Zurbaran .

Incidentally while I was in Madrid at the the Museo del Prado, I saw the painting and immediately took a photo.



Photo: Lorenzo Poccianti    Styling: Cecille Swayneson

The Princess Within

Step into Spring with a Roar – Cecille Swayneson

Ladies don’t forget that accessories can make a roaring difference in establishing your style, especially if two pieces are playing off each other as demonstrated by the model wearing monochromatic colors on her head and face. A unique red velvet headpiece oozes sophistication, while beautifully made sun glasses emphasize a contemporary point of view. The essence of the look is High Style! Reminiscent of Grace Kelly but with boldness, a cool vibe and a sense of grace.  Carry on.94BS9944

Photo: Noel Sutherland - Sunglasses: Alain Mikli - Styling & Grooming: Cecille Swayneson


Coconut Good For Your Daughter

When I was a little girl growing up in Jamaica, we had a coconut water man who pushed his cart through the blazing heat of the Caribbean sun, singing in a loud rhythmic tone, “Coconut water, good fi yu daughter, mek yu big and strong like a lion, coconuuuut wateeeer!” I loved that song. The image of myself, big and strong like a lion was vivid and thrilling. Interestingly enough it was my father who planted the seed that coconuts were potently good, religiously purchasing from the push cart man, singing praises; ode to the coconut. Most likely my father got a kick out of the dramatic manner in which this man sold his coconuts. These encounters were met with enthusiasm and joy. My father smiled readily then. The ‘twinkling of eyes’ kind of a smile.

The coconut water man had a long, sharp wicked looking machete which he wielded like a pirate entering into battle. My breath completely blocked (always) as he casually flung the coconut in the air, gracefully catching, never missing, long fingers, claw-like, served as a pedestal, supporting the smooth green coconut, cleanly lopping off the top, without stumps of bloody fingers falling to the ground; releasing water from within, flouncing over the side. It was only then my breathing resumed; graciously accepting my refreshingly cool health inducing coconut water.

Now as a grown woman, I still have regular interactions with the coconut albeit not as dramatic as my childhood encounters. This time around the coconut is in oil form,  serving as my premier beauty staple. One 16 oz. bottle Organic Virgin Coconut Oil from Trader Joe’s fulfills a slew of beauty rituals as a facial wash and makeup remover,  just a dab of  oil on a warm wash cloth, apply to skin by gently moving the cloth in a circular motion, rinse cloth with hot/warm water, wipe face again and presto. You can also use rose water or witch hazel toner, if so inclined. The after effect is awesome. Your skin glows and appears brighter. Bright! The coconut oil acts as amazing facial moisturizer. Yes, face. No clogging of pores. No breakouts. Supple and moist. Great under makeup and luminous on skin as a body moisturizer. No long lasting intrusive fragrance. Love.


Also awesome as an intense hair conditioning or hair sheen.  Excellent on salads, smoothies, toast and cooking. All for $10 or thereabouts. Nature’s gift. Coconut…good fi you daughter.

If Music Be The Food Of Life, Play On.

Cecille Swayneson

I took myself on a date for my birthday to see the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. My goodness, hands down one of the best concerts I have attended. The all Strauss program was beyond! Thrilling. Der Rosenkavalier was thunderously dramatic, dreamy and visual. Struss threw everything and the kitchen sink into this waltz and pulled it off gloriously, like the true musical magician he was. Easy to imagine oneself dancing to the gorgeous music in a cinematic manner which I did while listening, I also felt compelled to run home to watch old iconic black and white movies with grand musical orchestration. -Still don’t understand how Struss was not included in the soundtrack of Fantasia.

Stanley Kubric made up for that oversight by featuring  sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30 in 2001 Space Odessy.  Sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30 is a huge, operatic, tempestuous composition divided into 9 sections-each section is named after selected chapters from Nietzsche’s book, Thus Spake Zarathustra. No chance of dozing off during the performance- a continueos flow of giddy energy.  I felt as if my senses were in a of state of gratitude (to me) for gifting it with such pleasure. “If music be the food of life play on,”my soul whispered.IMG_4242

Carnegie Hall is awesome. If you live in NYC and haven’t attended a concert you owe it to yourself to take advantage of this legendary concert hall.The admission price is exceedingly affordable. The roster of talent stellar. View is amazing anywhere in the house so not worry about the handful of seats which are labeled ‘obscured’-but do take note if ‘compromised’ leg room is mentioned and you have long legs.

Guardian Angel Don’t Leave me Alone At Night or Day.”

Cecille Swayneson

“This pillow is saying something about guardian angels but what I don’t know,” I said to the shop assistant. “I’m sorry, I don’t speak English,” was her response. My luck…to be in a shop in Spain with someone who doesn’t speak English and my bad that I am unable to communicate in Spanish.

I happened upon the shop while walking with my dear friend Willem in one of the most elegant and comforting towns in Spain,Toledo. As we made our way up the narrow cobblestone street, I was compelled to stop alongside a beautiful shop, turning full on to view the window display. The storefront was laden with beautiful knitted and embroidered children’s clothes and pillows. Turning to Willem, “If you don’t mind, I’m going in.”

Entering the warmly lit shop, I immersed myself with the beautifully crafted merchandise. Truly, each item was exquisitely made. “I wished I had friends with babies,” I thought, picking up the blue and white pillow which had beckoned to me, turning it over and over in my hands. Something was enticing about the composition. There was also a pink version. “Which to get?”


Back in New York City I tossed the package in a corner while unpacking my travel bag. Opening the bag a few days later I thought, “Okay…so now what?” Then carefully placed the pillow in my closet.

Weeks later whilst in the throes of a conversation with one of my favorite people in the world, Lisa Ann Smith, she mentioned, “there are lots of changes going on and I have some pretty exciting news.” “Oh, you’re having a baby,” I replied.

“Wait! How did you know?”

“Well-while I was in…..”

“Hold on a second, hold on, I’m going to put you on speaker phone and get Mike because I know this is going to be good,” she said. I recounted the pillow story. Well, don’t you want to know the gender she asked “Oh, I already know. It’s a boy!”

She was taken aback and so was I. In retrospect, this seemingly non significant interest in a specialty shop reminded me how deeply connected we innately are, even when we feel unconnected, alone and maybe out of rhythm with life. An event such as this, jog us back to reality. Yes, we are guided daily to make choices, some which turn out to be “spot on” kinda like magic. Paying attention, recognizing mysterious movements, before or after: requesting of our guides; “Guardian Angel don’t leave me alone at night or day.”

I’m kinda of curious to see if you can recall an event which made you sit up and take notice. An occurrence with the supernatural forces which surrounds us. If you’re game, I would love to hear your experience, please share with us. It would be fun to compile these incidents and post for others to remember that there is  much more to us than meets the eyes and we have a guide which dwells within.

Pillow:Bordados Velasco Alfonso XEL Sabio, 4 Telef: 925-224-866 TOLEDO-Photo: Cecille

Fasting For The Love of You

IMG_5035I’m supporting my cousin’s first attempt at fasting by accompanying her along the way. She has a litany of health issues, nothing off the chart to my knowledge but nevertheless, she’s not in fine form. She had an amazing, jaw dropping body but shoved her upkeep aside to focus on husband and kids. Like most, processed food filled with additives were the preferred dietary choice with not much thought given to the effect on body and spirit. Although not terribly overweight, maybe 20-30 lbs over, she knows she has neglected herself -She’s also aware that she can feel and look better- by committing to honoring and loving self. A valentine to self, so to speak. Interestingly enough, last night she mentioned the Master Cleanse; apparently I had sent her the link 2010 but only recently (yesterday) looked at it.

Our goal is a three day fast using a mixture of lemon, cayenne, maple and water aka the Master Cleanse.


2 Tablespoons lemon or lime juice
2 Tablespoons genuine maple syrup
1/10 Teaspoon cayenne pepper to taste
8 oz water
Combine the juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper with water. Shake, stir, drink. I freeze 1.5 liter of the lemonade (50.7Fl OZ), which I carry in my bag upon leaving my house.DSC_1047

I suggest reading the pamphlet posted on line by the inventor of the cleanse, Stanley Burroughs to better understand the cleanse and also to get into the frame of mind for fasting. Below are some of the benefits of the cleanse.

  • Dissolve and eliminate toxins.
  • Clean kidneys and digestive system.
  • Purify the glands/cells throughout body.
  • Eliminate waste and hardened material in joints and muscles.
  • Maintain youth-Gorgeous skin.
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Cayenne breaks up mucus and increases warmth by building the blood for an additional lift. Also adds many of the B and C vitamins. Lemon acts as a loosening and cleansing agent with important building factors. The combo of the lemon and maple syrup working together creates results such as: 49% potassium strengthens and energizes the heart, stimulates and builds the kidneys and adrenal glands.

  • The natural iron, copper, calcium, carbon, and hydrogen found in the sweetening supplies more building and cleansing material. This is a perfect combination for cleansing, eliminating, healing, and building. Supplements are not needed during the diet and may interfere with its cleansing action.