Sunday, February 26, 2012

Whirlwind Weekend

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While usually I love to be busy because it makes the time go by faster, this weekend was so much fun I wished I could slow everything down a little to better savor the memorable moments. Friday night I joined new friends, Gary and Joanne, for a delightful dinner in their wonderful home in theLutherville section of Baltimore County. Gary fired up a deluxegas barbecue right outside their kitchen door and treated us to wonderfullyseasoned rib eye steaks, colossal shrimp flavored with an unbeatable marinade, and perfectly seasoned vegetables, all prepared over anopen flame. The result was a memorable evening meal served with delightful conversation and fine wine. It doesn't get any better than that.

But it did! On Saturday I was surprised by a visit from my best friend, Kari, and her husband, Stuart, who flew into Baltimore from Dallas at noon. Both have business meetings on Monday in the Washington D.C. area, so coming in a bit early allowed them time to visit Stuart's daughter, Maisy, who is studying economics on a full scholarship at Georgetown University, and to see for the first time the walk-in closet I designed and installed in a spare bedroom last summer (click this link tosee my web album of the closet's construction
https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/sredir?uname=lynelltobler&target=ALBUM&id=5650471488655592289&authkey=Gv1sRgCIqJqYaFxveZMg&feat=email). We had a fabulous lunch together at the renownBaltimore cafe Miss Shirley's (http://www.missshirleyscom/) before they bid me adieu and headed south to the District of Columbia.

For both occasions I wore HUE leggings with mixed-metal stud detailing from Macy's and a matching tunic which were gifts from Kari's mother, Joyce, last May. I added a pair of mixed-metal drop earrings, a mixed-metal beaded bracelet that was also a gift from Kari's mother, and a mixed-metal bracelet-watch from CountryDoor.com. With a frothy black, gold and silver Dea Dread in my hair from Thea Osato (http://deadreads.etsy.com/), and short black booties with little bows and scallop-edge trim by Lower East Side, I needed only a simple wrap by Elements for Macy's to ward of the February chill and make my look chic and comfortable.

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Me with Phil at his 60th birthday bash
Saturday night I attended a surprise birthday party for my friend, Phil, whose daughters, Jenny and Laura, put on a wonderful gala at the S & J Crab Ranch bar in Towson, Maryland (http://facebook.com/s&jcrabranch). The birthday bash boasted a cowboy theme, so I pulled on a vintage denim jumpsuit by Champagne West with a triple-buckled stretchy belt from The Limited Too, and some Brazilian-made western styled boots by Willie fromDSW. Needing a cowboy hat to complete my look,I called uponmy dear friend, Trina, who owns the stable where I keep my horse, Chubby. Trina shows horses competitively, so she had the perfect black felt hat by Western Express, Inc. for me to borrow. I got tons of complements on my outfit and the hat, and a wonderful time was had by all.

Sunday found me at the American Craft Council's annual show at the Baltimore Convention Center, the largest juried craft show in the nation. Perusing 650 booths featuring everything from ceramics, blown glass, fine jewelry, hand hewn wood furniture and metal sculptures to one-of-a-kind textiles, clothing and hats, I spent the day in sublime sensory overload.
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At one booth in particular, though, I was stopped in my tracks by an exquisite floor-length gown gracing a mannequin. I can’t be blamed if red is my favorite color. It didn’t matter that the dress, custom-designed for Esperanza Spaulding to wear to tonight’s Academy Awards ceremony, sported a $4,500.00 price tag. I had to try it on. The designer, the elegant and beautiful Selma Karaca from Turkey (http://selmakaraca.com/), was only too happy to wrestle the dress off the mannequin and on to me. Ms. Karaca explained that Esperanza had ultimately declined to wear the dress because she felt "lost" in it. Poor Esperanza. She didn’t know what she was missing.
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Esperanza Spaulding
Ms. Karaca was blown away by how ravishing her dress looked on me and asked me to walk the floor of the crafts show showing off the 35-pound confection. So I did a little strutting for the designer in front of her booth while she snapped pictures with my camera, and suddenly the crafts show stood still. A crowd gathered, and several people asked if they could take pictures, too. I overheard people remark at how much better the dress looked on me than on the mannequin, at how I must be a professional model because I certainly seemed to know how to "walk the walk",how beautiful I was, and how I had the "perfect body" for that dress. I was stunned at all the attention.
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A fashion designer for the past twelve years who makes her home in Brooklyn, New York, Ms. Karaca said her inspiration for the gown sprung from her fascination with the inner workings of the human body; the thick ropes of red fabric are meant to evoke tendons and muscles and blood coursing through veins. All I knew was that the dress took me to somewhere I had never been before – a lofty place where fantasy and reality are blurred. I felt more beautiful in that moment than I think I ever have in my life. At 55 years old. At a crafts show in Baltimore. It was a happy, and very willing, suspension of disbelief.

In due time the designer helped me take the dress off and I returned to being ordinary Lynell. But despite the relative mediocrity of my day-to-day life, I will always have these pictures and a memory of what it feels like to float on cloud nine in the adulation of strangers. I see now what drives the desire to be a "celebrity". It can be intoxicating. What a weekend!
Cheers,