Inspiration Of Style: Joining the Gypsy Caravan

Inspiration Of Style: Joining the Gypsy Caravan

Inspiration Of Motherhood: Moms’ caffeine not tied to kids’ behavior problems

Inspiration Of Motherhood: Moms’ caffeine not tied to kids’ behavior problems

Inspirational Woman Of The Day: Wendy Williams

Inspirational Woman Of The Day: Wendy Williams

Women’s News: ‘Abortion Queen’ fights to keep last abortion clinic in Mississippi open

Women’s News: ‘Abortion Queen’ fights to keep last abortion clinic in Mississippi open

A Message From The Creator

A Message From The Creator

Women’s News: ‘Abortion Queen’ fights to keep last abortion clinic in Mississippi open

A federal judge ruled that the Jackson Women’s Health Organization can stay open temporarily while it scrambles to meet stringent regulations recently passed by the state’s government.

A woman nicknamed the “Abortion Queen” is fighting to keep the doors open at the last abortion clinic in Mississippi.

On Wednesday, a federal judge ruled that Jackson Women’s Health Organization, in Jackson, Miss., can remain open for now, despite a new law mandating all clinic doctors be authorized to practice at a nearby hospital, CNN reports.

A battle has been brewing since the legislation was introduced, as Jackson is the sole clinic that provides abortions in the state of Mississippi, and most of its doctors come from other states, and don’t have admitting privileges at Mississippi hospitals. The law also mandates that all abortion providers be licensed OB/GYNs.

The clinic was allowed to remain open temporarily while its doctors applied for hospital privileges. The clinic’s owner, Diane Derziz, told CNN it has applied for doctors to be able to admit patients to seven hospitals within a 30-mile radius, including one Catholic hospital that told her “not to bother.” She fears not enough doctors will secure privileges, and the clinic will be forced to close. Derziz has also said that many of her doctors live outside Mississippi because they fear for their safety.

Most hospitals don’t allow admitting priveleges to doctors who practice outside the state.

Derziz, 58, who owns two other abortion clinics in the South, bought the Jackson clinic two years ago. A longtime abortion rights activist, Derziz became widely-known after her Birmingham clinic was bombed in 1998, killing an off-duty police officer.

Even before then, Derziz had taken to carrying a gun in her purse, following a string of attacks on clinics by abortion opponents.

“If I’m going, I’m going to take someone with me,” she told The Associated Press in 1995.

She’s now known as the “Abortion Queen,” a nickname she’s not scared to embrace.

“It doesn’t in any way injure my self-confidence,” Derziz told Bloomberg Businessweek. “I kind of like being the queen.”

But the queen is struggling as she faces her biggest battle yet, against legislator who she says are determined to get rid of abortion altogether.

“We’ve been able to be with women at a time in their lives where they are in crisis, when they need to have something done and need that support,” Derziz told CNN. “That’s why it has to be available. It has to be.”

Supporters of the legislation say they’re not out to rid Mississippi of abortions, but simply want to ensure that doctors who conduct the procedures are able to send their patients to a local hospital for a follow-up.

“The governor has made it clear that he signed the legislation for the health and safety of women,” Steve Aden, a consulting attorney to the state, told CNN. “So while he is pro-life, he also said that this is a health and safety provision. I don’t see why that’s hard to understand.”

While seven other states require doctors at abortion clinics to have hospital privileges, they don’t also require abortion providers be OB/GYNs, as Mississippi does, according to CNN.

Four other states also have only one abortion clinic.

While some Mississippi hospitals do sometimes provide abortions, they’re few, and none is licensed as an abortion facility.

A spokeswoman for the Jackson clinic says it performed 2,378 abortions in the year ending June 30, 2011.

Derziz’s clinic will remain open as U.S. District Judge Daniel Jordan reviews newly drafted rules for the abortion law, and can decide whether to make an exception for the clinic.

If he decides not to extend his temporary order, the Jackson Women’s Health Organization will have between 60 and 90 days to close, according to CNN.

Derziz says she doesn’t buy the claim that lawmakers are trying to make abortions safer for women.

“I love that it’s old white men making those statements,” she said. “This is not about safety. This is about politics, and politics do not need to be in our uterus.”


Inspirational Woman Of The Day: Wendy Williams

On the radio, Wendy Williams delved deep into her own personal life, touching difficult subjects. Her tone struck a chord with listeners, and in the summer of 2008, BET aired a trial run of The Wendy Williams Show and gave it a full-scale run the following summer. In November 2008, while waiting for the premiere of her new program, Williams was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame.

Early Life

Television and radio talk show host, author. Born July 18, 1964, in Asbury Park, New Jersey, Wendy Williams’ oversized, brash personality made her a force on the New York City FM airwaves. Williams is now the host of the BET television program, The Wendy Williams Show.

From an early age, Wendy stood out. One of three children born to Thomas and Shirley Williams, she moved with her family at the age of five from Asbury Park to the middle class community of Ocean Township, New Jersey, where she spent the rest of her childhood.

At the outset, Williams says, she “spoke too loud, too fast, and too much,” a characteristic that was in sharp contrast to her older, more bookish sister Wanda, a straight-A student who attended Tufts University at the age of 16.

Wendy, on the other hand, was not an academic wonder. She was a big girl who, by the sixth grade, already stood 5-foot 7-inches and wore a size 11 shoe. With her parents pushing her, however, Williams became involved in many extra-curricular activities. She was a girl scout, played clarinet in the marching band, and competed on her high school swimming team. When it came time to select a college, she followed in Wanda’s footsteps and relocated to Boston, where she attended Northeastern University and graduated in 1986 with a degree in communications and a minor in journalism.

Radio Deejay

There, Wendy got involved in radio. She hosted her own urban music show on the college’s radio station, WRBB, and interned for the pioneering Boston deejay, Matt Seigel of Kiss 108. In her downtime, Williams took the train to New York City to hang out at Penn Station, where she would sit by herself and listen to some of her favorite radio personalities on a portable radio.

After college, Williams bounced around as she tried to make it in radio. Her first on-air job took her to a station in St. Croix, in the Virgin Islands. Then it was on to New York, where she eventually got fired for not exactly sticking to the station’s script. “It’s been mostly, ‘Read these liners, and play the hits’ and ‘You’re saying too much’ and ‘Shut the hell up,'” Williams has said of her radio career.

After New York, Williams moved to Philadelphia, where she worked for three years before returning to Manhattan for a job at WBLS. There, Williams demonstrated that she didn’t need to spin lot of records to draw big ratings. Instead, The Wendy Williams Experience delved deep into her own personal life, touching difficult subjects like her past struggles with drug addiction, her plastic surgeries, and the hardships of trying to conceive.

“The Queen of All Media”

Modeling her style after shock-jock Howard Stern—even dubbing herself “The Queen of All Media” in homage to Stern’s title “King of All Media”—Williams proved unafraid to weigh in on the lives of her listeners, who numbered around 12 million. For those who called in, Wendy offered up advice and tough love.

But it wasn’t just with her fans that Williams exercised honesty. Her guests, too—some of them celebrity heavy-weights—were never coddled. In 2003, Willliams and Whitney Houston went at it on-air as the show’s host asked the singer about her drug history. Williams later patched things up with Houston, but made no apologies for her interview style. “My bark is worse than my bite…by being tall and outgoing, people mistake that for being overpowering, overbearing, loud and being a bully,” Williams later told The New York Times.

Williams leveraged her success on the radio into other opportunities, authoring a pair of New York Times bestsellers (Wendy’s Got the Heat and the Wendy Willliam Experience); writing a few novels; and landing on television. She hosted her own show on VH1 and, in the fall of 2007, made appearances on NBC’s Today Show to dish on the latest celebrity gossip.

The Wendy Williams Show

In the summer of 2008, her television exposure enhanced significantly with a trial run of BET’s The Wendy Williams Show. The program’s ratings motivated network executives to greenlight a full-scale run of the show the following summer. In November 2008, while waiting for the premiere of her new program, Williams was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame.

On July 13, 2009, Williams debuted her new television program. The show drew from her radio show’s format, mixing in celebrity dirt, celebrity interviews, advice to audience members. Several weeks later, on July 31, 2009, she announced her retirement from radio. On November 19, 2009, Williams’ producer announced that the show was confirmed for the 2011-12 season.

Williams lives in northern New Jersey with her husband and their son, Kevin, Jr., who was born 1999.

Inspiration Of Motherhood: Moms’ caffeine not tied to kids’ behavior problems

(Reuters) / 12 July 2012

If your kindergartner is hyperactive, there’s no reason to blame the caffeine you had during pregnancy, new research suggests.

In a study of more than 3,400 five- and six-year-olds, reported in the journal Pediatrics, researchers found no evidence that the children’s behavioral problems were related to their mothers’ caffeine intake during pregnancy.

The odds of hyperactivity, inattention or other issues at home or school were not raised among kids whose moms had downed more than 425 milligrams of caffeine per day during pregnancy. That’s roughly equivalent to the amount in three cups, or 24 ounces, of coffee a day. But that doesn’t mean caffeine is completely in the clear, according to Eva M. Loomans, of Tilburg University in the Netherlands, who led the study.

For one, the researchers did not look at any other developmental issues besides problem behavior, she told Reuters Health in an email. And only a few studies have looked at the question of whether caffeine during pregnancy affects children’s later behavior – with mixed results.

For now, Loomans suggested that pregnant women follow the advice of their doctors on caffeine intake. The issue of whether it’s OK to have some caffeine during pregnancy has often been confusing.

Over the years, some small studies suggested that caffeine may be linked to the risk of miscarriage or preterm birth. But more recently, larger studies have failed to show any heightened risk.

And in 2010, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) said that 200 milligrams of caffeine a day – about the amount in a 12-ounce cup of coffee – probably did not carry pregnancy risks.

But the question of whether mom’s caffeine could affect her child’s development in some way remains. So far, there’s little evidence that it does. Instead, much of the concern comes from animal research – which has suggested caffeine can affect fetal brain development in a way that alters behavior later in life.

Whether that’s true for humans is unknown.

In this study, prenatal caffeine did not appear to be related to “problem behavior.”

The research involved 3,439 Amsterdam children whose mothers had completed detailed questionnaires on lifestyle and other factors during pregnancy. When the children were between the ages of five and six, their moms and teachers were surveyed about behavior problems.

Overall, about five percent of kids had some type of behavioral problem, like hyperactivity or inattention. But the risk was no greater for kids whose moms downed big daily doses of caffeine.

Still, that is not a green light to have all the caffeine you want during pregnancy. Based on the ACOG advice, moderation is key. And Loomans cautioned there is still more to be learned about caffeine and kids’ long-term development.

This study could only look at the overall relationship between mothers’ self-reports of caffeine intake and their reports on their children’s behavior. That does not necessarily mean caffeine has no effects, at least for some kids, according to Loomans.


A Message From The Creator

“The most sacred place dwells within our heart, where dreams are born and secrets sleep, a mystical refuge of darkness and light, fear and conquest, adventure and discovery, challenge and transformation. Our heart speaks for our soul every moment while we are alive. Listen… as the whispering beat repeats: be…gin, be…gin, be…gin. It’s really that simple. Just begin… again.”
–Royce Addington

Inspiration Of Style: Joining the Gypsy Caravan

Published: July 11, 2012

NO more than a couple of months ago, editors at the Midtown offices of Vogue practiced a form of visual streamlining. “You would see them in Céline chokers and gold Hermès cuffs,” said Meredith Melling Burke, the magazine’s senior market editor. The look, she said, was clean-edged.

Then the other day, in a brash about-face, the same coven of tastemakers jettisoned that pared-down style for a kind of controlled anarchy.

“Candy Pratts Price had on a dozen necklaces layered in varying ways,” Ms. Burke recalled, referring to the editor at large of Another staff member “wore rings on every finger, and I had a stack of bracelets crawling up my arm.” The changeup was expressive, she said, “of a palpable shift to a more personal, chaotic look,” a festive nod to full-on Gypsy chic.

Fashion’s on-again-off-again love affair with Romany inspirations has indeed been rekindled of late, more reflective in its current incarnation of a mood or attitude, Ms. Burke suggested, than an actual trend. But trend or no, the style, increasingly prevalent in stores and on the runways, is thriving these days as the spirited outgrowth of a popular fascination with generic Gypsy culture.

Surprisingly, its flames are being fanned by Gypsies themselves, a youthful cohort intent on exploring the heritage and, often as not, complicit in spinning that heritage into a commodity. Parting a curtain on what has traditionally been an elusive society, some are posting blogs and writing memoirs, others creating musical fusions of Gypsy strings and punk or portraying willfully tarted-up versions of themselves in documentaries and reality shows.

The reception to such apparent openness has been especially keen among a handful of influential fashion designers. Frequently obsessed with outsider cultures, they are paying homage by festooning dresses in coins and chains, combining madly clashing patterns or adding flounces and fringe — the high kitsch expression of a look more commonly found on matchbooks and souvenir fans.

Among those turning their catwalks into caravans is Peter Dundas of Pucci, who showed midriff-baring flamenco tops and flounced skirts in his spring collection. You imagined a chorus of guitars and castanets in the wings.

Massimiliano Giornetti of Ferragamo also caught the fever, showing corsetlike lacing on his cocktail frocks for fall; and Joseph Altuzarra elaborated on the Gypsyish brocade breeches and toggle coats of his fall show in a resort collection highlighted by Balkan-style embroideries.

Those collections, Mr. Altuzarra acknowledged, are no more than “a very naïve interpretation of the culture,” their inspiration purely aesthetic. “You sense about the Gypsy style something very sensual, very ornate and very precious,” he said, “but also veryfree.”

A similar blitheness moved Riccardo Tisci to lavish his fall couture collection for Givenchy with opulent beading and fringe that owed a debt to the contemporary Gypsies of his native Southern Italy.

Giambattista Valli visited a Romany theme in the Gypsy-inspired wedding dress he designed for Margherita Missoni, of the Italian luxury knitwear clan. Family and friends celebrated the nuptials last month in a centuries-old park, against a backdrop of haystacks and caravans, the festivities animated by the presence of a fortune teller.

To the casual eye, Gypsy chic may seem a little déjà vu. Certainly it will to those who recall the Romany and flamenco influences in Yves Saint Laurent’s couture collections of the ’70s, in themselves opulent riffs on a cherished hippie theme.

In fashion circles, that very familiarity breeds skepticism. “Some trends come back like clockwork,” said Catherine Moellering, a trend forecaster with the Tobé Report. “It’s like when a young designer rediscovers ‘Love Story’ and Ali MacGraw, and you kind of roll your eyes.” It leads one to suspect, she said, that “Gypsy” is a catchall term for everything bohemian.

But champions of this latest resurrection point out that irreverent styling lends the look a contemporary spin. Stores like J. Crew, Zara, Maje and Bloomingdale’s offer flamboyant peasant tops, folkloric embroideries and print mashups tempered by tailored shorts and jeans.

“It’s not so much the flowing skirts that are changing the uniform,” said Stephanie Solomon, the fashion director of Bloomingdale’s. “It’s the clash of color and pattern combined with a splash of neon.”

Retailers seem to be responding to fantasy as deeply rooted as the Romany tribes. It is a realm, said Matt Salo of the Web site Gypsy Lore Society, in which “wishful thinking will transport them to some dreamland where they can be free, listening to violin music and being wooed by some tall, dark, handsome man.”

Inevitably, such visions call for a corrective, and that has been supplied to some degree by Gypsies themselves. In the book “Gypsy Boy,” a coming-of-age tale set in rural England, Mikey Walsh (a pseudonym) insists that English Gyspies are seldom poor, traveling about the countryside in shiny new vans, the women dressed in Gucci and Jimmy Choo.

Mr. Salo, whose site is intended in part to educate Gypsies about their heritage, recalls an older friend wringing his hands over compatriots who offer sensationalized glimpses into their lives for robust fees. “There will always be individuals,” he told Mr. Salo, “who will grab the money without thinking of the effect their fictions might have on the image of we Gypsies.”

Others see an upside. Angelina Roz, a London-based pop artist, thinks nothing of exploiting her background in a family of itinerant Russian Gypsy musicians to create her own fusion of Romany rock. “We are giving the world something positive,” she said, “something we as Gypsies need more people to hear about.”

In the past, younger Gypsies like Ms. Roz were largely ahistoric. But more recently, as Mr. Salo observed, they have shown increased interest in their roots. Oksana Marafioti, the author of “American Gypsy: A Memoir,” a reminiscence of growing up in Los Angeles with her family of Russian Gypsy musicians, suggested that a hobbled economy may be driving younger Gypsies to try to hold on to something solid. “We may not always have our jobs,” she said, “but our heritage is something we can always identify with.”

At times that heritage is subverted to perpetuate garish stereotypes. The reality show “My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding,” a raucous successor to the similarly titled British import, follows a band of Romanic-Americans as they bicker and brawl in mall-worthy tracksuits accented with bangles and winking constellations of crystals.

“Most people assume that we all wear Daisy Dukes and miniskirts and have bling on our bras,” said Ms. Marafioti, who lives in Los Angeles. “But you don’t see those kinds of Gypsies on the streets.” Still, for the 1.2 million viewers tuning in for the season finale this month on TLC, the program’s very tawdriness was part of the draw.

A more sobering view is offered in “Gypsy,” a fictional portrait of life in a tumbledown Romany village in Eastern Slovakia, which opened this month at the Film Forum in Manhattan. That view surfaces as well in Alen MacWeeney’s 1960s photographs of Irish Travelers, looking sullen but unbowed, shown at New York University last spring; and the ’70s portraits of Gilles Larrain, whose images of flamenco musicians highlighted a group show in Granada, Spain, last month.

Fashion for the most part looks past such unvarnished depictions, preferring to retail a colorfully romantic view. The raffishness of popular Gypsy punk bands like Gogol Bordello has not gone unnoticed. Its frontman, Eugene Hutz, a mustachioed Ukrainian-American, favors forest-hued velvet jackets and cacophonously patterned shirts, his glad rags turning heads among the fashion cognoscenti. (Gucci once dedicated a men’s wear collection to Mr. Hutz.)

And the August issue of Vogue, on newsstands later this month, has a Gypsy-inspired fashion feature with Patti Hansen and her comely brood draped in gauze and lace, layered with amulets and chains.

Street sightings are few but refreshing. Devotees of the Gypsy look include the jewelry designer Pamela Love, who finds it feminine but not treacly, as does Estrella Martinez, an assistant at Electric Feathers, a clothing line. Audrey Louise Reynolds, an artist and designer, balanced her folkloric vest and flowered blouse with multicolored tailored shorts. Her garb is “definitely a nod to the Gypsy vibe,” she said, “but in a way that feels like me.”

Cruising by taxi down Fifth Avenue the other day, Ms. Solomon of Bloomingdale’s spied a young woman in a Diane von Furstenberg Gypsy blouse and Popsicle-tangerine jeans. The look was exhilarating, the colors intense, the effect deliberately jarring. Yet, Ms. Solomon recalled, it made a kind of joyful sense.

“Aha, I thought. Now this is the new Gypsy.”


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