Retail Spotlight Friday – ooh, ooh, that smell!

My good friend Meredith owns the gorgeous and fabulous New York floral and decor design firm, Belle Fleur. She’s a wonderful talent, awesome girl, mom and wife. And that’s not why I am featuring this today. As a logical outflow from her bouquets (a favorite of such luminaries as Anna Wintour, Salma Hayek and Gilles Mendel), home scents made sense!

If you are a candle addict, as am I, you will love her candles. Packaged beautifully and thoughtfully in aqua and chocolate croc-embossed boxes with the matches already in there (!), the candles come in gorgeous chocolate brown glass containers and there are many choices. You can buy online here, or at your nearest Anthropologie, Barney’s or other retail store.

I’m a fan of Jasmine Verbena, among others. The great thing about Belle Fleur candles is that they fill the room with scent immediately and burn cleanly. Get yourself some today!

Joyful Heart Foundation auctions on eBay. Thank you, Mariska!

So, the Joyful Heart Foundation is one of my favorite causes and they currently have items listed from Mariska Hargitay, Sharon Stone, Dana Delany, Mary Steenburgen, etc. on eBay, 100% of the proceeds going to JHF, which helps survivors of sexual assault.

Mariska, while swimming with dolphins on vacation, experienced a “breakthrough” and realized that survivors could be helped in this way, ergo, she founded Joyful Heart. Playing Detective Olivia Benson had taken (and takes) quite a toll on her and while not a survivor herself, she is trained to tend to survivors and does this at SAVI – Mt. Sinai’s survivor arm.

True story – last SAVI fundraiser, I wanted to introduce Mr. Notranting to Mariska and he was just too mesmerized. That’s how gorgeous she is in person – and just as ebullient, funny, nice and irreverent. We’re chatting away, having a cocktail and poor Mr. Notranting is trying to figure out a way to say “hi”. OMG. Poor thing skulked away to hang with Richard Belzer and his dog. Marnie finally rescued him. Mariska is his biggest celeb crush and the fact that she helps folks like us – hot damn, it doesn’t get better!

I want to thank Stacey, Shaireen, Chris & Mariska for all the kindness you’ve shown me the past few years. I hope to return the favor soon. In the meantime, help JHF out! Bid often! I totally want these Hermes shoes, but Sharon must have had dusty feet that day!

If you’re local – please support our local merchant, Le Wine Shop

Le Wine Shop has two locations – Greenwich (on East Elm Street) and Larchmont, New York (on Palmer Avenue). Le Wine Shop is a wonderful experience for anyone who wants to taste wine, buy wine, learn about wine, etc. We shop there personally and for our company. If you don’t know a Shiraz from a Sancerre, this is the place. And you won’t get any ridiculous mass-produced product here. Only the finest. It is they who convinced me that Billecart is a finer Champagne than Veuve. Please. I sound like a rapper.

My friend Etienne Touzot is the owner and he and Geraldine are terrific people. They will soon be expanding their Greenwich shop to include an upscale charcuterie, fromagerie, etc. You can also join the “Friends of Le Wine Shop” group on Facebook!

Etienne and crew are donating all of the fine wines to this year’s “Raise Your Glass – Raise Awareness” fundraiser for the Sexual Assault Crisis and Education Center, serving the communities of Lower Fairfield County.

SACEC is the first line of defense for many survivors. Cherri Murphy of Charlottesville kindly and swiftly referred me there for help when Mr. Beebe was arrested. They have individual and group therapy for victims of sexual assualt, rape, incest and the like. The counselors help victims at hospital with rape kit exams as we have only 2 dedicated S.A.N.E. nurses in the State (someone please correct me if I am wrong, but I was shocked to hear that!). I have clients who have gone there. The Central Park Jogger was helped there and continues to volunteer. SACEC is staffed by amazing professionals and is largely funded by private donations. We don’t have the lobby of breast cancer, AIDS or other huge and worthy causes, but this past fiscal year, over 8,593 people sought help at the Stamford office alone.

Please please support Le Wine Shop – do your imbibing and purchasing at a place with a conscience. And for those of your ready to pounce on me and talk about how alcohol contributes to sexual assault, good grief, we’re all adults here.

The Marnie Chronicles

Well, we are bereft as Marnie is back in the City of Angels, where she belongs with her beloved. What do two survivors talk about for 9 days? Well…it’s not as morose as one would think. There are NO reasons we should know each other, but every reason why we do. It was kismet, serendipity and just plain old meant to be. She quiets the storm in my brain – she is the lyric to my music. I’m so lucky – not for the bond we share, but she just seemed like home to me before we ever met.

We raised some money for breast cancer at Aveda, sipped pineapple ginger martinis, wore pajamas wayyy too much, laughed our asses off, went to Ava’s school a lot, hung out in the Hamptons, watched “Tori & Dean” marathons (who knew?), worked on redecorating (which led to my new design blog addiction) and yes, ate too much and exercised too little. Our little companion Ava was a constant presence – it was sad to see her go off to school each day. Of course, we talked about our cases, our families, etc. Marnie, like me, is a bit of a homebody and we live for the solace of friendship and the home arts. As she grew up here, we did a lot of tooling around The Avenue, etc. She took lots of photographs and we can’t wait to see them.

Speaking of which, I totally stalked Harvey Keitel at Pumpkintown and have a very fuzzy photo of him leaving the port-a-john. Don’t ask. It was such fun to see him there, but I was praying to God he didn’t see me with my long lens.

My EMDR notwithstanding, I had lots of panic attacks during the week and she totally helped me through them – along with Jack Black in “The Holiday” (whatever you can focus on removes said focus from the panic). I actually had to wake her up at 3 am twice. So glad she was there with the cold washcloth and the “90210 quotes. Yeah, Brandon was indeed a self-righteous ass.

Marnie is here – and jet lagged!

We are so thankful Marnie is with us. Ava in particular is losing her mind with happiness. We got to visit her school, as Ava wanted to give Marnie a tour. We also got to spend the evening at a family school function with Ava – “Family Adventure Night”, which was so great. Ava is fearless and wanted to keep up with the “big kids”.

We spent the day basically going from room to room (with Marnie’s amazing eye for design) and slowly sketching out details for what needs to be done to my abode as I’ve been a ghost for two years, living amongst piles and papers and extraneous furniture with artwork strewn in the wrong places and chairs that need to be recovered. Staple gun and fabric at the ready, I think we’ll be able to make a dent. Your living space really can soothe you, so it’s important to make it meaningful and beautiful. We’re having such a great time and the language between two friends sometimes means we don’t have to speak. She gets it; I get it. We are blessed to have her here.