Improvised Life » identity If you can't hunt with a dog, hunt with a cat... Thu, 13 Nov 2014 09:20:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Annals of Hair Design: LaBelle’s Nightbird Platter-Do (with Music) Wed, 22 Oct 2014 23:00:10 +0000


The Hair Hats in our recent Annals of Hair Design reminded me of the great “platter” do, Patti LaBelle wore when performing her album Nightbirds in the 80’s. I loved watching her perform it and wondered how she got that hair to STAY.

Years later, she came to my old studio for a photo shoot and I asked her how she got her hair to make those fabulous platters. (more…)

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Primitive Modernist Body Art: Stars, Stripes, Zigzag, FAB Thu, 25 Sep 2014 21:00:08 +0000


We WISH that we could see people who had adorned themselves like this — with stars, stripes, zigzags, more —as we wander the city. Such possibilities. We envision the top one as wondrous tattoos. (more…)

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What if Your Life Were a Painting? Tue, 16 Sep 2014 08:14:08 +0000


We —our lives — are really a kind of artist’s canvas.

When we take that view, we ask ourselves:

What are we painting?

Do we paint with kindness, generosity, anger, fear, bravado, hatred, curiosity… (more…)

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Anthony Giglio Kills at the Moth! Wed, 30 Jul 2014 23:00:01 +0000

Anthony Giglio is journalist, sommelier, and author of Food & Wine Wine GuidesCocktails in New York and Mr. Boston’s Official Bartender’s Guide. He is wine blogger for Details and Improvised Life’s deviser of brilliant, simple strategies for celebrations both grand and low-key.

Of late, Anthony revealed yet another side of himself: a superb storyteller whose personal stories move and transform. He brought down the house at The Moth when he performed “Listen Here, Fancy Pants!” live in May of 2012. Due some non-public-radio-friendly language (we disagree), it has taken two years for it to be made public and accessible online. (more…)

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Do a Wheelie!! Mon, 28 Jul 2014 23:00:28 +0000

We LOVE everything that is in clear defiance of age (or any other) limiting stereotypes.

You GO girl/woman/lady/man/daddy/mister/ms/miss/mama….!

via Pinterest

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Moondog: “I’m Not Gonna Die in 4/4 Time.” Wed, 09 Jul 2014 08:39:02 +0000

Photograph by Peter Martens

The documentary The Viking of 6th Avenue, recently funded by Kickstarter, chronicles the life and musical career of legendary New York icon Moondog. As a girl, I used to see him in front of Saks Fifth Avenue and other corners around town, a blind man in full Viking regalia proudly, with seeming infinite patience, standing in the midst of the passersby of the time. Many years later I would discover his music and learn his story… (more…)

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A Portrait of One Tree with A Mighty View Mon, 09 Jun 2014 08:50:44 +0000

Michael Nichols/National Geographic

It took National Geographic photographer Michael “Nick” Nichols 32 days to photograph the President, a 3200-year-old giant sequoia in Sequoia National Park in California.

Using a rig system of ropes, Nichols and his team raised a camera in increments so that they could take shots of every part of the 247-foot-tall, 27-foot-wide giant, one of the largest trees in the world. The final image is stitched together from 126 individual photos, creating the first picture of the President captured entirely in a single frame. (Click on the image twice to embiggen and get a full measure of BIG.)

At over 3,200 years old, the President has stood witness to millennia of history. We spent quite a bit of time trying to fnd out just what exactly those 3,000 years might have entailed (more…)

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What Ancient Looks Like in Trees and People Thu, 05 Jun 2014 08:46:25 +0000

Our friend Chris Eldredge emailed us this image:

A good friend of mine is in Japan researching Bonsai culture. He sent this picture to me today. This tree is over 2000 years old. He spent some time yesterday talking to the man whose family has cared for it for 7 generations.

That same day, we came upon Anastasia Pottinger photographs of people 100+-years-old, nude. From The Dish: (more…)

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“Do What You Love” Every Day in Small Doses… Tue, 03 Jun 2014 08:49:01 +0000

Recently, Sally showed me Gordon Marino’s NY Times article, “A Life Beyond ‘Do What You Love”. The gist: the oft-repeated 21st century American mantra of following your true passions — instead of dull but reliable career paths — is misguided. 

There’s a hint of naïve entitlement to making “Do What You Love” the be-all-end-all answer to the workday blues, just as suggesting “Just move!” when a friend’s neighborhood turns dangerous comes across as simplistic and dismissive. Sometimes, you just can’t. At the heart of the matter is devaluing other forms of dedication, labor, work. Must we passionately love everything that we give attention to? Why?

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Mick Jagger Redefines Great Grandfather Stereotype Wed, 28 May 2014 23:00:07 +0000

Kevin Nixon/Classic Rock Magazine/TeamRock via Getty Images

At 70 years young, Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger recently became a great-grandfather. Assisi Jackson, Jagger’s 21-year-old granddaughter, gave birth to a baby girl a couple of weeks ago. New Yorker film critic Anthony Lane compared the latest iteration of Godzilla to Jagger: “Wrinkled and crinkled, huge in Japan, heroically reluctant to give up, and forever touring the world on a mission to make us scream.”

CRASH! There goes the stereotype of what an aged grandpa looks like.  (more…)

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The Burning House: What are Your Most Essential Objects? Thu, 22 May 2014 08:05:36 +0000

Poppie Airill

We’ve written about Foster Huntington’s love of simplicity before, but we’ve recently discovered another project of his: The Burning House. This one, makes us think about our Life Essentials by asking the question, “What would you take with you if your house was on fire?” We love that Huntington has taken this familiar question a step further by asking people to photograph, list, and submit, their essentials. (more…)

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Embrace Your Body, Change Your Life Wed, 21 May 2014 08:40:46 +0000

Taryn Brumfitt

I’m betting that one thing we all could use is a Get Out Of Jail card to help us learn how to love our bodies – just as they are. I’m also wagering you may be asking yourself, as I did: why is this woman on the right smiling? What’s wrong with her?  (more…)

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A Post-It with a Powerful Message for Mother’s + Grandmother’s Day Sun, 11 May 2014 08:08:15 +0000

I’ve always struggled with Mother’s Day. Too pink, too saccharine, too much forced happiness when the reality so often cloaks a good deal of ambivalence, sadness, and hidden anger. That all changed when I opened our Little Free Library on the front fence yesterday and discovered Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood, Marjane Satrapi’s extraordinary graphic memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. In bold black and white images she tells her story of her life from age six to fourteen during the tumultuous years that saw the overthrow of the Shah, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the horrors and destruction of families and culture during the war with Iraq. Her story, told through a child’s eyes, is packed with (more…)

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The “Let Men Wear Skirts” Movement Wed, 07 May 2014 23:00:04 +0000

Women wear pants. Let Men wear skirts.

Our friend Chris Eldredge alerted us to a fashion trend he’s noticed: Men Wearing Skirts. He said that he’s seen a number of stylishly dressed men wearing skirts lately —definitely NOT in drag. Interesting. A search took us to The Facebook page of Women Wear Pants. Let Men Wear Skirts, which features a lot of compelling examples (below).  We love its philosophy, which is curiously in line with Improvised Life: (more…)

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