And that’s when I saw it.

“When you ASSUME, you make an ASS out of U and ME.”


It was September.


I just recently enrolled into fashion design school in, of all places, one of the fashion meccas of the world: Milan, Italy. Was I excited?  Wouldn’t YOU be???


I had already spent a few weeks in Milan during the past summer, when I had gone to check out the school and the city.  In my 24-year-old eyes, I was a savvy traveler, having ventured around Europe by myself off and on, during the past five years. I knew by experience that finding a cheap hostel, without previous bookings, was incredibly easy. You just showed up at the door. A room was always available.


I assumed that it was always that easy.


When I arrived in Milan in September of 1985, suitcase in hand, I went back to the same hostel I had stayed at a month previously. “Sorry, all booked.”, the owner told me. I thought nothing of it. After all, Milan was a big city and there were plenty of hostels around.


There was another one down the street. “Sorry, all booked”, was the answer when I inquired about a room. Off to a third hostel, this time a few blocks away. Same answer. Hmm, this was getting to be not as nice & easy as I assumed. Did I mention? About my suitcase? I was dragging around an elephant-sized piece of baggage with me. I was too much of a snob to carry a back-pack, oh no, not me, I was way too cool to be wearing a back-pack like all those other wide-eyed naive Americans with their Eurail passes in hand. Keep in mind, I was a fashion design student, I loved clothes, and wouldn’t be caught dead trucking around a European city in comfy jeans, a plain T-shirt, and scufed up hiking boots. You can bet that I had as many as my funky outfits that I could stuff into that wheel-less suitcase of mine.


So, with my faithful yet heavy-as-a-ton-of-hippos suitcase in hand, I struggled my way to the 4th hostel. Same answer. The fifth one. C’mon on, Indre, five is your lucky number, isn’t it? Uh-oh. Not this time. This was getting to be a bit frustrating, not to mention extremely annoying.


Why was everything booked? Turns out that precisely the week of my arrival, there were several very important conventions taking place in town. Pre-Google days, there was no way I would have even known about all those conventions before arriving. Unless, of course, I had gone to a travel agency. But no, young 20-somethings didn’t go to travel agencies back then. “Europe on $10-a-day” were our bibles back then, not to be substituted by advice from travel agencies. OK, I told myself, “If there aren’t any cheap hostels with rooms, why not try my luck at an expensive hotel?” I figured that I’d have to really splurge and venture to a one-star hotel. No luck. Two stars. Three stars. Four stars. No. No. And no.


Did this mean I going to sleep out on the street that night??? I was really ready to just sit down and cry. And that’s when I spotted it.


A tiny little hotel, across the street from the train tracks, on the outskirts of town. Kind of scruffy on the outside, dark and dingy on the inside. Did I care? I didn’t even notice. I repeated my same old question. Only that this time, the answer was YES! I couldn’t believe my luck!


I booked 2 nights right there on the spot. I must have been smiling from ear to ear as I gladly handed over my passport and several 1000-lira notes (today’s equivalent of maybe $5).  I felt like crying..again…but this time in relief! Shown to my room, I settled in for the night after the exhausting hotel hunt. I woke up refreshed the next morning, vaguely remembering hearing strange moaning and groaning (or was I just dreaming?) through the paper thin walls during the night. I was much more excited about my prospects of attending my first day at fashion design school, rather  than reminisce about the trails and tribulations of my previous 24 hours.


As I went to hand in my room key for safe-keeping to the guy behind the desk, he promptly looked me up and down with a twinkle in his eye. (For your information, guys always eyed you on the street in Italy, practically undressing you with their stares. Not a comfortable feeling but, heck, I was trying to get used to it. The term “politically correct” hadn’t yet been invented. The vague notion of feminism got confused with the word feminine which basically involved wearing eyeliner à la sex pot Sofia Loren, while cooking oodles of spaghetti for your numerous family members. I was making terms with accepting such behavior as a part of daily life in otherwise amazing Italy.)


“What are you doing in Milan? Why are you alone? “, this dark haired yet decidedly sleazy hotel employee was inquiring, looking rather concerned for my well being. Back in those days, Italian women did not go out alone, much less did they travel alone. I was actually used to being asked in Italy why I wasn’t traveling with my mom & dad (no kidding!). I proudly told him I was a student. “Ah, OK, I see”, he muttered, looking vaguely amused, and let me go on my way, as I was very excited to get to school on time.


After a wonderful day trying my skills as a future famous fashion designer, I got back to my dingy hotel in the early evening and retired for the night, pretty much the same as the previous night. I woke up, vaguely remembered hearing, yet again, all sorts of strange noises coming form the room next door . “Italians really can be loud people”,  I thought to myself.


I was going to check out of the hotel that morning, as I already had the fortune to find a small apartment,  sharing with three Italian students, Giovanna, Sabrina, and Lucia. Not until I was working my way slowly through the hotel exit (don’t forget, I was still dragging that damn suitcase of mine ), that I finally noticed what I had previously overlooked during the exhausting yet utterly exhilarating past two days.


There they were. As plain as that bright sunny autumn morning. Just across the street from the hotel. Several decidedly voluptuous women, tightly clad in mini dresses with  cigarettes dangling from their bright red lips, were shooting furtive glances through their make-up-caked eyes, out onto the street as the traffic whizzed by. I turned around for one last farewell look at the hotel. And that’s when I saw it: a red light bulb hanging above the hotel’s front door.


No wonder the guy at the desk was asking me all those questions!

The quote on the very top is great but this story is just to always, always, always, keep in mind the following:

DON’T make assumptions!

(Last, but definitely not least, here is a BIG thank you to my new internet friend, Judy Yaron with her blog post WORKING GIRLS  for the mega inspiration!)

Have YOU ever made a doh-doh bird assumption in your life? Share your funny (or not-so-funny) story below!




red light bulb

Birds of Paradise

Birds of Paradise

Click on the words above for a window into a magical world.

This video enchanted me so much that I just had to share.

I sent it to my brother over the week-end.

When we were kids, (pre-home computer days), we’d call him a walking encyclopedia. Nowadays, even with wikipedia at everyone’s fingertips, my favorite Mr. Smarty Pants brother still seems to know everything about anything (even without having to resort to google, like most of us mortals).

Here’s what he wrote to me after watching the video:

“I don’t know if you’d heard this, but the current favorite evolutionary theory is that it is so easy to survive there [New Guinea], to get food, that the birds can afford to put all of their time and energy into fashion.  The idea is that if you are spending all of your time trying to survive, you won’t have energy left to look good, and so that is not a selected trait. “


Did he just say, “…time and energy go into fashion.”??

As a life-long lover of fashion, design, and beauty, this made me giggle with delight 🙂


Because of the marches all over the world yesterday to protect climate change, it is good to see nature documentaries like the one above to remind ourselves of the wonderful creatures that inhabit our earth.

We humans have already provoked the extinction of countless species, isn’t it time we did something about it?



Who made your clothes?

Fall doesn’t arrive officially until September 23rd.

Denim Wrap Top

Stores are urging you to buy lots and lots of new clothes with the change of seasons.


This video here was made almost a year ago. You may or may not have seen it.

It is only 2:44 minutes long.

Watch below:

Have you ever  thought about who  made your clothes?

Do you like to buy lots of clothes, buying cheaply,
and replacing the clothes every few months?

Or do you prefer to buy something only occasionally, looking for quality,
spending more knowing that it will last a long time?

In other words,

are you a

QUANTITY shopper?
QUALITY shopper?

Or something in-between?

(I am in-between but would prefer to be a quality-only shopper.
I admit, sometimes it is hard to resist a cute Tshirt for $5!)
The video is just to have us think about the impact of our decisions.

I am curious to hear what you have to say.
Please leave your thoughts  below!

Who really made your clothes?

I did not make this video (although I wish I had!)
It is called HANDPRINT,  from Director Mary Nighy and Producers White Lodge.
It premiered at London Fashion Week in the fall of 2013.  The film aims to raise awareness of the challenges faced by garment workers and jewelry producers around the world.
“You carry the stories of the people that make your clothes”

– Inspired by Ali Hewson


But you don’t WANT to feel sad

School has started.

Summer was so sweet .

And now it’s gone.

The work load is exploding.

You feel the panic coming on.








And the sadness.


So come. Embrace your sadness.




But you don’t WANT to feel sad.


Even if you’re not up to feeling cheerful, either.



OK, so what DO you do, when all you really feel like doing is
curling up on the sofa with a box of hankies,
with your grey sweats on (the kinda not so clean ones),
your bed head hair (the authentic kind, not the glossy Vogue editorial kind),
with a bowl (uh, make that a carton) of triple chocolate chunk chip & cream delight ice cream!!???




Go to a quiet room.

(Even popping into the bathroom for 5 minutes could do the trick if you live in a noisy house.)


Sit comfortably.

Close your eyes.

Take a deep breathe in through your nose.

Let go with a sigh.


Now envision your sadness as a teeny, tiny, helpless baby.

The baby is crying, ” WAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!”


She is all alone.

In a crib.

In a room.


You hear her crying.


So you rush to her room,

go to her side,

and pick her up gently in your arms.


You notice a beautiful antique rocking chair in the corner of the room.


With the lovely baby in your arms, you sit down in the rocking chair.


Ever so gently, you being to rock.

You soothe the baby in your arms,

“Honey baby. I’m here. It’s OK. You’re in my arms now. It’s OK. It’s OK.”, you whisper lovingly in her ear.


She kicks.

She screams.

She cries.

You let her.


You keep on whispering, “ It’s OK, I’m here. It’s OK. I love you, my baby, it’s OK. ”


You continue gently rocking her in your arms.


Her crying begins to subside.


And it stops.


She falls asleep out of sheer exhaustion.


You feel her heavy little body in your arms

and feel her heavy breathing.

You know she won’t awake now.


You carry her to her crib, lay her gently down.


You look down at her gentle face one more time and think to yourself,

“I love you, honey baby. It’s all over now. You’re OK now. Sleep.”



And you go out of the room. (No need to tip-toe, she is soundly and safely asleep).

You shut the door behind you.


You can still feel the warmth in your arms and your chest where the baby was in your arms just moments ago.


Take a deep breather in through your nose.

Let go with a sigh.

Open your eyes.








What we are doing here is acknowledge the sadness within. Yes, it is there. It is real.
You don’t need to push the sadness away. It will just come out as an ache, a pain, a gnawing ache, perhaps an illness.
Acknowledge it’s presence within you. Don’t allow others  (nor yourself!) to tell you, “Get over it. Don’t feel  that way.”

Be with your sadness, but remember, always remember:

She is just a little BABY.

She does not rule you. She may WANT to rule you.

But don’t let her.

You may feel the temptation to feed her.

But don’t.

She’s a special baby.
She doesn’t need to be fed.


YOU are the mommy in charge.


You are the goddess.


Do not hand over your power to the mere infant.

She is there. Yes. And lives within you.

And when you are happy, she’s fast asleep.

Yet when she wakes up and cries, don’t ignore her. Go to her. Hug her. Soothe her.

Be with her for a moment. But just a moment.

Love her but don’t let her rule your world.



“The more you hide your feelings, the more they show. The more you deny your feelings, the more they grow.

                                                                 – unknown




How are YOU feeling right now?

Happy? Sad?

Let us know! Leave your thoughts  in the box below.