I met Christine Dodd and Ryan Grace, the Co-Founders of The Hoboken Mary Southern Style Bloody Mary Mix at The Hoboken Wine House, a wonderful wine and spirits store that I've written about in these pages before. I had stopped in to ask the owner a question, and they were giving tastings of their Bloody Mary Mix. I learned how to make Bloody Mary's from some very skilled bartenders I know, and I learned their lessons well, adding my own touches to make the drink the way I love it the best. When I tasted The Hoboken Mary, I felt as if someone had taken my well-loved recipe and improved on it to the point that it was pure perfection. What they have created is so delicious that you can drink it all by itself without even adding any vodka or other spirits to it. You can garnish if you want to, but the ingredients and flavors are so well crafted that you don't even need to. You can cook with it, add it to cold soups, use it as a dip for seafood, or as the base for ceviche, and there are recipes on their website to help your creative ideas. With just enough spice and a little added kick, The Hoboken Mary is simply delightful. Christine Dodd and Ryan Grace have not only created a perfect product, but the name and branding are perfectly fun and joyful too. In a tag line on their press release, they've written, "The Hoboken Mary is more than just a Bloody Mary mix. She's a girl that's Fun, Classy, and Always Sassy! The Hoboken Mary loves to mingle - from Brunch dates to tailgates, she's the girl you can take anywhere - even to meet the parents." And to top it off, The Hoboken Mary is all natural and low sodium too, so it's deliciously healthy fun that you can enjoy any time and anywhere. Ask for it at your favorite store, and if they don't carry it yet, ask them to invite The Hoboken Mary to their next party. You'll all be glad you did.
A friend was talking to me recently about the concept of mind mapping, and though I hadn't specifically learned about it using those words, when he described it to me, I knew that I'd had the experience before in some of the trainings that I've done in community development. It's a way to brainstorm and a way to help ourselves think, both individually and collectively as a group, and if both free flowing and guided in a structured way, it can open our minds to new ideas and strengthen our ability to see the connections that help us get from here to there.
I met Quentin Williamston at 107 Bowers Gallery & ArtSpace where he has his work in a group show, and on one of the afternoons that the gallery was open to visitors, I sat down with him to talk and find out more about his work and his inspirations. Our conversation lasted much longer than I had expected, and when I started to think about how I would describe Quentin, the idea of mind mapping came into my mind. As we talked that afternoon, we discussed both of our histories and experiences and inspirations, and it was a free flowing discussion that moved through hopes and dreams and goals while also being structured within the guidelines of a conversation that focused on art and creativity. When I walked out the door into the golden afternoon I felt somehow lighter, the enthusiasm and creative energy that Quentin has touched something in my sometimes tired and heavy feeling mind that brought new life again and reminded me of why I love what I love and why I do what I do and inspired me to keep on doing it. Art really is life - creativity in all forms renews us. I learned just a small amount about Quentin that afternoon because we talked so much about art, but that small amount was the pure gold that is distilled by the alchemist to make a treasure. Later when I asked Quentin for some information about his training and life, he sent me the following words:
"I am a current
student/teaching artist from Clinton Hill Brooklyn, NY. I currently
attend Hampton University pursuing a masters degree in Architecture. As a
teaching artist, I design daytime lessons using artistic and universal
inspiration. I am consistently inspired by my studious students
encouraging ways to maximize ways of self expression. My hobbies include
exercise, model making, painting and abstract design. I strive to use my
architectural background to help people in third world countries using
recyclable material in turn creating sustainable construction. My long
term goal is to help the overall ecosystem using effective and
There's so much that's so good that's packaged up in that description, that as it unfolds I'm sure it will continue to be astonishing. In the meantime I'm blessed to have been inspired by my glimpses into this beautiful mind that sees beauty in the world around him and strives to bring it to others.
I've known about the beautiful Diana Foxwell for much longer than I've known her. When I lived in Manhattan, her store Revival Vintage Boutique was a well known place for destination shopping - everyone who loved vintage shopped there, even people from other cities and towns and far off places whenever they were in New York. She sold at the Brooklyn Flea too, and created and curated beautiful vintage furnishings along with the beautiful clothing she lovingly found and restored and refurbished. Lots of people love vintage, but there are those few who know how to beautifully curate and style and design, and Diana Foxwell is one of them.
When people started telling me about a store called Revival Vintage Boutique in Hoboken, I wondered if it might possibly be the same person I'd known about all of those years in Manhattan, but I thought it was too good to be true. But one day when I walked in the door, I had that same feeling - the feeling you get when you know the owner is someone who loves what they do and does everything with a passion that makes the very doors and windows somehow gleam brighter. Her store is divine, and Diana Foxwell is a princess - I'd say she was a queen, but although she's been in the business for a long time, she seems much too young for that title. Her youthful exuberance and sweetness mixed with enthusiasm are infectious - the day that we finally met I felt like I could have stayed in her store all day. Her Hoboken store is around the block from Paul Fitzgerald's store Urban Consign & Design, part of the same artist and craftsmen and craftswomen loft building that I've written and posted about when I've posted about Paul and his store before. I met Diana with an introduction from James Barricella, the wonderful craftsman who creates the beautiful lighting designs and tables and mirrors and other home furnishings that are part of the fabric of Urban Consign & Design. James had such high praises for Diana, and James is such a wonderful person and creates such beautiful things that good words from him I know I can trust. And Diana was all that and more - a true pleasure to meet and a creative spirit that inspires, with a store full of treasures and beautiful design. Diana is so lovely and fun and she made me such lovely tea on the afternoon we met, that I thought she must have a team of hard working people wiring her lamps and building and designing her space, but she does it all herself, gutting and renovating and wiring and cleaning, all with a smile on her face even in the most difficult of weather. It's really remarkable how she creates beauty around her wherever she goes.
Revival Vintage Boutique
Curated And Lovingly Restored By The Beautiful Diana Foxwell