Sunday, November 24, 2019

An Abundant Life - Pure Loveliness

If you love pearls or know someone who does, there is a treasure chest hideaway in Manhattan where you can browse and shop to your heart's content for some of the rarest and loveliest pearls in the world. Pearl Rack by Kaylee Collection Inc. can be found at the outdoor markets on 6th Avenue between 44th and 45th Streets and on the corner of 6th Avenue and 37th Street. There is also a website for anyone who is not in the area,, where you can find so many beautiful styles and designs and types of pearls that you may just find yourself wanting to take a trip to Manhattan to see them all for yourself.

Pearls are one of the world's loveliest of natural creations. The first time I started to study them I was on a trip to Hawaii to visit a friend, and when I asked what things I should look for when I was there, in addition to the stunning beaches, delicious cuisine, fresh guavas and mangos and roadside stands with manapua, I discovered Kona Coffee, Macadamia Nuts and Pearls. Everything I ate and experienced on that trip I fell in love with, and pearls became something that I studied and searched for and wished for until one day I discovered that right in the heart of New York City there was a store that carried so many different varieties and so many different styles, and so much beautiful jewelry designed and made with pearls that I could literally keep looking and returning at different times and always find something new to ask and learn about. And not only could I see and touch these beautiful treasures, I could afford them too, because Stacey Long, the owner of Pearl Rack by Kaylee Collection Inc. travels regularly to Hong Kong and other areas to find the most beautiful pearls of the best quality and the best price, and she creates gorgeous earrings, bracelets, necklaces and rings out of them.

If you go to the website for Pearl Rack, you'll find a whole section full of educational articles about pearls and their care and their history. You'll also find a description of the company's history and vision. Stacey and her mother began years ago selling pearl jewelry on Canal Street that they made in their kitchens, and over time as Stacey realized how many women loved to buy pearl jewelry who might not be able to afford it, as her company grew she continued making products that were affordable while still being of the highest quality. I know myself from visiting her often that her prices, designs and quality of the pearls she carries are excellent, and she herself is so knowledgeable that you can also learn about pearls and their history while you are browsing in the store.

A visit to Pearl Rack is not just a shopping adventure, but it opens the door onto another world and way of life. As you walk by the outdoor market where Stacey Long has her cozy shop, if you stop by to say hello, you'll not only get a beautiful smile and a warm welcome, but you might just find yourself a precious gift of pure loveliness.

Pearl Rack by Kaylee Collection Inc.
A Few Of The Gorgeous Styles And Types Of Pearls Available
Photographs Courtesy Of The Website


Jannie Susan

Sunday, November 17, 2019

An Abundant Life - Glorious Food

The first time I heard about Whealth was at the opening celebration for the Kobra David Bowie mural "Ziggy Stardust" that had been painted on a rooftop wall at Cast Iron Lofts. It had been a gloriously golden autumn afternoon, with illustrious speakers and guests at a rooftop party followed by another party in the downstairs artspace where one of the larger group shows for JCAST, the Jersey City Art and Studio Tour, was being held. The passed hors d'oeuvres were so delicious that I asked one of the servers where they came from, and he said, "Whealth," and handed me a business card. When he first said the name, before I read the card, I of course thought that he had said Wealth, and it seemed a fitting name for that glorious day and that glorious art and that glorious food on that glorious rooftop. But of course it was Whealth which was even better, especially for this foodie who also teaches nutrition and health, and so I followed up by email a few days later to see if I could talk to the people involved in creating this wonderful company. At the time I wasn't able to meet with anyone because they were in a transition period of moving into a new space, and then one day I received a direct message through Instagram from someone who I thought was the person I had met that day on the rooftop. The person who messaged me said that they had just come across my blog and that now that the company was in a new space they wanted to invite me to breakfast to try it out. We went back and forth a few times and the breakfast never happened, and as I know that one thing can come up and then another, I waited to see when the timing would finally be right.

On a very cold night last winter, I attended an evening hosted by Ben Yurcisin, the Founder of the Jersey City Tech Meetup, that was a panel discussion with and for people who worked in the food service industry and were small business owners with restaurants and food service businesses. I knew several of the people on the panel, and the Moderator and organizer of the group was none other than the Owner and Founder of Whealth, Chef David Trotta. I had never met him before, but afterward when I introduced myself, he told me that he was the one who had originally sent me that direct message through Instagram and that after that he had gone into another transition phase and had finally ended up in the ground floor of the building we were in. I had noticed his signs on the sidewalk when I walked by, and had thought it was the same person, but I also thought it might be a second location or an outpost that served only some menu items as will sometimes happen with successful restaurants, but it was his new restaurant location and a contact place for the catering he does throughout the area. We arranged that I would stop by one day and then my schedule became very busy, and Chef Trotta's always is, until finally one afternoon I decided to walk in the door when I was on my way walking by.

I'd had no idea what to expect because the building it is in is a new construction high rise, but Whealth is such a lovely hideaway that it feels like a peaceful haven. Though it is in the back of the building with no direct sunlight, somehow it feels light and airy, with plants and an open kitchen and comfortable wood tables and seating. And the food of course is fresh and wholesome, delicious in the way that it can be when it's made by an excellent Chef who loves creating food for people to take time over and enjoy, food that nourishes the soul and feeds every sense. As I started to follow Chef Trotta's adventures on Instagram I saw that he often travels to farms upstate and far into the country to collect the best and at times most unique produce he can find. Heirloom varietals and different types of plants and vegetables than the usual run of the mill shapes and colors and sizes are the bounty of his harvest, and the things he delights in sharing with others. And Chef Trotta himself is a treasure trove of knowledge and expertise as well as being a delightful person to talk to. He's open-hearted, funny and fun, hard working and kind, and you can tell that not only from meeting him as he prepares food for the guests of Whealth, but also from the way that his staff work together and create an environment of friendly warmth for everyone who walks in the door, whether for a meal, a snack or just a cup of coffee.

Having a place like Whealth to stop by and enjoy makes for a lovely part of life in any community. In addition to the restaurant offerings and catering that is available, there are also occasional special dinners and weekly meal plans for home delivery. And to have a Chef like David Trotta creating the menu and selecting the specialty items on it with loving care means that not only will we have glorious food, we'll feel the health and the wealth of the abundance that goes along with it.

615 Pavonia Avenue
Jersey City, New Jersey


Photographs Courtesy Of The Whealth Website

A Taste Of Whealth At Home


Photograph Courtesy Of The Whealth Website


Jannie Susan

Sunday, November 10, 2019

An Abundant Life - Truth And Beauty

I met Jacqueline Firmo Falconi on Instagram before we met in person, and over time I saw her work in various shows and online, and I discovered that we knew some of the same people, so in a way I felt like I knew her, and when I did finally meet her, it felt as if we had known each other personally for a while. Her work is diverse, although it seems as I look at it now to select a few images for this blog that there is a similar style running through each of her subjects, as the Landscapes, Florals, Portraits, Still Life, and what is listed on her website at "Other Work" all seem to bring together the feelings of the colorful life and beauty of people and surroundings and objects with at times an almost whimsical tone of joy and celebration. Riotous colors explode into life on the page or quietly reflect off of the canvas, a blue veil brings a precious beauty to a woman's face as a bouquet of flowers brings a quiet joy to the stark and glistening black of a grand piano.

Born in Paris, Jacqueline has traveled all over the world, and in her paintings she seeks to share the images that have been brought into her own experiences during her travels. As she works with her oils to create richly hued tones and deeply defined imagery, the subjects of her musings come to life for us in a way that brings us into their world. From her early education at the Sorbonne to her studies at the National Academy of Fine Arts in Manhattan, she has refined her work while still maintaining a sense of its exuberant life. By exploring various subjects and imagery, she captures a sense of the unique humanity of the people she paints, while helping us discover the innate life in a cityscape, a body of water, or a blossoming cherry tree. Her vision is one that brings a clear-sighted truth to her paintings as she works with palate knife and brush to create textures and layers and bring levels of darkness and light to play off of each other. Glittering lights reflect off water as the still, dark  mountains rise above and around them, or a sunset glows golden through the reflections of blue sky and ocean on a sandy subtropical beach. As I viewed her work, the often-quoted line from Keats' poem "Ode On A Grecian Urn" came to mind, "Beauty is truth, truth beauty,-- that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know." Within these beautiful moments caught in time, light and truth shine out, and within the colors and layers and textures we can see more deeply and be renewed.

A Selection Of Images
From The Vision Of
Jacqueline Firmo Falconi
Photographs Courtesy Of The Artist's Website


Still Life

Cherry Blossom

Passerelle Saint Georges, Lyon, France

Face Maroon



Esplosione Con Bacche Rosse

Gigli Rosa

Il Vaso Giallo

Sunset In Florida

Italian Landscape By Night

Raggio Di Sole

Bambina Africana In Rosa


Tiger Bathing

A Few Images Of New Work
Photographs Courtesy of Jacqueline Firmo Falconi

And One Image With The Words Of The Artist
Photograph Courtesy Of The Artist's Website

"The Sun Sets And Rises, Wherever You Are, There Will Always Be A Tomorrow"


Jannie Susan