Thursday, January 18, 2018

Laren Rossi's Gowns

 From the Daily Mail:
Just outside Central Park, on New York City's Upper East Side, Lauren Rossi is waiting for an UberPOOL, looking as if she had just stepped out of the 18th century – with a twist. The elegant, deep blue gown she is wearing – dyed in an ombre, with gold leaf around the wide hooped skirt and overdress and intricate embroidered beading on the bodice – is completely handmade by Lauren herself, inspired by the Rococo style of the 18th century. She does have some 'modern' accents, as well, including gold makeup flecks she applied above her cheekbones and her necklace and earrings, which are mourning jewelry dated from 1913.

Over her shoulders, she is wearing a 1960s fur collar, and on her left forearm she is wearing a fur muff from about the 1950s – which is her guess because of the metal zipper inside – while she holds her iPhone in her right, checking on when her UberPOOL is supposed to arrive. 'I'm convinced in my Uber rating it says "dresses weird",' Lauren says. As she talks, the feathers pinned to her done-up hair move with her.

She might not look like it, but Lauren works a corporate job in New York City. She is a brand manager and does product development for the mass market apparel industry, including yoga pants and 'casual clothes', but in her spare time – practically all of her spare time – she makes intricately designed gowns inspired by 18th century fashion by hand.
'I just feel complete when I dress like this,' she tells 'I feel like it's a way of expressing myself, it's a way of embracing a femininity that I like and so, it just feels right.' (Read more.)

The Poverty Capital of America

California. From the Los Angeles Times:
Guess which state has the highest poverty rate in the country? Not Mississippi, New Mexico, or West Virginia, but California, where nearly one out of five residents is poor. That’s according to the Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure, which factors in the cost of housing, food, utilities and clothing, and which includes noncash government assistance as a form of income.Given robust job growth and the prosperity generated by several industries, it’s worth asking why California has fallen behind, especially when the state’s per-capita GDP increased approximately twice as much as the U.S. average over the five years ending in 2016 (12.5%, compared with 6.27%).

 It’s not as though California policymakers have neglected to wage war on poverty. Sacramento and local governments have spent massive amounts in the cause. Several state and municipal benefit programs overlap with one another; in some cases, individuals with incomes 200% above the poverty line receive benefits. California state and local governments spent nearly $958 billion from 1992 through 2015 on public welfare programs, including cash-assistance payments, vendor payments and “other public welfare,” according to the Census Bureau. California, with 12% of the American population, is home today to about one in three of the nation’s welfare recipients. (Read more.)

The Axis Diplomats

From The Washington Post:
It’s one of the most striking images of Washington from just after the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor: Smoke rising from the garden of the Japanese Embassy on Massachusetts Avenue NW as diplomats burned box after box of secret documents. But have you ever wondered what happened next?
Harvey Solomon did — and the Takoma Park, Md., writer is hoping there are still some people around who recall one of the oddest episodes of the World War II home front: more than 1,000 employees from Axis embassies — diplomats, their families, staff and servants — were sent from Washington to live in luxury hotels.

“The FBI and the State Department wanted them out of the embassies,” Solomon said. “They might still be communicating via radio, and they had diplomatic pouches. All that had to end.”

The solution was to move them to the countryside. The first ones to go were the Germans, headed by acting Ambassador Hans Thomsen and his glamorous wife, Bebe. On Dec. 19, 1941, they were taken by special train from Union Station to White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. They would be cooling their heels at the Greenbrier resort. (Read more.)

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Branching Out

From the Trianon Health and Beauty Blog:
Trianon Bouquet Beauty Products are now available internationally, not just in America. To estimate the cost of shipping, just click under the price where it says "shipping to" and Etsy will figure it out. Meanwhile, we have been receiving positive feedback from customers about how the creams are helping them to survive the frigid temperatures. One young lady with dry rough cracked hands says the the Midnight Bouquet Night Cream is the only thing that really helps her skin to heal. The cream can also be used on dry elbows and feet, and as a hair masque on stressed hair. (Read more.)

An Existential Threat

From Life Site:
None of this will be news to most of you, but the impact of radical reinvention of our social structures is beginning to impact Christian communities in ways that are striking even closer to home. There is the fact that public schools across Canada (and many places in the United States) are beginning to implement sex education that runs directly contrary to the beliefs of many traditionalist communities—and governments are beginning to eye Christian and private schools as unwelcome havens of dissenting thought and education. And worse: Christian parents and foster parents are increasingly finding themselves “disqualified” from adopting children or taking children into their homes because of their views.

I’ve spoken to many prospective parents and foster parents over the last several years who were either overtly rejected as a result of their views on sexuality, or otherwise found that they were suddenly and abruptly rejected when their views were made known. Often, direct questions are put to Christian parents to find out if they still hold to Christian principles, with the obvious insinuation that answers not fitting with the current progressive ideology will render them unfit to care for children.
Considering the massive shortage of willing foster parents across Canada, this is a rather shocking and blunt move on the part of those in charge of the process: Essentially, Christian parents are being told that their views render them so dangerous that it is better that children desperate for a loving home are still shuffled from place to place rather than come into contact with views that were nearly universal only short decades ago. (Read more.)

Robert Hugh Benson and His Father

From Aleteia:
It’s said that Robert Hugh Benson’s conversion to Roman Catholicism was an act of rebellion against his father, Edward White Benson, Archbishop of Canterbury from 1883 until his death in 1896. Whether it was or wasn’t, the younger Benson’s spiritual autobiography at least offers grounds for seeing his conversion in that light.

But if so, what difference does it make? God can use inclinations and fears we may prefer not to recognize in ourselves as portals for grace to enter our lives. If latent conflict with a formidable father played a part in this son’s decision to become a Catholic, it doesn’t follow that the conversion was any less sincere.

Robert Hugh Benson (1871-1914) was a prolific author of fiction, apologetics and devotional works, best remembered for the apocalyptic novel Lord of the World, which Pope Francis calls one of his favorite books. His spiritual autobiography, Confessions of a Convert, first published in 1912 and republished by Ave Maria Press, ranks among his best. It’s no exaggeration to call it a minor classic. (Read more.)

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Several Engravings of Marie-Antoinette

 From Catawiki. By different artists, undated.


"Humanae Vitae" Revisited

From The Catholic World Report:
The fact is simply this: the dominant culture in the West is obsessed with sex—that is, sexual attractions and acts that have little or nothing to do with authentic love, marriage, procreation, the common good, and eternal life. And it has been for decades, during which time the Church has often been forced into a defensive stance, one that is sometimes interpreted as simply saying, “No, no, no!” (For a decidedly non-Catholic but frank history of the Sixties, the Sexual Revolution, and the culture wars, see Andrew Hartman’s 2015 book A War for the Soul of America: A History of the Culture Wars, from University of Chicago Press.) In fairness, there has been much to say “No!” to: the contraceptive mentality, the scourge of abortion, the steady drop in both marriages and births, the rise and acceptance of divorce, the mainstreaming of homosexuality, and, more recently, the wholesale embrace of gender ideology. And so this controversial comment, made by Pope Francis in 2013, makes some sense, at least initially and superficially:
We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.
(Read more.)