The Unique Legacy of Iris Abfel

If you’ve never heard of Iris Abfel, she is certainly worth spending a few minutes to know. In a world often swayed by fleeting trends and cookie-cutter fashion, Iris Apfel definitely stood out. With her oversized black-rimmed glasses and her slender frame, she was a force of fashion. At the age of 102, the fashion iconoclast recently died in her Palm Beach home, leaving behind a legacy as colorful and layered as her signature chunky accessories.

Iris was an influential interior designer and so much more. From art exhibitions to magazine covers, a cosmetic line, a documentary, a modeling contract, and even a Barbie doll in her likeness, Iris did it all with the fervor of someone who lived for the thrill of the next creative conquest.

Born in Queens, New York, Iris started shopping at 11. As a married woman, Iris and Carl founded Old World Weavers, jet-setting across continents in pursuit of exquisite fabrics. Their client list boasted names like Estée Lauder, Greta Garbo, and a who’s who of US presidents. Even Jackie Kennedy couldn’t resist their flair, enlisting their expertise for the White House’s aesthetic overhaul.

As she sauntered into her 90s, Iris became the muse for Kate Spade, collaborated with MAC Cosmetics, and launched her own line of everything fabulous on the Home Shopping Network. Despite rubbing shoulders with the fashion elite, Iris remained grounded, equally at home scouring flea markets for unique finds as she was in high-end boutiques.

When asked to encapsulate her philosophy on life, Iris simply said, “Only one trip.” Then, with a twinkle in her eye, she’d add, “Might as well live it up.”

Iris Apfel was more than just a style icon; she was a rare bird who taught us that fashion is about more than clothes—it’s about expressing who you are with unapologetic bravado. Her legacy is a vibrant tapestry of bold choices, fearless living, and a reminder to embrace every moment with passion and panache.

Solo Traveling: The Easy Way

Here is an interesting idea. Some people are intimidated by the idea of doing things alone, but others find it liberating. One of the least intimidating ways to travel by yourself is to do so on a cruise. This allows you to see interesting places and to have a built-in way to meet other people along the way and to have guided tours. Recently, USA Today categorized the best cruises for solo travel, and it’s worth taking a look at the list is this is something that has ever been of interest. Here’s a list of the top 10 cruise lines for solo travelers, highlighting their unique offerings:

  • No. 10: Seabourn Cruise Line
    • Offers small-ship intimacy facilitating easy interactions among passengers.
    • Dinner tables hosted by officers to include solo travelers.
    • Single supplement starts at 10%.
  • No. 9: Cunard
    • Features staterooms designed for solo cruisers, with ocean-view and interior options.
    • Organized activities and dining options cater to solo travelers.
  • No. 8: Norwegian Cruise Line
    • Pioneered studio cabins for solo travelers.
    • Exclusive access to Studio Lounge for socializing.
  • No. 7: Princess Cruises
    • Variety of onboard experiences suitable for solo travelers.
    • Offers singles-only parties and other inclusive activities.
  • No. 6: Holland America Line
    • Provides inclusive programming and solo staterooms on some ships.
    • No single supplement required for certain accommodations.
  • No. 5: Azamara
    • Intimate atmosphere with single supplements as low as 25%.
    • Inclusive of alcohol, gratuities, and special events.
  • No. 4: Viking Cruises
    • Offers promotions on single supplements and reduced airfare.
    • No assigned seating at meals encourages mingling.
  • No. 3: Crystal Cruises
    • Single guest rooms with ocean views and inclusive fares.
    • Amenities include butler service and free Wi-Fi.
  • No. 2: Carnival Cruise Line
    • Waives single supplements on a promotional basis.
    • A plethora of entertainment options for solo travelers.
  • No. 1: Grand Circle Cruise Line
    • Leader in solo travel with small-group shore excursions.
    • Offers free or low-cost single supplements and a roommate matching program.

Each of these cruise lines provides unique benefits for solo travelers, from reduced single supplements to social gatherings and activities designed to create a welcoming atmosphere for individuals exploring the world on their own. This is certainly a great way to get your feet wet (see what we did there?) as a solo traveler and to see if you enjoy it!

Adaptive Intimates…It’s About Time

While there is certainly room to applaud Victoria’s Secret with this news, we can also say it’s about time. Victoria’s Secret is collaborating with Runway of Dreams for an adaptive intimates collection. This initiative, highlighted in the “2024 State of Accessible Marketing” (SOAM) Report by dozanü innovations, represents a pioneering move in making fashion more inclusive.

The launch of the adaptive fashion line in collaboration with Runway of Dreams underscores a transformative period in the fashion world, emphasizing the importance of accessibility and inclusivity. Rachel Burton, Director of Operations and Strategy at dozanü innovations, praised the initiative for its innovative approach and the positive impact it has on redefining industry norms. The campaign is celebrated for its inclusivity, featuring models with disabilities and employing clear, accessible communication, which promotes fashion as a form of self-expression for everyone.

Victoria’s Secret’s venture into adaptive fashion, as documented in the 2024 SOAM Report, marks the beginning of what will, hopefully, be far more recognition of the many ways that women (and men) can be sexy. For decades Victoria’s Secret has only shown one type of women on the runway, and it is exciting to watch and to see if this new initiative opens up the runway for many more expressions of beauty.

Getting Ready for the Superbowl….Bathroom Breaks

As people around the country get ready for the upcoming Superbowl, they are speculating about who will win, about how much the tickets will go for, and about whether Taylor Swift will make it from Japan on time; not many people, however, are probably speculating about the….bathrooms.

But you can bet the venue has spent a lot of time and money thinking about, worrying about, and testing the bathrooms. With 65,000 fans coming to Allegiant Stadium, there are certainly a lot of worries about the facilities. Before the facility opened in 2020, they actually conducted what they call a “Super Flush”, where they flushed all 1430 toilets and urinals at the same time to make sure that the plumbing would work and hold.

If you think about it, while time is money, bathroom breaks are a lack of money. When you’re waiting in line to go to the bathroom, you are not buying food at the concessions and t-shirts at the various stalls – and the arena certainly wants you to spend your time on these activities. Bathrooms have become an art, and one that involves architects, arena managers and others. The more bathrooms there are, the closer they are to the users’ location, and the more clear they are about which are occupied and which are free, the faster people will be in and out.

As Julie Amacker, the director for CAA icon said in relations to the Super Flush they conducted years ago, “We don’t ever want there to be 60,000 or 70,000 people in the building and have the system fail. This is one of the last boxes to check that says we’re ready.”

Are You Ignoring Your Weaker Side?

It’s a common misconception that our bodies are perfectly symmetrical. In reality, most people have a dominant side that is stronger and more coordinated. This is evident in everyday activities like writing or brushing your teeth. Although our bodies might look symmetrical, only about 1% of the population is truly ambidextrous.

However, problems arise when this natural sidedness becomes excessive. When the dominant side starts to bear an overly heavy load, issues like pain, weakness, and overuse injuries can occur. This imbalance can lead to a chain reaction, affecting other parts of the body. The good news is, with awareness and targeted exercises, these imbalances can be corrected, allowing you to enjoy your natural asymmetry without pain.

Physical demands of certain careers can exacerbate side dominance. Most of us know that we are right or left handed, but we may not realize how much we rely on that side. Mothers typically carry their toddlers on their dominant side, for instance; workers in an office favor one hand over the other and typically do more tasks with the dominant hand.

To address these imbalances, awareness is key. Simple changes in daily activities can make a significant difference. For example, alternating the shoulder you carry your bag on, or the hip you carry your child on, can help. However, some activities, like writing or swinging a golf club, can’t easily be changed. In these cases, a regular fitness routine that includes balance-restoring exercises is vital.

Unilateral training, focusing on one side of the body at a time, is highly effective in promoting symmetry. This approach helps correct and prevent imbalances by ensuring equal effort on both sides. Dumbbells are excellent for unilateral training, as they require each limb to work independently, highlighting and correcting any strength discrepancies.

Most of us don’t need to do exercises that are specifically focused on one side or the other. However, having an awareness that you favor one side and a desire to use the other side periodically is very important. Similarly, should you start to notice that you favor one side to the detriment of the other, there are exercises you can do and ways you can focus to realign both sides for optimal strength.

The Loneliness Factor of Obesity

We all know that it’s not healthy to be obese. But a new study sheds some fascinating information about one factor of obesity that may be influencing people’s health even more than the weight itself. Loneliness. A new study suggests that addressing loneliness and social isolation in individuals classified as obese could significantly reduce their risk of health complications. Published in JAMA Network Open, this research sheds light on the heightened experience of loneliness among obese individuals and underscores the importance of considering social and mental health in managing obesity-related health issues.

Led by Dr. Lu Qi of Tulane University, the study analyzed data from nearly 400,000 UK BioBank participants, initially free from cardiovascular disease, over a period from 2006 to 2021. Findings revealed a 36% lower mortality rate from all causes in less lonely, socially integrated obese individuals.

Surprising to most readers, the research highlights that social isolation is a more significant mortality risk factor than depression, anxiety, and lifestyle choices like alcohol consumption, exercise, and diet. This underscores the need for integrated intervention strategies that include social and psychological elements alongside dietary and lifestyle changes.

As our world becomes more digitalized and less interactive, and as so many people rely on social media and not face-to-face interactions, loneliness has grown to become a true national crisis.

It’s certainly interesting to think about some of the other factors surrounding obesity, and not just abou the obesity itself. The study calls for a holistic approach to obesity management, integrating social connectivity to improve health outcomes, and highlights the critical role of quality social relationships in overall well-being.