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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press had its annual awards dinner at the Pierre Hotel last night, and MrB and I were there.

RCFP is different from the Committee to Protect Journalists, the nonprofit that MrB chaired for six years, though both are excellent organizations.  The Reporters Committee is focused on legal issues facing U.S. journalists trying to do their jobs. It provides pro bono legal representation and other legal resources to protect First Amendment Rights. CPJ monitors actions taken against press around the globe, very often in nations with nothing resembling our freedom of the press. As its website says, “CPJ reports on violations in repressive countries, conflict zones, and established democracies alike.” It also says, “Every year, hundreds of journalists are attacked, imprisoned, or killed. For more than 30 years, CPJ has been there to defend them and fight for press freedom.” In addition to offering legal assistance, it has organized successful mailings protesting the imprisonment of journalists; met with government leaders to demand the end to murders of journalists, which are often carried out with total impunity; and helped threatened journalists relocate to other countries.

At last night’s RCFP dinner, NBC’s longtime news anchor, Tom Brokaw, won an award for distinguished service. I shook his hand and ran away in order to avoid a repeat of my previous mortifying meetings with him. MrB stopped to chat though.

Tom had to give his speech and hustle out to catch a flight … maybe he was already on his way to France to receive the Legion of Honor later this week.

I kept imagining he was looking in my direction thinking, "Don't I have a restraining order against that woman?!"

Tom Brokaw is looking in my direction thinking, “Don’t I have a restraining order against that woman?!”

MrB was pleased to see Alberto Ibarguen and Eric Newton — his friends and colleagues from the Knight Foundation — recognized on the same day Knight and Columbia University (my alma mater) launched their $60 million First Amendment Institute. I sat next to Eric at dinner and he asked me if I remembered the first time anyone praised my writing. And I do! I wrote a poem about winter in the second grade. I asked him the same question and was puzzled when he said his freshman year of college. It turns out that he was good at math and science, unlike a lot of us future English majors, and his father wanted him to become an astronaut. As a result, he didn’t get into writing until he was out from under the parental roof. That change sure worked out well for all the current and future journalists who are going to benefit from the Knight/Columbia project! Eric gets bonus props from me for taking an on-stage selfie with Alberto.

Alberto and Eric were introduced by MrB’s old friend (and my newer friend) Marty Baron of the Washington Post and the Oscar-winning movie Spotlight, in which he was portrayed by Liev Schreiber.


Marty giving his introduction.

I think I can greet Marty with the words, “Hey, how’s the movie star???” maybe one more time before he joins Tom Brokaw and Bill Clinton in thinking that I’m totally awkward and inappropriate.

The awardee with the wildest cheering section was Hearst general counsel Eve Burton, who has famously gotten a lot of journalists out of hot water.

Eve Burton.

Eve Burton.

She was introduced by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams, who were reporters for the San Francisco Chronicle when they broke many stories on athletes who were supplied with steroids through a company known as BALCO. Baseball player Barry Bonds and track-and-field star Marion Jones were two of the most famous names listed as BALCO customers. Eve came to the rescue in 2006 when Mark and Lance were threatened with 18 months of jail if they didn’t give up their sources for the BALCO story. SMH. As the Los Angeles Times pointed out, that would have been more prison time “than the combined sentences of all the defendants convicted in the steroid scandal they helped expose.”

After the awards dinner, I made a new friend downstairs at the Pierre, where I posed for an outfit photo.

rcfpresizeWhat Wendy Wore
Top: Donna Karan (2015, previously seen here with the same skirt and shoes)
Skirt: Donna Karan (2015)
Shoes: Prada (2015)
Purse: Louis Vuitton (2014)

All the elements of that outfit are unusually recent for me, but they were balanced out by the coat I wore.


Unexpected limo rides should always be toasted with empty Champagne glasses.

I got that already-vintage-at-the-time Lillie Rubin coat from Allan & Suzi between 1992 and 1995. Here I am wearing it in Dublin in 1997.

Click for original post.

Click for original post.

Yesterday’s photo of it was taken inside a white stretch limo. MrB and I were trying to hail a taxi after the dinner — and I was just suggesting Uber — when the giant limo rolled up. I was like, “Nooooo, go away,” but the driver offered MrB a taxi-level fare, so we got in and drove home in style.


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

I recently read the following advice from portrait painter Chuck Close. He was talking about art, but it applies to a lot of life situations where we wait and wait and wait till the “right moment” to fulfill our dreams.

“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.”

Chuck is like Nike, saying “Just do it.” But think about it! It’s true. Once you start trying you’re bound to get somewhere, so get to work.

(I can’t remember who pointed this out to me, so if it was you, let me know!)

Monday, May 16, 2016

If you’re one of those people who hate spoilers … too bad! Because the big boat sank in Titanic, “Rosebud” was a sled in Citizen Kane, and a naked Khaleesi (aka Daenerys Targaryen) reminded us why one of her many nicknames is “the Unburnt” by walking through flames again at the end of last night’s Game of Thrones.

I’ve always wondered whether Season One’s fire scene — the one that also led to Khaleesi’s “Mother of Dragons” moniker — was a one-off magical moment or proof that Daenerys was made of flame-retardant material. I’ve never read A Song of Fire and Ice, the George R.R. Martin books on which Game of Thrones is based, but readers are stressed out because Daenerys isn’t necessarily immune to fire in the source material. As those people point out, Martin wrote to a fan in 1999 that Daenerys would “probably not” repeat her original fire-repelling feat. Of course, that was 17 years ago and not a totally definitive answer, so let the show keep doing its own thing!

Anyway, I loved the scene, especially how powerful Daenerys looked in her nudity.

The only drawback was Daenerys is so very white, and the Dothraki who knelt before her in awe after she burned up their rape-y leaders all have darker complexions. Awkward, but at least the Dothraki are strong people and she ruled over a group of them before, so it was a homecoming of sorts. It was definitely less cringe-y than Daenerys’s white-savior crowdsurfing atop a mass of adoring, freed and very brown slaves at the end of Season Three. The second-hand embarrassment was strong with that scene.

Click for the whole awful clip.

Click for the whole awful clip.

Anyway, watching Daenerys kick ass reminded me that I’ve been meaning to share a kickass interview that Entertainment Weekly did with 18-year-old Maisie Williams, who plays Arya Stark on the show. While answering a question on feminism and Game of Thrones, she said:

“…I also feel like we should stop calling feminists ‘feminists’ and just start calling people who aren’t feminist ‘sexist’ – and then everyone else is just a human. You are either a normal person or a sexist. People get a label when they’re bad.”

I fucking love that! Out of the mouths of babes, right?

Finally, props to the person who put this together for Brienne of Tarth, another one of the show’s strong ladies. We all noticed how the Wildling Tormund checked her out!

Who could blame him? After all …

Sunday, May 15, 2016

In case you missed it, here’s what was on the blog this week.

Click to purchase the 18K yellow gold arrowhead ring.

Click to purchase the 18K yellow gold arrowhead ring.

And check out my Instagram for a whole lot of May flowers.

This flower-covered, gold-and-diamond locket is on sale. Click to purchase.

This flower-covered, gold-and-diamond locket is on sale. Click to purchase.


Friday, May 13, 2016

Friday the 13th isn’t unlucky for me, because I have these hockey-mask-and-chainsaw stud earrings to wear …

Click to purchase.

Click to purchase.

… as well as a matching ring!

Click to purchase.

Click to purchase.

As I’ve pointed out before, Jason Voorhees — the Friday the 13th killer — wore a hockey mask but wielded a machete, not a chainsaw. It was Leatherface who used a chainsaw, which makes sense, because he was the villain of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. But other pop-culture biggies eventually merged the mask and the chainsaw, including The Simpsons and this guy.

I think Eminem looks way scarier with the chainsaw than he would with the machete.

I think Eminem looks way scarier with the chainsaw than he would with the machete.

I’ve posted this gif from shopping app Spring before but I love it and I’m gonna post it again.


Same with this photo collage from my gorgeous customer Eva in Germany.


Buy your own earring/s or ring by clicking here.

Previous posts on these designs and slasher-film factoids:

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Cannes Film Festival started yesterday and continues through May 22. Damn! That’s a long festival. I’m sure during that time, there will be something on the red carpet or in a photocall that will blow me away fashion-wise. But, in the first day and a half, nothing has wowed me as much as the black leather shorts and boots that Yoko Ono wore in 1971.

I’ve always loved this shorts/boots look on Yoko. Now, however, it’s her black choker — better seen in this photo — that jumps out at me.

A lot of articles on the current choker craze call the look a throwback to 1990s style … but perhaps 1990s style was actually a throwback to 1970s style!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

I’ve always designed jewelry with movement, including poison rings, twisting pendants and swivel earrings. And let’s not forget my 18K gold Empress Wu dragon ring with the spinning lapis lazuli globe clenched in its teeth!

But jewelry can move in less elaborate ways. Sometimes a little shimmy is all you need, like with May’s Jewel of the Month: my arrowhead dangle rings. Here’s the platinum ring in action.

Just playing with my platinum arrowhead dangle ring. #video #jewelry #rings #beplatinum #diamonds

A video posted by Wendy Brandes (@wendybrandes) on

Here’s its glamour shot, showing the 17 little diamonds totaling 14 points (there are 100 points in a carat).

Click to purchase.

Click to purchase.

This ring is part of the arrowhead grouping in my Punk Platinum collection but, because I like to offer something for everyone, I didn’t limit this design to platinum. Here is the 18K yellow gold version.

Click to purchase.

Click to purchase.

You can stack these too. I do love a mixed-metal look!

In addition to the gold and platinum versions, I have one silver sample in size 6, without diamonds, for $100. It’s not on my website, so if you want to buy it, email me at info at wendybrandes dot com and I’ll hook you up! You can also request another size. Just allow two to four weeks for delivery for custom sizes.

All of my arrowhead designs are turning out to be quite swingy. The Y-necklaces sway in a sex-ay way and the thread earrings really dance. I wore the platinum and gold arrowhead threads together today, and when I took a post-haircut photo I caught them on the move.

Haircut by @keithcarpenterhair … #mullet #mullethairdontcare #hair #haircut #selfie #joanjett

A photo posted by Wendy Brandes (@wendybrandes) on

I’m going to have three other fun platinum designs debuting soon. If you want a sneak peek of them, follow my business Instagram. I’m going to preview them there this month.

Monday, May 9, 2016

I’m passionate about keeping clothes a long time … a trait that enables me to do fun collages like this.


Click for original post.

But what works with a vintage gown can get a little gross with frequently worn jeans. A few weeks ago, it occurred to me that my newest pair of jeans was five years old and that others I’ve been relying on are nine years old. This realization hit me as I was walking by a Madewell store, so I ducked in and found a pair of cropped jeans with frayed hems.  Now I’m wearing these all the time.

I’ve worn them to dinner with friends …

jeansleopardresizeWhat Wendy Wore
Jacket: Vintage Christian Francis Roth (purchased on eBay, 2010)
T-shirt: Splendid
Jeans: Madewell (2016)
Purse: Louis Vuitton (2001)
Shoes: Prada (2012)

… and to the theater.

jeansfiddlerresizeWhat Wendy Wore
Sweater: Narciso Rodriguez (2015)
Jeans: Madewell (2016)
Purse: Louis Vuitton (2001)
Shoes: Miu Miu (2010)

The theater outing was this Saturday. MrB and I saw Fiddler on the Roof.


I don’t care if you’ve seen this play a million times. Danny Burstein is such a good Tevye. You must catch this production — I want to see it again already!

I also kinda want a second pair of new jeans.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

In case you missed it, here’s what was on the blog this week.

There are two Met Gala attendees who I forgot to mention in my earlier post. I was intrigued by Solange Knowles’s David LaPort dress …

… mostly because the distinctive shape reminded me so much of her Giles dress from the 2015 Met Gala!

Solange was my Best Dressed/Wear What You Want winner last year, but I can’t do that look two years in a row. I do give her props for this year’s awesome latex leg warmers and the fact that she was wearing head-to-toe yellow, presumably in honor of sister Beyonce’s brilliant new album called Lemonade.

I also enjoyed Diane Von Furstenberg’s big hair adorned with butterflies, even though I don’t know what that look had to do with the “Manus x Machina” theme.

But I was surprised that this was NOT related to Philip Treacy’s iconic butterfly hat for Alexander McQueen. My first thought was, “Ooh, she’s wearing Treacy.” Oh well!

Over on Instagram, I featured some of my classic jewelry designs that I included in my Mother’s Day sale, including my diamond-encrusted Borgia poison ring.

I’ve got to manually take everything out of the sale section, which I’ll be working on tomorrow, so act fast if you’ve got your eye on anything! You might be able to buy it before I go back to the normal price!


Friday, May 6, 2016

The Los Angeles Times has published a must-read story about how the promotion of OxyContin helped set off the prescription opioid epidemic in the U.S.

The investigation by Harriet Ryan, Lisa Girion and Scott Glover found that even before OxyContin went on the market in 1996, clinical trials showed that the effects of OxyContin showed many patients weren’t getting the full 12 hours of pain relief promised by drugmaker Purdue Pharma. (The issue arose in the first clinical trial in 1989, duringwhich about half of the 90 patients needed more pain relief before 12 hours was up.) The 12-hour duration was essential to Purdue’s marketing because it was the drug’s most important feature. “Without that, it offers little advantage over less expensive painkillers,” the Times reported.

The story goes on to describe how Purdue intervened when doctors started prescribing OxyContin at shorter intervals, telling them to prescribe higher doses instead. The higher doses increase the risk of overdose and don’t necessarily stop the breakthrough pain. The Times reported:

“Experts said that when there are gaps in the effect of a narcotic like OxyContin, patients can suffer body aches, nausea, anxiety and other symptoms of withdrawal. When the agony is relieved by the next dose, it creates a cycle of pain and euphoria that fosters addiction, they said.”

The L.A. Times examined thousands of pages of previously sealed documents to report this story. You’ll be shocked by what they found in internal Purdue Pharma documents.

Speaking of painkillers, the Star Tribune has been breaking news about how Prince died with another painkiller — Percocet — in his system and in the middle of plans to get him help for his addiction. The Star Tribune’s David Chanen reported that Prince representatives called opioid addiction specialist Dr. Howard Kornfeld on the night of April 20, requesting urgent help. Kornfeld, based in California, couldn’t leave for Minnesota immediately, so he sent his son, pre-med student Andrew, to get the ball rolling on Prince’s treatment. When Andrew arrived the morning of April 21, Prince’s people looked for the musician, only to find him dead in the elevator. (Andrew Kornfeld was the one who called 911, which explains why the 911 caller didn’t know the address of Prince’s Paisley Park compound.)


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