Friday, October 31, 2008

No on Prop 8

This is a long way off my Cute-ture business but it was sent to me from one of my dearest friends and I believe his words are poignant and worth sharing. For my Aussie friends - Prop 8 is a proposition on the California ballot that voters can overturn by voting yes. Currently gay and lesbian's can marry under Californian law and have the same rights as any other married couple. Prop 8 has been put on the ballot to try and overturn that right.

From My Friend.

With only a few days left to election day, I can’t help by wonder why there are so many good, honest people backing Prop 8 - you know, the constitutional amendment in California to prevent state recognition of gay marriage.

I fully understand where they are coming from. I grew up the son Baptist missionaries – good, honest parents intent on serving God. I graduated from Liberty University (Jerry Falwell’s school in Lynchburg, VA), a place filled with good, honest people trying to make the world a better place. Like my good honest friends from the religious right, I also want to settle down and build a life with one special person – to get married, one of the most important rights in society. However, in my case the only honest, loving marriage I could have would be with another man. I am gay - obviously, not by choice, as anyone from a similar background can attest. I would like to think that I am still a good, honest person. I love my family, work hard at my job, pay my taxes, try to be honest with everyone, and still believe in the treating others as I would like to be treated. I love my parents deeply, and it still breaks my heart to see my mother cry because she fears that she won’t see me in heaven. While I hope that my parents will some day change, and they hope that I will someday change, we have, in our own way, come to recognize that we have to love and accept each other for who we are. I get it – my parents, along with many other good, honest people, firmly believe that being gay (or acting on it) is a sin - and that, before God, marriage is a bond between a man and a woman. But I don’t see how that should translate into denying me and the one I love the right to marry under civil laws.

Americans pride themselves in being a tolerant nation. The now famous (or infamous, depending on your viewpoint) Sarah Palin recently said that some nations (presumably some of the nations under Islamic law) hate the United States because of our tolerance. But what Sarah and the religious right don’t seem to understand is that, while the predominant religions in the US may be less strict on non-believers than strict adherence to Islamic law, what makes a nation tolerant is not the tolerance of the religious beliefs of its majority, but the willingness of its people and government to separate religion from legislation - and to legislate without discrimination based on moral/religious views.

History is full of good honest people who have missed this concept. According to the Bible, good honest people in Old Testament times believe it was ok (and in fact, God’s mission) for them to kill all of the heathens in surrounding lands. Good honest Christians during the middle ages thought they had God’s blessing (and were doing God’s will) by killing Muslims. Good honest American puritans thought it was God’s will for them to burn suspected "witches”. Good honest Americans during the Civil War fought to preserve their God-given right to own slaves, and were willing to kill other good honest Americans in the process. Good honest people in Germany in the 1930’s and early 40’s thought it was ok to discriminate against Jewish people on a national level. Not that long ago, good honest Americans were willing to legislate prohibitions on interracial marriages, and those people firmly believed God was on their side. And today, there are countries in the world where good honest people have adopted Islamic laws that we see as violating basic human rights, but that they see as being fully justified based on moral/religious imperatives. While we can look at these as examples of intolerance, in each case those good honest people that we see as being intolerant believed they were acting in the best way to please God (or their relevant equivalent) and preserve their society.

For those looking to vote yes on Prop 8, please stop to think about tolerance. Are you in favor of Prop 8 because it is necessary to preserve any particular rights you may enjoy? If so, which rights (because I honestly don’t see how Prop 8 preserves or protects anyone’s rights)? Or are you in favor of this because you feel society should adhere to your religious/moral views? If so, aren’t you being an example of the same intolerance we condemn in others and in our own history? I am not asking for you to change your religious convictions. I am not asking to get married in your Baptist Church or Mormon Tabernacle (just like you are not asking your Jewish friends to get married in their synagogue). But I would like to have the same right that you have before the state to marry the one person I want to spend the rest of my life with. That is the beauty of tolerance. We can disagree on right and wrong before God, but we can also learn to keep that disagreement without legislating discrimination.

It’s not that big a stretch for you. Conservative Christians – you believe that your Mormon and Catholic friends in this campaign, while they may be good honest people, are going to hell unless they accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour. Many of your leaders claim that Mormons (and for that matter, Jehova’s Witnesses and various other religious groups) actually are preaching false religions – and in fact, if you read your Bible, it has much more condemnation against those preaching false religion than against my being gay. While strong religious differences (with profound ramifications on views of eternity) exist among virtually all of the various groups involved in this campaign in favor of Prop 8, you have already come to accept that in the civil arena you should all be treated equally as religions – that your tax exemptions before the state should not be based on the whether or not, as a society, we think your religion is right and true in God’s eyes.

If you take your Bible literally, you also may believe that adultery is wrong, or that divorce merely for irreconcilable differences is wrong, or that marriage outside of your faith is wrong – but yet you have come to accept that, in these respects, discriminatory laws should not be the means for you to try to get society to agree with your beliefs. You also understand that it is not up to the government or the public schools to teach your religious beliefs – and that, while teachers may explain how laws permit actions you think are wrong morally, that fact is not to form the basis for whether or not the laws exist. For example, you realize that, while schools teach that the constitution protects an individual’s right to burn the flag, that does not mean that the teacher is encouraging the students to go out and burn a flag. You are happy that schools teach students that they should not discriminate against someone based on their religion – and are not threatened by that as encouraging your child to dispute the validity of your particular faith. You know that you are the one responsible for teaching your values to your child – and that the teaching of tolerance in a school is not a reason for you to try to legislate discrimination.

So as a minority in this society where you have a chance to discriminate against me based on our conflicting religious/moral views, please stop to think about what you are doing. You are no less righteous before God if you treat me like you would any other person outside your faith – you can continue to try and convince me to change before God - and I can continue to try and convince you otherwise -- but let's have that discussion outside the legislative arena. Please allow me equal rights under civil laws.

And you know better than to say that, even with Prop 8 I have the equal right to marry a woman -- that's like denying a barren woman the right to adopt by saying she has an equal right to natural childbirth.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Only One Week Left to Decide the Future of the USA

I often debate just how much of my personal beliefs I should ‘advertise’ through my blog, facebook, website and twitter profiles because not all of my friends, clients and vendors necessarily share the same views. That said, I am a huge supporter of the first amendment right of free speech and feel that everyone deserves to have their voice heard regardless of whether I agree with them or not. While I am extremely fortunate to have had a great education and two parents with a strong set of values to guide me that not everyone has had that privilege and many people are still debating which candidate is the best choice for them – so with that in mind, I offer my thoughts on the next President of the USA.

While certainly no candidate is perfect, I believe that Barack Obama is the right choice for Cute-ture, for my family and for my country. Why?

I guess first of all understand my politics – put people first (as in all human beings regardless of immigration status, income, job security etc)

1. The Health System in America is an embarrassment. Having grown up in Australia where our taxes ensure all Australians are covered for medical care, I have never been able to comprehend the unfair and overpriced system in America, which leaves so many people without healthcare and vulnerable to bankruptcy and/or painful conditions that remain untreated, as they don’t have coverage. This is outrageous. 19 million women alone are uninsured in this country! Obama has made this his priority from the beginning of his campaign and understands their needs to be a fundamental shift away from the existing system.

2. Taxes – I get a tax break under Obama’s policy and when I earn enough to be a higher tax bracket – I will be happy to pay higher taxes because I have the core belief that those who can – should help those with less. People first always. One of the things that worries me about McCain is that he continually offers more breaks and more spending but doesn’t explain where he will raise money to pay for it. Obama gets it – you can’t offer to do more without looking at how you will pay for it. Barack Obama's tax plan delivers broad-based tax relief to middle class families and cuts taxes for small businesses and companies that create jobs in America, while restoring fairness to our tax code and returning to fiscal responsibility. Coupled with Obama's commitment to invest in key areas like health, clean energy, innovation and education, his tax plan will help restore bottom-up economic growth that helps create good jobs in America and empowers all families achieve the American dream.

3. Education – the future is all about people. What people can create, change and inspire to make our future safer, stronger and secure. Obama has been the only candidate talking about education and the need to set high standards for our schools and give them the resources they need to succeed. Better pay for teachers, more teachers and more accountability – isn’t that what every parent wants! Add the technology elements – broadband lines across all of America and investment in scientific research and he offers this country a future in its people.

Please vote – no matter whom you support – and ensure your voice is heard.

Click on the calculator and see what Obama’s plan means for you. Also visit to see where he stands on things that matter to you.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Pears + Bears seriously cute

Tradeshows are exhausting and a necessity for those of us in the wholesale trade but one of the things I love about them, is the chance to see new and innovative designers that inspire me with their gorgeous concepts and designs.

One of the designers I have had my eye on is Kayce Hughes who designs a line called Pears + Bears. It is simple, beautiful and absolutely delightful. My favorite thing – is she also designs women’s clothing, which means that while I can enjoy her line of children’s clothing as a peer– I can actually wear her women’s line! And (even though I want to keep this to myself) she does amazing sales through her online site And in this economy – who doesn’t love an online sale.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Keeping Children Safe

Over the years, I have heard discussion through the media on what is the right time to make a call to report what you ‘think’ may be happening to a school child you are teaching, to a child you hearing screaming next door or to a child of a school mate who seems to always be injured or bruised. I always thought it would be easy to know when to do this but the reality is that I didn’t.

Having moved into a new neighborhood less than a year ago, we met all our new neighbors and made friends but occasionally would hear some children nearby being screamed at and hearing sounds that sounded like hitting. These children are 2 and under (3 kids in total). My father had heard this when visiting, my husband and I had heard it a number of times and some of our house guests had heard it and we all talked about our concerns but none of us actually saw anything so didn’t know how concerned to be.

The dilemma was – do you report something you assume may be happening without having actually seen it. I also should add, it didn’t sound like a little smack on the bottom but hitting over and over. Now, this may sound easy to you but when you are a neighbor and new to a neighborhood you want to think the best of those around you and without actually seeing abuse, you question what it is you are hearing and what really may be happening.

I remember one time when I was in college that I came home during a burglary. Somehow I walked in and managed to justify the mess in the house, the missing DVD player and the gate being opened for a few hours – until I saw the window missing when I opened the freezer (looking for donuts) and found it in there. Then the light went on in my head and I realised we were being robbed.

One of our houseguests finally did see the truth and witnessed one of the children being beaten and called Social Services. When she told me I was appalled that these poor children were being hurt and also upset about why I hadn’t done anything earlier. It has played on my mind ever since.

So today – I urge you to believe your concerns even when they are not solid. If nothing is going on, then let an expert figure that out. Make the call and help keep children safe.

If you suspect child abuse please call (in the USA):

1- 800- 4- A- Child
(1- 800- 422- 4453)

Or call Social Services in your area.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Starring Tracey and Joey

We are so excited that this weekend - our spot on the show Christopher Lowell's Work That Room is airing on the Fine Living Network. The release below is from the Network about this weekends show. East Coast viewing 6pm on Saturday and West Coast viewing 3pm Saturday (October 4). For those in Australia - stay tuned to see it on our website in the next week.

Bringing Back the 'Hood
While many couples are content living in new homes in the suburbs, there are others who prefer the idea of inner-city revitalization. And that is the case with Joey and Tracey, whose dream home came in the form of a dilapidated Victorian in an urban neighborhood. Now with the adoption of their first child imminent, they want to complete their renovation of the main entry and living room. Host Christopher Lowell explores a hotel that mixes old tradition with modern flair and suggests the same style for the couple's home. He and his design team then transform the space into one that honors the home's Victorian roots while giving it a hipper feel.


Viceroy Santa Monica

From the makers of HGTV and Food Network, Fine Living Network is available nationwide on DirecTV channel 232 and DISH Network channel 113, and on local digital cable.