@lifesamoda | Promoting Positive Images Of Latina Women

February 7, 2016 § 6 Comments

About two weeks ago after the big snowstorm my husband and I decided to take a walk at a park near our home. We both love to take pictures, so the cold and snow didn’t deter us. We had the park almost entirely to ourselves, but in the end it turned out we weren’t the only ones with this idea. As we were leaving I couldn’t help but notice these beautiful boots.

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Without missing a photo op I asked the young woman wearing them if I could take a picture. Her husband offered to take one as well — which turned out to be much better than mine. We started talking and realized we lived on the same street and both blogged.  She told me the boots are from Banana Republic and were originally in Brown.  She loved the boots, but not the color, so had them dyed black and after a few bad winters they may need a touch up.

I get a lot of compliments when I wear them and most people are shocked to know they’re from Banana Republic!

Sandra has an instagram site @lifesamoda, an Etsy site and is also working on a website. Her Etsy site is what caught my attention. She sells t-shirts that celebrate Latina Icons. It seems like the media chooses too frequently to portray Latina Women as primarily voluptuous sex symbols. Sandra is trying to change that by promoting positive images of Latina Women with her LaModa Tees.


The idea of starting this T-shirt line came one day while talking to my kids about our Latino culture. We are from the Dominican Republic but were born and raised in New York City. To explain the topic with visuals, I googled “Dominican women” on the search engine and what I saw was too shocking. There were no positive images for my children to see. I later came up with the idea that there should be a way for Latina women to promote positive images of ourselves. Thus, “LaModa Tee’s” was born! – Sandra Vargas

Latina Inspiration.

Ellen Ochoa, Celia Cruz, Claribel Alegria, Julia de Burgos, Dolores Huerta, Vilma Martinez, Cristina Fernandez De Kirchner, Michelle Bachelet, Alicia Dicherson Montemayor, Sonia Sotomayor, Isabel Allende, Julia AlvarezJovita IdárRigoberta Menchú, Salma Hayek Pinault, Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, Dolores Del Rio, Frida Kahlo.


Dolores Del Rio mural by artist Alfredo de Batuc in Hollywood : Courtesy Library of Congress.


Frida Kahlo, photo shoot for Vogue magazine, “Senoras of Mexico” 1937, Toni Frissell: Courtesy Library of Congress.


Celia Cruz, 1962: Courtesy LIbrary of Congress.

And below in memory of my own Latina Icon, my mother in law, Celinda [Ferrer] Santos, November 23, 1929 – January 20, 2009.

Celinda [Ferrer] Santos November 23, 1929 - January 20, 2009.

Celinda [Ferrer] Santos | Lima, Peru.

And the list is long…

Jacqueline de Ribes | The Art of Style.

February 1, 2016 § 5 Comments


Countess Jacqueline de Ribes b. July 14th, 1929, is a French aristocrat, designer, businesswoman, and philanthropist.

Jacqueline’s father-in-law described her as a “cross between a Russian Princess and a girl of the Folies Bergère.”  From  The Last Queen of Paris, Vanity Fair, August 31st, 2010.


“Jacqueline is Parisian royalty—the essence of Parisian elegance,” says designer Jean Paul Gaultier, who, in 1999, dedicated an entire collection to de Ribes. “She is also one of the very few who could dress herself divinely but who also knew how to dress others.” From The Queen of Couture – Harper’s Bazaar, Sept. 16th 2015.




Jacqueline de Ribes The Art of Style, at The Met thru February 21, 2016 .


Shoe Shaped Church | Taiwan.

January 17, 2016 § 2 Comments

I couldn’t resist posting.  Making the rounds on social media this morning is a Giant, Shiny, Shoe – Shaped Church in Taiwan that was designed to attract female worshipers and tourists.Hkg10245775

“In our planning, we want to make it a blissful, romantic avenue,” Pan Tsuei-ping, the administration’s recreation section manager, told the BBC.

But the inspiration behind the design — and, no, it’s not gender-normative commercialism — is anything but blissful. The BBC reports:

“The shoe was inspired by a local story. According to officials in the 1960s, a 24-year-old girl surnamed Wang from the impoverished region suffered from Blackfoot disease. Both of her legs had to be amputated, leading to the cancellation of her wedding. She remained unmarried and spent the rest of her life at a church.

“The high heel is intended to honour her memory.”

Just in case a giant high heel with a tragic back story isn’t enough to lure women to the new church, another local government official said the interior of the church, too, will cater to women’s apparently delicate inclinations.    Quoted from — Taiwan Now Has A Giant, Shiny, Shoe-Shaped Church – NPR



The New York Botanical Gardens At Night.

January 3, 2016 § Leave a comment


Artist Ralph Barton | Woman In Dressing Room, January, 1915.

December 31, 2015 § 2 Comments

This morning wanting to get on the bandwagon with my Facebook friends who have been vivaciously posting New Years Greetings, I began to peruse the internet in search of my own when I stumbled upon the illustration here by artist Ralph Barton. The internet has a way of making you forget what you originally set out to do and before long I found myself swept away by his story and beautiful artwork. I hope you will take a moment and do the same.

~Wishing everyone a Happy New Year.

Woman in dressing room, 1915. Courtesy Library Of Congress.

Courtesy Library of Congress.


Ralph Barton and Charlie Chaplin.

Ralph Barton and Charlie Chaplin.

Ralph Barton

On May 19, 1931, in his East Midtown Manhattan penthouse apartment, Barton shot himself through the right temple. He was 39 years old. His suicide note said he had irrevocably “lost the only woman I ever loved” (the actress Carlotta Monterey had divorced Barton in 1926 and married Eugene O’Neill in 1929), and that he feared his worsening manic-depression was approaching insanity. Almost immediately, his reputation dropped from sight; several years after his death, a caricature of George Gershwin sold for a mere $5. Ralph Barton’s ashes were returned to his native Kansas City and interred in Mount Moriah Cemetery. -Wikipedia

Carlotta Monterey

Carlotta Monterey.

Astoria, Queens.

December 31, 2015 § Leave a comment



HStern | NYC.

December 27, 2015 § 1 Comment

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Angelina Jolie wearing  jewels from H. Stern.

Angelina Jolie wearing  jewels from H. Stern.

Salvatore Ferragamo Windows, Christmas 2015.

December 26, 2015 § 1 Comment

In 1955 my grandfather, Ben Benjamin, then the general manager for I. Miller shoes embarked on a European trip to help improve the production value of the I. Miller shoes being manufactured in Europe.  In the letter below, written while they were in Italy, Salvatore Ferragmo’s sister, Rosina Ferragamo, is mentioned as worth seeing.DSC_9246


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Merry Christmas.

December 25, 2015 § 1 Comment

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St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York City, Christmas Eve 2015.

Roasted Chestnuts.

December 25, 2015 § Leave a comment

Does anyone remember when Mayor Giuliani wanted to get rid of the food vendors?  I can’t imagine the city without the smell of roasting chestnuts.DSC_9186

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