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What fires me up is helping the everyday woman feel ready for her closeup. SNAP, you can do it!

Sharon Haver, Fashion Expert & Style Advisor

Make the most of what you’ve got by implementing my streamlined fashion stylist skills to stylishly increase your polished presence + self-confidence.

Sharon Haver, Fashion Expert & Style Mentor

Lemonade Out Of Lemons: Lessons of Style and Compassion from Hurricane Sandy to Scottsdale

On the Road: The unexpected traveller in Scottsdale, Arizona

I’ve been displaced from my family during Hurricane Sandy. There’s a lesson to share here that’s bigger than my personal story and something to lean on when the tide literally turns.

Before you read any further, I’d like you to bolster American Red Cross support by texting the phrase “REDCROSS” to 90999 to make a $10 contribution for Sandy relief. You can also help via iTunes by using the donate button located on the main page for the iTunes store set up specifically for Sandy relief. Only have a phone?  You can also make contributions by calling 1-800-733-2767.

This is the first text that I received from my son- a downtown Manhattan building that lost its facade as a result of Superstorm Sandy

This is the first text message that I received from my son- a photo of a downtown Manhattan building that lost its facade as a result of Superstorm Sandy

Stranded after attending a conference in Scottsdale, AZ I’ve learned to take the subpar and switch it up to super. A lesson in turning lemons into lemonade that can help YOU get more productive and focused in living a more stimulating life in style. And, a lesson for me to go with the flow when things are out of my control.

My flight  after the business conference was one of the first cancelled. What would have been my few days away have turned into the longest time separated from my guys and from the comforts of being connected to them.

The Scottsdale “resort” that the conference was held at was a homage to the 1980s and not in the most flattering way. Besides dreary and dated decor that sucked the pep out of inspiration, it lacked WIFI, had poor cell reception, a weak & tepid shower, a spontaneously flushing toilet, busted screen door, and sundry other oddities, including a 6AM room service coffee delivery from a poor guy with TWO black eyes. Making do was grating, if not a chore.

Fast forward to back in New York, where we live in downtown Manhattan in the area that suffered the Con Ed explosion and was both without power and cell reception– merely an inconvenience to the loss others would face from Sandy. It’s hard to compare a crummy hotel to hurricane devastation, but it compounds the difficulty of being on top of things and the ability  to communicate to those at home.

Talk about Surreal: While my family waited for the storm to hit, I explored the desert terrain of Camelback Mountain area in Scottsdale, AZ

Talk about Surreal: While my family waited for the storm to hit, I explored the desert terrain of Camelback Mountain area in Scottsdale, AZ

After my flight was cancelled, with nothing much to do while NY waited for the storm to hit, I decided to “chill” around the Camelback Mountain area in the desert. How surreal and ironic is that? I packed my heels for the conference but not much in terms of hiking gear, so a rare trip to a spa for a massage calmed my nerves. Check out the magnificent view from the pool (photo above), no wonder it’s called The Sanctuary.

Once Superstorm Sandy hit, my anxiety from being so far away was compounded by not having WIFI and spotty contact from my lousy hotel. With everything out of my hands, I took my husband’s advice and booked myself for a minibus tour (haven’t been on one since I was on college) of Sedona and the Grand Canyon. Yet another irony as I was sucking in the magnificence of nature while nature was causing havoc and destruction on the lives and environment of those at home.

The sheer magnificence of nature at Sedona and the Grand Canyon
The sheer magnificence of nature at Sedona and the Grand Canyon

New Yorkers are a resilient bunch.

The only way my husband could reach me after the hurricane was to get the car from the pitch black parking lot and drive uptown, where power is unaffected, to both charge his phone and get reception.  My son was retrieved from his friend’s house after my husband walked the 15 flights to get him. The poodle was waiting by the elevator for me to get home.

After being up most of the night from both nerves and the incessant flushing of  the yucky hotel toilet run amuck, reaching my family my family  post Sandy and getting out of that hotel were tops on my list.

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I cannot express my gratitude to Vaughn’s Southwest Custom Tours for providing an iPhone charger so I can stay connected to my family and to the fantastic guide, Rich, for both being so fun and insightful and hooking me up to a terrific modern hotel through Bookings.com.

From the dated & depressing hotel (upper left) without WIFI to my new modern & stylish digs where anything seems possible.

From the dated & depressing hotel (upper left) without WIFI to my new modern & stylish digs where anything seems possible.

What a difference a day makes!

Once relocated to my modern new digs and finally having Internet, I am able to write this and feel the weight lift as I started to explore in the realm of Scottsdale travet. Being attuned to your surroundings is so important for productivity and creativity. Suddenly surrounded by bright color and forward design made me feel more hopeful and energetic– it’s something you should consider, particularly on the space where you spend the most of your time.

If you are living in your life to the fullest your environment should echo your personal style, and it doesn’t have to be fancy. When you update your wardrobe, don’t forget to update your personal space as well. A simple coat of fresh paint in the area where you spend the most of your time can lift your spirits and your style.

Again, my family only lost power but many families lost everything. Please  text the phrase “REDCROSS” to 90999 to make a $10 contribution for Sandy relief.

SMoCA is like a mini DIA art foundation. Clockwise from top: Héctor Zamora, Reductio Ad Absurdum, 2012. 1976 ALJO travel trailer, 25 tons of native Arizona sand. Courtesy of the artist. © Héctor Zamora, SMoCA Lounge, “Beneath the Wave,” 2011, designed by Janis Leonard with assistance from Effie Bouras. Photo by Joe Jankovsky, Carrie Marill, No Chick-Fil-A, 2012. Acrylic on linen, 45 x 31 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Lisa Sette Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ. © Carrie Marill. and, Roger Arvid Anderson, Fayette, 1972. Archival pigment print, 18 x 27 in. © Roger Arvid Anderson

From SMoCA, clockwise from top: Héctor Zamora, Reductio Ad Absurdum, 2012. 1976 ALJO travel trailer, 25 tons of native Arizona sand. Courtesy of the artist. © Héctor Zamora, SMoCA Lounge, “Beneath the Wave,” 2011, designed by Janis Leonard with assistance from Effie Bouras. Photo by Joe Jankovsky, Carrie Marill, No Chick-Fil-A, 2012. Acrylic on linen, 45 x 31 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Lisa Sette Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ. © Carrie Marill. and, Roger Arvid Anderson, Fayette, 1972. Archival pigment print, 18 x 27 in. © Roger Arvid Anderson from the
“West of Center: Art and The Counterculture Experiment in America, 1965-1977″ exhibition.

As my days away stretched, I started to explore Scottsdale as an unexpected tourist.

I came across a hidden gem of a museum that’s a must-see. The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) is like a mini DIA Art Foundation with probing exhibitions including the 3rd iteration of  their “Architecture + Art” exhibition series featuring artist Héctor Zamora’sReductio Ad Absurdum, 2012. A 1976 ALJO travel trailer with 25 tons of native Arizona sand as an artist interpretation of the crumbling housing market.

Cosanti in Scottsdale (Paradise Valley), Arizona

Cosanti in Scottsdale (Paradise Valley), Arizona

I ended my Scottsdale touring at Cosanti in Paradise Valley, the residence plus ceramics studio and bronze foundry of Paolo Soleri. Believing that architecture must come before everything else, Soleri’s anti-materialist ideas “generated here have helped to develop a lean and frugal methodology for approaching life on earth and the designs of cities that would support that attitude and that life,” as stated on its website.  At Cosanti, there is an erring magical sense of oneness with the earth and the impeccable connection of art weaving through the life you live.

I was three-times lucky with my flight cancellations and made it back to New York as power was starting to be restored.  Life can change on a dime, so we should always live it to the fullest in style and with compassion. Presently, my family is organizing our clothes, pillows and blankets to donate to local Sandy clothing drives. Please check our Twitter and Facebook as we have locations. In the meantime, NBC has organized a list of ways you can help those affected by Hurricane Sandy here.

Photos: All photos FocusOnStyle except SMoCA, courtesy of SMoCA.

Published on November 04, 2012