“The Power of She” with Dee Poku and Faith Popcorn

Recently held in NYC, Dee Poku’s fifth annual WIE (Women, Inspiration & Enterprise) Symposium IT TAKES TWO is one of the smartest, aspirational, and relevant events surrounding the topic of female empowerment and leadership – especially in the workplace. Over the last few years, the idea of “feminism” and being a “feminist” has shifted – gaining traction in mainstream media as well as mainstream culture and society. Take Beyonce and Jay Z: two of the most influential people in pop culture.  During their recent “On The Run” tour, B opened up one of her performances with a powerful snippet of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s 2013 TEDx speech projected on the screen — defining feminist as “a person who believes in the social, economic and political equality of the sexes.” Another great advocate of femininity and business is Sara Blakely, Founder of Spanx, who inspired us all when she turned $5,000 into a Billion dollar business, becoming the youngest self-made female billionaire in history. Big brands have also been zeroing in on the subject – with Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign, Always’s “Like a Girl” campaign, and Pantene’s “Not Sorry” campaign. WIE TALKS HIGHLIGHTS: Opening with “Meditation and Focus” (which I led), to discussions on “The Sharing Economy” (with Diane Brady from Bloomberg, Juliet de Baubigny & Ken Parks from Spotify) to conversations on how we pass down confidence through the “The Ripple Effect” (with Margaret Wheeler Johnson, Zosia Mamet, Dr. Jen Hartstein, Gabrielle Benstein & Jen Bremner from Dove) to “Power Dynamics” (with Alina Cho, John Demsey from The Estée Lauder Companies & Jane Hertzmark Hudis from Estée Lauder) and concluding with “It Takes Two” (with Laura Brown from Harper’s Bazaar, Trudie Styler from Maven Pictures & Celine Rattray from Maven Pictures). It’s no surprise that events centered on topics surrounding female empowerment (like WIE) are growing.  Just recently, marketing maestro Faith Popcorn held “The Future of Female Empowerment” Salon in NYC, which honored Dr. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngguka, the Executive Director of UN Women — an organization at the forefront of global female empowerment. These events are crucial for the future, as they not only help to bring important topics, challenges, and insights to light, but also provide platforms for this generation’s women leaders to inspire and empower the next generation. Donna D’Cruz, Rasa Living, consults businesses and individuals on Spirit, Senses, and Style. She is a DJ/Performer, Designer and leads regular Meditation events at Phoenix House (America’s Oldest Drug and Rehab Center and The Standard Hotel “DIP INTO BLISs” ®.” Rasaliving.com  Follow Donna on FacebookTwitter Spotify and Instagram 

Compassion in Action, Love in Deed + Bill Clinton’s Global Initiative

The Global Citizen Festival mobilized 60,000 people in New York’s Central Park for a night dedicated to raising awareness and funds to end global extreme poverty by 2030.

Lead host Hugh Jackman, joined by his wife Deborra-Lee Furness, introduced rousing speeches by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim. Additional hosts included Adrian Grenier, Jessica Alba, Katie Holmes, and Olivia Wilde.

Headlined by Jay Z with a surprise performance from Beyonce, the festival gathered an impressive live music line-up that included a feisty performance by No Doubt (with an emotional duet with Sting on “Message in a Bottle”), Carrie Underwood, Tiësto, and a blistering performance by one of my favorites, The Roots (LOVE Amir and his passion for doo-wop).


The tickets were given away for free in a lottery system with the invitation to fans to “share content about three main themes: vaccines, education and sanitation” with the goal of bringing wider attention to global poverty.

Global Citizen Festival was sponsored by H&M and supported by the H&M Conscious Foundation. The Foundation’s ambassador Alek Wek announced their partnership with WaterAid to deliver safe water and toilets to 250,000 school students in many of the world’s poorest countries by 2017.

Anoop Jaim from Humanure was announced as the Waislitz Global Citizen Award winner.

Snippet of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Speech at Global Citizen Festival in New York City, USA:

“Because, you are the future. What you do Today, will decide, our Tomorrow.

I feel, a current of hope, in this Park. Among you, I feel confident about the future…

You are touching, the lives of those, who are not as fortunate, as you are. What an admirable act, this is. What a sacred mission.

For you to think, about those, who are far. Whose faces, you have not seen. Whose names, you do not know. Whose nationality, does not matter to you.

For you to convert, your thoughts into action. And devote, your time, and energy. So that others, may have a better future too.

Those living in poverty. Without education. Without basic sanitation. Without opportunity. And worse, without hope.

I salute you”

Transcript Sourced from narendramodi.inGLOBAL CITIZEN FESTIVAL 2014

Leading up to the annual UN General Assembly, The 10th annual Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) meeting, held September 21, 2014 in New York, marked the 8th annual Clinton Global Citizen Awards ceremony, which was hosted by Seth Meyers. CGI honored Leonardo DiCaprio for his environmental activism and the president of Kosovo, Atifete Jahjaga, for peacemaking. Hayat Sindi (Founder & CEO, i2 Institute) and Greg Asbed and Lucas Benitez (Co-founders, Coalition of Immokalee Workers) were honored for their leadership in civil society. CGI also honored Dr. Irwin Mark Jacobs (Founding Chairman & CEO Emeritus, Qualcomm) for his leadership in the private sector.

The Clinton Global Citizen Awards – attended by Shane Smith (VICE), Lyor Cohen, Tom Freston, Ufuk Sevinc, Dr. Hermann Buehlbecker – honors outstanding individuals in civil society, philanthropy, public service and the private sector who exemplify global citizenship through their vision, leadership and impact in addressing global challenges.

This year’s awards were presented by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Eva Longoria and Randy Jackson, the event’s music producer.

The emotional ceremony featured performances by Aloe Blacc, Natalie Merchant, Jason Mraz and Raining Jane and The Roots.

Donna D’Cruz, Rasa Living, consults businesses and individuals on Spirit, Senses, and Style. She is a DJ/performer, designer, and leads regular meditation events at Phoenix House (America’s Oldest Drug and Rehab Center and The Standard Hotel “DIP INTO BLISS” ®.” Follow Donna on FacebookTwitter, Spotify, and Instagram 


Simple Recipes for Joy by Yogi to the Stars Sharon Gannon

Activist, author, dancer. Yogi and teacher to the stars and seekers, Jivamukti founder, Sharon Gannon’s latest book, “Recipes for Joy” is an expression of her golden heart. Sharon Gannon has created a truly delightful and frankly, yummy (note to Self, YAM is the Sanskrit tone that brings harmony to the Heart Chakra) invitation to activate any desire you may have to learn and live a Vegan life.

Watch the interview here:

“Sharon’s food nourishes AND enlightens. As a long time devoted fan of her Jivamukti Cafe and her yoga teachings, I can’t wait to experiment with her alchemy at home. She’s finally given up her secrets.” –Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan, Noah)

“Sharon is my Guru—I like eating anything she’s dishing out. Her teachings on yoga and veganism have positively transformed my life. She is not only an example of someone who walks the talk, but she excels in so many areas, teacher, philosopher, activist, artist, musician and cook, showing us all that through devotion to God one can become a divine instrument and with God’s great love all is possible.” –Russell Simmons

book cover

Donna D’Cruz, Rasa Living, consults businesses and individuals on Spirit, Senses, and Style. She is a DJ/Performer, Designer and leads regular Meditation events at Phoenix House (America’s Oldest Drug and Rehab Center and The Standard Hotel “DIP INTO BLISS” (R).” 


Tomato Crush and Trick or Treat for UNICEF

Caryl M. Stern, Mindy Grossman, Hilary Gumbel and Donna D’Cruz

Passion for food and music connects us like nothing else. We need not speak the same language to resonate with the conversation of rhythm, spice and the unique kinship this brings. UNICHEF:Top Chefs Unite in Support of The World’s Children (Glitterati) just launched with the support of Mindy Grossman, CEO of HSN, Caryl M. Stern, US Fund for UNCHEF President CEO, Bryant Gumbel, Matt Lauer and Regis Philbin.

UNICHEF is the amazing collaboration of 40 world-class chefs to benefit the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, assembled by Hilary Gumbel. UNICHEF’s famed contributors are brought together to create an international culinary travelogue for the whole family to enjoy. Distinctive recipes are just part of the narrative as each chef in an accompanying text shares his or her personal relationship to food in formative years and the genesis of their life’s work. Marcus Samuelsson, David Chang, Wolfgang Puck, Emeril Lagasse, Sandra Lee, Cat Cora, Jamie Oliver, Giada De Laurentiis, and Mario Batali are just some of the talents included in this exceptional collection.

There is still more to UNICHEF than the recipes, personal photographs, and remembrances; the author has chosen to donate 100% of her royalties directly to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works in 190 countries and territories worldwide to save and improve children’s lives by providing health care and immunizations, clean water, sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. This information rich cookbook will appeal to both foodies and families alike, while at the same time providing every reader the opportunity to join all of the chefs in their effort to support the world’s most vulnerable children.

UniChef cookbook

Matt Lauer

HSN Cares Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF PrimeTime Special 10 p.m. EST September 26.

Carrying forward the tradition of Food and Music, Tom Silverman, the enigmatic Founder of Tommy Boy Music, Entertainment (and some say the founder of Hip-Hop for his discovery and collaboration with AfrikaBaambaata “Planet Rock”) honors the tradition of his Italian mum and grandparents with the Bianelle of “The Great Tomato Crush”. Old school, old-fashioned kinship and with the intention of creating the best tomato sauce (EVER!) we visited Arthur Ave. in the Bronx to gather food, conversation (well, actually the fully-expressed Bronx opinions on everything from the best peaches, to best baker to best tomatoes…you get the idea, Hey, I wouldn’t lie to you Buddy.) Thank you, Biono Bros for the 700lbs of ravishing NJ tomatoes; Tietel Bros for the glorious fare — Calabrian cheeses riddled with truffles, plump Sicilian green olives that marry perfectly with sharp freshly sliced Parmigiano-Reggiano (Tietel also supplies the finest NYC restaurants); David Greco, Mike’s Deli for the great Basilico and unique olive oil infusion. EGidio for the crunchiest, yummiest cannoli this side of the Tiber (and my beautiful layered Casata Birthday cake. The Great Tomato Crush is a true feast “Abondanza” (abundance, gratitude for the plentiful fare, and the joy of the feasting) celebrating the traditional harvest and way of days gone by so that we might be reminded that often, the simplest things are what binds us to our memories and what binds us to each other.

So you can drool a little more, here are some details of 2014 Crush.

Ira Levy (Levy Lighting, NY Festival of Light) and Helene Safdie, thank you for your generous collaboration and the incredible, magical and artistically lit property.



donna5 donna6Tom Silverman and Donna D’Cruz

donna7 Squashing the tomatoes (not really how it’s done but so cute!)




Mario Lanza


Dean Martin

The Harptones

Diona and TheBelmonts

De La Soul



The GodFather soundtrack (of course)



(Organic greens and gluten-free pasta wherever possible):-

Insalate Caprese (Burrata) with heirloom tomatoes and Union Sq. Market Basil

Arugula and kale salads with white balsamic, Danish blue cheese and cranberries

Pasta vongole with Razor clams

Rigatoni arribiata with cherry tomatoes and fresh anchovies

Spaghetti Pesto with Baby Potatoes and Beans

Penne Siciliana with fresh tomato sauce, slow roasted garlic and eggplants.

Guilt free garlic bread baked to perfection in the pizza oven.

Donna D’Cruz, Rasa Living, consults businesses and individuals on Spirit, Senses, and Style. She is a DJ/Performer, Designer and leads regular Meditation events, “DIP INTO BLISS” (R).” 

Follow Donna on Twitter and Instagram 

Francesco Clemente on His ‘Inspired by India’ Retrospective at the Rubin Museum of Art

Francesco Clemente is beguiling.  Born in Naples, Italy, Clemente has had a long, passionate affair with India for many years which not only resulted in he and his family living in Southern India, but is also wildly emblematic in the cross-cultural exchange in this body of work.  Living in India has shaped and informed Clemente’s creative vocabulary expressing itself in a deeply rich, personal and complex tapestry riddled with Clemente journey of enquiry. 

The latest exhibition opens September 5  (until Feb 2015) at the Rubin Museum of Art and marks the first New York retrospective of Clemente’s  in over a decade.  Featured is a  series of new sculptures created for the exhibition as well as rarely exhibited works  from Clemente’s early practice displayed alongside his fresh new pieces – approximately 20 iconic works, paintings, sculpture.  From  massive Pop-inflected paintings evoking Tamil signboards; to large-scale sculptures created in the Rajastani metalworking tradition  to canvasses that draw on the erotic iconography of the Orissa temples- each piece has the imprint of Clememte’s deep connection and engagement with the multifarious nature of India. The “Black Book Watercolors” are some of the most sensual and stunning erotic paintings drawing us in with the languid and detailed intimacy. I know I’ll be returning to sit quietly in this precious collection.

Over a simple chai and still-warm samosas, Francesco Clemente and I chatted about his latest exhibition. 

In this survey of new work,  I get a sense of modernity as well as your continuing engagement with Indian artistic traditions.  

It’s a blend of my hand and also the somehow, iconographic language that is different…I want to go past the boundaries.

Where there boundaries before that?

I wanted to make it more literal, but everything I do is about the fragmentation of the Self. 

FRANCESCO CLEMENTE​ from BlackBook on Vimeo.

Is that part of your journey and “story”?

There is always more than a story no? Yes there are always layers. I mean, you have come from this background. You just look at the same place from two different directions.  Really, you can’t look at any place in the world from the place itself. You have to look from somewhere else to see what is there.

“Francesco Clemente, a mingle of the two worlds, artist of spiritual cynicism and erotic chastity, or perhaps cynical spiritualism and chaste eroticism, his face hanging hugely above his dreamscapes like the moon.” — Salman Rushdie

16Sixteen Amulets for the Road (IX) CopysunsunSun Copy

hand The Four Corners Copy

franFrancesco Clemente with Sun Copy

Donna D’Cruz, Rasa Living, consults businesses and individuals on Spirit, Senses, and Style. She is a DJ/Performer, Designer and leads regular Meditation events, “DIP INTO BLISS” (R).” 

Follow Donna on Twitter at @DonnaDCruz and Instagram @DonnDcruz1

New York Fashion Week is a Global Billboard for Fashion, Beauty, and What’s Coming Next!

Dressing the outside strives to be balanced with how we address our inner life and we are beginning to understand the importance of true beauty… inner balance, strong bodies and creative, focused minds. There’s nothing more attractive than inner radiance.

Engaging our inner and outer strengths today at 4PM as part of #FFF (Fashion, Fitness, Food) at Highline Hotel , AerospaceHPC Former Championship boxer, Michael Olajide jr will unleash new body toning moves, in his Unleash; The Haute Couture Workout ™  trainer to stars, Iman, Hugh Jackman, Adrianna Lima and Victoria’s Secret Angels will share with us the latest “Secret to Sleek”.


Athleta hosted “Crush off Adrenaline” to kick off NYFW. Athleta is GAP’s fitness fashion brand for a woman who sees fitness as vital to her life with a Mantra of “Strong is Sexy”. Choreographed by Luam Keflezgy (Rihanna, Kanye West, Brittany Spears) and styled by Stylist, E! News and Today show fashion correspondent, Zanna Roberts Rassi the refreshing athletic and movement based show had ebullient energy, happy beautiful faces (with dewy, natural looks by Ventu) and a great ranges of looks that (thank YOU!) can take a girl from the mat at the gym to the office and onto a fun date.

Athleta Event 2 Athleta Event 42222


Dom Perignon Launches a Playful & Audacious Collection With Iris Van Herpen

Richard Geoffroy, Iris van Herpen, Anja Rubik, Arnaud de Saignes

Kicking-off New York Fashion Week, on September 3rd, Dom Pérignon feted the global debut of its new collaboration with Iris van Herpen, guest member of the prestigious Parisian Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, with a party at Pioneer Works Center for Arts and Innovation in Red Hook. 

The balmy evening’s theme, “The Power of Creation” was filled with treats and surprises. Guests travelled by private boat and a charted bus from NYC and enjoyed a unique experiential journey through a labyrinth of spaces transformed with vibrant lighting installations by Levy Design and contortionist performances within Dustin Yellin’s Pioneer Works Center for Arts and Innovation.

Joining special guest Iris van Herpen (her creations have been worn by Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Tilda Swinton, Bjork)  was Richard Geoffroy, Chef de Cave, Dom Pérignon, and others including:  Carmelo Anthony, Paz de la Huerta, Bryan Greenberg, Joe & Nick Jonas, Michele Hicks, Kelly Rutherford, Anja Rubik, Lola Rykiel, Brian Atwood, Tom Silverman, Lyor Cohen, Amy Sacco, Colin Cowie, Pippa Cohen, Stella Schnabel, Casey Spooner, Dustin Yellin, Paz de la Huerta, Georgia Fowler, Hannelore Knuts, Santiago Barberi Gonzalez, Laura de Gunzburg, Casey Fremont Crowe, Zani Gugelmann, Marcella Lindeberg, Topper Mortimer, Richard Pandiscio & Todd Eberle and Laura Remington Platt .

Highlighting the night, guests enjoyed the first look at the Dom Pérignon Limited Edition by Iris van Herpen: an exclusive gift box and label created by van Herpen for Dom Pérignon’s Vintage 2004. Guests saw the reveal of Cocoonase, an über-premium, made-to-order piece of art created by Iris van Herpen and inspired by the importance of time in crafting each Dom Pérignon Vintage.

In Cocoonase, Iris van Herpen was inspired by the importance of time in crafting the Dom Pérignon vintages: the agility and speed needed to pick the best grapes at their peak of perfection, versus the wine’s many potent years of active maturation. Cocoonase highlights this duality of time to underscore the singularity of Dom Pérignon wines.

“The name Cocoonase references the butterfly which softens her cocoon shell before she goes into her next stage of metamorphosis,” said Iris van Herpen. “This piece of art houses Dom Pérignon Vintage 2004, symbolically nestled inside of the cocoon structure, and its fine ribs and lines represent a one-way passage out. Cocoonase acts as a shield that protects the Dom Pérignon bottle as it prepares for its metamorphosis.”

Iris van Herpen also designed a limited edition of bottles and gift boxes for Dom Pérignon Vintage 2004.

The limited edition collaboration is inspired by metamorphosis: signifying the closure of one period and the birth of another, and a powerful symbol of evolution, transformation and renaissance. 

The Dom Pérignon Limited Edition by Iris van Herpen will be available at fine wine purveyors in America, beginning September, 2014.


2 Paz de la Huerta

4 Tara Dhingra, Donna DCruz, Nicole Ruvo

6 Tom Silverman, Dustin Yellin


All photos courtesy of BFA