Monica D. Murgia

Art, creativity, and fashion
November 24th, 2014 by Monica Murgia

Photo Diary: Gratitude

“Gratitude and attitude are not challenges; they are choices.” Robert Braathe


November 18th, 2014 by Monica Murgia

Photo Diary: The Stream

Autumn 2014

“The flow of life . . . you are going along with it whether you want to or not.  Like people in a stream, you can swim against it.  But you’ll still be moved along by it, and all you’ll do is wear yourself out in futility.  But if you swim with the stream, the whole strength of the stream is yours.  Of course, the difficulty so many of us have is finding out which way the stream is going.” – Alan Watts


Autumn 2014


November 10th, 2014 by Monica Murgia

Photo Diary: Paradise


And they asked, “How do you get to the paradise land?”  He said:  “It will not come by waiting for it. It will not be a matter of saying ‘here it is ‘or ‘there it is’.  Rather, the paradise land is spread out upon the earth and you do not see it.  What you seek is inside of you as much as it is outside of you.”  Gospel of Thomas



November 7th, 2014 by Monica Murgia

Photo Diary: Impatience


“When you plant seeds in the
garden, you don’t dig them up
every day to see if they have
sprouted yet. You simply water
them and clear away the weeds;
you know that the seeds will grow
in time. Similarly, just do your daily
practice and cultivate a kind heart.
Abandon impatience and instead be
content creating the causes for
goodness; the results will come
when they’re ready.”

 – Thubten Chodron -


October 30th, 2014 by Monica Murgia

Photo Diary: Through the Looking Glass

Through the Looking Glass
“In a Wonderland they lie, dreaming as the days go by, dreaming as the summers die. Ever drifting down the stream- lingering in the golden gleam. Life, what is it but a dream?” ― Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass
Through the Looking Glass



October 21st, 2014 by Monica Murgia

Photo Diary: Broken


“Do not despair.  If your heart can be broken, that means that it still works.”



September 2nd, 2014 by Monica Murgia

Photo Diary: Starting Over


“I don’t start over.  You see, I just go on from one thing to another.  They’re all really the same.” – Diana Vreeland 




August 20th, 2014 by Monica Murgia

Photo Diary: Mystery

new york 1

“The mystery of life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.” – Gerard van der Leeuw


New York


August 19th, 2014 by Monica Murgia

Fred Braun: A Family History


Today’s post is courtesy of my reader, KC.  My previous writing on Fred Braun has developed a coterie, commenting on their fond memories of the iconic footwear.  Everyone is mystified as to what happened to Fred Braun and why the brand disappeared.  Several readers are even interested in reviving the brand themselves, and don’t know where to start.  KC, a relative of Fred Braun, stumbled on my blog and shared the following information in the comment section:


I found this article looking for more information about Fred Braun the man and his history. There is very little online. I found a newspaper article about his and his shoe company from 1961 among my grandmother’s old pictures. Based on the information in the article and other pictures we have, I believe Fred Braun is an Americanized name and that he was originally Frederick Braunschweig, my grandfather’s brother. The family was all in the leather business (tanners, hide salesmen, shoe distributors) in Germany before fleeing the Nazis. I’d be happy to share the article and pictures I have of him and if you find any more information about him or the company, I’d be interested.

I contacted KC, eager to learn more of what happened to Fred Braun.  He shared this New York Times article from August 15th, 1961:

Part of the cult-like following was due to Braun’s process.  The entire shoe was made by hand, by one artisan.  After going bankrupt once, Braun decided to listen to the customers.  He opened a store in Greenwich Village, and looked to customers for the opportunity to test the market.  And learn he did!  He charmingly explained:
“I’ll never forget the woman who told me that a certain bag made her face look too square.  Up until then, being a mere man, I had thought that handbags were only for carrying things.”
KC has been researching his family tree, and share this additional information:
This is assuming we’re right that he really is Frederick Braunschweig.   He married a woman named Renate. We don’t know much else about her. The article claims his mother had 6 children.  We only know about the 3 brothers but there may have been sisters we don’t know about, possibly they didn’t survive or were from a previous marriage.  This photo is of Fred and Renate cutting their wedding cake (date unknown).
We do know that Fred’s brother Theo (my grandfather) was a chemist in a tannery and his father, Issac, owned shoe stores/distributors in Munich and was in business with his wife’s (Sophie Muhlhauser) family.  Another thing we know is that Issac was killed in Munich.  Most likely murdered in the street by Nazi SA.  His grave is in Munich.  Sophie later attempted to escape to France, possibly to meet Fred. The article says he went to Strasbourg, a city known for tanners, which is just across the border from Zweibrucken, where Theo’s wife was born.  Sophie failed to make it to France and was later deported from Munich to a concentration camp in Czechoslovakia and killed there.
Left to right: Theo, Ralph (KC’s father), Anna (Theo’s wife), Fred.  Photo was taken in Lille, France circa 1940.

Please feel free to comment below with any additional information that you may have.   Thank you, KC, for sharing this wonderful article and information!

Image and article courtesy of the New York Times.

August 13th, 2014 by Monica Murgia

Photo Diary: Door


Why search in vain / in every door in which we will not exist / because we have not yet arrived?

That is how I found out / that I was exactly like you / and like the whole world.

- Pablo Neruda



August 12th, 2014 by Monica Murgia

Photo Diary: Transformation


“He had been persecuted and despised for his ugliness, and now he heard them say he was the most beautiful of all the birds. Even the elder-tree bent down its bows into the water before him, and the sun shone warm and bright. Then he rustled his feathers, curved his slender neck, and cried joyfully, from the depths of his heart, ‘I never dreamed of such happiness as this, while I was an ugly duckling.’”- Hans Christian Andersen



August 8th, 2014 by Monica Murgia

Photo Diary: Reverse

reverse 2
“We must abandon completely the notion of blaming the past for any kind of situation we are in.  And we have to reverse our thinking to see that the past always flows out of the present.  That now is the creative point of life.  And so, you see, it’s like the idea of forgiving somebody.  You change the meaning of the past by doing that.  It’s also like the flow of music.   The melody as it is expressed is changed by notes that come later.  The present is always changing the past.” – Alan Watts