It’s getting harder every week to come to this space and blog about simple beauty and joy. What can I say? We simply don’t live in a time when we can be frivolous and go about our lives as if it were business as usual, oblivious to geo-political developments in the US and the world. No matter what our political inclinations are, there’s no way we can breathe easily these days. There’s just too much unrest and discord in the news and social media as well as daily conversations that we often just feel exhausted and a little depressed.
Yet it is during stressful times like the one we are in right now when we actually need more self-care, often in the form of simple joys. We still need to find a moment in our days when we can recharge — read books, go to yoga class, laugh with a friend, and go to our happy place. Because at the end of the day, no one will hand these things to us on a silver platter and tell us we deserve these pleasures. We must guard our simple joys zealously to keep going, to continue fighting and resisting, for the road ahead is long.
Personally, my simple joy and happy place is a museum, any museum. Seeing works from various artists and learning the process in which they create always give me tremendous joy and satisfaction. Last week, I went to the Met Breuer and checked out Kerry James Marshall’s exhibit before it closed. Marshall’s inspiration and approach to painting and his subjects are refreshing. In depicting African-American life in the US, Marshall used a painting style that was largely influenced by diverse styles from the Dutch masters to Jackson Pollock and Romare Bearden while adding a distinctive touch into the mix. The result is eclectic, diverse and full-bodied masterpieces that use classical methods while pushing the status quo.
What do you do to tend to your soul? I’d love to know…
All I want for V-Day is some Diptyque’s Rosa Mundi Limited Edition candles. Not only do they smell delicious with notes of bergamot, lychee and geranium but the paper for the whole line also is quite unique. Diptyque partnered with paper manufacturer Antoinette Poisson to design the products’ vintage-styled domino packaging paper and sheets. The paper for the Rosa Mundi line are printed by using the 18th century technique of hand blocking with engraved plates and applying color with stencils. In this digital age when images can be a little flat sometimes, I can’t wait to get my hand on one of these goodies and feel the difference. Alright, hubby..hint, hint.
I can’t believe that it’s already the third week in January. Life usually slows down a bit in January and February for us but I don’t think that will be the case in 2017. Our calendar is already quite full for the next few months with numerous commitments and obligations, many of which we cannot avoid unfortunately. A day at a time, a task at a time, be mindful, be in the moment. These are the words I easily say to myself but have a hard time adhering to.
Like everyone, I have good days and bad. As a parent of tween girls, I tend to have more of the latter, aka tumultuous and emotional roller-coaster type of days. How does any mother of tween/teen girls stay sane? You almost have to experiment in various forms of self help to get through these turbulent years.
What helps for now are talks with loved ones who always have my back as well as reading a few good books on parenting teens. In fact, there are two books that I have read recently that are so insightful on the subject — The Gift of Failure and Untangled. I have used some of the strategies recommended from these two books and can see a difference already in my relationship with my girls. So if you have a moment, do read at least one of these books. It may shed some light on how to parent your teen or at the very least reinforce what you already know but may have forgotten.
Here’s a little snippet of our lives as of late….
Brady turning one! Happy Birthday, Big Guy!
Some eye candy while getting ready for the upcoming Matisse show at Montclair Art Museum
Holidays may be over but not at Ines’ school where they sang holiday songs and played instruments last week
Loving C’s school as it reaches a milestone year in 2017. Way to go, Villa!
How’s 2017 treating you so far?
We spent the last day of 2016 at the Centre Pompidou, our go-to place for art exhibits whenever we’re in Paris. In recent years, the exhibits at the Pompidou, from Lichtenstein to Klee, have all been so comprehensive, fascinating and unique. The artists featured at this place, unlike those at other top museums in Paris, are often fresh, modern and slightly provocative — totally my cup of tea.
I guess I am not alone in my love for the Pompidou. According to a recent newspaper article in France, the museum had a 9% increase in attendance in 2016, when most Paris venues were empty due to terrorist fears. During the same period, other more traditional Parisian museums like the Louvre and Musee d’Orsay lost 15% and 13% respectively of visitors.
But enough of the facts, right? The exhibits we saw, Cy Twombly and Rene Magritte, were quite delightlful. The temperature in Paris that morning was below 30 degrees Fahrenheit and the line in front of the museum was quite long and moved at an annoyingly snail’s pace. Despite the harsh elements, we stayed in line because it was our last day in Paris and we knew that we won’t get another shot at seeing these two great exhibits together again.
Twombly and Magritte are such different artists. Twombly’s free flowing, almost anarchic style is a stark contrast to Magritte’s methodical and philosophical approach to art. Just look at the images below…
The funny thing about these two particular exhibits is that my admiration for these two artists were reversed after seeing their works closer and more extensively. I was not a Magritte fan before the show but I came away from it utterly impressed with the precision and thought the artist put into every single one of his works. On the other hand, Twombly, left me a little flat with his carefree style and oversized canvases. I supposed Twombly’s works just did not move me or fascinate me the same way Magritte’s art did.
Happy New Year! Hope that you had a wonderful holiday season spent doing things you love with people near and dear to your heart. We spent about 10 days in France, most of it in my happy place, Normandy. It’s always a little different to see a place you love at a different time of the year. There’s always fear that the said place would not live up to your vision of it, especially as the harsh elements of winter take toll on its natural beauty. Given that we see Normandy mostly in July and August, I tend to associate it with verdant green landscapes, at their peak and in full glory in the summer.
I have to say that I wasn’t disappointed with Normandy in the week we were there. We were blessed with decent weather, no rain and only bitter cold temperatures at the end, so surely my views here are completely biased, right? In all seriousness though, seeing the light in Normandy, the way the sun shines at different hours of the day, makes me understand why so many Impressionists painters did their work here. There is something soft and romantic about the way the sun illuminates different Norman pastures and landmarks.
Spending time in Normandy and Paris twice this year also makes me look forward to the time when the girls will be in college or even older when I can spend unrestricted amount of time here. There’s something about these corners of France that gives me comfort and feel like home to me. Does that make sense? Do you feel that one part of yourself belong to a place you don’t currently call home? I do, I feel that a part of my soul stays in France whenever I head back home to America.