I love those fashion articles that advise you on how to dress according to your age. It’s not that I heed every single thing that fashion gurus say I should wear. For me, it’s simply a fun reality check to see whether or not I’m breaking some silly fashion rule at whatever life stage I’m in. For instance, I loved it when beauty advisers used to say no long hair for women over forty, as if we’re all supposed to chop off our locks and sport an Annie Lenox ‘do the moment we hit the big 4-0. I did that look in my teens and there’s no way I’m going back there again…
So when I saw this article last week, I was a little intrigued. I guess I never gave much thought to decorating based on age. Buying the stuff you love and surrounding yourself with them were always my guiding principles in interiors, not age. But then, I thought about it a little further. We DO decorate by age, unless you’re one of the lucky ones with unlimited funds to buy what you love at a young age.
The fact that I hardly had any money for furniture in my 20s dictated my apartment aesthetics of mostly Ikea and hand-me-down furnitures. And, there’s also the fashion trend at the time. In my early 30s, there was a lot of Pottery Barn-inspired pieces that I was attracted to and grew out of in my 40s. Now that I’m close to another milestone in my life, I’m more drawn to pieces that have longevity, more estate pieces but of the mid-century kind, that I can hopefully pass down to the girls one day.
How do you decorate?
30s and beyond decorating
Those times when I feel like crawling underneath a rock and hiding from ugly things around us, I think of these girls, of the strong women who came before me and the courageous women who stand with me to fight through our current battles.
I can’t think of a world without women, can you?
Hey, are you guys still here? I know I’ve been away from this space for a little while. Just like everyone else, I needed a break from the constant Breaking News that’s become such a part of our daily lives. I thought, why add to the media clutter, right ? Then, I started thinking of how talking about simple beauty and blissful moments in our lives when the world seems to be so chaotic these days felt a little too self-indulgent.
And, yet, here I am, back in this old blog of mine. When I was away from here, I started missing a few things like taking photos and documenting trivial moments in life. I still have conflicted feelings about sharing life in such a public space but I find that I need this space for my own sanity. This place is where I define who I am and what matters to me and where I get to express myself creatively. This place is also where I hold myself accountable to live life with intent, beauty and joy.
A few snippets of what’s been going on in our lives lately…
- Celebrating a milestone birthday. We now have a teen in the house.
Cake made by Ines
- Enjoying the simple things like finding an old-fashioned independently-owned bookstore
- Going to the last Father-Daughter Dance in grade school
- Three times the charm, performing at this wondrous hall for the third time.
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.
Life lately in 2016
The last week of 2016 is here! What a crazy year it has been with all the ups and downs in our everyday lives. As many variables and unknowns face us in 2017, I know one thing we’ll always have is the love of family and friends. I plan to hold on to those whom I cherish a little bit more in the new year and minimize any negative presence in my life. Life is just too short to bother with the trivial and unnecessary. The death of loved ones in the last few years along with those of singers and artists who were such a part of my childhood are simple reminders how fleeting our time on Earth is.
I am not sure yet what I want to do with the blog in the next year. A part of me wants to stop blogging with my girls getting older and the pull for them to live their own lives become stronger. Another possibility is that I continue writing in this space but focusing more on my own personal narrative (and less of theirs), knowing how much writing fulfills my soul. It’s doable but challenging given how much of my self-definition revolves around motherhood. Yet another option is to just focus on Instagram and let my photos there do the talking. An easier option but a bit limited as a communication outlet. What to do, what to do?
I want to share some photos from our Christmas in France at my in-laws this year. We have not spent Christmas here for five years so our visit was definitely long overdue. The girls have little cousins here now too so there is a stronger need to come to France for all of them to start building some memories and bond even just for a few days.
Have a great week!!!
Life lately in 2016
Wrapping up the year and getting our holiday groove on were the main focus of this past weekend. It was festive and heartwarming to be able to celebrate a great meal on Friday night with the girls’ French class, followed by a Saturday night piano recital and holiday meals with friends and family on Sunday. Sounds a bit jam-packed but only because we’re trying to see everyone before we leave for France.
I’m excited for the holidays. I’m hoping to unwind, unplug and take a few moments of reflection as we gear up for 2017. The beginning of the new year is always full of promise and I want to spend the next two weeks gathering my inner strength to prep for what lies ahead. But there’s a also a part of me that’s a bit melancholic as we say goodbye to another year, shedding part of ourselves as we get ready to move forward.
What are your holiday plans this year?
Look of exasperation as these girls won’t stop talking sometimes
Happy girls in the rain, waiting for Santa to come by
Talent show, brotherly love and competition