With the girls going to two school systems with different vacation weeks, our Spring Break was pretty much limited to five days. And so with that limited time, we decided for a quick getaway in Miami even though we already had spent Spring Break there two years ago. At least with Miami, we did not have to worry about connecting flights, time change or unpredictable weather. Sunny days, entertainment and good food are pretty much guaranteed.
I wish I can say we did all these novel things while in Miami. The reality was that we wanted to enjoy every minute of sitting by the pool and the beach and really not doing much of anything. Our sole outing, apart from eating out, was going to the Perez Art Museum while my biggest accomplishment was finishing two books.
As short as this vacation was, I still feel recharged from putting a quick break from the usual routine. How was your Spring Break?
I never thought we would see spring emerge after the last snowstorm we had in March and the heavy downpour from the last two weeks. Yet almost in a blink of an eye, signs of spring are simply everywhere from the birds chirping in the morning to the crocuses and daffodils blooming everywhere. I love spring, the renewal of life, the longer days, and the warmer temps.
Like the other seasons, spring acts as a milepost that marks where we are in life — another winter under the belt, another summer to look forward to. Yet what’s most prevalent in my mind these days is the unstoppable forward motion of time. Five more years before Chiara goes to college, eight more years before Ines leaves. While a lot can happen during that time frame, I know the remaining time I have with my girls will go fast. Slowly, I’m learning to let them go as they prepare to take off and begin to define themselves in relationships and roles outside our family.
A few weeks ago, Chiara performed with her guitar ensemble at Merkin Hall in the city. It’s the first time that the ensemble played with an orchestra and I must say the whole experience was quite amazing! Not only was the music they created that afternoon rhythmic and melodious but the ensemble members got to see what it was like to play with professional musicians on a renowned concert venue. I can’t sing enough praises for these kids, this guitar ensemble, who had put countless hours of practice yet never once forgot to laugh and have a good time together. So much of what the group has become and now embodies is the result of their guitar teacher’s passionate teaching style and unrelenting dedication to these kids.
Apart from the music, I have to say that my other favorite part of the afternoon is seeing my friends’ children come out to listen and support Chiara. The concert lasted for two hours, a long time for these kids, yet they sat patiently and respectfully while trying to choose which music they liked the most and mimicking the conductor’s moves. It’s this kind of support from friends where I, and I’m sure Chiara as well, feel loved and supported.
Lately it seems that I’m obsessing quite a bit with interiors and home design. While we’re all a little HGTV-obsessed in my household where we critique home layouts like a national sport, I think all the binge-watching has helped refine my vision for what I want in our house. I’m slowly editing, getting rid of things that no longer reflect our aesthetics, and replacing them only with objects and furniture that we love. Personally, this meant getting rid of our old Pottery Barn dining set and replacing it with timeless midcentury dining table and chairs that can be passed down from one generation to the next. I’m done with bulk — all I want are sleek, well-designed chairs and tables in our humble abode.
Going to the Architectural Digest Design Show in the city, courtesy of my favorite artist Hollie Heller, is a bit to blame for my current design obsession as well. Walking through the show and seeing the newest design trends and innovations will make any girl want to redecorate, refine and tweak what she’s got at home. Some of my personal favorites were the light fixtures section along with the art/furniture and kitchen show areas.
…my little helper and partner-in-crime
…Hollie Heller’s booth that showed her newest creations
The last thing that’s fueling my design mania is this blog, www.thesocialitefamily.com, and its recently published book. I literally can spend hours perusing through different posts from this blog and dream of various spaces I can see myself in. Socialite Family’s design philosophy is boho Parisian chic but I think there are certain things that transcend geographical boundaries and work in many places. Check out the site and tell me what you think…
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?