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?
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?
I think I’ll indulge in Maria Semple’s book, Today Will Be Different, during the Christmas holidays. What’s better than light, relatively mindless reading during the holidays, especially a comic novel from someone who used to write for TV shows like Mad About You and Arrested Development? The book’s title is pretty much every mother’s mantra as we strive for improvement and a bit of perfection in our everyday lives as a person, parent and partner. The main character, Eleanor, attempts to have that kind of day when (surprise, surprise) something happens to change the course of her day and her life. I have yet to read Semple’s other book, Where’d You Go Bernadette, but I may also check it out once I get through her most recent one.
Have you read any of Maria Semple’s book? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Images via (1), (2)
I recently saw on the Cool Mom picks blog an article by fellow NJ blogger, Georgettte Gilmore, about a new inspirational book for the next generation of girls. The book, WOWsdom, features stories and wisdom from many women of different backgrounds that will inspire and motivate today’s teen girls about the opportunities that lie ahead. Men get their say also as dads offer advice and insights to their daughters in a section of the book.
Wowsdom is available on Kickstarter for $25. Now, more than ever, is the time when we need to inspire our girls to roles of leadership and greatness. I know this book will find a place under our Christmas tree this year.
With temperatures cooling off a bit and days getting a bit shorter everyday, I have been on the lookout for books to add to my fall/winter reading list. It’s so hard for me to settle down and read a book these days. Most of the time, I get interrupted and other times. I just fall asleep. But I am hopeful and will keep on trying to read a few pages, even if it takes me a a month and a half to finish one novel.
Here are some of the titles that I am thinking of:
- The Mothers by Britt Bennett – It’s a complicated story of female friendships, love, and motherhood (the mothers we are and want to be as well as mothers missing in our lives). A debut novel from Britt Bennett, the book’s characters are supposedly quite captivating that we’ll be thinking about them long after we’ve finished the book.
- You Will Not Have My Hate by Antoine Leiris – His video went viral on social media after the Bataclan shootings in Paris where his wife was killed. This will be a bit sad to read but there’s something beautiful about his will and courage to go on. My favorite line from him is when he said of his toddler son and terrorist attackers, “For as long as he lives, this little boy will insult you with his happiness and freedom.”
- The Wangs vs. The World by Jade Cheng – It’s a funny satire story of rich businessman, Charles Wang, who is financially ruined and must now find a way to save face and restore pride while uprooting his family who are quite content with their very privileged lives in boarding schools and 1,000-count bed sheets. The question for Mr. Wang is will he be able start a new life in China and still keep his family together or will it be too late for any drastic solutions. Sounds like a fun read.
- Walk Through Walls by Marina Abromovic – The greatest and most controversial performance artist of our time, this memoir details Marina’s strict childhood in Yugoslavia as well as her 12-year relationship with performance artist, Ullay. Another book on how personal courage and ability to persevere allow us to overcome challenges in our lives.
What about you? Any good books that you’ve read or planning to read this fall?
Images via (1), (2), (3), (4)
In these crazy times in the US and rising xenophobia in Europe, I find beauty and comfort in Madras-born Tishani Doshi’s poem, The Dream. It talks of simple dreams and pleasures that immigrants, often displaced involuntarily, seek as they to establish new homes in their adopted lands.
The dream has always been simple —
a porch for the old folks
to sit out in summer,
a garden for vegetables,
a picket fence to keep them in.
The dream has always been about safety.
So even as we sit alone
in our high-rise buildings
and basement apartments
where the outside world comes
to sit at our windows
like a tattered, yellow thing,
the dream is always
on the horizon —
I also love what she has to say about the current political climate: “You think you live in one kind of community and then there are elections or a vote like Brexit and you realize that there are huge rifts in society that come out of fear— fear that has been artificially created and manipulated.” So true. Hope the goodness of humankind prevails.
Images via (1), (2)
Anyone who knows me well knows how much I love to wear skirts and dresses, even during the cold weather. But lately I’m just craving to wear mostly pants especially this fall. There’s something to be said about the ease of putting on a pair of jeans or tailored pants, accessorizing with different tops and jackets, and finishing the look with a pair of fun shoes. It’s simple but it doesn’t have to be boring, right?
I think what I love about wearing pants is that it affords you a timeless look, regardless of age. Wearing dresses of a particular style (think Anthropologie sweet, or anything from frou or overly feminine) can make women of a certain age look frumpy or dowdy. I’d rather go with the looks like the ones below and look edgier. What do you think?
Images via (1), (2), (3), (4), (5)
After Labor Day, the girls will be going back to school — Tuesday and Wednesday. It’s an exciting time and a promising one as we all set off to new journeys. Ines will be an “upper classman” in her school as she enters fourth grade while Chiara starts at a new school, a smaller environment that I think is more suitable to her nature and more compatible with our values. I truly cannot wait to see them grow this year…
I will also be starting a new adventure as I train to be a museum docent in September. After starting this blog, I realize the latent nature of my passion for art — yes, undeveloped but existent nonetheless. It was through my blog posts here on art exhibits that I came to understand that museums, art and artists are things I naturally gravitate to and find extremely satisfying. As I was seeking ways to take this passion a bit further, I stumbled upon an opportunity to train for six months to be a docent at a museum. I am thrilled to be pursuing this new path and learn much more about the art world, especially the studio visits, gallery walks and continuous education this new adventure provides. More importantly, I am excited to explore opportunities beyond motherhood given that the last 13 years of my life have been devoted mostly to parenting. It’s good to know there is still a ME that exists despite the strong pulls of mothering. Wish me luck!
On a lighter note, we’ve been busy preparing the girls’ school supplies and choosing an outfit for back to school (only for Ines since Chiara will be wearing a uniform this year). It’s supposed to be hot on Tuesday, temps hovering around 85 degrees. Warm, maybe even too warm, for September. What about you? Are you ready for summer to end?