I can’t tell you the last time we were in the US for July Fourth weekend since the girls were born. We usually pack up and leave for France as soon as school wraps up. But times are changing and the girls wanted to do a few summer camps here in July so we postponed our vacation a bit later till the end of the month.
It’s great to be in the US this holiday. I must say it was a little sad and felt a bit disloyal to celebrate Independence Day in Europe when this holiday calls for all things American. So I was glad to have spent the weekend a bit in the Catskills/Woodstock/Hudson/Phoenicia/Saugerties area and be home in time to see my sister’s new house and go to a friend’s barbecue party.
Beach Plum Farm, a market/farm/restaurant venue, was one of our stops in Cape May a few weeks ago. Yes, I know it’s a bit glammed-up for a farm but I still love seeing the gardens, looking at the local produce and just hanging out by the fire pit area. Most importantly, I love how the farm harkens back to Jersey’s agricultural days.
Beach Plum Farm was founded by Curtis Bashaw, who also owns Congress Hall and the Virginia Hotel. The farm also supplies local produce to these establishments as well as other Cape May eateries. If you’re visiting Cape May this summer, make sure to check out Beach Plum Farm!
Deemed as the Oscars of the fashion world, the gala for the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute exhibit is always something to marvel at. There’s always controversial outfits donned by celebrities like Rihanna and Lady Gaga but the actual exhibit is often overlooked by many. This year’s Costume Institute exhibit is on the legendary Rei Kawakubo from the design label Comme des Garcons.
I have to be honest but I’m not a big fan of Kawakubo’s design. Her figure distortion in clothing design definitely makes us rethink of the relationship between the clothes’ fit and the human form. But I’m a classicist in this sense and love designs that flatter the body rather than contradict it. Nevertheless, here are some pics from the exhibit. What do you think?
Have you seen Erni Stollberg? She is the 95-year old Instagram sensation and model for Park, an Austrian concept store. A former dancer for a Jewish dance company in Austria in the 1930s, Erni and her troupe were able to escape to Buenos Aires before Germany invaded Poland in 1939. Her exuberance as a former dancer comes through so vividly in her expressive and full-of-personality Instagram poses. Yes, when I grow up, I want to be like Erni.
A young Erni
Images from vogue.com and @park_wien
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…
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)