July 16, 2015 § 5 Comments
One of my favorite gardens by the beach is Madoo, which was founded by the artist Robert Dash back in the late sixties. I’ve been visiting this place for years and never tire of its extremely personal and heartfelt design. Mr. Dash died a few years ago, but The Madoo Conservancy has kept the spirit of the place very much alive, and they always have a number of events throughout the year to celebrate all that is wonderful about life in the garden.
Most recently, Mr. H and I attended a lunch featuring a talk with Charlotte Moss and Frances Schultz about their love of a good garden and making a home. Since these are two of my favorite topics by two authors and designers that I adore, I was pretty excited at the get-go. And the day didn’t disappoint….
Upon arrival at the lunch, everyone was given one of these delightful corsages. Almost all the attendees were game enough to wear them, even the men, some of whom who nattily tied them to their belt loops. (Very chic.) Talk about setting the mood! It was the perfect, transporting little detail that is a hallmark of the place.
Then we were treated to wine and nibbles under a tent-covered pergola (it was a slightly rainy weekend) that looked out onto one of the more formal parts of this rather informal garden. After some book buying and chatting, Charlotte and Frances read a bit from their excellent new books and then had a fun panel discussion about their life in the garden, which really isn’t very different from anyone’s — in the good way.
Next up was tucking into our delicious lunch that concluded with these cuties…
Totally charming and awfully tasty. So much so that I almost forgot to get my book signed by Charlotte Moss. Thankfully I did not but I did turn into a complete Nutty Fan who just had to tell Charlotte Moss how much I loved Winter House — to be truthful, my actual words were “that one killed me”. She looked up, concerned, and then asked “how?” And I fumbled and just said something like “oh…just the whole thing…the perspective on lifestyle…you know…detail…”. I mortify myself sometimes…
Charlotte was cool about my complete un-coolness and somehow I felt like it didn’t matter because (aside from the fact that there was probably some kind of security) we shared a love of gardens. Which is was what makes visits and events at Madoo so wonderfully different: There is no posturing, no looking to see “who’s here” or deciding who was wearing the best or worst outfit. It is always about the garden…learning, sharing and connecting with people who have this one, marvelous thing in common. Given how easy it is to feel disconnected in these highly “connected” days, I find this to be a hugely comforting thing.
(Photos: Some Cozy Night)
July 6, 2015 § Leave a comment
For instant refreshment, especially if you, say, are trying to run in the early morning and come back covered in sand and sweat, nothing is as lovely as cucumber water. Just add a few slices to a pitcher — preferably an attractive one — of filtered water and keep in the fridge. The slices will need to be replaced every other day or so, and that is it!
(Photo: Some Cozy Night)
July 4, 2015 § Leave a comment
I lost a friend today.
We worked together a million years ago when she lived in New York and remained friends all these years later. She was the first person to take me to Takashimaya on 5th Avenue, where the flower shop on the first floor was always an inspiration. She also showed me how to tie a ribbon around a package without leaving that funny bump. (I promptly forgot.) And we had countless laughs at the nuttiness we experienced at work and in life when we were younger.
I remember the madness of the week before her wedding. How pretty and happy she looked in the photos from that day. And how her husband looked at her with such love and affection every time I saw them together.
I remember a wonderful afternoon we spent at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where she later worked, and that she was expecting and that I brought her a little gift from Petite Bateau. We caught up on a bunch of things, including this new guy I was seeing…yes, it was Mr. H.
I also remember our last meal in the city where we had a great time but also she mentioned that she was sick…and that she would beat it.
She did for many years, but since that time I didn’t get to spend much time with her. She was living in New Hampshire and had two boys and you know the drill…
But tonight I so very much regret this fact. I could have visited her there. I could have invited her here. I always thought we had time, even though I knew that we didn’t, really. So, just a little reminder to take the time, be with the people who make you happy and who you love. It is important.
June 30, 2015 § Leave a comment
Heavens, I’ve been meaning to post about this one for months! Let’s begin by saying that Stevie Wonder is one of my all-time favorite recording artists, even if my goddaughter doesn’t quite dig him (yet) and many are overly focused on songs like “I Just Called to Say I Love You” and dismiss him.* But if you were a kid in the seventies and brought up on a steady diet of Mr. Wonder, there is no denying that his music is the stuff of genius. (Although I probably didn’t realize that until I was at least twenty.)
When I was working in entertainment — particularly during those years in music — I used to imagine what it would be like to meet Stevie Wonder if he say, happened to come into the office of the marketing department where I worked. Sometimes these imaginings would even come out of my mouth in meetings with my team…they all thought I was nuts.
Needless to say, Mr. Wonder never came around the offices (especially since I didn’t even work at his label), but it was only a short 14 years later that he came to the Barclays Center to perform “Songs in the Key of Life” in its entirety for the occasion of its 38th anniversary. Needless to say, there was not way I was missing this show. And I didn’t.
As we were getting seated, I heard a tween say to her dad “I can’t believe that we are in the same room as Stevie Wonder!!”. I wholeheartedly agreed. And our seats were good — I am quite certain that this is as close as I will ever get to him — but the performance was even better.
He performed the whole record through in about four hours. His voice is perfect, the (huge) band was tight and totally into it, and the audience was Not Too Bad graded on a NYC Curve. Really, there just isn’t much more to say except that I teared up a little when I heard him belt out the first few lines of “Love’s in Need of Love Today”, and almost lost my mind when he performed an encore mashup of everything else you would even want to hear, including “Living For the City” as one seamless piece that didn’t cheapen anything in it.
OK, there is one more thing to say: I was really struck by how gracious and warm Mr. Wonder was throughout the concert. He always talks a great deal about love and peace and his faith in God, and I don’t know…it just really felt authentic and not just “of a time” when he was on stage. He also seems to genuinely have a great time playing music with a band that he loves. (And can he play! Google how many instruments he plays…it will blow your mind.)
And the final, perfect touch: He bowed with the band. Who does that anymore? Stevie Wonder, that’s who.
(Photos: Mr. H, since no one said we couldn’t and Motown, I assume, owns the art of the album cover but I couldn’t find the actual designer of the iconic cover.)
* Which in my opinion, as well as that of my General Counsel who is also a musician, as a song is actually pretty good. It was just the eighties production that made it, well, less good.
June 27, 2015 § 2 Comments
It is that time of year again: Fall/Winter Shopping. I know, I know….you are still not ready for summer. To be truthful, I would barely be ready if it wasn’t for the warm weather trip Mr. H and I tend to take in the middle of winter. Packing for that adventure generally makes me take stock in what I have for Warm, Hot and Burst Into Flames weather, and gives me a chance to fill in as needed through the Resort collections and careful picks from The Outnet and such*.
It is also in those cold, horrid months that one actually gets to see the what the Fashion Gods would like us to wear during the following cold, horrid months. So while I am picking through my summer clothes, I am also thinking about what I wouldn’t mind having for later. Much later.
This year there weren’t many collections that made my heart sing, mostly on account of my having something similar or everything seeming the same but maybe made less well than the one I bought five years ago. (What is up with that, by the way??). Not to mention that I am not dressing for the offices of Vogue every day, although I do try to Bring It on weekdays.
One exception was by one of my favorite designers: Dries van Noten**. I rarely go a season without a little something from his collection, as his use of color alone is irresistible. And aside from casualties, like the gorgeous silk print top in shades of deep teal, rust and acid yellow that my former dry cleaner managed to irreparably and prominently damage, I tend to keep his things for a long, long time. Like the peach and red Japanese-inspired raw silk bolero that looks heavenly over a black dress from The Row that I picked up this winter. I think I purchased the bolero in 2005. It still thrills me.
This year’s Fall collection was psychotically wonderful…beautiful colors, amazing combinations that somehow look great for day and proportions that make you want to dress differently. Take a look:
As such, I recently had a little Dries Attack, and picked up a few things, even though I swore I was good for the season just a few weeks ago. But for everything that comes in, I do believe that a few things generally need to go out.
I am sure that many of you have heard about Marie Kondo’s book about organizing (http://www.amazon.com/The-Life-Changing-Magic-Tidying-Decluttering/dp/1607747308). While I haven’t made it through the entire book just yet, I got to the heart of the matter which is really about the Ruthless Edit (http://somecozynight.com/2012/08/11/wardrobe-experiment/). But rather than looking at it as an episode of any popular elimination show, Ms Kondo’s thinking is that if what you have isn’t “sparking joy”, you should thank it and then give it away.
I will admit that this sounds a little odd, especially when one thinks about t-shirts and jeans — what t-shirts would “spark joy” for me? And why should I be thanking them? Still, I wanted to Change My Life by Thanking My Clothes Before Tossing Them. Even if it seemed extreme. So a few weeks ago, I began a major Kondo Method wardrobe purge, deciding if each item in my wardrobe (even unmentionables) was really making me happy, or if I was just keeping it “because”. As I started doing it, I began to realize that there really are pieces that I truly adore and others — way too many, in fact — I have for some unknown reason. But they had served their purpose at one time, and so honoring them with a small “thank you” made it easier to let them go.
In spite of the good job I thought I had been doing on the Ruthless Edit front all these years, I managed to have three garbage bags full of “just because” items to be donated. THREE GARBAGE BAGS!!! And I am not even quite finished. (But I did drop off the bags I had, if for no other reason than to avoid rummaging through them with second thoughts.) And I have to tell you: Getting rid of all those “just because” items felt great. I can now look at my closet and dresser drawers and feel that everything within them is loved and ready for an outing. (Except for my egg-yolk yellow crepe blouse that needs a button sewn back on…sigh.)
Which brings me back to the Fall/Winter season. With so many things now gone, in a few short weeks I have become my own Wardrobe Bouncer. I kid you not when I say that when I am confronted with a new item, I now ask myself “Is this really satisfying and worth putting into my closet? Or just filling in like a granola bar before dinner?”
I’m finding a lot of granola bars.
But not entirely, which is why I am not feeling too bad about the Dries Attack. Sometimes you just come across something that you know will love for a good, long time. Like it was made for you. Such as that top in Look 1 and the kind of outrageous flower necklace pictured above. I just had to have them…they seem so special and so me…how could I resist? Well, I didn’t. They were sparking joy.
* Seriously, The Outnet is fantastic — just stick to the things that aren’t “defining” looks and fabrics in a prior season and you will be golden — quite golden, since the prices can be darn good!
**Like my love of high/low, I am also a fan of minimal/maximal — it just depends upon my mood on any given day, I guess.
(Photo: Gosh…I really never do this, but it is from Bergdorf Goodman. Fair Use, I say. I trust they will agree.)
June 25, 2015 § 2 Comments
Mr. H and I hosted Father’s Day this past weekend for a total of thirteen people (including us and our two young nephews — and two dogs, who opted for chilling in our bedroom). In spite of the rain that put the kibosh on my tent and outdoor lunch in the garden plan, the day went off well and it even cleared up enough for our party to spend a little time outside later in the afternoon. So, overall, a win. But over dinner that night, somehow Mr. H and I got on the topic of how within just a few minutes, going to a place like Facebook can make you feel like your life is really not what it should be. This is a well-covered topic, and one that has given more prominence to the concept of the “Fear Of Missing Out” (FOMO), from which I suffer more than I care to admit.
Some of that has to do with my only hitting certain milestones that are universally relatable. I am married, but Mr. H and I don’t have the common problem of not being able to spend enough time with each other on account of our jobs. We also have the unusual situation of running our own company, that sometimes feels more like an episode of a fake Aaron Sorkin show than a regular work life. I don’t have children, so I don’t have photos of my kids doing adorable things to post on Facebook, or to talk about at social gatherings and the like. And Mr. H and I are pretty private people (which, yes, makes one wonder why I write this blog at all), so there are few, if any, photos of us with our friends and family doing the things we enjoy doing. I don’t even post selfies! The result is that sometimes I look at all the things that others are sharing online and feel like I am doing it all wrong. (Sounds familiar? I hope not, but I guess that maybe it does.)
My life is largely — though not entirely — the product of choices that I have made. Choices of how I wanted my life to be. And when I am not busy looking around at other people, they are choices that I feel content with having made. So what’s up with feeling like I am somehow not “living up” to life??
I wish I knew. But what I do know is that when I feel a FOMO attack coming on, I try to remind myself that the digital world is not the real one, which is where I find the most comfort and happiness, even in its unedited version. And that really, Living The Life You Want (LTLYW…yeah, I made this up) is generally the best course of action if you have the privilege of doing so. It still doesn’t keep the FOMO away, but it certainly makes my time off of screens feel like I am exactly where I want to be*.
* Unless I am somewhere that is really cold, really hot, smelly or otherwise unpleasant.
(Photo: Some Cozy Night)
June 20, 2015 § Leave a comment
June by the beach brings rain. Lots of it. So much so that my Father’s Day plans have been moved from the garden to the indoors, which is a bit of a bummer. That said, all this rain helps (I hope!) yeild the most lovely strawberries, which are now in their fleeting season. And while we have these berries every year, like wine, there are good seasons and less than stellar ones.
The last year that was truly remarkable on the strawberry front was — wait for it — 2007. We had a different President and Facebook was just getting going. That is how long this non-fruit lover has been waiting for another incredible strawberry. But finally, in 2015, the time has come. Just the scent of them is dazzling. And apparently I am not alone in believing that 2015 is a very high quality year for our local strawberries: At a luncheon at our local garden conservancy today (featuring a talk with Charlotte Moss and Frances Schultz — post TK), my table mates and I were all marveling at this year’s crop…and also wondering aloud if maybe this season’s peaches would rival the ones of ’05. Only time will tell. I guess we’ll all just have to be patient and savor what we have in the meantime.
(Photo: Some Cozy Night)