November 21, 2012 § Leave a comment
Mr. H and I got to the beach early this morning and were able to get ourselves in decent shape for cooking Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. As I write this, I’ve got some squash roasting and we should have the stuffing and cranberry relish complete before our bedtime tonight. So I seem to have a little extra time tonight to reflect on the year so far and the notion of being “thankful”.
It isn’t hard to get down these days, which is why I like Thanksgiving. If you give it a moment, you can fill up on memories of happy times and the people — and dogs — that you love, and the world doesn’t seem so bad after all. Definitely a reason to be thankful. (Plus, you can eat stuffing!)
And then there are the Little Things, which you are probably sick to death of my going on about. But I am doing it anyway: One of my favorites is the view outside my bedroom window…
It is a small view, but I find it extremely comforting on account of it being constant yet always changing. When I remember to pay attention, it is a perfect reminder of what has past, what is here and what is to come. And yes — for this I am thankful.
(Photo: Some Cozy Night)
October 28, 2012 § Leave a comment
As you know, I am a great lover of fashion with a capital “F”, and indulge in it far too regularly. But I often feel as if attention is paid most closely to Ready-to-Wear and Fast Fashion, and very little in between. But there are so many In Between options that are just fantastic: great style, beautiful details and good quality. Here are some of my favorites:
Nili Lotan’s store in East Hampton makes you want your entire wardrobe to consist of about ten things. It seems as if there is nothing in her small collections that can’t take you through your day and into the evening without being comfortable and stylish. (Unless, of course, you must wear a suit…Nili can’t exactly help you there.) Fantastic sweaters, cozy coats, simple but beautifully cut dresses and a well-edited selection of cotton shirts and pants. Did I mention the scarves? Terrific. (www.nililotan.com)
Vanessa Bruno’s ATHÉ line is filled with more comfortable yet cool pieces. My latest love: a poncho-styled sweater that has all the best parts of the poncho (like adorableness and a new look) and none of the bad (arm use, anyone?). And it must be said, her signature line is one of my top picks for easy summer dresses and other items of wearable coolness. (www.vanessabruno.com)
Well, I hadn’t darkened the door of Joseph since sometime in the nineties. And after a recent trip, I have to ask myself “WHY???”. The pants are well cut and won’t make you feel like you are wearing something “for the office”, even though you can totally wear them there. (And they often have coordinating jackets should you need them.) I think I may have purchased the sexiest pants I currently own there the other day. They don’t look like much on the hanger, but HELLO! when on! Love. (www.joseph.co.uk)
I will admit that there was a time when I thought Phillip Lim was not a contender, but those days are long gone. After five or so years, he has truly figured out his own direction that frequently creates Desire in my heart, without that nagging feeling of “when am I going to wear this” in my head. Super pants, lovely dresses and smart sweaters, including another great “hybrid poncho” in black and a super cool heather cream sweater with a chiffon overlay on the front (above) that mixes Sporty with Special perfectly. (www.31philliplim.com)
Who doesn’t want to look effortlessly beach-y, even in the colder months? I got hooked on James Perse through the t-shirts that are wonderfully soft and last a good, long time. (Yes, J. Crew, I am looking at you — and The Gap, too.) Everything on offer tends to be in those fantastic non-color colors that make putting together casual outfits pretty mindless. And you can pop a more tailored blazer over any of their t-shirts and drawstring pants and somehow look all CBK* without even really trying. (www.jamesperse.com)
So, I know Gwyneth Paltrow is Gooping Chinti & Parker up a storm lately. But I want to go on the record as saying I loved them first. I am presently deeply in love with their hoodies, and never don’t want to wear their other cashmere knits and cotton pants. (Which, btw, they could make more of…just thinking out loud.) The kind of clothes you can run an errand in and be all “don’t I look cool and comfy” while waiting on an endless line. (www.chintiandparker.com)
Before there were hipsters, there were Cool French People. And may CFP’s always be with us, since it will require that A.P.C. never goes out of business. In that mysterious French way, they make clothes that are alluring, hip and above all, wearable. There isn’t a season that goes by that I don’t pick up an item of two from their beautifully authentic collections. And did I mention that the stuff lasts forever? It does. (http://usonline.apc.fr/colorama/women)
And I think that is all I have for now. Happy shopping!
*CBK: Carolyn Bessette Kennedy. I know I have mentioned her before, but really, even all this time later, her style was solid. And I am sorry that we didn’t get to see what was next for her.
(Photos: Some Cozy Night)
March 30, 2012 § 1 Comment
I started thinking about writing something on the topic of doing too much when I looked down as my ersatz desk yesterday afternoon:
As you can see, in addition to my laptop, I have a blackberry, an iPhone, a diary and a full note pad. For the record, I am not a disorganized person. It just seems that my life has evolved into requiring all these things to do what I feel I need to do.
Hmmm. “Need to do” is such a slippery slope, isn’t’ it? I need to be out of my office right now because I am doing some work on the house that needs to be done. (And some of it is genuinely necessary, but it is possible that the other stuff wasn’t really critical. There, I’ve said it.)
I need the blackberry so that wherever I am, I can reliably be in contact with and direct the people on my team at work. (The iPhone doesn’t really cut it for those long emails I write about contract terms, ad placements, one-off requests and the like.) And of course, I need the iPhone for all manner of personal things, including directing all the work that is currently going on at my house.
The diary is needed to jot down notes because I am 40 and was brought up taking notes. I also love the feeling of the pen crossing off something on one of the three different “To Do” lists that I keep. In my book, it is one of Life’s best feelings.
The note pad is for other notes and sketches that aren’t necessarily archived like things in my diary. And in truth, I can’t function without my laptop, since I can’t really read things as well on any of my other devices — even my iPad. (Yeah…I have one of those, too. But at least that is mostly for entertainment or light computing.)
So, all of these things have become more important to have with me than my keys (lots of people have copies of those!) and almost everything in my wallet. And I can’t help but wonder if maybe I am doing something wrong here.
Am I doing too much? (Are you?)
I think the answer is a resounding “YES!”, but if you are at all Type A (check), have a business or demanding job (check), have children (ok, this I don’t have), like things “a certain way” (check) and are at all goal oriented (check, check), it is hard to avoid the “Too Much” Pickle. But as I round the corner into 41, I am thinking that maybe I should give it a shot.
The other day I was thinking about a list I made six months before I turned 40. It was a plan to achieve various things by that fateful birthday, including (and I am not kidding): learning French, exercising at least 3 times a week, meditating at least three times a week, planning all my evenings with social and deliberate “at home” time, and a whole bunch of other stuff that was going to make me a Better Person. Inside and out.
All I can tell you about that plan is that when I turned 40, I was able to say “pencil”, “the bike is yellow” and “the fish swims” in French. But honestly, what was I expecting? To achieve it all, of course! That is what we all do, right?
Well, a more rational person may suggest that one must accept the fact that you can’t put everything on a schedule or a project plan. (What??) Maybe I will get around to learning more French in the next year or two. I meditate when I can, but try not not stress about it, since that seems illogical, even to me. And somehow in the last three months, I have miraculously become someone who exercises almost every day. It didn’t happen on schedule, but it did happen.
And that is the trick, I guess: knowing that you can achieve a lot in this life, provided you give yourself a break here and there and recognize that, like a garden (I just met with my most excellent landscape designer regarding yet another project, so the process is on my mind), it all takes time to mature and blossom.
So, here’s to our gardens –and to giving ourselves a little break so that they can grow!
(Photo…and I know it is a kind of blurry, but I think that reflects my state of mind at the time it was taken: Some Cozy Night)
March 6, 2012 § Leave a comment
Or is all packaging becoming more and more impossible to open? I am unaware of any decline in my fine motor skills, but they are no match for the way everything from vitamins to chopsticks seems to be packaged today. Graceful unwrapping by hand has given way to clawing, biting, puncturing and finally resorting to scissors or equivalent to get something open. Extremely undignified and I am pretty sure that any child could still open anything with relative ease.
OK, done ranting. Have a lovely day.
February 22, 2012 § Leave a comment
I love that there are so many opportunities to celebrate a New Year. I mean, Mondays don’t always cut it when you want a little Life Reset. So, imagine my delight in finding out, courtesy of my Times’s Digest this morning, that the Tibetan New Year celebrations begin today. Since I have allowed certain Outside Issues to muss up my vacation over the past day or two, I could use a reset. And the happy news that this New Year celebration is decidedly food-focused — including many dough-based delicacies — I am thinking this is an ideal celebration to embrace. Yippie!!
So, back to Losar. Wikipedia says that the last day of the current year is a day of cleaning and preparation (I missed that part), and includes putting up the finest decorations for the celebration. Then the first two days of this 15-day lunar-based holiday are for official ceremonies to make offerings (including a sacrificial cake) and to wish the Dali Lama good luck for the coming year. (He is even given special barley and dough based pills for this.)
From the third day on it is time for everyone to enjoy the rest of the holiday celebrations. This includes, according to Julia Moskin at The New York Times, Tibet’s unofficial dish: aha momos. These are little dumplings filled with meat and spices (a little bit in conflict with Buddhist Vegetarianism, but you can read Julia’s piece on that) that sound just heavenly. And apparently if I were in New York today, I could have some at a place called Tsampa, in the East Village.
Anyway, I fear I am getting too far afield from the Point of the Post, which is that I think that if you have the opportunity to reset and celebrate, you should. (Especially if there is food involved.) So, Tashi Delek and happy reset to you all.
(Photo: Some Cozy Night)
February 14, 2012 § Leave a comment
My favorite holiday is here!! So, Happy Valentine’s to you.
And remember that in addition to the fact that it does not take a lot of time to have a little fun, it does not take a lot of time to tell the ones you love that it is so. So, be sure that you do.
(Photos of one of my favorite destinations for Valentine’s Day — or any other day for that matter: Some Cozy Night)
February 11, 2012 § Leave a comment
I’ve been a sucker for Valentine’s Day since I was a little girl. All those reds and pinks in crepe and construction paper, the doilies and twinkle lights are just too hard to resist. And there is just something about hearts that always makes me smile, even when paired with the cheesy cupid cutout. So, for just about forever (particularly bad breakups excluded), I have loved this holiday.
New York usually loves it too, but when I was trying to find windows that filled me with that special “Valentine” feeling, I came up somewhat short. I did find one that was close enough, at a children’s store of all places (it’s my neighborhood…we just can’t help ourselves):
I think that big heart is sufficiently over the top. Perhaps the store’s proprietor also digs the holiday.
This is also the time to be over the top by making Valentines, another activity that I adore. Way before I knew that Paul and Julia Child prided themselves on their annual Valentines, I’ve been making my own, mostly for Mr. H. And if I had more time, I’d probably make them for many more recipients. I highly recommend it, provided that you really let it rip.
If making Valentines is not your thing but you want to get into the spirit of the holiday, may I suggest something as simple as sending someone you love some of your favorite love songs? I’m not suggesting “Annie’s Song”* or anything, but there are plenty that fall into the cool, retro and classic categories that will do the job. Off the top of my head, I would have to say that these three are the most romantic I can think of…
“Number 1” by Goldfrapp (yeah…the video is weird) http://www.goldfrapp.com/video/
Retro (and Cool)
“Just Like Heaven” by The Cure
“Moon River” written by Henry Mancini and sung Andy Williams (even Big thought so)
And they are all available on iTunes if you feel like sending your sweetie a little something sweet.
*Not that there is anything wrong with this John Denver classic. I know that I cannot be the only grade school girl who imagined herself walking down the aisle to that tune. It’s ok. You can keep that to yourself.
(Photo: Some Cozy Night)