I moved! I moved from East Midtown, Manhattan to the Upper West Side. It was not exactly fun (what move is?) but I’m happy to be here! I am sitting in my new “office”, the Aroma Espresso Bar. Nice! I live within shouting distance of The Dakota, so I can shout to Yoko Ono, who just might appreciate it. There are lots and lots of stylish women in this neighborhood, and the shopping is unreal, meaning great. There are three or four yoga studios on my block. Heaven. Diversity? This is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in a city of diversity. Can I tell you about the Fairway grocery? Manna!
I bet you want to hear more about all this, no? I want to tell more, and I will. I have been planning and pondering, practically making resolutions! As I have said elsewhere, this blog is undergoing some major alterations soon. Besides the superficial appearance of things, the importance of which is not to be underestimated, I want to give more of myself right here on this page and in social media in general. Call me crazy, but I love the interconnectedness prevailing in the world today. I like that I can laugh, discuss, marvel and even mourn in some small way with people in places I may never see.
So bring it all on New Year, bring it on.
Nobody asked, nobody complained, nobody even mentioned it. But I feel the need to confess: Yes, I’m all over the place! It’s something about my posts, my tweets, what I put up on my Facebook page, and even what I choose to Instagram — the generous would call it eclectic. Others would just say all over the place.
Yes, I’ll post something really quite serious and then go out and take pictures of “fascinators” for God’s sake. I have always been made up of equal parts luxury-loving hedonist and loudmouthed radical penitent. Or perhaps it’s hedonistic penitent and luxury-loving radical? Is there a problem here? Can’t I be both, must I be one or the other? Can’t I be like the Pope, who goes to wash the feet of the incarcerated dressed in red silk slippers? Right, wrong Pope. Can you tell I’m conflicted, ambivalent?
The other day, I went to what I guess would be called a private jewelry party. The Italian craftswoman, Rosita Gioielli, was there with her treasure trove. To see more of her work, check out her elegant website.
It’s funny how you can like something but never imagine yourself wearing it. That’s how I feel about Rosita’s jewelry style. It’s just not me, but what I like about her pieces is that they are rather large and colorful. There’s nothing precious here. They are what we call “statement” pieces. You will be noticed wearing one of these necklaces! I suppose I’m not ready yet to make that statement.
My fellow partygoers, on the other hand, looked ready and perfect in Rosita’s work. They were not about blending in. These savvy, well-dressed women knew exactly what they liked and what would look good on them. I really appreciate that, that’s the essence of a personal style. Personal style is not so much about appropriate or not, it’s about what looks right on me and what do I feel right wearing.
Rosita also makes fascinators—those hats we think of as quintessentially British (think Kate Middleton). I love them! They look like spun sugar—something that could sit on top of a cake just as well as on a head. I noticed that I, and others, have a tendency to forget the word “fascinator” and instead end up calling them fantasizers. I guess because we fantasize about someday wearing one!
Yes, this is Venus de Milo at the Louvre Museum. I was taking pictures of people taking pictures of…
I’ve been doing dry brushing lately. What is it? It’s brushing your whole body with a natural bristle brush, not wet in the shower, but dry. Most often it’s suggested that you do it in the morning, before you shower. But sometimes I’ve done it before bed.
The dry brushing has helped soften my skin. It sloughs off dead skin, which I have plenty of now that winter is finally here. It makes my skin softer and seem more pliable. Then some “hydrotherapy” in the shower, moisturizer afterwards, and you’re good to go.
What did you think of Brené Brown’s TED talk? (Here, if you haven’t seen it.) It blew me away. She is, of course, extremely articulate and personable. She is an expert in her field and obviously dedicated to her research. For me though, what was most compelling about her talk was the story she told about herself and the way she modeled vulnerability while speaking about it. She made vulnerability look easy! But as Brown herself acknowledges, the fear of exposing oneself, of being “found out” and then being rejected is a powerful deterrent.
When I started this blog, it was my intention to tell stories. I knew I wanted to tell the stories of women I admired, but what I didn’t know was how much I wanted to tell about myself, tell my own story. It’s my blog, I said, I can do what I want with it. Why open myself up and shine a light on anything unflattering about myself? This is public, after all—why talk about myself at all? Does the public really need more self-confession, more selfies? But I realized my reticence was mainly about being vulnerable. The thought was scary as hell!
I once had a boss who had two sheros: Frida Kahlo and Marilyn Monroe. Darkness and light, fragmentation and wholeness, hard and soft in both of them. Interesting, right? Well to me, that describes most women. Kahlo’s art work was once described as a “ribbon around a bomb.” If you know anything about Kahlo’s art and life you know how apt that description is. And what do we say about Monroe? Well, she appears to be ditzy but she’s smart, she’s open and unattainable. Undoubtably though, both women were vulnerable.
There was a time when I wanted to hide my vulnerability. Honestly, I wanted to be invulnerable, hard as nails. But I was the opposite, and I felt weak and I equated vulnerability with weakness. Today, I’m trying to stop seeing vulnerability as weakness, but I find it increasingly hard to do. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s noticed that misogyny seems to be blossoming everywhere. It’s in our face, make no mistake: from childhood to old age, women are under siege.
I’ve found that vulnerability, and the ways in which it’s an asset, has been a popular topic lately. Please see this amazing TED talk called The Power of Vulnerability given by Brené Brown…