The persimmon color of this woman’s jacket is my new orange. I saw it everywhere in Paris. I think it looks great, especially with the cream of the rest of her clothes and her pink bag. I would never wear it—just wouldn’t wear persimmon—but I would definitely paint a wall this color. Or perhaps an entire kitchen?
I loved the contrast between the women in the photo, too. Sisters in another life.
I am essentially European. I wasn’t born in Europe, I have never lived in Europe more than a few months at a time, I don’t go to Europe all that often, but I’m essentially a European. My parents were born in Europe and my first language was Latvian, an old Indo-European language. The way I lived and the community I lived in was European—in everything from food to attitudes about nudity to the belief in the dignity and beauty of hard work. European.
I was very clearly reminded of this while on vacation in Paris. There’s simply something basically more adjusted about me when I’m in Europe. I feel easy and more like myself, which is something that doesn’t always come easily. We love to analyze and talk about what is essential to our natures. Why? Especially as we get older, time kind of dictates that we pare down— everything from the time we are willing to spend on housework to the clothing we think we need.
Read this, as usual, brilliant statement by Meryl Streep and tell me you don’t agree.
Here’s to the essential!
As I have been announcing ad nauseum, in all my favorite public places and spaces: “I just got back from Paris!” I confess, I took mostly pictures of things like graffiti, cafés, and doors — but finally managed to take this picture of a parisienne the last day I was there. Polka-dots and all, this woman exemplifies the sexy style and attitude the whole world seems to love. I know I do! (And her little cheek “pouches” make me so so happy, because I have the same.)
Exercise 1. The Wall
This is a very simple exercise, but for some it may not be easy at all. All that’s needed is a wall. Stand right up against a wall, like my friend and fab yoga teacher, Jo Zukovich, is doing down there. The idea is to get as much of the back of your body—without forcing anything—right up against the wall. You can stand either with your feet together, that is heel-to-heel, big-toe-to-big-toe (like Jo is doing) or with your feet hip-width apart and parallel (easier). If you stand with your feet apart: 1) don’t exaggerate the width of your hips (most women do) and 2) make sure your feet are actually parallel!
For most people, the heels, buttocks, and upper back (including the backs of the shoulders) will be touching the wall, but the lower back (aka the lumbar area) won’t be. But don’t worry too much about what is and isn’t at the wall. For all of us it will be different.
The back of your head will likely not be at the wall—but we want it to be. Gently, move your head back so that the back of your head is touching the wall. Make sure that you don’t just throw your head back and tip your nose up; keep your gaze straight ahead. Now, just stand there and feel. Pay attention. Try to maintain this for two full minutes. Breathe.
If you try this twice a day for a week (that’s just 28 minutes, you can do it!) I promise you will learn some amazing things about yourself! You will feel different. Stronger!
Let me know how it goes…
You find yourself sitting at your desk — and suddenly you become aware that you’re slumping, again. Your chest is caved, your head is hanging, and so far forward you might as well be typing with your nose. Or, standing in line at the supermarket, you look at the people in front of you: all slumpers. Then you check in with yourself… slumping! Why?
We’ve all heard about good posture and its many benefits, but we all continue to slump. Slumping seems natural, doesn’t it? Well, in a way it is. A really interesting thing to understand, if you want to do something about your posture, is this: In the womb, our spines are in flexion; we are curled in that really sweet embryonic curve, the one you see on the ultrasound. We remain that way until we’re born. It is only the moment we leave our mother’s body that we open up, so to speak, and extend our spines for the first time. I don’t know about you, but this blows my mind.
Look at these darlings—and check out all that adorable posture can teach us. For one thing their backs are straight because they haven’t yet acquired the curves in their spines that growth, gravity, and time will form—the very curves that give us flex-ibility, that ability to both flex and extend that keeps our spines healthy.