what’s going on?


Photo: The Wall Street Journal

What’s going on? What’s going on in social media, and what’s going on in the world of the Instagrammers, bloggers, fashion, beauty, and style writers? You may not want to follow these people, but I still do. While I spend less time on social media than I used to I’m unable, or unwilling, to give it up entirely. Old dogs, new tricks, blah blah.

So here are three people I have feelings about.

I’ll start with the bad news. One of the first bloggers I started following, from her very start, was Garance DoréOh, how I loved her.

I loved her style, her freckles, her insouciance!

She was a fashion photographer for God’s sake, and she was from Corsica! And like all proper French persons, she used to wield a mean and sexy cigarette.

I loved her. I loved that she was so reluctantly French, an all-in New Yorker for a time, and not exactly lucky in love. But then she moved to L.A… 

I admit to a strong preference for everything East Coast, so from the start I didn’t want to accept Doré’s move. I predicted bad things. And damned if I wasn’t right. I think she moved to the West Coast partially due to a man, and maybe that was the problem? I think she has a tendency to move for men.

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the tyranny of existing things

My husband calls it the ‘tyranny of existing things’. It can apply to almost anything, but it’s specific in its ability to subtly annoy you to distraction and ill health. It’s the cookbooks that you still want to ‘go through’ and move to the kitchen. It’s the hanging kitchen cabinet door, still not worth calling the handyman to come and repair.

It’s even the weekly coffee date with a group of friends, the date and (friends?) you were over three years ago. It’s like one of those Confederate statues in the United States, or a moss-covered statue of Stalin still around in post Soviet Eastern Europe.

The tyranny of existing things is anything or any situation you no longer need, but can’t seem to shake off. 

The tyranny paralyzes and plagues you. And the more of these kinds of things and situations you have in your life, the more disgruntled you’ll be. Why wouldn’t you be, it’s tyranny! So what to do?

Rearrange your stuff, Part II, on your way to cultivating minimalism.

When people hear the word minimalism, or downsizing, they immediately think of getting rid of things. And while that’s correct – if you want to become a minimalist you’ll eventually have to get rid of stuff – it’s not the first thing to plunge into.

I’ve learned over the years, that most people get a deer in the headlights look when they’re told they have to sort through their possessions and just ‘toss’ what they don’t want, need, or haven’t recently worn. They get the deer in the headlights look and then they do nothing, because just the thought of approaching an existing pile or stash of things, paralyzes them. Not to mention what happens when people like me sometimes casually say, just ‘toss’ it.

And which room to start in, which closet, what stash? It’s all too much, especially of course, if one tends to gather, collect, or hoard. The answer is: rearrange first.

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it’s not dark yet…

Aging actually could be fun if it weren’t for the dying. I think it should be fun because really, like Bob Dylan says, ‘It’s not dark yet but it’s gettin’ there’. 

We know so much now and so much better. We have so much experience, we have come to understand what’s important. We know how to value beauty, people, time. We know how to appreciate the things that have challenged us and others. We know that less is more and that experiences trump things. 

And you must know how to have fun, wild crazy fun. Right?

It’s not aging that scares us, it’s dying of course. It’s the dying, stupid. If we just continued to age on and on, if our wrinkles acquired wrinkles and our sags got sags, and then we metamorphosed into something else, something very different looking than the average human being, and, assuming the parts — the livers and hearts and knees etc. — could be replaced, we’d be fine with aging. At least I would be.

Even though the future of life as we know it seems precarious, I would still like to be around for the show. And I find it hard indeed to think of not being here to see, taste, hear, and feel wonderful things.

I have really greedy eyes, I devour pictures of things like they were food. When I say pictures, I mean both the live pictures that my eyes register when I’m out and about, and the images I consume, everywhere from Instagram to TV, books, and magazines.

And feelings. 

Feelings, little rushes of exhilaration due to art, love, exercise, and amusement — soul food. 

Because I’m a visual person, I can’t imagine not seeing beauty, and because I’m a very physical person, I can’t imagine not ever again feeling the rush of endorphins I do when… Continue Reading


cultivating minimalism

Minimalist artist Frank Stella

Cultivating minimalism, a two (or maybe three) part series…

On one hand, over the past several years, I’ve been intentionally cultivating minimalism. On the other hand, like many of you I’m sure, I love stuff. I love to look at and posses beautiful things, be they vases, sweaters or chairs. I like purchasing. When I see a nicer rug than the one that currently covers the floor, I want it. ‘I want, I need, I must have,’ said my friend Inese, when confronted with the possibility of quenching a desire. 

‘I want,’ is such a fundamental feeling.

At any given point it seems to be about who we are, the wanting. It’s what children learn to say almost before they learn to walk. Because what we want, to a certain extent, defines who we are.

Forget about old Rag and Bone, I want those boots now!

I like vases. There are certain vases whose colors, shapes, and sizes stir up intense desire in me (Greek amphora silhouettes are a favorite), but I do not need many vases, no one does. I’ve always found the notion of collecting anything really quite odd. Isn’t collecting just a sort of hoarding? Unless you collect art…

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