Sweet child of mine

March 26, 2019

My dad has a framed photograph of my brother and I, aged eight and ten, standing hillside on the island of Serifos. We’re both wearing white shorts and reluctant smiles. We were on one of my father’s many religious expeditions, to see the mosaic dome of a church, catch the tail end of a sunset service, or light candles at the shrine to a local saint. There were outings to ruins, too. So many columns, so many caryatids. Most of the time, we just wanted to be swimming, or eating biscuits and watching Greek cartoons. And that pained my Dad. Today, I have the same struggle with my own children anytime I suggest an art exhibition or a cultural outing. Pasta trumps Pakoras, and Disney wins over anything with subtitles. And I understand that. And try not to take it personally. Or expect to much of them. But sometimes, I just need them to be game. Sometimes, I just need it to to be easy.  Last week in Mexico, the mere suggestion of a day trip to Isla Mujeres sent my son into a meltdown, followed by two hours droning on  about what a terrible idea this was, and how much better a day at our resort (complete with pools, slides and a water park) would be, and how we (Jason and I) always do what we want. I understood; he’s a seven-year-old boy, being pulled away from familiar fun to ferry off to who knows what. “But we have a beach here, why do we have to go to another one?” I tried not to take it personally, but by the time we got to the ferry where he was still drilling, I lost it. “We’re never coming here again,” I said, my eyeballs hot with fire. “I hate this place.” I was loud enough that heads turned and I really didn’t care. Every parent knows that strain of anger, that irrational rage that kicks in when a child has pushed you to your limits. It’s just beyond that limit that we start acting just like them, and thinking thoughts no mother wants to admit to. Thank goodness for the thirty minutes of fresh salty air, and a local singer’s on-board rendition of Sweet Child of Mine, because otherwise I may have hitchhiked to Cancun. By the time we reached Punta Sur, (in a rickety golf cart) Antimo was the first to run wild through the sculpture garden, chasing Iguanas, and climbing to the top of her Ixchel’s temple. We found a lovely beach at the opposite end of the island, and it was Antimo who spent the entire afternoon wrestling with the waves. “You know, Jason was just like Antimo when he was young,” said my mother-in-law as we sat watching him on the beach. “He too was inflexible, and he didn’t want to go anywhere.” Today, there isn’t a place in the world that Jason would not travel to. And unlike the little grumpy girl in the picture, I am never not in awe of ruins and relics, especially when drenched in sunset light. I’m pretty sure our son will one day be the same.

walk like a Jagger

March 22, 2019

I love this shot of Bianca Jagger’s platform, backstage at a Rolling Stones Concert in 1975. Trust Bianca to clip her pass to the strap of her shoe. I’m guessing she was in one of her signature white pant suits, and something fabulous on her head. One cool chick.

takes the biscuit

March 21, 2019

This style of sofa always reminds me of Savoiardi, the spongy biscuits that Italians dunk in their morning latte. I’ve never sat on one, but I bet it’s heavenly comfortable. Funnily enough, my bank has one in its main lobby. Next time I’m in there for a banker’s draft, I’ll test out its sponginess.

two in one

March 20, 2019

I don’t wear much makeup, so I’m delighted to find products that offer rosy cheeks and a blush pout in one little pot. Lilah b makes a lip and cheek stain that I really like. I bought it a few weeks ago, on a particularly grey day (my face, not the weather) and it gave me an instant flush of healthy. Mine is called b.real and it’s really natural and soft looking. Try it.

ear full

March 19, 2019

Stars, tassels, hearts and tropical fruit –– just look at these danglers by Mercedes Salazar! These cockatoos are charming, and so are the toucans. Hello, lemon drops! And eat your heart out, Carmen Miranda. I gather they’re super light on the lobes, and they go well with white tees, fancy gowns and everything in between.

top shop

March 18, 2019

Much to grandmother’s chagrin, I rarely bother with anything more than jeans when I’m going out in the evening, but I do love me a good blouse. Puffy sleeves and ruffles are always an instant draw. This top by Maryam Nassir Zadeh is kind of perfect, with its exaggerated shoulder poufs, and pretty cinched waist. It comes in tomato red and pale blue polka dots. It’s a mega splurge, but something tells me, it’s a top with 1000 wears.


March 15, 2019

Chintz on chintz on chintz, I just love it. The Royal Ontario Museum is unveiling its collection of Indian chintz this October, and I’ll be there swooning over all of it.  In the meantime, have a gander around Lee Radziwill’s English country house. It was decorated by the Italian theatre set designer, Lorenzo “Renzo” Mongiardino, and reflects its owner’s love for florals.

view of fashion

March 15, 2019

I was going through some old papers and I came across a magazine clipping that resonated with me as much today as I’m sure it did ten or so years ago, when I cut it out of a magazine. Maybe it was for different reasons, but I was thankful that I had kept it. It’s a passage from Alison Adburgham’s, View of Fashion. “And sometimes, something more emerges after the main assignment is completed. At the back of the mind here have been stored some small but treasured vignettes. It is as with the child’s suitcase at the end of the seaside holiday; after the clothes have been unpacked there is underneath a collection of cowries and cockles, dried seaweed, pieces of coloured glass worn smooth by the waves, a piece of cork, an uninhabited sea-urchin, a mermaid’s empty purse. So are the impressions left, not by the dress shows themselves, but by the people in the bars and the bistros, girls on motor scooters, the children’s balloons in the Tuilleries, the pictures in the Jeu de Paume, the shop windows, the smell of Gaulouises, garlic, and Arpège, the dim interior seen through an open window, the concierge in the courtyard sunning herself on a kitchen chair, the lovers in the Vert Galant disregarding the world in their island garden. All these things suddenly fall into a pattern, and fashion is part of the pattern, and the pattern has meaning because it is quickened by ordinary, everyday life.”


March 13, 2019

I was looking at x-ray images of flowers today, specifically the work of Dr. Dain L. Tasker, a 1930s doctor who used his x-ray machine to photograph the anatomy of plants and flowers. The images are so delicate and ethereal. Steven N. Meyers — a medical x-ray technologist — is another photographer known for breathtaking floral xray images. Just look at these beautiful Eucalyptus leaves.

mural, mural in the wall

March 12, 2019

Look at this divine mural –– rabbits enjoying a spot of tea, smoking under a tree. What a beautiful idea for a children’s room, to commission an artist to illustrate the walls. In fact, what a lovely idea for any room in the house. I’d love local artist, Barbara Klunder to paint a wall in my house. Something like the horse and dragonflies at Union. As for the canopies and ceiling light, both are pure whimsy.

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