on the road

September 5, 2017

As a family that frequently travels overseas, this summer we decided to stay close to home. We got in our car, a lot, and drove around Ontario and Quebec and Upstate New York. With no planes to catch and agendas to keep, it was liberating.

Family road trips are a romantic idea –– bare, dirty feet and toothy smiles in the back seat, a gentle breeze flowing through the car, all your favourite soft rock playing on the radio. You tell stories and play games that your parents played with you, and if you’re lucky, stop roadside for soft serve, or a dip in an ice cold swimming hole. That’s sort of what it was for us. Sort of.

But then there were the toddler tantrums and epic fights over the iPhone; the pinching, scratching and hair pulling; (the children) the cursing and yelling; (the grownups) the emergency pee stops, and those constant, brain-numbing updates from our GPS-fixated son. “29 minutes to go,” “28 minutes to go,” and so on, and so on. “You have reached your destination.” Hallelujah.

“I don’t want to get out and walk,” our son, aged six, said at the suggestion of a hike to the Kaaterskill Falls, only to charge ahead like a seasoned mountaineer once we got there. “Why do we have to drive all the way to the Dia Art Foundation?” our eight-year-old daughter said before turning Richard Serra’s sculptures into a breathtaking playground. “But we don’t want to drive one whole boring hour to a silly farm,” they all chorused in, and then ran free and wild among radishes, kales and cows at Arundel’s Runaway Farm.

Give and take, give and take, this is how it went. And some drives were better than others. The stretch between hip upstate New York hamlet, Hudson and Hunter Mountain, where our hotel was, got particularly tense when our three-year-old pulled a massive clump of hair out of the six-year-old’s head. If truth be told, she beat me to it. My son’s whining is like a drill to the head. And the tears from all three at the Buffalo border as we sat in moving-like-molasses traffic, was enough to make the most patient human turn to Hulk.

And then there was my own restless mind to contend with. Long stretches in a car force you to think. ‘What is right in my life?’ ‘What is wrong?’ ‘Should I do a tick check on the children?’

But then I’d listen to our eldest child sing along to Christopher Cross while our three-year-old made phone calls on her plastic phone to the Queen, and all would be well. All three of them laughed at each others jokes and farts, and even sat in silence looking out the window for long, beautiful stretches of time. We’d marvel at every deer sighting, and say “mooooo” every time we saw a cow. We’d count the American flags, each one. Clouds quickly became dinosaurs and whales.

A road trip is not something I’d do again in a hurry, but there’s a lot to be gained from them, lessons in boredom and compromise, for starters. With no planes and trains to catch, we travelled on our own clock. There’s a freedom and spontaneity to road trips, which is no easy feat when travelling with kids. Most importantly, road tripping forces you to embrace the journey and make it part of the overall experience.

It was the drive home from Montreal via an amazing dinner in Prince Edward County that I’ll treasure most. The sun was setting on the barn speckled fields, and all three children –– a pile of beautiful, grubby bodies –– were fast asleep in the back. My husband’a hands were on the wheel and John Mayer’s ‘The Search for Everything’ was playing on the radio. Well, I thought, it doesn’t get better than this.

let’s polka

September 4, 2017

Anytime I see black and white polka dots, I think of a cocktail dress my Mum wore in the 80s that was fun and flirty and fantastically ruched. She even had black and white polka dot pumps to match. I’m quite sure she wore the outfit to Ascot, with a great chapeau, no doubt. I love the 80s for their sheer excess. It was all so over the top. Here is a very different take on all that. I like the compromise of playful polka dots and shoulder pads with clean beauty and an unfussy topper. Come to think of it, this may be my dream outfit to wear to the races.

 

Ivory & Merchant

September 1, 2017

For a moment, I thought this image of director, James Ivory was a painting –– a very detailed David Hockney, perhaps. I clicked on the image, and off I travelled through the beautiful Hudson Valley home he shared with partner in work and life, Ismail Merchant. They bought the 1805 Federal 19-room mansion in 1975 for about $105,000. All these years later, the home is bursting with memorabilia from a life together making movies. This wallpaper –– are they magnolias or waterlilies –– is gorgeous, and just look at all the beautiful textiles scattered around the place. With its grand columns and green shutters, the facade is so beautiful. Just imagine coming home for the weekend.

 

 

Boho

September 1, 2017

Light Locations seeks out super spaces for photo shoots, and this one, bright and whimsical, caught my eye this morning. The mantle of mismatched vases is charming, and I love the pastel palette throughout. Floral motifs run everywhere, and all those vintage pieces add such character. All you need is bed hair and vintage kimono, and you’ll fit in nicely.

Floret

August 30, 2017

I really loved Cathy Horyn’s story in New York Magazine about how flower farmer Erin Benzakein turned adversity into opportunity, and now runs some of the most successful flower workshops in the country. It’s very inspiring, as is Benzakein’s free flowing, natural style. It’s now a little fantasy of mine to do a Floret workshop. I’m also curious to dig into her book, Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden: Grow, Harvest, and Arrange Stunning Seasonal Blooms I don’t have a huge garden, but I’d love to see peonies, dahlias and sweet peas growing in it.

house on a cliff

August 30, 2017

There’s something about this house, in all its majesty, that looks like it could topple off its perch at any moment. To be sure, Cliff House has had a dramatic life, including numerous fires and explosions. These days, a very different structure sits on site, hosting weddings and Sunday buffets. But the drama and romance remains in the view, which is simply breathtaking.

 

Alice’s wonderland

August 29, 2017

If there’s a jeweller I’m most excited by these days, it’s Alice Cicolini. With such an eclectic range of influences –– from ancient Eastern traditions to Monet’s pastels –– it’s hard to not love her exuberant designs. Her temple Uzbek dome ring is pure drama, as is this exquisite tourmaline ring. It looks like a cocktail, or a Lalique vase filled with some magic potion. The mix of pink and yellow diamonds, white opals and a Tahitian pearl in this stunner is just divine. The meenakari enamelling under this chrysoprase is beautiful, too. With an endless budget, I’d wear two, maybe three a time. Why not?

Room with a view

August 29, 2017

I don’t think I could imagine a more breathtaking morning view if I tried. Just picture giving your gums a scrub to this sight. I don’t think I’d ever leave the bathroom.

Gal Pals

August 25, 2017

I am surrounded by brilliant women. Some live close by, others are an ocean away. Some run major corporations, others run marathons. Some have three children, others have fourteen chickens. Some make movies, others make soufflé. Some read the funnies, others read Flaubert. Some wear diamonds, others wear hemp. Some turn up with chicken soup, others bring peonies the size of a dinner plate. I am lucky. Laura Berger‘s work makes me think of my friendships, and all the support, love, humour and inspiration that comes from them. Have a look, they really are quite wonderful.

classic

August 24, 2017

Few outfits beat jeans and t-shirt, especially when both are just right. Toothpicks from JCrew have been my go-to for a couple of years now, and I’ll never stop buying tees from there, either. I like the fit and the feel. Now, this t-shirt here, this is the best I’ve seen in a while. If I ever find it, I may never take it off.

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