MOTHERHOOD, MEMORIES AND STAYCATIONS

Happy Mother's Day!  When I think of Mother's Day I think of many things.  Most of all, I think of this day belonging to all women, whether you are the Mom of a human, a fur baby, plants, the earth, your friends, siblings, or yourself, and we all need to mother ourselves, probably much more than we actually do.  I think about how lucky I am to have a wonderful daughter and to have had a wonderful Mother myself and how broken my heart has been since I lost her in 2019.  This picture was taken in 2015 in Santa Barbara right before she got sick.  Me, my Mom, my daughter and my sister.

Today I also think about those years when I wanted to be a Mom more than anything.  I got pregnant in my mid 20's and had a miscarriage.  It was a devastating experience and one that I thought would only be made palpable by getting pregnant again and having the baby I was meant to have.  Little did I know then that it would take 7 years for that to happen.  That's an eternity when you want desperately to have a baby.  

Many doctors, fertilely drugs, and no diagnosis later, I was the only one that held to the dream that not only would I have a baby, I'd have a girl and I'd name her Dana, after my Grandmother.  Even her father had given up on the idea.  A lot went on over those 7 years including our move from New York to California.  I met a woman at work, she had just had a baby, she said "go to my Dr., he's a miracle worker."  I went, he was.  He wanted to inseminate me with my husbands sperm, (ex husband not current husband), this was to make sure it went directly into my cervex, and of course I had to be ovulating at the time.  I had forgotten to ask for a sterile container at my last appointment so I boiled one of those big old orange tupaware containers (remember those?)  The nurses had a good laugh when they saw it, they said it was the office joke for quite some time.  After the procedure they even asked me if I wanted it back, um no!  I will never forget the feeling when I walked out, I remember it so clearly.  As I exited the building and walked through the door to the parking lot, I said to myself, "wow, I think I just got pregnant."  And I did. 

The second good joke was that baby Daddy didn't even attend the event.  And the third joke was that for a few months after she was born we called her Tuppy.  I haven't told this story in ages and I'm sharing it with you now as a reminder that women's intuition is real.  Honor it, hone it, we know what we know.  Always go with your gut, sometimes there is no rhyme or reason to the timing or the detour and in the moments when there appears to be no hope, hang on tight because those are the times you need to believe the most.  

When you're a Mom, of a full on grown up, (because somehow she keeps getting older and I don't), you realize that there are basically two ways it can go.  Your kid(s) either want to hang out with you or they don't.  I consider myself one of the lucky ones because my daughter and I are besties.  And as besties we make sure we have a lot of girl time together.  I cherish this time because I know that at any given moment life can swoop in and whisk her off to parts unknown, and that's a good thing, but for now, I'll enjoy every minute with a grateful heart.

If you've followed my blog for a while and read my girl trip posts you know that when my daughter was twelve I started taking her on Mother Daughter trips for her birthday, promoting the idea of making memories instead of getting stuff.  That first trip was pretty special because I also took my Mom.  Three generations, off to Hawaii.  I was getting divorced after a 17 year marriage and my Mom was still grieving the passing of my Dad a few years earlier.  And while most of my daughter's friends were excitedly planning elaborate Bat Mitzvahs all my daughter wanted to do for her 13th birthday was swim with dolphins in Hawaii, and so she did. 

That started a pretty solid tradition.  Not all trips were as fancy as Hawaii, but NY, San Fransisco and the ultimate girls trip to Paris, which she surprised me with, have all made for some pretty life enhancing memories. 

Back to present day and the life and times of birthdays in a Covid world.  My daughters birthday is in March so she's officially been three different ages during Covid!   This year it was another staycation but with things opening up in LA we ventured out.  There are so many things to do in Los Angeles from the mountains to the sea I could probably plan a months worth of staycations and never repeat a thing.  

On this particular March day we started out bright and early, 7 AM to be exact, because we had to get to the best bagel place in LA, Pops in Culver City.  Recently, The New York Times ran an article about Pops beating out NY for the best bagels.  This lead every ex New Yorker, including me, right to their front door.  My daughter had been before but this was my first time and I have to say the bagel, (with everything, of course), was amazing, and we had gluten free and still, amazing!  Birthday bagels was a perfect way to start the day.

I suppose I should mention that no matter where we are everything we do usually revolves around food.  When are we eating?  Where are we eating?  What are we eating?  And of course, where are we eating next?  So from Culver City we headed to West Hollywood.  We strolled around the residential streets that we love, and then into the Blue Whale AKA The Pacific Design Center, we call it live Architectural Digest.  My visits to the Blue Whale started years ago with my own Mom when she would come visit me and later when she came to live with us.

My Mom, who started a side hustle before side hustles were a thing, started her own little interior design business when she was in her 50s.  Although she had gone to FIT (me too) and was extremely creative, later in life she ended up working in a school for disabled children and one day she told me that she was mad at herself for not following her dream of being an interior designer.   Of course me being me said - then be one.  Of course her being her said - yeah right.  I knew she was good at it and always did it for her friends homes and ours.  So the next day I got her all the information to attend Parsons School of Design on a part time bases and the rest is design history.  Her little company 'Penny Interiors', (her name was Penny), made her very happy.  Sadly Covid hit the Design Center hard and it wasn't the exciting thriving vibe that I remembered, lots of showrooms had brown paper on the windows and you could hear a pin drop.  But we were able to visit a few kitchen of your dreams show rooms.  And the views are pretty amazing.

My daughter is really funny.  And for some reason parking meters in LA are either too high for the average height woman or too low, I think to support people in wheelchairs.  So for us it's tip toes or crouch.

Then we were off to one of our favorite lunch spots.  For years I worked on the Westside and I have to say, although I don't miss the commute, I miss all my fabulous favorite lunch spots, especially Mauro Cafe at Fred Segals in West Hollywood.  The Fred's pasta is amazing (even the gluten free option!)  With tables properly spaced outside and everyone still masked up, except when eating, the vibe was pure happiness and we reconnected with our favorite hostess and waitress and all talked about how happy we were to be vaccinated.

Sufficiently stuffed, we were back in the car and off to Pasadena.  If you know LA at all you'll know that from the West Valley to Culver City to West Hollywood to Pasadena covers a lot of city!  We didn't include the beach or mountains today because we do that all the time.  Today we were headed to the Huntington Library and Boticnal Gardens.  This was really the vacation portion of the day between the Italian gardens, the Rain Forest and the Desert Southwest, we strolled about 5 miles worth of soul soothing gardens.  The museum is still closed as is the tea garden (poop) but we'll return once they open back up.  My daughter loved it so much she got herself an annual pass!

See that bird on the fountain to the left, kind of bleeding in with the colors.  Well, I stood there talking to it, trying to coax it over to me to get a better picture of it, until my daughter came out of the rest room and pointed out the sign, " STAY AWAY FROM THE BIRDS THEY ARE VICIOUS".  So me.




We hit the road again, stopping for a box of her favorite sushi from Sugar Fish and then a vegan ice cream cup cake party.  And what every grown up girl needs, a goofy picture to remind her that she will always be a silly kid a heart.


Wishing you a very Happy Mother's Day! 💖




PARISIAN CHIC: WOMEN OF A CERTAIN AGE

It's no secret that French women are known for exuding an effortless form of chic that's always been fascinating to women in other countries, hello my fellow Americans.  They have that Je Nais Se Quois which, in French actually means "I don't know what".  In our English dictionary it means "an expression of a quality the makes something or someone attractive, distinctive or special in some way, but is hard to put into words."  Exactly.  

Mireille Guiliano, author of French Women Don't Get Fat, and her new book, French Women Don't Get Face Lifts, (hmmm), says it's because there's no age culture in France so women are more confident, they truly believe that age is just a number and therefore have more confidence in themselves as they age gracefully and naturally.  OK my American sisters we can do that!  I agree that when we believe that age is just a number we are naturally more confident.  

As far as why French women don't get fat, this still escapes me.  I know, they eat very small portions and the cheese and wine and bread is in between the fish and salad.  But realistically, when I was in Paris I ate my weight in baggeuets and if there's cheese in front of me I can tell you right now that 'just one bite' is never going to happen.  It's the whole wedge OK.  I'll walk 20 miles in Paris to walk it off but it's the whole loaf and the whole wedge.  And don't get me started on the macaroons and le pain au chocolat.

So let's look at 11 dynamic chic French women, ages 45-77.  I think the lesson from them is find your Joie De Vivre which means exuberant enjoyment of life.  Also, it doesn't hurt to have a good trench coat, a great pair of ballet flats and a beret.  And at home if you can manage a fire place with a great gold mirror over it, that wouldn't hurt either, just sayin'.
When asked by French ELLE what the best age is, 75 year old actress Eveline Hall said "I would say it's this very moment.  I would like to be an inspiration for young women, to prove there are no age limits.  My face reflects my life, my personality."
Marion Coltillard, 45.  Academy award winning actress, musician and the face of Lady Dior.
Caroline de Maigret, 45. Model and author.  In an interview with OnOther, she was asked why people are so fascinated by the mystique of the French woman. "I think there are some countries where people have a tendency to put big pressure on themselves to be perfect, for some reason, in France, we've lost, or we don't have that same quest for being perfect; it's not an achievement, your not chasing utopia. As for Aging, it's not that we're completely fine about it, it's just the pressure is less".
Carla Bruni 52.  Song writer, model and former French first Lady.  In Vanity Fair explaining why she's still in therapy ~ "With aging, if there is no philosophy, there's no serenity, there's no wisdom, there's nothing but falling apart.  Wrinkles without wisdom are boring.  I want to become mature, I want to become wise".

Emmanuelle Alt 53.  Current editor and Chief of Vogue Paris.
Isabelle Huppert 67.  Academy award nominate actress.  She says she doesn't want to age gracefully, she wants to age gloriously.
Juliette Binoche 56.  Academy award winning actress.
Ines de La Fressange, 63.  Model and the author of Parisian Chic City Guide.
Carine Roitfeld 66.  Formally Editor and Chief at Vogue Paris and now runs CR Fashion Book and is the Global Fashion Director at Harper's Bazaar.
Catherine Deneuve. 77, actress and Yves Saint Laurants original muse.
Garance Dore.  45, photographer, illustrator, blogger and author of the New York Times best seller Love Style Life.

Add a little French flare to your wardrobe with a few basic staples.
And bring a little French feel into you home, gold mirrors, candles, plants, books, chandeliers, fleurs.
Here's a few pictures through my lens of Paris in 2019.  You can see more and read my post Two American Girls In Paris here.
And here I am channeling my inner French girl.