Do you want to be known for your fashions or for your opinions? That is a very relevant question to ask, especially when it comes to public figures with lots of expectations, such as Michelle Obama. There has been lots of criticism that Mrs. Obama wore an Alexander McQueen gown to the recent state dinner, instead of opting to wear an American designer gown, such as an Oscar DeLaRenta (who's been complaining the most). I, as most everyone else, am a big fan of Michelle, and the style she has made famous. But as an intelligent, high profile woman you want to be known at least as much for your achievements and opinions, as for your fashions. In Michelle's case, the fashions are beginning to overshadow the opinions, and she is in the danger of becoming, at least in my mind, what is described in the financial industry as an "empty suit". Someone who looks the part, but doesn't offer much. I still have faith in her abilities and I hope that she will step up her efforts to discuss issues that are important to American families.
While on maternity leave I hardly wore a watch, or if I did, it was a smaller size watch for ease and also for being careful not to scratch the baby with my watch or with any other jewellery for that matter. But now that I went back to work I started wearing my Michael Kors watch again. It feels so huge on my wrist and the question is, is it too big? I guess the style pendulum is swinging towards smaller everything, watches, bags, even jewellery although rings still seem to be pretty huge...
I have been reading the 48 Laws of Power on my iPad as an e-book. Although I find the laws of power fascinating, the book is really weird in that it almost single-mindedly speaks of power as something that can only be attained unethically by cunning, lying, deceit and cheating. I absolutely do not believe in that mindset. I believe that you can obtain power by being nice, fair, smart, hard working, and by having a good self esteem, i.e. recognizing your value, and not letting others take advantage of you. You can use other people on your rise to the top as long as it is mutually beneficial.
On another note, I sure hope that the quality of this book is not indicative of e-books in general. It is full of typos and the text is chopped in strange places. Other than that, I have been enjoying reading on my iPad and am not missing the actual book paging experience that much. Will definitely continue reading on the iPad and saving trees.
Here' the deal: Ines de la Fressange is coming out with a new style book. I have read a few books in this genre (Rachel Zoe, Nina Garcia, Tim Gunn) and have never been very much impressed. After thumbing them in the book store, I went to the library and ordered them from there, and was happy I did. None of the books made me want to own them. But I have very high expectations for Ines' book. And not only because her style is such classicly and beatifully French and Chic, but because I saw a sneak peak into the book at the DisneyRollerGirl blog and it shows the outfits on both Ines and her daugher Nine. Two takes on the same items, styled age appropriately, and so not matronly, my eternal fear and pet peeve when it comes to aging and fashion. Here, finally, may be a style advice book that I want to own. Can't wait to have it in a book store near me.
What is it with men and technology? When anything new comes out they are like kids in a candy store, excited and happy. I guess it's a little bit like I feel when the a new Prada or Marc Jacobs collection comes out... Anyway, mu husband is hugely into technology and has to be the first to try new stuff. He has been talking about getting a 3D tv for a while now, and I have been trying to stall. I am not into 3D at all. I hate having to wear the glasses, and the whole concept of stuff leaping out of the screen just does not appeal to me. I am perfectly happy to keep my distance from whatever it is I am watching and not feel like I am "in there". Well, my stalling tactics were not all that successful, as there is now a 65 inch humongous monstrosity of a 3D tv sitting in our family room. It will move to the basement once the on-going basement renovation is finished, and we can set up a movie theater in there. I guess I am going to give the thing a benefit of a doubt until I can make up my mind after seeing a few 3D movies on it.
There is a huge public debate raging in New York about parenting styles. A few days ago Wall Street Journal published an article titled "Why Asian Mothers are Superior", an excerpt of an upcoming book that chronicles the very extreme Chinese parenting style of an American born Chinese mother, Amy Chua, or the "tiger mother". She advocates a very strict style that has been a norm in high aspiration, high achievement Chinese families. She eschews play dates, sleep overs, creative hobbies such as participating in school plays, team sports, camps, basically anything, it seems, that makes childhood fun. She obviously does not believe that children can learn valuable lessons via play, or that they need any unstructured downtime. No video games, tv, or anything other than academic drilling and piano or violin lessons and endless practice. I happened to read the article and was flabbergasted, mostly because she is so sure that her style is, well, superior.
I guess there are as many parenting styles as there are parents. The good thing about the "tiger mother" debate is that it is making people think about parenting. Being a good parent is such a huge and complex responsibility that nobody can be perfect. Parenting is wrought with guilt, and sometimes regret, but mostly it is a rewarding and wonderful job. I believe in balancing demands with fun. I love seeing my kids learn while having fun, as they did yesterday when we visited the Long Island Children's Museum (which, by the way, is a fantastic place). Life is very stressful, even for kids, and I am a big believer in downtime and having unstructrured time. Some kids get bored in a minute, but not mine because they have learned to play. If a kid never has time to just be, they don't have time to learn to play creatively and use their mind and imagination to come up with activities, plays and games. Balance is the key, though. Some kids have nothing but time and end up in trouble, or never experience achievements that can only come when you conquer and learn something that was hard at the beginning. Of course a good parent has to also teach kids the value of hard work and not quitting immediately when the going gets tough, or something feels difficult. But if a kid is consistently not into some hobby, and clearly will not be very good at it, whatever it is, it is ok in my mind to move on and try something else.
However good it is to analyze your own parenting style and think about how you can improve as a parent, I hope this debate does not bring back the age old "mommy wars" between working and stay-at-home mothers. I am so sick of that discussion. It has been proven that there is no one perfect recipe for well adjusted, happy children who will lead rich and successful lives.
After a short hiatus we are back in the interior decorating mode. The house is totally functioning, and looks fine, but definitely requires fine tuning here and there. We have played around with the furniture changing the order a few times. Looks like the sectional is now staying put here in the living room. The living room needs a few finishing touches, one of which is this arc lamp. I love the way it looks with the mirror table, and it is just perfectly retro and modern at the same time.
To borrow a little from Oprah (or Mary Poppins as it may be), here are two of my new favorite things... My glasses, without which I could not survive, and I absolutely love. I got these Tiffany frames last fall (and they came in the cutest Tiffany blue box). Another new favorite thing is the stainless steel Aalto serving platter that was just the perfect pick for me from someone I did not even know all that well at the time. I know things are not supposed to make you happy, but I can't help myself..these things just do make me happy.
Yay! It is a snow day in Long Island today. The kids are happy that schools are closed and parents are happy they can work from home :-) Everyone gets a little unexpected break and some time together. The outside world looks like a fairytale winter wonderland with icicles and all.
This week I was asked to read and sign my company's code of ethics. The long text contained the header "Protection and Proper Use of Assets" which made me think that we all should have a personal code of ethics and borrow this important thought to resolve to protect our mind and body from all the external garbage we encounter. Another worthwile heading: Respect for the Individual.
So, about having it all. Is it really possible? Given the extreme shortness of American maternity leaves, I went back to work a week ago on Monday. The first week was tough, but made easier by the fact that I am doing this for the third time now and know what to expect. Dealing with guilt, sadness, and at the same time feeling competent and fulfilled by my professional life and proud of my achievements. And I do have to say, work sometimes does feel like a vacation compared to staying home with three kids. Regardless of all that, I did cry last night at the thought of having to leave my precious little one home. It is not easy being a working mom and it is not easy (or even possible) to have it all...
This is the first ever real snowman the kids built all by themselves - isn't it great?
I am a sucker for new year's resolutions - so of course I made them again this year... I made the usual ones of losing weight (baby weight has got to go!), sleeping more, trying to find time to exercise, really being there for the kids and spending quality time with them and not just "being" there.
My style resolution is to care less about fashions, more about style and to keep honing in on my own personal style.
2011 will be a great year, we will reap the rewards of the work done in 2010. The best is yet to come!