Tuesday, May 16, 2017

A Tribute to my Mom mom

When we were going through photos for Mom mom's memorial, something that stood out to me very plainly was how chic and well-dressed my grandmother was. I remembered her from my childhood always doing her hair, but that seemed to be a trend started in her youth. Her lipstick, gold earrings and red sweaters highlighted her vibrant and loving personality so well. Mom mom was fun. She was hilarious (without meaning to be.) She was outspoken and voiced her opinions freely. She loved toast, tea, and General Hospital (the soap opera.) She always did her hair and makeup before leaving the house. She lovingly doted on her grandchildren. She was a strong and involved mother. She cared about her community. She was well-known and loved by all.

The photos of her highlighted so well her big and beautiful personality. Her beautiful smile. Her fun polka dot dress. Her children, dressed in coats and matching hats for church. It made me stop and think about my own preservation of self and life through photos. How am I portraying myself and others in snapshots? How am I being portrayed?

Something about blogging has always felt incredibly vain to me. I have grappled (with great difficulty) the concept of documenting my life and self through photos. Who cares about the experiences I have? What I eat? Where I go? What I wear?

But in sorting through photos, in Mom mom's 100 year old house, I realized this:
Our lives have so many facets. The way we present ourselves is one. Photographs capture a feeling in an instant -- a look, a smile, the day's outfit, our homes, our families. Mom mom is forever preserved in images from her wedding day, her travels, holidays spent with family and friends. This is a blessing to her family, who will never forget what she looked like. Though small details may one day fade, we can always turn back to our photographs, to be reminded of the idiosyncrasies of this wonderful soul. How she always wore white sneakers. How she never let herself get gray hair ;) What a boss lady she was. There are wonderful images of her sitting at her desk at work -- she was a working mom and a powerful woman, VP of Human Resources of the Royal Bank of Pennsylvania in a time when women weren't always given the prestige and respect they deserved. She had been retired for more than two decades when she died, yet people from her work came to her memorial. People she hadn't worked with in over twenty years came to honor her, and tell us how amazing she was at what she did. How she connected to others. How she made people valued. How she was respected and loved so dearly.

This is what a photograph can give us. A story. A story about a life, in all it's complicated facets.

More than ever, I feel compelled to tell the story of my own life. Perhaps to preserve it for generations to come. Perhaps to arm my own grandchildren, one day, with the story of our family through images that may one day be faded and somehow, with the every changing technology of our world, out dated.

It may feel vain, but clothes and images tell the story of our lives. Mom mom looked good in almost every photo. She highlighted her best self. Her best, and beautiful self is shining through those photographs. And we will always remember her as the lady in red sweaters, with red nails, and red lipstick -- with gold hoop earrings, black pants, and probably a black turtleneck.

She loved to travel. She loved her children. She loved her grandchildren. She loved her husband. She loved her family. And she looked damn good doing it.

I love you Mom mom, and I aspire to one day be as loving, generous, hilarious, caring, put together, and beautiful as you were. I see your soul in every photograph, and I feel your love pouring through them.

Thank you for all that you have ever given to me and our family.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

How to get your Hygge on this spring

Oh my goodness, how is it MAY already and how did I only post ONCE in the entire month of April!? Things have been really crazy around here to say the least... what with getting engaged, throwing out my back, getting norovirus and being in bed for half the work week, my grandma having open heart surgery... flying to the east coast to see her and spend time with my family... I mean when it rains, it pours am I right?! My grandma is still in the hospital recovering from her second heart surgery but she is doing well and we are thankful and feeling hopeful that things will continue to look up.

So. Goodness knows I need a break!

One of my favorite concepts that a friend of mine introduced me to is "hygge" which has a lot of definitions but is basically the art of being comfy and cozy. I've always thought of myself as a hobbit, and this concept of hygge really speaks to me because it's basically all about self care, enjoying the little things, and being happy with what you have and where you're at.

Normally when people think of getting comfy and cozy they think of wrapping up in warm, soft blankets and cozying up by a fire with hot chocolate and fuzzy slippers. But you can get your hygge on in spring just as well.


To get your hygge on this spring I have the following tips:

- Keep your home stocked with fresh flowers. Change the vases, flowers and water often. Changing the water will help the flowers last longer. You probably have a beautiful vase shoved in a cupboard somewhere that you haven't used all winter that is just dying to be used! This is a great opportunity to use colorful vases and pitchers to brighten up your home and add some liveliness to every room. Pitchers double as great vases :)

- Wear some fun and funky socks. My feet are always cold even in spring! Fun and cute patterned summer socks are a nice way to "bundle" up on warm springy nights on the back porch sipping wine!


- Keep wine chilled in the fridge at all times :) Isn't a light white wine or rose just divine when the days are longer and the sun sets after 7:30?!


- Open your windows. Heck, open your doors if you can! Let that fresh air IN!


- Light some springy scented candles. I love candles that smell like fresh laundry for spring.



- Do some light spring cleaning. Out with the old! In with the new! If you have some wintery items you didn't wear all season that you don't love and that don't give you joy, get rid of them! Donate them! Give them to a friend! Sell them! Get rid of clutter and allow yourself to love every item in your home.

- Meditate. Hygge is all about slowing down and being in the moment. Even if you're new to meditation, take some deep breaths, focus on your food when you eat - really taste it, enjoy the flavors, feel the textures - (this is called mindful eating.) Try doing this at least once a day. You will feel rejuvenated and rejoice in the small pleasures of your life.


 

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