September 11, 2019

September 11, 2019

Eighteen years later it feels different  Each year has been different.  I was distracted briefly by a foot injury and the recent acquisition of a boot.  I had carpool duty today where I was opening doors for arriving cars.  I considered asking someone to trade with me, but today of all days is about resilience.  In prior years, I would worry that I might be in tears all morning and let’s face it that would be a terrible way to greet elementary school children as they leave their parents and come to school. I did not cry, well at least not at carpool.

So upward and onward I went up the hill to my post walking slowly with my boot behind my son when I am usually the one outpacing him.  I am overwhelmed with gratitude.  It is how I woke up today.  There is heartbreak too, but I was a lucky one that day.  I just missed a subway (I wrote about that here if you would like more of the story).  Today I am grateful.  Grateful that I have carpool duty, a beautiful family and a beautiful life.  It is still a beautiful life even with an injured foot or an argument about how to study for a spelling test or an argument with my husband.  I have a beautiful life and for that I am grateful, especially today.

I am sending a big hug to New York, especially to all those who lost somebody they love.

XO,

JAE

I have also written about September 11, 2001 here, here and here. I am currently writing historical fiction about the event.

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A pause on the way to the garage

“But I’m not finished with it yet.” sighs my son as my husband is hauling it to the garage.

“You are too big for this. The other table will be much better in the playroom. We can play games at it.” he responds.

“Why don’t we leave it there for a few days. “I suggest pointing to the Pottery Barn kids table as it rests in front of the fireplace.

“I’m just putting it in the garage. It’s not going to the thrift shop, yet.” my husband protests.

“Things go to the garage to die! You put some of my stuffed animals in plastic bags!” my son yells.

“Let’s agree to enjoy the table here for a while.” I suggest

The cafe size table was moved from the guest room to the play room to make way for the Peleton. As busy parents, we realized we just could not fit in exercise like we used to. Most of our courtship involved spinning and yoga classes. After just a few days, the whole family has enjoyed the Peleton. My son favors the scenic rides and has changed his mind about the location of next year’s decade birthday trip.

The next thing I know my son unearths the Janod breakfast set that we used for weekend breakfasts in my bed along with discussions about the week when I worked as a COO. It is the one toy that I want to keep in my closet (I have finished LEGO projects on the top shelf). He gathers the stuffed animals from his room for breakfast, asks to sit with them for a bit and then joins us at the table to scan the travel section of the paper for his next destination.

A wise mom with older boys recently posted on her Instagram something about how she is always asking her kids to hurry up and really she should have been asking them
to slow down as she cleaned their playroom and looked at their sports pictures. I have continued to think about her words a week later.

I am hitting pause. My husband is ready to part with the table and is worried there will be a playroom franchise in the living room. My son and I need the stuffed animal farewell breakfast for a few more days.

Plaid Tidings

Plaid Tidings!  Happy Holidays!

I have taken what has turned into an extended break on the blog and nail art.  But…It would not be the holidays without a little holiday nail art.  In fact, it was one little plaid nail three years ago that turned my ballet slippers loving self into a nail art fan.  While this year has flown by it seems like a both a second ago and a long time ago that I set out on my 30- day no shopping challenge.  It ended up changing the way I approach shopping just as my 30- day clean eating challenge did the year before.  I want to make a similar shift this year, but I am not sure what I want to shift.  I am already scheduled for Elissa Goodman’s SOUP cleanse in January.  While I mediate regularly, I am considering the Unplug 30-day challenge.  I am also considering challenging myself to write everyday for 30 days.  I have been working on a couple of projects that could use a bit more consistency.

I will report back soon.

Enjoy the end of the year.  Best wishes for a joyful 2018!

See other holiday mani ideas here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

XO,

JAE

Girls

“When can I have a suit?” I ask my mom as we are picking up my Dad’s newly altered three-piece suit.

“Someday.  You are eight years old.” she replies.

“I can’t wait.  I am going to have the coolest suits when I am the boss.”

“You can be ANYTHING you want to BE and you certainly have boss characteristics.” she says with a smile.

Many years and many suits later, I did become a boss.  I wore suits in a time when pantsuits were not only frowned upon but strongly discouraged by my first employer.  I wore skirt suits and had to keep a constant supply of hosiery in my desk to address the ill-timed and horrifying run.  The uniform was a big part of my feeling of success.  I subscribed to the notion of dressing for the job you want rather than the job you have.

That conversation with my mom empowered me.  Both of my parents encouraged me to work hard and pursue my dreams.

Girls now have even more opportunity even as we all navigate so much anger and frustration with what is going on.

J.Crew has partnered with Girls Inc.

We are thrilled to partner with J.Crew to ensure that more girls have the opportunity to join the Girls Inc. crew and grow up healthy, educated, and independent. With support from J.Crew customers and employees, and through panel events, girls will be encouraged to achieve their highest potential and inspired to be strong, smart, and bold.

  • Judy Vredenburgh, Girls Inc. President & CEO

In honor of Day of the Girl, today, October 11, 2018, J.Crew will donate $5 for every purchase made through jcrew.com.  For me it started with a dream (and a suit).  I am excited to put part of my shopping dollars towards empowering another generation of girls.

Here a few things I am considering in my cart today.

Obviously, these leopard pieces that are part of the Demylee X J. Crew collaboration:

Scarf / Hat / Pants / Jacket/ Dress

I love these two pairs of shoes for the holidays and beyond

Slingback / Mules

It’s a great time to pick up my favorite kicks that I have in three colors and wear all the time.  Yesterday I managed to wear all three with a few outfit changes.

Cheers to the girls!

XO,

JAE

Statement on Top

“I am putting blinders on.  I only need a dress.” I say to my mom as we head out for a quick shopping trip.  I don’t need anything else.  “Famous last words.” she says under her breath.

We head over the hill and to a relatively large Nordstrom for Los Angeles.  I make a beeline for the dresses and find this one (and it’s navy!).  It fits like a glove, but it is a tad too formal for the event I have in mind.

And then I see them…an amazing selection of statement blouses and it’s hard to choose just one.  Luckily, I find some companion pants on the sale rack (including this amazing dark navy that can play navy or black easily).

I found ensembles for not one, but two events.  A few days later I find this gorgeous blue top (below).  The color is much deeper than the online photos.

Here is what I have been up to lately…

Top (also here) / Pants (on sale!) / Shoes (similar here)

Top / Sunglasses / Sandals (similar here) / Kicks (on sale!) / Denim / Bag (similar here)

Top / Pants (on sale!) / Shoes (similar here)

Happy Shopping!

XO,

JAE

Mani Monday – Amour Edition

“What do you hope to accomplish in the next year?” asks the tall Dutch man I met earlier in the trip.

“Buy a house.  Get Married.” I respond with confidence even though I don’t even have a boyfriend.

“Why will you marry?” he asks.

“For love.” I respond without even thinking.

He smiles.  “How American.”

“What do you mean?  Why did you marry?” I ask.

“For tax reasons.  I am Dutch and my wife gets a lot out of it.  I love her and our son, but it is not a reason for marriage.”

I take a sip of my beer and turn to the Englishman in the group.

“Don’t ask me,  I am divorced.” he says with a laugh.

It was June 2001.  I was in Portugal traveling alone for a few days before meeting friends for a wedding in England.  I kept running into these two and we ended up getting a drink for my birthday and there was some dancing.

Less than seven years later I did marry for love.

The manicure and nail art are by MiniLuxe.

Items in the photos include:

Striped Kicks

Amour tee

New York Sweatshirt (the pink LOVE version is also cute)

Cork Sandals (so comfy!)

Green Jungle Cat Print Blouse

Blue and White Floral Blouse

Happy Monday!

XO,

JAE

Mani Monday – Dandelion Edition

“Mommy, stop we need to make a wish” said the little boy on the way to school.  “OK just one.” replies his mother as she checks her watch and hopes to rush him along, so she can get to her mediation class…and relax and be present.  “Oh look another one!  Look at all the dandelions.” he says again trying desperately to get her to stop and be present.

At the start of a mediation class I attended right after my son started school, the teacher shared this story.  I know I have caught myself rushing to get where I need to be – an appointment, an exercise class, a mediation class (they won’t let you in late).  I have often laughed at the stress to get there so that I can relax and be present.

The dandelion story has stuck with me for a few weeks.  It also made me think about planting seeds.  When you blow on the dandelion you spread the seeds and never know where they might grow.  This week I found myself feeling nostalgic and resisting change.  Maybe it’s being older, maybe it’s our fast-paced world.  The village in my town recently went through a major transformation.  While I was initially excited by it four years ago when it started, the construction inconveniences had worn me down and I was not sure I was going to like it.  My husband pointed out that I was sounding like an old curmudgeon.

We joined the crowds on opening day and I was pleasantly surprised.  We arrived after a stressful morning of cleaning out a corner of my kitchen with three competing agendas.  I was pleased to be offered champagne at one of the new stores.  I am not typically a day drinker, but a few sips hit the spot.

The day after the opening of the new Palisades Village, I headed to town on foot (my preferred method of transport) to check it out in the early morning hours.  I found a new place to get my green juice that was so easy.  The juice was delicious, and I enjoyed a stroll around the village.  The seeds were planted for this a long time ago and even in my own mind when I first moved to my town I wanted more that I could walk to.

The new Palisades Village is here, and I’m being won over – one beverage at a time.  Can’t wait for Mom’s night out…

The manicure and nail art are by MiniLuxe.  The color is apty named “Anticipation”.

Items in the photos include:

Zimmerman Black Dress

Celine Grey Tote (similar here on sale!)

Isabel Marant Dress

Happy Monday!

XO,

JAE

Mani Monday – Back to Writing Edition

I want my green juice.  But if I walk to get it, my newly cut and styled hair will be ruined.  The sunny summer mornings of Los Angeles summer have moved on to fog.  The marine layer will burn off soon, but thick, be-careful-you-don’t-miss-a pedestrian-in-the-crosswalk fog will stick around.  It’s the same fog I grew up with and learned to drive in.  The summer fog I suffered through as a young professional in San Francisco.  If anti-humidity hair spray had existed in high school and San Francisco I’m certain my life would have been different.

I am exhausted.  I won’t sleep that much during September.  I decide to drive. Driving is something I don’t love about Los Angeles.  I always look for opportunities to walk. I am constantly convincing my son and husband that it’s not that far between errands.  I refuse to subscribe to “Nobody walks in LA”.  We do walk, but it’s typically a hike.  I want to walk in my day to day life and effortlessly stay leaner as I did in my years living in New York.  I get in the car, within a minute I hear Ryan Adams singing “New York, New York”.  “farewell to the city and the love of my life” and I sigh.  I did not leave the love of my life there.  In fact, magically the love of my life, my New York City born and bred husband, was waiting for me in Los Angeles.  I would wait many years to meet him in Santa Monica.  Maybe I passed him on the street when he was visiting his father in Greenwich Village only a few blocks from where I lived, when I wondered if the love of my life was “out there’”.  New York City was the love of my life then. I felt at ease and happy even with all the noise and congestion.  The constant buzzing energy of New York City was a perfect match for my energy and of course, the walking.

I chug the juice in the car.  Saturdays provide a rare privilege where I can drink my green juice on an empty stomach and wait to drink my coffee.  It is the preferred method for maximum benefit from celery juice.  Something that is much harder (impossible) on a weekday with school drop off.  I bring back juice for my husband.  He has his with his coffee.  My son and husband are in their father and son Saturday morning routine watching a show about cars while my son operates the Nespresso machine. He is a charming barista.  “Do you guys want eggs?” I ask tentatively as not to interrupt them.  “Are they the fluffy kind you made last week?”  “Yes” I reply as my wrist starts to hurt as I try to get the perfect scramble and I hope in in my exhaustion that I got the temperature on the stove right. I sigh with gratitude.

I am here in this LA kitchen making eggs for this family that I was not sure I would ever have 17 years ago.  17 years ago, on Sunday, September 9, 2001, I was exploring the Cloisters with a friend. I had no idea what the following Tuesday would bring.  There is an innocence to that summer that will never be the same.  This summer I turned 50.  Yes, I am a half century old.  With the birthday came another level of gratitude and a shedding of a few insecurities.  Suddenly how I looked in my swimsuit became far less important than swimming with my kid. By freeing myself of some of that I managed to capture a little bit of the innocence of summer of 2001 that I spent on the beach on weekends (Spring Lake, NJ style) and in Europe and Alaska.  The world feels even crazier than it did in 2001.   If you told me then who would be running things, I would have laughed.  In fact, I think our current president laughed about that himself.  One thing is clear, things can change beyond our wildest expectations.  I am holding on to the little moments with my family; the smile on my son’s face, perfectly made eggs that he eats, the beauty around me.  The fact that I am here.  I survived that day.  I was there. You can read more about my account of September 11, 2001 here and here.

This week’s mani is for back to school.  It was designed by my son who came to my appointment right before school started.   School is back in session.  I will put pencil to paper and get back to writing.  To achieve that summer innocence, I took some time off from the blog.  I’m back.  It may look a little different going forward and the schedule may be less consistent.  But I’m here – and I’ll return when I have something more to say.

Happy Monday!

XO,

JAE

 

 

Mani Monday – Beach Edition

I am soaking up the last days of summer at the beach and pool.  We have had a few weeks at home and my son tagged along for my mani appointment and came up with the beach idea.

The manicure and nail art are by Olive & June.  The color is “Dye-Mentions” by Essie Gel Couture.

Items featured in the photos include:

Chambray Beach Tote

Eyelet Cover-up

Hermes Sandals (similar here and here)

Happy Monday!

XO,

JAE

 

Mani Monday – Hibiscus Edition

I just got back from nine glorious days on Maui.  The weather (and my hibiscus mani) were perfect and my son even learned to surf.  I read three books, logged a lot of time in the water and enjoyed a lot of delicious seafood.  We definitely caught the beach bug and will be beating the heat this coming week at the beach in Malibu.  The gel mani I got just before leaving is still going strong two weeks later.  For last summer’s trip to the Big Island, I had palm leaves.

The manicure and nail art are by Olive & June.  The color is “Shells in the Sand” by CND.

Items in the photos include:

Pink and White Clutch

Jungle Clutch

Checked Dress

Pink and White Pom-Pom Tote (on sale!)

Sophie Anderson Bag

Happy Monday!

XO,

JAE