February 29, 2012

Thinking about life

Besides a million and one thing that that I have seriously scored on in my life , I realized how very, very , very lucky I am to have had my children early.

It is hard not to stumble over the fearing pregnancy blog posts and articles all over the place. Girls afraid of what pregnancy can do to their careers, bodies, relationships, lives, freedom, and just the fear of unknown. The thing is ... reading posts, commentaries , answers and shout-outs - I get it. I get all of it.

I got married early - unexpectedly for my own self ( read here ) , and had all ,  but the last one of my children in my 20s. I am so glad I did. Though accomplished, my life was still at it's dawn. But not knowing what was there to come had its advantages - I had no fear of losing it. We dove head first into the parenthood adventure while simultaneously working  on establishing our newly born family. I remember talking to my friends that were in their 30s and completely scared of the thought of a baby entering into their lives. I didn't get it then, but I do get it now.

I was talking to my husband, looking at my life right now. I have accomplished much, but I have SO. MUCH. MORE that is just in "the works", just at the start, and there isn't possibly anything that I want to miss. My time is so limited, I literally need 34 hours ( at the very least) to be able to accomplish a half. Had I not known better, there is no way in the universe that I would be confident enough to allow for an "intruder" , no matter how cute he or she may look.  There are enough horror stories out there about what those kissable cheeks come with : sleepless nights, blowouts, screaming tantrums and more. And lets be honest - a typical society stereotype of a new mother is not a particular sex-appeal either : black circles, messy UNsexy bun, spitup for parfume, makeup-less natural "beauty" look and her forgotten man  -  not particularly something ANY sane woman would willingly put herself in. Right? I think so.

But I didn't know that when I was 20.

At 20-something it looked like the world was at my feet. It was not so, but it seemed like it. At 20-something you feel like you can accomplish anything. And you can.

My thirst for life and continuous growth and development kept fueling me up after sleepless nights. I kept a VERY strong hold on my makeup bag , because at 20-something I still cared very much about how I look to my man, and those black circles did not make in on my agenda. Being put together transferred into a habit and continued on from year to year.  By the time I turned 30-something, I was sitting firmly on my career horse. And so were all my children. It was not easy by any means , actually, it was much harder comparing to if I were living simply by myself, but it was doable and worth doing. At the same time, I look at my life now, and understand  - very clearly - that at 30-something I am much wiser  and  more lenient to let my brain and well developed logic take over my heart, and am so happy that was not the case 10-something years ago.

So, I guess, the bottom line is ... be careless and illogical sometimes, and let your heart take over. 
Today, besides career , projects and life, I have a friend to talk to , a shopping partner,  a resident clown and a kiss-and-smile producer.  And I also learned that I am capable of much more then I ever though was possible for me.

And so are you. 


 Disclaimer : life does sometimes get crazy around here. just thought I'd let you know.

February 28, 2012

Unusual day

Today is an unusual day. There are many tales about what can/will/does happen on February 29th, but the one I love the most is this one:

"Should any woman propose a marriage to a man, her offer will be accepted and her marriage will bloom from year to year. It is believed that the sky opens and gods of Fortune and Luck descend on this day to assist those in need"

Not bad, don't you think? I say, how about men go ahead and keep proposing too? I am sure that the gods will be favorable to them as well. But, ladies - fear not! If not a proposal, then at the very least " I love you " or a romantic evening must make an appearance.

And for those that are still awaiting for love - how about something you've been wanting to do for a while? Something you keep putting off or talking yourself out of? Do it today, for yourself , and nobody else.

After all, February 29th appears once every four years. And since this is an unusual day, Living Notes extends a proposition to open a new door - whether of opportunity or just some fun. I say - seize the day!

February 29th will always have a special place in my heart. My dear grandmother was born right as first minutes of the 29th have taken charge. She youngest from the twins. Her birthday celebration was always special - 3 years it fell on 28th, with her twin sister. And on the fourth she had a day to herself. How very interesting is her story, don't you think?

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What are you going to do today? Have you done something in the past that was special?

Best Family Blog Nomination!

We got nominated! 

I feel so honored... Thank you, my dear supporters, wherever you are! My gratitude and love are radiating your way!

Seriously. Feels like we got Oscars over here! 

Les Femme Moda in real life

Last week's Les Femme Moda post created a flow of responses. So many of you have written to me - through comments and emails - asking for more of " real life " photo sessions. This week I decided to just take a day - without particularly any prep - and have a bunch of my "on hand photographers" document what they think is good. The photographers age from 3 to 8, and let me tell you - with some music on a background or bird watching for an activity , and we had THE best photo session that was , really, a captured memory. I took 3 minutes to get an "official" part of what I wore, but the rest of it is just our day in style, early morning makeup-less face included. Here you go, my dears - as real as it can get.

A little bit of LFM in nature:

 coat: modcloth. jeans: current/elliott. boots: miz-mooz. cami: express. shirt: free people. belts: jcrew.
jewelry: pandora, nashelle via soel boutique. bag: anthropologie.
 With bird watching in action: 
stroller : stokke xplory

And this hug was so spontaneous, it melted my heart: 

Do you know what you get when a 3 y/o photographer gets her hands on a camera? How about an artfully styled half body shot?

Or head-less body shot?
And a runway walk? 
And even a piece of sealing? 
And a finger in a camera, of course! 
Well, hey - this is how the world looks from the whole 3 feet tall prospective!

I hope you enjoyed today's feature just as much as we did making it for you! 
With all our love! XO

What is your favorite way of taking pictures? What is your "device"? And WHO takes your pictures?

February 26, 2012

Live your dream: Helene Alexopoulos

I am THRILLED to feature Helene Alexopoulos in the LIVE YOUR DREAM series today. Helene has a very special place in my heart. I remember being young 19 y/o soloist when video with NYC ballet work out came out. I remember listening to her interview afterwards and having a seed " it's possible" planting deep in my heart. I remember like it was yesterday being dumbstruck when I was able to take a technique class taught by her - my living model of success , beauty and possibility. Ballet world is very lucky to have women like Helene to counterbalance the typical assumptions created by time and society. She is a legend in my heart, at the very least.

NEW YORK — "Children had never entered my mind, and it was no secret that Balanchine thought ballerinas shouldn't have them."
-- Suzanne Farrell,
"Holding On to the Air"

Her thick black hair twists off her forehead into a ballerina bun, every strand in place. Her feet are bare, the ropy veins betraying their strength. Instead of a leotard, she wears a demure black bathing suit, faded by chlorine.
She holds her baby son, Grayson, in the crook of one elbow, like a football, and his twin sister, Alexandra, in the other.
Gracefully, with that splayed ballerina walk, she descends the Persian-tiled stairs, sinking into the steamy blue water. Her poise and stage-presence suggest a grand entrance at the New York State Theater, perhaps in some lost Balanchine ballet, but it's just the kiddie pool of the 63rd Street Y.
"Oh my God," Helene Alexopoulos announces. "You gotta watch this. Grayson might go under water." He ducks beneath the water as sleekly as a little seal, and emerges unruffled, as if nothing has happened. Alexandra, not to be outdone, goes next, as mother, teacher and bystanders applaud. "Wow," Alexopoulos coos. "Wait till we tell Daddy."

It's a long way from the stage at Lincoln Center, tossed in a whirlwind of light, sound and motion, to Alexandra and Grayson, drooling with the other babies as their moms sing "The Wheels on the Bus" in the Shrimp-Flipflop class at the Y. But as Alexopoulos, mother and principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, takes the stage this season, her almost-year-old twins stay at home with their grandmother.

Ballerina lore, from "The Red Shoes" to "The Turning Point," tells us that ballerinas don't have personal lives, let alone husbands, babies or twins. Their dedication to their art is supposed to be so consuming that human love--as opposed to love of their art--is a crippling distraction, and marriage a sacrilege. In "The Red Shoes," when forced to choose between love and the dance, Moira Shearer, in full ballet regalia, throws herself in front of a train.

The reality is not so far from the myth. Two of the great ballet legends, Shearer and Margot Fonteyn, never had children. In a real-life echo of "The Red Shoes," Suzanne Farrell was fired from City Ballet in 1969, just hours before a performance, after she defied Balanchine to follow her heart and marry a fellow dancer. The marriage of Balanchine himself, the late co-founder of City Ballet, to ballerina Maria Tallchief, was annulled on the grounds that she wanted children and he didn't. (Although he married four ballerinas, he never had children.)

"He felt that anyone can have a child, but not everyone can become a prima ballerina, which I certainly was," Tallchief recalls.
It is, after all, a profession in which youth is at a premium, in which women, no matter how old, are still called girls, and men, boys. Out of 88 dancers, both male and female, in City Ballet, only six (three men and three women) have children. All three women--Valentina Koslova, Lourdes Lopez and Alexopoulos--are principals (the highest rank) and only Alexopoulos has more than one child.
At competing American Ballet Theater, only two women--Christine Dunham, a principal, and Lucette Katerndal, a soloist--have children. Sheryl Yeager, a principal, returned last spring after having a baby and then retired. None of the ABT men has children.
As a practical matter, nine months must seem an eternity in the cloistered, feverish world of ballet. "If they're in the corps, most girls have retired by the time they're 27," says David Howard, the international ballet teacher. "If they're a soloist, they go to about 30. Every year after 30 is an exception."

And this is my absolute favorite part of the interview : 

Alexopoulos detects another trend: Only the most secure ballerinas--primas like Tallchief, Natalia Makarova, Allegra Kent and Melissa Hayden--dare to have children, and even they often wait until the twilight of their careers. Tallchief was 34 when she gave birth, in 1959; Makarova was 37. Alexopoulos remembers only one woman at City--Karin von Aroldingen--who had a child while in the corps and rose to become a principal. "You had to show that you could do both successfully and that your interests or abilities were not diminished," she says.

Her pregnancy was liberating, Alexopoulos says. For once in her life, she could let her body take over; she could forget the obsession of ballerinas with diet, thinness and appearing ethereal and childlike rather than womanly. "I loved being pregnant," she recounts. "For the first time, I could look in the mirror and it wasn't me, me, me, self, self, self. I had a strange sense of disappointment after giving birth, when I realized I wasn't pregnant anymore."

Her pregnancy did not stop her from dancing. She danced a "Live from Lincoln Center" tribute to Balanchine, in June, 1993, when she was a few weeks pregnant. "Grayson and Alexandra, the dancing zygotes," she jokes, relishing the idea. "

 Are you a dancer? Are you a mother? What are your thoughts on motherhood and career?

February 24, 2012

Tripp Trapp

I am so excited to introduce you to our Tripp Trapp!

Though we had it for a couple of weeks now, I couldn't wait until the official "sitting up" factor happened. If you are in Europe - you are in double luck , they have a newborn attachment ( how amazingly convenient for the new mom, isn't it?). I dreamed and wished - I do not understand America... But that part is over, and here is to Tripp Trapp.

Since this is not my first child, by now I am very well aware of all the baby products as well as of the factor of what is needed , necessary and desirable.

First most important factor for me was the posture. There is nothing more important then a growing spine for a little one : it's their health, their development, and much more. Really, you should research the importance.

Then I would really like to have something for my child where he/she would feel connected to us, rather then cut off from the table by mega tray. We ended up throwing away the trays from our previous high chairs, but the height never worked.

And then there are factors of NOT stubbing your toes over chair legs; having something that fits in; easy to clean ( no need to expand on the topic of baby/toddler eating, right?) and - really a dream list, but something that would be INTERESTING in the design; a lux eye candy, not a sourpatch; affordable; something worth spending money on. Let's me honest - it's hard to spend your stash on something you most likely will throw away in a few months anyway : according to US safety guidelines, unless you get one of those restaurant style high chairs , you should replace them YEARLY. How nice, isn't it?

I vaguely new about Stokke before our move to NYC, but it was not until we were actually there that I got to experience what Stokke has to offer. It started with the stroller ( read here why) , and after a fabulous experience with that, I could not wait until it would be time to use Tripp Trapp.

Here are my reasons:
What is a Tripp Trapp
The Stokke  Tripp Trapp is the best selling children's chair in the world, with well over 9 million chairs sold since 1972. Why? Because it removes the need for dangling legs and bad posture and bringing your child up to the correct level for any table. It improves early learning of social skills by letting your child watch and repeat actions around the dining table, as well as giving your child the best ergonomic start in life.

Why it Works
The adjustability of the Tripp Trapp gives a young child a footrest at the right height to trigger all the body's natural postural reflexes via contact through the soles of the feet, combined with a seat that can be set short enough to allow the child to bend the knees to use the footrest and still be able to use the backrest if required.

Tripp Trapp : the chair that grows with the child
This product is for everybody ... from 6 months of age right up to adulthood. The high back, front rail and strap of the Baby Set  convert the Tripp Trapp  into the best high chair you can get. As the child grows, you take the baby set away and keep on adjusting the chair. Children will keep on using the chair with the footrest up to the age of about 11 or 12. After this, take the children's seat plate away and use the footrest as the seat instead for a comfortable adult chair.
If you are in Europe, there is a NEWBORN SET
Your baby wants to be close to you at all times including when you are sitting, eating or chatting around the table. Bring them round the table with you it will be key to the growth and development of your child social skill. The NEWBORN SET has filled the gap from 0–6 months, and has extended the life span of the Tripp Trapp from 0-99 years. It is a safe and comfortable place at the table, and when you clip the Newborn off the chair you can bring your newborn around the house to keep your baby close to you no matter where you need to be. The base of the newborn set is shaped to create rocking movements when placed on the floor.

It has an exceptional design. 
Here is the exurb from Stokke site: 

Tripp Trapp Chair. A modern classic. 
The Tripp Trapp® chair, created in 1972 by the designer Peter Opsvik, has never been bettered. In 1972, revolution was a fact. Back then no one had seen anything like the Tripp Trapp®, and almost 40 years later it is still unique: the only child’s chair that can take you from baby to adult, keeping you secure and comfortable all the way.

The Tripp Trapp® designer’s inspiration came from watching his own young son, Tor, struggle to find a comfortable position to sit in at their family table. Having grown out of his old-fashioned high-chair, but still far too small to sit on an adult’s chair, Tor was left dangling his legs and struggling to reach the table.

“In 1972 the only sitting devices for children from the age of two onwards were special, low chairs, or ordinary chairs designed and intended for grown-ups. My objective was that one chair should seat persons of all sizes in a natural way at the same table. My hope was that this would make sitting at the table more enjoyable and make activities easier to perform there.”

Peter Opsvik, designer.        { source here }

Tripp Trapp has the best monetary value  
for any grow-with-me chair you money can buy. It is very affordable. It is stylish. It is amazingly comfortable. It's a must have for any family. 

And here is what happened while I was busy typing this post :

info source here & here. tripp trapp c/o STOKKE

What do you think? Which color/configuration would you choose?

Show & Tell

The week was bursting! I had some work-thing to attend, so we decided to make a fun trip out of it, threw everyone in the car and in free time enjoyed art galleries, shows, and NICE WEATHER. I did NOT want to come back to snow and cold, but I hope that the spring is really in the air... Madewell's spring collection ( here) is setting me in the spring mood, now the weather just needs to cooperate.
Here is to this week's Show&Tell with help from instagram {find me there @livingnotes}:

exploring art, shows and venetian:
 one ON , one IN. that's how we roll nowdays:
 because everyone needs to have a fuzzy elevator picture. mainly for the strapped to the back cuteness.

i wouldn't make it on the trip ( or travel in general) without my Xplory - carseat cofiguration is a breeze to travel with, plus , i think it belongs to the art gallery of itself ( it actually has - MoMA had Stokke in exhibit in 2006 . Go here! )

 my handsome little man. when did he grow up? seems like born yesterday...

trader joe's... my heart is crying... i need one here!

 and that is why! ORGANIC, WILD, RAW for less then 5$?! crazy utah, all I have to say... EVERYONE needs some trader joe's in their life

can you tell he is excited? running asking to get this, and this, and this...
  i think she fits in just fine...

 meet 'n greet! were you there?

 DVF for gap kids - i can't wait!

 someone is happy as can be finally sitting all by herself in the tripp trapp. best ever.

StyleMint. enough said.

U2's "moments of surrender" have been ringing with the vibes of my heart this week. love.love.love.

one in, one on... the other ones somewhere around ( just kidding, i know EXACTLY where they are - in front of me. i am that paranoid mother that needs to see/hold hands w/ them at all times)

How was your week? What are your weekend plans?
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