The Elle Diaries

Anxious Times / Focus on Beauty & Friendship

Last night I went to my husband’s holiday work party.  It was set in a lovely restaurant  just two blocks from the attempted suicide attack earlier that day. These are anxious times.

 Coping with fear requires looking past it, which is not the same as ignoring it. 

I register it, allow myself some grief for the state of the nation,  and parts of the world, and then I focus on beauty: outward beauty and inward beauty,  which I know as compassion and kindness. Living in anxious times requires strength of mind and a rather singular focus.  A willingness to not hate, to put violent desperate acts into a context which is human, even when the acts are brutal and unforgivable.

So it is fitting that I post myself sitting in one of the prettiest rooms I have even seen. The brilliance of a mind that creates a wallpaper that makes one feel as if one is in a magical garden; how I appreciate that ! I am at The Holiday House NYC, once again, in Robin Baron’s Spring Oasis room.

The flower in my hair was my late mother’s. I took it from its alabaster vase as a whim, and wore it-  wanting to feel connected to her during the holiday season, but not realizing it fully in that moment.  I have never donned a flower crown, though I love them, but this felt right.

My golden bag, a gift from a dear friend, hangs as a necklace. I want to keep the thoughts of her, near my heart, and I think it looks well there because of that.

Sometimes intention and meaning infuse our fashion choices, and that lends authenticity  to my mind and my heart, anyway. 

Of course my look is not formulaic , I do not do  full-on sweet without adding a bit of counterpoint .

Therefore I added leopard boots bought last year at TJ Maxx,  by Sam Edelman, similar here , also by this designer.  Maybe it was 2 years ago?  Where does the time go? I choose this outfit quickly,  without analysis. I dress quickly and by instinct, with the setting in my memory to guide my choices. And what a setting!

My white dress is from I love this flash sale sight as it has smaller, less well-known labels, and I like to shop small. I chose the white dress for its texture and its absence of color. I wanted to be a blank canvas for this beautiful room, adorned only with some pattern at my feet and some gold shimmer.  I wore a colorful ring on my finger that I designed, a red sapphire and orange garnets ( an unusual combination)  and cobalt blue on my nails that is a color I have not worn before. I am happy with the way it photographed.

My friend filled my bag with chocolate too! I am always and forever grateful to my friends,  new and old for their ongoing gifts of friendship. For the thought they show when choosing gifts, for the love they impart with listening, for trusting me with their secrets and pain, and letting me share fully in their happiness. I am gratified to share  their lives as sisters would.

Below, I add another layer. More contrast. The black canvas has been replaced for a bit by the sheen of silk velvet, by the inky dark color of a black night of sadness. The golden row of buttons look like molten moons against that ebony sky. This time, I allow the contrast and see that it can enhance the beauty, which is interesting to me. Too, this is something, that I knew by instinct , when I chose this coat by Dolce & Gabbana.

 Leopard meets flower,  animal meets nature; and they not only co-exist,  but compliment.

After this very brief photo shoot, 20 or so snaps on my Samsung Galaxy Camera phone-  I know you serious photogs are shuddering – I step into the hallway and admire the Christmas tree. The shot looked bland, it did not fit. I wanted more layers, color and contrast. I found a photo of stained glass stairway from a hotel I visited in Portugal . I used a double exposure option of an editing app, and was pleased. Editing is calming for me, a way to deal with anxious times and be in a near-meditative state.

I should close with this. But I am not going to. I am adding a ceiling from a local restaurant, because it is artful and  of the season. I admire the details one can see when one looks up. We must always look up. So I will close with this image.

I will remind you to look up, to think in a way the elevates, and to dress the part too, when you can.

It need not be expensive, my Dolce coat was bought at Encore years ago for about 10% of what it could have sold for.) It will always be in style and will last a generation,  not a season or two…

All of us deal with fear in these anxious times.. Anxiety over a job,  worry about sexual exploitation, illness, floods, fire… all of the worst headline news are there, and they are real. Coping mechanisms are a vital tool.  Keeping a balanced perspective is so important. What tools do you use to cope with fear,  anxiety and loss?  Do you find comfort in the holiday season where family ties are celebrated and gift-giving generosity is on your mind?

I do. This holiday is a very special one for me. I hope it is for you too, despite the headline news.

Wishing you joy, peace, and safety too.