How is your week going? After the Mother’s Day chill, it was back to the routine for me. I had a few errands and one was Whole Foods for a few family must haves. I dread the line, the shopping and I do my best to fly through and avoid aisles where there are people. I sometimes struggle to see my list through my mask and I was head down when a sweet woman, I think she was European, chatted me up by the liquid soap. My first thought was to back off a few feet, but she told me the French hand soap I was buying was very good in the orange scent and that it doubled as body wash nicely. I took a breath and I thanked her for the tip and she added, ‘You know we have to do what we can and improvise now.’ I responded, ‘It’s not so bad is it?’ She lamented about her out of control curly hair, which I thought was beautiful, and we both agreed that this pandemic has taught us what we really need and what we can live without.
I walked out of the store with a good feeling after that. I’ve rarely exchanged with anyone shopping since we’ve been doing this social distance thing and it felt nice. I like how we concurred on what we truly need now and what we don’t. It’s not by choice, but right now is a trial of sorts. Maybe we don’t have to get our nails, hair, eyelashes, fillers and all that done so frequently to look beautiful. We get a chance to see the real us for a bit, something we can’t when we regularly get colored, manicured, etc. In seeing the results we may be horrified- OR we may see more natural lovely version of ourselves and lose some of those high maintenance habits. Maybe we don’t need as much polish as we think?
I get frustrated with this pandemic and then try hard to look at the lessons it is teaching me. Maybe less is sometimes more. Natural is good. Did we need to shop that much and were we sometimes just shopping to shop? I know I did, but now I have found time for things like gardening and reading instead. Life was too convenient, too frantic and was lacking quality of another kind. That quality is only what can be found at home, with ourselves and our family. It’s everything the slow movement embodies and we are all getting a taste of it. You are either a fan of it at this point or you aren’t and though I miss many things about my previously busy life, there is a lot right now that is good.
Last week I noticed two things I have experienced in Europe only. First, there have been a nice amount of people reading and picnicking in our neighborhood park. In most European towns and cities you can find people reading the newspaper or books in the parks and in any green space and it always makes me appreciate their ‘slow’ kind of life. More than a few days I saw people stretched out with books or leaned against a tree with them. I also saw families on blankets having picnics. It was a nice to see and yes they were distanced from others.
Max and I have also noticed during the dinner dishes, the clinking sound we only hear in France when it’s dinner time. We have rented apartments in France and always noticed the wonderful sound of dishes and flatware clinking during the dinner hour that you don’t hear any place else. It means people are cooking and taking time to enjoy their lives and food and I love that. I’ll admit it can be a slog and some nights I am burnt out with it all, but most of the time the four of us share in the cooking and clean up and that has made it enjoyable along with the conversation -another unexpected gift. If this pandemic hadn’t happened we wouldn’t have had these leisurely dinners. The guys always had homework and Max was many times exhausted from his commute to San Francisco, or home quite late. Everything here has moved to the 1970’s kind of pace of my childhood and it is nice. Has anyone else felt the quality of life go up with slowing of things?
How are you managing shopping with the mask? I have a few good ones and still I struggle to breathe sometimes while doing errands. My neighbor Abby, who is a talented sewer and junior in high school made me a custom one from vintage fabric I gave her to use for donation masks and I love it…
I also found Lime Tree Designs, from a friend so bought a few there and I can highly recommend them as they arrived quickly, look, feel and fit terrific- and have a place for a filter or paper towel if you want added protection.
I thought this was a very hopeful article this week about the powerful impact of wearing masks when 80% of us comply. This study was based on Japan’s high compliance and they have a tightly crowded society and have not done quarantine. They have had a very low death rate that is just 2% of the U.S. with just 577 deaths to our almost 80,000.
If we want to get back out, we should get used to wearing them for the protection of others and for ourselves all the times we are out doing errand or interacting with others. Exercising in the open may be the exception. We need to stop worrying about what we look like and just make it what we do. The first step is having a few masks that you like wearing and feel comfortable in. The cloth ones are much preferable to paper I can tell you that having had both.
Anthropologie has the biggest collection and choices I have seen. They carry these below by Sanctuary that are 3 for $24 which are cute, have an adjustable nose bridge and a removable polypropylene filter. Antho will donate $5 (the cost of a mask) if you tag #sliceofhappy, @anthropologie, and @getusppe each post to GetUsPPE. Founded by physicians and medical researchers, GetUsPPE works with communities to get PPE to the healthcare workers on the frontlines of the Covid-19 pandemic. I think that is a win-win purchase.
They also carry this bunch by Sanctuary that include a few my guys would wear..
Anthropologie has huge choice of masks from many companies with beautiful fabrics- so you can find your own style here.
Madewell has a pack of three that uses their fabric leftovers and comes with a filter. They are backordered until June 3 right now. Madewell and it’s partner J. Crew have donated 75,000 single use masks to Montefiore Medical Center in New York.
Masks can be found at every price point like these made of vintage Hermes scarves. All 100% of the proceeds go to buy an assistance dog for a diabetic child. You can also send in your own Hermes scarves as a donation and she will make you two masks and keep the rest to sell to raise money.
There are also these very cute Liberty of London fabric masks.
And this version..
You can find a page full of Liberty of London fabric versions on Etsy.
Some of you have made your own and some are wearing scarves. Whatever you do make it easy and something you will get in the habit of wearing. Everyone in your family needs their own designated masks and it is good to have more than one -you need them for the car, your purse, at the front door, so you can always grab it or have it with you.
Finally, have you been finding some good shows and books to chill with? I am wondering if anyone has watched this series, based on the very popular My Brilliant Friend – aka Neopolitan Novels which follow two friends in Naples throughout their lives. I never finished the books, but this looks very good. This is the trailer for the second season..
I love it for the backdrop of Southern Italy. If we can’t travel now maybe we can do it virtually?
On that Italian note, I have it on good authority (thank you Contessa), that this book, The Mother-in-Law’s Cure, is a good escape and funny so and I have just ordered it.
My all time favorite film, which always makes me dream of Italy and travel is Room with a View. If you haven’t seen it or just haven’t in a few decades, it’s one to watch again with the family or all alone absorbing its beauty. Just look how young Maggie Smith and Judy Dench were – mere babes, and Helena Bonham Carter? We played some of the soundtrack for my wedding. Dreaming of Italy…
Ciao for now
Photo on top from Vanity Fair article linked above. Some links on this post may generate a small commission. Thank you for supporting the blog.