A milestone to adulthood

Today, I feel like a real adult. I have been able to vote for 15 years. I have gotten married. And divorced. And re-married. I have bought my own new car. I have bought my own real jewelry. I run my own business. Yet today, I feel like a crossed a serious adulthood milestone. Today, for the first time, a housekeeper cleaned my house. Not just “a” housekeeper, “my” housekeeper, who calls me “Miss Ada”… I still can’t quite believe it.

This all happened very quickly over the last 10 days. The last two weeks have been so incredibly busy that two week-ends ago I welcomed my husband into a less than pristine apartment. I just didn’t have time to do my usual pre-husband-visit cleanup. Not wanting to have that happen again this past week-end, I spent Thursday night cleaning, until about half past midnight. All I wanted to do was go to sleep, but I was determined to clean. I cleaned so late that the next morning I decided that 2 extra minutes of sleep was more important than making my bed. I think this was only the fourth time in my entire life that I have left my house without making my bed…

I crave a clean house, and I love to clean my house. Dusting, scrubbing, even cleaning the floors is incredibly satisfying and relaxing to me – that is my go-to self-therapy when I need to de-stress. Still, I have never been attracted to the idea of a housekeeper. What if she doesn’t clean as well as I do? What if she doesn’t put everything back exactly in its place? And then, of course, I hate the idea that I have to give her keys to my house. And that I have a stranger in my house. And somehow a housekeeper has always seemed like such a luxury, something for people with multiple kids and large mansions…

Then, as often happens, a sign from the Universe. I subscribe to an amazing Georgetown neighborhood online forum. It is filled with the most amazing community feel and useful information. Last week, there were two posts about this amazing housekeeper who had some extra time. I read on… Given my hesitations and concerns (above), this housekeeper sounded like a true gem. She works only in Georgetown. Has a very specific list of cleaning products she requests her customers keep in her house. She fixes things. She sews. She charges more if no ironing is involved, because she loves ironing so much. And she worked for Richard Holbrooke (which is why all of a sudden she has a free afternoon… only in Georgetown!).

I called her, met her last Friday, but in my mind had hired her before the meeting. Somehow it was meant to be, and I began fantasizing about polished silver (has been on my list of things to do for about 6 months now), ironed sheets (one of the reasons I love staying at my parents’ house), and clean windows… Today, she started. I am on the road (as I am so often), and I cannot wait to go home tomorrow and see the results of her magic. And appreciate adulthood for one reason more.

 

Happy Mardi Gras!

It is 9:40 am and I just drove two hours from NYC to Delaware for a sales meeting with a fabulous beauty boutique. I love my work, and I love Alchimie for more than I can ever say – but today, I wish I was in New Orleans. Case in point, while at Cosi sipping on a large coffee (my third of the day), I just got a call from my husband who is walking around the French Quarter in a blond mullet wig sipping on a bloody mary. What? Well, of course, it’s Mardi Gras. Over the last three years, I have learned to love Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras season, Mardi Gras week-end (which I am still recuperating from), and Mardi Gras Day. In my heart and soul, I am in New Orleans today.

Driving south on the New Jersey turnpike, listening to whatever local radio station was on, I learned a few factoids about Mardi Gras (hopefully up here in the “North” they know what they are talking about when discussing Mardi Gras truths versus fiction). I already knew that the two words are French for “Fat Tuesday.” I also already knew that Mardi Gras represents the last day of Carnival season, the last day for fat foods and alcohol before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent (I am giving up diet coke for Lent this year). I also already knew that the three Mardi Gras colors are purple, green and gold (notice how purple and green are also Alchimie Forever corporate colors?). I did not know however that it was the krewe of Rex that made these three colors the official Mardi Gras colors. I did not know that the word krewe was first used by the Comus organization in 1857 (apparently this group of six New Orleaneans saved Mardi Gras, which was considered dangerous). I most surprising to me, I learned that Mardi Gras started in Mobile, Alabama.

Last night, the Mayor of New Orleans turned over the keys of the city to King Zulu, who is in charge until midnight tonight. New Orleans, are you ready? To all New Orleaneans out there, born or adopted, happy Mardi Gras. Happy costuming. Happy parade watching. Happy King Cake (we have some in the Alchimie Forever showroom today, so stop by for a bite). And of course, happy drinking. Brandy milk punch for me please!

 

 

Working on my art collection

One of my New Year’s goals for 2011 is to work on my art collection. I can’t remember the exact moment I fell in love with art – maybe it was when my parents took my sisters and I to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston when I was 6. Maybe it was when my parents opened our very own Analix Forever gallery in 1991 (amazing that the gallery is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year!). Maybe it was when I took my first history of art class sophomore year at Harvard.

Regardless of when my passion for contemporary art started, art has been an integral part of my life for many years. I realized last fall that I had not paid this passion of mine any significant attention lately, however. I realized that I missed it. Hence my New Year’s goal. So, working on my art collection – what does that mean? It means paying more attention to the pieces I currently have (I have been re-framing and hanging pieces for the last two weeks). It also means paying more attention to the art world in general (I have gone to a Phillips Collection event and have subscribed to ArtForum in the last month). It means aligning my personal interest in art with my business’s corporate responsibility (Alchimie Forever now supports various art institutions including the Corcoran Gallery of Art and more). And, of course it means acquiring a couple new pieces. The timing is perfect, as there are two exciting artistic events coming up in the next two weeks. First, my mother Barbara is organizing on Thursday March 3rd an auction of drawings by various Analix Forever artists. I have already emailed the auction master a list of pieces I want, along with my highest possible bid price. Take a look, and place your bids – everyone needs a little more art, and part of the proceeds are going to a good cause, namely the Fondation Prim’Enfance, whose mission is to help eradicate diseases that affect infants and young children. Then, on March 12th, the Washington Projects for the Arts is holding its annual fundraiser and auction gala. Last year was the first time I attended, and I went home with a gorgeous piece by Maryland artist Clarke Bedford. This year, who knows what I will go home with…  Sometimes, it really is fun to turn New Year’s goals into realities!

So many reasons why I love Georgetown

Over the last two weeks or so, two of my favorite Georgetown institutions have closed or announced they are closing. Erwin Gomez Salon & Spa closed after some well publicized drama on Facebook, and my eyebrows have suffered ever since (if you have a good recommendation for an eyebrow master, I am all ears). Earlier this week, The Griffin Market announced that its last day will be February 20th. I live a block from The Griffin Market, and love love love their egg salad sandwich, and often go there for other food emergencies (fresh mozzarella emergency, cornichon emergency, good Italian wine emergency… my kind of emergencies).  Having these two places close gave me cause for pause, and made me think about all of the other Georgetown places and boutiques I so love, and why I could never imagine living anywhere other than here. These favorites are listed in the order that they come into my life on a typical day I spend in Georgetown.

My 12 must-haves

It has been almost three weeks since my last blog entry, please forgive my silence. I have been lacking in both time and inspiration, and the winter weather is apparently taking its toll on my creativity. A number of months ago (11.12.10 to be exact… where does the time go?) my girlfriend Noelle suggested I blog about my “must-haves.” She got the idea from the “12 must-haves” monthly feature in Elle Décor. Love love love the idea – so here are my 12 must-haves (right now, this list is forever evolving…):

Love, loss, family, and friends

This past Saturday was a day of incredible joyous emotions. After a private wedding on 1.1.11, my close DC friends (minus BFF adopted sister who was of course tending to her husband) gathered Saturday afternoon to celebrate my husband and I, share laughs, share marriage advice, and above all share cocktails. For a few hours, my Alchimie Forever showroom was transformed into a cocktail venue, with a fabulous bartender, Robert, mixing up classic New Orleans cocktails (where my husband is from) and champagne cocktails (always my drink of choice). Every single person who came made me feel so special, so loved, it was truly magical.

Yesterday afternoon my father called me to let me know my grandmother had just passed away. While she had been ill for the last year, and hospitalized for the last month, this still came as a surprise. Does it ever not? This past week-end, her brother and sister came to Geneva from Italy to bid their last farewells. My great-aunt and great-uncle left Sunday evening, and a few hours later my Nona slipped into a coma. She held on until my father could make it back to her side Monday evening, knowing how so very much he wanted to be there when she decided her time had come. She was 92. She had a great life, getting to see her eldest son go to college and then medical school (two firsts in her family), getting so see many grandkids grow up, and even getting to meet one great-grand-daughter. None of that means that I was ready to see her go. She worked harder than anyone else I have ever met in my life, as a farmer and a factory worker. Her hands showed years of manual labor. Her ways of relaxing were to make rugs and clean and scrub her house. She was grateful for all of the little things in life, her motto always being “you have to take life the way it comes.” The good and the bad, the easy and the hard, always with a smile and with a good attitude. I so miss her already. I still had so much to learn from her.

These events reminded me that time with loved ones, time with family, is sacred above all else. These events put things in perspective. My to-do list will be here tomorrow. The world will not end because I have to cancel a meeting to make it home for my grandma’s funeral. I remember when my grandfather passed away I was a sophomore in college, and it was during finals. I told my parents I couldn’t make it home to the funeral because of exams. I hadn’t even checked with the Dean to see what arrangements could be made – I just felt like there was nothing more important than getting my As. My parents, being who they are, left that decision entirely up to me. I don’t regret many things in my life, but that decision I regret every time I think of my Nono, that is one decision I wish I could go back and undo, and remake. Not this time. I will make time to go visit by BFF, no matter what plans have to be canceled. And I will go home for the funeral on Monday. In a way, I am doing just what my friends did on Saturday when they came to be with me on my special occasion: I am making time for the ones I love. Love, family, and friendship above all else. Always. In case I had forgotten, now I remember.