Getting stuck in an elevator…

The highlight of my 2018 Mardi Gras weekend was not the parades, not the costumes, not the beads. Rather, it was getting stuck in the elevator at Palace Café after the annual “Friday before Mardi Gras” luncheon I am fortunate enough to be invited to.

We (our host, my BFF Angie, and a dozen others) had an amazing time in the Wine Room, eating, drinking, laughing, chatting. We were only on the third floor, but somehow taking the elevator seemed to be the right way to leave. So, a number of us did just that – with our lovely waiter. (The rest of us, the smart ones, walked down the two flights of stairs). The elevator begins to descend, and then suddenly stops.

At first, we all giggle. Then we try to pry the doors open (amid much debate as to if this was a good idea or not). Then a few of us just sit down and more or less calmly drink our drinks (feeling very grateful for open container laws). Finally, about 26 minutes later (which seemed like a few hours), we are rescued by firemen who look every bit like what I always thought firemen looked like.

We collectively decide to name our group The Krewe of Otis.

In all seriousness, these 26 minutes helped me remember a few key truths.

  1. In praise of patience. I am not patient. But getting frustrated and angry about a situation completely out of my control would not have made the firemen come to the rescue any faster.
  2. Kindness always. We each took turns calming each other down, calmly and gently, when one was about to lose it (I am not the only one quite uncomfortable in small spaces apparently).
  3. Trust the process. Someone will realize the elevator is stuck. Someone will try to help. If that fails, someone will call the proper authorities. They will then come fix this. Everything will be just fine.
  4. Laughter is the best medicine. At some point after realization and worry, we just started laughing again. After all, nothing diffuses tension and stress like a good giggle.
  5. Good friends make everything better. How glad am I that I got stuck there with good friends…

Happy Ash Wednesday!

At the start of our Lunch

Writing… and a blog relaunch

Today, I kind of re-launched my blog. I say kind of, because in a way I never really launched my blog in the first place. I just started writing, sometime back in 2008 (I think!). And kind of, because it is really “just” a renaming and a redesign. The point is, once upon a time I made a commitment to writing, and today, I reaffirmed that commitment.

I have written for trade publications, including Skin Inc, GCI Magazine, and starting this summer, Beauty Store Business, since I have been involved in the beauty industry. I also write for the Georgetown Dish, for whose readers I aim to create content more specific to the place I consider my hometown and neighborhood. And now, I also write for the Huffington Post Style section, with a personal commitment to one article per week, original content of course (luckily, I am surrounded by people in the style industry that I can interview, ranging from master stylist Tatum Neill to model Cecilia Singley). And then, there is my blog, ADAmantaboutbeauty, for which I try to write twice weekly.

All that to say, that’s a lot of writing. Of course, not as much writing as my mother does, as she has published 22 books. And I know at least one, if not two, of my fabulous sisters are themselves working on books. Maybe this is a genetic thing…

Writing, for me, is hard; it is very personal. Writing, for me, requires some specific conditions, which I have been thinking about today.

  1. I like to be alone when I write, but surrounded by people. I think I get that from my Mom, who lives at least half her life in cafés in Geneva or Paris. Here in the US, cafés are hard to come by (I love Starbucks, but that doesn’t count); my closest equivalent are hotel lounges and bars. Right now, actually, I am sitting in the lounge at the Fairmont Battery Wharf in Boston. I come to Boston at least twice a year (love coming back to college town), and this is the place I like most. On the water. Free wi-fi if you ask the front desk nicely. Lots of outlets. Good chardonnay by the glass.
  2. Which brings me to point condition #2. I like to have a glass of something when I write. Depending on the season or time of day, Veuve Cliquot, Acacia chardonnay (which I am enjoying right now), or a delicious, big, bold cabernet. That glass helps me be more genuine, be myself, take the walls down. (Indeed, so many people have told me they feel me so much more passionate in my writing than in my oral presentation… probably because I am deep down shy, and don’t usually do anything to overcome that shyness before an in-person meeting).
  3. I cannot be at my desk when I write. You might connect this to my first point, and it partly is about being surrounded by strangers – but it is more than that. At my desk, I answer emails; I have conference calls; I pay bills; I do work. At my desk, I am not creative. As much as I adore my desk and the Alchimie Forever showroom, I need to be outside of my “work” environment to be creative. And writing is creative…
  4. I need time. I know this may sound totally obvious. Yet I am able to write when I really have time. Head time. Thinking time. Day dreaming time. Case in point – my latest Huffington Post article about my godmother, which has been in my heart for years, took a 6 hour drive to Abingdon, VA, to actually formulate itself in my head as a piece of writing.
  5. More specifically, I need time, time that is uninterrupted by email, texts, and other forms of instant messaging. Hence I love long drives. Hence I love time on airplanes (literal day dreaming, as my Mom would say). Hence I have bitter-sweet feelings about Wi-Fi On Board.

Most importantly, a writer needs readers. It gives me intense pleasure to see Facebook Likes and shares on anything I write, to read your comments, to hear from you. To know that you take this time out of your busy day to pay attention to what I have to say. A heartfelt thank you to all of you.