First, let me begin by saying forgive me for the extended hiatus I’ve taken from my blog. I appreciate all the kind words I’ve received from those of you who know me on a personal level, and particularly those of you who have supported me in many different capacities, be it mental, physical, or emotional. Look out, because now I’m back with a vengeance!
As some of you know, I am on the cusp of turning forty. Now let me just clarify that I personally do not consider this to be a big deal. I do not believe that your age defines who you are as a person. I do not feel that you are bound to the number printed on your birth certificate or driver’s license. I believe that you are who you want to be, who you feel you are deep, deep inside, regardless of your age. I often say that I still feel like I’m 12, so I see 40 and it just doesn’t register, but does it upset me? Does it send me into the throes of a deep, dark depression? No. I embrace my age.
But all this talk and mental processing of moving into a new decade has gotten me thinking about a myriad of things. Anyone who has spent a bit of time with me tends to understand that I have some, well, let’s just say distinct, opinions on certain topics, be it design, food, politics, the weather, or what have you. Some of them I’m very vocal about and others I prefer to keep private, but I know where I stand. The start of a new year has also put me in a very clear-headed, forward-thinking place, so you put those two together and Marina is off to the races!
One of the things I do throughout the year but particularly at the beginning of a new calendar year is evaluate trends. It’s key for me as a designer to be on my game and know the top materials being used, the Pantone color selections for the year, seasonal trend predictions, highlights in furniture and accessories… and the list goes on and on. In reading everything from the very classic Architectural Digest to the most stylized and opinionated blogs, a common thread tends to shake out. I feel like that’s my job – to weed out the extremes on both ends and walk a solid center line so that I can provide a well-informed vision for a client. But this year has me a little irritated.
I won’t bore you with the details of trends for 2014. That’s another blog post. Let me tell you why I am irritated and then you’ll see where I’m going with this, I promise. :-) I was reading something not too long ago that said “black is the new gray.” I read it over again. “Black is the new gray.” Huh? Since when was black ever out of fashion in the first place? I know that the past two years or so, gray has been one of the most-utilized colors in residential interiors, but that statement really got my wheels turning. Since when do we need to reintroduce the classics?
That statement, however, got me thinking about how so often lately, I keep hearing people tell me – “well, you know, 40 is the new 30!” What the hell does that even MEAN? Is that supposed to be some sort of consolation for the fact that I am turning forty years old, and you’re wrongfully assuming that I don’t WANT to be turning forty years old, so you’re trying to stroke my ego a little, or talk me off the ledge as if forty is the end of it all? Why can’t I just be 40 and rock it? Why does it have to be a new ANYTHING? Why can’t it just be? So no. 40 is the new 40. Period. And I am totally okay with that.
So I guess all of this acceptance of where I am in life (ha!) and realization that the classics are what we always tend to revert back to made me want to come up with my own list.
My SIMPLE favorites:
1. BLACK. It’s a classic, and never goes out of style, in any capacity. Although please note that I much prefer dogs. I actually hate cats. I’m just using this photo from Getty as a good representation for the color black. He looks bitchy, doesn’t he?
2. FAMILY HEIRLOOMS. While they might not be beautiful to the next person, their sentimental qualities speak volumes. Pictured here are a few of my treasures, including my grandmother’s crystal decanters, my parents’ old swivel chairs which I adore, and some of my favorite old family pictures. That’s my mom holding me as a baby on the right, and my grandfather’s original business card from way back in the day in the foreground.
3. FRESH FLOWERS. Sure, they may not last forever, but while they are around, they are lovely in every way. I love a simple arrangement in a glass vase or mason jar on the kitchen counter, as you see here in this pic from designlike.com.
4. THE LITTLE BLACK DRESS. So as not to exclude the guys here, let me just say one exceptional piece of clothing that fits like a glove rather than the six cheapies you could buy in its place. I love this Diane Von Furstenberg number from Saks, a bargoon at $565. :-)
5. TECHNOLOGY-FREE BLOCKS OF TIME. Remind yourself that not too long ago, we survived just fine without a cell phone, tablet, or laptop glued to our person. It can be done, and it should be, regularly. I take breaks all the time to go for a walk, meditate, talk to a loved one, play with the dogs – connect with yourself by disconnecting/unplugging. (props here to Photonica)
6. HAND-WRITTEN NOTES. I am a huge proponent of the hand-written note, for some reason or no reason at all. It’s such a beautiful, yet underutilized artform! Next time you’re thinking of someone, send them a note. Watch what happens.
7. REAL BOOKS. Speaking of unplugging… I don’t know about you, but try as I may, I just can’t get into reading books on a Kindle/Nook, etc. I personally love the sensory experience of picking up a book. I love the smell of it, I love the weight of it, I love physically being able to see how many pages I have left to go… Everything about the experience is different. And it’s another chance to cut myself off from technology for a bit.
8. A TRUE FRIEND WHO KNOWS YOU TO THE CORE. This is my best friend, Tiffany (everyone say “Hiiiiiii, Tiffffannnyyy!”). She has been with me through the thick and thin of life, and I am confident that there is nothing on the face of this earth that I wouldn’t feel comfortable telling her. She makes me laugh, cry (only in good ways), think, dream, and keeps my life drama-free. There is something about a best friend that makes everything okay. Whoever that person is to you, please tell them so.
9. HOME-COOKED MEALS. The quick, easy, processed, microwaved approach to life isn’t the one I want to take. I want to be like this broad. In all seriousness, one thing that I have really committed to is clean eating and living. It has changed my life for the better on so many levels. I’ve always been a huge fan of a well-prepared meal at home, but now more than ever before. Going back to basics and using organic, fresh, simple ingredients that are healthy for me and my family make me feel great. Thank you, Stephen Swindek for this fabulous photo of this woman, we’ll call her Madge, whom I must meet.
So, there you have it. My old-fashioned, simple list of well-loved classics that, as I move into my forties, seem to make the most sense. I’ll leave the rest to you whipper-snappers.