Always Be Overdressed

One of my life philosophies is to always be overdressed. This may be rooted in the fact that I grew up in Geneva, Switzerland, where everyone is, by average US standards, overdressed.

One of my life philosophies is to always be overdressed. This may be rooted in the fact that I grew up in Geneva, Switzerland, where everyone is, by average US standards, overdressed. After 20+ years in the US, where yoga wear is considered stylish outside of the yoga studio, and sneakers are worn off the running path, I have had to create a daily motto for myself to maintain these Swiss standards in my appearance. 

Dressing (up) is not about pretention or vanity, but about how I present myself to the world, and hence, how I behave. Every occasion is made more special by a nice dress or powerful pant suit and the perfect pair of shoes. I reminded myself of this yesterday when I had a 3:30 am wakeup time to fly across the country for meetings. All I wanted to do was to wear comfortable (of course presentable) clothes, but I reminded myself that in particular because of my wake-up time, it behooved me to pay extra attention to my outfit.

Why? 

1. When I dress up, I want to live up to my outfit. If I look good, if I feel beautiful, I want to behave that way. I am less likely to be rude when I am wearing fancy shoes. I am more likely to smile and be polite when I am wearing a fancy dress. After all, when I dress up, I am putting my best self forward – and my behavior needs to be coherent with my appearance. 

2. When I dress up, when I look good, people compliment me on my outfit. That means two things. First, I am happy and I feel good about myself, so I am nicer. Second, I smile and say thank you after each compliment, and the more I smile the easier it is to keep smiling (no matter my wakeup time). 

3. When my husband and I both dress up for date night, I feel that we are doing something special for each other – we are putting effort into how we look, for each other. That makes me feel good, like he did something for me, which in turn makes me act nicer, and less likely to pick a fight. It also makes it harder to pick a fight because he looks so good!  

Somehow, how I dress really does make a difference in how I feel, and thus how I act. It is not about expensive clothes. It is not about vanity. I have come to think of it more as a uniform. When I put on something dressy, I am putting on my “best behavior uniform.” And it works every time… 

Poésie. Myrtilles. Alchimie.

La myrtille est l’ingrédient signature de notre gamme de dermo-cosmétique Alchimie Forever. La raison principale en est sa teneur en super-antioxydants. Le fait que sa robe violette rappelle la couleur du logo de la marque, n’est que la cerise sur le gâteau! Mais j’ai découvert, plus récemment, que ce fruit tient une place particulière dans les souvenirs d’enfance du Dr Polla – mon père – qui est à l’origine des formulations de nos produits.

J’ai pris plaisir à retranscrire en poème l’histoire qu’il m’a contée.

J’avais onze ans lorsque pour la première fois

J’emmenai Moïra faire une promenade dans le sous-bois

La silencieux souffle du vent, complice de mes délices

Soulevait délicatement ses jupons à volants

Je n’osai lui parler, mais voulu la remercier de s’aventurer à mes côtés

Alors j’ai cueillit quelques myrtilles

Pour une si jolie fille

Je l'ai regardé porter le fruit à sa bouche

Je l’embrassais à ma façon, par procuration

Le noir de la myrtille se mêla au rose de ses lèvres sur la toile blanche de sa peau

À cet instant elle m’apparut telle la reine des neiges au printemps

Ceci est le secret du premier baiser auquel j’ai goûté

Blueberries

Memories of blueberries

When I was eleven, Moïra the fair maiden

Followed me in the grove

The wavy wind, to my secret delight

Was playfully lifting the petals of her skirt

Too shy to speak a word, I picked some blueberries

To feed our energies

And what a blessed sight!

For every bite I imagined a kiss

The rose of her lips turned the color of night

Enhancing the white of her delicate skin

At that moment she appeared to me as a snow queen in summer

I stayed mute, non the braver

But to this day I remember

The secret flavor of my very first kiss

Discovering a far-away culture

Last month, I spent two weeks of “business holidays” in China and Seoul. I had a wonderful time, even if it was everything but relaxing, and must admit that I fell in love with China. I think part of the feeling was due to the fact that I realized how uninformed we are when it comes to this fascinating country. Just two examples of what I wasn’t expecting at all: Chinese people are  welcoming once you take the time and heartfelt effort to engage with them; and the country is particularly clean – after the third picture of blue sky, I stopped… as it actually was “normal”.

I also fell in love with the complexity of the country: after these two weeks I have never been more convinced that life is never black or white – but rather made up of billions of shades of uniqueness (or blue, if you look at the sky)!

These considerations set apart, here are the main highlights of my trip there:

  • It is a far-away country, not only due to the kilometers which separate us. First of all, 99% of the people I met during my business meetings don’t speak English; communication, which is the basis of engaging in a trustful relationship, is truly challenging. Then, our culture and traditions are estranged, which makes for awkward moments, but good stories to tell!
  • Dimension is totally dissimilar: when I met one of my business contacts, she wanted to show me some of her franchises. Only two shops, yet seven hours later (more or less a full tour of Switzerland; here though we never left Beijing!), made me realize how dissimilar our sense of distance is. Another stunning example is that in my country and industry, we talk of a “chain” when we have 2-3 clinics and are considered as a major player when we generate over 4 million revenues; every place I visited in China or Seoul had 25 to 40 different locations, each generating tens of million in revenues. It is more than attracting, I must admit; but back home, I doubt that we, Europeans, have what it takes to conquer Chinese clients in their homeland!

rap chine 2

  • Time is money: in their view, it is ridiculous that a Doctor does the consult; they have “beauty consultants” trained for that, leaving the Doctors time to perform the acts and the trainings – where their real added value lies. We don’t work like this in Switzerland; yet I was intrigued by the concept and I am relentlessly thinking of how I could implement this here, without being untrue to our own culture and mentality.

I came home with many business ideas and meetings to talk about, as well as a multitude of personal memories. On this more personal note, my main highlight was seeing the astonishment in my daughter’s eyes. And discovering the card she bought and then wrote, telling me how proud she is to see me work hard for our family business. sasha-et-moi.jpg

 

The beauty of lingerie

In two weeks, my husband and I will celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary, and this past august we celebrated our 16thanniversary together. There are a million reasons why I love Guillaume but ranging in the top ten is definitely the fact that he buys me beautiful lingerie. Come to think about it, I haven’t had to buy a single underwear in over 15 years.

I love picturing Guillaume in a boutique, choosing outfits for me, imagining how I will look in them. It does wanders for my body image. It makes me feel desired and makes me want to be as desirable as possible for him.

Feeling sexy and beautiful underneath my clothes is not only for Guillaume, mainly it is for me. At work (I work in a hospital) I usually can’t wear sexy clothes (especially not in the O.R.) but wearing lingerie underneath my scrubs makes me feel attractive and asserts me in my womanhood. It also contributes to keep me giddy all day, as if I was constantly holding a very crispy secret all to myself.

Thanks to Guillaume I have the most exquisite drawers of lingerie with all the colors of the rainbow. Not only bra and underwear but thong, bustier, corset, lace, briefs, tulle, push-up, shorty, body suit, full cup, half cup, soft cup, nightdress, suspender belt and much more. Some of my favorite brands are Simone Perele, Aubade, Chantal Thomas, and Agent Provocateur.

Whether it’s your hubby or yourself buying lingerie, I strongly advise you start exploring.

Another thing I love about my husband and that does wanders for my body image is that he is a photographer and loves taking pictures of me. But that will be a story for another post.

Tom Landry’s tips on Home Decor

My home is my sanctuary, my little slice of peace and quiet. In true European spirit, I am a fan of smaller spaces (my apartment is about 1,300 square feet), I love anything old, including old buildings (the row house I live in was built in 1901) and antique furniture, and I am a minimalist, a true believer in the less is more philosophy.

My home is my sanctuary, my little slice of peace and quiet. In true European spirit, I am a fan of smaller spaces (my apartment is about 1,300 square feet), I love anything old, including old buildings (the row house I live in was built in 1901) and antique furniture, and I am a minimalist, a true believer in the less is more philosophy. My friend and interior decorator, Tom Landry, has helped me over the years to make my house my home, make my office feel like my brand; his taste is completely in line with mine and he could be an adopted European, even though he is a New Orleanian.

AP: I hope you don’t mind that I am quintessentially European in my taste…

TL:  On the contrary! Europeans embrace design in a less trendy way. In the most unsuspecting of environments, design is at the forefront yet always in an understated, but highly sophisticated manner. I believe this is due to Europeans’ significant history, homogenous population, minimal physical space. Europeans also seem more apt to embrace foreign influences in design (because travel is perhaps more accessible or part of your way of life).  There are many simple things one can do to evoke a more European aesthetic in your surroundings, as the basis for most of today’s European homes is simplicity in color and formality.

AP: What are 5 things everyone should have in their home?

TL:

  1. One piece of art, you love no matter its origin, market value
  2. At least one beautiful mirror or many to reflect the energy of your home
  3. A family heirloom or antique
  4. Books (even if you don’t read)
  5. Someone you love

AP: What are 5 things everyone should throw away right now?

TL:

  1. Any object that is a replica of something living such as a plant or animal (yes, even if its 100% silk of a hide of another animal- like a Zebra printed cowhide)
  2. Ceiling Fans (have we not air conditioning systems in this day and age?!?!)
  3. Anything without a purpose (purpose however is not necessarily functional but can also be visual stimulation)
  4. Common trendy or reproduced objects are the epitome of poor taste!
  5. Potpourri (and yes, it does still exist)

AP: What are 5 affordable fixes to implement today?

TL:

  1. Painting (whether the walls, mill work or a large canvas painted a color that evokes your senses)
  2. Re-arranging of existing objects, furniture, art (can truly transform a space several times over with the same items); I have always said that our physical surroundings should never be sterile or immobile but should be much like that of our lives, in perpetual motion
  3. Lighting (the simple changing of a bulb type can transform a space, I love Reveal light bulbs for incandescent applications)
  4. Pillows (change colors at any time by bringing in fresh new color with a few solid accessory pillows)
  5. Changing cabinetry door fronts and/or hardware

AP: What are 5 splurges to save and enjoy for the rest of your life?

TL:

  1. A single piece of art, large or small that you obsess over after first encounter and begin to have an affair with in your mind
  2. A grand piano, even if you don’t play, lacquered ebony pianos are so incredibly beautiful
  3. A well designed sofa, of the Italian sort, one that can grow old with you and your surroundings, whether traditional or contemporary
  4. A mirror; mirrors reflect beauty not only of the human reflection but of the space that which surrounds the human reflection; how better can you enjoy your surroundings than to see yourself actually “in” them?
  5. A bookcase or shelving  (to house all that you cherish, collect and wish to display over your lifetime); I can always tell so much about someone when I visit their shelving, it’s like a visual biography of the person’s life

AP: 5 tips to make any room look good?

TL: In order for a home to look good, it must feel good and smell good. It is essential for the dweller(s) to walk into a room and feel completely comfortable sitting on any surface, placing a drink or book on any surface and being able to stay in that room without feeling anxiousness. Once this this functional quality is achieved, the aesthetic qualities must be considered and should be relative to the specific dwellers. The old saying, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” comes to mind… If you feel relaxed, content and safe, the design of your home has reached its ultimate objective.

My favorite quote is by Jean Luc Godard …. “It’s not about where you take things from, but where you take them to.” Objects, furnishings and art can come from any source, whether it be a market in Paris, a corner store in San Antonio or in a pile of rubbish on the side of the road in Haiti, what is most relevant is the emotional connection you make with such things.  This is highly personal and often times inexplicable.  Where you take whatever it may be that you have purchased into your personal realm for aesthetic and at times, functional pleasure is essentially how you reincarnate it.  A $2 bowl at a flea market may appear like a $500 bowl if placed atop the right table which matters to no one but seems to have relevance in today’s society; that same $2 bowl may give you a sense of joy each time you see it for no other reason but the feeling it invoked the first time your eye came upon it.

In general, here are some tips that work all around the house:

– Fresh flowers (or even just greenery cut from your own garden) in a clear vase or bottle brings life to any environment

– Low voltage lighting on dimmer (track or recessed) gives a clean clear light that brings life to the space even in the darkest of hours

– A scented candle (Tocca’s Grace or Stella are my favorites)

If you are looking for tips for specific rooms, here is my list.

Kitchen 

  • Keep the area clean and crisp, clutter-free, let the fruit, vegetables or food you are preparing take center stage
  • Fresh fruit or herbs keeps the kitchen feeling warm and inviting
  • Natural light brings the outdoors in; we consume fruits of the land and sea, we should prepare these in an light filled environment that is respectful of their origin
  • If your sink faces a wall, place a mirror behind it to reflect the happenings behind you

Living room 

  • Always anchor the space with a single main focal point (view, fireplace, art or even media) and build outward from that focal
  • Ambient lighting provides for a mood change and can either be used during the evening or when raining out
  • A fireplace of some sort whether it be conventional wood burning, gas or an eco-fireplace, is essential: a flame brings a comforting intimacy to a space like no other element

Dining room

  • A dining room should be a place to share with family and guests; make it inviting by lessening the formality of the space and focusing on the how those who use the space are able to comfortably enjoy the space with one another (design the table without head chairs, lessen the width of the table allowing for more intimate conversing, provide sufficient and direct lighting over the table with ambient lighting at the surround)

Bedroom

  • Ample ambient lighting (lamps), for soothing light
  • Sumptuous bed linens that are to be used, rather than seen and removed before sleep 

     

Bathroom

  • Roll your bath towels for a spa like look
  • If the ceilings are low, use a long slender mirror above your sink to give the illusion of height
  • Keep counter surfaces clean and clutter free by storing your personal items away
  • Don’t dismiss art’s relevance to this space, no matter how small

 

AP: What are your 5 favorite home organizational resources?

TL:

  1. apartmenttherapy.com (someone always, always has an idea that makes me wonder, how in the world did they think of that?)
  2. Never underestimate the power of Ikea when it comes to home organizational items and ideas on how to organize
    1. European design magazines, European design magazines and more European design magazines! My first design professor told me that there is no better text book than to learn or be inspired from what others have done and magazines are the best source of relevant information; if I had to live on $800 a month, I would budget $200 just for magazines.  Find the Elle Decor from the country that which matches your own personal style (EDItaly is more clean and mod, EDGreat Britain tends to be more eclectic with spaces appearing more lived in, EDGermany is more serious, EDSpain has a tendency to focus on the outdoors). Ok, so maybe not just Europe…. The Australian Vogue Living is my single favorite. It is the perfect marriage between the European and American aesthetic.  Living (the GB version) is a great magazine as well.  I also have an obsession with Monocole, a British publication that combines fashion, interiors, architecture, politics, and design under one cover.  As you can see, I am a magazine whore and do not hide it., you can find magazines in every room of my home. The Home Series, a paperback book collection that has been published annually by Le Figaro for Ma Déco (Or Beta Plus) and can be purchased online is an incredible source of inspiration for European home design.  The series is broken into various titles such as Kitchens, Bathrooms, Living, Designer Spaces. While they are published annually, the imagery is timeless. These books are invaluable no matter how old the publication.
  3. Due to the many ideas that can come from a single magazine, dog tailing page edges proves frustrating and when searching for that one bedroom image, for instance, you love, so I take the pages from those magazines and place them into black sketch books, titled, bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens, libraries, stairwells, etc.  This is a great way to reference inspiration without having to go through 100 magazines in search of that one specific image.  OK, perhaps it’s a bit like Pinterest, but I prefer to have the image in my hand… there is nothing like holding a book or a photo in hand for me.
  4. Another person: when faced with home organization dilemmas clients face, I believe having another set of completely objective eyes come in is the best way to come up with a solution. We bury ourselves in too many issues when dealing with organizing our personal items because of emotions attached to the organization of such items whereas someone who has no emotional bond to those can come up with a method and system that allows not only you but anyone to find an item in a simple logical way.

AP: What are your decorating pet peeves?

TL: Love this question, I am not going to hold back…  

  1. The placing of objects of any sort on a surface diagonally
  2. A sofa designed so deep that you cannot comfortably sit without laying down (beds are for sleeping)
  3. A display of family photos all about a home (find one place or two, and if you can’t remember what the person looks like, then they aren’t that important to display); also the giant seemingly life-sized photographs of family- again, really?
  4. Head chairs; I like my guests to feel as if they are “at home” when dining with us, head chairs invoke an air of superiority
  5. Lamp shades that are not bright white (other than of course, Mooi’s use of black shades with gold liners)
  6. Use of fluorescent lighting (anywhere!)
  7. Inadequate (dim, yellow hue) lighting (reminds me of a funeral parlor)
  8. Double welting on upholstered pieces (if the fabric is too stiff for a single, then it doesn’t belong on furniture)
  9. Crown molding (I detest when a real estate agent mentions this, please)
  10. Rugs that are too small for a setting
  11. Wire hangers in a closet
  12. Bathroom: anything other than the color bright white for the water closet, sink
  13. Bathroom: printed shower curtains; use glass or use a simple white curtain
  14. Anything other than solid white dish ware
  15. Anything other than white towels, solid bright white (white invokes sense of cleanliness)
  16. Anything other than white sheets
  17. TVs hung over a fireplace (find another place or room, the fire should be the focal point, not a flat screen television!)
  18. Lack of seating in a bedroom (always a chair, at least to sit and put shoes on)
  19. Lack of mirror in each room (a reflected surface is perhaps the most important element to a room)
  20. Art that is hung too high (art should be hung so that the viewer is looking at the middle of the piece)
  21. Tchotskies on top of a grand piano (the piano itself is beautiful, why cover it?)
  22. Candles that which have not been burned once in candlesticks; at least give the appearance that the candlesticks are actually used!
  23. A theme to a room
  24. Thick drinking glasses (I don’t want to feel like I am at a gym when having a drink)
  25. Clutter on bathroom or kitchen counter (don’t display your “intimates” to your guests, they don’t need to know your regimen or lack thereof)
  26. OK, I am not sure if I even should mention, tab top curtains, sheers, furniture arm covers, colored matting on framed art, granite counter surfaces, 4″ splash in kitchen (surface to surface, don’t trip the eye!), anything other than chrome on plumbing fixtures (and no, do not match the plumbing fixtures to lighting fixtures), faux arches, vaulted ceilings (unless original to an old home), Berber carpet (so 90’s), carpet in bathrooms (gross)… and the list goes on but I must stop!

 

Trèfle à quatre

Interview de mon père sur son sujet de prédilection, ses filles.
Et comment sommes-nous arrivés à tous travailler ensemble?

Étant jeune avais-tu imaginé un jour transmettre une entreprise à tes quatre filles ?

Rien ne présageait cela. Ce n’est pas forcément en planifiant l’avenir que les choses se déroulent comme on le souhaite. Je pense que la réussite dans notre cas est un mélange d’ambition, de chance, de vision, d’intuition, de capacité à saisir l’occasion qui t’est donnée, et d’humilité.

Ce que je savais, en revanche, avant même de devenir père, c’est que je désirais avoir quatre enfants.

Pourquoi ?

En Italie, les murs des maisons étaient ornées de photos de famille. Les plus belles selon moi étaient celles qui montraient les parents et 4 enfants ; cette composition donnait une harmonie spontanée à la photographie.

Filles ou garçons ?

Je n’avais pas de préférence. Cependant lorsque notre 4ème enfant était en route j’avais très envie que ce soit une fille, pour préserver l’harmonie qui s’était installée au sein de votre fratrie et de notre famille.

Quand nous avions 6 ou 7 ans, que pensais-tu que nous allions devenir ?

Je pensais qu’Ada deviendrait Général dans l’armée ; depuis toute petite, elle avait l’âme, la force et la personnalité d’un chef. Toi, Cyrille, je pensais que tu serais danseuse étoile. Tu avais la grâce, l’intensité et la nature éthérée. Rachel, je voulais absolument qu’elle soit actrice ; très petite elle savait tenir la scène. Les prémisses d’un grand charisme. Nous l’avons inscrite à des défilés, des spectacles d’enfant, et plus tard au Cours Florent. Et lorsque Roxane a commencé l’équitation à 6 ans, je rêvais qu’elle devienne championne hippique. Nous avons partagé 12 ans d’aventures équestres où elle n’a cessé de démontrer sa volonté, sa force, son esprit de gagnante.

Selon toi, comment se fait-il que nous soyons toutes aujourd’hui impliquées dans les entreprises familiales ? Le prédisais-tu déjà en 1997 à l’ouverture de l’Institut ?

J’en avais l’intuition, puisque quand j’ai fondé Forever Institut, je ne lui ai pas donné mon nom. J’ai pensé qu’un centre de médecine esthétique pourrait éventuellement intéresser l’une de mes filles – sans pour autant savoir laquelle, et pas nécessairement en tant que médecin.

C’est lorsqu’Ada a pris en main la marque Alchimie Forever après son MBA que j’ai pris conscience du concept de l’entreprise familiale qui irait au-delà de son fondateur.

J’ai souhaité vous transmettre l’actionnariat de Forever très vite. En 2013, lorsque j’ai récupéré toutes les actions, je me suis senti libre de vous les donner.

Pourquoi nous avoir transmis les actions de Forever si tôt ?

Rachel avait travaillé pour Alchimie Forever à Genève durant plusieurs années et Cyrille m’assistait dans ma pratique médicale et se dirigeait vers le marketing et l’écriture. Les quatre sœurs s’entendaient très bien. J’ai pensé que ça pourrait être un beau projet pour vous. Et ce projet ne pouvait pas se matérialiser sans que Forever ne vous appartienne totalement, à vous les 4 filles.

J’étais et je suis toujours convaincu qu’on s’implique davantage dans une entreprise qui nous appartient. Mon intention était de vous responsabiliser, et non de vous forcer. Il ne devait y avoir aucune pression, le désir d’intégrer l’entreprise devait venir d’un choix libre et personnel. J’avais aussi décidé que si l’une d’entre vous prenait la direction avec l’accord et le soutien des autres sœurs, je me serais retiré du groupe de management de Forever.

Puis, un séjour à l’INSEAD vous a permis de comprendre la valeur et la beauté d’une entreprise familiale et de vous projeter au-delà de votre propre génération à travers sa pérennisation. Vous avez pris conscience de la force qui peut émaner d’un projet mené par 4 sœurs.

Aujourd’hui, avec 6 ans de recul, je vois que vous êtes toutes les 4 impliquées, chacune en fonction de qui vous êtes et ou vous en êtes dans votre parcours professionnel. Ada est Présidente Directrice Générale d’une de nos marques, Rachel est leader du groupe, tu es la plume et l’âme de Forever, et Roxane est médecin – un grand chirurgien en devenir.

Qu’est-ce qui fait, selon toi, que nous nous entendons si bien et que nous arrivons à collaborer ensemble ?

Cette entente est possible car vous avez grandi dans une famille ou jamais l’une n’a été préférée à l’autre, ni l’une dite meilleure que l’autre. Vous avez grandi dans une absolue égalité ; égalité dans la confiance, l’amour et le respect. Ça vous permet aujourd’hui de vous gérer les 4 sans aucune ambiguïté ou problématique. Vous êtes consciente d’être chacune l’égale de l’autre, chacune avec ses spécificités.

The Polla Sisters and the King of Hearts
The King of hearts empowered his daughters

Be Positive. Be Strong.

I have always loved running and used to run at an average 12km/hour. Until my injury, running was the only for of exercise I enjoyed – and I need to exercise to feel good. Having to give that up (or so I thought) made me feel diminished, and it took me quite some time to overcome that feeling. 

I am known as a positive person and I believe everything happens for a reason. Weirdly enough, eight months ago I fractured my right foot. More important and the physical pain, I was overwhelmed by how vulnerable this injury made me feel. I have always loved running and used to run at an average 12km/hour. Until my injury, running was the only for of exercise I enjoyed – and I need to exercise to feel good. Having to give that up (or so I thought) made me feel diminished, and it took me quite some time to overcome that feeling.

After what felt like an agonizing long time, I finally started exercising again this past weekend: 40km of bicycle, 7km of walk and 7km of running. I finally feel like myself again, especially due to my renewed capacity to run. These months were hard on me, but I learned a lot:

  • Don’t spend too much time feeling sorry for yourself. I did that for more than 2 months which was much too long! I wasted time and negative energy. The next time I have a setback I won’t let myself feel diminished…
  • Always remember that everything happens for a reason… Try to find that reason, and you will feel much better! This brings me to point 3…
  • Keep an open mind : once I took control of my life again I discovered bicycling and swimming, two forms of exercise I never tried for fear of being bad at it (biking) and a fear of water (which I overcame three years ago) (I was afraid of water until about three years ago). I am learning how to swim freestyle, with my mind focused on a single objective: soon I hope I’ll be diving! I thought I could only run. Now I enjoy three different sports and have a new goal – positive outcomes from this injury.
  • Be humble. Like my sister Ada would say: start with baby steps. Getting ready for 6km of mountain bike or 4km of running puts me in the mood. I know I will achieve more, but a 40km goal to start with is just too much!

Be proud. Every step is a step, even the baby ones. Celebrate them all. And keep going no matter what.

La beauté de rester un enfant à jamais

Ce jeudi, c’était le 1eraoût, la fête nationale suisse et bien que j’aie trente ans, je l’ai vécue comme un enfant de cinq ans. Je ne me souviens pas, étant petite, avoir fait des feux d’artifices le 1eraoût. Premièrement j’habitais en ville, donc difficile de faire ça sur le balcon au milieu des immeubles et deuxièmement j’entends d’ici mon père dire : « c’est dangereux ! ». Mais mon mari me raconte que passé le 25 décembre, lui et son frère n’attendaient qu’une seule chose : le 1eraoût, pour pouvoir faire des feux d’artifices dans leur jardin. Cette année nous avons fêté le 1eraoût chez mon beau-frère qui a maintenant deux garçons de cinq et huit ans et, grâce à ma belle-famille, j’ai découvert combien incroyable peut être une fête nationale.

Je n’en reviens toujours pas. On a commencé par allumer des pétards dans une petite brouette, ça pétaradait de partout comme des pistolets au Far West. Puis il y a eu les Vésuve, des volcans miniatures crachant des étincelles de plus en plus haut pendant un temps infini, comme si le Vésuve lui-même était en pleine éruption. Enfin sont arrivées les fusées – les vrais feux d’artifices – et le bouquet final. Les dernières étincelles fusaient dans l’air avant d’exploser en couleurs et en sons. Excitation totale mélangeant émerveillement, appréhension et fascination. Je ne sais pas qui était le plus excité : les neveux de mon mari ou moi-même ? Et je n’arrive toujours pas à croire que toute cette magie, c’est nous qui la produisons…

Je me suis rendue compte, ce soir-là, combien c’est important de rester officieusement un enfant lorsqu’on devient officiellement adulte. Non seulement cela nous permet de continuer à être fascinés par la vie : ce qui semble être un rien pour un adulte nous fait rêver et nous rappelle la chance que nous avons d’être sur cette terre. De plus, lorsque nous sommes fascinés, nous transmettons ce sentiment tout autour de nous et cela fait du bien aux autres aussi. On rappelle ainsi à ceux qui auraient un peu trop grandi que la vie est belle et que si l’on regarde bien, chaque jour on a de quoi avoir des étoiles pleins les yeux.

Alors, restons enfants ! Et ceci même si certains n’ont de cesse de nous répéter qu’il faut grandir !

Less is More

Ada Polla share her thoughts on how less is more with a few
key signature pieces in your wardrobe.

My grandmother and my godmother both taught me that it is best to value quality over quantity. In life in general, and in your wardrobe in particular. Both always told me that the perfect fitted back slacks would serve me better than 5 cheap pairs bought in trendy colors. As such, I pride myself on a wardrobe that is filled with items I love and wear – and not too many of them.

Nonetheless, my interpretation of a “minimalist wardrobe” was recently challenged when my girlfriend Jenn Mapp told me about her 35 items. She recently decided to simplify her closet (thus her life), and pare it down to 35 items. And she loves the result – not just in her closet. Intrigued? Read on…

AP: What made you decide to reduce your wardrobe to 35 items?

JM: For most of life shopping was my favorite pastime. Now I have a toddler and an infant, a full time job and own a small (but charming!) house. This translates to no time, minimal storage and considerably less discretionary income. Earlier this spring, while searching Pinterest for closet organization tips, I discovered several boards dedicated to the idea of a minimalist wardrobe. The notion of turning my massive, unmanageable closet into a curated collection of seasonal apparel just felt right. Within a few days I ruthlessly edited my clothes down to 35 items and consigned, donated or stored the rest. My life has improved immeasurably.

AP: What are your 35 items? Does this include accessories, shoes, lingerie – everything?

JM: I define “35 items” as the apparel hanging in my closet — business casual separates worn mostly to work. My 35 items do not include accessories because these are my signature outfit makers and without them this would not be a plausible fashion experiment – for me.  Workout clothes, lingerie and sleep items do not count. However, my entire fashion collection now fits in one side of an Ikea Pax wardrobe. This makes me very proud.

AP: How has your life changed since undergoing this fashion experiment?

JM: In so many ways! Obviously I’ve saved money and time but I’m also happier and more present. You don’t realize how much energy it takes to manage possessions. Most tangibly, my fashion experiment motivated me to start a blog. I assumed #jennmapp would be a fashion blog cataloging multiple outfits created from 35 items but I’ve found that I am more inspired by the psychology of the process. Curbing the impulse to shop parallels instinctive behavior in every aspect of my life.

AP: Any tips on how others could reduce their wardrobes?

JM: Sure, how about a random numbered list? The internet loves a list.

  1. Purchase or borrow an inexpensive rolling rack.
  2. Assemble your entire wardrobe in one place.
  3. Automatically move formal or cocktail attire, out of season clothes, ill-fitting or damaged items to the rolling rack.
  4. Consider every item that remains. These will make up your current season collection. If you love it, you will know in one second – leave it in your closet. If you experience any hesitation towards an item, put it on the rolling rack.
  5. Ruthlessly edit until you are down to a collection that feels right. You will need an adequate assortment of tops, bottoms and outwear. Consider your lifestyle. Depending on the size of your wardrobe, you may require several rounds of edits.
  6. Store, repair, consign or donate the rest. Just do it.
  7. Repeat every three – four months, filling in gaps as needed.

As I listen to Jenn in awe, she concludes: “You only think you need hundreds of items. You don’t! I guarantee you only wear 30 – 50 pieces as it is. Closet reduction is an excellent exercise in defining your value system. If you read this and are inspired to act, you are ready. Take the plunge. If the idea doesn’t resonate at all or seems inconceivable, well someone has to keep the economy afloat, right?”

Right!

Resources to help you achieve this minimalist wardrobe:

http://jennmapp.tumblr.com/

@tinclosettonsofstyle

Project333.com

Theunfancy.com

21 jours

“Dry January” et “dry July”; j’ai testé 21 jours sans alcool. Je recommande à tous cette expérience qui fait un bien fou au corps et à l’esprit!

21 jours

Pour la première fois, en janvier 2019, je me suis proposé le défi personnel de traverser 21 jours sans boire d’alcool. Une amie m’avait parlé du concept de « dry January »,  l’idée étant qu’après les « orgies gastronomiques » souvent bien arrosées de décembre, on met son foie au repos le premier mois de la nouvelle année.

En me renseignant sur le concept, j’ai appris qu’il faut 21 jours pour changer une habitude. J’aime les chiffres, les équations et les challenges ; j’en ai donc fait mon affaire.

J’ai rempli mon frigo de bière sans alcool, de Schweppes et de bitters pour avoir le choix d’une boisson attrayante en rentrant du travail. Je ne suis pas beaucoup sortie durant cette période, mais les quelques occasions d’afterwork entre copines n’ont pas été difficiles à gérer. Une fois lancée, je me sentais de plus en plus forte et heureuse de vivre cette toute nouvelle expérience.

J’ai commencé à ressentir les bienfaits de cette démarche dès la première semaine. Mes nuits étaient plus sereines et mon sommeil plus profond. Même en ne dormant que 6 à 7 heures – ce qui ne me suffisait pas auparavant – je me sentais reposée le lendemain au réveil.

Au bout de deux semaines, ma peau était plus lumineuse, et mes rougeurs sur les joues et le menton s’étaient estompées. Le matin je remarquais mon visage moins gonflé, surtout au niveau des poches sous les yeux. En revanche je n’ai constaté aucune amélioration de mes sensations de jambes lourdes. Ma fragilité veineuse à ce niveau-là doit être héréditaire. Je n’ai pas non plus perdu de poids – non pas que je le souhaitais ! Mais on parle souvent de la teneur calorifique de l’alcool.

Enfin, dès la troisième semaine je ne ressentais déjà plus l’envie de boire, même en sortant pour un apéro ou un diner en famille.

Le plus surprenant a été la confirmation de cette « règle » des 21 jours. Mes habitudes ont réellement changé, de manière très naturelle. Alors que pendant des années je consommais un à deux verres de vin tous les soirs, après ces 21 jours je n’en avais plus l’automatisme, ni l’envie. J’ai recommencé à boire quelques soirs par semaine, en bonne compagnie, et pour une occasion sociale.

Mon mental a également bénéficié de ce jeûne. Chaque jour j’ai perçu ma force et ma confiance en moi s’accroître. Je me suis sentie rassurée, et en ai tiré autant de satisfaction que de fierté et de gratitude envers moi-même. Une belle palette d‘émotions positives qui sont toujours les bienvenues !

J’ai réitéré l’expérience le 1er juillet, lors du passage à la seconde moitié de l’année, accompagnée de l’énergie dépurative de la nouvelle lune. Aujourd’hui nous sommes le 21 juillet, et je bois une evian aromatisée à la framboise en écrivant ce blog. La différence cette fois-ci est que je me suis permis un écart pour fêter mon anniversaire. Sans regret ! Je sais à présent que j’ai la force et la volonté nécessaires pour changer une habitude qui ne me convient plus ; et mon objectif est la maîtrise plutôt que le contrôle. Je continue d’apprécier les saveurs et la chaleur d’un bon vin, ainsi que la frivolité festive d’un cocktail de temps en temps.

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