Bag It

A well turned out friend recently mentioned the term "statement bag" to me.  She was talking about some advice she gave a lady who had been asked to do some substantial fundraising for a worthy cause.  My friend suggested that the lady invest in a couple of business chic outfits and a "statement bag."

Rosalie by Jimmy Choo $3,995

This struck me as interesting in a few ways.

First, although I usually have a general sense of what's going on, I had never heard of a statement bag.   A snappy search on the Google revealed that a statement bag is the new It Bag.  This term strikes me as just a little ridiculous in the sense that, what statement exactly is your bag making?  A couple that come to mind are:  "I am so loaded, I think it makes great sense to carry my wallet and lipstick around in a bag that cost more than your mortgage"  or "I wouldn't want anyone to think that my boho top and ripped jeans were really from the Good Will so I'll just stick a $3,000 bag on my arm to be sure you know who you're dealing with."

Second, and I believe my friend is correct, isn't it funny that large donors would be more inclined to make a gift to a charity when approached by an affluent looking woman than by those benefiting from their donation?  Is this because people have a harder time saying no to "one of their own"?  Or is it that being well dressed opens doors and purses?

Finally, with global meat consumption at an all time high, shouldn't the cost of leather be declining?   Yet, despite the sub-prime mortgage debacle, Euro crisis and ongoing global recession these bags continue to go up, up, up in price.  Of course luxury brands argue that it is the hand crafting by their skilled European artisans that make these bags so valuable expensive.  However, these claims are sometimes discredited by journalists visiting factories in China who have seen these luxury bags being put together by women making about $100 per week.

The statement of all statements The Birkin by Hermes. If you have to ask...

Now, much like religion, I believe if it helps someone get through their day and isn't hurting anyone else,  by all means embrace the new statement bags.  Perhaps like bangles or guard rings some fancy folks may even begin stacking them before long.  To find the right bag and statement for you, you might want to begin here.  If your caviar taste does not mesh with your tuna fish budget you could try renting a statement bag at the Netflix of handbags Bag Borrow or Steel.

Friday Frivolity: Judging Books by their Covers

We've been thinking and writing a lot about books this summer, perhaps because we've been influenced by our friend Kate at book nook or perhaps we've happily had more leisure for reading during the these summer months.

Either way, thanks to Brain, Child magazine on facebook, we've found another fun and book related item to share with you: Judging a Book by its Cover: A Six Year Old Guesses what classic novels are all about, from Babble. Some of her guesses are comical; others are astute; and the whole post is a fun read. 

Here's to lots of reading this weekend, that is, if you don't find yourself too busy watching Olympic Badminton, Canoe Slalom, or Rythmic Gymnastics.

* image of girl reading from, image of olympic flag in London from The Telegraph

Help Wanted

When a friend passed long a link to this recent New Yorker article, dear readers, we knew it was right up our alley. In Spoiled Rotten: why do kids rule the roost? Elizabeth Kolbert makes a case that today’s parents are bringing up the most spoiled bunch of children in history and the experience is leaving parents frustrated and overworked, spawning a new genre of “tough parenting” books, like Mean Moms Rule, or The Price of Privilege. 

Sadly, the story was not unfamiliar to this modern mother. Kolbert describes children who cannot and will not tie their own shoes at age 8, children who do not know how to turn on a washing machine, children who are completely incapable of setting the table for dinner. While some of her examples are extreme, she does have a point: most children today have few domestic duties, leaving their parents to clean up, pick up, tidy up, in addition to actual parenting. And feeling more like a maid than a parent is deeply frustrating.

Kolbert contrasts these typical American children with anthropological studies of indigenous cultures in which children make meaningful contributions to their own care and the economy of their family unit by age 5 or 6. Nevermind that those children might be considered adults at age 13, married with their own children by 20 and have a life expectancy of 45. The point is that even young children can contribute meaningfully to a household, and most of us are doing a miserable job of teaching them that.

How did this happen? Kolbert does not offer much on that front. Nor can I, except to say it clearly wasn’t always so. Reading Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Farmer Boy with my 6 year old left me with a new respect for hard work. After cajoling my son through bedroom tidying, clothes changing, tooth brushing, I read to him about how Almanzo Wilder, age 8, cleans barn stalls with a pitchfork, fills mangers with hay, milks cows, plants seeds, trains a pair of young oxen, weeds a field of carrots, and repeatedly says “I mustn’t contradict mother/father.” Sigh.  

Time to re-double the efforts to teach household chores and self-sufficiency. No, unloading the dishwasher, cleaning out backpacks, and putting away laundry is no longer enough. After all, if this were the 1870's in upstate New York, they'd be putting in 12 hour days in the fields right now. Twelve additional minutes at dinner time is not too much to require. 

Friday Frivolity: Everybody loves a lemonade stand

Earlier this week, as temperatures hovered in the 90’s, my children started a lemonade stand, papering the neighborhood with flyers, chatting with customers, selling just enough lemonade to feel successful and most gratifyingly, working cooperatively and independently. This got me thinking about lemonade stands and what exactly makes them so appealing, fun, and universally loved.

Sadly, my quick google search did not come even close to answering those questions, but it did reveal that: (1) my children were unwittingly participating in a dubious political movement; (2) propping lemonade stands may be more popular than actual lemonade stands; and (3) if I were to someday help my children make a super-cute crafty lemonade stand, I could only hope it would be as adorable and apparently fun to make as this one, posted by Rachel on Accessorize and Organize.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

Friday Frivolity - A Few Summery Thoughts

We recently found ourselves at a fantastic summer party.  It was one of those "will it rain won't it days?" and our hosts managed the uncertainty with aplomb and elegance.  It all began in the kitchen with watermelon mojitos and ended in the garden on a perfect summer evening.  Here is one secret to summer party success.

Image from Barefoot Contessa

Another secret to summer success:  pack light.  We all know it - the problem (at lest for this modern family) seems to lie in the execution.  In addition if you know of a way to prevent grandmothers from giving grandchildren all your old junk each time they visit your old home please let us know. 

Image from Meet the Hilfigers

We loved this piece in the NY Times on the summer and life value found in being a camp counselor versus a summer spent getting people coffee and donuts at Google:  The Camp Counselor vs. The Intern.

 Image from Martha Stewart

Last but not least in the we all know it category: when enjoying the sand between your toes, don't forget the sunscreen, hat and beach umbrella.

Happy Weekend!

Friday Frivolity: Brainy Booklist

Summer is a time for reading, and so when a friend sent us this eclectic list of favorite children’s books, we delved right in. More than a list, 121 Books is an e-book containing quirky reviews written by the family behind Dinner: A Love Story, and featuring recommendations from George Saunders, Lemony Snicket, David Sedaris, and others.

Brainy and fun, the list is unapologetically subjective. I was happy to find favorites by William Steig and Richard Scarry, and delighted with new finds, like the Olympians series by George O’Connor. Mostly, I was thrilled with the very idea of  important books, books that are so beloved they become part of your family history. My picks would include I am a Bunny (on their list) and The Cricket in Times Square - not on their list, but the Garth Williams illustrations alone earn it a permanent place in my personal universe. You will likely have your own to add and that's one of the things that makes this list so fun.

121 Books is free for download, but only through this weekend.

Happy reading and have a wonderful weekend!

Is it the Event or the Photo?

We hope you had a splendid 4th of July.   Based on most of the social media postings we saw this morning it looks like the majority of Americans were enjoying idyllic days filled with sand, parades and picnics capped off with fireworks and ice cream.  Which, like many holidays in the digital age, may cause the modern mother to wonder: is it about the event or the photo op?  The article in this morning's WSJ,  Don't Forget to Pack a Photographer  elevates this query to new heights.  The author tells us:

Travelers want to record memorable moments without ruining them stressing about focus and flash. They want more sophisticated shots to share on social media. And vacationers realize that an iPhone may not catch that perfect surfing or skiing triumph.

The kind, tolerant modern mother might think that, with quality time at such a premium, this is a wonderful way to be able to remember one's vacation.  The more cynical modern mother might call it narcissism.

There is no doubt that social media is a wonderful way for families who are apart to stay in touch and share special moments.  But the concern is: are we, as a people, living in the moment or for the photo op?  How can a family really be connecting in any meaningful way with a third party photographer tagging along?  Would one not end up feeling like a cast member on the The Truman Show?

One can of course understand the need for high-quality, "sophisticated" photos for social media when one is sharing them with 500+ "friends."  Because really, if someone is spending time crafting communiques and photos for thousands isn't that Public Relations rather than keeping up with friends?  In any event, should the photographer and videographer fail them people may want to resort to Clive Beacon, Facebook Image Consultant

Finally, let us end with  this delightfully honest piece about Facebook  by good old clear-thinking, straight-talking Stanley Bing who can be found weekly on the last page of Fortune Magazine.

photo courtesy of Google images

The Busy Parent Trap

In earlier posts, we’ve written about the busy contest and hyper-scheduling one-upmanship, but its now front and center in people’s minds (or at least their facebook feeds) thanks toThe ‘Busy’ Trap by Tim Kreider which appeared in Sunday's New York Times.  Mr. Kreider makes a strong argument for the merits of idleness, and successfully skewers the busy culture (e.g., busy people “schedule in time with friends the way students with 4.0 G.P.A.s make sure to sign up for community service because it looks good on their college applications.”) and he holds no punches when he argues that people over-schedule themselves as a “hedge against emptiness.”

We heartily applaud Mr. Kreider's efforts to fight hyper-busy culture, but we do note it will be some years before most modern mothers can attempt his solution, which appears to be something along the lines of “move to an undisclosed location, read, write, go for long bicycle rides.” Even without encouraging (enforcing?) all manner of extra-curricular activities for her children, a modern mother must do laundry, wipe faces, cook dinner, bathe small children, and generally tame the chaos. Of course, all the extra busy-ness of being a parent is temporary, and in the mean time, we can all dream about 5 solid hours devoted to nothing but writing, followed by leisurely bicycle rides through the French countryside, baguette in basket.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...