stucco

Chiseling Away What Isn’t.

When asked how he created the celebrated sculpture of David, Michelangelo responded that he’d “simply chiseled away what wasn’t David.”* I feel as though I have always envisioned self-improvement as a constructive process, something akin to building muscle or forging tools. Accretive. But perhaps it can be the inverse: cleansing, streamlining, stripping away the excesses, performances, and projections and standing stock-still with the barest silhouette of ourselves. Just what’s core. Whittling down to your own spectacular intrinsic structure. Sometimes life does the hewing for us, baring our tenderest constitutions in the process, but it occurs to me that perhaps sometimes we must take matters into our own hands, sculpting ourselves free of the superfluous plaster we’ve accrued along the way.

Post-Scripts.

+I came upon this story about Michelangelo in Cleere Cherry Reaves’ new devotional, Radiate. I mentioned a few months ago that I am not particularly adept at praying, and I am finding the devotional format helpful in focusing. I had never worked my way through a devotional before, though, and am having mixed emotions as I progress through it. I love the ritual of reading a page each day and find the messages instructive, but the language feels uncomfortably familiar for a gal raised in a fairly conservative Catholic tradition. (The prayers often start with: “Hey Jesus,” and I know my grandparents would have cringed at the lack of formality. At the same time, what is prayer but a conversation with God? Why should I let the casual tone make me uneasy?). Paradoxically, I also find some of the sermonizing ultra-intense. Still, I am appreciating it enough that I bought a copy for my sister, too.

+Today’s sylphlike musing is a footnote on my earlier post about settling into decades-old friendships. I actually received a number of direct messages and emails about this post, sharing similar experiences and heartaches and growing pains. It reminded me of the saying that there are “friends for seasons, friends for reasons, and friends for a lifetime.” As I age, I am not sure I buy into that categorization. I have some friends who have boomeranged from what seemed like “a season” into “a lifetime,” and vice versa. I am thinking of a few high school and college girlfriends with whom I lost touch for a couple of years but who are now some of my closest friends. Geography and life stage play such a powerful role in friendships. Still, there are some that we are bound to lose along the way, for better or worse. (It usually feels like it’s for the worse.)

+I have found that motherhood tends to put particular pressure on female friendships. It can either forge an indelible bond or fracture things beyond repair.

+Speaking of motherhood: the best way I can describe it is as “a heart rent in too many directions.”

+And also — a lopsided though elegant dance.

+Another kind of dance.

+On “remaining interesting” to my husband after children.

+Is love a hunch?

+More lessons from an artist at work.

Shopping Break.

+These ceramic berry baskets are absolutely charming for stowing fresh produce in the fridge or on the counter (one for cherry tomatoes, one for blueberries, etc.). I also think it would be sweet to present a gift in one of these wrapped up in cellophane with a big ribbon.

+Inexpensive way to get the layered gold necklace look for fall — love the idea of this layered over a white blouse with an interesting collar. More chic gold layering necklaces here.

+This slinky black dress would be great for layering beneath statement cardigans this fall.

+Nordie’s is now offering my favorite everyday lip product as a value pack — two for $29! I love that this wears like lip balm but adds noticeable color. Not so much pigment that you can’t apply sans mirror, either, which is my idiosyncratic metric for everyday wearability. Like, I need to be able to slick it on as I run out the door without worrying I will look like a clown, and this fits the bill.

+More must-have beauty products.

+Classic shorts for little boys in tons of colors for about $20 a pair.

+This white dress will be a total MVP for fall, paired with brown suede tall boots.

+Speaking of tall boots, they’d be fab with this denim midi skirt.

+This gingham top!

+Everyone’s favorite $69 sunglasses, now out in a chic oatmeal color.

+Pretty candles for a fall tablescape.

+Love this reasonably priced shacket. Imagine with leggings for fall…

+A stylish, easy-to-grab way to organize children’s individually-wrapped snacks.

+Have to order mini these adorable floral print pajamas while they’re 40% off.

+I have seen many a chic interior designer style/accessorize rooms with these Fortnum & Mason hampers. Fun way to weave a London vibe into a room and doubles as storage.

+Swoon over this dress.

+THESE SHOES ARE FABULOUS!!! WHY DO I WANT ONLY CLOGS AND PLATFORMS ATM?!

+Dialed-down SEA vibes for under $100.

+Pretty plant pot set. For larger plants, I love the timeless appeal of these ceramic planters.

+In the market for a new fall tablecloth—a few I love:

THIS HARVEST BLOOM (MY FRONT-RUNNER) — OR MAYBE WILL DO THE MATOUK SCALLOP IN THE LINEN COLOR AND PAIR WITH THE HARVEST BLOOM NAPKINS

THIS SCALLOPED GINGHAM

THIS HUNT PRINT STYLE

THESE SAGE PLACEMATS ARE ALSO V CHIC

RELATED: MOSS GREEN NAPKINS

+This belted felt jacket is majorly Parisienne-chic.

+These tapered fatigue pants look flattering. Can’t get enough of the drab-colored trousers this fall!

+More chic denim/pants finds for fall here.

+This goldenrod dress is spectacular for a fall affair!

+WOW this scallop-edged mini.

+Into Raey’s minimalist-chic, sophisticated but slouchy collection.

+Gorgeous white blouse.

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