England is having a good go at things, yes? The 2012 summer Olympic games in London, the House of Windsor nuptials on Friday, to name two. This week’s culture, a roundup of proper British imports I adore.
Buckingham Palace Cushion, notonthehighstreet.com
Earl Grey Tea, Twinings of London
“The King’s Speech,” Image: Courtesy of See-Saw Films
Otis, the rescue dog, allegedly mixed with English Labrador
Pint Tumbler, Crate & Barrel
Vintage Flag, Room & Board
Fish & Chips, BBC Good Food
Hayley & Lucas Print, Keep Calm Gallery
Jane Austen’s “Emma,” Penguin Classics Clothbound
Hand Embroidered Linens, Gayle Warwick (PS—if you’re in the Atlanta area tomorrow check out Gayle’s trunk show at Gramercy from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.)
Corsage Hairband, Topshop
I took my first yoga class in June 2000 at the corporate gym inside CNN Center, just after I moved to Atlanta. Yoga seemed like a cosmopolitan sort of thing to do and very foreign to me, but at first I didn’t quite get what the fuss was about. It was just so-so and even though I didn’t feel terribly challenged, for some reason, I stuck with it. About eight months later, I signed up for a special lunchtime class on Valentine’s Day dealing with heart chakras. I was single, and that sounded like just the thing to avoiding downing a bottle of wine later that night solo while wearing a chocolate mustache, candy wrappers piled around me, not that I cared too much about occasions like that in the first place, but it could happen. At any rate, I knew my heart needed to be taken care of, and I couldn’t think of a more fitting place for it.
The best I can describe it is that I had some sort of spiritual experience during the class. I started to understand what yoga was about and why people are such devotees. Then, two weeks later, my dad died. I channeled my healing into yoga, and that is when I truly became hooked. Throughout the poses I moved through my grief—depression in the rabbit, anger in the breath of fire, denial in downward dog, bargaining during bird of paradise, and acceptance in eagle. Each day was different in what I felt and how I moved, but yoga, to be blunt, saved my life. It gave me the life I never thought I could have, one that strives for balance both on and off the mat.
So imagine my surprise when my private Prozac, my own special pill, becomes dare I say it, trendy. I’ve seen a rise in articles on the therapeutic theory—with everything from The New York Times running a great piece in February on fertility and the link with yoga as a stress reliever (you can read it here) to Town & Country last year publishing an article titled “Prescription Yoga” (What? I read it while I was at the eye doctor.) about yoga as the cure all for whatever ails you. Yoga for anxiety, yoga for anger, yoga for anorexia (seriously), yoga for depression–why can’t it just be what it is? I realized more than a decade before Town & Country told me so that yoga is in fact my prescription; I need it like I need other things in my life to feel whole, and I can certainly tell when I haven’t had enough (my family will also vouch for that). But it’s frustrating to see this ancient practice broken down in a way that strips it of its original meaning. Are we so far gone in our fitness and quick-fix pill state to take something so basic, pure, and wonderful and turn it into a dumbed-down version that’s hardly recognizable? It just worries me that once the buzz factor of the practice dies down and the pendulum stops swinging which part of yoga will remain, the old or the new?
Surely by now you’ve seen this video? I love everything about it. How one baby is smiley and taking it all in, letting the other one talk his little heart out, animated and vocal. My twin sister and I are not identical, unlike what these adorable fellas appear to be. No, we’re fraternal, which, when broken down, means we’re no different technically than any other siblings. But we are, regardless of the countless studies saying the contrary. Separated by just eight minutes (the longest of my mom’s life, she says) we were born on our due date, which is overdue for twins. Apparently we liked each other from the get-go, no hurry to join the rest of the world, perfectly fine hanging out, just the two of us.
I’ve touched upon being a twin (here) but that piece was more about my marriage than my relationship with my sister. We’re more alike than people give us credit for. I think others want to compare twins and stick them in a box and give them set differences and all that is fine, but the one key difference with us, despite what people try to interject, is the speed in which we operate. We joke that I function as if I’ve just done a few lines of coke, her like she’s just digested a bag of mushrooms and is waiting for the pretty colors to change. Our swim coach growing up used to call us Double Trouble—she was just Trouble and I was More Trouble, and I think we lived a bit in those roles for a while. She was shy and I was outgoing, doing the talking for the both of us. She was careful in thinking, doing that for me, very cautious and meticulous in her process.
My mom tells a fantastic story about us. I’ve always gone to bed early and gotten up early, even as a baby. My twin stayed up late and slept in (when did our poor mother sleep?). Well, one morning when we were babies, I crawled out of my crib and padded downstairs to find my mother in the kitchen. She asked me if my sister was up, and I said no. My mom started to feed me and about half and hour or so passed. With no noise from upstairs or anything, I declared, “She’s up.” We went upstairs, and sure enough, she was stirring in her crib. I apparently just knew and I’d do that often.
When this video appeared online, my twin was at a conference for a week in Tampa and I didn’t talk to her for almost an entire week. One of the longest stretches we’ve ever gone except for times one of us has been out of the country. It was awful and I felt off for days–sad, lonely, just bleh. She’s back, thank goodness, but it made me realize how special our relationship is, and one I wouldn’t trade for anything.
Also—I’m pretty sure the video ruckus is over the missing sock.
I could’ve been born in a swimsuit. Living in Hawaii for three years certainly didn’t hurt, either. This has nothing to do with body image or best cuts, I’ve always loved the bright colors everything beach fashion entails, from Pucci-printed caftans (here), the ease and function of surf-inspired clothing, and I especially I adore the old photographs of Elizabeth Taylor, tunic clad with a matching headscarf (here), all of which I’d happily live in daily.
My grandmother, Mary, loved Elizabeth Taylor. My mom thinks it’s because of “National Velvet,” since Grandma Mary was an avid horsewoman. Taylor’s death last month reminded me of style. Here’s to the iconic beachwear and surfer styles and, of course to Taylor who had glamour and grace in spades.