Dear readers, a version of this editorial has also appeared on our sister site, THE LITTLE SCHOOL PROJECT. There, the post has been modified to speak more to modern sustainable parents who homeschool. If that educational style resonates with you, please feel free to check it out. :) Lisa
As modern day metropolitan homesteaders, we know how to better connect and respect our environment and we often go out of our way to live more sustainably, Yet when it comes to our family, that kumbaya consciousness can evaporate into clean air. As a parent, it becomes extremely necessary to raise your child by understanding their needs. It’s best done by pouring all your conscious effort on the child in a calm and lovable manner; much like you do toward your urban garden and your yoga instructor. There is a saying “Today’s children… Tomorrow’s future…” A future where people have compassion, honesty and are well behaved can only be shaped now. That is why it is very to start now for a better future. Who best can do that other than the parents? So we have picked our top 5 tips to be a conscious parent.
One afternoon, a bit ago at the ripe age of 28, I found myself on multiple floors of Barney’s New York. I was on a quest for the perfect cashmere turtleneck sweater, mock beret, Italian leather shoes and a clever pants suit. Although that perfect suit was not uncovered and the shoes were too tight, several dress shirts, the sweater, beret and a few accessories were carried out through those huge double doors. Unfortunately, only the beret was for me. The shopping spree, a sartorialist’s delight was initiated by, orchestrated by and purely for the benefit of my then boyfriend. I brushed off his fashion-narcissistic tendencies to the onset of a midlife crisis (he was in his earlier 40’s, sitting in an age chair similar to the one my tush is parked in now). He was also a New Yorker, born and raised, so perhaps in a way, much like Anderson Cooper, style and fashion ran in his family.
Lingerie is one of the few pieces of clothing that regardless of its design, pretty patterns and label is worn primarily for the support of the wearer.
For most women flunking the course on “How to Dress like Madonna in Desperately Seeking Susan”, shed few tears. Who wants to publicly walk around in their underwear anyway. And while the Victoria’s Secret Angels and most Maxim covers would suggest lingerie’s purpose is largely for the visual enjoyment of the onlooker, it is generally kept under wraps. However, like wolves to a full moon, when Valentines Day or anniversaries roll around, everyone, men and women alike give in to the allure of exposing her bra and panties. Flounce, lace and maybe fantasy leather distinguish the undergarments of this day versus the purely utilitarian cotton and lycra pieces for the other 364 days of the year. Your Spanx is designed to morph you 8lbs slimmer, but a blush-colored lace corset is designed to seduce. The irony of course is that according to a recent study, most men would rather see you in nothing at all.
Let's see a show of hands - How many of you ladies have had an annual comprehensive wellness check? If you are like me, you wait until something is terribly amiss before you step foot into a doctors office. And if you are like me, you likely engage in all kinds of wellness mind-body treatments - some with real preventative or curative medical value and some that just feel good - because a healthy mind is a healthy body. Most of the time. Sorry Louise Hay. Earlier this month I had multiple visits to various doctors. I was feeling a lot off and despite all of my self diagnosis, I don't have a medical degree so I wanted to get checked out. As it turns out all is well and good - nothing a little sugar and grain detox and extra sleep couldn't help. Nonetheless, I was armed with not only a will to be exceeding well, but a checklist of health points to discuss with my MD. After all, it's my body, right?
Last year I took a stab at a hashtag campaign. #IHEARTTRACYANDERSON. I was getting remarried and wanted to look like a super model with a PHD - code for smart and sultry. Let's just say, as a GenXer, I may need my intern to shift-shape my quirkiness and deep thinking into social media cool. Speaking of shape shifting, I find myself giving that wellness campaign, minus the #, another go. Why? Because it works.
Once a fringe specialty food eaten only by vegetarians, Asians and the lactose-intolerant, soy currently is as accessible as Coke. As a former vegetarian/vegan and middle eastern food junkie (hello hummus and falafel) and an Asian expat, there were periods of my life where I practically lived of soy-based products. Unfortunately, soy, soybeans and soy-based products may be as unhealthy as that can of soda. How can this popular health food make you sick?
The magic of soy is it’s richness in protein, vitamins, and minerals. It is also low in fat. Soy offers excellent nutritional and eating alternatives as a common vegetable protein source used in lieu of meat or dairy. Soybeans also contain a complex mix of phtyochemicals, isoflavones (good big words) and antioxidants that lower cholesterol levels and boost the immune system.
I won’t give a number, but let’s just say according to a recent British woman’s survey, I am too old to wear a mini skirt. Little do they know that I have killer legs that give Gwyn Paltrow two good reasons to burn another hour with her celebrity trainer. Actually according to this survey, even GP who is just a few years younger (she’s 44) should pack her minis in a goodwill box and bid them an adios. Not that I strut about with my thighs and possible tush visible to all, I certainly don't like being told what to do with it or to show it off. (Did you get that GOP?)
The concept of having servants/housekeepers/cleaning ladies/help was new to me; until I found myself needing help. Considering the only other person, aside from waiters and hotel maids, who ever cleaned up after me was my mother, I was hesitant to hire a housekeeper. I long thought "help" was for the very wealthy, nouveau riche, incredible busy, sloppy and lazy, because really, who is unable to make their own bed? Or the mean and evil - have you seen The Help?! One set of friends, a double-income couple living in the heart of a major metropolis have a maid, for lack of a better word. The lady, a middle aged Filipino woman manages their home daily. She does the laundry everyday (“everyday!”, I wondered, “how much laundry did they have?”), goes grocery shopping, cooks meals, handles home deliveries and repairs. Excessive, I thought. All I needed was someone to sweep, mop and clean the bathroom.
A couple of weeks ago, I published a podcast about work/life balance, taking a pause to reflect on the path we are on to re-evaluate whether we'd like to proceed as planned or redirect and get in deeper touch with our values. I referenced the 1970's television show, Wonder Woman as a reminder of not only our duality as modern women (working woman/superhero), but also the meditative and solo ways that we can connect to our true self to tread further along our life path. Check it out and let me know in the comments below how you pull back and recharge your emotional and physical batteries and reset your lifestyle GPS.
One New Year holiday some many moons ago, I walked up and down a temple and shrine decorated mountain in Miyajima, Japan lighting candles, making offerings, and collecting Omamori (small brocade bag style amulets that may contain a prayer, religious inscription of invocation) to bless the new year. I recall the last temple I visited where I inscribed on a big white candle, all of my wishes and aspirations for that year. The list was long. Mega. A very long and beautiful story short, I had trouble lighting my candle - a sign to the Gods that my prayers may not be honored. My the grace of a kind man (he jumped in on my third try and shielded the flame from the brisk wind) and his family (they were praying as hard as I was), my candle burned bright on the mountain and for those 12 months. My take-away, my ask(s) were big and I would likely need help, a community of like-minded and supportive people to mentor, protect and cheer me on.