3.23.2011

"Everything Was A Moment"...

(image via Laure Joliet)


Last week I was included in a little weekly round-up of "what's inspiring you online" over on Elle Decor's fantastic blog.

Emma (one of my favorite bloggers) also contributed to the list, mentioning Laure Joilet's photos of the sculptors Claude and Francois-Xavier Lalanne's home in France...


(image via Laure Joliet)

Emma was right (of course), the photos were indeed awesome, but what really struck me was Laure's description of how Claude and Francois lived:


"The workshop was adjoined to the house and everything about their life was an expression of creativity. It was not about knowing the right people (although man did they actually know all the right people) or owning the right things. They were blazing their own path and the focus was on their work and on quality of life (they were the best cooks). "

Everything was beautiful. Everything was a moment.





(images taken by me at The Hotel St. Cecilia)

I think that's what we're all striving for a little bit, yes? Making everything a moment?

I know for me, the most memorable experiences are the quiet ones that sort of surprise you with a meticulous attention to detail -- the paper-thin drinking glass, the silverware that feels all weighty and significant in your hand, the perfect pot of french press coffee served with big chunks of sugar in the raw and real cream...

I'm always trying to figure out how to improve our quality of life by taking the little details to the next level and making the everyday feel truly special. I like to honor the mundane.

I get ribbed for this a lot...for example, it irks my husband immensely that I refuse to buy plastic bowls for the kids (I can't help it, I have an aversion to plastic...) But the hazing is worth it, as it somehow feels infinitely more special when we're eating cereal out of our china bowls. (Mind you we only have four china bowls left due to the fact that the girlies keep, well...breaking them, so he might have a point.)

Am I crazy? (Wait, don't answer that.) Do you guys do stuff like this too? How do you make the everyday feel special? Do share...

25 comments:

mary said...

love this post, love this thought!

Good + Happy Day said...

Oh, I so agree with you. It's all about the moments... It's kind of like that favorite quote, "How we live our days is how we live our lives." The same could be said of how we live our moments, no? And you're not crazy! I'm the same about giving real china and glass to children. I am also very particular about art supplies for me and also for the girls. Good paper, watercolors, paints and brushes are so worth it! Other little things: nice paper and pen for the many little notes I send to school in lunch boxes. Good sheets and towels for everyone. Buying books in hardcover. Lighting a too-pricey candle. Lately, my favorite moment is having a special drink and snack with my husband after the children are asleep. Like a perfect glass of port and some foie gras and toast. Or sake and a little tray of sushi. The other day we were saying next we should do a shot of vodka and some caviar.

Laura said...

During the week, my husband, daughters and I eat dinner in the nook at one end of our galley-style kitchen. But on the weekends when the pace is a little slower, we eat in our dining room. I use placements, our good china (which happens to be Iittala Taika), vintage bamboo silverware, candles, flowers. We always find ourselves lingering over these meals.

s said...

Joslyn,
I hear you about making every moment count, and attending to details, and choosing quality whenever possible, etc... I too am all about mindful consumption and beauty in the everyday. But I also wonder if living more aesthetically is really the same thing as living a higher quality life.

Believe me, I'm more like you than like your husband - I too dislike plastic in my home and try to treat everyday meals like special ones. But lately I've been wondering where my heart really lies when I insist as you do on the china bowls... If having plastic bowls liberates me to have one less worry in the morning so I can savor breakfast time with my kids more, then maybe it's worth it?

I think in striving to make every moment, every table setting, every meal, every vignette beautiful and "timeless", we can actually forget the point of all that beauty. And I think that aesthetes like you and me can sometimes get too caught up in aesthetic perfection and lose sight of the experience itself. Especially if I'm the only one at the table who cares about the bowls or the paper-thin drinking glass....! :)

Megan Gilmore said...

Joslyn - I couldn't agree more! I mean, I don't have kids, but I think it's the little things that make life. I'm one of those people that just has champagne waiting in the fridge. Mimosas and fresh blueberry muffins make any Saturday start off better.

Joslyn said...

s--
you raise a very interesting point for sure...food for thought!

hmm...

Nomadic D. said...

What a great post. I don't know that I consciously do this, though I think that it probably happens in the process of trying to be happy in general, if that makes any sense. But I love the idea of being more aware of it, of living this way on purpose. I'm going to try not forget to keep that as a priority: making everything a moment. Thank you!

http://nomadic-d.blogspot.com/

citygirl said...

I understand the impulse to do this. But, does the everyday need to feel special? I mean, if everything feels special, like a 'moment', then what do real special moments feel like? Does that make sense?

I'm not saying we shouldn't honor our everyday lives, just that some things need to be commonplace so that some other aspects of our lives can special.

rorieoconnor@comcast.net said...

Love. This. Post.

nicole said...

no plastic bowls here only cute latte bowls from anthro...and if they break it is a lesson in cleaning up and carrying on.

Joslyn said...

citygirl -- true!
I think because (for me) life with small children is so much about the everyday, I try with all my might to make those small moments feel special. That said, when we do something out of the ordinary like travel or a nice dinner out it feels, well i guess "extra-special".

But you're right, noticing the difference is important!

annie said...

I love this post...the older I get the more sentimental...I just can't help it. Make every moment count, right? We will never look back and wish we hadn't made every moment special. I love to light candles every night, set the table and enjoy the moments, whatever they may be... I love your photos too!

Khali said...

I completely agree with this sentiment and try to live my life by it. To me there's no point waiting for a special occasion when you can try to make every moment special.

About Last Weekend said...

Love Megan's comment about champagne waiting in the fridge. I really appreciate delicate glasses and bowls but always buy only Ikea glasses and kids still eat from Ikea plates and cups...I suppose after all I do love plastic (does that include lucite? which I love)

melissanearandfar said...

My roommates and I have breakfast together in the morning. It means I'm usually late to work, but since they're two of my closest friends and we don't always have time to share a meal later in the day, it's worth it.

Also, I try to not wear the same type of thing (black jeans and a striped sweater) every day. I have a closet full of beautiful and interesting things and though I have a tendency to save them for occassions, it's nice to have people tell me they really like something I'm wearing.

Megan Taylor said...

Oh the everyday - this comes up A LOT with me! How to make it exciting, less blah, unique, etc.

Since my cleanse, I've moved away from the electric coffee maker and started making a single cup with my red Melita filter (red because it makes me happy)...

anyway, at first I thought it would be tedious- standing over the filter, pouring hot water into it every minute or so to "tend" to my coffee. Then, I got SO into it.

I was tending to it in the best way. I even have a little yellow teaspoon I use to stir the soggy grounds, helping them melt into coffee. I feel like a French barista.

It's my little way of turning the mundane into something magical.

xoMegan

melissa loves said...

I completely agree with you hun....I am always, always doing that. Trying to honor the mundane & making it special. I mean, why NOT use the good stuff for everyday? That is the moment you've GOT, to use it in? Right? And I am always trying to make the everyday special for my girls....I love that way of looking at things, why not make the things you see & use all the time...beautiful?
xo
Melis

Miss Natalie said...

This is a great post. So much of our lives get filled with crap just because it's convenient, so I have your back on the "no plastic bowls" rule. When my husband and I moved halfway across the country, we liquidated a lot of "stuff" that we were ashamed to find hidden in the back of drawers and 4 walk-in closets (both a blessing and a curse). Now that we are in a new home, we have a very strict rule about not purchasing/bringing anything into the house that we don't want to see everyday and have around for the long haul. It a HUGE challenge, especially since we're not totally unpacked from the move, but ultimately worth it.

Kim in the Cove said...

It's a cliche, but you only get one trip through life - make it be what you want it to be! I love that in your celebration of the mundane you make it not at all mundane. :)

mg said...

I remember reading an article about a well known chef (whose name at the moment I can not remember). She mentioned that she bought a blouse with a million buttons on the front so that it would make her mindful of the task of doing up the buttons. I loved that. We spend so much of our time in auto pilot. It's worth it even to notice the mundane now and then. I

mg said...

on another note: we have never used our good china. We have it from our wedding registry but when we host dinners and christmas every year we use our everyday stuff (chips and all). I buy fresh flowers and make the table look really festive but I don't want to stress about anything breaking (have 9 little boys in attendance ages 3 to 12!). I guess you pick your battles.

nichole said...

I'm with you. Not a single plastic bowl, fork or otherwise in our home.

Ditto for plastic cups.

The details are all that matter right?

Emma at The Marion House Book said...

Thanks for your kind words Joslyn. I think the beauty of those photographs and the words that Laure wrote is that there is an effortless simplicity to their everyday moment. It looks like what mattered most was the bringing together of their friends and family, eating good food and enjoying each other. The beauty is that the moment wasn't laboured or too thought out. This is something I need to remember - stop worrying about the food, the flowers, the place settings and just get in there and enjoy my guests and family!

Erica said...

Last week at the beach, the second-to-last of our fancy, top heavy martini glasses succumbed to a fall in the sink. After a brief series of oh-nos and oh damns, it was concluded that the best way to keep from breaking anything was to not use it.

Does this mean that we use the “special” glasses everyday? Are the special if they're used everyday? Maybe there's a message that the good china, silverware, napkins, glasses, etc are only for guests or parties, but that isn't that part of what makes the parties and the guests feel special?

Perhaps there is room for both: special occasion and special everyday. Also, I think we have to remember that it is the people we are sharing these meals with that truly make them worth celebrating, whether it is a birthday dinner or a hurry-up-and-eat-the-bus-is-coming breakfast. The point is we are together, another morning, another evening, going through the little rituals that define not only our days, but sustain us through those days.

Sandra said...

I love this post and the commentaries. It's an interesting conversation. I believe that 'special' can simply mean 'mindful' rather than 'precious'. When attention to detail adds to the enjoyment of the everyday, it is well worth the effort. It's all about savouring the life you have.

Also, as a someone who has had to scrap melted plastic off a stovetop, I know that nothing is indestructible. Kids break bowls, hubbies put cast iron skillets in dishwashers, sisters spill borscht on vintage linen tablecloths and bunnies nibble anything they can reach. If anything it allows you to go back out into the world and hunt out new treasures.

If we rethink 'everyday', we can also rethink 'practical'.