Saturday, April 30, 2016

Skypes and tea parties

It's a time where technology gives us back quality time
Moving away is hard on the heart. The tug of the heart calls often - yearning for presence. The presence of your loved one right before you.

Rachel is coming of age in toddler years at a time when Aunt Leah is now more than a 10 minute drive away. I so miss being the pinch-hit babysitter and the on-the-way-back-from-the grocery-store "
drop-in" visit.
Uncle Patrick started the skype finger touch that melts my heart
There is something magical that is happening though. It is clearly felt in our chat times. Thanks to modern technology, video chat is soothing the ache that I have being apart from this little pint size philosopher.

Rachel has mastered the art of the toddler webinar. 
Rachel proudly shows me the stickers she's earned in her potty book.
It's the book I brought her when she was 4 weeks old still in the NICU unit.
Sometimes we play silly games and sing songs
Our talks have taken on a sweetly substantial filler of our in-person time, helping to sandbag between the times I can't be there in person: to hug, to feel the soft clasp of tender little babylike arms, or identify the crisp familiar scent of the sweetest little girl I know - a happy mix of fabric softner, baby lotion and today's peanut butter at lunch.

Lately it's not just been me that has been looking forward to chats with Aunt Leah (and sometimes both Aunt Leah & Uncle Patrick if timed right).

Lately Mary tells me Rachel will be in the middle of something and say "I wanna talk to Aunt Leah". We're quickly realizing this is something she cherishes too...

In the last few skype chats, we've been reading stories. I even recently bought a bunch of toddler books so I had more of a library to choose from. And she's been choosing books to "read" to me.

"Are you ready?" she will say and anxiously clutch the book in her hands, ready to turn the page with the widest smile - a prize I can't even describe.

This afternoon's video chat was one of my favorites...

"I read you a story"
Stopping her story to show me her "piggy toes"
A time to giggle...
And a time to snuggle...
When you're more than a quick trip away from the ones you love there is a slow realization that comes over you. These video chats...these filler between our visits...
these moments matter so much.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Little Shop of Wonders

Something has been missing for a while. Ever since we've been living here in Yonkers, I've been longing for a gift shop that made me feel that magical "A-ha" factor. I usually shop discount and Marshalls for myself, but when I want to find a special gift I turn to a shop with a little bit of magic and charisma I need small, local and inviting.
 Yesterday I found that shop.

A gaze in this store's window LA DENTELLIERE
 brought me inside
On a beautiful sunny spring day I ventured out into the town of Scarsdale - set to explore the delightful storybook town. I fed some quarters into the meter and took off down the street. Shop after shop was absolutely beautiful and charming indeed, but the price tags (and a few times, the ambivalance of the shopkeeper) led me to feel a little bit like at any moment I was about to have a 'Vivian Ward on Rodeo Drive' moment.

Thankfully, this did not happen, but it speaks to something deeply lacking in some of our finer shops - accessibility. What is it that you want to do in most of America - make everyone who visits your store feel that something beautiful is within their reach. Better yet, a beautiful interaction is the bonus of shopping in a smaller store. 
I believe in shopping local when I can - helping small businesses thrive and today I found one shop in a sea of many that was truly worth the 20 minute drive.
Gorgeous daydreams of threadcount

This shop reminded me so much of my favorite 'go-tos' of home, Parkleigh and Eleventh Hour, and there was something I felt in the air of this shop that truly sparkled.

          LA DENTELLIERE - 

Shop owner, Michelle
                      on 35 Popham Rd, Scarsdale NY

I found a perfect gift there for under $12 and picking it up, I felt a satisfied ease. I should tell you that that the feeling only increased when I went up to the counter to pay. The shop keeper Michelle and her daughter Charelle were incredibly sweet to me and I just fell in love with their business.

Michelle told me that she started the business with the idea that it would  be a shop to welcome the casual gift buyer looking for, like me, a beautiful small gift that wouldn't break the bank on up to the customer who was eyeing the $10,000 chandelier. Her shop stands out among banks of others that sell luxury but unfortunately miss the mark on the comfortable connection factor.

This is a factor I take very very seriously. I feel inspired to buy from business owners who truly believe in connecting with their customers - whether they are going to buy a $4 greeting card or the 1,000 thread count sheets...

Wow, what a lovely store!

In some ways, I think I take after my parents in the shopping world. My Dad especially, who to the downfall of his pocket (and the storekeeper's credit) could be persuaded to become a lifelong customer if he has a good chat and likes what he sees on the shelves.

I returned home with such a light feeling. This shop made me want to come back and shop again and even further, it made me feel embraced by Scarsdale even though I had just minutes before felt hesitant. Quite an achievement I say and hence, I merited it worthy of a blogpost.

One more note...a little rusty on my French, I googled the store's name, La Dentelliere.
Guess what it means? It's a lace-making machine.

As the great great grandchild of a Brussels lacemaker, I think I was meant to find this shop. Some call it a shopping trip, I call it destiny!