Monday, July 23, 2018

Falling in Love with Life Again


Summer, I'm in love! This Summer, I'm in love - in love with this Summer!
I have a reputation as a positive, warm and light person, someone who is full of sunshine and completely in love with life - and while all of it is true, another part of the truth is that the last few years were hard, in various ways. My family and I were thrown challenges so difficult to deal with, that at some point, it seemed like I fell out of love with life - something I never knew could happen to me. A very few people and things were helping me to hold myself together, and I am so grateful for all of them. Blogging about style and meeting you, my far away blogging friends, have been a huge part of it. Without even realizing it, you've been helping me to go through the process of dealing with life's unexpected twists, grieving, doubting and reinventing myself. It was a courageous, genuine, honest journey, and as a result of it I know myself so much better now and I've became so much stronger. Particularly this Summer, it feels like I'm finally approaching the end of this long journey. I was struggling to find my way back to JOY and LOVE of LIFE for what feels like such a long time, and now it finally feels like I'm back, as if this Summer's warm and caring hands nursed me back to life... It's been sunny, warm, at times hot, with some cool days (a welcomed relief!). And we've been busy - but a good kind of busy, you know? Of course you do!



I've been meaning to post more, and I even have multiple outfit photos, but this and that, or maybe I just wanted to really experience Summer rather than writing about it. Who knows! But I am here now and will share one of the happiest days with you. These photos were taken over a week ago on Vashon Island which is a short ferry ride from Tacoma or West Seattle, by the historic Point Robinson Lighthouse (1885). We love visiting this place, and I wrote at least one post with photos taken there in the very beginning of this blog in NOVEMBER 2013 (come over to learn about ruanas and mohair, and say hello to baby blogger Natasha). 


The sundress is from ASOS Curve and is still available online. It's made of cotton and beautifully embroidered (though some threads are escaping...any advice on that?). It is super easy to wear and feels fantastic - light and breezy and perfectly summery! A bit too roomy on the top (I will probably end up bringing it to a seamstress), but I still love it! I dressed it up with accessories and a floppy hat...





...and dressed it down with a layered lacy top and bandana for a day of adventures on the beach during one of the lowest tides of the year. Such days are a rare opportunity and fun way to literally explore the bottom of the ocean - walk on it and see with your eyes what plants and creatures live (and die) there. This time, not counting shellfish, we only found dead crabs and starfish. But in previous summers, we were able to see live starfish and jellyfish, and once we even found a dead sixgill shark!




But back to the Point Robinson Park. We arrived there spontaneously, only to suddenly realize (independently from one another) a perfect family photo opportunity... Here you see Anya planning the updated version of our photo session (directing comes naturally to her - I wonder where she takes it from?)


August 2011 & July 2018. Point Robinson Park, Vashon Island.
Same people, same poses, same spot.
Only some trees grew a little. And so did some people! 
  
Mt Rainier



Other than exploring our beautiful and abundant nature, we've also been busy with Anya's driving school (yep, my baby started driving!), went swimming in our favorite warm water spot on the Sound, attended some performances and even a workshop (I'll tell you all about it in future posts). But yesterday, we went to the movies and watched MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN - the new musical which is both sequel and prequel at the same time. Have you seen it yet? As always, no worries - no spoilers here, simply my experience. We really didn't have high expectations, because the first one (back in 2008) didn't touch us at all. But we knew it would be a beautiful picture of a Greek island (I think it was actually filmed in Croatia) and beautiful ABBA songs, a light summer musical, why not? Especially fun testing the newest movie technology - 4DX (screens floor to ceiling, sound system and all that jazz). 


We arrived without high expectations, but left with tears in our eyes... yep, me and my guy, both of us! I don't know what exactly they did with this movie, I can't put my finger on it - but there was definitely a touch of magic. And I think partly yes, it is Greece, sun and music. But only partly. Another part was a touching story - simple, but emotionally really connected (one of the story writers is Richard Curtis, one of the most brilliant comedy writers ever, remember Four Weddings and a Funeral, Bridget Jones's DiaryThe Vicar of Dibley?). And other than a bunch of older actors that we love, Lily James - I think she really made the movie. I can only imagine the effect she has on men - I could hardly contain myself, she was an epitome of youth, beauty and passion for life. Honestly, I don't envy youth and I'm not signing up for the modern culture of staying "forever young". I always wanted (and still do) to "grow up", and I wouldn't want to go back in time and become 20 again - I mean, yes, there were some great things about it, and I had fun being young, but once is quite enough for me. I feel so much more content with myself and life in my 40s, and I wouldn't want it any other way, life from now on - only better! But yesterday, there and then, I wanted to be her, Lily James's character - to wear jeans and floppy hats, to fall in love with the most handsome boys and be brokenhearted, to live my dream on a sunny island and write and sing and dance! And when she gave birth to her beautiful daughter, I swear I experienced the whole intensity of the early days of motherhood all over again - which made me fall in love with my daughter all over again, my guy all over again, and my life all over again! And if that is not the truest meaning of art, then I don't know what is. 


August 2011. Ferry to Vashon.


Sure you know what I'm about to do now - oh you know me too well! Of course, I'm going to... 
TWIRL!!!



You know that it had to be done! 
Enjoy the photos - and enjoy your Summer, or Winter, whatever the season you experience, may it bring you 
JOY!



Dress - ASOS Curve
Denim jacket and hat - Old Navy (old)
Sandals - Dansko
Accessories - vintage and boutique finds

Linking with Tina's Pink Friday and Patti's Visible Monday

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35 comments:

  1. darling! this is one of your most wonderful posts!!!!
    very touching and full of LOVE! don´t know where to start......
    i´m happy to hear that you feel lighter, that this summer is such a positiv one for you! you know i feel the same about the "power of blogging" - it can help us over difficulties - even if only a bit. but every positiv bit count - is´t it?
    the pics of anya & justin! she is really a big girl now - so grown up, not only in high - she´s looking confident. and some beards got gray ;-)
    BW & i were very touched by the first "mamma mia" movie - so we fear disappointment :-) and we will miss meryl streep.... but hubs want to see it anyway ;-D
    and last but not least - your DRESS! love it! can you make a scribble of the pattern for me? i can´t see any darts at the bust but it drapes lovely - how did they this?? of cause the color is especially beautiful and that folky embroidery too. (stitching the loose yarn back in place is the only advice i can give - btw). its sweet with blouse & bandana too and you match the lighthouse!!
    happy twirling!
    lots of love and biggest hugses! xxxxxxx <3 <3 <3

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    1. Thank you, my dearest! Your comment means so much to me! It warms my heart!
      Blogging at In the Writer's Closet and meeting you all the lovely girls is one of the best things that happened to me! And I am so thankful for it!
      Yep, that's life - our children grow, and we are getting older! :)
      I'm pretty sure you won't be disappointed in the movie - I honestly can't imagine how it can disappoint! It is infinitely better than the first one, IMHO. Well maybe I can imagine one disappointment, but even that was rewarded at the very end, but we can talk later, after you watch it.
      I sent a bunch of photos to your email. Thanks for noticing that I matched the lighthouse - it was unplanned, pure serendipity!
      Lots of love!

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  2. oh, dear lady, this is a so lovely post particularly because all the joy!, there is sunshine in your eyes, in your smile!, and finally, love to see you twirling!!
    Your dress looks really comfy and breeze, cute and easy to accessorize, so it's a stunning piece for summertime! and it could probably look more flattering if it's professionally fitted, but anyway, it looks cute!
    And it has been shocking to see that your Anya looks like a young adult and she's even going to drive!, really shocking. She looks fab!
    I'm going to the cinema this week and the new Mamma Mia film looks pretty appealing to me. Some sunshine and music and feelings would suit my summer mood!. Thanks for sharing your own experience!
    besos

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    1. Thank you, dearest Monica! You are so sweet for saying this - you always put a smile on my face with your kind comments!
      I think if the dress could be taken in at the back a little, it would just fit me a little better, otherwise I will probably have to layer things under or over it (the back is a bit too low and loose). But I really enjoy this dress, as you can see. :)
      I think you will enjoy the musical - it is very touching and well done, and of course the songs and the visuals (including the fashion and the way they filmed the scenes and musical numbers) are quite brilliant! Lots of humor too!
      Lots of love!

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  3. I do like your dress with the embroidery, lovely, easy to wear. Life can be challenging and tunnel like for a long while, then you get to the end and the light again. Glad that blogging and sharing has helped, I think it does. I say the original Mama Mia and did not like it, didn't even realize there was a new one, so will look at for it.

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    1. Thank you! Yep, the light at the end of tunnel... but coming from within, not from the outside - we just have to really focus on learning how to see it, and it isn't easy...
      I hope you'll enjoy the film - it is very lighthearted, perfect for summer, but at the same time it felt sincere - not just empty-headed fluff!

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  4. Sukienka fantastyczna na letnie spacery:))widzę że miło się Wam wypoczywa:)Pozdrawiam serdecznie:)

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    1. Thank you so much, Renia! Yes, I love this dress - wore it a few times already!

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  5. I saw the original Mama Mia and liked it, both for the songs and the cast. I wasn't blown away but I liked it. Thanks for this recommendation! I think I read in the newspapers that this sequel was being filmed on island Vis, but I forgot about it. I'm a fan of Abba and so is my husband. He is even a greater fan than me. Years ago, he even named his dog Abba after the group. There is something very positive about their music, it's truly one of the kind. I'm not really into pop, but I do like their songs. I will see this movie for sure. How can I not when you have described it so well. You make it seem like real art.


    I'm happy to hear you're feeling happy and optimistic. Sometimes life throws multiple obstacles and some periods are hard even when faced with a smile on our face. Even a generally happy person will have a hard time going through hard times because they are just that- hard on everyone. Today there is a lot of pressure to be constantly happy, but that is impossible...it is much better to let things take time. Finding happiness and joy after a difficult period makes those emotions all the more sweeter. Difficulties often teach us to cherish little things and make family moments special and meaningful...and that in turn teaches us the true meaning of happiness.

    I love the dress you're wearing, it looks great, especially with that straw hat. The matching photographs of Justin and Anya taken at the same location but at different times are so precious. Children grow so fast, don't they! I really like that old photo of you and Anya as well.


    Have a lovely day!

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    1. Thank you, dear Ivana! I agree with everything you say! I also agree about ABBA songs - I'm not a pop music fan either, but there is something genius about their music, undeniably - it just makes you feel happy (or melancholic, but powerfully and truthfully so). Art has so many faces, and of course this is pop culture rather than fine art, but it does not mean that it can't be done brilliantly and so powerfully that it touches deeply! After I already posted this post last night, I found this review - and this is one of most respected professional "tough" critics, as I understand, who shocked his audience by giving the movie 5 stars and admitting that it just couldn't be done better:

      "None of this would mean a thing if Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again didn’t also pack an emotional punch, and I feel duty-bound to report that I came out of the screening an utter wreck. The tears started early, as James and co danced around a cameoing Björn Ulvaeus, then flowed freely as the hits continued, climaxing in a Dunkirk-style flotilla routine complete with a cheeky nod to Titanic, the film that the original Mamma Mia! famously outperformed at the UK box office.

      Yet having always believed that Abba’s greatest song was a melancholy gem from the Arrival LP, it was the spine-tingling reworking of My Love, My Life that hit me hardest. I wasn’t just crying – I was convulsing with tears, desperately trying to stop myself from audibly sobbing. Seriously, the end of Apocalypse Now proved less traumatic."

      https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/jul/22/mamma-mia-here-we-go-again-review

      I am happy that there are critics who are able to set aside their fancy pants and just admit when a film (or a book, or a song, or whatever) MOVED them - moved to tears! I think that THAT is the truest genius, whatever art form it is, whether it's fine art or pop culture... if it touches your heart, moves your soul - then it is real genius at work.

      Lots of love!

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    2. I absolutely agree, when something touches our heart deeply- then it's art. My favourite ABBA's song is a melancholic one- Slipping Through My Fingers. It's such a delicate tribute to motherhood, and records perfectly what is feels like to see a child grow up, a mixture of pride and sadness as they grow up so quickly (to our eyes at least). I must have cried at least a few times while I was listening to it.

      I admire that art critic for his honestly. It's good to know there are critics like that still.

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    3. Then you definitely will enjoy this movie (and really, I don't know who won't) - they performed melancholic songs so beautifully! We watched it twice, with the whole family sobbing.

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    4. Sometimes a bit of sobbing does us good, tears have a way of cleansing the soul.

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  6. What a beautiful post, Natalia. There's so much life-affirming joy in it, and I am happy for you that you are feeling happy and in love with the world again. I know from experience that things like that do not happen overnight but when it finally does, there's nothing to compare the feeling. Aw, how sweet are the matching photos of Justin and Anya. Sweet and bittersweet at the same time. As for the dress you're wearing, the embroidery is exquisite, and yes, I know you were going to twirl. In fact, every time I twirl, I have to think of you! Lots of love xxx

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    1. That is the sweetest thing to say, dear Ann - about twirling I mean! :)
      And thank you so much for your kind and wise words - nope, never overnight, with lots of inner work, which takes time, energy, focus, courage and efforts...but all of it do pay off! I know that you know!
      Lots of love, my dearest!

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  7. The video has exactly the same life affirming feel as this post. I'm so sorry your life has been so hard and happy, happy that this summer is feeling so right.
    That photo of you and Anya is perfect!
    You could try some nail polish or fabric glue to carefully stop the unravelling.
    xo Jazzy Jack

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    1. Thank you, my dear! When I compose my posts, I do my best to look at them as a whole - my texts and/or whatever texts I decide to include, photos and their sequence, videos etc... they all have to come together to create a certain feeling. There are hours and hours of work/creation that go into every single post. It's my art. :) I'm glad that you think that it worked here - I feel it too.

      What a great idea about nail polish! Justin suggested glue also, but I'm not familiar with fabric glue... I will educate myself!

      Lots of love!

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  8. Thank you for sharing this lovely post, full of sun, music, family and style. I am sorry you've had to suffer the down times. I find I don't always recognize the hard times while I am in them, but after we emerge -- ahhh. Your daughter has grown tall and even more beautiful! xox

    Patti
    http://notdeadyetstyle.com

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    1. Same here, Patti! It must be some sort of instinct, so we can survive rough patches... and after all, we emerge, and then - oh life feels so sweet! Thank you for kind words!

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  9. My dear Natalia , so pleased you have fallen in love with life again after troubled times. Sometimes you wonder why life's journey has to challenge us so but it is those very challenges that shape who we are . Anya has grown into a fine young lady, you must be so proud of her.
    I remember seeing the original Mamma Mia with friends and enjoying it , so hope to see the second one.I also saw the stage show in Melbourne and that was light and fun,
    You look wonderful in your embroidered dress and yes it is the perfect twirling dress. Enjoy the Summer . All my love, Jill. xxx

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    1. Thank you so much, dearest Jill! Your words mean so much to me! I agree with you, challenges shape who we are...
      I think you will enjoy the second movie, I know we all did and we will watch it again and again! And there are not too many movies which I want to watch many times.
      Lots of love!

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  10. I love your power of love Natalia! I love your dress, perfect match with the lighthouse...and so many old pictures from you and your family. I love this post!
    We enjoy the first Mama Mia movie so much, I like Meryl Streep in this movie. We wait to see the new movie.
    A very huge hug and much love tina

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    1. Thank you so much, my dear friend! I think you will love the second movie, and you will be very pleased with the end I think.
      Lots of love!

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  11. What a joyful post, Natalia! I'm so sorry you've had some rough times of lat, like Patti so wisely wrote, isn't it wonderful to come thorough them and just live again?
    Anya looks so tall and beautiful and you look wonderful in your khaki dress and we're hat twins!!
    I saw the first Mama Mia on the plane - we'll be staying on Kos in September where the church in the film is. xxx

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    1. Thank you so much, my dear! I like that we are hat twins! And staying on Kos will be most gorgeous - such a location!
      Lots of love!

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  12. Yes, you bet I do. I am so grateful that this summer has brought you healing and joy. I really love this embroidered dress that looks so breezy and wonderful to wear. I also love how you styled it with the denim jacket. Thank you for sharing the family photos and letting us know that despite difficult times, you are flourishing.
    ❤️❤️❤️
    Elle
    https://theellediaries.com/

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    1. Thank you for your kind words, my dear friend!
      <3

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  13. Dearest Natalia,
    Your dress looks wonderfully light and airy and a bit of "native American water goddess" cause of the beautiful embroidery - it seems like made for the vibes you describe! Wonderful family pictures, too!
    Happy summer, my dear, and hugs from Austria
    Traude
    https://rostrose.blogspot.com/2018/07/bunter-sommer-2018-gesundheit-kultur.html

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    1. Thank you, dearest Traude! I love this - "native American water goddess"!
      <3

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  14. Blogging can be very cathartic; it has helped me as well. I'm glad you're regaining your love and zest for life. (PS - LOVE that dress.)

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  15. Dear Natalia,
    just and now I found your blog and the wonderfull text and pics. I enjoyed all so much, mostly your description of being back to life - that`s what I am fighting for and still the last 6,5 years of my husband`s cancer illness. I admire you sharing all and hat you went through and might tell you: I know so well! And I have to tell you: Your pics are so full of joy and life, its just a felleing being transported by them. No doubt you are back with great dresses and a sparkling aura! Go on your way. May power, love and joy never get lost again. With much love, Sunni

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    1. Dear Sunni, I am so deeply touched by your comment! Thank you! And I am sending all my warmest wishes, positive thoughts and lots of love your way! Hang in there, dear!
      Love and light,
      Natalia

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