July 2015: Edited (Re-written 🙂
Original blog entry: 2012-2013
I must admit, there were times in my life when ‘Label’ was important. Russians have a reputation of being ‘Label Whores’ and that applies to all aspects of life – luxury means ‘I am special’. For me, ‘Label’ always represented understanding/ appreciation of high quality and craftsmanship. However, these days ‘Labels’ have nothing to do with old fashioned quality and pride of ownership.
Go to any ‘famed’ restaurant in NYC, Dallas, DC, Miami, Boston, LA (after waiting 3 months for a table) and you will see identical kitchen with identical staff. Regardless of the cuisine served, the hard working staff: most chefs, waiters and kitchen help are from Mexico and South America, who got ‘on the job training’.
Professionals, who put those restaurants on the map, are no longer around. The famed chefs, with great culinary skills. are busy on BRAVO TV, FOOD CHANEL, QVC – selling everything: pots and pans, kitchen gear and ‘How to’ books. We watch them traveling with celebrities (without career), having great time, tasting great wine and great food, all over the world.
Let’s face it, established chefs already paid the heavy dues, they are tired and want out of the hot kitchen. I am OK with that, I understand ‘tired’. I just have one problem: would you think that menu prices would be adjusted, after they are gone? After all, we are lining up to pay top dollar for the ‘Name/Label’, that special dining experience, the very best. Well, now you know – I am a romantic fool.
Or… To own a designer’s ‘Label’, that ‘something special’ has new and not always worthy meaning as it did before. In the ‘old days’, when you looked at the “Label’’ you knew that it was made by a professionals, with years of training and experience. It was quality to the highest degree and the name on the ‘Label’ represented a designer, who cared. I would like to see a ‘BRAND’ today, with real commitment to QUALITY and that ‘something special’ would not demand a 30 year mortgage to pay for it. Is it asking too much? Thanks to Global Economy, that ‘something special’ takes a trip around the world, and most of the places has nothing to do with quality as I know it. Made with pathetic wages by children and hungry adults, it’s not labor of love, but simply hard labor and means to survival.
If that is not disturbing enough, here something else: to appeal to the ‘simple folks’ (sale more cheap ‘something’) and to make sure the rest of us feel ‘special’, our favorite designers ‘created’ second and more ‘affordable Labels’ – for Kmart, Kohl’s, H & M and Wal-Mart. Oh, how very considered!
But wait, maybe you want to support the ‘young, hip and happening’? Do not worry!!! We got it covered for you!
FYI: everybody can be a designer – no professional training needed. Here is PLAY BY PLAY: get yourself on YOUTUBE, wearing ‘Your Label’ – as little clothes as possible, body paint, naked works too, make sure to mumble some profanities into camera or better yet, just have sex and…. VOILA! Done! 24 hours later – you are in the news, a ‘new designer’ with reality TV show, launching fresh bunch of crap with your name on the ‘Label’,made in China. Soon after, some of us will be in the stores, looking at your new ‘something special’ and thinking – I get it, it’s cool!
Everyday we get addressed with ‘urgent call for giving’ by ‘someone famous’, who have the time and money to be charitable. BTW: many of them do give and give generously, but when it’s constantly makes front page and social media ‘buzz’, I get suspicious. Is it really about bringing awareness, or simply staying in news, long enough to promote a next movie, book or ‘Label’. And where are millions of not famous working people across USA, who give as much as they can, without out endorsing anything?
Sometimes, I wonder about money from ‘WE ARE THE WORLD#1 and #2”. Was it all given away to the needy? Let me ask you: if it takes ‘only few dollars per person a day, don’t you think that hunger and poverty in Africa would be solved by now and everyone would be wearing Chanel and Armani, while eating gourmet meals 3 times a day? Maybe, it was ‘a portion of the proceeds…What portion, exactly? And where is the rest?
I don’t need to listen to ‘someone famous’, preaching about generosity and giving, please STOP! WE ARE giving, we are helping and supporting – doing the right thing, always. That is why the whole world is looking to this country for help. This is not a problem.
It becomes a problem for me, when that ‘someone famous’, who’s on a mission ‘to help’ is launching a ‘Label’ -AKA: pay workers in 3rd world countries something like $5.00 a week, spend millions on advertising and sale that ‘fabulous crap’ for insane amount, while telling everyone and everywhere about generosity… That leaves a really bad taste in my mouth.
So, what’s a ‘simple’ girl to do? Instead of bitching, whining and complaining, I will tap into my own spirit of giving and help people donate no longer needed ‘STUFF’.to charity. At the end of the day, owning a ‘Label’ may not be that important. Who cares?
It’s just CLUTTER…. LET IT GO!
#GetOrganized #StayOrganized #LiveClutterFree
I had a conversation with a 60+ years old woman. At 55 she had an opportunity to retire and did. I heard myself saying: I just turn 55 and starting a new business. The look on her face was priceless. WHY????!!!!- She wanted to scream- you can tell. I wanted to scream back – WHY NOT? Instead, I just started laughing. After, it was time to think about it. WHY? WHY NOW? And not 20-15-10-5-years ago, when things all around were good, when ‘having money’ and ‘spending money’ felt great and was politically correct. I know why. Because all those years, while working full time, I was exercising my right to be a mother and a wife. And later, taking care of terminally ill mom was the most important thing on my agenda. Because all these years I wanted to have good time, do things that made me happy, travel to see a little of the world. Bottom line: I did not want to be ‘prudent and fiscally responsible’ a.k.a. ‘save every penny’ as many preach. A lot of good it did for a lot of people, who scraped and saved – and lost everything. They are asking the same question – WHY?
Then, I stopped myself – WHY look for excuses? I don’t regret anything! Who has time for couda, shouda, wouda?… Instead, I am counting my blessings (just meet my amazing daughter and you will know why). It is time to look ahead, to start over, be optimistic and believe in perseverance. It’s time to celebrate the circle of very special few, who gets me, cares about me, cheers for my success.
The future looks exiting, like a scary movie – you are petrified, and yet, you keep watching the screen with one eye and can’t wait to see what’s next. Do I think about retirement? Absolutely not! WHY???!!!! Because I will never retire – it is a choice, after all.
BTW: I just heard thru the grapevine that 60 is a new 40, so…
Dedicated to me
It always starts the same way – me, walking into a home of a total stranger and within seconds sizing their life with an eye of a human being, as well as a professional. I tell my clients that their home is ‘not that bad’ and for the most parts it is true. We all have things ‘run away’ from us, it’s not a crime to have a messy room or cluttered closet, as long as you can catch yourself in time and get to it, as soon as you can.
But, there are times my heart sinks, when faced with a sight of complete human despair. We are taking about highly intelligent, educated, successful people, who worked very hard to get to a place of a ‘dream life’. Somewhere along the way, something got broken: heart, spirit, will to fight, denial, escape from reality or just pure indifference of others… and all this pain hits you in the face, the minute you walk into the door.
In that minute all my instincts kick in, my goal is very clear and work begins immediately. There is not a second left to wait – someone’s life is falling apart right in front of my eyes.
This is the moment, that defines my purpose – I want to help, I need to help, I am on a mission – it’s time for change and it must begin at home. The process is very slow and tedious, and it may take more than few pep talks and lots of ‘tough love’ to get the momentum going.
Soon, something gets shifted: with a decision to ‘let go’, with every garbage bag removed, with every box donated to charity.. I can see newfound energy, the sparkle in the eyes, the spring in the step, the anticipation of the finishing line. I can see life, with all it’s beauty and harmony coming back… with purpose and plans for the future, with hope and will to live better.
I see someone, who begins to laugh and share personal ups and downs, someone, who is able to let go of the past, look at the old photo and talk about it, instead of braking to pieces by the painful memory… I am often moved to tears by this magnificent transformation.
My work is an important part of my journey. Course in “LIFE BEST LIVED” is not available in ivy league school and yet, this is a lifetime of study.. so, I ‘must stay in school’ 🙂
It’s a blessing and good fortune to be in the right place at the right time and do what you love. It took a while, with many interesting stops on the way, but I am finally here and it’s truly amazing…
Changing life for the better, one home at the time.
How many of us have the time to sit back and smell the roses?
The constant pressure to fit in, to be a success story, is weighting down on everyone, who thinks of themselves as achievers. I know that feeling very well. After all, working non-stop for 25+ years can develop into a serious and permanent condition.
So, I find myself in that rare place, when doing nothing feels amazing, most fulfilling and meaningful. I feel no guilt or shame being out of work. I do not spend my days sending out countless resumes into abyss and waiting for response, to no avail. I am present in this moment of freedom and joy. More so, I am protecting this moment from HR monsters, who are clueless about real experience – professional and personal.
It feels like I am done with the work force, won the mega lotto and don’t have a care in the world. It is a great feeling, but very far from reality. In my reality, I do need to make money, and as my friends know – retirement is not an option.
However, this important ‘time to kill’ is actually an internal work in progress, a fine tune-up if you will, of mind, soul and body.
For example, writing a blog would never be possible, as I call it A MUST – my mind and soul ‘colonics’, taking time to air out a load of mental ‘dirty laundry’.
Like, finding forgiveness, resolution and closure to many serious and unresolved issues, which festered in my head for years.
Like, supporting someone dear in need, having time to be a true friend, to help and be there, any time of the day or night.
Like, having time to plan a wedding of an only daughter… to be joyful, available and open minded.
Like thinking about future without fear, but with strong believe and confidence, that no matter what – I will be ok.
Like, treating time as a very precious commodity, to be treasured and appreciated.
Well, you need to live a little… to be able to recognized and really understand the true value of time.
Let me put it out there: when was the last time you had time to ask yourself: am I happy with my job, my relationship, my family, my space?
Why I am afraid to stop for 1 minute?
Why I have a perpetual feeling that something important is missing, like I am sleepwalking through my life?
IS IT ALL IT IS? AND WILL BE? FOR EVER?
Yes, some look for answers, on the couch in a shrink’s office.
Some of us, while looking for answers take drastic steps toward change, like leaving partners, jobs, moving…. running away.
And, some of us are JUST GREAT, as is.
I know how it looks on others – trust me, this is a place you want to be.
I am free for a ‘minute’, to contemplate my future, what I am going to do, how I will use this newfound clarity – personally and professionally. I know only too well that soon, this little siesta will come to the end and I will have to jump back into the ‘rat race’.
But for now… I have TIME TO KILL…Who is better than me?
Originally written in 2010
Edited in 2014
In the world of instant gratification, where everything is at your fingertips, what does it feel like being truly satisfied and how long can you hold on to it? How big it has to be to make a dent in your constant search for ‘happiness’?
I remember the day I went to Bloomingdale’s in NYC, to buy a Chanel bag. Like it was yesterday, all details of that day are carved into my brain – it was my birthday, I have been drooling over this bag for the past few years and finally, I got it. Now, ask me: how many times I used it? Maybe dozen… over a period of 20 years, until I gave it to my daughter, who is really enjoying it and use it practically every day. Still, the end of this story – I have no regrets: it was great to ‘own a Chanel’ and felt amazing to ‘pass it on’. But…
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