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This summer I’ve spent a good deal of time upstate in the Catskills where my boyfriend manages a 2,000-acre estate. (Two and a half times the size of Central Park!) This Gilded Age estate includes a once grand 20,000-sq-ft mansion and riding stables. Needless to say, it’s paradise for me, Nature Gal. The abundant wildlife (including bobcat and bear), fresh air, pure spring water and total lack of light pollution has me ‘blissed out in the boonies.’ I believe nature is our ultimate healer, which is the reason I incorporate all things natural into my design work. And I have never felt healthier or happier in my whole life than I have this summer, enveloped in this magical kingdom.
I recently had the honor of attending a family wedding in France. The groom was French and brought up in the Catholic tradition. The bride was born in California and raised in the Jewish tradition.
The family and friends from both sides assembled in a small town in the south of France and the celebration began. There was lots of food, wine, and joyous gatherings. The groom’s family exhibited the most amazing hospitality. Here is the interesting thing: It seemed perfectly natural that the French and the Americans were in the same place honoring the love of this beautiful young couple. Some spoke only English. Some spoke only French. Others had varying degrees of language learnings. It didn’t seem to matter. Somehow, we all found a way to connect and get to know each other.
As autumn days get colder, we move our gatherings inside, to the coziness and comfort of enclosed spaces. The warmth in our homes comes from more than crackling fireplaces and steaming cups of tea. It comes from the people we surround ourselves with and bring into our vacant spaces. The genial sounds of wet boots squeaking on tile and the shuffle of jackets being hung to dry. Hugs and handshakes exchanged, smiles rising between rosy red cheeks.