Or the day when redlipstickmama became Soumountha
When I started this blog, I can say this now: I was not well. I was a little lonely not because I had no friends but it was a weird loneliness. I was lonely because I was freaking lost. Too many thoughts, very few outlets, no clairvoyance. The blog started like an extended Facebook like rant, turned into a full self-administered therapy and somewhat transformed into the release of something strange and beautiful: the courage to explore things I had no idea were buried deep inside of me.
Things like writing because I just have to do it, entrepreneurial cravings, the boldness to say things the way I just want to say them and the hope that I can somehow touch other women out there.
This would have not been possible without being inspired, supported and sometimes challenged (I dare you to do it) by some amazing women I met through blogging. It was just easier to come out with strangers first like it was always easier for me to be naked in front of strangers than my own sisters – note:I still don’t really do it very often #anotherreasonIDONOTgotothegym
Anyway, more than two years later, these women are still galvanizing me. I am beyond flattered to be interviewed by uber stylish and atta mom-creative-blogger Kate from Maison Bentley about the launch of Another Garde. Her questions were so insightful that it actually made me think hard about what I do and why I do it. You can read the full interview Another Garde by Maison Bentley. I also for the first time say it here: my name is Soumountha 🙂
I hope you will like it and do check out Kate’s blog on a regular basis. She has an amazing eye for elegant and relatable and yet ‘you have never seen it quite like this before’ pieces.
Love you Kate xoxo
#feelinghumbledthismorning #love #determination #womenbehindwomen
Photography by Kate Bentley
Two months ago I went with BFF Natasha to see ‘The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk’ exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum. The genius and talent made me shiver; it almost made me sick to the stomach. I swear my heart beat faster than when I saw Matt Bomer/Neal Caffrey’s abs in the first season of White Collar. Natasha and I could not help caressing with the tips of our fingers one of the dresses and got (rightfully) scolded by the security guard who then followed us during our entire visit. True schoolgirls in a candy shop or at a boys band’s concert
I have been meaning to share this experience with my readers who cannot go to see the exhibit themselves so we can all sigh together in awe and pleasure. I’ll shut up now and let you enjoy. Apologies for some of the lousy shots and my inability to short list among these wonderful works of art!
After 5 minutes looking at a dress I have owned for 20 years but haven’t worn in a long time, I decided to take that old rag out for a walk. 20 years…I am lucky that back then I was not so much into tight fitting otherwise even 3 SPANX body shapers on top of each other would not have been able to help me get into the dress. I remembered buying this chiffon dress at a Le Chateau shop, in Toronto (Canada). It was expensive for me but I had managed to save just enough of the little pocket money my parents gave me for my first trip outside Europe to buy that Boho dress (of course 20 years ago, Boho was not a style but someone misspelling the then low profile U2’s lead singer). I remembered that summer very well, listening and dreaming on songs by Christopher Cross. Odd to think that I was day dreaming as a teenage girl listening to a guy who looked like this, a far cry from The Bieb or the dandies of One Direction…
To accessorize the dress, I chose phosphorescent colors (nudge to the 80s atrocious fluorescent clothing trend in Europe which should be buried forever…I am serious; upcoming fashion designers out there DO NEVER BRING THIS BACK): fuchsia belt from H&M, lime green bangle from a African style clothing store in Harlem, Bebe Noir (they have pretty fierce accessories), and sandals by George Rech.
PS: I am glad my work meeting was via Skype because my belt just snapped out almost hitting me in the eye.
PS2: I checked the belt and it is not defective. The sad truth is: pre children belts should probably hit the trash can. Noooooooo!!!!!!
2 hours left before the big departure and we have:
1 suit bag
5 cabin luggage (including 1 diaper bag, 1 kids entertainment bag and a foodie bag)
And a baby carrier
This is not going to work. How are we going to carry sleeping babies into the air craft with all these bags. Need to come up with a back up plan muy pronto.
In the meantime I am very proud of my 40s inspired ‘light’ packing of accessories:
1950s rhinestones brooch, 1940s Coro earrings (both from my favorite Vintage Jewelry shop, Pippin in Chelsea), my little bird fascinator, pearls, ribbons, rolls for retro curls …and lollipops. Our pediatrician recommended that we use Benadryl to help us get a ‘hold on’ on our kids. But it backfired. If anything L was more excited than ever this morning at 3am…So now we stacked up on our ultimate ‘I will give you anything if you stop climbing onto people’s head rest and sit on your effing seat’ weapon: the lollies.
I described the challenge of packing a stylish vacation wardrobe with now 3 kids in tow. So I looked for some inspirations, this blog post by Ain’t no mom jeans is particularly useful. I also decided to curb my fashion schizophrenia by adopting only one look for the entire vacation: the 40s. The idea is that it will help me filter through outfits and accessories and thus pack light (or at least lighter). It will be tough for me because I never stick to one style – see my ‘mood of the day’ posts.
First item on the packing list: Le chapeau.
Options included straw men’s hat, a cap with visor, a cowboy’s hat, and a straw large brim. The main attribute should be ‘easy to carry around’ but I favored the ‘I don’t care if it gets trashed’ factor because on my last trip to France, I wanted to show off to my family my millinery skills so I flew with my straw cloche. It was my way to say ‘No, I am not a jobless loser. I kind of make my own hats…How cool is that?’ But unfortunately a fellow passenger put their suitcase on top of it….Nice. I almost sobbed in the middle of the aisle. I have thus chosen a granny brim purchased in Savannah, Georgia which I improved with a striped scarf. The plus factor: I can pack a couple of ‘no space cluttering’ scarves as alternative trimmings. Still schizophrenic but genius, right?
I am throwing in two pairs of sunnies, a cheap one and a Tom Ford pair: one to wrestle with the kids in the pool and one to pose with on a bar terrace.
PS: my rants of the day
– I had to buy something in the village for my sis today and ended up walking in the meat packing district. I adore this hood but could not help feeling like I was the protagonist of the ‘Truman show’, except that it was more like the ‘Cindy Crawford’ show. In the meatpacking, all the women are long legged amazons, all men are like Richard effing Branson and I am the naive troll wandering around wondering if unbeknownst to me I crashed into a Style Network production.
– I did some shopping in a department store in Chelsea (aka known as gay and skinny Chelsea)and a shop assistant heckled me:’Mommy, mommy, the fitting rooms are over there’. I was like ‘Am I in the maternity section?’ and thus checked if I had picked nursing tops…Horror, I had not. She bloody thought I was pregnant !!! B-I-T-C-H.
PS bis: in the middle of the rush hour at 34th st Herald Square, a perfect falsetto rose. A big guy was singing a Maxwell (I think) song, he did not have a GQ face but a voice that stopped at least 50 people in their tracks: young African American teenagers, tourists, commuters, elderly people, busy mamas etc. I love this city for the sickening volume of talents you can find at every corner. And when that talent stops time, unites such crowd and makes me forget about the sticky weather and my swollen feet, it is just magical. New York, I am going to miss you on my vacation…
After a torrential rain on Friday, the sun was out big time this week end. We are now in June and I have now a fairly tanned skin that allows me to finally wear yellow tones. My skin color is odd, it normally ranges from brownish olive on a good day to duckling yellow on a so so day to grey on a very bad day. Growing up I used to hate sun tanning because being fair skinned was the top beauty feature in the Lao community. I was always on the darkish side or in their own words, I had the skin of a rice field farmer. I always found this hilarious because at the same time, my dad was always saying; ‘You have the hands of a lazy person: no cracks, no wrinkles,..Let’s pray god that you end up smart’. Talk about growing up confused 🙂
Anyway, today was a good day to 1-embrace my summer skin tone and 2-take part in the ‘Ain’t no mom jeans’ How to wear it: capris or cropped pants theme.
GAP cropped jeans, Campers sandals, Jaeger blouse (don’t you just love the garland collar?), vintage silk scarf bought a decade ago in Camden town market (London, England).
– I woke up with Miley Cyrus’ ‘Party in the USA’ track in my head and have been humming the tune since. The fact that I know who Miley Cyrus is at my age is odd, the fact that I have her song on repeat in my Iphone is…well retarded.
– I have been procrastinating on the final assignments for my NYU course (including shooting and editing a cause video) and thus I will have to pull a couple of all nighters in the next few days drinking Red Bull or similar crap.
I gave in to a very old addiction: enrolling into a class. I am officially a part-time student of NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies. When growing up I was an excellent pupil who turned into a good high school student who turned into an average business student. I only excelled in Philosophy and English, which is problematic when your major is Mathematics and Physics. I would rather do extra essays for friends in different classes than work on integrals and derivatives. I should have known I was never going to earn big bucks in Corporate America. I guessed I fooled everyone including DH, met at my Graduate Business School. Poor lad.
Anyway, I do have a M.O.(Modus Operandi): I move countries, I need a new job (there is no such thing as ‘relocation’ or ‘job transfer’ for the middle people in the social justice field), I am freaking out, I enroll in a class. It is better than drugs, I suppose. So far, the list includes:
Edinburgh, Scotland: Heriot Watt University, MA in Business Management with a major in Marketing. No surprise since I was studying Business in France.
London, England: University of London, MSc Development Studies, which I nailed big time, by the way 🙂 Can you guess the major freak out in my head at the time? and especially in my folks’ head: ‘What do you mean you don’t want to become rich and want to save the world? Do you realize we had to sell the house to pay for your studies?‘ It was a little exaggerated but remember, my parents are LAO…
New York, USA: Fashion Institute Technology, Millinery, Accessories Design and Small Business Management. While doing this I was heavily pregnant with the twins and thus heavily hormonal and pissed off about being sick all the time. I therefore decided to hammer down some studs on leather and tie ropes around hat blocks. At this point, I probably looked like a pregnant Dexter, the serial killer, understudy. DH knew better than not to discuss what my career endgame was with all those classes and all those push pins and needles scattered around our living room floor.
And now New York University, Non-profits 3.0: Technologies and Practice. Stay tuned.
Of course as years pass by, I might be older now than my professor so my ego better gets ready for this. I am not sure what students look these days but for me, I felt like a messy hair bun, Oliver’s people reading glasses, old tee-shirt from 80s boy band A-ha, denim jacket and pumps by Celine.