Girls On Film

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Next month, a new documentary on interior designer, business woman and fashion icon, Iris Apfel will be released. I am so excited! I’ve sort of become obsessed with documentaries focused on incredible, eccentric, successful older women. These actresses, icons and pioneers talk frankly about their past and present and invite us into their world in a deeply intimate way. They are brutally honest, charmingly unconventional and eternally wise. 

Iris – The Iris Apfel Documentary

Just Shoot Me – The Elaine Stritch Documentary

A Piece of Work – The Joan Rivers Documentary

Regarding Susan Sontag – The Susan Sontag Documentary

All About Ann – The Ann Richards Documentary

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Chelsey

until you have lived

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When Chelsey was in college, she met with a French woman named, Francois, once a week to practice her conversational skills. Once, during these laborious but pleasant conversations, Chelsey referred to herself as “une femme”. Francois stopped her mid-sentence and said, “My dear you are ‘une fille’. You do not get to be ‘une femme’ until you have lived.” 

The fact of the matter is, Girl Gift Gather, as a company, is still “une fille” (as our we, its founders). We are young and learning and trying and growing. We are gaining experiences slowly but surely on this new, fruitful (and sometimes shaky) ground upon which we stand. 

The women who can call themselves “une femme” inspire us daily.  They are confident, experienced, sagacious and fearless. They know the depths of what it means to care for and nurture others. They have worked, loved, laughed and created. They have lived. And they keep us working hard so that one day we may call ourselves ‘une femme’ too.

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On Doulaing

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 Image via  Embracing Labor

Image via Embracing Labor

It’s #worlddoulaweek and I wanted to take the opportunity to discuss these amazing women who do some of the most important work there is to do in this world.  According to DONA International, a doula is a professional who is trained in childbirth and provides continuous support to a mother before, during, and just after birth.

Almost 5 years ago, my husband and I visited friends who had just had a beautiful home birth (and since have had two more!). This was the first I had ever heard of any the Business of Being Born, Ina May  stuff that is now such a large part of my framework and resonated deeply with me. A laboring woman needs support from someone who knows and trusts a woman’s body to do the hard work of childbirth. They need someone to be able to look deep into their eyes, hold their hand and say “you are not in danger, you are safe, you will get through this”. And, if you are having a hospital birth, and hope to have no interventions, the sad, scary truth of the matter is you will need someone who will fight the system hard to make that a reality. There is a lot of push back in hospitals to give birth in a medicalized way that is on their time frame. When you are in the depths of labor you may not be able to advocate for yourself and 9 times out of 10 your partner will not have the presence of mind to do so either. 

When I started to approach active labor, my bouncy ball and incredible husband were just not making the cut. All I wanted was my Doula and when she arrived I felt like I could finally relax. I felt that all was well and that I wasn’t alone. From the moment she arrived onwards, she didn’t leave my side. She held space for me to labor the way I needed to, checked the heart beat of my baby, gave me Gatorade out of a straw and reassured me, again and again, “you are doing it”.

The experience you have when give birth is a big deal! It is hard work, it is scary and it is important. Don’t passively allow it to happen to you. Doulas have empirically shown to reduce the rate of cesareans by 50%, epidural requests by 60%, and the length of labor by 25%. Doulas rule and if you are pregnant, go get one! 

Happy world Doula week! 

And a special thank you to my Doula Cori from Dos Doulas!

Flânerie

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 Image via  Caitlin McGauley

Image via Caitlin McGauley

Flânerie is a French word. Translated into English it means: 

To stroll, to ramble, to wander aimlessly. 

A person who is often found out and about taking long, meandering walks is known as a flâneur.

This word comes to mind this week because it is finally a little warm out. Yes, the wind is blowing and yes, it does behoove you to bring a scarf (and maybe your hat and gloves) but it is slowly but surely becoming walking weather. Walking is one of the very best things about New York. You can walk the whole city and continue to br surprised and inspired by the people, parks, shops, cafe and stores you discover. As the weather heats up, I’ll spend my weekends strolling Manhattan, I’ll skip cabs and Ubers and subways in favor of walking across the Williamsburg bridge back to my house. I’ll get in bed spent from hours of talking and wandering and sipping coffee. I’ll feel far less guilty about all the pastry that accompanied my coffee and I’ll get that special feeling you get when you’ve really worked your body and felt it serve you. Wandering aimlessly through New York City is where everything happens in the Spring, Summer and Fall. I have debated and discussed while getting lost on the Lower East Side. I have wondered and dreamed strolling down cobble-stoned streets in the West Village. I have cried and been consoled strolling through Central Park. I have fought and laughed and yelled on the wide sidewalks of to the Upper West Side. 

I am so looking forward to the walks and conversations and thoughts that will come from my Flâneries this Spring as the sun heats up the city and the restaurants spill out into the streets and New York becomes alive with people again.  

xx

Chelsey 

P.S For more thoughts on the beauty of walking pick up a copy of Wanderlust: A History of Walking by Rebecca Solnit

P.P.S This sketch is from Caitlin McGauley’s beautiful blog, Caitlin’s Sketches. You can purchase her prints here!

 

Spring Cleaning

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We know, we know. It’s only the second day of Spring! It’s been a brutal Winter! Are we really going to make you think about cleaning house? But truly, Spring has arrived (even if it doesn’t feel like it) and the earth is ready to emerge from it’s slumber. Why not us too?

This week, we’re finding inspiration in the best-selling bookThe Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Condo. We warn you now, reading this book is transformative in the way that watching a documentary on McDonald’s chicken is transformative. You will never be able to look at your clutter the same way again. However, if you aren’t quite ready to completely revolutionize your life and space, there is one simple piece of advice she gave that we loved and wanted to share with you today.

Take every piece of clothing you own and put it on the floor. Every single last piece. This can be a wake up call in and of itself. Ten stained white shirts. Four bras that no longer fit. That dress that you actually hate but spent too much money on and feel guilty giving away. Everything. Pick up each item and ask yourself in earnest, “does this item bring me joy?”. (You will be shocked at how quickly and clearly your deepest self responds.) Then, sell or donate the items that no longer inspire you. There you have it. You now have a wardrobe that brings you joy!

 

 

A Beautiful Weekend

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Happy Spring! Now, if only it wasn’t snowing….

 Jaime King shares her pregnancy and embraces women’s bodies everywhere.

Butchers, bakers, sommeliers, chefs and restaurant owners – women in food are killing it in NYC

Comediennes, writers, actresses and stand-ups — women in comedy are killing it in Hollywood.

An app that alerts you when you approach a location where women have made history. Possibly our favorite thing. Ever.

A beautiful blog.

A beautiful book.

A beautiful woman

Have a beautiful weekend!