Double Vision

A bi-coastal blog written by twins about health, travel, style, family and entrepreneurship.

SAHBA SHERE

Marcel Proust wrote “Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom”.  The “charming gardeners” for artist Sahba Shere, must surely be her busy accomplished Canadian family, her beloved mother, dynamic brothers, and her adoring and impressive (American) teenage sons. As she chats about her childhood, the travel and living abroad she has done, an easy gratitude emanates from her every pore. This creative listed her various homes over the years this way: Canada - Cleveland - Atlanta - Minneapolis - Paris, France - Bangalore India, and finally Palo Alto. But it was in India that she discovered her love of painting and her ability to do it well.

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A Scandinavian Christmas - Part 2

At Christmas time when I was small, I used to wake up very early in the morning and sneak down the stairs to the living room. I loved gazing at the wonderfully decorated Christmas tree and I remember as a child that the simplicity of its beauty and magic really struck me. It would be dark and snowy outside while inside the tree was silent and sparkling. Our English Setter Kicker, with a gorgeously affectionate nature, would join in and keep me company, always laying his head on my lap as I continued to bask in the radiance of the tree in all its splendor.

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A Scandinavian Christmas - Part 1

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, you would have to agree that the Scandinavians have a beautiful approach to the season. As my Swedish friend Susanna Bolander Oscarson, now residing with her family in Beijing always says, the Swedish love white, white and more white! Candles everywhere, a simple, fresh wreath on the door.

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Café ArtScience in Boston

We can't wait to visit this new space in Cambridge, MA, the combined brainchild of Mathieu LeHanneur and David Edwards, founder of Le Laboratoire. It appears to be an intriguing combination of restaurant, auditorium, bar, concept store and art gallery. 

Open all day serving, breakfast, lunch, dinner and cocktails in the pm, Monsieur LeHanneur himself says on Facebook, "Café ArtScience is the missing link between scientific laboratory and literary café, already appealing to scholars, artists, students and investors gathered around the same dishes, to hash out tomorrow’s world".

Location: between MIT and Harvard at 640 East Kendall Street, Cambridge, Massachussetts.

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John Kwaku Miller

In celebration of Meditation Month at Earth YogaNYC, DV Blog recently spoke to John Kwaku Miller, a New York acupuncturist with an athletic past.

Born and raised in Massachusetts, John Kwaku Miller is a graduate of Dartmouth College. His youth was spent playing competitive basketball and after an opportunity to try out for the Boston Celtics, he pursued a professional basketball career in Europe. Playing all over Europe led to a decade in India from the mid 90's, offering service at an international not-for profit Charitable Trust. During this time in India, his interest in healing and medicine was piqued, and he returned to the U.S.A. to attend The New England School of Acupuncture in Boston where he earned a Masters in Oriental Medicine. He has been practicing in New York and Massachusetts since 2007.

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The Best Thing My Dad Ever Told Me

Sometimes the advice a Dad shares with his son is profound. Other times it can be useful but plain silly, (guys bond when they laugh together). And the rest of the time they are simply wise words to live by.

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Sports Mom Essentials

Other than the basics we need in a first aid kit (like band aids, Neosporin antibiotic cream, anitseptic wipes, roller bandages etc), over the years I've added these items. I try to have them with me when attending sports events that my kids are participating in, either in my tote bag or in the car. Hope these ideas are helpful! 

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Stefania's Beauty Minute

As women we are a mass of contradictions. We want to look amazing and want to be respected for our brains. Last week we asked powerhouse blogger, femme-preneur and mother of three, Stefania Pomponi to tell us a little about her beauty regimen. Little did we know she could write an entire book on the topic if she wanted to!

 

Here are her Beauty Favorites and her Daily Must Haves including her Favorite Drug Store Finds.

Don't forget to leave a comment and tell us your own favs! (Click on the collages to enlarge)

Busy mom

Below is Stefania's complete list, (asterisks indicate all her important drug store finds!) :

 

 

HAIR

Shampoo & Conditioner:

Kevin Murphy Born Again Wash

Kevin Murphy Born Again Essential Treatment

 

Styling Products:

Proof Satin Hair Serum (best defrizzer)

It’s A 10 Miracle Leave-In Product*

Drybar Money Maker Flexible Hairspray

 

BODY

Dove Deep Moisturizing Body Wash* [I get this at Costco]

Clarins Tonic Body Treatment Oil (apply on damp skin while in shower)

La Mer The Reparative Body Lotion

Bliss Lemon & Sage Body Butter (I use the La Mer every other day because it’s pricey--but its effects can last two days) [Bliss is often found at Nordstrom Rack for a great price!]

 

FACE

Cleansing:

Sulwhasoo Gentle Cleansing Foam

Sulwhasoo Snowise EX Ginseng Exfoliating Gel or (2x week)

Olay Regenerist Detoxifying Pore Scrub*

Neutrogena MakeUp Remover Cleansing Towelettes* [I get these at Costco]

 

Moisturizing/Protection (Day):

L’Oreal Revitalift Face & Neck*

AmorePacific Rejuvenating Eye Treatment Gel

Neutrogena Ultimate Sport Face Sunblock Lotion*

 

Moisturizing/Protection (Night):

AmorePacific Moisture Bound Rejuvenating Serum

AmorePacific Moisture Bound Rejuvenating Cream

Note: I alternate AmorePacific with:

La Mer Serum de La Mer The Regenerating Serum

La Mer Creme de La Mer Ultrarich Cream

Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Night*

 

MAKEUP

Depending on day/night I use one of these primers:

Smashbox Photofinish Primer

Revlon Revitalift Moisture Blur*

Revlon Skinlights Face Illuminator* (night)

 

Foundation/Concealer:

Makeup Forever HD Foundation

Bobbi Brown Corrector

YSL Touche Eclat


Powder:

Urban Decay Razor Sharp Ultra Definition Finishing Powder (loose)

Makeup Forever HD Powder (pressed)

 

Cheeks:

Nars Blush

 

Eyes:

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion

Urban Decay Naked Basics & Naked2 Palettes

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil various colors (“Perversion” is the darkest, blackest black around...LOVE)

L’Oreal Voluminous Mascara “Carbon Black”*

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Fix

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Whiz (the best eyebrow pencil you can buy)

Anastasia Beverly Hills Dip Brow

Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel

NYX Eyebrow Cake Powder*

 

Lips:

MAC “Russian Red” (classic red)

NYX Butter Gloss* various colors

Revlon Colorburst Lacquer Balm, Matte Balm, and Balm Stain* (amazing)

Maybelline Baby Lips* (for sheer, moisturizing color)

 

Other fun tips:

Urban Decay All-Nighter Makeup Setting Spray helps keep your finished makeup in place and looking fresh.

NYX Roll-on Shimmer: I mix this with lotion and rub on my legs when I wear dresses at night. Give them a bronze sheen that looks like you are wearing nylons but you’re not.

Ardell #110 false eyelashes are a staple of my night-time look. Very light and natural looking but still makes your eyes pop!

LIT Cosmetics Holograph Lit Kit (essentially glitter powder that you can use on eyes/face/body) is also a staple of my night-time look. It’s the very best glitter-shadow.


Selfies by Stefania.

Artwork by Wati.

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Laila Munif - Damascus as I remember it.

Every day we hear news of the the Syrian refugee crisis and the unprecedented suffering of the Syrian people. We asked our friend Laila Munif to share her feelings about her Syria.

When we discussed the pictures that might be included in this post, she wistfully remembered the beautiful ancient theater at Bosra. "At night we would drink our arak (Arabic pastis) in the Amphitheater, sing on the stage & watch the stars. How I miss those days! Now...not one day goes by without a tear."

 

Here is her reflection

Theater at Bosra

 

When I was growing up in the Middle East, my family had to flee from wars twice. First due to the Lebanese civil war in 1975, and again shortly after when we were living in Iraq and the Iran/Iraq war started in 1981. My Dad was the editor-in-chief of a petroleum journal at the time. He had few options available to him. Either return to Syria and live under a dictatorship, or find a new country to settle in for few years with a wife and 4 kids. My father, an ambitious novelist decided to transit somewhere in Europe.

 

We landed in Paris when I was 6 years old and we stayed there for six years. It was in Paris where my Dad wrote his masterpiece novel ”Cities of Salt” in 1986. This five volume novel depicts the impact of oil in the Arabic Peninsula and its repercussions on the Bedouin society. 

 

France was a safe place for us to grow up. We became fluent in French and my Dad was very productive with his writings. But it was not home for my parents. They felt the urge to be closer to their families and friends. My Dad was ready to end his life in exile. It was crucial for him to describe the plight of his people while living amongst them. In 1986 we returned to Damascus and he wrote three novels depicting prisons and the torture endured by the political detainees.

 

I was 11 years old at the time. My siblings and I started to build a deep affinity for our country of origin and our Arabic language skills quickly improved. We discovered a passion and interest for this rich culture.

Old Damascus.

I spent most of my time with my schoolmates who were mostly from France and other European countries. After school I had lots of free time to go to the old market, or souk, visit landmarks like the Umayyad Mosque, and wander in the old neighborhoods. I would sip cup after cup of tea in old Damascan courtyards with friends. I have such fond memories of those days. I would then return to our home that had become an intellectual oasis where novelists, painters and drama writers would meet and discuss their concerns and their love for their region. In the typical fashion of the region, my Mother would often cook fantastic dishes for the multitude of guests that showed up every night.

 

We met many persecuted artists living far away from their countries because of their political affiliations and ideas.

Those special relationships with artists from Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Jordan was the way I was introduced to Arabic contemporary art. My Dad collaborated with some of these friends and wrote books about their artistic journeys.

Damascus.

Archeology was also another of my Dad’s passions. He transmitted that passion to me by taking us to archeological sites in both Iraq and Syria. During holidays we would drive and discover the History of the People of Ugarit where the first alphabet in the world was discovered. We would also visit the Roman amphitheaters in Jerash and Bosra, as well as the Byzantine ruins, citadels, fortresses of the crusaders, and other Islamic archeological sites. As a result, I ended up majoring in Archeology in 2000 from the Lebanese University of Beirut.

 

Despite the political oppression, we grew up feeling happy, secure and with very strong family ties. I enjoyed my childhood tremendously. I’m proud of my Syrian heritage, its history and culture. And these days, it is with deep sadness that I witness its destruction.

Laila, her father Abdul Rahman Munif and her mother Souad.


Personal family photo provided by Laila.

Other photography by AWIB (Ancient World Image Bank) Erik Hermans.

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Stefania Pomponi

Unless you’ve been banished from civilization, or live off the grid not having a clue about the women’s blogging scene, you’ve little excuse for not knowing about Stefania Pomponi. Stefania is Babble.com’s #1 “Most in the Know” Twitter Mom and one of their Top 50 Mommy BloggersParents’ Magazine named her a “Power Mom” and she was nominated “One of 10 Social Media Women That Deserve a Vanity Fair Article. Her award-winning personal blog “CityMama” won SheKnows.com’s 2010 Parents’ Choice Award for Best Website for Parents. The accolades go on.

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Bali

Like a beloved family member I am possessive and protective of Bali.  Bali, Yanti, and I, share old memories.  At seven years old the island itself seemed to urge me to purchase my first piece of art, a beautiful carved owl sprouting the finest feathers.  My sisters and I learned to haggle for pretty silver bracelets and finely woven baskets at the local beach market and were introduced to the serenity of her sawah rice paddy fields, sacred temples, frighteningly chaotic roads and mesmerizing dance dramas.

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English Country Life

Nothing like mud on your face, artfully flicked there by Mother Nature herself. And there is nothing like the smell of rain and trees and cantering through a forest, face splattered Pollock-like, your trusty steed snorting beneath you, nostrils wide, as he glances sideways at his fellow four-legged gallopers. 

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The Café

My first experience of the famous Parisian cafe Les Deux Magots was in the late 90's. An expat in Paris, imagining the faces of the literati and intellectual elite which once occupied its tables, I practiced my halting French with impatient waiters. 

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