Saturday, May 3, 2014

Today's guest post comes to us from Nicole Seeman, one of the three lovely gals behind the blog Sister Sister NYC. In her article, Nicole shares with us the valuable lessons she's learned from her grandmother and other wise women in her life. If you're nostalgic for an era past, Nicole's collected advice will show you timeless ways to live beautifully and celebrate each day you're given.

As I sit here listening to Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra, I'm thinking for the one thousandth time that I was born in the wrong era. It's not just the music or the clothing of the 1940s that I adore, but also the simple way of life. Don't get me wrong - I love the technology and fashion of today. I'm also grateful to live in a time and country where women are almost equal to men in the workplace but something about that time and generation speaks to me. I grew up around the corner from my grandmother. So naturally my sister and I spent a lot of time with her. She had three sisters, two of whom would visit quite often. Although Michelle and I were children of the 80s, we were also influenced by these women in many ways. Below are some of the lessons we've learned from these wise women.

1. Eat naturally. Processed and fast food were nonexistent when they were growing up. Eggs, fruit,vegetables and meat were staples in her house. Our grandmother made a variety of different dishes and was creative with leftovers. They also grew up during the depression, so she wasted very little.

2. Food and family go hand-in-hand. Sunday dinners at Grandma's were tradition. She was Italian so without fail the entire family gathered at her house for pasta and meatballs every week. No matter what your family traditions are, rituals are important and if they can center around food - even better!

3. Walking is the best form of exercise. Gym memberships were unheard of in the 1940s. Grandma grew up in Manhattan and never learned to drive. If Grandpa didn't drive her, she walked. Even after he was gone she walked everyday and professed that it was the best exercise. I think she was on to something because she was never overweight.

4. Game Night! By the ages of 10 Michelle and I knew how to play dominos and poker. It was another weekly ritual where we would gamble for pennies. Michelle and I still host game nights, unfortunately not weekly, but it's still one of our favorite things to do with family and friends.

5. Dance. They loved dancing and music. Gram and her sisters were still dancing in their 70s and 80s. It instantly transported them to the happy times of their youth. We all have those tunes that remind us of certain moments and events, so turn the volume up, get out of your seat and celebrate the past (& future)!

6. Enjoy your freedom. Grandma wanted to be a teacher, but circumstances and the war forced her to put her ambitions on hold. She taught us to value education and read anything you can get your hands on. She was still doing crossword puzzles well into her 80s. Learning does not stop when you finish school.

7. Sisterhood. Mothers, grandmothers, blood sisters, soul sisters - we are all in this together. We're all striving for happiness and peace and the encouragement and support of other women is essential. By nature women are competitive, which is OK, but we should make it a point to root for a sister's success, always.

~ Nicole Seeman, Sister Sister NYC

It's no secret that we love looking to the past for inspiration. What lessons have you learned from the wise people in your life? We'd love to hear and add to our list!