Page's Turn

Charming Women for a Cause

November 17, 2012

The Mina Charm (Photo by: Page Evans) The Mina Charm

Looking good and doing some good, that’s what Julia Farr and Sissy Yates  intended with the creation of The Mina Charm, a necklace they designed with the whole woman in mind.

The name Mina, according to Farr, is derived from the latin phrase “Cura Femina” or care of the whole woman. “Mina serves as a concrete reminder to take a moment to breathe, to create space, to be present and aware,” says Farr, owner of the Julia Farr Boutique.

Kathleen Biden and Julia Farr (Photo by: Page Evans) Kathleen Biden and Julia Farr

The charm is an abstracted form of the female figure encased in a circle. The circle represents “the circle of friends that help and support women,” says Farr.

On Wednesday night, this circle of friends gathered in the art-filled home of Alison Shulman to celebrate the launch of The Mina Charm. Fittingly, a portion of all proceeds went to Women for Women International, an organization that helps women in war-torn countries around the world.

Katherine Hoffman and Jennifer Altemus (Photo by: Page Evans) Katherine Hoffman and Jennifer Altemus

To learn more, visit Women for Women.

The necklaces can be purchased at Julia Farr 5232 44th Street, NW Washington, D.C. 20015

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My Guilt Shake

August 18, 2012

Inching down 95 South on what would turn out to be a seven-hour slog from Washington to Charlotte, my stomach started growling midway. 

Stuck in stop-and-go-traffic, my black Lab’s nose pressed against the window, smearing the glass. We were hungry, hot, and in need of a pit stop. 

Chick-fil-A is where we usually stop on long trips. The service is friendly; the bathrooms sparkle; and my daughters love the chicken nuggets and fresh lemonade--not to mention the free mints. I’m also addicted to the milkshakes, particularly the “hand-spun” peach shakes served in the summer. And, on this sweltering August day, I craved one.

I first learned of the Chick-fil-A flap from one of my gay friends on Facebook. He posted that his family would be boycotting the chain because of its CEO’s opposition to same-sex marriage. “Damn sandwiches were so tasty, but we won’t be back,” he wrote.

And then came the flood of news stories, more postings from “friends” and, finally, the viral YouTube video of the guy berating the Chick-fil-A employee for working for such a “hateful company.” After watching the clip, I applauded the employee’s polite and measured response in the face of a rude customer. I agreed with what she said. But I also agreed, in theory, with the ill-behaved activist, though not his handling of it. I imagine he and I have a similar voting record.

I support gay marriage. The families I know with two moms or two dads are amazing. Their kids are well-adjusted, kind, conscientious. Same-sex couples do have family values. Strong ones. This isn’t a random opinion, it’s what I’ve witnessed in my children’s school, and from my gay friends and neighbors here in DC and elsewhere. I whole-heartedly support freedom of choice--in all its forms.

Which brings me to my choice. To have a milkshake or not? What would it say if I stopped for a shake in light of the boycott?  How would I explain to my children that I support gay rights and my right to have a thick, creamy milkshake? 

Bottom line: I don’t relish tackling political questions when I’m hungry. I’d rather keep my poultry and my politics separate, like church and state. 

We live in a country based on free speech. Even if we disagree with others’ opinions, they still have a right to them. Tolerance--on both sides--is the key ingredient. And what would boycotting a restaurant really do to the CEO? Would it change his views? Doubtful.

So I chose the peach milkshake. And, yes, I felt guilty about it. Still do. Aside from the cause, the calories are concerning. I have just discovered that a large peach milkshake from Chick-fil-A has 850 calories and 21 grams of fat. I’m calling it my guilt-shake.

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The Art of Mothering

May 7, 2012

Growing up with an artist as a mother had its benefits. We were exposed (some might say, dragged) to museums at an early age. She constantly made us aware of our surroundings: the fresh green (tendre vert, as she calls it) of new leaves, the sculptural quality of bare trees, the ever-changing landscapes. And the light, always the light.

She captures light and movement in her paintings, whether it’s a landscape, billowing clouds above the sea, or a shifting nude in a studio. 

With the opening of her retrospective, “Painted Poetry: The Art of Mary Page Evans,” at The Delaware Art Museum, it’s easy to appreciate a lifetime of hard work, perseverance and passion. Walk through the space and you see what she’s been obsessed with for the past 40 years: landscapes, gardens, figures, trees and, finally, the sea and sky.

But as a child--and teenager--I most definitely did not appreciate life with an artist. Who wants their mother showing up at carpool with paint smeared on the side of the car and nude drawings floating around the back seat? Other mothers smelled of tea rose perfume. Mom smelled of turpentine.

And can we talk about the way she dressed? All I wanted was for her to slip on Pappagallo shoes like the other moms. But she insisted on clogs or cork platforms. And then there were the layers of chunky necklaces, hoop earrings, and bandanas wrapped around her head like a pirate. Now, of course, these outfits would be quite chic. Perhaps they were even then. But through a teenage girl’s eyes, nothing your mother wears is chic. Trust me, I have a tween and teen now, and I’m a constant source of embarrassment. And hear I thought I was kind of stylish. I can now empathize from both sides. I tell my girls, “You don’t know what embarrassment is.” 

 But somewhere along the line, embarrassment turned to pride. 

The day before the opening, I call from my home in Washington to see how she’s doing. Dad, now acting as her personal secretary and major advocate, tells me he can’t find her. “I have no idea where she is. Hold on, let me call her. ‘Mary Page,’’’ he bellows, sounding a bit exasperated by his frenetic wife. When he calls for my mother, he adds an extra syllable to Page...Mary Pa-age.

She finally picks up the phone, breathless. “Hi. I’ve got to get down to the museum for a press conference. What’s up?”

A press conference? What is she, some sort of rock star?

Then she lists all the upcoming talks, tours, and workshops she’s scheduled to give, Frankly, just hearing this, exhausts me. But Mom has more energy than the average 75-year-old. Actually, she probably has more energy than the average 25-year-old. 

That’s what following your passion does; it gives you energy. Do what you love and the rest will follow, that’s Mom’s mantra. She’s a great example of someone who has stuck to her guns or, in her case, paint brushes. 

I hang up, telling her I’ll see her at the opening. I want to say, “I’m proud of you, Mom.” But in our family, it’s about showing, not telling. And that’s what her paintings do.

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