In times like these...

I cannot find words of my own to communicate the grief and helplessness felt in the wake of the brutality in Orlando. Enough will be said by others who will leverage it for ratings and polling points.  After the attacks in Paris, I discovered the film The Great Dictator by Charlie Chaplin. From 1940, it was a political satire aimed at a specific German figure, but the prescient words ring true, if not louder, today.  With all the progress in machines and technology, we have lost our humanity.  We rarely look up from our phones long enough to acknowledge others in our midst and we are raising our children to do the same.  

Wouldn't the world be a wonderful place if we were each kind to a complete stranger once a day. If we returned another's negativity and hate with kindness. It really takes less effort and energy to love than it does to hate.

The Great Dictator's Speech

Written by Charlie Chaplin

I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone - if possible - Jew, Gentile - black man - white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness - not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way.

Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical. Our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost....

The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men - cries out for universal brotherhood - for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world - millions of despairing men, women, and little children - victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people.

To those who can hear me, I say - do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed - the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish. .....

Soldiers! don’t give yourselves to brutes - men who despise you - enslave you - who regiment your lives - tell you what to do - what to think and what to feel! Who drill you - diet you - treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men - machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate - the unloved and the unnatural! Soldiers! Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty!

In the 17th Chapter of St Luke it is written: “the Kingdom of God is within man” - not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people have the power - the power to create machines. The power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure.

Then - in the name of democracy - let us use that power - let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world - a decent world that will give men a chance to work - that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfil that promise. They never will!

Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people! Now let us fight to fulfil that promise! Let us fight to free the world - to do away with national barriers - to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness. Soldiers! in the name of democracy, let us all unite!


Insta-stalked : Paul Costello

I have a shameful secret. When all is quiet and darkness affords me a level of anonymity, I have an uncontrollable desire to peek into the windows of homes.  At dawn I witness these domiciles spring to life, as the inhabitants gradually surrender to their morning routines. With the advent of Instagram, we can now glimpse into these windows with permission. The gorgeous mid century modern abode. A quivering Eton Mess. Gorgeous tiles snapped on vacation in Morocco.  They are all curated for our pleasure, inspiration and envy.  

When we were still in the embryonic stages of dating, my husband and I peered for an inappropriately long time into the window of a Georgetown row house. The details can still be summoned in my mind, the beautifully decorated living room with the toy truck and building blocks abandoned so perfectly. This room was lived in, not a sterile masterpiece with any hint of life stowed away in a cupboard. Just beyond, a small gathering was in full swing on the patio, adults and children were mingling and mixing and, I'd like to believe, sipping French 75s. A knowing glance between us confirmed our shared desire for the same quintessence of family life.

I also find myself leering a bit too long at snapshots from the life of Paul and Sara Ruffin Costello and their gorgeous children.  They have that perfect blend of high style meets family practicality which I hope to imbue into our lives.  Take a peek with me:  


A photo posted by Paul Costello (@pthepaul) on

Two handed backhand. Impressive.

A photo posted by Paul Costello (@pthepaul) on

A photo posted by Paul Costello (@pthepaul) on

Furniture jumping 1

A photo posted by Paul Costello (@pthepaul) on

Baby gorilla

A photo posted by Paul Costello (@pthepaul) on


Welcome to the Modern Traditionalist, the new home of my former Blogger blog.  One year ago today, my husband and I unknowingly embarked on the adventure of starting our family (or "mixed the perfect cocktail"), something that has ignited within me the true spirit of the Modern Traditionalist.  It's about never losing site of your own identity no matter what comes into your life, infusing glamour into the quotidian, mingling the past and the future, and redefining traditions for the modern life.  Here I will share my experiments in domesticity and exploits in retaining a stylish life while raising a family.