The Next Chapter
05 . 09 . 14
I can always tell who actually reads the blog and those who just look at the photos based on those who know about my upcoming summer in Paris. I also know that I’ve been a little vague about why I’m going and what I’ll be doing.
Spending more time in Europe is something that I’ve been thinking about for a while now. It’s not that I’m unhappy in New York but I can’t say that I’m completely happy either. It’s probably to be expected after living here for 12 years but it also has to do with how the city is changing. So many of the places I love are closing like Rizzoli Bookstore, Jim’s Shoe Repair, and Pearl Art, all probably to make way for another high rise glass building…or “something really depressing like a Baby Gap.”
It’s almost as if this architectural upheaval is mirroring what is happening in our society. Our American obsession with youth and beauty and everything new is sometimes too much to take. Even Garance Dore has addressed this issue on her blog in her post Talking Age. Europe and other parts of the world are so much more accepting of imperfections and aging. I always feel so much more attractive when I travel to another place.
New York used to be a city where people hosted dinner parties made up of the most fascinating people who they knew would make interesting conversation. People were invited based on their intelligence and accomplishments. Now, people are invited to events based on beauty and social media following. It’s all about who will look good in the party photos that will be posted online.
Don’t get me wrong, I love America and I’m very proud of the freedom and opportunities available in this country but right now, I feel like I need to get away. At the end of these next four months, I will either figure out how good I have it here and appreciate New York again, or I will recognize that the quality of life is better in Paris and make a permanent move. I also realize that I’m very lucky that I can work anywhere and don’t have children yet to try this out.
Every blogger also experiences a point where they start to feel uninspired. Sincerely Julesadmitted this in her post Orange Love recently. I’m hoping a change of scenery will inspire my creativity. I really want to get back to taking my own photos and creating more original content. In addition, I hope this trip will be the catalyst for working harder again. While the premise isn’t completely confirmed, I plan to start working on my second book while in Paris as well. The blog will also be transitioning to a real website soon which is very exciting. I feel like this is a good time to take things to the next level on all fronts.
As always, I appreciate your support and encouragement these last seven years and I hope you will enjoy following along on this next chapter of Habitually Chic.
Photos by Heather Clawson for Habitually Chic
Paris is an awesome city and feels like classic NYC. I am too an expat living in the Middle East and needed to “get away” from America to experience cultures abroad. While I love living abroad, I miss home too. I miss things that are familiar and I miss “freedom of speech”. Best wishes with your decision.
Heather, and why not, I think it is a grand idea. You have a great deal of support for all of your endeavors. I am sure the invitations will continue arriving in your mailbox wherever you land!
The Arts by Karena
I am so excited to follow your next chapter. I actually flew to Paris back in February to catch the tail-end of the Cartier exhibit because of your photos and post. You have an inspirational quality and I appreciate your approach to beauty and imperfection. Viva la France!
Interesting post. I follow you blog and am looking forward to seeing what’s next. All the best!
Congratulations and best wishes, Heather!
Congratulations and best wishes, Heather!
I am so excited for you. Somewhere along the way we all decided that you have to do one thing and stay routed forever. I have too much of a wanderlust heart for all that. I cannot wait to see what a new location inspires in you!
You will do well no matter were you are! You are a sophisticated, talented, and smart woman. I have lived in more than 5 mayor cities around the world in the last 16 years. There is so much to learn and be surprised by!!! These experiences has taught me to see the world through very different lenses without loosing my essence. And above all, it has encourage me to have a better understanding of who I am and what I really care about. Can’t wait to read your future posts!!!
I hope this adventure provides you with the recharge you need, and that it results in more photos for us readers to pour over — there can never be too many pictures of Paris in one’s feed!
I’ve rarely commented on your blog before, but I’ve been reading it daily since the beginning. For what it’s worth, while you may feel that your inspiration is quieter lately, you have still inspired me more than you know! I am sure the same is true for your many other loyal readers. You are beautiful, as is your work, your vision, and your spirit coming through the posts over the last 7 years. I admire your honesty to admit that things are not perfect in NYC and the courage to make such a big change!! Best of luck in Paris!
I am very excited for your next chapter! I really look forward to following along where ever you decide to do it. Bonne chance! Alyssa
You are brave and smart. Do it while you can, life seems to get away from you after a while and before you know it, you look around and don’t like where you are.
Plus what an adventure to look back on.
And we’re all happy to follow along with you. Remember a few years ago when I was thinking of moving up to NY but never really was feeling it. I never told anyone why but it felt like NYC was changing and not in a way I was interested in. Old new york was leaving and being replaced by people always on their cell phones, no conversation, all the cool old stuff being replaced by Russian money and glass skyscrapers. One of many reasons I have stayed in DC. Anyway – Paris will be a great thing whether it is for 4 months or 4 years.
Heather, I’ve been wondering just when you were taking off for Paris. How wonderful that you are in tune with your real self and understand that a shift is necessary. Please don’t totally disappear from our view as there are many of us who want to hear what you have to say and do and accomplish. Best wishes on this next journey in your life.
Mary @ colorformtexture.com
I think that a lot of people (especially women) are experiencing a need for change these days. Who and what used to work no longer does. Thank you for being an example of boldness and courage for the rest of us who are contemplating the next step. I pray that your time in Paris will be beautiful. Have fun!
Heather, So excited for you. This is the perfect time in life to do this. I only wish I did something like this before I had kids. I agree with 100% of what you said about Americans and what is valued here. It’s another reason I dream of moving to Europe one day. They value what is important and life goes by so fast…Enjoy and I cannot wait to see what you do!!
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Who has wanted to pack up and leave, but to be able to is so amazing. I cant wait for your next book, maybe now on amazing European design?
Have fun and enjoy the moments!
Enjoy your trip. Looking forward to the wonderful photos and I appreciate your “You’ve Got Mail” reference.
Just know that some of your readers understand everything you’ve just said. Have a wonderful move — can’t wait to hear about your discoveries.
I have never commented on your blog but read it religiously. I have lived in five different cities and learned a long time ago that sometimes you need a new environment to put a little kick back in your step. What a wonderful opportunity and I look forward to seeing what is to come next for you.
This is the absolute first time that I’ve responded to blog post, but your post touched me so I feel like I have not other choice but to respond. Started following your blog around sometime in the fall 2011 when my husband accepted a job in Paris. I would have been completely lost without you. You helped me figure out everything from how to rejigger my wardrobe to where to eat.
Unfortunately our marriage crumbled under the pressure of the move, the pressures of a new job, a new culture, the inability to speak French. The good news is that I signed up for Alliance Francaise for 20 hours a week for 8 months and I came out the other end really well versed in French and Parisian language culture. Despite that I found myself 47 years old and divorced in June 2013.
After the dust settled, I finally went back home to San Francisco. That was this past December 2013. The city had completely changed. There have been a whole flurry of Op-ed pieces including some in the NY Times about the changes that are going on in San Francisco with the invasion of the tech elite. That “piece and love” vibe has all but disappeared. Most of my favorite old restaurants are still there, but those once friendly faces are now grouchy and brisk. Same people new attitude and their attitude matches the attitude of the new customers. And yes these newcomers are mostly young, but it not their youth that bugs me, it’s their attitude. You can’t go out to dinner without hearing one of them complaining… about everything. Now the crowd rules San Francisco and much of the quirky individuality that I once associated with home is no longer there. I could go on, but I don’t think that’s necessary.
Needless to say, after my visit feeling a bit homeless, so I decide to stay in Europe. See how much I identify with you post? Like you I’ve decided the visit from time to time, to see how I feel.
I’m actually in Brussels. But my sights are on Paris. Brussels will always be the place that gave me the space I needed to enter my next chapter gracefully, but Paris now feels like home. So while I’m starting from scratch in almost every way imaginable. I’m certain about where I’m going.
I say all this to say. Thank you. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for once again stepping up and helping me. And if you’re feeling uninspired, hang in there because what you’re talking about is just as relevant as it has ever been. I hope to meet you over coffee sometime soon to say thank you in person. Take care. Write that book. Take the photographs. Can’t wait to see the website. But whatever you do, don’t stop. You’re doing far more than simply writing about what’s fashionable.
Merci beaucoup for all the lovely comments and especially to Pamela! It’s always nice to know you’ve made a difference in someone’s life. Belgium is at the top of my must visit list while I’m in Paris so I do hope we get to meet for coffee there or in Paris!
I’d love to meet you for coffee too. I’ll be in Paris June 9-11 maybe we can meet then.
A standing applause. I’ve been dwelling in NYC since 92′ and the city I moved to is long gone. Give me back the grit! I have to remind myself quite often in today’s climate why I moved here in the first place and remember that out of body feeling I had when I firt arrived at Penn Station steping off of a Greyhound bus.
The social media booby trip is a tricky one that needs constant monitoring. It’s easy to stray from the real reasons to be on it.
As you and I where “Americans In Paris” not too long ago I wish you the best and think it’s certainly the right thing to do.
Perhaps I will see you there in 2017 when the entire family takes up residency for the year.
See you there in September perhaps.
All the best,
What a wonderful, thoughtful post! The US is a terrific country, but as someone who has travelled a lot and lived in London for 2 years, I can attest to the fact that life, abroad, is different. Sometimes we feel more at home in foreign countries…… I love your blog and can’t wait to see your postings from Paris, a truly magical city!!
All the best,
Hi Heather! I’ve been following for years but haven’t ever commented. I just wanted to say I think it’s wonderful that you’re headed to Paris- how empowering for you to realize you wanted a change and you made it happen. Nothing better than self-awareness.
Anyway, I can’t wait to follow along on your journey. I finally started a blog this year after having read so many for so long. It’s a great community. Congrats to you for taking yours to the next level.
-All the best,
Emily @ the Fielding Report
Hi Heather..I am a long-time reader of your blog from Dubai and I have been constantly inspired by your posts and photos.
I related completely and utterly to this post-I am going through a miserably uninspired stage at the moment with work, blogging and my life in general. My work has become completely commercialized (I am a decorative painter and decorator) and all about the price, how fast we can complete a project and how much better the finishes can be than the previous project. I feel really pressured and as anyone who is creative knows, pressure is the worst thing for creative souls. I am constantly exhausted and depleted as a result and I am now considering what the next move should be. The idea of taking a two or three month sabbatical really inspires me so that is what I will be doing. Thank you for sharing your story and making me realise that it really is possible to take control of your creative life. I wish you all the best for your Paris trip and look forward to following your exciting new journey via your writing.
What more can I say…. All the commenters and myself fully feel and understand your position. It is good to have lived somewhere else for a longer periode. By the sound of it, you really need to. Also to reboot. For me it was the other way around. I am from Europe and have lived in the US for a year. A great experience. You get to compare, to learn, evolve and in the end appreciate a lot more in live. Cannot wait to find out what you are going to do and I will be right here to share the experience. Make sure you will also visit Holland. Holland is so close to Belgium. Belgium is so close to Paris. You are practically around the corner….
Godspeed, Heather! Older moms like me who have missed our chance to live in Paris will be following you with envy and admiration. I can’t wait to read all about it.
i lived in paris for 2 years and still didn’t have time to see everything. there is beauty and inspiration everywhere.
not knowing french is a fabulous vacation from all the “static” of everyday life and allows you to “hear” your own thoughts.
all you need to know is “bonjour,” “bon soir” and “au revoir” (and never, ever forget to say them.) treating people like people is the theory behind the greetings which is lovely but also required.
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Bon voyage Heather! So looking forward to following along with you this summer. After 20 years in NYC myself, I certainly appreciate the need for fresh perspective and where better to find it than Paris? Thank you for sharing your continued adventures with all of us!
My fear is that “creeping commercialism” from the west is worming it’s way in to places even as wonderfully original as Paris.
Consider becoming bi-continental! It could work. I wish you lots of rest and creative rejuvenation!
Your blog inspires me! I loved reading it over the years, and I am so excited for your next adventure. After both traveling often to Paris as well as living there, I think this quote sums up the way I feel about the City of Light and maybe how you will feel as well?
J’ai deux amours
Mon pays et Paris
Par eux toujours
Mon cur est ravi…Josephine Baker
Regardless of where we were born, where we grew up, or where we live, what calls to us and where we feel most at home is our true heritage!
I lived abroad for a bit and then returned to NYC. Best decision at the time. Bon chance!
To inspire and to be inspired! This is life. It is easier to live a life of making and paying bills. Nothing and no one is perfect. Beauty has its ugly side, this is life and reality. Wabi-Sabi. Go for what makes you happy, this inspires. Be inspired by others and life, this is living.
All the best to you.
well said. a change of scenery will do you good, one way or the other. safe and sweet travels. XO
well said. a change of scenery will do you good, one way or the other. safe and sweet travels. XO
well said. a change of scenery can be very inspiring. safe & sweet travels. XO
Best of luck, Heather! I hope you find more fulfillment in Paris and perhaps have a few wonderful adventures that you can share with your admirers! Bon voyage.
Good luck, Heather!
I’ve been reading your blog for years. This post really resonated with me.
I move to Rome six years ago (from Los Angeles). It was the best decision I’ve made in my life.
L.A. is youth obsessed. In Rome I’m not old, nor do I feel old. I’m just living my life inspired by all the beauty that surrounds me.
Rome/Italy can be tough at times but she’s worth it.
I cannot wait to read about your adventures in Paris. If you ever make it to Rome and want to meet for a coffee or aperitivo please let me know.
As a lifelong Brooklynite, I can truly understand what “change” looks like. Your words struck a chord and spoke to me in many ways. Thank you.
I enjoy your blog so much — and it has been a pleasure to be able to share your journey. I am sending you warm wishes for a great time in Paris — and looking forward to hearing all about it.
As a Brooklyn native, I know what “change” looks like. Your blog struck a chord and I’m glad I am not alone in some of your sentiments. It’s quite exhausting to be constantly marketed to.
Anyway, I think you’re quite the creative sort — and I’m looking forward to the chance to share in the adventure.
Have a lovely journey to Paris — and enjoy!
all the best,
I moved recently to gain a new perspective. It is my first time out of the bay area. It has been a difficult day so after a failed attempt at meditation I remembered this post and came back to it for inspiraion. All of you movers and doers are so brave! Thank you Heather for sharing and bringing like-minded people together. (meditation tomorrow morning)!
I live in Paris and I do find it beautiful and inspirational. I also feel attractive in a way I never do in the States. Women are appreciated more here. Although I have met some very nice French people, I find many French to be difficult and after years here, do not have any French friends, just American friends. I love my life here though. It’s a little different for me as I am married to a Frenchman so can’t just up and return to the States. I certainly have a different view of life in the States than I did before living in Europe. Good luck to you. I hope it’s all you dream it to be, inspiring if nothing else.
Great post. You’re right, Manhattan is moving from incredibly varied and strikingly original to homogenized and predictable. During that transition, its values have dulled. Alas, Brooklyn’s catching up.
I feel that NYC was “The Capital of the twentieth century” and Paris played the same role in the nineteenth. You can treat Paris (as many tourists do) as the best Theme Park imaginable or you can see what they’ve done to move forward. And possibly bring some of that advice back to NYC.
You have the taste and perception to really help! Good luck.
Dear Heather, Just returned from Paris a few weeks ago and I completely understand where you’re coming from. My husband and I wonder often if the US has lost its soul. We now have 4 grandchildren under 4 so we’re trying to figure out how we can spend 4-6 months a year in Europe and the remainder here in Atlanta. You are lucky to have this chance to flee before you are “hindered” by children. (I laugh, because they are our greatest joy.) In any case, good for you for sensing what is going on with your spirit and for setting an example for those who would never think that such a leap of faith is truly possible. We only have this moment. We only have this one life. We don’t have enough people whose lives and spirits are radiant. We need more of those. Good for you for doing what you need to do for YOU and for all those you will inspire. Best wishes. Gotta run. Heading to Istanbul! (and, no, I’m not rich. I just know what is important to me. Dinners out are not. Travel is. Priorities.)
Bravo to you Heather for following your dreams by doing this. Although I am not a Manhattan resident, I completely agree about the unfortunate direction the city is taking. With the never ending rise of housing costs it amazes me how most people can afford to live there while maintaining a good quality of life. I just finished reading “Outrageous Fortune” by Michael Gross about 15 Central Park West. Its a strange conflict because on one hand, as an interior designer, we would pall love to have projects in these super luxurious and expensive buildings, with unlimited budgets but at what cost to the rest of the people in a large city who could never afford such places.
Im sure you have already read this article on Paris, but I thought I would pass it along in case you didn’t.
Good Luck HC… Paris is a great city and I will let you know when I am back there.
As someone who has lived in New York City with similar interests and observations as you, I can definitely relate to this post. I remember moving to New York City with all the dreams of what New York once was, and then being confronted with the reality of what it now is. New York is a great city, but I agree that it’s lost some of that magic and authenticity it once had. Every time I’ve traveled to Paris, I’ve felt so relaxed, acknowledged, welcomed, and inspired. Beauty is everywhere, and it’s not just superficial beauty the way Americans define it. I’ve seen women there with gray hair, wrinkles, pale skin (a “look” that most Americans try to avoid as they age), and have been stunned by how beautiful these women are. It’s not just the confidence these women carry that makes them beautiful, it’s the depiction on their faces of a life lived joyously, fully, and more often than not, very simply. These women aren’t fretting over the next wrinkle treatment or who has a higher career status. They know who they are, what they look like, and are proud of it all because they’re comfortable with who they are. I think that kind of positive energy translates into the way everything else flows in that society and culture, and it leaves you feeling very content and, like I said, inspired. I hope to see you this summer in Paris over a cup of coffee or lunch! You’re a beautiful, smart, and talented woman – you deserve endless possibilities and magic every day!
First of all, I have to say that I love all the comments that everyone leaves and the little glimpse you get into their lives.
I think that sometimes you need a change of scenery to see what you appreciate and love and also to challenge yourself a little. Having lived all my life in Norway in Europe, my dream is to live somewhere in America. I feel that sometimes you need to do something that scares you and also something that you are very exited about. I don’t want to look back at my life and regretting only doing what is comfortable and safe. I want to live outside my comfort zone and challenge myself.
Having spent quite an amount of time in America despite never living there, I get what you mean and I find that the constant struggle for youth sometimes can be just a little bit much. I don’t think it is having a wrinkle free face that makes you pretty, but I can also see why so many choose to use it to make them feel better. I color my hair, so I’m not judging anybody.
I’m sure you are going to enjoy Paris, and have loads of fun! It is such a pretty and as another reader previously mentioned, it is very convenient to get around in Europe from Paris. Friends of mine have taken the train from London to Paris just for the day, so it is endless opportunities. I do hope that you “find” what you are looking for in Paris! Paris is such a lovely city and it has so much history. I’m sure you are already seen her blog, but if not you should check it out: http://parisinfourmonths.com It is written by a sweet swedish girl who spent four months in Paris and went back to Sweden were she realized that she needed to live in Paris, hence the name of the blog. She is also in IG where she post some fabulous pictures from Paris, worth checking out!
Have a lovely time in Paris, and I look forwarding to reading your blog during your time in the city of love!
Take the adventure while you can. Thank you for these years of interesting and beautiful content. I have never commented in all these years but have quietly enjoyed your wonderful blog.
“Europe and other parts of the world are so much more accepting of imperfections and aging” couldn’t help agree all the more 🙂
Wherever you will be, you will be appreciated as you are such an original thinker and human being.Paris is fantastic and it is certainly worthwhile considering living there for a few years at least ! I was kind of unispired for at least a year and have not been blogging for that period so hats off to you who has been going with such great content ! Bea
Living the dream — how great for you, Heather! Wishing you inspiration, rejuvenation, fabulous fashion finds and many chic moments. Sante!