Style Maniac began with the intention to be a sunny spot in an often dark world, and for that reason I rarely write about sad news.  Over the past weeks, though, it has felt wrong to write about bright and happy fashion and beauty in the midst of the Boston bombings, Texas explosion and a fire two blocks from my home in Philadelphia that destroyed a friend's business, the apartments of over a dozen neighbors and most tragically took the life of firefighter Captain Mike Goodwin, age 53, who died battling the blaze.

As a neighborhood, as a nation, we grieve over these losses. We feel for those now without family and friends, even if we did not know them.  We think about our own lives, our fragility, how in one moment everything we hold dear can disappear. We vow to live life differently, love more, fight less, make every moment count.

Days pass, the dishwasher breaks, bills must be paid, a business trip planned, another news story breaks, the conversation moves on, life goes on.

Life, if we are very very lucky, goes on.

So how do we keep that in mind every day, amidst the dust and bills and to do lists?  How do we honor sacrifice and make our moments count?

The truth is we can't always.  There's going to be drudgery and sadness and heartache in our lives no matter how much we wish it otherwise.  The dark headlines will keep coming.  The only thing we can do, I think, is try.  Try to make the small gestures of adding beauty and meaning to every day life.  Try to remember what matters most, even in the midst of a silly argument or mundane chore.  Try to remember this: 

The day of the fire, when we thought no life had been lost, my husband and I walked away from billowing black smoke that eclipsed the sun and traded scraps of information with neighbors.  One relayed the story of a tenant in the apartment above the fabric store where the fire began, who had just enough time to grab his wallet before escaping.

"What would you grab?" I wondered aloud.

Without a breath of hesitation my husband replied:


"Use the good china for breakfast."