Photo by David Williams

Time for some sweet, sweet life inspiration. Introducing Maira Kalman, a respected author of both adult and children’s books, artist, illustrator and lover of the simple things in life. Her intricately impressionistic illustrations have been featured on the cover of The New Yorker magazine as well as the New York Times. Among other publications, she has written and illustrated a number of her own works, including Sarah Berman’s Closet, her mother’s life lovingly layed out through the items in her closet, Beloved Dog, a detailed summary of why dogs are the fricken’ best, obviously, and My Favorite Things, an exploration of the significance of the objects in our lives from her own repertoire of goodies.

The playfully sentimental perspective in her work will give you insights on the sense of peace in simply being, rather than getting caught in the never-ending motion of doing. Fittingly, Maira Kalman was also featured on an episode of a podcast called “On Being with Krista Tippett“, where she talked about “The Daily Things To Fall In Love With” – in other words, some of the most profound insights on the joy of life found in unplugged walks around the city, a cup of coffee in the morning sun, the wag of a little pupper’s tail and the way a blanket is silently strewn across a couch when no one else is home.

Maira Kalman — Daily Things to Fall in Love With

Maira Kalman seems to have this whole “life” thing down, finding balance in loosely followed routine and empty space as a freelance creator and a mother of three grown children. As she says: “For me, the moments when I allow my mind to wander and daydream are the times when I am able to come up with the ideas that really please me the most.” According to Maira’s philosophy, taking the time to relax and stretch your mind muscles without judgement then become the most productive moments of all. But to all of us youngins worried about doing too much or too little, in the end, she notes that balance is a constant flow.

“’What’s the recipe for the right balance?’ Once you ask that question, then you can start to see that maybe there is no right balance – there’s just a constant change and shift. Things get murky and confusing at any age. But you can’t have the kind of perceptions that you have at sixty-five when you’re twenty-five and I don’t think it would even be good to have that kind of wisdom – it might prevent you from doing all the stupid things that you should be doing!”

Cheers to Maira Kalman for sharing her knowledge of life through the down-to-earth details in her unique form of self-expression. Taking the time to be at peace is perhaps the highest wisdom of all. “Everything’s where it is and it’s good. Even the things I’m unhappy about in my life have allowed me to persevere and to be patient. […] I now know that things will take a lot longer than you think they will to achieve. If you don’t have patience or perseverance, you’re not going to be able to work.” Amen to that, and here is an example of her passion conveyed in the form of Cake, because cake.