Archive for the ‘We digress’ Category

Death and meaning…

Posted by Winifred on June 12th, 2014  •  No Comments »


Death has been much on our mind lately. Famirie Wikkeling has suffered much loss. There was Tante Olga, Neef Andro then Tante Joke, Nicht Cisca, Oom Charles and now Nicht Jennie. The deaths of our aunts and uncle made us reflect on the rich lives they had lived and loving children they have left behind. They all lived long lives surrounded by family and many friends who cared for them. What troubled us was the feeling that their stories, family history, was taken away with them too.

The passing of our cousins was more difficult to understand. We were lost somewhere between fog, confusion, numbness, waiting for a light to shine. It made us question our expectations for life and longevity. How were we supposed to accept death and what was the perspective that would allow us to do that?

We considered a viewpoint of life that is about fulfilling a purpose and not necessarily staying on beyond that. Perhaps the ones we lost had completed this part of their journey and it was okay for them to go on to the next one. They had all been parents who loved and cared for their children as best they could. They had all had an impact on their community of friends and their family and we would remember them for that.

We wanted to stop seeing death negatively, stop with the mourning and the sadness and move toward more of a celebration. Especially where there had been a release from illness which was the case for all three. Why do we feel we know the proper time line for life anyway?

These thoughts presented themselves again with Lady Sings the Blues. What a film; and such chemistry between Billy Dee Williams and Diana Ross, still magic. The way we were, and may never be again…Prior screenings of Lady Sings the Blues always left us sad, always the word “tragic,” stamped in our minds. This time we had an entirely different view.

First we were just amazed at the ability of a people to face each day filled with hardship, oppression, inequality, indecency, prey for all manner of injustice. How did we, under these circumstances and duress, maintain our faith, raise children lovingly, still have laughter and find joy in so little? How did Billy Holiday, portrayed by Diana Ross, fight to leave behind poverty and prostitution and use her gifts to create music?

What makes more sense to us now is that her pain was so deep she had to escape to be able to survive it. An escape into drugs and death at a young age seemed not so tragic this time. Rather it seems the only way. Why, when she was not able to gain licenses to perform where she wanted and when her talents were going to go to waste, why live a long life full of regret and resentment and ugly memories of rape, abuse, racism and a life incomplete?

Now we feel Billy Holiday did not die tragically, but that she was released when she could face no more pain. Her burdens taken away when she could no longer manage to carry them. And how magnificent that in her short life, she did leave us her gift that 50 years later still survives and inspires and is admired. We want to celebrate that. Maybe it’s not about the time spent on earth, but it’s what you leave behind…

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What to play on our guitar today…

Posted by Winifred on May 23rd, 2014  •  No Comments »

The well curated Brain pickings took an excerpt of a 1991 interview for Paul Zollo’s book Songwriters on Songwriting of Bob Dylan, in which he says that environment is important to him, in his writing. The right environment, for Dylan, also comes from “…getting the thoughts out of your mind.”

He explains, “First of all, there’s two kinds of thoughts in your mind: there’s good thoughts and evil thoughts. Both come through your mind. Some people are more loaded down with one than another. Nevertheless, they come through. And you have to be able to sort them out, if you want to be a songwriter, if you want to be a song singer. You must get rid of all that baggage. You ought to be able to sort out those thoughts, because they don’t mean anything, they’re just pulling you around, too. It’s important to get rid of them thoughts.”

“Then you can do something from some kind of surveillance of the situation. You have some kind of place where you can see it but it can’t affect you. Where you can bring something to the matter, besides just take, take, take, take, take. As so many situations in life are today. Take, take, take, that’s all that it is. What’s in it for me? That syndrome which started in the Me Decade, whenever that was. We’re still in that. It’s still happening.”

We love those words – surveillance of a situation, the place where you can see it but it can’t affect you. It struck us that Dylan’s suggestion would do well for things other than songwriting. This place he refers to is a place of no resistance that replaces suffering with joy and struggle with ease. It’s what we meditate for. From that place we will strum a tune today. Maybe this one, Dylan always does good words…

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How we came to love the hat….

Posted by Winifred on April 28th, 2014  •  No Comments »


It seems timely to go over what it means for a little girl to discover her first role model and how the very existence thereof forever informs her life…

We were probably 7, maybe 8. Born and raised in the Netherlands, we also lived in Spain and then spent several years in Suriname, where our parents were born. After Suriname, we returned to the Netherlands. It was still an innocent time, few outside influences, a culture of little television, few magazines and we were too young for peer pressure. No outside world telling you you weren’t good enough. In fact, in our house, being an outsider was what we celebrated. Our parents spoke Surinaams, we ate Surinaams, we adhered to our culture of respect for elders, family values, entertaining big and celebrating big. Oen mek presirie, always. Dutch culture was for us often a bit of a joke. We couldn’t be more thrilled to be Surinaams, even as we recognized the greater opportunities for education and earnings potential of Holland.

Then, already cocooned by our Surinaams family, we allowed one snippet of influence to come into our home. That snippet was our first glimpse of Miss Diana Ross on Dutch Television. At that time, it took quite a while for American imports to reach Europe. We had never heard of ‘Mahogany,’ and were too young to know the Supremes. So our first introduction to Miss Diana Ross was in the much later part of her career. There she was, thin, brown, with big eyes and big hair. She was beautiful, she was famous, she was glamorous, she was rich. She was a big star and everybody loved her. And she looked like us. And in that instant we were programmed. To be thin, brown, have big eyes and big hair was the ultimate in beauty, fame and possibilities. We would never want to be anything else, but what we were: the Surinaams version of that very image.

It seems so timely to share this now, as we notice how often attempts are made to shake that programming. Whether in the media, or sometimes closer to home. And we feel bad for the many people impacted, young girls especially. It reminds us how lucky we are to have received the gift of Miss Ross, but also of our parents. First, the gift of parents who gave us so solid a foundation and connection to our roots that in a time when the Netherlands was not so multicultural, we never questioned the richness of who we were. And second, that before society was able to work on us, in came Miss Ross to forever sear in our minds, an image of beauty, glamour, elegance and style that ’till this day continues to inform, inspire and guide us.

When asked how she manages the negativity of the press, Venus Williams responded that she had from her birth been brainwashed by parents who only told her she was amazing and could achieve anything she wanted. She has no ability to think anything else. We could not be more grateful for being brainwashed…


Image Via Villagevoice

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Who we are and why we are what we are….

Posted by Winifred on August 26th, 2013  •  No Comments »


We have been talking to you for some time now about the things that warrant our attention. Delightful distractions that go on our mood board and keep us creating A World Refined. We realize that we have not yet shared much about us. We have not given you a foundation for all of these inspirations or signs for the journey on which we are taking you. Today, we would like to introduce ourselves and give you a peek at Winifred’s world.

We remember as a little girl watching our mother prepare for entertaining or an evening out.  In her bedroom was a vanity, her place for transformation. She would sit on a satin cushioned chair and use the vanity’s oval shaped mirror to apply her make-up.  The vanity is where she kept her lipsticks and perfume bottles; our favorite was a crystal dish with a body powder in it. Our mother would apply the powder to her décolletage with a lovely sky blue powder puff.  We still recall its scent and the sensuous act of her delicate hands ever so lightly dabbing the powder, with a careful press or two against her skin.  She would emerge in her heels, perfumed, painted, coiffed – a lady.  It was a glamorous time filled with ritual, ceremony and beautiful things crafted towards a woman’s enhancement.

This has continued to inspire our tastes and influence our outlook on life.  Refinement, ritual, the art of beauty. It is this we want to share with you. A World Refined is more than a website, it is a portal that is transporting and takes our readers to another time and other cultures – to a place of elegance. A World Refined offers beauty, creativity, revelation and surprise. Our website is a salon, a beautifully styled space, where we envision our style icons might gather.  Diana Ross, Faye Dunaway, Lana Turner, Marlene Dietrich would all feel at home in this space and the conversation would flows effortlessly, gracefully. There is always something new, an unexpected detail, a unique point of view.


A World Refined makes the simple, decadent, stays away from the obvious and predictable - that which lacks grace. A World Refined is a transformation to elegance that is, for now, our site. As such, you will find that there are themes and people we continually come back to:


Our Style icons ~ Diana Ross, Faye Dunaway, Bianca Jagger. Our Style Point of View ~ the glamour, jet-setting, rocker chick style of the 70s and the decadent, more is more Art Deco style of the 1930s. Our Style Quirk ~ We never leave home without our gold necklace with an ogrie ai, black tourmaline (Provenance, Suriname) a Red Jasper Stone in the shape of a foot (Provenance, Spain) and gold snake bangles (Provenance, Suriname). Story to follow soon! Jewelry we covet ~ Cartier Love bracelet in rose gold & platinum, de Grisogono Sensual ring. Perfume ~ JAR Lightning. Necessary Extravagance ~ Flying first class on Arab Emirates Airlines Airbus 380, a return to the chic, exclusivity and service of air travel in the 60s. Style fetish we try to keep secret ~ We adore Gothic Victoriana, particularly as executed by Alexander McQueen, Rick Owens, Rodarte, Olivier Theyskens for Nina Ricci. In the event of a fire we would save ~ Jardins de Nouvelle Angleterre scarf (Hermes), gold bell sleeved maxie dress (vintage, early 1970s), chocolate brown & creme cloche hat (vintage, early 1970s), monogram trunk (Louis Vuitton).

Images Via Coco+Kelly, Sassysistah

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Eames and the lure of Zaandam

Posted by Winifred on January 25th, 2012  •  No Comments »

Ice Cube on Eames
Via The New York Times

We ruminated on this for sometime.  Why did we like it so?  Was it that he said “What was appealing was showing off Los Angeles to people who think they know what Los Angeles is all about?” He referred to it as ‘the wizard of oz.’  We agree, there is a hidden magic.  But then we understood what interested us so.  It was that we had experienced something hidden elsewhere…In Zaandam and the traditional houses that still line its winding dorp-like streets.  We loved those houses, and the feel of old Holland still so rich yet mysterious like fragrant air.  We enjoyed the tribute made to them by WAM.

Inntel Hotels Zaandam

Via the Guardian

Maybe one day we too will celebrate Zaandam and have the opportunity to take you with us…

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Gelukkig Nieuw Jaar

Posted by Winifred on February 12th, 2011  •  No Comments »

One morning, we woke up

and it was 2011

so we decided to




Make a Wish, by Bettina Nissen

Via Designboom

And when we looked up we saw




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