TRANSLATION | Eugenia Yang
「感謝家人開通又明理，讓我在產後仍能開創自己的事業，照料三個女兒之餘，能有一個自己的小小天地，追求夢想並自我實現」，掩不住眼底的閃爍光芒，海峽會蔡辰男會長兒媳林懿嬅 Teresa 在開朗笑聲中娓娓道來。秉持著圓滿感恩的心，周旋於多重角色之間，每一天都奔走在熱愛生活中的她是那般地不疾不徐，從容且優雅。回歸初心溫柔地端倪世界，如今她更喜歡現在的自己。
“I want to thank my in-laws for being very understanding and supportive towards me having my own business after my pregnancy. Apart from taking care of my kids, I can still have a place where I can pursue my dreams.” Unable to hide the sparkle in her eyes, C.S. Club president Tsai Chen-Nan’s daughter-in-law, Teresa Lin, continues to hold a grateful heart as she takes on several different roles in life. As time passes, what’s left is a sense of content and elegance. Now, looking at the world with a gentler heart, Teresa prefers who she is now.
自2015年與好友共同創立 Mon Bonbon 嬰幼品牌，以縝密心思與細緻品味精選各國質感服飾與生活用品，落實「美感體驗」於育嬰日常，六年多以來，受到不少忠實顧客的喜愛。憶起創業契機，Teresa 表示當育兒經驗愈加豐富，自己也會產生更多的想法，越是忙碌於某一領域，也會越懷念另一個領域的自我。因此在考慮創業時，她便希望能以媽媽們的角度為出發點，引進實用與美感兼具的商品，為的就是讓媽媽們在育兒之路上，不只是勞累，而是同時能兼顧自我。曾受法國文化薰陶的 Teresa，「香氣」也是她相當重視的生活細節，為了開發自有品牌的嬰幼護膚產品，特地與法國頂級調香師合作，選用草本素材調配天然專屬香氛，不同於市場上幼兒產品常用的味道，她所追求的是讓媽媽們打開產品的瞬間，得到舒心安定的療癒感，「當育兒生活中充滿了有美感的東西，也就不會覺得育兒只有辛苦。」談及 Mon Bonbon 一詞，則源自法文口語的「我的糖果」，成為媽媽之後，Teresa 認為孩子就像手心的糖果般珍貴甜蜜，而自創品牌也如同孕育了另一個寶貴生命，極富柔情蜜意的命名緣由讓人莞爾。
從年華少女到走進婚姻，Teresa 把對生活的熱情帶入家庭，不僅與先生感情融洽，對於三位女兒的陪伴也親力親為，即使工作與家務繁忙，仍把陪伴女兒成長視為生活中最重要的事。對於如何高效管理時間，Teresa 認為「心態調適」是一大關鍵。這個階段的女性內外均面臨繁瑣大小事，若自我要求過高，便容易陷入無垠黑洞。「我要求自己一天至多把三件事情做好，其他的就先求有再求好，再利用零碎時間完成即可。」對於每日所遇見的人事物，Teresa多抱持正面的感謝，「也許是經歷了比較多，妳不會再期待日日是好日，事情都按照妳想要的方式去進行，沒有又怎麼樣，明天又是全新的一天！所以每天結束前還是謝謝努力的自己，和遇見的每個人。」自從當了母親後，Teresa 開始洗手作羹湯，前陣子疫情肆虐，每天便自己開菜單、做果醬，獨門餛飩與肉燥是不可少的廚房常備品，平時也會跟經營餐飲業（海峽會、辰壽司割烹等）的夫家請教，對於食材處理與烹調時間的掌控，以及相異元素所產生的調味奧義進行交流，從中習得人生百態之況味。
不再追求年少時的搶眼奪目，Teresa 說現在是一個比較自在的年紀，「穿衣服不是為了要讓大家覺得妳很時髦，身材很好，而是讓自己感到開心」，對於日常穿搭，Teresa 通常會選擇較簡約的風格，更吸引她的是擁有特殊細節的設計、質地以及背後的設計理念，必備單品則是戒指與耳環，「我的時尚觀是美感兼顧實用，讓自己感到自在」。提及如何尋找自我風格，Teresa 表示一開始要勇於嘗試，從經驗中會漸漸讓自己知道適合什麼，時尚之所以存在，便是藉由每季的更迭替換，給了人們絕佳機會去更新衣櫃。以自身為例，她喜歡運用幾件當季的時尚單品搭配衣櫥裡的經典款，或以平價款式與精品混搭，跳脫品牌框架之餘，更從流行趨勢裡走出專屬於 Teresa 的典雅自適。香奈兒女士曾說過「女人有可能過度打扮，但不可能過於優雅。」於 Teresa 而言，她認為女人的內心越富足，表現出來的態度就越從容，那個從容便是人們所望見的優雅。「優雅是由內而外的，心境平和來自於內在的豐滿，所以平常要多閱讀，妳讀的書越多，越可以從書裡面去得到一些無法在現實生活中學到的經驗，再反芻成爲自己的觀念」，充實自我，永保好奇心是Teresa淡定面對複雜世界的不二法門。
兼任成功創業家、完美妻子、模範媽媽等不同身份，回歸生命本質，人終究是孤獨的個體，每個階段的徬徨迷惘與低潮質疑，伴韶光流逝，逐一造就了「自我」的最終形貌。遙想甜蜜過往，甫生完老大的前半年，也曾讓Teresa 感到些許焦慮，「成爲媽媽這件事，是有點措手不及的，妳的生活因為多了一個生命，徹頭徹尾的改變，而且是沒日沒夜的那種。」新生命帶來了無比的快樂，但育兒點滴有不少是擁有兩個碩士的她無法理解，也不知努力能否帶來改變。所幸 Teresa 很快地調整好步伐，她明白平白焦慮毫無助益，當事情的複雜度與難易度無法減少時，能扭轉的便是自己的心態。於是她每日爭取比孩子早半小時起床看書，於文字中爬梳自我，不僅平衡了育兒的焦慮，心靈綠洲也獲得了滿足。「年輕一點的時候，會期待他人帶給你快樂或事情順利進展，才會讓妳快樂。可是現在，我覺得快樂是自己找的」，一回生育參悟了世事哲理，如今閱讀、運動、美食，是 Teresa 在忙碌生活中平衡身心的三大法寶。「一個人唯一會逆生長的其實是『勇氣』，只要妳還有夢想和目標在追求，即使年紀大了一些，眼底還是會有光芒」，縱使有些微的皺紋與白髮又何妨？那是認認真真過生活的迷人印記，經歲月淬煉後的智慧光彩更顯璀璨奪目。
Selecting only high quality clothing and daily necessities for her brand, Teresa cofounded babycare brand Mon Bonbon with her friend back in 2015. Recalling what prompted her to start her own business, she remembers how she was getting more ideas as she began to gain more experience in parenting. While she got busier in one field, she found herself reminiscing about other possibilities. Thus, Teresa decided to start her business from a mother’s perspective in the hopes of helping mothers take care of their babies and more importantly, take better care of themselves. As someone who was influenced by French culture, Teresa views the olfactory as an important aspect of life. For her own babycare brand, she collaborated with top French perfumers to create the most natural and distinctive herb-based fragrances. Different from the baby powder we see on the market, she wants to bring a sense of calm and comfort for mothers when they take in the scent. “When life is filled with beautiful things, you tend to forget the hardship of parenting.” Speaking of the name Mon Bonbon, it actually comes from the French phrase “my candy.” After becoming a mother, Teresa holds her kids in her palm like candies that are sweet and precious. The establishment of the brand is just like giving birth to another child, one with a meaningful name that instantly puts a smile on people’s faces.
From a young girl to getting married, Teresa has always devoted herself to her family. Not only does she share an intimate relationship with her husband, but she also puts a lot of effort into educating her kids. In spite of her busy schedule, Teresa never misses out on her children’s extracurricular activities and events. Getting up at 5:30 in the morning to listen to her daughter play piano has already become a daily routine. When it comes to delegating her time, Teresa believes it is important to adjust your mentality. In the face of pressure and anxiety, we often set a bar that is too high to achieve, which is why it is important to maintain a peace of mind. “I think perfecting three tasks a day is the maximum. The rest depends on the spare time I have left.” As for keeping a positive mind for the people and things we encounter, Teresa believes that is the meaning of life. “At this point, we have encountered a lot. So what, if today is not a good day? Or if things don’t go the way as planned? You learn to appreciate your effort and everyone who is there to support you.” Ever since becoming a mother, Teresa has started to take up cooking. In the wake of the pandemic, homemade jams, wontons and minced meat became a must on the family dinner table. She also learned a lot from her husband’s family, who owns several restaurants such as C.S. Club and Chen Sushi Kappou. Through understanding how to properly process the ingredients and how the different flavors compliment each other, Teresa is able to appreciate the life lessons hidden within each cooking process.
With Ease and Elegance
No longer pursuing the glamour of youth, Teresa is now at a comfortable age. “Instead of wanting people to see you as fashionable or fit, the outfits you choose should be about making yourself happy.” For her daily outfits, she usually goes for a simple, minimalist style with rings and earrings as her go-to accessories. She is also drawn to special tailoring, distinctive material and meaningful design concept. “To me, fashion is about aesthetics and practicality. It is also about my comfort.” When asked about ways to find one’s own style, Teresa believes we have to find the courage to try because our experiences will gradually show us what’s best for us. The very existence of fashion is about the changing of seasons, which leads to the opportunity for us to renew our wardrobe every once in a while. Taking herself as an example, Teresa likes to style some of her in season pieces with the classics she already has. Besides from breaking the brands’ framework, she is also establishing a style that belongs to her and her only. Like Coco Chanel once said, “A woman can be overdressed but never over elegant.” To Teresa, she believes the more satisfied a woman’s heart gets, the more content and calm her attitude becomes; it is the ultimate elegance. “Elegance comes from the inside, while the peace of mind comes from a content heart. It is important to fulfill yourself by constantly reading because the more books you read, the more you learn. And these lessons eventually become your own set of values.”
Stripping away the labels of different identities—a successful entrepreneur, a perfect wife, a model mother—we return to the essence of life. After all, we are all considered as independent individuals. As time passes, we will encounter moments of loss and anxiety, and yet these are the keys to shaping who we are. Reflecting on her past, Teresa admits the birth of her first child was the most anxious to her. “Becoming a mom was something I wasn’t entirely prepared for, because your life is completely changed and there is no going back.” The arrival of a newborn brought her insurmountable joy, but it was also the first time in her life where she realized that there are things that she couldn’t solve, not even with her two master degrees. Gradually, Teresa adjusted her pace as she understood that emotional fluctuation was not helpful. In the face of unchangeable complexity and difficulty, the only thing that can be changed is her own mentality. By waking up half an hour early in the morning to read, Teresa is able to find her true self in between lines and words as her spiritual oasis is satisfied. “When I was younger, I was always relying on others to bring me happiness and fulfillment. But now, I realize we have to find our own happiness.” Acknowledging the truth to life through her pregnancy, now Teresa balances her life with three main pillars—reading, working out and enjoying good food. “As we gain more experience, the only thing that defies time is courage. As long as you are still pursuing your dreams and goals, it doesn’t matter how old you are. The light in your eyes will continue to shine.” So what, if wrinkles and gray hair are starting to show? Those are the earnest marks of us living our lives to the fullest, a testament of wisdom after all the years we have endured.