Thursday, November 17, 2011


I realize this blog may, in fact, be somewhat defunct. But! I'm going resume posting because it's fun and maybe I should make an effort to make this not like tumblr. Also, when I read this post by Joy the Baker (fav), I got inspired. I was there looking for recipes for pumpkin things, because I ended up doing grocery shopping today and bought canned pumpkin just because. Now I am sitting in my apartment and this is the scene next to me:

i'm really into this holiday thing this year. really really into it. My dinner is cookies and cider. Sounds good to me.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

swedish furniture

i have grown up pretty much surrounded by swedish furniture, at least for the most part. and now that i'm looking at potential pieces of furniture for myself to have until who knows when, i'm paying a lot more attention to it.

(layla grayce)

Friday, June 17, 2011

masses of white flowers

in the book i posted about in the last entry, the power of style, white flowers appear time and time again in the stories of many different women. anecdotes are supplied about elsie de wolfe's party weekends, when she made sure her guests were given their favorite cocktails as they dressed for dinner, perfumed her lamp shades to subtly scent each space, and filled every room of the vast house with "masses of white flowers." when rita lydig's extravagant spending caught up with her, her sister recommended she cut out her habit of spending one thousand dollars each month on white cyclamens, lilies, and gardenias. sounds sort of reasonable, maybe a smart move? but lydig responded, "why should you take away that one beautiful thing from me? i can go without food. you must cut out the butcher for me, but i will not be without my white flowers." pauline de rothschild remembered her childhood poverty in france characterized by a table which always held a huge bouquet of lilies and white lilacs, even though there was nothing to eat. after she died, on her every birthday up until her husband's death, the staff of her home would make a procession to her grave bearing white lilacs.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

the power of style

so today i had to leave work early because i felt incredibly sick, went home, got in bed, and began to read a book my mom gave me that promised to be picture-heavy, called the power of style by annette tapert and diana edkins. two hours and 120 pages later, i was still fully engrossed and i intend to keep on reading it tonight.

it spends each in-depth chapter on one of fourteen twentieth-century style icons and arbiters of taste, including rita lydig, elsie de wolfe, daisy fellowes, diana vreeland, pauline de rothschild, babe paley, and the ubiquitous jacqueline onassis and coco chanel. it's totally obsession-inducing, not to mention inspiring. so much of what these women were about was self-invention. some were born privileged; others weren't; some were born beautiful; others weren't. nevertheless they achieved so much and they inspired so many people creatively, intellectually, stylistically, or artistically. or they were just plain entertaining and dressed well. either way, there's almost always something worthwhile to find in these women; even if some of them are less substantial than others, their stories still remain interesting and noteworthy.

i think jesse kornbluth puts it extremely well in his article on the book:
We look at actresses and society figures and comment on their plastic surgery and their expensive clothes and remember that it wasn't so long ago they were pig-tailed girls growing up dirt poor in the back of beyond --- we say they're "self-invented."

Like we aren't.

Self-invention is the great American tradition. Madonna was born with a last name. Ralph Lauren was once Lipschitz. And if my mother hadn't been in love with FDR and wanted her sons to go to Groton, his old prep school, I would not have attended Milton Academy and Harvard --- I might never have discovered khakis and boat shoes.


[I]f you have your nose pressed against the glass at all, you see only the woman in a dress --- not how she got there and the price she paid to get what she thought she wanted. In other words, you see someone who, if you're honest, you might like to be, just as you once fantasized about being a princess. But you're not a kid any more. You know that life is deals. You may even suspect that rich men aren't always so nice to their women. And so, reading Power of Style fresh, you can have a pure reaction --- some admiration, to be sure, but also pity, also compassion.

even though we're not necessarily talking about marie curies or mother teresas here, these women can still teach us a great deal about being your own person, accepting and understanding your shortcomings, faults or imperfections, and going beyond them to become exactly who you always wanted to be, or at least finding out who that is along the way. i think my favorite story was about daisy fellowes, whom i'd never even heard of:
"She recognized that she was the woman of that canvas: plain-faced, with a long but far from classical nose. More powerfully, she recognized that her inner reality was so far from her fantasy that accommodation was imposssible. And so she set out to become that chimerical woman.

Her first move was backward, into complete retreat. She remodeled her nose, cleared out her wardrobe, and found a better hairdresser. And then she began her real transformation. She read, day and night. She went to the theater regularly. Art galleries and museums became like second homes.

At last Daisy reemerged. And now she proved herself a great portraitist, for she had taken the dull canvas of her looks and personality and painted there a dazzling and irresistible creature, a living work of art. Daisy was now a chiseled classical beauty, possessed of a sleek and immaculate elegance, sharp-as-a-tack intelligence, and a superb, barbed wit."

how fantastic is that?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

the movie that taught me about style

i saw the talented mr. ripley when i was in seventh grade at my best friend's birthday party. i then proceeded to watch it again later that week. and again. and again. it launched an obsession with jude law that lasted for three years (i maintain that he has never looked better, before or since). i am not joking when i say that this film introduced me to matt damon and cate blanchett, and informed me that gwyneth paltrow was not, in fact, british, as she had seemed in shakespeare in love. but it was also one of the very first movies to introduce me to true style. and thanks to a post on the blog all this happiness, i've been reminded of everything i ever loved about this movie. and oh, there was a lot.

seriously, jude law. italy. jazz. matt damon's glasses. gwyneth paltrow's hair. gwyneth paltrow's outfits. i just. clearly this was a SEMINAL moment in my life. i don't even know how many times i've watched this film. it's a ridiculous number. but it really is stylish as hell.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

kelly wearstler

having a fantastic time over at kelly wearstler's new blog my vibe my life. she's such an inspiration. even though her taste is sometimes very different from mine, i still love the way she designs space and uses color. and it's interesting to go outside your comfort zone and discover something new. she still makes everything look really well put together and appealing. and she's just really, incredibly cool.

"a vibe tray for a living room in a miami villa"

all images © kelly wearstler, inc.