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English Muse: November 2010

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Collection 2
We put in an offer today on the little Victorian now we're waiting to hear...
if it's meant to be.

(Photos by Amanda Elizabeth Foster & Claire Prenton.)

Monday, November 29, 2010

My hopes for another chance...

....It's been seven months since we sold our beloved English Tudor house in the midst of this dreadful economy. I went through the summer missing my old garden with all its pink roses....So maybe I should be more cautious. But, I really want another house...
This time I've fallen completely in love with a little Victorian:

It's 125 years old...

It looks so cute on the outside but inside it's, well, a project.
Can I afford to fall in love again with another house?

I really want another chance.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

What's your favorite book of 2010?

It's hard to decide between fiction, biographies and decor books. First, I have to disclose that I tend to wait until novels come out in paperback (and show up at my favorite second-hand store) so I can spend my limited book resources on gorgeous tomes like, sigh, the Louis Vuitton trunks book. But I did enjoy the Franzen book in hardcover. I loved the book of letters between Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. I got my hands on an advance reader's copy of Mr. Chartwell by Rebecca Hunt and it was wonderful. And then there was that gorgeous Cleopatra biography by Stacy Schiff.

But my favorite book? I'm going to pick something completely indulgent, like a box of multi-colored macarons from Ladurée.

It was Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M. for just the pure joy of it.

(Photo by Lola Thomasina.)


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Saturday Photos

Happy Saturday lovelies. I updated my Tumblr page, if you're looking for a little visual inspiration. :)

Friday, November 26, 2010

House Hunting

We're starting to house hunt again and I'm falling in love with all the properties redone by
Better Shelter, a group of Los Angeles area renovators who understand
that it's not just about plaster and paint.
Take a look at how they've styled two of their houses:
It makes me want to buy the homes and all the stuff inside them.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I just wanted to tell you how thankful I am for all the friends I've met here in the blogosphere. Some of my dearest friends now are people I've never actually met in person. Funny how the New World works!

Thank you for all your support this year, especially with the passing of my dad. Your kind comments keep me going.


(Photo by the amazing Alexander Salvage.)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Someday we'll be famous...

Somebody died for this. Somebody died for just one kiss.

from here and here.


Monday, November 22, 2010

happy list

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Dear Mr. James...

A Polaroid appreciation.
(from here)


And a fan letter:

(from here)

You never know what you're going to find on Flickr!

PS: Didn't Diablo Cody win the Oscar for writing Juno?...


Friday, November 19, 2010

Happy Friday

tumblr: Nov 18
Happy Friday everyone! What do you have planned this weekend? I'm taking off early today to hang out with my bff, who is visiting from Paris. We're driving down the coast for a couple days of relaxation, reading and sunshine. I just got Kazuo Ishiguro's "Nocturnes." I can't wait to start it. I'm also bringing an assortment of fashion magazines
and the latest issue of New York magazine. (There's a really interesting story on James Frey...)

Thank you to everyone who friended me on tumblr (sorry, i know i'm mixing social media terms). Anyway, I've been enjoying all your pages!

Have a lovely, lovely weekend!

(Photo, above, is a snapshot from my tumblr archive. Image credits are there.)


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Darcy on Twitter

Ok, I admit it. I'm an Internet addicted Janeite. So here it is, my latest discovery: Darcy on Twitter (created by the lovely Austen Pride.)

The Colin Firth Darcy is the best, don't you think? And I love the bio:  "Currently unemployed, living off my considerable assets. Dislikes: gold diggers. Likes: lively women with fine eyes."

Following 5 people (so typical)
Followed by 125,000
Updates: 17

Retweet indeed!


Giveaway: Patti Smith's "Just Kids" (CLOSED)

In honor of Patti Smith's National Book Award win this week I'm giving away a new copy of
her book, "Just Kids."

So leave a comment here. The winner will be announced on Monday!

AND THE WINNER IS: Someone in Jogja City!

So, what are you reading now?

Florence, Italy
At the moment, I'm reading Edith Wharton's "Italian Backgrounds." I've read lots of travel diaries about Italy, but Wharton's is amazing, like some delicious multi-layered tiramisu. You can't decide which is more lovely -- the subject or the prose.

This is escapist reading at its most, well, ravishing...

Photo by StopKatie.


1.8 million views on a video about...a pop up book??

I'm amazed at the number of YouTube views on this:  1,812,556 to be exact.

Any theory on why?

Maybe people find novelty in watching a video about something you can't  do on a Kindle?

Regardless, it gives me hope that print -- and pop up books -- live on...


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Patti Smith Wins

Some very cool news:  The National Book Foundation just announced that Smith's autobiography "Just Kids," covering her years as muse to photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, won a National Book Award this year in the non-fiction category.

More winners here.

Add: Smith recently told Galleycat that writing is like exercise.
 "You have to commit to doing it and you have to do it every day," she said.

I wonder if blogging counts?

My Favorite Used Bookstore

Screen shot 2010-11-16 at 10.59.50 PM

The great thing about reading is it takes you places you've never been before or never thought to go. And there's no place where that's truer than in a great secondhand bookstore...

Screen shot 2010-11-16 at 11.03.07 PM

It's a place where tattered best sellers from a decade ago
merge with books that defeat time...


And literary journals are mixed with foreign magazines...

Read Books

Like some perfect literary alchemy...

Screen shot 2010-11-16 at 11.01.23 PM

So this is my favorite hangout...


It's called Read Books and it's in Eagle Rock, a neighborhood in Los Angeles.

Lately I've been buying a book and a magazine (requiring much restraint), and then heading a block down the street to Auntie Em's for coffee and a chocolate cupcake.

Added bliss: sitting at an outside table, reading and watching
the sunset over the Santa Monica Mountains.

ADD: I just realized that this post has received comments from readers in six countries: the US, the UK, the Philippines, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. So lovely to know that the love of wonderful old books is global!


Are you on Tumblr?

my tumbler page

I'm finally trying to do something with my long neglected Tumblr page.

Do you want to exchange links?!

Hamlet, the FB News Feed Edition

Screen shot 2010-11-17 at 7.24.38 AM
Want to read more?
Click Here!

(Hamlet page created by the very clever Sarah Schmelling.)


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Liebemarlene at the Hemingway House

Rhiannon Leifheit, one of my favorite vintage fashion bloggers, took a trip this week to Key West,  Florida, where she visited the Hemingway House. I especially love the picture of the cat with six toes. (Hemingway adored cats and now the estate grounds are populated with them!)

Rhiannon has more lovely pictures on her blog, Liebemarlene.

More about the Hemingway cats here.

It's official: Carey Mulligan will play Daisy

After weeks of speculation, director Baz Luhrmann announced today that Carey Mulligan will play Daisy Buchanan in his adaptation of the Great Gatsby...

"I was privileged to explore the character with some of the world’s most talented actresses, each one bringing their own particular interpretation," said Luhrmann, who also considered Blake Lively, Scarlett Johansson, Natalie Portman, Michelle Williams, Abbie Cornish
and Keira Knightley for the part.

"However, specific to this particular production of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, I was thrilled to pick up the phone an hour ago to the young Oscar-nominated British actress Carey Mulligan and say to her: ‘Hello, Daisy Buchanan,’” said Luhrmann.

She'll star opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie roles played in 1974
by Robert Redford and Mia Farrow.

What do you think of Carey in this role?

(Photos, above by Mikael Jansson for Interview Magazine.)

Are you ready for a royal wedding?

I'm very excited about the Royal Engagement!   I need this distraction: Like what sort of dress should Kate wear? And where should they honeymoon? And how will they decorate the castle
 and all that?

The Internet is buzzing with royal trivia and advice:

For example,  Fashionista offers suggestions on wedding dresses.

The Telegraph suggests that Victoria Beckham design the royal gown.

AOL ponders whether Kate could be queen.

The Daily Beast applauds William's decision to marry a commoner.

The Queen sent her congrats on Twitter?

The engagement china is already set.

And Kate will wear Diana's engagement ring!

Oh, and by the way, the Beatles are on iTunes. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

"French Essence," by Vicki Archer

Ten years ago, Vicki Archer bought and restored a seventeenth-century property in Saint-Remy-de-Provence, and told the story in her lushly gorgeous book, My French Life. Now, in collaboration again with photographer Carla Coulson, she shares her love of her current place of residence -- Provence.

Her new book, French Essence, is definitely on my xmas wish list. Vicki -- who also has
 a beautiful blog -- knows how to pack a lifetime of beauty, ambience and inspiration into her stylish tomes.

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Studio
  • Price: $45

And Now Presenting: Jane Austen on Facebook

Haha...I'm obsessed with these..

Who would you like to see next!?





Hello my dears,

Have you been following journalist and critic Christopher Hitchens' courageous stories about living with stage four cancer?

Hitchens' illness was discovered when he collapsed at the beginning of a national tour earlier this year to promote his autobiography, "Hitch 22". Since then, he has written with humor, intelligence and unflinching honesty about life in what he calls "Tumortown" in a remarkable
  series of columns for Vanity Fair.

How serious is his condition? Well, as he likes to point out, there are no stage five cancers.

Again and again during his illness, he has returned to the consolations of great literature. In a Guardian interview over the weekend, Hitchens says that when he conceives his life's work--all the journalism and debates and polemics--he thinks of it as a defense of civilization by which he means, first of all, literature.

(Photo, above, from Vanity Fair.)

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Wisdom in a Fortune Cookie

We went to dinner this weekend at our favorite neighborhood Chinese restaurant. I was breaking open a fortune cookie and lamenting about how things
haven't been happening fast enough
in my life.
 Maybe it's one of the underestimated consequences of the recession. 
Everything takes so much longer: returned emails and phone calls, job offers and freelance.
 Sometimes I think I could lose my mind with the waiting.

I sighed when this little slip fell from the torn cellophane.


Damn prescient fortune cookie, who writes these things?

Little Libraries

This is one of the joys and complexities of living with lots of books:  It seems there's never enough space to store them.  So every nook in our house doubles as a bookshelf.

little libraries

This is a little snapshot of what our living room looks like in our flat! 
(The girl in the photograph, above, is my daughter Isabella a few years back.)

Old stools find new life as tuffets and paperback props.
 (I should probably paint this one below, but I sort of like its rustic, workbench look)

Screen shot 2010-11-13 at 10.34.07 AM

I love that Cicero quote: 
A room without books is like a body without a soul.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Happy Weekend & Links

Hello everyone!

What do you have planned this weekend? I'm trying out a new yoga place tomorrow and on Sunday, I'm going to the Hollywood Farmers Market. In between I'm reading Mr. Chartwell, by Rebecca Hunt, and a stack of fashion magazines.

So, here are my must-read weekend links:

The Telegraph's review of the new Harry Potter movie, "Deathly Hallows, Part 1."
It looks fantastic!

A New York Times' story on fashion stylists as blogging icons.


One Brit's take on Mark Twain, with the impending release of his autobiography (part 1),
 100 years after his death.

See you back here Sunday night!

PS: Don't forget to enter the books giveaway. I'll announce a winner on Monday!

(Photo via WishWishWish.)

Lizzy & Darcy

I love these illustrations by Nan Lawson, a Los Angeles artist. She was recently featured on Etsy where she told the story of how she was able to give up her day job to sell her art!

She has even more lovely things in her store.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


As usual, I have way too many books and magazines. Would you like a box with a mix of new and old? Leave a comment here! The winner will be announced tomorrow!

(Photo from When I Paint My Masterpiece.)

The winner is Krissy!


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Kate Spade: "Things We Love" Book!

I CAN'T WAIT to get a copy of this book! I LOVE Spade's popular website series "Things We Love" and now, I want to weep with joy that it's in book form. (Sorry, I'm catching my breath now.) I can't find it yet on Amazon. So stay tuned for the release date....

(Via The NeoTraditionalist)