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English Muse: March 2011

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Inspiration Journals of Rachel Duarte

I love finding inspiration journals on flickr -- like little windows into other people's creative souls. This one was created by Rachel Duarte. Her "rules for being human" are so lovely and true.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wednesday Media Bits

Hello everyone,
I usually do my media round ups on Mondays, but here it is Wednesday! Here's my little list of interesting things. Please check back and let me know what you think!

Colette has more punch than Proust?

Ten movies that were better than the book.

Five perfumes for nerds.

A new portrait of Edith Piaf.

The ultimate fashion website blogroll.

Dumb stuff overheard in bookstores.

Have a lovely day!

(Illustration by Aidan Koch.)


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Clever Bookshelf...

I love this little bookshelf. It seems perfect for bedside reading. My nightstand is stacked with so many books and magazines at the moment, there's barely room for the lamp...

Photo, above, from here. Bookshelf, by David Design, for sale here.

Hope you're having a lovely week!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Paris, East and West

I just read the most extraordinary story about Paris by writer Amy M. Thomas in the New York Times. Her prose is so beautiful, it made me want to pack my bags and go! Thomas spent two years living in Paris and currently is at work (in New York) on a book about her time there. She did the NYT story as a little prelude.

A snippet:

"I made my home in the center of the Right Bank, off the Rue Montorgueil. On an amazing market street filled with patisseries, fromageries and boucheries, nothing made me happier, or feel more Parisienne, than meandering up and down the pedestrian blocks, inhaling the irresistible smells of roasting chickens, stinky cheeses and warm, yeasty baguettes.

"On more occasions than warranted, I’d treat myself to a crème-filled pain aux raisins from Stohrer, one of the oldest bakeries in Paris. Not too far away in the Marais, at a bread stand inside the Marché des Enfants Rouges, the Cornet Vegetarien — a sandwich of fresh greens, grated carrots and fennel, marinated onions and thinly sliced avocado, dressed with olive oil and honey and dusted with chives and lime zest — was like nothing I’d ever eaten. And the man who prepared it, Alain, a barrel-chested maestro who was given to bursts of song and dance, always made my day."

This story made my day.
(How much is the NYT Internet subscription? Sign me up!)

UPDATE: I just discovered that Amy Thomas, the writer of the NYT story, has a blog, called God I Love Paris!

Photo, above, by Imke Klee


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Black Swan Controversy

There was lots of buzz this weekend about Natalie Portman's body double -- ballerina Sarah Lane -- claiming she did most of the dancing in the movie Black Swan. Portman's face, Lane says, was grafted onto her body by film editors.
(Example of the movie's very cool special effects above.)

It's another interesting twist in the making of this fascinating movie. The Wall Street Journal has a Q&A with Lane HERE...

Do you think Lane's claim diminishes Portman's Oscar win?

Friday, March 25, 2011

The weekend...

Happy Friday everyone! I wanted to sign off for the week with a link to this interesting New York Times story, headlined "Gadgets you should get rid of (or not)."

In sum: Dump the desktop, keep the books (with one exception-cookbooks???)

Have a lovely weekend!

(Illustration by Vivienne Strauss.)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A South Bronx Sanctuary

I admit it: I love vintage clutter. This South Bronx house, featured in this week's NYT, is especially fantastic.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor

Brave and beautiful.

My small tribute on tumblr.

A book hoarder's call for help...

Do you read me? Model : Annie Beust

Mark Medley, the National Post's books editor, has the most wonderful essay out today
on his life as a book hoarder.

He explains:

"Between my girlfriend and I me, there are probably between 1,000 and 1,250 books in our apartment, a number I consider rather paltry. Ideally, I’d like to double that number once we buy our first home — we currently rent — and I’m no longer faced with the prospect of hauling countless boxes of books between addresses.

"No, the problem, in my opinion, is not the number of books I own, but that I am unable to get rid of any of them. I own some terrible, terrible books — you wouldn’t believe how many crap books get published in this country — but cannot, for the life of me, part with a single one. I am a book hoarder, which, in my line of work, is a troublesome problem to have."

Medley adds:

"When A&E’s Hoarders premiered a couple of years ago, I watched with morbid fascination; that’s me, I thought, in 25 years (OK, five years)."


This is me -- right down to watching the Hoarders episodes on A&E! I have a friend who is merciless about getting rid of her old books (she leaves boxes of them on the doorsteps of second-hand stores late at night.) She says I should be less sentimental, but somehow I just can't...

What about you?

(Photo by Magic Magic Magic.)


What are you reading?

Lily reading Jackie

What do you recommend?

(Photo by Party Tights.)


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I Capture the Castle...

I'm rereading I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. It's such a charming book. I would love to live in that old rundown castle with its mismatched furniture. (I think I'm longing again to have a house and garden.)

Smith wrote the book in the US in 1948. But these days it seems to be enjoying a Renaissance, especially in the UK.
Have you read it?

The book's main character, Cassandra, has a conversation one evening with her sister Rose about whether Jane Austen or Charlotte Brontë is better.

"Which would be the nicest," Rose asks, "Jane with a touch of Charlotte, or Charlotte with a touch of Jane?"

"Fifty per cent each way would be perfect," says Cassandra.

(Notice: there's no mention of Emily!)

Photo illustration, above, by Julie Kwon.


Team Emily or Team Charlotte?

As the latest Jane Eyre movie opened in US theaters earlier this month, filmmakers were busy putting the finishing to touches on a new adaptation of Wuthering Heights.

"The debate of 2011 is shaping up to be: Charlotte or Emily Bronte?" says the Daily Beast's Jennie Yabroff. "Ever since the release of Charlotte's Jane Eyre and Emily's Wuthering Heights within months of each other in 1847, the Brontë sibling rivalry has been an epic war of words."

So here's the question of the day:


(My slightly off kilter interpretation of the sisters from here.)


Monday, March 21, 2011

Retro Photos, Redone...

Photographer Irina Werning has long been fascinated with old photographs, especially the ones that capture the goofy poses and dated interiors.

"Most of us are fascinated by their retro look but to me, it’s imagining how people would feel and look like if they were to reenact them today," she explains on her website. "A few months ago, I decided to actually do this. So, with my camera, I started inviting people to go back to their future."

Her subjects dug out their old photographs, and -- with a little creative staging -- allowed Werning to recreate their past.

The result is amazing:

GAHH, people are so funny! I love them.

Werning -- who took most of these photos in London and Buenos Aries (where she's living at the moment) -- has more photos like this on her website.


She looking for new subjects for her Back to the Future II series.
If you're in New York or Boston (in May) or in Europe (in June)
and don't care about reliving your past,
drop her a line!

BTW, she has a hilarious set of photos that she took of her friend's hairless dog, Chini.

(Via Better Shelter Blog.)

Monday Media Bits...

tuxedo of ashes
Here's a little round up of some of the things I found interesting and inspirational around the Internet this weekend. Have a lovely Monday!


Op-Art: Scenes from the Tsunami

Could this book kill the Kindle?

Unearthing treasures at Paris vintage clothing stores

Stylish homes of Berliners

Anthropologie adds home design studios to 12 stores

Collage illustration (above) by Lillianna.


Friday, March 18, 2011

For Japan With Love

This is an amazing effort -- largely by women style bloggers -- to raise funds for Japan.
The goal was to raise $5500. As of this evening, more than $45,000 was pledged.

Grab the banner and donate here!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Weekend...

Spring Series

I'm looking forward to staring my new book this weekend -- The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery. And, I really want to go to the flea market to search for lovely little treasures to incorporate into the jewelry I'm making at the moment.

What are you doing this weekend!?

(Photo by Aeioux.)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Tokyo Travel Journal...

...By Rachael Rifat...

tokyo 09 journal
tokyo 09 journal
tokyo 09 journal
tokyo 09 journal
tokyo 09 journal
tokyo 09 journal

So heartsick over what's happening in Japan.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Fantastic Online Magazines...




Lonny Magazine, created by one of Domino's former editors, was the Internet trailblazer, proving that you don't need a printing press to put out a stylish magazine. Following in Lonny's footsteps: Matchbook and Rue Magazine.

The Internet has truly Democratized publishing!

PS: More magazines listed at Realistic Chic.


Monday, March 14, 2011

A few changes here....

No, you're not seeing things...

I made a few changes here at the English Muse! I REALLY changed the fonts and went back to two columns. I ditched my old template for Blogger's standard issue Simple format. I'm trying to get my page to load faster. I hope this helps! Let me know what you think!

(Cute photo by Claude.)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Thoughts and Prayers

I've been thinking so much this weekend about the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan. More than 1,000 people are confirmed dead and more than 10,000 are missing. Parts of the country have very little electricity and no water supply. People need food, blankets and shelter.

I've been trying to figure out the best way to donate to the relief efforts. has a good list of charities that are responding. HERE'S THE LINK if you're interested in giving too.

(Photo by Masaaki Miyara.)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Parisian Chic : A Style Guide

The new edition of Lonny magazine has a fantastic feature on Ines de le Fressange's book, Parisian Chic: A Style Guide. It's due out on April 5th. I'm pre-ordering on Amazon!

It reminds me, though, I really need a Paris fix.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Monday Media Bits

Sunday, March 6, 2011

All Things Jane Eyre

The new Jane Eyre movie opens on March 11 and it looks fantastic. Focus Features has set up
a website with tons of info about the movie and the book. I'm excited to see it!


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Swedish Girl in Paris

I'm so in love with Madelene Lindqvist's photo-diary blog, Le Portillon, about her life in Paris. She looks so charming strolling the streets in her red Marc Jacobs coat.