Monday, December 27, 2010

a little new year's list.

2011 will be brighter than 2010. at least i think it will be. but i say that every year. this time i really and truly believe it, which is the important thing anyway. i've been thinking lately about resolutions, and that i never see much point in them as i forget them after two and a half weeks, on average. but this year will be different. right? right. i decided not to get too lofty and limit the list to two. so here it is:
1. start taking tap lessons again. easy enough. (or easier said than done? i'm not sure yet.) my inspiration:
                                                          Gene Kelly. who else?

2. the most important and most often overlooked--do more. for people i know and people i don't know.

Friday, December 17, 2010

bright star

Bright Star is my second installment of movies that should have won an oscar in march. this one is about  the poet John Keats, whose house I recently visited (but didn't get to go inside) in London. the movie itself is a poem, and is so beautiful I could die. Really, I think I could. It is the most literary-based movie i've ever seen: Keats' poetry is integrated perfectly into the script.
It balances simplicity and drama in such a perfect way.

John Keats: I had such a dream last night. I was floating above the trees with my lips connected to those of a beautiful figure, for what seemed like an age. Flowery treetops sprung up beneath us and we rested on them with the lightness of a cloud. 
Fanny Brawne: Who was the figure? 
John Keats:  I must have had my eyes closed because I can't remember. 
Fanny Brawne:  And yet you remember the treetops. 
John Keats:  Not so well as I remember the lips. 
Fanny Brawne:  Whose lips? Were they my lips?

Fanny Brawne: I still don't know how to work out a poem. 

John Keats: A poem needs understanding through the senses. The point of diving into a lake is not immediately to swim to the shore but to be in the lake, to luxuriate in the sensation of water. You do not work the lake out, it is a experience beyond thought. Poetry soothes and emboldens the soul to accept the mystery. 
Fanny Brawne: I love mystery.

You don't have to work through a poem, systematically, to know that or how it affects you. I did get a bit emotional when i heard Ben Whishaw's reading of Ode to a Nightingale. I'm not necessarily proud of that fact, but there it is just the same. And here it is, if you'd like to listen. See if it doesn't strike a certain cord. I bet it will.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

life in progress.

My life (and this little blog) have both been my works in progress lately. I think I'm finally done tinkering with blog design, but as for my life--that's another story entirely. Hopefully with this move in January, everything will start to fall back in place. hopefully. With Jack the horse nearby again, I think I'll be just fine. and happy. Not the Starbucks made my mocha right today or gosh the weather is so nice kind of happy--the other kind. For me it's always been horses, and living in a place that I truly care about. Oh, and this little (little?) dog here, too. I just had to post these photos from her bath tonight. Cute doesn't even begin to describe how I feel about this face. I'm a little obsessed.

Friday, December 10, 2010

christmas gift ideas

(or things i'd just like to keep for myself)

i've been so inspired by the etsy art i've been finding recently, including

these prints by Danna Ray:

photos by irenesuchocki:

jewelry by dinosaur toes (always...i'm obsessed):

Monday, December 6, 2010

a tiny little video

from a tiny trip to England.

music: Down River by the Temper Trap

the young victoria

The Young Victoria is, as the title states, a movie about Queen Victoria immediately before and after her rise to the throne. More than that, though, it is a movie about love. It's so rare to be able to watch a historical (i use that term loosely) movie about royalty that is also a happy love story. So that fact is a luxury in itself, not to mention the beautiful soundtrack, exquisite costumes, and to-die-for sets. It is a stunning and immense piece of artistic work.

Prince Albert: I just got your note. I was riding. 
Queen Victoria: Sit, please. 
Prince Albert: The park is marvelous. 
Queen Victoria: Im so pleased you like it. I do want you to feel quite at home... I'm sure you're aware why I wished you to come here. Because it would make me happier than anything, too happy really, if you would agree to what I wish. 
Prince Albert: And stay with you? 
Queen Victoria: And stay with me. 
Prince Albert: And marry you? 
Queen Victoria: And marry me! 

Rupert Friend's portrayal of Lord Albert is so heartbreakingly sweet and perfect that it makes you want to hope that men like that still exist. He is so thoughtful and genuine that you can't help but fall in love with him immediately. 
He spends hours learning to waltz so that he might make Victoria happy, and with his first letter sends sheet music of a Schubert song that reminds him of her. 
here is the clip:

and, not to forget Emily Blunt--her role as Victoria is astounding. Her strength and gracefulness underlined by a youthful innocence is nothing short of inspiring, not to mention her utter and absolute beauty.
Sir John Conroy:  You're too young! you've no experience. you're like a china doll, walking over a precipice... 
Princess Victoria: Well then I must smash! for it's too late to mend my ways now. 
I happen to have a list of movies that were nominated for Oscars this year but didn't win and should have. That may just be my opinion, but I tend to get pretty riled up when I watch the Oscars nowadays. Credit rarely goes where it's due. Anyway, this movie happens to be on that list. It was nominated for art direction, costume design and makeup. It won costume design and makeup, but that was it. I'm not saying it didn't deserve those two--it absolutely did. But it also deserved to win for best actress (hands down, Emily Blunt could act circles around Sandra Bullock…if that's possible), and maybe even best movie. that's a tough one, but yes, I do believe so. Admittedly I'm quite the sucker for period films, but nevertheless.
oh, and i'll be back next sunday with my opinion of what Bright Star should have won.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


courtesy of b.stetson

"love is like a little old woman
and a little old man who are still friends
even after they know each other so well."
--tommy, age 6

[quote via naturally nina]

Friday, December 3, 2010

rainy day and poundcake.

Since it was my sister's last night home before she went back to the big apple, I decided it would be a good night to make my grandmother's poundcake. Turns out Ali hates poundcake. But at least it gives me something to eat for breakfast in the mornings. And it's the only recipe I have of my grandmother's, who was famous in little old Reidsville, NC for her home cooking. It's nice having my little sister home, because she's the quick-witted comic of the family, so she reminds us all to laugh a little more and not take everything quite so seriously. I miss her so very much when she's gone.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

track kitchen

My sister is home from New York for Thanksgiving break, and per her request we drove to Aiken, SC this morning to the Track Kitchen. It's a little breakfast place whose main purpose is to feed hungry jockeys early in the morning, and is known for having the best pancakes in all of america. That's what we believe, anyway. During my parents' divorce back in high school, my mother, sister and I moved to Aiken for a few years, and even though I don't see myself moving back there, it's nice to visit and remember how strange and chaotic life was then. Aiken is a "quaint" little horse town, and I absolutely cherish the memories of Christmases at our barn on the dirt roads of downtown, early mornings feeding horses, afternoons riding in Hitchcock Woods and late nights mucking stalls. It's also where I met Brian, so all around it'll always be a special place to me.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

day seven. thanksgiving at stonehenge.

we spent thanksgiving at stonehenge. in accordance with the rest of this trip where nothing goes as planned, our ferry to dublin was canceled which pushed our return train to the holyhead port back 10 hours. so, we got creative and decided to catch the two hour bus to stonehenge, which is something i've wanted to do for as long as i can remember. it was freezing cold, which made it difficult just to stand in awe for very long, and there was a fenced path along the perimeter which was disappointing, but otherwise it turned out to be a pretty phenomenal thanksgiving. i'm always learning that sometimes it's best to let things fall where they may, rather than trying so hard to make things happen according to plan. you just never know what will happen.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

day six. and john keats' house.

we woke up and made it to the camden passage antiques market early this morning. too early, i should say. my dad put it on his list of things i should do, as he used to frequent it back in his days of buying trips to london for his shop. since then, the dealers have become fewer and the selection smaller, but i did manage to find some little trinkets.
we made the hike to john keats' house to find it closed. fortunately, we were allowed to walk the grounds, but i was still sorely disappointed and felt a little teary-eyed looking in the windows without being able to go in. 
from ode to a nightingale--
I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,

   Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,                     
But, in embalmèd darkness, guess each sweet                        
   Wherewith the seasonable month endows                           
The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild;                    
   White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine;                       
       Fast-fading violets cover'd up in leaves;                     
              And mid-May's eldest child,                          
The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine,                          
   The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.                    

Darkling I listen; and, for many a time                            
   I have been half in love with easeful Death,                    
Call'd him soft names in many a musèd rhyme,                          
   To take into the air my quiet breath;                           
Now more than ever seems it rich to die,                              
  To cease upon the midnight with no pain,                           
    While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad                   
           In such an ecstasy!                                     
Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain--                
   To thy high requiem become a sod.                                 

for breakfast/lunch we stopped into this little place called the elk in the woods (so cool), with awesome decor and delicious food. the hot chocolate was out of this world.

later in the day we made it to covent garden, where part of my fair lady took place (in the movie, eliza doolittle peddled flowers at the church here), and finished the day at the national gallery, followed by harry potter at the odeon leicester square cinema.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


this trip has forced me to think differently about things, to take less for granted, to love more, react slower, breathe deeper. i want to continue to see things the way i see them now, to strive harder to be happy and to remember how much beauty there is. of roses & hello comes from this e.e. cummings poem, which i think is so pretty and dark and lovely, and puts into words this feeling that i'm trying to define:

into the strenuous briefness
handorgans and April
darkness, friends

i charge laughing.
Into the hair-thin tints
of yellow dawn,
into the women-coloured twilight

i smilingly glide. I
into the big vermilion departure
swim, sayingly;

(Do you think?) the
i do, world
is probably made
of roses & hello:

(of solongs and, ashes) 

day five.

i think. i'm losing count and so tired tonight. 
today was a long day. we woke up and took the tube to see sir john soane's house, an architect we both believe was william in another life. my favorite part? the egyptian sarcophagus in the basement crypt. after that we took the train to brighton, where we toured the pavilion, king george IV's playhouse by the sea (awesome on the outside, a little too gaudy for my taste on the inside). we walked along the pebbled beach to a burnt out pier, had a snack at the coziest little pub, made friends with the sweetest siberian husky (why can't i bring my dog into restaurants in the states?), then went back to a friend's house to drink wine and head out for spanish tapas. it was the coldest day so far, and beautiful.

Monday, November 22, 2010

day four.


museum of natural history

my favorite.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

day three.

today we did the sail and rail to london, which added up to two hours of motion sickness on a rocking ferry, and close to five hours of train travel through english countryside, dotted with more cream and rust colored sheep than i've ever seen in my life. at times there was coastline on the left side and mountains on the right. it was surreal, to say the least. 
we spent tonight wandering aimlessly around these quiet little neighborhoods of london near our hostel. it's so comforting to walk these almost deserted streets in the cold night air.