Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!




Sparkle plenty, right? I love New Year's Eve. It's so hopeful and reflective. I'm still mulling over my resolutions, but I am, without reserve, fully ready and looking forward to 2011. I am so excited for upcoming projects, finding new avenues of inspiration, and finishing my Master's degree. Hopefully, the effects of all those things will be seen and realized here. Thank you so much for visiting and seeing the beginning of this project. It means so much to me, and I am very grateful for your support!

I wish you and yours all the best in 2011. Happy New Year!!

*liza

Image Sources: Kyokosphotos, Luxe + Lillies, and Marcin Stawiarz

The Month in Books : December



The Unconsoled by Kazuo Ishiguro (1996) - This was my sole November read, and I'm thankful it was a good one. Ishiguro's dizzying, gem-like novel follows a renowned musician who tries to ready himself for an important concert, but continually gets sidetracked by exasperating tasks and obligations. Reading it was a disorienting experience. I found myself utterly drawn into to each situation presented, much like the protagonist, but then would become frustrated with the seeming lack of direction. It was unlike anything I have ever read before, and was often so intense it affected my dreams! All in all, it was a thoroughly fascinating experience.

The English Passengers: A Novel by Matthew Kneale (2001) - Kneale's excellently detailed historical fiction oscillates between farce and factual tragedy, which is always a delicate endeavor. Told from a variety of perspectives, The English Passengers presents several intersecting story lines: a crew of smugglers determined to hold on to their haul and their ship, three men who charter it for Tasmania in search of the Garden of Eden, and the thoroughly cruel colonization of Tasmania seen through the eyes of a man named Peevay, a half-aborigine abandoned by his mother. I was ignorant of this specific era in Australia's history (other than my general knowledge of the brutality of colonialism), but Kneale's work has made me much wiser and, without a doubt, much sadder.

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters (2002) - Waters' The Little Stranger had a profound affect on me when I read it this past summer, so I expected a similar atmosphere of gloom and spookiness with Fingersmith. Well, gloom there was aplenty, as well as sexual tension, Victorian repression, and some very slick turns. Unlike The Little Stranger, this novel was good and soapy, which made it wonderfully escapist. I am very much looking forward to reading more of Waters' work and fully reveling in it.

Sophie's World: A Novel About the History of Philosophy by Jostein Gaarder (2007) - My reaction to Gaarder's novel is decidedly mixed. The portions on philosophy were well-rendered enough, but it is naturally not without bias (so little to say on Nietzsche!) and there could have been more discussion between the teacher and the student. Interestingly though, it was the actual narrative that was the least compelling aspect for me; the so-called mystery fell decidedly flat and the structure became repetitive. Throughout my reading, I kept hoping the characters would just move on and go back to talking about philosophy.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

On Turbans




Turbans - sartorially polarizing, no? Nearly all my favorite fashion bloggers are proclaiming their love of turbans and looking mighty fine while doing so, but I'm still a little shy about it for me. It's not that I'm lacking in the panache department, it's more that my particular brand of panache usually hovers around my footwear, not my head. This makes me think if I were going to sport a turban, I would go for subtle black. However, this eye-catching sweater-like version from The Future of Frances is so cool and great that I'm reconsidering my entire approach. If you have the verve to wear a turban, subtlety is clearly not what you are going for and you should just go ahead and make it the center of of your entire look. Go big or go home. And she just looks so charming and interesting!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Coconut-Curry Chicken Soup



Last week, amidst all the decadent food (pork tenderloin! breakfast strata! Hickory Farms gift basket of awesome!), I made a simple Thai soup at my mom's suggestion. The flavors were vastly different from anything else we planned on cooking, which made it an excellent dish to break up all the rich food. It was also my first legitimate attempt at making a Thai recipe- other than a disastrous Pad Thai experiment in college - and the results were so good, I thought I would share it here. I used this recipe from Cooking Light, doubling the curry to suit my own addictive need for spiciness.

Home States



A great Dribble series of designers' hometowns and states.

Via Design Work Life.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Party Frocks



A selection of New Year's Eve-appropriate attire from Juliette Hogan. Absurdly large scarf bow accessory optional, though it probably would make you the most photographed person at the party.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Books



Now that the holiday has passed and all the presents have been opened, I thought I would share one of my family's traditions. A few years ago, we realized that we were all suffering from holiday-gift-buying fatigue. It wasn't that we didn't want to get presents for each other, it was more the feeling that we were merely buying stuff for one another. Stuff that, one, we most likely didn't need, or two, had a good chance of being returned/relegated to an unknown storage area due to size, style, or duplication. I should clarify that there are no children in my immediate family (at 25, I am the youngest), so it's not as though we were becoming Grinchy and just tired of buying Legos (an impossibility anyway - who doesn't love Legos?!).

However, the desire to get one another something special and celebrate was definitely still there. To remedy the situation, my mom came up with the idea of a book exchange. Every year, each family member's name goes in a hat and then each of us draws one out. For that person, and that person alone, we get a book. For everyone else, we get little stocking-stuffer type gifts, like chocolates or playing cards. After several years, the book exchange has happily become a tradition and the collective family library continues to grow exponentially. Buying books for others is so fun, and it's just as interesting to see what other people get. I usually end up wanting to read everyone's book as well as my own (no surprise there...).

This year I pulled my grandmother's name, and after much searching, I got her Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons. It's about an orphaned young woman who goes to live with her highly eccentric relatives on their ramshackle farm, and how she attempts to solve their myriad of problems. The movie version with Sir Ian McKellen and a young Kate Beckinsale is absolutely hilarious and much loved by all of us, so I though the book would be even more delightful.

My sister was the one who chose my name, and she got me Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian by Avi Steinberg. I can't wait to read it! Being in school for library science, this is truly right up my alley; prison librarianship is such a niche, and I'm looking forward to reading a first-person account. Thank you again, sweet sweet Keri!

Monday Inspiration



Dean Martin and Audrey Hepburn.

Via Everyday I Show.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Have a Merry Weekend



Happy Christmas! I wish you all a warm, magical weekend with those whose company you adore.

*liza

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Lunar Eclipse



Here's a time-lapse video of the lunar eclipse, in case you missed the event itself (like me). Two days ago around dinner time though, the moon was hanging low in the sky, as big as a house. It was also a glowing, burnt sienna. Nature is incredible.

Via Joe's Daily.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Organic Ornaments



These glass bulbs from Land-Rich are pretty enough to be up all year long. I love all of the traditional ornaments my family puts up at Christmas (blown-glass stars, owls, and the occasional teapot), but these have a non-aggressive festiveness that is really appealing.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Hedgehog Mittens



Oh my gosh, how absurdly cute are these? Wouldn't you just love to see them on someone out and about? Hi-larious. And you can knit them yourself, if you are so inclined/talented.

From MoreHouse Farm.

Monday Inspiration


Doesn't this photograph just make you want to take off on a journey? Old suitcases are so romantic, especially if they look a little weather beaten.

My winter break involves a lot of traveling - yes!! First to family, and then on to my sweetheart and friends. I am even bringing out my giant suitcase, which hasn't gotten any attention since I moved to New York almost a year and a half ago. I am usually a carry-on only traveler, but since I'll be gone for about three weeks and it's winter, I feel justified in needing the extra room for thick sweaters (and shoes).

Photograph by Alex Fuller, via Pitch Design Union.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Happy Friday!



Today I am truly done with work and school, and couldn't be more relieved. I'm off to celebrate this new found freedom with a couple friends who have also be released. Nothing like a cathartic concoction to make it official!

*liza

Photograph by Anna Ådén.

Cover to Cover



Then 2010 Vogue covers layered on top of each other make a ghostly and fractured compilation. It's interesting to see which editions of the magazine seem to favor more color and varied backgrounds. Pictured (from top to bottom) are Deutch, Italia, and Portgual, and the whole collection can be found here.

Via NotCot.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Edible Magenta



I'm not usually much for cabbage, but the color of this dish from Simply Recipes is just so striking it almost makes me want to whip this all up so I can see it in person. The recipe calls for a tart green apple as well, which of course also helps.

Embroidered Animals




Just a sampling of the sweet artworks from Coral & Tusk.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Book Art: Fitzgerald



Gorgeous covers by Coralie Bickford-Smith, the senior cover designer over at Penguin Books.

Vacation Photos



This video should probably come with a warning sign: caution - will inspire great feelings of wanderlust and photographic yearning. Mike Matas and his girlfriend traveled around Morocco and Spain last September and ended up taking around 4,000 photos. Instead of putting them on Flickr like everyone else would (or maybe he did. I'm not sure), Mike created this incredible video that concentrates the entire trip into a tidy two and a half minutes. Morocco & Spain whirls past you, alternately taking on the magnetic quality of stop-motion animation and then making you wish it would pause so you could see the photo that came up 10 frames ago. It's a magical way to share a trip.

Via One Cool Thing a Day.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Etsy Find: RouDesigns





There is something about these porcelain vases by RouDesigns that just makes me want to hold them. Perhaps it's the way the amorphous shapes and crinkly tops play against the smooth clear glaze. They just look so touchable! I like how the last set has been painted to look like little pouches, too. By keeping the drawstring design simple and slightly sketchy, it's playful without being overly cutesy.
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