Friday, 31 August 2012

the last weekend advice & music

I meant to blog sooner today but I have been enjoying such a productive and an inspiring day and I even managed to squeeze in a phone call with a close friend in Iceland. The day has flown by and before I know it I'll put on my apron and start making the Friday pizzas. In fact, A called from work to ask if I needed anything for the pizza making and I decided to tease him and said with a rather serious voice: "You know what, I think I'll skip the pizzas today, as I'm not in the mood to make them." I wish I could allow you to hear the silence that followed. I could almost touch that silence. I was picturing him with a facial expression indicating that his world had just crumbled. When I told him I was kidding he said with almost a shocking voice: "Are you trying to kill me?" This is what happens when you make pizzas every Friday. We have been doing that for more than two years now and Fridays in this home without home-made pizzas are simply unthinkable.

For the new readers and followers out there, on Fridays this summer I have been giving weekend advices. These have just been simple things, something to remind people that there is more to life than material things. We all need some basic stuff but we also need to be able to slow down and enjoy the things we already have. I'm one of those people that enjoy the little things in life. I don't need any grand gestures; a good cup of latte and a walk along cobblestone streets will make my heart ecstatic.

So, my final weekend advice this summer is as follows: Take all your 'must-do' and 'must-have' lists and throw them away! Seriously, if you have written anything down, tear that paper and throw it away. There are no must-dos and must-haves in this world. If you have any such ideas, about not having enough or needing something in particular, these ideas are there because they were made by people whose job it is to sell you something. Everyone is trying to sell you something. Stop comparing what you have to what other people have, especially people that have more money than you (by the way, has it ever occurred to you that they also have more debts than you?). Use this weekend to celebrate your life as it is right now, celebrate it with the things you already have.

I'm ending this post with a special song, The Guests by Leonard Cohen. Here it is performed by Antony & the Johnsons, a beautiful live performance, and here the master himself talks about what the song means before performing it.


photo credit:

Thursday, 30 August 2012

interior design: neutral living rooms

As someone who needs her space with just a hint of colour I have to say that I'm totally smitten with these two neutral and tasteful living rooms. I love the way the stylish furniture is arranged and how the spaces are free of clutter. Each item seems to have its place and the artwork and books give the spaces that homey touch. However, these two rooms wouldn't look the same without the colours of the flowers. Use something to cover them and see for yourself.

photo credit:
2: JJ Locations via Planete Deco

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

notes à la mode 11

Constantin Joffé, Vogue, September 1945

It is the season of the September issues and I must admit that I find myself uninspired by most of the covers and editorials, not all of them, thank goodness. In my opinion the celebrities are killing these issues. (Lady Gaga on the cover of Vogue US, seriously Anna Wintour?) I have been flipping through some of the big magazines and viewing some online but so far I have only bought Vogue Germany and Vogue Paris. The latter had three covers this year and my copy features Kate Moss, a beautiful cover. It also has plenty of beautiful black and white photography that I really like. Actress Salma Hayek is the star of Vogue Germany and with all respect to Hayek I can only describe that editorial as embarrassingly bad, it is so forced somehow (well, I like this portrait of her and this photo is beautiful). I cannot complain about the cultural content in these issues, I'm really enjoying reading it, and I find many of the ad campaigns this year refreshingly good.

That said, today I'm going back to the age of beautiful editorials featuring models. These five gorgeous photos are available at the Condé Nast store, in the Vogue section, and where shot by photographers Constantin Joffé, Karen Radkai and Horst P. Horst. In the links below I'm taking you to Italy.

Karen Radkai, Vogue, March 1956
Karen Radkai, Vogue, February 1956
Karen Radkai, Vogue, November 1960
Horst P. Horst, Vogue, April 1952


  Today is the start of the 69th Venice International Film Festival. Those who tend to focus more on the red carpet than films during film festivals will probably be a little disappointed because Alberto Barbera, the artistic director of the festival, decided to downsize it this year, to focus on quality instead of quantity. There are only 60 films on the playlist and 18 are competing for the Golden Lion, which means there will be less stars on the red carpet
  For those interested in the films competing this year, here is the Guardian's take on the contenders in pictures
  Speaking of things going on in Italy, today the September issue of Vogue Italia will be available on newsstands. It has Carolyn Murphy on the cover, photographed by Steven Meisel. Despite my disappointment with the September issues this year, I think I'll get a copy of that one

photo credit:
for Vogue US via Condé Nast Store
6: Steven Meisel for Vogue Italia

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

cottage life

Last week I found myself daydreaming about summer days by the sea but now my thoughts have taken a different turn. I would like to spend a few days in a cottage somewhere, experiencing quiet country living with walks in the woods and plenty of reading. I think it would be an ideal way to say goodbye to summer and then return home rejuvenated and ready for autumn.

photo credit:
Helén Pe for Sköna hem

Monday, 27 August 2012

drawing with light 05

Happy Birthday Mr. Ford!

photo credit: 
Jeff Burton for Vogue Germany, July 2012

Friday, 24 August 2012

do what makes you happy

I am checking out early today as we are driving our oldest daughter to the French Ardennes area, not really that far from here, where she will spend the weekend with the family of her best friend from Antwerp.

This weekend I plan to enjoy the comfort of my own home. The weather forecast says it will rain so I'm using the opportunity to clean the house and change the bedlinen after these amazing summer days we have been enjoying. Then I'm rearranging the books and magazines on my coffee tables - yes I have added another table - and I'll bring in roses from the garden to make the tables look extra pretty. After that I'll relax on my chaise lounge and read my books and September issues. I may add red wine, grapes and cheese to this equation. Sounds wonderful, doesn't it? That leads me to my weekend advice to you: just do what makes you happy.


photo credit:
scan from the Lexington Company spring 2012 catalogue

Thursday, 23 August 2012

summer daydreaming

Today I'm daydreaming.

I'm renting a beach house. In between reading I'm dipping my toes into the sea. There is mainly lobster and fruit on the menu. Close by is a marina and the area is excellent for sailing.

Does anyone care to daydream with me?

photo credit:
top-left: James R. Salomon
top-right: Tria Giovan
bottom-left: Colleen Duffley
for Coastal Living

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

notes à la mode 10

Today I would like to revisit Givenchy's runway at the Paris Fashion Week in March this year and the links below are dedicated to Diana Vreeland, who passed away on this day, in 1989.

The autumn/winter collections from fashion houses have always appealed more to me than the spring/summer ones. It probably has something to do with being brought up in Iceland, where the winters are long, and the fact that the autumn colours are my colours. The problem, however, is that when these collections are presented during fashion weeks in the months of February and March, I'm waiting for the arrival of spring and dying to see light and bright colours, simply anything that does not say winter. That said, collections that I would have fallen flat for in autumn could easily escape me in late winter/early spring.

The Givenchy AW12-13 collection is one of them.

Riccardo Tisci showed his ready-to-wear collection in Paris in the beginning of March and I remember seeing leather and a lot of black and brown. I probably took a look at the photos and then ran to the next flower shop to buy something pink to recover! Recently, I viewed the collection again and asked myself: what was I thinking, why didn't I say something about this on the blog?

There really is no need to say much about the collection. The up-close photos above reveal everything about what I can only call impeccable tailoring. Tisci balances well feminine and masculine cuts, the colour palette says autumn/winter loud and clear, and the equestrian style is vivid. The accessories are to my taste. I love the long leather gloves and I find the disc earrings absolutely fantastic.


  Diana Vreeland, often referred to as the High Priestess of Fashion, was born in Paris on 29 July 1903 and she passed away in New York on this day, 22 August, in 1989
  She was a fashion editor of Harper's Bazaar, later the editor in chief of Vogue and then a consultant to the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. To learn more about this extraordinary woman, visit the Diana Vreeland official website or read her witty autobiography, D.V.
  Many of you have already heard about the fashion documentary Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel (2011) that soon will be available on DVD. It has the same name as the book by Lisa I. Vreeland that was published by Adams last year. This is the official Facebook page of the film and the book
  If you haven't watched it already, here is the trailer of the documentary

photo credit:
1-12: Monica Feudi for Vogue US
13: Deborah Turbeville for Vogue US, December 1980

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

design & penmanship: besotted brand

In this age of emails and text messages I cannot think of anything as heart-warming as a handwritten note. My love for stationery and penmanship has no boundaries; anything that has to do with beautiful paper and print can easily sweep me off my feet. My latest crush is the design from the Los Angeles based company, Besotted Brand LLC. Their online shop has a beautiful selection of stationery, stamps, twines and simply everything you need for your handwritten anything. They also offer custom-made products.

I find the Calligraphy Thank You Hand-Printed Stationery Set in the photo above absolutely beautiful. This is how it is described: "For those that eschew the hand printing craft and want to leave it to the craftsmen, Besotted Brand LLC is happy to offer hand-printed fold-over cards created with our crimson rubber 'printing plates'. The fold over cards are 100% cotton imported from Italy, exuding a sense of luxury. Each 'thank you' is painstakingly printed by hand. Due to the process no two cards will be exactly alike, the little imperfections add to the charm of the cards." The set includes 10 cards and 10 envelopes that come in "a two-piece kraft box on a 'nest' of wood shred with a natural twill ribbon. Ready to gift."

The same description applies to the Heart of Gold Hand-Printed Stationery Set below to the left that has me swooning. Each metallic gold heart is printed by hand on the paper so no two cards will be exactly alike.

They also offer kits like the D.I.Y. Stationery Kit with Calligraphy Hello Stamp, which includes everything you need to create your own custom stationery. The 'hello' is hand-lettered by calligrapher Danae Hernandez to make your notes extra special.

Browsing their online shop is my idea of keeping one's spirits up. I must add that I love the way they describe their workplace: "The studio is pure magic; the leaves sweep themselves into the compost bin, pens don their caps like derbies, and the crumpets don’t ever leave crumbs. Everyone knows that for Proprietress Miss B., slipshod and messy just won’t do."

Miss B is Tristan B who "helms the creative seas that are Besotted."

They also have a blog.

I don't know about you but I'm completely besotted!

photo credit:
Besotted Brand LLC
(published with permission)

Monday, 20 August 2012

interior design: colourful yet calm

This post has an introduction that is longer than the actual post. I had been keeping that second photo in my files, waiting for the right moment to post it. I fell for this living room instantly when I saw it in a gallery on Housetohome, how it was colourful without being over the top, both playful and calm. Then one day I was having my daily fun on Pinterest when I came across the first photo and immediately thought to myself: this one will be perfect in a post with that other photo in my files, it has that same wonderful play with colours and yet it is calm. The pin took me to the Designwali blog and I just bookmarked it without looking at the source. When I later did that, I discovered that these two photos are from the same home.

You can see the rest of the home by clicking the Livingetc link below. I am drawn to the floorboards and white walls and that beautiful natural light. The kitchen is a chic, all-white one with subway tiles and I think you can find a pop of yellow in almost every room.

How are you doing today? I'm a bit tired after a somewhat sleepless night because of heat. We have a powerful fan in our bedroom but it feels like it is blowing warm air in these high temperatures we're enjoying in Luxembourg. I hope your week is off to a good start!

photo credit: 
James Merrell for Livingetc
top photo via Designwali

Sunday, 19 August 2012

drawing with light 04

Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel was born on this day in 1883, in Saumur, France. She passed away in Paris, 10 January, 1971.

The photo appears in Douglas Kirkland's book Coco Chanel: Three Weeks/1962.

photo credit:
Douglas Kirkland

Friday, 17 August 2012

make the most of summer

I woke up very early this morning and when I took the garbage out I could feel autumn in the air. As I write this, I'm sitting on the balcony in 25 degrees (77 °F) and sun so during the day the weather is far from being autumnal. We are even expecting much higher temperatures in the next days. Back to my morning, I realised then that soon we'll be facing the change of seasons so my plan for the weekend and my advice to you is: make the most of summer. That of course applies to you living in the northern hemisphere.

I intend to stay as much outdoors as possible, soaking up every ray of sun and enjoying the rest of the summer season. We dine al fresco every day, which is wonderful, and when my schedule is clear I enjoy sitting outside with my stack of magazines and books. I'm actually using my food magazines to prepare a little for the autumn. I'm making notes of recipes that I would like to try and I'm having so much fun with it.


photo credit:
Lisa Hjalt

Thursday, 16 August 2012

artist kathe fraga & chinoiserie style

I recently stumbled upon the work of artist Kathe Fraga online and found myself enchanted by the beautiful chinoiserie style and play of colours in her work, which she paints in an old stone house on Bainbridge Island, Washington. She creates her paintings by using acrylic, ink, graphite and plaster on canvas, then each one is finished with a lacquered coating.

About her work Kathe says she is "inspired by the beauty and romance of old: vintage silky kimonos, hand-worked embroidery, lacquered little boxes, blocked wallpaper and panels from years ago, distressed with age, revealing a soft loveliness still … you’ll see layered colors peeking out behind one another—pinks, blues, lavender—speckles of gold, a wisp of glitter." She has lived in old cities and places in South America, Denmark, England and France and says the influence is clearly felt in her work.

On her website you can view her new work and the paintings she has sold. She also has a blog called The Art of Kathe Fraga.

greeting card collection based on some of her original paintings is available. The cards are printed on heavy matte stock, blank inside. I think those could look really lovely in a frame.

photo credit:
Remembering I and Remembering II by Kathe Fraga
(published with permission)

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

notes à la mode 09

I know that many of the September issues are already or soon will be on display in shelves in almost every corner of the globe, but I am not quite done with the August issue of Vogue Germany.

There was another editorial that caught my attention, this time for its sheer beauty and black and white photography. It is called 'Glory Days' and features model Toni Garrn, photographed by Alexi Lubomirski around and inside the Grand Central Station in New York City (she was also on the cover of the issue). Other people that deserve a praise for pulling this together are editor in chief Christiane Arp, Ben Skervin for hair and Tyron Machhausen for make-up. The editorial contains seven other photos but in this post I only included the ones taken on the streets or inside the Central Station.

Garrn is wearing AW12-13 collections by:
1: Stella McCartney, 2: Jil Sander, 3: Dior, 4: Emilio Pucci, 5: Ralph Lauren, 6: Chanel, 7: Marchesa

photo credit:
Alexi Lubomirski for Vogue Germany, August 2012 via Tom + Lorenzo