Monthly Archives: November 2013

Flower Paintings

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France-based artist Thomas Darnell‘s work took my breath away the first time I stumbled upon it. His photorealist paintings of flowers are so sumptuous and beautiful they are disarming in their detail; blink a few times, those aren’t photographs. Born and raised near Austin, Texas, he quit his job and moved to Paris in 1993, and eventually to the south of France in 1994, chasing the light that so inspired the Impressionists to flock to the provinces. He “felt that if I didn’t do it then, I would regret it for the rest of my life.” A man after my own heart.

He also paints landscapes and abstracts, including a series focusing on smoke and air.

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“Recently, Darnell has been exploring new concepts and reinterpreting past themes,” including, “psychological and philosophical theories of perception and reality, ideas on form and formlessness.” Sir, you had me at “peonies.”

All images copyright Thomas Darnell.

November 14, 2013 / art / photo / LEAVE A COMMENT / 13

It’s All Greek To Me

If you were a child of the 90s, the highlight of your week was invariably TGIF, the Friday night television programming on ABC, featuring such gems as Boy Meets World, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Family Matters (Urkel!), and Step by Step. All of these finely crafted shows filled 11 year old Erin with unrealistic expectations about the way the world worked; I could develop magical powers, suspenders and thick frame glasses would never be cool, and eventually I’d find the Cory to my Topanga while having a white-haired mentor follow me from middle school to college (Feeny!).

While I will gladly binge on any of these shows to this day and bask in the nostalgia, Boy Meets World in particular was always one of my favorites. I am beyond excited for the reboot, Girl Meets World, that’s airing next year with all of the original actors/characters. The show felt even more special because the Matthews family lived in Philadelphia, even though we all knew it was filmed in L.A. Even at 11 I was smart enough to know Topanga was too hot for Cory, and I secretly wanted her to be with Shawn, Cory’s orphaned bad-boy best friend (I realize now this is blasphemy). But alas, after dating basically their entire lives, Cory and Topanga get married. And because they hadn’t ever had sex (this was wholesome family fun, after all), Cory was ridiculously excited for the honeymoon, singing, and this has been stuck in my brain for the last 15 years, the word “honeymoon” in a goofy falsetto voice over and over. “HoneymooooOOOoooOOON.” See the clip below, around the 0:25s mark:

Also, the line, “We have been in a relationship for 17 years! LET ME TOUCH SOMETHING!” has me rolling on the floor.

All of this to say that Jamal and I booked our honeymoon and I’ve been walking around saying it like Cory Matthews ever since. After much (MUCH) deliberation, we’re going to…

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November 13, 2013 / Travel / wedding / LEAVE A COMMENT / 22

Alstroemerias

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Dusting off the ole Photography degree, thanks to a $4 bouquet of Alstroemerias from Trader Joe’s. They bloomed beautifully, and on my day off yesterday (when I should have been writing…) I took advantage of the afternoon light. The house was dark, all the lights were off, and I remembered why I loved my 50mm lens. And cheap flowers. Treat yo self. 

November 12, 2013 / art / photo / LEAVE A COMMENT / 14

Feeling Light

Do you ever get stuck on a particular interior? I’ve had this image pinned for well over a year, and I never tire of it. It’s the light and bright living room of this gorgeous home in Spain, and I keep coming back to it over and over again. Everything about it is perfect (well, except maybe those tacky glass palm trees in the foreground).

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Is it the giant, beautiful canvas above the equally beautiful linen sofa? The plants? The mini gallery wall? I think it’s all that natural light streaming in, mostly. But all of the textures (and there are tons, from the dabs of paint on the canvas, to the thistly jute rug under foot) and the layout of the room keep pulling me in.

Here’s how to get the look:

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Sofa / Lamp / Coffee Table / Painting / Framed Pictures 1, 2, 3, 4 / Plants / Blanket

November 11, 2013 / design / LEAVE A COMMENT / 14

Please Be Seated

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If we filed last Friday’s Paris-tidbit under “Weird Things I Never Knew,” then this week’s should be filed under, “Things I Kind of Suspected”: Georges restaurant in the Centre Pompidou (the ugliest building in the universe) has been accused of seating more attractive people at the front of the room, and hiding more, um, unattractive diners in the back. The restaurant has an open layout, and is visible to museum patrons. A former hostess has spilled the beans of the owners’ preferred seating arrangements in the French paper Le Canard Enchainé this week (which, it should be noted, is a satirical publication; however, when asked about the allegations, the restaurant would neither “confirm or deny” the rumors).

“‘There are beautiful people, you put them here. There are not-beautiful people, you put them there – it’s really not that complicated,'” the former hostess quoted [owner Gilbert Costes] as saying.

But what about prospective diners who made phone reservations? Fear not, the owners had a plan for that, too!

The staff were taught to look for certain “linguistic clues” which might give away whether the voice on the other end of the phone belonged to one of the “beautiful people” or not. According to the former worker, the staff would usually tell callers they would “do their best” to find them a table, then decide if they were “fully-booked” or not, after taking a look at the would-be diners when they arrived.

This is the most absurd thing I’ve read in a while. Though again, I sort of suspected this might be in practice in certain places, especially in Paris, where there is no shortage of outside dining and the tables always seem to be filled with pretty people. I’m tempted, on my next trip back (WHEN WILL THAT BE?) to test this theory and ask for a table for two. Though maybe I don’t want to know.

Thanks to Audrey for sending this story to me!

November 8, 2013 / eat / drink / Travel / LEAVE A COMMENT / 7

In the Meantime

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Today sucks. I had an asthma attack, my hairdryer broke, and I had a small anxiety meltdown, all before 7am. So here is a picture of Gary Oldman to make everything better. It’s working already.

I’ll be back tomorrow, kiddos. In the meantime, tell me a funny story.

November 7, 2013 / Gary Oldman / LEAVE A COMMENT / 22

Assume the Position

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These illustrations by artist Patrick Kearns cracked me up. How do you read? I’m a mix between figure 8, The Thinker (if you count reading on the subway/bus) and figure 5, Mr(s). Lonely (when I’m on the couch). Mostly though, I’m laying down on my side in bed, playing a game called “How Many Pages Can You Read Before You Fall Asleep?” My record is 10.

Fun fact from my current read, “The $12 Million Stuffed Shark”:

Christie’s and Sotheby’s share 80 percent of the world auction market in high-value art, and an almost absolute monopoly on works selling for over $1 million. In 2006, 810 works of art –all art, not just contemporary art– were auctioned for more than $1 million; of these, 801 were sold at one or other of the two auction houses.

How’s your read (position) going?

November 6, 2013 / art / photo / LEAVE A COMMENT / 12

A Breath of Canned Air

My dad had a collection of Le Parfait canning jars, the glass ones with tight gasket snap-closures, on a rack in his kitchen. They held things like popcorn kernels, spices, coffee, sugar, pasta. He liked that they were sleek and attractive and added a cohesive visual look to otherwise boring food storage. His favorite part, though? That the jars were all made in France and sealed for shipment, meaning that, theoretically, there was French air trapped inside. For a Francophile like him, that was magical, something to be revered. Whenever he bought a new one, he’d unsnap it and take a deep breath in. It was one of those wonderful quirks of his that fill my heart to bursting whenever I think about it.

So when I came across these Canned Air tins on Etsy via Freshome, my dad was the first person I thought of. For the low price of $9.99, you too can have a can of air taken from Paris! (Or London, or Singapore, or New York!)

 

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Whether or not I believe there is really Parisian air in there, I am just dying from the cuteness of the label alone. “20% from the Louvre”! “May contain traces of liberté, égalité and fraternité”! Come on. I may have to buy one just because I know my dad would have. If there were ever a gift more perfectly made for him, I haven’t found it yet.

November 5, 2013 / design / Travel / LEAVE A COMMENT / 21

Dreamboat Annie

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I first started blogging back in February of 2011, and honestly, it was lonely. No one tells you that, that it will be like writing into outer space for a few months before you start building relationships with other bloggers, and it can feel pretty bleak at first. So in May of 2011, when I saw an incoming link to my blog from a post at a then-unknown-to-me blog called Insideology, titled “Why Design Bloggers Love the Parsons Table” featuring my desk in my last apartment, I was so relieved and happy (I even felt a little famous!). Little did I know that our first comment interaction would end up being the beginning of, dare I be so cheesy, a beautiful friendship. Also, it’s amazing that we have documentation of the exact moment we became friends! Annie and I have spent the last two and a half years emailing incessantly, gossiping like girlfriends at a sleepover. She’s even sent me a gold fish candle in the mail, in case you had doubts about the seriousness of our relationship or her overall fabulousness.

Through Annie, I got to meet basically everyone else I know from blogging. Lauren, Sam, Nina, Theresa, Sue, Aga, Chi, and then everyone else that I’ve met through those connections. Annie was the main key link to all of it. I’ve even met Lauren and Sam in person! But not Annie. Not until this past weekend, when we met up in New York, and spent the day walking and talking and drinking and eating and, for my part, generally swooning over how perfect both she and Richard, her husband, are.

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We of course visited Carrie Bradshaw’s stoop in the West Village, walked the whole High Line end to end, had a delicious and filling brunch, drank big pints of beer in the beer garden underneath The Standard Hotel, and the whole day went way too quickly. Seeing her for the first time, as she snuck up behind me out front of the restaurant where we ate brunch, was surreal and magical and normal all at the same time. Here she was, this person I knew so well, finally! After all this time! It was overwhelming but also sort of like I’d just seen her the week before and we were catching up for brunch as if we’d done it a million times before. And while I’d worried on the drive up that we’d have painfully awkward lapses in conversation, or that, as I’d suspected all along, I wouldn’t be cool enough for her and Richard, the whole day was perfect. The weather was an unseasonably warm 70 and sunny with not a cloud in the sky, and there wasn’t a single awkward silence to be found. We all laughed like old friends, only two of us happened to have amazing British accents that are just so dreamy. (And honestly, I’m no where near cool enough to rub elbows with Annie and Richard, but they must have still been jet-lagged, because they didn’t seem to notice.)

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She left me with two Aero bars and a Cadbury caramel bar that I devoured in roughly 14 hours, as well as the warmest, fuzziest feeling ever. I can’t wait to see them again. Over brunch, Richard said, “I’m benefitting quite a lot from this ‘blogging’ thing.” And I wanted to be all, DUDE ME TOO!!, but I cooly nodded in agreement. Because, dude. Me too.

November 4, 2013 / art / photo / Travel / LEAVE A COMMENT / 31

Très Intéressant

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File this under Weird Things I Never Knew: apparently, images of the Eiffel Tower illuminated at night are copyrighted. From the official website:

Q: Are you allowed to publish photos of the Eiffel Tower?

A: The views from the Eiffel Tower are rights-free. Permission and rights must be obtained from the “Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel” (the Operating Company, or SETE) for the publication of photos of the illuminated Eiffel Tower.

In the early 2000s, when the lights were added to the tower (the really pretty blinky ones that go off every half hour at night), the SETE was able to claim copyright over the tower, despite it being public domain, because they had modified it. Imagine if someone strapped lights onto the Mona Lisa and then asking you to pay money to publish pictures of it when lit. According to the website, “The Eiffel Tower, built in 1889, falls within the public domain. Daytime views from the Eiffel Tower are rights-free. However, its various illuminations are subject to author’s rights as well as brand rights. Usage of these images is subject to prior request from the “Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel” (the Eiffel Tower’s operating company, or SETE).”

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Strange! The copyright seems to only extend to publication for commercial use. Personal use (like posting photos on your blog) is fine. But it begs the question: how do they monitor it? And what about the, and this is a low-ball estimation, several million photographs, paintings, likenesses out there of the Eiffel Tower at night people sell? How can you copyright the Eiffel Tower?!

What are you up to this weekend? We’re spending the weekend with Jamal’s parents, and since they live so close to New York, I’ll be sneaking off to the city to meet this girl in person (finally!) while she’s in town visiting. To say I am excited is an understatement!

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November 1, 2013 / art / photo / Travel / LEAVE A COMMENT / 8