Thursday, January 26, 2012

Word Up

Pamela Fugate is a woman after my own heart.

Available HERE.
I Like Big Books And I Cannot Lie - Custom 100% Cotton Canvas Tote Bag - FREE SHIPPING

Monday, January 23, 2012

What Inspired Them?

Liberty has just unveiled their new season of art fabrics and I've made up a test especially for you. Let's see how clever you are in divining the inspiration of the prints below.

(Hint: In one of the questions, all three answers are correct.)

1. This fabric was inspired by:
Dr Tulloch A Tana Lawn, Liberty Art Fabrics

a. Bassett's Liquorice Allsorts
b. A chaotic bookcase
c. stacks of ceramic tiles at Royal Doulton

2. This fabric was inspired by:
Glencott House D Tana Lawn, Liberty Art Fabrics

a. The garden writings of Vita Sackville-West
b. Princess Diana's favorite flowers
c. the grounds of Glencot House in Somerset

3. This fabric was inspired by:
Melanie Atai C Tana Lawn, Liberty Art Fabrics

a. Cotton candy in Hyde Park
b.Pink champagne bubbles at the Dorchester
c. "Portrait of a Lady" (1465) by Alesso Baldovinetti

4. This fabric was inspired by:
Elevenses A Tana Lawn, Liberty Art Fabrics

a. crockery, framed pictures of ceramics and drinking afternoon tea whilst drawing
b. a trip to Glencot House in Somerset
c. it's loosely based on another Liberty print called "Dancing Ladies"

5. This fabric is based on:
Landis C Tana Lawn, Liberty Art Fabrics.

a. the Art Deco architecture in the film "Metropolis"
b. the urbanization of Eastern Europe
c. a traditional ikat from Uzbekhistan

6. This fabric was inspired by:
Gilliam A Tana Lawn, Liberty Art Fabrics

a. an old underground map of London
b. the French film "Breathless"
c. the children's game "Parcheesi" ("Ludo", to those of you in the UK)

7. This fabric was inspired by:
Picardie B Tana Lawn, Liberty Art Fabrics

a. the film "A Clockwork Orange"
b. the rural countryside of poet John Betjeman (1906-1984)
c. Queen Elizabeth's kitchen garden at Hatfield House

8. This fabric was inspired by:
Wookey Hole B Tana Lawn, Liberty Art Fabrics

a. the tidal pools of Cornwall
b. cave drawings and photography from Wookie Hole in Somerset
c. the movie "2001: A Space Odyssey"

9. This fabric was inspired by:
Boadicea C Tana Lawn, Liberty Art Fabrics

a. an old piece of stumpwork at the V&A Museum
b. statues of lions around England
c. the London Zoo

10. This fabric was inspired by:
Powell B Tana Lawn, Liberty Art Fabrics

a. a tablecloth made of Madeira lace that belonged to Queen Victoria
b. the character of Sylvia in "La Dolce Vita" who wore a provocative top
c. the novel "The Secret Garden" by Frances Hodgson Burnett

1. b
2. c
3. c
4. a, b and c
5. a
6. b
7. a
8. b
9. b
10. b

How did you do? (Brilliantly, no doubt. If you got 3 or more correct -- because I made them hard, I know -- I give you a royal curtsey.)


Monday, January 16, 2012

Are You A Clean, Green Eating Machine?

I've been trying to eat healthy this year, I really have.
(My Sunday Lunch:
Roast rutabagas, parsnips and sweet potatoes with green salad.)

In fact, for the last 15 days, I've been following the "Clean Eating Action Plan" from Whole Living magazine, free online HERE.

Whole Living is a Martha Stewart publication. (Did you know that? I didn't.) So the recipes are "Martha-ized": simple to follow, easy to make and without too many ingredients. If you are a fan of her Everyday Food series, you know exactly what I mean.

What is "The Clean Eating Action Plan", you ask?
Well, here's what it's not.

No caffeine.
No alcohol.
No sugar.
No dairy.
No white carbs.

I know what you're thinking. But the food is so delicious that it doesn't seem like you're depriving yourself.

What differences do I notice?

Glowing skin. (Illuminizer not necessary.)
Waking up in the morning and feeling...awake. (Shocking!)
Falling asleep at night like a normal person. (10pm = Zzzz.)
An even, steady mood throughout the day. (No 3pm sugar-crash nap.)
A renewed sense of confidence and optimism. (Yes, really.)
And the weight loss doesn't hurt (five pounds and counting).

Here's the detox in a nutshell:

1. The first week, you limit yourself to fruits, vegetables and plant-based fats, nuts, avocados and oils.

2. The second week, you add back high-quality protein like fish and legumes.

3. And the third week, you add back gluten-free grains and protein-rich eggs.

The first three days are the hardest because the beast in your belly is screaming out for all the things it misses. After that, the decision-making center switches from your stomach to your brain and you realize that you, in fact, are in control. It's a liberating moment.

Below are a few things I now find myself craving.


Breakfast (Week One):

1 cup kale leaves, stems removed, coarsely chopped
1 ripe banana
1 Granny Smith apple, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves

Combine kale, apple, banana, parsley and 2 1/4 cups water in a blender;
blend until smooth. (I use a bit less water because I like a thicker smoothie.)
Serves 2.

Per serving: 105 calories

Lunch (Week One):
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon apple-cider vinegar
Coarse salt and pepper
3 cups mixed shredded kale and red cabbage
1 carrot, peeled and julienned
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
2 tablespoons diced red onion
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons hemp seeds

1. In a small bowl, whisk olive oil, mustard, and
apple-cider vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.

2. In another bowl, combine kale, cabbage, carrot, parsley,
and red onion with sunflower, pumpkin, and hemp seeds.

3. Season with salt and pepper, drizzle with dressing and toss to coat.

Serves 4

Snack (Anytime):
One 15 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground hot paprika
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss chickpeas with oil and spices until
evenly coated. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast, shaking pan,
occasionally, until chickpeas are golden and crunchy, about 30 minutes.

Yield: Makes 1 cup

Dinner (Week Two):

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 celery stalks, diced
1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 1/2 cups dried red lentils
1 turnip, peeled and diced
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon red-wine vinegar (optional)
Coarse salt and pepper

1. In a pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion,
garlic, and celery; cook, stirring, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes.

2. Increase heat to high and add tomatoes; cook for 1 minute.
Add lentils, turnip, and 6 cups water.

3. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until lentils are tender,
20 to 25 minutes. Stir in parsley and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.

Makes 10 cups
Serves 8


Eating healthy is a journey best taken slow and steady, one meal at a time. If I can do it, you can do it!


P.S. Here are some food blogs I'm loving these days:

Monday, January 9, 2012

What Is It About English Women?

The most fascinating ones are brilliant, maddening birds of paradise.

I'm thinking of three in particular.

1. Amanda Eliasch

Famous quotes:

"The Muscovites say that the moment a woman learns to be ugly she becomes interesting."

"Think positive, paint the town red, have a ball, have a laugh...but don't have such a good time that you're left empty."

"It's essential to have style on the back of a horse."

(from "As I Like It")

(Amanda Eliasch via her blog)

1. Last Friday I went to a performance of "As I Like It", a one-act play written by Amanda based on her colorful and oh-so-complicated life.

Imagine a McQueen-clad Marilyn crossed with an R-rated Nancy Mitford. That's the quickest way I know of describing her.

Here's the more conventional way: Photographer, poet, neon artist, US fashion editor for Genlux Magazine and full-blown eccentric, Amanda never lets anything as insignificant as fear stop her. I've known her for over fifteen years and she never stops surprising me or making me howl with laughter.

"As I Like It" is a whirlwind monologue that takes you on a journey of her life so far, from the hardships of a vulnerable childhood and Dickensian boarding school to her stint with the Moscow Theater Company to being a married London socialite and a Parisian mistress. Performed by actress Elizabeth Karr and punctuated with operatic duets from Lisa Zane and Amanda's son, Charles, it's a gutsy way of approaching love and loss -- with zero apologies and lashings of trenchant wit.

(info here and here)

2. The Dowager Countess of Grantham

Famous quotes:

"I do hope I'm interrupting something."

"No Englishman would dream of dying in someone else's house."

"What is a week-end?"

(from "Downton Abbey")

(photographer unknown)

Ah yes, the old dame is back. Domineering, intractable and fiercely opinionated, she's part peacock, part snapping turtle and we love her for it. I can't remember a time when a character on television has been so over-the-top entertaining, can you?

Whether she's grumbling about fact vs. fiction ("The truth is neither here nor there, it's the look that matters") or reprimanding her granddaughter for wanting to learn to drive ("You are a lady, not Toad of Toad Hall"), we somehow find ourselves firmly on her side.

And those expressions.
Watch carefully.
If you spot pursed lips, eyeballs threatening to jump ship from their sockets or that massive walking stick of hers hitting the floor like a thunderbolt, DUCK AND ROLL.

She's getting ready to unleash a corker.

3. Violet Trefusis

Famous quotes:

"Be wicked, be brave, be drunk, be reckless, be dissolute, be despotic, be a suffragette, be anything you like, but for pity's sake be it to the top of your bent."

"Live fully, live passionately, live disastrously."

(in a letter to Vita Sackville-West)

(via here)

I just finished reading Michael Holroyd's "The Book of Secrets" and its spell upon me lingers.

Part biography, part memoir, the book is about the author's fascination with the various English enchantresses who shadowed and inhabited the palatial Villa Cimbrone in Ravello, Italy.

There was Violet Trefusis -- daughter of Alice Keppel (and perhaps King Edward VI) -- whose love affair with Vita Sackville-West wreaked havoc on her entire life and turned her into a latter-day Miss Havisham. There was Eve Fairfax, purported mistress of Rodin and possessor of an enormous scrapbook of her private life that she carried everywhere with her.

And there are two modern-day women Holroyd encounters, each with a personal connection to the Villa Cimbrone, and whose stories are seamlessly woven in with the others to reveal a patchwork of secret longings and uncelebrated achievements.

What English woman do you think is fabulous?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

This Is It

What we are today comes from our thoughts of yesterday, and our present thoughts build our life of tomorrow: our life is a creation of the mind.


(Sunrise on Rapa Nui, 2007. Photo by LBG.)

Every moment is an opportunity to redefine yourself. Who are you going to be in 2012?


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