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Every summer we head to our cabin on a remote lake in the High Sierras.

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It’s pretty much paradise.

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This year I decided to decorate a bit…

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I made a pine wreath with wild flowers…

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One afternoon as it was pouring down rain, we sat on the porch…

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And ate warm buttered bread…

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For entertainment, we watched Breaking Bad.

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Can’t wait for next year…

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Black Pomeranian

Sep 09, 2013

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Our black Pomeranian, Lola, under a backyard bench between two apple trees.

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I love this stop-action Vine post by Ella Kenyon in celebration of
Nelson Mandela’s 95th birthday today!

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Joan Didion was one of 24 leading figures in American arts and culture who gathered on Wednesday in East Room of the White House, where President Obama made the annual presentation of the National Medals of Art and the National Humanities Medals. She looked so frail as she made her way, with a special escort, to the stage. Obama reached out to try to keep her steady.

He told the crowd in his opening remarks: “Somebody like Joan Didion, who, rightly, has earned distinction as one of most celebrated American writers of her generation. I’m surprised she hasn’t already gotten this award. But in her early years, she was in school only sporadically, basically taught herself how to read while she and her family followed her Army officer father around the country. She obviously learned quickly. She won a contest for Vogue in college; gave up her dream of being an oceanographer, writing became her world. And today, decades into her career, she remains one of our sharpest and most respected observers of American politics and culture.”

I’m sure Didion would have made a fine oceanographer, if that’s what she had decided to do. But the fact that she became a writer instead gives us a deeper understanding of what it means to live a full life, complete with hurt and loss, in this world.

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Such a great color blue in this little Sydney cottage. I painted our library this color in one of our old houses. It looked amazing with white book shelves.
Photos from Vogue Living Australia.

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I love these natural tones, so very calming. I love the creamware with the natural wood. I admire people who can master this look. It takes discipline. I would have a hard time resisting a few splashes of color. Pink velvet and leopard print get me every time. …
Photos by Richard Boll

Happy Tuesday Everyone.

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As photographed by Patrick Demarchelier for the June issue of UK Vogue.
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This is the third and final episode of Prada Candy L’Eau, with Candy played by new Coppola muse Léa Seydoux, who is just so fantastic. (I love the way she says “Pahdah.”) In this episode, she’s sick of the two guys. Very funny!

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Up for grabs this week: Angel Adoree’s “The Vintage Tea Party Book,” from Anthropology!
“A complete Guide to Hosting Your Perfect Tea Party.”

THE WINNER IS GAGAN!

Thank you everyone for entering. Look for next week’s giveaway!

xo
Tina

 

Categories: Blog, Books | 40 Comments »

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Lovely photos in the June issue by Tom Allen

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Can’t wait to see Great Gatsby!

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Léa Seydoux is just so great!

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Artist Windy MacNaughton creates the most interesting illustrations, and this travel one — per Nellie Bly — is especially good. Gotta love a woman who travels with a flask, (3) veils and an ink stand.

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Bruno Mars put on such a great show tonight at the Entertainment Industry’s Women’s Cancer Research Fund Gala at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills. And afterward they handed out Sprinkles red velvet cupcakes at the door. Bliss.

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Love this! I can’t wait to see Episode 2.

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There’s a lovely feature on the home of Sydney woman Wendy Paterson in this month’s Vogue Living Australia, showcasing her taste for simplicity…

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Paterson spends her weekends “fossicking” for treasures at flea markets and antique stores.
She tells Vogue Living: “I always want my home to be better on Monday than it is on Friday because of something new I’ve found.”

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“I always want to pare things back so that each object has its own space
– to decorate with the lightest touch.”

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Paterson says: “I love the ghosts of past owners.”

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When she renovated her house, she kept a saying on a wall:
“White is not the mere absence of colour.”

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…LOVE her cameo collection…

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The magazine is available on Zinio.

Categories: Blog, Decor, Featured | 4 Comments »

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This is how our house looks at the moment….

(Previous places where we’ve lived. Also with cats.)

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I love the stylish use of space in this one room Paris apartment…

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I stack my books too — not always a good idea when you need a book at the bottom of the pile.
In this space, they seem like sculptural art.

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Lately I’ve been bookmarking Pinterest files in my toolbar. Here are some of the photos from one that I’m obsessed with: Sara Jane’s “Down the Lane.

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The file belongs to “stylist, creative consultant, visual storyteller” Sarah Prall. She bookmarks interiors…and the requisite deer photos…

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Peeling fences and tattered quilts….

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Old-fashioned dilapidates…

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Still Lifes…

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Colorful knits from faraway lands…

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Bloomsbury-esque spaces…

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Perfectly named, Down the Lane, if  you’re on a country road….Where I’d really like to be…

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Jesse Kornbluth, of HeadButler.com, serving you excellent tea.

Alice Waters drinks Pu-erh tea. And swears by it. “My cholesterol went down 100 points since I started drinking this,” she says. ”It was extreme.

That’s not a small endorsement. I ordered some. And opened it while we were having dinner with a friend from Texas.

It is rude to ask Texans how many acres they own or how many head of cattle are grazing there. Anyway, they don’t own acres. They own “sections.” My friend shared that her family owned … many.

My wife also has a rural childhood. She grew up on a game farm in Minnesota. Raised pigs. Prize pigs. Has a row of 4-H Club purple ribbons to prove it.

Both women took one look at the brick of tea and said the same thing.

“Cow pie.”

Just so. This tea has been fermented, aged, then pressed into an inch-thick circle. It has an earthy aroma. But not unpleasantly so.

It turns out that lower cholesterol isn’t everything – it might be the smallest health claim for this tea. Pu-erh is said to promote weight loss (the health claim is that it dissolves fat cells) lower blood pressure, and calm the nerves.

“A Chinese study performed on rats and published in 2009 showed lowering of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and triglyceride levels after the animals were fed a pu-erh tea extract, along with an increase in HDL (“good” cholesterol),” writes Andrew Weil. “We know that tea, in general, is protective against heart disease and cancer. It’s likely that pu-erh tea has similar effects.”

An Amazon reviewer finds another benefit: “I needed it for is the Theanine that is in this tea, I have an autoimmune disease that causes inner tremors and I take L-theanine to calm me down but this tea is doing that in a more natural way.

Pu-erh is one of the higher grades of tea grown in Yunnan province. A round pound costs $16.95 at Amazon, which may sound dear but is actually a terrific bargain. You break off the leaves you need, crumble them into a pot, douse them in very hot water for 30 seconds, pour off that first steep, and then brew your tea. Not for long. Three minutes will more than suffice; I prefer a minute. Bonus: you can use the leaves for as many as eight steeps. [In a Zojirushi Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Mug, you have a day’s supply.]

Good to the last drop? Astonishingly good. Pu-erh is never bitter. Milk and sweetener are superfluous — this is a rich brew that delivers an unusually modest caffeine hit along with a welcome hint of natural sweetness. Some Pu-erh fans say the last drop is actually the best, that the last infusions taste richer and sweeter than the first. [To order Pu-erh tea from Amazon, click here.]

Pu-erh has been around forever — in China. Here it’s just starting to be the new cool thing. Six months from now I expect Jimmy Fallon to be making cowpie jokes. Millions will laugh. Thousands will start to drink it. The last laugh? Yours.

BONUS VIDEO

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Where Do You Read?

Apr 01, 2013

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Hello,  English Musers!

It’s Hannah B. again from  Secrets of a Belle. This past weekend, while the rain pitter-pattered on the window, I spent some time curled up on the couch lost in a new favorite book. This got me to thinking. Where do you other people read? Do you curl up on the couch too? Do you read in bed before you drift off to sleep? Personally, my dream is to eventually have a room devoted just to reading… you know, like the Duke!

The Duke of Devonshire Taking a Nap in the Library at Chatsworth, Shot by Christopher Sykes

The Duke of Devonshire Taking a Nap in the Library at Chatsworth, Shot by Christopher Sykes

But it doesn’t have to be that fancy! After all, in the words of Billy Baldwin…

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Here are some other reading spaces I really dig.

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More excellent reading nooks can be found on Pinterest.

What about you? Where do you do your best reading?

Hannah B. lives in East Tennessee where she writes Secrets of a Belle, a blog about the art of living a more beautiful life. You can follow Hannah B. on twitter at @HB_Belle and on Facebook.

 

Categories: Blog, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 2 Comments »

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How did I not know about these amazing Jane Austen postcards?! Found these photos tonight on The Daydream Princess tumblr blog. Found them for sale for $13.60 a box on Amazon!

Categories: Blog, Books | Tags: | 3 Comments »

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Jesse Kornbluth, of HeadButler.com, this week exercising his feminine side and delving into women, women and more women.

It used to bug me how, at a certain point at parties, half a dozen of the most interesting women would get up and stroll to the ladies room.

Their reason, I came to understand, was neither cosmetic nor functional — they just knew a better party was to be had sitting on the edge of the bathtub, chatting among themselves.

One night I did what I’d wanted to do for years: I followed them.

An exception was made and — be still my heart — I was treated like “one of the girls.” And I understood why they fled the living room: A better time really was to be had without men. That is: greater intimacy, sharper sharing, edgier stories.

That is also true of Susanna Sonnenberg’s “She Matters: A Life in Friendships.” I’d read her first memoir — Her Last Death — and greatly admired her account of a childhood spent with a drug-soaked, sex-addicted, wildly destructive mother and an eccentric, distracted father. Sonnenberg’s story was compelling, but what really impressed me was the writing. By now pretty much anyone can serve up a lurid tale; Sonnenberg not only faced the truth about her family’s pathology, she crafted it with style, wit, and, remarkably, distance.

“She Matters” tells twenty stories: Sonnenberg’s intense friendships with twenty women. That number alone is impressive — I don’t think I’ve had twenty friends in my life. And I don’t know anyone who would say that friends are as crucial to life as oxygen.

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Hello English Muse readers! Karen from A Simple Cup of Tea once again. I don’t know how the weather is doing around your part of the world but here in Cardiff it’s pretty rainy. My hometown in Belgium isn’t much better: snow.

Now I nearly talked about how depressing the rain is. Nearly. And then I stopped myself.

It’s so easy to be bogged down by life’s little annoyances, little things that become massive in our eyes. To let someone else’s negativity overwhelm our own positivity.

So I decided that I’m going to enjoy the weather, put on some wellies and jump in a few puddles. Then next week when I’m home in Belgium for a couple of days I will grab my mittens and – if the weather permits it – have a huge snowball fight with my brother. Just because.

Silver linings. Lemonade. Whatever you want to call it. It’s always there.

Have a lovely week!

 

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