Posts Tagged ‘guest post’

Twenty-six names

Dec 16, 2012

Hello English Muse readers! Karen from A Simple Cup of Tea once again. There is not much I can say about what happened in Connecticut right now. I tried at my blog but don’t feel like I was very succesful.

So instead of rambling on in my own words I wanted to share this beautifully moving tribute that Jason Robert Brown wrote for the 26 victims of the Newtown shooting. It made me tear up, mostly because he finally puts the attention where it should be: with those lovely children and adults who lost their lives on Friday.

I hope you all had a peaceful and loving weekend.

 

Picture credit: here

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Well, it’s that time of year when our house starts to look more and more like the North Pole each day, and tonight, I plan on getting out my collection of Christmas books. So I thought I’d share a few with you…

Jingle Bells and Santa’s Toy Shop are definitely two of my favorite Christmas children’s books! In fact, this Fall I bought extra copies of each to use in some decor. (You can see the 1st of those projects, a wreath, by clicking here or over on DIYNetwork’s website.)

Christmas at the New Yorker is a fantastic collection of holiday essays that my mother-in-law got me years ago. It is one of my absolute favorite books to read on a December evening… glass of bourbon in hand, of course.

The Curious World of Christmas is a fascinating book full of little facts and stories. It’s the perfect thing to have sitting on your coffee table for guests who are waiting on dinner.

Do you remember reading The Best Christmas Pageant Ever when you were in elementary school? I loved it!

This version of The Night Before Christmas illustrated by Douglas Gorsline may be my favorite. These are the pictures & details that are vivid in my mind every time I hear the poem recited.

Each year, around this time, I pick up Little Women. The first time I read it was in winter and that first chapter by the fire with all of the March sisters never ceases to give me the coziest of feelings.

The Berenstein Bears’ Christmas Tree was my absolute favorite when I was little. I don’t think I will ever get tired of reading it. In fact, I was reminded of it again today when I read about Rachel’s family trekking through the woods in search of a tree for Sebastian.

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So now, I must ask, what are your most-beloved Christmas books?

For a little more Christmas reading, click over to Secrets of a Belle.

Until next week, xo*,
Hannah B. 

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Hello, English Musers!

Today I just wanted to write a quick post to let you know that Grace Coddington’s new autobiography, Grace: A Memoir, is absolutely wonderful! We were so blessed to get to go to Nashville this weekend and to hear the creative director herself. (more on that here), and she was absolutely charming. So, if you can, be sure to pick it up. It will be a lovely distraction from all the Christmas chaos, I promise!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going back to my book!

Sincerely,
Hannah B.

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Nick & Nora

Nov 05, 2012

Most days I feel as if I’m living in a Thin Man movie… beautiful clothes, martinis, and a witty husband & loveable terrier that always keep things entertaining. Needless to say, I was thrilled to hear this little interview on NPR this weekend. Two never-before-released novellas have just been published under the title Return of the Thin Man and will, of course, be downloaded to my Kindle immediately.

If you’ve never seen the Thin Man movies, they are must see! Myrna Loy and William Powell as Nick & Nora Charles are one of my favorite on-screen couples of all time. Here are a few of my favorite clips as well as a little something to whet your palette…

 

Until next week, I hope you’ll stop by Secrets of a Belle and say ‘hello!’
xo* for now ~ Hannah B. 

 

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Hello, Musers!

This weekend on Secrets of a Belle, I’ve been doing Last Minute Costume Ideas, and I just couldn’t help myself; I had to do Martha. While the post is quite tongue in cheek, Martha really is one of my heroes. In her book “The Martha Rules,” she talks about mentors in a broad sense. (For example, Martha considers Julia Child a mentor despite the fact that the two did not meet until well into Stewart’s career.) Well, I often find myself looking to Martha for wisdom so today I thought I’d share a few of my other “mentors,” and I hope in the comments section, you’ll share a few of yours!

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KATHARINE HEPBURN

“Life is to be lived. If you have to support yourself, you had bloody well better find some way that is going to be interesting. And you don’t do that by sitting around.”

Kate had the right idea. She was fiercely independent.  She was incredibly talented and a hard worker. She had impeccable style that not only went against the grain of the day’s popular fashions, it changed the day’s popular fashions. (Also, who doesn’t love watching her carefree attitude in Bringing Up Baby? It’s impossible not to love Susan.)

Recommended Visit: Dressed for Stage and Screen – an exhibition up now at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

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WALT DISNEY

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”

What do you see in your dreams that should be a reality? Are past failures stopping you in your tracks? What are you allowing to be a roadblock? Don’t talk about your dreams, try them on for size.

Recommended Reading: Walt Disney: Conversations

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CHARLES & RAY EAMES

“Choose your corner, pick away at it carefully, intensely and to the best of your ability and that way you might change the world.”
-Charles Eames 

What are you best at? What is your gift? How are you going to change the world?

Recommended Viewing: American Masters: The Architect & the Painter

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Until Next Week,

Hannah B.

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Hello English Muse readers! Karen from A Simple Cup of Tea once again. This week I want to talk about tea. Just because that’s how I roll. Kinda.

It’s true.

Okay, maybe it’s not that simple but for me very often just taking my mind off of the problem at hand for a couple of minutes gives me a bit more perspective.

Have a lovely new week!

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“This is the story of the barn. I wrote it for children and to amuse myself.”
~E.B. White in his reading of Charlotte’s Web, which turns 60 today

This morning started as most mornings do… with coffee & NPR… when I heard this little snippet about the 60th anniversary of this beloved children’s classic. Which got me to thinking, I really should pull out my own copy this evening and give it another read. Mine is an old copy, well-loved and given to me by my old high school librarian who, every once in a while, would let my friend and I take some of the most ‘loved’ books off the shelves to make room for shiny, new copies. Given the popularity of Charlotte’s Web, I have to wonder how many copies our library has gone through over the past 60 years. All that to say, if you haven’t read any E.B White in a while, perhaps this is the week.

Also, does anyone out there use goodreads? It’s a social site for readers I came across recently. I would love to find you!

Here’s the link to my goodreads profile page.

I hope you have an absolutely *lovely* week, English Musers! Until next Monday, you can find me at Secrets of a Belle.

xo* ~Hannah B.

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Hello English Muse readers! Karen from A Simple Cup of Tea once again. This week I want to talk about dreams. Big, small, comfortable and incredibly scary and all those in between.

I’ve always been a girl with big dreams and an even bigger sense of direction and drive in my life. Somehow now that I’m coming to an age where those dreams are being set in motion they seem not only even bigger but also a lot scarier. There’s no more time for hiding behind: ‘when I’m older’ or ‘after I graduate’. The time to go for it and succeed is now. Or of course to fall on my face. It still could go either way.

Luckily J.K. Rowling is here with her nearly infinite wisdom to save the day:

And of course she’s right. Much better to say: ‘look, I went for it and it didn’t work’ instead of wishing all of your life that you had the guts to try it. Regret is not something I want to live with.

So go out and take that jump. Whether it be huge and completely life-overturning or small and seemingly not important (it will be, all change is in some way). Go for your thing, your dream, your life.

Have a lovely new week!

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“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird
I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.” 
-George Eliot

Fall is my very *favorite* time of the year… what about you?
I love the colors, the sounds, the smells, everything.
I hope you are taking the time to soak in every second!

xo~ Hannah B. 

 

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Hello English Muse readers! Karen from A Simple Cup of Tea once again. This week I have my preacher’s hat on. For my own sake as much as yours.

 


(Illustration by Ivana Cunja.)

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But to truly, honestly and deeply love yourself isn’t always that easy. We’re inundated with advertisements that play on our weaknesses just so we would buy that one product that will make us perfect.

You know what? You’re already perfect. You’re perfectly you.

I hope you all had a lovely weekend. Until the next, dearies!

 

PS: If you don’t know where to start I highly recommend taking a look at Gala Darling’s posts on Radical Self-Love.

Image via Flickr

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It’s in the air

Sep 23, 2012

Hello English Muse readers! Karen from A Simple Cup of Tea once again. This week I want to talk about my absolute favourite season. Autumn.

It’s in the air here in Belgium. Autumn has only just arrived with yesterday’s equinox but it’s already gotten a tad colder over the past week and a bit. The leaves are just slightly beginning to turn and I’m dreaming of boots and knee-high socks again instead of sundresses.

Children have gone back to school, Ostend is getting a bit quieter without all of the tourists and the beach is suddenly vast and beautiful again instead of filled with people. Do I sound like an old angry woman? Perhaps. But apart from those practical things the sunsets are nothing short of glorious at this time of year.

Autumn is for me a time to appreciate change.

What about you? What is it about autumn (or fall) that you love?

 

Images via nostalgic-wanderlust

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Good Afternoon, English Muse Readers!

Today is a very special day! A little birdie told me that it is Tina’s birthday and so I thought we should use this post to celebrate in style. There are so many birthdays in the month of September, and my own (last week) got me thinking about what a dream grown-up birthday would look like.

What about you? Is there any particular way you’d like to celebrate?
I’d love to hear about it!

Until next week… xo* Hannah B. 

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Hello, English Muse Readers!

Today, I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to tell you about my brand new website that launched this morning. Secrets of a Belle is all about the art of living a more beautiful life through fashion, food, entertaining, and simple lifestyle choices. Right now, I’m in New York for Fashion Week and one of the 1st posts gives a sneak peek of the premiere line from Southern designer Cooper Ray (aka Social Primer). Then, tomorrow, I’ll be posting about the Michael Bastian show… a collection that is personally dear to my heart. So sneak over, peruse a little bit, and leave some comments to let me know what you think!

Hope you’re having a fabulous week!

xo* ~ Hannah B.

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The weatherman is calling for rain all week. There’s something about rainy days like this that makes me want to curl up under a blanket, drink something hot, and read Jeeves & Wooster–or, better yet, watch it! What about you? Are you a PG Wodehouse fan?

Until next week, here’s wishing you an afternoon on the couch with a good book!
xo~ Hannah B.

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Simple and true

Sep 02, 2012

Hello English Muse readers! Karen from A Simple Cup of Tea once again. This week I’ll be talking about something simple that can make a big difference.

You know how your parents/grandparents/extended family talk about choosing a profession that you love? They probably also mean a profession they can agree with. Something stable. Something dependable. In certain cases that’s exactly what you want to do, in other cases not exactly. Of course you want a job that’ll make you happy.

What I want to talk about today is not as big as that. It helps – immensely – if you’re doing something you love. But work is not the only way to go and do something you love.

 

At the moment work is for me just that. Work. But even though I might not love my job – let’s be clear though, I really like my job – it doesn’t mean I’m never doing anything I love.

I try to do something I love every single day.

From reading a couple of chapters in a book I enjoy to listening to my latest musical obsession (Sigur Ròs – absolutely brilliant and highly recommended) I try to find small ways to fill my days with things I thoroughly enjoy. And who knows, those small things you do might just lead to the bigger things.

Have a wonderful new week!

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I have always had an affinity for children’s books. I believe it’s one of the main reasons I studied design. There’s a special place in my heart reserved just for my favorite illustrators who, of course, are too numerous to mention here. Reading a children’s book is sort of like transporting yourself on a little mini vacation. The worlds become destinations you can inhabit for the next 10 minutes while the characters quickly become old friends. Don’t you think so? Anyway, today I was thinking that since English Muse is a blog where we all our shameless bookworms, why not share with you some of my favorite *new* children’s books. (disclaimer: “new” in this context means published within the last 5 years or so) This way we can all take a few minutes to indulge our inner Kathleen Kelly.

“A Sick Day for Amos McGee”
written by: Philip C. Stead | illustrated by: Erin Stead

My sweet mother-in-law got me this book for Christmas a couple of years ago, and it is beautiful! The book was written and illustrated by a husband + wife team, which I thought was really neat, and I was particularly fascinated with the illustration process of Erin, which you can read more about here.

“The Composer is Dead”
written by Lemony Snicket | illustrated by Carson Ellis

As the wife of a former band director, this book had me laughing so hard I had to listen to it twice. That’s right: Listen to it. You see, the book itself is great, but it also comes with a cd that not only adds a bit to the story that you won’t find in the original text, but illustrates the text with beautiful music. Think “Clue” meets “A Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra.”

“I Had a Favorite Dress”
written by: Boni Ashburn | illustrated by: Julia Denos

This book is close to my heart for a couple of reasons. First of all, my mother is an absolutely amazing seamstress. I had no idea how spoiled I was until I got older and my wardrobe was no longer custom tailored. (It  is impossible to buy clothes that fit perfectly ‘off the rack!’) Second, the illustrator, Julia Denos, has become an “interweb friend,” and is just as sweet as you would expect when you see her lovely illustrations. I just *adore* her style! This is a must have for any girl!

“Leonard the Terrible Monster”
by Mo Willems

I have always had an affinity for monsters. I was scared of absolutely everything when I was little, but monsters? Never! They were my friends! I just knew that the ones that lived under my bed only wanted to be friends. Why in the world was everyone else so frightened of them? Well, this book was written for everyone that ever thought like me.

“Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs”
by Mo Willems

This book will be a joint present for Husband and I next week (our birthdays are a week apart). Mo Willems always scores, but a dinosaur retelling of Goldilocks? Seriously? Who doesn’t want to read this book?

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So now let’s chat… What is your favorite children’s book?
Is there any particular reason it’s your favorite?

Until Next Week,
Hannah B.

P.S. If you too are a lover of children’s books, you may want to check out this new blog called Three Books a Night. It’s authored by Caryn, whom I consider a kindred spirit. She’s the only grown-up I know with more children’s books than me! Oh, & be sure to say *hello!*

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Hello, Muse readers!

Today, I just wanted to pop in quickly to share a few books that are currently on my reading list. Life is so busy right now with traveling back & forth to New York, lots of projects at work, as well as a new Secrets of a Belle due out September 1st so reading has become my perfect little escape. I, like a lot of you I’ve learned, like to keep a few things on my nightstand at once so I can pick depending on what mood I’m in. Here are my current picks:

Imagine: How Creativity Work by Jonah Lehrer

I am only a couple of chapters into this book but it is absolutely fascinating. It’s pretty intense, but I highly recommend it.

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Whateverland: Learning to Live Here by Alexis Stewart & Jennifer Koppelman Hutt

My bestie scored me a signed copy by Alexis herself! I have always been a huge fan of Martha and her daughter’s dry wit & honesty has made me love her as well. Also, if you haven’t seen the awkwardness of this interview on the Today Show, you’re truly missing out. I don’t know why, perhaps it’s my twisted sense of humor, but I both pity & laugh at poor Savannah every time! 

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Walt Disney: Conversations

I had this one checked out for so long from the UT Library when I was a student that I probably should have just kept it. Needless to say, I was thrilled to be able to revisit this collection of interviews with one of my heroes any time I like when my sweet mother-in-law got me a copy for Christmas!

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I’ll see you next week. Until then, find me on Twitter, and we can chat about what you’re reading!

xo~ Hannah B.

 

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Hello English Muse readers! Karen from A Simple Cup of Tea once again. This week I’ll be talking about choosing the good things.

I am a pretty positive person. I try to see the best in people and until proven otherwise I assume people are good. That doesn’t mean that nothing ever goes wrong in my life and that’s where things tend to go awry.

I’m not good at forgiving something. Or at least I have trouble with distinguishing forgiving and forgetting and so usually I don’t forgive things easily. Cue the following picture:

Yes. I felt a bit moronic too when I read this. Just a tad.

Because it really is that simple. Yet at the same time it totally isn’t. There are lots of reasons why we hold on to resentment, anger, a lousy job or an awful relationship. Lots of excuses for why we don’t choose the best for ourselves. We don’t want to hurt other people, we want to live up to people’s expectations, we got hurt and don’t want it to happen again.

The biggest factor in this however is fear. We are afraid of a myriad of things, we don’t want to get too far out of our comfort zone. Well, guess what darlin’, that’s where most of the magic happens.

In this light I want to close with a wonderful quote I used on my blog a couple of weeks ago:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

—-from A Return to Love, by Marianne Williamson.

 

True. Truer. Most true.
I hope you had a lovely weekend and have a fabulous new week!

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Doodling Our Days

Aug 06, 2012

Hello, English Muse Readers! Today, I thought I’d share a peak inside my sketchbook. This weekend, I flew to New York to spend the week with Husband, and since we’re staying in Brooklyn this time, I thought it may be fun to doodle some of the things I’ve seen while we’ve walked around town. Tomorrow, I think I’ll fill them in with some water colors. What about you? How do you like to preserve your travel memories?

I hope you have a lovely week! xo~ Hannah B.

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Hello English Muse readers! Karen from A Simple Cup of Tea once again. This week I wanted to share another quote with you. Today’s offering is by Fred Rogers and talks about fear and a helping hand.

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.”
– Fred Rogers

I have to say that I’m very comforted myself by this quote. It’s good to be reminded of the goodness of people instead of focusing on the bad things happening in the world. It’s so easy to become jaded and cynical.

I want to believe that people are inherently good. Now I know that some people are not to be trusted but most people are just like you and me. They want to live a good life and don’t intend to harm anyone.

Coca-Cola’s ad agency had the same idea and came up with this lovely commercial:

Have a lovely end of the weekend!

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Inside the clothes

Jul 29, 2012

Hello English Muse readers! Karen from A Simple Cup of Tea once again. This week I wanted to share this quote from Yves Saint Laurent with you all. The man not only was a visionary about women’s fashions – but also had very clear views about the kind of woman he designed for.

Have a lovely Sunday!

 

PS: the awesome print in this post is from Blimpcat and you can purchase the poster here.

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“I believe in fairy tales and serendipitous encounters…”
Do you?

Until next week. xo* ~ Hannah B. 

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Hello, Monday!

Jul 16, 2012

I am completely in love with this picture of Jayne Mansfield; if that doesn’t look like a great way to christen a summer afternoon, I don’t know what is! Just a friendly reminder to persevere this week, drink champagne and, when necessary, work those feminine wiles! {*wink*}

P.S. I got some great reading recommendations last week!
You can check out a full list here: What Are You Reading? 

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On our first trip to New York, back in March, Husband and I went to see The Steins Collect at the MET. It was magical. The collection was a joint effort between Gertrude Stein and her brothers (as well as their wives) and was an amazing overview of some of the best artists from the turn of the 20th century, which also happens to be my very favorite period. The one thing I have not been able to get out of my head was the little postcard pictured above from Henri Matisse to the family of Michel Stein. It’s absolutely amazing to know that all of these people were actually friends: Matisse, Hemingway, Picasso, Stein, Fitzgerald… etc, etc. To that end, I am pulling out A Moveable Feast (Hemingway’s account of the time) and just received Midnight in Paris from Netflix. When it’s 104 in Tennessee, why not escape to Paris?

What are you reading as a little summer escape? Any recommendations?
Until next week… xo* ~Hannah B.

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