Posts Tagged ‘Hannah B.’

Where Do You Read?

Apr 01, 2014

Oddfellows Orphange | Secrets of a Belle

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.

 

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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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Books by Bloggers

Nov 26, 2012

Hello, English Musers!

It’s Hannah B. from Secrets of a Belle back to share some fun things with you again. Since we so often share about what our latest literary finds, today I thought I would share about a set of emerging authors that I realized I’d been spending a lot of time with: bloggers turned authors.

blogger books from secrets of a belle's Hannah B

Here are a few of the books I’ve read in the past year that I highly recommend…

Blog, Inc. by Joy Cho of Oh Joy!

This is what I’ve been reading for the past week. Joy is a super artsy mama from LA. I’ve always adored her style and her work so when she released a book about blogging, I couldn’t resist. It’s full of practical tips, but I’m especially enjoying the Q&As with other well-known bloggers.

Edible Selby by Todd Selby of The Selby

I am a huge fan of The Selby. It’s like having a really great interior design magazine online. (If only all the actual interior design magazines would translate to the web so well.) I’ve got The Selby is in Your Place but, as a foodie, Todd’s new book, Edible Selby, is high on my wishlist. It’s chock-full of some serious eye candy.

Design*Sponge at Home by Grace Bonney of Design*Sponge (& the podcast “After the Jump”)

I think Grace Bonney is a role model to a lot of bloggers, and I’m no different. I was especially excited last Christmas to receive this book in my stocking. It’s full of a lot of the inspiring interiors that have been featured on Design*Sponge as well as a bunch of How-To’s.

A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg of Orangette

I’ve long been a fan of Molly’s blog so I was anxious to read this book when it came out a couple of years ago. There’s only one word for it: this book is beautiful. It’s a series of personal stories woven together with scrumptious recipes. It will make you laugh, make you cry, and then it will make you want to click over to Molly’s blog and catch up on all the things that have happened since the book’s release. She becomes like a close friend.

(Two Fun Facts: She’s writing another book, and she just had a baby!)

The Bucolic Plague by Josh Kilmer-Purcell of Beekman 1802

You may have seen Brent and Josh competing in CBS’s Amazing Race recently or over on Cooking Channel. Well, this book tells the beginning of their story. It will make you laugh out loud! I will admit, I picked up for cover, bought it for the Martha references, and now will forever be a fan of the fabulous Beekman Boys!

The Black Apple Paper Doll Primer by Emily Winfield Martin of The Black Apple

This is just super fun. Did you ever wish for paper dolls for Christmas? Well, I did, so I was excited to run across this last year when we were in Chicago. I’ve been a fan of Emily’s since I was in college, and I just adore her art. This book is full of lovely characters you’ll want to get to know.

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Are there any bloggers you want to write a book?

Until next week,
Hannah B. 

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Thanksgiving Week

Nov 19, 2012

Hello, English Muse Readers!

It is the most *wonderful* time of the year, don’t you think? From November 1st to January One, I am in heaven! I love the scents of the season, the colors, the twinkle-lights, the style. I love giving gifts, I love seeing family, mailing copious amounts of cards, and I love to make ridiculous paper crafts to hang all around our house. And this year, I am also particularly thankful for all the interweb friends I’ve been meeting here on English Muse (Thanks, Tina!), on Secrets of a Belle, and in Twitterland.

Thanks to each and every one of you for being so nice and friendly! I wish you & yours the very best! I’d love to hear what Thanksgiving festivities are happening in your ‘neck of the woods.’ If you’re interested in what I’m doing (or if you need help preparing to baste your first turkey or stock your first bar), pop on over and say *hello!* 

As always & very sincerely yours,
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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“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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Time for Tea

Oct 08, 2012

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about ritual. Recently, I noticed that there is a group who works in my building that take a break each day between 3 & 5 to have tea and converse. It seems like such a nice way to break up the workday.

Do you take time for tea? How do you take it. What kind do you drink?

I’ve got Harney & Sons Egyptian Chamomile at my desk today with a little bear full of honey at the ready.

Until next Monday…
xo* ~Hannah B.
from Secrets of a Belle 

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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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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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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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Confession: I have always had a love affair with old radio shows. When I was little, my mom would buy tapes of Burns & Allen for me at Cracker Barrel for long road trips, and I would listen to them so much that I would literally wear them out. It was always so much more satisfying for me to imagine the action in my head and the simple story lines from ‘back in the day’ were exactly what I imagined grown-up life to be. Now, when I work, I can usually be found listening to Jack Benny, Granby’s Green Acres, Fibber McGee & Molly or… Garrison Keillor. Keillor is the newest infatuation, but I have fallen fast and hard, friends.

I love the way A Prairie Home Companion preserves the old broadcast style. It brings together talented people with good stories and good music, but there is something about the host’s delivery that I just can’t get past. I’m pretty sure that man could read my grocery list, and I would suddenly find myself longing to drink lemonade on the front porch and listen to mountain music. It doesn’t matter that his stories are of his beloved Minnesota, he somehow manages to channel every small town in America. But why sit here and write about it? Why not share a few examples and let you see for yourself? So here you are:

If you need a little mini-vacate from your cubicle like me or you are sitting somewhere having a bad day, take 15 minutes and listen to The News from Lake Wobegon.

If you want to feel inspired by the way this writer looks at the world, take an evening and watch this documentary: The Man on the Radio in the Red Shoes. (It’s on Netflix!)

If you want to start your morning remembering why you love books, subscribe to this podcast… or tune into your local NPR station at 11:50am.

If you want to know a little more about the way Keillor looks at the world, read his answers to Time’s 10 Questions.

And if you don’t understand the appeal of Garrison Keillor, I would encourage you to read this 2006 article on Slate. It just made me laugh. Perhaps his appeal is every bit as mysterious as the author claims. Perhaps he’s not for everyone, but I just can’t help myself– I love him.

What about you? What do you nerd out on?

 

 

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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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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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“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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Art is Everywhere

Jun 25, 2012

Hello, English Muse readers! It’s Hannah B. from Secrets of a Belle again, and today I think Lelanie and I must be on the same wavelength! I, too, have had art on the brain lately. I have always been a firm believer that art is everywhere–in the shapes of leaves, in the color of the sky, there are beautiful things to observe all around us. Well, this weekend, I took an impromptu trip to New York to see Husband and I noticed that I was surrounded by the formal practice of art everywhere I looked: the airport, Central Park &, of course, on our Sunday trip to the Guggenheim. Perhaps summer inspires people to create. Or perhaps  I’m just opening my eyes to take advantage of some of the lovely opportunities to observe art that I never have before.

What do you think? Have you seen any amazing art lately? Have you been to any fabulous exhibits you think the rest of the English Muse readers would enjoy? Share below!

Until next week~ xo* Hannah B.

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Happy Monday, Muse readers! It’s Hannah B. from Secrets of a Belle, and today I’d like to share the 2 books that are currently on my nightstand: Home Economics and Don’t Sing at the Table. Both feed my lifelong obsession with homemaking.

I am constantly thinking about how to live a more beautiful life and a big part of that, in my humble opinion, is keeping a beautiful home. But, in the words of Ferris Bueller, ‘Life moves pretty fast.’ So what’s a girl to do? Here are a few tricks that I’ve picked up.

1.) Set a schedule and get into a routine.

2.) Put the things that matter most to you at the top of your ToDo list. Are you a stickler for a clean bathroom? Do you have to have the dishes done before you go to bed? I am a pretty bad stacker (stacker of magazines, stacker of old mail, stacker of clean clothes), but when the dishes are clean, all is right with my world.

3.) Learn about the ‘old school’ way of doing things. How did your grandmother keep her kitchen clean and her furniture polished? Many times the old cleaning products and methods are not only cheaper but better for your home & health.

4.) Make (& keep) a budget. This one will change your life forever.

5.) Fill your home with music & flowers… and dance in the kitchen.

What about you? What’s your go-to tip for making a beautiful home for you & your loved ones?

Until next week, xo* ~Hannah B.

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My Husband is, my dad was, but, sadly, I got my mother’s genes. I’m pretty sure we could both sleep until 10 every day and be perfectly content. However, since Husband has been in NYC,  I’ve found myself waking up from a not-so-restful sleep at 5am each day. If I were a normal person, I’m sure I would go ahead and get up, but naturally my stubborn self lays there determined to recapture the slumber I feel I deserve. Perhaps if I had some cuter motivation in our bedroom getting out of bed each morning would be a bit easier…

 

{ Kate Spade  /  Jonathan Adler  /  CB2 }

A sure way to wake up when nothing else works? A little sing-along…

What about you? Are you a morning person? Do you have any tips for those of us that are not?

Until next week, loves!
xo* ~ Hannah B. 

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Jubilee!

Jun 04, 2012

Sorry English Muse readers, but you can’t hide it from me! I know you’re all waiting breathlessly for the next piece of coronation coverage to come on the telly! (It can’t just be me!) Well, this afternoon you’re in luck. Between perusing pictures of QE on Pinterest and waiting to see Meredith with the palace behind her, I found The Queen’s Coronation: Behind Closed Doors. It is a short documentary out of the UK that I thought gave a great history of QueenE’s coronation as well as the feelings surrounding it. Since this was the first televised coronation in the nation’s history, it was also fun to be able to watch bits & pieces of it after looking through endless photographs. Enjoy, English Musers! & xo* until next week! ~Hannah B.

 

Cheers!

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