Archive for February, 2012

Love Letter.

Feb 29, 2012


Hi there! It’s Denise from Hello,Moxie! In honor of Leap Day, I thought I’d share something about love. When I was a kid, the teachers told us that February 29th was the day that girls could ask out the boys. I have no idea what that’s all about! But it’s one of the funny little things I remember and I think is fun about this day.

I came across this amazing love letter a while back and am so excited to share it with all of you — because I know we are all lovers of words, right? It was written by Richard Feynman after his wife passed away. The line that just kills me is — “I want to have problems to discuss with you — I want to do little projects with you.” Isn’t just the best declaration of love? To share and just want to be with each other. That line made me cry. I love it! The postscript is quite charming, too. I found the letter at And ladies, please excuse me — I write my blog on Blogger and I have no idea how to code and format and properly credit and link here! Here’s the letter. Enjoy!

October 17, 1946


I adore you, sweetheart.

I know how much you like to hear that — but I don’t only write it because you like it — I write it because it makes me warm all over inside to write it to you.

It is such a terribly long time since I last wrote to you — almost two years but I know you’ll excuse me because you understand how I am, stubborn and realistic; and I thought there was no sense to writing.

But now I know my darling wife that it is right to do what I have delayed in doing, and that I have done so much in the past. I want to tell you I love you. I want to love you. I always will love you.

I find it hard to understand in my mind what it means to love you after you are dead — but I still want to comfort and take care of you — and I want you to love me and care for me. I want to have problems to discuss with you — I want to do little projects with you. I never thought until just now that we can do that. What should we do. We started to learn to make clothes together — or learn Chinese — or getting a movie projector. Can’t I do something now? No. I am alone without you and you were the “idea-woman” and general instigator of all our wild adventures.

When you were sick you worried because you could not give me something that you wanted to and thought I needed. You needn’t have worried. Just as I told you then there was no real need because I loved you in so many ways so much. And now it is clearly even more true — you can give me nothing now yet I love you so that you stand in my way of loving anyone else — but I want you to stand there. You, dead, are so much better than anyone else alive.

I know you will assure me that I am foolish and that you want me to have full happiness and don’t want to be in my way. I’ll bet you are surprised that I don’t even have a girlfriend (except you, sweetheart) after two years. But you can’t help it, darling, nor can I — I don’t understand it, for I have met many girls and very nice ones and I don’t want to remain alone — but in two or three meetings they all seem ashes. You only are left to me. You are real.

My darling wife, I do adore you.

I love my wife. My wife is dead.


PS Please excuse my not mailing this — but I don’t know your new address.

Categories: Decor | 6 Comments »

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A Love Story

Feb 28, 2012

Hi, guys! I’m Molly, writer of Musings from Los Angeles,  and have been a longtime reader of English Muse. I love talking books and great style, so naturally this blog has been a go-to of mine. I’m honored to make an appearance here blogging about an important part of this site — books, of course!

Today I want to talk about the marvelousness that is Christina Haag’s memoir, Come to the Edge. It’s really hard for me to pass anything up that involves the Kennedys (my Vanity Fair magazine collection about this family is borderline embarrassing). So when I discovered this book I couldn’t resist diving right into it. And I’m happy to report, it was as wonderful as I had hoped it would be.

Christina Haag starts her story back when she had her first interaction with the Kennedys — she attended the same elementary school as Caroline — but chronicles her close friendship with John through high school, college and the “real world.”

But instead of focusing on the stories that have already been told about John F. Kennedy Jr. — or as she affectionately calls him, John-John — she tells stories of running in his circle of friends in high school and being his roommate at Brown University, and costarring in plays together back in New York. From their trips to Martha’s Vineyard, to posh parties in Manhattan, every aspect of their love story is endearing and heartwarming and their adventures keep you completely immersed in their glamorous lifestyles. In a lot of ways, you find yourself rooting for them even though you already know how their love story pans out. Haag does an excellent job of weaving through their intimate past to how she dealt with his loss in one of the most compelling manners I’ve come across in the literary world in awhile.

“When it’s warmer, we will sail to Cuttyhunk. When the leaves are tipped with red, we will hike on Naushon.” — Come to the Edge

Thanks, English Muse readers for letting me talk books on this corner of the internet.


[Images from Vanity Fair]

Categories: Decor | 2 Comments »

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I came across a letter which F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote his daughter, Scottie, when she was 11. He gives simple and yet important advises on life to Scottie towards the end of the letter!

After reading it, I thought that I definitely should share it with you, dear English Muse readers! Reading it gave me very much of courage, hope and motivation, I hope it would do the trick for you as well 🙂

Here comes the list of F. Scott Fitzgerald:

Things to worry about:

Worry about courage
Worry about cleanliness
Worry about efficiency
Worry about horsemanship

Things not to worry about:

Don’t worry about popular opinion
Don’t worry about dolls
Don’t worry about the past
Don’t worry about the future
Don’t worry about growing up
Don’t worry about anybody getting ahead of you
Don’t worry about triumph
Don’t worry about failure unless it comes through your own fault
Don’t worry about mosquitoes
Don’t worry about flies
Don’t worry about insects in general
Don’t worry about parents
Don’t worry about boys
Don’t worry about disappointments
Don’t worry about pleasures
Don’t worry about satisfactions

Things to think about:

What am I really aiming at?
How good am I really in comparison to my contemporaries in regard to:

(a) Scholarship
(b) Do I really understand about people and am I able to get along with them?
(c) Am I trying to make my body a useful instrument or am I neglecting it?

With dearest love,


Wise words, don’t you agree? If only we could internalize them in the course our daily lives…  And, don’t worry about insects in general, I wish I could do this 😉

Guest Post by Gulfem@All Happy Things Around

Photo Credits List of Note and Nantucket Youth)

Categories: Books, Icons | 16 Comments »

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Hello fellow English Muse readers! I’m Jen Zahigian of That Wondrous Time and Roadside Photographs.  I am a photographer from sunny California with a love for roadside relics and independent bookstores. Tina is an inspiration, and I’m so happy to be a guest here today.
I’d like to share photographs from my first visit to Paris, in Spring 2005.  I was lucky enough to spend three weeks there with my Mother, experiencing the best Mother & Daughter adventure a girl could dream up.  We rented a cozy apartment on Rue Dauphine in the 6th Arr. near Pont Neuf.  We walked, rode trains, visited museums, shopped for shoes, prepared meals, and treated ourselves to many, many fresh baguettes and pastries. It was amazing to call Paris home for three weeks, and in that time life was beautiful. 
Thankfully, as Hemingway wrote, Paris stays with you.  The memories feel fresh, and I can hardly believe seven years have gone by.  In just two short months I’ll be traveling to Paris again (and Bavaria, and Switzerland!) with my husband, and of course, my camera.   I look forward to bringing home new photographs to share with you.
For now, I hope you’ll enjoy these photographs of Paris as I saw it…

Museum Girl

Blue Truck, Paris

Aux Mouches

Modern Reflection

Avenue de New York

Hand in Hand

Imaginations in Springtime

Finding My Way, Paris

Galerie Babylonia

The Gardenway Passage

The Checkered Path

May Day

Stop 'n Watch

Piano Street


Last night in Paris (The Violet Hour)

 “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”

-Ernest Hemingway

P.S.  A photo of me & my Mom bundled up for a chilly boat ride along the Seine…

Categories: Paris, photographs, Travel | Tags: | 9 Comments »

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Here it comes

Feb 25, 2012

Hello English Muse readers! I’m Karen from A Simple Cup of Tea and I’m happy to share a little guest post of my own with you while Tina is traveling.

Spring is coming. I can feel it in the air and I couldn’t be more delighted.

Don’t get me wrong, the temperatures in Belgium aren’t anywhere near real spring weather but the sun is shining and warming any face who turns towards it.

Even though it’s still way too cold to sit outside reading a book or having a picnic it’s definitely not too early to start planning spring shenanigans. The things I’m planning at the moment are my spring wardrobe (and a little bit my dress-list for a trip to London this summer), little adventure trips with my friends, picnics, bike rides and leisurely reading sessions outside in the park.

What are you looking forward to with spring coming up? Any to do-lists?

Picture credits: 1. 2. 3.

Categories: Things to love... | 4 Comments »

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 Doris Day is the epitome of kindness, sincerity, and femininity. I first became a fan at thirteen and forever became transfixed with the wonderful music and movies of this great lady. She teaches us all to be better human beings with her enormous work for the care of animals.  At almost eighteen my love for her has not diminished a bit. Doris Day continues to inspire young women to always remember to stay true as well as sweet. – Dominique Lessing

“I like joy; I want to be joyous. I want to smile and I want to make people laugh. And that`s all I want.  I like being happy. I want to make others happy.” ― Doris Day

( images from from

Posted by guest blogger Dominique Lessing.

Categories: Icons, It Girls & Icons | 8 Comments »

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Life is strange, in a beautiful and mystical way. Reading this blog on a regular basis was a true motivation for me to start my own blog and now I am writing a post as a guest blogger for my favourite blog ever! I am Gulfem from All Happy Things Around, just thrilled by being a part of English Muse.

As this blog was my inspiration to dive into blogging world, I thought that it would be a good idea to write about another substantial inspiration of mine, women who ages in a distinguishably elegant and beautiful way..

I have extreme curiosity about how I will be looking like when I will turn into my 30s, 40s, 50s and so on? What about the look on my face, my smile? Will they all be more meaningful than today or will I just appear sad about all those past years? I am not afraid of having wrinkles on my face in future. For me, they will be just signs of all experiences I have in my life, no matter good or bad. Those experiences are ones what determines our current state of being, who we are at the moment.

Look at those ladies, Meryl Streep, Audrey Hepburn, Julianne Moore and Catherine Deneuve ! How elegant, refined and wise they look… They just embrace what past years offer to them, they did not fight with those years! Their photos have so much to tell us, right?

I am looking forward to hear examples you’ve got dear English Muse readers! Who might be other women who age in a distinguishably fabulous way?

(Text is from Gulfem@All Happy Things Around, photos from joemcneilis, RareAudreyHepburn, miradademiranda, LovesJulie)


Categories: Icons | 8 Comments »

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The Glory of Love

Feb 23, 2012

Hi, English Muse readers! My name is Dominique. I have been an avid reader here for many years and am delighted to be one of the guest bloggers while Tina is in Paris. February is known as the month of love but people forget it can be celebrated everyday. Here are my  small tips on how to make each day Valentine’s Day.

~ Sit Right Down and Write Yourself a Letter

Send your loved one a heartfelt letter in the mail. This may sound dated but words written down can say so much.  Not only are they fun surprises but can be kept for years to come.

~ Order or make a wonderful dinner when you know you both will be free. The comfort of home can be just as special as a nice restaurant and plus you can eat in your pajamas if you care to.

~ Compliment each other on the little things that make him or her special. This may seem like the easiest task but you would be surprised how easy it is to forget.

~ Parks can be very romantic. If you live in a big city you may find musicians playing during the day. Tip the player to play one of his or her favorite songs or just stroll through the park admiring the quiet and beauty.

~ Go shopping with your loved one and get them something they had not seen that you know they would like. A cookie for example can be the perfect item to show them how sweet you feel they are.

~ Pick or buy flowers when you know your loved one has had a stressful day.

~ Snap pictures together. Laptops usually have a photo-booth setting to choose from. What could be nicer than taking some pictures with music playing, fun props,and your significant other at your side?

~ My last and favorite tip is making  a mixed CD. Grab some blank disks and add a bunch of songs that show you care. This can be a  wonderful way to show your love without actually verbally saying it.

Here is my mix of romantic songs for any loving occasion by my favorite ladies of song.

1] I Know You Know- Esperanza Spalding 
2] All of My Life – Barbra Streisand
3] Lovin’ You – Olivia Newton- John 
4] Love on Top- Beyonce
5] In Buddy’s Eyes – Barbara Cook
 6] Thankful- Kelly Clarkson
7] I’m Just In Love- Nancy Sinatra
 8] A Love That Will Last – Renee Olstead
9] Livin’ For Love – Natalie Cole 
10] If I Ever Had a Dream – Nellie McKay


 (images from Archives of New South Wales &

Categories: Decor | Tags: , | 3 Comments »

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While in route to Zurich from Vienna on the train we learned that the mountain pass between Austria and Switzerland had been closed because of a train derailment. All trains were being diverted through Germany. Instead of enduring a 15-hour train trip, I decided to get off in Salzburg. I found a single room at the Wolf-Dietrich for 60 euros. The bed had a really wonderful mushy down comforter and pillow. (White of course). The weather was perfect for a stroll (with a light coat) along the Salzach river.

I couldn’t resist buying a box of the Mozart candy!!

They finally reopened the pass through the Austrian alps this morning, and now I’m in Zurich waiting to board the train to Paris! This station is huge and busy, with people carting big bags of skis…I should probably sign off because with my luck, I’ll miss the train…Too many distractions…

Categories: Travel | 6 Comments »

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Hello friends and readers of English Muse,  Christina from a wild civility here posting while Tina is away in Paris. I am thrilled to be guest blogging, as this is one of my favorite blogs, and I typically pin just about every image. Bits & Pieces about me: I am simply a lover of books, beginning Masters work in English, hoping to transfer my love of reading into a career soon.  Today, I thought I’ld share some thoughts on an old love, poetry:


Oh, the great English poets : Milton, Spenser, Chaucer
and the lovely American poets: Whitman, Dickinson, Longfellow
just to name a few…

The questions have been asked for ages:
What is the purpose of poetry?
Is it to create something beautiful (Edgar Allan Poe)?
Or is it intended to lead to virtue (Sir Philip Sidney)?
Should we approach it technically, noting the sense in the sound (Robert Frost)?

 I suppose the question now, in our age, is:
Where does poetry fit in our daily lives?
In an age where production and consumption are high priorities
meaning, how we (as a culture) often associate value primarily with utility,
Where does poetry live in our world?

For that answer, I turn to the flowers.
Objects of beauty, emotion, and also
form, the fruit of hard labor, and life.
I think that poetry — and flowers — both live on to remind us of value.
To value one another … not merely because of one’s usefulness,
but because of breath in the lungs, because one simply is.

                                           Where does poetry fit in your world?


 [thanks for having me Tina, and English Muse readers]
all images from one of my favorite spots in the world: greenhouses in my home town

— Christina @ a wild civility 

Categories: authors, Books | 17 Comments »

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Or if you are me “never buy a book by its cover”.  Nothing worse than buying a book for its looks and finding later that the cover was much more interesting than the contents.

Saying that, a while back I went Orla Kiely mad.  Mugs, bag, wallet, I even tried in vain to get something for our kitchen.  Inevitably I had to get the book whose cover she designed, Excellent Women by Barbara Pym (Virago Modern Classics 2008 edition).  After a few months of being a mere decorative object on my side table I read it and to my surprise I thoroughly enjoyed it.

This is not a story about women in Louboutin’s in New York, and neither are its characters pivotal actors in current affairs.  In fact it’s quite the opposite, this novel’s gem relies on making those ordinary things and personalities seem like something remarkable and peculiar.  And this is why, regardless of the time when the story is set it feels current, the feelings, worries, motives and thoughts in this book are not too dissimilar from the ones we have today, so there is no surprise that anybody in this book could be our colleague, our neighbour and yes, even ourselves.

Despite buying this book for the design of its cover, it has become a book that I will enjoy reading time after time, on my comfy sofa, with a cup of tea and a stack of cookies.

Now tell me, have you ever bought a book because of its cover??

(Text and photo by Lizzet at Living101)

Categories: Books | 14 Comments »

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Europe in Winter

Feb 21, 2012

Hello everyone! I’m at the train station in Vienna after spending a wonderful day with friends. I’m heading to Switzerland on an overnight train, then I’ll be back in Paris. I’ll be checking in periodically. In the meantime, please look for posts from my lovely guest bloggers!!

I’ll be back to regular posting soon!

Categories: Travel | 7 Comments »

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Night Flight

I’m leaving on Saturday. I can’t wait!
I’m not sure how much blogging I’ll be able to do from there.
It’s a working trip!

If you’re interested in guest blogging here while I’m away, please email me!


(Photo by Dane.)

Categories: Paris, Travel | 18 Comments »

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getting the day started

I was clearing out a couple boxes and found an old copy of “Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man,” by Christopher Hitchens. I’ve been watching a lot of presidential debates recently so it seemed like a fitting book to read in an election year. I love Hitch’s writing anyway…Will be missed.

What are you reading?

Photo by Perfect Bound.

Categories: Books | 42 Comments »

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Like this?

Or This?

It’s freezing in Europe at the moment and I’m starting to worry about packing for my trip. I’ve lived in Southern California for the past 20 years. I have no idea how to dress for extreme cold. Help! Any advice?

(Photos by Garance Dore.)

Categories: Fashion | 24 Comments »

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Sofia Coppola and her husband, French rock star Thomas Mars, have found a gorgeous new home with a rare “secret garden” in the middle of Greenwich Village, according to the Wall Street Journal. The couple paid nearly $10 million for the light and bright abode.

(Real estate listing photos, above, from

I can’t wait to see how she decorates it!

Categories: Decor | 12 Comments »

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I’ve been planning my trip to Paris. As it turns out, one of my friends is going to be in Vienna where her husband is directing an opera. I’m going to take a little side trip to see them. Instead of flying, I’ve decided to take the train, with a route through the Swiss Alps.

Does anyone know of any good books about the Alps to read along the way?

Thank you!!

(Photo by Hurni Christoph.)

Categories: Travel | 13 Comments »

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My Lamps Plus design post this week is about decorating with pink, featuring the beautiful decor photographs of Yvestown’s Yvonne Eijkenduijn! More here!

Categories: Decor | 5 Comments »

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Dog-Eared Books

Feb 03, 2012

Penguins, Dorset

What’s the most tattered book you own?

For me, it’s “A Moveable Feast.” I take my paperback copy with me every time I go to Paris. It’s become a sort of tradition to read it on the long plane ride. The spine is broken from underlining sentences on that horrible little pull-down tray. The pages are yellow and some are stained with red wine. (I hate to fly, so wine helps.) The cover has a huge crease from getting smashed under a pillow. Recently I found a pretty fabric cover that fits the book perfectly. It actually looks presentable now.

But this week, it occurred to me: Why not just get a copy of the book on Kindle, since I’m bringing my Kindle anyway on my trip this month.

Then again I would miss not being able to reread everything I underlined last time…I don’t know. I think it’s me and this 1970s edition of A Moveable Feast for life.

You know what I mean?

(Photo by Flat World Sedge.)

Categories: Books | 28 Comments »

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