Month: June 2012

What Is Your Favorite Klimt Painting?

Who doesn’t know this painting, Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss?  This year marks the 150th birthday of Klimt and Austria is celebrating it in various ways. If you are in Vienna, you are in for a treat, for several museums such as the Albertina, the Belvedere, the Kunsthistorisches, the Leopold, and the Wien Museum are showing exhibitions devoted to his work.

Recently I watched an almost unpretentious American comedy entitled This Means War. To make a long story short, a guy learns that the girl likes Gustav Klimt and because he’s a secret agent and there’s nothing he can’t do, he shows the girl the original Klimt paintings. Watch the fragment here. Isn’t it every girl’s dream to be pampered like that?

What is your favorite Klimt painting and why?

Happy Friday Everyone! Next week I’m in a different country, living a different life. Stay tuned.

Smiles, Marta.


Writerly Travels

Nearly a year ago, on my old blog, I made a valiant attempt to start a regular feature.  I planned, I pinned, and I posted.  Three times.  Three posts do not make much of a regular feature.  Today, however, I am bringing it back, for you, as a one-time-and-maybe-more feature.  I call it writerly travels: virtual visits to the homes and studios of authors I’ve read and loved.

A dear friend of mine is currently in England, traipsing to all sorts of literary sites, and I am thoroughly envious.  She’s seen some of Wordsworth’s papers, Chaucer and Shakespeare texts, and Jane Austen’s writing desk.  Perhaps I should be a little more astounded by Middle English volumes, given their age, but Jane Austen’s writing desk has me ready to catch the first flight to London.  Can you believe she composed such great novels at a desk so small?

Which writerly locales would you like to see?  Please share, and I’ll try to turn it into a feature!

Until next Thursday,

Katie (unwritten, untitled)


[images link back to their original sources]

Kids have summer reading lists. Why not one for adults?

Jesse Kornbluth here, from, recalling the summers when I did nothing but read.

A friend suggested I pull together a reading list for the summer. I had a hard time taking her seriously. She’s one of the smartest, best-read people I know — I’d much rather read her list than mine.

But I understand why she’d like mine. Most of the books that you hear about elsewhere do fall onto my desk each week. I read at least a page of each. And then I give them away and look for an old, forgotten page-turner.

So what you’ll get here is balance: some new, some old. What you won’t get are books that take all summer to read; I have had the summer of reading Tolstoy, and while it was life-changing, it was only possible because I was a kid and my bills were small.

What you really won’t get here is rigorous intellectual challenge. New ideas? Yes, I hope so. But if, like me, you find the news close to unbearable, what you want from a summer book is a wallow in intelligent pleasure. And at a length you can handle in a weekend.

So: short books, mostly fiction, masterfully written, satisfaction highly likely. Slather on the sunscreen, pour the iced tea, and have at them.

Mission to Paris: The latest from Alan Furst, again set in France, again in 1938. If you’ve read any Furst, you have reason to hope this will be both delicious and exciting; if you haven’t, you showed up at just the right time.

The Stories of John Cheever
: 700 pages, but they go down like gin-and-tonics on the manicured lawn of a Connecticut hostess.

Defending Jacob: Everyone in this family annoyed me. But the set-up is bullet-proof: A teenager is killed, and it sure looks as if the killer is his classmate, son of the DA who prosecutes homicides.

The Fault in Our Stars: The best book I’ve read this year, and I say that even though it’s a Young Adult novel about kids with cancer. Just do it, for God’s sake.

50 Shades of Grey: Women beaten down in their marriages or limited in their sexual expression will find delight here. I don’t see how anyone else might — the sex is so bad you soon start to skip it. And isn’t that why you bought it?
Better choices:
The Garden of Eden: Hemingway’s surprising novel about a couple on their honeymoon who make it a threesome.
Jules et Jim: The French classic about three in what might be love
Smut: Two Alan Bennett short stories about Brits who step out of the box
A Sport and a Pastime: James Salter’s classic about a lost American man and a French shop girl.

Levels of the Game: In one epic tennis match, we learn everything about Clark Graebner and Arthur Ashe.

Bonjour Tristesse: Francoise Sagan wrote this sophisticated beach romance when she was 18.

The Quiche of Death: A London PR executive retires early to savor the joys or English country life. As if.

Just Kids: Patti Smith’s fevered memoir.

The Kid from Tomkinsville:
A baseball novel. For kids. Maybe, but I read it again every few years.

The Queen’s Gambit: The more I tell you, the more you’ll wonder why. Just buy it. Read it. And pass it on.

These Days Are Ours: 20something New Yorkers, in the months after 9/11. Pitch perfect.

Sharon Olds: Poems that tell stories.

The True Believer: As we move closer to the election, Eric Hoffer’s short book will make more and more sense.

The Extraordinary Adventures of Arsene Lupin: A note, left in a chateau: “Arsene Lupin, gentleman burglar, will return when the furniture is genuine.”

Radioactive: This inventive approach to the lives of Marie and Pierre Curie literally glows in the dark.

Bringing Home the Birkin: My Life in Hot Pursuit of the World’s Most Coveted Handbag: All the pleasure of finding a treasure, but without spending a dime.

Jesus’ Son: Like your humor black? It doesn’t get blacker.

Dora Lives: Surfing’s baddest boy.

What are you reading?

Happy Tuesday, sweet English Muse readers. I just finished reading Heartless by Gail Carriger (think Jane Austen meets Buffy in Victorian London). I think I might read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies next.  It’s been sitting unread on my night stand for over a year now. Except I think I need a vacation from vampires. What are you reading right now? And just to mix it up, what movies or shows are you currently watching?



Not your mother's Jane Austen!
A scene from Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Would Jane Austen approve?


Photographer Kirsty Mitchell started working on her Wonderland series in 2009. Her mother had recently passed away, and she used her art to create worlds that reminded her of the stories her mother read to her as a child.

Her work is beautiful and intricate. Wonderland is a series that tells a story with only visuals – no words.

At first blush these photos look like high fashion editorials, big budget spreads, but everything in her images was created by Kristy and a few friends. It is a labor of love.

Kirsty has recently received a lot of media attention. She had an interview with The Huntington Post, an article on the front page of The Mail Online, the front page of MSN ’now’, the BBC World Service , the BBC television news… And several of her photos were enlarged and featured in store windows on Regent Street as part of  the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations.

Her “overnight success” was four years in the making.

As artists, it is a great story to remember. When you are feeling that you might never be recognized, it is probably best to just put your head down and make good work. The critical acclaim will come with time. Or it won’t. But making great work means you can simply be proud of the work.

This is amazing work. I feel transported to another realm.

have a magical Tuesday,

Sarah from Design Flourishes


all images from Kirsty Mitchell’s website

Art is Everywhere

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.

Art is amazing.

anchor_framed 29 dol

Hey guys. Welcome to Monday. It’s Lelanie here from of Beauty of Love. Why not kick today off with some art inspiration? I have hunted around a bit for some affordable pieces. Art makes such a different in a space. Yet, often we feel like we have to go without because it’s unaffordable.  So here’s a nice round-up of affordable, pretty and unique pieces that wont’t break the bank. But that will definitely spunk up any space.

Prints are usually the more affordable. They come in various styles, themes, looks and colours.

Or you can go for something more modern, like this oil on canvas.

This Mid-century inspired print can be cute in a kitchen or a kiddies room. The colours are vibrant and the design is fresh.

The colour combo of the reindeer print is so beautiful. Sun yellow and midnight blue makes such a striking combo.

And these love horses have a great gypsy, bohemian feel to it.

Or what about something like this classic, meets unique peacock print? This is sure to impress your guests.

Use prints in pairs, clusters, groups, on feature walls in a lounge, as an accent in a bedroom or as a talking point in a dining room. The options are endless.

Find these items here:

Anchor, mug, moments, modern, MCM, reindeer, horses and peacock.

Ciao, Lelanie.

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