I hope you had a lovely Saturday. I took a forty minute detour to claim a vegan cinnamon roll, visited the Louvre’s special Delacroix exhibition, and ate a pizza (also vegan).
Keep an eye open for an upcoming ‘best vegan pizzas in Paris’ post. The sequel to the Boston edition- we’ve relocated.
So here’s what’s happening on the interwebs, carefully avoiding the trend for snorting condoms.
- The city of lights from the sky
- I’m fantasizing less about these outfits and more about the swoon worthy descriptions of spring weather
- Body glitter is now the only appropriate use for the Kira Kira filter. I am entranced.
- What happens when you add illustrations to those random snippets of overheard conversations
- I would stay here– books and beds are the only things I need in life
- For it to really be Paris he would have an accordion
- Infernal Affairs and The Departed– for me The Departed wins because Boston, but I have yet to see Infernal Affairs (it’s been on my list SO LONG) so that’s not worth much. It does look excellent, doesn’t it?
- If you’re a Royal Wedding fan, maybe you want to enter this social media contest to suggest its defining ice cream flavor?
- The unstoppable rise of veganism, about which I have mixed feelings (more people want to eat my cinnamon bun but more places sell vegan pizza).
- The benefits of a plant-based diet for health and the environment.
- Congrats to Yale and congrats to Nathan Chen.
- An interview with my favorite makeup artist
- A follow up on the Orientalism inherent in Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs, and in the broader world of American cinema (with a very interesting segment on 2015’s Met Gala theme).
“It’s Japan purely as an aesthetic — and another piece of art that treats the East not as a living, breathing half of the planet but as a mirror for the Western imagination.” And perhaps the only thing that will lead to a more fair, just, and equal portrayal of Asians in cinema and pop culture is the spending power of that huge sector of the world population.
- Turkish Rondo in finger snaps
- Molly Ringwald reflects on the problematic legacy of John Hughes movies in the era of #MeToo
I’m weirdly exhausted by life/final exams/the sporadically broken heating system in this house. But I have a backlog of links and they’re all exciting so there’s no putting them off any longer.
And because it’s a new month, the picture above is my new desktop background. Set to tile, as per usual. People swimming in a sea of stars.
What else? 19 days. So close yet so far.
- Reviews of Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs. I’m still pumped because I like Wes Anderson (and dogs), but it sounds like there are some pretty ishy us vs them components. Won’t be seeing it in the theater. Here’s a review from MovieBob and here is a deeper plunge into the problematic nature of the Japanese setting, the estrangement from the Japanese human characters created by the language barrier, cultural tourism, and the white savior complex.
- The movies that influenced Call Me By Your Name. Be right back, adding ALL OF THEM to my list. (Except A Room With A View- I honestly didn’t love that).
- Other things I’m adding to my film list? These twisted fairy tales (from female directors).
- A trailer for The House With a Clock in it’s Walls– speaking of twisted fairy tales. Cate Blanchett! Luscious steam-punk-y visuals! Jack Black doing his character actor thing! Creepy! Childlike! I’m kind of tentatively intrigued. Post-Jumanji, is Jack Black due for a resurgence?
- A discussion of Saoirse Ronan’s costumes for the film Brooklyn, and the deeper meaning behind them. So interesting (and a great film, if you haven’t yet seen it).
Let’s talk about perfume:
- Five fabulous orange blossom scents, courtesy of Angela at Now Smell This. Of these, the Serge Lutens is my favorite, but I would add Rubj by Vero Profumo to the list if I could. (And on the more gourmand side, Hansa Yellow by DSH and Unknown Pleasures by Kerosene).
- Carlos Benaim (love) and Frederic Malle on their new lavender-focused fragrance, Music For a While.
- Hermes releases a new cologne. Unfortunately I missed the Saut Hermes (a jumping tournament at the Grand Palais), but here’s a photo.
- If you’re feeling science-y (I always am) here’s a study that shows evidence of significant interactions between perfumes and individual body odor. The takeaway: “The odor mixture of an individual’s body odor and their preferred perfume was perceived as more pleasant than a blend of the same body odor with a randomly-allocated perfume, even when there was no difference in pleasantness between the perfumes. This indicates […] that people choose perfumes that interact well with their own odor. Our results provide an explanation for the highly individual nature of perfume choice.” So cool.
Fashion and celebrity people:
- Lena Waithe is amazing and I love her style and attitude.
- Bill Cunningham’s secret memoir. When can I read it?
- I know I’m late, but in honor of spring (and Easter) some floral looks from Moschino’s S/S 2018 RTW collection: 1 and 2.
- The maternal grandparent advantage. Rings true for my family (although that also has something to do with geographic proximity). And congratulations Mom and Dad, you are likely to be more involved with my future children than my future parents in law!
- Your friendship Myers-Briggs. As an INFJ, apparently I’m a bandaid and I’ll take it.
- For work relationships. I’m living vicariously through the drama of this twitter thread.
- In old age, shoplifting to find community. Heartbreaking.
Books and other tidbits
- I saw this adorable kid’s maze book at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris. It reminds me of an immense Sesame Street board book I once had. But rather more portable.
- Mari Andrew’s book is out! Love her illustrations and down to earth wisdom.
- Another reason to go home for the summer? Archery tag.
- A French waiter in Canada says firing for rudeness is discrimination against his culture. He’s not wrong.
- If you’re not a fan of the lack of privacy re: data and personal info online, console yourself with the fact that if you ever disappear in a national park, amateurs can keep looking for you for decades. But it’s actually a very interesting, well-written article.
It’s been such a week so I’m just going to throw some links on here and run. Seriously, right from vacation into double killer exams. When it feel like a long week and it’s only Tuesday you know you’re in trouble.
But I bought my flight home, wheee!
- A children’s book to teach about the huge and overwhelming emotional spectrum. Hooray for raising emotionally literate and empathetic children.
- It’s Luckyscent’s 15 year anniversary- and they’re welcoming some cool store exclusives!
- This instagram account makes beautiful patterns from everyday objects. One step up from freakebana?
- My favorite Oscar speeches!- Guillermo del Toro and Frances McDormand (I just watched the latter again (for the fourth time? Still so powerful. #InclusionRider).
- I shared an essay about Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon a week or two ago- and he seems pretty charming in person. And he has a cute belly.
- Wait, are they going to make a film from Chekhov’s The Seagull? Because that would be amazing. Also, how many films is Saoirse Ronan in this year? Also Annette Bening.
- Heartwarming story of the week: A tiny little girl transfixed by the National Portrait Gallery’s portrait of Michelle Obama meets her idol.
- My favorite, sent to me by my college roommate (whose birthday was yesterday, Happy Birthday, Lily!)- the largest ever analysis of film dialogue by gender. It reminds me of how my Mom has stopped watching films exclusively about white men (she made a recent exception for Call Me By Your Name) and now finds that most films she watches are about black men. The lack of substantial female roles in the film industry is really astonishing.
I’m still way behind on my actual life (as exemplified by the fact that I’m writing about Paris museums while sitting in my grandparents’ breakfast nook in Spain…). I have yet to write post about what I did during my class trip to Grasse, but I truly and sincerely believe that it will someday be written and public.
In the meantime, I’ve really enjoyed my ‘new tradition’ of checking out the lesser known Paris museums on the weekends- and finding some real hidden gems.
Here’s what happened this most recent weekend- because my flight to Spain was only yesterday.
- Musee Marmottan Monet: Absolutely adored this museum. It’s a bit out of the way but chock full of beautiful pieces by Monet and Morisot. I’m a bit biased because I’m already a huge impressionism fan, but standing and absorbing some of the basement rooms with the hugest Monet waterlily paintings actually gave me tingles.
- Maison de Balzac: I visited Balzac’s house too! It’s out of the way in the same out of the way that Marmottan Monet is, so they made the perfect joint Saturday excursion. I haven’t read a ton of Balzac (Eugenie Grandet, Pere Goriot, and Cousin Bette) but what I have read I really enjoyed. The garden is lovely and has a great view of the Eiffel tower. Inside there are some busts of Balzac done by Rodin, but my favorite room would have to be the one with all of the character sketches. There are tons of etchings done that were used to print illustrations and I looked at them for maybe an hour. It was fun to recognize characters I had read about (Vautrin was a standout), but even the unknowns were so full of character and individuality. Bonus: the museum is free.
- On Sunday I went to the Catacombs. Dad and I had tried to go when we visited Paris two summers ago and bailed out because of the long line. Thankfully Sunday was pretty blue-skied and sunny, so I went with the intention and understanding that I would have a long line wait to reflect and meditate on my life. I even packed some study materials. That worked for about an hour and a half of queued up equanimity and then I started getting cold and lost feeling in my feet. The last hour was a bit of a doozy (for a total of about 2.5 hours in line). The upside: the catacombs are pretty cool and the report I did on the Paris underground junior year of college gave me some fun insight. I wouldn’t go again because there are only so many bones you can look at, and I’m not sure if it was worth the long wait, even i hindsight. But I do think satisfying my curiosity and checking it off my list was worthwhile. It’s a very French thing, there are stone placards with meaningful and poetic bits of Latin and French text which I had fun reading and translating to myself. There are a whole lot of femurs and skulls take second place. Frequently they’re artfully arranged (there was a heart and a cross and a pillar in there, I remember). Still, with the exception of a few sacra, I do wonder where the other bones went. Also, has it ever occurred to anyone that old femurs look rather like cinnamon bark?
So that was my weekend, briefly summarized as art, literature, and bones.
It’s been a weird weekend. And it’s only Saturday. Hopefully grocery shopping is uneventful tomorrow. One minute you’re sitting on the train and the next you’re disembarking and for some reason your right hip isn’t letting you walk?
Pretty sure I’m too young for hip replacement.
SO I was talking to some friends yesterday and said I would send along a list of recommended French films. And SO I figured I would post it since it’s a list.
That said, full disclosure: I haven’t seen every French film ever so this is a superbly and spectacularly incomplete list.
Let’s Start with animated:
- Ernest and Celestine: Bears and mice and based on a lovely children’s book series that I want to buy for my potential offspring.
- Nocturna: Amazing world building. So much imagination. Cats.
- The Boy with the Cuckoo Clock Heart: I walked in on dad playing music from this. He’s never seen it.
- A Monster in Paris: There’s a giant bug and it’s a beautiful heartwarming story. Also beautiful music.
Also kid-focused but not animated:
- Le Petit Nicolas: This is what being a child is like. But kind of more so.
I’ struggling with categorizing all the rest so I’m just going to throw them at you in one big lump:
- Belle de Jour: Catherine Deneuve is bored and fantasizes about BDSM so she decides to be a prostitute. Also her name is Severine, which is an excellent name.
- La Vie en Rose: Marion Cotillard is Edith Piaf and it’s as amazing as it sounds.
- Les Trois Couleurs: Three movies which you can kind of trace from the Nouvelle Vague style. Loosely connected, all individually perfect as stand-alones. I think Blue was my favorite.
- La Double Vie de Veronique: For some reason this hangs out with Les Trois Couleurs in my mind. Some lovely music.
- Huit Femmes: A Christmas musical murder mystery with a who’s who cast of great French actresses.
- Les Choristes: A teacher positively affects students lives through music. But it’s actually a good film.
- Bonjour, Tristesse: The book is better but this is nice and light and summery. Still not a huge Jean Seberg fan.
- The Intouchables: I always confuse this with The Untouchables, a film about taking down Al Capone. This is great too.
- Elle: Isabelle Huppert is bae and this Oscar nominee (did it win? I don’t remember) from last year is fantastic.
- Tous Les Matins du Monde: Music again. But also period drama stuff and sex.
- La Pianiste: Isabelle Huppert being sexy again. But this time even more mentally off-kilter.
- La Piscine: Romy Schneider and Jane Birkin and Alain Delon are all fabulously attractive people. And the film is suitably sexy.
- Les Enfants du Paradis: A long film that flew by. It’s actually a work of art and quite possibly one of the best films I watched last year. It is inspiring me to fall in love with a mime.
- Eyes Without a Face: French New Wave does Hitchcock. I am obviously a fan.
- Diabolique: More Hitchcockian stuff. A wife and mistress conspire to kill the guy. Then come strange events.
Weird stuff that I’m not sure I can recommend:
- Last Year at Marienbad: I will never forget the word ‘couloir’.
- Triplets of Belleville: What…?
As this is my last full day in Boston and also a blizzard day (16-18″!), and as I have no books left from the library (I had to go back and cancel my extra holds yesterday 😥 ) this list isn’t going to go through any alterations before the actual end of the break tomorrow around 7 pm (at which point I will be at the airport) (unless I finish The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur SUPER QUICKLY), I can get away with posting this a bit prematurely.
I have packed my bags and read my last book.
- The Secret Lives of Color, Kassia St. Clair: An excellent and really interesting book about the histories of various culturally significant colors (like Mountbatten Pink, Lead White, Cerulean, et al.) featuring odd and various anecdotes from the past. Each color discussed gets a few pages. Very far from dry, perfect for increasing your store of random information for use at parties and family gatherings, and a very aesthetically pleasing book.
- Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children’s Literature as an Adult, Bruce Handy: I’m a huge children’s lit reader. Possibly more so than I was as a child (and that’s saying something). Watching the author discuss and examine childhood favorites (Goodnight Moon, Peter Rabbit, Green Eggs and Ham) through an adult lens, with an attention to various social/cultural movements, is so fascinating. It doesn’t hurt that the author is really witty. I think I audibly chuckled a few times.
- The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down, Hyemin Sunim: Part of what inspired my very crunchy and zen resolution list (the other part being that I’m just a crunchy and zen person) (well, I try to be zen). Beautiful illustrations and lots of crunchy and chewy food for thought. So glad I stumbled on this in Shakespeare and Co. (And so glad BPL carries it!)
Contrary to my usual preferences, if was a very nonfiction-heavy vacation. But I feel edified, improved, and most importantly full of odd anecdotes to share.
It just occurred to me that a nook is actually a technological thing on which I believe one can, in fact, read books.
The title of this post is meant rather in the sense of ‘books for nooks and cozy crannies’. Let’s imagine that that’s the full title.
Granted, I don’t know what books you go for when you’re curled up in bed under piles of blankets (ahem, like I am now). Maybe a twisty murder mystery is more your thing. Or an eye-opening biography. Or a sordid true crime.
For me it’s something a bit more pastoral. Quiet stories about quiet lives lived with quiet purpose. Close to nature, close to the seasons, and close to loved ones.
And nothing too mentally taxing.
Add in a dash of children’s literature and a sprinkle of fantasy and you’re all set.
- The Wind in the Willows is one of my favorite books. Full stop. Cozy dens and animal friends.
- A Christmas Carol is the perfect novella for the more festive-minded. We read it aloud as a family in the days before Christmas a few years ago and it was a really lovely thing to share.
- The Country of the Pointed Firs is a series of sketches of life in a fictional Maine fishing village. At once a meditation on the hardship and isolation of rural life and the intense beauty of the solitude and the relationships forged therein.
- The Hobbit is the perfect cuddly fantasy adventure featuring the perfect balance of magic, mystery, and unforgettably lovable characters.
- Stillmeadow Road hits very close to me, as the author shares a year of New England seasons from her 1690 New England farmhouse. The voice is laid-back, wise, and incredibly comforting.
- The Little House series was a favorite of mine as a child and I remember it so fondly, but I’m not sure the pacing and reading level would be super pleasing to me at this point. But if you’re reading with a child or your mind is in need of something a little more serious in the way of R&R, I really do recommend these. Is there anything more cozy than a little house in the big woods? (Maybe a little house on the banks of Plum Creek).
TEN DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS!!!!!!
I’m so ready.
Here’s what’s happening:
Look at me doing two posts two days in a row like I don’t currently have 134 raw materials to study and an illness to recover from! 😀
No excuses, I have reaped enough links from the inter webs now to share them and I’m missing sharing my thoughts more often, so I’m going to work on making time for this blog/diary/list compendium more of a priority.
For the children, you know.
- Pixar’s released a TEASER TRAILER FOR INCREDIBLES 2! I’ve been waiting so long. And I am so ready for destructive apocalyptic Jack Jack and stay-at-home Mr. Incredible. (And Edna Mode. Please, Edna Mode).
- One of my favorite makeup artists (Violette, check out her youtube channel) has released a trio of lip colors with Estee Lauder. I’m sorely tempted.
- A scholarly discussion of Rankin & Bass Christmas specials; the good, the bad, and the ugly. Finally convinced me to finally watch Jack Frost, which I had somehow missed during all of my childhood ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas. Here are some highlights.
- A program to help you find the word that’s just on the tip of your tongue.
- Guys, there’s a new horse movie coming out, Lean on Pete.
- The American Film Institute has released their list of top 10 films of 2017. It’s a pretty good list. I’ve seen 4/10 so far, time to get cracking.
- Yale’s released a new admissions video, “That’s Why I Toured Yale”, replacing cult icon “That’s Why I Chose Yale”. The weirdest thing? I recognize people in the video. (I see you at 9:26-9:33, ballroom team!)
- NPR’s guide to the best books of 2017. Be right back, adding about 20 to my list. have you read any?
- New York Times film critics on the best movie performances of 2017. So much agreement and so much anticipation for films I haven’t seen yet (like Ladybird, The Shape of Water, and Call Me By Your Name).
- The magic of big cities, an illustration.
No preamble. Down and dirty style.