Saturday, October 25, 2008

Is this for real?

How would you pronounce this as a child's name??? Le-a

Leah?? NO
Lee A?? NO
Lay a?? NO
Lei?? Guess Again.
It's pronounced "Ledasha"! Oh yes - you read it right- the dash is pronounced! This child attends a school in Livingston Parish, Louisiana. Her mother is irate because everyone is getting her name wrong. So if you see something come across your desk like this please remember to pronounce the dash. When the mother was asked about the pronunciation of the name she said "the dash don't be silent!"

Friday, October 24, 2008

Highclere Housetour

Hooked on Houses is having a house tour today and I thought I would participate. Rather than show my small little apartment, I thought I'd show something a bit more grand. Highclere was featured in the September issue of World of Interiors in 1988.This grand estate is owned by the Earls Carnarvon and has morphed from an 18th century Jacobethan lodge to include something of each of its quirky owners. Capability Brown laid out the park surrounding it that you see above.The Entry hall, seen above, is rather unassuming considering the size of the pile. Below, the present Earl (in 1988) stands with a portrait of his grandfather, a noted Egyptologist. Interestingly enough, the portrait was done by GW Carter, who was the brother of the Earl's gay partner, Howard.From the entry hall you enter into the grand 3 story saloon. Love that skylight and all the massive gothicness!Off the saloon is the drawing room seen belowThe smoking room lies nearby, seen below. In a hallway between the Drawing and smoking rooms - a little hidden cupboard was found which had ancient egyptian relics. The cupboard seen below. How did it get to be forgotten?Below is one of the dining rooms, refered to as the 'stuart' dining room. I love the way the table is set! What a great place for a dinner party, surrounded by your ancestors!The beautiful library is seen below. In the foreground are a desk and chair owned by Napolean from his time at St Helena.Here is a closeup view of the gilded doorways of the Library.To end with, this is an interesting portrait (one of a pair) of one of the original owners of Highclere. I love the unusual frame!

Undecided Voters

My favorite funny man, David Sedaris, wrote this hysterical political observation in the New Yorker that I just had to share.

To put them in perspective (undecided voters), I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. “Can I interest you in the chicken?” she asks. “Or would you prefer the platter of sh*t with bits of broken glass in it? To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked."

"I wonder if, in the end, the undecideds aren’t the biggest pessimists of all. Here they could order the airline chicken, but, then again, hmm. “Isn’t that adding an extra step?” they ask themselves. “If it’s all going to be chewed up and swallowed, why not cut to the chase and go with the platter of sh*t?” Ah, though, that’s where the broken glass comes in."

I'm not taking official sides here on my blog (but I think you know who I'm voting for)- Yummy chicken........ Read the entire article HERE

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Halloween Tombstones

After reading my post on a cemetery in Pittsburgh, a reader sent a halloween project to me that he's had for the past 4 years in front of his house for the holiday. I really loved this idea! He made the tombstones out of rigid foam, using a hot wire, a whole lot of utility blades, and sandpaper. The epitaphs are painted in "Wildfire" paint that only shows in black light and glows in the dark. Wouldn't this make for a spooky entry for your trick or treaters?I love the architectural shapes that he chose, plus they have really beautiful intricate details! They are reminiscent of real tombstone heads that you see littering 150 yr old graveyards. Below you can see some of them in the daylight. As the epitaphs are painted in glow in the dark paint, you only see the actual form of the tombstones. Not as spooky in the light, huh? Don't they look like real stone!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Fall arrangement

Here at the office we have this beautiful fall arrangement at our front desk. Fall is my favorite season and this is just full of beautiful things! This is a great and simple idea for a centerpiece for Thanksgiving: just a bunch of artichokes, pumpkins and goards - or how about on your sideboard with these gorgeous sunflowers. Those long green stalks are so beautiful! Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The secret life of bees

This past weekend I went to see the movie 'The secret life of bees' based on the best-selling book from 2002 by Sue Monk Kidd. You MUST see this movie, it was so good! I went in not knowing much about the story; went purely by the phenomenal cast. That did not disappoint: Each performance was amazing. Jennifer Hudson as Rosaleen Daise redeemed herself after her awful acting on 'Sex and the City movie', Alicia Keys as June Boatwright proves that she can act as well as sing (and how insanely beautiful she is), Queen Latifah as August Boatwright was her awesome loveable self and Dakota Fanning as Lily Owens was brilliant, that little girl has SKILLS.Without giving any of the plot away, the film deals with civil rights & history, racism, feminism, religion, lonliness and the need to be loved and the search for one's identity. Pretty heavy stuff, huh? While this is a movie that will make you think, it will also make you FEEL. Go and see it tonight, you won't leave with a dry eye! You can read more about the movie online at the official website
Dakota is turning into a pretty young lady with acting chops!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Anderson House

This Sunday, I attended the Dupont Circle house tour. Included in the stops was one of my favorite house museums -definitely my #1 in DC. The Anderson House was completed in 1905 and is a great example of the gilded age right here in DC. Currently, the building houses the Society of the Cincinnati since 1937and is operated as a house museum as well.The approach to this house is what I love most about it. While on a busy city street, just 2 blocks from Dupont Circle, you would think you were in a quiet suburb. The house fronts the street, but has a walled entry courtyard which blocks most of the noise. It hasn't been changed (the upkeep on this house is AMAZING) and it still has beautiful and environmentally friendly gravel which does a lot to muffle any street noise. This is a huge 50 room mansion but the scale may not convey that. Look how tall these entry portals are! The house was designed by the Boston architects Arthur Little and Herbert Browne in the Beaux-arts style as the winter home of Larz Anderson III and his wife Isabel. Anderson was a diplomat to many countries, including Japan in 1912 and the house is filled with remnants of his time there. The house is what you would expect: breathtaking! There are both English and Italian influences, as well as many parts and pieces of European palaces and cathedrals (including an entire choir stall in a small room off the entry). Every room is ornate featuring carved wood walls, murals, gilded ceilings, ornate iron work and intricate marble and wood floors.The approach into the house belies its size, another thing I like about it. You enter into a small hallway, you can turn left to a small staircase up to the gallery, or to the right you go through a small room filed with a choirstall from a cathedral and into the main stairhall with amazing trompe l'oeil wall paneling. This large painting from 1911 dominates the top of the stair landing - placed there to seem as if the procession of women is about to come down the stairs.
On the other side of the stairhall is entry into the ballroom and into the wood paneled billiard room (now houses rotating displays, currently treasures from their library). The ballroom is magnificent, as one would expect. Above on the minstrel's gallery is a beautiful (and huge!) portrait of the Andersons seen below.
I couldn't find any pictures, but off through the french doors on the right is the orangerie and breakfast room overlooking the large terraced back yard. White walls with green trellis work, marble columns and floors, ceiling painted as the sky and other garden murals - really charming -what a great place for breakfast! Elsie de Wolfe would approve!
This shot reflects how the light pours into the room through the orangerie, trees and chandeliers. It is a dramaticly lit space!And you can rent it for parties, as seen above. At the top of the mainstaircase is this landing below with intricate marble herringbone floor and beautiful tapestries. You can go into the 2nd floor gallery seen here, or into 2 beautiful french salons -all gold and white 18th century France.The gallery houses many items in display cases as well as a majestic view over Massachuestts Avenue and the beautiful Cosmos Club across the street (my #1 place I need to get into at some point in dc!, anyone have connections?). The dining room has more tapestries and is pretty massive. What a place to have dinner! Attached through a double padded doorway is the beautiful corner butler's pantry with tons of windows - grand placement for such a service space. Of course I was in heaven surrounded by beautiful antique china!
This is the 2nd salon below, behind the french one I mentioned. It's actually a pretty long walk from the dining room to this room for after-dinner conversation; All the better to view the owner's collections I imagine!I found this image of the home in the 1940s - you can see it hasn't changed much. Now to the left is a very large opulent hotel and a mid century apartment building to the right -both dwarfing the mansion and built RIGHT up to the walls!
I'll end here with some night views. As pictures are discouraged on the housetour, I was good and didn't take any. All of these are courtesy of flickr. If you're ever in DC, make sure to visit the home -tours are free and operate Tuesday through Saturday from 1 till 4, I believe. The house is located at 2118 Massachusetts Ave, NW, along embassy row - about 2 blocks from the dupont metro. You can read more about it at their website