23 February 2012

downton abbeyoncé

So, considering I watched both series of Downton Abbey in an absurdly short amount of time, it's been on my bloggy mind. I began a post about how (favorite characters aside) I think Lady Edith may have the best style of the sisters... (What I'd give for that floral boatneck!)

I considered shallowly marveling at how different period actors look in real life...

But then, I came across the Downton Abbeyoncé Tumblr. So now this is happening.

You're welcome.

(Style screencaps courtesy of here.)

BONUS LINK:  Amazing Downton Abbey paper dolls from Vulture.


18 February 2012

tuck the darkness in


This mini-documentary about the Bowerbirds' new album (The Clearing, out March 6) feels strikingly pure and intimate. It's worth a watch even if you haven't heard their music before; in addition to shedding light on their songwriting process, the film tells of their love story and the stunning log cabin they're building by hand in the North Carolina woods.

All the Bowerbirds' music is as pleasant to my ears as the gentle crackling of a wood fire, as the soft crunch of footsteps on newly-fallen snow. But the lyrics from their latest venture resonate particularly: They conjure up visions of a quiet life lived with purpose, a life exquisite in its simplicity -- a forest home, bonfires, cooking together, pet dogs running free. They give me faith in what love can survive, faith that peace could be mine someday when this restiveness leaves my spirit, when I finally come back home.

Squirrels in the rafters, wrens in the eaves,
red dirt 'neath our nails, orange stains on our knees,
blackberries in June down the path without our shoes.

It may not be a grand parade of snow capped peaks,
no river silver-backed crashing through,
but we have our black-haired babes running free
through the woods.

You can listen to and download "In the Yard" (quoted above), "Tuck the Darkness In," and other songs here. The Clearing is available for pre-order here.


15 February 2012

paris vs. new york


I may be late to the party on this one, but I only just saw this book in a store yesterday.  Upon subsequently checking out the Paris vs. New York blog, I confess I'm charmed by the colors, the contrasting graphics, the similarities and differences between two great places (well, I assume Paris is great! I've never been).

All images by Vahram Muratyan, who provides a "friendly visual match between two cities told by a lover of Paris wandering through New York. Details, clichés, contradictions..."


14 February 2012

anatomy of a care package


I love sending letters and postcards, but putting together care packages is even more fun. Last spring I sent one to my sister studying in Spain; this year my other sister is abroad in Florence, so I mailed her some American goodies just in time for Valentine's Day. My love in California is getting one as well. 

This holiday has been something for me to look forward to over the last few months, as even on a really tight budget I've been able to save and collect doo-dads bit by bit. In that way care packages are truly a labor of love, but of course that's what makes them so special both to send and to receive!

In case you're curious, here are some elements I've found make a great care package...

1.  Something homemade.  This time I baked s'mores cookies.

2.  Something they miss or can't get easily where they are.  Him:  Texas Pete hot sauce.  Her:  peanut butter (sent in cookie form).

3.  Something seasonal.  Valentine's Marshmallow Peeps;  colorful candies tied up with ribbon.

4.  Something comforting.  Her:  heart socks.  Him:  the coolest-flavored teas (think Creme Brulee, Hot Buttered Rum, and Lime Gelato!).

5.  Something local.  These special edition heart-shaped stroopwafels will be amazing warmed up over a mug of the aforementioned tea.

6.  Something goofy.  A fabric flower can never die! (From Target.)

7.  Something just plain cool.  Pretty striped "cake batter" flavored chocolate from Target (yum!?);  Russel Stover "You're One In a Billion" dollar-shaped chocolate bars.

8.  Something nostalgic.  Little Debbie Be My Valentine Cakes;  conversation hearts.

9.  Something inside-jokey.  Chemical engineer boyfriend  +  who also happens to love granola  =  the perfect gift, handmade cereal with the cutest periodic elements branding.

10.  A music mix CD.  Yeah you know me!

...and a heartfelt note, of course!

Happy Valentine's Day, loves.

13 February 2012

sixties crush: brian wilson

Who could be a better Valentine's crush than Brian Wilson, the "pop genius" behind many of The Beach Boys' best love songs?

It's been fascinating for me to look through pictures of Sixties musical icons, whom I often only associate with their voices and melodies, and see how they carried themselves. In Brian's case, I'm delighted by the way he posed for photos with such hilariously deadpan expressions. While I may have no way to know what he's truly like, I like to think these images give us a peek into the man behind the music.

Images via here and here.