Monday, April 25, 2011

Sincerely Yours

One more site that caught my eye:

In the age of ugly electronic mail, I sincerely miss the days when a letter meant beautiful stationary and personalized touches.

Paperless Post offers just that— finally, e-greetings with style. Not only is there a wide array of greeting cards and invitations but you can also select beautiful fonts, envelopes and "postage stamps".

The experience of sending an e-card will be something you look forward to rather than a hurried obligation.

http://www.paperlesspost.com/

Below you will see some examples of what they offer.

a Royal Wedding Viewing party invitation

a thoroughbred birthday 

red balloon

cocktails & elephants

Returned from the Depths of Law School Exams

So it has been a while since I have written but you will have to forgive me because I have been in the midst of law school exams. I am currently exhausted from studying so I am just taking the time to post this link to something that caught my eye. For the old-fashioned girl, these apothecary matchstick bottles are fun and practical. They store the matches and the bottom is ridged so that you can light the match by striking it against it.  Take a look and hopefully by tomorrow I will be able to light up this page again!

http://shop.magpieandrye.com/product/reclaimed-apothecary-matchstick-bottles

Monday, April 11, 2011

A Prelude to Fashion Commentary to Come...(Some Pre-Engagement Looks)


Kate Middleton During the Period of her 2007 Break-Up from Prince William—Nothing Inspires Regret Like a Mini Dress



Boodles Boxing Ball in Her Favorite Designer, Issa

At the Concert for Diana in 2007 when the Public finally learned that she and William had reunited

Wedding Wear—in a dress that she would wear again to a wedding after her engagement

Pulling off a British look with a nod to the French Beret


one of my favorite Issa looks


playing the role of the "something blue" at friends' weddings


blue and boots...noticing a pattern

at the laura parker-bowles wedding


casual in white jeans and pearls


a still collegiate kate middleton

a mod 60s look

casual london look

english rose

leaving party at bluebird

white jeans and tunic

graphic print

26th Birthday in a Classic Trench

nothing beats the london chill like a little tropical color

Upstairs, Downstairs: PBS's Revamp of the 1970s Series


I was not around for the first version of "Upstairs, Downstairs". In fact, my parents were younger than I am now when the series ended. I learned about the premiere of PBS's continuation of the series through NPR this past week. I heard period drama, 1930s, Duchess of Windsor, King George (King's Speech—the prequel?), and British aristocracy and I knew this miniseries would be something worth checking out.

Last night at 9 pm I was transported to 1936 and the "year of three kings" in which we witness the mourning for King George V who is immediately succeeded by his eldest son, Edward VIII. Of course, the first episode references Edward VIII's mistress and eventually his wife, the American Miss Simpson. The audience even gets to meet Miss Simpson at a party thrown by the main characters and she quite suitably causes a scandal by bringing a German friend with ties to the Nazi party who is disposed of after the family and the servants join forces.

For those of you who do not know the premise of "Upstairs, Downstairs", it is the story of an upper class British family and their servants who live downstairs. The original version took place in the early 1900s and involved the Bellamy family, their maid Rose (who is in the new version as the housekeeper/owner of a household staff employment agency), and all of the other servants who made the household operate. The last season of the old series was set in the 1920s.

The new version picks up in 1936, as previously stated, and the Bellamys have moved on from their house at 165 Eaton Place in London and a new family moves in and fixes it up. They are the Atkins family: a man, his wife, his mother who has just returned from thirty years in India, and the wife's younger sister who is preparing to come out into London society (it seems, perhaps, somewhat unwillingly).

The new servants are mostly inexperienced. The house maid is young, hormonal and favors red nail polish and lipstick. She has a brief flirtation with the footman, a flirtation that leads to a barroom brawl and a surprising turn of events.

There is a butler whose prior experience was on the Cunard line, the luxury cruise line. Errol Flynn is his reference. He has never been in private service but right away he proves himself to be competent and above all, traditionally British. The latter is the most important since Mrs. Atkins sneers at the idea of having a Portuguese immigrant in her service as part of the upstairs household staff.

The cook is female and appears to be experienced but with a limited choice of jobs in the bad economy (something else that makes this 1930s period piece incredibly timely). She is lured to the Atkins job by her hatred for her current job and the new icebox being delivered from Harrods that will be at her disposal.

The mother of Mr. Atkins is cheeky and perhaps a little devious. Her personal secretary is Indian and her constant companion is a monkey. It is difficult to say whether the elderly Mrs. Atkins or her monkey will cause the most trouble.

Mr. and Mrs. Atkins are devoted to becoming a London power couple. His title is new and her position as a society hostess is new as well. She struggles with her mother-in-law in the first episode over who will organize the details of their first political party. When she faces trouble in the form of Miss Simpson's German friend (it was the mother-in-law who invited Miss Simpson in the first place under the pretense that she was bringing "a friend" and presumably the King) she turns not to her mother-in-law and a potential "I told you so" but to her housekeeper and the servants downstairs who save the day. Mrs Atkins rejoices in her triumph of solving the problem without her mother-in-law by standing on the balcony in her gorgeous gold beaded dress (very Great Gatsby).  In fact, the costumes in this series are breathtaking and make me wonder what exactly the budget was for production over at PBS.

Mrs. Atkins younger sister has had a difficult childhood. Their family is old money which means, says the sister, that they have no money. She has little clothing and scoffs at the idea that her older sister is rescuing her, a sentiment she does not want to express because she fears it will be confirmation of how horrible her life has been thus far. She detaches from her elder sister and forms an alliance with her sister's mother-in-law—an alliance that is sure to stir up some trouble.

All in all, the first part of this miniseries was a great introduction to some legitimately interesting characters combined with a history lesson about a period in history that was tumultuous in and of itself. Combine that with the stories brewing with the servants downstairs and this PBS revamp is sure to be a success...at least in my book.

PHOTO: Kate Middleton's Last Official Engagement Before the Royal Wedding

Unfortunately, this blog was created years after my Kate Middleton groupie status was cemented. Since I was in college and Kate was an assistant buyer at Jigsaw, I have been following the evolution of her style. I predicted that she would wear Issa for the engagement announcement long before the actual engagement took place (although this prediction is hardly a feat since it was established long ago that Issa was her favorite designer). I am looking forward to finding out the designer of this navy suit she wore for her last appearance before the wedding in the above photo. I have to get to work on studying for law school finals now but as soon as I take a break, I will write more extensively on Kate Middleton's style and the upcoming Royal Wedding and address the premiere last night of PBS's "Upstairs, Downstairs".

I will leave you with this picture that Janie Bryant, costume designer of "Mad Men" fame, drew showing her take on what Miss Middleton should wear on the big day. Love the simple lace detailing and the flower headpiece (which would have Kate winning the alleged Kate-Camilla flowers vs. tiara debate) but are the details too much or are such details necessary in a space as vast as Westminster Abbey?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Our Mission Statement

Perhaps mission statement is too lofty a word for what I hope to accomplish with this blog but goal seems like too small a term and objectives far too formal. Mission statement reflects the sort of enthusiasm I feel for having a space to share my varied and perhaps (and most probably) incredibly uninteresting interests. One of those interests is writing. I love words but I have never particularly loved writing words for others. This space is my first attempt to share my point of view—valid or otherwise—with the world. Perhaps nobody will ever read it. Perhaps only my mother and father, siblings or best friends will read it (and hey, if that is the case, at  least I will be guaranteed positive feedback). The point is I am writing this blog for me and for anyone who cares to listen. I am sharing what I think and welcome you to do the same. 
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