Thursday, February 23, 2017

Book Review: 20th Century Jewelry and The Icons of Style

Are you a lover of fine jewelry hand crafted by jewelers like Cartier, Bulgari, and Van Cleef and Arpel? Are you a history buff, following the lavish lives of 20th century high profile celebrities and socialites like Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor, Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton, or opera soprana Maria Callas? If either appeal to you 20th Century Jewelry and the Icons of Style published by Thames and Hudson is absolutely a must have book for your collection. 
This beautiful and impressive volume is filled with fabulous photography by Cecil Beaton and Horst, as well as beautifully photographed jewelry from the collections auctioned by prestigious auction houses, Sotheby's and Christie's. 

47.14cts yellow diamond that the Duke of Windsor bought for the Duchess in 1951 from Harry Winston to complement her other yellow diamond and set in a ring. The stone was later acquired by Estée Lauder, set in a pendant and sold by the Lauder family in 2012 in aid of Breast Cancer Research Foundation. It is now known as ‘The Windsor Heart.’ 

20th Century Jewelry and the Icons of Style is a brilliant pictorial inventory of the finest jewelry that has ever been crafted in the world. The photos and stories of these socialites who had seemingly infinite resources to spend on these pieces are staggering. Part coffee table book, part voyeurs view in the lives of women in a world that no longer exists ... this beautiful conversational book is a must view. Take a closer look, and purchase your copy via the Amazon link below: 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Book Review: Frozen in Time

Frozen in Time: Photographs

Every so often, there's a book that pulls so tightly at your heart strings that you literally feel connected to it, a part of the story. That's exactly what happened with me when I opened Frozen in Time. The photographic narrative of a turbulent mother-daughter relationship inside of a terribly dilapidated farmhouse in Maine. Eager to reconnect and reconcile with her dying mother after a long estrangement, photographer Sarah C. Butler moved into the house her mother had allowed to nearly crumble around her, photographing the emotionally moving experience, and ultimately sharing it with us in Frozen in Time.

It's all at once beautiful and heart-wrenching. Rarely do you ever see something so intimately personal and at the same time, oddly nostalgic in coffee table books. It's a stunning visual tour de force that has absolutely mesmerized me, and I think it will do the same for you. Take a look: 

An exquisite book of photographs, but it's so much more than that. This is a book about the complex nature of relationships with our family, particularly our mothers, moving away from home, finding home, and reconciliation. It's a book about acceptance, of those who have harmed us, and of the harm we do to ourselves. It's a book about love, and the beauty that can be found in true understanding. 
A definite MUST have! Take a look and buy your copy via the Amazon link below:

Book Review: Lines of Thought: Drawing from Michaelangelo to now

Lines of Thought: Drawing from Michaelangelo to now
By Isabel Seligman, Foreword by Bridget Riley, Preface by Hugo Chapman
Published by Thames and Hudson

I greatly enjoy art, particularly line drawings and sketches. I don't know what appeals in these works, perhaps it's the simplicity or the art of perfectly understood form, but I find them thoughtful, enduring, elegant and beautiful. The recently published Lines of Thought: Drawing from Michaelangelo to now uncovers the process and practice of drawing, and how artists have used drawing as a means of recording and provoking thought. The book is wonderfully illustrated by a selection of work created over 500 years. From Dürer to Degas, Michelangelo to Matisse, Rembrandt to Riley, this volume studies the types of thinking that produced their drawings―brainstorming, inquiry, experiment, association, development and decision―giving us fresh insight into the creative impulse of some of the world’s greatest artists.

120 illustrations in total, each of them awe inspiring. Let's take a look at a few of my favorites:

Plaster Cupid Study, 1890 Graphite - Paul Cezanne 

Pen and Ink by Julie Mehretu, 2002

Pen and Brown Ink, The Virgin and Christ Child with a Cat, Leonardo da Vinci, 1478-81

Melchior Lorck, Tortoise and view of a walled coastal town, 1555

A traveling art exhibition accompanies the book, and will tour the United States in 2017 and 2018, inspiring and encouraging the practice of drawing. I hope that I can find a museum near me to view these amazing pieces from the British Museum’s outstanding Prints and Drawings Collection.

The exhibition and the book includes work by artists as diverse as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Albrecht Dürer, Piet Mondrian, Paul Cézanne, Pablo Picasso, Bridget Riley, Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, Franz Kline and Rachel Whiteread. Combining work from master artists of the past with artists working today, clearly demonstrates the common thread of drawing as the basis for creation. I definitely recommend taking a closer look at this beautiful book, and purchasing your own copy via the Amazon link below:

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Free Music!!!

I'm a HUGE fan of music. I've been a singer since I can remember, heck - I probably sang my first words.

Because music is so important to me, I spend most of my time with music as the constant background of my life at home. As soon as I get home, I turn on music. It stays tuned through the evening, playing softly in the background until bed, a beautiful and lyrical narrator of sorts. I've never entertained with the television, but if I have people coming over, I have been known to spend hours putting together the perfect playlist for the evening and making sure that the volume is just right. 

I've downloaded thousands of songs from iTunes, and I've uploaded nearly all of my old CDs to my iTunes playlist as well, but one thing I recently found that I doubt I'll ever live without is Amazon Music Unlimited! Any song, anywhere, and it's so inexpensive.

This past Saturday I had a few friends over for drinks and games, and an Amazon guided playlist based on Adele, Florence and The Machine, Mumford and Sons, and Sade. It was perfect! Songs I had never heard before, artists I had never even been introduced to, things you DO NOT hear on the radio - all in keeping with the vibe I wanted for the evening, thanks to Amazon's perfect algorithm.

I didn't know anything about this until Saturday, and I have since had this going non-stop. I figured it was something I really should share for those of you who don't currently have an account. I'm on my free 30-day trial, and will definitely purchase going forward! Why not take the 30-day trial for yourself and see if it's as good a fit for you? 

I can promise you - I've never had a service that worked this well, and played at this quality. I've tried Pandora, iHeart Radio, and the new iTunes streaming service, but my winner has got to be Amazon Music Unlimited. 

Check it out! 

If you're still interested in books, they've been moved to the SHOP page here.

I'll be back a little later in the week with some updates at the apartment! See you then! 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentine's Day

It's Valentine's Day, and that means, it's February 14th! Ha! I hate to be a buzz kill, I know a lot of people put a lot of effort into making this day special for the special people in their life, and a lot of you parents were up until the wee-hours putting together those classroom gifts. As a single person on Valentine's Day, I'm a little less caught up in the hype. Ok, a LOT less.

But, I'm not letting that stop me from turning the blog red and pink today, with some beautiful photos that will hopefully inspire you! Here we go:

Design by Miles Redd

See more in his book, The Big Book of Chic here: 

Design by Jeffrey Bilhuber

See more of his country house, "Hay Fever" in his book, Jeffrey Bilhuber: American Master here:

Design by Mary McDonald

See more of this amazing room, and the house in her book, Mary McDonald Interiors, here:

Design by Mark D. Sikes

See more of this room Mark did for the Kips Bay Show House in his book, Beautiful, here:

Design by Thomas Britt

Design by Martyn Lawrence Bullard 

See more of his private home in his book, Martyn Lawrence Bullard: Live, Love and Decorate, here:

Design by Michelle Nussbaumer

See more of her private home in her book, Wanderlust, here:


Design by Beverly Field

Have a happy Valentine's Day all. I'll be back tomorrow with a couple of book reviews.