Sunday, December 26, 2010

frolic architecture of the snow

Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,
Arrives the snow, and, driving o'er the fields,Seems nowhere to alight: the whited airHides hill and woods, the river, and the heaven,And veils the farmhouse at the garden's end.

The sled and traveller stopped, the courier's feet
Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit
Around the radiant fireplace, enclosedIn a tumultuous privacy of storm.

Come see the north wind's masonry.
Out of an unseen quarry evermoreFurnished with tile, the fierce artificerCurves his white bastions with projected roofRound every windward stake, or tree, or door.

Speeding, the myriad-handed, his wild work
So fanciful, so savage, nought cares he for number or proportion.
Mockingly, On coop or kennel he hangs Parian wreaths;
A swan-like form invests the hiddden thorn;Fills up the famer's lane from wall to wall,
Maugre the farmer's sighs; and at the gateA tapering turret overtops the work.

And when his hours are numbered, and the world
Is all his own, retiring, as he were not,
Leaves, when the sun appears, astonished ArtTo mimic in slow structures, stone by stone,
Built in an age, the mad wind's night-work,The frolic architecture of the snow.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
The Snowstorm
1835 [1841]

On Christmas night snow came, a ticklish, caressing kind of snow. The kind that brushes your cheek for a moment, before settling down to melt into your skin, crystalline flakes catching the light, catching the wind, swirling and sparkling like tiny shards of glass glitter through the trees. Overnight the snow built it's crystal castles and offered it's wild creation up to the day, but as quickly as the sky built this frolic architecture, with equal speed it starts to melt away.

(Amy's depiction of our Merry Merrick Christmas is so sweet, give it a read!)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Just north of the famous Brussels flea market, Jeu De Balle, we found this little shop...



Modes is a costume designers wonderland, frothing over with antique textiles and museum quality vintage. Amy and I stocked up on pretty tortoise shell hair barrettes and handmade lace.

Hamleau de la Reine

The Queen's Hamlet on the grouds of the Petit Trianon, at the palace of Versailles









It must be nice to have your own little weekend palace, on the grounds of your royal palace, and if your weekend palace starts to feel too stuffy, just build a farmhouse in an imaginary Swiss hamlet in your back yard, so you can feel like your faraway in your own magic kingdom fairytale.

I can't blame Marie Antoinette... I want to live here too.






I imagine girls in feathery hats, high collars and button up boots eating macaroons and sipping coffee in this very same shop, one hundred years ago. Everything is perfectly maintained. Parisians do not seem to suffer from the neurotic need to update and remodel that which is already beautiful.

Friday, December 3, 2010



Le marche aux puces de Saint-Ouen... antique Lido or Mulan Ruge costumes

These vintage costumes most likely graced the stage of the Lido cabaret.



SDC13638 copy


Being that I was a somewhat strange child, playing alone in the woods in old ballet costumes, sequin tiaras, and vintage rhinestone necklaces, not to mention prairie dresses, hooded capes, Indian princess costumes and folkloric hippie dresses, all from my prized trove of goodwill dress-ups, was an every day sort of activity. Thanks be to my mother, who's hippie goddess sensibilities indulged my imaginative endeavors.
To be honest, I've never grow out of this phase. My closet looks more like a costume stock than a wardrobe. When I went to pack for this trip, I had to imagine what a sensible person (who didn't want to be cold while traveling through Europe) might look like. I tackled the project in full costume designer mode, hitting the thrift stores to create a simple warm wardrobe... so that I wouldn't end up hauling a colossal mishmash of flowing fairy dresses, fringed vests, flimsy footwear, and all the imposable impractical articles of dress of which my closet is mainly comprised. Think I did alright... one pair of black boots, one pair of wool pants, one pair of jeans, two dresses, three sweaters, a few tee shirts and undershirts, leggings, tights, wool socks, a coat, a scarf, gloves and a hat. Everything fit into one carry on. I selected my items based on a neutral color scheme instead of fit, so all the pieces could be mixed and matched, and then got creative with the sewing machine to bring things down to size. It was all very practical... not my normal mode of operation when it comes to my wardrobe. It's funny that my job is sort of like playing dress up with other people but I go about it in a much more organized way. It was nice to "costume" myself with the same sort of order I try to bring to my work.

All this being said, I found no lack of fuel for the creative imagination through out our travels... clothes to tickle my fancy for impossibly frivolous and painfully beautiful. The pictures above are vintage costumes from the Lido cabaret for sale at the Puces de Sant-Ouen flea market. As you can see from our Paris Top-Ten on Amy's Apple a Day, this flee market was not our top pick due to it's prohibitive priceyness, it was still worth a look for inspiration.

Thankfully, for me, this store was closed. The feathered fabulousness was only within reach of my imagination, so I was spared the temptation to add a rhinestone bra and matching head piece to my wardrobe.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


It's really rare for Amy and I to have time off at the same time. Usually one or the other of us is up to our noses in some kind of project and can't get away. We have barely been in the same state for more than two week's time in a any given year since 1998! That's why we jumped at the opportunity to travel together. Who could be a more perfect travel buddy... We have similar interests, and we know each other inside out, the good, the bad, (and the tired and hungry) and still get along. It's one of the main reasons this trip was so special for me. Yes, I am thrilled, inspired, and culturally enriched by my experiences, no question, but it added an extra dimension of specialness to share these memories with my sister.

Paris at last!


All employees of the international resort where I worked (as a costume designer and performer for the better part of last year) are required to wear a name badge. This badge details with little flags your country of origin and the languages you speak... my tag shamfuly displayed four little American flags. You can imagine the teasing I had to endure as I would sit down to dine with well traveled Parisian guests... "And what do you think of Paris?" they would ask. "Oh you've never been? never been to Europe?? An American girl who speaks only English and had never been to Europe... How typical." No matter that I've visited thirty seven of the US states, five provinces of Canada and twice traveled to Central America, this did nothing to ease my feelings of worldly inadequacy. A trip to Europe seamed to be an important rite of passage that I somehow missed along the way. Everyone had a good laugh, including me (and I silently vowed to correct this situation as soon as possible.)




So now it's done! I've been to Europe, on the first of what I hope will be many adventures.
and I can answer when asked that "Paris is unmatched in it's graceful refinement and delicate beauty" Just what the french want to hear... and also very true.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Thank you!


It's just over one week away from our departure to Paris and I am overwhelmed with excitement, not to mention the necessary preparations! I literally spent half the day going through and looking up each one of the AMAZING suggestions proposed by the darling readers of An Apple a Day.


I spent so much time on the computer that I was forced to take a break and go for a walk in the woods, to save my sanity and clear my head from all the dizzying options! As usual, I can not go for a walk without bringing half of the woods back with me, so here is a little something I picked up along the way. Some little woodland arrangements to thank you for your incredible generosity!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Día de los Muertos






Today I was feeling a bit under the weather most likely because it's getting so cold. Life in the tropics, following four years of California sun, has softened me to the point where 40 degrees can feel like 40 below. But to my surprise I received a heart warming package from my dear friend, Caesareo Ruiz, in Los Angeles, wishing me a "pleasant 31st and 2nd" Halloween and The Day of the Dead.

The package consisted of a tiny book... sewn by hand with various papers repurposed from brown paper bags, tag board, legal pads, sketch books and the like... featuring his exquisite, otherworldly illustrations and eerie vintage photos printed on wax paper. The book even featured a built in envelope that contained a moody mix cd of Mexican folk music and more modern tunes. So I lit some candles, played the soundtrack and thumbed through the pages of his imagination.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Old Mill

It's been two years now since my grandfather passed away. At the time, I was in the midst of a film shoot and couldn't make it back to the east cost. I will always regret that I didn't come home. But in a way, it was like an alarm calling me closer to my family.

wild fairy nest



Earlier this fall my sister Amy and I spent a weekend at his house, an old 1840's gristmill which he and my grandmother crafted into a masterpiece of a home. We relaxed, soaked in the beauty, and got to work on some serious creative fun. It's hard not to feel inspired in a place like this. Mama always says the house represents the best of both her parents... grandma's artistry, grandpa's engineering and a unique combined vision. So, I can't think of a better way to honor him than by turning our creative energies toward some family collaborations of our own.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Fall... in love

The witchy winds, flying leaves, and bare limbs make me long to dance bare foot in dry grass, wild hair, billowing fabric flowing.

"There is almost nothing that has such a keen sense of fun as a fallen leaf"

What blushing fairy girl would not fall in love with the Autumn trees, ragged wings of red and brown flying in the wind.

Arthur Rackham

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Amy in action...

Maybe it's because she is my lill sis but I have always thought Amy is just the cutest thing...

I think there is something to be said for the radiant beauty
of a person doing what they truly love.

Friday, October 8, 2010

plans out the window

Today is the day I was to return to the Bahamas. I had every thing I need to survive remote island life neatly packed. I rushed to assemble six months worth of frocks, shampoo, shoes, toothpaste, sunscreen, and all the other little necessities of life. San Salvidor Island has no stores, no not a one, so everything must be carefully prepared.

Imagine my surprise when two days before my return flight I discover that I am not cleared to return to work, due to a mixup between my doctors, and workman's comp. I was in shock, there was no doubt in my mind that I was going back today... but here I am, now with two more months to go.

It was just as much of a shock when I had to leave the Bahamas unexpectedly last May. Since January of last year, I have worked as a designer and dancer for the entertainment department of Club Med. During a dance performance gone very wrong, I broke my wrist and I had to come back to the states for surgery. At first I was heartbroken. I couldn't believe the injustice of it all. I didn't want to leave.

The surgery was tough, but the time that has followed will go down in memory as one of my most magical summers... so many beautiful experiences, I otherwise would have missed. I devoured the bliss of summer in all it's glory.... honey suckle, wild berries, emerald leaves, fireflies, Elmwood, wild flowers, and the love of baby kittens. I found myself surrounded by the love of my family... curling up with my mom like two peas in a pod, dancing in the rain, driving with my dad to New Hampshire swapping stories the whole way, and travels with Amy dreaming, scheming, laughing, creating and growing closer than ever.

So things are not going as I planed... makes me wonder what other unexpected magic fall has in store.
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