Monday, February 17, 2014

Monday Miscellany

This week, instead of creating, I'm curating. 
Below, eight totally random things to boost your energy, tickle your brain, and fire up some of those adorable endorphins.

1. Turmeric. I love it in Indian food, but did you know it makes an incredibly delicious and healthy tea? (For a list of benefits, click HERE.) This one hits the sweet spot and has a earthy kick to it that's not unlike coffee.

Creamy Turmeric Tea
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder (if you're timid, start with 1/4 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon cardamom or cinnamon
1 inch slice of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon honey 
8 oz. almond, coconut or soy milk

Mix first four ingredients together in a mug to form a thick paste. Heat the milk and then slowly pour it into the mug, stirring all the while. Strain out the ginger if you like, or leave it in for a more intense kick.

2. "New York Morning." This documentary/music video by English rockers Elbow is a paean to true love, punk music and NYC in the '70's. Plus the song is amazing. If you ever thought soul mates don't exist, you are about to be proven wrong. 

3. Waterlogue. This iPhone/iPad app has taken the design blogosphere by storm recently -- basically, it transforms any photo into the kind of stylish watercolor that you'd pay really good money to hang on your wall. I love what it does to the light in a room -- everything seems lit with an enchanted glow.

4. Have you ever wished a cute English guy would write a brilliant and heartfelt poem about how he appreciates girls with big books instead of girls with big boobs? Well, his name is Mark Grist and he has. HERE.

5. I discovered Stefan Zweig (1881-1942) about ten years ago and I think I would be hard pressed to name my three favorite authors and not include him. Part F. Scott Fitzgerald, part Freud, his stories are as seductive as they are haunting. If you're a Zweig virgin, start with Beware of Pity, a psychological boy-meets-girl horror story that reads like it was written in one long exhale. Make sure you get the editions from Pushkin Press -- they do his style justice.  
(Interesting tidbit: Wes Anderson loves Zweig too.)

6. I've always secretly thought the art and lifestyle of the Bloomsbury Group had a punk sensibility to it, so when my friend Vanessa Leigh Price forwarded me this video of Patti Smith sitting in Vanessa Bell's studio in Charleston House, I about keeled over. You will too. HERE.

7. This year marks the hundredth anniversary of World War One and I'm using that as a reason to plow through all the WWI novels I never got around to reading before. Richard Aldington's Death of a Hero was new to me and I loved it -- Aldington's prose is a mashup of Evelyn Waugh and George Orwell, with an armored cynicism to it that feels incredibly modern.

8. Charles Dickens as Morrissey. HERE. Leave it to BBC's brilliant "Horrible Histories" to turn a Victorian biography into compulsive viewing for kids and parents alike.

So what are you all up to this week?


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Does Art Make the Life? Or Life Make the Art?

"Nothing very extraordinary happened really. 
But the life we lived was amazing." 
~Angelica Bell

(Angelica Bell and friend, Charleston House, 1978. Photo by Howard Grey.)

We are all artists, every single one of us. 
Our canvas is our lives.  
Every choice we make is a dot that goes onto our canvas.
At first, the dots are tiny and scattered and seemingly unconnected.
But gradually, over time, a picture appears. 

Living is an art.

Don't let anyone tell you differently.
(And don't let anyone tell you it's easy.)
It takes hard work to keep life simple.
It requires focus to make it meaningful.
Sometimes it feels like a balancing act between learning to hang on and learning to let go. 
But your art is your life. 

"It takes a lot of time to be a genius. You have to sit around so much, doing nothing, really doing nothing."  
~Gertrude Stein

(Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas with their poodle Basket, 1938. 
Photo by Cecil Beaton.)
Creating a good work of art takes time.
It demands patience.
It can't be rushed.
There will be days, months, years even, when you look at your canvas and think all the time you've spent on it has been for nothing.
But that's just exactly when you have to keep on going.
Because the day will arrive when you realize that all those insignificant little dots were adding up to something extraordinary.

"There are some things that cannot be learned quickly, and time, which is all we have, must be paid heavily for their acquiring. They are the very simplest things, and because it takes a man’s life to know them the little new that each man gets from life is very costly and the only heritage he has to leave."  
~Ernest Hemingway

(Ernest Hemingway in Cuba, date unknown, via)


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