The Goldfinch

goldfinch

Carel Fabritius (1622-1654)
The Goldfinch, 1654

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So we haven’t talked books in awhile. Way too long actually. I admit to suppressing a little shudder when I recall that the desire to chat about books was one of the main catalysts for starting my blog. A book club where I always had the floor :-)

 Alas, what the Gods of Blog don’t tell you is that blogging is The Enemy of Reading.  At least in my case…any other bloggers out there concur?

Anyway…no doubt by now most of you have heard about, if not read, Donna Tartt’s latest book “The Goldfinch”.  It was listed as one of the “Top 10 Books” of 2013 and I can’t imagine it won’t be made into a film very soon. I took the opportunity to read it when we traveled to Patagonia recently.  Weighing in at 784 pages, it’s not a book one would take in hard-cover on holiday, but the perfect choice to christen the new Kindle “Paperwhite” my sister bought me for Christmas. And to uncharacteristically veer off track for just a moment, I LOVE MY PAPERWHITE! Not only is it awesomely convenient and great for my eyes, it’s been a no more stink-eye from the husband relationship-saver when it comes to reading in bed. Such a blessing when you’re on different schedules (He-sleep, Me-What is sleep?) It’s small enough to hold in one hand and even with the backlight dimmed way down, very easy to read (especially, ahem, if I INCREASE THE FONT)

kindle paperwhite , slimpaley.com

But back to Donna…I just need to say this really fast because I know with certainty I’m in the minority here;

IjustlikeditIdidn’tloveit.

There. I actually do feel better getting the confession off my chest.

Perhaps my expectations were simply too lofty-always a problem with good books and films if you don’t get there quickly enough. And the reviews for this book from both critics and people very close to me have been tremendous. Which makes it that much more difficult to admit I had issues.  The main one being that I simply felt compelled to hit my plausibility button just a few too many times. Suspension of belief is all well and good in certain genres of novels but I guess I wasn’t expecting this to be that (and I’m critiquing her writing-God forgive me!)

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 I also felt like The Goldfinch was written for a younger audience than myself, which quite frankly, I didn’t see coming either. Big font and all.  Not that that is a criticism of the book, just a contributing factor as to why it slipped into my ‘like’ as opposed to ‘love’ category.  Though I haven’t read any, I’d venture there have probably been some comparisons of the main character, Theo, to Holden Caulfield. Caufield is a literary star in my deepest heart of hearts, but he earned that place when I was in my early teens. I guess it made me feel a little sad that I couldn’t get to the same place emotionally with Theo, if that makes any sense. Which, maybe it doesn’t.

Please don’t misunderstand me-there was never any time when I wanted to bail, swear at, or even take a break from The Goldfinch. It’s an entertaining, easy and well-flowing read.  But…oh dear, I just have to sneak in one more slightly presumptuous criticism…I think it might have been a better book with tighter editing (at least 100 pages) and may I remind you, no one loves a good long read more than me. I’m the Extended Tasting Menu of readers. When a book is great, I’m in. Hell, I’ll overstay on occasion.  But in this case, long and in my opinion, unnatural conversations (Theo in the bar with his friend’s older brother) and unrelentingly bleak side stories veering wildly away from the plot line for half the book derailed it. That being said, Goldfinch does tie up satisfyingly in the end.

Ok, phew. That made me want a cocktail. I feel so very alone.

I’m going to leave you with a few pretty captive bird related images to redeem my presumptuous old self.

Vogue Livingvia Vogue Australia Living

I had intended to get this post up before The Dutch Masters exhibition at The Frick closed last Sunday. Unfortunately my New Year’s resolution of slowing time and speeding up personal production hasn’t quite manifested as yet. I will tell you that my son and his friend were able to go and said it was fabulous.  Crowds of people lined up in the frigid NY weather to view Fabritius’ Goldfinch, some long stashed away Rembrandts and Vermeer’s The Girl with the Pearl Earring .

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Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl earring

I’m sorry I don’t know where the Dutch Masters exhibition is headed next. Anybody??

Hotel Das Cataratas, Brazil slimpaley.comThis is the lovely, old world bar in the Hotel das Cataratas, located on the Brazilian side of the Iguassu Falls, the second to last stop on our trip to South America.  I loved the hand-painted birds against the old mirror and the broken wires of the cages. Clever.

Bartender, Hotel Das Cataratas, Brazil, slimpaley.com

Brazil, slimpaley.comWhat the clever bartender conjured up

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HauteCulturePress.com ‘s first book is a translation of Flaubert’s “Felicity”.  Handmade using silk, gold and a parrot feather bookmark the volume is signed, numbered and comes complete inside its own birdcage. Also clever!

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Available through Assouline 

Habitually Chic

via HabituallyChic.com

The Biltmore Hotel, Santa Barbara, CA  slimpaley.comThe front entrance foyer of The Biltmore Hotel in Montecito, California last week.

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Versace

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Earrings by SolangeAzagury-Partridge

Paradise by Way of Kensal Green,  Bloomsbury Life“Paradise by Way of Kensal Green” in London (via ABloomsburyLife.com )

Timorous Beasties wallpaper

Wallpaper via Timorous Beasties

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Dolce & Gabbana

McQueen

Alexander McQueen Fall 2013

Elle Decor

bird wallpaper

EnVoguewallpapers.com

bird wallpaper

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Alexander McQueen Fall 2013

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Wishing you a beautiful weekend with a cozy place to nest and lots of reading time!

For more cagey birds visit my post “Tweet Tweet” 

xox SP

~

The Red Line

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There was a red line

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It started in the laundry alcove of our barn.

It’s sort of hard to explain, but let me make a long story short…

(for the first time in my life. Ever.)

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In designing the barn, I almost neglected to add a laundry area.

Let’s just get that out of the way first.

  I mean, who thinks of laundry when designing a barn for boys??

 Luckily, at the last minute (love those last minute Change Orders) we found a way to tuck one in, in the small hallway leading to the garage.  Because there was no window, and the room adjacent to the laundry houses all the guts, gadgetry and ‘guy stuff’ for the barn, our architect came up with the cool idea to remove one length of reclaimed wood and replace it with a ribbon of glass. An ‘electrical-guts-viewing window’ as it were.

Like I said, guy stuff. Then he added an LED multi-flitered light, which can be any colour, but I like the red.

MUA: Michelle Leander Herum

When passing by at night it’s both cozy and very James Bond.

If James Bond did laundry.

laundry slimpaley.com

Plus, it matches the cherry red washer & dryer I’ve lusted after for years.

That’s when it started.

32c13272b67c15d0d694bdf141940966 I began to see the red line everywhere…

garzon-uruguay-3_0and to appreciate how it made cool, monochrome spaces pop to life

d7203af8ebadf6ee10357dee398a29f7Mark Cunningham

fonda-windsor-melbourne8_0_0Fonda-Windsor Melbourne

Like I said

.

 everywhere

Selman Hotel, Marrakech Slimpaley.com

The hallways of the Selman Hotel, Marrakech

bookcases, Sun Valley, slimpaley.com

My own Instagram photos

Bar, The Tintagel Hotel, Colombo, Sri Lanka, slimpaley.com

The bar of The Tintagel Hotel, Colombo, Sri Lanka

.This place

that placec22a49b5c16a980ddb445d07deaace35

and you can believe it didn’t stop there.

Fendi boot Fendi

I think you all know me better than that.

090613_Tommy_Ton_S2014RTW_slide_103via Tommyton

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The boots, Chanel Pre-Fall 2014970x544_BoxHomepage_1

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I wanna say Ann Demeulemeester

.

MARC0291.450x675I forget.

Screen Shot 2013-07-28 at 7.11.09 PMGaultier

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red leather jacket

hbz-october-2013-the-bazaar-lets-get-loud-ch-carolina-herrera-sandal-de-md

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Magdalena Frackowiak

Screen Shot 2013-10-01 at 2.31.11 PMJason Wu clutch

img_7784YSL pumps

In museums…

IMG_7221Chicago Museum of Modern Art

.

in magazines…

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Eddie Borgo Fall 2013 Winged Scarab necklace

jewelry…

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Fendi

bags

.even food…

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the red line was haunting my dreams

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calling out to me

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It’s no bloody wonder I forget about the laundry.

~

BTW- This is my 500th post!!

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XXSP

One Year Ago; I was “Feeling Very Delftish”

~

painted lips photo; Michelle Leander Herum

uncredited photos via Tumblr or Pinterest.

BELIEVE

tumblr_cozyChristmas

Happy Holidays to All!!

stars

I hope you’re enjoying a beautiful, sparkling, joy-filled Christmas day.

santabarbaramagparty.slimpaley.com

Full of the sensations of The Season

The gift of family & good friends

christmaswrapping.slimpaley.com video

The exchange of ethereal delights, delicious food, delectable libations

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Fairy dust

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Light

.

and Wonder

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Chanel Pre-Spring 2014

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Chanel Pre-Spring 2014

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but remember the stars often land upon the ground too
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My front porch Sun Valley

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Blessings & Warmest Tidings to all my faithful and fun Slim Paley readers over the years

And to All a Good Night!!

xoxox

SP

One Year Ago Today

~

all uncredited photos via Flickr & Pinterest

 shooting star lights via MarthaStewart.com

Slim Paley photo of tepee at Santa Barbara Magazine Christmas party, decor by Gypset.com

Amongst the Shadows

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silhouette [ˌsɪluːˈɛt]

n
1. the outline of a solid figure as cast by its shadow
2. (Fine Arts & Visual Arts / Art Terms) an outline drawing filled in with black, often a profile portrait cut out of black paper and mounted on a light ground
 
 

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So, I was going through my blog’s draft files on WordPress the other day and came upon this 1/2 finished post.

(one of 99 no less, speaking of Short Attention Span Theatre :-()

 I’d been inspired by a shot I’d taken of my older son’s girlfriend cooking in our Sun Valley kitchen last winter.

With the light behind her and the sharp angle of her pretty hair, I was reminded of those old fashioned silhouettes.

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A hundred years ago, you’d have been hard-pressed to find a home that didn’t have a silhouette or two hanging on the wall.

jenny fowlerjenny lee fowler

They were insanely popular the world over, from the grand salons of France to ‘Little House on the Prairie’ cabins across America.

gramophone silhouette

107453141081341090_syL7gzLS_cI remember making silhouettes in art class back in elementary school and having my own silhouette done at a fair…

Don’t you?!

remodelista---chapel-lane-irish-linen-winter-feast-here-tea-cloth-b3-jpegLinen napkin image via Remodelista

of course once I started writing the post I began to see images of silhouettes everywhere.

.

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 Was it just that my radar was up, or were they enjoying a revival?

armfield_rchmnd-17Leta Austin Foster

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Someone once showed me how to take a photographic silhouette with the settings on my camera. Unfortunately I neither practiced nor wrote the settings down, so that info’s gone….poooof!

I googled it, but most internet directions involve using ‘Photoshop’ after the fact.

and there’s another thing I’ll never learn.

983c596395acf25d73997e164d8f68f1How do you do get the light at the front and dark right behind it??

wedding-photo-by-minneapolis-wedding-photographer-geneoh-photography-19via here

or this effect?

custom chalk

Custom Chalk

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Marie Antoinette silhouette via Janelle McCullogh’s “Paris” book

IMG_2127slim paley photo

framed art restoration hardwareRestoration Hardware

InfusedVeneer14

perhaps they are having a bit of a renaissance.

Graham MossThis image via Graham Moss is a nice example of how silhouettes can be used to  ‘modern’ effect.

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Jenny Lee Fowler

Indeed, they have changed with the times.

630.x600.art.openerContemporary artist Kara Walker turns the traditional concept of ‘Silhouettes’ on its head with her cut-paper images that critically address gender, sexuality, race and power within an antebellum tableau.

9910_12-kara_walker_6442_GoneKara Walker

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Passers-by in the Raval, Barcelona by geoffbcn on Flickr

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More recently, I caught our young sweethearts in another fun moment at the Chicago Museum of Modern Art.

*Note; a few days later my son cut off a full foot of his hair to donate, so I’m happy to have this ‘vintage’ silhouette.

The moustache…I’m still working on. :-)

890A3551Slim Paley photo

an almost comical silhouette warns of pickpocketing on the streets of Portugal

Banksy

Last month, the NYC Police vandal squad were busy searching for the elusive British artist Banksy, who’d promised to unveil an installation a day during his month long ‘residency’ in NYC.

Mayor Bloomberg was not amused.

with perfect irony, Banksy’s work of art was tagged right after it was finished…what’s good for the goose…

supporters of Banksy supposedly removed the graffiti.

streetartnews_banksy2013The question (which arose once before on my “Graffiti” post) as to whether these clandestine installations, both on public and private property, constitute ‘Art’ or not is an interesting one.

Though I appreciate arguments on both sides of the aisle, I found myself chuckling at this comment left on one site;

Mike: “…If you want to make art you need to buy materials. brushes, paint, whatever. If you want to make art then buy a canvas, If you want to paint a wall then buy a wall. My wall is not your canvas. If you can’t afford to buy a wall then cry me a river. I want to make landscaping sculptures and so I’m going to come over to your house and dig up your yard to make my sculptures…”
 
~
You see how this argument could get heated-
Is there anything more subjective than “Art”?!

BanksyUnfortunately (actually, he probably doesn’t give a toss as it only brought him more publicity) Banksy lost many supporters after he harshly criticized the design of the new World Trade Center.

and usually the British have such good manners!

a15483e27346956f38d9de56a0c40fbdphoto by Ara Guler

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Slim Paley photo

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I’m still rather chuffed with the Instagram ‘silhouette’  I took in Utah a few months back.

It’s always all about the light, isn’t it?!

peter pan

Jenny Lee Fowler

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Leaf  silhouettes via Jenny Lee Fowler

Blast from the Past: PHySicAl GrafFiTi 

all other uncredited photos via Flickr or Pinterest

haute halloween II

tumblrboo!

tumblranna selezneva

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i‘ve been uncharacteristically quiet of late i know.

you might have been worried the black cat got my tongue…

well, nothing quite so macabre, but i did have shoulder surgery for a torn rotator cuff when i returned from ny.

ouch.

NatashaBeaute3this is a pose i will not be striking for quite some time…

i’ll be having to type with only one hand ( hence the lack of capitals) for awhile so please bear with me

bear silhouette

  i’ll be a woman of few words and let the images do the talking,

so please enjoy this potpurri of grown up halloween inspiration i’ve cobbled together for your devilish delight

Tom Ford SS2014tom ford 2014

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the pumpkin do

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tom ford Isabel Marant SS/2014isabel marant 2014

kendra_spears_771329621_north_545xkendra spears. she became a princess this summer when she married the aga khan’s son. a most handsome couple.

Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton S/S2014marc jacob’s last collection for louis vuitton (spring 2014, believe it or not)

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Christy Turlingtonchristy turlington

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090613_Tommy_Ton_S2014RTW_slide_215fashion week, via tommy ton

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two fierce ways to navigate the streets

90613_Tommy_Ton_S2014RTW_slide_251via tommy ton

tumblranna selezneva

sweet

trick or treating in bergdorf’s

Julien-DYs

xgivenchy-spring-summer-2014-45.jpg.pagespeed.ic.9W-hR6qpEVgivenchy spring 2014

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20ce3bcf4c9338d56d169b60ce4fdb07bacon wrapped roasted pumpkin-yum!

smores sundaes via savorysimple.com

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IMG_0821if there’s any time to go over to the dark side, the perfect H2O for your  halloween table

how does it taste?  like black water.

i’ve always said i’d like to host a very grown up halloween dinner as i miss our children’s annual haunts at our home so much. i’m thinking plums and greys and pomegranites, but don’t get me started.  this was decidedly not the right year, but remind me, lets say , next august so i can start planning.

anna selezneva

black and white bathrooma spidery chandelier in an oh-so-cool bathroom

tumblr_m8xi1xcrkL1qzy4blo1_1280 ditch the kinda creepy, dangerous lamp too close to the tub and replace with beautiful candles for a glorious goth soak.

Screen Shot 2013-10-29 at 7.52.08 PMKate & Jamie step out for a night on the town

Anthony Vaccarello Fall 2013anthony vaccarello 2013

peanuts, mr. bond??

mona6mona johannesson

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tumblr_ltsnoaxlpy1r49h24o1_1280smoky

Audrey Hepburnaudrey hepburn

Erdem

black lacelacy

McQueen

mysterious

spiky

closeencounters40thorny

img-stephenjonesjpg_211414754405.jpg_article_gallery_slideshow_v2game

grace coddington, stephen jones hatblack cat

Screen Shot 2013-10-29 at 9.39.22 PMcharlotte olympia clutch

arthur-elgort-vogue-2004-nov-220_b_426x639arthur elgort

happy halloween to all!!

i’ll be back soon with post shoulder surgery fashion tips, trials and what i’m reading & watching (though my concentration is a joke right now)

ps; here’s one

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pps. i’ve recorded “the returned” which premieres halloween night on the sundance channel-it’s supposed to be really good and creepy (french with english subtitles)

xxsp

a ghost from the past; haute halloween I

~

all uncredited photos via tumblr