A Week

Clivia.slimpaley.comPale yellow Clivia from my garden.

I hope everyone thoroughly enjoyed their Easter Weekend!

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It was beautiful here in Santa Barbara.

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I spent some time in my garden. Despite the lack of rain here, necessitating a serious cut back on water usage, it’s been a stellar Spring for our roses.

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 Much better than last season, when my babies had to suffer through the vestiges of a ‘bad haircut’ earlier in the year. We all know what that feels like.

 The good news is my friend Dani Hahn, from “Rose Story Farm” assures me that roses don’t need much water to thrive. I plan on doing an entire week of rose posts soon, so I’ll leave the rose talk at that for now.

Hiking Santa Barbara slimpaley.com I also took a couple of beautiful hikes this week, including one to the top of the mountains above Montecito with a good friend who was celebrating her birthday. Nothing like reaching the peak after a hard climb to appreciate and commemorate  the passing of another year.  The stone heart stays the same but the messages change. This week we found one worth sharing.

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The mist cleared when we reached the summit and the views were just gorgeous.

So Game of Thrones. (OK, I still haven’t watched it yet!)

Wild Flowers slimpaley.comThe wild flowers were sprouting and the hills were surprisingly green.

Why don’t I hike every week?!

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On a sadder note,

Gabriel Garcia MarquezWe lost a great literary legend with the passing of Gabriel Garcia Marquez on Thursday.

I remember so very clearly the first time I read “Love in the Time of Cholera”. It was as if I’d had the air knocked out of me. This love story, this incredible love story-it seeped into every fibre of my being. I was not even on this planet from the very first page to the last. It’s one of the few books I’ve read more than once.

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and I’m rereading it again this week.

Sorry “Middlemarch” but I’m kicking you to the curb for a few days. I’m quite sure George Eliot would understand.

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and lastly, back on a lighter note;

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One of my friends was rocking Black & Yellow the day after my post on the same, so I just simply had to share this.

Ines de La Fressange or what?!

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 Oh, just one more thing…

While we are on the subject of favourites? This happened last night! Bryan Ferry came to our little Santa Barbara Bowl and he was simply wonderful. The man is pure elegance in a top coat. Yes, a top coat.

That’s my kind of rock star <3

xx SP

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This time last year 

 

 

Can We Talk? (#3)

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I‘m just going to come clean and confess.

I’ve had such a bad case of blogging ADD lately that I’ve worked myself into a corner (bed)

   My computer desktop is a mosaic of partially finished posts I can’t quite ferry into port.

Meanwhile, Life’s clipping by at an almost comical speed and the end of each day sounds a chastising gong;

‘You didn’t accomplish enough!’ gonggong

February 6th and already my New Year resolutions are in the “Fail” column.  I know that’s pretty much a given, but man, Feb. 6 is early-even for me.

Nike Fuel Band , slimpaley.com

My Nike Fuel band has registered this just once since January 1st :-(

I’m not proud, but there it is.

I think it’s broken.

The re-design of Slim Paley remains inert and that, my loyal readers is truly just the tip of the iceberg.

Patagonia slimpaley.com

Speaking of icebergs, I’ve yet to go through my Patagonia pics to write the two more travel posts I’d been planning.

 I sit down at my computer, commence a blogging and then perhaps Pinterest, sultry siren that she is, curls her comely finger at me.

BTW, did you read this on Remodelista? How I learned to Love Pinterest by Diane Keaton (don’t read it ’til you finish my post!)

See what I mean? You peeked, didn’t you?

(I know I’m not the only ADD person around here )

Then, oh, I don’t know…the phone rings, the dishwasher breaks, my credit card gets hacked, more emails & texts pop up.

 I go back to editing photos…hold the phone, wouldn’t this look great Waterlogued?? Wow-that looks so cool-I should have it printed!

In fact, I should print a bunch of them as gift cards, or maybe a book of Waterlogue photos on Artifact Uprising

Are you Waterloguing your face off?!

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“Oh my — In the past 24 hours, I have Waterlogued EVERYTHING … old family snapshots, my friends’ houses, flowers, palm trees, sunset/sunrise, postcards, impressionists’ paintings, my toes, and on and on. Truly an impressive amount of fun for $2.99. Did you know that the creator has two other photo editing apps: percolator and popsicolor? Percolator looks kinda klimt-y.”

(Thank you to Slim reader Susan Hodges for her comment above on my last post)

Are you also aware of the oil painting App Glaze”?

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and, and, and,

 That book mentioned in the NYT’s this Sunday sounded fabulous, I should download it on my Kindle-whoah-what’s this? A choice of a free book a month as well as one from the Amazon Prime Lending Library…what else should I get? I’ve never read “Middlemarch” and this one recommended on Instagram looks good!

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This could be the answer to all my problems

Wait, is that the time? I have to get to physical therapy!

797142e90277f393a9e3d0769fc426d3 I continue to make good progress-this is just about my range at the moment.

I haven’t even touched on the fact that it’s hockey season (I’ve switched allegiance from the Vancouver Canucks to the LA Kings who are killing me-nope, I take it back, they just scored! I have to go on Twitter for a minute)

Yes, I am watching hockey as I post.

K, I’m back. We won! Where was I?? Oh, and the Olympics are starting tonight.

Are you going to be watching?  I’m torn. I’m worried that Sochi’s like the kid who has a birthday party and nobody comes. Crap cake, bad party favours.

I want to support the athletes (not just the hockey players!) BUT it’s  just…

Let’s face it, it’s another thing to DO.

It will keep me from…DOING other things!

And believe you me,  I haven’t even touched on all the boring sh#%

Not going there.

Is it the weekend yet??

Have a Focused one :-)

x0xSP

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Past chats

Can We Talk?  07/09/2012

Can We Talk?? (#2) 11/12/2011

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The Goldfinch

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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

AlexanderMcQueen-Face-mask

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

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Countdown Abbey (II)

Downton-Abbey-series-4-premieres-on-PBS

God bless us all, it’s finally that time again!

I can’t believe I arrived home from our “Grand Tour” of Patagonia JUST in time.

It’s all too exciting!

I’m literally dashing off this post as I’m unpacking (wet clothes from our suitcases-nice) and drinking way too much coffee waaay too late in the day.

But stay up I must!

I hope you’ll all be watching with me and for those across the Pond and Down Under please feel free to chime in, with judiciousness of course (omg-I spelled that correctly the first time. Note to self; perhaps more coffee less wine…)

And…

May I just include a complete non-humble brag and mention I attended a party during the Christmas Season where I met a lovely relative of Lady Mary’s who told me that L.M. reads Slim Paley!!

Swear! Fetch the smelling salts

Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management slimpaley.com

A great friend of mine who lives in Britain says this season is an absolute cracker.  She’s been awfully good at not letting anything slip while whetting my curiosity just enough.

She also sent me this absolutely divine and massive antique book;

 “Mrs BEETON’S BOOK OF HOUSEHOLD MANAGEMENT”

published in 1912 and weighing in at no less than 2,040 pages.

I’m quite sure Mrs. Patmore kept it handy.

‘Isabella Beeton (1831-1865) the eldest child of an extended family of 21, was required from an early age to see to domestic arrangements. After her marriage to a small publisher, she began to contribute to his Domestic magazine. In 1861 her writings were published in book form for the first time. An immediate success, selling over 60,000 copies in its first year and nearly two million by 1868! One of the most famous of all cookery books it also contains advice on household management, childcare, etiquette, entertaining and employment of servants.’

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“Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her”

Can we get an AMEN?! :-)

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Sadly, Isabella Beeton’s life story was not a happy one. She lost her first child at only 3 months of age, her second to Scarlet Fever at 2 and poor Isabella died just days after giving birth to her 4th child when she was only 28.

Downton Abbey-esque or what?

A BBC drama based on Isabella Beeton’s life aired in 2006 and a documentary by Sophie Dahl in 2011.  I would love to find both.

OK, must wrap up before the show begins!

One Final Downton Abbey Recap before Tonight’s American Premiere HERE

And, if you’re so inclined;

Exactly One Year Ago

& last but certainly not least,

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

xox SP

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The Calm Before the Storm

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Finally.

There’s a decidedly nippy quality to the air in Santa Barbara. I won’t go so far as to say it’s cold, but it has that bell clear, cinnamony, tartan scarf, pumpkin latte feel to it.

These beautiful leaves were gathered from my garden just 2 weeks ago when the temperatures were still flirting around 80 degrees.

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The colours were stunning. The Instagram photos don’t even do them justice, but alas, I can’t lift my big camera just yet.

Patience, patience (limp noodle)…everyone warned me.

BTW, you know one thing I’ll add to the “Post-Shoulder-Surgery Tip List” from last week??

#11. A glass of red wine helps before physical therapy. It helps a lot.

I just learned that yesterday. My genius is a slow, steady affair. It doesn’t like to rush in all at once and cause a big spectacle.

and just in case there are any doctors reading this-I’m not condoning drinking wine while still taking pain-killers.

(anyway, those are like sooo gone)

Actually, that’s not entirely true. I’m saving my very last one for the check up with my surgeon on Monday. He’ll be putting me through my paces to see how much progress I’ve made with my arm extensions :-( (hold me)

I’m down to only 2 Alleve a day, but let me just say-the physical therapy is no day at Butterfly Beach.

IMG_8055On the sweet side, meet ‘Leon’

He jumped up and gave me some tender, loving company yesterday afternoon while I was getting iced at the physio clinic.

Look at that face! He feels my pain.

May we also note it was the first day I wore trousers with no elastic at the waist. Hallelujah

So, basically, wine had to be served.

But, where were we?? Oh yes, we’re drawing very close to the holidays now.

Grab your helmets.

In just a few short days, the time between Thanksgiving, Hanukah & Christmas is going to pass so fast it’ll peel our faces off.

So, how about taking just a little time for yourself and curling up with a good read?

The calm before the storm as it were.

I finally finished “Empty Mansions” and would definitely recommend it.

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‘ “We are all a little peculiar” as she would say…’ a friend of Huguette Clark

Although it would be more than a stretch to write reclusive American heiress Huguette Clark’s eccentricities off as mere peculiarities, after reading this new biography by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr. I don’t know that anyone would come to the conclusion that she was crazy either.  Sadly, many of her extended and long estranged family (all descendants of her father’s children with his first wife) tried to prove just that-or at least, that Huguette was not of sound mind towards the end of her (105 yr.!) life. After nearly two years of litigation concerning the $300million+ remaining fortune, the lawyers, family and various participants reached a settlement just two months ago.

I won’t spoil the ending for you, but the story of Huguette, her immediate family and some of the people she chose to have in her life is indeed a head-shaker.

 Of particular interest to me, and no doubt many other locals, was Huguette’s stunning Santa Barbara mansion below.

Clark-Estate-3_t479“Bellosguardo” presides over the last ocean cliff separating Montecito from Santa Barbara, capturing panoramic views of both the mountains and the sea, to no doubt breathtaking effect. The estate was built by the preposterously rich, copper mining Clark family in the 1930′s as a summer residence and is “The House on the Hill” of our little hamlet.

Clark-Estate-1_t479It’s actually so close I can walk to it from my house. My doctor’s office is just to the left of the bird refuge/lagoon you see on the lower edge of the property. Huguette built the refuge as a tribute to her deceased sister.

The entire estate, as well as a large ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley, passed to Huguette when her mother died in 1963.

Neither of them used the house in over 60 years.

Not once. Zero. I used it as much as they did.

Some years back, Ty Warner, owner of the Beanie Babies, Four Seasons Hotel NY, The Biltmore & San Ysidro Ranch and whose private residence is extremely close to Bellosguardo purportedly offered Ms. Clark $100 million for the property. She politely declined.

130909-hugette-clark-dolls-vmed-1p.photoblog600Huguette was a child-like woman who owned several vast homes yet chose to live in a small, spare hospital room (in very good health) for the last 20 years of her life.  Until the day she died she seemed to prefer the company of dolls to humans, but was unfailingly polite, charitable and kind to everyone she came in contact with.  She loved music, cartoons and everything Japanese, yet never visited Japan. She was an accomplished artist, loyal correspondent and friend, devoted daughter, loving sister, and generous patron of the arts.

huguette29n-1-webThis last known public photo was taken on her honeymoon in 1928 at the age of 22. I believe she was probably much prettier than the photo would suggest, but she was extremely uncomfortable being photographed. No Selfies for ‘Hugo’ .  Privacy was everything to her.

Everything. Howard Hughes was Kanye compared to Huguette.

She and her husband would be separated only 9 months later and divorced within two years., yet they remained friends until he died.

STOP  me before I tell you any more of the story! gawd.

Those who knew her best said she was shy but not at all unhappy.

Personally, I think she just wanted to live in the world completely and utterly on her own terms and had the limitless resources to do so.

Apparently a recipe for a very, very long life indeed.

Is that so crazy??

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PS. I imagine this would make a great Book Club read. (even though I’ve never been in a book club)

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So, speaking of having an appreciation for the Older, Finer things in life…

Style Mavens Dawn Moore and Holly Palance have recently combined their considerable aesthetic forces to create a fun online shop for strictly vintage and antique home decor; MixxCentury.com

Mixxcentury Both long time lovers of antiques, Holly and Dawn define their Mixx concept;

“By having Museum Bound (beautiful high-end pieces) and Recently Found (funky flea market finds on up…) and ONLY focusing on decorative arts and furnishings, we are for passionate home aficionados and trade professionals who don’t want to rifle thru jewelry, wine and real estate.”

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“We are literally a one-stop for all vintage and antique home decor. AND we have our own point of view, both in theory and actual product-The Point of View Collection”

Visit & shop (all industry pricing 25-60% all year round) here:  MixxCentury.com

I was thrilled and flattered to be featured as one of MixxCentury’s first “MiXXMasters” this week, along side such design luminaries as Timothy Corrigan and Jamie Bush!

For my short musings on Design and Mixxing it up click;  HERE 

I know, right?? Shuhhup-Just act cool, like…oh me & Tim & Jamie, yeah. We cruised over to Vincente Wolfe’s place, there was a small party. Bunny W. and Newel Turner were there, natch…Peter Marino was in full Village People, but I was kinda tired so I left early…

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leaves.slimpaleyEnjoy the rest of your weekend and remember…

Don’t stress!! It’ll get done, it will all get done.

It will all get done, won’t it?!!

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Flash from the past; One year ago today; The Day After

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