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

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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

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Stag Party

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A post about horns and long pointy parts of wild animals.

Hopefully nothing offensive.

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People seem to feel quite strongly about this subject, which is fine by me.

I like a healthy debate as long as it stays uber civilised…

and doesn’t shut down Congress.

(sorry, couldn’t resist)

bloodandchampagne4522Personally, I like antlers & horns used in interiors, and exteriors, for that matter.

I think they serve as an earthy connection to the great outdoors, as well as a primal link to the past.

I have little doubt that cavemen persons adorned their spaces with impressive, hard-won trophies.

metro-5-lgvia Erin Martin Design

Jacques Grange 4Jacques Grange

They also add a great sense of texture, depth, even humour, when artfully applied.

laughing goat At least he gets me :-)

You’ve probably already guessed over the years that I’m not of the ‘hunting’ persuasion. I don’t eat game and I wouldn’t know a deer from a stag or an elk from a bison if it were two ft. away from me.

I think I might even have pointed out a ‘mantalope’ in one of my finer moments in Africa.

Let’s just say if the nose is bright red, I’m betting reindeer.

That confession out of the way,

I do know that deers/stags and other forresty animals shed their antlers naturally in the wild, so there need not be any hunting involved, though I’m certainly not naive enough to assume this is always or even generally the case.

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toro-bull-head-jayson-homeA big faux bull from Jayson Home, Chicago.

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“Winter’s Bone” linen fabric available through Dering Hall (I love the brown colour-way but it wouldn’t come up)

bloodandchampagne4466Go real or go faux, it’s a human desire to celebrate the beauty of animals.

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and with so many of the faux antler and horn furnishings available now, it’s very difficult to tell they’re not in fact real.

Wonderful.

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Picture

I have the most beautiful carved wood deer head I bought years ago from John Rosselli Antiques. It hangs in a prominent spot in our home in Sun Valley and I love it, and remembering the saga of how I got it from NY to Idaho (Two cars, a very awkward  plane trip and one intensely quiet husband)

Ahhh, the memories…

b9964920ae770d516a9d02141d875d8dBut antlers, horns & such need not be relegated to cabins and mountain homes by any means.

In fact I think the more unexpected the better.

spring3source unknown. Any idea??

b4ba6063f4d0d65335d5171601ed129cParty animal

Disc_Interiors_13_07_05Very cool, by Disc Interiors

Tracie-Ellis-House-Kyneton-Australia-04Tracie Ellis-House, Kyneton, Australia

19328dcf5a25f0b44dbf7f0fe1626675Here you get the effect with none of the dust!

sun valley, slimpaley.comMy bathroom in Sun Valley.

The antlers wear garlands of pine in the winter. They’re part of a Bavarian collection I bought many years ago.

haynes-roberts-10-xlnElle Decor

witt-1-lgErin Martin Design

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witt-6-lgErin Martin Design

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LaurenCaron1002_smlThere’s a veritable stampede on the 4th floor of Bergdorf’s right now, including fabrics & accessories from Alessandra Branca’s new collection. I’ll be popping in to see it next week. Photo via 4thFloorWalkup

 and if you’re utterly, adamantly, vehemently opposed to anything even vaguely resembling the real thing…

IMG_7230But still have a sense of humour about it…

there’s always this blow up trophy deer I saw in The Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art gift shop.

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Or, cooler still, bicycle taxidermy for the cyclist in your life, by Regan Appleton via Remodelista HERE

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Stag ring,  sorry no credit (via Tumblr)

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Brass Rams Horn table base, a pair, via Erin Martin Design

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antler hose holderlove this, via Remodelista

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Alexander McQueen’s ethereal Stag Queen

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Feeling just a step closer to Fall yet?!

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PS. My posts are not updating in other blogger’s blog rolls. Is this happening to anyone else out there using WordPress??

Please say yes. I’m starting to get a complex.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Have a great rest of the weekend!

~

Crown of Horns photo by Paul de Luna for Mojeh magazine. Decorative headpiece by Ashley Lloyd

Testing Your Metal

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You know-

it’s occurred to me that anyone just happening upon my blog recently might easily mistake it for a travel blog-

 au contraire!

My intention still remains for “Slim Paley” to be about a little bit of everything-God forbid I stick with one thing :)

it’s just the way things have played out this year, I’ve been doing considerably more traveling than is usually the case.

So, I’m taking a break from travel chat for a moment and without any further ado-

Presenting a post on the myriad of metals and shiny surfaces in the worlds of fashion, art and interior design

I’ve come across in my, er… recent travels.

Reflect on these, if you will;

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Heavy metals figured predominately in Alexander McQueen’s Fall collection

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The juxtaposition  of metal & ultra luxe fabrics manipulated in magical ways was a visual feast.

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Versace dress, Robert Lee Morris necklace and cuffs, sterling silver glove by Shaun Leane for Daphne Guinness

Granted, probably not something you’d wear to a dinner party or a first date (unless it was, like, Match.com and you weren’t feeling too hopeful…)

But  never underestimate the trickle down effect of what you see on the runways hitting the streets the following season.

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Metallic jeans might still be a bit bold

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But who amongst us hasn’t wished for instant Buns of Steel??!

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I’d settle for heels of steel if I knew who made these.

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The metal look tends to read very futuristic

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Moschino Winter 2012-2013

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Naturally, the incomparable Tom Ford does it to perfection

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Paco Rabanne

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Even if you’re Boho to the bone, there are ways to create  metal allure

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Jenny Packham Spring 2013.

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Judith Leiber cocktail clutch

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If you’re not warming to the idea of cool metal against your skin (excluding jewelry of course!)  perhaps you’d prefer it on the wall?

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Anish Kapoor

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and you know the eternal question…

Does this art make us look fat?!

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I feel badly that I’ve lost the credit for these but I know someone will have them.

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 Guggenheim, Spain

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I visited Versailles this summer and saw some of Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos’ installations, including this pair of high heels made entirely of  saucepans!  Vasconcelos is the first woman to ever exhibit in the Palace of Versailles, France.

woops-I forgot I wasn’t talking about travel in this post.

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Guiseppe Zanotti shoes

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Whiting & Davis metal mesh cushions & lamp

Azzaro bag

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 Both metal mesh fabrics by Whiting & Davis 

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Chemetal metal laminate (link just below)

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It’s gorgeous in the bathroom

(don’t you love the black stick towel holder beside the gleaming metal surface?)

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Zing!.

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Chemetal metal laminates

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Cool in this kitchen

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Bright silver, two tones of wood, rich copper and touch of delft- someone’s having fun here!

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Slim Paley photo

In my kitchen in Sun Valley I also chose pressed silver tiles to brighten up all the reclaimed wood and dark stone counters.

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A nice example of darker metal and rugged stone 

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and an interesting dialogue between hard metal and soft stacked wood in this modern home.

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Lastly, a short video on a true master of  metal

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Maria Pergay

(please allow the video a minute to load)

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Ciao!

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Until Rio…

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Union Jack Lips

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Well?

That was fun, wasn’t it?!

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So happy everything went so well in London tonight!

Cheers to all the athletes, all the competing countries

and let’s not forget  those who worked diligently to keep everyone safe and things running smoothly-God knows it must be an Olympian task.

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Congratulations to the U.S. for securing the most medals!

As for the closing ceremonies, I must say the blinged out taxi cabs did tickle my fancy

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Spice Girls seem to be holding up quite well.

It was nice to see Annie Lennox again, though didn’t love the dress and George Michael can still sing live- it’s been awhile!

Hey- just me, or did the Eric Idle bit go on a bit L O N G ??

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A perfect 70 degree evening in London- how lucky is that?!

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I love that they matched the stadium to Alexander McQueen’s iconic Britannia clutch  :)

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While we’re on bag chat,

 coveting this cute Charlotte Olympia perspex charmer

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especially love the clasp!

available on Net A Porter.com

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Penhaligon LondonSlim Paley Photo

A salute to Britannia in the Penhaligon windows in Paris

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I was a little disappointed with the “Fashion” segment of the show weren’t you?

It was a bit of a nothing really and poor Ryan Seacrest didn’t know who any of the models were besides Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell

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Couldn’t someone have texted him for goodness sake?!

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Still, a fine time appeared to be had by all, including Kate and her brother-in-law

Where the heck was hubby??

Me too!

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We’ll just have to order the newest tome from Taschen for our London fix.

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It’s groovy baby, yah.

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By Kyle Bean & Victoria Ling

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Make yourselves a nice hot Horlicks and

Sleep tight Loves.

xox

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Haute Halloween

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hanging skeleton, Slim PaleySlim Paley photo

This ghoulish fellow caught my eye as I was driving home from Ojai yesterday

I just loved his macabre farming equipment

black cape, Halloween

Cape Agnes B, Dress Vivienne Westwood Gold Label

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black crow, slimpaley.comSlim Paley Photo

Happy Halloween Eve All!

I have lots of Treats and NO Tricks for you so get your pillowcases ready!

PS. OK I know my photo is just a crow, not a Raven, but I think he’s striking a rather “Ravenesque” pose so please, work with me here ;

But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only,
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered – not a feather then he fluttered -
Till I scarcely more than muttered `Other friends have flown before -
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.’
Then the bird said, `Nevermore.’

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From The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe

In entirety here; The Raven  (1845)

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Gabrielle Kiss earrings.

Gabriella Kiss earrings

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Nyasha Matonhodze

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TRUE! –nervous –very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad?

From “The Tell Tale Heart” also by Poe

Poor Poe…

Haider Ackermann.

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Black Widow martini

(Sorry- I’ve lost the credit. But I like a person who measures in gluggs. especially when it comes to cocktails)

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Mummy Martini, Absolut Vodka

Remember this?

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Gareth Pugh

If you bought this too and we’re going to the same event, Callsies!

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Alexander McQueen

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photo via Vogue

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Alexander McQueen

Someone’s turning into a pumpkin…

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and has the shoes to go with…

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Haider Ackermann

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black & orange no bake cheesecake cookies

Find the No Bake recipe on Chocolate Shavings  

So easy a corpse could not bake them.

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.black cat shoes

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Adapted from Betty Crocker

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sexy pumpkins

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.Grown Up Halloween Table

A darkly sophisticated table setting

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Alexander McQueen

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black lace pumpkin

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McQueen

black lace votive

OK,  I could make these!

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photo Steven Meisel

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Steven Meisel (2003)

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bride of Frankenstein

Frankenstenia 

Not sure what it says about me, but I could have stayed on this website for hours. My parents used to put me to bed very, very early on weekend nights so I could get up at midnight to watch all the old horror films on “Nightmare Theatre” by myself.

 Strange child.

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.Gothic GlamourPhoto Zhang Jingna

Skull clutch, Alexander McQueenAlexander McQueen

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Haunted Hotel Georgia Martini

The Haunted Hotel Georgia Cocktail 

via Lola’s LA

“This is one of our new Fall / Halloween Martinis …all are an homage to Haunted Hotels. This is my personal fav!! It is a delightful old school mix of almond, orange and nutmeg with a frothy egg white top, so it is light,  yet carries those distinct Fall flavors .. yum !!” Lola

adapted from Hotel Georgia, circa 1945    

Ingredients:

1 egg white

1.75oz plymouth gin

.75oz lemon juice

.5 oz orgeat syrup (we use Giffard brand)

6 drops of orange blossom water

Method:

beginning with the egg, combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker.
Shake the mixture briefly. (dry shake)
Add ice and shake vigorously.  Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a chilled cocktail glass.
grate some nutmeg onto top of drink. Enjoy.

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I can’t seem to remember where I found these hEYE-ball glasses :)

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black & white hand painted pumpkins

Hand painted pumpkins
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GHOST!! Slim PaleySlim Paley Photo

Also snapped on the way home from Ojai yesterday

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PS.  Now I hate to regurgitate…

but for newer Slim Paley readers who’ve never been Trick or Treating with me before,

A few links to Halloween Posts past;

FRANKENSTEIN Was the Only No-Show

We’re Getting Close!

&

Movies, Monsters & What Will I Wear?

moving bat.

Be Afraid.  Be Very Afraid.

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