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!)

American_goldfinch_winter_f

 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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Tweet Tweet

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Daphne Guinness

I‘m back. omg. The dog ate my blog.

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Happy first week of June to everyone!

Hope you are enjoying summer weather wherever you may be and not the notorious June Gloom that arrived right on schedule to the day here in Santa Barbara.

We  had a hectic but fun filled week celebrating Younger Son’s graduation from high school.

We’re now officially “Empty Nesters” (Sound of page turning…)

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It’s all good though.

No, really.

I’m fine :)

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All babies leave the nest and I suppose in the scheme of things, we humans are blessed to keep ours nesting much longer than most  creatures do.

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As good a segue as any into a post about the plethora of birds we have flying about here this Spring!

Everyone is talking about it. It’s like a giant casting call for a remake of Hitchcock’s film.

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Sadly the 3 beautiful turquoise eggs in the nest right outside our window finally hatched but the babies disappeared just 2 days after they were born.

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I’m convinced it was crows as the nest was right below this window and there is no way the rose branches would support the weight of our massive raccoons.

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Then again, this guy was hanging around and looks rather scary (what is he??)

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On a lighter note,

Martin Johnson Heade

I can barely walk through the garden without getting dive-bombed  by hummingbirds- they’re so adorable and always seem to be having so much fun!

I have a feathery fashion show right outside my window every day.

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Junya Watanabe, Spring 2012

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“Hummingbirds” rug, The Rug Company

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Anndra Neen’s sculptural bird cage evening bag.

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Orpheus 8

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A tiny yellow bird perches on the Cecil Brunner roses at my desk window.

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Timorous Beasties wallpaper

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Stella McCartney and a feathered friend sharing a cuppa.

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We’ve certainly been getting a big kick out of  the ducks camping out in our stream lately.

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“Are you looking at me??”

“Maybe you didn’t hear me…

I said ARE YOU LOOKING AT ME??”

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Wampoia Club, China

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Berthe Morisot’s (1841-1895) “The Cage”

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Birdcage chandeliers at RestorationHardware.com

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Dale Chihuly (I’m guessing ?)

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A bird in the hair…

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Sanderson wallpaper

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Decorative wooden birds available (on sale 40% off) at Wisteria.com

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The Bird Whisperer

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Vogue

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Junya Watanabe Spring 2012

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.Slim Paley photo

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.Crunchy wonton noodles, melted chocolate and Jordan almond eggs (via Pinterest)

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Bird file folders and stationary both on sale right now at Wisteria.com

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Shourouk Swarovski crystal choker

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Credit unknown

Hope you had a great weekend and are also enjoying the great outdoors.  I’ve missed you!

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The New Blue

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Blue Bible from Lumas Art Designs

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Royal Blue.  Beautiful at the beach, or on a boat. Great in Greece, regal for Royals and certainly makes for wonderfully mysterious eyes, but the sudden popularity of “The New Blue” in fashion?  Sorry, I’m just not loving it. I remember it coming around once before in the 80′s and I wasn’t buying then either.  It always reminds me of Maggie Thatcher, old stewardess uniforms or dressing for Bridge Club.  Still, one cannot fail to acknowledge it’s omnipresence in the fashion world at the moment, so just to demonstrate what an open-minded, Favoured Nations Fashionista I am,  I’ve compiled a tribute to this hot new cool colour filled with finds no self-respecting politico would be caught dead in;


I know I just said I don’t like this blue, but I’m already sort of loving these Solange Azagury-Partridge earrings…kind of pathetic how quickly I fold isn’t it?!

These Christian Louboutin kicks are terribly Tommy Tune

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and these gals are certainly not off to Bridge Club…


Versace

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I suppose facebook is feeling all chuffed with it’s trendy old self for being The New Blue

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Fergie wore it today at World Cup

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Gods of The New Blue forgive me, I’ve forgotten what designer this is…but we weren’t buying it anyway, were we??

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Katy Perry rocked The Blue at the MTV Awards

 

The “Big Easy Chair” is kind of cool in blue resin

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Versace

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Shu Uemura Skin Care

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Donatella was really feeling the blues…

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and perhaps the most infamous dark blue eyes of all…

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.Frankie Morello suede platforms. Um…do you have anything with more buckles?

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photo from Garance Dore

A Dark blue night settles over Shanghai

.and we bid adieu to Dennis Hopper

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OK, the Versace coat is good.

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The Rolex Submariner

have to admit I’m liking it!

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Liza Bruce bathing suit

Whatevah…

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Slim Paley photo

Celine .

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French Vogue

Scuba diving gown

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These Hogan trainers are fun

 

 

 

 

 

So is The Peacock Chair by Dror Benshetrit

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Net a Porter

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The Orient Express

Now we’re talking. A beautiful colour for a train I think.  Have you ever been on the O.E.? It’s on my Silver Bucket List :)

 

And this neat little Smythson organizer for your travel documents

 

 

A Pucci bikini for when your train pulls into the beach

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This Italian line of body lotions, bath oils and candles is really gorgeous! Especially the Sandalwood scent. I discovered them in London but they were too heavy and breakable to bring home- if anyone knows where to purchase them in the U.S. please let me know.

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A Judith Lieber Birdie bag

Probably about 100 million dollars, but you know-they’re collectables!

 

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.Morocco does the New Blue so well

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Slim Paley photo

As do birds…

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Roger Vivier Fall 2010

Ok, lastly, these are my fav’s… I guess the New Blue is secretly growing on me.

What say you??

 



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Friday Favourites (5)

 

Slim Paleyphoto

I’m most happy to report that this little guy has usurped the gigantic spider’s real estate outside the window at my desk.  He is here every day with a partner of equally vibrant plumage, which leads me to wonder if perhaps they are two males? Aren’t the females usually more modestly attired??  I’m not a bird person at all, so if you told me this was a baby peacock I’d believe you.  In fact, I like to believe it is :)

What GORGEOUS weather we’ve enjoyed in Santa Barbara the last couple of days!  It feels like summer full throttle, although perhaps not quite as much as NYC which topped out at an amazing 90 degrees on Wednesday, but I’ll take our high 70′s, thank you very much!

I really cannot believe Friday is here again so soon, but the good news is I’m excited to share with you some fun and, as always, completely random  favourites this week;

My favourite new Uggs (yes, Uggs! $120) Finally, a pair of sexy summer Uggs- Husbands rejoice!  (alright, so they’re not heels, but it’s a start…)

Slim Paley photo     ……………

Fabriano Mediovalis stationery (single deckled cards 2 1/2 X 3 3/4, 100 pcs)

I’m a paper freak so I love these little cards I found  Upstairs at Pierre LaFond in Montecito, CA.  (There are also several places to buy them online)  They are great for hand-written place cards, gift enclosures, even for miniature water-colours or sketches when traveling.  Keep several in your handbag for note sharing- along with a burnt umber ink calligraphy fountain pen. Your thoughts and directions, heck, even telephone numbers will carry so much more impact…So much chicer than “Bumping” iPhones!  (Not that I know how to bump my iPhone – do you?!  I wish I did!)

Slim Paley photo

I’m also loving these Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Cleansing Pads I picked up at Target.  They are just ever so slightly exfoliating (and I mean ever so slightly) but they are really nice for cleansing without leaving your face feeling super dry.  They are very thick and big!  Too big really. The Thrifty Good Wife side of me is tempted to cut them in half, but the Virgo germophobe side worries that the cut ones would contaminate the rest of the container.  I wonder which side will win out?  Meanwhile, Aveeno, if you’re reading this- WHO has this big of a face?  Please make them smaller and give us more in the jar.  Thank you.

Slim Paley Photo

Oh these are good!  Sweet, but good. Especially the Toasted Coconut flavour.  I found them in at Atkinson’s grocery store in Sun Valley, but they came all the way from Vancouver, BC. from Butter Baked Goods. Idaho can’t be the only place they’re sold in the States so keep an eye out –  It’s always fun to find something a little out of the ordinary to bring when you’re going to someone’s home

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Calling all Tea Party-ers!  But let’s not talk politics!  How funny are these tea bags from a German company ca

Pret-a-porTEA Tea Bags

Tea Party anyone?llLet’s just promise not to talk politics!  How funny are these?!  They are available online from a German company calledDonkey Products.com. Unfortunately, it appears to be the only place to buy them, at least for the moment, and my German is about as stellar as my Spanish, which means I can’t get past “In den warenkorb” and “Zur Kasse gehen”.   Help? anybody??   I can’t figure out if they are telling me to put the teabags in my shopping cart, or turn myself in. Never been so terrified to click before.  But  look at Audrey- so cute!!  I want one!

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I’d like to take credit for these flowers, but alas, they’re from Dandelion Ranch , my favourite place to have flower arrangements delivered from (in the Los Angeles area)  Dandielion’s flowers are inventive as well as pretty, nothing run of the mill here, even the containers are creative.  Not to mention their staff’s abundance of patience when I’m trying to control every aspect of an arrangement from 90 miles away.  Love that :)

 

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The carousel in front with over 150 scents

Sorry, I admit it, I’m completely obsessed with perfumes. Look, it could be worse- it could be jewelry.  Have you tried Memoire Liquide yet? They are wonderful- SO many scents that you can mix, create your own concoctions- one could spend hours at their counter.  I first discovered it at Fred Segal in Santa Monica and bought the little set of 3 bottles- fantastic for evening bags and travel as they are very small and have roll on applicators.

From the LA Times:

Memoire Liquide

Sisters Robin Coe-Hutshing and Jennifer Coe-Bakewell started custom blending scents in 1984 at their small fragrance counter in Fred Segal Santa Monica. Today, they own Studio Beauty Mix, the apothecary-style, multi-line beauty product store at Fred Segal, which also houses the Memoire Liquide counter where scents are blended into perfumes, lotions and body washes.

Coe-Hutshing has filled the fragrance bar with more than 150 perfume bases, which are, in turn, composed of multi-note scents that she has named to invoke a memory or capture the notion of the scent. “Sensuel” is one of those multi-note scents and includes red tea, sandalwood and musk, a mix that reminds her of a stay at hotel in Kyoto, Japan, with sandalwood floors and the faint smell of incense in the air. “That was a really good vacation,” said Coe-Hutshing, who also developed all the Stila fragrances and has consulted with various beauty companies including Estée Lauder and Bath & Body Works.

Like “Sensuel,” every multi-note scent can be worn alone or layered with others. Coe-Hutshing said that customers tend to choose three or four blends, but there is no correct number. “There’s no answer to how many scents is too many.”

I haven’t tried the newest collection yet, but I’m loving the descriptions;

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Memoire Liquide is available online, but I would suggest playing at one of their counters first.   Fred Segal, Bloomingdales, and Henri Bendel’s are a few of places you may find it.

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.Lastly, perhaps I’m very late to this party but OMG- my mom bought me a pair of these LaCross eyebrow tweezers with a built in LED light- GENIUS!!  Available all over the place online.

Wishing you a wonderful Friday!  (Anyone else get shpilcus (SP? My Yiddish is right up there with my German and Spanish) watching Housewives of NY again tonight?  You know I never ever understood those girls in school who wanted to physically “fight” each other…until now.   What did Kelly Bensimmon say this week?  “Like you have to feel sorry for models- Like they have to be on their own like so much of the time”  What?? Really?? And why is that?   So Hilar.  Sue me, I’m hooked!

.Lastly, perhaps I’m very late to this party but OMG- my mom bought me a pair of these LaCross eyebrow tweezers with a built in LED light- GENIUS!!  Available all over the place online.

Wishing you a wonderful Friday!  (Anyone else get shpilcus (SP? My Yiddish is right up there with my German and Spanish) watching Housewives of NY again tonight?  You know I never ever understood those girls in school who wanted to physically “fight” each other…until now.   What did Kelly Bensimmon say this week?  “Like you have to feel sorry for models- Like they have to be on their own like so much of the time”  What?? Really?? And why is that?   So Hilar.  Sue me, I’m hooked!

Favourite Friday cartoon from The New Yorker


 


Sweet Friday to You!