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7pm at the apartment

After a flurry of emails yesterday morning, I ended up inviting my friends over for dinner, making it their second night in a row in my tiny apartment. The meal was simple (and not made by moi—thank you, MH and K!). We had strawberry vinaigrette salad, four cheese ravioli with pesto sauce, garlic bread on the side, and these peanut butter brownies that were just evil. Or divine. Take your pick. Then we settled in to see Midnight in Paris, which a number of us had heard rave reviews about.

The movie was your typical Woody Allen fare and definitely worth seeing. Perfectly pleasant with some funny lines—both intentional and unintentional, it was a film that a literature lover would appreciate. At the same time, this particular audience was disappointed by the fact that Allen went for quantity over quality. The sheer number of characters in the film made it impossible to learn about anyone in depth, and the result was a charades-like game where two lines were enough to identify the famous person and what they were known for.  


As for the characters who did get more screen time, I found myself disappointed by how they were portrayed. I love the Fitzgeralds, “Scottie” (we’re BFFs) being my favorite American writer, and I thought Zelda in particular was ill-portrayed. From the biographies and articles I have read, I expected her to have a lot more presence and to be a lot more manic. MH and I had also read The Paris Wife (which, for all of you Hemingway fans, is a fiction must-read), and we decided that we liked Paula McLain’s version of Ernest more than Woody Allen’s. This Ernest was a little too brusque and clichéd, and I find it hard to believe that all he wanted to do all the time was play pugilist!

Still, at the end of the night, there was a little thrill at being able to peek in on Paris in the twenties and meet the Lost Generation. (I was particularly tickled by Adrien Brody’s depiction of Salvador Dali.) I don’t know about the others, but it made me want to hit Amazon and start buying lots and lots of books.


to do yoga properly

{clockwise from top left: 1, 2, 3, 4}

I signed up for yoga classes yesterday, and at first I was so excited. Then I realized that I haven’t taken a yoga class in years… What am I going to wear?

It has taken me a long time to figure out something that I think comes to some people naturally: when you dress the part, you feel a lot better about yourself. Thankfully, I know better now, so I did a quick search on “what to wear to yoga” and was so glad that I did because what I normally wear to work out sessions (and even to Zumba) simply would not cut it. I am the queen of the loose shirt, you see, and apparently this is a no-no in the yoga world. (Gee, I guess I should have figured this out by myself given that even I know about the downward facing dog position!)

I scoured the web for some good entry-level yoga tops and found the cutest ones at Nordstrom’s of all places. (I have promised myself an upgrade to LuluLemon and the like once I decide I love bending myself into a human pretzel and see results.) I discovered that all yoga tops look best from the back. See for yourselves!


ladies and their needlepoint

This is terribly embarrassing to admit, but I love to cross-stitch. Knitting is cool now in a retro way, crochet isn't quite there, and cross-stitching, well, no one I know knows of someone who does it. While I am quite the busy bee, I have been yearning to make something for quite a while now, and I decided there is no better time to start than 2012. It took me forever to find a pattern that I could even imagine hanging somewhere around the house, but maybe, just maybe, this design of Van Gogh's bedroom (the original hangs in the Musee d'Orsay) from The Stitchery will suffice?


health is wealth

{found on}

Yesterday, I took a Zumba class for the first time in forever and it felt so good. I'd forgotten how much fun it is to dance with a group. Thirty minutes into it (the instructor playing "That's Not My Name" sold me), I made the decision to do this weekly.

I promised myself to be more active in 2012, and this class takes me one step closer to my goal. I have been slowly but surely getting my running groove back as well. Five years ago, I was in prime shape thanks to oodles of free time which meant being able to walk on trails and run on treadmills for hours.  I remember stretching after a particularly long workout and marveling at how right it felt to be pushing my body and giving it the challenges it was made for. I miss feeling strong and lean and ready to take on the world.

Up next, finding a yoga class that I love. I can't wait!


downton abbey a la vogue

Stop the presses! I was tickled when I stumbled upon Vogue Daily's article on Downton Abbey fashion. I have a soft spot for Lady Sybil (and no affection whatsoever for Lady Edith.) Regardless of their favorite is (I only wish they had included a photo of the Countess of Grantham), this will be a quick read and very pretty eye candy for fans of the series.


tulips in january

I was pleasantly surprised to find tulips at our neighborhood Trader Joe's today. Did you know that it was the Ottoman Empire (not the Netherlands!) that originally cultivated them for commercial purposes? It was so difficult to decide on which color I wanted, and I almost, just almost, chose the yellow bunch. Now these are on our dining table, eagerly awaiting the asparagus salad and lamb tip dinner that the husband will be making shortly. In the meantime, I am happy to just look at them.

Incidentally, given that I associate most things I come across with one book or another, tulips always remind me of Philippa Gregory's Earthly Joys and Virgin Earth, which, if you haven't already, must be added to your to-read lists.


return to sender


{1, 2, 3, 4}

Any modern bluestocking worth her salt loves sending letters. Now that the husband and I have decided to keep the same apartment for the following year, I have made the executive decision to invest in some personalized stamps so that I don't have to keep writing the same boring address on the back of my envelope flaps over and over again. With that in mind, I was delighted when I came across the custom stamp and paper work store of NoteTrunk in Etsy. The question now is which to choose?