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12.17.2014

TRADITIONS & OTHER COZY THINGS

since about right after thanksgiving til right before new years i get this magical, glittery feeling. these holidays, which evolve around love, friends and family, gratefulness and coziness are truly my favorite ones. in my mind they are associated with hugs, dimmed sitting rooms, glittering lights, and all sorts of toasty, spicy smells.

this is also a season full of little habits that have gradually turned into traditions over the years, i'll share those with you today!

* this is the perfect time for ballet and classical music for some reason. in particular, i have an immense love for the nutcracker. as a matter of fact tchaikovsky has a permanent place in my playlist.

* period drama, and lots of it for that matter has also made its way into this season. i watch them back-on-back while drinking cinnamon based tea and tons of Christmas cookies.
small historical fact: it used to involve just bbc's pride and prejudice, and the n north & south, every Christmas with my best friend georgia. it was an entire event. however, after moving to new york, i just couldn't keep it up because it didn't feel the same without her.

* in many regions in greece, people traditionally decorated breads for various holidays (depending on the respective region). i took this tradition and adapted it to today. every Christmas now, family and friends wait for the festive, decorated bread to make its appearance on the table.

* since we're on food, i also make a specific recipe for carrot cake (based off this one) which i decorate differently every year. last year it was candied cranberries and cinnamon sticks grouped over the creamcheese, vanilla frosting. this year i'm aiming towards something like this!

*on the subject of home made - we've often talked about mailing cards, and how it is the best, warmest thing to do, to make them yourself! here is a sample of last year's. (this year finals are making me run late). also, just seasonal crafts in general, like this.

* the movies. i somehow manage to gather at least a couple of friends and head to the cinema together. i don't know what it is about the cinema, but we just love it during holiday vacations, and then of course going to cozy cafes.

* lots of jazz. it plays on my computer for hours per day - billie holiday, nina simone, peggy lee, nat king cole, michael buble...

what are your favorite things to do during the holidays?

xoxo
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12.09.2014

IT'S COLD OUTSIDE. LET'S WATCH ANOTHER MOVIE

another movie for the art nerd that is. and speaking of cold,
although this one i am about to talk to you about is also fabulously stylish because it stars audrey hepburn of course. it is also a bit on the dreamy side because her side-kick is peter o'toole.

now, for anyone who hasn't guessed already - we will be geeking out about "how to steal a million"{2}. if you haven't watched the film, consider yourselves warned about the spoilers that will follow.

the film begins with an art auction, where a (very questionable indeed) cézanne is up for bid. the camera zooms in on the face of the collector who is selling the piece, and then you see audrey hepburn casually driving in ehm... impeccable mid 60's style, listening to the auction on the radio clearly agitated.

fast forward a little later and you figure out why. the aformentioned, questionable cézanne is indeed a forged painting, created by none other than her own papá (accented at the last syllable of course). you find this out while watching papá adding some final strokes to his "van gogh".

peter arrives late at night, breaks into her home to sample the paint on the van gogh, and about five minutes later audrey has shot him and they are kissing. it is truly the best accumulation of mid 1900's hollywood clichés. i am certain you will agree with me. naturally, there follow plenty moments of flirtation, an impromptu engagement, and a delightfully always present museum director and his somewhat incompetent but adorably clutzy security force.

it is not just the cast however, or the funny yet actually captivating storyline, not as mr. o'toole put it - the givency clad audrey, or his own glimmering blue eyes that make this movie so fantabulous. no. it is also the numerous artworks - real and fake - that parade throughout the movie. most importantly, it is what said paintings do to my inner art historian who has been working on overdrive these past few weeks. not that i actually managed to pause every single scene but the products of my observations are still fun(ny).
the rembrandt in the museum was "a portrait of jacob trip" currently in the national gallery {3}, london.

papa's "van gogh" was somewhat of a mizture but basically sought to resemble what i can only assume was "weat field with cyprusses" that can be seen at the metropolitan museum of art, new york. what i found most amusing was papa's musing about how he's doing a favor to van gogh who "only sold one painting when he was alive" whereas he has "already sold two in this lifetime".

this is what the actual cellini venus {4} looks like. It is a bronze statue with cupid at her feet in a private collection.
in the scene above, directly behind the american suitor's shoulder you can see a portrait of a woman which appears to be gauguin-like. in fact you might notice a resemblance to "portrait of a woman against cèzanne 's still life with apples" at the art institute of chicago {5}.  the "marvelous" cèzanne sold in the beginning was a pretty poor copy of his female portraits {6}.
{still from the trailer}
speaking of the american suitor (who was really just interested in the venus sculpture). he has a talk with his chief art dealer in an office which seems to be a sort of vault. directly above the dealer's head, behind his desk is a tribute to manet's "water lilies" {7} too. moreover, during some of the walks in the museum aside from the curious arrangement of the artworks you can't help but notice a moving colorful sculpture that i feel was probably some sort of tribute to alexander calder's mobiles {8}. generally, the entire film is full of references to famous artists, and it is a fun rainy-day game to spot and identify them throughout the film.

all jokes aside however, i'd really like to look into the layout a bit more. there's certainly much to come from rethinking and considering how works are organized in a museum, especially today, when art institutions are called more than ever before to redefine themselves and adapt to new technologies and communication platforms. nonetheless, i have sneaky suspicions about the amount of thought that went into the layout of this particular (yes, fictional) museum.

{1} a fun review of the film scene-by-scene
{2} imdb on the movie
{3} the rembrandt portrait
{4} the cellini venus looks like this apparently
{5} see the gauguin painting here
{6} Similar to this one
{7} Water Lilies
{8} see similar alexander calder mobiles here
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12.04.2014

SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO

it is finals week(s) and i have been dreaming for winter break since it began, because as i will share with you in upcoming posts, there are many fun traditions i hold during Christmas holidays. it also helps that i am struggling with papers with a pressing deadline hovering over my shoulder that i am trying hard to not think about all.the.time.

well after this short little rant let's get to the point. i am greatly anticipating watching the documentary on the Rijksmuseum renovation. even though i have no idea when i shall get my eager hands on it. it is remarkable, award-winning work directed by Oeke Hoogendijk.


in 2003 the Rijksmuseum closed down for renovation. the museum recieved funding which was decided to be used to renovate not part or parts of it, but the entire building. the project is just as ambitious as it sounds. it was meant to last five years, but took ten instead, and the results are flabbergasting. the work done on the building by the architects, the planning and repositioning, and the whole of the work done by the museum team is astonishing. when reading about it you hear how they all took the museum and brought it to the 21st century and may think it is a trope, or simply an expression -- it is not -- it is the very truth. the rijksmuseum today is booming and has created an entirely rejuvenated community around it.

this documentary, apparently goes through great detail on the entire renovation process. if you are hoping to see a lot of artwork, i would like to just give you a heads up and let you know that it focuses mostly on construction and all that goes along with renovating a historical landmark, and giant art historical institution (giant meant both literally and figuratively). director mr. Wim Pijbes, and everyone working with him had to deal with many demanding and even socio-politically charged issues including arguments with the cyclist's union. this may sound unremarkable until you consider the scale and strength of this union in amsterdam additionally, the renovation did not stick only to the building matters and the housing of art, but spread out to all of its layers including the branding and design. this amazing work rejuvenated the entire institution from top to bottom, and down to the very last detail.

have you been wanting to see any good documentaries?

{1} the rijksmuseum
{2} read more details here
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11.30.2014

DESIGN SORCERY

while digging into my favorite design online magazines i bumped into this one particularly smart design idea. you see, i am a sucker for design - it may be because of the architecture side - regardless, this is brilliant.

what is it?

folding lamps. this marvellous contraption is called the "pop-up corner light" by well well designers.
for anyone with a small space (hello fellow new yorkers), these are great space savers. i was immediately captured by the simplicity and practicality of this design solution.


in addition, it is minimalist, and just as colorful as one may choose. what is also interesting, is the variety of geometric shapes available. there is even a cone-shaped corner light for a more traditionally oriented fellow. my only question lies in the brightness of the light that is shed - there is only one way to find out.
finally, if the light is somewhat softer, and they can be made in a smaller scale i would say these would also be good night stand lights for those of us who wither don't have one, or no room on them for an actual lamp. i would really like to see them made in a variety of sizes!

what do you think of these? how much of a design fan are you?

{1} well well designers have a website of course
{2} pop-up light was found here first. the article is in spanish
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11.25.2014

WINTER: DECORATING YOUR HOME WITH FLORA

i was reading a list on buzzfeed (yes, i was procrastinating) on a certain number of things people who love winter do as soon as the cold sets in. one made me laugh more than i was supposed to in a quiet library room. why? well, it said that said person turns their apartment into a pier 1 imports, and i had just gotten back to the office from a visit there. hey! they have really nice-smelling candles and material for my diys...

anyway, after that i went shopping for something flowery, which set another thought in my mind regarding home decor. winter may make us want to make our homes more cozy, and sweet smelling. after all, we do spend a bit more time cuddled indoors than in the summertime. nonetheless, flowers, or let's just say flora, adds a small reminder that nature is still alive and thriving. it just adds more cheerfullness to an interior. but what plants does one put in a vase in winter? well....

depending on how much you want to spend, and how much you care for your bouquet to last, there is still a number of plants to select from:

* roses are still available, and my favorites for this season is either white or a dusty pink shade. these of course tend on the pricier side depending where you are, and will probably last a bit over a week. take care of how close to heating you place them.

* mini tulips are also adorable and come in beautiful colors that match wonderfully with more wooden, fall-like plants. however, these usually last for an even shorter period than the roses. but sometimes it doesn't matter.

* chocolate sunflowers - even their name sounds wonderfully wintery. they are a rich dark color with a fairly velvety petal.

* eucalyptus daeni is a sweet smelling, greyish green branch whith leaves that grow gradually in size. the positive aspect is that as time passes it only dries, maintaining its color and shape. you can later keep a few branches and hang them in your bath. as the steam rises, it will make your bathroom smell lovely!

* snowberry comes in beautiful branches with small, roundish dark green leaves and little sphere-shaped pure white blossoms. it is seasonal and tied to many myths.

* those curly orange branches - you know, the wiggly ones that bodegas sell this time of year. i've been trying hard to find out the name of these natural, bright orange branches but i can't, so i just hope you'll know what i'm talking about. those are also great for adding a pop of seasonal color, and last for quite a while.


you may also like: gardenista's article on their 7 favorite florists for fall
or the glitter guide's tips for making your own bouquet.

do you like to decorate with flowers even in the winter too?

ciao!
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