Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I Love Paris in the Springtime...

On this day in 1889 the Eiffel Tower opened in Paris. Named after its designer, architect Alexandre Gustave Eiffel who built the structure for the World's Fair of 1889. The tower has become a global icon and is one of the most recognized structures in the world. Not an immediate hit, the Tower was met with much criticism from the public and the arts community of Paris. The writer Guy DeMaupassant condemned the Eiffel Tower as a horrid nightmare. DeMaupassant supposedly ate lunch in the Tower's restaurant every day. When asked why, he answered that it was the one place in Paris where one could not see the structure. You have to love Parisians.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I could write a sonnet about your Easter bonnet

Nothing screams new hat like the approach of Easter. This year I'm feeling the cloche. The cloche was the iconic hat of the roaring twenties and will ever be associated with flappers. Cloches were worn pulled low over the forehead so the wearer’s eyes peeked out from just below the brim. An Art Deco influence can be seen in the zigzag seaming and construction lines of many cloche hats. Art Deco appliqué was also a popular embellishment. Wikipedia credits Parisian milliner Caroline Reboux as the creator of the cloche hat although the hats were worn as early as 1910 and well into the 30's.

Then wear the gold hat, if that will move her;
if you can bounce high, bounce for her too,
Till she cry "Lover, gold-hated, high-bouncing lover,
I must have you!"
-Thomas Parke D'Invilliers

Monday, March 29, 2010

Rule Brittania

Since the 15th Century, souvenirs commemorating royal events have been collected. Coronations, Weddings, Births, Anniversaries, Jubilees and other Special Events have been the subject of thousands of Memorabilia created by thousands of commercial businesses and collected by millions of Royal subjects and fans.  There is such a wide range of items, such as china plates, teacups, mugs, dresser boxes, figurines, spoons, pins, medallions, crystal goblets & paperweights, even jigsaw puzzles, calendars, handerchiefs, tea towels and dolls just to name a few.

British royal commemoratives have not only been bought by the English out of love and loyalty for centuries but by the world over. Royal commemoratives started as far back as the 15th century with a medal being produced for the Coronation of King Edward VI but not until the 1800's and Queen Victoria did collecting become the obsession it is today. Nothing previously prepared manufactures or the royal court for the adulation Queen Victoria would receive. Companies commissioned by the court were kept busy day and night getting ready for her Coronation. Queen Victoria commemorative pieces are the most sought after and treasured, especially signed or numbered items. These can be quite costly but Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubiless mugs are readily available on Ebay or at flea markets in the $20.00 range. Very Brittish and just the right amount of twee.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I think I'll paint it green...

Green is life. Abundant in nature, green signifies growth, renewal, health, and the environment. Green is spring and it's feeling really fresh and very now. I love green as a neutral as used in the below images from dearly missed Domino magazine.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Beware the Ides of March

The Ides of March is the first day of the Roman New Year. It also marks the first day of spring. On this day in history, Julius Caesar was warned by soothsayers to "beware of the Ides of March". Apparently, he did not heed the warning strongly enough as he was stabbed by Marcus Brutus on the Ides of March in 44 BC. Pre Cesar's assassination, the ides of March didn't signify anything special in itself, it was just the usual way of saying March 15th. Each month has an ides. Clearly William Shakespeare was a marketing genius. Everyone knows to beware the ides of March. It's right up there with a diamond is forever.

Julius Caesar
by William Shakespeare
Act 3, Scene 2
Mark Antony:

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him;
The evil that men do lives after them,
The good is oft interred with their bones,
So let it be with Caesar ... The noble Brutus
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Caesar answered it ...
Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest,
(For Brutus is an honourable man;
So are they all; all honourable men)
Come I to speak in Caesar's funeral ...
He was my friend, faithful and just to me:
But Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man….
He hath brought many captives home to Rome,
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill:
Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?
When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept:
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
You all did see that on the Lupercal
I thrice presented him a kingly crown,
Which he did thrice refuse: was this ambition?
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And, sure, he is an honourable man.
I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke,
But here I am to speak what I do know.
You all did love him once, not without cause:
What cause withholds you then to mourn for him?
O judgement! thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And men have lost their reason…. Bear with me;
My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar,
And I must pause till it come back to me.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Revolution Will be Fabulous

Justin Melnick is an avid photographer, digital artist, and has spent time oversees in the Middle East. All of these influences have come together in his latest project, titled ARM•ME. Melnick imagines, quite vividly, what Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Pucci, and Chanel would add to standard ammunition. The outcome is a compelling statement that questions how we — individually and as a nation — spend our money, contrasting the abundance of weaponry with the scarcity of high-end luxury goods and some pretty amazing imagery. Can a military recruiting campaign aimed at 20 something females be far behind?



TIFFANY grenade

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Written on the Skin - Literary Tattoos

I just stumbled upon Contrariwise a really cool website dedicated to literary tattoos. Tattoos based on books, poems, lyrics and other literary sources. Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree and the phrase "so it goes" from Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut seem to be the favorites by far. Readers send in pictures of their literary tattoos along with a story and the passage or phrase that inspired it. The stories are great and I love reading what so inspired or moved someone that they wanted to make it a permanent part of them. If I were to get a literary tattoo, it would be the last line of The Great Gatsby. "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." What would you get?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Nobody Walks in LA

That isn't entirely true. The Los Angeles Conservancy's Walking Tour Program explores the history and heart of our amazing downtown district through interpretation of Los Angeles' unique architectural resources.  Their regularly scheduled walking tours, led by knowledgeable docents, focus on the architecture of Los Angeles' historic downtown.  Each tour covers a lot of history, and the docents are quite well informed and great storytellers. Tours include Angelino Heights, Art Deco, Theatre District, Biltmore Hotel, Downtown's Modern Skyline and the Historic Core Tour which used to be the Beaux Arts Tour.  Tours start at 10:00am every Saturday and at $10.00 ($5 for members) are one of the best deals in town.  Vistit their website at to book space.

The Biltmore Hotel

The Bradbury Building

The Eastern Columbia Building

Thursday, March 11, 2010

in time of daffodils

It's daffodil season and Trader Joe's is having its annual daffodil special 10 stems for $1.29. These cheerful yellow flowers brighten up a room with their sunny faces. Daffodils open quickly so it's best to buy bunches with some buds partially open and some closed. I like to put daffodils in a tall, thin, round glass vase but you could also put two or three individual stems in bud vases or buy several bunches and put them in silver julep cups. To arrange daffodils, trim 1/2 and inch off the stems and place in fresh water. I add the tiniest drop of dishwashing liquid to the water. If you change the water every two days your arrangement should last a week. Not bad for a buck!

in time of daffodils(who know
the goal of living is to grow)
forgetting why,remember how

in time of lilacs who proclaim
the aim of waking is to dream,
remember so(forgetting seem)

in time of roses(who amaze
our now and here with paradise)
forgetting if,remember yes

in time of all sweet things beyond
whatever mind may comprehend,
remember seek(forgetting find)

and in a mystery to be
(when time from time shall set us free)
forgetting me,remember me

e.e. cummings

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Fish out of water

An incredibly kind, generous friend who must be completely unaware of my commitment issues recently gifted me with a fish. Mr. Limpet has incredible blue and red markings but his fishbowl was not doing him justice. I immediately set to finding him a home that was a little more stylish. There isn't a lot out there. the exception is The 1984 Fishbowl, by Danny Cheung. A modern twist on the age old glass fish bowl. It's quirky shape is eye catching, the windows are made of magnified glass providing a detailed look at your goldfish, while the opaque walls provide refuge. Life inside a goldfish bowl can't be a lot of fun without a little privacy! The fishbowl was inspired by and takes its name from the novel 1984 by George Orwell. I'm not sure of the lifespan of a goldfish but at $469 The 1984 Fishbowl is quite a commitment. Hopefully Mr. Limpet comes from sturdy stock.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

X-tremely Versatile - The X-bench!

The classic x-bench whether full upholstered or with wood, chrome or gilt legs is an extremely versatile piece. Perfect in the living room, den, bedroom, hallway or even the kitchen. I love 2 x-benches at the foot of the bed, in liue of a coffee table or tucked under a console. A single x-bench doubles as a side table or ottoman. I love the architectural details and an x-bench is a great way to introduce a bright color or wild pattern in a room in a subtle way. Faux crocodile, zebra, velvet, stripes, tufted or with nail heads, the possibilities are limited to your imagination!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Girl Scout cookie season is upon us...

It's official, girl scout cookies season is upon us! I was out shopping this morning and out in front of my neighborhood market a troop had set up shop. Girl Scout cookies are sold by the Girl Scouts of the USA as part of their yearly fundraiser to support local scout units. Girls have been shilling cookies since 1917 and today, sales are estimated to be over 200 million boxes per year. That's a lot of thin mints!!! At $4 a box they're competitive with the average grocery store boxed cookie and, come one, it's a great cause. Not buying an anual box or two of Girl Scout cookies is un American, bad juju and just plain mean. I was a Girl Scout for a hot second back in 1977. I switched to the Indian Maidens however because their costumes were way cooler. What can I say, we here at Curious Orange have always been a sucker for fringe and feathers...

Friday, March 5, 2010

Straight Lines are Boring!

The Chevron pattern is a bold pattern that makes a really strong impact on a room. It's essentially a series of connected V's pointing either up or down. It's a little bit undulating a little bit wavy but with more of an edge. Chevron feels organic like a zebra print but more graphic and punchy. You can make a bold statement with a chevron rug (West Elm makes a great fairly inexpensive one) or you could even stencil and paint the chevron right on the floor!  I love chevron curtains but smaller accessories like jars and pillows are great for adding a dash of modern graphics to a room.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Everything's coming up turquoise!

Pantone, which tracks colors in the fashion and home decor industries, has named turquoise the color of 2010. Pantone's executive director said it was the obvious choice because it's soothing and makes people think of being on vacation, which we all need after the tough year of 2009. Hmmmm. I prefer last year's mimosa which is also soothing and reminds people of brunch which is relaxing and far cheaper than a holiday.

I'm not crazy for turquoise used as an accent color in decor. If I see one more turquoise vase, pillow or throw I just might scream. It feels a little tired. It actually feels so tired I can barely keep my eyes open as I type this sentence. I do, however, think turquoise can be interesting when used as a neutral. Because it has both warm and cool undertones, it pairs well with any other color in the spectrum and can look elegant or casual. I like the idea of turquoise walls or wallpaper and even better, a turquoise sofa.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

My Favorite Things - The Sick Bed Addition

I've been stuck in bed with a cold for the past two days doing my best Camille impression but decided to pause mid swoon to post a few of Curious Orange's sick bed must haves...

Smith's Rosebud Salve - This cult-favorite, multi-purpose lip balm has been popular for over 100 years. Rosebud salve is a miracle worker in the aid relief of chapped and dry skin. Rosebud Salve is also a terrific lip moisturizer and natural looking lip gloss. It moisturizes dry lips, calms and heals irritation, and soothes the sting of minor burns. You should also try dabbing it on dry elbows or knees to condition, and relieve dryness. Also an excellent remedy dry irritated noses . The longer I lie in bed, the more uses I come up with!

Moleskine is the legendary notebook that has held the inspirations and ideas of everyone from Van Gogh and Picasso to Hemingway and yours truly. Artists, authors, and geniuses of all variety have long appreciated the simplicity and superior functionality of these notebooks. Moleskine notebooks open flat and are great for writing down the brilliant thoughts one has while laying around in bed all day.

Bassett & Co licorice allsorts are my favorite sick bed treat. The licorice is medicinal. Sort of. Available at Bristol Farms and Cost Plus World Markets.

Bed Head Pajamas are hands down my favorite pj's and their flannel in particular is the softest, warmest, most comfortable brand I've found. The best part, they only get better with age.

Hankeez™ brand tissue are made from 100% sustainable natural resources. They're environmentally responsible tissues and the boxes come in amazing prints like leopard, zebra, faux leather and stylized florals. They provide soothing comfort to your sensitive skin and are not hideous like most boxes of tissues.