Monthly Archives: January 2011

18th Century Makeup Link

I’ll be on a blog holiday until around the end of the first week in February or so.  To leave you with a little something, I stumbled across this wonderful site of makeup examples from the 18th century and beyond. In addition to before and afters for modern day actresses and their period counterparts, The Makeup Gallery also has some wonderful movie suggestions, some of which are unfortunately unavailable stateside, but it’s a great jumping off point if you’re looking to broaden your 18th century movie horizon.


Thursday’s Obsession – Lhasa

As I’ve been tarring my fingers with work overload lately, I’ve been terrible about blogging.  Apologies there, but I did want to share with you a short, if sweet obsession. 

I first heard Lhasa’s hauntingly luminous voice while watching Cold Souls, an odd little film about soul extraction where a tortured writer, played by Paul Giamatti, grapples with having a shriveled chickpea for a soul.  I couldn’t stop wanting to have her serenade me–while I washed dishes, wrote, trickled off to sleep. 

Although her musical offerings are not without brevity, her voice has je ne sais quoi, the power to linger on much longer than her life.  She died too early, at 37 from breast cancer, but I think I will be listening to Lhasa for a long time to come. 

Two of my favorite songs, Pa’llegara Tu Lado and La Maree Haute, can be found on the Cold Souls soundtrack as well as Lhasa’s 2003 release, The Living Road.  Her three other albums are worth checking out as well.


Antoinette-esque fabric

So recently my kindle arrived (a device which I unbelievably, ecstatically love) and as I have been eyeing etsy kindle covers for weeks, and my kind, dear mother lent me her pricey sewing machine, I decided to give it a whirl.  This brings me back to childhood, of course, where my mother would patiently direct me in how to properly assemble projects and when she wasn’t looking I would (to hell with the planning!) launch straight into the sewing.  Needless to say, patience isn’t one of my foremost virtues, though I have tempered my atrocious sense of immediacy over the years which leads me to the present where I conceived a grand idea of sewing myself a kindle case.  And, if that last sentence is any indication, my terrible use of run on sentences.  But I digress.

I spent hours shopping online for the perfect 18th century fabric.

I skimmed the various how-tos.  Easy peasy.

My mother insists sewing will soon become as simple as tying my shoes blindfolded, but I’m what I like to call a recovering perfectionist (read: crazy).  Not only do I want it done in the next five minutes, I want it done with some level of skill. 

All in all, I’d say the project turned out pretty well except for having to manhandle the layers of cushioning felt.  The fabric I selected is very fun masked cameos with a modern color twist.  Marie Antoinette’s La Belle-Poule coiffure even made an appearance.  Lovely.  I also did get the opportunity to cackle when my husband, who’d been surreptitously listening to me blaspheme while my mother alternately scolded me and harrumphed, to hear that we were just like his father and his father’s brother, two endearing curmudgeons arguing over how to best weld.   Some things never change.

 If you’re interested in the fabric it’s called Tula Pink Parisville Cameo Mist from and comes in four or so colors, among them magenta and green.  I’ll post my fabulous kindle case after the weekend once I put the finishing touches of a velvet ribbon and a flowery button on it, but I’m also thinking this fabric would make some fun pillows for my office.  I’ll get around to that eventually but in the meantime I’d love to see some sample fabrics in any quasi 18th century style.  Have any suggestions?

2010 Reading List

Without my intention, 2010 seemed to be the year of romance novels.  I read 41 of them, many embarrassingly having to do with dukes (I don’t even have a fetish for dukes!), but what can I say?  I love romances and considering I didn’t read my first one until I graduated from college, I’ve a lot of catching up to do! 

In reviewing the list, 2010 also appeared to be the year of reading Kresley Cole as I discovered her Immortals After Dark series and devoured.  I recommend them for highly diverting reads and days you don’t mind absolutely ignoring your partner, friends, dog, and the incessant call of dirty dishes.  I have a feeling that Gena Showalter, a novelist I just started reading today, will be 2011’s answer to waiting for Cole’s next offering of IAD. 

So what can you expect to see in 2011?  I will attempt to improve upon the diversity in my reading, but we’ll see.  The call of popular fiction is strong! 

Here’s the main stats for 2010:

Vampires: 11 (again, a little embarrassing.  Vamps have descended culturally since Anne Rice and I can’t say I don’t like it just a little).

18th Century Reads: 7

Writing Related: 4

French Related: 9

Classics: 4 (dismal!)

Epistolary: 2

Memoir: 2

100 89 in 2010

1.  Covenant with the Vampire – Jeanne Kalogridis 

2.  Tempt me at Twilight – Lisa Kleypas

3.  The Vampire Diaries – The Awakening – L.J. Smith

4. The Vampire Diaries – The Struggle – L.J. Smith

5.  French Women Don’t Get Fat – Mireille Guiliano

6.  The Vampire Diaries – The Fury – L.J. Smith

7.  The Vampire Diaries – Dark Reunion – L.J. Smith

8.  The Enchanter – Vladimir Nabokov  (see, I do read classics!  the novella that inspired Lolita)

9.  To Desire a Devil – Elizabeth Hoyt

10.  Duchess by Night – Eloisa James (laughed out loud with this one!)

11. Skinny Bitch – Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin

12.  Black Ice – Anne Stuart

13.  The Crown – Deborah Chester

14.  French Ways and Their Meaning – Edith Wharton

15.  What happens in London – Julia Quinn

16.  The Writer’s Guide to Everyday Life in Regency and Victorian England from 1811-1901 – Kristine Hughes

17.  Daily Candy A to Z: An Insider’s Guide to the Sweet Life

18.  Devil in Winter – Lisa Kleypas

19.  The Convenient Marriage – Georgette Heyer

20.  Double Enchantment – Kathryne Kennedy 

21.  A Hunger like No Other – Kresley Cole

22.  No Rest for the Wicked – Kresley Cole

23.  Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night – Kresley Cole

24.  Lord of Scoundrels – Loretta Chase

25.  Whitney, My Love – Judith McNaught

26.  These Old Shades – Georgette Heyer

27.  Claiming the Courtesan – Anna Campbell

28.  Dark needs at Night’s Edge – Kresley Cole

29.  A Broom of One’s Own – Nancy Peacock

30.  Women and Money – Suze Orman

31.  A Duke of Her Own – Eloisa James

32.  The Virginia Woolf’s Writers’ Workshop – Danell Jones

33.  Pen on Fire – Barbara DeMarco Barrett

34.  Moral Disorder – Margaret Atwood

35.  Kiss of a Demon King – Kresley Cole

36.  Pleasure of a Dark Prince – Kresley Cole

37.  Steamed – Katie Macalister

38.  City of Darkness, City of Light – Marge Piercy (French Historical Oh-la-la Challenge #1)

39.  Harris’s List of Covent Garden Ladies – Sex in the City in Georgian Britian – Hallie Rubenhold

40.  The French Revoluion, Volume Two – Thomas Carlyle

41.  Night Falls Darkly – Kim Lenox

42.  Covet – J.R. Ward

43.  Queen of Fashion – Caroline Weber (French Historical Oh-la-la Challenge #2)

44.  Disquiet – Julia Leigh

45.  Angelology – Danielle Trussoni

46.  The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette – Carolly Erickson (French Historical Oh-la-la Challenge #3)

47.  Candide and Other Stories – Voltaire

48.  Walden – Thoreau

49.  Scent of Darkness – Christina Dodd

50.  Touch of Darkness – Christina Dodd

51.  Into the Shadow – Christina Dodd

52.  Rebecca – Daphne DuMaurier

53.  Murder Game – Christine Feehan

54.  The Confessions of Catherine De Medici – C.W. Gortner (French Historical Oh-la-la Challenge #4)

55.  Lonely, a Memoir – Emily White

56.  Highland Warrior – Monica McCarty

57.  The Devil’s Queen: A novel of Catherine De Medici – Jeanne Kalogridis (French Historical Oh-la-la Challenge #5)

58.  The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance, 2009

59.  Perfume – Patrick Suskind

60.  My Wicked Marquess -Gaelen Foley

61.  Dark Lover – J.R. Ward

61.  The Witch Must Die – Sheldon Cashdan

62.  Not Quite a Husband – Sherry Thomas

63.  Revolutionary Road – Richard Yates

64.  Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

65.  Love in the Afternoon – Lisa Kleypas

66.  Fallen Angels – Susannah Kells (French Historical Oh-la-la Challenge #6)

67.  Wicked Plants:  The weeds that killed Lincoln’s mother and other atrocities – Amy Stewart

68.    The Visual History of Costume Accessories – Valerie Cumming

69.  Life in Georgian England – E.N. Williams

70.  The Artist’s Way – Julia Cameron

71.  The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Percy Parker – Leann Hieber

72.  Insatiable – Meg Cabot

73.  Mennonite in a Little Black Dress – Rhoda Janzen

74.  Smooth Talking Stranger – Lisa Kleypas

75.  Dracula in Love – Karen Essex

76.   A Kiss at Midnight – Eloisa James

77.   Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

78.    Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell

79.    Think! – Michael R. LeGault

80.  Sugar Daddy – Lisa Kleypas

81.  A Wallflower’s Christmas -Kleypas

82.  The Taming of the Duke – Eloisa James

83.  Mad about the Duke – Elizabeth Boyle

84.  Delicious – Sherry Thomas

85.  Boswell’s London Journal, 1762-1763 – James Boswell

86.  Devil’s Cub – Georgette Heyer

87.  Spain, A History – Raymond Carr

88.  Soulless – Gail Carrigner

89.  Earl of Chesterfield, Selected Letters

90-100.  Gar!  I failed, reader, I miserably failed.   The mid-eighties seem to be my threshold, as the last year I read around 80 something books while aiming for 100.  Huh, maybe if I hadn’t taken off that off that month in November it would’ve worked out better.      


Lord Chesterfield on Trivial Pursuits

Dear Lord Chesterfield,

As a lady of substantial cranial proportions, I say with all humility that I simply cannot countenance the follies of my age.  To dance and make merry?  Bah!  ‘Tis a waste of sturdy, spinster feet.  Likewise, I do not care to garland my person in the most dear and newfangled fashions, thereby bankrupting my paltry accounts, simply to join in the happy pursuits of society.  Yet what choice have I but to make myself a lemming?

Verily Yours,

Miss Anthrope

Marie-Adelaide de Bourbon, one of Louis XV’s spinster daughters

Dear Miss Anthrope:

In truth, whatever is worth doing at all, is worth doing well; and nothing can be done well without attention: I therefore carry the necessity of attention down to the lowest things, even to dancing and dress. Custom has made dancing sometimes necessary for a young [wo]man; therefore mind it while you learn it that you may learn to do it well, and not be ridiculous, though in a ridiculous act. Dress is of the same nature; you must dress; therefore attend to it; not in order to rival or to excel a fop in it, but in order to avoid singularity, and consequently ridicule. Take great care always to be dressed like the reasonable people of your own age, in the place where you are; whose dress is never spoken of one way or another, as either too negligent or too much studied.


From Bath, October 9, O.S. 1746

Missed the previous Lord Chesterfield’s posts? See On Friendship and On Giving Compliments and On Domestic Affairs and On Secrets and On Political Atmosphere.