Photo Source: Miss Onion’s Exquisite Finds on Instagram
Reading last week a little bit about the painter Alexei Alexeivich Harlamoff, I realised how much I miss reading Russian authors. It was simply his name that triggered me, so over the weekend, I indulged in some Leo Tolstoy through The Kreutzer Sonata. I started the novella as a blind date, as I often prefer to do, and most likely I wouldn’t have chosen the topic, especially if knowing it comes mainly as a very in-depth monologue. As always with Russian authors, though, I found it extremely engaging and easy to read.
Their realism always shocks me, I will always remember reading Crime and Punishment in high school and having to put it down every ten pages or so because it was too intense. I was feeling the character’s anxiety too acutely and I was uncomfortable reading it at night or if I wasn’t around other people. How crazy is that?
I am sure a lot of books do this and there are many genres, like the thriller, which I haven’t explored nearly enough, but I know this: the Russians will never fail to show me the dark side of the human mind and soul in an unbearably relatable manner.
And if you are familiar with The Kreutzer Sonata and the outrage it sparked, most famously in Tolstoy’s own wife, here is an article building her defense.
Photo Source: IMDB – Greta Garbo as Anna Karenina
I love the coziness of a big warm hood, but a lot of the more elegantly cut coats don’t have one. I haven’t thought before that there might be a separate accessory that can be worn this way, and I am not referring here to hats, but a cross between a hood and a scarf, that would protect both the head and the neck from cold, that could be snugly wrapped around as well.
Of course, you can do that with a simple big enough scarf, but it turns out there is such a thing as a hooded scarf!
Also, how much fun is this reimagined, bright cherry red, tied under the chin, puffer headscarf, à la Audrey Hepburn? It makes me think it would look amazing with one of those vintage elegant, albeit surely impractical, ski costumes, paired with cat-eye sunglasses, bien sûr, no ski goggles! It’s a look worthy of the après-ski in Aspen, St Moritz or Courchevel!
Decor: Tin Biscuit Boxes
I am always looking for beautiful ways of displaying lovely little (or big) trinkets I have or want to buy, to give them a purpose and justify my indulgence. Most recently I was inspired by some images from fashion designer Susanne Bisovsky’s studio, seeing the way she used vintage biscuit tin boxes as wall decor. It’s a lovely way to display a collection or to simply cover a bare wall, as biscuit tins are often beautifully illustrated and can bring back memories of holidays, if purchased as souvenirs, or of dear ones, if received as gifts. Plus they are durable and practical, since you can actually store things in them too.
I remember my mom had (and still does!) a lovely silver one she uses to keep her jewelry in, and quite a few others for her embroidery, knitting and other nick nacks. I, too, have a few around the house, but with this inspiration I think I will probably end up with more. Here are a few other great ideas for up-cycling vintage tea, spice and biscuit tins and here you can read more about the history of the biscuit tin. Enjoy reading these with a biscuit or two!
La Grande Dame, Veuve Clicquot
Casually browsing through gift recommendations in a thread recently, I found out about a truly exquisite idea for any special woman in one’s life – La Grande Dame (of Champagne) by Veuve Clicquot, created in honor of Madame Clicquot, a visionary woman who took the reins of the company at 27 (in 1805!), and made it into the legend still thriving today! It was equally lovely to read about how Veuve Clicquot supports women entrepreneurs through its BOLD project, also inspired by Madame Clicquot.
For other really covetable editions of the Veuve Clicquot champagnes, have a look here. The creative packaging, merchandise and activations imagined for (some brands of) champagne are possibly some of my favorite small frivolities, I guess because there is something simply indulging and celebratory about champagne that justifies everything happy and bubbly. But more on this in a future letter.
Wine Pearls and Whiskey Stones
Photo Source: TrendHunter
While we’re on the topic of alcoholic beverages, I thought I’d share some information I gathered while researching wine pearls and whiskey stones. If you don’t know what these are, neither did I until a few weeks ago, when someone on Instagram posted about a lovely set of what I now think was pink marble spheres bought to keep her drinks cool. It looked cool and I wanted to find out more, but of course, I couldn’t find the post anymore!
It turns out there are quite a few alternatives to plain ice cubes nowadays, from stainless steel to marble and even ceramic, as well as quite a few opinions on their efficacity. According to this article, they are not nearly as effective as ice cubes because… well, they are not made of ice, meaning they don’t melt and mix with the beverage. On the other hand, this review finds some (the stainless steel variety) pretty much as effective as ice, both in cooling and in keeping the low temperature of the drink.
The main reason why you would consider replacing normal ice is that it dilutes the drink, which apparently in the case of spirits is maybe not so undesirable anyway, but when it comes to wine or other drinks, like coffee, it certainly can be. An alternative to wine pearls or whiskey stones, that can solve this problem, is novel ice cube molds and using the drink of choice instead of water or even plain frozen grapes for wine. This does require a bit more planning though!
I can’t remember how I found out about this short documentary, but am I glad I did?! Anything to do with beautiful, bright, colourful and unusual flowers speaks to me lately! The flower art installations or botanical sculptures created by Japanese artist Azuma Makoto are an example par excellence of just that. He has sent his flowers to space, as well as to the deep seas. He has observed them while being conserved in ice, while blooming as well as while decaying. He and his team are so passionate about flowers and treat them with so much respect, it feels like their personal religion.
Rare Words – Anemoia & Fernweh
Today I have not one, but two rare words! The first, anemoia, invented only seven years ago and included in the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, describes the feeling of missing a time one has never known. The latter, fernweh, dates back to 1835 and describes the painful desire or longing to travel to far-flung places one has never seen before. Similar to wanderlust and both of german origins, it seems to me that the main difference between the two is the aching, the actual suffering caused by this deep desire.
I have in turn felt both these strong emotions, but also a combination of both – missing a place I have never visited in my life, as it was at a time when I wasn’t even born – old New York is the first example that comes to mind. It is amazing what the combination of books, music, pictures and movies can stir up in the human brain and soul!
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