Saturday, August 8, 2015

I'm Moving!

I'm moving to a brand new website and I couldn't be more excited!

You know what it's like to move to a new location; you get to decorate, add some color, and move things around until they're exactly the way you want them.

That's how it is on my new website, where you can leave comments, read my blog posts, and easily connect to my Facebook page, Twitter feed and Pinterest boards.

I hope you'll join me at my new home:

I'll have all my best things on display and you're welcome to visit often. See you there!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Clueless is 20? I'm totally buggin!

Clueless is one of my favorite Emma adaptations. It's hard to believe it's been twenty years since the movie came out (of course, I was verrrrry young at the time).


I still love to watch this movie; its mix of snappy dialog, satire and sweetness still hold up today. There's a new book that dishes on all the behind-the-scenes details, from creating the fashions (which were practically movie characters themselves), to finding the film locations, to coming up with those signature catch phrases.

As If! by Jen Chaney is available now on Amazon and wherever books are sold. Click here to find out more.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Welcome Princess Charlotte

(I thought I published this post back on May 6, but accidentally saved it as a draft, instead. I hate it when that happens.)

It's official. England's newest princess is named Charlotte Elizabeth Diana. Of course, that's the shortened version of her name. Officially, her name is registered as:

Her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana of Cambridge.

Here's the document that registered her birth:

I love the way the "Occupation" field was completed for Will and Kate. And though it looks like the registrar completed the form (the handwriting seems to match), HRH Prince William signed the form in field 14. 

A new baby is always a blessed and thrilling event, but when the baby is a princess, too, it add a little extra touch of magic.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

A Princess is Born!

I was traveling yesterday but managed to keep up with news about Britain's new princess. She looked like a little doll in her mother's arms.

Dad seemed pretty happy, too.

Now the big question is, what name will they give their new little princess? Odds are on Charlotte, which would go well with George . . . as the royal family demonstrated in the 18th Century.

King George III and Queen Charlotte with six of their children

You can click here to see a photo gallery of celebrations around Britain following the birth of the new princess.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Glorious Georges

I wish I were going to be in London this month so I could see the Historic Royal Palaces exhibit at Hampton Court, Kew Palace and Kensington Palace. The event marks the 300 year anniversary of the Hanoverian accession to the British throne.

King George I reigned from 1714 to 1727
Each location explores the life of a different monarch. King George I is featured at Hampton Court with objects and artwork that illustrates life in his Royal Court.

King George II is featured at Kensington Palace. Visitors are invited to "explore the sumptuously restored King’s State Apartments, gamble like a courtier, enjoy Georgian music and join Queen Caroline while her ladies dress her in her finery."

King George II reigned from 1727 to 1760
And Kew Palace features King George III's reign which saw many social changes and the rise of British industry.

If, like me, you can't jet off to London this month, reading about the exhibition will have to suffice. Fortunately, Historic Royal Palaces has created some entertaining additions to their website, including a short film about the exhibit, which you can view here:

King George III reigned from 1760 to 1820
There's a lot to see and savor on this site. You can click through all the tabs and sub-menus to find little nuggets of Georgian factoids. And here's a link to one of my favorite pages under Hampton Court Palace: The Georgian Chocolate Kitchen. Be sure to scroll down to see the recipes at the bottom of the page and a video for making chocolate port. Yum.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Evolution of Love

It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of the old-fashioned traditional Regency romance. I devoured them back in the seventies, eighties, and nineties. My office bookcase still has a dedicated favorites shelf crammed with Regencies by Rachelle Edwards, Patricia Wynn, Elizabeth Mansfield, Joan Smith, and, of course, the great
Georgette Heyer.

I often reread those traditional Regencies to cleanse my palate after reading a spate of mysteries, thrillers, or contemporary fiction.

What I like most about traditional Regencies is their level of escapism. Although they’re grounded in historical fact, they’re actually pure fantasy. A major component of the fantasy (as a general rule) is the attractiveness of the hero and heroine. You know the Regency lingo: Nonpareil. Diamond of the first water. Complexion like a damask rose. Regency heroines are usually ravishing, spirited, and enchanting, with red lips, dark curling lashes, and impossibly small waists. It’s part of the fantasy to read about a heroine that I wouldn’t mind looking like myself, if given the chance.

Georgette Heyer certainly clothed her heroines in beauty. Venetia was described as “a fine-looking girl; most would not have hesitated to call her beautiful. It was not only the size and brilliance of her eyes which excited admiration, or the glory of her shining guinea-gold hair, or even the enchanting arch of her pretty mouth; there was something very taking in her face which owed nothing to the excellence of her features; an expression of sweetness, a sparkle of irrepressible fun, an unusually open look, quite devoid of selfconsciousness.”

And Arabella was unquestionably the beauty of the family, with “large, dark, expressive eyes, little straight nose, and delicately molded lips” as well as a complexion that was “the envy of less fortunate young ladies.” Arabella enchanted her admirers by a “deceptive air of fragility, which inspired one romantically minded young gentleman to liken her to a leaf blown by the wind.”

I’m not sure how Regency heroines evolved to being such paragons of attractiveness. In Pride and Prejudice—the book that originally inspired the Regency genre—Jane Austen describes her heroine in plainer terms. Elizabeth Bennet, while certainly attractive, was not a beauty. Instead, it was her sister Jane who was the acknowledged beauty of the family. When Darcy sees her for the first time, he describes Elizabeth only as tolerable.

But that’s where the romantic fantasy of Pride and Prejudice takes hold. As the story progresses and Darcy comes of know Elizabeth, his feelings for her spark, then flame; and at the same time, the author’s description of Elizabeth changes, too, almost as a reflection of Darcy’s feelings. The more love he feels for Elizabeth, the more beautiful she becomes.

“Mr. Darcy had at first scarcely allowed her to be pretty; he had looked at her without admiration at the ball; and when they next met, he looked at her only to criticize. But no sooner had he made it clear to himself and his friends that she hardly had a good feature in her face, than he began to find it was rendered uncommonly intelligent by the beautiful expression of her dark eyes. To this discovery succeeded some others equally mortifying. Though he had detected with a critical eye more than one failure of perfect symmetry in her form, he was forced to acknowledge her figure to be light and pleasing; and in spite of his asserting that her manners were not those of the fashionable world, he was caught by their easy playfulness.”

By the end of Pride and Prejudice, she is his “dearest, loveliest Elizabeth.” And that brings me to the part of the fantasy I love the best . . . That every woman is beautiful in the eyes of the man who truly loves her. It's that perfect ending that draws me back again and again to Pride and Prejudice, and to many of those romances still crammed on the bookshelf in my office. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Old Trade Cards of London

Once again, The Gentle Author offers an extraordinary post on his Spitalfields Life blog. The Gentle Author posts every day (earning my admiration) and each post is filled with stories and artwork that inspire. Some of his posts have made me cry, while others have made me laugh; but always, they cause me to slow down and take time to dwell on the beauty of the images he shares.

His May 3 post is no exception. The topic is old trade cards of London. I’ve spent the last twenty minutes studying and admiring the art, language and lettering of the old trade cards he shared. You can view the full post here. While you’re there, be sure to subscribe to The Gentle Author’s blog, Spitalfields Life so you don’t miss any of his wonderful posts. You won't be disappointed.