Week 41 - Composition: Color Theory

“It was a pleasant cafe, warm and clean and friendly, and I hung up my old water-proof on the coat rack and put my worn and weathered felt hat on the rack above the bench and ordered a cafe au lait. The waiter brought it and I took out a notebook from the pocket of the coat and a pencil and started to write.” - Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

Use Color Grading to create an image that looks like it is a still from a movie. #dogwoodweek41 #dogwood52 #2019dogwood52  Maybe the title of the movie is  Le Fabuleux destin d’Ernest Hemingway  or  When Papa Met Amélie.  The location and script are classic Hemingway, but the intense, almost cartoon-like color, especially the greens and reds are 100% Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Use Color Grading to create an image that looks like it is a still from a movie. #dogwoodweek41 #dogwood52 #2019dogwood52

Maybe the title of the movie is Le Fabuleux destin d’Ernest Hemingway or When Papa Met Amélie. The location and script are classic Hemingway, but the intense, almost cartoon-like color, especially the greens and reds are 100% Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Weekend in NYC: Breakfast at Tiffany's + A Cosmopolitan at the Plaza

“Don’t you just love it?…Tiffany’s!” - Holly Golightly

A little something for Piper?!

A little something for Piper?!

169 E. 71st Street - Holly Golightly’s apartment building

169 E. 71st Street - Holly Golightly’s apartment building

Holly’s neighborhood on the Upper East Side

Holly’s neighborhood on the Upper East Side

Eloise at the Plaza

Eloise at the Plaza

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Breakfast at Tiffany’s  on the big screen at Silverspot Cinema at the Corners

Breakfast at Tiffany’s on the big screen at Silverspot Cinema at the Corners

French Friday: Opéra Garnier

The first time I visited the Opera Garnier was the first time I visited Paris. In fact, since I was staying near the palais, Opéra was my Métro stop.

I landed at Charles de Gaulle on a warm day in June 1994, took the RER B into Paris, transferred to the Métro, and emerged in front of this magnificent façade. It was my very first impression of this enchanting city -- and it was love at first sight! I hadn't even seen the Eiffel Tower yet, but I couldn't resist the allure of the opulent and mysterious Opéra. As soon as I settled in, I returned to the Palais Garnier for a tour. 

The last time I visited the Opéra was a snowy day in January 2013. It was cold and gray outside, but inside, it was warm and mysterious -- almost deserted because of the unusual Paris snowstorm. 

I almost felt as though I were trespassing. Perhaps, I've seen The Phantom of the Opera too many times! This grate protects the entrance to the REAL underground lake. You can't go down below, but you can go up the grand staircase.

If you're lucky, you may be allowed inside one of the private boxes (maybe even Box 5).

Peer out into the magnificent theatre.

Marvel at the stunning Chagall ceiling

Enjoy the juxtaposition of Garnier's beaux-arts architecture and the quirkly modern details.

Channel your inner Christine Daaé

or your inner Audrey (Funny Face)!

L'Opéra est magnifique!


December 2, 2014 Photo (336/365): "It's A Wonderful Life"

Zuzu Bailey: "Look, Daddy. Teacher says, every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings."

George Bailey: "That's right, that's right. [Looks heavenward] Attaboy, Clarence."

I love Frank Capra's 1946 holiday film, It's a Wonderful Life!  It's not only my favorite Christmas movie, it's my favorite movie of all. Jimmy Stewart is a quirky and charming, yet troubled and frustrated George Bailey, a selfless man who has spent his entire life thinking of others. George has given up his life dreams of travel, architecture, and financial security to help the people of Bedford Falls. Yet despite his good intentions, due to circumstances beyond his control, he finds himself disheartened. Thinking of his family and others he loves would be better off without him, he contemplates suicide. But the prayers of his loved become manifest in the apparition of Clarence Oddbody AS2 (Angel, 2nd Class). To earn his wings, Clarence must show George what life would have been like if he had never been born: Bedford Falls is transformed into Pottersville - a seedy bastion of haves (Mr. Potter himself) and have-nots. All those George whom loves are either dead, ruined, or miserable. Clarence succeeds in showing George that "each man's life touches so many other lives." Who among us hasn't felt that despite our best intentions, we haven't made a difference, yet each of us has the power to improve not only our own lives but those of so many others. Upon realizing that he really has had a wonderful life, George returns home to family and friends who have banded together to save him. I cry every time George's younger brother, Harry, a war hero, raises a glass to his "big brother George, the richest man in town!"

I haven't watched the film yet this Christmas season. I'm saving it, along with White Christmas and Love Actually for an afternoon of wrapping presents and writing Christmas cards.

(#decemberphotochallenge - Day 2: Your Favorite Holiday Movie)


The Fabulous ´40s

These days, I seem to be on a World War II kick. Maybe it's my dad's influence, but the 1940s have always intrigued me: the history, the fashion, the music. My dad always played Big Band and Swing music in the garage; he taught me how to dance, and told stories of his WWII service in the Navy. Somewhat unintentionally, my recent reading and viewing selections seem to focus on that era, inspiring further choices in music and cocktails. I also like to inject a little 40s into my fashion, favoring modern interpretations of classics while avoiding campy, rockabilly trends. Lately, I've been...


(One of the greatest benefits of an educator's summer change of place and pace is the luxury of reading for pleasure. I try to do this throughout the school year, but I find myself buried in professional journals, EdTech blogs, and educational philosophy):

  • Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemptionby Laura Hillenbrand, the riveting biography of Louis Zamperini -- juvenile delinquent; college track star; 1936 Olympian who shook hands with Hitler; WWII Air Force captain; survivor of a plane crash and forty-seven days drifting over 2000 miles on a raft in middle of the Pacific Ocean; tortured prisoner of war for two and a half years in several Japanese POW camps; recovered alcoholic and PTSD sufferer; inspirational speaker, coach, and philanthropist. As I read, I continually reminded myself that Zamperini was going to make it through all of these harrowing trials, knowing that, at 97 year old, he consulted with Angelina Jolie in the making of the Unbroken film (due for release on Christmas Day 2014). Sadly Louis Zamperini died last week.

  • The Hotel on the Place Vendômeby Tilar J. Mazzeo, a history of the Paris Ritz told through the stories of the people who lived, worked, loved, partied, and debated there. The book begins with the Belle Époque opening of the hotel in 1898. Occurring during the notorious Dreyfus Affair that pitted French aristocrats against artists and intellectuals, the Ritz's opening inspired A la recherche du temps perdu, Marcel Proust's literary opus. Although the narrative continues through Princess Diana's final meal and the current two-year renovation of the hotel, the book focuses on the Ritz's social and political importance during the WWII era when aristocrats, philosophers, fashion designers, journalists, artists, authors, spies, Nazis, and members of the French Resistance all mingled at the Ritz. The cast of characters includes Ernest Hemingway, Jean-Paul Sartre, Coco Chanel, Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson, Hermann Goering, Jean Cocteau, Marlena Dietrich, Ingrid Bergman and many more 20th century notables. This book only reinforces one of my bucket list goals of enjoying a cocktail in the Ritz's Hemingway Bar (perhaps after shopping at 31 rue Cambon). If only I could afford to spend the night! The Ritz reopens later this year.

watching (Although primetime programs are on hiatus and television is definitely not a priority, I do enjoy discovering and binging on Netflix series):

  • Bomb Girls: A Canadian series about a group of women working in a Toronto munitions factory. The ladies build bombs for the Allied forces fighting on the European front. Although the stories reflect the social status, race issues, and morals of the era, the real (albeit rather shallow) attraction for me was the fashion and music. I can't resist a big band, a high-waisted trouser or a ladylike dress, a peep-toe sling-back or T-strap pump, victory rolls or finger waves, and a great red lipstick! I was disappointed that there were only 18 episodes and that second season ended without tying up several loose ends. However, I recently discovered a two-hour TV movie to end the series that aired in Canada last March. Now, I just have to wait for Netflix...

  • Land Girls: A BBC drama following the lives and loves of the women serving in England's Women's Land Army (3 seasons, only 15 episodes). The attraction of this series was the relationships between the landed gentry and the girls working the land, between the soldiers and the men at home, between the women and the men, between the Americans and the Brits (yikes!), and among the ladies themselves. Fashion was hardly an issue since most of the time the men were in military uniform and the women were in their work clothes, but there was an occasional party to highlight their finery along with a Glenn Miller tune. Both Bomb Girls and Land Girls also provided intriguing alternative, non-American views of the war.

  • The Winds of War: Having completed Bomb Girls and Land Girls, season two of Orange is the New Black seemed too incongruous, so we searched for more WWII-era drama. I remember my parents watching this 1983 miniseries, but, at the time, I was much more interested in the Brat Pack. Last night we watched the first of seven two-hour episodes. The history, politics, and social issues of a world on the brink of the Second World War are compelling, but I can't help being distracted by Jan Michael Vincent's feathered hair, by olives magically popping in and out of martinis with each sip, by Ali MacGraw's one-note acting (I keep waiting for her to say, "Love means never having to say you're sorry!"), in fact, by the casting in general -- actors who are too old for their roles or who seem to have stepped of the decks of The Love Boat. We still have twelve hours remaining to redeem my initial opinion.

listening to


  • my favorite classic summer cocktail, a gin and tonic. My recipe: Two ounces of gin (I prefer Tanqueray), four ounces of tonic water over ice with two wedges of lime (yes, two!) When looking for the classic recipe, I learned two interesting things: 1.) Most recipes call for a tablespoon of lime juice (maybe my two limes make up for this); 2.) Freezing tonic in ice cube trays will keep your drink from getting too watered down on hot days. Why didn't I think of this? Cheers to the '40s!




May 4, 2014 (124/365): "Happy 85th Birthday, Audrey"

I love today's Google Doodle featuring my favorite actress, Audrey Hepburn

Roman Holiday, Sabrina, Funny Face, My Fair Lady, Breakfast at Tiffany's, The Nun's Story

... I love them all! Audrey was a WWII survivor, dancer, actress, style icon, and humanitarian who taught us that:

  • "Nothing is impossible. The word itself says, 'I'm possible!'"

  • "For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone."

  • "I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles."

  • "The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mode but the true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives the passion that she shows. The beauty of a woman grows with the passing years."

  • "As you grow older, you will discover you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others."

  • "The best thing to hold onto in life is each other."

  • ...and of course, "Paris is always a good idea!

Snowy Sunday

December 8, 2013 Photo of the day: "Let It Snow!"

Fluffy white snow gently falling, a crackling fire in the fireplace, twinkling fairy lights on our beautiful Christmas tree, a Packers victory, a glass of red wine, "Love Actually" — What a lovely snowy Sunday!