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Friday, January 29, 2010

A brief goodbye to J.D. Salinger

Not the most cheerful of topics for a Friday, but I felt I couldn't let the passing of J.D. Salinger go unmentioned. New York Times obit here. In today's world of "famous for being famous" wannabees like Speidi and Paris, it's interesting to contemplate how the author of one of the most well known books in the world actively shunned the spotlight for all of those years. No interviews, no new books. To the point of being labeled a recluse. Apparently he still wrote all the time, but for his own pleasure, not for publication.

It may sound cliched, but I must say that I've read The Catcher in the Rye no fewer than 20 times. And each time it's better than the last. It's become a comfort book for me, one I reach for if I'm ever feeling a bit out of sorts...or just want to read a book I know is great. I don't usually re-read books, but this one is an exception.


I find it so interesting that Salinger turned down countless offers for his book to be made into a movie or a play. On one hand, it could be genius on the screen or stage. On the other hand, someone could really butcher it. But I must admit that I'd love the movie version if only for the visuals- well-dressed prep school students, Holden's Mark Cross luggage, glamorous ladies dolled up and dragging on a cigarette, the glitz of 50's New York. Sort of like a precursor to Mad Men.


Salinger's other books- Nine Stories, Franny and Zooey, and Raise High the Roof Beams, Carpenters never really had the appeal to me that The Catcher in the Rye did.  


Perhaps I'll be pulling out my tattered, dogeared, highlighted version of The Catcher in the Rye this week and giving it a spin. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Today in the Matters of Style Store

Photo via Elizabeth Bauer Designs

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

Wintertime has us thinking about fireplaces!  Lots of houses have them, but if you are like me, you may wonder how to make your fireplace really stand out. 

Your fireplace doesn't have to look like it's straight from the pages of the Home Decorators catalog.

Here are some unique and interesting fireplaces we have seen.

Nick Olsen's apartment in Domino is one of our all-time favorites (as is Nick- he is absolutely one of the most talented guys we know).  His fireplace is so unique and stands out beautifully, contrasted with his "oregano" walls.  And how clever to use a folding screen in front of a fireplace you don't really use.  We really might copy this idea!


How cool is this fireplace with a stone castle screen?  We are loving the zebra ottoman too!

Elle Decor, photo courtesy of Katiedid

We would have never thought to display art in a fireplace opening, but an unused fireplace makes the perfect backdrop!


What a soothing and peaceful room!  The pair of benches in front of this fireplace make the room so cozy.

Traditional Home

A tortoise shell makes such a unique alternative to a traditional fireplace screen.  Remember this the next time you are turtle hunting...  But seriously, if you saw a cool shell in a thrift shop and wondered how to use it, this is the perfect way!

Elle Decor

A mirror inside the fireplace opening adds an extra layer of depth and dimension to this stunning pink living room.


We love this elegant stone fireplace with a marble urn centered in the base. 

Another fab art display in front of a non-functioning fireplace- it works so well with the simplicity of the mantle.


We aren't usually big fans of HGTV designs, but this fireplace stuffed with books on the hgtv website is fabulous!


What a fun way to fill up a fireplace with firewood!  I am definitely going to copy this look in my downstairs den.

House Beautiful

Navy is one of our favorite colors.  I can't say I would ever think to paint a fireplace navy, but it looks amazing here.  It is the perfect way to make this fireplace the focal point of the room!

Have you done anything unique with your fireplace?  Tell us about it!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

MoS Giveaway: Jenny Henry Designs Needlepoint Kit


Back in our Needlepoint Roundup post we mentioned how much we loved the fabulous needleponit kits from Baltimore-based Jenny Henry Designs. They're classic without being stuffy, and many include modern chinoiserie inspired designs such as koi and greek key motifs, and lattice designs, which are right up our alley.

We're so excited to announce that Jenny Henry Designs has very generously offered to give one lucky Matters of Style reader a red cassette tape needlepoint kit! This is one of my favorite designs- I love the whimsical juxtaposition of 80's technology with classic needlepoint. You won't find anything else like this in the needlepoint world. Wouldn't this be an adorable little clutch, or a perfect makeup bag for throwing in in your purse?

The kit includes thread, canvas, instructions, needles, and a tool charm bracelet. They retail on the Jenny Henry site for $95!

Jenny Henry Designs also has a wonderful selection of smaller projects- such as frames, coin purses, box tops, and passport covers- even a needlepoint commitmentphobe like me might just be able to finish one of her lovely kits! Her designs are available at fine needlepoint stores nationwide- check out her where to buy page to see the one closest to you.

Some of our favorites- the knotwork frame and the argyle passport cover. Wouldn't this frame be a superb gift for your favorite mom-to-be?

knotwork frame by Jenny Henry Designs argyle passport case by Jenny Henry Designs.

To enter the giveaway, you must do the following by Tuesday, February 2nd:

1) Check out the Jenny Henry Designs website and then leave us a comment telling us your favorite pattern; and
2) Blog or twitter about this giveaway, or tell at least three of your friends!

We'll draw the winner using on February 2nd at 9:00 a.m. Thank you to Jenny Henry Designs for this fabulous giveaway!

California Chic featuring "A Single Man" and Trina Turk

I ventured over to the E Street Cinema this weekend with a friend to catch Tom Ford's directorial debut, "A Single Man." While I wouldn't exactly categorize the film as an upper, I'm glad I saw it and think Tom Ford did a heck of a job as a first time director. And of course, Colin Firth always manages to be perfect in whatever role he's playing. I was on the verge of tears within the first five minutes, and I do NOT cry at movies!

I don't know that I've ever seen a more visually appealing movie than "A Single Man." Set in early 60's Los Angeles, the movie showcases all the best of the 60's- the sleek lines of mid century modern design, the bright, exotic colors evocative of Palm Springs, vintage Mercedes coupes, and mega eyeliner. Although at times I felt like I was watching a live action version of a 90's Gucci ad (Lots of bare male torsos! Posing on rocks!). This is Tom Ford's movie, after all.

George (Colin Firth) lives in what his partner deems a "glass house" - a stunning representation of a mid century modern home tucked into a nest of trees and foliage- nothing has ever made me want to ditch color and frills so much as this house.

Meanwhile, his friend and fellow expat Charley (Julianne Moore) lives in a madcap moroccan-meet-regency manner that is pure, pure eye candy. It had me at the ikat headboard (and the gin martini for breakfast). Is that not the most fabulous headboard you've EVER seen? And those tole lamps!

Equally glamorous was her dressing area- note the ikat drapes, chinoiserie toile skirted dressing table, inlaid mirror, and windown screens.

Unfortunately I can't find any screen grabs of my favorite part of the living room- the console table behind the sofa teeming with large quartz and amethyst lotus candle holders. Picture over the top versions of these:

At some point in my life, I want to be able to wear long, caped dresses when I have people over for dinner and have that be considered normal. Oh yes, and the gin martinis for breakfast. Am I living in the wrong era?

MoS Charlotte and I have long loved Trina Turk, and her colorful, California-chic designs remind me of something Charley might use in her home if she were decorating today. It's got a similar aesthetic to Jonathan Adler, but Trina's home designs look a little more feminine. You could easily throw some exotic accents into the mix here- an inlaid chest, a lacquer box, an ornate Moroccan screen- and it would all gel beautifully. 

The small hooked rugs would make fabulous bathroom rugs
Trina Turk for Peking Handicraft Coachella 27 by 40-Inch Hook RugTrina Turk for Peking Handicraft Mosaic Hook Rug

The pillows add a bit of the exotic- and these are just normal enough to blend in any home.

Product DetailsProduct Details

I've been on the lookout for some fun coasters and Trina's needlepoint versions fit the bill quite nicely.

Trina Turk for Peking Handicraft Mosaic 4 by 4-Inch Needlepoint Coasters, 2 Designs, Set of 4Product Details

When I came across Trina Turk's Arches Pillow, I thought it looked strangely familiar...then I realized that MoS Charlotte sported pants made out of this fabric back in the day- here we are at engagement party some friends and I threw for her in law school. Back when we had the occasion to wear "GTH" pants! 

And for lounging by your perfect Palm Springs pool, we love the Palmetto beach towel.

Palmetto Beach Towel

Have you seen "A Single Man"? Anything we're forgetting that you loved about it?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Calico Corners Giveaway Winner!

CalicoCorners - Calico Home

We're so excited to announce the winner of the Calico Corners $100 gift card! Thank you to everyone who entered- we had a record 79 entries! We've consulted and our winner is lucky #71! So congratulations to 

Betty said...

Love the Lutron Vintage linen in the rust colorway as drapery fabric. Thanks for the opportunity to win!

MoS Obsessions: Chain Strap Bags

Chain strap bags are a classic, seen on everyone from "hot young things" to ladies who lunch. We can thank Coco Chanel for introducing the world to chain strap bags, and Karl Lagerfeld for reinvigorating the style.  These bags are always  in style, and they are appropriate for so many different occasions.

Photo courtesy of

The classic Chanel 2.55 flap bag makes our heart beat like no other.  Still, it will set you back a couple thousand dollars, so this bag is a serious purchase!

Chanel 2.55 Leather Quilted Bag

We are loving Lanvin's line of chain strap bags this year.  This tote is majorly on sale at Barneys, and we are practicing some serious self-control to not add it to our carts!  Someone should grab this up!

Lanvin Large Rosa, $754, down from $1850

The Marc Jacobs Stam was pretty trendy a few years ago, but we think it is a classic that is here to stay.  MJ bags hold up so well- the quality is amazing.

Michael Kors has designed such a fabulous twist on the classic chain strap bag.  We've seen this in real life, and the coral leather is absolutely stunning.  Wouldn't this be cute with white jeans and big aviators this spring?

This style from Kate Spade is one of our all-time favorites.  It's the perfect size tote, and although it's quilted and has a chain strap, it doesn't feel like a Chanel knock-off.

Orange is just what you need to brighten up your outfits this winter!

And in the perfect shade of purple!

Eric Javits isn't just doing hats!  This quilted chain strap tote comes in tons of different colors, and we would imagine that the quality is fantastic!

We love this Cole Haan twist on the chain strap bag.  The handle is so unique, and this blue looks like the perfect navy!

If you don't like wearing leather, this Matt and Nat vegan bag is so cute and stylish!  We love the "tough" zipper detailing, in contrast to the traditional ladylike chain strap bag.

This bag reminds us of what our moms carried at night when we were little girls.  At first glance it might seem a little mumsy-ish.  But we could totally see it gracing the pages of Lucky, on a hipster much cooler than we are, with skinny jeans and a cropped jacket.

Some of our favorite accessories come from Banana Republic, and this little bag is no exception.  It's so stylish for evenings and reminds us of a little pink Chanel bag that a very stylish MoS friend carries!

And the deal of the day, once again, comes from Forever 21.  We would like to see this bag in real life to make sure it doesn't look cheap, but at least in the pictures, it looks like a very cute and inexpensive alternative to the bags pictured above!

Do you have or want a chain-strap bag?

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