Theresa and I went ahead and selected book number four for the Blogger's Book Club. We decided to go with Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson since quite a few of you expressed interest in it last month.
Here's a description of the novel: "I exist!" exclaims Ruby Lennox upon her conception in 1951, setting the tone for this humorous and poignant first novel in which Ruby at once celebrates and mercilessly skewers her middle-class English family. Peppered with tales of flawed family traits passed on from previous generations, Ruby's narrative examines the lives in her disjointed clan, which revolve around the family pet shop. But beneath the antics of her philandering father, her intensely irritable mother, her overly emotional sisters, and a gaggle of eccentric relatives are darker secrets--including an odd "feeling of something long forgotten"--that will haunt Ruby for the rest of her life."
By now you probably know the routine but I'll go through it again anyway. You have until mid October to read the book. Then post your thoughts on your blog or if you're sans blog then leave a comment on mine.
They are one of the world's legendary couples. We can't think of one without thinking of the other. Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre -- those passionate, freethinking existentialist philosopher-writers -- had a committed but notoriously open union that generated no end of controversy. With Tête-à-Tête, distinguished biographer Hazel Rowley offers the first dual portrait of these two colossal figures and their intense, often embattled relationship. Through original interviews and access to new primary sources, Rowley portrays them up close, in their most intimate moments.
The impact of their writings on modern thought cannot be overestimated, but Beauvoir and Sartre are remembered just as much for the lives they led. They were brilliant, courageous, experimental, and Tête-à-Tête makes us feel the passion, energy, daring, humor, and contradictions of this remarkable relationship.
In this joint biography of one of the world's legendary couples, Rowley begins with their meeting in 1929 and traces their relationship through World War II, occupied Paris, the fame that came to the both as writers, and their final years together.
Simone de Beauvoir (referred to as the Beaver by Sartre) and Jean-Paul Sartre met during 1929 while preparing for university exams in Paris. The two young intellectuals became inseparable, their relationship ending only with Sartre's death in 1980 (Beauvoir lived until 1986). By then they had both achieved fame separately and together.
More than just a chronicle of Beauvoir and Sartre's relationship, Tête-à-Tête is in fact the story of many relationships. Although Beauvoir and Sartre were a committed couple from 1929 until Sartre's death neither were monogamous. Sartre especially was known for his numerous affairs. Rowley delves into the extent to which he juggled and supported his many mistresses and the compulsive need he had to seduce women far more beautiful than himself. Beauvoir did manage to have some passionate affairs of her own and several lovers were even shared between them.
Beauvoir and Sartre were without a doubt two of the most brilliant and scandalous intellectuals of the 20th Century. Theirs was one of the most unconventional love stories. I found myself mesmerized by the book yet appalled by many things I read. Their sexual high jinks make the stuff of tabloids seem tame and conventional by comparison. I found Sartre to be a 20th century cad much of the time and the lies he told infuriating. His appeal is beyond my comprehension. Also, due to the fact that there are so many seductions taking place throughout the book it is easy to become confused. Overall though I found the book to be thoroughly researched and well written. It's definitely one of the more captivating biographies that I've read in recent years.
I went up to Vancouver for the day a few weekends ago and have meant to post about it ever since. Every summer Vancouver has this event called the "Celebration of Light" (formerly known as the "Symphony of Fire"). It's the largest fireworks competition in the world and is held over two weeks. Our visit ended up coinciding with China's fireworks display. The best place to watch the fireworks is over English Bay. Wanting to avoid some of the crowds we ended up driving to Stanley Park and watching the fireworks from Second Beach. But before all that we went to Granville St. Our first stop was Caban(the lifestyle store owned by the same people who own Club Monaco). Caban is having a "going out of business" sale. It's been going on for months now and still almost everything was marked at only 20% off. I did snatch up this cute wooden box in tiffany blue and was elated to see that they still had some of the aprons left that I had admired during my last visit to the store. When I left the register I happened to look at the receipt (I'll admit it, I'm so horrible at double checking to make sure that I'm not over charged) and noticed that the price seemed high. I realized the woman had given me 2% off instead of 20%. Such incompetence. We decided to get lunch at Rangoli, an Indian restaurant off Granville St. Rangoli is the more budget friendly of the two restaurants owned by Vikram Vij. The food at Vikram's other restaurant, Vij's, is beyond belief. Although I'd never been to Rangoli I felt certain that the food would be just as good as Vij's. Rangoli is a diner style eatery. Along with eat in and take out meals they also offer an array of frozen and refrigerated ready to eat Indian dishes. I ordered the coconut chicken curry which was delicious. My Mom ordered the portobello mushroom and red bell pepper curry and her dish was so incredible. I highly recommend it. I also ordered a mango pineapple lassi which was so super good. Oh and their chai tea is so sensational we had to get a cup to go. Also worth mentioning is the little television screens set into the bathroom mirror which show a constant stream of Indian television. I highly enjoyed watching tv while peeing. After lunch we headed to Meinhardt Fine Foods. We picked up some picnic type items for while watching the firework display. I also managed to pick up some Sweet Ginger Peach Revolutiontea which I can't find anywhere locally. Meinhardt is my all time favorite grocery store, despite its dainty size it's well stocked and charming. After leaving Granville St. we stopped by the shop Cross Decor and Design. Their inventory was a bit lacking on this particular visit. After leaving the shop we headed to Robson St. for a bit of a browse and some candy apples. From Robson St. we drove to Stanley Park to get a spot for the fireworks display. Luckily we found a relatively close parking spot at Second Beach and settled in for the hours long wait. I got through a significant amount of my book and read several magazines before darkness finally fell. The fireworks were captivating and all but I expected more from something touted as the worlds largest fireworks competition. China didn't end up wining the competition but it was nice to finally get to experience the "Celebration of Light".
Last week I received an Email from a representative of Besame Cosmetics asking if I'd like to review several of their products. Not one to turn down free makeup I responded with an affirmative answer. Within a few days a box arrived containing Bésame's "Luxurious Trio" set which includes lipstick, dusting powder and rouge.
Bésame Cosmetics (the name is taken from a classic love song and means "kiss me" in Spanish) were created in 2004 by Gabriela Hernandez. "Inspired by the sophisticated designs of the 1930s, '40s and the Art Deco movement, and guided by memories of her glamorous grandmother, Gabriela began crafting a modern line that translated into her own aesthetic vision. Gabriela's goal was to establish a cosmetics line that understood the needs of a modern woman-on-the-go while still providing the look, high quality and feel of the classic beauty."
The products cases are accurate reproductions and are extremely dainty. The products are the perfect size for a clutch without much space. Plus the compact case is so darling that once the actual product is gone, you can keep the compact and use it for something else. I predict this will make a lovely pill box someday.
Here's a description of the products I received:
Lipstick: "Its semi-matte finish glides on smooth for an indelible, feather-proof look. Reminiscent of the decorative cases used in the 40's each lipstick is set in our own custom designed gold bullet."
Rouge: "Held inside our 1940's inspired silver half dollar-size mirrored case, our signature embossed Boudoir Rouge makes every application an enchanting experience. The compact-style case is truly petite and portable. It comes in a beautiful gift box with red satin puff. It can be re-used to carry any of our Bésame Alluring Eye Shadow shades or your favorite trinkets."
Powder: "Like a veil of velvet gossamer, our translucent powder adds a finishing touch to keep your face looking fresh all day long. The powder is lightly scented with spiced vanilla. It is offered in an attractive container embossed with Bésame's signature design and comes with a velvety puff provided for an application that feels as soft as rose petals."
The products I received all work marvelously and I suggest you give them a try for yourself. Bésame Cosmetics can be purchased through their website or at Henri Bendel. Samples can be purchased for a mere dollar and a half. The samples are an incredible way to experiment with different shades without investing much money.
West Elm, Williams-Sonoma's urban-oriented home furnishings brand, has entered into a partnership with Savannah College of Art and Design that will provide a collection of limited printed reproductions of original art by emerging artists for the retailer's customers.
Currently West Elm is offering "striking studies of objects found in nature which are set against a dramatic black background. Limited reproduction prints of silver gelatin photographs by artist Chia Chiung from the Savannah College of Art and Design, whose work ranges from portraiture to fashion, travel to documentary photography. Framed in lustrous black wood behind glass. Purchase either the white feather, nest or beads." The prints retail for $29.00 each or $79.00 for three.