My name is Cynthia and I love interior design, architecture, antiques, all things vintage, all things British (a tried and true Anglophile), a love of things that are time worn and hold secrets of days gone by. I love animals and try to respect their place in our world. I enjoying talking about the most beautiful places in the world, some exotic, some in our own neck of the woods. I love family and friends, music and movies. And most importantly, I love talking about these things with a daily dose of humor because I love to laugh and we all deserve to. So come on...let's go for a stroll.

AND PLEASE CLICK ON THE ENTRY AND LEAVE ME A COMMENT - I can't talk to you if I don't know you were here, dearest dahling...


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Black Swan - This One Stays With You

I recently saw "Black Swan", the newest film from edgy director Darren Aronofsky.  My daughter and I were practically speechless when the final credits rolled.  I enjoyed it immensely and was blown away by Natalie Portman's acting.  She seems to be on her way to winning the Oscar in March.  If Portman doesn't win, I will lose all faith in the Academy voters.

The combination of excellent cast, groundbreaking direction, and terrific writing make for a very interesting film, all of which is captured using a hand held camera.  The set design, costumes and lighting work together to create a stunning visual experience.  Natalie Portman lost 20 pounds to play the role and we watch her get scary thin as the film progresses.  She remains gorgeous, even in her frailty. I particularly liked the scenes featuring the dancers from the ballet company and the "Swan Lake" costumes. 

I have featured photographs from the film.  I urge you to see it.  Don't expect an uplifting, "feel good" movie.  Do expect a feast for your eyes, a knock-your-socks-off performance by Portman, and to go home thinking about it for days.  It's second viewing worthy, just to put it all together in your own mind.

Portman portrays Nina Sayers, a member of  a NYC  ballet company.  As a new production of "Swan Lake" begins, she realizes that she is getting older and has to get her "big break" soon or not at all, as younger dancers bite at her heels for the leads in the company's production.

Portman channels Audrey a very bad frame of mind

Barbara Hershey portrays Nina's mother.  Although I found her apparent facial cosmetic surgery distracting, she was wonderful in the film.  I have always liked her and she never disappoints.

All photos, copyright Fox Searchlight Films

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas at Our House and Remembrances of Mother

For years, I have reveled in decorating for the holidays.  After having a wonderful dinner with family on Thanksgiving, I start hauling the storage boxes up the stairs from the basement.  It is usually a 4-5 day process to get the house decorated -- I used to put up 8 trees (craziness, I know).  But age and health issues have caught up with the hubby and I, and I have downsized some.  In addition, with my mother's passing last year, the enthusiasm for Christmas decorating has definitely been in decline.  This year, however, I once again have experienced the spirit of Christmas. It has been a therapeutic process, which has helped me to realize that my mother, Anne, would have wanted me to carry on the tradition.  She absolutely loved the holidays.  For years, the my family celebrated with her on Christmas Eve, and then celebrated with my husband's family on Christmas Day.  My mother used to wear one of those funny, bouncy Santa know, the one with the built in spring on the top with the white fluffy ball on the end.  We were "forced" to play Christmas games such as "Unscramble the Christmas Words" and "How Many Santas Are In This House?"  The winner was always awarded with a "fabulous prize" such as an ink pen that did double duty as a flashlight, or socks that could easily be found at the checkout counter at most department stores.  I remember getting one of those purse hangers which allows you to hang your purse from a table so that you don't have to place it on the floor.  My grandmother was also the recipient of one and  insisted on using the awful contraption at restaurants.  It took her as long to get the purse on the hanger as it would to order, eat the meal, pay the check and drive home.  My mother made Christmas so special.  It was the best night of the year.  To say that I miss the holidays at her house is a huge understatement.  The only thing I miss more is her.

So, I decided to decorate with her in mind.  In December 2009, I did well to even have a tree, having suffered through her death only 4 months earlier.  This year, my heart felt back in the season.  After all, it's about so much more than decorations.  It's about family, friends, peace of the heart and mind, and in my case, carrying on the memory of my mother in a way that would make her smile.

I took a few pictures of my living room and dining room Christmas decor.  I didn't take any photos of my vintage decorations in my kitchen (they are actually my favorite), nor was I able to get photos of the white feather tree that is in Sarah's bedroom.  It features all her favorite colors: turquoise, black and white.  There just weren't enough hours in the day to take photos of everything.  Please bear with me on the photo quality - I have a new camera and I'm still learning all the features.

 I hope you enjoy them and if you know my mother, please remember her during this holiday season.   
It's not hard to do -- she was unforgettable.

That's my husband Tony sitting on Santa's knee - 1959 - not happy at all at the time - love this photograph

Our mantle

Her name is Edith - after the most wonderful French singer, Edith Piaf, one of my favorite artists

Our white tree - I always set it on top of a vintage suitcase to give it height - I also use fabric as a tree skirt instead of a traditional one - I still don't have presents under the tree - tomorrow!

Got this little blue tree for practically nothing at the end of the season last year

The "Wizard of Oz" Tree

This tree is a lot of fun to decorate

When I was a little girl, the flying monkeys scared me most of all

I have a feeling we are not in Kansas anymore

He's a horse of a different color

That wicked Mrs. Gulch

Sarah's Tree -- this tree contains all those sweet ornaments she made as a child, along with many sentimental ornaments that she has been given over the years, many of them from my mother

We Love Lucy

Two things we can't do without - Macy's and Starbucks

A vignette on our foyer table - that's a picture of my grandmother tucked into the velvet poinsettia -- my cousin Amber tucked in the background, along with some religious themed vintage postcards

My dear friend, Susan Casey, who passed away over 25 years ago, is pictured just behind the mercury glass bird in the foreground - she was so beautiful, inside and out

The canvas print of the girl shown here is one of my favorite things in my home - I just love her

Our sofa table -- that's a photograph of Sarah with the nonhuman members of our family - Lucky (1999-2010), Archie and Sam - not pictured - the notorious Charlie - he's turned out to be a sweet boy after a rocky start

Merry Christmas everyone! God Bless You and I hope you have peace in your life and that your holiday is everything you hoped it would be!  Be safe and be happy!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Winter Magic Among the Castles

Neuschwanstein, c. 1869, Germany, photo by

Like so many, I am fascinated by castles. It is hard to believe that castles actually exist on planet Earth, not just in fairy tales or Shakespeare's classics.  Little boys dream of wearing a coat of armor, riding a black stallion, with a sword at their side, crossing over the draw bridge to a castle.  Little girls dream of wearing a long cape made of dark blue velvet, waiving from a castle tower to the crowd below, as they shout to her that she's the most beautiful girl in the world.  And then there's my dream...of living in a fabulous ancient castle in England (where else?) with a staff of 150 taking care of my every whim, all the whilst Daniel Craig and Johnny Depp arrange a dual just beyond the moat, both determined to have my hand in marriage, and having to listen to George Clooney and Leonardo DiCaprio whine because there's no four man dual.

Ok, back to reality.  I'm a 49 year old wife and mom from Sharpsburg, Georgia.  Needless to say, there's a big difference between my world and that of the Tudors. Furthermore, had I lived in the middle ages, I probably would have been one of those 150 servants, slaving away for King Henry VIII, and being forced to cook those gargantuan turkey legs he was so fond of.  But anyhooo, back to castles.  I thought it would fun for you girls out there, and the only men who follow my blog (my Uncle Gary and my husband Tony), to be treated to photographs of some of the most beautiful castles in the world, during the winter season.  The only thing better than a castle is a castle in the snow.  Grab a hot toddy and dream along with me for a moment.

Scharfenstein Castle, Germany, photo by

Kronborg Castle, circa 1420, Denmark, photo by Dian Emery

Gillette Castle, Connecticut, photo by

Durham Castle, circa 11th century, England, photo by Sharon Stuart
Castle Burg Hohenzollern, Germany, photo by Mystic86

Dunnotar Castle, Stonehaven, Scotland, UK, photo by Geoffrey Noell

Cennen Castle, Wales, UK, photo by Hugh Gillings

The Round Tower, Windsor Castle, England, photo from

This blog begins and ends with  Neuschwanstein...the most incredible of all castles - the hilltop location and the architecture...truly breathtaking.  An example of the attention to detail and the work that went into building this incredible place is that the bedroom woodwork took 4 years.  King Ludwig was truly obsessed
Photo by

and just a few more of about obsessed!

Photo by

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