Archive for December, 2013

What we learned from Anna Karenina, the Garbo version…

Posted by Winifred on December 19th, 2013  •  No Comments »


We have been perplexed for some time now about the star status of a certain actress by the name of Greta Garbo. Try as we may, we just cannot understand the appeal of her, not now, not then. Once in a while we tune in for one of her films, in the hopes that this will be the one to help explain it all, and each time we only become more mystified. To start, there are her looks, not in any way beautiful, though we see where attempts were made to sway us with photography. Soft focus, specific angles and heavy contouring to help widen the eyes and narrow the nose. But it never works for us. All we see is a rather large, squarish head, scandinavian coldness and a sluggish carriage that bespeaks of the awkwardness expected of a much taller woman, someone not quite accustomed to her physique.


Garbo is shockingly androgynous, unfeminine, not glamorous in a way that is particularly startling considering the era in which she was a star. The 1920s and 30s were the time of Louise Brooks, Claudette Colbert, Marlene Dietrich, Carole Lombard, Bette Davis. All were actresses who made me love this era, the fashion, the glamour, the decadence of being a woman. We cannot understand how during a time of hyper femininity, a woman of Garbo’s rather dour constitution could have broken through to become a star.


Our confusion was only furthered upon seeing Garbo’s performance in Anna Karenina. Having first seen Vivien Leigh, it would naturally be difficult to have enthusiasm for another Anna – though the most recent Keira Knightley version was worth being made for the dance sequence with Count Vronsky alone. Vivien’s Anna conveyed vulnerability, softness, charm and glamour, making it obvious why Vronsky would fall for her over Kitty. Garbo lacked all these things and from the beginning conveyed only the sad, defeated side of Anna. We never felt the levity, the flirtation, the thrill of the lovers’ early meetings. We were never sold on any great passion, though granted, Fredric March was an awful choice for Vronsky.

The tragic, grand love, damsel in distress aspects of Anna Karenina were intended for a lady, a soft, gentle woman, everything we find that Garbo is not. It makes it rather difficult for us to see her even as a good actress as there is no movement, no dimension, no fluidity to her. Thus what we have learned is that we do not accept the appeal of Garbo as a star. We will no longer make the effort to see her films, in fact we’re rather inclined to avoid them. We re-learned that it is okay to go against the tide. We never liked ‘Moulin Rouge’, we never approved of Gwyneth Paltrow’s Oscar win for ‘Shakespeare in Love’, we do not find Nobu to be the best sushi, we do not care for the Marc Jacobs line of clothes.

How satisfying to trust again in one’s own tastes…

Images via Wikipedia, Biography, The Guardian

Posted in : Classic Films, Ohh...  •  Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

New traditions with Hermes

Posted by Winifred on December 16th, 2013  •  No Comments »

Recently our sister gave us a most treasured birthday gift. She had engraved for us a dainty silver box with our name and birthday and the words Sister Love. Inside were some of our best memories – she and I dancing together to some of our favorite music from Suriname, our style of dancing totally our own, defying categorization. Us as little girls, our trip to Curacao, her graduation from her Ph.d program, Disney World, there were many. Each memory, a photo scanned onto a tiny card with cutout borders. Notes accompanied each memory, some with our favorite sayings, others with an anecdote about the moment.


It was creative, thoughtful, sweet, heartwarming, loving, precious…a new tradition. There will be more events, more trips, more experiences and we will need more boxes. Maybe one by Hermes like the limited-edition wine trunk. We will commission one, as Sammy Davis Jr. did, his a traveling bar in black crocodile, lined in red leather.


We love crocodile, we would make ours lavender. The inside lined in Hermes scarves. Not a traveling bar, but a treasure box filled with David Webb jewelry, L’artisan perfume, a Bond Street journal, Fantasia cigarettes, and of course a hand fan. There would be a pocket just for the tiny memories. Safari in Tanzania, quiet serenity in the Maldives, Shocking blues and greens of Tahiti, skiing and eating the freshest of seafood in Hokkaido. Maybe we would add a leather bound flask, a nip of Laphroaig along for the ride…


Image via Vanity Fair

Posted in : Jewelry, Objects of Our Desire, Travel  •  Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Escape to Belize…

Posted by Winifred on December 10th, 2013  •  No Comments »

When Mr. K expressed an interest in visiting the NorthEast coast of Central America, Belize to be specific, our reception was luke warm. Our mood hard to explain. We knew we felt lazy, circumspect, unamused, specific about our requirements for entertainment, uninterested in planes, swimsuit shopping, packing or overseas accommodations. So we thought, lest we leave Mr. K completely disappointed, why not experience Belize, without the traveling? We designed a Belize themed treasure hunt, so Mr. K could enjoy flavors of the land and its dimensions, all in one Saturday.

We thought of 4 things we might experience in Belize:

1. A jaguar preserve

2. Relaxation

Ambergris Caye

Ambergris Caye

3. The preferred Belizean drink, rum


4. Belizean dessert, milk cake


Jaguars being difficult to find in New York we were lucky there was a cat as beautiful and rare; the snow leopard at the Central Park Zoo. Any trip to the Caribbean must include a massage, a West Village spa would do. Hunger would invariable set in, thus a reservation for lunch in SoHo of aki and salt fish with an extensive selection of rum. And just in time for exhaustion to set in, a last stop in Alphabet City for tres leches cake.

Mr. K was excited from the very first clue sending him to the roof, where hidden in 3 potted plants were the full set of clues each on a handwritten notecard, a map of Belize in a glass rum bottle and two books. The first, a set of travel essays of different countries including Belize. The second, a picture book about Henri Rousseau, the French painter who had never been to Belize but rendered its beautiful jungles vividly and colorfully.

Mr. K then had to unscramble his clues, find his destinations where he was at each surprised by friends, and stay mindful of the time allotted until his next stop. We, the game master, were on call to provide limited answers to questions, orchestrate reservations and participants at various locations and to scoop up our tired hunter at his last stop, whisking him off for an evening of cocktails and dancing.

Mr. K was beside himself. He loved the creativity, the challenge of unscrambling the clues (the waitstaff and patrons at lunch were so intrigued they all began to help) and the concept of an escape while at home. We, loved skipping the boredom that sets in for us at the New York fixation on dinner and drinks, playing puppet master and offering amusement, surprise and childlike fun, all without luggage and passports.

Curious to see what might inspire us next…

Images Via globalsherpa, eclecticenthusiast, onehitchedlane, tstastybits

Posted in : A Taste Refined, Travel  •  Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,