18 December 2014

The Reporter's Notebook

The mere act of materializing the Moleskine Reporter notebook from my tote ensnares the attention of numerous individuals. The inquiries begin the moment I loosen the elastic band and flip open the smooth black cover. The inquirers are interested to know if I am observing and recording their speech or appearance. I inform the questioners that the pen lines on my page are of no relation to them. Assured that they are not under surveillance, the individuals depart my company. During our brief encounter, I scrutinized every detail of their outfit. I am compelled to pen my frustration over cheaply made shoes, graphic tees, and cargo trousers on acid-free paper. 
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M.J.W.

17 December 2014

The Makeup Place

When I encounter a woman applying makeup in the public sphere, an uncomfortable sensation engulfs me. I feel she has invited the strangers on the 6 to her vanity. She smears on foundation while peering into her compact's mirror. I am unimpressed at her ability to apply eyeliner and mascara without inflicting damage to her eye. The swift pace and shameless manner in which she carries on with this charade indicates this is a daily routine. I doubt she ever makes time to execute her beauty activities in a designated area. If unable to make herself up at home, she could have at least utilized one of the countless makeup counters in New York City. There are fourteen Sephora locations in Manhattan alone. MAC equals in number. There is no excuse.
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M.J.W.

15 December 2014

Sabrina Returns From Paris

Sabrina Fairchild sighed as she carried her small poodle up the steps and through the door of the plane. All of her memories from the last two years were in this breath. Her perfected skill at making vichyssoise, walks along the Seine, and dancing with the Baron St. Fontanel had transformed her into the swan that now boarded this transatlantic flight. She considered Paris the essence of everything she wanted to be. The Bois de Boulogne smelled sweetest after the rainfall. She was sweet when eating soufflé. La vie en rose floated on the lukewarm night air. Thanks to the lyrics of Edith Piaf, Sabrina achieved buoyancy in life. The view of la tour Eiffel, the collections of le Musée du Louvre, and walking slowly in le Jardin des Tuileries were pivotal to life by her new definition. She looked upon the world as an ocean in which to float and swim. Sabrina resolved that when she returned to Long Island, she would retain all of the lessons she had obtained from the City of Light. She learned she was just as fabulous when partaking in fine French dining as she was indulging in a book in her accommodation above the garage of the Larabee compound. Sabrina's fundamentals were constant. The world could not shake her. Instead, she would shake it. David stirred in the lap of her gray suiting skirt. As the plane took to the sky, she looked down on the city with a smile. Her lips seemed to mold permanently to that upturned shape. She dreamed of reuniting with her dearest father as she crossed the Atlantic.
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Along the Seine
M.J.W.

08 December 2014

The Good Commute

The New York City Subway was designed to sweep us swiftly around Manhattan. Before joining my fellow commuters underground, I take a moment to compose myself. I expect all seating will be occupied on the approaching train and anticipate standing. There is a possibility that all but one space on the railings will be grasped by New Yorkers en route to work. Personal space is an imaginary concept during the rush hours. Therefore, I must prepare accordingly. I organize the essentials inside my tote, keeping it close to my person. My fully charged iPod takes up residence in the pocket of my navy duffle coat, although I often leave it silent. I keep my speaking to a minimum when the steel doors of the train open. I do not engage in conversation via phone. If I meet a friend while traveling, we keep the volume of our conversation to a whisper. To shatter the silence of the crowded car would be highly inconsiderate. The commute, if executed in a structured manner, is a peaceful component of the daily routine. The astute New Yorker leaves her apartment early in case a rail breakage, fire or signal failure ensue.
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M.J.W.

20 November 2014

The Cold Front at 84th and Madison

I swung the front door open and began my walk toward the subway station. I regretted not checking the weather in advance. The cold, unheeded by my coat and knee-length dress, shivered up my bare legs. I was determined to arrive promptly at my destination. The onset of winter did not turn me back. I resolved to wear tights every day until the arrival of spring. This is New York. The winters, like the people, are cold and unforgiving. There is never an excuse to abandon a sense of style.
The Cold Front at 84th and Madison
M.J.W.

07 November 2014

Jim's Shoe Repair

The walls, an antique shade of pine, are covered with vintage and fresh clippings from notable publications such as the Daily News, Town and Country, and GQ. They proclaim the entrepreneurship and values upon which Vito S. Rocco established his shoe repair shop in 1932. When Rocco emigrated from Acettura, Italy, he joined an abundance of New York cobblers in their trade. Although Jim's Shoe Repair moved to its current address of  50 E. 59th Street in 1940, remnants of the original establishment mix with contemporary mementos in its interior. Rocco's three sons, Giulio, John, and Joseph, ensured the survival of the business after their father died in 1964. A 1970 ad for black Tisfine shoe ink, featuring John and Joseph, pays tribute to the duo who directed the shop after the death of their eldest brother. Although Joseph, in his 80s, is now the sole ambassador for the second generation, the third and fourth generations also make a statement on the east wall. A photograph of Joseph Rocco Jr. and Steven Spielberg attests to Jim's reputation for quality and its position as a beloved icon between Bergdorf Goodman and the Queensboro Bridge. A grade school poem titled A Grandfather's Values by Sarah Huffman, daughter of the younger Joseph, pays tribute to her dear "Pappa."

I observe the constant customer traffic from the comfort of my leather seat in one of the six historic, private booths along the east wall. I rest my bare feet on the matching leather footstool. The familial warmth, emanating from the bustling Rocco's behind the counter, beckons me to stay the afternoon. The comfort of the narrow space and the accompanying smell of leather and shoe polish reaffirm my adoration for this city gem. If I ever moved to a distant state, unable to personally bring my shoes across the threshold,  I would mail them. For, here shoes are showered with craftsmanship, soaked in polish, and wrapped in Italian American legacy before returning to their owners. 
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Bibliography: Nicollette Barsamian, Heather Holland,  The Rocco's.

M.J.W.

04 November 2014

Appreciation Inventory

The leaves on the trees in Central Park turn auburn as the sentiment of thankfulness takes to the autumn air. I am overcome with the seasonal inclination to hasten my efforts at being grateful. Amid the warm colors of fall's facade, I remind myself that this exercise is meant to be performed with equal fervor throughout the year. An overzealous counting of blessings should be a daily routine, not an exercise to start at the beginning of beautiful November. I carefully consider my good fortune. Indulging in Trader Joe's pumpkin tea and macaroons with my best friend is at the top of the inventory.
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M.J.W.

30 October 2014

The Search for White Noise

I am most productive as a reader and writer when working amidst the perfect decibel of white noise. The soothing sound must be familiar, constant, and consistent. Sounds of the city, like the noise of traffic through the windows of a high-rise, are calming. 

The source of the finest white noise I ever had the pleasure of hearing was an industrial-sized air conditioning unit of an office building. I found refuge at an al fresco table of the adjacent café. As the sun's rays permeated the table umbrella, I was submerged in a warm, marigold glow.

I don't recall what book took up residence in my purse at the time, but the manner in which I swept each page has remained a pleasant reflection. I plummeted into the world of the book without hesitation or distraction. The novel moved along at the pace of its movie version but retained the full breadth of the author's words. As I arose from the white, iron, perforated chair, I felt a sense of accomplishment at my progress.

Never have I found white noise more superior than the tone of that massive air conditioning unit. The search for white noise is a never-ending undertaking, but necessary for meeting my literary goals. 

The flagship branch of the New York Library is iconic, lively and located on Fifth Avenue. After carefully surveying the white marble, gold gilding, and Corinthian columns, I take notice of the sounds of the elaborate house. The swinging keys of the security guards and Italian-made shoes hitting the marble floor accompany my reading of The Beautiful and Damned.  
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M.J.W.

29 October 2014

Navigating Manhattan

On this island, a woman joins the bustle of the city streets with intention. Even if she does not know the exact direction to her destination, she is fully aware of her surroundings. New York is the embodiment of assertiveness. The woman who dwells here holds her head high, owning her path on the sidewalk. She appears to be "a natural" at all she does. Her outfit is the epitome of taste and her nail color pristine. Her face is made up, and so is her mind. 

Back on the Island



M.J.W.

28 October 2014

The London Year

The most important lesson I have learned in London is that of friendship. It was the encouragement from friends on both sides of the pond that pulled me through a challenging MA program. I am eternally grateful for these concrete bonds built on fundamentals such as trust, consideration, respect, and sincerity. Nonetheless, I have also broken a few ties this year, unapologetically discharging associates unworthy of my time or energy. Some people deserve to be exiled to the part of the past reserved for rubbish. 

The past is not a place to take up residence, but some neighborhoods are pleasant to visit for inspiration, reminiscence, and history dissertations. The present is the place to live. It is a glorious address, like the perimeter of Hyde Park. It is where happiness is made, where dreams are realized, and where I make myself for a cup of tea. The memories I made in this historic city will stay with me, like (according to some) the trace of an English accent. Living in the present now means settling in New York City.
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The view of central London from the grounds of Kenwood House, Hampstead Heath
M.J.W.

24 October 2014

Particular Pen

The conversation turned to the topic of our favorite writing utensils. I proudly materialized the BIC Triumph 537R Roller Ball (Extra Fine Point) from my purse. We passed our pens around the pub table, applying ink to a spare piece of paper. No girl could persuade the others of the superiority of her particular pen. The owners breathed sighs of relief when their precious property concluded its turn around the wooden surface. We tucked our pens into our purses, and I thought how fortunate I was to find myself in the presence of women who took offense to the ballpoint.
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M.J.W.

23 October 2014

Good Night Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square after hours is one of the most glamorous locations in which to gather with friends. Dominated by the pillared facade of the National Gallery, the square bathes in the soft glow of surrounding lamps at nightfall. The inviting ambience draws my companions and me to our designated area of Charles Barry's space. Our cup of cheer becomes so full we spill into one (or several) of the pubs in proximity. Grasping the stems of our wine glasses, we find several things to toast in true English style. This display of comradeship tides us over until next week's assembly in the square.
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M.J.W.

21 October 2014

Paying Homage

I am indebted to the creative, bold, deceased men and women who have left their marks on this world. There is much I would like to discuss with the inspiring Jane Austen. If confronted with a vision of her being, surely my eyes would fall first upon her intricate Regency curls. Having wished the woman in Cassandra Austen's watercolor to life, I would be astounded by her human qualities. A second would pass at the speed of an hour in my survey of the writer.

I am momentously brought back to the present, the nave of Winchester Cathedral. I lift my hand from the stone bearing her epitaph, aspiring to possess a mere quarter of the author's ability to arrest an audience with the written word.
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M.J.W.

20 August 2014

The List

I must first set goals in order to reach them. The list is the first step in cultivating my ambitions. I pen my pending accomplishments, sorting each goal into one of three categories: immediateshort term and long term. I refer to the immediate list, where my objectives are arranged in the order I plan to complete them on a daily basis. As I achieve each intention, the list is emptied, making room for additional goals from the short term list. Only when I move items from the short term list to the immediate list do I give them my attention. The long term goals are confined to their list until the opportune time to make them a reality. The master achiever does not necessarily have a personal assistant but merely an adorable pad of list paper.
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M.J.W.

14 August 2014

Hasty Hurry

The 390 to Notting Hill Gate operates a red bus with three sets of doors. During peak hours the back set stands open with an attendant on the platform. Oftentimes commuters will ask the unoccupied attendant for directions.

One afternoon, I boarded a westbound bus at Tottenham Court Road. The vehicle came to a pause in traffic on bustling Oxford Street near the Circus. A young woman with a suitcase came to the edge of the pavement and politely asked the attendant for directions. While the two were in conversation, a middle aged woman approached the bus. "Are you going this way?" she screamed. When the attendant remained uninterrupted in his current discussion with the young lady, the middle aged woman repeated her question an octave higher. Only when she received a quick "Yes" did she board the bus. Her hideous manners and outfit to match made me raise a disdainful eyebrow. 

Even if a woman is in a hurry, she does not have the license to be hasty in her interactions with others in the public sphere. A woman without her manners is improperly dressed even if she is wearing a gorgeous ensemble. In order to consider herself a full member of polite society, especially in the United Kingdom, a lady should never misplace them.
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M.J.W.

28 July 2014

Correspondence Time

Afternoon is ideal for me to take to the pen. I divide my writing duties into four classes. Letters and greeting cards tend to be the most lengthy and often require first drafts. In contrast, the average time required per emails or postcard is less consuming. I do not pen in piecemeal. Thus, in a sitting I complete one category of my correspondence. My outgoing mail for the day is usually deposited in the red post box by 16:50. Hoarding mail overnight delays the sense of accomplishment that overtakes me when my post has been sent.   


Writing at the Ritz


M.J.W.

21 July 2014

Closing the Day

The day routinely presents me with memories at its close. I keep the lessons learned from the negative experiences in the back of my mind for future reference. In contrast, the magical moments are housed in the front of my thoughts. Their smallest details occupy my mind's prime real estate. They are the paramount ingredient to my day dreams. A healthy sweat is my reward for a productive day, although at its end I wash it away with warm water and dove soap. 



Closing the Day

M.J.W.

02 July 2014

The Making of a Lady

Upon becoming engaged to Lord James Walderhurst (played by Linus Roache in the 2012 film The Making of a Lady), Miss Emily Fox Setton (Lydia Wilson) settles at Palstrey, an estate 10 miles from the nearest village. Its new mistress is thrust into an unfamiliar lifestyle marked by seclusion and leisure to which she was not accustomed in her previous occupation as a servant. At their wedding breakfast, many guests shower Lord and Lady Walderhurst with congratulations, but it is Alec (James D'Arcy) and Hester Osborn (Hasina Haque) who occupy her mind long after the celebration ends. She acquires much knowledge about her husband's cousin and every bit is unfavorable. She witnesses the way her husband receives Alec with disdain and his aunt describes him as "spoiled". Moreover, she learns the land and accompanying title will pass to Alec if she fails to produce an heir to her estate. Nevertheless, Emily is foolishly compelled to favor him.

"I liked your cousin and his wife," Lady Walderhurst says to her husband after the guests depart.

"Indeed," Lord Walderhurst replies.

"And I feel for them," she adds referring to the Osborn's financial instability. "Their circumstances are difficult." 

"Alec has brought much of it upon himself," he explains. "Don't concern yourself with it, please." 

Shortly afterwards, Lord Walderhurst resolves to go to India in military service. "In the meantime, let the Littons guide you. He knows me and the house. He's loyal," he says of his butler and housekeeper (Malcolm Storry and Claire Hackett). In her husband's absence, Lady Walderhurst has ample opportunity to put the knowledge she has obtained about the Osborns to good use in her judgment of them.

Alec and Hester visit the estate unannounced. They bear a letter allegedly from Lord Walderhurst asking Alec to watch over Palstrey's new mistress. She invites the pair to stay for lunch. Alec purposefully drops his napkin and humiliates the butler by forcing him to retrieve it. Not only does the host accept this behavior, she rewards it by inviting her guests to live with her. 

Alec finds an opportunity to get his host alone in the mud room. “When you hold a gun, people treat you with respect,” he says reminiscing of his career in the military prior to his complications with malaria. He urges Lady Walderhurst to take up a gun. He draws close to her as he positions it in her hands and unexpectedly loads it. “Put the cartridges in the cylinders. Look between the barrels. That's how you aim,” he says in this simulation of a shooting lesson. “Now all you have to do is press the trigger.” He presses himself against the firing end of the gun and lingers there for a moment. Lady Walderhurst breathes a heavy sigh of relief when Alec abruptly removes the gun from her hands and returns it to the case.

Lady Walderhurst finally acts on her suspicions about the authenticity of the letter allegedly penned by her husband. She checks the letter against a sample of Lord Walderhurst's handwriting, confirming that it is unauthentic. 

One morning she is awakened by the sound of hooves against the stone pavement. She emerges in her dressing gown to witness Alec boldly astride her husband's horse. "You don't mind if I borrow one of your horses, do you?" he asks without giving her opportunity to respond. He disappears down the long path as Mr. Litton appears to witness the act. 

"No one rides that horse but His Lordship," says Mr. Litton. "If he's well enough to ride, he's well enough to leave. Lord Walderhurst asked me to look after you. They must leave. They must go."   

Lady Walderhurst confronts Hester with the forged letter. During their conversation, she learns that Alec is also abusive to his wife. This is the tipping point, the moment when Lady Walderhurst should have reached within herself and found the confidence to dispel the Osborns from the estate for its protection. Instead, she unwisely sets off by herself in search of her husband's cousin. She greets him with her resolution that he and his wife may extend their stay. He feels at liberty to deny her authority and forces her to endure the ride back to the house on horseback. She begs him to stop, confessing that she is pregnant. He does not heed. Upon their return, he lies to the others in claiming he was not aware of the pregnancy. It becomes evident that Alec plans to stay at Palstrey, not as a guest but as its owner.

Lady Walderhurst is forced to negotiate, deceive, and physically fight the enemies she has invited through her own door. At the end of her struggle she had grown to be enduring, enlightened, assertive, and perceptive - all qualities achieved on her ascension to womanhood.

M.J.W.

27 June 2014

V&A Day

I bring only the essentials to the V&A: my camera and water. Since admission is free, I make my donation upon entry. Most of my time is spent admiring works by J.M.W. Turner, John ConstableEdwin Henry Landseer and Richard Redgrave. I imagine myself in a Pierre Balmain 50s dress attending a celebration in the Norfolk House Music Room. I am drawn into the sparkle of the jewelry in rooms 91-93. I am pulled onto the stage of Shakespeare in room 104 and to the table for tea in room 52b. I take in the sun's rays in the John Madejski Garden and make a long mental shopping list while browsing in the bookstore. Then I exit onto Cromwell Road and head west in the direction of lunch.
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M.J.W.

19 June 2014

18:30 in Hyde Park

The breeze travels in a steady stream occasionally gaining gusty speed.  I am drawn to the water's edge like the ducks and swans who paddle near the perimeter. The rippling water moves west with the wind towards the prominent grey clouds. The cobwebs on the green iron fence, the leaves of the fan-like ferns, and the branches of the trees sway in obedience. I put on my Bedale over my tee shirt and striped skirt wondering if London will enjoy sun tomorrow.
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M.J.W.

12 June 2014

Tee Rules

The tee shirt is necessary in cold weather layered under sweaters, paramount in warm weather tucked into skirts, and essential any time beneath blazers. My expectations are very basic. White, black, gray, navy, and cream are the only acceptable colors for this cotton staple. Graphics and large logos distract from its simple nature and should not make an appearance. Furthermore, the tee should not be too large, nor too small. One should not appear to be taking a swim in one's shirt, nor give the impression of being sewn into one's clothing like Marilyn. The tee should be replaced when it becomes too dingy or worn with holes, even if it has become one's favorite. 
Tees, Skirts, and Plimsolls
M.J.W.

10 June 2014

Sentimental Tote

London is filled to the brim with sights of historical and cultural significance. I am in love as I drift through museums, galleries, theaters, palaces, libraries, and bookshops. My acquisition of an institution's canvas tote is a sign that I am smitten and a constant memento to mentally bring me back within its walls when we are apart. 
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M.J.W.

04 June 2014

The Drawing Room

I observe that the middle panes align with the garden arches and fountain. I sit on the burgundy leather sofa and begin to sketch. Having only outlined the window on my paper, the work catches the conspicuous eyes of its first viewer. With a craned neck, he sees the lack of advancement and straightens himself. He expresses his apologies for looking, compliments the drawing despite its premature stage, and hastily exits the scene. The drawing progresses with the day as curious visitors come and go from the room.
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M.J.W.

28 May 2014

Unpretentiously Tea

The absence of a bone china set does not deter me from tea time. It is policy to tuck a Twinings tea bag into my purse before leaving the house. I find this convenience irresistible. Hot water is easily accessible due to the status of the kettle as an English staple. A hot cup of happiness, which is paramount to any genuine break, may be easier to come by than a retreat in which to enjoy it. In the event I am unable to locate an escape place, my imagination quickly works to fashion one.
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M.J.W.

20 May 2014

Days at Daunt Books

My spirits rise as I approach the shop with its signature wooden arches. Once inside, I begin my expedition on the right half of the ground level. I land in Denmark and then move to Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, France and Spain respectively. My progression to Italy and Greece takes me to the left side of the room. Once I have had my fill of the Continent, I ascend the winding steps to the gallery. Books on England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland are available on the shelves that line the upper tier. After spending ample time in 18th, 19th, and 20th century London, I descend the winding steps to the ground floor. I am confronted with a second set of stairs that lead to the basement, where books on America are kept; I am homesick. I search for an empty chair, survey the books I have acquired, and read until teatime.
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M.J.W.

19 May 2014

Above the Thames

The view above the Thames from the plane is miraculous. If coming from the east, you will wind along the river in pursuit of Heathrow. Please note, you may not have the window seat. Do try not to be terribly akward when stretching your neck to see Westminster out the window. Furthermore, the view of the Thames from an aircraft and the view of the River from a capsule on the London Eye are not the same. I don't know why I thought they would be. Perhaps I've watched the dragon flight scene from HPDH: Part 2 too many times.
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M.J.W.

12 May 2014

Vacating Venezia

I found myself above Laguna Veneta with a view of Venezia and the Adriatic Sea. The blues and greens mixed miraculously like watercolor. The vision transitioned into a view of the snow-covered Alps. The stillness and silence of the mountains rooted me in the sky and I did not want to ever descend.  photo d6402aa3-67ac-4f84-9f06-58e69f221ddb_zpsf2c63fd9.jpg
M.J.W.

07 May 2014

Open Water

There is water everywhere - no cars or vespas - just boats to navigate the canals, Laguna Veneta and Adriatic Sea. Venezia brings new meaning to the term "coastal living." When in the City of Water, you are under obligation to wear stripes everyday and I don't mean shirts from the commercialized kiosks in Piazza San Marco. You must eat from the sea and capture the essence of the city with you camera, pencil, pen or paintbrush à la Canaletto. 
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M.J.W.

06 May 2014

Top Knot in Venice

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M.J.W.

05 May 2014

Superga in Firenze

Walking is the mode of transport when in Florence. I wouldn't be caught without the People's Shoe of Italy to traverse the terrain. My Superga trainers climbed the 223 steps of the Palazzo Vecchio's Torre Arnolfo and strolled around the Uffizi. This navy staple has pilgrimaged across the Arno to the grave of Carlo Lorenzini at San Miniato al Monte, and to the graves of Michelangelo, Machiavelli, Galileo, and Matas at Basilica di Santa Croce. After spending extensive time under the Tuscan sun, I was especially elated to wear them to dinner. They are stylish even when covered in dirt.  
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M.J.W.

30 April 2014

The View of Firenze

No one will carry you and there is no lift. You must take the stairs. Only after reaching the top will you be rewarded with water and a spectacular view of Florence. A room with a view of the Arno is pleasant but it is worth putting in effort to see the city from above. Perhaps if Miss Honeychurch and Miss Bartlett had realized this, they would have been indifferent about their view of the courtyard at the Pension Bertolini.  
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M.J.W.

29 April 2014

In Search of Carlo Lorenzini

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Leaving San Miniato al Monte, Firenze
M.J.W.

28 April 2014

Santa Croce

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In the courtyard of the Basilica di Santa Croce

M.J.W.

23 April 2014

Castle on the Tiber

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Spinning at Castel Sant'Angelo
M.J.W.

22 April 2014

Via Margutta, 51

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M.J.W.

13 March 2014

Tulip Tendencies

"A tulip doesn’t strive to impress anyone. It doesn’t struggle to be different than a rose. It doesn’t have to. It is different," says Marianne Williamson. Each petal is one of several layers that unite to form the tulip's elegant shape, which is supported by an equally poised posture of a stem. The tulip closes at night as an act of self-preservation. Sleep is the ingredient to her perennial finesse.
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M.J.W.

11 March 2014

Signature Script

The Digital Age does not depreciate the importance of honing a signature script. If the time you spent in middle school perfecting typed words per minute surpassed time spent swirling lines in cursive, you may need to practice your penmanship. When your letters become recognizable to others, gain confidence. With repetition, your writing will appear to be the product of a confident hand and individual in nature. 
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Postcards from 1904 and 1912 - Origin: United Kingdom
M.J.W.

09 March 2014

Flower Market Sunday

Walking into the sea of flowers on Columbia Road is rejuvenating. The garden scent and camaraderie of the calm crowd breaks any stress I may have brought with me. Selecting flowers for the flat on Sunday ensures that I awake in a dreamlike state on Monday morning.  
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M.J.W.

06 March 2014

Mrs. Marty White

Miss Annie Rooney (played by Shirley Temple in the 1942 production named for the protagonist) appreciates the best things in life, like spring air, the language of flowers and books from the classic cannon. Mr. Marty White (Dickie Moore) admires her for the elegant young lady she is. I am certain he never let her go, especially after meeting her so suddenly. I imagine they married after three years of courtship, when Annie turned 17.  I expect they settled on the Upper East Side, possibly in Sutton Place, and that Annie is stylishly prepared  for social spring, her favorite season.
Mrs. Marty White

M.J.W.

27 February 2014

Raising the Curtain

Tonight we raised the curtain on the Royal Ballet's Sleeping Beauty. Each time we gather in the Opera House, I am filled with anticipation pre-show when everyone is engaged in conversation. When my neighbor on the left asked of my ballet and opera history, I disclosed my partiality to the Royal Opera House as a venue. We agreed that these assemblies were "great fun," livening up the middle of week. 
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M.J.W.

18 February 2014

Waiting for Spring

Since watching To Catch a Thief (1955), I have constantly been thinking of spring. Frances Stevens' A-lines and pastel palette are well-suited for adventures of Mediterranean nature. Until the arrival of warmer weather, the trench should be kept close. 
Audrey Waits for Spring
M.J.W.

13 February 2014

Saint James Souvenir

Saint James and I have been spending a bit of time together since my successful excursion to 44 Rue Cler. I wear Galathée at least two days out of the week. She fits like a dream, compliments every piece of clothing, and is endowed with perfectly spaced stripes. She is irresistible. 
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M.J.W.

10 February 2014

Postcard Politics

Grandmommy never failed to send me postcards when away. The love that radiated from those rectangular pieces of paper was enough to fill me until her return. I consider the postcard the only appropriate means of extending my affection across a body of water. Taking time out of my tour schedule to put pen to paper is magical, as it means I have not lost sight of what is really important in life. 

The people on my postcard list are phenomenal. They are honest, trustworthy, witty and animate. They are blessings and their company is wondrous. I carefully match each friend with his/her intended card, bearing images befitting to individual personality.

I purchase contemporary postcards from places of historical and cultural significance. Selecting postcards from shops at the British Museum, Historic Royal Palaces, Household Calvary Museum or National Gallery is an afternoon well spent. The search for vintage postcards in antique shops is absolutely a hunt. Thus far, I have acquired four worn by time.

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M.J.W.

07 February 2014

The Walk

As weather in London is mild, the walk should be taken daily. One does not have a valid excuse to delete it from one's schedule unless one falls ill. Furthermore, British brands readily provide essential products useful for enjoying the British weather. I consider Barbour and Hunter daily armor.
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M.J.W.

31 January 2014

Winter At The Royal Opera House

I decided on my attire in advance for last night's performance of Giselle. Being curious as to the official stance, I checked the Royal Opera House website: "There is no dress code – feel free to dress up or down." I hoped the majority of attendees would choose the first option. When I arrived at Bow Street, Covent Garden, I was relieved to find my attire one amongst a sea of stylish options. Unfortunately, I did catch sight of one sorry human being outfitted in Uggs and sweatpants. The orchestra was wearing black tie and the conductor white for goodness' sake.
Winter At The Royal Opera House

M.J.W.

27 January 2014

Thoughts of Paris

The preconceived notions we had held about Gare du Nord were not realized as we disembarked the Eurostar in Paris. Thus our plan to do away with expectations was reestablished. Our first trip to Paris filled us with every emotion we had. Joy, love, contentment, anger, disappointment, shock, sadness, and frustration were all parts of our emotional spectrum as we journeyed through the dim and the bright crevices of the City of Lights.  

The Bright:
  1. Our quintessentially Parisian flat complete with white chair cushions, textured walls, balcony and rustic hardwood floors. The perfect hideaway from tourists.
  2. The divine Napoleonic Apartments at the Musée du Louvre.
  3. Macaroons from La Maison Ladurée are the best in this city. Macaroons from the New York and London locations do not compare.
  4. Our obligatory dinner cruise down the Seine on the comfortable Calife.
  5. Eating french fries. Eating food in general.
  6. Delicious GrandLait frais entier.
  7. The view we enjoyed of Paris after climbing the Arc de triomphe was unparraled and the wait in the queue was not horrendous.
  8. Our successful conversations with les Parisiens over our supposed language barrier was marked by merriment and mutual adoration.  
  9. Conversing with other Americans while away from America was a special experience characterized by instant camaraderie.   
  10. The expansion of my striped shirt collection via the acquirement of two Saint James Galathée tees.
  11. The glittering tour Eiffel.
The Dim: 
  1. The ill-mannered tourists in Paris behave as if they have been raised in captivity and have suddenly been released into society. They diminish everything they touch. We had to fight them off rather aggressively.
  2. We battled the gypsies who attempted to pick our pockets.
  3. We also fought the men who sell miniature tour Eiffel figurines throughout the city.
  4. The queue for the ascent to the real tour Eiffel was heinous.  
  5. Repeatedly paying 7 euros for a bottle of Evian was a bit unsettling.
  6. The snobby sales woman at Saint James Rue Cler.
Beyonce's ***Flawless played on the iPod as the train emerged from the Chunnel into Britain. I  had never been happier to go home to London.
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M.J.W.

16 January 2014

Longchamp at Louvre

I made my case for Le Pliage without hesitation when asked if it was a life necessity. The nylon agrees with damp weather and the leather handles are the ideal width for a comfortable grasp. Due to its lightweight nature, my arms are not unnecessarily burdened. I am free to run around Musée du Louvre, whilst sidestepping ill-mannered tourists. And besides, it folds into a highly portable rectangle. 
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M.J.W.

14 January 2014

Ladurée Champs-Élysées

The only thing better than eating a Ladurée macaroon is consuming it at Ladurée itself. When home in America, I am never too far from the shop on the Upper East Side. It is quaint but lacks the dining atmosphere one finds in Europe due to its petite size. When in Paris, I have complete control over my Ladurée experience. At the Champs-Élysées location, I can sit on a swivel chair at the bar, make reservations for lunch or take macaroons away. They are best in Paris, although scooping them up from London's Burlington Arcade location on the way to class is far from merely settling.
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M.J.W.

11 January 2014

The Reign

Step 1. Select your tiara. I favor pearls.

Step 2. Keep your chin up and shoulders back. The face, not the forehead, of the wearer should appear to be carrying the tiara.

Step 3. Relax your mind and your face. Your tiara is added weight, but you are magnificent and can carry it.

Step 4. Protect your glittering headwear. Do not willingly lead yourself into compromising situations. Venturing about London at 12 AM by yourself is not acceptable, nor wise.

Step 5. Despite efforts to protect your tiara, you will meet jealous individuals who will attempt to steal it. Upon which you will have to put Churchill's words into practice, telling them "to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip."

Step 6. Jealousy is a vicious beast and may not be tamed on the first attempt. When a jealous individual attacks you for the second time, you will need to tell him to bow down. Your enemy will be put in his place straightaway.

Step 7. Remove your tiara before bed. Fill your head with dreams.
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M.J.W.

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