Monday, January 30, 2012

Gardens of the World w/Audrey Hepburn

Do you admire beautiful gardens? What kind of plants/trees grow in your Garden? Have you ever seen a canopy of Tree Orchids fluttering in the wind;A Tulip Tree(origin Africa)_most beautiful flowering tree in the World(to me);Birds of Paradise;heard of a Crown Imperial Tulip that smells like a skunk's perfume; Or the virus that causes different Tulip colors;And that Tulip mania (1636-1637) cause the first economic/speculative bubble ever recorded _similar to the America's Wall Street Crash of 1929 for the Dutch?

Folks, pour yourself a glass of Pinot Noir or your choice of beverage,put your feet up and travel around the World with Audrey Hepburn. Audrey explores the many types of Gardens,the History and Evolution of Gardens,unique plants & trees from all over the World...right in your Living Room! If you love beautiful Gardens purchase this pleasure on Amazon..there's a link_all 330 minutes,3-DVDs and a special documentary on the "Audrey Hepburn Tulip"dedication ceremony at Keukenhof,Netherlands(her family home).For purposes of this Blog,I'll just list the different kinds of Gardens and show some pictures of my favorites_although they were all pretty spectacular! Gardens_Roses & Rose Gardens,Formal Gardens,Country Gardens,Public Gardens & Trees,Flower Gardens,Tropical Gardens,Japanese Gardens,Tulips and Spring Bulbs.

             Alhambra Spain_only intact Islamic Pleasure Garden
           Alhambra Doorways from one Garden Room to another
                                     Alhambra Commons
                            Giverny Claude Monet Gardens

                              Tulips and Bulbs at Keukenhof,Netherlands
   George Washington's Mt Vernon,Herbs,Flowers,Veggies  and Trees
                              Mt.Vernon's Boxwood Garden
                           Giardino di Ninfa ,Italy
                               Rose Rooms of Alhambra_Spain
                     Saiho Ji Japan_beautiful Moss Garden_no flowers
                             Tintinhull House England
                          Audrey Hepburn Tulip

                    Dedication Ceremony for Audrey Hepburn Tulip

And last but not less..I loved the Tree section_Audrey recited this Poem by Henry Cuyler Bunner:
What does he plant who plants a tree?He plants a friend of sun and sky;He plants the flag of breezes free;The shaft of beauty, towering high.He plants a home to heaven anigh For song and mother-croon of bird In hushed and happy twilight heard_The treble of heaven's harmony_These things he plants who plants a tree.

When was the last time you walked through a beautiful Garden?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

"Thank Heaven For Little Girls..."

I'm just about done..I've watched most every movie available with Audrey Hepburn. BUT,I still can't decide which one is my favorite! Satori, Epiphany, Eureka, Ah!Ha!, Kensho, Zen Moment_maybe,I'm not suppose to have a favorite Audrey movie! So,how did "Thank Heaven For Little Girls" a song become my Blog  title?

There's this delightful 1957 movie called "Love In The Afternoon" with Audrey,Gary Cooper  and Maurice Chevalier. Maurice Chevalier is the Father figure for Audrey. The title may suggest to a 2012 audience a sexy encounter with two sultry figures entwined in body parts,held up in a dimly lite hotel room,champagne,smokes and steam from body heat! NOPE! This is a slapstick comedy about a "mysterious girl"who has no romantic history but pretends to be a Femme Fatale, falling in love with an older man who calls her "thin girl" because he doesn't know her name or whereabouts.When I saw Maurice Chevalier ...this song I heard as a child popped in my mind_never leaving even now as I write! So, for all of you young bloods out there it was the song MC sang in the movie Gigi...

This is a safe version of the song....since Thank Heaven for Little Girls has been distorted to accommodate the sick minds of some people of today.That being is a sweet song with that thick,syrupy French accent of Maurice singing that little girls are suddenly not so little...kinda' hangs around in your head! Other memorable songs in the movie_"C'est si Bon "and the wonderful catchy tune that Audrey hummed throughout was "Fascination" were part of my childhood memory as well.

Of course,I've viewed some of  Audrey's well known movies_but here's a few I'd never seen that were delightful! The Nun's Story(1959) leaves a lasting impression on the life of Nuns;The Children's Hour(1961) with Shirley Maclaine portrays the undertones of women as lovers,taboo in 1961;How to Steal a Million(1966)was hilarious about an art heist and Two for the Road(1967) was a British comedy drama about the ups & downs of a twelve year marriage.I fell in love with the wardrobes in all of these movies,especially the sunglasses in Two for the Road... I want them!!!!!!!
Audrey was discovered on set by Collette(Author of Gigi 1945),while she filmed "Monte Carlo Baby"(1951).Collette cast her in the title role Broadway production of Gigi(1951).Upon seeing her name in lights for the first time_Audrey reportedly said_"Oh Dear!And I've still got to learn how to act." Ironically,the song "Thank Heaven For Little Girls"sung by Maurice Chevalier was in the movie Gigi in 1957.

There's so much more to Audrey's life it would take months to Blog about!She won many awards and recognitions for her great movie,fashion and humanitarian roles. To me she was just the epitome of a Classy,Caring human being. This Tribute to Audrey inspired me to followup with some other greats in the movie industry in the future!

                 Merci beau coup!Au revoir!!!

Monday, January 16, 2012

"I'm So Audrey"!!!!!!!!

Well, as you've probably guessed_I'm so Audrey! I can't remember the first time I saw her in a movie.Her Grace and Elegant_I've admired for many years.It could be why I'm so into wearing my Pearls on most any  and all occasions. I 've decided to pay tribute to her grand career by sharing tidbits of information for the Audrey at Heart! Near the bottom of the page you'll find a Filmography and other media of Audrey Hepburn.You'll find various articles to purchase from Amazon on the sidelines.The DVD "How to Steal a Million" should be high on your list.It has a Bonus Feature_A and E's Biography of Audrey Hepburn. Get to know this amazing woman through my Blog this week..and maybe until the end of the month.
             Scene from Roman Holiday 1953

Audrey Hepburn born AUDREY KATHLEEN RUSTON:(May 4,1929-January 20,1993 died)_was a British Actress and Humanitarian.She was a film and fashion icon of the 20th century and redefined what glamour looked like in the days when voluptuous women(Kim K's of the Day) demanded attention. Givenchy designed her clothing and she was inducted into the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame.Audrey was ranked by the American Film Institute,as the third greatest female screen legend in the history of American Cinema!.

Hepburn was born in Brussels but spent her childhood between Belgium,England and the Netherlands including German-occupied Arnhem during WWII.

                  Roman Holiday_1953_First Movie

However some of her greatest work was her devotion to UNICEF.Her passion for humanitarian worked was sparked by her own war-time struggles.Hepburn worked in Africa,South America and Asia in the late 80's.She had contributed to the organization since the 1950's.In 1992,she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in recognition of her work as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador..

Her mother was a Baroness_Dutch Aristocrat,her father British born.In 1944,Hepburn became a proficient ballerina.She went on to perform in theatre,getting a giant break when the French Novelist Colette chose her to play in the Broadway play Gigi.Opening on November 24,1951 at the Fulton Theatre,the play ran for 219 performances finishing on May 31,1952.Hepburn debut earned a Theatre World Award .

      Academy Award_Best Actress_Roman Holiday 1953

And,in 1953 she was casted in Roman Holiday as her first starring role as Princess Ann.The producers wanted Elizabeth Taylor_but Audrey was  everything they were looking for,charm,innocence and completely unaware of her talents.Hepburn went on to earn an Academy Award for her performance in Roman Holiday! And the rest is history! Join me on the journey to pay tribute to a great LADY.....

Friday, January 13, 2012

"Movie Day!...Tribute to Audrey Hepburn"

Books & Movies & Music & Art...some of my favorite things! I've been having "Movie Days" with a girlfriend or two since the 90's.My favorite movies are the Classics,Drama(especially Period pieces,Real Life,Romantic,etc..).So,I kicked off my "Audrey Hepburn Tribute" for next week by having a Movie Day with a good friend. We watched _or rather I re-watched_the "Audrey Hepburn Story" & "Breakfast at Tiffany's".Then a documentary of Audrey Hepburn's Fashion & Style! Wow!

Just as important was the food...there's always food with movies.But, NOT your popcorn,hot dog,chips & candy type. So,my friend came with an abundance of Appetizer's:
Wild Salmon w/Dilled Asparagus,Indian-Spiced Feta Cheese and Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Herb Feta Cheese Spreads!Delicious!!!!!!!

Whole Wheat Berry crackers with turbinado sugar,Mexican vanilla..her own secret recipe! Created a partee in your mouth w/ the spreads...

I made a light lunch:
Tomato Basil/Rosemary Soup,Grilled Pepper Turkey/Jalapeno Pepper Cheese,Peperoncini,Watercress on Seeded Rye bread.We had Perrier Water & Wine ,of course_Luc Pirlet Reserve 2008 Pinot Noir & Luc Pirlet Cabernet-Sauvignon 2010.

Topped it off later on with Dark Belgian Chocolate Mini-Tea Cups filled w/Strawberry Coulis.And the "Piece de resistance":

Crepes filled w/blackberries with strawberry coulis,vanilla Greek yogurt and dark chocolate cocoa!

NOT YOUR EVERDAY MOVIE FOODS........can't wait to continue my Tribute to Audrey Hepburn next week! Bon Appetit.....

Saturday, January 7, 2012

NOT for the "Faint at Heart" READER!

16th Century Renaissance,Friar Girolamo Savonarola,God's Army,Catholic Church,Debauchery, Women & Gays(Second Class Citizens of Florence),Christian Art,Sodomist,Dark,Seductive, 
Witchcraft,Dangerous, Fornication,Intrigue..
just a few words that come to mind to describe this amazing book...which kicked off my Reading List for 2012!

The "Prologue" a mere 7 pages begans to weave the life story of Sister Lucrezia.Like all her Sisters of this Order_it was forbidden to look upon a human body,even having to take a bath in the cotton shift undergarment so as not to expose one's self to one's own eyes!Sister Magdalena commences to inter the corpse of Sister Lucrezia_when the "supposedly" tumor sack from her left breast falls to the floor.No pus,no blood,no discharge on her smooth skin where the tumor had rested against
her breast.Yet,black liquid,coils & gobbets of blood oozed with what looked like intestinal organs(offal,indeed)as the cleansing process began.It seems that Sister Lucrezia had died NOT from a tumor BUT from a Self-Applied bladder of a Pig's entrails.

Then,Sister Maria spotted it_the Silver-Green streak on the corpse's skin curving up over the edge of the shoulder,growing thicker over the collarbone until it disappears underneath the body.As the "Serpent" appeared to slide over the breast,slowly moving around the areola before plunging into the stomach,headed for the groin,then as it slidders across what once was a thicket of curls in the pubic area.

The Serpent's body became it's head_a Man's face,head thrown back,eyes closed
as if in "Rapture" and the tongue darting out from his mouth downward toward the opening of Sister Lucrezia's sex....and that's just the Prologue!!!

This book was a Christmas gift_(my friend knows I love the Renaissance Period)_so after reading the Prologue..I called  to ask_"Why"_Was I the CHOSEN ONE to read this Book?We had a good laugh.

The Renaissance Period,the cultural movement that spans from 14th to 17th century began in Florence,Italy.It spread across many countries..Spain spawned El Greco,France's Michel de'Montaigne(one of my favorite),England's Shakespeare and Russia first distilled "Vodka"! Lorenzo de Medici,Botticelli, Michelangelo,The Plague,The POPE & Vatican rules...are just a few that names that
comes to mind.

Sarah Dunant brings all of these elements together in "The Birth Of Venus".The painting _of the same name_by Botticelli with it's symbolism_seductively comes alive on these pages.

Not a book for the "faint at heart" weaves a most delicious story! Do NOT miss this intrigue!!Can't wait to read Sarah Dunant's  "In The Company of The Courtesan" from the same Period.Make yourself a Promise:


Monday, January 2, 2012

"Only God Can Make A Tree"........

While all the Christmas trees of 2011 sparkled with ornaments and other decorations,several important trees had to be felled from the Aaron's Hilltop Farm_DID NOT SPARKLE FOR ME. Indeed, a very sad affair for a Self-Proclaimed "TreeHugger" like me. A Texas Pecan Tree and two Post Oak trees were felled during the Holiday Season.
                      Summer 2011_turning brown,drought .                           

                                          The Felling of the Post Oak                       
Tree felling is a forestry term. It refers to the process of cutting down a tree.A very dangerous operation that has quite a history.Today the use of chainsaws,etc is employed.But the 17th Century Felling AX was made of two pieces of iron that were hammer-welded down the center of the poll surface. Whereas these fellas were Done & Done in less than an hour_if they had been using the following tool...perhaps they might still be here!

                                                                   Vintage Winchester  Ax_Ebay

Trees...I remembered the "Joy" of having TEATIME with a friend under the Bayan Tree on the veranda of the Moana Hotel_aka_First Lady of Waikīkī  a famous historic hotel on the island of O'ahu located at 2365 Kalākaua Avenue in Honolulu,Hawaii in 2000 while on a business trip.The Bayan Tree was in arms length ...almost.It was beautiful.My concern was the birds that kept landing on the chairs_as we did NOT wish their dropping to be our  "Devonshire Cream"!!
                                           Moana Hotel Front Entrance_a Beauty to behold!

As I watched the Pecan Tree come down_I indulged in a childhood dream to say the famous words_TIMBER!!!!!.

Yes,I'm a "TreeHugger"! The term "tree hugger" originated in 1974. It refers to the people, mainly women, of Uttar Pradesh in India who were involved in the Chipko movement. According to the International Institute for Sustainable Development, Chipko "comes from a word meaning 'embrace': the villagers hug the trees, saving them by interposing their bodies between them and the contractors' axes." That being said:
                                                        Trees_Joyce Kilmer
I THINK that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,        
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain. 
Poems are made by fools like me,