Thursday, December 29

degas & the nude + the new mfa

hello lovelies!  so tuesday was a trip to the museum of fine arts in boston, to see for myself both the degas exhibition & the new arts of the americas wing.  and it was certainly worth the trip.  

Edgar Degas, La Toilette, 1884-86. Pastel over monotype laid down on board. Private Collection.
Courtesy of Private Collection.
the degas exhibition {Degas and the Nude} focused on the development of the nude figure within the famous impressionist artist's oeuvre, including not only painting, but also within prints {pastel on monograph}, drawing & sculpture.  overall, his use of the nude in developing what we now know as a 'modernist' style or approach was fascinating, as was the graphic and often violent quality of some of the works, particularly the monograph studies of women in brothels.  as you may expect, i greatly prefer degas' ballet scenes, but i also feel that it is important to consider the whole of an artist's work in developing an understanding of the spirit of his work & the exhibition rightly emphasized the importance of an anatomical understanding of the unclothed human body to any figurative painter.  as would in any selection of degas' works, his mastery of color in pastel and his unique 'voyeur' perspective, as if spying in on a private moment, shone through.  the mfa exhibition generally offered a foil to the tremendously popular 'Degas and the Ballet: Picturing Movement' at the royal academy in london, which closed on december 11th.  

Edgar Degas, The Tub, 1886. Pastel. Paris, Musée d'Orsay, bequest of comte Issac de Camondo, 1911.
© Photo Musée d'Orsay.
Edgar Degas, After the Bath, Woman Drying Her Neck, 1895-98. Pastel on wove paper.
Paris, Musée d'Orsay, bequest of comte Isaac de Camondo, 1911. © Photo Musée d'Orsay.
Edgar Degas, Dancers, Nude Study, about 1899. Charcoal and pastel on wove paper. Photo Credit: Harvard Art Museum/Fogg Art Museum, Partial and promised gift of Emily Rauh Pulitzer in honor of James Cuno, 2002.303.  
Edgar Degas, Dancer Looking at the Sole of her Right Foot, modeled between 1896–1911, cast between 1921–31. Bronze. Paris, Musée d'Orsay.

a trip to the museum also gave the me opportunity to explore the new arts of the americas wing, opened last year, as well as the great courtyard which links it to the original part of the museum.  described as 'a jewel box,' the courtyard holds tables on which new american fare is served & would be a lovely space for an important event or party.  the arts of the americas wing focuses not only on art from the united states, but through north and south america as well, and i believe that this gives it a slight edge over other museums; exposed constantly through my work to american decorative arts, i was delighted to see specimens of furniture from not only 18th century america, but south american countries & the caribbean.  the wing is organized thematically, with the lower ground floor holding a native american art collection, the ground floor with colonial, revolutionary & federal objects, the second floor with 19th century objects, with highlights from the museum's important copley and sergeant holdings, and finally, the third floor with 20th century, more contemporary american art, including a stella & an o'keefe.

Shapiro Family Courtyard, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.  Designed by Foster + Partners.
  all in all, i would encourage you to go to the museum & attend the degas exhibition {set to close february 5th} keeping in mind that those looking for his iconic scenes of belle epoque parisian ballet might be disappointed {sigh}.  i genuinely hope all of you in london went & enjoyed the show at the RA immensely!  i hope you are having the most lovely holiday week.  xx hillary

Tuesday, December 27

sweet winter treat: {fresh mint} hot chocolate

hello cheries!  just a quick recipe for those of you looking to fill this holiday week with indulgences before the inevitable dietary austerity of the first weeks of the new year.  

image via {pinterest}
i adore the flavor of mint with chocolate.. peppermint patties, mint chocolate chip ice cream, and so on.  i also love the idea of mint hot chocolate,  the mint cutting through some of that richness, but dislike the artificial mint taste.  solution: make hot chocolate from scratch, flavored using fresh mint.  
{not at all as tricky as it sounds.}  

for about four servings, heat six cups milk {2% for best results} until nearly boiling.  take it off the heat and add fresh mint sprigs, and let it steep for ten minutes.  then remove the mint and return the milk to the heat, adding 12 oz milk chocolate {i used a bag of ghirardelli milk chocolate chips & it worked beautifully}.  stir until the chocolate is melted & then warm over medium heat until it reaches a suitable serving temperature {piping hot for me!}.  top with homemade whipped cream {beat a bit of heavy cream in a large bowl with a whisk, adding a spoonful of confectioner's sugar and a drop of vanilla extract} and, perhaps, some chocolate shavings.  enjoy the perfection & bon soir.  xx hillary

Monday, December 26

playful & elegant: natalie portman for miss doir cherie

hello lovelies!  my sincerest apologies for having essentially completely dropped the ball on christmas..  so many happy changes over the past month and not nearly enough attention to blogging.  but now that winter has arrived & the holidays are nearly gone, its time to refocus on blogging and keeping things cheery&bright&magical&romantic through the bleakest days.  

i am not entirely sure how often many of you see perfume commercials on television, but i seem to view them constantly while in new york cabs.  normally, after the tenth time, i grow a bit tired with these short mini-stories, but not with miss doir cherie.  it is utterly captivating, elegant, beautiful, full of romance & a perfect amount of delicacy, all of my ideals rolled into one.  i probably also am particularly taken by it because it features natalie portman, to whom i bare a slight resemblance.  i know i will be going back to it on those days that it seems winter will never end, and i hope that you enjoy too.  it's also a lovely minute-long escape to the holiday chaos which still lingers.  so here's to little black dresses & bowties & bouquets of roses & a secret garden avec swan...

p.s. this is what dior says about the scent:

"An Eau de Parfum Miss Dior fragrance created for an 'elegant and spirited young woman in love.'

Romantic by nature, Miss Dior inspires an intense and playful love, for which she is also searching.  She personifies the spontaneous joie de vivre of today's young woman, representing a particular type of freedom and seduction.  The fragrance is characterized by an instant and captivating charm.  

Miss Dior is a chypre that develops step by step.  It glides from the sharp charm of a fresh, fruity citrus prelude into blossoming floral notes, then on to the noble elegance of patchouli, before finally concluding with musk, the last trace of memory... 

With veritable riches concealed in her heart, Miss Dior develops in the most intense and astonishing way."

mmm parfait. 

Thursday, December 8

let it snow

finally, the weather in new york has taken a turn for the cold. today was wonderfully crisp, make-your-cheeks-rosey weather: perfectly december.  now all that is needed is a frosting of snowfall to make the season complete.  there's nothing as graceful as snowflakes swirling, floating gently, as peaceful as that white blanket of purity & innocence, or as romantic as sharing its ethereal magic.  don't you agree?  

xx hillary

how very new york.
& bon soir . . . 

Sunday, December 4

english rose of autumn: rosamund pike graces town&country

it's a bit dated now, but i have been obsessing over the rosamund pike photos in november's town&country.  i have adored her since she was the most perfect jane in pride&prejudice {kiera knightly version} and here she is an exquisite english beauty, so beautifully dressed.  

do enjoy.  xx hillary

christmas time in the city

hello lovelies!  goodness, i have been just terrible about blogging lately.  so so busy working away, but finally a few minutes of repose.  above is an image of rockefeller center's christmas display & iconic tree, which, luckily, stands just across from christie's.  christmas time in the city has been so lovely & festive, and i felt myself getting into the spirit even before thanksgiving.  lights & trees are all around & the most beautiful window displays.  and yesterday was the debut of elizabeth taylor's jewelry & couture collection, set to be auctioned beginning next week.  so happy to begin sharing christmas gift, cooking & decorating ideas!  bonne nuit, lovelies!  xx hillary

p.s. came across this recipe for barley salad with squash and broccoli today. what an amazing lunch!  

Sunday, November 20

a promising pumpkin pie

{image via martha stewart}

hello dearies!  thanksgiving is fast approaching & i must make a confession: i do not like pumpkin pie.  pumpkin muffins, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin mousse, even, yes.  but not pumpkin pie. i think it is the odd wobbly texture, the slightly watery surface that develops when chilled.  or maybe i've just never had a proper pumpkin pie.  anywhoo, i believe i have found a pie with promise: {martha stewart's deep-dish mile-high meringue version.}  i adore meringue, of course, and i love the idea of toasted clouds of it floating above a perfectly, warmly spiced filling, resting in a gingery crust.  could this be the pumpkin pie for me?  only time shall tell, as i plan on whipping this up when i return to boston on wednesday for the cherished american holiday, one that i missed last year while living in london.  

are you planning on making anything for thanksgiving?  with all of my recipe & entertaining reading, i look anxiously forward to the realization of my ideal thanksgiving menu one day, with a beautifully curated table, of course, laden with a delectable & traditional feast, sparkling friends & family on a perfect fall thursday, but as a slightly over-worked twenty-three year old without even a kitchen table, i am tremendously thankful for my thanksgiving this year, one which involves me coming back to boston late wednesday & enjoying a leisurely meal at my aunt's, no extensive preparation involved.  oh and catching up with brother & cousins & best friends, and saturday, transitioning beautifully transitioning into the holiday spirit via boston ballet's the nutcracker.  oh & fun fact.  have i ever told you that one of my ancestors came to america on the mayflower? {and presumably took part in the very first thanksgiving?}  c'est vrai.  & perhaps it's why thanksgiving and i are such bonnes amies. xx hillary 

Sunday, November 13

kate spade: holiday happiness

hello lovelies!  have you seen any of the kate spade youtube videos yet? for the past year the company has been making the most darling short films, most recently to correspond with their color-of-the-month campaign.  although i will admit i am not the most enthusiastic about the mutli-color choice for november, i do adore the fun vibe of this video.  thanksgiving is first, but here's to holiday wrapping ahead... xx hillary

p.s. how is your weekend going? yesterday i enjoyed the most beautiful fall day. {did you see my instagram pick of the park?} the morning was coffee & a stroll down fifth & madison to the met, wandering, constantly evermore delighted, particularly in spying the museum christmas tree being decorated.  then college football & my favorite eggs benedict with a great friend, off for a much-needed hair cut at an amazingly attentive salon {lavished with crystal chandeliers, no less}. then a leisurely stroll home through the half-light of an autumn afternoon, popping in to banana to try on some new holiday pieces i have my eye on &, oh, a necessary diversion to find the latest martha stewart living, architectural digest, vanity fair, and town & country. and today has been peaceful & productive, leaving me feeling quite prepared for the busy week ahead..  

Thursday, November 10

late-autumn hues: nature & nail color

hello dearies!  sorry not to be checking in as often as i'd like, but things seem to be hectic hectic everywhere.  work & fun & such a wonderfully successful post-war and contemporary evening sale on tuesday. but tomorrow i know that after a morning at the met, i will stroll peacefully down fifth ave, basking in the filtered light created by the avenue of overarching tall oaks overhead, bursting with autumn, possibly similar to the photo above.  this is reminiscent of last year's treks through hyde park & the path in st. james & green park leading eventually to the palace ... long strides & deep breaths in my tall riding boots. 
isn't this just magical?
and this reminds me of photos i've been dying to share for a full year now ... a perfect autumn saturday in the english countryside, at the most magnificent chatsworth.  a great duke's 'attic sale' hosted by sotheby's followed by hours of romping about the grounds, snapping photos of remarkable vistas, the house a picturesque masterpiece, & in the house, gasping at its beauty & extravagance, and hoping just hoping that mr. darcy would appear around every corner.  all coming soon, tomorrow perhaps?    
but now, head out of jane austen & back in new york, i think i have found the.perfect.nail.color for november pre-thanksgiving.  downtown brown by essie.  described by essie as a chocolate brown with deep red undertones, it is quintessentially late autumn, moving away from the apple reds of september & october & preceding the jewel-tones and sparkles of the christmas season.  & now two manis in a row.  thoughts?  what are your go-to colors for november & december?  so happy for my walk down 5th tomorrow.  surely instagram pics are in the making.. happy almost weekend.  xx hillary 
so obsessed .. my contribution to a thanksgiving table?

{all images via pinterest}

Thursday, November 3

back ... and here to stay.

hello mes cheries!  i am so terribly sorry about my extended absence.  but now the stress that my life has been is over over, i have returned to stay & post & post once more.  how was your october?  mine was full of moving {again} of writing and reading and working, of a trip home {oh, how i do love thee suburbia}, a best friend visiting, a snowstorm {yes ...  in october ... in new york}, a halloween house warming.  but i am so so triste to have missed october, perhaps my very favorite month, with its leaves & apples & pumpkin patches & the lovely crisp weather.  but now the holidays are here here.  {when starbucks switches to the holiday cups, well, c'est officiel}  & christmas music on the radio & ice skating in rockefeller plaza.  i'm more than ready for a season of fêting & the warmth of thanksgiving & the sparkles of holiday parties & the nutcracker & thoughtful, beautiful gifting.  and on and on.  so this month will be filled of holiday entertaining ideas, recipes, decorating, flower arrangements, winter style & beauty, & oh so much art.  

but first, a poem i've known for years & have found myself drawn to of late.  charles baudelaire, fin de siècle paris, fleurs du mal.  it's a beautiful evocation of the relationships between man & nature, and just such an lovely way to practice one's french when read aloud {as all poems should be}.  enjoy & so happy to be back.  love love.  xx hillary.


La Nature est un temple où de vivants piliers

Laissent parfois sortir de confuses paroles;

L'homme y passe à travers des forêts de symboles

Qui l'observent avec des regards familiers.

Comme de longs échos qui de loin se confondent

Dans une ténébreuse et profonde unité,

Vaste comme la nuit et comme la clarté,

Les parfums, les couleurs et les sons se répondent.

II est des parfums frais comme des chairs d'enfants,

Doux comme les hautbois, verts comme les prairies,

— Et d'autres, corrompus, riches et triomphants,

Ayant l'expansion des choses infinies,

Comme l'ambre, le musc, le benjoin et l'encens,

Qui chantent les transports de l'esprit et des sens.
Charles Baudelaire

... and the best translation ... 


Nature is a temple where living pillars 

Let sometimes emerge confused words; 

Man crosses it through forests of symbols

Which watch him with intimate eyes.

Like those deep echoes that meet from afar 

In a dark and profound harmony, 

As vast as night and clarity, 

So perfumes, colors, tones answer each other.

There are perfumes fresh as children's flesh,

Soft as oboes, green as meadows,

And others, corrupted, rich, triumphant,

Possessing the diffusion of infinite things, 

Like amber, musk, incense and aromatic resin, 

Chanting the ecstasies of spirit and senses.

— Geoffrey Wagner, Selected Poems of Charles Baudelaire (NY: Grove Press, 1974)

Monday, September 26

enchanted event: artists for haiti at auction

hello lovelies!  just a quick message to let you know about an amazing charity event that occurred on thursday at christie's: the artists for haiti auction.  headed up by ben stiller, the auction consisted of only 26 lots by both established & up-and-coming contemporary artists, & all of which were donated & sold, four for record prices, including one purchased by jennifer anniston & her beau.  the auction was headed by ben stiller, who was sighted last tuesday giving interviews in the christie's galleries.  the total $13.7 million raised at the auction will go directly to non-profits to rebuild schools on the island devastated last year in the earthquake.  check out the e-catalogue here & press release here.  isn't so lovely to hear about something both glamorous & incredibly charitable?  xx hillary 

Saturday, September 24

simple fall dessert: swirly baked apples

have been so so busy & unable to blog & am feeling just terrible for it.  but i'm becoming more accustomed to my crazy new schedule & life in nyc, so this will improve, je te promets.  i just think that these swirly apples are beautiful & so easy & actually relatively healthy.  have you been enjoying the gorgeous fall produce thus far?  must run, but hope you're having such a lovely weekend.  xx hillary

Saturday, September 17

fragrant & fresh: union square farmer's market

hello lovelies!  a taste of today's trip to union square farmer's market ... lost in the joy of farm-fresh produce, charmed by the bright flowers, new yorkers with most adorable dogs (miss you, nala!), apples appearing in bushels & bushels {i chose the prettiest ever blushing french breakfasts}, quarts of cider & piles of plums & petite pears. oh & local grapes, have you ever tried true concords? & with autumn beginning, still the remnants of late summer with sweet corn & heirloom tomatoes.  ohh i do adore seasonal, local fresh produce.  now for writing & organizing before meeting best girlfriends.  i hope you had the most lovely & relaxing saturday, at the farmer's market perhaps?  have a beautiful weekend.  
xx hillary  

Friday, September 16

perfect plum pudding: rustic plum & port tart

image via {bon appetit}
c'est officiel: with a temperature drop of 20 degrees yesterday, autumn has graced the east coast.  i could not be happier with the cool, crisp air this morning & thoughts of cozy fall cooking.  on wednesday i discovered this delicious & simple tart on & think it would be the perfect dessert to celebrate the beginning of my favorite season. with only seven ingredients, including the accompanying vanilla ice cream, i plan to pick up my plums at the farmer's market tomorrow & cannot wait to enjoy.  give it a try too & do let me know how it goes.  happy fall.  xx hillary

p.s. access the recipe {here}

Wednesday, September 14

je t'aime brian atwood shoes & saks fifth avenue

saks fith avenue presents brian atwood via {here}

hello my darlings!  am so happy to report that i have just returned home from the most lovely event for the brian atwood shoe collection lauch at saks.  so many amazing fashion bloggers were present {as they have been all of fashion week in nyc! amazing}.  have you heard of brian atwood?  he is possibly the most gorgeous designer with amazingly parfait shoes for both day & evening.  i was so thrilled to try on his chunky animal print heels this evening & am lusting over his pony hair boots & charming heeled booties in every color, merging classic & statement.  oohhh je t'aime brian atwood.  it was also lovely sipping cocktails & nibbling hors d'oeuvres with fellow bloggers, representatives from the line, &, of course, saks employees.  shoes + party + blogging = bliss. do please enjoy! {and buy here.}  xx hillary

b brian atwood video campaign via {here}

 p.s. items referred to above (& image) via {here}

Tuesday, September 13

weekday petit-dejeuner: whole-grain salads for lunch

image via {martha stewart}
hello darlings! now that fall is in full swing, & workday workweek has resumed with a zeal, lunch has once again become an important consideration.  buying out everyday can become quite expensive & may not be the healthiest option, but often mornings are rushed & both preparing & packing a wholesome lunch simply is not an option.  & this is where the whole-grain salad comes in.  i love the idea of a healthy whole grain salad with veggies & goat cheese or feta & nuts, all tossed with a beautiful vinaigrette.  quinoa is possibly the perfect base to employ here, as it is actually a complete protein & is très satisfying.  & the best part is, of course, that these salads can be prepared easily on a sunday afternoon & portioned out & you will be absolument ready for the week ahead.  i like martha stewart's quinoa and apple salad with curry dressing & quinoa and corn salad with pumpkin seeds & a food network fall - winter recipe for farro salad with apples, pomegranate seeds & pine nuts {farro is an ancient whole grain, nutty & delicious}.  any thoughts on these substantial salads for lunch? do give one of the recipes a try.  

hope you had the most lovely tuesday.  i was given such a treat today in getting up close&personal with a few amazing pieces of newport furniture from the 18th century.  another week is flying by, with brian atwood launch party tomorrow & kate spade on thurs.  what a delightful whirlwind . . .   

p.s. also be sure to check out the article from martha stewart september : "going with the grains" for more wonderful lunch recipes {not yet available online} 

Sunday, September 11

move over cupcakes: ladurée macarons in nyc

image via {here}
have you tried a proper french macaron yet?  these light as air, beautifully colored & flavored cookies are the new trending dessert, recently becoming a staple at weddings & other elegant events.  martha stewart living magazine even featured an article on how to make the parisian delicacies at home, each essentially two disks of italian meringue held together with cream.  often in light pastel tones in such darling flavors as rosewater, pistachio, jasmine, orange flower, sea-salted caramel, creme de cassis & the palest brown chocolate, stacked in pyramids, they are aesthetically oooh so pleasing & delicious, and although they have been widely available in the us & the uk in speciality shops, the original & most beautiful & indisputably authentic brand is ladurée {& with the most enchanting packaging}. only until the last few months these ladurée macarons were exclusively available in paris, but shops have opened in london {including a mini shop in selfridges} & a proper store in covent garden.  & most excitingly, madison avenue has been graced with a laudree {71st & madison).  apartment hunting {ultimately successful, i should add} deterred our plans to stop by, but we will undoubtedly visit very soon & i cannot wait to have a beautiful box of my own perfect sweets.    
image via {here}
image via {here} 
image via {here} 
image via {here}
image via {here}
image via {here} 
image via {here} 
image via {here} 
image via {here}
au revoir weekend, passing so quickly & dominated by upper east side real estate & more amazing alumni football, but onto a fresh new week, to be filled with lease signing & a saks launch party & kate spade fall fête & perhaps my first day as an employee at j.crew collection on madison.  how was your weekend?  i hope you are enjoying the most lovely transition from summer to autumn ...  now to get organized before monday monday & bon soir.  xx hillary