Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Currently watching...

...and enjoying the hell out of the second season of the wonderful "Ted Lasso."

Season one of this truly charming series was something very special. And I am delighted to be able to visit these characters again and spend time with each of them. My husband and I initially resisted this show because it presents itself as a series about soccer, and we are not sports fans. In fact, I would rather chew broken glass than watch any film or series about sports. But after some cajoling from some English ex-pat friends who assured us that the show is resolutely not about soccer (football), but about personalities and a fun culture clash between English and American sensibilities, we decided to give it a try and we are so glad we did.

We were rewarded with a series not about soccer/football but a sweet comedy with a serious message at its heart: kindness. I know it may sound very Pollyanna-ish, but this is a show that holds up the value of kindness as something to strive for, something that will make us whole, something that has the power to change the world if only we let it. And it feels like there is so little kindness in the world right now, I find that my exposure to this show has acted as some kind of antidote. I find my mood actually uplifted after watching such vulnerable, caring people genuinely relating to each other and supporting each other despite apparent flaws and mistakes. There is no manufactured drama here, no irreversible trauma, just people looking out for one another...and if someone makes a mistake, they apologize and because the others know the essence of that person, they forgive.

And the attitude comes from Ted Lasso himself, masterfully played by Jason Sudeikis. Lasso is an American football coach hired by an English soccer club to move to London and lead the team. Unbeknownst to him, he is actually there at the behest of the ex-wife of the owner of the club in order to run it into the ground and destroy it in a plot of revenge. But Lasso has winning ways that are irresistible. And soon, everyone's life is the better for his presence, his wit, and his heart.

It sounds simplistic but it's actually a nuanced show with equal parts heart and true wit. Mixed in with the message of kindness, each character gets a chance to play with some screamingly funny lines and dialogue, mostly done in an understated way. And the relationships and character studies are refreshing as well: men can talk with each other in a profound way and share intimate thoughts, women can be friends without resorting to clichéd catty behaviour, and angry athletes can express great love for children.

Recommend? Yes, if you want to feel like there is some goodness in the world, please do spend some time with Coach Lasso and the team.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

The Beaumont, Mayfair, London

It's been several years since I have been to London (I think the last time was for Kate Bush's triumphant, twenty-two night run at the Apollo, here), and with COVID variants still unpredictable, it seems that it will be a while longer before I can get back. Meanwhile, I am taking comfort looking at the newly renovated hotel, The Beaumont in London's Mayfair neighborhood.

I am enthralled with the absolutely gorgeous Art Deco theme. The building was erected as a garage in 1925–1926 by the architects Wimperis and Simpson on behalf of Macy's Ltd. and the façade was Grade II listed by Historic England in 2009.

The theme is impeccably carried throughout the hotel with Streamline Moderne furnishings, burled walnut paneling, period artworks (the 1920s portraits scattered among the public spaces as well as the rooms are lovely), and even in the tile choices for the suite baths and in the on-site hammam.


Saturday, August 28, 2021

"Odd Apples" by William Mullan

Photographer and self-named "Pomme Queen" William Mullan artistically captures rare and unusual apples for his amazing book "Odd Apples."

The Odd Apples site says: "There are estimated to be 7,000+ named cultivars of apples in the world, a comically intimidating number. Some of these apples look like frogs; some are pink inside; some look psychedelic, and some look like stars. Through photographs of rare & curious apples, 'Odd Apples' celebrates the enchanting diversity and odd nature of apples, expanding our perception what they look like and what they taste like."

Pink Pearl
Knobbed Russet
Kandil Sinap
Hidden Rose
Frequin Laciatelle
Calville Blanc
Black Oxford
Api Etoile

You can buy a copy of "Odd Apples" here:

Friday, August 27, 2021

BEAUTY: Painting--Stephen Magsig

In these waning days of summer, let's look at the gorgeous southwestern United States landscapes of artist Stephen Magsig (I featured his refracted city lights paintings previously here). The locations are lovely but his interpretation makes them even more so...these areas in and around Taos Pueblo, New Mexico are peaceful and he captures the stillness and magnificence of the vistas beautifully.

And I love these very special views--day light, dusk, and night--of the famous San Francisco de Asís Mission Church in Ranchos de Taos.

Top to bottom: Deep Shadows; Evening Shadows; Evening view; Lights Across the Valley; Mesa Shadows; Midday Shadows; Passing Storm; Pueblo Shadows; Ranchos de Taos; Red Willow Creek, Taos Pueblo; Rio Grande Gorge; Silence, The Turquoise Door; Vermillion Cliffs; three views of Ranchos de Taos Church


Tuesday, August 24, 2021

BEAUTY: Interior--Lauren Liess

Interior and lifestyle designer Lauren Liess created a stunning villa for a client that blends ancient and modern with organic elements. The result is Tuscan by way of the Tropics. I love the reclaimed Jerusalem stone on the barrel vaulted ceiling in the dining room as well as on the kitchen walls and range hood, and the outrageously large master bathroom which features dark cement-and-waterproof-stucco shower walls.