'30s Glamour

During my break, I did spend a great amount of my time watching period dramas. I am now forever in love with Mr. Thorton, wished Edmund would have just planted a kiss on Fanny, and truly admired the 2007 adaptation of Northanger Abbey, despite its criticisms. This has subsequently brought a frightening thoughts: films are much more concerned with lust and producing a very flimsy, vapid storyline with predictable outcomes and typical situations in which many can infer that everyone does it. Thus, I have come to grow a tad critical towards modern filmography, simply because I find that more and more, the plot surrounded with immediate sexual tension and immediate satisfaction of those desires. I happen to believe in romance (but not the cute knight-in-shining armour, my Prince Charming aspiration of romance). I believe that there is such an allure in mystery, in what a woman does not entirely convey in her words, the anticipation of a simply sweet yet irrevocably passionate first kiss, in listening attentively to that other's persons dreams, wishes, and aspirations, and making a big deal out of simple, mundane things. I believe that is what romance is: taking pleasure in the small details. That can also account my recent fascination with reading classic literature (while succumbing to more contemporary novels, such as World War II consumed Europe romance and drama).

But there are some films that manage to capture my attention. Madonna's W.E. is no exception. I had heard about it last year during the Oscar season, when all the hubbub regarding costumes, cinematography, and the little details matter in the film world. So naturally, I was intrigued. It was not so much at the fact that a biopic of Wallis Simpson's much publicized affair with the Duke of Windsor, but it was rather how the other female protagonist was important in the film. The film itself proposed some interesting aspects to Wallis Simpson's life (such as the tragic opening scene, where she is physically beaten by her first husband while lying in a pool of her own blood, muttering and whimpering over something about a baby) to how appearances can be so deviously deceptive (shown in Wallis Winthrop's marriage--the other female protagonist). Two story lines seemingly paralleling each other, this film should not simply be rebuffed on account of two-dimensional characters or lacking emotion in emotional scenes. Personally, I find that film critiques find the smaller fragment of rubbish in a film, extrapolate it, and maximize it, akin to looking under a microscope. I find this movie to be rather good. But, as always, I paid attention to the aesthetics. 

Wallis Simpson was a woman who clearly knew exactly what was her style and what worked for her, and stuck with it. She maintained the '20s-esque finger waves hairstyle, classic makeup (winged eyeliner and fiery red lipstick), and clean, polished silhouettes. She wore simple yet ravishing jewellery,  and she was always so chic. Back are the days when women dress up (and cover up!) and it is refreshingly sexy. Even Abbie Cornish's character managed to present herself seductively albeit it was without the use of removing her clothes first. The costume team truly have done a magnificent job. It inspires me to wear red lipstick more; it makes me want to look for that beautiful gown that drapes on my body yet still managing to hug my curves in an unadulterated fashion; and it prompts me to see that dressing in a manner similar to the Duchess of Windsor presented as an allure many men could not hide. While finding screen shots is difficult (unless one consults Pinterest or tumblr), Wallis Simpson's entire wardrobe is riveting. I strongly suggest watching this film if old Hollywood glamour is your vice.


Midterms Madness

During one of the most stressful weeks in college, sometimes, purposely putting homework aside to take a quick trip to the local bookstore, order a coffee, and sip while browsing literature on a rainy Sunday afternoon. The leisure is so comforting that it physically and cognitively relaxing, boosting the ability to actually focus for papers, midterm exams, and other academic requirements. In addition to going out, it helps put you at ease since there is an entire school cramming to study, stressing about finishing on time, and not getting enough sleep for the aforementioned reasons.

In the meantime, when the mini-chill session has, regrettably, ended and it's time to go back to studying, there is nothing that ameliorates its effects as music. There is something about having music playing in the background that doesn't make my paper quite as disgruntling. But in times of dire study sessions, there is no one I turn to other than Dario Marianelli.

These artists have been on repeat on my Spotify:

  • Kimbra
  • Ellie Goulding
  • Coldplay (the older albums)
  • Benoit and Sergio
  • Hauschka 
  • The Civil Wars


Parlez-vous fran├žais?

I recently purchased two French grammar books from Amazon. To anyone, one might ask, "So, what's he big deal?" Well, after studying French for 10 years and not having any access to it and essentially corroding all knowledge, it sticks with you. I yearn to grow more proficient in French, and being a full-time student can be difficult. So, finally deciding that I might as well do it, I've decided that dedicating 10 minutes (or less, as it's usually less) to do an exercise on passe-compose or irregular verbs is something I can afford. After all, college students go on Facebook so intermittently that it will be an excellent way to spend my free time, n'est pas? It also never hurts to extend one's knowledge on a foreign language. It's akin to roller blading after stopping for a while. You're shaky at first but after a while, you get the hang of it and you glide. It's encouraging knowing that every day, little by little, regardless of how much I do, is a progress. And hopefully when I visit Paris, I'll be able to utilize my French and it will be correct. 


October, My Friend

As I grapple with the idea that it is October, I find it strange that September has gone by and it has not dropped below 20 Celsius. Perhaps it is because I always associate September with the leaves changing colors, the temperature fluctuating, and warm tea to warm my bones. While I ponder all that has happened during the ninth month of 2012, there are several things I wish to share with you.

1. The first of them, and arguably the most formidable of them, is the art of allure. And this may be linked with style. Many of the gentlemen I had encounters with describe that while they like a girl to be confident, attractive, and secure in who she is, there is undoubtedly a mystique in a laconic stranger you see every day when you walk to your class. You can recall her distinct style, the way she parts her hair, and the particular way she does makeup. With that registering in my mind and hearing my fellow lads explaining that while they like a chase, there is such an element to mystery. Almost an enchantment. They say that there is something about her, the way she stands, the way she looks, and the way her gaze is so direct that it prompts men to approach her, to find something about her since she holds herself in such a way that it gives the incentive that she knows something they don't and they want to find out what it is. Immediately, I remember how Emma Watson prides herself on mystery and that she doesn't reveal everything about herself, since that's makes the boys wonder, and since they wonder, there is a conquest to discover her. So it seems that men do notice that taciturn vixen in the corner of their eye. Fascinating, I thought, since I figured that most guys project themselves to girls who are extremely sociable, loquacious, and, well, aptly put, popular. And while they agree there is something attractive about those girls, the general consensus is that it's easy to figure those types of girls since they reveal things easily and share quickly due to the burgeoning friendship. A quiet girl who flirts with her eyes and is inviting is much more sensuous and captivating. I admit, I perceive girls that are constantly surrounded by guys to naturally be seen as the girl that every guy wants to date, but I've been assured that that's not necessarily the case. In fact, I've been told, seriously with his voice low, that it's the girl that has this unspoken radiance and expels a spirit that captivates you the moment you lay eyes on her. After all, he asked me, what's more sexy than an attractive girl that sits quietly to herself and dresses as if she's strolling the streets of London or Basel? Quiet certainly, I thought to myself, that I would rather be a girl that guys wonder and spend time thinking about me in the sense that it takes more than a couple of sentences to get to know me. I mean this as selflessly as possible, of course, since every girl desires to be chased. And I aspire to be the girl that guys immediately sense that there is something different about me without ever opening my mouth.

2. Juxtaposing the previous point, I began to think about fashion styles that such girls would wear. And quite interestingly enough, the style seemed to display the rustic English countryside, with wool sweaters, boots, and knitted jumpers, yet the French cool, the "perfectly imperfect" with cat-eye eyeliner, messy updos and ponytails, and an air of availability.

3. I recently joined the Spotify universe, about a month ago. I would have joined earlier if Canada had it. (Come on, Canada, join the bandwagon.) And may I just say that my ears have been rejoicing with wonderful music. Especially with recent releases of singles and forthcoming albums (Taylor Swift, Muse, and Bethel to name a few that I'm monitoring), allow me to share the playlist that I've had on repeat for the past two weeks now.

I. Mumford and Sons--Babel (entire album)
II. Kimbra--Vows (entire album)
III. Paloma Faith--Do You Want The Truth or Something Beautiful? (entire album)
IV. Metronomy--The English Riviera (entire album)
V. Pablo Alboran--Volver A Empezar
VI. Mr. Little Jeans
VII. Ray LaMontagne
VIII. One Direction--Live While We're Young
French Cafe station on Pandora
Whether I'm baking a cake, trying a new recipe out of my cookbook, or simply writing a paper, the artists and albums and songs have accompanied me faithfully.