Friday, July 18, 2014

Homicide in Hardcover

I just finished reading Homicide in Hardcover by Kate Carlisle with the tagline of A Bibliophile Mystery.

Opening lines: My teacher always told me that in order to save a patient you'd have to kill him first. Not the most child-friendly way of explaining his theory of book restoration to his eight year old apprentice, but it worked. I grew up determined to save them all.

One of the reasons I was attracted to this book was the fact that the heroine is a rare book expert, who restores and conserves old books; two other reasons are: I love murder mysteries and it's set in San Francisco.

Brooklyn Wainwright is the main character who finds Abraham, "her mentor lying in a pool of his own blood." With his last breath, he whispers "Remember the devil" and gives her Goethe's Faust. Abraham had been working on The Winslow Collection of books for an upcoming exhibit. One of the books in the collection is Goethe's Faust, which, legend has it, is cursed. All who've owned the book have died. Brooklyn is asked to take over the restoration project and finish Abraham's work with the Faust.

We are introduced to several characters who may or may not have a motive for killing Abraham including: Minka, Brooklyn's nemesis from college; the Winslows; Abraham's rival Enrico; and Brooklyn's own mother. Then there's the British Derek Stone, a former military operative, who now runs his own security company and is in charge of The Winslow Collection. Derek also gets to have a romantic moment or two with Brooklyn.

My only nit with this book is that there's not a lot of actual mystery-solving or investigating happening with the main characters. It's focus is more on Brooklyn's life (who grew up on a commune), her family, (who still live on the commune) and people trying to harm or kill Brooklyn.

Overall, I enjoyed reading Homicide in Hardcover. The book is a fun read and the first in a series of books. It's well-written with definitive characters and plot. I'll definitely be reading others in the series.

I'm linking up to the following blogs:
 Literary Friday at Art @ Home
 Book Beginnings at Rose City Reader
Saturday Review at Semicolon

Thanks so much for stopping by :)

Friday, February 28, 2014


In fall of 2012, I watched the series premiere of "Elementary," an updated version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's detective, Sherlock Holmes.

I didn't like it. Nope. Not at all. Not one bit. Then last summer, I watched one of the season's repeats, then another and another, until I found myself completely addicted.

In this updated version, Sherlock Holmes (a recovering addict) lives in New York and consults for the NY police department. Holmes is brilliantly played by Jonny Lee Miller (ex-husband of Angelina Jolie). Doctor John Watson has morphed into a woman in the form of Lucy Liu and is now known as Dr. Joan Watson.

In the above picture, Holmes and Watson discuss a case in their brownstone's kitchen. Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu have great on-screen chemistry and are very believable as a crime fighting duo. The show is filmed in New York and has some great street scenes.

I think part of my original resistance to "Elementary," was due in part to how much I love the BBC version called "Sherlock". That show (airing on PBS) stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Doyle's anti-hero and Watson has not had his sex-change operation yet.

I love Lucy Liu's clothing in this series. She looks effortlessly chic while radiating a casual vibe.

The show airs on Thursday nights, 10pm EST on CBS.

Thanks for dropping by :)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Spinach Bread Bowls

Recently, I made these delicious Spinach Bread Bowls. I'd sampled them at a party a few weeks before and knew I had to make them.

The original recipe is at The Picky Palate, while the recipe I'm going to share with you today is my modified version.

  • Dough to fit a 12 count muffin pan or 1 roll of refrigerated french bread loaf, Pillsbury's Simply Perfect
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped spinach
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, garden vegetable flavor
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/8 table salt
  • 1/8 black pepper
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  • Flour for the refrigerated bread loaf
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Butter/grease/spray muffin pan.
  3. Remove bread from packaging and slice into 12 equal parts (flour the cutting board and knife). Press each slice flat, then press into each muffin space.
  4. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium high heat. Add spinach and cook until wilted, 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the garlic; cook about one more minute.
  5. In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, sour cream, cooked spinach, salts and pepper until well blended.
  6. Scoop mixture into the center of each bread bowl.
  7. Top with the mozzarella cheese.
  8. Bake 15-17 minutes until the cheese is melted and browning occurs at the edges.
  9. Remove from the oven and let cool about 3-5 minutes before removing from the muffin pan.
  10. Serve warm.
  • Prepare the spinach in advance. Wash and dry the spinach the day before. I used fresh spinach for this recipe and it took me about an hour to chop up 2 cups. In my defense, I was watching TV while chopping! The second time I made this, I finely chopped the spinach, as my niece complained it was a little too stringy the first time.

  • On using the Pillsbury bread loaf: The Picky Palate says to cut into 10 slices, but I had no problem cutting the loaf into 12 slices. First, I cut the loaf in half, then each half was halved again. I was then left with 4 parts, which I easily sliced into 3 equal parts to arrive at 12 slices.
  • If you're not a fan of the garden vegetable cream cheese, then switch to regular cream cheese.
I think next time I make these, I'll make my own dough from scratch instead of buying a premade loaf. Homemade bread always tastes better to me.

Thanks so much for stopping by.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Vivien Leigh turns 100

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Vivien Leigh. To celebrate her birthday, I decided to share some of my favorite photos of her.

Vivien preferred performing before an audience, on stage, as opposed to making movies. Therefore, she only made nineteen films, in her 32 year career as an actress.

Here she is as Titania, from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, in a 1937 theater production.

In the movie, Dark Journey, she plays the very fashionable spy, Madeleine Goddard.

Vivien also posed for many fashion magazines and famous photographers. Angus McBean, Cecil Beaton, Lazslo Willinger, Vivienne and Bassano are just a few of the photographers who attempted to capture her beauty.

I first saw Vivien Leigh in Gone With The Wind when the movie debuted on television. My mom was so excited about this movie, that my sisters and I caught her enthusiasm for GWTW before we ever saw it. It aired over two nights and we were allowed to stay up past our bedtime, which was a really big deal, to finish watching it each night.

No matter how many times I watch this movie, I still love it. The barbecue scene is one of my favorites. Below, Scarlett and Rhett embrace. This image is from a lobby card.

While filming Gone With The Wind, Vivien was involved (& had been for a couple of years) in a real-life, love affair with Laurence Olivier. Since both were still married to other people, the studio kept it hush-hush. This photo is one of my absolute favorites of the two of them.

This candid of  Vivien was snapped in a parking lot, near Lux Radio Theater, circa 1940, in Los Angeles.

Here, Vivien tries her hand as the Egyptian Queen, Cleopatra. This movie was based on George Bernard Shaw's play, Caesar and Cleopatra. A few years later, Olivier and her would bring the play to the stage.

Simply a lovely portrait.

Laurence Olivier in make-up for his stage role in Titus Andronicus, along with a bewigged Vivien Leigh. This pic was taken in Paris, opening night, 1957. In the 1950s, it was fashionable for "older" women to wear their hair short. This was a trend that Vivien followed. When I see her in wigs, such as this one, I can't help but think that longer hair made her look years younger.

As the beautiful Karen Stone in The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone, costarring Warren Beatty. Vivien played an aging actress preyed upon by a young gigolo.

In the garden of her home, Tickerage Mills, with her friend Godfrey Winn.

I hope you've enjoyed this photographic journey in the life of Vivien Leigh.

Thanks for your visit today!

Aynsley Tea Cup and Saucer

This week I'm sharing an Aynsley tea cup and saucer set.

I love the birds on the cup and saucer, unfortunately I don't know the name of this design.

All the colors are really vibrant in person.

There's a lot of gold trim going on!

Thanks for your visit today!

I'm linking up to:
Terri at Artful Affirmations
Martha at Martha's Favorites
Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Versace Barbie

I haven't posted in awhile, so I thought I'd start things off with a return to one of my favorite things: Barbie. I love collecting vintage Barbies, but I also love when Mattel creates special dolls.

This is the Versace Barbie doll, created by Donatella Versace. Versace Barbie was released in 2004. She wears a floor length taupe colored gown with matching heels.

There is so much detail on this gown. Her form fitting bodice laces up in the front and extends to her hips.

The bottom half of her taupe gown falls to the floor in a cascade of ruffles and has a thigh high split.

Underneath the box's lid, the doll is protected with a second, plastic lid. The plastic covering acts like a mirror, so I had to remove it to photograph the doll. Otherwise, all you'd see is me!

Lifetime recently debuted a movie, "House of Versace", based on Donatella Versace's life, before and after her brother's death. The movie stars Gina Gershon as Donatella and Enrico Colantoni as her brother, Gianni. It's not the best movie, but it should be watched simply for Gina Gershon's performance. She's completely amazing as Donatella.

 Thanks for your visit today!

Monday, October 14, 2013

A Supernatural TV Season

I love the supernatural and this TV season seems to have a plethora of shows dedicated to the genre. The following are my returning favorites and a couple of new ones that I'll be watching.

Jensen Ackles as Dean Winchester
One of my all-time favorite shows is Supernatural. This show is about the Winchester brothers who hunt down, fight and kill things like demons, shapeshifters, bad witches and ghosts.

Season 9 premiered last Tuesday night on The CW. Sam Winchester is played by Jared Padelecki (on the hospital bed) and Dean Winchester is played by Jensen Ackles. These brothers fight, argue, namecall and play jokes on each other. Their great on-screen chemistry is what's kept the show on for all these years.

Another show returning this fall is Grimm, October 25 on NBC. Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli) is a homicide detective in Portland, Oregon, who discovers that he's a descendant in a long line of Grimms.

A Grimm is a hunter of mythological creatures known as Wesen. Nick only hunts down the Wesen who do bad things to humans. Wesen look like humans until they morph into their supernatural being. However, since Nick is a Grimm, he can see the Wesen even when they are in their human form. Nick is helped out by Monroe, a Wesen blutbad, kind of like a werewolf, played by Silas Weir Mitchell.
Nick's girlfriend, Juliette, is played by Bitsie Tulloch and Nick's partner is Hank (Russell Hornsby). Other cast include: Captain Sean Renard (Sasha Roiz) also a Wesen; Sgt Wu (Reggie Lee); and Bree Turner plays Rosalee, Monroe's love interest. Season One focused mostly on Nick, whereas Season Two became more of an ensemble drama. There were a few times in S2, where I wished the focus would be more on Nick as there were too many little storylines running through the main story. Hopefully, this'll be corrected in Season Three.

American Horror Story: Coven is the third season for this great show. Each season is a different story . Season 1 concerned homeowners in a haunted house in California and Season 2 took place inside an asylum.

In Coven, Jessica Lange plays a Supreme, which is a very powerful witch and Sarah Paulson is her daughter, running a school for young witches in New Orleans. Joining the cast this season are Kathy Bates, Emma Roberts, and Angela Bassett.

The Witches of East End premiered last Sunday night on Lifetime. Joanna, a witch, has raised her two daughters, Ingrid and Freya as normal humans, instead of witches. Her sister comes to town to warn her about an evil doer posing as Joanna. Of course, her daughters then find out that they are indeed witches.

The main characters are all likeable and each set of sisters are believabe as such. Joanna is played by Julia Ormond and her sister, Wendy, is played by Madchen Amick. Joanna's daughters are Ingrid (Rachel Boston) and Freya (Jenna Dewan Tatum (wife of Channing Tatum)).

Another new show is Sleepy Hollow on Fox. At first, I didn't want to watch this show because I love the Johnny Depp movie so much. How could anyone play Ichabod as good as Johnny, right?

Well, so far, British actor Tom Mison is doing a great job. Ichabod Crane is fighting the Headless Horseman and the next thing he knows, he wakes up in 2013 Sleepy Hollow. Unfortunately, the Hessian also arrives in 2013. In this updated version, he's now one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. I'm not really fond of this idea, but hey, it's good TV and I find that I'm willing to suspend my disbelief for this weekly show.

 Ichabod's sidekick is Abbie, a deptuy sheriff played by Nicole Beharie. Beharie and Mison play off each other perfectly. Katia Winter is Katrina (Ichabod's wife) and Orlando Jones is Captain Frank Irving, Abbie's boss.

Katia Winter, Tom Mison, Nicole Beharie and Orlando Jones
Dracula will premiere next Friday night on NBC with Jonathan Rhys Meyers taking up the cape. I'm torn on this show-- to watch or not to watch? The advertisements look really good, but vampires really, really scare me. Silly me, right? I know they don't exist, but sometimes my mind likes to play the "what if" game when I'm outside at night.

By the time I was twelve, I'd watched every vampire movie, make that every horror movie, ever made. When I was around ten, I'd take my pencils, rubberband them together into crosses and strategically place them around my bedroom each night. This way, if a vampire crawled up the side of my house, he wouldn't be able to get me. Luckily, that only lasted a year or two. However, not sleeping with a window open, or even allowing a window open after dark, lasted into my mid-twenties.

Synopsis from NBC:  Golden Globe winner Jonathan Rhys Meyers ("The Tudors") stars in this provocative new drama as one of the world's most iconic characters. It's the late 19th century, and the mysterious Dracula has arrived in London, posing as an American entrepreneur , who wants to bring modern science to Victorian society. He's especially interested in the new technology of electricity, which promises to brighten the night - useful for someone who avoids the sun. But he has another reason for his travels: he hopes to take revenge on those who cursed him with immortality centuries earlier. Everything seems to be going according to plan... until he becomes infatuated with a woman who appears to be a reincarnation of his dead wife. From the producers of the critically acclaimed, Emmy Award-winning hit "Downton Abbey" comes "Dracula," a twisted, sophisticated and sexy take on Bram Stoker's classic novel, proving that some stories never die.

 Thanks for your visit today!