Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Happy Birthday, Tony!


Today is is Tony Bennett's birthday! Can you believe he is 90 years old?

My mom and I had the privilege of seeing Mr. Bennett perform two years ago at Binghamton University. He was absolutely phenomenal, and at 88 years old he even performed a number without the microphone! If that isn't legendary, I don't know what is.

After the show, we waited around near some black Escalades outside of the school. Miraculously, Mr. Bennett then appeared at the side door near the vans! He came over to chat with us, and I managed to snap a picture (which is very poor quality which is why I haven't uploaded it here, but what can you say?). He was so very gracious and incredibly kind. That night was one I will never ever forget.

Mr. Bennett has a beautiful way of drawing you in with his phrasing, and once you are drawn in it's like entering another world of extraordinary tranquility and bliss. His voice still retains a lot of its silkiness from youth with a bit more raspiness. I actually prefer his more mature voice now as it adds another dimension to the music. You really have to love the music to sing it for as long as Mr. Bennett has, and it's quite apparent once you listen to him perform that he truly does love the music and adores the fans he is performing for.

To close, here is one of my favorite songs ("Autumn Leaves") performed by Mr. Bennett:


As Sinatra himself said about Tony Bennett, he really is one of the best there ever was. 

Do you have any favorite songs performed by Tony Bennett?
Cheers. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Song of the Day: "Pure Imagination/Candy Man"

Hello, everyone!

Again, it's been awhile since I've blogged anything. Honestly, I attribute this drought to a lack of inspiration. I find myself trying to find content to fit the theme of the blog, and I am sadly drawing blanks. Thus, I've decided to just write about whatever I am feeling or thinking about in the current moment. Most of it will still fit the blog's theme, but I am going to use this space as more of a creative outlet for me personally too!

I was just re-listening to the album Songs I Heard performed by Harry Connick Jr., and I fell in love with it all over again. He sings songs from my childhood like "Edelweiss" and "A Spoonful of Sugar" but adds a jazzy twist to them. By now, you all are probably well aware of my love for jazz. My favorites on the album are the songs he has re-done from The Sound of Music, but today it is the song, "Pure Imagination/Candy Man" that has really captured my heart. 

Have a listen:

I don't usually describe songs as being sultry or sexy, but I find this song to be the definition of those adjectives. That is what I love so much about this rendition. Nothing about the original song was sultry or seductive at all. What Connick Jr. has done is taken an innocent song from a children's movie and created something far more mature and sensual. Utter bliss.

What do you think? Do you like this mature version? Have you ever heard this album before.

I hope everyone is having a great start to the week! Cheers xx

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Rest in Peace, Mr. Wiesel

"We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."


Yesterday we lost a very beautiful and inspirational soul, Mr. Elie Wiesel. For those who are unfamiliar with him, Mr. Wiesel was a Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate. He also penned the famous and eloquently written Night trilogy.

I read Night when I was a ninth grader in high school, and I distinctly remember being extraordinarily impacted by the words coming off of the page. The way that Elie Wiesel described his traumatic experiences and emotions left me wondering how it is possible that a tragedy like the Holocaust ever came to pass. Investigating further into Mr. Wiesel's life gave me an answer to my question: by people standing by and doing nothing. 

This is the most important lesson that I learned from Mr. Wiesel. When people chose to be silent and remain neutral, they are essentially helping the persecutor and not those being persecuted. We help evil win when we explicitly chose to not use our voices out of fear, selfishness, or both. 

History tends to repeat itself when we don't revisit these crucial lessons like the ones taught by Elie Wiesel. Currently, my country is facing a crisis in that we could be electing a president who spews racist comments and believes in dividing us dependent on our culture. If I have learned anything from Mr. Wiesel, it is that I cannot stand for that, and I will do everything in my power to prevent this from happening. We all have voices, and we cannot be afraid to use them, especially when times become difficult.

I wish that I had had the opportunity to hear Mr. Wiesel speak, but it is unfortunately too late now. Regardless, we can all manage to preserve his story and memory by always remembering to take a stand and be brave, even in the hardest times. 

Rest in peace, Mr. Wiesel.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Song of the Day: Fascination

Good morning!

I hope everyone is doing well. The June heat is really kicking in here in Maryland, so I have found myself reading a lot lately (currently working on Jane Eyre) and watching a lot of movies. Just the other day I watched Love in the Afternoon starring Audrey Hepburn and Gary Cooper. While I did find the film pleasing, my favorite part was most definitely the waltz tune that was featured throughout the movie.

The waltz is called "Fascination" and was written by the Italian composer Fermo Dante Marchetti. It was released in 1904, and English lyrics were composed by Dick Manning and released in 1932.

Here is my favorite instrumental recording of the song:


And here is Nat King Cole's rendition:


For me, this piece of music instantly struck a chord. Both the instrumental version and Nat King Cole's version are so romantic that every time I hear the piece I just want to get up and spin across the dance floor. I could listen to this song all day long while dreaming of walking along the Seine River in Paris. One day this dream will become a reality!

I hope that everyone is having a lovely start to the week. What songs have been stuck in your head lately?

Cheers xx

Friday, June 10, 2016

In Ladew Gardens: Outfit

Hello everyone,

Yesterday I had the pleasure of visiting Ladew Gardens, a little corner of Heaven in my home state of Maryland. My sister surprised me with the trip, and I ended up dressing perfectly for the occasion! Today I am going to share a little glimpse of what I wore and what the gardens looked like.



Having no idea where we would be going, I opted to wear this floral dress by Jason Wu. I complimented it with a pair of denim Keds and accessorized with my new Estee Lauder bag (the print is of a 1930's Harper's Bazaar magazine cover). The lipstick is also from Estee Lauder; it is Scarlet Siren in the Pure Color Creme Formula. 

Below are some of the other pictures that my sister and I took during our little adventure:


What do you think? Do you have any gardens like this one where you live?

I hope everyone is having a lovely Friday and has an even better weekend!

Cheers. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Hello and Happy Birthday, Marilyn!

Hello, everyone!

Boy, it has been a very long time since I have penned something on the blog. Taking a 17 credit semester, volunteering, playing and coaching volleyball really added up, so I had to take some time off to really focus on my schoolwork. Now that school is over and my grades are right where I want them to be, I am very excited to be up and running again! Bring on warm weather and lemonade!

I am going to keep this post short today by just saying happy birthday to the beautiful Marilyn Monroe. She would have been 90 years old today. Even though she is not here to celebrate it, her spirit is alive as ever and so is her image. I have always admired Marilyn's strength throughout her difficult life, and she taught me to accept myself for who I am and to flaunt the gifts that I have been given. What an inspiring woman she was!

Here are two of my favorite pictures of Marilyn:

Though taken in two very different settings, both photographs show a very happy looking and at ease Marilyn. I find that she was the most beautiful when she was really, genuinely happy.

Once again, happy birthday Marilyn! I hope that everyone has been doing well. Have a wonderful beginning of June!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Meeting the Author of my Favorite Book: Markus Zusak

Hello, everyone!

Happy belated Easter! I had a wonderful day celebrating with my family as we do each year. I hope that you all enjoyed the holiday as well!

Today I am so excited to share with you an experience that I had just a few weekends ago. I met the author of my favorite book: Markus Zusak, author of The Book Thief.


I don't know if you beautiful readers have read this novel, but if you haven't I am just going to say that this is the kind of work that can be life-changing to read. It certainly changed my life.

In writing this novel, Mr. Zusak created a masterpiece. This book divulges into the very essence of the human soul by examining the life of a young, German girl during the Second World War. It is told through the eyes of an uncharacteristic narrator: Death. I do not want to go too much into summary, as I don't want to spoil anything. All I want to say is if you have not read this book, you are definitely missing out. This is a must-read.

Anyway, back to the point. It is the 10th anniversary of this book's release, and Mr. Zusak was doing a tour across the United States in celebration. He came to the DC area, and I jumped on the opportunity immediately. My mother and I drove the 40 minutes it took to arrive at the school, and what occurred in the next few hours I will be sure to always remember.


Before he signed books, Mr. Zusak gave a presentation on some of his stylistic and structural choices regarding the book. Not only was he very kind and open to any questions and constructive feedback, but he was also extremely funny. Watching him speak on the stage was completely magical. When you are watching the author of a piece that impacted you as deeply as The Book Thief  impacted me, one can only describe the experience as otherworldly. 

video

After he finished speaking, Mr. Zusak sat down to sign books. The wait itself was about an hour and a half, but we met some very kind people in line which made the whole experience even better. When it was my turn to finally see and speak to Mr Zusak, I started to shake. Let me tell you, I was terrified. It's a very surreal experience to finally see and stand in front of someone who has had such a major impact on your life. I was shaking so badly that my pictures are unfortunately terrible.


The fact of the matter is that I was able to say exactly what I needed to say after a brief hiatus in which I froze. I made a joke, and he laughed. Then I thanked him. I thanked him for creating a work so seemingly real that I felt myself in the town in which it took place. I thanked him for creating characters with such depth that they made me cry for hours after I finished the novel. And finally I thanked him for changing my view of the world.

Then he looked up and smiled. That moment of solidified eye contact makes me cry a little reflecting on it. He thanked me for reading the book and keeping the characters alive. That in and of itself is something that I will never ever forget. 


All in all, this day definitely goes down as one of the best so far. I don't know if I will ever stumble across paths with Mr. Zusak again, but this whole experience was perfect. I couldn't ask for anything better.

Do you guys have a favorite author?
Have you met him/her?
Have you read The Book Thief?

I hope that everyone has a fantastic beginning of the week! Cheers xx