Tag Archives: romance

Pride and Prejudice at 200

Via Paul Fraser Collectibles

I’m personally not a fan of “chick lit,” but then again it wasn’t defined as such when Pride and Prejudice was first published in 1813. Jane Austen’s sharp and quick-witted protagonist, Elizabeth Bennett, was not afraid to speak her mind during a time when reservation and demurity were laudable traits for ladies of her class.

Lizzie, as she was fondly referred to, is a character who has a clear grasp of her own mind, but also manifests human vulnerabilities through her tumultuous romance with the equally keen but undoubtedly smitten Mr. Darcy. For many, their love story has been the end to all love stories – for the last 200 years. Pride and Prejudice is definitely one piece of chick lit that will remain on my book shelf for years to come.

Ms. Austen’s masterpiece celebrates its 200th anniversary this year, and literary world is abuzz with delight. Over the years, the book has undergone countless adaptations into film, TV, and has perpetually been in print circulation since its first release. Here are a few of my favorite adaptations and representations of this literary classic.

Bride and Prejudice

Bride and Prejudice takes Austen’s classic story to the other side of the world. The movie is an unexpectedly hilarious and endearing Bollywood adaptation, complete with large choreographed song and dance numbers. Although primarily in english, the film also has lines of Punjabi and Hindi dialogue in it, adding to an even more authentic feel. It’s definitely by far the most entertaining adaptation I’ve seen.

Images from IMDb

Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy in the BBC Miniseries

Image via Fanpop

Austen meant for Mr. Darcy indeed to be Elizabeth’s match in every way, but she let him fall into that role at the same pace she finally realizes she’s in love with him. Of all the adaptations I’ve seen, no one has played Mr. Darcy quite like British actor Colin Firth in the BBC Miniseries. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that when I watched this, I thought that Mr. Darcy was, well, a total dreamboat.

Book Covers

Over the years the book’s contents have been adorned with many covers, each with its own sensibility that represented the time. Two of my favorite renditions are one that was published in the same century as it was released, and one that was released in the last year.

Via Rooke Books

The “Peacock Edition,” with illustrations by Hugh Thomson, was published in 1895. Its richly gilded cover is evocative of the Victorian period.

Via Brain Pickings

The Penguin Drop Cap edition is a series of classics with covers designed by Graphic Designer Jessica Hische, based on her now-famous Daily Drop Cap blog. “A” is for Austen, and the peacock feather flourishes on the letter give a nod to its predecessor, the Thomson edition.

Book Scarf

Image from Etsy shop Storiarts

Now if you love Pride and Prejudice just about as much the couples in the book love each other, then this scarf could be the perfect manifestation of your love for the book. The circle scarf features passages from the book printed on a circular scarf, and the rows of text make an interesting pattern. This could be a perfect gift for that literature major or librarian friend.

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Happy Black Day

Photo credit AspectVisuel via AsianOffbeat.com

We all know about Valentine’s Day, love it or hate it, come February try to escape the ubiquitous drug store candy.

Our neighbours to the east celebrate just a bit differently:  February 14th sees the celebration of couples for sure, but its women who gift tokens of affection to those that make their  hearts skip a beat. On March 14th, known as White Day, the tables turn and it’s the men who celebrate their loves.

Image credit Park Shin Hye

But in Korea it doesn’t stop there.  April 14th, today, is Black Day, a day for singles. Donning dark clothes those less lucky in love congregate in local restaurants over bowls of noodles covered in black bean paste called jajangmyeon for some lively commiseration.  It’s a mainly fun affair and a signal that youth are shedding traditional views on the importance of early marriage (and shame over singlehood).  On the other hand, a friend reports that it’s been a total boon for the dating services industry.  Ahh well…

But today, if you’re single, here’s to your fabulous self!  Consider celebrating you, with or without the noodles!

DIY Valentine Ideas

I’m not a fan of crappy drugstore chocolate and clichéd greeting cards.  Valentine’s Day is a pretty commercial affair for sure. And I don’t like to exclude those uncoupled (hello smug marrieds?).  I do, however, like to indulge those I love – and myself – and am all about taking some extra time to prepare a thoughtful meal for my family, or send a love note and sweet surprise a special someone’s way. (I also love when all this is reciprocated.)

Here are a few swoon-worthy DIY Valentine’s Day day-brighteners:

Treasure Hunt

Tiny love notes containing lyrics from favourite songs. Sweet idea from Daisy Chain

Who doesn’t love a treasure hunt?  I’ve been known to put together some elaborate ones involving sidewalk chalk and some good-natured shopkeepers and neighbours.  So why not put together a treasure hunt this Valentine’s Day?  Make it a family affair by hiding notes of affection for the members of your household along with small treats. Or do something sexier for your beloved.

Click on through for instructions on how to put together the tiny love note hunt from Amber at Daisy Chain. Lovely idea!

Romantic Decor

Scatter the flower petals, light the candles, put out some red accessories.  Or go all out like designer Justina Blakeney and create a totally awesome love fort (via Design*Sponge.  Visit D*S for more great images and how-to info!)

It's lush, plush, romantic and fun - designer Justina Blakeney's Love Fort via Design*Sponge

Unique Love Notes

Your message needn’t be long or even poetic, but heartfelt words go along way to brightening a day.

Williams Sonoma cookie cutters also give you the option of personalizing the message

Use these in packed lunches throughout the year. Thanks Twig and Thistle!

Here’s a wonderful free fruit sticker template from Twig and Thistle (via Not Martha).  This is only one of many crafty design downloads available on this site that are as adorable as they are genius.

Say it with flowers

Tips for assembling your own bouquet

Whether you’re surprising your loved one, or sprucing up your home, arranging your own bouquet is cheaper than visiting a florist and more beautiful than the grocery store’s bouquet.  If you lack an intrinsic talent for understanding what bloom shape, size and colour work together, these tips can help:

An arrangement of beautiful tulips with a few filler flowers to give it volume and depth. Image via Interiordec.about.com

Less is more: stick to lots of one flower type for a dramatic bouquet.  You can spruce it up with some greenery and filler flowers (typically tiny bloomed flowers and berries) in the same colour tone, if you want a fuller bouquet.

Beautiful! Image via Dolls House Heaven

Alternatively stick to two complimentary colours, such as the blue hyacinths with a pale yellow tulip pictured.  A perfect kick of spring in the dead of winter!

Here’s a handy video from the good folks at Sweetpea’s in Toronto on arranging flowers in a tapered vase:

The symbolism of flowers

You don’t have to stick with red roses to convey love.  Flower symbolism has been practiced for centuries, gaining momentum during the Victorian era.  Here’s a quick list of flowers with their modern day symbolic meaning via Living Arts Originals (visit their site for a full list of flowers, some cool floral history and mythology.)

Amaryllis – Pride

Bird of Paradise – Freedom

Calla Lily – Magnificent beauty

Daisy – Innocence

Lily – Chastity and Virtue

Magnolia – Nobility

Orchid – Love and Beauty

Peony – Happy marriage

Tulip – Perfect love

Zinnia – Thoughts of absent friends

Valentines: A Return to Innocence

“The truth is, there’s gonna be other girls out there. I mean, I hope. But I’m never gonna get another first love. That one is always gonna be her.” –from Little Manhattan (2006)

Though a lot of us may laugh flippantly at our younger selves in the throes of puppy love, psychologist Nancy Kalish says that it’s serious and real–first love is real love. In an article about teenage love in Psychology Today, she even writes that it is a crucial moment in a person’s life, because it is then that life-long attitudes about love and self are formed.

We may have become ever-so-slightly-jaded, we may have lost our naivete, but in our gut we know this is true. We do recall the time when hand-holding was huge, and hearts really did go pitter-patter, and butterflies took permanent residence in the belly. There was giddy, intoxicating joy, alternating with beautiful, searing pain, just from the merest glance. It’s the whole world balanced on the head of this one particular pin. All very magical, but all very real. Very special.

The Lovers by Pablo Picasso

The Lovers by Picasso (image from ocaiw.com). There’s a freshness and artlessness about the romance here. See how gently and tenderly he holds her, and how shyly she puts her hand in his?

This Valentine’s, why not pay homage to your innocent, unrestrainedly enthusiastic self? Skip that supermarket greeting card rack and relive how painstakingly you crafted and glued the embellishments on that paper Valentine heart all those years ago. You can, again, carefully and deliberately inscribe on it your humble poetry, and present your creation nervously to the object of your affection.

Yes, having laid out your heart and your meager talents, you will feel scared and vulnerable. That’s part of the beauty of the experience. Perhaps this vulnerability will be the key to the most positive reception of your tribute.

Here are some simple yet potentially heart-melting ideas from Craft Bits to get you started.

Here’s a Valentine card I made myself, using one of the tips in the link above. Now, who to give this to?

Seriously Sexy Rooms

Photo of Sophia Loren via Full House

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner here are a few deliciously romantic rooms that are sure to get you in the mood for love. Whether you’re looking to add a little sex appeal to your master bedroom or some luxe touches to your living room, you’re sure to find some inspiration in these gorgeously stylish interiors.

via Rue Magazine

There is something so easy yet so inviting about this beautiful living room. Luxuriant curtains, perfect proportions and cultivated symmetry give this living room some amazing wow factor. This would be the perfect place for a late night rendezvous, or just lounging on a Sunday morning.

via Elle Decor

Leave it to fashion designer Anna Sui to create a room dripping with opulance and glamour. This photo is of her Manhattan apartment. Love the overload of pattern and the glossy black furniture.

via desire to inspire

This bathroom has my heart going pitter-patter. The muted pink claw-foot tub is simply beautiful and all the faded wood is so cosy and romantic. I can’t imagine a more perfect place for bubble baths for two.

via The Paris Apartment

I think I’ve found one of my new favourite design inspiration blogs, The Paris Apartment has me dreaming of a romantic Parisian getaway. Now if Cupid could just send a couple plane tickets my way I would be forever in his debt.

Dylan Thomas via The Paris Apartment

Old world charm and simple feminine touches are what make this room so dreamy. Who would have thought an old faded rug and a tattered chair could be so sexy? Great decorating tip to take from this bedroom is to hang something silky and luxurious like a negligee or antique dress on a wall or over a piece of furniture; instant boudoir glamour!

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