joy magnetism: July 2010

@Joymagnetism, now on Instagram!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Life is sweet

Magnet #890 - Life is sweet

Ok. C'mon. How freakin' CUTE is this magnet.

Cupcakes, lollipops, candy, ice cream. It's like my own personal food pyramid. So many happy things at once. So. Darn. Cute!

You know what's even cuter? Almost everything at the Bored Inc site. We discovered these guys at Comic-Con* (hey, who says trade shows don't work. Wait, does one consider SDCC a trade show, really?), and they had tons and tons of superadorable stuff, but I had to settle for only a couple of magnets - otherwise, I would have gone home with every single one of their magnets, except maybe all the scatologically-focused ones.

I'm picking this one for today, because it's my sister's birthday today, and as she's explained before, she loves the cute-cute. It's also why I bought her this Mochimochi knitting book for her birthday. This way, we alllll benefit from her fun pasttime.

Anyway, sorry I'm not there today, and sorry I wasn't able to get Zachary Levi or Nathan Fillion to wish you happy birthday, but I hope you're having a terrific birthday anyway!

*Note to other SDCC exhibitors - you know what drew me to the Bored Inc booth and made me stay for a good 10 minutes? Besides the cute-cute, she had a ton of magnets at her booth. For sale. I'm just saying.
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Friday, July 30, 2010

Forward-looking statement

Magnet #889 - Believe

Another one of my word collection magnets from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Picked for a good reason today - for the past year, I've been following my friend's DOWNsized. But NEVER out. blog that she started when she was let go from her job.

She's been truly inspiring, with her blogposts from Panera, her positivity, and her firm belief that something great is waiting for her. Because it is.

Now that I'm in the same boat, I find myself trying to emulate that positive attitude, staying upbeat, and trying to soothe those left behind with stunned, shell-shocked faces. I mean, we should be used to it by now, given the year we've had saying good-byes. I'm really just another body in a long line of them.

I'm taking a page from Barb's book - I refuse to be all sad and heartsick about it. Anyone who has read joy magnetism for any length of time knows how unhappy I've been for ages - it wasn't healthy, clearly, because I was getting sick all the time, worrying about stupid things out of my control, and letting the situation control me and expressing itself in a very un-joylike attitude.

So, this is a good thing, people. While I will miss the terrific friends I've made and the brilliant colleagues and clients I've worked with, I have no regrets in my 12-year-career there. (Well, except for whomever poor soul has to deal with all the loose ends that have to be resolved.)

I do find myself looking forward to what the future brings. To quote one of the many people who have reached out (thank you), "you'll find yourself looking at what you can do, but be asking yourself what can't you do." (Wait, does that make sense the way I just said it? I dunno, but you get it.)

In the meantime, I'll be looking to Barb's blog for more inspiration on positivity, and to my friends and trusted colleagues for guidance, support and ears to the ground.

Ready. Set. Go.
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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Where the Turf Meets the Surf!

Magnet #888 - The Magnet

I bought this magnet from the superawesome Morgan Library & Museum, because it seriously just cracked me up.

It took me a good 15 years before I finally made it to that library - even if I worked literally across the street from it. We went for the Jane Austen personal notes and letters exhibit, which was amazing, even if you aren't her biggest fan. But I loved the new addition by Renzo Piano - pretty snazzy.

Anyway, like any good magnate/robber baron, J.P. Morgan was quite the art collector. This is The Magnet, a cartoon drawn by Joseph Keppler, Jr. for Puck magazine. That's J.P. Morgan on the top left, using his dollar sign magnet (totally looks like something out of Richie Rich, by the way) to attract all of Europe's great art treasures to America.

I feel like I keep going to museums built by families who made their money the old-fashioned way - starting from poor families and managing to build up successful businesses from the ground up, and managing to collect art along the way, in the end, giving it back to the peoples. The Morgan Library & Museum, the Frick Collection, the Timken Museum here in Balboa Park in San Diego. Small collections worth millions, and worth hours of my time.

Thank you, wealthy families of America. If you've managed to reach one person here in America, it's me. Yay, for you guys.

I'm using this for today, because we went to the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club race track today. So fun. I loved that we were toting around 4-year-old and an almost 2-year-old rambunctious set of boys. And who knew the track was so popular among pretty much every demographic you can think of - the cuteboys with the cuteboys, the old, the young, the rich, the skeevy, the desperate.

Bing Crosby and two buddies built the track way back in 1937, and he became a fixture at the track until his death in 1977. I love how the Del Mar race track became one of the old-school Hollywood places to be, given it's proximity to well, Hollywood. Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Betty Grable, and countless others. Plus, Seabiscuit raced here, so says the pictures on the walls of fame around Del Mar track, and the historic Stratford Inn.

And to think, the only thing I knew of the Del Mar track is this grand front area in front of the paddocks, where I could have sworn one of our Loveswept authors had us use as the backdrop of Anticipation.

I had to laugh today, though, because while this magnet has to do with earned money, today on the way into the track, I heard a guard yell out to one of the oldies, Hey! I hope you get a 1099 today!
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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

We named the *dog* Indiana

Magnet #887 - Professor Henry Jones

SuperTaj and THE SHADOW and their mom and I went to Legoland this week.

First, it's ridiculous that people actually thought that I - of all people - wouldn't enjoy Legoland. I mean, hello, it's Legoland!!! There's a big part of me that thinks they built Legoland just for me.

I flippin' loved it. I want to know exactly how many items made out of Legos are in the park, and how many Legos it took to make everything. How freakin' awesome is that park?

Honestly, I would have been happy without any of the rides - maybe because we only rode the rides for 36" and over, and under 3YO, and so I don't know what I missed. But, I loved everything they built out of Legos.

What's not to love? A mini-USA? Complete with a Grand Central Station, a Flatiron building, my absolute favorite building in NYC - the Fred F. French building? OML. Their Vegas didn't have a Bellagio or an Elvis, but that's ok. I totally loved their tiny towns!

Plus, their gift shop? The fact that they call it the BIG SHOP? Ohmygoodness. LOVE. Where else would I find Professor Henry Jones? C'mon! I couldn't believe it, either. I can't wait to get home to unpack the rest of the magnet sets I bought.

Because you know I just bought a tiny town of magnets.
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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Enough of this pasty, waify s**t

Magnet #886 - Jocelynn Drake's Dayhunter

I got this magnet from last year's NYCC, from Jocelynn Drake herself. She has a new book coming today called Wait for Dusk, the next in her Nightwalker series.

I picked it for today, because it reminds me of the Supernatural panel we went to on the last day of Comic-Con. I mean, can you get any cuter than the Winchester Boys? Uh. No.

They had a great panel, for their supposedly last and final season, wherein Jensen Ackles said enough of this pasty, waify shit, let's show 'em how to really kill vampires.

Lore (Legend? History?) is a funny, funny thing. I mean, if you buy into the vampire thing, over the years, you learn that there are just certain rules about slaying vampires that everyone adheres to. The garlic, the holy water, the wooden stake through the heart, direct sunlight, etc.

But, it always cracks me up when those rules get broken. Suddenly garlic doesn't work, it doesn't matter if the water's blessed, the stake can hit near the heart, and the vamp can hang out under piers.

I can't wait to see more of what they can do on Supernatural, and how Dean (and Sammy) Winchester's gonna light 'em up and knock 'em down, and "teach folks how to do it right" - a Jensen quote, which was yet another of the many, many Twilight slams that happened at Comic-Con. Which kinda made me giggle a bit.

Until I sat through the Vampire Diaries panel...which (pretty boys and all) made me giggle a lot more.
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Monday, July 26, 2010

Who are those guys?

Magnet #885 - Butch & Sundance

I got this Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid magnet from my Union Square magnet guy a while back, and I'd been saving it to talk about branding (go with it).

But, I'm staying with a good friend of mine, and her family. The last time I was out here was for a wedding, and I've never met either one of her young boys, about four and just under two. But now, I feel like I'm hanging out with a baby Butch and Sundance.

First, let me set the stage: If you know anything about me, ya'll know I'm a baby whisperer. Babies always love me. They come into my arms from the get-go, and we're best pals after that.

It's my fat face. They see themselves in it, and immediately think I'm one of them.

So it was disconcerting for me to get into the back seat of the car yesterday and have the youngest boy panic and not stop crying for a good ten minutes. I'm sure it was because a complete stranger got into his car with him, because he eventually he warmed up to me. But still. Disconcerting.

Second, while the baby was down for his nap, we got to hang out with the oldest boy, who, aside from his baby brother, is just the coolest kid ever. My favorite incident with him by far, is watching him tie a tether ball to his giant playset...and proceed to try and sit on top of that ball. Uhh, yeah. You see where this is going, he's not quite Eagle Scout-level at knot-tying. So we had to run out to the backyard and come grab him before he truly let go of the beam to sit on the tetherball. Whew.

It's funny for me, because I grew up mostly around girls, so watching two little boys rough-house and interact is so much different. We spent most of the morning with the youngest boy while his older brother was at school. He's an explorer - running around and choosing to play with sticks, rather than watch the giant elephants at the zoo.

But, when we picked up the older kid, the youngest's personality totally changed. He became much more animated - keying off everything his older brother did and said. It was like the oldest one had a tiny little shadow. I love it. They're so great together, it's lovely to see.

And of course, fresh from Comic-Con, I've already given them a superhero names -

SuperTaj!!!!...and THE SHADOW.

(Yeah, you kinda have to hear it to like it. The boys sure love it, though, cuz they burst into giggles whenever I say it.)
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Sunday, July 25, 2010

See ya, Comic-Con! Back in a....

Magnet #884 - The Flash

Hmmm. I'm trying to decide if I'm coming back to Comic-Con next year.

This year was my virginal San Diego Comic-Con experience. Having done a couple of New York Comic-Cons, I kinda knew what I was getting myself into when I signed up last October for 4-day (w/o preview night tickets) - big crowds, long lines, tons of costumes. So, nothing really surprised me at the convention center.

We had a ton of fun, sitting through cuteboy panel after cuteboy panel, taking picture after far-away picture, and squeezing the floor in wherever we could, and we hit pretty much everything on our list.

I won't lie, we totally missed the big stuff - the Scott Pilgrim first sneak preview, the Harrison Ford/RDJ panels and a ton of fun activity and giveaways on the floor. But, I think that's the trade-off when you have to pick between either Hall H or Ballroom 20. And, I wouldn't really trade anything from the last four days.

Hmm, maybe the parties, though. We missed a ton of parties. Which was fine if you think about it, since first, we all know I hate breaking that fourth wall, and second, we're hoi polloi, and not A-listers. Besides, even if we made it in, I don't know that I'd even have fun there. (Well, except for maybe Zachary Levi's NERD party.)

So, do I need to come back again next year? Maybe not.

Do I want to come back next year? Yes.

But am I coming back next year? Stay tuned.
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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Open letter to Comic-Con Exhibitors

Magnet #883 - FearNet HD

Dear Comic-Con Exhibitors:

I read somewhere that magnets are the number 1-selling souvenir in the world.

This FearNet HD and the Three Musketeers 3D magnets should not have been the only ones I didn't have to buy at Comic-Con. I'm just saying.

Please and thank you.

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Friday, July 23, 2010


Magnet #882 - Rainbow

Double rainbow, all the way.

These last two days at Comic-Con were superduper cool. Ya'll know how much I loves me some TV and film, and I think we've pretty much hit the motherlode of both at #SDCC panels.

Yesterday's highlights were Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, Mary-Louise Parker, Will Ferrell, Tiny Fey, Jonah Hill, Karl Urban, Joss Whedon & JJ Abrams and the cast of TNG.

Followed by today's highlights of Nathan Fillion, Zachary Levi, Bruce Greenwood, Will Ferrell, Eva Mendes, Eric Balfour, Karl Urban, Liv Tyler, Nic Cage, Ellen Page, Elizabeth Mitchell, Donald Faison, Kevin Williamson, Julie Benz, Keith David, David Lyon, Seth Rogan, Paul Bettany, and the cast of TNG.

So, yeah. Even if we missed David Boreanaz, I'd say we've had quite the Double Rainbow.

All the way.
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A Judoon platoon upon the moon

Magnet #881 - Judoons

Thursday was our first full day of San Diego Comic-Con, three Comic-Con virgins hitting the crazy Hall H - all day. Which is probably why I didn't see all the costumes out there, let alone any Judoon from Doctor Who.

I won't lie, costumes scare the crap out of me. It's the part where you can't see who's behind the masks. I get that's the point of them, but they seriously scare the crap out of me.

But it's been fun watching all the folks dressed up - it's like four straight days of Halloween. Since last night was the BBC-America Being Human/Doctor Who screening, there were several Doctors Tens and Elevens and Amy Ponds.

Oh! And a Tardis!
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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Comic-Con, you shall begin

Magnet #880 - Jedi, DK

I got this magnet at BEA last year. And I've been waiting more than a year to use this magnet.

San Diego Comic-Con starts today. That's Real!Comic-Con, not just NY!Comic-Con. You know, the same con I swore to my sister a few years ago that I wasn't ever going to visit.

And yet, here I am. Going to Comic-Con. Going through the (I'm assuming) rituals of planning out a schedule, weighing options, printing boarding and attendee passes, etc. Strategically planning how to get where, and how long to be waiting in line. Trying to figure out what snack foods and games to take with me.

Of course, I'll totally be Tweeting the next several days and panels, but I won't lie. I own maybe six comic books. I'm there for the film and television panels. And the cuteboys.
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Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Magnet #879 - Romanov Tercentenary Faberge Egg

This Faberge egg for the Romanov Tercentenary, was gifted by Nicholas II to his wife Alexandra, in honor of 300 years of Romanov rule, which started started in 1613 with Michael, and ended with the execution of the Romanov family in 1918. Very sad.

But the egg itself is gorgeous (aren't they all), and made from gold and silver, diamonds and more diamonds, turquoise and enamel. It's dotted with 18 little watercolor portraits of the Romanov line, which included the likes of Catherine the Great.

But the pretty prize inside is a little blue enamel and gold globe that rotates (!!!!) and shows the territories they ruled in 1613 on one side, and what they ruled in 1913.

The fact that the globe rotates (!!!!) seriously just makes me want to touch it. Like, I just want to play with these eggs. It also makes me wonder if the Romanov kids were allowed to mess around the eggs just sitting on the shelves at home. Cuz, hi, that would be superawesome. Go long, Tsarevich Alexei, go long!!!

Anyway, I picked this egg today, because of two reasons. First, because last night's Lie to Me, had a Faberge-like egg that was part of a robbery, and people were getting beat up for it, and to my knowledge, even to the end, never even acknowledged what the egg was.

And, second, because I wanted to report back about the happiest place inside the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Faberge room, which was kind of like a Faberge egg itself - small in size, but with absolute treasures inside.

It was a pretty small and unassuming room, off to the side. But as you step in, you see there are several display windows just chockful of Faberge decorative pieces. Remember, they have the largest amassed collection of Faberge outside Russia. So they had the six eggs in their collections, plus a bunch of baby eggs, umbrella handles, picture frames and other doodads belonging to the Romanov family.

Quite an amazing collection. I wish I'd had more time to explore it, but who knows, maybe one day, I'll exit off of I-95 to visit them again. Although, at this point, the more I visit the Kremlin website for more information, the more I really want to visit.

I will say, I was quite disappointed that the gift shop didn't have any egg magnets. They had egg card holders, though totally out of my price range, what with the semi-precious stones and all, but no egg magnets?

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Hello Kitty, not a Maria Clara anymore

Magnet #878 - Hello Kitty, NYC

Stereotypical of a lot of Asians, we love our Hello Kitty. So when the Sanrio store opened up a few years ago on 42nd Street, I was deeeelighted. I mean, where can get you get such a big smile, for such a low price!

Plus, ya'll know I love cutesy office supplies, and for serious, you can get soooo many cute paper pads and pens at Sanrio.

Then, of course, they went from cutesy Hello Kitty, to doing a theme of HK NYC. Which was kinda cool. Ya know, if you didn't live in NYC. Of course, now I'm wondering if there's a HK LA or ATL or Chicago or Boston. I had to pick this one up, cuz it's my train line.

I'm a little sad, because my cute little Sanrio store has gone several steps further into hoochiemama land, with the Sanrio Luxe boutique luxing her up with more adult clothes with more sophisticated designs. In one sense, they've gone upmarket, but honestly, for me, to give a cartoon a more sexy, more adult look, feels a little over the top - even if the true market for Hello Kitty isn't kids, it's the adults who like the kids' stuff, but want a more adult Hellloooooo Kitty.

Sadly, what I liked was the kids stuff. So, the boutique's alienated me, for sure.

Nevertheless, of course, I still drop by there, in the hopes of picking up some of the still innocent and cute HK kids' stuff. They're still around, you just have to look a little harder, is all.

*Maria Clara is a term that my aunt taught me. It's a traditionally sweet and innocent Filipina girl character from a Jose Rizal book. According to her, they don't exist in the Philippines anymore. Thought that sentiment fitting for Hello Kitty, All Growed Up.
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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Learning history

Magnet#877 - Mary I (r. 1553 - 1558)

Sometimes I feel like half the knowledge I have in my head is either from a romance novel, or from television.

For example, for about three seasons of The Tudors, I thought ole Mary I here was Mary, Queen of Scots, and I spent a lot of time trying to fill in her story about how she got to Scotland.

But, then on the show, when the actual baby Mary, Queen of Scots was born in Scotland, I was like, oh, so this Catholic Mary's not that Mary. And, by the time I read in the afterword that this Mary was actually "Bloody Mary," I was feeling pretty stupid. I mean, you wouldn't think I actually took two semesters of Ye Olde English History at Carolina. Or, maybe you would.

That's why I'm using Mary as today's magnet - I finally finished all of The Tudors this afternoon. I honestly can't tell if I liked the show or not (besides absolutely loving Charles Brandon).

Some of the things I learned, included:

- The correct succession of wives and kids. Which I kinda already knew, but it was fun to see how by the end, Kate was like, nu-uh, I don't want to marry the King!
- That there are several ways to spell Katherine and Catherine - and no one seems to agree on the ways to spell it.
- That Henry VIII's the one who added back in the doxology of "For thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory now and forever" to the Lord's Prayer. (Something I didn't grow up with at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in NC, and I didn't even know it existed until much later in life.)
- That I'll never see Thomas More as anyone else but Jeremy Northam. And that little tricorny hat suited him.
- That it was hot under all those clothes, that they didn't wear anything under those clothes, that the boys rarely took off their clothes to do their business.
- That their clothes were amazing.
- It's hard being Catholic, with all our superstitions and idols. Hmph. Thanks for that, Henry. (Though, I was pretty done with the religious aspect of the whole show, pretty early. And mad when they were raiding and defacing the monasteries and abbeys.)
- That I need some sort of title or lands settled upon me. Those country houses were lovely. And if I could have a couple of the King's posse, I'd have been a happy camper.
- That no matter how lovely the place, everywhere was just dark, dark, dark. It's no wonder they weren't all blind.
- That Nonsuch Palace would have been supercool if it were still standing today.
- That when a child prince or princess does their duty, everyone claps. And that stops once they get older.
- That sometimes it takes more than one swipe of an executioner's axe to get the job done.
- That bodies still shake and shiver when separated from the head.
- That Charles Brandon can make a pigtail hot. Oh, and that he was totally a character from a romance novel - two of them. With Henry's sister and with Brigitte, his French captive.
- That though Wolsey used to carry an orange around with him to walk through the unwashed and theoretically smelly masses, no one blinked an eye when kissing someone in the Tower of London or severely infirm.
- Never trust a treaty.
- Never trust a court musician or poet. Or a lady in waiting. Or a Lord Privy guy.
- Or, really never trust anyone at court.

Hmmm, except Brandon. Cuz he was awesome, and stuck with ole Henry to the end. Loved their relationship.
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Saturday, July 17, 2010

All nations compete for a place on the map*

Magnet #876 - Portugal

I love this magnet my friend brought this back for me from her vacation to the Continent. It's supercute, and oddly makes red ok next to Carolina blue.

I've magnetblogged on the rooster of Portugal before - you know, back when I thought it was a chicken. I've never been to Portugal but perhaps, one day I'll include it as a sidetrip when I finally get to Spain to see all of Gaudi's work.

I did, however, go to the Visit Portugal site, and found some really great stuff to do there. Also, they launched a branding campaign for Portugal, to help bolster their tourism numbers and improve general awareness.

According to their brand brochure (which probably had more background info than visitors really need - except for us who love this kind of stuff), Portugal has always had low awareness, and has always been viewed as "Southern Europe." Which seems to be a bad thing in their eyes.

So, with BBDO Portugal's help, they reframed the conversation, explaining that their great differentiator to the rest of the continent is that they are actually Europe's West Coast - and way cooler than folks realize.

I dunno what their budget was, but it had to be big, because they hired Nick Knight, a fancy-schmancy, contemp photographer, to execute the imagery of the campaign that makes the Portugal look and feel "contemporary, cosmopolitan and entrepreneurial." All in all, it's a pretty cool campaign, with all their celebrities and fantastic photography. So mission accomplished, I think.

But, I still gotta ask, if Portugal's the West Coast, then what's Europe's East Coast?

*From their brochure - an interesting thought, since by the very virtue of a map, every nation has a place.
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Friday, July 16, 2010

Baby, it's hot outside

Magnet #875 - 2010 Vancouver Olympic Mascots

Remember when we were all watching the 2010 Winter Olympics, where we had these supercute little mascots, and I magnetblogged about them?

And like everyone at the outdoor venues were all bundled up in layers and layers of warm clothing?

Because it was cold outside?

Remember that? Remember how cold it was here? Remember?

Yeah. Those were good times.

Cold times.
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Thursday, July 15, 2010

In the sky with Lucy

Magnet #874 - Lucy the Elephant

Or not, as the case may be.

My friend brought back this Lucy the Elephant magnet for me from Margate, NJ, just a few miles down the road from Atlantic City.

Just so happens I already magnetblogged on this very same roadside attraction! Tell me you're surprised.

A couple of years ago, the AGE10 and I went down the shore (can I say that if it's AC? That's still Jersey Shore, right?), and we totally dropped by after I spied Lucy's thingamabob (there has to be a proper name for that thing) poking into the air.

It's actually one of my big Jersey regrets (don't we all have those?) - that we went only to the gift shop and not up into the belly of the elephant. It must be supercool up in there.

Actually, now that I think about it, it'd be superawesome to like, live, up in there. How cool would that be!

What's your address?

Nah, you don't need an address. I live in the elephant over on Atlantic Avenue!
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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Rainy midnight

Magnet #873 - Rainy Midnight

I think I need to do a full exploratory of American Impressionists - the more I see, the more I like of their work.

This magnet and this artist is no exception. Childe Hassam's Rainy Midnight was one of my favorite pieces from the Houston Museum of Fine Arts. And you can definitely see the touch of the Impressionists in his work - even if he wasn't part of their little circle of friends, he spent the late 1880s in Paris, and even exhibited at the Salons.

Hassam painted this in 1890, freshly back from Paris. I'm fairly sure that I like it because the beautiful blue-ish purplish color palette closely matches my favorite Monet that I magnetblogged about before. I think the subject matter also makes a difference - the only thing better than a snowy night/morning in New York City is a rainy one.

And, it's about 20 years off, but this scene is totally the Age of Innocence New York, which I love, love, love.

I mean, can't you just see May peering out of the carriage, looking for Newland, cuz she just found out about the affair with Countess Olenska and she's tracking him down in the middle of the night?

Wait? That didn't happen in your version of the book movie?
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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

That the future may learn from the past*

Magnet #872 - Colonial Williamsburg

Good gravy, Colonial Williamsburg must have a big marketing/advertising budget. I feel like everyone's seen their ads, but when I went to go look them up on YouTube to link to them, there's like a zillion ads for them! (Also, geeky digital note here, I can't believe they own the domain. Whoa!)

I dunno if you've ever been, but for the history buffs among us, it's a must-see. If you're on the East Coast within driving distance (and you like history), it's a must-see. If you're an American (and you like history), it's a must-see.

But, see it on a not-so-hot day, and not when you're expecting, because the (pregnant) BFF and I during the BFF Babymoon were shot by the end of the day. I mean, it is 300 acres to see, learn and explore. Or so the vids tell me.

Like any other living history attraction, you get out of it, what you put in it. In this case, if you want to spend the day going to all of the demonstrations, visiting the governors palace, and getting the most out of the day, you put in about $46.

Or, if you're us, you decide to park at the parking deck, and just walk around on your own.

I'd been there before when I was little, so I didn't feel as though I missed anything. I do think that BFF might have gotten a little bit more out of it by going to see all the talks, rather than us just walking down the main drag and seeing what we could see on our own.

I was happy for dayplayers dressed up in period dress, roaming the streets, making conversation and teaching the little ones. And I was happy for the bakery. And definitely the air-conditioned shops that smelled of pungent soaps and wood. And I loved that the modern comforts of vending machines and restrooms were set so far away, it really was like visiting the outhouse!

The history buff part of me wishes we'd made time for the re-enactments and the talks, but I met a bit of my own history when I stumbled into the very shop I visited when I was like 10, and found the same exact tin whistle, in the exact display with the very same orange songbook. I remember standing in front of it, begging for both, and promising to learn every song in the book,and skipping out of the shop with both in hand. Note, I didn't learn every song, but I know full well that song book's sitting with all of our other piano books at home. Crazy.

Anyway, if you've never been before, Colonial Williamsburg stays on my recommended list (along with a visit to Presidents Park up the road).

Besides, with a grand and noble tagline* like that, how could it not live up to its promise?

It occurs to me that I should have written up this post before my friends' vacation. They're down there right now, and I probably should have let on about the 300 acres...before they went roaming around.

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Well, if that ain't the truth...

Magnet #871 - Well-behaved women

For realz.

I bought this magnet mainly because I was feeling pretty reckless, figuring that the stuff that I'd recently gotten off my chest had landed me in hot water, and unable to do a thing about it. I even had a whole magnetpost in my head to write about it.

Of course, the gleam in this chickie's eyes is kind of scary, and I'm pretty sure that wild-eyed look is exactly what was on my face, in between the sniffles. But, upon reflection of a couple of weeks, I'm able to see things a little clearer. Not different, really, but clearer. And that's a good thing.

But, I'm using this magnet for today, because I'm halfway through Season 2 of The Tudors and I gotta say, that Anne Boleyn? Man, she was not well behaved. Not. At. All.

Yes, I'm on Season 2. I'm mainlining like crazy, thank goodness for Netflix Instant Watch. And it's not even like it's the best show ever. While I'm enjoying all the costumes and the history and seeing historic United Kingdom, the storyline is very little repetitive - Catherine/Anne, divorce, divorce, divorce, I want a son, secret marriage, I'm the head of the church, sign the oath, sign the oath, sign the oath, off with his head, off with his head, etc.

Maybe that will all change once Anne loses her head. It's hard for me to figure out how the seasons are arc'd - there's only four seasons, but there were six wives, and I don't even think we've met Jane Seymour yet, unless I've missed her.

But for now, I'm loving the Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Henry Cavill, Callum Blue, and Jeremy Northam, though I'm sad to have lost the Duke of Gloucester, William Compton and even Wolsey.

And the chick playing Anne's cute, too. Just enough innocence mixed with devious smirkety-smirkedness to know for sure she's constantly up to something.

Talk about making history.
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Sunday, July 11, 2010

From Beckham to the Tudors, all in a day

Magnet #870 - Hampton Court Palace

I've been hanging on to this supercute magnet for a while now. During the family trip to London, we did one day trip out to Hampton Court Palace, and were totally blown away.

The original buildings on the property date back to the 1200s and a religious order, the Knights Hospitallers of St John Jerusalem. But then in 1514, it was leased to Cardinal Thomas Wolsey who used it as a country home. He transformed it into quite the palace, including guest quarters for his pal, King Henry VIII.

But then, after episode after episode after episode of The Tudors of not being able to convince the Pope to grant a divorce to King Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, Wolsey pretty much lost everything from his place at court to his superdupercool palace to the king.

The palace flourished under Henry VIII, who proceeded to make it into the grand estate it is now. It should, he poured the equivalent of almost US$30 million into it over the course of ten years there. Crazy!

They have these cool audioguides for the various areas of the palace, so you're able to learn as much or as little about your surroundings and the rooms you're walking through. And my second favorite part is when they actually had dayplayers dressed as the cardinal and the king to come out and talk to the people. Kinda weird seeing them in the courtyards, because it totally takes you back in time.

Of course, my favorite part is really just walking through the old hallways and passages and living quarters and gardens. It's quite amazing to think of the people who lived there back in the 1500s, and to know you're walking in their steps.

I picked this magnet for today, mainly because rather than watching the World Cup finals, I stumbled upon Bend it like Beckham for like the thousandth time. And instead of watching Bride & Prejudice right afterward, like I was going to, I went on a Jonathan Rhys Meyers kick. Yay for Netflix having Season 1 of The Tudors on Instant Watch.

It's been on my docket for ages to eventually watch, so that's pretty much how I've spent my Sunday, getting lost in the world of Henry VIII, the machinations and treachery of the court, and the marvelous costumes of the day.

Of course, I can't figure out why they keep showing me the CGI version of Hampton Court, unless it's because they needed to get all the modern details totally out of the way. Still. It's odd to see it and think, dudes, that building's still there!
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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Walking in Richmond

Magnet #869 - Memphis, TN

STWsis got me this magnet from her trip to Memphis, TN, and I was planning to use it for when the BFF and I did the BFF Babymoon.

I mean, that was when we thought we were going to Memphis. Until we realized that it was about a 9-hour drive to get there from NC. Which meant, shoot, we might as well have driven back up to NY for all the driving we'd have to do. So, we skipped it.

Instead, we ended up in Richmond, VA. Which, if I haven't said before, revealed itself to be quite the jewel of the South. Lovely town, and so much to see and do. A true gem.

And, since I totally spaced and forgot to get a magnet from Richmond (I know! Crazy!), this will have to do.
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Friday, July 9, 2010

Best-laid plans

Magnet #868 - London

If you've read this magnetblog with any sort of regularity, you'll remember that I have this inexplicable love affair with London.

No why fore or reasoning, really, I just like it. I mean, really, ya'll know how much I love New York City. London's just the UK equivalent, is all.

I'm just using this Kristina Myers Crafts magnet for today because I have a few friends over there right now.

One lucky gal who moved her life over there and is Facebooking pictures, allowing me to live vicariously. And another one just on holiday, who has dropped off the map since she's been away. (I'm so sad she hasn't found the 1 GBP web cafes!)

Either way, they're both sitting in London - well, sleeping at this point - and I'm sitting here in New York, wishing I was there.

It's ok for right now, though, since I'm in the midst of planning the next big holiday - going to Comic-Con in San Diego in a couple of weeks. SDCC's releasing the official schedule one each day, starting yesterday. Dudes, seriously. The Excel spreadsheet was full before the official schedule came out.

Now? I haven't figured out how we're going to physically be in as many as 3 places at once. I haven't figured out how when we're hitting the floor. For that matter, I haven't figured out when we're hitting the bathrooms.

The funny thing is that while we're whining about how we're gonna get it all done...there are folks out there, like @televisionary trying to actually figure out their schedules as well. For work.

And that my friends, I'm seeing, is another blessing in disguise that I wasn't able to parlay my love of all things entertainment into a real job. I did that with publishing and now I can't read a book without editing it and criticizing its cover. I did that with advertising, and now I can't watch a tv spot or print ad without seeing all the behind-the-scenes issues.

Imagine, if I'd actually ended up at Warner Brothers or ABC. I wouldn't be able to go to Comic-Con just for the sheer entertainment of it all. I can go to all these panels and screenings and Q&As just for fun. And enjoy it. And Tweet it. And be a big old (not dressing up) geek about the whole thing.

So, I guess, thanks WB and ABC, for not hiring me after those crazy interviews! Looks like that was part of someone's plan.

Now. If only I could figure out the rest of the plan - for my SDCC trip. And for my life.

Whoa. How meta.
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Thursday, July 8, 2010


Magnet #867 - Sports Legends Joy

Yeah. You know why I'm using this magnet. What a silly 35 minutes that was.

On our impromptu visit to Baltimore, we opted to forgo the Sports Legends Museum, but I bet it's awesome. And I bet LeBron's up in there, too.

Whew. Now. Aren't ya'll glad we have the answer to that burning question?

Hah. Burning.

Hah. Heat.

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I've been to the year 2000

Magnet #866 - OpSail 2000

C'mon. No one has that Year 3000 Jonas Brothers song in their head now? Just me? Ok, then.

I've magnetblogged on the wonders of OpSail 2000 before, so I picked this for today's magnet for a couple of reasons...besides trying to get it out of my Photobucket "Not Used" album.

First, it's so darned hot outside that I could even relent on my No Sailing rule today. Might be nice to be out on the water. If only I could drag along a hospital on a barge behind me.

Second, because it's an old magnet. People always make fun of me for refusing to get rid of things. But lesson learned today. I had to go back into the archives to something we did back in 2003. Not only did I find the missing ad, but I found all the back-up for it. Which I guess is not any worse than when I had to pull stuff from the last century. But still. Keep it or need it, people!

Finally, because shoot, it's an old magnet! Which declares that I have apparently been collecting magnets for at least 10 years now. Now that's just crazy. Maybe I just happened to keep this magnet? I dunno.

Ok, ok. I'll admit to being a bit of a packrat.

After all, I'm still wearing T-shirts from whatever years those cute boys sold me T-shirts out of the bottoms of their duffel bags in the early 1990s at Carolina.

And I do still wear that one holey shirt from when Big River played in Charlotte.

In 1990.

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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Is it Winter yet?

Magnet #865 - Tiffany's Autumn

Winter,* the final of my Four Seasons VMFA Tiffany magnetset, from the Tiffany exhibition.

It's gonna hit about a hundred today, and I know in a few hours, I'll be in the subway, giggling over the seasonal differences down under.

Right now, when you walk down the stairs into the subway, you're immediately assaulted by the waves of heat wafting through the station, with our only air current the trains ripping through the tunnels.

You enter the cars, and with any luck (especially now with all these budget cuts), it's air-conditioned, and it's filled with half-dressed people, just trying to beat the heat. Tank tops and flip flops, long hair pulled into a clip, and makeshift newspaper fans desperately trying to make a breeze. There's less people, but the folks left seem to just be trying not to touch each other's sweaty limbs.

In the winter, we all crowd into the subways with our heavy, heavy coats and our boots and gloves and hats, and we're all just happy to be warm and in from the cold and wind. Less people fit in the cars, by virtue of all those heavy coats bunched up against each other. Yet, gloved hand after gloved hand dot the rails along the top of the cars, and it's all we can do to sway as a group whenever the cars take an abrupt turn or brake suddenly.

I dunno, it just always strikes me funny when I'm staring down at either flip-flops or boots to remember how different we are come winter or summer, and what a difference a season makes.

* Morse Museum of American Art's Four Seasons PDF guide
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Monday, July 5, 2010

Season of change

Magnet #864 - Tiffany's Autumn

Autumn,* third in my Four Seasons VMFA Tiffany magnetset, from the Tiffany exhibition.

I won't lie - these four magnets are so small that it's hard to make out the content of the stained-glass design. But when you put the four of them together, just as magnets, it's so, so pretty. Just imagine how majestic the whole window must have been.

Fall's one of my favorite times of year, mostly because it's not too cold, not too hot. And also because, more than an actual calendar new year, it always feels like a time of new beginnings. New school years, new people, new hopes. Just new change, I guess.

Oh, and let's not forget, new television, too.

What? I just finished off seasons 3 and 4 of Friday Night Lights, after a delayed gratification of not watching either season so I could devote a weekend to it. Now that that's done, I need it and Coach Kyle to hurry on back. Thanks.

* Morse Museum of American Art's Four Seasons PDF guide
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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Spring into Summer

Magnet #863 - Tiffany's Summer

Summer,* the next season in my VMFA Tiffany magnetset, from the Tiffany exhibition. Picked this today for July 4th, only because it's the start of a mid-summer heat wave, and I'm sure I'll be busting out the popsicles soon.

Can I tell ya'll, it was a hard decision picking out just a few magnets from millions they had in the shop. Ok, fine. It wasn't millions, but man. I wanted to run screaming through the building, Pretty maaaaaaaaaaagnets!!!!!

Most of them were from the Morse Museum of American Art's Tiffany Collection, and all were so gorgeous. So I only walked away with these Four Seasons.

And that was total restraint on my part.

I mean, If you don't count the other three that I picked up in the other VMFA shop. And the fact that I was desperately searching for a Faberge Egg magnet, too. Heh.

* Morse Museum's Four Seasons PDF guide
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Saturday, July 3, 2010

Four Seasons of Winter Park

Magnet #862 - Tiffany's Spring

Well, I guess a trip to Winter Park, Florida, is in order, if only to see their crown jewel of the Morse Museum of American Art's Tiffany Collection - Four Seasons.

These were just four of apparently 16 leaded-glass panels that he designed as part of a larger piece (from the Morse), one of his greatest and favorite achievements. In fact, the only reason he designed it was because he saw this other guy, John LaFarge, win all these awards in 1889 in Paris, and Tiffany wanted the same recognition for himself.

So he designed the Four Seasons, and poof, won several awards for it in the 1890s, and ended up taking the Gold Medal at the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris, landing him on the international stage.

That's actually why I selected this magnet set from the VMFA's gift shop - because tucked away on a wall at their Tiffany exhibition (of which they're the only U.S. museum to host it), there's a black and white picture of the window in all its glory, hanging at that world's fair. And, even in black and white, back in 1900, you can see how this work of art must have been absolutely gorgeous.

You can learn oh, so much more about this vanity piece through the Morse Museum's Four Seasons PDF guide. Spring is just the beginning of my little set of four. Totally gonna marathon them!

In the meantime, I need to figure out when my trip to Winter Park will be. Don't laugh. It's totally a side-trip for Disney. Hmm, now I have to figure out my next trip to Disney.

Ok, fine. Now you can laugh.
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Friday, July 2, 2010

Upstairs, downstairs

Magnet #861 - Maymont

Have ya'll seen that Clive Owen movie Gosford Park? The really good one - about the genteel Brits in the English countryside and the lives of their upstairs and downstairs servants?

That's what the Maymont House Museum reminded me of. The U.S. version of that movie. Maymont was the 100-acre Gilded Age estate of a wealthy Richmond couple, the Dooleys. There's a nature preserve and a set of gorgeous gardens, plus the house on the estate is available to tour.

So, yeah, you know we totally did the tour. It starts you off belowstairs, with a rather well-done and in-depth self-guided tour, telling the story of how the Walker family, and the rest of the servants lived and helped serve the Dooleys family over the generations. So very cool. I mean, on these tours, you always get to see the dumbwaiters, the bellringer switchboards, the pantries and the kitchens, but, how often do you get to learn the details?

I mean, dudes, it took 10-12 hours to do laundry - one load! And, the manpower needed to host a tea party, you would not believe!

When it's time, they have you meet around the house at the front door. Not the side, where the carriage entrance was - you have to love houses with carriage entrances, it puts you right in that carriage in your best day/evening dress! But, at the front door, you're greeted by one of the docent volunteers to take you through the house, presumably because the mistress of the house has gone away for the day, leaving the guide to show you around.

What a good tour and a sweet tour guide, too. You can see the tour via this lovely blogpost. But our guide took us through the receiving and dining rooms downstairs, as well as the bedrooms upstairs, all the while answering our questions where she could.

She gave me a bit of perspective, explaining to me that though the Dooleys were very wealthy - they weren't near as wealthy as those Vanderbilts down in NC - which I have to take that they couldn't have been part of Mrs. Astor's circle in NYC, could they have? I dunno.

Anyway, you'll see through that blogpost that the house was certainly the epitome of the Gilded Age - for better or for worse, filled with such Gilded Age-y ornate furniture from all over, fueled by some definitely eclectic tastes.

On the good side, that eclecticism also included a number of Tiffany pieces that were pointed out along the way - which was no surprise, since the Tiffany exhibit at the VMFA has totally taken over Richmond, in such a wonderful surround-sound branding way, that I can hardly believe it. The piece on this magnet is actually a major panel in the house in their grand foyer.

So gorgeous. So unsigned! But no worries, Tiffany confirmed that it was from their studios.

On the bad side, the eclecticism (yes, that word sounds ok - odd, but ok) really freaked me out when we got to Sallie May's room - where, upon her death, she had her bed from their second house, Swannanoa, brought to Maymont room, so it could be on display. Which wouldn't have been so bad, had it not been this huge the shape of a swan.

A swan. A big giant swan.

Of course, both sisters were more worried about the Tiffany whaletusk/silver vanity table and chair. Disturbing, to say the least, but man, I'll see that swan in my nightmares.

And we'll likely be riding it, right into belly of the Kraken.
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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Are you surprised?

Magnet #860 - Pink Joy

Nooooo, you can't tell me you're surprised that this magnet is the reason I bought that magnet set from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts that I talked about yesterday.

Sorry for the short & sweet - got hit with a cold this week and am fevery and sniffly today, the day I was supposed to go back to work after a week off.

And, though it turns out that I probably got it from my STW BIL this past weekend, I'm really starting to believe in the physical manifestations of environmental (work) stress/distress.

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