Thursday, December 31, 2009

charlie is so cool

Charlie McDonnell of Bath (UK) is my new favourite video blogger. He is the perfect mix of quirky, cool, funny, whimsy, dorky and cute.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

london calling

So, it is the end of my fifth day in London. I love it here! The freezing cold weather is still a novelty - I even get to wear my pink leather gloves, which I can never justify at home. I love the fact that the buildings and monuments have so much history attached to them, which is such a change from the new-ness of Australia! I also love London's cultural diversity, and that it is so stylish, but not uniformly so. The tube system is wonderful, it is so fast and easy-to-use! I would love to live here one day. I know that Andy would love it too - it is the home of Top Gear, The Streets and his favourite food, pickles!

We arrived here on the night of Christmas Eve. First thing on Christmas morning, we walked around the deserted streets of the city and saw all the famous landmarks firsthand - Big Ben, the London Eye, Westminster Abbey, 10 Downing Street, Trafalgar Square and Picaddily Circus. It was so lovely to see everything for the first time, unencumbered by the crowds. I braved the boxing day sales on Oxford Street, which was futile because the queues were soo long - not only to the cash registers but also to get into the stores themselves - that I gave up trying to buy anything early on and just wandered the sidestreets, lusting over luxury brands I can't afford. I have also visited the magnificent Tower of London; shopped at Knightsbridge (Harrods! and Space NK); watched two plays - The Mousetrap and Breakfast at Tiffany's - the former was really good but the latter was fantastic, especially Anna Friel (of Pushing Daisies) as Holly; visited Madame Tussauds and Ripley's Believe It or Not, which were both trashy, but actually very fun; toured London on a double-decker bus; seen amazing ancient artefacts at the British Museum, including sarcophaguses, the Rosetta Stone and the Nereid Monument... and there is still so much left to see and do in the two days I have left!

P.S. I am onto my third book - the first was Breakfast at Tiffany's, which I much prefer to the film and the play (and I loved them!) and the second was Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing, which I'll be reading again to fully grasp its meaning. It's really charming and easy-to-read, yet thought-provoking and real. Now I am reading a novel I bought on a whim at the airport bookstore called Foreign Tongue - it is described as "A Story of Life and Love in Paris" - how could I resist? It is delightful!

things I need to get around london

1. Tube pass. 2. Lipgloss. 3. Debit card and a little cash.

Friday, December 25, 2009


Eva Cassidy - Imagine

The most beautiful version of this song. This is my Christmas song.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

do yourself a favour

... and buy the latest issue of Frankie Magazine. It is such a lovely read with articles canvassing such topics as the convergence of gay and bogan culture, female circumcision in Ethiopia and turning 30, as well as a delicious sounding granola recipe, unique photography, pretty editorials and inspiring interviews. It is my favourite Australian magazine.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

feminist dilemma

As a feminist, I should object to this on principle, but, alas, I am crying with laughter! :) (Mainly because I can see myself doing all these things, bar the very last one, of course!)

Friday, December 18, 2009

days of our lives

“The way we live our days, is the way we live our lives.”
— Annie Dillard

white wine in the sun

My kind of Christmas song :)

P.S. Please purchase this on iTunes, 50% of proceeds will be donated to autism research :)


paris je t'aime

Directed by Tom Tykwer, starring Natalie Portman - one of the many short films (my favourite) in Paris, Je T'aime.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

secret garden

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

things to pack


1. Fuchsia coat. 2. 2x LBDs. 3. Black leather boots. 4. Tights. 5. Lingerie. 6. Pink leather gloves. 7. Diamond studs. 8. Black patent leather handbag. 9. Taupe tote. 10. Black and cream cashmere scarves. 11. Thermal knits. 12. Black Mary Jane ballerina flats.


1. By Terry foundation, concealer, liquid blush in fresh rose, liquid bronzer in sun beach. 2. Chanel laque in ming. 3. Becca mineral powder. 4. Ellis Faas eyeshadow in E107. 5. Nars velvet matte lip pencil in sex machine, multiple in copacabana, blush in desire, eyeshadows; eye shader, eyeliner and large domed eye brushes, yachiyo kabuki brush. 6. Stila mascara and black eyeliner. 7. Utowa eyelash curler. 8. Rubis tweezers.


1. Leaf & Rusher mini essentials pack (cleanser, day creme, night creme), resurface essentials pack (face and lip scrubs), skin tonic. 2. Mecca travel pack (body wash, body creme, sunscreen, hand creme). 3. This Works turbo balm.


1. Fekkai glossing travel pack (shampoo, conditioner, creme, hairspray, comb). 2. Bumble & bumble hair powder. 3. Kiehls creme with silk groom. 4. Aveda hair potion and paddle brush. 5. Ghd series IV styler. 6. MyCurl. 7. Parlux 3500 hair dryer.


1. Mecca nail colour lilac-grey (Diana/Francisca). 2. Fracas parfum. 3. ModelCo nail polish remover. 4. iPod. 5. Pens. 6. Pink leather moleskin notebook. 7. French language guide. 8. City guides/travel journals. 9. Novels. 10. Laptop. 11. Umbrella.

P.S. Please do not waste your time trying to talk me out of packing my beauty arsenal - it is non-negotiable!

Monday, December 14, 2009

the listmaker

You may have noticed that I love making lists. So, naturally, I also adore this site that I discovered via the gorgeous Sarah Wilson's blog:

I just stumbled on this cool online to-do list: teuxdeux. Simple. Clean. Fun. And FREE!! Try the demo here:

TeuxDeux Demo from TeuxDeux on Vimeo.

good day

“The only difference between a good day and a bad day is your attitude.”
— Dennis S. Brown

Saturday, December 12, 2009

nature v nurture

What Keeps a Woman Looking Young?

By Joan Kron
Allure Magazine

For years, the similarities between Jeanne and Susan were uncanny.

Growing up, the identical twin sisters not only were mirror images of each other, but also shared a bunch of preferences and personality quirks. Even now, living 1,000 miles apart -- Jeanne in Ohio, Susan in Florida -- "we'll send identical Christmas cards to our parents and choose the exact same gift wrap," Jeanne says.

But they do have some differences, she adds: "We don't have the same taste in men or in weather." In fact, unlike Jeanne, Susan is a lifelong sun worshipper. In addition, Susan began smoking in her late teens, and although she stopped for six years in her 20s, she averaged a pack and a half a day for 16 years before quitting in her late 30s. Jeanne never smoked.

Over time, it seems, these habits have made a remarkable difference in the way they look. Now, "Susan looks ten years older than I do," Jeanne acknowledges. "In fact, when we meet new people I'll say, 'She's my sister,' but I never say she's my twin."

It may seem odd that two people with the same DNA could look so different, but it's common, according to research published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery by Bahman Guyuron, a plastic surgeon in Cleveland, and colleagues at Cleveland's Case Western Reserve University. Contrasting behaviors cause subtle differences in appearance that eventually make one of the pair look older than the other.

And that suggests that all of us -- twins or not -- may have more influence on the way we age than we think.

Catherine Deneuve has been credited with proclaiming that after a certain age, a woman needs to choose between her face and her behind -- meaning that a lean body can result in a face that appears gaunt and haggard. Indeed, for women over 40, this maxim is true, report Guyuron and his study coauthors, who surveyed and photographed 186 sets of identical twins.

Additional weight fills in and softens wrinkles, making a heavier twin look younger than her sister, Guyuron explains. But for women under 40, the effect turns out to be just the opposite: Extra pounds can obscure youthful features like a smooth jawline and cause facial skin to sag. The weight effect was generally seen when a woman had a body-mass index at least four points higher than her twin. (Each point of body mass is equivalent to five or six pounds of weight, so a four-point difference would be 20 to 24 pounds.)

The longer a woman takes birthcontrol pills or hormone-replacement therapy, and the higher the dose, the more likely she is to look younger. That's partly because estrogen can increase water retention, helping to smooth out the skin. And although estrogen is contraindicated for some women and poses health risks as well as benefits, there is no question that "estrogen improves skin elasticity," Guyuron says.

In one case, a 69-year-old who had used hormone replacement for four years longer than her twin looked three-and-a-third years younger, despite having had more lifetime sun exposure. Taking antidepressants, however, was generally associated with an older appearance. In addition to the aging effect of depressed people's sadder facial expressions, Guyuron says, certain depression-relieving drugs can weaken eye muscles, causing the area to look more droopy.

Women who didn't drink looked younger than their twins who did. Since the study didn't track the amount or type of alcohol that drinkers consumed, though, it wasn't able to suggest exactly what constitutes too much. Actually, research has shown that resveratrol, a substance found in red-wine grapes, can delay aging, Guyuron points out. But in general, excess alcohol consumption can damage blood vessels in the skin. Also, "the liver plays a major role in the quantity and quality of the collagen fibers within the skin layers," Guyuron says. Translation: Heavy drinking's harm to liver function can cause wrinkles.

Cigarettes may not come with an aging warning, but evidently they should: The longer a woman smokes, the older she looks, with deeper and more plentiful wrinkles and more uneven skin tone. According to the research analysis, every ten years of smoking resulted in a perceived extra 2.5 years of age.

More surprising, divorced women were judged to look an average of 1.7 years older than their married or single twins -- possibly because of higher levels of stress or depression. (Marriage isn't always smooth sailing, but it's not as stressful as divorce.) Inexplicably, though, widows looked two years younger. No differences were found with increasing number of divorces, the researchers report. Guyuron guesses that "after one goes through a very challenging situation once, the second or third experience becomes less troubling and would not take as much toll on the face."

If anyone dismisses the idea that sun exposure speeds up aging, this study may change their minds. The researchers calculated the approximate amount of time each woman had spent in the sun since childhood. The twins' photographs, as shown on these pages, confirm that UV exposure deepens wrinkles and mottles the skin. Sunscreen use, however, minimized or prevented these effects.

(via StyleList)

holiday reading

· The Girl’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing
. The Book of Laughter and Forgetting
. Foucault’s Pendulum
. The Five People You Meet in Heaven
. The Power of Now

things to do before my trip

1. Practice my French: watch SATC and Scrubs in French, read my French copy of The Lover, listen to Carla Bruni. 2. Write a list of things to pack. 3. Write a list of things to buy. 4. Buy tights, a laptop bag and books to read. 5. Create playlists on my iPod. 6. Refrain from buying magazines and makeup. 7. Work a lot. 8. Detox my room. 9. Get my hair done. 10. Pack. 11. Spend quality time with Andy.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


“It’s so hard to forget pain, but it’s even harder to remember sweetness. We have no scar to show for happiness. We learn so little from peace.”
— Chuck Palahniuk

wonderful world

Eva Cassidy - What a Wonderful World

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

relationship contract

This blog post by Simone Heydon inspired me to pen a relationship contract with my lovely boyfriend Andy.


* I will give you at least three sincere compliments each day: one on your beauty, one on your delightful personality, and one on something wonderful you have done.

* I will accept that you will never understand my borderline obsessive compulsive complex with cleanliness and tidiness. I will tidy and clean up after you without complaining when the mess involved is negligible.

* I will not be angry with you for being clumsy and absent-minded. This is part of who you are and I love you for it.

* I will not criticise any member of your family, for any reason, not even to join in with you.

* I will occasionally buy you small presents as a thoughtful gesture, for example a magazine, flowers or chocolate.

* I will never take my work stress or bad moods out on you.

* I will kiss you with regularity and passion without prompting.

* I will not get upset when I cook elaborate, gourmet meals for you and you can't eat them because I know quite well how "undeveloped" your palette is.

* I will drive you everywhere, and always open the car door for you.


* I will cheerfully watch Top Gear with you, and try my best not to tune out whilst you talk about cars incessantly, indicating my interest by making appropriate noises i.e. "wow", "you're so clever", "what's that?" etc.

* I will put all your DVDs back in their cases when I am done with them instead of leaving them strewn around the room.

* I will let you play playstation without competing with it for your attention. I will even, occasionally, play it with you and not get angry when you ridicule my playing technique.

* If I call you and you don't answer, then you text me instead, I will refrain from calling you again because it probably means you don't want to talk to me at that particular moment (i.e. during a work shift or a "boy's night").

* I will limit my discussion about getting married and what we should call our children.

* I will try my best to be tidy, and not leave glasses of water or Coke Zero on the bedside table where I will inevitably knock them over and damage your expensive surround sound speakers.

* I will let you listen to your music in the car and never, ever criticise your driving.

* I will go to sleep at the same time as you, instead of staying up to watch Law and Order and The Real Housewives of New York City.

* I will not be personally affronted when you are stressed about work or in a bad mood.

* I will not nag you about ettiquete, making decisions for your future, not eating or drinking food and alcohol that you know always makes you sick, taking me on dates, buying me presents and being responsible with money.

* I will never take for granted everything you do for me.

P.S. Andy has declined entering into the contract, however I have noticed more kissing, compliments and patience with my clumsiness and messiness :)

countdown to Paris

23 sleeps!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


“I myself am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions.”
— Augusten Burroughs

Monday, December 7, 2009

happy hour

Doctor's orders: for medicinal purposes only

Tim Elliot
Sydney Morning Herald
December 05 2009

IN THE palliative care ward of Greenwich Hospital, Happy Hour starts at 11am.

This is when John Whalan, a volunteer, begins pushing his trolley, garlanded with leis and clinking with bottles of brandy and gin, through the ward, mixing tall ones for the terminally ill.

"I don't know a patient who has refused a drink," Mr Whalan, 91, says. "Champagne is fairly popular - we have little plastic flutes for that - and so is gin and tonic. We have a few whisky drinkers in the ward, too, and a lot of the men like a beer."

Mr Whalan's trolley, which is paid for by the hospital, also carries a selection of red and white wines, and cheese, biscuits, soft-drinks and chocolates, all of it free for patients. Launched at the suggestion of the hospital's volunteer group, the Happy Hour service has been running since the beginning of the year.

"At first it was daunting going into palliative care because I knew that most of the people there were going to die," Mr Whalan says. "But then I realised how much they all looked forward to it. When they hear the trolley coming they really brighten up. Just for a little while they are happier. That's why we call it Happy Hour."

Mr Whalan, a former sales manager for AMP, began volunteering for the hospital after the death of his wife, following a long period of dementia, in 2003. With his wife gone, Mr Whalan sank into a deep depression. "I couldn't function. I couldn't move. I just sat in a corner at home thinking of all the things that could take me off, and hoping it would come fast."

After a five-week stay in a local clinic, Mr Whalan emerged depression-free but searching for a purpose.

"I realised that if I didn't do something I'd just become a hopeless old man. Around the same time a friend of mine died at Greenwich Hospital. And so I volunteered here."

Patients describe Mr Whalan as extra special and terrific. Others greet him with an indignant "Where have you been?"

Mr Whalan, meanwhile, says Happy Hour works both ways.

"It makes me happy too. It's changed my life. I feel good, good about myself, and really alive. My garden is a bit of a mess, but apart from that, everything is just wonderful."

(via SMH)

the book of life

“In the book of life every page has two sides: we human beings fill the upper side with our plans, hopes and wishes, but providence writes on the other side, and what it ordains is seldom our goal.”
— Nisami

Sunday, December 6, 2009

wedding song

Eva Cassidy - True Colours

This song was played at the wedding yesterday, it was just beautiful.

I have always absolutely adored Eva Cassidy's amazing, soul-stirring voice but I never knew her tragic story. Here is a lovely, moving tribute to her written after she died at the age of 33.

Echoes of a Voice Stilled Too Early
The Death of Eva Cassidy Haunts Friends and Fans

By Richard Harrington
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, November 17, 1996 Page G01

Bruce Lundvall still shakes his head over Eva Cassidy. Lundvall heads Blue Note Records, a label with a string of distinctive jazz singers. None made a first impression like this unknown singer from Bowie.

"Eva Cassidy had the most extraordinary and singular voice I had heard in a very, very long time," he says. "It was distinctive not only because of its power but because of its timbre when she sang quietly. It was so very mysterious -- it would just freeze me.

"The first time I ever heard her was in my office. She sang an a cappella `Amazing Grace' and I was just nailed to the wall. I made a very bad mistake. I should have signed her. . . . She was a kid. Who knew?"

On Nov. 2, Eva Cassidy died at the age of 33 following a three-month battle with bone cancer. She was, for sure, a diamond, no longer in the rough but not yet in the proper setting that would showcase a voice so pure, so strong, so passionate that it should have found a home just about anywhere.

Cassidy didn't have any concept of target audiences or musical distinctions. She could sing anything -- folk, blues, pop, jazz, R&B, gospel -- and make it sound like it was the only music that mattered.

But that kind of reach, that kind of embrace, is so rare that it doesn't have a regular audience. Clubs shy away from booking a voice like that. Record labels don't know how to sell it. So Cassidy released only two CDs, both on local labels. The second, "Live at Blues Alley," came out a month before she learned she had cancer.

All that helps explain why Eva Cassidy is not a familiar name, even here in her home town. She was a secret slowly exposed by word of mouth from those who stumbled into her world and emerged forever fans. It explains why so many musicians sought Eva Cassidy out. Everybody felt like she was a part of their mix.

She was shy, of course. She was neither blessed nor burdened with the aggressiveness and ambition that fuel so many singers and musicians. But there was a spiritual solidity about Cassidy. She was determined, focused, strong.

"I don't even think she knew how good she was," says Chuck Brown, the "Godfather of Go-Go," who made a much-acclaimed album of jazz and pop standards with Cassidy in 1992. "She liked the idea of possibly making a living off music, but if she never got a record deal or never became famous, she wouldn't lose any sleep over it," says Chris Biondo, Cassidy's producer and bassist. "What's sad is that people were just beginning to figure how good she was when she got sick."

Toward the end of July, Eva Cassidy started showing up for gigs with a cane. Hip pain, she said. She'd been doing murals for three days. Must have pulled something.

The pain didn't stop. X-rays. The hip was fractured. Hip replacement surgery was set for Aug. 21. A precautionary X-ray before the operation found cancer in a lung. Tests at Johns Hopkins then found that her bones were filled with cancer.

All of a sudden, she was being told that she had three months to live. She started chemotherapy immediately, though it seemed little more than rage against the storm of sickness.

"It wasn't just the music," says Biondo. "Eva fought as hard as she did because she wanted to ride her bike again, to go out and spend Sundays with her mother. She loved music, but it didn't mean as much to her as it meant to the people that were listening to her singing."

Her mother, Barbara Cassidy, says Eva "was a very private person, with a sense of vulnerability about her when she sang. I think that's what touched people's hearts about her."

When Chris Biondo first met Eva Cassidy, she was just a friend of someone recording in his home studio in Bowie. "He told me he was bringing over a really good singer. I didn't pay much attention, but I remember Eva was scared to come in the door, she waited outside. It wasn't very intimidating, but she thought it was a bigger deal than it was. When Eva finally came in and sang, I knew my friend wasn't kidding."

Biondo's recording studio would ultimately be a bridge to a number of musical opportunities that Cassidy would never have sought out. It was there that she met Al Dale, a National Park Service official who would become her manager.

"When I went to the studio, Eva was singing background parts in the vocal booth, which I couldn't see -- Chris pushed the button on the board so the music was coming out," Dale recalls. "I said, `Man, she's great!' I was expecting to see this black lady and out walks this little blond, blue-eyed lady and I said, `Is that Eva Cassidy?' "

She was raw talent.
"She hadn't, like a lot of people, hit the Holiday Inn circuit, done tours and whatever," Dale remembers. "She had never done any of that, just some singing around the house with her family and doing little gigs. She talked about how she enjoyed doing backup vocals and liked all kinds of music.

"And, when I was first trying to encourage her, she'd ask, `Why would anybody want to hear me? Why would anybody want to buy my records?' "

She came from a musical family. Her father, Hugh Cassidy, is a retired schoolteacher who played acoustic bass for many years. Her brother, Danny, is a fiddle player now living in Iceland. Eva became serious about her voice and guitar when she was 9, about the same time her brother started on the fiddle.

She sang with a couple of high-energy rock bands in high school. "It strained her voice because kids play so loud and the singer has to screech to get above them," says Hugh Cassidy. "She hated that."

Eva's first professional job was singing country music over the summer at nearby Wild World, a first taste of doing songs she didn't want to do in front of audiences who weren't there to listen.

But Cassidy herself listened with great passion -- to the radio.

"One of the reasons she got so good, whenever a song was on the radio, she would always sing with it -- not the melody, always the harmony," Hugh says. "She had a sense of harmony -- it didn't matter what part -- high, low, she could take any part. When they'd call her in to lay down tracks, she'd go in and just do it because she had an incredible ear."

Chuck Brown also discovered Eva Cassidy voice-first when he was doing some recording at Biondo's studio in 1992.

"Chris put a tape on and I heard this beautiful, honeyed voice coming out of the speakers," Brown recalls. "Her voice projected her feelings, and I could feel everything she was singing. It's a devastating blow to lose her. . . . I felt I'd been knowing her all her life."

Though widely known as the Godfather of Go-Go, the raspy-voiced Brown had long wanted to cut an album reflecting his passion for jazz and blues, but, he admits, "I never had the nerve to do it by myself. That lady, man, I've never met anybody like her. When I first heard her voice, I thought about Louis Armstrong and Peggy Lee. What a combination that was way back in the '40s and nobody'd done it since! I really felt good about it."

They recorded "The Other Side," a supple collection of standards like "Fever," "Over the Rainbow," "Gee Baby, Ain't I Good to You," "God Bless the Child" and "You Don't Know What Love Is."

Cassidy's singing with Brown, says her friend Jackie Fletcher, was "simple and clear and gorgeous, the quiet crystal clear ballad interspersed with soulful blues tunes. It was not muddied in the water of rock-and-roll, and it made Eva work -- she had to have power in her voice to sing with Chuck."

The two did some club dates together -- the notoriously undemonstrative Cassidy got someone to teach her how to snap her fingers for "Fever" -- and introduced themselves to each other's audiences.

"When I found out she was sick, I haven't been right since," says Brown, his voice choking up with emotion. "I had to stop all of my recording sessions 'cause I just wasn't in no mood to go in the studios to do anything . . . "

In time, Cassidy began to venture out from the studio, playing small clubs and wishing they were smaller.

"She was scared to play in front of a lot of people," Biondo says, "though she became more comfortable when she realized her singing really moved people."

Singer Mary Ann Redmond, who shared some stages with Cassidy, says: "Female singers are a rare breed -- they can be insecure and a little bit catty and weird -- but Eva didn't have any of those traits. She didn't have any ego, she just wanted to sing because she loved music. She didn't even really like being onstage that much -- she'd rather sing background than be in the foreground."

Nicky Scarfo, who produced gangsta rap at Biondo's studio -- and sometimes enlisted Cassidy for backup vocals -- couldn't understand why she wasn't a big star. "Chris said she didn't care at all, she just wanted to live her life peacefully. She was just happy doing what she did. . . . There was no sense of urgency."

Like Dale and Brown, Scarfo's first reaction when meeting Cassidy was doubt. "It was: `Chris, are you jiving?' But Eva got on that mike and just destroyed it, we didn't believe what we were hearing."

At first, Scarfo didn't think Cassidy would want to work in gangsta rap. "I had her sing a hook that said `I want to thank you pimps and players' and I couldn't even imagine it -- but the way she sang it, she made it sound good, you know!"

Scarfo laughs at the memory. "She just put a feeling and a touch on words that brought them across with soulfulness and jazziness all wrapped up into one. And the way she did harmonies is unbelievable. She could do four-part harmonies just like that -- 1,2,3,4, write it and hit it, all the harmonies, note for note, and be done in 20 or 30 minutes. It was unbelievable."

So was the rappers' reaction. "These are guys that would shoot me if I messed their tape up. When she'd come in," Scarfo says, "I swear, it was like the principal walking into a class, I've never seen them so respectful and well behaved. These guys were really devastated when they found out about Eva . . . "

"Record companies want to pigeonhole you," says manager Dale. "What was really confusing about Eva is that she could sing everything."

According to Biondo, Cassidy's biggest problem with prospective labels was that when they asked her to show them what direction she wanted to go in, she would record three or four songs. "And, inevitably, one would be a gospel song, one a jazz standard, one a folk song, or some obscure Celtic song that Eva would change and arrange in ways that made it not resemble anything like it was when it was originally invented. Every song that she sang had some meaning to her.

"She didn't really understand that there were categories between songs; if they were ones she happened to pick, that was her category. I don't think until the day she died she ever understood what that was all about."

By mid-October, many in Washington's music community were aware of Cassidy's illness, though few knew its severity. Because she had no insurance, a benefit was scheduled at the Bayou, with dozens of bands and individual musicians volunteering their services.

"Eva cared enough about it to try to get herself pumped up to get there," Dale says. Effects of the still-spreading cancer and the harsh side effects of chemotherapy had made Cassidy so ill that she decided to forgo chemo on the two days before the show. When she arrived at the club -- moving slowly with a walker, a sprightly beret masking the loss of hair -- Cassidy looked frail but golden.

"Eva had such a sparkle that night -- she said, `This is like my big birthday party.' It may have been the one time in her life that she came to terms with the idea that people really do like her and think that she's a terrific talent. It filled her to know people appreciated and loved her."

Late that evening, Cassidy slowly moved down the Bayou stage steps with her walker and approached the microphone. Typically, she first thanked everyone. And then, with a fragile beauty that belied her pain, she sang "What a Wonderful World," a vision of moments and places and people that will never again seem quite as wonderful as they were that night.

Eva Cassidy's eyes may have been the only dry ones in the Bayou at that moment.

"I think that was the best day she had after she got real sick," Biondo says. "But she came home and threw up that night, she was in a lot of pain. The arm that she used to strum her guitar had cancer in it . . . "

Hours later, Cassidy was back at Johns Hopkins for chemo. According to Jackie Fletcher, "Her peak was the Bayou. She started sliding downhill that next morning. She lost so much of her strength over a short period of time and after that night, she was always in the wheelchair because of the pain and because her bones were so brittle."

Over the next few days, Cassidy tried to send thank-you notes to the performers and those who helped put the tribute together, even if she could only do one a day. The cards bore
a heart with a smiling face.

The Bayou would be Cassidy's last public performance. The little bit of singing she did after that was from her bed.

"She liked songs with singable choruses," folk singer Marcy Marxer recollects. "Songs like `Give Yourself to Love' and `My Heart's in the Highlands.' Grace Griffith and I would sing, and she'd just jump in with the third part. Sometimes we'd have to sing softly to hear Eva, and she'd say, `Let's make a nest' -- and we'd circle up real close."

The last weeks were the hardest, of course. And, typically, it was Eva Cassidy who preempted others' sorrow.

"I once heard Eva say she wasn't afraid of dying," says Al Dale. "She never even had a tear in her eye. It was always, `Well, how you doing, Al?' You almost never got a chance to say `Well, Eva, how are you doing?' She never even asked for anything -- you could give her an apple and she'd think it was a diamond ring."

Barbara Cassidy remembers that earlier this year, Eva visited relatives in Nova Scotia and sat on some rocks watching meteors go by all night long. "She said it was so incredible. She loved different cloud formations, the way the sun would feel to her through the breeze, flowers. She just added so much beauty to my life . . .

"And she loved sunset, it was her favorite time. She called it the golden time of day, when the sun is going down and the yellows and reds hit the leaf tops . . . "

Hugh Cassidy sighs for a moment and says, "Eva got us all to look at the golden time."

In 1993, Eva Cassidy tried to record a song called "I Know You by Heart." The project was sidetracked. It was finished last month, with the calm, crystalline beauty of Cassidy's voice augmented by the aching, ethereal violin of her brother, Danny.

"You left in autumn, the leaves were turningI walk down roads [of] orange and goldI see your sweet smile, I hear your laughterYou're still here beside me every day . . .'Cause I know you by heart . . . "

Maybe someday "I Know You by Heart" will be released, its melancholy beauty heard by audiences around the world. Then, the song's sound may well bring tears to strangers' eyes, but right now it's the silence that hurts those who knew the singer.

Eva Cassidy - Danny Boy

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Today the most in love, perfect couple I know are getting married ♥

“We waste time looking for the perfect lover, instead of creating the perfect love.”
— Tom Robbins

Friday, December 4, 2009

life's little luxuries

1. A spritz of Fracas parfum.* 2. Curling up on the couch on a rainy night to watch Mad Men. 3. A fluffy little dog to cuddle. 4. Applying the perfect shade of Chanel lipstick.** 5. Lying in a hammock in summertime, reading and eating green grapes. 6. A fresh, glossy blowdry. 7. Spring water with a slice of lemon, served in a wine glass. 8. New Garance Doré posts and romantic text messages. 9. French kissing. 10. Being wrapped in a warm towel, fresh from the dryer, after a long bath.***

* outstanding note of tuberose, a variety of flowers (mostly white) - jasmine, jonquil, lily of the valley, white iris and a touch of pink geranium, top notes of bergamot, mandarin and hyacinth, infused at the heart with a whisper of orange and a base note of sandalwood, vertiver and musk... so lovely!
** mine is the rouge allure laque in "ming"
*** here is an opportunity for a boyfriend/lover/partner/ fiancé/husband to prove himself useful

Thursday, December 3, 2009

the dream

"I may still not know what I want to be when I grow up, but I do know that someday I want to live in a house filled with my books and travel souvenirs. And the walls that aren’t covered in bookshelves will be covered with photos of my family and friends. When I leave the house I will be going to a job I love, and I’ll return to a person I love. So, that’s the dream I’m working on."
— Amber Morely

i'd rather be crazy than right tonight

Pat Monahan - Always Midnight

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

corduroy skirts

Last week at Syracuse University, Michelle Deferio, Syracuse resident (not student), and her father stood on a street corner on campus holding a sign that read, “Homosexuality is a sin, Christ can set you free.”

Chris Pesto, a junior drama major, decided to take action.

In his own words, on a facebook note about the protest, Chris wrote:

Today (Wednesday, November 18th) I left my voice lesson and noticed two adults on campus holding signs that said “Homosexuality is a sin”. First, I would just like to say that I support people with their own opinions. I think that everyone is entitled to their right to think what they want. However, when someone comes on my campus, where I pay tuition to live, I don’t think it’s appropriate to rub such a hateful sign in someone’s face. I decided that because this woman thought it was okay to make me feel uncomfortable in my home, I would retaliate and make her feel just as uncomfortable, if not more.

This woman was wearing a ankle-length corduroy skirt, which, as we all know, is a fashion nono. So, in order to make her feel uncomfortable, I stood next to her and held a sign that said Corduroy skirts are a sin! I don’t think I have ever drawn so much attention in my life. SO many people asked to take a picture with me, I got laughs, high fives and there were the few that even cursed off the woman standing behind me.

As I drew interest to what was going on with myself and the woman with the hateful sign, I started to draw a crowd that stood with me in support. Before I knew it I had 100+ people holding signs for gay rights asking people to honk their horns to support. I was interviewed by a news station, and more than 5 student organization papers, and the post standard of syracuse.

I never expected anybody to come stand by me and support and I appreciate it so much that everyone came! It meant so much and it proved to those ignorant people that we aren’t afraid, and we will put up a fight.

I’m proud that Syracuse has such a homosexual friendly community.

(via fbomb)

the mystery

“The answer is never the answer. What’s really interesting is the mystery. If you seek the mystery instead of the answer, you’ll always be seeking. I’ve never seen anybody really find the answer — they think they have, so they stop thinking. But the job is to seek mystery, evoke mystery, plant a garden in which strange plants grow and mysteries bloom. The need for mystery is greater than the need for an answer.”
— Ken Kesey

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.”
— Marilyn Monroe

16. random acts of kindness

1. Smile at everybody. 2. Ask for and remember people's names. 3. Hold the lift open for people and press the button for them. 4. Let people pass you in traffic and wave to people who do the same for you. 5. Give genuine compliments to strangers. 6. Write thank you notes to people for hosting a great party, saying something that made you feel better, giving great customer service, birthday and Christmas presents, etc. 7. Say thank you to the bus driver. 8. Give up your seat on public transport for elderly people, pregnant women, mothers with young children and people who look exhausted. 9. Let people with only a few items in front of you in the grocery line. 10. Say hello to people as you walk the dog. 11. Greet people with warmth and enthusiasm. 12. Help mothers and elderly people with their shopping. 13. Thank shop assistants. 14. Chat to people while waiting in line for the bus, shopping, lift etc. 15. Give people your unexpired bus and parking tickets. 16. Call stores to report great customer service. 17. Truly listen to people when they talk. 18. Comment on people's blogs, facebook photos and twitter updates. 19. Remember people's birthdays. 20. Participate in operation beautiful.

"We won’t always know whose lives we touched and made better for our having cared, because actions can sometimes have unforeseen ramifications. What’s important is that you do care and you act."
— Charlotte Lunsford