Quite Continental Charm School: Day 14 – Write Love Letters

14/02/2012 § 2 Comments

The Quite Continental Charm School
A modern guide to creating a charmed life
Waverly Place, New York, 1968. Image via the George Eastman House.

Happy Valentine’s Day!  I hope you are having a wonderful day filled full of all sorts of love!  The city felt quite festive today, with lots of flowers and balloons on the subway.  Always nice to see New Yorkers excited for love.  We’re not quite as cynical as movies would have you think!

Day 14: Write Love Letters
On a day that celebrates affection, today’s tip for a charmed life suggests you make record of your love in a concrete manner.  Nothing is more romantic, more touching or more timeless than the art of writing love letters.

While momentous when said the first time, it is possible that “I love you” can sometimes become something of an aside, a routine.  When you write down how you feel about someone, it allows you to explain all that your “I love yous” have symbolized: how much you admire them, how much you respect them, how much you desire them.  Things they might have felt (or maybe not!), and things they should be told.

A few guidelines:

  • Love letters don’t need to be novels — if you’re feeling exceptionally stuck, try starting out with short notes.
  • You’ll always get bonus points if you deliver your love letters in an original way — I like tucking them inside the book you’re reading, attaching them to your bath towel so you’ll see it in the morning, or sending them in the mail to your office.
  • Lastly, I will admit that this post was in part inspired by the letters of Clementine and Winston Churchill, but I don’t want you to think that this only can be applied to romantic relationships.  Some of my favorite valentines of all time are those sent to me by my friends and by my parents, in fact — hearing that my friends and family care for me is something I could never tire of!

Taking the time to tell someone how much you love them only opens you up to receive more love.  It is classy, it is fabulous, and it is charming.  Could there be a better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day?

See also: 28 Days of Classy & Fabulous: Be Your Own Valentine (2011)

The Quite Continental Charm School
A modern guide to creating a charmed life

Sitting In A Tree

14/02/2012 § Leave a comment

State Library of New South Wales.
State Library of New South Wales.
Galt Museum & Archives.
Australian War Memorial Collection.
Happy Valentine’s Day!

Wants: Stella McCartney Lingerie

01/02/2012 § 1 Comment

While poking about the internet for my Valentine’s Day gift guide, I realized how much I love the new lingerie collection by Stella McCartney.  Normally I leave it to Sarah to talk about underpinnings, but I just couldn’t resist after I saw these gorgeous pieces.  Sexy without being trashy, feminine without being prissy, and modern with just enough vintage inspiration, I’m having a hard time deciding what to pick up first.  Isn’t that pink silk amazing?  I’m also happy to hear that Stella has recently dropped her price point a bit and has decided to expand her range of sizes — genius!

So gents, if you are the type that purchases lingerie for your lady on Valentine’s Day, I definitely recommend Stella McCartney. (Sidenote: Whenever shopping for giftable unmentionables, I definitely recommend you always avoid anything with marabou, pleather, fishnet or absolutely anything from Frederick’s of Hollywood, as they think this is acceptable.  Pfft!)

Browse Stella McCartney lingerie at Net-A-Porter here.

His & Hers Gift Guide: Valentine’s Day

29/01/2012 § Leave a comment

Love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day is just two weeks away, and I’ve pulled together a few ideas for budgets big and small alike.  Personally, I’d take anything on either list…just in case you were shopping, that is.

From top left:
Kiki de Montparnasse satin Muse corset bra and matching heart panty
La Maison du Chocolat heart box 13 piece assortment
Henri Bendel lady compact
Art can only be erotic – Pablo Picasso
Stella McCartney “Sam Partying” silk-satin playsuit
Cartier Panthere yellow and white gold ring
Diptyque votive in Baies
Hermès “Boucles et galons du Tsar” vintage style silk scarf
Smythson leather jewelry box
Santa Maria Novella Toscano cologne
Moynat Pauline crocodile city bag
Kiki de Montparnasse “My Tie” leather and silk restraint cuffs
The Lover, by Marguerite Duras

From top left:
Turnbull & Asser paisley dressing gown
Smythson leather watch roll
Hermès “L’Arbre de Vie” silk twill pocket square
Terrapin Stationers “I Fucking Love You” valentines
J.Press glen plaid patch cashmere scarf
Kiki de Montparnasse erotic chess set
Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair, by Pablo Neruda
Holland and Holland canvas bolster bag
Kiki de Montparnasse massage candle
Barber’s Adagio
Shackelton’s Whisky: Mackinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt
1930s closed case Rolex
Santa Maria Novella shaving kit
Levi’s Vintage Clothing shawl-collar wool cardigan

Happy Valentine’s Day

14/02/2011 § Leave a comment

Image via LIFE

Classy Things: The Bespoke Valentine

19/01/2011 § 2 Comments

Unless you live in Iran, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.  Surely, cynics will always deride the holiday as manufactured, but who doesn’t remember the fun there is to be had giving and receiving Valentines?  And now that we’ve all outgrown the ready-made perforated set of two dozen cards, what should we be giving our sweethearts?  What is the classy thing to do?

Clearly, the bespoke Valentine is the way to go, as it definitely will impress your sweetheart more than would a silly nonsense card you picked up at the bodega on your lunch hour on February 14.  You know who you are.  As a staunch proponent of the handmade Valentine, no matter how simple, I’ve pulled a few ideas to get you started.

Paper Source – Blossom Chocolate Keepsake Accordion Kit

For the craftier ones among us, the Paper Source offers a wonderful little kit with practically all you need to create an accordion book — just add personal touches like photos or written messages.  While the kit is relatively easy to assemble, it is time consuming.  This is not something you will be able to bang out in 15 minutes.  But therein lies the charm.  Scoop it here.

Paper Source – Paper Hearts Accordion Kit

Like the accordion idea, but you’re scared of glue sticks?  You can also purchase already cut accordion hearts in a variety of colors to write your sweet nothings on.  Scoop them here.

Severely uncreative?  Overbusy?  Horrendous penmanship?  Not to worry, I have a few professionals who can help.

Handmade Papercut Valentines by mrYen
I have a special love for papercut and silhouette art, and British artist mrYen offers a small collection at his etsy boutique that I just adore.  For Valentine’s Day, he’s created a few special pieces worth noting.  Each are entirely hand-cut with a scalpel, meaning no two are exactly alike — special and original, just like your Valentine!

Used alone, the initial key is lovely framed, and can also be used in various combinations to spell out a name or phrase. (For my overachievers, use these on the accordion kits above!)

Images via mrYen

Also lovely is his “I Love You.”  Scoop them both here.

Bicycle Couples by Paper Cuts By Joe
While mrYen creates lovely pieces, my true favorite in this genre is Joe Bagley, a gifted papercutter from Boston who I first came across via an event at one of my favorite Boston antique/curiosity/decor stores, Acquire.  His silhouette work is simply amazing.  I can’t even guess how he is able to bring forth the images he creates from a simple sheet of black paper with only a scalpel!  For Valentine’s Day, he’s created two images of a couple that would look simply gorgeous framed against a simple white background.

Images via papercutsbyjoe

Scoop them here – and spend some time in his shop.  He is amazing!

Graphic Art Valentines by thelittlecanoe
A whimsical illustrator from Portland, thelittlecanoe produces wonderfully layered, original art.  Her work is simple and complex at once, and looking at it feels as if we have a secret porthole into her dreams.  She’s got a small batch of Valentines that I adore.

Images via thelittlecanoe

Scoop them here – and be sure to check out the rest of her artwork.  I especially love the sailor illustrations and the narwhals.

If you want to go a bit bigger in scale, be sure to peruse UK typography shop More Than Words.  Offering both bespoke orders and a lovely portfolio of ready-made prints, this smart little shop is a great place to find or create something with design and literary appeal.

Bespoke prints can be personalized with names, dates, anything…

…even the location of your first kiss.

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