Monthly Archives: October 2009

Keep calm and carry a stiff upper lip

The phrase “keep calm and carry on” was meant as World War II propaganda, but it was never used. One lone surviving poster resurfaced nearly 70 years later.


Photo taken from

The poster was first designed in April of 1939 by the Ministry of Information during the war to influence public opinion. It was a series of three posters to keep up the motivational moral of the British people. According to a BBC News Magazine article, the government intended to use “keep calm and carry on” as a last resort if the Nazis had succeeded in invading Great Britain. It was supposed to signify the British attitude of having a “stiff upper lip.”

First poster of the series: “Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution will Bring us Victory.”


Second poster of the series: “Freedom is in Peril”


The poster was rediscovered at Barter Books, a secondhand bookshop in Alnwick, Northunderland. The owners Stuart and Marly Nanely found the poster inside a book. They hung it up and customers were so enthralled with the poster, the couple have reprinted copies of the poster since 2000. In the BBC News Magazine, Mr. Manley said, “I didn’t know anything about it, but I showed it to my wife. We both liked it so we decided to frame it and put it in the shop.”

The phrase has become an international sensation. The Keep Calm and Carry On Gallery prints this slogan on tea towels, posters, t-shirts and even cufflinks.



What do you all think of “keep calm and carry on?” What helps you to remain calm?

♥ – Erin



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A Matchmaker from Hell

A strong heroine +  scandal + a romantic/marriage scene at the end = a Jane Austen novel

Meet Emma Woodhouse. Jane Austen wrote the first sentence describing Emma in a way every one could be envious: “I am going to take a heroine whom no-one but myself will much like. Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever and rich.” Envious of Emma? I am!

A new adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Emma” premiered on the BBC on Sunday, October 4. This version was spaced out over a four-hour span staring Romola Garai as Emma Woodhouse and Jonny Lee Miller as Mr. Knightley. The miniseries begins with Emma as a small child being pushed in a stroller by her mother. A few years later, the woman dies, leaving Mr. Woodhouse with two small children to raise. As Emma becomes older, she is obsessed with dolls and matchmaking – her favorite pastime. Even as a young adult, Emma conspires to make couples out of her friends. She blindly charges into the frontier of matchmaking without considering the disasters of meddling in other people’s lives.

I found this version to be closely aligned to the original Jane Austen novel. At first I found Romola Garai’s portrayal of Emma exhausting because the woman is so flighty and spoiled, but she grows not only as a character, but in the depth of her persona. Garai brings the character life through her temper tantrums, broken promises to cease her matchmaking and her gossiping ways. Emma is a very flawed character, and through Garai’s performance, it shows. I had seen Garai in Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights as the young Katie Miller. She plays the innocent roles very well, but I want to see her break out. I was delighted with Louise Dylan’s portrayal as Harriet Smith, the sweet but slightly dim friend of Emma’s. She played the role with perfection, acting with airheadness when needed and was overly emotional when Mr. Elton, her potential lover (or so she thought), didn’t want her.   Jonny Lee Miller as Mr. Knightley has been my favorite yet. His chemistry with Garai is flawless and makes the viewer think, “What a good-looking couple.”

The filming, as most BBC productions, are lovely and fluid. I was a bit hesitant to watch this version because there have been so many Jane Austen adaptations being released the past few years. It seemed to start with the “Pride and Prejudice” release in 2005. From there came PBS and more BBC adaptations of the Georgian era. I’m getting a bit Janed out, and so are many other viewers. In this article at the Daily Mail, viewers were turning off by the millions. The first episode raked in 4.4 million viewers and by the second only 3.3 million viewers tuned in. Are people really getting tired of Austen or is there another component missing?

This is my favorite Emma adaptation. I suggest to anyone who wants a Jane Austen fix or who wants a display of white-hot English chastity to see it.

♥ – Erin

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Full of Grace: Coddington, The September Issue and the RL Controversy

I saw The September Issue last night, and in addition to learning more about how American Vogue works, I also learned more about Grace Coddington. She’s the creative director of Vogue, and while more media-shy than her boss Anna Wintour, Coddington is incredibly talented. She’s just so creative, and her finished editorials look amazing. In this post, you can see some of Grace’s fantastic spreads from this year.

Here is model Karen Elson styled as Grace Coddington in the August 2008 issue of Vogue.

and here is Grace during her time as a fashion model in 1960’s London

Earlier this week she spoke at an event at The New York Public Library, and this is what she said when asked about the recent Ralph Lauren Photoshop Controversy.

“Most of Ralph Lauren’s models are not super skinny: this is an isolated situation and I think that it’s unfair that he’s getting bad publicity for it … You ask, ‘Can’t models just be normal sized people?’ They have to be thinner than you and I, because you always photograph a little fatter … But it is a big problem. I remember when I was modeling and I put on some weight, and they said to me: ‘Lose weight or you don’t do the show.’ I’d spend the week not eating anything and just drinking coffee. I was eighteen or nineteen.

“But these days, the problems are coming with kids that are very young and very vulnerable … you don’t have to go to the extremes they go to. And because they’re kids, they take it too far, and they can’t regulate their lives, and next thing you know they’re anorexic, and it is tragic. And I don’t know what the answer is, except to keep on it, which we’re all trying to do … Personally we’re not allowed, at Vogue, to work with girls who are very thin, but you never know, because you could book them and think they’re a certain size, and they turn up on the shoot and suddenly they’ve spun into this anorexic situation. And you’re on the spot and you have to get the job done and you have one day to do it, and what do you do? But you try to be responsible.”

I’m glad that Vogue seems to be at least trying. Caroline Trentini is featured very often in the magazine, and while she is very thin, she does not look unhealthy. It seems like a good thing that the creative director of Vogue realizes that unhealthy models and overuse of photoshop can be a concern.

What are your thoughts?


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Recent Grace Coddington styled American Vogue Editorials

After seeing The September Issue, I went looking through my old issues of Vogue and online for recent Grace Coddington Editorials. Here are some of my favorite images from editorials that she styled this year.


Natalia Vodianova as Twiggy in The Great Pretender, Vogue May 2009.



Natalia again, this time in this year’s September issue, in a spread called “Into the Woods”. Galliano is the wolf.




Karlie Kloss and French Tennis Star Gael Monfils in a spread this year aptly titled ‘French Open’.


Caroline Trentini in July’s “City of Dreams”.

And finally, not from this year but still amazing and featured in The September Issue, “Paris, Je T’aime”

These photos are absolutely gorgeous. Which are your favorites?

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“The September Issue” a Fashion Do

Fashion is an artistic, marvelous and often times a frightening thing. When some people pick up a fashion magazine, they flip through the pages and gawk at the clothes they see before them.

“Why would someone pay that much money for that whatever it is clothing disaster when no one would wear it in public?” a friend asked when looking at the latest issue of French Elle. Why is exactly the right question. Couture is the answer. Why are people so obsessed with fashion and spend so much money buying the magazines and clothes?

Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of American Vogue and “it” girl of fashion, sums it up perfectly, “There’s something about fashion that can make people very nervous.” I agree.

Director R.J. Cutler brings to the screen the hectic, dramatic and often heart breaking process of the creation of the famous September issue of Voguemagazine. “The September Issue” follows the chilly Anna Wintour and flamed-haired Grace Coddington, the Creative Director of American Vogue, through the streets of London, New York and Paris in the development of the magazine.

Wintour and Coddington often face off in a battle of what will go into the magazine on anything from a salmon pink over sized coat to a 1920s themed photo spreads. Both women are very stubborn and will fight for what they want. In the end, Wintour rules, even if she comes off a bit of an ice queen, because it is her job. She has been in the fashion business for almost 40 years and has ensured her own survival. What Wintour wants, Wintour gets.

This documentary is not just about extravagant hair, thickly layered makeup and the use of clothes must people would never wear with dignity in public. It’s all consumerism, marketing a brand and money.

Fashion is a $300-billion dollar industry and Vogue has to sell magazines to survive. The promotion of this world is about consumption. At first glance through the glossy pages, the items that catch our eyes start out as a lust. Oh yes, I want those Jimmy Choo pumps or that Rag and Bone pair of jeans. Soon, it turns into a need that we must have to be trendy. Then, watch out! You’ve become snared in fashion’s net. It’s a way for people to feel transformed and beautiful if they follow fashion bible. After watching this documentary, one can see how ridiculous fashion can be, but we can’t help ourselves.

At the end of the film, after the September issue has been sent to the presses, Wintour asks for everything to be ready to start planning the October issue. Wintour’s catchphrase rings clearly: “Fashion is all about looking forward, not in the past.”

♥ – Erin

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It’s all Bombs and Warfare, Heartbreak that is…

I squeed like a 15-year-old girl this afternoon. I read an article at Just Jared that John Mayer released a new video for the single “Heartbreak Warfare” off his upcoming album, Battle Studies.

This music video is one of the first to feature JM’s version of “augmented reality.” It’s definition according to is a way for “researchers plan to pull graphics out of your television screen or computer display and integrate them into real-world environments.” It uses your webcam to transmit images from what the camera sees to the browser online. Creepy? At first I thought so, but after experiencing augmented reality on JM’s site, I was really excited.

Here’s a video from where Mayer explains his version of augmented reality:

You can see an example of “augmented reality” at JM’s site. He has instructions to print off a piece of paper with this image:


Next, you hold this image, after you print it, up to your webcam. You have to line the image up with the camera precisely. It’s a bit annoying, but you can see the reflection of the picture in the window showing you how to line it up. You hold up the image until John Mayer appears and begins to sing. Soon, you’ll see yourself in the background of the music video.

Here’s a picture of me attempting to do this. You can see my face on the right side and my hand on the left. It’s a bit dark, so look carefully.


I suggest anyone do this just to give it a shot. It’s worth the frustration!

Now, as for the song’s content, it’s about heartbreak and how that correlates to warfare. Heartbreak is one of the most horrid feelings in the world, but we all get through it. It’s like… your heart aches, physically aches because it hurts too much to think about that other person. Was that was JM was feeling when he wrote this song? There have been rumors online that this song is about JM’s ex-girlfriend, Jennifer Ainston. There’s been no official responses from JM or Jennifer, but I thought I’d mention it. I’m really in love with this song, not only because of the music, but the lyrics.


Lighting strikes inside
My chest keep me up at night
Dream of ways to make you want to stay in my room

Clouds of sulfur in the air
Bombs are falling everywhere
It’s heartbreak warfare

Once you want it to begin
No one really ever wins
In heartbreak warfare

If you want more love
why don’t you say so
If you want more love
why don’t you say so

Drop his name, push it in and twist the knife again.
Watch my face as I pretend to feel no pain, pain, pain.

Clouds of sulfur in the air
Bombs are falling everywhere
It’s heartbreak warfare

Once you want it to begin
No one really ever wins
In heartbeak warfare

If you want more love
Why don’t you say so
If you want more love
Why don’t you say so
Just say so

How come the only way you know
How high to get me
Is to see how far I fall

God only knows how much
I’d love you if you let me
But I can’t break free at all

It’s heart, heartbreak warfare

I don’t care if we don’t sleep at all tonight
Let’s just fix this whole thing now
I swear to god we’re gonna get it right
If you put your weapons down

Red wine and ambien, you’re talking shit again
You’re talking shit again
It’s heartbreak warfare

Good to know its all a game
Disappointment has a name

It’s heartbreak, heartbreak

It’s heartbreak warfare
It’s heartbreak warfare

What do you all think of this new interaction? Is it awesome, creepy or just plain weird? Is it the way interactive media will be going?

♥ – Erin

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Best Joss Whedon Musical Numbers

Joss Whedon will be directing an episode of Glee. Glee is my new favorite show out, and Whedon’s shows are my favorites from way back. Here are some of my favorite musical numbers from Whedon productions.

My Freeze Ray, Doctor Horrible

I love Neil Patrick Harris as the nerdy,  not-so-evil Super Villain, and this song cracks me up. My favorite bit is, “Want to say, love your hair” and he backpedals into I love the air!”

Buffy the Vampire Slayer had a musical episode, and it was awesome. It makes sense, and the songs are so fun. Here are my favorites from that.

Going through the Motions, Buffy

“She’s not even half the girl she…ow!”

It’s so funny, and poignant. Who hasn’t felt like they were just going through the motions?

I’ll Never Tell

The dance at the end is my favorite.

LA Song, performed by Christian Kane on Angel

He’s got such a nice voice.

Those were a couple of my favorite songs on Joss Whedon shows, and I’m excited to see the episode of Glee he directed. What are your favorites? Do you agree with this list, or do you like things that I left out?


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