Tag Archives: love

Beauty in the Movies: Romeo and Juliet

Since St. Valentines Day is almost upon us I thought it would be appropriate to feature a romantic movie—and why not go with what is considered maybe the greatest love story of all time—Romeo and Juliet.

I’ll assume everyone knows the story, a family feud, the star-crossed lovers, their unfortunate end, it’s been told many times in many forms, but the power of both the love and tragedy continues to resonate hundreds of years after the play was written. The story of the tragic young lovers existed before Shakespeare wrote it down, but he added supporting characters, amped up the drama and spun the tale using his brilliant language leaving us with a story that will likely live on forever.

While I’m also a fan of 1996 Baz Luhrmann version, nothing compares to Zeffirelli’s beautiful 1968 telling of Shakespeare’s classic. Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting are both passionate and gorgeous, not to mention incredibly convincing.

The thing that sets this film apart from the many other film versions of Romeo and Juliet is that the leads were actually played by actors close to the ages of the doomed characters (Hussey was just 15 and Whiting 17). Teenagers are overly dramatic and emotional especially when they’re in love, and this version captures that teenage sense of self-centered, lustful infatuation. The actors in the 1936 version were absurdly aged 35 and 43 when they filled the roles of the love-sick teenagers. The 1954 version did a bit better with the actor who played Romeo being 26 and Juliet age 20, but Zeffirelli’s choice to cast actors who were nearly the same age as they were written makes their instant and obsessive love vastly more devastating and believable.

This film was the Twilight of its day—the young actors were propelled to stardom and made Shakespeare cool again. In fact the media attention was so intense that Olivia Hussey became burdened with agoraphobia from the sudden fame. Though Hussey and Whiting received a great deal of praise, all the performances are incredible. Milo O’Shea (Friar Laurence), Pat Heywood (The Nurse), Michael York (Tybalt), and John McEnery (Mercutio) round out the cast and do exceptional jobs in their roles.

This film won the Oscar for best costume design and best cinematography, and it’s easy to see why. I’ve been obsessed with the costumes from this movie since I was a kid, they’re so intricate and interesting sometimes they steal the scenes from the actors.

If you haven’t seen this film or you haven’t watched it since high school when your teacher fast-forwarded through the brief nudity, you should definitely watch it again. Everything about it is beautiful, Zeffirelli took a story that had been told thousands of times and rather than modernize it he chose to bring it back to its original setting and make it feel real.

So this Valentines Day if you feel like crying your eyes out (alone or with a partner), looking at beautiful scenery, and re-living one of the greatest love stories of all time, put this film at the top of your list.

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

Hippy Summer Dress
70 AUD – generalpants.com.au
Hippie dresses »

Gold Beads Stretch Bracelet
66 EUR – pret-a-beaute.com
Gold beaded bracelets »

Vintage Necklace, 50.2
$155 – charmandchain.com
Chain necklaces »

Signature Band – Yellow Gold
528 GBP – kabiri.co.uk
Wedding jewelry »

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Beauty in the Movies: She-Devil

I can’t believe this movie isn’t on DVD, it’s really a shame because it’s totally underrated and deserves to be viewed by a new generation. Thank goodness it is now streaming on Netflix for your enjoyment, so don’t miss out!

Loosely based on the novel by Fay Weldon, She-Devil gives us the story of Ruth Patchett (Roseanne) a clueless, frumpy, housewife in 1980s suburbia. She is verbally abused and neglected by her husband Bob (Ed Begley Jr.), and finally snaps when she can no longer ignore his blatant affair with romance novelist Mary Fisher (Meryl Streep). In a rage, Ruth vows to destroy all of her husband’s “assets” as he calls them. She burns down their house, drops the kids off with Bob at his mistress’s pink mansion, and heads off to start a new life driven by revenge.

As Ruth’s plans succeed, Mary’s life begins to crumble. Mary wanted Bob, and now she has him—and his children, and his infidelity, and thanks to Ruth, Mary’s loud-mouthed, elderly mother (who Mary had been keeping sedated at Golden Twilight Nursing home for years) shows up on her door step as well.

As Mary’s life falls apart, Ruth’s life blossoms, she renames herself Vesta Rose and opens a women’s employment agency with her friend Hooper (Linda Hunt). The Vesta Rose agency helps “women who the world threw away” by turning them into successful, strong, working women. At the same time, these women provide Ruth with an army that aids her in achieving vengeance over those who’ve wronged her, so she is doing good while doing bad.

She-Devil is, more than anything else, a film about fantasy. Mary writes bodice ripping romance novels and delivers her own fantasy to a legion of women who need the escape. Ruth herself once bought into Mary’s novels, but when her reality comes into sharp focus she brings Mary’s world crashing down to Earth along with her, bursting her pink bubble of fantasy by delivering Mary the responsibilities and stresses most of her readers are all too familiar with.

I honestly don’t think this film would work without Meryl Streep, you have to respect a woman who after winning a couple of Oscars, decides to do a movie like this one. I’m sure there are tons of critics who think it’s ridiculous, but there is no way you can watch this movie and not think Meryl is having a ball playing the ridiculous, vain, selfish, Mary Fisher. She gives a flamboyantly funny performance and when you’re as good an actress as she is, you can choose the roles you want to play without worrying that you won’t be taken seriously—and besides, being funny is a whole heck of a lot harder than being serious any day.

In essence, She-Devil is the ultimate revenge fantasy of every wronged woman. Ruth not only gives back what she got and them some, but she embraces her freedom and starts a new life by helping other women who’ve been abused and beaten down. Ruth’s wrath doesn’t burn her up, it renews her, she rises up from the ashes of her old life, and finds a new purpose. She doesn’t find a prince charming, and she does use other people to serve herself, but it’s almost refreshing to see that in a film, especially since nowadays every comedy seems so moralistic. All the characters do despicable things, they’re cliches—but sometimes we all are, so why not have a laugh about it?


She-Devil by justinez featuring a bodice dress

Preen dresses PINK
418 GBP – matchesfashion.com
Pink evening dress »

kirigami craft dress
$40 – shopruche.com
Vintage style dresses »

Silk-satin blouse
$139 – theoutnet.com
Long sleeve tops »

White Linen Jacket
39 GBP – debenhams.com
Windsmoor »

Vanishing Floral Wide Pant
$420 – zimmermannstore.com
Floral pants »

Shantung skirt Pink
20 GBP – houseoffraser.co.uk
Pink skirt »

Pointy Pumps
$42 – yesstyle.com
Pumps »

89 GBP – kurtgeiger.com
Evening bags clutches »

Oval Pearl Clip Earring
$50 – amritasingh.com
Oval jewelry »

Pink Chiffon Rose Ring
3 GBP – talullahtu.co.uk
Pink jewelry »

Rawnie Hat in Blanco
$295 – simplysoles.com
Summer hats »

Classic Silk Ladies Gloves
$85 – aspinaloflondon.com
Silk gloves »

Silk Scarf with Polka Dot
$80 – aspinaloflondon.com
Wrap scarves »

Estee Lauder All Day Lipstick
$18 – nordstrom.com

Charm Pen
$360 – louisvuitton.com

Christine fleurs –


Filed under Beauty in the movies

Ghosts of Grandfathers Past

I know this blog is usually about beauty, cosmetics, acceptance and all that, but today that stuff is the farthest thing from my mind. I spent the past two days with ghosts, my grandfathers ghosts to be specific, so I’m putting a hold on the makeup and the fun stuff for a moment to talk about loss.

On Sunday morning I stood there at the Free Hebrew Cemetery in Staten Island for indigent Jews (one of the most depressing places in the world) as we buried a grandfather who didn’t want to know me. He was an abusive and complicated man, and I met him no more than three times in my life. I’m not sure he even knew my name, but my sister and I stood there with my mother and the nine other attendees, and watched as the dirt was thrown on his grave as we mourned the loss of a grandfather that could have been.

The next morning I woke up and headed over to my Grandma’s house, the house where I’ve spent every Christmas as long as I remember, a house full of warmth and joy where my father and his four siblings spent their entire young lives, where my grandmother has lived now for nearly 60 years, and I helped her pack up the place until there was nothing left but the memories in the walls and a resounding echo of a family all grown. Amid the boxes and the clutter was the ghost of my other grandfather—the one who mattered, the one who not only knew my name (even if he mixed me up with his 6 other granddaughters sometimes), but also what my favorite stories were, and how much I liked to draw, and sing, and dye my hair crazy colors. He was a grandfather who died years ago, much too soon, but he loved, and was loved, so deeply his spirit has never left the hearts of all those who knew him, and it never will.

As I was packing up my Grammy’s house, stumbling on old notes my Grandpa had written, thinking of the man he was, it struck me how lucky I was to have known him at all, and how the rejection of my other grandfather only emphasized that good fortune. Like so many things in life, the death of an estranged family member brings a mess of complicated emotions to the surface—at least when my father’s father died (my real Grandpa) I knew how to feel, the loss was deep but I understood it, and so did the world around me. In some ways it’s harder when you barely knew a person who should have mattered to you, but in my own way I did know him, even if he didn’t know me. I knew the pain he caused my mother, my aunt, and my uncle all their lives, I knew the handsome man he was in pictures when he was young, and the detached, strange, person I met years later who was my grandfather only in name.

So today, I’m not really sure what I feel, but I do know how grateful I am for the family I have, and have had, and for the loving grandfather we lost too soon. We can dwell in the sorrow of lives lost, missed opportunities, and the death of hope, but it’s better to remember the love we have, even from those who are gone. That love leaves an indelible mark, a trace of knowledge that you hold with you forever without question, it comforts and it protects, and if you’re blessed enough to have it, you should appreciate it. Better not to brood over the people who haven’t been there, whether they be friends who’ve faded, or relatives we barely knew, it’s so much better to focus on the people we do have, the ones who make us laugh for hours and who hug us when we cry, they’re each a blessing. If I learned anything from staring at that lonely grave on Sunday morning it’s never to take those people and that love for granted, because someone may be your grandparent, or your mother, or your friend, but it doesn’t mean they have to be there for you—but the fact that they are there, in spite of everything, well that’s truly remarkable.

I promise to post on something more fun soon, and to all of you who’ve lost a grandparent, or parent, or friend, or anyone—my heart goes out to you today.


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A Wedding Miscellany

I’m sorry to do another wedding post, but I have them on the brain. I am breathing, eating, and sleeping weddings recently. Whether it’s putting together my wedding play-list, ordering candy for our wedding candy bar, or painting bridal card boxes for others with upcoming nuptials, it’s a huge part of my life right now.

I’ve written before about the stress of planning a wedding, but there are so many things to keep track of that you can’t keep your mind from running all over the place, so this post might be a bit scattered, and I apologize for that.

All of the illustrations featured below are from an adorable little book my mom bought for me when I got engaged—it’s called The Little Big Book for Brides, and it has all sorts of cute advice, customs, and strange facts you never knew about weddings, here are some examples:

“Feed a cat out of your wedding shoe for good luck”—hmm, kind a gross, but I could try it!

“If in October you do marry , love will come but riches tarry”—this doesn’t surprise me at all, sounds about right actually. Darn.

My favorite part of this book is a whole long excerpt from an article entitled “The Instruction and Advice for the Young Bride”, it was published in an 1894 newsletter and it will blow your mind! For example:

“One cardinal rule of marriage should never be forgotten: GIVE LITTLE, GIVE SELDOM, AND ABOVE ALL, GIVE GRUDGINGLY. Otherwise, what could have been a proper marriage could become an orgy of sexual lust.”

Cracks. me. up. Here’s some more sage advice:

“Clever wives are ever on the alert for new and better methods of denying and discouraging the amorous overtures of the husband. A good wife should expect to have reduced sexual contacts to once a week by the end of the first year of marriage and to once a month by the end of the fifth year of marriage.”

I hope you’re listening ladies!

Moving on, today I am officially starting my pre-wedding diet. I know, I wrote a whole post about how I wasn’t going to let the pressure get to me and I wasn’t going to starve myself, but here’s the thing; I went for my final dress fitting and things changed. The good news is that the dress fits perfectly—too perfectly. It fits so perfectly that breathing is a bit of a problem. If I had money to spare I’d probably just let it out a little, but money is an issue, and the cost of alterations on bridal gowns are astronomical. So in the interest of saving a few hundred dollars, I have to cut back on my beloved cheese, ice cream, fried anything, and all the rest of my favorite foods. It’s just for a month, so I can handle it, and I just need to keep thinking about all the food I won’t be able to eat on my wedding day and my inability to dance if there is no room to move in my dress as motivation. So for the next month I’m counting points, snacking on carrot sticks and praying that come October 29th, I can breathe, move, dance,—and eat comfortably.

To those of you who are getting married soon, or planning on getting married soon, or have some kind of big party or event to plan in general, here is some advice—start planning now. Months ago, even a year ago, I kept poo-pooing things “oh, we have time” I’d say, and now I wish I could go back in time and knock myself upside the head. Not only do I wish I had taken care of some things earlier, but also, spending money in small bursts over a year is far easier than doling out large amounts all at once. So, if you see something you like—whether it be a wedding dress or favors, buy it, or at least bookmark it now, you’ll thank yourself later.

So, right now I have to order my favors, and research hairstyles and follow-up with the florist, the hotel, the venue, and so much more, and every phone call will hopefully soothe a bit of the madness, but really all I can hope is that I fit into that dress and actually get to eat some of my wedding cake, and of course, cheese.


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Beauty in the Movies: Fried Green Tomatoes

This week for Beauty in the Movies, we are celebrating lonely housewives, epic friendships, southern cooking, and much more in the 1991 film “Fried Green Tomatoes”, based on the novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg. Thanks to Lizzy Sise for the fabulous recommendation!

I hadn’t watched this movie in a while, and since it seemed very appropriate to watch in early summer, I was happy to find it available on streaming Netflix and re-watch it last night. This movie more than meets the requirements of The Bechdel Test, so if you haven’t seen it, add it to your must-see list now, it’s worth it!

The movie centers around the friendships of two sets of women in Alabama, one pair in the 1930’s, Idgie (Mary Stuart Masterson) and Ruth (Mary-Louise Parker), and the other a middle-aged woman who befriends an elderly woman in a nursing home in the 1980s.

Evelyn Couch (Kathy Bates) plays the arch-typical lonely, ignored housewife. While her husband is watching sports, and only acknowledging her for the “nice scald” on her fried chicken, Evelyn is going through “the change” and feeling alienated by her more liberated peers. When she meets Ninny Threadgoode (Jessica Tandy) while visiting her husband’s awful aunt at a nursing home, the stories Ninny relates to her cement a bond between the two women, and inspire Evelyn to take back control of her life.

Over a series of visits, Ninny recounts the story of Idgie Threadgoode and Ruth Jamison to Evelyn. Idgie is fearless, she charms bees, jumps from trains, plays poker with the town sheriff, and lives with a staggering sense of compassion and generosity for those around her. Ruth is a perfect southern lady, a woman of faith and family duty, she is brought in by Idgie’s mother to act as a calming influence. Of course it’s Idgie’s contagious spirit that infects Ruth, and the two form an unbreakable friendship. After Idgie liberates Ruth from her abusive husband, the two open a cafe that serves as the heart of the small town of Whistle Stop, while serving the best BBQ and fried green tomatoes in the state. I don’t want to give anything else away in case anyone hasn’t seen the film, but there are also elements of murder and mystery that drive the plot.

According to the Wikipedia page the novel features much stronger lesbian overtones, the film received a lot of criticism for toning down the relationship between Ruth and Idgie. While I understand that for some that would be disappointing, I like that the relationship is ambiguous, because whether they’re lovers or not, they’re friends, and it seems as though very few films show the friendship that is inherent in love. I would think the strongest relationships are between two people who are best friends, no matter their sex, but strangely it is very rare for a romance to focus on that aspect of a relationship.

A great deal of this film’s success is owed to the amazing performances. All four of the leads are fleshed out, we feel their heartbreak, we relate to them, and most of all they inspire us. Near the end of the film Ninny says to Evelyn “Do you know what I think the most important thing in life is?” Evelyn replies, “no, what?” Ninny answers,”friends, best friends”. I don’t know why that gets me all misty, maybe because Jessica Tandy is so good, but it’s also such a simple truth. The friendships we have, whether they are with our girlfriends, our family, or our husbands, are what get us through this life, they inspire us, they encourage us, and as this film shows, they can transcend time, and even death.


I’ve always been inspired by the fashion’s of Idgie and Ruth in this film. It’s wonderful the way the costumes are so perfectly in tune with their characters. From the 1930’s menswear that Idgie favors to Ruth’s frilly, floral, dresses. I love the way the two styles play off each other so well. Here’s the shopping guide for the collage if you want to get the look. I  seriously want that square necked dress from modcloth, so cute!

Fried Green Fashions by justinez

Bouquet Bonanza Dress
$50 – modcloth.com
More dresses »

Oversized cotton shirt
$65 – net-a-porter.com
More J Crew tops »

150 GBP – kurtgeiger.com
More Kg ankle booties »

Rocket Dog CUBA
$80 – solestruck.com
More Rocket Dog pumps »

Black Piped Suit Vest
90 AUD – generalpants.com.au


Filed under Beauty in the movies