Book Report

{Tom Bendtsen's Conversations #2, 2008}

Is there anything better than a really, really good book?  I've always been a big reader, and to this day there's nothing I'd rather do on a rainy afternoon than sit in front of a fire cozied up with a book.  The best novels are the ones you never want to put down, and here are a few that had my complete attention from start to finish:

  1. The English Patient - Michael Ondaatje (and anything by him)
  2. The Summer Fletcher Greel Loved Me - Suzanne Kingsbury
  3. Late Nights on Air - Elizabeth Hay
  4. Water For Elephants - Sara Gruen
  5. Paint It Black - Janet Finch
  6. The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
  7. Testimony - Anita Shreve
  8. Pride & Prejudice - Jane Austen
  9. Pretty Little Dirty - Amanda Boyden
  10. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close - Jonathan Safran Foer
  11. The Girls' Guide to Hunting And Fishing - Melissa Bank
  12. East of Eden - John Steinbeck
  13. Dress Your Family in Corduroy + Denim - David Sedaris (read one of the funniest excerpts here)


Shades of Gray

 {Essie - Chinchilly}

You can't pick up a magazine or read a blog lately without hearing about how "it" matte gray nailpolish is right now.  So yesterday I made a trip to the mall to pick out one of Essie's versions of the trend, a heather gray shade aptly named Chinchilly.  It's not too dark or glitzy and it goes with absolutely EVERYTHING.  It may be time to retire the summer peaches and get into the fall slates.       


Fall Crew

{J. Crew, Fall 2010}

My mailbox is generally stuffed almost exclusively with bills and flyers so when something I've actually ordered comes along it's pretty exciting.  High up on my list of "good mail" is the J. Crew catalogue.  Filled with pretty, classic separates, cute shoes and chunky costume jewelry it's easy to make a list a mile long of things to order.  Here are some of my favorites this fall:

  1. Abbraccio Cardigan $298
  2. Lombardy Suede Driving Mocs $98
  3. Stripe Sequin Boatneck Tee $72
  4. Sutton Tall Leather Flat Boots $298
  5. Wool Majorette Jacket $228
  6. Glass Pools Bracelet $75
  7. Electra Vest $498
  8. Twisted Triple-Strand Pearl Bracelet $150
  9. Swinton Sequin Cardigan $395       
-images via J. Crew-


A Not So Pretty Picture

{Picasso's Guernica, 1937}

Guernica is not my kind of painting to look at.  Visually, surrealism in a monochromatic palette is not really my thing.  But in the five years I studied Art History it was the piece of art that had the most memorable backstory, so I thought I would share it.  Picasso's Guernica was first displayed at the 1937 World's Fair in Paris, an exposition that was notable for several reasons.  It counted amongst its exhibitors the Nazi Germany pavilion, the Soviet Union pavilion (ironically placed across from one another and the only two pavilions to be completely finished on time) and a Spanish pavilion that attracted considerable attention in view of the fact that Spain was, at the time, in the midst of a bitter civil war.  It was while working on a mural for this event that Picasso read this newspaper article about a small town in northern Spain, of no military significance, occupied primarily by women and children, that had been devastated in a carpet bombing experiment conducted by Hitler & Mussolini at the behest of Spanish Nationalist Party leader General Franco.  Scrapping his original plan, Picasso set to work on a massive 3.5m x 7.8m painting invoking what he imagined to be the stark nightmare of the experience and demonstrating his opposition to the broader military conflict at hand.  He expressed that he wanted viewers to respond emotionally to the piece, and for this reason never fully explained the meanings of all the figures.  Following Franco's rise to power in 1939 Picasso sent the painting to the Museum of Modern Art in New York for safekeeping, where it remained until 1981.  In the years since its debut Guernica has become known as a symbol of the tragedies of war and its destructive effect on innocent lives.  Haunting and dark, Picasso's masterpiece definitely isn't pretty.  But then again, it isn't supposed to be.  


Little Miss Obsessive

{Wedges: Aldo Shoes}

I have a total fixation right now with these studded platform wedges from Aldo.  I've literally worn them every day this week.  They go with pretty much everything, and I love how tall they make me feel when I'm out and about downtown.

A Life More Fabulous

{Marchesa S/S 2011, New York}

When I look at Marchesa's S/S 2011 collection I can't help but picture European royalty, flutes of champagne, fabulous parties and hollywood red carpets.  While Spring/Summer lines are often on the casual side Marchesa's show at the Chelsea Art Museum last Wednesday was anything but.  Marchesa has been a favorite of mine ever since the label debuted in 2004 with its plays on volume and innovative interpretations of floral themes.  Designers Georgina Chapman & Keren Craig have a knack for making every piece they create look luxurious and rich, a reputation this collection steadily reinforces.  From what I've nicknamed "the cream-puff dress" (how amazing is it?) to lace harem-panted jumpsuits to feminine draped gowns with flowing trains, this is a line in which to lead a life of glamour.        

-images via style.com-


Where The Wild Things Are

{Deyrolle, Paris}

I've had a slight obsession with taxidermy ever since reading this story in the March '09 issue of British Vogue about Scottish antiques dealer Emma Hawkins, a lifelong collector of animal "curiosities" who grew up with an authentic stuffed giraffe's head bedecking her bedroom floor.  While I find the poaching industry horrifying, particularly when faced with the actual processes involved, I think there's something  compellingly captivating about these terrifically lifelike preserved animals.  For this reason, I was fascinated when I came across Deyrolle, a 180-year old natural history shop situated at 46 Rue du Bac near the Musée D'Orsay on Paris' left bank.  Originally oriented towards more pedagogical purposes, today Deyrolle caters mainly to hobbyists and the general public with an array of exotic (and commonplace) animals available for sale or rent.  Despite being partially destroyed by a fire in 2008 (French fashion house Hermès donated the proceeds from a special edition of one of their carrés de soie towards the restoration project) Deyrolle remains one of the most unique of Parisian institutions, beloved by locals and intriguingly peculiar to all.

-photographs by Al Telch-


Fashion Week Favorite

{J. Mendel S/S 2011, New York}

I am absolutely in love with these romantic dresses by J. Mendel.  Meticulous hand-pleating, metallic belts, plunging necklines, gorgeous drapery and an ethereal combination of sheer and opaque - every one is just so beautifully detailed.  And how lovely is it that he paired the long dress with flat sandles?  Effortlessly styled with red lips and simple hair.  Complete perfection.

-images via style.com-

So Long Sweet Summer

{Grand Bend, ON}

Although fall has always been my favorite of the seasons there's still something intrinsically sad about the passing of summer.  As per usual I spent the first couple weeks of September thrilled at being able to wear cozy cardigans and scandalously tall boots again before realizing that the hot days had passed us by completely and there would be no more weekend trips to Grand Bend, or wearing nothing but jean shorts for days at a time.  So here's to the summer of 2010: beach days, patio bars, new people and Love The Way You Lie loud with the windows down.


Empire State of Mind

{New York, New York}

A combination of New York Fashion Week, a re-watching of The September Issue, a friend's recent move to an apartment with THE view of Central Park and much too much time spent looking at gorgeous townhouses on sothebysrealty.com has left me feeling like it has been entirely too long since my last visit to NYC.  There's nowhere quite like New York...especially for a girl who counts shopping, frequenting coffee shops, and walking around taking photos among her primary interests.  And let's not forget that Topshop's ONE North American location lies right in the middle of Soho.  It looks like a pre-Christmas trip is in order...skating at Rockefeller Center, walking through the snow covered park, and checking out festive windows at Macy's, Barney's and Bloomingdale's is my idea of a perfect kickoff to the holiday season.

-photograph by Munich + Jeff favorite Cupcakes and Cashmere-


After much ado and many working titles the blog is finally up and running under its permanent moniker Munich + Jeff.  While photography, fashion, art, travel, food, and general lifestyle pieces are to follow it's perhaps more fitting that I am kicking off my blogging career with a cell phone photo of my two roommates.  Munich left, Jeff right....and don't worry, we'll keep the cat posts to a minimum from here on out.   
Blogging tips