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  • I found hope in Hope thanks to nature and my nieces.
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  • Possibilities.
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  • "There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind." C. S. Lewis. Or, as the Secret Sisters sang, "Tomorrow will be kinder."
  • "It was here in Big Sur where I first learned to say amen." Henry Miller

Friday afternoon I decided to take a last-minute trip up the coast. Every time I've driven it, I've  always had some place to be and up against time.

But not this trip.

Friday I spent time in Santa Barbara and Paso Robles.

Saturday I spent time in Steinbeck country (of Mice and Men is one of my favourite books) and finally drove the G16 across to Carmel before heading up for a quick stop to see of my friends who I would literally drive 8hrs for only to spend 2 hours with.

Today I got up super early and got a super big coffee so I could drive down highway 1, through Big Sur and hopefully beat the crowds.

Henry Miller is the author of some of my other favourite books so as I drove though Big Sur I thought of him and Steinbeck and how they wrote about what they knew, what they loved, and what they questioned. I've had this idea in my head for a new project and community that I know will resonate and mean something but just unsure how to begin.

So I made sure today to stop when I wanted to. Linger when I needed. Drive wherever for however long.

And, after all the times driving through Big Sur, I finally stopped at a beach. I spent two hours here practically alone and just was.

People say it but there is something magic about Big Sur and today was the first time I felt it. I felt the shift, the inspiration, the hunger. And I felt wet sand between my toes. 
I'm ready.

Amen
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  • Last week I drove through the area of Malibu that was most hard hit from the fires. It was completely devastated only last December but now, life is blooming again in a way I've never seen it before. The scars are there and it will take 20yeara to get back to where it was but life is back. That's the amazing, heartbreaking and beautiful thing about life. #malibustrong #earthday

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Decor Ideas Fashion & Beauty

Movie Set Decor: The Duchess

September 4, 2008
The Duchess Film Scenes

Soon The Duchess will premiere and I can’t wait to see it – especially the set since details about its location and costume has been heavily dished in the industry. With Michael Carlin as the production designer and Michael O’Connor as the costume designer, I’m sure this will be a visual movie to inspire.

Based on the incredible historical biography by Amanda Foreman, the movie is about Georgiana Spencer who, in 1774 at the age of 17, becomes Duchess of Devonshire. The set is both lavish from the fabrics to architecture with lots of information and sneak peaks on the films official web site.

For the past fifteen minutes or so I’ve been pursuing the “Discover” and “Costumes” area of the site and have developed a craving for a three foot wig ans several gowns with fabulous underpinnings. However, that all comes at a cost and Georgiana, despite having wealth, celebrity and a title, was extraordinarily in debt. The current Duke and Duchess of Devonshire (who live in the home Chastworth where parts of the movie were filmed) still have many of the letters from creditors seeking to collect.

Georgiana was probably first celebrity in the way that we perceive celebrity today. When she appeared in the papers they sold out, she was followed around by cartoonists (the equivalent of the paparazzi). She was a fashion icon and she captured people’s imagination. And that took money.

Keira Knightly who plays Georgiana has said of her character’s debt, “When she died she had been terrified of disclosing to her husband the amount of she owed, because she was convinced he was going to divorce her or send her away and actually when she died he found out how much she was in debt and said is that all. There’s something incredibly sad about her, I think that she’s a victim of herself, of her own innocence. She’s a victim of people using her for their own gain, but what is rather wonderful about this story is she finds a way to live with this. She finds a way to triumph over something and to regain some power in a time when women really had very little.”

That doesn’t sound like only a 1774 problem, does it? The other way in which this movie sometimes parallels the present is the way in which Georgiana’s life resembles that of her great-great-great-great niece, Princess Diana Spencer. Both she and Georgiana were intelligent, powerful women who were almost ripped to shreds by the press and then fought to remake themselves to finally be the women they wanted to be. One of the aspects of Georgiana’s life that makes it so relevant today is that she had to live under the intense glare of public scrutiny. And although I often have a hard time with Keira Knightly, I think the scrutiny in which she’s lived under will perhaps help her with this movie, too.

What also helps the actors in this movie is that director Saul Dibb demanded that all scenes be shot on location. This lead to the incredible task of finding current places to represent real life past homes that were no longer in existence, such as the main residence of the Duke and Duchess, the Devonshire House.

For that home, rooms from Kedleston Hall, Clandon Park in Surrey and Holkham in Norfolk were combined for interiors whilst the exterior was shot at the Somerset House in London. Robert Adam designed Kedleston Hall which is one of the most intact of Adam’s houses in England. Yet there were still challenges with transforming modern updates such as switching out electrical lighting for candles and putting in massive chandeliers. Said Carlin of the task, “Here was an enormous amount of time and work spent on the structural engineering of how we could hang huge chandeliers, especially when you’re working in homes where sometimes things haven’t been moved in hundreds of years.” Kedleston was also depicted as a rented villa in Bath.

Other places used include:

And if you happen to be in Derbyshire, you can see the amazing exhibition of costumes and accessorites at the Duchess Film Exhibition at Kedleston Hall.

  • Reply
    LindaNo Gravatar
    September 4, 2008 at 12:33 PM

    I saw previews of this movie while in England a few days ago. It looks really good. Fascinating woman.

  • Reply
    robertasNo Gravatar
    September 5, 2008 at 2:33 AM

    Heavens, anytime I see Keira Knightly I have an overwhelming urge to feed her.

    The movie does look visually stunning. A friend recently went on a 3-week course (she is an Art History major) and they visited all these castles across England and saw a good number of private collections. And there I was absolutely green with envy and she was like – ts it wasnt that impressive. Honestly some people 🙂

    And speaking of Norfolk I was there earlier this year – it was one of the most relaxing, stress free holidays I had in the last 10 years. The scenery, the mixture of new and old, its breathtakingly pretty. And people are so kind.

  • Reply
    debbie baileyNo Gravatar
    September 5, 2008 at 8:06 AM

    While visiting Chatsworth last year, in their library was a paperback copy of Georgiana. One of the first things I did when I got home was order a used copy from half.com. In Chatsworth’s gift shop, I bought Counting Her Chickens by Deborah, the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire. She’s a fascinating woman. The Sisters is about her and her four sisters growing up and who they became; one of whom was a friend of Hitler. Very interesting reading.

    I fell in love with Chatsworth. One day during lunch, I looked closely at my plate and it had a drawing of Chatsworth in the l700’s. Funny how things are connected, isn’t it?

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