gooollysandra

Thoughts on thoughts and images of beautiful things

About gooollysandra

When thinking about how to describe myself, I find it hard to say exactly what defines me. I think we are always evolving and changing, creating ourselves and growing into ourselves. So it is not easy to have a clear-cut definition of who one is in one instance that can apply at all times, because we are never the same. We are always changing.

Shape of Water

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If I told you about her, what would I say? That they lived happily ever after? I believe they did. That they were in love? That they remained in love? I’m sure that’s true. But when I think of her – of Elisa – the only thing that comes to mind is a poem, whispered by someone in love, hundreds of years ago: “Unable to perceive the shape of You, I find You all around me. Your presence fills my eyes with Your love, It humbles my heart, For You are everywhere.”

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This narration at the end of Shape of Water by Guillermo del Toro practically brought me to tears. It’s such a beautiful love story and this ancient poem is the perfect summation of the love shared between Elisa and the sea monster. We’ll see how the movie does at the Oscars, but I loved it, so let’s hope it wins big!

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The second Chicago Architecture Biennial

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The Architecture Biennial has graced Chicago twice now – the first time in 2015 and most recently this past Fall of 2017. It went down in January, and of course I waited until the last week to go see it. I wish I would have gone earlier so that I could have gone back to see my favorite things a few times. The theme for this most recent installation of the biennial was “Make New History” and it featured 141 architects, theorists, designers, etc. from 20 + countries. So it really is a global event, housed at the beautiful Chicago Cultural Center in the heart of the loop. These are pictures of some of the displays that most caught my eye.

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This is a model of Yves Saint Laurent’s salon…isn’t it glamorous?? So full of art…

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I loved these white trees!

Interiors have always held a special place in my heart, so I liked this exhibit entitled “The Room of One’s Own”, which included several drawings of singular interior rooms.

I work at a kitchen & bath showroom, so I was pretty amused by this miniature pink bathroom.

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This room was very cool with about 10 or so models of fictional skyscrapers. As you can see how they compared in size to a person, they were towering!

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Looking forward to the next Architecture Bienniale in a couple years from now!

Ashley Stevenson – Slim Freedom

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This girl mesmerizes crowds at L stations in Chicago. I have only ever seen her at the Washington blue line stop, but I think she plays at others as well. I’m always happy when I see her because her voice is so beautiful, it brings tears to my eyes. I especially like her cover of Landslide. One can’t help but think of Tracy Chapman in comparison (a likening she may or may not be in favor of). She definitely makes waiting for the L more enjoyable. Her name is Ashley Stevenson and she goes by Slim Freedom. If you ever have the pleasure of seeing her while waiting for the L, you might want to skip your train and wait for the next one so you can listen a little longer, as I sometimes do 🙂

MTI Baths

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I got to go to MTI Baths last Spring for a training through work and it was such a wonderful experience that I will not soon forget. They were hospitable and embodied my idea of southern hospitality. Their products are beautiful and carefully crafted right here in the U.S. in the Atlanta, GA area. We went on a tour of their factories and had the pleasure of meeting the people who make their unique products. I especially like their stone tubs, a couple of which I got to try for myself in the Woodward Mill House where MTI hosts their visitors. While it’s a new house, it’s filled with both new and old furniture and decor pieces that date back to the 1860s, giving it a bit of a southern plantation feel. The room I stayed in had two bathtubs in the bathroom – the lovely stone Juliet and the Jasmine, a Japanese style round soaker. I can’t say enough about the amazing whirlwind experience I had at MTI for the two days I was there. To top it all off, they have a female CEO! Katherine Adams was kind and her passion for her work and the company she has helped foster was palpable.

This is a nice little video to give you some insight into their company culture.

Ed Sheeran & Andrea Bocelli – “Perfect”

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Having recently seen Andrea Bocelli in concert, I was so happy and surprised to come across this collaboration with Ed Sheeran on “Perfect.” I have a lot of respect for Andrea Bocelli and he was absolutely amazing in concert. What a powerful voice! And a fun little duo here with Ed Sheeran. I have a special place in my heart for Italian because I was born in Rome and lived there for the first few years of my life. Not that I don’t think the song is beautiful in English when Sheeran sings it, but it takes on a whole new dimensions when Bocelli opens his mouth and starts belting it in Italian. I have to say I’m impressed with Sheeran’s Italian though 🙂

IIDA Headquarters

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The International Interior Design Association (IIDA) in Chicago, IL has a sleek new office on the riverfront designed by Gensler.

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Click here to read about the design process of this space and to see more pictures.

 

This jam

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Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…

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The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment, where is it to be found?

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In the most recent Winter issue of The Magnolia Journal, I came across this lovely quote and visual, and I have to say I think this is so true. I definitely get frustrated with the cold sometimes, but I do think snow is so pretty. I think this is true for any snowfall, but especially for the first of the season. There is something about the purity of the white fluffy stuff on the ground that brings peace and joy to my heart. It’s also fun to wake up in a world that looks different from what we’re used to. It’s a beautiful surprise and brings a sense of renewal with it.

The holiday season is such a happy and comforting time, but it always feels too short. I don’t love the cold, but I do love snow, and a white Christmas is better than a snow-less Christmas. Here’s to hoping we have a white Christmas in the Midwest this year!

West Elm Headquarters

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This looks like a fun office to work in…the West Elm headquarters designed by VM Architecture & Design (VMAD) in New York City featured in Contract Design magazine reflects the aesthetic that West Elm promotes and looks like a fun collaborative space. Click here to see more pictures!

The connections between

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Every motion in the world taken separately was calculated and purposeful, but, taken together, they were spontaneously intoxicated with the general stream of life which united them all.

Doctor Zhivago

I’ve had a special place in my heart for Russian literature ever since I took a Russian literature class my freshman year of college, which I kind of fell into by accident and it turned out to be one of the best things that’s happened to me. I needed to fulfill a writing credit, as well as a philosophy credit, and there happened to be two classes taught in tandem, an introduction to philosophy and Russian literature (which fulfilled the writing credit), so I took advantage of killing two birds with one stone. They were both taught by incredibly smart, kind, and genuine women who I admire dearly. I also happen to have known them since I was a child because they were friends with my parents, which made having them as professors extra special. It was because of this class and how inspired I was by the philosophy professor that I went on to major in philosophy and took most of my classes with her. She really became like a mentor to me.

In the Russian literature portion of the class we read Fathers & Sons by Ivan Turgenev, short stories by Nikolai Gogol, A Hero of Our Time by Mikhail Lermontov, Notes from the Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and of course Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. We didn’t read Doctor Zhivago, but it’s something I’ve been reading on my own after watching the 2002 TV Mini-series and loving it. It’s definitely become one of my favorite things to watch around Christmas time; not that it’s particular festive, but there’s something about the wintry atmosphere that it makes it feel appropriate to watch around the holidays. I don’t read nearly enough anymore, but thinking back on these classes inspires me to cuddle up on a cold day and get lost in a book for the afternoon.

I love this quote because for me it summarizes how I feel about the string of events that make up our lives. I don’t think of these events as isolated from one another, but rather very connected in a way that we might not be able to grasp. I often wonder why related things seem to pop up around the same time and I find it hard to believe that it’s just a coincidence. So I have to believe that the way things line up in life is tremendously important and somewhat out of our hands.