First of all, hello friends in digital world! I took a long three-day weekend off and went to Napa Valley, California with my boyfriend! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday break off as well (whether celebrating Passover, Easter, or otherwise)! I apologize for not posting in a few days, but as part of my “mental spring cleaning”, travel was exactly what I needed to re-enegerize and re-inspire. Michael and I went vineyard tasting, cold spring dipping, mountain hiking, redwood viewing, cave exploring, champagne (technically sparkling-wine) tasting, wisteria and poppy seeing, indulgent eating, friend visiting, and finally (the pièce de résistance) we went hot-air ballooning over the valleys!
The hot air balloon is the oldest successful human-carrying flight technology – it is also known as balloon craft. In 1783, the first successful (and untethered) flight was accomplished in France. Modern hot-air balloons are usually made of strong synthetic fabrics such as nylon, dacron, and other polyester – there are even technical terms for the balloon itself (envelope) and the vents left in the bag that allow for elevation maneuvering (gores). No longer do balloons have to come in the “traditional tear drop” shape, because of innovations in technology, shapes have included bumble bees, caterpillars, castles-in-the-sky, turtles, BUTTS, and whatever the mind can muster. The mother of all aviation has also reached cruising altitudes as high as the jet stream! I was in a 16 person woven wicker basket – which itself weighed 600 lbs – and needed a crew to handle during takeoff and landing! Regardless of sophisticated history and vernacular (and there are PAGES upon TOMES as to the craft) – I was most struck by the color of the balloon’s fabric!
So how can one live in a world inspired by ballooning? The primary colors lit from behind (almost stain-glass-esque) are a wonderful place to start. The other important materials to include is a wicker or rattan (representing the passenger baskets). The bright yellows, sunny reds, verdant greens, and bold purples – aligned with calm, natural woven wicker – could make a room a happy yet rustic space!
Why not decorate my house like a fruit salad? I love lemons, tangelos, pomelos, tangerines, grapefruit, lime, and all citrus fruits for their bold and juicy color patterns. But, no fruit is more fashion-forward than THE BLOOD ORANGE. The distinctive dark flesh color is due to the presence of anthocyanins, a family of pigments common to many flowers but uncommon in citrus fruits. According to botanists, the blood orange is likely derived from a mutation of the sweet orange, and is much smaller than a regular orange. The fruit’s peak season in U.S. Supermarkets is probably from December to March (Texas groves), and from November to May (California groves). The orange is known to originally come from China but is now grown primarily in Italy (what a Jetsetter). Some say the oranges are maroon, other times they appear red, and when the pigment drains to the outer vesicles of the fruit, they let off an almost pinkish vibe. Of course, the outer skin still remains (you guessed it) – orange.
I love to wear a “Marilyn Monroe” red or a stunning, beachy, coral. However, I must admit, it is hard for me to even wear lipstick without getting some on my teeth, or outside my lip lines. My friend Julia once taught me a trick that involves making one’s mouth into an “O” shape and then sticking two fingers in, and out very quickly. It’s extremely embarrassing to perform in public, and sometimes looks vaguely sexual, however it definitely keeps the color from attacking one’s teeth! Thank goodness for the invention of lip stains which stay in place and are my new go-to.
Women in ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Indus Valley decorated their lips by crushing semi-precious stones, fish scales, iodine, beetles, and ants. This often resulted in serious illness, adding an additional meaning to the bromide “Beauty is Pain”. In medieval Europe, lipsticks were actually banned by the church as they were considered linked to Satan. Prostitutes, however, were allowed to wear color on lips. The first commercial lipstick had been invented in 1884, by perfumers (such as Guerlain) in Paris, France. Up until 1884, lipstick was crafted at home. Still the lipsticks were considered a “fringe” fashion – reserved for bohemians, prostitutes, and stage actresses. In the United States, The Sears Roebuck catalog (which reached across the Oregon Trail thanks to railroads and the advent of a Rural Free Delivery Postal Service) first offered rouge for lips and cheeks by the late 1890s. This same catalog was also selling opium in the 1890’s, yes…opium.
Nowadays, lipstick has lost most of its sinful connotations, but it does still take courage to wear super bright neons. Revlon, MAC, L’Oreal, Avon, Estee Lauder, Clinique, Rimmel, Covergirl – Think of all the endless colors invented to compliment one’s skin shade, seasonal outfits, and outgoing persona! I sometimes believe that lipstick hues are more interesting than paint swatches. Sometimes I wish I could drag my lipstick tube across the wall and begin painting my entire backsplash a bright orange or a fanciful lilac ala Harold and the Purple Crayon.
Images via a MILLION SOURCES that after much searching don’t all quite link back to the original, but I tried!