The Free People Book Club Is Back!

I know it has been a while, but I’m very excited to announce that we are bringing back the Free People book club! We have selected The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, which I am very excited about because it has been so long since I’ve read it that I don’t really remember it very well and have been wanting to read it again. The Alchemist is a story of adventure and dreams, about the importance of listening to your heart and living with purpose. Read along with us and check back for posts on the book and inspiring quotes and passages each Tuesday during the month of September.

“My heart is afraid that it will have to suffer,” the boy told the alchemist one night as they looked up at the moonless sky. “Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams.”

Cute, Creative, And Cool: Little Free Libraries

This morning I came across something so adorable and inspiring, it had to be shared. It also involves reading, and the bookworm in me got really excited. Little Free Library is a free book exchange carried on through hundreds of cute, tiny libraries nationwide. I love the idea of book exchange. While Kindles and other tablet devices are making reading convenient (and green!), I still love the romance of used books, particularly when they are shared. You can learn more about where to find one of these charming exchanges near you, or even better how to start your own, by visiting the Little Free Library website. (BoingBoing)

Travel Reads: The Great Railway Bazaar

I love books about travel – I love reading about places I’ve never had the chance to visit and seeing them through the eyes of the author. The more descriptive, the more it fills your senses with sights, smells, sounds, the better… I like a book that physically pulls you into its pages and completely envelops your senses so you feel as if you’re a part of its world, be it fictional or real.  Read More

Book Love: Pilgrimage by Annie Leibovitz

An outtake from the iconic shoot with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, which took place hours before he was killed.

When it comes to role models, one of mine has always been Annie Leibovitz. She inspired me from a young age to study photography, and to this day her work sets a standard that few others can live up to. From her role as chief photographer for Rolling Stone magazine in the 70s, to touring photographer with the Rolling Stones, to her more recent fashion editorials, she has a gift for capturing people and history through her lens – some of the most iconic moments in music have been brought before our eyes because of her talent.

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Pilgrimage is a book of photos that are unlike her other work – they contain no people.  It began with a trip to Niagara falls with her daughters, and plans she had made with partner Susan Sontag, who has since passed. They had talked about making a book of all the places they wanted to go, and years later Leibovitz returned to the idea, and thus came Pilgrimage. The photos are of spaces, places, things – heavy with the ghosts of the legends who lived in and used them, like Virginia Woolf, Thoreau, Elvis, Georgia O’Keefe, and so on.

“I NEEDED to save myself,” she says of the work contained in the book. “I needed to remind myself of what I like to do, what I can do.”

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Niagara Falls

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Emily Dickinson’s only surviving dress

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Virginia Woolf’s Bedroom

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Elvis’s Television, in storage at Graceland (he shot it).

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Georgia O’Keefe’s handmade pastels

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Annie Oakley’s heart target.

You can also see the photos on exhibit right now at the Smithsonian Museum in DC!


Atlantis Books

Our makeup artist told me about this lovely book shop called Atlantis Books, located in Oia, Santorini. I love the story behind it and would love to spend a day browsing its many shelves! She brought me back the postcards above, and a sweet little short story called “Feuille d’Album” by Katherine Mansfield. Published by Paravion Press, which was founded out of Atlantis Books, it is one of several different stories they print in small booklets that you can mail to a friend or loved one.

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“In the spring of 2002, Oliver and Craig spent a week on the island of Santorini. The land inspired them and there was no bookshop, so they drank some wine and decided to open one. Oliver named it Atlantis Books and the two laughed about how their children would run it someday.

We found an empty building facing the sunset, drank some whiskey and signed a lease. We found a dog and cat, opened a bank account, applied for a business license, found some friends, built the shelves, landed a boat on the terrace and filled the place with books. Jenny came in April and painted everything blue.

Atlantis Books opened in the spring of 2004 and lived below the castle for one year. In the winter of 2005 we moved into the center of town and settled nicely into the community. We’ve had food festivals and film festivals, writers reading on the terrace, and a host of cats and dogs.

The bookshop feels like home now and we’re still laughing about how our children will run it someday. As Will says, it’s as easy as that. As you. As that.”

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“Paravion Press was born in a bookshop on the cliffs of an island in the south of Greece. The shop swarms with people who love stories and who are far away from loved ones. And it occurred to us that by sending a story in the mail there might, as John Donne put it, be a moment to ‘mingle souls: for thus, friends absent speak.’

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Check out their website!

Desktop: Blogger

1. WXPN festival media pass

2. Tea FP Naomi brought back for me from Hong Kong

3. String I dyed with onion skins

4. Quilted fabric from India, left over from today’s DIY.

5. Our latest book club read – Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins

6. Tiny creatures from Uncommon Objects in Austin

7. Dried flowers make me happy

8. Wine cork from a trip to Napa

9. Sentimental memories…

10. My little Buddha watches over me at work

11. I can’t write unless I’m listening to music!

Free People Book Club: Jitterbug Perfume Part 2

Jitterbug Perfume: the two key ingredients for making the most intoxicating and powerful perfume in the world are jasmine and beets.  I love the way that Tom Robbins describes these two plants in the book as if they have personalities… he has such a magical way with words.

“A few other flowers may be as sweet, but jasmine is sweet without sentiment, sweet without effeteness, sweet without compromise; it is aggressively sweet…Expansive, yet never cloying, romantic, yet seldom melancholy, jasmine has the poise of a wild creature, some elusive self-sufficient thing that croons like an organic saxophone in the tropical night.”

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“The beet is the most intense of vegetables.  The radish, admittedly, is more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent not of passion.  Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity.  Beets are deadly serious.”

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“The beet is the ancient ancestor of the autumn moon, bearded, buried, all but fossilized; the dark green sails of the grounded moon-boat stitched with veins of primordial plasma; the kite string that once connected the moon to the Earth now a muddy whisker drilling desperately for rubies.”

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“Although the contention that matter can transcend, at will, its material character would have had Descartes spinning in one or the other of his graves, a person who can believe in physical immorality is merely a step away from believing in dematerialization.”

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Let me know how far along in the book you guys are and what you think so far!

click on images for sources.

Free People Book Club: Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins

I looked into all of your suggestions for the book club and decided to pick Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins! I’ve mentioned my love for this author before on the blog, and have always considered doing one of his books, but I actually just happened to re-read jitterbug perfume and felt like the time was right.

Tom Robbins has a way with twisting and spinning words to create vivid scenes that awaken all of your senses. The way that he tells stories is magical, and even the most impossible scenarios seem very real, and very possible. In Skinny Legs and All he convinces you that a can of beans, a spoon and a sock have feelings and can move on their own. And in Jitterbug Perfume he imagines that you can live forever, if you set your mind to it.

The book is quite a ride – I hope you’ll come along with me.
Stay tuned for inspiring quotes and imagery in the coming weeks :)

p.s. for those of you who are new to the book club, click on the library category and you can go back and see posts from previous books like on the road and the perks of being a wallflower.

Style File: Edition 2

Meet this week’s style inspiration – the design assistant for New Romantics here at Free People. I was immediately attracted by her laid back and beautiful – yet approachable – look. I checked in on her daily to get to know her better and bring you her week in style file.

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In her romantic, somewhat demure, way of dressing she reflects her personality perfectly. She seems quiet and shy at first, but is then sweet beyond words as soon as you approach her. This is a girl who doesn’t wear outfits that shout “look at me,” but rather, “come closer.” Pay attention and you’ll notice a dainty necklace or a gorgeous etched bracelet.

Picnik collage

As assistant designer for the Free People New Romantics, she will be given a fabric chosen by her boss, the head designer for New Romantics, and then has to come up with styles using what she is given. The process usually starts with a sketch. Her sketches themselves are amazingly inspirational to look at. She will then drape the piece – usually doing about one a day. After she’s done draping, she will pass everything along to tech who takes it from there. This week she was already working on things for next summer.

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And now for a peek into her personal life =)

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