How was your Thanksgiving? Ours was very special this year with our granddaughter sitting at the Thanksgiving table for the first time. There was so much to be grateful for. And it was fun to to set the table with a tablecloth from our daughter's home goods and textiles company Heather Taylor Home. The one we used is called "Redwood" and looked very festive, I thought. Go here to see more.
Today is the last day of November and tomorrow we will officially be in countdown mode until Christmas. I am looking forward to the special moments that make this season so magical. But before we move on to the big month, I thought it would be fun to recap some highlights of the fall season so far. I'm a little sad about it coming to an end. So here are my favorite things (in no particular order) about fall this year...
Many of them happened in New York...
The experience of seeing the Broadway musical "Hamilton" was thrilling. From the moment the show began I felt I was in the presence of something brilliant and original. Lin-Manuel Miranda read a biography of Alexander Hamilton and was inspired to create this electrifying show. If you get a chance to see it, please do. You won't be disappointed. As soon as Aaron Burr opens the show with his fabulous and expository song about Alexander Hamilton, you will be captivated. The music is so good! It may be the best musical I have ever seen.
2. Jennie Simogyi's final performance for the New York City Ballet
It's not often that a ballet performance ends with the kind of curtain call I saw in October after a performance by the New York City Ballet. This was dancer Jennie Simogyi's final performance and when it was over the curtain call went on for at least 20 minutes. She received enough flowers to fill a small flower shop. Her fellow dancers and friends came out one by one with bouquets until the stage was carpeted with blooms. The final touch was confetti and streamers raining down on her from above. It was a wonderful send-off and I felt so lucky to have seen the farewell performance of such a talented and obviously beloved dancer!
3. "Ernest Hemingway: Between Two Wars" exhibition at the Morgan Library
I have mentioned before how much I love the Morgan Library. There is always something fabulous to see -- the building itself, the gorgeous library filled with rare editions of so many books, and the fascinating exhibitions. This time we were lucky enough to see the Hemingway show. It's up until January 31 and if you are in NYC be sure to see it. Hemingway saved everything and consequently this exhibition is filled with an abundance of photos, books, corrected proof pages and letters. They give us new insight into this literary giant. One of the observations I took away was how much Hemingway revised. It was fascinating to see the many revisions of a book such as "The Sun Also Rises." Even the famous last line.
And in Litchfield, CT...
Especially when Los Angeles was in the throes of a major heat wave. The crisp fall weather and cozy fireplaces in New England were exactly what I had in mind when I planned our trip to Connecticut. Fall in New England is a wonderful event!
And back here in Los Angeles...
5. A Garden Book Club
Some friends invited me to be part of a garden book club and we had our first meeting in October. We discussed Vita Sackville-West's Sissinghurst by Sarah Raven and Vita's novel All Passion Spent. It was enlightening to talk about Sissinghurst with so many garden enthusiasts. We talked about the structure of the garden as well as its plants. Everyone agreed that Vita was an inspiring woman and a force to be reckoned with. She created enduring legacies with her garden at Sissinghurst as well as her writing. She led a tumultuous personal life which included a long term marriage with diplomat Harold Nicolson despite having many affairs, including one with Virginia Woolf. Their marriage survived and together they created the beautiful garden at Sissinghurst. The image of Vita striding through her garden wearing long strands of pearls and riding boots is one that will stay with me for a long time.
In October the beautiful Disney Hall in downtown Los Angeles was the setting for "The Immortal Beethoven" series which consisted of performances of all nine Beethoven symphonies. Gustavo Dudamel conducted both the Los Angeles Philarmonic and the Simon Bolivar Orchestra of Venezuela. We heard Beethoven's seventh and eighth symphonies and they were breathtaking.
Soon it will be time to send out holiday cards and since my handwriting seems to get worse with each passing year I thought it was a good idea to sign up for a calligraphy class. I have always admired this type of decorative handwriting. It was taught by Bianca Mascorro at Hollyflora studio. Her class was excellent. She is a very good teacher and the experience was therapeutic. When was the last time you held a pen dipped in ink? It felt delicious. This kind of beautiful writing is a lost art and I think we should bring it back.
8. Baking with pumpkin
Spiced Pumpkin Bundt Cake with Buttermilk Icing is one of my favorite fall desserts. I made it for my family to snack on while we cooked all day on Thanksgiving. The smell alone is reason enough to make this cake. Go here for the recipe.
9. Indian Summers on PBS
I love having a riveting drama to watch on Sunday nights and "Indian Summers" definitely fits the bill. Have you been watching this one?
Each year the best films seem to be released in the fall. This year was no exception. My favorite so far is "Brooklyn." What a beautiful film!
Au revoir, November. Gingerbread season is right around the corner...