Elegant Survival

Stylish Living on a Shoestring
Since 2006

Elegant Culture and Travel

Miscellaneous Travel and Culture Links


Mauritshuis Museum at the Hague Reopens

The Healing Power of Stones, by M-J de Mesterton

Posted by M-J de Mesterton on July 3, 2014 at 6:25 PM 


Pierres Précieuses (precious stones) by M-J de Mesterton ©2013,

Oil on Canvas 16" X 20" 

Available at Collective Souls Fine Art, Las Vegas


Amber gemstone is believed to prevent memory-loss, and to help purify the body. Amber also alleviates headaches, bone and heart problems. Amber is known for its stress-relieving and calming properties.

Amethyst gemstone reduces insomnia, arthritis, aids in pain relief, and ameliorates circulatory deficiencies. Amethyst is considered to be the gemstone that promotes meditation, personal peace, balance, courage, and inner strength.

Aquamarine gemstone promotes health in the liver, throat, stomach, jaw, teeth, eyes, and ears. Aquamarine is also known to help relieve fear, calm nerves, and enhance mental clarity.

Citrine gemstone is worn to increase the hearing sense. Citrine also promotes personal success, abundance, and clear thinking.

Garnet gemstone improves the function of the circulatory system, heart, and lungs. Garnet is known to promote feelings of love and romantic intimacy.

Jade is known traditionally in China as "Stone of Heaven". Jade promotes closeness to the spiritual world, encourages creativity, and being near it helps us to remember and interpret our dreams. It is prized as a protective talisman, assuring long life and a peaceful death to its wearer as a powerful healing stone. Jade promotes health of the kidneys and enhances the function of other organs when worn as an amulet. Jade is believed to aid in the acquisition of friendship and luck by repelling negative energy.

Lapis Lazuli gemstone is believed to help alleviate insomnia and depression. Lapis lazuli is also known for promoting creativity, openness, and truthfulness.

Onyx gemstone is associated with the root chakra, thus it brings spiritual inspiration, and supports control over emotions.

Pearl is said to aid purity, charity, integrity, truth, and loyalty in its wearer, and to possess calming properties.

Peridot gemstone heals stress in relationships, mitigates anger and jealousy, and slows aging. The fresh, green peridot promotes abundance and prosperity.

Ruby gemstones soothe and enhance the emotions. Rubies are also known to increase integrity, devotion, and happiness.

Sapphire is the gemstone of creative expression, inner peace and meditation. The sapphire also aids in personal expression and the alleviation of pain.

Topaz gemstone is one of the earth's most powerful rocks. Topaz promotes the balancing of emotions, and provides protection from the greed of others.

©M-J de Mesterton 2014

Jade, Stone of Heaven by M-J de Mesterton ©2009,

Oil on Canvas 16" X 20" Available at Collective Souls Fine Art, Las Vegas 

Little Lord Fauntleroy, 1936: a Splendid Family Movie

A Beautiful, Charming Movie that Is Ever-Relevant
I'm not giving away ANY of this magnificent plot, except that it spans two continents.
©M-J de Mesterton


Visit Bowood House and Gardens 






 Amazon Local: Fabulous Las Vegas



Wine Country 


 Sonoma, California: Amazon Local Deals 







 Sölden, Austria


Kentchurch Court, Herefordshire

 What's on the Schedule at Kentchurch Court?

Casa del Herrero

Steedman Estate (Casa del Herrero), Montecito, CA, is considered one of the most fully developed and intact examples of America’s Country Place Era that took form and flourished on the West Coast in the early 20th century. This estate features the landscape design of Ralph K. Stevens, Lockwood de Forest, Jr., and Francis T. Underhill; and the architecture of George Washington Smith and other West Coast designers under the direction of the owner, George Steedman, who was a collector of antiquities and an amateur silversmith. The estate represents a remarkable fusion of landscape design, architecture, horticulture, and interior design, reflecting the influence of the antiquities, architecture, and gardens of Mediterranean Europe, particularly the region of Andalusia in southern Spain, and responding to the splendid climate, ideal growing conditions, Hispanic roots, and scenic beauty of the Southern California landscape. The estate represents the synthesis of what would become a nationally recognized California Style of landscape design and an important stage in the evolution of Spanish Colonial Revival domestic design in the United States.  (The preceding is an edited excerpt from the official Casa del Herrero website)


Kyoto Walking Tour

Austrian Artist Aloys Zötl

Aloys Zötl 

 Collected by Alix de RothschildAloys ZötlB. FringhiamJean Lenthal,  Louis AmicPaule Cailac, Pierre Balmain 

January 23rd, the Birthday of Edouard Manet

European Train Schedules 

Side-Step, the Traveller's Search-Engine 

Travelistic: Watch Where You're Going in Videos 

Holiday Travel Advisory by Anne McDermott 

Around the World in 20 Tips: a Global Guide to Gratuities 

Quito, Ecuador: the Elegant World Heritage City at the Middle of Our Earth 

Plaza de la Independencia; Quito, Ecuador, circa 1954


Adventure in Canada: the Noble Hunt Train, Quebec 


♫ Music♫


One of My Favourite Composers, Giuseppe Verdi 


Cadfael, by Ellis Peters 

                      Män Som Hatar Kvinnor

                                                 (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), 

 by Stieg Larsson 


M-J'sBeaux-Arts Blog


Evert Taube, My Cousin: Swedish National Poet and Songwriter 

Evert Taube Video Montage 



Rainer Maria Rilke's Sonnets to Orpheus, Translated by Robert Temple

Taos, New Mexico


Mary Cassatt American, 1844 - 1926 The Loge, 1882 Oil on Canvas, 79.8 x 63.8 cm (31 3/8 x 25 1/8 in.) Chester Dale Collection; The National Gallery, Washington

Beauty's Back

For about twenty years, traditional beauty has been rejected in favor of grunge, rap, and dung-covered "art". Little girls continue going to school in clothes originally inspired by the ironically-named singer, Madonna; recordings (I don't call it music) exhorting people to kill police and rape women have catapulted criminality to the mainstream. Twenty years of "rebels" mindlessly mimicking each other has made them into sheep. The popular conceit is that these feeble followers are on the cutting-edge of fashion and culture, that nihilism and deconstruction are tantamount to enlightenment. The emperor has no clothes. Many of us are standing our ground in steadfast support of classical beauty. It is just as easy to don flattering clothing as it is to wear the latest outrage resembling underwear or pajamas. Music with an actual melody is on the rebound, and for good reason: there is a human tradition of creating lovely compositions that enhance life and inspire art. The art world has been stagnating with its preference for nothingness in the form of minimalism. The cognoscenti are becoming fatigued with the pretension that a plain blue or red field is a great work of art, and are beginning to crave some substance. How many artists pouring melted cheese on hotel rooms can the world stomach? Urine on Christ had its heyday at the Brooklyn Museum of Art long ago; serial blasphemy masquerading as art is no longer fooling anyone. Most contemporary "art" is nothing but bad crafts. Gimmickry and mimicry rule the day. An unwitting public believe that what they buy today will be worth something more tomorrow, even though they can't bear looking at the stuff. My question to minimalists: How can something so empty be so full of...? It is now a bold gesture to create art that represents uplifting beauty rather than ugliness and vapidity. Be a renegade and seek beauty in the world. Reject foolish fashions and trends that make a mockery of all facets of human existence. You will be regarded as a maverick.~~Copyright M-J de Mesterton, April 17th, 2007

Part II

I am a painter and an editor. As such, in the 1990s, I edited and translated from French an award-winning stamp collection entitled, Women in the Arts. It featured historical information on fine painters and sculptors through the centuries who happened to be female. Art in our new century has become a vapid wasteland. The purpose and practice of fine art has been all but forgotten. Here is an e-book on classical art produced by Project Gutenberg:

Women in the Fine Arts: Free e-Book

The site's description of the book: "The Project Gutenberg E-Book of Women in the fine arts, from the Seventh Century B.C. to the Twentieth Century A.D., by Clara Erskine Clement" It was originally published in 1904.

Discussed and portrayed are women who actually took the time to learn technique and paint, unlike today's "artists", the majority of whom are taught only to devise the most outrageous gimmickry and/or cynical mimicry. That school-of-thought produces a sameness that is dull as dirt to behold, while its participants, perpetrators and sycophants feign enlightened appreciation.

The world of art is no longer fine, but a place which seeks to eat its young. But, the emperor has no clothes, and the real renegades are eschewing the current fads and swimming against the polluted tide. Art is not dead--it just smells that way, thanks to the jaded bunch who use the anti-art theme to disguise their lack of skill and imagination.
~~Copyright M-J de Mesterton, 2007

Guitare d'Amour, by Corsican Tino Rossi

Santa Fe's Hotel St. Francis


The Renovated Lobby of Hotel St. Francis in Santa Fe, New Mexico 

Named for Saint Francis of Assissi, this landmark hotel has recently undergone renovation, which brought out the beautiful original Spanish-Moorish structure in its lobby.  Gone is the old furniture that might have fit-in Anywhere, U.S.A., and which obscured the fine architecture in that timeless space.  The new furnishings complement the grand hall's elegant rusticity. (I hear that the rooms are well-appointed, too.) 

The Hotel St. Francis restaurant has always been good, but the new chef is someone I wrote about on the first Elegant Survival page almost four years ago, former monk Estevan García, a long-time Santa Fe fixture and first-rate cook who has made stellar improvements to the hotel's dining facilities. Estevan continues his tradition of seeking out and utilizing the best local fish, vegetables, fruits and meats; he offers authentic northern New Mexican cuisine. I believe that traditional local food is what visitors to Santa Fe are enthusiastic about eating, and in spite of that, most top-rated restaurants in that historic town fail to include it on their menus. Chef Estevan García is proud of his heritage, and even re-creates some of his grandmother's recipes at Tabla de los Santos.

Bar manager Justin, who has a brilliant local resumé, does an excellent job making guests comfortable in the bar and on the portal at Hotel St. Francis. Prices are low in comparison to other restaurants and bars in the City of Holy Faith. The tasteful simplicity of the Hotel St. Francis, combined with its respect for people's finances during this long recession, makes it a perfect choice for Elegant Survival readers.

M-J's Book Recommendations


Contre la Barbarie (Against Barbarism), by Klaus Mann (in French)

A Series of Anti-Nazi Essays Written by the Son of Thomas Mann, between 1925 and 1948

Klaus Mann, son of Nobel Prize winner Thomas Mann, is best known for his novel, Mephisto, and his autobiography, Le Tournant, which overshadow his incessant political activity. From the rise of Nazism, the author wrote many articles, essays, lectures and speeches, all executed with a pen as sharp as it was fervent. The image often portrayed of Klaus Mann was as a gifted but superficial, indecisive, shattered fellow. In actuality, the young man transformed himself into a fierce opponent of Hitler. One who very early had the feeling of belonging to a lost generation, born and raised on the ruins, Klaus Mann was among the first to denounce the totalitarian Nazis and their militaristic, overly-methodical nature. Gathered here for the first time at the initiative of Dominique-Laure Miermont, these 67 essays, written between 1925 and 1948, are highly literary, dynamic, remarkably clear, exuding strength and fortitude. Universal, these texts by Klaus Mann apply to all dictatorships, and resonate as loudly today as yesterday - the struggle in the early twentieth century against barbarism was, unfortunately, never completed. ~~M-J

 In bookstores since March 12 2009

 Genre: Essay

Translated into French from German by Dominique-Laure Miermont Gepner and Corinna

 Preface by Michel Crépu

 Editorial Note by Dominique-Laure Miermont

368 pages

Price: about 23 Euros 

ISBN: 99782752903174

Klaus Mann was born on 18 November 1906 in Munich. He entered the world of literature at the beginning of the Weimar Republic. A principled opponent of Nazism, he left Germany in 1933 and was stripped of his nationality in 1935. His talent was also remarkably expressed in his novels (The Volcano, Mephisto) a notable essay (André Gide and the Crisis of European thought), drama (Anja and Esther) and autobiography (The Turn). His work, neglected by the literary public during his lifetime, even mocked, is now considered among the most important in German literature. Klaus Mann committed suicide in Cannes on 21 May, 1949.



The Language of Flowers

The Meanings of Various Flowers, and the Various Meanings Attributed to Individual Types of Flowers


{Photo Copyright J de Mesterton 2009) 

  • ACACIA BLOSSOM - Concealed Love; Beauty in Retirement; Chaste Love
  • ACORN - The Nordic Symbol of Life and Immortality
  • AMBROSIA - Your Love is Reciprocated
  • AMARYLLIS - Pride; Pastoral Poetry
  • ANEMONE - Forsaken
  • ARBUTUS- Thee Only Do I Love
  • ASTER - Symbol of Love: Daintiness
  • AZALEA - Take Care of Yourself for Me; Temperance; Fragile Passion; Chinese Symbol of Womanhood
  • BACHELOR BUTTON - Single Blessedness
  • BEGONIA - Beware
  • BELLS OF IRELAND - Good Luck
  • BLUEBELL - Humility
  • CACTUS - Endurance
  • CAMELLIA Admiration; Perfection; Good Luck, Gift to a Man
  • CAMELLIA Pink - Longing for You
  • CAMELLIA Red - You're a Flame in My Heart
  • CAMELLIA White - You're Adorable
  • CANDY TUFT - Indifference
  • CARNATION General - Fascination; Divine Love
  • CARNATION Pink - I'll Never Forget You CARNATION, Purple - Capriciousness
  • CARNATION Red - My Heart Aches for You; Admiration
  • CARNATION Solid Colour - Yes
  • CARNATION Striped - No; Refusal; Sorry I Can't Be with You: Wish l Could Be with You
  • CARNATION White - Sweet and Lovely; Innocence; Pure Love; Woman's Good Luck Gift
  • CARNATION Yellow - You Have Disappointed Me; Rejection
  • CATTAIL - Peace; Prosperity
  • CHRYSANTHEMUM General - You're A Wonderful Friend; Cheerfulness and Rest
  • CHRYSANTHEMUM White - Truth, Honesty
  • CHRYSANTHEMUM Yellow - Slighted Love, Dejected
  • COREOPSIS - Always Cheerful
  • CROCUS - Cheerfulness
  • CYCLAMEN - Resignation, Farewell
  • DAFFODIL - Esteem, Regard; Unrequited Love; You're the Only One; The Sun is Always Shining When I'm with You
  • DAISY - Innocence; Loyalty; Discretion; Purity
  • DANDELION - Faithfulness; Happiness
  • DEAD LEAVES - Sadness
  • FERN - Magic; Fascination; Confidence and Security
  • FERN Maidenhair - Secret Love
  • FIR - Time
  • FLAX - Domesticity
  • FORGET-ME-NOT- True Love; Honor; Remembrance
  • FORSYTHIA - Anticipation and Hope
  • GARDENIA - You're Lovely: Secret Love
  • GARLIC - Courage; Strength
  • GERANIUM -Stupidity; Folly
  • GLADIOLUS - Begging Forgiveness; Flower of the Gladiators
  • GLOXINIA - Love at First Sight
  • GRASS - Submission, Acquiescence
  • HEATHER Lavender - Admiration; Solitude
  • HEATHER, White - Protection; Belief in the Future
  • HOLLY - Protection; Domestic Bliss
  • HYACINTH General - Sports; Boldness; this is the Flower Dedicated to Apollo
  • HYACINTH Blue - Constancy, Steadfastness
  • HYACINTH Purple -Penitence; Sorrow
  • HYACINTH Red or Pink - Play
  • HYACINTH White- Loveliness; Praying
  • HYACINTH Yellow - Jealousy
  • HYDRANGEA - Thank You for Understanding; Frigidity; Heartlessness
  • IRIS - Fleur-de-Lis, Emblem of France: Your Friendship Means So Much to Me; Faith; Hope; Wisdom and Valour; My Compliments
  • IVY - Wedded Love; Fidelity; Friendship; Affection
  • IVY, SPRIG OF WHITE TENDRILS -Desire to Please; Affection
  • JONQUIL - Love Me; Affection Returned; Desire; Sympathy; Desire for Reciprocal Love
  • LARKSPUR Pink - Fickleness
  • LILY, Calla - Beauty
  • LILY, Day - Coquetry; the Chinese Symbol for Mothers
  • LILY, Eucharis - Maiden Charms
  • LILY, Orange - Hatred
  • LILY, Tiger - Wealth; Pride
  • LILY, White - Virginity; Purity; Majesty; It's Heavenly to Be with You
  • LILY, Yellow - I'm Ecstatic
  • LILY-0F-THE-VALLEY (Muguet in French) - Sweetness; Tears of the Virgin Mary; Return to Happiness; Humility; "You've Made My Life Complete"
  • MAGNOLIA - Nobility
  • MARIGOLD - Cruelty, Grief, Jealousy
  • MISTLETOE - Kiss me; Affection; To Surmount Difficulties; Sacred Plant of India; the Magical Plant of the Druids
  • MONKSHOOD - Beware of Danger from Enemies
  • MOSS - Maternal Love; Charity
  • MYRTLE - Love; Hebrew Emblem of Marriage
  • NARCISSUS - Egotism; Formality; Stay as Sweet as You Are
  • NASTURTIUM - Conquest; Victory in Battle
  • NUTS - Stupidity, Fooolishness
  • OLEANDER - Caution
  • ORANGE BLOSSOM - Innocence; Eternal Love; Marriage and Fruitfulness
  • ORCHID - Love; Beauty; Refinement; Beautiful Lady; Chinese Symbol for Many Children
  • ORCHID, Cattleya - Mature Charm
  • PALM LEAVES - Victory and Success
  • PEONY - Blissful Life; Happy Marriage
  • PETUNIA - Resentment; Anger; "Your Presence Soothes Me"
  • PINE - Hope; Pity
  • POPPY, General - Eternal Sleep; Oblivion; Imagination
  • POPPY, Red - Gratitude, Remembrance; Pleasure
  • POPPY, White - Consolation
  • POPPY, Yellow - Wealth; Success
  • PRIMROSE - I Can't Live Without You
  • PRIMROSE, Evening - Inconstancy
  • ROSE, Bridal - Happy Love
  • ROSE, Christmas - "Calm My Fears"; Anxiety
  • ROSE, Coral - Desire
  • ROSE, Damask - thePersian Ambassador of Love
  • ROSE, Dark Crimson - Mourning
  • ROSE, Dark Pink - Thankfulness
  • ROSE, Lavender - Enchantment
  • ROSE LEAF - Have Hope
  • ROSE, Orange - "I'm Fascinated"
  • ROSE, Pale Peach - Modesty
  • ROSE, Pale Pink - Grace, Joy
  • ROSE Red - Love, Respect
  • ROSE, Single Full Bloom - I Love You; I Still Love You
  • ROSE, Tea - I'll Remember; Eternity
  • ROSE, Thornless - Love at First Sight
  • ROSE, White - Innocence and Descretion
  • ROSE, White and Red Together - Unity White on Red Together - Flower Emblem of England
  • ROSE, Yellow - Joy, Friendship
  • ROSEBUD - Beauty and Youth
  • ROSEBUD, Moss - Confessions of Love
  • ROSEBUD, Red - Pure and Lovely
  • ROSEBUD, White - Girlhood, Innocence
  • ROSES, Bouquet inFull Bloom - Gratitude
  • ROSES, Garland or Crown of - Reward of Merit; Crown Symbol of Superior Merit
  • ROSES, Musk Cluster - "You are Charming"
  • SMILAX - Loveliness
  • SNAPDRAGON - Deception; "You are a Gracious Lady"
  • SPIDER FLOWER - "Let's Elope"
  • STEPHANOTIS - Wedded Bliss; Wanderlust
  • STOCK - Bonds of Affection; Promptness; "You'll Always Be Beautiful to Me"
  • SWEET PEA - Good-bye; Departure; Blissful Pleasure; "Thank You for a Lovely Time"
  • TULIP, General - Perfect Lover; Fame; Flower Emblem of Holland
  • TULIP, Red - "I'm Sincere"; Declaration of Love
  • TULIP, Variegated - "You Have Beautiful Eyes"
  • TULIP, Yellow - "There's Sunshine in Your Smile"
  • VIOLET- Modesty
  • VIOLET, Blue -Perspicacity; Faithfulness; "I'll Always Be True"
  • VIOLET, White - "Let's Take a Chance on Happiness"
  • VISCARIA -"Come Dance with Me!"
  • ZINNIA, Magenta - Lasting Affection
  • ZINNIA, Mixed - Thinking (or in Memory) of an Absent Friend
  • ZINNIA, Scarlet - Constancy
  • ZINNIA, White - Goodness
  • ZINNIA, Yellow - Daily Remembrance
  • ~~Anonymous; Edited by M-J de Mesterton, 2009
The Absinthe Drinkers, Oil Painting by Edgar Degas, 1876

The Absinthe Drinkers, Oil on Canvas 36 1/4" X 26 3/4", 1876 By French Painter Edgar Degas, 1876 How to Serve Absinthe, also known as "The Green Fairy", a Gourmet Magazine Video

The Absinthe Drinkers is in the Collection of Musée d'Orsay, Paris

Edgar Degas (19 July 1834 – 27 September 1917), born to an aristocratic banking family in Paris as Hilaire-Germain-Edgar de Gas (pronounced [ilɛʀ ʒɛʁmɛ̃ ɛdɡɑʀ dœˈɡɑ]), was a French artist famous for his work in painting, sculpture, printmaking and drawing. He is regarded as one of the founders of Impressionism although he rejected the term, and preferred to be called a realist. A highly-skilled draftsman, Degas is especially identified with the subject of classical ballet, and more than half his works, both drawings and paintings, depict dancers. These creations display Degas' mastery in the depiction of movement, as do his racecourse subjects (horses in motion at the tracks in France) and female nudes. His portraits are considered to be among the finest in the history of art.

Early in his career, his ambition was to be a history painter, a calling for which he was well prepared by his rigorous academic training and close study of classic art. In his early thirties he changed course, and by employing the traditional methods of a history-painter on contemporary subject matter, he became a classical painter of modern French life.


Racehorses at Longchamps, Edgar Degas, 1866 Self-Portrait of Edgar Degas, 1855


M-J's Beaux-Arts


Elegant Manners

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Proper Ollie: Manners in Minutes

Photo Copyright M-J de Mesterton

Together with standards of dress, manners have taken a nose-dive. These short videos featuring Proper Ollie are amusing, but so true. Don't let the person being laughed at or hit with a brickbat be you!
Particularly well-done is this Table Manners video by Proper Ollie. 
Affordable Acommodations in Aspen, Colorado
Elegant Survival
Report from Aspen
UPDATE, May 17th 2009
The rustic cabin accomodations that I featured previously, at L'Auberge d'Aspen, are no longer available, because the place is being converted into a religious center.  I have, however, found a wonderful substitute; a well-established Aspen lodge with a great reputation:

Downtown Aspen at Dusk, in May 2008. Photo copyright M-J
Looking down at Aspen from hill above downtown, where the grand Bass house is, and above my husband's old house.
Photo copyright M-J
Inside a "Grand Cottage" at L'Auberge d'Aspen, which was in town.
Photo copyright M-J
Photo copyright M-J
The bedroom at now-defunct L'Auberge d'Aspen, with preserved copies of The Denver Post, from the 1920s.
Photo copyright M-J

Side Street Downtown Aspen with Firetruck. Photo copyright M-J
Photo copyright M-J
Photo copyright M-J
View from Kitchenette Door, in L'Auberge d'Aspen Grand Cottage
Photo copyright M-J
Surprise: We Saw an Informative Film about Master Shirtmaker Alexander Kabbaz on Our Television! Photo copyright M-J 2008

If you'd like to be pampered, the new St. Regis Hotel in Aspen has off-season accommodations starting at $200.00 a night.

M-J Having Coffee (husband is taking photo) at the Gorgeous St. Regis Resort in Downtown Aspen. Photo copyright M-J de Mesterton

The St. Regis Resort Hotel, Aspen, Colorado--Photo Courtesy of the Hotel
(all other photos on this page are by M-J de Mesterton)


Connie Talbot, 7, Sings Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds"


Art of the Day

Elegant, Tasteful Background Sounds
Beautiful ambiance in which to read, work,  or entertain guests can be created with the right sort of background music. Elegant sounds from our friend, Saul Stokes, the sonic genius: one hour of original compositions derived from his twelve years of musical innovation.


Sir Pelham GrenvilleWodehouse, My Favorite Writer...

...and it's not just because I was born on his birthday. P.G. Wodehouse used the English language better than anyone in print, and was genuinely hilarious.

Click on his portrait to read about him and to acquire books by

P.G. Wodehouse.




Explorers Who Shaped the World
A Balloon in Cactus, by Maggie Van Ostrand

This is a delightful page of anecdotes from a writer who lives part of the year in Mexico.



Christopher Hitchens Speaks, January 2010


M-J's Miscellany


Google Translator