Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I Might Have to Get Cable

LB and I don't have cable. It's not because we don't like TV, or think that we're too good for TV, but rather because we love TV so much that we would watch it all the time. But these days we've been wavering, due to a good offer from a local provider and a free PVR to boot. {I would never miss 30 Rock or Pushing Daisies or the Office again!!!}

I just read that Real Simple is launching a TV show on TLC on October 17, and between that and What not to Wear, I could see me spending a lot of Friday nights curled up and watching people clean their closets and such...Guilty pleasure, I know!

Tara Donne / Marc Royce

Plates of Loveliness

I never registered for china or everyday dishes when I got married. I have a whole whack of everyday plates from IKEA, the white overstock plates that cost $0.75 each. They're great, and you don't have to worry about them at all...I also have two sets of heirloom china, one from LB's granny and one from my grandmother who saved and scrimped to be able to have a full set of china and declare herself a lady.

So, dinnerware is just not something I need, nor is it something that I shop for on a regular basis. I always assumed that one day I would just get fed up and plunk down the money for a set of kate spade dinnerware, and I might still, but Amy Butler's Vintage Botanica collections for Mikasa made me start itching for an excuse to register and get some lovely plates. First seen over at Design*Sponge.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Office

Although not the most solid in terms of start-to-finish laughs, it was a pretty great episode of the Office last night. Oh, Jim and Pam - truck stop in the rain, such cuteness!!! Aww...

Though I am glad that in real life he is with Rashida Jones. She's got a great apartment {remember that issue of Domino?} and killer style.

LB's music pick of the week: The Raveonettes

I've decided to follow up last week's pick, The Kills, with a similar male/female duo, The Raveonettes. I chose the Kills' most recent record and for the Raveonettes I am going back to their first, Whip It On. Stylistically, the Raveonettes are not quite the opposite of the Kills but they definitely have a different approach. Filling the record with a wall of sound and hyper-stylised lyrics that tell B-movie stories, this Danish duo seem to strike an American pose against their European origins. The electronic beat is covered by thrumming bass and guitar, with each instrument only occasionally emerging from the whole. Similarly the vocals are sung by each member and almost entirely overlap, giving many of the songs a slightly dreamy or, perhaps more appropriately, movie dream sequence feel.

The album is a little slight, only eight tracks and none even three and a half minutes long, but in flying by, I find it almost always leaves me wanting more. To me the standout track is also the albums most representative, Cops Are on Our Tail. The beat is fierce and propulsive, evoking the chase as the guitar and bass swerve over top and the repeated lines in the chorus serve almost as the two shot of movie chases: car one turns the corner, then car two drifts through the same frame. A kinetic breakdown gives you a little breather and then it jumps back in, much the way I feel about the record. A great escape and a pleasure that there is almost always time to listen to start to finish.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Deeply, Madly...

in love with this poster from madebygirl that I found via absolutely beautiful things. It would be perfect for our bedroom, which I am desperately trying to finish - it's amazing how you can neglect a room that you spend every night in because it's not one of the central spaces in your home. I am making it a priority before we reach the one year anniversary of living in our little junior mint...

Deeply Madly (Apple Red)

Fabulous Wedding Brunch

I am gaga over the photos and ideas from Jesse and Deanna's wedding. While I would never trade my wedding for anything in the world, every time I see a wedding like this it makes me want to have another one, or even just have an excuse to have a lavish party. The best part is that they did the whole thing for $6,000. I thought that I did mine cheaply for $10k, but that's staggering. And it doesn't look like they compromised any of their taste in order to stay under budget.
[11.jpg]



[14.jpg]



[18.jpg]



[28.jpg]

Is it lovely to be in love?


All images via Snippet and Ink, you can also check out Jesse and Deanna's blog. I found this via Smitten...

Jolly Ol' England

LB and I are crossing the pond on November 8th to visit Liam and Shannon - YAY!!!! I am looking to you for fabulous recommendations on what to see, where to eat, and where to shop of course, while in London. I have never been, I am a Paris gal at heart, so any recommendations would be greatly appreciated...


{Image via}

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Mazel Tov!

Here's to everyone's favourite designer/potter/all around happy guy, Jonathan Adler, finding love and happiness with his one and only, Simon Doonan. They must have the best house ever - Jonathan Adler's designs with Simon Doonan's Barneys-groomed taste? Sigh...


{Image via}

Baubles

I've found this fall to be one of sober second thoughts. While I am loving my coloured opaque tights, I am most often drawn to plainer and darker dresses, and relying on shoes and jewellery to brighten things up. These necklaces from Banana Republic could help me in this quest for simple basics and sparkling accents.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Cross-Body Bags

Now that I'm walking even more places, the limitations of shoulder bags and hand-held clutches for my lifestyle are becoming increasingly obvious. It's awkward to walk for 30-45 minutes carrying a big purse in one hand and my lunch/shoes/coffee in the other. So I've decided to acquire a cross-body bag to help lighten the load.



Option 1: Coach Hamptons Leather Satchel
Pros: good size, removable strap, lovely leather, also makes a good weekend bag.
Cons: price, the fact that it's a Coach bag {ugh}, the fact that it is a handheld with a strap rather than designed as a cross-body bag.
product image


Option 2: Roots Downtown Slide
Pros: Canadian, cute colours, decent sized
Cons: Not quite big enough, still pretty pricey...

Large image of Downtown Slide in Lux Leather



Option 3: Moop Market Bag
Pros: Fabulous design, adjustable strap, handmade by a small entrepreneur, least expensive of the three
Cons: Can't think of any - I think that this is the bag for me!


Moop - The Market Bag in Black

Monday, September 22, 2008

Let the Great Experiment Begin!

So LB and I sold our car last week. It was a good car, but we have decided to live car-free for a while and see how it goes. We found that we were only using it once or twice a week, and couldn't justify the maintenance, insurance and gas costs associated with it. We're a few days in, and it's working well so far. We're lucky {well it was a conscious choice, so not much luck involved} that we live in a fabulous neighbourhood where we can walk to a farmers' market, organic butchery, three grocery stores, lots of shops, and many of Ottawa's best restaurants. LB has a 10 minute bike ride to work, and I a 45 minute walk/bus combo or a 25 min bike ride.

The real challenge will be winter - so cold and no excuse to jump in the car rather than walk...we're both really excited though!

Weekend Post Mortem

Another busy weekend, trying to make the most of the last days of summer...

Friday night we hopped on our bikes and headed to Paul and Amber's for a fabulous Greek dinner. She even made spanakopita from scratch! Then the 6 of us headed over to Preston St for some comedy fun at Absolute Comedy. I'm not a huge stand up fan, but it was fun to catch up with friends and have a few laughs.

Saturday morning we stood in line at the Ministry of Transportation, went out for breakfast, ran errands and went to the market, bought LB a shiny new bicycle and then headed home for some long overdue house cleaning. Saturday night I had dinner with some friends and then headed to the Great Canadian Theatre Company to see I, Claudia. Not a feminist retelling of I, Claudius, but rather a touching and funny coming of age story of a teenage girl living in Toronto. I then dashed downtown for the hilarity and merriment of Jen's 30th birthday party, where the theme was music from across the decades. People wore costumes, we ate, we drank, we had a lot of laughs.

Sunday morning was all about sleep. Needed to recover from two late nights out. Did a lot of puttering, meal planning, updating recipe cards, throwing out old magazine tear pages. Starting to think about lots of fall dinners, yummy and comforting one pot dinners that make you all warm and fuzzy...Watched the terrible Laugh-In tribute on the Emmys and hit the hay nice and early...

Friday, September 19, 2008

Heading for the Hills

Ooff to a retreat all day, so probably no posting. Have a lovely weekend all, can't wait to hear all about yours on Monday!


{Image via}

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Calendars

I use three calendars in my everyday life, four if you count my Blackberry. I love the berry for work, but for everything else I prefer to have it written out by hand, where I can add at whim and LB can input as well. The berry is too static for family communications.

As mentioned yesterday, I rely on the kate spade desk calendar for everything. I keep it in my purse at all times, and it is the nerve centre of my life. I would be lost without it - it houses my lists, plans, todos, etc...

For looks I keep an ilee letterpress calendar on my desk. Can't write on it, but it's very lovely. The new ones will be out Sept 22. YAY!

For home I keep a big Cavallini and Co vintage maps calendar in the office, right next to the bulletin board where I keep all upcoming invitations, gift cards and related ephemera. They have some lovely options for 2009, the Botanica, Paris and new Vintage Maps in particular.

Don't you just adore the feeling of opening a new calendar and writing in all of your upcoming plans, anniversaries and special birthdays?

Bangles

So, Elsa Peretti has created these lovely handmade polished bangles to capture the look of fall as the leaves fall to the ground. They are gorgeous, but they are $420. I have a bunch of plastic bangles that I have acquired chapely over the years and while they may not be quite as lovely, they were either free or under $20.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Joyful Soil

My lovely dear friend Daphna has started a blog, Joyful Soil. I encourage you to visit it often for her tips on nutrition, the simple joys in life, and her general positive attitude that permeates everything that she does. This girl has a wicked sense of humour and incredible taste {you should see her home!} and an uncanny ability to find the most beautiful and random stuff on the web. Must be all those research skills! We went to grad school together, I was in her wedding, and we meet for coffee once a week to solve all the problems of the world. She has a fabulous husband, a great puppy, and is just as happy spending her days at home and in the garden as she is tackling the challenges of the world.

kate spade desk calendar 2009

Get yours while it's hot! These are my absolute favourite planners, they have room for lists and such and the collages always inspire me to be creative and make good stuff. I have also reused the monthly pages to make a wall display in my guest room... If you don't have a lovely friend Laurin like me to get you one, you can find them here.





Monday, September 15, 2008

Reasons I am Proud of LB

He tried on a new style of boots and bought them, even though they are outside of his comfort zone;

Alt Text

He bought this rad pair of pants all on his own, without any pressure from me;

Brushed Yarn Dyed Twill Plaid  - Wood pants Original Penguin Clothing

He quit the office job that he hated and is following his heart and going to cook full time and write on the side.

LB's Pick of the Week: The Kills

This week’s music pick is the new record from male/female duo The Kills, Midnight Boom. Their third record, Boom comes after an almost four year hiatus and sees them exploring new territory though they succeed in doing so without deviating from the drum machine backing two guitars and two voices formula that they so effectively exploited on their previous records. The new record demonstrates a pop sensibility that is new to The Kills but the intertwined and interplaying vocals retain the sense of sexual tension that has animated all their work. The partnership is a transatlantic one, pairing under the pseudonyms VV and Hotel, Florida’s Alison Mosshart with Britain’s Jamie Hince. Perhaps it is that origin in a separation that has allowed them to retain the paradoxical proximate distance. This stance has probably served them well as there is something almost unfinished sounding in the fairly bare productions and sounds that they use which compels you to listen more and listen closer. This is not to say that they are soft or quiet. In many ways this is the opposite of last week’s Cat Power recommendation. Alison’s voice is gruff and lived in and at times almost meets Jamie’s. Both the drum beats and the guitar sound are tweaked and distorted and processed creating interesting sounds without ever sucking the life from the riffs and beats. The album finds the band playing with sounds and stretching the boundaries of their sound.

The album opens with two killer tracks that are pretty close to classic Kills. “URA Fever” and “Cheap and Cheerful” are propelled by the solid, thumping beats and the buzz saw guitars that made No Wow and Keep On Your Meanside standout. Then with “Tape Song” we get something a little new. With a beat that almost sounds like it was taken from the Eurythmics, they launch into creeping lyrics and the guitars so ubiquitous in other spots come in spikes and accents. The album contains some songs that are almost danceable like “Getting Down” which its moaning and mouth-sound chorus. “Last Days of Magic” is dangerously close to being a pop song over top of its squealing. “Black Balloon” sounds like a lament and “What New York Used to Be” is the sort of nostalgia-tinged look at better times that should be more downbeat than is. Always a band that has thrived on their contradictions, the Kills have produced a record that sounds more put together and yet looser than previous efforts. They have, without compromising the sound that makes them as close to unique as you can get in the modern music landscape, made a record that is more fun to listen and more accessible than not only their previous efforts but also than the attempts bands who are trying to make this sort of sound popular.

Weekend Post-Mortem

Well, we live too far north to actually get a visit from Hurricane Ike, but we did get the tail end of it with constant rain and temperatures so muggy that my bathroom mirror fogged up just from me opening the window. It was crazy!

Friday night I rushed home from work and we spent the evening at Julie and Aaron's, hanging out and just getting caught up. Gen came too, so there was lots of "do you remember" moments...next thing we knew it was 1am and we rushed home for a good night's sleep. Until Ms Margot Tenenbaum woke us up at 5:30am, like she does every morning...

Saturday I made LB waffles since he was so nice and got up with Margot so that I could sleep, we spent the day cleaning, getting caught up on stuff around the house, etc...then we headed to Paul and Amber's for a few drinks, then down to the market for a Pub night/ networking event.

Sunday I took it very easy. Read the Times, planned my week, took a nap, did some groceries, showed the car to someone {we're selling our car in an attempt to go car free}, and then made a big spaghetti dinner with our own roasted tomato sauce and we watched the Golden Compass. It was good, and boy do I ever hate Mrs Coulter and her stupid golden monkey! Having read the books, I'm curious how the other two will turn out. Finally, my parents phoned from Alaska, where they are now after having driven there from Ottawa - they are having the time of their lives!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Feelin' Like a Yank

My boss was in D.C. for work the other day and he brought me back a lovely treat: Barack Obama paper dolls! These hilarious dolls include the entire family, and offer me several fashion options if I'm ever running for the job of President or First Lady...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Winner!

Congrats to Mary who won the OB Prize Pack the other day!!! Mary, I will be sending the lovely package your way very soon!!!!

If you didn't win, don't worry, I'll do more soon...And I will leave you with this, my all-time favourite Saved By the Bell clip, where Jesse Spano learns not to take speed while trying to be a teen singing sensation and valedictorian all at once...thanks to the Lil Bee for reminding me of its awesomeness...


{Image via}

Max Fischer

I love this poster. It would be lovely in any room, but it makes me think of Max Fischer's bedroom. Or maybe Edward Appleby's. Great colours, beautiful stark graphic print...sigh...

Some Marine Animals of the Pacific Northwest
{Found via the lovely folks at AT}

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

All tied up with a bow...

I love these heels for fall by David Dixon. They have a great balance of colour and that bow makes every pair of shoes a little bit more whimsical, which is essentially my goal every day when I get dressed...they'd look great with a pair of eggplant opaque tights, or maybe some hunter green ones...

The Candy Store

This fabulous candy store opened right near our house this summer. I lalalalove the retro feel, the big glass containers bursting with candies I have never tried before like pomegranate cordials and big vanilla caramels. The owner has also gotten us hooked on Cooper's malted balls from NYC that can't be shipped to Canada if the weather is too warm {these taste nothing like whoppers - turns out that I love malt balls when they're good!} in flavours like raspberry, ice cream, mint cookie, and peanut butter.

I just love the look of the store. It makes me smile just to walk by.

Giveaway

As the female characters in Douglas Coupland's Microserfs sit around discussing tampons, their male counterparts sit there, shocked and afraid by what they are learning. The women, however, are clear about their choice "O.B.'s rock! But I guess not every powerful female executive is comfortable enough with her body to put her finger (fake 's50s housewife voice) you know where."

Long story short, I was contacted by a company to give away some free stuff on my blog. I thought that we were talking shampoo, makeup samples, etc...but nope, we're talking about OB tampons. While I know that it's something that every woman has to use, it's still not really my usual blogging fodder. But if they are Douglas Coupland's favourite, who am I to argue with that? I will say that I am a fan for environmental reasons, they use minimal packaging and are a greener alternative to some of the other brands. And they are discreet little fellas. And don't you remember those ads from when we were younger "designed by a female gynocologist"?

To sweeten the deal, I've got a few things for you. First, you can click here to get free samples delivered to your home. Secondly, I am giving away the promotional package given to me with the samples, including a cotton tote bag, hot water bottle and holder, eye mask, full-size box of OB tampons and cute carrying case, and a box of Tylenol menstrual. You just have to leave a comment, tampon-related or not, and I will pick at random. Contest closes Tuesday Sept 9 at midnight PST.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Nails for Fall

I am loving Chanel's new nail colour for fall, Fantastic. It really is. It looks great on short, well-manicured nails {self-done}, and really creates a great transition to fall.

Weekend Post Mortem

I think that fall is in the air, as I slept like a log in the crisp fall air all weekend - sigh...

Friday after work I headed over to the in-laws' for a lovely dinner with family and friends, and ended up curling up on the couch and actually getting to watch some of my guilty pleasure, What not to Wear...Home to watch the most disappointing movie in a long time, Smart People. What an amalgam of characters stolen from other movies! Dennis Quaid plays a mix of Michael Douglas in Wonderboys and Jeff Daniels in the Squid and the Whale, Ellen Page plays a underdeveloped Tracy Flick-style character, Sarah Jessica Parker plays herself with a Coach purse {yuck!}, Thomas Hayden Church essentially reprises his role in Sideways, and blah, blah, blech. I had no interest in this movie at all.

Saturday morning we braved the pouring rain and headed down for breakfast at Fil's Diner, food shopping, and errands. Got a hair cut, sold a bunch of stuff through online ads, watched some Gilmore Girls, made a big batch of chowdamac, then tried to go out for the evening and ended up back home within an hour, in my pjs eating ice cream on the couch. Just wiped after a summer of constant go go go, methinks...

Sunday morning I cleaned and organised, then met the girls for brunch, followed by an afternoon of walking and window shopping with Steph. A quick visit to Laurin's, then home for the night. LB made me nachos for dinner, we watched more Gilmore Girls, and I managed to make it to bed at a decent time.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Feelin' Crafty...

It's September, which means that much like every other September, I have the urge to clean and cook and knit and sew. Any of these fabrics from Amy Butler would make me a happy camper...ps - I think that LB is terrified that I'm turning into an 80-year old lady!

valerie dumaine

While browsing at one of my favourite local boutiques, Victoire, I came across a lovely cardigan {unfortunately not online, but it's lovely!} by Canuck designer valerie dumaine. Very feminine pieces, not too complicated, and reasonably priced...

[185x285_Valerie-Dumaine1171.jpg][185x285_Valerie-Dumaine1151.jpg]

Great Loft

I love the modern, open feel to this loft. It's a good eclectic mix of pieces without being too matchy-matchy. I am in lust with the big white poufy thingy over the mantle...

slideshow imageslideshow imageslideshow image

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

LB's Music Pick of the Week: Cat Power

This week I have something very different to offer. Cat Power’s The Greatest is an album of slow-paced, sometimes melancholy singer-songwriter soul music from one of my favourite female vocalists. Cat Power is the stage name for Chan Marshall. She works sometimes alone and sometimes in combination with others but is the only constant under that moniker. In this case her collaborators are Memphis studio musicians who are helpful in lending the record a smoky, boozy character that fits with her voice and many of her characters. I have always bristled at describing anybody whose music I enjoy as a singer-songwriter because it conjures generic sounds in my memory. This is in many ways a soul record. It has the sort of singer-songwriter storytelling structure to many of the songs but it is the soulfulness of her voice that best characterizes the record. “The moon is not only beautiful . . . The moon is not only ice cold,” is the sort of juxtaposition and sentiment that she is able to sell with a voice that is neither strong nor clear in the way of most great female singers but alive and unique in the manner though not the sound of Janis Joplin or June Carter.

The record has subtle touches that provide added joy to songs that are traditionally structured. The quiet whistle on “After It All” implies and compels involvement. Horns unexpectedly punctuate the state of the union examining “Could We” and provide a kick of testimonial soul. The title track features a twangy guitar sound that converses with her plaintive vocals to tell the story of a dreamer who wants something very different from what one would guess the singer’s dreams to be. “Living Proof” and “Love and Communication” offer more tempo more sounds, including judicious and perfectly utilized organ work, but do so without infringing on Chan’s voice or the stories she’s sharing. “Lived in Bars” tells a fairly common story but again horn flourishes and Marshall’s voice give it a life and truth that defies the black and white tellings that are most common. While some of the records less impressive tracks (“Willie”, “The Moon”, “Hate”) may be too understated to stand alone, when set among this collection they provide excellent counterpoints and reprieves. The album is constructed so that each song interacts with both its predecessor and its follower. On the whole, the record is emotionally fulfilling and soulfully enjoyable. I find that its greatest quality is that I can listen to it no matter my mood and no matter the situation and it still sounds good.

Glitter, glitter, everywhere...

Having spent a lot of my high school and University time working as a camp counselor, birthday party hostess, craft coordinator, and generally working with kids 24/7, I am very very familiar with the perils of glitter. It gets everywhere people! And you can never quite pick it all up, a piece invariably shows up sooner or later in the carpet, your hair, everywhere! I am in love with this poster by Because Studio using a quote from comedian Demetri Martin {see previous post on his comedy} where he tells it exactly how it is with glitter.

090108glitter.jpg

{Found via the lovely folks at Apartment Therapy}

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Weekend Post Mortem

Ah, nothing like a nice long weekend to make you feel like a human being again. This really felt like the end of summer, and not in a bad way. We've been so busy that it felt great to have a lazy long weekend to mark the separation between the lazy dog days of summer and the go get 'em attitudes of the fall...

Friday after work we hopped in the car and headed down to Brockville for a night of family fun. Now Brockville is a pretty little town where not much of excitement happens, so we were expecting a relaxing evening of food, wine, good company...Well much to our surprise my cousin's sewer main was backed up so we had to spend the night using public restrooms until the city workers could come the next morning and fix it for us {YAY!}. Secondly, as we're sitting around contemplating the evening, someone burst through the front door to tell us to call 911 because a house was on fire. Well it wasn't a house, only a shed, but it was still pretty eventful. I had never seen a structure burn before, and was reminded as to why fire is my #1 fear. Saturday morning was spent eating scones, playing with the baby, walking around, and having some good quality time with the fam.

Saturday evening we had our dear friend Andrew over to dinner as he is moving to London {what is it with you people and England!?!?!} and then headed down to the Rainbow to see our dear friend Mike's band, the Reverb Syndicate. Instrumental surf rock set to the cold war never sounded so fun!

Sunday was spent puttering at home, getting ready for the week, all that fun stuff. I ran some errands, and then we crashed on the couch to watch a cute movie called Wristcutters: A Love Story. Not nearly as dark as the name would suggest!

Monday we took Bob and Nicole to brunch, checked on mom and dad's, watched a beautiful little movie called Bella, made a huge tofu stirfry, and turned in nice and early in order to be ready to tackle a busy week ahead!

Things I Wish Were Made for Grownups...

I actually stopped and went into the store where I saw this fabulous bedding set in the window to ask if they made it in a throw pillow or some plain fabric so that I could have a pillow for our sofa. Alas, they do not. But for those of you with lil' ones, this Litto Silly Owl bedding set would be a fab way to decorate a nursery without looking too cutesy...

Silly Owl Crib Set by Litto Kids