August 30, 2011

A few months ago, we attended a friend's wedding, where we were given a CD of some of the couples favorite songs. This is my favorite track from that compilation.

August 29, 2011

Guess what I won!?!

Thanks to Alanna Cavanagh for the print and to Emma Reddington of the Marion House Book for hosting the giveaway. Our kitchen will be next on the list for a paint job, so I can't wait to get this framed and hung in there!

I think I'll do a bigger post on Alanna this week, for those of you unfamiliar with her work.

happy, happy!

August 26, 2011

It's been a busy week this week, and I am really looking forward to curling up with this little face this weekend. I'll be sunning on the porch, making sandwiches, running errands, and just generally enjoying these last summer days. How about you?
  • Emma from the Marion House Book is giving away a print by Alanna Cavanagh this week. Alanna designed the booth for Style at Home at IDS this year, and it was a big fan fave. Be sure to enter. Or not, because I would love to see that print hanging in my house!
  • I just discovered these lovely shear pendants by David Gensler of Serum Versus Venom. Beautifully handcrafted in Brooklyn, these remind me of a charm my mum used to have on her old charm bracelet.
  • And Florence and the Machine have a new album due out in November. Here's the long awaited first single!

happy weekend!

August 23, 2011

Despite the damaged basement, I'm still planning the finishing touches for the rest of the house. So I brought home some lovely Quadrille fabric swatches as options for the bedroom, to accompany these drapes.

August 22, 2011

Words to live by:

“My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.”

from Jack Layton's letter to Canadians

RIP Jack

August 21, 2011

Every so often Ikea launches a product that perfectly combines design with their economical price point and quality. The Lack bookcase was one of those pieces for me.

It's appeal was in it's great proportions, the substantial thickness of the shelves, the clean lines. The structure was the perfect start point for so many great styling opportunities. The large fixed shelves allowed for lots of great display space. And the basic nature of the form was easily manipulated to make the piece uniquely yours.

And I wasn't alone. There are hordes of photos on the internet of this piece in use in all sorts of fashionable interiors. It was a piece that transcended budgets and appeared in all environments.

See? This spring, Ikea announced it was discontinuing the piece. Why? All good things must come to an end I guess, but when a furniture piece is this popular and versatile, you would think Ikea would have thought twice about removing this from their inventory. They could have doubled the price, and it would still have been popular.

RIP Lack Bookcase.

August 19, 2011

It's a video Fab Friday today, and I'm featuring 3 things that made me happy (happy thoughts!) over the past couple of weeks! Hope you have a good weekend. I need some R&R for sure. Maybe a massage? At least that will be covered by my insurance...
  • I get the House and Home magazine newletter each week to my inbox, but most of the time just delete it without really looking at it. But this episode happened to catch my eye, and I love the way Sasha Seymour has integrated 70's classics into her space.
  • I love stop motion animation, and here's the worlds largest! Incredible.

  • Move, Eat, Learn. These videos made the rounds a few weeks ago, but they completely filled me with joy. 3 guys travelled all over the world and documented their trip in these videos. Make sure to check them all out.

August 17, 2011

So it's been a bit rough around here the last couple of days. Last Thursday I discovered mold in our basement, after some water leeched in during one of the downpours we had. It was in the spare bedroom, after I noticed that the drywall was rippled. I was alone in the house that week, and really don't go down there very often anyway, so I guess it had a couple days to really soak in and make itself at home before I found it. It's so gross. Mold. Yuk. I'm so embarrassed and I feel like I let down my poor little house and made it sick. I know that's probably a stupid thing to think, but I do.

I'm even more embarrassed over the ridiculous amount of money it is going to cost to clean it all up. The carpet was damp all around the edge of the basement, which means it all has to get ripped out, the drywall ripped out, the insulation ripped out, and then they do the mold remediation, which involves lots of chemicals and fans, and air balancers. Oh, and money.

Then we have to figure out where the water came from and try to prevent it from happening again.

So all in all, I'm not feeling up to blogging much lately.

I will abstain from posting any mold pictures because that's gross, and this should be a happy place (see illustration above, via). However, I will share the process with you so that everyone can learn! And it means that I get to redo the basement, which was okay, but now I get to make it better! (silver lining)

August 3, 2011

I discovered Austin Kleon through his series on 20x200. He is an artist and writer from Austin, Texas, and he produces these great graphic poetry pieces. Created from blacking out articles from a newspaper, they have created so much buzz that they were published into a book, Newspaper Blackout, in 2010.

August 1, 2011

Life List: Eat at a Gordon Ramsay restaurant.

New York presented all sorts of great opportunities, but unfortunately, there was no sea kayaking, no camels, and I definitely wasn't buying property there. But it had loads of restaurants, 2 of which are owned by Gordon Ramsay. So it was pretty easy to make this my NY Life List item.

The London Hotel is home to both Gordon Ramsay at the London, and Muse by Gordon Ramsey. We decided Muse was more our speed, especially with all the other restaurants we had planned to eat at. You can order a la carte, or have the Chef's menu. We decided to have the Chef's menu and eat the same things, so we could better compare notes.

Prior to our first course we were served a taste of potato and leek veloute, which was fresh and creamy. Then we had bread and butter, which I wasn't very pleased with. The bread had such a thick, tough crust which was really difficult to eat. The butter was fine. I guess I'm a bit of a butter snob though.

First Course: chilled tomato gazpacho, marinated lobster, avocado puree, dried tomato

This soup was a nice summery start to the meal. I love when they pour the soup over the accoutrements at the table, and they did just that. Sometimes I find gazpachos are over seasoned, but this was very nicely balanced with a fresh tomato flavour. I hate when tomato soup tastes like pasta sauce.

Of all the restaurants we went to, this one felt the most designed. The restaurant was designed by David Collins Studio, and was conceptualized to bring together "classic British style with Manhattan vivacity." It had a subtle, sophisticated colour scheme with a crisp geometric ceiling design, and touches of sparkle throughout.

Hand sewn silver buttons on the soft grey-blue shagreen banquettes.

There was a nice level of ambient light throughout, that allowed the space to still feel intimate.

Sparkly chandeliers were hung over the bar. There was a nice variety of materials such as textured glass, lacquer, stone tile, woven wallcovering, chrome, and wood. It kept the space interesting, despite the subtle colour scheme.

A shot of the grid work design on the ceiling.

The worst part of the interior? The lame table decor. Seriously? When was the last time I saw those glass marble things? I think I was 12. They would be better off to do nothing.

Second Course: pastrami spiced baby beetroots, air-dried duck ham, Kendall farms creme fraiche

You can't go wrong with beets in my book. These were perfect.

Third Course: sauteed sea scallops, english peas, crispy bacon, lettuce hearts, sauce paloise

This was the highlight of the meal for me. The scallops were divine. The peas and lettuce with the bacon, delightful. Don't you just love a good fresh pea? And that sauce. So delicious, I can't even describe.

Dave didn't like the sauce. But opposites are supposed to attract right?

Fourth Course: dry aged strip loin, pommes anna, roasted portobello, spiced eggplant

I chose the beef for my main, while Dave had the skate. Honestly, beef is beef to me, especially coming from Alberta and getting to eat great beef all the time. The winner on this plate was the pommes anna. I loved that little stack of thinly sliced potatoes. The loser was the portobello. It was boring.

And this was the vanilla custard with citrus fruits, steel cut oats, and mandarin sorbet. I ate it before I remembered to take the photo.

It was a nice light and refreshing way to end the meal.

The steel cut oats were the curious part. They were served still hard, but I think had been baked to bring out their nuttiness. Curious and unusual, but pretty good.

After some coffees, we wandered around the neighbourhood to take in some night sights. Times Square was incredible, with more people packing it at night than during the day.

I can't get back soon enough.