Friday, May 30, 2008

Sex and The City Movie: Set Design Deconstructed **UPDATED**


So I saw the movie last night and don't worry, I won't ruin it for anyone. There will be no talk here of "dream sequences," weddings, pregnancies and break-ups -- but I will give you a sneak peak of a certain someone's drop-dead-gorgeous apartment!

Art director Ed Check and set decorator Lydia Marks did a fantastic job on this character's space. I won't tell you whose space it is as that will be giving too much away, but here are some of the elements that come together to make this apartment totally amazing and totally lust-worthy:

Clockwise: White Parsons Desk, Mirrored Coffee Table, Mixed Media Collage (with more pinks, blues and greens), Small table lamp with Bronze Base and White Shade, Chenille Shag Area Rug, Bright Blue Painted Walls with White trim, White Ceramic Vases, Chrome Bar Cart, Large White and Gold Table Lamp, Mirrored Vanity (I think it had a round mirror though- not sure!)

Other features I can't find online matches for:

  • a fabulous large scale beige upholstery fabric with deep olive, rust and gold paisley designs
  • White built-in storage unit with cushioned-banquette seating and open concept shelving on top

So that's all I can remember and I hope I got it right. It's probably hard to imagine these separate elements working all together but trust -- it's stunning! I can't wait for all the other design bloggers to see the apartment too so I can hear their takes on it and hopefully some pics will start circulating soon so you can see what I'm talking about.


And for all you non-decor peeps, plot-wise the movie was fabulous! It was very long (over 2 hours) but it really exceeded my expectations. I cried, I laughed and I lusted after the beautiful clothes (and beautiful design -- just wait until you see a special custom closet!)

I hope you enjoy the movie for yourselves!

HERE ARE THE NEW PHOTOS  (via apartment therapy):



I was soooo off with the paint colour, eh? I wish I could find shots from her living room too!

Weekend Cocktail #7: Cointreau Teese


This year Cointreau, the French liqueur company, chose famed Burlesque queen Dita Von Teese to be their brand ambassador.

In honour of this collaboration, they created the delectable Cointreau Teese. Made with Monin violet syrup, this purple-hued cocktail is perfect for spring soirées and girly get togethers.



Cointreau Teese

  • 1 1/2 oz Cointreau
  • 1 oz Apple juice
  • 1/2 oz Monin violet syrup
  • 1/2 oz Fresh lemon juice
  1. Shake ingredients in martini shaker over ice.
  2. Garnish with a lovely contrasting yellow lemon peel (I love purple + yellow together)
  3. If you're feeling extra domestic,  garnish additionally with sugared violets or pansies

(images via Cointreau)

I Said Brown

Most of you won't get the reference in this post title, but that doesn't subtract from the subject: rich chocolate-hued walls.


Whether dark or milk, chocolate walls provide a beautiful background for your design scheme. Complemented with pale blue , light neutrals or crisp whites, it's a stunning choice that's decadent to the last paint drop!











Photos from:

David Jimenez, House and Home, Apartment Therapy, House of Turquoise, Style at Home, Metropolitan Home, California Home Design and *more!

*I don't have sources for all of the images so if you see one of your photos, please let me know and I'll credit you.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Starbucks Breakfast Sandwich

I didn't want to post about this new Canadian development until I had all the facts, aka had at least tried most of them (and even though I'm a pig it still took me a couple of weeks to cover three of the five versions)


I am a breakfast enthusiast, so discovering that I could get some toasted bacon goodness on an English muffin along with my London Fog at my local Bucks was the best news ever! Peppered bacon, blackforest ham and reduced fat turkey bacon - oh my!

Now I'm a huge proponent of real eggs  -- and when I say "real" I mean fresh from the stovetop and not microwaved -- but due to a lack of access to a nearby greasy spoon (and the presence of a vile cafeteria at work), grabbing a breakfast sandwich on the go means relying on this kind of prepackaged fare.

Now we know Starbucks does not have a fully equipped kitchen, so the ready made sandwiches are reheated in an oven so the English muffin toasts nice and crisp and the cheese melts and gets deliciously gooey. I'm most partial to the hearty peppered bacon but not so tasty is the chewy and bland reduced-fat turkey bacon, cholesterol-free egg, reduced-fat white cheddar (ew)

The portion size is decent and they taste pretty good but what makes me not a fan is the insane amount of fat in them: black forest ham has 17 grams, peppered bacon is 19 grams and the reduced-fat turkey bacon is still 11 grams! (Not that I didn't know that pork was bad for you, but that's a lot of artery-clogging for one little sandwich!)

I'll cope though and eat them only as special office morning treats once in a while as opposed to daily indulgences.  Besides, I am a bacon and egg junkie so turning up my nose at any breakfast product is an internal struggle...if I can get my fix once in a while, than I'm gonna take it!

(Image via Serious Eats)

Toronto Vintage Hunt: Part 2

imagePart 2 of our vintage hunt along Queen West brought Nat and I to The Painted Table (1716 Queen St W).

This adorable spot is chockfull of kitchen kitsch, vintage suitcases and other retro novelties waiting to be scooped up. Side tables, iron chairs and lamps sit among vibrantly coloured spice sets, while distressed ceramic wash basins are waiting to be showcased in your powder room.


The array of suit cases were utterly charming and available at a very reasonable price point. Whether stacked or displayed solo, they add worldly charm to a room.

painted table (4)

Nat and I loved this teensy chalkboard and stool that would be a charming feature in a little kid's room or it could even funkify a condo's entry way by sitting a console table so guests could write their greetings! 

painted table

Nearby Pickwick's Choice (1698 Queen St. W) was also charming and it's where Nat discovered her new arm chair. The traditional tufting and shapely arms provide a nice comfy spot to sit and read or enjoy a glass of wine. The nailhead detail is carried onto the ottoman and it's new and cheap to beat!

pick wick's (1)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Perfectly Kooky

This tablescape from Toronto-based stylist Rodney Smith is divine in an odd but perfectly individual way. There are so many eccentric elements --  only someone with heaps of personality could pull it off.


The chunky purple amethyst, the shiny black table with the unique gilded base, the insane lobster, piles of books -- it's slightly beyond but utterly glamorous!!

(Image from Style at Home's June 08 issue)

Defeated Ballerina

While exploring local galleries I came upon the evocative photography of Joshua Jensen-Nagle.

Click Image to Close

A Loneliness That Know One Should Know, 2008
pigment print with resin on panel, 23" x 66"

This ballerina has stuck with me -- I find it extremely haunting yet delicate. The black shiny surface makes such a graphic impact while the specks of light practically shimmer off the panel.

According to Edward Day Gallery, where the exhibit is being shown, Jensen-Nagle states that the works are:

"evidence of the past and of a changing world, inspired by the idea of loss. They beckon to memories and dreams, elements that are fading away and becoming forgotten or extinct."

Spot on, Jensen-Nagle. Spot on.



Besides the not-my-favourite fixture, there is no other word to describe this kitchen than FABULOUS!

(Image via Décor's Spring/Summer issue)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Catwalk or Model Suite?

I bookmarked this great Globe and Mail article a few months ago that discusses a strategy condo developers are using in Toronto to stay competitive in the booming industry: knock-out model suites designed by star architects and dressed in designer labels.

Obviously the tactic of an aesthetically-pleasing sell is not rocket science, but the article goes on to explain that forming an association with eponymous brands and established designers can be the key to cinching the deal.

The article includes a photo gallery, showcasing the big-ticket designer talents and brands being included in the latest model suites.

My favourite is the Florian model suite, designed by Canadian design icon Brian Gluckstein. While targeted mainly at empty-nesters (prices start at a million dollars and its in the exclusive neighbourhood of Yorkville), I would have no problem moving into the Florian's white marble kitchen and stunning grey library!







Check out Globe and Mail to read/see more.

Monday, May 26, 2008

How About Some Halibut?


This halibut recipe is a dream for lazy people and fish fans alike. Cooking the halibut in parchment paper makes for a super moist texture with hardly any clean up. It goes nicely with a rice pilaf or steamed veggies and it's pretty healthy too!


Parchment Poached Halibut with Crispy Caper Sauce

  • 1 halibut fillet
  • 1/4 cup chopped dill
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 lemon (1 half cut in thin round slices, other half juiced)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Drizzle a tbsp of olive oil on a large sheet of parchment
  3. Center halibut fillet on parchment and coat in the oil
  4. Season halibut with salt and pepper and top with lemon slices and a sprinkling of the chopped herbs
  5. Fold parchment over the fillet and make a packet. I like to  secure the packet by threading wooden skewers through the folds, but you can just use aluminium foil if you're not feeling as adventurous
  6. Place closed packet on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until packet has puffed and fish is cooked through (cooking time will depend on thickness of filet)
  7. While fish cooks, heat remaining olive oil in a small sauce pan. Add in capers, lemon juice, butter and herbs until the crispy caper sauce is mixed well
  8. Open the packets (be careful of the steam!) and serve fish with lemon slices and crispy caper sauce.


Concierge and the City


I wanted to let my fellow Torontonians know about a new service: Concierge and the City. Based on a popular concept south of the border, this lifestyle management company fills the void for those in need of personal assistants from time to hectic time, as opposed to celebs who use them 24/7.

Concierge and the City offers to do whatever makes your life easier so you have more time to do what you want to do instead of the everyday stuff you need to get done. We’re talking walking your dog, picking up your dry cleaning, booking your vacation, arranging VIP status, and all the other errands that make the world go round.

Founded by Jodi Cohen, an established events producer who works in lifestyle PR, Concierge and the City is all about simplifying your life. Obviously the service is for people who subscribe to the notion that time is money and money is time, but Jodi emphasizes that the service is accessible to those from all walks of life.


Despite this emphasis on access, however, I think the service will be most popular with businesses, condos and boutique hotels using their in-house service program. Concierge and the City will do personal errands and make arrangements for employees -- quite the perk to play up when management is wanting to attract power players and rising corporate stars.

imageAdding to the personal assistant service, Concierge and the City brings lifestyle management online, offering info on the latest trends in food, fashion, beauty, décor, finance and more. The site also boasts an e-Shopping Mall and online account access where you can place orders and requests for arrangements.


Check out  Concierge and the City online for yourself, and as the site proclaims:


(Images via:  WXYC, Tutorial Blog, Nelson Business Financial Consultants)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Weekend Cocktail #6: Light Hurricane

The hurricane was invented by Pat O'Brien in 1940s New Orleans. This strong cocktail is famous for getting tourists in the big easy drunk as skunks in no time at all!

Made with plenty of light rum and dark rum, the cocktail also mixes in passion fruit juice, orange juice, lime juice and grenadine, and is topped with an orange slice and cherry.

The original version sounds way too intense for me. I prefer a lighter version that only uses white rum. I like the tropical sweetness of mango juice instead of the syrupy grenadine and I also add in some fresh mint for extra zest to make this a perfect breezy summer cocktail.


Light Hurricane

  • 2 oz white rum
  • 1 oz passion fruit juice
  • 1 oz mango juice
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • fresh mint
  1. Shake rum and juices over ice.
  2. Pour into martini glass and garnish with lime wedge and fresh mint.

Am I Coming In Clear?

Take it from  Madge  in this 2005 Versace ad :

You want some lucite and acrylic furniture in your home. In huge doses it borders on tacky, but in the right context, adding a touch of the hard clear stuff is a great way to add some retro playfulness to your design scheme.


Lucite and acrylic are especially great for small spaces as they don't take up a lot of visual room. The clear pieces dissolve into the atmosphere, allowing you to focus on other design elements in the room. The unobstructed view gives the impression of openness while still providing function and style.


Here are my own clear picks:

Boutique Ottoman

Aaron R Thomas Boutique Ottoman, $1,250.00


Louis Ghost Armchair

Louis Ghost Armchair, $410.00


Trunk, $295 



Crenelle Lucite Desk by Craig Van Den Brulle

Click here for larger image

Helena Rubenstein Chair, $3,200

Fancy Bench, $145


Lucite Side Table


Acrylic Nesting Tables

Aaron R Thomas Acrylic Nesting Tables, $385.00

Charles Ghost Counter Stool

Charles Ghost Counter Stool, $253.00 - $280.00


Click here for larger image

French Bench XL, $2,250


Lucite Vanity Chair in Platinum Fabric ca. 1955, $2,200



Karim Rashid Magino Side Table, $473 


Jordan Capella Side Table, $1,110


(Madonna ad via Apartment Therapy and Zebra carpet and buddha ottoman photos via Desire to Inspire)