Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Rustic Retreat


It's hard to imagine not feeling  at one with nature when sitting among the rustic features of this green summer getaway home.

The wood and stone combined with decorative touches directly borrowed from nature (hello antlers!) makes for the perfect backdrop for casual summer living.






Check out May's House & Home for more shots from this stunning summer home.

Come On Baby Light My Fire


I did not grow up with a cottage and do not live in a home with a working fire place, but nevertheless I am obsessed with campfires and fire pits.

It's probably the pyro inside me, but nothing says cozy relaxation like a crackling fire on a cool summer night!



There are a variety of affordable outdoor fire pit options that I'd love to look into this season for our patio.

Spontaneous smores, rustic predrinks, post-BBQ chills -- it would be so much fun to have an outdoor fire place in the backyard!


Here are some online options that range from $59-399:


 Front Gate 40" Copper Fire Pit , $299


Lowe's Cast Iron Fire Pit, $59 

Home Depot Copper Cocktail Fire pit, $119



Target Cast Iron Brick-Finish Fire Pit, $129.99


Restoration Hardware Classic Garden Fire Pit, $399

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tip Your Hat to Mr. Sun...

imageAccording to famed milliner, Albertus Swanepoel, the best way to wear a hat "is with wit."

Take his advice literally and done a warm-weather style with some punch! Not only do hats shade you from the sun's harmful rays and prevent your punim from premature wrinkles, but they can also be the perfect addition to a stylish summer/spring outfit!


Here are some of my favourites:


Eugenia Kim Straw Fedora with patent leather band, $286.00


Urban Outfitters Straw Floppy Hat, $28.00


Eugenia Kim Ronson Linen Pinstripe Porkpie Hat, $215


Kokin Lacquered Fedora, $225.00


Burberry Check Peaked Hat, $195.00


Kokin Bow Fedora, $270.00



And last but not least, this Missoni Classic weave fedora, $295 is my ultimate dream when it comes to a summer fedora.  So sharp!

Gotta Get Off This Train and On To Etsy!

I love etsy because every now and then I find things like this:



How fabulous is this one-of-a-kind seven card set by etsy seller BRIAN KENNY CHICAGO?

An homage to the 1967 camp classic, Valley of the Dolls, these blank notecards are a scream!


If you're like my sister and I, you will  undoubtedly find yourself humming this tune as you pen a dramatic note to one of your pals.

"Gotta get off, gonna get off this merry-go-round..."

If you're not into dolls then try his sassy Mother's Day cards:


Retailing for $8-8.50, they're colourful and refreshingly cheeky!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese, Pears and Candied Walnuts

image With the exception of Dwight Schrute, I know many people don't love beets.

But when you mix in the earthy root vegetable with other flavours such as goat cheese, pears and candied walnuts, they take on a whole new flavourful life that may be worth re-visiting.



Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese, Pears and Candied Walnuts is an easy tasty dish that is both healthy and filling.

The beautiful variety of colours make it worthy of serving to guests when entertaining and it's a great option for veggies!

I know the title sounds complicated, but even non-gourmands can handle this seemingly-fancy salad. Once you get the steps down, it's a simple meal that may just become your new staple!

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Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese, Pears and Candied Walnuts                                                   

  • 2 roasted red beets cut into chunks
  • 2 roasted golden beets cut into chunks
  • 1 pear or green apple cut into chunks
  • crumbled goat cheese (a handful or 2)
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • dash of cinnamon
  • bag of mixed greens
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper

Roast Beets:

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Cut the greens off and wash beets.
  3. Dry beets and wrap in aluminium foil.
  4. Roast in oven at 375 for approx an hour (cooking time depends on size - you'll know they're done when a knife slides easily into the beet)
  5. Let sit for 30 mins to cool and remove foil.
  6. Using disposable kitchen gloves so the beets won't stain your hands, rub a paper towel against the skin. If properly roasted, the skin will slide right off.

** You can cheat by buying a container of beet salad at the prepared foods counter of your local grocer (But beware -- I find many prepared beet salads to be too sweet and sour for my tastes)


  1. Whisk olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Ta Da! You have your basic balsamic dressing.

Candied Walnuts:

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Break up walnuts into smaller pieces (about 1/2 inch in size) and spread out on foiled baking sheet
  3. Pour maple syrup on top of walnuts and sprinkle with cinnamon, making sure the walnuts are well coated
  4. Bake for a few minutes making sure walnuts don't burn. The syrup will harden and nuts will be very fragrant.

To Assemble Salad:

Toss pear, beets, candied walnuts, goat cheese, mixed greens and vinaigrette in a large bowl.

**Use your discretion with amount of vinaigrette you use -- you don't want it to be too soggy!

Now you can enjoy your hearty comforting salad (3 words that don't usually go together in my language!)

Funniest Couple Baby Alert


I cannot wait for this kid to be born and grow up so I can see if he/she inherited the comedic chops of its parents!

Alexandra MacDonald

I really admired the photos printed a few weeks ago in a Globe and Mail story on designer Alexandra MacDonald's home in Stratford, Ontario. MacDonald is an interior decorator and the owner of Quimby Chadwick Designs. 

MacDonald home in Stratford

MacDonald home in Stratford

MacDonald home in Stratford

MacDonald home in Stratford

As the article mentions, the 19th century house originally had deep purple, wall-to-wall carpeting and had an overall dark  feeling. You would never know by looking at the photos now! These rooms are filled with light and are so warm and inviting!

My favourite is the beautiful archway in the living room!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Colourful Kitchen

I love this casual dining room from May's House and Home.  It's eclectic and homey - you can tell people actually live in this space and that they enjoy being together there- something that I find very absent from a lot of magazine shoots.


An accent wall coated with black chalkboard paint serves as a family message board and large collages of photos add a colourful personal touch. The traditional white chandelier matches the modern white vinyl chairs and I love how it contrasts against the dark back wall.  Mellow yellow paint adds warmness to the white panelling and the harvest table ties it all together. So inviting!

Playlist of the Week #2

Nothing is better than waking up on a Saturday morning knowing it's a gorgeous day and you have the weekend ahead of you to enjoy the sunshine!

Follow Ms. Jenny Lewis' lead and take a stroll outside  (purple umbrella optional) - but first play these tracks to get you in a sunny mood.

Sunny Songs from So Cal:

  1. Maroon 5 "Sunday Morning"
  2. The Like "June Gloom"
  3. Rlio Kiley "Silver Lining"
  4. Rooney "When Did Your Heart Go Missing?"
  5. Phantom Planet "Always On My Mind"

(image via rockrgrl)

Weekend Cocktail #4: The Claudette

The Claudette, which I discovered on the Chambord website,  oozes spring time freshness!

The cocktail owes its crisp refreshing taste to the mint. The added tang of lemon juice and sweetness of the liqueur combine for a lovely libation with some zip!



The Claudette

  • 5 fresh mint leaves
  • 1 ½ oz citron vodka
  • ½ oz lemon juice
  • 1 oz Chambord
  • 1 oz sprite
  1. Lightly muddle mint in bottom of shaker.
  2. Add vodka, lemon juice and Chambord and shake with ice.
  3. Pour into martini glass and top with sprite.
  4. Garnish with mint leave.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Passover Treat: Caramel Matzah Crunch

The absence of regular flour for 8 days means Passover desserts require creativity. It's easy to tire of the same old sponge cakes, macaroons and meringues, but one dessert I never get sick of is my mom's caramel matzah crunch.

Butter, sugar and chocolate- what's not to love!


  • a few sheets of matzah
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Line a baking sheet with aluminium foil and then parchment paper on top.
  3. Arrange matzah in a single layer on the parchment.
  4. To make caramel, place butter and brown sugar in a medium sized saucepan and bring to a boil. Once it is bubbling, let cook for 3-5 minutes while constantly stirring so the mixture doesn't burn.
  5. Pour caramel over the matzos as evenly as possible.
  6. Reduce oven to 350 and bake for approx. 10 minutes, checking that the caramel doesn't burn.
  7. Remove from the oven and sprinkle chocolate chips on top, which will melt from the heat.
  8. Once the chocolate has melted, spread out with a spatula to even it out.
  9. Chill until the chocolate and the caramel are set and then break into pieces to serve.


  • drizzle with white chocolate
  • sprinkle ground almonds or other nuts on the warm chocolate

PS- I get to eat bread in 3 sleeps! Yay!!!

Thanks Washington Post!

A big thanks to Terri Sapienza at The Washington Post for choosing my blog as one of the picks to click this week

Congrats to my fellow picks: The Newlywed Diaries and So Haute

(Image from Ashley Whittaker room in House Beautiful)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Classic and Comfortable

I could totally see my future elder self living in this 1,300 sq ft space from May's Style At Home. Designed by C3D's Jan Brown, this luxe home is filled with classic designs with practicality and comfort in mind.

Carefully-customized built-ins maximize storage while antiques collected over the years add character and history to the space. There is so much natural light and the clear sightline into the elegant backyard suggests a larger living space to entertain and relax in.








Tory Totes

imageI am a huge fan of Tory Burch.

Her clothes and accessories have a sophisticated yet funky look and the high-quality designs are available at a surprisingly decent price point.

Some prints and designs can be too matronly for an early-twenties gal like myself, but one thing customers ranging from teens to palm beach retirees can agree on are her totes.

Here are some of my favourite totes currently available now:


        4T Printed Jane Tote - VIEW MORE COLORS


        Medium Patent T-Tote

Price: $250.00



Price: $185.00



Price: $350.00


Price: $495.00


I saved the best for last:


Price: $325.00

This nylon nautical tote is AMAZING! The rope detailing, the detachable striped strap: it's perfect! It would look so cute with tailored jean shorts, a basic tank and my gold tory sandals.