Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Cliff Walking in Newport

One of my favourite parts of visiting Newport, Rhode Island is the infamous Cliff Walk – a 3.5 mile hike along the private property of waterfront land owners.


As you navigate the multi-terrain path along the ocean, you get stunning views of both the legendary mansions and the ocean.

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For architecture buffs, the cliff walk is a great way to take in the exteriors of the beautiful mansions that wealthy tycoons built for their summer retreats in the late 1800’s.


While you’re walking it feels more like a glamorous European getaway than an American escape.


A pause at Forty Steps, a beautiful stone staircase leading to a plateau above the water, makes for great photo-op’s. Originally made of wood, the steps were a meeting place for the mansion staff.


There are so many wonderful sights to take in, but one of the coolest is an authentic Chinese Tea House that one of the Vanderbilt’s had constructed as part of their Marble House property.

Tomorrow I will post about my favourite stop that you get a nice view of at Cliff Walk: Rough Point…

Monday, August 30, 2010

Having A Mod Moment

Cue "Incense and Peppermints" because I'm having a mod moment. When I saw these on the floor at UpCountry I felt a strong desire to sprawl out on them with some winged eyeliner and a cocktail:


sofa $2595  and chair $1797  from UpCountry's Cloud series

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Is It Wrong to Buy A Baby Blanket For Myself?



Because I may just have to! This pink Greek key blanket by Jonathan Adler Junior is too much for me to handle. It is made of super soft Baby Alpaca wool and I'm wishing it was a few feet larger so it could work for adult-sized naps!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

ELTE Spotlight’s The World According to Jessica Claire in their Latest Globe Ad


Thanks to Antonio at ELTE who included one of my blog posts in their latest full page ad in the Globe and Mail’s style section!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Antiquing in Beacon Hill

Beacon Hill is such a charming neighbourhood- even the 7 eleven looks like it’s been there for 100 years! Out of the few blocks of boutiques and galleries on Charles Street, a significant portion is devoted to antiques and home goods, including the quirky Black Ink, the mecca of porcelain and china at Elegant Findings Antiques, the girly goodness at Flat of the Hill, and the minimalist chic at good.


The stop that was most appealing to me that afternoon, however, was the Upstairs Downstairs Antiques shop, which was very well-priced considering the tony neighbourhood it’s located in. There were quite a few items I wanted to snap up, including some vintage prints and an antique cash-box, but these are the three items that tugged at my heart strings the most and still have me wondering why I didn’t take them home:


The solid mahogany black and gold cabinet, $265 would be adorable paired with a vintage chair to use as a little telephone nook. It could also be an awesome night stand in a teensy, yet luxe, guest room.


This set of weathered antique Cowper’s Works had the most beautiful marbled paper inside, and the shopkeeper was willing to part with them for $75. They sure would come in handy when styling a den or library!


Last but not least, this Victorian needlepoint chair, $195 had the most elegant frame and scale. Having the frame sprayed out and reupholstering the dated pink, green and blue knit upholstery, would turn this beauty into an awesome vanity chair - especially considering the front legs have casters for easy manoeuvrability.

Make sure you visit Upstairs Downstairs at 93 Charles Street yourself to see if anything tickles your fancy!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Eclectic Nautical Style in Nantucket

The Nantucket home of Christopher Drake and Lee Bierly of Bierly-Drake is my kind of sea-side retreat: cozy and coastal but with tons of eclectic character. I was drooling over the stunning photos in New England Home that showcase how the design duo combine modern pieces, such as Oly’s raffia Hannah chairs with vintage ephemera collected over the years. It’s not your typical palette of blue and white, but it still has those nautical touches and country elements that make the home blend in on the island.

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(Photos from New England Home by Michael Partenio)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Boston Restos Recapped

imageLast time I visited Boston, my friend Nat took me on a whirlwind tour of some of Beantown’s great restaurants.  This time around, I was determined to try new places, while fitting in some older favourites of course!  Luckily, my boyfriend is a culinary adventurer like myself, so we happily ate our way through the city.


First up in the legendary Durgin Park in the Faneuil Hall Marketplace near the waterfront. Open since 1857, the laid back restaurant doesn’t look like much from the outside, but once you’re upstairs in the dining room and watching the massive plates go by, you get it pretty fast! The French Dip sandwich was heavenly and the famed Boston baked beans were tasty too. Bonus points go to the vintage ambiance of hexagonal-tiled floors, copper wainscoting and patina’d pendants.


New England is known for its fresh seafood,  and Legal Sea Foods is a favourite for tourists and locals alike. I recommend the crabcake, which is less mushy and more meaty with a light crisp coating on the outside. The oysters were delish too, served with classic accompaniments on a bed of ice garnished with seaweed.


I am a long-time devotee of the shrimp and bacon club from Cheesecake Factory (so kosher), but a stop at Cafeteria on Newbury was even more yummy! The shrimp were bigger and more succulent than the version at Cheesecake, plus it was nice to sit outside on their patio and watch the people go by.



EVOO, short for extra virgin olive oil, was a nice change of pace for us, with a local slant to the menu. The menu at this Cambridge spot is changed daily to reflect the fresh fare from nearby growers, and goes as far to identify each item on the menu by the name of the farm where it came from. Amongst the dishes we enjoyed were an excellent roasted heirloom tomato gazpacho with a sea bass and corn salsa, and an innovative asian dish featuring layers of glazed shrimp, braised tender beef, a vegetable-cashew slaw over brown rice.


We stayed at the infamous Liberty Hotel for one night so we decided to try their signature restaurant, Clink, for dinner. The modified prison vibe was cool, and a bar cart offering samples of signature cocktails was a fun touch. While we found their appetizers mediocre, the mains were delectable, including a local striped bass that was served with artichoke hearts, fingerling potatoes, smoked pancetta and a super fun pea-green foamy emulsion that tasted better than it looks.


Paramount in Beacon Hill provided Dave the chance to try a crabcake sandwich, which he said was delicious! The sweet potatoe fries only helped seal the deal.


We capped off one of our nights with an elevator ride up the Prudential Centre to the Top of the Hub. We took in the fabulous cityscape view with a fresh-baked cookie platter, which I had indulged in my last trip and had to repeat!

Anther notable mention includes The South End Buttery, whose oatmeal terrine would make starting my days here in Toronto that much better!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Boston: Gilded Splendor at the MFA

One of the nice parts of visiting a big city is the opportunity to view its local museum collections. Working in interiors, this usually means the chance to get some worldly inspiration from resources I normally wouldn’t draw on at home.


Although I have been to Boston before, it was my first time visiting the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA). The museum has a host of awesome collections on a broad range of subjects, but I was most drawn to the European Renaissance paintings, gilded French antiques, painted porcelain, and Impressionist works.


The furniture on display is so meticulously detailed – I can only imagine the level of craftsmanship required to execute  all the marquetry, inlays, gilding and ormolu!


The rich hues from the historic European works reminded me of old world brocades and damasks with deep wines, royal blues, aubergine and gold- all with that amazing crackled patina of course!


In the Impressionist gallery, the bold yet tempered palette of the Van Gogh portrait and Renoir’s still life of flowers remind me of the boho-chic colours I’d see in furniture and accessories from Anthropologie.


The one painting I had to be a nerd for and pose in front of, was one of Monet’s many waterlillies. I was so drawn to the dreamy palette  of dusky violet, faded mint and blush pink and the frame itself is just gorgeous!  I would love to design a bedroom or ladies' dressing room in these soft feminine pastels.


My standout favourite from the whole museum though is this mid-1700s harpsichord by Henri Hemsch. Its stunning painted scenes of soft landscapes, geometric designs on the apron, sensuous cabriole legs, and tons of gilding make it more like a decorative piece of furniture, than a simple musical instrument. Any designer would be lucky to design a music room to house such a masterpiece!


PS- I also made a point to visit the The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, which was very interesting but unfortunately did not allow any photos. There are interesting collections to be seen here as well, but my favourite part is the architecture itself with its dramatic central courtyard and beautiful foliage.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Road Trip Stop #1: Montreal

The boy chose a tried and true route to the states through Montreal -  so to break up the drive, we decided to stay one night in Old Montreal before heading on to Boston.


Before we got back on the road though, we decided that our stop would not be complete without a visit to Beauty’s for an indulgent breakfast complete with all the signature Montreal flavours.


Located at the corner of Mont-Royal and St-Urbain, Beauty’s is famous for their Beauty’s Special: a Montreal bagel piled high with smoked salmon, cream cheese and onion. Us Yids now our cream cheese and lox, and this is really one of the best!


I personally prefer the country omelette: a heavenly combo of parsley, bacon, potatoes and cheese – served with a Montreal bagel of course! The potatoes in the eggs itself are a bonus for my carb-loving self.

Make sure you visit next time you’re in the belle city!

Beauty’s Lunchonette

93 Avenue du Mont-Royal Ouest

(514) 849-8883

Saturday, August 7, 2010

I’m Back!

Made it home to Toronto safe and sound from a lovely two week road trip the boy and I took around New England.


I have plenty to post about from our travels so keep checking back for my take on the best of Nantucket, Boston and more!