For the eyes. For the heart. For the ears. For the feet. For the soul.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Red + Turquoise

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Summer Time

In the spirit of the hottest May 26th that I can remember, I'm posting some cute bikini pictures. This salmon coloured ruffle one you see was one that I purchased online for $9 and it fit great. I love Victoria's Secret!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Jamie Cullum

I was just given a handful of new burned CD's. To me, there is no better gift than the surprise of a compilation put together for my ears' delight.

I'm right now listening to Jamie Cullum. You'll probably recognize this song but the album really reminds me of Michael Buble meets David Gray. I will definitely be putting this one on during our first dinner party!

Thanks Terry! (Known as "The Source") in Alberta.

The ups and downs of finding your first apartment - Is that curry I smell?

Our first home. That is something I never thought I would say. In the midst of packing our memories and belongings into cardboard boxes in anticipation of our move on Friday, my mind wanders to the days of my many changes of postal codes, addresses and phone numbers.

I used to be a maid at Holiday Inn. I would look out the windows towards the highway and see everyone zipping by, going somewhere, and I used to think to myself, I have to get out of here. There is more to life than the small city of Stoney Creek, in this stifling hotel, with no air conditioning, cleaning the local exotic dancers' dirty bathtubs.

I knew that I wanted to move to Toronto and at that age, a roommate was inevitable. I've had many but it was my own first place that was truly special. I'm reflecting on how far I've come but also happy for a couple of friends who are setting out on the journey of finding themselves. That journey starts with living alone. You never really know how you are to live with until you live with yourself. Sometimes I liked coming home to myself and other times not so much.

The first step in this self-discovery process is actually looking for an apartment. In a huge metropolis such as Toronto, this can be a daunting process. First, you have to know the areas to search in, and likewise the areas to run away from. Fast.

I'll never forget my roommates and I looking in Rexdale for a 4 bedroom apartment. We became instantly alarmed at the graffiti soaked walls and empty hubcaps resting on neighbourhood lawns. Over time, and through hard lessons I learned what areas I felt a sense of belonging in.

From a house in Etobicoke with drug dealers who lived below us, to a tiny apartment on a narrow-laned alley way on St. Clair (Italian District) during the 2002 World Cup (featuring Italy...I don't think I slept for a month straight as there were hundreds of people below my bedroom window chanting and screaming every night!) to my 2 week stint in Woodbridge, where my basement flooded with human waste and my insurance wouldn't cover it, to a unit in Markham that burned my nostrils from the curry smells above, to an apartment on Avenue Rd with an always drunk boyfriend who trashed the place with his friends, I finally came to the conclusion that I needed to find a decent apartment, and be alone.

I searched the internet, newspapers and neighbourhoods and stumbled upon everything from a creep who wanted to share space in his 15,000 square foot mansion (my wing would be 5000 square feet but we would share accommodations..but WOW was this place beautiful) to shoe boxes advertised as "spacious" and wouldn't even be considered spacious by my cat. Regardless of my skepticism of the exterior of a rental unit, I tried hard not to judge a book by it's cover and kept hope alive that I would find a gem.

I called a woman who had advertised an apartment that sounded delightful, and she chuckled and said that it had only been posted in the last five minutes. I came to look at it and on the mature tree-lined streets of Yonge and Lawrence, I found my first place. It had everything I needed. A walkout to a little porch and garden, brand new appliances and carpet, a walk in closet, shared laundry, parking and utilities included for $750 a month. In that neighbourhood, that is unheard of and someone must have been looking out for me that day I signed my very own lease in my very own name. Curry free.

The advice I give to my friends who are setting out on their first journey of self-discovery is that even looking for your own place is part of the evolutionary process. You go through the ups and downs of falling in love with something, but not being able to afford it. You find something that is affordable but in the wrong neighbourhood or in someone's basement. If you're really lucky, you'll find a middle ground.

With the right positive mind frame and a coat of paint to make the place your own, the first night's sleep in your new place is something I will never forget. I felt proud, accomplished, strong and that I could do anything. And for those of you reading this who know exactly where I am coming from, you should know that having your very own first apartment all by yourself, is the first step in changing your life forever.

My husband and I are embarking on a special time in our lives. After being wed and now purchasing our first home, we are excited to move from our rental years into home ownership. But I would have never, ever appreciated the end result if I hadn't literally gone from flooding, to fires and finally curry to get here.

Best of luck my friends on your new journey.



Sunday, May 23, 2010


A poem by my friend Eugene Zenger


Strolling through the woods one spring day, sad as can be,
I stopped to watch a robin or was he really watching me?
He was as still as the forest floor sitting in a tree,
Perched and still enrobed in beauty as noble as can be.
I had to stare and wonder, how long could he be still,
Over time I realized much longer, than me, as I headed up the hill.
Yet I stopped and turned around, as it made me really think,
What was he thinking of and was there a common link?
I had a heavy load of thought and cares, more than anyone should bear,
when it made me realize how silly and futile it was to fret and worry if I couldn't
even change a single color of my hair.
Life can be oh so complex and stressful if we let it be, but after contemplating the stress-free life
of the robin, I'm sure I found the key.
Take each day as a gift of life, so precious and so free, as there will come a day when all will pass,
including the robin, tree and me.
It won't matter a damn if I worried or not, but the time I wasted, could never be retrieved or bought.

My future's so bright, I gotta wear shades

In the spirit of one of the first sunny long weekends I can remember in May, here are some images to keep you shielded from the blinding sun. Happy May 2-4 weekend!

Photos courtesy of Lula Magazine.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Keep Calm And Carry On

I've been seeing this poster or artwork in a few design magazines and wondered what it meant.
I delved into it a little further to discover this simple-chic image actually represents an important and meaningful piece of history.

The poster was originally created in 1939 during the beginning of World War II for the purpose of a last case scenario to be used only should the Nazis succeed in invading Britain. It was never used, but reproduced in the 21st century.

I bought a small green version for our new bookshelf.

Kate Beckinsale's Style

From casual denim on the streets to the red carpet awards, this gorgeous Brit who has starred in several "B" list movies, is certainly on the "A" list of style.

P.S. Kate sports a brand of sunglasses that I had never heard of until I worked at an eyeglass store part time a few years ago at Yonge and Lawrence: Oliver Peoples

Friday, May 21, 2010

My friend Mary - The Wedding Girl

Looking back almost five months ago to our at home wedding reception, I can't believe we got through it. The madness was mostly my fault. I wanted everything to be different and unique but had a specific budget in mind. I couldn't have done it without my friend and wedding planner, Mary Bratko.

I met Mary through our photographer and we hit it off instantly. She was quite new to the wedding planning business but I trusted her ideas and judgement. We met at Chapters in Ancaster and over a Starbucks drink, looked through hundreds of wedding related images on her pink Macbook.

Mary's world is a million shades of pink and a thousand and one sparkles. She is, of the truest form a girly girl, yet a professional business person, all wrapped into one beautifully tall package.

I really wasn't sure of my wedding vision. I mean, I knew what I wanted but I wasn't able to conceptualize a theme. She allowed me to gander at all her images, all of course categorized in neatly titled folders, and we discovered that what I wanted was all things vintage.

She met with our families at the banquet hall and when the coordinator was quick to say "no" to every idea we presented, Mary tactfully devised a plan B, ensuring the hall's standards were met as well as the bride's vision was uninterrupted.

We were going through the same stresses as Mary's destination wedding was days after mine and we had the same photographers fly down from my wedding almost directly to hers. It was a lot of coordinating on both our parts and we had our at home reception weeks apart. We promised each other that we would, when the hysteria of the weddings were over with, sit down over many glasses of red wine and laugh about all the things that made us cry.

Since our weddings (we refer to each other as bride twins), Mary has had more time to focus on her business. I'm not sure what I would have done without her on our day. She arranged all our centerpieces for the most fantastic price, she lent us some of her beautiful decor to add to the bare spots of the hall, arranged our bouquets, gave me a shot of tequila when I was stressed out about latecomers, magically created a boutonniere for my uncle in which I forgot, surprised us with champagne, flowers and a note in our hotel room after the reception, and most of all, gave me the five most encouraging words a bride needed to hear on her wedding day: "I know how you feel."

Emotions run high on the typically most important night of your life and seeing Mary's face and listening to her comforting words when things didn't go exactly as planned, was worth every reasonable dollar I paid for her services. That being said, the friendship that developed after the wedding planning process is something you can't put a dollar amount on.

Mary's business has taken off. She's zipping around in her Wedding Girl-mobile from consultations to photoshoots to interviews. She's expanding her team of planners. She's got herself a spiffy new website which showcases something she has trademarked as bridecasts where she interviews vendors who wish to advertise their specific business. She has various brides or brides-to-be writing for her site which brings me to my next point.

It is because of Mary's belief in my writing style that I decided to start a blog. She always complimented me on the things I had to say and I really thank her for inspiring me to finally do something that I love. Life is full of ups and downs and you must find joy somewhere in your days, doing something that brings your inner passions to fruition.

So from wedding planner to friend to mentor, I'm truly thankful for crossing paths with this remarkable young lady.

Here's to Mary, someone who got "Married" away. (She'll totally get that inference.)

Now how about that glass or bottle of vino? :)