Sunday, March 30, 2008

Conversion pains

So.  Excited as I was about getting my new Macbook Pro, I haven't really used it all that much.  Why?  Well.  As a lifelong PC user, I'm obviously very invested in Windows and its related programs and I was not looking forward to converting.

I made the decision this weekend to finally get down to business and let me tell you.  It's a PAIN IN THE ASS!  It's a slow and torturous process to copy over my photos and files and I'm not sure I like iPhoto, nor am I crazy about how Safari organizes bookmarks.

Now, I'm sure it's just because I'm ignorant of most things Apple and its OS and once I become familiar with the shortcuts and such it will make my computing experience on the Macbook more efficient and I'll love it.  But right now, I'm irked and annoyed.

It is still a stylish and beautiful machine though and that appeals to the superficial in me.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The luxury of time

I picked up a few items today that will be re-fashioned between now and August 13th - the first are a pair of brass endtables which I purchased at Moveline Liquidators, thanks to a tip from Wanderluster for $20(!) They're a bit banged up but that's OK because I'm going to send them out to be nickel-plated - an idea I got from an episode of Cityline a while back - after which they will be shiny and new again.

I plan on having new mirrors cut to serve as the top - the original glass was all scratched up and besides, I love the glam mirrored look which will reflect the light from the lamps I plan to place atop them. I'm also debating whether or not to get another piece cut to sit atop the X-frame at the bottom to serve as a shelf. This would certainly be a more practical option storage-wise, but I love the perhaps a clear glass shelf? Do you think it would look funny if the top was mirrored but the bottom was glass? Funny or not, I'm getting what I'm sure will be great additions to my living room for a fraction of the cost of buying brand new. So yay for money saved!

I stopped by my office afterwards to pick up the Hana floor screen I had bought on sale during the week at Pier 1 - it was too cumbersome and heavy to maneuver through the rush hour crush on the subway ride home so I stored it in an empty office the last few days. The story behind this screen is that I had actually picked one up over the Easter weekend on sale, but I found a floor model at the store near Eaton Centre that was even cheaper. The cost differential was enough for dinner at a modestly-priced I'm going to have to return the first one I bought tomorrow.

The red colour isn't right for what I have in mind, but I do love the carved detail and have plans to paint it white at some point. I'm not particularly keen about the tedious sanding that will be required to refinish the screen. My uncle may be able to help me now that he's retired, but if not, I'm going to send it out to get done. I nosed around and discovered Benjamin Refinishers, the company that does work for Sarah Richardson, so they will be the first I call if it comes to that!

Everything's slowly coming together...!

Turn off the Light

Our household observed Earth Hour tonight and it was rather cool - my mother and I had dinner by candlelight and because we didn't have the TV or the internet to distract us afterwards, we spent the remainder of the hour just chatting, which we don't do often enough.

Anyway...I'm back online now surfing and found these great lights on Design Public - they're all similar in that their profiles are slender and the shades are graphic, which I love!

Light's Up! Oscar Table Lamp

Lights Up! Deco Pendant

Mibo Large Table Lamp

Lights Up! Salon Lamp

This chandelier is over-the-top but I love the detail and the paper-cut look and the umbrella (-ella-ella-ella) lamp below is just fun - plus it comes in plum!

Erich Ginder Mansion Chandelier
Pablo Umbrella Lamp

Friday, March 28, 2008

Lucille loves Tulips

I think I found the perfect chair for my Saarinen Tulip and it is the lovely Lucille!

Contoured arms give this dining chair a sophisticated look. Works with both transitional and contemporary tables. Substantial enough to be used as an occasional chair. Available in silver, sand and brown velvet.

Look how great the silver velvet above looks with the Saarinen below - is it not perfect?

And so affordable compared to the other options I've been considering of late. Now, if only I had the funds to make this daydream of mine a reality sooner rather than later...

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Passionately Purple

I thought I had the colour scheme to my bedroom all figured out when I picked out these pillowcases - the crisp white linens and furnishings would be offset against deep blue walls and I'd layer the patterned cases alternately against the red pillows. A bright, fun and fresh scheme - or so I thought.

To be honest though, whenever I thought of my bedroom, I never really imagined that I'd decorate it like that - I always saw it to be purple - a colour I've loved for as long as I can remember. So when I first saw these lamps over the weekend at Homesense, I was immediately drawn to them, and my first thought was that they would look perfect in a bedroom:

I didn't buy them at the time because I felt like I'd already committed to my initial scheme...but how silly is that? I couldn't stop thinking about them after browsing through my image library, I've decided to stay true to myself and go with the purple. I called ahead this afternoon to make sure they were still in-store, placed them on hold and stopped by after dinner tonight to pick them up.

I saw them waiting for me in all their purpleness at the front and couldn't help but smile because they were purpler than I remembered them being. :) Anyway, they're home with me now and my head is buzzing with ideas.

Here're some of the inspiring bedrooms I've been reviewing the last couple days - the fact that they all feature crisp white linens sort of sealed the deal for me:

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Countdown to May 4

You may have noticed the new ticker I've added to countdown the time to the Sporting Life 10K...and you may think that it looks a little busy up top with the two tickers...because I do...but I need that ticker there if only to serve as a constant reminder between now and May 4 that I need to get my lazy butt to the gym to run.

My preference would be to run outside rather on the treadmill at the gym but I'm the first to admit that I'm a fairweather runner. I do not run in the cold, nor do I run when it's wet - so you see my dilemma with the weather as it is of late. This will be my first 10K - the longest distance I've run so far is about 6.5K on the treadmill so I've got a ways to go since running inside in no way prepares you for the varied conditions of outside.

wL asked me what my goal was and I joked and said I just wanted to the rate I'm going with my training though, that may not be so far from the truth!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Oh so pretty

What do these look like to you? Dresses and skirts, yes? Except that they're not.

They're actually aprons! Yes, indeed, aprons, at Anthropologie and I am so smitten! If I had aprons like this in my kitchen, I'd wear a different one every day of the week, save for the night off I'd take to dine out. :)

D'you notice the pocket detail on some of them? I think I just may have to order one...particularly since they ship to Canada now - something I've known since last month yet I still haven't taken advantage! What is wrong with me??

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Go Free Rice

You have time to kill? Well go and play Free Rice - for each word you get right, they donate 20 grains of rice to the UN World Food Program. Thanks to the competitive element - my best vocab level so far is 43 - it's better than any Word-of-the-Day and you actually learn something while killing time and doing good. For example - did you know that tatterdemalion is another word for ragamuffin because I didn't even know it was a word! How's that for value-add?

A taxing afternoon...

...well, no, not really, because I'm getting a tax refund! It's a tidy sum too, since I rolled the bulk of my bonus into my RRSP this year, and because I used Quicktax, it only took me about an hour to do!

Despite the efficiency, I'm not about to file it right away...with official stuff like this, I always like a cooling off period - I'll leave it for the day and review it again within the next couple days to make sure I didn't miss anything. And then I'll wait rather impatiently for my refund to be deposited into my account.

Yay for refunds!

So cool!

The latest project on my plate at work is related to Web 2.0 and leveraging social networking opportunities online - something I've been able to experience first-hand ever since I started this blog 2 years ago this May.

My musings have serendipitously connected me with some very cool people including fellow bloggers and people I admire, including my nerd crush, Alain de Botton, who I blogged about after hearing him speak at DX in October 2006. Someone at M&S, his Canadian publisher, must have googled him and found my blog. S/he forwarded the link to him and he wrote me a lovely, perfectly charming email of thanks for coming out to hear him speak. I was rather mortified that he'd read that blog since I confessed my crush on him, but what can you do? Such is the power of the internet to connect people.

The latest cool connection is that I received an email from Stacey Litwen-Davies recently in response to my blog about the chairs she paired with the Saarinen in her kitchen - they're Charles Eames' molded plywood dining chairs in a walnut veneer and she also provided a link to her new website, which is where the photo below is from:

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Fresh 'n' Green

My sis picked up the printed throw pillowcases for me at Bed last week and while they didn't have the original stripe that I wanted, I think the one she did get is better because it's brighter and fresher:

That's the thing about green - it's bright and fresh - and I am ever so anxious to start ordering the actual furniture to pull my living room together because what I have in mind colour-wise looks similar to this room featured in the April 2008 Style at Home Colour Issue designed by Stacey Litwin-Davies and it excites me:

Courtesy of Litwin Davies Design

Here are some other green rooms that I like which I've collected over time from other blogs and sites like House to Home:

I love everything about this study - the printed chairs, the white desk, the dark bookcase, the storage boxes on the dark bookcase and the view from the windows.

I really like this shade of green in the living room walls above and the study walls below.

This moody moss green is brightened by the white panelling below...

...and the cheerful settee in granny smith green does the same for the dark walls below:

I'm not usually a fan of orange, but it totally pops against an otherwise fairly monochromatic scheme:

And finally, an over-the-top formal dining room with beautiful wallpaper and velvet seats:

Friday, March 21, 2008

Cheerful Weather for the Wedding

Julie Strachey's Cheerful Weather for the Wedding is Persephone Books' 38th title and, despite being only 128 pages, it was sloooow - so slow that when I picked it up for the first time a couple years ago, I had to abandon it after the first 30 pages.

This time around, it was still slow, but I slogged through it and was rewarded with a plot twist that took me by complete surprise and now I feel the need to reread it because there were parts - I admit - that I skipped through to bring the book to a speedier end.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Here's the print I purchased from gorjuss' Etsy shop for Little Miss Fire Piglet, all matted and framed up:

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Prints at vol25

I've been procrastinating on and off the business case I've been working on in preparation for a meeting this Tuesday and while reading decor8, I stumbled back onto Etsy seller vol25 who I had saved as a favourite some time ago and have decided that I must get this set to hang, perhaps over my bed:

I love the pretty, graphic quality of the prints and think they will totally pop framed with a thick white matte against the dark blue that I imagine for my walls.

I also really like this set, which I think would be cute for the kitchen....but I'm not quite convinced yet:

Finally, this would be charming for the wall by my door...but is this too much of a good thing?


I've read a number of books about writers writing about books and Rereadings: Seventeen Writers Revisit Books They Love is the most recent among them (the last couple include Anne Quindlen's Imagined London and Sara Nelson's So Many Books So Little Time).

Arthur Krystal's essay about H.C. Witwer's The Leather Pusher included an entire section about how readers grow over time, which struck a chord with me and he begins with Hugh Walpole, another writer writing about books in another collection of essays, who classified readers into two categories, "the ecstatic and the critical, allowing of course for the inevitable overlap."

Whether one becomes one kind of reader or the other, according to Walpole, depends on "some dominating influence" that appears in the life of every future reader, usually at the age of fourteen or fifteen, "that solves, partly, the question as to whether he will be in later life, an aesthetic or unaestehtic reader."...To be young was bookish heaven. At fourteen I read every word of every page; I didn't know you could skip words. Why should I when all authors were infallible; all narrators, reliable; every detail essential?...And reading was fun - not serious fun, mind you, but sequestered, magical, self-absorbed fun. Nothing mattered but the story: who won, who survived, who ended up happy, who came up short...Once the young reader gets past the stage where the brain sucks in books as if they were bubbles of oxygen, he or she begins to sense that Melville is doing something different from Steinbeck, and that Dickens and Balzac resemble each other in certain respects, but not in all. As children, we crossed wide-eyed and trusting into the writer's world, as adults we invite the writer into ours and hold him accountable for how he behaves there.

My earliest memory of reading is in the first or second grade when I used to read fairy tales. My favourite was Snow White and Rose Red and I can still remember the beautiful illustrations in the book. I grew into series reading in grade school and devoured Nancy Drew and The Babysitter's Club and teen romance series like Sweet Dreams and Sweet Valley High - I'd hole up in my bedroom for hours reading, yes, every word, even if I didn't like where the story was going, to escape into a world that was not my own. While I still enjoy books, as an adult, I'm far less patient with authors and don't feel nearly as guilty about not finishing a book once started if I find I don't like it.

The interesting thing about reading books in this writers-writing-about-other-writers genre is that they expose me to authors I've perhaps not heard of before and inspire me to pursue them further. Katherine Mansfield is a perfect example: I read some of her short stories in my high school extra credit Women in Lit English class* but didn't know much of her background and after reading about her life and stories through the eyes of Patricia Hampl in the second essay, I'm intrigued and have added her to my reading list.

* Yes, I was a nerd in high school. What of it, huh!?!?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

S&W's big secret

My best friends S&W arrived back from vacationing in Turks & Caicos last night and messaged me this afternoon about getting together for dinner tonight.

While we were waiting by the entrance for our table to be set, they smiled at each other and W announced, "Before we take our gloves off, we should tell you something."

So I looked from him to her and said, "You got engaged!"

W smiled and shook his head and told S to tell me but she couldn't so I said, "You got married?!"

And they smiled and nodded.

I wasn't really surprised because S had always said that she didn't want a big to-do, and W always sort of struck me as rather ambivalent about marriage. Regardless, I'm happy they did it the way they wanted it done - just the two of them on the beach at dusk without the pomp and circumstance.

They'd been planning this since the summer without a word to anyone. W's dad only just found out yesterday, they'll be telling their mothers tomorrow, and the rest of the friends via email.

It struck me after I'd heard the news that the scene was very familiar - when S&W told me that they were a couple (after having been friends for years) it was by phone together when they were abroad over the new year about 4 or 5 years ago. S couldn't say the words then either, despite W's prodding so I had to guess and he had to confirm for me then too. Funny how some things don't change.

They are among my favourite people in the world and I couldn't be happier for them. Congratulations, guys!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Carpe Diem!

One of the key opportunities that came out of my year-end performance review was to develop presentations skills, so I put this down on my official personal development plan for 2008, which I was reluctant to put together and had to be prodded by my manager to submit. That being said, I took the initiative and volunteered myself at the first chance that presented itself: talking in front of a group of consultants who we've engaged for a project about our company business model.

I thought at first that it would be fairly simple - I was told that this wasn't meant to be a make-work exercise, besides which, we've got endless different versions of this information compiled in a powerpoint deck peppered across the organization...and then I got the email about what I should cover...which resulted in me spending the entire week re-working the information in the deck and stressing about the content.

I met with my boss a few times over the past week to discuss talking points, and even did a dry run in front of several members of my team so they could provide me with feedback - and I'm glad to say that all the preparation paid off. While I was nervous, and probably read a little too much off my notes - which were extensive! - I actually didn't need to talk that much. My greatest fair is questions and being unprepared to answer them but it wasn't really an issue today as there were enough senior and certainly more knowledgable people in the room who were able to jump in and take over. So yay! The consultants were a very inquisitive bunch - which isn't surprising considering today's session was meant to be an initial download on our business - so there was a lot of discussion, which meant that we were an hour behind schedule by the time I finally presented around 10:30am and my 30 minute slot stretched into an hour.

But it's done...and I'm so relieved. I wanted to go celebrate the week's end with a visit to Design Within Reach to visit my Tulip, but because the session ended late, I decided to head back uptown and browse a little closer to home instead. I found flatware that I think I will go back to buy - Isaac Mizrahi's Bamboo - I think they'll look fantastic set with brilliant white dishes.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Greenery Street

I finished Denis Mackail's Greenery Street today and have to say that I was thoroughly charmed by it, despite my impatience at times with the naivete of the young and very happily married couple, in particular, Felicity, the wife. There were moments I was so annoyed by her hopelessness that I had to put the book down.

About Persephone Books' No. 35:

PG Wodehouse described this 1925 novel as 'so good that it makes one feel that it's the only possible way of writing a book, to take an ordinary couple and just tell the reader all about them.' Greenery Street can be read on two levels - it is a touching description of a young couple's first year together in London, but it is also a homage - something rare in fiction - to happy married life.

Ian and Felicity Foster are shown as they arrive at 23 Greenery Street, an undisguised and still unchanged Walpole Street in Chelsea. Their uneventful but always interesting everyday life is the main subject of a novel that evokes the charmingly contented and timeless while managing to be both funny and profound about human relations.

Anyway, it's charming in that Mackail writes in the third person narrative and because of his theatre background we're treated to parts in the book that are laid out very much like scenes in a script with the dialogue between the young marrieds set out as if stage directions.

Here's the amusing set-up to a scene in which the couple dine with their brother-in-law:

We haven't had much space for descriptions of people in this record so far; we have rather had to take them as they came; but we must try and squeeze in a paragraph for Mr and Mrs Foster's brother-in-law - if only because he was so shy that we should never get to know him if we waited for him to make the first move.

How can one not be tickled by writing such as this?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Naughty and Nice

While I admire the beauty of the fantastically expensive shoe a la Manolo, etc., I've never coveted them, nor have I purposely gone browsing online for them. But I did at work today, in conversation with my friend S. She asked me who the designer of the red-soled shoe was and I said Christian Louboutin, which led to a visit to his website.

Much to my surprise, I fell in lust for these shoes, the Bunny 100 (an unfortunate name, to be sure). The bow detail juxtaposed with the patent leopard print makes this very naughty and nice.

I imagine wearing these with a fantastic satin tuxedo...or with jeans and a tailored, white dress shirt.

Chairs for Jane

Jane over at Ill Seen, Ill Said is considering chairs for her Tulip, so this one's for her:

Top Row: Venice, Nella, Cortez, Sophie, Icon, V-back, all at Urban Barn
Bottom Row: CHKD005 and CHKD008 at Casalife; Eilot, Jakob, Tobias, Linus at Ikea

All of these chairs are on the low-end of the price scale - I was thinking if I was going to blow $$$ on the table, I'd skimp a bit on the chairs, at least for the time-being.

My favourite look so far is featured in April 2008's Style at Home Colour Issue which is currently on newsstands - flip to page 124 and see the airy dining area of interior designer Stacey Litwin-Davies' kitchen (sorry, don't have a scanner and can't seem to find the image online - will update with a photo when I'm able - I also really love her sunroom with the "assertive green walls.") The closest I've found to the chairs in the photo is the Sophie Chair above...the hunt continues though...

Monday, March 10, 2008

My mailbox brimeth over...

I spent part of my snowbound Saturday afternoon organizing and reviewing back issues of my magazines and wondering to myself when the new lot would arrive...well, I need wonder no more because lookee what was waiting for me at home today:

I received the first issues of my subscriptions to Wish and Canadian House & Home and for some reason, for the latter, I received both March and April's at once, which is ironic a la Alanis Morisette, because I had already purchased March at the newsstand. Grrr.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Living/Dining II

I was out last night watching the CanStage production of The Clean House and while the performance was great, I couldn't help but think about the latest idea I have for my living room...part of me wishes the time would just hurry up and pass so I can stop thinking about what I'm going to buy and just buy it already. Granted, you could argue that there's nothing to stop me from ordering things now, but purchasing 5 months ahead is too far in advance lest I change my's a mildly obsessive-compulsive vicious cycle, I know. :)

So here's what I'm thinking:

Clockwise from bottom left: Sofa fabric in 100% Cotton - "Stowe Away" in Natural, Nadine Sofa by Robin Bruce, 1 of a pair of lamps from Caban which I bought at their closing sale 2 summers ago, mirrored end table at Direct Interiors, rug by Bev Hisey (or something similar in Cream and Chocolate), Tobo TV Bench at Ikea, a pair of Shantou Boxes at Pier 1 Imports to act as coffee tables, Zoey Chair (I have one already), throw pillows in "Lotus" and "Green Stripes" at Bed.

I'm exploring different options for the dining area, but I'm loving the Saarinen Tulip table with a marble top - if only it wasn't so dear! As for the chairs to go with it - I've presently got about a dozen candidates and have provided an endless amount of amusement for my cube-mates because we'll be riding the elevator back up from Tim Hortons (0-for-I've-lost-count-in-Roll-Up-The-Rim-To-Win-but-who's-keeping-score-anyway-I'm-not-bitter-no-I'm-not) and AL will look at me and tell me to quiet down in my brain because he can tell I'm thinking about chairs.

P.S. Updated floorplan with the Noah Tufted Storage Ottoman from Sunpan Imports below substituted in for the 2 storage-boxes-cum-coffee-tables and the 2nd chair. The ottoman in this scheme is actually 37"x37" compared to the 35.5"x35.5" Noah.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Nadine for Living

I was visiting Bed online and was inspired by the new prints they added February 29 and am irked that they weren't available while I was there.

I am thinking the green stripes and lotus patterns above for throw pillows which I think would look great on the Nadine sofa in a natural coloured cotton.

I'm back to the box-y tuxedo frame style that I had considered late last year, which is nearly as comfortable as the Scroll and much more affordable! Lead time is, as usual, 8-10 weeks - 12 if the fabric is not in stock - so I've got 2 months or so to prevaricate before finally settling on the exact sofa....I'll go ahead and ask my sister to pick up the pillowcases for me though.

Glass and Mirror

I saw a pretty selection of glass and mirrored tables at Direct Interiors this afternoon that I think may be too dainty for the space I have in mind...but then again, may be not...

This one below is the Tandem Coffee Table. All 4 wheels are functional, which I find vastly amusing.

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