Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye 2010, Hello 2011

Photo by Candice Stringham
It's New Year's Eve 2010 and I'm sitting here reflecting on the past year.  My first thought is, where did it go?  This year came and went so fast.

On the professional front, I worked my butt off and it looks like I'm beginning to reap the benefits: I received a completely unexpected Christmas bonus which is incremental to the usual annual bonus paid out in February, and when I get back to work in the new year, I'll start real discussions about my new role on the team.  It'll be interesting to see how this unfolds...I'm still a little fuzzy about where I want to be beyond the next year, but one step at a time.

On the personal front, it's a bit mixed:  Fitness-wise, I've never felt stronger than I do now - at my last body composition assessment, I was down to 23% body fat which is huge considering where I started.  Truth be told, I worry that my arms and shoulders are bordering on butch - but my trainer insists that it's not possible for me to butch up like a she-male.  I've still got a ways to go to get to my ideal toned shape but when I was able to fit into my skinny jeans - the jeans I haven't been able to button up for 5+ years? - Miranda's confidence and elation in that Sex and the City scene where she slips on her No Excuses skinny jeans immediately springs to mind!

My sister (finally!) married her baby-daddy - :) - and my dearest adorable Piglet turned 3!  

I went on a fantastic 2-week Gap Adventure to Morocco, the photos of which I've only just recently begun to edit and hope to post in the next few days.  Suffice to say that it was beyond my expectations.  It's a beautiful country of various landscapes and generous, welcoming people.

I followed up Morocco with a one-week stopover in London to visit with my favourite cousin, A.  She always inspires me to be more open to the magic that is the universe.

Now, I'm generally very rational and pragmatic and not given to the "airy-fairy" intangibles of manifestations and such, but I've decided that I'm going to give it a try in 2011. I was resolutely single-minded in my singledom but that's going to change in the new year.  I've come to realize this past year that while I've been content to be alone, it can be rather lonely.  Life is sweeter when there's someone to share it with and somewhere along the way, I seem to have given up on that dream/goal. So how am I going to make this happen?  First and foremost I'm going to have to work on my attitude: dating, which I've always dreaded is supposed to be fun!  I'll try and keep you posted on how this goes! 

Segue to resolutions - which I generally don't like making but here they are:
1. Date and have fun doing it!
2. Watch less TV
3. Read more
4. Spend less
5. Blog more
6. Be open to possibilities!

On that note, I leave you with this video of "Happiness" by Alexis Jordan.  A played this song every morning for the week I was in London and I love this lyric:  

Through strength I found love, in time I found myself in happiness with you.  

Wishing you much love, health and prosperity in 2011!

Holiday Alphabet Mugs

Remember the Alphabet Mugs I picked up early last November?  For the last few years I've baked cookies for friends and this year, I packaged them up in personalized mugs with mini ornaments picked up at my local Dollarama(!!):

In addition to my usual soft and chewy Old-fashioned Molasses Cookies from one of Martha Stewart's Holiday Cookie Specials and Brown Sugar Shortbread from Mrs. Field's Cookie Book, I baked a batch of Chocolate Chip Surprises which I tweaked with a Hershey's Chocolate Mint Truffle and my new favourite, Pikkuleivat, aka Cardamom Sugar Cookies which were both Star Kitchen-Tested.  None of their recipes have yet failed me - granted, I've only ever tried 3, including my all-time favourite carrot cake recipe that's yellowed with age.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Boxing Week Sales

How was your Christmas?  Mine was rather restful.  I spent an extra-extra-long weekend at my mom's and filled myself with all sorts of goodies like cookies, dim sum, turkey, prime rib and roast potatoes.  All kinds of bad during my current burn phase of training but it's the holidays! Down with protein days!!

After the damage I'd done to my wallet while on vacation, I had no intention of shopping the annual Boxing Week sales, let alone braving the malls on the actual day. But my brother's girlfriend wanted my help in finding a nice wool coat so I woke up bright and early Sunday to make it for the 8am opening at Fairview Mall - no way was I going later to drive circles around the parking lot looking for a spot.

We found her a coat at Aritzia, this T.Babaton Military Coat with shiny buttons that looks really cute on, and me, I picked up 2 blazers at only 10% of :( - the Wilfred satin crepe shawl blazer and a grey wool Talula blazer which I already have in black.  Neither of which I was really looking for, but both look great with skinny jeans, which I've come to love of late. 
Once I started, I couldn't really stop. I hopped online to check out the sales at Chapters/Indigo and picked up a bunch of holiday stuff at 50-75% off - mostly candles and reed diffusers plus a couple of books.
And today, while out to get 2 of my Axxium french manicured nails re-done because the polish had chipped off far too soon, I picked up Christmas ornaments at Urban Barn that were 3 for the price of 1 in sparkly/iridescent shades of purple, brown and white:
Now I just need to get a skinny condo-sized tree for next year!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Mast Brothers

S&W went to NYC before Christmas and came back with a Pecan and Maple Dark Chocolate bar made by Mast Brothers Chocolate in Brooklyn. My first impression: adorable packaging. Check it out below:
Each bar is hand-wrapped in gorgeous patterned papers.  And the taste?  My bar was crazy dark chocolate with whole pecans and none of the sweetness I would have expected from the maple, but oh so good! I wish I had a glass of red wine to go with it!

Here's a video W sent me of their artisanal bean-to-bar process:

Mast Brothers from Cool Hunting on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Gettin' in the mood

I arrived home from London Saturday evening in time for a home cooked dinner at my mim's and since then, have done 4 loads of laundry in 3 days - the first 2 the very night I returned and am slowly getting back into the rhythm of life.
One of the first things I did was trim my little tree:

The next thing on my festive to-do list is decide what cookie(s) to bake.
But before that, I've got to clean and get organized. My place is a mess and it's stressing me out!!!!

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Thursday, December 02, 2010

Gallery walls

These 2 gallery walls caught my eye today - a shoe shop in Covent Garden:

And in Liberty:

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London Days 4 & 5

Coming up on my last days in London Town. I saw Wicked for the second time yesterday and Billy Elliot today. I love the theatre scene here. I stopped at Leicester Square both days to visit the half price ticket booths and came away with fantastic tix in the stalls, aka orchestra level for £42 - which is ~$72 and still cheaper then the seats would have been at home.

Dinner last night was with a small group of family and friends at Suze Wine Bar where there was great conversation over lively libations. Witness the many glasses on our table:

I spent the morning in Covent Garden and stopped in the Museum of Transport where I was a total nerd and picked up a towel of a map of the London Underground along with a poster.
After the musical, I made my pilgrimage to Liberty for a proper browse. Look how lovely it is at night:

The fourth floor was decked out for Christmas and of course, I had to take a photo of their selection of purple ornaments.

I know thus is totally lame but I couldn't leave without a purple Liberty bag so what did I do but buy a canvas Liberty tote, a tea towel and a Lisa Stickley makeup bag.

Tomorrow I'm heading to the shops in Knightsbridge as I promised to return with the Harrods Christmas Bear for WL.
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Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Fav buy...

I found this "bag in bag" in a shop on Carnaby St. and it's my new favorite thing because it just makes total sense since I carry big-ass bags that things can get lost in.

I bought this bag from Karen Millen today after sleeping on it for the last 3 nights and look how fab my little organizer is:

Now I can find my camera without digging around and my London A-Z and copy of John Armstrong's Conditions of Love are in one place. Love love love!!!!
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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

London Day 3

It's the start of my 3rd full day here and it's cold and snowy! Something's wrong when Toronto's forecasted to be 10 C and the UK is in a "deep freeze" with "arctic conditions." I'm going to have to shop for warm jumpers today because I packed for temps in the high single digits.
My first purchase here was a wool/cashmere jacket Sunday from Reiss in a biscuit colour. I knew I had to have it as soon as I put it on.
Yesterday was all about shoes and boots - 3 of which were from Clarks which is so different in the UK! The heels and boots are stylish AND comfortable! I bought the middle pair below in black and the bottom pair as shown, along with a pair of boots. I've always thought of myself as more of a bag lady then a shoe girl but it seems my shoe addiction only manifests in London. No more shoes though!
My mission today is to find an outfit for the "From Russia with Love" theme party I'm going to on Friday. What that means I'm not quite sure but I figure I'll know it when I see it.
Apart from the shopping which has been great, I've been very impressed with the decor in the cafe/restos here. I'm sitting in a high-style juice and sandwich bar(!) called Joe and the Juice taking advantage of the free wifi and wishing there was a cool space like this back home.

Isn't this just so inviting? I don't want to leave but I've been here 1.5hrs and should probably get a move on...

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

In London

My flight arrived 30 min early from Casablanca via Madrid yesterday and by the time I cleared passport control, my checked bag had arrived and was set aside off the carousel - no waiting!
I made my way to the trains and took the Paddington Express and then the tube to my cousin's flat in the East end of the city. Here's the view from her balcony this cool and bright Sunday:

We stayed up until 3am catching up and watching videos before I had to turn in and though we got up at 9am (which is sleeping in for me since I was awoken everyday in Morocco by the first call to prayer) I'm feeling very chill and well-rested.
We had scrambled eggs and ham for breakfast and have been lazing around listening to Noddy Holder's Best Christmas Songs Ever! Top 50. There's a tube strike tonight so if we're to head out, we've got to do so and return before the tube stops running at 7pm. So maybe a movie...I'll brave the shops tomorrow when people are back at work.
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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The food stalls in Djemaa el-Fna

Just came back from a quick jaunt to the square - time enough to try some snails, 5 dirhams for a small bowl...

...and to pick up a sweetener in the freshest dried apricots I've ever had. Ever. I'm going to go back tomorrow night with my ziplock bags so I can bring them home...assuming they last the week in London.

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In Marrakech....

Wow. It's Day 12(?) of my 2 week Gap Adventure in Morocco and this trip has exceeded my expectations, though I didn't know what really to expect. Highlight so far has been doing cartwheels in the Sahara and sleeping under the starry desert skies (despite the cold!!)
Pics to come once I've had a chance to upload them to a computer and edit them.
This is the first hotel with free wi-fi so I'm sitting in the lobby with football on the tv taking advantage after my long internet drought. We're steps from the Djemaa el-Fna, the main square where the snack charmers have since packed up for the day and the food stalls, belly dancers and storytellers have set up, and literally across the street
from the Koutoubia with its iconic minaret. (Apologies for the crap photo.)

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

One more sleep....

I've spent the last 3 hours packing for my 3 weeks away and I'm mostly done.  There's the usual last minute packing of the toiletries and various sundry items the day of but my clothes - pseudo-planned outfits(!) - flats and comfy birks for walking are tucked away in my suitcase.

I spent some time stressing about what book(s) to bring on this the end I settled on a new read - Jen Sookfong Lee's The End of East (gotta support the CBC sista!), and 2 titles I'd consider among my all-time favorites which I've already re-read in the past: John Armstrong's Conditions of Love and Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist. All 3 titles are fairly slim - the last thing I want is to be lugging heavy books from Canada to Europe to North Africa and back again. Been there, done that, except for the North Africa part. A girl's got to leave room for the shopping, right?

In about 17 hours, I'll be sitting on a plane for a well-deserved break.  My Gap Adventure doesn't start until Saturday so I'll have 1.5 days alone in Casablanca, a prospect which makes me rather nervous.  I'm sure I'll be fine but I've never been completely alone like that in a foreign country.  I like to consider myself fairly well-travelled but despite often flying solo, I'm usually meeting someone on the other end so this will certainly be a novel experience.

The tour doesn't cover Casablanca at all so I've got my trusty Rough Guide to keep me company as I explore the city's Art Deco architecture and visit the Hassan II Mosque with its 689' minaret, the tallest structure in Morocco and the tallest minaret in the world.

It'll be good and I'll be fine.  I just have to keep repeating that to myself.

Now, to sleep.

Thursday, November 04, 2010


Went to West Elm before the gym tonight and picked up the owl and the paper mache bird with my 20% off Friends & Family Card:

Cute right?? 

I also saw these Alphabet Mugs but didn't need any more mugs of my own.  While I was doing my requisite post-training cardio, I had a brainstorm and rushed back to West Elm just as they were closing the doors for the evening but they let me in since I knew exactly what I wanted and managed to cash out before customers that were there before I arrived finished their purchases. 

Friday, October 29, 2010

Covetable Covers

Stopped by my local Chapters this week and stumbled upon these cool covers for classics. If I had a million dollars and a place big enough to house all my books, I'd be all over these. Which reminds me! I forgot to buy a LottoMax ticket tonight! CRAP! The jackpot was $50MM with 11 Maxamillions too!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Winter Vault

I finally finished Anne Michaels' The Winter Vault last night.  Like her debut novel, Fugitive Pieces, The Winter Vault was slow to start, but her writing is as I remember it - brilliantly lyrical.

There were so many phrases and scenes that I wish I could commit to memory forever but that's never been my skill.  Do you know someone like that?  A someone who remembers specific lines from movies or books and is able to recall them to quote at will in a conversation?  Ya, I'm not that person.

Anyway - one of my favourites in the book is a description of a dining area surrounded by books and the conversations that would take place around the table at mealtime:

After the war, my mother and I moved back to London, said Avery.  We had a tiny flat and our kitchen table - my father's huge wooden worktable where we ate all our meals - was in an alcove, surrounded by four walls of books.  Without getting out of our chairs, we could simply reach behind us and, yes, pluck! the appropriate book off a shelf.  That was my father's idea, so that there would always be active discussions at meals, and so that I or any guest could find a reference in a trice.  My father loved to call out directions from his end of the table like a mad navigator on a small boat: 'A bit more to the right, nine o'clock please, forty-five degrees left...' Over the years, certain thick or oversized volumes became landmarks which we steered: "The grey cover two inches to the right of The Child's New Illustrated Encyclopedia ("new" about forty years previous), below One Thousand and One Wonderful Things; about ten inches above Engines and Power...' And when the book was retrieved successfully from the shelf, my father would let out a sigh, as if just the right unreachable itch had been scratched.

I mean, isn't that fantastic???  I would love to sit at just such a dining table with the possibility of many a lively informed conversation.

I will admit that the back-half of the book was a little frustrating for me because of our heroine Jean's relationship with Lucjan, but after coming to the description of the winter vaults, where the dead wait for burial because the ground is too frozen for the digging of graves, I got the very bittersweet symbolism of their relationship. 

From the cover:

...In 1964, a newly married Canadian couple settles into a Nile River houseboat moored below the towering figures of Abu Simbel.  Avery is one of the engineers responsible for moving the temple above the rapidly rising waters of the Aswan Dam.  At the edge of a world about to be lost foreever, Avery and Jean suffer a tragedy of their own and return to Toronto to begin separate lives.  There, Jean meets Lucjan, a Polish artist whose haunting stories of his shattered childhood in occupied Warsaw touch her profoundly and lead her in time to a way of forgiveness.  The Winter Vault is a novel about how we are able to salvage what we can from the violence of life in our search for a place we can call home.  Vivid, sensuous, compassionate, it reveals the inescapability of the past, the devesation of loss, and the restorative powers of love...

Sunday, October 17, 2010


My iPhone 4 finally arrived on Wednesday, about a week earlier than expected from Apple. I had ordered it online Sep 18 because I refused to queue for it and when the email notice of its delivery hit my inbox on Monday, I took advantage of FedEx's tracking capability and eagerly anticipated its arrival.

I've had it now for 4 nights and can I tell you what a time suck it is? I've spent WAY too much time browsing apps and downloading them but OMG so much fun! I'm so happy with this purchase, part of it funded by birthday money from my siblings.

I downloaded a wack of games this afternoon after finishing Airport Mania. What to play next...?

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Skincare in your 30s

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days was on TV last night and you know how Kate Hudson's character, Andie Anderson works at a women's magazine called Composure?  There's that scene early in the movie when they're having an editorial meeting brainstorming ideas which, if you've read a women's magazine, you'll know that the ideas aren't really all that creative or new.  Women's magazines were amongst the first to go green because they recycle stories like nobody's business (speaking of nobody' business, where did this expression come from?)  Anyway, this is my poor effort to segue to the many skincare by decade articles I've seen through my many years of magazine reading.  The most recent iteration was in Fashion Magazine's October Issue:

File under "The crucial decade for slowing down your skin's aging." Keep slathering on the sunscreen and use a moisturizer packed with vitamin C or glycolic acid to even out skin tone...Think of your neck and decolletage as part of your face and apply sunscreen and moisturizer there daily. "Women take great care of their facial skin but forget about the neck, which can brown and wrinkle with age..."

I already use sunscreen every day.  SPF 50+ no less!  But what struck me most was that last sentence which made me think of Susan Hay, a veteran broadcaster on Global News who is, without question, a beautiful woman.  However, I can't help but notice of late the aging that is showing in her neck:

So I thought to myself: OK, gotta start taking care and begin to moisturize beyond my face. So I moisturized and what happens? I break out with 3 white heads! NOT COOL!  So screw it. Skincare is not one size fits all.  We'll revisit again next year. My neck is fine, at least for now.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

London Wishlist

In 7 weeks I'll be in London, one of my favourite cities in the world, and also the city in which my favourite cousin resides.  London is also one of my favourite cities for shopping, and in advance of every visit, I like to browse and daydream about all the beautiful goodies that I may come home with.  So here's my current wishlist, which is by no means complete...
Ziggy Dress
55 GBP -
Monsoon dress »

Jametz Dress
160 GBP -
Corsage dress »

Baby signature leather metal work bag
165 GBP -
Tweed dress »

Cath Kidston - Provence rose IPhone case
25 GBP -

What I really really really want though, is Orla Kiely's Quilted Patent Ivy Bag in Violet.  The Tafetta Sleeveless Dress is pretty cute too.

Etsy Finds

I was browsing through the latest issue of Lonny when the blues and purples of this watercolour by Silver Ridge Studio on Etsy caught my eye.  So this led to over an hour of browsing, much of it spent in the "letterpress" shop where I unearthed some great new finds including Dutch Door Press' Birds and Blooms of the 50 States series.  Gorgeous, right?  I would LOVE to collect them all!
Enormous Champion's Keys Silver / Gold reminds me of Tiffany's Keys Collection - many of which I covet - and Albertine Press' Chronology was another that caught my eye...the old-school clock faces remind me of that scene at the train station in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. You remember the big clock?  Love too, Einstein's quote.
This Little Piggy by Ink Petals reminds me of my adorable Piglet.
Lark Press' Topography of a Bird is what I ended up getting for myself - I figured this is the perfect reference for a bird-obsessed chick like me.

Friday, October 08, 2010

New at West Elm...

I was prompted by Cherish Toronto's recent post to visit West Elm's website and was thrilled by what I found.  If you've been following me for a while, you'll know I have a thing for birds and they're most-definitely well-represented this season.  Here are my favourites:

On the furniture and lighting side of the equation, I've got my eye on these goodies, but particularly the cluster pendant, which I think would be perfect for my dining area...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


I've been thinking about doing a big trip for a little while now, mainly because I had a surfeit of vacation days this year (7 weeks in total), I've an obscene number of reward miles from various programs burning a whole in my figurative loyalty wallet, and also because I'm due - my last big trip was to London/Amsterdam/Barcelona/Madrid in April 2009.  Oh - and with my passport up for renewal in February, I was hoping to get one more stamp in my passport.

I thought my next trip would be a family vacation south, but that's now been pushed to early next year, so with 4 weeks of vacation left, I began browsing Gap Adventures' website again in earnest.

The prospect of visiting Angkor Wat and seeing the ancient temples there up close and personal drew me to Cambodia.  Madagascar was another possibility as it's somewhere I've been wanting to visit ever since reading an article in ROM magazine about it's fantastic flora and fauna.  Argentina/Brazil made the initial cut with Iguassu Falls being the main attraction.  In the end, the red tape of having to apply for a visa ixnayed all these destinations in favour of Morocco - an exotic locale I don't know much about beyond spice markets, lanterns, the desert, brilliant suzanis and pretty wedding blankets.  Random, right?

It was a toss-up between Gap's Highlights of Morocco and Marvellous Morocco tours but upon closer read of the itinerary, the former's camel safari into the Sahara Desert with an overnight stay in a Bedouin tent won me over.  I mean, c'mon!  A camel safari into the Sahara Desert?

My flights are all booked and my place for the tour is being held with the payment due the first of October, pending additional accomodations pre- and post-tour.  I can't begin to tell you how excited I am! :D 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Secret Daughter and Her Fearful Symmetry

I've two more books to add to my "Read" pile: Audrey Niffenegger's Her Fearful Symmetry and Shilpi Somaya Gowda's Secret Daughter.

On Her Fearful Symmetry - I was disappointed.  I picked it up because I really enjoyed The Time Traveler's Wife and I suppose this was similar with its supernatural elements but the main characters weren't particularly engaging.  The most interesting storyline for me was the secondary one involving Martin, the upstairs neighbor.  I was glad for his happy ending. The end.

Oh!  And I want to visit Highgate Cemetery next I'm in London - the way it's described in the book and the fantastic images from its website are compelling.

From the back cover:
Julia and Valentina Poole are twenty-year-old sisters with an intense attachment to each other.  One morning the mailmen delivers a thick envelope to their house in the suburbs of Chicago. Their English aunt, Elspeth Noblin, has died of cancer and left them her London apartment. There are two conditions for this inheritance: that they live in the flat for a year before they sell it and that their parents not enter it. Julia and Valentina are twins. So were the girls' aunt Elspeth and their mother, Edie.
The girls move to Elspeth's flat, which borders the vast Highgate Cemetery, where Christina Rossetti, George Eliot, Stella Gibbons, and other luminaries are buried. Julia and Valentina become involved with their living neighbors: Martin, a composer of crossword puzzles who suffers from crippling OCD, and Robert, Elspeth's elusive lover, a scholar of the cemetery. They discover that much is still alive in Highgate, including - perhaps - their aunt.

On Secret Daughter - the end made me cry and I felt compelled to read it every night before bed since starting it over the weekend. 

This passage from p. 270 struck me:

...her mother always said the key to a successful marriage was for each spouse to give as much as they thought they possibly could. And then, to give a little more. Somewhere in that extra giving, in the space created by generosity without keeping score, was the difference between marriages that thrived and those that didn't. 

It sounds like something my mom would say, although - and maybe this is a matter of it being lost in translation since my mom communicates with me in Cantonese - the way she spins it, it sounds more like I should settle because no one's perfect.  Point is, I really enjoyed this book and am glad it's getting the recognition it deserves.

From the back cover:
On the eve of the monsoons, in a remote Indian village, Kavita gives birth to a baby girl. But in a culture that favors sons, the only way for Kavita to save her newborn daughter's life is to give her away. It is a decision that will haunt her and her husband for the rest of their lives, even after the arrival of their cherished son.
Halfway around the globe, Somer, an American doctor, decides to adopt a child after making the wrenching discovery that she will never have one of her own. When she and her husband, Krishnan, see a photo of the baby with the gold-flecked eyes from a Mumbai orphanage, they are overwhelmed with emotion. Somer knows life will change with the adoption but is convinced that the love they already feel will overcome all obstacles.
Interweaving the stories of Kavita, Somer, and the child that binds both their destinies, Secret Daughter poignantly explores the emotial terrain of motherhood, loss, identity, and love, as witnessed through the lives of two families - one Indian, one American - and the child that indelibly connects them.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

History of Love

I finished Nicole Krauss' The History of Love on my flight from Toronto to Vancouver last Wednesday. 

I was wary of it when I first started after so recently finishing Everything is Illuminated - Holocaust books always leave me a bit drained and I find I need something light and maybe a little happy afterwards to ease the mood. 

Anyway, I wasn't sure what The History Of Love was really about so just before starting, I googled it.  And that's when I stumbled onto this article in the NYT and found out that Nicole Krauss is married to Jonathan Safran Foer.  It didn't make me feel any better about reading it since I was rather disappointed by EII, but by then, I was too lazy to get out of bed to pick another book.

In the end, this was a much better read as the story - a mystery that is solved in the end - was more complete in its telling.  While part of it does take place in WWII Poland, the horrors of the Holocaust aren't really referred to explicitly - at least not as far as I was concerned - so I didn't feel as spent.

From the back cover:
Fourteen-year-old Alma Singer is trying to find a cure for her mother's loneliness.  Believing that she might discover it in an old book her mother is lovingly translating, she sets out in search of its author. Across New York, an old man named Leo Gursky is trying to survive a little bit longer. He spends his days dreaming of the lost love who, sixty years ago in Poland, inspired him to write a book. And although he doesn't know it yet, that book also survived: crossing oceans and generations, and changing lives....

The Wedding

My sister got married on Friday, which also happened to be my 34th birthday.  I didn't have time for my usual somewhat-moody and self-indulgent "what have I done with my life in the past year" reflection since I was too busy with preparing for the wedding, dealing with family and all the fun drama that comes with the extended family of soon-to-be-in-laws.

There was a relaxing day at the spa Thursday morning/afternoon, the rehearsal, followed by the dinner, and then the set-up of the room.  Remember the faux cherry blossoms and orchids I picked up in Chinatown?  Here they are the night before the big day:

You can't really tell in the photo but the tall vases are flanked by shorter ones with a faux cymbidium orchid at the bottom. These were filled with water and a floating candle. There were also 6 votives atop the mirrored square so with the lights down, there was a lovely glow from the candlelight - and everyone looks better in candlelight! I was off taking photos with the bridal party so don't have any photos of the vision realized.  It looked lovely though!

These urns sat atop Roman-esque pillars that framed the happy couple as they took their vows.  We re-purposed them after the ceremony for the guest book and you can see too our bouquets on the table, which turned out quite nicely thanks to Blossoms 'n Such in Parksville.

And then the cake - M was all for the cherry blossom design which wasn't exactly as in the photo sent but close enough that they were very happy with it.  There's a layer each of chocolate and vanilla with a fake layer on the bottom since they had their heart set on a 3-tier cake.
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