Wednesday, June 30, 2010


The fantabulous Sally has given me a wonderful opportunity to inflict my passion for lingerie on her readership today. Why don't y'all add to the mix and check out my guest post at Already Pretty?And do leave a comment! (Please don't let me be that girl who does a guest post that nobody comments on. :-))

I should mention that I'm doing a fancy work thing today and tomorrow is Canada Day (aka get the kid on the bus and off to camp so the freedom can begin day). What's the bet I turn into that crazy helicopter mother I was last year when she went to camp? I mean, last year they had phones. Note to Kristin: Do not dwell that element of the child going to camp.

Fortunately, I won't have long to wallow because the day after our country's birthday, I am on my way to Quebec! I do imagine I'll post and respond to comments / read my daily blogs, but I'm going to play it by ear. Relaxation is the order of the day. What counts as relaxing remains to be seen. xo

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Falling Water

Photo: Studio G

Nothing quite like a FLW-inspired pool... (Suburban chic, no?)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Isn't There Something About This in the Bible?

OK, I'm really trying to stay positive here but between the insane hormonal moment I'm having and the fact that my city has experienced, in the last week, riots, floods and a significant earthquake (5.5 - in a place that doesn't have a fault line?!), I'm kind of at the end.

Add to it the rather crap day I've had and my totally obnoxious 'tween and I'm ready to hop a one-way flight (stowaway-style) to Tahiti.

I'm sure I'll be back in the swing shortly but let's wait till I can say something without spitting venom, shall we?

Maybe you could take my mind off it by commiserating. What's up with your day? Is it awful? Can you one-up me with the crappiness? I'll even listen to fun happy stories, if you must. :-)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

We Live Like This*

We Live Like This Ginseng Macadamia Bath Gel

(* aka my fave hotel in-room freebie)

You may know that my vacation philosophy is simple: Actively channel your inner-affluent. Big time.

My holidays involve a potent combo of walking (hours a day), dining finely (hours a day), drinking fun beverages (with the eating), people-watching (hours a day), absorbing beautiful scenes, caring nothing for the matters of my regular life (after all I'm a woman of luxury), having scintillating conversation (non-stop), a bit of shopping (natch) and sex (that's as far as I'm going with that one...)

I am restored by beauty and sensual pursuit. The texture of things, the sound (which often overwhelms me), intensity of light or dark and scent. The aptly named We Live Like This manages to capture association it its pretty bottle (not that the photo, above, depicts this particularly well) and the fragrance, while strong, is like nothing else I've encountered. It's sort of floral, sort of spicy, a little sweet. It's the complimentary room product at Auberge St. Antoine, though I buy it at from the concierge in mini and regular size when I stay elsewhere.

Friday, June 25, 2010

That's Where I'll Be...

Photo: National Geographic Traveler
(Am I the only one who's surprised there are no boobs in this photo :-))

No joke peeps, it really looks like this.

Or, if you prefer, like this:

Though thankfully that's not the scene right now!

Quebec City is one of the most historically interesting and flat-out gorgeous cities ever.

The food is awesome. Panache, at the Relais & Chateau Auberge St. Antoine, is where we'll enjoy our first dinner (and maybe others). It's a fantastic restaurant with a truly magical atmosphere.

What makes this trip particularly exciting is that we won't be going with the kid! Don't worry for her though. She'll be in Algonquin Park at an amazing summer camp - one that's totally off the grid. I mean, they use a wood stove to cook, lanterns when it gets dark and they pee in the woods (or in an outhouse). OK, maybe you should worry for her :-)

We had to outfit her for the event - she'll be portaging and camping and living off the land - which, I understood, would cost about $250.00 in addition to the (exceedingly outrageous) cost of the camp. $750.00 later, my husband came home from Mountain Equipment Coop with a kid who can now fall into the lake with all the stuff she brings and absolutely everything will float safely and stay dry.

Let's just say this is about to be the most expensive week of domestic vacation ever. Oh, and the child is going to camp for the next 5 years whether she likes it or not :-)

We're not leaving just yet but I'm getting myself into the vacation swing of things!

This month, while memorable and fantastic in so many ways, has been very tiring. I have been moving at a frenetic pace, it seems, without stopping, for 25 days now and I haven't taken more than a long weekend off since Christmas. Between momentous transitions and guests and 2 birthdays and a school play, party and picnic, I feel I haven't had a second of down time.

I am so happy to see holidays looming on the horizon.

So let's talk about QC - do you have any stories about this great place you'd like to share?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Upside Down

I do like this room:

Photo: Apartment Therapy

Gotta appreciate a space with floors for ceilings. It maintains visual warmth, while allowing the cool to circulate.

I'm enjoying the splash of colour from the comic book art and the get-it-on furniture. I bet this space really comes to life during a Friday night dinner party with some good lighting and sharp tunes.

I do think it needs a spectacular view out that window, though.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Love Potion No. 3

By all rights, potion 3 is a cosmetic. But I'm not going to let that stand in my way!

I'm one of those women who's always searching for the elusive eyelash perfector. In truth, my eyelashes are adequately long, so I am frequently told. I just like to plump them up a little. For drama.

According to the experts, when you plump you can either "thicken" or "volumize" (I know, the market-speak is iffy...) I tried to determine the difference between the two, and the best I can tell you is that volumizing is vaguely better than thickening. Don't ask me why. There was too much pseudo-science involved for me to commit it to memory. As luck would have it, Diorshow does them both.

I have a friend who insists that the best mascara is from drug stores. In her view, you get nothing more from paying $32.00 for mascara than for paying $7.95. In fact, the cheap stuff is more effective, in her opinion.

In my opinion, packaging counts. As does the fantasy encouraged by good marketing. So I'm the idiot who paid big bucks for eyelash volumizer.

But you know what? It's excellent.

No clumping (my peeve bar none), it does thicken (I mean volumize) and the colour is dramatic without making me look like a goth.

Could it be cheaper? Yes. But I just might buy it again.

Monday, June 21, 2010


I feel conflicted about linking you to this product, the Nylon Spandex Stretch, Floral Lace High-Waist Brief, because it is by American Apparel.

Is it wrong for me to use this image (the only one I could find that wasn't entirely sleazy) from AA's site, without doing so? I mean, I am accrediting the brand with this new product, a very flattering, retro style of panties - perfect for underneath tight skirts because the seam line runs beneath the curve of your butt. I'm happy to tell you that it's incredibly reasonably priced at $17.00 CDN. I've seen undies like this that cost $80.00. There is no skimpage on fabric peeps. I know how much lingerie fabric costs so I'm amazed by the price point. (Please, don't say anything that may force me to think to0 hard about how this can be.)

I bought a large, without even trying them on*, because I know how small everything runs in that place. They fit perfectly. Dare I suggest they are a lot more flattering on me than on the model from the website (not the one in the photo above - the drugged out looking one I will not link to).

The item comes in 6 colours - the lilac (or dusk) shade being particularly lovely. I'm on a black kick right now - and I don't buy panties that won't match a bra - so that colour isn't for me.

Anyone tried these? Whatcha think?

* I'm in and out of that place - and very infrequently. AA does stock a variety of cotton thong in beige that is a wardrobe staple though. I've tried to find an alternative but there's nothing quite like it, and sure as hell not for 12 bucks. Can't wait to figure out how to draft my own version.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Will to Power (Not to Be Confused with Willpower)

The other day I was talking to a new colleague, telling her about Figleaves (UK), and how much I enjoy the site.

Not only can I find my fave brands there (size tiny to size grand) - from Panache to Freya to Charnos to Made by Niki - but I can generally get them cheaper than from the shop down the street. Even considering shipping - like, international shipping, to Canada! The customer service is very good. The mail-out prompt. What's not to love?

You know I've been on a shopping ban. It went from 3 months to 6 months, with nary a glitch. Of course, as I have mentioned numerous times, it's not exactly hardcore. I have simply put a hiatus on shopping for clothing.

Part of my rationale has been to develop my sewing skills, something that's really been coming along. But it's summer time and I won't have much opportunity, given celebrations and work and vacation and readying M for camp.

Perhaps you know that gorgeous lingerie is my passion? Making it, buying it, wearing it. I'm not discriminating. Well, I'm very discriminating but not about how I come by it, as long as it's fab . I haven't yet got a bra pattern drafted that fits perfectly, though I'm close. I imagine I'll return to it in July or August. Till then, I need a hit.

Let's be blunt. If I didn't buy another bra or pair of undies for the next 2 years, I'd be swimming in options. I need for nothing. And yet I lust after it all.

Having chatted with my new co-worker, I frothed myself into a frenzy and needed to re-review the site. You know, just to assure myself it was still there. :-)

And then I found some things I couldn't resist.

Panache Thong Bodysuit (or Body, if you are British)

Charnos Cherub Shortie (above) and matching bra (below)

Notice a theme? I've bought so many fancy bras over the past couple of years that I'm out of basic (but sumptuous, natch) black.

Here's hoping this all arrives before my vacation begins. A girl needs to be outfitted.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Love Potion No. 2

Korres Wild Rose Brightening Serum

This one is the fave. I cannot tell you how much I love it - and how enjoyable it is to apply. In fact, naturalness be damned, I'm going to try the whole freakin' line.

The scent is beautiful (wild rose, but not pungent), the texture silky and dewy (but not greasy), the packaging lovely (and not glass) and the impact immediately noticeable. My mother tried it when she was here and she looked 5 years younger 3 minutes after one application. It makes my skin feel inexplicably plump all day?!

And it's Greek, which is fun and different. I mean, I've never used product from Greece before.

Its key ingredients are vitamin C from the roses (boring, I know) and extract of the baobab tree. Apparently it's proven to repair skin discolouration and fine lines (I'm just reading the package here). But in my anecdotal experience, it leaves the skin radiant!

The Korres Wild Rose Brightening Serum costs $53.00 CDN which is cheap at the price, in my opinion. And, if you're all into being natural (as I once was), it will fit the bill perfectly.

PS: Korres PR peeps - call me. I'll shill for you anytime. Esp. if it means free product!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Love Potion No. 1

All About Eyes Serum

I'll start my birthday potion review with this purchase because it was the non-negotiable one. I've wanted this product since I first started seeing the ads in magazines. I'm no great fan of Clinique, but I love me anything called a "serum" and the bottle is such a fun shape. Srsly - does it remind you of anything?! :-)

I checked it out a few times before committing to the $32.00 CDN price tag (yes, it is affordable), because I didn't want to be lulled simply by the gimmick.

In the end I was lulled simply by the gimmick - but I'm hardly disappointed!

The roller ball is fantastic. Icy cool to the touch and full of caffeine - who doesn't love that substance? - it will apparently de-puff, soothe and get rid of under-eye circles. It's scent-free and you can, they say, apply it over makeup (not that I've tried). I use it morning and evening after washing my face. It's one of 2 eye potions I wear daily.

Natch, using 2 new eye potions daily, and having worn another by L'Occitane daily for the past 2 years, it's impossible to tell what's doing what (if anything), but I find it totally enjoyable to apply the product.

Has anyone else tried it? If yes, what do you think?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Cooking of Provincial France

Utterly inadequate photo of a great book cover: The Cooking of Provincial France by MFK Fisher

The title is grammatically dicey (Ha! Get it!?), but the book is a feast for the eyes.

MFK Fisher sounds suspiciously like Julia Child, who just happened to consult on this Time Life Foods of the World series book. I swear, I've heard some of the stories, within, told in other media by Mrs. Child herself.

Nonetheless, it is a joy to read. Unwieldily articulate in that mid-century way, the photos are museum-worthy and the recipes awesome. Published in 1968, it's an original edition and one of 4 in the series I got, practically for free, at Nicole's garage sale last weekend. (She tried to gift it to me, generous girl, but I took pains to remind her that the whole point of the garage sale is to score some loot for your formerly beloved possessions.)

I will treasure it!

Do yourself a favour and find it. Unless you already own it, in which case I want to know what you think!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Full Circle

Last Saturday, on my actual 40th birthday (srsly, how lucky is it to have your milestone birthday on a Saturday in June???), my husband organized the most fantastic party ever.

The scene: Scaramouche (where I had my 18th birthday), a restaurant of pedigree. It has the most absurdly beautiful view of the city (it's on an escarpment) and the food is legendary.

The peeps: Sandra (who doubled as the photographer - see the shots at the end of the post), Hilary, Nicole, David, M, Scott, Abbie and Ray (my parents), Steen and, natch, me!

The surprise: Rick Mercer was sitting 2 tables over. We convinced my cute little child to go over and say hello. Tacky, I realize, but for once we threw decorum to the wind. He was outrageously pleasant and professional, fyi.

I cannot express how thrilled and grateful I am to everyone who came out to celebrate with me. Nicole put together a book of special birthday wishes from everybody at the table (talk about advance planning) and, no joke, if you were to read them you would think I'd discovered a cure for cancer and established a working group to bring about world peace. And won an Oscar. I bawled my eyes out.

My parents came all the way from North Carolina (having just been here 2 months ago) on Friday evening and met us at our regular start-the-weekend dinner. It was a total surprise (except, strangely, I had a premonition this would happen!).

I got some beautiful gifts: A jade pendant (from Sandra), 2 Japanese sewing books (from Steen and Nicole) - one is called Drape Drape, a porcelain ring and my fave hand soap (from Scott and M). A few days later, in a fit of extravagance, Scott bought me an iPad with all the accouterments. I made him return it (we already have one in our household), but what a thoughtful purchase.

Really though, just having my family and friends to celebrate with was all the gift I could have asked for. We are all so busy, and spread thin, but we came together seamlessly and had such a GREAT time. After dinner we went back to our house for wine and cheese in the garden.

I also had a life-changing epiphany, early on in the evening. It deserves its own year of therapy, let me tell you. Maybe I'll talk about it someday on the blog...

There's no way for me to articulate my emotional perspective on this occasion. It was a joy to look at the people I care about all around me - to reflect on how I've known them, in some cases since my birth, and in other cases since theirs. Life marches on and loss is a part of the equation. But on this event, the disparate threads were rewoven to create a beautiful tapestry of my life.

I will never forget it.

My father and Scott

Sandra (with the hair), Nicole (in the b/w dress), Hilary (in vintage Missoni). Not my best pic but the ensemble cast is fantastic!

The coconut cream pie is the best thing you will ever eat. Really. I don't bother with the chocolate sauce which is why I requested it on the side. Note: Everyone at the table who ate dessert, had the pie.

Hilly and M - yes, the woman in the background is wearing a wedding dress. That was its own fun story...

Steen on food high

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Life is Good

Today I had the most wonderful time - and I was outrageously productive.

It started off at the best garage sale ever, in Leaside of all places, where I was driven in style by my friend Jennifer. J's friend Nicole is moving - first to Mustique, and then to Hawaii - and she was having one of those "all things must go" sale, wherein I scored:
  • Gorgeous large bowl, from Indonesia (Nicole used to live there), inlaid with mother of pearl and lined with smooth bamboo. Perfect for fruit.
  • 2 nesting bowls, ceramic, in butter yellow, for mixing
  • Real jade bead necklace - also from Indonesia
  • Fun necklace - blue plastic (but very chic)
  • 4 Time Life cook books from 70s - all on Euro cooking. Awesome photos.
  • A box of tapers
  • A black, v-neck cashmere sweater
All of this was $47.00!?!

Then, we went to the Wychwood Barns Market, up at St. Clair and Bathurst. It's only open on Saturdays. I am embarrassed to tell you that I've never been, despite the fact that I can walk there in a half-hour. It was fantastic! I bought amazing empanadas, utterly sublime alfajores, wild Ontario strawberries, homemade brownies made with Bailey's. Jennifer bought her weekly greens, yummy (though messy) veggie roti and gorgeous Gerbera daisies (12 for $7.00) - which she shared with me. We enjoyed the scene while catching up and drinking organic coffee. It was a delight.

If that weren't enough, midday I high-tailed it to Steen and Nicole's (2 Nicoles in 1 day!), where N and I proceeded to make that Donna Karan dress for her in a fab, modern blue and brown pattern (on white background). We pulled it off in a mere 4 hours! (The last one took me a full weekend.) The result was spectacular. It looks beautiful and fits perfectly.

Steen made dinner - steak, sausage, clover greens with nasturtium, asparagus, potatoes lyonnaise and great wines from all over the place. The bread and cheese - and pork rillette - we had to start (and finish) the meal were so delicious.

Honestly, what decadence. Really, it couldn't have been better.

PS: Aiming to get back in the swing of blogging over the next week. I'm hoping to do a breakdown of my recently purchased potions, one by one. Pls. stay tuned.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Montreal Moment

As soon as I have 5 minutes, I intend to tell you about my summer vacation plans, but in the meanwhile let's all content ourselves with beautiful Montreal:

Photo: Apartment Therapy (check out the post)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Pool of the Week

This one is kind of richie-sexy-scary:

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Birthday Deep Thoughts

I'm writing this on the sexy little keyboard that comes with the iPad.

Don't get all excited about it. Somehow, it's not my iPad; it's my husband's. In truth, it's his birthday in 2 weeks and he's "getting a head start". Magnanimously, I'm testing it out for him :-) All weekend. I'm generous that way.

Today I am 40 so, in my wise crone way, I'd like to leave you with a couple of thoughts:

At this milestone age you are old enough to be taken seriously. But still hot.

(Oh, and it beats the hell out of the alternative.)

I am so grateful for so many things right now: I have health and a cute, intelligent, increasingly-independent kid and a great place to live in a lively city. I have amazing friends and a wonderful husband who arranged for my parents to come here from NC yesterday as a surprise. Apparently the surprises may continue!? I am starting a new job on Monday (same organization, new role) and I'm really hopeful it's going to add breadth to my professional experience. I belong to an amazing community of bloggers whose posts, and friendship, enrich my life on a daily basis, I have the luxury of time and adequate resources, which allow me to explore my creativity in new ways all the time. I can pay off my credit card and buy dinner at a nice restaurant (using cash!). Seriously, what's not to love?

I know that this is a moment in time and I try to spend every day acknowledging the capricious nature of things, feeling gratitude for the state of grace in which I find myself.

Just for kicks, if you feel like it, today spend 1 minute thinking about the thing you are most happy about in your life and send that happiness out into the world around you. Then have a fancy drink and a yummy snack and enjoy.


PS: Given that my new job starts next week, it's possible (though not a given) that posts may be sporadic or comments light on the ground. I'll be back in the swing as soon as possible.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Dinner Date

It took a while over dinner at Mercatto (and a decent number of shots) before I made Scott so completely flippy that he started laughing in a cute-guy way:

Thursday, June 3, 2010

No Horsing Around

A couple of weeks ago, on the Friday of the May 2-4 long weekend, I got some good news followed by an invitation for my child to spend the night with a friend (more good news), so Scott and I decided to go out.

The decision about where was so intriguing as to border on onerous.

We started at Sotto Voce (before they opened, technically) for watery, unenthusiastic drinks. By 5:50 p.m. we were ready for dinner (yes, I know it's sad) and we decided to head over to the Black Hoof - one of Toronto's most popular spots. It has the dubious honour, amongst other things, of being the place where Measha Brueggergosman experienced the beginnings of her near fatal aortic dissection. (Note: She had not yet ordered...)

Now despite your assumptions that it's lame to eat dinner at 5:50 p.m. (I'm inferring), I'll have you know that there was a line down the block when we arrived. Charcuterie-crazed Torontonians observantly queued around the block - as only Torontonians can do, waiting politely, if impatiently, for the doors to open. Yes, a restaurant-worth of people were single-stacked, wilting in the drizzle, to get into a hole in the wall before it even opened at an embarrassing hour on a Friday evening.

Oh, who are we kidding, it was still afternoon.

And we were two of them.

All was uncomfortably well until I caught a glimpse of the menu-board in the front window. OK, peeps, amongst the charc and the sweetbreads and other braised organs, I was shocked to discover that horse heart was on the bill.

Horse. Heart.

I realize I don't have a leg to stand on (as does anything else in the place!), but I was so repelled. I eat all kinds of dead animal. Hell, I wear fur. I know it's stupid to distinguish between the creatures you're willing to kill cuz you like them and those you won't touch because they are cute, but I was creeped and freaked and grossed out and amazed that a bunch of hipsters were waiting, vaguely like cows to the slaughter, to eat freakin' horse hearts.

We ended up at Libretto for pizza. On which we put lots of meat.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Sephora

On some subconscious level, it seems I've been waiting 40 years for the experience I had today. No, it wasn't life changing (unless it was). It didn't take longer than an hour. It certainly wasn't outrageous.

Today is the day I went to Sephora to buy lots of high-end product. Serious-ass "wrinkle outwitting" product. With little consideration for cost because it's my 40th birthday on Saturday and doesn't a girl have the right to buy herself a fancy gift in honour of that occasion? (Note: Of course I considered the cost; I'm a woman with a kid and a mortgage. I just set a reasonably high threshold!)

As a young child, reading my mother's Vogue, subliminally absorbing its sophisticated advertising, I stared longingly at the potions marketed to women 10 times my age. These ads glamorously advised that it was a woman's express responsibility - nay, privilege - to preserve her beauty into old age.

I grew up affluent. Many of my mother's friends, my own friend's mothers, were "groomed" within an inch of their lives. And by groomed I mean users of outrageously exclusive product (La Prairie etc.). Or clients of an excellent dermatologist. Or cosmetic surgeon.

Now, I'm getting on in years. In my day, that was the vanguard of "self-preservation". Of course, people in California have always been 20 years ahead of the curve, but everywhere else tucks and lifts and serums (sera?) were the tricks of the trade for the wealthy lady of a certain age.

We didn't have retinol or Botox or Restylane or back-scooping. Sure, we had La Mer - and secretly I tried that when I was 28, unable to restrain myself. But you need to be crepey-plus to benefit from that amount of moisture. Besides, once Lauder took over, I understand they devalued the formula with mineral oil. (Note to reader: That's gossip.)

Here I am now, about to step over the threshold into old-school "middle age", and I am officially entitled to the wrinkle-busters in their fancy glass bottles with droppers and pumps and ridiculous claims.

On entering the temple of unguents, I hooked up with a very good sales associate. She had a definite bias towards "natural" product, which usually I share, though today I was leaning towards the stuff with hard-core, medicinal ingredients. She'd suggest Fresh, I'd counter with Dr. Brant. She'd say organic, I'd suggest active ingredients with power to reduce signs of fine lines.

Eventually, she delicately inferred that she wasn't recommending those products to me because I don't need them. Of course I don't need them! I've been wearing potions for 25 years!

Those young 'uns. They are so naive.

(Please stay tuned for a write up on the products we could both agree on...)