Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Book Recommendation

" I'm writing this down before I go to sleep, because I fear that if I don't 
I will not remember anything"

S J Watson's first novel, BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP, was written between shifts where he worked as an audiologist at London's St Thomas' Hospital.

The story of Christine, who lost her memory and wakes every day to learn her life story all over again; is a cycle of recovered memories versus confabulation. Each day begins with a world of not knowing, followed by a day of feeling hopeless and enormous fear. That is until the pieces of the puzzle begin to fit.

Each page makes you want to stay awake and read more.............

five stars

The Stress Reducer

At the end of the day this is all it would take to melt away the stress. 

GB@H :: OIA, Santorini

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Need to Chill Out

The summer has been busier than we had planned and I'm feeling a strong urge to run away............. no computer, no phone, no deadlines.
I've wanted more time to blog ....... and yet have sat several times in front of the screen trying to figure out what to say.
I am in need of some down time.

I learned a long time ago that simple pleasures can help me get through the days that don't seem to end.

Time for a salt-sea scrub massage.

A warm bubble bath to soak in would ease the tension.

A big soak and lots of attention to my toes.... I love Pedicures.

And lot's of soaking in a pretty tub with a mountain of bubbles, 
that should do the trick.

....... and a glass of champagne.

Whew! I can't wait for the calendar to turn to a brand new month; I hope it isn't as crazy and busy.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Little Black Dress

There is one item that every woman's wardrobe MUST have......... a Little Black Dress (LBD). The wonderful thing about the LBD is that it works for every occasion and looks great on women of any age.

There is a simple rule with owning a Little Black Dress :: one is never enough! 

The Black Dress will take you anywhere -  a job interview, a party, a business meeting, a wedding or a funeral, a dinner date with your sweetie. If the style is classic and simple you will be able to wear your little black dress to all of the above occasions with simple adjustments. The classic sheath style dress is a perfect style for almost every figure type (not all..... there really isn't a one-size-fits-all wearable item).

Jackie looking elegant in her LBD... out walking with her dog.

The sleeveless, simple round neckline style dress looks elegant on its own and takes on many faces when teamed up with a bevy of accessories. Add a fitted cardigan, or a string or two of pearls, or a large elegant belt at the wait ..... or a skinny belt in a striking colour. Wear the sheath with a blazer, or a great scarf, or a belt, or a shear blouse over top.

Jackie Kennedy always demure wears a class black dress with pearls.

Coco Chanel started the trend of the LDB.

classic black lace dress with 3/4 sleeves

I remember one of the first LBD's I owned, I was probably around 18. The dress had black sheer fabric at the yoke area; I wore it many places including a funeral when I topped the dress with a blazer. What a great start to the collection.

Audrey set the bar high with her striking dresses in Breakfast at Tiffany's.

I own (still) a classic tank style black dress that has a lycra lining with flat round beads all over it. I bought the dress to wear for an awards ceremony that I was attending. I knew that I was 'runner-up' in the Top Sales category at the conference, and decided to wear a dress with a bit of sass to take the sting out of being second place. I bought a small seed bead bolero style jacket to wear with the dress.
Both pieces are still packed away in my wardrobe, they are classics I don't plan to part with. 

Goldie Hawn

I had a great body hugging black lycra dress that sat two inches above my knees, it had long sleeves, a round neckline and full shoulder pads (oh the 80's shoulder padded everything). I wore the dress to as many body-hugging-dress-occasions as allowed; but I really had to be in a 'slim' mood to put it on. I loved that little black dress, it was very sexy.

Julia Roberts in Vintage Valentino

In addition to the little black dress, I have and still do, own several LONG black dresses. One of my favourites was a full length black velvet gown with a deep V in the back. The dress had a white chiffon scarf that was tacked along the front neckline and draped down the back V of the dress. The Vintage Valentino gown that Julia Roberts wore to the Oscars was very similar in style to the gown I own.

Marilyn in a great slip dress.

The Little Black Slip Dress is a great item to have in your wardrobe, provided you have fabulously toned arms. It will present itself elegantly enough to wear out for dinner when donned with a pair of heels and still be a great dress to wear with slipper flats for the daytime.

I love vintage styling from the 1950's that has a fitted bodice and full skirt draping to a cocktail length. First Lady, Michelle Obama wore vintage Norman Norell last Christmas; her well toned arms and lean figure compliment the feminine flow of the dress.

The LBD, short or long can be changed with simple accessories. Typically woman wear black heals with a black dress; but the ensemble can take on a whole new look by adding colourful shoes. I bought a great pair of soft red/wine coloured cut velvet heels ..... seriously, they are so pretty. I don't wear them often enough because the weather must be great to keep them in pristine condition. But when I do wear them, it is with this perfect little black dress I currently own, and it really does make the dress look fantastic.

Charismatic !

Princess Diana wore this knock-out LBD to an event on the night that Prince Charles appeared on television admitting his affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles. This LBD had attitude and was frequently referred to as the 'Up Yours, Charles' dress.

Dorothy Dandridge

American actress and singer, Dorothy Dandridge wore everything well; in particular she looked strikingly elegant. The black cat suit is topped with a long black sheer skirt that peeps open to review her elegant and lean frame. Elegantly and playfully she added a pair of kitten heels to complete the look. This is a great addition to the little black dress wardrobe, and is a timeless style.

I read somewhere recently about a stylish woman who admitted she had 67 little black dresses............ she obviously lives by the motto that 'you can never have too many'. Can you imagine her wardrobe closet.

One of the most iconic LBD's is the dress Audrey Hepburn wore in Breakfast at Tiffany's. Here she proves that when the dress fits you can look striking and gorgeous doing even the simplest things.

I always feel 'dressed' when I wear one of my black dresses, whether it is short or long.  When I select one of my LBD's to wear for a dinner out with Richard I feel extra special, somehow more elegant.  He of course, is the most generous man in many ways and in particular with his compliments. Richard always makes me feel special and I love to dress in up for our special nights out...... in my little black dress.

With Richard in Greece .... wearing my 'Audrey' dress.

Little, Long, Short, Strapless, Full-skirt, Sheath ............... 
sexy and GLAMOUROUS..... the LBD.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Patina Style

My copy of Patina Style by Brooke Giannetti & Steve Giannetti, arrived today. I tried to pick up a copy in New York the day it was released, but they had not landed on the book store shelves yet. So when I returned back home I ordered a copy on-line ( of the creative book that is penned by the Creators of Velvet and Linen. Canadian bloggers/ readers visits at

I know for sure that I snatched the parcel away from the receptionist today when she brought it to me.................. just a tad bit excited.

There are five generous chapters that cover every aspect of the design style we have all fallen in love with. You know that the pages which are about to be revealed will be incredible, when the first chapter is boldly titled 'Embracing Imperfections'.

I am devouring the pages that are filled with beautiful images and defined  explanations on the Giannetti's design style. Already I have revisited one particular page several times : Trim and Molding.
If you wonder how and where Steve and Brooke get their incredible style sense from visit here ::  Velvet & Linen. Brooke posted a wonderful page recently that describes Steve's family background in ornamental plaster.

If you haven't ordered or picked up your copy of Patina Style....... well, what are you waiting for.

Congratulations to Brooke and Steve on your new book. I love it!

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Walk Around Town

.............. another walk around our town. 

This is our town...... and we love it! Every day I discover something new and as the seasons change, so does the beauty of our neighbourhood. 

If you recognize your home or garden here, it was chosen because it adds an element of charm to our pretty town. 

Historical Home on Lakeshore Drive, Oakville

I love this enclosed porch with windows.

This is a great bungalow grown UP. Love the front lanai.

Historical houses have a plaque announcing the first owner.

We love the front porch of this old brick home. The owner has set a clean modern tone by removing the railings and adding a wall of ivy vine hanging down the side to create a privacy wall.

I love reclaimed brick for walkways and steps.... and patio's.

I took a picture of this historical house a few months ago. It overlooks the lake directly and has large property. The house has new owners since then.........

The house is Historical and cannot be torn down, but it can be reworked within our Historical Society and Town guidelines. It is currently a shell with much updating and renovating going on. Updates to follow.

This is my favourite house. Sigh!

This 1940 colonial style house went is located right across the street from our church, under a canopy of beautiful tree's, and two doors from the lake. Last year the house went up for sale, the 97 year old owner had passed on and her children started the process to sell. 
I went to view the house, took one step in the front foyer and fell in love. The house speaks ...... of the love and the family and the experiences over the years there. I discovered that the owners name was Katherine, so is it any wonder that I could see in my mind our Granddaughter running across the lawn. We did not buy this beauty. 
I pass by now and see that the new owners are restoring to the glory of the Era; after all this girl was Canadian House of the Year in 1942. 

This is our town : a community with spirit, character and respect for tradition.
It's a GLAMOUROUS place.

The walk around Oakville continues......... 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Love Me Tender

Next week, August 16th to be exact, marks 34 years since the death of Elvis Presley. In his 42 years Elvis left a sizable mark on the Rock'n-Roll scene, impacted the musical movie business and still remains in the hearts of millions of fans.

Today marks the start of 'Elvis Week'. Time to break out your old vinyl and swivel yours hips to the tunes that are forever timeless.

1955 image : William Speer

Often you hear people recite where they were when they heard the news of a tragic passing; President John Kennedy, Martin Luther King, John Lennon, and of course Elvis. In August of 1977, my boyfriend and I had already planned a trip into the south of Florida. We were told the drive in to Memphis wasn't too long (ha), and so we ventured over to Graceland on our way to Florida.

Elvis had only passed away three or four weeks when we visited Memphis, and was at the time in a crypt at the Forest Hill Cemetery where his Mother was buried. When we visited the cemetery floral tributes were still being delivered, and one arrived when we were there. It was a four foot high white floral design shaped like a guitar; people began taking flowers off of the arrangement to keep as souvenirs. We were very upset as we watched fans take tributes meant for Elvis and we left the cemetery.
It was shortly after that time (within the month) that someone attempted to steal the body. Both the body of Elvis and his Mother were then moved to the Meditation Garden on the grounds at Graceland.


We visited Graceland which was still occupied at the time by Elvis' Father Vernon. One of his Uncle's was on staff as security and chatted with people at the Gates of Graceland. We wandered and like most of the fans took pictures of the house from beyond the gates. People had managed to remove some of the metal music notes from the custom gates and the sense of sadness around the pillaging was enormous.

At the time there was nothing keeping people from walking up the side of the property along the brick security wall.... which of course we did. At all of 18 I didn't see anything wrong with peaking over the wall; that was until the security came out and said 'we got you on camera little girl', as he pointed to the camera up in the tree.


My Mother has told me many times, that when Elvis first started in the business the television camera would not take pictures of him full length. Those swiveling hips were just too much for the times. For many of us, Elvis' famous hip-swivel dance routine was as exciting as his voice.


Bob Dylan described hearing Elvis as 'like busting out of jail'.


In 1964 Elvis proved that having a Blue Christmas was just fine. The single recording topped the Billboard charts at a time when they did not rank holiday recordings. In 2008 Sony released a duet dubbed with Martina McBride singing the holiday hit along with Elvis. Ms. McBride was styled for the video to reflect the era of the original recording; but you cannot help and notice how much she resembles the softer look that Priscilla wore in earlier years.


I watched all of the Elvis movies, he was the guy who always got the girl and busted out in song all the time. Who could resist that devilish smile and those sparkling eyes.
Elvis' music plays on with generations who never had the opportunity to see him perform with remix tunes like 'A little less Conversation', which is a huge club scene favourite.


The impersonators could never match Elvis' sultry voice or sexual appeal, but yet the fascination continues and they try. Television director Steve Binder was quoted as saying "whether you are male or female, you cannot help but look at him. He is that good looking. If he walked into the room you would know that someone special was in your presence".


When I married in 1978 (and since divorced), our first dance was to Elvis' song 'I Can't Help Falling in Love' [written by Otis Blackwell & Elvis Presley]. This all time romantic favourite has been played at many weddings since it first hit the air waves back in 1962. Generations for years to come will cuddle to that huge hit and dance to the remixes that shape a new generation.

Elvis - the KING of Rock'n Roll. He is not iconic, he is memorable. May wonderful memories of his talent continue to live on.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

New York, New York

We have been home from an extended long weekend in New York City for several days.............  but the week has been insanely busy, so downloading images and posting had to wait.

There is a valid reason why they say New York is the city that doesn't sleep. Whew! It was a weekend without rest, but it was so much fun!


Richard and I agree that our favourite spot in New York is the Boathouse at the lake in Central Park. The willow trees blow along the waters edge while people paddle in row boats. Peaking over the canopy of the tree tops is a neat row of buildings that showcases some of the stunning architecture that is so abundant in New York.


We enjoyed bevy's on the lakeside dock one very hot afternoon while we sat and  watched the gondola driver maneuver people around the volume of row boats. I couldn't help but marvel at the huge rock formation that dots specific spots around the park; in particular the bedrock that seems to flow down into the water along side of the lanai of the boathouse. You begin to feel as if you are in cottage country, rather than right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of one of the busiest cities in the world.


We wandered up through Central Park loving every step along the way. The lushness of this property comes from the 26,000 tree's that dress the landscape of the park. The canopy of American Elms, all 1,700 of them, stand strikingly tall with their branches waving like arms above your head. When we walked through the path beneath the elms I knew that no matter what season you wander through Central Park, it is always a scenic journey.


The noise of the city seems to disappear when you are in Central Park.


A view of the city from the perch of Belvedere Castle.

Beyond the iconic spots to visit in New York, there is an array of great shows playing on Broadway. We went to see Spider-Man, Turn Off the Dark; a 75 million dollar production with a musical score written by Bono and the Edge.  It was boldly evident that U2's front runners are in charge of the Broadway-ized musical direction. The elaborate technical show, based on the fictional comic book super hero features Reeve Carney as the neighbourhood friendly web-slinger. The performance we took in showcased alternate Spider-Man Matthew James Thomas, who proved his capabilities when he sang 'Boy Falls From Sky'. His voice is spectacular. 

Jennifer Damiano's vocal control and range filled the Foxwood Theater and sent goosebumps up my arm. The audience cannot help but feel the delight when her crystal clear voice rises through the range in 'If the World Should End'.

There cannot be a comic book hero without a villain causing havoc. The audience feels the thrill as Patrick Page morphs from scientist Norman Osborn into the Green Goblin. Page was made for this role and clearly delights in the the opportunity to portray the genetically altered green bad-boy. I laughed out loud at how much fun Mr. Page was clearly having playing a mutated freak.

Although no strings or webs were involved, we morphed from the comic book production to the theatrics of fashion hero Alexander McQueen's 'Savage Beauty' Fashion Exhibit at the Met. The fashion curious crowds visiting the exhibit have reached over 650,000, and will continue to climb before the wardrobes are packed away at the final closing Sunday night at midnight . We were fortunate to get into the exhibit with a MET Members priority pass that allowed us to bypass the 2 hour wait in line, an opportunity that has since been revoked.

The bespoke British fashion designer and couturier is best know for his emotional injected and provocative fashions. Lee (as he is most know to industry insiders), made his mark when he lent his creativity to the house of Givenchy for five years. McQueen was one of the youngest designers to earn the title 'British Designer of the Year', an accomplishment that he achieved four times. 

McQueen's collections always elaborated 'themes'; once from the inspiration of Elizabeth Taylor in the movie Cleopatra, and then the creations morphed into darker productions that at times seemed like visions from lucid dreams. 
Lee dressed them all.... Prince Charles, Gorbachev, celebrities Sarah Jessica Parker, Penelope Cruz, Nicole Kidman, Cameron Diaz to name a few.
McQueen provided the 'love to shock' exposure in his collections and often portrayed scenes of death, violence and masochism in his runway creations. More than anything McQueen created a 'mark' on the fashion world that will never be forgotten.


And then there is Times Square..... which is electrifying. The energy level of people visiting and wandering is incredible. I began to wonder if we were all feeding off of the power from the magnitude of lights. You cannot help but feel happy and 'lit-up' being in the middle of these blocks. Standing in the center of the multitude of screens and lights, I could imagine the excitement on New Years Eve.


We visited some of the usual places..... Rockefeller Square, the Central Library, etc. 
But one of the places that I love is Grand Central Terminal {did you know that Grand Central STATION is the post office?}. The preserved architectural details take you back in time and you can almost imagine the throngs of visitors who have entered the doors of the station. 


In the main concourse hangs an American flag that was hung after the September 11th attacks on the U.S. The four-faced clock at the top of the information booth is a preserved masterpiece of design. The clock faces are made from opal and have an  estimated worth between 10 and 20 million dollars. The information booth is pagoda style and made of marble and brass, the ticket booths have the same finishes. As you step up to the ticket booth you feel as if you have stepped back in time, and you can easily imagine travelers for the past one hundred and fifty years passing through this majestic space.


Of course the adventure to New York wouldn't be complete without a bit of shopping. Fifth Avenue is the spot to find everything you could ever want. Versace, Gucci, Harry Winston, Chanel, Saks, Bergdoff Goodman, Armani, and the store I really wanted to visit...... Tiffany & Co. 

Not only does the flagship Tiffany store have items that are not available in any of their other locations, but the store is iconic because of the movie 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' {my favourite movie and yes, I'm a huge Audrey fan}. 
Just wandering through and admiring the extreme baubles in the showcases was enjoyable, albeit a bit frightening for Richard. The concierge agreed to rescue him if I wandered too deeply among the counters filled with diamonds. 

The Tiffany Yellow Diamond : 'Bird on the Rock' (truly an understatement)  is on display at this location. The 128.54 carat stone boasts 90 facets of brilliance and is an antique square cut. The stone was last valued in 1983 at the tidy sum of 12 Million dollars....... hmmm, no need for the concierge to rescue Richard. 
I took a photo and quietly walked away.


No wonder the state travel slogan song is ............


It was so much fun............