Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Images of the resort we are currently staying will have to wait until we return home .... I neglected to pack the camera connector (thankfully it is the only thing I forgot). 
We are starting to wind down, something that generally takes three days into a trip; so I am grateful that we have a stretch of time away to enjoy the tranquility.

One of the pleasures of beach side vacations is that it allows us to laze around and restore ourselves. I love the opportunity to pour over many books and listen to every song on my iPod - which I never have time for at home. 

One of the books that I brought to read was given to me recently as a gift for my birthday. 
High Society - The Life of Grace Kelly by Donald Spoto is in addition to exhaustive research, a collection of personal interviews with Grace and her children.

Grace Kelly was beautiful, feminine in every sense of the word and as described by the author appropriately as elegant and 'real'. Donald Spoto takes the reader on a fascinating journey of young Grace and her very early days in the spotlight. He describes how Grace struggled for the acceptance and positive attention of her Father; a man who openly showed favouritism to her sister, noting that he never expected Grace to amount to much of anything.

 Woven in the tail of Grace Kelly's struggle as she tried her hand at acting, are the personal comments she recants to Spoto about her acting and Hollywood in general. 
It was a different time and the studios 'owned' a star. The book gives a solid outline of how the big studios contracted stars and sold them out to other studios for a profit. This was something that Katharine Hepburn and Grace Kelly both challenged in order to gain the movie roles they deserved.

Grace Kelly and Cary Grant

Mingled in the story of Grace Kelly the author weaves the stories of many other actors from this era. There are wonderful tales of the Diva's of the decades (both male and female) and the behind the scene glances of ego's and uncertainties. 

We all know the story of the beautiful star who met her prince charming. There is more revealed about her in the pages of the book  ............... I urge you to enjoy a copy High Society - The Life of Grace Kelly and discover more about the true spirit of Grace Kelly. 

Accompanying the book, I received two tickets to see the Grace Kelly exhibit currently in Toronto at the Bell Light Box (running until January 22nd, 2012). I'm looking forward to taking in the exhibit in January when the hustle of the holidays is over.

Grace and Prince Rainier      via snap/rex features.

GRACE  by Jean Howard

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sun & Fun

Why is it that when you are getting ready to go on vacation you spend an enormous amount of time putting things in order..... just so you can go away? I feel like Richard and I have run at warp speed the past two weeks getting ready for a much needed vacation.  I'm so excited that we will have 'US' time.

vacation toes in Mexico

My laptop will be going with me as there are a few business issues still to be checked on; and the truth is it will give me the opportunity to search the internet and post a few blogs.


I love being away with Richard and having the chance to just .............. ahhh, relax. No traffic, no office, no rushed schedules, no groceries to bring in or meals to cook - just tranquility.

We will have several walks on the beach and take new beach toe pictures to add to our collection. The plan is to write a couple of quick posts with some pretty pictures of the resort in Punta Cana.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Natalie Wood

There has suddenly been new interest in the details around the death of actress Natalie Wood. It has been thirty years since she drowned off her and husband Robert Wagner's private yacht near Catalina Island. And while there is no doubt that the tabloids will once again spin many stories around various theories, I thought it was important to recognize once again the beauty and talent of Natalie Wood.

Natalie appeared in 56 films and for the big screen and television; she was nominated for three Oscar's before she turned 25. Her acting career began when she was just 4 years old, but it was when she was 8 that she appeared in Miracle on 34th Street. It was this epic holiday film that first gained Natalie notoriety.

Natalie was only 16 years old when she played along side of James Dean in Rebel Without A Cause, a film that earned her a an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

Natalie had a fear of drowning after falling into a river and almost drowning at the age of nine while she was filming a movie. As a result of the accident Natalie's left wrist was left weakened with a slight bone protrusion, she wore oversized bracelets on her left wrist ever since that time to help distract away from it.
The invisible scar from the accident was much deeper; Natalie developed a fear of drowning and on several occasions adjustments were made while filming due to her concerns.

via scarletshowcase
Natalie's beauty earned her many titles that noted her glamourous style including "The Most Beautiful Teenager in The World" by Life Magazine (1956). 

The petite beauty who was only 5 feet tall wore heels most of the time, and it was generally noted that her height was 5' 3" {her height in heels}. Natalie had a soft sexy style, vivid brown eyes and a generous smile. 

Warren Beatty and Natalie Wood

Warren Beatty and Natalie Wood met and began their relationship when filming 'Splendour in the Grass' in 1961. After their relationship ended Natalie was so distraught that she attempted suicide. The yacht that Natalie and Wagner owned, and subsequently she drowned off of was named 'Splendour' - as a nod to the 1961 film.

via faunavintage

Natalie married Robert Wagner twice - in 1972 and again in 1981. She was a Mother to two daughters - one with husband Richard Gregson and one with husband Robert Wagner. 

Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood

Here is a further look at this talented actress and beautiful lady.

Natalie looking seriously GLAMOUROUS in white lingerie.

On the boat Splendour

by Alan Grant 1960

"You know what I want? I want yesterday"
Natalie quoted shortly before her tragic death.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Blog Friends

I have always said that the very best thing you will recieve at any job is the friendships you make. You may agree with this or not, but for me at least, it is true. And while I don't consider blogging 'a job', any good blogger knows it is work, it is research, it is digging into your creative pockets and pulling out more than just fluff.
Recently I was introduced to Joni at Cote de Texas who asked for permission to use some of my pictures. I was honoured. Joni is a wonderful writer and has an eye for detail {visit her blog by clicking here}. The bonus on top of a very generous mention on Joni's blog, is that I have a new blog friend.

I have just celebrated my one year anniversary as a blogger and I never imagined how much fun this would be. Thanks to my blog friends who leave me such warm hugs notes; special thanks to Joni for introducing her readers to my blog this week, and welcome to the new readers and blog followers.

Christmas Traditions

We are getting ready for the Santa parade which takes place this Saturday {in Olde Oakville, Ontario}. Last year we had the 'Grand' pleasure of taking our new Granddaughter to enjoy the fun and start a tradition that we plan to continue for many years. Baby Kya fell asleep part way through the event, but I think she may be a bit more of a party girl this year.

Sunday we will visit Santa and have the 'official' picture taken. It took the full energy of my Daughter and I to shop for Baby K's Santa outfit {trying outfits on an 18 month old is exhausting). We will have our video and pictures of the event, and then all go for dinner after visiting Santa. These are new traditions that our family is putting in place with this new little Angel in our lives.

via weebirdy
We have our family traditions for all of the holidays just as most families do. But there is something magically about having the opportunity to introduce something new or to share once again the things that delighted my own children. I have kept ornaments since my children were very small and passed them on to them. Although I changed some of the Christmas decor over the years, it was traditional for the most part. There is something warm and comforting when you open up the barely held together boxes each year and see those treasures once again.

I love these cardboard houses and churches covered in sparkle snow.    via
 I made several Lifesaver People to hang on our Christmas tree when the kids were small. This was a project I learned when I was in Brownies {oh, many many moons ago}.
Basically you run a darning needle with wool up through the lifesaver candy roll  (this is the body) - then you run it through a small styrofoam ball (for the head) - then you pierce it through a circle of felt (this is the hat). Make a big loop at the top so you can hang it from the tree. The 'arms and legs' are several lengths of yarn looped in at each end of the lifesaver candy roll. Glue on eyes, nose, mouth. And that is the lifesaver person. Ok - I clearly need to make one and post it on the site - they are cute and easy to make.

One year I found my three year old Daughter perched on the arm of the sofa next to the tree, she could not figure out how to get the candies out and was sitting eating the candy still hooked up to the branch. That memory plays over and over in my mind every Christmas, and I'm wise enough to know that is what tradition is all about.

My Son is now the proud owner of our bubble lites, which are originally from around 1987. My kids and I loved them and made sure each year that they were placed in a strategic spot on the tree. The lites heat up and the coloured liquid bubbles up the glass tube dancing magically on the tree branch.

Below is an image of Noma brand bubble-lites. I worked for this company before I had children, and this is where my ornament collection first started.

I have never been a designer tree kind of person, instead I lovingly unwrap the boxes of ornaments each year and marvel at their vintage appeal all over again. I have mercury glass acorn ornament that reminds me of my Grandmother, and several Cardinal ornaments that tug at my heart as I think of my Dad.

My Mother decided one year to buy a silver tinsel Christmas tree. It was the rage at the time {I'm guessing around 1965}. It was a wooden pole with holes in it, on a stand. The silver tinsel wrapped twisted wire were the branches that stuck in the holes to create the 'branches'. My Mom decorated it in red and blue ornaments. Now the tree is considered 'retro'; but to my Sister and I it is a memory of how cool we were at the time.

OK, not as cool as these ornaments............ but pretty hip for the time.

Not to say that my Mother lost her cool sense, but the Christmas decor developed into a more tradtional sense a few years after that. Pixies, bows, tinsel and some of my Grandparents original ornaments adorned our family tree.

via pixie urngarden

I loved creating Christmas traditions with my children, and it is so rewarding that as adults they continue on with them. It always made me happy when the kids asked simple questions at Christmas time like 'are we going to make those chocolate cookie drops on Christmas Eve'. One year I made a letter from Santa, rolled up and tide in ribbon, it had burned edges on the paper. Santa explained to my children that they had been very good and they must share the toys he {she} was leaving them. The letter has it's place of honour sitting in the branches of the tree every year, and my adult children laugh at me playing Santa to that level.

There is something incredibly fulfilling about knowing you have established solid roots for your children; and even the simple things like making popcorn and hot chocolate to have while you decorate the tree together translates to TRADITION.

It has been exciting the past few years sharing traditions with Richard in our new life together, and I know he is as thrilled as I am to introduce our Granddaughter to the magic of the season.

I love to read your comments, so leave me a message about your most memorable Christmas Tradition.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Canadian Decor Talent

Canadian decorator Tommy Smythe........ you know him, we all love him. Tommy is the decor partner of Sarah Richardson, and his decor style is a solid blend of masculine influences with sophisticated classic.

I love this kitchen and the blend of elements. What a comfortable place to create a meal, bake some cookies or pour a glass of wine to share over conversation with a friend.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Fur real

We are heading into cooler temperatures in Ontario and it's time to start thinking about layering up. Last week I was out and noticed a woman around my age (soooo young), she was wearing slim jeans, a cable sweater in a deep tone and a vintage fur stole. The look was stylish and pulled together, the addition of the vintage fur made it very chic.
Now before anyone objects to the idea of fur, remember there are flawless renditions of faux fur. What a fun look it makes.

Vintage fur stoles and coats can be found at many consignments shops and estate sales.

antiques atlas

michelle bablo

This fur stole with braided fringe makes an elegant statement with a dress or suit, and would be so much fun to wear with jean or over a jean jacket.

Although fur was originally worn for the warmth it provided it has developed over the years into a fashion item {with the added benefit of warmth}.

Elizabeth Taylor steps out in style and fur.

Lucy was so excited about her new fur coat, she decided to wear it with her pajamas.

This season Jean Paul Gaultier showcased his collection and the looks were completed with 'fur bundle-buggies' to carry your groceries in style.

One of the biggest accessories this season is the resurgence of 'fur cuffs' that can be worn with boots or shoes.

fur cuffs for the ankle or wrist                  via we heart it

And the most fashionable and loved girl in the world wears her fur coat and hat in a rainbow of colours. Gotta love Barbie.

I think I might hunt down a vintage stole to wear with fun pieces like jeans. And then again, I will likely end up buying clothes for my Granddaughter as I generally do when shopping. Hmmm.......