Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Poster Boy

I was driving in my car today when the announcer came on the radio and said that Davy Jones, former member of American pop group The Monkees, had died. Sadly at 66 years young Davy succumbed to a sudden and unexpected heart attack.

Davy Jones Brit-Pop lead singer of The Monkees

Whenever I hear songs from The Monkees or even one of the band members names, I can't help but think about the posters of the lads adorning the walls of my bedroom when I as a young girl. My Sister and I loved The Monkees....... ok, we obsessed about The Monkees. It was probably one of our earliest group crushes. We shared a bedroom until we hit our teens and albeit that there were many things we didn't agree on in the shared space, posters of the Brit-pop singer emblazoned both 'sides' of the room.

Davy Jones rehearsing with song writer Chip Douglas     via

'Hey, hey we're The Monkees, 
and people say we monkey around, 
but we're too busy singing,
 to put anybody down'

 ........ what wasn't to love.

Davy Jones looking groovy in his ruffled shirt.

The cover of Tiger Beat magazine {of which my Sister and I coveted} featured images of the psychedelic bubblegum group - Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, Peter Tork and Davy Jones. The albums and singles sold over 65 million copies worldwide with the most memorable tunes including 'The Last Train to Clarkesville', 'I'm Not Your Stepping Stone', 'Daydream Believer', and of course the group them song 'The Monkees'.    
It all brings back a flood of great memories, some of which may not have been so wonderful for our parents as we sang along with the 45's spinning on our record player. 

My Sister Donna and I may be in our early fifties now, but back in the 60's we were the typical young girls squealing 'I love you Davy'. Just the mention of The Monkees and Davy Jones makes us both react with giddiness and reminisce about our first poster boy. {I see at bit of Justin Bieber in the early images of Davy.}

The Monkees : Mike Nesmeth, Davy Jones, Peter Tork, Micky Dolenz 

"We love you Davy!"

Monday, February 27, 2012

Oscar Worthy

It's the morning after that coveted golden man 'Oscar' was placed in the hands of the top talent in the film industry.

Despite the overwhelming love affair with the 'red carpet', the Academy Awards are a recognition of the hard work and talent of everyone involved in films. If you haven't seen the nominated films yet I urge you to treat yourself to the experience of watching these golden films in the best viewing room - a theater . 


It was back in May of 1929 that the very first Academy Awards were presented at the Blossom Room at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. The picture above of the Pantages in 1959 shows that a simple line-up of valet drivers was all that was required at the red carpet. How things have changed.

I have not viewed all of the films yet so maybe it's a bit unfair to remark, and albeit that they are very different movies, I could watch both 'The Help' and 'Warhorse' many times over. The Artist, Hugo, and The Iron Lady are on my list of must watch movies on the big screen.

I was excited that Octavia Spencer won Actress in a Supporting Role in her portrayal of the character Minny Jackson for the film 'The Help'. Ms. Spencer is sure to shine on screen again in many dramatic roles.

Canadian legendary actor Christopher Plummer won for Actor in a Supporting Role for 'Beginners'. His speech was one that will become memorable for years to come. Mr. Plummer looked lovingly at the Oscar statue and said; "your only two years older than me darling, where have you been all my life". At 82 years of age, the Toronto born actor is the oldest actor to win an Oscar.

Congratulations to all of the nominees and winners.

Faye Dunaway - the morning after the Oscar's 1977. Ms. Dunaway won for Best Actress in the movie 'Network'. Peter Finch won post humously as Best Actor for the same film.      image: terry o'neill

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Born in a Barn

The words 'were you born in a barn?' was something that many of us may have heard from our Mother when we were growing up. The phrase actually was in reference to the draft that suddenly poured into the house from a gust of air from an open door.

I have a great appreciation for the influence that barn doors have in common house decor. Here are some great design styles incorporating barn doors and doors on barn hinges in almost every area inside the home.

Barn Doors on the Bar-B-Que hut.

Barn Door with transom window to allow light between rooms.

Original wood barn door makes a rustic entry to the bath.

refined doors with notched handles glide on barn rollers

Barn doors hide the laundry room and add a punch of colour to the space.

This rustic single barn door conceals the pantry shelf in a kitchen.

Wood frame doors with screening glide on barn door rollers {love this idea}.

Full doors on barn rollers are a great alternative to tradition sliding patio doors.

Traditional barn doors painted out to match the decor add an elegant function to the space.

Of course a barn door could be placed on the exterior as an accent.

I urge you to take a peek over at For the Love of a House {here} to see the beautiful barn doors that Joan and Dan installed in their renovated  New Hampshire home. 
The barn door raising can be seen here - all 700 pounds of solid wood on iron rails. 
The highlight of the barn room transformation are the antique doors with wood that glows in all of its rustic charm.

We have 12 foot high antique doors very similar to these ones. Hmmm, maybe putting them on barn door rollers is a way to use them and highlight their beauty. hmmmm !!


Friday, February 17, 2012

Have a GLAMOUROUS Weekend

Hoping your weekend is filled with special moments and a little bit of GLAMOUR.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Hair Style Revival

Fashion trends come back around and re-invent themselves in cycles. There are some trends that we can all afford to live without, like the over-sized shoulder pads that were stuffed into the line of every jacket or dress back in the 80's.

Hair styles are no different on the merry-go-round of fashion revivals. The bouffant coiffure was adopted by Marie Antoinette to help give her fine hair the illusion of a much fuller look. The over-teased and exaggerated puff was THE hairstyle in the 60's with woman of all sectors wearing the back-combed and generously lacquered 'do'.

The ladies of Motown {The Supremes, Ronnettes, Etta James}, Jackie Kennedy, Lady Bird Johnson, Pat Nixon, Mary Tyler Moore, all wore the 'fluffed' look. The idea of 'big hair' took on another dimension in the 80's when we all began to wear the new claim to the bouffant stardom. I had my hair cut short at the time, but the layers were long enough on the top that I could curl and then tease my hair BIG {I really need to scan some of my old pictures to add to the blog}.

Each generation reinvents portions of fashion trends and adapts them in a new way. The puff hairstyle has made a new resurgence with a soft and feminine appeal that even I would wear. Beyond the mega watt voices of Adele and Jennifer Hudson, both woman wore elegant classic fashions and soft puff hairstyles at last weekends Grammy Awards presentation.

ADELE                                                     via AP

JENNIFER HUDSON                   via matt sayles for AP

The styling wasn't the over processed and starched look that first made the puff popular, but a softer sexy fullness that brought a feminine finish to their total look. Jennifer Hudson wore the 60's helmet hair version when she acted in Dream Girls. We've seen her style in both fashion and hair evolve with Jennifer's talent, and now her style floats into the ease as a sexy young woman with her svelte figure.

Dream Girls

Jennifer's hair was softly curled and backcombed to create the the feminine coiffure.
Adele's thick hair, now a lighter golden shade, was lightly puffed and flipped to add a soft and flirty dimension. I love this look on both of these Grammy Award winning ladies, and I think I'd like to play with it a bit myself.

via AP

matt sayles - AP

The puff can be calmed for daytime - here is a bit of inspiration............

Drew Barrymore

Catherine Deneuve

 Anne Hathaway

For me, I think I'll try a few rollers and light back-combing. Maybe be a little shy with the 'puff' idea for fear of looking like a flashback to another era.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Magic is You

You sigh, a song begins
You speak, and I hear violins
It's Magic
Well the stars desert the skies
and rush to nestle in your eyes
It's Magic

Without a golden wand
or mystic charms,
Fantastic things begin
when I'm in your arms.

When we walk hand in hand
the world becomes a wonderland
It's Magic
Well, how else can I explain
Those rainbows when there is no rain
It's Magic.....

Why do I tell myself 
These things that happen are all really true
When in my heart I know 
The Magic is my love for you.

Happy Valentine's Day to My Love.

You are the Magic in my life.

*lyrics to 'It's Magic' by Dinah Washington

Sunday, February 12, 2012

White Valentine

In Japan, it is the women who give gifts of chocolates for Valentine's Day, generally to the men in their life although some gifts are presented to female friends. This is a symbol of love, courtesy or social obligation. Handmade chocolates are preferred by the man who receives the gift as it generally signifies that he is the girls 'one and only'. 
The gifts of chocolates are divided into three types; giri choco {obligatory chocolate}, honmei choco {chocolate for the 'one and only'}, and tomo choco {for a girls girlfriends}. 

It is likely that most women in Japan will present up to 30 boxes of chocolate on Valentine's Day. It is important that the woman includes her co-workers and men she comes in contact with on a regular basis. Can you imagine if you had a social circle with a broad range? 

Don't think for one minute that the men get off easily. One month later, on March 14th, the men who were fortunate enough to receive gifts of chocolate have the opportunity to return the love. White Day is the day that men generously give white boxes of chocolates to those who gifted them on Valentine's Day. And for an unknown reason the box of bon bons is supposed to be bigger than the one received. Ha......... White Day, I think I love you. 

Rita Hayworth with a lot of chocolate love.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Couture Design :: Mark Belford

I was off last week visiting my good friend Mark Belford at his studio in Yorkville {Toronto}. Mark is a talented Couture Designer who understands the beauty of a woman and creates the most elegant fashion for 'ladies'. Mark adores the romantic soft vintage Hollywood aura and it is reflective in his designs; but you can see that he injects a little bit of daring in each and every fashion he creates.

Mark Belford Couture {in the design studio}

I first shared details about Mark's couture designs here, and since that posting 'Mr. Vivacious' {he really does have the most incredible smile} has been concentrated on producing glamourous gowns for some very special clients.

Although I love the swooping long red carpet style gowns, I will admit that the flirty short dresses that Mark dreams up makes me feel like skipping off to flash my gams.  That is precisely what the lovely Michele Hicks did at the Moca Gala when she donned a Mark Belford Couture dress for the event.

Michele Hicks via Vogue {Dutch}

Michele Hicks at the Moca Gala - wearing Mark Belford Couture

I had the opportunity last week to get a sneak peak at some elegant and sensationally glamourous couture designs while visiting Mark at his studio. And while it is the height of the red carpet season with various awards shows and gala's, there is a whirl of excitement over the fashions yet to be seen.

While the average viewer of red carpet affairs will sit back and absorb the parade of elegant fashions, there are those in the business of creating fashions who are working for months in advance. Mark shared with me the images and drawings of several designs that are possible contenders for the red carpet at the Oscars.
For 'A List' celebrities the options are more abundant when it comes to deciding on what frock to wear. For the designers, they are in the running just like all Oscar nominees to see if their creations will make the magical walk.

This gown and the one behind it, which I wish I had a better image of, are two of my favourite designs from Mark Belford Couture.  

details on the flower

I had available to me a few images of the red carpet gowns, but I am fearful to not jinx the handsome Mr. Belford by showing them before they are possibly worn. The two gowns pictured above are from previous collections - I love both of these gowns and pride myself that I didn't sneak them out for me.
I will say that there is one gown set aside for the Oscar's that literally made me gasp, and of course I rambled on to Mark about who I think would be best suited for this once in a lifetime couture design. It is red - and STUNNING.

As I wandered through the studio and took in all the layers of fabrics, the intricate hand beaded Swarovski crystal sections being prepared for various gowns, I listened to Mark describe the various nuances to each creation. For Mark his heart and soul is in everything he does. Women who wear his creations and go through the process of fitting know that the most important thing for Mark is that he makes you look glamourous.

There is currently a little red chiffon flirty show-of-your-gams dress in Mark's studio. I started babbling along to Mark about who should wear this dress - it is killer sassy. But one of my favourite gowns that Mark created was featured on the cover of FQ Magazine and was worn in the in the Heart Truth's Red Dress Fashion Show.

THE Red Gown

Jeffrey Felner, who is a journalist with The Examiner, asked Mark Belford during an interview last November  : 'who or what is your inspiration?'.

Mark : 'The three generations of incredible women in my family, my Mother, my Grandmother {Nana} and my Great Grandmother; who with a passionate appreciation for couture nurtured my creative spirit from a young boy and who instilled in my soul a relentless belief in humanity and the power of positive thought.'

Mark's answer didn't surprise me. I've know since I first met him that the beautiful woman early in his life are what gets his creative spirit flowing to this day. A wonderful portrait of his Mother Joan hangs in his studio nearest to his desk at all times, and you can feel her in the studio with him. I am certain that Mark hears the whisper of his Mother's words of guidance and pride when he is creating a new  design.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Play Date

I had a play date today with my beautiful Granddaughter. 

She ran around the indoor playground and squealed from her little toes with excitement. 
We both headed home....... tired and happy.

Life doesn't get much better than that!

Nap time for Baby K.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Excellence Resort

I promised back in January to share more of the beauty and details of the inclusive luxury of Excellence Resort in Punta Cana {Excellence part one here}.

Excellence Resort Punta Cana :: The Beach

Two weeks at the exclusive resort was exactly what our tired bodies needed, we came back home refreshed and relaxed. The romantic all inclusive resort caters to couples and there were many guests who were celebrating a milestone anniversary or their honeymoon. Never before have we seen so many weddings at a resort as they hosted while we visited Excellence. The weddings ranged from a modest gathering of the Bride and Groom with their sponsors, to one wedding party that celebrated with 60 people at the resort.

Beach wedding at Excellence Punta Cana

Beautiful back drop to nuptials.

A horse & carriage is available to bring the bride to the beach on time.

The resort boasts a beautiful botanical garden that extends from the main gate area to the front lobby entrance. The gardens feature several ponds that are home to turtles, swans, flamingos, and colourful parrots. Guests can wander among the flowers and enjoy the beauty or jog along the pea gravel paths that surround the ponds.

'welcome to Excellence, would you like a glass of champagne'

One of my favourite things to do when we are away is to indulge in total relaxation and take in some of the services at the spa. The Miile Spa at Excellence is described as an oasis of wellness and personal pampering - that was an understatement.  

This little bird flew in to the whirlpool area. Just outside are lush gardens and bungalow beds for relaxing.

Richard and I booked in for a couples massage by the ocean, but first we took in the water therapy session at the elegant facility. It is imperative to prepare for a massage to obtain the maximum benefits. The Miile Spa offers a layering of water programs to furnish your senses .... a hot-water whirlpool, hydrotherapy bath, sensation shower, tropical rain shower, rustic shower {the old school wood bucket with a pull cord type of shower - so much fun}, hot and cold plunge pools, and steam rooms.

After our water therapy treatments we headed down to the beach for a massage. A thatched roof cabana sits perched tree-house style on the beach, and this is where your tension is melted away. The sound of the waves with the breeze of the beach air adds an element that cannot be duplicated anywhere. The massage therapists made sure that every little knot was was worked out, we vowed that another play date at the spa would be on our schedule.

Main area of the spa.

I visited Miile Spa for a pedicure by yet another great technician. There is a full garden view from the pedicure room and guests are invited to relax in the tranquility of the garden at any time. I can't think of a better place to sit while your toe polish dries  than in the lush garden with the whispering water fountain.  

I spoiled myself further with a collagen facial that included a full neck and shoulder massage {the best facial I have ever had}. The facial was performed on the second floor and it gave me the opportunity to take in the spectacular view that overlooks the main foyer. White stone railings swirl up the staircase and wrap around the full length of the foyer area. A white wood rafter ceiling soars above and brings a soft tranquility to the colonial building.

 The resort features eight individual restaurants and full room service. Most evenings we enjoyed dinner in one of the two outdoor restaurants {The Grill or The Lobster House} so that we could soak up the incredible ocean breeze. Spice - the pan-Asian restaurant was one of my favourites and we enjoyed the relaxed bistro style patio at Oregano's for pizza and pasta. 

Each guest room features a balcony or patio, our room looked over the wedding gazebo and the beach. We decided one evening that we would stay in and enjoy dinner on the balcony. The room service menu is casual but extensive, and the service was quick. 

Our room was just behind this Beach Goddess.

Excellence Resorts have earned their stars, service is the top order of each and everything they do. They are located on beautiful beaches with spectacular views. The tropical hideaways ensure that you leave relaxed and rejuvenated.

bird prints in the sand

Excellence Resort promises that the all-inclusive luxury of their properties will cater to your every need, so that you are free to create the moments you dream of and the memories that you will have forever.

Spending tranquil time with Richard, relaxing, dinning, dancing, walking the beach ..... creating memories together ...... it was EXCELLENT.

The tranquil beach awaits us.

all images by Katherine - Glamour Begins At Home