Friday, March 30, 2012

Have a GLAMOUROUS Weekend

'In like a Lion, out like a Lamb.
In like a Lamb, out like a Lion.'

There is a lot to be said for this reminder from Mother Nature.

We have had a gloriously mild month with temperatures unlike any other March before. Mother Nature is reminding us that it may have been the First Official Day of Spring on March 20th, but Old Man Winter still has his coat out.

And although it wasn't cruel enough to play ice hockey on the lake today, it was a blustery day in the neighbourhood.

Enjoy the weekend with those who make you happy.

Ladies Ice Hockey Team, Minneapolis 1925.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

A Walk Around Town

Look at these beauties enjoying the early blast of Spring. 

The unusual warm burst of weather has brought the flowers peaking up from the ground, the tree buds sprouting, and everyone out walking around to drink in the sunshine. The unseasonably high temps have encouraged me to wander around our pretty town with my camera.

Spring flowers pop up through winter pine and remnants of fall leaves.

We live in Olde Oakville where the streets are lined with Historical homes and a stunning canopy of aged trees. No matter how many times I walk around town and how well I know the neighbourhood, each day there seems to be something new to discover.

Generally when the blanket of snow begins to melt and the days get brighter, it's enlightening to see the new spring. This winter the snow was so limited that it could be swept away. Although everyone thinks that almost no snow is ideal, if we have a hot/dry summer, it could mean that there will be limits for garden watering.

I took the picture above of the lake line at Oakville looking east towards Toronto. It was very early evening and the sun was reflecting a few final sparkling glimpses of Lake Ontario. I've stood here a hundred times before, but this calm took my breath away. We can hear the thunder of the waves from our home when it is stormy, but last night the lake was as smooth as glass.

The house in the distance is a glass bunky-style house that sits high above the stone wall over the water edge property. Many evenings when I walk along the path, the property owners are tucked up in the glass house with twinkling lights on, enjoying the sound of the lake.

Moss covered stone at waters edge..... a ducks delight.

No skipping stones required. A gull makes his mark on the calm lake.

I veered off of the lake path to take a few pictures of our church, St. Andrew's. The church was originally built in 1840, and it has undergone a recent restoration both on the interior and exterior. The fresh white stucco exterior is punctuated with the dark trim on the windows and dark wooden doors that welcome you into this special house of worship.
I love our church for many reasons beyond the beauty of the building itself, but it really is by far the prettiest church in town.

 I can almost hear our choir singing.... and they are truly incredible.

There is a beautiful park along the shores of the lake on the east end of Olde Oakville. The property which is currently know as Gairloch Gardens was originally part of a 400 acre farm estate.

Gairloch Estate Garden

In 1922 Colonel William Mackendrick purchased 11.4 acres of the land from the original estate. He created a rose garden and landscaped the property with hedges and tree's creating an elegant garden at the lake. The Colonel built a Tudor style home on the hill that offers a clear view of the waters edge.

View from the house at Gairloch Estate

Lanai on the west side of the stone Tudor home.

This gives you an idea of the view of the lake from the lanai. It would be incredible sitting in this porch area and watch a thunder storm over the water.

It wasn't until 1960, three years after Colonel Mackendrick's death that the property was sold. James Gairdner, an investment dealer, bought the estate and named it Gairloch, a Gaelic word that means 'short lake'.
When Mr. Gairdner died in 1971 he bequeathed the estate to the town of Oakville. His wish was that 'the residence and the land be used as an art gallery'. Six years after Mr. Gairdner's death The Gairloch Gallery amalgamated with the Centennial Gallery to form Oakville Galleries.

View of the lanai and lake through the stone arch at Gairloch Estate.

Running alone the east side of the property near the original Tudor house is a stone wall that is covered in vine. Even at this early stage of spring without foliage on the vine, the wall is picturesque. The stone wall is probably 300 feet long and offers a break from the west wind.
There are so many pretty spots on the property that are favored by wedding photographers; in the rose gardens, the bridge over the pond, the stone steps that lead to the lake. But it is this old stone wall that I feel offers one of the most romantic spots to take pictures.

The entire time I wandered the property taking pictures a Cardinal followed me singing his distinctive song. Of course he sat boldly allowing me to watch him for several minutes each time, but was too shy to let me take his picture. {click here to find out why Cardinal's are so important to me}.

On the private roadway that leads up to the gallery there are only four homes, they are beautiful stone/stucco houses. 'Old Stoney's' is what Richard passionately calls them, and indeed they are beauties.
In 2010, two of the homes at Gairloch were used in filming the movie Dream House starring Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz and Naomi Watts. The two house's were used for the indoor scene's, while a demo house was built at the estate to film the outdoor shots.

I love wandering around our neighbourhood, with so many Historical buildings and massive tree's. It's a pretty place to explore and discover the history behind the families who put the first stepping stones down in our community.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Have a GLAMOUROUS Weekend

We are enjoying glorious turn-down-the-top-on-the-car kind of weather. 
Spring is on the way.

Enjoy your weekend.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Gift

Richard and I had a day filled with running errands on Saturday and spent a good part of the day driving. On our final drive home around the dinner hour, the sun was settling down around the volume of clouds creating an ominous sight. Infused in the cloud portrait was the pretty hue of the pink setting sun and shapes that seemed to tell a story.
It was during this part of our journey home that I was thankful that Richard was driving so I could enjoy the beauty that was being played out because of a stormy weather day. The colours and the cloud formation reminded me of a beautiful photograph called 'The Gift'.
I carry a small laminated card of the picture in my wallet, it's been there for about 16 years. The inscription on the back reads:  
"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as thought everything is a miracle." {Albert Einstein}

The Gift by Darlene Lamb

The story of the Angel cloud photo is inspiring. Darlene Lamb, who took the picture, was spending time at a friends cottage to help her reflect and grieve for her infant Grandson Adam, who had died of SIDS at the age of 6 months.
One evening Darlene planned to sit and watch the sunset over the lake. As she sat down on a rock she turned to see the cloud formed into the shape of an Angel carrying a gift.
Darlene grabbed her camera and took a picture of the Angel in the sky. As quickly as she captured the beautiful image, the wind changed dispersing the clouds out of the formation. Weeks later Darlene developed the film and discovered the inspiring image. When she showed the picture of the cloud Angel to her Daughter,  Adams Mother, she said that it looked like the Angel was holding an infant.
Darlene decided then that the picture should be named 'The Gift'. She has shared this stunning image hoping to help other people as it has helped her. Darlene explains that 'through Adam, and The Gift, I am sharing the spiritual wonderment with anyone who may be searching for answers, and for peace'.

In addition to the wallet card, I have purchased a framed print and several boxes of blank greeting cards over the years. I keep the cards tucked away to use to send special messages for friends who are searching or struggling.

If you are visiting the Niagara-on-the-Lake area, Angel Treasures {38 Market Street} sells The Gift products. Visit Cloud Angel {here} for all of The Gift products and the complete story about Darlene Lamb.
The picture was taken at a lake in Southern Ontario and I believe that Darlene Lamb is from the Niagara area.

Those quiet moments in the car on the way home this weekend gave me the chance to enjoy the beauty in the sky, and to remind myself that life is a precious gift.

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Wonders of Laduree

The house of Laduree, the French pastry shop brand, has developed an elegant cosmetic line just in time for their 150th Anniversary Celebration.

Les Merveilleuses de Laduree {The Wonders of Laduree} is the beauty collection by Laduree debuted last month in Japan. The cameo styled line will be available in Europe in the fall and it is rumoured that it will be on New York shelves before Christmas 2012.

Cheek Colour available in 20 colours

It seems almost unbelievable that there is a calorie-free Laduree product, but these elegantly packaged beauty products are almost sweet enough to eat.

Cream Cheek base

Foundation and concealer

Cheek colour, rose face petals, lip colour.

The elegant packaging is unmistakably Laduree with styling that whispers of the artistic renderings of Jules Cheret. Soft gold cameo's adorn the white cases that close with curl edged clip closures.  The lip colour tubes feature small gold cameo charms daintily dangling from the end.

Face Colour Rose with brush.

Face Powder.

Face Petals

The beauty line will add a collection of eyeshadow this May in Japan, the collection  will be themed around a romantic summer picnic.

via rougedeluxe.blogspot

The Laduree reputation of perfection is sure to deliver on this new line of beauty products. An additional bonus of Les Merveilleuses de Laduree is the classic beauty of the packaging, something I am certain will never be discarded. And if that was not enough, image a Laduree product that is calorie free.

It was back in 1862 that a small bakery opened at 16 rue Royale in Paris, it was not to be just any ordinary shop, this was the beginning of the world famous Laduree pastry shop. I'm certain that Louis Ernest Laduree could not have imagined 150 years ago that the humble beginnings of his bakery shop would develop into the quintessential Paris pastry boutique of today. The Parisian luxury brand stores are eagerly welcomed today in major cities world wide.

mlle poirot

The celebration of Laduree's 150th Anniversary has already begun with new pastry products, designer inspired packaging and a beauty line to mark the year long event. A special macaron flavour with it's own designer box will be featured each month of the anniversary year. The new recipes start with a marshmallow filling, rather than the usual cream filled meringue based cookie.    

Cherry Blossom Design

The pink-cherry-blossom themed collection is the collaborative creative talent of French chef Vincent Lemains and Japanese designer Tsumori Chisato. The pink cherry-blossom flavoured macaron is complimented with packaging and a candle in the same theme. The anniversary cherry-blossom theme is available starting March 1.

Laduree Anniversary Macaron Box

via 55fab

packaging and books for Laduree 2012

One of the delicious anniversary cakes available.

It wouldn't be an Anniversary or a carefully marketed product without gifts to remember the celebration. In addition the the newly created macarons, specialty cakes, vintage style packaging, there is a selection of candles, books and an anniversary keychain.

via 55fab

The experience of the romantic luxury pastry shops is a divine experience in itself. Famed lithographer and French painter Jules Cheret brought his vision to the first Laduree pastry shop in 1871 when he painted the ceiling of the shop with cherubs dressed as pastry chefs. The Laduree symbol was born.
The elegance designed by Cheret was appreciated by ladies who could now 'take tea' outside of their homes at the tea rooms set up at Laduree. The typical cafe were domains only inhabited by men before the public tea rooms evolved. Today we continue to enjoy the exclusive romantic styling that was the vision of Mr. Cheret.

Happy Anniversary Laduree!

And while you are in the mood for macarons...........

Celebrating the Macaron for a worthy cause: 

March 20th is the Seventh Annual edition of Jour du Macaron {Macaron Day}, a celebration of the double-sided macaron....... as if we needed a reason to enjoy the delicate sweetness.
Visitors to Pierre Herme, Sadaharu Aoki, Laurent Duchene, Jean-Paul Hevin, Arnaud Larher, Christophe Roussel and Dallayau shops in Paris will be offered free macarons on March 20th. While you are enjoying the delicious sweet treat the stores will graciously accept donations for Autistes sans frontieres {an organization that assists children with autism}.
And while I can't think of a better reason to visit Paris, Macaron Day is celebrated globally. A quick internet search will provide details in a city near you..... while I board a plane to Paris.

Next.......... Les Merveilleuses de Laduree.

A Genius

 "Today you are you, that is truer than true. 
There is no one alive, who is youer than you".

This is one of my favourite lyrical phrases from Dr. Seuss, 
and it can be found in the pages of the book  
Happy Birthday to You!  

And today - March 2nd, is the birthday of Theodor Seuss Geisel {1904 - 1991}. 

The Quaint Cake Co {yes, this is a cake}                             image via

We can thank the genius of Dr. Seuss for his insight into the simple things in life. Through his use of imaginative characters and rhyme, Dr. Seuss entertained young children and encouraged them to read.

The best way to honour such a literary giant is to mark his birthday as the  
National Read Across America Day. 
If you don't already have the full classic Seuss collection I encourage you to drop by your local book store and treat yourself to a birthday gift.
'Cat in the Hat', 
'Green Eggs and Ham', 
'How The Grinch Stole Christmas' {my favourite},  
'One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish' 
These are just a few selections that remain timeless, 
and are sure to bring out the child in everyone.

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!
Thank you for open our minds and tickling our imaginations.