Friday, August 31, 2012

Labour Day

Sleeping Newsboy - Toronto {pre 1890}                via

Labour Day is celebrated around the world at different times of the year. 
This is the Labour Day weekend in Canada and the United States (American spelling : Labor). 

It was back in December of 1872 that a parade was staged in respect of the Toronto Typographical Union, who had been on strike for ten months. The unions fight at that time was to reduce the work week to 58 hours. Twenty-seven trades as a part of the Toronto Trades Assembly demonstrated to support the strikers. Outdated and abolished laws criminalizing union activity were still on the books in Canada, and police were encouraged by George Brown {local politician & editor of the Toronto Globe newspaper} to arrest strikers.

It was September 3rd, 1872 that Labour Leaders protested the arrests thus marking the date for what is now known as Labour Day. Under Prime Minister John A. Macdonald the Trade Union Act was passed the following June and soon other trade unions began to seek a 54 hour work week.

Factory workers 1938                          via

Labour Day in Canada has been celebrated since the early 1880's. It was after the co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, Peter J. McGuire, visited Toronto to speak at a Labour Day parade that similar parades were organized in the United States. It was the same year that Prime Minister John Thompson made Labour Day an official holiday in Canada that President Grover Cleveland adopted the annual event.

image: Lewis Wickes Hine 1931

image: Lewis Wickes Hine

The two pictures above are of men working on the Empire State Building in 1931. Notice that they are not wearing safety footwear, safety hats or guard belts to protect them. Labour movements and unions have worked over the years for fair work and safety standards for all workers. If you are in a safe working environment today you can thank those who drove the labour movement of yesterday. If you are not in a safe environment it is your legal right to be.

Eight Hours of Work. Eight Hours of Rest. Eight Hours of Recreation.

Wishing you a safe and happy Labour Day.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Taking a bit of the heat off

Apparently the Duchess of Cambridge is teaching her Brother-in-law Prince Harry, how to cook. The pair, who have a strong Brotherly-Sisterly relationship are working together in the kitchen to advance Harry's culinary talents beyond the microwave.

Lesson One: Wear a chef's coat and pants in order to keep the heat off.

Ruler of the Waters

In China, Dragons are traditionally known to be rulers of the rivers, seas and lakes. It seems natural that these 'rulers' would depicted on long human-powered boats for the paddling sport know as Dragon Boat racing.

Richard and I ventured out to the waters of small lake a few weeks ago to watch the amateur dragon boat race that my Sister was participating in. We discovered that the beating of the drums is more than just creating a rythme for the paddlers, it really is a heartbeat that makes the crowd roar and the dragon's come alive.

In a summer that has been filled with scorching hot days, the one day that my Sisters boat race was held on......... yes, it was cool and rainy. But the spirit of the amateur paddlers couldn't be dampened, and the teams gave their all with the Rotary Club of Oakville benefiting from the generous donations.

The paddlers of Millers Magic

It first surprised me when my Sister told me she was joining a dragon boat team; she doesn't like to swim and let's just say that it's a good thing that she wears a life jacket. Donna's reason for joining the paddling team was to keep arthritis at bay, but the team spirit is what drives her to dig the paddle in the water with each stroke.

I like to hear the joy in my Sisters voice when she talks about the sport. Lifting the paddle and digging into the water is a great exercise program, but it brings with it the added benefit of creating new friendships. The all female team of Millers Magic band together at 'camp' between heats and we discovered that is where the real 'magic' happens. Friendships forge with loads of girl chatter ........ and 'dragon boat racing fashions' emerge.

It's important to have fashionable boots to wear between the races.

The International Dragon Boat Federation recognizes that there are two types of racing - Sport racing and Festival racing. The IDBF club crews will be hosted in Hong Kong this year, and in three years (2015) the club crews from around the world will race in Canada (in Welland).

The International Breast Cancer Paddlers Commission (ICPC) is an International organization based in Canada, with teams of paddlers who are all breast cancer survivors. Richard's Sister Deb joined the 'Pink Paddlers' team this year {read about her bell ringing celebration HERE} and she races on Lake Ontario.
Deb is no stranger to pushing herself to the limit, and in addition to paddling she runs marathons and bike races without blinking an eye. I am in awe of Deb.

I am impressed by the efforts of both of our Sisters who decided to 
rule the waters for the better of their health.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

No camping allowed

I have to admit that I am not a camping kind of girl {which likely comes as no surprise to anyone who reads my blog}. 
Glamour......  that spells 'there will be no camping'. 

I want to have a place to lie down at the end of the day that is off the ground and bug free; neither of those things happen when you are in a tent and sleeping bag. Yes, yes - I know, you can put the sleeping bag on a cot up off the ground {not feeling better about it}. And I know that campsites have come a long way over the years and they offer facilities with hot showers, toilets and various amenities...... which you share with a hundred other people.  Ahh - ummm, NO!

.... and anyway, my tent would need a chandelier.

We didn't have a family cottage, but did have great opportunity getting to go to my Dad's best friends cottage all the time. I loved it.
Jumping off the dock into the lake, taking the little boat out for a spin, fishing with the guys, pit fires at night. All fun - but we slept inside on a regular bed, cooked in a proper kitchen, ate at a table, and when it poured buckets we had the comfort of the cottage to enjoy.

No camping!

At least this bed isn't on the ground.                   source bohocircus

Enter the world of GLAMPING. 
Glamourous camping? seriously?!

Glamping trips offer a stay in tents that are often made with bright designer colours - no army green here. Facilities in the tents may include full-size air mattresses or actual beds for sleeping. Tents are equipped with power for proper lights or appliances {that means the straightening iron right?}.

That sounds civilized, yet somehow I imagined arriving at the glamping site to discover that the tent is in happy circus colours. Well at least I don't think bears would come near the tent.........

There are glamping sites that offer something more refined and along the line of what I would imagine upscale camping would be all about. This is not a scene from Out Of Africa, so do not expect Robert Redford to wash your tresses by the river bank. But the amenities that good glamping sites offer are a comfortable blend between cottage and tenting. Think rustic mountain five-star tenting a'la simple cottage with fabric walls.

RedTail Resort

Wooden deck bases house the bedroom tents that are held up by log beams. Glamping tents are generally decorated with furniture pieces that would similarly be found in a cottage - wood side tables, bedside lamps, rugs under foot, even pictures strung up on the tent interior walls. 

Many of the Glamping sites have gone to extremes by decorating with antique pieces in the tents - yes, those are Chinese lacquer side tables in the bedroom.

So if you want to sleep out under the stars {sort of} and have all the creature comforts without the creatures, glamping may be the vacation for you. At Paws Up in Montana they take it to the extreme with master on-suite bathrooms to each glamping tent, a honeymoon glamping tent that features a soaker claw foot tub, twice daily housekeeping and your own personal staff to swat the mosquitoes away {if you so need}. The 'Glamping Butler' will warm your smores and fluff up the pillows for you at Paws Up.

the resort at Paws Up

Paws Up resort - Montana.

If the tent offered all of this why wouldn't you just stay at a great hotel? Glamping is a novelty that offers the fun of camping, rustic charm around you, sleeping in the outdoor air but on soft cotton sheets {remember you are still in a tent}, but it all gets tied up in a pretty bow.

Out of Africa

If you want the thrill of a safari feel and the Glamour all around you, glamping may be the way to vacation.

Glamping tent
Waking up to a view like this just might sell me on the idea.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Thank You London

reuters - Gary Hershorn

Thank You London. 
You welcomed the world to your home as the gracious host to the Olympic Games. 
The spirit of the people of Great Britain was contagious and you were the life of the party. 

source : Jean Levac

Congratulations to all of the athletes who competed in the games.

Bravo to our Canadian teams, thank you for bringing home 18 medals.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

It's Still Summer

I cringe at the thought of winter and believe that we have several months of warm weather still ahead of us. I know I can coast through until November with just layers of sweaters and blazers, but my interest in winter fashion was peaked when I flipped through a magazine at the spa the other day.

These bright little beauties are a part of the Joe Fresh winter collection. 
Bless the talents of Joe Mimran .......... and wave the flag, he is Canadian.

Suddenly winter doesn't seem so frightening anymore.
{But I'm still hanging on to summer for awhile.}

Have a GLAMOUROUS weekend.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Ahhh, Spa

Excellence Spa - Punta Cana

I'm having a much needed spa day today. SIGH!! 

I love going to the spa and especially like having a massage with a sea salt mineral scrub. And a pedicure..... and a facial.......and........

I took these pictures at Excellence Resort spa in Punta Cana when we stayed there last December. We enjoyed the spa several times during our visit and the courtyard is the perfect spot to sit while toe polish dries.

What is your favourite spa treatment?

Friday, August 3, 2012

A Legend

This Sunday {August 5, 2012} marks the 50th anniversary of the passing of Marilyn Monroe. I was a few months shy of my fourth birthday when she died, I think about that now and I'm amazed how much her image has influenced me over the years. Truthfully, Marilyn's image is larger than her life itself and it continues to influence to this day.

This is my favourite picture of Marilyn.            source unknown

These two images are my favourite pictures of Marilyn. I am unaware of the source, if anyone can provide photo credit I will update the post.
I like these pictures because she seems so relaxed, especially the first image where she is sitting up. It gives off a vibe that says you could just sit down and start chatting with her as you would with a close girlfriend.

source unknown

Marilyn's estate continues to this day to generate millions of dollars per year. She was ranked third on the Forbes annual list of deceased celebrities for 2011 {behind the earnings of the Michael Jackson estate, and Elvis Presley estate}, with the estate generating 27 million dollars for the year.

The estate was sold to Authentic Brands Group in 2010 who are working on lending her likeness and name to more defined {and hopefully elegant} projects. Jamie Salter, CEO for Authentic Brands notes that "it's women who have kept Marilyn alive", and so the interest in the Hollywood icon is best generated to products that women embrace. The upcoming projects include high end perfumes and cosmetic brands.

So what is it for us as women that draws us in?

She was a sex symbol of her time and there were other women who had just as much sexual overtone to their persona as Marilyn. Elizabeth Taylor, Brigette Bardot, Jayne Mansfield, Ursula Andress and Racquel Welch. But Marilyn stood out.

Marilyn oozed sexiness with her curvy figure. For me it is how she displayed a soft feminine sultriness as well, combined with her mega watt smile. It all equates to feminine charm.

There is a 26 foot high sculpture of Marilyn in the 'dress breeze' pose that has been moved from Chicago to Palm Springs. This weekend an Elton impersonator will sit at the foot of the sculpture and sing 'Candle in the Wind' as part of a tribute to the late star. There will always be impersonators and wanna-be's, ugh!
With that note, I hope that Authentic Brands moves quickly on the re-branding of Marilyn's image to help portray the sultry actress as the soft and feminine woman she was.

Elton John and Bernie Taupin's famous song Candle in the Wind became a classic because it depicts the truth.

"Your candle burned out long before, your legend ever did".

Remembering a beautiful legend.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Olympic Cheerleaders

I can't resist these pictures from the stands at the Olympics. The young royals choosing to sit in the stands rather than the royal box to watch the competitions.  Cheering on the athletes and participating in the wave...........

source Getty

source Getty


The Olympic sport of Royal watching is hot in London.