Sunday, October 27, 2013

Black : Noir

There was a period of time that I wore only black, or white, or black and white. 
Oddly enough, I didn't realize it until someone mentioned it to me.
The same person told me that black and white are not colours.

Oh the shades, the many many shades of black...............

 There is a beauty and purity of wearing just black.
Black is solid, stated, unwavering, professional, edgy, fun, dark, morbid, 
and perfect for every occasion.

Not everyone can wear orange, not everyone can wear yellow,
not everyone can wear red.............
you get the idea.

But black..... well, there isn't a complexion that she doesn't embrace.

What other colour is capable of representing so much.
From mourning to risque, it is black that most of us will gravitate towards.
Black has become for many professionals, the trademark uniform.

How is it that one colour can hide a multitude of sins,
and yet flaunt our sinful side. 

Then without surprise, she shines even more when the other colours come out to play.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Glamour of it all...........

When you are three three and a half,
dreaming big is easy.
A peek into the senior girls ballet class is all it takes.
The next thing you know you are maneuvering a plie
......with the assistance of the door jam. 

There is nothing more Glamourous than the giggling group of three year old girls in Kya's ballet class. 

I have discovered that taking my Granddaughter to ballet brings me much happiness. Maybe it is simply watching the beginner ballerina's mimic with innocent confidence that warms my heart so much.

 This is truly the highlight of the weekend.

Here is hoping your weekend is filled with the joy of simple pleasures.
Make it a Glamourous one.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Cardinal House : Crying over Concrete

No, I wasn't crying over the concrete because something went horribly wrong. Something went so very right and it brought me to tears.

I went to our house late today and discovered that the lanai concrete had been poured. As I crept up the side of the house {and oh, once again wearing heels} and turned the corner around the back - there it was........ a welcome surprise. 

The Lanai is finally poured.

And yes, I was so overwhelmed and excited that I stood and cried. 
Crazy you say? Well let me share with you why.

One of the outdoor features I designed for the house is our Lanai. Once complete it will be a covered area with a wood burning fireplace faced in over-grouted stone. Doors from our principal bedroom and family room will bring us out the retreat, steps down from the lanai will be our patio and garden. Skylights on the new covered roof will allow lots of sunlight into the area and through to our bedroom windows.

Lanai outside our room at Hotel Particulier, Arles, France

It was during our stay at Hotel Particulier in Arles, France, that we fell in love with the lanai there. It wasn't a revelation leaving us saying 'let's replicate this for our house'; but the comfort and function of the space has stayed with us since then. Hmm, could it have been the great wine and the company ?


Having an outdoor space right off our bedroom and family room gives us a perfect protected outdoor living room. We imagine evenings with friends wine tasting while the fire blazes. The space will bring a sense of tranquility and calm for just us to share together as well.

Imagine the area with a stone fireplace at one end and a roof.

The wood framing in the picture above will be our family room. The wrap protecting the house temporarily, is where our bedroom will be. We kept the concrete simple with just enough brushing to avoid slipping when it is wet. Once the trussing is up {next week} the new roof line will extend out over the entire concrete area and will be supported by the columns and fireplace.

the fireplace at Giannitti farm via velvet and linen

Richard and I love the over-grouted stone with irregular placement, it lends the look of time worn walls. Brooke and Steve Giannitti offered perfect inspiration when they built Patina Farm. The fireplace above is the look we hope to achieve.

The roof will be vaulted with a whitewashed wood ceiling and large Rococo style lantern hanging in the center {the Salerno Streetlight from Restoration Hardware}.

19th C. Salerno Streetlight pendant from Restoration Hardware

When we stayed at Hotel Particulier the lanai outside of our room had a daybed sofa that was so welcoming, it was the perfect spot to snuggle down and relax. While searching for outdoor mattresses to re-create the same effect, I discovered outdoor seating at West Elm that is almost identical.

Tillary outdoor modular seating

The base on the Tillary outdoor seating is lower than I wanted. Instead of having our carpenter put bigger and taller legs on the base we bought a second outdoor mattress in addition to the mattress/back cushions that come with the sofa. I will have a cover made in outdoor fabric that will encase both mattresses - add large cushions in outdoor fabric ...... and it's the perfect spot to snuggle down.
Two outdoor chairs with big cushions will add to the seating and a wood chest with hammered tin will be used as the coffee wine table. 
There are other treasures we have acquired that will help build the ambiance of the space and bring out our personal touch.

with Richard at Hotel Particulier

We know there will be summer mornings sitting out on the lanai with our morning coffee, cooler evenings with the fireplace crackling while we enjoy a glass of wine with friends. I imagine how pretty it will look decorated next year when we celebrate our first Christmas in the house. More than anything I know that Richard and I will relax there - together, with the tree's blowing and the Cardinal visiting us.

Yes, they were happy tears today!


Friday, October 18, 2013

Have a Glamourous Weekend

John Rawlings

This might be it. The last chance weekend to drive with the roof down.
Of course, wrapped up in style while the cool fall air wisps around.

John Rawlings

Whatever the weekend brings your way, 
no matter what the weather,
I hope you drive in the 
Glamourous Lane.

Monday, October 14, 2013


The number is well known.  It is the identification number of prisoner Jean Valjean, a man who has been in the galleys for 19 years. Five of those years imprisoned were for stealing a loaf of bread for his sister's starving family and 14 years served for various escape attempts.
For fans of the musical Les Miserables, just hearing the number spoken makes you want to break out into song. Don't think for one moment that fans are heartless, but this is a story that grabs you and won't let go. The music has a way of imprisoning the audience.

Ramin Karimloo at Jean Valjean

I gave Richard Les Miserables tickets for his birthday in May. The play opened a few weeks ago at the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto and we went to see it on Friday evening {funny how those birthday tickets work - I might owe him another gift}.
Musical producer Cameron Mackintosh attempted to bring the production to Toronto two years ago but 'had difficulties filling certain roles', so he waited. The powerful cast is proof that the wait was worth it.
Ramin Karimloo, who hails from Ontario is known for the 'best' portrayal of Phantom, plays Jean Valjean. Mr. Karimloo reaches out well beyond the edge of the stage and grabs your heart with his powerful vocal range. I'm certain that every audience member had their heart sitting up in their throat when he sang 'Bring Him Home'.

Ramin Karimloo as Jean Valjean image: Matthew Murphy

Earl Carpenter, who plays Javert has a powerful voice and the scene with him standing at the bridge makes you want to reach out to grab him.

Earl Carpenter as Javert
Melissa O'Neil manages to steal hearts with her haunting rendition of On My Own. The exotic beauty brings just the right amount of spirit that is needed to portray Eponine.
Lisa Horner and Cliff Saunders who portray the Thenardier's, keep the story light with their antics. Saunders in particular flits and dances around the stage with what can only be described as leprechaun legs. The entire cast is perfectly suited in their roles and the performances were flawless.
The orchestra under the direction of Conductor James Dodgson fills the theatre with the mood of the story and embraces the audience through the rise and falls.

The not to be missed musical runs at the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto until December 22nd. Tickets HERE.

For those who can't get enough of Ramin Karimloo's voice, his newly released CD titled Human Heart is available on the Sony Masterworks label. It includes Bring Him Home, I Dreamed a Dream as well as four songs Karimloo co-wrote.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

So Much to beThankful for.

This weekend we celebrate Thanksgiving. 

Amid all the hustle of grocery shopping, food preparation, cooking and setting the table, I always find myself feeling a bit choked up during this holiday. Maybe it's because the rhythm of holiday preparations are so normal for us, and I find myself thinking about people who don't have what we consider 'normal'. And isn't that the point of giving thanks. The point is to be thankful AND to give back.

All of the grocery stores I shop in have a points reward program, and they all ask when I get to the cash 'do you want to redeem any of the dollars accumulated'. There are only three times a year that I redeem the points - Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. I use the points and double the amount with cash to purchase non perishable goods for the local food banks. The grocers make it easy with prepared packages and food bank deposit bins right at the store. 
I honestly couldn't imagine leaving the grocers with bags that are fuller because of our holiday shopping and not thinking of people who need their grocery bags filled too. It is a small gesture that I encourage everyone to think of - everyday. 

If I wrote a list of all the things I am thankful for, the list would be very long. 
I am blessed.

If you are celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend,
take the time to give back to someone else in some way.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Tuscany : Birthplace of Renaissance

I have to admit that it was this image of the spa at Borgo Santo Pietro that captured my attention and sent me on a long search of luxury villas in Tuscany. 
What's not to love.

OK - I admit, I'm obsessed with their bathrooms.
Who am I kidding..... it's all so luxurious. 

Borgo Santo Pietro - reinstating the ruins to a long forgotten noble splendor. 

Just saying the word Tuscany makes me want to run and pack my luggage.

Monday, October 7, 2013

A Fling with Tartan

It is here in North America that we refer to Tartan as Plaid. But in Scotland plaid is the tartan cloth that is flung over the shoulder as an accessory when wearing a kilt, in essence it is a blanket. Tartan is wool fabric woven in differently coloured yarns in a cross barred pattern. 

Are you following ?

The only thing you need to know about Tartan a'la Plaid is that it never, ever, goes out of style. 
Tartan-like leggings were discovered on the 'Cherchen Man', a 3,000 year-old mummy found in the Taklamakan Desert in western china.  
Yes - Always in style.

Bo Didley
Tartan was much more than just a Highland Fling, it is a statement.

Rod Stewart rocked it on stage for many years in Tartan, but it was just Rod this week that he was joined on stage by his sons who showed just how cool wearing a tartan kilt could be.

While some people stylishly mix the tartans together, others wear only what they are 'entitled' to wear. Association to a tartan comes through a clan, a family or the military unit. 
We have a family tartan that is pretty popular, I think it is used often because of the bright mix of colours. 

Many of our early family ancestors moved to Ireland, so although tartans originated in Scotland, my paternal Grandfather proudly wore the bright weaved mix in Ballymena, Ireland were he was born. 
My sister and I always had a Buchanan tartan kilt in our closet and wore them to school... with knee socks of course.

Our love affair with tartan takes the colour filled crisscross weaves into so many area's of our life.

Black Watch Tartan by joolzhayworth via etsy

With the Fall Fling with Tartan high on the fashion scene I decided to give pretty tartan pants a try. I purchased slim leg pants in the Black Watch tartan {which is the most popular today}. One of the things I didn't want was to wear tartan pants and look like one of the great aunts of the royal family, so the cut and colour value was important. I found a great pair at Jacobs and after searching for images to prepare this posting I have since decided to add the matching jacket. I think the jacket will be a great item to mix with jeans or solid colour dress pants and skirts.

I would never have thought to wear the plaid together {seemed like way too much}, but set with a pretty sweater or light chambray blouse it changes the look.


Pencil skirt in Black Watch Tartan.
McQueen {of course}

Layers of classics - tartan blouse, camel pea coat, pearls.

The Royals are famous for wearing tartan.
Tartan pants by Mango - Chambray shirt by Zara
This image of a pretty bride has landed on many blogs and pinterest boards - and all for a very good reason. The combination of plaid and pretty is so well appointed it has become the lesson on how to blend the ying and yang elements. 

The plaid shirt is very fitted {as a bodice of a wedding gown would be} and balanced well with the lush full tulle skirt, double high cumber band and generous bow.

Get your pretty on and inject a bit {or a lot} of tartan into your wardrobe this season. It's not just for kilts and doing a jig.