Friday, September 25, 2015

Pope Francis in New York City

My son and I left New York City the night before Pope Francis' arrival. We felt the tug and pull of being happy we flew out before the traffic became even more chaotic, and the desire to stay and experience the Pope's visit.
And like anyone who has a guest coming to visit, New York was no different in preparing for the arrival of the Holy Father - they worked diligently to ensure that everything was in place.
We visited St. Patrick's Cathedral a couple of days before the Pope's arrival to find the crews working around the clock putting finished touches on the restoration.

Altar of St Patrick's Cathedral two days before the Pope's visit.

Painting, polishing, drilling, and testing the miles of media feed - it was a beehive of activity as we quietly walked through the cathedral. The beauty of St. Patrick's Cathedral is gleaming from the $175 M renovation. My son Dallas and I took our time exploring and couldn't help but imagine that in a few days the Pope would be standing at the altar.

robert deutsch-pool/getty

polishing the brass for the Pope's arrival

St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York - two days prior to the Pope;s visit.

It was at Our Lady of Queen's school in Harlem that the Pope seemed the most glowing and excited. The Pope was beaming when he walked along the cheering crowd of children and generously stopped for selfie's with the students.

As the Pope entered the classroom the students broke out in song with a Make Me a Channel of Your Peace (the prayer of Saint Francis) and then skipped right into prayer reciting the Hail Mary with the Pope. Two young students guided the Pope to a interactive video screen to share a project the class had been working on. It was a new lesson for Pope Francis as the students guided him through the process of operating a touch screen. A young girl literally took the Pope's hand to help guide him through the exercise; you couldn't help but smile at the innocence and excitement of the children.

Speeches were detoured as Pope Francis spoke from his heart, eyes glowing back at the exited faces of the children and extended his time at the school. If he could stay and spend the rest of his time at the school, he would have. At Central Park there were 80,000 people waiting to capture a glimpse of the Pope before he leaves for mass at Madison Square Gardens.

Being in the city while New York prepared for the visit (and the UN at the same time) -  I have to say they deserve enormous applause. New York took it all in stride - preparing and welcoming the Pope.

As the journey continues with prayer and blessings for everyone, 
Pope Francis asks that we pray for him.

We lit candles & prayed at the altar during our visit.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

A few days to play

I am off and running with my handsome son for a few days. We are spending some quality time together in New York City. 
Sightseeing, exploring, shopping, taking selfies, and having some crazy fun. 
There may be a few bevies involved.
That is the plan.

I promise to bring you home a souvenir, which will likely be in the form of many photo's to share here next week. 
But for now, I'm excited to have the days to play and explore. 
And so happy to have this time alone with my son.


Call it what you prefer. 
I prefer 'Autumn' over the term 'Fall'. 
Maybe it's the idea that fall.... falling, seems like we are tumbling.

We have one tree on our property that drops her leaves early each year. Like a concerned mother I am watching to see if all is OK, or if she is sick. The sight of leaves beginning to turn and fall in August was creating a need for me to stand in the yard a bit more than I normally would.

My granddaughter helped me dress up a red leaf wreath for our front door. She discovered small birds on my potting bench and decided they would be the perfect accompaniment. 
And so, the summer wreath was put away and the Autumn decorating begins.

The cool wet weather from last week eased off and we are now experiencing an Indian Summer. Hot, hazy, smoky. The wasps who hid for a week are now flying with a furious need. I did my best to explain to Kya what Indian Summer is, while she explained to me that the wasps flying wildly is part of nature.  
How did she get so smart.

I will admit this is not my favourite season. It is upsetting to put the garden to bed and think about the blanket of snow that will cover my flower gardens for months. But I have to agree that the colour of the leaves is a work of art and that is why I love to rake leaves.

So what about you?

What is your favourite season and why?

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Glamourous Baby

Glamourous Baby!
of course she will be,
in this..........

Onesie Pettidress by Olivia Rose TM

I have attended several baby showers this year and these sweet Onesie Pettidresses by  Olivia Rose provided the perfect gift. AnnaMaria Di Nicolantonio is the Founder and Designer behind the Olivia Rose Collection. As a mother of two adorable girls, it's easy to see where her inspiration comes from.

After purchasing these glamourous little ruffles many times, it was only last week that I discovered the talent behind the collection is only fifteen miles away in Milton, Ontario. For me, it made the obsession with these adorable baby and little girl fashions even that much sweeter. Shop Canada!

AnnaMaria says it perfectly;

'We are proud to be the first Canadian pettiskirt/petticoat private label, designed and run in Canada.'  


My most recent purchase was white, but the ensemble in soft mauve was a big hit at a shower I attended earlier this summer. The bunny a'la tutu and a floral baby headband (from Chapters/Indigo) are the perfect accompaniments to tuck into the gift. You can find  the onesie's both in-store and online (HERE), or visit the Olivia Rose website for an extended selection of frills for size 0 to Young Miss.

Pearl hanger comes with the onesie at Indigo

As far as I am concerned, 
the Glamour can never start too soon.

** I was not compensated for this product mention, simply wanted to share this petite glam.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Dream Closet - A Place of Her Own

source unknown

I am a firm believer that every woman's Dream Closet should begin with her dressing table. Women who have 'dream closets' are most definitely ladies who sit down to put makeup on each day. The style of the dressing table is the footprint for the dream closet.  

A dressing table has been a part of my room since I was thirteen. It's a cozy spot that lets me pull myself together to start the day and then prepare for rest at night. For many years I had a white skirted table like the one above but now have my dressing table  built-in to our dressing room/closet.

My recent post Dream Closet - Hisness (HERE), brought together design choices for the gentlemen. After admiring the bones of Nate Berkus' New York apartment, I spent a bit of time (ok, I lot) clicking through the real estate listings on Compass. The romantic style of pre-war buildings gets my imagination going; I can't help but wonder what sophisticated and elegant women walked through the lobby doors over the years. Jackie and Audrey perhaps.

Lets explore the choices for my client and put together her dream closet for a Greenwich Village condo.The flow between principal bedroom and ensuite bath establishes the style for the dream closet/dressing room. Soft neutrals, varying shades of white and cream highlighted with muted gold tones create a tranquil sleeping oasis for 'her'. The image below is an accurate rendition of her existing bedroom space.

'Her' bedroom is tranquil and elegant like the lady.

This sophisticated and elegant lady likes her bedroom to have a tranquil and light feel. Layered fabrics, gold accents and a bit of sparkle brought in with crystal chandeliers, cut glass and silver accents are preferred over trendy glitz. My client started her wish list with a few things to avoid when designing her Dream Closet.
Most importantly she does not want her personal things displayed as if the space was a showroom. Subtle elegance will set the stage for her generous dream closet. One of the bedroom's has been converted to give additional space to the ensuite and provide a luxurious footprint for the dressing room.

source unknown

The client has carried the hardwood floors throughout her apartment and softens the space with neutral area rugs, we will continue with this classic look. Walls and closet components will be in soft white with brushed gold hardware; it adds an element of sophistication without the bling factor (a big don't for her). Notice the depth of the drawers in the image above; this is important to help keep the contents inside controlled. More drawers with less depth = better organization. She uses the KonMari method of organization at home and when packing for travel.

via neatly designed

The shallow depth drawers in the top layers feature locks to secure jewellery. The drawers will be outfitted with inserts to keep precious pieces organized. We will make use of the full length closet doors in several area's customizing them with mirrors.

making the best of a corner

We will adopt an almost identical plan to the one above that will make use of one of the corners of the room. Thankfully there are two windows in the room that provide natural light, fresh air and an incredible view. Drawer space will be built under the sills and the shelving will frame the windows.
The roll-out shelves and hidden scarf rack will accommodate my clients passion for Pashmina scarves. Two small crystal chandeliers will bring a feminine appeal to the room, pot lighting on dimmers will be spotted in strategic places.

Dressing table island and glass doors for handbag display.

The room is generous in size, so a dressing table island similar to the one above will add more storage and a place to view outfits. The ceilings are high and additional storage above the racks or triple racks with pull down poles will work well. The client wears designer labels and has a wonderful collection of handbags, but she does not like closets that are display rooms. So we will have one predominant shelf section with clear glass doors (see image above on the right) to keep her vintage handbags on view and protected.


Everyday and less precious jewellery will be in easy access drawers with built-in dividers. It make look appealing to have shoes, handbags and jewellery on display in a dressing room; but all of these pieces should be put in protective spaces. Dust, sunlight and air can diminish valuable pieces.

A folding antique mirror similar to the one above, is a prized possession of the client. It will be strategically placed in the space to give a full view of all her fashionable looks. With a statement piece like this, it allows us to position the mirror to play back from the smaller full length mirrors on the corner closets. 

High on her Dream Closet list.
The image above really captured my clients dream. Windows in the room are high like the ones pictured here, so we will mimic the drapery and valance. The round tufted over-sized ottoman has always been on her wish list. A custom upholstered piece with a bit more height will be created for the space; it's the perfect spot to sit while dressing.

And for the pièce de résistance - the dressing table. 

My client's dream closet wish list includes a lavish dressing table. She has always had a special spot to house her obsession to perfume, fine skin care products and an abundant amount of makeup. Feminine skirted tables have been a part of her dressing table past, but for this room she has opted for a built-in. The table itself will feature a glass top to protect the surface; the side walls and back wall will have mirror insets to capture every angle. A stand-alone movable mirror will sit on the tabletop. Drawers will flank each side of the dressing table area and be equipped with custom crafted dividers to house all of her beauty needs.

A collection of antique silver and crystal pieces adds charm.

This is one area where the client wants things on display. Her collection of antique silver and crystal dressing tableware's will be displayed on silver trays and directly on the white table top. Ambient lighting on dimmers give the tabletop a romantic glow and provide lighting for makeup applications. Fresh flowers in every room - this is actually a Pinterest board of mine (HERE), but it is also somewhat of a motto of my client. My clients collection of unique floral vessels will add to the charm and make the simplest of blooms seem special.

Special requests and treatments that we will include:
  • in-drywall hidden speakers. Ambient music via a wall docked ipod will enhance the spaces (bedroom, bath and dream closet) via in-drywall speakers that can be heard but not seen.
  • no TV 
  • a hidden safe for valuables
  • handbag cubbies behind glass. Limiting the handbags to a smaller space will keep them upright, the glass will keep them protected.
  • hidden laundry built in to cabinets
  • valet bars throughout the space
  • space for shoes under long garment hanging spaces AND a section of shelves for shoes that has clear glass doors
  • a folding luggage rack to assist with packing for all of her journeys
  • no bar fridge, coffee maker or beverage cart 
  • a vintage silver champagne bucket to sit on the dressing island .... for flowers of course.

Her Dream Closet includes luxurious and feminine detailing, combined with an organized space created for a professional woman's needs.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Dream Closet - Hisness

Let's face it - when it comes to dream closets, the attention has been given primarily to 'her'. Start an Internet search for dream closets and you will find hundreds of images and information about extreme closets for women. Rooms of shoes and walls of clothing that seem to go on forever makes me wonder if the dream is the closet or the surplus of contents.
On the shortlist are dream closets for 'him'. I have a board on my Pinterest devoted to 'hisness' {found HERE} - that features all of the strong armed decor charm that reflects a gentleman's taste. Admittedly, it doesn't tip into the 'sportsman', but leans to the debonair and urban sophistication of a man.

Capturing my attention is the recent sneak via AD into Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent's new Manhattan apartment. The Greenwich Village 15th floor apartment is a conversion of two floors with the main living space at the entry level and three bedrooms on the floor below. The pre-war style apartment is a favourite of mine that features high ceilings, long paned windows and intricate moldings. I have to admit it had me pouring over the real estate listings on Compass - if you have a few idle hours to dream, go HERE.

One of the highlights of the personal space are the his and his closets for Nate and Jeremiah. Details were ironed out for both men to suit their style and needs.

Nate and Jeremiah's closet.  image Douglas Friedman

Love the moldings, long dual mirrors on each side of the closet breezeway, and the patterned wall-to-wall carpet. The amount of shoes is probably necessary for the public events Berkus performs, but it is enviable. The tour starts in the video below.

And so, if it was my client requesting a 'hisness' dream closet, what would I include?

Let's start with the bedroom and bath; these area's should be coordinating and set the tone for the style of the closet area. My client wants masculine, dark, luxurious. So the bedroom styling will be similar to this.....

Layers of charcoal, BOND on the wall, lacquer night table and leather headboard.

The principal bath area will reflect the tone of the bedroom. Rich woods, iconic basket weave tile on the floor and white subway tile as the feature in a walk-in shower grand enough for a party for two (hisness will have guests in the shower of course). Old school cross handle faucets and an over-sized rain-fall shower head add a vintage vibe that works in this old New York apartment style. Ample storage for toiletries, mountains of luxurious towels, a shaving mirror, lighting on dimmers, and the necessary separate water closet add the finishing touches to his premium space. Of course there is a small wall mounted TV to ensure every news flash is captured.

Features for the haberdashery style closet are about form and function. The list of needs for the closet starts with the way the client prefers to keep his clothing. Are the jeans hung up? or folded and stacked on a shelf?  or folded in a drawer? If he travels often on business, the luggage and travel toiletry case will need to be close at hand, so we'll make room for them. Are his dress shirts folded on a shelf or hung on hangers. Decisions, decisions.

The space above offers so much. Like the other Greenwich Village apartments I looked at, this one has a window. It's a bonus to have air and natural light in the room. The cabinets are rich toned wood - notice the drawers on this unit are not too deep. I think this helps keep the contents at a manageable volume. Retractable valet bars are a must - if placement allows, install several. The pullout shelf allows hisness to lay out pieces to coordinate or pack. Personal items like photo's and memento's add charm.

When the size and layout allow, adding a wardrobe island is ideal. The mix of black and white works with natural woods. Notice the sideboard table on the back wall. My clients dream closet will have a distinctive piece of furniture to add character while providing storage.

It's all in the details. Space to shine shoes and storage to keep shine kits at hand, racks that roll out to display pants he's looking for easily; make getting ready effortless. Dividers in sock and underwear drawers are a must. Double-tier hanging racks throughout the space with drawers and shelves interspersed bring balance to the dream closet. When the hanging racks are lined up in a row it can begin to look like a retail space - so mix it up.

And let's not kid ourselves, men have a lot of shoes too. Don't forget shoe horns and shoe deodorizers to tuck in to each pair.

One wall devoted to shoes.

Easily accessible space for organizing ties and belts is a must. This tucked-away closet addition pulls out and provides needed space at the bottom to store away personal items.

A place to sit is so important in the gentleman's dream closet. He needs a comfortable and stylish chair to sit and put on his socks/shoes or to rest for a few minutes while he takes an important call. A compressed bar tray and a hidden bar fridge will ensure that everything he desires is at his fingertips.

A generous and sturdy luggage rack is needed to help him pack and unpack from his journeys. This one is available via 1stdibs.

Widdicomb folding luggage rack

On the check list for a luxurious dream closet for hisness is:

  • a small TV to catch the news as he dresses,
  • a clock (he's not always going to have his watch on),
  • good quality wooden hangers for suits and shirts (no wire hangers)
  • a combination of pot and ambient lighting that are on dimmers
  • a full length mirror (or two), a hidden safe for valuables,
  • personal pictures set in similar frames to give a cohesive look, memento's and treasures that hold meaning for him,
  • a space to write a note or balance a laptop while on the phone,
  • a recharging center for all of his electronic needs,
  • don't forget the lint brushes tucked in to a drawer near his suits,
  • and if he is so inclined - a professional steamer set up and ready to go rather than an iron.  
Credenza space - Nate and Jeremiah

Luxury with unique pieces and special finishes that reflect his personality will make a closet he is dreaming about.
{honest, he's dreaming about a dream closet too}

Monday, September 7, 2015

Say goodbye to summer

I will hang on to the last days of summer and hope that the sunshine and hot days continue throughout September. The school buses hit the road tomorrow as students head back to class; but our little bunny has come down with the flu and will miss the first day(s) back. 

I have a folder full of pictures of Kya playing and having fun throughout the summer. Simple things like running through the sprinkler on the back lawn, riding the ferris wheel for the first time, trying her hand at driving bumper cars and pictures of every flavour of ice cream being enjoyed. Tucked in our pocket are wonderful memories of a great summer. 
It's simply priceless.

We took a last excursion before school starts and explored Niagara Falls. The beauty of the Canadian Falls and the gardens surrounding the natural wonder were fun for my granddaughter, but playing games at the arcade gallery was the real excitement in her books.  

Goodbye summer. Welcome to a new school year filled with fun.

At the gardens - Niagara Falls.