Friday, August 30, 2013

La Vie En Fuchsia

Just want to pop in for a quick post before the weekend. The Bougainvillea plants in our backyard are blooming in this incredible shade of pink and I love them to the moon and back. They not only bring back sweet memories of our recent trip to Palma Majorca where we spotted this giant Bougainvillea topiary tree, but also remind me to enjoy the summer for what it's left. We could be so buckled down by work and daily chores that we forget to enjoy the small but sure happiness.

Enjoy the last long weekend of this summer!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Geek Chic Fashion Ensemble

I am still kicking myself for missing Old Navy's fox sweater last year, so this year I acted early. This year animal motif sweaters continue to be a wardrobe staple. I emailed the customer service in Canada as soon as the new fox sweater went on sale in the US. A couple of days later they informed me it's now online on, so I wasted no time and picked up a few for myself and my cousins. I know they will be sold out in no time. This year's version is even cuter and quirkier with a bespectacled fox! So nerdy chic and so me!

I created an ensemble based on this new Old Navy fox sweater. I own everything else.

Clockwise from top left:

Old Navy Crew-neck Graphic Fox Sweater, still available here.
Ray-ban Wayfarer Sunglasses.
Banana Republic Classic Trench Coat.
Nine West Women Digin Ankle Boots.
Fossil Leather Belt in Cheetah Pony Hair.
Danier Leather Purse.
J.Crew Honeybee Necklace.
Banana Republic Bootcut Jeans.

This is the Old Navy fox sweater that got me to start thinking about the fall.

I am also obsessed with these silk print shirts from Joe Fresh. I picked up the polka dot print in black white and blue, but I also really wanted the leopard one. For its 100% silk quality at that price tag and being extremely on trend, it's no surprise that the cheetah print ones were sold out within minutes at the downtown store. None of the other stores in Ontario I called carry it. Oh well.

Have you started your fall fashion shopping?

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Dining Room Mirror Choice

My dining room re-design project is coming down to finishing touches: how should I style a long rectangular dining table, whether to change wall paint color, what goes on the wall over a dark-wood sideboard know, all the fun stuff.

This is the wall in question. Part of me feels like putting up a piece of art like an oil painting. However, our dining room is not the brightest room in the house so a mirror might be a better choice to brighten the space. I would like to get your input on which mirror would work the best for the nook.

Option 1: this is a mirror-framed mirror I picked up from HomeSense, love it but a little bit on the small side. Plus there are already quite a few substantial pieces of furniture with boxy lines so ideally I would like to pick a different shape. The sideboard underneath however has a curved bow front.

Option 2: Kichler mirror-framed cloverleaf mirror. Love the shape, finish and mirror-tiled frame reflecting the maximum amount of light. It's a bit too modern for the room I think.

Option 3: Uttermost hammered brass clover mirror, good-sized at 40", love the shape as well. My only concern is that the brass frame may trigger a domino effect which leads to changing the buffet lamps and the sideboard hardware. Or shall I not worry about matchy matchy?

The inspiration of Option 3 comes from this: a mirror can also be a piece of art if it's in the right shape and finish.
Palmer Weiss

Option 4: a classic French Louis Philippe gilded mirror. A more traditional and antiquey mirror like this will not only soften the look of room, but also bring the room together design style wise. 

The inspiration of the Option 4 comes from these gorgeous gilded mirrors. 
Atlanta Homes/ Amy D Morris
Palmer Weiss
Lonny Mag/ Lauren Gold

So which one is your favorite? Which one do you think will work the best in my dining room?

Monday, August 19, 2013

Rocker Chair Fabric Choice Update

I continue to play with different fabric choices for this vintage rocker I scored from CList. A big part of my indecisiveness was because I don't yet have a vision of what the room which this chair will be in will look like - what's the overall color palette, style, theme, etc. 

Anyhow, one thing I know for sure is that none of the fabrics I stared at for hours made the cut. I want it to be a fun piece of furniture so I am tempted to go with something a bit more light-hearted, like this Small Ikat Polka Dot fabric from Tonic Living.

Sarah Richardson used a similar fabric for barstools with dark wood legs and the combination totally worked, right? Sarah showed us how polka dot can be fun and tasteful at the same time.

What I particularly like about are the shades of greys vary with different lighting.

So what do you think of my latest fabric choice? Any other suggestions?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Vintage Teacup Collection

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you'd know I collect vintage items. My vintage love affairs span from brass figurines, arts, rocks/corals to furniture, mirrors and lighting. (Almost) everything from yesteryear looks better in my eyes.

Lately I've started a new collection - vintage bone china teacups. How could I say no to these colorful and graceful beauties? I am particularly attracted to those candy-colored jewel-toned ones. Within one week I managed to find 4 perfect sets and from here I plan to take my time to grow the collection. At some point in the near future they will come very handy for soirées with my girlfriends - I bet those kitties will be fighting over who gets what color and style - great conversation starters, no?

These are my initial collection: Paragon, Royal Albert, Royal Stanley and Tuscan fine bone china teacup sets, all from the 1930-1950s. My favorite has to be the dreamy fuchsia + gold Stanley set from Louise of AntiqueandCrafts . Louise has a lot more vintage teacups for sale on her Etsy store so go check it out if you are into teacups. I think I might just add this to my collection - Tuscan was known for covering the outside of the cups and saucers in very intricate and extravagant gold filigree patterns.

The medallions inside the cups are just icing on the cake.

I am still debating whether to show them off in my new hutch buffet and hide these precious in a drawer. Together they might be too colorful for my dining room.

Do you collect teacups? What's your latest obsession?

PS. The winner to this super chic patchwork pillow from CC DeuxVie is Tim @ DesignMaze. Congrats Tim! Can't wait to see it in your foyer. :) 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Date Night

My mind was still on our recent trip to Spain and the Mediterranean, so this past Saturday night Mr. and I hit up a supposedly one of the best Spanish restaurants in town - Segovia Restaurant in the Church and Wellesley area.
Me and My Sangria - consider this my one serving of fruit for the day. :)

What drove us to Segovia is this, the Paella Marinera, a signature savory Spanish dish that I couldn't have enough of when we were in Barcelona.
Paella Marinera from Casa Joan in Gothic Quarter

Segovia's Tapa Paella is a good entrée-sized course served on a plate (instead of a sizzling hot Paella skillet). It tasted wonderful but was nothing like the ones I had in Barcelona - not as brothy, or savory, or eye-pleasing (probably because we ordered the one without saffron, not sure how I missed that.) We also ordered Crab Croquetas (crab cakes), Monkfish with Salsa Verde, and of course Mr. needed his Filet Mignon. I was told they make a mean Sangria but I've had better ones before.

These peach (blush) roses really grew on me so I am posting another picture of them again.

After dinner we went for some shopping, and I treated myself to this vintage gold J.Crew crystal cluster necklace - I was missing this piece around my neck in the first picture, right? ;-) I love its vintage-y yet casual chic style.

One obvious upside of writing and reading blogs is to be able to keep myself current in both home décor and fashion fields. After seeing Lindsay's post on her gorgeous J.Crew flower lattice necklace, I started doing some research and found out J.Crew necklaces are actually a lot more popular than I had thought. I can already think of a few outfits this necklace will go with.
Source: Etsy

So do you buy fashion trinkets from stores like J.Crew? Which one(s) are your favorite? 

Friday, August 9, 2013

My Jardin de Fleurs

I wouldn't exactly call myself an avid gardener: I am not particularly fond of the ongoing upkeep - we've even outsourced our lawn care. But I do like planting shrubs and flowers that are hardy, easy to maintain, and with little care can bloom beautifully. This is my spring and summer flower garden. 

Blooming time: Spring April to May
Clockwise from top left: 

  • Crocuses: they are among the first perennials to bloom in the spring. Their presence usually symbolizes the arrival of spring. 
  • Globemaster Allium bud.
  • Globemaster Allium in full bloom. 
  • Dwarf Blue Spruce topiary: their new leaves are in a much lighter shade of silvery blue and very soft to touch. 

Blooming time: Spring May
Clockwise from top left: 

  • Bearded Irises: they make perfect cut flowers. 
  • Dwarf Korean Lilac: very easy to care for, very fragrant blooms. 
  • Fresh-cut Bearded Irises in an Anthropologie hobnail vase. 
  • Red Riding Hood Dipladenia: again very easy to care for, fast growing. I am in the process of training the vine onto a trellis. Flowers almost instantaneously turn into a more vibrant shade after Miracle-Gro "Bloom Booster". 
  • French "Sensation" Lilac: very attractive white-edged purple flowers but not as fragrant as Dwarf Korean Lilac. Relatively slow growing due to our clay-based soil - it prefers soil with very good drainage. 

Blooming time: Summer May-June
Clockwise from top left: 

  • Wide Brim Hostas: start to come out in May and bloom throughout the summer months. Extremely fast growing and easily spreading. I need to put out bait around the clumps to protect them from slugs throughout the summer. 
  • Yellow Daylily: fast growing and spreading. A little bit fertilizer around flowering time will take them through the entire season. 
  • Pink "Fragrant Memory" Roses: flower buds start to appear in late May early June, bloom a few times throughout summer and fall, very fragrant. 

Blooming time: Summer June, July and August
Clockwise from top left: 

  • Blue Satin Rose of Sharon: I trim them throughout the season to get to the desired shapes. I also cut off  seed capsules so that more nutrient can go to the flowers. Size of the flower is usually at the cost of quantity - so if you'd prefer larger single flower, you can trim off some flower buds. 
  • Red Hibiscus

Blooming time: Summer July and August into the Fall
Clockwise from top left: 

  • Limelight Hydrangea: has unique bright chartreuse blooms in mid-summer that hold bright and refreshing colour right into autumn when the blooms change color to a rich deep pink. The autumn display of chartreuse and pink blooms on the same plant is breathtaking. Easy to care for, fast growing, one of my favourite flowering shrubs of all times. 
  • Bougainvillea: a new addition this summer after our trip to Palma Majorca. I saw a giant Bougainvillea tree there by the coast, and have since been obsessed. I finally found them here at Terra Greenhouse and I now have two bushes in my backyard. Their fuchsia pink flower adds a pop of colour to my patio. They are not hardy enough for Canadian winter so I will need to bring them indoors during winter months. 

This is the giant Bougainvillea tree in Palma Majorca, Spain. 

Last but not least, these gorgeous blush roses Mr. surprised me with today.

So do you like gardening? What's in your Jardin de Fleurs? Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

10 Years

This week we will be celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary. 10 years! Where did the time go?

My 10-year anniversary eternity band on top of my engagement & wedding rings.

Mr. and I met over a decade ago and our encounter was nothing short of drama. Let's just say we were almost like a real-life version of "You've Got Mail" (just by quoting this movie makes me feel old). He's in the medical field and I was an analyst at a financial firm - we had nothing in common and wouldn't necessarily mingle in the same professional or social circle. Or maybe not!

As busy professionals, the only common denominator we had was that neither of us had much time to date so we resorted to online dating/friend-finder sites. And we started exchanging emails, talking over the phone, and even sharing some personal information such as where we worked. Online dating was very new to me back then, and I had no intention or was in any rush to meet someone in person any time soon. 

And then this happened: through friends' friends, Mr. and one of my best friends ended up at a same function. They chatted and Mr. was surprised to find out she worked for the same company as I did, so he moved on to ask if she knew me. My girlfriend later told me he tried very hard to hide his excitement when she told him not only did she know me, she and I are best friends. I didn't really know what he said to my girlfriend, but she was adamant that I went out with Mr. With a friend's assurance, I felt safer so I did.

The first date was good but our second date took a nosedive. He was a big movie fan and a part-time movie critic, so he constantly received free passes to watch and review new films. Our first movie together was the first ever of the "The Fast and the Furious" franchise (they are now onto the sixth of the series and believe it not I still watch it. The first one however wasn't great. It was "The Slow and the Tedious" IMO). First of all, you'd think a dude would take a girl to a more tasteful movie for the first time; and secondly, he actually made an effort to tell me he was taking me to see a movie on free passes! I later found out that after our first date on a Saturday and by Tuesday he already really wanted to see me, but he didn't want to seem too deliberate to scare me off - so he came up with this hey-I've-got-free-movie-tickets-do-you-wanna-come-along idea, very smooth (not) eh? I just found it more funny than anything else (and no, he later proved that he's not cheap at all - he was just nervous and nerdy!) so I gave him a third chance. The third date went great and I got to know him a lot better. After that, the rest is history.  

Our lifestyle hasn't changed much since we were married - we are still busy as hell and building a life together that we both want. Granted, we also drive each other nuts at times, but we are also best friends, and at the risk of sounding like a cliché, soul mates. Thinking of him always puts a smile on my face. Time flies when we have fun, so we don't really feel we've been married for that long.

Mr. is not in my blog world much but if he is reading this post, happy anniversary!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Life with Style in Rosedale

One of my friends recently moved into the west end of Rosedale so we met up for lunch in the area this long weekend. After lunch we strolled down the boutique-lined street at the corner of Yonge and Scrivener.

Clock tower at Summerhill Station, Scrivener Square

Our first stop was Artifacts, a uber-chic lifestyle store selling fashion, décor and furniture. Can we just say the store façade is very Parisian and impressive already?

I was in awe once I set foot into the store. If you like Anthropologie, you'd love Artifacts even more - it's like Anthropologie on steroid! Granted, the store was cramped and a little bit claustrophobic, but it's packed with awesomeness and everywhere/everything I laid my eyes on was so stylish and glamorous. I wanted to take everything from Artifacts home - that's how much I love this store!

My second favourite store was Absolutely, a designer shop that offers a sophisticated mix of antique and contemporary furniture and décor accessories. What I love about Absolutely is their hodgepodge collections of antique/vintage items which welcomes those indecisive shoppers (like me) who walk into the store with an open mind.

We also stopped at Chair Table Lamp and ...Of Things Past. I had Hollace Cluny on my list, but too bad they were close for the long weekend. Hollace Cluny carries my favourite ceramicist Sophia Cook's vases. I almost picked up this pair of peppy yellow ceramic lamps from Chair Table Lamp but I couldn't think of a place for them at home. They could be yours if you like they - just look at how cheap they are at $150 for the pair!

We did end up with a couple of pieces of artworks and added one set of vintage bone china teacup to my collection. I will write more about them later.

I love the Rosedale-Summerhill area so much that I started daydreaming of owning a condo there for our retirement. I came across this listing and loved every bit about it. I am not sure if we will end up buying anything there at such young age, but one thing I know for sure is that we will be going back to the area to shop and dine, a lot more often from now on. If you are also interested in exploring the area, you can follow this food and décor guide from Toronto Life.

So how was your long weekend? Have you shopped in the area?

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