Tuesday, December 21, 2010

{ny: christmas in the city}

I'm back from New York City and finally getting into the swing of things at home. What a trip, I had never been to NY before and I must say that it is the only city I have visited that I could see myself living in a heart beat! And at Christmas time, this city is simply magical and enchanting in every way! Two of my girlfriends and I covered the entire town in a short amount of time, everything from the Met, to Ground Zero, to the Statue of Liberty, to Carnegie Hall ... here are a few pics to sum up our trip:

The tree at Rockefeller Centre

Our hotel {Novotel} was right in the heart of Times Square on Broadway {something I learned ... Times Square was named after the New York Times newspaper!}.

We saw the city from the top of the Empire State building, it was amazing! There's the Chrysler Building from a distance:

A window inside the Empire State Building

We managed to catch a couple of fabulous shows, Jersey Boys and the Rockettes at the Radio City Music Hall {a Christmas MUST! They included a live nativity scene that was incredible!}.

Central Park was like a post-card every way you turned:

Fabulously restored Brownstones in Harlem:

The stores along 5th Avenue were dressed to the nines for the Holiday season, Fendi was a favorite of mine:

The Christmas windows were magical; Bergdorf Goodman, Henri Bendel and Tiffany's were some of my absolute favorites.

Henri Bendel

Tiffany & Co.

Tiffany & Co.

Speaking of Tiffany's, my gals and I decided we couldn't dare leave the city without a little souvenir! So what did we do? We headed there on our way to the airport, luggage in-tow, and picked out a little something: the Heart Tag Key Pendant ... in a sense we felt like we were taking the key to the city home with us! And what an amazing city it was!! I can't wait to return.

Our Breakfast at Tiffany's!

Now I can't believe it is only a couple of days till Christmas! I've finished my shopping and now it is a matter of wrapping and cleaning, which I started today but my house feels like it's been turned upside down since we had our kitchen counters installed last week. Still no backsplash or sink/dishwasher if you can believe it. Ugh!!

Here's a sneak peek of the telephone desk {because the rest is not quite ready for it's debut ...}, we have yet to touch up the paint where things got damaged in the process, and once our sink and backsplash are in I promise to show you some fun before & after pics!

And it wouldn't be Christmas without the Christmas tree, here it is in all of it's glory ... with a little touch of turquoise added this year.

Sorry for the crazy long post, lots going on around here these days! Have you finished your shopping and wrapping yet? Hope you are all enjoying everything the Christmas season has to offer!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

{a sneak peek at my kitchen reno}

I am so excited this morning that I just had to share a tiny peek with you! I am finally getting new kitchen counter tops TODAY! We have been wanting new counters ever since we moved in this home over 3 years ago, and they'll be installed this morning :) We {aka hubby} had already painted the oak cabinets white before we moved in, and now along with our counters we will be putting up a new backsplash! So I have been 'counter-less', and even more devastatingly 'sink-less' for a week now... needless to say the Christmas baking has been brought to a screeching hault!

Here's a tiny view of what the former 1986 beige formica counter and backsplash looked like, I'll have a FULL before & after post coming up when everything is done, so stay tuned! Let's just say this kitchen has come a far way from the mid-80's! {Seriously, can you imagine that some one, at one time, picked out this flower backsplash for their kitchen? Wow.}

Can't wait to share my choices and the final results with you. Hope your week has treated you well, it's almost Friday!!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

{bake & blog: spiced toffee chippers}

I am excited to be participating in Kelly's fabulous Bake-N-Blog party over at Jax does design today! I'm sharing a recipe that I have been wanting to try for the longest time ... this was a good kick in the pants to finally get to it :) I came across this recipe in a magazine and thought they sounded like the perfect autumn/winter treat. I had no idea if they would turn out, I just knew the pic in the magazine looked amazing and the ingredient list sounded delightful! Well, I am happy to report that the recipe was easy and the cookies turned out fab!! Here are all the details:

Spiced Toffee Chippers

Prep time: 30 min  Bake time: 12-14 min  Makes: 48 cookies  Freezing: excellent

1/2  cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/4  tsp ground ginger
1/4  tsp cinnamon

1  cup all vegetable shortening
1  cup dark brown sugar, packed
1  egg
1  tsp vanilla extract
2  cups Robin Hood Nutri-flour blend
1  tsp baking soda
1  tsp cinnamon
1  tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1  pkg Chipits Skor Toffee Bits

It's all of those lovely spices that first got me salivating!! What a perfect blend for the holidays. I used the Robin Hood brand Nutri-blend flour that the recipe called for {I think they were going for a remotely healthy ingredient here} but I am sure that this could have been replaced with regular flour.

1. Preheat oven to 350 F and line baking sheets with parchment paper {I found the paper helpful as the toffee bits get a little sticky when baked}.
2. Topping. Combine ingredients for topping in a shallow dish and set aside.
3. Cookies. Beat shortening and brown sugar until well combined. Add egg and vanilla. Beat well. Add next 5 ingredients, mixing until incorporated. Mix in toffee bits.
4. Roll dough into 1 inch balls, don't flatten. Roll in topping. Place on prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart {they'll look just like tim-bits from Tim Hortons at this point, same size and all coated in lovely sugar & spice}.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 12-14 min. Serve at room temperature.

I have to admit while these cookies were baking, I kept thinking ... THIS is the recipe you wanna be making if you are trying to sell your home and have an open house!! The smell was incredible!

I hope some of you will be tempted to try this simple recipe. I thought the cookies tasted so good and they would make the perfect holiday treat! And because they are excellent to freeze this would be the perfect recipe to do earlier in the season and pull out a batch to take with you to Christmas parties and friends home's all season long.

Be sure to head over to the Bake-N-Blog party over at Jax does design for tons of lovely holiday recipes posted by others! Thanks for popping by :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

{my entryway dressed for the holidays}

I've finished dolling up my foyer for Christmas and I've been enjoying coming home to all the glittery festive-ness every day! This space got a simple and pretty palette:

I repeated the feathery look of the bird ornaments {from Liberty} by adding a few black feathers to my pint-size white tree. The tree was a steal of a deal {on ebay} and I glammed it up by placing it in a glossy black vase {from Homesense}:

I love the idea of adding sparkle in unexpected places; I hung strands of crystals from the sconce by the front door, a subtle but pretty touch!

Have you begun dressing your home for the holidays? I'm guessing now that Thanksgiving is done, there will be some serious decking of the halls :) Well it's pretty chilly here in Vancouver, so needless to say it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! If you are visiting from the blog parties over at Southern Hospitality and Hooked on Houses, welcome and thank you for popping by!! Be sure to pop by the party at Southern Hospitality and at Hooked on Houses and check out other beautiful vignette's from so many talented bloggers :)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

{interior design show west 2010}

A terrific time was had by all at the IDSwest this year! Inspiration oozed from all of the displays and the talk by Sarah and Tommy was a definite highlight. They had the audience entertained and engaged the entire hour. The Q & A session started out with a few exciting announcements: Sarah's fab new show, Sarah 101 starts in January and Sarah and Tommy are in the midst of filming Sarah's House 4! Woot woot! Sarah 101 will be 13 episodes worth of a 'crash course' on how to tackle various projects in your home, and for Sarah's House 4 the designers are heading to the suburbs! They'll be showing us how to personalize a newly built home in a restriction-laden subdivision.

I'm a long time SR fan, I've been watching her on TV for 10 years! When all the other kids in high school were out partying I was at home learning how to sew the perfect throw pillows on Room Service! So I snuck myself into the front row for the show, that empty seat beside me is my husband's ... yes it's true, poor guy came with me, he's the best hubby in the world!

The design duo tackled 'FAQs from their F.A.N.s,' {as Tommy put it} that had been posted via Facebook. I was thrilled that my question was the third one answered! I had asked, 'Have there been instances when you were inspired by one particular piece that you design a whole room around that special piece? Would you say fabric is normally your jumping off point?' Here's Sarah's answer:

I was all-ears when Sarah addressed a question about how to get into the field of design, she explained that it's a personal choice whether or not to complete schooling {both her and Tommy had not}. If you choose not to, you need to stay on top of what is going on in the field, you need to have passion, and she really emphasized to keep up on what is new! I kept thinking, blogging helps you do just that doesn't it? If you have already attended design school, Tommy explained your school portfolio usually isn't enough to get you hired, he suggests adding images to it that define your style and explain what your personal taste is.

Here's me hanging out with my new BFF ... okay maybe that's not exactly how it went down. Sarah was gracious enough to stick around and snap some photos with fans. Thanks Sarah! And there's Tommy in the background, wish I could have caught him for a pic too!

Other Q & A's I enjoyed: How do you add personality to an all-white kitchen?

Sarah's tips: Change up the lighting, paint the walls {not white!}, accessorize with color, add interest with fabric window treatments. Here's an example of an all-white kitchen that got a makeover on Design Inc., the after immediately reads red!

How do you decorate a very long hallway?

Sarah dealt with this issue in the farm house, and her solution included adding paneling half way up the walls to break up the height, using grasscloth to add texture on the upper portion of the walls, and have pendant fixtures which hang down into the space to allow your eye to be stopped at several points down the long expanse. Love it!

Some of the highlights from the exhibits:

The media lounge and booth by The Cross was by far my favorite display. The pretty poufs were stacked every where and all of fabrics used in a collage on the walls were fantastic. And that Iguana wallpaper by Timorous Beasties? Fab.

HOMEdelight Furnishings had a lovely palette of gray and purple, and check out the light fixtures!

I took this pic for my friend Kelly over at DesignTies, I think IKEA knows that they are on to something with the bold and pretty Maskros chandelier.

A beautiful little white chair with black piping from Liberty
, wish I coulda taken her home with me :( Maybe I should take Tommy's advice, buy expensive things and eat noodles for the rest of the month ... :)

The fixtures over at Robinson Lighting and Bath Centre were just like jewellery, gorgeous! And they had an amazing piece hung over a freestanding tub. With a mirror and spot light placed on the ceiling above, it looked like the chandelier went up to heaven!

Parliament proved that equine-inspired art is still a big trend:

Loving the tree stump trend? Here's a pretty little version in gold from Mint, opening this fall in Vancouver:

So there you have it! My take on the IDSwest show, I already can't wait till next year!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

{a trip with a lifetime of memories}

I’m officially home from Egypt, and I had an amazing time! Still recovering from jet-lag, but that’s to be expected. Not to mention I feel freezing being back home, I went from about 45 degrees Celsius in Aswan to a mere 17 in Vancouver!! We took tons and tons of photos while we were away, and I thought I’d share a few just to give you a glimpse into our trip.

We traveled to five different cities, our first stop was Alexandria {on the Mediterranean Sea}; here was our view from the hotel room:

Here is an ancient Roman Theatre {4th century AD} in the city centre; you can see that the street level was a whole story lower than it is now! I wonder what other ancient structures are buried underneath all those modern apartment buildings?

In Cairo I made a new friend {who I promptly named Mounir, even though I think he already had a name}; and got a chance to get up-close-and-personal with the Sphinx.

Round settees were present in almost ever hotel lobby!

Not to mention herringbone floors … the dark stained distressed wide-planks were particularly dreamy:

We saw the poorest of the poor living alongside the richest of the rich, what a contrast.

On the right, a place called ‘Garbage City’ where the poor live and sort metal, glass, etc from the garbage to sell; on the left, King Farouk’s summer home {1936-1952} in Alexandria.

I was enamored with the Hieroglyphic relief techniques in the Pharaoh’s temples, so impressive!

And the amount of color that remains on walls that were painted almost 5000 years ago, I couldn’t even believe it. Can you imagine how fabulous these walls looked in their glory days??

We visited several cathedrals, as well as a church carved into a cave, hidden away from any possible persecution:

Our hotel in Luxor had an amazing view of the Nile River:

The Red Sea in Sharm El Sheik was incredible, the water was crystal clear and the colorful fish were abundant. I highly recommend this spot to any snorkeling/diving fans out there!

Thanks for taking a peak at my trip, I loved every place we visited and I would travel back to Egypt in a heartbeat! I’d love to hear about your recent trips…any places you would recommend to others??

PS. Don't forget to enter to win a copy of Domino, The Book of Decorating here!

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