happy halloween

In what's become a bit of a tradition around here, two of my lovely friends, photographer Kristin Sjaarda and prop stylist Annie McDonald, have teamed up to bring you this year's version of a spooky Halloween mantel. Take it away Kristin and Annie.

Years and years ago, when the dark side of things held much more romance than it does now, I had a shiver-inducing love affair with vampire fiction. 

Like most teenaged girls, the idea of a brooding, mysterious anti-hero held all kinds of allure for me, even more so the thrillingly androgynous, pallid, frock-coated immortals at the centre of most of the books I was reading in those days (Anne Rice, anyone?). 

I am a mother now, and, having begun to see darkness even in places where there is none, I have no desire to further conjure it via a horror novel - no matter how charismatic its cast.

But I do have an enduring fondness for the eerie, overgrown, overripe decay of the New Orleans in which many of those stories were set, and that's what I was thinking of as I set up this spooky mantel earlier this week. 

I still thrill at the thought of an all but abandoned Victorian manse, haunted and creaking, crawling with vines. The half empty pool, the abandoned feast in the garden. Decadence, decay, and a wrecked beauty fleeing the scene, trailing jewels and feathers in her wake. 

Not exactly the vampiric anti-hero of my youth, but mysterious and shiver-inducing nonetheless. Happy Halloween!  

Seasonal Vegetable Arrangements

Autumn is synonymous with fresh, harvested vegetables. They're so bountiful why not try them in place of flowers in arrangements. Try everything from bunches of curly parsley to baby kale roses to persimmons, small peppers and fresh herbs. 

All images, Roberto Caruso for Chatelaine Magazine. Prop styling, Julia Black and Andrea Mills.

All images, Roberto Caruso for Chatelaine Magazine. Prop styling, Julia Black and Andrea Mills.

Find out more at Chatelaine.com.

perfect pairs

I hope all of you are having a great week.  I'm naturally drawn to black and white but lately I've been eyeing mustards and oranges.  Perhaps the colourful fall leaves are inspiring me?

Today, I'm sharing another set of my favourite pairs.  I'm loving the colours and textures below.  Do you have a favourite? – Amy

New Store - Ardith

I'm excited to announce a new store hitting our neighbourhood. Ardith is a new lifestyle fitness store started by my friend Miranda. She's going to be carrying edgy, fashion-forward lines like Michi, Lucas Hugh, Oiselle, Alo Yoga, Lolë and Daub and Design. (Daub and Design, by the way, is West Coast company started by my husband's cousin - such a small world.)

Until December, Ardith will have a pop-up shop in the Sama Yoga Studio space (197 Sorauren Avenue) every Thursday (11-5pm), Friday (1-8pm) and Saturday (1-8pm). After that she moves to Roncesvalles into the amazing Lady Toronto Exclusives space.

I remember Miranda talking to me about this idea back in the summer. I had no doubt that she would turn her dream into a reality. SO happy for you, sweet Miranda! By the way,  if you're wondering where the name Ardith came from - it belongs to Miranda's grandmother. Her constant source of inspiration.