giveaway - a custom painting

My challenge this month is to get organized. As you know two of the areas I'm focusing on are my linen closet and my office but I'm also going through all my chest of drawers, storage baskets and bedroom closets. When I do this I am fairly ruthless. If it hasn't been worn in six months it goes in the donating pile, if it's worn out, stained or basically unwearable it gets thrown out or made into cleaning rags. This little exercise which I perform a couple times of year helps keep my clothes purchasing in spec. The truth of the matter is that I just don't have that much space for tons and tons of clothes and as I get older I find my taste in clothing tends to change less frequently meaning I can buy classic items that see me season through season. 01_sweater

Of course this doesn't mean that I don't lust after certain items. In this nonstop online world it's hard not to be seduced by all the things you could buy or have. I'm guilty myself  throwing up a list of five items each week I either want or already own. Part of the reason I do this is because in a way the virtual shopping, the creating of theoretical outfits or rooms satisfies my desire for actually purchasing these items.

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In 2012, Sarah Lazarovic, a Toronto based illustrator and filmmaker, undertook a year long shopping diet. Instead of purchasing all the dresses and shirts and shoes her heart desired she painted them instead. She found that after a day or two her need or want of that item had disappeared. Her paintings have struck a chord with people and in 2014 Viking will publish her book about not shopping called, A Bunch of Pretty Things I Did Not Buy.

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Sarah is generously offering to paint an original 8 x 10 gouache of your favourite item of clothing or perhaps a piece of clothing you wish you owned but don't. All you have to do to enter is to like Sarah's facebook page and leave a comment on this post telling me the one item of clothing you will ask Sarah to paint (you can always change your mind later - we won't hold you to it!). This giveaway is open to all my readers and will close on Sunday, March 17th at midnight (EST). I'll announce the winner next Monday.

Now enter away! I'm off to finish cleaning out my closets!

 

bit of an update

Last weekend was truly memorable. Not only did I celebrate a birthday but I spent a few lovely days with my parents and family. We certainly got into the festive mood attending an outdoor Christmas market, drinking hot apple cider, decorating a gingerbread house (or jingle bell house as Henry called it) and listening to Christmas carols.

The highlight of the weekend was definitely our visit out to Horton Tree Farm to cut down our Christmas tree. We bucked tradition this year and went with a soft, feathery White Pine tree instead of our usual short needled Frasier Fir. It just looked like the perfect tree standing out there in the woods and I was willing to try something new.

The arrival of the Christmas Tree always means a bit of rearranging in our home and I convinced Myles that perhaps this was the perfect opportunity to try an even bigger change - flipping our living room and dining room. (Something, I've been wanting to try for awhile!) After much discussion he agreed and we spent the morning moving all of the furniture around. I LOVE the new setup. Not only does it increase circulation space in the two rooms but it makes our living room much more inviting and comfortable. I'll have some photo updates for you shortly.

(in the midst of the move!)

We spent the evening eating cheese fondue (in our new dining room) and celebrating my birthday. Henry chose a delicious chocolate cheesecake and some electric coloured cupcakes as my birthday treat. He was so excited and his enthusiasm was absolutely contagious. There was so much goodness all around.

And for those of you who are curious, I'm happy to say that my not so subtle birthday wish list post was a success. Myles and Henry picked up the Iacoli & McAllister No. 5 necklace for me along with a beautiful selection of air plants to which my sister-in-law added even more.

(this is only part of my new collection!)

I also somehow managed to find myself the owner of this stunning Stewart + Brown Freja Blanket Coat in Black Marl which I have been ogling for months now.

A friend of mine purchased it for herself but then found it was too big. When she asked me if I wanted to buy it off of her I couldn't say no. It was like the coat had heard me talking to it and decided to give itself to me as a birthday present. It will look perfect with the new Salvatore Ferragamo Hobo handbag my parents bought me.

Yes, I was a lucky, lucky girl. But the best part was spending all that time just doing things with my family, completely in the moment and enjoying the smallest gestures. Simply a lovely weekend.

paris with love

Hello friends, I'm back. I thought I would start off with a little visual overview of my trip to France. I divided my time there between Paris where I started and ended my journey and the Loire Valley. It definitely is a country that has its own style and feel to it. Coming from North America where advertising and billboards dominate the landscape, I was really impressed by the way the French have managed to preserve the history and integrity of their towns and cities. What a pleasure not to see fast food restaurants, mobile phone advertisements, and big box stores everywhere. Oh and the fashion - amazing! The women as expected were astonishingly stylish but it was the men that really impressed me. They really put their North American counterparts to shame.

Of course, a trip to Paris without shopping would be incomplete. I followed many of your suggestions and checked out stores far and wide. One of my favorite things about exploring new cities is that you never know what will be around the next corner. Wide-eyed, I wandered from place to place often with only a loose agenda in mind. The nicest surprise was coming across the Astier de Villatte store on Rue Saint-Honore. I wasn't looking out for it and was blown away when I walked inside. Their selection of handcrafted plates, bowls, cups, and platters is breathtaking. Luckily for my wallet, I couldn't imagine how I would get any of these delicate pieces home. The store is divided in the front and back by a staircase that goes upstairs to a small clothing boutique. On the wall is a rustic porcelain sink that just screamed Parisian style to me. The light was hitting it just perfectly and I just had to capture the moment. Finally, I knew I was in the epicenter of all things fashionable when I spotted Carine Roitfeld, Editor-in-Chief for French Vogue, out shopping one Saturday morning. I couldn't resist taking a quick snapshot of her!

So, what was the biggest design lesson I learned from being in France? Well, the thing I noticed again and again was this inherent sense of knowing when to stop. There is a refinement and understanding to their design that comes across in everything they do. From the signs in the store window displays, to the simple yellow post box to the rows of white spined books, to the name plate on the door there was a common sensibility about honest and simple design. Nothing excessive, nothing over the top just well-designed. Wouldn't you agree?