Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Just Beautiful Things...

I subscribe to the newsletter DailyCandy and today I got an article on a home decor shop in Wisconsin called Rian Rae. I love the owner's asthetic of mixing old and new, modern and rustic. I'm especially into the nature-inspired accessories (probably because I've been spending so much time at our cottage). Here's a few of the items I found on the site that are now on my wish list.

Squirrel Lamp

This white porcelain squirrel lamp ($130) is a close second to the owl lamp that I've been eyeing for some time. It would make a great night light in a hallway or in a bedroom.

Carved Stag Head

This wooden stag head ($324) would look perfect over the stone fireplace at our cottage. Made of of wood with a whitewashed finish.

Jute Doorstop

I love the simple, nautical look of this jute boat bumper used as a door stop ($42). I would love to find larger versions to use as ottomans as well.

Moroccan Mirror
There's no way I could afford this mother-of-pearl mirror ($1980), but it is truly amazing. I am a huge fan of moroccan-style decor , but what I love is that this mirror could fit with any style--modern, rustic, etc. Made of bone and shell, each piece is hand-shaped and inlaid.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

aloft Hotels

I was flying out of Montreal over the weekend and had a flight cancellation due to weather so had to stay the night at my own expense and fly out the next day. I had noticed a new hotel on the way into the airport and decided to give it a try. What a great find!

The aloft hotels are designed by the same team that designed the W Hotels. Same urban and hip design, but targeted at a more affordable price point and more "self-service" oriented. My room at the Montreal airport was $109 for two queen beds.

No room service or restaurant, although there was a little place to buy salads, sandwiches, etc. and menus for take out. The Hilton was right next door for a restaurant meal. The hotel had a bar/lounge area, pool, and fitness room. Free highspeed internet access.

The rooms have all kinds of great little details--Bliss Spa toiletries in the bathroom, great magazines, a huge flat screen t.v. that you can plug your laptop, ipod, etc into to if you want! Comfy desk chair, down comforter and crisp white linens on the bed, and cool retro alarm clock.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Rain, rain, go away!

It's been raining in Montreal this summer waaaaaay more than it should! In fact it's raining right now. In honor the rain here are my rain boot recommendations.

I own a black pair of these lace-up Tretorn boots ($130). They are super comfortable although a little big for me so I have to wear big socks with them. Love the fact that they look like regular boots. I got mine from Olive & Bette's in New York, but looks like they are available from on sale for $39! Available in olive green with blue trim or black with pink trim. I may just have to pick up the green pair at this sale price!

Ilse Jacobsen
In a similar vein to the Tretorn boots these Ilse Jacobsen boots ($130)offer lace-up styling in all kinds of great colors. I don't like the shape of these quite as much (the ankle looks a bit wide to me), but still pretty cool.

I saw these silver rain boots ($129) in a Montreal store window a couple weeks ago and almost snagged them. If it wasn't 90 degrees outside I might have been more inspired! Hunter boots come in a wide variety of colors, but I have not seen this metallic silver version before. Available at

Sperry Top-sider

My daughter is obsessed with all things nautical right now. I think she would go crazy for these red and blue anchor boots ($60) from Sperry Top-sider.

These boots would be cute with these striped anchor knee-hi's from Juicy Couture ($25) that I just bought her. Available from

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Lake House Style

In the August 2008 issue of Domino Magazine there is a feature story about Thom Filicia's lakehouse (Thom was one of the designers on the show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy). His style is definitely what I'm trying to capture in my own lakehouse, although I've got a ways to go!

In his guesthouse he has the owl lamp I've been wanting on a bedside table! Love the color he painted the beds too--a yellowish green.

Love the sense of fun of the paper mache deer over the stone fireplace.

Also love the 70's fireplace on his deck and the tree stump tables (which I've highlighted in another posting).

Get This Look

There are so many great furniture stores in Montreal, but I happened upon one yesterday that is worth noting here and definitely a good source for recreating a lot of the look above. Retro furniture mixed with new pieces, log coffee tables, wooden deer heads, wire-frame chairs, cow hide. I loved everything in there! They have a location in Toronto as well although I can't vouch for that store:

Phil'Z Loft Division
5298 St Laurent Blvd
Montreal, QC
792, Queen St E
Toronto, ON

Wednesday, July 16, 2008



I'm a dill pickle fanatic, but I'm extremely picky about my pickles. They need to be crunchy and not too big and mushy. I don't like the garlic flavor to be too overpowering and they need to be salty.

My mom and I were shopping at Chez Latina a couple weeks ago and she spotted these Putter's Pickles that we decided to try. At my first bite I realized these were something special. Definitely my favorite pickle by far.

I know you can get them in stores in Montreal. Not sure if they are available outside Quebec, though. I'll be on the look out though!

Chez Latina

It's worth putting a note here about Chez Latina as well. This is a great little market in the Mile End neighborhood of Montreal. Aside from carrying these pickles, they have the best homemade pasta sauces, sausages, marinated meats, etc.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Country Kitsch


I picked up this Ergo Cuckoo Silhouette clock ($40) at Zone last week. This is a 2D version of a cuckoo clock with a pendulum on the bottom that really swings back and forth. Looks like the shadow that a cuckoo clock might throw. I have this hanging in my kitchen at the country house now and like the mix of country kitsch with a more modern look.

I love antique advertising signs--not posters, but the real deal. The more rusty and decomposing the better! I picked up this old Orange Montreal sign at Brocantiques in Ste-Agathes this week which is now hanging in my kitchen at the country house. Flea markets, antique stores and ebay are good sources for these signs.
Here are a couple of my favorite spots in the Laurentains for scouting out old stuff:
B. Lebeau Antiquaire
13276 Route 117
St Janvier-Mirabel
Tel: 435-6840
This place is piled high with old chairs, doors, windows, light fixtures, stuffed dear heads, etc. If you are up for a bit of a hunt this place has great prices. Definitely not one of those high-end antique stores where everything is arranged nicely, but that's why I like it!
Le Marché aux Puces du Ciné-Parc St-Eustache
Open year round on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Parking and admission is free.
400, Hector-Lanthier
St-Eustache (Quebec) J7P 4C1
Exit 25th avenue of Autoroute 640 west.
If you bypass the indoor swap meet and the vendors selling knock-off purses and standard swap meet fare, there is a section in the back where you can find the odd antique. I found a giant "Buvez Coca-Cola" sign here last year which is in my garden. Good spot for antique washboards, old quebec license plates, etc.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Bohemian Rhapsody

I'm definitely a fan of the bohemian look and my style tends to veer in this direction. Here's a few pieces I've seen lately that have caught my eye.

Kimchi & Blue
I love the colors and patterns of this silk dress from Urban Outfitters ($58). Trimmed with crochet at the neckline and partially lined. I would wear this as a long tunic over jeans.

Banana Republic

Here's another great silk dress from Banana Repulic ($110) with a paisley print in burnt orange and navy blue. Love the kimono sleeves!

Odd Molly
I saw some pieces from the Swedish designer Odd Molly at a boutique in Montreal and was immediately drawn to them. Each piece of Odd Molly clothing is hand sewn and all fabrics are organic and sustainably sourced. Gorgeous detailing and even the labels and tags are quirky and detailed. I love their embroidered tunic tops and dresses. Looks like you can email them to find out which stores carry their pieces in your area.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Dress it up!

I love the green salad this Lebanese restaurant in Montreal makes and have tried to recreate it at home. I have been using the following recipe that I think comes pretty close. I've been making it every day this summer!

I think the key to get the extra lemony flavor is sumac, which is a reddish ground herb you can find at middle eatern markets. I found sumac at Adonis Market in Montreal which is an AMAZING grocery store if you haven't been.

Lebanese Salad Dressing

1 clove of garlic minced
Juice of 1 large lemon
Equal amount of extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Salt to taste
Bunch of fresh mint (about ½ cup), coarsely chopped
1 tsp ground sumac

Serve this dressing over a salad of romaine lettuce with fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, onions (that have been pre-soaked in salt-water).

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Grey or Gray?

I love this drapey grey top from Lux with lace detail ($48). The back dips down just enough without exposing too much. Available at Urban Outfitters.


These studded grey pumps from Jean-Michel Cazabat ($495) are a little tough, but still refined which I love. Available at


I love this cotton maxi dress in grey ombre ($125). Best of all it's made using 100% organic cotton, and non-toxic dyes. Available at

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Great In-VEST-ment

This simple look of a close-fitting vest with wide-leg pants caught my eye in the latest issue of Instyle magazine. I like the fact that this vest buttons up high enough that it can be worn without a shirt (not that this is exactly a work-day look).

I've been looking for a vest like this. found a couple that have possibilities.


I like this wool brown and light blue houndstooth vest from L.A.M.B ($265) available at Nordstrom. Although the price tag is a little bit high.


This boyish vest from Pencey is another one that buttons up higher ($265). Available at

Give a Hoot

Owl Light

Nights at our country house are very dark. I've been looking for a light for our hallway for those light night bathroom trips and think I found the perfect lamp. This porcelain owl nightlight from Viva Terra ($149) stands 10" high.

Owl Art

These little owl plaques ($20) from Fred Flare come in a multitude of colors--blue, pink, green, etc. Wood base with a hand cast plastic owl. A few of these would look cool grouped together.

Woodsy the Owl

If you grew up in the 70's like me then you probably remember those public service announcements featuring Woodsy the Owl. This t-shirt ($24) from Junkfood (available at Fred Flare) brings me back.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Do Be, a "do bee"

Do you remember that show Romper Room? I loved the part of the show where they drew the name of a lucky kid that got to be the "do bee" of the day. The show would end with the line, "Do be a 'do-bee'.

My sister is found of the bee (has one tattoed on her hip), so I'm always on the lookout for interesting bee pieces she might like. Here's a few jewelry pieces I've found recently:


This is a great little Queen Bee lapel pin ($18) from Bell'Occhio.


I absolutely love this silver Bee pendant ($100) from Kiss My Ring. Looks like an old seal or emblem.


This Jessica Kagan Cushman resin cuff ($160) has a definite sense of humor. Available at

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Oh, Canada!

In honor of Canada Day (July 1) I thought I would post info on some of my favorite stores in Montreal.

Zone Maison

Zone is a great home furnishings store with a couple different locations in Montreal. I bought these "bear claw" salad servers ($8) there. This is a great store to find gifts and they have many items that are relatively inexpensive. They have some jewelry and accessories as well.

Lola & Emily

This is a great airy clothing and accessories boutique on St. Laurent. The store has big couches and rustic furniture and feels comfy in addition to carrying the latest trends. Check out their website at

Freitag Concept

This is my very favorite jewlery store. Unique pieces and the prices are incredibly reasonable. The owner is extremely friendly and helpful. I bought my mom several pieces from this store and own quite a few myself. I wish they had a website! 3762 boul. Saint-LaurentPhone : (514) 845-1788.

Space FB

This store carries it's own line of t-shirts and casual wear for both men and women designed in Montreal. There's also a Space FB outlet on St. Laurent up the street from the regular boutique. 3632 St Laurent Montréal, QC H2X 2V4. (514) 282-1991‎.


With a newly opened boutique on St. Laurent, designer Claudia Gilles designs unique fluid pieces for women. She also has a line of maternity wear. Wrap dresses, jersey pants and tops all in body conscious, but flattering shapes. 3878, boulevard Saint-Laurent. (514) 227-1272.

This store reminds me more of L.A. than Montreal. It was my dose of west coast style while living in Montreal although I did more browsing than buying. Great denim, feminine tops, sandals and accessories. 4910 Sherbrooke St. West (upstairs) 514-369-0700.

This is an amazing Westmount store to buy jeans and t-shirts. All the major brands are featured. Denim from Joe's Jeans, Hudson, Paige Premium Denin, etc. Michael Stars t-shirts as well as many other brands. 4920 Sherbrooke St. West 514-486-4420.

I love this Montreal department store for all kinds of interesting accessories and clothing finds at reasonable prices. A great coat department in the winter and swimsuit department in summer. Simon's also has a housewares section. I just wish they had shoes! Online at

Brown's Shoes

No trip to Montreal would be complete without a stop at Brown's shoes. The store on Ste-Catherine has a huge selection of women's and mens shoes. I just saw these great boots on sale for $99! Check out the website at:

Oink Oink

This Westmount toy store carries a great selection of toys as well as some clothing and accessories, stuff for summer camp, books, games. There's also a great infant section. Check out their website at:

Jack and Jill

This small NDG toy store is jam-packed with all kinds of little knick-knacks, toys and games as well as great kid's clothes, leggings, pajamas and candy. 5330 chemin Queen-MaryMontréal, QC H3X 1T7 (514) 488-5841‎.

Babar en Ville

With two stores in Pointe-Claire Village and on Greene Ave. in Westmount, this is a great children's book store with books in both english and french. 1235 avenue GreeneWestmount, QC H3Z 2A4 (514) 931-0606‎.