Our landscaping is marching forward under this gorgeous weather. Other than going to see Billy Elliot The Musical tonight, we are not going anywhere else this long weekend. While I was chillaxing at home, I thought what other better way to celebrate Canada Day than bake some red velvet cup cakes and share with our neighbors that have been putting up with all the dirt and noise from our landscaping project, and our contractor that’s throwing in overtime to get things done for us?
One of our investment properties is located in the West Queen West District, and naturally we go there from time to time to check on the area. It always amazes us to see the area has become so artsy and hip; new lifestyle and fashion boutiques are filling up both sides of the Queen Street West; and the shopping crowds are getting bigger and bigger each time we were there.
Another reason for us to go down there this weekend is to check out a few stores that I’ve always wanted to go but never got around to. One of them is Chatelet Home located at 717 Queen Street West. The store is small, but it’s packed with tons of quality and elegant furnishing and decor items: French Provincial and English Country are the predominant styles offered.
I didn’t end up buying anything from Chatelet, but I did find this Mersman Mahogany End Table at Captain’s Treasure on Bloor West. The store is cramped and untidy, and there are piles and piles of junk all of the place, but if you look really hard, you might just find something of value and to your liking. This was my second time at the store (I call it Craptain :-)), and I found this Mersman Mahogany End Table made in 1920s for $39. The table is in perfect condition, and it’s valued at $250 at whole bunch of antique/collectible sites. So yet another super score to add to my “Design on a Dime” list.
And as if we didn’t have enough excitement in one day, we also went to West Elm to check out the Essex Upholstered Ottoman I was going to buy. The real thing looks even better than the pictures from their web site, and I really really love the feather grey Ikat fabric pattern and the turned bun feet. Unfortunately the ottoman is too short relative to my sofa and all other major pieces of furniture in my living room so I had to let it go.
I usually take the Spring clean time to replenish my wardrobe. Just like a Chanel suit can make a lady feel legit, I see Hermès scarf complete a career outfit.
…and I want to look fab and smell nice. This year we are the lucky ones again to host family’s Christmas dinner, and I am determined to pick a few no-fuzz easy-to-prepare dishes so that I will have time to shower and look fresh when my guests arrive.
I’ve always been a fan of Gucci’s perfume such as the Original Rush (not the Rush II), so of course I can’t pass the Gucci Guilty with the same amber-based notes. The Gucci Guilty not only smells but looks sophisticated…I can already see how wonderful the bottle looks on my Sarah Richardson’s dresser.
I have my Christmas outfit already planned in my head — mostly from the pieces I already own: the GAP jeans, GAP Favourite Tee, BURBERRY Scarf, ECCO Bouillon Ballerina Flats and Swarovski earrings. The bottom line is — comfort and being myself.
I fancy this Alessi Michael Graves Kettle with Small Bird-Shaped Whistle from Gabriel Ross for a while (or anything Alessi, I’ve been hooked on their designs since I did a MBA case study on them years ago), so I brought home this pretty lady online just in time for some high tea with girlfriends during holidays. I picked up the Paderno Pepper Mill in Blue from HomeSense by chance the other day, and since bought a Salt Mill in Yellow and another Pepper Mill in Red to complete the set. Paderno Canada web site has a great sale going on now where you can get these mills at 30% off. And how can I be all set for Christmas without the tree and lights?! This year I am also going for a chance: instead of one humongous 7-Ft tree I used to put up every year, I picked up two of these 5-Ft Prelit Potted Christmas Trees from Canadian Tire. I added some vintage balls (yes, they are from my mother-in-law and just as young as my husband) and voilà, I have them flank the entrance to the dining room to make my guests feel like VIPs.
Recent Europe travel advisory has scared us into making last minute vacation change from London to DC. Though I’ve been to DC many times prior for work, the unplanned leisure trip turned out to be fun and relaxing. That goes to prove to an organized freak like me that spontaneity can be a bliss.
DC is a no-brainer for museum and gallery goers, just remember to slip in some changes as donation on our way in or out as most admissions are free.
Strolling in downtown DC and observing street scenes was entertaining:
- People appear generally happier here than other metropolitans, unlike Hong Kong where smile has to be constantly reminded by street posters (yes, they actually have happy therapy signs everywhere).
- I doubt you are going to be able to find more women in little black dresses and pearls, and men in suits and ties anywhere else — a.k.a. DC fashion style.
Restaurants with fancy food are much more available and affordable.
- Zola is conveniently located next to Spy Museum and I loved their “create-your-own salad”.
- Blue Ridge Grill‘s (Leesburg VA) lumpy Maryland style crab cakes are to die for.
- Make sure you leave room for desserts at The Cheesecake Factory. Their vanilla bean cheesecake tastes like ice cream! I used to be a big fan of their Seafood Jambalaya Pasta but was disappointed this time as the flavour turned out quite flat.
- Ladies with sweet tooth do not want to pass Fro-Zen-Yo, a self-serve frozen yogurt joint with tens of funky flavours.