Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Festive Windows

Please excuse the iPhone photo, but look who I found amongst the shiny party dresses in the window of Holt Renfrew. A frosty Anna Wintour. Appropriate, no?

I saw the September Issue recently, and she doesn't come off that bad. She's just not a people person, which may make her a hard person to work with, and definitely makes her a hard documentary subject. Out of necessity, the film-maker drew a great contrast between introverted Anna and extroverted editor/stylist Grace. Maybe that's her in the top right-hand corner?

Friday, October 30, 2009

I want a house in the English Countryside

TV listings don't help when you've forgotten the name of a new favourite show. Luckily, I re-stumbled upon Relocation, Relocation. It's on HGTV in Canada and apparently Channel 4 in the UK. It's best watched with a laptop open to Google maps.

Here's a photo from the episode I watched this evening.

The hosts balance wish-lists, gut reactions, dithering and trigger-shyness. Why do I watch this show? I think it's the charming exasperation of the hosts and the skepticism of the home buyers. Sometimes, the people don't even buy anything!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Shake it

I'd seen some enchanting dark and bright photos here and there, but didn't know the secret until I stumbled across the iPhone ShakeItPhoto app. You can use it to make "fauxlaroids," as an iPhone review puts it, out of existing photos or new photos.

Here's the Vancouver library late yesterday afternoon, and the original below.

Somewhere there's a polaroid of me from elementary school with some high, high bangs.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fashion Binge

I'm a little embarrassed. My boyfriend and I have watched eight episodes of Project Runway in three days. We are now experts at navigating buffering pauses. He thinks Nicholas is mean. I am reserving judgements on all points, except that guest judge Zanna Roberts, second from the left below, is fabulous. (Image: tv.com.)

We also watched Valentino: The Last Emperor on Friday night. To me, the message was that fashion - on this scale (go etsy!) - used to be a craft and is now a business. On one hand, Valentino's seamstresses in Turin preferred to sew by hand... even individual sequins, even when there's a machine! Some of my favourite scenes are when Valentino sketches with 5 pugs at his feet, and when the seamstresses come to his 45th anniversary celebration. On the other hand, Valentino sold his company in 1998 and it is passes from one multinational to a second in the movie. As the director says, "Valentino was literally, to use the cliche, a boy with a dream....Today, it's the money that makes the decisions, and they pick the talent." (Image: the movie's site).

But even film-making is a business. The movie lets you assume that Valentino and his partner, Giancarlo Giommetti, have a romantic relationship. Their relationship is lovely - productive and supportive - but they are no longer a couple. Is it because romance sells movies? Or is it me? Have I become so programmed to look for romance in movies that I can't appreciate other evolutions of love?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Classy Canadiana

I love these brooches from Touch the Dutch, which I found via Love It A Lot. They're definitely something you save up for, but how cute! The Stanley Cup one is bringing back memories of the arena half-coffee-half-hot chocolates of my youth. The Canadian mocha? Possibly.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Flora or Fauna?

Here's some "Wonky Veg" from the Telegraph. Would this encourage kids to eat their veggies, or scare them off?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Down Time in the City

Well, the weather has turned, the petunias are dead, and the barbecue and patio furniture have been abandoned to packing boxes and spider webs. What I really want is this lovely garden from Design*Sponge. I love the colourful outdoor rug and pillow, the mix of evergreens and annuals, the climbing vines and the candles. Hmm. Maybe there's hope for a winter garden after all.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Hip Recycling

How many R's can you achieve with this bag from Vancouver-area designer Penelope Foo's Etsy store? Reduce (use of other handbags), check. Recycle(ed leather trench coat), check. Reuse, obviously.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Original Pretty Woman

I'm not alone in being inspired by Audrey Hepburn. This quote of hers suggests that women have always admired her style: "Women can look like Audrey Hepburn by flipping out their hair, buying the large glasses and the little sleeveless dresses." By popular acclaim, other necessities include ballet flats, men's white shirts, trench coats, pearls, black cigarette pants, little black dresses, french twists, and minimal make-up except for that glam black liner. (One site even broke the mold by suggesting pastel-coloured polo shirt tucked into skinny jeans. Too advanced class?)

Why Audrey, right now, for me? My friend Devon who introduced me to Audrey is getting married in a few weeks. Back in 2002, we watched Roman Holiday together and had bedazzled Audrey Hepburn purses (sounds a bit ugly now). I feel confident that her dress will have some Audrey flair. 

Why Audrey, right now, for all of us? Her grace and charm? Perhaps also because her style unifies some of the odds and ends fashion has recently gifted us (big sunglasses, pearls, skinny jeans, ballet flats) while excluding the potentially less flattering ones. 

Or maybe it has something to do with Tiffany's.

Image: Time.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Did they eat the red ones last?

What is Canadian food? Here's what astronaut Julie Payette served on the International Space Station, according to the Globe and Mail: Albertan beef jerky, BC salmon pâté, Ontario fruit bars, maple leaf cookies, and of course, that colourful Canadian chocolate that leaves coloured stains on your palms, Smarties. I suppose they couldn't bring anything perishable, but I can't decide: yummy or pathetic?

Image here

Monday, August 31, 2009


Felix's owner is one grateful, considerate person. Not only this sign but others as well were updated with the news of his reappearance. Adorable! 

Friday, August 28, 2009

2-in-1 Tea

I love the weather right now: it's still summer, but it's cool enough for normal activities, such as exercising, wearing real shoes, and drinking tea. Check out this tea kettle: Step 1, add water through the hole in the top and boil on the stove. Step 2, remove from the stove and add loose tea in a cone shaped infuser through the same hole. Steep. Step 3, use the handle to pour. Step 4, sit down and daydream. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


It's Wednesday, which means it's Travelzoo day!

This web site sends you a weekly list of the best travel deals in your area. Flights, hotels, spas, vineyards, musicals, trips, etc. In April 2008, I went to the Dominican Republic for a week for less than $900 including tax and travel insurance. For real.

Bad carb, good carb

 Carbs are once again good for you. Apparently, a high-carb diet is better than a high-protein diet for long-term weight loss. Of course, we're talking good carbs, but interestingly, pasta, nuts, milk and yoghurt are on the good list, whereas instant oatmeal, ripe bananas and carrots are on the bad list. (However, let's keep some perspective: a carrot is not exactly a box of Junior Mints.) This is interesting. I'm not trying to lose scads of weight here, but I am trying to avoid buying all new pants when there are so many other things I want to buy. 

When I was in Italy in the Spring, as you can see above, I consumed heaps of chocolate croissants, wine, bread, cheese, pizza, beer and gelato without any waistband-tightening. Might have something to do with the 5 plus hours of walking I did each day. Resolution: More travel.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Je l'aime!

I used to have a French tutor, but she dumped me for this glorious summer we are having. I think I will find a new one in September. 

In the meantime, this shirt from Forever 21 combines three of my favourite things: clothes, French and reading. (If she was somehow eating a cupcake, it would be perfect.)

Cook Me

This has been my favourite cookbook for about 10 years, but I have never owned it until last Wednesday when two of my dear friends gave it to me for my birthday. It's published by the fabulous Rebar restaurant in Victoria, BC. How did I last without it for so long? I give it indiscriminately as gifts, and my roommates have always had it. I also stole it from friends and kept it for ages before sheepishly returning it. I am that girl. Put your names in your books. In ink.

My favourite recipes include peanut sauce, vegan brownies, Monk's Curry, Thai Dragon Bowl, and Chunky Winter Vegetable soup. Mmm.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

How do you say...

Last month, I came back from our daily break, and my students had phonetically written my name on the board in their languages - Arabic, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese and Chinese. I was impressed!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Fantastic Time-Lapse Video

I actually rollerbladed over the bridge at about 2:30. That sunset and that electrical storm were crazy. It was like the apocalypse!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Community Gardens

Background, glass towers; middle ground, 70s architecture; near ground, flowers! This first garden is in downtown Vancouver, where there used to be a gas station.

Fence cozies! (Click here for more.)

This second one is along an old railway track in a nearby neighbourhood. 

Book Club

I have shelves of mysteries by Agatha Christie; everything from 1920s capers to later, darker tales in sleepy villages. Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie reminds me of the latter. Decaying English country houses, reading 18th century novels aloud in the drawing room, poison, flying down shady lanes on bicycles, dead bodies in the cucumber patch.... Granted, the title is a little odd and the main character is far too precocious for an eleven-year-old. It is still, however, an extremely fun, smart, good read. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Freedom for your feet

Genetics is a two-edged sword. As always, my feet were sore from my cheap sandals about a month into summer. After much searching, I had thought Birkenstocks were my only option until I found Born shoes. It took me about two weeks to break them in, but it's worth it. Mine are actually silver and flowerless, but I love all green shoes

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Beach Baby

Beaches and food go together so well. Barbeque chicken skewers, roasted peppers, pasta salad, chocolate chip cookies. Mmm. Last Sunday was the birthday of one of my best friends. We celebrated in style at Jericho Beach, where this picture was taken. Another friend made the most disgustingly awesome birthday cake: a double layer of two-bite brownies cemented into a cake shape with chocolate frosting and decorated with, you guessed it, more chocolate. As the day wore on, it melted into a sinfully sweet goo in the sun. Someone's dog got into the cake around 8 pm, which was probably for the best (although not for the dog, I can imagine!).
Eating somewhat healthy for other meals may be a good option. My go-to breakfast drink: one banana, two strawberries, and half a cup to a cup of milk. Blend. I know two strawberries doesn't sound like a lot, but it keeps the banana flavour from disappearing. Extra hot day? Add ice.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Goats on the Roof

In addition to great ice cream, cheap summer dresses and amazing cheese bread, the Coombs Old Country Market (better known locally as Goats on the Roof) has some fairly unique summer tenants. In the winter, they adjourn to cozier quarters.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Ribbit, Ribbit

There must be a frog in here somewhere.

Bianco e nero

I am feeling a bit noir tonight, so here are some black and white photos that my boyfriend took on our recent trip to Italy. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

iTunes U

I am hooked on free first year Psychology lectures from iTunes U. I listen to them while I cook dinner and do the dishes. So far, I have learned that economic theory can explain which romantic relationships last and why. It might not be rocket science, folks, but it's keeping me entertained!

Go to iTunes>Podcasts>iTunes U>MIT>Brain and Cognitive Sciences>Introduction to Psychology. 

Monday, June 15, 2009

Greek Goddess

I love this Mykonos dress from Anthropologie. I can feel hot air and smell olives and salt water. Because it's pricey, I will wear a blue dress from the closet and add that little something by snacking on hummus and dolmades - the canned kind from the International Foods section. Mmmm.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Friday evening, friend's deck. 

Eggs benedict for Saturday morning brunch. Also, as soon as we sat down, they gave us mini-donuts. No need to pre-breakfast here!

Sunday afternoon atop the Chief with my sister.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Thinking Girl's Beach Book

Don't be intimidated. You can take it to the beach. It's full of magic, sex, history, travel, fun and sadness, as Princess Angelica makes her way from India to Renaissance Florence. Also interesting is an appearance by a not-so-nasty Machiavelli. 

If you're a dork like me, you can also check out this interview with the author here.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sea Wall

One of the great things about my job as a college ESL teacher is the flexible schedule. Right now, I don't teach until the afternoon on Thursdays, which gives me plenty of time to rollerblade around the sea wall when it's not so crowded. Here are some pictures from last week.

The Lion's Gate Bridge

Siwash Rock above, Third Beach below with Kitsilano in the background.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Apple Crisp

Yesterday, my boyfriend and I took the proletariat chariot out to the suburb of White Rock for dinner with one of my university friends and her boyfriend. They made fab cedar plank salmon and I brought apple crisp. I think the salmon marinade was something along the lines of dill, garlic, lemon rind, and olive oil... I'll have to ask for details. Here is a picture of the apple crisp (before it was cooked), the recipe, and for good measure, a picture of their cat.

Apple Crisp

Place 4 cups of apples and/or other fruit, like berries or peaches, in a greased casserole dish.
Cover with a mixture of 2/3 a cup of brown sugar, 3/4 a cup of oats, half a cup of flour, and 1/2 a cup of butter. Bake for 45 minutes at 350. Enjoy with vanilla ice cream.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Water, water

I love a fountain in the heat. They're flirty during the day and seductive at night. I recently discovered, to my surprise, that Rome is full of fountains. Above, outside the Pantheon. Below, the Trevi Fountain.

This chap is more morose than anything, but still charming.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Cheep Cheep

Here's a little change purse I picked up at the Vancouver Art Gallery's gift shop not long ago for about $5. Much better for taking a stroll past the beach (and perhaps the gelato store) en route to the grocery store than a heavy leather shoulder bag.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Salad Rolls

Miraculously, it has been sunny here in Vancouver for the past few weeks! That means I am not getting my veggies because 1) it’s too hot and beautiful too cook and 2) patios serving burgers and beer are beckoning.

 Here is an easy recipe for salad rolls that solves the first problem, at least. Serves 2.

 8-10 circular sheets of rice paper

About 150 grams (5 ounces) of rice noodles (about 1/3 of a package)

Two carrots, sliced

Half a cucumber, sliced

Half a bunch of cilantro, chopped

Half a head of spinach, washed, dried and chopped

1 avocado, halved and sliced

Fruit (optional but highly recommended!): mangoes or strawberries work well

A kettle full of boiling water

1.     Soak the rice noodles in boiling water for about 5 minutes while you prepare the veggies.

2.     When you are ready to start rolling, dip a piece of rice paper in a plate of hot water for about 30 seconds. I like to use a quiche dish for this. Pull it out, shake it like a Polaroid picture (okay, not that hard) and put it on your counter.

3.     Layer cilantro, spinach, rice noodles (a small handful), carrots, and other veggies and fruit in a line towards the closer end of the circle.

4.     Roll the filling over once, fold in the edges, and complete the roll. Basically, it’s like making a burrito. The rice paper is really sticky, so it will hold together nicely.

5.     Place the finished rolls on a plate with a bit of air space in between, or they may stick together and tear.

6.     Serve with peanut sauce (see below) or store-bought Thai sweet chili sauce.

Peanut Sauce: Combine in a bowl or food processor. 

1. Start with the basics:

¼ cup peanut butter

¼ cup soy sauce

2 tbsp rice wine vinegar

1 tbsp sesame oil

2. Add any or all of the following: chopped cilantro, a splash of lemon or lime juice, maple syrup, ginger, garlic, or chili sauce.


Enjoy with a beer, glass of white wine, or some green tea and an episode of Rich Bride Poor Bride.