Friday!

I've taken a few days off to spend some time at home, mostly getting freelance projects out the door and running errands. I know this sounds boring, but it makes such a difference to me to be able to get projects squared off without cramming the around my day job, if only for a few days.

I've also been using the days to think about things too. Especially the volume of freelance work I'm doing. It's very, very difficult for me to say 'no' to work. I guess I'm afraid of missing out if I start to say no. But really, I know I should be working on something better, or just not working at all, than dealing with some of the frustrating situations I find myself in.


I've been a bit dialed-out from the blogosphere this week too. If you follow me on Twitter, you may have read tweets with Chelsea and Anabela about how we're tired of the same old repurposed content (yes, we get it, you love the Domino archive). No, I'm not becoming anti-blogs, but I am looking for more than I was two years ago, a spark of originality; content creation rather than syndication. And my own blog isn't immune from this. I've got some new ideas that I hope to make happen in the near future.

Still, there were some beautiful highlights around the blog world this week: I always love Stephanie's writing, this is sweet and all too familiar. Grace's birthday is an annual blogging highlight - how amazing is she?! I wish I had a car so I get get out of town and see some of my province. Though, if it's any consolation, I've been gorging myself on Ontario peaches. Yum! And as a soundtrack, you can't go wrong with Joni.

Have a great weekend friends! Hope you have something fun planned!

Image credits: 1. Untitled, 2. Re-In-Carnation, 3. Day 353/Explored, 4. empty.

Personality & warmth

I've become a little bored with decor magazines lately. Actually, that's a lie. The real truth is that I'm bored of decor blogs and seeing the same rooms posted and reposted, over and over. Because no matter how lovely those homes are, a cacophony of loveliness is still, well, cacophonous.


When I start to feel like this, I'm interested in what breaks through my jadedness. It's always something with more than good design; something with personality and warmth. Nikole's place still stands out in my mind. As do Jill's and Liane's. This favourite spread does too.

I was rooting through my old World of Interiors and I noticed the home above afresh. It's Anna Wintour's Long Island home. In many ways that's hard to believe. But in others, it makes sense that a woman so supersaturated in the design world, would create a refuge that is, first and foremost, warm, inviting, unpretentious and individual.

Photograph by Eric Boman from World of Interiors, March 2006

Dessous by Sophie Simmons

Yesterday, Chelsea blogged about Lake & Stars, one of my favourite lingerie brands. Dessous by Sophie Simmons is another favourite. Her stuff seemed to be everywhere a few years ago and now I hardly hear anything about this line. But just look how lovely it is. I'm lucky to have a few items from both these labels. There's nothing I like better than lounging about in my skivvies with a good book!

Prairie thoughts

Last night, I was trying to leave the air-conditioner off as long as possible and let myself and my apartment get too hot. So I was lying on my bed in front of the a/c trying to cool down. And, even though I live alone, sometimes I like to listen to music on headphones, because it's so enveloping. So I was lying there listening to Uncle Tupelo, this song in particular.

And suddenly, I was just crying and crying. It's one of those songs that conjures an entire story for me. Summer 2000, driving around the prairies. The boundlessness of that landscape overwhelming me, something so wholly new and almost elating. Knowing it would drive me crazy if I stayed there too long, but getting high on it because I knew we would ultimately turn around and drive back into the foothills, where I lived, and see the Rockies looming up before me.


We were probably driving a car that one of our professors loaned us in exchange for me cleaning her apartment. But it was okay to be dirt poor at that time, because, like the openess of the prairie, it was something I knew I'd turn around from. I was getting a masters degree and then I'd get a job and then everything would be different. I'd be able to afford nicer things and make a home and maybe meet a boy. Every house I liked and thing I saw had potential written all over it. It all seemed so possible.

And I think I was crying because I don't feel any of that certainty any more. I've lost that cocksure faith in the future. And perhaps because I stayed at university longer than most of my friends and then embarked on all this moving around, that way of thinking got locked into me. So, now that I've stopped in one place, I don't really know how to be. And I miss that easy, confident version of myself sitting in that car, enveloped by the prairie.

And I think I was crying because aren't we supposed to gain confidence as we get older? So, why do I seem to be losing it all the time?

Photo from my Flickr, see larger here

Westcoasts

Gorgeous, talented Jen of The Haystack Needle asked me to guest blog for her this week, while she's vacationing on the west coast. And because I'm equal parts accommodating and difficult, I gave her not one but two posts, but taking a little liberty with her west coast theme. I would love if you would join me over on The Haystack Needle for a little virtual holiday in two of my favourite places! Part 1 and Part 2 here.

Cozy corners

I think every home needs a perfect corner like this, filled with books, a super comfy chair, good light, fresh flowers, and somewhere to put your cup of coffee or tea. I found this perfect example on Kathryn Ireland's website.

Inspiring women: Margaret Howell

Every so often, I get a comment or e-mail saying that the fashion I post is only for young, skinny things. As a 30-something, non-skinny thing, I always protest and think that readers need to see past the models. But I would love it if we didn't need to contort our imaginations to visualize wearing those clothes. Really, I think I like Margaret Howell's clothes more on her, a 60-something woman, than I do on her models. How awesome is this photo of her from British Vogue?


Image via British Vogue (July 2010) by Jason Bell

Monday wisdom

"What's this you're writing?" asked Pooh, climbing onto the writing table.
"The Tao of Pooh," I replied.
"The how of Pooh?" asked Pooh smudging one of the words I had just written.
The Tao of Pooh," I replied, poking his paw away with my pencil.
"It seems more like the ow! of Pooh," said Pooh, rubbing his paw.
"Well, it's not," I replied huffily.
"What's it about?" asked Pooh, leaning forward and smearing another word.
"It's about how to stay happy and calm under all circumstances!" I yelled.
"Have you read it?" asked Pooh.

... a favourite of mine and the perfect thing for a Monday morning. I hope your week is filled with Pooh-like calm and Piglet-like small virtues.

Quote from The Tao of Pooh, by Benjamin Hoff

Where we blog from: Hither and Thither

I first became acquainted with Ashley and Aron's blog, Hither and Thither, when Aron e-mailed me many months ago. He was struck by my book title and, upon visiting his blog, I was delighted to see that their many travels included a trip to my homeland. Since then, I've watched Hither and Thither thrive into a beautiful and inspiring catalogue of life lived to the full. This is where Ashley and Aron blog from and what they have to say about it...

Thank you, Jane, for having us as part of this series! Both Aron and I are excited to be in the company of so many interesting bloggers.

When Aron and I lived in Los Angeles, we shared a 1400-square-foot apartment, where the square footage included an office. It’s hard to imagine now: we each had our own very roomy, very heavy desk, and there was a wall of bookcases and a comfy chair. The funny thing is that, even then, we usually ended up in the living room, laptops on our, well, laps. In that regard, moving to a 550-square-foot studio wasn’t such a change—at least as concerned our workspace.


As ever, we tend to—employing the worst of postures (no doubt)—work from the couch. This is Aron’s computer; mine has a less-than-ideal (cracked) screen and, besides, we download all of our photos to his. Rarely is it this serene, however: the television might be on, playing a movie or Office reruns; and we’re usually eating dinner or snacking, or interrupting the other to point out something from an email. And blogging is generally something that happens late at night.

The sofa was one of our biggest purchases after we sold all of our Los Angeles furniture and got settled in New York. We picked it out at Jonathan Adler and justified the color because it’s a we-don't-have-kids-or-pets couch. Unfortunately, we’ve learned that we’re probably just as prone to mess-making.

The coffee table and rug are two of the few furniture pieces we did bring from LA. Aron and I found the coffee table at a flea market and stripped it and re-stained it. My dad teases us that we re-stained it back the same color. The rug is actually two rugs: sheepskins from Aron’s and his sister’s childhood-rooms, pushed together.


Aron tends to set up all of the photos for the blog; for that reason, and because he’s much more bothered by how hot one’s legs can become from the laptop motor (probably because I tend to steal the pillow), he is usually the first to move to desk #2: the dining table.

We try to keep this area clean, as it forms the first impression of our space when you come in the door. I love walking in when it’s clear, allowing the afternoon light to reflect off its polished surface. But I’m afraid it has a tendency to be a bit of a catch-all.

Those sideboards open to the closest thing we have to an office. Boxes of stationary, novels and travel books, magazine files packed full, office supplies, board games and dvds fill every available inch.


Only occasionally will I blog from desk #3, the bed. And when I do, I realize how much I love being able to see the Williamsburg bridge from our windows. You can only see it from that angle. You would never catch Aron blogging from the bed (unless he were pretend blogging). His hours are much longer than mine (he's a surgical resident)--there's no way he'd stay awake if he were there! Come to think of it, that's a risk at desks 1 and 2, too.


Perhaps the best thing about where we blog from is our view. We try to spend as much time as possible outside of the apartment, in the city that inspires us rather than reflecting on it; but having a nice view makes those other times pretty special, too.


Thanks Aron and Ashley!

Stellars jay jumper

Isn't this cute? I could definitely go for this outfit today. From Green Olives Design.

Friday!

I honestly can't decide if the summer is dragging or flying by. These hot draining days seem to go on forever, yet I have to pinch myself when I realize we're headed into the last week of July. I'm not sure I've accomplished much this summer. Though, in some subtle and more important ways, I feel like I'm undergoing some huge changes.

One thing that fell off my plate over the summer was the "Where we blog from" series. It wasn't deliberate. My reservoir of submissions dried up and people had vacations etc to juggle. I'm always just so grateful that people want to contribute that I don't want those contributions to feel like another burden on our already full to-do lists. So, I took a wee break from it. But "Where we blog from" is coming back this Monday and I have some fabulous bloggers lined up to participate. I'm excited to start it up again!


Around the blogosphere this week: Anabela started a new series, this is where I live, that I just love. Much as I'm part of the whole decor blog scene, I also just like people, their homes, their quirky objects and stories and how the things they arrange around themselves cohere into a beautiful form of self-expression. It's what I always hoped to express with "Where we blog from" and Anabela's this is where I live series is a perfect, beautiful example of this same sentiment.

Also... I love a music recommendation from Chelsea and this seems like a good place to listen to a summer soundtrack.  These baskets for the farmers market and these back-packs for the beach—perfect. I'm hoping to catch up on some sleep tonight and get a bit ahead on work over the weekend, as well as catch up with some friends whom I've too long neglected. Apart from that: Books, ice lollies, phone calls and strolls. You?

Hope you have a lovely weekend!

Image credits: 1. Untitled, 2. Untitled, 3. Untitled, 4. daisy daisy

ReadyMade style inspiration

Thought I'd share some of the recent style inspiration I've been conjuring up over on ReadyMade. I really, really love when somebody asks for help with how to wear a certain piece of clothing or how to dress for a certain scenario, so ask, ask away!!


See the full posts here for product information

Beebleboy

I couldn't resist this sweet horsey dish from Etsy seller Beebleboy. He has so many other amazing things too.

Dungaree dress

I just love this overall dress from Loft Design By (what we'd call a dungaree dress at home). The bow belt kicks it over the edge to me. Don't you want to throw this on over a swimsuit and head down to the beach?!

Forest City Lovers

I listened to Forest City Lovers' awesome new album last night. Isn't this shoot lovely too?

Cool & verdant

I've been a little off very white homes of late. But, on another hot, hot day, this home's cool combination of clean white and verdant green especially appeals. From Skona Hem.

The longest day

I came across this photo by liekeroomijs on Flickr yesterday and cannot stop thinking about it. Isn't it perfection?

Jackson, Johnston & Roe Dress

I love the sweet raspberry hue of this dress from Jackson, Johnston & Roe, via Beklina. I also love that they styled it with black tights... making it seem perfect for a summer-to-autumn transition (which I must admit, I'm very much looking forward to!)

Random inspiration

Just some images that I've had on my desktop for some time...


Image credits: Canvas Home / via Cafe Cartolina / via Simply Grove / Romina Shama / Sarah Ryhanen's Flickr (cropped) / via Decorology / TineK

Swimming

I haven't been swimming since I moved to Canada, mostly because I dislike swimming in anything but salt water. Yet, I still call myself a water baby. I crave the feeling of water all around my body. This weekend, I've been thinking about exercise. It's not a surprise that in this summer heat I've been wanting to swim more than normal. But, it's a weird thing, I've relegated swimming to this fantasy zone... something I love, something that I am, but yet I don't do. Isn't that strange? I think these gaps are part of why I don't yet (even after all this time) feel like me in Toronto... these things that I loved but I let go of, because it wasn't immediately easy to replicate them here. But I want to start swimming again. These paintings by Vicki Smith reinforced my craving, available at Bau-Xi.

Friday!

Oooh Friday, so happy to see you again! Another hot week in Toronto, but I'm coping a little better with it now. Ice lollies help. So do cocktails, some of which I'll be consuming tonight. I think other than that I'll lie low and do things that don't involve spending money. Reading is top of that list. God, I love getting to that point where I crack the spine of a book. I wait until I'm hook, lined and sinkered and it's a symbolic moment, when I surrender entirely to the narrative. I typically find it hard to come up for air after that happens.

I've been thinking more about the things I want to do that are things I should be doing without having to think about (a tongue-twister I know). Sometimes, I think other people just get up and do these things, whereas they become some crazy orgy of self-flagellation for me. There's a letting go in there, that I sometimes struggle with. Maybe I'll figure some of that out this weekend. Or not figure and just do.


And part of the letting go is letting go of some of this internet stuff. I love blogging, but sometimes the blog world makes me feel sucky. I'm so not cut out for the self-promotion, fake modesty, the endless networking of it. I think it makes my relationships more meaningful if I can give a few people more of my attention. Everybody talks about blogging as curation. So, I'm also curating my blog-world. It's going to be an evolving thing, but I'm not going to let it overwhelm or depress me. Nor am I going to feel guilty for only being able to do so much and follow so many people. I'd rather deepen good relationships than have a big network. I'm interested in how you manage this too...

A few things I loved this week: This pure, frothy, delightful loveliness. I'm also crazy for the last picture in this post. And this kitchen is perfection. On ReadyMade, I blogged a seersucker round-up, a Mociun Style Inspiration and lots of gorgeous bracelets (my favourite casual kind). Read all my ReadyMade posts here.

Wishing you a lovely weekend! Are you doing anything special?

Image credits: 1. Untitled, 2. Untitled, 3. Untitled, 4. warm

Relaxed chic

I love this home from Cote Maison. It seems like a perfect refuge in the city, a walled garden with a door and behind it an home that's equal measures chic and relaxed. Clean, but not excessively polished. Carefully edited without feeling chilly. I'm in love.


Photographs by Jean-Marc Palisse

Four Etsy faves

It's not usually difficult for me to find four things on Etsy that I'm lusting after on any given day. But, it is unusual for those four things to all come from one store. I'm absolutely smitten with so much from Sadie Olive. This assortment makes me come over all Remains of the Day.

Faceless

I love faceless photographs and art (it's notable even if you browse my photography label) and am also a huge fan of this Flickr group, Anonym. I love not knowing how the subject of the artwork is feeling and am fascinated by how I always read these photographs, projecting my own thoughts and feelings just as much as reading the expressivity of the artwork itself; the pose, the landscape etc. Eilis blogged this picture a long while ago and I look at it often. See her original post here.

A poem for Wednesday

We haven't had a poem in a while. And you know, I really like to make you read, as much as look at pretty pictures. Yes, I'm a bit of an old schoolmarm like that. Anyway, I liked this poem for today. It's by Laura Lush and was published in Brick 85, my favourite literary journal.

Hammock
New moon, night hushed to grass swish.
A star trick-falls and a hound
bites his way through the dark. Watch this man
swing in a hammock—life spent
in the cool liminal pocket of air. Slow twists
of willow branch wheezing out
his time. Night birds rush overhead. The sound of
a zippered wind. Gust and heart-pound.
Tucked away—an arrhythmia of emotion. I won't tell
you how easily it can stop. But for
the hammock. Ask that man. His swing secret.

Heirloom recipe card box

Last week, Joanna blogged about these heirloom recipe card boxes from Rifle and I signed myself up for one! I've been blowing my budget the last little while, so this will be the last splurge for a bit. But I know I'll love this one for a long time, so I'm glad I indulged!

For cooler days...

It's been too hot to turn on the oven, or even the stovetop most nights, but when I got the latest Donna Hay (Issue 50), my mouth watered at these two things. Once it cools down, I want to try these recipes: Potato and goat's cheese frittata (not online) and apple, rhubarb and cinnamon pan pies. Tasty goodness.


Photographs by Chris Court and Mikkel Vang

Rustic and relaxed

I love the rustic details in this home in Skona Hem.

La Garçonne

Golly, I love this lookbook from La Garçonne, photographed by Morgan Howland. I'm especially paying attention to those touches of soft pink in amongst all those dark, heavy fabrics... what a beautiful mix!

Glimpses of home

I'm always tweaking something. This weekend it was my bedroom. I sat in the coffee shop on Saturday morning, after a haircut, and sketched out five different floorplans for how I might rearrange my bedroom. Then, later, I came home and pushed the bed to the left about two feet and voila! - that's all it needed.

That little push also helped crystallize exactly what needs doing in my bedroom and so I made a shopping list for the remainder of the year. And then, because I was clearly on a roll, I made a budget too. What was going to be a lazy Saturday turned into a mini-new year for me. I set goals, made spreadsheets, cleaned closets and did laundry and housecleaning.


So, I'm having a well-earned lazy Sunday, reading and cooking and watching telly. Hope you had a lovely, productive and relaxing weekend!

More images, including product information, on my Flickr

Friday!

It was a big, hot, sticky mess of a week. Every day was a sequence of plans to minimize time outside, get to air-conditioned places and try to avoid my face melting and my hair frizz-whizzing. Paints an attractive picture, eh?


In things bloggy this week, I like all the same things Joslyn likes. I also like these clothes a lot and am excited for this label too. Though clothes-lust reminds me I need to diet! In less figure-challenging areas, I loved this home - so inspiring - and this round-up of pretty, painted furniture. But my absolute favourite thing this humid, swampy week was these two images. I can't tell you how often I stood on the subway platform and closed my eyes and tried to think myself cooler by thinking of these.

They're saying the temp will drop for the weekend and I'm holding them, whoever they are, accountable. I want to run around and do things, drink hot coffee without feeling like I'm going to do myself in and turn off the damn A/C. I'm not thinking past those simple pleasures. What are you up to? Hope you have a lovely weekend!

Image credits: 1. isn't this a great wall?, 2. Untitled, 3. I'll taste the sky and feel alive again., 4. canaan farms

Dutchess

There was a time I knew nobody who shared my love for design. It was my dirty little secret and I worried that my love of pretty little things made me shallow or less smart or just plain silly. I've long ago reconciled those feelings and I know my design-loving self and my bookish self are now BFFs. But even better, I've met people just like me, both online and in the real world. My friend Laura is one of those people. She showed me Dutchess. I fell in love...

Inspiration

I don't have an inspiration board of my own (unless you count my online one), but I sure do like looking at other people's. How do you organize your inspiration?

Just like I created for my own picture wall, I seem to like mainly black and white inspiration boards the best. Here are some of my favourites...


Images via my Tumblr, originally sourced from the following blogs: 1. Seesaw 2. Aesthetic Outburst 3. Elle Interiors (Sweden) 4. Aubrey Road 5. {this is glamorous} 6. Tea for Joy 7. NYT. Please click through for full credit.