HOME: It Takes a Village

With Easter around the corner (and spring, I hope!), it is time to start thinking about decorating the home with the coming season in mind. Lighter, fresh colours, letting my guests (and Mother Nature) know that I am in the mood for something other than snow and slush.

I love the little festive villages that people put around their homes at Christmas and Halloween, so why not at Easter? Tucked into a little corner, a mantel or if we are so lucky, a beautiful window seat. When I saw this pastel piece of heaven, I fell in love with it and I knew I had to share.

Planning an Easter get-together for family and friends? How lovely would your table look set with these delicious dishes?

How lucky you are if you live in a climate warm enough to partake in a little Easter Egg Hunt and garden party!
Why not decorate your table with this beautiful tablecloth from Williams-Sonoma?

While the adults are having their lunch, let the little ones run amok collecting their Easter egg hunt goodies with these cute personalized baskets from Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn.

RSH, Pottery Barn, Williams-Sonoma  have a stunning selection of Easter goodies waiting for you, click on any of the links to be taken to their site.

How do you decorate your home around the Easter? Do you shower your home with pastels or take a different, jewelled approach?

A Blogroll Update and....a Coco Avant Chanel Giveaway!

I've updated our blogroll so I thought I would celebrate the occasion with a great giveaway for anyone whose a fan of the fabulous Coco Chanel!

I love scrolling through blogrolls and coming across a great blog that I probably would not have found otherwise. Once a month I will be updating the blogroll, so please take a peek whenever you have a chance. These are some wonderful blogs and I don't want any of you to miss out!

Now on to the fun part! I have a brand new DVD of the movie "Coco Avant Chanel" starring the always lovely Audrey Tatou, to give away to one of you lucky readers out there.
How do I enter the giveaway you ask?

Be a follower and leave a comment on this post = 1 entry
Post about this giveaway on your blog = 1 entry

I will leave you all with some lovely stills from this fabulous movie.
The contest ends Monday, March 1, 2010 at midnight and I will be announcing the winner on Tuesday, March 2, 2010.
Good luck!!

"A little girl who is sent with her sister to an orphanage in the heart of France, who waits in vain every Sunday for her father to come for her.....

A cabaret performer with a weak voice who sings to an audience of drunken soldiers.....

A humble seamstress, who stitches hems at the back of a provincial tailor's shop.....

A young, skinny courtesan, to whom protector Etienne Balsan offers a safe haven, amongst the idle and decadent.....

A woman in love who knows she will never be anyone’s wife, refusing marriage even to Boy Capel, the man who returned her love......

A rebel who finds the conventions of her time oppressive, and instead dresses in her lovers' clothes.....

This is the story of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, who begins her life as a headstrong orphan, and through an extraordinary journey becomes the legendary couturier who embodied the modern woman and became a timeless symbol of success, freedom and style."
from the official movie site

Look of the Day: Jessica Biel

images courtesy of SplashNewOnline

Maybe it's our long-time fascination with the hat, maybe it's our new-found infatuation with this cord strap purse, maybe it's just the fact that Jessica Biel looks fabulously ladylike and chic in NYC, that made us choose her as the Look of the Week.

The cloche hat tops my list of hat loves but I must say that every time I see Ms. Biel sporting this derby,  I feel I must spread the love and start searching for a derby hat to call my own!

We usually shy away from everything getting too matchy when it comes to the shoes or purse in relation to the rest of the outfit but we thought this similar shaded purse went swimmingly with the oyster coloured dress she wore underneath her charcoal double-breasted coat.

A pair of classic stiletto Christian Louboutin pumps are the perfect companion for such a beautiful 'in town' look.
What do you think of Jessica Biel's Look of the Day?

Minding My Manners at The Entertaining House!

I am one lucky girl! Why you ask? Well, the lovely and dare I say entertaining Jessica from The Entertaining House asked me to do a guest post about children's party manners for her series, Mind Your Manners Monday.
Jessica, thank you so much for the opportunity to ramble on to your unsuspecting readers!

Click on any of the links to be taken to The Entertaining House and don't forget to tell Jessica who sent you!


Our series on past and present style icons and what we can garner from them begins with the ivy league beauty, Mrs. C.Z. Guest.
Born on this day, February 19, 1920 in Boston, Massachusetts, Lucille Douglas Cochrane or C.Z Guest as she was better known, was most notably a socialite, author and gardener extraordinaire, who personified the clean-cut and unadorned American style.

One of the most photographed woman in 20th century America, long considered one of the "beautiful people", she exuded an air of indifference when it came to her status as a chic and stylish icon.

This nonchalance to her iconic label and her down to earth sensibilities were never more apparent than when she was discussing her love of gardening. A talented author, she penned a series of books about gardening, the first one titled 'First Garden', which was reported as one of her proudest accomplishments.

The epitome of aristocratic prep, she chose simple lines, soft colors and sporty pieces that highlighted her patrician beauty. She favored designers who worked the suble everyday glamour that categorized classic American dressing like Mainbocher and could always be found on best dressed lists everywhere.

Often compared to Grace Kelly due to their pale skin and hair, blue eyes, and coolish beauty, she embodied a look reminiscent of Palm Beach dwellers and residents of the Hamptons.

She chose to forego heavy makeup and trendiness and illustrated old guard chic when not on show, embracing starched white shirts, riding pants and boots, cashmere sweaters and minimal jewelry.

C.Z. Guest died on November 8, 2003 in Old Westbury (Long Island), New York.

We have a full list of ladies and gentlemen who will be spotlighted in this series but there is always room for more, who do you consider to be an icon of style??

Look of the Day: Sandra Bullock

We really try to avoid choosing the same people over and over again for the Look of the Week, regardless of our personal admiration of the individuals style but sometimes the girl can't help it and this was one of those times. Sandra Bullock just radiated chic in this charcoal grey belted suit at the 82nd annual Academy Awards Nominee Luncheon in Beverly Hills.

There is nothing we love like a stunning neckline and Sandra Bullock is pulling off this asymmetrical flap collar like no ones business! Her choice of accessories-a delicate gold chain and simple taupe platform heels finish off her 'ladies who lunch' look.

What do you think of Sandra Bullock's Look of the Day?

Happy Valentine's Day

"One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: That word is love."

Wishing you a very happy Valentine's Day!

On The Shelf-The Private Lives of Pippa Lee

One of the things I love about the weekends are the occcasional stolen moments that you find for yourself. While the other family members are amusing themselves with things they don't get to do during the week, I love to curl up in a comfy chair and enjoy some quiet moments with a good book. I just finished reading Rebecca Miller's The Private Lives of Pippa Lee and loved it.
Without giving away too much of the book, this tale tells the story of Pippa Lee, beautiful wife and devoted mother, (involved in the literary world through her husband, Herb, a retired publishing giant) who seems to live the perfect life of an affluent 50-something housewife. A more than colourful past that has no place in her present follows her, and when the two different worlds start to collide, she finds herself doing things in her sleep that are beyond a logical explanation, her world begins to unravel

"At fifty, Pippa Lee seems just fine. The devoted wife of a brilliant publisher thirty years her senior, the proud mother of successful twins, and a lovely and adored friend and neighbor, she seems to glow with feminine serenity. But when her husband spontaneously decides they should cast off Gramercy Park for Marigold Village retirement home as a "preemptive strike against his decrepitude," Pippa finds her beatific persona unraveling in alarming ways: the truth is that the gracious woman of the present day has seen more than her fair share of the wild side. By seventeen, Pippa had lived with a Dexedrine-addicted mother, felt the first stirrings of sexuality with a school girlfriend, had an affair with a teacher, and run away from home, set adrift on a course littered with broken hearts - until she seemingly found love and security in a family of her own. And now that established world, too, is in danger." "In Pippa Lee we have an unforgettable heroine, and a quirky and acutely intelligent portrait of the many lives behind a single name. Even after we've read it, The Private Lives of Pippa Lee is a story that is still unfurling-taken from the book jacket"

I haven't caught the movie yet, which stars Robin Wright Penn, Alan Arkin, and Winona Ryder just to name a few. I usually prefer to read the written work before I venture to the cinema, hopefully the film does justice to this wonderful work of fiction by Ms. Miller.
The book is available through Amazon and Chapters, just click on the links to be taken directly to the pages.

My Kind of Valentine!

Valentine's Day is around the corner and since my husband occasionally reads my thoughts here, I wondered if he needed any pink inspiration in the gift department. You see, chocolate lovelies have been banned in our home (talk about willpower!) and while I adore a fresh bouquet of flowers as a surprise on any given day, I would be ever so grateful if any of these found there way to me on Sunday!

I just love the Philosophy line and the nice people at Sephora have put together one of the sweetest smelling gift sets your nose will ever encounter .

I know I have been on a bit of a boot kick lately but I fell in love with these Burberry heart print wellies. If spring ever emerges, how cute would these boots be paired with a warm cape and leggings??

Pink and green (and monogrammed!), why you shouldn't have!! Hopefully cupid (in the guise of Fontaine Maury, the home of these beautiful trays) will eventually start shipping to Canada because I must have one of these!

 This non-traditional take on the laptop bag is right up my pink alley. It reminds me of a vintage travel case and the brown trim keeps it from being a little too sugary sweet.

image courtesy of Rainebrooke

What Valentine's wishlist would be complete without a little pink Lilly shift dress?????

What is on your wishlist for Valentine's Day?

LOOK OF THE DAY :: Lauren Conrad

Blame it on the grey skies and the lovely sunshine awards we received this week but we couldn't help fall in love with this bright yellow Plastic Island coat with a wide flounced collar that Lauren Conrad wore when she visited Good Morning America.

Surprisingly, yellow is not as hard a colour to pull off for most women, but since it seems to beg for attention most of us shy away from donning the colour. Just looking at these pictures makes us feel like spring must be around the corner (it's got to be right????)

Ms. Conrad paired her black suede Christian Louboutins with a very hot item this season, a quilted Chanel purse with a chain link strap.

What do you think about Lauren Conrad's Look of the Day?

The Trials of the Domestic-What Stinks in the Kitchen Sink?

There is nothing I like more than a sparkling kitchen sink. Whenever, I have a few extra minutes, I love to give the old stainless steel a good scrubbing. No matter how tidy a kitchen can be, a less than pristine sink can really do a number on your image as the perfect housewife (and isn't that what we all aspire too??-you can laugh at any time now!)

A while back as I was giving the sink a polishing, I noticed a less than pleasant odour coming from my sink (the look on June Cleaver's face says it all!). Thinking that maybe I had missed something, I started to go over the sink again ....and again....and again. I had scrubbed, rinsed and sniffed three times and that stubborn odor was still there. As I stuck my head and sniffer further and further into the sink, I realized that the smell was coming from deep in the drain. A moment of relief (it wasn't my cleaning skills that were waning) was shortlived when I realized that whatever it was that was causing the smell was beyond my arms reach.

What does one do in this situation??? I was briefly at a loss, starting to ponder taking apart the pipes underneath the sink when I heard the pesky voice inside my head-go to your books young lady. My vintage home economics books had never failed me in the past and they didn't fail me this time either!

image courtesy of Arm and Hammer

The solution to a stinky sink was a simple one. A combination of half a cup of baking soda and half a cup of white vinegar (which created a mini science experiment of sorts) is the trick to pleasantly smelling pipes. I learned that the smell was probably coming from little food particles that had made a home in the pipes. (My husband is notorious for not thoroughly scraping food from the plates as well as he should, so I could see how those little critters found their home).

To deordorize your drains (and garbage disposals as well) sprinkle the baking soda (one of my favourite cleaning products) liberally over the drain opening and then follow with pouring the white vinegar over the baking soda and watch the bubbles eat away at whatever is hiding in your pipes. Cover the drain and let it do its work for at least 15 minutes. Then flush drain with some hot water ( at least six cups) and whatever junky stuff was in there, will be swept away. I do this at least once a month to keep all my drains smell and clog-free (works on bathroom and tub drains as well, the concoction breaks down hair caught in the drain).

The baking soda alone will work to deordorize  and neutralize any acidic or other basic odors but when you add the vinegar (another one of my favourites!), this environmentally friendly combination breaks down fatty acids into a soapy sludge which just washes down the drain.

A Nautical Take on the Pea Coat

One of the more classic styles of outer coat, the Pea Coat (or Pilot Jacket as it has also been known) is a garment that no closet should be without. Peacoats have always reminded me of the East Coast, the ivy leagues, chilly autumns, and cold winters. Many come with great thermal liners that allow you to take it from first chills of autumn to the rains of spring.

This nautical inspired version from Topshop caught me eye and I just couldn't get it out of my mind. How charming would this look paired with the new item of the moment, the jegging or a pair of skinny jeans for those of us who don't know how we feel about a jean legging just yet, tucked into a fabulous riding boot complete with a warm turtleneck and all the perfect accessories. I think I would contemplate braving the frigid weather to sport this outfit around town!

Items in this set:

TOPSHOP Tall Wool Hello Captain Coat, $145
THEORY New Nickname Sapphire sweater, $207
VICTORIA BECKHAM Denim Washed-finish super skinny jeans, $295
CHICAGO Riding Boots, 460 GBP
CHLOE Ethel Brown Satchel  $1,000
    EUGENIA KIM Cate crochet beret    $184
GUCCI Large Aviator Sunglasses

HOW TO BEHAVE HERE, THERE AND EVERYWHERE: The Gentleman and the Pocket Square

My dad has always been a sharp dresser. Bespoke suits, fine silk ties, and a collection of shoes to make any man envious. I think I was in my teens before I had ever seen him in what he would consider casual attire (casual for him means without tie, he even digs around in his garden in a dress shirt!). A friends mom once remembered my dad coming to my little league baseball games, the only dad there dressed in a suit and tie. As long as I can remember, he was never without a pocket square. Before stepping out, he would always take one last look in the mirror and tuck it deeply into his pocket, give it a tug, letting it peek out of the top.

What has happened to the pocket square?? Once upon a time, a man wouldn't walk out his front door without tucking a folded square of material into his breast pocket. Unfortunately, for a while it had gone the way of the tie clip, the cufflink and many other 'accessories' that have been banished from men's wardrobes as frivolous decorations and not necessary. Lucky for us it seems to be making a comeback, especially with the young men in vogue cruising the metropolitan streets and I am loving it!

Originating in England (it has been noted as early as the 14th century), the pocket square or handkerchief was used for hygienic reasons, to wipe the face or blow the nose. By the 19th century, an early version of the two piece suit we know today came into fashion and with that, the pocket square became a standard in a man's wardrobe for practical (nose blowing) and fashionable (looking good) reasons.

Once fancy folding techinques reared their heads, the square had become a must have accessory for any man, allowing him to showcase his individual style.
With the invention of the disposable hankerchief (thank you Mr. Kleenex!), the square started to lose its importance and with the continuing quest to be less 'formal' and more 'casual' in our lives (and wardrobes and grooming and manners and I could go on all day!) the pocket square became a relic, an item associated with old men and the past.
The resurgence of the pocket square has young men of 2010 pairing theirs with everything from formal suits and ties to sport jackets and jeans. They know a fabulous way to bring their look up a notch when they see it.

I have added a little instructional guide below for three of the most common folding techniques but when I started to my research, I never knew their were so many ways to fold such a little piece of material.

The Straight Fold
Lay your pocket square flat and bring left side to right side.
Bring the bottom towards the top and then fold in thirds horizontally to fit pocket appropriately.

The One Corner Fold
Lay pocket square flat so that it is in a diamond shape (one point north, one point south)and bring bottom point to meet top point (making a triangle)
Bring left corner to the right corner and then right corner to left corner making a slim rectangle with a point at the top. Fold the bottom towards the top but stop short before base of top peak (making it look like a shorter version of the slim rectangle mentioned before. Place it in your pocket and adjust till you have your preferred amount of peak sticking out.

 The Puff Fold
Lay pocket square flat. Pinch middle of fabric and with one hand firmly holding the square, use other hand to gather fabric together.
While continuing to hold middle of fabric, bring top of square to meet bottom, stick in pocker and arrange appropriately until you are pleased with the puff.

I am on a quest for all men, young and old alike, to start sporting them once again. Ladies now is the chance to sneak a little fashion advice passed your husbands. Even the most relaxed of men have to slip on a suit and tie sometimes, and that's were you come in. My husband does not wear a suit that often but after introducing him to the beauty of a pocket square, he never puts on a suit without one.
(okay, truth be told, when I first bought one for him and brought it home, his only response was "what am I supposed to do with this?" accompanied by a blank stare. With a little coersion from me, he wore it for the first time to a wedding and received so many compliments that he started buying them for himself. He has never put on a suit without one since!)

Not that Don Draper has to try too hard to convince us of anything but can you think of an easier way to add a touch of style and elegance to a suit or sport jacket?

Am I the only one who thinks the pocket square is something to hold on to????
What do you think of the pocket square?