Monthly Archives

January 2009


Clever Home Storage with a Café au Lait | Quick Links 2009.01.31

I was due for a quick links post.

the toy store by oeuf

+ If you are tired to see the plastic toy boxes, the Toy Store will look better in the living room or the playroom. The three-level to box stand designed by Oeuf has removable bin dividers for easy storage of toys in any sizes. $496 in classic walnut or birch finish. Via Cool Mom Picks

+ Thomas Brinch-Møller and Jacob M. Lund imagined these ladybug contraptions to create the coolest key holders. Sadly, there are no words on where and when you can buy them. Via Yanko Design

In the Kitchen

key holder :: weck canisters :: cafe au lait bowls

+ I spot the Weck food storage jars when I visited Heath Ceramics in Los Angeles. I felt in love with these mini canisters. If I recalled well, they carry other sizes not shown on their Web site. Heath put some candies in a mini canister next to the cash to tempt me more. $3 for a mini canister with 2 clamps

+ Serve a coffee latte or a large hot chocolate to your brunch guests in these red Faience Café au Lait Bowls. The bowls are available in four patterns: circle, art nouveau, flowers and heart. The red color makes them an ideal candidate for Valentine’s Day breakfast. $18 each at P.O.S.H. in Chicago. Via Apartment Therapy Chicago


Innovative Living Arrangements

women sharing unit split in 2 studios

With the baby boomer generation getting older and the increasing number of people living alone, new experimentations in how we cohabit will multiply.

After a certain ages living with roommates is out of the question. But living alone has its inconveniences, especially as we are getting older.

Multiple factors will trigger dwelling experimentations from a sense of security, to lowering the cost of ownership to the need for a supportive system and companionship. How can you get all that without losing your individual privacy.

Two Studios, One Unit

This is how these two artist women felt. To make a story short, life circumstances and long discussions led them to buy together a large space and divide it in two living studios.

one unit :: two studios in new york city

Each woman has her own studio apartments linked together by a hallway. Since this is a custom project, they did not lose their individuality. The floor plan suits the way each one lives. One has a huge kitchen for a small spaces while the other who do not cook simply integrated a fridge, a sink and a microwave in a wall storage unit.

Not just for Baby Boomers

It will be surprising this arrangement become popular anytime soon but it opens our minds to new housing concepts.

I feel this arrangement can please single people working at home. They would get access to a companion with similar interests to chat with when they are in their pajama or simply want to take a 15-minute break. The key for success is to set clear rules of engagement from the start.

If you wish to know more, read To Each Her Own on the New York Times.

+ photos by Michael Weschler for The New York Times – rights reserved


Diamond Theme for your Valentine’s Day Table

the 2-carat cup and printage valentine tea wrappers

The design may be cliché but I think these add a cute whimsical touch to your table. Here are some cool items to be on the mood.

Waking Up in Love

+ Printable Valentine Teabag Wrappers and Tea Tags by Creature Comforts
+ The 2-Carat Cup, $14.99 USD at Urban Outfitters
+ Heart & Keys Pillowcase Set by Matthew Langille, $14.99 USD at Urban Outfitters

Table Settings

valentine day decorations

+ Set of 4 diamond ring napkin rings, $48 at Plum Party

If you wish for your relationship to go the next stage, why not leave him or her the key to your apartment on this Diamond Bling Key Chain with a little tag saying Move in with me? $5 at Urban Outfitters


Elegant Rustic Winter Floral Arrangements

pine branches and orchid flowers ::winter floral arrangement

I spotted this bouquet when I went to eat at Le Continental Bistro earlier this week. They look nice next to a mirror. I want one!

I did not ask who supplied their flowers. As I went back home, we passed in front of Fauchois Fleurs, a florist with a romantic European vibe. The boutique is filled with dreamy garden accessories.

winter floral arrangements by fauchois flowers

To reproduce, mix classic white flowers with cut branches. Pinecones are not just for Christmas. They can look romantic too.

+ Fauchois Fleursget directions p 514.844.4417
3933a rue Saint-Denis, Montreal, QC, Canada, H2W 2M4


Le Grand Pesto, Tapenade and cold-pressed Sauces

maison le grand pesto sauces and tapenades

I am glad to introduce a delicious food product from Montreal that is sold in Canada and in the United States. These sauces are a time saver.

You can read on Every Day with Rachel Ray magazine a praise that says the pesto, tapenades and cold-processed sauces from this artisan shop in Montreal taste like they came out from the food processor. You cannot asked for more.

Their Story

La Maison Le Grand was founded by Bernard Le Grand and Tatiana Bossy, a couple in real life. Bernard developed the recipes. Tatiana did the promotion to convinced retailers to buy their their 8 cold-processed sauces.

I would like to have a tasting but friends who did told me it is exquisite. A small batch production made from the fresher ingredients generates their home made taste.

A girl friend recommends the Sesame & Pink Peppercorn sauce on beef carpaccio. I am leaving you with two simple recipes from their blog. Make these one-side grilled cheese sandwiches at lunch with a soup, for a quick afternoon snack or to serve as appetizers with a drink.

one-side grilled cheese sandwiches

+ Grand Grill Cheese with Goat’s cheese and 4 Nuts & Cheese Pesto
+ Grand Grill Cheese with Red Peppers & Garden Pesto

+ Le Grand cold-processed pesto, tapenades and sauces
+ Grocers list where to buy – less than $7 per package


Seeing Andy Warhol Live and Yves Saint-Laurent on Valentine’s Day

walhol live and yves saint-laurent exhibitions

I received yesterday on my inbox a promotion from Joie de Vivre for their ‘Warhol Live’ Package. With a one-night stay at selected Joie de Vivre’s hotels, you receive with two VIP tickets to the de Young Museum for the ‘Warhol Live’ exhibit.

This is a hip activity you can do on Valentine’s Day since Walhol Live starts February 14, 2009 and it runs until May 17, 2009.

A little bit of Montreal in San Francisco

I was curious to know what was Warhol Live since the name brings back memories. I was right since the exhibition at the de Young Museum is produced by The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in partnership with The Andy Warhol Museum, one of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh.

The exhibition explores the relationship between music and Walhol’s art pieces. Yu will be able to have a closer look at Elvis Presley, the Velvet Underground, Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones, Liza Minnelli, Grace Jones, Deborah Harry of Blondie, Michael Jackson and more.

While you are over there, visit another exhibition organized by The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco in collaboration with the Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent Foundation. I am talking about the Yves Saint-Laurent retrospective that I saw last year. The Yves Saint-Laurent exhibits continues until April 5th, 2009.

About the Promotion

To take advantage of the Walhol Live package at any of the Joie de Vivre hotels in the San Francisco Bay Area Hotels, book in advance with promo code ‘WARH’. I had a blissful stay at one of their San Francisco hotels last year. I am talking about the Hotel Vitale.

+ Exhibitions at the de Young Museumget directions
p 415.750. 3600 | Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California, United States, 94101

+ Joie de Vivre’s Walhol Live Package
+ get directions to Hotel Vitale
p 415.278.3700 | 8 Mission St, San Francisco, California, United States, 94105
+ more ideas of what to do for Valentine’s Day in Montreal and elsewhere


Domino Magazine is the Latest Magazine to Fold

magazine demise continues :: domino to be fold

You probably heard the news today about the closure of Domino magazine. We saw a good number of home and decoration magazines disappeared over the last couple of years. It is true that the industry was crowded with titles. But it is sad to see the end of a popular magazine we like.

In Canada, December 2008 was the last issue of Wish magazine. From Blueprint (that I liked) to O at Home and In Style Home (I never bought either) up to the more traditional Home & Garden and Cottage Living, no magazine styles seem to be spared.

May Not Be End

The demise of magazines may continue as advertising revenues are going down. I predict a harder time for expensive magazines. For example, I enjoy Donna Hay magazine but I am not willing to pay $10 for each quarterly issue. Are you?

Many speculate that Condé Nast will decide to consolidate its cooking magazines into one. Gourmet is named more often as the one to be folded. I hope not since I buy one or the other depending on their stories; sometimes both.

I renewed my subscription to Canadian House & Home yesterday. I am guessing they are doing well since they launched a French edition this month.

With this announcement, we have even fewer magazine choices. On the brighter side, we will have more time to blog.


Aladdin Brings Your Lunch to Work in Style


As people are interested to know what is on their plate to avoid unnecessary additives and eat healthier, it is safe to say that more people may wish to bring their lunch at work.

Here are some cool and practical lunch boxes to bring your lunch. Functionality is key. You wish to preserve your food as fresh as possible.

Aladdin Do Lunch collection is filled with cool lunch boxes and containers. Since a salad tastes better when it is assembled at the last minute; I find it complicated to carry around the different elements. Aladdin Lunch & Go Salad Set includes small containers that fit well inside when you are done eating.

Aladdin Lunch & Go is ideal for a picnic as you can assemble individual servings for every members of the family.

+ Aladdin Lunch and Go Lunchbox $12.99 USD
+ Aladdin Lunch and Go Mini Lunchbox $8.99 USD
+ Aladdin Lunch & Go Salad Set $8.99 USD
+ Via Minor Details


A Call for Smaller Plates | Food Trends 2009

I continue on my report of Food trends for 2009 with a topic dear to my heart because it influenced our well-being. A return to home cooking done with affordable ingredients and smaller plates should materialize in 2009.

bistro justine dishes

The home cooking trend is not just about money saving. It is also triggered by our desire to control what and how much is in our plate.

Many experts in the food industry predict a return to smaller plates for 2009. The sooner will be the better if you ask me. Almost everyone complain about excessive portions in US restaurants. It is a fact that we do not feel great after we ate too much. Small plates may be a way for restaurant owners to stay profitable and keep up quality in a harder economic time.

I hope the calories on menu boards regulations imposed In New York and California to tackle the obesity spread will swell this trend further. Even at home, I feel that we are eating too large portions. It seems like the right time to rectify that bad habit.

Changing Our Eating Habits

On our last trip, my husband and I adapted how we ordered in restaurants. One thing we did was to order each an appetizer and then, share an entrée. We have more than plenty of food each time.

This means that we must coordinate what we eat which defies the purpose of eating out. Other times, we checked the portions before entering the restaurants and opted for restaurants that served smaller portions.

I had lunch at a small French bistro restaurant last Monday with a girlfriend, the blogger behind En direct des Iles. The food at Bistro Justine was delicious with reasonable portions. We had too much fun talking that I forgot to take pictures on our meal.

What are your thoughts on the small plate issue?

+ Images from Bistro Justine – get” directions=”directions”>p 514.277.2728
1268 Avenue Van Horne, Outremont, QC, Canada, H2V 1K6

CAKES + desserts FOOD + DRINK

Baby Cakes by Sweet Things Toronto

baby cakes by sweet things in toronto

Thanks to Twitter, I discovered this talented cake maker from Toronto. Juanita Koo of Sweet Things makes adorable cakes for baby showers, christenings and kids birthdays.

I like to showcase Canadian talents. Many talented cake makers operate from their home. They often rely on their blog, their social media contacts and the word of mouth to get new business. Bookmark her name to tell parents living in the Toronto area about her. As you know, artistic cakes are an important part of a birthday celebration for the little ones.

baby shower cake by sweet things in toronto

Her latest baby shower cake was an artistic 4-tiered cake that served over 80 people. Although the theme is classic baby items, the execution is fresh. It is fun to have a tiered cake fashioned with usual shapes. I like it! Reading the comments on her blog, the party guests were delighted.

+ photos by Sweet Things
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