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Umbra Handisleeve and Dandisleeve

umbra handisleeve and dandisleeve

umbra handisleeve and dandisleeve

The Handisleeve by Umbra has an handle, which means that it is easy to hold and drink from. Some textile coffee sleeves can be slippery. It won’t happen with the rubber coated Handisleeve. I see it as a must-have for when you are driving your car. It comes in blue, red, green and black.

Alan Wisniewski designed two two models: the simple Handilsleeve and the Dandisleeve (in black or pink) which shows a flower cur pattern. Both models can fit several sized of cups. You can watch what people have to say about it.

+ Handisleeve by Umbra $5
+ Dandisleeve by Umbra $5


Tree Pod in Thailand Delivers the Ultimate Dining Experience

Tree Pod Dining at a six senses hotel in thailand

I can’t imagine a more romantic place to eat than to be on a tree pod perched 16 feet over the rainforest ground. You can  have a taste of this unique dining experience if you stay at the luxury Soneva Kiri resort by Six Senses in Thailand.

Raising the Tree Pod :: Soneva Kiri by Six Senses

The rigid woven rattan frame can sit up to 4 guests for dining. You board the tree pod dining on the ground before they elevated it. Waiters will serve you food and drinks by flying over with a zip line. And you get an exquisite view of the ocean.

Tree Pod Dining flying waiter

+ Tree Pod Dining at Soneva Kiri by Six Senses in Thailand – photos by Cat Vinton
+ via Materialicious


2011 Food Trend: Honey

honey spoons
honey jars

Pie may be getting all the buzz, but there’s something even sweeter on food trend lists this year: honey.

Perhaps a reflection of the local food movement, beekeeping is making its mark in urban backyards. Food and Wine magazine reports the Carmel Valley Ranch in California allows guests to check on hives located all over the property, while the Fairmont Royal York hotel in Toronto added a hive high above the city to help pollinate its rooftop garden and keep a steady stock of the hotel’s signature honey ready for chefs to use in sauces and dressings.

honey spoons

If you don’t plan to make bees a part of your backyard oasis, look for local honey in a variety of flavours at better food stores and farmer’s market. Try swapping sugar for some of honey’s natural sweetness in your everyday meals.

For hundreds of recipe ideas, check out the U.S. National Honey Board.

+ Homemade Honey article from Food and Wine
+ Urban Beekeeping from House and Home
+ U.S. National Honey Board


New Amy Butler’s Solstice Travel Bag Collection

solstice traveler bag collection by amy butler

solstice traveler bag collection by amy butler

Amy Butler launched Solstice, her third collection of fashion handbags and luggage from Kalencom. The Solstice collection is available in a softer palette. Amy took her inspirations from the graceful silver engravings on decorative doors and archways, elaborate stone carvings, fanciful scrollwork and drops of rain on lotus ponds that she saw while visiting India and Bali.

solstice collection :: honeysuckle tote by amy butler

I featured the Take Flight traveler bag (top left) and the Honeysuckle tote (bottom left). They could be just what you need to travel in style this Holiday season.

+  Solstice Travel Bags and Handbags by Amy Butler for Kalencom.


Body Care during Pregnancy | Getting Ready for the Baby

clarins skin spa treatments

clarins skin spa treatments

I have to confess that I spend a lot of money on beauty products. I don’t usually write about it because I am faithful to the brands I use. I learned over the years which products work best for my skin. Plus, the skin on my face does not like changes.

Body and Beauty Care

Being pregnant meant that I added a few steps to my usual routine. I started to apply a cream to prevent stretch marks at the end of my first semester. I put Stretch Mark Prevention by Elancyl twice a day on my belly and hips, plus three drops of Clarins’ Bust Beauty Firming Lotion in the morning. Both are easy to apply and, so far, I show no sign on stretch marks.

Another key element of my beauty routine is to indulge with a Future Mother treatment at Clarins Skin Spa every 3 weeks. I am either too busy or too lazy to exfoliate my body. And let’s face it, it becomes harder to do it myself with my basketball belly. Therefore, I get a body exfoliation every 3 weeks as the first step of the Future Mother treatment. I leave from my treatment with softer skin that is well hydrated with creams and toning oil. It is also a period where I can relax and rest from my busy life. I take advantage of their 3 treatments for the price of 2.


Besides that, I make sure that I eat well during my pregnancy. The best way to make sure to meet your needs for vitamins, minerals and other nutrients is to eat aliments four food groups every day. I weigh myself between my monthly doctor appointments to see if I am on the right track. The hardest part was to make sure I drink 3 to 4 glasses of milk every day. But now, I am used to it. I usually keep 2 glasses of milk for just before going to sleep. This way, I am not as hungry when I woke up.


Pregnant women are encouraged to exercise. Walking and swimming remain the best activities but frankly, you can continue to practice your favorite sport as long as it is not an extreme sport. Simply be careful that your heart rate does not rise over 140, since you baby heart rate is higher than yours. I started to exercise with the Kinect for the Xbox and love it. I felt that my body works more with Your Shape Fitness Evolved than with the Wii Fit. Once our house is back to normal, I will try to make it a part of my daily routine.

Except for the last 3-4 weeks, I sleep a lot more than usual. Getting enough sleep helps you stay healthy and calm. All these elements contribute to my well-being. It is important to take care of yourself, whether you are pregnant or not. As the New Year is less than a month away, think about how you can improve your body care.

+ Clarins Skin Spa Ambiance in Montreal


Do not miss Cupcake Camp Montreal 2010!

cupcake camp Montreal 2010

cupcake camp Montreal 2010

The biggest cupcake sale in Montreal will happen in two weeks. Cupcake Camp Montreal 2010 should be awesome. The event will be hosted by two MCs and has an impressive panel of 10 food personalities to judge the cupcake competition. Amongst the judges, there are 3 Food Network hosts and 2 established pastry chefs. The food TV hosts are Chuck Hughes of Chuck’s Day Off, Ricardo Larrivée of Ricardo & friends and Nadia G of Bitchin Kitchen.

There is no need to be a professional baker to contribute. Amateur bakers can donate their own cupcakes. The minimum amount is 24 regular size cupcakes but it is recommended that you donate at least 48 cupcakes.  If you wish to donate your own cupcakes, fill up the online form.

By attending Cupcake Camp Montreal you will also help kids in need and food banks. The proceeds of Cupcake Camp Montreal 2010 will be split between two charities: Kids Help Phone and Tablée des Chefs. Their goals are to raise $15,000, to have 2000 attendees and 10,000 donated cupcakes.

Reserve the afternoon of November 21st and bring your sweet tooth. It is a nice family event. Tickets at the door cost $10. Your ticket gives you three cupcakes and a coffee. For a small donation, you can bring home more cupcakes. I hope to see you there.

Nov. 15th, 2010 update: To be able to accommodate all of you cupcake lovers, the event will be held at Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth!

+ Cupcake Donation Form and Competition Form
+ Get all the details at Cupcake Camp Montreal 2010


Recognizing the Need for Urban Garden Centers

city garden center :: urban green in amsterdam

city garden center :: urban green in amsterdam

It’s about time that retailers start to meet the needs of urban gardeners. Most city dwellers have access to a small backyard or just a terrace. The presence of taller buildings means that shades is more common in the front yard or back yard. You get the wind factor and pollution to take into account. If you add that many urban residents do not own a car, driving miles to go to a large garden center can be complicated.

dark terrace :: urban green

Urban Green launched a garden center right at the center of Amsterdam, near the famous Vondelpark. It carries a vast collection of light containers, small bushes and plants adapted to urban living.

Having easy access to retail places should encourage people to plant in their garden other things than the flowers they can buy at the city Farmer’s markets. Let’s hope this initiative will reach this side of the Atlantic in a near future. Diversity must also be integrated in our city gardens.

+ Urban Green – in Dutch only


Two New City Guides for Montreal

montreal city guides

montreal city guides

I want to inform me that I published two new city guides that should please foodies. I asked the help of two talented women who live in Montreal. They gladly shared with us their best spots.

+ Event Producer and Event Social Media Strategic Marie-Annick Boisvert at Event Marianik compiled a list of her favorite caterers in Montreal that you can use if you host a special event at home, a big bash or a corporate event.

+ Food blogger Mayssam Samaha at Will Travel for Food tells us where to go if you plan to spend a morning in Montreal’s Little Italy.


Hermes’ Store Windows Go Comic Book Style with Fred Harper

hermes store windows on madison and 62th street in NYC

hermes store windows on madison and 62nd street in NYC

One thing that is fun when you visit New York City is to admire the wonderfully styled window displays. One that caught my eye is Hermes’ store windows on Madison and 62nd Street. Their agency, Twoseven Inc. asked Fred Harper, who was a comic book artist in early 1990s, to create the drawings.

details of F. Harper illustrations for hermes store windows on madison and 62nd street in NYC

The illustrations captures the spirit of Hermes. I like it! I was glad that I got my camera with me. There were not many pedestrians on Madison when we passed by last night but almost everyone stopped by to admire the store windows.

+ Fred Harper Illustration


Yumi Dresses | Getting Ready for the Baby series

yumi dresses

yumi dresses

I am starting a new series called “Getting ready for the Baby” where I will share how you, your life and your home can stay stylish during a pregnancy. The topics will be inspired by my experiences as a first-time pregnant woman.

Wearing What You Like During Pregnancy

I told you Monday about how maternity clothes lack style and even look depressing. Many of you gave me wonderful advices in your comments. My most important conclusion was to try to find clothes from regular collections. After all, there are several styles that would allow for an increasing belly.

Let’s face it, leggings are way more comfortable than maternity jeans. And unless you are willing to spend top dollars, maternity pants look cheap. One practical solution is to find long tops and dresses to create nice outfits. And we are lucky because they are plenty of those in vogue this year.

That was my plan as I stopped by my favorite local boutique, Boutique EXTC at 19 Prince-Arthur Street, earlier today. Boutique EXTC sells trendy clothes at a reasonable price. I have a been a loyal customer since a decade or so. I often find cute dresses and tops there.

And they continue to serve me well. I left the store with two cute dresses by Yumi and a pair of dark grey knitted leggings by C’est Moi. If I can find a fall coat and a few tops in New York this weekend, I will be happy.

The top picture showed two dresses from Yumi’s Intarsia collection. I like the small details. Sadly, the other dress that I bought is not yet online. They describe the Intarsia collection in those terms:

With Nordic and North American roots, intarsia knits combine colourful yarns to create kitsch and cosy outfit options for the cold months in 2010 and 11. Think Alpine chic, warming by the fire and ski lodges!

It suits me. Yumi is a London based clothing company. Yumi draws inspiration from London street style, combined with emerging trends and offers a liberated collection that appeals to the style conscious consumer with an eye for intricacy, creativity and quality.

+ Yumi Lucy Wave Lace Dress in Pink €84.99 – $155 CAD at Boutique EXTC
+ Yumi Amera Pom Pom Dress €75.99