Browsing Tag



Symbol Audio’s Retro Modern, All-in-one Record Console

modern retro console symbol audio

modern retro console symbol audio
photo: Modern Record Console  

If the man in your life loves music, here is something that will please your design style and give him all the bells and whistles that he is craving for. New-York based Symbol Audio handcrafts modern audio HIFI consoles and vinyl LP storage cabinets in the tradition of fine furniture. If you like its 1950s look, start to save for his Christmas gift because I read on Core 77 that the Modern Record Console will run you about $15,000.

Symbol Audio produces three products, all designed by Blake Tovin and Matt Richmond. The Modern Record Console is an all-in-one American walnut unit that mixes the old technology with the new. You can play vinyl records or switch the selector from turntable to WiFi and stream from any digital source through the built-in wireless router and control music selections from your iPhone, iPod, iPad or computer.

lp storage cabinet by symbol audio

For LP collectors, the LP storage cabinet is available in 2 sizes storing either 320 or 640 LPs. The top can hold your turnable and audio components. Price ranges from $2,750 to $5,250.


Vintage-Inspired MP3 Player for Kids

vintage mp3 player kids music

Most kids don’t have any difficulty finding their way around tech devices, yet we probably wouldn’t let them out of sight with our phones or tablets.

Handcrafted from non-toxic wood and materials in Germany, this modern music box – hörbert – has all the functionality of an MP3 player combined with the charm of a vintage toy, yet it’s tough enough to withstand life with kids.

vintage mp3 player kids music

Since small children can’t read, 9 buttons on the front encourage them to explore different sounds and content via color. Old school switch and volume controls are easy for small fingers to grasp.

A secure back panel houses a 2 GB memory card, batteries and any necessary wiring – no cords or cables for little hands to disconnect, or little mouths to chew on.

vintage mp3 player kids music buttons

hörbert can also be personalized for gift giving with custom wood engraving on the front, and is a lovely way to promote some music appreciation among the little ones in your life.

+ hörbert MP3 Player, € 239.00


My Place: Sonos Play:3 Fills My Home with Wireless Music

sonos play:3

sonos play:3

Today, I want to share my new music set up. For months, I lived almost without music and it was getting boring in my house. It all changed when the PR agency of SONOS sent me a free Play:3 Hi-Fi speaker system with a bridge. I got rid of my updated sound system one year ago because I found that the components took too much space. I do not use CDs anymore and I rarely listen to commercial radios. Therefore, I did not see the point of keeping a full sound system in my living room. I had to listen to music on my laptop or from the TV; none of which was ideal. Now, I have a wireless music system that truly fits my lifestyle.

Where should I start on all the positive things that I can say about the SONOS wireless music system? As a mom, what I need is to be able to control the system from anywhere in the house. SONOS uses my iPad or my iPhone as a controller. It also works on Android. We even installed the easy to use SONOS app on the iPhone of our babysitter. When she takes care of my son, she can access our iTunes music library or stream music from local radio stations or from the music services that we subscribe to. She loves it!  SONOS is simple to setup and to operate. It delivers good quality sound and gives me access to the music I like when and where I want it.

The true power of SONOS comes from its multi-room capability. For that to work, you would need multiple speakers and the bridge. In return, you can play the same music in multiple rooms or your family can enjoy different tracks in every room. You decide how to group the rooms on the spot. Their sync function is awesome. You can add or drop rooms from your room grouping and still be in sync. I can use my iPhone to start playing and my husband can use his iPad to shut it down.

sonos app playlist management

You can save your own playlists and build listening queue as you go. I like that I can replace the queue with one button. Playlists can be assign to room or room groups. A cool thing is that you can save playlists that mix your own music with tunes from music services. Another thing that I like is that you control the sound level per room or you adjust it for the room group.

sonos app interface

The Play:3 speakers are powerful enough for an urban dwelling and regular size rooms. If you need more power, you can opt for the Play:5. I can hear the Play:3 speaker located in the living room when I am cooking. But I felt that adding a second speaker in our open kitchen/dining room would deliver a better sound experience. And it did! My husband listens to my wish and bought me one Play:3 for Christmas for our kitchen/dining area. You can say that SONOS really simplifies his Christmas shopping by sending me a sample. If we had two more speakers — one for the master bedroom and another for my son’s bedroom — I could claim that I have the ultimate wireless music system.

+ Play:3 speaker system by SONOS $299 USD at Sonos
+ Sonos Play:3 in white $329 CAD at Future Shop


Rock Star Birthday Party from Modern Moments

kids birthday party music theme table

kids birthday party music theme table

Have your kids had their fill of pirate, princess and superhero parties? Set the stage for a party that rocks their world with a unique yet uncomplicated theme: music.

Jessica of Modern Moments Custom Designs did just that when she created her son Jackson’s fourth birthday party. With a truly electric colour scheme of teal, hot pink, black and white, and graphic shapes and patterns, every detail captured the rock ‘n roll vibe.

kids birthday party music theme invitation cd

It started with an invitation that mimicked album liner notes starring Jackson himself, tucked inside an envelope complete with a CD of rock star tunes. Never mind being a kid: can you imagine receiving such a fun invitation as an adult? How could you say no!

kids birthday party music theme

Of course, every great party revolves around food. At the heart of the party was an amazing dessert table and candy buffet all centred around a guitar-shaped birthday cake. Empty paint cans purchased from the hardware store offered up music-themed candy (Pop Rocks, anyone?) to fill paper swag bags. To create confetti on the table, Jessica made custom guitar picks using a craft punch and photos of Jackson – a thoughtful touch and cool party souvenir.

kids birthday party drinks beverages

Even the beverages weren’t overlooked. Soda bottles with flavours in the party colours were labelled with Jackson’s rock star photo.

kids birthday party music theme loot bag

Of course, no birthday party would be complete without a loot bag. This one surely didn’t disappoint guests with all the essentials budding rock stars could need: styling shades, glow sticks and (temporary) tattoos.

birthday party music theme loot bag

Not only does this party make a statement about the guest of honour, it’s a theme that works for boys and girls of many ages. For more details on this party, including sources and how tos, don’t miss the two-part post on Modern Moments.

But you have to wonder: what could possibly be in store for Jackson’s fifth birthday?

+ Rock Star Birthday Party on Modern Moments
+ Modern Moments Custom Designs on Etsy
+ All photos from Modern Moments


EVOKE Mio by Orla Kiely

digital radio evoke mio by orla kiely

digital radio evoke mio by orla kiely

The latest product finished with the well-known multi-stem pattern of fashion designer Orla Kiely is a 1950s style digital radio made by PURE. It’s pretty! This is a reskin of a product that was introduced in 2007.

Th EVOKE Mio digital and FM radio comes with an input for your iPod/MP3 player, Intellitext and textSCAN, an auto-dimming OLED display, an alarm, a kitchen timer and a USB connector for future product upgrades. Therefore, it is something that you can carry from your bedroom to the kitchen, and then, to your backyard. With a price tag of £150, we want something that will last many years.

Unless you live in UK, you cannot hope it to be under your Christmas tree. EVOKE Mio by Orla Kiely is now available exclusively via Orla Kiely’s Web site, at their Flagship store in Covent Garden and at John Lewis.

The Regular Line

evoke mio by pure :: midnight color

And if you are not into the floral pattern of Orla Kiely, Pure produces the EVOKE Mio in 5 colors: red, pink (candy), moss, chocolate, and midnight.

+  EVOKE Mio by Orla Kiely £150
+ Regular EVOKE Mio by Pure


Opera de Montreal at the Farmers’ Market

opera de montreal at jean-talon market

opera de montreal at jean-talon market

Opéra de Montréal found a great way to reach ordinary people this weekend. Four singers from Opéra de Montréal and the Atelier lyrique were placed amid the merchants and stalls at Jean-Talon Market. By being incognito, they surprised patrons as they cheerfully began singing popular opera excerpts. It seems fun.

The crowd participated when they sang the Brindisi (often referred as the drinking song) from La Traviata by Giuseppe Verdi. Another magical moment is at the end of the video when Étienne Dupuis sang the Toreador song from Carmen by Bizet. Selecting popular opera songs made the promotional event really accessible and enjoyable for everyone. I wish I had been there. Get a feel of the mood by watching this video.

Also during Les Journées de la Culture, you will be able to see the sets of costumes of the Opéra de Montréal Saturday, September 25th, 2010. The next day, singers of the Atelier lyrique will sing Borduas at the Musée d’Art Contemporain.

+ Opéra de Montréal


A Glimpse of the Twestival Montreal 2010 event

the shwowp team at Twestival Montreal 2010

the shwowp team at Twestival Montreal 2010

I attended the Twestival 2010 event yesterday in Montreal. It was fun to mingle with Tweeple from Montreal. I chatted with familiar faces and met new ones. One of the activities was the photo booth. You can see on the picture my husband with his two business partners in Shwowp, a start up about social collaborative shopping.

Artists did a live painting session. We had DJs and an acoustic show by David Usher.

The event was at a venue that used to be a public bath. What is cool about Bain Mathieu is that the dance floor is located in the old pool while the DJs can overview the party from the ground level.

About the Camcorder I used: the Flip Mino HD

The Flip Mino HD is my latest gadget. I like it because it fits into any evening bag or the pocket of my coat. And you transfer the videos to either You Tube or Facebook at a touch of a button. Just make sure that you installed the latest FlipShare program to transfer your videos in HD. This is what I was looking for: lightweight (only 3.3 ounces) and ease of use.

Now that I have a super-slim, plug and go camcorder, I will be able to share the food and cool things I will see or do during my trip to Japan next month. I got the Flip Mino HD for free from Cisco via my friend Anne Morello who works at iPR Group, a PR agency in Toronto. So far, I am glad with the results. The show was shot in a low light situation and I am not good at holding a camera still for 11 minutes. This is why the images are not as sharp. But as you can see at the start of the above video, proper lighting delivers sharp images.

More Videos of David Usher’s Performance

I am a fan of David Usher. If you are, you will appreciate watching him performing more songs at the Twestival.

The last song of the set pleased his fans from the time of Moist. David sang an acoustic version of Push.

+ Photo booth at Twestival Montreal 2010
+ Flip Mino HD $199 USD at


Hip Beach Theme for a Wedding Anniversary Party

wedding anniversary beach party :: the shore club in miami :: bang & olufsen loudspeakers :: onfalos grill

We owe a lot to our parents. After all they gave us an environment to flourish and expand our horizon.

The customs want that you throw a big party at the 25th and the 50th anniversary. Kids should be the ones that organize it. The problem is that kids are still in school for the 25th, so they cannot afford an extravagant party. And 50 seems so far and your parents will be old.

Why not throw a big bash when the kids are able to pay for it and the parents have not yet retired? This way, it can be a real threat.

Baby boomers are cooler and healthier. Forget the golf course and throw a hip Miami club scene. If the family is not ready to travel south for the party, here are the key elements to recreate the setting around a pool or on a sandy beach.

Unisex Party Theme

Devise a theme that will appeal to your mom and your dad. This scheme uses a lot of round shapes and feminine touches. But the metal, the futurist look of the Onfalos grill and the Bang & Olufsen loudspeakers talk to your dad.

Onfalos Grill Brings Style Outdoors and Indoors

Milan Furniture Fair in April, the Onfalos grill brings a feminine look to an object that is typically associated with men. The colourful Corian trays simulate petals. Mario Bellini designed for Smartech Italia a sensual BBQ available in three formats. It is worth noting that this grill is designed for indoor and outdoor usages.

The Onfalos grill also reminds me of The Jetsons animated TV series. Without the petal trays, it shares commonalities with the robots of the 50s and the 60s.

Pump Up the Music

The BeoLab 5 with its little brother BeoLab 9 loudspeakers could pass for aliens straight from Dr. Who’s universe. We all know how men love their sound system. I will leave it to the specialists to explain the virtues of these high end speakers. What interest me is that they look better than the square box.

Remember to play music for all ages if you wish your party to last. Ask a DJ to update the beats of the songs that your parents used to dance when they were young. Make their era looks hip again. Hire some dancers to teach everyone the current moves on the dance floor.

The party concept behind this wedding anniversary is to make the party about the future, not the past.

>>> Sourcing:
Learn more: OnfalosGril by Smartech Italia
Learn more: Loudspeakers by Bang & Olufsen
Learn more: The Shore Club in Miami
Via: Put Your Petal to the Metal [Dwell Kitchen Blog]


Vintage Housewarming Party inspired by Room Eleven’s latest CD

vintage housewarming gift ideas : room eleven : tastebook:  hostess apron : dedo seasoning sticks

Anything can be a source of inspiration for a party. This morning, it was inspired by the cover of the upcoming album of the Dutch jazz band Room Eleven. I got that scoop while reading Sia Grafica blog.

The album cover became the inspiration for a housewarming party. But I could have decided to make it a bridal shower party.

I heard the band last summer when they came to the Montreal Jazz Festival. Room Eleven’s songs remind me of the Dolce Vitae, the happiness found in the little things in life. The vintage cover inspires my choice of gift ideas.

Housewarming Gifts / Bridal Shower Gifts

Share your favorite recipes with the guest of honor. Tastebook enables you to create an outstanding cookbook at a very reasonable price. You can select recipes from Gourmet, Bon Appétit, Epicurious and even add your own family secret recipes.

Besides the obvious cover image and title personalization, you can organize your recipes any way you want with up to ten colored tabbed chapters. You can add helpful hints, cooking tips, and personal notes to any recipe. Then, the cookbook is delivered all professionally printed. From my point of view, Tastebook is the most stylish custom-made cookbook option at an affordable price. I have to find time to make my own.

This vintage hostess apron is adorable. Check out the etsy shop of Boojiboo to see her entire collection. Finally if you want to splurge a little, get the Dedo Seasoning Sticks by Bosa. Unfortunately, the sticks are out of stock at the moment. So if you host a movie night for the Oscar, compose your own set of spices to season your popcorn and homemade chips.

Recipe: Homemade Turnip Chips

Be more adventurous and prepare chips out of turnips. You slice small and medium turnips with a mandoline and cook them in canola oil for about 8 minutes. I turned them over after 5 minutes so they will be crispier. Remove the excess oil with a paper towel and keep them out of moisture until serving.

I am leaving you with a taste of Mmm… Gumbo? by Room Eleven. The first single is called Hey Hey Hey.


Learn more: Room Eleven
Buy online: Tastebook – price: $34.95 USD
Buy online: Vintage Inspired Flower Half Apron by Boojiboo at etsy – price: 18.75 USD
Buy online: Bosa’s Dedo Seasoning Sticks at A+R Store – price: $70 USD
Via: Hey Hey Hey on Sia Grafica
Via: Bosa’s Dedo Spice Sticks on The Kitchn


An outsider at Video Games Live

video games live : Martin Leung : Jack WallYesterday, my husband brought me to a sold-out concert. It was a classical orchestra playing scores from video games.

Hosted by Tommy Tallarico with Jack Wall as the conductor, Video Games Lives is a multimedia concert. We looked at excerpts of the game while the music was playing. What surprised me the most what that the assistance recognized instantly the music and they cheered when it was one their favorite games.

If you are not familiar with video games, many scores they played were from franchises. A video game franchise is a series of game around a character. You got Mario Brothers, The Legend of Zelda, Warcraft, Final Fantasy. Some franchises started twenty years ago and they include 10-12 games each.

From my point of view, you need to be hardcore gamers to know the music. I recognized none, except for the beginning of Halo because it sounds like Tibet monks and my husband plays that game very often.

I am talking about it because I was amazed. Assisting to the concert made me think that it is probably how the rest of world feels when I am talking about the design world. After all, you need to be a hardcore design fan to know about Lekker, Mud Australia, Marcel Wanders or to read the latest edition of Haüser if you live in America. Everybody has its passion.

By the way, Martin Leung, the young pianist has become a legend on the Internet after publishing a video where he was playing songs from Super Mario blindfolded. He did it yesterday in front of us. Impressive!

Learn more: Video Games Live


Upstairs on the Square with La Tartine Gourmande

Beatrice Peltre: bea of la tartine gourmande with kim vallee

I am sure several of you are a fan of Beatrice Peltre, the extraordinary food stylist behind the popular La Tartine Gourmande. Many of you will envy me since I got the chance to eat brunch with Bea while I was in Boston.

She chose Upstairs on the Square, an exciting restaurant in Cambridge. The type of restaurants that only the locals know about. The front door is on a tiny pedestrian street called Winthrop.

Unusual decor, delicious food

The décor is out of this world. It is not my cup of tea but at least the decor has the advantage of being stimulating for the customers. The ambiance and the menu bring you back.

We had a little performance by a singing chorale from Harvard. Unfortunately, I do not recall the name of the group. On the video, you can have a look at what the restaurant look like. You can also see our friendly waiter.

The conversation was delightful. We are both married to an IT developer. Therefore, our husbands had plenty to talk about. We had a wonderful afternoon.


Upstairs in the Square
91 Winthrop Street Cambridge, MA 02138
facing Winthrop Park in the heart of Harvard Square, corner of JFK Street and Winthrop Street
p   617.864.1933

You can reserve online via but if you cannot get the time or date you want, do not hesitate to give the restaurant a call to make sure they cannot accommodate you at that time/date. Bea used and I taught it was handy because I got link to the map and the Web site.

Learn more: Upstairs on the Square
Recipes and food photo: La Tartine Gourmande