Browsing Tag

what to do


What to Do this Fall: Apple Picking

apple picking jerome

Part of my childhood memories is to go apple picking with my parents. I love apples! So for me, that was always a treat to grab it from the tree. I want to continue the tradition with my son. So, yesterday we went with a bunch of friends. We couldn’t had a better weather for an outdoor activity.

zack eats an apple
photo: my son shares my love of apples (and Apple…)

Zack was delighted by his day. He is a typical boy that loves being outside. My son enjoyed the tractor ride to get to the orchards, he was able to run between the trees, he ate apples that he picked himself and he played with the other children.

apple picking zack

We even spent some time at the nice play area for toddlers that is one of the activities for kids at Vergers Petit et Fils, located in Saint-Hilaire. I recommend the place if you have kids because there is a lot of free, fun activities for them to do.

apple tree

I brought home 4 apple varieties. Some to eat fresh, others to cook. Tonight, I plan to bake the apple crumble recipe from Jamie Oliver in ramekins.

I’m looking for more ways to cook with apples. What is you favorite apple recipe?

+ top photo: my husband harvested the apples at the top of the trees


What to Do on Valentine’s Day: Take a clue from this scene

mister T by French designer antoine lesur

mister T by French designer antoine lesur

When I started dating my husband, we used to go to a nice restaurant at Valentine’s Day. Then, one year I suggested that we had a romantic dinner at home. It has been our tradition ever since.  Maybe, we will establish a new tradition this year since we are new parents.We did not discuss it yet. But I know is that I would like to start my day where my husband and I chat around a coffee with a warm French croissant and jam. Since our baby wakes up at 11 AM, we would have the time to do it.

When I saw this picture, I was immediately inspired by the set up that reminds me our trip to Japan. I came empty-handed trying to find a store where I could buy Mister T by French designer Antoine Lesur. I simply learned that Mister T is edited by Oxyofor Made in Design. On the bright side, Mister T is an occasional furniture composed of a basket, a tray and two cushions. Therefore, it should easy to recreate the concept at home with cushions that are comfy to sit on, a low table and a tray. We could even sit side by side to be closer to each other.

If you prefer to wait later in the day to start celebrating Valentine’s Day, you can always use the same idea to sip a cocktail.

Mister T designed by Antoine Lesur


What to Do in Montreal: The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier. From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk

animated mannequin

animated mannequin

Tomorrow will be the last day that you can see Jean Paul Gaultier’s exhibit at Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. I went a few weeks ago and I really enjoyed the visit.

The animated mannequins add a wonderful touch to the exhibit. Dressed by Gaultier, the figures soliloquize, observe in silence and sometimes even break into song. The technique involves the projection of a video onto a mannequin head. It engages us further into the universe by providing details about why and how Gaultier created those outfits or styles.

men suit dress by jean paul gaultier

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier. From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk exhibit explores the signature styles of Jean Paul Gaultier through five galleries: Boudoir, Skin Deep, Punk Cancan, Urban Jungle and Metropolis.

extra long jeans by jean paul gaultier

There are plenty of wonderful creations to see. I selected a few details to show you the extent of his artistic genius. I like this men suit dress. And I wish I could buy extra long jeans for my baby, just to replicate this style. Sadly, they would not fit him at the waist, if I do.

elaborate hairdo :: urban jungle gallery

Have a look at the intricacy of the hairdo. The Urban Jungle gallery was filled with amazing detailed works.

metropolis gallery jean paul gaultier

If you live in the States, you weill be happy to know that The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier. From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk will travel to Dallas and San Francisco before going to Europe.

Dallas Museum of Art
November 13, 2011 – February 12, 2012

Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, de Young
March 24 – August 19, 2012

See More Photos on my Facebook page.

+ The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier. From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk at Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
+ photos: Kim Vallee – excuse the picture quality, I only had my iPhone with me


What To Do in Montreal: Magie des Lanternes 2011

magie des lanternes 2011

magie des lanternes 2011

My husband, our baby and I had a great time at the opening night of Magie des Lanternes. It is truly magical.

magie des lanternes 2011 family activity

Our baby enjoyed the view of the lighted theme lanterns.

magie des lanternes 2011 :: emperor parade

The 19th edition organized by the Montreal Botanical Gardens is under the theme of “The First Emperor’s Procession”. The exhibit pays tribute to China’s first Emperor, Qin Shi Huangdi, and his impressive cavalry. It takes 8 months to the exhibit design team in Montreal to draw about 200 new thematic lanterns. They put a lot of attention to details. For example, each character has its own facial features.

magie des lanternes 2011 closeup

The drawings are send to Shanghai where the lanterns are produced using traditional methods. To withstand our fall weather and the test of time, the lanterns are made with parachute fabrics instead of the traditional silk. The lanterns arrived in Montreal not completely unassembled. They proceed like that to ease the installation of the LED lamps on the metal frame.

magie des lanternes 2011 :: The First Emperor's Procession

You have until October 31st, 2011 to experience the Magie des Lanternes exhibit. Do not miss it; it makes a great family activity or a romantic walk.

magie des lanternes 2011 chinese family

Go to my Facebook page to see More photos of the exhibit.

+ Magie des Lanternes
+ photos: Jérôme Paradis for


What to Do this Weekend: The exhibitIKEA 2011 in Toronto

david dixon dresses exhibitikea 2011

exhibitikea 2011

I attended the opening gala of the exhibitIKEA last Wednesday night. It showed IKEA under another eyes. It is inspiring to see how four renowned artists transformed everyday products and furniture. I truly enjoyed three installations out of the four that are presented.

Bruno Billio’s Chair Columns

ikea fabrics and cushions on a bench exhibitikea 2011

As you enter the gallery space, you will notice the chair columns. Bruno Billio stacked 400 black and white identical IKEA REIDAR chairs under a big mirror to create his piece. Honestly, I only care for that piece because it created zones for the party. The nice fabric of the cushions on the long bench caught more my eye.

David Dixon’s Dressing Room

David Dixon's IKEA-inspired collection

The dresses created by fashion designer David Dixon were my favorite part. It is not surprising that he designs everything around a large dressing room.

david dixon dresses exhibitikea 2011

Dixon really demonstrates that, with a proper eye, you can take mass-market fabrics and produce a refined product. Like he does for his own collections, he selected a color palette for his installation. I never thought that they were as many fabulous grey and white fabrics at IKEA.

dress room exhibitikea 2011

It is also a nice lesson on how to match patterns to create an individual look. I might steal his fabric choices for a chair that I wish to reupholster with several fabrics. Grey and white is the palette of my living room.

art photos and dresses exhibitikea 2011

George Whiteside’s Still Life Photos

photography gallery exhibitikea 2011

Influenced by the work of Italian painter Giorgio Morandi, he layered vintage papers as his background and created soothing combinations with IKEA vases, pots and objects.

photography details exhibitikea 2011

His photographs were all framed in white IKEA ODBY frames.

Thrush Holmes Shack

rustic house exhibitikea 2011

Holmes built the outside with the nondescript IKEA flat boxes. The graffiti style exterior contrasts with the refined interior. He staged a cozy guy bedroom, that does not scream IKEA.

rustic bedroom exhibitikea 2011

There is still time to see it in person. exhibitIKEA is open to the public today until from 10am to 6pm and on Sunday,  August 21 from 12 to 6pm. It is located at 363 King Street West, Toronto.

Disclaimer: I was invited by IKEA, who paid for my flight from Montreal to Toronto and my hotel. Besides showing up at the media event, they asked nothing else from me. I wrote about the exhibit because I think that it is worth a visit.


Ornamental Vegetable Garden Cocktail Recipe

ornamental vegetable garden cocktail - recipe by the montreal botanical garden restaurant

figs with maple syrup cheese

Two weeks ago, I went to the media event for the launch of a beautiful terrace where you can sip tasty cocktails and eat tapas on the north patio of the Montreal Botanical Garden restaurant. There is no need to visit the Botanical Garden since it sits on a public access of the Garden. Cocktail time at the Garden happens from 4 to 8 P.M. from Thursday to Sunday during summer. On Friday and Saturday, live jazz performances starts at 5:30 P.M.

The tapas were delicious. Their tapas menu is 5 plates served with crispy seaweed. Each plate is composed of 3 appetizers. You can bring the kids since they have a nice selection of alcohol-free garden cocktails including a virgin strawberry martini and a virgin blueberry martini. We could taste 5 of their 13 botanical cocktails. My favorite one was the Ornamental Vegetable Garden. I like it so much that I asked for the recipe.

ornamental vegetable garden cocktail - recipe by the montreal botanical garden restaurant

Ornamental Vegetable Garden Cocktail
recipe by the Montreal Botanical Garden restaurant

  • 1.5 oz. vodka
  • 6 cucumbers
  • 1g mint leaves
  • 0.5 oz. of sugar cane syrup (simple syrup)
  • 0.25 oz. of  fresh lemon juice
  • 0.25 oz. of Triple Sec
  • Ice cubes
  • Mini cucumbers as garnish
  1. Muddle on a shaker the mint and cucumbers.
  2. Add the lemon juice, sugar cane syrup, vodka and Triple Sec. Add 5-6 ice cubes. Shake for 10 seconds.
  3. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a half piece of mini cucumber cut on the side.

+  Cocktail time at the Garden at the terrace of the Montreal Botanical Garden restaurant


London Festival of Architecture – LFA 2010

lfa 2010 events :: love your street and open studios

event maps of the london festival of architecture 2010

If you are in London, UK from June 14th to July 4th, 2010 do not miss the London Festival of Architecture. This city-wide celebration of architecture proposes over 404 events and counting.

lfa 2010 events :: love your street and open studios

From exhibitions, installations, talks and debates, open studios, up to cycling tours and walks, including audio described tours, tours for dogs, treasure hunts and even tours on your iPhone. Love Your Street is an initiative that invite everyone to participate in cleaning and beautify the streets of London. Love Your Street brings together building and landscape professionals with local communities to pro-actively improve streets, spaces and places. I think that every city should do that.

+ image of map: Abitare
+ photos: London Festival of Architecture – LFA 2010


Feeding the deers in Nara

deers at nara in japan

deers at nara in japan

One of most delightful experiences all travelers to Nara, Japan should try is to feed the protected deers. They are 1200 deers that live freely in Nara-koen and its surrounding areas. Nara-koen is a beautiful park on the east side of the city.

These deers enjoy the status of national treasures. They are friendly and you can pet them easily. Watch this video to see what the fuss is all about.


Visit at the Edo-Tokyo Museum

edo-tokyo museum's big bicycle wheel

edo-tokyo museum\'s big bicycle wheel

Since our arrival in Japan, the weather is not great: very cold for this time of the year and rainy. Therefore, we opted for an indoor activity yesterday afternoon. We visited the permanent exhibit at Edo-Tokyo museum that explores when Tokugawa Ieyasu first built Edo, (renamed Tokyo at meiji Era) in 1590 up to the Edo-Tokyo area. It covers 400 years history.

The exhibit relies on original exhibits, scale models and panels to depict how people used to live in Edo.

textile merchants at edo-tokyo museum

The museum covers every aspect of everyday life: from food, commerce to housing, childbirth and parenting. Many 3D models reproduce scenes and the plan of different ares of the city. It is a nice place to visit if you are in Tokyo.

festival and life in the city of edo-tokyo museum

As a bonus, I attended a short class of furoshiki (wrapping cloth). I will share the videos in a day or two.


The 7th edition of Nuit Blanche in Montreal

having fun with the exhibits at nuit blanche 2010

having fun with the exhibits at nuit blanche 2010

At this time of the year, Montreal hosts one big cultural night all across the city. Yesterday night event was as popular as ever. The event closed between 2 and 3 am. Last year, I walked for hours the underground exhibit with a few friends.

nuit blanche 2010 overall view of place des festivals

This year, we had other plans during the evening. Since it finished late, we stopped at the art gallery of our friend Bettina Forget to see her Change vs. Forever exhibit. Then, we walked to the Place des Festivals. The place was transformed so that people can dance, create, imagine and immerse themselves in a visual and auditory experience.

nuit blanche 2010 :: acting a scene from the prisoner

My husband and I had fun playing with the exhibits. My husband did his version of scenes from the Prisoner TV series. The sphere garden was gorgeous. It changed colors.

interactive image table at nuit blanche in montreal

There were a series of interactive exhibits that we did not try. On one installation, you change the image by moving your hands. There was also a drawing screen on a building facade. People had fun doing it.

drawing screen at nuit blanche in montreal

Finally, lights were displayed all over the surrounding buildings.

multimedia art and lights on buildings at nuit blanche


The Knitted Hat Campaign

knitted hat on top of a round billboard :: le lait contes reconfortants campaign

knitted hat on top of a round billboard :: le lait contes reconfortants campaign

If you visited Montreal lately, you probably noticed those cute knitted hat on top of billboards across the city. They really convey the message that milk is comforting. I like the concept. It is part of a campaign for Fédération des producteurs de lait du Québec (Quebec Milk producers association)  built around knitting and storytelling.

Two night events, one in Montreal and the other in Quebec City, promise us fun activities for all the family. It will include music and storytelling in a splendid scenery.

+ photos: Kim Vallee, Le Lait Contes Reconfortants