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Most Popular Posts, Ever, Of All Time

#5 Rompers Ahead. In my opinion, Urban Outfitters has the BEST rompers of the season. Checkout this Staring at the Stars cutout romper in coral. TDF (to die for)!!!

It’s a miracle.  A few days ago, the LC hit another milestone:  30,000 visits!  Yay, success!  As my little blog that could continues to thrive, I’d like to send some love your way.  Here is a countdown to the Top 5 most read posts on The Love Collage. 

5.  Resort Report:  Rompers Ahead - 1,838 hits  And a part of me questionned if the masses would catch onto rompers.  There are more fashionistah adventurers making their way through the fashion jungle than I suspected.  Carry on!

4.  Paris Je T’Aime - 1,978 hits  This one is kind of obvious.  Everyone loves Paris (the city, not the heiress). 

3.  Big Bang Theory - 3,796 hits  Another popular one which started to get hit a lot in the Spring.  Perhaps because many stylish women change their look when the sunshine comes out. 

2.  She’s Got Kevyn Aucoin’s Smokey Eyes - 4,466 hits  I suppose the DIY quality of this post makes it a smash, as well as the tips that come from the great master himself. 

1.  “She Is My Style Icon”6,701 hits!!  There are two reasons why this one is unbeatable:  Alexa Chung and Rachel Bilson.  They are style muses to many. 

For your wonderful reading pleasure, please join my Facebook group (the link is on the left sidebar), follow me on Twitter, subscribe or grab my RSS.  Tell your friends & thanks a million for keeping up with the LC.

The patron saint of the LC and my style icon: Rachel Bilson. On a sidenote: wearing one's hair like this has a high KB quotient.

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June 18, 2010   No Comments

Jules Bistro And My Umbrella-ella-ella

Torontonians by nature are foodies.  Blessed with the multicultural delights of foreign foods and an array of dining options, you can eat well here as often as your heart, stomache or wallet pleases.  While our streets lack the charm of Paris or old world Montreal, there are some hidden gems of french cuisine tucked nonchalantly in the city.

I love that name Jules. This picture doesn't do it justice. Please visit their website or better yet, go to the bistro.

With a facade that is easily missed on Spadina, Jules Bistro (147 Spadina Ave.) is a cafe specializing in Southern French cuisine with an emphasis on bistro classics.  Once you step through the threshold, you are immediately transported to a cozy restaurant in France, with whitewashed brick, vintage crystal chandeliers, wooden tables, gilded mirrors lining the banquette walls and dim mood lighting.  Menus are transcribed on giant chalkboards (a touch I am quite fond of) and the open kitchen is doubly effective: watching cute chefs is highly entertaining and the fragrant aromas of fresh meals in preparation mount the anticipation.  Writer’s aside: This is a great date place, picture flirting over a shared carafe of wine, making sexy eyes over flickering tealights.  Oh yeah, hottt.

During the daytime, emo indie-rock plays (Strokes anyone?) and attentive foreign waiters suggest dishes.  My friend N chose the French onion soup which was made with fresh baked croutons, vegetables and cheesed to perfection.  I went for the Ratatouille* Quiche, with delicious herbed vegetables, goat cheese, the flakiest pastry and a side of frites (I had to ask this question myself.  It’s fun to say but what exactly is ratatouille? a vegetable stew; usually made with tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, peppers, onion, and seasonings).  If you fancy a cheese platter with your wine, they’ve got it and the dessert of my life, a very Amelie creme brulee.

After we left the cafe, it was raining cats and dogs.  To top off my very laissez-faire French afternoon, I thought I would invest in a clear parasol, channelling Catherine Deneuve in Les Parapluies de Cherbourg.  Ooh la la!

Oh Catherine. Love in the rain.

Fulton Birdcage: There's something very retro about a clear umbrella-ella-ella. Makes we want to dance in the streets, kicking up puddles.

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June 4, 2010   1 Comment

This One Time At Topshop…

Topshop Cool. No TRY. Just is.

The mention of Topshop conjures great memories for me.  More than a decade ago, my fashionistah friends and I embarked on a summer ‘European Study Abroad,’ where we mixed fine art, sight-seeing, fashion, copious amounts of partying and dubious amounts of shopping.  We tasted our first champagne and we got busted at customs (ahem, for shopping, not for drugs).  Many wonderful friends were made and memories forged while blazing a trail from London to Paris to Barcelona. 

When I remember Topshop in its former inception, it was about promo tops in baby pink and blue (2 for 1), cargo pants with sewn in pouches (remember those?), essentially cheap and cheerful.  In its modern-day renaissance, it’s synonymous with Brit fast-fashion, uber-trendy, mixing better-best price points with vintage and diffusion lines.  MK & Ash shop there, so does Alexa (saw her trying on booties) and Gwyneth.  Let’s just say it’s a lot cooler. 

Merchandised in mini shops to work a look.

If anyone has visited the London flagship at Oxford, it’s a multi-level sensory explosion of colour and trend.  As we take the descending escalator deep into Middle Earth, your heart beats with the rush of accessories, shoes, jeans, designer lines and reconstructed vintage.  You better get good reception on your phone because you can literally loose a friend.  Then mix that with the chaotic zoo of fashionistahs clamoring to grab their size while it lasts.  It’s definitely not for the faint of heart and like a 90’s dance song, ‘it’s gonna make you sweat.’

As many globetrotting fashionistahs lament ‘why not here!!?’, the gods are looking down favourably upon us in Toronto.  We get a touch of Topshop when it arrives at Jonathan + Olivia (49 Ossington Ave.) on June 19th.  Similar to New York where it soft launched at Opening Ceremony, the brand is testing before a major launch.  But c’mon we all know it’s going to fare well.  Did you know that the Toronto locations of Urban Outfitters are among the most profitable per square footage in the chain?  I swear we must have the highest hipster per capita.

My favourite Topshop buys of all time are a fuschia sundress embroidered with gold floss in an Indian sari style, a black body-con dress with a flared taffetta trumpet skirt attached and giant bow (Very Robert Palmer ‘Addicted to Love’) and a grey herringbone ruffle jacket with 3/4 bell sleeves.  While you have to rummage and edit through a lot to find what suits your style, there is always something very forward and unique about their offering.  I was trying on playsuits (translated as rompers) more than two years ago.  Hello!!??!

Here are some fun items I hope to see when Topshop lands in our fair city: 

Monet meets Alaia: Painted Floral Bandeau Dress

Mesh shrug in that 'Dashiki Chic' style I enjoy so much

Flapper Style: Do you have fringe on your pockets or are you just happy to see me?

Jingle-Jangle: Ball chiffon bangles make pretty noises

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May 31, 2010   No Comments

Welcome To My Humble Abode, Inspired by Elle Decor

"Oh hi, I hang out like this in my living room all the time." Purple is the colour of your energy. A monochromatic palette is charming and calming. Love the carved door.

Thank you for joining me, chez moi.  In another example of art imitates life imitates art, I recently completed the finishing touches to the LC and moved to a new domain.  In my non-virtual life, I moved a few months ago but some of my friends had yet to see my new place.  Honestly, I am very house proud.  My place was received with many ‘oohs and ahhh’s, a few ‘i loooove it!’s and a smattering of ‘It’s sooo European/New York/Paris.’  My heart was glowing.

Like any fashionistah worth her salt, I dibble-dabble in every artististic endeavour.  Having won the difficult battle with hoarding back issues of magazines (still recovering slowly but surely), I purged substantially in order to squeeze my belongings into a tighter living space with more character and a phenomenal location.  If I were to subscribe to a design magazine, it would definitely be ELLE Decor

Many people disuade themselves from decorating their apartments because they believe it’s a temporary dwelling.  But I would promote otherwise because home will never loose its transient feel if you don’t make it your own.  There is nothing better than coming back to a cozy, lived-in apartment.  In order to achieve a look which I shall coin as ‘Eclectic-Gorgee-osso’ (see how I just made gorgeous sound Italian?), here are a few simple tips I amassed while poring over home photospreads of socialites, celebs, designers and their set.

God is in the Details: Note the simple white border on the popsicle hued divan.

  • The Statement Couch – Nothing says ‘Paris’ like a striped couch.  Buying a sofa is a huge investment piece and it is perhaps one of the biggest declarations of taste you can make in your living room.  No one will compliment you on your house if your couch screams 1985, it’s made of pink velour or feels like pleather.  To reduce the cost you can re-upholster a flea market find or check showroom sales.  If you are unwilling to have a trendy couch, go with a solid colour and use soft blankets or embellished throw pillows to decorate.

In my opinion this is the best version of Toile around.

  • Toile Time – I fashioned bistro curtains for my kitchen out of a subtle bird’s egg blue striped toile.  This pattern is very french country but the modern update is all about how it is styled.  I am super particular about the toile I like: absolutely no prints with children, babies, roosters or chickens.  Not that there is anything wrong with poultry or adolescents but this is my preference.  Typically, you will see toile in a white/black/blue/red combination which can look very striking when paired with the right paint and furniture combinations.
  • Personal Style with a Twist –  Accent pieces look designer when they are complimentary as opposed to the same old, same old.  For instance, six decorative ducks on a mantlepiece is boring.  You lost me on the first duck.  Why not place some decorative accents from travels abroad with framed images?  A cluster of photo frames has an art gallery feel which is quite contemporary.  Mix textures such as glass with wood and ceramics.  Don’t be afraid to experiment but remember not to overclutter.       

Mix it up: A mantle with mismatched tchotchke's and a cluster of framed silhouettes.

For more inspired ideas for your space, check out www.apartmenttherapy.com OR www.elledecor.com

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May 19, 2010   2 Comments

Can't Get Enough of Taschen Books

My ideal home would have a walk-in closet for all my treasured ‘loved ones’ and a bright, yet cozy library filled with my other ‘loved ones’, books.  As I grow older and wiser, I find myself divesting of nonsense-ical material things.  But I will admit to my Achilles heel for uniquely, beautiful fashion pieces as well as the occasional hardcover or coffee table book.  I am a nerdy fashionistah.  Living in truth.

Egypt Style: Good enough for pharoahs. Yella habibi!

Upon perusing the local bookstore, the ones I am most drawn to are 9/10 published by TASCHEN.  Why you ask?  Well, the company always has a knack for the most appealing subject matters and the images are strikingly visual.  It’s as though they have taken you there – from a safari in Africa, to a museum in Berlin to the private studio of an iconic photographer.   

Oh you have a sexy Coffee Table: Contemporary Fashion

For the travel and lifestyle buff, there is a series of illustrated books showing various cool cafes, gourmet restaurants and tourist spots from London, Paris to Japan selected by the Taschen editors.  There are also new titles which highlight yoga escapes or meditaranean adventures.  Makes you want to pack your bags for an adventure, doesn’t it?
Fashionistahs can pick up books from famed fashion photographers Sante D’Orazio (aka Kate Moss’ ex) and Mario Testino who shot a book entirely on Rio. Look no further for architecture, fine arts or design, as the list is too long to recount.  If you are looking for a cool holiday present for a cultured bon vivant, find more appealing titles at www.taschen.com
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December 11, 2009   No Comments

Smells Like L'Esprit de Chocolat

Pain Au Chocolat says: "Screw your diet. You can't resist me. Take another bite."

I’m feeling very French this week.  As in, all I want to write about are topics related to France.  C’est jolie, non?

As holiday jingles fill the brisk air and I walk along the sidewalks perusing shop front windows, I am always grabbed by the decadent scents of freshly baked pastries.  While my inner voice pleads “behave! behave!” the sweet aromas get the best of me.  There is something remarkable about the sensory pull of blended butter and chocolate.  It’s like I have rabies and I go rabid for baked goods (similar to zombie terror).

Of late, I have been having a croissant fetish, a particular craving for Le Pain Au Chocolat.  The perfect pain au chocolat combines a flaky croissant with a not to sweet chocolate hidden inside its fluffy center. Clafouti (915 Queen St. West or East) a neighbourhood favourite, bakes fresh croissants daily.  A newer french patisserie on the block, Nadege (780 Queen St. West) creates different varieties such as pear & chocolate or almond chocolate.  They also create guimauves (marshmallows) with flavours such as cassis or pistachio.  Your mouth is watering isn’t it?

My most nostalgic french dessert is profiteroles, a cream puff pastry filled with fresh whipped cream and drizzled with chocolate.   When I visited Paris in university, my friend T and I ordered profiteroles for dessert in a quaint sidewalk cafe complete with red gingham tables and wrought iron chairs.  Sharing this decadent dessert on a sunny summer afternoon, it was by far one of my favourite memories of that trip.

Delicious profiteroles waiting to be devoured.

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December 8, 2009   No Comments