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Florals In Massive Bloom

All The Pretty Girls Wearing a Garden Variety: Stella McCartney SS 2011

While it’s no surprise that Floral has made a return this Summer as a print that adorns many a top, bottom or dress, it’s the way in which you interpret your flowers that makes the bold difference.  Through my travels, there appeared to be a “go big or go home” trend on the streets and in the magazines, with PYT’s (pretty young things) pairing various garden motifs in one ensemble.  Daring, yes.  Impossible, no! 

Let me impart some loving words of wisdom on the matter:

  • Clash of the Rhododendrons – In nature, it is common to see lillies growing alongside roses and daisies.  Actually, it is quite lovely when you observe the wildness of these disparate florals come together.  Very English garden.  Alas, I digress.  Why not try a chiffon top in miniscule pattern with a maxi skirt in an abstract?  To subtley reduce the visual tension of these prints, keep the fabrics in the same family (ie. silky or chiffon) or try colours that sit adjacent to each other on the colour wheel (ie. red-purple-blue).  Another trick to soften the look is to wear a few solid colours in between – a simple ribbed tank top, a camel coloured belt, a neutral wedge, etc.

Who's That Girl? Knock their socks off with this Aqua Floral Printed Gown

Count your blessings: If God giveth you twigs for legs, try these DKNY Floral Silk pants. Ruche them to your ankles and sport some sandal stilettos. Trust.

  • This Old Thing – Florals have a vintage-y sentiment attached to them.  If you feel ill prepared to have blossoms running wild all over your outfit,  try accessorizing with a gauzy scarf, a dainty cocktail ring or a cabbage rose sitting atop your very chic chignon.  Oh yes, I am campaigning very adamantly for a giant floral headdress revival.  Wait for it!

Forget your Buffalo Check for a Moment: Tie this Accessorize 50's Floral Silk Scarf in a bow and channel your inner Stewardess

Tell tall tales with this Accessorize Catwalk Flower: "I took a siesta in the garden and when I awoke this was sprouting from my head."

Painter Meets Muse: Loving the look of this Free People One Desert Floral Maxi. Dress it up. Dress it down.

Alhambra in Granada: The legend of the Generalife Rose Gardens is that princesses would have secret rendez vous with suitors among the many mazes of roses. (Dreamy) Le sigh!

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June 15, 2011   No Comments

The Love Collage Presents: Creative Heart Collective

Forgive my lack of new blog posts, but I have been working day and night, night and day to bring you Creative Heart Collective.  Spring is almost here and what better way to celebrate than to have a leisurely afternoon, perhaps brunching, meeting artisans, shopping local and doing a community workshop?  Sounds like too much fun, non?  Don’t pencil or pen it in.  Sharpie that!!

Date:  Saturday, April 16th, 2011 & Sunday, April 17th, 2011

Place:  The Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen St. West, Toronto ON

Time:  11:00am – 5:00pm

Admission:  PWYC* (Suggested Donation $2) 

The Love Collage presents Creative Heart Collective, a Spring show and sale for local artisans, crafters, designers, bakers and retailers.  The mission of the event is to give artists and retailers an opportunity to connect and showcase their wares with the community in a fun and inviting atmosphere. Join us as The Gladstone Hotel Ballroom is transformed into an exciting, bustling marketplace.  This two day event will feature the talent of more than 50 local vendors and artisans.

The focus for the show will be:  Indie arts and crafts, Fashionable giftware, Jewellery & Accessories, Homemade food, Home décor, Beauty, DIY presents, Apparel and Vintage.

* Door proceeds will go to the non-profit organization, The Corsage Project www.corsageproject.ca   

Join us for the following community workshops:

LEATHER WEATHER – SATURDAY, APRIL 16TH: 1PM – 3PM

The Make Den’s Irene Stickney will be teaching a FREE workshop, ‘Leather Weather.’  She will be teaching participants how to sew little leather medicine or cell phone pouches.  These petite fringey pouches are the perfect functional accessory while galavanting on the sidewalks of Queen West West. 

You need one to match your Muklukks whilst walking along the grassy nole that is Trinity Bellwoods Park. I want one.

WEARABLE ART – SUNDAY, APRIL 17TH:  11AM – 5PM

Steeped in ancient history, symbolism and a celebration of beauty, Mehndi designs are awe-inspiring works of wearable art.  Henna Yasir will be contributing her artistic talents to the event.  Take a break from shopping and receive a unique herbal temporary tattoo (applicable fees).

For more info, please visit: www.creativeheartcollective.com

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April 1, 2011   No Comments

VENDOR CALL: The Snow Day Holiday Market

 “Be the change that you want to see in the world.” – Gandhi

As an entrepreneur, crafter, bon vivant and lover of the people, I often lament that there aren’t enough small-scale community events for the talented artists, designers and small business owners to share with their friends and neighbours.  Even if I can create this change in a small way, it’s something I am extremely excited to organize and take part in. 

The Snow Day Holiday Market is a holiday themed show and sale for Toronto-area artisans, crafters, designers, bakers and retailers.  The mission of the event is to give artists, entrepreneurs and retailers an opportunity to connect and showcase their wares with the community in a fun and inviting atmosphere. 

 The focus for the show will be gift-giving and holiday:

  • Indie arts and crafts (stationary, cards, toys, small sized artwork)
  • Fashionable gifts (jewellery, accessories)
  • Homemade food (baked goods, preserves)
  • DIY presents (ornaments, stockings, warmwear)
  • Vintage

The Snow Day Holiday Market is looking for artisans, bakers, artists, crafters and local retailers to exhibit and sell their work on Sunday, December 5th, 2010, 12noon – 5pm.  This afternoon event will be taking place at The Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen Street West) in The Ballroom (click to view images).  No matter if you are a novice or a hobby-ist, all applications are welcome!  It will be an intimate affair with a diverse array of vendors.

Submissions will be accepted until Saturday, October 30th, 2010, however, please apply early as the number of available spots is limited and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.  For more detailed information on how to apply, please visit my website The Snow Day Holiday Market and please spread the word (‘bzzzz’ – buzz noise).

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September 26, 2010   No Comments

It’s A Skirt, Belted

I am very fortunate.  People have always been kind towards my creative outfit stylings, even random strangers.  I am often stopped and paid nice compliments on my choice of dress.  Sometimes, to this I respond, “Thanks, it’s a skirt belted.”  The raised eyebrow, the curious double take, the ‘ooh, I see’ are all common remarks.  I secretly hope that my revelation will seep deep into their subconscious, grow like a seed and later influence their selection upon standing in front of their wardrobe.  Fashion jedi-mind trick.

For instance, today I am wearing a sweeping ruffled, chevron Peruvian skirt as a tube dress tightened with a vintage mustard cinch belt with giant gold hammered discs.  It enjoys a very high ROC.  I found it on a trip to Pa’ia in Maui in a trendy boutique.  Realizing its length would overwhelm my tiny frame (drag on the sidewalk behind me), I tried it on as a dress and it worked.  Here’s to challenging the status quo!

Brave Leather makes the BEST belts. The Marilee Belt in a perfect shade of camel.

Free People Ruffle Skirt can be worn as a dress or a skirt. I think it would look fetching with a fitted tank and a low-slung tribal belt.

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August 16, 2010   1 Comment

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

Finding Vintage Off The Beaten Path

Courage My Love: Like an apothecary of exotic accessories. Courtesy of BlogTO.com

Many moons ago when I was a professional teenager, I used to beg my mother on weekends to take me to thrift shops in order to peruse the multitude of racks for clothes I could rip apart and re-construct.  My friends and I joke this is pre-Imitation of ChristShopping vintage is an adventure, sleuthing for the best of finds and ultimately coming home with one-of-a-kind treasures.  These days, Toronto is fortunate to see a plethora of vintage shops popping up on every corner.  Here, steamed Pucci’s hang next to brocade Fendi and gilded clutches and rhinestone brooches lay in glass cases.  

For those of us who lament the days of digging through ‘everything for a $1′ boxes, the true essence of ‘vintage-vintage,’ is in scoring amazing finds for under five dollars.  You always heard the urban legend about the girl that found her vintage Prada under a heap of canvas bags and thought: “I want to be that girl!”  Then you would run out of your apartment, twirl around in the middle of the street and throw your beret into the sky like Mary Tyler Moore.  That last little bit was a fantasy sequence. 

Where in the world are the best vintage markets?

If you are looking for some adventures in vintage shopping in the city, here are some tips to ‘vintage-vintage’ shop where others fear to tread:

  • Kensington Market – Inside the side streets of Dundas Street West and Spadina (on Augusta & Kensington Avenue) lies the hippie, boho enclave of Kensington Market.  While many know it for its fresh produce, incense products (patchouli, anyone?), cheap imports and old clothing, there are still many fine vintage stores which can appeal to the cosmopolitan fashionistah.  MK & Ash love it, as do I.  While weekends can be jammed with tourists and local citizens window shopping, try to come on a weekday afternoon to enjoy a less-crowded shopping experience.  I think Courage My Love (14 Kensington Ave.) has the best fashion jewellery, chunky wooden bangles, reconstructed clothing and vintage slip dresses.  I recently saw the sweetest dip-dyed chiffon capelets with sequin appliques on the shoulders.  Flashback (33 Kensington Ave.) also has a nice selection of colour-blocked dresses, from cotton sundresses to pouffy tulle and sequin 1950’s cocktail. 
  • Antique Shops – Many fashionistahs walk by antique shops because they don’t need a naked porcelain of David or they have their condo outfitted with a chandelier (thank you very much).  This is perhaps the biggest mistake of your life.  Yes, I am being dramatic but if you say you love vintage jewellery, you mustx3 stop in your tracks and make a bee-line for that entrance.  Beyond the dusty wooden frames, many times are glass cabinets and suitcases filled with costume jewellery and enamel brooches.  These secret stashes are generally taken from estate sales or bought as assorted lots.  Yesterday, I sternly (tough love) told my friend C, “You better negotiate” as she was taking a substantial volume of crystal.  And you can do this as tiny shopkeepers appreciate your business.  Remember, to smile, be friendly and keep your cool in negotiations.
  • To Market We Shall Go – My heart longs for a vintage or antique market here, like the reknown one in Pasadena California, The Rose Bowl Flea Market or the famous Portobello Market in London (which is actually very good but packed like a can of sardines).  We do have The Clothing Show (formerly The Old Clothing Show) which happens every Spring and Fall.  I haven’t been in years but perhaps I should give it another go to see if it lives up to its brilliance of my youth. 

And now that I have given you sage advice on how to find the vintage of your life, may the fashion gods look down favourably upon you and may you return with many high-ROC treasures to adorn your beautiful self.  Success! 

Where do you find your vintage off the beaten path?  I would love to hear from you! xoxo

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May 22, 2010   No Comments