Thursday, March 31, 2011

make your bed

Growing up my mom wouldn't let me leave the house with an unmade bed and I'm glad.  A freshly made bed instantly makes things look more orderly and gives you a sense of accomplishment to start your day.  So I love this behind-the-scenes video from Rue Magazine's spread on Kate Spade bedding.   (How cute are those charcoal animal drawings paired with pink and orange flowers.)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

what she wore when... she visited capri

We're hopping into the Way-Back machine today; back to August 1970 and the Isle of Capri with Jacqueline Onassis and her sister Lee Radziwill.   I recently came across this shot when putting together a spring wardrobe inspiration board for a friend based on Jackie's post-Camelot period.  After she left the White House she shed the pearls, pastels and pillboxes in favour of classic American sportswear with the occasional globe-trotting bohemian touch.   Forty years later you could still walk out the door dressed in these looks and be effortlessly chic (although I might tweak the cut on Lee's trousers).  Lee's bag and Jackie's sandals alone top my summer wardrobe wishlist!

some like it hot

March 29, 1959:  Some Like It Hot released.

Growing up in the 1980s what I knew about Marilyn Monroe, I knew from Madonna's re-interpretation of her.  It was, to say the least, an incomplete education.  It wasn't until my early 20s when I saw How to Marry a Millionaire, The Seven Year Itch and Some Like it Hot in quick succession that I finally understood what the big deal is.  She's beautiful, yes, but it's her vulnerability that comes through in the films.  And her magnetism.  Once she's in a scene you cannot take your eyes off her and she was never more luminous or lovable than she was as Sugar Kane Kowalczyk  in Some Like It Hot. (And won a Golden Globe for her trouble)

While the final product is a masterpiece of farce, shooting with Marilyn was notoriously difficult to the extent that director Billy Wilder had to paste her lines on set pieces. But as he himself said, "My Aunt Minnie would always be punctual and never hold up production, but who would pay to see my Aunt Minnie?"

Some like it Hot is much, much more than a Marilyn Monroe vehicle.  Tony Curtis gamely jumps between a cross-dressing saxophonist and his best Cary Grant impression.  And, of course, Jack Lemmon creates one of his (or anyone else's) most indelible comic characters. (And also took home the Golden Globe.)  He famously closes the movie with the line "Nobody's perfect." but this film very nearly is.

Trivia: Marilyn Monroe's contract stipulated that all her films were to be in color but since the makeup Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon wore gave their faces a green tinge, she was convinced to shoot in black and white.

Monday, March 28, 2011

i will never love you more

Welcome to Seven Henrietta Street, a film created for Kate Spade that has inexplicably taken me two months to find. Scrabble tiles, globes, piles of books, ukeleles, orangey-red nails, vintage telephones, striped straws, cocktail rings and, of course, pretty, pretty clothes equals L-O-V-E

(Of the many things I adore about Kate Spade's styling and branding are threads that carry through their campaigns.  That red vintage Olivetti type-writer, for instance, has been showing up in Kates books and ads for the better part of a decade.)

sunday with sweet georgia

Yesterday Luke and I had a visit with our little friend Georgia.  There are definite benefits to knowing a grown-up who owns a toy and art supply store.  We built engineering marvels, drew colourful pictures (and learned that certain markers are not as washable as we suspected) bopped around to Motown tunes and made cheesy, pesto pizza.  Even Henry got in on the action.  Eventually.

Hope you had a wonderful weekend too!

Monday, March 21, 2011

modern times (or 'laptop a-pup-calypse')

My poor laptop is in the shop.  Not sure yet what the problem is (although I suspect Henry flopping on the keyboard might have been the beginning of the end... It certainly sounded like it.) So blogging activity might be a little on the low side this week!   Enjoy the first week of spring and I hope to be back with new posts soon!

Friday, March 18, 2011

tnb's hat trick

hat trick –noun Ice Hockey.  three goals or points scored by one player in one game.

If a theatre season can be seen as a single game, Theatre New Brunswick has scored a hat trick. (I promise that will be the last sports metaphor I attempt in this post)

They started the season back in September - and hot on the heels of provincial election - with Alistair Beaton's hilarious and biting political satire Feelgood.  (this also brought one of my favourite TNB ads).  They followed this up in December with Treasure Island which played out with every bit of adventure generations of kid readers have imagined.

The world premiere of David Adams Richards’ Hockey Dreams, the final show of the 2010-2011 season, was also perhaps the most ambitious.  It starts with a story about Canada's most-beloved sport by one of our most-beloved authours.  Then there's the cast that save for one adult is under the age of 18 and largely plucked from towns across New Brunswick.  And then there is the little matter of creating a skatable ice rink onstage. 

But if anyone could make this work, it's the current team at Theatre New Brunswick led by Artisic Producer Caleb Marshall (who also directed and adapted Hockey Dreams.)   Almost five years ago I had the chance to work with Caleb on another David Adams Richards adaptation.  Caleb's greatest gift is his love of story-telling; especially if it's a New Brunswick story.  This is complemented by an ability to maintain a fully-realized vision while also allowing his creative team, cast and crew the space to find their place in that world  His immense passion and energy attract people with similar passion and inspires everyone to be better and push further.

Because of this, TNB has now become a stable of highly creative home-grown talent both behind the scenes and onstage (and with TNB's theatre school, we're blessed with a whole new generation of talent.)   A lot of the key people have grown up together and have transformed their lifelong friendships into vibrant creative collaborations.   That kind of camaraderie helps give a show like Hockey Dreams added layers.   Mike Doherty's sparsely beautiful score seems to come straight from the heart of rural New Brunswick.   John Leroux worked with Caleb to employ projections of numerous paintings from New Brunswick artists which form a rich backdrop for the story.   And Patrick Clark's production design took us to shingle-covered homes, bedrooms replete with bunk beds and plaid blankets, cozy living rooms, desolate highways and small town rinks - the play is set in the early '60s but there's a timelessness about it. By the time the kids glided out on the "ice" for the first time, we'd been truly transported back to our own childhoods.
TNB's Artistic Producer Caleb Marshall with his Hockey Dreams assistant director Elwood Hannington.
While all the production elements merged together beautifully, the success of the show rests squarely on the shoulders of its young cast.  The kids of Hockey Dreams manage to create an authentic kid-dom that's hilarious, energetic and heartfelt without ever being hammy or cloying.  It's hard to single out any one performance - they're all pitch-perfect, funny and heart-breaking - but 10 year-old Jacob Grant Leblanc's turn as fast-talking, big-dreaming Stafford Foley is a tour de force.  Jacob blows through pages of dialogue and physical business with the kind of spontaneity and truthfulness that many more seasoned actors struggle to achieve.   (That's also him showing off his hockey skills in the video above.)

Jacob Grant Leblanc and his mom Ann celebrate opening night.  (the kid's already got style, right?) Ann even got into the act by knitting a key piece of Jacob's wardrobe.

Stafford lives for hockey, the Detroit Red Wings and Gordie Howe. But unlike Jacob, who is actually captain of the Fredericton DQ Stars, Stafford's hockey dreams far outsize his stature and ability. Hockey Dreams revolves around that bittersweet moment in childhood when kid dreams come up against life's reality and nothing is ever quite the same.  This is a script that could hold it's own against any classic coming-of-age story.

Fredericton audiences are notoriously reserved and when the cast took their bows Thursday night, the roar of the audience was unlike anything I've heard before.  It was more akin to, well, a hockey arena.

If hockey is our national sport, Hockey Dreams should be our national play. The entire production is a celebration of Canadiana and even more specifically of New Brunswick.  Whether you ever strapped on skates or not, it's a hilarious and heartfelt story for anyone who ever had a dream.

Hockey Dreams runs Thursday, March 17 – Saturday, March 19 at 8pm and Sunday, March 20 at 2pm at the Fredericton Playhouse and will tour to the Imperial Theatre in Saint John on March 24th, and to the Capitol Theatre in Moncton on March 25th.

Happy feet

I've nearly worn out my favourite pair of vintage sunshine yellow slingbacks.
These would make an excellent replacement!
Ah spring! A time when a young(-ish) woman's thoughts turn to new shoes!  Last night I was actually able to step outside with something other than boots on my feet!   I've been eyeing a lot of the new arrivals at Manchester Shoe Salon (the Vince Camuto bootie is getting a lot of love) but it's spring collection from Fidji that really has my attention.  After spending the better part of a decade teetering around on strappy stillettos, I rebelled and then spent a year almost exclusively in ballet flats. Over the past number of months, I've been learning that a comfortable and sturdy mid-height heel does not have to be frumpy.  These shoes prove the point.

Made in Portugal and designed by French and Spanish stylists, they embody European craftsmanship. I love that you can see at first glance the care that has gone into the construction of the shoe.  It's something that's always struck me with vintage shoes and it's nice to see in a new line.  With their retro feel, deep colour and rich buttery leather, they're the perfect addition to a 'classics with a twist wardrobe.'  I see a road trip to Saint John in my future to pay a visit to Cathy and the girls!

This deep steely blue is just fantastic!

With it's low heel, this Mary Jane could quickly become my go-to day shoe. 
The acid green makes it feel fresh!
On a closing note, kudos to Manchester Shoe Salon for getting a well-deserved shout out in Flare magazine's profile on New Brunswick!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

what she wore when... she was antique shopping in Paris

Taylor Swift out and about in Paris.
My stripe obsession continues.  Even if you're not lucky enough to be in Paris, this is a perfect look for afternoon shopping: tousled hair, red lips, striped shirt, flirty skirt and THOSE shoes.  I am completely enamored with those!  Head-to-toe cute.

That she spent the afternoon before her show antique shopping makes me kind of love her.

send love

love folk greeting card
 I've been admiring Dutch Door Press for awhile now.  In a colourful Victorian house in San Francisco, friends Mara Murphy and Anna Branning create cheerful letterpress cards,  prints and textiles inspired by European folk art.

I'd had many items favourited in their shop but I'm glad I held off on buying. Today Anna and Mara are donating 100% of the proceeds of their sales to the Red Cross for earthquake and tsunami relief efforts in Japan.   Go check them out!

maine (from birds and blooms of the 50 states)

you are so sweet
thank you floral wreath greeting card

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

the stuff life is made of

Dost thou love life?
Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.
Benjamin Franklin

The folks at Etsy just posted this copy of Benjamin Franklin's daily schedule.  So simple.  So inspiring...

(I love the time devoted to "put things in their places"!)

Monday, March 14, 2011

happy birthday megan follows

Break out the raspberry cordial! Megan Follows, the definitive Anne of Green Gables, has a birthday today. 

When you are 11, it is a rare film adaptation that can live up to your imaginings but Anne of Green Gables benefited from pitch-perfect casting of who's who of Canadian film and theatre,  But none of that would have mattered if they had bungled their choice for Anne.  Thankfully teenage Megan Follows walked into her first audition already embodying much of everyone's favourite red-head.  Happy Birthday to our "Anne".

Sunday, March 13, 2011

the candy bar: happy birthday jennifer!

The first time I ever met up with my friend Jennifer outside of our knitting circle she tracked down - with the intensity of a heat-guided missile - the one market booth out of 60 selling pumpkin whoopie pies. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. 

This week marked Jennifer's first birthday since moving to Fredericton, so Jilanna and I knew we wanted to do something memorable.  And we knew the starting point had to be baked goods.  And candy.  So we decided to do our spin on a decorate your own cupcake party.   And then on Thursday afternoon we dialed it up...

From: Heather
Sent: Thursday, 5:06 PM
To: Jilanna
Subject: Candy Bar
There’s probably not enough time for me to build a “Candy Bar” in my house, huh?

From: Jilanna
Sent: Thursday, 5:10 PM
To: Heather
Subject: RE: Candy Bar
Probably not quite enough time…but we might be able to come up with a mini version...

While I handled decorations (and the red velvet cupcakes), Jilanna had the enviable task of heading to our favourite local bulk store to stock up on treats (with an assist from her dear husband who bonded with Jennifer early on over a shared love of Jelly Bellys).   She arrived on Saturday night with Mason jars full of every candy you could want - sours, chocolate, jelly beans, a tray of rich chocolate cupcakes and fudgy frosting and a fairly good start on her sugar high.  Along with Stacey's lemon cupcakes and lime frosting, we had a well-stocked cupcake bar.
The birthday girl enjoys the first cupcake of the night.

I'm not sure if it was the sugar rush but I haven't laughed as much as we did during this party in a long time.  And the birthday girl? Like a kid in the proverbial candy store.
Went with one of my favorite colour schemes for evening.  So cheerful!
More pictures after the jump!

Along with Emilie-Claire Barlow's latest and the Good Lovelies, the backbone of the evening's playlist was the Puppini Sisters.  The trio specializes in Andrews Sisters-inspired close harmonies.  And while they pull a number of songs from the swing era catalogue and write originals, it's their whimsical covers of pop songs that made them the perfect choice for a sugar-fueled evening... 

Friday, March 11, 2011


Clock, ca. 1852, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Don't forget to set yours ahead this weekend!
(and my mom would want me to remind you to change the batteries in your smoke detector too!)

Gomitolo Oversized Knitted Clock from Gretal

this american life: music lessons

Most of the hours not spent at the office this week have been spent in bed trying to fight through some energy-draining bug.  The upside to this is that it's given me lots of time to indulge in old episodes of This American Life.

If at some point today you need to take a break from scary news coverage of earthquakes and tsunamis (and trust me you really should even for an hour),  I highly recommend this episode originally broadcast in 1998:  David Sedaris doing Billie Holliday doing ad jingles, Sarah Vowell's confessions of a band geek and Anne Lamott's touching and funny story "of an airplane trip, a song, and a small miracle."

Thursday, March 10, 2011

be prepared

Every day I get an email with an inspirational quote from The Happiness Project.  (You can sign up to!) I had to share today's along with this amazing shot of Twyla Tharp at age 66 (from a 2007 GAP ad)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

lost and found: a roll of film and the 'boy amelie'

This story makes me smile.

After a big blizzard Brooklyn film-maker Todd Bieber found a film cannister in Prospect Park.  He had the film developed and set out to find the owners.  Here's the first part of the story he posted in January:

And today - two months later - he posted the rest of the story...

Some have speculated about the veracity of Bieber's tale but when a story is so beautifully told, does it even matter?

what she wore when... she celebrated chanel

For the past week you can't open a style blog or photo service without tripping over photos of Blake Lively. The Gossip Girl beauty is the new face of Chanel handbags and the storied fashion house celebrated her with an event in Manhattan.  A few days later she hopped across the pond to catch some of Paris fashion week.

Blake normally tends towards the kind of high hemlines and low necklines best avoided by mere mortals.  And it wasn't her clothes that grabbed me this week (although the red-lined, military-inspired coat she wore to shop in Paris is all kinds of fabulous);  it was her choice to don two separate pairs of statement emerald earrings. Maybe it's the promise of spring but that bold pop of green really works.

The guest of honour arriving at the Chanel event in NYC.
While I love the gemstones she wore for the more formal event, it was the pendant earrings she sported for an afternoon of shopping that really grabbed me.  I love hi-lo dressing and the idea of tossing on a piece of statement jewellry with an otherwise casual outfit. 

Blake shopped in Paris with Ma and Pa Lively and famed shoe designer Christian Louboutin.  That's how she rolls.
Continuing on the green theme (must be the approach of St. Patrick's Day!), how great is the coat singer Lily Allen donned for the Chanel Fall 2011 show in Paris?  The whole look is a win.   
Quilted bag, well-cut coat, vintage Ray-Bans: this is pefection for a Chanel show. 
I'm really loving the orangy reds and corals that are popping up in accessories and cosmetics this spring (recently picked up some tomato red nail varnish and just looking at it makes me happy). Both the emerald green and the orange-based reds feel bold and fresh but also classic.

Monday, March 7, 2011

in like flynn

I have a huge stripe obsession.  (At last count the number of striped boatneck tops in my closet was closing in on double-digits.)   So I am completely mad for the Flynn skirt from designer Anne M Cramer.   A ladylike silhouette striped with bold colour - perfection for spring!

(design*sponge has a great sneak peek of Anne's Minneapolis home - there hasn't been a home this sweet in Minneapolis since Mary and Rhoda!)

all photos: anne m cramer

girls just wanna have fun

When I was in the third grade, I saved my allowance to buy my first cassette: Cyndi Lauper's She's So Unusual. So it put a smile on my face when I saw this video which is getting lots of play on the internet today.  Apparently Cyndi was among hundreds of passengers stranded in an airport in Buenos Aires and rather than throwing a superstar tantrum she gamely entertained passengers. 

Here's some footage from her show in Buenos Aires.  The video quality is a little jumpy but it's clear that the 57-year-old singer can still nail one of her most beautiful songs.

out of africa

The scene that did more for hair care  than any shampoo commercial. Ever.

A few weeks ago after the death of composer John Barry, a friend of mine posted a clip from Out of Africa show-casing Barry's haunting score for the film.  It had been a few years since I'd seen the 1985 film and I was due to revisit it.

Out of Africa is loosely based on the autobiographical writings of Baroness Karen von Blixen-Finecke who wrote under the pen name of Isak Dinesen.   In 1913, she arrived in Africa to marry the Baron and, she believes, open a dairy.  On her arrival she discovers that Baron Bror has purchased a coffee plantation that he has little interest in maintaining.  Dinesen's own memoirs focus significantly on the operations of her farm and cultural observations but the film focuses squarely on the relationship of Karen and big game hunter Denys Finch Hatton.
She's refined. He's rugged.  Sparks fly.  Pass the tissues.
This is Robert Redford at his most romantic since The Way We Were (another bittersweet Pollack period piece about complicated couples). Who wouldn't love a man who saves you from a lion, takes a gramophone and Mozart records on safari and sends you soaring over Africa?  And Meryl is, of course, both luminous and steely as Karen learns to adapt to her new life and love in Africa.

In addition to being great story-telling and unbelievably romantic, it's also an incredibly stylish film.  The interiors are an eclectic mix of lady-like European touches, utilitarian safari and stunning handmade Kenyan crafts.  And costume-wise it's a master-class in the potential of a neutral palette.  You will never think of beige as boring again. 
Arriving in 1913, Karen is the picture of European fashion.

Who says you have to sacrifice style for practicality?

hello monday

Welcome to a new week - hope it's organized and colourful!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

get more zzzz's

A good laugh and a long sleep
are the best cures in the doctor's book. 
Irish Proverb

I am a huge fan of Gretchen Rubin and her Happiness ProjectGretchen spent a year looking at psychology, philosophy, literature and science and experimenting with different changes in her life to boost happiness then she wrote a book and she's continued to share her experience and tips.  One of the first resolutions she made was Get Enough Sleep.  Here she is:

Preach it, sister.  One of the best changes I made in recent years was accepting that I need more sleep than I thought (or cared to admit).  A lot of my stress, anxiety and inability to cope with ups and downs all came down to the fact that I was just plain tired.  It's not easy to make yourself go to bed earlier.  First of all, it can feel like a sign of weakness. Really brilliant and creative people don't need to sleep, right? (See, Leonardo da Vinci)  Successful people burn the midnight oil.  We live in a culture where a busy schedule and sleep deprivation is a status symbol.  If you have time to sleep (or breathe!) you can't be terribly important and in demand, right?

Even if you get past those misconceptions, heading to bed an hour or two earlier can feel like you're giving up valuable time when there already seem to be too few hours in the day.  But I've found getting enough sleep increases my productivity and energy so I get more out of a 16-hour day when I'm well rested than a longer day when I'm feeling dragged out.  The other benefit of getting enough sleep during the week is that I'm not playing catch-up on the weekends.  This gains me an extra hour or two on weekend mornings!

It's about quantity of sleep but also quality.  Put down the blackberry, turn out the lights, tune out the noise... even once we head to bed there can be lots of obstacles to getting a good rest.   Gretchen offers up some great tips.

And here's a little inspiration that will make you want to take to your bed...

Iris's cozy English bedroom from The Holiday
A serene pink bedroom from Martha Stewart's Skylands, her summer home in Maine
"Do not disturb" hanging pillow from sweetdovedesigns
Silk and velvet sleep mask from Hopelessly Devoted Accessories

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

happy birthday to seuss

grand manan adventure for my grandparents

My parents and maternal grandparents are on their annual trip to Florida this week and decided to stop by the shipyard in Panama City to check on the progress of the new ferry for our home island, the Grand Manan Adventure.

Mam and Bap, as my grandparents are affectionately known by family and friends, have been married over 60 years .  Bap is 87 and Mam is "39 and holding".  They still accomplish more in the run of a day than I could ever dream!  My dad sent me this picture of them after the tour (hence the safety equipment).  Aren't they adorable?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Start March off with a little "Happiness" courtesy of Andy Brown.  This was the song that won the international Taylor Guitar competition.  This video from his "Sessions" at the Charlotte Street Arts Centre was just released this morning.