Monday, April 30, 2012

waking up to fredericton

This week Fredericton hosts delegates from across the country for the Travel Media Association of Canada annual conference.  Each day I'm going to be sharing one of my favourite things about my little corner of the world.

It's been nearly 20 years since the last train rattled through Fredericton but the old rail lines continue to live on as a vital part of the capital's daily life.   Crisscrossing the city, they form a substantial part of Fredericton's impressive network of walking and cycling trails including the Bill Thorpe Walking Bridge.  Spanning the magnificent St. John River, the 581 metre bridge joins together Fredericton's north and south sides and offers some of the best views of the city.  It's popular throughout the day - and year round - with cyclists, joggers and walkers but I think it's at it's finest early in the morning with the sunrise casting a pink glow on Christ Church Cathedral, the dome of the Legislature and the UNB and St. Thomas campuses on the hill.  

While you're there, be sure to take a stroll along "The Green" to admire some of the city's most stunning public buildings and stately homes. Grab a coffee and your camera and start your day in Fredericton off right!

The old rail lines are not the only part of the city's rail heritage to find new life.  The old York Street station came dangerously close to deteriorating beyond repair but it's recently been refurbished  by Alcool NB Liquor, J.D. Irving, Limited and the Province of New Brunswick.  A new structure was added at the back to house Alcool NB Liquor's retail operation while the original structure was refurbished with a specialty kitchen for tastings, meetings and community events. 380 York St.

Friday, April 27, 2012

it's the weekend: work is for the birds.

Gene Tierney feeds her chickens 
Watch.  Leave it to MIT.  They turned a 21 story building into a giant, fully-functioning Tetris.

Listen (and watch too!) I'm a little behind but I had no idea Paul Simon's son Harper (the one he sings about in St. Judy's Comet and then again in Graceland) is a recording artist.  He is a vocal doppelganger of his dad and while many of his songs tend to have a little more country sound to them, a few live in the same neighbourhood as the dreamy folk of Simon and Garfunkel.  Love this song and video...


Admire.  Seat Assignment: Lavatory Self-Portraits in the Flemish Style is possible the best use of a long haul flight.  Ever.  I wish I'd thought of it on the LA to Sydney route...

Breathe No matter what your particular belief regarding higher powers might be, you can't help but be in awe of these Breathtaking Photos of Gothic Cathedral Vaults

Thursday, April 26, 2012

share the love with urban almanac

update: okay, I think I misread their contest!  I think they want you to post images of something you want but don't already have from Urban Almanac.  But I still do love this coffee table! :)

I really shouldn't be telling you this because frankly I really want to win the draw in the end, but one of my favourite downtown shops Urban Almanac is having a contest over on their Facebook page.  It's very simple, post a pic of your favourite Urban Almanac on the page and they'll draw a winner at random on May 20th for a $250 gift card.  Easy peasy.  The hardest thing for me was narrowing down which item to photograph.  In the end I went with the glass coffee table that I wrote about here.  I still really, really love it.

So what are you waiting for?  Go snap a pic and getting posting.  Head on downtown to York Street and check them out - oh, and be sure to sample their TashaTea while you're there!  You'll thank me!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

record store day

Backstreet Records
Saturday was Record Store Day and you know I can't resist vinyl so my friend Denis and I hit our local record store to see what we could find.  And while we were tempted by the limited editions released especially for April 21, we both opted for discoveries in the used album bins.  Denis took home, among other things, a double LP of Patsy Cline's greatest hits, while I unearthed the double album recording of Dory Previn live at Carnegie Hall in 1973.  I also found a 2011 recording by Josh Rouse and the Long Vacations that makes a perfect soundtrack for summer evenings with warm breezes and cool drinks.

Josh Rouse | Oh, Look What The Sun Did from Ignacio Bernal on Vimeo.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

a star is born

Today Barbra Streisand turns 70! Here she is at 22 in the television special My Name is Barbra.  Did I mention?  She's 22.

In honour of this occasion I think I will treat myself to a double-header of my favourite Babs movies.

What's Up Doc
Who do you think they'll arrest?  The girl in the the tub or the guy with his pants down?
Peter Bogdanovich's 1972 What's up Doc? is high on my list of favourite comedies.  It's a loving homage to the classic screwball movies of the 1930s (particularly Bringing up Baby) and Barbra shows incredible chops as a quirky comedienne. Bonus points for handsome geek Ryan O'Neal (fresh off of Love Story), the always brilliant (and much-missed) Madeline Kahn and a fantastic supporting cast of characters.

The way we were
You'll never find anyone as good for you as I am, to believe in you as much as I do or to love you as much.
What is it with girls and The Way We Were? Nearly 40 years later, we still swoon for the story of the ill-fated romance between golden boy Hubble and quirky K-K-K-Katie.   Two hours of New York skylines, California beaches, 1940s & 50s style through a 1970s lens and off course a bittersweet kleenex-shredding love story.

Monday, April 23, 2012

film fest

Sunday's cold damp weather combined with a touch of a flu bug of some sort meant a perfect day for staying in for a  movie marathon: two films I've been meaning to see for awhile and one Netflix has been recommending to me for months. I'm happy to report that they were all winners!

An Education Sometimes I've heard so much hype about a movie I put off seeing it for fear it won't live up to the buzz.  I think that's why I'm only seeing this film two and a half years after everyone was swooning over the fashion, the cinematography and, of course, the luminous Carey Mulligan.  Stylish and smart, that high praise was well-earned.  (Also I would like to live in Miss Stubbs' flat.)

My Week with Marilyn Michelle Williams is a goddess.  That is all.

Adam Netflix has been tossing this out in the "Suggested for you" list for awhile now.  This seemed like the right day to watch this 2009 New York love story... If you like your love stories sweet and a little quirky this one is for you...

Friday, April 20, 2012

it's the weekend: get down

Watch. Bob Balaban gives you a tour of New Penzance, the island in Wes Anderson's upcoming Moonrise Kingdom - turns out it looks a lot like my hometown!

Make. Cute origami bows over at How About Orange.

Listen. I love Flavorwire's Literary Mixtapes where the imagine the iPod of famous characters like Atticus Finch,   Scarlett O'Hara (who'd surely be cranking Florence + the Machine as she rebuilds Tara) or Harriet the Spy. I'm only mildly concerned how much my iPod resembles that of Jane Eyre...

Admire. Minimalist re-interpretations of film posters and album covers are flooding design sites these days but Rowan Stocks Moore's elegant reimagining of Disney movies are really something.

Breathe. Feeling overwhelmed?  You need these Everything is Going to Be Okay notecards - uplifting and beautifully designed!

Finally, a HUGE congrats to local fashion blogger Kristin MacDonald of Doll Parade who was named fashion magazine's It girl for May.  The talented Kandise Brown  of hibou photo shot Kristin looking lovely in spring florals. Bravo ladies!!

roasted tomatoes,caramelized onions & goat cheese pasta

There's a place for overly intricate recipes with a long list of exotic ingredients and techniques.  That place is not my kitchen.  I prefer recipes that really allow a handful of ingredients to do what they do best.   In the case of this dish (based on an old Bon Appetit recipe) it's all about sweet roasted tomatoes, rich carmelized onions and tangy goat cheese.  And that's about it.  Anything else would just be gilding the culinary lily.

2 pints grape tomatoes
3 red onions, thinly sliced
8 oz pasta of your choice (I used linguine)
5-7 oz goat cheese
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 375.  In a 9x13 baking dish toss tomatoes with olive oil to coat.  Season with salt and pepper and roast for about 45 minutes or until the tomatoes begin to brown and collapse.
Heat 1-2 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy skillet over high heat, add onion and cook until they start to brown - about 5 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 25 minutes until onions are brown and softened.  (Do not rush this! It's tempting but caramelized onions are worth the wait!) Salt the onions and cook another 5 minutes until the caramelizing is complete.

While the onions are cooking down, cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain. (I saved a little bit of pasta water to deglaze the onion pan and add back into the mix - why waste that caramelized flavour?)

Toss together pasta, tomatoes, onions and most of the goat cheese (keep aside a bit for garnish).  Plate it, crumble the remaining goat cheese over top and that's it! Enjoy!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

tabbouleh with watermelon

With the weather we've been having lately, it's easy to believe that summer is just around the corner.  This tabbouleh recipe I found in a back issue of Martha Stewart helps those summery feelings along.   The traditional tomato is replaced with sweet juicy watermelon and a little crumbled goat cheese gives it a tangy creaminess.  Fast, healthy, delish!

  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • Coarse salt
  • 3/4 cup bulgur wheat
  • 8 ounces watermelon (about 1/2 small), peeled and coarsely chopped (1 1/2 cups)
  • 2/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced on the bias
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest, plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 
Bring water and 1/4 teaspoon salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in bulgur, and remove from heat. Let stand, covered, for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork, and let stand, uncovered, until cooled, 15 to 30 minutes.
Transfer bulgur to a bowl, and toss with watermelon, parsley, scallions, oil, lemon zest and juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Gently fold in goat cheese.

Monday, April 2, 2012

le smoking slipper

photo: Manchester Shoes
I've been obsessing over finding a pair of "smoking slippers" since I first saw a magazine spread on them late last fall.  Daintier than your typical loafer, the smoking slipper offers a stylish update to the ubiquitous ballet flat. Lucky for me Manchester Shoes has this super cute Steve Madden "Croquet" smoking slipper in for spring.  I'm headed to Saint John for Fashion Forward Spring on Thursday and I've definitely got my eye on a pair of these.  Now the only decision is whether to go with classic black or wild cheetah? Discuss!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

sunday music: soulful spring

Allen Stone has basically my favourite voice right now - partly because he's amazing and partly because it's so unexpected to hear that voice coming from that guy up there.  His influences are clear and all of them make a perfect soundtrack for a sunny spring Sunday.

Sunday morning music - Soul Men by Heather Allaby on Grooveshark