Thursday, June 30, 2011

Glimpses of Will and Kate

I may sometimes complain about living in Ottawa, but today I was rejoicing! With the royal couple making a visit to the National War Memorial I made my way to downtown with my camera and royal tour itinerary in hand.  Luckily the crowd wasn't overwhelmingly large, so I managed to get close to a barrier and close the red carpet upon which the royal couple would be walking.  Unfortunately the parade of black security cars quickly parked in front of me, so I took only a few pictures.

The crowd awaiting Will and Kate. To the left you'll see the monument, to the right you'll see Chateau Laurier.  Fun fact: Chateau Laurier is part of the Fairmont chain of hotels placed along several Canadian railway stops.  One of the other Fairmont hotels is Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City, which was designed by Emily Post's father, Bruce Price.

Mrs. Harper (wife of our Prime Minister) in the red jacket

The car of the royal couple.  Yes, they really are in there! I saw Kate wave!

Kate wearing a beautiful navy dress by Erdem Moralioglu and nude pumps and carrying a matching nude clutch. Of course she looked wonderfully put-together and quite in style given the numerous designers creating lace dresses with 3/4 length sleeves these days.

Horribly blurry, but a picture of Prince William and Prime Minister Harper

Want to achieve Kate's prim and proper look? Here are a few key pieces you'll need:

Tomorrow is Canada Day, and the royal couple will be out again! So keep your fingers crossed that I get a great view!


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Day at the (Virtual) Country Club

Holy moly am I unbelievably impressed with the seamless integration of the myriad of marketing and branding materials produced by Tommy Hilfiger lately.  Between the Hilfigers, True Prep pop-up stores, actual Tommy Hilfiger wagoneer for sale, impeccably designed stores, and the Country Club games on Facebook, I'm both smitten and blown away by everything Tommy Hilfiger.

Granted this game has probably been out for quite a while,  but I just discovered it and have had a lot of fun playing croquet, tennis, pool pong, and golf since!  Plus you get a discount if you win.  So if rain is keeping you away from the actual country club, I suggest you spend a little time indoors at this virtual one!


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Nothing Plain about Kenneth Jay Lane

Looking to add a touch of the whimsy, glamor, and elegance of Kenneth Jay Lane jewelry but don't want to pay net-a-porter prices? Then look no further than etsy!  Etsy truly has some incredible finds (including a vintage Dior sailboat scarf for $4.99!), and its selection of Kenneth Jay Lane vintage jewelry is wonderful! Here are some of my favorites.

(1) starfish pendant $33, (2) lion head door knocker earrings $23, (3) faux pearl floral necklace $55,  (4) Jackie Kennedy faux pearl necklace $150, (5) runway necklace $200, (6) circus elephant pin $125


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Soundtrack Sunday: Morning with Dean Martin

Are you a fan of the Rat Pack? If so, well I've got the deal for you!  For a mere $5.99 on iTunes you can buy a compilation of 110 Dean Martin songs featuring all the favorites, including That's Amore, Volare, and Memories Are Made of This. 

So join me in my Sunday morning plans: lounging on a pile of pillows on the floor, sipping cappuccino, eating croissants, browsing through old magazines, and tapping my toes to the whirlwind of trumpet and piano sounds!


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Green with Envy Guacamole

I made this guacamole last summer for a party (and many more times since), and I love the combination of sweet, salty, sour, and spicy.  I also love the added crunch from the green apple.


Friday, June 17, 2011

Fabulous Friday: A Day at the Met

Given that I'm a recent graduate on a job hunt, my indulgences are highly limited. So I thought I'd start Fabulous Fridays, inspired by some of the glamorous locations, activities, fashions, and luxuries taking over my daydreams

Today's inspiration : The Metropolitan Museum of Art (one of my favorite places in the world, and by far my favorite museum).  I dream of wandering the crisp, clean spaces filled with fabulous works of art; perusing the gift-shop for unique tchotchkes; and sketching what inspires me. Perhaps I'd stop and analyze the many layers of a Pollock painting,  then compare the sculptures of Ancient Rome and Greece to those of the Renaissance, followed by a few moments of imagining myself frolicking within a Renoir landscape.

What Fabulous Friday activity is inspiring your daydreams?



Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Inspired by Will and Kate

A friend of mine asked me to paint a Will and Kate wedding inspired card for her cousin's wedding.  Using watercolor pencils, a little acrylic paint, and a fine black marker, here's the final result for the image.  I just have to flatten it out since the paper curled a bit and then mount it on thicker paper to finish the card.

Inspired by this image from People

What do you think?  Should I do anything to the image before I send it off?


Sunday, June 12, 2011

My Italian Spoils

I didn't get to buy much while in Italy, but I did come home with a couple spoils from my trip.

I of course picked up some typical tacky tourist goodies to bring back for friends.  Each time I go on a trip anywhere I bring back a mini monument for DW.  I think she's got a little collection growing of all the typical monuments, brought back by family and friends.  I also picked up some kitchen products and a painting for friends' birthdays. 

I was determined to find an " I heart Roma" bag.  I kept an eye out as we past every store or kiosk, with no luck.  Finally on our last day, I spotted the bag I wanted. I have a couple traditions each time I travel to foreign countries, and one of them is picking up a small canvas tote bag from a museum, city, or store.  I have one from an amazing used book store in Krakow, and this bag will make an excellent addition to the collection. I bring them with me to the market, reminding me of my travels with every grocery trip.

Each city also had its own scarf with its signature points of interest depicted.  I've been using this one from Venice to keep my summer wicker tote closed. 

I was also determined to find a pair of the beautifully colored sueded loafers I had seen on so many well-dressed Italians.  As much as I swooned over the Tod's loafers, I couldn't afford to pay over 300 euros, but I was lucky enough to find a pair of bright blue ballet flats and bright red driving moccasins for only 45 euros each.  

I wasn't really looking for a new summer dress, but when I saw this dress in the Max & Co window, I just had to have it!  Given the sail boats, beach scenes, over-sized collar, and a-line wrap silhouette, it was a perfect summer dress.  It's difficult to tell on the hanger, but it has a bubble skirt and a deep v.  I decided it will be perfect for graduation next week.  As much as I may want to wear something a little more traditional, considering that I will be graduating with Fine Arts and Art History students who have been known to wear tutus to class, I decided to go for something a little more fun.

And my absolute favorite Italian souvenir:

My monogrammed leather and canvas bag from My Style Bags in Florence!  As soon as I saw it in the shop window I fell in love.  The last thing I need is another monogrammed tote, but because it's a cross between a traditional canvas tote and an Hermes Birkin, I think it's the perfect polished bag to add to my budding professional wardrobe.  It's a piece I hope to have forever. 

What are some of your most cherished items that you've picked up on your travels?


Friday, June 10, 2011


Finally Blogger is working again for me!  I've had a couple of posts lined up for a couple of weeks, but unfortunately my pictures just couldn't be uploaded.  So these next few posts are a little old, but there are still some great pics from my trip.


So I'm not sure how many of you have seen the recent movie The Tourist with Jolie and Depp, but if you have, let me just say that my train ride from Florence to Venice was freakishly like a scene from the movie, or at least it felt like Depp's doppelganger  had taken a seat only a couple rows in front of me.  A youngish gentleman walked on the train, wearing a dark somewhat disheveled three-piece suit, had chin-length wavy dark brown hair, the same facial hair, similar rounded horn-rimmed glasses, and a mysterious slightly disturbed demeanor.  It was scary. I honestly felt like an Angelina doppelganger was going to walk on to the train at any moment.

Nevertheless, it made for a pretty good start to the last leg of our trip. And then we got off the train and tried to find our hotel.... it was not easy.  At that point we had also filled our extra duffel bag and guess who had to carry that up and down all the bridges.  I had the large duffel, a rolling suitcase, and my giant Lands' End tote, along with the map (which wasn't all too helpful).  Thankfully the hotel wasn't too far from the train station, and we did eventually find it (and luckily there was a lovely wine bar next door with delicious Prosecco to ease our troubles).

Our first morning we decided to take the vaporetto (water bus) and just cruise the Grande Canal, taking in the sites and getting an idea of the layout of Venice. We landed in Piazza San Marco.  It was the perfect moment.  As we walked onto the piazza an outdoor band was playing "How do you solve a problem like Maria" from the Sound of Music (it's one of the many songs people will sing to me once they learn my name is Maria), with waiters in three piece suits with white jackets, carrying trays of espresso and  San Pellegrino.  Even the pianist and violinists were dressed to the nines.

 Of course my mom and I took a seat, ordered a round of espressos, peopled watched, and enjoyed the glorious Venetian sunshine for a couple hours before heading into St. Mark's Basilica.

While I was mesmerized by the many frescoes in the cathedrals and churches of Rome and Florence, I was incredibly impressed by the mosaics in St. Mark's.

The gold pieces shimmered, causing the pockets of glowing space where the sunlight hit.  On the second level we were able to get really close to the mosaics, close enough to touch them (I swear I didn't though!) and close enough to see all the individual pieces.  Although I tend to prefer the style of the High Renaissance, I think these Byzantine and late Gothic frescoes were among my favorite works that I saw on my trip.  

We of course made a trip to the Peggy Guggenheim Museum. If you ever find yourself in Venice and have even a slight interest in modern art, I most definitely suggest you stop here!  It has a good sampling of all the big names (Piet Mondrian, Pablo Picasso, Max Ernst, Marcel Duchamp), as well as temporary collections that really delve into some of the more obscure movements more deeply.  It's not a large museum, so it's not as overwhelming as some other art galleries.

Our last days we mainly took the vaparetto and wandered around, soaking in the beauty, getting lost crossing the small bridges above the mini canals, made a trip to Murano to visit some glass studios, enjoyed delicious seafood, and sat in coffee shops writing postcards to send to friends and family. After two weeks of intensely running around cities, attempting to hit every major point of significance, we wanted a serene end to our trip to reflect upon everything we saw and get a last chance to soak it all in.  

I was certainly blown away by the beauty of Venice, and now understand why it's the backdrop for so many magazine editorials and movies.  Now every time I see a model sporting an enchanting gown on a gondola floating down the Grand Canal in Vogue or Harper's Bazaar, I'll feel a subtle warmth in my heart and will fondly recall all of my wonderful memories.