Monday, December 29, 2014

Pop. Fizz. Clink: Champagne Cocktails

2014 has treated me exceptionally well with two happy and healthy babies and a stylish send off into the next decade. I’m hoping for anther rosy year so what better way to usher it in than sipping a festive pink champagne cocktail?

Style At Home recently highlighted some delicious new years eve-worthy champagne cocktails, styled in tones of gold and pink by my talented colleague Ann Marie Favot. I’m partial to this  blackberry lime fizz, which features one of my favourite liqueurs, St Germain Elderflower.

Blackberry Lime Fizz

serves 2

  • 6 fresh blackberries
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tbsp simple syrup
  • 2 oz St-Germain elderflower liqueur
  • 8 oz chilled pink champagne or Prosecco


  1. Place 6 blackberries on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and freeze until solid (the frozen fruit will help keep your cocktail nicely chilled).
  2. Place the lime juice, simple syrup, elderflower liqueur and remaining blackberries in a cocktail shaker and muddle to release the flavours.
  3. Add some ice and shake well. Strain into two coupes and top with the champagne.
  4. Garnish with the frozen blackberries.

Bonus points if you mix your cocktail in these gorgeous gold-plated accessories from Cocktail Kingdom. I need that shaker, jigger and stirrer like yesterday!

(cocktail photo by Maya Visnyei , bottom photo: laura sant for saveur)

Monday, December 8, 2014

Gift Guide Picks

The holidays are upon us which means it’s time to shop for the ones you love and get them a little something something that will make them smile. This year I’m only highlighting things I’d truly buy myself, so don’t be surprised when you notice they’re mostly black, white and gold!


Every household needs a solid pair of scissors, so add some sparkle to the mundane with this shiny gold pair of shears from Nate Berkus’ Target collection. Target, $16.99


These glass water bottles by bkr are coated in a stylish silicone sleeve that protect from breakage while looking adorable all the way to your 8-glasses-a-day goal. Neiman Marcus, $30-35 each



This Tory Burch kerrington applique wristlet is kind of bizarre but also kind of fabulous with its creamy violet leather and amusing symbolism. It would be a great spot to stash your personal essentials in a larger diaper bag or tote. Tory Burch, $175

For your stylish gourmand, these black and white striped marble accessories up the chic factor of any kitchen counter. I particularly adore the cheeseboard and citrus press. Anthropologie, $24-98


This earthy yet smoky scent from Diptyque is perfect for snuggly winter nights and a luxury item you’d be hard pressed to buy for yourself, but be totally psyched to see under the christmas tree (or hanukkah bush). Holt Renfrew, $72

For the hostess with the mostess, the large white pedestal cake plate and glass dome from Rosanna is a perfect spot to display sweets and homemade treats while keeping them fresh. Red Letter, $44.95-72.95 


Who doesn’t love receiving chocolate as a gift? These handcrafted bars in exotic flavous like dark chocolate gold leaf take it to a whole other level with packaging designed by none other than Kelly Wearstler. I’d frame them they are so pretty! Kelly Wearstler, $13 each


Fans of Scalamandre’s classic zebra print will love this small tray from Lenox, which looks stunning sitting pretty on a console or used as a catchall for keys or change. William Ashley, $61.


For the art lover, this antique gold metal 3-D piece adds serious personality to your walls with an iconic mantra spelled out in all of its gilded splendour. ELTE Market, $95



For your friend who could always use some help in the organization department, this cheeky sticky note set has sayings that were ripped right from my and my friends’ daily diction, including a personal fave, “literally can’t.” Plus there is a bowtie involved - as the note says, “so cute!” Indigo, $12.95

Friday, November 21, 2014

Exotic Cats with Pattern Play: Wardrobe or Wallpaper?


I’m loving the likeness of Thibaut’s Cheetah wallpaper to this Joe Fresh silk blouse.  Both items have playful exotic cats layered on top of a pattern for a fresh yet fierce look.


Thibaut’s celebrated paper could be skewed as over the top when looking at it up close, but once it’s applied to the walls, the cheetahs recede and form an abstract pattern, like in this beautiful bedroom by Michelle Smith as featured in Lonny. How tongue in “chic”!


This silk blouse is a great way to add a playful element to your look and at only $59, it’s not something you’ll cry over if you only wear it a handful of times.

If you’re wondering which item I’d pick, then wonder no further. My answer would be an unequivocal yes to both as I am a proud supporter or all exotic cat prints whether on your clothes or on your walls! Meow!

(Room image by Genevieve Garruppo via Lonny)

Thursday, October 30, 2014

My Master Bath Before and After

The latest bookazine from Style At Home is all about makeovers and it's a goodie! Chock full of dramatic before and afters, there is page after page of inspirational images that will get your creative juices flowing and ready to tackle your next project.


My master ensuite, which we worked on as part of our big reno last year, is featured and it shows how we transformed a tiny cramped bath into a sophisticated and relaxing retreat.


Categorizing it as a makeover is an understatement because literally nothing remains from the original space. The bathroom was teensy and poorly laid out with a wee wall-mounted sink, toilet and narrow tub/shower. Thanks to walls that jutted out awkwardly to accommodate two separate closets on each end, it was a very weird shape and there was no way the bathroom could be used comfortably for more than one person at a time.


We opened up and lengthened the space into a long rectangle by demolishing the two closets and borrowing some extra feet from a nearby bedroom. The plumbing was reconfigured to accommodate a double vanity, large shower and separate bath tub for a luxurious master ensuite retreat.


I wanted the space to feel like a properly appointed salon and not a regular old bathroom, so I brought in details you’d see in a living room, including textured wallpaper, a chair rail, and herringbone floors for a richer atmosphere. I reinterpreted these elements in bathroom-friendly materials, such as Philip Jeffries’ vinyl glam grass for the wallpaper from Crown Wallpaper, marble for the chair rail, and porcelain tiles for the floor.


I used a timeless palette of whites and cream stones from Marble Granite Depot, paired with the rich walnut tones of the faux-wood tiles from Stone Tile. All these colours are seen in the roman shade fabric, a small scale embroidered pattern from Crown Wallpaper & Fabrics that ties it all together beautifully.


The plumbing fixtures are classic and refined with cross handle details. I mixed Brizo’s Tresa lavatory faucet for the vanities with the luxurious Raincan shower head and Charlotte slide bar with shower. Having the relaxing large rain shower head is a real treat, but having a removable shower head is just as key when it comes to ease of cleaning so I am loving the combo of the two!image

Brizo doesn’t make a deck mounted telephone style tub filler, but Rubinet has a wonderful selection of tub fillers, so I chose their Raven design which complements the other faucets nicely. The various fixtures are united in a warm polished nickel finish which plays off the rich tones of the floor tile and colours in the roman shade. I was even able to order the legs of the Cheviott clawfoot tub from Vintage Tub & Bath in polished nickel as well for a truly cohesive look.


I love how the refined vintage vibe of the bathroom is an extension of the rest of my home’s décor. The dramatic clawfoot tub, framed antique prints and pleated shades on the beautiful Payson sconces from Circa Lighting reinforce a warm and glamorous mood that makes getting ready in the morning a pleasure.


Seeing the bathroom come together on the page is very rewarding considering it was probably one of the most complicated spaces to deal with during the entire reno. So much can go wrong in any given project, but this bathroom took us to a whole other level of insanity!  There were extreme variations in the natural stone mosaic I selected for the shower which meant that part of the shower walls had to be ripped out and new tile sourced at the eleventh hour, the tub filler ended up being too deep for the tub and had to be shortened which took weeks, two separate parts of the tub were missing and caused delays until each one was received and could be hooked up, a wallpaper mix-up, the list goes on…you name it and it probably went wrong or delayed us! I’m justso happy it’s done and that I get to enjoy it every day!

(after photos by Donna Griffith)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Glam Patch of Pumpkins

Halloween is just a couple of days away so here are some of my favourite no-carve pumpkin decorating projects I’ve seen online this year:


Nicole of So Haute splattered this gold and ivory beauty, which results in a shimmery Cy Twombly meets Kelly Wearstler effect. These would look right at home in a bowl on my kitchen island!

malachite pumpkin diy 3

Over on Design Sponge, Hank and Hunt turned the humble gourd into a malachite masterpiece! Their deep emerald swirls are so unexpected and bold.


This etsy seller went the decoupage route with these fierce leopard print pumpkin forms that you could enjoy any time of year. Meow!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Perfectly Healthy Pumpkin Muffins

Looking for a quick and nutritious snack this thanksgiving weekend? Try these tasty low-fat pumpkin muffins from Anna Olson that are a cinch to whip up and easy on the waistline.


These muffins get their delicious moist texture and natural sweetness from pureed pumpkin instead of relying purely on sugar and oil, so you can indulge in this classic autumnal treat and not feel guilty.

muffins 1

Anna Olson’s Low Fat Pumpkin Muffins

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground allspice
  • 1 ½ cups pure pumpkin purée
  • ⅔ cup packed demerara or dark brown sugar
  • ⅔ cup buttermilk
  • 2 egg whites
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • pumpkin seeds (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F and line a 12-cup muffin tin with large paper liners.
  2. Stir the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and allspice in a large mixing bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the pumpkin, brown sugar, buttermilk, egg whites and vegetable oil.
  4. Pour the liquids into the dry mixture and stir just until blended. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups and sprinkle pumpkin seeds on top.
  5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a tester inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean.
  6. Cool the muffins for 20 minutes before removing from the tin. The muffins can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days or frozen. Do not refrigerate.

muffins 2

I added pumpkin seeds to the top for some added crunch but you can also sprinkle them with raw sugar, or stir in cranberries or other nuts into the batter to mix it up. Happy baking and happy thanksgiving everyone!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Golden Nursery Finds

It’s so marvellous to see that pretty much every major shelter retailer is having a golden moment right now. It doesn’t take very long to spot something gold or brass when walking the showroom floor or browsing a catalogue or website.

The Animal Print Shop by Sharon Montrose

The love for the warm metals has even crept into nurseries and kids spaces, a  place usually reserved for more cutesy and less sophisticated details. This is shown to fabulous effect in the nursery above, designed by Rachelle Belle as seen on the Animal Print Shop blog. In celebration of this golden age, here are some of my favourite ways to add some golden glam into your nursery or kid space:


The Don’t Grow Up (It’s a Trap) Gold Foil Print by Penny Paper Co is the perfect tongue in chic piece to add to a graphic gallery wall above a modern crib. At $27 it won’t break the bank and it is sized to fit IKEA’s ribba for easy and affordable framing.


I love reimaging a vintage dresser as a change table in a nursery (add a change topper and ta da!), and these gilded swirled geode knobs from anthropologie would make for a seriously stunning hardware choice. They’re $18 each and would add an ethereal element to a kid’s bedroom that is fresh and unexpected.

The Emily & Meritt Chandelier Table Lamp

The Emily & Meritt Chandelier Table Lamp by PB Teen would make for a whimsical and welcome light to read bedtime stories by in a feminine and pretty little girl’s room. The beaded arms and delicate flowers would look right at home with a floral wallpaper accent wall. (I’m talking about you Rose Decay)



Last but not least for a boho baby’s lair, the global-looking Tangier Bronze Stool from West Elm would be a perfect choice to sit next to your glider. The stool, $299, is versatile and adult-enough that it can be moved into your living room once your glider days are gone.


Personalizing your baby’s space with their initials is always a nice touch and these $10 gilded letters from Indigo add some shimmery glamour to the wall. Spell out a quirky saying or their full name for a maximalist approach.

(Nursery photo by Joe Schmelzer for The Animal Print Shop)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Shana Tova and a Little Jewish Humour

As the second night of Rosh Hashanah draws to a close, here is a video that will start off the year 5575 with a smile and a good chuckle:


Watching non-Jews’ reactions to typical Jewish fare such as gefilte fish and chopped liver had me laughing out loud and I hope you enjoy it too!

Wishing you all a sweet new year full of health and happiness!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Lay Lady Lay: Alchemy Brass Bed Frame by CB2


Now this is a big brass bed I can get behind! The gleaming linear alchemy shiny brass bed frame frame by Barcelona-based Mermelada Estudio is new at CB2 and I’m in so in love.

While I usually go for upholstered headboards and often forgo any type of footboard all together (it’s one less thing to bump into during a late night pee break), I cannot help but swoon over this graphic metal bed. Starting at $699 for a queen, it’s also quite reasonable for such a large high-impact statement piece.

Would you go brass in bed?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Baby Buy and Giveaway: ELARI Diaper Wallet

Once you join the mommy club, you become an expert shlepper and a firm supporter of the mantra that you can never be too prepared. When you leave the house with  a baby (or babies)  in tow, you need gear at the ready to cover feeding and diapering on the go, with a wardrobe change and toys for good measure.  Translation: you have to cart around a whole lot of stuff – especially for multiple mothers like myself who need everything times two!

Paint My Chevron Purple

But sometimes if I’m going to a friends house for a playdate or class where I know there are extra blankies and toys, or if I am going for a walk to my parents where there are plenty of supplies, I will only bring the essentials- and that’s where my ELARI Diaper Wallet comes in.


Created by a Canadian mom and her sister, this stylish slim case has room for a few diapers, a zippered compartment for moist wipes, a full size change pad that folds away easily, and pockets for two creams or lotions (or hand sanitizer).


It zips up and can be stashed away easily in a tote bag or your purse, or even thrown in the bottom of your stroller for those “in case” moments. It is even a great addition to your regular diaper bag, when you need to slip into those tiny public bathroom stalls to change your little one, and don’t want to have to squeeze your enormous diaper bag inside and get it all germy.


I love the variety of prints and textures it comes in, which adds a hit of chic to an otherwise messy event! They make for great baby or shower gifts, and are a great option for second time around parents who already have everything they thought they could ever need.


Once your diapering days are over, the wallet can be used as a make up case to stash your brushes, compacts and more, so I like that this product will have a second life. Made in Canada using moisture and mildew-resistant materials, non-toxic dyes, it’s machine washable too so you can keep it nice and clean.

Don't Make Me Teal You Again

The ELARI Diaper Wallet retails from $39.95-$49.95 and can be purchased online on or at Li’l Niblets for my fellow Toronto moms. Be sure to like their facebook page as well for creative suggestions on how to use the wallet and to find retailers near you.

If you want to win one for yourself, leave a comment with your name and e-mail by Friday, September 5 at 5pm EST, and I will draw next week and the winner will be contacted directly! (Giveaway is only open to Canadian and American residents with a valid shipping address)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Baby Buy: Kina Lambskin Booties

Now that I’m over six months in to this whole motherhood thing (six of the simultaneously fastest yet slowest months of my life), I wanted to share some of my favourite items that the boys and I love. We received so many beautiful gifts, but one of our favourites that I went out and bought more of in the next two sizes up, are KINA booties.

Kina Lamb Booties - Natural

These adorable lambskin booties are handmade in New Zealand and have become a daily fixture in our wardrobe. Socks really do not like to stay on my little guys’ feet, but these booties have an elastic around the ankle that keeps them on so their tootsies stay nice and warm. The suede sole provides a solid cushion that helps them from slipping and sliding all over the place (they’re getting squirmy!) and I love that the soft shearling lining breathes and stretches with their feet.

We have them in two different colours: natural for Charlie and chocolate for Jack. Advice From A Caterpillar carries them in other colours too, (including a darling pale pink for the ladies) and they cost $55.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

My Deco Bathroom in Style At Home: Before and After

Knowing me, it’s not a total shocker that black and white was my choice palette for more than one of the bathrooms in my home. The September issue of Style At Home features what I like to call my deco bath, which earned its moniker thanks to its original 30s bathtub and vintage-inspired scheme.


When we bought the house it was clear that this bathroom hadn’t been updated since it was built in the 1930s. The tile and cast iron corner tub were worse for wear and there was no central vac system or updated plumbing installed.


The bathroom was originally used by three bedrooms, but because we were adding a brand new bathroom to the second floor during the addition, I decided to close off one of the doorways that led into the hall and make this bathroom into an ensuite instead.


I loved the graphic hand-cut porcelain tile floor but because the radiator needed to be ripped out and new plumbing was required, it was regrettably unsalvageable.


I decided to replace it with a similar pattern in a marble mosaic from Antica Tile and Stone. The basketweave is a classic look and we grouted it in white and then ground the whole surface down for an extra smooth and seamless finish.


Choosing a black painted vanity, which also echoes the curved deco lines of the bathtub, ties the vintage black and white scheme together. The Carrera marble vanity top also picks up on the coordinating marble baseboards and doorframe.


I sourced beautifully detailed plumbing fixtures from Brizo to complement the retro look of the tub and vanity. I picked the Tresa Two Handle Widespread Lavatory Faucet after falling in love with its high arched spout and delicate bead detail at the top.


I was happy to keep the original cast iron tub, which had the perfect footprint for the bathroom. The tub looks brand new and gleaming white thanks to a reglazing job from Dr. Tubs. For the shower/tub plumbing fixtures, I wanted something equally retro, so I chose the Baliza set from Brizo in a dazzling chrome finish, which completed the Tresa lavatory faucet beautifully.


Clean and classic accessories that repeat the simple bead detail in their design, like this traditional towel bar by Brizo and the Metropolitan sconce from Circa Lighting complete the look.



The soft elements, such as the shower curtains from Target (a favourite pick I repeated from my apartment) and window treatment also reinforce the palette. For the custom roman shade, I added a border of black grosgrain from Mokuba to the white linen I picked up from Designer Fabrics, and the result looks clean and classic.


Make sure to pick up the September issue of Style At Home for a detailed Q&A on the bathroom design, along with tons more gorgeous bathroom inspiration from talented designers like Tara Fingold and Ingrid Oomen.

(After photos by Stacey Brandford)