Feb. 28, 2009

Car Show

Last evening, after munching on a sushi dinner at City Centre, Greg, Patrick and I took the LRT to the Edmonton Car Show. It was my first time ever attending a car show. Organized by company, a car show is a great opportunity to cut down on showroom shopping and see all new models in one stop. Seeing the cars adjacent to each other in a relatively neutral environment (meaning you're not swayed by the fact that the BMW dealership is swankier than the GM, or has glossier commercials) made me see similarities between brands that I hadn't noticed before.

In thinking about the range of vehicles showcased - everything from a Smart Car to a Hummer - a few models stand out in my mind. To note, I am the furthest thing from a car buff. I purchased my current vehicle on a whim after declaring that I wanted a fully-loaded model and that colour was very important (yet I somehow ended up buying a purple car even though I had always planned on purchasing black). Car browsing is interesting for me because it forces me to think about how I want to live my life; transportation is a key component of those considerations.

While working in St. John's, a number of my co-workers debated the practicality and styling of a van. Vans are a contentious issue. Those in favour cited the ability to move lots of kids, toys, snow blowers etc. around easily as a key benefit. Others claimed their wheels were not vans (the model in question was the Mazda 5). Two stylish new alternatives to a family mini van were present - the Nissan Cube and the Ford Flex. Both are more visually interesting than a van, but are not overwhelming in size like a SUV. If you're moving kids to soccer practice or planning a family road trip, either of these vehicles might fit the bill.


The Nissan Cube


The Ford Flex

Greg and I both prefer a wagon over a van or a SUV. Unfortunately not many companies are producing wagons these days. Our two top contenders are the Volkswagen Jetta Wagon (Diesel) and the Audi A3. We also liked the Volvo V50.

The Volkswagen Jetta Wagon

The Audi A3

Most upsetting, Mazda has remodeled the 3 for 2010. Coincidentally, I read an article this week that said a car looses value when a new model of the vehicle is released. If, for some reason, the newer version is less popular than the older version, value may not decrease, through this usually is not the case. Thankfully I don't have (too much) buyer's remorse about my current ride.

Photos are from various sources: Nissan Cube from Auto Net, Ford Flex from German Car Zone, Volkswagen Jetta Wagon from Motor Trend and Audi A3 from Auto Rola.

Feb. 27, 2009

Wallpaper

I grew up in a purple bedroom with one wall dressed in wallpaper that looked like a checkerboard drawn with magic markers. As I matured, the room was given a makeover and that same wall received a new navy floral pattern. I can remember my Grandfather applying the paper with the greatest attention to detail. I can remember watching him dip the paper in water as I sat perched on my desk. Every vine, rosebud and bloom lined up perfectly; it remains a true masterpiece and continues to hang in my mother's home.

Perhaps as a product of my own experience, I think one wall decked in paper can be a great complement to any room. My belief only strengthens over time as designers introduce higher quality papers and more artistic prints. Wallpaper no longer needs to be associated with country borders and tole paint.

For a great bold print for a den or child's room, seek Minakani, a Parisian design duo who recently launched a line of wallpapers that have a hand drawn feel. The handmade look reminds me of my childhood wallpaper, minus the 1980s neon look.

If I was designing a workspace or dining room, I'd choose a Romo paper as worn by the office of Design Inc. I love the graphic lines and think white dishes would play off the flowers quite nicely.

P.S. Is anyone else excited about the forthcoming launch of Sarah's Cottage this spring? I loved season one and season two of Sarah's House. Season two actually made 1960s back-splits in suburbia seem desirable!

Photos are from Minakani and Romo.

Feb. 26, 2009

Elbow Patches

Is there something seemingly insignificant that makes you weak in the knees? For me that seemingly insignificant entity is the elbow patch. I have a thing for elbow patches, and as it turns out, I am not alone. A co-worker of mine also recently divulged to me that she too swoons over a man with extra support mid-arm. The patches can be of the suede variety on a tweed sports jacket, or plaid on a cord blazer, or simply a doubling over of the original sweater fabric, I do not discriminate; I enjoy and celebrate all elbow patches equally.


I adore when Greg wears elbow patches. It should come as no surprise that the jacket he wore quite often when we first began dating came complete with elbow patches. I think they're fantastic!

Elbow patches are practical; they extend the life of a favourite sports coat, they cover holes and they add visual interest and a point of contrast. Elbow patches suggest that the wearer is professional and suave, and a member of the intelligentsia. The patches increase in sexiness when accessorized with facial stubble and dark rimmed glasses. It is a wonder men aren't running all about town to find garments with elbow patches.

For those of you who feel enticed to run home, pull out the sewing machine and add patches to your own sweaters and jackets, read this guide first.

Photo is from Snowiss Fur.

Feb. 25, 2009

House of Cards

Ideas are cheap. Always be passionate about ideas and communicating those ideas and discoveries to others in the things you make. -- Charles Eames

For Valentine's Day, I eschewed predictable boyfriend gifts and went out on a limb in purchasing an Eames House of Cards for Greg from the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. As someone drawn to bright colours, I thought he'd enjoy constructing houses, bridges and statues out of the thirty-two die-cut cards. Every few evenings, we seem to deconstruct the structure and rebuild it to showcase new patterns and to liven up our dining space. The cards appeal to our mid-century modern sentiments.

Here is a photo of our current House of Cards construction:

Charles and Ray created five different sets of the cards from the 1950-1970s. The photos depict familiar and nostalgic objects from the animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms. There are also a handful of patterned cards with checkerboard layouts, diamonds, stripes and polka dots.


The House of Cards is only one of the Eames and company designs that I covet. I hope to add to our collection with an Eames Hang-It-All. The cherry device, manufactured for Herman Miller, looks playful and practical and would be sure to brighten up a drab entryway. I can picture mittens-on-strings, colourful pashminas and jean jackets hanging from its perches.

Though not an Eames design, a George Nelson sunburst clock would make the perfect timepiece for any kitchen. For similarly interesting designs that lack the history, but will make up for it by creating a smaller dent in your pocketbook, try Umbra. This clock perfectly blends style and function.


Finally, I'd love to put an Eames molded plastic rocker in the nursery of my future children. With a warm throw, it would make a great place to read stories and rock a little one to sleep. As a bonus, I could pass the chair on to my son or daughter when it came time for them to move out. What young adult wouldn't love an Eames rocker in their first apartment? I think it would be a fun and stylish reminder of their childhood.

To find and purchase favourites of your own, check out the Eames Office. The Office communicates, preserves and extends the legacy and work of Charles and Ray. If I ever find myself in Santa Monica, the Office will be on my must-visit list.

Photos are from the Eames Office.

Feb. 24, 2009

Bakelite

While browsing in shops along the Whyte strip a few weekends ago, Greg and I came across a fun antique shop, Traveller Antiques, that we'd never wandered into before. Though our collective design style is more teak and chrome than Victorian, we had fun scanning over Alberta landscapes in the basement, and smelling the rich mahogany of the dining tables of a past era. There were beautiful glass vases and china tea cups and a funny framed leprechaun card that served as a reminder of the design and cartoon style of the turn of the century.


With all the delights before us, my eyes focused in on a case of colourful Bakelite bracelets. I've mentioned before that I have a soft spot for chunky jewelry. To elaborate, though I'm not normally an Angelina Jolie follower, I did admire her green earrings and ring at the 2009 Oscars on Sunday evening. To note, I am fully aware that style media has been raking her over the coals for that choice, but I support it. A hunk of stylised colourful plastic can make an outfit in my mind.

In thinking about the Traveller's Bakelite stock today, I thought I'd share some beautiful pieces from the same time period. Bakelite was developed between 1907-1909 by Belgian Dr. Leo Baekeland and is the first plastic made from synthetic components. In 1993, it was named a National Historical Chemical Landmark.


Run to your grandmother's jewelry box to see if you can unearth a Bakelite piece she may have worn in the 1930s or 1940s. Perhaps she is willing to trade it for a few hours of assistance with her spring cleaning. I love the lines and colour of these bracelets. I think jumble sales would be a great place to find this sort of jewelry at a bargain.

(The photo of Jolie is from Socialite Life, while the snaps of the Bakelite pieces came from the Naughty Secretary's Club and Galessa's Plastics.)

Feb. 23, 2009

Food Styling

The takeaway hamburger that never looks as juicy as in its television commercial. The home cooked meal that never looks as colourful as in the recipe book. The key lime pie that never looks as perfectly presented as in the clips of a cooking show.

The presentation of food in our society can be deceptive. It can also be appetizing. A photograph of any type of food can make my mouth water if taken correctly. I get cravings for food simply by seeing a picture. Photos make me interested in tasting new foods. Photos are a gateway for discovering new styles of cooking. Photos make me think about ways to breath new life into routine ingredients. I enjoy recipes, and I am drawn to recipes often through the photos that accompany them. I am also drawn to food photography because it reveals the shapes and colours of food that we so often miss in our hectic day to day lives.


The central player in the visual representation of the taste, flavour, colour and shape of food is the food stylist. I have never quite understood how one finds oneself working as a food stylist. It seems an unlikely career foisted on a high school student by their guidance councillor. Food styling and food photography seems brilliantly interesting, but would have never occurred to me when I was thinking ahead to my own employment possibilities. Perhaps people find their passion through photography, painting or sketching still life, cooking school or design for other mediums. Undoubtedly, the path varies.


In searching for cooking classes in the Edmonton area, I came across the website of a local food stylist - Fabulous Food Creations. I enjoy the simplicity of backdrop in these photos. The white screens, counter tops and dishes allow the colour and shape of the food to take centre stage. The beauty of a grilled pepper or red onion is amazing. I admit, rarely when I am slicing and dicing for my own home cooked meals, do I take the time to really think about the form and beauty of the foods I am using to sustain myself.


Greg has mused about purchasing a new camera and turning back to an older hobby of taking photographs. I have to admit, looking at these simple photos makes me want to encourage him further to pursue that passion, even if his ideas about taking photos are less about food, and more about people and scenery than mine are.


The photos on this post were each taken by Lovoni Walker of Fabulous Food Creations.

Feb. 22, 2009

Edmonton

Edmonton, Alberta - the 'City of Festivals'

A view of Edmonton from the South Side

Edmonton is part oil capital, part prairie wild west, part agricultural hub. It is a city where Volvo was once more likely to sell grain trucks than family sedans. Hugging the banks of the North Saskatchewan River, Edmonton is a city born from natural resources. In the 1700s, the Hudson Bay Company established Fort Edmonton as a major trading post. In the late 1880s, the city was a stopping point for those heading to the Yukon and Alaska to capitalize on the Klondike Gold Rush. In the 1940s, the city struck black gold and grew throughout the 20th century as oil prices rose, and retracted as the cost per barrel retreated.

Edmonton is many things: the capital of Alberta, the once gateway for mail, food and medicine to Northern Canada, and the least dense city over 1 million in Canada. For a long time, Edmonton was home to the world's largest indoor mall and parking lot. For the past seven months, Edmonton has been my stomping ground.

If you happen to find yourself in the 'City of Champions' (the city's official slogan), here's what I recommend.

Where to Stay: If you're brought to the city for business meetings or the like, you'll likely want to orient yourself in the downtown and close to transit so that you're able to commute painlessly to meetings and still have a chance to check out the wider reaches of the city. If modern styling is your thing, book a room at the Matrix Hotel on 100th Ave and 106th Street. If you prefer a Canadian Pacific traditional resting place, hang you hat at the Fairmont Hotel MacDonald on 100th Ave and 100th Street.

The Matrix Hotel

If you're in Edmonton to catch a festival, concert or to shop and eat good food, you cannot go wrong with the Metterra on Whyte Avenue.

Where to Eat: If you have only one day in which to gorge yourself in Edmonton, spend breakfast eating a cinnamon bun at the Sugar Bowl in Garneau, grab a famous veggie burger at the Blue Plate Diner in the Warehouse District, and eat Alberta beef in blue cheese and chocolate sauce at Culina in Mill Creek. Before heading out of town the next morning, skip Tim Hortons and grab your morning coffee at Leva on 111 Street.


Leva

Other notable restaurants include Parkallen Restaurant in Parkallen, Red Ox Inn in Bonnie Doon and Wild Tangerine in Oliver.

Where to Drink: For food and drinks in a casual, modern atmosphere, try Delux Burger in Crestwood/Parkview and order a Hurricane. For a formal nightcap, you'll fit the bill at the Confederation Lounge at the MacDonald. For a great selection of wine and an intimate environ, you'll want to check out Passa Tempo in Mill Creek. For beer and pub food, you cannot beat The Next Act in Old Strathona.


Delux Burger Bar

Where to Shop: For Canadian designs, check out Nokomis and Stanley Carroll. With a photo of your grandma, Nokomis will give you 10 per cent off your purchase, while Stanley works in the basement of his shop and will do customer alternations of his designs, if required. Both are located on Whyte Avenue. To complete your browsing in Whyte, check out The Junque Cellar (under Gravity Pope) for household flair from the 1950-80s.

Nokomis

No tour of Edmonton would be complete without a viewing of the excess and scale of the West Edmonton Mall. WEM makes a great place to stretch your legs on a deep freeze afternoon of an Edmonton winter. I'd be inclined to direct you to my favourite shop, Club Monaco, but you can find that outlet in any major Canadian city. For Americans though, it is worth a browse for the best work wear.

Sites to See: The bison at Elk Island National Park east of Edmonton. The Muttart Conservatory along the banks of the Saskatchewan River. The Alberta Art Gallery in Enterprise Square on Jasper Avenue. The Old Strathcona Farmer's Market at 1 pm on a Saturday. A flick at the deco Garneau Theatre on 109 Street.

Muttart Conservatory

Feb. 21, 2009

Oscar

With Oscar night tomorrow, people all over town are debating Slumdog Millionaire vs. Benjamin Button vs. Milk vs. Frost/Nixon. In thinking ahead to tomorrow's possible winners, here are some of my favourite style winners from red carpets of yesteryear.

Reese Witherspoon, my perennial favourite, at the 2007 Oscars for a great performance in Walk the Line, wearing Nina Ricci. In my humble opinion, she's sporting the ideal haircut - long and a full side bang.


Michelle Williams at the 2006 Oscars, for Brokeback Mountain, wearing Vera Wang. The yellow is so unexpected and fresh.

Gwyneth Paltrow at the 1999 Oscars in Ralph Lauren, where she accepted the Oscar for Shakespeare in Love. I love the sugary sweet pink.

Kirsten Dunst, my second favourite after Reese, in Chanel at the 2005 Oscars. I enjoy her quirky sensibility and fashion sense.

Feb. 20, 2009

Pickles and Relish

Here's a recipe for homemade relish that I wanted to share:

1 cup peeled, seeded & chopped cucumber
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped red pepper
1 cup chopped green pepper
1 tbsp pickling salt
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger root
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 clove garlic, minced

In a colander, place cucumber, onion, red and green peppers. Sprinkle with salt. Toss lightly to mix. Let the colander stand over bowl for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Place salted vegetables in 1 1/2 quart casserole dish. Add remaining ingredients. Mix well. Heat in the oven until mixture thickens, taking care to remove the dish and stir ingredients at least twice. Spoon mixture into 1-pint jar. Cover and refrigerate overnight before serving. Store relish in refrigerator for no longer than 1 month.

Makes 1-pint jar.


Now perhaps you are wondering why I am outlining a recipe for relish? Anyone who knows me knows I am unlikely to put relish on a hot dog or hamburger, but I've become interested in relishes (even though I don't like pickles) due to a quirk in Greg and I's relationship.

Early this past summer, while visiting with him, we were sitting in the den of his condo trying to decide what we might do about our long distance relationship. We hadn't been together long, but the distance was taking its tole on both of us. In that moment, Greg exclaimed 'we're in a pickle' and I retorted, 'we just need to figure out how to turn it into relish.' Pickles and relishes became a fun way for us to work through the challenges of distance.

In case there are others of you out there who find yourself in a pickle, I hope the recipe provided gives you some insight (or at least a yummy condiment to share on your bbq'd delights while you brainstorm ways to solve your own predicaments).

Feb. 19, 2009

Magpie


Though they're universally seen as pests, I think magpies are quite adorable. In fact, upon first glance this summer I mistook one for a blue jay. Magpies are certainly more eye-catching than the seagulls to which I am accustomed. I've taken to addressing each magpie I come across as 'Magpie Junior'. I like to think they give a little wink when they hear such a greeting.

Feb. 18, 2009

City Guides

Move over Frommer's, Design Sponge's city guides are the new travel must-read before jetting off on your next vacation. Finding these guides, for everywhere from Savannah to Milan, combined with my recent attempt to do the same for Saskatoon yesterday, has inspired me to consider writing my own guides for Edmonton, St. John's and perhaps Calgary. My time logged in Kingston, Ontario might also qualify me to list a few must-see haunts. I plan to post the guides over the coming weeks.

This is one of my favourite parts of Edmonton - the view from our apartment:

Feb. 17, 2009

Saskatoon

Ten hours in the car, three fill ups, two stops in Lloydminster and one Ukrainian egg, and you have the recipe for our Family Day-Weekend road trip to Saskatoon. In sum, I thought Saskatoon was beautiful. The city is full of historic architecture, beautiful bridges and tree lined streets. You'll immediately be struck by its livability... or at least I was.

Here's my guide to Saskatoon:

Where to Stay: Somewhere on Spadina Crescent. We chose the Sheraton Cavalier, but if your preference is an old Canadian Pacific Hotel, try out the Delta Bessborough. The Cavalier has a fun water park that comes in handy if you're travelling with children, or the young at heart.

Where to Stroll: Around the picturesque University of Saskatchewan campus or along Broadway Avenue.

How to Spend an Afternoon: At the Mendel Gallery on Spadina Cresent. Check out rotating exhibits, including a current display of Joni Mitchell's photography, and sit in the conservatory to take in the beautiful flowers and forget for a moment that it is -20 outside.

What We Wished We'd Packed: Skates to glide on the outdoor rink on the shores of the South Saskatchewan River.

Where to Eat: Calories on Broadway. Though we were offered recommendation after recommendation for Calories, and found out the restaurant is the romantic brain child of our friend Eric's cousin, we didn't make a reservation before leaving Edmonton. Instead, we showed up in the restaurant's foyer smack in the middle of dinner time (6:30 pm) on February 14th, wearing the same clothes we'd driven from Alberta in and inquired about dining. With a huge heaping of luck, the waiter informed us that there was a late dining party and that we could take their reservation. We were very lucky to snag a table. We feasted on a very memorable meal, not soon to be forgotten. The meal tasted so delightful that I forgot I was wearing snow boots while all other women in the restaurant were in stilettos.

For those interested, we were presented with was a six course meal that began with lobster on shitake and a stilton puff with quince paste. We were then treated to a beef consommé. The next plate offered seared halibut cheeks, nori wrapped house smoked trout, ginger soy hollandaise, bok choy & tobiko. After swooning over these culinary delights, we feasted on the main course - black truffle stuffed PVF chicken breast, foie gras poëlé, baby beets, cassava chips & organic chokecherry reduction. The dessert was a delectable carmincello float with dark chocolate mousse on candied fruit & kirsch empress rice.

To repeat, I highly recommend Calories.

What to Drink: A Sex and Candy Martini or The Firefly at 6Twelve on Spadina.

Quirk to Discover: Read the plaque on the Wilfred Laurier-John Diefenbaker Statue on 21st Street. Their chance encounter on Laurier's visit to Saskatoon had a young, paper carrying Diefenbaker chatting with the Prime Minister for a half hour before excusing himself to ensure the day's papers were delivered. As the tale goes, Dief excused himself by remarking, "Excuse me Prime Minister, I can't waste any more time talking to you, I have papers to deliver."

Blue Print

Watching movies, driving down the street, talking to friends about real estate, any of these occurrences is as likely as another to lead Greg and I to a discussion on the sorts of homes we envision ourselves inhabiting. In pursing these conversations with him, I think short term and long term. I debate the merits of a jelly bean row house in St. John's, a condominium in English Bay, Vancouver, and an 'Edmonton-Special' in our current city. My mind runs over different cities and locations, not to mention lifestyles. In pursuing my daydreams a little further, I came across Small Blue Printer Dot Com. As I munched on my brown bagged lunch today, I took a moment to design one housing possibility.

Inspired by a home in Palm Springs, California, designed by Richard Neutra in 1937, this is the house I would love to build to maximize a rocky ocean view (such as this one) just outside my hometown of St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador. This is the inspiration:




Though the view would be quite different from the dessert the inspiration inhabits, I cannot think of a more fantastic way to watch the seasons change. With so many windows you'd experience the eye of a snowstorm, watch icebergs drift by as you washed dishes and feel the warm sun heat the living room on a bright summer day.

Here is my interpretation:


While the plot of land I've envisioned for this house is considerably larger than the construction above requires, it would make a great opportunity for gardening, tree houses, and income - by selling off unused acres.

Feb. 13, 2009

Happy

Happy (slightly early) Valentine's Day!



Tomorrow Greg and I are awaking early to hit the open road to Saskatoon: the Paris of the Prairies. One of my 'life' to do list items is to visit all 13 Canadian provinces and territories. Saskatchewan is one of the unvisited jurisdictions on my list (Manitoba, the Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut are the others). Greg romantically suggested we tick off another province this Valentine's Day/Family Day weekend. Though Greg drove across the country in a big red fire truck after finshing undergrad in Nova Scotia (I cannot make this stuff up), this is the first time either of us will be spending time in Saskatoon.

I hope you all have an enjoyable and relaxing weekend!

Shoes

I certainly do not have a shoe fetish. Unlike seemingly everyone else in Edmonton, I do not go ga-ga for a trip to Gravity Pope. But... as I look at my tired brown winter boots, complete with salt stains and worn patches that were purchased in Brussels years ago, I do look forward to slipping on shoes to head to work in the next few months. I mastered the art of the stiletto for the office this fall. This new found confidence has opened up a range of shoe options that I had previously shied away from. I still remain true to my love of flats though.

Here are some of the shoes on my dream must-have spring shopping list:

Miu Miu, Sequin Embellished Flats - I'd wear them with dark skinny jeans and a black t-shirt

Marc by Marc Jacobs, Peep-Toe Pump - I'd wear them with a black pencil skirt and a thin knit black v-neck sweater
Stella McCartney, Cherry Thong Sandals - I''d wear them with jean shorts and a white tank

Christian Louboutin, Papilipi Satin Pumps (with red soles!) - I'd wear them with a crisp white a-line skirt and my blue and white striped backless sweater

All shoes are available online at Net A Porter Dot Com. Photos are from the same website.

Feb. 12, 2009

Stretch

Ballet class is getting better. I am learning to concentrate more and to feel the placement of my legs, back and arms, instead of staring at my feet or being unable to peel my eyes off the mirror. I particularly enjoy the floor stretching sessions that we go through mid-class. As a result, I have stretching goals. It has occurred to me that if I post these goals here, I might actually undertake the practice to meet my goals over the next year.

Right now, this is the easiest sort of position for me. It is right out of the pages of any big box yoga class.


Surprisingly, this stretch is easy to get into and hold. It is my one dance class victories. The actual difficulty of this position is unknown to me, but it makes me feel as if I am making progress, even if I have been able to orient my body in this way long before I started talking ballet lessons.

This is my (lofty) goal. I have read up on how to work up to doing the splits. It seems an impossibility from where I am now.

Date Night

With Valentine's Day right around the corner, I'm feeling aglow with the emphasis on love and friendship all around me. Normally at this time of year De Beers would be running tennis bracelet commercials on all the networks, but in 2009 the recessionary climate has shifted the advertising of presents to celebrate Cupid from diamonds to DIY. The absence of these commercial trappings makes focusing on the actual relationships with your spouse, friends and family that much easier. Midwinter is a great time to spark new friendships and remind your loved ones how much you care about them. I think simplicity and sincerity is the theme to pursue this Valentine's Day.


Together Greg and I enjoy routine, but we're trying out something new for both of us this February 14th (more about that in a later post). For those of you interested in trying something new with your beau, the Alberta Art Gallery in Enterprise Square offers drop-in-art classes ($10 a pop) on Thursday evenings from 7-9 pm. Each class is instructed by a professional artist and includes all supplies. The classes this month focus on drawing emotions, figure drawing and printmaking. Wouldn't dinner out at The Blue Plate Diner followed by an art class make a fun date night?

Feb. 11, 2009

Aprons

I am increasingly enjoying the programming on the Food Network. Though the station's offerings make me hungry, I find inspiration in shows like Fresh with Anna Olsen. The show's mantra, 'eat fresh, eat local', appeals to me. Women like Anna make me want to be a better cook.

My culinary skills are improving (I hope) and Greg's always gracious in offering me tips to improve my technique. As I think about the end of ballet classes in March, I must come up with a replacement activity. One option I am considering is a basic cooking class to learn skills that I can build upon. I have enjoyed baking for a long time (cupcakes being my self-described specialty), but cooking has come to me later. Both are great creative outlets and I look forward to honing my skills.

Before ballet classes began, I bought a leotard, pink tights and split sole shoes. If I can find a cooking class, I'd like to prepare with one of these beautiful aprons on Etsy. The aprons resemble the cutest of summer dresses and remind me of a simpler time. One of these confections would be sure to give anyone the confidence to whip up the most delicious dinner party offerings.


Further Education

There was a time when I thought going back to school meant pursuing a PhD (I am still not one hundred per cent convinced that I have convinced myself, in my own mind, that this isn't what I equate going back to school to mean). In pursuing hypotheticals and allowing the mind to drift to alternative life choices, I have learned that going back to school can mean other things.

To be clear, I thoroughly enjoyed studying Canadian politics and public policy. I am happy in my career path and enjoy the work I am involved with; it stretches my brain.

However, I think I could also enjoy working in the design field and studying interior design at the University of Manitoba. This shouldn't be taken to mean I think I have any talent in the aforementioned industry (I can barely draw a straight line for Pete's sake). But when you look at the great things happening at MADE (Modern Art Design Exhibit) in Toronto, it isn't hard to fantasize.