Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Grocery Store Couture..............beside the lettuce and yogurt

By all accounts, Joe Fresh appeared to be an odd concept when it opened across Canada in 2006. Maybe clever, maybe not. A clothing store right beside the yogurt section in our grocery store? First I noticed the adorable kids clothing, then I started buying the sweetest ensembles for my little great-nieces, then I started noticing some seriously chic style...........for me. Now I am off and running with this Canadian concept of "grocery store couture", conveniently adding very affordable and stylish summer shifts (16.00-29.00) to our grocery bill and stalking the new inventory on a bi-weekly basis. Apparently I am not alone in stalking new finds at Joe Fresh, when the Canadian import opened their first US stores a few months back, 100's camped out for the New York flagship store opening (there are now 6 Joe Fresh stores in New York, New Jersey, and Long Island locations here). Heads up, Joe Fresh will be coming your way. It helped that Canadian mega-grocery retailer Loblaws hired the Canadian fashion whiz Joe Mimran, the original founder of Club Monaco to stylishly maneuver Joe Fresh to global noticeSo much for keeping my chic little buying secret all to myself...............I was really hoping they weren't going to be so darn clever. I could have scooped that yellow maxi skirt for sure.

Photos via Joe Fresh

Friday, May 25, 2012

My Pink Ladies

I couldn't resist sharing my beautiful pink ladies this year. And a few white ones snuck in there too. They were over on my FB a few days ago and caused quite a stir, don't we love our peonies and roses? I know many readers have a holiday weekend ahead so enjoy the first summer weekend of gardening, sunshine, and barbecues. But mostly, enjoy the holiday with the people in your life. 

iphone photo by Sande Chase

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Bespoke Post.............boxes of awesome just for Him

I have no problem when it comes to gifts..............for women, girls, and babies. For men, not so much. There I admitted it. Perhaps because the response and receipt doesn't include girly squeals, or maybe because I tend to underestimate how much men like gifts in general. Possibly both, which is exactly why I think Bespoke Post is such a stylish and unique way to impress the men in your life. Especially with Father's Day and Graduation season right around the corner. I know I am weak when it comes to selecting male gifts but as I scrolled through the past monthly selections of this bespoke gift service, I thought the gentlemanly nature might suit my son's maturing taste and so I asked him his opinion. His answer? "Cool, really cool, when do I get the first one?" Which is the equivalent of a subdued guy squeal if I ever heard one.

Bespoke Post based in NYC has a unique concept. They curate cool products from emerging brands and offer one Box of Awesome each month for whatever term you select. Subscribers receive a sneak email peek of the upcoming Limited edition box and have the option of saying yes or no to the current selection and can cancel at any time. Fair enough. SHAVE, shown above is the Box of Awesome for May. With a clever Cigar Box presentation, it includes a badger brush, considered to be the ultimate material for this popular and retro shaving technique, a chrome brush stand, and three shaving products from eshave, the award-winning shaving experts.

Bespoke Post offers a reasonably-priced concept at $45.00 per month and 100% NO shipping charges. More than fair wouldn't you say? My son really liked some of the past monthly selections here and especially the Box of Awesome sent out last March. The Canvas Mason's Bag included Aesop skin care products imported from Australia and a limited lounge pass for the American Airlines Admiral Lounge. Past selections are Sold Out but they give you an idea of the stylish variety to be expected in future shipments. We liked them all. 

Did you know that ice cube dilution is the enemy of whisky? Neither did I but if you click here you can see the clever solution which was included in Bespoke's November's Whisky themed Box of Awesome. It strikes me that each delivery comes with a bit of gentlemanly education into the fine art of living. What woman doesn't want to send a little style education along to the males in their life in such a subtle and giving manner. I'm just saying. 

Stylish guys may want to subscribe themselves but what about the presentation if this happens to be a gift? Bespoke Post says "Because each month is different, we don't always use the same method for wrapping and presenting, but we do take pride in it, and want each person to feel like they're opening up a gift each month, whether it was actually a gift from someone else, or just from and for themselves." Just one more thing.............I really do think guys like to receive cool gadgets and gifts. Especially the ones far from home. 

Photos from Bespoke Press/No conpensation received for this post.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Showhouse..............and angled inspiration

At this age and at this point in my life, I have been having an internal dialogue when it comes to our personal decorating. On one hand, I look around and think I want to reduce, edit, move on to something smaller and simpler.....less things. Or so I tell myself. I think I might be mistaken after viewing the Junior Leaque of Detroit Showhouse today in Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan. I need to get my designer head back in the game and shake things up a bit around here. As we toured the Oscar Webber mansion designed by architect Leonard B. Willeke in the early 1900's I am reminded that simple is overrated, at least for me. I love a room or house filled with interest in architecture and design. All those spots that engage you on multiple levels, that tell you a story about the homeowner. On an inspiration level, I always look forward to seeing the gracious, inviting rooms designed by Grosse Point designer Brian Clay Collins. Notice the wood column and urn that pushes the settee end out on a slight angle building in a unique furniture placement (the designer used another column and urn across the room to angle the headboard as well) and warm backdrop with one well-executed angle. See, I just love that. I want to sit here, open a book, nibble a cookie, and have stimulating conversation in this angled setting. 

Another intriguing angle was used in the gorgeous kitchen. Birmingham, Michigan designer Phyllis Whitehead used a slender vintage display table (from a department store) as a narrow island. But what made it so interesting was the angled position, sounds odd but looked brilliant. It actually gave more room to the cooking area where it was needed and added enormous interest to the area. Simple white island stools from Target were upgraded with a vibrant fabric skirt. 

You should never miss a show house, just for the accessory vignettes alone. I don't know about you but sometimes I get complacent when it comes to my personal decorating and I need visuals to bring me back up to speed and nothing does that better than physically walking through a beautiful show house and seeing a fresh perspective. 

One of the best features of an older home is the nooks and crannies. This reminded me that new homeowners should look to add these interesting features into their house plans and carefully look at unique, sometimes smaller window placements. Isn't this vignette charming? I always look to add electrical outlets in kitchen design so the homeowner can take advantage of adding lamps to the kitchen island and counters, it is so inviting at night once dinner is cleaned up and the kitchen settles down for the night.

This stunning and historic glazed blue Pewabic pottery tile was designed specifically for the original homeowner with Mary Chase Stratton when the house was built in 1925. I always think it would be difficult to commit to a colour tile but the iridescent effect was gorgeous and has beautifully stood the test of time. Note the use of smaller windows. Another designer tip? Vanity areas that allow women to sit while they primp and apply makeup in natural light. Much more relaxing............and natural. 

Hollywood glamour in warm white and soft gray. Labeled The Sophisticated Retreat by The Velvet Plum ~ designer Jennifer Duda-Imamura, this luminous room was bathed in glamour and light. 

The show house is only open until this Sunday but if you live in this region it is well worth the time. As for me I am off to Homesense to stalk the merchandise for some new accessories. 

iphone photos by Sande Chase

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mother's Day................and memories.

When I have been out walking Miss Daisy these past few weeks, I can smell the lilacs everywhere. Though my mother has been gone for many years whenever I smell lilacs I think of her. Purple lilacs were everywhere when I was growing up, the low branches would be heavy with the weights of the fragrant blooms, well with our reach which is why we would pick a few, sometimes many stems and bring them home to our mothers. We thought they were there for our own personal picking and in a way they were, no one ever stopped us nor did we ask permission. It was a simpler time. I don't seem to have luck growing lilacs in my own garden but my neighbors do and some days I am tempted to do as I did 50 years ago and help myself to an armful of beautiful purple lilacs. I have even considered knocking at their door and asking, framing the request as a pruning favour, perhaps it would be helpful? We will be away this Sunday, off to see our son graduate from medical school and I know that this will be my most wonderful Mother's Day of all. As mothers we live to see our children happy and accomplished in whatever they do, see them safely off to their path in life. I also know my mother, his grandmother would be immensely proud of her grandson. She would be beaming with joy as I am................. both our arms are full of lilacs this Mother's day. I hope your Mother's Day and your memories will be filled with love and joy. 

Photo from Pinterest here

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I blame House Hunters International

It happens to be the timing and now I can't stop. The HGTV show House Hunters happens to be on TV when I am making dinner, adding some interesting back chatter while I prepped. Before long, I was making sure dinner was ready well before 5:00 so I could concentrate on the latest house hunting venture, now I tape the International episodes that run later in the evening as well. Not only am I vicariously traveling the world of real estate, I am fascinated by what homes people buy...........and no, I never guess correctly. My absolute favorite episode was a House Hunters International show A Women Starts Over In Paris (see future listings here) no subliminal message intended. While I amuse myself with dreaming about purchasing a Paris apartment, I remembered one from way back that I also fell in love with, you may have seen it before in Canadian House & Home back in 2009 but since when can we see too many Paris apartments?

When I think of Paris, I always think of the incredible golden light and the interior of this apartment owned by Patrick and Lorraine Frey, the owners of Pierre Frey, the legendary French textile and furnishings house, has perfectly captured that magical hue in this Haussman style apartment. I am beginning to think formal dining rooms should always be multi-functional, nothing more lonesome than a dining room that gets used once a month or less so why not add bookcases for library research and why not use two tables? The Freys also used a modern Ingo Maurer chandelier as a guestbook, asking friends to add notes and sketches to this conversational lighting. The toile fabric-covered walls are padded with swan's down to improve acoustics.

Door detailing can make a room. 

Aubergine and bottle green furnishings adds richness and depth to this neutral background. Downright perfect wouldn't you say? Notice the purple stripe detailing at the bottom of those gorgeous silk drapes scroll back up to the top photo.

French home office...............with suede walls and an exquisite inlaid desk. 
A girl can dream..........right?

Go here to see more of the Canadian House & Homes International Gallery.

Photos by Eugenia Kazarnovskaya via House & Home

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Non Disturbare..........from everywhere

Yesterday when I picked a new theme for my purely indulgent Tumblr blog which I notice is mostly girly girl gowns I ran across this great travel idea and a most wonderful story to share in case you didn't see this. The grandfather of Michael Lebowitz, the founder and CEO of Big Spaceship, a very successful digital and marketing communications company in Brooklyn, collected hotel door hangers whenever he traveled abroad. When he passed away, Lebowitz brought his grandfather's travel keepsakes memorably together which you can see on his Tumblr here. It is fascinating to see how the hanger designs so perfectly capture the place and if you are thinking what I am thinking............hotels can expect a run on Do Not Disturb in any language as travel keepsakes. Wouldn't they be fabulous as a framed collection? Off to Rome to find the red tasseled one. 

link found on Tumblr here


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