Le Diner En Blanc Toronto 2014

Good Morning!

Today I’m exited to share with you an amazing event I attended about 3 weeks ago called Le Diner En Blanc®.  The concept is a chic all-white picnic held in a public space in the city. A congregation of people, food and fashion creating a magical atmosphere which is neutral in both decor (all-white) and space (public place).

Le Diner en Blanc Toronto

Participants only find out the location of the event about 2 hours before it starts. You have to wear all white, bring your own food, white dishware and table linens, and depending on the location, your own table and white chairs.  Given that this event is held in a public space, there are many “rules” of the evening which allow for it to come together quickly and efficiently. Here they are (from the Diner En Blanc Toronto website):

  • In order to participate, one must be invited by a participant from the previous year or get on the official website’s waiting list.
  • Once confirmed, the presence of each guest thus becomes mandatory, regardless of weather conditions, as the event is held regardless of weather conditions.
  • Seats are allotted on-site in a very specific manner.
  • Table seating is symmetrical with men seated on one side and women on the other.
  • Participants arrive and depart at the same time by chartered bus or organized public transportation.
  • Depart with one’s belongings, leftovers and trash, leaving the place as clean as it was upon arrival.

Sounds like a lot of work, I know, but let me tell you that a little bit of work from everyone results in something which is truly a visual masterpiece, as you will see.

But first a little history. This event originated 25 years ago in (no big surprise) Paris, France, when François Pasquier assembled just a few of his friends for an all-white picnic. It has grown rapidly over the years and today Paris’ Dîner en Blanc draws nearly 15,000 people.  It doesn’t hurt that Le Diner En Blanc® in Paris has been held in some of the most magical places like Versailles and under the Eiffel Tower.  The event has since expanded to dozens of other cities worldwide.  You can learn more about the event at Le Diner En Blanc® website.

The setting for Le Diner En Blanc Toronto this year was Echo Beach at Ontario Place, which was a fabulous location because it has such a stunning view of the City.

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Now, I was lucky enough to get media tickets from a blog who wasn’t able to attend (thank you Girls on Bloor!) which meant that I didn’t have to bring all my own food and wine. As mentioned above, all attendees arrive and depart together, but because media could  arrive a little earlier than the crowd I was able to take this awesome photo of the city with just a few of the organizers/volunteers dressed in white in the foreground.

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Being there early also meant I got to take some great photos of the 1500 people arriving and setting up. Yes I said 1500.  And considering the numbers it took very little time to get everyone in place!!

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Adding to the beauty of the setting were ballerinas dancing near the entrance for the attendees to enjoy on their way in.

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The dinner is officially started with the waving of white napkins. And then people get down to eating, drinking and generally having a good time. There was a band that kept everyone entertained white they ate by candlelight, and a dance floor for post-Diner fun.

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I will apologize now for the quality of my pictures after this point.  I only had my iPhone with me for the event (still deciding which camera to invest in since I lost my mine) so the night-time pictures are less than stellar. But even had I had an amazing camera with me, I think it would be hard to really comprehend the beauty of this event just looking at pictures, without experiencing it in person.

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At the end of the evening everyone was given a large sparkler and the sea of white around me slowly turned into a sea of white and fire.  Another ridiculously cool sight to behold.

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And as you can imagine, the fashion is to die for.  So many gorgeous ensembles.  And there were prizes for best dressed, so people had a vested interest in looking fabulous. When the woman in the picture below walked in I said to myself, she is soo the winner for best-dressed.

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But as it turned out, she was actually the JUDGE for best dressed contest so she wasn’t eligible.  But she most certainly looked the part. I loved the fur, fascinator and her dress was absolutely gorgeous.

The woman below MADE her fabulous mask she is wearing….the detail is just amazing.

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But ultimately best dressed went to this woman, with her classic sophisticated look and beautiful fascinator.  You can see both the male and female best-dressed and other Diner en Blanc style on the Got-Style blog. 

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This is the only picture I have showing what I wore, taken unbeknownst to me by my friend Monisa who was my +1 for the festivities.  And given the weird things I do with my face when I know I’m being photographed, it’s probably better I didn’t know.

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It was really amazing to part of this event and was for sure one of the many highlights for 2014.  You can see more reviews and photos of the event at Best of Toronto, Toronto Life and Got Style blogs.  I’m definitely getting myself on the waiting list for the next one…..I’ve already started planning about my outfit!

XO,

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Fall Home Show 2014 – Tickets Giveaway!

 Good Morning!

In case you didn’t catch it, yesterday on the blog I revealed my Fall Home Show Upcycle Challenge project (Vote for me here!).  But today, I wanted to give you the low-down on some of the other great things in store at this year’s Toronto Fall Home Show which runs September 17th to the 21st, 2014 at the Better Living Center.

First up, if you follow design shows, you will know one of the show’s headliner’s VERY well.  It’s TOMMY! Yes, I’m talking about HGTV star, Sarah Richardson’s right hand man, designer extraordinaire and the most insane #hashtager ever (follow him on instagram and you’ll see), Mr. Tommy Smythe!  He will be presenting on the main stage on Saturday, September 19th.

And as a blogger, I certainly know the name Marion Parsons as I have read her DIY/Decor blog Miss Mustard Seed a lot over the years.  Along with her blog, Marion has created her own brand of Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint which has been very successful.  She is also a freelance writer, stylist and photographer, an antiques dealer, and the author of the book Inspired You.  She is going to be appearing daily on the main stage talking about the Flipping Furniture!

There are many other presentations from design celebrities like Emmanuel Belliveau and Leigh-Anne Allaire-Perrault, not to mention cheesy goodness presentations from Keven Durkee from Cheesewerks! (you can see the full stage schedule here).  And these presentations are over and above the more than 100 exhibitor booths you can peruse for all your home reno and decor needs.

Also be sure to visit the Habitat for Humanity Restore booth and bid to take home one of the fabulous Upcycle Challenge pieces, with all proceeds going to Habitat!  (And while you are clicked over on that page if you could throw a vote my way for the competition I would be most appreciative!).

And the BEST news is I have 8 pairs of tickets to give away for the Fall Home Show!!!  (1 pair per winner)

TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

1. Leave a comment below telling me how much you would like to attend the show!

For additional entries:

1. “Like” Recreated on Facebook

2. Follow me Instagram

3. Copy and tweet this:   Want to win 1 of 8 pairs of tix to the Toronto Fall Home Show?  will hook you up right here! 

Please provide a separate comment for each entry.  Contest ends Sunday, September 14th, 2104 at 11:59 pm. Winners will be selected randomly using Random.org and will be announced on Monday, September 15th, 2014.   Good Luck!

XO,

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Discovery: Stan Olthuis via The Rooster Coffee House

Good Morning!

One of the many things I love about my local coffee shop, the Rooster Coffee House on Broadview Avenue, is that they also serve as a bit of an art gallery.  They support artists by featuring their work on the walls (with prices in case any of their customers are so inclined), and rotate artists regularly. Not only does having their ever-changing wallscape make for great decor, but I get to be exposed to new artists just by getting a coffee. Although I usually only get to the Rooster about once a week (sadly it’s not on my way to work), I get pretty excited when I see that the art has been changed up again.  The artist I’m going to share with you today I discovered on my most recent visit to the Rooster: Canadian artist Stan Olthuis.   After my discovery, I checked out his website.  Truly lovely works.  But I’m most drawn to his “Gowns” collection, some of which are on display at the Rooster.  Here are a few of my favourites:

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Pretty great, right?  The concept is simple but the pieces are anything but that.  I love all the layers, and the shapes the dresses take in these.  I’m officially a fan.  You can see more from the collection and other on his website.  Now I just need to save my pennies so I can own one of his pieces someday.  Hope you’ve enjoyed this discovery as much as I have!

XO,

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Black Rooster Decor: Bricks and Mortar Baby

Good Morning,

Some of you may already know the amazing online store Black Rooster Decor.  They carry the most amazing collection of furniture and home decor stuff.  If I was going to try to describe the merchandise they carry I would say modern, pretty and eclectic.  Now, often when people use the word eclectic it’s just a nice a way of saying that you have a bunch of random nice stuff that doesn’t go together, but that is 100% NOT how I mean it here.  The items are so unique yet perfectly assembled that you can’t imagine that they don’t all belong in one space.  The woman behind this store is the fabulous Nina Ber-Donkor, and boy does she have a talent for curating beautiful home decor items.  Truly gifted.  Here are just  few things from the online store….

 

Marble Base Adjustable Desk Lamp

Tasmanian Berber Rug

Tiffany Nesting Trays

High Back Geo Dining Chair

 So, wanna hear some great news??? Black Rooster now has a full-blown bricks and mortar STORE!  Wanna hear the even better news?  IT’S IN MY NEIGHBOURHOOD!  (1025 Queen Street East (in Toronto) near Pape Avenue).  Ok, so maybe that part is really only great for me, but this is still amazing news. I was lucky enough to attend the grand-opening party last week.  And here is a little taste of the awesomeness you can expect:

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I don’t have the details on all the items that are in these pictures (most, if not all, of them can be found in the online store), but there are a few highlights I would like to point out:

1) I NEED one of those Victorian wine stoppers. STAT.

2) All the art you see in these pictures is by my friend, the ever so talented Christine Dovey.  When she is selling like Jackson Pollock, I will be able to say “I knew her”.

3) Wishbone in a bell jar, yes please.

4) Those Moroccan style hanging pendant lights are incredible.

The point is it looks amazing.  And to top it all off the party was a blast.  Great food from County General and lots ‘o bubbly, plus amazing company.  Christine, Hollie (of the Pink Zipper)  and I closed down the place with the lovely Der-Bonker fam (from left, Nina’s lovely hubs Prince, her sweetheart of a son Elijah, Nina, her mom and her brother).

family

And when I say lots of bubbly, I mean LOTS…..like the dance party, howl with laughter, create crazy hashtags kind of lots.  Oh did I mention taking ridiculous pictures…..a like picture of me with my new C-Doves painting….

me with art

One of the artist, with the SAME painting….

artist and work

Your truly, Vanna White-ing the crap out of this fab (and really comfortable) leather lounger….

me with lounger

And the amazingly sweet Mr. Bijou and Boheme (aka Christine’s husband/Ian) showing just how comfy the leather lounger is.  Note the pink socks.  Love this guy.

mr bijou and boheme

So I think you get the gist of the kind of night we had.  I am so happy for Nina and family on their new adventure.  Now go VISIT this store definitely will not regret it!  Welcome to the east end Black Rooster!

XO,

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Art Interiors – Festival of Smalls

Good Morning!

This morning I’m excited to share with you my visit to Art Interiors last Friday for a media sneak peek of their Festival of Smalls which opened last Saturday. I have been to Art Interiors before and have always had a great experience but what I didn’t know until my most recent visit was the story and vision behind the store.  Owners Lisa Diamond and Shira Wood went to school together and upon graduating realized there was a gap in the art community in Toronto.  There were high end galleries with expensive and exclusive art, and there were print/poster stores and nothing in between.  There wasn’t avenue for people who had some disposable income and wanted to start buying original art, but who might be intimidated by price point and atmosphere of a high end gallery. So, out of their parents basement they started their business.  It look off and now 20 years later, they are still going.  They represent primarily Canadian artists, although they do represent some international artists, and in an effort to keep beautiful art accessible to more people they have a policy that nothing is more than $5000. Fabulous concept.

And on the topic of accessible art, comes their annual Festival of Smalls, which also marks it’s 20th anniversary this year.  The festival features small sized art at a price point between $55 and $250. The festival gives people on a very limited budget access to beautiful original art. And let me tell you there is SO much to choose from.  The walls were beautifully curated, but what I found incredible is the sheer volume of gorgeous smalls they have. For example, this is what is you see lining the floors…..

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And the festival has become so popular they are constantly replacing items that have sold from the walls with the stacks on the floor. But now I want to give a quick summary of some of my faves of the Festival of Smalls:

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  1. Richard Herman – Don’t these look like photographs?  Ah, no, these are paintings if you can believe it. The detail and colours make them so life-like, you really have to see them in person.
  2. Gabriella Collier –  I am always drawn to colour so I immediately gravitated to these colourful landscapes.  They are both bold and subdued at the same time.
  3. Sheri Kaskrow – At the time of my visit this painting had not yet been set up in the space and was on the floor near under a thingy that holds the unframed art (yes this is the technical term for it), and I’m so glad a spotted it.  I just love it.  The colours, the style….everything.
  4. Lori Doody –  How fun are these pieces with the Fisher Price style toys?  Perfect for a kids room!
  5. Jack Joel – An architect by trade, this artist does beautiful pencil drawings.  It’s hard to tell from the photo but the detail is phenomenal up close.  If you are in the store, ask how they came to represent this artist, it’s a great story!
  6. Christine Breakell-Lee – Another set of smalls that drew me in based on colour.  These are slightly more modern than the art I would normally be attracted to, but the colours really got my attention.
  7. Charlene Serden – Being from the east coast I always appreciate photography of ocean harbours, but these are more than typical. The use of the fog, especially when lines up together, makes these photographs gorgeous and unique.
  8. Amy Friend –  This lovely pieces is actually a framed artist’s palette! These were made specifically for the Festival of smalls by the artist, whose other work I also really liked.
  9. Maureen O’Connor – This may have been my favourite piece of the show, although that is a tough competition. This is an old vintage photograph on silver gelatin (not sure that is the right term) from probably the 1940’s or 50’s. It is a picture taken of a photo shoot of a topless model from behind.  I like that there seems to be a story behind it and, as some of you know, I’m a fan of art that shows the human form.
  10. Jet Melencio – these unique paper art sculpture birds are awesome, and would be a real conversation piece in your home.

Buying smalls is a great way to start a collection and is a great gift idea for someone on your list this holiday season. The Festival of Smalls runs until December 24th.  Most of the small are available online, but I would strongly recommend going in person if you can. It’s a great way spend a couple of hours.

And if you are looking for larger original art they are still in store during the festival.  On a previous visit I purchased these pieces by Mel Delija.  (Sorry for the poor picture quality).

 

 

I framed them myself (poorly) but one day I’ll have them framed professionally, but until then I get to enjoy these pieces and I didn’t need to break the bank to do it. I almost bought more of his work when I was there this time!  That is the thing about this place – you are instantly comfortable when you go in.  The staff are helpful, highly knowledgeable but not pushy.  And you just get the feeling that they truly just want you to find art that makes you happy.  Now if that isn’t a business model for success, I don’t know what is.

XO,

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*This is not a sponsored post

Touring the new Toronto West Elm with a Rock Star

Good Morning!

I apologize for the lack of posts lately, my parents have been in town for a visit, so I gave myself a few days off.   Today I’m back with a little summary of my visit to West Elm last week.  I was there to check out their newly renovated Toronto store, and the tour guide was none other than West Elm’s creative director Vanessa Holden.  Now, before I get into the store and merchandise, can we talk for a quick minute about the killer resume that Vanessa has?  Former editor in chief and creative director at Martha Stewart Living AND Martha Stewart Weddings, creative director at Real Simple and co-founder of Donna Hay magazine.  Saying she has talent is like saying Adam Levine is just “decent” looking.  She is obviously an incredible force in the design industry. So it was pretty awesome to get a chance to meet her.

But back to the pretty new store.  They have expanded the space further back which has opened it up a lot and provided much more natural light. Also, they have added a coffee bar.  And people, the coffee is gooooood.  They have added an area to sit to discuss design and ideas while you sip on your coffee (and maybe snack on a treat or two).  They have really created a space that you can shop in but also relax and mull over design or gift ideas.  Of course, in typical fashion I got all excited about the Christmas stuff that I didn’t take one picture of the coffee bar itself (silly me) but I did catch a teesy bit of it in this shot of Vanessa.

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(SIDEBAR:  Vanessa, if you are reading this (and I’m sure you are not), I’m sorry to have included this less than perfect photo of you with your eyes half shut looking as though you had just spent some quality time with our mayor prior to our tour…but it was the only one I had which showed  the coffee bar.)

Vanessa took us through the three holiday decor themes that West Elm is featuring this season..  The first is a traditional, woodland inspired, rustic Christmas. Lots of wood, felt decorations and woodland animals.

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Next was the less traditional but whimsical enchanted forest; full of jewel tones, bright exotic birds, and shiny agate tree decorations.

Jewel Tone xmas West Elm

The third, and most popular, is the contemporary white, silver and gold with lots of sparkle and shimmer.

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Then we went to the Market, which if you are familiar with their Market line you know it’s FULL of great gift ideas.  Love the food section.  Lots of fun sauces, jams, jellies and oils.  Yum.  Although, I think someone needs to explain to me what “Whore Style”  Puttanesca sauce is (see below).  And I also hope no one gets this for me for Christmas.

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The store was filled with lots of small affordable items, perfect for secret Santa exchanges, like this cute jacks set or WE’s fabulous tote bags with sayings like “Totes ma goats”,  “Oh, KALE yeah” and many more.

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West Elm has also started designing their own small kitchen appliances.  This sleek stainless steel and smooth wood toaster caught my eye.

toaster west elm line

And I so love a product designed with both beauty and function combined.  This Universal Expert Chopping Station designed for West Elm by Sebastian Conran is one of those items. Chopping board with slide out tray to removed scraps.  GENIUS.

cuttting board

And I couldn’t leave without snapping a shot of this pretty gold tablescape.  (Apparently I also couldn’t leave without having some of it for myself, so I took 4 of those gold-rimmed plates back home with me to Casa Linds.)

place setting west elm

All this to say you should really should stop by the store soon.  And plan to stay awhile.  I certainly will be.

XO,

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*this is not a sponsored post. Other than a great opportunity to meet an incredible leader and a small gift bag I did not received anything for this post.  I really love what West Elm has done with it’s space and wanted to share it with you. 

Sunday Wanderings: Leslieville

Good Morning!

On Sunday afternoon I spent the afternoon wandering around Queen Street East in Leslieville.  I started at the Leslieville Flea Market, which I only just recently heard about.  It is still small but there were some great things to pursue.  There was lot more vintage clothing and accessories than I expected, but definitely some good decor/furnishings booths as well.  Here is a little snapshot of the market:

Leslieville Flea copy If I had any extra space in my apartment, I would have bought the buggy seat and re-purposed into a pretty bench. But despite it’s ability to fold up, I don’t have a place for it.  But what a cool piece!  Instead, I came come with these….

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Pretty pink mugs.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA And this mini insulator which will become part of my Mom’s little collection of insulators at the cottage.

I then wandered down to the Leslieville Arts Market.  There I discovered Amanda Wood jewelry. This pretty necklace with the art deco style pendant was what caught my eye.

amanda Wood And in the basement below the Arts Market is the antique store Pied a Terre,   Some goodies I found there were these crystal door knobs and pretty Duncan Phyfe style side tables.

Antique Store copy And I also spotted these bookends which might work for #projectOakPointPorch.

projectporch I know my Dad would like them….my Mom might take some convincing.

All in all I had a great afternoon wandering my nearby ‘hood.

Have you been to any flea markets lately that you enjoyed?

XO,

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