Monday, August 6, 2012

Food: Summering in Sweden with Swedish Summer Cake

For the past few years, my wanderlust has been firmly fixated on Summer time in Sweden.  I'm not sure if this is because I imagine they have the same long summer nights that we do, being close to the Arctic Circle, or if I just want to get my fish-crazy chow on in a lovely country known more for their social advancement and flat pack furniture than their history, but I have a serious jones on for some Sweden in the summer.

Summer cabin north of Stockholm, Sweden.
Summer cabin outside of Stockholm via

That being said, I also am firmly planted in the camp of not wanting to travel internationally with 2 small kids.  Canada is a big enough country, and just heading West to see my own family is an effort of Herculian patience and fortitude, so, yes flying internationally is not my current cup of tea.  Which means, I can just dream instead.
available at amazon

I've been stoking my Swede-love by reading Marcus Samuelsson's 'Yes, Chef', which I find hard to put down, (I love a good memoir, and I love reading about food as well, so...BAM!)

Also, to make use of the one million delicious fruits and berries produced in Ontario and Quebec this time of year (since these are the ones we get up here), I've been making my version of Nigella Lawson's Swedish Summer Cake from her Kitchen cookbook. 

 My love of cookbooks knows no bounds, and I remember reading the recipe sometime in the deep dark winter, and feeling intrigued, with the hopes of exploring it during a warmer season.  The other day we were having an amazing mid-summer, mid-week feast consisting entirely of barbecued peel and eat shrimp and corn on the cob, when I decided we were looking at the perfect time to test out the Swedish Summer Cake.  I couldn't remember if it was a Sophie Dahl recipe or a Nigella recipe, but once located, I decided to make a few changes.  The differences being, mine's easier:  Where Nigella splits her cake into 3 tiers, I stick to 2.  And while Nigella prefers a gooey, eggy custard for her middle layers, I stick to the ultimate in simplicity, Nature's icing, whipped cream and Nature's sprinkles, fruit.

Here's my adaptation, converted from grams, so excuse the wonkiness of that!

Swedish Summer Cake
 (adapted from Nigella Lawson's Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home)

                                                            356 F for 35 minutes
3 eggs
1 heaping cup of white sugar (like, pyramiding at the top heaping)
90 ml recently boiled water
1.5 tsp of baking powder
0.8 cup of all purpose flour

half a small carton of whipping cream (35%)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp honey

1 9-inch springform pan with removable bottom
parchment paper
strawberries, peaches, blueberries, raspberries, etc. (the fruit and quantity of your choice, really)

Preheat the oven to 356 F.  This is me being finnicky, but when I converted 180 celsius to fahrenheit via google, 356 F is what I came out with.  I bet 350 F would work just as well, but you might need another minute.

Prep the springform pan by cutting the parchment paper round to fit the bottom, and then spray or grease the sides of the pan.

I used my Kitchenaid mixer to whip this cake up, starting with the 3 eggs and sugar.  It is important to whip it fast and long, as you want the egg/sugar combo to double in size and become pale and velvety.  Once it gets there, turn the mixer down a notch while you pour in the 90 ml of water.  

In another bowl, mix up your baking powder and flour.  When they're mixed, start adding them to the still whisking mixer, stopping only to scrape down the sides to ensure everything is well combined.  

Pour the batter into your springform pan.  Into the oven it goes, and keep the oven light on so you can check on your progress.  It should take about 35 minutes, but you should really be basing the doneness on how golden brown the top is, and if you get a clean cake tester out of it.  

While it's baking, clean  up your Kitchenaid bowl and whisker, then completely dry it off.  Pour the whipping cream into the bowl once it and the whisker are securely attached to your machine again, and start whipping.  I like to put my vanilla in early, but I like to leave the honey until the cream starts to form soft peaks.  Keep whipping until the whipping cream forms stiff peaks, then stop.

Once the cake is baked, take it out to cool for 10-15 minutes before very carefully running a butter knife around the edge of the cake.  Then spring open your springform.  I like to pull the cake out and pull the parchment off the bottom before letting it cool a little more on a cake plate.  

Right before serving, use a serrated bread knife to slice horizontally through the middle of the cake.  Very carefully lift the top layer of the cake off and set it aside on a dinner plate.  I use my cake server and the serrated bread knife to lift the top layer, to ensure it doesn't break, but if it does break, you can just place it back on top afterwards and hide everything with whipping cream and berries.  

Plop a large dollop of whipping cream on the bottom half of the cake that you cut. Smooth it out and add some fruit, as much as you want, and then replace the top half of the cake.  Plop another large dollop of whipping cream and spread it out so it covers the entire top of your cake.  Add the rest of your fruit, slicing the larger fruit (peaches and strawberries) and leaving the smaller berries au naturel.

Slice it up, serve to your friends and loved ones and enjoy.  A slice of this tastes great with tea for breakfast the next day, while reading Yes, Chef, and I'm sure might also be good while perusing the latest Ikea Catalor right after you down your requisite bowl of chia seeds and hemp hearts.

                                                                 Serves 8-10

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Teething Delirium

Daffers via my BB

The above photo is a wonderful depiction of how terrifically tired I feel, as expressed by my infant daughter.  D is sprouting a few more teeth, and her pain happened to worsen at around 5 AM.  5 AM also happens to be my can`t-get-back-to-sleep-if-wakened time.  So, I am tired to the nth degree, Daff is napping, and H is spending an awful lot of time watching Dora today.  Although we did have a crafting picnic on the rug where we collaged and made flag banners with origami paper.  That was fun.  Also, it is pouring rain, so all of our bike riding and or strolling plans were literally dampened.  Officially, an unawesome Tuesday.  

PS I know what you`re thinking: Is Daff crawling around at some ancient Greek ruin.  Nope, those are just the ridiculously ornate support beams holding up the indoor pergola in our rental. And yes, that wall colour is essentially Mexican Tan, the bane of my existence.  Can`t wait to live in a house that we OWN!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

An Ode to Found Toys

We've been exploring, and lately, we've been finding quite a few homeless toys.  Lately I've been letting H pick them up to be scrubbed down at home, for a few reasons:

1) Found toys are free toys

2)Found toys left on the ground are essentially litter, and litter bugs we ain't!

3)Found toys left on the ground end up having rough, scary nights, where they are 

unprotected from wild dogs and ravaging rains.

4)Found toys are easily gotten over once they're sucked back into the vortex of lost toys.

thanks instagram!
Here's our latest find.  See that smile?  He is watching the rain and the wind whip outdoors following his warm and soapy bath.  I think he's counting his lucky stars that we found him before he was left out to the elements and the mosquitoes.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Top 5 Grown Up Songs I Sing to my Kids*

Who doesn't love a list?  No-body!

The other day as I was prepping Daffy for her bath, I noticed the song I was singing her might have been a little...ummm, inappropriate?

You see, I was waxing lyrical to that great classic Nelly song (remember him?  Baseball and Philly?) Hot in Here**.  Because, you know what, it WAS getting hot in the bathroom, and Daff WAS getting all of her clothes off.  So I kept singing it. 

But it got me thinking, what kind of songs am I singing to my kids?!  And should I put the kaibosh on it, or just change up the lyrics?  I thought about it for, oh, about 10 minutes, and came up with this list:

1. Nelly-Hot in Here

2.Bill Withers-Lovely Day

How can you not sing this song to your kids everyday?!?  When I look at you/then the world's alright with me/just one look from you/ and I know its going to be/ a lovely day!  It is the soundtrack in my head when I wake up every morning. I find the bass at the start is kind of perfect tossing-off-the-sheets music. Plus, its just an awesome song.  Try and argue against that fact.

3. The Beatles-All My Lovin'

Ok, this one is kind of a reach, because the song is fairly tame.  But I do sing it all the time, and I'm pretty sure this isn't a Beatles song that was specifically geared towards children (although the verdict is still out on Octopus' Garden, Yellow Submarine and countless others).  I also love the version of this in the movie "Across the Universe".  Le sigh.

4. Elton John-Bennie & The Jets/Rocketman/Your Song/ Daniel

I pretty much sing the Elton John songbook whenever I get a chance.  For instance, this morning when I thought I had tuned the radio to CBC, I had actually only made it to the Eazzzzy Listening station, and they were playing Daniel, so I sang along to Daff as she ate her breaky.  Bennie & The Jets is my go-to, tried and true Karaoke classic, and Your Song is just the sweetest.  Rocketman is fun too.  Dear Elton, thanks for the hits, love, us.

5. Young, Wild and Free-Wiz Khalifa and Snoop D. O double G.

This one is probably the most kid-inappropriate, am I right?  I used to crank this while going to my 6:30 AM yoga class, to try and wake myself up, otherwise, you know, it's zombie yoga.  Clearly, this is a song about a specific lifestyle.  Considering that, I changed the lyrics to suit my lifestyle:  "So what we work out?  So what we drink tea?  We're just having fun, and we don't care who sees!  Living as a young mom-my!".  I like to imagine that if Snoop dizzle ever heard my lyrics, he would officially retire this song, and never sing it again.  A big Wah-wahnnnnn!

So, in conclusion, I guess I'll keep it up with whatever song I feel the need to sing, and can exercise my brain by trying to re-write the lyrics to make them a little more, erm...kid friendly?  

*I also sing "Hazel" by Bob Dylan because that is the song that we named Hazel after.  And, funnily enough, I change those lyrics too, from "dirty blond hair" to "pretty brown hair".

**(as a side note, way back in the day when my bestie and I both worked at a bakery that became unbearably warm as the day went on, we would sing a poorly translated version of the song in French, which went a little like this: "Sa devient chaud ici, enlever tous tes devient si chaud, j'enleve tous mes vetements!"  This is essentially what 13 years of French Immersion education will get you).

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Rainy Days and Museums = Made for Each Other

(all photos from my instagram)

While today is dry so far, yesterday there was so much rain in Toronto that the subway flooded.

I for one enjoy the odd rainy day, as it gives us all a chance to chill out, relax, and do something inside.  Like going to the museum.  

We headed to the Royal Ontario Museum the other day and checked out the sites.  I was really impressed with how engaged our 3.5 year old was.  She didn't get bored once.  She did however want to get the heck out of the bat cave as soon as possible. 

Personally, I was really into all the jewelry from ancient Rome.  And can we talk about that gift shop?  I had to  put my blinders on just to get out of there with my wallet intact.

(can you imagine having this dressing mirror in your house?)

(Reading teepee...complete with fake buffalo skin pillows.  
Shouldn't we all have a reading teepee?)

When I was a kid we had a framed German poster in our house about museums being fun.  I thought it said museums can be space machines (since I don't understand any German).   Those Germans are right.  Museums are fun.  Especially when you get to experience them with kids.

Our museum adventure was followed by a delicious lunch at C5, the restaurant in the newly added section of the museum.  What a space, and a fantastic, laid back menu.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Importance of Napping

Set of Three SCRABBLE LETTER decorative pillow cushion covers -- NAP Ready to ship
(photo of NAP pillow covers: counterculturedesign etsy shop)

Napping.  What an incredibly subjective topic.  Yet so important!  I personally can't stand napping.  I'm one of those people who gets really groggy and actually feels worse following a nap than they did before.  If I'm going to snooze for any length of time, give me at least 6 hours!  On the flip side, my own father can actually lay on a couch (a couch!?!), fall asleep for 10 minutes (10 minutes?!!  WTF?!?!) and then wake up feeling like he just bathed in a cool spring full of daisies and lilacs (he's actually never described it as such, but I've seen the pep in his step following his mini siestas, which has led me to believe that my description is accurate.)

My husband, as well, is a fan of the nap.  He is actually having a 5 o'clock vacation nap as I type.  He gets it from his mother who could nap on a deck chair through a hurricane.  Ok, slight exaggeration...she could nap through a tropical storm.  

But really, to me, naps are most important for children and babies.  My eldest was always a great napper, but she is getting to the age where she wants to phase out the naps.  The problem is, she needs to nap.  When rested, she is the world's MOST PLEASANT child.  When she is in need of rest, her stubborn, sullen side comes out.  On our recent trip to the Florida Keys, we didn't keep up with naps, and there were plenty of tears and tantrums by bed time.  Today, I made sure to get back into the napping schedule.  For her sanity, and for my sanity.  For our mutual sanity.

As for the baby, she's napping about 2-3 times a day.  She'll wake up around 8 AM, then nap about 11 AM, for roughly an hour.  She'll then take a mid afternoon nap around 3:00  PM, about the same time that her sister goes down.  Another short nap around 5:30 or 6 PM will keep her in good spirits through bath and bedtime at 8:00 PM.  

Definitely my favourite nap of the day is the afternoon nap, when there's some overlapping quiet time.

When it comes to myself, not only do I feel groggy following a nap, I also feel guilty.  There's something grotesquely decadent about daytime napping to me.  But really, many studies show it is incredibly important for our health and for combating stress.  Maybe I can train myself to nap.  Or maybe I'll nap when I'm older.  

Ah, naps.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Hipster Dessert: Macarons!

Today, the sweet, delicious cupcake has met it's match.  I had my  first macaron today.  Blackberry Chocolate.  So good.  It wasn't planned.  We picked some macarons up for dessert at the Rosedale location of Nadege Patisserie.

Hazey loved her chocolate macaron, and her dad loved her salted caramel.  Apparently the chai and pistachio macarons were delicious as well.  I wish we bought more, but at the same time, I'm glad I was limited to only one.

I found out after the fact that BlogTO has declared Nadege's to be the best in Toronto.  So it's official.  We've had the best macarons available here.  Paris, here we come.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Playground Love

There seem to be two times in your life when you really, truly appreciate a good playground.  Once as a kid, and then once again as a parent of small kids.  Maybe again as a grandparent? I suppose it depends how hands on you are.

Why do I love playgrounds so much?  Time for a list!

1.) They're equal opportunists!  Anyone can use a playground, you don't have to pay to get in, you can be rich OR poor.  Playgrounds love us all equally.

2.) Playgrounds are outdoors (you know, normally).  The outdoors is full of fresh air and sunshine.  Two things that are wonderful for kids, fresh air and Vitamin D.  And at the playground, they're free.

(Phoenix "Playground Love" cover)

3.) Playgrounds of today are amazing.  I found a playground in Davisville in Toronto that has many items to entertain and educate children of ALL abilities, which is awesome.  It's also awesome to see kids of all abilities playing together instead of being made aware of their differences.

4.)  Playgrounds allow for independence, for both parents and kids.  Parents can lay around and listen to podcasts about knitting while their kids happily shovel sand with other little kids (That might juuuust be me).

I could go on and on and on, ad nauseum, but instead I'll share a romantic looking photo from our playground foray this aft, thanks to Instagram.

(photos by me, thanks to instagram)

If anyone else wants to join my playground appreciation society, feel free.  I'm sure I'm not alone in my love of the public playground.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

On My Nightstand: (actually on my e-reader)

We head out on vacation tomorrow, so in preparation I have been downloading the latest Sesame Street podcasts for Hazey,  as well as downloading a few books to my e-reader.

Normally I'm into fairly literary reads, and lately I've been stuck in the world of academic articles, but for some reason, vacation seems like an appropriate time for my brain to go on hiatus and read some interesting, funny, easy words on paper.

Also, I have major flying anxiety that I am definitely trying to work through, so I thought positive uplifting reads were the way to go for tomorrow's 3 hour flight and 4.5 hour car ride.  Ugh, just writing that is making me feel queasy.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)

Mindy Kaling is funny.  She's funny like I like people to be funny.  She doesn't do the stereotype thing, and I like that.  I'm looking forward to this one.  I hope to laugh my way through the air.  (Have I mentioned I hate flying?)

The Happiness Project

Happiness is close to positiveness, and I am a glass half full and then some kind of person.  But not in an overbearing way.  So I'm down to learn about the happiness project.  Plus, I'm intrigued by anyone who can stick with something for an entire year.

Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting
Ok.  There is a short window of interest for anyone who will read this book.  You will likely not read this book if your children are 12.  Mine are 3 and 6 months.  If there is anything to be gleaned from this book, I am there to extract it.  Caveat: I also totally read the Tiger Mother book and thought, "yeah, so?  Look how well her daughters turned out?!"  So, I know that people get really up in arms about these books, but I find them interesting and I don't really form much of an opinion one way or another.  So yeah, I'm looking forward to reading this one too.  

All in all, lighthearted reading for a light, relaxed vacation with more flying than I would like, but whatever, I can't really control that, can I?  I'm dealing with my anxiety naturally, trust me.

Any book suggestions out there?  Anyone??  Bueller?!?

Kiddie Styles: Preschool cool

We're in prep mode for vacay here, which means I'll be able to get to do some shopping, in real, old-timey, bricks and mortar stores!  (Living in a remote area means I do most of my shopping online).

And because I'm a thrifty Scot (ie: cheap), I like to shop where the clothes are cute and the prices are low.  

One brand I'm kind of crazy for is Joe Fresh, and here's why:
A) You can pick up a cute dress and some feta cheese all at once (most Joe Fresh is sold at grocery stores in Canada).
2) Their kids clothing is cute, fits well and is 'quality-constructed' (that has GOT to be a marketer's dream term, but alas its true, my kids can't wear out their Joe Clothes.  Same for Old Navy denim.)
D) There is no D, I just needed to finish my Home Alone reference.

Also, they have straight up awesome boys clothes, and even though I don't have boys, I still like to shop there. In pre-shopping mode, I found some cute items on their website that I'm hoping to pick up for Hazey when we're down, to give her that tomboy style.

striped bucket hat & pirates sweater from Joe Fresh Toddler Boys
Red skinnies and gold high tops from Joe Fresh Toddler Girls
(we are into pirates right now!  Or should I say Arrrrrrgh!)

Among my other thrifty shopping haunts are Zara, H&M, and Old Navy.  I'm a little nervous about getting to Miami because I think Target might blow my mind, plus I hear Carter's is pretty great (we don't get a lot of Carter's in Canada).  I'm most at ease when we can get all of our clothes in the same store, except for more pricey mama items like jeans, shoes and cashmere.  I do love to stalk the crewcuts sale site for deals as well).

Monday, May 7, 2012

A New Sunday Tradition

Library of Congress via Flickr

Our Cinco de Mayo party was a blast, with roughly 40 people, including 12 kids.  The pinata was a real hit (required pun) and what made it even more exciting was that Hazel was the one to break it open.
Of course, prepping for the party all night Friday, and then again all day Saturday, and then partying until 11:30 PM (that's late for kids!  And for parents of kids!!), followed by a quick blitz clean up, left our whole house crawling into bed early Sunday morning, only to have to get up again (due to my internal alarm clock) at 7:30 AM.

So, after we finished the last dregs of cleaning, and made up some delicious pancakes, we decided to all go back to bed in the Big Bed, to watch Winnie the Pooh and The (Oscar Winning) Muppets Movie, while the adults read books or napped, and Daphne nursed and slept.   

And, man!  Was it awesome!  We were all still in our PJ's, drinking tea and apple juice, and chomping on raisins in bed.  I'm sure Daphne thinks we'd all lost the plot as we free-formed renditions of 'Man or Muppet' the rest of the afternoon ("I'm a manly, manly muppet!")

The rest of the day was spent reading books (SJ: Game of Thrones book 4, H and I: Charlie & the Chocolate Factory), colouring, painting wood magnets from the pinata, and playing chutes and ladders. We didn't even have to make supper since we had so many leftovers.

I decided that the best thing to from now on would be to get all household duties done on Saturday, so that we could dedicate Sundays to rest days, as a family.

I know this concept is older than the bible, but we've always sort of kept busy and started the weeks prep for Sunday, and now I've seen another way, I can't look back.  

Our family is young, so family traditions are only just beginning, but I'd love to hear a few more ideas from you.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Cinco de Mayo!

The 5th of May must fall on a Saturday, what like, once every 7 years? 

 The last time it fell on a Saturday, I was a Uni student in New Zealand, and probably studying hard trying to get every penny's worth out of my tuition since I was paying exorbitant international student fees.

Now, of course, I'm living the weekend life.  But really, my husband likes to socialize and I like Mexican food, so I can see no better way to enjoy this weekend than with a Cinco de Mayo party for our friends and their kids.

And so begins my scouring of the interwebs for wonderful ideas for the party.  So far, here's what I've found:

diy cinco de mayo pinata from studiodiy

diy geometric cinco de mayo fiesta garland from ohhappyday!

These dulce de leche cupcakes from Joy the Baker

Any of the 36+ recipes provided by Serious Eats

Agave Margarita
Agave Margaritas from Bon Appetit

Tequila (Gummy) worms (my husband's idea & for the grown ups)

So, even though I'm fairly sure it is a holiday enforced by the companies in charge of the Jose Cuervo and Corona brands, I raise a glass to Cinco de Mayo, giving the world an excuse to party every 5th day of May!

Any other awesome ideas?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Momcation: Wanderlust Whistler

किपा:Chakra Asana-Wheel Pose.jpg

It is SO official.  Since I've jumped back into a regular yoga practice, not only have I drunk the Kool-aid, I've been chugging it, pouring it into popsicle molds, and then chowing down on it later.  I am a yoga dweeb.  I get quite a high, and a real sense of accomplishment from little things, like getting my heels to the ground in downward dog, or getting into Dancer's Pose without losing my balance.  But my real jones is to get into wheel, and to push push PUSH.  It's like a time machine, because all of a sudden I'm 6 years old doing back bends in gymnastics, and it is AMAZING. 

So, when I discovered the Wanderlust Festival, I knew I'd have to go.  And although it likely won't be this year, my 1 year plan is to be at Wanderlust Whistler 2013, with my hubby and kids in tow.  And I will totally make friendship bracelets and give them to my mat neighbours in all the classes I take.  And I will not have a feather in my hair, but I will wear lots of sunscreen.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Two Things

On Monday, two things happened. 

First, Hazey decided to spend her nap time smearing a Costco-sized vat of Vaseline all over her hair, her face, her body, her blanket, her pillow, and her wall.  While cleaning I also discovered that she had smeared some over the electrical socket.

Hazey's the kind of 3-year old who I thought could be trusted with a vat of Vaseline beside her bed (she uses it as lippy, which isn't good I know, but doesn't matter, because the damage is done.  She will forever have chapped lips) .  She has never coloured on a wall, cut her own hair, ripped anything up, etc.  Nada, zilch.  When we moved into our new place and set up a play room for her, she asked "can I make a mess?".  So, this Vaseline thing was totally out of character.  Except, I guess I'm learning that as pre-schoolers get older, plenty of things can be out of character...they're only just developing their personalities, and testing the waters.  I mean, when grilled, the girl gave a good defence.  She said she did it because "it felt good".  And the walls, I asked?  "I thought it would feel good for them too."  And the electrical outlet?  "I thought it would feel good."  You know what doesn't feel good?  Getting your hair scrubbed 3 times a day everyday with a myriad of products to try and remove that greasy patina.  She is still greasy.  We have used everything, other than industrial strength grease remover and lemon juice, only because I fear for her scalp, her eyes, the rest of her body. 

Just when I thought I couldn't take anymore, my husband came home with a pizza, and thing number two, which made my day slightly less terrible.  My new Tom's. 

They had arrived in the mail, my lovely, sweet, dear little ballet flats in burlap and black.  So sweet, so dear, and quite a pair when set against Hazey's turquoise corduroy Tom's.  My husband's opinion?  "How practical!". Har har hubby dear, just because we live in the Arctic and wear boots for 10 months of the year does not diminish the practicality of these shoes.  These are my Mr. Rogers' shoes!  The shoes you take with you and wear inside at playgroup or at a friends house!  Come on!

And so with that, my Monday was a little less tedious.  The grease in Hazey's hair seemed a little less greasy.  Hub was going to look after the girls so I could head out to a 90 minute yoga class, which was bliss.  There was a nice bit of weekend in that day.

Tom's other ballet flats are really cute too, plus the whole one-for-one premise makes me feel good.

Monday, February 20, 2012

"I Use Antlers in All of My DECOOOORating..."

That line has only been running through my head for the past 24 hours...ugh!  If it seems familiar and you were ever a 10-year-old girl, you may recognize it from Beauty and the Beast.  I took the kidlets to see it in 3D yesterday (side note: watching a 3-year-old watch a 3D cartoon is HI-larious!  There was the yelling of questions, declarations of who was a bad guy and who was friendly, and lots of half-chewed popcorn spilling out of tiny mouths).

3 things struck me while watching the movie:  1)  Cartoons in 3D aren't really that impressive, just blurry. 2) I knew E.V.E.R.Y. word to E.V.E.R.Y song in that film, which makes me want to reclaim those brain cells for other uses.  And 3) Maybe Gaston was onto something in terms of his aesthetic tastes.  Antlers are kind of hot right now (like that damn Hansel...).

In my house, we seem to veer towards animal hides, and, I kid you not, within ten feet of me at this very moment there are two seal skins, a caribou pelt and what I (very un-lovingly) refer to as a beef skin, but what Ikea will sell to you as a cow hide.  Oh, and two sheepskins. Fact: My husband is very fond of animal pelts.

 ( I live in the Canadian Arctic, hence the abundance of seal and caribou skins)

So, maybe hub would be keen to finish off his huntsman's lodge look with some Antler accesories? 

Here's what I found while browser shopping:
(Antler hook from Urban Outfitters )

(Caribou handle from Anthro)

Hand Embroidered Linen Antler Throw Cushion.  Deary me!
(antler pillow from Magpie Miller)

LIFESTYLE: Brass Antler Bottle Opener
(antler bottle opener from Indigo )

Ha!  I actually stuffed his stocking with that bottle opener this Christmas! I'm clearly embracing the huntsman's lodge look in our house.

Antler Globe Antique Brass
(antler globe from Indigo)

Whah-whah-WHAHHHHH!  That's totally sold out right now...or I would have ordered it for our mantle

(cardboard taxidermy head from Urban Outfitters)

(deer collage wall art from Urban Outfitters)

Now that I'm all antler-ed out, here is a gorgeous home that gives wads of inspiration in the Mountain Lodge/Huntsman Chic category:

(Aerin Lauder's Aspen home via Vogue)
If you follow the link, note the antlers up high on the bookshelf in picture 4.

Are antlers the new birds?  (Did you ever see that episode of Portlandia..."Put a bird on it!")  What's next?  My prediction...beavers.  I say beavers have their day.  They're the new Fox or Owl.  We'll be seeing whole nurseries done up in Beaver themes, Beaver pillows, Beaver furs, little play pens shaped like beaver dams.  It will be glorious! 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Flick Pick: Planet Yoga

Believe it or not, even though I live on the unBELIEVABLY remote Baffin Island, I make it to a movie screening or two.

Last night, Daph and I attended a screening of the documentary "Planet Yoga".  The film maker travelled all over North America and India filming yogis (people who practice yoga) while illustrating how they came to fall in love with yoga.  It was a very sweet, positive and beautiful film, and the best part I think was that everyone practices yoga for different reasons, but they all indirectly linked back to a balance in one's life (at least that's what I got out of it).  There was the man who did hot yoga to train his body, the instructor who helped a gentleman with 'locked-in syndrome' to be more in touch with the body he was no longer able to control, and the woman who shuttled between Nunavut, India and Nova Scotia and spent much of her time leading yoga sessions for young offenders and prison inmates.  There was Dr. Bali, who was leading a group of breast cancer patients through yoga practice in an effort to help them increase their own healing abilities.  This same Dr. Bali was the yoga instructor for the Montreal Canadians in the '70's.

(official planet yoga trailer...that gentleman is known as " the white hindu")

It was all really very good, plus it was a treat to get out of the house, and Daph slept the entire time, except for right at the end, when they were telling the fable of the blind men and the elephant.  We know that one!  She's such a little trooper!  It definitely has me eager to start my 4-week yoga practice that my friend Karen is putting on in town.  I'm going to start limbering up now so I'm nice and stretchy come Monday night!

PSYou want to know the sweetest scene in the entire movie?  There is a woman who teaches yoga in San Fran.  Clearly she's pretty open about people bringing their kids with them to class.  When they were doing their relaxation poses, corpse pose, etc. one mom had her little boy, maybe 6, on her tummy for a cuddle while she relaxed, and he was giving her nice kisses on her cheek.  It was just such a lovely moment, following a lovely yoga practice, laid-back enough that you could bring a 6 year old boy to class and no one would be bothered.  I loved that!

Friday, February 10, 2012

On My Nightstand

I am a total libriophile.  Maybe I made that word up, maybe I didn't.  Regardless, I love libraries.  I should make a tote like that.  A tote to carry my library books. point is, I love libraries, I love my local public library, and I can be found there AT LEAST once a week either to check out new releases (which come out on Tuesday) or to take Hazey to storytime.  We're a cable-free household, so our tv is really only for watching DVD's, which are in abundant supply at our library.  We're currently watching the first season of Treme on loan from our library, and it is every kind of awesome.  I also love to borrow the back copies of Conde Nast Traveler so I can plan fantasy travels while watching Hazey play in her bubble baths.

But the most important part of a library are the books it contains.  I love when Hazey runs to the kid's section and picks out her own books.  I always wonder what she sees in the books she picks.  For myself, I always go to the New Release section first, mainly because hardly anyone ever borrows the new releases!  Crazy, I'm telling you!  You can rest assured that these books have never been flagged!  I also like to check the non-fiction and the cookbooks/food section. 

So, what am I reading right now?  Currently on my nightstand:

Image of MR. FOX
(photo: Penguin Books)

I've read nothing but good things about this book, its been reviewed everywhere, and seems like a great book by a young, female writer.  I'm a few chapters in, and it is hard to put down (sleep deprivation caused by a 3 month old makes it slightly easier to put away, though).

Medium Raw By Anthony Bourdain
(photo: HarperCollins)

What is it about Anthony Bourdain?  This guy is great!  I love to watch his travel show (caveat: I've only ever seen it on airplanes, so maybe its just the recycled air and crappy plane food that make it seem great) and my husband and I both loved his book Kitchen Confidential, so this is one that we'll both be reading.  My husband is a major foodie and loves to cook (although I do all the weekday cheffing at the mo').  I spent too many years waitressing to ever get really excited about eating in restaurants, so I love his sordid tales of kitchen life.  I'm like, "preaching to the choir, Tony!".  I'm especially looking forward to what he has to say about the Top Chef phenomenon, or the local/100 mile movement.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Flick Pick: V-Day Edition (the dark side)

While Valentine's Day has turned into a bit of a commercial sap-fest (but only if you let it!), the origin of this very heart-y day is actually fairly macabre

In honour of the less than pleasant, slightly dark side of Valentine's Day, I've compiled a list of some of my favourite movies with a romantic twist.  The yin to loves yang is pain or loss, so these movies all deal with a little bit of that.  No rom-com's here!

The Talented Mr. Ripley
(photo: wikipedia )

I think it is fair to say that I LOVE this movie.  Let me count the ways.  One.  Matt Damon in all his youthful glory.  Two. Jude Law in all his yothful glory. Three.  Everything's always better with a little Phil Sey Hoff.  Four.  I'm a Gwyneth apologist.  Five.  Cate Blanchett.  Six.  The viewer gets stressed out with Tom as he tries to keep up with his lies and false identities.  Seven.  It does not end happily ever after.  Eight.  Keeping with the theme, Matt Damon singing My Funny Valentine.  Whatta film!

Romeo and Juliet (Baz Luhrmann's version)
Romeo + Juliet Poster
(photo: IMDb )

Oh, this movie.  I actually only like to watch the first half of this film, because I really just love the happy lovey-dovey part.  But it falls within the context of this list.  This movie is sad.  But overall it is awesome, and it reminds me of being young, and dreamy.  And it had the best soundtrack.  I still get shivers when I hear Radiohead's "Exit Music (for a film).  And any cover of a Prince song is like a big slab of chocolate cake to me.  Also, any cover that Prince does, also like chocolate cake.  (Prince's cover of Joni Mitchell's "Case of You" is what they will play as I head through those pearly gates of Heaven).  But, Baz Luhrmann is my main man, I TOTALLY forgive him for Australia, which is why pick number 3 is...

Moulin Rouge! 

Moulin Rouge!
                                                                                               (photo: IMDb)
Alas!  Even true love cannot survive communicable diseases!  Plus Ewen McG singing "Your Song" is lovely.  And I love Kylie Minogue as the Green Fairy.  Baz is a proud Aussie who likes to support his fellow countrypersons. 

Heavenly Creatures

Heavenly Creatures Poster
                                                                                             (photo: IMDb )
Heavenly Creatures is a haunting film, made even more shivery by the fact that it's based on a true story.  I love that it stars a young Kate Winslet, that it is a Peter Jackson creation, and that it was filmed in New Zealand, and it deals with that intense infatuation that young girls are prone to (although usually not with such drastic outcomes).  This flick is dark and twisty, just like Sir Jackson's mind.

Anyone else keen on these flicks?  I've got a few picks for the lighter side of V-Day as well.