Two for Tuesday

Two for Tuesday: Candles

Snowy weather, the Christmas season, and minimal sunlight makes for the ideal time to bring out the candles.

Wills and Prior generously offered this candle holder from Easy City Candles as a gift with purchase during a holiday shopping event, and I have since added a red taper candle to it. It’s a lovely design.

Pioneer taper bowl, East City Candles

East City Candles makes beautiful beeswax and soy candles as well as sleek tapers. A scattering of these pinecone candles would make for a beautiful table centrepiece.

Beeswax pinecone candle, East City Candles

Two for Tuesday: The White Christmas Tree

What do you think about white Christmas trees?

Each year, I consider investing in a white Christmas tree. There are so many in the marketplace at the moment, and a lot of them look so lush. And a white tree would fit perfectly into my home!

But every year, I end up with a live Christmas tree. I’m drawn to the smell, mostly, but I also like their irregular shape. Yes, having a live tree means there’s a lot of regular needle clean up, but what does it matter if I vacuum a little more than usual at this time of year? The live tree makes me happy, and my collection of ornaments stand out against the dark green.

Two for Tuesday: Marble

Marble is never going out of style, which means I can write about it for years to come! Hooray!

For today’s pair, I’m sharing two smaller marble-look items. First is this simple tumbler with marble base.

The second item is this marble-look coffee maker. I know it would look great on my counter (as if I really need another coffee maker though!), and maybe it would make a great gift for someone in your life!

Two for Tuesday: Two Sides of Detroit

I was in Detroit, Michigan for a conference last week, and I want to use today’s Two for Tuesday post to share two very different sides of the city. These are some of my observations of Detroit from the my 3-day stay.

Within minutes of arriving into the city (yes, even downtown), I noticed the gritty, abandoned, and destroyed side of Detroit. I saw homes and business boarded up with plywood slabs. I saw people living on the streets and begging for money and food. I saw questionable and potentially dangerous or illegal behaviour. I saw many, many empty streets.

I have traveled around the world, but some parts of Detroit made me feel more uneasy than anywhere I have ever traveled. In 2019, it was ranked the second most dangerous city in America (learn more here), so I guess my safety radar was right. I drove around with my car doors locked. I wasn’t fearful, but I was cautious. I was alert. As a single, female traveler, I am constantly aware of my surroundings. In Detroit, I was extra aware. There may have been absolutely nothing unsafe about the empty streets with boarded-up houses, but I wasn’t confident about this. Empty streets and the unknown – even in daylight hours – can be eerie. Some people have asked me why I drove around these parts of the city. Really, you can’t avoid them. Oh, and I was very curious.

I went to the Heidelberg Project, and I was fascinated by the outdoor art and dedication of the community’s artist, but I also didn’t linger around. While there was plenty of colourful paintings and sculptures, when I was there (mid-afternoon), the streets were void of people – except for one car that seemed to be a location for deal making (use your imagination). I didn’t want to feel uncomfortable, but I did. The quiet, empty vibe didn’t prevent me from venturing outside the city’s core, but it didn’t entice me to stay for very long.

The Heidelberg Project
The Heidelberg Project

I drove out to the Packard Automotive Plant – the largest abandoned factory in the world. Why? Because I was curious. The area and the massive, abandoned buildings made me sad. It made me think a lot about Detroit of the past – booming, wealthy, bustling, hard-working. Gone. Gone. Gone. The area was deserted. It was eerie. Again, I didn’t feel the need to explore. (Or get out of my car.)

The Packard Plant

The number of abandoned buildings overwhelmed me. The buildings hold so many stories of change, enjoyment, and hope. Now? They’re left to crumble.

On the way out of the city, I needed to fill up my car with gas. I can’t tell you how many gas stations I passed because my gut was telling me not to stop. Maybe I was paranoid. Maybe I was over reacting. But I learned quickly that Detroit changes from one street to the next. Once I was out of the core, I couldn’t be certain if I was in a “safe” district. (I only came across this article about district safety once I was back in Canada.)

On the other side of the spectrum is another Detroit. This Detroit is vibrant, colourful, artistic, and dynamic. The people are welcoming and friendly. In the downtown core, the buildings are renovated and occupied by great hotels, restaurants, and shops.

on Woodward Ave.
on Woodward Ave.
Cannelle Patisserie (I made multiple trips!)

Over in Corktown, the vibe is artsy, edgy, and vintage. On the Eastern Market side, crowds of people gather at the Saturday market. Colourful (and monochromatic ones, too) wall murals are everywhere.

in Corktown
in Corktown

The outstanding architecture of years past has been maintained through Detroit’s hardships. The Fisher building, for example, is an absolutely impressive piece of architecture from the 1920s. It was completed in 1928. I was in awe of the Fisher’s opulence. Marble travertine, and brass fill this building.

The Fisher Building
The Fisher Building

In the Boston-Edison historic district my jaw dropped at the beautifully maintained mansions. Homes in this area were built between 1905 and 1925 for people like Henry Ford (car), Joe Louis (boxer), and Berry Gordy Jr. (Motown founder).

House of Walter O. Briggs (Briggs Manufacturing, Detroit Tigers owner), built in 1915
House of Berry Gordy Jr. (Motown founder), built in 1917
House of Charles T. Fisher (Fisher body corporation), build in 1915
House of Henry Ford (Ford motor company), build in 1908

These homes are incredible, aren’t they? I happily wandered the streets in this district staring at all the architectural details. I’ve also been looking at these real estate listings in the area. There are some absolutely gorgeous properties.

Detroit is a fascinating city. I would easily go back to explore. I wouldn’t mind doing a guided architecture tour. I would also like to see the Detroit Institute of Art, the Ford Museum, and more of Eastern Market as I have heard that each of these places is well worth a visit. Detroit has a dramatic history, and I think its future is going to be full of stories to tell, too.

Two for Tuesday: Fireplaces

Who else has turned on the heat in their home? I tried to hold off for as long as possible, but it has been cool these last couple of weeks!

Given the change of seasons, here is today’s hot pair.

I love all the shapes in this first room. The room is balanced. The hard edges of the fireplace surround, rug, and door are balanced with the soft edges of the tables, sofa, and the accessories. The fireplace’s curved opening is balanced by the hard-edged vertical slats that frame it. It’s beautiful.

Fearon Hay Architects, photo: Simon Wilson, via Simplicity Love

This second design is beautiful in its simplicity. The floating stone seems like an optical illusion. How does it stay up? This fireplace would heat up a room in no time since it’s open, so the design showcases a great pairing of function and form.

Two for Tuesday: Skeleton Flamingos

Well, it’s October, which means that fall decor ideas are in full swing! I’m nearly ready to give up my geraniums on my front porch, but since I don’t love mum plants, I’m looking for alternatives. I may end up with a whole bunch of white pumpkins scattered on my front steps and porch, but I may also end up with skeleton flamingos.

One option is to take the classic plastic pink flamingo lawn ornaments and transform them into skeleton flamingos with a bit of paint.

The second option is to buy them ready-made.

These skeleton flamingos make me laugh! And I think they would look fun on my front lawn.

Two for Tuesday: Flamenco

As you may remember, my family and friends gave me a whole list of challenges and things to do during my 40th year. My cousin suggested I take a dance class. I was open to the suggestion, but didn’t have anything in mind until I went to see a Flamenco show in August here in Waterloo, and it clicked!

I saw my first flamenco show when I was 25 and traveling in the south of Spain with my pen pal*. The show was powerful, dramatic, and beautiful. I loved it. For a few Halloweens, I sewed my own flamenco costume. I have been a forever fan of flamenco!

So after I saw the show in Waterloo, I signed up for classes immediately. A friend lent me her flamenco shoes and skirt (so beautiful), and I’ve taken two classes so far. I love the drama, the music, the clapping, and the stomping (careful, thoughtful, purposeful, rhythmic stomping, I might add). It’s been a highlight of my busy back-to-school weeks to be honest.

Sara Baras – via

I haven’t even mentioned how gorgeous the outfits are! The women look beautiful and fierce, and the men look strong and serious. I love watching the dancers “speak” to one another through their movements.

I’m so glad I was challenged to take a dance class (thanks, M!). I wonder if there’s an end-of-term recital. 🙂

*Yes, I had a pen pal…who is now really an email and Instagram pal. We’ve only met in person less than a dozen times in our lives!).

Two for Tuesday: Shade

So there I was at work helping out a graduate student with her writing, and while I was talking to her about representing scholars’ ideas accurately and with purpose in her own writing, she says something about not wanting to “throw shade” on these scholars. According to Urban Dictionary, throwing shade means “acting in a casual or disrespectful manner towards someone/dissing a friend.” I had heard the phrase before, but I must have had a puzzled look on my face because she quickly rephrased her comment to say something along the lines of – you’ve got to represent the work fairly and respect the author’s ideas.

Although this was a really quick dialogue, I have been thinking about it quite a bit. I’m in the business of language learning and teaching. I have a PhD in applied linguistics, so I have studied extensively in the area. I analyze language and people’s use of language constantly. This particular interaction had me thinking about language registers (level of formality we use in different contexts), how we use multiple registers in our daily interactions, and how we can quickly adjust our tone based on circumstance. The student I worked with had opted to use slang with me (I had only met her once before), but quickly realized another explanation may be more suitable for the context of our interaction. I thought about how this student applied a slang explanation to explain an academic writing concern. Language – and how we use it – is fascinating!

If you’re not as interested in the intricacies of language as I am, you may like this other version of the word “shade”. These white shades are from one of my favourite eyeglasses companies.

Scène, $14.99 Euros (on sale), Polette

Two for Tuesday: The Evil Eye

In Italian, the evil eye – or il malocchio – is a superstition of bad luck caused by envy. If one brags too much, then others would become jealous of the person’s happiness and cause destruction in their life. To prevent the evil eye, avoid making people jealous, or carry an charm like a horn (as many Italians do).

In the fashion and design worlds, the evil eye constantly makes an appearance in jewelry, accessory, and clothing collections as well as in trinkets and knick knacks. Here are two that recently caught my eye (wink!).

evil eye clutch, $23.99USD, Amazon
Michael Aram evil eye box, $307.41CAD, Neiman Marcus

Two for Tuesday: The Minimalist Rainbow

June is Pride month, which means all the colourful rainbows are in full force in cities, communities, and homes around the world. Rainbows are one of the most recognizable symbols of gay pride. You might see them on pedestrian crossings, flags, and on every piece of clothing item. Today, I’m sharing two more minimalist rainbows to raise awareness for the rights of all citizens.

black and white rainbow art, $13.99USD+, Hearts in Colors
rainbow printable, $11.11CAD, Etsy

Two for Tuesday: Wish Upon a Star

I was in Montreal this past weekend, and I stayed at the Hotel Birks. Since it is conveniently attached to – and the same company as – Birks, the jewelry store, it was easy to pop in to eye the current collection of sparkle and shine. Delicate jewelry caught my attention the most (second to diamonds, of course), including these star pieces.

Two for Tuesday: Staying Warm in (almost) May

Every time I say the word spring, the sunny days leave, and the cold weather returns. I was so happy for a touch of warmth and sunshine on Sunday, and then yesterday, boom, back to gloves and my winter coat! Not fun for a sun-seeker like me.

So, since we have another cold week ahead of us, today, I’m showcasing two items that will keep us warm. And since they’re on sale, today is a great day to buy them!

sweatshirt, $45+, Gap
joggers, $32.99, Gap

Two for Tuesday: Chopsticks

Japan content is going to continue here for a little while, so I hope you enjoy it! Today is all about chopsticks!

I used chopsticks for the two weeks I was in Japan (minus one day in Kobe). I could use them well to begin with, but my skills definitely improved or became more natural each day. Many of the restaurants that I went to had the wooden chopsticks that you break apart. Others had really refined lacquer and wood sets. They were beautiful. So many shops sold chopsticks that ranged in price from $10 a pair to hundreds of dollars. I had no idea! While I didn’t use any white pairs of chopsticks while I was in Japan, this set is just too refined and luxurious not to share!

silver plated chopsticks, $120, Christofle

Two for Tuesday: Pearls

Normally, when you hear the world pearl, you may think of a pearl necklace. Today, though, I’m sharing how pearls are currently being incorporated into clothing.

Blair Eadie is a continuous source of inspiration. She has a special way of piecing clothes together to make memorable outfits. This one is all about the pearls!

Here’s an affordable sweater with pretty pearl embellishments. If you’re inspired by Blair’s ensemble, you might consider giving this or another version a try.

Two for Tuesday: Sequins

Who has been wearing more sparkle and shine than usual this season? I have! Any time I can add a little more jazz to my evening party outfits, I have. The holiday season is a great time to bring out the bling.

sequined dress

sequined hat

These two items are in the luxury category, but there are affordable sequin options at stores like H&M, The Bay, ASOS, and Forever21.

Two for Tuesday: Black and White Cookie

When I used to travel to NYC regularly to see my sister and her family*, picking up a black and white cookie was a treat. I’ve made them a couple of times, too, but I haven’t found the most delicious recipe as of yet. Any recommendations? While I keep taste testing or wait for my next trip to Manhattan, these two black and white cookies will have to do.

black and white cookie ornament, $16USD, Anthropologie

black and white cookie, Sally’s Baking Addiction

*If you’re curious about how they lived in Manhattan with so many small children, check out their Manhattan home tour on Style Me Pretty Living.

Two for Tuesday: Structured Curves

Sorry about that little technical hiccup with yesterday’s announcement post. I thought the solution was going to be much more time consuming than it was, but my web host Namespro worked magic and resolved my tech issue quickly. I have been a loyal Namespro customer for many years now (too many to count), and I am always grateful for their service (which is always explained very clearly, I might add). Anyhow, I’m back in blogging action, which makes me happy.

So here we go with today’s potentially surprising duo.

dress (currently sold out)

cake, Hint of Vanilla

Two for Tuesday: Tree Stumps

I thought I had seen the end of tree stumps as seating a couple of years ago, but I think I was wrong. They are still around!

I absolutely love these splatter painted stumps that I saw a couple of weeks ago at Wills & Prior in Stratford.

photo by Jordana

And then I saw these bleached ones on Kaylee Giffen-Logan’s feed from her vacation in Vermont.

 The Blondilocks

I love them both!

Two for Tuesday: Pink and Brass

It’s #WhiteCabanaWearsPink month, which means, I can infuse pink into posts on days other than Monday, right? Yes!

Today I’m showing you two sweet designs that share elements of pink and brass. The first is a kids’ play kitchen and the second is a bathroom. You’ll quickly notice that the two photos have pink cabinets and brass globe lights in common.

pink play kitchen

pink bathroom

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