Two for Tuesday: Stacked Up

I hope everyone had a great Canada Day long weekend! I’m already finding it hard to get back into work mode after a few days of relaxation by the pool and BBQ with friends. I don’t think I opened my computer even once all weekend long, so forgive me if posts are brief this week.

Today’s pair are all about lines and structure.

friendship bracelet, $357 USD (on sale), Links of London

NOVA by Zaha Hadid, $5000, via  United Nude

The Friday Five: Things on My Mind

Here are just a few things that have been on my mind this week.

1. Pearl Morissette

I just learned of Pearl Morissette winery and restaurant in Jordan, Ontario, and it’s now on my must-visit list.

2. DIY Wedding Details

The DIY details of Homey Oh My‘s recent wedding definitely impressed me. Amy and Oleg set such a pretty scene for a special occasion.

3. Bramasole

Did you read Under the Tuscan Sun? See the movie? If so, you’re certainly familiar with Bramasole (aka Villa Laura). And now…you can stay there!

4. Pool View

Oh, this exterior pool scene is beautiful.

Tiger tail residence, Edward Ogosta Architecture

5. Elizabeth

I watched Elizabeth this week. I liked it a lot. The costumes are incredible. I know this movie is from 1998, but I hadn’t ever seen it. How had I never seen it?

via

Have a great weekend, everyone! Happy Canada Day!

Trivia Thursday: The Alvar Aalto Vase

Recognize this wavy vase?

Iittala

It was designed by Alvar Aalto in 1936, and it has been a design collector’s item ever since. Each vase is mouth blown at the Iittala glass factory in Finland, making each piece unique. The full Alvar Aalto collection includes other shapes, sizes, and colours, too.

If you’re in Canada, you can purchase Alvar Aalto pieces at William Ashley.

Gift Guide: For the BBQ Hosts

What’s Canada Day without a BBQ? For many Canadians, wearing red and white and having a BBQ with friends and family is the best way to celebrate Canada’s birthday. If you’re heading out to a friend’s place, you may be interested in reviewing Daniela‘s gift guide today. She’s curated a great selection of gifts – at various price points as per usual – for this weekend’s BBQ or any other summer event you’re attending.

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With our first long weekend upon us and children out of school, invites for summer BBQs will be pouring in. For your next invite, I’ve put together a list of some fun gifts to bring to the host.

Dish towels! Or as Williams Sonoma calls them – flour sack towels. Sure, you can get these at a lot of retailers, but I especially love the Williams Sonoma towels as they are extremely large and can withstand the test of time and lots of washes.

flour sack towels, $19.16 USD (on sale), Williams Sonoma

If you are invited to a bbq where the host has children, add this super fun stencil set (or another craft) for their little ones. It will make for a great summer activity on a rainy day, and the parents will love them too!

tea towel stencil kit, $26 USD, Yellow Owl Workshop

Going to a pool party? For the past few summers, I have brought the host one of these pool toys. They are the perfect gift for all ages and make for a great prop in photos. I personally love using these so my hair doesn’t get wet. 🙂

swan floatie, $9.99 (on sale), The Bay

unicorn floatie, $9.99 (on sale), The Bay

Did you know you can use your BBQ for a lot more than grilling hamburgers and veggies? Why not make pizza (my food of choice) on your grill? I love this as a hostess gift especially for someone who uses their BBQ all summer long.

grill stone, $48.49 CAD, The Well

Summer BBQ invites are all about fun in a casual dining atmosphere, so this next hostess gift idea is more a gift for all in attendance. Fill this piñata up with candy and bring it as an addition to the “dessert table.” It will prove tons of fun for all ages.

mini unicorn piñata, $5.60 (on sale), Chapters Indigo

And on the subject of candy grab a bag of these delicious squish candies for the host to enjoy the day after the party.

thank you mix candies, $14 CAD, Squish Candies

Finally, who doesn’t love an ice cream in the summer? Spoil the host with this great set, so they can enjoy their summer ice cream in style.

Kate Spade ice cream set, $46 CAD, Chapters Indigo

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoy all your summer gatherings with friends and family!

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How lucky are we that Daniela is such a great gift giver? Each guide seems better than the last! I absolutely love the idea of a piñata…what a fun thing for adults and kids!

Design: Double Mirrors

I’m starting continuing to gather inspiration images for my dream bathroom renovation (which is still years away, I’m sure!). Specifically, I’ve had my eye on double vanities and the lovely double mirrors that go with them.

Vanessa Alexander, via Dering Hall

via Becki Owens

via Adore Home Magazine

via Decorist

Katie Campbell Interiors

The Friday Five: Books I’ve Read

Well, I shouldn’t quite say I’ve “read” these books. I’ve actually listened to most of them in the form of audiobook. With all the driving I’ve done lately, the audiobooks have been a wonderful way to pass the time. I’m pretty much hooked, and now I listen while I walk, too.

1. The Story of a New Name (Book 2) by Elena Ferrante

I read Book 1 of this series many months ago, but I could not find the time to pick up Book 2. When I set out on one of my road trips, I started listening to it, and I could barely stop. It was wonderful. The book is engaging, interesting, and well-developed. It’s easy to connect with the characters. I’m definitely eager to get started on Book 3.

2. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanathi

I remember when I heard of this book via Joanna Goddard (Cup of Jo) a couple of years ago. I had wanted to read it since then, but I never did. It was one of the first audiobooks I downloaded. It’s a great read. True. Sad. Beautiful.

3. Wallflower at the Orgy by Nora Ephron

I’ve always liked reading Nora Ephron’s books. They’re a combination of funny, interesting, light, and serious. This book of short stories entertained.

4. Hungry for Love by Maya Sacher

This fits in the chick-lit category of books. It was easy to be engaged with the story line of a woman who has fallen in love with a man while her husband is in a coma. It’s a good summer beach read.

5. Landline by Rainbow Rowell

I opted for this chick-lit book because it came up in one of my library searches, and I was drawn to the cover. It’s an easy read about a couple going through a troubling time. The story isn’t highly original – individuals working too hard, trying to make their relationship work – but I liked how the dialogue evolved in the chapters, and it was overall a good read. I’d say it’s another easy summer read.

p.s. Did you know that June is audiobook month? A little something I learned at the Waterloo Public Library (where I’ve been getting my audiobooks).

Trivia Thursday: The Rainbow Flag

One historical meaning of the rainbow flag is peace. Nowadays, the rainbow flag is a symbol for the LGBT social movement. The rainbow flag was created in 1978 by Gilbert Baker who was an American artist and gay rights activist. Each colour of the flag represents something: red – life, orange – healing, yellow – sunlight, green – nature, turquoise – magic, violet – spirit. In Baker’s original version, two additional colours appeared: pink – sexuality and indigo – serenity.

Tattly rainbow skateboard temporary tattoo

I’m happy to bring a little #loveislove to the blog today in support of Pride Month.

Sources: BBC, CBC, Wikipedia

Travel: Ann Arbor, Michigan

I definitely wasn’t expecting to like Ann Arbor, Michigan as much as I did. I wasn’t even planning on writing about my quick trip there. But I was so surprised and happy about my visit, that I have opted to write a mini recap here.

Ann Arbor. Do you know anything about Ann Arbor? Before I set out on my drive, all I knew was that it was kind of near Detroit, and it was about a 3.5 hour drive from Waterloo. Beyond that, since I was going for a conference, I didn’t do any pre-trip research because I knew my free time would be limited.

Stay

I stayed at the Graduate Ann Arbor. The bed in my room was comfortable, and I had ample room to spread out my work and belongings. Although the room was darker than I prefer (moody dark walls), and my bathroom was low on counter space, the linens and bath products were lovely, and there was a fridge and a Keurig machine which came in handy for a late-night work session. Service was great, and the location was perfect. I would definitely stay here again.

Do

I spent much of my days at the conference which was held at the University of Michigan. You know, the university with the big yellow and blue “M”. There’s definitely a high school spirit at UofMichigan, and there were a lot of people walking around town in blue and yellow athletic ensembles. The campus was a short walk from the Graduate hotel. The buildings on campus were historic and charming, and the quad was lush and green. I know I’m an academic, but I can’t be the only one who loves university campuses. Surely.

Nickels Arcade is an interesting piece of architecture. On either side of the walkway are shops and the very charming Comet café.

The area of Kerrytown was another short walk from the Graduate hotel. This is a small, historic district that has cobblestone streets as well as interesting buildings, shops, and artistic spaces. A highlight here is Zingerman’s which is a deli-bakery-everything-you’d-ever-want-to-eat type of place. I also enjoyed the store/gallery Found. I spent much too long in the store looking at every bit of goodness inside.

If you stay downtown, the area is very walkable. Main St., Liberty St., and Washington St. have an abundance of cafés, pubs, restaurants, and shops. Strolling casually along makes for an enjoyable little tour of the area.

Eat

I had a few opportunities to eat out while I was in town, and I would go back to every restaurant I visited. Good sign, right?

I loved the fresh, young, energetic, and stylish vibe at Sava’s. Beyond this, my salmon rice bowl was delicious as was Sava’s version of tiramisu. Everything was fresh, and service was attentive and friendly.

I know it’s not so common to go to a tapas restaurant solo, but this is what I did late one night. I had passed Aventura at some point on my trip, and I wanted to try it, so I did. I met the nicest people while I was sitting at the bar (Note: I have absolutely no problem dining solo. I know some people would never do it, but I enjoy it. I always end up meeting people, which is fun. Do you dine solo?). My meal at Aventura was fresh and tasty. I opted for brussels sprouts (that had sweet apple mixed in) and the jamón flatbread. Salty goodness! Again, service was friendly, and the decor was lovely. Unfortunately, I must have been too tired to grab any photos!

One morning, I opted for breakfast at Fred’s. As with the other two restaurants, one of the reasons why I was keen on this place was because of the decor. When I walked by it one evening when it was closed, I saw white-on-white-on-white. I had to go! Oh my goodness. If Anthropologie had a restaurant, it would be Fred’s. Every angle was beautiful. Beyond the decor, the food was awesome. I went for the ever-so-popular açaí bowl and a cappuccino. I’d order this again today if I could. It did not disappoint.

Ann Arbor makes for a great weekend getaway, especially if you live with a 3-4 hour drive. The next time I go, I’m going to review the Design*Sponge Ann Arbor City Guide because I know I didn’t have time to enjoy all that the city has to offer.