Thursday, February 26, 2015

Brunch, Boots, and a Beret...the Paris Planning continues.

Last Sunday Mr. HB and I were up early and the weather was sunny and warm so we decided to go for a long walk. We left our bungalow early in the morning and wandered downtown and before too long we had worked up appetite and we needed to eat...

The interior of The Atrium building on Yates and Blanshard Streets 
this picture was taken from our table inside the restaurant.

We decided to brunch at Zambri's, as it is one of our favourite spots to dine.
Poached free range farm fresh eggs on a bed of spinach atop a sliver of in house made bread lightly toasted
 served with a creamy bechamel sauce....
Oh my this was so delicious.

Looking at these daffodils blooming sunny yellow, they cannot help but cheer one's spirit.

The flowering trees that line Meares Street are a riot of blossoms...
their petals are falling like snowflakes...a westcoast version of snow!

Mother was under the weather and phoned me bright and early to cancel our weekly 
Mother and Two Daughters Shopping and Dining Date...

Mom thankfully is feeling better now, 
I checked on her... (so did my sister!)
It turns out she had a sleepless night.
Didn't I just write a post on this very subject?

 I took advantage of the time and got some domestics done around here...
laundry, sorting, cooking and a wee bit of Paris Planning.

 At Vanity Fair Antiques last week I mentioned that I was going to Paris...
I was thrilled to find out that one of the women who works there is going too.
She and her husband are renting an apartment for 6 weeks and it is conveniently located quite near my hotel. 
 We are planning a few outings and I hope one will be to go to the Antique Markets in Paris.

Uber comfy boots ~ Clarks Artisan line
for walking many kilometers along the cobblestone rues, avenues and boulevards of Paris...

a wooly beret just in case the days are chilly or damp

a feather in my cap..."ahem beret"...just because

The French lessons are helping but I have a LONG way to go...
it is a much steeper learning curve than I could have imagined...
Alors! I continue to press on.

I decided that I would take two cashmere cardigans...
the orange one and this one in a soft grey...they are light and offer cozy warmth.

Will need to decide which strand of pearls to take...

Want to take my perfume but this bottle exceeds Air France's limit for my carry on...

So much planning
details ~ details
it's hard to imagine how I will feel when I am in Paris.

Friends who have been to Paris say that the streets in Paris are alive with people.
The architecture, culture, and fashion are fabulous.
 They have been advising me to wander the avenues and soak in all the beauty.
Then stop for a bit and sit watching the people stroll by from an outdoor cafe.

"Paris is a place where, for me, just walking down a street that I've never been down before is like going to a movie or something. Just wandering the city is entertainment."

~ Wes Anderson ~

It's still weeks away so I have lots of time to dream.
The Paris obsession is becoming a daily routine on Pinterest.

What is your most memorable moment in Paris?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Checking in to say....

My week is shaping up to be another busy one...
we are in the midst of planning a catered celebration this weekend.
I'm not giving too much away, it's not a surprise...
it's a milestone birthday.

Walks with friends, French lessons, a Grammy play date, the regularly scheduled weekly Mother/ daughters get together, domestics, grocery shopping and that's just the start.

The trees are bursting forth with buds...
my energy has been ebbing on the low side so I have been trying to go to bed earlier.
My sleep patterns are changing and sleep is interrupted several times through the night.
It frustrates me no end because I used to be able to sleep most of the night.
Most of my friends have mentioned that this too is their "new normal."

The bright and shocking colours of Spring
fresh air and sunshine coupled with a good strong cup of coffee are helping me stay awake and alert.

I've been toying with the idea of making some art cards from my photographs.
I've purchased some cards and envelopes and ordered some prints...
just need to carve out some time to glue the photos onto the card stock
then muster up the courage to take them to a few of the card shops and see if they are at all interested...
if not, I will have some for my personal use.

French "homework" reading Paris Vogue!

Ines de la Fressange is the focus of this issue...
J'adore Ines.

I must close for now as I am off to meet a friend and French class follows.

Photographs from my walks have featured prominently in this post and I hope that they have elevated your spirits.
Enjoy your week!

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Ugly Truth ~ Embracing Imperfection

Are you living a "perfectly imperfect" life...
I wasn't quite sure what that meant and you too may well ask what is perfectly imperfect?

The Urban dictionary offers this definition ~ "when someone has strong feelings for you they may tell you that you're "perfectly imperfect" basically saying that they accept your flaws, they like you enough that they see past your insecurities, a way of saying that you're perfect to them."

Our front porch is looking cheerful, almost pretty...but do not look too close!
These touches are meant to be a distraction as our front stairs are falling apart and the house paint is peeling.
We have several projects on our do list...but for now we must embrace the imperfections.

Is your home orderly, perfectly maintained and tastefully decorated?
Is there a sense of order or do you prefer disorder?
Are you a minimalist or do you subscribe to the "more is better" way of living?

I read with great interest Ellie's recent post about decorating and I am in awe of people who live in homes that look like they have been staged for a magazine shoot...

Our 100+ year old arts and crafts bungalow is imperfect and has many flaws.
The flaws are obvious, some even glaring.
Not unlike the face of an older woman...there are spots, wrinkles and laugh lines ~ evidence of the aging process.

"Nature gives you the face you have at twenty; it is up to you to merit the face you have at fifty."
~ Coco Chanel ~

Our home is small and is steeped in the arts and crafts style.

We opted for small scaled mission oak furniture and have collected many pieces of original old hand hammered copper pieces and vintage arts and crafts pottery.

First Nations baskets and Ojibwa duck decoys round out our collection.

Most of the wool rugs are new as are the window treatments.
With the exception of our two linen slip covered love seats and our bed all of the pieces are originals from the period from 1912 -1918.
I suppose you might call it "museum style decorating" because the pieces have their original patina and are worn, marked and distressed from years of use.

Two lamps are new, the rest are originals from Water Glass Studios.

This vintage chair was a boulevard freebie...
I carried it home and painted it then distressed it for effect.
It's been on our front porch for several years.

This tool box was treated to a coat of paint and distressed...
It often holds pots of geraniums in the summer and pine cones in the winter.
Check out those muddy footprints..."someone" needs to wash the porch!

This chair was a freebie too...
if you look closely you can you see the imperfections.

"Optimism - the doctrine or belief that everything is beautiful, including what is ugly."

~ Ambrose Bierce ~

"I never saw an ugly thing in my life: for let the form of an object be what it may,
- light, shade, and perspective will always make it beautiful."

                                                             ~ John Constable ~

Monday, February 16, 2015

Books and crannies...

I've finally picked up this book after months of it sitting on my shelf...and I'm hooked.
Kate Atkinson weaves a great tale...

I've got a super busy week ahead of me 
so I am not too sure if I'll have much time to read, let alone sit at my computer.
Today in the wee crannies of space and time I was able to write this quick post...

The sunshine was streaming in through the windows and my goodness they are filthy!
Our Christmas cactus is re blooming...and it feels like Spring has Sprung.
Mr. HB mowed the lawn yesterday and it is only mid February.

The kitchen looks calm but don't be fooled 
I have been hard at it churning out soups and casseroles for my family and friends.

~ Food Is love ~
especially when you take it to those who are preoccupied with bigger and more important life events than cooking.

Mr. HB and I ripped up the disgusting wall to wall carpet in our bedroom and discovered a very distressed and paint splattered fir floor underneath...
I spent an afternoon on my hands and knees scraping the paint off and we bought three really inexpensive rugs from Home Depot until such time as we do the complete renovation...maybe next year?

Chester insists that bunny be upstairs instead of in the grand children's toy box downstairs!
The minute I put bunny back he drags him up so I gave in and have placed bunny on the bed.
Hope you are keeping warm and cozy particularly if you are reading this back east under the blanket of snow.

Speaking of cozy this is my newest scarf which does not have any tags so I don't know where it was made or what the fabric content might feels like felted wool and I wore it out to dinner on Valentine's Eve.

I bought myself a new lipstick.
The shade is pinker than I usually wear.
The cosmetics clerk at the Pharmasave on The Avenue said it would add a splash of colour.
Who doesn't need a little perk up at this time of year?
(under $10)

My hair is in a growing out stage...
I've decided to let it grow a bit longer so it's not looking it's best right now.
I have an appointment in a few weeks.
 My hairdresser is so clever with her scissors 
that I am betting that she can style and shape it so I don't go crazy while it grows.

Oh and my "new glasses" had to be returned as the coating on them was not sealed properly and they were getting so scratched that it looked foggy day inside and out 24/7!
An inconvenience,
 but I won't complain too loudly 
as it is minor compared to what some people are dealing with...
and my heart goes out to them in sympathy.

Maybe this week you could do something nice for someone in need.

I'll try to check back later if I get a chance...
but as I mentioned it's going to be a busy week ahead.


Friday, February 13, 2015

Snapshots of an emerging Spring....walking OOTD.

Today it's a sunny morning!
I'm smiling as it is such a gift after a dull week of weather.

The Spring flowers are blooming
the plum and cherry trees along the boulevards are budding forth in various shades of pink
  the petals are fluttering down like pink snow.

A fog bank hugs the Washington shoreline on Juan de Fuca Strait.

Walking the 5K route I weave through the picturesque Gonzales area of town.

it's a scenic spot to perambulate.

My walking gear is pretty standard, keeping warm is very important.

I wear a warm scarf to chase the chill and keep cozy.

Chillax coat which is waterproof, lined in fleece and is not too heavy.

I carry my keys, some money and my IPhone in this small cross body bag by Roots...
it's a hands free option which allows me the freedom to swing my arms.

Lands' End trail shoes...

I love the word perambulate...

"walk or travel through or around a place or area, especially for pleasure and in a leisurely way."

I also love an English pram...
Mr. HB and I are over the moon that our son and his wife are expecting their 3rd baby!
I'll be getting my knitting needles out soon.
I knit blankets for Isla and Henry and so I will continue the tradition with the new one.
When I had my Grammy Day this week Isla was so excited about the new baby...
she wants a sister...

Sunny clumps of yellow daffodils.

Earlier in the week the weather was rather bleak
and I had to force myself to go out.

The weather was dreary...positively beastly.
(not as cold or snowy as those in the east are enduring)

Mission style arts and crafts house on Hollywood Crescent.

Bald Eagle looking out to the sea...

Carrot Ginger Soup

Gordon Ramsay's recipe for lamb breast was very tasty.
I'd never cooked a breast of lamb before and it is a very inexpensive cut so it's a budget friendly way of enjoying our fresh local lamb.

A couple of light reads from the library.
Toss the Gloss had some great tips.
I specifically liked that she mentioned various brands of inexpensive products that deliver as well as the higher priced lines.

Oak Bay Street art...near the library.

The weather forecast is favourable for a Happy Valentine's Weekend.