I actually read a bunch of blog each day. I used to use Google Reader, but since that is no long available, I have switched to Feedly. I'm liking it, and it's fairly customizable which is great. Blogs are like having tons of free magazines! Some I have been following for so long I feel like I know the authors. I read all sorts of blogs, including design types. I enjoy reading them in the morning with a hot cup of coffee or tea in hand.
If any of you have another blog that you think I should be reading please let me know! And I will add it to my list!
The design blog section is my biggest list. Mostly because they tend to be quite visual, and of course I love all things design. I also enjoy imagining living in some of these spectacular places, and then trying to figure how I can adapt an idea to fit my more modest dwellings.
Who doesn't love food! Quite often the recipes I find off these blogs are far superior to the ones in my cook books. And it's fun to see the process through the wonderful photographs.
I need to find some more great travel related blogs. I have followed a few others but they have either stopped posting or stopped writing about travel and it didn't interest me anymore. I do really enjoy these ones, both have fascinating stories!
I have always had a fascination with all things to do with science and history. I read a few blogs that fall into these genres.
I read of a couple of comical blogs too, just for fun!
I made this project a couple of years ago, and still love it! It has sat on my desk in two different homes. It holds all those little desk objects, and keeps them organized.
It's a fairly simple project that could be done in an afternoon if you have everything ready to go. The hardest part is picking out the paper!
Create something new from a common place object!
A little over a year ago my husband, Jeff, and I got married! Our big day was on July 14th, 2012 on a very hot and sunny summer afternoon. Our ceremony was set under a big willow tree in the Niagara Botanical Gardens. Then our cocktail hour and reception took place down the street at the Queenston Heights Restaurant, which sits inside a big park overlooking the Niagara River.
This post is all about our wedding, not so much the story, but about the design and process of putting together our special day. Since our two locations were already so beautiful we didn't need a lot of extra decorations, however, we still added our own personal projects to complete the picture.
Planning a wedding is probably one of the biggest projects a couple can take on in their personal lives. It certainly took a lot of our time during that year, however, for us the hardest part was starting. Picking the venue and what we wanted to do. Once we had all the basics picked, the decor and small projects was the fun part! We had both been to a lot of weddings before and knew exactly what we liked and didn't like. We tried to make our wedding an amazing experience for our guests, while having a wonderful time ourselves.
A theme can be useful in keeping the wedding focused. It is helpful to come up with it at the start, but that doesn't mean it can't evolve as you find something new that you love.
We wanted to have a really fun, easy going, party! Once we figured that out, everything else was planned around this central idea. We stuck with this idea throughout the planning process, but the definition of what that informal party was changed over time.
Once we had settled on the basic idea of our wedding, we added in the top layer of the theme, such as colours and texture. Since we had picked a natural setting our wedding already had a garden theme. Then for a bit of a twist I added an underlaying Moroccan look. Our colours were chosen based both on ones we liked and on the summer season.
We kept our decor fairly simple for these reasons:
Much of the decorations we made ourselves. I haven't mentioned everything we did here, including having paper fans for people to use during the ceremony to cool off, but below are some of the more ambitious projects we created.
We made a photo collage on this old window frame. There are two photos from our engagement session, and then one side is pictures of me through the years and the other side of my husband through the years. I had meant to clip them on with the green clothes pins, but they ended up being too small. So I still used them for show and stuck the photos on with blue tacky stuff. It worked well and I think people, especially family, enjoyed looking at the photos.
Actually, a funny story came out of this photo collage. I just picked photos at random from a bunch our parents sent us to put on the window. Coincidently, the photo of me on the top, in a little white dress, was actually taken just outside the Queenston Heights Restaurant, where our wedding was held. Who knew about 25 years later I would stand there again in another white dress!
The table seating chart was created one afternoon by pulling paper out of my paper drawer. I didn't really have an exact plan for it, but it was made on a magnetic board. Then on the back of each guest's name I placed a magnet. This may seem like a lot of useless work, but it was actually a sneaky plan, as it allowed me to finish the seating chart without actually having to know where everyone was going to be seated. I could move people around from table to table. As some people didn't let me know they were coming until the last minute, it allowed me to move them in or out at anytime.
To tell the tables apart we made labels that represented all the places in the world both of us had been together. The labels were fairly simple to make through Photoshop and then we just printed them out and glued them onto an orange piece of foam so you could read the sign from both sides. I found these green tree stands, and thought they fit our theme and colours perfectly.
Now In Our House
Many of our decorations (especially the ones that cost a bit more) we added to the decor around our house. Since the objects that I picked, I loved, I ended up reusing them after the wedding.
The birdcage that we used for wedding cards, I am now using to house a cactus. I'm sure I'll think of more uses for it in the years to come.
I fell in love with every lantern I bought for the wedding. They are being used throughout our condo for decoration. My two favourites are this blue and silver one and the white one in the background, that was featured in my very first post!
The gift and signing table was decorated using many things we already owned. For example, in this photo, there is an inlay box that I added to the table as part of my Moroccan theme, but I have had that box a long time. It was something I picked up when I was working as an archeologist in Jordan. There are so many things you can add to a wedding that you probably have at home, simply because your theme is something you already like and enjoy!
The vases we used for the flowers we bought at Ikea for about 50 cents each. They were the modern look we wanted, and were pretty cheap. We still have some kicking around our place, here is one in our bathroom holding some bamboo.
When we bought these vases the guy in line behind us was confused by the huge number we were buying and asked us about it. I had just started to answer with it's for our wedding, and he just said "oh, never mind, say no more". I guess it's been done before!
I got this window even before I knew what I was going to do with it, and a little bit against my husbands will. But I loved it and was determined to get it. And, yes I found a good use for it for the wedding, but I think I love it even more hanging on our wall above the bed.
The Perfect Wedding Day
Overall, our day went amazingly, if way too fast. I couldn't have asked for better weather or such wonderful people that worked with us to make this special day happen. My husband and I felt truly blessed to share our day with so many amazing people, family, and friends. Thanks everyone!
These little canisters sit on our kitchen counter, adding a bit of modern black and white design. They are also functional, as they hold two different types for coffee and hot chocolate mix. They actually match our everyday dishes, and were a gift from my mother for my bridal shower. I still love looking at them. One day I envision a beautiful white kitchen, in which they would look dynamite. Until then they still look pretty darn good in this kitchen, and are convenient too.
I spotted a big basket of fresh Roma tomatoes at the St. Lawrence Market, and thought tomato sauce! I spent my Sunday afternoon making a big batch of sauce. Some to enjoy now and some to put in the freezer and eat throughout the fall.
We are hoping to move somewhat soon! The biggest problem we are facing is where, in the city or move out of the city. Trying to figure out what is affordable, and in what areas are we going to get the most for our money, without compromising other amenities or safety.
We have been doing quite a bit of research and learning more about this great city then we ever knew before. We are spending weekends visiting neighbourhoods, walking around them, having lunch in a local restaurant. Yet, after all this we still can't make up our minds. However, we have narrowed it down to a few neighbourhoods that we like, unfortunately for vastly different reasons, which is part of the problem.
We have been looking at magazines like these and online. Toronto Life magazine has come out with a ranking of all the neighbourhood in Toronto, that you can view here. This is a little bit helpful, but I think some of them need to be taken with a grain of salt, as there are areas that I have known for a long time and like that are ranked low.
These are our favourite neighbourhoods that we would like to live, with the biggest divide between out of the city or stay in the city. Of course we also fell in love with areas in the west end of the city, the neighbourhoods that we liked the housing market was way out of our price range (can I say again WAY out). This is one very expensive city!
Where?: Out and East of the city, right down by Lake Ontario
Why Here?: More Affordable Housing
Where?: East city, near Lake Ontario
Why Here?: Great Sense of Community
Where?: West / Central City
Why Here?: Affordable City Housing
Where?: East City
Why Here?: Great Main Street
Where?: East City Along Lake Ontario
Why Here?: Pretty Green Space
So, we have a very big decision to make and soon! The hardest one is do we stay in the city or head out of it. If you have any ideas or input for us we would love to hear them. And wish us luck!
When we got back from our New York City trip, this issue of Dwell came in the mail, and what should be on the cover but New York City. It's not only New York City, but a picture of High Line Park and one of the most interesting buildings we walked by, both my husband and I remembered it right away.
So if you are looking to read more on New York, and the architecture by High Line Park, check out the October issue of Dwell.
My husband and I went on a weekend trip to New York City. We packed so much into a short time, walking from morning to night. My feet are now enjoying a bit of time off. I love this city, it's so alive and exciting, lots of amazing buildings to look at and parks to enjoy. The city is filled with great design, and everything else in between. Everywhere you go there is something incredible.
This was my husband's first time in New York, and although I have been many times as a teen, this was my first visit as an adult. I fell in love with the city during those years, and returning as an adult all those feelings came rushing back.
Just thought I would share some highlights from our weekend away, and pass on some great restaurant ideas and things to do if you visit the big apple.
Weekend Highlights and Tips
We left on Saturday, August 31, and were picked up at the airport and shown around by my husband's cousin's husband (did you follow that?). Whenever I travel I try to get local intel, of course this is not always possible, but in this case it was great! We were taken around by a born and bred New Yorker. We also got to see Jersey City, where my husband's cousins live. The views of Manhattan from across the river are amazing. If you are looking to get great shots of the city, skip across to Jersey City.
Tip: Great photos of Manhattan from Jersey City
We stayed at a very quirky hotel called Yotel. I highly recommend it if you like the offbeat, but also because the rooms were very modern and bright. Although I don't recommend sharing a room with someone you aren't extremely intimate with as the bathroom is fairly open concept. The hotel also has a vibrant lounge and restaurant on the fourth floor. We ended our evenings there, on the patio, for a drink before bed. Another quirky thing about this hotel is if you are leaving your luggage, before check in or after check out, there is a robot arm, named Yobot, to store your bags for you.
Tip: For a quirky, modern hotel close to everything, stay at Yotel
In the evening we met up again with our local New York "guide" and had an amazing dinner out at Tao. I'm still dreaming about this meal, simply amazing asian fusion type place. Have the thai crab cakes as an appetizer, and then defiantly order the sea bass. Excellent! The atmosphere is really neat too, which includes a 16 foot tall Buddha and a pool complete with Japanese carp.
Tip: For amazing food, check out Tao
After dinner we walked back to the hotel through Times Square and saw all the bright lights and the huge crowd.
We headed out this morning and experienced the NYC subway for the first time. We exited at Columbus Circle and the southern tip of Central Park. We had a lot of fun wondering around Central Park (although it was like 40 degrees with humidity!). To get out of the heat we decided to visit the American Museum of Natural History, which was really interesting and a great way to cool off.
Tip: Go to the museums in the morning when there is a lot less crowds
Closer to dinner time we walked the High Line Park, which was an abandoned railway that was converted into a modern city park. I recommend walking along here, it's a great way to get from mid town to downtown, and the views are amazing, especially closer to the downtown end.
Tip: Visit the High Line Park for great views and nice city walk
For dinner we went to a place called Spice Market in the Meatpacking District. Another asian fusion type place, but more centred around Indian cuisine. Also extremely delicious! Have the pork belly steamed buns with asian pear and shiso, and for dessert try the pandan mallowmar, cocoa macaroons with toasted coconut ice cream, amazing and so different!
Tip: Eat at Spice Market
This morning we headed straight downtown to see the new World Trade Centre and the 9/11 Memorial. Last time I was in New York the Twin Towers were still standing. It was quite emotional to go back to this site, the memories of that day came flooding back to me. The memorial itself is quite well done, it creates a bit of a disturbing feeling while looking down into the deep hole where to two towers once stood. Like everything in New York you have to line up, but we were there quite early and the lines moved fast. It's defiantly worth seeing.
Tip: Do visit the 9/11 Memorial, but get there early
After visiting the memorial, we wondered down to the water and walked along the river to the South Street Historic Seaport District and the Brooklyn Bridge. This is a historic area that they have transformed into parks, restaurants, and shops, and there is a lot less tourists here too. While investigating, we noticed one of those discount theatre ticket places, like the one in Times Square, with no line! So we jumped in and got some tickets to see Newsies for 50% off! So if you find yourself wanting discount theatre tickets head down to the seaport. It's still the same company that runs the one in Times Square, but with a shorter line.
Tip: Visit the South Street Historic Seaport District for
shops, restaurants and discount theatre tickets
After our show in the evening, we went for a walk and ended up ascending the Rockefeller Centre to take in the views of the city at night. This is a great alternative to the Empire State Building to see the city from above. The clouds had cleared out by then, and the city just seemed to go on forever. Such a great weekend away!
Tip: Visit the Rockefeller Centre as an alternative to the Empire State Building