autumn awesomeness

I am a devoted CBC Radio One nutter. One of my favourite programs is Tapestry. Though I lament the loss of The Verve's Bitter Sweet Symphony as its theme music, the show never fails to inspire and educate me. Host Mary Hynes has an interview style that I identify with. She is always truly engrossed in the words of the interviewee. If you aren't familiar with Tapestry, I will describe it loosely as a program about spirituality. But here's how the show describes itself:

"...an hour in which rabbis and poets get equal time on the topic of faith, science-fiction writers and physicist-priests ponder the great creation myths, athletes explore the hero's journey as a spiritual metaphor, and architects examine the idea of space for the soul."

Awesome. Tapestry recently did a program about Hope. One of the interviewed guests for the hour was Neil Pasricha. Neil is the blogger and author behind the 1000 Awesome Things phenomenon. The program and interview came at a time when I had begun to freshly appreciate some small but awesome things around me. All this at the height of a season I believe to be the most awesome, autumn. As a tribute to Neil and Mary, I thought I might share my own little list of awesome.

Farrow & Ball Jo Malone Lime Basil & Mandarin poured scented candle in a glass to match the Farrow & Ball paint colour Breakfast Room Green. The scent and colour are perfection for my living room. Farrow & Ball: awesome. Jo Malone: awesome. Together: awesome x 2. The line was limited edition, so it may be tough to track these down...rare: even more awesome.

I once likened having this machine in my space to parking a Mini on my kitchen counter. It hogs a big chunk of counter space in my wee city kitchen. But oh my goodness it is quite fantastic. I've been revelling lately in the ritual of preparing lattes with this fantastic thing. The loud whir of the milk steamer is so profesh. Brings me back to my barista days at the Second Cup. Breville Barista Express: awesome. IKEA Pokal latte glass: awesome.

Last spring when I put my boots away I thought to myself "Next winter I'll likely need to shell out for a new pair of boots." Most people would revel at the thought. Me, meh. Sure, I like new boots, but I don't live and breathe for shoe/boot shopping. It was with some trepidation that I unearthed this pair from their hibernation spot. These things are 5 years old and I have worn the heck out of them every season since buying them. They've taken me through 12-hour scouting days in Toronto, and around London, New York and Paris for long tourism and trade show days. Beaten by snow, salt, rain, mud, and, as I discovered when I retrieved them, a dose of mildew. I treated them to a thorough cleaning and polishing -- I learned that from my Dad. He was in the Naval reserve and knows how to polish shoes to a high shine. I remember when I was a kid he would carefully place newspapers down every couple of weeks and methodically clean and shine every pair of his shoes. I was enthralled. I learned. My delight with these boots came partly in the process of cleaning them -- the hard-finish leather takes a shine beautifully. But the real bliss came when I put them on. It was like slipping on a perfectly worked-in baseball glove. I was transformed. Confident, stylish, authoritative, even a touch taller. My favourite old boots: awesome. The fact that they only cost $75 new and yet have lasted this long: awesome. Learning how to polish shoes from my Dad: awesome.

My bedroom. Since the room photo was taken I added the West Elm Nail Head headboard (shown above). I've been sleeping extraordinarily well lately and am very thankful for it. Today's the day when I switch it from summer to autumn mode. To do that I add velvet bed hangings to what you see. The white linen ones stay as lining for the velvet ones. The effect is cocoonlike. And considering the room has large patio doors, the fabric isn't just for show - it excludes drafts. 


One of my favourite sources for bedding is Au Lit Fine Linens. I had the privilege of meeting and working with Peggy Byron this year. She founded Au Lit, and her daughter Joanna Goodman is breathing fun new life into this incredible company. I admire both of them for their great knowledge, passion, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit. Their life's work is to bring beauty and quality to your home. It is a high calling. I urge you to treat yourself to something from the shop in Toronto (I have a featherbed on my must-buy list). I'm also loving Joanna's gorgeous and informative blog, Between the Sheets.

My bed: awesome. Velvet bed hangings: awesome. Au Lit Fine Linens: awesome. Between the Sheets: awesome.

Printed little gems that land magically in my mailbox. Every page inspires a new idea, a dream, a plan. J. Crew catalogue: awesome. House Beautiful: awesome.

Now please, find 54 minutes in your life, visit the Tapestry web site and have a listen to the episode called Hope (find it at the Featured Audio section on lower right of the screen). 

What is awesome to you this autumn? What do you hope for?

what is margot wearing?

Hey bloggersons, I know I'm no James Andrew, but today I'd like to tell you the little story of what I'm wearing. When I left the house, hubs teased me and said I was dressed like a kid. I've decided to post it here for your review. What do you think? If he's right, then I've got to do this more often. The barista boy at Starbucks called me Miss instead of Ma'am -- so this youthful thing might just be working. 


1. Phillip Lim 3.1 Beatrice sunglasses. A gift (swag) from my good friends at Holts. They are a touch fashiony for me, but the quality is amazing. My first non-$10 glasses since I splurged on Ray Bans in the '80s. I am hooked. Also, have a bit of a soft spot in my heart for Phillip Lim. Not only does he have a pair of sunglasses in his line called Margot, but he is also a fellow Frenchie lover. 

Phillip Lim 3.1 Margot sunglassesPhillip Lim's Frenchie Oliver models a sweater designed my him.








2. Pink linen scarf/wrap from ELTE. I'm quite addicted to scarves. They're almost like an adult blankie: Body camouflage, a pop of colour and texture, and some fringe to fidget with. Love the crinkliness of my linen scarf. Truthfully this colour is all wrong for me -- washed out at best and accentuating the pinky tones in my skin at worst -- but I can't help it, I just LOVE the colour.

3. White cotton popover top with pleated front detail, Old Navy. Soft and simple. I don't bother ironing it either -- sometimes a quick steam with my hand-held Rowenta steamer.

4. Joe Fresh slim jeans. So soft, narrow but not too skinny, perfect ankle length, washed finish. I just got these and am already living in them -- must get another pair pronto!

5. My new black leather J. Crew tote. I'm so picky with handbags -- don't like grommets, buckles, bells and whistles -- in six months these always make a bag look dated. This one's just right: not too big, since I'm only 5ft 2in but not too small, since I tote files, mags and samples regularly. Love this one.

6. New blush leather brogues with grosgrain ribbon laces, TopShop. Ooooh, of all the shoe eye candy at TopShop I spotted these right away. The last pair in the whole store, and despite being 2 sizes larger than what I normally wear, these fit like a glove and feel like slippers -- it was shoe fate! My colleague Julia described them as ballet-meets-bowling. Love that. I've never done a pliée, but have been known to hit the lanes. 5-pin is my game. Did you know 5-pin bowling is Canadian?

7. Cargo hooded parka, Uniqlo. Uniqlo is one of my fave stores on earth -- Japanese minimal meets fashion capsule. Some of the clothes have a junior fit but some are just perfection -- and always cheap.

So that is the little story of what I wore today. 

ode to simple

Mud Australia

Sometimes you just don't need gilt or filigree, or carving or cabriole. Sometimes, well, quite often actually, simple is best. Simple is good, straightforward honest design that just makes you go, ahhh, perfect. Nothing to hide, not a bell or whistle in sight. It comes down to quality materials and just enough design, but not too much. You might cheat on simple occasionally, but you will always come back. You can't live without simple. Here's my celebration of the best of simple. Do you have any simple faves?

seating for dining, Ilse Crawfordmortar & pestle, Labour & Wait

brush and dustpan, Labour & WaitFarm table, Design Within Reach


Robin Day chairchinos, Gap

carafe, IKEA

notebook, Muji


brogues, J. Crewstapler, Swingline




laundry tote, Muji







































Kulla, IKEA


Canadian flag, designed by George F. Stanley and John Matheson