Saturday, November 14, 2015


We can never understands the minds of those who can so mercilessly and so easily take the lives of others.

We can only respond with love and empathy and hope for better days ahead.

Paris is the city of my heart. I love it unabashedly and I love the people who live there. Parisians are often accused of being rude or cold or unsentimental. They are none of those things.

The images of last night - the terror, the anguish, the unstinting heroics, the sports fans leaving the stadium spontaneously singing Le Marseillaise - are etched in my soul today.

Many of the locations were mere blocks from where Barry and I stayed in September. We walked those neighbourhoods and adored them. We will do so again. And like my friends and other favourite city, New York City, Parisians will not be bested.

But today they can use our prayers. As can those who commit these acts of atrocities. Peace on Earth.

Je suis Parisienne.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Those Marketing Families who get me every time...

Tis that time of year again.

You know: the one where the big corporations develop compelling marketing campaigns that make us want to buy their products.

Doesn't everyone want to be more beautiful, look more ravishing, dress the best, and have meaningful family moments all at the same time? I know I do! :-)

The kind of marketing I am most vulnerable to this time of year is marketing that portrays happy families. I grew up in a relatively happy family, and my parents gave good Christmas, but we didn't live in that big old farmhouse surrounded by horses and dozens of cousins (although I did get to visit such a world when I visited my friend Nancy!).

The first time I remember being "gotten" by the marketers was those Folgers coffee ads. You know the one - Peter the son sneaking into the house and surprising his family at Christmas, making the coffee...

I am particularly susceptible to it this year thanks to my son being away at University.


Damn, that makes me teary just looking at the still!

But this year, Lands End has been able to push all of my buttons. Have you seen their catalogues?

That beautiful extended family, home to see Grandma and Grandpa, who are the new kind of Grandma and Grandpa: hot!

Ah the beauty! The joy! Thumb through the catalogue and you will find yourself yearning to be invited to the fake grandparent's house (Look - it's Barry and Wendy, in from Canada!) If Canadians succeed at sentimental hockey and Tim Hortons advertising, then Americans own Thanksgiving and Christmas - or at least their marketers do.

You all know I love Christmas. Always will. I do find myself in that weird in-between season of life - grown-up children, no grandchildren, which makes Christmas fun, but perhaps not as magical as it was when my kids were younger. And this week is the anniversary of both of my parents' deaths (convenient of them in some ways, cruel in others) that makes me think of happy families and cozy Christmases.

So hats off to you Lands End. I have discovered I need a fire engine red cashmere pullover and tartan scarf. I need to make twice as many desserts as we can possibly eat. I need to make my son make me coffee as soon as he arrives home in December.

And we say we are immune to marketing...

How about you? Any advertising attracting you these days?

Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Gloriousness of a Decorating Book that speaks to you...

Happy Halloween!

Here is the truth: I suck at Halloween.  I pretty much gloss over the whole event, and in our neck of the woods, we only get 6 or 7 trick or treaters, so that's easy enough to do!  I will shower them with the little chocolate bars I've bought so I don't eat them all.  My willpower is very poor these days, although I am a faithful visitor to my treadmill...

Anyway, come late fall I start looking around for a few books to ask for from the big man (Barry, no Santa, although they are interchangeable really). This year, three books top my list:

1) Modern Mix: Curating Personal Style with Chic & Accessible Finds by Eddie Ross

I follow Eddie on Instagram and I love him!  And I have thumbed through this book at Chapters and I love, love, love what I've seen!

He has such an eye and he just bubbles with joie de vivre!  This is an expensive book (in Canada) but worth every penny I think.  I see this as a bit of a bible for the likes of me!

2) French Chic Living: Simple Ways to Make Your Home Beautiful by Florence de Dampierre                              

I just got back from France as you know and I still miss it.  I adore France. And when I saw this book at my local book shop, I knew it would be on the top of my list this fall!  This book is beautiful, from the pictures to the little "secrets" and tips.  I swoon just looking at the cover....

3) House Beautiful's Pink


I am definitely in a pink mood these days.  I adore the colour and used sparingly (or daringly!) it can be such a wonderful thing in a home!

To be honest, I did scan through Ellen DeGeneres' new style book, but it wasn't for me - too modern - although there are beautiful pictures and she definitely has great talent in renovating and decorating houses!

Finally, if you didn't buy it last year after I slagged it to death, Novel Interiors by Lisa Borgnes Giramonti still tops my list for a book that I turn to again and again and again!

How about you? Any home d├ęcor books on your wishlists this year?  Do tell!

xoxo Wendy

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Some thoughts about our new Prime Minister

By now many of you know that Canada has a new Prime Minister. For those of you who do not, he is young (not yet 45), has three small children and an accomplished, beautiful wife, and is the son of former Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau.

Prime Minister Elect Justin Trudeau

Three years ago, he was an object of derision, a man few Canadians felt to be "ready" for such an important post.

But people are not black and white. They are not caricatures. They make mistakes, but they are not their mistakes.

And the ruling government forgot two crucial things:

1) people get tired of you after ten years; and
2) people like to hope for something.

Time will tell if Trudeau will suffer the same fate as President Obama, swept into office on a sea of hope and optimism, only to be dashed against the rocks later when he could not achieve all he'd hoped to achieve.

People have chinks. People can be stupid. And I hope that Canada will allow Prime Minister Trudeau to make mistakes and not simply toss him aside when he does so.

It is not easy being Prime Minister. It's not easy being human. We voted him into office (well enough Canadians did), now we have to try and help him.

The future, whether in Canada or the rest of the world, belongs to those who recognize that we are all in this together, and that while running for high office has its perks, it is also one of the loneliest, difficult jobs one can have.  

History is the ultimate judge of our politicians, but it is also a judge of us. He cannot make the changes we asked for without us standing with him.

Good luck Mr. Prime Minister!

#CAbi Girl Inspiration:

Monday, October 19, 2015

Sweater Weather

I am a sweater girl in the winter.

I own few blouses, for a variety of reasons, and always prefer knits - so comfy, so forgiving, so perfect for the winters here.

And this is the fall and winter of knits.

I got started on thinking about sweaters over at Wardrobe Icons, where Laura has been obsessed by what she calls 'jumper dressing' and there was nothing I wanted more this fall than something by Joseph, which of course the budget would not allow!

But never mind, there are jumper dressing options available at many price points, plus don't we all have many pullovers and cardigans in our wardrobes just waiting to be paired already?

This Joe Fresh knit dress is cozy when worn with a cardigan or jacket and at $35 on sale, a deal.

I also picked up this navy skirt from Joe Fresh for $17 and it looks wonderful with my navy cashmere T-shirt from J Crew.


I also found this long knit skirt from a local shop and I truly adore it:

It is a wool-mohair blend and looks great with my riding boots.

Of course we can always dig through our closets:

Gosh, you can see my t-shirt bunched up under there...
 And I am dying to wear a black cashmere skirt from White and Warren that I found new with tags on ebay for $30 in May!

Just add tights!

I love this cozy sweater dressing and hope it lasts a few more seasons, although I am pleased I managed to purchase some great finds for a song.

So yes, perhaps the Joseph dress (or something else by this wonderful line) is in my future, but in the meantime, it has happily inspired me to search for cheaper options today.

How about you? Are you sweater dressing?

do tell!

xoxo wendy


Monday, October 12, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hi all!

We are having a delightful weekend here. Dear son is home, and while he is busy beavering away at an assignment today, it is wonderful to have him home.


We had a delicious dinner yesterday and were pleased with one of the cousins was here to share it with us. Lots of fun!
The biggest hit was a dish I actually made for my son who is vegan. It was Nigella Lawson's roast stuffed pumpkin with a tomato-ginger sauce. Divine!

I have much to be thankful for this year. My family, good friends, my breakthrough in publishing. Most of all, I am thankful for my health and the realization that we can always learn and change. Some of those learnings are precipitated by mistakes, some by happy experiences; both are equally valuable.

I wish all my Canadian friends a wonderful Thanksgiving Day, and for the rest of you, a peaceful Monday!

Oh and one more thing: Go Jays!

down, but not out....

xoxo Wendy

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The joys of travel, the perils of over-packing, and the happiness of returning home

Is there anything quite as nice as going on a trip?

The answer is yes: returning home! 

I have been back for a week and apologize profusely for not checking in earlier.

I've been busy catching up on housework, writing, exercising and generally enjoying being home again.

I also had to immediately swap my summer clothing for its fall cousins; when I left on the 20th it was 24C, when I returned it was freezing!  Now it seems to have settled into something in between.

I think it is hard to encapsulate a trip, and those of you who follow me on Instagram know I was a frequent picture taker (and an unabashed fan of the quality of the photos my Samsung smart phone took!).

you don't need an Instagram account to see these, just go to :

Highlights for me?

Stopping for that first glass of rose at the St. Regis, our tradition.

Living in a Parisian neighbourhood for almost a week.

It is a completely different experience when you live in an apartment, go to the same Boulangerie each morning, the same marche, the same cafes. We stayed in the Marais arrondisement and found it absolutely delightful.

Our apartment was also topknotch. We originally found it through Air B&B, but what I liked was that the property was owned by a management company that had several lovely properties. It was clean, comfortable and quiet. And oh-so-charming!

The view out our window into our charming Passage...

On more than one occasion on this trip I thought of chucking everything
 to move to Paris to run a flower shop!

A garden in our neighbourhood

A stumble-upon for us was a new restaurant right around the corner: Le Mazenay. Only open for four weeks, the food was amazing and the server, delightful. We had planned to go another night, but tourist things detained us. Very inexpensive and very good!

I also loved having lunch at Ralph Lauren's flagship store off St. Germain. It was as exquisite as it could be - food, service, atmosphere conspired to make you feel like Ralph's guest. I am sure he looked in the guest book for my name after I left...

Before we went to Ralph's we visited Ines de le Fressange's store.  Charming, but way over-priced in my opinion...

We did little in the way of museums this time, but we did manage to hit the Pompidou finally. What a great space!  So much to marvel at!!!

Mostly though, we walked. And walked. And walked. And then walked some more. I can happily report that those Naturalizer boots were the bomb. They saved me.

Funkiest place we visited? Deyrolles, home of all things taxidermy:

As for the rest of my packing. Sadly, I overpacked. Two of the three dresses and one skirt were never worn. It was simply freezing most evening and I had no desire to freeze my knickers!  Live and learn I say....

Our shopping was somewhat limited by time, interest and money, but I did manage to find some fun shoes and boots for a cheap price that I loved, as well as a Stella Foret white silk-mohair pullover.

Next we headed to Bruges. I had driven through Belgium en route to Holland several years ago, but  staying in Belgium was a treat. People were so friendly and the countryside was gorgeous! Bruges was like stepping out of the 21st century into the 15th. In fact, the hotel we stayed in, Martin's Relais, was originally five merchants' houses combined and it was exquisite.

They upgraded us to a suite at no extra charge (we did not ask for that) and our room overlooking the canal (and the swans, how I love swans) was movie-set worthy.

We walked the cobblestone streets, rode them in a horse and carriage and took a boat ride along the canals.

The food was good (though no France) and I would go there again in a heartbeat. My favourite tourist spot there was The Historium, which recreates the day in the life of a young man in 1435.

Our view

Four hundred year old homes around every corner

And the canals...

In the Carriage.
We couldn't stop saying "horses, horses, horses" as we clip-clopped our way through Bruges


I expect heaven will look like Bruges, and be decorated by Ralph Lauren

Back to Paris for one more night and one more hotel. Hotel Notre Dame is central, overlooking Notre Dame Cathedral, and whimsically decorated, but noisy, and the night we were there, the Brasserie below had a band, which made it difficult to sleep. So while I thought it lovely, I'd recommend this hotel only to deep and easy sleepers!

I never get tired of Paris...

Truly, it was a magical experience and a wonderful place to share our 30th wedding anniversary!  We are already planning #35, which I think may be a Rhine River Cruise if we can ever get dear son through uni. Will keep you posted!!!!

How about you? Up to anything exciting?

xoxo wendy