Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Holt Renfrew Northern Lights Christmas Shop

One of my favourite stops during my Christmas shopping is the annual Christmas Food Hall, at my favourite Department Store here in Toronto, Holt Renfrew. This year the Food Hall is called the Northern Lights Store which features an international Christmas food selection from London's Fortnum and Mason and famous Parisian food stores Fauchon and Mariage Freres. There are also delicious shortbread and chocolate chip cookies made by local Canadian bakeries around Toronto. The display inside the Store follows the sparkle and whimsical Northen Lights window display outside the store. Just being here with all of the delicious food selections and colourful Christmas packaging feels so special and magical to shop around. 

See how the holiday windows came to life on this video.

View Holt Renfrew's  Holiday 2014 Gifts Magazine.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Northern Lights

 It's a Christmas tradition here at the Blog to present the Holt Renfrew Bloor Street, Toronto store's Christmas windows. For this year, Holts Bloor was inspired by the Canadian Northern Lights during our winter season. The windows are showcasing the magical and starry night of the Canadian winter  full of stylish clothes for both men and women together with some Canadian wildlife like the deer in gold and silver, the swans, exotic birds and of course lots of snow. As I edited this feature together here, I realised that the photos are so dramatic with the sparkling stars and a melange of colours from silver, blue, white, gold, green and magenta.  Holts Christmas windows are one of the best in our city.  I hope you will feel inspired with some high style Christmas spirit here with a touch of the Canadian northern lights. 


Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Michelangelo: Quest For Genius

 Last Weekend, we visited the Art Gallery Of Ontario (AGO) to view their latest exhibition about Michelangelo: Quest For Genius. The exhibit showed several of Michelangelo's drawings from his Casa Buonarroti Museum in Florence. These drawings showed Michelangelo's creative process in completing his masterpieces. In every genius there were torment, struggles and then mastery. Michelangelo learnt to draw people from actual live models and cadavers. He drew every human body part, down to the muscles and individual features of the model. He used these drawings as practice to create the Sistine Chapel ceiling, the Last Judgement, his paintings and sculptural works like the Pieta and David. This exhibit showed Michelangelo's humanity and at the same time his master genius. Michelangelo is for me the best artist of them all just because he created the Sistine Chapel ceiling, the last Judgement, the Pieta and David. These are priceless masterpieces that show the history of mankind and connects us to the great power of God. 
 Michelangelo's drawing of the head as his practise to create the Sistine Chapel.
The drawing on the right is the Madonna and Child. 

French sculptor, Auguste Rodin, greatly admired Michelangelo. Rodin traveled to Florence and Rome to study Michelangelo's technique. Rodin applied what he learnt to his bronze sculptures that are displayed in Paris at the Musee Rodin. The Exhibit here at the AGO included some of Rodin's sculptures to compliment Michelangelo's drawings. View here Holt Renfrew's tribute to the Exhibit titled Renaissance Woman which celebrated these masterpieces by Michelangelo and Rodin with Fashion. (Photo credit: Holts Muse)

Michelangelo Exhibit is now at the AGO till January 11, 2015. 

Saturday, 6 December 2014

12 Trees: The Toronto Edition

 Now we begin our Christmas Edition here on the Blog. Presenting here the 12 Trees The Toronto Edition currently on exhibit at the Gardiner Museum in Toronto. This has become an annual Christmas event in the Museum featuring 12 Trees designed with annual theme. This year, the Trees were designed by 12 well known Toronto designers featuring the different areas of our City. Viewing the decorated Christmas Trees was like touring around Toronto featuring the diverse areas and characteristics of our dear City. The exhibit is showing now till December 14th. Check these out as they may give you an inspiration in decorating your own Tree. Have you started decorating your home for this coming Christmas season? Here are some Christmas Tree inspirations. 
 Unique In The World, designed by the Museum featuring the ceramic Christmas decors sold in the Museum Shop.
 The Gardiner Museum is known as the Ceramic Museum in Toronto.
 The Furry Friends Of Forest Hill.
 Forest Hill is the one of oldest and richest neighbourhood in Toronto. In this area, we find huge Georgian style mansions. This tree featured the neighbourhood with the mansions, the local coffee cafe living side by side with its furry friends especially the infamous Raccoon Santa.
 This is one of my favourite trees. So elegantly designed by Teatro Verde. I loved how they designed the Tree starting from the bottom then going up by grouping all of the bronze decor at the bottom, then the white decor, the pinks and pastel colours and ending on the top with the golden decors. 
 It's All Greek To Me, featuring Danforth Avenue which is the Greektown here in Toronto.
 Northern Lights designed by my favourite Department Store here in Toronto, Holt Renfrew. 
Next week, I will feature their Christmas windows with the same title, Northern Lights.
 The Tree was designed with white doves, owl, golden and silver balls. Can you spot me?
 Dragons and Fauna, featuring Toronto's Chinatown.
 This Tree in red, green and gold featured some Chinese dragons, crackers and flowers.
 Hockey Town, of course, Toronto is a hockey town.
 Toronto is the centre of hockey especially during our long winter season. 
 A Steampunk Christmas, featuring Toronto's Distillery District. 
The decor features mechanical designs which can be found in the Industrial buildings in the Distillery District.
 Bright Lights, Big City,  celebrates the Mirvish Village neighbourhood known for the big lights of the discount store, Honest Ed's. 
 I love the festive decor of this Tree with balloons, trumpets, champagne flutes and musical notes.
 This Tree was designed by the famous Toronto Interior Designers, Stephen and Chris.
Lastly, don't forget to leave a note for Santa with your special request for this Christmas. 

Happy decorating for this Christmas Season!

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Discover 10 Things Not To Do In Paris

 1. Don't Shop on the Champs Elysee.

The Conde Nast Traveler Magazine published this article, 10 Things Not To Do In Paris written by Christina Henry de Tessan which has been quite popular around the Web. The article provided more tips into Paris that mostly a local would know and showcased more insight into Paris than the more obvious tourist spots. This article encourages us to go beyond what we see and to explore Paris more.
 Luckily, I read this article after my trip to Paris because if I had read it before I would be so bias. It turned out that my trip to Paris turned out somewhat similar to Christina's list. On this visit to Paris, I planned to explore places that I haven't been to. I discovered so much more by taking the bus, by taking walks, by getting a bit lost and visiting Museums and Parks that were never on my list before. So through my photos, I was able to match her list with some of the places that I visited. I am sharing here some of my tips too.
Don't shop along the Champs Elysee. Instead, shop on the Left Bank along the Rue Bonaparte (first photo above) and along the Rue de Rennes which is lined with traditional French boutiques offering gloves, shoes, clothing and accessories. 
Local French Shoe Boutiques along the Rue de Rennes.
I was turned off by Champs Elysee now as it is now turning into a centre for foreign brands like Banana Republic and next year J. Crew will open a store there. The more local French brands are found in the smaller streets in Paris. 

 2. Don't Get Star stuck on Mealtimes.
The best advise to experience the best restaurants in Paris is during lunch time. It is not too busy and not too expensive. Also do not hesitate to try the local Bistros in the neighbourhood.

 3. Don't Spend All Day at the Louvre or the Musee D'Orsay.
When I was in Paris, I visited the Natural History Museum's Grande Galerie De L'Evolution  and the Galeries D'Anatomie both located at the beautiful Les Jardin des Plantes.
There are other smaller Museums worth visiting in Paris like the Musee De L'Orangerie, Musee Picasso and the Musee Rodin. 
  4. Don't Commit a Fashion Faux Pas.
By looking like a tourist going on a hike. Leave your shorts and sneakers at home. You do not have to look like the Parisians as they naturally have style and are so chic. But at least make an effort like this local Parisian to wear dress pants, nice coat and sensible shoes.
I caught this super stylish Parisian near the Palais du Luxembourg. 
 5. Don't Get Around Town In A Cab.
One of the things I enjoyed was riding the local Bus around Paris. I discovered so many areas around Paris that I would not see from a local Tour Group. It is also safer than the underground Metro and offers the best views of the City.
 6. Don't Seek Out Bohemian Ambiance On The Left Bank.
Honestly, there is no such thing as a Bohemian ambiance on the Left Bank. Seek out other areas on the Left Bank like the Place Saint Sulpice above which is surrounded by Cafes and Shops.

Also explore Rue du Bac. 
The University area of La Sorbonne at Boulevard St Michel. 
 7. Don't Waste Time At The Eiffel Tower.
When you ride the Bus or walk around Paris, you will discover that you will see the Eiffel Tower in so many spots around the City.

8. Don't Book the Cheapest Hotel.
 9. Don't Fill Up on Croissants.
Although the best croissants in the World for me is in Paris, try the Pain raisin, the macarons, Pain almond and also their local quiche.
Delicious quiche in Paris.
10. Don't Buy Into Stereotypes.
Best advise from this article is to try to understand and to imitate the local customs and you'll be rewarded for your efforts. Try to speak some french phrases and great them  with a friendly Bonjour and then Au revoir  which will do wonders for you during your visit to Paris.

Bon Weekend mes amis!