eye candy…

Want to see some FAB photos from my Christmas shoot with uber-talented Janis Nicolay? Behold the wonder, the beauty, the brilliance…too much? I didn’t think so either. I can just tell that I’m going to use way too many exclamation marks in this post!!!

copyright 2010 Janis Nicolay for Nicole Jane Home

copyright 2010 Janis Nicolay for Nicole Jane Home

copyright 2010 Janis Nicolay for Nicole Jane Home

Janis took 63 shots during the shoot, so keep your eyes on Nicole Jane Home to see the rest of them throughout the Christmas season!!! They’re fabulous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Reisenthel loop shopper…

I just sent this newsletter out to my subscribers. I’ve been giving the orange Loop Shopper a “test drive” for the past week. I was concerned that the handles might not be comfortable, but happily my hypothesis was completely wrong. It really is quite lightweight and the handles are comfortable over my arm or in my hands. The manufacturer claims that it fits over your shoulder, but I don’t find it easy to wear that way. The bag is quite spacious–last night I took it to an event where I was volunteering, and I tucked my purse, my coat and an extra pair of comfortable shoes in it. Most importantly (’cause let’s face it, I’m vain), I got lots of comments and questions about the bag.

sparkling hill resort…

I recently visited the new Sparkling Hill Resort just south of Vernon in the beautiful Okanagan Valley. Let me just say…WOWSA!!! You want Swarovski crystals…they’ve got ’em by the bucket loads!! It was developed by one of the Swarovski family members, and it’s an amazing showcase of crystals. Even the dazzling front entryway is designed in the shape of a crystal.

photo source: Sparkling Hill Resort

I didn’t get a chance to see any of the guest rooms, but I have it on very good authority that they are gorgeous. I believe the exact words my girlfriend said were, “…nicest hotel room I’ve ever stayed in.”

photo source: Sparkling Hill Resort

There are crystals everywhere! They’re even embedded in the walls lining the driveway, the staircase handrails and the signs for the washrooms.

The view overlooking Lake Okanagan is absolutely stunning. There are lots of siting areas and gathering spots where you can enjoy it. If you’re a golfer, it’s just up the hill from Predator Ridge Golf Club.

The spa looked stunning. Their website lists all the amazing spa treatments you can get (I love the sound of the circulation circuit pools my Aunt Jacquie used when she stayed at the resort).

photo source: Sparkling Hill Resort

Of course, the crystal chandeliers are spectacular throughout, but this was one of my favorites!

What do you think the chances are that Mark will organize a romantic getaway for just the two of us? You’re right! I’m going to book it myself!!!!

Oh, by the way, I’m in no way being paid by Sparkling Hill to promote them…but hey, I’m certainly not above taking a free night or seven…just sayin’!!!

interior design show west…

I visited the Interior Design Show West in Vancouver’s new Convention Centre on Friday. There were lots of fabulous products on hand and I spent the whole time saying to myself, “Yes, yes, yes. I’m going to redo the living room, no wait, the kitchen…er…the bathroom…nope…the front door has to go!”

Who doesn’t love IKEA? This was their show-stopping display with over-sized daisy light fixtures. Fantastic!

Barker Manufacturing from Victoria produces the most amazing solid wood interior/exterior doors. Many of the surfaces are chiseled with an adz for a stunning effect. My photos just don’t do them justice.

Bloom Furniture Studio carries this sexy little number. It would look perfect in a front entrance or home office!

This little piece of Italian-designed heaven called to me from across the crowded showroom floor. I am in looooove. Apparently Calligaris Vancouver carries them in bar stools as well. If you check out the Calligaris website, you’ll see all their colors and styles (it’s available in orange too).

This is another Calligaris chair.

Liberty’s rockstar bar cart was stunning. So sexy, so sophistimicated, so should be mine!!!!!

vintage love letters…

My girlfriend, Ann, has a wonderful collection of vintage love letters she framed and hung in her home. When I saw her collection, it took my breath away, because it was such a beautiful idea. Ann asked her mother if she had any old letters from family members, and her mother came up with a collection of love letters and letters of support from her extended Danish family.

Each of the letters is handwritten and some are in Danish. It’s a wonderful tribute to good old fashioned letter writing, but most importantly, it’s  a tribute to love. I’m going to call my mom and see if she has a collection of family letters, but my theme will be gossip!!!!

shop hop in style…

I get giddy when boxes of new products arrive. I was positively jumping up and down when my Reisenthel order arrived!

photo source: Janis Nicolay for Nicole Jane Home

I dove into the boxes, ripping and tearing like a kid on Christmas ’til I reached my favorite new bag! I’m going to take it with me to the Interior Design Show West in Vancouver today. I’m sure it will turn heads!! Especially ’cause I’m a readhead! Can’t wait.

I also brought in these adorable shopping bags, and I can’t wait to take them to the grocery store. I’m going to give them as hostess gifts and stocking stuffers this Christmas–might just have to re-order stock ’cause I’m buying all of it (WHATEVER YOU DO, DON’T TELL MARK!!!).

Thanks for your advice (see the reisenthel roulette poll here). I ordered your favorite shopping baskets B, D, E and F (I’m still waiting for the F, it’s backordered). They’re gorgeous online and in person! Maybe I’ll give myself a new one for Halloween or U.S. Thanksgiving!

sexy canning jars…

Not bad for a headline, eh (how can you tell I’m a Canuck)? There’s a method to my madness and it will all come together in a messy lump at the end of the post, just like most of my pie crusts!

Last Thursday, Mark and I jumped into the Volvo and burned rubber to the big city (Vancouver, duh!). It’s been a while since I’ve given myself time to go on a grown-up field trip, which is always such a good shake up for the creative right side of my brain (take that left side analytical, logical stick-in-the-mud!).

We stopped in at Belle’s Cafe for a coffee to go and I stupidly passed up an opportunity to inhale one of these beautiful pear tarts crafted by their pastry chef…so far this fieldtrip sucks!

Don’t worry, I started to making smarter choices by the time I arrived at the mecca of all meccas for foodie aficionados–Gourmet Warehouse. If you’ve never been, don’t be put off by the dodgy, “lock your doors” location on East Hastings off Clarke drive (yes, it’s just south of the docks). It’s full of the most magical cooking equipment and ingredients! Where else are you going to find the most coveted bacon lip balm and sexy canning jars?

If you love to cook, this is the place to hang out. I never get tired of trolling the isles here. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come here hunting for birthday cake ideas and ingredients. You want chocolate…they’ve got chocolate. You want a bazillion types of sprinkles…they’ve got gazillions!

I even did some Christmas shopping. Shhhhh…don’t tell my sister!!! Guess which one I’m going to buy for her.

Now it’s time to head downtown to check in with our techie genius consultant, Rob Stocks from Idealever (developed the Nicole Jane Home website) for an ego-boosting cheer leading session (Rob is just good for the soul). We met at Medina Cafe, a fabulous restaurant on Beatty Street (right next to sister restaurant, Chambar–another amazing restaurant).

photo source: Medina Cafe website

My mouth is watering just thinking about the Boulettes I had (spicy moroccan meatballs in a roasted vegetable sauce with houmus, raita and grilled foccacia). While I sipped my drink du jour–chilled chardonnay (I know…boring). Mark and Rob enjoyed a couple of their specialty beers.

We staggered out of Medina (If I could have undone my waistband without scaring everyone, I would have!) and I spotted Provide across the street. It was love at first sight in this lovely home decor boutique! They carry gorgeous high-end pieces that you can’t easily find in other shops. I met one of the owners, Robert, who was gracious enough to allow me to take some pictures to share with you. I fell in love with the gorgeous felted wool shopping bags and “bloom” tables designed with cast resin tops and salvaged tree stump bases!

To round off the day, we stopped in at Fieldstone’s on the way home. It’s my favorite french bakery in Ocean Park (our neighborhood). I was still sulking about not eating the pear tarts, so I indulged in one of their cinnamon buns of pure buttery bliss!!! Ha! Take that diet!!!!

millionaire matchmaker style…

Yes, I admit it, I love Millionaire Matchmaker–it’s one of my guilty pleasures. It makes me wipe my brow and say, “Phew! Sure glad it’s not me.” after each episode.

photo credit: Bravotv.com

I was delighted to watch an episode in which Patti Stanger, the matchmaker, gushes about a sweet little product that I carry on Nicole Jane Home–silver fortune cookie gift boxes. They open on a hinge to reveal any number of  delightful little paper fortunes, or, better yet, engagement rings (wink, wink, nudge, nudge to all the single folks out there)! Patti thinks they would make fabulous favors at her wedding reception–I concur! I suspect it’s an old episode and she’s probably already married–wonder if she ended up using them or not???

living library wall…

I was delighted to spot this magical transformation going on at our local Semiahmoo Library. This living garden wall is the best thing to happen in White Rock since the Whale Wall mural went up in the 70’s. I just want to give Surrey City Hall a great big hug!!!!! I’ll make sure to update you with a photo of the completed project.

congrats Anita…

We have a winner for the Nicole Jane Home Swarovski crystal necklace giveaway! It’s Anita from Toronto. She was the 223rd person to “like” my Facebook page. Congratulations, Anita, and thank you very much to everyone else who participated. There will be more giveaways to come, so keep posted!

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