Perfect Pairs



Can you believe April is almost over? Incroyable! 2011 is just flying by. I have no complaints though, the sun is shining, the temperature is warm and yesterday I talked my way out of a parking ticket!

Here are some of my perfect pairs from the lovely month of April...

dark brown earth + new spring green shoots
maple syrup + snow
good friends + kind strangers

How about you? Has April inspired any perfect pairs you'd like to share?

Have a wonderful Thursday!
xx bess


April 27


I was going through photos from our time in Europe today, for no particular reason, I just felt like reminiscing on our adventures abroad. I found myself really missing the beautiful architecture, spotless sidewalks, manicured parks and warmer weather. Our life there, while not perfect, was still rich with experiences and culture. And, as the saying goes, the grass is always greener on the other side...

No matter how hard you try not to take things for granted it inevitably happens. I remember when we first arrived in Vienna, walking around the city was like walking through a museum, and while we would still often pause as Tyke was peeing on a 400 year old building to admire the history around us, we also did eventually get used to it. Likewise, when I arrived back in Canada, the novelty of being able to call my family and friends on the phone (not Skype), and hop in the car and be back in Toronto without crossing an ocean was also pretty wonderful, but now of course we have become accustomed to it and I find myself missing some of what we used to have in Vienna. If only I could bring all my friends and family to Vienna (and replace German with English) life would be perfect ;).

Before I sat down to write this post I figured I had better check my calendar to see exactly how long I'd been back in Canada, I knew it was around this time last year that I gotten back. Guess what? It was today. No wonder I found myself going for a stroll down memory lane, a year ago today I officially bid auf wiedersehen to my Austrian adventure and said bonjour to my new life in la belle province.

xx Bess


Canadiana: June Designs


I hope you had a relaxing long weekend and ate lots of Easter treats! Big Chuck and I stayed in Montreal for the holiday weekend and enjoyed some time in the garden, had a wonderful meal out with friends and managed to squeeze in a game of Rummikub (I won) and a Saturday afternoon nap. Perfection!

But enough about that, time for the Canadiana Tuesday post! If you know me, then you know that I don't usually wear very much jewelry. In fact, my wedding ring / engagement ring (I only wanted one ring on my finger) is pretty much the extent of my fancy jewelry collection. I like to keep my accessories simple and that's precisely what I love about the jewelry from June Designs. Based in Montreal, self-taught jewelry designer Joelle Latreille, creates lovely and unique rings, necklaces and earrings. Her sense of play and whimsy in her work really appeals to me. I could definitely see the bunny earrings in my ears and the knot ring on my finger - but not at the same time, of course ;)

To see more from June Designs, you can visit their Etsy shop.

Have a great Tuesday!
xo bess


Dance, dance, dance.

Incubateur - 6e édition - Ladmmi 2011

Incubateur - 6e édition - Ladmmi 2011

Incubateur - 6e édition - Ladmmi 2011
I saw these great photos on École de Danse LADMMI's Facebook page last week. They totally took me back to the 3 years I spent in dance school, days full of rehearsals, classes and just plain old gettin' physical.

Hope you have a dance-y Thursday!
xo Bess


Canadiana: Dear Edna

If June Cleaver was my mom, I would definitely buy her one of Dear Edna's beautiful aprons for Mother's Day. The only problem is my mother, while absolutely the best mom on earth, is not really the June Cleaver type. Yesterday, she emailed me to ask for a recipe to make chicken (it's not that bad - she is a vegetarian). I forwarded said email to my personal chef, Big Chuck to field. I guess the apple doesn't really fall too far from the tree.

Dear Edna

But enough about June Cleaver! Let's be honest, the lovely creations in Dear Edna's Etsy shop would be coveted by anyone who's ever stepped foot in a kitchen. Erin McIntosh creates, sews, prints and paints her one-of-a-kind accessories from her home in Hamilton, Ontario. Dear Edna believes in stylish practicality and versatility, without sacrificing on durability or quality. I imagine doing the dishes would be so much more fun in one of her aprons!
You can find more of Erin's lovely designs in her Etsy shop.

Have a wonderful Tuesday!
xo Bess


Cabane à sucre | Sugar Shack

cabane à sucre | sugar shack

On Friday Big Chuck, Tyke and I went to our very first traditional Québecois sugar shack. I remember going out into the forest in the early Spring with my classmates in elementary school, but there seems to be a very unique Cabane à Sucre culture here in Quebec.

We were invited, along with the rest of Big Chuck's lab to his professor's cabin about an hour outside of Montreal. Everyone brought a little something for a pot luck lunch and we collect sap from the sugar maple trees. For dessert we were treated to french toast with maple syrup and then maple syrup on snow too. YUM!

cabane à sucre | sugar shack

cabane à sucre | sugar shack

It was really nice to experience an authentic Cabane à Sucre Québecoise, now I'm eagerly awaiting the locally produced jar of maple syrup we were promised!

Happy Monday!
xo bess



Today I'd like to turn the English Muffin Blog over to my friend, Linda. Linda is a jewelry and fashion designer from Toronto and is currently selling adorable bicycle necklaces to raise money for cancer research. You can read her story below and learn about the epic bicycle ride her friends and family will take in honour of her Uncle Joe.

I bought a bicycle necklace from Linda last year and love it!

Hi Friends,
Bess was kind enough to give me a spot on her blog to tell you about my bicycle necklaces. In 2009 my uncle (my mom’s brother) was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor and it shook my family hard. In response to all this, my uncle was determined to have a goal to help him fight his cancer. He decided to sign up for an epic 200km ride from Toronto to Niagara Falls (Ontario, Canada). The ride is called The Ride to Conquer Cancer.

Soon after signing up, my cousin (my uncle’s son) signed up too, then another cousin, then his brother, then a long time friend and another friend after that. The team was six members strong and ended up raising $40,000.

In April 2010, my uncle lost his battle with cancer and left us with his legacy and memory at the young age of 51. Another son of his then decided to ride in his place. I always wanted to take the journey myself, but because of the lack of funds, I cannot. A proper bike and equipment would set me back, so instead I decided to stick to helping fundraise. I came up with the idea to make these bicycle necklaces and sell them with 100% of the profits going directly to our ride team, “GoJoeGo”, which this year has 14 members. You can read about last year's ride here.

Linda's Bicycle Necklaces

If you would like to purchase a bicycle necklace and help raise money to support our team, please visit my online shop. The necklaces are $15 each and shipping is included, once paid I will ship them out to you. Last year I managed to raise a cool $2500 for the team and with 300 necklaces made (there's a small workshop in my living room) I intend to sell them all off and raise even more money this year. If interested please visit my online shop, or you can email me directly at lindawyatt [at] rogers [dot] com. All payments to go through Paypal.

Thank you in advance for your support!


Get to Know Pure Green

Have you been following the Get to Know Pure Green series on the Pure Green Magazine blog? If so, then you probably saw the "Get to Know Bess" post on Friday. I had a really fun time answering PGM Editor-in-Chief Céline's questions, and choosing my top 3 eco-picks for Spring.

Bess' Spring Eco-picks

Don't you love that bike? Sigh...

If you haven't read the full article, you can check it out here?!

Have a great Monday!
xo Bess


123 Animals Print

English Muffin's New 123 Animals Print

Introducing English Muffin's newest print, The 123 Animals Print.

The 123 Animal Print is a fun and colourful way to teach your little ones their numbers and animals. It's the perfect addition to any bedroom or nursery, and makes a great gift for a new baby. Also makes a very cute pair with English Muffin's Animal Alphabet Print.

And... If you didn't receive English Muffin's newsletter in your inbox yesterday, why not sign-up to my Friends & Family Mailing List? There's a nice little Spring Promo in there for you!

Have a great Wednesday :)
xo bess


Breakfast at Charlie's

This is what was waiting for me when I strolled into the kitchen on Sunday morning, still in my jammies...




... an el supremo fantastico breakfast courtesy of my hubby, Big Chuck. I mean really, how lucky can a girl get? In case you're wondering, there are two easy over eggs, two corn tortillas, tomatoes, avocado, salad, salsa, and a wedge of lime. Yum.

Have a wonderful Monday!
xo bess


Just a moment

Chotto Omoshiroi Poster
(My Chotto Omoshiroi Poster arrived!!)

I was looking through my iPhone's photo album last night and thinking that it's amazing how easily we can document so many of life's moments these days. Up until a few years ago these little snippets would have just passed most of us by. They're not the most important moments in my life, but they are the little daily sparks of beauty that now just beg to be snapped, photo-filtered and shared.

Indoor Gardening
(Charles transplanting and fertilizing our basil plant.)

Flowers from Anile
(Birthday daffodils from my sweet friend Anile, in my favourite Alvar Aalto vase.)

We Love Curry!
(Michelle and Conrad and their curry kids. I love a family who loves curry!)

Hubby's specs
(My clipboard and Charlie's glasses on our coffee table.)

Have a wonderful weekend :)
oxo bess