Friday, December 31, 2010

Wishing You A Happy New Year!

2010, you've been quite something but it's time to say goodbye. To all my readers of A Beautiful Life, I want to thank you for your readership, for your conversation, and for inspiring me to keep sharing with you all those little things in life I cherish. I wish you a very happy new year. And 2011, I am ready for you!

There's been a lot of change in my life lately (see Nala), and there's lots more to come over the next 12 months. I can't say I know the direction of where this blog is going, but that's all part of the adventure, right?

As you know I'm super behind on my blog posts: I still have Europe pictures from Amsterdam and Copenhagen I haven't posted. And there's more travel to look forward to with a Hawaii surf trip in February - better whip into bikini shape fast after all this holiday eating.

Speaking of the holidays, they go by too fast. Spending lots of time with my puppy Nala on beach walks and forest hikes.
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Sporting new Nobis parka, Mavi cords, and yes, I'm wearing UGGS and I love them.

We had one of my best friends Valerie over one night and made thin crust potato pizza from scratch. Yes, potato pizza with thick sliced pancetta, buffalo mozzarella, and chile flakes. It's kind of like eating perogies on a crispy crust. I'm sorry I didn't take a picture of it but it was damn good.

Hubby and I went snowboarding for the first time in about 2 years in Whistler with our mates Allie and Allan on Boxing Day. Tons of powder and we had a great time. Kinda makes me want to come out of snowboarding retirement and ride again. Wrapped things up with a late lunch at Araxi where I had a lovely cherry tomato scallop pasta.
And finally, I've been putting on my annual tradition of watching the A&E version of Pride and Prejudice. I love it!
What have you been up to over the holidays? And your plans for 2011?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

My friends, meet Nala

My sincerest apologies to all my readers; I know I haven't blogged since October! The past 4 weeks have been insanely busy since hubby and I took our puppy home. My friends, I would like you to meet Nala, my Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy.
Pictures have been hard to come by as capturing a wriggly pup isn't the easiest thing to do (lots of blurry pics of a small furry creature). I've also had minimal sleep since she's joined our household, so not really in the mood for a ton of pictures. We are getting some portraits done hopefully in the new year but for now, here are some home pics mostly taken from my phone!

Below: Nala's first week home
Hubby looking extremely dapper in a tweed hat, coat, and Hunter green wellies and Nala in a green and plaid Shedrow doggie blanket
A rare moment of rest with me sporting red plaid to match her red wheaten coat and collar
Yes I know I'm darn cute
With the holidays coming up, I'll have some more time to catch up on A Beautiful Life. I've picked up a bunch of new cute things for the winter so I want to share that with you.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Hanging out with the Canucks

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Imagine that one morning you are told you get to not only meet the Vancouver Canucks, but also play Nintendo Wii, hang out, and eat dinner with them the next evening for charity? Imagine that happening to a girl who has been a hardcore Canucks fan since 1989, who was there at the games in the '94 playoff run, who still to this day loves her team very much despite all the heartaches. Well, it happened to me. (heads up - this is going to be a long post).

Through the kindness of others, I attended the Sports Celebrity for Charity Gala supported by the Canucks that raises money for the Special Olympics. It's truly a wonderful event where you get to interact with the players, bid on an auction, and then break bread with some amazing athletes. An incredibly worthy cause, and the Canucks organization is commended for supporting it. A big hand should go to the players too who show up with such enthusiasm and spend much of the day with a special needs child. This year, my (former) crush Mason Raymond was the spokesperson.

My first thought was, what do I wear?? I pulled out my Herve Leger bandage dress, boyfriend jacket, and some sky-high platform booties. Classic quilted Chanel bag on my arm.

And from my pictures, you can see the Chanel wasn't the only piece of arm candy I had ;). My friend Kat (@KatArnett) said it was just like Hump Day Hunks, but in real life!

Below: It's Peanut Butter Burrows time!! Really happy Alex is back in the lineup, and even more happy he's standing here with me
The evening started off with some Wii-ing (is that a word?) with Mason and Jeff Tambellini. Mase and Jeff were both really sweet.

Above: Mason and I after our game of Wii

Below: Jeff Tambellini playing Wii Archery with intensity
I got my official pictures taken with Ryan Kesler and Kevin Bieksa, then Henrik and his two trophies, and finally with Lu and Mase. I apologize I don't have these pictures scanned yet but I'll do another post with them. Ryan was a lot of fun to be around - I tried to convince him to get teammate Alex Burrows on Twitter but with no success.

One of the funnest things I did was play table hockey against Swedish defenseman Alex Edler. I was worried that I would suck, but then I ended up beating him. I couldn't stop smiling. =)

Below: I love how Alex is smiling here!
Below: This is definitely my fave picture, with Alex Edler
For dinner, the celebrity guest at our table was Peter Schaefer. He was really funny and had lots of entertaining stories to tell. I have some funny group pictures of our table with Peter and Raffi Torres.

One of my highlights of the night was getting to know Danish forward Jannick Hansen a little more. I really enjoyed our conversation, and I really hope he flourishes this year on the third line because he really deserves it.
Below: Really glad I got this picture with Ryan at the end of the night
Below: Ryan Kesler
Below: BC native Dan Hamhuis
Not pictured here but I also met Sami Salo and Alex Bolduc. Sami looked good and I tried my best not to unintentionally hurt him.

All in all, it was an incredible night, and I'm so grateful I had the opportunity to attend.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Five Winter Picks To Keep You Cute and Cosy

Happy weekend! Hope you're enjoying this beautiful, sunny fall day. The temperature has dipped to a chilly 4 degrees Celsius this morning (that's 39 Fahrenheit), and it's got me excited about some beautiful winter clothing and accessories.
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Nobis has a gorgeous line of mens and womens parkas that look sleek, urban, and warm. I really want their Luna parka, and I can't wait until mid November when the jackets will be arriving in stores locally. FAB, The Premium Denim Store, is supposed to carry the line.
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Nobis makes super cute knitted hats and beanies, too.
nobis hat
I've also ordered a pair of the below Manitobah Mukluks. The company is Aboriginal-owned and all shoes are made in Canada. They have many gorgeous styles from ranging from tall to short boots. The soles, unlike other mukluks, can be made with a rubber, treaded vibram sole which makes them suitable for snow and ice. You can choose from a choice of faux fur, or rabbit, coyote or fox fur. I know some of you are going to disagree with the use of animal fur, but please do remember, historically the use of fur is part of Aboriginal culture. Gravity Pope sells Manitobah Mukluks, although their website didn't carry the half-wrap style shown here.

I couldn't help getting a tie-dyed scarf by Brightly Twisted from Hills of Kerrisdale (you can buy it online from Vionnet Boutique, pictured here). It's so warm and soft, and it's the perfect pairing to my white burn-out tee and skinny grey jeans.

Have you started stocking up for Winter yet? Tell me about your finds!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

My Life's About to Change

In a really big way. Like, four paws kinda way.

Hubby and I will be welcoming a puppy to our household in about 4 weeks time! I'm beyond excited - we've waited for a long time to bring a dog into our family and now it's finally happening. A little sooner than I expected but we are happy all the same.

I've already scoped out some pretty neat things to get for her, and I'm definitely going to get one of these cowichan inspired sweaters by Granted.

Also love these very classic brown leather collars from Dog & Hydrant in Yaletown.

I'll be revealing the little pup's name and will post her pictures when she comes home. If you have a dog, I'd love to hear from you - any tips, classes to go to, fave pet stores - tell me about it!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

It's A Fine Line

...between something that's working, and something that's not. Take this pleated skirt. I loved the intricate lace and tulle detailing, but it just didn't quite sit right. Too saggy at the hips, and I was ready to write it off.
My rose buckle belt saved it from being another impulse buy heading for the donation bin. It was a favourite item of mine when I was in Europe, simply because it made everything look and fit better. The elastic meant it was flexible to fit on nearly any bottom, pants, shorts or skirts.
Nearly gone too to the bin was this Talula navy blue blouse, which I loved at first sight but then soon grew tired. Love's a fickle thing, right?
But suddenly, paired with equally blue Marc by Marc Jacobs pumps, I was madly in love again.

Brown cropped swingy jacket with pearl details, Mom's find from Hong Kong
Navy blue blouse, Aritzia
Lace and tulle fringed skirt, Zioni
Rose buckle belt, from Hong Kong
Vintage Gucci bag, pilfered from Mom
Navy blue pumps, Marc by Marc Jacobs

Saturday, September 18, 2010

You Feed My Soul

If Elizabeth Gilbert had Italy for the "Eat" part of Eat, Pray, Love, then France would definitely be mine when it comes to the art of nourishing your soul.
I ate my way through half a dozen villages in Provence, stopping at local cafes, boulangeries, and bistros. I'sle sur la Sorgue, Loumarin, Ansouis, Cadenet, and my favourite Bonnieux, where I stopped for tarte aux framboise.
There's something so gorgeous about simply eating what's fresh, local and in season. Aubergine caviar, zucchini tart, shaved black truffle omelet, ripe melon salad - these were the flavours of the summer. A glass or two of wine (pink or white at lunch, red at dinner) was always at hand.
Then, there's La Closerie. Recommended as a "must" by our hosts at the guesthouse, we wisely booked a table and treated ourselves to a 3-course meal under the vine-covered terrace.
To start, ricotta stuffed courgette flowers with chanterelle mushrooms and the largest shaved discs of black truffle I'd ever eaten. The earthiness of the chanterelles and truffles complimented each other, and the deepness contrasted beautifully with the freshness of the courgette flowers. The creamy ricotta smoothed everything together into one giant love-in. If I can eat my way into spirituality, then this must be the stairway to heaven.
Hubby's starter of smoked salmon, spring greens and waffle seemed unconventional but I assure you it was just about as good as my truffle decadence. The waffle was more savory than sweet, crispy on the outside but fluffy on the inside. We both believe there's more than 1 path to enlightenment and if in doubt, why not try both?
My religious food experience was just warming up when my main arrived. Roasted white fish with cherry tomatoes, squash puree, and baby potatoes. The skin was blackened and crispy while the fish was moist and flakey.
The stars came out and dessert came with it to bring me home to nirvana. Profiteroles with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce.
It's perfect, simple, honest food that reminds me: it's been A Good Year.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Two Nights...

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... is not enough in any great city. Especially if that city is as sexy as Stockholm. It was a quickie stop in the land of Ikea, hockey greats, and bombshell blondes (Hello Freddie Ljungberg!), and we made the most of it.
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I dressed up for a night out with hubby at the Michelin-starred F12 restaurant. The Swedes are known to be genetically blessed with beauty so I felt the pressure to doll it up in a Herve Leger one-shouldered dress. Unfortunately my coworker convinced me out of bringing my strappy hot five-inch platforms, so I was stuck with my more casual wedges (grr). I guess I should thank her because the cobbled streets would have killed me and likely destroyed my shoes.

Below: Hubby looking sleek as he strolls casually into F12.

I wish I had some photos of our meal at F12 but they turned out horribly. I have to say I was disappointed with the meal, being my first Michelin-starred experience. The overuse of foam, which I ranted about at The Unreserved, is all I really remember about the cuisine. There was supposedly a "berry" theme to the night which I don't recall, and my dessert souffle didn't satisfy because it needed more ice-cream.
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We visited the Swedish Royal Palace museum and upon our luck, just happened to see the changing of the guard ceremony which consisted of about 50 horses marching down the main promenade. The rows of grey and brown horses were so elegant and of course I was in horsey heaven just being able to see the royal four-hoofed fleet.
Old town, Gamla Stan, was charming with its narrow alleys and cobbled streets, but quite touristy. After a full day of walking, we stopped for a light lunch and coffee break and just soaked in the hustle and bustle of the town.
We stayed at the Clarion Stockholm Hotel in the trendy SoFo (Sodermalm) area and it was lovely. Very modern and clean, and a very peaceful night's sleep. Sodermalm has tons of boutique shopping, cafes and bars, and we enjoyed an afternoon of browsing in the shops (picked up a couple of pretty tunics). I'll have some more pics posted as soon I as load up my pictures.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


That famous soft golden light of Provence that inspired so many artists. Sweet lavender air. Softy chirping cicadas. And a view towards an ancient chateau.
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I spent one week in heaven just outside the small village of Ansouis. We stayed in a little farmhouse paradise called Ferme de La Platane, nestled in the valleys of the Luberon mountains, surrounded by vineyards.
Our 18th century stone mas was absolutely perfect with our own terrace that looked onto the chateau, full kitchen and the use of the BBQ, boules pitch, and of course a sparkling pool. The hosts Rosemary and Peter were extremely helpful and generous, making bookings to local restaurants and attending to our needs. One night we even did a communal BBQ with another couple (hello Catrin and Andy!) and shared our feast of goodies we had each gathered earlier that day from the local market. Marinated herb chicken, mixed sausages of pork and lapin (sorry bunnies), ratatouille, mashed potatoes, goat cheese salad, fresh baguettes, more cheese to finish. We ate and drank in merriment until Van Gogh's starry night came to life.
You can just see the chateau off to the right of hubby from the terrace. Magnificent.
Printed maxi dress picked up from a Provencal town
Crochet sandals, Elizabeth and James
Custom sunnies by Fox Optical

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Did you miss me?

Hope you're having a good Labour day long weekend. Are you all ready for Fall yet? Back from Europe now, trying to sort out my pictures so I can get blogging again. In all I visited Copenhagen, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Provence, and Paris - a whirlwind of a trip. I loved spending time in the museums and seeing the art by the Dutch masters and my favourite, the French impressionists. Walking into the Musee D'Orsay, I felt like a kid in a candy store. Renoir, Van Gogh, Degas, Monet all in one place? Squee!
I wish I could say I drew these but I cheated and used SketchMe, which I'm completely obsessed with right now. The sketches are from some pics of me poolside in Provence at the wonderful place we stayed at. I wrote a short post about the pleasures of Provence at The Unreserved if you want a sneak peak, but there'll be more on that to come here.

Some more inspiring illustrations for you then until I finish the photo upload. By Caroline Andrieu, an art director for Vogue and GQ. I completely love the details on the shoes. Visit her blog, Tight Sweater, for her latest.

I'll be back soon so hopefully so will you!