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Friday, December 31, 2010

To the happiest New Year!


The end of one year and the welcoming of a brand new one is always cause for celebration - celebrating the little moments, the small achievements, the moments you wish you could live in forever, the ones you just barely got through, the ones that made you laugh, the ones that taught you something you'll never forget... life is worth celebrating!




I'd like to say a very big and heart-felt thank you! to each of you who've stopped by this site, or brightened my day with a comment. It really does mean alot to me, and I so appreciate you choosing to spend a little bit of time here.



I wish that you enter the new year with a fresh sense of enthusiasm for the life you live, a sense of the love and beauty in the world that surrounds you, and the knowledge that all things are possible if you believe in your dreams.

Here's to the best year yet!

xo 

Sharalee


{Photos: Pia Ulin for Martha Stewart Living, December '10, scanned + edited for escapade}

 

Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Years Party Inspiration {from Kevin Sharkey}

New Year's Eve, always synonymous with parties and revelry, and this year we've decided to celebrate with a little soirée chez nous - nothing too fancy - just a fun, casual evening with few favourite friends. But of course, New Years calls for a little dash of glamour so a bit of sparkle is in order.  I'm feeling very inspired by a housewarming party held by Martha Stewart's decorating guru, Kevin Sharkey, earlier this year - the playful, casual vibe is just perfect for a little at home New Year's bash.


Luckily I happen to have some big white balloons left from our wedding, a big group with some silver spirals of ribbon will add just the right festive touch.

This tiered collection of Oreos is a fun alternative to cake - served with milk, or champagne of course.


Kevin is quite the avid ping-pong player - (in fact, when I met him earlier this year, I'd walked in to find him in the middle of an intense match with Martha Stewart) - for the party, his large dining table was converted to a ping pong table. The delighted guests enjoyed a friendly tournament, keeping score with red Chanel lipstick on the mirror behind.


A large charkboard - or better yet, in this case lipstick on a large mirror would be such a fun idea to get your guests to be interactive and maybe even leave a notes which you could capture in a photo and save to remember long after the party has faded.


No ice bucket? No problem - the bath tub will do just fine. Kevin and Alexis Stewart share a laugh on the bathroom floor amidst a bathtub full of champagne and a shower full of Hermès.
(love the irreverent glamour!)


{...fun, fun fun!}

How will you all be celebrating New Year's Eve?


{Photos: Martha Stewart}


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry, merry Christmas!


Wishing you a very happy holiday filled with love, laughter, food and friendship. 
Merry Christmas everyone!

xo xo


{Photo: by myself, guest starring Javier, accessories from Pavilion}


Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Christmas tablescape

A very fun and festive tablescape, bound to make spirits merry and bright.  Kept very simple, in white and bright red, with cranberry accents and the cheery red napkins turned into perfect bows. This would be a simple (+ inexpensive) way to create a dramatic festive table, perfect for eating, drinking and just being merry in general.








 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

At home with a ballerina

The holidays always have a strong connection with ballet, with the annual tradition of The Nutcracker. There's such an essence of magic and wonderment about this particular story that so perfectly captures the feeling of Christmas. I always sit completely enchanted by the grace and elegance of the dancers on stage, remembering my own ballet days so many years back. This year, with the exquisite Black Swan currently showing, no doubt the ballerina fascination will be at an all-time high.

I've often thought back to this feature of real-life ballerina, designer and stylist Jacqueline Appel's very glamorous Toronto home. It's exactly what you'd imagine the home of a ballerina princess to be like -soaring ceilings, ornate molding, Venetian glass Murano chandliers, surges of bright colour, plush textures and unrestrained luxury throughout. All perfectly capturing the feeling of the elegance and drama of the ballet.






One of my very favourite features of her home is the plethora of pucci scarf pillow shams - bright, bold,  fresh and very fun!



A very sultry master suite in rich coffee and caramel tones and accented with exotic leopard print and crowned with a Fortuny silk lamp.


While I shy away from the over-use of this colour, I always love to see 'red done right' - these bold, impactful pieces of art add just the right amount of drama and remind me of a ballerina's bright red lipstick against her porcelain complexion.


While I know that the ballet world often has a much grittier backstory, these images have done nothing to shake my fantasy of the glamorous world of a ballerina princess...



Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Holiday DIY: Snowflake Curtain

Often the simplest ideas really can by the most impactful. I've been searching for a solution for the very bare looking windows in our sunroom, and given my penchant for paper cut-outs, this one caught my eye right away. Beautiful paper snowflakes cut from simple white paper turn the whole room into a magical, winter wonderland. If all goes well with my Christmas baking plans, I should have a similar one up tonight!






{This beautiful DIY and all photos by Laura Howard for Bugs and Fishes}


A favourite Christmas tree


Admittedly, I'm not always a big fan of the traditional red and green Christmas palette, leaning more towards soft neutrals, metallics and whites to decorate for the holidays. This fresh, elegant look has remained a favourite of mine since I first saw this lovely tree decorated by Victoria Mifsud Teti who co-owns the West Toronto boutique Rizo Lola & Company. Full of nostalgic charm with a look that was described as 'Victorian parlour meets eco chic', I love the blend of soft gold and mercury glass ornaments. The gifts below all wrapped in soft blue and simple brown paper and tied up with soft ribbons.


{Photos: Angus Fergusson for Style at Home, Dec '08}


Monday, December 20, 2010

11th hour gift ideas: Books on my favourite bloggers' wishlists...

As the clock is ticking down the hours before ‘the big day’ this weekend, many of us find ourselves scurrying about trying to tie up all the last-minute details – making sure nothing and no one is overlooked. Thankfully in an era on online shopping, it’s still not too late to find the perfect gift while still avoiding the madding crowd at your local mall. One of my favourite gifts to give and receive is always a book. A thoughtful selection will no doubt thrill any recipient and quickly become a treasured favourite. Inspired by the book selections in the recent holiday issue of Lonny, I thought it would be fun to ask some of my favourite bloggers for a book that currently on their wish list.

Here are some fantastic picks on the best books to give and get this holiday
(P.S. it’s not too late to add one to your wish list too!)

Jenny's beautiful blog,  Aubrey Road is always overflowing with inspiration and of course, naturally her wish list quickly became mine -


Handcrafted Modern: At home with Mid-Century designers by Leslie Williamson {astonishingly beautiful and many previously unseen photos of the homes that many iconic designers have created for themselves}



Complete Works: Vincent van Duysen  {a must-have collection of this modern icon's amazing portfolio. See a peak at his own home here}

Decoded by Jay-Z {a candid memoir from a veritable modern icon featuring a collection of essays, art and lyrics that is both gritty and compelling - bonus: perfect for hard to buy for guys... }



{you saw the title - need I say more?}


 Anne Sage, co-founder of Rue magazine and author of The City Sage  has come to be known as much for her amazing styling projects as she is for her witty (+ hilarious) writing - here were three of her favourites:
P.S - I made this by Erica Domisek {clever tips and how-tos from a very clever crafter who saw, liked and then made her own designer inspired treasures}

My Wonderful World of Fashion by Nina Chakrabarti {a fashion colouring book for grown-ups by a renowned fashion illustrator}



Both Jenny + Anne picked the newest must-have book for any design lover's library (+ currently at the top of my list), the newly released Details: A Stylist’s Secrets to Creating Inspired Interiors by Lili Diallo,




Daniella from Dress, Design, Decor is wishing for
Women, Work and the Art of Savoir Faire by Mireille Guiliano  {a woman's guide to navigating the world of work, living the good life and savoring every minute of it. Perfect for a co-worker}






Ally (my design twin) who writes From the Right Bank selected 
The Private World of Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Berge by Robert Murphy {a rare look into the designer's luxurious private spaces - the perfect gift for your most glamorous friend}




My favourite South African blogger, Lana from Lanalou Style picked 
What Shall I wear today? by Fifi Lapin {undoubtably the most fabulous little furry fashionista...}




and here are two more of my favourites


My design hero Vicente Wolf's new book - Lifting the Curtain on Design. I just adore everything this man does and doubt that this new book will be any exception.


Having grown up in Southern Africa I'm always anxious to see as much of the amazing creative talent coming from the region as possible. Hot Afro promises swoon-worthy interiors with an unmistakable African twist.


Hope this helps with some last minute gifts or maybe has inspired a little shopping for yourself ;)


A very big thank you to the most fabulous bloggers for all of these fantastic suggestions!

 

Friday, December 17, 2010

Tips from a wrap star...

My good friend - 'the other Mrs M' always gives the most thoughtful gifts - a handmade box covered in Japanese paper, personalized stationery in her own calligraphy - always thoughtfully presented with carefully selected wrapping and ribbons and of course a beautifully scripted card. The thought, time and consideration she put into those are a big part of her gift to you - and never fail to make you feel so special - which is gift-giving is all about! So who better to share some tips and tricks to make your presents very presentable...



Greetings Darling Escapade Readers!
Suite Henry here reporting for duty.
The lovely Ms. M ask little ol' me to share some inspiration and tips for dealing with what can quickly become a high stress point for many during the holidays: the gift wrapping. I am incredibly addicted to paper goods, stationery and wicked cool packaging, so I jumped at the opportunity to share some ideas. The most important things to remember about gift wrapping is that one, it need not be stressful and two, you do not need to break the bank to put something together that the receiver will just love. I am a huge advocate of heading to the crafts section of my local dollar-store. They have loads of ribbon and wire that I pick based on how inspiring I find the colour or texture. Have fun with it. That gold lamé ribbon that looks tacky in the store might be just the shine you need for simple white paper.
 I tend to avoid the "holiday" sections because, well, it can look like Christmas threw up. I instead look for classic colour combinations that, if I have any materials left over won't scream a particular season. That way nothing is wasted!



The top two images are from the wealth of inspiration that is Sweet Paul. I like these examples because they are excellent demonstrations about not taking gifting too seriously. It can be light and humourous. Remember who you are giving the gift to. You can use everyday objects like tiny toys, a vintage spoon or cinnamon (if you want to get more festive) and wrap them in the bow on top. Or even repurpose different kinds of paper such as Sweet Paul did above. Old book pages work for a vintage feel, newspaper always look graphic and why not doodle on some kraft paper for one-of-a-kind wrapping paper? In this case, you can keep the ribbon pretty simple and let the paper be the star.


I love this look because it is bold and simple. Let the gift be the point! 
The brown ribbon is rich and beautiful, just enough glamour for a sweet gift.
You can find the tags at Anna and Blue Paperie.




If you are feeling particularly crafty, experiment with twine.
Above, Paperphine shows us that braiding twine makes it look very cool.
Twine is pretty cheap in terms of the yardage you get for the price.
You'll likely have tons left over after the holidays, which is great because trust me, once you have some supplies on hand, you will be more inspired to get inspired!



This last image from Paperglitter made me smile because it is both very holiday-esque and yet not too much. I love the colour combinations. They are fresh and joyful. Kraft paper is easy to come by at lots of different stores, I even saw some at my local post office. For those less artistic (or with a lots of gifts to wrap) why not take advantage of the internet? There are tons of downloadable tags and other accessories or you can make it easy and order a kit for the look above from etsy.

The point is to have fun with wrapping. You took time to pick the gift. Take time to give it.
Be honest with yourself. If you get overwhelmed by doing everything at once, then don't. Pace yourself and wrap in small bunches. You'll feel more inspired if you don't have to think about twenty different ideas all at once. Trust me when people get gifts that are thoughtfully wrapped, they SEE the thought that went into it. And it feels really nice to have the people you love know that you love them!

Happy Wrapping! Thank you for reading!


Something blue...


I've been seeing quite a few images lately that have me thinking that perhaps the traditional good luck saying for weddings should apply to Christmas as well -  "Something old (the traditions, treasured decorations and close friends), something new (fresh updates, new friends and gifts), something borrowed (time spent together, sharing recipes, stories and laughter) and something blue (in particular, that special shade of blue that sends all holiday hearts aflutter...)







{Photos: 1,3 Michael Graydon, styling by Christine Hanlon for Style at Home
2,4 - Virginia Macdonald, produced by Erin McLaughlin for Style at Home}


Thursday, December 16, 2010

A very sweet give-away

 
Just in time to make you the most popular person at the office, party or at home this holiday season - one very sweet give-away from my favourite Toronto cupcakery, Desmond and Beatrice. One dozen cupcakes of your choice, delivered fresh right to you! Packed to the brim with natural, delicious ingredients - each one is a little piece of heaven. With a wide array of flavours to try, you're bound to find your new favourite way to set off a little holiday bliss.



To enter simply leave a comment below saying what flavour you'd love to try and who you'd share them with! Re-tweet or share on your blog/twitter for an extra entry then leave another comment below to say you did. (If you don't have a blog please leave your email address with your comment so I can contact you if you win)

Be sure to stop by BlogTO and mention Desmond and Beatrice as your favourite Toronto cupcake shop! Just click "other" and enter Desmond and Beatrice. 'Like' them on Facebook to stay in touch and learn where you can find D & B in your part of the city.



{Due to the fresh/ fragile nature of the product, unfortunately this give-away is open to 
Toronto residents only. (Unless you're able to pick up :)}
Good luck everyone!



Wednesday, December 15, 2010

At home: Ralph Lauren's Manhattan Apartment


Ralph Lauren's Manhattan apartment is just what you'd expect from his eponymous brand's reputation for understated elegance. An all white space characterized by smooth, clean lines and little hints of unadulterated luxury - high gloss lacquered surfaces, a plush fur throw, embossed crocodile lamp bases, the zebra print mirror - all little hints of one of his biggest signature looks - safari chic.

I loved the little pockets of brilliant red roses splashed throughout the space - I think this would be a fantastic holiday decorating idea for the modern minimalist. Still very festive but understated and oh, so chic.




I just love the strength of this simple vignette - not over accessorized, just a few powerful pieces.


Talk about a room with a view!




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