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eat, pray, lovin’ my way into the new year

Posted by Cobi on Monday January 10, 2011 at 05:59 AM
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I know I’m a little late getting to the this whole Eat, Pray, Love thing, but with colours like this, you’ll have to forgive me…

cobi

I still can’t believe that three people in my life gave me the book (that’s a first) and told me they thought I’d like it, and it took me over a year to finally give it a shot.

cobi

In fact, I actually saw the movie first and then read the book (that’s a first too!). But there were so many brilliant lines throughout the movie, I had to read the book to really soak them in (and my nearest and dearest were all right - I did love it).

I only wish they’d cast a lesser known star for the lead - sorry Julia.

cobi

But wow! Look at that poster behind her at the launch…gorgeous!

cobi

Of course the location settings of the movie were pretty spectacular… Rome (look at that beautiful fence)…

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And how about the stunningly crumbling apartment her character rented there…

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Then just when we start to get used to that, she’s off to India…

cobi

The ancient home of vivid colour…

cobi

A wonderful shock to the senses…

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Then snap, we’re on to Bali…

cobi

Another ancient home, but this one, more subtle and serene…

cobi

Still lots and lots of pattern though…

cobi

And that exciting feeling of ‘the Bazaar’ where everything just seems to jumble together beautifully without a plan…

cobi

The story and it’s settings left me inspired.

cobi

As I guess it did with many. I had no idea there were Eat, Pray, Love fragrances on the market…

cobi

Or products being sold under the colourful umbrella of the E,P,L look…

cobi

Prayer beads are a hot fashion accessory…

cobi

As are bracelets of all kinds using E,L,P as a selling hook…

cobi

Event planners have used the story as inspiration for party themes…

cobi

And of course, corresponding party favours…

cobi

Fashion blogs have used it to build stories around…

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And sell more bracelets…

cobi

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Heck, even foodies have written about the colours of Eat, Pray, Love.

cobi

You know something has touched a nerve when people see it in all aspects of life - from fashion to fruit.

cobi

And so guess I’ve learned two lessons:
One - next time three people give me a book, I’ll read it.
Two - “in Bali before dawn the roosters for miles around announce how freaking cool it is to be roosters. “We are ROOSTERS!” they holler. “We are the only ones who get to be ROOSTERS!” Geez, I loved that darned book!

cobi

travel

road trippin’

Posted by Cobi on Monday June 28, 2010 at 07:00 AM
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“School’s out - lets hit the road!” ~ what great words!!

I’m one of those crazy fools who loves road trips.

And I even loved them before Thelma & Louise - one of my favourite movies (and not because I look like Thelma).

cobi

Why do I (and thousands like me) love road trips?

Here are 8 good reasons….

1. There’s something about the preparation for a road trip I love. It brings out the Girl Scout in me. I love packing the car - making sure we have snacks, drinks, sunglasses, maps, tunes, pillows, and that feeling when we finally drive out of the driveway - “did you remember to shut the garage door?- Yeehah! Lets blow this Popsicle stand!”

cobi

2. Road trips are a wonderful excuse to do nothing. For hours. When else does a working mom get to sit on her ___ for hours? Strapped in no less!! Unable to do anything for anyone, short of handing out the odd piece of licorice or a Kleenex. Absolute heaven.

cobi

3. Speaking of which - Licorice. Licorice is another reason I love road trips.

cobi

4. And how about the ‘talk time’ - I guess we can’t exactly say ‘face time’ (that could be dangerous) - but ‘talk time’ with hubby or girlfriend or whomever I’m encapsulated with. It’s pretty nice to actually be able to have a conversation longer than a minute that isn’t interrupted by the phone, blackberry, kids or whatever. Sometimes I even save up topics that I want to talk to Bob about in the car. Is that pathetic? No, I think that’s just life in the fast lane.

cobi

5. Looking at maps. I seldom take the time to look at maps but I enjoy them when I do. My natural sense of geography is somewhat challenged and so my family is used to hearing me call out with utter shock and amazement “so that’s where that is!” - even with a map of Ontario on my lap. Of course Bob and I have our moments with ‘directions’, as any well-married couple has. In fact, we had the worst fight of our marriage on a road trip through Scotland. But that’s old news. The only reason we argue still is because he still doesn’t understand how incredibly great I am at navigation (hey - it’s my blog).

cobi

6. Time to think. Driving by other people’s lives and homes, gives me pause to think about my own. I enjoy the voyeurism of seeing how others live and imagining what it would be like to live in situations other than my own. I also love to see how others have lived in the past and wonder about the circumstances that made them move on.

cobi

7. There’s something romantic about road trips. Waiting in line at the airport just isn’t the same. Hittin’ the wide open road, without a care in the world, now that’s livin’ (ok, maybe I am sounding a bit like Thelma…). I guess we all remember the road trips we took as kids and how exciting they were - at least for the first half hour. We certainly do all seem to remember them!

cobi

8. Timmy stops. The more Timmy tea… the more Timmy stops… We have lots and lots of Timmy stops.

If you can’t get out on a road trip yourself this summer, at least watch one of the many great road trip movies.

Here’s a list of favourites:

Little Miss Sunshine

It Happened One Night

The Darjeeling Limited

Rain Man

Sideways

Into the Wild

The Motorcycle Diaries

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

And of course… cobi

travel

new york minute

Posted by Cobi on Monday May 03, 2010 at 07:00 AM
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If you’re working hard on something creatively, sometimes you just need a little shake, to get your head out of your surroundings, and find some new inspiration. Whenever I feel like that there’s only one thing to do - take a bite out of the Big Apple. There’s just something about that crazy little island that’s intoxicating.

My associate and I went down for a whirlwind trip to all my favourite haunts and then some. We were on the lookout for anything new and inspiring and found lots to write home about. Speaking of ‘home’, if that’s your thing, here are a few tips for next time you’re in nyc:

Stores don’t open until 10:00am with very few exceptions, so use the morning time to hit a local deli - no need for anything fancy for breakfast and New York bagels are Almost as good as Montreal’s. We did find one place open at 9:00am however, it’s an amazing ribbon store in mid-town called M&J Ribbon. Floor to ceiling (and I’m talking 20 ft. ceilings) of gorgeous ribbons.

From here, walk four blocks south to Macy’s and you’ll be there for it’s open at 10:00am. Head directly to the home floors and you’ll be the only one there - it’s way up on 6, 8 and 9. The bedding patterns are plentiful and beautifully displayed as are the towels. Martha Stewart’s bedding line is here.

From there it’s a short cab ride or a 20 minute walk straight down Broadway to ABC Carpet & Home. This is a huge home store - there’s rugs in one building on the west side of the street and everything else in a massive building on the east side. We were amazed at how bohemian everything looks right now but that will change again - it’s a great place to catch the latest trend. The look is very raw and eastern in influence this season, it reminded us of the 60’s - we even found Jesus sandals for sale on the main floor! It was convenient to find that the Conran Shop from London has just moved into the basement level of ABC. You can check out all of the new finds from Sir Terence at the same time!

There’s nothing else really around this area and so it’s now time to jump in another cab and head south to Soho. I love Pearl River and always make it my first stop. It’s a store that sells Chinatown wares like no one else - all the great things you can imagine but with more selection than you’ve ever seen. If you pop out the backdoor you can walk across the street and into a whole other world of North American perfection - the little Kate Spade store. Gorgeous.

There are still many shops to see in Soho, but in general I found it was lacking this trip. Many businesses have moved east of Broadway to Nolita or north to Bleeker street - both are hot spots of independent design shops. No doubt the high rent and influx of chain stores to Soho has driven them farther afield.

From Soho, it’s time to head Uptown to check out what the ladies who lunch have on their menu. I’m talking rhetorically but that’s usually exactly what I do - head straight to Barneys 7th floor restaurant (Fred’s) and take a load off with a wonderful omelet or pizza and people watch (btw, you need a reservation). It’s also perfect because the rest of this floor is devoted to home. Barneys Chelsea Passage always has a little edgier, contemporary take to fashion and home. Prices are steep of course, but you’ll see great contemporary designs and pops of colour.

From there, it’s a short walk to Bergdorf Goodman’s famous top floor dedicated to home. It’s been there forever and always has the finest in table linens, dishes, trinkets, books, throws, stationary, all displayed beautifully in little rooms and vignettes. This is a place to drool and dream… and if you can pull yourself away, go to a floor just below and have a peak out the window - you’ll find one of the best views of Central Park in the city. Here’s a snapshot we took through the glass…

cobi

Of course you still have to go to Bloomingdale’s to get a more realistic look at where the world is going (and of course a little treat in the accessory dept. on the main floor!). And a million other places like the Ralph Lauren Mansion for pure drama and fantasy, and the list goes on and on…

It’s like a trip down the rabbit hole for inspiration seekers - it’s everywhere you look. You can even find it on the street corners - look at the fruit wood ballroom chairs we saw stacked outside the Pierre hotel waiting for a wedding…

cobi

I always say I wouldn’t want to live in New York (I’d be bankrupt for one thing!) but boy, I love to visit that city. It’s a whirlwind of excitement, ideas and no doubt conspicuous consumption, but it’s like a wonderful day at the fair. You come home exhausted, smiling and filled with great memories of a time of crazy high energy and ready to settle back into normal life again.

travel

everyday treasure

Posted by Cobi on Monday March 08, 2010 at 06:00 AM
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One year Bob surprised me for my birthday with a long weekend in Paris.
It was only four days but we made the most of every second. I highly recommend it as a wonderful gift to anyone special - even yourself. Yes, it’s tiring physically, but mentally it’s the biggest jolt of energy you could ever get.

Anyway, I was going to tell you a story… On this trip we went to one of my favourite Saturday flea markets. It’s called, Marche aux puces de la porte de vanve . There are many antique markets in Paris, all called “Les Puces” - the fleas - and many are more fancy than this one, with beautiful linens and furnishings - but who am I kidding? I’m not going to buy an armoire or iron bed linens. I just want a few trinkets for my kitchen or my jewellery box or mantle to remind me of a wonderful trip. Anyway, if you like the thrill of the hunt - I suggest this one. Just take the subway to the Porte de Vanve (line 13) and follow the crowd. Try to go as early as possible on Saturday as they pack things up by mid afternoon.

Bob had also arranged for friends to meet us in Paris as a surprise, and good sports that they are, they agreed to come with us to the market. Given it was my birthday, and (traveling with Bob) we weren’t doing as much shopping as I would be doing if I was alone or with a female companion, I told myself that I was allowed to buy one thing worth a bit more than the usual fare. As we moved from stall to stall and I picked up odds and sods, I spied a framed painting in one booth that was full of paintings. For some reason it drew me in like none of the others.

I asked the gentleman how much it was and he told me. It was more than I wanted to spend, even with my special allowance. It was then I realized how lucky I was to have a friend with me who was raised in Montreal and had a much better grasp of the language…I asked her to find out if he was firm on his price. He said ‘oui’. I then asked her to offer him a lower price. She did and he said ‘non’. We left the booth and disappointedly I soldiered on to look for other hidden treasure. After a while I realized there wasn’t anything else as lovely as that painting and I had to go back and try again.

My dear friend agreed to help (like she had a choice) and we circled round and showed up again. Thankfully the painting was still there and I looked at it again. I was smitten. Again I tried to barter with the owner but my language was so poor, he didn’t understand, or let on he didn’t anyway. My friend came to the rescue and tried to work with him on my behalf but to no avail. He walked away and talked to other potential customers. To his chagrin, I just stayed there - trying to come up with another tactic. Little did I know, my tactic was working without even talking. I thought I would try him one more time - what did I have to lose? I showed him my wad of euros and said the number I would pay again. He turned his back on me and said something quickly to my friend. She looked at me and said “he’ll take it!”. I handed him my money, grabbed the painting and headed out of the booth before he changed his mind…”Merci! Merci!”….as we wove our way through the crowds to show our patiently waiting husbands, I asked my friend what he had said when he suddenly changed his mind? She laughed and said with a bit of embarrassment in her voice, “he said, ‘just get her out of my booth!’”. We laughed all the way out of Les Puces.

Here is my coveted painting….

cobi

I still love it. The artist’s name is Eugene de Sante and apparently he never really ‘made it’, although he did have a famous father or uncle who painted, someday I’ll research more…. It hangs happily in our main hallway and as I walk by it many days, I don’t give it a second thought. But sometimes I look at it and remember that special holiday and of course the lessons it taught me…

cobi

  1. If you’re traveling and see something you really love, buy it. You likely won’t have a second chance and things that we buy on holiday are often our most treasured possessions because of the stories behind them, and the memories they hold.
  2. Sometimes it’s not a bad thing to be a pain in the butt wink .
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