The last time I shared my favourites, it was a cold, grey day in March, and I was anxiously awaiting Old Man Winter’s departure. Well, eventually (it took some convincing) he did leave, and now here I sit, ready to share my current favourites with you before taking time to enjoy the last weekend of June (#slowdownsummer).
In the past, when sharing my favourites, I have aligned them with each of the five senses – sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch.
While I have enjoyed organizing my favourites in this way, more recently, I have found this format to be a little too restrictive for my taste, and thus, decided it was time to adopt a more simplistic approach. No more aligning with senses, no more struggling to fill certain categories, no more prescribed numbers. Ongoing, you will simply see things that I am currently enjoying – uncomplicated.
Without further ado, I give you a few of my favourite things:
While I am fortunate to have a dishwasher, there are still many items in my home that must be hand-washed to preserve their integrity.
Now, washing dishes by hand is not my favourite chore. In fact, it is quite low on the list of housekeeping tasks that I enjoy. For such tasks, I find the best way to improve the experience is to find products that make the process more enjoyable, and recently, I came across a product of that very sort – Ivory’s Classic Scent Dishwashing Liquid.
Beautifully scented, this mild soap cuts through grease like nobody’s business, yet leaves my hands soft to the touch when I’m in too much of a hurry to wear gloves. Also, for those that prefer to store their dish soap on the counter, Ivory’s Classic Scent is tastefully packaged in a pearl-coloured bottle. Better yet, this soap is also reasonably-priced.
Since bringing this product home, I have actually looked forward to doing the dishes! Look for it in most major retailers.
For months, I anxiously awaited the release of Diana Krall’s latest album, Turn Up The Quiet, and as I listened to the album for the first time on May 5, I instantly knew it had been worth the wait.
Turn Up the Quiet, is a simple collection of classic jazz standards we know and love. While this is an album that I can listen to from start to finish, I particularly enjoy Krall’s rendition of Night & Day, Moonglow and Blue Skies.
In an interview with Billboard magazine, Krall discusses making this album:
“We just wanted to make a jazz record without a theme and see where it went in the studio,” she says. “I have such amazing players that we just wanted to play without thinking about it too much. … For ‘Night and Day,’ a lot of it was improvised on the spot. I’m experienced enough now to have the freedom to do that, and the confidence to do that. That’s what jazz should be: an improvisation.”
For jazz fans like myself, this album is a must-have. I expect to “turn up the quiet” several evenings this summer.
Frankly, I have never really been a jeans kind of girl. As a child, I found them to be too uncomfortable, and as an adult, I have gravitated more towards trousers and dresses.
Well, that was until two weeks ago, when my husband introduced me to Levi’s. Now before you ask me what rock I have been living under; I am familiar with the brand, as well as its place in the jean history. The real reason I have not tried Levi’s in the past is because I expected their jeans to be just like all the other jeans I have owned – too rigid, too stretchy, too…whatever.
Well, admittedly, I was wrong. With the summer season upon us, and so many outfits begging for white pants, I decided to try on a pair of Levi’s 711 skinny jeans, and let me tell you, they are my new favourite pant!
While I did have the length taken up some, they are the softest, most comfortable pair of jeans I have ever owned. They give in all the right places, yet keep their shape throughout the day and wash very well. In the colour clean white, they pair so perfectly with many of the items in my spring/summer wardrobe, especially those of the light-blue variety – my recent obsession.
If you are like me, and have difficulty finding jeans that work for you, I urge you to check out your local Levi’s store. You may just find your perfect fit!
As someone who lives in ankle-length trousers and ballerina flats, it should be no surprise that I also enjoy a good cardigan; and because I tend to run cold even during the summer months, I reach for my cardigans all year long.
While I already have a few cardigans in my wardrobe, they are mostly comprised of silk-cashmere blends, which while beautiful, can be quite delicate. Thus, in an effort to preserve those items, I decided to search for a few additional pieces that I could add to my rotation. I had two requirements: they needed to be more durable (preferably cotton) than silk-cashmere, and more reasonably-priced (under $50).
Well, I am happy to report that it took me all of 20 minutes at the mall to find exactly what I was looking for. Allow me to introduce you to the Pointelle-Trim Cardigan from Gap. Made from 100% cotton, these feminine cardigans boast long sleeves, a soft weave, a button front, and elegant pointelle detailing throughout.
Not only are these beauties incredibly comfortable, but they are available in a variety of neutral shades – heather grey, charcoal, off white, true black and dark night (navy) – and come in at under $50 (actually, right now they are on sale – at least in Canada – for $39.00.) Moreover, and most importantly, they wash incredibly well given their modest-price.
I purchased this piece in heather grey and navy for spring and summer; however, plan to purchase the remaining colours during one of their upcoming sales because of their quality and versatility. More proof that quality does not have to be expensive.
For the past three years, I have been fortunate to live close to the Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG). In fact, one of those gardens (Hendrie Park to be specific), happens to be the place where my husband and I exchanged wedding vows, so the gardens hold a very special place in my heart.
This past winter, I made a commitment to myself – that I would visit the gardens two times per week from April through September – to appreciate all that the gardens have to offer. So far, I have kept my commitment, and have enjoyed so many beautiful blooms – cherry blossoms, magnolias, lilacs, irises and peonies. If that weren’t enough, the RBG has just resumed their jazz evenings in the rose garden – each Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. – something I look forward to each week.
My favourite time to visit the gardens is in the evening. It is often quiet, and the light hits the tress and flowers in subtle way. These gardens have become a place of serenity and calm for me; a place where I can reclaim my balance. If you do not have a place like this, I encourage you to seek one out. If not a garden, then a lakeshore, or a forrest, or a meadow. Anywhere that brings you back to centre.
While one’s favourites can be as unique as they are, we all need them to live well. I hope you take some time to enjoy those things that bring you pleasure.
Until next time, I’ll be in the garden if you need me.