Recommended Reads: Time Was Soft There

Thursday, 30 September 2010

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Sorry to post so late today, I'm getting behind!
Hope you have a great weekend.
Pictures of my haircut and a newly finished sweater to come next week.

The first time I read about the Shakespeare & Company Bookstore in Paris was in the October 2005 issue of Nylon Magazine. Rachel Antonoff wrote a piece about spending a week making pancakes and sleeping among the book stacks. It sounded like heaven.

Jeremy Mercer's Time Was Soft There presents a less heavenly, but not too unpleasant version of his own time spent living at the store. Okay, the British title is Books, Baguettes and Bedbugs if that's any indication of the sanitary conditions (cockroaches receive a few mentions, as well). The bookstore was opened in Paris by George Whitman in 1951 and has since been home to many artists and writers in need of a place to stay.

I don't usually gravitate towards non-fiction, but I found it hard to resist a true tale from my favorite bookstore (that I will visit someday). Surprisingly, it read very similar to fiction; the bookstore is full of wild characters and events that make Mercer's book seem like a work of his imagination. That the history of the bookstore is interspersed between Mercer's tale is like a bonus: great story and I learn something!

Days off.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

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The coming of fall means back-to-school and less free time. It makes those days free of school and work even more precious. I like to explore the city during these days, discovering new places and popping into some old favorites.

A trip to Coriander Girl never fails to inspire. On the left at the back of the bouquet is a red kangaroo paw, a flower I had never heard of before my visit to Alison's lovely shop.

Sweet Bliss Bakery has the current high distinction of baking my favorite cupcakes in the city. Their cupcakes are moist, topped with a thick layer of frosting, packed into a box with a doily and tied with string. My box contained carrot and red velvet with cream cheese icing, double chocolate and vanilla. Delicious!

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I tried to get a good shot of the Hunter green polish, but it looks pretty dark in this photo.

Recommended Reads: Gods Behaving Badly

Friday, 24 September 2010

Gods Behaving Badly

Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips dares to imagine that the Greek gods and goddesses are real and walking among us... or at least walking around London, England. If you can remember any Greek myths there's a good chance you'll recognise them within the plot of Phillip's novel. Apollo, Aphrodite, Artemis and Hermes have the largest roles, but almost all the gods make an appearance.

This novel doesn' t take itself seriously. It's light and funny. However, be aware; with Aphrodite in the mix, it's a little crude, too. Imagine a typical Greek hero story (okay, the only one I know is from the Disney Hercules cartoon...) in present day.

In other news, I'm off to get my hair cut and dyed today. I always get pre-haircut jitters. Do you?

Triangle Loop - Free Knitting Pattern

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Triangle Loop - Free Knitting Pattern

This started as an experiment.
An ode to my pal Caitlyn who passed on her love of triangles to me.

I didn't really know what it was going to be when I started knitting. I think that's the most exciting part of the creative process. It starts with inspiration and what follows is trial and error. It was too wide to be a scarf and too narrow to be a sweater, but the pattern was so fun I just kept on knitting.

I thought maybe you would like one, too.
Download the pattern here.

I think I will make a few more, it is so cuddly and warm.
Perfect for the windy fall days to come.

UPDATE// Now available for Free Download on Ravelry.

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Creative Commons License
Triangle Loop by erica-knits is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at erica-knits.blogspot.com.

Recommended Reads: The Help

Friday, 17 September 2010

The Help

I will read anything. Classics, best-sellers, Twilight, etc. I love the books that don't make me think, just as much as those that do, as long as they're fun to read. When I'm in school I read a lot of academic and technical articles, so all I ask from fiction is that it entertains.

This quote has been floating around tumblr (with a link to a subscriber only article):

A lot of the people who read a bestselling novel, for example, do not read much other fiction. By contrast, the audience for an obscure novel is largely composed of people who read a lot. That means the least popular books are judged by people who have the highest standards, while the most popular are judged by people who literally do not know any better. An American who read just one book this year was disproportionately likely to have read ‘The Lost Symbol’, by Dan Brown. He almost certainly liked it.” - The Economist

This helped to solidify my motive for recommending books. I want people to read a lot. A lot of everything. I'll do my best to recommend worthwhile bestsellers and obscure novels.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett falls into the bestseller category. It's about three women in 1950s Jackson, Mississippi who dare to write about the experiences of "the help" (African-American women) working for middle-class families (Caucasian). While there's no profound new revelations about bad race-relations in the pre-Martin Luther King Jr. era in the Southern U.S., I think this book offers a worthwhile reminder: No matter how bad a situation is, there's always something you can do to attempt change. The Help is a pleasant read, perfect for an early-fall weekend.

I'm also looking forward to trying Molly's latest Orangette recipe for Leeks Vinaigrette. Cerre has a way of saying it best.

Fall Essentials.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

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There have been a number of "Fall Essentials" posts around the blogosphere (what a funny word!), but I hope you don't mind my two cents, too. In all honesty, "essentials" posts are some of my favorites. I like the idea of little coherent collections of items that represent a mood, season or person as if it was that simple to encapsulate.

1. A nice leather bag. Preferably one with character; soft brown and nicely worn in. I really like the structured bags that are en vogue this season. I found this one at the Antique Market from a sweet lady for $8. She's one of my favorite vendors; she's kind and her prices are fair.

2. My For Me, For You by Kate Miss necklace. I used to swear by black, navy and grey in the colder seasons, but this year I'm embracing color: rust, purple, olive and forest green for starters.

3. American Apparel nail polish in Hunter. My bi-monthly treat is still a $13 manicure at the salon down the street. I'm never afraid to be crazy with color on my nails, though the mint green I sported while visiting home this summer certainly perplexed my Dad. I believe his exact words were "Really? Mint green? Really?" while shaking his head in disbelief.

4. Knitting. While it may turn some heads in the middle of summer, knitting in the fall is perfect. I've got two sweaters on the go at the moment, this is one of them: Estelle pullover.

5. A pretty dress that is casual or fancy. Toronto is currently in the midst of film festival madness so the girl in the fitting room next to me was none other than Amanda Crew of Charlie St. Cloud fame. So there you have it, my brush with celebrity.

6. A perfect plaid button-down shirt. A Steven Alan Reverse Seam in peach/grey to be exact. I have been coveting one of these forever!

7. Pumpkin anything. Pumpkin lattes, pumpkin pie and these cupcakes look fantastic.

What are yours?

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P.s. The Hearblack Etsy Shop has a couple of heart wreaths in stock.

Recommended Reads: Grayson

Friday, 10 September 2010

Grayson

This book is so cute.

Grayson is the true story of how Lynne Cox, as a 16 year-old, reunited a lost baby grey back whale with his mother. As a long distance ocean swimmer, Cox, was just finishing her morning 3 mile swim when a whale began to swim along with her. Which, to me, sounds a little terrifying, but Cox becomes determined to find his mother in order to ensure Grayson's (the name she gives to the baby whale) survival.

If you're in need of a quick, heart-warming story, this is the one. More than anything, it makes me want to swim in the ocean and reminisce about my days as a speed swimmer.

A Day at the Beach

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

At the beaches.

There's already a chill in the air and school starts next week, but before fall woos us with it's changing leaves and cozy sweaters I'd like to remember a day at the beach. I like to stand at the edge and let the water glide towards my toes.


At the beaches.

An afternoon at the Pie Shack

The Beaches are located in Toronto, but a long streetcar ride from my place. Though it took nearly a whole year to get back to the Pie Shack, located in the Beaches, I finally made it! J and I played Cribbage, one of their many board games, and devoured our pie. (Actually, one slice amounted to 1/4 of a pie so I managed to eat only have a slice). It was a perfect end to a day in the sun.
Many more photos of from the day on flickr.

An afternoon at the Pie Shack

Farewell Summer, you were lovely.

Recommended Reads: The Millenium Series

Friday, 3 September 2010

The Girl Who Played With Fire

Maybe you've seen these three books around...

The Millennium Series by Stieg Larson is probably the most read series of 2010 (not verified). So I'll just join the millions (the masses!) and recommend them to you for what, I'm sure, is the trillionth time (or something like that). Michelle, a lovely fellow Torontonian and reader recommended the first book, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Well, once you get into the series, it's hard to stop. So, I will blame Mr. Larson for my tardy Summer Reads write-ups.

The Millennium Series consists of three books: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl who Played with Fire and The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. There are also three wonderful Swedish movies to go with them (the third to be released in North America Oct.15). So wildy popular is this series, that the Globe and Mail (a large newspaper in Canada) did a two page article titled, The Summer of Stieg.

The trilogy follows Lisbeth Salander, "The Girl", who takes her revenge on the "men who hate women" (in fact, this was the original Swedish title) with the assistance of a reporter Michael Blomkvist. They're juicy, intriguing, full of suspense and just fun to read.

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