Happy New Year

I am sitting in my office as I type this post and already I hear people lighting fireworks in my neighbourhood in anticipation of the new year.  I will be watching the fireworks from my balcony which will give me a perfect view of Prague castle and the Vltava river at midnight.  I am happy to report that new things are coming in 2012 for my blog including a long-time and long-planned re-brand, which should be rolling out in the next couple of weeks.  I am super excited to take my blog up a notch to the next level.  Wishing all my readers a happy new year and a terrific 2012 wherever in the world you are.

via postcards and pretties


Down With Tissue Paper Pom Poms; Up With Confetti System

I am not deliberately trying to be hard on myself when I say “I suck at making tissue paper pom-poms. ” Last year, I was inspired by the tissue paper pom-pom to the extent that I even wrote a post about it “Tissue Paper Pom Pom” in excitement for my upcoming craft project.   Since I wrote the post, I must have made dozens of pom-poms to accessorize parties and brighten up rooms, but to be honest with you, I find that every time I make them, they tear or I can’t get the tissue paper to separate back to the centre.  In the end, my pom-poms look like pom-poms but they are a far cry from the beauties seen in Martha Stewart’s how-to.

So I’ve come up with a solution for all the people out there who tear their tissue paper pom-poms or can’t be bothered with the undertaking: Tissue paper flowers by Confetti System offered at store, Creatures of Comfort, in New York.  Confetti System’s tissue paper flowers, the creation of Nicholas Anderson and Julie Ho, are delicate, colourful and funky looking. If they don’t scream par-tay, I don’t know what does!  Thank you NY Mag Best Bets.  You never fail to fill my life with awesome items and ideas!

via comfort creations

via NY Mag


Moeder Babelutte: What Candy Should Be

Last week in Amsterdam, I had a make-up session with the talented Joeri Vanhove, owner of the amazing store, Red Carpet Queen.  In conversation with Joeri, we were talking about all things food and dining related in our respective countries and he mentioned that Belgium is home to delicious, and gourmet food.  Everywhere you go, they do it gourmet in that country.  I hung on to this gem of information and decided to do a bit of research, having never been to Belgium myself.

I came across a delicious looking candy and confectionary shop that has 10 locations across Belgium called Moeder Babelutte.   The story behind Moeder Babelutte began in 1850 when a woman named Rosalie Desmat and her husband moved to Heist, Belgium. While her husband worked, Rosalie made batches of her mother’s recipe for a candy called Butter Babelutte, which she sold to weathly English and French children who were visiting the coastal town.  A babelutte is like a caramel made with brown sugar, milk, wheat flour, cinnamon and biscuits.  The candy became so popular with the residents of Heist, Rosalie’s candy making turned into a business, Moeder Babelutte.  Over 100 years later, Moeder Babelutte has been revived and expanded.  Has anyone been to Belgium and tried a Moeder Babelutte caramel or chocolate?  I can’t wait to go.

All photos via Moeder Babelutte 


Exchange Hotel

If you have a preference to stay in boutique hotels when you travel and like avant-garde art, have I found the hotel for you.  I was in Amsterdam last week working on the wedding plans and toured several hotels around the city.  One of the most interesting hotels I visited was the newly opened Exchange Hotel .

Located down the street from Central Station, the Exchange Hotel is the sister hotel to Amsterdam’s Lloyd Hotel and replicates the room system of offering guests the choice between 1 – 5 star hotel rooms in the same building.  On a design front, the hotel teamed up in a creative partnership with the Amsterdam Fashion Institute and commissioned the school’s students to design the hotel rooms.  The result is that no two rooms are the same and I can confirm, having toured five or six of them, the rooms are spectacular works of art.  Examples of themes include a pinhole camera, the Marie Antoinette room, the mattress room and a room that looks like a hooped petticoat structure.  I will share with you that my only disappointment in this innovative property, is their lack of AC in rooms.  I think AC is a necessity in this day and age, however I am sure there are loads of people out there willing to forego AC in the summer for cool digs.

Another great feature of the Exchange Hotel is its cafe and contemporary department store, Stock and Options.  Their cafe, Stock, is a much-needed retreat on a strip of fast food, touristy junk.  Stock has your typical cafe roundup of items such as smoothies, yogurt, muesli, coffee, tea, croissants and some sweets but really stands out from the crowd due to its beautiful interior design.

Options, their contemporary department store, is the third gem tied to the hotel.  Options is a showcase for all things design.  It is a terrific store for both local and international design brands and will quickly become a favourite of locals and tourist alike looking for something special.

via another travel guide

via style sight

via trend land

via petite passport

via kleur inspiratie


Cupcakes from Lithuania: Kepejai

I’m always a fan of writing posts on baking; an activity near and dear to my heart.  The location of this post may be a bit exotic to my North American readers but I love it as it demonstrates how universal the cupcake trend has truly become.  Kepejai, is a bakery in Vilnius, Lithuania.  How did I find out about Kepejai you ask?  I’ll tell you.  If you don’t mind a somewhat convoluted web search story that I am about to type…..  Here it goes:  I discovered their shop while reading through a cool, new, online Lithuanian (English) design magazine called “Llamas’ Valley” (page 122).  I came by Llamas’ Valley in a post written last week by one of my favourite blogs, Vosgesparis.  Complicated web-searching aside.  I fell in love with Kepejai’s contribution to a wedding photo shoot by Fotopastele (seen below) and decided to share it with my readers.  I hope I have the opportunity to visit Kepejai in Vilnius while I am living in Europe.  I was already planning on making a trip to Riga, Latvia sometime in the future to check out an old-world Jewish bakery in the city that I read about in this article.

 All photos via Fotopastele and cupcakes from Kepejai 

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