ARCOmadrid 2017

There was much to be impressed by at the ARCOmadrid art fair held this past week. The show was fresh, dynamic and full of colour. If you were looking for something new and vibrant to catch your eye, with particular emphasis on art emerging from Spain and Latin America, then ARCOmadrid had plenty on offer. Of course, as with all art fairs, there were other regions represented and they too were impressive. Here are my top pics:

1.  Abraham Lacalle, Rojo y negro, 2016


Weekend Links

Eskimo Girl by Photographer Marc Lagrange

How to Reduce Wrinkles without Lasers or Chemicals

The Jean-Michel Basquiat You Haven't Seen

A Strategy for Happy Dual-Career Couples

13 Cookbooks written by Bloggers

How to Survive the Next Four Years Like a French Woman

This is how a dietitian spends $40 at the supermarket

Vietnamese coffee fudge

Chinese-American Novelist Yiyun Li on her writing

Hygge is Where the Heart Is


Highlights from the Armory Show 2017

1.  Albrecht Schnider, Ohne Titel, 2009

2.  Amy Feldman, Idyll Idol, 2016

3.  C.J. Pyle, SuperFine,  2000

4.  Chigyun Oh, Persimmon, 2014


Get Minted

At Minted you can select art and design created from across the globe. With 60 countries represented in the online store's various categories finding something to suit your tastes is a breeze. The trouble lies in deciding. With so much art to choose from you may end up with more than you planned. The best part: Minted's fine art prints are tasteful and affordable. More importantly, they would make any room look better. With each work chosen based on a voting system, anyone can submit their designs and become a member. It is precisely that type of accessibility that Minted's founder Mariam Naficy had in mind when she first started the company in 2007. Ever since, the company has grown, received venture capital and expanded some more. Here are some of my favourites below:

1.  Above the Sea


I can't wait for a more colourful wardrobe

It's that time of the year when everyone is dying for a vacation. And I don't blame them. Anyone who has ever lived through a Canadian winter knows full well the intensity of the cold here. Personally, I don't know how else to describe it except to say it is almost physically painful. That's why the past few days have been something short of a miracle, with temperature highs of 10 degrees. That alone has made me wonder about a brighter wardrobe. So, here are some summer clothes worth lusting after. Even if you can't go on vacation, it is reassuring to know Spring and Summer are only a few months away. 

1.  Le Desir


Art Prints from Australia

I've always been impressed with the talent coming from down under. Whether it's art, fashion or design there always seems to be an endless supply of it. So today, I wanted to feature some art prints from Blacklist, a design studio from Sydney. Started by a husband and wife team, Nathan and Jaynie Johnson, the company now produces everything from prints to greeting cards to journals. Most items feature Nathan's distinct handwriting. His flair for design, honed by years of working in art direction, is evident everywhere. I especially like the colour palette used, the mix of white, gold and black, with a touch of colour here and there makes everything go well together. To check out more, click here.

1.  Escape Art Print


And the Fashion Continues

I'm not into funky fashion. It's just not me. Trends make me feel like a conformist or worse, like a sucker for marketing. I prefer my clothes to stay a while. Because whether you like it or not clothes are an investment. They may not pay you a dividend but if you've ever bought something that loses its appeal after one season then you know the annoyance that follows suit. I like that these items are stylish but not outrageous:

1. Yves Saint Laurent - Yoox


A Quick Escape to Summer Fashion

Winter is as good as time as any to blog about summer fashion. Who doesn't need an escape after all? Whether you're planning a vacation or just looking forward to the end of snow these pieces might give you a short respite from the cold. I say dare to daydream. 

1. Dolce and Gabbana - My Theresa


If only everyone had a studio like this...

I love the open space in this studio. I think if everyone had this much room to work with they would all want to become artists. Here, the artist at work is Maryan Keyhani who used to be known for her jewellery designs. Now, she splits her time between Toronto and Berlin working on her art. Personally, I can't wait to see more of her work.

A sample of one of her paintings:

Maybe talent is genetic. This is a painting by her father.


These Shoes Have ❤ Heart ❤

It may be a little late to order these for Valentine's Day but do you really need an excuse? These hand-crafted mules and slippers hail from A. Andreassen where their design is "inspired by the woven baskets that children in Scandinavia make and fill with sweets". Using natural materials of either felt or leather they are manufactured by family-run operations in Portugal, so no sweat shops. Not only are they adorable but they look comfortable too. I wish I could have them in every colour. They make them for kids too.

1.  Elskling Leather Mule "Very Red" £140.00


Highlights from ZⓢONAMACO

Held in Mexico City, the ZⓢONAMACO art fair puts the spotlight on Latin American art and more. The fair was less politically charged than expected but that may be only due to timing. Next year, ZⓢONAMACO may have something completely different on display. With 160 exhibitors to choose from, it's always difficult to narrow down your favourites but somehow it must get done. Scrolling down through 50 or 100 images is exhausting, even for art lovers. So here, I've selected a few of the works which I thought were interesting or beautiful, and some which I simply wanted to know more about. Everyone has a different approach towards the visual arts. Some people are indifferent. But what it really comes down to is whether it has some sort of impact, aesthetically or otherwise.

1.  Oda Jaune, untitled, 2016


Christie's Jewels Online Auction

I usually find the jewelry at auction houses somewhat dated, but every now and then there are some nice surprises. Even if I don't buy anything, I enjoy perusing the sites just as I enjoy going to antique stores. You never know what you may find. Plus, there is something rewarding about looking at the past through someone else's eyes and style. When you do find something unique it may be just the inspiration you need. While Christie's auctions may not be for everyone, from a creative standpoint they're worth a visit. Their Jewels Online event ends today but there will be more auctions in the future.

1.  Buccellati Malachite and Gold Brooch

2.  Cartier Paris Nouvelle Vague Ring

3.  Chanel Cultured Pearl and Enamel Ring


A Book for Procrastinators and Perfectionists Alike

If you are paralyzed by inaction or stress, then Gretchen Rubin's book Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives will prove incredibly helpful. The book is a must for self-improvement junkies. It will make you understand not only how habits function but also why they're so imperative. As the author emphasizes throughout the book, "the habit of the habit is even more valuable than the habit itself." She further iterates that having daily rituals, or habits prevents stress by freeing you from decision making. Fewer decisions equals less time wasted. When the focus of your energy is predetermined by the existence of a habit you simply get more done. Habits work when they become automatic. To better understand why they exist for some and less so for others the author offers a classification system that aims to identify different personality traits that affect the formation of habits and how you may be sabotaging your efforts. Ultimately though, what matters most is the preservation of the habit until its ingrained.

"What I do every day matters more than what I do once in a while." (Gretchen Rubin)

Tips and Strategies from the book:

1.  Figure out a way to quantify your efforts and what you want to accomplish
2.  Establish and maintain a solid foundation of habits that deals with or nurtures the following: sleep, activity, diet, clutter
3.  Make a habit fixed by committing to do it everyday.
4.  Schedule to reduce pressure
5.  Just get started. Don't wait for the right time. 
6.  Make things more convenient and plan two activities/goals at the same time
7.  Be careful about using rewards as they may sabotage your good behaviour
8.  Distract yourself when necessary, but preferably with a habit that incorporates physical activity 

While skeptics may deem some of the information obvious this is a well-researched book and it's well worth the read, even if you just want to better understand your own behaviour. If you're not convinced by the power of a daily habit consider the quotation Gretchen Rubin cites from novelist Anthony Trollope. It may prove convincing enough:

"A small daily task, if it be really daily, will beat the labours of a spasmodic Hercules." 
Anthony Trollope


What Sold at Sotheby's

Sotheby's recent auctions had quite a few pieces of jewelry that were simply gorgeous. I wanted to include them here solely for inspiration. They may be exorbitant in price but it's interesting to see what people are buying. Here, I've selected a few of my favourites:

1. Marianne Ostier ring, sold for $20,000


Greenery is the Colour of the Year

The Pantome Colour of the Year is a cross between a lime and an avocado. Greenery, according to the colour institute, "is symbolic of new beginnings...Illustrative of flourishing foliage and the lushness of the great outdoors, the fortifying attributes of Greenery signals consumers to take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate..." If Pantome is correct, we are bound to see more of this colour everywhere. But who can complain? Personally, I find all shades of green rather uplifting and I think this painting by Karlee Rawkins perfectly encapsulates that nature-in-bloom type of spirit.



Is Skin Food worth the hype?

That's what I'm about to find out. I've heard many good things about this Weleda moisturizer and I have finally ordered it. It smells nice and it's not quite as thick as some reviewers have claimed. If that is a concern you can always dilute it with some almond oil. The cream does give your skin a nice glow and I've seen some vloggers use it as a way to highlight certain areas of their face. Considering the type of weather we've been having, it's not a bad idea. All around, it's a good cream for treating dry patches of skin. It stays on for a long time, and it doesn't irritate your skin. It's too early to tell if it makes your skin break out, but so far it makes a good first impression. No regrets here.


A Cloud Above the Rest...

I like the playfulness of these ceramics and how they re-imagine form and function. Whimsical to the core, they were designed by Sam Chung, an artist and professor of ceramics at Arizona State University. You can find the artist's statement here.

1.  Cloud Bottle, 2015