I can't believe it's taken me this long to watch this film, Elegy. It is based on a book by Philip Roth entitled Dying Animal that I read and loved years ago. I still remember feeling absolutely shaken by the book. It's film adaptation was so well done and the performances so fantastic (no overacting here), I am stunned. The book, the film and the screenplay are equally intelligent, sexy and honest. The film was perfectly cast. This may very well be my favourite performance of Penelope Cruz'. I really saw her versatility in this film. If you have not yet had the pleasure, do yourself a favour: READ and WATCH

inside of a dog

I am completely absorbed in this book. It should be required reading for all dog people. Forget everything you thought you knew about dogs. Inside of a Dog gives us human beings a much deeper understanding (and hopefully, more empathy) for our beloved four-legged friends. It's thoughtfully written and fascinating. 

Thanks to my friend Eric for forwarding this on to me.

two blue wolves/nightwork

After much anticipation, Sparrow Hall launches a special combined printed (double-sided) edition of his two beautifully written short stories: Two Blue Wolves and Nightwork. Sparrow Hall is one of my oldest and dearest friends in New York. I love seeing what he has created over the past few years, trailblazing within the arena of transmedia. He has taken the story beyond the page, allowing readers access to experience it via many mediums, be it through music, video and visual art. All have been inspired by his writing. And why shouldn't a book/story inspire a soundtrack? It makes for a more holistic and more powerful experience. 

Sparrow Hall's writing of Two Blue Wolves (my personal favourite), takes my breath away every time I read it. 

Just as he has done with the e-book edition of Two Blue Wolves (see my post from Oct 2009), he is also donating $5 from every sale of this combined printed to the Alzheimer's Association. 

Congratulations to Sparrow Hall. You continue to inspire me. I can't wait to see what's next. 
p.s. Thank you for quoting my review of your book :) 

Here's a sample of the music from the Two Blue Wolves soundtrack.

Follow Sparrow Hall on Twitter @sparrowhall



bossypants. bossypants. bossypants.

cover image from audiobook pdf

If you follow me on Twitter and have already seen my multiple tweets about Tina Fey's book, Bossypants, well here it is again.

I particularly loved hearing Tina Fey narrate her own book. As far as I'm concerned, it was the only way it could have been done. I believe everyone – especially women – should read/listen to this audiobook. I was already a huge fan of Ms. Fey (and of her show, 30 Rock) this book just mutliplied it by a thousand. Her clever and humourous insight into the endless issues all/career-driven women face today is not to be missed. Her whip-smart, Gen-X brand of feminism is the best I've read in decades. There's also valuable advice to all women – and all of it wrapped in laugh out loud humour (mostly from her own confessions). She makes it ok for us to laugh at ourselves and at the absurdity of it all. Among them is the one where she tells women to make STATEMENTS instead of questions when we speak – as in don't say everything in question form. Speak in statements if you want to be taken seriously. I also love her for the chapter entitled All Women Must Be Everything. In fact, I love all of the chapters on women's bodies. I won't give spoilers away but it's the best, most truthful and most hilarious piece of writing about women's bodies I've read in a very long time. Oh, her description of how in any given nail salon in Manhattan there are at least eight Tracy Ullman characters represented had me laughing out loud during my commute home from work. She then proceeds to do a couple of the voices herself. It's funny because it's true.

I can't say enough about this book. I love Tina Fey. I am about to listen it it a second time. Go download it already! 

inspired collage : james gallagher

I'm loving the work of New York city collage artist, James Gallagher. He puts together image clippings from old issues National Geographic magazines and sometimes vintage sex manuals to create his work. His interest in human beings' secret behaviours (whether that reveals beauty, ugliness, solitude or desire) is fascinating. I also love the tactility and dimensionality of these pieces. 

James Gallagher has also recently edited a book featuring a number of contemporary collage artist entitled Cutting Edges. So much great collage work to see there.

bob blumer : a glutton for pleasure

I had the privilege of being invited to a very intimate book launch for chef, Foodnetwork show host and author/adventurer, Bob Blumer. I had no idea there would only be eight other people in attendance apart from the man himself. Bob Blumer had prepared a few nibbles for us at the Drake Hotel just prior to our arrival – all recipes from his new book Glutton For Pleasure (great title). He came in and chatted with us about one of countless unique, global culinary experiences and about the experience of putting together his book (his third to date). He was a great story teller, very down-to-earth, irreverend and, I must say, rather sexy. I almost lost my composure when I had a bite of the Cocktail Dates. It was indescribably good. Medjool dates, chunk Parmigianno Reggiano in the center and wrapped in bacon. A great version of Devils on Horseback. What could be better? Obviously, I will be preparing those for the next party I attend or throw. The other delicious treats we enjoyed: Chicken Popsicles and deep fried Chocolate Wontons (filled with peanut butter, bananas and Rolo or Caramilk bar segments – oh YES.).

Upon initially flipping through the book, the photography is undeniably gorgeous. It makes for a very colourful, visual feast. He was quick to point out that the dishes are photographed just as they are – with no manipulation or additional 'styling'. The recipes are prefaced with interesting or funny personal stories and anecdotes that give context to the dishes and how they came to be. The book is also filled with his trademark quirky ingredient combinations and unconventional cooking techniques. I really appreciate his anti-elitist approach to cooking. I'm looking forward to trying the recipes out myself. 

Many thanks to Suresh of Spotlight Toronto for the invitation. 



an inspired afternoon at strand bookstore


One of the best things to do on a rainy Sunday afternoon is to lose track of time browsing through Strand Bookstore. It's a New York institution, it's where books live. There's something about how unpolished, worn-in and creaky that's so romantic about this place. It even smells old. New books are on the same shelf as old ones. There is beauty in the chaos of it's mismatched shelving units and narrow, meandering aisles. I personally always purchased the oldest copies of books available.
Although it was a gorgeous Sunday, I stopped into the Strand looking for Witold Rybcyzynski's Waiting for the Weekend. It's an extended essay on the two-day weekend, it's history and ideas behind leisure throughout history. It was recommended by a friend who knows I'm a big fan of Alain de Botton's books. This seems to be right up the same alley.
I hope you enjoy my little iPhone photo essay :)


the nabokov collection


John Gall of The Design Observer asked a group of well-known graphic designers (like Chip Kidd and Michael Bierut) to design their own version of a Nabokov book cover within a specimen box (entitled The Nabokov Collection). Apparently, Nabokov was an avid butterfly collector. Great concept and beautiful work. See the rest of the collection here.
This reminds me to photograph a very recent personal project I did (as a gift). That I will show next...

All images via The Design Observer


two blue wolves by sparrow hall

I'm thrilled to share with you Two Blue Wolves Digital Collection, by my friend, Sparrow Hall. It officially launches today. Two Blue Wolves is a beautiful short story that explores memory through a woman suffering through Alzheimer's disease as well as through the eyes of her caregiver.

Sparrow Hall shared the story with artists around the world and if it resonated with them, encouraged them to reinterpret it in their own medium. The artists included musicians/bands, filmmakers, poets, dancers, etc. This first-of-it's-kind digital collection includes all of these reinterpretations inspired by the story. It is an e-book, audio book, soundtrack, music videos, posters and more. 15% of every purchase will benefit the National Alzheimer's Association. This launch coincides with National Alzheimer's Awareness month (November).

Watch the trailer below. For more information, view/listen to previews, a complete list of collaborators and to purchase the collection, go to:

I've been a friend of Sparrow Hall's for many years and I've watched a bit the story (after the story) unfold as he worked to put this project together. His vision and passion for what he does—not to mention his talent—reaches far beyond the writing. I am truly inspired.



like i give a frock


Yesterday afternoon over colada locas, lots of laughs and devious project scheming at The Rocking Horse Cafe, my friend Nichole gave me this fabulous book, Like I Give A Frock. The title and subtitle alone had me intrigued. Fashion Forecasts and Meaningless Misguidance? C'mon, that's freaking funny. It's also a beautifully-bound book with a cloth cover.

I started to read it this morning and I have to say that I have never laughed out loud like this EVER while reading a book. As I read it on the subway post-dance class, I realized I was laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes. Yes, I looked like one of the crazy people that most riders try not to make eye contact with on the way home from work. It is as hilarious as it is beautifully illustrated (by Kat McLeod). I am now the newest and biggest fan of Michi, the book's scathingly sharp, humourous writer.

So thank you, Nichole. You made my day.

Here's one of my favourite excerpts so far:

Eyes Up
You can say what you like about fashion-- it's frivolous, indulgent, fun-- but it can also be downright evil. Take the jumpsuit, for instance. Is the distance from shoulders to possum standard across all women? I think not. One girl's comfort zone is another's camel toe. So when faced with a friend in a changing room asking if the jumpsuit is splitting a most valuable asset apart, keep your eyes up, take a deep breath, and blame the designer!

All images from Chronicle Books


beautiful covers: the book cover archive


A friend of mine tipped me off about The Book Cover Archive. It is a massive (and still growing!) collection of beautiful cover designs. The site allows you to search by designer, author, illustrator, publisher — even by typeface! I am endlessly inspired by beautiful and innovative book cover design. As a designer, I can't help but judge books by their cover... some of the time... ;)  Below are just a few of my favourites... 




The company I work for (3:SL Creative) was lucky enough to find office/studio space to share with an interior design firm called Curated. Not only do we get regular glimpses at beautifully designed rooms, we get to work out of their gorgeous space. Admittedly, I also enjoy overhearing snippets of interior design-related conversations :)  
Below is a book that Curated published to show off their work and their inspiration. I thought it was so well done, I had to share. If I had better lighting equipment and a seamless white backdrop, I would have been able to take better photos of the book. Hopefully, the images below will give you an idea. It was designed with meticulous detail. Even the "inspiration" section was printed on toothier, warmer, uncoated stock. 


Here are images from their current and past projects that I particularly liked. Love their style, the use of mid-century modern furniture as well as their use of color. Plenty of inspiration here for my future apartment. I'd love to be able to afford to hire them one day...