I'm excited to introduce something I've been working on for the past little while: Raya Goods - a new product line featuring my own illustrations printed on baby onesies, bags, t-shirts, etc. RAYA (pronounced rah-yah) in Tagalog and Spanish means a drawn or printed line or stripe. In Sanskrit Raya means flow of a river, zeal, ardour, quickness, force or velocity. Raya also means king, prince. My little Rumi is the inspiration behind all of this, of course. I can't wait to share them with you in the next few weeks! Please follow @rayagoods on Instagram to check them out.
TORONTO: I am selling a pair of these responsibly harvested, bar-height outdoor RUSA chairs from Design Within Reach. These chairs are less than a year old and barely used (and mostly used indoors or in storage). They retailed for $450/each without cushions and I am selling them for only $125/each including Sunbrella cushions in Linen (canvas colour, see second photo below). I am moving and will no longer have a balcony to put these in. View the RUSA Collection at DWR. The bar height table is on sale!
Please email me asap, if interested. Cash only, local pick-ups only.
Lexie and I are back in our Brooklyn apt for (all/most) of August. The slight change of plans happened just a day or two ago. It was what I wanted to do anyway, my circumstances changed to accommodate for a longer stay. It could be my last few months of having a Brooklyn apartment. And my place was (deliberately) vacant this month anyway. Since the timing worked in favour of staying, I figured, why the hell not?!
It's been unexpectedly grounding to be back in the city. It feels a lot more like coming home this trip. It has everything to do with familiar surroundings, even for Lexie. I've lucked out with great weather. I'm taking in as much inspiration from the city now as I ever did while I lived here. It's been so wonderful to spend time with my dearest ny friends again and eating very well, as per usual. I will write a separate post on the food! I AM also doing work while I'm here and looking for interesting new projects as well.
One of the things I'm looking forward to this next couple of weeks is taking my Alvin Ailey dance classes again. In fact, I am going today. I can't wait!
Photos above (from top left):
Jeffrey's Grocery (West Village)
A West Village apartment courtyard
Lexie at her old park in Brooklyn
Still life at Joseph Leonard restaurant (West Village)
My new fall oxford/mocc ankle boots! (by Luxury Rebel)
Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn at sunset
September will mark one year, the first, that I've (ever) lived in Toronto. The city, for the most part, has welcomed me with warmth and open arms. I have learned a great deal and have had a very successful year thus far with regards to all aspects of my work. I am immensely grateful for this and all who have been supportive. It hasn't been without it's challenges. One of which is figuring out my place in it in my own time. Quite distinct from trying to fit into someone else's expectation of what I will make of this new city (and inevitably disappointing them). I do believe that in order for me to truly make Toronto my own, to be able to carve out my OWN version of it, I need my own space. New York was easy to make my own. Perhaps that is the nature of the city. Perhaps it's because I didn't go into living there with someone else's preconceived version in mind. New York was all mine to carve out. I had nearly 12 years to do so.
So the official hunt for my own Toronto digs is ON (not ready to own just yet, but to rent). Starting this weekend. It's all VERY exciting.
My Brooklyn apartment building is over a hundred years old. I've had that place for eight years. There are things everyone is willing to give up to live in New York. I had a good amount of space in Brooklyn, so that wasn't an issue. I'm realizing (for reasons that include my age) that there are conveniences I am no longer willing to do without. Namely, an en suite washer/dryer situation. I loved the charm and character that my Brooklyn apt had. And perhaps down the line, I will be more interested in a fixer-upper, renovation project type of apartment or house. But for now, I want new(ish), clean, modern, bright and easy. Why not? Between my 9-5 work and freelance projects, it doesn't leave me much time these days. But I'm hoping it's doable (maybe with a little professional help). The idea of decorating a whole new space is BEYOND exciting. I can't wait. I will, no doubt, be documenting the process. Stay tuned and wish me luck!
I love these laser-cut birchwood plywood coasters by The National Design Collective. I spotted them at Thor Espresso Bar last week. It's perfect for the city loyalists. They are gorgeous and how cute is that name?
I finally stopped in the St. Lawrence Market in the area of Old Town Toronto. It's been mentioned to me by a number of friends in Toronto. Apparently, the market is 205 years old. It's a beautiful, brick structure, a huge space with numerous food vendors. I loved the architecture of the area, too. It might be the most interesting and as well-preserved as I've seen in Toronto. It reminded me of San Francisco (and a little of Paris). It's also similar to Dumbo, Brooklyn. The market is situated on Front Street – which also happens to be near the water. Maybe next time I can make it past the street level and venture downstairs. I did get a chance to enjoy the famous pea meal bacon sandwich (YUM!). And I couldn't help but take photos of some of the food. Can you tell that I've been addicted to shooting everything up close?
There aren't many articles of clothing that I lose my marbles over. But this All-saints Anais trench dress is one of them. I blogged about it back in August, some of you might recall. But a big move and various budgetary constraints prevented me from purchasing it. At the time, the importance of buying a dress paled in comparison to everything else going on around me. Then I realized recently that it was still available (yes, I was still thinking about it) and it is now on sale. I could NOT pass it up.
I have to say, it's probably the best dress purchase I've made in the last year (or two). It's perfect for spring and fall. It's impeccably tailored, it's modern and classic with an edge. And unlike most dresses I buy that require some alterations (specific body-type reasons). This one will only require two buttons above the waist to be re-located, you could say. Otherwise, it fits me like a glove. I have been very impressed with the construction of all the dresses I've ever purchased from All-saints. Their mostly neutral (and black) colour palettes really work for me I'm just really not usually a rainbow-brite kind of woman.
I realize this is only a dress. There are numerous things going on in the world that are far more important. Who cares? Well, it's been a very tough winter, a lot of adjustments to make and a big (HUGE) life shift. The people who know me best understand this. Spring is (arguably) here. New and exciting ventures abound in more ways than one (more on that later). This represents a fresh start. Sometimes, a great dress especially this one carries with it a kind of significance that gives you that extra little bit of flourish. And sometimes, it's all you need to feel good again ...and that's very ok.
Take the kitschy, retro aesthetic of Coney Island in Brooklyn, NY and apply it to a department store in Toronto, Canada and you would get Honest Ed's. The façade alone had me transfixed. It's a carnival alright. And it's the only structure on the street and neighbourhood that looks like it could belong in Coney Island (or even Time Square). To briefly describe Honest Ed's: it is a discount department store that seems to have, well, everything. The fact that this place has been around for almost 62 years tells me that there isn't a deliberate attempt at kitsch. Things simply have not changed for years! Apparently, the interior store signage has been hand drawn by the same man for decades. I wonder if anyone has ever attempted to create a typeface based on it.
I remember walking into Eponymy a couple of years ago the week that they opened. It's a cute shop right on the border
of Park Slope and Prospect Heights just off Flatbush Ave. on Bergen St. I walked in this past weekend while on an errand
run and I must say, I still love their clothes. Owner Andrea Miller has a great eye for a really great mix of clothes with
simple, modern cuts, and beautiful fabrics. She also throws in a selection of hand picked vintage pieces that just work
nicely with everything else. The shop embodies an understated "new old" aesthetic that is so of the moment. The accessory
selection mirrors the beautiful mix of modern and vintage. Go check it out if you haven't already.
I am giving away this adorable and humourous book called I LEGO NY by Christoph Neimann
courtesy of the super fabulous gSelect online shop! What a fun way to start the week :) All
you have to do to enter is check out the shop, leave one comment below and tell me what
you think of the gSelect. You will have until noon this Wednesday, the 23rd of June to enter.
Then a random winner will be chosen. US/Canadian entries welcome. Good luck!
While strolling down Greenwich Street late Saturday afternoon this weekend with a friend, we stumbled upon the
cutest little shop I had never seen or heard of before. It looked to be closed for the day, so we couldn't walk in. But
the old iMac and the clutter suggested that there would normally be some level of activity taking place in the room.
I wasn't sure what it was at first. Only a curious sign that read 'Cookbooks' on a metal plate adhered to an old door.
When we looked inside, I was fascinated. It was like a room you would see in an old doll house. There was dusty
old wallpaper on the walls and the doorways looked shorter than usual. It was filled with – safe to assume – cookbooks.
It (and the old building it was in) was adorable. I had to find out more.
I discovered that this charming little shop is actually Joanne Hendricks, Cookbooks. It is filled with all types of
cookbooks and books about food, wine, dining, etiquette, old and out of print books, obscure books, menus and
paraphernalia. There's even a corresponding online shop called Greenwich Street Cookbooks. I would love to
come back and look around. There's no end to great little places to discover in this city. I love it. So if you're ever
near the corner of Greenwich St. and Canal, stop in.