Floor Lamp Round Up

Due to the overwhelming popularity of my post on plug in wall lights, I've decided to expand on the series with a round up of my absolute favorite floor lamps. There are so many companies making exciting and innovative lighting options today, the choices are crazy wonderful if you just have some money to spend.

Personally, I've wanted to get rid of our plain and uninspiring metal floor lamp for years. It currently sits in our living room, next to a very bland and outdated (but comfortable) reading chair. I bought the lamp at Homesense eight years ago, and at the time it was cheap (and it did the job) but it's certainly not winning any style awards. Unfortunately the purchase was made without much thought behind it and it was a mistake from the get go. I'm not even going to show you a picture. That whole corner of our house is irritating to look at, simply because it's such an easy fix (I would happily donate both items to the Furniture Bank) but we are trying to do our best to limit our current spending habits. So for now...both items are here to stay.

Now if I could re-design this little corner of our house, I would certainly consider some of these bad boy contenders. While I appreciate the design behind all of the options below, they wouldn't necessarily all work in our living room. But perhaps they would look fantastic in your space.

I've chosen to break up this list into budget categories instead of grouping similar lighting designs together. I think most people shop with their wallet first, and I don't want to have you fall in love with something outside of your means. Chances are you probably will once you see what's on offer, but at the very least I've done my best to warn you so no hate mail please :)

I know lighting can be expensive, and we sadly no longer have Target here. I still really want the modern globe floor lamp which only retails for $60 USD. As far as cheap lighting goes, it's definitely one of my faves.

First, let's start with the more affordable options. All of these retail for under $300. Just please take into consideration that while I've done my best to include Canadian pricing for most floor lamps, some pricing may be in US dollars.

Out of this line up I have to say my favorite is the Pewter Lamp from EQ3, and it will most likely be the one that goes into our living room. I first noticed it at Heal's, one of my fave British retailers. I think it's the exact same model but I can't say with certainty. I also really enjoy the Mick Mint Floor Lamp from Crate & Barrel. It's such an affordable find coming in under $150. I'm shocked that it's been in the clearance section for ages.

Next up we are getting into more expensive territory but these pieces are all unique and worth every penny. They retail from $300 - $750.

OMG so many good options here. The Mutto Leaf Lamp makes me happy, while the cylindrical Quart Table Lamp from Rich Brilliant Willing is just so stupidly awesome and comes with a white marble or dark emperador stone base, and an oak, walnut, or black ebonized oak solid wood stem. I must have it someday.

Onto another small but worthy batch of contenders - these puppies go from around $750 - $1000.

A big thank you to Anthropology for winning this round with it's Slanted Copper Floor Lamp that also features white oak, marble and an unexpected hit of iron in this stunning sculptural lamp.

Now let's consider a few more investment worthy pieces. Yes these are going to set you back a pretty penny, but they are a once in a lifetime kind of a purchase. You aren't going to get tired of these beauties anytime soon, and you most likely you will be passing them down as family heirlooms someday.

So can you choose your favorite? The AJ Floor Lamp by Arne Jacobsen has been a crowd pleaser since 1960 and it's clean and modern shape is still striking to this day. The Lambert & Fils Cliff Floor Lamp (made from brass and powder-coated aluminum) is so slim, sexy and striking, it could truly be placed anywhere. And the brass shade on the Beat Light by Tom Dixon is both effortlessly modern and cool and will add a certain amount of elegance to any interior.

Next up I think I will do a round up of my favorite coffee tables, so stay tuned for that in the future.

Valentines Day Gift Edition

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, I thought that I would get you thinking about that special someone in your life who perhaps deserves additional doses of love thrown at them for no particular reason. Look, I'm not one for commercial holidays, and no one is forcing your hand to buy luxurious things for your loved one. But should you wish to make somebody in your life feel extra special during any part of the year (and not just mid February) here are some ideas on how to do just that, and that doesn't mean spending a fortune or going to a spa and buying a crappy bouquet of red roses.

(image courtesy of Kinfolk)

Sausage Making Class - Nothing says true love like making sausages. Actually that's probably the first time anybody in the history of the world has ever said that, but I can assure you, making sausages with your loved one is actually quite fun. The Healthy Butcher is a butcher shop in Toronto who specializes in local, organic and 100% grass fed meat and organic produce. They also host a series of classes throughout the year, teaching everything from knife skills to fish basics to creating your own charcuterie. Their most popular class however is sausage making, where you get to spend over two hours building flavors just "encase" you want to make your own sausages. Yeah, I said it. The best part is that you actually make a LOT of sausages, so many in fact that you will go home with a giant bag of them which will surely impress your friends and family. Classes are $80 per person (they've definitely gone up since I took my husband five years ago) but are totally worth the splurge for a fun night out.

Eclairs - Nügateau is Toronto's newest desert destination (sorry Nadège, don't be upset because I still love you) and it is a real pity if you haven't been there yet. Located near the corner of Queen and Palmerston, this shop deals strictly in eclairs, and presents them in the most beautiful way. With a ton of flavors to choose from - think lemon meringue, maple bacon, raspberry, pistachio etc - you will probably want to grab a mixed box of six for you and the one you love.

Photo Book - If you want your significant other to shed endless tears of happiness, all you have to do is make them something. And by something I mean a carefully edited book of your most important photographic memories, not a random scrapbook of old love notes and movie stubs. Although on second thought, that actually sounds really romantic. In any case,  Blurb helps you to build your own custom photo book that looks pretty professional.  You get to choose the size you want (anything from 7 x 7 inches to 13 x 11 inches), and you have several options for the front of the book, including going with an image wrap, soft cover or a dust jacket. I personally prefer the image wrap in a 12 x 12 inch format. You can build a standard book online, download their software to make it a tad more customized, or you can go all out and hire one of their professionals. Prices start at $30 for 20 pages.

Cheese Boutique- Things are about to get cheesy here...it's a possibility anyways. Whether you choose to go solo or with your date, give yourself at least an hour wondering around this glorious cheese emporium that's located on the outskirts of High Park just off the Queensway. You are bound to stock up on lots of treats which will enable you to make a delicious little spread, which you may want to have with a nice bottle of wine and a toasty fire.  I suggest you buy at least 3 cheeses and build yourself a nice little charcuterie board with other fixings. They also have an amazing selection of canned goods, hot sauces, prepared foods, and not to be missed Chocolates X Brandon truffles from former Bar Isabel chef Brandon Olsen, who is about to open his own little chocolate shop in Brockton Village.

Coffee Mugs - I'm assuming that if you are reading this blog you are probably a grown up. Maybe you aren't, you know, like actually grown up, but physically, you probably at least embody the body of a grown up. Does that make sense? And most normal grown ups like a good morning cup of coffee, because it's really the world's most perfect beverage. To truly enjoy that warm, soothing, wake you up cup of coffee you could put it in a regular mug, but when you are a grown up, why not treat yourself and your loved one to two lovely ceramic mugs like this one? Yes, a mug that costs almost $60 is kind of expensive, but it's so pretty with it's blue speckles, and has such a nice weight to it, plus if you use it everyday I think it's totally worth the expense.

Roros Tweed Blanket - This 100% pure new wool blanket from Norway is hands down the best blanket I have ever owned. It's so highly superior to anything I have ever snuggled under, I really can't imagine using another blanket, ever. It was a Christmas gift from my husband (he got it in electric orange and purple), and it's definitely one of the best presents I've ever gotten.  It's warm and cozy, and guaranteed to bring you two together, in a very literal way.

Customized Stationary - Buying your own customized stationary seems a bit indulgent, but it is such a nice gesture when presented as a gift. Anything customized basically says "hey I took the time and effort to make something personal" and makes everybody feel special. I love Rifle Paper Co. and really love this little company that has grown into a massive stationary powerhouse over the last few years. For our wedding, I ordered a customized print that features an illustration of my husband, myself, our dog, and our wedding date. It's hanging in our living room and it's such a nice reminder of our wedding day. Plus we ended up getting thank you cards made from the same print, so our guests received it as a little keepsake. So why not get your loved one a notepad or some business cards that they will be proud to hand out to colleagues? They will always think of you when they see it and make them feel like real professionals.

Terrarium - Everybody loves air plants and succulents, but if you don't have a green thumb, why not ask the experts at Crown Flora to make you a terrarium. These guys made my flower crown and wedding bouquet, and yes, one day I will get around to sharing some photos from the day. You can spend a little or go all out and splurge, but I guarantee you your date will be happy no matter what you spend.





Holiday Countdown - Gift Edition Part 1

I am such a sucker for putting together pretty gift sets. It's probably one of my favorite activities, and if I had to choose my dream job, it would probably be assembling beautiful gift packages for really, really, REALLY rich people.

For the next couple of weeks, I'm going to be putting together some holiday shopping ideas for those unique people in your life who may have stumped you this gift giving season. But since this blog is all about fantasy, I apologize if some of my finds are a tad expensive. I'm not saying you have to rush out and buy any of these things, but in my dream world, if I had endless amounts of money, and could spend it on others (in very frivolous ways), this might be it.

First up, this collection of finds is for the baker or taste maker, the person who practically lives in their kitchen but dreams about moving to Italy or the south of France, the one who loves to whip up their own jars of pickles in the early fall, and who generously spends all day making pasta by hand.

1. Kitten & Bear Jam - $12 - This local Toronto store makes jam in small batch quantities by hand, and they do not use any preservatives or commercial additives. As the shop states, all of their items are "made in the French confiture style in traditional hand-hammered copper preserving pans, they stand apart by their exquisite texture, interesting ingredients, and subtle balance of flavours." Since this spot is right around the corner from me, I indulge in their freshly made scones more frequently than I would like to admit. If you have never been there, for the love of god, go immediately. Each scone purchase comes with your choice of seasonal jam and clotted cream, and once you open up the heavenly warm scone in your hand, dollop on some topping, and feel the buttery richness in your mouth, you will never be the same. You can shop in store or online.

2. Herriott Grace - Rolling Pin - $70 - I am a massive fan of Herriot Grace. This father daughter duo create spectacular wood carved pieces that you will treasure forever. Made in Vancouver and available online.

3. Mjolk - Onion Basket - $60 - A large bamboo handmade basket, perfect for storing fruit or onions on the counter. Made by an artisan in Kyoto Japan. Available in store and online.

4. Rough Linen - Apron - $50 - A classic rough linen Belgian waiters apron, perfect for protecting your clothes on days when you have hot soup bubbling on the stove. Made in the US but ships to Canada.

5. Mjolk - Cast Iron Pan with Handle - $320 - Crafted by Japan's most important industrial designer Sori Yanagi. The stunning black pot features curved edges for easy pouring. Available in store and online.

6. Coolican & Company - Palmerston Stool - $490 - I first spotted Coolican & Company at IDS a few years ago. I instantly fell in love with their superb craftsmanship and incredible attention to detail. They have a small line of furniture and accessories, and this lovely handcrafted white maple stool is the perfect place to perch your tired legs when peeling a bucket of potatoes. Available online, contact the shop directly.

7. Elte - Picardie Tumbler - $2.96 (each) - These classic ribbed tumbler glasses are a standard in French bistros and are made of shatter proof glass that can withstand both hot and cold beverages. All that and coming in at less than $3, what's not to love?

8. Chapters Indigo - A Kitchen in France: A Year of Cooking in My Farmhouse - $34.49 - Famous food blogger and former model Mimi Thorisson welcomes us into her own kitchen in France. You will find spectacular photography featuring beautiful ingredients and seasonal family style meals. You can purchase this book online for 25% off, or in store at regular retail price.

9. L' Atelier St George - Pallares Solsona Kitchen Knife - $35 - A practical knife for daily use, yet so pretty that it will made food photographers salivate. Made in Spain, available for purchase in store and online.