Modern Kokeshi

How adorable are these modern kokeshi character dolls by Handmade from beechwood, each doll has its' own unique personality, my favourites being the ones created in the image of an influential fashion icon. Pictured below are Andy Warhol, Anna Wintour and of course Coco Chanel. Visit's Big Cartel page to see the full cast of characters. C'est très chic.


Microwave Chocolate Cookies

A single-serve cookie made from scratch. Baked in a microwave. For real.

This recipe comes courtesy of my favourite vlogger Eugenie Kitchen. While I had some reservations about microwaving cookie dough, I tried it purely out of curiosity. My conclusion: this recipe is genius. It has a "real cookie" taste and it's perfect for those moments when you want a fresh cookie but don't have the time or desire to bake a whole batch. The recipe is so quick and easy I ended up baking three different cookies: traditional milk chocolate chunk, peanut butter chip and dark chocolate covered cherries with flaked coconut. This is possibly the best (or most dangerous!) thing to happen to your microwave.

Watch the original Eugenie Kitchen tutorial here or continue below for written instructions.
• 2 tablespoons flour
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
• pinch of baking powder
• pinch of salt
• 1 tablespoon butter, melted
• 1 teaspoon milk
• your choice of toppings
• parchment paper (optional)
  1. In a small bowl sift together the dry ingredients.
  2. Add the melted butter and milk and mix well until it forms a ball.
  3. Place the ball of dough on a microwave-safe plate lined with a square of parchment paper and flatten slightly.
  4. Using a low power setting, microwave for 10 seconds. Check your cookie and microwave for another 10 seconds. Repeat these 10 second intervals until the cookie is evenly cracked across the surface (in other words, nuke until it looks like a cookie).
  5. Remove from the microwave and sprinkle on your toppings while the cookie is still hot.
  6. Allow to cool completely before eating.

Gold Plated

Some might consider it tacky but I'm really loving the resurgence of gold cutlery. I love how they can work with everything from airy neutrals to bold, saturated hues. Simple gilded elegance at it's best.

Gold Cutlery
Gold Cutlery
Gold Cutlery

Photos: Cupcakes and Cashmere, Oh Happy Day, Pinterest


Cinemagraphs have been kicking around for a few years now but each time I see one I'm just as amazed as the first time. Created by Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg, these images are essentially ultra-sophisticated animated gifs, reminiscent of the moving photographs described in Harry Potter. In their fashion series, Beck and Burg have managed to created hauntingly beautiful images that hold your attention and keep you in awe. See the complete collection and more on

 photo CINEMAGRAPHS-01_zps50ed6f1f.gif
 photo CINEMAGRAPHS-02_zpsa1af446d.gif
 photo CINEMAGRAPHS-03_zpsf4f0416f.gif

The Meringue Girls

UK-based Alex Hoffler and Stacey O’Gorman are the masterminds behind my current culinary obsession: meringues. One look at their visually stunning candy-striped "kisses" and you'll see why. The dynamic duo, better known as the Meringue Girls, met while working in a restaurant kitchen and unsatisfied with their jobs, set out to do better. With the aim of starting the next big trend in sweets, their rainbow saturated confections have paved the way for TV appearances, book deals as well as a new standalone bakery on London's Broadway Market. Their inspiring entrepreneurial spirit show that dreams -- sweet dreams he he -- really do come true.

The Meringue Girls
The Meringue Girls
The Meringue Girls

Photos: Meringue Girls

Breakfast Vols-au-Vent

Vol-au-vent is French for "puff of wind" or "windblown" which describes the nature of this flaky puff pastry base. Usually you see vols-au-vent as bite-sized morsels used for appetizers or desserts but I went off the beaten path and used them to make a delicious breakfast. Squares of pre-rolled puff pastry are cut, folded into fancy tarts and par-baked before getting filled with egg, diced ham and green onions. All the comforts of breakfast in one fancy package.

Breakfast Vol-au-Vent
• 1 sheet of pre-rolled frozen puff pastry
• 4 eggs
• 1/4 cup diced ham
• 1/4 cup shredded cheese of your choice
• greens onions for garnish, sliced
• salt and pepper to taste
Cut your puff pastry sheet into four even squares and assemble as shown in the photo below. Prick the centre with a fork in Step #4. Bake in an oven preheated to 425ºF for 10 minutes until risen and just beginning to brown. Remove from oven.

Breakfast Vol-au-Vent

Crack an egg into each pastry shell being careful not to break the yolk. Top with cheese, ham and a sprinkling of green onions. Add salt and pepper to taste. Return to the oven and bake for another 5-10 minutes until the egg whites are no longer transparent and the pastry is golden brown.

Breakfast Vol-au-Vent

Serve warm with a salad, scones and tea for a lovely afternoon brunch.

Breakfast Vol-au-Vent for afternoon brunch.

Growing Succulents

Succulents have got to be the prettiest non-flowering plant (well, mostly non-flowering). Growing up, 'hens and chicks' were my personal favorite but this year I began noticing many more varieties popping up at the garden center. It shouldn't be a surprise that these plants are gaining popularity; they're ultra hardy and can grow almost anywhere with minimal care which makes them great for city dwellers with small apartments. Plus look at all the creative things you can do with them!

Creative Ways of Growing Succulents
Creative Ways of Growing Succulents
Creative Ways of Growing Succulents

Photos: Justina BlakeneyEver After Blueprint, Pinterest...bridal bouquet designed by my friend Stephanie and photographed by the talented Sara Wilde Photography

Cinnamon & Sugar Pastry Puffs

Puff pastry is one of my kitchen staples because of it's delicious versatility; as a pie crust in quiche, for apple turnovers, even faux croissants. Sometimes I'm left with scraps of pastry and instead of throwing it away I dress it up with some sugar and cinnamon and bake them as little puffs. It's such a scrumptious cook's treat that you'll find yourself making these even when there aren't any scraps.

• scraps of puff pastry
• 1 tablespoon white sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Cut the puff pastry into bite-sized pieces and place on a baking pan lined with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle evenly over the puff pastry.
  3. Bake in the same oven as your main dish (or at 425°F if baking alone) for 5-8 minutes until puffed and golden brown.

Sun-Dried Tomato & Artichoke Quiche

Quiche is hands down the perfect brunch food. It's a tummy-pleaser that dresses up the table because it looks fancy no matter what you fill it with. I often make mine Italian-style with sun-dried tomato and marinated artichokes because their tanginess cuts through the rich egg and cheese filling. In the summertime we have it al fresco...although our patio is not quite the same as the Tuscan countryside, it's close enough!

• 1 package pre-rolled frozen puff pastry
• 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, sliced (oil-packed, not dry)
• 1/3 cup marinated artichokes, chopped
• 1 cup shredded white cheese (mozzarella or Italian blend)
• 5 eggs
• 1/2 cup cream (or milk)
• 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend
• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Line a 9x9 square tin with puffy pastry, trimming any excess. (Stayed tuned for how to transform scrap puff pastry into tasty treats!) Layer in the sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes and shredded cheese.

Beat the eggs well with the cream and seasoning, pour into the tin.

In an oven preheated to 425°F, bake for 20-25 minutes or until the puff pastry is golden brown and the centre of the quiches is bubbling. Allow to cool to room temperature before serving.

Mother's Day Tea Baskets

I'm getting DIY-inspired by elegant gift baskets with an afternoon tea theme. My favourites are brunch-in-a-basket from Toronto's Kitten and the Bear and the cookie gram from LA's Matchbox Kitchen + Blooms in the Air. Perfectly sweet and practical, just like mom.

Kitten and the Bear
Matchbox Kitchen + Blooms in the Air