Thursday, 22 September 2016


It's the first day of fall, my favourite time of year. I'm obsessed with apples and pumpkins and sweaters. If I could arrange it, I'd live in a Sarah Vickers Instagram story. I cannot wait to dip into the sweater archives in my closet.

I've been writing and writing and writing and am very very happy with the first half of my book. The characters have surprised me in a good way. The working title is The Saints of Suburbia and, yes, it's about Oakville: Southeast Oakville in particular. I thought that people would be wary of me when I tell them I'm writing a novel about this place but instead they tell me all of their stories. I think everyone secretly wants to be written about in a book.

The book also has a fantastic element, which has been fun to explore. I love angels and crystals and benevolent magic and it's been fun to play with these concepts.

Summer was good. I was exhausted after the move and had some low periods, but I'm learning to weather the ebb and flow. I have also learned how healing the ocean is to me. We spent a divine week in Cuba and I felt the best I've felt in months. We are looking at some ways to spend more time on the water. We are doing some sailing on Lake Ontario, which works when we are here, but I'd like to make the ocean a bigger part of my life and we are exploring all sorts of possibilities.

I've been working my fingers to the bone writing the book and for 1010ParkPlace and HuffPo. My latest articles (including one on the wonderful Dolly Parton) can be found here and here. My next piece for 1010 is about my visit to a convent. As you can see from the photo below, the nuns have wonderful taste in stained glass.

I hope you have a wonderful fall. I'm writing here a little less since I'm writing so many other places, but I'll put major updates here. And you can always catch me on Instagram, where Serena and I like to hang out.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016


Can you believe it's August  already? We've had crazy hot weather for weeks and weeks so it feels like the summer is already coming to an end.

Serena turned 9 in July. She's a woman of a certain age now.

I've been missing the family cottage quite a bit, and have been taking some day trips. We had lunch on Puslinch Lake and went to Port Dover (that's a colourful experience) and went to the Finger Lakes for a few days. I drove the track at Watkins Glen. I was not the fastest on the track but others did not have to worry about their children's safety and a trunk full of Target bags.

We have started sailing lessons because, if we like it, sailboats are a good proxy for a cottage and we can bike to a couple of yacht clubs.

I've been writing, writing,writing. I've ripped my novel-in-process down to the studs and built it back up with 100 pages that make me happy so far. I realized I was using the novel as therapy too much and had to rework it significantly. So this is why not everyone has a novel published: it's bloody hard!

I'm writing weekly at If you want to see how to enjoy a cottage without having a cottage, check out my latest for HuffPo Canada.

In between bouts of self-loathing associated with authorship, taking Serena to her work, and going to the gym while the kids are in day camp, I've managed a few other things.

I managed to get downtown for the launch of Karma Brown's newest book. Do you read her? You should! The newest one, The Choices We Make, is a tearjerker and has some parallels to the author's own life.

We saw Guns & Roses at their reunion concert. That was some good old school fun (I went to a roller palace with the kids the same day because it's always 1989 somewhere.)

I had lunch with one of my favourite bloggers.

I like to keep busy to keep the black dogs at bay. I put some old Hello My Name Is stickers dotted with lip colour on my lipstick cases to show me what lipstick colours I have at a glance. Otherwise, all of the cases look the same.  Organizing always lifts my mood.

I'm also trying some mindfulness work. Got to calm the anxiety somehow and I can't sit by the ocean 24/7 (the ocean is a surefire calming place.)

Now that the move is behind us, we are starting to get into wedding planning mode once again. It's only six months away so we need to shake our tail feathers into high gear. We've done the big things but have to pin down the little ones.

I'm reading a lot these days. My Goodreads picks are on my sidebar if you are looking for something to read. I only ever review books I really liked (I usually won't give a bad review: writing is too hard to not appreciate someone else's efforts. But I also won't say a book is good when it's not. If it's not 4 or 5 stars, I often just pretend I never read it.)

I hope you are having a great summer. I'm mainly hanging out on Instagram because I'm very lazy and it's such an easy app. Plus, a lot of my blogging pals are there and it always offers great conversation.

I hope you are having a wonderful summer! Keep calm and carry on, my friends.


Monday, 13 June 2016

Weekend getaway

Mr. Dwell and I had a little weekend getaway to Port Stanley. The Mr had worked at the Port Stanley Festival Theatre one summer and we thought it might be fun to revisit his old stomping ground. Plus, it's a beach town and that's always a good thing. 

We stayed at the Kettle Creek Inn. 

It's a charming inn (think Gilmore Girls) and our suite was lovely, with a cute fireplace in the living room.

We had a lovely balcony overlooking the gardens where we could sit and read. 

The food was excellent. I ordered the Heritage Greens with Lake Erie pickerel and it was a beautiful meal. 

(The ever-present rosé.) 

Apparently, you have not been to Port Stanley until you've had ice cream at Broderick's Ice Cream Parlour.

Well, one doesn't want to mess around with a rule like that. 

The play we saw at The Port Stanley Festival Theatre was The Ladies Foursome, which is a light  comedy. It was really quite good. It also provides some great insights into female friendships in one's forties. It's well worth seeing if it rolls through your town.

The inn provided a hearty breakfast the next morning. I had the fresh blueberry bagels with cream cheese, fruit, yogurt, and a bit of apple cinnamon loaf. 

We went for a morning walk on the beach. I'm not a sun person but I love the ocean and Lake Erie is large enough that it feels rather ocean-like. Apparently Port Stanley is a madhouse on long weekends in the summer but on a Sunday morning it's very peaceful. I always feel so much better after I've been by the water for a bit. 

We ate lunch at Mackie's, which is a beach burger shack that has been around since the Mr. was in school. The fresh perch sandwich is fantastic if you are to find yourself having trouble deciding what to order. 

We then drove into nearby Sparta. I was expecting Thermopylae but there were just a couple of quaint little shops. I've been lusting after the adorable fuzzy chicks that Sheila, of My Kentucky Living, had on her Easter table and, wouldn't you know it, the Sparta Candle Shop had a pair! 

They will make my Easter table festive next year (once I find the rest of the decorations, of course!) 

We stopped by Moore Water Gardens where we had a Monet moment. 

I'm not as discipline a packer as DaniBP, but I did build a theme mainly around blue and white, wearing my Anthropologie tunic with my Milly for Banana Republic shorts and my Candy Shop Vintage Elephants on Parade necklace (I get compliments on this necklace every time I wear it.)

To the theatre I wore an ancient Alfred Sung for Zellers (!) dress I bought years ago and it's so wearable that I take it every time I travel. You just throw it in the washing machine and it is as good as new. I pair it with a Brooks Brothers Cashmere cardigan I bought years ago. It's that gorgeous smooth, not fuzzy, cashmere and it hand washes beautifully. I wish I bought one in every colour at the time.

The next day, I wore a navy cotton striped dress from Montreal's Boutique 1861. They have cute pieces for a great price. They seem to be out of this dress there now, but its available at ASOS in some sizes.

I carry my LV Eva whenever I travel since you can wear it as a cross-body bag or remove the strap and wear it as an evening bag with the little gold chain.

I was not sure if we would get in a dip in the lake so I brought along my beach bag. It's H&M and I sewed some 1960s raffia pompoms I took off a bedraggled vintage children's hat I found. That's about as crafty as it gets for me, my friends.

Serena's a fan of the raffia pom poms too.

I find that weekends are so much longer and more relaxing when one is able to get away. After all of the moving and to-ing and fro-ing of the kids, we needed a bit of R&R and were lucky to find time to work this in.

I hope you had a fabulous weekend. Wishing you a happy and productive week!

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Christie Antique Show, Settling In, and Doggy Friends

I hope you are all well. Can you believe it's June? School is almost over. We've been making our summer plans. 

We are finally settling into the new home.. We are really enjoying the yard as it's been a spectacularly warm spring. I am learning to live in a more testosterone-charged household. I wrote about it for

I have a new favourite summer wine with the Château La Tour de l'Évêque rosé. Delicious! 

Love the view from my office. 

The garden has yielded some peonies, which makes me all kinds of happy.

After last year's adventures in red, I'm fully back to Bergdorf Blond. I've cut a few inches off too as I'm wary of that mutton-dressed-as-lamb thing.

We've done a tiny makeover on the home front with the installation of a new office door. Before, I saw and heard everyone clomping up and down the 1980s Alexis Carrington staircase.

The temporary screen was inadequate as you could still see and hear everything.

Voila! A 100 year old mahogany church door from The Door Store was installed. It's high gloss black in my office to pair with the chinoiserie lacquered sideboard.

On the flip side, it's showing off its natural patina.

Mr. Dwell's House has sold!

We now just have the one house, although I have my eye on some income properties in Hamilton. I love that town! Not only do they have Locke Street and Aberdeen, but they also have fries on the beach!

I'll be happy to not have house or moving stress for a while, though. It's driven me to absinthe! We went to Bar Isabel in Toronto for one of the boys' birthdays. They know how to serve absinthe correctly, which is not something that can always be assumed.  I also ate my body weight in cured meats. I'll chalk it all up to stress.

One of my favourite events of the year is the twice-annual antiques show at Christie Conservation Area, which we attended last weekend.

I loved these cheese and ammunition boxes but could not figure out a home for them.

This year, there was an extra special treat as Carol Tanenbaum Vintage Jewelry was at the show.

I forgot to take a bunch of pictures because I was too busy pawing through all the finds. This little Dior piece followed me home.

There may or may not have been poutine consumed. It was not entirely authentic (shredded cheese rather than curds) but we managed to make do.

This weekend, I braved the outlet mall in Halton. I have trouble with crowds so we got there when it opened. I scored some Tory Burch outlet finds. It was $130 for a dress, pants and a tunic top. Crazy bargains.

My kids got some cute things for summer. And Mr. Dwell did well too. Still, I can only do that every so often. I prefer to shop online.

I finished Pictures of You. After finishing Cruel Beautiful World, I wanted to read more Caroline Leavitt. It's a beautifully told story about the complexity of grief and if you are looking for something to read, I highly recommend it.

How cute are these two? Serena and Sailor have become best friends, and spend all day walking around the house as a duo.

I hope you are having a marvellous start to June and have some fun plans in place for summer. 

Take care,