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2014/01/03 / Shanan


And now, the best of the rest of The Symmetric in 2013!  You can see the first part of our year-end post recap here. Gillian will be back in the (virtual) house next week and we’ll get down to some really. serious. business.  By which I mean, probably not actually very serious at all.


[UPDATED:  The Symmetric reconfigured some of our category titles in 2014, so the following three don’t exist as such anymore – but all the posts still do and have just been recategorized under different headings! S.]


Do these things come with instruction manuals?  Tips for taking your toddler on an airplane. My favourite book to give to little kids. How to plan a little girl’s wardrobe.

We had some fun family outings (and firsts): visiting the zoo, getting ice cream cones, and dyeing Theo’s hair with Kool-Aid (!!).  We pontificated on growing a garden, artistic evolution, home education (or maybe that was just our kids going crazy in the kitchen), and just plain old everyday outdoor magic.

berry aperol float recipe bon appetit vanilla ice cream


There were foodie field trips:  French treats at Nadège Patisserie, a potluck park picnic with Sarah Britton of My New Roots, and most recently a visit to the lovely Creemore Kitchen.

I tried my hand at some recipes… apparently if not juicing, I’m only consuming desserts.  It’s a paradox, my friends: lemon coconut loaf, chocolate ‘terrarium’ cake, aperol floats, lemon cream tart, and apple cinnamon cake.  Detox begins tomorrow.

And, it wouldn’t be a life in the country if we weren’t harvesting apples, canning vegetables, and tapping trees to make our own maple syrup.



I love this category.  It’s the catch-all, really. I took a trip to Nashville with my girlfriends (part 1 and 2), went to Maine with my family (part 1, 2, and 3), reminisced about Chris and I traveling in Iceland, and dreamed about staying in one of these weird abodes.

I took driver’s ed (oh my god and f*ck me), tried a little life-coaching, and started a business with Gillian!  We collected vintage clothing and jewelry and held a trunk show and opened an Etsy shop.

And, I got all nostalgic thinking about summer parties, mix tapes, and the late great Jeff Buckley.  C’est ca.  xx Shanan

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2013/12/30 / Shanan


Well, it’s that time of year… you know the expression, “all killer no filler” (or maybe that was just the title of a Sum 41 album, don’t quote me)?  Now imagine the opposite of that.  Welcome to the recap post.

I started writing this blog at the end of April, Gillian joined me in the fall and this year has been really, truly, an incredibly fun labour of love.  I think I speak for both of us when I say how proud we are of this little space we’ve created, and how much it means to us that you’re reading.

Here’s looking to dare to be great in 2014.   But first, some favourites in case you missed them…

Lizzie Fortunato leather embroidered clutch


Gorgeous: an androgynous fashion round-up, plus favourite collections featuring hand-dyed rock ‘n roll tees, the boldest jewelry and bags, and the prettiest patterned dresses.

Funny(ish): an ode to celluloid schoolgirl uniformsstreet style parody (think bath towels and bar-bells), and how to dress like a hipster from a children’s book.

Useful:  What to do when you’re sick of your winter coat, in need of some pregnancy wardrobe tips, or are rethinking your wedding ring.

white bathroom renovation gram parsons painting subway tile


We visited the homes of three creative, honest and real women this year.  Have you checked out the charming renovated farmhouse, the colourful cool-girl apartment, and the mid-century-inspired heritage home?

Great pattern inspiration in the form of dark wallpaper, Finnish fabrics, and children’s book illustrations.

A few self-conscious glimpses into Shanan’s home: the renovated bathroom, the deck, the bedroom, and the sofa situation.



My favourite documentary on creativity from this year.  My favourite art print purchase.

I put together (or ‘curated’, some might say…) a handful of miniature exhibitions that highlighted themes I tend to obsess over: intimacy, obscured faces (part 1 and part 2), weird interiors, and the use of mirrors.

And there were unusual artistic expressions in the form of google images, creepy abandoned spaces, camera phone snapshots, and bejewelled skeletons. 

(Recaps of the FOOD, CHILD, and EXPERIENCE categories will be up later this week!)

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2013/12/18 / Shanan


Monolithic, mysterious, sublime.  The big chill, indeed.

Image above: Andreas Schimanski, Projektion.

Jessica Cannon together iceberg gouache painting

Jessica Cannon, Together. Gouache on paper.

Maya Lin Iceberg sculpture blue foam

Maya Lin, Iceberg. Blue foam insulation and polyurethane.  Pace Gallery via Art Sy.

Jeremy miranda iceberg theatre painting

Jeremy Miranda, (no title available).

Leslie Shows Black Iceberg ink on paper

Leslie Shows, Black Iceberg (No. 3 and No. 1). Ink on paper.

Gerry Hofstetter titanic iceberg light artist

Gerry Hofstetter, “Titanic.” Light art ‘expedition’ with projected image of the Titanic on an iceberg off Greenland.

Rebecca Chaperon Icebergs Falling in Love painting

Rebecca Chaperon, Icebergs Falling in Love. Acrylic on canvas.

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2013/12/11 / Gillian


1. Something I Want:  Inspired by the “autumnal nature” of the Finnish climate, the new Marimekko Sääpäiväkirja (Weather Diary) Tableware Collection is at the top of my list this year.  Porcelain, but sturdy and dishwasher safe, these pieces are a perfect marriage of beauty & functionality. Just imagine the tablescaping possibilities!

2Something I Need:  ‘Need’ is so subjective, isn’t it? I mean really, I need new wool socks and a dryer, but somehow the Eames Molded Plastic Side Chairs have edged out Mark’s Work Warehouse and Maytag this year. Seriously though, we have a set of vintage press back chairs we bought in Toronto at Jaiden’s Petals/Cindiloohoo about ten years ago. Lovely as they are, they are not conducive to lingering dinners cozied up at our harvest table. So, I am on the hunt for something more comfortable, but also more contemporary.

3Something to Wear:  Clothes are my weakness, so they could comprise my whole list. Thankfully, Shanan has kept me on track with this four-point framework (apparently it’s not just a great gift-giving system for kids but also for their pining parents!). I am chronically over-dressed in the small village where I live (what, you don’t wear snakeskin pumps to Foodland??) and do wear vintage as much as possible. Shanan and I have been talking recently about the appeal of a ‘uniform’ – a go-to staple that is chic and wearable all at once. Et voila, the 1950’s day dress is my new paradigm.

4Something to Read:  I’ll be straight-up here – I haven’t read a book cover to cover since September. Apparently I’m a schizophrenic reader – either devouring novels or am just lucky to get through an article in the New Yorker. During this most recent dry spell I have been reading a lot of cookbooks. In fact, I think almost everything I have made in the past couple of months has followed a recipe. The Kinfolk Table, a beautiful collection of narratives, photographs and recipes, promises to be the perfect addition to my collection.

And… that pretty much concludes the wishlist/gift guide portion of our programming.  Ho ho ho.