[ header image ]
2013/10/07 / Shanan


It’s Monday!  Or, it’s Mun-dayyyyyy….Hopefully I can soften the blow?

Today I am proudly offering up The Symmetric’s second feature in the ‘Natural Habitat’ series (you can see the very first one here).  Leticia Luna is this brilliantly laid-back cool girl with out-there yet impeccable taste. Brutally honest, generous, secretly sentimental, hilarious, independent.  Leticia has been kind of a lifeline to me over the last couple of years and for that I count myself extremely lucky (even if it sometimes takes her two weeks to return a phone-call, xx).

She was born into a big family in Brasilia, Brazil, had a wild raver adolescence, then went to art school and became a graphic designer.  She and her husband moved to Toronto in 2005; for the past six years Leticia has worked at Concrete Design Communications where she focuses on fashion and cosmetics branding for the likes of Holt Renfrew, Perricone, and Bite Beauty.  Leticia gave birth to her son, Nico, in April of 2011.  Earlier this year, she separated from her husband and they currently share custody of Nico.

Leticia is the real deal and here she opens up a little about homesickness, being a working mother, and keeping things spontaneous.

Trinity Bellwoods townhouse

“Nico and I share a three-storey/three-tiny-bedroom townhouse with a rooftop terrace that is perfect for the two of us; so actually not all that much has changed from before the separation.”

dining room

This hanging lamp is from my grandmother’s house. I remember admiring it as a child. When she passed, I specifically asked to keep it. The poster is my favourite design by Nico’s dad. The picture is of an iconic staircase in the University of Brasilia where we both studied.

I tend to be spontaneous and slightly out of control, so I pretty much follow no routine.

The days I have Nico, I pick him up from daycare and if we feel like, we go to the playground before heading home to have dinner. Sometimes I cook, sometimes I order pizza, sometimes we eat out. We play, watch cartoons and movies, draw, read and chill together. We end up going to bed somewhere between 9-10pm. Sometimes I fall asleep with him, sometimes I take a few hours of downtime to myself.

The days I don’t have Nico are completely random. I will either work late, go for a drink or dinner, watch tv, do my nails, have a friend over or spend countless hours on my iPhone.”



[ header image ]
2013/09/17 / Shanan


In my grandly backwards tradition of showing you the ‘after’ on a home project followed immediately by the ‘before’ (cases in point: our deck and Theo’s bedroom), I wanted to share a shot of our bathroom now, and then.

Man, it’s not until going through old photos that I realize I’ve forgotten just how sad this place was when we bought it.  But Chris and I knew it had potential to spare.  We’re the people who watch House Hunters or Property Virgins and scream in frustration as the potential buyer complains they don’t like the paint colours in a house, as if it’s a total dealbreaker.

bathroom before renovation

To be fair, in this case the lime green walls AND ceiling were a bit much.  What do you think?

[ header image ]
2013/09/09 / Shanan


I have zero in the way of exploratory travel plans on my radar at the moment, but I do enjoy imagining a night in any of these rentals via Air BnB.  Would you ever stay somewhere, er, unconventional?  I don’t know if my camp would go for it, ultimately, but these properties caught my eye…

treehouse andalucia spain interior

Images above, below, and up top: Just some gorgeous treehouse with a private pool in a natural park in Andalucia, Spain.  NBD.

treehouse andalucia spain private pool

Cubehouse Rotterdam rental weird architecture

Image above and below: If the jetlag doesn’t get you, the vertigo will. Weird architecture in the form of the ‘CubeHouse‘ in Rotterdam.


Houseboat rental Amsterdam

Would you ever stay on a houseboat? One of my fondest childhood travel memories involves my parents renting a houseboat with another family… Picture all the Vacation movies rolled into one and set on water for a week.


I assure you that our rental did not resemble this one in any way.  Isn’t this amazing?

Pittsburgh mirrored art house rental

And finally, welcome to Crazytown (aka Pittsburgh).  I want to go to there, and get to know these people.

mirrored house exterior pittsburgh rental

It looks a little more unassuming from the outside (save for the fact that it’s mirrored and all).

I’ve tended to play it pretty safe when it comes to accommodations, but I do feel lacking in the adventure department after seeing a glimpse of the possibilities out there.  Would you stay in any of these??

[ header image ]
2013/08/21 / Shanan


Every once in awhile I find myself spending an entire evening googling images of abandoned places.  It’s incredible what’s been left out there in the world – creepy overgrown amusement parks, empty hotels, entire infrastructure systems, all once bustling centres of activity just completely deserted.  I like to imagine how it would feel to stand in these places now, but know that I would absolutely be too terrified to explore them in real life.

There are many, many round-ups and slideshows of eerie, heartbreaking, horrific and sometimes beautiful forgotten places if you choose to go looking down that rabbit-hole.  These are a few that are haunting me right now.

Image above: A burned out and abandoned hotel near Erfurt, Germany. Photo by Michael Mehrhoff, via Francesco Mugnai.

Okpo Land South Korea abandoned amusement park

An image from the infamous Okpo Land amusement park in South Korea.  It was closed in 1999 after a number of park tragedies and over the years became a site for urban exploration, with many people making the pilgrimage to walk along abandoned roller coaster tracks, etc.  In 2011 the site was finally demolished. Photo by Valerie Frieda.

abandoned Nicosia Airport Cyprus Yiannis Kourtoglou

The Nicosia International Airport in Cyprus, shut down in 1974 after the Turkish invasion. Photo by Yiannis Kourtoglou for Corbis, via Daily Mail Online.

abandoned cable car platform USSR

An abandoned cable car platform in the former USSR. Photo from Danila85‘s Live Journal site, via The Gondola Project.

sunken yacht Antarctica

A sunken yacht off the coast of Antarctica, 2012. Photo by Ruslan Elisleev, via Business Insider Australia.

[ header image ]
2013/08/19 / Shanan


And on we go.  The ‘other’ Portland is Maine’s largest city, and a quick 15 minute drive from my Tanny’s place in Scarborough (for those from Toronto, this is also the ‘other’ Scarborough – the one where you’re less likely to get stabbed).

Over the years downtown Portland has basically exploded into a pretty fantastic yet still quaint little mecca for great restaurants and local boutiques.  The streets are lined with cobblestone, it’s set along the waterfront, and I found a store that stocks Martin Margiela.  What more could a girl ask for?

Image above: Greetings to you, too, but – graffiti won’t make you seem any tougher, Portland.

There was no retail damage to speak of on my watch, but oh, there was ogling, then sighing, then a little more sighing. Here are a few highlights:

pinecone + chickadee portland maine retail vintage

Pinecone + Chickadee was crammed chock full of vintage treasures, paper goods, and silkscreened clothing. The owners (a graphic designer/musician couple) also co-founded Picnic, an annual summer music and arts festival. Theo and I had a blast in there and I was (almost) tempted to take home the Lite Brite set below.


Always a sucker for little buttons.  These are by Portland Pins.

pinecone + chickadee portland maine retail vintage


Theo was transfixed by the plastic dinosaurs; I by the nose-less Teddy Ruxpin (the stuff of childhood nightmares, that).