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2014/10/17 / Shanan


I’m rounding out the week here with another floral and food-related post – and why the hell not?

I just discovered this inspiring studio, Flowerkraut, located in the heart of now-trendy Hudson, New York. Mairead Rhona Travins and her husband Seth Benjamin Travins run the shop, which bills itself as “where floral design holds hand with lacto-fermentation.” She does the flowers, he sells his famous sauerkraut.  Brilliant. Dream business in my next life, perhaps.

Here’s another peek at their local flower arrangements (I love their wild, undone feel) and great branding (by the inimitable twin sisters known as The Weaver House). Flower studio photographs by Floortje Robertson. Have a beautiful weekend!







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2014/10/15 / Shanan


We’ve started to embrace the season here at The Orchard, and it seems to be all about food this year. I decorated the dinner table for Canadian Thanksgiving this past weekend with dried flowers and local gourds… (cool bunny vase from Anthropologie; similar one here)

apple peeler homemade cider

We gleefully used this miraculous gizmo to peel and core apples for making cider…


(Seriously, homesteader-type or not, you should get one)


chocolate layer cake candied kumquats berries

… and of course baking, baking, and more baking.  I may be 200 pounds before this pregnancy is over. This was a decadent confection I made for my niece Hayley’s 16th birthday… four layers of chocolate cake (this recipe is my tried and true and it’s well worth the effort) with raspberry jam and whipped cream, topped with berries and candied kumquats. You’re welcome.


Oh, and I hear the leaves are spectacular this time of year, too… ;)

Photos by The Symmetric / Shanan Kurtz.

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2014/10/10 / Shanan


I’ve found myself starting to compile a list of fictional characters whose style I’m pretty into, but am trying to veer away from the more predictable choices. Nobody needs another Annie Hall-inspired wardrobe post.  Now Annie, on the other hand…

First up in this series: Miss Hannigan from 1982’s classic kid’s flick, Annie.  God I loved this movie. At the time of course I had no true sense of the hilarity and brilliance that was Carol Burnett in the role as the queen of mean orphanage head, swanning around in her 1930s boudoir-esque outfits.

Now if only they would create an updated version of Miss Hannigan… oh wait, they did. Gah. I’m sorry but Cameron Diaz is just chewing scenery here. This is how I’d play it today:


1.  Storm Vision dress by Samantha Pleet, via Bona Drag. Purple and flowy is the key… click the link so you can really see this baby in all its glory. It’s my new dream dress! Thanks in advance, Santa.

2.  Miss H. was never without a long necklace; this updated version would bring a little more delicacy to the proceedings. Braid Lariat Necklace by Heather Hawkins, via Shopbop.

3.  For when those orphans are working your last nerve: stainless steel purse flask, via Red Envelope.  It’s probably too hard to read in the collage above but this one says, “may you never go to hell but always be on your way.” Works for me.

4.  Braided Sky High sandals in antique gold, Swedish Hasbeens. I actually can’t recall what type of shoes ol’ H. wore but these seem appropriate – deco-inspired and fabulous, but still with the slightest hint of tacky.

5.  Fake it with some good costume jewelry. Cobalt double drop earrings by Kenneth Jay Lane, via Charm & Chain.

Now repeat after me: “WE LOVE YOU, MISS HANNIGAN.”

ps. Thanks to everybody for your kind words re: my last post.  We’ve received so many nice messages via the blog and Facebook and even on that last-century thing known as voicemail.  It’s been much appreciated.

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2014/10/07 / Shanan


This is going to be a ‘circle of life’ type post wherein both events deserve top billing… but, I have to start somewhere, with one, so this is where it shall be.

It’s been a long, sad time coming, but we had to put down our beloved Pally dog last week.  She had been Chris’ constant companion since long before I met him, and probably the sweetest, most gentle and intelligent dog I’ve known.

I like to think that Pally and I shared many intense moments of mutual understanding over the years; we would cuddle and gaze at each other and connect on a true, rare human-canine wavelength. When I first met Chris, he referred to Pally as his best friend. I never would have thought that seven years later our daughter would be declaring the same thing, with her long skinny arms wrapped around Pally’s fuzzy neck.

We had the local vet come to our house and Pally went calmly into the great unknown lying beneath an apple tree. It was a beautiful, crisp fall day.  She had lived a full border-collie life – first on a farm, then trotting around the city, then back in the country for her last few years. It’s a relief to know that she’s no longer in any discomfort, and that her spirit is likely chasing rabbits in some big field in perpetuity. But we’re also still at the stage where we hear a thump in the next room and think it’s her, or feel like we’re forgetting something when packing up for a car trip. I know if you’ve ever lost a pet that you know this exact feeling.


So, as with death comes thankfully, this time, a new birth and a really cute baby. My sister and her partner recently welcomed this amazing creature into the world, after a long and difficult labour. This baby boy is currently nameless (!) but he’s already grabbed hold of my family’s heart and likely won’t let go til he becomes a petulant teenager. He’s just so teeny and perfect and I’m so proud of Lauren and Peter. I think I’m going to like being an aunt.

Shortly after Theo was born, Lauren came to live with us for a few months at our place in Toronto. She was going through a rough patch but I remember she was so loving with baby Theo; I guess it’s times like these where I do wish we lived closer together again so that I could get to know her little one really well. But, all in time.

Whooo – this was a tough post to get through. The rest of the week the blog will be back to our regularly-scheduled frivolity, I promise. Thanks for reading xx Shanan

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2014/10/02 / Shanan


This past week we have had the sick running through our household, so we’ve been a bunch of grumpy crab-apples. Somehow Theo managed to be spared the worst of it (maybe those 2+ years of breastfeeding really did pay off in the immunity department?!) but it was the first time that Chris and I had been sick at the same time… not fun.  I’m told that it takes longer to recover when you’re pregnant, so my cold is lingering around a little more than it probably should be.

I’ve been caught somewhere in between trying to jack up my bootstraps (note: I have no idea what the real expression is here) and get on with the daily business of work and parenthood and such, and sniffling in bed with the iPad, convincing myself that I absolutely NEED this bag, and that this is acceptable entertainment journalism (oh internet, don’t ever change).

Blah. Got any good home remedies to suggest?