[ header image ]
2013/10/11 / Shanan


We’re gearing up for Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada (yes, we do it in October), where our family will be visiting, hosting, and just generally being ever so grateful for all our good fortune.  Seriously, we are so lucky it’s kind of ridiculous.  Hope that where-ever you may hang your head, you manage to find yourself at home.  Here are some fictional beauties that I could imagine living in…

Image above: Curl up in the bedroom of my dreams, complete with fireplace, built-in bookshelves, and herringbone floors. From Virginia Wolf (Kyo Maclear, with fantastically whimsical illustrations by Isabelle Arsenault).

Visitor for Bear

Another cozy fireplace set-up, from A Visitor for Bear (Bonny Becker, illustrations by Kady MacDonald Denton).

If you give a mouse a cookie interiors inspiration

What’s a powder room without wallpaper, a pedestal sink, and some classic black and white tile? From If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (Laura J. Numeroff, illustrations by Felicia Bond).


Beany was one of my favourite books as a little girl, and now we read my old copy to Theo when we visit my parents.  I’m in love with all the hanging plants and the charmingly lived-in depictions of their house.  From Beany (Jane Feder, illustrations by Karen Gundersheimer; this one’s out of print it seems)!

how pizza came to our town interiors inspiration

More great plants, windows, and shelving in the dining room of How Pizza Came to our Town (written and illustrated by Dayal Kaur Khalsa).  Shhh, I might ditch that rug, though.

maudie and bear interior inspiration

I’m not gonna lie, Maudie acts like a bit of a C U Next Tuesday in this book but the architecture in their house is pretty great.  From Maudie and Bear (Jan Ormerod, illustrations by Freya Blackwood).

ps. In case you missed it, you can see the first instalment of kid’s books as interiors inspiration here.  Have a great weekend.  xx Shanan

[ 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 ]
2013/10/04 / Shanan


I got schooled by my 2 year old the other day when she brought home some drawings she did in her Montessori class.  “And what’s this one?” I asked, pointing to a piece of construction paper peppered with long wavy pencil lines.

“Those are snakes,” said Theo.

“Oh, they do look like snakes!” I exclaimed.

“They ARE snakes,” she responded matter-of-factly.  Um yeah – like, DUH mum.

I love discovering day-by-day how her imagination is developing and although I do save most of her artwork, I’ve realized that I’m actually much more interested in seeing Theo’s process when she’s drawing or painting.  Always so focused and careful, even when things get messy.  The whole endeavour is fascinating to watch and I’ve often found myself taking pictures while she’s working to record the evolution of artistic activity.  Let’s just hope this kid doesn’t follow in her parent’s footsteps, and instead becomes an accountant or something.  Just kidding (sort of).

Image above, and below: Theo at age one, her first time drawing.  She was SO intense; she’d look out the window as if studying what to draw, then do these manic little bursts on the paper.  She stood there uninterrupted and worked for almost 30 minutes.


Look at that melon!  Now I’m getting all sentimental.


These next three photos below were taken when she was nearly a year and a half, during one of our many painting sessions.  Note the dish-towel/duct tape smock.  We keep it classy around here.




Theo at age two below, making a card for her grandmother’s birthday.  I know, it may as well be a Crayola ad.




And now, at age two and a half, contemplating some ambidextrous drawing.




Thanks for letting me share.  Have a great weekend!  xx Shanan

[ header image ]
2013/09/23 / Shanan


Bye bye summer, it was fun while it lasted.  Five days ago Theo was running naked through the sprinkler, and then this past weekend autumn showed up, rained like a b*tch for awhile, and then forced the scarves and hats out of retirement (ps, nonchalant woolen beanie FAIL, above).  We hosted an apple-picking open house because I ask you – what else are you going to do when you have a small orchard in your backyard?  Live the dream, share the wealth.

autumn apple picking party

Last year there was some unusual weather that ruined the entire apple season up here.  I can’t even remember eating one decent one.  This year?  We must have thousands.  Talk about a comeback <insert “how do you like THEM apples?” joke here>.

autumn apple picking party baby

Good apple.


Bad apple.

autumn apple picking party snacks treats

I did a little baking the day before so we had an indoor spread of apple cinnamon cake, brown butter + sea salt chocolate chip cookies, truffled popcorn, mini chocolate-apple cakes, and sparkling apple cider.  In other words, just a typical Sunday afternoon where I break out the table runner and fancy beverage dispensers.

birch straws apple picking party

Oh, the plight of the printed paper straw.  You’re a big fat Pinterest cliché but I love ya.

apple hauling



This is how feral animals children eat apples.

iceland sweater napkins

handsome dad apple picking

Almost forgot to tell you, then Jon Hamm stopped by with his kids.  Sweet.

homemade sparkling apple cider party

bucket of organic apples



The award for Best Fall Hair goes out to Gillian.


brown butter sea salt chocolate chip cookies


My nephew Nathan, who generally doesn’t give me the time of day (and why should he, he’s five), managed to drink his weight in apple cider and told me I should be a chef.  Thanks, kid.  Except how can I trust you with that crazy eyebrow??

apple picking party tree

Thanks so much to all our friends and family who came out, and to those of you whom I didn’t get pictures of! And thanks for looking through my many, many photos.  This will be an annual event for sure.  xx Shanan

ps. I’ll post some of the treats recipes soon.

[ header image ]
2013/09/20 / Shanan


Fall wardrobe inspiration: Annabelle from Extra Yarn (written by Mac Barnett with beautiful illustrations by Jon Klassen).  So many children’s books are quite frankly intolerable, but our household loves this tale of a cool little girl who transforms her town by knitting colourful sweaters.  Don’t tell me you wouldn’t rock this outfit.

Kid Lit Hipster Outfit Extra Yarn inspiration

1. High-low space-dyed sweater, Forever 21.

2. Anka textured space-dye sweater, Monsoon.

3. Vanessa Bruno cloud multi-wool pullover, Stylebop.

4. Nike striped sherpa beanie, Sport Chalet.

5. Matilde flat boot, Loeffler Randall.

6. Tabbisocks knit tights, ModCloth.

7. Hope clutch bag, La Garconne.

Extra Yarn book cover

(Too much time on my hands?  Be honest here)