Vintage lighting find in La Conner

Mary Davis Vintage Lighting in La Conner, Washington

The past weekend found us staying a couple of nights on Whidby Island. It definitely was a great, relaxing weekend and the rainy weather added to the westcoast atmosphere. On our way home, we stopped in this cute town called La Conner that is know for fields upon fields of colorful tulips in the Spring. Of course there were no tulip yet!! But the town was adorable and had a ton of little shops along the water. I also couldn't get over the fact that each of the stores were laid out beautifully and so well organized....even the antique and thrift stores. Really, have you ever been in an organized antique store? Everything was labelled, stating where it was found and things were grouped by color or categories. So!

Anyways, back to the best little shop of all which was this lighting store called Mary Davis Vintage Lighting. The store owner was incredibily friendly and he even ahd this adorable fluffly grey and white dog that sat behind a gate behind the counter. Apparently the shop used to be an old firehouse.

Everywhere I looked were these lighting fixtures that were SO unique and I can honestly say that I could take anything home and make it work. Some pieces looked they were from old New York hotels, while a few others definitely seemed very industrial and perhaps made by the owner. I noticed that he had an island work station behind the desk and was constantly tinkering around in his well organized baskets and compartments.

There were little vignettes set up on vintage tables and desks that featured not only the lighting, but also candles, pens, etc. I especially appreciated the section that displayed their twisted filament bulbs and painted bulbs (with switches) so you could turn them on and see the effect of each individual bulb. Whoever imagined and sets up the displays has an impeccable and creative sense of design. Somehow everything just works and if you are ever in the need to just go in and check it out!

This is somewhere that I will for sure be going back to again and again...and using their products to outfit future clients homes (or my own!). I promise you that you will not be disappointed and will find yourself loving everything they have on display :)

The shop owners work station behind the front counter

Who doesn't need a shop dog?


Can Yu Spl?


A few weeks ago, I came across this handy and visual diagram of the ten words we need to stop misspelling. Most likely, you already know the majority of these...but do you ever get those moments when you suddenly forget something that you have known forever??

I could see "then" versus "than" tripping some people up...and also perhaps "lose" versus "loose". Maybe only when you are typing very fast and not paying attention would you make any of these mistakes. ;)


Yamaha P95 has become my obsession...and it hasn't even arrived yet.

Do you ever surprise yourself by being waaaay more excited about something then you expected to be? Truthfully, I am usually quite 'on par' with my emotions and I was really taken aback at the fact that I cannot stop thinking about the digital piano (keyboard) that I ordered a few days ago..haha. Here is why I am so extremely happy to have this electronic device by next weekend (only 7 more days...whoooooooo!): 
  • I never took lessons as a child/teen so my theory is since I was not forced to sit at the piano..I still have a bit of respect for it ;)
  • Once, many years ago, I stayed at my Aunt & Uncle's place in Alberta. I just remember waking up with my cousins and hearing this soft lovely sound floating up the stairs. What a beautiful way to wake up (and truthfully a lot different from the loudness I grew up and it just seemed to special that she would play music for her four children. This beautiful Aunt has since passed on, but she left something wonderful in me and I yearn for the day when I can play for my own (future?) children.
  • Music is something I have always loved (as most people do!), and I played Saxophone in Grade 7 band (haha..I think I was trying to impress the boys and be different) and actually did attempt piano lessons for 3/4 of the year when I was 20 (my much younger sisters had home lessons so I joined in).
So that pretty much sums it up, but now that I actually took the steps to buy the piano, it has changed everything. I just can't stop thinking about the fact that I will be able to soon be pounding out the notes for Norah, Coldplay or Jewel AND singing along off-key. *Note: I do realize it might take a few weeks to actually play a song.*

The piano is a Yamaha P95 and I think the full 88 and weighted keys will be great to make it all a bit more realistic since we cannot actually fit a honkin' acoustic piano in our living room. The sound is really quite good too and I found this awesome deal on & at Kraft Music that included the stand, bench, 3 pedals, etc. I did hours and hours of online review reading and even tried the other comparitive models in store. It is so important to that also, as some people have strong preferences with the keys/sounds and you can't really get an idea of that until you play one. The others that fell to the wayside were the Casio PX 130 (an amazing deal also) and Korg machine (hated the sound). As a side note, if you ever want a great deal on something (and you live in Vancouver)..ask me how to get things shipped to Package Express (and you don't even need a PO box). Otherwise, Tom Lee Music are very helpful and have wonderful customer service.

PS: So so so so excited (and yes..I realize that I am a bit of a geek).

PSS: We have been meaning to share some info with you guys on our side Alphabet Letters business..but keep running out of time. I wanted to show a bit about our process and also what inspires us! Look for it next week hopefully :)


Combating Winter

The January blues (depending on where you live) can really take its toll. It seems that people everywhere are sneezing, blowing their noses, battling colds, fighting flus, or just over tired in general.

Decmber can be pretty hectic, and January may be the worst month of the year weather-wise, so it does not come as a huge shock.

It seems to me that for the past year or two, sicknesses, including just a common cold, are lasting MUCH longer than they used to. A few years ago and prior, how long did it take you to kick a common cold?...3-4 days? Now it seems like colds linger for 2, 3, and sometimes even 4 weeks + before you feel like it's completely out of your system, and talking to other people I know I'm not alone on this.

If you're feeling a little bit down and out, here are a few easy things you can make at home that will make you feel better (or at the very least, cheer you up a bit).

Hot water with Lemon, Ginger, Honey, and Cayenne

Simplicity at it's best. What can't you cure with these ingredients? ; ) It's cheap, easy, tasty, and a great way to help you feel better. The two minutes it takes to boil water and slice up some lemon and ginger is definately two minutes well spent. As if lemon and ginger were not healthy enough, kick it up a notch and add a pinch of cayenne pepper. For those of you who don't know the health benefits of cayenne: it improves circulation, rebuilds blood cells, lowers cholesterol, emulsifies triglycerides, removes toxins from the bloodstream and improves overall heart health...look it up for yourself if you don't beleive me ; )

Banana Bread

Don't let those over ripe bananas go to waste!
There's something very comforting about warm banana bread on a cold day. It does not quite have the same health benefits as the lemon-ginger tea, but will make you feel just as good!

This is a very simple recipe that will become a staple in your house. Minimal steps, common ingredients you likely already have on hand, and minimal cleanup are key especially when you're not feeling great to begin with. You can easily get this into the oven in under 15 minutes, and then just kick back and relax while it bakes and permiates the house with that wonderful "baking" scent.

Here's what you'll need...

3-4 over ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup of melted butter
3/4 cup of sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups of all-purp flour
dash of cinnamon
pinch of salt
Optional - small handful of chocolate chips
Optional - small handful of chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat the oven to 350°F. With a spatula mix the melted butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the sugar, egg, and vanilla. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add your chocolate chips and nuts now if you're using them. Add the flour last, mix just until no dry flour remains. Pour mixture into a buttered 4x8 inch loaf pan. Bake for 50-60 mins. Let cool slightly on rack before slicing and serving.

Antioxidant-laden salad

Everyone feels a little better after eating a salad. I always feel better after I eat something if I'm feeling ill...even if my body does not feel hungry. Pick up some antioxidant rich fruits - blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, pomegranates...pretty much all of your deeply pigmented fruits - and add them to a salad.


And last but not least, if all else fails, do what they did in the old days and pour yourself a whiskey neat or on the rocks. Those frozen rocks are pretty slick - they cool your drink without watering it down - I'll post more about those later.

What do you make yourself when you're feeling under the weather? We'd love to know, please share your tips and tricks in the comments section below!


Most memorable meals out in 2011 - Ensemble

It's been a while since the last entry, but over the next few weeks I am posting, in no particular order, some of my most memorable meals out in 2011.

Just to recap...I wrote about a very memorable meal at Vij's, a delicious nuevo latino meal at Cobre, the nine-course tasting heaven experienced at C, and the outstanding Neapolitan pizza at Nicli Antica Pizzeria.

Ensemble – We're hardcore Top Chef fans (it’s one of the few shows on TV that we actually follow) and have not missed an episode since the show first started back in 2006. When the Canadian version aired we were pulling for local chef Dale MacKay who appeared to be a strong contestant from the get go. He went on to win Top Chef Canada, and has since opened two of his own restaurants in Vancouver: Ensemble (which I am talking about today), and the more comfort food/pub-style Ensemble Tap (which we have yet to try, but will definately be catching a Canucks game there in the near future).

Chantelle and I dined at Ensemble with a friend, and between the three of us we go to try a good handful of items on the menu. The price points and portion sizes really allows for sharing, which in my opinion always makes for a fun dining experience.

We tried two salads, the Cornmeal crusted scallops, the Beef shin and fritz, the Sweet and sour eggplant, the Pulled pork sandwich (Top Chef), the Black cod with pork Thai broth (Top Chef), and to finish, the Strawberry pavlova (Top Chef)(and one of Mark McEwan's personal favorites lol)

The thing that I loved most about the meal was the originality. None of the dishes were particularily "unusual" per se, but I didn't feel like they were anything that I've had before, which is definately a compliment. (Okay fine, a pulled pork sandwich is pretty standard fare, but serving it with watermelon and a fried pickle is genius). The dishes were modern and all executed to perfection. Chef Dale MacKay is clearly creating his food, his way, which is exciting to see and a breath of fresh air.

Ensemble - Sweet and sour eggplant

Ensemble - Pulled pork sandwich with fried pickle and watermelon

On top of great food, a truely memorable meal should include great service...and it was just that. We loved the friendly, unpretentious atmosphere. It's great to see a restaurant in this loaction thriving again. If you haven't gone...go! There are some dishes that I am still eager to try, so a visit back in 2012 is high on my list.

Let us know what you think of Top Chef Canada winner Dale MacKay's restaurant Ensemble in the comments below...


Most memorable meals out in 2011 - Nicli Antica Pizzeria

Over the next few weeks I am posting, in no particular order, some of my most memorable meals out in 2011.

Just to recap...I wrote about a very memorable meal at Vij's, a delicious nuevo latino meal at Cobre, and the nine-course tasting heaven experienced at C.

Today we're talking about the beautiful thing that is Neapolitan pizza...

Nicli Antica Pizzeria - A few summers ago Chantelle and I spent six weeks travelling around Europe and nearly 3 weeks in Italy alone. We ate very well. But truth be told, the pizza they are serving up at Nicli is the best that either of us have ever had. Chantelle doesn't even typically like pizza, but she has been back to Nicli even more times than I have! When either of us are craving pizza Nicli has become our go to place.

The menu here is simplicity at its best. You will not find any pasta or any typical entrees here, which I can appreciate. Just a few antipastis, and about 10 different pizzas. Not to take anything away from the other varieties (which are all very delicious), but for me, the Margherita is where it's at. I beleive the best way to judge a pizzeria is by it's Margherita pizza, and Nicli blew our socks off! It may possibly be the best $12 you will ever spend.

Nicli Antica Pizzeria - Margherita pizza

If making the perfect pizza is an art, then the chefs at Nicli are modern day Picassos. From the consistency of the crust (00 Caputo flour) the flavour, balance, and controlled volume of the sauce (San Marzano tomatoes) the quality of the cheese (Fior di Latte, or mozzarella de Bufala) the fresh basil that they are growing and snipping on the is a pizza done to perfection. If it's not already on the table, ask for the chili oil, which is a great way to finish off your crusts.

These guys are serious about their pizza to say the least. Aside from the high quality ingredients listed above, their wood-burning Acunto oven, imported from Naples, cooks their pizzas at 900°F in just 90 seconds. They are one of only six certified Vera Pizza Napoletana restaurants in Canada. (The only other VPN certified restaurant this side of Ontario is Pizzeria Prima Strada in Victoria, and although very good I have to tip my cap to Nicli as superior).

It seems that their dedication to their craft is paying off. Opening their doors in 2011, they are packed to the gills on most nights that I have seen, and won Scout Magazine's readers poll for best new restaurant in the city.

Have you been to Nicli Antica Pizzeria? What's your most memorable pizza experience?

Let us know in the comments section below!


Most memorable meals out in 2011 - C

Over the next few weeks I am posting, in no particular order, some of my most memorable meals out in 2011.

Yesterday I wrote about the deliciousness that is Nuevo Latino cuisine at Cobre. The day before it was a very memorable meal at Vij's. Today we are talking local, sustainable, and unbelievably delicious seafood at none other than...

C - The only thing better than a delicious meal, is a delicious meal that you can feel great about eating with the understanding that the ingredients were sourced as sensitively and as locally as possible.

The "c" experience begins with actively sourcing the best local ingredients produced in harmony with our commitment to fostering sustainable farming practice & advocacy.

As the founding restaurant in the Vancouver Aquarium's Ocean Wise Program, Executive Chef Robert Clark has deconstructed seafood supply lines, dealing directly with the fisherman, to ensure a product that is of the highest quality while respecting environmental sensitivities.

We were spoiled with a nine course tasting menu, as follows...
*WARNING* wou will be hungry after reading ; )

  • Wild and cultivated mushroom velouté with garlic confit and croutons
  • Charred octopus salad with frisée, bacon vinaigrette, and soft boiled egg
  • Seared scallop with crushed minted peas, veigi sauce, panchetta, and lemonade foam
  • House-smoked salmon with corn risotto and green onion relish
  • Seared albacore tuna with lyonnaise potato, zucchini ribbons, and parmesan soubise
  • Farmhouse chevre with poached pears, artisan honey, and spiced walnuts
  • Cucumber sorbet with pickled ginger and crisp basil
  • Chocolate brownie with berry chantilly and lemon curd
  • Petits fours
I could go on and on about how great each dish was, but I still would not give the meal justice.
This was my first time trying octopus. I was excited when I saw it on the menu and quite enjoyed it. 
I'm not typically a huge smoked salmon fan, but this dish with the corn risotto really won me over...the green onion relish was a huge punch of flavour and a perfect compliment to the rich and creamy risotto.
I decided to upgrade my albacore tuna course to the beef tenderloin, so Chantelle and I had a chance to taste two different protein dishes. Both were amazing.
The chevre course was presented like a work of art. It was served on a wood board, and the way each condiment was individually layed out reminded me of an artist's palette.
My favorite dish was the seared scallop. Minted peas, veigi sauce, panchetta, lemonade foam, and the scallop itself...there were a lot of strong flavours going on in this dish but they all worked beautifully together. It takes the honour of the best scallop I have ever had, so well done C!

C - seared scallop

The service was excellent. Our server described both the ingredients and preparation of each course in depth and in a friendly, unrushed manner.

Seeing that it was a tasting menu some of the portions, as expected, were small. But others were actually quite generous and after all nine courses and wine we were both full, and extremely satisfied with everything we just ate.

If you've been lucky enough to try this tasting menu or have had a memorable meal at C in general, post a comment below and share your experience!


Most memorable meals out in 2011 - Cobre

Over the next week I will be posting, in no particular order, some of my most memorable meals out in 2011.

Yesterday I wrote about a very memorable meal that we had at Vij's. Today we're switching regions all together will be talking about the deliciousness that is Nuevo Latino cuisine.

Cobre - When we saw that Cobre was taking part in Dine Out Vancouver 2011 we were quick to pounce. It was a dark and rainy January night, but we felt warm and relaxed as we enjoyed this great meal up on the second floor overlooking the wet cobblestone streets of Gastown. Between Chantelle and I, we got to try seven different dishes, and were impressed with both the flavours and presentation of all of them.

So what is "Nuevo latino"?

According to Cobre's website it’s a style of cooking that blends the passion of Argentina, with the exuberance of Cuba, the sultriness of Brazil and the joy of Mexico. Call it what you want...I call it pure flavour.

If you're looking for a great Caipirinha (aka Brazil's National cocktail), this is the place to go. The style of menu and prices are really set up to allow you to try a variety of items, yet the portion sizes were not lacking. The ceviches were good. Both the duck and rockfish tacos were sublime, I would highly recommend ordering a few different types of tacos for your table to share. The real star of the show (for me anyways...I think Chantelle preferred the scallops which were also great) and something I would call a MUST order was the maple chipotle tamarind glazed wild boar belly.

Cobre - wild boar belly

It looks amazing, right?...and it's not just a tease, it tastes equally as good.

So if you see Cobre on this years Dine Out Vancouver list again this year I would highly recommend giving it a try. Last years price of $28 for three savory courses is a steal, and a great way to try six different dishes if you dine with a friend.


Most memorable meals out in 2011 - Vij's

Memorable dining experiences.

Isn’t that the goal of all chefs?

We have to eat to survive. Three meals a day x 365 = 1095 meals in a year. Point being we eat a lot of meals, and if a chef/restaurant can give you a meal/experience that stands out in your memory as a great one, they have truly done their job.

Over the next week I will be posting, in no particular order, some of my most memorable meals out in 2011.

Vij's - Our first visit to Vij's was long overdue...and I must say it definately lived up to the hype.

Oddly enough we just happened to be doing some shopping on South Granville one afternoon, our car parked right infront of the restaurant. When we got back to our car we saw a line of apx 30-40 people and realized that they would be opening for dinner in about 20 mins. Taking our chance on making the first seating we decided to get in line, and it worked out...we were seated in 20 short minutes, when the restaurant opened. For those who do not know, Vij's does not accept reservations...from anybody. (Rumour has it that once upon a time even Robin Williams had to wait for a table with everyone else). Two hour waits on weekends are not uncommon here (the food is worth every minute), and a larger dining room in their soon to be new location on Cambie Street is something exciting to look forward to in 2012.

Once inside we were welcomed with excellent service, and an ongoing variety of tasty little snacks that the kitchen was firing out until the point that our food started to arrive.

Everything we ate was perfectly executed, and delicious...I really cannot think of any criticism. If you do go, the highly touted (for good reason) wine marinated lamp popsicles in fenugreek cream curry are a MUST. Even if you don't think you like lamb or curry, I cannot imagine anyone not liking this dish.

Vij's lamp popsicles

I was recently given a copy of their newest book "Vij's at Home", and I am looking forward to trying to recreate some of those memorable flavours in my own kitchen sometime soon.


Happy New Year to All!

Stanley Park Seawell @ Third Beach. You can also see West Vancouver across the water.
January 1st is always a nice, calm day where you have no expectations and can go for a relaxing walk while contemplating your new resolutions. I actually am not a hardcore 'let's make crazy resolutions' type of person. But I do think it's always good to re-center your life occasionally and make sure you know what some of your goals are or the problem areas you need to fix.

ying-yang rock
Today we enjoyed a long, brisk walk down the Stanley Park Seawall from Second to Third Beach. Mark noticed an odd rock that looked like a ying yang sign. Half the rock (well almost half) was even darker then the other side...too funny!

While walking, I felt so invigorated and ready to take on some new challenges for 2012:

1. Running 5K by the end of February (I know for some this is easy...but not me!). I downloaded one of those Iphone apps called 'Couch to 5K'

2. Going to sleep earlier. This doesn't have to happen everynight, but I would atleast like it to be somewhat the norm.

3. Losing 25 lbs for health reasons (and looks..haha). This is going to be a tough one.. but I have planned my schedule out and it will include Xbox Kinetic dancing, Yoga, Cross fit, cycling at the gym, and the previously mentioned running goal. This way I won't get bored :)

4. Continuing to eat healthier and cleaner (ie. lots of veggies!/less restaurants)

5. Taking Piano lessons (and I guess buying a relatively cheap

6. Working on updating our Etsy alphabet letter photo shop and streamlining our processess.

7. Hosting a monthly craft & wine night with whoever wants to stop by. I already have a few fun ideas for this one.

8. Taking more pictures and honing my basic photography skills. Even just ordered a 85mm lens for Christmas and we are SO excited to get it. This lens will be great for portraits. PS-No judging off these photos because they are from my Iphone..hehe.

Wow! When you start making a really adds up. I am also sure some of you have similar goals. Though..maybe not the piano lesson one as most people hated lessons as a kid. haha. Well, there they somewhat set in scary ;)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

A little bit about us...

I am a creative person who LOVES all things that are beautiful.
I am also a crazy nerd and *ahem* occasionally I... { click here}

Follow us...

Get Twitter paited
Follow on Bloglovin
Email: info(at)

Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.

~M.W. © Another Frame of Mind

  © Blogger template Shush by 2009

Back to TOP