What is orange, black and white? If you guessed a black cat sitting on pumpkin against a while wall, then you are way too excited about Halloween. It’s September people! If you guessed Blog 5551, you would be correct, but that was not the answer I was looking for.

I realized something this past weekend when I visited the Vancouver Home + Interior Design Show. The show itself was a bit disappointing, but it made me notice a couple of trends that I’ve been an inadvertent slave to lately. The trends, which I initially discovered through web design and typography, are (1) an affinity towards the simplicity and sleekness of black against white  (2) the colour orange.

(Pic above was taken from Vogue.com. I really like the typography)

I realized that orange is the new brown (rich, warm, distinctive) as I was drawn to some unbelievably soft 1500 threat count Egyptian cotton sheets at the Home Show. (I bought the chocolate brown ones instead and have been kicking myself ever since. I can’t forget about the orange sheets…the way I noticed them from across the room, and the way they felt against my skin when I first touched them. I get chills just thinking about them. They are the ones that got away. Hadn’t I wanted the brown ones? Hadn’t I thought they would match my duvet better? I made my choice, now I must live with it and kill the regret.)

So here are some examples of black and white, and orange used in web design.

(Squrespace is a great company with a brilliant tech blog, which will be of interest to many bloggers, web designers and content managers)

(Upcoming website for blogger/interior designer Heather Clawson. The sheets in question were this colour. The thought of these sheets is now consuming me obsessively.)

(Always a trend-setter, Bruce Mau Design)

(One of my favourite food sites; it will answer the sometimes dauntingly unanswerable question: what the fuck should i make for dinner)

More orange, black and white to come… stay tuned for part II… 5551

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Lately I’ve been trying to integrate more raw food into my diet, as food loses a lot of its nutritional content and digestive-aiding enzymes once it is cooked. Although most of us cannot commit to a strict raw-food diet (there are soooo many tasty cooked foods out there!), we can all increase our intake of raw foods through simple things like having a salad a day and eating lots of fruit! Today I wanted to share one of my favourite pasta recipes, which is 50% raw in its content. The pasta is cooked, but the sauce is raw.

I believe the recipe come to me many years ago via Jamie Oliver. The man who favours fresh, simple, flavourful food and who said that “life is too short to eat crap.” Bravo Jamie! So here is the recipe for you to try.

Cherry Tomato and Basil Pasta (serves two)


Ingredients

12 oz or one pack of organic cherry or grape tomatoes
Organic basil (as much as you like!)
5-6 tbsp olive oil
1-2 cloves of organic garlic (grated or finely chopped)
1.5 cups of pasta (I prefer brown rice pasta)
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

To make the dish

1. Boil some water and once it boils cook the pasta in it (as described on the pasta box/bag)

2. While the pasta is cooking, grate or chop the garlic and put it into a large bowl. Half the cherry tomatoes and put them into the same bowl. Add in the basil (which you can rip up or put the leaves in whole). Then, pour in the olive oil.

3. Once all the ingredients from step 2 are in the bowl, squish everything together with your fingers (use both hands) to create the pasta sauce (make sure to wash your hands before doing this and really get in there, get all squishy!).

4. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and then add it into the bowl with the raw sauce mixture. Add in the salt and pepper to taste (try to go easy on the salt) and mix everything together. Serve right away and enjoy!

If you want you can also be a little bit naughty and add in a touch of your favourite cheese. Once in a while, I like to add in some grated aged goat cheese (it’s easier to digest than regular cheese and is oh so tasty). So there you have it, a simple, nutrient-packed pasta that is too delicious to pass up!

As I decorate my apartment — piece by piece, find by find — I am always on the prowl for interesting items that will surprise and delight my future house guests. Recently I have been attracted to illuminated items, fun things that glow, things like:

Illumined pots, which I discovered at Spencer Interiors

Lighted mirrors! Imagine… no more bad lighting when applying make up. In the cunning words of the big bad wolf, these mirrors will allow “to see you better my dear”…

The Ti.Galet, a glowing sculptural seat designed by Gilles Rivière. There is something incredibly organic and futuristic about it. It seems equally inspired by Henry Moore and Jean Arp, as Dan Flavin. It also makes me think of the aesthetic of the new Tron film — florescent glow surrounded by smooth darkness. This piece is thought provoking, and is sure to start conversations, which is a rare quality in a seat.

Last but not least, d°light Bubbles, which I am currently obsessing over and trying to figure out where I could possibly place them. Playful, metamorphosing, silicone LED light bubbles that you can shape as you wish!

Until next time,

5551

One of my guilty pleasures is shopping online. It could be trying to find that perfect vintage piece of furniture on Craig’s List, browsing the online version of In Style or navigating my way through multiple fashion blogs. I’d describe my personal style as classic trendy. I tend to go for clothing choices that last the test of time, but add some flare with a few season specific pieces.


I’ve recently discovered an amazing website that I want to share with you: Guilt Group. This site is invitation only, but I did not have any trouble signing up without one. It took them about a day to approve me. Guilt Group gives you roughly 70% off of luxury men’s and women’s fashion brands, as well as home decor. Another favourite feature is the JetSetter portion, where you can get incredible deals on luxury hotels and vacations. Style, comfort and savings, sign me up!

The only downer is that you currently need a credit card with a US address to purchase something, which I painfully discovered when attempting to purchase some Happy Socks for my partner. We can only hope that they will soon smarten up and make it available to Canadians as well… but until then, do be aware of it’s existence, as it an exciting new way to shop!

It’s beginning to feel like autumn. The air is getting cooler and there is a certain freshness to it that some of us miss during the summer months. To me autumn means a crackling fire (I am lucky enough to have a wood burning fireplace), lots of wine, trench coats and the return of stylish boots. So to start getting us into the spirit of autumn, I thought I would share some of my favourite wines with you. Incredible wines that I have tasted throughout the years, wines that will make you beg for another glass (arranged in no specific order, they are all delicious)…

1. Matassa Blanc Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes, Coteaux du Fenouillèdes, Roussillon Region, France

This is my the best white wine I have ever tasted. It is so unique that it makes the taste quite difficult to describe. The wine evolves as you drink it. Unlike most white wines it tastes best after decanted and it also has a bit sediment at the bottom. All I can tell you is that it is nothing like you have ever tasted before, and after tasting it once, like finding the man or woman of your dreams you will wonder where it has been your entire life–at least this is how it felt to me. I have recently learned that the Roussillon Region is a bit of a rouge region in France. A magical place, where you can grow any type of grape you like (apparently most regions are restricted to the types of grapes they are allowed to cultivate). I discovered this wine at Pullman wine bar in Montreal, which if you are ever the area you should pay a visit too and try this wine there, I insist!

2.  Mt. Boucherie Gamay Noir, Kelowna, British Columbia

A light tasting every day wine I discovered soon after moving to Vancouver, late in 2009. It is exquisite, goes well with almost anything, and will not break the bank. This is currently my number one wine for any occasion. If you are living in outside of BC, it may be difficult to come by (unless you order it directly from the vineyard), but I have recently

tired a similar tasting wine, which is available in most provinces and (hopefully) states… it is…

3. Oyster Bay Marlborough Pinot Noir, New Zealand

Another elegant wine with a subtle complexity of flavour. It should be quite easy to find. I discovered it accidentally last week and I was not disappointed and neither will you be if you give this wine a try.

4. Freud’s Ego, Therapy Vineyards, Naramata, British Columbia

Don’t let the quirky name deter you, this wine is a gem! It is an earthy wine that is full of falvour, made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and a touch of Merlot aged in French and American Oak. I have recently learned that French Oak has a much subtler flavour than American Oak, which tends to me quite strong and in your face. Another bonus you will enjoy is the price! I tried to purchase it today at Village VQA Wines in Kitsilano, Vancouver and it was sold out — a testament to it’s deliciousness I think.

5. Cipes Brut N/V, Summerhill Pyramid Winery, Kelowna, British Columbia

No wine list would complete without some sparkling. If you are ever going to drink sparkling wine in lieu of champagne, this is the one to drink. Compared by some connoisseurs to Dom Perignon, this wine will give many champagnes a run for their lives. I am not sure about it’s availability outside of BC, but you can order it and I hope that you do! It has a fantastic after taste of apples and pares, which lingers on your tongue long after you have taken your last sip. It is truly an elegant, crisp wine that will impress even the harshest wine snobs.

So there you have it, an array of fantastic finds and favourites I return to again and again. These wines are guaranteed to impress. They have the 5551 stamp of approval.

I will be sure to have some more wine recommendations for you soon. Until then Chin chin!

I was looking through the September issue of Canadian House and Home today and came across my dream house! An eco-friendly, sleek, modern, pre-fabricated house that is available in Canada (many fre-fabricated houses are not suited for the Canadian weather). My love of pre-fabricated houses started about a year ago when my partner showed me some images online. I was amazed by the clean modern looks these homes had, the ease with which can can be assembled in different configurations to suit your needs, and to top it off they cost about the same (in some cases much less than) your average home. The fre-fab house that caught my attention today is designed by architect Ray Kappe and can be purchased through Toronto-based Nexterra Green Homes. Now all I need is to find a fantastic piece of land in Vancouver and make this dream a reality!

Related

Inspiration is all around us, we just have to look around when we walk…

A neat design idea: you could have these photos printed, then stick them into shadow-box frames and create an urban-chic wall of positivity (yes I went there, a wall of positivity). See more positive graffiti

Welcome to Blog 5551 — a random, late night endeavor. This is my first time writing a blog. I have always wanted to write one, but couldn’t come up with a consistent theme or a real reason to do it until today. What is the reason you ask? Because I always wanted to and we should always strive to do what we want.

As someone with art history and media studies degrees, I am particularly drawn to visual culture, art and design… the way environments and objects make us feel, how certain things can instantly transform our mood… and you will see this point of view reflected in my choice for posts. As a brunch enthusiast, foodie (albeit vegetarian), and wine-lover I am also going to post tasty recipes and restaurant reviews from time to time.

The idea is to post all things inspirational, things that will make you feel good! So you… whoever you are, I hope you bare with me while I fumble around the first few posts and get my voice.

Thanks for stopping by and enjoy!

Thanks,

5551