Does It Bring You Joy

Encased in ice, fragile winter berries glow like christmas lights

With a glowing sunset came overnight freezing drizzle on the first day of winter


Gingerbread houses constructed at  McCalls Bakery Workshop in the West end of the city.


Decorations on the tree hold special memories of Christmases past or gifts from loved ones  



Fresh Clementines from Morocco are a citrus treat every winter

At Warden and Eglinton, Fresh and Spring Rolls makes the best Pho broth in the city. A nest of fresh stir fry and jasmine tea hits that cold spot 



A favourite Holiday card from my colleagues at Camp Kirk sits in the Christmas tree and puts a smile on everyone's face.



Aimee creates a book from a deck of playing cards - a Christmas present for her Mom to share "52  Things I Love About You".

At a Park or backyard near you - Plant a tree and dedicate it to someone you care about, as here at the Davisville Park where dedications were left on little painted river stones.



Sarah and her cousins make colourful Easter Egg baskets out of woven strips of scrap paper, held together with packing tape; then plan an Easter Egg hunt with coloured plastic eggs filled with little chocolate sweetness.
Splurge on exotic flavours like pink guava, mango and pomegranate truffles from Toronto online chocolatier Chocolates 4 the World.



 A quality wool/acrylic blend sweater like this BELIKA brand will take a man through all 4 seasons, available at Carrerra Casuals on Bayview

Happy Father's Day - Cole makes a fun poster for a present, cutting out foam letters out of packing material from a computer packing box.

That summer feeling! Mocassins made entirely of buttery soft leather melt on your feet and keep you in touch with the earth. In Wendake Qu├ębec, Huron craftsmen make exquisite hand beaded genuine leather mocassins since 1878. Order yours from Francine or Natalie at thebrownbear.ca




An array of ear plugs in wood, lucite and stone; all sizes and stages of stretching. Get your ear pierced for $25.00 and if you want to revert a few years later, it will take $1,600.00 for elective, reconstructive surgery  with an experienced plastic surgeon at Women's College Hospital. Read More in this CBC article.





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My Favourite Pilates Stretches if you're sitting for too long

It's been a while since Niels Diffrient designed the Freedom chair so why are we still sitting in crappy chairs at work?
We know that prolonged sitting in one position is no good at your desk, on the train or in your car but the notion of modern ergonomics is still a low priority in most workplaces.

Here are twelve of my favourite super-stretchy exercises, shared by a registered physiotherapist at Personal Best Physiotherapy and Pilates.

These simple stretches help to keep those stiff muscles moving during my road trip to New York last winter.


WARM UPS

Neck Rolls
Tip ear to shoulder, then drop chin to chest and roll to the other side. Back and forth. 10 reps.

Neck Stretch
Rotate head to one side, drop chin to chest, grab with same side arm at base of skull, pull up to stretch. Hold 10-15 seconds. Repeat 2-3 times.

Backward shoulder rolls. 10 reps.

Ribcage mobilization
Press ribcage side to side, then front to back sticking chest out and dropping chest back. Add "bowl roll" if you want, keeping the movement in a smooth circle.

Hip "Bowl Roll"
Knee Rolls: Feet together, hands on knees. Circle knees.

Ankle Rolls: One foot at a time, move from tippy toes to balls of feet back and forth.


STRETCHES
Hold these stretches 1--15 sec, 2-3 times.

Thighs

Pull knee to butt. Point knee to floor.


Hips
Press hips/pelvis forward in a deep lunge. Alternate raised feet using a stair or step stool, for example.


Hamstrings
 With one leg straight, sit tall and lean forward. Press sit-bones back.


Calf
Keep back heel on ground.


Figure 4 Stretch
Cross ankle over knee. Sit tall and lean forward.


Backward Bend
Feet apart. Stand with hands on buttocks. Abs are tight. Press hips forward. Repeat 5-10 times, no hold.

Share these twelve simple moves with friends and colleagues.

If you find yourself frequently in a jam on Bayview Avenue, there's always a yoga class and the calming voice of Joanne Lowe at the Big Stretch. Some Hatha yoga will keep those muscles moving even with your eyes closed.

Keep it fluid !


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Resources for visual designers



Jumpola Some terrific links to resources for designers - all on one page!

Ultimate Writer's Resource has a ton of useful information on writing and grammar published by Amsterdam Printers


lynda.com Learn, master, and apply digital tools and techniques.


Good CSS reference Sitepoint

Adobe Indesign help? Casey D’Andrea's shares his expert tips and Adobe Indesign resources on customized contact sheets

Killer Sites Web design tutorials

TypeKit is a service that allows any font to be displayed on the web. There is a fee attached.  Nonetheless, perhaps there may be a client or an application for using it sometime.

Typetester is a nice widget for previewing and comparing the look of screen fonts - helps with specifying typography on the web.


Web Logs and Analysis FAQs on interpreting your web reports

Q2ID The leader in conversion plug-in. A review of Q2ID is available here for QuarkXpress lovers. There is a fee attached.

An eclectic collection of best practice web and wonderful inspiration for designers is piepmatzel.

Imagination is everything at OCAD University.


Good Reads
The One to One Future: Building Relationships One Customer at a Time. Don Peppers and Martha Rogers, PH.D.


Getting Naked: A Business Fable About Shedding The Three Fears That Sabotage Client Loyalty. Patrick Lencioni


Designing Web Usability: The Practice of Simplicity. Jakob Nielsen, 1999

Why We Buy: The Science Of Shopping (Google eBook). Paco Underhill


Password Tips

With hacker horror stories keeping us alert and everything from our banking, friendships and mailboxes now online, we're stuck with creating and remembering endless passwords. Using the same password for all the sites you visit regularly is just not a good idea:
  1. How about starting with a memorable phase that you can turn into an acronym?. 
  2. Make sure it doesn't contain a readable word. 
  3. Mix upper and lower case. 
  4. Use a number or symbol in the middle of the word. 
  5. It's easier to remember a phase that means something to you and is secure because it's original.
Here's some good advice on how you can Fix Your Terrible, Insecure Passwords in Five Minutes at Slate.com.




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On The Street


The streets are alive with art, inspiration and commentary on this cool early morning in Kensington picking up the goods at Caribbean Corner located on Baldwin west of Spadina here since 1977.

No West Indian comes here and leaves without some fresh fruits and vegetables such as okra, bodi, shadow bene, banana leaves scotch bonnet peppers, salt fish and cassava from the islands.

Art from 185 AugustaDeadboy and more is "admission free" and passionately served. Rob Ford, Prime Minister Harper feature along the way as the sweet smell of cinnamon calls around the corner to Mexican Churros $13. per dozen filled with caramel, chocolate or strawberry sauce.
Deep fried while you wait. Served hot at Pancho's.


Surrounding by glammed up teens and young adults sharing the F21 love over the holiday season, I make a post boxing day trip to the Eatons Centre, a mecca of  indoor shopping to check on the Forever 21 fashion frenzy.

Plastic. That's the smell. How many soda pop bottles did it take to make that dress?



So much colour and beauty taking the shortcuts down so many downtown alleyways.

Just bring your own paddle and ball for Ping Pong at June Rowlands Park at Davisville and Mt. Pleasant. The ice cream truck still appears every Spring and is in serious need of a 2015 makeover - Gelato, Yogurt shakes and Kombucha popsicles anyone?


Keen Canada makes a great sole for any season on these mean streets of Toronto. This is a lightweight, comfortable waterproof shoe or boot that breathes. Build your own shoe online. Feel good supporting an organization that helps preserve the places we play.
















It's art on the street in Kensington. Thank You for no car Sundays in the summer.

Weathered and neglected for years this unbranded wood makes for an exotic 352 Baldwin shop front.

Indigenous Women speak out against TAR SANDS poster.
Endorse, support or get more info at firstnationswomenspeakingtour@gmail.com

Not much warmth from the grate and a light green blanket at Bay and Bloor in below zero weather.

Get Inspired by
 the work of French Street Artist Dran and British street Artist Banksy.


Giant multicoloured navigational buoys designed by Douglas Coupland in collaboration with Philips-Farevag-Smallenberg



What a beauty!
On the way home and on the theme of one-of-a-kind, we find a lotus. Ryerson University / Mount Pleasant Cemetary bicycle rack competition 2010 winning design LOTUS by Katy Alter and Jeff Cogliati bring together aesthetic, functionality and ease of use in perfect harmony.







Out front at the Direct Energy Centre at Exhibition Place, we're happy to find this wonderful swirl of serious bike parking available.

City and Colour


Early morning market's a breeze



Stores are still shut tight in Kensington and hand-painted artwork on the storefronts are exposed when shutters are closed. A few early morning breakfast-seekers and food shoppers are about.


Trees are up in flames everywhere


Both urban artscape and natural colours of Fall inspire and charm. We stop just for a moment to enjoy the play of light and the uplifting feeling that a splash of colour adds to life.

Closed Coffee Shop front counter art




It's like a different coloured scarf everyday changing colours, wrapped around this Church on Belsize Drive.

Halloween skeleton pirates hang out below the brightest shades of orange and yellow

On Oct 31, a front yard line up of Halloween favourites include pumpkins, spiders, witches and Count Dracula.

Leaf tips seem dipped in petal colours after the rain




Groceries bagged and a quiet street makes a skateboard-perfect ride home.

In memory of Bill Cunningham




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