13 questions

By Caitlin Kelly


Another favorite…


My favorite reading of the past few years is the weekend Financial Times, a British daily newspaper focused on global finance, whose weekend edition is so filled with great writing and fun discoveries it often takes us three weeks to get through one copy.

Its oversize glossy magazine — with typical British toff  nonchalance — is called How to Spend It, and since many of its readers make an absolute shit-ton of money, it routinely includes things like a $30,000 watch, a $5,000 silk trench coat and $10,000 gold cufflinks.

But fear not. It’s not all absurdly priced knick-knacks, but also offers — if you love good food, drink and travel as much as I do — ideas and inspiration.

A regular column in the magazine, The Aesthete poses the following 13 questions, with helpful links.


Here are my answers:


My personal style signifiers

are my ever-growing collection of scarves and mufflers, in every shade, color and fabric, from a thick olive green cashmere muffler to Hermes silk carrés. Summer and winter, they add style and warmth to my mostly neutral, minimal wardrobe. https://www.hermes.com/us/en/scarves-and-silk-accessories/women/#


The last thing I bought and loved

A bunch of yellow roses with coral edges, from the local supermarket.


And the thing I’m eyeing next

Something sharp and minimal to freshen my spring wardrobe from Cos, the higher-end cousin of Sweden’s H & M.  https://www.cosstores.com


The last item of clothing I added to my wardrobe

were two stretch dresses, calf-length, in black and mustard, bought in Montreal at Aritzia, a Canadian company based in my birthplace, Vancouver. They also have stores in several major American cities. I love how clean and simple their clothing is, slightly more junior and lower quality than Cos, but versatile and terrific when you get a good piece. https://www.aritzia.com/




An unforgettable place I’ve traveled to in the past year

is Rovinj, Croatia. I discovered it through a travel blogger I met in Berlin and whose rave recommendation (and personal style) were enough to persuade me to book in for a week at a gorgeous/pricey boutique hotel called Angelo D’Oro. Most people head south to Hvar and Dubrovnik, but Istria, to the north, is also very beautiful. Rovinj is called little Venice — and you can easily zip across to Venice itself by hovercraft in a few hours. http://www.angelodoro.com/




And the best souvenir I’ve brought home

is a shard of red, yellow and green pottery, maybe 17th century, found in the muddy banks of the Thames by a “mudlarker” and bought at a London flea market for 10 pounds.


A recent “find”

is Shuka, an airy restaurant in downtown Manhattan, at 38 MacDougal Street. It serves Middle eastern food in one of the prettiest rooms I’ve seen in years, lots of decorated tile and a sunny, spacious back room. https://www.shukanewyork.com/


The person I rely on for my personal grooming

is Alex, who’s owned Hairhoppers at 50 Grove Street in New York’s West Village for decades. His shop is minuscule, with only three chairs, and his co-ed clientele of all ages is the best mix imaginable — I’ve sat beside. and happily chatted with, Grammy-nominated musicians, museum curators and little old ladies in from Staten Island.  No website!


An object I would never part with

is my black and white poster of Paris at dawn by the legendary French artist Sempé. On my first honeymoon in rural France, everything was stolen from our rental car, leaving us with passports, tickets and not much else — the poster survived. It reminds me daily of my favorite city. https://condenaststore.com/collections/jean+jacques+sempe


The last meal that truly impressed me

was at a local joint, Scaramella’s, in Dobbs Ferry, NY, in our suburban county, located in a small, nothing-special strip mall. The Italian food is excellent, service to match.  No website.


The best gift I’ve given recently

were earrings, tiny gold stars studded with diamonds I had sent to British Columbia for a dear friend’s milestone birthday. I’ve been buying from this Toronto jeweler — named for its founder, a former Varig pilot, Vic Secrett — since I had any money to spend. Prices aren’t all as scary as you’d think! http://www.secrett.ca/




If I had to limit my shopping to one neighborhood in one city, I’d choose

Queen Street West in my hometown of Toronto. Lots of great choices, from ribbons to stationery to clothing to shoes, homewares, furniture and art. You can easily jump around by using the streetcar as the shopping stretches for miles. Check out the Japanese Paper Place, Gaspard (women’s clothing), Lavish & Squalor for men’s and women’s clothing and housewares, and Gravity Pope, for a fantastic selection of men’s and women’s shoes. https://www.gravitypope.com/


My favorite website

Swann Galleries, an auction house in New York, which specializes in works on paper. I went in person last fall and splurged, scoring pieces by Raoul Dufy and Maurice Vlaminck, both French works from the 1920s, both of which now hang in our bedroom. https://www.swanngalleries.com/


What are some of yours?

25 thoughts on “13 questions

  1. i always love to learn more about a person’s personal choices, i think it tells you so much about them. like you, scarves have become my personal signature accessory, and i seem to go back to certain ones over and over again, clearly my favorites by default. i love to read the sunday nyt and complete (or try my best to) the crossword. i love waking up slow on sunday, having a nice cup of steaming coffee, poached eggs, buttered wheat toast and the paper in front of me, with beautiful music playing quietly in the background. my favorite souvenirs are generally a small piece of art created by local artists, or heart shaped stones, which i tend to stumble upon most places that i go. when shopping, i love to find little out of the way streets in a city, filled with interesting independent shops of all kinds. these are a few of my favorite things……)

      1. I love Wyndham Hill pieces- George Winston, etc., some classical, strings, piano, Irish crooners, Avett Brothers Americana music, Cuban Jazz, Beatles- depends on my mood and place. I have a huge appreciation of music and those who make it-

      2. Indeed! I was listening to Keith Jarrett’s classic The Koln Concert last night. Do you know the British songwriter Richard Thompson? Love him. I teach one of his songs in my writing classes…

      3. ha, thanks for that. i think richard thomas, was perhaps the actor in ‘the waltons?’ ). i looked up the right guy this time, and very much enjoyed his music. he is one of those artists who has an immense talent and yet still flies under the radar for so many of us. i watched his npr tiny desk concert, and look forward to hearing more. –

  2. I caught your post earlier but I was passing by swiftly. BUUUUUUUUUUUT, now that I’m here, well, here you go.
    My style signifier (I love that) is a flannel lined brown cotton nailhead shirt. I bought it from Cabela’s about fifteen years ago. From mid fall until early spring, it’s another skin. For all that, every button is still tight and it hasn’t popped a stitch. I usually wear it unbuttoned, revealing a souvenir t-shirt. Today’s offering: Yorktown Battlefield.
    The last thing I bought and loved: Milton, but only by a day, we got Archie the day before.
    Archie is the tuxedo and Milton is the bag of Hell.
    Personal grooming: Aurora, with Joe King’s hair shop in Asheville. This place has been around since the fifties and I didn’t know one old geezer around the machine shop that gotten a whole lot of haircuts there. Joe’s gone now, but the all lady staff takes on all comers and Aurora gets it done right. It’s fifteen bucks, but I pay twenty, except for my birthday and Christmas, when I pay thirty. Beat that in NYC.
    I’m liking this, but sleep is closing in. I’ll finish it up tomorrow

    1. Thanks for playing!

      I’m STILL wearing a green down jacket I got at Cabela’s in 2004/5 as I went to promote my first book about gun use in the U.S. and they gave me a 50% discount for the day.

    1. I don’t blog about gun use — despite being an expert on it and having spoken about it many times on BBC TV and radio, NPR and even NRA radio. I’m quite aware of the importance of the issue, and also very aware that little is likely to change in the United States, certainly at the federal level, no matter how many millions demonstrated their wish for it.

      Until or unless everyone who can vote gets to the polls in the mid-terms (and beyond) and votes out every single candidate who supports gun rights, you will not see substantive change.

      I don’t blog about the issue because I weary of explaining it to people who try to simplify it for their own ends, and who haven’t studied it in depth, even/especially those who consider themselves highly sophisticated. I was invited to Ottawa to share my original research with the Canadian government, since it has never been duplicated.

      Yes, it’s an important issue, Juliet.

  3. I’m with you — scarves are great! They can really add the finishing touch to an outfit. One of my favourite brands is Jigsaw and they sell gorgeous scarves: I have a silk one with a grey/purple pattern, which I love wearing. Their clothes are well-made too. Quite pricey, but very good quality. https://www.jigsaw-online.com/

    The last thing I bought and loved was a subscription to Spotify. I was using the free version but kept getting annoyed by constant adverts. I love discovering new music and I listen to a wide variety, from Spanish and Latin-American hip-hop (yes, really!) to classical to, occasionally, modern electronica/techno.

  4. I always enjoy your great lists. 🙂 I like scarves as well. My M jokes and calls them “tents.” Before leaving for dinner last night (we are in the Okanagan right now – lots of great restaurants) he asked me “where are we going camping tonight?” 🙂

    I love your Queen Street suggestion – I’ve enjoyed many hours there as well. 🙂

    1. They totally change the look of almost anything…and I can pack a LOT of them when I travel. 🙂 I have 4 crinkled silk ones (chocolate brown, fuchsia, cream and rose pink) I bought a long long time ago at Banana Republic and still wear all the time — as they’re wide enough to work as shawls, too.

      I so enjoy Queen Street West. I also like that it’s remained relatively unscathed, still.

  5. Pingback: Buying your identity, and other silliness | Druid Life

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s