December 11, 2011

Closer to Christmas

I love it when weekends start a little earlier - for example, on a Thursday. This weekend began just like that, with a visit to my Italian friend Emanuela. She made me some tiramisu herself. I probably shouldn't say that every Italian women is an excellent cook, and when you eat something made by her, your state can only be described with the word "Heaven". It's very convenient when you have such a friend living across the street.

This is the view of High Park and Lake Ontario from Emanuela's apartment.

Another sign of a good weekend is when you don't rush to go shopping, but instead just take some pictures. Every year, we like to look at the window displays in Holt Renfrew. These days, I regret that I haven't taken pictures of it every year. Usually, it's really something special. This year, they puzzled me a little. They tend to pick a topic and devote the display to it. I think I could identify this year's theme as "Swan-Goose-Penguin Lake".

Certain subjects - such as a snowman hiding behind the column without a hat on, or the penguins finding clown shoes puzzled me even more.

Also, I was surprised by this lady in evening dress, who suddenly got the idea to milk a cow. I even know that one of my blogging friends will appreciate this photo very much.

When I saw these marching band drummers who seem to be snowed in, I decided to stop being surprised at anything.

This year, I really liked the oversized deers at the Eaton Centre.

Also, this Christmas tree, decorated with Swarovski crystals, which rotates, catching the light directed at it, impressed me very much.

One of our secret winter joys is driving around the surrounding areas in order to enjoy an evening of Christmas lighting.

So, how did you spend your weekend?


  1. Olga, you have such an eye for art. I absolutely LOVE your first two shots!

  2. A wonderful set of pictures. The goose is just wonderful.

  3. I can see why the theme was a bit...unique, to say the least. I can honestly say I'd never seen a snow white penguin until these photos.

    Unique, different, interesting interpretations of...something. Yet all artfully gathered here by you for such precious enjoyment. Thank you.

  4. Wonderful spirits of Christmas everywhere !

  5. Оля, получается гремучая смесь - 12 days of christmas, march of the penguins and frosty, the snowman?:)))

    Did you buy anything? So many people:))''Your friend is very lucky, view from her window is magnificent!

  6. but wouldn't it be great if the weekend started on monday? ;)

  7. Olga you amaze me with your photos you always produce something special. I love them all, but the swan, dancing swan lake is extra interesting! Oh and I love the cow being milked!! Diane

  8. I love these decorations - just lovely! Haha, no - you can´t have too many of those friends! :-)

  9. Ой ой ой, какая красота там у вас!!! А какие шикарные ботиночки в витрине! ))
    Оля, большинство итальянок действительно хорошо готовят ;)
    Я тоже люблю длинные уикенды, правда, они порочные: спишь, ешь и бездельничаешь ))

  10. What odd windows. Still, I suppose they make for conversation!

    I had a nice weekend, going to my one and only Christmas party. It was very jolly but took a while to recover from as it finished at 3am. I'm still recovering actually.

  11. очень атмосферно и волнующе!
    Увидела толпы в предпраздничных магазинах, ах похолодело! Это ж что еще нам предстоит!!?

  12. Thank you for taking us to Christmas window display hopping. You made me into the Christmas mood, Olga. Christmas is a nice tradition regardless of religions or cultures for the spirit of giving and sharing, love and forgiveness, so my family celebrates secular Christmas. I like the Christmas tree with so many snow crystals in the first image. Your photos are breathtaking as always... I wish I could shoot like these.

    On weekend, I went to furniture shopping with my daughter and her fiancé. They are marrying in next March. My husband and I like to tighten our wallets, but it was one of the happiest shopping in our lives.


  13. Great series. I love your "tour guide" pics and all the details.
    Absolutely transfixed by the first photo -- that wonderful pattern of out-of-focus blue lights.
    Great eye, Olga.

  14. Hello Olga:
    Well, you have certainly captured Christmas sparkle in these dazzling images. The window displays do seem to us to defy interpretation, perhaps a freestyle take on the twelve days of Christmas?

    For us, the highlight would have been the Tiramisu. Homemade and, we are sure, delicious, what could be nicer?!!!!

  15. life in the city is so pretty on your pictures!pity that I do not have an Italian friend;)

  16. Beautiful views that have your friend Emanuela's from his window ... uuumm at this time, I would take a piece of that rich tiramisu:))
    These days it's good to go through the streets and shopping malls ... They are full of light and surprises as you share ... Beautiful all the photos!

  17. Love the lady in an evening dress... milking a cow, of course. Makes sense. :)

  18. Such spectacular and quirky photos! I love your photography.

    The tiramisu looks devine!

  19. Hi Olga: I always felt I was over dressed in the mornings when I milked on the days that I was heading to town right after morning chores! I really appreciate the photo, and that you thought of me. :D

  20. Loved all of these, Olga, but particularly the goose in front of the music, and the view looking up at the tree (the second to last one). Every one is excellent though.

  21. Lovely shots and lovely atmosphere in this post, Olga. Will I sound silly if I tell you my favorite shot was the photo of your friend's Tiramisu? ;-) Miam-Miam (yum!) You definitely hit the "Holidays cord" with this one. Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

  22. Oh how wonderful is your 'Christmas that is comimg'.

  23. These are wonderful photos as usual Olga. But, you tend to have a way to make me laugh..."finding clown shoes puzzled me even more." "I decided to stop being surprised at anything"- that one had me in stitches. Looks like you're having a wonderful holiday. Especially with that dang Tiramisu...I'm jealous. I wish I had an Italian friend living across from me. =)

  24. Loved all these photos, they definitely made me into Christmas mood! The last shot is adorable :)

  25. Comme c'est beau, Olga!
    Merci pour ces belles photos qui restituent sans doute très bien l'atmosphère de ta région. Le Noël va être magnifique!
    Continue de bien préparer!

  26. Olá Olga, como sempre belas fotografias...Excelente.....

  27. You are certainly lucky to have Italian friend, living nearby, tiramasu made by an Italian is the best:)

  28. The dessert looks excellent. The decorations, especially the penguins are great. We "tested" out a gingerbread trifle that we will be serving closer to Christmas, and it was a success!

  29. What gorgeous and exciting Christmas you have!
    I can definitely hear Christman songs from your photos, which make me dance!! Do you see me dancing in Japan?

  30. Оля, как празднично у вас, нарядно! У нас пока нет еще праздничных инсталяций, только кое-где в витринах магазинов. Главную елку Львова по традиции наряжают до дня Св.Николая - 19 декабря.
    Выходные прошли как-то пресно. У одной из подужек (а нас трое) в родне случилось несчастье и наши планы встретиться и to go shopping не сбылись. Но я отправилась сама на предпразничные покупки. И как же я была удивлена - очень скудное предложение! Хотелось приобрести несколько штучек для домашнего новогодне-рождественского декора - не получилось. Надеюсь, что к Св.Николаю ситуация поменяеться:)) Зато подарки родным присмотрела:))
    Тирамису вашей подруги-итальянки смотрится очень аппетитно;-)) Надо поробовать приготовить такой десерт на праздники. Спасибо за хорошее настроение, Ольга:)

  31. Those first two images are a couple of corkers....I love them.


  32. Lovely photos of a terrific holiday weekend! What a nice, big mall. Hehe. I wish I could shop there. :)

    My weekend was lame. My only excitement was attending a friend's Christmas party Saturday night where I spent two hours fawning over her newborn daughter.

  33. Hi floweringmama,
    Thank you very much. I was sure that the shot with the teramisu would be a success :)

    Hi Adrian,
    The goose was very serious :)

    Hi Angela,
    During the past years, their window displays tended to be mindblowing - and not so strange. A few years ago, there was an interpretation of Little Red Riding Hood, with a very sexy wolf :)

    Hi Wong,
    Yes, we are getting ready for Christmas at full speed!

    Hi kopeechki,
    Всё смешалось в доме Холта в этом году. Они делали такие эксцентричные и шикарные окна в предыдущие годы, что в этот раз они меня разочаровали.
    Мы сделали основные покупки две недели назад. Не хочу писать что именно, чтобы меня не рассекретили :)


  34. Hi hila,
    I agree with starting the weekend on Monday. I think it`s a brilliant idea. But I`m afraid it`s an unrealistic expectation :)

    Hi Diane,
    This cow absolutely astounded me. She doesn`t fit into any sort of concept at all.

    Hi tinajo,
    Friends become more valuable before the holidays :)

    Hi patatinka,
    Итальянки всё готовят безумно вкусно. Какие-то у них магические слова есть для этого в запасе.
    Разве может наш шоппинг сравниться с римским. наверняка, это просто детский лепет.

    Hi Sarah,
    I absolutely can`t stand staying up till 3am - at 2, you can find me snoring in a chair :)

    Hi Ирен,
    У нас не так уж и людно, если посмотреть на количество людей, живущих в Торонто, это, вообще, смех. Всесь экстрим у вас в Москве.

  35. Hi Yoko,
    First of all, congratulations on the future significant event in your family! Congratulations, and good luck with the shopping :)
    In Canada, there are many different nationalities. However, I was surprised that even many non-Christians celebrate Christmas.

    Hi Rick,
    I wasn`t sure if any of my photos would turn out - the lighting at the mall was very complicated. Thank you for the compliment. It means a lot :)

    Hi Jane and Lance,
    This window display is a bit of a cult spot around Christmastime. I tend to await something unusual and eccentric from them. This year, they certainly surprised me, but in a slightly different way :) Personally, I liked the penguins, who seemed shocked by their find.

    Hi Ola,
    You`re right. I think life everywhere is a little more decorative than at other times. Thanks to Christmas!

    Hi Laura.M,
    The view from Emanuala`s window is really spectacular. Can you imagine - being able to watch the sunrise above Lake Ontario?

  36. Hi Talli,
    If I had a cow, I would only milk it in this type of outfit :)

    Hi Spangle,
    Thank you. The teramisu tasted wonderful. Hooray for Italian cooking!

    Hi Misty Meadows,
    You`ve uncovered my secret. I really was thinking of you when I posted this photo. I don`t think you should take this fashion tip seriously :) However, if I had a cow, I would milk it only in this outfit.

    Hi The Blogger Formerly Known As,
    When I look at this goose, I can hear this music :)

    Hi Veronique,
    I`m not surprised that you liked the photos with the teramisu. It was divine, and delicious when cold :)

  37. Hi aguja,
    I easily fall into the state of being excited for Christmas :)

    Hi Sandy,
    I`m surprised that horsed of people don`t stand in front of these displays, pointing their fingers and laughing. I guess they are too busy with shopping.

    Hi Marisa,
    Thank you very much. It is very important to me to show what`s going on in Toronto.

    Hi Richard,
    Peut-être la plus grande joie de Noël est en se prépare pour cette fête. Au moins pour moi, il est très agréable.

    Hi Fernando,
    I`m so glad that you`re visiting me, and that you enjoyed this post.

  38. Hi Lindy,
    I understand that I can`t surprise you with Italian dishes. But, for me, anything Italian is delicious :)

    Hi Gillian,
    The penguins were really cute. Despite the fact that they are very white, they seem very realistic :)

    Hi Tomoko,
    I also love to dance different dances. Also, I love celebrations. Especially Christmas, with all these decorations, and gifts, of course :)

    Hi Tisa,
    Праздничное настроение очень важно. Мне бы хотелось пожелать, чтобы оно у вас всё-таки появилось и осталось.
    У нас, если подловить момент, можно действительно сделать хорошие покупки перед Рождеством. Скидки, на короткое время, бывают сумашедшие.
    Тирамису, я проконсультировалась у подруги, имеет смысл делать только из самых свежайших продуктов, так как там есть сырые яйца.

    Hi Trevor,
    I`m glad you enjoyed them :) I myself enjoyed the process of photographing them.

    Hi Jennifer Fabulous,
    When everyone starts drooling over newborns, it makes me feel kind of strange. I want to say that newborns are also individuals who need their own space. Which is exactly what I`m going to have to do in the nearest month, seeing as our friends are expecting a baby girl.

  39. we try to fill our weekends with tradition, at least one play this year it will be The best Christmas pageant ever or Little Women, we catch a ride on a Horse drawn wagon downtown, drive around town to see light displays, ending up at our one of our favorite pizza joints for some food and cheer!

  40. hai, Olga :) long time to read your blog. I also started to seldom writing blog. hehe. how are you doing? Toronto is such a lovely place. Looks like it's so fun if I go there. hehe. Anyway, the tiramisu is looked so yummy.
    keep blogging !
    oh ya anyway I just remember I have a friend lived in Toronto too . LOL

  41. My weekends are spent at work. I am even working this Holidays. :(

    Looking at the photos make me miss spending the Holidays at home.

  42. Wait a minute! It's almost Christmas?

  43. Hi 1-2Punch,
    Back in Russia we didn't have Christmas traditions at all. We were told to celebrate only New Year. What a shame!

    Hi chrystalyne,
    I am very glad that you found the time to visit my blog. I want you to know that it is very much appreciated.

    Hi Chyrel,
    Working during the Holidays kind of sucks :)

  44. Hi R. Jacob,
    Yes, it's almost Christmas. Then it will be Easter :)

  45. Love visiting the mall with you. Great pictures.

  46. Beautiful window displays with pretty decorations.
    Your Christmas photos are great! ;-)
    Good to meet you Olga and thanks for visiting my blog. I am now following you here!

    Have a wonderful Christmas.
    Jo May.

  47. Оля, простите, что я вовремя не посмотрела свои комменты. Эти дни у меня были очень напряженные - сын готовился к защите диплома. Я нервничала, переживала, поэтому была такой невнимательной. Докладываю: гиацинты отцвели, но запах был... Теперь на подходе фрезии, а у них аромат более тонкий:))

  48. Hi Marilyn,
    Thank you very much :) I'm really glad that you visited my blog, and our mall.

    Hi Jo May,
    I'm glad you enjoyed my post, and my blog. Thank you for following me. I am also following you now. I hope your Christmas will be relaxed and happy.

    Hi Таня,
    Надеюсь, что ваш сын защитил успешно диплом и вы можете немного расслабиться, наслаждаясь запахом цветов.

  49. Спасибо, Оля. Защитился на отлично!!! Говорит, что самый придирчивый преподаватеть пожал ему руку:))

  50. ΟΟΟΟΟΟΟΟΟΟΟΟΟΟΟΟΟΟΟΟΗ!! Olga!!So beautiful Christmas decoration!!! Very beautiful Ontario!!!Thank you my friend! Merry Christmas and a happy new year to you and your family!!Kisses from Thessaloniki!!

  51. The store seems to have gone all out with the decorations I love he Canada goose and the North Pole scenes.:)

  52. Dear Olga...I'd like to be in your photos...

  53. Amazing shots Olga. You make me feel very much in the Christmas mood with this post. I miss London's lights at this time of year, and window displays such as those at Selfridges and Fortnum & Mason's!

    What am I doing this weekend? Trying to finish painting some college projects...difficult when I am "babysitting" a tabby kitten who wants to help me with all four paws Lol X

  54. Your photos make me feel Christmas even more! Also, this post inspire me to go to the mall and take photos of anything Christmas-y! :)