Monday, March 21, 2011

Bobbette and Belle

I came across a beautiful storefront in Leslieville, Ontario, a neighborhood just outside of Toronto.  What a lovely pastry boutique-- truly charming and a place I'd love to see!  I love the decor, the "open" and bright feel to the store, and the look of their delicious confections, of course.  Follow their blog here.

{images via Bobbette and Belle}

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Healing Power of Spices

There is no doubt that ancient cultures and civilizations in the East have appreciated the healing power of spices for centuries, but now we Westerns are coming around to unlocking all the health benefits of spices, too.  You may remember reading about my Saigon Cinnamon post {here}, and all the health benefits that it holds for you in just 1/2 teaspoon a day.  And that's just one spice!  The benefits of adding full-flavored, organic spices to your dishes instead of butter not only cuts down on fat, but can actually help cure you certain diseases, help give you more energy, and help you look and feel healthier.

With that said, you can imagine how ecstatic I was to walk through Barnes & Noble the other day to see this lovely libro lighting up the book table:


Dr. Aggarwal does an excellent job documenting and explaining the benefits of fifty different culinary spices ("culinary" meaning "everyday" spices that are not so esoteric that you'll be making a pilgrimage to remote villages in India for a one-of-a-kind species of red curry).  It's amazing to know that such a simple addition of flavor can undoubtedly bring peace and health to your mind, body and spirit.  I hope you consider purchasing a copy-- the information is priceless!

Book Description:
Breakthrough scientific research is finding that spices-even more than herbs, fruits, and vegetables-are loaded with antioxidants and other unique health-enhancing compounds. Studies of dietary patterns around the world confirm that spice-consuming populations have the lowest incidence of such life-threatening illnesses as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer's. Bharat B. Aggarwal, the world's foremost expert on the therapeutic use of culinary spices, takes an in-depth look at 50 different spices and their curative qualities, and offers spice “prescriptions”-categorized by health condition-to match the right spice to a specific ailment.  {via}
Buy it here!

Monday, March 7, 2011

San Francisco Inspiration

Some San Francisco inspiration for the SLP: the beautiful (no pun intended) CocoaBella chocolate boutique.  Just what part of the boutique was the most beautiful?  All of it.  No joke.  Every part of their design, straight down to the furniture legs at the bottom of their cash wrap had me swooning.

Don't let these pieces of art fool you, they're just as delicious as they are gorgeous.  My favorite?  The Venezuelan Spice by Christopher Elbow Artisanal Chocolates-- definitely the perfect balance of chili pepper, cinnamon and vanilla. I ate ummmm... about ten more than one :-)


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Sabon Sabon Sabon!

The last few months have been such a whirlwind of once in a lifetime opportunities, some of which have taken me to my favorite cities.  I've had a blast visiting new storefronts and shops, gleaming as much inspiration as I can for the Spice Loft.

One of the biggest sources of inspiration for my storefront is Sabon, one of the best soap and bath product retailers in the world.  The pictures below are from storefronts in Rome, Tokyo, Chicago and New York.

What intrigues me about this shop is how they've managed to blend "old world" with "new and modern."  I find their displays breathtaking and neat, always impressive, and truly appealing enough to have someone just walking by take a long detour into their store.  That's the whole point on business interior design with commodity retailers, and Sabon writes the book!

Love these cabinets and the chandelier!

And what better way to try bath products than an old stone fountain sink in the middle of the store:

 {photos via and sabonlover}