Keeping it Real (Should I Stay or Should I Go?)

Hello and Happy New Year!

Been a bit absent round these parts lately but that’s all about to change.  2013 was a bit of a crap year for me to be honest (more on that here) and I was frankly, quite happy to see the end of it. But 2014 is a whole new blank slate! Great things are going to happen in 2014, I guarantee it. New content, a few guest posters and hopefully a new look. Because really don’t we all need a bit of a makeover?

I started this blog over four years ago as my creative outlet. Since I work in a corporate environment I don’t often get much chance to flex my creative muscles. The last little while though, I’ve been feeling a bit uninspired and broody about the whole thing. To the point where I considered ending the blog altogether! What used to be a supportive environment has turned somewhat into a remake of Mean Girls. And then sometimes the green-eyed monster takes over. It’s a bit hard not to be jealous when you see others and their fabulous lives. You just have to keep reminding yourself that you don’t always know what goes on behind the scenes.  Everyone has their own issues and difficulties whether or not they chose to share them online.  Nobody’s life is perfect including mine.

2014 is going to be about keeping it real.  I’ll also be sharing a bit more of my own space which I’ve been hesitent to do until now.  Maybe it’s my Type A personality, but I really resisted showing things until they were ‘Done’.  As in magazine shoot perfect.  But since very few (if any of us) live like that I’ve decided to throw caution to the wind and just go for it.  So with that, let’s get this going!

2014, I’m coming for you!

xo

 

 

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My Favourite Party Sources

Morning! This post was supposed to go up last week but I have a one year old who has decided that napping is sooooo last year.   Makes for a fun but very long day.

Let’s face it, entertaining is expensive.  Not only do you have the food and drinks to supply but if you’re a Type A like me, you want it to look great as well, which usually ends up costing mucho $$$. A couple of rules that I tend to follow are always start with a colour scheme, food looks best on white or ivory serving dishes and make a statement.

Ok, colour scheme… This year I went with blues and greens.  This was decided when I found some great foil number balloons in metallic blue, also available in other colours but sidebar -gold and silver are great for a New Year’s party.  My go to source for party balloons is Bargain Balloons. They have a huge selection of balloons and are super affordable and they ship across Canada and the US. If you’re local to Toronto, you can pick up your order at their warehouse in Mississauga.

Now, these balloons are not inflated so you can either bring them to a party supply store to have inflated (also major $$) or you can rent a helium tank and do it yourself.  I rented mine from Blow It which was very close to home, they delivered the tank the day before the party and I didn’t have to leave a deposit.  Apparently this worldwide helium shortage thing is real because helium is not cheap. But with the savings on the balloons above you can afford to splurge here.  Plus these make a huge statement and make great backdrops for photos.  I added some colourful tissue confetti to the clear balloons before inflating for a fun look.

Did I mention I’m Type A? I really, really love the look of matching serving dishes on a buffet table. The repetition of the platters allows the food to stand out and be the star.  Personally, I think food looks best on white or ivory serving dishes.  That’s not to say that I go out and buy expensive pieces.  All of the items you see below are from the dollar store and ring in at or just under $2 per item.

The sectioned containers (dressed up in washi tape also purchased at the dollar store) can hold crackers, candies or other munchies.  I used the fun plastic bowls for chips and the rest of the hors d’oeurves, veggies and fruit were on the white oblong trays.  The vases also got the washi tape treatment and were used on the buffet table to hold cutlery and fun stripey straws.  I love to use plastic for a kids party as I don’t have to worry about something getting broken or someone getting injured.  I will reuse these year over year for Hudson’s parties as I can change up the colour scheme by adding in a pop of colour or changing out a bowl or two.

If you don’t entertain that often or just don’t have storage for a million party pieces, then I would recommend a party rental company.  My personal favourite is Chairman Mills.

Photos via

The service is great, they are affordable, they pick up and deliver and they are about 5 minutes away from where I live. They stock everything from modern to traditional party decor and supplies.  The best part, no dishes and no dirty linens to deal with.  Just roll it up, throw it in a box and hand it back.  I rented some floor length royal blue tablecloths for the party.  Literally, I called them the day before the party, picked them up an hour later and dropped them off the next day.  All for less than the cost of buying new tablecloths. Plus, I don’t have to launder, store or ugh, iron them.  And truthfully, even if I did buy them I probably wouldn’t use them very much, if ever again.

So, there you have it, a few great sources and some tricks for keeping the budget at a reasonable level. We went a little bigger than normal this year as it was Hudson’s first birthday.  We likely will scale it back for next year although as I write that, I’ve just had a few dozen themes pop into my head.  Better start saving now…..

xo

 

 

 

 

PS If you’re looking for some great party ideas, be sure to follow me on Pinterest!

 

 

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Hudson Turns One!

Ok, how is it Wednesday already?  I feel like I’ve been on a three day hangover without taking a single drink.  We had Hudson’s 1st birthday party on the weekend and then attended another party on Sunday.  The body just doesn’t bounce back like it used to hmmmm?

I cannot believe that my little munchkin is one year old.  I know I went on and on about it last week (super cute photo collage here), but if you’re a parent I know you’ll indulge me with one more pic.  I mean come on….

We had a fun party with family and great friends that went way past the ending time.  Love that. Not to mention, my awesome peeps stayed to help clean up and bring everything upstairs.  I told you they were great!

Since our condo living room is not ideal for more than exactly 4.5 people, we rented the party room which has a big open space, a full kitchen (as not to overload my own fridge) and tables and chairs, which really helps to save on the party budget.  The only downfall is the abysmal lighting and terrible wall colour in the room which is not great for party photos.  Seriously Condo Board, call me next time when making such decisions.

Entertaining an audience of kids is tough.  Even tougher when they range in age from 9 months to 14 years.  Games are too old for the babies and so not cool for the big kids so I decided to do a photo booth instead.  I found a great program called SparkBooth that can be purchased for a reasonable $60 and that basically turns the web cam on your laptop into a photo booth with customizable layouts.  I hooked mine up to my printer, stocked it with photo paper and let them at it!

I’ve put together a little board of what I consider to be my party essentials.  I’ll be sharing a few DIYs on the blog tomorrow as well as some great (and inexpensive!) party sources.

 

Back tomorrow with a few more pics, some how-to’s and sources.

xo

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Birthday Boy!

October 16th. One year ago today I was waiting, trying not to be nervous, but at the same time oh so excited that I was going to meet our newest little family member.  It’s hard to believe that the past year has flown by (with lots of ups and downs) but the shining bright spot in the middle has always been this little munchkin who makes me laugh every single day.  Happy Birthday Hudson!

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Musings on a Monday

Morning all.  Been a little busy round these parts lately which doesn’t leave much time for blogging.   Lots of things cycling through my head these days which means you will likely see some changes round here over the next little while.  In the past few weeks, I’ve attended some amazing blogging classes (both in person and virtually) and the ideas are a-flowing!

These classes were incredible. Met a ton of great people and got loads of fresh inspiration.  Alt also offers a great individual classes (schedule published monthly) if you can’t wait till the next Alt for Everyone conference.  In fact, I’m taking one this afternoon…

I’m also in the middle of planning Hudson’s first birthday party on the 19th.  Trying not to get too emotional about the fact that my baby will no longer be a baby anymore.  I’ve got lots of great inspiration and ideas saved on my Pinterest board.  If you don’t follow me, you really should.  Lots of good stuff over there.

It’s definitely fall here in Toronto with the rainy, cool weather all weekend.  Last week was gorgeous though and Hudson and I enjoyed some time outside while we had a bit of a reprieve from the cooler weather.

Happy Monday!

 

 

 

 

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Pretty Palette: Cobalt and Oxblood

Perhaps it’s the nip of fall in the air or maybe I’m just tired of summer’s lighter, brighter palette but right now I want to cocoon myself in moody, broody colours.  One of my favourite combinations of the season is a beautiful cobalt paired with rich oxblood. A sophisticated look, it’s a welcome change from the sea of black we normally see at this time of year.

Photos 1, 2, 3, 4

 

What colour palette are you loving for fall?

 

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BlogPodium Lessons and Weekend Recap

Morning! It was such a busy weekend that I’m glad it’s Monday…well almost. The weekend was jam packed with all kinds of deliciousness starting on Saturday with BlogPodium. I talked a bit on Friday about BlogPodium and what I was going to wear (which to my surprise I actually stuck to!) and how excited I was to attend. I mean, the keynote was given by Sarah Richardson for heavens sake, enough said.

I can’t begin to tell you how inspiring she was… She talked about her start in the business, her first job as a prop stylist on a TV show, her struggles to pay the rent in the beginning and how an apartment decorated with thrift store finds landed her a magazine cover and launched her career. All this before 10 am. I know right. MIND BLOWN.

I also attended sessions on balancing your blog with your day job (a girl has got to eat), developing a style guide for your blog, how to grow your business with social media and met up with some blogging friends and some great brands. This was topped off with an after conference dinner with twenty of these fabulous folks. Sooooo good.

Some fun with Christine, Sarah, Vanessa, and Pam. Love those gals!

Some takeaways for me? I need to plan better, work on time management (no more hours spent on Pinterest) and develop an editorial calendar. I also want to come up with a new site design which will be unveiled in the next few months. Some new regular columns will also be introduced, more on that later this week.

Sunday was spent hanging out with family at home and having a belated birthday celebration (I kind of ignored my birthday on the 1st). Now it’s Monday and I am exhausted but one happy camper. What did you get up to this weekend?

xoxoxo,

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BlogPodium: Wear oh Wear!

TGIF. Even though I am currently not at work, I still love Fridays because that means the weekend is just around the corner.  And I’m especially excited for this weekend as BlogPodium is here!  THE blog conference for Canadian design and lifestyle bloggers and it’s happening here in Toronto on Saturday. Keynote speaker – Sarah Richardson.  Um yeah, can’t wait!

This always leads to the ‘what the heck am I going to wear?’ dilemma.  Bloggers tend to be a stylish bunch, they’ve generally got a great eye and pull out all the stops when it comes to these sort of events.  But it’s a fine line between looking stylish in your heels and limping home.  Been there, done THAT.

So this year, I decided to be stylish and comfortable.

What to wear....

via

1/My go to lately has been easy breezy dressing and there is nothing easier than throwing on a great dress.  Easily goes from conference to night out and there is no uncomfortable waistline digging into you.  I also love the colour of this shirt dress. Plum is the new black.  Trust me.

2/Statement jewelry is always my go to.  I love throwing on a pair of jeans, a white tee and a huge corker of a necklace.  Bloggers luuuurve their bling. We’ll be lucky to hear the speakers over the jingle jangling of the arm parties.  For real.

3/Comfortable shoes or boots.  This is a must.  I have limped home from too many nights out, heels in hand to do this again.  Not to mention, this year, the choice of flats was out of my hands.

4/The necessary tech. For me, that’s my iPad and iPhone.  I take notes on the iPad and use the phone to Tweet, Instagram and Facebook.  It’s not considered rude at these events, they always provide you with a hashtag to do so! Oh and don’t forget to bring your charger or extra battery.  You’ll need it.

5/No teeny tiny clutch for this gal.  I need space for my tech, business cards and other essentials.

If you’re a blogger and attending BlogPodium, be sure to come by and say hi. If you’re not attending, I’ll post a wrap up post next week.  Happy Friday!

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Falling for Fall at West Elm

The weather may still be up and down but I am soooo ready for Fall. The stores have been filling up with fall merchandise since July and while its hard to look at dark colours and warm textures in the midst of a heat wave, I love it.  It’s always my favourite season.

One retailer that is really killing it is West Elm.  It’s like they crawled into my brain and pulled my wishlist and I can’t wait to see what they’ve got up their sleeves next. Heaven help my poor (literally!) bank account.

This sculpted geo console literally stopped me in my tracks…. Love the shape, the colour and the brass base. It’s got a definite Kelly Wearstler vibe.

This cubed sculpture is also very cool.  Great coffee or dining table accent!

And the pillows, oh the pillows….

Peacock Silk Pillow

Ikat Moon Silk Pillow

 

Marble Print Silk Pillow

Great Ikat print curtain panels.  I love the way a printed curtain adds some dimension to a space. It just so happens these are in my can’t get out of my head favourite colour – navy!

This linen textured dinnerware is perfect for the Thanksgiving table especially mixed with these gold cheese knives

If I could marry these I would.  I am head over heels in love with these agate jewelry boxes.  Stunners….

Can you see a pattern? Navy blues, gold accents and bold patterns are my new mantra.  Happy Thursday!

 

 

 

 

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Sharing Some Etsy Love

Do you Etsy? If you’re not familiar, Etsy is a global online marketplace for handmade goods, vintage items and craft supplies.  It has the most amazing things, plus it’s an affordable way for artists to sell and promote their creations online.  Love it.  Most of the handmade and vintage items I’ve purchased online in the last few years have been from the Etsy site.

It’s easy to get lost in the vastness of the site (like you needed more ways to spend time online right?) so I’ve decided to share a few of my favourites.  You’re welcome.

Kari Herer Photography has beautiful photography and I am in love the black backgrounds.  These would look amazing grouped on a white wall.

 

 

D.S. Brennan Photography has some beautiful photos but I am especially enamoured with the iPhone cases.

Samantha French has the most amazing original paintings.  If you can’t afford an original, then you can also buy a print.  You can almost feel the splashing!

 

Tesler + Mendelovitch have the most amazing wooden clutches.  Yes I said wooden.  Check them out, they are truly spectacular.

3 Princesses Store has the most adorable natural wooden tethers.  Perfect for the Mom whose baby won’t leave her iPhone alone (ahem!). AND, they’re Canadian!

I am constantly finding new and amazing things on Etsy. Be sure to check out more of my faves in my Etsy profile here.  Happy shopping!

xo,

 

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