Saturday, 28 December 2013

My Favorite Blogs of 2013

In 2013, I got pretty obsessed with checking design blogs. My New Years Resolution should probably be to limit the amount of times I check them in a day. But that will never happen so my real resolution is to fine tune my morning routine. Make my bed, take at least ten minutes to apply some makeup and choose a nice outfit each day and leave for work on time. Simple stuff!

 Here are my top picks for blogs that I can't get enough of...

A Beautiful Mess //  Frequent posts with creative content and beautiful photography. They make every project seem so fun and easy but I know the truth! This is back-breaking work. But who can resist the idea that we can create a beautiful life? Obviously, I cannot. 

Favorite Post There is one project that I fully intend to do one day, and it is to make this hand painted clementine accent wall. I wanted to do it in the hallway but my brother said no. #partypooper

Style by Emily Henderson // She has influenced my style the most this year.  The thing that got me hooked: Emily is obsessed with eccentric vintage touches and loves thrift shopping. I also really enjoyed watching her show Secrets from A Stylist. 

Favorite Post: The Kurbly House sunroom makeover. If there was one room I would copy to a T it would be this one! The amazing thing is the table is from IKEA. I also loved her tips on succeeding at a design internship. I definitely used some of her tips when I was getting my sea legs at Idea Couture. 

Little Green Notebook // I really like Jenny Komeda. She's an interior designer who writes for Domino and does the most incredible vintage furniture makeovers.

Favorite Post: The concrete credenza post. I'm not in LOVE with the piece itself, but I found it so interesting to see the materials she worked with and how she customized the credenza to suit her personal style. 

Apartment Therapy // New content every day and I love me a good house tour. They also have tons of food and cocktail content on their sister site The Kitchn.

Favorite Post: I featured one of the home tours on this blog HERE

Design Sponge// This site is similar to Apartment Therapy but I find the articles more carefully curated and personal.

Favorite post: I wrote about the home of Bev Hisey on the blog. You can read my post HERE

Decor8 Blog // Where Pinterest came to life in a blog. Holly Beckers talent is corralling inspiring images from the internet into her carefully curated posts. She is also an interior designer and has that bright and cheery sense of style (and personality) that I adore so much!

Favorite Post: Anything from her color inspiration category

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas! I hope everyone is having a nice morning with their families and that my Toronto friends and family have their electricity and heat back! I'm at my parents sitting by the fire. Even though I don't celebrate Christmas, it is so nice to be here nonetheless! I just wish I wasn't sick today but things could be much worse.

If I DID celebrate Christmas this is what I would ask for. It's from IKEA and I love it! 

I also made an extravagant list of all the things I've been coveting the past few months that I will never buy. From Kate Spade, Swedish Hasbeens, Rifle Paper Company, J. Crew etc...Check it out here. A girl can dream, right?  

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Creepin' Peoples Homes

This video shows the design process of Tara McMullens downtown Toronto condo designed by Tiffany Pratt and herself. I watched it sometime last winter and haven't been able to get the space out of my head. I love how simple and creative it is, especially the pops of yellow and the plants that are hanging from an old wooden ladder attached to the ceiling - such a good idea! I love that Pratt found that beautiful dining table on the curb and painted it white. I love how all the builder basic touches that came with the place were ripped out and washed white.  I want it all! 

Since I couldn't get the place out of my head, a year later, I've done some detective work. Who are these girls? McMullen is an incredible photographer...her wedding photos are hauntingly beautiful. And Pratt is a stylist/designer who approaches design, in my opinion, the way an artist would. Her spaces are unexpected, not overly designed or thought out (ex. the collage wall in Tara's space) and whimsical. Here are some pictures of her apartment featured in Rue Magazine (more pictures are on her website) and it's shot by guess who, Miss Tara McMullen. Talk about good collaborating. 

Okay, so the case has been solved and now I'm excited to see what they do next! 

Friday, 20 December 2013

Tipsy Holiday

Happy Holidays my friends! I for one, plan to make bad choices and have one too many. Just kidding. I did that last week. Does that stop me from buying the cocktail shaker from Target that I've had my eye on? No! My appreciation for gold bar ware is endless! I like that the glass is clear so you can see the cocktail as you're making it.  Surprisingly rare to find. 

Here are my top picks for holiday libations 

 I'll drink anything so long as they have these adorable stir sticks in them

 And anything with fig in it. What can I say! I figgin' LOVE FIGS!
Cranberry Margaritas, I've got my eye on you. 'Cause I want to drink margaritas year round. 

Classic egg nog. It would be so great to have this only in a popsicle version. Idea credit: Gwyneth Paltrow. 

And hot toddies. 

Happy drinking and have a great holiday <3

Sunday, 24 November 2013

What I've Been Up To

I've been working at Idea Couture for three months now! I thought I'd share a bit about the place since I plan to go into more detail about the DIY projects I take on in later posts.  So what do I do? The short answer is I was hired to make the space prettier and more functional. How I do this changes from day to day - this coming week I'm building a new storage unit from scratch, putting together lots of IKEA furniture and meeting the co-op student with an interest in interior design who I'll be advising. Heres a collection of random pictures I took during the fall. 

Picking up orchids for the office and being vain! 
This is my lunch! Haha. I made a beef stew in the old crock pot and threw some chips on it. BAM! 

Fall decor: I painted these pumpkins and got my friend Jen who was recently hired to be an illustrator to write the letters. 

I got the vases from the dollar store and filled them with dollar store things and pine-cones. I also taped off the little pumpkins and spray painted half of them. 

I was asked to be the artistic director for a publication by IC. I'll give more details once its out! I was playing around with all the white furniture we could find to get some good arrangements for people to sit in.
The view from my desk.
Sitting on top of a bunch of ikea furniture! Right before the box slid forward and I fell on my face. Awesome.

For halloween I was Miss Frizzle. Educating the youth! 

A lot of these pictures have already been on Instagram, follow me to stay tuned. 

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Pink Grapefruit Vieux Mot

Hey guys! A new cocktail for y'all. 

Pink Grapefruit Vieux Mot

1 1/2 ounces gin
1 ounce of St. Germain elderflower liqueur
3 ounces fresh squeezed pink grapefruit juice
1 ounce strained meyer lemon juice (from half a large meyer lemon)
1/4 ounce simple syrup (Dissolve 1 cup of sugar into 1 cup of boiling water)
grapefruit for garnish

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a rocks glass with ice. 

This was easily the best cocktail I've ever made. I wanted to make a cocktail with my beloved bottle of St Germain Elderflower Liquor and I had about 10 pink grapefruits lying around. A quick google search combining the two ingrediants led me to Bojon Gourmet's blog and this pleasantly balanced cocktail. 

St Germain's floral flavors fully show up in this drink and are balanced by the tartness of the pink grapefruit juice and lemon juice and the small hit of simple syrup. And when you pour this into your glass, a pleasant froth rests on the top - no egg white needed! 

Hope to come to you guys with a fall inspired cocktail soon! Maybe with pumpkin or apple! 

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Cocktails in Cincinnati

In June, I visited my friend Sam in Cincinnati, Ohio. When I told her about my cocktail hobby, a new itinerary for my stay was formed - we were to visit Molly Wellmans three bars in the city (Japps, Neons and the Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar) to try out her various cocktail menus. Every drink I had was better than the last. 

Imagine my sheer happiness, when a month later a new cocktail book peppered with recipes arrived at the store where I work written by Miss Molly Wellman herself. In the book she emphasizes making your own bitters and syrups, using freshly squeezed juice and high quality liquors to craft cocktails that are fresh with a nice balance between sweet and sour. Exactly my style. I love this book! It's got great recipes and an apparent love for Cincinnati shines through.  I truly came to appreciate this corner of Ohio while I was there and Molly's bars had a lot to do with it! 

This Before I die wall was right outside Japps. It would have been great if I'd written "go back to Japps". 

(Thanks Mike Morris for assisting with the cocktail photos!)

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Wrapping up Summer

Fall is most definitely in the air tonight and I'm ready for it! It's been such an amazing summer. 

Life slowed down and I got to really enjoy the warmer months - I got to swim in lakes, visit the island, take trips, wine and dine, make pickles and relax with my loved ones! But I'm ready to buckle down and transition into fall. I just started a new job which is why things are sort of slow around here. I'm working for a company that I am really excited to be apart of and I feel nervous, excited and seriously under-slept! Wish me luck xx

Friday, 2 August 2013

Painting tips

When I started caring about the way my home looked and drawing inspiration from home decor websites and magazines, I ran into a big problem. I started hating everything about my house. I looked at my beige walls, drab furniture, lack of architectural detail and clutter and couldn't see my decor vision ever happening within my own walls. I convinced myself I had to move out. Now I'm SO glad I didn't. I've learned every single space can be better and more functional than it already is and you don't need a lot of money, a car, tons of time or a new apartment lease to make it happen.

One thing that I love and hate about decorating is that it's never really done. For example, I haven't had a lampshade on my bedside table for two years. I've got a blaring 60 watt lightbult and no lampshade. Decorating is an evolving process and little steps over time lead to transformed spaces.

So lets start with the easiest thing to change...



If you hate the colour of your walls, paint them! Check out the mistins - the mistake paint cans that can be found on the floor of any paint store. Get the person working the cash to open up the tin so you can see the color. Sometimes they are only 10 bucks but I still suggest you ask for a sample to take home before committing.

With any paint you put on your walls (except for white - i don't believe in the "different shades of white" thing) do a little test swatch first. Paint a bit on a white wall and observe your pick at different points in the day cause it might look peach in the morning and beigy brown at night.

If you have a specific color in mind another way to save money is to go to walmart and "color match". This is where you pick a color on a benjamin moore swatch for example, take it to walmart and they can produce the exact color with their generic no name but just as good paint. It will end up being half the price of going to a para or benjamin moore paint store.

I've known for a while I'm going to color match this blue color in at Walmart. Its Stillness by Valspar. (photo source)

Another way to save money is to skip primer. If you're painting over walls that are already a light colour (like yellow, beige, light green, grey) primer is an unnecessary step. Just do at least 2 coats of the paint. If you're painting colorful walls white, primer is a must.

If you want to paint your walls white you can get a gallon at Roblotts on Adelaide Street for like 18 bucks. I usually get a gallon per room and if I need more I'll go back.

Take care of your painting supplies! You can reuse rollers, paint trays and brushes for a long time. Just wash them out in your bathtub as soon as you're done painting. If you have to spread out your painting over a few days you can wrap all of your painting supplies in a garbage bag (the paint tray, rollers and brushes) and refrigerate them. They will last in your fridge for weeks and the paint won't dry out your brushes or roller.

One mistake I made was to expect paint to do all the work. I wanted a vintage looking kitchen so I painted the walls seafoam green. And after I painted I was disappointed when the kitchen didn't look kitschy just seafoam green. Once we got an old school formica table and diner chairs the color looked just right. If you want your house to be minimalist for example, painting the walls white isn't enough. You have to declutter and choose minimalist pieces to complete the look.

Just do it. Painting a room can take a day and it's something you can do by yourself. I swears.

(source)  Last two pics found on Random Acts of Pastel's Pinterest

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Kate Spade New York: Things We Love

After a recommendation from A Beautiful Mess, I ordered the book Kate Spade New York: Things We Love from the library. I waited a long time for it even though there weren't that many requests. But the second I held its golden pages in my hands, I understood why. The is the kind of book you hang on to past the due date. The kind of book you want to own. 

The designers behind Kate Spade had a secret part of the website before anything like Pinterest existed, where they collected images that inspired them - a glamorous photo, a restaurant match book, someone's business card, a flea market find. Eventually, they put this book together. Every few pages there is a new chapter based on a theme that they love like the colour red, cocktails, a well placed bow, summer etc. Beautiful photos, quotes and mementos illustrate the theme. 

If you're looking for a well of inspiration, order this book and get thee to the library! 

(all photos are by me. the water pics are not apart of the book!)