Thursday, December 22, 2011

Style at Home - January Roundup

This was my first magazine for 2012 to arrive in the mail. I can't believe it's almost 2012. This is the year we'll be moving to our condo (pending no crazy delays!). This issue had some interiors that were just my style. I'm also pinning and blogging the finishes and decor I like so that we can take it to our meeting when we pick our finishes... which should be in January! Eeeek!

This house is a 1900 square foot Victorian brownstone in Toronto's west-end. The homeowner is David Barclay and Jessica Cotton was the designer. I loved this room in particular. David describes his style as a mix between "modern, Victorian and Boroque", which is right on the money. Out of all the rooms in this house, this one is the most modern, and probably why I liked it the best. I love everything from the loud modern art (The "Do You Still Love Me" piece is from Montreal-based artist, Antoine Jouet) to the sectional to the pillows to the Union Jack carpet. 

This 2600-square-foot Vancouver home is owned and designed by Kelly Deck. This house mixes feminine and masculine touches so well and has a great neutral palette with pops of blue. Some design elements that stand out for me in this room are the herringbone-patterned hardwood floor, the narrow-armed sofa, the blue zebra print slipper chairs, and the rustic meets industrial coffee table. 

Here we have a few more narrow-armed sofas. This style looks so much more modern to me, but still has a traditional edge with the tufting. For those living in tighter quarters, a narrow-armed sofa is a better use of space  - the arms don't intrude on the overall size so you get more seat space for less floor space. I like the "medium" Style Garage one the best!

I'm not kidding when I say I spent a good hour looking at these photos and reading the recipes. I kept saying, "Kevin, doesn't this look good??" or "Wouldn't this be nice for a casual dinner with some of our couple friends??" I even really like the dishes! Navy blue, gray and yellow... so pretty!

I saw this Canadian Tire ad. I think it's advertising the panini press, but I was drawn in by the kitchen! This is pretty much what we're going to aim for with the condo: white shaker cabinets, gray-white backsplash, potentially white counters, and wood or laminate floors carried through instead of tile. And the pulls aren't too shabby either!

Kevin and I are leaving today for Florida. We're going on a Caribbean cruise :-). We're driving down to Florida, which may sound a little crazy, but I'm excited because I've only seen NYC and Washington D.C. I might not be as excited on the drive back, but I can't complain! I also intended to do waaaaay more than I could humanly manage before going on vacation (hence the lack of posting this week), and finished almost none of it (still have to do laundry and pack before tonight), but I'd like to wish each and every one of you a safe and happy Christmas and New Year!

Take care and best wishes for 2012!!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Ryan Gosling Loves Crafters and DIYers

While perusing Pinterest yesterday, I came across this site and it made me laugh. If you're a Ryan Gosling fan (like me!) and a crafter/DIYer check out this site.

Here are a few of the pictures I liked:

Um, yum. I had a crush on Ryan Gosling when he was geeky Sean from Breaker High... and then I saw The Notebook (my favourite movie!! Judge me all you want!) and my crush reached a new level! Tell me I'm not alone!  

If only men were hot and liked crafts... I'm sure there are a few out there.... somewhere.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

My Christmas Decor Inspiration

Christmas decorations are so varied. Some people stick with simple whites, silvers, and golds, while others will use practically every colour under the sun. I grew up with my parents decorating the house with a real tree, multi-coloured lights outside and in, wreaths, garlands, tinsel, Santa figurines... you name it, we had it. I guess you just kind of accumulate a lot over the years and probably go for it a little more, decoration-wise, when you have young kids who still believe all the magic that Christmas brings. By the way, the jig was up when I was 8 and I saw my parents in the living room wrapping presents. They weren't even trying to be sneaky anymore! Seriously, I'm so gullible, they could've kept that charade going for at least a few more years...

Anywhooo, I thought I'd share some inspiring Christmas decor images that I found on Pinterest :-) My style is definitely falls into the more subdued, maybe even abstract side of Christmas decorating.

If I had to have a traditional tree (be it real or fake - I have no preference), I'd decorate it like this. I love the white and silver decorations, the sheepskin rug underneath, the green and white palette for the wrapping paper. I even love how the tree seems kinda droopy

If I didn't have the space and Kevin didn't object, I'd do something like this. I love the simplicity of it!
[via, clockwise from top left 1,2,3,4]

I love wreaths. When I see one on someone's front door, it kind of sets the tone for what I should expect for the interior decor. Here are some non-tradition wreaths I scoped out:
[via 1,2,3,4,5]

General Decor:
All the other little touches around the house are what help to create that Christmas-y feeling.
[via 1,2,3,4,5]

Do you go more traditional or more modern with your Christmas decor? 

Monday, December 12, 2011

7 Things About Me

Last month I received the "Versatile Blogger" award thanks toTanya @ Dans Le Townhouse. So here are 7 things about me:

1. I don't eat mammals. It's just seafood and poultry for me, although I couldn't tell you the last time I had any chicken or turkey. I never liked meat, even as a child. Then I found out meat was animals and really didn't like it! After multiple failed attempts, I remained vegetarian for 3 years and ate some chicken the night before #6 on this list. After that day, I reincorporated seafood and poultry in moderation, but not mammals. It just seems weird to me to eat such big animals.

2. I can't talk on the fly. I've had several jobs that have required public speaking and presentations. As long as I've had a chance to practice, it's all good. But this problem presents itself when it comes to jokes (especially the first time I tell a joke), stories, and leaving messages on answering machines. I give way more details than necessary, usually laugh halfway through, forget what I was saying... no good.

3. I was born in England... in an ambulance. I don't know anyone else born in a vehicle, but if you're out there, gimme a shout! Apparently it's a pretty exclusive club :-) And as for England, all of my family is from there, except for one of my cousin's kids. My mom's parents moved to England from Jamaica as young adults, which makes my background English and Jamaican. Shout out to all my fellow mixed kids

4. I'm a morning person. I love mornings. At my work, we can start anywhere from 7-10am and I choose to start at 7. I wake up early on the weekends too. But... almost every other person I know is a night person, so this can be problematic. I'm usually face-deep in my drink if I'm out past 10:30pm. Also, it's boring to be the only one up if you don't have anything to do! I always find myself twiddling my thumbs waiting for others to be awake, especially on the weekends.

5. I barely bruise and I've never broken a bone or had any cavities. I've had 5 bruises tops in my whole life and they've been from serious blows/falls. I've never even come close to breaking a bone (although I've probably jinxed myself now!) and I'm that keener who flosses every day and has a toothbrush at work to brush my teeth after lunch.

6. Ten days before my 16th birthday, I had jaw surgery for an under-bite. To recover, I had to have my jaw wired shut for a month. To add insult to injury, my parents moved to the suburbs that year, so I had just started grade 11 off at a new school. I was there for 3 days before I had the surgery. I was also almost 40 lbs heavier then and had bad skin and short hair. High school was not good to me

7. I live in a house with 5 cats and 1 dog. My family has always had pets. Multiple cats at least, and no more than 1 dog at a time. Six pets is an all-time high for us though. Also, a slew of our pets were named after characters from the show Buffy The Vampire Slayer*.
{via} ..I cut and pasted Angel's head on to Xander's body.
  • Buffy*, a tabby - the original, but unfortunately went outside one day and never returned
  • Spike*, a tabby - not actually ours, but he was a neighbourhood cat who sometimes came in our house
  • Angel*, medium haired tabby, 8 year old male (Dad's)
  • Giles*, long haired ginger, 7 year old male (Brother's)
  • Kitty, medium haired calico, 7 year old female (Brother's ex)
  • Riley*, long haired black and white, 6 year old female (Mine, and she's Kitty's sister from another mister, no joke!)
  • Marty, short haired tabby, 6 year old female (Sister's) - named after Marty McFly from Back to the Future, Michelle's all-time favourite movie.
  • Jesse, black Scottish Terrior, 8 year old female (Mom's)

Anything surprising on this list?

I'm pretty sure every blogger has already been nominated at this point! I was a little late in the game :P

Have a great day!

    Wednesday, December 7, 2011

    Canadian House & Home - December Roundup

    The December issue of Canadian House & Home has some great decor and gift giving ideas for the holiday season. Here are some things that caught my eye:

    Up until now, I didn't know what you called putting out a candle... other than blowing it out. Turns out it's called snuffing and you do with a snuffer. This would be a great gift for a candle lover. I especially love the one for the minimalist and the glamour-puss. Chrome and sparkle get me every time!

    The first time I had a chai latte, I fell in love... and have been in search for a decently priced milk frother ever since! My mom and sister recently discovered chai lattes too, so maybe now would be a good time to invest in one. When a small chai latte costs almost $4 a pop at Starbucks, it makes $100 for a frother seem like a steal!

    I'm not usually a fan of snow globes, but I love these ones. The monochromatic finish really takes it up a notch and would look great in any home that decorates with a more subdued palette during the holidays.

    This bookend is by Jonathan Adler. I saw one of his bookends in Style at Home as well and posted about it here. I think Sherry's affinity for white ceramic animals has rubbed off on me!

    I love the finish work in this room. The trim, the moudlings, the bay window, the recessed pot lights, the dark wood floors, the fireplace ( that marble?). Very classic. Shelagh Kellam is the homeowner and also the interior designer for this place.

    And I love when people configure a nook into something functional! This breakfast bar conceals the radiator below and is flanked on both sides by tall cabinets. Homeowners Claudio Cerrito and Scott King worked with designer Patti Rosati. For me, this would be a perfect spot to enjoy some tea and toast in the morning... and do a little spying on the neighbours :-) Hey, what can I say? I'm nosy.

    Monday, December 5, 2011

    4 Years

    Yesterday was mine and Kevin's four year anniversary :-) Happy anniversary, my love!

    Thursday, December 1, 2011

    Keeping It In The Family

    A few months back my sister, Michelle, got a permanent library job in mid-town Toronto... 5 km from the condo Kevin and I bought. She was originally looking pretty far west for a condo, but ultimately decided to join me and Kevin in our building. We're on complete opposite ends of the building: Kevin and I are on the tenth floor in the south east corner and Michelle is on the 3rd floor in the north west corner. Should be interesting!

    Michelle got a phone call a couple weeks back regarding finishes. The builders are doing the appointments from the first floor to top floor, so we'll have to wait a while before our appointment. I'm so excited to pick! Everyone tells me it won't be a fun process, but as of right now I'm looking forward to it :-)

    Wednesday, November 30, 2011

    Car vs No Car

    When I lived in Toronto, I had a monthly public transit pass called the TTC Metropass. It cost $121/month (ouch!) and offered unlimited travel on the TTC system. Now that I live (temporarily) north of the city, I have a car (1 year leased Honda Civic) which costs me $600/month (lease payment, insurance, gas). I've always been a huge fan of public transportation and never had any issues with the TTC, other than the fact that our city's monthly passes are way overpriced. We lived near everything we needed at our apartment and we never even considered getting a car. Moving to the suburbs has changed everything. I feel sorry for those living in the 'burbs and taking public transit. I seriously and regularly consider offering rides to people I see waiting for the bus. I've been there, pre-driver's licence, so I know how much it sucks because York Region public transit consists of buses that run once an hour, or maybe twice if you're lucky.

    So this leads me to a car versus no car showdown. Although I have a TTC sign here because that was the mode of transportation I took when I didn't have a car. 

    [car, sign]

    • First and foremost, cars are convenient. You go basically anywhere, whenever
    • I can set my own indoor temperature. I rarely use AC in cars, but I always blast the heat..mmmmm heat. Feels so good. Dry skin be damned!
    • I can listen to the radio
    • I can make phone calls (with a headset!) and don't have to say, "The train's about to go underground so the phone might...hello? hello??.."
      No car
      • I am way more active because I have to walk a lot more (to and from stations, to the store, etc. It added up to a few kilometres each day)
      • I have way more money because cars are expensive, yo!
      • I feel like I have more me time because I can read, nap, think freely, have full-on face-to-face conversations, play phone games, etc on the train or bus.
      • It's easy to budget transportation costs when you have a monthly pass. There are no surprise costs, but expect yearly or bi-yearly fare increases.
      • You don't have to worry about driving drunk. As long as you're not disorderly, drink the night away and then take the bus/train home! Looks like someone spiked Santa's eggnog...
        • First and foremost, cars are expensive. The convenience comes at a price.
        • Cars require maintenance. Some more than others. I feel like maintenance and repair costs are always a surprise. Like, "Surprise! You need a new transmission. That'll be $1700
        • Gas prices. I try not to get into the mind game of "filling up when gas is (relatively) cheap" because it barely saves any money. Filling up on Wednesday when it was 1.3 cents cheaper yesterday isn't going to break the bank. It's like a 60 cents difference in your overall cost! But for some reason, we're all looking for a so-called deal at the pumps
        • Parking is a bitch in Toronto. A real bitch, I tell ya!
        • Driving is dangerous! I don't really think I engage in any activities that are more dangerous to my well-being than driving.
        • Road rage and parking lot rage... 'nuff said.
        • Being designated driver (DD) sucks. 
        • Rush hour is horrendous in Toronto, causing crazy long commute times. I think Toronto's commute times are ranked one of the worst in the world.
        • At first, when I got this car, I was loving listening to the radio again. I literally hadn't listened to the radio in over 2 years. After the fiftieth time of hearing "Moves Like Jaggar" I wanted to burst my own ear drums. Radio is way to repetitive for my liking. 
        • Cars make me lazy. Pre-car, I would, without question, walk a kilometre to the grocery store. Post-car, I'm tempted to attach the dog leash to the bumper and "walk" the dog like that. So sad.
        No Car
        • Inclement weather is not your friend if you don't have a car 
        • Buses that are chronically late (I'm talking to you, #105!)
        • It can take a ridiculously long time to get places sometimes
        • You're limited to the boundaries of the transit systems
        • Overcrowded platforms, buses and trains, especially during flu season
        • Being subjected to other people's bad habits with no escape
          • People smacking gum/food (THE WORST!!!)
          • People playing music on their phones without headphones (TIED FOR THE WORST!!!). This is why we have headphones, people!!!
          • Smelly people and food
        • My irrational fear that I will
          • Get pushed on to tracks when a train is coming
          • Get stuck in a train when someone's on a shooting spree
          • Hurt myself or get attacked and no one will help me. This is not so irrational because I had a scary (probably homeless) man harass and follow me when I was 12 and no one did anything, even though I was crying and obviously scared. Tsk tsk bystanders!!.
        • You find out who your real friends are because you totally will NOT take a bus in inclement weather to see someone you only feel so-so about. Although this could also be seen as a pro...
        So, let me know... What did I miss?? Do you have any pet peeves for your city's transit system? Do you love driving too much to ever give it up? I wanna hear your stories!

        Monday, November 28, 2011

        DIY Paper Heart Bookmark

        I took a stab this week at replicating one of my many pins from my Crafts and DIY folder in Pinterest. I've been hoping to turn some of my crafty pins into stocking stuffers for Christmas, and thought this was a good time to try some of them out. 

        The paper heart bookmark.The original source for this pin is from Bloomize. Cute, right?
        I have some craft paper at home in the same shade as above so my first attempt was using that paper. That was my first mistake - using craft paper. It was way too thick and didn't fold crisply at all. My second mistake was using a whole sheet of craft paper (8 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches) lol. I wish the instructions came with dimensions! My heart I ended up with was literally bigger than my hand with ugly folds... no good. In the garbage it went.

        My second attempt was a bit better. After seeing the picture below, I tried again using a piece of magazine paper. I just found a pretty ad and used that. My starting square was about 4x4 inches. And for the record, I would definitely not advise making this with paper that is any bigger than 5x5 inches if you're planning on using this heart for book marking purposes. 

        In hindsight, I think the heart from the first photo is made out of origami paper (or at least something a lot thinner than what I had). 

        Here's my version:

        It's cute, but I'm not sure yet if it's stocking stuffer worthy... I'll have to see how my other pin attempts turn out before I decide! I might also try making these with origami paper. I used to make paper cranes all the time as a kid. Oh the memories...

        What do you think?

        Friday, November 25, 2011

        Style At Home - December Roundup

        I'm loving the December issue of Style at Home! It's filled with stylish interiors and great Christmas DIYs. If you love the holidays, go out and get this issue for some great inspiration!

        Here are some great dining rooms. This first one belongs to Tamara Robbins Giffin. I love the wall treatment. They don't list what it is, but it looks like grass cloth(?). Correct me if I'm wrong! I also love the over sized black pendant light and the walnut stained table.

        This second dining room belongs to Amanda Faber-Gidge and was designed by Stacy McLennan. There isn't one thing in this room that I don't like! The silver ball wreath, the fireplace, the carpet, the sparkle...all good. The house is done up in white and grey, which keeps it fresh. My favourite part is the white chairs with the Eiffel tower bases paired up with the rough texture of the dining table - rustic meets contemporary!

        Every year at Christmas, I bake gingerbread and shortbread cookies for my family, friends and co-workers. I always use Christmas decorated tins from Dollarama and line them with parchment paper. This year I think I'm gonna go with one of these ideas instead!

        In case you've just joined my blog, I'll fill you in: I'm a little bit obsessed (is it possible to be a "little bit" obsessed?) with banquettes! I luuurve them! This one is so sleek with the dark tapered legs and overall classic design. It's also customizable to four or six feet and comes in a choice of different fabrics. Something like this would look great at a dining table or in an entryway. Very versatile

        And I'm throwing this in for good measure. I come from a family of avid readers and feel like my sister especially, would enjoy bookends like this.

        I hope all my American readers had a fantastic Thanksgiving yesterday and enjoy their long weekends. For those of us to the north and elsewhere in the world, have a great (regular) weekend! One month until Christmas!! Have you started shopping yet??

        Thursday, November 24, 2011

        Photography Challenge - Day 3 and 5: Clouds & From A High Angle

        Hopefully this doesn't seem too much like cheating, but I'm categorizing this photo challenge under Day 3: Clouds AND Day 5: From a High Angle. I took this photo of beautiful puffy cumulus clouds from the plane when we were about 30 minutes or so from landing in St. Lucia.  It's not every day that I get to see clouds from this angle :) This might make me sound like a geek, but I find clouds fascinating. There are so many different types and they all have their own meaning. I guess it's no surprise that I ended up at a job that deals with weather and climate :)

        Check out my other photos!

        Friday, November 18, 2011

        Photography Challenge - Day 4: Something Green

        What better place to find something green than at the zoo?.. While there the weekend before last, I got this shot of a camelion in his natural colour. He's practically neon he's so bright!

        Here are the photo stats if you're interested:
        Exposure 1/15

        Aperture 4.33
        F Number f/4.5
        (I sharpened and slightly brightened in Picasa)

        Thursday, November 17, 2011

        Kitchen Cabinet Cork Board Tutorial

        I love pinning crafty projects on Pinterest. I've pinned quite a few crafty projects so I decided I should try re-creating  a few of the pins I have. That's what this post is all about. 

        This project all started with this pin, which is a great idea for storing notes, recipes, shopping lists, etc. I wanted to do something similar, but jazz up the board with paint or fabric... A little while later I saw Lindsay's tutorial for adding some pizazz to tacks by attaching pretty buttons to them and saw Jenn's post about painting her board. I mashed together all three ideas for this DIY.

        I went to Walmart and got a cork board, then I headed to Michael's where I bought Gorilla glue and some prism-y jewels (I think it's for jewellery), and got the tacks from Dollarama. 

        The Gorilla glue takes about 48 hours to fully cure, so I went ahead and jazzed up the tacks first. 

        As per the instructions, I wet one surface, then put a small amount of glue on the other surface, and then pressed them together. I put the tacks aside and resumed the project 2 days later. 

        Once the tacks were done curing, I taped off my board. I wanted diagonal stripes and I wanted a border so that the paint wouldn't go all the way to the edge. I did this because I thought it would look tidier and have less potential for leakage under the painters tape. 

        I wanted to get an ombre effect (dark to light) with the paint and I wanted a bit of sparkle, so I used varying combinations of black, white and silver crafter's paint I already had on hand. I made sure to really press down on the tape in the corners to reduce any incidence of leakage. 

        I peeled off the tape while it was still wet and I held my breath hoping there wasn't any leakage....

        And I was SO happy with the results! Phew! I couldn't stop staring at it for a few minutes :) But once I could, I moved on to the next step: attaching the board to the cabinet. I didn't want to make any holes in the cabinet and the board was really light, so I just used double sided table along the back border.

        Although, I must note that I would've better reinforced the board to the cabinet if there weren't already a lip around the edge on to which the board fit perfectly. Seriously, this board was made for this cabinet!

        After attaching some notes and a (fake) grocery list, here's what the cabinet looks like now

        I'm very happy with the results. My parents both like it - my dad especially likes that I didn't drill any holes into the cabinet lol. And my mom says she likes the sparkles from the silver paint.

        Here is a side by side before and after. 

        Total things needed for this project and their costs:

        Cork board $9.44
        Tacks $1.00
        Jewels $2.99
        Gorilla glue $3.50 (was originally $6.99 but I had a 50% coupon)
        Paint (already had)
        Painters tape (already had)
        Painting utensil (already had)
        Double sided tape (already had)

        Total cost for this project: $16.93!
        Difficulty* of the project : 2
        (*1=breathing, 10= tightrope walking across high-rises on a windy day) 
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