Holiday Cards 2016 with Minted

Good Morning!

If you have never met me, you might not know how much I love the holidays. And I mean really love it. A start listening to Christmas music in November kind of love. Watch every cheesy Hallmark made-for-TV Christmas movie kind of love. Secretly thinking I missed my calling in life and should be starring in all of said holiday movies kind of love. You get my point. And as in past years, the start of my holiday love-in begins with ordering my holiday cards from Minted – whom I love almost as much as I love the holidays. If you don’t know Minted already, they are an online marketplace of beautiful stationary goods, wall art and home decor items designed by independent artists from around the world.  I love that they support small artists and provide a many different ways for them to share their talents.  And the expanding product line includes so many cool gift ideas. From custom art prints, lampshades, tree skirts and custom stamps, you can find so many cool gift ideas for your family and friends year round.


However, today it’s all about their holiday cards.  There are so MANY to choose from and the designs are fantastic. Honestly, there are almost TOO many to choose from. You can pick a photo-card or non-photo card (I go without), foil-pressed or matte, and add co-ordinating envelope backings and return labels…..essentially it’s the field of dreams of holiday stationary…..If you THINK it, they will deliver it.



Photos above from Minted

And can we discuss service and convenience for a second?  First off, the pre-printed envelopes are the best thing since sliced bread.  You just upload a digital file of all your address and then, every year, they are there to edit, add, and use! For the little time you spend up front, you get so much back not having to write out every address each year. And shipping is SO fast, especially if you pick a design that offers expedited shipping.  I got my cards, with pre-printed envelopes and return labels in just a few days! So, if  you think you are too late to order cards and get them out, you would be mistaken!  Below, are the cards that I chose this year!


Normally my card choice is more eclectic and flowery, but this year I decided to go a little bit more traditional with this colourful vintage style card by Kelsey McNatt called “A Holiday Drive”.  I’m so happy with my cards, but then, I always am happy with my Minted purchases.


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Note: Minted provided product for this post.  All opinions and recommendations expressed are my own.

Purgapallooza: Creating a Livable Space

Good Morning!

My apartment has literally become a glorified storage unit. I have way too much stuff that I do not need, or use and, most importantly, that I don’t have the proper space for. Every so often I’ll do some organizing and get rid some things but it never seems to get any better. I have always loved my apartment, but I don’t even enjoy my space anymore. All this to say that a few weeks ago I came to a breaking point. So, after seeing so many people on social media reading Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing”, I thought it might be worth a try.  

I’ve only read a few sections, but I’m now officially in full Purgapallooza mode. So far I have only completely finished the first phase which is clothing, shoes and accessories, but I already feel lighter.  And it’s no wonder, because I got rid of ALL of this….. 


The crazier part? I still have a fairly full closet! But the difference is that most of it I like and wear regularly. The main concept in the book is that you should only keep things that “spark joy” when you see them or touch them.  I know, when I read it I thought it sounded a bit hokey too. I certainly don’t get a spark of joy when I see every pair of undies I’ve kept through this purge. But the overall concept of keeping only things that you really love and want to wear is sound. And so far I haven’t missed a single thing, if fact, I barely remember what I got rid of.

The other thing that I found to be really useful from the book is Kon-Mari (Marie Kondo, get it?) methods of folding and storing clothes. Essentially, it comes down to folding things in thirds and putting them in a drawer upended. This way you see every item in your drawer without having to dig through a pile, and  it uses the space more efficiently.  These are my drawers with my clothes folded and stored in this method.



Right? So much easier to see things and the space-saving is incredible. I found that using drawer inserts (like the IKEA Komplement one shown in the first picture above) are helpful in cases where the items might not fill the entire drawer.  Now I know what you are thinking. This will never last, and I won’t be able to keep this up. But trust me, I’ve been doing it for three weeks now and because it works so well and keeps things so organized, I’m actually keeping it up! This has definitely been the best takeaway from the book so far.

Over the next few weeks I’m going to be attacking my whole apartment. I’ve been purging office area and paper for the last few days (insert wide-eyed emoji here….), but I can finally see my desk so progress is being made! I’ll keep you updated as I go.


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Sweat-proofing: Linen Loves

Good Morning!

Happy Friday all. It’s HAAAAAWT and humid in Toronto at the moment. I don’t like to complain because soon we’ll be under 10 feet of snow, but this humidity is a killer for me. Why? Because I sweat….a lot. If I go outside and simply MOVE in this weather, I sweat.  And we are not talking a pretty dewy glow on my face and skin that some lucky people get. It’s a dripping down my neck, face, back and legs situation. And this makes getting dressed challenging. I have read all about which fabrics that are best for hot weather (i.e. natural fibres like cottons) and there is one heat friendly fabric that I don’t really have in my wardrobe and that is linen. This morning I’m sharing a few lovely linen pieces that I could definitely see in my closet, which would also (hopefully) keep me dry(ish).


All these pieces look so light and airy. You will also note that, other than the blazer, all these items have little to no sleeves which is also a prerequisite for my summer closet. Circulation is key! Even if you don’t suffer the extent of my perspiration issue, in this weather anything that helps keep you cool is a good thing. To see the details of the pieces, click on the link below the image to go to my Polyvore. Have a great weekend!

Convert It: An Andalusian Country Home in Spain

Good Morning!

The Andalusian country home that I’m sharing in today’s post really takes me back to my recent trip to Spain. I know I haven’t (yet) anything here about my trip, but I swear I will soon….just as soon as I get a chance to go through all my pictures. I will say that one of my favourite areas of the Spain was Andalusia in the south. The mix of both Spanish and Moorish history creates a vibrant culture which is unlike anywhere else in Spain. The Moorish influence in the architecture has resulted in some of the most beautiful buildings I’ve ever seen. It’s definitely the area of Spain I’d like to spend more time in. But, I digress. Today’s home in my “Convert It” series is a gorgeous 17th century moorish building which has been restored/converted into a country home in the town of Carmona in the heart of Andalusia. The home was designed by Javier González Sánchez-Dalp, who turned this once dilapidated building into a bright, eclectic space. Walls were knocked down, new walls put up, and a whole second floor was added to make this space a home. And don’t even get me started on the outdoor living area. Whitewashed arches and columns, a natural cave, and a swimming pool so expertly incorporated to the space that it almost looks like it could have been original to the building. 

Photos in Nuevo Estilo via Onekind Design

I love the all the bright colours against the whitewashed walls and ceilings, and the mix of antiques that were used. It is that mix that makes this entire home look like it’s been there forever, despite the fact that a good bit of it is new.  And, again, that outdoor space is spectacular.  Can you imagine having coffee on that patio every morning? I certainly can. You can read more about this home and see more photos here. Have a great Friday!


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Inspiration: Lace Lattice

Good Morning!

I have a mixed relationship with lace. I do love it on vintage pieces, family heirlooms, and wedding dresses but I use it quite sparingly in my own decor and fashion. But I realize that I’ve been thinking of it quite narrowly, assuming lace to be only in the traditional form. But lace-like patterns come in many forms. I’ve recently been noticing a lot of a very pretty lacy lattice patterns used in modern decor and fashion. And I have to say, I’m finding myself very drawn to it.  Today I’m sharing some gorgeous examples of this detail in home decor.

For example, this exquisite staircase which is sits perfectly within the minimal modern decor of this home designed by Maxwan in The Netherlands.  The Dutch are always on point with design, am I right?

A beautiful lacy lattice window covering in a Moroccan style room designed by Geoffrey Bradfield.

Though not exactly lace, this lattice wall has a scalloped edge lace inspired look about it, right?

And wouldn’t you love to soak in a giant tub looking out at this of lacy arch goodness? If only we all could have Nate Burkus design our bathroom like this one in Atlanta.

But let’s be honest, we all can’t have stunning statement doors, walls and staircases made of lacy lattice-work. But even if you can’t you can incorporate some modern lace into your decor and fashion without a big renovation or giant clothing budget.  Here are some good examples:


Lacy Lattice Inspiration on my Polypore
These items give me a whole new Both of the dresses above are beauties and I’m also a big fan of the pendant lattice light fixture.  What are your thoughts on lace?

Convert It: 19th Century English Chapel Conversion

“Hello Darlin’. Nice to see you. It’s beeeeen a long tiiiiiiime.”

Admittedly, the meaning and nostalgia of that Conway Twitty line is lost without the man to back it up, but it truly has been a long time since I’ve posted. It all started with my computer dying right before the holidays, and then the long contemplation over whether to buy a Mac or not. (I did). But by that time, I was just out of the habit of posting and I found it hard to get the inspiration to start writing again. But now I’m back, and ready to blog! And what better way to get started but with this beautiful 19th century chapel conversion by Evolution Design in the North Pennines, England.

Church conversions can sometimes come off as vast and institutional-feeling, usually due to the size of the spaces. They are modern and cool, but not particularly cozy. What I like about this chapel conversion is that the interior looks and (I would assume) feels like a home, but with all the charm of what it once was. The designers retained the beautiful gothic windows, the gorgeous stone exterior, and a very similar floor plan of the original chapel. 

Photos care of Evolution Design, found via InHabitat and ArchDaily

I personally love the exposed beams, the fact that it is so light and bright, and that tile wall in the kitchen….be still my beating heart. Oh, did I mention it is a guest house that you can rent out? So if you ever find yourself in the North Pennines for a visit (which is a designated Area Of Natural Beauty (AONB) and UNESCO Global Geopark) you should look into staying here!

You can see more gorgeous pictures and read more about the design concept of this build at any of the photo links above.


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Yummy Energy Bites

Good Morning,

I don’t know about you but with the days getting colder and shorter, I find my energy is lacking.  And when my energy is low I usually crave food. And by food I mean snacks.  And by snacks I mean sugary, fatty, processed crap disguised as food. Sure, they are delicious, but they do little for my energy level (and add to my waistline).  In an effort to find some healthier ways to get a quick pick-me-up, I did a little “research” (aka spending quality time with my BFF Pinterest).  I was excited when I discovered some healthy (and yummy) sounding recipes for different energy bites.  So I tried them out, and I’m sharing three of them with you today!

Energy Bites copy

The first batch I tried were the Blueberry-Lemon Energy Bites from Dishing up the Dirt. Made with ground up nuts, dates, coconut and dried blueberries these are sweet, super fresh-tasting, and satisfying. I substituted ground almond instead of cashews and fresh blueberries instead of dried and they still turned out lovely.


The next batch was the Nutella Energy Bites from Gimme Some Oven.  I know what you are thinking, these can’t be healthy if they are made with that heavenly hazelnut spread. Sure, they aren’t vegetable smoothie healthy, but when combined with things like flax and chia seeds which offer tons of fiber, protein, good Omega-3 fats and a slew of other minerals and nutrients, they are certainly better for you than a Nutella filled doughnut.  And they taste almost as good.

nutella bite

 The last bites on my list, the Moroccan Date Bon-Bon from Food & Wine, were the biggest surprise of my energy bite adventure. These ones are packed with dates, 3 kinds of nuts, various spices, and get this….kalamata olives! I was expecting the olives to throw off the sweet flavour but it was just the opposite.  They really complemented the other ingredients and made the flavour totally unique but delicious.  Also, I’ve never met a recipe with pistachios that I didn’t like.

Morrocan bonbon

Now, a couple of things to note about these recipes.  You need a good food processor, especially for the ones with the dates because they get very gummy and will bung up anything else you might use to whip these up.  And all of these recipes recommend you put them in the refrigerator, but my bites still fell into messy flat blobs in the fridge.  So, I kept them in the freezer to help keep the shape, and lots of the time I ate them straight out of the freezer!

Energy Bites 2

I would totally recommend all three of these bite-sized healthy snacks.  They are all very different, but all of them are delicious, filling and give you an energy boost when you need it most.  I hope you like them too!


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Holiday Card Shopping with Minted!

Good Morning!

Well friends, it is now OFFICIALLY my favourite time of the year!  Cheers to the holidays!  I’m so excited to get my decorating going and maybe get working on some homemade gifts (if I can get my act together). But first up is always my holiday card shopping with Minted.  For the last 2 years I’ve ordered my cards from Minted, and this year will be no different. I have nothing but great things to say about the selection and quality of their cards, not to mention the service.

Minted Holiday 5

If you don’t know Minted they are a design marketplace that uses  technology to allow consumers to discover great independent artists who may not have access to traditional retailers. They source creative content from a global community of independent artists, then sell the best content in the form of art, home décor, and stationery to people like you. Minted has been holding art and design challenges monthly since April 2008 which are open to anyone for both submission and voting, and so products sold are essentially curated by the Minted community itself!  I love this concept.

Minted Holiday 2

I love sending and receiving holiday cards but let’s be honest, it can be time consuming especially when it comes to addressing the envelopes. One of the best features of Minted holiday cards is that they offer free custom envelope addressing. If you have your contacts on your computer, you can just export them to excel and upload them to your account and they are there for whenever you order cards!  Then you get all your envelopes pre-printed with addresses in the design you choose!  You can also choose to order return address labels! The holidays are already jam packed with things to do, so these time-saving features are a lifesaver.

Minted offers a variety of beautiful photo-cards as well as non-photo cards with a variety of paper and printing options. Foil, letterpress, luxuriously thick or fancy glossy paper, the choice is yours. But one of the coolest options Minted has launched this year is their Completely Custom Cards. Do you have an adorable holiday picture that your kids or nieces and nephews have drawn for you?  Well, you can have holiday cards made with that on the front!

Minted Holiday Your Drawing as a Holiday Card foil (1)

Minted Holiday Your Drawing as a Holiday Card - LP 2

So awesome, right?  And it doesn’t have to be kids art! Maybe you want to use a drawing or sketch you’ve done. The possibilities are endless.  You can also have these masterpieces made into Completely Custom Art Prints which would make great Christmas gifts.

custom Art

Now the idea of me posing by myself for a holiday cards feels a smidge on the awkward side (no one want to see me with a Santa hat on the front of card) so I typically go for the non-photo cards. Here is the card I ordered last year….

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I haven’t ordered my cards yet for this year (thank goodness they have an express shipping option for many of their cards!) but these four are definitely contenders!


Which one do you like best?  Again, I cannot say enough about my experiences with Minted.  As example of the great customer service they provide, last year the address on my return labels was cut off.  So, I simply used their online chat option (which was so easy and awesome) to let them know about the error and I had new corrected labels at my door in 24 hours! Needless to say that made me love them even more.  And even if you already have your holiday cards covered, they have so many unique gift ideas throughout their site, so check it out! Have a great day!


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Disclaimer: In exchange for writing this post I was provided with Minted product. However, all opinions are my own and are based on my excellent past experiences with Minted.

Convert It: A+ Schoolhouse Conversion

Good Morning!

There is nothing I love more than when something old is made current again, and this schoolhouse conversion (c. 1907) in Sewickley, Pennsylvania is a perfect example of just that. Originally featured in Country Living magazine, this home was given a facelift by Leanne and Brad Schaffer, owners of the creative agency Acre Goods and Services. Their combination of vintage style within a clean modern palette makes it a perfect marriage of old and new.  This couple didn’t convert this home from a schoolhouse directly, it had been renovated before. However, based on the before and after photos, they are the first to embrace and incorporate the original elements, like the wood floors and the original beanboard on the walls.  Such a sweet little home!

Photos via Country Living Magazine (Max Kim Bee)


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Blogpodium 5.0: Vancouver

Good Morning,

On September 26th I attended Blogpodium this year in Vancouver!  Considering this is my fifth Blogpodium,  you’d think I would have known to get my recap post written and up right after the event while I was still reeling from the day.  However, here I am, a month later, posting for the first time since I attended. What can I say, life got in the way.  But better late than never, right?  I have attended Blogpodium since 2011 when it was a just a small intimate group with a panel discussion. I love seeing how it has grown and blossomed.  And I loved that Jen decided to take it on the road this year, giving me an excuse to travel to Vancouver!  Before I get started, I warn you that although I had my DSLR camera with me, I forgot my memory card in my computer that day, so this post will be a little text heavy.

My Blogpodium experience started on Friday evening with a cocktail party hosted by The Cross Design store.  I have loved this store from afar via Instagram, and being there in person was just a good as I thought it would be. So many pretty things in one place.

The Cross

And with our special Blogpodium discount I picked up these beautiful coasters….

The Cross coasters

And along with killer furniture and home décor finds but they also carry a beautifully curated collection of jewelry lines, including one by my newest west coast obsession…..Leah Alexandra Jewelry.  I bought a ring and earrings already, and there are about 5 more pieces on my wish list. Love, love, love.  Here is a quick peek at some of her pieces.

Photos via Leah Alexandra website and blog.  Photo credits, Kelly Brown, Joanne Pio.

The venue for the conference on Saturday was the lovely Pan Pacific Hotel on the Vancouver waterfront.  A pretty great view to start the day!

Venue Blogpodium 5

The big excitement of the day was the keynote speaker Jillian Harris, from Love It or List It Vancouver, the Bachelor/Bachelorette, and who, of course, also has a killer lifestyle blog/website.

Jillian’s path to an incredibly successful personal brand has not been a conventional one but I loved how honest and genuine she was about the ups and downs of that journey.  She has the same approachable quality in person as she does on her shows and on personal media. And while she did give some great tips on building your brand and fine-tuning your blog, the messages I took away were to listen to you gut, take chances and that even your bad experiences are just a stepping stone to something better.

I also attended tons of other great sessions which I’ll try summarize briefly (where possible!) in the upcoming sessions.

Frist up, an interior photo styling session by Tracey Ayton, an insanely talented photographer from BC.  The one thing I took from this session was that if you don’t have good natural light, shoot it in the dark and edit it rather than risking quality by adjusting your settings and shooting in fluorescent light. I wish I had known that before shooting my Itsy Bitsy Bathroom Reveal because lighting was such a challenge.

Next up a session by Gemma Bonham-Carter on monetizing you blog, which I thought was really well-prepared and so informative.  I’ve been notoriously bad at doing this, mostly because I have so few page views and I didn’t think it was worth the effort.  But I realized there are small things I could do that would could bring in a few dollar despite my pageviews.

After lunch I started with the power of visual branding by Gloria Chik and Tanya Yan and I got some helpful tips on the use of colour and fonts on your blog. I loved that their presentation was so visual because I learn best that way.

Then I went to make a living doing what you love with Jenna Herbut, founder of the Make It Show.  She is hands-down the perfect person to present this topic because she just exudes positivity and passion. She is a testament to the concept of following your heart.

Now the last session I attended was my favourite of the day, Building Your Business: What are you Creating? by co-founder Kendall Barber and community manager Caroline Gault from Poppy Barley.  If you have not heard of this amazing Canadian footwear company you can read more about the story here.

Poppy Barley

They make excellent quality custom-fit shoes at less than luxury pricing. This session could have been a TED talk.  They spoke about taking risks, the struggles they have been through and what they have learned, and they did it with humour and heart.  I can’t say enough about them. I was already in the market for a simple black boots (which is not easy to find) and knowing they were part of the Blogpodium Marketplace, I was planning to check out and get measured for their everyday city boots. Once I saw the boots, met these ladies and saw this session, there was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to support this company.  My everyday city boots will be delivered in a couple of weeks!

And though I didn’t know as many people at this Blogpodium, I met some lovely new friends and got to connect with some people I hadn’t seen in a long time.

Blogpodium Ladies copy
And of course, Jen and I found time for our yearly awkward photo booth picture, a tradition which started when we went to Alt Summit in 2011.

Jen and Linds awkward photo

All in all I had a great time and learned a lot of at Blogpodium 5.0…..not that I expected any less!


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