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….

minted 2

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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My Itsy Bitsy Bathroom Reveal

Good Morning!

I’m excited to be coming to you from Vancouver, BC this morning.  I’m here for the always exciting and inspiring Blogpodium. I’ve been to every one so far, and despite it being a bit of a trek this year, I couldn’t pass up coming to this great event. I’m just as excited to be finally sharing my bathroom update with my new Delta faucet that I won in the earlybird draw for Blogpodium!  It turned out pretty close to what I was aiming for though (as usual) it took me much longer than I expected.

I recently posted before shots of my itsy-bitsy bathroom.  Here is  a little recap:

borken mirror

old faucet

yucky walls 2

It looks so much better now.  And it all anchors on my Dryden™ Two Handle Centerset Faucet in chrome with and matching towel ring and tissue holder. I love the modern lines of the Dryden products.  It looks so great. Oh, and I installed it myself.  Don’t act like you aren’t impressed.

delta copy

Can we discuss how much I love the lift up feature on the tp holder??? No more ridiculous spring-operated tubey things for this girl. Changing my tp roll just got super convenient.

And my new vanity (from Home Depot) makes me pretty happy too.  Adore the oval shape, so glad I went with it. And it has so much more storage than my previous one.


New Cabinet copy

Now for the biggie, and the reason this update took me so long.  Remember how I wanted to wallpaper?  Well, it turns out all the options I loved were really expensive, and considering I only needed it for one tiny wall it didn’t seem cost effective  So, I decided to DIY it.  Turns out that CB2 has blank self-adhesive white rolls especially for DIYing so I got some and painted it up! I will share the how-to in a separate post, but I think it turned out pretty well in the end.

wall paper 2


I also changed up my shower curtain to a plain white waffle one but I couldn’t get a good picture of it.  But it definitely makes the space feel a bit bigger and brighter. All said I’m very happy with my update!  I hope you enjoyed!  Thanks again to Delta for my new faucet!


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Convert It: A Waffle Factory Turned Family Home

Good Morning!

Today’s Convert It post features a former waffle factory in Lille, Norway which has been converted into a light and airy home for a young family.  Often times factory conversions can have a cold and industrial feel that is less than inviting, but this couldn’t be further from the case in this space.  With the help of Lille-based architects from Bo Architectures, they have created a beautiful cozy home full of flea market treasures and fun accessories, while taking still preserving/restoring many unique elements of the original factory. The floors, stove and the wood paneling are all original, and the windows, although new, were replicated to match the originals.

Via Rum Hemma. Design by Fanny and Pascal Francois and Bo Architecture, Photography by Pascal François

This couple truly saw potential in the whole factory property not just the building, as evidenced by the beautiful terrace and garden.  And that big picture vision is what I think really sets this conversion apart.  To see more lovely photos of this space go to Rum Hemma.


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My Itsy Bitsy Bathroom Update: Before & Inspiration

Good Morning!

As some of you know, I won the Blogpodium early-bird draw for a Delta faucet. Woo hoo!  I was very excited about a new kitchen faucet. However, I live in a rental which means I have to work with what I’ve got and unfortunately none of the kitchen faucets I liked would fit in the space and location of my current faucet. Boo. But luckily they have great bathroom faucets too!  In the end, a bathroom one was best anyway.  You see, my itsy bitsy bathroom needs some love at the moment and so a new faucet worked as the perfect catalyst to plan a bathroom update!. Today I’m going to share my before pictures and then my plans and inspiration the changes.

So, how itsy bitsy is this bathroom?  Perhaps this picture will help you get some perspective…..

Entrance to bathroom

I am taking this photo from OUTSIDE my bathroom.  My bathroom is 5.25′ x 6′.  That is just enough space for a toilet, tub, and small vanity.  With about 2′ x 3′ of floor space.  It’s SMALL.  You will see from the picture quality and angles that it is quite difficult to shoot this small space. But hey, as one person I don’t really need that much space. Aren’t 90% of NYC apartment bathrooms smaller than this? And bonus, I also have less to clean. It just means there isn’t much to work with.

The other interesting (weird) thing is that 3 of the 4 walls are floor to ceiling white acrylic tub material. At some point they had one of those Bath Fitter-type companies come in and do the tub and surround but then just covered everything.  You can sort of see it from this picture.


Which means I’m left with one wall to work with in terms of updating……but that one wall is preeeeeetttty bad.  If I had to guess I would say that it is untaped drywall or paneling, with wallpaper on top, which has been (poorly) painted over in white.  There are holes and marks and temporary fixes all over it, and the door frame is also badly chipped.

yucky walls 2

door trim

To manage my storage issues, last year I purchased a basic over the toilet cabinet which has been great, but not the prettiest.

over the toilet

And I have a towel ring and tissue roll holder both of which have seen better days….


gross towel ring

And now for the part of this space that needs the most help….my mirror/medicine cabinet.

borken mirror

No, it wasn’t always like this. And it is my fault that it is like this. No, I didn’t punch it.  Here is the story.  You see, there is a magnet that keeps the door closed which became faulty. So, often while I was washing my face it would come loose and open and I would lift my head and catch the sharp corner on my head.  Then one night after a concert in which I had consume a few glasses of wine, I caught my head on it again, and so I SLAMMED it shut.  *SMASH*  I’m embarrassed to say that this was almost a year ago and I still haven’t replaced it.  Now is the time!

Strangely before I installed my new faucet, I failed to photograph the old one in place!  But here it is after I removed it.

old faucet

So the general plan/inspiration for the room update looks a little something like this…

bathroom inspiriation copy For my faucet, the centrepiece for the whole room, I choose the Delta Dryden™ Two Handle Centerset Faucet in chrome. And I also got the matching towel ring and tissue holder! Thank you Delta for your generous prize! The medicine cabinet, I decided that would like to soften the lines an go with a oval shape like the one above. I have pondered what to do with the one wall and have decided on wallpaper. I’m not sure paint would really hide the mess underneath. Plus, there are some really great options out there! I really like the ones shown above; Petal Pusher from Oh Joy! for Hygge and West (which comes in a peel and stick option, great for a renter like me) or Watercolor Peony Wallpaper by Over & Over from Anthropologie. I can’t do much to the storage unit, so I’m just going to replace the knobs with the pretty ones shown from Anthropologie. I don’t dislike my current shower curtain, but I think it makes the room look a bit smaller so I think a white one would be best to lighten the space. Something like the one shown here from West Elm.  And I need some new hand towels and there is a great selection of beautiful ones at Anthropologie right now.

And that is the plan.  Stayed tuned for some after pictures soon!


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DIY Lampshades

Good Morning!

I just got back last week from vacation….sigh. Per my normal summer routine, I spent my time off at my family’s cottage in Oak Point, NB (aka my favourite place on the planet). As usual it was awesome.  Lovely weather, hot with cool breezes, and I came back relaxed and calm.  We don’t have a TV there so there is a lot of reading, card games and napping on the itinerary. But as anyone who has a cottage knows, cottages also mean perpetual “projects”.  My parents have had projects on the go at the cottage since, well, as far back as I can remember.  Last summer I helped out with a bigger project, which I called #oakpointporch where I reupholstered two chairs and sewed a bunch of pillow covers for the porch. You can see the results here.  This year my task was to make some new lampshades.  The first lampshade I needed was for the top of this antique side table-lamp combo piece.

Before 1

before 2

Sure, the lampshade is okay, but we weren’t in love with the pleated /rouched look and it was cracked on the inside and stained a bit on the outside. It was time to go.  So, you many ask why I decided to make one when there are so many shades out there to buy.  This is why…..the hardware.

the problem

We looked high and low for a shade with this same kind of attachment hardware and nothing. Having seen many antique lamps, I know now that this hardware was pretty common, but not so much any more.  So, I decided I would make a new one using the existing hardware. And while I was at it I did shades for two small wooden lamps that needed refreshing.

I used this tutorial on Design Sponge on how to make a drum-style lamp. It was very straight forward and I would highly recommend it.  The only thing I did differently was I didn’t buy the “proper” inside material which is high pressure sensitive styrene with self adhesive on the back, I used poster board. I also used the inside of a an embroidery ring for bottom instead of another wire ring.


You may note from the picture below that my bottom ring seems larger than my top.  And yes, you are correct I had to “adjust” it with a cutter and some crazy-glue so it matched the top. I won’t go through all the instructions here because they do such a good job in the tutorial but here a couple of photos.

Process 1


Process 3
Now when I got to the small lampshades which were not drums and therefore not the same size on top as they were on the bottom….that is when sh*t got real.  Of course you can’t cut it straight to get a truncated cone says I, the girl with the engineering degree who tried to do that (twice) before realizing I couldn’t “force” it in place.  So, I took to the internet.  I found lots of formulas and tried to follow them.  I went out and bought a protractor,  I created a large compass using a nail string and a pencil and fiddled away but nothing worked quite right. And then I found…..wait for it……a truncated cone calculator.  People, if you are ever making a lampshade or need any kind of truncated cone for a craft…..USE THIS.  It is so much easier than doing the calcs yourself.  You still need the protractor and the compass but you can be sure that what you are measuring will work.  And then you will get the proper curved piece (like the one below) which will wrap around your two sizes of rings perfectly.

Process 2

A couple more progress shots….

Process 5

process 4

I used grosgrain ribbon and upholstery trim on the inside of my lamps to cover the glued edges but you can also use paper tape as shown in the tutorial.  And here is how they turned out….

after 4

After 1

after 2

after 3

Not too bad, if I do say so myself.  A couple more tips for you. You can use poster-board as a base like I did, but not if it’s a lamp you need a lot of light from.  Because it isn’t transparent it produces a glowy light rather than a bright one. If you need it brighter, get the styrene.  As I mentioned, I used and embroidery ring for the base, which worked great for the drum lamp but was a bit more awkward for the other two so I would say to invest in the proper ring for a non-drum shade.  However, despite the whole math, geometry, angles shenanigans, it wasn’t too difficult and turned out pretty well.  So if you can’t find the proper shade for your antique lamp or just want something fun and custom,  you can make your own!  Have a great day!


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Light Bright: Glass Walls As Room Dividers

I’m a believer that being outside soaking up Vitamin D is a great cure for the everyday blues. And even when I’m not outside, waking up with the sun streaming in the windows of my place makes me a very happy girl.  I love a home with lots of natural light. And what better way to take advantage of light coming in all rooms than to have glass walls as room dividers instead of heavy solid walls. I’ve been seeing these pop up a lot on Pinterest lately and I am falling hard for these see-through beauties. They work so well in smaller places to open up the floor plan while still having some separation of space.  I personally really like the black framed ones, but the frame options are endless in different metals and woods. Here are some fabulous examples that I have been coveting.

Design by Dom & Wnetrze, via Domaine Home

Design by Camilla Tange – via Apartment Therapy

Designed by FJ Interiors, via Mechant Studio

Designed by La Maison d’Anna G via Apartment Therapy

Designed by Trendland via Apartment Therapy

via Marie Claire Maison

Architect: Egue y Seta via Houzz

 So are you with me? I knew you would be. Glass walls = Awesomesauce, for sure.  And that last one with the little greenhouse built-in?  Genius. If and when I ever buy a house, knocking down a wall and replacing it with one of these is going to be on the top of my list.  (P.S. this list is getting very LONG…).  Have a great day!


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Last Week’s Loves – July 20th to 26th

Good Morning!

In my quest to stop being a craptastic blogger, I decided that this week I should get back to my Last Week’s Loves Monday posts where I always find great inspiration from the talented people I follow.  I found a few gems in my blog travels this week, and I hope you will enjoy these posts as much as I did!

1. Gorgeous post from This is Glamorous featuring the Bar Palladio in Jaipur, India.  An explosion of colour and decadence combining Indian and Italian design.  You can see and read more about it here.

2.  Love the pretty ceramics by Robert Gordon featured on Decor 8.  See more of his work here.

3. Looking at this picture you might think this is an ordinary 50’s motel (which I have an affinity for as you an see in this post). But if you check out this post from Poppytalk, you will see that Masion Jolon, a  Scandinavian-style B&B near Aix-en-Provence, Maison Jalon is anything but ordinary.  You will want to stay here.

4. It’s that time of year where the heat and humidity have kicked in.  I promised myself during this terrible winter we just had that would not complain about the heat this year.  I’m doing my best to enjoy it. But hydration is key, and luckily Camille Styles did a round-up of great water bottles this week.  You can see them all, here.

5. Camille Styles also posted ‘What your pinterest board says about you”.  I fit into many of these categories, which I suppose makes me multifaceted….or insane.  Not sure which.

Have a great week!


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