Backyard Changes


There are some big things happening in my backyard this spring.  First and most notably, I’m gaining some sunshine.  A portion of my deck used to be covered by a second floor deck .  However, this past weekend the owner ripped down the upper deck (long story), which means I’ll be getting ALOT more sun on the deck.  Woohoo.  Here is a little before and after…

deck Still lots to fix up where the deck used to be but a big improvement. Also, I had a wooden shelving unit which was left from the last person who rented this place which I decided to keep for deck storage.  Four years ago it looked like the picture below, but it has deteriorated significantly since and so I had it removed with the other deck materials.  (Also, this was taken EARLY in my blogging days and wow, my photography and photo-editing skills were weeeeeak).

(you can see more of my 2010 backyard reveal, here)

However, now that I’m rid of it, I’ll need to get something store the things that were in it. Enter mi familia.  My parents are coming to visit this week for Easter and they always like to have a project when they come.  They also like to give me practical gifts. So, for my belated birthday present they have decided to get me new storage unit of some kind .  Now, I’m pretty sure they are thinking that it should be for ON my deck but I may not want a big storage unit on my deck.  Firstly, my deck is pretty small so now that I’m rid of the wooden monstrosity I might want to use that extra space for seating or planters. Secondly, most big storage units are pretty unattractive, particularly ones that can survive the winter elements.  So, I’m going to propose a little combo of sorts.

First, I need something to store my cushions in.  I like this one from Ikea because it has wheels on it.

While this one (Keter from Home Depot) looks a bit more durable for winter and could fit all my cushions. However, it  might be harder to move around if I wanted change things up.,

I also want something to store my small gardening tools and supplies. A small practical potter’s bench of sorts that will withstand the winter.  Perhaps something similar to this Rubbermaid storage cabinet which has shelves and a standing height usable surface.

I know what you are thinking.  What about rakes and shovels and all that tall stuff?  Well, there is a tall storage unit at the back of my garden.  It doesn’t work fabulously, and lacks shelving, but it works ok just for the tall stuff.

Would it be nice to have a large storage unit that would store everything in one place?  Sure.  But not at the expense of a huge chunk of my deck space. Maybe if I found a gorgeous one that could also withstand our brutal winters I’d consider it. But I don’t suspect that is something I can find within a reasonable budget. But I’m ears if you have any suggestions!

What do you use for deck storage?


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Last Week’s Loves – April 7th to 13th

Happy Monday!  How was the weekend?  Mine was busy preparing for my parents to come visit and trying to finish up a client project.  Also, there were some big changes to the look of my backyard this weekend which has me in full outdoor space planning mode.  I’ll share more on that tomorrow.  But for now, here are some of my loves from last week.

Do you have anyone in your family who is really into genealogy?  I have a few in my family.  Well, while perusing this post on Poppytalk I found these beautiful handmade family trees from Eva Juliet!  So pretty and would make a great gift for a genealogy enthusiast.


SF Girl By Bay blog inserted a little Canadian content into this post when she posted this lovely cottage reno in Montreal owned by blogger Sarah Brown.  You can see more pictures of the space here.


This post over at Damask et Dentelle introduced me to Kozza, and online store which carries home textile goodies like the gorgeous pillow below.  (She is also doing a giveaway right now for a $75 GC so be sure to enter when you head over.


Jenny over at Little Green Notebook had a great round-up of affordable brass sconces.  You can check out this fabulous one below and more over here.


Have a great day!


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Fashion Friday: Finally Spring

Good Morning!

Happy Friday all! It is finally starting to feel like spring so today’s fashion Friday outfit is full of light and airy pieces.

Spring Summer

I am normally not a fan of the jumpsuit (mostly because you have to get half-naked to go to the bathroom) but I think this one is pretty cute.  And no it’s not quite sandal weather here in Toronto but a girl can dream, right?  You can find the details of the pieces here on my Polyvore.

Have a good day!


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Hiking Camelback Mountain

Good Morning!

Today I’m sharing another part of my quick trip to Scottsdale: hiking Camelback Mountain.  Now, one would typically imagine the desert to be pretty flat, and that is true. If you happen to be in one of the rare taller buildings in the Scottsdale area, you can see pretty far in most directions.  However, there are many small clusters of mountains in the area (many within the city limits) and a lot of hiking trails.  So, we made sure to pack some workout gear so we could partake in some hiking.  We choose the Cholla Trail on Camelback Mountain in the heart of Scottsdale.

trail copy

This a view of the start of the hike looking to the top.


It was a warm, sunny day that so we knew we would to take LOTS of water with us and extra sunscreen.  As we were rounding up our things to pack up, it occurred to us….neither of us had a backpack to put the stuff in.  So, we hiked 2700 ft to the summit with….regular shoulder bags.

hiking bag copy

Having no idea the real level of hiking required, we blindly thought that despite looking like weirdos, carrying these bags would be no big deal.  Hmm, what naive hikers were were. There were some spots where we were scaling up the side of the rock so having a shoulder bag flailing around messing with your balance was NOT ideal.  Doable, but no ideal.  However, despite this small hindrance we enjoyed the workout and lovely desert views.


cactus 2

And we made it all the way.  This a view looking down from the top.  So many tiny houses with itsy bitsy pools….

dont look down

And the panoramic views were just stunning.

pano 1

pano 2

It was a tougher hike than we expected but we were very happy we did it.

at the top

The only negative thing about my hike?  Let me paint a picture for you….the temperature is about 30 degrees Celsius, you have been drinking a lot of water to stay hydrated, and Cholla Trail has no Porta-potties.  Not only THAT, but there is nowhere to pop-a-squat even if you were desperate (and I was desperate).  On a wooded hiking trail you can jump into the bushes, on this desert mountain trail there was nowhere to go where I wouldn’t have been fully visible to all the other hikers.  Soooo, needless to say it was a highly uncomfortable descent down Camelback for this girl.  Good thing is was so beautiful.

Have a great day!


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The Saguaro, Scottsdale

Good Morning,

I’ve been a bit absent lately while I took a mini vacation to Arizona, but I’m happy to be back this week. It was brief but the sunshine was just lovely. You hear talk about SAD (Seasonal Affectation Disorder) and I’m betting that after this winter there are lots more cases of it being reported.  How powerful the sun is in affecting mood, no? After just a few days of bright, sunny weather I feel so much more energized and excited.  I will be blogging more about my trip over the next week but today I’m focusing on the hotel where we stayed in Scottsdale: the Saguaro (pronounced “sah-wah-ro”).

Named after the famous cactus with the same name, the Saguaro was a great choice for our stay.  A boutique hotel in the heart of Scottsdale’s Old Town, it is a beautifully designed space (the work of architects Peter Stamberg and Paul Aferiatwith) that uses fun bright colours, beautiful landscaping and unique art to create a modern southwest feel.

saguaro copy

Fun, huh? Our room was super cool but also very comfortable and the pool area was awesome with big lounging beds for basking in the sun.  We partook in a massage at the spa which was on special when we arrived at $60 for 60 mins!  Total deal.  The hotel restaurant Distrito is head up by Iron Chef Jose Garces.  We didn’t have dinner there but we did partake in the awesome poolside menu which included delicious fish tacos and we also had nachos with their homemade guacamole during happy hour in the restaurant, which were amazing. We had great service and I would recommend it to anyone staying in Scottsdale*.

Have a great day!


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*I was not paid by the Saguaro for this review or recommendation, I just enjoyed the aesthetic and experience I had there and wanted to share it with you.

Arizona Vacation Outfits

Good Afternoon!

Although the first day of spring has come and gone, it’s still very grey and winter-y here in the T-Dot.  However, that makes me even more excited to get on a plane tomorrow for Arizona.  It looks like it will be 30+ for much of time I’m there. Ah-mazing! I’m generally a terrible packer, and don’t expect this time will be much different, but I have been thinking about outfits for the trip.  Below I’ve put together three outfits ideas that (hopefully) will help guide my packing tonight!

Day of Exploring/Shopping

Arizona Outfit #1

Relaxing by the Pool

Arizona Outfit #2

Out for Dinner

Arizona Outfit #3

All product information can be found on my Polyvore pages 1, 2, 3

These could work, right?  Do I own any of these items?  No. Do I own anything like them? Maaaybe.  If I could pack directly from Polyvore life would be much easier. But it has given me a little inspiration for the looming task.

Have a great day!


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Last Week’s Loves – March 17th to 23rd

Good Morning!

Ahhh, it’s Monday again.  Not so awesome.  But you know what is awesome?  That I only have 2 more sleeps until I’m in warm sunshine!  However, I realize that doesn’t help most of you on this Monday.  So, I’m going to try to lift your moods with some of my Last Week’s Loves….

The lovely Erica Cook of Moth Designs shared this great Demijohn Lamp DIY.  Love the simple clean look of this lamp.  Hey Mom, this could be nice for #projectcottageporch, don’t you think? (Image via Moth Design)

I love when Design Sponge’s flower glossary posts.  This week they featured the Fritillaria.  Such a gorgeous bloom.  You can learn more about it  here! (Image via Design Sponge)

So far, I’m still in the “I’m terrified of riding a bike in this city” camp.  But this round-up of super fun city bikes over at Camille Styles might help me come around to the idea.  (It would also help if our crack-smoking major hadn’t CANCELLED any proposed new dedicated bike lanes in the city….but I digress). (Image via Camille Styles)

I’m a paintbrush waster.  I don’t clean them well after I use them and often have to throw them out after one project.  I have a renewed desire to choose proper paintbrushes and take better care of them after reading this handy guide over at Inspire Me Heather.

And finally, This is Glamorous featured the ad campaign of Kim Riekenberg by Henrik Purienne for Mlle Mademoiselle Spring/Summer 2014 which is STUNNING.  Click over to see a whole lot more gorgeousness, similar to this….

Enjoy the rest of your Monday!


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Master’s of Furniture – Eero Saarinen

Good Morning!

First of all, congrats to Lesley, Brandy and David winning the giveaway tickets to the National Home Show/Canada Blooms!  As there were only 3 entries there was no need for a draw. I’ll be in contact with all of you to tell you how you can get your tickets! Enjoy!

It’s now time for the next installment of Master’s of Furniture series, and today’s iconic furniture designer is Eero Saarinen.  (You may recall Eero from my previous post on Charles and Ray Eames who were close friends and collaborators with Mr. Saarinen in their early days.)

Eero was born in Finland but emigrated to the US with his father, architect Eleil Saarinen in 1923, when he was thirteen. He grew up in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, where his father was a teacher at the Cranbrook Academy of Art where  he took courses in sculpture and furniture design . You may recall Eero from my previous post on Charles and Ray Eames whom he met at Cranbrook and where they became close friends and collaborators. After Cranbrook, Eero then studied sculpture at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris and then architecture in at Yale School of Architecture. After some traveling and spending a year in Finland, he returned to Cranbrook to work for his father and teach at the academy.

Saarinen first received critical recognition for his furniture design while working for his father, for a chair designed together with Charles Eames for the “Organic Design in Home Furnishings” competition in 1940, for which they received first prize.  Saarinen was then recruited by a friend from his Yale days, to join the military service in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Saarinen was assigned to draw illustrations for bomb disassembly manuals and to provide designs for the Situation Room in the White House. Saarinen worked full-time for the OSS until 1944. Saarinen founded his own architecture office in 1950.

His furniture designs were taken into production by the Knoll Company starting in the late 1940′s and included the “Grasshopper” lounge chair (taken out of production in 1965), “Womb” chair  settee, side and arm chairs, and his most iconic collection, the “Tulip” or “Pedestal” group, which featured side and arm chairs, dining, coffee and side tables, as well as a stool.   Here are some of his pieces which you definitely  will recognize…

The Tulip Collection

The Womb Chair

all photos via the Knoll Company Website

Eero is perhaps even more well-known for his architecture works including the  Jefferson National Expansion Memorial (Gateway Arch) in St. Louis, Missouri, the TWA Flight Center at John F. Kennedy International Airport that he worked on with Charles J. Parise, and the main terminal of Dulles International Airport near Washington, D.C..

via 123

A running theme with these masters of furniture design is that many of them either start in architecture or move into that field at some point in their careers.  Which makes sense, as these pieces often are highly architectural in nature.  And I think I will need a Tulip table in my world at some point.  A true classic.  You can read more about Eero here and here.

Have a great day!


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Desert Dreaming

Good Morning!

In about a week I am hopping on a plane to warm the Arizona desert, and I am so excited about it.  This long Toronto winter has taken the wind out of my sails a little so I’m hoping to soak up some vitamin D and reboot.  I’ll be in Phoenix for a day and then my friend and I are heading to Scottsdale for 3 days to enjoy some sun, spa and good eats.  As much as I am an east coast, salty sea air, waves crashing on the beach kinda girl at heart, I have to admit that the desert climate is pretty ideal most of the year.  Hot but not humid in the day and slightly cooler at night. Can’t wait.

And on the topic of desert travel, today I’m sharing a gorgeous hotel which is much, much, further away than Arizona.  It’s the Desert Palm Hotel in Dubai.

Not too shabby, huh?  Did I mention there is a polo field on-site as well?  Yep.  And seriously, that bathroom alone would make me want to stay there.  Beautiful.  This is slightly higher end than the hotel we are staying in Scottsdale.  But I’m still excited.

If anyone has any Phoenix or Scottsdale recommendations, please let me know!


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My weekend + a Giveaway !

Good Morning!

You know when you are coming up to a weekend and you don’t think it’s going to be busy but then it is? I had one of those weekends.  As some of you math-y types like myself may know, Friday March 14th was Pi Day (3.14….get it?). My friend hosted a little impromptu dinner party for Pi Day where we ate all things Pi (or pie).  There was Sheppard’s pie, tortiere and pizza pie (complete with the Pi Symbol made of pepperoni).  We nerds really know how to let loose…..

Pi Day copy

On Sunday I went to a fashion lecture by Danielle Meder at the Drake Hotel called “Silhouettes and Signals”. Danielle Meder is a fashion illustrator specializing in live runway sketching. The lecture was about how various things such as politics, economics, and sex has shaped the fashion silhouette over the years. The cool part was that while she presented she live-sketching on her iPad which was projected on the screen. It was really engaging format and the topic was really interesting.  Not to mentions her sketches are absolutes gorgeous.  You can check out her work on display in the lobby of Drake right now.  Her are some shots I took at the lecture:

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And I also attended the National Home Show and Canada Blooms at the Direct Energy Centre on Saturday.  It was really busy and I didn’t have a lot of time so my focus was on the Canada Blooms side since I am so excited to start my garden this year. I’ve already started some of my seeds.  Canada Blooms is the perfect spot to find inspiration for your garden.  They also have tons of experts presenting throughout the week on the main stage  providing great gardening advice.

canada blooms copy

There were lovely walking gardens and a series of runway fashions made from flowers. And I bought some new seeds to try out this year.


On top of it the National Home Show portion has hundreds of exhibitors as well as a ton of design, DIY and renovation experts presenting on the main stage this week/weekend including, Brian Baumler, Glen and Jamie Peloso, Jane Lockhart, Leigh-Ann Allaire Perrault and more.   You can see the whole schedule here. The show is happening all week until March 23rd.

And the good news if you were hoping to go this weekend I have 3 pairs of tickets to giveaway! All you have to do is submit a comment below to enter!  Contest closes Wednesday, March 19th at 5 pm EST. Winners will be selected at random using  Good Luck!


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