This gal right here is now a contributing writer to one of her favourite websites ever. Say whaaaaat!
Just popping in to share my first article.
In today’s modern homes, open floor plans are common. True they have a lot of appeal but, when you knock down walls and merge the kitchen with the rest of the home, you then have an equally modern problem: what to do with the reverse side of your cabinetry or — now more frequently —the kitchen island facing the living or dining room. Put a little bit of extra care and attention to your kitchen’s “backside”, and add an entirely new and unexpected element. It’s also a smart way to boost storage and function, making the most out of your space.
I’ve rounded up a few of the best ways to transform your island into a hard-working piece of furniture that not only looks great, but also works with your lifestyle. Catch the full article here:
It’s been awhile since I’ve written a freeform blog update on my life in general. I guess a struggle I often have is overthinking everything, and turning little things into big things- that then feel like giant mountains that I’m tired just looking at. I think I tend to turn my blog into this intimidating shadow that looms in the back of my mind, that “I should be blogging”..
I have lists upon lists upon lists of “post ideas”- then I get caught up in my own internal battles as to which post I should write first.. One thing I want to try to get better at with my new freelance life is lightening up and writing when I feel inspired to. Sharing as I go, and not putting so much pressure on myself to write the best blog post on the planet every time. I also think it’s important for me to really carve out time for myself. I often put every other project ahead of my own and rarely leave space for my own creativity and ideas to flourish, so moving into this new season I hope to explore more of my own ideas and put more out into the universe.
In terms of updates, there’s lots going on- and I think that might be why I’ve avoided blogging about it- because it seems like this entire past year has flown right by and I’ve barely been able to catch my breath.
I digress. If you’ve been following on social, you’d have maybe seen that I’ve leaped.
I’ve made a gigantic, massive, huge, bold, terrifying and exhilarating decision to jump feet first into the world of freelancing. It’s one of those crazy decisions you’re not fully sure you want to blog about in case you fall on your face and fail miserably- you know? It’s an even crazier decision when you haven’t quite fully made up your mind about what you want to spend your time doing, haha. But- I think it’s all good. Everything is really good. I am super happy with my decision and I’ve been spending the end of my summer working on projects, still working for Leon’s- funnily enough- who have become my very first freelance client, building a shed from scratch, joining the Studio Bicyclette team, writing for Apartment Therapy, learning to drive (ha), shooting the new Hello Holiday magazine, trying to create new routines, edit my life, and explore more.
Fall for me feels like new beginnings. I am currently on a plane back from an extended work trip. Paige, Scarlet and I had our final Hello Holiday shoot in Kamloops with Colleen. Paige and I stayed back in BC a couple extra days to unplug, read, hang out in hot springs, and enjoy lots of comfort food. Next week we finish off the magazine, and we’re fully recharged and ready for the final push.
In addition to big career moves, we’re also MOVING. Remember when I said I would pop champagne and spray it all over the place when we finally moved above ground? Well the time has come. The apartment gods heard my plead and almost serendipitously. I stumbled upon the apartment of my actual dreams. A main floor, Victorian 1 bedroom apartment in Parkdale. I can already feel that it’s going to change everything. We’ve lived in a basement for the better half of a decade and I think it’s just been weighing on me. Basement apartments lack sunlight. We have a terrifying problem with the scariest kind of bug on the planet i.e. centipedes. We never had a lot of space- and although we have a stunning little kitchen here (And and amazing little shed) that we’re super proud of- it’s time for us to move on.
I think I am mostly excited for LIGHT. My new apartment has 12 foot ceilings and heaps of natural light. I can’t wait to be able to spread my papers out on my dining table, sipping coffee, working on projects. Having pools of sun pour into my bedroom when I wake up. Aah, it’s going to be miraculous.
November 1st will prove to be pretty life changing. A new apartment. A new career. New goals. New projects and ideas. A new neighbourhood. A fresh lease on life. And baby I am ready for it.My mantra for this year was MAKE MOVES.. I think I am following through.
Hellllloo Sunshine. Boy am I ever late to the game! In June Leon’s launched the fourth in their series of Hello lifestyle + home decor magazines, Hello Sunshine.
I’ve been up to my eyes with projects, deadlines, recording voice overs, making big life decisions.. you know, the usual. Better late than never, am I right? // SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM FOR THE VIDEO REVEAL!
As editor in chief of the Hello magazines for the past four issues I worked quietly behind the scenes. For this past issue of Hello Sunshine I was very fortunate to be able to flex my own design skills and complete a very special makeover project, for my parents. I shared the big #ProjectParentReno Reveal in this year’s issue, but I also wanted to share a bit more about the process leading up to our big shoot. Firstly, I’ll start by saying that what started out as a “Hey Mom and Dad, I’m going to makeover your bedroom.. It will take one month”.. Turned into 5 months of my parents being temporarily kicked out of their bedroom haha. Isn’t that always the case with renovations?
As a bit of a backstory- the whole reno was spawned out of a couple health scares and a few lucky breaks. My family had a tough couple years with accidents and overall well-being.. that really led me to want to create a safe space for my parents to unwind in. A fresh start, a new outlook, a relaxing retreat. From new floors to trims, to paint and everything in between- it was truly a head to toe makeover.
To get started on the design process I began by pining some overall design concepts based on a need to create a space that felt eclectic and bohemian to appeal to my Mom.. but also equal parts mixed metals to appeal to my biker Dad. Previously a pretty boring box-like-room, I knew I wanted to add as much architectural interest as possible to really make it feel like a new space. So, I called on the board-and-batten experts- Bethany and Art from This Little Estate for some expertise. Little did I know one phone call looking for some advice would turn into a full on collaboration to re do the space together. Bethany and Art are two of the most kind hearted, generous and truly genuine people I’ve ever met. Back on their blog in 2014 they started a project called The Porch Project– which in a nutshell was all about doing kind things for other people- specifically in this case by leaving unexpected packages on peoples doorsteps. This year, they decided to bring the project back- but this time- rolling up their sleeves and using their design knowledge to surprise people with updated spaces. (See one of their makeover reveal videos here. AND, they are actually tackling a lucky contest winners space for the next issue of Hello Holiday.) This makeover would not have been possible without this design duo, so Bethany and Art- thank you SO much.
We partnered up with Metrie to bring the ho-hum walls to life and the difference was DRAMATIC. This was my first time working with trim and it’s actually stunning how much of a difference great trim can make in a space.
Art even built a 100% custom herringbone barn door using wood from Metrie. (I’m honestly jealous it’s not in my space!) Art was truly the master installing the trims..Driving to my parent’s place through sun, snow, rain.. you name it. Many a’ Tim Horton’s coffees were had in this room haha! See the POWER of trim below & the incredible herringbone barn door created by TLE Build and Design!
We went with Hale Navy by Benjamin Moore on the walls. I knew I could go dark and moody on the top half of the walls because the pop from the white trim would brighten up the overall space. And I knew from the get-go I wanted a big fluffy textured JUJU hat above the bed- so picking a dark hue to contrast with was a priority. Plus, adding a splash of something rich is just so nice.. My parent’s home otherwise is pretty safe, lots of creams and neutrals- so this was totally unexplored territory.
One other element I was sure of was that I wanted a sophisticated brass sputnik. Brass + Navy= a winning combination. And you’d never believe this was a cheapie from Costco, spray painted brass! (It was like $120!) I used Gold Sabotaz Spraypaint- as recommended by Lindsay Stephenson– and I loved it! You can pick it up at Deserres.
The closet, actually came as an afterthought. Basically I was obsessed with having a Herringbone barn door (rightly so).. but totally forgot that when the door slid on the barn track- it would bump right into the dresser I had perfectly measured out to go along that wall. So.. I changed the plans, moved the dresser under the window- and found the PERFECT mid century dresser to go into the closet to create a thoughtful little nook for my mama. (This dresser was actually found in the BABY section if you can believe it!)
I decided straight away I wanted to paint the inside of the closet HARLEY orange for my Dad.. but wanted to figure out a way to make it feel feminine and lovely for my Mom.. So floral wall it is! I had the greatest instructor (Bethany) as she’s done a couple floral walls in her day. I found a few designs I loved from Rifle Paper Co and combined them to create something unique to my Ma. (To paint them on, I cut out templates I made from bristol board, traced em on, and filled em’ in!)
And here’s a look at the closet before.. a bit of an upgrade I think ;)!
You can see my parent’s adorable/emotionally charged reactions to their new space in finale episode of our Hello Sunshine web series below.
+ If you’re just tuning in now- be sure to catch up on the other 5 episodes! (And subscribe to the Leon’s Youtube channel so you’ll be notified when new content goes live!)
A few weeks ago when I was getting my eyebrows microbladed, the girl doing my eyebrows Crista Nicole said the greatest thing.
“I just feel like Instagram is that hot popular girl in highschool that everyone wants to be friends with, but secretly nobody actually likes”.
Maybe I am just going through a phase. Maybe I am kind of depressed with the state of the world. Maybe I am soooo sick of all the bullshit. But there’s just this little spark inside me that says, there’s more than this. There’s more than staring at a tiny screen as soon as you open your eyes in the morning. There’s more than getting high off of internet likes. There’s more than constantly comparing your life to others. There’s more than consuming, changing your apartment decor every week, or sharing a zillion photos of your dog.
I’m just feeling like… we are doing this to ourselves. We dislike that we are in this constant state of wanting more. More followers. More engagement. More content. More more more more more. But we feed this beast. We feed it every time we get annoyed that our significant other is talking to us, because we’re reading on our phone. We feed into it every time we spend hours choosing the right outfit, Googling the right coffee shop, searching for the right hashtags. I always shy away from posting these types of blogs because A: I don’t want to be a downer. And B: I’m a hypocrite. But aren’t we all?
I think I often get sucked up into this feeling that basically I haven’t found my calling yet. That I have dabbled in lots of things I like, but I don’t think I’ve fully unlocked that fiery passion that I love yet. I definitely don’t think I am alone in feeling this way either. I just often feel like I am capable of more or that my life should have more meaning, more impact. That there is more I can be doing.. That my focus should maybe shift. That I am wasting time on things that don’t matter in the grand scheme of life. It’s hard to think about life because it’s uncomfortable. I just think I need to do some soul searching because I don’t feel content, and I am not sure why. Part of the problem I think, is that I don’t have a clear idea of where I want to go. I just think that I have this incredible life to live, and I want to make it worth while.
Did you know the odds of actually becoming a human are something like 1 in 400 quadrillion? I got that fact from the Internet, so it’s 100% true ;)… but if you really consider it.. All of us have won the biggest race of our lives. We are alive on this earth. We beat out everybody else in the race, and we are here.. But why?? To tap on Instagram photos? To talk about toothpaste or Iced Tea? Come on people, you do not stand for Iced Tea.
I’ve often felt like I want to break away completely from social media, or dreamt of living in an era where it didn’t exist. Where you were free to find yourself, your passions, your desires- on your own- without the influence of hundreds of thousands of people. I think the internet and social media make you want things you don’t need and make you question your own, life, body, house, etc. I’m a marketer, but I am sick of being marketed to. From the moment we take our first breath on this planet people are telling us what to do. How to live. Movies and advertisements, the internet, everything we see as we grow up shapes our minds as to what a “good life” should look like. What success looks like. What a good family looks like. What beauty is. What is important.
What if everything you’ve ever learned about living was all wrong?
This post doesn’t get wrapped up with a pretty bow and a quirky idiom filled ending with a call to action. I don’t have any answers, I just know that my life is important, and so is yours.
I am working on an itty bitty office makeover that involves a custom yellow velvet sofa + this stunning peel and stick floralcoloray wallpaper. Sooooo perfect for renters, or in my case- corporate office employees.
All about that beauty shit. I love the look of long lashes. I think sometimes people with fake lashes can look a bit ratchet haha to be honest. But SOMETIMES you’ll bump into a girl that has super fab lash extensions that look so natural and lovely. In the past few years my lashes have been growing like crazy. Maybe it’s because my diet is much more healthy than past years- or maybe it’s from all the margaritas.. regardless- I have a pretty good base and I recently found out about this wild new thing (probably just new to me) called a lash lift and tint. Basically, it’s a process where your eyelashes are “permed” for lack of a better word, and tinted darker. AKA. No more mascara. If you guys can’t tell, I am literally trying to make it so that all I have to do is brush my teeth in the morning before work because, sleep. (Learn more about my microbladed eyebrows here). BEAUTY. Anyways- I am going tonight, wish me luck.
Formerly Jilly’s stripclub (cool), Toronto is coming out with a new hotel and I am into it. The Broadview will feature a stunning rooftop patio + a casual and slick interior a La Drake (via BlogTO).
I stumbled upon copper gutters on Pinterest and I don’t think I can ever look back. I will never look at an aluminum gutter the same way again. Studio McGee.~* Prayer Hands.*~
I mmmayyyyyybbbee appeared for a millisecond on HGTV Canada’s Home to Win on Sunday evening.
(Laughing because my Dad had to sit through an entire episode waiting for me ;)!) Did you know that you can actually WIN this insanely crazy amazing incredible house that these HGTV celebs are renovating? Yep. This week you can also win a Temperpedic Sleep System. (If you didn’t know- Leon’s is actually the title sponsor of Home to Win and almost all of the furniture you see revealed is from Leon’s! We share weekly roundups on the blog in case you want to get your paws on any of the goods!)
I recently visited Montreal with my boyfriend Bo for a quick getaway. Our Porter flight was as good as ever, making for a quick and simple trip both ways. Flying Porter is actually life changing. No lines. No hassle. Nothing but great service and impeccably dressed flight attendants in pill box hats. It really makes a trip to Montreal as simple as a bus downtown. It takes me longer to drive to my parents house than it does to fly to Montreal and check into my hotel. Hmmmmm. haha.
One of the MAJOR highlights of our trip was our stay at Hotel William Gray. I love myself a good boutique hotel and have stayed at some great places like The Walper and The Ace– but I gotta’ say- Hotel William Gray really pulled out all of the stops and made us feel incredibly welcomed. I may even chalk it up as one of the best hotel experiences I’ve had yet. From the food to the decor, to the incredible customer service- I have nothing but great things to say about this hotel. Also, that yellow chair (!!!)
When we arrived in Montreal we were so happy that Hotel William Gray was able to let us check in early. Not only that, shortly after we checked in- we were surprised with fluffy pink pillows, chocolates, and a hand written card- welcoming us to the hotel. The customer service at Hotel William Gray was just as incredible as the furniture, and that is no short order. Glam velvet and brass poufs mixed with handsome structured mid century sofas, exposed concrete walls, and sleek brass wall sconces-this place will pull the heart strings of any design aficionado. Not to mention, the hotel is nestled right in the heart of Old Montreal making it the perfect place to both relax and getaway, but also close to all that Old Montreal has to offer.
There’s a first time for everything, and breakfast in bed, and room service was a first for Bo and I. We kicked back with a bit of luxury in the form of fresh bacon and eggs delivered to us in bed…with mimosas of course. *kisses fingers*
And if breakfast in bed wasn’t enough– Hotel William Gray also has a luxurious restaurant right inside its doors.
Down the hall past the “living room” you’ll find their in-house restaurant Maggie Oakes. Cozy, intimate, and decadent would be three words I would use to describe Maggie Oakes. A dimly lit, impeccably designed space with friendly service and a robust menu- Maggie Oakes is conveniently located right in Hotel William Gray. We were very fortunate to meet and chat with Chef Derek Bocking- we actually saw him visit a couple tables, which we thought was a very kind gesture.
Maggie Oakes menu boasts seasonal greens and local high quality meats. Serving every meal from breakfast to cocktail hour- there’s ample opportunity to pop in for a bite, or two during your stay!
For dinner we tried the pan seared salmon ”gravlax”. It was absolutely delicious. To be completely honest, we laughed all night because we finished our starter before the waitress could get pepper on top of it! (It was that good). When it came to ordering our mains, we decided to be a bit bold and we went for the Montérégie region duck breast. We also ordered a triple AAA steak and shared bites from each other’s plates. I was personally very surprised by the duck breast (as it’s possible I’m known to be a picky eater haha). It was spicy and very tasty! The steak was also melt-in-your-mouth- fantastic. (So sorry, the lighting was dark and I didn’t get any beauty shots of our meals, but trust us- they were amazing.)
If you’re looking for a quaint and lovely stay in Montreal I wholeheartedly recommend checking out Hotel William Gray. I’ll be sharing more about my trip with Porter and our wild encounter at Parc Omega soon. (It was SO awesome).
For me, it was a decision I sat on for quite a bit. I’m sure you have heard or stumbled upon the microblading craze that’s been sweeping the ‘gram. It seems every time I refreshed my feed I was seeing more and more delicately drawn on eyebrows.. and it really made me raise a brow ;). What was this new beauty trend, and how were all these girls gettin’ them brows on FLEEK?
Microblading, if you aren’t aware is a semi permanent type of cosmetic tattoo. Essentially, what you do with an eyebrow pencil- is done with small wispy tattoos that mimic the realistic look of eye brow hairs. Results vary, but can last from 1-3 years.
My friend Katie was actually one of the first girls I knew personally to go under the knife… so to speak.
Katie is a super talented makeup artist (who often drives all the way from our little hometown in Walkerton to do my makeup for photoshoots and TV appearances- Love you Katie!!) who shared a bit of a behind the scenes of her own personal process and it got my really interested. After weeks of flipping through page after page of microbladers, Katie recommended Crista Nicole. I spent some time scrolling through her feed and was incredibly impressed by her sleight of hand. All of the eyebrows in her feed looked natural with an incredible attention to detail. I wanted to be really sure about the artist I had working on my eyebrows, because it is my face after all. With microblading being such a hot trend right now there are a lot of ladies just starting out, and while I am sure there are lots of talented rookies, I was really looking for a seasoned pro and wasn’t willing to take any risks with someone who wasn’t qualified.
I reached out to Crista and was pleasantly surprised by the detailed email she sent back to me (and by how incredibly qualified she was!) Crista’s reply email included a bit of a bio about herself and her background in the beauty industry. Over the past 5 years Crista has travelled the globe tirelessly training and studying from the best and with the best. In addition to permanent makeup and Microblading, Crista has completed the celebrity-touted HD Brows course, an exclusive 7-step brow shaping treatment. In short, she’s kind of the best in the biz.
I scheduled a phone call with Crista and we talked for over 40 minutes. You know when someone is just oozing passion for their craft? That is Crista. This girl knows brows, and I was unbelievably excited to put mine in her hands. One of the comments Crista made that I absolutely loved was that she does not give people “new” or “on trend” eyebrows.. she enhances each clients natural beauty and makes their own unique eyebrows better. She said sometimes she would have people coming in asking for a Cara Delevigne brow.. but in all realness.. not everybody can pull that off, and while it might be really hot right now, it may not be in the future- and it just may not work with your face. Crista is dedicated to taking what you already have and making it better- and I love that.
I arrived at Crista’s stunning boutique on a Wednesday afternoon. The atmosphere was clean, polished and very professional. There were refreshments, and music. I arrived early with Katie, so we chatted and caught up while Crista finished touching up a client. She greeted us and gave me some waivers to sign, as this is a tattooing procedure.
Once I got into the chair, we took a few “before” shots, and in no time Crista was like an artist measuring and drawing, measuring, redrawing. It was such a mathematical exercise to figure out the precise angles that best suited my face.
After she drew them on, I took a look.. approved them.. and then we were off to the races!
The first part of the procedure involves her “jabbing” for lack of a better term- your eyebrows- in order to prime them for a numbing cream. I’ll admit, it stung a bit- but it wasn’t unbearable. After the cream sat for awhile, it was time to get started.
Crista used a little blade to essentially “cut” eyebrow wisps into my eyebrows. I think the weirdest sensation about this was that I could hear it. Little scratches being cut into my eyebrows. This part also stung a little bit, but for the most part the numbing cream really helped.
After she was finished with the tiny cuts- she uses a pigment overtop of the eyebrow that fills them in.
We did this process twice over, and that’s it! Easy as pie.
Afterwards it was pretty sore so I ended up going to bed pretty early.
My eyebrows were incredibly dark for the first three or so days, but now three weeks later they have definitely lightened up. There is a bit of an awkward period of dark eyebrows/scabbing eyebrows- but.. no pain no game. It may be a bit uncomfortable for a few weeks, but girl- I cannot wait to throw away all of my Anastasia brow pencils and bask in my eyebrow goodness ;).
Here I am currently siting about 3 weeks post microblade. This photo above is my full makeup without a lick of eyebrow pencil! Pretty incredible. You can see they’ve blended completely with my natural colour and have filled in some of my more sparce areas. At about 8 weeks I’ll go back for a minor touch up to make sure everything healed up properly- and then I’m in the clear! Time to swipe on some mascara and go!
Have questions? Feel free to comment below! If you’re interested in getting Crista to makeover your face a’la microbladed brows, you can reach her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
As somebody obsessed with travelling, I’ve been looking lately at upping my luggage game. I have two top contenders: This incredible luggage by my all-time girlboss favourite, Bri from DesignLoveFest.. oooooorr, this wicked pink Pop + Suki version of the Away Luggage. The bonus with the Away luggage is it has a built in battery that can charge your phone (!!!) .. Say whaaaaat.
I’ve mentioned this before, but I will mention it again. My Day Designer is literally my life saver lately. I think April and May might be the busiest two months in my existence, and I’ve been leaning heavily on the use of this bad-boy.
Soooo, there’s a GIRLBOSS series coming to Netflix? *dies*. If you haven’t already read GIRLBOSS- girl, get with it. I absolutely love Sophia and her entire story. I love that she started with nothing, wasn’t properly trained, and quite literally figured it out as she went and turned Nasty Gal into an empire. I love how raw and authentic she is and how she’s stayed true to her roots through all of her fame and fortune. I also love how fucking badass she is, buying a Porsche in cash when her credit company wouldn’t give her a loan. $$$
I WISH I could go to this, but I am going to be pouring my blood sweat and tears into #ProjectParentReno every weekend from now until May.. BUT, if I was in Toronto I would DEFINITELY hit up The Citizens Collective. A brand new curated marketplace of modern makers and well travelled brands. (Happening April 22!) I’m a bit head over heels for this JuJu hat. I’m also fond of the fact that this section of their site is called curiosities. *heart eyes*
My teeth be feeling sewwww minty fresh RN because of my new Diamond Clean Sonic Electric Toothbrush. It’s kind of the Lamborghini of toothbrushes, in my opinion. Got this bad boy at my FAV dental clinic in the city, for real. Lawrence West Dental shout out!! (It’s actually amazing. It has an automatic 2 minute timer for you to make sure you’re brushing long enough, and it beeps every 30 seconds for you to switch your angle up!)
Lasssstly, I finally made it out to Frings (Drake’s restaurant if you live under a rock) and I tried a Worst Behavior. It was delish.
Hey small Space lovers! Hey renters! Hey basement apartment dwellers! My first makeover. *cue girly squeals!* I have been looking forward to publishing this post, for, well it seems like FOREVER. If you’ve been following along on Instagram, you would know that I have FINALLY finished renovating my tiny …