She Sheds Style: Make Your Space Your Own by Erika Kotite + Win a copy!

Quarto Publishing sent me a copy of She Sheds Style in exchange for an honest review. So here’s what I think. 

With a backyard not much bigger than a postage stamp we don’t have room for a shed, but if we did I would love to turn it into a little refuge I could call my own, aka a she shed. It would be light and bright with all the mod cons (I BIRTHED TWO BABIES ALLOW ME HIGH-SPEED INTERNET AND WIFI) and space to blog, shoot flatlays, and stretch out with a book. Which might seem like a tall order but people do it. We saw that in Erika Kotite’s first book, She Sheds: A Room of Your Own, which introduced us to artists, yogis, gardeners and others who have turned tiny structures into spaces to work, dream and treasure. Now in her new book, She Sheds Style: Make Your Space Your OwnErika shows us how to plan and style our sheds (real or imagined) so that they reflect our own design sensibilities.  She Sheds Style: Make Your Space Your Own by Erika Kotite + Win a copy!

Make Yourself at Home: Design Your Space to Discover Your True Self + Win a copy

Moorea Seal has a lot going on. The 31-year-old author of the guided journals The 52 Lists Project and 52 Lists for Happiness runs a Seattle-based retail and online lifestyle store, curates a Pinterest account with nearly 1 million followers, and frequently entertains friends in the tidy, welcoming and Instagram-worthy home she shares with her husband and sister. In her new book, Make Yourself At Home: Design Your Space to Discover Your True Selfshe teaches readers how to design spaces for comfort and creative expression through thoughtful personal essays, stunning photography, accessible DIYs and inspiring profiles of creatives and entrepreneurs like Erin Perez Hagstrom of calivintage, Laura Gummerman of A Beautiful Mess and Diana La Counte from Our City Lights. Going room by room, Moorea (pronounced MOO-RAY-UH) examines how each space serves us and how to feel more at home there. Included are practical lessons on colour theory and psychology, a brief guide to the defining traits of the styles featured in the book (folk, rustic, midcentury modern, etc.), and pages for your own notes. You’ll want this one, mes amies. Here’s a peek inside. (Thanks to Sasquatch Books for the copy.)  Make Yourself at Home: Design Your Space to Discover Your True Self + Win a copy

A tired corner gets a cheery refresh with Thimblepress + A giveaway

It’s reveal day! Woohoo! I’ve been wanting to give my favourite corner a refresh for what feels like forever, and Saturday I finally rolled up my sleeves and got started. I stripped the living room wallpaper, gave the walls a fresh coat of paint, and brought in some colourful accessories my friends at Thimblepress sent from their HQ in Jackson, Mississippi. I’ve loved their cheery art prints and greeting cards and confetti push-pops and pretty much everything they do for a few years now, and here I’ve incorporated some of my new and old favourites to give the space a happy vibe. (The new goodies were free of charge in exchange for this post.)  A tired corner gets a cheery refresh with Thimblepress + A giveaway

Decorate for a Party by Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring

Last night we said farewell to summer by drawing our names in the dark with the last of the sparklers, and today we’re welcoming fall with a return to the books. And with my guys back to school, I’m counting on more time to read and share a dozen new titles with you, starting with a fresh and budget-friendly approach to party planning that comes just as the shorter days and cooler nights beckon us to gather inside with family and friends. It’s Decorate for a Party: Stylish and Simple Ideas for Meaningful Gatherings by Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring, and it’s full of all kinds of wonderful ideas and easy DIYs to add a warm and personal touch to any gathering, make your guests feel extra welcome, and relieve the pressure to be perfect so you can have fun in the process. I like to think of it as decor within reach — aspirational and inspirational, yes, but most importantly: totally doable. Splashy parties with grand gestures and even grander budgets have their time and place but that’s not here: Decorate for a Party is a party where everyone is welcome.

Decorate for a Party by Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring

Bright.Bazaar’s Dream Decor by Will Taylor + A giveaway!

In his second book, Bright.Bazaar’s Dream Decor: Styling a Cool, Creative and Comfortable Home, Wherever You Live, British designer, stylist and globetrotter Will Taylor pairs design fundamentals with decor inspiration for an educational and entertaining guide to help readers determine not only what they like, but how to put it together. A lesson in “dream elements” (colour, pattern, texture, furniture and lighting, storage and display) makes up the first part of the book, followed by a look at 11 “dream styles” (e.g. Coastal Retreat, Hollywood Chic, Italian Rustic, etc.), each with practical tips on how to mix and match components to create your own dream space. “Try not to let the physicality of your current home deter you,” Will writes. “So you love the tall iron cabinet from Industrial Loft but lack space? Introduce the look via a small side table, or a lamp instead. Or maybe you long for an all-white floor in the living room but are unable to make such a major change. Easy: invest in a large-scale area rug instead. A savvy approach to a decorating project will lead to dream schemes.” These are dreams made do-able with how-to’s, decor recipes and page after page of inspiring photos from stunning locales around the world.  Bright.Bazaar’s Dream Decor by Will Taylor + A giveaway!

Leaf it to Minted for botanical style

From fashion to home decor and everything in between, botanicals are bigger than ever. It’s one of my favourite trends for spring/summer, so naturally I looked to nature to freshen up our gallery wall for the new season. Leaf it to Minted to have botanical prints for every style under the sun, whether vintage, boho or (my favourite) tropical greens. I spent a contented couple of hours last month tilling the site for a selection of plantastic prints to complement the ones we already had. Who says blue and green should never be seen? You’ll see plenty here and I think it’s fab!  Leaf it to Minted for botanical style

Lauren Conrad Celebrate by Lauren Conrad

Lauren Conrad throws the parties that dreams (my dreams!) are made of: lavish, flower-filled fêtes that spare no expense with breathtaking decor, even prettier food, and a thoughtful consideration to every last detail. If that’s your ideal too, then you’ll love Lauren Conrad Celebrate, the new party-planning guide and pretty picture book from the former reality-TV star, designer and author.  Lauren Conrad Celebrate by Lauren Conrad

Five things

If you follow me on Instagram you might recognize most of these photos but here (and only here!) can you get the scoop behind the pictures. Okay not really. You can also get it on Instagram. But sometimes I fill in different details here too, so you should still read my Five Things. Heck you’re here, so you must want to. 🙂 Read on then! Don’t let me get in your way!

five things sept 14

1. Speed-walking to school, as we do most mornings. How can we get almost everything ready the night before and still take so long getting out the door? Tell me I’m not alone in this. What hurries things along for you?

2. I can’t get over these emoji cookies from A Couple of Squares. The London, Ontario bakery supplies to The Second Cup near our dentist, so we picked up a few after our last visit. And then brushed our teeth really well.

3. Well we already know Mindy Kaling has an amazing sense of style, but did you know she’s also got a brilliant eye for decor? I love her feature in the latest issue of Domino. And may I just say I’m so glad the magazine’s back? Now we just need them to put out another book!

4. This cutie is one of the Minted prints I’ll be showing you in an upcoming post about transitioning your decor to fall/winter. Don’t you love?

5. I’ve started a six-week bootcamp at the gym three mornings a week and let me tell you, it’s a killer. Or I am super out of shape. Or maybe both. Today I managed to squeak out a few more push-ups than I did in the first class on Monday so I can already see some progress. Yay! (Everything hurts but still, yay!) Do you amp up your fitness routine in the fall?

Hope you’re having a good week, everybody! Talk to you again really soon.

Five things

I’ve been feeling badly for not posting last week’s highlights earlier but now that it’s Throwback Thursday, it’s totally legit! Don’t you love when things work out like that?

five things march 21

1. I thought IKEA would be mobbed last week with everyone around for March Break, but last Monday it was surprisingly quiet. (Ahh!) I restrained myself from bringing home more kitchen goods and picked up a few things from the Paper Shop instead. (Oh and meatballs, of course.) Have you seen IKEA’s new stationary, gift wrap and party decorations? I love!

2. Tuesday we woke up to more damn snow. Which was pretty and all, but for crying out loud! Enough!

3. I’m not a fan of artificial flowers, but Urban Barn is bringing me around. The downtown store was abloom with gorgeous bouquets last week when I stopped in for the Spring decor workshop.

4. Who knew falafel were so easy to make? Hubby tried Chef John’s recipe on Saturday and they turned out awesome! Have you ever made them?

5. And what a fun surprise to see my Instagram photo in the new issue of Today’s Parent magazine! (And the Spaghetti Nests with Bocconcini “eggs” are really delicious, if you want to try them.)

I’ve got another book review and some great recipes to share with you in the next couple of days. Talk soon!

Five things (and a winner!)

Raise your hand if you’re all ready for Halloween. I see a lotta hands out there! Usually we’re scrambling around at the last minute, but this year we’re nearly set. The decorations are up, the costumes are made, the treats are bought (and sampled) and we even have our pumpkins, ‘tho we won’t carve them ’til tomorrow afternoon. Here’s a peek at some of our prep, plus a few other pics from the past week. Oh! And I’ll announce the winner of my Fall faves contest. (Hugs if you read the post before scrolling down to see who won.)

Halloween monster decoration

If you trick-or-treat at our house you’ll see Frank, the monster hubby made out of cardboard and tissue paper a few years ago. We put him in the front window every year. Scary stuff!

clip 8

I’m not dressing up this year (the kids are a vampire and a robot), but I did make these festive pumpkin hair clips to wear. The easy how-to is up on So Fawned, along with my tips for a safe and happy Halloween.

tub time

We even have a little Halloween decor in the bathroom! My guy took a bath after school one day this week with this adorable rubber duckie from Loblaws.

sugar cookies

Okay, these are autumnal rather than Halloween, but they’re in our pumpkin-shaped cookie jar on the kitchen island.

urban barn books final absolutely

And last week I submitted another entry for Urban Barn’s dining hack contest, this time suggesting books as pedestals to elevate serving trays and create visual interest to your table. The grand prize winner will be drawn next Wednesday. Cross your fingers for me, everybody!

And speaking of winners, a huge thanks to all of you who entered my Fall faves contest. I loved reading about your Fall faves and seeing all of your retweets (some of them daily!). I’ll pop the prize in the mail to the winner next week. Was it you? Click here to find out.

Happy Halloween, everybody. Wishing you more treats than tricks and a safe, fun night.

Five things

How were your first few days of Fall, everybody? Do you welcome the season in your decor? I spend most of my time in the kitchen, so I love to pile a bunch of gourds on a cake plate and admire them throughout the day.

gourds square

Aren’t they gourd-geous? If you hop on over to So Fawned, you’ll see what I did with these babies.

gourd soup

Here’s a little peek. (I couldn’t resist!)

you are nice dad

You know I love a good kitchen gadget. This week we made some special personalized cookies using these cool cookie cutters. (On clearance at Winners for $5! Woot!)

cactus at market

Cactus at the farmer’s market yesterday morning. Maybe my favourite thing all season!

photo (19)

Do you crush on pretty stationary too? I am loving my Kate Spade planner and notecards from Chapters. Almost too pretty to use!

And only three more days ’til Blissdom! Woot! What are you up to this week?