The Friday Five: Mother’s Day Gift Ideas from Urban Barn

With Mother’s Day around the corner – on Sunday, May 14th – it might be time to start thinking about how you’re going to spoil loved ones in your life. Mother’s Day for me usually means a trip to Toronto to spend time with my mom doing everyday sorts of things – a garage sale perhaps, a trip to the mall, or just lounging around at home reading magazines. Mom and I enjoy many of the same easy-going activities. Heck, I’m sure we’ve even spent the day doing DIYs together! Mother’s Day is also a day to celebrate other moms in my life – my sister (mom of 4 cuties!) and friends, and to reflect on relationships I’ve had with other strong women who are no longer with us like my aunt and grandmothers.

In terms of gifts, I think moms appreciate any token. A card, a phone call, an email, a text, or a material object lets your loved ones know that you’re thinking about them. I like to spoil my mom with flowers because I know she appreciates them so much!

If you’re looking for some Mother’s Day gift ideas (and if you’d like to spoil yourself at the same time), you might want to have a look at Urban Barn. This Canadian retailer offers up-to-date items for your home – from big furniture pieces to smaller accessories. I’ve been to the Cambridge location numerous times, and there’s always something in white that catches my eye.

Today, I’m sharing five items from Urban Barn’s current collection that would make great gifts for loved ones.

Here’s an affordable container for a new plant or bouquet of flowers.

murl planter large, $19

Another place for flowers…or sangria…or water…is this pretty little pitcher.

webster water pitcher, $19

Little bowls like this one are perfect for candies, jewelery, or keys.

belize oyster decor dish, $29

If your mom needs a bedroom makeover, this dresser looks like it would be a great piece to add.

parker dresser, $1499

This bench would be beautiful in a garden. There’s also a full patio set, too.

piazza folding bench, $399

Many thanks to Urban Barn for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Celebration: My Home is in Style at Home

I’ve been bouncing off walls for days now. My friends and family must be sick of me texting and emailing messages with an abundance of exclamation marks. People on the other end of phone calls hear my high-pitched squeals of excitement. Why you ask? Well, I know the title of this post gave it away, but…

I’m in Style at Home’s June issue!!!

Yes! You read that correctly!

I’m in Style at Home’s June issue!!!

This has me excited for all sorts of reasons!

Buying my house was one of my proudest life moments. I have been a student for all of my adult life, but all the while, I was trying to save money for my future home. Four years ago, I had just finished my PhD, moved to a new city, and bought my first house. My house. My own house. With a garage. With my money. That I earned. I was ecstatic then, and my home still brings me so much joy now.

The “before” of my house was interesting. Some of you may remember that my house came not only with furniture, but with people. Yes, people. I sold just about every piece of furniture. And I kicked out the tenants once their leases ended a month or so after closing. Yes. A house with furniture and people. Who buys such a house?

Me.

My house is in a perfect-for-me location. I walk and ride my bike everywhere. My quality of life is top-notch, and I think much of this is because of the location, size, and design of my house. Honestly. I love my house! And I’m so very grateful for all that I do and all that I have.

My house was certainly not in perfect condition (and up to my design standards) when I bought it. Little by little, I made each space in my home happy. It was a lot of work, but it was fun and rewarding work. I wanted to do as much of the work on my own, and my family lent a hand along the way – as you’ve seen with various posts over the years. Not only did I learn how to tile and how to paint an air conditioning unit (still one of my most popular posts!), but I also practiced my design skills. I created a dramatic ink-blot art wall in my main bath to detract from the grey, 80s jacuzzi tub. I curated a massive gallery wall in my office to showcase all of my art treasures. And I found and bought the perfect couch. I know people make fun of me because I can talk about my couch so much, but it’s true. It’s perfect.

Throughout this reno journey, I’ve shared a lot on White Cabana, and I’ve connected with so many people in the design blogging community. I feel so darn lucky!

As if this wasn’t enough, this happened…

Style at Home Came Over!!!

Morgan Lindsay, Stacy Begg, and Donna Griffith came over bright and early one day last spring for a photoshoot. It was unreal. They worked their magic while I tried to contain my excitement. (It’s a recurring theme, can you tell?) We moved things around, and we moved them back. Stacy and Morgan organized my books beautifully, brought in a few additional accessories, and made sure each space was looking its best! Donna and her assistant set up all of their cool photography equipment throughout the house and worked quickly and efficiently to take photos of every room. This team was fun, professional, curious, and interesting!

Several months later, Bethany Little called me up for an interview. That was fun, too, because I’m usually the person asking the questions (I do a lot of teaching and researching in my day job as  an academic!). While I was trying to squeeze in a question or two about Bethany’s approach to interviewing and writing, she was trying to keep the conversation on my house. Naturally! 🙂

Fast-forward a couple of more months, and then this happened…

I’m in Style at Home’s June issue!!!

Unreal. Unbelievable. And the thing is…it’s real, and it’s believable!

I have been reading Style at Home for forever. It’s a Canadian design magazine that I’ve always been drawn to because it features design spaces and ideas that are manageable, approachable, and doable. The magazine shines the spotlight on happy and inviting homes, and it gives readers plenty of ideas to incorporate into their own homes. And the team does the high-low feature like noone else! Am I right? I certainly look forward to reading it when it arrives in my mail each month! I hope you do, too!

But the June issue is certainly my all-time favourite issue. I definitely recommend you flip straight to page 44 to start reading about me and my home (no modesty here)!

If you’re a subscriber, you’ve already received your copy. If not, you should see the June issue in stores soon (it has a pink cover).

If you’d like to share your thoughts or have any questions, leave a comment here or tag me @WhiteCabana or use #WhiteCabanaXStyleAtHome on Twitter or Instagram. I’d love to know what grabbed your attention!

Finally, I must take a moment to publicly extend some official notes of thanks:

  • Many thanks to Morgan and Stacy for making my home look as pretty as possible. You took great care of my space, and you were professional and friendly in your approach. And funny, too!
  • Thanks to Donna for being an enthusiastic and positive photographer. Your photos are absolutely memorable, and I’m glad our paths have crossed both online and offline.
  • Thanks to Bethany for taking the time to speak with me. Your writing is inviting. You’ve written my home’s story and my approach to design with accuracy and care.
  • A large thanks goes out to Erin McLaughlin, Style at Home Editor, for giving the final stamp of approval. If you’re in KW, come on over! My small foyer wasn’t photographed, but it’s a tiling project that makes me very proud (marble laid in herringbone pattern).
  • Many thanks to other staff on the Style at Home team who have made this feature possible. I appreciate the effort that goes into fact checking!
  • A super generous thanks to Tim for your encouragement and excitement throughout this process.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Two for Tuesday: Lady Jackets at J.Crew

By now, many have you have heard that Jenna Lyons – J.Crew’s creative director – is on her way out after working with the brand for 26 years! I really like so many of J.Crew’s designs, but the prices are high for just-okay quality. I don’t buy anything at J.Crew unless it’s on sale from the store or the factory store. What about you?

These two lady jackets though – I want them both!

polka dot tweed jacket, $220 CAD

lady jacket with rick rack trim, $194 CAD

Food: My Experience with a Juice Cleanse

I have been thinking about trying a juice cleanse for quite a while now, but it wasn’t until after Easter weekend that I finally decided to go for it. My stomach had been making grumbling noises for a couple of weeks – probably because my eating habits haven’t been great – and a weekend of eating chocolate at Easter made me feel full and uncomfortable. As such, I thought it was a good time to spring clean my body with a cleanse.

Cleanses get mixed reviews. Some people like them because they give our body a break, give us many nutrients intensely, and give us a fresh start. Others say that cleanses aren’t necessary and as powerful as they claim. I can see both sides of the story. I generally try to take the “everything in moderation” approach so that I can eat crepes one day and not feel like I have awful nutritional habits. And I thought that a cleanse could only help my body.

So, moving on to my actual juice cleanse experience. After doing a Google search for juice cleanses in Waterloo (since I didn’t want to do all the prep work on my own!), I came across Good Vibes Juice Co. I recognized the branding from seeing the juices at Vincenzo’s, and since I’m a sucker for beautiful design, I was hooked into the Good Vibes website and read all about the cleanse options.

I mentally prepared for a 3-day cleanse, went into the Good Vibes shop early Tuesday morning, met with the owners, Lloyd and Drew, and left with 24 bottles of juice. Each day, I was to drink 8 bottles (400ml each) of juice in the suggested order: Lemonade, Eby Apple, The Cool, Heartbeet, Sunkiss, Tiger, Envy, and Cocoagood.

Day 1

I was excited to get started. The first juice was basically lemonade, so it went down easy. The same was true for the second juice  – Eby Apple – which was a really delicious apple-based juice. I reached my third juice – The Cool – just after noon, and this juice, along with juice number 4, took me hours to drink. The Cool is a green juice, and while I didn’t mind the taste, I didn’t love it. Juice 4 – Heartbeet – is a beet-based juice and I didn’t like it at all. In fact, I only drank half of it because I didn’t want my taste buds to suffer.

I drank a lot of water throughout the day – as per Good Vibes’ recommendation and as per my usual habit. It really helped me wash down the Heartbeet juice (the beet-based juice) actually!

I had juice 5 – Sunkiss – around 6pm, and it was a delight. By this time in the evening, I wasn’t actually hungry (as I thought I would be), and I was feeling energetic and awake (no coffee all day, by the way). I still had three juices to go before bedtime!

Before I grabbed juice 6 (Tiger), I had a handful of almonds. I wanted to get rid of the taste of the other juices before I went for another juice. Drew and Lloyd told me that if I was hungry, almonds or raw veggies would be good options.

I skipped juice 7 (Envy), and I was quite excited for juice 8 (Cocoagood), which is made up of almond milk, maple syrup, and cocoa. Yum! I was excited for my “reward” at the end of the day, but I ended up only drinking half of it. I wasn’t hungry. This was certainly unexpected!

Day 2

I thought I would wake up starving, but I didn’t! The first two juices (Lemonade and Eby Apple) went down easily on day 2. The third (The Cool) was easier to drink on day 2 than it was on day 1. I struggled through the rest of my beet juice from day 1, and I ended up giving away my two unused Heartbeet juices to friends who appreciated the flavour much more than me!

Again – I wasn’t so hungry during the day, which surprised me. I did have another handful of almonds around 2pm. And I drank a lot of water throughout the day.

After work, I came home for the Sunkiss, then followed it with a bit of the Tiger (a carrot-based juice). Like on Day 1, I couldn’t actually finish all of the Tiger. I guess my taste buds are not so used to these flavours!

Again, I was really looking forward to the “reward” drink at the end of the evening. I definitely liked the sweeter drinks more than the healthier ones! Good Vibes provides the nutritional information online, and I discovered that my favourite drinks were the ones that were higher in sugar. Go figure.

Day 3

Last day! Hooray! The end is in sight! The cleanse has been doable even if I’m complaining about the taste of some of the juices.

My day was similar to day 2. I had a few almonds mid-day, and I made it through about 6 of the juices again…leaving out Heartbeet and Envy. I know that by skipping juices, I missed out on some of the nutrients, but I accepted this. I wasn’t hungry, and I was feeling energetic throughout the day.

I enjoyed my last drink – Cocoagood – around 8pm on day 3, and I felt great. While I wasn’t craving any of my usual favourite foods (pasta! pizza! Nutella!), I was looking forward to a nice latte the following morning!

Would I do a cleanse again? Yes.
I would do a 1-day or 3-day cleanse easily once or twice a year. Maybe even 4 times a year to go with the change of seasons. More than that – I’m not sure. The timing of this cleanse was perfect considering my work/life schedule, and I think that this helped me stay focused.

Would I recommend Good Vibes Juice Co.? Yes.
The opening hours of the store is convenient for me. This honestly made my decision an easy one. Beyond this and the gorgeous packaging, I appreciate all the ingredient and nutritional info that is provided online about the juices.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

The Friday Five: Designer Tees

T-shirt season is just about here. After months and months of cold weather, I’m definitely ready! While these tees have super cute graphics, their price tags are a tad on the high side. How much do you budget for a graphic tee?

Comme des Garcons t-shirt, $150 USD

Boutique Moschino t-shirt, $225 USD

Peter Jensen fish rabbit t-shirt, $101 USD

Karl Lagerfeld Paris profile t-shirt, $49 CAD

PS by Paul Smith t-shirt, $223

Have a great weekend!

Save

Save

Save

Hotel to Home: Byron Beach Abodes

About 10 years ago, I spent a month in Australia. It was as wonderful as you can imagine. While I spent much of my time in Surfers Paradise, I did some traveling along the east coast, too. At the time, I was very much a budget traveler, but if I went back now, I’d love to save up and stay in places like the Byron Beach Abodes.  I’m only showing you one small bedroom today, but you must have a browse around the various suites and villas. Everything is just beautiful and inviting.

Byron Beach Abodes

Really liking the look of the bedroom? Here’s where you might go to find similar items:

crystal doorknob, striped duvet cover, chair, air plant, shelf, wood picture frames, salvaged wood mirrors, lamp

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Marketplace: A Basket Round-Up

I’m seeing an increasing number of baskets in natural and white in homes around the internet. Is this a classic or a trend? What are your thoughts?

via Damneras Vorld

via Live 2 Like

via Rose and Ivy

via Looks Like White

via Remodelista

via Coco Lapine Design

If you’re looking to incorporate baskets into your own space, here are some options.

via

via

branas-basket-white__0120652_pe277448_s4

Branas, $16.99, Ikea

d-bskt-gry-sstp-l-f16_1

basket, $149, The Maryn

via Connected Artisan Goods

basket, $59, Amara

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Food: How to Make Crepes

When I have a lazy morning, I love to make waffles or crepes. Over the Easter weekend, I whipped up a batch of crepes and documented the process on my first Instagram story. Since those stories only last for a short period of time, I thought I’d more permanently document the recipe here.

I’ve tried several recipes, and while everything has turned out well, I find this crepe recipe from Bonnie Stern to be one of the quickest and easiest.

Ingredients:
3 eggs
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 tbsp. vegetable oil or melted butter
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. butter

Steps:
1. In a blender or food processor combine eggs, milk, salt, oil, flour and salt. Blend about 10 seconds until smooth. Place batter in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let batter rest at room temperature about 1/2 hour or in the refrigerator for a few hours. If batter is too thick, thin with a little water. It should be the consistency of unwhipped whipping cream.

2. To make crepes heat an 8″ or 9″ non-stick pan. Brush pan with butter. Pour a scant 1/4 cup batter into pan and swirl to coat bottom of pan. Allow to cook 1 to 2 minutes on medium or medium high heat until browned on the bottom (you can lift up one side to check) and turn by slipping a long, thin spatula under the middle and flipping it over. Cook second side about one minute. Second side will not brown as nicely as the first. Stack crepes as they are made. Depending on your pan and your stove, it might take a few tries to get the crepes the way you like them but you can always eat the trial ones! Makes 10 to 12 crepes

Note: This recipe is published in Bonnie Stern’s Essentials of Home Cooking as well as in the National Post.

Here’s my crepe photo diary:

getting ingredients ready

buttering the pan

pouring in the first bit of batter

getting ready to flip

stacking crepes high

reaching for Nutella

 And how do I eat them? Well, since I’m a Nutella-holic, I usually have Nutella with my first crepe of the bunch. I also really like the classic sugar + lemon crepe. If you’re into more healthy options, I like mixing eggs and spinach and folding a crepe over the mixture. You could use this crepe recipe for both savory and sweet crepes.

Oh – and one last thing, I use a de Buyer crepe pan that I picked up at Bradshaws in Stratford. And I seasoned it, too.

Save