20 Below

20 Below: Style at Home and House & Home Magazines

Here are 2 magazine issues that I think everyone should own:


Style at Home – The White Issue, $5.99


House & Home – Decorating with White, $11.95

Thanks to all friends, family members, and readers who have been sending me emails, tweets, and texts letting me know that they¬†bought them/thought of me when they saw the magazine/think these issues were made for me/etc. It’s been really fun to¬†hear people’s responses to these two issues!

FYI: I own the Style at Home magazine (and it’s great), but I haven’t yet bought the House & Home special issue. Shocking, I know!

20 Below: Drip Maple Syrup

I LOVE waffles. Love ’em. I also love maple syrup. Put those two together and you’ve got a perfect (any time of day?) meal. Yum. Yum. Yum.

I read about Drip maple syrup in the LCBO’s recent Food & Drink. Great packaging, beautiful website, and I am sure Drip’s maple syrup is pretty darn delicious.


The three maple syrup varieties Рblond, copper, amber Рare each $20 and can be purchased online.

20 Below: Tablet Case

How hooked up to tech are you? I’m fairly attached to my MacBook and my iPhone, but that’s about it. I don’t have a tablet, Kindle, Kobo, or iPad. Am I missing out on something amazing?

I guess if I do end up getting some other techy gadget, it would give me an excuse to get a cool case for it. It’s all about the accessories, right?


Tech-Ray vision tablet case, $5.99 (on sale), ModCloth

20 Below: Dap Caulking

Little did I know that a few months after taking this photo¬†of rows of DAP¬†caulking I’d be loading up my shopping cart with it. That’s what a reno will do – it’ll force you to learn about things like caulking.


DAP Caulking, $2.88

I am looking forward to meeting the DAP at BlogPodium this upcoming weekend. Thanks in advance to DAP for sponsoring the event.

20 Below: Vileda

I have recently (as in this past weekend) realized that I actually like mopping. I think my new interest in mopping is really because of my new Vileda supplies*. I have the super twist mop and the quick ring pail and both are working out very well so far. And both are available for under $20.


Vileda Super Twist Mop, $9.67Vileda-pail



Vileda Quick Wring Pail, $9.67

These are the first Vileda products I’ve owned (I think). Does anyone have any experience with other products from this brand?

*This is not a sponsored post.

20 Below & Giveaway: Palomino Blackwing Pearl Pencils

By the time you read this I will be in London, Ontario, presenting my 5 years of PhD work to a conference room of examiners. I’m emotional. I’m nervous, excited, happy, sad, proud, confident, and scared. I’m mostly thrilled. If I am successful then I will change my name to Dr. Jordana. If I am unsuccessful, I will cry.¬†Please send positive vibes my way. A lot of them s’il vous plait!


It seems quite fitting that on this very important day (keep calm, carry on) I write a post about office supplies. I have used SO many different types of office supplies in my 12 years of post-secondary education. Today I’m sharing some news about pencils. Beautifully functioning white¬†pencils. The best. They are the¬†Palomino Blackwing¬†Pearl pencils. Palomino just introduced this line of pencils and anyone who loves design and the smooth writing style will be sure to pick up packages of these!

BlackwingPearlCroppedPalomino Blackwing Pearl pencils, $19.95 for 12, Palomino

For those of you who love history…”The Blackwing pencil was first manufactured in the 1930s by Eberhard Faber, but was discontinued in 1998 when the machine that created the distinctive square ferrule (the crimped metal that holds the eraser) broke and could not be repaired.” What happened next? Well, Palomino bought the brand, sorted out the ferrule manufacturing, and brought the pencil back! There’s more to¬†learn about¬†the Blackwing legend¬†and about who uses this pencil.

The Palomino Blackwing Pearl can be bought online at Pencils. If you’re in the Toronto area, you can buy Palomino at the following supply stores:

1. Phidon Pens Limited (Cambridge)
2. Laywine’s (Toronto)
3. Midoco Art & Office Supplies (Toronto)
4. The Paper Place (Toronto)
5. Wonder Pens (Toronto)

Did I jump at the chance to test these out? Of course I did! And I’m a fan. They function beautifully and the square ferrule stands out in my collection of classic HB2 pencils!

And now – here’s a chance for¬†you to test them out too…


Palomino is offering to send one lucky winner a package of the new Palomino Blackwing Pearl pencils. To enter this giveaway, simply finish¬†the following statement: The last thing I wrote by hand was…. Add your sentence to the comment section below. Contest ends on Monday August 26, 2013. This contest is open to readers in North America. Good luck and happy writing!

Thank you to Palomino & Kim S. for offering this giveaway.

20 Below: Wall Plugs

There are at least 4 different colours and styles of switch plates, covers, plugs, and switches in my new house. They are making me crazy! I need to change them all to white. It’s the little things that make the big difference right?

RER15-BWW_withWallplate_4Leviton Renu receptacle, $3.78

I haven’t counted how many I need but I’m sure it’s somewhere around 30. I’ll check back in with the final count one of these days.


20 Below: Not a Spatula

So…there’s some wallpaper to take down in my new home. The first layer of the printed paper comes off easily and then there’s a second layer – the adhesive layer? – that needs a bit of elbow grease. It hasn’t been that bad actually because I’ve used a wallpaper remover concoction made up a spray bottle full of warm water mixed liquid fabric softener (thanks for the tip Anita!). Once the adhesive layer is nice and damp, I take a spatula to it!





Stanley wall scraper, $7.49US, Staples

I recently learned that the official name of this handy gadget is “wall scraper”. Should’ve known.

20 Below: Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

We just finished a long weekend here in Canada and I used a lot of my free time to catch up on some reading.

I am just about finished Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In and I highly recommend it. Sheryl Sandberg, COO at Facebook, shares her experiences as a woman in the business world and gives advice to readers about going for what you want, valuing your skills, and taking initiative to explore new opportunities. She urges women to recognize their potential and to speak up. Instead of holding back, as many women do (and studies suggest as much), Sheryl Sandberg encourages us to “lean in”.


Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, $15.92, Indigo

I’m curious to know if any of you have read it. What did you think?

20 Below: Izola Travel Cups

Izola‘s stainless steel collapsible travel cup is the perfect gift for the avid traveller in your life. It’s easy to throw in a carry-on bag whether you’re travelling across the world or off on a weekend camping trip. Two thumbs up for the design and function of this little accessory.

Travelcup4_large salut_and_box_white_600_large

Izola travel cup, $18 US

Want to see the cup in action? Have a look at this video (with one of my favourite songs!):

Have a look at what other Izola items I’ve had my eye on here and here.

Many thanks to Lauren at Izola for sending this my way.

20 Below: Natural Cleaning Bottle

Spring is (almost) here. Time to get a-cleaning!


 cleaning bottle, $12.66, Crate & Barrel

I like this concept of a cleaning bottle. It comes with a recipe book of natural cleaning solutions. The all-in-one bottle has a built-in lemon juicer which not only looks cool but probably serves its purpose quite well. What do you think? What are your own favourite cleaning products?


20 Below: DIY Tennis Dresses

I started tennis lessons last night. Oh, what fun! I’ve played tennis before but I’ve only ever taken lessons once as a child. I was happy to discover that my moves on the tennis court are decent but I’m definitely looking forward to improving my backhand as it’s beyond weak at the moment.

So it may come as no surprise that last night’s tennis lesson has provided the inspiration for today’s post. Aren’t these vintage tennis dress patterns awesome? I spent more time than I meant to browsing the pattern selection on Etsy this morning. It’s so interesting to see how the styles change over the years. The white fabric options remain pretty consistent (woohoo!).

tennis dress pattern_1968

tennis dress pattern (1968), $7

tennis dress pattern

tennis dress pattern (1960s), $12.55 

tennis dress pattern_2

vintage tennis dress pattern (1975), $4

tennis outfit pattern

retro tennis outfit pattern (1971), $4.50

tennis dress pattern

vintage tennis dress pattern (1973), $5

tennis dress pattern

tennis dress pattern (1970s), $6.25

tennis dress pattern 1978

tennis dress pattern (1978), $7

Let’s face it – half the fun of tennis is the outfits. Right?

20 Below: Planning a Cloth Napkin DIY

Anyone who has eaten a meal at my place or has eaten lunch with me at work knows that I use cloth napkins for everyday – not just for “fancy” times. I switched to cloth napkins about five years ago and I have two main sets – both white (one set from my mom and one set from Johanne – they both know me so well!). I find cloth napkins really nice to use – why wipe your mouth with rough paper napkins when you can use cotton? I wash them often and I iron them sometimes.

I’m now inspired to make myself a new set of (mostly) mis-matched napkins like Elsie did from A Beautiful Mess. She bought her fabric from Etsy shop Stash Modern Fabric and so I obviously had to browse the shop to see what fabrics might suit me.

s Canvas

Painter’s Canvas

Summersville fabric

Summersville Spring Collection


Architextures Collection

Metro LIving Circles

Metro Living Circles

Prices for half a yard of each of these fabrics range from $4.50-$5.00 (USD).

I haven’t yet decided if I’m going to order fabric directly from this Etsy shop or from Fabricland but I do know that my new napkins will be black and white (surprise!). And if I’m feeling wild, I might just add some red. Woah.