Blog Spotlight

Sponsor Love 2017

As has been my tradition for the last few years, I’m ending this year with a post featuring the brands I’ve been fortunate to work with in 2017. Each year, I am grateful for meeting amazing, intelligent, and interesting brand reps, company owners, and press team members who teach me more about the blogger-brand partnership and who are keen on working on creative projects. I have worked with some of these brands for years now, and I’m certainly happy about our relationships.

Audi KW

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Caribou Cabin

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Fairmont Montebello

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Hotel Henry

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L.L. Bean

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Loews Vanderbilt Hotel

full post to come in January


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Ritz Carlton

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Smith Publicity

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I look forward to partnering with old and new brands in 2018 to continue to share with you interesting products and helpful services in the marketplace as well as travel itineraries that encourage you to explore the world. I’m always eager to learn something new, to experience something new, and to return to ol’ favourites.

Thanks, dear sponsors, for supporting my work here at White Cabana, and thanks, dear readers, for making time in your day to visit White Cabana.

Sponsors listed in alphabetical order. All photos are my own (except the LLBean photo). See Sponsor Love 2016, Sponsor Love 2015, and Sponsor Love 2014.

Please Vote for White Cabana!

As you may remember, this here blog has been nominated for an Amara Interior Blog Award (woohoo!) in the Best Colour Inspiration Blog category. There are only a few more weeks for the Amara Interior Blog Awards voting period, and I’d be thrilled if you could take a moment to vote!

The #IBA17 awards have a lot going on! There are over 800 blogs nominated across 10 categories. Isn’t that amazing? There are so many beautiful blogs in the round-up, so I would strongly encourage you to have a browse, learn something new, and vote for some very deserving bloggers!

Thanks for your support!

News: Amara Interior Blog Award

I know last week was a little light on the blog posts. I didn’t mean for this to happen, but it did. I’m back on top of things this week, and it’s going to be quite the week of fun posts! I’m starting off with super news –

I’ve been nominated for an Amara Interior Blog Award for the Best Colour Inspiration Blog category. Fun, right? I’m super pumped, so thanks to the kind person who nominated me!

I’d love your support for this award, so if you feel so inclined, would you please click on over to my Amara IBA voting page and cast your vote? Pretty please!?

As per usual, there are a ton of amazing blogs to discover and support in the Amara IBA awards, so I would encourage you to browse and vote as much as you can!

Thanks, as always, for making White Cabana part of your day! And thanks for casting your vote!

p.s. Tell your friends, family, and colleagues, too!



Blog Link-Up: Best Purchase of 2016

I’m thrilled to participate in a blog link-up today which was organized by Erica over at Luv in the Bubble. It’s been a while since I’ve taken part in a link-up, and this one has come at an ideal time! I’ve been on the look-out for new-to-me blogs this month, and many of these are just that.


Erica took a page out of Victoria and Meg’s link-up ideas, and invited bloggers to talk about our “best purchase of 2016.”


I have two – two very different – purchases to share today.


1. My Princess Bed


I declared 2016 as The Year of My Bed. I was tired (finally) of sleeping on a double mattress from my grad school days, and I needed a full upgrade on my sleep situation. I had my heart set on a French style bed with curved footboard. While I wasn’t particular about the colour or finish (anything can be painted), I absolutely wanted – had to have – a curved footboard.


I scoured online retailers and second-hand sites for months (and months and months and months), and I was about to settle for a newly produced bed (which would set me back thousands of dollars and would still need a paint job), when I put a tweet out into the world (aka Oprah’s vision board approach) asking for the world to send me the French bed of my dreams.


Can you guess what happened about a week or so after that tweet?


The world sent me the French bed of my dreams! Curved headboard. White-ish in colour. Gorgeous wood carvings. Oh man. It’s dreamy! After an evening of stressful bidding via online auction, the bed was mind. Credit card was charged. Shipping was arranged. The. Bed. Was. Mine.


This bed is pure magic. It’s unique and interesting and French and lovely.
The bed purchase led to a new mattress purchase which led to the purchase of a pair of vintage night tables which led to new lamps and artwork and styling. I wanted 2016 to be the year of the bed, and it was!


2. My Vintage Peugeot Bicycle


A rusty barely-functional white 1975 Peugeot came into my life via a Kijiji ad. I was hesitant that the bike could become shiny and functional, but my friends at Berlin Bicycle Cafe worked their magic, and the bike was restored.

My vintage Peugeot is glorious! Before I bought it, I had absolutely no idea what fun it would bring me. I had a mountain bike, but it was heavy and clunky. My Peugeot is light, French, and comfortable.


In the spring and summer, this bike takes me places (#WhiteCabanaBikes), and I feel so grateful that it has encouraged me to discover new-to-me trails in my city, meet cycle enthusiasts, and learn about products to improve the function (and style) of my bike. My Brooks seat and grips are extremely comfortable, and the gold Basil bell brings bling to my bike. Mostly, I’m happy to leave my car at home while I ride my Peugeot around town to do errands and see friends. It has certainly improved my quality of life!


Before you carry on with your day, have a poke around these other blogs to read other bloggers’ stories.


Thanks again to Erica for organizing this link-up!
















A Question For You

I’m curious – what are your blog reading routines? How do you read your faves? When do you read them?

I read my blogs every morning during breakfast. And I love this routine.

In general, I read blogs by clicking on my blogroll rather than via email or blog reader (old fashioned way, I guess, but it works for me).

I know some bloggers have reduced the weekly frequency of posting, but I’m still of the belief that daily blogging is the way to go. Blogging takes a lot of time, effort, thought, and creativity, yes, so I can definitely see why bloggers scale back and publish just a few times a week, but as a reader, I much prefer seeing new content every day (even if it’s not an in-depth thought-provoking essay about life) than clicking on a blog and seeing a weeks-old post. I’ve actually stopped clicking on many of my once-favourite blogs because I don’t want to be disappointed by landing on an old post.

Maybe if I went the blog reader route, then I would not have to pay so much attention to individual blogger’s posting schedules or get click happy only to be disappointed with weeks-old content.

But I don’t. I click on posts. And I like to see something new each day. Am I asking too much? Are my expectations for the 2017 blogging world too high?

What do you think?

via Homey Oh My

I’m now looking to expand my blogroll and learn about new-to-me bloggers. This is where you come in.

What are your daily/weekly must-read blogs?

What blogs do you love? Why should I love them, too?

I would be so thrilled if you shared your blog recommendations in the comments, so we can all benefit!





2016: Some Highlights

Yesterday, I gave a massive shout-out to all the brands I have been fortunate to work with in 2016. Several collaborations were the result of years-long relationships, and others were brand new experiences for which I am very grateful.

Today, I wanted to share some highlights from the year.

    • Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation: Because of generous donations from family and friends, as well as an October fundraising effort on my blog and social media (#WhiteCabanaWearsPink), I was able to donate over $1200 to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Amazing! In addition to the monetary donation, I ran 5K (my first in a long while) for the CIBC Run for the Cure here in Kitchener-Waterloo, and it felt great to be running alongside survivors and supporters.
    • WhiteCabanaxStephenHawes: What started out as an informal “have you ever considered…” conversation with one of my MBA colleagues turned into an amazing collaboration with Waterloo potter Stephen Hawes. The first WhiteCabanaxStephenHawes collection was on sale for one week at the Robert Langen Art Gallery at Wilfrid Laurier University. The collection sold out! Happy! Happy!
    • Thanks to an amazing collaboration with, I was able to tour Italy for 2 weeks with my Dad. Among many cool adventures, I attended a reunion lunch in Rimini with his highschool friends, and spent some time in Florence with one of his best highschool friends, and my cousin came along, too.
    • Langdon Hall: I have such admiration for Langdon Hall. The place is warm, the people are friendly, and the food is divine. Just last month, I was invited to an incredible dinner with Chefs Jason Bangerter (of Langdon Hall) and Jackie Lin (of Toronto’s Shousin). This was an evening that I’ll remember (and talk about) for a long while!
    • Blogger meet-ups: The online blogging community has paved the way for¬† real-life friendships. Our meet-ups have extended beyond brand media events, and I’m so thankful to have such warm and kind people in my life.
    • Triathlon relay: This was a last-minute decision, but I’m so glad my friends and I braved the rain to complete our first triathlon relay. My friend Chris was a great swim coach, and TYR generously sponsored our wetsuits for the event. While the swim didn’t go as smoothly as I had expected (ew-dark lake water), it was a positive experience, and I’m even considering doing it again next summer.

How about you? What were your White Cabana highlights? What posts were memorable? What did you enjoy reading?

Thanks to you, dear readers, for joining me on this journey in white!

via Minted






Personal: White Cabana is up for an Amara Blogger Award!

Last week was pretty darn exciting in my blog life as my nomination for an Amara Interior Blogger award went live! I’m up for an award in the Best International Interiors Blog award, and I couldn’t be more pumped. I’m in the company of some amazing Canadian and other international bloggers, and I feel so darn grateful.

Amara-Interiors-Blog-Awards-1Voters (aka you!) have until September 9th to cast your ballots in this and all categories, so get to it. If you feel like I’m deserving, please please please vote for me (here)! And check out all the other categories, too! Some blogs, I’m sure you’ll recognize, and many will also be new to you. Who doesn’t love more reading material and online inspiration? I can’t be the only one, surely.Amara-Interiors-Blog-Awards-2

Once voting ends on September 9th, the top 5 bloggers in each category move on to the next round Рthe expert judging panel. Shortlists are announced on September 14th,  judging day is September 21st, and the awards ceremony Рin London, UK Рis on October 20th.

So, if all you do today is to vote for White Cabana, then I think that would be a day well spent. Yes?

p.s. Tell your friends, colleagues, and family members to vote, too.



The Friday Five: Faves from the One Room Challenge

If you’re in the design or blogging world, you’ve likely already heard of the One Room Challenge. The ORC, as it is also called, gives designers, bloggers, and design enthusiasts a challenge to make over a room in a 6-week period. Challenge is right. As an observer, I love to see the transformations. I think just about any before-and-after is dramatic, even if they don’t include professional photography sessions that sometimes happen with the ORC rooms.

There’s a select group of 20 designers/enthusiasts who are officially ORC participants, and then there are another 200 or so (I think) who are guest participants. It’s all very fascinating, if you ask me. People really get into it, and the participants are fairly open about sharing their design vision and process.

Here are five end products that really caught my attention, but I would encourage you to check out all the ORC featured designers and guest participants if you’re looking to be inspired by traditional/modern/interesting design!


powder room, Wife in Progress (that floor!)


sun porch, Worthwhile Domicile (those shelves! that ceiling height!)


teen room, Vanessa Francis Design
(I love the addition of the trumpet and the story that goes with)


bedroom, Love on Sunday (I love Amy’s use of textures in her white bedroom.)


bathroom, Simplified Bee (such a luxurious shower space!)

A 6-week timeline for a room make-over…could you do it? Have you done it?

The Friday Five: My Mom’s Favourite Blogs – 2016 edition

For the last couple of years, I’ve given space on White Cabana on the Friday before Mother’s Day to my mom. She’s an avid blog reader, has her favourites, and for the last few years, I’ve asked her to share with us what she’s been reading (see her 2015 favourites, 2014 favourites, 2013 favourites). Carrying on with this tradition, I’ve asked her about what she’s been reading online in 2016, and here are five of the blogs she reads regularly:

1. The Enchanted Home


via The Enchanted Home

2. Our French Oasis


via Our French Oasis

3. Little Green Notebook


via Little Green Notebook

4. Preppy Empty Nester


via Preppy Empty Nester

5. Mark D. Sikes


via Mark D. Sikes

My mom has a traditional and rich design aesthetic. She veers towards quality and pieces of interest, and she’s always on the hunt for a deal. Much of the furniture that I have in my own home is a result of my mom’s amazing furniture research skills (thanks, Mom!).

My mom knows so much about design, and I definitely go to her for design advice. Should I hang this piece of art here? What kind of night stands do you think I should get? Could you keep an eye out for a great bed? Mom, I need a patio set. Can you look for one for me? Many of my conversations with my mom are full of these types of questions!

Since the invention of blogs, she’s grasped on and has several bloggers who she just adores. In addition to the five I’ve listed above, my mom also reads several others regularly (including some of my real life blogging friends! Yay!), so consider this a bonus five for today’s Friday Five:

Design Maze
Rambling Renovators
Celebrating This Life
Brooklyn Limestone
My French Country Home

Thanks, Mom, for sharing your blog reads with us today!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Sponsor Love 2015 Edition

The year started off so incredibly well with regards to sponsorship and brand collaborations for me and my blog. I’m so grateful for all the goodness that has come my way in 2015, and I am very much looking forward to a fruitful 2016.

Over the past 12 months, I was able to connect with many well-respected brands that have impressive histories and are forward-thinking. Would you care to walk with me down sponsor memory lane? Please, let’s!

four-points-sheraton-kingstonFour Points by Sheraton Kingston (post)

posterjack-logoPosterjack (post, post)

logo-altTimbuk2 (post)

Land-of-Nod-logoLand of Nod (post, post)

Scandinave-Spa-LogoScandinave Spa (post)

Minted-logoMinted (post, post, post, IG post, IG post)

Langdon-Hall-logoLangdon Hall (post, post)

TomTom-logoTomTom (post, post, post, IG post)

TYR-logoTYR (post)

Stratford-Festival-logoStratford Festival (post)

LLBean-logoL.L. Bean (post)

Centre-in-the-Square-logoCentre in the Square (post)

KW-Symphony-LogoKW Symphony (post)

Happy New Year, dear sponsors!

Marketplace: Sabri Studio

If you’re already shopping around for Christmas gifts, I’d like to suggest you have a look at Toronto-based blogger Fatima Sabri’s new shop. Fatima and I met a few years ago through blogger events, and last year Fatima wrote a guest post right here on White Cabana (read this).

I’m happy to see Fatima’s launch of Sabri Studio, an online shop featuring her photographs and stationery collection (including the ever-so-needed agenda book!).

24palm trees art, from $29.99

16palm tree notepad, $9.99

19don’t forget notepad, $9.99 (this was made for people like me!)

17kiss kiss notepad, $9.99

Check out the full collection of art and stationery at Sabri Studio. If you see something you like, now is the time to get it, since White Cabana readers get 10% off (enter the code whitecabana10). This discount deal ends at midnight on November 22nd.

Images courtesy of Sabri Studio.

Blog Linkup: Goals for Fall

It’s been a few months since I participated in the B Bar’s blogger linkup. I know I missed a month, and then Victoria and Meg took a summer vacation, but here we are now! Ready to roll!

This month, the ladies have asked us


Well, well, fall is only a couple of months long over on my side of the world, so I really only have time to achieve a random collection of short-term goals (warning: images are not as pretty as my usual posts #thisisreallife).

1.¬†Fireplace Re-vamp: Complete my fireplace re-vamp. Since these last photos, I have painted the 80s gold a matte black, and I think I’m going to love it. I have also started re-working an old mantle that I’d like to put in place. A few more modifications are necessary before I install it (with my dad’s help, of course).

White-Cabana-fireplace-1 White-Cabana-fireplace-2 2. Chair-turned-luggage-rack DIY: I’d like to finish up the makeover on my two chair-turned-luggage rack/stools. They need a fresh coat of high gloss black paint, then strapping, then some sort of seat/cushion/fabric covering.

White-Cabana-stools-13. Bootie-licious: Booties are all the rage this fall, and I’m on the hunt for a comfortable, stylish, and affordable leather pair. A frivolous goal, yes, but it still counts, right?

4. Traveling South: I’m planning a road trip to the south, and I hope I can follow-through with all my travel goals. I’m starting off with a family visit in Chapel Hill, NC, then off to High Point for High Point Market, then Charleston, SC, and Savannah, GA. I’m sort of cheating with this goal because the plan is already in the works.

5. Trail exploration: I’m looking forward to learning more about Kitchener-Waterloo this fall. I have recently discovered that the trail beside the train tracks uptown has been extended (yay!). My walks are taking me to new neighbourhoods, and this makes me happy!

6. Symphony: I’m set to attend the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony a couple of times this fall, and I’m really looking forward to experiencing something that I’ve never experienced before. The concerts are held at the Centre in The Square, and even though I’ve lived in Waterloo for more than two years, I’ve never been. This fall, I’m going!

KW Symponyphoto via KW Symphony

So that’s what I’ve been thinking about for the fall. Honestly, I still feel like I’m in summer mode…it hasn’t quite set in that fall is here.

As per the linkup tradition, I would encourage you to read about my fellow bloggers’ goals:

Annie Reeves
26 and Not Counting
Alyssa J Freitas
Carly Blogs
Feathers and Stripes
Carrie Loves
White Oak Creative
Sequins & Strawberries
Pieced Together
Knowing Kelly
Something Good
Life By Bri
My Beauty Cloud
La Vie Petite
Wealthy in Health
White Cabana
Mrs. on the Move
Boys and Bombshells
Life Modifier
Everyday Cuvée
A Little Leopard
Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough
L is for Lucy
Cori’s Corner
Beauty and the Pitch
Dreams and Colour Schemes
Lights Camera Catwalk
Pattern Me Pretty
A Few of My Favorite Things
Chic Glamorous and Splendid
She’s All Smiles
Suzy Speaks
Luv in the Bubble
The Minimalist

Read my previous linkups here: January, February, April, May, June. Thanks to Meg and Victoria for bringing us all together again this month.

Fashion: White on White on White

Summer is the absolute perfect time to dawn white (on white on white on white). New-to-me blogger Judith Jones’s (Joie de Jude) approach to fashion is completely inspiring. I think she pulls pieces together so beautifully, and there’s nothing fussy or complicated about her outfits. Have a look:

G2aA-750x941via Joie de Jude

Y7a-696x1024via Joie de Jude

696A5278AB-694x1024via Joie de Jude

Y13A2-750x511via Joie de Jude

696A1747ABC-750x537via Joie de Jude

This girl’s got style!

Blog Linkup: Summer Essentials

I almost missed this month’s linkup announcement over at The Well. I must already be in summer mode! This month, Meg and Victoria posed this question for us:


After last month’s tough question, I was happy to see this one. This one is easy for me to answer because I absolutely loooooove the summer! I’m pretty sure that it’s because my birthday is in July, there are plenty of warm sunny days, and I have had summer months off from school and work for pretty much all of my life. Summer. Nothing beats it. Wish we had a few more months of it!

Anyhoo, so, on to my summer essentials (apparently I have quite a few). Here. We. Go.

1. Open windows. I love having my windows open and letting the breeze flow through my home.


2. Passport. My passport is always ready to go, but the summer is the most convenient season for me to take a vacation, so I always do. Lucky me!

img17cvia Mark & Graham

3. Bathing suit. I do not have an extensive bathing suit collection, but I put every piece to very good use all summer long. I typically wear navy or black suits, but I’m also open to colour.

NMZ14RZ_mkGucci bikini, via Neiman Marcus

4. Havaianas. I basically live in them during the summer months. I know I should probably up my footwear game, but these flip flops are perfect for grocery store runs, lounging around the pool in Florida, and hitting up garage sales. I currently have brown, black, and orange in rotation, but I think I should invest in a red or fuchsia pair. Maybe even a white pair. Beyond that, by the time June rolls around, I’m just so tired of wearing socks and closed toe shoes (and boots!). My feet need air!

HavaianasWomen-Havaianas40000290001356_medium_PRODUCT_TOP_8261via Havaianas

5. Sangria. Red. White. It doesn’t matter. I just love it. I think this is because when I was in my early 20s, I traveled around Spain for a few weeks with my pen pal (Yes, I have a pen pal. Hi Vanessa!), and I was introduced to this delicious summer bevvie.

Apple-and-Pear-White-Sangria-finalvia Love Grows Wild

6. Hammock. I won a hammock last summer over at Lindsay’s blog, and I just can’t get enough of it. It’s the ultimate backyard perch.

hammock-White-Cabanalook at how relaxed I look

7. Ice cream. I love eating ice cream in the summer. When we’re in Florida, my friend Shannon and I stock the freezer with loads of flavours, and slowly quickly eat our way through everything. It’s glorious. The Magnum mini is my current favourite, but I definitely don’t limit myself to just this type.

Product_varietymini116-745979via Magnum

8. Panama hat. I picked up my Panama hat in New Orleans a few years ago, and I just love it. It’s way better than my winter toque!

White-Cabana-Jordana-2here’s a selfie from New Orleans

9. White shirts, tanks, and tees. I can never have too many of these in my wardrobe! I add new versions to my collection each summer (well, every season, really…I do wear a lot of white).

cn9151519the Gap remains one of my favourite go-to tee shot

10. Camera. I got a new camera recently, but I have yet to really figure out how it works. I am really looking forward to playing around with it this summer. If anyone has a good DSLR how-to book recommendation, please let me know!

white-cabana-camera11. Books. Stacks and stacks of reading material for at home and on vacation. I’ve been going to the library every week all winter long, and I’m planning on continuing this habit over the next few months/forever. The Waterloo Public Library is fantastic.


12. Mozzarella. Any cheese. Any time. Right? Mozzarella is on the top of my cheese buying list because it will go so well with the tomatoes and basil that are growing in my garden. Hello caprese salad, I’ve missed you!

18734e475c3f5c0098996724457d9062via Local Lemons

13. Bicycle. It’s so handy to take my bike around town, and I hope to do it as often as I can this summer. Nothing fancy. Just leisurely rides around town to get my errands done. A Beach Cottage

I guess that’s about it for now in terms of summer essentials. What about you? What’s on the top of your essential list?

As per the linkup tradition, I would encourage you to read through the essential items of my fellow bloggers:

26 and Not Counting
Alyssa J Freitas
soak and simmer
The Not Quite Adult
Carrie Loves
The Yuppie Files
Knowing Kelly
Something Good
Feathers and Stripes
Cassandra Monroe
Sunny Side Up
Life Modifier
Leigh Clair
Rae Loves
Rose Colored Water
Fashion to a T
Emilie Lima Burke
Ember & March
Business Betties
with love from ellie
Mint Julep Girl
Love Peace and shimmer
Rae Everyday
Little Wild Heart
star-crossed smile
Luv in the Bubble
Perfect Enough For Us
Sorcha Eleanor
Dreams and Colour Schemes
Elana Lyn
Sequins & Strawberries
Pattern Me Pretty
Beauty and the Pitch
White Oak Creative
The Toppy Top
White Cabana
In The Grey
Taryn Williford
Cooper + Thames
Mrs. on the Move
Magnificent Temptations
Meg Biram
Victoria McGinley

Read my previous linkups here: January, February, April, May. Thanks to Meg and Victoria for bringing us all together again this month.

Blog Linkup: Preparing for the Future

May’s linkup is focused on the future. Meg and Victoria from The B Bar have posed the following two questions:



These are tough questions to answer, let me tell you! Stop for a moment and think about them. What are you doing now to prepare for your future (career, life, business, etc.)? Is it an easy answer? And the second question? Not that easy, right? Take a moment before or after reading my comments to answer these questions for yourself. You may decide to write them down so that your plans (current and future) are more visible to you and others.

Here’s what I’ve been thinking about.


Career & Education: In terms of my career, well, I only began it two years ago! While many of my friends have been in their careers for over a decade, I’m just getting started in mine. Sort of. I’ve treated my graduate student life as my work life, so I just like to think that I’ve just followed a less traditional career path for the last decade. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Completing my PhD two years ago was definitely one of my greatest achievements!

Since I’m a professional student, I began yet another degree this past September. I’m now nearing the end of my first year of an MBA program. Business is completely new to me, but my coursework is moving along relatively well. My days and nights are full, and my brain is getting quite the work out, let me tell you! Learning about the business world from my professors and classmates has been interesting. I am definitely motivated to build my skill set and apply what I’m learning to my daily life (both work and blog lives).


Money & Savings: I have a decent sized list of things that I would like to do/buy/accomplish in the next year, and I have tried to estimate how much each project/event/item/trip might cost, so that I can plan accordingly. I have really tried to prioritize my wish list items, but it’s so easy to get distracted! I’ve always loved to travel, and there are so many places that I’d like to visit in the next few years. Japan, for example, is definitely calling my name, and I’d really love to get over there sometime in 2016!

AREAWARE_PigBank_HARPW_white_silo_web_largeHarry Allen for Areaware Piggy Bank

Blog: After 5 years of White Cabana, I am still really loving my blogger life. I like to write,¬† share, meet new people, and talk about design. This blog lets me to all of these things. I also like autonomy and to be the boss – I have both of these things right here. I maintain a relatively unstructured approach to blogging because so much of the rest of my life is uber-organized. That said, I take my blogging life seriously, and I am proud of the connections that I have made with brands and bloggers. I have steadily built my portfolio of collaborative projects, and I hope this work continues. I think critically about what I post and for what purpose. It has been fascinating to see how the blogosphere has evolved, and I am grateful to have learned so much along the way (all of this advice didn’t exist when I started).

050214_arbrom1via Elisabeth Heier


Health: Living a healthy lifestyle is one of my never-fully-achieved goals. There’s always room for improvement, but its place on the priority list changes depending on the year, month, day. ūüôā In an ideal world, I’d resist chocolate cake and I’d exercise every day. For now, I’m happy to reduce my consumption of sweets (they’re so hard to resist!) and up my walking game. I’d like to get back to running (I have run a few half-marathons, believe it or not!), even really short runs, in the next few months. Let’s see what I can do!

Nike-running-shoesNike running shoes

Beauty: Just about every beauty magazine and book has stressed the importance of taking care of your skin. I’ve never been into make-up, so it’s only recently that I’ve given my skincare routine a revamp. I’ve stuck to my routine (using the Simple skincare line) for a few years now, and (I think) my skin is happier. I think I now need to work on wearing a daily SPF/facial moisturizer now that the sun actually stays out all day long (even though I know the sun’s ray penetrate in the winter months too).

010-master-bath-makeup-vanity-700x873via Sketch 42

Money & Savings: I’m going to keep saving! Of course!

df9c6b3eb3a27c2e1ecfa99f6fdb1b14via Sebastien Errazuriz

Blog: I’m looking at another blog redesign. Mostly, I’d like to increase the responsiveness of my blog on various tech gadgets and adjust the format a bit. I have ideas, but I need a bit of time to carry out my plan. If you’re a blogger, you might enjoy Victoria’s take on the future of blogging.

Sugar-Papervia Sugar Paper

So, there you have it – a bit of a mix of what I’m doing now and what I’d like to start doing in order to plan for my future.

As always, a group of very talented bloggers are taking part in this month’s linkup. Have a read through their posts:

Meg Biram
Liska Monet
26 and Not Counting
soak and simmer
Knowing Kelly
Carrie Loves
Alyssa J Freitas
Manifest Yourself
Rae Loves
White Cabana
The Yuppie Files
Little Wild Heart
Life Modifier
The Not Quite Adult
Random Little Faves
Perfect Enough For Us
Always, Anita
Feathers and Stripes
Something Good
The Golden Letter
Leigh Clair
York Avenue
Sequins & Strawberries
Emilie Lima Burke
with love from ellie
Bite My Fashion
White Oak Creative
xo lacey
Whitney Bangel Blog
always craving
Evann Clingan
Turning the Corner…Fearlessly!
Beauty and the Pitch

Happy reading!

Interested in reading more? Here are the blog linkup posts from January (invaluable purchase), February (Instagram), and April (work-life balance).
Thanks to Meg & Victoria for organizing another thoughtful linkup this month.

The Friday Five: My Mom’s Favourite Blogs

How long does it take for something to become a tradition? For the last two years, my mom has shared her top blogs/websites with White Cabana readers on the Friday before Mother’s Day. She’s ready to take over the blog again today. I’d say that this has now turned into a traditional post, wouldn’t you?

When I asked my mom for her top five blogs, she obviously could not resist expanding her list to her top six. Such a classic Italian mom – always filling your plate with more!

Here they are, in no particular order:

1. The Enchanted Home

IMG_1690-768x1024via My Enchanted Home

2. Mark D. Sikes

House Beautiful HD #42 1108_AN_HouseBeautifulvia Mark. D. Sikes

3. Thistlewood Farms

farmhouse-kitchen-decorvia Thistlewood Farms

4. Preppy Empty Nester

kitch5via Preppy Empty Nester

5. Summer in Newport

August Wren-artAugust Wren via Summer in Newport

6. Jenny Steffens Hobick

spring-pasta-peas-prosciuttvia Jenny Steffens Hobick

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! Thanks for sharing your reads with us!

I wish you all a wonderful weekend!

Read my mom’s blog and website picks from 2013 and 2014.

Blog Linkup: How do you achieve work/life balance?

For this month’s blog linkup, Victoria and Meg have called bloggers to answer the question:


This is such a hot topic and, from what I’ve read, a real biggie for Gen Xs and Gen Ys. Those of us who fall into one of these categories are perhaps more interested in achieving work/life balance than any of other generation. I’m not a perfect example of someone who has completely succeeded with work/life balance, but these are some of the things I do to keep things in check.


I’m the type of person who takes on a whole lot. I like being involved, I like making important contributions to my work, I can’t seem to stop pushing myself education-wise, I don’t like missing events, and I like to be in-the-know. In general, I sort of compartmentalize my general activities (work, school, blogging, social time, relaxation time), so that I devote a certain amount of time to each activity. The areas can overlap, but if I keep the tasks in “boxes,” I feel like I can focus. While this organizational approach might make me inflexible (yes, it’s true), it also means that I ensure that I can more easily control where and how I devote my energy (at least I try).


Following up on the compartmentalization strategy, I regularly set time limits for my work/life tasks. Doing this forces me to accomplish what I need to accomplish. Blogging, for example, could easily take over every spare moment, but if I let it do so, I wouldn’t have time for any other work or leisure activities that I enjoy. I (generally) keep blogging time to first thing in the morning and the weekend (although it definitely does creep into various other times throughout each day and week!).


I am a believer in the power of The To Do List. I usually have one for each major part of my life – work, school, blogging, personal – and they help me stay organized (and balanced). There is no way I could remember everything that I have to do, want to do, need to buy, etc., without these lists. I generally keep daily to do lists, but I also plan out weekly lists (especially during busy times). There’s always an ongoing random list, too.

il_570xN.619074542_gcx5 to do list

Vacation time, alone-time, and relaxation time are very important to me, and if I feel like I’m getting stressed, anxious, tired, or irritable, I try to make sure I have some of this time carved out into my week or month.

PHC-GOA-IVY-2passport holder

My friends and family live in various cities, and while I love to spend time with everyone, if I feel too overwhelmed with events and obligations, I simply have to say no. It’s not that easy to say no – especially if there are a lot of fun things going on – but if I say yes to everything and push myself in every direction, I will inevitably end up feeling cranky and scattered.

il_570xN.250057485mini cards

As with the other meetups, there are a lot of other bloggers weighing in on the work/life balance questions. Read what they have to say by clicking on these links:

The B Bar
26 and Not Counting
Rae Loves
Sarah Hartley
Carrie Loves
Soak and Simmer
The Not Quite Adult
White Cabana

Alyssa J Freitas
With Love From Ellie
Cake & Lilies
Feathers and Stripes
Leigh Clair
White Oak Creative
Life Modifier
Perfect Enough for Us
Random Little Faves
Jacque Of All Trades
Business Betties
Girl for Granted
Alicia Tenise
The Yuppie Flies
It’s Droolworthy
Something Good Blog
Elana Lyn
Forth Chicago
Emilie Lima Burke
Manifest Yourself
Fit for a Bride Blog
A Little Leopard
Coral and Cognacs
Little Wild Heart
It’s Julien
Boys and Bombshell
Meg Biram
Victoria McGinley

Previous blog linkup posts: January, February.

Blog Headers 25: Mixing Things Up

Okay. I’ve got a major blog header post for you today. I learned about a lot of these at February’s blog linkup, and I’m hooked on them! These bloggers are doing some great work, and I encourage you to get a little click happy and explore.


The Design Confidential

diy life

My DIY Life


Jenn Inspired



CTL border take 5

Celebrating this Life (lifestyle)


Leigh Clair (lifestyle)


26 and Not Counting (lifestyle)


Girl for Granted (lifestyle/fashion)


Equal Parts of a Whole (lifestyle)


Liska Monet (lifestyle)


Hope Engaged (lifestyle/travel/photography)


Brikasia (beauty & lifestyle)


Carly Cristman (lifestyle)


Whitney Blake (design)

Blog Linkup: It’s all about Instagram

Last month’s blog linkup organized by Meg and Victoria at Shop the B Bar¬†was a lot of fun. I¬†was introduced to so many new-to-me bloggers, and I’ve tried my best to keep tabs on all the exciting things they’ve been doing in the areas of design, fashion, and lifestyle. Last month, we talked about some of our most essential purchases. The¬†question we are answering this month is:


First, I¬†love that “instagrammer” is now being used as a noun – casually, but still. As a language gal, this stuff fascinates me. Anyhoo, three instagrammers that I really like are:

Erica Cook – Moth Design

Erica-Cook-Moth-Design-2 Erica-Cook-Moth-Design-1 Erica-Cook-Moth-Design-3

Erica’s Instagram life is incredible. Her Calgary home is white perfection – I could buy every single thing she owns. Her style is top notch, and her love for her family (including¬†5 sons!) really shines through her¬†posts.

Kate – Always Craving

Kate-Always-Craving-2 Kate-Always-Craving-3 Kate-Always-Craving-1

I¬†learned about Chicago-based blogger Kate¬†of¬†Always Craving¬†as a result of last month’s linkup. Her Instagram photos are bright, light, and diverse. Her styling is just lovely.

French Words

French-Words-Instagram-3 French-Words-Instagram-2 French-Words-Instagram-1

I¬†know Instagram should be¬†all about photos, but I like words, and French Words posts a¬†new French word, saying, or touch of poetry every day. Simple drawings accompany some of the words as does an explanation about the words (i.e., English translation, part of speech, gender of noun). It’s simple and effective.

If you’re¬†looking to follow more IGers (we can shorten it, right?), check out what these¬†bloggers have to say:

Annie Reeves
Alyssa J Freitas
Cake & Lilies
Liska Monet
The Not Quite Adult
Equal Parts of a Whole
Carrie Loves
A Loyal Love
Paper and Skyscrapers
Glitter, Inc.
SKC Marketing
Elana Lyn
Sponsored by Coffee
Always Craving
All The Pretty Stars
Business Betties
Perfect Enough For Us
Always Anita
A Little Leopard
A Girl for Granted
Tortoise in the Sun
The Yuppie Files
Healthfully Ever After
Urban Pixxels
Roam + Golightly
Preppy Panache
Idalia Photography
Little Wild Heart
Wearing Pearls
The Everyday Adventurer
Splendor in Spanglish
Life Modifier
Post Grad in Pumps
Alessandra Marie
Random Little Faves
PR Girl Diaries
Caitlin Cawley
Modish & Main
26 and Not Counting
Pretty Much Design Studio
Grace Notes
Girl in Betsey
Something Good
Life with the Champions
Pattern Me Pretty
Simply Nicole
The Fashionable Wife
Cassandra Monroe
I Am Amber Nicole
Southland Avenue
English Mamma
Cake Over Steak
York Avenue
Jenn Inspired
Hitha on the Go
Beauty and the Pitch
Cedar and Rush
Luv in the Bubble
Des Moines Darling
Cheyenne Mojica
Step Brightly
Soak and Simmer
A Touch of Teal
Paris vs The World
Style and Free
Lovely Friend
A Few of My Favorite Things
The Blue Bijou
PR Blonde
Leigh Clair
Moonlight Chai
Meg Biram
Victoria McGinley

New Series: A Monthly Post Link-Up

As you may know,¬†we bloggers love us a good blog series. I have a couple regular columns going on at the moment – 20 Below (Tuesdays) features items in the marketplace that are less than $20, and the Friday Five¬†is a thematic collection of five things that¬†ends¬†each¬†week here on White Cabana.¬†Now, I’ll be taking part in a blogosphere-wide monthly linkup series organized by the gals over at Shop the B Bar. Each month, a group of bloggers will¬†write and publish a post around a common¬†topic. We’ll share the posts on the same day and link-up to one another so that you – and we – have a lot of interesting posts to read! The¬†monthly posts will be published on the third Wednesday of every month, so¬†mark your calendars! So, now that everyone knows what’s what, let’s get this blog linkup started.

The question that we’re answering this month is:


Interesting question, right? Oh man,¬†my house is full of stuff…I probably could¬†live without ¬†most of it, actually.¬†I’m really quite¬†organized and tidy (for the most part), but my closets, shelves, cabinets, and drawers are all full. How does this happen!? The question this month is a bit of a challenge because when I stop to think about everything I own, there are really a lot of things that I could totally live without. So, what¬†has actually become invaluable to me this year? …


GlucksteinHome flannel sheet set

Flannel sheets! Yes, flannel sheets! I feel like I’m a retiree with my flannel sheets, but they are amazing!¬†They’re not as pretty as my usual crisp white sheets, but they sure are warm. And in winter, warmth at home rules. My flannel sheets aren’t going anywhere, that’s for darn sure.

Now that you know what I’ve discovered this year,¬†check out what these other bloggers are currently coveting:

The B Bar
Girl in Betsey
Glitter & Bow
Pretty Much
Healthfully Ever After
Boulevard House
Always Craving
Southern Charm & Prints
Perfect Enough For Us
Modish & Main
Alessandra Marie
Jenn Inspired
Luv in the Bubble
A Little Leopard
All the Pretty Stars
York Avenue
PR Blonde
Alyssa J Freitas
A Loyal Love
The College Prepster
Burlap & Lace
Brunch on Chestnut
Average Girl’s Guide
The Yuppie Files
Cassandra Monroe
Always Anita
PR Girl Diaries
Life Modifier
Business Betties
Cake & Lilies
Little Wild Heart
The Not Quite Adult
Annie Reeves
Lemon Stripes
Meg Biram
Victoria McGinley

¬†I’d also love to know what item you’ll never give up. Do tell!

Blog Spotlight: Mark D. Sikes

My mom is on a roll with her¬†online discoveries. I’m such a proud daughter. This week she sent me the link to Mark D. Sikes‘ blog,¬†and I got completely sucked in. The blog oozes style and glam with a dose of chic and a splash of history. It’s awesome. Go look. (It’s not all white, but there is a lot of it floating around.)

white-fashion-1 white-fashion-2 Valentino_023_1366-490x734white-fashion-3

15-pamplemousse-design-490x392 2

3.5-jameslelanddayencore91-490x489 9-VERsny_SO12_06-490x3261

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Photos via Mark D. Sikes.


Blog Spotlight: Behind the Blog Tour

I’m interrupting the regularly scheduled “Friday Five” series today because¬†I am thrilled to be part of a “Behind the Blog” tour that Sabrina (Hands and Hustle) has organized this week. You may have seen other bloggers’ day-in-the-life contributions earlier in the week,¬†and today¬†Vanessa and I are ending the week with our behind-the-scenes look into our lives as bloggers.

Ready? Okay. Let’s go.

1. What time do you wake up and what’s a typical breakfast?

I wake up to my alarm clock at about 6:15am every¬†weekday.¬†I eat just about the same thing every day: toast with my parents’ homemade jam, berries or a fruit of some sort (I love fruit), a glass of water,¬†and a latte.


On the weekends, I often¬†have a pain au chocolat from Golden Hearth¬†Bakery after I’m done my grocery shopping at the¬†Kitchener market. I also love making¬†waffles (I use a recipe from Gourmet). Yum. I do love weekend¬†breakfasts!


2. Do you have a day job? If so, what do you do? How do you find the balance between blogging and work? What are the pros and cons? If blogging is your full-time gig, explain how that came to be.

I sometimes tell people¬†that¬†blogging is my full-time job and being a professor is my part-time gig. In reality, it’s the other way around. I¬†finished my PhD in Education last year (focused on language learning and teaching), and I currently teach¬†academic writing at university. My students call me Doctor, but my blogging friends¬†know me as the gal¬†who is obsessed with white. My two worlds rarely collide, although I’m increasingly¬†trying to make small connections between them.


Balancing blogging and work can definitely be a challenge. Giulia and I actually presented a session at BlogPodium 2013 about balancing a day job and a successful job. I’m not an expert, and I usually take on more than I should, but¬†I also really love my down-time, so I make sure I have a good chunk of it in my weeks!

I treat my blog as¬†a part-time job…a really fun, interesting, engaging, and rewarding¬†part-time job. I don’t put pressure on myself, and I am content with allowing the blog to evolve organically.¬†I try to remain professional, committed, educated, and approachable in my blogging life, just as I approach¬†my academic work.

3. Where did you grow up (what city/town, do you have siblings, can you share any stories about your upbringing)? Where do you currently reside?

I was born in Toronto, but¬†I spent the first five years of my life in Saudi Arabia (I know¬†it’s¬†a bit random). When I was five, my family¬†moved back to Toronto. I have lived in Toronto, Kingston, London, and Waterloo (all in Ontario, btw), and I have spent quite a bit of time in France and Switzerland. I currently live in Waterloo, Ontario, and I really do love living here. I used to think I was a big-city girl, but I’m not really. I completely appreciate the ease of small-towns, and the people in Waterloo are¬†so¬†kind.


via Atmosphere

Some readers may already know that I have one older sister, Corie, who recently moved with her family from Manhattan to North Carolina. Many of our FaceTime conversations revolve around design trends, blog news, or our upcoming travel plans. I am certainly looking forward to spending time with the team soon.

4. Outline your average, typical day.

Typical? I’m not sure I have any really typical days, but I guess my weekdays generally go something like this:
–¬†wake up early
– shower, get dressed

– eat breakfast, make lunch
–¬†check in on¬†Twitter and Instagram
Рupdate/check White Cabana, read a blog or two, respond to a few emails
–¬†walk to work, call¬†family members for updates
–¬†work all day¬†(with a quick break for lunch at noonish)
Рwalk home from work (I love my walking commute!)
– make dinner, eat dinner
– do a blog/social media check/update, read my mail (hopefully a magazine, too)

Рgo to class (my MBA classes began in September) or do errands or hang out with friends or do homework or blog
– check in with friends/family via texts/social media/email/phone calls
– read blogs or a book
– fall asleep

While I do respond to blog-related emails¬†and reader comments throughout the week, I spend weekend days drafting¬†upcoming posts. Because my day job can be¬†pretty hectic, I prefer to keep my blogging work¬†flexible. I don’t use an editorial calendar, for example, because I don’t want to over-schedule my life.

5. What’s your dream job/career? How are you working towards that?

When I was young, my dream job was to be an architect. That didn’t work out. I think I¬†didn’t actually know what path I needed to take to achieve this goal.

Then I¬†thought computer science was for me. Although I began my undergraduate degree with a major in¬†computer science, I realized that this wasn’t for me. Although I thought it was totally cool when I managed to make a “worm” move across the computer screen through the¬†coding I had created, my computer science program didn’t seem to promote collaboration, and I felt pretty isolated.


via Hunting for George

I sort of always knew that teaching was for me. My concurrent education program (I completed my¬†BA and BEd at the same time) was great.¬†I learned a lot and I thought that teaching elementary school would be amazing. It was…until I needed a change.

I headed to grad school…just for a bit of a break, I thought…and¬†after my Master’s degree, I went back to teaching elementary school.

I was a primary school teacher for a year after my Master’s, but I¬†became¬†quite frustrated with¬†teaching.¬†I had so many questions about education, and I didn’t have time to investigate any answers. So, I returned to my happy¬†place…university. Five more years at university and I’m now Dr. Jordana. I (mostly) loved doing my doctoral work. Those five years were hard, rewarding, interesting, engaging, and fascinating. I was happy with every project I took on.

Now, I’m doing what I love. Teaching at a university is really rewarding.¬†I learn as much from my students as they do from me, and I really do feel forever young.¬†My work is energizing, interesting, and fun.¬†Working in higher-education is fascinating and the learning never stops.

Speaking of learning, I¬†didn’t stay away from courses for too long after my PhD.¬†I am now¬†pursuing an MBA degree on a part-time basis, and I’m loving it (well, mostly loving it – who knew accounting could be¬†so tough?).¬†I’ve been asked the “How long are you going to be a professional student?” questions so many times. I think my family has finally figured out that they should stop asking.

I’m very happy where I am¬†now in life and work. That said, I probably wouldn’t say no to an academic job in, let’s say, Paris!


6. What would be your dream dinner-party guest list? Explain why you chose each person.

Oh, man, this is hard and requires much thought! I love meeting people who have diverse interests, so I would want my dinner guests to have diverse work and life experiences. For a celebrity-focused dinner party with people who are dead or¬†alive, I’d like to dine¬†with the following group, and I might¬†ask them the following questions:

Audrey Hepburn: Who is your favourite shopping partner?
Seth Godin: What book do you think everyone must read?
Martha Stewart (this would be risky; she would certainly judge my food):¬†What is the one collection you’d never give away?
Sophie Kinsella: What’s in your handbag?
Leonardo DiCaprio – Do you ever sing the Growing Pains theme song?
Gwyneth Paltrow: What’s coming up next? A GOOP store?
JD Salinger: Have you taken a ride on the Central Park merry-go-round?
Audrey Tatou: Would you ever really travel with a gnome?
Kristin Wiig: Who makes you laugh?
Ina Garten:¬†What does¬†Jeffrey cook for you when you’re off cooking duty?
Matt Damon: Do you want to come to my next dinner party?

I’m not so¬†sure how this mix of people would get along in real life, but it would be neat to ask these celebrities some¬†questions.

7. What’s one thing you’d like to start, one thing you’d like to stop, and one thing you’d like to continue?

Start: my basement renovation
Stop: complaining about things not worth complaining about (e.g., vacuuming)
Continue: to make travel plans

8. What’s your current obsession?

Design: I have been obsessed with Alessi for quite a while now.
People: I love spending time with my high-energy nephews and niece (even though they wear me out).
Food: Pizza. I could live on it.
Celebrity news: Prince William & Duchess Kate Middleton.

9. Link to 5 websites/blogs you can’t go a week without.

This is such a hard question for someone like me who reads a lot of blogs! Six of my frequent reads are:

Lark & Linen – Jacquelyn’s photos are beautiful¬†and I love her “Scenes from my Weekend” series on Mondays (which is now going to shift to “Scenes from my Week” because of Jacquelyn’s new design venture).

Rambling Renovators – Jennifer is one hard-working lady, and¬†she’s been¬†a leader for many¬†bloggers. I really look forward to her Friday Love List column.

Atlantic-Pacific – Blair Eadie’s style is top-notch. I want absolutely everything that she wears.

Love Taza – I think I actually have zero things in common with Naomi, but I keep coming back to her blog. I think it’s because I started reading her when my sister and her family were living in Manhattan. They sort of lived parallel lives.

A Beautiful Mess –¬†This blog documents the work of a¬†whole team of talented and artistic people. They live a much more colourful life than me, that’s for darn sure. ¬†I’m mostly interested in the recipes. I’ve tried a few of them and they always work out.

Swiss Miss РTina always posts something new-to-me and interesting. I really like her aesthetic.

10. Tag and mention 1 blogger who you’d like to partake in this feature.

I would love to know how Erica Cook manages her day.¬†She’s uber-talented and seems so very nice.


Interested in learning about other bloggers involved in this Behind the Blog series? Check out the schedule:

Monday, September 29th
Sabrina Smelko – Hands and Hustle
Brittany Stager – My Daily Randomness

Tuesday, September 30th
Brittany – Gallery No. Eight
Kelly – Glitter Diaries

Wednesday, October 1st
The Party Girl
Renee – Renee M. LeBlanc

Thursday, October 2nd
Katie Rose – Wild Rose Buds
Hilary Ramsay – House of Her

Friday, October 3rd
Vanessa Francis

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

The Friday Five: My Thoughts about BlogPodium 2014

Did you know that¬†it’s actually possible to¬†be tired and energized at the same time? It’s true. This is exactly how I’m currently feeling. I¬†have been pretty worn down this week for all sorts of reasons (full-time job, taking on¬†an additional course, blogging, MBA, trips to Toronto, social events, back-to-school germs, etc.), but I am so full of ideas and energy (in my mind at least)¬†after last weekend’s BlogPodium conference. I have been itching to write this post, but I have spent every ounce of my free time in bed this week trying to get back to feeling normal. Concentrating on computer work has been just a bit too challenging. Anyhoo, enough about me and my bout of sickness. Let’s get to the good stuff…five thoughts about BlogPodium.

1. White Cabana + Inspirations Studio

One of the major highlights for me at this year’s conference was the fact that I had the opportunity to design a collection of pottery. Although the design¬†timeline was tight, I had fun¬†brainstorming ideas,¬†sketching up my designs, and consulting with Victoria at Inspirations Studio. Victoria and her team of women brought my designs to life. Under her guidance,¬†the Inspirations Studio women learned new skills that they can apply to their future projects. The pottery was auctioned off at the conference, and I’m beyond happy that my pieces sold. I¬†managed to squeeze in at the last minute to buy three little bowls, but I will be placing an order for additional items.


 chatting with Lindsey, a table full of blogger-designed handmade items



If you’re interested in purchasing any of my designs¬†for yourself (and you live in Toronto or Waterloo), please email me asap (white cabana at gmail dot com). Prices range from $30-$50, and all money goes directly to Inspirations Studio. Ordering¬†anything from my collection will put money directly in the hands of women¬†in need.

Avery Swartz bought the two vases/pitchers, and she set them up on her beautiful white mantle:

Avery-Swartz-fireplace-potteryphoto by Avery Swartz

2. Learning about SEO and Google Analytics

I attended two fabulous sessions in the morning. The first was led by Nicki Lamont¬†and the topic was SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Even though I’ve been blogging for 4+ years, I never give SEO as much thought as I know I should. I’m usually focused on creating content and photos, and I make little (or no) time for the more technical¬†side of blogging. SEO is important and I now have more tools in my toolbox to make SEO work for me and White Cabana.

I learned about bounce rates, keyword searches, and short-term and long-term keywords, meta-tags, alt-tags, etc. If you’re a blogger, I would recommend that you read up these concepts, especially if you aim to grow your blog.

I also learned about a new search engine – DuckDuckGo – that is supposedly going to be even better than Google. Yes?

Nicki was a clear, amusing, and professional speaker, and she obviously has a very relevant skill set. Thanks, Nicki!


here I am listening attentively during a presentation

The second session I attended was Avery Swartz‘s session about Google Analytics. Avery has a really personable and engaging presentation style, which I completely appreciated.¬†She brought humour into her presentation about tech and stats and analytics settings. Awesome.¬†I followed Avery’s advice when I got home from BlogPodium – I¬†transferred to Universal analytics (do this if you haven’t),¬†refined some of my settings, and I am now feeling much¬†more confident about understanding my Google stats. I know that this information will¬†help me speak with brand partners in the future.¬†I’m now eager to sign up for one of Avery’s CampTech courses¬†(offered in Waterloo, too!).

You can see by my session choices, I was really focused on learning¬†about the more technical side of blogging. One of my current goals (and ongoing goals, I guess) is to increase my technical skill set. I don’t have much time to focus on this side of the blogging world, which is why I think it’s taken me 4 years to get to the point where I can actually use terms like SEO and analytics without sounding like I’m really clueless.

3. Panel Presentation with Jennifer Flores, Scott McGillvray, Monika Hibbs, and Leigh-Ann Allaire

I am generally a fan of panel presentations. You get to hear¬†from several speakers and panels present a variety of points of view within a dedicated time period. I have been¬†attending BlogPodium since it began, and Leigh-Ann Allaire Perrault has¬†often moderated the panel presentation. Half the reason why I enjoy the panels is because Leigh-Ann¬†is such a quick-witted, smart, and on-the-ball moderator. She asks intelligent questions, keeps the discussion moving, and always¬†always makes the audience laugh. She didn’t fail us this year. She¬†worked her magic and the panel presentation¬†was informative and¬†entertaining.

This year’s panel was made up of BlogPodium founder Jennifer Flores, Income Property whiz Scott McGillivray, and fashion blogger extraordinaire Monika Hibbs. They have three very different backgrounds,¬†which made for an interesting presentation. Jennifer’s spoke intelligently about¬†the importance of collaboration and networking in blog life, Scott¬†encouraged bloggers to set achievable goals, and Monika generously shared her secrets to gorgeous photography (apps to try: SnapSeed, WhiteaGram, AfterLight, PicTapGo).

FlowPhotoBlogPodium-143-L FlowPhotoBlogPodium-186-L

Jennifer, Scott, Monika, Leigh-Ann


me, Scott, and Sharalee

4. Working with Brands

Fortunately, I have had some¬†really positive experiences working with brands and PR agencies over the last 4 years. In my case, brand collaborations¬†have evolved rather organically and they continue¬†to do so. I do really enjoy learning about people, what they do, their¬†products, and their stories. I think – and I hope – my readers appreciate when I share others’ stories, and draw a personal connection to them.

Brand-Blog-Fit continued to be a theme at this year’s BlogPodium. If you’re a blogger, why should a brand work with you? If you’re a brand, what blog fits your mission? How do you go about making the partnership work for both sides?

I was pleased to see some long-time blog supporters at BlogPodium (e.g.,¬†Delta, FirstAlert, UrbanBarn, GlucksteinHome, Chapters-Indigo, Etsy, ParaPaints), and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to speak with newcomers as well (e.g., LinenChest, Metrie). Brands and bloggers are really learning how to work together, how to speak the same language, and how to create mutually beneficial and long-lasting relationships. I have been fascinated¬†by the¬†partnership opportunities, and I’m¬†interested in seeing how these partnerships will evolve.


cookie jar from Urban Barn


home decor items from Chapters-Indigo

5. The Venue РFairmont Royal York Hotel, Toronto.

Oh,¬†the Royal York. It’s a classic. I wanted each and every chandelier.



Having a beautiful backdrop for BlogPodium is essential. We are design bloggers after all! The food, decor, and service at the Fairmont Royal York was top-notch. I have pretty high expectations of fancy high-end places, and the Royal York did not disappoint.

6. Bonus: Taking Friendships Offline

One of the things¬†that I value most about blogging¬†is the chances I’ve had to meet¬†new people. The Canadian design blogging community is full of people who are hard working, committed, interested,¬†friendly, and dedicated. I have reached out to other bloggers on numerous occasions asking them for advice, and¬†others have¬†reached out to me. Our community is strong and helpful, and¬†I think we should¬†be really proud of the work that we do on and offline. We are¬†a group that is committed to learning, sharing, and engaging with others.

Etsy-Photobooth-BlogPodium-WhiteCabana having fun in the Etsy photobooth with Brittany, Brittany, and Tia

And there you have it – my BlogPodium 2014 update in a few short paragraphs.

Thanks especially to Jennifer and her hard-working team for making BlogPodium another event to remember. You successfully brought a group of 300 friends together for a day of fun and learning! Thanks also to the many sponsors and exhibitors who filled our day with contests, giveaways, and beautiful products.

Photos by Flow Photo and Jordana.

Event: BlogPodium 2014 is this Saturday!

Every year at around this time, design and lifestyle bloggers gather in Toronto for BlogPodium. Led by Jennifer Flores, and organized by a crew of talented people, BlogPodium gives bloggers and brands the opportunity to take their conversations offline. Yes, of course there will be lots of Twittering and Instagraming going on during¬†this Saturday’s BlogPodium, but I know I’m not alone in saying that one of the best things about the event will be the face-to-face¬†conversations.


There is so much to look forward to this year. I have no doubt that these speakers, these sponsors, and these exhibitors will make for a rich and informative day at the historic Fairmont Royal York.



I’m especially looking forward to this year’s BlogPodium because¬†my first ever ceramics collaboration with Toronto’s Inspirations Studio will be up for¬†auction. Here’s a teeny peek:


 White Cabana + Inspirations Studio

In addition, I will be presenting for the second time at BlogPodium. My roundtable discussion, titled Blog Writing 101: Crafting a cohesive, concise, and conversational post, will be centred on how to write effective and credible blog posts.


I’ll be sure to share a recap of the big day in the weeks that follow. If you are itching for the play-by-play, follow along¬†via Twitter and Instagram.

p.s. I haven’t yet figured out my outfit.
p.p.s. Walk down memory lane Рread my posts about BlogPodium 2012 and BlogPodium 2013.

Guest Post: Eye Candy Popper Opens the Door to her Home

Last week, Gabrielle from Eye Candy Popper invited us into her kitchen. Today, she is back and sharing her office and bathroom with us.


Hi! ECP, aka Eyecandypopper, here again. I hope you got a chance to visit my kitchen last time (where the healthy cooking magic happens for my blog). As I mentioned, I cared about integrating eco-conscious design into my tiny home renovations 4 years ago, so the use of natural and long lasting materials were of utmost importance. Quality over quantity! You‚Äôve probably seen a bit of my office in the kitchen pictures already. It‚Äôs a small addition in the back, which we thought about ripping off, but my ever-so-smart sister convinced us that we would miss that little space if it wasn‚Äôt there. She was right. I transformed it into a small office and mudroom, and it works really well. Eye-Candy-Popper-office-1Because I work from home (on top of blogging, I‚Äôm also a freelance copy editor and translator), I spend a lot of time in this space, and I quite enjoy all the natural light coming in from all angles. My cat enjoys taking naps on the chair behind me while I‚Äôm working. It‚Äôs small and cozy, but a great space! Eye-Candy-Popper-office-2 We kept the same classic design used throughout the house in the bathroom as well. I live in a charming yellow brick cottage house that was built in 1847. That‚Äôs right! 1847!!! Isn‚Äôt that amazing? We love the old charm of it, and we appreciate the solid construction of it, too. Double brick walls are amazing! Despite being old, we luckily didn’t have to modify any of the structure. The bones were good; we just had to make cosmetic renovations, which is always such a time and money-saver. We did our best to preserve as much of the old classic character as possible, but wanted to give it a contemporary twist as well. We were not able to preserve the old trim in this area of the house, so we decided to use modern trim as a crisp contrast to the old character! I love it! Eye-Candy-Popper-bathroom-1 In the bathroom, we used classic elements like the white ceramic subway tiles up to shoulder height all around the bathroom, and high quality chrome faucets and accessories. We‚Äôve added tall white cabinets to add loads of storage, and to act as a visual separation between the bathroom space and the laundry area, which is in the same room (stacked washer and dryer). It feels very European to do that, and not everyone is used to it, but I think it works perfectly in this small space, instead of having 2 cramped rooms. The high ceilings help a lot too.

Eye-Candy-Popper-bathroom-2 Being eco-friendly and eco-conscious, all of our towels are made out of certified organic cotton, which is something important to me to support organic agriculture, every chance I get.

Eye-Candy-Popper-bathroom-4 Again, I love objects that are double-duty and useful, so I used souvenirs brought back from various trips to decorate the space, like the 3 picture frames brought back from Capri Island (Italy), or the giraffe made in Kenya by a women cooperative (bought at the San Diego zoo on a trip with my niece many years ago), and the 2 dishes used for the soap and jewelry were brought back from Egypt. Because I make a lot of my own natural beauty products, I also like to use pretty jars and display them right on the counter instead of hiding them away in cupboards. I love the homey feel it creates.

Eye-Candy-Popper-bathroom-3 Well, that’s it! I hope you enjoyed visiting parts of my house as much as I enjoy living in it! Drop by for a visit on my blog, I’d love to see you! ECP xo

faucets and shower set: Riobel
sink/vanity and light fixture: Rona
towel rack and paper holder: Restoration Hardware
cabinets: Home Hardware
organic towels: aqua¬†–¬†House & Home eco collection (discontinued), white¬†–¬†Anna Sova Design
marble floor tiles and subway tiles: Olympia Tiles Toronto
photos courtesy of Aya Photography & Design. 



Thanks for opening up your home to us, Gabrielle.

Guest Post: Peeking Inside Eye Candy Popper’s Kitchen

Do you like to host? I do. I like hosting friends and family at my house. In the online world, I do enjoy having great guests. Blogging is a very social activity, even though communication happens online with “strangers”. I have met so many incredibly interesting and inspiring people over the last few years of blogging, and today I’m happy to welcome¬†one of these people. Gabrielle is the blogger behind the beautiful food blog¬†Eye Candy Popper. We met a few years ago through¬†a mutual friend (Hi Rebecca!), and over time, I have watched her begin and grow her blog, share her love of cooking,¬†and¬†educate many readers about¬†healthy living. Her recipes – and photos – always look so delicious! Today,¬†Gabrielle¬†shares with us her kitchen¬†and her approach to design. Welcome, Eye Candy Popper!


Hi! I‚Äôm ECP, aka Eyecandypopper. It‚Äôs so nice to meet you! I‚Äôve been talking to Jordana about writing this article for months. Yes, months! It took some organization, and a lot of collaboration to get to the final product (including help from my friend at Aya Photography and Design), but here we are, 6 months later! Yay! I‚Äôve known Jordana for a couple of years.¬†We met through a common friend, and because I was just starting in the blogging world, I looked up to Jordana for advice. I also loved her blog immediately because I‚Äôm a big fan of white too. This post is different for me, because I mostly talk about food on my blog. I create healthy, but decadent recipes to share with my readers. I focus on organic and healthy whole foods, but I also care deeply about the environment, and the state of our planet, so I share tips and information about eco-friendly and sustainable products. Today, I wanted to introduce to you the place where the magic happens: my kitchen! EyeCandyPopper-kitchen-1 When we renovated the space 4 years ago, I chose these creamy white shaker-style cabinets because I love the old charm and classic element that they bring to the space. My house is really small, only around 850 sq ft, but the 10‚Äô high ceilings add a grand feeling, and since storage is always an issue in any space, I wanted to take full advantage of the height by using tall cabinets (I used a combination of 36‚ÄĚ + 15‚ÄĚ + crown). I only have upper cabinets on one side in order to lighten-up the space, and we used glass doors instead of full panels. EyeCandyPopper-kitchen-2 In order to fit in my eco-conscious needs, I chose natural materials, like the cabinets made out of painted wood (maple) instead of melamine in order to minimize toxic glues used in the process. They were also Canadian-made, reducing shipping distances and fuel used. We chose quartz for the counter, which is not a natural material, but it uses recycled glass and leftovers that would‚Äôve otherwise been thrown out, so I felt good about it. EyeCandyPopper-kitchen-3 EyeCandyPopper-kitchen-4 The floor tiles are porcelain and the backsplash is natural Carrera marble, both durable and long lasting materials. I‚Äôve done some shopping around to find good prices, but I also spent¬†more money for large ticket items in order to get better quality. Splurging on these items gets you a much better return on your investment. EyeCandyPopper-kitchen-5 My goal throughout the house was to maintain a calm, airy, and uncluttered feeling, so we‚Äôve kept decorative items to a minimum and only keep things that are useful. I like my cake stands, and I use them all the time to store freshly baked muffins or cookies. I also like to integrate souvenirs and pictures brought back from trips around the world. I‚Äôve used a few small paintings throughout the kitchen, 2 from a trip to Paris, 2 from a trip to Hong Kong, and various pictures from trips throughout Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. There‚Äôs also an old elephant bell brought back from my husband‚Äôs grandfather from Thailand in the 40s. These are the decorative items that make the space comfortable to me. They are not just decorative items, but they evoke memories at the same time, or they are useful and used on a daily basis. What a lot of my readers don‚Äôt know is that I share a passion for interior decorating and design. My passion for the environment and design has combined together in recent years to become what it is now. While it is sometimes hard to find an eco-friendly version of a building material, I strive to use really good quality materials that will stand the test of time and fads, and I focus on natural materials as well in order to be less toxic for my health. EyeCandyPopper-kitchen-6 EyeCandyPopper-kitchen-7 So that‚Äôs my kitchen! A lovely space which I enjoy every day! I hope you enjoyed it too! Come back next time for a visit of my office.

ECP xo


Pictures, courtesy of Aya Photography & Design. (If you live in Southwestern Ontario, please check out this small talented photography company on Facebook.)
Organic vegetables, courtesy of Eat Green Organics, an organic produce delivery service serving most of Southwestern Ontario. 
Cabinets and counters: Home Hardware
Floor tiles and backsplash: Olympia Tiles Toronto
Light fixture and faucet: Home Depot
Pantry: Ikea


Thanks for taking us into your bright kitchen, ECP!

Blog Headers 19: BlogPodium Bloggers

On September 13th, design and lifestyle¬†bloggers will gather at Toronto’s Royal York hotel for BlogPodium.¬†Like many of my blogging colleagues,¬†I’m very much looking forward to it. It’s a wonderful day for face-to-face learning and exploration for bloggers who generally interact like crazy online. Today’s theme for the blog headers round-up is BlogPodium. These are some of the many bloggers who will be attending the conference.

lesley logo

Lesley Metcalfe (design)

blog-header-glitter-glimmer-sparkle-shimmer Glitter Glitter Sparkle Shimmer (fashion)

FallingInStyle-Banner2 Falling in Style (fashion)


Craftberry Bush (craft, DIY)


The Shimmer (design)

Guest Post: Welcome Fatima Sabri!

I am happy to welcome Toronto-based fashion and lifestyle blogger Fatima Sabri to White Cabana today. She thoughtfully put together an all white outfit for the occasion, and she’s here to share her approach. Over to you, Fatima…


Hi Lovelies!

I am Fatima, and I am very excited to be guest posting for Jordana today! I blog over at Love, Fatima Sabri. I met Jordana at BlogPodium last year and had the opportunity of running into her again at a Chapters Indigo event a few months ago. She is one of the sweetest people I have had the opportunity to meet.

Jordana gave me a challenge of doing an all white outfit for her today. I must say it wasn’t easy because I always love a little colour. However there is something so crispy and clean about an all white outfit. I am a gal who sure wouldn’t be able to wear all white everyday because I am bound to drop something on it. I couldn’t resist adding a little dose of colour in my sandals but everything else is an off white.

Fatima Sabri for White Cabana-3

Fatima Sabri for White Cabana-4

Fatima Sabri for White Cabana-2

14 13

 cropped pants, sandals (similar), purse (similar), top (similar), bangles (Little India Bazaar)

I wore this outfit the other day for my anniversary date with my sweets. 3 years and it seems time has just flown by. It was a warm day so I decided to dress it up but went with sandals to get in the summer spirit. For an evening out, dress up this outfit by swapping the sandals for a gorgeous pair of heels. This pair would be perfect.

It was a pleasure being here today! Feel free to visit me over on my virtual home. At Love, Fatima Sabri.

Have an amazing day!

Xx – FS


Thanks for¬†taking so much care with today’s post, Fatima! I have to say that I can’t really live without my white shirts…I wear them year round! White pants/jeans, on the other hand,¬†are on my shopping list this summer!

Design: Blog Headers 18

Hope you’re all sitting down and have more than a few minutes to browse through the dozen cool blogs I’m featuring today.¬†I still find it pretty amazing that every blog header has such a different style and identity. Kind of like fingerprints – no two are exactly the same!


Waiting for Saturday


Lucy Laucht

dustjacket 2014 v4

Dust Jacket (fashion)


Fashion Lush (fashion)


A Blog about Love (lifestyle)
logo_cocoandmingo_final Coco and Mingo (design) header_4 Yeobo (design)

essie-button-header Essie-Button (lifestyle)


Odds and Sodz (beauty, fashion, lifestyle)


Country Chic Renovator (home reno)


Another Blog (design)

Pharr Away H3

Pharr Away (lifestyle)

Blog Spotlight: My Mom’s Favourite Blogs

Last year my mom shared with us her favourite websites. I’ve asked her to do the same this year. Here they are…

the-enchanted-home The Enchanted Home


My French Country Home (design)

Mom says that she always reads “those two forsure” and she reads the following ones¬†“mostly every day”.


Love and Lemons (food)

sh_ranunculus_02 (1) f

The Pink Pagoda (design)


La Dofina (lifestyle & design)


Pretty Pink Tulips (lifestyle & design)

After my mom told me about these blogs, our conversation went something like this:

Mom: Do you know¬†Maitai’s Picture Book?¬†She writes about Herm√®s.
Me: Oh.
Mom: Ines de la Fressange is doing a collection for Uniqlo, did you know?
Me: No.
Mom: If you go to an older post, you’ll see.¬†Preppy Empty Nester is funny.¬†And do you read Tone on Tone Antiques?
Me: No.Mom, do you still have time to read White Cabana?
Mom: No answer. (she’ll deny this, I’m sure)¬†Manger is another one.

And there you have it – the 2nd edition of My Mom’s Favourite Blogs! What’s that they say about “Mom knows best”? Go and have a read through these blogs and let me (and my mom) know what you think!

Event: Wine, Thai, & Blogger Time

Last weekend, a bunch of bloggers got together at Melissa’s (The Sweet Escape) fun and colourful loft for a wine tasting event sponsored by local favourites Union Wines and Linda Modern Thai.¬†Lucky us, right?


The first wine¬†was¬†Union Gold and this stack of white plates didn’t stay empty for long.

Andrew von Teichman from Union Wines was on hand to teach us about four varieties of wines (gold, white, noir, & red) and to make sure our glasses were never empty! Union is a virtual winery owned and operated by Andrew and his partner Allan Jackson (former owner of Jackson-Triggs), and it sources all grapes from the Niagara region. All Union wine varieties are less than $20 a bottle and are available at select LCBO stores.

The chefs¬†from Toronto’s Linda Modern Thai served up some delicious nibbles¬†that paired extremely well with the four wines we tasted over the course of the afternoon.


Union Wines and Linda Modern Thai made an excellent pair.


Melissa’s home has so many beautiful vintage details.


Melissa’s¬†milk glass collection looks amazing on her floor-to-ceiling bookshelves.

Read Melissa’s recap of the afternoon¬†(her photos are much more colourful than mine) and see her beautiful home in Covet Garden Home. Thanks for¬†hosting, Melissa, and thanks for spoiling us, Union & Linda!

Photos by Jordana.

Blogging: So, you want to be a blogger?

While blogging is not my full-time job, I am very committed to it, take it seriously (but not too seriously because that wouldn’t be so fun, right?), and approach my blog work as professionally as I can. I have learned so much from many bloggers I have met online and offline, and I really try to give back to the community when I can. I had the opportunity to give a presentation at BlogPodium 2013¬†(loved it!) and I hope to do so again in 2014. In the meantime, I had the pleasure of writing a guest post for the BlogPodium blog. It’s a great read (if I do say so myself) for people who are new to blogging or who are just about to start their blogging journeys. If you’re interested in reading my post, click here. Let me know if you have any questions!

Fashion: It’s Mayhem Time

Little Mayhem‘s popularity is rising. ¬†The dresses she creates with her mom are pretty darn cute, but this one is my favourite look.

fashion-by-mayhemFashion by Mayhem

Apparently, the day Mayhem and her mom created this ensemble, she requested “All white today. And a fabulous headpiece too.” ¬†She just rocks that headpiece, doesn’t she?

Design: Blog Headers 14

What type do you prefer: all capital letters like the first few blog headers, or hand-written script style letters like the latter couple of blog headers?


The Golden Diamonds (fashion)


Brunch Blog (design)


De Lune (fashion)


Just Another Fashion Blog (fashion)


Jou Jou Villeroy (fashion)

p.s. Paris recap is coming…I just need a bit of time to get organized!

Design: Blog Headers 13

Oooh…we are at lucky number thirteen in the blog header series! The first four blog header designs are girly, curvy, and look to be hand-written. The last three effectively use shapes on and around the blog name. Any faves?




Fabulous K (lifestyle) (top: old version; bottom: new version)


The Makerista (DIY)


Katie’s Bliss¬†(fashion)


Jana Bek (design)


The Hunted Interior (design)


Hey Natalie Jean (fashion)

Design: Blog Headers 12

Ugh. This weather. -25C. It’s way too cold! How are you holding up? Are you spending any time outdoors? I’m already tired of wearing my heavy Sorel boots (even though I love them because my feet stay really warm and perfectly dry), my sleeping bag coat (which I also love because it keeps me warm from head to ankle), my furry leopard earmuffs (so warm), and my Olympic mitts (super warm too – are you noticing a pattern?). I bundle up for my walk to and from work, but once I’m home, I’m home. I am so reluctant to leave the house after work on such ridiculously cold days! I do not know how those skiers do it!?

Anyhoo, one of the best parts of adopting a hibernation routine is that I have more time to browse blogs. I keep discovering so many awesome new-to-me blogs related to design, fashion, and lifestyle. If you have any recommendations, please do let me know about them in the comments! 

new blog logo 1

Design Life Kids (lifestyle & design)


5 inch and up (fashion)


Thrift + Thread (fashion & design)

Thisispaper Logo_o

This is Paper (design)


Cookie + Kate (food)


The Socialite Family (design)

Screen Shot 2014-01-12 at 4.59.36 PM

A Portable Package (fashion)


Design: Blog Headers 9

One of the reasons why I am really getting to love the Blog Headers series is that I can not only learn about typography and design but I am also discovering some really beautiful blogs. Hope the same is true for you!




Little Black Door


Julia Ryan




French by Design


Delia Creates


Trash to Couture


The Fig House


4 Men 1 Lady

Leopard & Lavender

Leopard & Lavender


Sincerely Jules

Design: Blog Headers VIII

While I don’t have any statistics to prove it, I think the number of black and white blog headers around the blogosphere has increased in the past few years. What do you think? Do you like the simplicity of black & white or would you rather see a colourful blog header that more appropriately matches the blog’s content?


The Tiny Closet


79 Ideas


Sugar and Cloth