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#WhiteCabanaWearsPink: CIBC Run for The Cure

As you may remember, each October, pink invades the white pages of White Cabana with #whitecabanawearspink. Why? Because October is breast cancer awareness month. There will be an influx of pink posts beginning on October 1st (with a bit of a head start today). Not only that, but I’ll be donating all the money earned from affiliate links and ads to the Canadian Cancer Society. As a reader, you can do your part by getting really click-happy (that is, click every darn link you see, and tell your friends to do the same). The more you click, the more I can donate!

Dainty Lion Floral

This Sunday, September 30th, I’ll be running (or run-walking) the CIBC Run for the Cure in Kitchener-Waterloo. Who will join me? Who will tweet with me? Who will run in their cities?

I run for so many people. My mom, my aunt, my cousin, my friends. Too many women, in fact. I also run for all the family members who support these women as they go through their tiring treatments. I run for all the people who support my fundraising efforts.

I am grateful to doctors working hard on their research, organizations that raise money, nurses who are there to educate and attend to patients, scientists who are advancing knowledge, and technology that can detect previously undetectable abnormalities.

I’ll be dressed in pink for #whitecabanawearspink. You can learn more about why I run – and donate, too, if you like – on my fundraising page.

Thank you, dear readers.

The Friday Five: Things on My Mind

I’m ending the week with five things that have been on my mind lately.

1. Netflix

Over the course of two days, I watched the first season of Broadchurch. Oh, was it ever good. Have you watched it? Watch it!

2. Random Blogger Meet-Up

When I was in Paris, Ontario last Saturday, I ran into Amber and Derek (from Canadian Fashionista). We bonded over blogging, our love for colours (her – pink, me – white), and our failed attempt to check out the Paris Night Market. I love random meet-ups with bloggers who you sometimes only ever meet online!

3. BBQ Chicken

When I had Tim and Chris over for a BBQ a couple of weeks ago, I made this grilled chicken. It turned out well. I’d easily make it again!

4. Salted Butter Chocolate Chunk Shortbread Cookies

After reading this Smitten Kitchen post, I had to give Alison Roman‘s salted butter chocolate chunk shortbread cookies a try. The Cookie has gone viral on social media (as cookies sometimes do?). Bon App√©tit’s article about The Cookie started with a declaration that “EVERYONE” is making them! I have to say that the recipe was extremely easy, and the cookie turned out well (see this Instagram photo). Not only that, but the cookie really is delicious! They’re a nice change to a more classic, sugary, chewy chocolate chip cookie.

5. Bayfield, Ontario

I met friends at their cottage in Bayfield, Ontario last week. It was glorious. I enjoy that little town and Lake Huron so much. My “must buy myself a cute cottage one day” remains on my mind!

Personal: 4 Things on My Mind

Here are some things that have been on my mind recently.

1. YouTube
I haven’t fallen into any YouTube watching traps for a long while, but one that I recommend you watch is Carpool Karaoke with Paul McCartney.

2. Audiobooks
I’ve listened to quite a few audiobooks since I got into them a couple of months ago. I’ve listened to:

  • The Breakdown by B.A. Paris – This was a page-turner (of the audio kind!). I hadn’t read a mystery novel in a long while, and this ended up being a good pick.
  • Life 3.0 by Max Tegmark – This is a fascinating read about the current and future state of Artificial Intelligence.
  • Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs – While disturbing at times, this was an excellent read. I know it’s been made into a movie, so I’ll have to add it to my “watch” list.
  • Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders – While difficult to follow at first because of the many characters, the story is interesting, and I didn’t want it to end.
  • Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante – I’m extremely enjoying this series. Why did I wait so long to read these books?
  • I’ve also listened to these audiobooks, and I’m currently listening to Elena Ferrante’s The Story of the Lost Child (Book 4).

3. Academic life
It is pretty wild to see my book (co-authored with a friend/colleague) listed on Amazon. The book will be published in December, so this won’t be the first or last time I’m talking about it.

4. Netflix
Last night while I was ironing, I watched Iliza Shlesinger’s Elder Millennial comedy show on Netflix. I laughed a lot! I could relate to just about every joke she told. If you’re a woman in your 30s, I am sure you would enjoy it.

Personal: 5 Things on My Mind

Here’s a bit of what has been on my mind – and in my life – lately.

1. Plants. I am so pleased with how two of my plants are currently growing. The first is my avocado plant that I started to grow from seed way back in the fall. The second is my fiddle leaf fig that I had cut back a long while ago, and it’s only now sprouting new leaves. So exciting!

2. Kingston. I took a trip to Kingston a couple of weeks ago, and it made me so happy to go back. I lived there for two years, and every time I visit, happy memories trickle back into my brain. I’m thankful that I’m able to continue making memories there even during very short visits.

view of my old waterfront apartment and balcony

3. Heated floor. The One Room Challenge is over, and my bathroom/laundry combo room is done. But when I saw this photo from the team at Warmup, it brought back memories of planning. I like the layout plan of my heated floor (photo source).

4. Art. When I was at Ines‘s house a couple of weeks ago for an essential oils party (with Christine and Hollie), I was impressed by all the art she has around her home. This sweet little piece by Frances Hilary Hahn really made me smile.

5. Elora. I drive over to Elora several times each year. It’s about a 30-minute drive from Waterloo, and it’s such a pretty town for a day trip. It was nice to see the progress of the Elora Mill, too. I’m thinking that the place will be pretty great once it’s all done. I look forward to taking a tour – and hopefully planning a longer stay, too!

That’s all for now. What have you had on the go lately? What’s been on your mind?

The Friday Five: 5 Things on My Mind

Here are five things that have been on my mind this week.

1. Toronto

Of course Toronto has been on my mind. There’s no reason why we should ever associate people with “mowed down.” A tragedy. An awful tragedy that is too close to home. To learn more and to stay informed, I’ve been leaning toward reading articles from The Conversation, which is an academic source but written for a general audience. Articles like “Why he didn’t shoot?” and “The dark possible motive” are just two of the several that I read.

2. Babies

Congratulations to Daniela who gave birth to her second baby. Yay! A sweet girl has been welcomed into our family.

3. Music

This week I attended a house concert by Keenan Reimer-Watts who is a Kitchener-Waterloo musician. He created original music for the harpsichord and guitar, and it was quite the evening. I especially enjoyed how he explained his composition process. I was amazed by his talent. Also – this was the first time I had ever seen or heard the harpsichord. (FYI: It’s not a harp.)

Keenan also taught us about his organization Busking for Change. In this movement, buskers and audiences come together to support the environment.

4. Reading

The new edition of Toque has been released. This is a free magazine (yes, print) that features articles about local places and people. I enjoy reading it because I always learn something new about Waterloo region (and Guelph and Hamilton, too)!

5. Post-MBA Life

Well, it’s true. I’ve moved into post-MBA life, and it’s been pretty fabulous so far. I’ve seen lots of friends, read some books and magazines, and started to plan and book mini-vacations. I feel fortunate that I had the opportunity to complete another degree, and I enjoyed learning a ton over the last 4 years. But I’m now looking forward to having a bit of free time.

The Friday Five: Things on My Mind

Here’s what been on my mind lately.

1. Emma Gonz√°lez

Emma Gonz√°lez amazes me. The March for Our Lives movement amazes me. I know the march has passed, and change hasn’t happened overnight. But change will happen. It has to.

2. Colorscape

I liked this short Colorscope video by Jocie Juritz about the colour white. (via SwissMiss)

3. Script to Screen Instagram

The Instagram account Script to Screen is entertaining (via Cup of Jo).

4. Book progress

The final deadline for our book is in a couple of weeks. This makes me so happy. Stay tuned for launch date this fall. Guess what everyone is getting for Christmas? Hint. Hint.

5. Pray for Humboldt

Tragic news about the bus crash in Saskatchewan last Friday. Absolutely devastating for the young kids, families, and community. If you didn’t hear the news, a bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos young hockey team crashed with a transport truck. The crash claimed the lives of 14 people and 15 were injured. Read the Prime Minister’s statement about this tragedy if you’d like.

The Friday Five: Learn, Donate, Love

February was a wild month on my end. There were very happy days, of course, but there were also really sad days, too. Every week seemed to bring difficult news of one sort or another. Illness. Job stress. Relationship challenges. I hope March brings joy to my loved ones. I hope happiness finds its way into your homes, too, if you’ve been experiencing some trying times.

So, today, I’m taking a break from talking about renos and fashion and furniture to raise¬† awareness about some important causes.

Mental Illness

A friend’s brother passed away last week due to mental illness. It’s devastating and awful. He was much too young. To donate or learn more about this disease, visit the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Prostate Cancer

Some people say that prostate cancer is a “normal” or “good” kind of cancer. How is cancer normal? How can it be good? To donate or learn more, visit Prostate Cancer Canada and the Movember Foundation.

Breast Cancer

My friend Lisa wrote a personal essay about how cancer changes the conversations you have with your partner. It was recently published in the Globe and Mail. There are several organizations you can donate to to improve awareness and research for breast cancer. I usually learn more or donate to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, Metastatic Breast Cancer Fund, or The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation.

Ronald McDonald House

I heard of the much too early birth of twins of friends of a friend. I also learned of how the Ronald McDonald House Charities is supporting this family who needs to be close to their babies while they’re in intensive care.

Diabetes

Did you know that 11 million Canadians are living with diabetes or pre-diabetes? And about 50% of people with diabetes may experience kidney damage. To donate or learn more, visit Diabetes Canada or The Kidney Foundation of Canada.

The Friday Five: 5 Things on My Mind

Here’s what’s been on my mind lately.

1. Perimeter Institute concert series. Last week, I attend Finnish pianist Juho Pohjonen‘s concert at the Perimeter Institute. What an enjoyable evening out! The Perimeter Institute – PI – is one of my favourite buildings in Waterloo. It’s an impressive building that is on the edge of Waterloo Park, and I certainly enjoy the (mostly) white interior.

2. Anne. I (rather quickly) binge-watched Anne a couple of weeks ago. Surprisingly, I’m eager for more episodes. Does anyone know what’s going on with this series? It brought me back to my childhood, and I’d happily watch a few more episodes.

3. Winter boots. I’m already so tired of wearing winter boots. I enjoyed Carly the Prepster’s winter boot post, and I smiled when I read it because I have just about the exact collection (and then some). Multiple boots are a must for our winter weather, especially when you have outdoor activities to do each week.

4. Design fails. This Instagram account had me laughing out loud. Look at the photos, and read the comments, too. Hilarious! I think I should submit a photo of my wallpapered furnace. I’m sure it would make the “please hate these things” cut. (source: Jacquelyn Clark)

5. Door knobs. I’m thrilled to be working with Direct Door Hardware again this year. I worked with this company when I first moved into my house because I replaced all of my exterior door locks and knobs. The selection was awesome, and I really enjoyed the interactions I had with the company staff, so I was happy to work with them again on my door makeover project.¬† My knobs arrived last week, and they’re so nice. Do you want to see them? Great! I’ll be sharing more news of this project in the months ahead.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Personal: 5 Things on My Mind

These are five things that have been on my mind lately.

1. Outlander. I’ve continued to watch Outlander, and I recently finished season 2. Oh my goodness – I loved the episodes set in France so much! But I also continued to enjoy all the scenes set in the Scottish highlands. And now I am adding Scotland to my travel goals because it looks just so beautiful (and, yes, I know that some scenes weren’t shot in Scotland). I came across real-life photos of the two main characters – Jamie Fraser played by Sam Heughan and Claire Fraser played by Catriona Balfe – and I was surprised. I just imagined that they would look exactly the way they do in Outlander. But they don’t. And seeing them in modern clothes was kind of surprising. p.s. I can’t be the only one who has a crush on Jamie Fraser, right?

2. Barre. I’m continuing with barre classes this month. I have loved every class that I have attended. I think it’s mostly because the music playlists are fantastic! I just feel like singing and dancing the whole time (instead of doing planks for way too long). Have you tried a barre class? What do you think?

3. Grocery delivery. Have you ever had your groceries delivered right to your door? I haven’t, but just today two friends (at separate times in the day) talked to me about it and I received news about Instacart, which is a same-day grocery delivery service brought to us by the Real Canadian Superstore and Zehrs (via Loblaw Companies Ltd.). How’s that for timing? Grocery delivery was today’s hot topic! Apparently Instacart has already been offered in Toronto, but it has launched in the Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, and Guelph regions today.

And here’s a bonus for you – first time users can enter the code HIKITCHENER (3/31/18 expiration) at checkout to get $20 off an order of $35 or more, plus a free first time delivery.

4. Tumeric. What does everyone know about tumeric? I don’t know anything about it, but it has come up multiple times in my life in the last month, and I feel like I need to do some research about the benefits of this spice. One of the caf√©s in town (DVLB) has this tumeric warming tea that I really enjoy. And this weekend in Grey County, I learned about elixirs with tumeric in them that help with fighting winter illness. Then I did a quick Google search and found this list of benefits of tumeric tea. Thoughts?

5. Travel + People. Travel is often on my mind. This past weekend, I had the chance to work with Grey County to explore new-to-me parts of Ontario (you may have followed along on Instagram with #WhiteCabanaGoesToGreyCounty). My posts are definitely still in draft form, but you’ll see them on the blog over the next couple of weeks. For now though, I have been thinking about all the people I met on my 3-day journey. I feel lucky to have come across such happy, welcoming, and interesting people because these people made my trip that much more rich, informative, and fun. Some people. You know? You just can’t help but be thankful your paths have crossed! Who’s with me?

2017: Some Highlights

We walked down memory lane a couple of days ago with a post dedicated to my 2017 sponsors. Today, I’d like to share a some additional highlights from 2017.

1. Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation: I continued my fundraising efforts again offline and online (#WhiteCabanaWearsPink) this year, and I was able to donate $250 to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and the Metastatic Breast Cancer Fund (October). I ran the 5K here in Kitchener-Waterloo alongside survivors, supporters, friends, and family.

2. BlogPodium: I hadn’t been to BlogPodium – Canadian conference for bloggers – for a couple of years, and I was thrilled to attend this year (September). I met up with bloggers I’ve known for years and met so many new people. It was an enriching and fun day, and I learned a lot.

3. Style at Home: I still can’t believe my house was featured in Canada’s Style at Home magazine (June issue, page 40) and again in Style at Home’s High/Low Special Issue. People still bring it up or find me because of it all these months later. This was really a dream come true!

4. Travel: Traveling is always a highlight for me. In 2017, I took a chance on a new hotel in Buffalo, NY, and I was pleasantly surprised by both the hotel and the city. Who knew Buffalo had much more to offer than outlet malls? I also enjoyed a great trip to Nashville this month, and I’ve been sharing my reviews offline to friends and family. Next week, I’ll share my recap online, too. And, of course, I headed to North Carolina to visit my nephews and niece (and sister and brother-in-law, too) and had a great time playing around with all of them! Finally, I took my yearly summer trip to Florida and enjoyed just over two weeks of serious relaxation on the Gulf Coast.

5. Invited Speaker: I was thrilled to be invited to give a presentation about blogging to upper year design students at Sheridan Oakville (#WhiteCabanaGoestoSheridan). I do love teaching, and this opportunity meant that I got to work with students in a new, creative environment on aspects of blogging and writing.

2017 was a great year, overall, and I’m grateful for the opportunities that came my way, and I am proud of all that I was able to accomplish both on- and offline. I’m certainly eager for 2018, too, as I’ve got a few special projects already in the works, and I’m hopeful for a fabulous next 12 months!

Personal : 7 Things on My Mind

These seven things have been on my mind lately.

1. Slippery Stairs

I had tears in my eyes from laughing so much from watching slippery stairs videos.

2. Starfish Baby

This video of a baby starfish made me laugh, too.

3. Food & Drink Magazine

LCBO’s Food & Drink magazine – holiday edition – really gets me in the spirit. The recipes look just too good! I don’t yet know what I want to try making, but it’ll be something!

4. Pine Sol

Do you take the advice of your favourite bloggers? I do. And if Erica Cook of Moth Design puts her stamp of approval on something, I especially take note. She has discussed cleaning on her blog in the past, and most recently, she sang the praises of Pine-Sol. So what did I do? I added a jug on Pine Sol to my shopping cart the last time I was at the grocery store. For the first time in my life, I bought Pine Sol.

Now, I normally mop my floors with hot water and white vinegar. This has worked out well in my opinion, but I’m always happy to try something new. So I bought the purple Pine Sol and gave it a try. I was pleased. The scent was pleasant, and my floors looked clean. I also took Erica’s suggestion and put a little bit of Pine Sol down all of my sink drains, and I feel like this small effort makes a difference for my pipes” overall cleanliness.

5. Nashville

I’m going to Nashville soon. I have barely done any travel research! Any recommendations? As per usual, my go-to spot for a guide was Design*Sponge. I just love the city guides that Grace and her team review and post. (Side note – Did you know I wrote one for the Waterloo region?)

6. Barre Workouts

A friend and I recently signed up for barre workout classes. These sessions really prove to me that I’m not a delicate ballerina. Ha ha. They’ve been fun so far, and it’s been nice to have something new to do (as if I needed anything new in my life right now!?).

7. Taylor Swift

Am I too old to listen – and enjoy – Taylor Swift’s music? Nope. Don’t think so. I have had¬† Reputation on repeat.

Personal: 5 Things on My Mind

Here’s today’s list of things that have been on my mind lately.

Starbucks Rewards

Do you collect them? I do. I barely notice them, but then, when I get an email saying that I’ve earned a reward, I get happy. I usually stock-pile my rewards. Then, when I’m having a crappy day or I don’t feel like making lunch or I’m out with a friend, I can treat myself (or us!). It’s a little welcome bonus.

Essie Gel Setter Top Coat

I’m not very into beauty products, but I’ve been using this top coat for about a year now, and it’s amazing. I also use the Essie Grow Stronger base coat, and I’m sure the combination of these two polishes helps to make my nails shiny and strong.

Pop-Up Windows

Pop-up windows on websites annoy the heck out of me. Is there a way to make them permanently disappear?

Bird Seed

Does anyone have any recommendations for bird seed that actually attracts birds? I keep buying the blocks of seeds, but the birds aren’t coming.

L.L.Bean Boots

I caved. A pair of classic, 6″ L.L.Bean boots are on their way to my house. I took advantage of a 25% sale and clicked buy. I was obviously influenced by bloggers who love them (talking about Rox-Anne and Carly!), and while I would have preferred them in an all-black version, they have such a strong reputation (and following) that I’m hoping I’ll make use of them on my fall and winter walks, even though they’re a touch more “New England prep” than my usual style. I can’t believe how many L.L.Bean Boot buying guides are floating around the internet. Google it. It’s nuts!

Personal: 6 Things on my Mind

A couple of weeks ago, I shared 5 things on my mind. It was a text-heavy post (in that there were no photos), and I actually quite liked the change of scene. You? Today, I have 6 more random thoughts to share.

Cancer

It’s awful. It’s heartbreaking. And it happens to the nicest, best, kindest people. Why? Life isn’t so fair sometimes, is it?

Thanks again for working together to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer research via my #WhiteCabanaWearsPink efforts. Yesterday, I made a donation to the Metastatic Breast Cancer Fund.

Candy

I brought Halloween treats to my students yesterday. They clapped when I told them. I thought that was awesome. They seemed to appreciate the small gesture, and I think it’s fun that adult students still get excited about candy treats. It’s the little things in life, right?

Halloween

Speaking of candy, I gave it out to about a dozen or so kids in my neighbourhood last night. Everyone was in such a cheery mood. When I really think about trick-or-treating, it is kind of strange. Getting candy from neighbours wearing funny outfits? But it is amusing, and the kiddies are just so excited when you open the door and dole out candy.

Breakfast with Strangers

I met a friend for breakfast at Kitchener Market last weekend, and, as friends do, we chatted about all sorts of things. When a man and his son opted to share our table (as KW people do), we started a group conversation. It was such a nice welcome. I mean, who talks to strangers these days? We weren’t glued to our phones. We were in conversation. So simple. So enjoyable.

Masquerade

I’m headed to a masquerade event this weekend. It was fun picking out just the right mask. Guess what? It’s not white. (It’s black!)

Movember

It’s November 1st today, which means it’s the official start of Movember. This is a month-long campaign (and year-long, too!) that raises money and awareness for prostate cancer and men’s health.

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!

Design: Caribou Cabin in My Home

A couple of weeks ago, I shared news of Canadian newcomer Caribou Cabin. This shop designs, customizes, and manufactures chalkboards, magnetic whiteboards, and pinboards. The company generously sent me a beautiful square (34″ x34″) linen pinboard – white a white frame, of course.

Soon after the order was placed, my massive shipment arrived at my doorstep. The board was wrapped carefully and arrived safely to my home in Waterloo. When I saw the grey linen for the first time, I was impressed by the quality of the item. And the grey matched my home perfectly.

I leaned it up against the wall behind a cabinet in my living room which houses my radio, record player, and typewriter. I pinned up some memorable items from my office that I knew would look pretty and would also remind me of happy celebrations.

As I took my photos, I thought that the pinboard in my living room would be the perfect spot to showcase Christmas cards. And the great thing about the pinboard is that I can move it to other areas of my home such as a hallway landing area or office. The office is certainly an obvious spot for a pinboard, but I don’t think it’s the only place for it.

Thanks to Caribou Cabin for sponsoring this post. All photos and opinions are my own.

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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!

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The Friday Five: Spring Home Maintenance Update

Just two weeks ago, I shared an update about my spring home maintenance task list. I’m happy to report that I’m now able to cross two items off the list. Two! Yay! That’s major! I’ll be honest, it was fairly easy to do because I took advantage of Father’s Day sales! Yup. That’s right. This single lady loves everything that is currently marketed to dads…BBQs, tools, machines. Oh my goodness. It’s true! It’s totally true! I think I love power tools just as much as I love peonies…it’s all about balance, right?

So…here’s my updated home maintenance task list:

  1. Garage door opener
  2. BBQ
  3. Bathroom fans
  4. Closet organizer
  5. A hallway light

This list makes me very happy! I picked up this Chamberlain garage door opener when it was on sale (yay!) from Canadian Tire and paid for Canadian Tire’s third-party connection to install it. Done and done. So far, it’s working like a dream. And since it’s a belt opener, it’s much quieter than my old chain opener. Belt. Chain. Yeah, I learned about these things this month. Thanks, Dad.

I ordered this BBQ when it was on sale (yay!) from TSC – The Country Hardware Store. It’s getting shipped directly to the store, and I should be able to pick it up any day now. Then I’ll have to pull out my tools to put it together. Any advice?

Since I won a Home Depot gift card a little while ago via a Twitter party, I’m going to have a browse through the options for the other items on the list. You know, just making my way around all the hardware stores this month! Fun!

If your dad is anything like me, he may be interested in the following five items this Father’s Day.

extremely quiet ventilation fan, $107, Home Depot

ball pendant, $19.98, Home Depot

ClosetMaid closet organizer, $158, Home Depot

And for future home maintenance task lists…

Nest thermostat, $329

chrome shelf unit, $98.97

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! And Happy Father’s Day!

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Photography: How to Take Photos of Kids

I’m certainly not an expert photographer, but during my trip to North Carolina to visit my family, I took a bunch of photos of my nephews and niece. Not an absurd amount, just a bunch. And I tried a couple of things that worked well – happy accidents, really – that I thought I’d share them. Plus, everyone likes photos of cute kids, right?

I hadn’t seen these kiddies in 1.5 years. Way. Too. Long. Of course we Facetime and talk on the phone (as much as kids like to do these things), but this is definitely not the same thing as real life interactions. Because of the distance, I had only somewhat noted how their personalities had developed and changed over the year. Most noticeable was my sweet niece, Gigi, since she was barely speaking (or in a way I could understand her) the last time I saw her. Now, she’s full of personality, and she was so fun to photograph!

Here are my strategies for great (in my opinion) photos:

1. Zoom In on Facial Expressions

Miss. Gigi loves to sing Katy Perry’s Roar song, so when I asked her to roar for me, she went for it. And it was hilarious! This was just a casual thing that I asked her to do while we were cuddling on the sofa one morning (she was still in pjs in fact!). This roaring episode turned into a whole series of commands: Show me a happy Gigi. Show me an angry Gigi. Show me a “Gigi loves mommy” face. And this continued to be hilarious. I felt like Nigel Barker (noted fashion photographer). I snapped pics on my iPhone but didn’t look at them until after the “photo shoot.” When I did, I was in awe. The photos were fantastic! And Gigi really worked the camera! Ha ha ha. I combined them via the PicStitch app, turned them into black and white, and voila!

What a cutie pie!

Over the series of my days in North Carolina, I played the same photo shoot game with each of my nephews, but I altered the commands. With Reef, picky-eater Reef, I related all the commands to food: Show me an “I love Mac n Cheese” face. Show me an “I hate chicken” face. Reef, you’ll notice, wouldn’t let go of the gummy vitamins that he was handing out to all the family members mid-shoot. Oh, what fun!

Here’s what I ended up with…

I just love these kids!

2. Props

I always bring amusing (for me, mostly) gifts to the kiddies when I visit. On this trip, I packed silly glasses and whoopie cushions. Oh, the laughs! I think I need to start buying whoopie cushions in bulk because these kids sit on them with so much force that they keep breaking them! I hope you have a mental picture of this, by the way! On this visit, I even orchestrated a synchronized whoopie cushion routine with them. It was basically an amateur whoopie cushion symphony! Noone could keep a straight face, that’s forsure! Giving whoopie cushions to four kids who love the word “toot” is pretty darn funny. If you ever have a bad day, find a kid and give him or her a whoopie cushion. Hours of entertainment. Having – I mean playing with – four kids makes being an aunt a pretty fantastic gig.

I’m sure you can guess what I told them to do before I snapped the photo.

3. Get Down

I think my best photos of these kids came when I got down to their level. I’m talking knees. Taking photos of them from my height is okay, but also looks a bit odd. Getting down to their size keeps them the centre of attention and more in perspective.

4. Black and White

Kids wear a lot of colour. Sometimes their clothes match, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes their clothes are dirty. Turning colour photos into black and white gets rid of the noise in photos, and it results in a cohesive bunch of photos.

sign of a protective older brother

Cute start for a Monday, right? Have a great week, everyone!

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Personal: How to Sleep Well

Over the years, I’ve written about some of my routines and life habits. There was this post about a day-in-the-life, this review of my Hourglass Workouts, and this post about preparing for the future. Today, Leesa, a mattress-in-a-box company, asked me to chat about sleep. Yes, sleep. It’s a hot topic, and many of us are looking for the best ways to get the best sleep each and every night.

So here’s my approach:

1. Caffeine intake. These days, I have one latte at some point before noon. And maybe a tea at another point during my work day. I don’t over-think caffeine, but I know that I sleep better when I’ve not been sipping coffee/tea/pop throughout the day. As a post-dinner treat during the week, I may have a mint or chamomile tea. On the weekend, I may end a dinner with friends with a macchiato (espresso with coffee) just because I like the taste (and I can likely sleep in the following day).

2. Water intake. I drink a lot of water throughout the day. I like to believe what people tell  me Рin that it keeps me hydrated and healthy. I limit my evening intake so as to avoid bathroom breaks throughout the night.

3. Temperature control. I don’t like sleeping in super hot or super cold rooms. A nice 71 degrees Fahrenheit works well for my sleep. I love being covered under my duvet and feeling comfortable temperature-wise.

3. Humidifier. I notice a difference when I have a humidifier going in the winter months. Stay tuned for a humidifier review update in the next month or so. I haven’t had much luck with humidifiers this winter, but a new one is on its way, and I can’t wait to put it to use.

4. Make lists. If I’m still thinking about work, teaching, blogging, life when my head hits the pillow, I won’t be able to sleep. To deal with the potential eyes-wide-open situation, I write everything down so it gets out of my head. I don’t know if scientific research supports my approach, but it certainly works for me.

5. Get a great mattress. Of course this is a key suggestion. I bought mine last year, and I’ve been really happy with it. You can read about how I bought a new mattress.

6. Regular bedtime. I go to sleep between 10pm and 11pm every night. If I don’t, the next day can be awful. I sleep soundly between 7 and 8 hours a night, which I think is pretty good.

7. Busy body. My life is pretty jam-packed. Between work, blogging, MBA life, friends, and family, I have little time to get bored, relax, lounge around. This means that by the time I go to bed, I’m tired. Ready to sleep. Busy days make for restful nights. Or something like that.

So while these seven things do encourage a restful sleep, I still have a couple of things to work on:

1. Pillows. I easily get annoyed with pillows. It seems like every month or two, I’m investing in a new set. Annoying. I’ve tried inexpensive ones, expensive ones, and a multitude of fillings. If you have advice, please share!

2. Alarm clock/technology. I’m one of those sleepers who keeps my iPhone on my nightstand so I can use it as my alarm clock. I’ve gone to bed way past my set bedtime because I get too sucked into Instagram and Twitter surfing. Not good. I’ve recently found my little low-tech alarm clock, but I haven’t yet transitioned to the no-iPhone-in-the-bedroom rule.

3. Exercise. Many people have attributed good sleep to exercise. I know increasing my daily exercise would help me sleep. But see #7 above. I’m a busy body. I currently lack time to fit in long workouts. This will soon have to change, though, as I signed up for the Diva 1/2 marathon.

What works for you? I’d love to know!

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!

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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!
    • Expedia.ca: Thanks to an amazing collaboration with Expedia.ca, 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

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Marketplace: White Cabana x Stephen Hawes

EEEK!!!! I’m so excited to finally share a full view of my new pottery collection!

Over the last few months, I have had the opportunity to work with a local potter, Stephen Hawes, to create a collection of pottery. Our collection is going to be sold at Wilfrid Laurier University’s new shop at the Robert Langen Art Gallery. Pretty amazing, right?

When I was approached with the idea, I was totally on board. But then I thought – ah – could I actually design a collection that people would want, that reflects my design aesthetic, and that highlights the potter’s skills? I was nervous at first, but the process went very smoothly.

I brainstormed and sketched out a bunch of designs. I had sizes and colour options detailed, too. Then Stephen and I met to discuss the feasibility and usefulness of each of the objects I designed. We also talked about colour variation (not too much, since this was going to be a white and black collection!).

Stephen got to work in his workshop, and we met again in the summer to review the prototypes. At that meeting, it was great to see the prototypes so that I could confirm or adjust each item’s design, colour, and size.

Another couple of months went by and then the collection was done. Poof! Stephen had fired everything up and was ready for the final reveal. I know I’m biased, but it’s beautiful. I like to think that this pottery collection is modern, easy, accessible, and versatile.

So…are you ready to have a look at some of the collection? Here we go…

White Cabana X Stephen Hawes

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use it for: hair ties, cotton balls, salt, mini cactuswhite_cabana_stephen_hawes_2

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use it for: drinking cup, pencils, straws, cheese sticks, Qtips white_cabana_stephen_hawes_5

use it for: fruit, salad, remote controls

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use it for: (L) pasta, salad, bread, rock garden; (R) candy bowl, popcorn    white_cabana_stephen_hawes_9

use it for: utensils, toothbrushes, strawswhite_cabana_stephen_hawes_10

use it for: popcorn, plant, mailwhite_cabana_stephen_hawes_11

use it for: milk, syrup, salad dressingwhite_cabana_stephen_hawes_12

use it for: (L) green tea, iced tea, water, wooden spoons; (R) spoons, sugar, soy saucewhite_cabana_stephen_hawes_13

use it for: Lego, chips, scarves

There are a variety of shapes and sizes in this collection, and the black lines of each object also vary. Each piece is unique and made with care.

The complete collection will be for sale at the Robert Langen Art Gallery in the library at Wilfrid Laurier University beginning on Monday, December 5th at 11am. More details here.

Thanks to Stephen Hawes for working on this project with me.
Thanks to Nick, Suzanne, and the Laurier Library for encouraging this initiative.

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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.

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Travel: Things to Do in Rimini, Italy

While Dad and I flew into Bologna, we weren’t there for long.¬† After waiting for ages for our luggage, we met Dad’s friend (and now mine), Ivo, at the exit. I was exhausted, so I was happy that neither Dad nor I had to think about the next leg of our journey. Instead, Ivo shuffled us into his car and drove us all to Rimini, a beach town on the Adriatic coast about a 1 hour drive from Bologna (in Italy, when people talk about distance, they refer to the kilometers rather than the time. Rimini is approximately 120km from Bologna.)

Rimini was our first stop on our #WhiteCabanaxExpediaCA vacation as my Dad’s highschool reunion lunch (a mulit-hour feast!) happened on the Sunday. A weekend at an Italian beach? Nobody had to twist my arm to go.

For the movie buffs out there, you may have already heard of Rimini as it’s the hometown of film director Federico Fellini. There are nods to Fellini throughout the city, including renamed streets after Fellini films. Fellini, I learned, based characters, places, and images of Rimini throughout his hometown (even though many were shot entirely in Roman film studios). His movie 8 1/2, of which my hotel’s street was named, won an Oscar, too, and featured the gorgeous Grand Hotel (see below). I haven’t yet watched it, but it’s now on my must-watch list.

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Let me take you on a little tour of the Rimini that I experienced over a period of three days last month.

Places to Stay

After I booked my flight with Expedia.ca and I got a sense of my Dad’s itinerary, I started researching and booking hotels. As anyone who has used Expedia.ca knows, hotel searching and booking is simple and straightforward. Dad had narrowed down Rimini hotel options for me as Ivo gave him some recommendations. As such, I used the search tool to look up Rimini hotel options.

Because of location and insider recommendations, I booked the Villa Bianca – an affordable, clean, bright hotel, located right on the beach (and in English, the hotel is called White House….perfect for me, right?). On beach vacations, I would always recommend booking a hotel right on the beach. You’ll appreciate the proximity and views. Villa Bianca‘s location was perfect, and the outdoor seating areas were white-white-white!

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lots of white outside at Villa Bianca

Villa Bianca is a partner hotel with Villa Litoraneo. Apparently, the rooms in the Litoraneo are slightly larger than those in Villa Bianca, but the two hotels share the same breakfast, views, pool, and location. Both are¬† very reasonably priced, so you really couldn’t go wrong with either.

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Dad and I by the pool (which I never did dip into)

My room was very clean, and it had everything I needed, including a balcony (sorry – no photos – it was much too colourful!). I loved opening the balcony doors every morning to see what was going on in the beachy world around me. There was nothing particularly special about the room; the bed was comfortable, shower pressure was good, the TV worked, and wifi was easily accessible. The breakfast, though, was substantial and inviting.

Since I was working on a budget (still trying to get my money tree to produce actual money!), I tried to keep all of my hotels at or under $200 in every city I traveled to. If budget was not a consideration, however, I would definitely splurge for the Grand Hotel. Not only was it featured in Fellini’s 8 1/2 film, it was absolutely stunning – historic, white, grand, and all-around gorgeous.

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curves on the patio

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ceiling details at the Grand Hotel

Now, before moving on to food (drool, drool), let me take a moment to talk about the star rating system for hotels in Italy. In short, ignore them. The system is not as regulated/formal/consistent as it is in North America and there aren’t as many chain hotel companies as there are here. Sometimes a 2-star hotel is much better than a 3-star hotel. When searching for hotels, I would keep the stars in mind, but I wouldn’t recommend that you use them as a completely reliable source. The 3-star Villa Bianca in Rimini, for example, was miles ahead of the 3-star hotel I stayed in in Florence. What would I do? I’d look up reviews online from other travelers (North American and non-North American), bloggers, and travel sites, and look at the hotel’s website, too.

Places to Eat

I’m just about convinced that you can eat anywhere in Italy and be pleased with your meal. The food is just so delicious (not that I’m biased). While in Rimini, we had a few meals along the main beach-front street (via Lungomare), and everything was delicious. What I would recommend, though, if you’re in Rimini, is to eat fish. Lots and lots of fish.

As you may know, each region in Italy has its own specialties, and I’d recommend you try to eat the food of the region. Italians are very passionate about food (and everything, really), and they can spend days talking about the quality of the food at the market/restaurant/region. If you can, ask locals (or watch locals) what they’d recommend.

One of the most delicious pastas I had while I was in Italy was pasta alla vongole (pasta with clams) in Rimini. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the name of the restaurant, but it was one of the average restaurants on the main street. It was so yummy!

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pasta alla vongole White-Cabana-Rimini-7 (1)

bibs for adults? yes, please

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Dad and Ivo give the thumbs up for their lunch choices (Ciao, Ivo!)

The highschool reunion lunch happened at the most scenic restaurant – Rock Island. This place is the only place in Rimini that is on the water. Literally, on the water. You have to walk on a pedestrian-only pier to get to it, and once there, the views are beautiful. I’m not sure if the meals they serve are always so extravagant, but ours was! Fish after fish after fish – all served family style. Loved it.

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antipasti freddi (cold appetizers – salmon, seafood salad, squid)White-Cabana-Rimini-3 (1)

fritto misto (fried seafood and veggies)White-Cabana-Rimini-9 (1)

spedini (calamari and shrimp skewers)White-Cabana-Rimini-6 (1)

semifreddo mandole (almond ice cream)

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the view at Rock Island

In the town of Rimini (a short drive away from the beach), I’m sure there are a lot of great restaurants to try. Our in-town eating consisted of gelato, so I don’t have any restaurant recommendations for you. Can’t go wrong with that.

Another thing about eating out in Italy…When you’re in Italy, I would recommend adopting the Italian meal schedule. You’ll look like the odd-man-out if you eat a light lunch at noon and a big dinner at 5pm. I mean, this is okay, but if you want to experience the Italian way, you should make some adjustments. Eat lunch at 1pm or 2pm and make it a good one. Have a couple of courses, drink a glass of wine, and enjoy the slow-paced afternoon. Maybe have a gelato between lunch and dinner. Dinner at 9pm is perfectly acceptable. You’d likely have something light like a caprese salad (tomato and mozzarella). Leaving the dinner table at 11pm is absolutely normal – especially when you’re on vacation!

Things to Do

The beach. You’re in Rimini. Go to the beach. There, that’s easy enough advice, isn’t it?

Honestly, the beach is the place to be. It is wide and long and clean. In June, there were a decent amount of people, but I’m sure that Rimini is jam-packed come July or August when Italians (and other European tourists) are on vacation.

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Generally, beach hotels have reserved sections of seating on the beach, so check with your hotel before venturing to the sand. You can, of course, just bring a towel and park yourself near the water, but the way that (most) Italians do it is that they rent a chaise and umbrella for the day (lettino e ombrellone). The Villa Bianca also offered a bit of a discount, and I’m sure other hotels do the same. My chaise was 4 or 5 euros. I’d recommend getting the umbrella, too, if you’re planning to spend a full day at the beach. It gets very hot, and the umbrella offers the perfect shade. The rental fee should also include a towel and locker room/shower access. Italians may be disorganized in some regards (e.g., driving), but they’ve got the beach thing completely under control. It’s a pretty seamless system. La dolce vita!

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When you need a break from the beach, take a walk along the via Lungomare (the waterfront street) and grab a gelato (recurring theme, can you tell?).

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Besides the beach zone, the town of Rimini is definitely worth a visit. The pedestrian, cobblestone streets are perfect for a passeggiata (a stroll), and there are plenty of shops and cafés to pop into.

There’s a ton of history in Rimini, and I learned all about it on a guided tour. Unfortunately, my memory is terrible, and I took zero notes, so you’re going to have to go take a tour yourself to learn all about the battles and buildings. Essentially, Rimini has served as a central communication point between other regions in Italy. If I understood correctly, Rimini was an important place in Italy’s history because it serves as a direct route to places like Rome and Bologna. That’s the summed up version of its history (terrible, I know!).

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Arco d’Augusto

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So this basically sums up my weekend in Rimini. Would I go back? Definitely!

Learn more about Rimini.

Follow our father-daughter adventures in Italy on Instagram at #WhiteCabanaxExpediaCA and Twitter at #WhiteCabanaxExpediaCA. Stay tuned for more Italian posts in the weeks ahead.

Grazie mille, Expedia.ca.

Note: all opinions are my own. Other posts in this series: Booking with Expedia.ca, 5 Tips for Traveling with a Parent

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The Friday Five: 5 Tips for Traveling with a Parent

There are a lot of travel tips out there – traveling with babies, kids, pets; traveling on a budget; traveling light; etc., but there are few articles addressing the topic of traveling with a parent.

Thanks to Expedia.ca, I was able to join my Dad on a trip to Italy last month. As you may remember, Dad was heading to Italy for a reunion with his highschool friends. He had done this for the first time last year after a 50-year separation. Fifty! Five-Zero! Can you believe it? His friend (who I’ll be introducing in a future post!) connected with him via Facebook a couple of years ago, and they’ve been in touch ever since.

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our first selfie of our Italian vacation (this selfie wouldn’t have happened if not for Expedia.ca!)

I thought I would share five tips for traveling with – ahem – an older parent just in case young(er) daughters and sons are giving this type of vacation some consideration.

Now, before I get into my five tips, I should admit a few things.

1. Dad is a seasoned traveler.

This most certainly helps the whole father-daughter (retiree-youngen) travel situation. The fact that Dad has been traveling around the world since he was a teen (he did come to Canada on his own when he was 19 after all) means that he’s very familiar with airports, taxis, train systems, and “other”ness.

2. Dad and I have traveled together.

I can’t even count how many trips we’ve taken just the two of us. Because we’ve traveled together, I have a good sense of Dad’s travel abilities. Knowing what he’s like when he travels or when he’s outside of his normal routines (retirees, I tell ya!) helps me stay calm and know when to push/not push limits. He also knows when to help me, when to organize things, and when to leave me alone.

3. Dad speaks Italian.

Going to Italy may be intimidating for some because of the language barrier, but this was not an issue for us as both Dad and I speak Italian. Because Dad and I both know Italian, communication in Italy wasn’t the responsibility of only one of us. Since each of us could communicate with locals, it meant that neither of us was acting as “translator”. I’ve held this gig before and it can get tiring for everyone.

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We’re just about to head to the airport. Dad with his luggage and me with wet hair. Perfect.

So, now that you know more about where Dada and I started, let me share five tips for traveling with (an older, but still active) parent. (Dad, I hope I’m not offending you with all of this age talk. Age is just a number after all, right? I know you’re reading this.)

1. Have a positive attitude.

There is a ton of info out there about how a positive attitude is key to just about everything. When it comes to traveling with a parent – or anyone, really – your attitude can make or break your vacation. Remember that you’re on vacation (hello, vacation!), and so really, nothing should get in the way of enjoying yourself.

Okay – another admission – Although I, like Dad, am a seasoned traveler, I’ve traveled quite a bit on my own. I love traveling on my own. I’ve gotten used to traveling on my own. While others are scared to travel on their own, I’m scared to travel with other people. True story. Anyone with me on this? Traveling with others¬† makes me a bit nervous because I don’t want to get in fights about what to see/do/eat, I want to see/do/eat what I want without having to consider others (I’m so selfish), and I want to sleep in/see a museum/eat gelato for dinner/go to bed early/stay up late when I want. Totally selfish. Independent. Strong-willed. Whatever you want to call me. That’s how I am. Friends and family who have (dared to) travel with me are well aware of my issues and know that I need my independence.

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Here we are at Pearson on the tapis roulant (moving sidewalk – what are these things called in English or French?). In between selfies, dad’s saying, “This is why you always drop your phone, Jordana.”

So how do I travel with my Dad when I’m such an independent bugger? Well, I try to stay positive:

  • I know in advance that Dad and I are not going to want to do all the same things at¬† the same time. And that’s okay. We’re still family. This doesn’t mean that we’re bad travel buddies.
  • I realize that this is a special vacation that I’m so lucky to be on and that some daughters never get to experience traveling with their fathers. This is a cool opportunity, and it’s going to be memorable for both of us.
  • I don’t need to stress about seeing everything. Italy will always be there. What we see is what we see.
  • I talk to Dad in advance of the trip of my itinerary ideas to see where his interests lie.
  • I think again about what an amazing adventure we’re on, and that we’re so lucky to be able to see the world together (thanks a million, Expedia.ca!)

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We made it from Toronto to Frankfurt. We look tired but happy. Dad’s saying, “Make sure you get the planes in the background, Jordana.” My response, “I’m half-asleep, Dad. I’ll do my best.”

2. Have faith.

Okay, this may sound rude, but I’m going to say it anyway. Just because your parent may be 30+ years older than you, it doesn’t mean that s/he is not capable.

I have faith in Dad’s abilities. I know he can pack and carry his own luggage, connect to wi-fi independently on his iPhone, ask for directions, navigate trains, book things online, and check-in to his flight via the airline’s automated check-in kiosk.

Dad’s very capable and if he needs help, he’ll ask. I am confident that if Dad needed me to do something for him, he’d ask. In general though, I keep my expectations high so that he doesn’t fall into the “my daughter organizes everything for me” trap. That’ll just make his brain lazy, right? (I hope noone is calling me out on being an ageist. I’m not an ageist. I’m a realist.)

So, I’d recommend that you have faith in your parent’s abilities to travel. S/he may not do things your way at your speed, but s/he has made it through a lot of life without you. Your parent can do this!

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We’re ready to board our Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt, Germany to Bologna, Italy. Dad’s saying, “Look at all the names printed on the side. Who are they?” My response, “Look here, Dad, for another selfie.”

3. Communicate and know limits.

Dad and I aren’t the most perfect communicators on the planet (wait until I share my Pisa photos with you!), but when it comes to traveling together, I think we’re pretty good at checking in with one another about status/sight seeing interests/fatigue levels/meal preferences/etc.

It’s good to be aware of when your parent may need an extra long coffee break or a mid-day nap, or when your parent can power through (when you might need a mid-day nap).

It’s also helpful to know your parent’s eating habits. Food is a major part of my life (and my family’s), but we all have our preferences. Knowing Dad’s limits when it comes to food type preferences, meal times, and eating out helps me organize my own meals and dining experiences. There’s no point trying to convince Dad to eat dinner at a fancy restaurant at 9pm when I know all he wants is a light meal at 6pm. You know?

While I do admit that my Dad is very capable, I’m aware of limits. When I’m too quick at airport security or walking too fast to catch a train, I know that he won’t keep up, so I slow down or I ask him if he wants help (he never said yes, now that I think about it). If we miss a train, we miss a train. Another one will come along. (Side note: We never missed a train. In Bologna, we hustled and made it with 30 seconds to spare. Go team!)

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Breakfast in Rimini, Italy. We’re both fans of Nutella. #truth

4. Be independent.

So Dad doesn’t want to eat dinner at 9pm at a fancy restaurant. No big deal. I’m happy to go on my own. I think having time away from one another is a healthy part of traveling with others. When each traveler has some independence, they get to explore what they want and take a break from talking (seriously. especially when you’re spending so much time talking in your 3rd language as in my case. it’s totally tiring.). Exploring a city independently means that you’ll have stories to share when you do catch up. And that’s so fun!

Dad and I had time apart during our Italian vacation, and I think this made us both happy. He’d get sick of me just as much as I’d get sick of him if we were to spend 24 hours a day together. When we met up in Florence after I spent three days in Bologna on my own, for example, I was able to share all of my stories and photos with him. And he was able to fill me in on what he’d been up to in Florence. I thought it was great.

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selfie at San Miniato al Monte in Florence, Italy

5. Know when to take the lead.

Even though you, like me, may be traveling with an independent, capable, and experienced parent, I think it’s useful to know when you should just forget about all of that stuff and take the lead. This could mean following the signs at the train station for both of your sake, asking for directions, or making final decisions about what restaurant to go to.

Taking the lead means you get to show your parent how capable you are, to reassure them that you’ve got things under control, and to give them a chance to rest or regroup. Taking the lead might force them to try something out of the ordinary. And if your parent wants to take the lead for a chunk of time, let them. Dad, for example, was in charge of booking all of our trains. Awesome. Worked for me.

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selfie with the leaning tower in Pisa, Italy

Bonus:

Make matching t-shirts to tell the world that you’re a team! It was absolutely hilarious to travel around Italy with our matching White Cabana t-shirts. I’m eager to make more professional ones for our next adventure…even if it is just to the grocery store.

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spending father’s day together in Codogno, Italy

Follow our father-daughter adventures in Italy on Instagram at #WhiteCabanaxExpediaCA and Twitter at #WhiteCabanaxExpediaCA. Stay tuned for more Italian posts in the weeks ahead.

Many many many thanks to Expedia.ca for sponsoring my trip. Grazie mille! All opinions are my own.

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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)

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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!

Taking a Short Break

I’m spending the rest of the week away from the blog, but I’ll be back on Monday with a lot of white goodness! I hope you’re enjoying happy days and looking forward to a fun-filled weekend ahead.

I’ll leave you with this photo of a cool white art installation at Buddy Brew in Tampa.

Buddy Brew Tampa-White Cabana-artAs always, thanks for finding time in your day for White Cabana!

Big Announcement: I’m a Domino Contributor!

Okay. So who out there remembers buying their first issue of Domino? I can’t be the only one! I’m so thankful my mom saved all my issues after I had boxed them up thinking that it was time to share them with others (thanks, mom!). I have just about every issue in the history of Domino, everything is here to stay.

Domino-mag-White Cabana-3 Domino-mag-White Cabana-2 Domino-mag-White Cabana-14 years of Domino – my collection; photos by me

I remember buying the premiere issue, telling my sister to buy it, and then waiting every month for each new issue. Domino was my magazine! The magazine was printed from 2005-2009, and then when it was gone, well, I was very disappointed.

In 2013, Domino made a comeback, and fans have been pretty darn happy ever since. Domino published printed issues, and it has really expanded its online presence. The site is an extremely thorough resource for those who want to learn about design and need inspiration for their own projects.

Fast forward to June 2015, and I am officially a Domino contributor! Hooray! Jump for joy with me, will you?! I’m thrilled! Me? A Domino contributor? I would never have thought that this day would come. 10 years ago, I bought my first issue. Today, my name is on the Domino site. It’s just too cool.

Domino-White-Cabanavia Domino

Over the weekend, my first article went live. After seeing Lindsay’s basement makeover, I knew it would be perfect for Domino readers. She made some clever changes to this space, and it might give readers ideas for their own spaces.

makeover  (4)photo by Lindsay Stephenson

You can read my very first Domino article here (photos are by Lindsay, text is by me!).

I have a bunch of things I will be writing about over on Domino, and I would love for you to read my posts (pretty please). While I do intend to contribute articles that feature my favourite colour, I’m also looking forward to broadening my repertoire and sharing some absolutely incredible places and spaces that go beyond classic white (insert suspenseful music here).

p.s. Domino!? Amazing!

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:

WHAT ARE YOU DOING (NOW) TO PREPARE FOR YOUR FUTURE?

WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU SHOULD START DOING TO CREATE A BETTER FUTURE FOR YOURSELF?

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.

WHAT ARE YOU DOING (NOW) TO PREPARE FOR YOUR FUTURE?

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).

NISJES_1via

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

WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU SHOULD START DOING TO CREATE A BETTER FUTURE FOR YOURSELF?

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
rejoyce
Bite My Fashion
White Oak Creative
StyledbyKesha
xo lacey
Whitney Bangel Blog
always craving
Evann Clingan
Turning the Corner…Fearlessly!
IN THE GREY
Beauty and the Pitch
PRBlonde

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.

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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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

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– 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)

White-Cabana-behindtheblog-8
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.

oh-the-places-youll-go-print

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!

white-cabana

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
me!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Personal: A Birthday Week

It was my birthday last weekend, and while there were no balloons or sprinkles à la every-Pinterest-party-photo, I had a few days of celebratory fun.

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my birthday crown

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lazy morning patio time

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a birthday selfie – wearing my new favourite sweatshirt

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Cutting pizza with scissors – doesn’t everybody do this?

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flowers from the Kitchener market

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homemade chocolate cake by my mom – delicious!

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Elora, Ontario

birthday-9horse & buggy parking only – Elora, Ontario

Photography: Back in Time

Gita-Scolastica1964-

Gita Scolastica Milano – 1964

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Foto in Occasione di una Partita di Calcio – 1964

That’s my dad up there (top photo: black suit, bottom photo: second from right) in 1964 with his¬†friends. He was 18 or 19 years old in these photos. I love how they’re all suited up. So hip, yeah?¬†How are photos from the 60s so darn hip? Will people¬†think the same thing 50 years from now of our selfies and digital photos?

Thanks to my dad’s highschool friends for sending these photos.¬†Photographer unknown.

Personal: Vacation Status Update

7_4_14_MarkAddisonSmith-1Mark Addison Smith

I don’t know about you, but I always find that coming back from vacation is so much work. Why the heck does it take so long to get reacquainted with real life activities?¬†I tried (and mostly failed) to squeeze in the following yesterday after a tiring travel day on Saturday¬†(flight delays are so annoying, aren’t they):
Рa pile of laundry that somehow managed to take almost a full day
– tidying and cleaning of the house even though I tidied and cleaned the house before I left (seriously, how much tidying/cleaning does one house need?!)
–¬†finding room for new purchases (while¬†cleaning out closets)
– putting away a gazillion little items that belong in a gazillion different places around my house
Рvisits with friends and family to share vacation stories and photos/get updated on news while I was away
Рemail time (I tried to keep my vacation very low-tech)
– grocery shopping (I didn’t quite get to this, but good thing I have parents who always give me food when I visit them.)

Yes, life is tough sometimes, isn’t it? (insert smiley face) Seriously, though, I’m so thankful that I had 2 full weeks to relax on the beach and tune out real life. I had a most excellent time in Florida¬†and I look forward to sharing photos and stories soon. Now, tell me, what did¬†I¬†miss while I was away?

 

Design: Manhattan Home on Style Me Pretty Living

I’m thrilled to announce that my sister and brother-in-law’s Manhattan condo was featured on Style Me Pretty Living yesterday! Can you believe it? SMPLiving¬†is¬†such a well-curated, well-respected¬†online¬†blog¬†and it is ridiculously cool that the SMP team decided¬†to feature my family’s city condo. Crazy cool, in fact!¬†Even though I knew the post¬†was coming, I was¬†still kind of surprised to see it online yesterday afternoon. Just. Too. Much. Fun.

Here are a few photos¬†of their place, but I encourage you to read¬†the full story and flip through all the photos. I’m so impressed with¬†my sister and brother-in-law’s approach to art and design (and, yes, they like white¬†too).

Corie-NYC-apartment-Caroline Frost photo Corie-NYC-2-apartment-Caroline Frost photo Corie-NYC-condo-Caroline-Frost-photographyCorie-SMP-Caroline Frost

Thanks to Caroline Frost for taking such lovely photos and to Jacquelyn Clark for putting this all into motion.

Taking a few days off this week

Conference season comes around every spring for many of us academics (it also comes around in fall and winter – really, it just never stops, but nevermind that). The season is much like camp – it’s a chance to see old friends, meet new people, eat, drink,¬†and be merry. In addition, conference season¬†gives¬†academics a chance to share their research, field interesting (and sometimes tough) questions, engage in a lot of (hopefully) fascinating discussions, and support/challenge/question/persuade¬†colleagues from around the world. Although the season is a busy one, it’s also extremely energizing.

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mobile

Needless to say, it’s currently conference season and I’m kind of all over the place this week. I need a few days off from the blog and I hope you don’t mind! If you need a little White Cabana in your lives during this mini-break, please catch¬†me¬†on Instagram or Twitter! Thanks for understanding!

Personal: Weekend Recap

How was your weekend? Mine was pretty good! It was my convocation on Friday which means that I’m now officially Dr. Jordana! So excited! It was a very special moment to walk across the stage, be admitted to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy by the president of the university, and to be hooded by my supervisor. The ceremony was perfect – fancy, traditional, and the orchestra performed beautifully. The day went by quickly but I was so happy that my parents and my aunt were there to celebrate with me.¬†I wore my regalia proudly and my family were great paparazzi.

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¬†me and my new favourite outfit; don’t be surprised if you see me wearing this often (ignore my hair – I didn’t brush it and it was really windy – oops)

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words of wisdom; yes, indeed!

On Saturday, I zipped around the city, worked on getting more work done at the house, and, for the first time, hung up coats in my hall closet (this is an amazing achievement as, up until now, it has been filled with packed boxes). Huge progress!

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one my Venini-like chandeliers

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finding my old friends with each box I unpack

Sunday was a day for organization and virtual family time. We are so lucky to have things like Skype and Facetime, aren’t we? My immediate family lives in three different cities but we talk every day through various means. It’s pretty amazing how we can stay so connected.

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Thanks Zia Silvana – they’re beautiful!

The weekend was also a day for remembering Zia Rose¬†who lost her battle with breast cancer two years ago. I can still hear her,¬†“Have you met my niece, the doctor”¬†(she was saying it pretty much since the day I got into grad school). If she were still with us, I know she would have come to my convocation and I would have heard her use her “football cheering” voice to cheer me on.¬†I listened to The Rose a few times throughout the day in honour of her. Listening to the song always gives me happy memories of my aunt.

How about you? What did you get up to?

Images by me (and my paparazzi).

Celebration: Welcome Giselle!

I am so so so excited to share the news of my niece’s birth. My very first niece! I’m too thrilled! Giselle was born exactly two weeks ago and has been getting a lot of love and attention from her 3 older brothers (and her parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, etc.).

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Tutu Lulu Cream Bunny

 

I am definitely looking forward to meeting Giselle and seeing the whole crew in NYC soon.

Welcome to the world little Giselle! xoxo Zia Jojo

Personal: Saying Goodbye to My Jeep

Can we take a moment to mourn the loss of my Jeep?

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The transmission broke last week and it just wasn’t worth it to put more money into the car so yesterday my dad arranged for my Jeep to be taken to the scrap yard. Oh, I’m sad. Although I haven’t driven it for a while, I was – and am – attached to this car.

Jeep

Jeeps have been my favourite car since forever*. While mine guzzled gas, I absolutely loved driving it. We all know that I like the Fiat 500 but I¬†love¬†my Jeep. I used it to commute to university every day during my undergrad, to drive from Kingston to Toronto countless times during my Master’s, and to move and start my PhD in London (not to mention all the driving to work over the years). Me and my Jeep have been on so many long trips together and so it’s no wonder I’m sad. It’s the end of an era.

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What about you? Are you attached to your car?

*Long before the Fiat 500.

Photos by BG.

Fashion: Elizabeth & Clarke Subscription Shirts

You know that good things come in threes, right? Well, I was lucky enough to be on the receiving end of three great tops from new-to-me designer Elizabeth & Clarke based out of NYC.

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I love the simple logo.

Elizabeth & Clarke is a clothing company that specializes in neutral-coloured shirts for women. (Right up my alley, I know!) Elizabeth & Clarke works by subscription meaning that if you’re a subscriber, you will receive a new box of shirts delivered right to your door every three months…as each new season begins. There are three subscription options.¬†The “serious clotheshorse” receives 3 shirts per season at $20 each. The “busy modern lady” receives 2 shirts per season at $25 each. And the “woman who hates to shop” receives 1 shirt per season for $30.

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In the summer box, I received The Arden (white), The Liz Lemon (white) and The Hurley (black) (all named after famous Elizabeths in case you didn’t realize). I’m usually a bit hesitant to buy clothes online because I can be quite particular about fabric but these shirts did not let me down.

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Elizabeth & Clarke’s The Liz Lemon t-shirt, Joe Fresh shorts, brand unknown shoes, Fossil watch, collection of silver bracelets, iPhone 4S

Elizabeth-Clarke-White-Cabana_2Elizabeth & Clarke’s The Arden shirt, Versace Jeans pants, brand unknown shoes, Fossil watch, collection of silver bracelets, iPhone 4S

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¬†Elizabeth & Clarke’s The Arden shirt, Fossil watch, collection of silver bracelets, Longchamp purse, iPhone4S

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Elizabeth & Clarke’s The Hurley shirt, H&M pants, Via Spiga shoes (I know my mom is rolling her eyes at this photo because I opted not to brush my hair first…oops.)

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Elizabeth & Clarke’s The Liz Lemon t-shirt, Levi jeans, Nine West shoes, Fossil watch, vintage necklace

So, what’s my verdict? Well, here is what I am impressed with:

– The Liz Lemon t-shirt and the The Hurley are made of such soft cotton that I didn’t want to take either of them off! They hang nicely and are both really easy to wear.

– The size chart works very well. I like the sizes I got because they leave room for a bit of shrinking (which I always end up doing even when I try not to) but I could have gone down a size and they would have been just fine.

– The service I received from the Elizabeth & Clarke staff was perfect. Friendly, respectful and efficient. The box of shirts was wrapped really nicely too!

– The shirt styles are classic and modern (that combo exists, right?). I can easily pair each shirt with existing pieces in my wardrobe and – I know I’m biased – but nothing really beats a cool white shirt!

– I love the subtle back pleating detail of The Arden and I wish I had captured it in a photo. It’s the little touches that count, right?

– All three shirts have washed well. Washer + dryer. Easy.

Here is something that could be potentially annoying:

–¬†The Arden suffered from static cling unfortunately. You can’t tell in the photos above but it basically stuck to my jeans. Maybe after another wash or two the static cling will disappear. It also needs ironing so if you hate ironing, this isn’t the shirt for you. (I like ironing so this doesn’t bother me.)

Overall – like I said at the beginning of this post – I’m very pleased with the three shirts and I’m already looking forward to the fall collection – hello elbow patches!

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Many thanks to Melanie Moore, co-founder of Elizabeth & Clarke, for sending these shirts my way. Photos by Jordana.