Personal

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.

White-Cabana-Rimini-15 (1)

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)

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

TYR-logoTYR (post)

Stratford-Festival-logoStratford Festival (post)

LLBean-logoL.L. Bean (post)

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

KW-Symphony-LogoKW Symphony (post)

Happy New Year, dear sponsors!

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)

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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

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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?

Jeep-

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.

Elizabeth&Clarke_box

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!

***

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

Celebration: Happy Birthday Duke!

Duke, my oldest nephew, turns 4 today. This little guy currently is fascinated by tornadoes…

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via

and dinosaurs…

Dinosaur

via Retronaut

Random fact – Duke thinks I am going to send him a tray of meatballs. Yes – quite the imagination at 4 years old! I’m not going to be the one to tell him that I’ve never actually made meatballs and I doubt Canada Post would mail them to NYC even if I did make them. The little cutie definitely keeps me entertained!

Happy Birthday Duke!

Travel: Pittsburgh

I spent this past weekend on a father-daughter trip to Pittsburgh*. In our short visit we managed to learn a bit about the history of the city and we explored quite a few neighbourhoods. Unfortunately I don’t have many photos to share because I mistakenly erased most of them while I was uploading them to my computer (darn!). Here are a few photos along with a recap of our trip highlights.

view of downtown Pittsburgh from Mount Washington

  • We stayed at the Wyndham downtown, located right at the tip of the city, where we enjoyed a beautiful view of Mount Washington as well as the intersection of the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers.
  • From our hotel we walked to the Strip District where we browsed a few food stores. There are a lot of interesting old buildings and signs in this small area.
  • Did you know that Heinz is from Pittsburgh? Neither of us had any idea until we saw Heinz signs on buildings around town (e.g., the Heinz theatre, the Heinz lofts, Heinz field).

Heinz lofts, Pittsburgh

  • We took a drive up Mount Washington and we are glad we did because the view of the city was pretty spectacular. From the designated look-out points the downtown core looked amazing as did the rivers, and the many bridges that connect different sides of the city.

Carnegie library, Pittsburgh

here I am enjoying the view of the river and downtown Pittsburgh

  • Squirrel Hill and South Side were other neighbourhoods we visited – although very briefly – and I would be eager to spend more time in each of these places on a future visit.
  • We had some pretty good meals during our stay. We had read about Pamela’s Diner in several guides so we decided to give it a try (apparently President Obama is a fan of their hotcakes). The atmosphere was lively, the service was friendly, and the food (we each ordered hotcakes, of course!) was fresh and tasty. We ate dinner at Nola in Market Square one night and, again, we were treated to a delicious meal with a cajun influence (I had alligator tacos!).
  • And of course, no visit of a city is complete (for me) without a trip to the university (or, in this case, the universities). The University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University are just two of the several universities that are in Pittsburgh. They are neighbours in the Oakland district. The University of Pittsburgh, affectionately called Pitt, was established in 1787 (wow!) and Carnegie Mellon is a well-known private institution which has beautifully kept buildings and grounds.

As you can imagine, it was a very full weekend of travel, work and sightseeing. Next time I head to Pittsburgh I’ll have to attend a sporting event – Pittsburghers (?) seem to really love supporting their teams (Steelers & Penguins, right?!). Do you have any other recommendations this US city?

*Truth be told – I was there for work and I’m pretty sure the only reason my dad wanted to come along was so that he could put his newly acquired GPS gadget to work. Ha ha.)

Celebration: White Cabana Gets a Makeover!

I am so happy to reveal White Cabana’s new look! It’s a bit more sleek and a bit more white (yes!).

There are a few more things to work out over the next little but for now please note that the new web address is whitecabana.com.

I would like to extend some very heartfelt thank you to some people who have helped make this all possible:

Shannon from AKA Design – Thanks for convincing me that a blog redesign was something that I could actually handle. It worked! Thanks also for taking the time out of your very busy life to answer my questions!

Patricia from Mira Belleza – Thanks for designing such a beautiful site…and for answering my ongoing list of questions.

The Namespro team – Thanks for making the blog transfer process so easy. Your technical support team was so incredibly supportive and clearly answered my never-ending questions!

(Is anyone noticing a theme here – my questions!?)

White Cabana’s fabulous contributors – Johanne, Mackenzie & Troy – thanks for being an awesome and very intelligent team!

My family – Thanks for giving me the thumbs up on all the blog design previews I sent you!

White Cabana’s readers – Thanks to you for stopping by the blog on a daily basis! I am so happy to share my love of white with all of you!

And before I leave you to enjoy a very lovely Monday, here’s a look back at White Cabana’s style…

White Cabana – the original header designed by Johanne

White Cabana – live until October 2012

White Cabana – live since October 2012

Photography: A Walk Down Memory Lane

Before the age of 5 I had seen a good chunk of the world thanks to all the amazing family trips my parents planned. Even before I really figured out what traveling was all about, I had caught the travel bug. When I was at my parents’ place over Thanksgiving weekend I had a chance to look through some family photo albums. I always enjoy the walk down memory lane. I can remember the cities and countries we visited and I try to imagine how my parents traveled with two small children to such far away places.

Here is a very White Cabana worthy photo of me at a beach in Portugal when I was 4 years old.

photo of me taken by my father

My tastes haven’t changed too much, have they? Beach, white, red – I’m a happy girl!

How about you? Did you travel as a child? Do you travel with your children?

Travel: Miami

While my friend Shannon and I spent the majority of our vacation in Madeira Beach, we did take a quick trip to Miami. The drive from Madeira was easy minus the fact that once we got to Miami we spent an hour trying to find South Beach (um, yeah). The highways are so well-maintained (tolls everywhere!) and the drive across the Everglades was pretty cool even though we spotted no alligators and almost ran out of gas. Oops.

Once we arrived in South Beach we spent most of our time at the beach. It’s a much wider beach than in Madeira and the water is more clear. We loved the fact that our hotel offered chaise lounges and umbrellas for its guests. This definitely made our time at the beach that much more comfortable.

beach chairs before they get their blue cushions

Being a fan of architecture, I was excited to take photos of all the art deco buildings that South Beach is famous for. Unfortunately, we used up all the sunny time at the beach and when we did finally get to the sight-seeing portion of our two-day trip, we got rained on. I only managed to snap a couple of photos.

We did have lunch at the very art deco Jerry’s Famous Deli. The inside was awesome – and very red and gold. The light fixtures got my attention as did the menu. I didn’t have much energy to read through it all (it was vacation, remember?) so I settled for a BLT and lucky for me it was good.

at Jerry’s Famous Deli

The trip was much to brief so I’m definitely looking forward to going back on day in the future. Have you been to Miami? What are your favourite places to visit?

Photos by me.

Celebration: A Poem

If you’ve been following regularly then you know that I love singing the praises of my extra talented group of friends. I feel so lucky to be surrounded by generous, honest, intelligent and kind-hearted people. Yes, indeed! Last month for my birthday my friend Suparna wrote me a sweet little poem. I asked her permission to share it here.

Through meadows green, on stones so clean

Skips the birthday girl

A calm day down Forest Way

She pauses at the door with a curl.

Why so quiet? One cannot deny it

The elf that lives within

Generally sings with tones that ring

Clattering pots and cups of tin.

She says, “Hello?” and feels she must go

But stops when she senses the smell

Of freshly baked cake and all that would make

A girl enter without ringing the bell.

It was dark inside, enough to hide

A GREAT BIG elvin party

Who flipped on the lights and screamed with DELIGHT,

“HAPPY BIRTHDAY JORDANA GARBATI!”

While my birthday has passed, I just love re-reading this made-for-me poem. Thanks Suparna!

p.s. Not only can Suparna write and rhyme, but she also coaches a Quidditch team for her students in Singapore. She has yet to tell me exactly how she goes about this!

54 Is Just a Number

My father turns 54 today and, like many people his age, he is constantly complaining about how ‚Äúhe‚Äôs getting so old‚ÄĚ. Well, I believe that if you live your life to the fullest, acquire many interests, and just enjoy life there is no reason to complain about how old you are.

After all – your age is just a number!

To celebrate my dad’s birthday I’m sharing five things that my dad enjoys.

cigars

Rolex

Ferrari

Pink Floyd – The Wall

Hawaii

Happy birthday Dad!

xo

Mackenzie

Interiors: Kitchen Renovation. The Progress.

Way back in February my parents began a major renovation of their main floor. They tore out the floor, the powder room, the laundry room, the kitchen, and the family room. And then they put it back together again (with the help of a few very talented people). I’m happy to report that the renovation is almost – almost – done! And it is gorgeous (I’m not just saying that because it’s white, either). Here is a sneak peek of some of the details.

kitchen cabinets (wood with dovetail construction) – Parada Kitchens

kitchen cabinets – Parada Kitchens; Wolf stove ready to be assembled; counter ready to be installed

Sub-Zero fridge – ready to be unpeeled

a sweet vintage crystal chandelier (you won’t believe the deal my mom got on this one!)

fireplace mantel with carrera marble surround

fireplace mantel detail

Note: If you’re in the Toronto area and you’re looking for a kitchen cabinet maker my parents definitely recommend Parada Kitchens. My mom, who is very particular about quality, craftsmanship, work ethic and design (among other things – sorry Mom but it’s true), was quite impressed with Parada. (And no – they did not get a deal on their kitchen because I just wrote all of this.)

Photos by me.

Books: Blurb + Giveaway

I have been raving to my friends about Blurb ever since I wrote my first book for my nephew’s second birthday. For that book, I illustrated pictures of fruit, scanned them to my computer, and then uploaded them to a Blurb template. I then wrote the vocabulary to match (in three languages of course – that’s my academic side coming through!), finalized a few details, and pressed publish. In a matter of weeks, my first Blurb book arrived in my mailbox and I spent quite a bit of time showing it off before I handed it over to my nephew.

a preview of my first Blurb book – a multilingual book about fruit

It probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise that I have since published a few other books for each of my nephew’s birthdays. I am pleased with how each of them has turned out (and I think my nephews are too) and Blurb has been an easy company to work with.

customizable copyright & dedication pages

sssshh…this one still hasn’t been opened…it’s for Reef’s second birthday next week

here are my nephews reading Duke’s third birthday book about shapes

While I have not made my books available to the public, this is definitely a possibility with Blurb and something to pursue if you have written something that you want to share with others. On the other hand, if you’re at a loss for words but you want to compile photos from your last vacation, then consider Blurb the place to do so. The company offers quite a few design options, page templates, and bounding possibilities.

Want to get started? Well, look no further! Blurb is offering one lucky reader a $35 promo code to use toward a Blurb book. To enter this giveaway simply leave a comment and tell us what type of Blurb book you would like to create. And do it quick – this contest ends on Thursday June 7th, 2012. Winner will be chosen at random.

Note: Contest is open to Canadian residents only.

Photos and books by Jordana.

Celebration: Happy Birthday Dad!

Hi Dad. I know it’s early in the morning and you’re reading the blog. I posted this extra early just so that it would be here as soon as you logged on. Surprise!

cast iron French oven, Le Creuset

I know you’re going to enjoy putting your new Le Creuset to good use in your new kitchen!

Happy Birthday Dad!

xo

J

Interiors: Kitchen Renovation. The Beginning.

Oh my goodness. My parents have actually begun their big kitchen renovation. They have only been discussing it for 10+ years. The place has been torn apart and now we have to just wait and see how long it will take to put it all back together!

The first thing that got installed (not in the kitchen) was a new furnace with a white touch screen monitor…aka my Dad’s new toy.

I’m thinking that if I post about the progress it will motivate my parents to include as much white in the kitchen as I’ve been encouraging them to do!

Photos by Jordana.

The Friday Five: Music

Three months ago, my family and I lost someone very dear to us. My Zia Rose passed away after a 3 year fight with breast cancer and our worlds have forever been changed. While each of us celebrates her life each day, it is still very hard to come to terms with her death. Personally, I love looking at pictures and videos of her. Being with my uncle and cousins also makes me feel happy because I know she would want us to continue to laugh, sing, and gossip with one another as often as possible.

It must have been almost a year ago when I sat in my aunt and uncle’s kitchen and we talked about White Cabana. While Zia Rose cheered my efforts she also wondered why I hadn’t posted anything music related. Come on Jo, she said. I tried to tell her that, although I like listening to music, remembering song titles and lyrics and compiling play lists is not my forte. Before I could get another word in, she was spouting off a list of song titles with the word white in them. She was so excited and gave herself a pat on the back for coming up with such a genius post idea. She made us all laugh.

I meant to write this post soon after that visit but I never did. Today’s the day for music.

White Wedding – Billy Idol

White Room – Cream

A White Sportcoat – Marty Robbins

White Rabbit – Jefferson Airplane

Nights in White Satin – Moody Blues

This post is dedicated to Zia Rose and Zio Nick.

Many thanks to my friend Joel who helped me compile this list of songs. I hope Zia Rose would approve. I know she would sing!

Personal: Remembering Zia Rose

Just over a month ago, my Zia Rose‘s three year battle with breast cancer came to a very sad end. Since her passing, I’ve been attempting to write a post in her honour and, even though I write every day for the blog and for my day job, it has been so tough to find the words to really capture my aunt’s fun-loving spirit, generous nature, and incredible strength. I have written and rewritten this post numerous times and nothing, and I mean nothing, has seemed right.

I finally decided that since five is a favourite number around here on Fridays, I would share with you five happy memories I have of my amazing aunt.

Zia Rose’s hot chocolate was the best around. I’m not exactly sure what made it so good but when I was young, my sister and I used to go over to her and my uncle’s house and we would sit up against the kitchen counter and watch her make us hot chocolate. After a visit there we’d go home and rave to our mom about Zia Rose’s hot chocolate. This hot chocolate routine always put a smile on my face.

***

When we, her nieces, were young, before she had children of her own, Zia Rose used to treat us to something special on our birthdays. She would either come up with the idea or she’d ask us what we wanted to do to celebrate our special day. For my 9th or 10th birthday, my treat, it was decided, was to spend a day with Zia Rose at Sherway Gardens. There, I’d be able to pick out a present. I remember walking around the mall with her and not knowing what to buy at all. I also wasn’t used to having free reign of the mall! I remember we went into Jacob – one of the most coveted stores at the time – and I tried on some blue dresses and skirts. After thinking long and hard about which item of clothing I wanted for my birthday gift, I settled on a blue skirt. At the time I wore a blue & white uniform to school and I remember being so excited that I was going to have a piece of Jacob clothing to wear to school every day! Zia Rose asked me several times if I was sure that what I wanted for my birthday was a sensible blue skirt and I reassured her that it was the skirt of my dreams! When Zia Rose dropped me off at home, I remember her telling my mom that I was such a practical little girl. Ha ha ha. I can bet my mom doesn’t remember this but the memory is so clear in my own head.

***

One of Zia Rose’s favourite questions was: How old do I look? The correct response: Not a day over 21 Zia Rose. No other answer would do. Ever. For as long as I can remember.

***

When I graduated from university Zia Rose generously gave me a gift. She was so excited and eager for me to open the box. I wish I had the moment on video – I was in complete amazement when I saw what was inside – my very first Burberry tote. I’m pretty sure I jumped around my parents’ family room shrieking with happiness. I think of Zia Rose every time I use that purse. I love it for so many reasons. Zia Rose could never hide the joy she felt when someone else opened a present from her and I think her honest excitement is rare to find.

***

Zia Rose had the most beautiful voice. She could sing like it was nobody’s business. Christmas Eve at her place always included karaoke. Well – the machine was there. The people were there. But what usually ended up happening was that Zia Rose had control of the microphone all night long. Yes, sure, it was family karaoke, but really, it was Zia Rose Live In Concert. The rest of us could be back-up dancers but that’s about all she’d allow. Ha ha ha. It makes me laugh so hard. If I even tried to sing, I’d hear, Oh Jo, no!!! Zia Rose did approve of my brother-in-law’s singing, however, and they’d perform a few duets in between courses. Oh my goodness – remembering Zia Rose’s energy and excitement about singing just puts a big smile on my face.

***

There are so many more stories I could share but these are some of my most vivid. They also all remind me of Zia Rose’s generous and kind heart.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. It means a lot to me and I know it also means a lot to the rest of my family.

Celebration: Thank You

I just wanted to take a moment to thank Johanne who has filled in for me for the last few days here on the blog.

card

Tough times are easier to manage when friends and family are there to offer a hand. Johanne – you did just that. Thank you.

Music: The Rose

Long before YouTube was ever invented, Zia Rose, my aunt, recorded her version of Bette Midler’s The Rose on a cassette tape. I must have first heard her sing it when I was around 9 or 10 years old. It was so beautiful and it gave me chills. I remember that the cassette got passed around between different families so we could all have a chance to listen to it and I remember full family discussions about “the tape”. When I was learning to play the piano the sheet music for The Rose somehow wound up in our house and I always thought about it as Zia Rose’s song.

I am so extremely sad to share that Zia Rose passed away early this morning and while I’m not ready to write about it, I am happy to share this memory. I can hear her singing and I hope I never stop.

Some say love it is a river
that drowns the tender reed
Some say love it is a razor
that leaves your soul to bleed

Some say love it is a hunger
an endless aching need
I say love it is a flower
and you it’s only seed

It’s the heart afraid of breaking
that never learns to dance
It’s the dream afraid of waking that never takes the chance
It’s the one who won’t be taken
who cannot seem to give
and the soul afraid of dying that never learns to live

When the night has been too lonely
and the road has been too long
and you think that love is only
for the lucky and the strong
Just remember in the winter far beneath the bitter snows
lies the seed
that with the sun’s love
in the spring
becomes the rose

Today, I would love it if you could read these lyrics or listen to Bette Midler’s version. When I eventually get a hold of the tape (surely it’s my turn) I will convert it do a digital file and upload it for everyone to hear.