Marketplace: Thousand Bike Helmet

I’m going to be riding in style this spring thanks to my newest bike accessory – or stylish necessity, I should say. Let me introduce you to my Thousand bike helmet. My brain is my most valuable asset, so here’s to keeping it protected while I ride around town on my Peugeot.

In addition to the classic, simplicity of the helmet, I love the eco-friendly leatherette strap and the magnetic open tab lock. Easy on-off action right there. The circle Thousand poplock that you see in the photo below is also magnetic and I can use the hole to tread my lock through it and lock up this beauty with my bike. I think this helmet’s design is fantastic all around! (Learn more about the Thousand design.)

And while I wait for the snow to melt, I can only take indoor selfies with the helmet. It’ll be much more useful to me when I’m on my Peugeot!   

All photos by me. All opinions are my own. Thanks to Thousand for partnering on this post.

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The Friday Five: White at Williams Sonoma

As I sit here on a Friday night with a broken washing machine (again), a slightly sore throat, and a pile of marking to get started on, I’ve opted to forget my worries, procrastinate, and finally write my Friday Five post. Oh, adulting is fun sometimes, isn’t it?

My Internet travels have taken me to Williams Sonoma, and the shop has so many pretty items. Have a look at these five.

Peugeot Paris salt and pepper mills

white platter

La Cornue stove

white grinding salt

white coral on glass stand

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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Hotel to Home: Round Hill Hotel, Jamaica

Did you hear the news about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle spending some time in Jamaica to celebrate a friend’s wedding? While I definitely read an article or two about the public outing and relationship status, I happily clicked onto the website of the Round Hill Hotel and Villas – the site of the wedding. There are so many beautiful spaces in this luxury hotel, but I’m zooming in on a beautiful white bathroom for today’s hotel to home post.

Round Hill

tub, vanity set, mirror, faucet, metal hotel rack, towels, basket, robe

I never tire of a white bathroom.

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Marketplace: Rowenta Humidifier Review

Unfortunately, winter is still here. Some mornings, I wake up hopeful that spring has arrived. But I should know better. Winter will likely last for the remainder of this month. Ugh.

And with winter weather comes dry air. Dry skin. Stuffy noses. For me, at least. How do I combat the dry air in my home?

With a humidifier, of course!

I have used a humidifier during winter months for just about 10 years now, and I have always noticed an improvement in how my skin feels. My old humidifier stopped working a couple of months, and the replacement that I bought was useless. Returned it a day after I used it – or tried to use it – it didn’t work. I had spent just under $100 for the humidifier, so it certainly wasn’t top of the line, but it wasn’t one of those $20 versions either.

And here’s where the story takes a happy turn – in comes Rowenta to save the day! I reached out to Rowenta to inquire about their humidifiers. I have always heard great things about their irons (that’s on my wish list, too, by the way…do you know how many white shirts I wear each week!?), so I thought they might know a thing or two about steam!

Rowenta sent over the HU5120HO Aqua Control humidifier. My first impression was that it was a super sleek machine. Clean lines, compact design, and less bulky than my last humidifier.

But looks are only part of the story, right? (p.s. I would have preferred the water tank to be clear instead of blue.) How has it been working for me? Let me do a bit of a play-by-play for you.

Night 1

I had gotten home so late on the day that the humidifier arrived, so I didn’t give it much more than a quick look. I poured Brita water into it (because I was aiming for the best possible water quality – that only lasted for night 1, by the way), waited 10 minutes for the water to settle/regulate (I didn’t know I was supposed to do this, but there was a quick set-up guide that I scanned), plugged it in, pressed the power button, an auto button, and went to bed.

The blue display light was on, and since I was zombie-like, I didn’t even notice that there was a light-off button. Instead, I stuck a black bag in front of the light so I wouldn’t notice it while I slept. Ha ha. Such a zombie! I need more sleep!

I don’t even know what setting I had it on the first night, but when I woke up in the morning, I definitely noticed that the air in my bedroom was “fresh.” I wasn’t as stuffed up.  My skin was okay. Not perfect, but definitely an improvement.

Night 2

Once again, I had little time to read about the features of the humidifier, so I pressed a couple of buttons and hoped for the best. I’m making it sound like this humidifier is complicated to use, but it’s not. I have just been working like crazy that by the time I’m ready for bed, I just really go to sleep. And deeply, too!

On night 2, I did learn that the light button controls the display light as well as the blue light from the water tank. Awesome! No more blue light reflecting on my white walls!

I used the medium steam setting, and it worked well. I slept soundly, and my skin felt less dry when I woke up in the morning. Again, the air felt fresh.

Night 3

Okay. On night 3, I had about 5 minutes to look at the buttons more closely before I fell asleep (are you noticing a pattern?). I was thrilled to discover the different automated settings – auto, baby, and night. I opted for night which meant that no lights were on. And the system would shut-off once ideal humidity was reached. Genius! I set the humidifier to night mode and fell asleep. Good to go.

Night 4 and Beyond

So that’s just a quick recap of my first three nights with the Rowenta humidifier. I’ve been using it nightly, and I absolutely notice the difference in air quality, my sleeping, and how I feel in the morning. I’ve tried a few of the settings, but I most often use the night mode. It’s easy.

I honestly didn’t expect to see such a difference in the quality between my previous humidifiers and the Rowenta, but there is a difference. I thought the higher price point (about $230CAD) was for the name brand, but it isn’t. This humidifier is sleek, well-designed, and has multiple features and settings. It is a major improvement over my previous humidifiers and I’m very happy with it.

Beyond what I’ve shared, here are some additional features of the humidifier:

  • cool-mist
  • 3 steam settings
  • automatic humidity regulation
  • 3 modes – auto, baby, and night
  • timer
  • up to 18 hours of run time
  • covers 500sq feet
  • humidity control setting

Finally, a couple of people asked me some questions on this Instagram post, so I thought I’d include my answers here:

  1. Is it suitable for work? Yes, if you have your own office. The different modes, timer, and steam settings allow for good control of the steam. The cool mist is office-friendly, I’d say. If you work in an open space, then the humidifier’s mist will spread, so be sure to ask your office mates if they’re okay with it.
  2. How does your skin feel? Definitely, definitely, definitely better. I was pretty annoyed with waking up with dry skin. After a few nights, I noticed an improvement. It’s been working well for a couple of weeks now.
  3. Do you notice a difference in the moisture level when I enter the room? I keep the humidifier in my bedroom, and I only run it during the night. When I wake up in the morning, I certainly notice a difference in the moisture level. The best way I seem to be able to describe it as is “fresh.” I really should have it on during the day, too. Maybe this weekend!
  4. What are the settings and is it a cool mist? There are several settings. My old humidifier had two – high and low. This one has three modes, a timer, programmable humidity levels, three steam power options. The highest steam setting emits the most noise, but I don’t find this bothersome. It’s soothing, actually.

And before I leave you for today, I should just note that the recommended humidity level is between 50% and 60%. The screen on my humidifier reads 25% when I first plug it in.

Learn more about the Rowenta HU5120 humidifier if you’d like.

Thanks to Rowenta for sponsoring this post. All photos, thoughts, and opinions are my own.

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Two for Tuesday: The Four Leaf Clover

St. Patrick’s Day is around the corner, and while I don’t generally celebrate the day or do anything out of the ordinary, it doesn’t hurt to spread some wishes of good luck around this time!

clover charm, Links of London

clover necklace, Swarovski

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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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The Friday Five: Unicorns

Unicorns seem to be having their time in the design spotlight at the moment. They’re not just for kids, either!

unicorn light

unicorn taxidermy

 

unicorn pin

lady and the unicorn by Stephan Balkenhol

dainty unicorn

Have a magical weekend, everyone!

Hotel to Home: Ocean House, Rhode Island

I think I have wanted to stay at every single hotel I have featured in this Hotel to Home series. And today’s hotel is no exception. The Ocean House in Rhode island is a gorgeous Relais & Chateaux property with spectacular ocean views.

Each room is pretty, but it’s this Beach Rose Suite that caught my attention because of its kitchen. I haven’t yet featured a kitchen in this series, so here we go!

And here’s my take on this very classic kitchen style:

kitchen cabinets, stainless steel knob, subway tile, fridge, oven, dishwasher, microwave, faucet, quartz countertop, utensils

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Marketplace: Ready Travel

We should all know by now that I love to travel. I’d rather spend money on a trip than on a new outfit. Even after my last experience at Toronto’s Pearson (1.5 hours to get through security!?), I am eager to board another flight. Or train. Or get in the car and go.

These days, I like to keep things as simple as possible when I travel. I used to be the pack-everything type of person. Now I’m the pack-something, buy-the-rest-when-you-get-there type of traveler. To North Carolina a couple of weeks ago, I packed only a carry-on, which made things really easy and quick at the airport (and I didn’t have much to deal with during the 1.5 hour security lineup). I can’t always travel with just a carry-on, of course, but when I can, I feel free.

Ready Travel recently reached out to tell me about their cool luggage collection. I’m talking weight sensor, cup holder, USB port, and zippy wheels. And apparently it’s large enough to fit a whole load of items! I can’t wait until mine arrives in the spring to see it in person. For now, I’ll be like the 440 Indiegogo backers and drool over the photos. Beyond the function of the piece, the design is top notch. I love how the luggage’s design was inspired by retro radios and calculators.

When my white luggage arrives, I’ll be sure to do a full review. Not to worry. I am curious to see how much I can pack into it (and how much it weighs).

For now, if you’d like to order your own Ready Travel luggage, check out the Indiegogo campaign. The company is currently offering free worldwide shipping.

Thanks to Ready Travel for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.

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