Event: High Point Market in North Carolina

My apologies for the lack of posts over the last few days. I didn’t mean to step away from my blog, but life has been hectic, and I couldn’t find even a minute to write. I have loads to share, but I’m not quite sure how quickly my news will come. My week is absolutely hectic (MBA life and work life are completely overwhelming this week!), but I’ll do my best to keep on writing!

Last week I had the pleasure of attending High Point Market in North Carolina. Oh man, was it ever interesting! I was only there for one day, so there was absolutely no way to see everything. That said, I had a fully productive High Point adventure, and I’m happy to share my recap with you.

I found High Point Market to be a very well-run operation. Getting to Market was completely effortless as was the parking and shuttle situation (side note: my TomTom came in handy once again and I discovered even more features that I like). After we parked our car in the free parking lot organized by the market, my sister and I hopped on the shuttle trolley which took us directly to the centre of Market. Effort-less.

I have quite a bit to share, but for this post, I’ll begin with what I discovered as I walked through the showrooms at the International Home Furnishings Center.

The furniture and accessories at Noir were cool, modern, and had a rock-n-roll vibe. Some of the accessories reminded me of Kelly Wearstler designs. I was smitten with the bookshelves and some of the side tables.

White-Cabana-HPMKT-Noir-4 White-Cabana-HPMKT-Noir-5 White-Cabana-HPMKT-Noir-2 White-Cabana-HPMKT-Noir-3 White-Cabana-HPMKT-Noir-1Selamat was chock-full of bamboo pieces, and the quality of the metal bamboo pieces really surprised me.

White-Cabana-HPMKT-1 White-Cabana-HPMKT-2I wanted just about everything at Europe2You. As soon as I stepped in the showroom, I felt like I had traveled to France. The displays and styling were absolutely gorgeous, and the showroom staff was friendly. In this showroom, I was drawn to a lot of the art installations. I think the cameos (see photo below) are especially interesting and unique.

White-Cabana-HPMKT-Europe2You-2 White-Cabana-HPMKT-Europe2You-1 White-Cabana-HPMKT-Europe2You-3Speaking of all things French, Eloquence had a bed and a daybed that I adore! (and I realized only recently that I already featured the bed here). It was such a pretty and feminine space.

White-Cabana-HPMKT-Eloquence-2White-Cabana-HPMKT-Eloquence-1The acrylic pieces at B. Pila Design were unexpected, unusual, and definitely hip. They were unlike anything else I saw in my short time at the market.

White-Cabana-B Pila Design-High Point MarketFinally, Currey & Co. was full of so many beautiful items. Their selection of lighting fixtures was sort of overwhelming, but I was drawn to all the pieces that had shells on them. I think I need a beach house. As an added bonus, Currey & Co. generously offered food, so we were able to enjoy delicious bread pudding (among other things) while we were browsing the showroom goodies.White-Cabana-Currey and Co-High Point Market-4 White-Cabana-Currey and Co-High Point Market-5 White-Cabana-Currey and Co-High Point Market-2 White-Cabana-Currey and Co-High Point Market-1 White-Cabana-Currey and Co-High Point Market-3

As you can observe, High Point Market includes items from across the design spectrum. Traditional, French, delicate, modern, rock and roll, refined, quirky…there was something for everyone!

To wrap-up today’s High Point post, I thought I’d share six trends that I spotted at High Point Market (regardless of the design focus). They are:
1. books without covers on them
2. navy
3. gold
4. shells (including oyster shells) on mirrors, furniture, lighting, etc.
5. bamboo
6. acrylic

Later this week (I hope!), I’ll share news about Visual Comfort & Co. and Jaipur, which ended up becoming my two favourite stops on my High Point tour.

Note: High Point Market takes place twice each year. The spring market is scheduled for April 16-20, 2016. Will you attend?

Photos by me.

Marketplace: Elora Antique Show

It’s not very often that I hop in my car and drive somewhere other than Toronto. This past Saturday, however, I took a 25 minute drive over to Elora. I have only been to Elora once last summer, so I was happy to make a return visit. The drive through the countryside from Waterloo is easy and enjoyable, especially when the springtime sun is shining. The reason for my trip this weekend was the Elora Antique Show. I wasn’t on the hunt for anything (besides a gorgeous French bed, which are impossible to find!), but I was interested to see what the dealers had in store.

There must have been about 50 or 60 dealers carrying things like: sparkly jewels, vintage dolls, woolen blankets, wood dressers, Pyrex, silver serving pieces, blue and white, cloisonné, quilts, books, and paper goods. There were a couple of mid-century dealers that caught my attention, and there was a gorgeous booth full of glassware. If I had an endless supply of money and space, I would have scooped up a few cake stands, pieces of milk glass, and silver bowls. There were a lot of pretty pieces!

Here are a few photos from the show:

Elora-Antiques-2 Elora-Antiques-1 Elora-Antiques-3 Elora-Antiques-4I also spotted some gorgeous cloisonn√© (I’m seeing more of it recently), classic teacups, and this pretty green dinnerware collection (someone help me out – what is this style called?).

The next Antique Shows Canada event will be in Orillia on Sunday, July 26th. Are you planning on going?

The Friday Five: My Thoughts about BlogPodium 2014

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

1. White Cabana + Inspirations Studio

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

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

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

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

Avery-Swartz-fireplace-potteryphoto by Avery Swartz

2. Learning about SEO and Google Analytics

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

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

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

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

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here I am listening attentively during a presentation

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

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

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

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

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

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Jennifer, Scott, Monika, Leigh-Ann

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me, Scott, and Sharalee

4. Working with Brands

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

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

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

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cookie jar from Urban Barn

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home decor items from Chapters-Indigo

5. The Venue РFairmont Royal York Hotel, Toronto.

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

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

6. Bonus: Taking Friendships Offline

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

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

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

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

Photos by Flow Photo and Jordana.

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