The Friday Five: Squirrels

I’m really trying to hold on to summer, but with lower-than-10-degree weather, back to school week, and colour changing leaves (it’s happening!), it’s really hard. I’m sad to see summer go because it’s my favourite season. Not only that, but I know that once the cool weather arrives, it’s here to stay. For a while. A long while. And even though I try every year to like something about winter, I’m definitely opposed to it. But I digress.

The real point of this post is to feature some lovely squirrels. It seems as though I have some strong memories of this little, wild animal.

When my French exchange student came to live with me and my family when I was sixteen, one of the first things she commented on were the squirrels. She couldn’t believe how many were jumping and climbing around in my parents’ backyard. At the time, I didn’t even know the French word for squirrel (un Ă©cureuil). It was fun to watch her excitement about an animal I barely paid attention to.

Of my mom’s Swarovski collection, the squirrel has always been one my favourite figurines (see below). Its curvy tail got me!

And the other day, on my walk home from work, I saw the tiniest baby squirrel. I had never seen one so small before. I was too slow with my camera, so I wasn’t able to snap a photo, but, trust me, it was teeny! And it was moving pretty quickly!

squirrel dish, Urban Barn

squirrel match strike, Jonathan Adler

squirrel figurine, Swarovski

squirrel dish, 1st Dibs

squirrel dish, 1st Dibs

Are squirrels abundant where you live? Do they annoy you? Are you fond of them?

Have a great weekend, everyone!

The Friday Five: Mother’s Day Gift Ideas from Urban Barn

With Mother’s Day around the corner – on Sunday, May 14th – it might be time to start thinking about how you’re going to spoil loved ones in your life. Mother’s Day for me usually means a trip to Toronto to spend time with my mom doing everyday sorts of things – a garage sale perhaps, a trip to the mall, or just lounging around at home reading magazines. Mom and I enjoy many of the same easy-going activities. Heck, I’m sure we’ve even spent the day doing DIYs together! Mother’s Day is also a day to celebrate other moms in my life – my sister (mom of 4 cuties!) and friends, and to reflect on relationships I’ve had with other strong women who are no longer with us like my aunt and grandmothers.

In terms of gifts, I think moms appreciate any token. A card, a phone call, an email, a text, or a material object lets your loved ones know that you’re thinking about them. I like to spoil my mom with flowers because I know she appreciates them so much!

If you’re looking for some Mother’s Day gift ideas (and if you’d like to spoil yourself at the same time), you might want to have a look at Urban Barn. This Canadian retailer offers up-to-date items for your home – from big furniture pieces to smaller accessories. I’ve been to the Cambridge location numerous times, and there’s always something in white that catches my eye.

Today, I’m sharing five items from Urban Barn’s current collection that would make great gifts for loved ones.

Here’s an affordable container for a new plant or bouquet of flowers.

murl planter large, $19

Another place for flowers…or sangria…or water…is this pretty little pitcher.

webster water pitcher, $19

Little bowls like this one are perfect for candies, jewelery, or keys.

belize oyster decor dish, $29

If your mom needs a bedroom makeover, this dresser looks like it would be a great piece to add.

parker dresser, $1499

This bench would be beautiful in a garden. There’s also a full patio set, too.

piazza folding bench, $399

Many thanks to Urban Barn for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.















Design: Round Mirrors

Round mirrors are so versatile. They’re great above bathroom vanities, bedroom dressers, and foyer consoles. Perhaps these photos will inspire you to use one in your own home.

52938cbcdbfa3f634900c962._w.540_s.fit_via Apartment Therapy

decor+pad+(14)via Me and Alice

img86cKensington pivot round mirror, $249-$299, Pottery Barn

img84oShagreen round wall mirror, $995, Williams-Sonoma

iipsrvreflection round mirror, $149.99, Urban Barn

songe-mirror__0107577_PE257249_S4Songe mirror, $49.99, Ikea

ninna-white-wall-mirrorNinna white round wall mirror, $199, Crate & Barrel

Event: The BlogPodium 2013 report

Collaboration. Honesty. Respect. These are just some of the words that I repeatedly wrote in my notebook at this past weekend’s BlogPodium in Toronto. Bloggers, PR agents, and brands artfully invaded the Hyatt hotel on King Street on Saturday to learn and share strategies about the world of blogging.


photo by Jordana

This year’s BlogPodium, just as in previous years, completely impressed me. Organized by co-founder Jennifer Flores (Rambling Renovators) and her BlogPodium 2013 crew, the event showcased the important work of bloggers, the brands that recognize their influential abilities, and the ways in which bloggers have come together over the last several years to form one of the most engaged, vibrant, and energetic communities around.


decorations by Minted, styling by We Create Hoopla; photo by Jordana

This BlogPodium was an extra special one for me as I gave my first blog-focused conference presentation. Several months ago, I submitted a proposal to Jennifer after a BlogPodium Call for Presenters was released. A little while after I sent in my submission, Jennifer put me in touch with Giulia Doyle (Audrey’s) and suggested that we partner. Our topic? Balancing a day job and a successful blog. While Giulia and I had never met, I was excited to work with her and give back to the blogging community through this presentation.

Over the period of a few months, Giulia and I worked together (via Skype, telephone, Dropbox, and email) to write two posts for the BlogPodium blog (one and two) and to prepare a cohesive presentation for BlogPodium attendees. I am so grateful to Jennifer for brining Giulia and me together. Not only did I learn about Giulia’s approach to blogging, but I appreciated her professionalism, her commitment, and her creativity. Giulia – thank you. (It surprised many attendees to find out that Giulia and I only met about 2 hours before our presentation. Kind of cool, right?). For those who are interested in our full presentation, the slides should be available soon via the BlogPodium site.

Blog Podium Annawithlove Photography-9819-M

me and Giulia; photo by Anna With Love

Presenting at BlogPodium was hugely satisfying for me and it allowed me to connect with bloggers – new and experienced – on a whole new level. We were able to take our conversations offline and speak in sentences that were longer than 140 characters. While I love the online world, face-to-face interaction is hard to beat.

Garlic-Giulia Doyle-photo

photo by Giulia Doyle

Another highlight for me was Sarah Richardson‘s keynote speech. She was funny, intelligent, and engaging. She was approachable, spoke clearly and with ease, and really shared how hard work, determination, and talent, got her to where she is today. Having respect for colleagues, being nice, and working collaboratively, were just some of the points that she shared during her presentation. Creating successful relationships has been a really important contributing factor to her success.

Blog Podium Annawithlove Photography-9638-M

Sarah Richardson & Jennifer Flores; photo by Anna With Love

Lunch was good…but dessert was amazing! Way to go Hyatt!


bloggers love chocolate, right?

Lunch was extremely enjoyable for me as I had the pleasure of sitting with such a talented and diverse group of bloggers. Thanks to Christine (Just Bella), Brittany (Gallery No. Eight), Megan (Hodge Podge), Gabrielle (Bee and Daddoo), and Sara (Saige Wisdom) for sharing your stories.

After lunch we heard from a panel of influential blog & magazine insiders: Margot Austin, Jacqueline Clark, Emma Reddington, and Rhonda Richie. This panel was moderated by the uber-talented Leigh-Ann Allaire. Oh man – she always always asks the questions that I am itching to ask. She know what to say and when to say it – she’s a talented moderator and I look forward to seeing more of her soon. This group of presenters shared their experiences with publishing – online and offline.

I am also pleased to recognize the generosity of the sponsors and exhibitors. They spoiled us with artistic, useful, and pretty supplies (everything from paint to caulking to candy to fabric)!


Sarah Richardson + Kravet


dishes at Urban Barn


Poppin in white at Chapters-Indigo

BlogPodium 2013 will always be something that I look back on with incredibly happy memories. Thanks again to the attendees, presenters, and sponsors for making this day so fun!



*Note: The original post vanished after it was published due to a server error. This piece was written from an earlier draft.

Celebration: Father's Day at Urban Barn

Although Urban Barn is advertising their Belvedere recliner as the perfect Father’s Day gift, I’d say that more than just dads would like lounging in something like this.

Belvedere recliner, $1199, Urban Barn

If you’re interested in a chance to win a recliner (or an Urban Barn chair of your choice), go ahead and “like” Urban Barn’s Facebook page and share your story about why your dad is number one.

Garden: Urban Barn Plant Pots

I mentioned on Twitter a little while ago that I was trying to grow herbs (from seeds) for the very first time. While I ended up killing a lot of the small plants when I tried to transplant them (I thought I was doing them a favour by spreading them out), a few of them actually survived and are slowly growing. While I don’t have enough basil to make pesto and if I break off some parsley for garnish I’d have nothing left, I’m excited to have even just a teeny tiny bit of fresh herbs on my balcony.

But that’s not all! I have also decided to grow tomato plants. I know, I know. Who grows tomatoes on a balcony? Well, I thought I’d give it a try and even though I have yet to see even a smidgen of cherry red, the bit of greenery compliments my herbs quite nicely.

And lucky me – Urban Barn recently sent over some amazing white plant pots (en français) to support my cause! Bye bye terracotta, hello white!

my small-but-mighty tomato plants – in Urban Barn’s Le Jardinier pot

Gloxina plant (I think) – in Urban Barn’s Le Jardinier plant pot

There is much more to the Le Jardinier (which means gardener, by the way) collection than the two pots in the photos above. I’ll soon be transferring my herbs into some of the ones below and hopefully they’ll have a growth spurt soon!

Le Jardinier Planter – small : $12.00, large: $22.00

Le Jardinier Handle Pot – small: $7.00, large: $14.00

Le Jardinier Handle Pot – set of 3: $12.00

Photos by Jordana and courtesy of Urban Barn. Many thanks to Robbyn W. for arranging to have these pots sent my way.

Note: If you would like tips on growing herbs indoors, read this article by Sharalee on