Thursday, May 31, 2012

{lusting: navy blue in the kitchen}

Inky blues make me happy, and even more happy when I see them in the kitchen! Whether on the walls, the cabinets, or maybe even just the center island, it's a wonderful look ...

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I love all the variation in these images! Have you tried navy blue in a kitchen for a client, or perhaps in your own home? I'd love to hear!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

{blogpodium: the business of blogging}

BlogPodium 'The Business of Blogging' event was bursting with information & I truly learned so much! Here's my recap of the entire event and several of the tips I learned on how to monetize your blog.

But first, a huge thank you to the fabulous organizers, Lindsay and Jennifer, they put on a first class event and it was literally flawless! {images via Mango Studios unless otherwise indicated}

image via AyA Kitchens

The sponsors they worked with to make this event happen were amazing. I love how so many leading businesses are beginning to realize the power of connecting with bloggers. AyA Kitchens was there to welcome us, and as the winners of their kitchen contest, Barbara and I felt truly spoiled all weekend! I love the swag bags that each blogger recieved from AyA, chartreuse is one of my favorite colors!

image via AyA Kitchens

We met up with Amanda & Nelson from AyA, and got a chance to create some fantastic memories in the HomeSense smile booth together with our wonderful sponsors! How exciting to be connecting the design community in such a way.

All of the event's sponsors were fantastic, tons of swag was at hand, I actually got a sore arm caring it all around!

Here I am getting bogged down with bags ... no complaints, I loved all the goodies! But truth be told my feet hurt ;)

Vanessa, me, Barbara, and Sundeep; my own image

I was happy to recieve the Gluckstein paint deck from Benjamin Moore {a selection of BM colors hand-picked by Brian Gluckstein}. With a quick flip through I found every single color I have used in my home were included! Phew, it seems I have approval from my design hero Mr. Gluckstein himself :)

Look at all of those lovely attendees! 188 in total to be exact ;) And the Arcadian Loft was a very stylish venue.

Nicole Balch from Making it Lovely was our keynote and she gave a wonderful talk! I so appreciated her willingness to share her wisdom with us.

Here are some important tips she shared:

- Nicole started doing ads after 1 year of blogging, her goal was to first reach 10,000 page views per month

- Having a combination of smaller boutique ads such as etsy sellers & bloggers, and larger ads of a bigger size designated to larger businesses is a great way to go

- You can work with an Ad agency, a middle man that brings advertisers to you. They have great connections & can save you time. The only negative is that they will take a cut of your sales anywhere from 40-70%, and a minimum 1 year contract is usually needed. Plus there may be delays pay, usually a 60, 90 or 120 day period.

- Sponsored posts are another source of revenue. It's good to start off a sponsored post with a line like 'This post is brought to you by ....' kind of like a commercial, to be clear and up front with your reader

- The BlogPodium audience seemed to agree a frequency of 2 sponsored posts per month was acceptable & comfortable to readers

- Google ads is an easy way to start making money, but you have to reach $100 to get your first pay-out, which can take a long time

- Start out by offering ads for free, and then when you get a little established, begin to offer inexpensive rates

- As your traffic grows raise your rates!

- Calculate your rates based on approximately $3 CPM (Cost per 1000 page loads per month). Ex. for every 30,000 pg views per month, this would be nearly $100

- 'Above the fold' ads should cost more (those that appear at the top pf your blog without the reader needing to scroll down the page to see them). Placement matters!

- Rotate your ads to give equally paying advertisers a chance at equal exposure

- Don't be afraid to ask companies for products that may help you in a current project! Chances are they will want the exposure and choose to work with you

The expert panel: Cheryl Kozoriz of Gluckstein Home, Laura Muirhead of Tribal DDB, Lindsay, Christine, and Leigh-Ann of Benjamin Moore

Such a wealth of information! A huge thank you to AyA Kitchens for making it possible for me to attend this wonderful event. I don't know if I'll ever win such a fabulous contest like that again! And thank you to all the other sponsors that made this event possible. My only hope is that I can make it back to BlogPodium one day!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

{blogpodium: bits of my trip}

Hi everyone! It's Tuesday, and I'm finally back in action :) I hope all of my American friends had a great day off yesterday!

I had an amazing time in Toronto, what a great city. Today I'm sharing a few of our photos of the events of the weekend, and tomorrow I will share the deets on the actual BlogPodium conference which was a huge success! I learned so much and I hope I can convey some of that info to all of you.

First up, the actual city of TO was amazing! Kind of like a mini-NY in many ways. I loved the mix of old and new everywhere you look, what a contrast:

My blog partner-in-crime, Barbara of hodgepodge, and I tried to hit up as many spots as we could. Especially places we are envious of here in Vancouver, like Designer Fabrics for instance. Fabric heaven, that's for sure! And of course we should have assumed we'd bump into someone in a place like that ... sure enough Michael Penney just happened to be popping out with a bag full of goodies!

From there we hopped over to West Elm, another great place we lack here in Vancouver. I spotted this lovely tufted sofa that made me believe leather sofa's can still be uber stylish :) I love the practicality of a leather sofa {especially with dogs or kids} but I don't love how mine look. Too bad this one didn't fit in my suitcase ... instead I came home with a couple of Turkish towels which are a little easier to pack!

We had the amazing opportunity to visit the fabulous Meredith Heron in her equally fabulous studio. Wow, I could have stood there for days just staring at all the beautiful things. How amazing is that oversized carriage fixture? And look at the fab legs on those chairs!

Can you imagine those brass chairs? I died ... can't wait to see what she does with them. Thank you Meredith for having us!!

me with Meredith and Barbara

Ok, I brought along a copy of the current issue of Elle Decor for the plane rides. It's a great issue and I particularly fell for the work of Darryl Carter featured on the cover. Look closely at the image below ... do you notice something weird/missing?

Don't see it? Look at the chairs legs. One has been photoshoped out!! The editors probably thought the image was too leggy. Funny! I noticed that while half asleep on the flight in.

A definite highlight for me was meeting so many great people like Tim Lam of Design Maze and Nicole Balch of Making it Lovely, who was the keynote speaker of BlogPodium. She was brave enough to give some all-Canadian poutine a try!

Barbara, Tim, me; Gabrielle & Nicole

On our last day in TO, we hit up Aberfoyle, the oldest antique market in Canada. What a blast!

The lovely Vanessa of Damask et Dentelle was scouring the market for goodies ... I spotted hundreds of things I would've brought home, like this lovely desk ...

But instead I brought home this little Wedgwood Jasperware bud vase I fell for. Now I'm on a mission to one day find a couple of black and white Jasperware pieces like these ones Eddie Ross used in his desk vignette:

We stayed at the lovely Marriot hotel downtown, thanks to the wonderful people at AyA Kitchens who sent Barbara and I and covered our stay! THANK YOU! I had a giant King sized bed all to myself, I could've gotten lost in that thing. I'll cover more on the wonderful event sponsors, Nicole's keynote talk, and everything else surrounding the event tomorrow. As you can see I was a good student and took as many notes as I could!

And yes, if you are wondering my dress did have poodles on it :)

Thanks for reading through this massive post! More to come tomorrow ...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

{blogpodium bound ...}

My bags are packed & I'm off to Toronto today! I'll be attending BlogPodium on Saturday, hearing a keynote address from Nicole of Making it Lovely, and learning all about 'The Business of Blogging!' I'm sure I'll have lots of great stuff to share with you early next week.

The great news is that it's a mere 14 degrees here in Vancouver and I'll be in a balmy 29 degrees in TO!! If you know me, you know I LOVE the heat :) While I won't get a chance to chill poolside I hope to look half as good as the gal doing so below ... so I purchased that fab flower print blouse she's wearing ... lol.

I'll also have plenty of my business cards on hand, hoping an opportunity or two will arise to use them, and they just happen to complement the pair of pastel turquoise jeans I'm bringing along ... I heart turquoise ...

I'll be taking notes on my iPad (hubby bought it for me as a recent grad present and I can barely set it down!!). I bought this Kate Spade cover which is awesome simply because if you have the Apple magnetic cover, it fits in with the cover left on. Smart idea because I hate pulling it on and off.

Without the generous contest put on by AyA Kitchens I would never have been able to attend such a fabulous event across the country, so I have to say another big THANK YOU. They've given West Coast bloggers a chance to feel connected to the East (the hub of design here in Canada). I love the spirit of connecting bloggers, designers, and companies, and connecting all the way across Canada is even more amazing.

So with that I will bid you ado until Monday! I hope you all have a fabulous weekend full of fun & a little rest too ...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

{trendspotting: dodecahedrons}

Yes, you read that title correctly: dodecahedrons. Does it take you back to Math 8 or what? A dodecahedron is a polyhedron with 12 pentagonal faces or sides, and these geometric beauties are apparently popping up everywhere in the design world:

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Terrarium - Old Faithful Shop
Ceiling Pendant - Ralph Lauren Home
Nesting Table - CuffHome

You may recall that several weeks ago, I entered my dream kitchen into the AyA BlogPodium bound Kitchen contest, and I won! I am flying out to Toronto to attend BlogPodium thanks to the wonderful people at AyA Kitchens, and I am so excited and SO grateful for the opportunity! Low and behold, my dream kitchen just happened to include a pair of raw wood dodecahedron ceiling pendants ...

So excited to head out to TO for my very first time later this week!!! I'm also excited to meet so many of my blog friends in person for the first time :) Tomorrow I'll be packing & planning outfits, and I'll be sure to tweet & snap a ton of pictures to give you a recap of all the events next week.

Monday, May 21, 2012

{a leisurely monday ...}

Happy Monday everyone! Hope all of my fellow Canadians are enjoying the holiday Monday, it's a wonderful chance to take it a little slower this morning ...

Hope you have a great start to the week wherever you are ...

Friday, May 18, 2012

{happy weekend + grilled cheese heaven}

You don't see recipes around here simply because I am NOT a great cook. I can pull something tasty together, but it's usually with a bit of struggle, and I generally stay within my comfort zone. I want to try hard to move out of that comfort zone and try making things that sound super intimidating to me. And when things turn out okay I'll hopefully post about my adventures here.

Last week I came across this recipe that was well within my comfort zone, and contained one of my favorite ingredients: avocados! It was so easy to make and super yummy ...

Here's my modified recipe for 1 sandwich:


2 slices bread (I used a whole wheat bread)
2 tablespoons Pesto (I bought this instead of making it from scratch)
2 slices mild white melty cheese (I used mozzarella)
handful fresh baby spinach
¼ avocado, sliced
2 tablespoons goat cheese (I used soft unripened, crumbled)
thin spread of butter on the outside of each slice of bread


Spread about 1 tablespoon of Pesto onto each slice of bread, and a small amount of butter on the outside of each slice. On one slice of bread, add 1 slice of cheese, sliced avocado, crumbled goat cheese, spinach, then top it with second slice of bread. Press together gently.
Heat in a frying pan over medium low heat and cook until bread is golden brown. Press down on the sandwich lightly, then flip the sandwich over and cook until second side is golden brown.

It was so fresh and yummy! And although it was very easy, I was happy to start trying new things. I hope I can keep it up.

Have you tried a new recipe lately? I'd love to hear! Happy weekend to you!

images and original recipe via Tastespotting

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