um, i'm kinda in a magazine...

I can't talk right now. And I can't even talk about why I can't talk. Let's just say that things aren't awesome, and I need some time to lick my wounds.

But yesterday it came to my attention that while I've been doing that, this happened...

That's my work. And that's a magazine. A real one. With readers and stuff.

No matter how down I am, I have to admit, that's pretty nifty. Feels a little like the big guy was throwing me a bone in these here sucky times. I can definitely use all the positives I can get right now, and Lord knows he knows it! Which means he knows it to infiniti, I guess...

And now that I've managed to confuse myself, and compare myself to a dog twice in one short post, I'll be off. Hugs and kisses all. I'll be back when the sky clears...


library ladders in the kitchen, and other bourgeois dreams...

Ah, the life of a shorty. So convenient for breaking into your house when you forget your keys, so inconvenient when people "don't see you there" and hit you in the face with their backpacks on the subway...

The other day I was tackling a mini reorganization of my kitchen cabinets - putting baking supplies into glass canisters, grouping like-things together, getting rid of items I don't need (lentils? yuck.) - when it occurred to me that the stuff itself really isn't the problem. Or how I pack it in there. Or even the amount of space. Nope, the problem is I'm short. 

At 5'2", getting up to those top shelves can be a task and a half, and I know that unless I don't care about ever seeing or using something again, it needs to go where my tippy-toes can take me. Meaning no matter how much finagling I do, those bottom shelves will always be bursting with crap, while the top ones sit empty. Taunting me. 

All of this made me wonder - what will I do when I have a space where the cupboards extend to the ceiling? Will my ultimate dream kitchen just end up being a whole bunch of wasted space? After a couple of hours of trying to "make it work", I officially added a new item to the wishlist for that dream kitchen: a ladder. A sturdy, functional ladder that will effortlessly glide from one area to the next, allowing me to use every square inch to my hearts content. Oh, and it wouldn't hurt if it was beautiful too...








And until I can fit in that track, I think a lovely lady like this could fill in just fine...


Sure I might get annoyed at it being in my way a couple of times, and sure I might bump into it once in a while, but the annoyance I'd save from not having to climb onto my kitchen counters would more than make up for it, don't you think? And hey, if I stub my toe once in a while, I'll have plenty of storage for bandaids...

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new kitchen, old cabinets: the no-fail formula for making it fabulous

A recent flurry of kitchen reno reveals by talented bloggers has convinced me once and for all that there is a borderline no-fail formula for fixing dated kitchens on a budget.   
  1. Paint the lowers a dark moody blue or black
  2. Paint the uppers white
  3. Switch out the countertop for one that matches (or closely resembles) either of the cabinet colours
  4. Add in white subway tile and some pretty new hardware
  5. Step back and admire the amazing
It works to save "recently renovated" aka horrible builder basic kitchens...



...and just as well on older models that are crying out for some love...


...but what excites me most is the difference a pared down version can make in a rental.

A good friend of mine recently moved into a new place, and asked for my advice on how to save its lackluster kitchen. A classic rental set-up, it included flat panel wood doors with exposed hinges and wood-look counters. Unfortunately, the previous tenants had painted the doors of the cabinets a different colour (beige) than the boxes (white). A bit like this.

Why people think that's a good look I will never understand.

When I saw it I immediately thought of this amazing kitchen that designer Samantha Pynn transformed in her brother’s Toronto rental:


Pretty much the exact kitchen I was working with and so damn chic.

While Samantha had splurged for a new counter, I also remembered a pic I'd saved from an old rental listing in which they'd stuck with the faux-wood. It still looked killer:


Going all-white works in these kinds of kitchens, for sure, but it definitely reads more "rental". This look is so much more interesting and sophisticated, and shows that you're slightly more daring but in a damn good way. Screw lemonade, this is taking those lemons and making whiskey sours.

Here are my friend's results:

The new brass knobs against the blue-black cabinets are just the icing on the cake. I love it, but more importantly she loves it. Success.

We're seeing this look more and more, so I'm sure there'll be a backlash soon enough, but I won't care. In my books, it's a keeper. If your reno budget won't cover an overhaul and/or your landlord won't throw a hissy (like mine would), then I say consider this your foolproof fix for a boring hub-of-home.

Have some of you already done this in your own home? Anyone already sick of the look? What surefire fix do you prefer?

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relax valentine, we're cool...

Last week I joked that Valentine's and I were on the outs, but really, we're not. I mean, I think we've established that I'm single - and this is def the wrong place to be looking for an ode to romance - but I'm not lookin' for a throw down either. Valentine can breathe easy.

Honestly, unless your heart has just gone-done-been-broke (and if it has I'm sending you the biggest mother effin' virtual hug you can possibly imagine), then this is pretty much the most harmless holiday there is. No one is making you fly home to celebrate it with family, or commemorate it by eating turkey until your pants pop, they're just askin' you not to shit on their parade. You can handle it. I can handle it. We can handle it.

So let's smile at the happy couples - one of whom is probably slightly disappointed, the other slightly terrified - and go about our lives, sweet singles. Tomorrow there will be discounted roses and chocolate, and it just so happens to be payday.

All jokes aside (who am I kidding), there really isn't anything wrong with celebratin' a little love. Whether you're single, taken, or boning the whole football team, everyone's got somethin' they can recognize for its awesomeness one day out of the year.

So in honour of that, here's a little list of things that are currently making my days a teeny bit brighter...

1. Finally finding the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe, after way, way too much "experimentation". The trick is to melt the butter if you like a flatter cookie. Which I do . . . I like it a whole extra jeans size worth.

2. Scoring gorgeous original art on a dime . . .

... and the way it looks in my kitchen.

3.  The fact that my mama has started using the term "boo". If she starts throwing down "shorty" I'm getting her a record deal.

4. Girls nights in, and the aftermath:

5. This guy...

...even though he leaves my place looking like this...

...because I get to wake up to this...

6. And last but not least - you. Cuz you're freaking awesome, and cuz I found out yesterday that one of you nominated me for a Homie.

That seriously makes me feel like this:

I could care less that I got borderline no votes, I'm just so stoked to be up there. No one knows about me yet, but that'll change, and the people who do know about me are amazing! It makes me want to keep at this thing and make it better better better, so thanks for that. A lot.

Next year . . .ALL THE VOTES.

Or maybe 10. Yeah, 10 would be good.

Be sure to have fun today ladies - whether it's the dirty kind or not - and to recognize the little things that rock your world. If there truly aren't any, let me know. I'll send chocolate.

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preservation and letting go: home = memories, memories = home

A couple of weeks ago my parents randomly sent me an email titled "heritage stairs finally history". Anyone not in our family would have no idea what that meant, but I did the second I saw it.

When my parents bought our family home more than 35 years ago, they were young and on a budget, and it was a duplex in a not-so-hot neighbourhood. Since then, my dad has pretty much rebuilt the entire thing - from top to bottom - with some serious help along the way from my mama. Professional plumbers have asked him who did his plumbing (he did), and there are pictures of my fierce ma putting up drywall while nine months pregnant. I swear, I will never be as cool as them.

{my talented little sis Nikki took these gorgeous pics}

Anyway, juggling that large a renovation and four babies in four years (yup, you read that right, the last two were twins), meant that some of the projects got put off. Or half done and then put off. And some of them . . . well . . . it took a bit before they got picked back up again.

One of those projects was our stairs. I don't know the whole story, but when we were babes my dad put in a "temporary" landing at the bottom of our staircase, made out of plywood. It's been there my whole life. From the time I was little, I can remember rocking back and forth on it when it was loose, pretending it was a surfboard, or trying to block our cats from using its open sides to escape us when they saw their carriers and knew it was vet time.

Somewhere along the line, after decades of nagging and teasing, my dad starting saying he just couldn't fix the stairs because they were "heritage". And I think, to a certain extent, it literally did get left because we had all grown attached to it. Any time it would get brought up it would turn into an awesome joke and jibe fest that only we really got, and my heart would swell. Because my family, my childhood, my memories...they're in every last inch of that place. I can't help but love it all.

My parents are now retired, and that email they sent was full of pictures of my amazing father finally tearing apart our entryway and ripping up the stairs. He is, without a doubt, who I got my endless need for a project to tackle from, and now that he has more time, the world better look out. One of the pics showed what the underside of that stair looked like when they ripped the top off - a hilarious treasure trove of all the goodies our kitties had hidden in there over the years:

Over the next little bit I'm going to be helping my parents figure out the best reconfiguration of the space, and pick out new finishes, like tile and stain. I love this stuff no matter what, but it's amazing how much more important this project is to me. How much I care about them getting exactly what they need out of it. It's been so many years in the making, sure, but more importantly this is our home - the one they worked so hard to build for us. That old landing may not have been much to look at, but it meant something all the same. What replaces it needs to mean just as much.

Anyone who says that this business of homes is frivolous just doesn't get it. It's where love lives. It's everything.

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kids, sparkles, candy and love..

Ok so Valentine's and I may be on the outs this year, but even my cold cold heart couldn't resist this video of ridiculously chic kids sharing their ridiculously cute takes on love.

I mean, let's face it, their answers are pretty much exactly what mine would be. What is love? No effin' clue. What do I love? Chocolate, fur coats, high heels, and my dad. Exactly kids. Exactly.


The girl in the leopard and pearls is my new style icon. She knows her shit. For real. 

Much love today chicitas, whatever that means ;)

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green kitchen love! no i haven't lost my mind...

First off, I want to send all of you huge hugs for the sweet messages yesterday. Nothing helps a shitty mood like whining your ass off and getting nothin' but love in return. You guys = the best. 

Secondly, I want to say a big fat HOLY COW about Bailey Quin's new home (published in Matchbook yesterday)! It is, by far, my favourite of her homes, and the girl has overhauled three. In like five years. Craziness. 

The bathrooms and kitchen are especially insane, and while I'll leave you to check out the former in the mag (you must, they are perfect), I just had to talk about the latter . . .


At first I couldn't tell if it was a trick of the light that made those cabinets look deep green rather than black, but once I confirmed via her Pinterest, it was like I was doing internal backflips. It just makes it so much bolder and more interesting, and it goes so well with the rug that I don't even know what to do with myself. 

Bailey posted more pics on her blog today, and I think it might actually be one of my favourite kitchens of all time. The oven KILLS ME:

Funny thing is, I was already planning a post about green kitchens. Last week, I came across this other looker that had me at hello...


...and I immediately started looking for others that got it right. Before seeing it, I would have thought green cupboards were an absolute no-no. I've been loving green for a long time - I posted about my crush in August, and even designed a whole photo shoot around emerald last winter (take that Pantone). But cupboards? That much? Well, between that lovely lady above and Bailey's even better version, I'm officially hooked.

Here are a couple more green beauties I'm not hatin' on . . . 




Pretty clear from these that adding a splash of baby blue in this scenario is a veeeery good idea. 

So what do y'all think? Is green the new navy for kitchen cabinets? Would you just love this one from afar or actually chance it?

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when life knocks you on your ass

Last week was a terrible week. Straight up, no sugar coating, an absolutely terrible week. On Monday, the day started with a migraine and ended with a freak massive flood. I worked until 11pm helping to get the word out, and woke up to the news that the damage to our offices would mean working from home for the rest of the week. This might usually be a good thing, but I was on call for most of it, some days as early as 6am and always well into the evening. The lack of sleep kept my migraine friend around, and I spent Tuesday taking calls and writing emails with my head over the toilet.

Not fun.

The on call thing also meant I needed to be by a computer at all times, so leaving the house wasn't in the cards. I live alone, and it wasn't long before the stir crazy navel gazing set in. And what could help that situation out more than some unexpected and surprisingly painful news from your ex? Nothing, it seems. Nothing could.

By Friday, I have to admit, I was done. Just done. I woke up, shuffled into my kitchen, and grabbed a bottled smoothie out of the fridge. When I shook it the cap flew right off, spraying deep blue acai juice all over the fridge, all over the counters, all over my kilim rug. All over me.

For a minute, I just stood there. It truly felt, in that moment, like that juice was shit, and that bottle was life.

And I cried.

I don't know why I'm sharing all of this. I don't have any wise words or beautiful lessons-learned all wrapped up in a bow. I know these problems, in the grand scheme of things, aren't that big, and that I have so much to be thankful for. But for some reason it felt a bit dishonest to post pretty pictures of kitchens today. I just wanted to be real, in part because I know that I appreciate it so much when other bloggers do the same. When they show us their battle wounds and their scars. When they take a pause from the sparkly and shiny to show us the muck.

Because we all have muck, right? Not everything can be brass and marble kitchens, or leopard pumps and statement jewels, or perfectly plumped pillows and expertly laid tables....not everything can be so clean. And that's ok, right? I mean, it has to be.

Hope you all had better luck than I did this past week, and that we all will in the one coming up. Big kisses. I'm going to go pull up my boot straps now.


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