Design: White + Wood

I absolutely love how these rooms combine bright whites and warm woods.

st1living room, via My Scandinavian Home

Casa_Roma_0182-749x1080dining room, via The Design Chaser

my+paradissi+concept+by+anna+2foyer, My Paradissi

w1000_h1000-1entryway, via Domino

bedroom-white-woodbedroom, via SF Girl By Bay

white-wood-bathroomvia Rosa Beltran Design

eQRk_mHgleQlbedroom, via Lonny

c3b6stermalm-sovrum-fiskbensparket-tidningsfc3b6rvaringbedroom, via The Design Chaser

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Marketplace: Getting Fishy

When I was young, I had a pet fish named Hercules. He was the easiest pet. So, when I saw this fish bowl, I thought of Hercules…

fish-bowlunderwater landscape fish bowl, $97

And then I thought that I could dedicate a post to all things fish. So that’s what I’m doing.

MIN-01U-GFA-007_A_APZUnique Fishy by Oscar & Emma, Minted

MIN-TT1-NFC-001_B_PDMinnows fabric by Emma Jean Mueller, Minted

C33744202_010_bArchipelago fish pitcher, $78, Anthropologie

Toty-Dobner-fish-candlecosy candle goldfish, £82, Rory Dobner

fish-platterfish platter, $159, Arthur Court

maxresdefaultOne Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss, $10.43, Chapters Indigo

shore-calisto-3-part-fish-dish3-part fish dish, $12.97, Crate & Barrel (on sale)

cn9633404fish one-piece, $9.99, Gap

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20 Below: Notepad for Back to School

It’s September! Oh my goodness! How’d that come around so quickly? Summer is my favourite season, so I’m definitely not ready for it to leave.

It’s also back to school season which means that stationery is on my mind (heck, it’s frequently on my mind). Here’s a cute notepad from Rifle Paper Co. that includes a bit of tough lovin’ encouragement.

npm003-01Get it Done notepad, $8, Rifle Paper Co.

It could come in handy for those tough days of studying!

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Travel: A Day in Stratford, Ontario

A couple of weeks ago, I took a day trip to Stratford, Ontario. The drive is about 45 minutes from Waterloo, and it’s an extremely easy and pleasant ride along one road (basically). As has become the norm, my TomTom came along for the ride and proved to be very useful especially for navigating the streets of Stratford. I’ve only been to the city a couple of times, so I’m still not familiar with the roads.

The main purpose of my visit was to watch Stratford Festival‘s production of The Sound of Music (How do you solve a problem like Maria?), so that’s where my afternoon began. I found free parking along the lake (such a bonus!), and walked over to the beautiful Festival Theatre. The architecture of this place always interests me. The pointed rooftop, the pretty front rose garden, and the round stage (it’s open on three sides which makes viewing from all angles a pleasure) make this place stand out.

White-Cabana-Stratford-Ontario-4 White-Cabana-Stratford-Ontario-11White-Cabana-Stratford-Ontario-10White-Cabana-Stratford-Ontarioi_12

The Sound of Music was a highly entertaining show, and since I was lucky enough to get centre seats about 10 rows from the stage, I felt completely spoiled!. I watch the Sound of Music once a year (it’s always on around Christmas, isn’t it), so I was quite excited about seeing a live performance (I am 16, going on 17…). I was itching to sing along to every song, but I resisted.

White-Cabana-Stratford-Ontario-7White-Cabana-Stratford-Ontario-8White-Cabana-Stratford-Ontarioi_17

Stephanie Rothenberg was stellar as Maria, and the cast of von Trapp children were absolutely unbelievable. Beyond the impressive acting and singing, the choreography was fun, and the stage and set design were cleverly put to use. It amazed me to see so much variety and action on a relatively small stage (These are a few of my favourite things…). Pre-performance, I was curious about the whole curtains-into-clothing transformation, and the play got it spot on (Do-Re-Me)! I loved watching the set transform (simply and seemingly effortlessly) with each scene. That’s part of the fun of live theatre, isn’t it?

2015playbill_SOM_089_recsm 2015playbill_SOM_182_recsmphotos via Stratford Festival

There’s plenty to see at the Stratford Festival, so there really is something for everyone (festival shows and schedule here). I’ve heard good things about The Alchemist and the Taming of the Shrew. Shows run into the fall, so there’s really no excuse to not plan a visit!

A matinee worked beautifully for my Saturday schedule. Post-theatre, I was able to walk around town, pop into some shops, and stroll lazily about before dinner. I’ll show you a bit about how I spent the rest of my day, if you’d like to see…

Balzac’s is a beautiful coffee shop in a charming building with detailed ceilings and lovely lighting. It also serves up some delicious coffee! Imagine that! I love it when places get decor and food right. The Stratford location was Balzac’s first, but it is also has opened up locations in Toronto, Guelph, Kitchener, and Niagara-on-the-Lake. Collectable posters represent each location.

White-Cabana-Stratford-Ontario-5White-Cabana-Stratford-Ontario-6Bradshaws has just about every kitchen item you’d ever want. After touching just about every cool kitchen gadget, I got stuck staring into the case of Alessi items. Oh, and I also found a lot of pretty white things…

White-Cabana-Stratford-Ontario-12The Artful Badger is a well-designed men’s barbershop-beauty store shop devoted to “classic shaving goods and other affordable luxuries for the modern gentleman” (I’m obviously not as eloquent in my description as The Artful Badger website!). The store carries face care and beard care items from the UK and United States along with stylish scarves and umbrellas. This is the perfect store to visit pre- and post-Movember. This gentleman’s store is unlike anything I have seen in Kitchener-Waterloo, and I absolutely loved how all the products were neatly displayed. White-Cabana-Stratford-Ontarioi_16 White-Cabana-Stratford-Ontarioi_14 White-Cabana-Stratford-Ontarioi_13Rhéo Thompson makes an extremely delicious chocolate mint smoothie chocolate. If you’re in Stratford, you must go pick up a box of these gems! They’re unlike any chocolate I’ve had, and on my next visit to the city, I’d really like to go on one of their tours. Chocolate…who can resist?

White-Cabana-Stratford-Ontario-3After a tour of shopping, it was time for dinner. I feel very loyal to Pazzo (Taverna and Pizzeria) as I’ve always had great service and excellent meals (at both restaurants; Pazzo Taverna is upstairs, the Pizzeria is downstairs). If you go during the theatre season, I’d recommend that you make a reservation in advance. On this visit, I dined at the Pizzeria, and I was once again impressed. Service was spot-on, and my meal was delicious (mushroom toasts, margherita pizza, Pimm’s Cup, wine, espresso…all very tasty with fresh ingredients). (side note: Pazzo means crazy in Italian).

White-Cabana-Stratford-Ontarioi_15And there you have it…a bit of a tour of Stratford, Ontario! I just have one more photo to share with you before I let you go enjoy your day…

White-Cabana-Stratford-Ontario-1I spotted this white brick wall and knew it would make a good backdrop for a jump (dress and jump last seen here).

Do let me know if you go for a visit! I’d love some more recommendations for my next trip, too!

Thanks to Ann and Amy from the Stratford Festival for helping to arrange my visit.

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Technology: Back in Action with the MacBook Air

My apologies for the surprise inconsistent posting on the blog last week. I experienced a bit of a blogging hiccup.

You see, my MacBook decided to quit on me last weekend after an unfortunate run-in with a few drops of coffee. Grr…

I researched the pros/cons of the various MacBook laptops for a week and finally opted for the Air. It’s been just a few days, but I’m already pleased with my purchase. The keyboard is very nice for typing, the screen is clear, and it’s so darn light. Yes, I know that this is one of its highly desirable features, but I didn’t really realize how great it was until now.

Here’s a snapshot of the unboxing:

White-Cabana-Macbook AirThe neatly organized package has my heart!

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The Friday Five: Etsy Round-Up

It’s been a while since I’ve browsed Etsy, so I had a look around the other day, and picked a few items that I think are cool. As per usual, you can find just about anything you want or need on Etsy. Care to look at five things I picked out?

il_570xN.808862748_qbkzVictorian manimal wine stoppers, $25.68+

il_570xN.561782470_hn9qwhite leather backpack, $148.18

il_570xN.806489993_c88kmid-century dining table, $268.89

il_570xN.812906808_benywhite happy cloud pillow, $31.75

il_570xN.651253095_6bzdplain white matches, $14.19 (for 50)

Happy weekend, everyone!

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Art: The Beach in Washington, DC

In the most recent issue of Architectural Digest, I read about a new all-white art installation called The BEACH at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC. As I often do, I opted to do a bit more research about The BEACH online.

The-Beach-Washington-art-4The-Beach-Washington-art-3Essentially, a large area was walled off in the middle of the Museum’s Great Hall. The installation, a collaborative effort with Snarkitecture, has covered 10,000 square feet with one million recyclable translucent plastic balls (Remember those from your childhood?).

The-Beach-Washington-art-5  The-Beach-Washington-art-6 The-Beach-Washington-art-1  The-Beach-Washington-art-2The-Beach-Washington-art-7 The lounge area is outfitted with comfortable chairs and white AstroTurf “sand”. The scattering of rolling plastic balls at the “water’s edge” are reminiscent of real waves.

This beach is only open until September 7, 2015, so if you’re in the area, get there before summer ends!

Learn more about The BEACH, including ticket information, here. Photos via The National Building Museum Flickr.

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The Friday Five: Orlando Edition

While my friend Shannon and I were in Florida last month, we decided to take a day trip to Orlando. We avoided all amusement parks and opted to try some of the recommendations on Design*Sponge’s 24 hours in Orlando guide written by Jessica Bennett.

Orlando-hwy-signMy TomTom directed every step of the way, and we were very thankful that we had it! We punched in the various addresses, and off we went. Freedom!

Here are five of the stops we made:

One: Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets
Our first stop was the Vineland outlet mall on the southern end of Orlando. It was on our way to the centre of the city, so we thought we might as well stop in to see what it had to offer. Well, it offered us quite a bit. The mall has high-end designer outlets like Fendi and Burberry as well as more mainstream outlets like JCrew, Banana Republic, and the Gap. We were surprised to see a Lululemon outlet at this mall, and we picked up some goodies at Barneys NY and Kate Spade.

Vineland-Outlet-Orlando-1Vineland-Outlet-Orlando-2Two: Prato
After a couple several hours at Vineland, we needed some food. When we learned that we had missed the opening hours of The Strand, we drove straight to Prato in the Winter Park district. We sort of missed the opening hours there, too, but luckily the restaurant was still serving a limited menu, so we were in luck. We were hungry! We ordered a couple of cocktails (to celebrate a successful shopping excursion, of course!) and pizzas. I went for the Fiorentina and Shannon ordered the Widowmaker, and we were both very happy with our meals.

Besides the food, Prato is a feast for the designer’s eyes. It is beautifully designed, and its front black-framed windows are gorgeous.

Prato-Orlando-2Prato-Orlando-1 Prato-Orlando-3 Orlando-Prato-1Three: Hannibal Square
I quickly fell in love with the Winter Park district, and I was surprised to see such a quaint and historic neighbourhood in Orlando. Why does everyone talk about Mickey when there’s Winter Park? Beautiful trees, cobble stone roads, and plenty of sweet stores and restaurants to explore, this is an area worth visiting!

From Prato, we lazily walked around, following as much of the guide as we could. The guide led us to Hannibal Square which included a huge Jenga-style game under this (apparently slanted) structure.

Hannibal-Square-WinterPark-Orlando-2Hannibal-Square-WinterPark-Orlando-1 Hannibal-Square-WinterPark-Orlando-4 Hannibal-Square-WinterPark-Orlando-3Four: Rifle Paper Co.
We knew Rifle Paper Co. was in Winter Park, but we almost missed it! Thankfully, we turned a corner, and there it was. It was our lucky day because Rifle was having a sidewalk sale. Ah-mazing! We were thrilled! Each of us stocked up on cards and artwork. I scooped up a few Garance Doré prints as well as this super bright and happy print for my work office.I was so impressed to learn that Rifle Paper Co. items are made in the USA and assembled right in Winter Park. Just so awesome.

Rifle-Paper-Co-1

Rifle-Paper-Co-4As if the sidewalk sale wasn’t enough, Nick from Mama’s Sauce was at Rifle screen-printing his heart out! Meeting Nick was so fun and unexpected. In addition to all of his design and printing work, Nick is an avid traveller, and he gave us great advice about where to go, what to do, and what to see in various parts of Florida. He spoke so highly of Winter Park, Orlando, and Florida in general, and I just love it when people appreciate where they live so much! The fact that Nick time out of his busy day to chat with us completely impressed me (Thanks, Nick!).

Rifle-Paper-Co-2And beyond the sale and screen-printing excitement, on our way out the door with our hands full of gorgeous letterpress art, we met the very friendly Stephen (The Hyppo and Cousteau Waffle & Milkshake Bar) and Ryan (MC Pressure). They served us up some delicious popsicles which was a very welcome treat considering the fact that we (a) didn’t have dessert at Prato, and (b) it was ridiculously hot! I had the blueberry-lavender-lemonade popsicle, and it was so absolutely delicious. A month later, and I’m still thinking about how great it tasted!

Rifle-Paper-Co-3Five: P is for Pie Bake Shop
Our last stop before we left Orlando was P if for Pie Bake Shop. We opted to get mini pies to go (banana pie and chocolate peanut butter pie), and enjoyed them back home in Madeira Beach (yum!).

P-is-for-Pie-Orlando-1P-is-for-Pie-Orlando-2As you may have gathered, we had a great day trip in Orlando. I would definitely like to go back and spend some more time around the city (especially Winter Park since it was so pretty). I’m glad the Design*Sponge 24-hours in Orlando guide worked out, and I’m extra glad that my TomTom directed us for the day.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

I’d like to thank Meaghan B. and TomTom again for providing me with the GO 500. It is proving to be very useful and dependable!

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Marketplace: Wedding Season at Kate Spade

My cousin is getting married this weekend, and I’m so excited to celebrate with her and her soon-to-be husband. The ceremony and party are going to be just beautiful, and I’m looking forward to spending time with the ol’ family. We are going to get our dancing on, aren’t we, team?

As expected, Kate Spade’s wedding collection has some really happy and fun pieces to help the bride (and happy couple) get ready for the big day.

Kate-Spade-wedding-1Kate-Spade-wedding-2happily ever after flip flops, $68

Kate-Spade-wedding-3ampersand clutch, $368

Kate-Spade-Wedding-4wedding belles love owls, $398

Kate-Spade-wedding-5wedding belles stirling clutch, $548

Kate-Spade-wedding-6Mrs. studs, $48

Kate-Spade-wedding-6cake topper, $50

Kate-Spade-wedding-8Mr. and Mrs. balloon set, $48

Sweet items, right? What do you think?

Posted in Celebration, Fashion, Gifts, Marketplace | 1 Comment

Travel: Marriott’s Tampa Renaissance

I have to share a recent positive experience I had with the Marriott. I was not in any way compensated for this review, but since I received such incredible service, I feel like sharing. There are good people out there who really seem to love their job, and when I meet people like this (who also treat me so well), I do what I can to recognize them and spread the word. So, here we go.

First, a bit of a lead up…

On my way back from Florida a couple of weeks ago, after sitting around the Tampa airport for 6 hours, my flight (via WestJet) was cancelled (due to weather). The passengers were definitely ticked off (I felt bad for those traveling with kids and those who were needing to make connecting flights). I, too, was disappointed. The fact that the flight was cancelled was definitely annoying, but the way WestJet handled the communication and service really irked me.

So when we learned that our flight was cancelled, we were also informed that we needed to go to baggage claim immediately to retrieve our luggage and that all hotel and incidental expenses were the passengers’ responsibility. (Not to get into the whole WestJet debacle…but we were all going to be booked onto another flight the next day.)

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By the time I got around to calling the “hotel accommodations when flights are cancelled” number provided by WestJet, all the “discounted” hotels that were reserved for cancelled flights were full. My annoyance level grew instantly (service like this drives me absolutely nuts).

Trying to make the best out of a crummy situation, I got online and looked up hotels close to the airport. The first call I made was to the Marriott Tampa Renaissance reservation department. The Renaissance is definitely a luxury hotel, but I crossed my fingers that there would be a room available on such short notice (with a decent rate, of course! pushing my luck, right?).

Well, Ms. Emily over in the reservation department was on the other end of the phone, and she was incredibly friendly and understanding of my situation. When I asked for the “my flight is cancelled and I really would love to stay in a fabulous hotel with a great bed for an evening in Tampa,” she laughed and assured me that she would find the best possible rate for me. She called me by name (I always like this), persisted, and was extremely polite. She booked me into a room at the Renaissance within minutes and gave me a competitive rate. I was pumped! She honestly brightened by afternoon!

And now, here’s what I thought about the Marriott’s Tampa Renaissance.

The lobby is grand with welcoming and modern seating arrangements.

Tampa-Marriott-Renaissance-6 Tampa-Marriott-Renaissance-5 Tampa-Marriott-Renaissance-4

There is a bit of Italian signage on the room floors, which makes me happy. Tampa-Marriott-Renaissance-3

The artwork around the hotel is lovely, but it is this simple drawing that was hung in my room that I really liked. Tampa-Marriott-Renaissance-2

My Tuscan-inspired room was very well-appointed. My king size bed was ridiculously comfortable (how do hotels do it!?), and the terry robe is one that I think I just have to purchase. It was perfect. Aveda products fill the large bathroom. My room faced the pretty courtyard, and the pool and gym are added conveniences (too bad it rained).Tampa-Marriott-Renaissance-1Finally, the hotel is attached to one of Tampa’s great malls – the International Plaza – awesome!

My day ended up being much (much!) better than how it started, and I definitely owe Ms. Emily a thank you for helping to turn things around for me!

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