Daydreaming: Guest Bedroom

One of the projects I am most excited to tackle in our new place is the Guest bedroom. We have never had a guest bedroom before and I can't wait for our friends and family to stay the night.

I shared some of my design inspiration here, lots of layered neutrals for a calm, serene decor. The guest bedroom is my excuse to get a little crazy with colour (just a little...I am still a neutral girl at heart).

I plan on incorporating some special items that have been handed down to us from our parents, and a few trinkets we picked up on our trip to Thailand a few years ago. We will also be re-using our white ruffle duvet set and headboard to save some funds.

Here are two Asian inspired rooms I put together:

The first design features a largely black, white and blue palette. Blue is one of my favourite colours, I find it soothing. I would paint our existing headboard a lacquered navy and tie it in with a Chiang Mai printed pillow.

The wall panels above are similar to the ones that were given to me by my parents. The lamp is also close to a beautiful white ceramic lamp that my mother in law handed down to me from her mother.

I love the idea of incorporating special & personal items into home decor. 

The second design is all about pops of colour! A total departure for me, but I am loving it.

For this scheme, I would keep the headboard the existing dark brown and bring in a burst of colour with this nightstand from Urban Barn. I like the combo of orange and green, and again repeating it with the pillow.

We brought home a wooden gold & white Buddha from our trip to Thailand a few years ago, and it would be the perfect compliment for the walls.

I would love to know what your favourite design is! Calm and classic or bright and punchy?
I am leaning more towards the bright & punchy. It's just so fun. And so not me :)

Moving on up: Tips for Home Staging

Here is the second part as promised :)

The staging part of the house takes a bit more work and prep time in the beginning, but it is always followed by some rewards and fun. What is that you ask? Shopping!
Like I ever need an excuse....

I put together a list of tips and tricks I have found helpful in getting ready to sell, to stage for photos, as well as tips for an open house:

Tip #1: Home Maintenance & Updates

Before you put your house out there, first make a list of any home maintenance items and badly needed updates. For some, it could be as simple as paint touch ups. For others, it could be replacing a Kitchen back splash or appliances. 

We are lucky as we renovated a few years ago and everything in our home is pretty up to date. I did have a few paint touch ups to tackle (painting ceilings are the worst btw), and we also replaced our front door.

Nothing beats a fresh coat of paint-it adds so much life and brightness to a room and is relatively inexpensive.

Tip #2: De-clutter, Clean & Organize

Next, we tackled clearing out our storage spaces. Now it doesn't look so much of a hot mess and is easier to navigate. I re-organized the storage shelves, as well as our laundry room shelves, by item and use.

Grouping like items with like items will be visually appealing and give the eye a place to focus and rest.

Neat, tidy & organized is my happy place

Do I need to even touch on cleaning? You wouldn't want those counter top crumbs from your morning breakfast distracting a buyer from your lovely granite... ;)

A clutter free space shows off the "bones" of the house, and can help buyers imagine their personal items in your space. 

Tip #3: Personality vs. Generic

In the past, I have always read "Clear out all photos", "Nothing personal". I totally disagree!
Well, to a point.

When we purchased our home, every room was painted a different colour, there were fake flowers everywhere, and the patio had a waterfall feature made out of a kiddie pool.

Perhaps it could have been scaled back a bit. Photographic evidence below:

When we renovated, we chose finishes that would keep our small condo consistent, light, airy and timeless. The backdrop of our house would appeal to almost any buyer, but we still injected some personality throughout our home.

 I don't think it's neccesarry to remove all personal items from your home to show it to others. The nosy creeper in me wants to see who I am buying from. Am I right?

See the laundry room photo above in Tip 1? I have a photo of a unicorn and an ostrich ironing clothes. Weird maybe, but it makes me smile. I have a bookcase full of (embarrassing) books and (equally embarrassing) family photos. Our office/home gym is painted blue.

Judge if you may. BUT, these touches are what makes my house a home, and different from all the others out there.

It's fun to see little touches of the buyers (your!) personality and uniqueness, but know when to scale back.

Tip #4: First Impressions

First impressions are everything. When we visited the open house of where we are currently living, I didn't take to the place. It took a couple more showings to get past the barrage of purple, pink and puke-y green.

Two of my favourite things that instantly make a house inviting are flowers & a yummy smell.
Fresh flowers are a small indulgence but add such a nice touch. I buy flowers weekly at the grocery store in random bunches to save money, and arrange them myself.   

Also, Bath and Body works has the best smelling wall plug ins that are super discreet and fill your home with a lovely scent. 

Buyers typically view more than one home in a day or weekend. The special touches will make your place one to remember and your home will stand out among all the others.

Tip #5: Fluff

This is the fun part! Allow a small part of your budget to go towards some new home decor.
I purchased a few vases to display flowers, candles, a rug for the front door, bathroom soap and lotion, and a tray to corral kitchen items. Nothing crazy, but it definitely helped spruce things up. 

Another (free) idea is to re-arrange current items in your home. Simply moving pillows, art, accessories etc from one room to another can breathe new life into a space!

Add new items that will help freshen up your space and add a pop of colour & texture.

I hope these tips help anyone else thiking of moving!
I would love to hear what has helped you sell your home in the past!

Best ever banana bread

I have never been a big fan of banana bread but constantly have a bowl full of brown banana's by weeks end. Even if it is not my favourite treat, I still find myself sneaking a few pieces. This is my go to recipe (go to cookbook even), and my husband assures me it really is the best. Super moist and banana-y.

I guess you will have to try for yourself!

The best part of this recipe is it makes two decent sized loafs. Perfect for freezing a loaf for when you feel like some baking without all the baking.


Moving on up: Getting ready to sell our House

Over the holidays, we started getting ready to sell our house. Although we are not listing until the spring (most likely...hopefully? Still no move in date), with two weeks off at Christmas it was the perfect time to get a head start on the To-Do list.

 Not bad, hey? I have slowly but surely been chipping away at this for the past little while. I am sure things will get added to the list as we get closer to listing and moving.

Besides the normal updating & maintenance like painting, we really wanted to replace our front door. Our townhome was built in the 70's and has had a few updates since then (including the big reno we completed 3 years ago), but the front door left something to be desired.

 Photo from a few years ago

It had a crappy screen door which let in drafts and not to mention bugs (eww), and had a panel of glass block that was warped and crumbling. We hired Gienow to change out the doors and are so pleased with the outcome!

The new door makes the space appear brighter and will make a nice first impression to potential buyers. I would love to paint it a fun colour, but to appeal to more people (and the condo board), we will be leaving it white to match our interior doors and trim-Benjamin Moore's "Decorators White".

I am also contemplating painting our coach light outside black to tie in the new door hardware. And perhaps the mailbox would look better black...

We also managed to go through our small storage space and clean out unnecessary junk. It is amazing what you hold on to over the years. I had a bit of a hard time with this, so many memories are attached to things, but in the end they are just "things". We also donated our Christmas tree and some decorations to the Goodwill.
This new house is all about starting fresh!

Next up I am sharing my favourite parts of the process-Home staging and professional photos!

Inspired :: Cognac

 I am loving this little leather accent so much lately. My closet consists of alot of cream, white and a peppering of black (with a heavy dose of pink thrown in!). Cognac is the perfect pop to my otherwise neutral outfits. I love how classic and timeless it is, truly working with every season.

Although these cognac accents are a bit on the masculine side, I am really enjoying how it adds a ton of warmth to an otherwise simple space.
My in-laws just got rid of their perfectly worn, beaten in cognac leather sofa. In hindsight, I should have asked them to hang on just a little longer for when we move into our new place. Would have gone perfectly in the soon to be "Man cave"!


Book Club

Welcome to my Book Club!
I thought it would be fun to put together a series on something I am really passionate about: Reading.

Growing up, I always had my nose buried in a book. Once I moved in with my now husband, it was a whole different story. He only reads at night to relax before bed and is out in minutes. Being totally opposite, I read for pleasure and a good book can have me up into the wee hours of the night!

I now do most of my reading at night too. Reading in my spare time almost feels like a guilty pleasure. Luckily, I can always catch up on a good book when there is a hockey game on TV ;)

Here are a few books I have been into lately...

For the Coffee table:

I have long admired Audrey Hepburn for her Style and Grace. As my friend Stephanie once mentioned, I keep a large photo of Audrey in my closet to inspire my daily outfits. This book is a beautiful collection of photos from her personal life and movies from the 60's (my favourite fashion era!), as well as fun movie quotes and quotes from friends and colleagues.

For the Kitchen:

Mmmm...Mac and Cheese. Almost a staple in our house. I have tried many recipes in my search for the perfect recipe and lucky for me, this cookbook has a ton all in one place. It is written by two women who recently opened up a restaurant only serving the classic dish!

I love how the recipes call for minimum 2 year old aged cheese and good quality ingredients.
We have already made the Classic Mac and Cheese and Scott claimed it as his favourite. Ever.

For the Soul:

I don't typically pick up "self help" books, but this one grabbed my attention. It was a quick and easy read and I did take away a few meaningful and personal truths from it.

The four agreements are:
1. Be impeccable with your word
2. Don't take anything personally
3. Don't make assumptions
4. Always do your best

As someone who is a (hopefully former) people pleaser, I really resonated with #2.

For the Nightstand:

 My current night-time Kindle read. I am only 25% done so far, but loving it. I have always been drawn to thrillers, murders crimes and drama.

This book is based around a local mans suicide who is slowly dying from cancer, the large estate he suspiciously leaves his housekeeper while cutting out his entire family and a small time lawyers search for the truth in it all.
If you go for exciting and fast paced mysteries too, then I would highly recommend this one!

I would love to know....have you read anything good lately? Do share!


Photo found on pinterest. Original source here

I have an obsession : Hot yoga

Never in a million years did I think hot yoga would be something that I would love and crave.
Yes, crave. I don't crave yoga like I do sour patch kids, but it's getting close.

The idea of profusely sweating out of every pore, being surrounded by smelly people on all sides and slipping on someone's puddle of sweat on the way out the door is not exactly appealing. But there is something about it that keeps me coming back, week after week, since the beginning of last summer.

Yoga has stretched my body, making it more flexible and strong with every class.

Yoga has taught me to breathe, taking the time to slown down and focus my thoughts.

Yoga helps quiet my mind, turning restless nights into restful nights. This alone is worth it's weight in gold.

I would love to know...have you tried hot yoga? If so, do you love it or hate it?

Soft & chewy pretzels

I have been wanting to try my hand at homemade pretzels for awhile now. It all started in Phoenix, AZ and a visit to Wetzel Pretzel. We make sure to stop in every time we visit Arizona. Amazing does not even begin to describe.

So, what's a bored girl to do on a epic snow day in Calgary? Bake, of course! 
I set aside a few hours early in the morning to try this recipe. It was definitely a bit of a process but so worth the trouble.

You can't have a pretzel without cheese. I made a simple beer cheese dip following this recipe as a guideline, using 2 year aged Balderson cheddar and omitted the nutmeg, using Winter Spice Ale instead.


Life, Lately

These past two weeks off work have been so good for the soul. I spent the majority of it lazing around at home, baking, spending time with my husband, watching movies (American Hustle-a must see!), and catching up with friends.

Here are a few snapshots, mostly Christmas:

 My Nana 'D' and I. 
I get my love of fashion from her

 I make him take photos. He hates it ;)

 Pretty winter blooms

 There is something magical about christmas trees at night...

A chilly sunset over Fish Creek Park

Intention :: Joy

"Joy is the holy fire that keeps our pupose warm & our intelligence aglow"-Helen Keller

Photo taken by me-Vancouver Island, BC 

The definition of Joy is a great feeling of pleasure and happiness. 
Such a small, simple word with a large impact. I truly believe that we create our own happiness and joys in life. 

I am not one to set resolutions at New years. We all have areas to improve upon-be it fitness, relationships, work life balance, whatever...and it is up to oneself to be aware and to grow and to better ourselves constantly-not just for the sake of a yearly goal. 

This year I want to continue to live life to the best of my ability with one intention in mind at all times. Joy. 

Do what brings you Joy.