a quick hello from paradise

Hey there my loves, long time no talk! I meant to write two days ago but I got caught up in packing and wrapping up work, and then yesterday I hoped I'd have a chance at the airport, but had apparently forgotten how much more security a stopover in the US involves. So I've been a bad bad blogger, all thought and no action.

Even now, I'm just stopping in to say hi, because, well, I think I found paradise.

I am here  . . .

... on my Belize adventure, and to be honest, I just don't feel like taking the time to fully check in. I will soon, but not now. Now I just want to keep swinging away in this hammock, listened to the breeze and the ocean and the birds, and remembering why 18 hrs of straight travel in one day (no joke) is always, always worth it. Especially when your heart needs the tlc even more than your body does.

So talk soon, k? I promise mucho pretty pictures and even some apartment updates (I bought that gorgeous desk and it's crazy good. You guys are so smart.) Til' then, love from the beach.


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style revelation: mandy milks

Ever have one of those experiences where you suddenly realize that a bunch of disparate spaces you absolutely adore are actually all from the same house? Well, that just happened to me - big time.

A couple of months ago I fell head over heels for a pair of bathrooms (created out of one old bathroom) in House & Home's March issue. I folded down the corners of each of the pages and even carried the feature around with me in my purse while helping my parents pick out tile. There was something about these spaces that really spoke to me more than any other bath I'd seen in a while.

Yesterday H&H finally posted pics of the bathrooms online, and I couldn't wait to share. Here's bath #1:

And bath #2:

Aren't they insanely good? The perfect balance of patina and polish, masculine and feminine.

A month later, H&H's special makeovers issue came out, and one of the kitchen transformations spoke to me in that same way. I decided it was the best kitchen reno I'd seen in a long, long time. I couldn't get enough of it.

It wasn't until last week that I finally realized that there was a reason for that same gut feeling: both spaces belong to one Mandy Milks, art director at H&H. She and her husband have been renovating an old house in Toronto room by room, and the result so clearly strikes a cord with me.

Unfortunately I could only find one really good pic of the kitchen, but it's linked to an awesome video showcasing the space.

I truly can't wait for H&H to feature the rest of Mandy's home (fingers crossed). There is nothing that I love more than old bones complimented by new hotness, and in Mandy's capable hands it's clearly a guaranteed home run. I'll definitely be watching this gal from now on ( and coveting her home like a mad person).

xoxoxo luvs

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desks as nightstands - cute or cramped?

A couple of weekends ago the large desk in my "dressing room" got the old heave-ho, making way for my treadmill. The 'mill had been taking up way too much space in my living room, and of these two items that I wasn't using nearly enough, I decided it was the one I should keep lying to myself about.

The only downside to this, really, is that my desk chair was the spare for my dining table. The one I would pull out when I had people over for dinner or guests were visiting for the weekend. I should probably keep it, but the question is, where? Right now it's just looking awkward over in a corner, like me at a high school dance.

Well, the plot thickens. A couple of days ago I came across a gorgeous, rectangular marble topped bistro table on craigslist, and my mind immediately went here:

I've been looking to get a wider nightstand for a while now (to fill more of the awkward space between my bed and an archway) and this could help me kill two birds with one stone. The only thing is that it's not just wider, it's also a lot deeper. Add the chair and I'm worried that it'll be cramped city. Or that it will just end up looking messy - a catch all for everything from my water glass and alarm clock to my laptop and craft supplies.

For your reference, this is the table . . .

. . . and I managed to haggle the price down to a cool $80. The owner brought it with her when she moved here from France. 

So what do you think? Is it too good to pass up? Are you fans of the bedside desk look, or do they just scream "I have no other room"? Can they ever really look polished and be useful simultaneously? Should I just ditch the chair and be done with it? Your opinions are much needed my luvs!

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"look for the helpers"

Bombs scare me. Obviously. What happened yesterday was horrific and senseless and shocking. My heart aches for those affected, as it aches for all those around the world who lose loved ones suddenly and without reason. 

But what scares me more than bombs - far, far more than bombs - is fear. The complete irrationality and hate that fear creates. The way that fear can blind even the most rational of people, and create a domino effect that can't be measured or controlled. Often, the aftermath of these type of events can become so much worse than what initially occurred.

We can't let the poison spread. It's so easy - and understandable - to react to these things by losing faith. By seeing only darkness, and craving retribution. I really think that Patton Oswalt said it best, and Fred Rogers years ago. It is so important to remember - especially in times like these - that the good outnumber the hateful, the violent, the racist and the intolerant, and to resolve to continue to stand with them, now and forever. 

Spread the love today folks. It's the best thing we have. 

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random ramblings for a stormy april day

First of all, my fam would like you all to know that you are very, very bad influences. They want a sofa bed. I want vintage velvet. You have clearly picked a side.

Secondly, is it just me or is this the longest winter ever? Apparently we're getting 20cm of fresh snow and "ice pellets" around here today. It's a full on storm watch. What?? If April showers bring May flowers then what does this shit bring? I've decided it's God's way of telling me that blowing the budget for Belize was the right way to go. And I can't argue with God. It's a rule.

Third, have any of you Canadian ladies checked out the new special Home Decor 101 issue of Chatelaine?

The answer's probably no, and I totally feel you - I didn't think I was into Chatelaine either. But the other day I popped into Indigo (sorry for all the maple land references Americanas!) to see if the new House & Home was out, and when it wasn't I was still itching for a new read. So I picked this puppy up. And it's good. Like, really really good.

I always thought Chatelaine was a little too country and not enough rock & roll, but if this special issue is any indication of what's been hiding behind all the recipes (I don't cook), health tips (blah blah, stop eating so much cheese, blah blah) and life advice (that's what my psych is for), then I've clearly been missing out.

Even better, when I was looking for pics of the magazine to show you I found a blog post that Emma from the Marion House Book had written about it (these photos are all hers), and in it she revealed that she's the mag's new home editor! If you know her blog - or her pinter-famous home - then you know that that can only mean good things. I'm officially won over.

Speaking of magazine amazingness, you've probably all seen Angie Hranowsky's colour extravaganza of a home in the new Lonny, but I'm gonna add a bit more love onto the pile. I'm pretty sure that this needs to happen to my curtains:

But only because I don't know how I could pull off this without it looking like a d.i.y. shitstorm:

Oh Angie. You can do no wrong.

And with that, I'm off to enjoy another weekend of half melting snow and not putting my new wooden deck tiles down. Ah well, more time for wine, right?

Later luvs!

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sofa-beds suck, and vintage regular ones do not . . .

A complicated set of work circumstances means that come July my future brother in law will be crashing at my place two nights a week, making my need for a sofa bed a little more glaring. He's cool with the couch, but I kinda think that sucks, so I've started prowling craigslist. In keeping with my last post, whatever I find has to be revenue neutral - meaning it has to cost the same (or preferably less) than what I can sell my present sofa for.

You know what I'm realizing though? Sofa beds blow. HARD. Or at least decently-priced ones do. Even back when I was looking for a new version I was sort off shocked by how few nice-looking, budget options there were out there. Read: none. I mean, isn't the prime market for sofa beds the crew that are low on space? Meaning the crew that is also probably low on cash? Why can't we have style and substance? What the hell West Elm??

Everything I saw was either too boxy/bulky, too uncomfortable, or too damn pricey. Even IKEA's best option - the Karlstad - shows the bed part in a really obvious way, and the back is way too low to be lounge-worthy.

Unfortunately, I'm not having much luck on CL either. Instead, all this search is uncovering is a whole host of non-sleeper options I'd looove to take home with me. Like this silky velvet gorgeousness for only $100:

And this awesome camelback that could use some new fabric love:

Or this bordeaux option that just needs some straightening up (seriously peeps, why post it like this?):

Honestly, I'm finding it seriously hard to stick to this sofa bed plan. There is just too much vintage awesomeness out there for me to resist much longer!

What would you do folks? I'm reeaaally considering that first one. It's in such good condition , doesn't need to be recovered, and would really go with the rest of my stuff. And the price can't be beat. Would you go for it or stick to the decidedly less cool lookin' plan?

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shiny things vs life experiences: the eternal struggle

So guess what?? Remember a couple of days ago when I said that I couldn't afford to buy Rugs Usa's moroccan pouf even though it was on sale? Remember how I said it was because I had to save for an upcoming adventure? Well that's because last week I went and made plans to fulfill one of my ultimate, all-time bucket list items. In exactly three weeks, I'll be boarding a plane to go do this . . .

Yup, it's whale shark season in Belize, and I'm dusting off my diving license and getting my butt in the water!!

I think it goes without saying that I'm so excited I could burst (seriously, it's a little ridiculous), but it's not all sunshine and roses. Because, well, I have a little confession to make: I kind of can't afford a trip right now. Like, not at all.

A little over a year ago, right before starting this blog, I spent an amazing, beautiful, perfect month trekking through Thailand and Cambodia. I had to use every last little bit of money I could scrounge together after spending my savings to start over, but I justified it by saying it would be my last big trip for a while.

And then last month happened, and suddenly the week in New Orleans I had planned turned into two by the beach. And if you've ever been diving, well . . . the cost ain't little. So I'm finding myself budgeting like I've never budgeted before, and doing my damnedest to stick to some seriously tight allowances so I can make it all happen. And all I have to say is - this shit is hard!!

Don't get me wrong, I live on a single lady's income anyways, but when the amount you have set aside for the week only really covers food, it can be a bit of an eye opener! I don't think I realized before just how many things I want, or convince myself I need, over the course of a given week. Or how incredibly difficult it is for me to walk away from what I see as a deal! That moroccan pouf, a brass tulip pendant light I found on CL, velvet ribbon for my curtains, this gorgeous fiddle leaf fig at IKEA . . .

  . . . all things I've debated breaking my rules for in the last four days alone! It is literally agonizing for me to drag myself away, especially if I know it's something that would normally cost more (read, will cost more later if I pass it up now). My head knows that travel is always worth it, but my deal loving heart, oh it just wants to take all these pretties home. So so badly.

And then there's my friend who says I shouldn't do either and should just save for the future. We'll go ahead and ignore him.

Do you guys often find yourselves in the same predicament? Do you scare yourself with how little willpower and how much buying power you actually have??

Thanks for listening to my rant today loves, I apparently needed to take my shopping energy out somewhere, and that somewhere is here!

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nightstand contest, you are a talent-filled cocktease . . .

Has everyone seen the entries for Emily Henderson's nightstand styling contest that have been popping up all over Pinterest? If yes, were you as ridiculously blown away as I was?? If no, here's a little background for ya': a few weeks ago our lady of all things vintage Emily posted a video tutorial on how to style nightstands, and announced an awesome contest asking readers to put her tips into practice. A few days ago she posted a couple of collages of her faves, and, well, let's let them speak for themselves . . .

There is so much goodness in there! When I first saw these all I could think was "hot damn there's more talent for this out there than I thought!", followed by "I wish I could see more", followed by "for the love of God, why are the pictures so small??!" Today my prayers were partially answered when Emily posted bigger pics on her Facebook page, but I still feel like I'm being royally teased! It's like leaving a small piece of brownie on the table for me - it's so goddamn rich and gooey and delicious, and I love it, but all I can think is I KNOW THERE'S MORE. 

And I f-ing well want it. 

These gorgeous spaces in particular are just dying to be shown off in all their glory. Seriously, keeping them from me us is just plain wrong  . . .

{I adore everything about this, from what I'm guessing is a rug over the headboard, to the oversized art, to the campaign dresser. It's perfect.)

{This serene space has me scouring craigslist for a marble topped replacement to my nightstand.}

{Textiles anyone? Also LOVING that this is a man's space. Hells. Yes.}

{Natural, worn, unfussed. A look I can't pull off and completely admire.}

{The picture quality isn't the best, and I could lose at least one of the personal pics for the purposes of the contest, but this is still one of my absolute faves. The fearless mix of colours, that headboard with that pillow, and most of all the badass motherfuckin stag. I want it. Badly.}

{Calm, uncluttered, pink. What more can I say?}

So this is me officially begging. I need apartment tours. I need to see what lies beyond these nightstands. I need it like the desert needs the rain. 

So what does your nightstand look like? Can it hold a candle to any of these or does it blow them out of the water? Mine will definitely be getting some zhushing after seeing all of this!

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rugs usa sale - and not just on rugs!

I'm not going to bore you with all the reasons that Rugs USA is awesome. Amazing selection - both new and vintage - massive sales à la 75% off, blah blah blah, you've heard it all before. BUT, I am gonna say that their name is deceiving, cuz they don't just sell rugs. In fact, some of my fave things on their site aren't rugs at all!

Unfortunately, though, those massive sales I mentioned almost never apply to those other things. Total bummer.

Well, not this weekend! While browsing their site yesterday I noticed that they're offering 30% off some of their most popular (and my most coveted) furniture pieces too. This is a rare event indeed!

Here are some of the beauties currently in my "I wish" folder. All but the luscious mirror are one sale, but even that little lady (which comes in four colours btw) is only $170. For bone inlay? Yes please!

 The pouf especially is seriously calling my name. If I didn't need to save my dineros for an upcoming adventure I would be all over it!

P.S. Happy Easter luvs! Hope you all gorged yourselves silly!

P.P.S. I think I need to go into exclamation mark anonymous. Shit is getting out of hand.