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Thursday
May212015

R.S.V.PERFECT | Be the Best-Dressed Wedding Guest

A floral stunner from the ELLE by RW&CO. Collection via RW&CO.

Originally posted in The CLOSET

Wedding season is upon us (does it ever actually end?) and while you might have RSVP'd and ticked off her registry list, you might not know what on earth you're going to wear. It's stressful. I mean, you want to look amazing because, we all do. You'll likely see some people you haven't seen in awhile and of course, you want to look your best for the bride and groom's big day. But do you play it safe? Or go bright? Plus there's that nasty budget to contend with. And then there are the shoes, and the clutch, and the jewelry, too. Oh, and hair and makeup. Phew. 

If you're not in the wedding party, remember this: the pressure's officially off. No speeches or showers or wedding to-do's, you just have to show up looking cute. That's all. I've rounded up some pretty ideas for you to try out if you're currently looking for some wedding day inspo. I've gone beyond the LBD with some fun little finds for you. Enjoy and happy wedding season to you!

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Wednesday
May132015

SHORT STORY | Get Inspired for Summer with these 4 Short & Sweet Looks

via H&M

Originally posted in The CLOSET

I've been walking 10,000 steps every day for the past 3 days. Sure, it's not that impressive. I mean, it's early days here. But I'm on a mission and I'm wishin' someone would cure my shortless condition. It's way too cold to wear shorts right now but I know that just around the corner, the sun will heat up our days and stay that way. And so I'm walking to get my legs in shape for all of the sweet shorts hitting stores now. From printed and pop bright, to classic nautical stripes to super cool culottes, there are so many shorts I'm hoping to pick up for the hot days ahead.

While finding great shorts is a battle in and of itself, requiring several changeroom visits to find a pair that fits you right, it's what you pair them with that really matters. Oh nuh-uh-uh, put away that plain old tee, if you please. Sure you can go for the basic and I'm sure you'll look cute. But the shorts of this season aren't just meant for weekend walks to the park. While shorts look right at home for super casual outings like aforementioned parks, music festivals and chilling on the patio with friends, shorts work for fancier affairs, too. Heading to a baby or wedding shower? A pair of shorts with a printed blouse and blazer look just perf. Tired of your 9-to-5 wardrobe grind? A pair of cute new culottes will instantly refresh your work look. 

Now back to my walking. After all, I've only hit 4,500 steps today and short season waits for no one. Get your short & sweet outfit inspiration below...

SEE THE OUTFITS HERE...

 

Wednesday
May062015

BLANK SPACE | My Dream Closet Makeover Reveal with Home Depot

I'm sure that if you were to ask my friends and family about me, they would all agree on one thing: I'm disorganized. Oh sure, I can fake it with the best of them - frenzied 11th hour clean-ups before book club, last-minute car clear-outs before picking up friends, and of course those sneaky dinner party distractions (think low lighting, flowers and chilled out tunes to  distract from the clutter), all of which I've perfected throughout the years. But open a closet and you're bound to either get smothered by a massive pile of unfolded laundry or get knocked out by an errant stiletto to the head. To compound the problem further, I'm a fashion blogger - a profession where we're often paid in clothing and gift cards, so let's just say I've got a lot of stuff. Plus, we recently downsized from a big country house with loads of storage room to a 1940's house in the city that's high on charm but seriously low on closet space. Tragic.

I try my best to tame my overstuffed drawers and my OOC accessory collection but I've come to terms with the fact that I'm not one of those hyper-organized people I envy so much. I'm just not. And while I applaud the woman who can cut her wardrobe down to 15 Easy Pieces, I simply have no desire to limit myself like that. I'm a fashion girl - I like having options.

So, I was stuck with this...(I won't even show you what's behind door #2)

and this...

and accessories stuffed into bags and baskets like this...

We've been renovating our house since we moved in and were in the middle of renovating our ensuite. There was an unheated crawl space off our ensuite/above the garage (you can see a bit of it in the pic below to the right of the shower) which we decided to finish with insulation, heated floors, hardwood and paint. The room was definitely awkward but the potential for a great walk-in was there somewhere. 

We were just debating what to do the space and our ever-shrinking budget when Home Depot emailed. They asked if I'd be interested in working with them on a closet makeover for my blog. Um, yes?! The timing could seriously not have been better. My heaving closets all gasped at the possibility. Like that Kelly Clarkson song 'Moment Like This' back when American Idol was awesome, I'd been waiting for this day my entire adult life. The possibility of getting the closet of my dreams was finally within my grasp. But would they be up for the challenge?

My husband James was away, so I headed to the Kitchener Home Depot with my mom for my first visit (always good to enlist the help of a stylish wingwoman in cases like this) and met with Patsy in the Closet Organizing department. We showed her pics of the space and then went to work to find the perfect closet system. We settled on the Martha Stewart Living Collection but after a few meetings, realized we had a square peg/round hole situation with our unique space. We wandered over to the Kitchen department and decided almost instantly that custom was the way to go. Visions of a dreamy modern white lacquer walk-in entered my head and never left. I knew that custom cabinets would be more expensive than going for pre-fab but decided it would be well worth the investment to get exactly what I wanted.

Patsy passed our file over to Scott in the Kitchen department and he got right to work. I told him about our many challenges - from a limited budget to the sloped ceilings, staircase and bulky floor-heater and he handled each hurdle like a pro. Scott worked with us over the course of a few meetings until he came up with a design that was just right.

Scott and Patsy (aka. Closet Dream Team)

Once the drawings were done, we had someone from Home Depot come out to take measurements. We learned our lesson the hard way in our old house and knew that having a pro measure was totally (I mean, totally) worth it.  The Expressive line by Fabritec is custom-made in Québec (bonus) so now all we had to do was wait. Six weeks later, our cabinetry arrived and was installed exactly like the pics! Since our floors and walls were uneven, we decided to have the cabinets float a few inches off the ground. Love this look!

Now for the fun part. Here's how our closet looks now! Read on for a few tips that I now rely on to keep my things organized. See? With the right closet design and some smart storage solutions, even someone as tragically disorganized as I am can experience closet bliss... 

The view from our ensuite into our new walk-in.

We already have some hanging space in our bedroom but still wanted a little extra hanging room in our new closet. James installed these hanging bars himself - a super inexpensive alternative to having them built into the design. Colour coding and wooden hangers make everything look more luxe.

Found this great rattan and glass serving tray at HomeSense and love how it adds warmth to all the cool white lacquer. 

My in-laws have a country property filled with deer who shed their antlers . Every time they find an antler, they (my in-laws, not the deer) give it to us. I love how well this tiny one works as a ring holder.

Our steep sloped ceilings meant lots of low cabinetry. I'll use these oversized pull-out drawers to hold my casual pants, jeans and tees.

A disco ball and silver ankle boots. Just because. 

I might use some of these open shelves for sweaters later on but for now, my hardworking heels deserve some time in the limelight. 

Kate Moss 4-eva. If you have room in your closet for a chic black-and-white pic, it's a dream closet must. I ripped this pic out of an old issue of W Magazine and threw it into an Ikea frame. BTW, the gold sea urchin attacks would-be home invaders from trying to swipe my jewelry. Consider that a warning...

A lucite necklace holder from Umbra is perfect for hanging some of my longer necklaces. 

Happy feet. 

My favourite Ela clutch. 

The corner cabinetry is perfect for holding more shoes, clutches and some pretty boxes. 

No dream closet is complete without fresh flowers. Just picked up this round glass vase from Homesense yesterday for $6.99. My kids are so going to smash it despite a gentle lecture last night on staying out of mommy and daddy's closet. Sigh...

Pinterest is amazing but every editor needs some hardcopy inspiration, too...

A narrow top drawer and a divided clear tray is perfect for holding rings and earrings, plus stylist essentials like double-sided tape, lint brushes and jewellery boxes. 

I have this thing for glasses. Now it's time to find Fonzie. He thinks he's camouflaged...

Now onto James' side. Yes, he gets half, although you might notice that a few of my things have crept over onto his side, but I only did it to add colour. Or at least this is how I justify it. 

James owns fewer shoes, but more shirts. Luckily, this closet easily accomodates both. Again, colour coding is key.

Sweater stacks. 

Okay, so I have a lot of belts. Olivia Palermo made me do it.  

I'm in love with this guy. He adds a nice masculine touch to the space. I think I'll call him Busta Rhymes.

No more random bags and boxes stuffed with accessories - I used this great Ikea basket to make it easy to see all of our scarves from now on.  

A few bamboo trays make the perfect tie holders in a narrow top drawer. A clear acrylic tray keeps his cufflinks and tie clips organized - look in the bathroom section at Homesense or Solutions for some great options. 

Black and white books, just because.

Another antler turned watch-holder. Love the way his HBC watch looks against the grain. Um, how Canadian is this?!

 

A huge thanks to Home Depot for making my dream closet a reality! The best part? My once over-stuffed drawers are now half full - and I'm optimistic I'll be able to keep them that way. Closet reno in your future? Be sure to visit Home Depot before you start. Can't wait to hear what you think of our new closet so please leave your comments below! Okay, time to go back to my walk-in. Think this closet makeover calls for glass of wine. Oooh, or maybe a wine fridge. Hmmm...I'm sure I can make room for that somewhere...

 

Tuesday
May052015

Challenge Accepted

I used to hate change. When my mom wanted to paint our front door one summer, I staged a mini protest. When my parents told me they were selling our old clunker, I swore I’d chain myself to the steering wheel first. Our door turned blue. We got a new car. And life went on.

I’m not sure when it happened but as everything in my life changed, so did I. I went from despising change to embracing it. I began to seek out newness anytime things felt stale, from my first jobs to my ever-changing wardrobe. But my biggest change started after I left Toronto.

My husband and I got married so I left the city to join him in a tiny town outside of London. While I was all about embracing change, this was a tough one. I’d been building a career in fashion and suddenly, I lived somewhere with not only no fashion industry, but practically no shopping at all.  I sold houses for a few years but I missed my old life, my old job and not getting my cute heels stuck in the country mud.

Then, we had our first baby. She was bright and beautiful and we were exhausted but happy. I spent my months on mat leave debating whether I should go back to my sales job. But even though the money was good, I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it. I started to really ask myself who I wanted to be. I wanted to show this little girl that she could do anything she wanted to do. But first I had to prove it to myself.

So I started Real Life Runway. I couldn’t think of any other way of pursuing my passion without a 3 hour commute. So I wrote. Every single day. I didn’t get paid at all for the first 6 months, which was both embarrassing and terrifying. I was 30 and most of my friends were already settled comfortably into their careers while I was still trying to figure my life out. Luckily, my husband was incredibly supportive. I stayed awake so many nights feeling like a huge failure, wondering if I’d made the wrong choice and freaking because I had no idea what to do next.

Then, a mall in London hired me to write their fashion blog. Next, a lifestyle website hired me as a contributor. I started to write a weekly article for Metro. I had another baby. Two other malls asked me to write their blogs, too. Eventually, I even scored advertisers on my own blog. I finally had a career I loved - one I’d subconsciously designed for myself and one I could see myself doing for a very long time. I was finally back in fashion, able to write and be creative, and I could do almost all of it from home which gave me the freedom to be around for my kids. Things couldn’t be better.

Someone must have heard how much I like change because last year, my world flipped upside down again. My husband decided to leave his family business, so we sold our house, moved to Kitchener, and now he’s pursuing his own dreams of building a startup. Apparently this passion project is contagious.

I have no idea what the next five years will bring, but I can guarantee one thing - things are bound to change again. Imagine how dull life would be if they didn’t?

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Disclosure: This post was brought to you by TENA (SCA) via Mode Media Canada.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of TENA(SCA).

 

Monday
May042015

The Fashion Girl's Guide to Mother's Day

via The Body Shop

Originally posted in The LOOK

You really can't go wrong when it comes to Mother's Day gifts. Now that I'm a mom, I understand this all too well. My kids could give me the cheesiest, tackiest thing ever and as long as they took the time to pick it out, I'd think it was the best present anyone's ever gotten. I've never been given a handmade card, an at-home 'pedicure' or a homemade breakfast from my kids that I didn't totally love.

But let's be honest here. I'm a fashion girl. And fashion people have a tendency to dream. We dream of the gifts we'd like to receive and of course, the things we plan on buying for ourselves if nobody else does. As a fashion blogger, I come across cute things every day and they continually accumulate in my head - at a certain point it becomes too much for even the most disciplined shopper to bear. 

And so I've put some of my most-wanted finds together into this Mother's Day Gift Guide. They're things I've seen on other people's Instagram accounts, pieces I can't wait to put on, and a few things I'm hoping my husband might get me this Mother's Day since my kids are still too young to shop. If not, no big deal - I'll take my hard-earned paycheque and eventually buy a few of these gifts for myself. After all, this Mother's Day, I'm really most excited about that handmade card. 

Whether she's the sporty type or simply loves to shop, these fashionable Mother's Day gifts will help her live her life beautifully. Happy (almost) Mother's Day! Oh, and if you've ever wondered how the Royals celebrate Mom's Day, don't miss the hilarious home video below...

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