Until next week.

Hey Guys & Gals!

So it's going to be a bit quiet around here for the next few days...I'm shooting my first wedding (a destination one no less!) this Saturday and will be taking the rest of this week to really get ready for it. A bit nervous but also excited and anxious :) Plus, I've recently parlayed a two day temp job into a six week freelance contract (woot-woot!)...so I'll be working too. And, of course, I need to get in some quality Howard time :) [picture below] before I leave on Thursday. Think I can add some thrifting in there too?!? Nah...that might be pushing it.

But not to fear! Here are some links that will hopefully keep you busy until I'm back:

*Have you been following Apartment Therapy's Small Cool Contest? There are some GREAT small spaces entered this year. Here's some of my faves:

*Love travel? The Global Trip is is my all-time favourite travel blog. I found it a few years ago when the blog author, Erik, was on his 16 month (or until money runs out, whichever comes first) 'round the world trek - so I was following it in real time. I was immediately taken with his style of writing - so authentic...and funny.

During that year long trip he traveled through several countries (throughout South America, Africa, Asia, and also to Russia and several countries in Europe....) and blogged EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. WITH. PICTURES. The good, the bad, the ugly, everything! Now THAT takes dedication. I must admit, he inspired part of the travel bug in me. Since then Erik hasn't done anything as long as the year long trip but every year he does a couple of trips which he blogs and I was thrilled to receive notification via twitter last week that he is at it again. Read just one entry. Trust me, you'll be hooked. If nothing else, you MUST watch this video that Erik created. If it doesn't make you want to hit the road then I don't know what will.

*In case you missed it, the new issue of Lonny Magazine is now available online.

Seriously, it just gets better with each issue.

*So apparently Moroccan Oil is all the rage. Several bloggers have mentioned it on their blogs and it was mentioned on The View last week as part of the InStyle Best Beauty Buy's segment. About 3 weeks ago I bought Argan Oil, which as far as I've read is the same thing but I got it cheaper at the Beauty Supply Store...

....and I must say, I am IN LOVE with the smell. It smells sooooo good. The verdict's still out whether or not it's controls frizz because - I don't know that I have frizzy hair. I mean, I have natural hair so it's kinda frizzy anyways...but I can say that it's nice and light - when I apply it to my hair it doesn't feel weighted down. And the smell? Soooooooo good. Oh yeah, already said that....

* And kinda random, but I really hope all the necessary parties involved get their stuff together and make a 4th Bourne Movie. The books are there to continue the series so they just have adapt it. I'm a big fan of the series and wouldn't mind a good spy thriller right about now.

* Oh, and continuing with my random-ness - if any of you is html/web design savvy and knows how to make a horizontal picture slide show (so instead of scrolling up and down to move the page top to bottom the scroll bar is placed horizontally on the page and you move scroll bar left to right to move the page...left to right...) please drop me a line!

Okay folks - that's it for now. Enjoy the links and I'll be back with new posts next week.

Wish me luck!

Howard spent Friday at the dog spaw and in addition to a nice therapeutic massage, mani/pedi and 
exfoliating shampoo - he also got a nice haircut (hence his freshly coiffed 'fro) for the Spring.
Here's he's thoroughly relaxed, hind leg raised in typical Howard fashion waiting for a tummy rub...


Information Overload

Many of you know that I'm into photography and, occasionally, photograph other people (couples). Well, this past weekend I had the opportunity to do a one-on-one mentor session with one of my favourite wedding photographers (based in Toronto) Claudia Hung. Claudia was recently named one of Canada's Top 25 Most Inspiring Wedding Photographers and just a few weeks ago also won PDN magazines (basically the gold standard magazine for photographers) Top Knots Best Wedding Portrait. Umm hello? She's amazing at what she does!

This was my first mentor session (I've never done a workshop either) so I was very excited. The entire day was so awesome and two days later my mind is still on photography overload. I learned so much and was so inspired. I can't wait to pick up my camera and start experimenting, making mistakes, and putting some of what I learned into practice.

I also had the opportunity to tag along with Claudia as she shot an engagement session. For the first time ever I forgot the battery for my camera (of all days right! what good is my camera with NO BATTERY! omg - I felt like a moron) but that's okay - it wasn't about me shooting, it was about learning and being inspired - which I definitely was. It was awesome to see how she actually works and afterwards we went back to her place where we went over programs, workflow, post processing - it was awesome.

I can't say enough good things about Claudia. For someone so accomplished in her field she is so down to earth and didn't make me feel stupid at any of the questions I asked. Quite the opposite! She said my work was really good & that she thought she wouldn't have anything to teach me! I was blown away lol because I feel I have so much to learn.

Claudia's already blogged the engagement session that I tagged along to watch her shoot - so definitely check out the images on her blog.

Now time to go jot down some photography related things that are swirling around in my head.


Not Just Furniture

I don't just find furniture at my favourite thrift stores...and I wanted to share some of my other regular finds with you all.

Honestly, I'm super picky with things I buy at thrift stores. I don't mind a nick or two on large pieces (like my recent credenza find or my dining table) but with things I have to touch...those need to be on point. No tears, stains, or (shudder) odours. Basically it has to look brand spanking new. As someone still getting used to shopping at thrift stores I haven't yet braved the inner aisles (the ones with clothes) and don't know that I will any time soon (though I really need to get over my stigma of it because I see other bloggers with AMAZING finds) but when making my rounds in addition to stopping in the furniture aisle I do stop in the handbag aisle, small home accessories and books. I ONLY buy books that appear to be in brand new condition and have added quite a few reads to my shelves lately....none costing me more than $3.99 (for hardcover).

But I wanted to share some of my recent handbag finds with you all. I don't have much luck with big bags (I love a big bag!) but small purses and clutches....lotsa luck there!

$2.99 - It's not a print! It's actually...rattan (?) So cool for the coming warm months.
It has a long braided leather strap but I plan on carrying it like a clutch.

$1.99 - You know how much I love gold! It's textured and has a reptile-ish print. Very flat & thin.
Perfect for a night out!

$4.99 (most expensive one to date!) I photographed turquoise-y but it's actually gray (with a bit of blue...). 
Long strap to go cross the body. It's actually this one from the Gryson for Target line.
Perfect for the spring/summer when I'm just carrying the basics.

I also get a lot of my picture frames from thrift stores...

As much as I love Ikea for certain things these price tags can't be beat and they are great quality. I just bought the large one (actually got two of 'em) this week & the smaller one last week. And if you see a great frame with an ugly picture - buy it and when you get home take the picture out! If you're planning a gallery wall this would be a super affordable way to get a bunch of frames all at once. If you want them to be the same colour - just spray 'em.

So - that's it. Just wanted to let you all know that even if you're not in the market for furniture you can find some great smaller items while thrifting. Now go forth! Lol.


197 & some randomness

Note: I'm quite excited to almost have 200 blog followers! I know to some of you who have several hundred (or even thousand) 200 is not that big of a deal but to me - it's amazing. I never expected to even have 5 followers when I started blogging so to have 197 is quite cool I think. I'm hoping to hit 200 today? So...if you read my blog & enjoy it...why not follow! Or you know...over on your blog you can mention what a cool little blog you found.....*shameless plug lol* I think I'll have a contest once I pass the 200 mark :) .......

Now a bit of randomness. I have a thing for these kind of q&a posts :) and posted this one over on my other blog a couple of days ago...

1. If you could travel back in time, would you? What decade would you visit?

Definitely. Most likely the late 1950s or 1960s. (The opportunity to hear Malcolm X or Martin Luther King speak....The civil rights movement. To hear Billie Holiday or other jazz greats perform live. To see actresses & actors like Dorothy Dandridge & Sidney Poitier take Hollywood by storm. Stepping out in Harlem. The beginning of Motown. The fashion...) 

2. What was your best Halloween costume? (fun to make? most creative?)

Oh gosh. Does it suck that I can't really remember ever wearing a unique costume? Hm. Well, last year I painted my younger brother's face like a vampire. That was pretty awesome.

3. Do you like your name? If you weren't called by your name, what would you want to be called?

I've grown to like it...though it is a VERY common black girl name - at least to me (note my actual name is not Kay, that's what I blog under). LOL. I mean, every black comedian that does a joke and lists girls names - always includes it. And in hip hop/r&b songs when they list girls names - it's always included. Remember this song? Yup. But I do like more unique uncommon names. If & when I have children they will not have 'traditional' names at all.

4. In the past year, what is the BEST recipe you made. Please share it!

Oy...curry chicken and mashed potatoes? I'm too lazy to type out the recipe but if anyone is interested - I'll do it....No no no no no...make that roast chicken a la Jamie Oliver. I finally found a roast chicken recipe that rocks. Definitely my go to. I've made it 3 or 4 times SINCE the first time I made it for Thanksgiving.

5. Look around - what is the nearest object or picture hanging on the wall?

My big DIY canvas that I made to mimic Molly Sims' artwork.

6. What was the last movie you saw in the theater? Would you recommend it?

Ugh - it was last weekend. I saw 'Why Did I Get Married Too.' It was NOT my choice. It was my sisters choice. I would not recommend it. But if it's worth anything the weekend before that I, finally, saw 'Avatar' and THAT I would DEFINITELY recommend!

7. Did you go to summer camp? Will you/do you send your kids to camp?

I didn't but if my future children are interested in going - sure, I think I'd let them go.

8. What kind of ringtone do you have?

The one that sounds like an old phone. But it's funny...lately I have been thinking about changing the ring because EVERYONE has the old phone ring & it can get a bit confusing when I'm out lol.

9. Where is the farthest away from home you have ever been?

Egypt. (So roughly 5,735 miles or 9,230 km)

10. Has anyone ever written a song or a poem for or about you?

No :( But I have had love declared, by two different people, via written letter and email...does that count? Lol.

*10 Questions seen & borrowed from here
** Looking for an appropriate image for this post...because, you know, I like posts with pictures.

My New Rug!



If you've been a long time read of my blog you know that I've wanted this rug forEVER. Well, since it came out last summer. My bestie did a quickie visit from NJ this weekend and bought it & brought it for me since it is $100 cheaper in the US than Canada.

I LOVE it.....and now need to change the accent pillows and, eventually, the club chair. The space feels so much fresher & even more brighter now. Just a few more items (console table and two dining chairs)and I think my space will be "complete"...

Oh yeah, there's still the bedroom......

(the coffee table looks kinda small in the after doesn't it? funny cause the new rug isn't that much larger...oh well!)


Getting Things Done

I've gotten some things crossed off of my list:

- Put out one or two more *ahem* "flower" arrangements. Done!

Excuse the blankets on the couch...my brother slept over...

- Put the bag with 'randoms' that's been leaning against the wall into my storage locker. Done!

- Finally frame & hang (as part of my gallery wall) my Ansel Adams print. Done!

- Buy new teak credenza from thrift store. Done!

Okay, that last one actually wasn't on my original list but you can't pass up a teak (I think) credenza for $29.99, can you? And I swear...it's been on my list of things to find while thrifting forEVER (to use in my eating area) - and now I have one :) I spotted it at the same store I found this mirror and immediately called my friend to see if I could borrow her SUV so I could get it home. Then I piled it up with junk, put a bunch of stuff in front of it and prayed no one else would spot it before I could get back there in a couple of hours. And no one did. Here's a little peak...

I normally hate peaks but I want to 'style' it a bit and give it a post of it's own so I'll blog it next week. Yay for getting things done!


A List of Sorts

Things I want to get done around the apartment this week:

- Put out one or two more *ahem* "flower" arrangements out
- Print out & frame a few of my photographs
- FINALLY frame & hang (as part of my gallery wall) the Ansel Adams print I've had for THREE years!
- Windex the windows
- Buy a laundry basket
- Finally finish my canvas artwork
- Put the bag with 'randoms' that's been leaning against the wall for....oh at least 5 months, into my storage locker
- Organize/clean my desk drawers....okay, maybe this one will wait a while.....

What, if anything, do you want to get done around YOUR home this week?

*image from new issue of lonny magazine - online now!


FINALLY found a good one!

While thrifting I have somewhat been keeping my eyes peeled for a knit zig-zag throw (or afghan...whatever you call it) but finding a good one, to my liking, is tough. They're usually way too colourful for my liking or the pattern isn't right. I mean, a monochromatic knit zig-zag patterned throw is quite specific - so I knew my chances were slim...but not impossible. Look what I found yesterday:

A black & light gray, zig-zag patterned, knit throw. No flaws. I almost squealed I was so happy! I had to tell not one but THREE people it was taken as I saw them eyeing it while I looked at other things. It will look SO perfect on the foot of my bed & the colours fit perfectly with the direction I'm going in my bedroom (which is light gray & creamy white with accents of gold/brass, black & hot pink...basically the same palette as the rest of my apartment subtract mustard yellow).

Cost? $7.99


Have a great weekend! With the exceptional luck I've been having lately - I think I may be hitting up a few more thrift stores!

(by the way, thank you for all of the suggestions on my last post - keep 'em coming!)


I Miss Being a Bookworm

Up until the end of 2008 I could (and would) proudly call myself a bookworm. I was a voracious reader and read, at the very least, 2 books a month (and that's being conservative - it was usually much higher). But then in 2009...my reading of books slowed down. Who am I kidding - it all but stopped. Sure I was reading decor mags and blogs but I wasn't reading any books. And I LOVE reading. All types of books.

just a small small sampling of some of my books

I kinda blame blogging and the 'net for my lack of reading actual novels (time I'd usually spend reading - I now spend reading other blogs!)...but even more so I attribute my lack of reading to the fact that I was laid off. I did a LOT of my reading during my 2.5 hour (round trip) daily commute. And on my lunch break. And when I was laid off I no longer had this 'built-in' reading time. Sure, you'd think I have more free time to read but now a lot of my free time is spent looking for work, or doing contract gigs (working from home). And sometimes when I do have the time to read...I just can't focus.

But I miss reading. Yes, miss it. I crave a good book. The feeling of being absolutely absorbed into a book....there's nothing quite like finishing a good book, is there? Reading, literally, has the ability to transport you (me) to a different time. Or place. Or just put you in a different mind set. To make you laugh. To reflect. To see things in a new light. To discover (re-discover) something new. To make you think of doing things or going places you'd never thought of before....

Have I mentioned how much I love books?

So I've made the decision it's time for me to get back into the habit of reading. I miss the bookstore. Yes, the bookstore. I miss wandering the aisles and getting lost in books - dipping into and out of various books that catch my eye and walking out with 2 or 3 books to add to my nightstand.

I purchased this book months ago and just couldn't focus to really get into it...so I'm going to restart it.

And I've decided, and this will be hard, that weekends & at least 1 day a week will be internet free days for me. Yes, too much of a good thing can be...well, not so good.

So, with this in mind - I'd love to get a little list going of books to read. I also plan on heading to the bookstore this weekend and getting properly stocked up....I'd love to get YOUR opinion:
If you could recommend one book for me to read - what would it be? It could be from ANY genre...fiction, mystery, non-fiction, biography, chick lit, travel, romance, etc.....what would you suggest as a 'MUST' read (or simply a GOOD read) and (without giving the plot away) why? (Only thing - no self help books! I've actually read a few of these during the past year lol).
Perhaps there'll be a book that is frequently recommended? Regardless, I promise to check all of them out on amazon and pick a handful out this weekend to get me started on my quest to becoming a bookworm again.


Amaaaazing Thrift Finds

I should title this post "amazing thrift finds that were so ridiculously well priced it would be a shame to pass up but I don't have space or was too late and someone beat me to it..."

But, you know, that'd be too long for a blog title...

Thought it would be very accurate.

Last week I hit up two thrift shops. One I've only been to once before but I think I will definitely return (it's where I scored this mirror).

I spotted this leather (faux?) ottoman:

Fabulous! Especially for $9.99! I immediately thought of recovering it - and racked my brain trying to think of where it could go in my apartment. But alas there just wasn't a spot for it. Darn it.

Then I spotted this beauty in the 'sold' section (the table in the background):

it was in a separate section room that you couldn't go into...

I've seen these gilt wheat tables used before and know that they usually cost a pretty penny:

So I asked the sales clerk if by "sold" it meant paid for...or "sold" as in on hold. Because if it was on hold I was not leaving there without it! Lol. Sadly, it had been paid for :( When I got home I decided to do some research. 1st Dibs has one on sale for $900 reduced from $1800. Thrift price? $59.99 Now I'm not sure if this one is an authentic vintage or a knock off but none-the-less, it was fantastic. So sad about this loss!

And lastly, I went to my regular thrift shop and spotted this loooooooong velvet tufted beauty:

Normally I'm not generally a fan of tufts (and certainly not this many tufts) and this isn't really my style - but there was something about this sofa that just did it for me. I loved it. Sadly, I don't have room for a second sofa and it's too big for my storage space. The cost? $39. I almost cried. Almost. I even thought of buying it and posting it for sale here on the blog! That's how badly I wanted it to go to a good home! But I wouldn't even know how to ship something like that. :(

What's a girl to do when she spots such great things but simply has no room?!? Come to think of it - I should have bought that ottoman and put it away in my storage space.....

Any great thrift finds lately? Or almost thrift finds?


Small AND Cool

It's April which means not only is it Spring...but it's also Apartment Therapy's Annual Small Cool Contest. Real homes decorated by people on (mostly) real budgets. I love Apartment Therapy and the Annual Small Cool Contest is perhaps my favourite thing about Apartment Therapy. It combines all the things about AT that I love - house tours of REAL people, giving tips/solutions that I can use. The best part? It's (relatively) small spaces - with no home over 1000 square feet. AND not only are their house tours of home owners but also of renters too! I'm telling you - it's a great resource for ideas...I've bookmarked several house tours over the years....

One of my favourite (and fellow Torontonian) bloggers Jason of These Roving Eyes downsized into a 613 sq ft condo last year and let me tell you - his place is ammmmmmazing. So chic. Masculine but not too much. And so pulled together. Really you've just got to see it:

And he's entered the contest! So, I'd love it if you all could head over to Apartment Therapy and give him a vote via a 'thumbs up.' I'd love to see him win! Oh, and definitely check out his blog. He blogs about a bunch of stuff and the images are always totally drool worthy :)

Heading over to AT now to enter my vote!


I Love Cocoa

I love hot chocolate (with marshmallows!) and this hot cocoa mug (available from white forest pottery) has got to be the most gorgeous mug I've ever seen. Who woulda thought I'd be lusting after a mug!

Check out the site for more really gorgeous items.