Category Archives: PERSONAL

WHAT TO DO IN DOWNTOWN BUFFALO

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Canning kids Buffalo selfie!

Happy Memorial Day to my US readers! I am happy to report I contributed to the US economy this Memorial Day weekend (aka I went shopping) via a quick road trip to Buffalo, New York.

The family and I decided somewhat impromptu to take a quick trip south. We stayed at the Embassy Suites in downtown Buffalo, which was super clean, friendly staff, with free breakfast and happy hour snacks / cocktails (cocktails are always so appreciated).

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The kids and I decided to explore downtown Buffalo on a Saturday afternoon- and architectural highlights we saw in the form of old, character filled buildings. But people- and stuff to do- we did not. I learned pretty quickly that downtown Buffalo isn’t exactly a happening place- so our little exploration afternoon consisted of riding the free trolley 3 stops south and then 3 stops north šŸ™‚

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The highlight for me was exploring the nearby Fatima shrine in Lewiston, New York. The kids had lovely time exploring the grounds, finding their patron saints, and getting the vitamin D we have waited so patiently for!!! And the grounds basically confirmed I need to have a pond in the backyard of my next house (no wait- I did not just say that! My #canningreno needs to end and then I am never moving…)

I hope my US readers are all having a wonderful long weekend! How did you soak up the sun?

HOW TO PREPARE FOR GUESTS AND WHY I AM GOING TO TREAT MYSELF LIFE A GUEST IN MY OWN HOUSE!

This weekend we had some guests over so I went through my usual get ready in a frenzy clean up routine. It felt amazing to have clean surfaces, disinfected floors, flowers on the table.

The amount of effort I went through made me realize that I wished I was a guest in my own house! Why only save all the pomp for guests? So I am going to make the goal, although somewhat ambitious with a house with 4 very small people in it, to as much as possible, feel like a guest in my own house. Here are my new found top tips for hosting guests / making yourself feel like I guest that I will carry over to my house after my #canningreno is completed, and actually stick to (I promise!)

1. CLEAN
Every day, I promise to do a 15-minute tidy. I am going to keep an attractive basket in my living room (and when I say basket I mean BIG TIME wire bin) that will be the catch all for all the toys, papers, crap that does not belong in my pretty living room- the basket will get hauled around to all the appropriate rooms where things have a place to live. Maybe if I am lucky I will make encourage my children to do their share!
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2. DISINFECT
I find cleaning such a chore (tell me I am not alone?) So it makes me so happy when I have products like my Rowenta Delta Force Extreme Lithium 18V Stick Vacuum that make cleaning easy with its cordless capability. And somehow I feel stylish doing it when it is this happy shade of teal. And I try to stay natural with the cleaning products with brands like Method or Seventh Generation. I am also going to make a schedule for cleaning and put it as an appointment in my iPhone. With a really loud obnoxious alarm!
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3. MAKE PRETTY
My #riverdalereno clients, without fail, have had fresh flowers in their home every time I have gone over since they moved in. I don’t care how much this costs, even if it’s $10 tulips at the grocery store- they just feel special. Maybe I will even take up floral arranging classes?!?!?!
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4. MAKE SPECIAL
I want to eat with cloth napkins, not paper towel ripped up haphazard. I would love to drink out of beautiful mugs or tea cups and actually try to enjoy my cuppa rather than leave it to get cold on a shelf. The same way the guests get the gorgeous plates- let’s make everyday gorgeous plate day.
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How do you make your guests feel special? And what do you do to feel special too?

LONG WEEKEND FASHION FIX

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Hat & pants: Gap. Jacket: Bluenotes. Scarf: Ardene(!) Bracelet: Niki and Lola. Shoes: Michael Kors. Purse: Indigo.

It’s the long weekend in Canada and I spent the majority of it relaxing with my family- tomorrow I will squeeze in some work but for today it’s still the weekend! Woooooo hoo!

I have wanted a big floppy hat like this one forever. I love how it screams summer and hats are just so much fun. And can we talk about this bracelet? It is a piece of art, and handcrafted by a talented husband and wife team from right here in Toronto. And these pants! I couldn’t resist the whimsy and energy printed pants bring to any outfit (or room, for that matter).

How are you spending this long weekend? I hope whatever you are doing it is fabulous.

MOTHERHOOD AND FINANCES

Fun surprise on this sunny Saturday- I was recently interviewed by the lovely Melissa Leong of the National Post on the topic of motherhood and how it impacts finances. I may be somewhat biased but I think my kids are pretty darn sweet in it.

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As I say in the video, as an entrepreneur if you don’t work, you don’t get paid. So I have had to be pretty strategic in arranging maternity leaves for myself and planning for the future.

A big reason why I went into business for myself is because I wanted to be able to work around my kids- and build a career on my own timing. While it requires a heck load of strategy, it is so worth the freedom I feel. For insight on how being a mom has impacted our money, watch the video here!

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#CANNINGRENO BEFORE

Howdy! I regret it has been a while- boy have we been busy. Big client project underway, a bit of behind the scenes design TV work for a popular pair of twin TV hosts that are back in Toronto, and the regular hilarity of a family of 6 living in rental across from a major renovation. Watching it like hawks through my front window.

Speaking of my renovation, I thought I would share a bit of the before plans of my #canningreno:
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Want to see the proposed plans? Here you go:
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Main floor- hello to new kitchen, a fireplace, a more open concept style of living. We’re adding an actual closet to our bedroom (our previous one was a big opening with no doors, so sad), sliding barn doors to our bathroom (to take advantage of the hallway to make it feel bigger!) and just loads and loads of functional, small space strategies.

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The basement is becoming one big urban living space. A small kitchenette, lots of play space, a table that will convert to accommodate large parties, a 2 way fireplace into an office (so excited for that!!!) and a furnace room that makes so much more sense.

I promise I will post proper before images so you can see what my house looked like in all it’s ugly glory. But the floor plans give you a sense of how poorly laid out my house was for a family our size.

Thanks for following along this #canningreno adventure. I am so thankful for all of you who read and are joining me in this crazy exciting time for my family šŸ˜‰

Happy happy Friday!

WAYSPA SPA WEEK

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Sometimes us working moms need a little treat to recharge (remember my post on saying no more?) and recharge I did at Caesar Spa in Richmond Hill as part of WaySpa’s bi-annual spa week (thanks to the kind team at WaySpa for inviting me!) I enjoyed a revitalizing salt scrub- which, to be honest, I had no idea what would entail (except for the obvious inclusion of salt). But oh my was it relaxing. What was enjoyable about it was that it wasn’t intense like a deep tissue massage (which for me often hurts, although the pain is obviously for good) but more of a light massage with exfoliation through the salt scrub. I left feeling refreshed and peaceful with super soft skin.

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I chose to go uptown as it was easy parking, closer to home and to be honest, I just don’t have the kind of time to devote a full day or half day to spa time. I was in and out, with a bit of time dedicated to enjoying a cup of tea and aimlessly reading a magazine, in an hour and 20 minutes- and for me that was the perfect amount of time to decompress.

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From a design point of view this particular spa is lovely in the public areas but needs a little bit of love in other areas (really really small change rooms, a few somewhat dated / not exciting decor choices). Staff were friendly and the treatment was delightful.

The deal WaySpa is offering is pretty awesome- until April 27 you pay $50 for select services that are typically valued at MUCH more (some packages I looked at were a savings of $250). And there are some pretty swank locations on the list of Toronto spas- the Trump and the Holt Renfrew spas included on the select list. If I had more time I probably would check out both! It’s a delightful price for the value- and investing in some me time is always a good one.

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Check out the full list of spas in your province here. Happy decompressing!

Images courtesy of WaySpa.com

LISA’s LAST MINUTE MISSION CAKE FOR LAST MINUTE MOMS

He is Risen! Happy Easter. After a long Lent and the longest Winter ever so happy to have this gorgeous day to celebrate Easter. We are off to celebrate with my husband’s extended family. Since our family is so large (like 14 grand kids, 12 grown ups big) we celebrate birthdays in a seasonal fashion- so today my 2 boys are included in this.

But in true Lisa Canning fashion, I left figuring out a cake for them to the ultimate last minute. And on our way home from an 8pm Easter Vigil mass thought it would be no problem to find something open.

And of course, everything in our hood was closed. Although the Shoppers was open, there’s a by-law that only allows a certain square footage of the store to be open- and of course any cake mix or food related products were all closed off. And on top of everything, the fridge at our rental broke over the weekend- so I have no milk, eggs, basically anything I would make a cake with. So this morning, I tried to do what Martha would do (scratch that- Martha would have already had a perfectly frosted cake ready!!!! Bah!) and I raided my pantry for the makings of a birthday cake.

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A half a box of graham cracker crust, chocolate chips and marshmallows awaited. I really am not a baker but I do remember marshmallows melted on anything always tasted good as a kid. I did a quick google search of the following “chocolate chip marshmallow cake” (LOL) and yielded all kinds of square type yummy recipes. I lined the base of the baking dish with graham crackers and meted butter (in the freezer, thank goodness!) and threw everything else in, layering the chocolate and the marshmallows.

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I also remember rice crispy squares tasting amazing as a kid so those got chopped up and thrown into the mix as well.
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In the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees and…

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TA DA! I call it Lisa’s Last Minute Mission Cake for Last Minute Moms. When it came out of the oven I took a spatula to the top and kind of spread the melted chocolate- and of course sampled a sliver. Tastes as you would expect- chocolate sweet, marshmallow gooey, graham cracker / rice crispy crunchy. Yum.

Happy Easter! I hope you are all enjoying sweets of some kind today (whether they be last minute prepared or not)!

Xoxo Lisa

WEEKEND DENIM

Happy Monday- I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend. I spent mine somewhat warp speed- which is why I am carrying the spirit of the weekend forward today with a little fashion post that is very weekend relaxed.

Lisa Canning Interiors designs Knot PR. 04.05.2014 (Katherine Holland) Lisa Canning Interiors designs Knot PR. 04.05.2014 (Katherine Holland)
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Lisa Canning Interiors designs Knot PR. 04.05.2014 (Katherine Holland)

A well fit denim jacket never goes out of style. With a glossy red lip (and red sunglasses to match) I’m still so much in relaxed weekend mode in this outfit. Jacket, shirt, cropped pants: Bluenotes. Shoes: Zara. Sunglasses: Karir Eyewear. Photo by Katherine Holland.

FAMILY TIME FUN

I hope everyone has had a great week and a lovely March break for all you families out there.

Sorry for the radio silence- it’s been a flurry of activity at Casa Canning as we are preparing for a major renovation- which, not going to lie, has not been the easiest thing to do with multiple projects on the go… And multiple babies in tow. If anyone wants to send me a new case of wine to review I would be happy to accept. LOL.

So today I bring to you the babies- who bring me lots of joy in all this chaos. Happy Thursday!

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VISIONS OF SPRING WITH JAMIE LEE REARDIN’S HOME TOUR

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A girlfriend of mine from university, Jamie Lee Reardin, recently shared some pretty fantastic news involving her and the house of Dior. She has been invited to be their artist in residence working with the brand on all kinds of incredible projects. Read more about her fantastic new partnershipĀ hereĀ at Style.com.

Her recent news made me recall fondly a feature we did on her Hermosa Beach, California homeĀ last year. Here it is again in all its springy-summery goodness:

My beachside studio is in Hermosa Beach, CA. While my basic furniture was purchased from stores like Target and HomeGoods, it is my collection of books, magazines, and kooky knick knacks that truly reflect my personality.

I do my best to decorate my space with anything that inspires me, relying on bright colors, floral prints, and fresh flower arrangements to create an enchanting place where my imagination can roam wildly.

My oversized vision board is somewhat of a centerpiece in my studio. A place to pin down my inspiration and and bring me back to where my illustration style stemmed.20130124-201400.jpg20130124-201413.jpg20130124-201424.jpg20130124-201433.jpg

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Connect with my beautiful friend Jamie on twitter and Instagram @jamieleereardin. All images courtesy Jamie Lee Reardin