Category: Books

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She: Muses, Visionaries and Madcap Heroines by Kate Spade New York

Abrams Books sent me a copy of She in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and from the heart. 

I keep thinking about a blog post I read about Kate Spade shortly after she died. “It is important to not only celebrate her life,” wrote Kate Arends, “but to try and understand her death in a way that changes the dialogue around what it means to create a persona and be a person.” The stark contrast between Spade’s public persona and private pain does not make her brand any less authentic, Arends says. “I can only assume that so much of the Kate Spade brand … came from a deep understanding of what it means to be human,” Arends says. “The highs, the lows, the beauty, the darkness.” It’s a great post and I could quote it all day (you should read it) but what I’m getting to here are two things: 1) that Kate Spade herself belongs in the pages of the brand’s fourth book, She: Muses, Visionaries and Madcap Heroines; and 2) that the women celebrated in the book — even those larger than life — each experience (or experienced) struggles that informed who they are: whole, fallible, three-dimensional people who can inspire us by their words and actions, regardless of how much of their inner lives they choose to let us see. 

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What’s Gaby Cooking: Everyday California Food + Heirloom Cherry Tomato Tart + Win a copy!

Abrams Books sent me a copy of What’s Gaby Cooking: Everyday California Food in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and from the heart. 

Ottawa summers are like Zac Ephron: short and hot. California hot. Too hot to think about what to have for dinner, but too short not to make the most of all of the fresh fruits and veggies in season. Luckily people like Gaby Dalkin have done the thinking for us. The LA recipe blogger from What’s Gaby Cooking just released a cookbook with the same name, and it’s full of everyday dishes designed to be made and enjoyed in an easy, carefree, Cali state of mind. The 125+ recipes use fresh seasonal produce and readily available pantry staples for dishes for any occasion, from a day at the beach or a picnic at the park, to a Mexi-Cali fiesta and outdoor pizza party. Nourishing smoothies and salads and veg-and-grain-packed bowls are balanced with indulgent treats like Strawberry Shortcakes, Gooey Chocolate Chip Cookie Squares (sooooo deelish!) and a Summer Fruit Galette. Here’s a look inside the book and a recipe to try (we did!), the Heirloom Cherry Tomato Tart. 

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What’s Inside July’s Sweet Reads Box

I received July’s Sweet Reads Box free of charge to review. All opinions are my own and from the heart. 

What kind of books do you like for summer? A light romance? A mystery that keeps you guessing? An epic historical drama spanning four generations? Or do you like to read the same kinds of stories year-round? July’s Sweet Reads Box features a bestselling family saga told in more than 500 pages and some treats tied to the story to enjoy while you’re reading. 

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Nathan Turner’s I Love California: Live, Eat, and Entertain the West Coast Way + Fish Tacos + Win a copy!

Abrams Books sent me a copy of Nathan Turner’s I Love California: Live, Eat, and Entertain the West Coast Way in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and from the heart. 

Although Nathan Turner didn’t get as much air time as the other stars of Million Dollar Decorators (probably because he stayed pretty clear of the drama), I always wished we’d seen more of his California Casual style. “To me, it means a laid-back room, a friendly host, and a beautiful table with simple recipes and fresh ingredients,” the decorator/author/entertainer and California native says in the introduction to his new book (and my wish come true), Nathan Turner’s I Love California: Live, Eat and Entertain the West Coast Way

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What’s inside June’s Sweet Reads Box

I received the June Sweet Reads Box free of charge for review purposes. All opinions are my own and from the heart. 

Summer is the season for adventure and June’s Sweet Reads Box celebrates that with a story revolving around one fateful camping trip and a selection of outdoorsy goodies that us indoor cats can still enjoy without putting a foot outside. If you’re new to Sweet Reads Box, it’s a Canadian book subscription box service that comes with a contemporary novel and five or six treats related to the story. I’ve been reviewing them here since they first launched last fall and this month’s box is one of my faves. (And not just because of the cute mug, but that definitely tipped the scale.) 

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Tour my new home-away-from-home: Indigo Innes + A giveaway!

I partnered with Indigo for this sponsored post. All opinions are my own and from the heart.

“It’s not all sunshine and rainbows but a good amount of it actually is.” — Adam J. Kurtz

I think I could move into an Indigo tomorrow and be quite happy. Thousands of books to read, dozens of cozy pillows and throws to curl up with, and so many mugs for tea that I’d never have to wash a dish. I could roll out a yoga mat in front of the store’s soaring windows (not that I do yoga but you know, I love all the cute gear), track my steps from one department to another on my Fitbit, and get my eight glasses a day refilling my S’well and bkr water bottles (because naturally they have all those too). So when Indigo invited me to preview their newest location, I packed a bag. I was out to the store last Friday for a tour and back the next morning for the ribbon cutting that kicked off the grand opening. (Me and more than 400 others who lined up to be the first through those beautiful indigo blue doors.) Here’s a look inside the 20,000+ square foot location at 2025 Mer-Bleue Road in Orleans. And trust me when I say it’s even better in person. 

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50 Ways To Draw Your Beautiful, Ordinary Life: Practical Lessons In Pencil And Paper + Win a copy!

Thomas Allen & Son sent me a copy of 50 Ways to Draw Your Beautiful, Ordinary Life: Practical Lessons in Pencil and Paper in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and from the heart. 

“I sometimes think there is nothing so delightful as drawing.” — Vincent Van Gogh

When I was in high school I did a three-month student exchange in Quebec and took an art class heavy on illustration. One of our assignments was to draw our reflection in an everyday object, and I remember sitting at my host family’s kitchen table one day after school, totally engrossed in my homework as I tried to sketch my face mirrored in a chrome kettle. Until the smell of smoke broke my concentration. I looked up from my sketchpad and saw the croissant I’d forgotten in the toaster oven engulfed in flames and black smoke curling up the cupboard. (Merde!) A glass of water put the fire out (and shattered the door of the toaster oven), but I’ve never forgiven myself. I was so in the flow that I nearly burned the house down! Which is why I think maybe today’s book should come with a warning. Because it’s easy to lose track of time (and everything else) when you sit down with 50 Ways to Draw Your Beautiful, Ordinary Life: Practical Lessons in Pencil and Paper

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Hello Color: 25 Bright Ideas for DIY Decor by Rachel Mae Smith

Penguin Random House Canada sent me Hello Color in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and from the heart. 

Sometimes a book falls into your lap just when you need it and that was exactly the case with the with the one I’m talking about today. With the end of the school year not far off and the kids soon home for the summer, I’ve been stressing about finding things for us to do. Enter Hello Color: 25 Bright Ideas for DIY Decor by Rachel Mae Smith. While it’s not a kids’ book per se, it’s filled with all kinds of fun and inexpensive projects my 9- and 11-year-old would love to do with me, and even a few they could do on their own. (And not junky things either — I mean things we could actually use that would add a bit of cheer and crafts we could personalize for a thoughtful gift.) And for anyone looking how to incorporate colour into their home, there’s a colour theory 101, tips on how to create a colour scheme, and how-to’s for colourful conversation pieces for every room. Learn how to set a charming table, how to style a beautiful bookcase, how to stock a bar cart and how to photograph your projects so they’ll shine. And even if you never get around to making anything, there are pretty prints to tear out and frame that’ll add a bright pop of colour to any space. I picked three of my favourite projects in the book to show you here. 

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What’s inside May’s Sweet Reads Box

I received May’s Sweet Reads Box for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and from the heart. 

I’ve been reading a book about anti-gravity — I just can’t put it down! Ha ha ha. Okay so I haven’t been reading about anti-gravity, but I have been enjoying the first bit of this month’s Sweet Reads Box selection and some of the clever tie-ins that came with it. (If you’re new to Sweet Reads Box, it’s a Canadian book subscription box service that comes with a contemporary novel and five or six treats related to the story.) Let me show you what’s inside the May box. I’m curious to hear what you think!