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

WHEN NO MEANS YES

Sometimes in design you have to say no- a no to a custom sofa might mean more money for a high end rug. Or no to one colour changes the mood of an entire space. No- it can be a very good word (especially where boob lights are concerned).

No is a word I have a very hard time using. The last few weeks for some reason have been full of really awesome invitations and a very tempting out of town press trip (very tempting)! But filling a calendar to the brim does not make for a happy balanced life.

I’m absolutely in search of more balance- and excited to be dedicating some time to this pursuit over on the Blog Podium blog. The lovely and talented Jennifer Flores has been kind enough to invite me to blog on this topic as we build up towards Blog Podium 2014 in September. I’ll be exploring strategies for how to fit in blogging and social media in a jam packed life, and illustrating how a no can in many circumstances mean yes.

While on the topic of yes- a very quick update on my #canningreno. I cried today (again!) but this time joyful tears as the structural stuff is starting to happen and it is AWESOME. If I squint I can see what it will look like in the end- and it is good.

What are you saying no or yes to this week? I hope it’s off to a great start.

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

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There’s been some discussion in recent weeks on the topic of blogging, and its future- how it has been changing and evolving. Lindsay wrote a lovely post here, as did Jennifer here.

I started blogging on my old blog when I was on TV as the designer on Marriage Under Construction, and here on an even older blog. I started it because I wanted to direct people somewhere to learn more about me. I shared the DIY projects we did, I shared some behind the scenes TV stuff, and quickly it became more of an online journal. When we had our first son, my husband took 4 months parental leave and during that time I blogged almost daily! A considerable accomplishment as today I find blogging consistently my biggest challenge- but it came so naturally then.

I never cared about page views, subscribers, or any other stats. I just cared about writing, recording, sharing and connecting.

As my business grew I blogged less. It became less personal, and more maintenance. It became a thing I had to do instead of something I loved. Truthfully, time just didn’t allow me to focus on the blog as I did before when I had less clients and only one baby.

But when I look back on those blogs, I love how personal they were. I loved writing them. They told the story of my life. I was more honest. And I really want to get back to that place of sharing stories, being more authentic, being more myself! For no conscious reason was I less honest on this blog- but for some reason I have been.

So here’s my promise- to be more myself on this little corner of the internet. When I talk about brands it is because I love them and they are products with my personal stamp of approval, that bring me joy and I think might bring you joy too. When I talk about my #canningreno it will likely to be to vent, but also to enlighten and educate about the process of interior design and renovation. And when I talk about my personal life it will be to connect, to tell stories and be open.

I’ll be a launching a new lisacanning.ca I am hoping by June as the platform to share these stories (and with some fun new things I have been cooking up- so excited to share!) and I hope you’ll continue to read and enjoy as much as I am going to enjoy writing. I am so excited to share my stories. I’ll be blogging here until my new site launches :)

A happy Saturday and blessed Easter to everyone celebrating!

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.

#CANNINGRENO WEEK 2 and more birthday love

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Thankfully this week I am not ugly crying- I am actually feeling fairly optimistic about my renovation today. Perhaps it’s the spring that has finally descended upon Toronto, or the fact that my contractor may have found a few ways to save some money (holler!!!) but today I reminded myself why I am embarking on this crazy reno in the first place.

When we moved into our house in 2009 (while mega pregnant with our first child) we knew the house would need work. Like tons of work. But as a young couple, with a new baby on the way, and school debt and other realities of life we knew it would be a VERY long time before renovations were at all a reality. And then of course we had 4 kids in 5 years and that is not hectic at all.

And now we are here- actually doing it. Creating a home for my family to grow up in and make memories. And it feels good. I’m doing it for them.

Speaking of them, we celebrate another birthday this week:

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This little man is 2 and I love the little person he is growing up to be.

KNOT PR OFFICE: ESPLANADE EDITION

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There are aspects of my work that truly feel like magic- it may sound like hyperbole but I assure you- that is what it feels like. The exercise of taking a collection of objects, arranging them in a pleasing manner, to create a tiny piece of harmony that looks inspiring and evokes emotion is just so much fun- and brings me so much joy.

Yesterday we shot the office of Knot PR in Toronto. Several years ago we worked on their first space- and what a thrill it was to work on this one.
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Here’s just a tiny taste of what went down- excited to share some details and all of Katherine Holland’s genius photography work soon!

TIPS FOR DECORATING AND LIVING IN A RENTAL

Oh am I ever glad it’s Saturday! Saturdays at my house are normally spent tidying up around the house, cuddling with the kiddies and other random errands. Today I am so excited because this morning I unpacked the last box we brought over to our rental since we are undergoing our #canningreno. We really lucked out as neighbors directly across the street decided to move for a period and lease their house- the timing honestly could not have worked out better, which I am grateful for. While I did my best to keep what we brought over to a minimum (the house is fully furnished, so great), I am shocked at how much I actually did bring over. I wanted the space to have some resemblance of home (especially for our kids) and of course give the house my own touch.

Living in a rental (whether temporarily like us during a reno, or as your more permanent residence) has some challenges- you might not want to invest in anything you can’t take with you, and when you’re renting you’re making the best of what you’ve got without making major changes. And after working on the design team for 2 seasons of the HGTV show For Rent, I have learned a thing or two about living in and decorating a rental. Here are my top tips for making a rental feel fabulous!
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1. PAINT

Paint can make such a huge difference in a room. I’m only staying temporarily so I am not painting (and the owners have painted totally awesome colours), but painting is such a minimal investment for its impact- worth the effort required. And if you invest in the time it takes to paint a stripe (like this look we did on For Rent) you can create something original and unique for a really great price.

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2. INVEST IN ART
Spend money on art as it’s something you can take with you and work into new spaces. I am a big time supporter of artists and love supporting local talent. This is a piece I had commissioned for a client by my fab friend and artist Becky Simpson. We brought most of our art over to our rental to give our temporary space a sense of home.

3. CHANGE OUTDATED WINDOW TREATMENTS
Always chat with your landlord about making changes that require holes drilled in walls, but changing window treatments make a huge impact to the look of a room. HUGE! And when they are dated and tired it doesn’t matter what other fabulous things you put in the space- they will be a huge eyesore. Go somewhere like Bouclair and get cheap and cheerful, patterned and colourful window treatments you can take with you.

4. CHANGE OUTDATED LIGHT FIXTURES TOO
Ugh- if I ever see another boob light (google boob light if you don’t know what I am talking about). This cheap cheap light is one of the most offensive things to my eyes. You think I am exaggerating, I am not. Light fixtures should feel like jewelry to a room- either very ornamental or soft and subtle. They should not look like a boob under any circumstances. Ask your landlord but I’m a proponent of changing these as well to update a space.

How do you make your rental feel fabulous? Love to hear.

Striped photo by Kelly Schnurr, art photo by Tanja Tiziana

CANNING RENO WEEK #1: ugly crying and a pretty break

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This is my house. Day #3 of my #canningreno. Soon (ok, not soon) this will be an open concept kitchen area- but for today, it is a gross mess.

What has been so interesting about this process is my reaction to everything. I have been a mess. An ugly crying, attached to possessions, tired mess. While my strategy strengths and stamina are pretty present doing the exact same thing for clients, for myself they seem to be absent.

I am not going to analyze it too much here on the blog, but if you see me at an event and I look a little weary feel free to pour me a glass. Or 2. (My preference is red!)

Speaking of events, I took a break from all the chaos and attended the launch of the Style At Home Collection for Sears Canada at the Ritz Carlton. This was a much needed dose of pretty:
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This collection is full of pattern and easy coordinating pieces. I got to chat with editor-in-chief Erin McLaughlin (who was very involved in the design of the collection) about her favourite pieces- and I have to agree, the coverlets are super soft, beautifully patterned.
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Here’s Erin with home decor & seasonal marketing manager for Sears Colby Jarvis (in pretty greens!):
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And I got to be breakfast buddies with the lovely Stephanie Sterjovski (in pretty florals!): 20140404-085531.jpg

And on a final personal note, 5 years ago today my life changed for the better in the best way. I became mom to John, my lovely little guy who is a caring, friendly dude and a great big brother. If you’re looking for me today I will probably be a sentimental mess (and likely more tears, but this time happy ones!) Happy Friday!
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#CANNING RENO WEEK 1: thoughts about “stuff”

It has begun- we are week 1 of the #canningreno (thanks for all the suggestions for my hashtag)!

Very conveniently, we’re located across the street in a rental. Like, directly across the street. Like, I can watch each sub trade show up through my front window across the street! So so convenient and it made moving a lot less painful.

However, it was also pretty painful. In the 2 weeks we have lived at our rental unit, and I have packed and sorted 5 years of belongings, I have learned / observed the following:
- I own 16 bottles of nail polish. I paint my nails maybe twice a year.
- The number of toys that my children have, that were buried at the bottom of miscellaneous forgotten containers, is shocking.
- My husband owns like a bajillion white socks that do not match.
- My husband and I have been married for 6 years and we had about 5 boxes in the basement that were never unpacked when we moved from our first apartment.

I make these above observations as I am making a commitment to myself- that whatever goes into our “new” house will make our lives better. It will give us value. It won’t be a “just incase” item. It won’t stay in a box for 5 years. We will use it, we will love it, and enjoy it.

This is the hope- continue to follow along our #canningreno to see how we make it through!