Our Patio Makeover

Vancouver city condo apartment small space patio makeover using IKEA finds

When you live in Vancouver, space comes at a premium and you learn to enjoy each square foot of your city condo to its fullest. The boy and I have done a pretty good job making the interior of our home cozy, but when it comes to our balcony we've been ambivalent at best. All that changed a couple weeks ago when I suddenly became obsessed with turning the patio into a little urban oasis. Visions of myself leisurely drinking my morning coffee, flipping through magazines, colouring, or finishing up wedding tasks outside danced in my head. But, where to start?

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Bridal Style: The One Piece Of Advice Wedding Magazines Won't Tell You

BHLDN Seattle bridal wedding decor display

These Bridal Style columns may focus on all the fun aspects of planning your wedding, but today's post is a little more serious. As longtime readers know, the boy and I got engaged almost two years ago. I started planning our nuptials during the fall and winter. And then the boy hit a very bad case of burnout, forcing us to postpone the wedding to a to-be-determined date. Dealing with the emotional fallout from that was one of the most difficult things we've done as a couple, but if there's a silver lining, it's that the experience strengthened our bond and assured us that we have what it takes to make it in the long haul. We resumed the planning process in January and set a new wedding date for this September (yay!). But I haven't been as eager to document everything online because, to be honest, I haven't actually been that pre-occupied with wedding stuff.

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Bridal Style: Stuart Weitzman Bridal Shoe Collection

Stuart Weitzman Bridal Collection BALLSOFFIRE white flat sandal

Some wedding decisions come after lots of agonizing, while others fall into place so easily they might as well be kismet. Choosing to buy my wedding day shoes from the Stuart Weitzman Bridal Collection was both a stroke of serendipity and a no-brainer. It had just occurred to me that I needed to shop for the shoes before I could get my dress altered when, lo and behold, there was the press release in my inbox with the most perfect collection of bridal shoes I'd ever seen—something for every type of wedding, dress, and bride imaginable.

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Things I Bought That I Love: Paris Street Style Colouring Book

Things I Bought That I Love highlights the (hopefully) rare, carefully considered new purchases that spark joy in this aspiring minimalist.

Paris Street Style Coloring Book by Zoe De Las Cases next to colored pencils and a peony. Colouring book and coloured pencils from Chapters Indigo #indigofaves.

I know, I know: two Things I Bought posts in one week? What, is "aspiring minimalist" some sort of joke? The truth is, April has alternately been dragging my spirits down or pulling me in all directions, which explains why the blog has been a little light on content lately. There have been good parts (our patio makeover, finalizing the wedding invitations, stepping up my Bar Method attendance and #sweatingforthewedding) and not-so-good things (the neck spasm, the lingering cough from a severe cold, being really busy at work). Amidst the chaos, reaching for my Paris Street Style Colouring Book ($21 at Indigo) has soothed my soul on more than one occasion.

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Things I Bought That I Love: LOFT Stripe Gathered Dress

Things I Bought That I Love highlights the (hopefully) rare, carefully considered new purchases that spark joy in this aspiring minimalist.

LOFT Stripe Gathered Dress in black and white stripes and soft jersey fabric

Most of the time, I don't go actively looking for the Perfect Summer Dress; that dress usually finds me when I least expect it, which is exactly what happened when I nabbed the LOFT stripe gathered dress ($93.58 $60.43 on sale now) at Park Royal several weeks ago. Since then I've worn it three times, and I'm looking forward to many more warm days when I'll be reaching for this frock first thing in the morning.

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The Pantene Expert x Beauty United Challenge

Pantene Expert Intense Smooth Shampoo and Conditioner. Tames frizz instantly.

My makeup and skincare tastes can skew towards the pricier end of the spectrum, but for everyday shampoo and conditioner I've always been a drugstore gal—Pantene, specifically. I have straight-ish, thick Asian hair and it's fairly healthy, so achieving a wash-and-wear hairstyle is usually a matter of picking the right Pantene formula. When Beauty United asked if I'd like to switch things up and try a shampoo and conditioner from the Pantene Expert line—which boasts the most concentrated Pro-V formulas—my answer was a resounding yes.

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Drugstore Delight: L'Oreal Colour Riche Le Matte & La Lacque Lip Crayons

L'Oreal Colour Riche Le Matte & La Lacque Lip Crayons

Any product that makes doing your makeup as easy as drawing on your face is a winner in my books, which is why I adore the new L'Oreal Colour Riche Le Matte and La Lacque Lipcolour Sticks. If you haven't been acquainted with these winsome drugstore lip crayons yet, consider this your introduction!

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Product Review: Simply Scrub Organic Coffee Body Scrub

Simply Scrub Organic Coffee Body Scrub

The warmer weather in spring means a chance to shed the heavy wool and denim layers of winter, and if you've been neglecting your exfoliation (ahem, guilty), that can be a frightening prospect. Enter Simply Scrub, a new-to-me Philadelphia-based company that specializes in different types of organic body scrubs. No suspect ingredients or funny plastic microbeads to be found here: just sea salt, brown sugar, natural ingredients, and lots of nourishing oils.

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Boston Photo Diary Part 2

Boston Common statue memorial

Two years after our trip to Boston (and after two weeks of radio silence on the blog), I thought it'd be nice to kick off the week with a look back at the last few photos from our time in New England. The boy and I still think of this as the most magical trip we've taken together as a couple. And after two weeks of on-and-off sickness—a lingering cough from a cold I caught in February, a painful neck spasm that prompted an emergency RMT appointment and several canceled Bar Method classes—I sure could use a little magic.

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