Yearly Archives



On the Web with Kim Vallee Now Live

My new blog went live yesterday night, under the radar. I see my two blogs complementing each other. Basically, On the Web with Kim Vallee talks about important issues for bloggers. I hope you will join me in this new adventure.

on the web with kim vallee

I wrote three posts so far. The first one is the Must-Have List Before Your Start Your Blog (Blogging 101), my opinion on Top Bloggers Lists and what it means for me to blog.

I inspire you at home, now I guide you on what is happening on the Web. Have a look at On the Web with Kim Vallee and fell free to comment.


One-Day Free Shipping at West Elm

If you are looking to buy big furniture or something heavy, there are a few hours left to enjoy a sale that will save you a lot in delivery fees. I saw a few dining chairs, sofa, armchairs and sectionals on sale too. Check out the furniture on sale.

free shipping sale at West Elm

If you are still looking for holiday decorations and holiday entertaining ideas, I made a little white and silver mood board with products at West Elm.

+ You can dress up your holiday décor with accessories that you can keep on the wall all year long. The sunburst wire wall art bring a modern twist to a white and silver holiday décor. $49

+ The 47-inch tall white Christmas tree is great for a small space. On sale at $41.40

Holiday Entertaining

If your guest lists are different, a white and silver Christmas theme can be easily adapted for New Year. Devising one kit is a great way to save money.

At a few days before Christmas, it is hard to create a scheme with only in stock products; so excuse me if I featured some out of stock items for the tableware. You may call to see if they have some left at a store near you. Otherwise, view my montages as inspirations.

holiday entertaining :: dinnerware at West Elm

+ I would having under the Christmas trees any items from the New York-based sweater and knitwear label Lutz & Patmos. This throw and cover collection is available exclusively at west elm stores and at They are on sale too from $19 to $89.

+ The dishwasher-safe double banded platinum dinnerware look great. Unfortunately, only the small bowls are still available online at $25.60 for a set of 4.

+ The polished-nickel butler stand (out of stock) with a silver-finish wood tray looks festive. The silver tray is $69.

+ It fits well with the aluminum food safe serving ware. Trays and chargers are out of stock. On sale $6.99-$24.00


Under $25 Pretend Food Toys at Land Of Nod

I played lots of pretend games as a kid. It is a part of growing up. My parent were good at finding make believe toy sets. They often got my toys from the United States. My mother was an excellent hairdresser. She owned a salon at a time when most happily married women did not own their business. We forget that things changed not that long ago. So one Christmas, I received a fabulous hair salon set. It came with a hair salon chair and hair salon dryer on wheel. It was awesome.

I would have been excited to get any of the food market items. Land of Nod has a huge collection of fabulous toys. You can start small and build the collection with time. To help you out assemble the entire market, put these toys on the wish list for friends and family.

land of nod's pretend food toys

Toys for 3 years old and up

+ Build the motor skills of your kids with the Cutting Food. Velcro keeps the pieces together. $24.95 with free shipping

+ Playing the Market Grocery Collection contains 12 play grocery items come neatly packaged in a wooden crate, thus helping you avoid the difficult question of paper or plastic. $24.95 with free shipping

+ Pizza! Pizza! can teach your kids how to count with its 54 mix and match toppings, 6 pizza slices, platter, serving spatula and pizza wheel. $24.95 with free shipping.

+ Boys and girls use their imagination to create a vast range of sandwiches and burgers. The two-sided fastener produces a realistic slicing sound when kids slice through the sandwich with the wooden knife. At $24.95, the Kids Cannot Live On Bread Alone Sandwich Kit is a toy that should amuse your kids a lot.

When you are ready to grow your food market, check out what I have to say about the Shop ‘Til You Drop market, shopping cart, cash register and well-balanced scale.

Shipping Information

For delivery by Wednesday, December 24th, order by:

  • Friday, Dec. 19th, 11am CST for Standard Delivery
  • Monday, Dec. 22nd, 11am CST for 2-Day Delivery
  • Tuesday, Dec. 23rd, 11am CST for Overnight Delivery

My Favorite Toys at Pottery Barn Kids

I continue my last-minute gift ideas with toys for young kids. These would be perfect for your own kids or to give a niece or nephew.

christmas gift ideas for kids

+ The Flower & Bird Cuckoo Clocks is a an adorable accessories for a bedroom. The German engineered mechanisms keep perfect time and feature a chirping yellow bird every hour with a volume control and an on/off switch for the bird. These clocks cost $129 each.

+ Wooden Vehicles are a favorite of mine because they can be used as toy or for display in a nursery. The Dumptruck and the Bulldozer are on sale at $59 each. The School Bus and the Crane cost $79 each.

+ This craft style textile dollhouse is easy to carry around. The front wall folds down so kids can decorate the inside. The set comes with a family with dog, a sofa, a bed and a bathtub. Puffy Dollhouse $69 USD

+ If you are wish to spend less, the cotton percale and corduroy Mouse House & Family is on sale at $24.99.

Shipping Information

To receive on or before Wednesday, December 24th, order by

  • Friday, December 19th at 12:00 Noon PST for Gift Card – Rush
  • Friday, December 19th at 5:00pm PST for Personalized Items and for Direct Ship
  • Saturday, December 20th at 9:00am PST for Standard UPS
  • Monday, December 22nd at 5:00pm PST for Rush UPS

To receive on or before Wednesday, December 30th, order by

  • Wednesday, December 24th at 5:00pm PST for Personalized Items, Standard UPS and Direct Ship
  • Sunday, December 28th at 5:00pm PST for Rush UPS

Sneak Preview of my New Logo

I am working on a total revamp of At Home with Kim Vallee blog layout. It is more than a design layout. I will also be migrating my blog to the WordPress platform. It will be a lot of work for my IT guy.

Realistically, I aim for a release late January or February. Yesterday, we finalized one big item on the list: my new logo. I am thrilled about the new look and color. I am impatient to show it off, so here it is.

new logo of at home with kim vallee

Follow-Up on my Blog on Women, Social Media and Technology

Earlier, I announced my plan for an upcoming blog about the Women & Moms Blogs Movement. I will explore with you the dynamic universe of the women and mom blogs including how women deal with social media. We will also examine how technology meets or fails to meet women’s expectations and needs. The blog is taking form. As soon as we set up a WordPress theme for it, that blog will go online.


Holiday Specials

To add mileage to your wallet, here are a few sales from my favorite retailers.

holiday specials postercartel :: anthropologie

+ PosterCartel, an advertiser on At Home with Kim Vallee, hosts a one-day 40% off on everything on their online store. This offer is valid until midnight today. Enter code SPECIAL40 at checkout.

+ You can save up to 30% on kitchen gifts and holiday items at Williams-Sonoma

+ Fans of Anthropologie, you still have 3 day left for free standard shipping on domestic orders over $200

ekobo sumo bowl on sale at Lekker

+ At Lekker, the 9-inch glossy pink SOLO Pasta Bowls are half-price; each bowl is on sale at $22.50 USD. If you were looking for this exquisite but luxurious buy, here is the time. The bowls are made of bamboo by the French brand Ekobo. The company stands for ecology + design.


Kim’s Version of Spaghettini alla Georgio

With the holiday full schedule, I thought of delicious main dishes that can be ready in 10 minutes. Mainly dishes that I do from start to finish takes 20 to 30 minutes. But I found one recipe on my repertoire that I can prepare and cook in about 10 minutes.

Made In Italy: Food and Stories by Giorgio Locatelli

It is a pasta dish. In fact, many pasta sauces are quick to prepare but my favorite is a recipe that I called Spaghettini alla Giorgio. I discovered the recipe watching a British cooking TV show back in 2003. Tony and Giorgio played at BBC Canada. The cooking of Giorgio appeals more to me in the show. If you visit London, UK, Locanda Locatelli is Giorgio’s restaurant.

It is my version because I updated it over the years to suit our taste. It started as Spaghetti with Tuna in White wine with anchovies. I put red wine because my husband prefers red wine and we drink the rest of the bottle with our meal. I add more tomatoes because I like it and the red white can sustain it.

I googled chef Giorgio Locatelli. This is how I found on Amazon his 2007 award-winning book Made in Italy: Food and Stories. This is a 624-page brick. It is supposed to be fill with vibrantly illustrated Locatelli’s recipes, insight and historical detail about Italian food. It will be delivered early January but the price is a bargain at so I ordered it.

My Recipe for Spaghettini with Tuna, Anchovies and Caper in Red Wine (Kim’s Version of Spaghettini alla Georgio)

Tonight my husband and I will eat this for dinner. I like it because everything you need is stored in your pantry. There is bad weather in Montreal, so it feels nice not to have to go to the grocery store.

If you have picky eaters in your family, know that I served this recipe to people who typically dislike anchovies and they did not notice the anchovies. I knew they were not allergic. I guess that the fact that they do not see them makes a difference.

If you can find a jar of tuna in olive oil, go for those. They taste better than the typical canned white tuna available in North America. Amazon sells the Ortiz Bonito Del Norte Reserva De Familia Aged Tuna in Olive Oil.

Ingredients for 2-3 portions

Your favorite Italian brand Spaghettini

  • 2 cloves of garlic, pealed and sliced
  • 6 anchovy fillets
  • 3 big tablespoons of capers, rinsed and drained
  • 9 ounces / 250g premium solid canned tuna, ideally in olive oil.
  • 60% of large can of whole Italian tomatoes, without the juice
  • 2 to 3 ounces (about 80 ml) of red white
  • 10 basil leaves roughly chopped by hand
  • 2 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Optional:
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Freshly ground Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese as topping.

How to make it?

  1. Heat well salted water to cook your pasta. Prep your ingredients. I schedule everything so that the sauce and the pasta are ready at the same time. Start cooking the sauce once the water is boiling.
  2. Heat in a large pan the olive oil at low-medium heat. Cook the garlic for a minute. Then, put the anchovies and capers. Cook for a minute or two until the anchovies have melted.
  3. Add the tuna as a whole piece in the pan. Separate in three large parts and drizzle some olive oil on the top of each tuna piece to remove some dryness. Increase the heat at medium to medium-high and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, perforate the tomatoes to drain most of the juice. Put the drained tomatoes in a bowl. Roughly cut each tomato in 3 or 4 pieces into the bowl. Keep in the remaining juice. Reserve.
  5. Add the red wine to the pan to extract all the favors that sit at the bottle of your pan. Cook until the alcohol is evaporated. It will take 3 minutes on average.
  6. Add the tomatoes and the basil leaves. Cook until the tomatoes have warmed up – 1 to 2 minutes is plenty.
  7. Remove the pasta just before they get al dente (tender but still firm to the bite). Keep a small glass of the pasta water before draining the pasta – use it if the sauce is too thick after you mixed the pasta and the sauce (often not necessary). DO NOT RINSE your pasta.
  8. Toss the pasta to the sauce, add the basil leaves and gently mix. You can season with pepper, if you like. This recipe does not need salt due to the presence of the anchovies and capers.
  9. Serve on the pasta bowl and top with freshly ground Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Savor!

Giorgio Locatelli is really good at explaining cooking techniques. He tells us what is important and which actions make a difference.If you wish to get an idea of how good Giorgio Locatelli is at teaching cooking, check out this video which is an excerpt of a recipe in the book Made In Italy: Food and Stories.

+ Anchovy Fillets by Scalia $18.99 USD for 8.5 ounces
+ Ortiz Bonito Del Norte Reserva De Familia Aged Tuna in Olive Oil $13.99 USD
+ For Canadians: Made in Italy: Food and Stories $37.77 CAD
+ For Americans: Made in Italy: Food and Stories $59.95 USD

GIFT IDEAS Gifts for HER Gifts for HIM

Good Design Gift Ideas at MoMA

My last-minute holiday gift ideas continue with the store having the most celebrated modern design products, the MoMA. These products work as well as they look. They deliver on the big promise of good design: that is to improve our everyday life.


+ The four color-coded polypropylene chopping boards designed by Damian Evans is on my wish list. No more chance of cross-contamination of food types with an identifier for red/raw meat, white/cooked foods, blue/fish, green/vegetables. $85 is cheap for peace of mind. The dishwasher safe Index Chopping Boards by Joseph Joseph come with an ABS plastic horizontal storage unit.

+ The Riki Desk Clock is a MoMA exclusive. Riki Watanabe designed a reproduction in 2007 based on the 1970 original design. The reproduction is made of steel and ABS with a Seiko precision quartz movement. A bestseller at MoMA. $120 USD

+ Nurit Amdur designed a bowling set made of silly characters. Perfect for kids 18 months and over. Bowling Set $38 USD

+ Suitable for cocktails, liqueurs, and desserts, the Colorful Wobble Glasses are dishwasher and microwave safe. I like the cute cheerful touch they add on a casual chic dining table. Available in a set of warm or cool colors. $40 USD for a set of 4 glasses.

+ The annual Phases of the Moon Calendar is an all-time favorite. Stock a couple as you could give it to unexpected gift recipient from a teenager boy to an adult neighbor who invites you to dinner. $17 USD

+ Get stamps of two landmarks: the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. New York City Skyline stamps by MUJI, $6 each stamp

For delivery by December 24 of in-stock merchandise to most U.S. locations

  • Standard shipping: order by Thursday, December 18, 9 a.m. ET
  • Express shipping: order by Monday, December 22, 9 a.m. ET (additional $15)
GIFT IDEAS Gifts for HER Gifts for HIM

Best Gifts Under $35 at Pottery Barn

pottery barn gift ideas under $35 for host and hostess

All week long, I will help you with your last minute Holiday shopping. Because we are busy, each list will be from a single store.

+ Oblique Finger Bowls on sale at $20 for set of 3
+ Great White Mingling Plate $24 USD for set of 4
+ Leaf Bottle Coaster on sale at $34
+ Colby Leather Catch-All on sale at $20 – can be personalized with a name or initial.

For US consumers, Pottery Barn told me that the deadline to receive your gifts for Christmas is to order by:

  • 12/19 @ 9am for personalized items
  • 12/20 @ 9am for standard delivery
  • 12/22 @ 5pm for rush delivery

Update: I forgot to mention for my Canadian readers that they are a few Pottery Barn stores in Canada. Find the Canadian store nearest you and place a phone order.


Snowman and Snowflake Treats | Daily Quick Links

snowmen treats, cookies presses and paper ornaments

+ These snowman treats will seduce kids and adults. Look at Frosty Go milk glasses with their donut hole heads imagined by Better Homes and Garden. Then, draw on candy mints snowmen faces and pretty script with edible markers from the cake-decorating aisle at the crafts store. Look for more ­­Super-Easy Snowmen Treats. Via Hostess with the Mostess.

+ The Paper Flower Ornaments are an easy Do-it-yourself project. Via How about Orange

+ No skill is required to use the Snowman and Snowflake Cookie Presses. Simply press the stamp right on sliced dough for a perfectly embossed snowman or snowflake. Try them on a batch of Earl Grey Tea Cookies or my specialty, cranberry shortbread cookies. Available at Crate & Barrel for $5.95 each. If you do not feel like baking your own recipe from scratch, go for the Holiday Sugar Cookie Mix