Monthly Archives

September 2009


Kid-Friendly Cafes in Toronto and Montreal

kid-friendly cafes in Toronto

Earlier this year, I told you about Maman, Bébé et Café, a coffee shop in Montreal that was more a community center for parents than a typical coffee shop. (October 4th, 2009 update: A friend told me that Maman, Bébé et Café has closed their door.)

It seems that Toronto are catching up with two new kid-friendly cafes opening in trendy neighborhoods with a good concentration of strollers. Lil’ Bean N’ Green opens this week in Leslieville with a fun play area for kids. You can read on BlogTO that Leonor Filipe opened the Gingerbread House Family Café in the Junction three months ago with a similar goal of providing not only food, but a social service for parents at loose ends.

I like the idea that moms and dads have spaces where they can hanged out with their babies and toddles while meeting other parents. I think we will see more of these places once they figured out a viable business model.

About the Play Fee at Lil Bean N’ Green

Some people complained on BlogTO about the fact that the play area is not free at Lil Bean N’ Green. As an entrepreneur, I see why they are doing it. The store owner pays to set up the area. They have to pay the rent on for a retail space in the city. They have a business to run and they can not survive on having moms with kids hanging there for hours while buying one coffee. After all, maintaining a playroom costs more than supplying Wi-Fi. Finding the right price to charge is the challenge.

I invite you to read the post on BlogTO to learn more about these 2 family-style cafes.

+ BlogTO’s review of Gingerbread House Family Café
+ Images via BlogTo


Candy Table Ideas for Halloween

3-tiered stand for a candy Halloween station styled by pottery barn

There are plenty of ideas to make yours from the styled pictures of Pottery Barn. Using small containers inside a tray is an excellent way to serve small candies. By keeping all the containers of the same color and made with the same material, you create a neater look.

I love the popcorn in clear cellophane bag tied with a ribbon. Having fruits in your table had variety. Also make sure to serve a mix of sweets, sour and salty treats.

how to design an halloween candy table by pottery barn

Your station needs to integrate decorative elements with the serving ware. Garden urns and footed plates can be used to elevate not only food but also festive items to create a wonderful scenery. Play with shapes, colors and finishes to direct the eye at strategic places across your table.

Sadly, some of the items, like the galvanized tiered stand, are already out of stock for Halloween. It is time to think about what you need right now.

+ Rattan Pumpkins $19-$29 USD
+ Spider Tealight Holders $18 for set of 2
+ Skull Cocktail Collection $19-$24
+ Crow Candle $10 USD


Eco-friendly Lunch Kits and a new Marketplace

abe\'s market :: snack bags and lunch kits at plum creek mercantile

I received an email from Abe’s Market today to introduce their green and natural products marketplace. While browsing Abe’s site, I came across this complete 13-piece lunch kit. Yes, you can assemble yourself but it would save you time by getting this bundle. Plus, you are sure that things fit together.

I introduced the reusable snack bags of Plum Creek Merchantile earlier this year. You have a choice of 7 patterns for the 3-snack bag set included in the lunch kit. Each lunch set also comes with one To-Go Ware RePEaT Bamboo Utensil Set, a small and a large To-Go Ware’s stainless steel sidekick tiffins, an insulated bottle, a Klean Kanteen 12oz water bottle in a metal lunch box.

Bulk food storage bags

For shopping, remember that Plum Creek Mercantile produces bulk food storage bags with a clear window for easy identification and to write down the bin number. Besides reducing your waste, an added advantage of using the bulk food bags is that they are sized to fit a gallon jar or a quart jar. So, no more guess at the grocery store about how much you need to put inside the plastic bag.

Online Marketplace

Note that Abe’s is launching with four initial product categories – personal care, kids and baby, home, and food and beverage. They plan to expand into new categories shortly after launch. I will keep my eye open for other cool eco-friendly products.

+ Lunch Kit by Plum Creek Merchantile on sale $47.99 – $52.99 USD  reg. $54-$59
+ To-Go Ware RePEaT Bamboo Utensil Set $11.95 USD
+ To-Go Ware’s stainless steel sidekick tiffins small $4.95 USD, large $5.95
Abe’s Market

ALL occasions GIFT IDEAS

Fruits and Passion’s Sale Alert

free cucina scent with sale alert from fruits and passion

Fruits and Passion is having a sale in Canada and the United States. A range of customer’s favorite products is reduced to $15, until quantities last. Plus, you will receive Cucina Fragrant Kitchen Spray 100 ml Sanguinelli Orange and Fennel free with purchase of $45 ($60 if shopping in USA) or more before taxes. About the free Cucina Fragrant Spray, their sale alert email mentioned two more scents. Inquiry since I do not know which offer is valid.

+ Images from Fruits and Passion


Tea and Mug Cozies

ruth cross tea and mug cosies with linda bloomfield\'s teapot and mug

More and more designers are updating these old-fashioned tea essentials. They always kept their granny look but like the things at Anthropologie, it is part of their charm. Ruth Cross, who worked with Linda Bloomfield, creates knitted garment and home accessories. Her knitted work is exquisite.

tea me mug cozy by knit storm on etsy

Etsy constitutes a great source for cozies. Knit Storm crocheted adorable mug cozies using a recycled wool yarn. My favorite is the one with hanging “Tea Me!” bag that is hand embroidered onto a piece of off-white felt and attached to one side of the cozy. After discussing with my husband, he is worried that the cozy stands too tall to stay clean. For that reason, I will sleep on it before ordering mine.

One thing for sure is that tea and mug cozies are becoming more desirable by the minute since my cup of tea got cold as I wrote this post.

+ Ruth Cross
+ Tea Me Mug Cozy by KnitStorm $14 USD


Porcelain Tableware by Linda Bloomfield

porcelain cake stands and tableware by linda bloomfield

UK potter Linda Bloomfield creates simple shapes with tactile satin mat glazes and subtly colored interiors. I like her style. Her tableware collection is sold through many art galleries and retailers across Britain. Lucky for us, the US-based retailer Hygge & West, which ships to Canada in top of the Unites States, carries her line.

+ Images via Linda Bloomfield


Style in the Home Office

home sweet home office by Jodi of our haus

It is not the first time that I mentioned that your home office can have more panache and feels more comfortable than a corporate office. With many home offices resting in a mezzanine or open space, style is a must not an option. But if you work from home, your office should also be efficient.

Graphic designer Jodi Vautrin of Our Haus certainly understood all these imperatives. Look at her gorgeous home office. Jodi infused a sense of style while keeping close what she needs to work. I totally agree with her on the fact that clutter looks neater when you use multiples of the same desktop storage boxes.

Select storage boxes, files and binders in vibrant colors to cheer up the space. Think outside the box when you hit a constant. See how Jodi took advantage on an awkward stair in her loft office. Get storage boxes, files and binders in vibrant colors to cheer up the space. Make it a place where you feel good.

For more inspirations and clever tips, read what Jodi had to say about her home sweet home office on Our Haus. By the way, I published this morning  a sure way to keep your inbox empty on my social media blog. If you have a full inbox, it is a must read.

+ photos by Our Haus
+ via Apartment Therapy LA