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DESIGN and style

DESIGN and style LIVING

Swedish Brand Light My Fire Brings Style to Your Outdoor Activities

light my fire outdoor meal accessories

Nature doesn’t have to be the only beautiful things that surround you when in the wood, at the top of a mountain or fishing with the practical and colourful outdoor accessories by Light My Fire. Their latest outdoor accessories prove to be as practical in the city as they are in the wild.

modern picnicware
photo credits: Fancy Picnic picture from Light My Fire on Facebook

My Picks: What’s New 2013 Collection

For picnics, camping trips or to carry your lunch to the office, you will find everything that you need to eat a delicious, civilized meal with their Lunch kit or the MealKit 2.0. Continue Reading

DESIGN and style LIVING

Lean On Me Umbrella

lean on me umbrella designed by Cheol Woong Seo and Jae Hee Park

lean on me umbrella designed by Cheol Woong Seo and Jae Hee Park

Nine times out of ten, when I try to lean my umbrella against a wall at a restaurant or a coffee shop it ends up on the floor. I usually gave up after a few attempts. This could be a thing of the past.

Cheol Woong Seo and Jae Hee Park solved this old problem by redesigning the handle. They add a non-slip silicon pad to the shorten curved handle. It is simple when you think about it that you wonder why it took that long to create one. Now, we have to wait until an umbrella manufacturer brings this concept to a store near you.

+ via Yanko Design

DESIGN and style LIVING

Fashion Style Editors at the New Buyosphere

style guide what to wear on a rainy fall day

buyosphere

I want to share a project from my husband with you. Jerome is a co-founder and the CTO of Buyosphere, a social fashion advice community. Yesterday, they published the latest version of their site. They put a lot of work all summer to enhance what Buyosphere delivers to its users. If you have fashion questions about what to wear at a party, to go to work or look for the perfect rain boots, this is a great place where to start your search.

style guide what to wear on a rainy fall day

I am one of their style editors. My guides will be tailored to the multi-faceted life of women in their thirties. I started with a fashion guide to look great on a rainy day. It features some of my favorite raincoats and rain boots of the season.

If you are new to Buyosphere, here are some things that you need to know about the site.

My Style

When you sign in, you select what are your fashion styles. Do not worry, you can revise them at any time. They found out that matching friends and categories wasn’t sufficient when it came to finding the perfect outfit for you. So they did lots of research and found that there are basic style types that align with brands and people. Women have 20 styles to choose from (choose as many as you’d like!) and men have 18. Selecting your styles will vastly improve your recommendations and the content you see over time.

Style Guides

Produced and curated by Style Editors, the style guides are user generated editorial nods to the latest trends, fun themes and most enduring classics. If ever you needed solid fashion advice, these are for you. Follow me or any style editors that fit your style.

Fashion Advice

This is where you ask specific questions, like, “What shoes do I wear with a chartreuse dress?” or “What do I wear to a fall wedding with a vintage theme?” Products are more scannable, complete with Quick View and when you find something you love? Just click the heart. You can also pin, tweet and FB from every page.

I invite you to have a look at Buyosphere (and join the community). They did an amazing job with their redesign.

DESIGN and style LIVING

iPhone Cases by Artists at Society 6

iphone cases at society6

I needed a new iPhone case. My current has seen better days. I thought about getting a new one for a while. Then, my son broke it while he tried to remove it.

I want a case with a personality. For that reason, I eliminated the big-box stores and even the Apple store. I explored the selection at Treadless but none fit my style. I found what I was looking for at Society6, another print on-demand store that represents artists. The art collection at Society6 appeals more to my taste. I also found that their art collection is more diverse. You can spend lots of time exploring it. With filtering, it took me about 15 minutes to find the right one for me.

Here are some models that I like.

iphone cases at society6
Paris by Gabriela Da Costa | Voyage over Edinburg by David Fleck | Coffee iPhone case by Cassia Beck | $35 each

iphone cases at society6
Aki iPhone case by Cynthia Decker | Paris je t’aime by Nika | Autumn Berries by Iris Lehnhardt $35 each

I hesitated between Voyage over Edinburg and Coffee. I finally ordered the Coffee case. When I look at the circles, it stimulates my imagination. Overall, the design feels more like me.

It costs $10 to ship to Canada one or two cases. When I saw that it would cost me $10 for delivery, I told my disappointment to my husband who replied “Let me check their selection, I need a new case too”. This is how I found out that it costs the same to ship two cases. He bought the Boba Fett: Bounty Hunter iPhone case by Chris Mason. I can’t wait to receive mine.

DESIGN and style LIVING

The Reveal of My Business Site

new website for kim vallee

→ But I am Still a Lifestyle Blogger

new website for kim vallee

Today, I published my new Web site for Kim Vallee. This marked an important moment for me. For years, I felt the need to have a cover page where I could highlight the several business hats that I wear. I finally have it!

Update: I forgot to mention the best part about the design of my business site.  It has a responsive design, which means that its layout automatically adjusts to fit the screen of your device. Try it on your iPhone and iPad. I love this feature.

You might have noticed that I write less often over the past year. Now, you know that it was not just the baby that kept me from writing more posts. Do not worry, At Home with Kim Vallee will continue to be a big part of my life. And yours, I hope! I still want to inspire you with my stylish finds, time saving tips and design ideas. As a matter of fact, my next post series will be about tasty summer cocktail recipes that was made just for me by a renowned mixologist.

Joli PR

I am excited by my latest project. And if you are a lifestyle blogger, I believe that you will enjoy Joli PR. I designed it with lifestyle bloggers in mind. Joli PR is the visual, interest-based app that I wish that I had for years, instead of an inbox filled with mostly irrelevant pitches. To make it a win win solution, I make sure that it delivers something great for brands and PR people. If you want to be amongst the first people who have a peak at Joli PR, sign in here. I promise not to spam your inbox.

DESIGN and style LIVING

Giant Plastic Bottle Fish Sculptures Shimmer on a Rio Beach

fish sculptures shimmering at day on Botafogo beach in Rio de Janeiro

fish sculptures shimmering at day on Botafogo beach in Rio de Janeiro
Photo credit: Victor R. Caivano / AP

I woke up this morning to a sunny, hot summer day. It felt natural to look for beach stories since I sat next to my pool. I discovered one that it absolutely a treat for the eye and your sense of creativity. Enjoy!

Discarded plastic bottles never look so good! Hundreds of empty water bottles were used to reproduce the effect of fish scales. And what effect! The fish sculptures glitter under the sun. The effect is as stunning at night, thanks to a mix of LED and projected lights.

giant fish sculptures at night in rio beach
Photo credit: Alexandre Macieira / Riotur

These huge fish sculptures are installed on popular Botafogo Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. They were created as a part of the Rio +20 conference, which is about sustainable development. Despite the beauty of these sculptures, we must also think about how much waste we created on a daily basis.

+ Via Inhabitat, Hungeree and Colossal

DESIGN and style LIVING

What to Wear: At a Lifestyle Blogging Event – and a Look at BlogPodium

blogpodium may 2012 fashion

blogpodium may 2012 details

Last Saturday, I attended BlogPodium at the stylish Arcadian Loft located in the Simpson Tower in Toronto. First, I must congratulate publicly  Lindsay Stephenson of Aubrey and Lindsay’s Little House Blog and Jennifer Flores of Rambling Renovators for organizing such an amazing event. The girls put a lot of hours making it a reality and it showed when we look at their attention to details. Bravo Lindsay and Jennifer!

I tweeted a lot during the session to share the good tips from the keynote speaker Nicole Balch of Making it Lovely, who shared photos of her short stay in Toronto, and the panelists. Many attendees published their recap posts. Instead, I thought of taking this occasion to discuss what to wear when you go to a blogger conference.

For Attendees

I have a thing for patterns and it shows. A blogger conference is the perfect venue to wear your fabulous summer dress. Many of the attendees did just that.

blogpodium may 2012 fashion
Vanessa of Damask et Dentelle wears so well her Italian style tunic dress. When you know Vanessa, you know that this dress is perfectly her. I wore a yellow bird printed dress that I bought this Spring at Jacob with an orange handbad by m0851. A brown braided belt embellished with two large flowers and a pair of orange gem earrings completed my outfit.

blogpodium may 2012 fashion
I felt in love with a V-back floral dress of Sarah Gunn who writes at Yummy Mommy Club. With Sarah’s blessings, I scheduled another shopping trip to Zara.

blogpodium may 2012 fashion
Green and pink were popular! Her green dress enhances Christine’s beautiful red hair. Christine was a panelist and told us how she makes money with her blog Bijou and Boheme. Christine wore several bracelets with her watch. Very stylish! And it reinforces her brand. I provide more tips about how to dress if you are a presenter at the end of this post.

blogpodium may2012 bracelets

blogpodium may 2012 fashion
A few good examples of how patterns and solids can mix together. Update: Nicole A. Panacci of Lipstik Events wore a cream, green and purple floral dress that looks awesome on her. The colours suit this lively brunette girl. She is photographed with Krista Illies of Nook of Wellington.

blogpodium may2012 fashion

For Presenters

making it lovely

If you are a speaker, it is an excellent idea to wear the colours of your brand or blog. And this might be an occasion where I shy away from patterns. You do not wish to deter the attention of the crowd sitting in the room. This is exactly what did Nicole Balch. Her outfit represents her well.

I look forward to the next BlogPodium this fall. With so many well-dressed women, I will make sure to plan my outfit well in advance.

Update: I am missing some names. Contact me to tell me if you are on a picture.

SOURCING:
+ photos: Kim Vallee, Mango Studios and BlogPodium

DESIGN and style LIVING

What to Wear: At the Park

mom and toddler fashion at the park

mom and toddler fashion at the park

Multicoloured Striped Polo Shirt $19.90 CAD at Zara | Denim Bermudas $17.90 CAD at Zara | Sandal Paco Boy $55 USD at Geox | Linen t-shirt with print $29.99 CAD at Zara | Rose Leaf 1969 raw-edge denim shorts $49.95 USD at Gap | Fuchsia Vidalez mocassin $26.24 on sale at Aldo

I continue my “mom and a toddler fashion” column with a trip to the park. My son reached an age where he always want to play at the park. I want to look good when I go there but naturally, I need to look casual. Last week, I bought this printed linen t-shirt at Zara. The fabric and its A-line shape (sorry, that you can’t see the shape from the picture) help cool down my body under the sun. I am sure about that since I wore it when the thermometer reached 30 degrees Celsius (86 F). I wore my linen t-shirt with a pair of khaki shorts that I bought last year at Banana Republic.

Whatever is your style, look for clothes that are machine wash. Since we started to go at the park, my son wears two outfits a day. That reason alone justified my purchase of a new HE top load washer and dryer.

 

DESIGN and style LIVING

What To Wear: Mom and a Toddler on a Rainy Day

mom toddler fashion on rainy days

mom toddler fashion on rainy days

Before motherhood, I only wear modern style trench coats. I am still a fan of the ones by m0851 but I can’t wear them when I go to the park with my toddler boy. I start looking for casual options that would still look great when I walk in the city streets. I find the perfect casual waterproof coat when I try the Avenue Jacket by Lolë. I bought mine at Simon’s, thanks to a $250 complimentary gift card that Simons sent me for the launch of their Facebook page. It has been a month since my purchase and it fits my urban mom lifestyle. I wear it often.

I selected the Avenue Jacket for its soft fabric, the coat length, the spacious zip hand pockets, its adjustable hood, and a cinching system at the back waist to tailor the style. I only wish that the interior passport pocket has a zip.

To protect with feet, the nice people at BOGS sent me for free two pairs of feminine rain shoes from their spring collection. Every mom needs at least a pair of casual rain boots that look great. I think that these fit the bill. The spring weather in  Montreal meant that I need to wear a few times the Charlot model to walk in the streets. I like them. I just wait for warmer temperature to wear Rose; I think that Rose will be very handy in the summer time. Both pairs look pretty. You should check them out.

Zack’s red rubberised parka is by Zara. He looks like a little boy in it. The coat fits him well.

SOURCING:
+  Avenue Jacket at Lolë $220 CAD
+  Red rubberised parka for baby boy at Zara $29 CAD
+ Charlot Gum Rubber Boots in blue by Bogs $80 USD
+ Rose shoes in red by Bogs $70 USD

DESIGN and style LIVING

I Embrace Stylish Living and Friendly Luxury. Do You?

the loft project in london

the loft project in london

At Home with Kim Vallee reached its fifth anniversary when I went to the Toronto Interior Design Show. When I pressed the Publish button on January 27th, 2007, I didn’t know that I started a new chapter of my life. So much has happened in my personal life and my professional life. The fifth anniversary also coincides with the end of maternity leave.

For a while, I felt the need to update what At Home with Kim Vallee stands for. I blogged less over the last months because I needed time to absorb and enjoy motherhood. I also took the time to explore how I want to spend my time and to update my business plan. Attending Conversations in Design, the launch of Kimberly Seldom’s Business of design online courses, BlogPodium and the Canadian Design Bloggers meetup enabled me to be immersed in the design world again.

Authenticity, be true to yourself, great storytelling, innovation, and creativity have been a recurring themes at these events. When I came back from Toronto, I formulated my unique selling proposition. I put in words what distinguishes my blog from other design/lifestyle blogs.

Embracing stylish living and friendly luxury summarizes what readers can expect from At Home with Kim Vallee.  “Stylish living” has been my trademark for years and it will continue to the heart of what I do. I added “Embracing” to bring the sense that we are in it together.  I tell you in a minute why “friendly luxury” is so important to me. I owed that piece of the puzzle to Claus Sendlinger of Design Hotels that spoke at Conversations in Design.

Claus Sendlinger introduced me to the Luxury Matrix. Although I always talked of a certain type of luxury, I never include the actual word when I presented At Home with Kim Vallee. I was afraid that people would misinterpret it as flashy opulence. Hearing Sendlinger explained the 5 stages of luxury gave me a new perspective of the word.

What are the 5 stages of luxury?

Stage One: Acquisition and value (that is the flashy opulence)

  • At this stage luxury is used to demonstrate wealth, define social position and to visibly separate the buyer from the mass market. They show off what they are spending and wearing.

Stage Two: Discernment and worth

  • At Stage Two, the customer uses his or her wealth to buy brands, products and services that allow them to articulate higher levels of taste, discernment and discrimination. Tradition, values, heritage, craftsmanship, and true quality are key factors.

Stage Three: Emotion and experience

  • At this stage customers are less concerned with brand and value, and more with the uniqueness of the experience on offer and the emotional impact that this can deliver. Stage 3 luxurians desire a hushed and pared-down sense of luxury, and want to feel that this is shared by like-minded people.

Stage Four: Responsible and aware

  • Customers are concerned with a brand’s values as well as its financial or experiential value. Sustainability is a concern, while a dominant consideration is how resources need to be nurtured and controlled.
  • Luxurians at this stage seek brands that they can trust, with which they can have a dialogue, and develop and enjoy a relationship that is meaningful, intimate and increasingly altruistic.

Stage Five: Intellectual and poetic

  • This is a stage of passions, journeys, adventures and deep-rooted and meaningful experiences. It is not about brands, seldom about products, and less about service. It is about challenge, isolation, learning and the need to be changed spiritually and emotionally.

What Does it Means for my Blog?

I connect to the last 3 stages of luxury. Stages 3 to 5 lead to my Friendly luxury philosophy. Time is the ultimate limited resource. What you do with your free time can be seen as a luxury. From urban beehives, to city chicken, terrace vegetable gardening and the local food movement, these activities are all part of the new definitions of luxury. They are examples of unique experiences and values, just as staying at an eco-resort in the middle of the Rainforest.

As you can notice, friendly luxury was already a part of this blog. I simply put it into a statement. I will continue to inspire you with beautiful things and good design for your home and for entertaining at home. But you will read more often about what makes our life feels richer/fuller as individuals, parents and entrepreneurs. In short, I want At Home with Kim Vallee to be about what meaningfully makes us happy and stylish.

I’m still figuring out how to package the series. It will be in line with what I told you last October. I hope that you will follow me and embrace this updated direction.

SOURCING:
+ The Future Laboratory report on Luxury Leisure for Design Hotels
+ photo: The Loft Project

DESIGN and style LIVING

Best of Conversations in Design (Part 2): Michele Caniato Talked about Opportunities for Innovative Designers

Michele Caniato

Michele Caniato

After listening to Michele Caniato at Conversations in Design, I see him as some kind of agent for designers and inventors. Many designers have a hard time to sell themselves. Other do not take the time or have the connections to make deals with retail brands. He saw a niche in the market when he founded Culture & Commerce, a strategic design consultancy that develops high potential design opportunities for global brands and international designers.

Brands and retailers would gain from challenging designers to come up with new concepts for products and packaging. What he looks for are people with vision. Then, he looks for the right fit. As he said at his Conversations in Design talk, vision, not spreadsheets, leads company forward.

Behind the Scene of the PUMA’S Clever Little Bag

puma clever little bag

To prove his points, Caniato chronicled the development of the Clever Little Bag by PUMA. The collaboration between a designer and PUMA led to important savings both in production and distribution costs. The solution enabled PUMA to run a more sustainable business while delivering form and function.

When Yves Béhar, of San Francisco based fuseproject, got the job to create a game changing packaging system that will reduce the shoe box footprint, insiders told him that they couldn’t change the shoe box. For 21 months, Yves Béhar with his team studied and deconstructed the shoe box. The solution came when they got rid of the box all together. Instead, the Clever Little Bag acts as a minimalist shoe box until the cashier grabs the handle to turn it into your shopping bag. All that was done with a reusable shopping bag that carries a strong brand identity.

Watch this video to know more about the birth of the Clever Little Bag by PUMA and Yves Béhar.

Mushroom Packaging

Caniato’s quest towards innovation carries to materials and techniques. He founded Material ConneXion which operates materials libraries across the globe. His materials libraries is the leading resource for innovative and sustainable materials and processes. He presented a cool material called EcoCradle made by Evocative Design.

ecocradle

This revolutionary material is the brain child of by two Rensselaer Graduates, Eben Bayer and Gavin McIntyre who became fascinated by how mushrooms grow on wood chips. A few years later, the launch a mushroom packaging material aimed to replace plastic foam packaging. They now have a partnership with 3M.

Thinking Outside the Box

The lesson I took home from Michele Caniato’s talk was that if you are willing to look at things differently there are a world of opportunities that could open to you. He mentioned that  But whatever you do, you must always be true and be fair to ourselves.

By the way, you do not have to be a renowned designer to be represented by his firm. What you need are remarkable design ideas that solve real problems, to have a story and to be passionate about it.

SOURCING:
Culture & Commerce
PUMA’s Clever Little Bag by Yves Béhar of fuseproject
EcoCradle by Evocative Design
+ Conversations in Design – IDS Toronto 2012