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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.

LIVING TRAVEL

The Italian Train of Taste

Italian Train of Taste

Italian Train of Taste

If you happen to be near Lombardy region this summer, you should try to book yourself a ticket on board of  il Treno di Sapori — meaning “Train of Taste”. Passengers will be served local food and wines as they enjoy the scenery of the region. It is a nice way to discover local cuisine.

train local food

You can sit down in the dining room or sit at the bar. From what I could undertand from the Google translation, the Train of Taste travels from Iseo through the Franciacorta region along Lake Iseo and through Valle Camonica.

Train of Taste view

I love the view. And there are plenty more stunning landscape images at the il Treno di Sapori Web site.

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.

 

LIVING TRAVEL

Friendly Luxury When Camping

cozy camping bedroom

cozy camping bedroom
photos by Thomas J. Story for Sunset magazine – May 2012

Camping has evolved so much since my childhood. I prefer a nice hotel room to sleeping in a tent any time. I’m also aware that many young kids adore camping; maybe that I will need to adapt. Just in case, I explored how I could make a camping trip more comfortable.

tent
REI Kingdom 4 Tent – 2012 $389 USD| REI Tech Garage $99.95 USD

I am first amazed by the new developments in tents. A freestanding design means that the tent can be assembled before being staked out which gives you freedom in position it at the site. Tents now come with vertical walls that add privacy and define the livable areas. You can add a vestibule that provides shelter to your boots and to you when you enter or exit the tent. The ultimate vestibule seems to be a tech garage; it delivers extra storage for your gears and generally has two convenient roll-on doors.

A Cozy Bedroom

cozy camping outdoor space
hotos by Thomas J. Story for Sunset magazine – May 2012

There is no need to give up your queen size bed on camping. You can have a good night sleep thanks to car camping. The trend is to bring your own pillows, cotton sheets and a throw or a comforter instead of a sleeping bag. Do not neglect the comfort of your feet. It becomes customary to place rugs indoor and outdoor. Go to your favorite decor store and select a style that you like.

Style the Outdoor Space

camping gear
SOLVINDEN pendant light $29.99 CAD at IKEA | KALVÖ $24.99 CAD at IKEA | Deluxe Camper’s Kitchen $127.99 USD at Cabana

Since you hope to pass as much time as possible outside, why not dress it up by a notch. Make a lounge outside with a few folding recliners or deck chairs and a couple folding side tables. KALVÖ folding table is an affordable option available at IKEA. While ÄPPLARÖ served double duty as a stool or a side table.

There are more options than camping equipment to create subtle ambiant lighting. The solar panel and the wind power generator of SOLVINDEN pendant light convert sunlight and wind to energy. It can be hang from the ceiling of your tent. Complete your set up with a few SOLVINDEN ground stakes that will light the path and your camping site.

Easy to Cook

The typical Camper’s Kitchen comes with a pantry, heat-resistant working surfaces, food preparation zones and three-sided windscreen shelters your stove for optimal fuel performance. You save time by having access to your cookware, cooking utensils and food.

Finally, I hope that you bought a car with a voluminous trunk. Equipped with all these gears, you will need it!

LIVING TRAVEL

Kim Loves: Reisenthel’s Travel Bags

reisenthel travel bags

reisenthel travel bags

I have a love affair with some brands and Reisenthel is one of these brands for me. It has been a while since I visited their Web site. I am glad to see new products. I couldn’t stop discovering their travelling bag collection. I like the fact that it is cheerful. Plus, you will not have any problems to recognize your bags from the crowd. Some fabrics are special edition like the beach edition, marigold olive (my personal favourite) and safari.

travel cosmetic

The bags are also well-thought. You will have no problems finding one that fits your needs. Many models of their comprehensive range of cosmetic bags are available in several sizes. You can find one that would be big enough for your annual vacation, another one for weekend getaways and a small one for when you go to the gym.

slimcase and toilet bag

Versatility is another key feature of the line. Slimcase S would be perfect to carry your jewelry while kids crayons, hair accessories or small office supply would fit into the Multicase.

Now, we only have to wait that for Reisenthel’s Travelling to be available in Canada or the United States.

SOURCING:
+ Allrounder L by Reisenthel from 34,90 € to 45 €
+ Toiletcosmetic by Resisenthel from 13,90 € to 24,90 €
+ Toiletbag by Reisenthel 16,90 €
+ Slimcase S  by Reisenthel 9,90 €
+ Multicase by Reisenthel 9,95 €

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

LIVING TRAVEL

Friendly to Kids: Family Stays and Teaching Good Behaviour at the Table

family stays

family stays

By design, boutique hotels try to raise the bar in hospitality. Since I became a mom, I look for services that I never considered before. A lot of hotels claimed to be family-friendly but, unless you go to a family resort, the list of family services often stops at providing a crib on request, having a video game console in the room and a few other basic things.

I never stayed at the Kensington Hotel but I like how they described their family stays with milk and cookies on turn down, children’s magazines in the room, children’s concierge services, and a list of free activities that your kids can do near the hotel.

An Unusual Complimentary Class

What caught more my attention is a new activity they recently hosted. With the help of an etiquette expert, the Kensington Hotel hosted two Petite Etiquette classesto teach children aged between five and ten a few basic table manners. I read mixed reviews about the classes with the main complaint being that some part of the lessons were old-fashioned.  Having said that, no one will complain if you arrive at a restaurant with a polite kid. I doubt that an one hour class would be the answer parents are looking for but parents may get ideas of where to concentrate the re-education of their kids.

My Views on Learning Good Table Habits

Personally, I feel that a child’s table habits education starts at birth. In our home, all members of the family leave the table at the same time. Both my husband and I want to make sure that our son knows it.

Our first goal was to teach Zack to be patient at the table.  Since day one, Zack sat with us the entire dinner. This is part of the dining ritual at our house. I believe in one simple rule: eating time is not playing time. Many nights a week, I cook a meal that my toddler son can eat by himself; he likes his independence. If he only plays with his plate or throws food on the floor, it’s the cue that he is done eating. Most of the time, his arm movements tell us that he is full. Then, my son sits in his high chair until my husband and I finished our meal. We entertain our son by bringing him a little toy and by chatting to him. So far, my technique works. I received compliments from waiters at restaurants that are not typical places for toddlers. It seems that my son likes stylish living as much as I do.

Now it’s your turn to share your insights or wishes. Do you have any tips about teaching kids good table habits? Which services make or would make an hotel stay awesome for young children? What was the best travel experience you had as a young family?

SOURCING: + photos: family stays and Kensington Hotel Petite Etiquette Class

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