Inspired by my worldview as a parent and an entrepreneur, Balancing Act by Kim Vallee explores how to find the right balance when it comes to life, parenthood, and owning a business. You’ll notice a touch of design in my opinion articles. What I want Balancing Act to be is a work-life balance guide for modern moms and dads. It’s time that we approach work-life balance by including both parents into the discussions. I hope that you will join me, tell your partners or husbands, and visit at KimVallee.com often.
Today marks a great day for me. At last, a new chapter of my blogging career is starting. Starting today, At home with Kim Vallee becomes a blog about Making life easier for entrepreneurs and parents.
I passed half of the year reinventing, redefining and rebranding what is, at the end, the new At Home with Kim Vallee. The funny thing is that a key element changed last night. That important detail makes today’s reveal possible thanks to my mentor and to my little boy. Continue Reading
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
At Home with Kim Vallee has a part-time writer position to fill. We pay per post. We are looking for a talented writer with a good eye for a design or a foodie. Being a savvy shopper is a plus. We are looking for candidates who could write 2 to 3 posts (150 words approx. each) every day of the week.
How to Apply
Send the following information by email at athome[at]kimvallee[dot]com
- your CV
- what are your specialties?
- tell us why you would be a good addition to At Home with Kim Vallee?
- provide 3 links to articles you wrote
- pitch us 5 ideas of articles for At Home with Kim Vallee
- what model of camera do you own?
- links to photos you took
- do you know how to use and do you have a version of Photoshop?
- in which city, country do you live?
It is on my iPhone but in a few weeks, it could be on yours. We are working on a few refinements for my first iPhone app to be ready. Then, we will submit it to the iTunes store for approval. Once it is done, you will be able to read, search and share the content of At Home with Kim Vallee from your iPhone. The app will be free.
The iPhone app is a part of what Media Sidekick, my new company, offers as services to bloggers and publishers. We hired Yann Bouschet to do the programming. I will tell you more about the app features when the app is out.
Today was the day that we installed my new Like feature on At Home with Kim Vallee. This is the red heart that you see on the corner of the picture. The heart is positioned at the top and the bottom of every post. You simply click on it to show that you like the post. It records the number of likes and a cute arrow will indicate that you liked it. For the moment it is not linked to the Facebook Like feature but we plan to support that in the future.
We updated the home page, the category pages, the search results page to put emphasis on the pictures and a streamlined look. We also add a Tweet this! button and a Share on Facebook buttons. We repositioned the Nb. of comments since the old design was confusing. And the Continue reading… moved to the right.
This marks the Phase 1 of my Web site redesign. We laid down the building blocks on which we will enhance the At Home with Kim Vallee’s site. I planned lots of great add-ons that will be implemented in phases until this fall. Some of the changes were done in the backend. They might be visible to you but it involved a good amount of development work.
We polished the bottom of a post. You can now navigate to the previous post or the next post directly from a post. The rest were cosmetics changes.
Finally, we removed the frame that characterized my pictures since I started blogging. I decided that with the heart it was time to streamline my look. This was a huge job that since it has impacts on posts. I want to thank my technical team, Chris Bavota and Jerome Paradis for making this a reality.
We are still fine-tuning little glitches here and there before we continue our work on phase 2.
#FF (#FollowFriday) is not just for discovering new people to follow on Twitter, I often discovered new blogs this way. Today, I want to highlight that fact with my latest discovery. Tiina, a project manager, a freelance editor and a blogger living in Finland. She shared her love for food and simple living on Sparkling Ink.
Tiina took appetizing food photos. Her beautiful salad dishes demonstrate her skill.
I read on the book Six Pixels of Separation by Mitch Joel how new technology will shape the way we think about building in the 21st century. It is not Mitch who made that prediction. It is an affirmation made by William Mitchell, a professor of architecture and computer science at MIT. This is how my topic for my post on Climate Change for Blog Action Day 2009 was born.
I wrote several posts over the years about the need for walking city planning. I think it is the best way to live is to not have to use the car every day. I see a glimpse of hope due to the Web and smart phones. Digital technology means that many people can work from everywhere as long as they can be connected to the Web. As we get more and more access to wireless connections, Voice Over IP and other means to be connected, we are not restricted to our desk anymore.
Inspired by the Village
The main appeal of the European cities is that they were constructed before the industrial revolution. This means that they were built with human scale in mind. Having shops, restaurants and residences nicely integrated in a neighborhood builds a sense of community. We already seen the revival of abandoned neighborhoods built around multi-functional buildings.
Coworking spaces, which are offices to go to for consultants, developers and telecommuters that come complete with printers, high-speed internet access, conference rooms and community, flourish across North America. We have Station C in Montreal and Office Nomads in Seattle. They are hiccups like the closure of Workspace in Vancouver. This is normal since it involves a different way to do business. Still, the concept behind the community office makes a lot of sense for many people.
Looking at the Future
What do it has to do with taking about Climate Change. Everything! Sharing spaces or using them for double duty reduces our footprint in so many ways.
We have to reexamine how buildings are built in light of what the future will bring. They might not need to serve only one function: housing, work, entertaining. If we can work from everywhere, it changes our commute habits. If we share offices, it reduces the number of office buildings we need to serve everyone. I do not have the solution, but we must envision our actions with how we will live in the future instead of only considering how we live now.
If you never went to Amsterdam, you are missing something. The gorgeous has its share of cool modern design shops, you eat well and it is an urban area where you will feel in vacation. It has been a while since my last visit. Looking at these beautiful pictures taken by Pia Jane Bijkerk, show me how much I miss the European city vibe.
Pia is a known interior and food stylist who currently divides her time working and living between Sydney, Paris and a houseboat in Amsterdam. What a good lifestyle! Naturally, Pia talked about these 3 cities in her blog. I guess it will become one of your favorite blog. I added Pia’s blog to my daily fab read blogroll.
Taking about blogroll, I discovered Pia’s blog while commenting about stylish lampshades on Design Hole.
+ photo by Pia Jane Bijkerk
The photography and the recipes of Our Kitchen will inspire to cook. How can you resist the sight of this Lemon and yoghurt cake?
We can never read too many food blogs. I owe to my friend Lara of Ready 2 Spark the discovery of this blog produced by food lovers who work for the appliance maker Fisher & Paykel. This sponsored employee blog showcases everyday recipes.
+ photo by Emma of Our Kitchen