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Free Printable: A Fabric / Laundry Care Symbols Chart

fabric / laundry care symbols guide

Back in 2009, I wrote a post about tableware symbols. I never thought until today to publish one on fabric care symbols. Tired of running to my computer or having to look at other clothes to figure out what a fabric care symbols means, I finally decided to print a laundry care symbols chart. I didn’t do nothing fancy. A standard sheet protector ensures that my chart will stay clean and dry. I’m simply glad that I  just have to open the cabinet on top of my washer to see it.

Since I am probably not alone with this need, here the link where you can download Your Guide to Fabric Care Symbols.


Fashion Style Editors at the New Buyosphere

style guide what to wear on a rainy fall day


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.

FAMILY KIDS products

Day Care Essentials

day care essentials

Besides the obvious diapers, wipes, clothes and sunscreen tube, these are items that you may need to bring at your toddler’s day care or nursery school. A playful backpack is not really required — since I usually carry it for my 18 months old son — but I think that it adds a cute touch. In my book, the classic Croc shoes work the best for wearing inside all year long since they can be wore with or without socks.

I was glad that the day care asks for a toothbrush and toothpaste. They will teach my son how to use it. Some day cares supply the sheets for nap time while others ask that you bring your own. Both options have their pros and cons. More importantly for me is the fact to bring them a doudou. Zack likes to hold his muslin blanket while he sleeps. His must have plush is Mr. Tsé Tsé. I bought him a new one to bring at the day care because I don’t want to risk the chance of forgetting it one day. My husband called the second one, Yé Yé. So far, he doesn’t care for it. I still want to hope that he will develop some attachment towards Yé Yé.

Here are the specific items that I brought at the day care:
day care essentials

Something New: 1.  Hippo zoo backpack by Skip Hop $20 USD, 2. Kids’ Crocband II.5 $36.99 CAD, 3. Stage 1 toothbrush by Oral-B and Colgate toothpaste, 4. VITAMINER RAND 4-piece crib bedding set $14.99 CAD

Something Old: 5. Mr. Tsé Tsé beginner doll by Raplapla $44 CAD, 6. Aden + Anais Star-bright swaddle set $49.95 for pack of 4

Next week, I will tell you about labelling your toddler’s things.


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.


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.

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


My Tips on Breast Pumping | Being a First-Time Mom

my baby son

In case you did not hear, I gave birth to my adorable son two weeks ago. He is still at the hospital where he underwent a major surgery that was planned before his birth. This means that I extract and store my milk until he is ready to drink it. If you ever find yourself in that situation, you will have many questions regarding how you will pump your breast milk. Let’s me tell you a few things that you won’t find in the breast pump manual.

The Rent Vs. Buy Dilemma

Pumping two breasts at once is a must. Believe me, you will not have the time to extract one breast at a time. After careful considerations, I decided to rent a professional grade milk pump. I rented a Medela Symphony, which is the same model that they lent me at the hospital. I couldn’t be happier with my choice. Regardless of the brand, you absolutely need more power when you use it 5 to 8 times a day.

Generally speaking, the Medela Symphony would enable you to pump more milk in less time than with a consumer model like the Freestyle or the In Style. I figured out that if I need a pump once the baby comes home, I could always buy one for occasional use or rent a few more months the Symphony.

Establish a Schedule

You must stay motivated to not give up. This feeling has nothing to do with your ability to produce and extract milk. It is just that every 3 hours comes often and extracting milk with a machine can be boring. Therefore, find a reason that will get you going when you feel like giving up. On the bright side, after a while it will truly become a part of your daily routine.

Here are a few tips to ease the transition. First, you can skip the night shift. When I was at the hospital, I pumped during the night. After a week of sleeping only 2-3 hours a day, I was too exhausted. With all the stress you are going through as a parent with a baby at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), the medical staff encourages us to rest. The best way that parents can help their baby is to stay healthy physically and psychologically.

At the NICU, they advice mothers to extract their milk at midnight, 6:00 AM, 9:00 AM, noon, 3:00 PM, 6:00 PM and 9:00 PM. I follow more or less their schedule. I’m so tired that I also skipped the 6:00 AM session to try to get back in shape.

Setting the Mood

Being in a comfortable environment is important. I set everything up in my son’s nursery where I sit on the rocking chair and listen to music. Plus, I can admire two pictures of him. You need to feel relaxed, especially at the beginning.

Milk Storage

I either use small storage bottles that I get at the hospital or the Medela’s Pump and Save breastmilk bags. I freeze my milk after each session.

Knowing how much a baby will drink is important to reduce waste. I mostly store 2 to 3 ounces of breast milk per container. I like to freeze a little less than 5 ounces in the bag since on average, a baby will drink about 4.5 ounces per feeding once he reaches one month old. Until that, most babies drink 2.5 to 3 ounces of breast milk in a bottle, eight times a day.

Mixed Feedings

Moms should not be ashamed if they need to supplement their breastfeeding with formula milk. This will not be an issue initially since I have a good stash. I will use my own milk for the night feedings. If and when I will run out of milk for the night feedings, formula milk can come to my rescue.


Must-Have Tools to Cook and Serve Crepes or Pancakes

my must-have tools to cook and serve crepes and pancakes

my must-have tools to cook and serve crepes and pancakes

My French background means that I prefer crepes to pancakes. It might be for the same reason that I enjoy more the taste of a thin crust pizza. But if you are the pancake type, my tips will work as well. You can revisit my traditional crepe recipe as a start.

First, you need a proper crepe pan.  The electrical crepe maker takes too much space and the non-stick crepe pan do not work as well. I believe that nothing beats a blue steel crepe pan or if you can handle the weight and additional cost, an enameled cast-iron crepe pan.

Based on my experience, a pan with low edges works the best. I pour a soup ladle of crepe batter to get the right quantity each time. A few rotations while holding the pan in the air is enough to cover all the pan up to the edges. You know when the crepe is ready to be turned when the edges have rolled up.

Crepes are easy to reheat on the oven. If you plan to serve them at a party, cook them ahead of time. You can keep them inside your freezer but make sure to separate each cooled down crepe with a parchment paper. I recommend letting them rest on a cooking rack before stacking them.

Pancake Warmer and Serving Dish

What put the pancake warmer from Williams-Sonoma on top of my wish list is the ventilated lid that releases steam.  The worst thing you want is a soggy crepe.  A pancake warmer is handy when you host a brunch or if you have a family. You first heat the base and lid of the stoneware pancake warmer in the oven. Then, you stack the fresh pancakes or crepes inside. I am tempted to buy one. Have you try it?

+ Ceramic Pancake Warmer and Serving Dish $26.95 USD at Williams-Sonoma
+ Steel Cooking Rack $10 USD
+ de Buyer Crêpe Pan $24.95 USD


What to Look For in a Small Home Office Desk?

my home office

my home office

I always had a long rectangular office desk before. I decided when I planned our renovation that, as a new mom, it would be more practical to have my office on our open space main floor. This way, the kitchen will be nearby to cook dinner and the baby would have plenty of space to play, bounce or sleep close to me. Even without the kid, I adore my new office space. It is really more practical.

Key Features to Look For

The challenge was to find a stylish desk that would fit in a 47-inch wall. And it needed to look great since it is located on an open area, juts next to the living room.

I was delightful when my husband told me that he was given me as a pregnancy gift a mid-century icon desk. He knew that I admire the design of Nelson Swag Leg Desk. This desk is not just a pretty face. I am still surprised by its well-thought storage spaces.  Even with its minimal storage compartment, I am able to keep everything that I need on a daily basis. I connect my laptop to a 23-inch monitor. Therefore, a raised shelf is a must for me. I found out that since the Swag Leg desk is more deep (28.5 inches) than many home office desks, my laptop screen does not block the monitor like my old rectangular desk used to do.

Getting Rid of Cable Cluster

studiodesk by bluelounge

I partially solved the typical cable by buying the Compact Surge Protector from Belkin. It is not perfect but it is way better than with an ordinary surge protector. Does the solution can come from the desk itself? BlueLounge thinks so. They designed a desk that provides a clutter free working environment while you stay connected to all your peripherals.

studiodesk cable storage compartment

StudioDesk by BlueLounge has a sliding storage compartment where you can hide and plug surge protector bars, AC adapters, USB hubs, external hard drives, routers, chargers, and even a MacMini server along with the many accompanying cables. This way,a single cable will exit your desk to reach the wall power socket. An elongated slot across the width of the desktop allows the necessary peripheral & power cables to enter/exit at any point, thereby keeping the desktop clear of clutter. I think this is a brilliant concept.

studiodesk elongated slot for cables

I still prefer my Swag Leg desk, especially since the StudioDesk does not have a raised shelf. But if you are looking for an office desk with a more affordable price tag, you can take look at the StudioDesk to see if it is for you.

+ Nelson Swag Leg Desk for Herman Miller $1849 USD at Desgin Within Reach
+ StudioDesk by BlueLounge $599 USD


Prenatal Courses and Birth Plan | Getting Ready for the Baby

birth plan template

birth plan template

Since this will be my first child, I am glad that my husband and I took a childbirth class. I know more what to expect during labor. Our teacher was a nurse who had two kids and worked for 10 years in a delivery room. She gave us good tips about how our live is about to change.

Amongst the excellent advices she gave us, these struck me as the most important ones:

  • It is easy to forget since the baby requires so much of our time but the first priority of new parents should still be their partner. She made her point by saying that: 1) it’s best for the kids when parents are happy together 2) if you want more babies, you need a strong couple and 3) one day your kids will leave you, so pamper your relationship with your partner if you do not wish to be alone.
  • You should not be afraid to say no to people who want to visit the baby if you are too tired to entertain them. A girlfriend, who is also a mom, told me at my baby shower, you simply say “This is not a good time.” You may need to explain to friends and family members without a kid why you suggest another day, but parents will immediately understand what you mean.
  • Be prepared for a hard time during the first 6 weeks. Then, it will get easier. After the first 6 weeks, schedule one day or night out as a couple. Go see a movie, eat at a romantic restaurant, or do whatever you like to do together.
  • Do not do a birth plan since you will, most likely, be disappointed. Deliveries rarely happen as you planned them. It could be for medical reasons and simply because your preoccupations changed in the heat of the moment. I have a friend who prepared CDs with the music she would like to play during the labor. When the time came, she forgot to play the music.
  • A list of what to bring to the hospital and a list of the essentials for taking care of the baby.
  • The infant care session taught me a lot. I feel more prepared now.

Having said that, you must have an opinion on how you wish to give birth. Throughout the childbirth class, the teacher explained what are our options. This enabled me to determine what was important to me. I discussed some points with my husband when the decision had an impact on him. I believe that looking at a birth plan template is useful. The point is to simply see the plan as a set of guidelines but to keep in mind that you must stay flexible.

Here are two great sources for birth plan:
+ Tips on writing a birth plan at
+ Birth Plan template at Women’s Healthcare Topics


Holiday Printables Round-Up – Part 1: Planning

Holiday Printables :: christmas shopping gift list

Holiday Printables :: shopping lists :: holiday planner and to-do lists

There are so many amazing FREE printables available for Christmas. So many, in fact, that we had to split our round-up into four parts! Part 1 is all about planning, with several cute and clever printable options that will have you writing lists just for fun.

How many shopping lists will you write during the holiday season? Keep them cute – and your budget in check – with this printable from Pink Peacock Designs. Whether you print the complete organized or the blank version, this planner from Giver’s Log will help you have an ultra-organized handmade holiday. This printable list from All Sorts is a colorful and versatile option for all your holiday to-dos.

Holiday Printables :: christmas shopping gift checklist

Instead of writing separate lists for shopping, wrapping and shipping, download this smart checklist from A Typical Type A.

Up next in our holiday printable round-up: decorations!

+ Holiday Shopping List from Pink Peacock Designs
+ Handmade Holiday Organizer from Giver’s Log
+ Jolly Holiday List from All Sorts
+ Christmas Gift Lists from A Typical Type A


Introducing Our New Festive Guides

our first festive guide: halloween

our first festive guide: halloween

I am pleased to announce a new feature that we added to the site. Our Festive Guides will be  tailored to suit to the time of the year. The goal is to centralize the best tips, inspirations and stories about popular annual holidays. The best ideas are neatly organized so you can easily read the posts that contain the information that you are looking for.

Each Festive guide covers one annual celebration. I started with an Halloween guide. Then, I will run a Thanksgiving guide followed by a Christmas and New Year guide. I hope that the festive guides will be handy for you. Again, I am sending a huge thank to my developing team for making my vision a reality.

+ Inspiration Center for Halloween 2010


Great Kitchen Tips by Samantha Pynn

kitchen by Samantha Pynn

kitchen by Samantha Pynn

I love the open shelves of this kitchen designed by Samantha Pynn. We all dream of building a kitchen from scratch but for monetary and something, time constraints, it is not always possible. Samantha Pynn is known for trying to give a second life to furniture. We saw her operating her design touch on Pure Design that aired on HGTV. And the results are always exquisite. I am all for trying to reuse or repurpose furniture or kitchen cabinets with good bone and in still good condition.

refreshing a kitchen by Samantha Pynn

Last June, Samantha shared her top tips to Spice up your kitchen on The National Post. It goes from having  your cabinet doors professionally painted at a paint shop, to updating your backsplash with gorgeous tiles or marble tiles, up to replacing your sink and faucet. You will find on that same article the pros and cons of the various countertop surfaces. Have a notepad next to you before reading her article because it is filled with sound advices.

You can also read what Holly of Decor8 thinks about Samantha’s design on a post she published earlier today.

+ Samantha Pynn
+ photos: Virginia Macdonald, all rights reserved.