The Happy Blogger Photography Workshop + A Winner

the happy blogger studio I love photography.  And I'm talking about real photos, not the ones you filter and post on Instagram.  It takes real skill, a good eye and years of training to capture beautiful, high-resolution photographs which is why I really respect artists who do this for a living.  Being a blogger and designer,  I obviously love the perfectly styled photos that you see in magazines but what I also find fascinating are images that tell a story.

So when my girl Melissa from The Sweet Escape decided to hold a photography workshop with the crazy talented Maya Visnyei, I knew it would be a great opportunity for me to learn more about this craft.

the happy blogger studio

The Happy Blogger Studio

The Happy Blogger Studio

Of course we had some fun photoshoots and some yummy treats to devour...

happy blogger studio

the happy blogger studio

The Happy Blogger Studio

The happy blogger photography workshop

via The Sweet Escape

I've had my camera for several years now so I do know my way around it pretty well but I was eager to pick up any tips and tricks from a seasoned pro.  Maya was so helpful and answered all of our questions no matter how basic they were!  Some things I did take away from the workshop were how to manually set the white balance on your photographs with a grey card (what a difference that makes!) and how to set up a simple light box in your home.  Maya's studio has amazing natural light so it didn't take much to get me inspired.  Here are some shots I took that day:

The Happy Blogger Studio

the happy blogger studio

The Happy Blogger Studio

The Happy Blogger Studio

Overall, I had a great time and it was fun to be around other individuals who were eager to learn more about photography.  Thanks Melissa and Maya for such a great workshop!

If you missed out on this one, you can stay in the loop by checking out The Happy Blogger website.

The Happy Blogger Studio Photography Workshop

via The Sweet Escape



Thanks to everyone who joined the $100 Minted giveaway.  The winner is Tricia!  I will be in touch soon to send you the $100 credit.  Happy Shopping!

It's Black. It's White.

When you look at a b&w photograph, instead of your eyes focusing on certain colours, your eyes are attacted to the true textures and form of the subject.  That's why I can't get enough of this colour combo.  It's just too damn good.  It's so classic and clean and I never get tired of it.

I'd love to give my bathroom a b&w makeover and I'm still wanting to paint a couple of walls black in my condo. Perhaps 2014 will be the year?

Photo credits:  1 | 2 | 3| 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Love On Sunday on The Marion Housebook

the marion housebook Today is the day I get to share my exciting news!  I am BEYOND thrilled to say that I will now be a contributor on Emma Reddington's blog, The Marion Housebook!

via Kristin Sjaarda

Emma's eclectic style is a constant source of inspiration for me and many other bloggers and designers across the globe.  As a mother of 2 children, home editor of Canada's top women's magazine and a successful blogger, she's living proof that if you keep doing what you love, somehow everything will fall into place.

emma reddington quote via West Elm

So join me every Wednesday over at The Marion House Book as I will be sharing anything and everything that inspires me.  You can check out my first post today.  Hope to see you there!

Hello 2014.

Last New Year, I posted about making 2013 awesome.  The background of that image is a large canvas that hangs in my dining room wall.  It used to be soft shades of pink, blue, gold and white but now it looks like the above.  The appearance is much bolder now and doesn't really make sense to anyone but me.  And I can't help but notice that much like this painting, I have evolved too.  The more I experience and the more I learn, the louder and bolder my voice becomes.

Over the past year, I have pushed myself way out of my comfort zone.  I've taught myself how to be uncomfortable because every time I did that or took a chance on something I loved, something great happened.

When I started this blog, I had no idea where it would take me.  I had no goals and no plan.  The only thing I was sure of was my excitement to express my creativity and finally share what I love.  And if people actually liked it, bonus!

So besides eating my way through the holidays (I'm talking extra poundage.  My jeans are feeling mighty snug), I had a chance to reflect, re-charge and gain new inspiration for some exciting events, projects and opportunities in the year ahead.  I will be marrying the love of my life this year and I have some very exciting projects that I can't wait to share with you all!

Thanks again to everyone who has supported me and continue to read my blog.  I have met so many talented people over the past year who inspire me and teach me things without even knowing that they do.  I can't wait to see what new challenges and opportunities await all of us.  I hope to keep creating, sharing and doing what makes me happy.  I hope you'll continue with me on this journey!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

merry christmas, loveonsunday It's crunch time, people.  Only 2 days left before Christmas and I hope all of you are sitting at home (with power!), warm and toasty with a cup of hot chocolate.  I will be spending the next couple of days wrapping presents, baking, sewing and enjoying some quality time with my family and friends.  I will be unplugging the laptop until the new year- a much needed break and I'm so looking forward to it!

Thanks to all of you for your continued support and encouragement.  You have all made this year a successful and memorable one for me.  I wish you and your families an awesome Christmas and may the holidays refresh your spirit and bestow upon you new inspiration, love, happiness and good health in the New Year!

xo, Amy




West Elm and Chatelaine Holiday Shopping Event

west elm and chatelaine event 2 of my favourites under one roof plus food, shopping and great company?  Yes please.  West Elm is pretty much my go-to for home decor and Chatelaine...well, I don't think I need to elaborate on that one.  Last night I got to mingle with other bloggers as well as chat with some of the editors from Chatelaine magazine.  Fun times!

Each editor shared their must-haves for the holiday season and my favourite was Emma's fireplace scene.  I'm loving all the natural textures and pieces she chose for this look.

west elm and chatelaine event

west elm and chatelaine event

west elm and chatelaine event

west elm and chatelaine event

west elm and chatelaine event

west elm and chatelaine event

west elm and chatelaine event

west elm and chatelaine event

I left with a few things such as a scented candle (my must-have for the holidays!), a throw blanket and this cute little tea towel which I think I may have to frame in my kitchen.  Just a little reminder for the dishwasher in the house ;)

A Scandinavian Style Christmas

scandinavian style christmas decor It's during the holidays that I really wish I had a fireplace to sit around and a mantle to decorate.  You condo dwellers know what I'm talking about, right?  So I decided to use one large wall in my living room to create a focal point for the holiday season.  I love a good monochromatic colour scheme so I decided to go Scandinavian style with this one.  Something about the muted tones, rustic style and texture really draw me in.

scandinavian christmas

Oh, and the best part about this project is that I didn't spend one single cent!  *high-five*

I had a bunch of branches in a tall vase in my entry way and they just so happened to fit the entire width of my wall.  I stacked them and wrapped some wire around the middle and tied the ends of the sticks with some left over grey yarn.   Surprisingly, it held together nicely and I love the juxtaposition of the soft yarn against the rough branches.

scandinavian style christmas

I then took some left over pine cones, more yarn, and tied them up on the lower branches.  I also had some clear snowflake ornaments that weren't being used and added those as well.

scandinavian christmas

scandinavian christmas

On the console table I included my deer antlers (of course) and an old bakery jar filled with more pine cones and clear lights.  I'm sure over the next couple of days I'll be adding a few more pieces to the branches but right now this is my favourite spot in my house!

scandinavian style christmas

What have you done to get ready for the holidays?  There's a ton of inspiration out there and below are a few links to some of my faves:

Hazelnuts turned mini wreath ornaments by North Story

Modern paper tree garlands by Nalle's House

and Melissa from The Sweet Escape is doing a DIY Holiday Week

Happy Decorating!


Blog Brunch Toronto

blog brunch toronto This past Saturday I attended a Blog Brunch hosted by Melissa of The Sweet Escape.  I rarely pass up the opportunity to chat with some lovely lady bloggers especially when you get to indulge in something that looks like this:

brazen head brunch, brazen benedict

It's called the Brazen Benedict and it's absolutely delicious.  Probably not the healthiest item on the menu but so worth the extra calories!  Brazen Head is now one of my top breakfast destinations.  You must go!

The atmosphere was so cozy and inviting.  The large Christmas tree, warm fireplace and rustic decor helped us forget about the frigid temperatures outside.

brazen head toronto

brazen head toronto restaurant

And check out these pretty Christmas cards designed by Nicki from Life I Design.  She brought an assortment for us to choose from.  How sweet, right?  (and of course I picked the one with macarons on them!)

cards by Life I Design

blog brunch toronto

blog brunch toronto

Clockwise: Dani, Michelle, Melissa, Casey, Lindsey, Nicki is missing (took this photo), Alyssa, Me, Renee and Sara.

It was great to see some familiar faces and meet some new ones as well.  I'm always eager to pick the brains of other bloggers, hear their frustrations and share some of mine as well.  So thanks to Melissa for organizing such a great brunch and to all the ladies who attended.  It was informative and fun and such a great start to my weekend!

blog brunch toronto

via The Sweet Escape


My Bedroom Wall. Any Ideas?

loveonsunday bedroom This here is my bedroom.  It needs help.  Big time.  What to do....hang a large canvas?  Create an art wall?  a crazy head board?  Or how about a suspended DIY art installation?  HELP.

We used to have a set of my photographs hanging over our bed but since we did a little re-arranging and moved our bed around this is what I'm working with.  OH and wait until you see my fancy shmancy night stand...

loveonsunday bedroom before

Yeah that's right, I don't have one.  That's my iPhone charger hanging off the side of the chair (I actually don't charge my iPhone in my room anymore and I'm sure you can guess why).

I'm kind of embarassed to show these pics because they're pretty much 'before' photos and I have no 'afters' to share.  And for someone who loves decorating, this is pretty darn sad.  My excuse:  I'm always busy.  I'm either working on graphic design projects or helping other people re-decorate so my place gets put on the back burner.

I could really use some help and I would LOVE to hear any of your suggestions in the comments!

the sweet escape blog

On another note.  Since there's no prettiness to show you here, you can check out my guest post over at The Sweet Escape.  Melissa is one of my favourite bloggers who is also a graphic designer (woot, woot!) and she asked me to share some of my favourite gifts for vintage lovers.  So head on over and check it out!

Happy weekend everyone!

Behind the scenes with Chatelaine (Part 3)

Chatelaine, December Holiday Issue, Behind the scenes Here it is.  The third and final installment of my behind the scenes experience with Chatelaine!

By the way, did you get your copy?  It's on the newstands now so grab it people.  The holiday issue is chock full of design ideas and yummy desserts!  And it's also very pretty (sidenote:  out of all the Canadian decor mags, I believe Chatelaine has the best use of typography.  If you didn't already notice, you will next time you're standing at the grocery checkout line.  Compare and you will see.  They use the best fonts!  And yes, fonts are a big deal to me.).

I was able to watch a full day of photography and styling as Emma and her team put together some amazing shots for the December Issue's '12 Days of Decorating.  Chatelaine approached their favourite designers and bloggers to share some of their holiday decorating ideas.  And now that the issue has been released, I can share more of the fun, work in progress photos!

chatelaine behind the scenes

This first image was taken in Emma's living room.  I'm still amazed at how they managed to mount that deer head so perfectly.  From what I recall, they pretty much eyeballed the centre, busted out the concrete drill and hung that baby up.  I was pretty impressed.

behind the scenes with Chatelaine, December issue

And can you believe the wreath on the left was actually held up by hand while the room was being photographed?  The room was actually quite dark so I had to edit the below photo.  It was a dark and gloomy day so it was fascinating to watch them shoot the scene with no extra lighting.  A great tip I learned:  an extremely slow shutter speed is perfectly fine when you have a tripod.

behind the scenes with Chatelaine photoshoot

Chatelaine, behind the scenes

This shot for hostess gift ideas was taken right by the window on a gorgeous antique wooden desk.

Chatelaine behind the scenes, christmas decor

I love the vintage tea tins as well as Emma's old box of matches which were added to the photo last minute.

behind the scenes with Chatelaine, hostess gifts

And check out this amazing gift wrapping.  I LOVE making all my gifts look extra pretty for the holidays.  Presentation counts!

Chatelaine behind the scenes

This was also taken in Emma's living room.  I love how they used a weathered chair for the backdrop.  Such a simple piece which adds so much character!  You can see from the photo on the left how dark the room actually was.

behind the scenes with chatelaine, homesense giftwrap

And finally, this wreath created by Jillian Harris.  Interior designer and creative director of Charlie Ford Vintage.  She created this wreath with old sheets of music.  And it has lights!

chatelaine behind the scenes

This was taken in Emma's bedroom.  How gorgeous is that mirror and fireplace?

behind the scenes with Chatelaine, wreath by Jillian Harris

If there's one thing that stood out right from the get go, it was how calm everyone was during the entire shoot.  I honestly expected the atmosphere to be a little more chaotic and I was even terrified of getting in the way but that wasn't the case at all.  Everyone was so laid back and welcoming and it was great to watch Emma and Andrea style up a storm and create some amazing shots for the December issue.  Some simple tips I took away by just observing and asking a few questions:

  • take your time and don't rush (simple but I'm guilty of this.  Especially when you want a great shot before the sun goes down!)
  • music helps to set the mood
  • a very slow shutter speed can work well for shooting as long as you have a tripod
  • don't focus on making everything look so perfect; trust your vision
  • look for other items in your own home that can add a layer of interest or help make the scene look more realistic

Sometimes it's the simple things that are often overlooked, right?  These are definitely points to remember when I'm styling or photographing pieces for my blog and hopefully it helps you in some way as well!

chatelaine behind the scenes, Emma Reddington

What an inspiring and invaluable experience.  Thanks again to Emma and Chatelaine for an experience I will never forget!

Missed Part 1 and 2?  You can check it out here:

Behind the Scenes with Chatelaine, Part 1 Behind the Scenes with Chatelaine, Part 2 (An Interview with Emma Reddington)