{ BlogPodium: what’s in your bag? }

Wow, time is going by at lightening speed. I feel like I was just at Alt Design Summit in San Fran and now it’s already time for Toronto’s BlogPodium this coming Saturday. I’m really looking forward to meeting local bloggers and experts. One of my goals is to do more collaborations in the future so it will be great to build relationships and make contacts that can grow beyond the conference.  

But on to the important stuff. What will I bring? And also what will I wear, but I haven’t quite tackled that one yet. There’s nothing worse than being unprepared at a conference and you also don’t want to overpack and have to carry around a huge bag all day. Here’s everything I think you need to be ready for your day at BlogPodium. (and don’t forget your business cards!)

1 / hydrate2 / take lots of notes 3 / a sweater for cold conference rooms4 / pretty case for your iPad 5 / and a super cute iPhone case for lots of social media snapshots 6 / a case to hold business cards, yours & all the ones you’ll collect7 / don’t forget your glasses for presentations 8 / a pretty pen for all your note taking9 / hair ties to keep your beautiful mane out of your way 10/ a hands-free and cute tote bag to carry all your stuff


{artist showcase: Fabienne Rivory}

How much do you love these pieces from Paris-based artist Fabienne Rivory? This is her 2013 collection named MiroirThe simplicity of the black & white reflective photos with the perfectly-places yet free flowing pops of watercolour are beautiful. Do you think if I moved to Paris I could make art this lovely? 

You can have one of these beauties in your own home – check out her print shop

{GOOD EATS: chocolate zucchini loaf}

Guys I just had to pass along this recipe. It’s so good that I made twice in two days! Plus everyone seems to have zucchinis laying around that they don’t know what to do with. 

I took this original recipe and cut out much of the sugar, upped the whole wheat flour and made it a loaf rather than a cake and ditched the glaze all together. It’s super easy and it’s absolutely delicious. I pretty much guarantee you will love it.   

• 2 medium or 1 large zucchini
• 5 tbsp cocoa powder
• 2 tbsp soft butter
• 3 eggs
• 3/4 c. sugar
• 1 1/2 c. applesauce
• 1 tbsp vanilla
• 1 c. all purpose flour
• 1 c. whole wheat flour
• 1 tsp baking soda
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 tsp cinnamon

• preheat oven to 350 degrees
• grate zucchini and spread out on tray with paper towel to absorb moisture. Leave for at least 30-60 minutes.
• combine sugar, eggs, applesauce, zucchini, butter & vanilla until mixed well
• add all the remaining dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt, cinammon, cocoa powder)
• stir until all ingredients are thoroughly combined then place in well greased loaf pan
• cook on middle rack for 60-70 minutes until toothpick comes out clean

* makes one large loaf

{VINTAGE STYLE: black, brown & gold}

I’m very excited to bring you the first of many creative photo & style posts that I worked on with the talented Maya Visnyei. Maya and I met back in May when my loft was photographed for Covet Garden (pre-order here for November delivery). I can’t tell you how happy I was when she reached out recently and asked if I wanted to collaborate on some creative projects. As a blogger I’m kinda a one-woman-show doing everything from art direction, designing, DIY’s, cooking, writing, and 99% of the time also taking all my own photos. Being able to work with a professional is amazing because obviously she knows what she’s doing and I’m able to express my ideas with so much more quality for y’all to enjoy.

This was a style shot we did pulling from my personal vintage fashion collection. Since fall is in the air, I thought we would do an artistic style post showcasing a brown, black & gold palette. 

Although my closet is proof of how much I love colour, one exception is how much I love the combo of mixing brown leather with black and pops of gold. It’s such a classic combo that you can wear to a formal event, a night out with friends, an afternoon shopping or even to work. The black background really makes your vintage brown piece stand out. And of course you can always add some colour with a great silk scarf or some colourful lips/nails.  

Are you loving it?! Do you want to fill your closet with some beautiful vintage style? Well you’re in luck if you live in Toronto because much of what you see in this shot will be for sale this coming Sunday at the Leslieville Flea. I’ll be there for the first time trying to purge some of my vintage goods to make room in my closet & loft. If you’re not in the Toronto area, you can get this look with a few mouse clicks on Etsy. Here’s a collection of great black, brown & gold finds. 

BONUS: as a special bonus, if you’re in love with that beautiful silk scarf from The Birdcage Vintage use promo code TAKE10 to receive 10% off exclusively for The Sweet Escape readers. Score!

shop Etsy: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9
>>PHOTOGRAPHYMaya VisnyeiSTYLING: Melissa / The Sweet Escape 

{ EVENTS: outdoor rooftop movie night }

Something I’ve wanted to do ever since I moved into my place with a big rooftop patio is host a movie night up there. It only took 5 years but I made it happen! 

Here was the invite I designed. I kept the guest list pretty small because I wanted everyone to have a cozy seat. It also happened to be a musically inclined guest list so I thought it would be fun to rewind a bit with one of my favourites, Almost Famous. So many great actors that I love. I totally forgot that Zooey Deschanel played William’s older sister. 

I created a comfy floor seating area using a big fabulous velvet-like bed cover I found on a thrifting hunt awhile back and then got a bunch of colourful big pillows from Homesense and gathered up a bunch of blankets. You can tell what my favourite colours are because everything I pulled together happens to match – lots of pink/orange/green/mustard. The patio plants added lots of colour and looked great. And of course what’s a summer patio without a string of lights? These are from Target. Pick them up while they’re in season or else they’re impossible to find.  

No movie night would be complete without the snacks right? It’s usually more like, what movie would you like to watch with your night of snacking? I went with classic butter popcorn, cold sodas and a tray full of chocolate & candy. Yum! Then, just in case you didn’t read the invite closely & to add to the decor I made a handmade marquee-style sign with some chalkboard paint and an old frame. This can me reused for a bunch of events. 

Here’s a great panoramic of the set up. I bought a portable photostand and I happen to have some photo backdrops from work but you could just drape a white sheet as well. And that view! not bad. I wanted to move away from the traditional black/white/red movie theme and instead use lots of bright summer colours. 

It was a perfect night. My only regret is waiting so late in the summer to do it because I would love to do it again. Maybe I can host a fall version with more blankets and hot chocolate instead of soda on ice.
It was a successful & fun movie night with friends on a beautiful summer night.I’ll leave you with my favourite scene from the movie. Every time I hear this song I think of this scene. So good!