A few years ago I installed a Ring video doorbell. I was going to write a long post about it, but I’ll save you the log list of grievances and tell you that it didn’t work for us (one major issue – we had a package stolen from our porch and the video quality was so awful you couldn’t see who it was). After some research and knowing what I didn’t like about the Ring system, I decided on replacing it with the Nest system. After a few weeks of use, I can happily say, I’m in love.
So what we bought and love….
We put a Nest Cam Outdoor (not the IQ one) at the back of our house where we have a laneway and we park our car occasionally. This camera is super easy to install, it’s plug in and is made for outdoor use. We had electricity going to our shed, so it was an easy install – we placed the camera facing our parking spot at the back. Plug and go….
The camera detects both movement and, people. It will alert you by saying it see’s either, but it’s helpful that it differentiates between the two for when you’re scrolling through the history of activity. The racoons are our biggest offender back there. We know their whole evening routine.
The front of the house was a little more tricky as the Nest Hello doorbells need to be hardwired. We didn’t have an existing doorbell at the front of our house (The Ring was a battery system, which was a whole other set of issues) so we ended up hiring an electrician to come to our house to install it for us. (Side note, I found an electrician through the Jiffy app and I was REALLY happy with the service. I’d recommend hiring someone to do this, but it is something you could technically do.
I bought these at Lowes and Amazon separately, based on what pricing worked out to be the best. Lowes had a coupon if you spent over a certain amount. These things aren’t inexpensive, but they are worth it based on me using it the last few weeks. The video quality is AMAZING and I 100% recommend this line.
Ps., Although I would say this upfront at the beginning of the post (also, not in some clever creative writing way to hide it), this post is not sponsored. I’m not a #Partner and this is not an #ad. xo
We have a mid century wood burning fireplace in our garden, a Craigslist score from a few years ago. It has added so much fun to our garden and is the centre of countless memories with friends and family. We’ve used it every season, each season bringing it’s own unique experience. (eg. Winter is especially memorable!) Our garden has definite “zones” and this wood burning fireplace is at the back of our property, closest to our studio. We find that the adults sit around the fireplace as the kids play in the lane, or, board games in the studio and pop over to join us and of course they come by to roast marshmallows. It really works as our cottage in the city and it’s perfect because it’s not too close to our house.
We get so many questions about this fireplace, my recommendation is to check out eBay and other second hand sites and search things like “Retro Fireplace“, Cone Fireplace, or Mid Century Freestanding Fireplace. I had been searching for years, with no great idea of where one would go, and a random evening of searching (I tend to obsess over hunting for certain things) led me to a Toronto store selling one off in a moving sale.
Now, with our new deck off our house (I’ve yet to fully reveal but you can see it in most photos), and it being our first full Summer having use of it, we’ve been playing around with furniture placement and, how we’ll utilize the deck. As the weather warmed up, we started to think about adding a propane fireplace on our upper deck, so that we could get some less-work-fire going to enjoy, and, with less woodsy smell that the wood burning fire generates. I also didn’t want a wood burning fireplace on our deck for obvious reasons, but also because of the smoke that would be so close to our neighbours. A propane / gas hookup firepit is a great solution. I had fallen for this one shown at Surfrider Malibu, which I had posted before…
I searched and searched, and with Spring comes great sales. I spotted a sale at Rona for some fire pits and one in particular that (I liked was on sale. I did a reverse image search of the fire pit and discovered it was sold at a TON of different retailers and is called the Real Flame Baltic Square Propane Table Glacier Grey. Costco came in at the least expensive. Apart from the cost being less at Costco, their return policy is amazing. The staff are amazing, and I knew that with such a big purchase, should something go wrong, I wanted to deal with a company that I knew I could get a hold of, and, stood behind their products. Costco checks those boxes. Plus free delivery, so yeah. There’s that!
Now, the reviews of the table were awful on Costco’s website, but searching the same product on other sites, the reviews were more favourable. The main problem seems to be the finish coming off over seasons. I’m hoping that with that knowledge we can maintain this piece for as long as possible with the right care. It comes with a cover, which stays on the table when it is not in use…
I apparently like to take pictures of my feet.
Anyhow, so far, so good. The propane tank for us sits tucked away between chairs on the deck and we purchased a propane cover from Lowes as it was by far the least expensive of all as it’s metal and not a concrete look like the table.
If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen my newest creative exploration into jewelry. I’ve been looking for long, affordable, beautiful gold necklaces and was having a hard time finding something I loved. So I made my own. I tend to do that. 😉 Here’s my post from Instagram, and you can find them over on the LindsayStephenson.shop or, PennyPaperCo.com. xoxo
“I could never find beautiful gold necklaces that were long enough for me. Or affordable. So I decided to design my own. (They’re over on @pennypaperco) I wore them out tonight for an event and I keep touching them with love. One says “mama” because that’s the first thing our babies usually call us, and I’m lucky that I still get called it today. The other is my sun rising charm – inspired by the last year of living mindfully, seeking a healthier life both physically and mentally. Every day the sun sets and rises and we have a clean slate.
As an artist it’s hard to sometimes do new things. A lot of my work is cute, and kid inspired. But I’m also inspired by my friends, my family, and travel. I’m grateful that I don’t have to rely on another company to pick up on my designs to make something. Sometimes you just have to make it yourself. Meaning – don’t wait for someone else to give you the permission to do something. Just do it and figure it out. Xo”
I’ve been browsing Etsy the past few days – reorganizing my favourite items. My old page of favourites moved and is now here and I’m feverishly adding things I want to collections. One of the things I’m drawn to right now is jewelry – I’m a sucker for great necklace and earrings, many of my new favourites below. Rings are harder for me because I seem to have monster fingers that nothing fit on. As a side note —- I’ve been googling how to make my own rings…. the school of YouTube has been trying to teach me. I may tackle that DIY this Summer when I can be outdoors in the studio and take some time to learn a new craft. Until then, here are some of my faves!
Our deck gets a lot of wear and tear over the winter, snow sitting on it, us walking over it. It got pretty grimy and gross …. so as soon as the weather got slightly warmer I broke out my power washer and started going to town on getting the deck in better shape for the Summer.
After doing a once over with the power washer, I washed down the deck with a homemade solution that my friend gave me the heads up on. I used 10 cups warm water + 2 cups TSP + 2 cups Bleach. You liberally get it on your deck and after it sits for a few minutes, you start to clean the deck using a deck brush. (I used one from the dollar store).
A quick rinse to get the solution off, after you have brushed it and gotten dirt off, leaves you with a ridiculously fresh deck. Next up I’m going to go over the deck with the Benjamin Moore Arborcoat Waterproofer – a clear coat product that makes the deck last even longer.
I blame it on the Kardashians. I wish I didn’t have to admit that. But I will. I saw Kim Kardashian sporting the ugliest neon outfits like six months ago, maybe a year. And I was like “WTF is that”. But I also thought to myself, “this is going to become a trend”. An as an 80’s kid, I was kind of, secretly excited. (I mean, our outfits were kind of awesome) As a designer, you start to pin point where trends start and more often than not it’s with fashion. Then into accessories, home goods, and so on. So if you see a trend on the runway, even if in the wildest of outfits, you will see it maybe incorporated in more subtle ways – like on an iphone case. So although I’m kind of digging the neon, I can see incorporating it more into my life via subtle ways as opposed to a bright sweater or a watch.
2019 is my year for trying to choose healthier options. I’m slowly replacing things in my cupboard or pantry as they are used up and replacing them with healthier alternatives. One of the changes I’ve brought into my home has all natural cleaning products.
House Cleaner // I use the dish soaps and new spray cleaners (OB-SESSED) daily. They are infused with the most beautiful scents and make you feel good about cleaning with natural ingredients, but they also get the job done and make your house smell ridiculously fresh.
Deodorant // I go between the Rose Deodorant and the Super Strength one. I’m on a Rose kick these days (I can’t get enough of it) but I also am obsessed with the scent of cedar and saffron – that the extra strength one has. When Oscar gets older, and needs deodorant he will not be using an of the chemical ones, and the Super Strengh one is a perfect scent for guys (or, the unscented). If you’re unsure about whether it works (it does) or if you like a scent (you will surely find one you will like, opt for a travel size first to get a feel for it.
Who I Read For Healthy Choices: Check out Karalynne’s Instagram page – @Just.Ingredients for some great info on what to choose to bring into your home or, put on your skin, or feed your family. It has been a bit of an eye opener for me!
I’m getting a few new pieces for my wardrobe and am trying to buy quality pieces over the fast fashion that I perhaps indulged in over the years. My friend Erin reintroduced me to JCrew and the fact that they ship to Canada and they pay the duties (um. hello. awesome!) I have purchased a few things (like that top above, and a pair of heels) and if the size is wrong or your don’t like them – you can return them to any Canadian Jcrew store.
We escaped the Toronto cold and headed off to Mexico to Paradisus La Esmeralda. The pricing at this particular resort has been more than we could afford the last few years but in a moment of “get us out of the cold or I’m going to die” during the winter, I searched up the resort and there were some crazy deals so we jumped on it and booked. All inclusive is not my favourite type of travel, but it certainly is the easiest and good for the whole family. You know what you’re paying, no one has to drive from point A to B, and the hospitality is awesome. If you’re looking to book, we recommend Katherine Lewis who has handled most of our vacations. We booked this one on our own because we stumbled on a sale and didn’t want to loose out – but if you’re planning ahead, an agent like Katherine is awesome.
I went to a sound bath in a salt cave at a new spot in Toronto called Hoame. I went to one in California last year and found it so helpful – Meditation and mindfulness has helped me immensely over the winter with leading a healthier lifestyle and taking the occasional class like this are little treats. I wish I could do it more often but it can all add up to be expensive. The nice thing is – it’s like a little refresher class to get you practicing meditation at home – all of these things you can do at home for free, but sometimes a class is a nice way to spend an evening.
Other things this to kickstart this week:
I bought this nailpolish after seeing Kelly Lynn rave about it and she was right. I’m hooked. (I’m trying to cut out the mani / pedi trips to save some money, and do the “at home” manicure and this is a nice treat.
Heads up! Serena and Lily are having their Spring Design Event! Staring today, March 19, 2019 and through to March 25, 2019 you can get 20% off in stores and online with the code INSPO. We’re looking for outdoor furniture for our new back deck, so I have my eye on a number of pieces in their outdoor collection, and I’ve also always coveted the Carson side chair, and am considering them for the eat in kitchen when we revamp that in a bit.