Deck Style

I'm so excited to finally share with you my deck style today! AMH and I designed this deck ourselves, which I affectionately refer to as the "Deck in the clouds", three years ago. I call it that because when you are sitting down all you can see is sky and clouds. We have a walk out basement so this deck is 12 feet in the air. The deck is 250 sq.ft with solid privacy walls, 4 ft 4 in. high on all three sides (well above regulation) with two louvered panels on either side. We really wanted this deck to be safe for our boys and dogs all while giving us some privacy while entertaining (subdivisons are a little like living in a fish bowl). 

We choose cedar for our wood because we love the look and because it was not significantly more than pressure treated but it is work. It had greyed over the last few seasons and to bring back the bright colour of the wood we had to pressure wash it. It was messy, took forever and even damaged a few boards. Cedar is a soft wood and you have to be very careful when using a pressure washer on it. We intend to seal it soon so that we can try and prevent it from greying again. 

The deck is hands down Colton White's favourite spot in the house. He will sit out here all day long, even in the dead of winter with three feet of snow covering the deck. I have so many outtakes from taking these photos of him just walking into view. Now that we have chairs out here we spend many nights listening to records on the deck and to Colton, there is no better way to spend the evening. 

The before pictures were pretty much nothing. We had a table with six chairs, our umbrella, our BBQ and that's it. It wasn't until I found these faux bamboo chairs on Kijiji for $40 total that the deck really started to come together. An old side table got a coat of white paint to serve as our coffee table, and our blue and white garden stools from the living room are additional side tables.

I bought La Croix while on a Target run mainly because I wanted to see what the fuss was all about. Good grief I love this stuff! I drink water like it's going out of style (I dehydrate very easily) but I don't like sugary drinks. La Croix impacts a very subtle flavour into carbonated water and in the last few weeks I have not left the house without one in my hand (my favourite is coconut). I will be loading the car up on our next cross border trip! I placed a leftover scrap of stripped pillow fabric on the coffee table to make clean ups easy. Any spills just pool and can be wiped away! 

I'm so in love with my new pillows and I could not be more pleased on how they turned out. You can't go wrong with a classic blue and white stripe for summer and as soon as I saw the chinoiserie print I knew I had to have it! The only downside, it was very expensive fabric! I bought a half metre (or yard, I am terrible with measurements) just enough to make two pillow faces. I brought The Oldest with me to help pick out fabrics and he scoured the last chance bin to find a nice striped fabric to add to the back, for only $5. In total I spent $99 on fabric to make 4 outdoor pillows, 1 indoor one (for my living room), and a table runner for the outdoor dining table. I am reminded of this joke I once saw on Pinterest. 

I always serve ice tea on the deck. Happy Planet is a new to me brand of ice tea and I am in love. Organic raspberry iced tea with lime is refreshing without an overly sugary taste, a major plus in my books. I started drinking their smoothies for breakfast this summer and bonus...they're a Canadian company! It's a good idea to always have a fresh bottle in the fridge in case anyone stops by.

A few more details about our deck style; the elephant side table was a purchase from a local antique market (the previous owner glued a marble tile to the top to make it a larger table), the wicker drink coaster (on the blue and white stool) came from Goodwill, the outdoor lanterns are from Target, and the Boston fern behind the two chairs is on a black iron plant stand from Wal-Mart. 

I am a blanket hoarder. I have no problem admitting that. My husband travels frequently for work and over the years we have accumulated quite the collection of Mexican blankets which work great as shawls on cooler nights. I keep a basket of blankets at arms reach at all times in my living room and on the deck. This wicker basket was from Goodwill for $2. 

Everyone needs a good barcart. They are cute, and they serve a purpose! Having wheels is a plus in my books because it can go from the dining room to deck with little to no effort. I keep a basket filled with cocktail recipes on the bottom shelf and an assortment of liquors, mix and glasses on the top.  This little gold beauty is from Wal-Mart and cost me less than $100. A little modification that I plan on making is adding a hanging glass rack under the top shelf. 

The aisle runner for the table is leftover pillow fabric with a hole in the centre for the umbrella. White plates with wicker chargers are my favourites for casual dinners. The chargers are from Target and the plates are Restoration Hardware.

Actually, our table is a bit of a funny story. This is not the original table. The original one, that came with our six chairs, was a beautiful smoked glass top that smashed during the first season of owning it. It was a wicked wind storm and The Youngest was home alone when it happened. I got a very panicked phone call at the office and I raced home to make sure he was ok and to sweep. And sweep. And sweep. It was a giant mess and while it was not funny at the time (since outdoor furniture is crazy expensive) it's pretty funny now. We replaced the table with a cheaper, non-breakable plastic one from Canadian Tire. 

Let's take a few more looks around the deck...

And I leave you with Colton and his little ball. Thanks for coming along on my little deck style tour. I'm so happy that it is finally all finished. I am off to enjoy my deck in the clouds with a nice cold beverage. Cheers! 


Target: Lanterns, Chargers, Solar panel lights for louvers (Three packs of 2) 
WalMart: Barcart (sold out online, similar one from Target)
Fabricland: Pillow fabric
Homesense/Winners: Blue and white garden stools (similar options for under $100 here and here)
Kijiji: Chairs, small white table
Canadian Tire: Dining table
MeadowAcres Garden Centre: Dining chairs
Restoration Hardware: Plates

Dog Days of Summer

Outfit | Shirt: L.L. Bean (on summer clearance now!) | Shorts: Lilly Pulitzer | Bag: Tory Burch | Shoes: Payless | Sunnies: Cheapies, similar | Lipstick: Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer in Rhubarb |

The dog days of summer are here and from the looks of the weather forecast, it will be with us a while. Not that I'm complaining because this is Canada and we all know that snow is never far from our thoughts. 

I was out running errands with AMH and The Youngest, or better know as the kid who is searching the entire city for Pokemon GO, and in between the grocery store and lunch, we stopped by a local trail along the Grand River. The bridge you see in the background is the Freeport Bridge and it is protected under the Ontario Heritage Act. The first bridge was erected in 1820! There have been many modifications over the years to keep up with demand. This bridge is well travelled as it connects two of the largest cities in the Tri-Cities, Kitchener and Cambridge. 

I purchased this Summerlight Pullover Shirt in Coastal Blue from L.L. Bean in part because it was 60% off but also because this blast of hot weather is melting me. I am a fall lover through and through. It truly lives up to its name of summerlight, it is the lightest fabric (don't worry, its not see through) and exactly what I needed this weekend. Summer is all about easy dressing so I paired my blue shirt with some summer staples; white Lilly Pulitzer shorts (I swear by these shorts and have them in multiple colours!), tan wedges I picked up from Payless for around $20 and my tan Tory Burch crossbody, creating an easy weekend look perfect for grocery shopping or hunting Pikachu along a river. 

Tobermory Boat Cruise

Last weekend AMH, the boys, and I packed our car with a picnic lunch and headed out on a three hour journey to Tobermory, Ontario. I've heard many great things about Tobermory boat cruises and thought this would make a great summer activity for our family. After some googling (what did we ever do before Google?) we decided to book through Blue Heron Cruises. For our departure we selected a glass bottom boat tour over shipwrecks with a drop off on Flowerpot Island, and for our journey home we selected a speed boat. 

The Great Blue Heron has a small concession stand on board that serves drinks, snacks and you can purchase branded hats and shirts. There is also a small restroom on board. You can select to sit at the very top of the boat on bench seats, inside on bench seats, or stand outside, which is what we did.  We embarked at noon on an hour and a half cruise through Georgian Bay. We passed Big Tub Lighthouse, seen above, on our way to see the shipwrecks.  

There are two shipwrecks in Big Tub Harbour, Sweepstakes and City of Grand Rapids. With crystal clear water, shallow waters, it is quite easy to spot the shipwrecks.

We spent our journey on the bow of the boat but ran inside to view the shipwreck through the glass bottom. The Sweepstakes ran aground in the fall of 1885. It was towed to her present location and stripped of her equipment and cargo before eventually sinking. 

The City of Grand Rapids caught fire in 1907 while docked, and to prevent the fire from spreading to nearby boats and the town, they towed the ship out of the harbour and where it burned to the waterline and then sank. 

Outfit | Shorts: Old Navy | Shirt: Tommy Hilfiger | Sweater: Gap | Bag: L.L. Bean | Sunnies: From Camden Market (similar under $10!) |

The boat's Captain provided information on each site as we passed and I was really excited to dock on Flowerpot Island to see the actual flowerpot rock formations! The flowerpots are a type of sea stack. Wind, rain, and snow wore away at the once standing cliff. Strong rock remained and was shaped into something that looks like a flowerpot (or as I call it, a great photo op!).

For a bunch of city kids, my boys sure do enjoy the outdoors! The Youngest is quite the climber and there is not a rock formation on Beachy Cove that he did not scale. The Youngest also spent his day chasing seagulls and hunting for snakes #gross. 

While the water in Georgian Bay may look beautiful, it was freezing cold! The weather was cooler last Saturday, hovering around 22 degrees Celsius, which was nice but I think it made the water too cool for swimming in. That didn't seem to stop others on the island as they were swimming and splashing around. We did bring bathing suits and beach towels with us but we only put our feet in. 

We followed the hiking trail from Beachy Cove to the lightkeepers home. There is a museum with information about the island, a store to purchase cold drinks and snacks, and a front porch full of rocking chairs to sit a spell. They also have a checkerboard table between two rocking chairs that my boys spent a good amount of time sitting at.

After a few rounds of checkers we were off to see the cave. We walked through a forest of cedar, spruce and white pine. Flowerpot Island is home to some of the oldest living trees in the world! All over the island you can see cedars growing on top of the cliffs and rocks and some of these are over 1500 years old. The oldest tree found on the island is 1854 years old!

The entrance to the cave. I will warn you that there are a lot of stairs to make it up to the cave, it is not for the faint of heart. You are quite elevated so if you are afraid of heights, I suggest you do not look down!

There is a platform at the top of the stairs that allows you to look at the inside of the cave. The boys had their eyes peeled for bats but we didn't see any. The rock in this area, dolostone, formed as ancient coral reefs built up under a warm shallow tropical sea that covered this area some 425 million years ago. Glaciers reshaped this area over the last 25 million years and while looking at the walls of the cave you can see lines where the receding water levels have left their mark in the rock.

After hiking everywhere on the island and stopping for a picnic lunch, we were ready to head back to Tobermory on our second boat of the day, the Flowerpot Express! 

To say the express boat is fast would be an understatement! The Oldest and I were filming on our Snapchats and it came up as 59km! All the seating is open and we happened to board after they were full. The boat ride is not very long so we stood at the back of the boat which was a blessing in disguise. They make a few sharp turns and it was much better to be standing and handing onto the railing! Of course, that meant we got quite a bit of spray on us but we dried in the sun quickly. I also recommend bringing a hat on this ride to protect long hair.  

A few additional things I'd like to share about the boat rides and visiting the island:

Make sure to pre-book your boat. When we arrived to check in they had sold out the entire day and many people looking for a ride were turned away. 

The boats all depart on time. We were running late and had to run to catch the first boat. Leave yourself some time; 20-30 minutes to check in, park and walk/shuttle to the docks should be good. This will also help in securing a seat for those who do not want to stand.

There is no food, other than a few snacks on the island, so bring a packed lunch and very important, bring a garbage bag. You have the bring your refuse back to Tobermory with you as there are no garbage bags on the island. 

Cell phone reception is spotty on the island, which is to be expected in such a remote area.

Bring bug spray. They have biting flies on the island and they sure did love me.

Bring comfortable shoes or hiking boots. There is a lot to explore on the island and flip flops just don't cut it. 

And above all else, have yourself a great time! 

Many thanks to Blue Heron Cruises for such a lovely, adventure filled day! 

Summer Style

Outfit | Top: L.L. Bean | Shorts: Lilly Pulitzer | Bag: Old Navy (10 years old!) | Flip Flops: Havaianas | Lipstick: Marc Jacobs Kiss Kiss Bang Bang | Nails: Essie Bikini So Teeny

My summer style is light and breezy with sun kissed skin. I wear SPF everyday but always seem to get a little colour on my face and arms (dealing with a little too much sun on my nose right now). Blue and white is my favourite colour combination. It's classic in your home and on your clothes! I bought this shirt during L.L. Bean's summer sale and I absolutly love it. It's the right colour for me and is breezy like a Sunday morning, which coincidentally is when these pictures were shot! The Youngest and I were out picking up groceries and stopped by the local water fountain to snap a few photos. I later paid my photographer in ice cream sundaes. 

Walking into this weekend

Outfit | Shirt: LOFT | Jeans: Gap (on sale! 50% off and oh so comfy!) | Necklace: Banana Republic (old. Loving this and this!) | Sunnies: Ralph Lauren | Wedges: Payless | Wristlet: Louis Vuitton (came with my Neverfull) | Watch: Michael Kors | Lipstick: Bite Beauty in Radish

I am walking into this weekend like... thank goodness you are here! Show of hands, how happy are you this week is over. I've got both my hands in the air (and my kids are looking at me like I'm crazy). I'm just really excited this week is over (it was a long one y'all) and I can't wait to spend two glorious days out of the office and doing whatever I want. But first, we have to get to the end of today. I wore this outfit to work this week and loved it. I thought it might be a risk wearing white jeans into the office but no one seemed to notice so I think I will add them into the rotation for the summer. I have loved this Banana Republic necklace since the day it was first released a few years ago. It is one of the only things I have bought from BR for full price! The clerks told me this necklace was so popular that they would never discount it, or allow coupons, and they were true to their word. I bought it right before it sold out everywhere and I never once saw it on sale. I sure hope they release it again, or something similar, I missed out on the matching bracelet and would love to add it to my collection. 

Have a great weekend and I will see y'all back here Monday for another fashion post! 

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