Finding Time

Last night I got home from work, kissed my husband, fussed my dog, changed out of my work clothes and went to bed.

No, I wasn’t being lazy and going to bed at 6pm. I had stayed late at work, and by the time I got home I barely had time to relax for a few minutes before calling it a night. El Granto had foraged for dinner himself, and with the boxes on the counter I can see he relished on chicken fingers and tater tots.

I missed putting out the trash before the garbage pickup came. The dishes from last nights dinner (Portuguese BBQ which I picked up on the way home from work) still littered the counter. My tools and supplies from the weekends half finished projects covered the dining table. The floor had dog hair tumble weeds rolling past. The fridge contained only condiments and beer, and my thawing backyard is a minefield of a winters worth of melting dog turds. Tired, I walked past it all, changed into track pants, tossing my clothes on the ever growing laundry pile and headed for bed.

At the rate I’m going, we will be eating takeout and wearing mismatched socks for the foreseeable future.

As a thirty something couple in an fast paced urban environment, I can’t help but feel like we can’t be the only ones facing the same situation? How do successful women work long hours and maintain a home? Seriously? Because I would really like to know.

When both parts of the couple are working high demand jobs and putting in long hours, how does anyone find the time to mind the home? Put (homemade) food on the table?  I can’t even imagine adding kids to the equation. With relaxation and spending time with my loved ones a top priority for my free time (also, wine, hot baths and Netflix). Dusting has fallen to a pretty low priority.

odin and el granto
When it come to choosing between dusting and shenagans with these two weirdos, I am going to choose them every. single. time.

So you, my ingenious readers, can you offer me any advice on working hard, playing hard and still getting the laundry done? Because a girl can only wear mismatched socks for so long.



Wedding Shower Invites

I have the great honor of being a bridesmaid in my brother-in-laws upcoming wedding. He is marrying the most wonderful woman named Angela, who I cannot wait to have as part of my family! As the clock ticks down to the June wedding, we have ordered dresses, are thinking about hair and shoes, are planning the bachelorette party, and of course the wedding shower.

When my mother-in-law broached the subject of the wedding shower invites, I eagerly volunteered for invite duty. I absolutely adore stationary, and I even DIY’d my entire set of wedding invites.

DIY however was a bit out of the question for the shower invites. I just didn’t have the time.  DIYing invites is a HUGE commitment. I did however want something that was a bit more special than “could-have-been-done-on-my-home-printer” invites. I also wanted to make sure I stuck to a more casual invite, as the wedding is set in a vineyard barn. With rustic (yet polished) in mind, I set out shower invite sourcing. You can see some of my wedding shower ideas on my Bridal Shower Pinterest Board here.


Follow Kristen – Storefront Life’s board Bridal Shower on Pinterest.


After a ton of searching and waffling (too many good options!) I finally settled on the Delightful Bridal Shower invite from Minted, and it couldn’t be more perfect.

Minted Bridal Shower Invite

Minted Delightful Bridal Shower Invite

The invite is a lovely kraft cardstock front with a white backing. I upgraded for a few of the additional add-ons including die cut corners. I think they add a ton of interest to the invites, and up the custom factor.

Minted Bridal Shower Invite

I also opted for more information and a photo of the bride & groom printed on the back of the invite (it’s from their engagement session. Super cute.) We went with a light blue as the accent color, as it is the brides favorite color.

Minted Bridal Shower Invite

I fell in love with the kraft envelopes, and went for printed return addresses. I also used the new service from Minted for envelope addressing. Can I just say how much of a help it is to have envelopes addressed? I have terrible hand writing. It would have taken me ages to address all the envelopes, and they would have looked like rubbish. So glad I went for the addressing. You have several options for return and address designs and fonts. I wanted something a bit vintage/rustic to match the invites.


Minted Bridal Shower Invite envelope

Minted Bridal Shower envelope addressing

The addresses were easy to upload. I downloaded their excel template, filled in everyone’s addresses, and uploaded the spreadsheet. It also keeps the address info in your account, so for instance if you sent save the dates, it would already know your guest addresses for when you sent your wedding invites. I would have died for that when I was working on my own wedding invites. I actually laid out the type for every single envelope (inner and outer) and hand fed them through my inkjet printer.

In the end it took me about a week to decide on a design, get the addresses, input my info, and place my order. It only took a few days for the order to ship, and arrive at my house. The whole suite came together beautifully.

Minted Bridal Shower Invite

I hope the bride likes them! Cant wait for the shower, and the lovely June wedding!


Disclosure: We worked with Minted for these absolutely awesome invites. As always, all opinions, typos and overuses of the word “awesome” are my own.



IDS 2015 – What to See

IDS 2015 (Interior Design Show) is probably my favorite show of the year. It is full of inspiration, the latest and greatest home products, and some of the best up and coming designers. This year it hits Toronto from January 22-25, 2015. We will be heading there for trade day on the 23rd and will be sharing some of our favourite things over on Instagram (make sure to follow along with #ids15). However, I already have a few things on my must see list!

CUBITAT, a special feature by Urban Capital, focusing on transformable design and architecture as object.

Jonathan Adler – On the main Stage Saturday 12pm-1pm


sTUDIO North

Studio North, an always favourite curated collection of emerging practitioners on the Canadian design scene.  Studio North itself is a reason to head to IDS. It is my favourite part of IDS and one that usually takes up most of my time. Seeing the incredible up and coming Canadian design talent, speaking to the artists, and buying their work. Its a huge source of inspiration, a great way to work with local artists, and has some of the BEST designs I have ever seen.

Here are a few of my faves from Studio North IDS 2014:

Studio North

Studio North

Studio North

Great speakers on the main stage on Sunday the 25th. Lynda Reeves starts things out from 12-1pm, Suzanne Dimma with Mark Challen 1:30-2:30pm and the House & Home editing team including the awesome Margot Austin will be knocking it out of the park from 3-4pm.

Sunday Schedule

Designboom Mart, a pop-up shop and Designboom’s only Canadian location for buying jewellery, accessories, textiles and furniture from their sources, created by Toronto’s Arc & Co. Design Collective.

designjunction lounge, designed by London-based Michael Sodeau of Michael Sodeau Studio, featuring La Marzocco and Muuto. YES Muuto, the Scandinavian design line I fell in love with in during my trip to Denmark and Sweden. Remember that awesome stone salt dish I brought back? YEP! Muuto. Cant wait to see the lounge!

The IDS Opening Night party goes down on January 22nd, and the show opens to the public Saturday January 24th, 2015 to Sunday January 25th. Get your tickets here. See you there!


New Adventures

Every blog in the blogging universe seems to be hitting publish on a big 2015 goals, recaps, hopes & dreams post etc. I’m not really a resolution kinda person, so that sort of a post was out of the question, but I have taken a good hard look at blogging, and I intend to make some changes around here in the coming year.


But the biggest change of all, is coming career wise.


Continue reading “New Adventures”

That Time I Won a Dyson

This past weekend was the Blog Podium blogging conference in Toronto. It was my first blogging conference, and to say it was a whirlwind is a grave understatement. I met so many awesome people, got to put real faces to twitter profile pics, and learn one hell of a lot about blogging.

The conference was a mix of keynote speakers, workshops, sessions and round tables. There were celebrity sightings (Bryan Baeumler at the DRIcore booth, and Scott McGillivray as a speaker). Copious amounts of coffee consumed, so much talking and learning, and then at the end of the event this happened: Continue reading “That Time I Won a Dyson”

New Site Design

Notice anything new round here?

My hair you say? How great my ass looks  in these jeans? Why shucks, you are too kind, but I was talking about the site design.

It’s been a while in the making, but we finally have a responsive site! For those of you visiting on a mobile device or tablet, things are gonna look a whole lot different, and hopefully be a lot easier to use.

Continue reading “New Site Design”

The Man Behind the Name: El Granto

When selecting a title for a blog post I like to score it on the Morgan Freeman scale. What’s that you ask? It’s how good the title sounds when read aloud in my mock Morgan Freeman voice. You know, the movie voice of God? Some post titles just can’t possibly score well. “DIY Concrete Table” for instance sounds rubbish in Morgan Freeman’s voice. However “The Man Behind the Name” gets a score of “epic” on a scale of 1-10. Note, this theory also works well using Dumbledores voice and Iron Man. The Stark sarcasm adds a little je ne sais quoi.

Back to the namesake of this post. The one and only El Granto. You might have wondered in the past why he uses this name? Is it a nom de plume, a pseudonym? Just a way of staying anonymous on the web? None of the above.
While not his given name, El Granto has been an oft used nickname for the last 8 years or so. Let me paint the scene for you.


Grant wasn’t such a popular name in Canada, and his whole life he stood forlorn at the gift store checkout, unable to find anything on the souvenir racks with his name on it. No key chains from Disney, beach towels from Florida, or Christmas tree ornament from Santa’s Village. No tourist souvenirs held his name. The odd man out, the lone wolf without his name on a souvenir tchotchke. Every other kid had them! Even BORT got souvenirs with his name on it!

It was a young Grant’s birthday. He was a mid twenty something ready to blow some candles out on his cake and hit the town with his buds for some beers. We were underpaid, overtaxed young-uns living in our first apartment in the city. We had convinced Grant’s childhood friend Chris to move in down the street with his then girlfriend. This meant we perpetually had friends to party with who lived stumbling distance from home. Much fun was had with such close pals, and on the fine evening of Grant’s birthday, Chris came bearing gifts.

Chris handed Grant his birthday gift with a “Happy Birthday Buddy” and a big grin on his face. Grant opened the box and pulled out a t-shirt, and broke out into a string of words I won’t put in print. The shirt was white, and had some writing on it, but I couldn’t see it clearly as Grant was too busy fawning over it. Finally he turned it around, and shared it with the room. It was an illustration of a fat man, dressed as a Mexican wrestler. Complete with man boobs and a cape. Beside this Adonis was written “El Granto”.

It was Grants dream come true. His name (albeit with a Latin flare) emblazoned on a t-shirt, complete with a fat man in spandex pants. Had Chris gotten this t-shirt custom made? If he did, I may have a word with him about encouraging (not bashing) El Granto’s self image.


Alas no, Chris had been strolling through the mall when he spied this work of art in a clothing store. An expensive gift for a bud, but Chris knew he needed to purchase this once in a lifetime find for his friend. The shirt was designed by an illustrator for Volcom (a snow & skateboard company and one of Grant’s favorite brands). Once Grant set his eyes on this magnificent shirt, his world was eternally changed. He was now forever to be known not as Grant, but EL GRANTO! Maybe his Mum and his bosses would still refer to him as his birth name, but to the rest of the world a new hero is born.

Or…after wearing the shirt, the nickname stuck, and he started using it for his online presence.

El Granto only wears the shirt sporadically and on special occasions as to not wear it out (it has already suffered a hole but this does not discourage him.) He does however don it religiously every year on his birthday. Wouldn’t you?

Use the Guest Towels

I’ve fallen into the blogger grass is greener trap as of late. The one I swore up and down never to fall into. I’ve been captive to the Instagram feeds full of blogtrips and the twitter posts about amazing opportunities. Wistful and finding myself mumbling childishly “why don’t I get to go”.  While so  incredibly happy for my fellow bloggers, I still had that niggling of insecurity in the pit of my stomach. The why does everything good happen to other people, and I’m, not good enough thoughts.

Continue reading “Use the Guest Towels”

Instaweek Recap

This weekend is going to be a busy one!

El Granto’s little brother is engaged to be married, and we will be celebrating the happy couple at their engagement party this weekend! It’s perfect timing as the family is in town so we will get to see them all on Sunday for Father’s Day as well.

I also hope to sneak in a little work this weekend. Hopefully I can convince El Granto that our doors should be Ocean Liner (after all, you guys did vote for it!) Getting a coat of paint on the doors would make me a happy girl, but it may be unrealistic.

Until next week, here is a little recap of what we’ve been up to in the past week.

I have had this painting shirt since we painted out bathroom in our first apartment. It knocked off another project as I painted the back of the house.
Like my outfit? I swear I’m seen wearing this more than I am actual appropriate clothes. I even went out to get a coffee looking like this (on a beautiful day in my hip neighborhood no less.)
Modern Art? Nope. Spot priming the cracks in the old exterior paint. I do NOT want to be repainting the house in 3 years, so I was making sure to do it right!
Modern Art? Nope. Spot priming the cracks in the old exterior paint. I do NOT want to be repainting the house in 3 years, so I was making sure to do it right!
The spread from our Sunday picnic.
We took our normal Sunday BBQ to the park. No BBQ in sight, but we did indulge on cheese & meats.
Our picnic in the park got an unwelcome visit from mother nature. We tossed our umbrellas up into the tree.
Mother Nature didn’t want to play nice during our picnic, so we tossed up our umbrellas into the tree to ward off some of the rain.
This dog kills me. He's been extra snugly as of late.
This dog kills me. He’s been extra snugly as of late. Maybe its him growing up!
We purchased a replacement fig, as our old fig tree (aka Figgy Pudding) didn't make it through the winter.
We purchased a replacement fig and I carried it all the way home on the TTC. Our poor old fig tree (aka Figgy Pudding) didn’t make it through the winter.
Our board & batten project was featured on Apartment Therapy this week. Woot!
Our board & batten project was featured on Apartment Therapy this week. Woot!


So what are you up to this weekend?!