36 hours, 1000 km, 4 television stations, 10 live segments, and 1 plastic wine glass (with a splash of Pinot Grigio courtesy of Air Canada during my flight home)…

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Hello Ottawa!

I’ve been a busy little traveling bee for the past 2 days on the first leg of my Black & Decker holiday media tour which took me to the astonishingly beautiful city of Ottawa and back.  The focus of this season’s tour is to share my top tool picks for Dads, dudes, and DIY-ers, and I’ve been unexpectedly surprised by the number of product inquiries via social media after several of the segments.  The number one question seems to be “where can I buy that?“….so I figured I would do a quick round-up of my top picks complete with links to help you shop online.

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Kickin’ it old school with this uber cool DeWalt mini weather resistant radio!

As you may or may not know, I am the Canadian female spokesperson for Black & Decker, so full disclosure here…this is a sponsored post!

Now, if you’re currently searching for the perfect holiday gift for someone that loves to roll-up their sleeves and flex a little DIY muscle, then look no further!  This top 10 list of my tool-tastic must-haves has got you covered with handy dandy gift ideas to fill their stockings and tuck under the tree.

tools frames

1.       DeWalt Tough System

What good is a stellar collection of tools if you don’t have a great place to keep them organized!  The DeWalt tough system is the ultimate vertical tool storage solution for anyone with a growing tool collection, and perhaps those of us who don’t have a lot of room in the garage for a permanent storage cabinet.  It offers multiple detachable boxes to help separate your hand tools, power tools, bits and accessories, and the added bonus is that each box slides onto a portable cart that conveniently doubles as a hand trolley on its own!

TOUGHSYSTEM[1]

2.       Black & Decker Matrix

If you have a true DIY enthusiast on your shopping list this year, the Matrix 20v rechargeable multi-tool system is sure to get their motor revving!  What appears to be a typical power drill at first glance quickly transforms into an entire workshop with the simple press of a button and changing of the attachment heads.  The innovative assortment of attachments includes a jig saw, circular saw, impact driver, sanding head, oscillating tool, and the newly introduced air inflator. For anyone who might be a tad intimidated by hefty contractor sized tools, this system lets you have complete control and comfort with the lightweight, easy grip handle.  And the added benefit of this compact collection is that it takes up very little space to store and costs a fraction of what it would to purchase each full sized power tool individually.

matrix[1]

3.       DeWalt Mini Radio

Whether you’re working indoors or out, the addition of rockin’ tunes makes any DIY project roll along faster!  The new Dewalt mini radio offers lightweight portability and runs off of standard AC power or cordless when you drop any DeWalt 12v, 18v or 20v rechargeable battery in the back.  A discreet hidden door on the side lets you pop in your smart phone and connect via USB to play your own customized playlist, and if that wasn’t awesome enough, the entire unit is weather resistant, so you can have yourself a DIY dance party… rain or shine!

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4.       DeWalt Heated Jacket

While you’re shakin’ your groove thang outdoors with the mini radio, you might as well keep cozy on those blistering cold days with the new DeWalt heated jacket.  Yep, you read that right…it’s an amazingly toasty heated jacket that runs off of a 12v or 20v rechargeable DeWalt battery (included) which tucks neatly in a back compartment.  The jacket offers 3 heat temperature settings and 4 heated zones, AND (yes, there’s an awesome-tastic AND)… the battery pack has 2 USD ports so you can charge your cell phone while the coat keeps you warm.  WHAT? Mind blowing…I know!!  This is the perfect present for Dad’s and dude’s hanging out at the hockey rink, shoveling snow, or working in chilly conditions over the winter.

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5.       Stanley 25’ Magnetic Tip Tape Measure

If you thought there couldn’t possibly be anything exciting about a tape measure, then you’ve never seen this little gem before!  The Stanley 25’ magnetic tip tape measure has…well, you guessed it, a magnetic tip.  Now if you’re wondering why that’s so exciting you’ve probably never been at the top of a ladder and dropped the screw you were just about to drill in the wall.  This tape measure can act as your “Go Go Gadget arm” to extend to the floor and pick it up for you.  It’s also great for measuring between metal studs, and the 11’ standout means you can measure farther distances without the extended tape bending.  This just might be the perfect stocking stuffer addition!

tape

6.       Stanley AntiVibe Hammer with magnetic nail start

Sure, most of us already have a hammer in the good ‘ole tool box, but the holidays are the perfect time to give the gift of a handy hammer upgrade.  This Stanley AntiVibe hammer packs a powerful punch and has a hefty strike face to help increase nail driving performance and accuracy.  My favourite added feature is the magnetic nail set for one hand nailing, so you never have to sacrifice your thumbs again.

hammer

 

7.       DeWalt Gyroscopic Screwdriver

Every so often a new product comes along that makes you go “WHOA”…and that was my exact reaction when I recently had the opportunity to test drive the new DeWalt Gyroscopic screwdriver.  This baby is the ultimate upgrade to a stationary screwdriver because the motion activated technology does all the work for you by screwing in whichever direction you twist your wrist.  It also has a quick release for single hand bit changes, a pivoting handle which makes vertical applications easy and convenient, and a ring of LED lights around the driver head to light up dark, tight spaces.

gyro

8.       DeWalt XR Brushless 20v Drill

If you’re not sure what to buy the reno pro or contractor on your list, the new XR brushless 20v drill by DeWalt is sure to make them do a cartwheel or two!  This cordless handheld powerhouse boasts a brushless motor that reduces the amount of friction and heat while in use, and more importantly, increases the runtime by approximately 57% over the comparable brushed units.  At only 3.6 lbs, it’s super lightweight, runs on a 20v rechargeable battery, and has a 2-speed transmission for increased speed and torque control.  *Insert manly grunt here*

drill

9.       Black & Decker Orbital Sander

Every tool kit needs a quality electric sander in the lineup, and for those DIYers who already have a standard palm unit, an orbit is a great addition to have on hand.  The Black & Decker orbital 5 inch sander is perfect for stripping and refinishing furniture pieces, and although it works quickly and efficiently to remove existing paint, varnish or stain, the smooth circular motion prevents gouging on more delicate wood surfaces.

orbit

10.   Black & Decker  Cordless Mini Canister Vac

Whether you’ve been kicking up saw dust in your workshop, or you’re getting tired of picking kiddy cracker crumbs off of the car seats (like me), this mighty little cordless vac should be at the top of YOUR holiday wish list!  The lightweight, rechargeable unit makes clean-up a breeze without the hassle and limitations of a cord, and the 4-foot flexible hose and attachment accessories allows you to reach into even the smallest of spaces.

vac

So, which of these items will you be adding to your wish list???

Next week I’m off to the glorious city of Montreal for a quick tool time visit with my pals at Breakfast Television.  My mouth is already watering with the thought of poutine, pastries, and smoked meat!  Annnnnnnnd, I’ll be packing my stretchy pants!

Ooooh baby, I’m so “gitchi gitchi ya ya da da” excited, and speaking of which…

Have yourself a very merry DIY holiday season!

XO

L-A

1 Comment

Gah!  I’m baaaaaaaaack!!

Did ya miss me?  I sure as heck missed all of you!!

I had a wee hiccup on the blog for the past few weeks with a pesky bug-a-roo, but all is eh-okay now and Hue La La is back in business, baby!!

So, where to begin???…

Well, since I’m kind of getting back into the blogging swing of things, we’ll call today more of an “update”!  I’ve got a handful of exciting nuggets that I’m itching to share…most of which involve my two little dudes!!

Wait for it…

***BRAGGING MOM ALERT***BRAGGING MOM ALERT***BRAGGING MOM ALERT**

But rest assured, I’ll be back OFTEN in the coming days and weeks with oodles of design inspiration, DIY projects, and my drool worthy wish list for Santa, so stay tuned.  Hue La La has been working overtime behind the scenes to create some colourful content to share soon!!

First up on today’s update menu…

I’m thrilled to share that I have two new national Canon commercials currently airing {often} on W Network!

Pinch me!!!

I’ve gotta say, never in a billion years did I think I’d be doing anything this cool, and I have Canon to thank for entrusting me with their brand messaging.

Oh, and I’m extra gushy about these spots because my little lads make a quick cameo appearance in both!

Wait for it…

boys pic 2

If you haven’t yet caught the commercials, here’s the coles notes version…

Canon’s new Rebel SL1 camera ROCKS…plain and simple!

The wicked news is that you have a chance to win one by checking out the link below and clicking on the image.  And if that wasn’t fab-tastic enough…your little kidlet can be the star of their new Rebel SL1 commercial… What, what??  Fun, fun!!

sl1 promo

I’ve got a tad more braggy news below…but while we’re on the subject of contests and prizes, I have a quick order of business to attend to…

IT’S GIVEAWAY TIME!!!

Congrats to Leah Straatsma for winning the Canon PIXMA all-in-one printer that was up for grabs in my last post!  Leah’s colour of choice was white, so darlin’, expect to receive that little gem very soon.  And psssssst….Leah, since I’m super nosy, I would love to see a pic of the printer once it gets cozy in its new home 😉

pixma winner

Now, back to the brag-braggery!!

Wait for it…

A few months back I hinted about a super fantastico secret project that I was working on, and the cat is now out of the bag and on newsstands…

tp

I was ecstatic when Today’s Parent magazine contacted me back in the summer to work on their December issue!  It was an action packed project that went a little something like this…

  • Styling the cover shoot (kind of a dream come true!)
  • Creating and writing the Christmas Countdown craft of the month
  • Producing, crafting, styling, and writing the 5 page DIY and design feature: 5 Fab Trees

I’ll be sharing more on all of these projects in the next few weeks, but hands down, my FAVE part of this collaboration was that my boys were asked to be involved with a little “behind the scenes” webisode action.

Here’s how it went down…

Originally I was going to film some craft projects on-set and have my boys be my “assistants”, but we quickly discovered that my oldest lad, Nolan totally rocked on his own.  I was pushed off-set and he ran the show with the help of his trusty sidekick and mischievous little bro, Everett.  They’re kind of like the Penn and Teller of the kiddie playground…Nolan is the chipper chatter box and Everett is the silent rascal!

So without further adieu…

Wait for it…

Potato Stamped Ornaments

Dance Party Glitter Ball Ornaments

BWUAH…………

I am SO DARN PROUD of my boys and obviously a teeny bit bias, but I think these vids are OFF the cute-ness scale!

Here’s the thing though, I may have created a monster… Nolan went to school the day after filming and told everyone he has his own TV show!  Ahahaha!!!  He’s now constantly “pitching” me crafty segment ideas for “The Nolan Show”, and yes, there are more videos in the works.  So, I’m pretty sure that now makes me a stage mom *le sigh*.  But who am I kidding…I kind of love it 😉

Before I jingle bell myself out of here for today, I just want to send a special thank you to Roberto Caruso (photographer and videographer extraordinaire), Alicia Kowaleski and Karine Ewart at Today’s Parent and YOU for reading today’s post.

And in keeping with the holiday merriment, I figured we should wrap this post up with a handsome little bow a la Joseph Gordan-Levitt (and some chick named Lady Gaga).  I’ll admit, this duet is kind of a train wreck in some ways, but I just couldn’t stop watching…enjoy!!

XO

L-A

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So, I dropped a little tease-a-roo last month about some epically awesome ssssshtuff that was going down in the land of Hue La La…

And I’m super stoked to finally be able to share the first yummy slice of the pie!

Before I toss the confetti, this post comes with a disclaimer…

Although I’m still pretty new to this blogging thang, I am acutely aware that there are peeps out there who think that some bloggers are a-lot-a-bit too narcissistic and might as well be writing for “allaboutme.com”…(thanks to Vicky Sanderson for that wicked zinger a la The Facebook today ;)) ….so, if this is you, discontinue reading now…do not pass GO…do not collect $200!

I’m about to do some toot-tooting of my own horn…

tuba

Back in August I received a random phone call from a PR company who was reaching out on behalf of their “client”.  This mystical client was interested in working with little ‘ole me to launch their new colourfully chic tech product, and of course my interest was seriously peeked!!!

But I had no idea what awesome-tastic-ness was about to unfold…

Intro the client… Canon-logo-2012[1] SHA-BANG!

Oh yeah…the maker of my beloved EOS Rebel T3 that I got from Santa last Christmas (aka…bought for myself).

I know that this will appear like some serious tuckus smooching, but I was already a huge fan of the brand before I got “the call”.  So to find out that THEY wanted to work with ME was an uber YIPPEEEEEEE moment!!!

“Okay, okay Leigh-Ann….get to the point”

Canon Canada was in the midst of putting together a national commercial for their new line of fashionably functional all-in-one PIXMA printers that just happen to come in a fab collection of colours (…and, er…well, colour is kind of my thing, right?!)

So, in September, I was so honored to be asked to lend my mug to their campaign!!

Lights, Canon camera, action…

on set 2

 On-set…say cheese!

on set

 *Photo credits: Natalie Wilson Gunn (aka. the best design assistant ever!)

*Wardrobe courtesy of my FAB stylist, Joelle and jewels by the uber talented Jenn Fenton

And without further adieu (toot toot)…

Commercial

If you happen to be surfin’ the boob tube in the coming weeks, then you just might catch the 1-minute version of the commercial on HGTV, Slice, Food Network and Show Case, to name a few!

I love how Canon believes that technology should integrate seamlessly into your décor, and there really is a colourful printer to suit every personality and space.  I happen to adore this red little gem…

red pixma

So my question is….what Canon PIXMA hue are you???

Why do I ask?!  Well, I want to give one away to YOU!  Well, hopefully you!!

I’ll be randomly drawing for one Canon PIXMA all-in-one printer, and you have 3 fab ways to enter…

1.  Leave a comment below telling me a wee bit about your style and which colour of PIXMA would be perfect for you

2.  Tweet the following…

Live colourfully and win a @Canon_Canada #PIXMA all-in-one printer via @LeighAnnAllaire by visiting www.huelala.com #HueLaLa 

(***Be sure to add a hashtag at the end of the tweet with your printer colour of choice ie. #Red)

3. Show Hue La La a little Facebook love, and “LIKE” our page, then leave a comment telling me which PIXMA printer colour you’re craving

Giveaway eligibility ends at 11:59pm EST on October 31, 2013, and is only open to residents of Canada (for now…sorry to my US peeps).

elephant

Oh, and the fun just doesn’t stop there on my wicked Canon Canada ride…  I’ll be sliding back in front of the camera again this week, so keep your eyeballs peeled on the tele for more of my mug in November!

And on that note…I’m done jibber jabbering about myself….for now!  Bahahaha!!

Toot, toot!

But before I bust out of here for today, I’m-a-gonna bust a move in my kitchen to this…. HEY YA!

Have a good one, and don’t forget to live colourfully!!

XO

L-A

29 Comments

Hey, remember me?!?

To say that life has been cuckoo bananas this past month would be a gi-nor-mic understatement…but I am definitely not complaining one bit.  “Busy” is not a bad word in the Hue La La dictionary, and if you read my last post, I’ll be letting y’all in on some super fun news later this week.  Oh, and I’ll have some even FUNNER (I know that’s not a real word, bit just role with me) giveaways to share as well, so be sure to check back!!

So then, “what’s on the menu today” you ask?

Well, I’ve got goblins and ghouls on the brain…

Halloween is without a doubt my FAVE holiday!  I always loved dressing up as child and was fortunate enough to have a very crafty Mom that would spend countless nights sitting at her sewing machine whipping up whatever ghoulish creation I requested (…you’ll have to tune into Cityline next Tuesday though to see what costume she made one year that I REFUSED to wear!)

Oh, and when you tune in, you’ll get to see me and some of my fave pals having way too much fun doing a little of this action…

CL halloween LONG LIVE LIBERACE!!!

Now, back to my Halloween DIY…

Unfortunately, I didn’t inherit the sewing gene from my Mom, but her passion for DIY definitely rubbed off on me…and since I know how to work a paint brush, I decided to craft a few simple décor projects to dress up my front door.

I had already added a gazillion pumpkins to the exterior of our home in late September… (yay…pumpkins…pumpkins…pumpkins…*I kinda love fall A LOT*) and I had created my own inexpensive stenciled door mat (more on that later), but now with Halloween only a week-ish away, it was time to add a few extra fang-tastic touches.

fall mat

I’m all about cheap and cheerful DIYs, but I also love projects that are quick and easy to create.

As I mentioned earlier, I stenciled my fall door mat using a $16 IKEA sisal rug, an inexpensive letter stencil kit from Michaels craft store, low tack spray adhesive, and left over exterior paint.  It literally took me 30 minutes to create, so I decided to make a new one for Halloween.  I picked up an identical mat, used the same letter stencils, and reused paint from my front door…which ironically just happens to be called “Witching Hour” by Benjamin Moore.

paint 1

After spraying the back of the stencils with low tack adhesive, I placed them firmly on the mat and applied one coat of paint using an artist stipple brush in a dabbing motion.  Once the letter cut-out was filled in, I removed the stencil and allowed the rug to dry thoroughly before putting it outside.

paint 2

Drum roll please…..

broom 1

I’m rather smitten with my boo-tiful new mat!  But you can’t have broom parking without a witch, right???

I wanted to create a fast and fun project for my front door urn, so I set off in search of pool noodles…yes, pool noodles!  I was inspired by a project I saw on Pinterest using mannequin legs to create an upside-down witch, but had no idea where on earth to find any…so the hunt for pool noodles began!

Once I had all of the ingredients to create this spook-tacular project, it took a total of 5 minutes to assemble….YES, only 5 minutes!

Crash landing…

mat

Here’s all you need to create “Minerva”…(my son’s have named her)

  • 1 pool noodle cut in half
  • 2 bamboo stakes (found at the dollar store)
  • striped nylons (also found at the dollar store, but readily available this time of year at costume stores)
  • 1 foam cake form (found at Michaels)
  • a pair of shoes (found at a thrift store for $4)
  • spanish moss to cover the foam cake insert (also a Michaels score)

leg stuff

Place the foam form into the base of the urn and push the stakes through the form on an angle.  Dress the noodles with the nylons (I never imagined that I would write that sentence), and since the pool noodles are hollow, they slide right over the bamboo stakes to keep them secure.  The shoes fit easily over the ends of the pool noodles, but can be permanently affixed using construction adhesive.

So, in under an hour and under $50, I transformed my front door from “Fall Festive” to “Witchingly Whimsical”…

finished

Do you dress your door with Halloween décor?

And what Halloween post would be complete without a little classic MJ…

 

Bwuahahahaha Ahahahaha…..Ahem, Happy Halloween everyone!!!

XO
L-A

5 Comments

Ssssssh…..do you hear that?

Exactly!

That’s the sound of radio silence here on Hue La La for the past week!  Apologies for being off the radar, but trust me when I say it was for a very good reason!!  In fact, it was a phenomon of consecutive good reasons.

And here’s where you begin to roll your eyes and hate me!!!

I have crazy amazing, jump out of my skin news, but I’m not able to chirp about it….yet!!

Sssssh

Gah…I’m such a tease!!

So here’s what I can share…

Within a span of 7 days, I scratched off not one, but two biggies from my dream board.  And I had FOUR other flippin’ fantastic opportunities that the universe plopped in my lap which I SO didn’t expect.

Weeks like this NEVER happen…ever!!

And yes…I totally believe in that whole “universe” thang.  In fact, I sometimes consider me-self even a tad cray-cray because I talk to “the universe” from time to time (…mostly between solo karaoke sessions in my fly minivan).

So, before you start thinking I’m a giant brag hag, give me a mere moment to muse…

I’ve always fashioned myself to be a rather modest gal!  *For some of you reading this, stop laughing*

Seriouly!  I’m not really comfortable talking about myself (I said stop laughing), and in the competitive world of media filled with ladder climbing egos, I’m hyper-sensitive about being “that girl”.  You know her…Ms. “oooh, look at me, I’m so awesometastic…everything I touch turns to gold, and my poop smells like pansies”.

Um, yeah!

But I’ve recently had a revelation…

I’ve realized that I’m not very good at dreaming out loud and telling others about my aspirations let alone my achievements.  Perhaps it’s the polite Canadian in me (sorry 😉 ) but I somehow feel a bit squeamish or embarrassed about sharing my lofty life goals.  I fear that others will bock and laugh if I tell them….not necessarily at my ability to perhaps achieve them, but for wanting to dream big at all…like, REALLY BIG!!

think big

I find myself having a constant internal debate and struggling to determine what makes me different or better than all of the other people out there chasing the exact same dreams as me.

Why should I be so lucky?  Am I foolish for thinking that I deserve that level of success?  Do good things really come to those who wait?  And precisely how long is the “wait”?  Is it true that timing is everything?  Or perhaps it has nothing to do with what I know, and everything to do with who I know (and who I don’t)!

Eeeek…I’m really letting my deep seeded insecurities ooooze out today, aren’t I?

Well, today I had an awesome reality check…

My oldest son is off to “big school” tomorrow a.k.a. Grade 1, and we stumbled into a sweet little convo today about his future.  He was sharing his excitement about school, and his dreams and aspirations about being an artist (which he has chattered about since he could first talk).  I told him that he can be anything he wants in life, and he relied by saying “yep, I can be anything I want, and I’m the only one who can stop me.  If anyone tells me I can’t do something, I’m just going to say no thank-you and tell them they’re wrong”…and then he karate chopped the air!!

HI YA!!

Wise words from a brilliant wee peanut…words that emotionally smacked me right up side the head!!!

If only I could live with such sure-fire confidence as my 6 year old son.  A little lad that truly believes that anything is possible…ANYTHING!

So for the hours since our chat, up until now, I have been pondering his words and finally realized that I am a sham of a role model for both my boys if I don’t actually eat my own words of advice (and his) and truly chase my dreams with unapologetic confidence.  I don’t plan to scream them from the rooftops, but I won’t be as “Canadian” about telling people…if they ask.  And I have decided to stop asking the questions noted above, and instead start making more statements.  Statements such as these that have been hanging out on my dream board beside “thing one and thing two” that I can’t yet talk about…

Ask for what you want, even if you don’t know how you’re going to get it!

Universe, show me what you’ve got!!  <—I have been known to randomly scream this out while in the shower

Dream big, then dream bigger!!!

And on that note…I do believe it’s time to update my dream board 😉

HI YA!!

Before I tootle off for the night to pack my first school lunch (BAH), I’ll leave you with my latest earworm obsession…  I especially love the following lyrics:

We’re bigger than we ever dreamed,
And I’m in love with being queen.

Sleep tight tonight pals, and don’t forget to dream… XOXO

L-A

5 Comments

Today I’m musing about a recent DIY project, but it didn’t involve a hammer or glue gun!

If you’ve popped by the blogski in the past few days, then thank you…and you may have purused my post about recently becoming self employed (or as I initially referred to it as being an unemployed entrepreneur 😉 )

One thing that I have very clearly discovered in these past few “sink or swim” months is my inherent strengths, and my pathetic weaknesses.

I’ve realized that I am damn good at managing stress, I thoroughly enjoy meeting people and doing the good ‘ole “schmoozy schmooze” thing, and I’m kinda awesome at juggling a ton of balls at one time (…that’s what she said…BAH).  I attribute 99% of that to the fact that I really, whole heartedly love what I now do, so even the stress feels like rewarding fun.

And on the flip side, I flat out suck at a few of those “necessary skills” needed to be a successful business owner.

Example…

Pass me a laser level, a compound mitre saw, and a box of popsicle sticks and I can probably MacGyver you something pretty rad…

But pass me a calculator and a profit and loss statement, and I may ship my pants

Dudes…this commercial continues to crack me up every time I watch it!  It’s the kind of ROFL laugh that makes me shoot awesomesauce out my nose *SNORT*

So, calculators…

To put it plainly…math has never EVER been my thang!  I’ve always considered myself to be a number avoider!!

It’s not that I can’t find the square root of blah, blah, blah… I just prefer to live in my own little world where 2 + 2 = who cares, I’d rather be watching Orange Is The New Black!

But after walking around for months with an ever expanding wallet full of business receipts, I had to bite the book keeping bullet and get my professional finances in check.  In case you’re wondering, yes, I do have an accountant (a very good one at that), but I was so darn embarrassed of my disorganization that I kept putting off going to meet with her.  So, I set aside a day back in May to get me-self put together, but after what turned into a loooooooooong night of what I thought was financial organizing, I woke up the next day to a desk COVERED in receipts, invoices, and order forms….and I realized that I hadn’t actually organized anything.

It’s funny how the universe works sometimes though!  That very next day during a phone chat with my pal Heather at Impressions PR, I was whining about my accounting woes, and she suggested I check out their new client….The Simplicity Prinicple!

My first reaction was based on name alone….¨Simplicity¨…she was speaking my language!!!

And a few days later, guess what arrived on my doorstep?…

Chloe mail2

Oh, the coral goodness!!!

Confession…I was totally skeptical as to whether this pretty little package could really help me get my shhhhtuff together!

I wasn’t sure what I was expecting exactly, but when I opened the folder, I discovered a calendar format of monthly organization folders….each with easy to fill-in sections to record my monthly income, expenses, and there was even a section to jot down notes for my accountant.

Chloe receipts

Within an afternoon I had 6 months of receipts completely organized and ready to drop off to my accountant…whom, by the way, was beyond impressed with my level of organization (wink, wink)!

I must admit, I don’t hate accounting math and working with numbers any less, but I’m certainly not as likely to procrastinate now that I have a quick and easy way to DIY my finances.

Now, here’s some math that I can TOTALLY buy into…

Chloe, the genius behind The Simplicity Principle is offering the fabulous readers of Hue La La (that’s you) a grand-e-oso deal…

Receive $20 off the purchase of your own copy when you buy online at www.thesimplicityprinciple.ca and use promo code “LACODE” by the end of August!

Great bargoons like this make me want to bust out the running man…

And this dude sure knows his numbers…

1, 2, 3, 4…

XO

L-A

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It’s Huesday…and hello to hue…ahem, you!

Speaking of hue…

Today I want to chitty chat about a feisty little colour that burst onto the design scene a few years ago, and whether you were diggin’ it then or not, it certainly nabbed some major attention in the worlds of both fashion and décor alike. tangerine

Hit it Frank…

Described as vivacious, exotic, and sophisticated, this colour single handedly invaded our closets, crept into our kitchens, took us for a joy ride, and even kissed a cheek or two!

collage

Pinpointing a colour trend isn’t always an easy task, but when you start to see a tasty colour like tangerine transition so seamlessly into various industries, it’s pretty safe to say that it’s made a mark.  But is it still a trend?  Or could it be that tangerine has been lingering in my fan deck all along as a classic??

tango

See, long before tangerine tango’d its way onto the design industry dance floor, I fondly associated the hue with an iconic Parisian high fashion house established in 1837…. Hermes!

There has always been something so delectably chic about those beautiful orange pinstriped boxes…

hermes

And how can you not fall in love with this stunningly classic orange-tastic space inspired by the boxes themselves!

hermes wall

Could it be that Orange is the New Black?

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Holy cannelloni…I had to slip that reference in because I am so certifiably “Crazy Eyes” obsessed with this freaktastic show on Netflix!!!  If you have no idea what I’m referring to, you neeeeeeeed to check it out…it is SO worth the price of admission!!!

Anyhoo…

Regardless of whether you file TANGERINE under “Trendy” or “Classic”, would you dare to add a dash or a splash into your own home?

Just a DASH!

Painted Trim…                                                               

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trim2   Neat Niche…

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Stairway to Tangering Heaven…                                                                                      

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Make a Bold Entrance…  door2   

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Accent Walls & Colour Blocking…

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wall2

wall3

Painted Furniture…

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   furn 3  

A little tangerine feeling on the ceiling…

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ceiling 2              

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Make a SPLASH!

Tangerine Room Inspiration…

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room2

  room3

 

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There’s no doubt that tangerine is still kickin’ around the design scene!

But the big question is…

Are you into it, or over it?

XO

L-A

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Warning….things are about to get a little introspective and shmooshy up in here!!  Wait for it…

You know when you hear a ridiculously rad song for the first time, and in the days following, it’s obsessively stuck in your head?!  Well, I recently experienced that with Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” …and I’m still trying to figure out what rhymes with hug me (bah!)

But for the last few days I’ve become insanely obsessed with a new smooth emo track courtesy of fellow Canadian, Drake.  If you haven’t heard “Hold On We’re Going Home“, I dare you to listen just once and not play it again…and again…and again!

Let’s just put it this way, if this song isn’t you’re thang, then we probably can’t be friends anymore.  Jussssssst kidding (kinda), but anyhoo…it’s certainly my current melodic infatuation!!

So, while listening to the song again last night (on repeat) I started to think about just how unbelievably successful this Toronto native and Degrassi alum has become.  And although I’m sure he has had a lot of help along the way, I have the utmost respect for anyone who is willing to dream big, take risks, and blaze their own trail in life.

I can certainly relate to dreaming big and taking risks…but the blaze my own trail part is a current work in progress!  Why you ask?  Well, I recently uttered two words that changed my life…

I quit!

Let me backtrack a tad…

A little more than a year ago while working for “the man” (who’s name happened to be Benjamin Moore) I found myself analyzing my present situation and contemplating the future.  I had quite fortunately spent almost all of my adult life working inside of a well oiled corporate machine, and although the people I met and the knowledge I gained were unbelievably invaluable, I found myself craving more!

I’m pretty sure we all experience this at some point…I was totally content with where I was, but I knew that if I wanted to achieve my lofty goals in life, it was going to require taking some huge risks.  Now let me tell you, leaving the predictability, protection, and comforts of a corporate career for the unknown was terrifying…but what I was soon to discover was the immediate sense of liberation!  When I officially decided to take the L.E.A.P. (which, by the way, are my initials) I found myself in an instant free fall into petrifying bliss.

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With a very small, loosely woven safety net, I had to rely on my confidence and a gut feeling that I could do more and be more in the future than I currently was in the present.  So, at the stroke of midnight on New Years Eve, I became an entrepreneur (a.k.a. unemployed).

Fast forward to today…

Here I am…Hue La La-ing with you!

When people ask me now “what do you do”, my typical response is “what do you want me to do?”

It’s hard to give a concise answer because I’m figuring it out as I go.  Media, design, PR, etc…I have never had so many amazing opportunities in front of me, and I am enthusiastically still working on blazing my own trail (in several different directions)!  That whole cliché about living outside of the box…well, yeah…I get that now!

I have come to realize in the past 8-ish months of navigating this entrepreneurial world that I no longer seek a safety net!  In fact, I want to continue the free fall as long as I can…because all of my fun has existed not by landing somewhere, but in the excitement of knowing that I can potentially land anywhere.

In the case of Drake, he is certainly still free falling among the stars, and his journey (like so many other successful dreamers) started by having the confidence to take risks.

If you’re diggin’ his new song like I am, you just might appreciate this stellar cover that I came across by another talented dreamer with obvious aspirations of stardom…

Did I really just draw comparative inspiration between my life goals and Drake?  Why yes, I believe I just did!

And since I’m in a mush-ball mood today, I figured I’d end this post with 3 simple lines that now drive my motivation to do more and be more…

fire within

So, go on….dream big…then dream bigger!!  Oh, and high five often!  How’s that for some free advice (wink)!!

XO

L-A

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Actually, I’ve gotta side with Donny Osmond on this one…

I’m definitely a little bit rock n’ roll, but when it comes to hosting a backyard summer fete or a romantic outdoor wedding (tis the season), nothing screams casual elegance like peppering in a hearty helping of country flair.   Now, let me just say…there is a fine line when pulling this look together!  Unless you’re planning a good ‘ole “yeeeeeeehaaaaaaw” hoedown, you can leave the spurs and lassos at home.

Giddy up!

I recently had the super awesome opportunity to design a country chic Cityline set for a primetime special featuring the one and only country super-band, Lady Antebellum (L-A with L-A…Eeeeeek!)  I am definitely not one to be easily star struck, and I will sheepishly admit that I wasn’t that familiar with their music beforehand, but holy guacamole…they are without a doubt the most professional, gracious and TALENTED collective of awesomesauce super stars that I have ever met.  Ya, that’s right…I said it…awesomesauce!

And here’s blurry photo proof of my brush with musical greatness (blue dress = moi)…

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OH. MY. GERD…did ya spot my cheesy, star struck Cheshire grin…YEEEEEEEHAAAAAAW!

And I was this close…

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…while they were performing this kick-ace song…

So, back to the set design…

I wanted to create a comfortable, rustic atmosphere with a sophisticated twist for the show, so I came up with these 5 simple décor ingredients that anyone can add to their outdoor space…and they’re guaranteed to have your guests swooning under the stars…

1.       Add an elegant table cloth

Many of us have an outdoor dining table and chairs to wine and dine guests, but nothing will change the look of your set faster than to add a simple set of linens.  Country elegance is all about striking a balance between country charm and…well, elegance!  By adding crisp white linens to your table and even layering a printed outdoor fabric cloth, you will instantly create a sense of sophistication and take your dining set from outdoor blah to dining ta-da.

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2.       Bring indoor furniture out

The best way to create casual comfort outside is to bring the comforts of home outdoors.  Consider borrowing a few chic toss cushions from your sofa and add them to your guests’ chairs, and if you’re hosting a buffet, relocate a wood desk or console table from inside to be used as a food or drink station and top it with an antique table lamp for instant outdoor ambiance. (Ignore the dangly, annoying cord in the photo…ACK).

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3.       Light the night with candle filled mason jars

I have acquired quite the collection of vintage mason jars over the years, and one of my favourite uses for them is to tuck several around the garden and on the dining table filled with sand and tea lights.  If you don’t want to buy vintage jars, I recently scooped up a collection of sweet petite ones at my local dollar store, and with a battery tea light, scrap of burlap, and a stamped luggage tag, I made simple place card holders for guests.

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4.       Use crates for display

As much as I love a beautiful vintage mason jar, I have a secret obsession with antique wooden crates!  There’s something about their texture and reclaimed look, and I especially love to muse about all of the places they likely traveled and the stories they could tell.  When it comes to incorporating them into a chic country setting, I love using them to elevate food on buffet tables, stacked to add height and dimension around the yard, and even one or two filled with folded blankets for your guests if the evening air gets brisk.

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5.       Tell a story by displaying books

Country music is incredibly expressive and narrative, so why not tell a story with your dining décor…literally!  I’m a big fan of collecting and displaying vintage books in my home, and they are the perfect outdoor ingredient to create a unique look for your stylish country soiree.  You don’t need many to create interesting impact…simply incorporating one or two as the base of your centrepiece to stack a collection of glass bottles will certainly give your guests something to talk about.

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Well, yippee ki yay…it’s time to par-tay!!

If you want a peek at the segment from the special, check ‘er out below…and as always, thanks for stopping by the blog-ski!!

XO

L-A

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Raise of hands….how many of you are excited about back to school in only a few short weeks???

If you’re a parent, you probably just double fist pumped the air, but since this is the first September that I’m sending my oldest little dude to “big school”, I’m a having a minor “holy-frigola, where did the time go” freak out session just thinking about it.  Good news is, he’s totally excited and ready, and he’s informed me that he plans to make “like, 500 friends on the first day” (um…there are only 478 students at his school, but ookie dookie).

cool school

I just filmed a back-to-school special yesterday with Cityline, and I’ll be sharing a recap on the blog next week when it airs, but it got me reminiscing about my school girl days (which weren’t THAT long ago, for the record).

It’s funny how some things stick out more in my memory more than others!  The sound of the migraine inducing school bell, the smell of the over bleached lunch room, the sight of the MASSIVE hallways that seemed miles long…and for any of you who have gone back to visit your elementary school as an adult, you realized just how MASSIVE the hallways were not!

And remember when your teacher would show a video in class in lieu of the regular scheduled lesson plan?  Those were the days!!!  But let’s be honest, those video days were a well calculated conspiracy to distract us while Mrs. Allen slept off her hangover at the back of the classroom (or maybe that was just my grade 6 experience).

So, I figured I’d make it video day here on the blog (and no, I do not have a hangover…wink, wink).

I have two goodies for you that I recently stumbled across, and both have me musing over the incredible innovation that exists out there in the world of technology.

This one has been popping up in my Facebook stream for the past few days, and it literally blew my mullet back…

And THIS….well, this is just beyond phenomenal!!!  I have seen several lectures by Neil Harbisson, and shared his videos with my students when I was lecturing about colour theory at Sheridan College (sans a hangover, of course).  It’s a captivating look at how a person who cannot see colour, can now have the ability to hear colour.  I know what you’re thinking…What the what?  But just watch…it truly is astonishing….

It’s the final day to announce the final winner of the “7 Days of Hue La La Giveaways“….WOOOOOT!

The lucky reader of the Black & Decker Matrix kit is…

winner 7

Congratulations to all of the winners this past week, and thank you SO, SO VERY MUCH to everyone who entered via blog comments, email subscriptions, and twitter.  You all rock my world!!!  Check back here often for more DIY and design yumminess…Ooh, and oodles of more faboosh giveaways!!

So, since I spent some time today doing a little elementary school reminiscing, I figured I would channel the 7 year old me and throw back to a little “In Living Color”.  What girl didn’t want to be a Fly Girl in the 90’s?!  Oh yeah, I used to bust out some sweet moves in my family room while watching this…

XO

L-A

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