MAKE SOMETHING: 5 DIY’s to try this weekend

What are your plans for the long weekend? This long weekend is always so bittersweet because we all love the extra day to enjoy the summer but it’s kinda marks the end of the season. Well if you’re planning on laying low this weekend or looking for something crafty to keep you busy, here’s 5 ideas to get you inspired.  Happy weekend!

MAKE SOMETHING: 5 DIY's to try / The Sweet Escape

HOW TO: clay ring dishes / lamp shade / mouse pad / candle holders (in german) / flower corsage 

BLOGLIFE: 5 tips for your first blog conference


I consider myself a bit of a blog conference veteran at this point. What’s a bit nuts is that it happened in just one year. The upcoming BlogPodium conference in September will be my 5th (!) since last July. I hardly believed it myself until I actually counted. I went to Alt Summit in San Fran last July (my first ever), BlogPodium in Sept., Alt SLC in January, Alt Summer in June, then full circle to BlogPodium this year. It will be interesting to see how it will be different from last year. I’m definitley a more seasoned blogger and I’ve built some great relationships with other Canadian bloggers I met at BlogPodium last year so I’ll know a bunch more people. After last years conference I started up the Toronto Lifestyle Bloggers group which lead to a few Blog Brunches and I started getting invites to a bunch of media events that are kinda like mini-blogger reunions. It’s so nice to have some actual face time with fellow local bloggers.

If this is your first blog conference, you probably have a million things running through your head and you’re either so excited you could pee in your stylish but playful skirt or so nervous you could vomit in your fun striped Kate Spade hand bag. Just breathe.  Here’s 5 things to keep in mind for your first conference based on my personal experience:


1.  Leave the laptop and DSLR at home. Coming soon will be a blog conference packing list and 2 things that won’t be on it are a DSLR camera or laptop. It’s a jam packed day, you’ll want to soak everything up & mingle and you won’t have time to take pretty pictures. Or if you do, you’ll be missing out on the good stuff. There will be tonnes of pro photos to share after the conference and likely a photobooth so your camera phone will do just fine. It’s a long day and you’ll likely be filling your bag with various free swag and don’t need to start the day off with a super heavy bag. As far as the laptop – in my experience the old fashioned note taking is the way to go. You paid to see these experienced speakers, try to be present and listen and jot down some the most important points. Some of them may even have their presentations available after the conference online. (the exception is if you’re taking the photography workshop or stopping by Camp Tech’s Nerd Station…then nerd away)


2. Dress comfortably.  So you’ve probably heard that these blog conferences can be a bit of a fashion show. I guess it’s true to a certain degree. I mean you are in a room full of creative people who like to express themselves so it makes sense. Don’t get me wrong, I like to put thought into what I wear as well and love seeing what great outfits people put together. My advice is to look great AND be comfortable. You’re making a lot of first impressions and networking so you definitely want to put your best foot forward but this is not the day to try those new heels you bought or rock some totally new look. If you’re not comfortable in what you’re wearing, literally or figuratively, it will show and you won’t do yourself any favours. Plus, as mentioned, it’s a long day so you don’t want your footwear to ruin it for you. Whether it’s jeans, tshirt and a knockout statement necklace or a totally unique look, just make sure it’s YOU and you feel comfortable wearing it.


Blog Podium Annawithlove Photography-9653-L

photo by Anna With Love Photography for BlogPodium

3. Don’t be shy. I know this is easier said than done for some people but trust me, you will go home with regrets if you don’t push yourself to come out of your shell at a blog conference. I do realize it can be intimidating. I’m an extrovert and don’t consider myself that shy and I’ve had those nervous moments – especially when I’ve attended ALL of those conferences mentioned above on my own. But I’ve learned two things, 1 – it’s not nearly as hard as you think and 2 – you will most definitely regret it later if you don’t try. You are surrounded by people who love to share and express themselves and a bunch of them are thinking the same thing as you. Grab that single seat at a table or chat up the person waiting in line next to you. I pretty much guarantee that they will be friendly. Bloggers are an incredibly friendly bunch of people. If all else fails, comment on their cute shoes or handbag to break the ice.

sweet escape biz card

delta sponsor booth

4. Come ready to network. This is a good followup to #3. You paid money to come to this conference and you want to walk away with not only new blogger friends but potentially new professional opportunities and you can’t be shy. You’ll be meeting some seasoned bloggers who are looking to collaborate as well as brand reps, expert speakers, and PR & Media agency reps. All these people can help you make your blog more successful (if that’s your goal). Have your business cards and elevator pitch ready.


5. Have fun! I know this one is a bit cliche but it’s true. Relax, meet some new people and have fun with it. The conference is just as much of a social event as it is a learning event. My friendships & relationships that started at Blog Podium last year have only grown. This may be a bit tougher at your first conference but I promise that the fun part will come if you’re open to it.

And I guess it’s no surprise that after all those conferences in one year that I managed to get myself on the other side of the table, literally. I’m so happy to be hosting a roundtable discussion at BlogPodium this year. If it’s your first year or you’re thinking of starting a blog, please stop by and catch my chat – Your First Year of Blogging:How to Get Noticed.



DIY: Make your own patio pond in a pot / The Sweet Escape

Talk about a major #latergram. I know, I know, summer is slowly leaving us but this project is great for those lucky to live in warm climates or it’s also great way to bring some of the outdoors in once the season changes.  And before we get all Debbie Downer approaching Labour Day, you never know, Mother Nature could surprise us and give us an extended summer to make up for the Spring we never had.

I woke up one morning and decided that my patio, as lovely as it is, was missing something. It needed the sound of water. So just like that I had a project for the day. I was going to make a little pond in a pot with a fountain. As per most of my great ideas, I usually can’t pull it together in a day and slowly start to lose interest. But I was determined to make this pond in a pot.

DIY: Make your own patio pond in a pot / The Sweet Escape

I made a few predictable stops looking for small pond pumps but that proved to be unsuccessful and frustrating for an instant gratification person like me. So I ended up ordering this really affordable one from Walmart online and patiently waited for it to arrive. While I was waiting, I started gathering the other materials. Along with the pump you’ll need a pot with no drain hole, then some water greenery, rocks and any other form of nature you like. I happened to go to my cottage after snapping this photo above so you’ll see in the final photos below that I edited some of my selections.

Here’s a tip if your pot is really big – take another planter (or a brick or stone, or any flat surface) and place it at the bottom to take up a bunch of space. I spray painted it black so it would disappear in the water. Or you could also just buy a more shallow and flat pot. Up to you.

DIY: Make your own patio pond in a pot / The Sweet Escape

I would start with placing the pump then just build around it with all your collected treasures.

DIY: Make your own patio pond in a pot / The Sweet Escape

I already had this guy on my patio and thought that this was the perfect new home for him!

DIY: Make your own patio pond in a pot / The Sweet Escape

Then fill it up with water, covering the pump, plug’er in and enjoy.

DIY: Make your own patio pond in a pot / The Sweet Escape

I’m so happy with the final result. It adds the perfect amount of sound when I’m out there enjoying the patio on my own and not distracting at all when people are there. You do have to keep an eye on the water level with the heat as the pump need to be under water and running at all times.  DIY: Make your own patio pond in a pot / The Sweet Escape


thrift-store-signDid you have a good weekend? Do any thrifty hunting? I did. I picked up a fabulous vintage serving tray and when I brought it home I realized that I had quite the collection of trays & plates, all from thrift shops. I actually use these quite often, some as decor to hold other collections and some as functional trays to haul stuff up and down from my patio. Next time you’re in a thrift shop, especially at Value Village, bend down low in the housewares aisle to the bottom shelf where all the large trays are. It’s worth a peek.

Thrift Store Scores / The Sweet Escape vintage tray 2 vintage tray 3 vintage tray 4 vintage tray 5 Thrift Store Scores / The Sweet Escape


Thrift store scores / The Sweet Escape

{GOOD EATS: spicy avocado hummus}

Avocado Hummus Recipe / The Sweet Escape

This is a REALLY easy one folks. If you love avocados and hummus and want those two delicious worlds to collide then this is for you. You may recognize this as one of the delish snacks I whipped up for my summer patio wine & dine event awhile back. Not only do I like to tease your palette, I like to drag it on for at least a month before giving you the recipe. But it’s ok because you can really make this one anytime of year.

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{SPACES: living room or bedroom for under $1000}

Hey all. I thought I would share some of these latest posts I put together for Apartment Therapy. Give me a tight budget and I thrive. I honestly had fun putting together these rooms for under a $1000 (USD) each. It goes without saying (which some of the ‘friendly’ commentators missed) that buying second hand or giving an old piece a makeover is more budget friendly. These examples are for those people that aren’t interested in those options and want to buy new but on a budget.

The living room is pretty fresh and modern take with mid-century influences. How great is that coffee table!?!?

Bedroom for under $1000 / The Sweet Escape for Apartment Therapy

You can find all the shopping resources for this living room on the full original Apartment Therapy post.

The bedroom is more boho and eclectic. I love mixing black with wood and stripes and florals. This was actually quite a bit more challenging than the living room. (doesn’t include cost of mattress)

living room for under $1000 / The Sweet Escape for Apartment Therapy


You can find the full shopping resource list on the original Apartment Therapy post.

{SPACES & TRAVEL: treehouse heaven Part 2}

Treehouse outdoor living / The Sweet Escape

So are you still blown away by Part 1 of the treehouse tour? Well there’s more folks. As I mentioned the treehouse sits on one corner of the a huge property that’s home to Lynne and her family. There’s also the Knowlton family home, a big barn just ready and waiting for a proper hoedown and the most stunning pool and lounge area that includes an outdoor kitchen and fireplace. If you stay at the treehouse, the Knowlton’s are kind enough to share the pool/lounge space with their guests. Are you ready to see more?!

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{SPACES & TRAVEL: treehouse heaven Part 1}

treehouse heaven

If you follow along on Instagram you may have seen a few shots from this amazing treehouse I stayed at just over a week ago. I’m kinda a tease because I never like to give too much away on Instagram. Also I would’ve flooded your feed because it was such a stunning place – so stunning that I have to do a two-part post. This one is all about the treehouse and tomorrow is about the rest of the beautiful property. Keep reading to find out how I ended up at this little piece of heaven on earth, the fab owner and of course more photos. (PS, yes it is available to rent)

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{30 DAYS OF BEAUTY: 5 fall beauty trends to try}

Like fashion, beauty is always a bit ahead of us when it comes to the seasons. We’re barely getting used to this summer weather and it’s time to think about fall fashion and beauty trends. I won’t lie – fall is my favourite so I don’t mind taking a sneak peek at what’s around the corner. These days, like fashion, almost anything goes but there’s definitely a few stand out trends. Here’s 5 trends I spotted that I not only love but also think are realistic for the every day gal. The good news is that you can throw those tweezers away, the bad news is that you have to stop biting your nails. 
5 Fall Beauty Trends to Try : Bold Brows & Berry Lips / The Sweet Escape 5 Fall Beauty Trends to Try: Lashed out / The Sweet Escape 5 Fall Beauty Trends to Try: Bright Blue eyes / The Sweet Escape 5 Fall Beauty Trends to Try: Metallic Eyes /  The Sweet Escape

5 Fall Beauty Trends to Try: Reverse half moon mani /  The Sweet Escape

Inspired to try something new in the beauty dept? Well you’re in luck because Shoppers Drug Mart is about to kick off their 4th annual 30 Days of Beauty, their biggest beauty event of the year where you can find 30 (!) fab looks to be inspired by. This is like Christmas for the beauty lovers. From August 16 – Sept 14 there’s 30 different looks, 30 daily beauty offers, and a bunch of how-to videos for select looks. There will also be a special fab & free beauty gift with purchase including 25 samples (with a purchase of $75 or more on beauty & fragrance products) from August 23-29 and 5 minute makeovers happening in store by experienced beauty experts.

30 days of beauty

If that doesn’t get your beauty mojo going, I’m not sure what will. Visit your local Shoppers and take advantage of the special beauty offers and 5 minute makeovers to try at least 1 of the 30 looks. You never know, you may fall in love with blue eyeshadow!

(image sources: big brows & berry lips / lashed out / bright eyes / metallic eyes / reversed half moon mani)

logoAlthough this post has been generously sponsored by Shoppers Drug Mart, the opinion and language are all my own, and in no way do they reflect Shoppers Drug Mart.



{MAKE SOMETHING: 5 DIY’s to try this weekend}

Happy Friday! If you’re looking for something to do this weekend or feel like flexing your creative and crafty muscles, here’s 5 great projects to choose from.

DIY'S to try / The Sweet Escape

HOW TO: wrapped baskets / natural botanical cologne / umbrella / gold leaf heels / camera strap