Farewell to September…

Mumford and Sons

I can’t believe it’s the end of September (and officially autumn… where did the time go?) For me, it flew by, since there’s been a lot going on! Just a few of the latest developments in my world:

I gave All Things Nice a new look just in time for October.

I finally launched my personal style posts, which I’ve been wanting to do for awhile.

Also celebrated my birthday and wrote about my reflections on turning 25.

My story about caring for a parent with Alzheimer’s (a very rewarding one to write) was published on Best Health’s website.

The Kit quoted me regarding a Twitter style tip in one of their issues – a fun surprise!

Oh, and I went to Blog Podium – had a wonderful time and learned lots, too.

I wonder what October will bring? I guess we’ll all find out soon enough!

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A new look for ATN!

Notice something a little bit different around here? For the past month, I’ve been working on a redesign for All Things Nice, and I’m so happy to finally launch our new look! I wanted something clean and classic, where the photography could stand out. I think the whole blog is now more streamlined and professional… but my gosh, it took a lot of playing around with CSS and fonts to find the ideal mix! It honestly took me forever to pick fonts but I’m so happy with what I’ve settled on. The main title is now in Elsie, while subheadings and the left navigation are in Calluna Sans. I also love having a new, smaller logo and top navigation – again, just cleaning up the main area to make the content the focal point. Take a look below at some highlights of the changes:

newlayout_screenshot_edits

And here’s what the old layout looked like… in hindsight, it was way too broken up. Massive title and post date areas. Navigation smack dab in the middle. Too many spaces between the widgets on the left. It’s interesting to compare the two designs – this old layout was a good start but definitely needed some tweaking:

Screen Shot 2013-09-16 at 8.25.50 PM

What do you think of our new look? I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments!

Links of the week

Autumn bicycle in CopenhagenAutumn bicycle in Copenhagen via Flickr.

It’s autumn now, and I’m pinning some lovely fall photos to get in the spirit.

With fall comes delicious butternut squash recipes. Mmm.

Free fonts! Handwritten ones and some handy dingbats.

Interesting piece on why sharing a bank account might benefit your marriage.

Speaking of marriage, this woman is making 300 sandwiches to get her boyfriend to marry her. Seriously.

Great tips & ideas for making a media kit, plus a sample of what these kits can look like.

A few things power couples do differently.

Hoping to snag this colourful San Francisco print.

How to make homemade cupcakes that actually taste moist and delicious.

Barbie has a new job: RCMP officer. Yes, that’s right… she’s a Mountie now.

Making tacos? Line the shells with lettuce. Here’s why.

Anthropologie gifts & goodies

Gifts & goodies at Anthropologie

I must say, I love Anthropologie’s gift and decor section.
Cute placemats, calendars, plates, you name it. Here are a few of my favourite new finds.

1. Travel America 2014 calendar. I recently scooped this up – the plan is to use it for the year, then frame some of the adorable art (our favourite cities, of course – including New York!)
2. Leather journal. How charming is this eh? Such a lovely shade of green. Perfect for all your thoughts.
3. Every Occasion notecard set. To say a simple thanks or just brighten someone’s day.
4. Mac & Cheese cookbook. My boyfriend can testify to the fact that I love, love, love macaroni and cheese. So finding a whole cookbook devoted to it… well, that’s just wonderful.
5. Vintage rotary phone. Who doesn’t want one of these?!
6. Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi. Instead of saying “eat your vegetables,” your mother should’ve just bought this cookbook. Everything looks amazing.
7. Printed bowtie collar. If I owned a dog, you betcha he’d be wearing this (but only on special occasions, of course.)

Black and white stripes

AllThingsNice.ca

Blazer: RW&Co (Similar) | Shirt: Gap (Similar)| Glasses: Coach | Purse: Club Monaco | Jeans: American Eagle (Similar) | Shoes: Gap (Similar)

This is basically my fall uniform – comfy jeans, loafers and a blazer over a tee. Seriously, it’s hard to go wrong with a t-shirt & blazer combo (I was actually quoted in The Kit about this recently!)

AllThingsNice.ca

AllThingsNice.ca

Do you have any particular clothes or accessories that are your go-to items for fall?

Lessons from Blog Podium

Blog Podium Annawithlove Photography-9826-L

That’s me on the right! Image via AnnaWithLove.

blogpodium_speakersSpeakers at Blog Podium (clockwise from upper left): Designer Sarah Richardson, Jordana Garbati from White Cabana, Giulia Doyle from Audrey’s, expert panel, Stephanie Sterjovski.

In case you missed my last post about Blog Podium, here’s a quick recap: I went to this lifestyle blogging conference in Toronto over the weekend, had a great time – and learned a lot! I wanted to obviously share some of that learning with all of you (especially if you’re interesting in blogging but weren’t able to attend.) All the presenters had different things to share but I noticed a few common themes & tips throughout all the presentations.

Some big takeaway points from the day:

  • If you’re launching a blog, make sure you have a vision & mission. Narrowing in on a few topics and a certain voice/tone will help make your blog stand out and help build a consistent brand.
  • Treat your blog like a magazine – with you as the Editor-in-Chief! That means vetting submissions carefully, ensuring everything is top-quality before you publish, and having an editorial calendar to keep you on track for having regular engaging content.
  • Don’t compare your blog to anyone else’s. We’re all doing this for different reasons and have different goals. And if you’re just starting out, there’s no way you can expect to have the following of a blog that’s been around for 5 years – ain’t gonna happen, so don’t stress about it.
  • Be true to yourself on your blog. Readers can tell if you’re not being authentic.
  • When you’re working with brands, make it a win-win scenario. Have your blog traffic stats ready and be a consummate professional so that you both gain from the partnership.
  • Don’t stretch yourself thin. If you don’t have time to manage five different social media accounts, narrow it down to 2-3 you enjoy using. If you’re not able to blog every single day because of work or family commitments, just schedule posts for a few days a week and keep your readers in the loop on when they can expect content.
  • Above all: Blog because you love it. If it’s no fun, what’s the point?

I also realized that I really, really need to get an iPhone (just preordered the 5s, which I’ll be getting in 2 weeks – hurrah) so that I can finally use Instragram. And… I really need business cards. Like, really badly. I felt a bit silly without them! But oh well – live and learn. I’ll know for next time.

Did you learn anything interesting at Blog Podium? Let me know in the comments!

Looking back at Blog Podium 2013

Blog Podium 2013

On Saturday, I spent the day with over 250 other bloggers at the 2013 Blog Podium conference in Toronto. It was a great day filled with learning, laughter and new friends – and of course, the whole conference was adorable (what else would you expect from a bunch of lifestyle bloggers?)

Blog Podium 2013

There were some fabulous speakers throughout the day, including an expert panel (above) which included Emma Reddington, blogger-turned-Chatelaine-editor and the face behind the lovely Marion Housebook. I also got to hear from a Toronto blogger I love – Stephanie Sterjovski – and from the hilarious & talented Gabriel Coco of the Artful Desperado.

Blog Podium 2013

We also had a little afterparty which was tons of fun – and way too short!

Blog Podium 2013

Goofing off with Gabriel and Vanessa from Glimmer Glimmer Sparkle Shimmer. Fun fact: The three of us truly represent Canada from coast-to-coast! Gabriel lives in Vancouver, I live in Toronto, Vanessa is from Halifax. Totally proves the power of conferences – they really bring people together.

I’ll have Part 2 of this post up later in the week, with reflections on what I learned – stay tuned!