Graphic prints have been an important trend over the past few years. Chevron shapes, stripes, polka dots, and houndstooth have all had their moments in the sun. This Spring, I'm spotting gingham everywhere; from shoes to dresses to home decor.

Gingham looks, from left: Altuzarra, Oscar de la Renta and Diane von Furstenberg.Credit

Gingham, which you might associate with Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, or the lovely Brigitte Bardot (who famously wore pink gingham on her wedding day), is typically light cotton check fabric.


This season gingham was big on the runways. At once retro and innocent, it is also romantic, cheery, and it feels very fresh and new among graphic prints. Certainly an expansion of last year's buffalo plaid trend, this warm-weather version of checkers is available this season on numerous products.
Dolce and Gabbana Dress and Shoe

I'm loving this look-alike-for-less gingham dress by Canadian retailer Simons.

find it here

Gingham in home decor can look a little too "country" for my tastes, but I love this modern kitchen. With the addition of some gingham it's the perfect balance of retro and modern, preventing the look from being too one-note.

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Here the gingham is in the pillows, paired with a classic Hudson Bay blanket. Both of these retro styles mix with modern furnishings so well, using colour to do all the heavy lifting in this design. (Check out this entire decor story, actually...it's great.)


I picked up my first gingham piece last summer, a sleeveless black and white gingham shell, and it fit well with almost anything in my wardrobe, adding a touch of retro to my summer style, and it worked well with both casual and dressy outfits. I think that's what I love most of all about gingham; it's casual, and effortless.

What patterns are you craving this year? I suspect I'll be picking up some more gingham before this season is through....

Here's a polyvore set I created using some absolutely swoon-worthy (read fairly unattainable high fashion) items:


Advice Suited to: Communications freelancers developing content for client's social sites.
Here in Eastern Ontario it doesn't feel like we had a Spring. It may not be accurate to say so but it feels like it snowed last week, and this week it is summer. In fact, it's currently a sunny 28 degrees and we probably need to install our air conditioning.

I'm not complaining. The warm weather is here, and this past weekend I was itching to be in a garden. Since I live in a lovely apartment above a store with deep windowsills (but no outdoor space) I visited the local greenhouse looking for some inspiration and ideas on what to grow indoors. 


I started by picking out some thai basil, parsley, and oregano. These can be a challenge to keep alive for very long on the windowsill (especially since I'll be making cuttings for my cooking!) but they will last quite well with a little maintenance, and it's just so lovely to have fresh herbs when making dinner.

For Christmas, my mom got me this cute growing kit that will soon sprout certified organic micro greens! 

They're still saran-wrapped to create a greenhouse-like environment for the seeds, and it will be great to have fresh basil and arugula micro-greens to eat.


I also picked up a Jade plant to add to my succulent collection, and though I know it grows best in an east-facing window, I'm hoping it will hold up in my north-facing windows...if it doesn't, I'll move it to the west facing windows where my herbs reside, which will surely do the trick.


I couldn't resist picking up this cute pre-planted hanging pot, I'm not 100% sure what it is, though some of these planters had air plants, I believe this is a succulent or cactus. I also planted a little collection of cacti! We had planted this one last summer but lost them over the holidays when we went home for a week, and turned off the heat....hopefully this year I'll be clever enough to think up a energy-saving solution that will also keep these little guys warm!


A spring refresh definitely boosts the spirits, and it genuinely feels wonderful to get your hands in the dirt.

On the topic of flowers, I was recently sent some information on the jewellery brand, Alex and Ani. I first heard of it at the Alberta Gift Fair I attended for work in February. It's got a back story that people are attracted to; being made in America and boosting the economy and general well-being in Rhode Island through charity and partnerships. I was interested to see that they have a floral collection that includes a marigold.



Marigolds are something I'm attached to, and will certainly be planting when I (one day) have a garden again. My mom has always planted marigolds, saving the seeds season-to-season, so they feel familiar and remind me of home. Orange is my favourite colour, it's the flower of my birth month, October, and was the flower I wanted to base my tattoo on. 



Alex and Ani says of their bangle:

"Marigold: the flower of the creative heart. Flaring with brilliant, fiery hues, the Marigold was a flower of medieval blessing, placed on doorways and believed to offer powerful protection. Associated with October, the Marigold promotes independence and the spread of creativity."

Which is really just a perfect description. If you're interested in this collection, you can purchase them at The Bay in Canada. 

I've definitely had flowers on the brain lately. I've spent some more time looking at flowers this year than usual, as I'm planning our wedding for August. I won't be going the route of super-trendy floral crowns (my look isn't really bohemian), but I will be putting together my own bouquet. I worked as a floral designer for years, and I can't really imagine letting anyone else do it!

Some images that have been inspiring to me:

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I haven't settled on exactly what I want the bouquets to look like, but one flower I plan to use for sure is a carnation. After my years spent working in a flower shop, I've felt that the carnation is an under-appreciated flower. People seem to have the idea that they are tacky. I couldn't disagree more; in my view any flower in its natural state can't be tacky (I'm side-eyeing you, neon-dyed roses) and it's all in how you use it that makes it work.

Appropriately, carnations in general are a symbolic flower that have to do with the bonds of affection. It is a symbol of health and energy, along with fascination and love. Of course as with any cultivated flower many meanings have been attached to the different colours. In Western culture, white carnations are said to represent pure love and good luck, so it is a wise choice for a wedding!

I have hesitated to blog about the wedding because in general, I don't think the world needs another wedding blog... but I thought I'd share a couple of details in the post, especially because they are topical! It is pretty all-consuming, but its fun to plan a wedding. I've always enjoyed a good party, and this is the biggest one I've ever planned! One aspect I'm very excited about is our venue.

img courtesy the garden path

We're getting married at The Garden Path in Vankleek Hill. It's such a pretty spot for a wedding, with a wide variety of flowers and herbs growing to supply their all natural homemade soaps. They also grow milkweed and are a designated monarch butterfly waystation. Monarch Waystations are places that provide resources necessary for monarchs to produce successive generations and sustain their migration. Without milkweeds throughout their spring and summer breeding areas in North America, monarchs would not be able to produce the successive generations that culminate in the migration each fall.

I'm sure to blog more about the wedding once it's happened, but for now that's all the details I'm willing to share!



Read more:

If you're interested in becoming a Monarch Waystation, learn more about it here.
If you're interested in Vankleek Hill or the Garden Path, check out this blog post.
Read the story of Alex and Ani here.
Want to know everything about the Dianthus caryophyllus (aka carnation)? Start here.
Want more wedding sneak peeks? Check out my pinterest account.

I've posted a blog on the LinkedIn blog platform for the first time! I think it's the right place for some of my more work-specific posts. I don't generally add someone on LinkedIn that I haven't worked with or that I don't know in real life, but I would love it if you would follow me on LinkedIn as I explore some of the tips and tricks I have learned managing social communities for various companies.

Read my first post here, which is about using IFTTT (If This Then That) in Social Media management.

Follow me on LinkedIn here.