This weekend was my birthday- thank you so much for all the wonderful kind words. I felt utterly spoiled- one big reason is that we treated ourselves to some much needed rest and relaxation with a little stay-cation in the city at Trump Tower Toronto.
Here's a secret (or not so secret) fun money saving tip for luxury hotel bookings- Priceline. We were able to get our gorgeous room at a significant discount by booking via this website where you bid on a location and a star level of hotels (we bid 5-star, financial district Toronto). The actual hotel you get is a surprise, so you have to be OK with that- for us it was a welcome surprise to stay somewhere new.
Pardon the length on this one- so much to say in this very honest review!!!
Let's start with design- our room was full of incredible design details. My favourite was the trim. I am a big time fan of trim. It elevates a room in a way that I think is only rivaled by wallpaper (use them together- like in this space- and you're golden). Take note of the applied moulding on the ceiling and above the bed, and the way the bed and window has been emphasized by modern casing. Also love how recessed pot lights and sparkly sconces are built into these trim details.
If you follow me on Instagram you might notice I am a slight fan of tufting. So I was a big fan of this bed. Sheets were as to be expected- fluffy and soft, and a fun bonus is Trump offers a pillow bar- meaning you can order to your room for use during your stay pillows of different firmness. These little details matter to people like me who try to educate clients on these details as well!!!
No popcorn ceilings here- beautiful lighting plan, applied moulding and crown making the 5th wall in the suite just as special as its wallpapered friends beside it.
The bathroom was full of design goodness too. Heated floors, TV in mirror, generously sized soaker tub and separate shower. Toilet was in a separate water closet which is always lovely and the shampoos etc. came in bottles so consistent with the Trump brand- big and beautiful! Small details like this- like the silver tray the soap sits on or how the garbage can is placed on a matching black leather tray are design details that I take note of, and so appreciate.
The entire suite was automated- so on both nightstands sits a panel that operates the lights, heat and window coverings. Similar panels exist in the bathroom and front door (front door boasts a privacy please button- no plastic door hanging do not disturb thingy at the Trump!)
Let's talk service- we were greeted so warmly, with lavender scented moist towelettes (to ease our weary commute from the top of the subway line!) at the check-in desk. My bags were so seamlessly taken from me I did not even notice. One thing I did notice as everything was done with two hands- meaning, when they gave you your room key, or took your credit card, it was done so with two hands holding the item. If I am not mistaken this is a sign of great respect in Korea and other countries. It was a detail I totally noticed and did interpret as being respectful and hospitable.
We had a few minor things with the room- the fridge wasn't working and the batteries on our TV remote were out. You would have thought something terrible had happened with the expediency they dealt with both issues.
Turn down service consisted of complimentary water placed next to a glass on a silver tray, the lights programmed to a dimmed night setting, and jazz music streaming from the Bose player.
Finally, when we got our car from the valet, we were offered complimentary bottles of water for the ride home. Again, a small gesture but so appreciated.
Really finally- about a day after our stay, I got an (automated) email from Donald Trump himself asking me how my stay was. Regardless of the fact it was automated, it was just another consistent extension and experience of the brand, again so appreciated by people like me who care about branding and creating great experiences for customers.
Let's talk amenities- so this pool. Lots of design details to appreciate- marble book matched feature walls, all the doors in consistent black with more gorgeous applied moulding, fabulous change room again decked out in generous complimentary toiletries like shaving kits, toothbrushes, mouthwash and the like.
I took a quick peek into the gym- reasonably sized with a pilates extension machine and a ballet barre plus the standard faire equipment. Again complimentary headphones, water, apples, towels make for a very pleasant gym experience.
Finally you have to walk through the spa to get to the pool and again with more delicious design details- I did not book any spa services on this visit but how relaxing would it be to get a massage and sleepily go back to your room? Oh- and another fun perk- instead of hard copy newspapers you get access to their digital library of newspapers and magazines.
THE NOT SO GOOD:
With the exception of those 2 super small extremely minor inconveniences of our fridge and remote control not working, our stay was a seamless, really luxurious retreat. We thought hard while writing this post and honestly could not think of anything bad to say.
Fun final note- they are running a contest for a free stay! Post a Valentines inspired video with the hashtag #lovetrumptoronto and tag @trumptoronto for your chance to win. Contest rules here.
Photos courtesy Trump Tower Toronto.
Almost every Friday for the remainder of my pregnancy I will be a series on "Dressing the Bump". Pregnancy can be a tricky time wardrobe wise as you want to feel great, look great but you kind of feel like a blimp. Comfort becomes mega important as you're carrying so much extra weight and again- everyone wants to feel great in the clothes they are in.
Similar to the way I design rooms, I love mixing pattern and texture. This shirt and pants combo (yes these are maternity pants!) is a fun edgy mix. I thought these pants would feel like plastic but they are pretty darn comfortable. And what is lovely- Thyme has started to carry online and exclusively at their Yorkdale location designer brands like Paige Denim, Citizens of Humanity, J Brand and DL. So convenient and pricing is about the same as you would expect to pay for non-maternity versions.
Let's pull back the curtain here- I would probably last an hour walking around in these heels, but for date night (ie. car to restaurant and then back to car) they are perfect.
Shirt, Citizens of Humanity (off the rack maternity!) pants, Thyme Maternity. Bracelet, Winners. Ring, BCBG. Shoes, Zara. Rose's dress and polka dor tights, Wheat. Bench, Target (sniff! goodbye Target Canada!), Coffee table, Mirens. Fireplace tiles, Paloform.
Thanks to Thyme Maternity for partnering with me during this very special time and to Mdd Photography for capturing my growing bump!
Starting this post with another note of thanks- thank you for all the love regarding our newest addition to our family. I am so touched by all the lovely comments and phone calls and texts.
Pregnancy absolutely gets me into big time organization mode- so for today's post I'm focusing on the office. Perhaps being more organized was on your list of resolutions for 2015- if so here are 5 things you can do TODAY to make an instant impact on the organization of your office- and your life!
1. CLEAR OFF YOUR WORKSPACE
I am a big believer in working in as clean of a space as possible. Meaning that the actual surface of your desk is as clear as possible save for the essential items like your computer, phone, pen, pad of paper, etc. I just think it allows your mind to be more clear when you are able to have a clear space tow ork on. This requires good shelving and filing systems of course, which I will elaborate on below, but take 15 minutes and physically remove non-essential items and see how it feels. I think you might be pleasantly surprised.
2. INVEST IN SHELVING CLOSE TO THE DESK
Experience has shown me that things need to be within arms reach for optimal productivity. Cause let's face it- laziness can kick in super fast and the extra step of having to get up to get something can become an excuse or a road block. Having things close at hand kinda eliminates this factor. So your printer, books / files you might need to access daily, stationary for thank you note writing, etc. should live in freestanding shelving either beside the desk or above the desk. When your space is small think vertically and use the wall space as much as possible.
3. FIGURE OUT FILING
I really struggle with this- paper overwhelms my house. But I must admit the binder at the front of the house has really helped control the paper clutter. In the office, it can be even more overwhelming. So figure out filing. I have some friends who are completely paperless in their office, using tools like Evernote to file literally everything. If you need to reference hard copies regularly, I prefer a binder to lateral hanging files (I just find it's a bit neater of a system). But whatever your preference, pick one and stick to it. Every single piece of paper needs a home, whether it is electronically, or in a designated folder or behind a tab.
4. PURIFY WITH ESSENTIAL OILS
I am no naturopath- and really no expert on this topic but my friend Sarah introduced me to essential oils and the wonderful things they can do for your health and your mood. Again no expert, but experience has shown me that certain oils applied topically or put in a diffuser absolutely impact my focus, concentration and overall mood elevator. My favourites include lavender, peppermint and frankincense. Apply them to wrists, back of neck or feet- random fact, your feet have the largest pores so the oil is absorbed there the most. A few drops in a diffuser honestly make the room smell amazing- and the smell lasts and lingers creating a wonderful environment for work.
5. TRAYS AND BASKETS
For the essential items and items that inevitably will migrate in and you can't figure out what to do with, I am such a believer in trays and baskets. A pretty tray on a desk will keep your essentials looking curated and organized. And baskets- I think I might be obsessed. Every room in my house now has a basket. They are just so darn practical and pretty! What I love about baskets is that in a pinch- when you just don't have the margin to clean and you really need to do something FAST to get some sanity back, putting it all in a pretty basket provides instant gratification. You've just got to promise to go through it at the end of the week and sort it out.
I know for myself, I can let cleaning become a BIG TIME procrastination enabler (said this designer too many times: but I can't do my expense report with my desk looking like this!) So the idea is if you have systems like some of the tips above that allow you to STAY organized and keep on top of it- you'll spend more time on great ideas and doing what you do best- rather than feeling stressed by mess and unable to operate efficiently.
Love to know your organization tips for your office in the comments below!
Side note: Big time congrats to my friends at the newly branded The Knot Group. They have just announced their new re-brand and services expansion and I was privileged to design their Toronto offices, featured in the images in this post. Come back later this week for a full tour of their space! Photos by the lovely Katherine Holland.