Share the Love

by Kena Paranjape on February 13, 2012

in Your Life

Source: via craftyagentmom on Pinterest

Happy Valentine's Day friends! Today I'm sharing a list of lovely posts from around the blogosphere (including some In Life and In Fashion oldies!) on how to share the love tomorrow and every day!

Sweetheart Sundaes from Oh Joy!

6 DIY Valentine's Day Cards from Inhabit

A legally binding Valentine - Read this hilarious "legal" agreement

3 Perfect playlists for Valentine's Day from Refinery 29

Allergy-friendly flowers from Beauty Geeks

Love-ly Fragrances from Beauty Editor

And a few oldies and goodies from In Life & In Fashion:

Say I Love (In a non-cheesy way!)

Make these delicious walnut-rosemary heart-shaped shortbread cookies.

More ways to say I love you!

Won't you love (or like?) me on facebook?  Thank you!

Technorati Tags: Valentine's Day


Handmade Valentine

by Kena Paranjape on February 9, 2012

in Fashion and Style


Although I do love a good handmade card (pink construction paper anyone?), if you are in a grown up relationship, you might want to complement the sentiment with a beautiful handmade gift.  Before you pull out your glue gun and glitter, my suggestion is to leave it to the experts!

The beautiful jewellery above is all expertly handcrafted by Canadian designers. (You might want to share this link with your significant other!)

Clockwise starting from top-left corner:

1.  Toronto-based Biko calls this a Modern Friendship Bracelet.  I would wear this every single day. To encourage sharing with a friend, designer Corinne Anestopoulos offers a discount when you buy 2.

2.  These 14K gold rings designed by Laura Serrafero for Eles Designs in Toronto are luxurious but have a beautiful organic sensibility.  I particularly love the colourful gemstone rings on the right.

3.  Last Christmas I bought my sister-in-law a lovely little silver pendant necklace at Matsu's little boutique/workshop near Yonge & Eglinton in Toronto.  I will go back for pieces like this beautiful ring that is elegant but with a bit of an edge. Designed by the very talented Jennifer Shigetomi.

4. Designer Anat Basanta calls this gorgeous, unique piece the Neverending necklace because it is literally a full circle made of machine knitted sterling silver mesh and pearls.  I am definitely adding this to my coveted list!

5. The world has gone cupcake crazy!  This lovely little necklace is perfect for the cupcake-monster (of all ages!) in your life.  Hancrafted with sterling silver in Vancouver by Filou Designs.

Technorati Tags: Gifts, Handmade, jewellery, Local, Valentine's Day

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3 Life Lessons from Jay-Z

by Kena Paranjape on February 1, 2012

in Your Life


Can you tell I've been reading a lot of books lately?  And this was pre e-reader in my life!  A couple of weeks ago I highlighted some life lessons I took away from Steve Jobs' bio.  Well, I recently also finished Jay-Z's Decoded.  Ah-mazing.  I've written about Jay-Z before (one of the most popular posts!) and if anything, I am an even bigger fan now.  I know I am just one of gazillions of people who are inspired by his passion and his music.

Here are three life lessons I took away from Jay-Z's inspiring book, Decoded:

1.  "Before I learned the Law of Attraction I was aware of the power of my thoughts, staying focused, weeding out thoughts that sabotage" Even Jay-Z believes in some way in the law of attraction and the importance of disciplined and focused thinking.  The more I read and experience, the more I understand that learning to focus your thoughts is truly a competitive advantage in business and in life.

2. "There's unquestionable magic involved in great music, songwriting, and performances - like those nights when a star athlete is totally in the zone and can't miss.  But there's also work.  Without the work, the magic won't come." It is magic to make something look easy and effortless...but behind all of that is hours and hours of committed work.  Work that is worth it.

3.  "I've always believed in motion and action, in following connections wherever they take me, and in not getting entrenched.  My life has been more poetry than prose, more about unpredictable leaps and links than simple steady movement or worse, stagnation." I am so inspired by this quote.  So many of us are trying to control every moment, experience, and outcome in our lives.  But if we pay attention to what is happening around us, we might just see connections and links that lead us to something unexpected but amazing.

If you liked this post, please share it.  Thank you! :)

Click here to read:  What we can learn from Jay-Z

Technorati Tags: Decoded, Jay-Z, life lessons


Tote it! 5 Stylish & Sturdy Handcrafted Totes

by Kena Paranjape on January 19, 2012

in Fashion and Style


Now that I'm no longer chained to my desk, and am an entrepreneur on-the-go (like how I made that sound so carefree? ha!), I am looking for a sturdy, stylish tote I can slip my laptop into and tote (!) around as I work in coffee shops around the city.  I want something utilitarian but refined and carefully crafted.

Here are five fabulous finds....Now which should I choose?

Clockwise starting from top-left corner:

1. This versatile and sturdy leather carryall by Bexar Goods can be shared with the man in your life (if he is the sort of wonderful man who would carry a bag!).  Handmade in Bexar County, Texas.

2. I love the bohemian feel of this slouchy brown leather bag made from recycled upholstery leather.  Handmade by Stitch and Tickle in Boston, Massachusettes.

3.  This beautiful waxed cotton tote is stylish AND easy to keep clean!  The bottom half of the bag is made from 72 triangles stuffed to create a geometric pattern.  Excited to report that this handmade beauty is made by Genevieve Savard in Montreal.

4. Speaking of versatile, this bag is actually a combination backpack/tote/shoulder bag/rucksack!  I like that the red zipper and strap add a sporty feel.  Handmade in in Portland, Oregan with waxed cotton and leather by XO Bruno.

5. This super rugged tote is actually made from a recycled army tent and pieces of salvaged upholstery leather.  I can picture it just getting better with age.  Handmade in New Orleans, LA by Uptown Redesigns.

Technorati Tags: etsy, totes


5 Life Lessons from Steve Jobs

by Kena Paranjape on January 16, 2012

in Your Life


Anyone who has read Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson knows that it is filled with as many lessons on how NOT to behave as it is with insights on how to be successful in business and in life.   That is what makes Steve Jobs so fascinating and compelling.  He wasn't perfect at all.  But he was truly authentic.  He didn't make excuses for who he was to anybody, he acted on instinct, and he had unwavering faith in his vision.  For those reasons, I am a huge fan.  His bio is a must-read for anyone wanting to learn from a business leader, artist and game-changer.

Here are five inspiring life lessons I learned from Steve Jobs:

1. "People form  an opinion about a company or product (or person) based on the signals it conveys." This really applies to everything in life to a certain extent doesn't it?  How you dress, keep your home, your desk at work, all convey something about you...sometimes whether you want it to or not.  If we are aware of this fact, we can make choices that help to send the best possible signals.

2. "The best way to predict the future is to invent it." I love this quote as a way to approach life.  Yes, there are many things we can't control, however, there is much that is in our power and we can create our future by inventing it day by day.

3. "The goal was never to beat the competition or to make a lot of money.  It was to do the greatest thing possible." Steve Job's lived by this principle.  Sometimes his perfectionism led to strange eccentricities like not furnishing his mansion because he couldn't find just the right furniture (weird!), but there is something to be said for striving for the absolute best in everything we do.

4. "You always have to keep pushing to innovate.  That's what I've always tried to do - keep moving.  Otherwise, as Dylan says, if you're not busy being born, you're busy dying." Innovating doesn't just apply to work...are you growing in all areas of your life - mentally, creatively, socially, physically?

5. "What drove me?  I think most creative people want to express appreciation for being able to take advantage of the work that's been done by others before us.  We try to use the talents we do have to express our deep feelings, to show our appreciation of all the contributions that came before us, and to add something to that flow.  That's what has driven me." Even Jobs, who has been described as a narcissist, understood what it means do be grateful. Be grateful for what you have, appreciate those that that have helped you in any way and express that appreciation by creating something amazing of your own.  That is the ultimate compliment!

Have you read Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson?  What life lessons did you take away?

Technorati Tags: life lessons, Steve Jobs


Fresh Starts & Daily Inspiration

by Kena Paranjape on January 6, 2012

in Interior Design, Organization


The beginning of a new year is about fresh starts and inspirations.  What better way to start than with a beautiful new calendar.  I love the calendars designed by Monkey Mind Designs (above).  Optimistic colours, enthusiastic prints and bold words are exactly how I want to start 2012.

For everyday inspiration, hang one of these letterpress posters from Happy Deliveries (below) above your desk and begin your day with bright and beautiful thoughts.   These lovely bold prints are made from lead type, wood type and antique printing blocks in Appleton, Wisconsin.


How will you get inspired this year?

If you like this post, please share it on facebook, twitter, or send to a friend.  Thanks :)

Technorati Tags: art, calendar, inspiration


What is Your Word for 2012?

by Kena Paranjape on January 4, 2012

in Your Life


Last year, around this time, I wrote a post about choosing one word to focus on as your theme for the entire year.  You can read more about it here, but the idea is that instead of making long lists of what you want to accomplish (or in addition to this if it works for you), why not choose one word to use as a guide throughout the year.

Last year my word was Dream.  It was a great word and I did a lot of in-depth, wonderful dreaming.  Well this year, I want to take it one step I choose:


Because this year I want to act on those dreams.  I want to talk less (ok that might be a bit of a stretch) and act more. And I've started the year off ready to do it.  I recently made the scary decision (seriously, I agonized over it for weeks!) to turn down a lucrative, exciting corporate role in favour of committing to my most treasured dream - entrepreneurship.  And so the journey begins...

What is your word for 2012?  Please share!

If you like this post, please do share it on twitter, facebook or with a friend. :) Thanks.

Technorati Tags: New Year Resolutions


Go Big in 2012

by Kena Paranjape on January 1, 2012

in Your Life

"If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is a compromise." - Robert Fritz

"Life is short.  As a general rule, it is better to do something than NOT do it." - Chris Guillebeau

This year, I wish for you big, unreasonable dreams and the courage to go after them.  The world is waiting...

Happy New Year, Friends!



Technorati Tags: Happy New Year



I had the pleasure of working with Trish Magwood during my time sourcing gourmet product for Indigo.  Trish is a James Beard award-winning chef, a food and lifestyle consultant, a mother and a lovely, energetic and enthusiastic person. She recently launched her second cookbook, In My Mother's Kitchen, which is filled with delicious and simple family food recipes inspired by her mother and grandmother.  I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Trish on her best tips for holiday entertaining.

1.  What are your top 3 holiday entertaining at home tips?

1.  Bake way ahead of time (just did mine today) – stuff that’s quick to make and that you can freeze so you have host, teacher gifts as well as dessert and stand-by treats for post-Christmas.
2.  The Christmas box – keep a box or two of tree décor and other finds on stand-by so you can dress up your house in a second.  Check out Indigo, West Elm, Ikea to spruce up your kit with fun things like paper mache reindeer and glass snow globes.
3.  Controlled pot luck – whether you are hosting or heading to your sis-in-laws, divide and conquer the meal and decide early who does what.

2.  What is your favourite Christmas cookie recipe?
All my fave cookie recipes are in In My Mother’s kitchen – definitely Mardi’s shortbread and Stewie’s ginger cookie – all simple old fashioned baking.

3.  What is the perfect gift for a wannabe chef?  What about for a foodie?
Food as gift is a no brainer for anyone who enjoys good food.  Throughout the year I collect little food grabs like Knock Knock paper pads (Note from Kena:  the "All Out Of" pad is a must-have!), retro egg timer etc so I have a little stash of gifts for foodies. For good home cooks, a knife is a treat – MAC is my fave, chef knife is the essential.  Be sure to tape a penny to it for luck.  Pantry essentials like a flaked sea salt and your favourite oil and vinegar in a wine bag is a great gift to stock a solid pantry.

4.  How do you set a festive table? I’m a sucker for pretty xmas crackers and pretty festive napkins and its time to pull out the good glasses and flatware.  Bows downs the centre of the table with pomagranates in a trifle bowl lets me grab my décor at the grocery store!

5.  What do you need to be prepared for last minute holiday hosting? A good night sleep!  Oh, and a stocked bar, pity those who forget to hit the lcbo.  Fun, fancy kid-friendly and non-alcoholic drinks too – fizzy juices in fun glasses and everyone feels special.

6.  What should you bring when you are invited to someone's home over the holidays? The make ahead baking you whipped up (or as close to it as you can get)!

7.  As a Mom, chef and entrepreneur you balance a lot everyday...based on your own experience, what are your tips for women attempting to do the same? Organize ahead, keep it simple, enlist help and accept that all will not be perfect!

8.  What is your morning routine? COFFEEEEEE, at least try to get it going before the kids wake up.  Never happens but that would be ideal.

9.  If you had an hour free, where and how would you choose to spend it? A massage at Chi, a boxing class at Totum, coffee with a friend.

If you enjoyed this article, please tweet it, share it on facebook or send it to a friend.  Thank you!

To read 9 Questions with Joe Mimran, click here.

To read 9 Questions with Mireille Guiliano, click here.

Technorati Tags: holiday entertaining, Trish Magwood

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12 Reasons to Love your Sister

by Kena Paranjape on December 12, 2011

in Your Life


Yesterday was my younger sister's birthday.  I made her a proper birthday cake complete with chocolate frosting and colourful sprinkles, like my Mom used to make us when we were little.  A few years ago I wrote a post about the beauty of sisters and I wanted to re-post that with a few updates in honour of her birthday.  From the moment she entered the world, we were instant best friends, with a few lapses during my I-don't-want-to-play-with-my-little-sister and her I'm-too-cool-to-have-anything-to-do-with-you phases.  The fact is, if you have a sister, consider yourself damn lucky!  Even if you aren't super close, or the best of friends, your sister will always be there for you....don't ever take her for granted.  Here are 12 reasons why sisters are simply fabulous!

  1. She will tell you when something looks hideous on you.  "No really, that looks hideous on you!"
  2. You can count on her like no one else in good times and bad.
  3. She inspires you to follow your dreams.
  4. She helpfully (and happily!) points out any of your current facial imperfections.
  5. She works hard to cheer you up when you are down.
  6. Double wardrobe, hello!
  7. When you both find something funny (which doesn't take much, and happens often), you laugh so hard your stomach hurts and tears run down your face.
  8. She is someone you can make fun of your parents with (because no one else is allowed!)
  9. She listens to you ramble on about everything and nothing.
  10. You can easily spend an afternoon together doing absolutely nothing and not get bored.
  11. She sees the best in you.
  12. Sometimes, when you are together, you really feel like a kid again.

Happy Birthday Renita!

Technorati Tags: sisters