Archive for July, 2013

July 31, 2013 10:52 am

How to: Decorate a Studio Apartment

studio apartment decor

Whether they’re big or small, studio apartments come with one major decorating dilemma – one room that needs to serve at least four purposes. It can be uncomfortable to eat, sleep, and relax all in the same room, but with some clever decorating you can easily create a comfortable and well-designed studio apartment. Read our top tips for decorating studio apartments below.

1. Create Divisions of Space

If you don’t want to end up eating in bed every night, you’ve got to maximize the space you do have. Give each section of the room a purpose: a dining area, sleeping area, and entertainment area. It might seem difficult in a small space, but it’s almost always possible. The best way is to take measurements of the room and your furniture and draw up a floorplan of the apartment. That way, you’ll be able to come up with a plan before you start moving furniture.

2. Invest in multi-purpose furniture

We don’t need a formal dining table all the time, but it is nice to have some of the time. A lot of modern furniture is designed to do two things at once: think couches that become coffee tables that become dining tables. This kind of furniture really lets you get the most out of your small space. Our favorite space-saving furniture is the loft bed, which lets you have an office on ground level and a sleeping area above ground!

3. Make your own walls

Walls don’t have to be structural. You can use curtains, bookshelves, or furniture to “build” some walls in your open space. The great thing about using shelving or furniture is that it also helps to bring in even more storage – a big necessity in a studio apartment. It’s always good to make your furniture work double-time if you can.

4. Storage solutions

We’ve said it before, storage is perhaps the most important thing when it comes to studio apartments. Especially in older buildings, closets are few and far between. When choosing furniture, look for items that double as storage (like an ottoman that can double as a coffee table with storage inside!). And when it comes to shelves, anything that can go up on the walls should.

5. Open things up with mirrors

If your bachelor apartment feels cramped, add some mirrors to the walls for the illusion of more space. Try to position the mirror across from the windows to bounce more light into the room. Light, airy spaces automatically feel larger than dark ones. Mirrors also make for great accessories.

6. Go white!

Or any other light color to open up the space. White walls don’t mean that you have to skimp on the color. Add some personality and color to the space with artwork, accessories, or even furniture.

7. Take it outside

If you’re fortunate enough to have access to a balcony, use it! Put a dining or sitting area on the balcony so that you can expand your living space – at least when the weather will allow it.


July 30, 2013 11:45 am

One-On-One: The Great eBook Debate

 ebook debate

The other day, we got talking about eBooks here at the QC office. For a bunch of book-lovers like us, the mere mention of this digital dilemma gets things a little bit heated. Instead, we decided to use our wits and engage in an old-fashioned debate. One of us took up the cause of physical books, and the other took the side of digital. Please note that the below arguments don’t really reflect our true opinions…in reality, we fall somewhere in the middle. Read the eBook debate below and let us know who won!

Sandra says: Paperback is here to stay

Stacey, don’t tell me you don’t judge a book by its cover! Reading is not just about the words on the page. Of course I appreciate the heart and soul that authors put into the stories that I love so much but for me, reading is a sensory experience. I like to look at the interesting, colorful cover art while I’m reading; I love how the image changes meaning as I get to know the story and the characters, chapter by chapter. I like the feel of the paper as I turn pages and the weight of a book in my hands. When I’m buying second-hand, I like the smell of the old books, and the thrill of the hunt to find that one book that speaks to me on that particular day.

Are you calling for the end of the second-hand bookstore as well?

Another special thing about books is the role they play in a vibrant community culture. I like being able to stop by my local bookstore and discuss books with the staff. I don’t know how many conversations I’ve had with “strangers” on the bus or in a cafe based on the book I’m reading.

Local libraries double as community centers, and the end of the library system would mean much more to communities than just decreased access to paperbacks. It’s amazing how, no matter how solitary an act reading can be, it can also really brings people together!

I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. And that’s why physical books aren’t going anywhere.

Stacey thinks: Digital is the way of the future

Actually Sandra, if I judged books by their covers I wouldn’t have discovered some of my favorite reads of all time. So I can honestly say that I don’t. With modern e-reader technology, such as Amazon Kindle’s electronic ink, the pages on the screen very closely resemble an actual book’s page. Plus, the screen remains glare-free and clearly legible even in direct sunlight. Personally, I often find an eBook easier to read than its physical counterpart – not all books’ pages are made the same and some are far too thin or dark!

Yes, there’s something to be said about second hand book shopping but I think what you’re actually arguing is for the maintenance of reader culture. What’s stopping people from pulling up a chair at their local coffee shop or library and reading an eBook? What’s stopping you from turning to your neighbor and asking about the eBook they’re reading? People often fold their books while reading so the cover isn’t even visible, so your voyeuristic argument undoubtedly falls short. In fact, a reader of an eBook can easily highlight lines of interest and add notes into pages to share with other readers – further connecting with book lovers.

I could go on and argue the eco-friendly benefits to e-reading or the ability to carry thousands of books with you on a slim screen that’s lighter than any book I’ve ever held, but our audience is already well aware of those benefits. At the end of the day, eBooks are easier to store, carry, bookmark, and are even cheaper to buy. Elderly people with chronic arthritis don’t have to struggle to turn a page and hold a book still, and young people need not be intimidated by a large library of books for which they likely don’t have the time or patience to sort through.

Denying the inevitable shift towards digital will only leave you in the past, where fewer and fewer books are printed and where you and the other ageists will be forced to read from moldy pages in your parents’ basements.


Who had the best argument? Vote for the winner in a comment below!



July 27, 2013 10:14 am

Dress Up a White Tank Top

The white tank top should be a staple in every girl’s closet. It’s just so incredibly versatile, and can help bring any outfit together. We recommend purchasing a couple white tanks in different styles and textures to help you get the most out of your current wardrobe. In our books, it’s the best basic to have. Don’t believe us? Check out the creative outfits below and see how a white tank top is the key to each ensemble!

Outfit #1 – Weekend in the Sun

White Tank TopTop Shop Basic Crop Vest, New Look Pale Blue Bleach Wash Denim Pinafore, Sam Edelman Sasha Wedges, Linda Farrow Luxe Acetate and Snakeskin Sunglasses, Catherine Street Stripe Pippa Bag.

Outfit #2 – Casual Friday

White Tank Top


James Perse Top Top The Daily Tank, 10 Crosby By Derek Lam – Cool suiting blazer, Citizens of Humanity Chloe printed high-rise stretch-denim shorts, Nylon Gladiator Sandal, Cromia MENFI clutch.

Outfit #3 – Date Night!

White Tee

 Anne Vest Perforated leather topRiver Island Light wash ripped Cassie boyfriend jeansSharrin Wedge, LULU GUINNESS Black Patent Leather Small Envelope Clutch, Nars Jungle Red Lipstick.

Outfit #4 – Girl’s Night Out

White Tank


 3.1 Phillip Lim Twisted Hem Tank TopWitchery Metallic Origami MiniTed Baker Ashh Clutch BagBee Charming Jewelry Vintage Great Gatsby Necklace.



July 26, 2013 3:56 pm

Road Tripping in Eastern Canada

Go to New Brunswick when you visit Eastern Canada

Summer is the perfect time for a road trip. Whether you’re heading out with a couple great friends or with your family, road trips have that easy, laid-back attitude that let you explore – or relax –just as much as you want to. One road trip that I’ve taken a few times is to eastern Canada, also known as the Maritime provinces. With beautiful ocean views, incredible seafood, and the perfect chilled-out summer atmosphere, it’s a trip I would love to make every year… if only I had the time! Here are a few stops you’ve got to make along the way.

Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick

The southern shore of the province boasts the famous Hopewell Rocks. Also known as the Flowerpot Rocks, these massive formations have been created by erosion from dramatic tides that pour into the Bay every day – at its greatest point, the Bay of Fundy’s tides rise by over 55 feet! Camp in Fundy National Park, or just stop at the rocks for a quick photo-op on your drive across the province.

Clam Digging in Prince Edward Island

Two of the times I’ve visited the little island, I ended up digging clams. Once we came upon them by accident, the other time we booked a memorable ocean boat cruise. They gave us a wetsuit and a rake and plopped us in chest deep water to give it our best shot! We followed our hard work by a clam bake on the beach. There is nothing more delicious than clams fresh from the ocean, especially with the satisfaction of having found them yourself. And PEI’s notorious red sand around you and rolling fields behind make for such a picturesque landscape.

Tidal Bore Rafting in Nova Scotia

On the Shubenacadie River, a strange and special thing happens when the tide comes in. Twice daily, the tide creates bores (tidal waves) that can reach nearly 10 feet. There are many rafting companies in the area that will drive tourists directly into these strong waves. You don’t have to work as hard as you would white-water rafting, but you get all the fun of being splashed by huge waves. During calm parts of the tour, you’ll often see eagles flying through the forested landscape. It makes for a very fun day.

St. John’s, Newfoundland

If you don’t have a lot of time for your vacation Newfoundland might not be a possible stop…it’s a bit far compared to the other provinces. If you do have the time, it is well worth the trip. Newfoundland has the atmosphere of an entirely different country, and staying in St. John’s while you’re there is a great cultural experience. This pretty, hilly city has a beautiful harbor, interesting local cuisine (try the Jiggs’ dinner!), and a vibrant night life. The pedestrian-only George Street is lined with pubs and restaurants, and often features festivals and musical acts. Drive just outside the city and begin to experience the ruggedness of the province’s rocky landscape.

What’s your favorite road trip? Let us know in a comment below!




July 24, 2013 4:22 pm

How To Plan A Writer’s Retreat

how to plan a writer's retreat

I once had a writing professor who swore by a taking semi-annual writer’s retreat. She said that nothing helped with her creative juices more than going off to a remote location, sitting by a river, and writing. She loved removing all the distractions from her everyday life to give her mind the space to create – no TV, no Internet, no phone, no noise. In fact, the retreat that she chose also had a no talking policy! The amount of work she produced in these few days helped keep her publishing as regularly as she did.

There are some companies that offer packaged writer’s retreats. But often, a cabin in the woods will do just fine. Here are a few simple steps to planning your own writer’s retreat.

1. Pick a location

You’re not taking a vacation, and you don’t want to invite in the stress that comes with traveling. Get outside of the city enough to feel like you’re somewhere else, but not so far as to waste all your time driving to your destination. Pick a spot that speaks to you. If you love being by the beach, try for a beach location. If you crave complete seclusion, a cabin in the woods might be right for you.

2. Give yourself a goal

What do you want to accomplish from this trip? Set an achievable goal for yourself before you go. Maybe you want to write the next two chapters of your book, or finish a final edit of your short story. Goals help you stay focused and give you a better sense of how to use your time wisely.

3. Stay disciplined

You may be in a beautiful location, but don’t forget that you’re there to work. Set work hours for yourself (you know when you work best!) and try your best to stick to them to maximize your time. If you need a change of scenery go for a quick walk or bring your laptop to a different spot. Don’t complicate your life by making elaborate meals or driving into town for groceries. Come prepared with the necessities.

4. But have fun, too!

That being said, allowing yourself the time to play and rest can do wonders for the creative mind. When you’re not working, explore your surroundings or sit by the fire. When you’re in the right mindset, you’ll find that you start to think about writing all the time. Your “off-time” will soon be filled with ideas and inspiration, and you won’t be able to wait to get back to work.

How do you get inspired to write? Let us know in a comment below!



July 23, 2013 9:00 am

Accessory Advice from Leah Harper

Searching for accessories can be a daunting task for any fashion stylist. With so many options and styles, how and what do you choose? We’ve enlisted the help of Leah Harper, blogger behind The Shepherd’s Girl, to dole out some accessory advice.

accessory advice

1. Think about the woman you are styling. Consider her height, stature, build, and personality. Choose things that will fit in with her personality and accent her personal style. It is important that she wears the accessories and they don’t wear her.

2. When choosing items, consider the visual balance of the outfit; necklines play a very significant part in this. The most common necklines are the round-neck and v-neck. It is important that the necklace complements the neckline, as it will flatter the garment and wearer more appropriately. My suggestions are:

-For a round neck, choose a necklace that hangs in a rounded or square fashion.
-For a v-neck choose a y-shaped necklace.

Long necklaces and scarves are also great pieces to add to tunics or tops that require a longer length. They can break up patterns, such as vertical stripes, or add a pop of colour to any outfit. It is also an easy way of opening up a high neckline that can visually “choke” the person and therefore over accentuate the bust. The trick to a longer necklace is it creates a vertical line on the body that draws the eye up and down, creating a slimmer look. A longer necklace creates focus on the entire torso, not just the bust and neck.

3. Next, consider what type of earring would balance the necklace. Wearing a large chunky necklace merits a small earring, or no earring at all. In contrast, a large earring may require only the complement of a cuff bracelet or cocktail ring. I recommend choosing a complementary accessory that is not exact or “matchy”, as it adds more interest and dimension to the outfit. The same goes with shoes and purses; many ladies run around trying to find an exact match. The distance from the shoe to the bag alone shows they do not have to match, as they are too far away from one another. Instead, try a pop of colour. Alternatively, tie in another colour from the outfit to complement the shoe or bag.

4. Accessories can be fun and really add interest to any outfit. Consider, for example, a statement necklace or earring that draws the eye towards the face. I like to mix textures and colours and put them together in unexpected combinations. My personal favourite accessories are large rings and bracelets. I feel naked without them! I also love to wear chunky neckpieces, hats, and vintage clip-ons.

5. The key point to remember when accessorizing is to keep things effortless. Don’t over think it! Choose one or two focal points (max) and stop there. When in doubt, always remember the wise words of Coco Chanel, “When accessorizing always take off the last thing you put on”.


Blogger Bio: Leah Harper, The Shepherds Girlshepherds girl logo

Leah Harper is currently the Manager at Shepherd’s Fashions in the Rideau Centre. She launched their blog in 2011 and continues to inspire her clients and those around her with her edgy fashion forward looks and natural styling abilities. Leah is also a contributor and stylist with EF magazine, a Senior Designer Coordinator for Ottawa Fashion Week and regular on

Shepherds Fashions:
Lookbook: http://






Online education is a great option for those looking to start a new career. That’s why QC Career School offers online courses in a variety of industries: interior design and decorating, event and wedding planning, makeup artistry, fashion styling, travel and tourism, and writing. Still not sure if online learning is right for you? Take a look at some of the benefits of online learning below.

QC's online learning system makes learning from home simple


When you’re enrolled in an online course, all you need is a computer with an internet connection. You’re not tied to restricting timetables – you can make your own schedule, keep your current job, and not compromise your family responsibilities. You know when you learn best; even if you’re a late-night learner, you can study at all hours of the night!

Learn on your own terms

If you need to re-read a unit to make sure you’ve understood it, you’ve got the time. There are no deadlines with QC’s online learning system. Not everyone benefits from a classroom setting, and not everyone can pay attention to a long lecture. Online education makes you an independent learner – a skill that you’ll find helpful as you find your way in the job market.


Online learning does not have to be solitary. With QC, you’ll receive audio feedback from a personal tutor who is an experienced industry professional, so you’ll know exactly what you’re doing well and how you can improve. You’ll communicate your goals at the beginning of the course, and your tutor will help you reach those goals. In addition, you’ll have access to a student forum where you can connect with fellow students from around the world who are pursuing the same dreams as you.

Save money

This is a big one. Traditional colleges or universities can cost students tens of thousands of dollars, an investment that many simple are not able to make. By not maintaining a physical campus, QC is able to keep the cost of education low and be accessible to even more prospective students.


Are you ready to take the first step to a new career with QC Career School? Click here to enroll now.


July 19, 2013 10:28 am

Shop Scene-Setter for Your Wedding!

shop for your weddingEvery wedding is special. But throughout our lives we go to so many, and eventually it’s hard to remember who did what. It’s sad to say, but all bouquets really do begin to look the same after 7 consecutive summer weddings. So how do you make your special day the most memorable of them all? Take a little trip over to Scene-Setter and get planning!

Take a look at some of the perfectly adorable and hilarious wedding props you can choose from. If your venue isn’t the most visually interesting, these signs and props are a great way to snazzy things up!

We think this gorgeous faux frame is a lovely and playful way to grab some informal photos of the newlyweds. As you can see in the photo below, they can have a lot of fun with it!

It’s also a great way to capture memorable moments with the wedding party and guests! We love how many fun props are available.

Signage is always a pretty way to snazzy things up, and can prove to be a very helpful tool as the event progresses. You won’t ever need to worry about your guests getting lost on the way to the bathroom!

What is your favorite way of using signs and props at wedding and events?


July 18, 2013 4:02 pm

8 Beautiful Rivers around the World

beautiful rivers around the world

River cruises are becoming increasingly popular travel options for tourists who want the ease of a cruise, but aren’t quite looking for the “floating hotel” experience. Whether you’re looking to cruise, kayak, or just take in the view, here are just a few of the most beautiful rivers around the world.

1. Cano Cristales River, Northern Columbia

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The algae in this river create vibrant five-colored swirls that must be seen to be believed. It’s a relatively small river, but can only be reached by the serious traveller – by taking a boat from Macarena, then hiking through unmarked jungle trails.

2. Rio Futaleufu, Argentina

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The icy blue color of this rushing river matches its temperature – the glacial runoff makes the water surprisingly cold. Still, this river is an incredible spot for whitewater rafting or kayaking. It passes through the Andes mountains into Chile, forests, valleys and cliffs for some one-of-a kind view.

3. Zambezi River, Zambia

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This massive African river boasts one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World – Victoria Falls. This incredible waterfall tumbles 354 feet to its deepest point. At the bottom, brave souls can even swim! It passes through several African countries: Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique, emptying into the Indian Ocean.

4. Yangtze River, China

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A cruise along the Yangtze is one of the best ways to see rural Chinese life first hand. It’s the longest river in Asia, so you’ll be sure to experience so much diversity across the country’s landscape.

5. Hanalei River, Kauai, Hawaii

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Go past mountains, under bridges, and across bays on this easy river – all from a kayak! It’s possible to tackle this breathtaking river by kayak in a day or two; after all, it’s only 15 miles…of pure tropical beauty!

6. Danube River, Central Europe

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A boat cruise down the Danube is like a trip back in time. A proper cruise will take you through ten European countries, past medieval castles, romantic historic towns, and incredible forested landscapes.

7. Hudson River, New York

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The Hudson takes you through a fascinating mix of urban and rural that you’ll never forget. Incredibly accessible by any sea vessel, you’ll pass by sights like the Adirondack mountains and New York’s towering sky scrapers.

8. Mekong River, Southeast Asia

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A boat cruise along the Mekong is a treat for the spirit. This river crosses the green landscape of several Asian countries, past busy cities, and several ancient temples. It passes through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam.

Have you taken an unforgettable river cruise? Have you gone rafting or kayaking down a river? Tell us about your experiences below!


summer reading listHere at QC we’re super excited that summer has arrived and is in full swing. We have countless activities planned, but more often than not we’ll probably be found sprawled out on the hot sand reading under a beach umbrella. Over the next two months we’ll have our bathing suits, sunscreen, beach towels, and a healthy stack of books ready to go at all times. Want to see what books we’ll have in our beach bags? Take a look at QC’s summer reading list!

Life After Life – Kate Atkinson

The Paris Wife

s Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?  – Mindy Kaling

Tell the Wolves I’m Home – Carol Rifka Brunt

Half Broke Horses – Jeannette Walls

Red Moon – Benjamin Percy

Girls in White Dresses – Jennifer Close

The Fault in Our Stars – John Green