The Curated Etsy Hitlist for your Next Trip


The first step is to buy the tickets, plan the hotels and figure out what your going to do when.

These organizers, downloaded off of Etsy will save you a thousand headaches


etsy vacation planner

Shop ThePlannerEmporiun now

Etssy Travel Planner

Shop the MyLoveForWordsShop now


This is the part that generally tends to be the biggest headache! We suggest picking items that will be easy to re-pack on the way home, and investing in a gorgeous hand tooled leather carry on.

Duffle bags

Leather carry on

Stunning. look at those details!  Shop WooleWood’s collection now (spoiler- their stuff is all equally amazing.)

duffle bag 1

We are in love with the stripes- Shop FlowerNBird’s collection now. They get extra points for their price (72.98 CAD),  lovely logo & styling.

Mongram Duffle

We are suckers for Monograms! Shop HeyYallandCo now.

for him

The patterns on SpicerBags collections are beautiful- we had difficulty choosing which to feature!

Laptop cases

macbook case

The soft pallet and ladylike colors of Nimoo’s shop won us over.


The bold prints and elegant lines of Botene‘s shop show a genuine love of what they do!

Makeup bags

makeup bag

Free shipping AND a personalized monogram for only 32.82 + CAD? it seems almost too good to be true!

Shop PersonalizedFinds now.


Seriously guys,this shop has THE cutest prints and accessories we have ever seen. Shop ToTheCavern now.


Because really, when can you have enough elephant prints? #biased Shop GoodChic now.

IPad case


aesthetics, organization, leather stitching.. we are in love. Shop InSidegift Now.


This is it! You’ve packed like a pro, and are now ready to hit the road, heres a new products that will make your trip go smoother and your 8 hr layover in Brussels a little less painful!

Passport holder


Look at those colors! Shop the BooksandCraftStore


We love the prints! Shop Anelisahandmade

Document Holder


We love everything about this! The logo is just perfection. Shop Handwers now.


It is impossible to go wrong with this elegant cream folio case. Shop TheLeatherCollectives gorgeous collection now (spoiler you will want to own everything)

Cord Organizer


Save yourself the headache and get this cord/plug pouch from Sipihr’s shop.

Neck pillow


We really do have a weakness for elephants! Shop laliloshop’s cosy collection here.

Sunglasses Case


Keep your shades safe in this scottish inspired case by Scotswhahae

Camera Case


This camera bag isn’t only stylish, its also useful, with three compartments and a space for notebooks and pens- its the photographerss dream! Annnd only 128.00 CAD. Shop noveltyArt61 now.

Luggage tags


This tag has it all.. great style, sass and the option to make it custom! shop Aimeehandmade now.


The craftsmanship here is just exceptional. Shop TAGSMITH now.



When it comes to travel journels more is more. Shop Badbooks now. +20 points on the name.


Talk about whimsical! shop printstitchandpaste now

Eye mask


This foxy mask is a dream! by Stitchlabminnesota

Face cream


8 hrs on a plane is a nightmare for the skin- refresh with this espresso face cream by whiskyinkandlace.


Remember your trip with a framed poster of your trip. Some Etsy shops offer unique and gorgeous personalized options.. Like these guys here


shop Jennasuedesign


Love it! shop PurePrint now.

Or even a little something to carry with you at all times


Shop LivinFreely now.


How lovely is this! the exact geographical co ordinates to your favourite place. Shop SweetMuseDesigns Now

And there we have it! the compiled list of where to shop when planning your next trip. Most of these stores ship internationally, so you can have that special somthing shipped right to your door.


-The TEA team.

Coffee Review- Aux Quatre Vents

Its been a century since I posted my last coffee review, so I thought I should keep y’all up to speed as to what’s being sipped on these brisk mornings in my little Montreal loft. This week I was lucky enough to stumble upon the Brularie Aux Quatre Vents at the Marche Atwater. I purchased the Vent Fou, as was recommended by the barista and was blown away (pun intended,Franco readers).

Firstly, I’ve always maintained you can tell a lot about a coffee about the way it smells, and this coffee had me making a beeline across the busy market courtyard (a few people may have accidentally been elbowed..ahem) I later received many raised eyebrows on the metro as I was carrying the motherlode in my bag and the scent was just heavenly.

With a full body and a smooth finish, this roast boasts low acidity, and has some dark notes without being too overwhelming. The finish is clean without any noticeable aftertaste.

Unfortunately, their beans aren’t available online. So Montrealers.. time to take advantage of this gem! And for those of you planning a visit, chalk it up to another reason to visit the Atwater Market for more info check out our feature.

Their Facebook

Profile- Artist and Decorator Kelsey Auger


meet kelsey

Meet Kelsey! A talented visual artist and interior decorator living in Toronto, Canada. We where lucky enough to interview her for this months small business feature – where she opened up about what exactly it means to be a independent artist in North America.

What first brought you to the visual arts?

I remember loving the arts for as long as my memory goes back. I like to think this stems from my mom; she was always having us do crafts, so that got me started at a young age. All through school my favourite class was Art (though there was never enough of those classes in my opinion!). When I got to high school, I was actually turned off from visual arts for a while, partly to do with certain teachers and partly because I wanted to try new things. Needless to say, I was pulled back into it, and full steamed ahead into getting my degree in Visual Arts, which then lead to a diploma in Interior Decorating.



How do you blend interior decorating and visual arts?

I think they’re actually closely related. Many interior decorators look for original artwork as inspiration for a home design. I do the same when I’m created a decorating concept for a home. Sometimes I will use my own paintings as a starting off point, if I think it will work for a client. Other times, I will look for another artist that would be a better match. Having artistic skills helps me navigate both worlds. I can choose work that will really match a client’s personality and home.



Where do you find inspiration?

Many people ask me how I got started painting African animals. Back in University I was doing a project and looking for inspiration. My dad had just gotten back from a trip to Uganda and had a ton of great photographs from his Safari experience. It just seemed like the perfect thing to paint. It felt right, and I felt a connection with these animals that it really felt like I was painting a part of my soul (sorry for the cheese!). Those photographs prompted me to do research of my own into these animals, how many are endangered, in zoos, and just the way they might live their lives. I just went with it and it hasn’t stopped feeling right yet to paint them as my main subject matter.

Now, I look for more inspiration from other artists that I generally find on social media: Pinterest, Instagram, the blogosphere. Looking at other work makes me consider what I could do differently: try new materials, new tools, new techniques, or even new subject matter.

 elephant under a tree breath of air

 Shes clearly doing somthing right.. Amazing!

the technique

What’s your normal process in terms of technique (for the art junkies)

It’s not always the same but generally my process goes something like this:

  1. Once I know what I’m going to paint I start looking for reference photographs. I usually find these on Pinterest or just simple google search. I always find several images as references. For example, if I am painting an elephant in a field, I would find an image of an elephant in the correct position and angle (or as close as I can get). Then I would find an image of a field that seems right. Then I might find an image of a sky with clouds. Then I might find a completely different image that has a similar colour palette to what I’m going to do. I might even find a few of each of these. This way I can take the element I need from each reference and create my own unique painting.
  2. I prepare my materials. I find the right size canvas. I typically use oils (though sometimes I switch back to acrylic if I need it to go quicker) which require a lot more preparation. Instead of water, I need paint thinner. I always use mineral spirits for this and combine linseed oil, and damars varnish to add sheen. This mixture thins out the paint to its easier to manipulate but also adds body back in the paint. I also however, use straight mineral spirits. This thins the paint without adding any body back into it, making it prone to dripping.
  3. I start with laying out the piece.

Side note: I don’t use pencil – ever! What’s the point? You can always paint over something if you make a mistake, and I personally think that all those “mistakes” only adds depth to your work.

I do quick sketch paintings of where the elephant goes, where the skyline is, where the mountains will be (you know, if there is mountains).

  1. I block in colours with a wash technique (a thin paint) that usually is quite “drippy”.
  2. After waiting several days for this layer to dry, I will start building up the piece. I add layers with my brush, with my palette knife, and sometimes add more “dripping”. I feel the paint and how I connect with it, and just let my hand do the work without thinking much about it.
  3. This layering process is the body of the work and can take a day, several days, a week, or several weeks. Since it needs time to dry between layers (or just partly dry), it usually takes more like several weeks to complete a piece.
  4. I sign the work and touch up the sides to it’s nice and neat. Then I take a ton of pictures of it in good, natural lighting.

Again, this is a very general process but most of my pieces usually follow this guideline!


What is the hardest and most rewarding parts of visual arts/decorating?

The hardest part is definitely finding people who appreciate your work and the time and effort you put into it. A lot of people don’t realize that an artist puts their soul into their work. Finding those clients that love the work you do makes it all worthwhile!

This goes for decorating too! Coming up with a design concept, a shopping list, and renderings take a lot, a lot of time and dedication! Often, (especially when you’re just starting out) you are not being paid for all the time you are putting in. The most rewarding part as a decorator is seeing your clients actually apply your concepts to their homes, and be thrilled with the results!


How can we buy your paintings/ where can we find you?

I actually just launched a new website dedicated to my art! So recently, in fact, that I haven’t even announced it on my blog or social media yet. Lucky you! Be the first to check it out at

Alternatively, my online decorating site is still in business at

If you like something you see, get in touch on my contact page on either site or email me at

My original paintings are all for sale as well as prints at Society6 . And if you can’t find something that quite fits your home, I do commission work as well. So lots of options for you!

say hello
Want to follow Kelsey on social media?

Instagram/Pinterest/Twitter: kelseyauger

Facebook: DirectionalDesignStudios

Kennedy Gallery (St. Catharines, 2012)

Art Battle (Toronto, 2015)

RAW Artists Showcase: Glimpse

and upcoming…I’m gonna have a booth at the Leslieville Flea Market on Sunday, September 20th


5 Ways To Enjoy Italy in a Non- Touristy Way


While Italy itself has an abundance of touristy things to do- profiting off a history so rich and vivid often one tends to forget the present day Italy. The beating heart and soul of a nation is more than the architecture and paintings of ages past. So in-between lining up for museums and strolling through dimly lit , ancient cathedrals make some time in your schedule to do these things.

1.Spend at least one day in a small village.

In small villages you see the authentic side of Italian life you miss in tourist traps like Milan and Rome. You wont regret it, wander through the old streets, watch nuns heading to church, see children shout and chase pigeons in the square. Eat sticky freshly baked buns and haggle with vendors in markets. Don’t know Italian? No problem. Some communication is better off without words. Take at least one day to soak in and appreciate where you are.

italy 1

Found on Mailand

2 Eat.

I cannot stress this enough, Italy is a country where you leave everything gluten and sugar free at the border. Indulge in iced gelato, spicy sausages, mouthwatering pasta with cheese. Savor every bite. The Italians have perfected the art of cooking with passion. Each mouthful is the culmination of centuries of experimenting and family receipts passed down. Eat until you cant eat another bite. Then eat some more.

3. Meet Someone.

Hear me out- I don’t mean romantically (but hey if the shoe fits..) I mean- make a connection with another person. Have a conversation- divulge something. Whether it be someone you share a table with in a café, or just asking for directions. Meet another soul that you can look back at and smile. But if traveling alone -be safe about it!

italy 3

Found on ZsaZsa Bellagio

4.Learn some Italian.

When I look back at my time in Italy, what stands out the most to me was the language. The words strung together like music, sometimes loud and harsh- like when a grocer backed his van into another’s and the flurry and hand jesters that followed had me blushing (and I cant even speak the language!)

But sometimes the language flowed like music. Like when the mother of the family I stayed with- pressed her lips to her daughters forehead as she bid her goodnight.

Even if all you know how to order is pistachio gelato and an espresso in Italian- that’s alright. You made an effort- and you will always remember those words.

5 Take a Night Walk

Some cities are lovely by daytime but at night- become another creature altogether. This was Florence for me. Lights sparkling on the water, old squares of crumbleing brick full of people lounging, heavenly smells coming from the patios while waiter’s in crisp white shirts gestured invitingly with menus. Sometimes a half hour walk becomes the half hour you will look back on for the rest of your life.

italy 2

Found on Travel & Leisure

Italian Adventure

Italy: a country so crammed with food and culture, the name itself stirs up images of the Tuscan countryside, checkered table clothes, and accordion music (Lady and the Tramp anyone?).

Stereotypes aside, Italy did not disappoint. The exterior architecture took a refreshing departure from the gloomy gothic cathedrals I was used to (Czech, Poland, Switzerland) Only gloomy because as we know, the Gothic movement began after the Black Plague and was intended to scare into pondering the afterlife and going to church, so the image of gargoyles and demons played a starring role in the decor of the Catholic Church at that time.

The primary architecture I saw was Tuscan, Renaissance, and Neoclassical. this meant the style was light and graceful, with raised motifs and organic colours, forest greens, burnt orange, and sky blue- these century old buildings radiated a sort of eternal playfulness.


That’s what determines good design, I think-the test of time is truly the ultimate one. which brings up the question. what are you going to leave behind? what will your legacy be? now is the time to decide what your little bit of beauty you want to impart on this world.



Seriously. Those colors!


Until next time xo