About Malika Smith

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So far Malika Smith has created 265 blog entries.

Setting the Table

Who else loves setting the table for guests?! We actually very rarely have dinner guests over. Tonight is one of those special occasions, we are having my boyfriends family over to see our place after changing most of the decor, I’m so excited! That being said we will probably oder Persian food and serve it buffet style from our kitchen. 😉 But I do love a good formally set dinner table! Growing up my mom always made us put out the fancy napkins, table cloths and silverware when we had a dinner party. It was fun for me and my sister to help. 10 years ago I remember registering for my wedding at the Bay and picking out boring dinner ware and beige napkins….how times have changed. 🙂 I went into West Elm last week and was so inspired by there beautifully set tables, I just had to recreate one of my own! Luckily I had a gift card to use so I picked up these mint green napkins at West Elm. The marble looking plates are from Walmart, can believe it?! There are 2 differ net set of bowls one from West Elm the other set the the rope like design is made in Portugal and I scored them on sale at HomeSense. The gold leaf leather drink coasters are from Wing Woo which is a kitchen store here in Vancouver. For the centre piece I decided to do a trio of items, a succulent, a gold pineapple and a wonderful scented candle form West Elm!

Obviously I don’t have the time or the energy to set the table like this on a weekly basis but it is fun to create something special once and a while and pull out all of your fancy dishes! I just cleaned out my cupboard last week and got rid of all the mismatched one off plates and bowls and made room for my new matching sets that I have collected over the last few weeks. I scored the most gorgeous bowls form Anthropology with blue and white swirl pattern and gold trim.

xx Malika

By | Jul 29th, 2017|Decor|0 Comments

Long Overdue House Make-Over

I am soooo sorry that I have not done a blog post in months….. What can I say… I have been really busy with work and life and blogging just hasn’t been a big priority. But I have been dying to share some photos of our new dining room/living room with you! When I first moved into this apartment it was just me and my son, now we are a family of three (my boyfriend moved in a few years ago). When I first decorated it, the space was quite feminine with a shabby chic style. When my boyfriend moved in, I sold my Cindy Crawford couch and tried to make it less girly but it was never “our” Style. So over the last 3 months we have done a complete overhaul and got rid of a ton of suff. We kept the couch, the teal curtains and pillow as well as the coffee coffee table but bought a new dining room set, sideboard, lighting and plants. It is a midcentury modern vibe now and it’s way less feminine. 😉 I love it!

Below are a few photos. I apologize that my photography and interior lighting skills are lacking. I was finally getting the hang of food photography…. but shooting my house is a whole other ballgame…..

If you want to see what our place looked like before, check it out here.

We also have redone our bedroom but it is not quite complete… I will leave that for my next post!


The photo at the top is of our new dining room. We got rid of our bar stools, small table, ghost chairs and the IKEA chandelier. It looks so much BETTER. The lighting is from West Elm, I love it. The only issue I have with it is that the 6 lightbulbs I had to buy for it from Home Depot cost me $100..WTF! Anyways it looks great. 🙂 The table we got from CB2 and I just love the brass with the glass top. The chairs were a steal from Stuctube. We moved the floor length mirror to this wall and the bar cart sits in the corner, I think it all came together nicely.

Ok so the photo above is of our new sideboard from Structube. If you haven’t been there, GO!! It’s awesome, great furniture pieces at great prices. A sideboard is great for hiding all of your crap that you don’t want anyone to see. The fake fiddle leaf fig tree I ordered from www.wayfair.com and the basket it sits in is from HomeSense. I got rid of my heavy IKEA cubby hole book shelf and added these light floating shelves form IKEA and Target to hold my treasures instead! I love love how it turned out.

This little nook by the window used to have a cream studded chair and a silver mirrored side table. I sold both pieces of on bidding wars. 😉 This new tray side table with black and wood legs is from HomeSense and the wish bone on top of my coffee table books I got from Wayfair.com. The floor lamp I scored from Target on my last trip across the border.

I didn’t really update my kitchen that much, I just moved a few things around and added these cute Umbra wall planters, you can get them here. I also got this cloche as a gift from my mom and found a cute cactus to go under it, LOVE. We also got new wall art, as you can see to the left. It has some teal colour in it to tie the space together and it’s from Marshall’s.

By | Jul 18th, 2017|Decor|0 Comments

Maple Whiskey Sour Cocktail

Wow, its been a while since my last blog post! I have been super busy with work and I was in Portugal travelling last week, it was so beautiful. If any of you are interested in me doing a blog post about my trip, please leave me a comment below?! I was asked last month to make a recipe for wayfair.com  with maple syrup in it and I decided to do a whiskey sour. They are so good, just the right amount of sweet and sour. I thought I would share the recipe here on my blog in case you missed it on my Facebook page. Enjoy!

xx Malika

Maple Whiskey Sour Cocktail
Recipe type: Drink
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
  • ½ shot maple syrup
  • 1 egg white
  • thyme
  • ½ lemon juiced
  • 1 shot whiskey (I used chives regal)
  • shot of bitters
  1. Add all of the ingredients to a shaker filled with ice, shake vigorously.
  2. Pour over ice in a scotch glass, garnish with thyme.
  3. Serve and enjoy.


By | Mar 25th, 2017|Drinks|0 Comments

Tray Styling and Treasures

It’s Sunday, my favourite day of the week! I’m sure it’s most peoples favourite day of the week, most of us don’t have to work, we can sleep in and enjoy a day of leisure. It’s the only day me and my hunny have off together so we cherish it. I have been so busy with work the last few weeks I have had no time for blogging! I thought it might be nice to share a few of my latest treasures I found for dirt cheap as well as my current tray styling.

I love having trays in multiple places around my house. I also love to change whats on them to give them a fresh new look. I usually change them at least every 2 months. Since we just had Valentines day, I styled one of my trays with roses, and these adorable glass bottles with gold arrows as corks. I found these gems in the strangest place, SAVE-ON-FOODS! They were on sale to boot, I think I paid $7 each for them! The white pineapple jar is my favourite, I have been looking for a good one for some time. The ones at my favourite store THE CROSS are $50, but I found this one as Real Canadian Superstore for $12!!

I love this ghost tray I also found at Superstore, I think it cost me $23! It looks so chic styled with a few coffee table books and a nice plant. This gold trimmed glass prism piece could be used as a small terrarium, I decided to just stuck a little candle inside.

This is one of my favourite scores ever! I was on a bidding wars site on Facebook when I stumbled upon this cute antique faux fur stool. I won the auction and got this gem for $20!! I am currently using this stool in our bedroom, it would look great at a nice vanity table.

What are your favourite fabulous finds?!

xxx Malika


By | Feb 26th, 2017|Decor|0 Comments

Chicken Noodle Soup

With the weather being so cold the last few weeks, all I have been craving is warm comfort food! This is one of my favourite foods to make, good old chicken noodle soup. I can make it about 15 minutes, which makes it a win for everyone. My son requested I make it this week and I realized I didn’t have the recipe on my blog yet. If you have the time and energy then go ahead and roast a chicken yourself and make your own bone broth. If you are busy like me these days don’t feel bad and pick up all the ingredients from Whole Foods. 😉

xx Malika

Chicken Noodle Soup
Recipe type: Gluten Free
Cuisine: Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 1 900 ml package of bone broth, fresh or frozen
  • ¼ cooked organic chicken (found in hot section of local grocery store)
  • 2 organic carrots, washed and chopped
  • 2 stalk of organic celery, washed and chopped
  • 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 shallot, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic crushed
  • handful of millet and brown rice noodles
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat and add the onion, cook for 3 minters, then add the garlic, carrots and celery.
  2. Cook for another 5 minutes and then add the thyme and bone broth, bring to a boil and then turn down, cover and simmer for 10 min.
  3. While the soup cooks, shred the chicken from the breast or leg into small pieces.
  4. At about 5 min left, season with salt and pepper and add the uncooked noodles, I like to break them up into small pieces first.
  5. After the 10 min is up add the cooked chicken and check if the noodles are cooked, if they are, your soup is ready if not, cook for another few min.
  6. Serve and enjoy!


By | Feb 10th, 2017|Soups|0 Comments

Fennel Grapefruit and Avocado Salad

This salad so light and fresh it reminds me that spring is around the corner. Winter makes me crave warm comfort food, but after months of hibernation, I crave lighter food like salad and fruit. I made this last week and I was surprised and how nice all the different ingredients tasted together! 🙂 I stole this recipe from my cook book Eat Drink Paleo. As always I changed a few things to make it to my liking. I love fall and winter but by February I am ready for some warmer weather so I can get outside more. This salad would be a great starter or just a light snack. What is your favourite salad or spring recipe?!

xx Malika

Fennel Grapefruit and Avocado Salad
Recipe type: Vegan, Gluten Free, Paleo
Cuisine: Salad
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
  • 1 pink grapefruit, first zest, then peeled
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp honey
  • pinch of sea salt
  • ½ fennel bulb, shaved or thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • fresh mind leaves for garnish
  1. Make the dressing by mixing the grapefruit zest, lemon juice, olive oil, honey and salt together.
  2. On your plate layer the fennel, grapefruit pieces, and avocado.
  3. Drizzle with dressing and toss on the fresh mint.
  4. Serve and enjoy.


By | Jan 29th, 2017|Salads|0 Comments

Home Staging


What is home staging?! 10 years ago I think a lot of people would have no clue what a “home stager” does. Today when I tell people my job is to stage homes, I think 80% of people have heard of a stager, but they’re not entirely sure of what we do. I thought it might be cool to share a little bit more about what I do since I love my job so much. Basically a home stager helps their clients prepare their home to be sale ready. The goal of staging is to make your home appealing to the highest number of potential buyer’s; it is a fact that staged homes typically sell faster and for more money.

Most people could benefit from a home staging consultation at the very least. When we go into a clients home for the first time we basically go room by room and give the homeowner homework to do to get their place in tip top shape for sale. If the homeowner has great decor and taste they don’t need to go any further than the consultation. If their place could use some “fluffing’” up we come back with rentals such as art, throw pillows, lamps and accessories. Typically a home stager would come back the day the photos would be taken for the listing and arrange all the rentals to make the clients home look its best, kind of like a show home. People love seeing the “before” and “after” home makeover and that’s why shows on HGTV like love it or list it and flip or flop are so popular. As easy as it may seem on TV, its harder then it looks. It’s one thing to see a home makeover show on TV and is whole other beast to try to do it yourself on your own home.

The main difference between decorating your home and staging your home is that decorating is how you would like your home to look to suit your personal taste. The end goal of staging is to make your house more neutral and appealing to a wide variety of buyers. You may love leopard print pillows in every room and pink walls but that is not what the typical buyer wants to see when they come to your open house. Stagers gently nudge clients to tuck away special decor and treasures for when they move and leave a more neutral space for potential clients. It’s a fact that most buyers have no imagination and they need to be shown how to arrange furniture to maximize a small space or to turn rooms back into their intended purpose. Here are my top 5 tips for getting your home ready for sale.

 1. Clean your house from top to bottom! Buyers do not want to think about having to clean once they move in. Nothing will turn off a buyer more then seeing dirty windows and moldy grout in your bathroom. Take the time to deep clean your house before it hits the market, or better yet, hire a professional cleaner.2

2. Declutter your home. It’s hard to see a space for what is it if it’s full of clutter. Before your home hits the market, take a few days to get rid of stuff you don’t need and want. Then pack up extra treasures that are overcrowding your bookshelf or room so the space feels light and fresh.

3.  Lighting makes a big difference. If you have a light bulb out, replace it. All rooms should have good lighting. If they don’t have a large window, make sure there is overhead lighting and lamps to make the room feel inviting and cozy.

4. Painting goes a long way. If your home is fairly new, you probably don’t need to repaint. If your home is over 10 years old, you should probably consider re-painting the most used rooms. A fresh coat of paint can make a HUGE impact on a home. If the walls are dark, lighten them up. Make all the rooms on the main floor the same color. The top 2 paint collars right now are light grey and off white.

5. Refresh your home. Not everyone has the budget to go out and buy new decor, but simple things like new white fresh towels in your bathroom and new crisp white sheets in your bedroom can make your home feel clean and fresh and will make your MLS photos look much better.

There are definitely more then 5 things to do to get your home ready for sale, including re-arranging furniture, replacing flooring, power washing your house & deck to name a few. I think it’s well worth the money to have a professional stager come and give you a list of things you should do to get your place ready for sale. Some of you are design inclined and you might be able to get your home “sale” ready on your own, but the majority of people need a fresh set of eyes to see your home from a buyers perspective. I like to call real estate shopping online a little like online dating, you only have one chance to make a good first impression! That’s why staging your home is so important.

xx Malika

Here are some Before and After photos of an occupied home I staged last week.

Before – Storage

After – Office


Bedroom – Before

Bedroom – After

Living Room – Before

Living Room- After

Note: The before photos are not great as they were taken on my iPhone at night. The after photos are taken by the talented professional photographer Stacy Thomas. 🙂

By | Jan 25th, 2017|Decor|0 Comments

Chinese Chicken Wings

Happy Monday friends! I have been feeling inspired and I have been cooking up a storm in the kitchen the last 2 weeks. One of my New Year’s resolutions is to cook more. When I went to Victoria over the Christmas holidays, I stayed with my sister and her husband. He is a great cook and one night he made his Grandma’s famous chicken wing recipe. To be honest I don’t love cooking chicken as it kinda of grosses me out! I liked this dish so much I got the recipe from him and braved cooking raw chicken last week. The recipe is just for the chicken and mushrooms in this soy ginger sauce. I served it on top of some left over rice and potatoes but you could do it over quinoa or any grain you like. I hope you like it as much as I did. Please note that the chicken in all my recipes is organic, I just can’t support factory farming and the meat tastes so much better. 🙂

xx Malika

Chinese Chicken Wings
Cuisine: Chinese
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 1 pound organic chicken wings
  • 2 tbsp grape seed oil
  • 1 nub freshly peeled and chopped ginger
  • 1 bunch fresh spring onions (green)
  • half a white onion, peeled and chopped
  • ½ pint of cremini mushrooms, washed and chopped
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp thick dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbs coconut sugar
  • 2 tbs toasted sesame seeds (garnish)
  1. Precook the mushrooms in a fry pan and set aside.
  2. In a large pot over medium to high heat, add the grape seed oil and then toss in the chicken wings, cook for about 5 minutes, moving around occasionally.
  3. Toss in the ginger, things might start to get stuck to the pot right now, add a bit of water to help loosen them. (1-3 tbsp)
  4. Now add the white onion, mushrooms, both soy sauces and sugar.
  5. Let cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes, with the lid on, moving the chicken around so it gets cooked thoroughly.
  6. Once you know the chicken is cooked, turn off the heat and add the green spring onion.
  7. Serve over rice and top with sesame seeds.
  8. Enjoy!


By | Jan 15th, 2017|Meals|0 Comments

My Home & Style Inspiration Part 3

If you read my first 2 posts, you would have seen most of my house by now, this is the last post in this series. I thought I would show you a close up of our bar cart, server and entry way table. I just bought this gold mirrored bar cart from Overstock.com a few months ago and I’m in love! I feel like a real adult who entertains  with swanky parties now that I have one. 😉 This “champagne is always the answer” print is one of my favourite pieces in the house, I ordered it online after I saw it on Instagram. Unfortunately the online shop, no longer exists. Let’s just take a moment and acknowledge the fact that I champagne IS always the answer!!

Like I said in the previous post my server/storage unit is an old handy me down shabby chic dresser. I also like to use the top as a bar. 🙂 I am obsessed with mirrors and trays and you can find at least one or two in every room. Hence the name of my blog, Tray Chic.. 😉 I love that a nice mirrors just makes the space feel bigger and gives a bit of glam, depending on the frame. I also find I get sick of looking at the same art for too long but mirrors seem to stay fresh in my home forever.

I’m always rearranging the knick knack treasures that I have around my house and putting them in different places to keep my home looking fresh, so I don’t get bored. This black and gold tray I picked up at Superstore, which surprisingly always has cute stuff in their home section. The manly scotch glasses are new and were a gift to my man from my mother for Christmas.

My bar cart has 2 shelves and I had so much fun collecting all the glasses and bar ware from different places. I got my “cheers” glasses form chapters and my wordy rocks glasses form Marshalls. The whiskey handbook is my boyfriends and most of the other bar stuff is from Winners/Homesense. The alcohol changes seasonally as it disappears… 😉

If you saw my very first Tray Chic blog post, I mentioned how excited I was about our new entry way table. The one we had before was something I bought out of desperation and because it was on sale, and I always kind of hated it. I’m over the moon with the light wood and metal that make this piece look both modern and a bit manly. I bought it from Canadian Tire’s Canvas collection, and it makes me happy every time I see it.  The owls are very old and I scored them at Superstore as well as the gold vase. The flowers are from Pier 1 Imports. The photos are what make the space personal. 🙂

I love begin able to sit down on this stool when you need extra help getting your shoes on and the crate is filled with extra pillow and this very cute owl I got at Pier 1 a few years ago. Well that’s the end of my home tour for now, I hope you enjoyed it. I’m sure I will update you all with new photos if we make any major changes or move!

xx Malika






By | Jan 11th, 2017|Decor|0 Comments

Halloumi and Orange Salad

Have you tried halloumi cheese yet?! It’s the bomb, if you have never had it, let me try my best to describe it to you. It’s soft but rubbery, salty and creamy and it’s like heaven in your mouth. It’s not like any other cheese! Trust me it’s a must try. Halloumi cheese is unripened brined cheese made from a mixture of goat’s and sheep’s milk, and sometimes also cow’s milk and it has a very high melting point and so can easily be fried or grilled. Usually I just pan fry it on olive oil and squeeze lemon over it but I was inspired to mix things up and try this salad I found in my new Eat Dink Paleo cookbook. This recipe is nice because the orange vanilla sauce adds a nice sweet burst of flavour with the salty cheese and fresh mint. Worth a try for sure. 😉

xx Malika

Halloumi and Orange Salad
Recipe type: Salad
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
  • 2 Oranges (some sliced and some juiced)
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 4 sprigs of mint
  • 1 block halloumi cheese
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  1. In a small saucepan, heat the honey, lemon juice and the juice of 1.5 oranges (the other half can be sliced.) over high heat and bring to a boil. then simmer for around 20 minutes until thickened.
  2. In a pan fry halloumi cheese in olive oil over medium heat for 2 min on each side or until brown and crispy.
  3. Plate the oranges, with the cheese and add sauce, sprinkle with fresh mint.
  4. Enjoy.


By | Jan 10th, 2017|Salads|0 Comments