About Malika Smith

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So far Malika Smith has created 262 blog entries.

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

My Home & Style Inspiration Part 2

Hopefully you have already read my first post where I shared how I get my style inspiration and where I like to shop for treasures. In the first post I showed you my kitchen, living room and dining area. Today I am going to share with you my office “nook” and our bedroom. I have a love hate relationship with our bedroom. I love the curtains, lamps and pillows. I hate the side tables and dark wood and leather headboard! I have had this set for 4 years and my taste has definitely changed. I really want a grey fabric tufted headboard and cool modern side tables, but I have decided to keep these until we move to a bigger home. So as much as they bother me, I have to work with them. 😉

The curtains I got from my favourite store… HomeSense. The lamps are from Home Outfitters. They took me a long time to find, I was trying to find something chic but not too feminine and my boyfriend agreed that he liked these. The gold mirror above the bed is new and I absolutely adore it! It is from HomeSense. The black and white snuggle pillow is from the Dyna Lee Collection and the white fur heart pillow is from my talented sister-in-laws shop called Shenasi Concept. The word art “all of me loves all of you” sign is from Burlington Coat Factory across the border. The “pendant ikea lamp” is actually not a working lamp. I got the outer shell of the lamp in the as-is section of the store for $5 and the lamp part is missing. I think it looks like a beautiful snowball above our bed. 🙂

Like all couples we each have our own side of the bed to sleep on and a side table. I tried to keep his side more “manly” with a clock, book and plant. My side is more feminine with a jar of silk roses and a romantic photo of us. 😉 I’m sure most men are the same as mine in the fact that they hate to deal with taking the throw pillows on and off the bed. But I think my man secretly likes the way they look and make the bed feel cozy. The mint coloured throw pillows are from Home Outfitters.

My “office” is in a very small area across from the dining room. It’s a bit cluttered but I just love all of the things in and around it so I guess it will just have to stay cluttered. 😉 I dream of having my own office space in our next home….. To make the space feel bigger I have a large free standing mirror beside it from HomeSense. The white side table/desk organizer unit is from Ikea. The white word art is from a blogger conference and the blue and gold one on my desk is from Chapters. The studded cream chair is also from HomeSense. To be honest, I do a lot of my blogging and work on my laptop on my couch but I use my desk to organize and plan my life. I am a big fan of notebooks and planners with cute quotes and pretty colours.

I also love having  a framed cork board in my office space. It is great for pinning up invitations or pretty cards or photos. It’s an easy way to change up the look of the office when I want to  “refresh” the space. This cute lamp I bought 4 years ago at Target and I still like it. The wood M is from Winners. What is your favourite thing on your desk?

xx Malika


By | Jan 4th, 2017|Decor|0 Comments

My Home & Style Inspiration Part 1

Happy New Year friends!! Wow, I can’t believe its 2017 already… where does the time go?! Now that my Christmas decor and tree  are put away until next year, I thought it might be a good time to share some home pics with you guys. Everyones home is as much a labour of love as it is a work in progress. My place is far from perfect and I’m always finding things I want to change or swap out but I love it all the same. My style comes from many different places but I am most influenced by reading Style at Home magazines and watching HGTV shows. Being in the industry as a home stager I also get to see so many beautiful homes all with different decor taste and style. My style is always evolving and changing as time goes on.

We live in a 900 square foot rented apartment so there is only so much I can do with my place. I would love to do more permanent things like add more lighting and use wallpaper but I think those ideas are best saved for when we buy our own home. I love to change things up and so I tend to buy new throw pillows (for the living room and bedroom) every 6 months to change the colour pallet. This keeps me from getting bored. Truth be know I’m a bargain hunter at heart and I love to find a good deal. I bought most of my pillows from Chapters or Homesense. Right now I am loving the teal blue and gold I have going on in our living room.

The couch is from Urban Barn outlet and I scored it on sale for half price!! The teal velvet pillows are from HomeSense, the white ribbed pillows are from Superstore and the black and white ones are from Chapters. The mirrored side table and gold lamp are also from HomeSense. The coffee table is from Ikea, the tray and gold ball accent is also from HomeSense and the candle holder is from Bouclair. I really hit the jackpot when I found these curtains on sale at Pier 1 Imports, they really tie the whole room together. 🙂

I used to have very feminine, over the top girly decor, but when my boyfriend moved in with me and I realized I needed to tone it down a few notches. I bought this side (top photo) table with him in mind, I also love this piece. I love the wood with the clear side legs, it just screams cool 😉 . I scored this side table from HomeSense. The gold lamp is also one of my favourite things in the room, another treasure from HomeSense. I love HomeSense because the prices are affordable and you can find really cool one of a kind pieces there. I love the pillows at The Cross but I can’t justify spending hundreds of dollars on a pillow that my 7 year old is going to throw on the floor or wipe his sticky hands on. Most of my pillow are under $40 each, winning! The word art behind the couch is also from Urban Barn Outlet, I love this store!

We don’t actually have space for a proper dinging room, so this small table from Ikea is just sort of floating in between the kitchen and living room. I scored this table second hand from Craigslist!! The ghost chairs are my favourite and I ordered them online too long ago to remember where from, but I know I got them for a good price. 😉  The space is quite small so the clear ghost chairs give the area a light and airy feel. My server/storage is an old shabby chic dresser that has been passed down to me through my family.  The teal wood tray on the table is also from Urban Barn Outlet. Anyone else obsessed with pineapple decor?! I got this one from HomeSense.

Just past the dining table is an Island with 3 white leather bar stools that look into our open concept Kitchen. To be honest my kitchen is usually a bit of a mess and so I just chose this one area of counter space to show you today. The Kitchen is one of the smallest areas of the house and I struggle with storage issues and counter space like most apartment dwellers. I do love the white subway tile and the granite counter tops though. This basket from Michaels with all my cookbooks is my favourite thing in my kitchen. I also love this new owl mug from Chapters I got for christmas. 🙂

I hope you have enjoyed the fist part of my home tour…. Every home tells a story about the family that lives in it. Most homes are a collection of things you love and treasures you have picked up over time. A home should feel cozy and practical as well as looking aesthetically pleasing. I just love adding new pieces to make it better every year. Whats your favourite piece in your home??

xx Malika

By | Jan 3rd, 2017|Decor|0 Comments

Countdown to Christmas

Wow, it is less then a week away till Christmas day! It’s funny how the last few weeks before Christmas just fly by and you find yourself doing all those last minute things in a panic. I just had my own holiday party over the weekend and I think this might be the first year I didn’t make any of the food from scratch. I don’t even feel guilty about it, its hard to do it “all” with a job and a child, I know I’m not superwomen! It’s ok to buy store bought cookies and feed your guests lots of bread and cheese! 😉 Our party was a success and we have tons of leftover treats to enjoy over the next week.

We bought most of the food from Trader Joe’s and the rest was from Whole Foods. I do have some favourite holiday recipes if you are interested in checking them out. I will link each one to the recipe. I just love this cranberry apple sangria, it’s always a party hit. Another favourite if you fancy making something sweet is this pumpkin pudding with coconut whip! For christmas morning I love this tomato and basil strata. I don’t usually have to make the big Christmas dinner as I go to my moms and she does it every year. I do however have a few good side dish recipes like warm cranberry, squash and feta salad, cauliflower mash instead of regular potatoes or hasselback sweet potatoes instead of mashed yams?!

Whatever your holiday traditions are remember not to get stressed out, Christmas is about enjoying special time with your family and friends. Besides having family time I just love this season as it is about joy and hope and giving. Watching the magic of Santa as my son opens his stocking on Christmas morning is my favourite. Merry Christmas friends!

xx Malika

By | Dec 19th, 2016|Home Tips|0 Comments