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The Shimmer

Love Fern

Friday, September 26

Remember back when I painted this pot? It was supposed to be for the fiddle leaf fig or the snake plant but they both were immensely happier in other homes in other parts of the house, which left this pot empty and sad in the corner of our living room. It’s not particularly bright over there. I mean, it’s not terrible; there are patio doors right there. But it’s definitely not tropical. And I wanted to leave the pot there because it’s (not-so-cleverly) hiding the massive subwoofer that boys insist on owning. Well… that once-sad pot finally has a new tenant:


This delightful little Boston Fern. I read that ferns can handle a bit of low light and I love how voluminous he is. Really goes the extra mile toward hiding that dang subwoofer ;)



I picked it up at Kent last week (they have tons of tropical plants, if you’re in the market). It was $15 for a hanging basket and I just popped the hanging part off before dropping it into the pot.




I’m pretty pleased with it all, to tell you the truth. Now, if I can just figure out how to keep it alive…

P.S. Name that movie ;)

Downtown Halifax

Wednesday, September 24


Even I’m sick of how long I’ve been talking about this print. But I did it. Finally. I picked it up from KEW a few weeks ago and had DeSerres (my framing gurus) cut me a custom mat to fit into a poster frame. I could have had it professionally framed for like $600 dollars…. BUT I have other ways I’d much rather spend that kinda money. So a $25 poster-sized gallery frame and a $50 custom mat (because it was HUGE) were a much more affordable route.



I love the graphic pop it adds to our living room. Apparently the artist, Dave Murray, actually bikes around town with video cameras and a microphone attached to his helmet in order to create the map. This ain’t no Google Maps operation. KEW also carries versions that depict Spring Garden, Quinpool, and the North End. There are also a few Toronto locales and more local neighbourhoods are in the works.


It needs to be hung a bit higher (I just popped it on the existing nails to start) and as you can probably tell, I snapped the acrylic when I was installing the print. Classic. It'll be fixed soon enough. In the meantime, what do you think?

BlogPodium 2014

Wednesday, September 17



You guys, I had the most amazing weekend. But, I’m sure that comes as no surprise. After all, it was BlogPodium weekend! If you were around this time last year, you may remember my gushing recap. Although I didn’t get to have tea with Sarah Richardson this year (I still can’t quite believe that happened), BlogPodium 2014 did NOT disappoint. The day was full of inspiring talks, helpful tips, fun contests, and tons of connections. It’s a surreal experience to finally meet someone you’ve known electronically for months or even years. Although I could gush about the people and experience for ages, I thought it might be more interesting for YOU (Possibly? Maybe? I don’t know) if instead, I recapped what I learned. I know I said I don't blog about blogging, but we'll just have to make an exception for today. So, without further ado, here are my main take-aways from BlogPodium 2014:


The importance of a personal brand. What do you stand for? What are your pillars? What's that one thing instantly reminds people of you? Figure out what that is and capitalize on it. 


Treating brands as partners, rather than paycheques. One of the speakers suggested that each engagement should be approached as if it were  a long-term relationship. That made sense to me on multiple levels. Beyond relationships with brands, relationships with readers should also be treated as the beginning of something more long-term. More than just responding "thanks" to a kind comment - starting a dialogue builds a rapport and encourages the reader to return.

w/ sarah & lindsey
Don't do social. Be social. Be authentic in your interactions. Be kind. Remember that you never know how important someone may be (not that that's any excuse for treating someone poorly) so you should always be aware of how you treat others.

jen (founder of blogpodium), scott, monika, & leigh-ann

Know what your goals are. Set them. Set them high. - direct quote from one Scott McGillivray, maybe you've heard of him? I'm so guilty of not setting goals with this blog. It can seem like just one more thing to add to an overly full plate, but really, it might help me to trim the plate down. Figure out what really matters to me and help avoid some of the clutter.


Be a visual pro. Especially in the design industry, aesthetics matter just as much as words, if not more. Although my photography skills have certainly improved over the last 2 years, I still have a LONG way to go.  I've hit a bit of a plateau recently and I really need to keep pushing forward to bring my abilities to the next level.


It's 20% what and 80% so what. Too often, we focus so much on creating the content only to let it languish once published. Last year's BlogPodium really helped to reinforce how important sharing posts across social media can be - but this year, I realized that I could be doing so much more. It's definitely a goal for me now. I need to focus not just on creating something I care about but on why other people should also care.

w/ hailey & erin

I learned so much at this year's BlogPodium but I really do think that my favourite part is still connecting with other bloggers. There's such an amazing and supportive Canadian community out there. It's pretty phenomenal to meet people, essentially for the first time, and instantly feel like old friends. This blogging world is pretty great. I'm so happy I stumbled into it. 

If you write a design or lifestyle blog - or if you're thinking about starting one - I can't recommend BlogPodium enough. If you want to know more, just let me know. I'm always happy to chat about it! 

All photos courtesy of the uber awesome Flow Photos & Snapshot Photobooth.

Check Yes, No, Maybe.

Tuesday, September 16


After an insanely inspiring weekend at BlogPodium, I've finally worked up the nerve to start a Facebook Page for The Shimmer. It's TERRIFYING. What if no one likes me?!?! The Shimmer's insecurity complex is situated over here. You know, in case you feel like validating me.

xo

BlogPodium Bound

Friday, September 12

As you read this, I’m on a flight to Toronto, bound for BlogPodium 2014! To say I’m excited would be an understatement. I had such a phenomenal time last year – I can’t wait to see what this year’s conference has in store. Plus, there’s a whole slew of us coming from the East Coast. I was one of the few last year (along with a couple of lovely NFLD ladies ;) so it’s a treat to see the right coast representing!


A few other bloggers have posted about what they’re bringing with them to the conference, and I know as a newbie last year, I found that info super helpful – so I decided to do the same. Here’s what will be in my bag tomorrow:


Phone & Charger: Not only should you bring your phone (obviously…) but USE it. Take photos. Post them to Instagram or Twitter. Hashtag #BlogPodium. Other people at the conference are likely to search those tags and you may meet someone at the next table over because of it! Also, you’re going to be meeting tons of new people all day long. While exchanging business cards is awesome and encouraged – not everyone has a business card and it can be even simpler to just add someone to Twitter or Instagram while they’re right in front of you.

Notebook & Pen: Last year, they provided super adorable notebooks from Minted. Just in case things are different this year, make sure you have something on hand to take notes! You’ll want to remember all of the information bombs dropped throughout the day. Last year, I brought my tiny MacBook Air, thinking I would just take notes on that. I didn’t even pull it out of my bag. Trust me, a notebook & pen is way easier.

Lip Balm & Breath Mints: You’ll be doing a lot of chatting throughout the day and I’m sure you want to make a good impression. And if you need a TicTac, I apparently have 100. Feel free to pop by and ask for one ;)

Business Cards: If you don’t have any, don’t fret. You can still exchange social media handles with the people you meet – it’s encouraged. But if you have business cards, this is the prime time to use them. I had mine printed byMinted this year, but I made my own last year. It’s always fun to see what other people have come up with! The people at BlogPodium are some of the most creative I’ve ever met – their business cards are often a work of art. So take the time to admire when someone hands you one – they likely spent a LOT of time thinking about how it should look! While we’re talking business cards, aim to be organized and bring something to hold your own business cards AND something to stash other people’s business cards in so you can pore over them later. Melissa at The Sweet Escape had some adorable ideas.

Media Kit: If you have one, it definitely doesn’t hurt to bring it with you. There are tons of amazing brands on site – if there’s one you’d like to work with, head over and chat with them about your ideas. You never know what could happen!


And lastly, make sure you bring a large bag to fit everything in! You’re going to be toting this around all day, so make sure you choose a bag that’s comfortable to carry. Make sure it’s roomy enough to store anything you pick up throughout the day but don’t weigh it down in advance. Just bring the necessities above and you’ll be ready for a day of inspiration!

Conference Couture

Tuesday, September 9

With BlogPodium fast approaching, I thought it most important to scheme up the proper attire for a day of aesthetically-pleasing inspiration, knowledge acquisition, and amusement. I'm going for casual and classic with just a hint of edge.

Are you going? Have you figured out what you're wearing yet??

Update: I've had a few requests about where the different pieces are from - so sorry I didn't share earlier. Totally slipped my mind! 

Blazer (H&M)
Skinny Jeans (American Eagle)
Tee (Balmain; Although this one is gorgeous, my version is an $8 Target find)
Bag (Foley & Corinna; The photo above is an approximation of my bag, which is discontinued from Melie Bianco)
Suede Booties (Ash Footwear; Again, an approximation of my booties, which are discontinued Old Navy)
Tansy Fringe Collar Necklace (Stella & Dot)
Arrow Bangle (Stella & Dot)
Tortoiseshell Watch (Fossil)

Thoughts on Thirty

Saturday, August 30


Well. Today is the day. The day I can no longer blame my misbehaviour on being a wild and reckless twenty-something. (Although, to be perfectly honest, wild and reckless Vanessa was fairly short-lived and exhausted herself years ago.) Today, I'm 30. Just typing that gave me this weird combination of shudders and thrills. A couple of years ago, the thought would have given me hives. Towards the end of my time in grad school, my increasing age was starting to get to me. I was single, living in a city that didn't fit, in a program that wasn't right, heading down a path in the wrong direction. I felt stagnant, or worse yet, like I was actively sabotaging my future. But I reached a breaking point. And then I woke up. Took control of my life and my path. Started making decisions for me and not for other people's (well-intentioned) expectations of me (or for my well-intentioned but completely misguided expectations of myself). I moved back to Halifax. Met the best guy. Went back to school for something I find fascinating. Started exploring a career I actually LOVE. And suddenly, 30 doesn't seem so scary. 30 is fine. 30 is almost even exciting. I really think everything is a matter of perspective. If you're happy with your life and the direction it's headed (which, BTW, YOU control - no one else), age ain't nothing but a number, baby ;)