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The Shimmer

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 ;)

Business Lady, Part 2

Friday, August 29

If you were around this time last year, you may recall that I made my own business cards for this little blog. It was just before BlogPodium 2013, so obviously business cards were a necessity. I had a ton of fun DIY'ing them on thick kraft cardstock with a custom stamp from Paper Sushi. Now that BlogPodium 2014 is just a few short weeks away and Glitter Glimmer Sparkle Shimmer is no more, some new business cards were in order.


Luckily for me, Minted came to the rescue! I've posted about my love for Minted before (see here and here). I discovered them at BlogPodium last year and became a tad obsessed. After considerable internal debate (I like to overthink paper goods, OKAY?!), I went with this awesome and simple design by Hooray Creative


I love how classic they look, with just a little bit of pizzazz. Ugh, I hate that word. I don't know why I used it. But you know what I mean. The cardstock is Minted's signature paper and it's super thick; not flimsy at all. I think they perfectly suit The Shimmer's new look and feel. (Although the lighting in the photos makes them look navy, they're actually black). What do you think?


Now I just have to wait 2 weeks until BlogPodium to get some use out of these beauties!

Business cards were free as part of an offer by Minted because I'm attending BlogPodium
BUT, I had already designed and saved these exact cards, so I would have happily paid for them! It just happened to be perfect timing ;)

Adult Lite-Brite

Wednesday, August 20


Today, I'm over at DIY Passion, sharing how to make an Adult Lite-Brite. It's super simple and would make an awesome party decoration! Give Erin & Dan a visit, and while you're there, poke around and check out what they've been up to lately!

Tour Through Blogland

Monday, August 18

Today, I’m sharing something a little different than usual. I rarely blog about blogging, given that the majority of my readers are not bloggers themselves, but I was nominated by the lovely Erin & Dan over at DIYPassion (check their blog later this week for a little DIY I whipped up!) to join the Tour Through Blogland movement that’s been going on and I thought it sounded like fun!  If you haven’t yet checked out DIYPassion – head on over there right meow. They’re always up to something new and are far more proficient with power tools than I could ever hope to be.


In addition to sharing a few photos of parts of my house that you likely haven't seen, I thought I’d start with a little background info on the blog. Although, if you’ve been reading for a while, none of this will be particularly shocking. In its first incarnation, The Shimmer was called Glitter Glimmer Sparkle Shimmer. Also known as “possibly the girliest name EVER”. I chose that name, perhaps without giving it quite enough thought, way back in June of 2012. I was a strung out (on books, not drugs), demoralized, and highly stressed PhD student studying a field that, although important, I just didn’t love. It never felt like the right fit for me. After years (and a Masters degree) worth of slugging through and never looking further ahead than the next hurdle, I had an epiphany (also known as a meltdown). I’d had enough. I stopped what I was doing, took a look at my life, and realized just how UNHAPPY I was. I had ended up on this super long, super stressful path, with very few exits, without ever stopping to consider if it was the right path for me.

After considerable internal debate, and many tearful discussions with family and friends, I made the decision to leave grad school and pursue a life I actually wanted to live. And I’ve. Never. Looked. Back. Leaving my PhD program was the best decision I’ve ever made. Not a single regret. If you're interested, you can read more about all of that here and here.


But that brings me to the blog – I had about 2 months of downtime between making the decision to leave school and actually moving back to Halifax. Downtime and major life decisions are not a GREAT mix, so I needed something to occupy my time. A few months previous, one of my best girls (what up, K-Bro!) had suggested that I start a design blog. Although I’d been reading them for years, I’d never seriously considered writing one myself. It seemed like the perfect way to keep busy. I kept the blog super secret for the first few weeks, then gradually let it slip to my close friends and family, then a slightly wider network, and then to all of my Facebook friends (that was TERRIFYING). And for the most part, I got nothing but support. Some friends texted me comments about my most recent post or shared content they loved to their own social networks. Other friends sent in unsolicited questions or ideas for future posts. And people I didn’t know nearly as well – who had no reason to reach out  - got in touch to let me know they enjoyed the blog. The support I’ve felt – even from my parents, who had no idea what a blog even WAS - has been nothing short of amazing.

For over a year, I posted daily content to Glitter Glimmer Sparkle Shimmer – sometimes fashion, sometimes food, but mostly design. Earlier this year, I shifted to a less rigorous schedule due to some other exciting developments in my life (see below) and shortly after that, I made the decision to finally give Glitter Glimmer Sparkle Shimmer a name that suited what it had become: The Shimmer. And there you have it: A Short History of Nearly Everything (...related to The Shimmer).


So, now for the Tour Through Blogland questions:


What are you working on right now?
SO. MANY. THINGS. Thus, the reason for less frequent blog posts. I’m taking courses in Interior Design right now. I’m also working on spaces with a few different design clients. For the past few months, I was also helping prep for my best friend’s wedding (which happened last Friday and was the MOST amazing day). And of course, working on projects for our own home. All while holding down a full-time job. And enjoying what’s left of summer. It’s pretty busy around here, haha. I think the next big project on our agenda is our foyer. It’s a blue-floral-wallpaper-with-flesh-toned-trim monstrosity right now. That will be remedied soon. I have SUCH. BIG. PLANS. But those will remain secret for now.


How does your work differ from those in our genre?
To be honest, I’m not exactly sure. I think that I might write from a different perspective than a lot of other bloggers. I’m not a stay-at-home mom (or a mom at all). I'm not much of a crafter (although I do engage in the occasional DIY). I don’t blog to make money (although that would be a lovely perk). And I don’t blog about blogging… with the exception of today. I blog because I love interior design.  I always have. And this blog gives me a reason to talk about it all the time and an avenue to share that love with other people who feel the same. It’s also a pretty great advertising vehicle for a design business ;)  I also have ¾ of a PhD in the study of human behaviour… which I like to think helps me understand just how important our environments are to our moods. (Or maybe I'm just trying to justify all the time I spent in grad school, haha).


Why do you write and create what you do?
Because I love it. It’s as simple as that. I’ve always loved interior design – I was sketching floor plans before I was out of elementary school. I’ve been making mood boards for years. Blogging feels like a natural expression of all the creative thoughts bouncing around in my head. And I get SO much fulfillment from blogging – the community is unreal. Blogging also gives me motivation to get things done. I can have a million ideas for the house but actually executing on them can be a challenge when there are so many other things (and people) competing for my attention. Knowing I need content for the blog is great motivation for getting off the couch and actually making our house look better.


How does your writing and creative process work?
It varies all the time. Ideas for projects come from all over – magazines, other blogs, pinterest, conversations with the boyfriend - anything, really.  Those ideas go into a spreadsheet where I plan and prioritize future posts. Then, once they're prioritized, I add them to a google calendar that I use as my editorial calendar.

I usually end up writing my posts before the project is even done. I can hammer out the text for a post in about 5-10 minutes. Then I actually finish the project, haha. And then edit the post to add whatever else might have come up or changed during project completion. Although my goal is always to finish projects a week in advance of when I plan to share a post, it usually just ends up being the day before. Or sometimes the morning of. I'm pretty skilled at procrastination ;)


So there you have it: A little behind-the-scenes peek at The Shimmer! 

Now, I want to hear from Allison at Love Nest Design:
Allison is an Interior Design Consultant from London, Ontario, who blogs about her personal and professional renovation adventures. (And has SERIOUS style.)

Jane from Modern Jane Design:
Jane is a fellow design-obsessed Maritimer with the CUTEST little dog and and fantastic style.

And Amelia from House Pretty:
Amelia hails from my home province and is working on turning her family's ugly house into a pretty home (and doing a seriously awesome job).

Pop over and give those ladies some love on my behalf. (And treat yourself to some serious eye candy.) #skillzfordayz


Blogger final images via their respective subjects.