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The Shimmer

Forward Momentum

Thursday, January 22

I'm pretty sad about Target. I mean, I don't feel sad for the corporation that they failed (which someone seemed to think was the reason why everyone was talking about Target on Twitter... uh no). No, their failure was their own fault. They weren't prepared, they didn't do their research on a Canadian market, and they didn't adapt or change when things clearly weren't working. That's on them. But I'm sad for me. There aren't that many places around here that you can get beautifully designed home decor for an affordable price. HomeSense can be great - but it can also be junky. And Target? Target's design aesthetic just spoke to me. It's been an awesome resource for styling and design. The perfect spot to pick up accent pieces. A lot of our house is from Target. And a decent amount of my clients' homes are accessorized by Target. But alas, no more. Anyway, I was super bummed last Thursday when they announced they were closing up shop in Canada. It sucks. So, I headed out to Target after work to grab a few things that I had been eyeing but not yet bought. Yes, I could have waited for the liquidation sales, but I cared more about being able to find the items I wanted than the cost - they're inexpensive regardless.

And although I may be melancholy about Target's failure... our bedroom is not. In fact, I'd say it's profited quite nicely from Target's demise. I picked up two awesome oversized Beaver Canoe pillows, a classic Threshold bench for the foot of the bed, and a few random accessories, including those you saw in Monday's dresser post.

I finally feel like this room is heading in the right direction! We also switched back to our white duvet and picked up some super soft white sheets. There's something so lovely and restful about an all-white bed, isn't there?

I also styled up our bedside tables a little. That adorable little tortoiseshell box (old, from Target) holds night cream and lip balm. The little dish is for jewelry that I've forgotten to take off. And of course, I had to pick up one of the picture frames I'd been eyeing at Target.

Now, I just need to deal with that window situation, save up for a new rug, and invest in some new dresser/side table hardware. It's funny how bedrooms are often the last place people focus their attention because you spend SO much time in them. The changes in here have definitely been worth it. It already feels a million times more restful!

Styling Practice

Monday, January 19

The one area I've always struggled with when it comes to design is styling surfaces. Furniture selection and placement, I can do. Gallery wall arranging - not a problem. But styling the surfaces of coffee tables, side tables, dressers, and the like has always been something I struggle with. I understand and agree with the premises of grouping things in threes, having objects of varying heights and weights, and looking for a cohesive colour scheme. But in practice? I struggled. But maybe that's it. Maybe it really is just a matter of practice.

So I've been practicing. Here's one example: our bedroom dresser.

If we're being perfectly honest, it's usually covered in clothes... but I figured if it was all styled up, we might be more inclined to actually put things away at the end of the day. Wishful thinking?

Given the sad news of Target's demise (worst worst WORST), I beelined there at the end of last week to stock up on a few favourites before they disappeared for good, including a few new accessories for the dresser. I also FINALLY hung our DIY Typography art on the wall. 

I corralled my daily makeup into a few pretty containers, which makes for a much more aesthetically pleasing and restful view.

Other plans I have for this dresser? I'm planning to replace all of the handles with something new. This dresser is part of a set the boyfriend bought before we met and it matches the bed and both nightstands. Although it's super high quality, I'm really not a fan of matching furniture sets or of all super modern furniture. My thought is that by switching out the hardware for something that looks a little more vintage, it will help make the room feel a little less "catalogue". On a trip to Lee Valley the other week, I spotted many a brass handle I adored... so the tough part now will be to narrow down my selections and find something the boyfriend and I both like. Stay tuned for a post on that decision in the coming weeks.

Liquor Locker Lighting

Monday, January 12

I know, I know. I've been MIA for ages. My only excuse is that it's been tough to re-adjust to real life after an awesome holiday vacation. But I'm back. And with something new to show you! If you've been around for awhile, you may remember the vintage locker we bought last year to use as a bar in the corner of our living room - affectionately known as the 'liquor locker'. It's a definite conversation starter and one of our favourite pieces in the house.

Liquor Locker Lighting; The Shimmer

The boyfriend REALLY wanted to put lights in it. But it's a metal locker. So it's not the easiest thing to do. For awhile, we investigated different options, but everything seemed like a lot of work (e.g., drilling a hole through the back for a cord) or just didn't feel quite right (e.g., coloured stick-on lights).

Liquor Locker Lighting; The Shimmer

In December, I picked up a bunch of delicate battery-powered string lights for holiday decorating (check out one of my holiday ideas here) and we ended up having a few strings left over. I can't remember who thought of it first, but we realized that we may have finally found the solution to our liquor locker lighting conundrum.

Liquor Locker Lighting; The Shimmer

They're PERFECT. Battery-powered so no drilling required. Really delicate, so they're barely noticeable when they're not turned on. And because the strings are actually wires, they can be bent into the perfect position (without risking knocking something over).

Liquor Locker Lighting; The Shimmer

I love how they make the glass sparkle. And I REALLY love how easy it was to do. You can find the lights we used here.

P.S. Sorry for the iPhone quality photos... for some reason, it seemed to capture the look of the lighting far better than our nice camera!


Monday, December 29

New Year's Eve Tablescape; Party, NYE

Although we're not hosting a NYE party this year, in true blogger fashion, I couldn't resist putting together a NYE tablescape. I was definitely inspired by a few of the gifts I received this year.

New Year's Eve Tablescape; Party, NYE

Here's a glimpse at how I'd set the scene. Just add a few sequins, a great playlist, a cocktail or two (or three or four), and your guests will be dancing 'till dawn.

New Year's Eve Tablescape; Party; NYE; Champagne; Cava

Other than picking up a roll of chalkboard paper from Target ($2 in the dollar aisle), consumables, and a few noisemakers, everything you see came from my house already.

New Year's Eve Tablescape; Party, NYE

I used the chalkboard paper as a table runner and arranged my brass candlesticks as the focal point. Then - in quite possibly the cheapest floral arrangement ever - I cut a few snippets off the back of the Christmas tree and stuck them in jars.

New Year's Eve Tablescape; Party, NYE, Cheese

I set up a station for cheese (the staple of any great party, right?). You can tell this is a photo shoot and not a real party because that is not NEARLY enough cheese. #amiright?

New Year's Eve Tablescape; Party, NYE, Candles, Cheese, Champagne

And then a bevy of bevies, including varying levels of bubbly. Bonus points for cute straws and champagne flutes.

New Year's Eve Tablescape; Party, NYE, Moscow Mule

We've been obsessed with Moscow Mules these past few months, so obviously I had to set up a make-your-own station. I can't claim full credit for this - the boyfriend actually did this for my birthday in the summer! Here's what you do:
- Fill your glass halfway with ice
- Squeeze half a lime over the ice and drop in the shell
- Add 2 ounces of vodka
- Top up the glass with ginger beer

New Year's Eve Tablescape; Party, NYE

And of course, if you're going to ply your guests with delicious cocktails; it's only courteous to ensure they're properly hydrated to prevent any future ailments. I'm obsessed with this drink dispenser, which was a Christmas gift this year. We were at a wine tasting a few weekends ago and friends filled their drink dispenser with sparkling water so guests could alternate their glasses of wine with glasses of water. Brilliant idea. Who wouldn't want to hydrate from such a pretty vessel? It's perched on a marble and wood cake plate that was also a very generous Christmas gift (and perfectly matches my cheese plate!)

New Year's Eve Tablescape; Party, NYE

And there you have it: a little The Shimmer-themed NYE inspiration! What are your plans for NYE? Party hosting or party attending? Staying on the couch in your PJs watching bad reality television? (Side note: is there such thing as good reality television?) Going to bed at 10pm and missing the whole thing altogether? Whatever you're doing, I hope it's a blast! See you next year!

Merry Christmas

Thursday, December 25

A very Merry Christmas to you and yours. No matter what you're celebrating (or not celebrating) this time of year, I hope you're getting to spend time with the people you love. Family, friends, friends that feel like family. That's what all of our holidays are really all about. 

xo Vanessa

The Gift Mix

Tuesday, December 23

gold black and white wrapped presents

Are you obsessed with matching your gift wrap to your decor? Are you determined to match your gift wrap to your other gift wrap? Do you shun curling ribbon in favour of fabric ribbon? Do you know the difference between curling ribbon and fabric ribbon? Do you search 3 different stores on the hunt for holiday tags, only to give up and DIY your own because nothing is perfect? Do you rewrite the tags if your handwriting is at all messy? 

Christmas tree

... No? ...Just me then.

gold black and white wrapped presents

I LOVE gift wrapping. My mom and I always did it together growing up. We still gift wrap together at one of the malls for charity every Christmas Eve morning. It's one of my favourite holiday traditions. So, obviously, I think A LOT about gift wrap. I mean, not a weird amount in general. Like, I'm not contemplating holiday gift wrap in July or anything. But I care about it. After all, the wrapped gifts sit under your tree for awhile. They should look nice! And if you're crazy like me, you want them to coordinate with your decor while they sit there. Cough cough.

gold black and white gift wrap in crate

So this year, I went for a combo of ornate black & gold, gold stripes, and white & gold polka dots. (Never mind the tree needles sprinkled throughout the presents... I think it adds a nice authentic touch ;) Also, be warned that sparkly ribbon is prone to spreading the love wherever it touches....)

gold black and white wrapped presents

I love how it's festive but doesn't scream THESE ARE CHRISTMAS PRESENTS. Which, I get, a lot of people want to do. But I prefer holiday decor (and wrapped gifts count as decor) that feels classy and cozy, but isn't too "themey". I like the thought that I could pull out some of our holiday elements at other times of year (e.g., parties, fancy dinners) so they get more use! But again, maybe that's just me...

gold black and white wrapped presents

Are you hardcore traditional with your holiday decor? Or do you prefer a more subtle approach, like we do?

gold black and white wrapped presents

You can check out my other holiday decorations here and here. Black paper is from Target last year. Gold paper and polka dot paper are from Home Sense this year. Ribbon is from Michael's this year.

gold black and white wrapped presents

Oh, and in case you're in need of a super inexpensive tree skirt - ours is literally 2 metres of fabric from the sale section that cost a total of $6. It's a cream colour with gold thread running through - festive but subtle. Again, my MO. I just swagged it around the base of the tree. Easiest ever.

christmas tree with inexpensive DIY tree skirt

Love & Joy & A GIVEAWAY!

Wednesday, December 17

minted holiday cards - hooray creative, via the shimmer

It's no surprise to anyone who reads this blog regularly that I love Minted. I've ordered business cards, last year's holiday cards, artwork for myself, and artwork for clients. Basically, they're one of my go-to resources.

minted holiday cards - hooray creative, via the shimmer

For the uninitiated, Minted is a paper lovers' haven. Not only do they carry holiday cards, wedding invitations, birth announcements, personal stationery, business cards, and so much more; they ALSO have an extensive collection of art AND (drumroll, please...) fabric! Seriously, the fabric shop is brand new and full of insanely gorgeous prints. But the best part? All designs are created by independent artists from across the world. They submit their designs, YOU get to vote on them, and then Minted sells the winners. It's pretty fantastic. Okay, I'm gushing. I'll stop. You can read more about it here, if you're interested.

minted holiday cards - hooray creative, via the shimmer

These are our holiday cards for this year. I'm in love with them. Like head over heels. THAT'S REAL FOIL! And the paper is super thick. If you're a stationery addict like me, you know how important that is. The quality is amazing. No exaggeration.

minted holiday cards - hooray creative, via the shimmer

It was excruciating trying to narrow down my favourites but I eventually whittled it down to a group of four, with this one being my absolute favourite. When I showed them to the boyfriend, this design was his clear winner too (#soulmates). It's designed by Hooray Creative, who is insanely talented. Seriously. My business cards were also  designed by her. (Which actually was a complete coincidence, haha.) 

minted holiday cards - hooray creative, via the shimmer

AND NOW, HERE'S THE BEST PART: Minted is giving one lucky The Shimmer reader $200 to spend on whatever Minted products they're coveting. So, pop on over to Minted, check out their wares, and then leave me a comment on this blog post with what YOU would buy with your cash money if you won. Cards? Art? Fabric? Wedding Invitations? TELL ME. I WANT TO KNOW. 

Contest is now closed. The winner is Kathryn Young, chosen through Thanks for participating!

I received these cards for free in exchange for a review of Minted products. All thoughts, opinions, words, and images are my own. I take pride in only working with companies I believe in and think are a good fit for this blog and its readers. Thanks for supporting The Shimmer!