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The Shimmer

The Best Bachelorette Ever: An Instruction Manual

Monday, July 4

So, I'm pretty lucky. I have an amazing bunch of close girlfriends - collected gradually over the years; a few from each area of my life so far. I've never really been someone to have a wide assortment of friends and acquaintances - I've always been more of a small group of essentials kind of girl. And let me tell you, these girls are the best of the best. 

A few days before our wedding, they threw me the most spectacular bachelorette party and they did such a beautiful job in making it fun yet classy and feel TOTALLY like me, that I had to share a few photos with you. 

We started with a wine and cheese at our friend's house (you may recognize it from here), decorated by a few of my girls with heart-shaped balloons (that fireplace below was termed "hearts on fire", haha) and garlands. In addition to chatting and general merriment-making, the girls had also set up a make-your-own-bouquet station, (um, YES PLEASE!) and a few fun (non-cheesy) games. They also had the CUTEST grecian-esque hair piece for me to wear. I'm itching to find another occasion for it.

At the end of that portion of the evening, I was presented with my first clue - perfectly coordinated with our wedding save-the-dates/invitations, obviously. The clue lead us to our next destination - Lot Six - a stunning new restaurant that we had actually considered as a possible wedding venue (and where we had dinner the night we got engaged!). Everyone brought their bouquets for table decor and the girls also surprised the table with cupcakes from my favourite local spot, Layers, and the cutest gold foil 'bride tribe' tattoos. 

From there, the moms and sisters headed home for some shut-eye, while the rest of us crazy kids headed to the next clue - a private "power hour" at the Atlantic Beer Institute, located in Keith's Brewery and owned by Labatt. It was such a blast to have the place to ourselves and our lovely bartender was none other than the host of the first portion of the evening - our friend, Wendy!

After power hour, the clues led us to Obladee, a little wine bar we love, for flights of wine and a few lingering cupcakes. 

After that, things kind of devolved past the point of sharing photos, haha. But we went dancing and shot-taking, and all the typical bachelorette exuberance. And naturally, the last clue of the night led us to the quintessential Halifax post-bar stop - Pizza Corner.

I honestly can't thank my girls enough for planning and executing such a perfect night. It felt entirely like me and was just SO MUCH FUN. As amazing as the evening was, however, the best part was getting to have (almost) all my best girls come from across the country (and across the Atlantic!) to spend time together. As we get older, it's harder and harder to coordinate and I never want to take for granted how lucky I am to have experienced it. Love you, ladies. You da best.

Post photos courtesy of my girls: Erica, HeatherVic, & Amy - in addition to my own snaps!

Ahem. Is this thing on?

Thursday, June 30

Photo by Chelle Wootten Photography

I know. I know. It's been awhile. A LONG while. For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed that I've been a little busy over the last few months (Assuming anyone still reads this blog, haha. I wouldn't blame you if you didn't after such a long absence!). First we got a dog:

His name is Ralphie. He's awesome. (You can follow him on Insta here, if you're the kind of person who personifies dogs and likes to follow them on social media.) But I can't say that I recommend getting a puppy 4 weeks before your wedding, haha. Which brings me to my next major life event. We got married!

I decided not to share any of the wedding-related projects I worked on in advance because I wanted them to be a surprise for the people at the wedding - but expect a few wedding-related posts in the near future! That photo below and the one at the top are from our AMAZING photographers, Chelle Wootten Photography (and her second shooter, Cherakee!). Seriously, if you need a wedding photographer - they're your girls. (They also photographed my new sister-in-law's wedding last summer, which you saw here.)

Photo by Chelle Wootten Photography
We decided to cap off all of the wedding excitement with a honeymoon in Hawaii; Kauai, to be exact. It was insane - as anyone who has ever been to Kauai likely already knows. Probably the most beautiful place I've ever been. Expect a post on that, maybe with some travel tips and restaurant recos, coming soon!

So, all of this is to say that I'm sorry for my prolonged absence, but it was for a good reason, right?! I'll be back soon with a few fun posts!

Treat Yo' Self (but only in very small quantities)

Thursday, March 31

So, we have this coat closet in the middle of our main floor. And, I mean, it’s not the most impressive closet you ever did see. But it's functional. And it doesn’t really bother me. The doors are pretty low quality, meaning this update is KINDOF like putting lipstick on a pig. But I still love it.

We were in Boston late last week and popped into Anthropologie. I'd been eyeing these stunning marble and wood knobs for a few months, but the quality can be so hit-or-miss that I wasn't sure about ordering them sight unseen. Plus, the shipping costs were basically half the price of the knobs. Ridic. So when I spotted them in store and the quality seemed decent, I obviously had to buy them. 

We installed them as soon as we got home and I'm happy to report that I’m obsessed. Fully obsessed.

They weren’t cheap, but they also weren’t crazy expensive. And when you only need two, you can justify going with something a little jazzier than normal. AND THEY’RE JUST SO PRETTY.

(I also have plans to paint the closet doors and cover the exterior of the closet and the entire stairwell/downstairs hallway in shiplap, which should fancify this closet even further).

An Almost Finished Foyer

Monday, March 28

Although we have a few more projects we’d like to complete in here, the foyer has finally reached a stage where we’re no longer embarrassed for people to see it. And that, my friends, is PROGRESS. If you’re new to the foyer saga, you can see the original foyer here, as well as the progress we made along the way (here, here, here, and here). And now, with the installation of our new IKEA MASKROS pendant (which you may have spotted on my Instagram a few weeks ago), the foyer is finally at a place where it can rest until we have time to tackle the remainder.

And what is the rest? Well, I’m dying to install a tin ceiling. And we’re on the hunt for the perfect vintage rug for the floors (the one pictured below is obviously just for winter muck) and a floating shelf for below the mirror. We’d also eventually like to make the trim more substantial (and reflective of the rest of the house) and replace the dated switch plates but again, not an immediate priority.

So, until then, I’ll just leave you with this before and after that makes me practically GLEEFUL:

You've come a long way, baby.

Take Your Place

Thursday, February 11

I wasn't going to post this project, solely because I never got the chance to take anything more than iPhone photos. But then I was talking about it with a friend the other day and realized that maybe it was worth sharing anyway - so without further ado, I present to you: our New Year's Eve tablescape.

This idea came from a really great hand-lettering book the fiancĂ© gave me for Christmas. The second I saw this project, I knew I had to find a reason to try it out. And it just so happened that a mere 12 hours earlier, we had decided to host a ramen and dumplings dinner party for a few of our close friends on New Year's Eve (followed of course, by a Taylor Swift dance party and considerable champagne).

I popped over to FedEx and asked them to cut me about 6 feet of the kraft paper they use to wrap parcels. I'm not sure if the width is standard, but this particular roll was 3 feet wide, which was exactly the width of our table. You may need to cut your paper or lay two sheets side-by-side depending on your table and paper width.

I laid the paper out flat, taping the ends to the underside of the table. Because we were having ramen for dinner, I flipped a ramen bowl upside down at each plate and traced the outside lightly with a pencil. You could obviously do this with any type of plate. Just make sure they're evenly spaced! Then, I filled in each circle with black paint and let it dry overnight. The paint will wrinkle the paper somewhat but I didn't find it noticeable once the table was set.

The following day, I took a pencil and lightly wrote the name of each guest in cursive across the top of each circle. I think the names would also look really good in block letters or even simple printing.

With white paint and a thin paint brush, I traced over each name. And that's it!

Simple but impactful. Aaaaand now I'm craving dumplings again.

A Year in Review

Friday, January 1

2015 was a pretty monumental year over here.

2015 was the year that I worked on some fun design projects with a bunch of new (and old!) clients and finally finished a few projects in our own home.

2015 was the year we rented a villa in Costa Rica with friends, soaking up the sun, learning how to surf, and eating way too many tacos (side note: is that even possible?).

2015 was the year we flew to NYC to celebrate our friends' beautiful wedding and I got to eat my way through the city with my love (and visit my bestie and her beau shortly before they moved across the pond!)

2015 was the year I fell in love with the city of Boston, a place near and dear to my guy's heart (and now mine), during a long weekend escape. 

2015 was the year we said goodbye to my Grumpy. And even in the moments of sorrow, there was something to be grateful for. On what would have been his 101st birthday, my family gathered from across the country to celebrate his life and laugh about his "quirks" in the way that only family can. And to have those people and share that time, I feel so lucky.

2015 was the year we celebrated the simultaneously emotional and hysterical wedding of my soon-to-be sister-in-law (along with several other beautiful weddings!).

2015 was the year that we hit that cottage lifestyle hard, cottaging on the South Shore, the North Shore, and across the shore on Prince Edward Island.

2015 was the year I became the kind of person who camps. And hikes. And ENJOYS it. And if you know me at all, you likely realize just how shocking a development this is.

2015 was the year I sold my first car. My baby. "Hot Bitch", as we lovingly referred to her. And as bittersweet as it was to let her go, it was liberating to more fully embrace our downtown walk-to-work rarely-use-a-car lifestyle.

2015 was the year I celebrated my 31st birthday, which was surprisingly more emotionally difficult than my 30th. I'm officially "in my thirties", which is about 10 years older than I feel in my head. 

2015 was the year I officially registered my design business. Something that has been a dream of mine for a long long time. (And now 2016 will be the year that it officially launches!)

2015 was the year my family expanded in the most beautiful way with the addition of a new soon-to-be brother-in-law and niece.

2015 was the year the love of my life asked me to spend that life with him. And I said yes. HECK yes. All the yes. 

Pretty dang excited to see what's to come in 2016.

Office Budget

Tuesday, December 15

The fiancĂ© (I have to use that term as much as possible given that it’s time-limited, haha) and I were discussing the office recently and he thought it might be a good idea to share the cost breakdown with all of you because it’s surprising how little we needed to spend to make such a difference in how it looked. It really wasn’t very expensive, as far as rooms go – especially given that we purchased almost everything in the space (rather than using stuff we already owned). I hadn’t really given it too much thought – but he’s absolutely right. Although some spaces do require more investment to decorate, solely because of the furniture required (e.g., sofas, beds, dining tables), the office definitely doesn’t have to be one of them. We redid our entire office for just over $1000 plus tax (the 16-year-old Trading Spaces-junkie in me is ecstatic about this). 

Here’s how it broke down:

PAINT: We painted three of the walls with Benjamin Moore’s ‘Sweet Innocence’ (~$75) and one wall with Rustoleum’s chalkboard paint (~$30). We also painted all of the trim, using Benjamin Moore’s ‘Snow White’ but we’re using this colour on the trim throughout the house, so we just borrowed a bit from the can we already had.

CURTAINS: We lucked out a little bit here. We had to have something custom-made due to the dimensions of the window, which can get pretty expensive. Luckily I managed to hit the fabric store during one of their awesome sales (which actually happen pretty frequently if you’re a member) when linen was “buy 1 meter, get 2 meters free”. Fabricville will also sew your curtains for you (for a fee) if you buy your fabric from them. The fabric, sewing, grommets, and rod (Umbra, from Sears) came in at $160.

RUG: This was a HomeSense find. With their rugs, I feel you just need to be diligent about looking. For 3 weeks straight, they’ll have nothing but garbage rugs – and then you’ll hit the jackpot. It’s really just about persistence. This rug, which is a 5x8, cost $149.

DESK: A Kijiji score – again, you can find amazing things if you’re persistent. We spent $100 on it.

CHAIRS: The most expensive element we purchased, but worth it. These are from Structube, and although they’re not Eames-level quality, they are high enough quality for the use they get. Plus, they’re much prettier than the average office chair. They were $199 each.

BOOKCASE: This is literally garage/workshop shelving from Home Hardware, and I believe Rona also sells this brand (Gorilla something-or-other). It was $89.

LIGHT FIXTURE: A crazy steal from Home Depot. $15. I'm not joking.

ART: The art was a gift to the boyfriend a few years ago that I found on Etsy (PopChart Labs) for $52. We DIY’d the frame. Etsy is an awesome source for inexpensive art.

FRENCH DOOR (not pictured): FREE! Well, sort of. We did pay the guy who installed our bedroom doors to move this French door (which used to be on one of our bedrooms) upstairs to the office. Well worth it for the light it now spills into the rest of the main floor.

So there you have it. Our incredibly inexpensive office makeover. It really doesn't have to cost a fortune!