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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.

That Place Where We Eat

Friday, August 8

We've made some SERIOUS progress on the dining room. 

In addition to hanging the gallery wall and getting new chairs (we got a 4th one! woop woop!), we finally got around to selling the sideboard (whose only purpose was to collect junk) and removing the old chairs.  

Now that the sideboard isn't blocking that wall, I think I'd like to eventually have the gallery wall take over the entire wall - from floor to ceiling.

I also picked up this awesome brassy gold urn from Target on clearance a few months ago for our fiddle leaf fig. That plant is SO dang happy in the front window! Miles and miles from how sad and pathetic it was in the living room.

Check out how the chairs pick up on the dresser I refinished last year. That might be my favourite part.

So what's left to do in here? Paint the remainder of the trim/crown moulding (check out around the window - doesn't it look so crisp and fresh?!). Fix the table and stain it dark. And eventually (like way down the line) replace the bannister with something more our style... and probably the chandelier too. 

But this will do just fine for now.

Birthday Wishlist

Wednesday, August 6

As I prepare to leave my 20s behind, I can't help but round up a list of things that will make that farewell just a little bit easier ;)

Round Wood & Marble Board  |  Indigo
Pop Geo Pendant Necklace  |  Stella & Dot
Talullah Stacking Ring  |  Club Monaco
Hmong Pillow Cover  |  BohoPillow
Mini M.A.C. Bag  |  Rebecca Minkoff
Remodelista  |  Julie Carlson
Decorate  |  Holly Becker
Stella Watch  |  Fossil

West Bathroom

Monday, August 4

This is a pretty exciting post for me. I get to share with you my very first portfolio project! I've been working with these clients over the last few months on their bathroom and it's been such a fun experience. When I came on board, they had already selected the vanity (gorgeous, right?) and a super punchy & lively wall colour. They wanted my help with everything else! Here are a few before shots:

And the after:

I helped them select the marble tiles, grout, and tile placement for the floors, as well as the faucet, towel racks, mirror, linen shelf, shower curtain, towels, art, and accessories. It feels so lovely and restful in there now, even with the vibrant wall colour! 

If you're on a budget, square marble floor tile is an amazing find. We laid it in a subway/brick pattern rather than a grid (like the previous floor) to help boost the upscale factor. It's SO pretty in person!

The shelf provides much needed additional storage and fits perfectly into the little nook next to the toilet. I styled it up with a perfectly proportioned basket to hide all the necessary-but-not-exactly-pretty bathroom accessories, as well as a few sculptural glass jars and other miscellany. 

I'm excited to hear what you think!

August Prospectus

Friday, August 1

How do you plan to spend this last full month of summer?
(Ugh, I got sad just typing that.)