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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!

Ketchup & Curse Words

Monday, December 15

You caught a sneak peek of these beauties in last week's dining table post (and on my Insta, if you follow me there) - but here they are in all their beauty:

The inspiration came from Jo of Desire To Inspire, when she shared this peek at her holiday dining table last year. So simple. So elegant. Super festive without being tacky or overdone. I knew it had to happen.

Most of these came from one very lucrative Value Village stop, where I basically loaded the boyfriend's arms up with all the brass in sight. Which cost me a mere $28. Pretty fantastic.

I didn't want to polish them because I find the tarnish pretty charming, but the brilliant mind that priced a few of these decided to write on the actual candlestick with a black marker. Delightful, huh? So after a bit of internet searching, numerous curse words, a rag, a few tablespoons of ketchup (YES, IT'S TRUE), and some serious scrubbing, I finally had beautifully tarnished and black-markerless brass candlesticks.

Ketchup, the most versatile of condiments ;)

Dear Santa

Monday, December 8

1. Photos of people you love go a long way toward making a house feel like a home. I'm obsessed with Target's display options, like this gorgeous frame. (Target - in store, $13) 

2. As great as iPhones and Instagram are, there's something so fun about having an actual photo you can immediately display. Coveting the adorable white Fujifilm Instax. (Indigo, $99)

3. We're on a constant coaster hunt in this house, so having a few more dispersed around our main rooms would make things MUCH easier. And it doesn't hurt when they're easy on the eyes like these marble beauties. (Indigo, $24.50)

4. A friend posted this scarf on Facebook and my jaw dropped. I NEED IT. The perfect plaid combo. (Le Chateau, $45)

5. These earrings are like a dimmer switch for glam. You can wear them at 3 different lengths - all the way down to studs! (Stella & Dot, $64)

6. I already own this headband in hat form (and LOVE it - it's so soft!) - but this headband version for ponytail/top knot days would be super useful! (Indigo, $16.50)

7. We took a workshop at Patch Halifax a few months ago and I've totally caught the sewing bug. Love how compact and portable sewing machines are these days. (Amazon, $152)

8. This molten gold polish from Essie is SO festive! Although I could do without the name ('Jiggle Hi, Jiggle Lo'...uh what?). (Shoppers - in store, $12)

9. What's Christmas without a new book to delve into between gifts and nosh? Although technically for "young adults", I've heard that We Were Liars is amazing. (And don't we all love YA books, anyway? I mean, REALLY.) And Remodelista has been on my wishlist for awhile now. Definitely a classic design tome. (Indigo, $14 and $30 respectively) 

10. From the same line as the marble coasters (and matching a cutting board I already own) is this stunning cake plate. So unique. (Indigo, $45)

What's on your wishlist this year?

This, That, & The Other Thing

Friday, December 5

It's been a while since I shared a roundup of my favourite things on the interwebs, but I've really been enjoying the ones posted by some of my favourite bloggers lately (Jen and Emily, for example) - so I figured there was no time like the present! Here's what I've been favouriting lately. And by lately, I mean over the last three months...

Serial. You're listening, right? I mean, you HAVE to be listening. I'm even forcing my mom to check it out.

Jane's insanely cool bunk room for her lucky little nieces and nephews. (Recognize those blankets?)

A ladylike toque would be an oxymoron on anyone but Krystin.

Orlando's thoughts on how we're all outsiders. Every one of us.

Amber's "Dr. Clients Clients". Gimme that WHOLE HOUSE.

While we're on the topic of Amber, her Instagram Feed is a never-ending source of pretty. You should check it out. (And my feed is here; you should check that out too... #shamelessplug)

WestJet, bringing the holiday #FEELS yet again this year.

Julia, making me covet sequinned pants

Love this way of structuring holiday gifts and cutting down on the excess from my girl, Amelia. 

Vanessa's kitchen. I'm obsessed with her countertops. 

Blair, killing it as usual in the most stunning dress.

I'm obsessed with this hairstyle and colour. Someone talk me out of it.

Navy kitchens. With brass. YES, PLEASE. Like this one by my girl, EmHen, or this one by the uber talented Brittany. 

What are you loving lately? Share it up. I want to seeeeeeee.

Winner Winner

Wednesday, December 3

So... as some of you may know, I was lucky enough to win A FREAKING DINING TABLE from the awesomely amazing relove last week! I pretty much had a meltdown, I was so excited.

Isn't it stunning?! I'm in love with those legs. (Please ignore our existing dining table in the background.)

We haven't decided exactly where we'll use it yet. Unfortunately, it's a little small for the space and how we use our dining table (when it's not just the two of us, it's usually 6), so we'll likely move it elsewhere. Needless to say, we'll find the perfect spot for it. It's STUNNING.

Have you heard of relove? Suzanne and Steve refinish and upcycle vintage furniture - much of it, midcentury - and it's GORGEOUS. Seriously, I want everything they make. Serious talent. Do yourself a favour and check them out.

(P.S. Post on those killer brass candlesticks coming soon!)


Monday, December 1

I'm obsessed with vintage crates. Evidence here. So when I spotted a perfectly proportioned (tall but narrow) crate at Finer Things on the weekend, I had to snatch it up.

It fits perfectly next to the couch. It doesn't exactly serve a purpose yet but I obviously didn't let that stop me.

I love the patina of it. And it's got someone's address scrawled on the side, which I think is pretty freaking charming. Happy sigh.