#unBOXPossibilities with UNICEF Canada

This holiday season I had the opportunity to create my first unboxing video ever. While I often receive parcels through my job as a freelance lifestyle writer and blogger, it has never occurred to me to share what I receive on video – until now. UNICEF Canada reached out to be part of their #unBOXPossibilities campaign to bring more awareness to the incredible things they do on a daily basis for people who need the simple and essential requirements of life – like clean water, nutrition and warmth.

I’ve been familiar with UNICEF since I was a small child, collecting change in those little orange boxes we’d tie around our necks as we went trick-or-treating. As a child, you know you are doing something good, raising money, but I don’t think the awareness was ever really there – at least in terms of putting our efforts into solid, tangible items that were going to be people who needed them.

UNICEF Canada ended up sending me one of their Survival Gifts to unbox and experience what these items are really like and how they can make an impact on so many families. Please watch my video here, as I unbox and experience firsthand all of the products (and even taste them) that are things we take for granted everyday here in Canada.

WHAT YOU CAN DO THIS CHRISTMAS

♥ ♥ ♥ Shop my box to help families all over the world: Baby Blankets // PlumpyNut // Therapeutic Milk // Water Purification Tablets

♥ ♥ ♥  In the Survival Gifts catalogue, and on the shop site  too there are tons of options so you can really personalize your choices. Like Soccer Balls for a sport loving child or Art-in-A-Box to go along with the crafty gift you’re putting under the tree. While we’re buying the hottest new toys or stocking the fridge with extras this season, these are gifts that can feel like a luxury to moms and children who need them. 

♥ ♥ ♥ To see what an impact UNICEF Survival Gifts are making to the recipients, check out www.youtube.com/unicefcanada for real life experiences, and you can shop from there too! Or join the conversation at #unBOXPossibilities

♥ ♥ ♥ Help us and UNICEF unBOX Possibilities for children in need this holiday

This post is sponsored by UNICEF Canada. All opinions and views expressed are my own and I only partner with companies that I feel reflect my own personal values like UNICEF.

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GIFTS FOR GIVING WITH ETSY

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Well, here we are, four days into December. How are you feeling so far? I am feeling pretty great especially since our baby’s due date is rapidly approaching – only 14 days away! I’ve been really getting into the Christmas spirit and trying to get our house in tip top shape before our little guy arrives. We’ve had our Christmas tree up for a few weeks already and we’ve just about got everything checked off of our gift giving list.

Lately, I’ve been stalking Etsy for some unique gift ideas and Christmas decor. I’ve found some incredible things (like these gorgeous geometric ornaments that I ordered above) among tons of other great gift ideas and decor! You can check out Etsy Canada’s amazing gift giving lookbooks here – there are some seriously amazing items in there!

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These Geometric Tree Ornaments from Germany are stunning. I think they would look great adorning your Christmas Tree, on a minimalist themed wreath or even just slung across a simple dowel for a mantel-top display.

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I just about gasped when I came across this gorgeous White Polish Star Ornament. This maker creates them in all sorts of colours and sizes. They even make them with sheet music – how creative is that? Reminiscent of sea urchins I think you could incorporate these ornaments into your decor all year round.

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I really love these Linen Christmas Tree Ornaments. Such a fun and playful design, complete with the most adorable little tree trunks! If you aren’t a huge fan of traditional red & green Christmas garb, something like these trees will bring a bit of modern design to your home as you prep for the holidays. There is nothing wrong with experimenting with different decorating palettes year to year.

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Because who doesn’t love airplants at the moment? This Himmeli Ornament Set + Airplant Holder is so cool and I’m totally trying to figure out a way I can incorporate into my home all year round. In case you haven’t played with airplants you should know that even the blackest thumb can have fun with these plants. They require little to none attention so you don’t have to worry too much about killing them off.

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For any of your friends who love a bit of afternoonc crafting, this DIY Bird Kit would be a great stocking stuffer. These birds are so fun and colourful – once they’ve been DIY’d I think they would be such a fun addition to any space. Even attaching them to string to create a tiny mobile would be so cute!

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If you are looking to send out Christmas cards this year, I found this gorgeous minimalist Merry Christmas Card on Etsy that is perfect for anyone who appreciates a bit of 90’s nostalgia. Something about it kinda reminds me of Saved by the Bell…

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I love gifting mugs and coffee for Christmas. Even though sometimes it is hard to deal with a cupboard full of mismatched cups, there is something so special about a mug that someone picked out just for you. This TSC Teacup + Saucer in Check is no exception. I can picture myself or many of my friends enjoying a tea or coffee out of this great set.

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Last year, I bought their Craft Beer Pairings calendar for Byron who absolutely loved it. When I saw their Stir & Shake 2015 Calendar I immediately fell in love. Since I am a cocktail lover, I know what a perfect gift this would be for many of my girlfriends who share my love of a delicious drink. Here’s to 2015!

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You can’t go wrong with any sort of sparkle or tassel at this time of year. This Blush and Gold Leaf Tassel Mobile is so special and pretty; I think it would make a great addition to your holiday decor this year.

Never shopped on Etsy before? Click here to receive $5 off your first purchase! If you aren’t sure where to start, you can shop my Tastemaker Boards (kinda like Pinterest) for more of my favourite finds.

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HOLIDAY CARD ROUNDUP WITH MINTED + GIVEAWAY!

It is that time of year again, folks! Time to dig deep and pull out your favourite pen to start addressing envelopes. Yup, holiday Christmas card season is back and you’ve got just under a month to get your cards picked out and mailed to your list of lucky recipients. This is my third year using Minted as my stationers of choice and this year they have some seriously beautiful options. I’ve only picked out seven of my favourite cards but there are literally hundreds of options and combinations that you can customize and fit to suit your family or work needs. Okay, get ready for it – here are my top seven picks for this holiday season of card-swapping! Which one is your favourite?

The Statement Maker Card

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I absolutely love this beautiful die-cut Cheer Stamp Holiday Card. It reminds me of a bottle cap and would be perfect for anyone who homebrews (like my husband) to send out to friends and family. The design is playful and fun with a slight retro vibe – I can definitely picture this standing out on anyone’s fridge.

The Classic Card

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I absolutely love this sweet and simple card featuring an adorable little cottage, complete with a sweet red front door. The Home Sweet Home Holiday Card such a great card especially if you moved into a new home this year – what a perfect way of celebrating your big move!

 

The Scandinavian Inspired Card

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It is no secret that I can’t get enough of Scandinavian design so it is not hard to imagine that I cannot get enough of this Scandinavian-inspired Trimmed Tree Holiday Card. Not only is this colour palette absolutely stunning but I also love the fun and simple design of the tree. I would love to have an enlarged print of this card on my wall at this time of year. Spreading the joy!

The Bright + Fun Card

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This Neon Holiday Card is a lot of fun. It has a freshly stenciled and spray-painted vibe to it which I love. It is very simple and has a fun holiday message.

The Fabulously Retro Card

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Okay, seriously – this card is the best! Not only that but it is perfect for anyone who has issues with procrastination. Instead of sending a note of holiday wishes, just go straight to celebrating the new year with the Pop Pop Poppers Holiday Card!

The Traditionalist Card

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Such a darling design on this Sweet Angel Holiday Card. Again, the colour palette is pretty perfect and I love the simple vintage look of it. It reminds me of  some old Christmas books that I had when I was a kid. Such a great message of peace to send to friends and family.

The Family Mugshot Card

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And lastly, you can’t go wrong with the Destination Luggage Tag Holiday Photo Card. Featuring a spot for you to upload one of your fun family photos, this is the ultimate in personalized greetings.

 

HOLIDAY MINTED GIVEAWAY

♥ So excited to offer up a really great giveaway to help you send off some holiday well wishes to your loved ones this season! I am giving away $150 credit to Minted! All you have to do to win is leave a comment here telling me who you plan to send your holiday cards to this year. The giveaway ends on Saturday at 12pm MST.  Open to US & Canada residents. Good luck!

♥ ♥ ♥

GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. We randomly drew comment #6 – congrats to Sydney! Thanks to all who entered! xx

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FRESHLY PICKED X YUPPIELOVE GIVEAWAY

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With only 37 days until our little babe is set to arrive, I thought I would share the baby love with a little Instagram giveaway! I’ve partnered up with Freshly Picked for a great little giveaway of a pair of moccs in your choice of colour and size. I already have four pairs of these adorable shoes waiting for our little boy – they are seriously the best. Amazing quality, incredible colours and tons of great designer collaborations and new products launching daily – they are pretty much super addicting!

I am drawing a winner on Friday so be sure to enter in time right here on my Instagram! Good luck!

 

 

 

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The 10 Cent Educational Series: Arm Knitting

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Have you ever knitted with your arms before? No?! Maybe you should start now. Why spend endless dollars on multiple sizes of knitting needles when you’ve got two fantastic appendages already attached to your body that knit just fine!

My friend Lori Andrews (aka The Original 10 Cent Designer) is kicking off her new 10 Cent Educational Series on November 5th with PuddingYarn and JuiceBecause for a course on arm knitting and creating an awesome, cozy and stylish infinity scarf using only your arms and some seriously chunky yarn. Registration just launched for this fun evening of DIY crafting, live music and delicious treats. The class is $90 which includes all instruction + the giant balls of yarn that you need to complete your project – coming in these two gorgeous colours!

PuddingYarn | 1516 6th Street SW

November 5th 6-8pm

Sign up now! 

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BUGABOO X WARHOL COLLECTION

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Andy Warhol has been one of my favourite artists for as long as I can remember. As a child I had an immediate attraction to pop art and always loved his fun and playful style. My parents encouraged my love of his art through Marilyn Monroe and Campbell’s Tomato Soup Can prints in our house. I still remember the first time I saw The Velvet Underground vinyl featuring the iconic yellow banana designed by Warhol.

As a young art student, Warhol informed my art practice and I employed his bright colours and witty ethos into my work. As the years passed, I picked up other Warhol-inspired items including everything from post-its to design collaborations with Campbell’s and Perrier.

When I first saw Bugaboo’s collaboration with the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts announced not long ago, I was definitely not in the market for a stroller but I fell in love instantly. The insanely fun yellow Cameleon3 Banana stroller is an incredible eyecatcher – can you imagine pushing this baby down the street?! Of course, Warhol lovers all over the world have rendered nearly sold-out. However, Bugaboo wouldn’t leave us hanging in a banana-less world which is why I am SO excited about their brand-new Warhol collection debuting this November.

Featuring four super fun Warhol prints, you can now customize your Bugaboo stroller to fit your style personality. You can choose between the Globetrotter, Butterflies, Marilyn and the iconic Banana print.

 

 

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I am so excited for the gorgeous Banana print – it is my top pick out of this collection because who doesn’t want to raise their child with references of Nico and the Velvet Underground? I know I sure do. It should practically come with a playlist of starter songs for baby! I recently bought a used Cameleon so I am planning on picking up this set for my little boy when it becomes available later this year. It looks like they will be available around the same time I am due!

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The Warhol Marilyn print stroller set is also super amazing! I think this would be perfect for a little girl. And the cute coordinating tote is just perfect. So, as you can see Warhol’s designs are truly timeless and you can never start educating your children about art too young!

 

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Watch for this fab new collection debuting soon online at Bugaboo and if you are in Calgary, keep your eye out at West Coast Kids for the collection.

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HALLOWEEN WITH ETSY CANADA

Happy Halloween – almost! I stopped by Global Calgary yesterday morning to chat all things handmade and Halloween from Etsy Canada! There are some seriously talented makers in Alberta and B.C. and I was so excited to showcase some of them on the air. You can watch my video here and I’ve listed all of the products below with links to purchase! From chic goodies for the home to cute stuff for your little trick-or-treaters, Etsy is an amazing place to find just about everything!

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Westwick Candle Co. (Langley, BC) – Julie Heichert hand makes each candle and adds pumpkin spice fragrance to soy way. The geometric print on each candle is part of a photograph taken by her sister, Nichole. To transfer the image, Julie prints the photo onto tissue paper and then uses heat to transfer the image to each candle. $15 each.

White Owl Ceramic Studio (Calgary) – Laura Sharp uses Mishima, a slip inlay technique to create this vase, $65. To show the carved areas of the owl, Laura places black glaze inside the carved markings that she makes before firing. She uses a contrasting white background to exaggerate the outline of the owl.

Triangle Trees (Guelph, ON) – This tote bag by Gillian Wilson is wonderful for trick-or-treating. The 7-ounce cotton tote is sturdy and the 25-inch handles make it comfortable to use. The images are water-based, screen-printed by hand, and then heat set, $15.

Pumpkin Spice Candle No. 1 from Westwick Candle Co. // White Owl Vase from White Owl Ceramics Studio //Strange Days Tote Bag from TriangleTrees // Pumpkin Spice Candle No. 2 from Westwick Candle Co. 

(more…)

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SAVING ENERGY IN THE KITCHEN

Saving Energy in the Kitchen

Hello autumn! We are so ready to spend cool fall days around the kitchen table with family, preparing delicious pumpkin pies, pierogis and banana loaves. It is a time of tradition so whatever you and your family loves to do together, we are willing to bet it has something to do with the kitchen.

While the change of season certainly sees us spending more time indoors and therefore using more energy, it is also time to be more conscious about the energy we are using when we aren’t busying our selves over a hot stove.

Read more here…

This post is part of my column on Vivint’s The Neighborhood blog. Interested in learning more about Vivint’s Smart Home Solutions including security, energy and even solar? Sign up to receive more information here!

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YOU SHOULD GO: NORDSTROM HAPPY HOUR

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Nordstrom Calgary is already back at it, after their stunning Opening Gala, with a fun party with a great cause. On Friday, October 3, you’ll want to join them in store as they’ve partnered with ReThink Breast Cancer for a bra fit event and Happy Hour!

The Happy Hour will begin at 5:00 p.m. and include a DJ, sips and sweets, a photo booth and the opportunity to have your makeup done. As you might know, 8 out of 10 women wear the wrong bra size and it goes without saying that the perfect look starts with the perfect fit. The Nordstrom lingerie stylists will ensure that each customer is wearing the right size, ranging from band sizes 30-46 and cup sizes AA-K. Following a quick fitting, our stylists will help you find the best lingerie looks for your size, shape and style. The Happy Hour and fit appointments will be held in our Lingerie department on the second floor next to the Nordstrom West Entrance.

Nordstrom will continue to book bra fit appointments all day on October 4. For every bra purchased from a participating brand on Oct. 3 and Oct. 4, $2 will go to ReThink.

Finding a bra that fits perfectly AND supporting a very important cause that affects so many women? You won’t want to miss out on being part of the research fundraising.

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I HEART YYC

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Here’s my list of amazing things happening in Calgary. Have fun + shop local! Also, spread the good word to your friends. [Painting above by Heather Buchanan who will be at Market Collective’s 6th Anniversary Market.]

➔ I HEART YYC

♥ Friday Sept 5. 4-9PM + Saturday Sept 6. 10-6PM + Sunday Sept 7. 10-6pm. The beloved Market Collective is hosting their biggest market yet, this time in a beautiful venue in the East Village. Celebrating their 6th Anniversary with a massive three day market, MC has really outdone themselves this time curating some of the best artists in the city for this special event. You won’t want to miss – at 618 Confluence Way SE!  MORE INFO.

♥ Monday Sept 8 + Tuesday Sept 9.  CAMP FestivalCAMP in partnership with FITC, celebrates creative technology, art and design by bringing together like-minded professionals, artists, and students to share and shape experiences that educate, challenge and inspire. CAMP is hosted at the historical Theatre Junction GRAND in Calgary. Tickets here.

♥ Wednesday Sept 10 – Sunday Sept 14, Beakerhead. I am SO excited to be finally be in town for this year’s Beakerhead. With spectacles like LaserCat and El Pulpo, a giant fire breathing octopus, it is something that no Calgarian should miss if they can help it. Get the full scoop here and don’t miss a single pop-up party or performance.

♥ Friday Sept 12, 6pm – 12am, Inglewood Night Market. I am getting all prepped for the final Inglewood Night Market of the season. I’ll be setting up a booth at STASH Needle Art Lounge to flog some vintage wares + clothing, so definitely stop by if you are in the hood! Some awesome Beakerhead stuff is also popping up in Inglewood for the market which you do not want to miss.

♥ Friday Sept 19, 7:30am – 9:30am, Nordstrom Pre-Opening Beauty Bash:  Bring your girlfriends and start shopping Nordstrom’s world of cosmetics while you wait for the new store to open. Get the inside scoop on new products and trends from the top names in beauty—and learn the latest tips and tricks from their team of beauty experts. Enjoy complimentary consultations and demonstrations, along with some beautiful surprises. Join in at the main Nordstrom entrance.

Friday Sept 19, 9:30am, Nordstrom Grand Opening: The new Nordstrom opens! Come check it out, celebrate and shop the season’s best styles. We can’t wait to meet you and see your style.

♥ Saturday October 4, 7pm, PARKLUXE 2014PARKLUXE is a fashion show and art exhibition initiative featuring local designers and professional artists who share a common, high-end target market. PARKLUXE is designed to connect Calgary fashion and art lovers with sophisticated local designers and artists who are making an impact outside of our city limits, and throughout Canada and North America. This season’s show is proving to be an incredible one! So proud of our local designers. 

♥ Friday October 17, 4pm – 9pm + Saturday October 18, 10am – 6pm. New Craft Coalition is back for their fall show. Their mission is to bring a carefully curated collection of independently produced, Canadian art, craft + design to the people of Calgary twice annually, with other plans unfolding all the time! I cannot wait to see the amazing products at this year’s show. 

♥ ♥ ♥

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