Happy PALentine’s Day, everyone! This PALentine’s Day, I am celebrating my best pal Mike Morrison, whom you might know better by his handle Mike’s Bloggity Blog. We have been friends for nearly ten years and we’ve done a lot of cool stuff together along the way. Whether we are navigating the #freelancelife together, planning events and conferences, or just catching up over a glass of wine and having a great laugh, Mike has always been there for me.
The other amazing thing about our friendship is that Mike is extremely close and is ‘best pals’ with my son Jack. It has been absolutely amazing for Jack to have Mike as a role model in his life – since day one! He is Jack’s fave babysitter, person to tell his silly jokes to and best pal to share tasty treats with!
I love the idea of PALentine’s Day; this amazing day dedicated to celebrating the friendships so dear to you and the people who are always there for you. February 13th, I am here for it!
This PALentine’s Day is a big one for Mike and I, as we get to celebrate with the all-new Cadbury Dairy Milk and Oreo – combining the best of both Cadbury Dairy Milk and Oreo flavours into one delicious bar! What’s not to love?
Are you celebrating PALentine’s Day with your BFF? Head to palentinesday.ca and customize your very own PALentine’s Pallad for you and your bestie.
Since you know I love a good pun – pallads are ballads for your pals. Real life best pals and electropop artists Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine have written and recorded three custom PALentine’s Day Pallads for you to customize and send to your pal. They are seriously adorable and fun and such a cute way to send your pal all of the good vibes on PALentine’s Day! You should probably send them some sweet treats too, of course. How and who are you celebrating PALentine’s Day with this year?
This post is in partnership with Cadbury. All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep this blog full of fresh content.
For freelancers, self-employed people and individuals working in creative fields, your mobile device is one of the most important tools in your business kit. It is where you store ideas, send emails, accept payments, market yourself; it literally is a tiny business centre in the palm of your hands. But one thing many people overlook is that your phone can be a source of creativity, inspiration and actual creation.
In continuation with my series of posts in partnership with Freedom Mobile, I’m sharing how I get creative with my iPhone X and some of the apps I use regularly to create my content. Since I’ve been with Freedom Mobile and using the iPhone X, I’ve seen my on-the-go creativity increase exponentially. No longer having to worry about overage charges thanks to the great phone plans and data packages available at Freedom (like the one I’m using – 10 GB for $50/month), I’m free to create at will and am constantly creating and posting on the go.
I recently came across a quote from writer Morgan Harper Nichols that really summed up where all of our (our, being content creators) personal pursuits of creativity should be going in 2019:
This is the season she will make beautiful things. Not perfect things but honest things that speak to who she is and who she is called to be. – Morgan Harper Nichols
This quote spoke to me because one of the challenges I find with creativity is that my ideas get clouded by the idea of perfectionism. I strongly believe that perfectionism is just another form of procrastination because my ideas won’t ever reach fruition as a strive for perfection on first shot. So, how does this relate to my topic of on-the-go creativity? Well, first of all I’ve been pushing myself to actually create more content while on-the-go. When you don’t have the luxury of sitting in front of your computer screen, with Photoshop at your fingertips, you are forced to let go of the overthinking that can occur with creating content. You just have to use the tools at hand, your own talents and just let it go. So, in by pushing myself to create more photos/videos/content while in-the-moment, I’m also learning to let go of my perfectionism and see that it is possible create beautiful things in fleeting moments.
I find that the apps I use the most for creating content are pretty straightforward and intuitive to use – and are also a lot of fun. Like any app, you should spend some time watching any tutorials they offer up on their websites or clicking around the different features.
I have been using Color Story for years now for editing and filtering my photos. I find that they are my go-to app for retouching photos with the least amount of editing steps. You can add filters, edit the colours, add bokeh and light leaks. I mostly use the Flashes of Light filter pack, specifically the Carrie filter; I love the bright, clean exposure on it – it just gives my photos a little something extra.
I love using Adobe Lightroom on my phone as well as on my desktop computer. I’ve used Photoshop for years since taking photography in art school but it is so nice to be able to use Lightroom which saves me a lot of time on editing – especially when I am working on something fairly straightforward. The app is fantastic for doing edits on your photography; you can control absolutely every single element of exposure, colour, cropping and more.
InShot makes it really easy to make cool Instagram story templates on your phone without having to edit within the Instagram app. It has everything from custom collage layouts to cool backgrounds and video filters and text options, you can create to your heart’s content in this app.
If you’ve never used KiraKira+ but love a little bit of extra sparkle in your life, I recommend you check out the app. Picking up on reflective light in your photos and videos, KiraKira+ is a fun little extra editing step to add some life to your content. Pro-tip: Works a miracle on a disco ball!
Planoly is an Instagram post scheduling app but I mostly just use it to plan out how my Instagram grid will look. There is a free version or a paid version where you can play around with configurations as much as you want. It also can schedule and post your next Instagram post for you – however I did read something recently about how publishing from a third party scheduling app can actually affect how your photo shows up in the algorithm. I always just post directly to Instagram after planning my content.
I have another blog post coming out talking about how I use Freedom Mobile and the iPhone X to connect with family, keep track of health and wellness as well as enjoy entertainment apps like Spotify, Netflix and YouTube. What is your favourite app for your downtime?
This post is in partnership with Freedom Mobile. All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep this blog full of fresh content.
Tasty spots to pop in for a quick coffee, ample opportunities for record hunting, places to dance the night away.
My neighbourhood, the Beltline, is home to all of these amazing places and is constantly changing, growing and evolving. I’m currently wrapping up my partnership with NUDE by Battistella, which will be built in the West Beltline, and I wanted to share some of the exciting new developments popping up in the area. I feel it is a very exciting time to be living in this area — so hopeful and entrepreneurial. I can’t picture a better neighbourhood for people who love a healthy mix of green space, local businesses, great restaurants and an interesting architecture that spans over a century.
One of the biggest changes in the neighbourhood this past summer was the introduction of twelve new murals thanks to the Beltline Urban Mural Project (BUMP). Battistella, dedicated to the beautification of the neighbourhood, is actually a sponsor of BUMP and brought attention to a number of community events happening in the neighbourhood throughout the summer and fall. The new art brought a lot of curious visitors to the Beltline and there were even guided tours of the murals. With more murals planned for 2019 (if you’re an artist who is interested in mural work, you should definitely keep an eye out for project applications opening up) this initiative is changing the visual landscape of this community and introducing people to new art, artists and ideas.
The opening of an urban Canadian Tire was a huge boost to the West Beltline this past year. I can’t even tell you how long I have been saying that we needed a hardware/general store in the area. Now we finally have it! This Canadian Tire is stacked with everything an inner-city dweller needs — and the beauty of it all is that you don’t need to get in a car to take advantage of it (though they do have a great underground parking lot in case you do).
Purr Clothing moved their shop down 17th Avenue SW from 5th Street down to 10th Street, utilizing a previously empty building that was a former HR Block. The transformation of the space was nothing short of amazing; one of my favourite parts of the boutique is the larger-than-life black-and-white portraits of women in rock music that span from floor to ceiling. The shop carries both men’s and women’s clothing and accessories, as well as few home accessories such as candles.
Another addition to the Beltline that is offering up something a little different and thought-provoking is GOAT Shop, a lifestyle shop that specializes in artful everyday home items and haircutting. They are located at 708 11th Avenue SW. I love that they are more than just a salon, even though beautiful hair is their focus. It is so exciting to see small lifestyle shops like this appearing in the Beltline; they add so much character and community to the experience of shopping local.
These are all just a short walk from the site of NUDE by Battistella right in the heart of the West Beltline. I’m so excited to have a front row seat, watching the development of the West Beltline continue to grow and evolve. Big things are coming for this area and to have the opportunity to live in the neighbourhood and participate in that growth and change is an exciting prospect in itself. The NUDE presentation centre opened in the fall and their amazing team can walk you through the floor plans and the great interior design of the building. For more information, visit www.battistella.ca/nude
**This is a sponsored post in partnership with Kijiji Canada. All writing and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands who keep this blog full of fresh content.
I am just finishing up my year long partnership with Kijiji Canada this month. I was already a big Kijiji user and second-hand shopper before we worked together but I’ve learned so much more about the second-hand economy over the past year and I am so happy to share that knowledge with others. Beyond the amazing achievable savings by shopping second-hand on Kijiji, it truly is an amazing way to combat consumerism and reduce waste. Today, I’m so excited to be sharing my tips for saving a bit of money during the holiday season – namely how you can save big on all of those gifts you want to have under the Christmas tree!
It only took me a couple of Kijiji searches to find that there were SO many brand-new, in-box items to be scooped up. This Christmas season I was mainly hunting out cool, educational gifts for my son (who also has a birthday on December 30th) and I was amazed at how quickly I was tracking down all sorts of amazing gift ideas for such great prices. That being said, when you’re shopping for brand-new, in-box items please be aware that they go VERY quick. Especially at this time of year when many people are looking for ways to save a few extra dollars.
Since my son can’t read yet and doesn’t have regular Internet access, I’m excited to share the gifts I found for him on Kijiji as well as all the money I saved from buying second-hand, without the fear of him finding out!
Jack has always been very interested in planets and the solar system. We’re lucky to be able to see a lot of stars from the windows in our home and Jack’s room has a particularly great viewing spot so I thought getting a telescope would continue to foster his interest in astronomy. I found a brand-new one for $30 on Kijiji, which was an approximate savings of $40 from the retail price.
I am constantly taking photos for personal and work matters so it is only natural that Jack has shown interest in taking photos as well. As easy as it would be to just hand over my phone, these days I’m hyper paranoid about my phone being dropped so I figured getting his own little point-and-shoot would be the best option. I looked into “child-friendly” camera options online but they looked like pretty low quality and I wanted to get him something that would last. On Kijiji, I found this Polaroid Digital Camera new, in its package, for $40. At regular price, the cameras are around $69.99. With the money I saved, I was able to buy a new mini SD card for $20. I’m so excited to see what kind of images he captures.
Keeping in theme with photography, one of the best things in the world (at least to me!) is instant photography. Ironically, the digital camera I found was made by Polaroid and the instant camera I picked up is made by FUJI. I was lucky to find a gently used FUJI Instax Camera on Kijiji along with an unopened package of film for $50 total. The film alone usually goes for about $20 in-store and a new Instax sells for $89.99 at places like Urban Outfitters. I think we will have loads of fun with this over the holidays.
Jack is also very interested in science and exploring nature, especially since he started going to pre-school which is an indoor/outdoor program. I thought a microscope kit would be the perfect gift idea that will continue to grow with him as he learns more about science and the world. I bought it for $20 and when I looked it up they sell it at London Drugs for $49.99.
Overall, I saved $150 on all of these great technology and science gifts for my son! I am so excited to see him explore his creativity and curiosity in the year ahead. The financial benefits from buying used versus new are incredible. For example, according to Kijiji’s 2018 Report, you can save an average of $825 a year!
There is so much more than just great kids gift ideas on Kijiji; you can truly find something for everyone on there. You can find beautiful antiques and vintage items for the people in your life who love long-lost treasure. You can also track down an almost-new video game system complete with all of the games you could ever want (pro-tip: these go super fast! I was eyeing a couple of listings and they were gone before I could even think twice about it).
Seeking out second-hand holiday decor is another really great way to save some money this time of year. There is truly a never-ending surplus of second-hand decorations – think about shopping someone’s haul of twinkly Christmas baubles before hitting up the store for new decorations.
Or perhaps you’re on the other end of the buy/sell equation and you’d like to make a little extra cash at this busy, expensive time of year. Selling your unwanted things is a great way to find new homes for unused items that are sitting in your home. You can also gather some side income for your own holiday shopping. In fact, Canadians can earn an average of $1,134 by selling their second-hand goods – just think of all the amazing gifts you could purchase for family and friends with that money.
I hope you all have an amazing holiday season full of togetherness and joy and big savings! Happy second-hand hunting!
As a self-employed mom, I am constantly on the go and need to be able to access as much of my business as possible while I am out and about with Jack. After years of paying data overage fees and my plan getting more expensive every calendar year, I decided to switch over to Freedom Mobile. In partnership with Freedom, I was also able to upgrade my phone to an iPhone X – which was a big upgrade from my iPhone 6S. The camera alone has revolutionized my phone experience on a daily basis. I can shoot, edit and post my photos while connected to the Freedom network.
Since I switched to Freedom three months ago, I haven’t gone over my data once. I was so used to going over every month with my previous provider that I started to budget for that extra cost every month. That is a bit ridiculous, right? While my phone is essential to my everyday life and business – it shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg every single month.
With my new plan, I’ve been able to keep up with all of my work and emails while on the go – instead of returning to my computer to an overwhelming inbox. I’m also able to keep up with my invoicing and finances which is a huge plus as I am often dealing with up to 20 clients at any given time. Every freelancer worth their salt, knows how important it is to keep on top of invoicing. There are so many great apps for self-employed people; I could probably create a giant list of everything that would be beneficial for freelancers to take advantage – ranging from receipt-keeping apps to time management programs. Today I just want to share my top three apps that help me everyday with my business.
As a freelance writer who is constantly working on a variety of projects at any given time and has multiple email addresses for all of those different projects, I need an email platform that keeps things organized and functional for me. I’ve been using Airmail for a couple of years ago and it has definitely changed the way I work. The platform, for both iPhone and OS is super functional, designed beautifully and keeps all of my different emails organized and at the top of my to-do list.
Freshbooks Cloud Accounting
I’ve been using Freshbooks since I started out freelancing and it has saved my life, time and time again. It is the easiest way I can keep track of my incoming and outgoing invoices – making sure I always get paid on time and that I’m in communication with my clients. I also track all of my business expenses and receipts there – which ultimately helps me budget for the next year ahead.
BMO Bank of Montreal
If you don’t have your bank’s app on your phone, you should probably get it right away. I use mine constantly to check on my accounts and make sure I’ve got my savings in order. And now with the functionality to be able to deposit cheques into your account from home – this is a next level benefit for freelancers who are always relying on clients to send payments promptly. To be able to simply deposit your much-needed cheque from home is amazing.
Beyond all of the work I am doing on the go, I no longer worry about watching YouTube videos or streaming music on Spotify while I am out; my plan has more than enough data to keep Jack and I entertained at the same time.
Freedom just launched an amazing offer for the holidays called the 100GB Big Binge Bonus. And it is seriously next level amazing. This special limited-time offer gives customers 100GB of bonus fast LTE data in addition to their monthly data allotment. How incredible is that? This data can be used at anytime and comes at no additional cost to the customer.
The Big Binge Bonus is now available for new and existing customers when they sign up for a Big Gig plan starting at $60 per month with a new handset on a two-year term. The additional 100 GB Big Binge Bonus is automatically applied once a customer exceeds their monthly allotment. The data never expires as long as customers remain with Freedom Mobile on an eligible plan. Full terms and conditions of Big Binge Bonus can be found at freedommobile.ca/blackfriday
In the meantime, I’ll still be working away, balancing the whole freelance motherhood thing. I have another blog post coming out talking about how I like to use the iPhone X to get creative; whether it means writing down ideas as I go, shooting and editing photos on my favourite apps, or creating content for my social media accounts. How do you use your phone to get creative?
This post is in partnership with Freedom Mobile. All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep this blog full of fresh content.
One thing I can’t get (or rather give) enough during the holidays is handmade gifts. There is something truly special about giving or receiving an item that was made by hand; it is not only unique and memorable but it is also has a story behind it which is something that should be a part of every gift that you give.
I’ve already hit up a number of local handmade holiday markets but one of my favourite places to shop all year round is Etsy. I’ve found such amazing things on there over the years and have connected to some incredible makers and artists.
I’ve rounded up some of my favourite gift ideas here – some fun and quirky things that would make anyone’s heart sing upon opening them up under the ol’ Christmas tree. Happy Holidays, everyone! x
This wall hanging is perfect for a nursery or for someone who loves a bit of playful design mixed into their home decor.
I never finished making Jack the pointy baby bonnet I was knitting him when he was a baby; I should have just picked on up for him from Etsy. These bonnets are too sweet and look absolutely adorable.
I’m such a huge fan of everything Triangle Trees makes and this adorable Christmas card is no exception. This would be welcome in any mailbox this holiday season.
Start off the year on a peaceful note by gifting this iconic poster.
These Favourite Things Pencils are the perfect stocking stuffers for the person in your life who always takes great joy in the most simple pleasures in life.
Typography enthusiasts will love this bold and fun Ooops print.
Screenprinted tea towels are always a great host gift – just wrap it around your favourite bottle of wine for a cute little treat.
Calendars are such special, hopeful gifts; full of excitement for the new year ahead. This stunning calendar by DOZI is the perfect gift to set the tone for the year ahead!
I often get asked what is the hardest part about being a freelance writer or self-employed. While I might initially say it is the daily grind of pitching, writing and networking, I think the hardest part is actually making time for myself and focusing on health and wellness.
I’ve been working from home as a freelance writer for about six and a half years now and it has definitely been the most fulfilling experience of my working career. While working for yourself can give you an incredible sense of freedom, you can also end up falling into a workaholic pattern and never allow yourself the freedom you had originally expected in this career move. Focusing on your health and wellness should be just as important as invoicing for your work. To maintain your creativity, ambition and energy you definitely need to be thinking about your physical and mental health at the same time.
Since becoming a freelancer, my life has gone through a number of personal changes—the most important of which was becoming a mother. There are so many benefits to being a self-employed parent but it also means constantly evolving and being adaptable with how you work. It is easy to let your health and wellness slide to the wayside while you are caring for another human as well as putting in so much effort and time to your career or business.
In partnership with Alberta Blue Cross, I am sharing a few of my tips for maintaining your health and wellness as well as ways to ensure that you make preventative healthcare measures a part of your daily life. I was previously an Alberta Blue Cross plan member when I was first starting out as a freelancer and have been a plan member again since the start of the year. I feel like ensuring that you have health benefits as a self-employed or freelance person is very important. I treat it just like another yearly business expense and it has given me the freedom to get massages, buy new glasses and contacts, seek counselling when I need it and not be out of pocket for prescriptions. It is a small cost to pay (either monthly or yearly) to have that piece of mind of not having to come up with the cash for prescription medication when you get sick or be thrown by a medical emergency.
Alberta Blue Cross offers an online wellness program for their plan members called Balance. This program helps plan members take control of their health and wellness by giving them the opportunity to receive wellness-inspired rewards as well as take part in health risk assessments, gain access to health trackers and educate themselves with interactive tutorials. It is all part of their “Blue For Life” vision at Alberta Blue Cross, and their expanded focus on wellness—to ensure that the individuals and communities they serve are not only healthy but also well.
Besides being a freelance writer, I am also a work-from-home mom. Daily exercise is not only important to me but also to my preschooler. We make an effort to get out of the house every day to run around—whether it is just to run errands or to run around our neighbourhood park or playground. We love going for long walks together so I try to make sure we fit one or two in every week. Beyond the benefits of being active everyday, I find it does wonders for my creativity and motivation to step back from the computer and get some fresh air. Some of my best ideas are visualized when out in nature, exercising or taking some sort of technology break.
Which brings me to rest and mental health; your mind is powerful and it is what your entire business relies on so it is very important to keep your mental health in good shape too. I highly recommend seeking counseling at anytime in your life to talk to an unbiased trained individual about your concerns, whether it be business or personal.
Another way I keep my health and wellness in check is ensuring I make time for myself to seek out inspiration or let my creativity flow. Anytime I’ve felt stagnant or stuck on an idea, it has been because I hadn’t made my creativity a priority. It sounds really simple to carve out time in your schedule to be strictly creative or seek out new ways of looking at or thinking about things, but personally I always feel a twinge of guilt for doing so. It is something I’ve heard from many of my fellow freelancers: it is hard to break free from the “must-always-be-working” feeling of being self-employed. Without taking that time however, you’re only doing a disservice to yourself by not allowing yourself to form new ideas, experience new things and find new ways of doing things. Wellness is a definitely a word that gets thrown around a lot these days and can mean very different things to different people. For me, the definition of wellness is anything you are doing to actively prevent future health issues. It could be anything from taking yoga and pilates classes weekly to seeing a psychologist once a month to reading self-care books. You get to choose what wellness means to you and how it affects your personal health.
This post is in partnership with Alberta Blue Cross . All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep this blog full of fresh content.
I am so excited to share this showroom tour with you. Today we’re visiting the NUDE by Battistella presentation centre located in Calgary’s West Beltline neighbourhood. The NUDE by Battistella vision keeps getting closer and closer to reality — and nothing emphasizes that more than the beautiful spot they’ve created to share that vision.
The NUDE lifestyle is all about living your biggest life in a small space. To me that means having creative and functional solutions for storage, entertaining and general day-to-day life. Even though some of the floor plans have a modest square footage, you don’t have to be held back by that number. The architects and designers have thought of everything to maximize your living space — meaning you can focus on enjoying your life and home without having to compromise.
The kitchen is designed to be practical and easy to keep clean — great for a busy professional who is often on the go. The simple design isn’t boring at all; in fact, the simplicity allows the surfaces — wood, tile, stainless steel — to make a statement while staying sleek and modern. One of my favourite elements of the showroom is the great sized laundry “closet” and storage room. In condos this is so often overlooked, and the laundry unit is shoved into a tiny closet, but NUDE breaks that practice by giving you actual space to store all of your laundry detergents and accessories. You could use it to store your bicycle, but NUDE already has that covered with secure bike storage. Instead, adding shelving could easily transform the space into a dry goods pantry area items or storage for small, counterspace-hogging appliances. The possibilities are endless.
The show suite features a studio floor plan and, though it is one of the smaller floorplans, it is spacious. Over the years I’ve seen so many condos that introduce strange angled walls or unusable corners; Battistella has thought of everything with these floorplans to make it easy to live in a small space in a modern and functional way.
One of my absolute favourite things about the design of the NUDE development is the ‘large hide nothing’ neon sign that will truly make this building a landmark in the West Beltline and the Calgary skyline. I love how they’re not afraid to be rebels in a sea of non-descript condo developments or how they’re pushing the envelope to stand out.
Through my partnership with Battistella I’ve been able to see so many great ways that NUDE will impact the Beltline — not only as part of a movement that is developing the west end, but also by providing a canvas for people who appreciate good design and want to live in a space they are proud of.
Even if you’re not in the market at the moment for a condo, it is a great spot to pop by with a coffee and get inspired by Battistella’s vision for NUDE as well as the future of the West Beltline. They have a lot to share with prospective buyers and people interested in the community — the space is very inspiring. The showroom is located at 1319 14 Avenue SW and is open seven days a week: Monday through Thursday from 10am-6pm and Friday- Sunday from 11am-5pm.
This post is in partnership with NUDE by Battistella . All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep this blog full of fresh content.
The magic of Disney has arrived back in Calgary for Disney On Ice presents Dare to Dream! Hosted by everyones favourites – Mickey & Minnie – this on-ice spectacular is an amazing production. Last year, we were literally sitting on the edge of our seats as we watched Rapunzel and Ariel perform incredible on-ice aerial stunts. Jack had such a blast and we can’t wait to return this weekend. This year’s production is a bit princess heavy but should still be a blast for the whole family with all of the great Disney songs we know and love!
Celebrate what’s possible as five Disney heroines spark the courage inside us all at Disney On Ice presents Dare to Dream! In her Disney On Ice debut, see how far Moana goes on a quest with demigod Maui to save her island and find her own identity. Anna’s devotion to her sister Elsa sets her on a journey to stop an eternal winter. Rapunzel goes to great lengths to realize her dream. Fearless Belle befriends the enchanted castle staff and uncovers the Beast’s gentleness. With help from her friends, Cinderella is determined to make her wish come true. Hosted by Mickey and Minnie, discover your inner hero at Disney On Ice presents Dare to Dream!
Apparently, if you arrive on time you will see a special pre-show by Miguel from Coco – don’t miss it! I love the music of Coco so this will be a real treat.
The show is coming to the Stampede Corral from November 14-18. Visit www.ticketmaster.ca to pick up tickets that start at $20.
This giveaway is for FOUR tickets to attend Disney on Ice in Calgary on one of the following days: Friday November 16, Saturday November 17 or Sunday November 18. To enter the giveaway you must be able to attend a show on one of those days. You must complete the following steps:
This hot topic is literally on the lips of just about everyone right now here in Canada; legalization of cannabis usage comes into effect on October 17, 2018. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement on June 20th after a century-long prohibition of cannabis. Cannabis will be available for purchase in flower and oil form (sounds like edibles will come in 2019) online and in-store. Just like alcohol, you must be 18 years old (in Alberta and Quebec) or 19 years old in the rest of the country. Here in Calgary, I’ve already been seeing storefronts popping up all over the city waiting for the October 17th launch date.
While it is certainly an exciting time for cannabis entrepreneurism in Canada, the industry still has a long way to go to reduce the stigma of cannabis usage (even medical usage still has stigma) and also make reparations for people who were treated unfairly and charged by police for possession of cannabis. There is actual proof and documentation that the enforcement of cannabis laws in the past, have disproportionately affected marginalized and racialized communities. This article by the Broadbent Institute by Akwasi Owusu-Bempah outlines the very important ways that Canada’s government, police service and cannabis industry stakeholders can work to rectify this unfair treatment of the people and communities affected by the war on drugs. Be sure to read through it – this information is essential as legalization moves forward.
Beyond all of the legislation talk, I have been most fascinated by the aesthetics of cannabis. As someone who is obsessed with cultural trends it is hard not to notice how good-looking this industry is turning out to be.
photo via Tokyo Smoke
My first introduction to the art & design of the cannabis industry was through Tokyo Smoke, a Toronto-based cannabis and coffee lifestyle company. They opened up their first coffee shop in Calgary in the fall of 2017; their marketing director Josh Lyon (he is now Vice President of Marketing and Partnerships at Hiku Brands, the umbrella company for Tokyo Smoke among others) actually spoke at our conference Next Big Thing that October about this changing industry. Tokyo Smoke is slick; its for the modern weed connoisseur – really no different than someone who is super into whiskey or cocktails. Walking into the store, you’ll find all sorts of sculptural objects which turn out to be stylish pipes, 24K gold pre-rolled cones and luxury scented candles. They also happen to have really great coffee and delicious vegan grab-and-go options; all in all its a beautifully designed coffee shop that will soon sell cannabis.
photo via Tokyo Smoke
Tokyo Smoke introduced me to Van Der Pop, which is their sister brand, a women-forward company that is leader in the industry and a huge proponent in reducing stigma against usage by women and parents. Their products are perfectly designed – from their stylish leather zip bags and black glass stash jars. Sign up their newsletter and read their blog which are both always full of interesting facts and studies on the industry, topical discussions about cannabis and general knowledge bombs about cannabis.
photos via Van Der Pop
Since finding out about Tokyo Smoke and Van Der Pop, I started noticing new cannabis product companies popping up all over the place in Canada and beyond. Here are just a few of the brands that I feel are making waves in the aesthetics of cannabis.
Alair Vaporizers: Based out of Toronto, Alair is know for their discreet rechargeable vaporizers. Packaged up in this black and gold box (with tropical florals on the inside) it is easy to why they are becoming such a big player in the industry.
FLEURS: Hemp derived CBD tea coming right at you – and in the prettiest package ever. FLEURS, which I believe is based in Vancouver, has three teas in their line-up all for different experiences (i.e. DOZE, WOKE, CHILL, CLEAN). Their packaging is fresh and fun – and totally designed for a specific demographic: people who like DavidsTea but also like to get high.
Yew Yew: Yew Yew is not Canadian but this NYC-based designer makes such incredible modern ceramic pipes that are truly mini works of art. The shapes are so sculptural that your grandmother probably wouldn’t know she was looking at a pipe if you had it sitting on your bookshelf – or maybe she would and she’d love her own. Their latest art collaboration is a limited edition collection that features the gorgeously quirky artwork of UK based artists Liv & Dom.
HighNoon: Another pipe company, another Toronto designed product – HighNoon pipes are all made by hand – no two are exactly alike. The pipes come in three different shapes: 8AM, High Noon and 10 After 6. I love all of their product photography – they get kinda weird and experimental and I love all the long polished nails in combination with the pipes.
Mister Green: Again, not a Canadian company but Tokyo Smoke carries a lot of Mister Green products and has even collaborated with them on a few projects. Mister Green is a lifestyle shop in LA and carries everything EVERYTHING for the modern day toker. Their brand is fun and chill with a great sense of humour – i.e. the Bong Water water bottle above is theirs.
Allume Chill Box: The subscription box has officially reached the world of cannabis. The Allume Chill Box is sent out of Montreal and features a curated selection of cannabis accessories like rolling papers, ceramic goods, lighters and accessories.
Levo Oil: Not just for cannabis, LEVO Oil Infuser allows you to infuse butter or oil using herbs, fruit and other ingredients. They even have an app that allows you to control your infusions while you are on the go. As far as kitchen gadgets go, this is one seriously cool one to add to your collection.