lifestyle

THE AESTHETICS OF CANNABIS

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.

MONSTER JAM!

Imagine a car subculture that involves building an incredible beast of a vehicle, only to put it to the ultimate rough-and-tumble test; driving it through an intense and dusty obstacle course, popping wheelies and doing backflips. Yep, it isn’t just any car subculture – it is Monster Jam.

Monster Jam is rolling through town for a spectacular return to Calgary on September 8-9, 2018! You’ll get to see some of the world-famous trucks like Grave Digger®, Max-DTM, El Toro Loco®, Monster Mutt® and more race and perform in freestyle competitions. There is really nothing quite like it!

I still remember seeing Monster Jam once as a kid with my family; it was loud as can be and on-the-edge-of-your-seat kind of action. It was really cool to go check out the trucks up close and personal after the show. The drivers have some serious skill and put those monster trucks through a lot!  I can’t wait to take Jack there this weekend with my parents and brother to relive the experience through his eyes!

Tickets are still available for September 8 + 9th at the Stampede Grandstand. Get them here now or see below for a chance to win tickets from The Archives of Cool!

Lucky for my readers – I have a great opportunity for my followers to take their family to see the show as well! If you want to win a 4-pack of tickets for this weekend’s show, head over to Twitter, follow me (@kaitkucy) and share this tweet:

Hey @kaitkucy! I want four tickets to see GRAVE DIGGER at @MonsterJam this weekend in #yyc! Details here: https://bit.ly/2wMy9e0

Contest ends on Thursday September 6th at 9pm PST and winner must be able to attend Monster Jam in Calgary on September 8 or 9th. I will be doing a random draw of entries and contacting the winner directly on Twitter. Thanks so much for entering and good luck!

BACK TO SCHOOL!

Ah, the whiff of freshly sharpened pencils, crisp notebooks, the cooler morning air and the feeling of excitement mixed with a slight uncertainty; I’m talking about back-to-school. This time-honoured September tradition is probably the most nostalgic for me; to this day I can remember the first day of school so clearly. That anticipation of seeing all of your friends after the long summer, wearing a brand-new outfit you’ve been saving for weeks and gearing up a new year of learning.

Now, as a mother, I’ve got the same feeling of uncertain excitement for my child as he starts school (pre-school!) for the very first time. I am so excited for all of the learning Jack will do, the friends he will make and the experiences he will have. I just know that he will love it!

To prep for the busy month ahead, I’ve been checking off our list of all the important back-to-school stuff that we’ve had to get done. First things first was getting a real hair cut for Jack. Jack has been rocking his super sweet surfer guy hair for a while now, but I wanted to get something a bit more cleaned up for the fall. We brought in an inspiration photo (which is recommended if you are looking for something specific) and our stylist did a fantastic job.

Heading into Great Clips, I was really impressed with their service before we even got there. In case you weren’t aware, they have an awesome Online Check-In and App service that make things even easier for parents and busy schedules. First off you don’t need to make an appointment – the Great Clips App makes it super simple for getting your children in last-minute to the salon closest to you.

The App will show you the salon locations closest to you and all you have to do is enter your name, phone number and how many people will be with you. Then, just head on over and you’ll be all set up for getting a great haircut.

Clip Notes are another great feature that all locations have access to; basically, it is all of the information about the customer’s haircut that the stylist took note of for future reference. That means that the next time you head in for an appointment, everything from style, shape, type of hair is available to the stylist so that you don’t feel like you are starting from scratch again.

Another really great thing that Great Clips is doing this year is running a promotion in support of Kids Cancer Care. Spearheaded by Lisa Inman and Jennifer Mooney here in Calgary, this initiative is a really great way to teach your kids about giving back to the community. From August 22nd through to September 30th, Calgary customers have the opportunity to purchase a Kindle Bug for $3. With each sale of a Kindle Bug, $3 will go directly to Kids Cancer Care and with each donation customers will receive a $5 off coupon (expires November 16) for their next haircut at Great Clips!

I am so happy with how Jack’s haircut turned out. Our Great Clips stylist did a great job keeping the laid-back shaggy surfer vibe while cleaning it up into something much tidier for starting school. Now that we’ve got the haircut checked off of our to-do list, we can now focus on making sure we’ve got everything else ready for back-to-school!

**This is a sponsored post written by me in partnership with Great Clips. All writing is my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support The Archives of Cool!

SUMMER FUN IN THE CITY

**This is a sponsored post written by me in partnership with Kijiji. All writing is my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support The Archives of Cool.

One of my New Year’s resolutions (which was definitely prompted by the harsh and long winter we had this year here in Calgary) was to truly enjoy every single day of summer in the city. We don’t have any plans to leave town, so this summer is all about exploring our favourite parks, hitting up outdoor pools and splash parks and just being active and enjoying nature. So far, so good; Jack and I have been on the go almost everyday and we’ve got a lot more fun ahead of us!

One of my main summer plans was to upgrade Jack from the tricycle that he has totally mastered over the past two years. I’ve heard from plenty of bike-enthusiast parents that a strider/balance bike is a great introduction to getting on an ol’ two-wheeler and learning about balance sans training wheels. For anyone who doesn’t know, a strider bike is a two-wheeler without pedals, simply put it is a self-propelled bike that encourages coordination and balance much earlier than kids typically learn those skills. It must have been my lucky day when I decided to search on Kijiji for a strider bike because amongst the flame-emblazoned kiddie bikes there was the most perfect PUBLIC strider in a retro-inspired pale blue.  

PUBLIC bikes have always had a great reputation – I remember when I was bike shopping years ago for myself I was considering PUBLIC bikes but ended up going with another brand. Anyways, the bike brand-new is only available online from the U.S. for about $200 CAD – it was listed on Kijiji for $50. Definitely one of my best second-hand scores in recent history. It just shows you that you can find really high-quality items, for less, on Kijiji if you keep your eyes out, know your brands and check back often. In fact – according to a recent Kijiji Report, in 2017, Canadians saved an average of $825 from acquiring second-hand goods instead of new.

Jack has been loving the bike so far – he’s really starting to get the hang of it and each day can go a bit further on it. He’s actually inspired me to get my bicycle (which has a Yepp kids seat on the back for him – I bought that second-hand a couple of years ago as well) repaired so we can hit the bike paths ASAP.

Another great thing about shopping second-hand for good quality products like this balance bike is that if you take good care of them, they totally retain their value – meaning once you are done with them there is an opportunity for resell. I’ll be putting his much-loved classic red trike on Kijiji very soon – I love the cycle of the second-hand economy.

One of the other functions of the Kijiji app that I love so much is that I can save my favourite searches and setup alerts for when new items are added. Jack’s interests are constantly changing and there is no point in buying brand-new products at this stage because who knows what will stick and what will be abandoned. It is not surprising considering how quickly children move from one interest to another! Luckily, games, toys and video games are one of the top five most-exchanged items in the second-hand economy,  according to Kijiji’s 2017 Second-Hand Economy Index Report, so I’ll have some good options to choose from.

That being said, there is endless summer fun to be had so I’ve set up a couple new alerts for some sports equipment. One of those being a life jacket in his size. Brand-new life jackets are VERY expensive which is something I had no idea about before becoming a parent. New, they seem to range from $40-$100 but according to my research I’ve done on Kijiji, you can get a second-hand one for about $25, which means you can save nearly 75% from buying used versus new! Once we get one, I will feel much more comfortable about hanging out at my parent’s community lake or down by the river this summer.

Earlier this year, when we were stranded inside the mall during the depths of winter, Jack got inspired by a cool and friendly teenager showing him skateboard tricks at the skater shop and I ended up purchasing a Fish Cruiser Skateboard (complete with a clear deck, pink light-up wheels and embossed skulls) for him. Later in the spring, we hit up the House of Vans skateboarding event and Jack got even more interested in skateboarding. Now that we’ve reached ideal skateboarding conditions, I’ve set up an alert for a full set of skateboarding protective pads because I feel that is a good compromise between full-on bubble wrapping my kid or going without. What is on your summer bucket list? Are your kids trying any new sports or activities this summer? I highly recommend purchasing second-hand for new toys, games and entertainment for your kids this summer. To learn more about the second-hand economy and how you can get involved check out secondhandeconomy.kijiji.ca for more information!    

TOP 5 INNER-CITY CALGARY PARKS + PLAYGROUNDS

Summer is in full swing and all Jack and I are doing is planning our next inner-city adventure. From natural playgrounds to outdoor pools to the perfect picnic spots, there are endless opportunities to enjoy these beautiful summer days right here in the middle of the city. I’ve partnered with Alberta Blue Cross to share our favourite parks and playgrounds to inspire you to get out and be active with your family this summer. We walk everywhere (and are getting our bike repaired shortly) and love exploring the city by foot. All of these fantastic parks are in easy walking distance of each other so you can make a day of it or come back time and time again for some fun adventures with your family.

A really exciting aspect of Alberta Blue Cross is how they get involved in their local communities by encouraging people to be active and take preventative measures towards a healthier lifestyle. One avenue that they explore this through is the Healthy Communities Grant Program, which is an annual grant program that supports and promotes active living across the province. Five $50,000 grants are awarded each year to support community amenities and facilities that promote active living. That is a LOT of money that could go a long way to impact an entire community.

So, you are probably wondering what is a valid entry for projects that can be entered into the grant program. Some examples include construction or replacement of children’s playgrounds, outdoor adult gyms, cycling paths and recreational facility improvements, but if you have a really great idea for your community there is a good chance you can make a good proposal for their consideration. The deadline for applications is August 31st so you still have plenty of time to get your great ideas into Alberta Blue Cross! Grants will be awarded in December. Apply now or check out their website for more details.

Like I mentioned, one of my favourite ways to keep active in the city is to explore all of the amazing public parks that we have. Jack and I have such an amazing time heading out on little adventures; the further the park, the more exercise we get and the more fun we have together. It is a win-win.

I’ve rounded up my favourite parks in the city to visit, in no particular order. Perhaps you’ll make them part of your summer or perhaps they will inspire you for your own Healthy Communities Grant Program application—with fresh and innovative ways to improve your neighbourhood parks.

Central Memorial Park is definitely one of my favourite parks in the city—not just because it is absolutely beautiful. While it doesn’t have a playground on site, it makes up for it in sprawling lawns, pathways, flowering gardens and beautiful fountains—including sidewalk fountains that kids can wade in —and is home to the oldest Calgary Public Library location in the city, Memorial Park Library. We love visiting this park thanks to its close proximity to home but also for the heritage aspect, which I feel is another important element to maintain. Many days we will come here for a picnic, to play in the sidewalk fountains and visit the library. With stunning vistas of downtown and the Calgary Tower, it is easily the most picturesque park in the city.

1221 2nd Street SW

Haultain Park, which is conveniently located across the street from Central Memorial Park is a really great recreational park in the Beltline with a huge playground, tennis courts and a field for kicking a ball around. It is located right around the corner from the City of Calgary Beltline Fitness Centre, which is another great resource in the community for active living. It is also home to the historic Haultain School which is Calgary’s oldest sandstone school and the first public school to have electricity and running water. It is now one of the Parks Foundation Calgary offices.

225 13th Ave SW

St. Patrick’s Island is one of the most popular parks in the city, located just over the St. Patrick’s Island bridge from the East Village and just a stone’s throw from the Calgary Zoo. The Island re-opened in 2015 and quickly became an imaginative home-away-from-home for kids and families of all ages. One of the most magical aspects of the park is their commitment to public art with a beautiful sculpture called Bloom. There is also a seasonal “beach” area for wading and fishing, endless meandering pathways and  the amazing Rise which is a hill built into the park that’s perfect for tobogganing or a carefree roll down. Endless fun can be had at St. Patrick’s Island—there is always something new to discover.

1300 Zoo Road NE

Thomson Family Park is located just a quick walk from the bustling 17th Avenue SW. With a super fun playground complete with a giant slide (that can be accessed by climbing a staircase or a hill) this is a great spot to bring your kids for an afternoon picnic. In the summer, they have sidewalk fountains that are an absolute blast for the kids (and dogs) not to mention they cool everyone right down. There is an open green space for play, which actually used to be home to the Calgary Lawn Bowling Club. It is transformed into an outdoor skating rink in the winter—such a great spot all year round!

1236 16th Ave SW

Riley Park is the absolute best park if you want to feel like you’re on vacation right in the middle of the city. Their wading pool waterpark is the best place to hang out on a hot sunny day with some friends—it is complete with a gorgeous little island in the middle with huge trees that provide ample shade for those of us who want to enjoy the warm weather but stay out of the sun. Riley Park is also home to a huge field for getting active and playing sports in.  The amazing playground on site will certainly spark some imaginative play in your child. One of the secret hidden gem parts of the park is the tiny fairy home that some creative soul installed into the base of one of the older trees on the path leading out of the park; it truly makes you slow down and appreciate the small things.

800 12th Street NW

**This is a sponsored post written by me in partnership with Alberta Blue Cross for their Healthy Communities Grant Program. All writing is my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support The Archives of Cool.

 

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE WEST BELTLINE

Breakfasts with endless hashbrowns, parks with public art sculptures, an entire basement filled with crystals and gems; yup, I’m talking about my neighbourhood — the Beltline. This summer I’m partnering with Battistella Developments to showcase the best parts about living in Calgary’s Beltline neighbourhoods — notably the West Beltline where they are building their newest condo development: Nude. Keep an eye out for more posts here on the blog as well as sharing some of my favourite spots on Instagram.

I love living in the Beltline, where I’m so close to the action and able to get anywhere I want to go quickly, so today, I’m sharing my Ultimate Guide to the West Beltline, I’m talking spots you cannot pass up!

WHERE TO EAT

Donna Mac: If you love delicious yet inventive comfort food combined with a fresh, flavourful cocktails, a gorgeous interior (designed by my friend Sarah Ward!) and a record player stocked with sweet tunes, then I’m pretty certain you’ll love Donna Mac. They have a fantastic neighbour program for their housemade sourdough and they are very accommodating for vegans and people who eat gluten-free. 1002 9th Street SW

Kona Poke: One of my favourite hit-the-spot eateries, Kona specializes in delicious poke bowls topped with delicious ingredients like ahi tuna, spicy poke or even octopus. My go-to bowl consists of brown rice with mixed greens, cucumber, red cabbage, sweet onion, ahi tuna with the gluten-free Maple Miso dressing and topped off with masago, avocado and furikake. The Hawaiian vibe of the fast casual restaurant is anchored by a kitschy but swoon-worthy framed photo of Tom Selleck. Pop in on Mondays for free 5-cent candies; just one of the cute things this tasty little spot dreamt up. 939 10th Avenue SW

Paros Souvla: I am all about riding this wave of great take-out spots popping up in the West Beltline. Paros Souvla is one of my favourite additions with their incredible Greek food. If you’re going to try anything, may I recommend the Greek Fries which are topped with fresh feta and are dippable in the tasty house tzatziki. The Village salad is the perfect compliment to the fries with delicious Kalamata olives, cucumber, tomatoes and a savoury slab of feta on top. Their menu is also very accomodating for special diets; they are able to make almost everything gluten-free or dairy-free. 1436 8th Street SW

Sucre Patisserie & Cafe: I love to explore and try new places all of the time. I recently popped into Sucre which has a plethora of luxurious pastries and treats as well as fantastic coffee. The interior is so beautiful — you’ll feel like you’ve been whisked away to Paris for your coffee and croissant. 1007 8th Street SW

Galaxie Diner: If you love a good greasy spoon, look no further than the perfectly vintage Galaxie Diner. With bottomless hashbrowns, legendary milkshakes and a certain retro charm that cannot be replicated, this is the best place to meet your pals for breakfast. Be warned that it is a small place so there will be lineups on weekends. Luckily, they give you coffee while you wait in line! 1413 11 Street SW

Calgary Midtown Co-op: Every neighbourhood worth its salt has a great grocery store. Calgary Co-op is a fantastic destination to do your weekly shop but their grab-and-go and pre-prepped meal options really take the cake. It is also one of my favourite spots to pick up house plants and fresh flowers for a great price. 1130 11th Ave SW

WHERE TO SHOP

Nine Times Skate Shop: One of the freshest additions to the Beltline, this cool AF skateshop is my new go-to spot to pick up a new pair of Vans and scope out their awesome selection of cozy sweatshirts and perfect dad caps. This skater-owned shop is super involved in the city’s skate scene and often host events and workshops in store. 1409 11th Street SW

gravitypope + Blackbyrd Music: If you love brutalist architecture as much as I do, there is a good chance you’ve ogled the gravitypope building on 17th Avenue. But what is inside is even better — gravitypope has the BEST selection of shoes in all of the uptown/downtown area and carries amazing garment brands like Commes des Garcons PLAY, WANT Les Essentiels among others. In the basement you’ll find Blackbyrd Music, another Edmonton-offshoot which just happens to be my favourite spot to pick up the latest vinyl releases. 1126 17th Ave SW

Heritage Music: If you love crate-digging as much as I do, you’ll be able to spend an entire afternoon at Heritage Music fleshing out your record collection. They’ve got vintage gems to rival your dad’s collection and often do something extra special for Record Store Day. 1316 11th Ave SW

Peaseblossoms Flowers: I’m a big believer in having lots of plants and fresh flowers in our home — it just makes every day more beautiful! Peaseblossoms Flowers is the most darling little shop that carries a gorgeous selection of flora as well as some amazing lifestyle products like notebooks, small objects and decor. 1417 11th Street SW

Earth Gems: My crystal obsession is real and Earth Gems does not disappoint. I could literally spend hours (and hundreds of dollars) in there. Pro-tip: as much as my little guy loves crystals and rocks, I would not recommend bringing your little one there as there is some very expensive pieces all over the place — not worth the risk! #100, 1022 17th Ave SW

Pomp + Circumstance: If you’re looking for beautiful home decor, Pomp & Circumstance is one of the best interior design shops in the West Beltline. With product lines from Norm Architects and Barter, you’ll be sure to find something covetable for your modern, minimalist home. 1204 12th Ave SW

Wild Rose Cleaners: If you need alterations and dry cleaning, Wild Rose is an excellent option. Their attention to detail is impeccable and they actually design and make men’s dress shirts in-house if you are looking for a bespoke option. 1330 15th Ave SW

Hedkandi: My go-to spot for hair is definitely Hedkandi on 8th Street. Not only do they have some of the most talented stylists in the city but they also carry an amazing selection of hair and beauty products from lines such as Bumble & Bumble, Oribe and even their own coffee blend with local coffee company Monogram! #105, 1301 8th Street SW

WHERE TO GO

Beltline Urban Mural Project: One of my favourite local initiatives in the Beltline Urban Mural Project which was started by the Beltline Neighbourhoods Association (Battistella is actually a big sponsor of the  2018 Project) to promote local artists, increase tourism for the neighbourhood (hello, Instagram mecca) and beautify buildings in the area. They are just kicking off year two of the project and I cannot wait to see the finished murals later this year! For more information about the upcoming festival and mural tours check out their website.

Barb Scott Park: Grab a coffee and your frisbee and hit up Barb Scott Park for some sunshine. Artist team Creative Machines created the interactive public art piece Chinook Arch that is best viewed at night. The building located adjacent to the park was the former Central High School and is still a beautiful heritage landmark in the West Beltline. 1219 11th Street SW

Color Me Mine Uptown: Jack and I love getting crafty together and Color Me Mine is the perfect place for us to spend an afternoon creating some ceramic masterpieces for our home. They also host kids birthday parties there! 1504 11th Street SW

Commonwealth Bar & Stage: If you love live music, one of the best venues is located right on the edge of the West Beltline. Commonwealth  Bar & Stage has regular programming featuring local DJs and bands but also brings in some of the best shows (think bands like Whitney, Suuns and Tokyo Police Club) every year. You are guaranteed to have a good time at this music scene staple. 731 10th Avenue SW

Thomson Family Park: We love popping by the Thomson Family Park, most notably for their awesome giant slide. With picnic tables, a fantastic playground and fountains it is a great place to spend an afternoon with friends and family. 1236 16th Ave SW

If you want to find out more about Nude by Battistella and keep up to date on news about the project, go to battistella.ca/nude to register!

**This is a sponsored post written by me in partnership with Nude by Battistella. All writing is my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support The Archives of Cool.

Tackling the Big Spring Clean

**This is a sponsored post written by me in partnership with Kijiji. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support The Archives of Cool.

Spring has finally arrived – and along with green grass sprouting and leaves budding on the trees, the urge to do some heavy-duty spring cleaning has also arrived. I’m not sure who invented spring cleaning but the feeling of being indoors with your belongings for an extended period of time just inspires some sort of purging mode when the warmer weather rolls around. And what better way to get rid of unwanted items than to trade them for cash?

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My parents are in the midst of reconfiguring their home to make it more functional for their lifestyle – downsizing without moving, if you will. In order to do this they’ve been working on getting rid of excess furniture and belongings that they just don’t use anymore. Making each room in their house work for them, they’ve been able to maximize the space they have as well as create rooms and workspaces for everything they love to do – like entertain, listen to music, sew and create artwork. As they started clearing out their basement and garage, I offered to help them list items on Kijiji as I had so much success with the platform in the past. Beyond being able to clear out these rooms and live more minimally, they are also earning some extra cash through selling off the items – two motivations behind why people use the second-hand economy in the first place – which is always welcome for feeding all of those great hobbies and side projects that they enjoy so much.

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One of the hardest ways to get through a spur of spring cleaning is actually identifying what you want to keep and what you want to sell, trade or giveaway for free. In my parents’ case, they love beautiful design, antiques and objects – so while they may want to get rid of things, they still see the value and beauty in them which often makes them hard to give up. Something I identify with 100% as someone who also loves seeking out gorgeous vintage pieces, artwork and designer furniture. That being said, people like us are on Kijiji looking for these items too! Furniture was one of the top five categories for most exchanged goods last year, according to Kijiji’s 2018 Second-Hand Economy Index Report, and sellers like my parents can make an average earning of $1,436 from selling their old and unused furniture pieces. Who wouldn’t want to have an extra $1400 rather than unused furniture sitting around in your basement or storage space?! As we prep to list a big batch of their items in the coming weeks, they’ve already got a bit of a head start clearing out some unwanted items from their garage like old tools and accessories for cars they no longer have. The grand total in earnings so far is $185 – and we are just getting started!

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Spring is an especially great time of year to start listing your unwanted goods on Kijiji as people are in the mood to spruce things up.  According to Kijiji Site Data, spring is a great time to sell on Kijiji as it tends to provide more interested buyers who are looking at some of the top searched items on Kijiji in the spring, like patio furniture, sectionals, tables and dressers. People love digging into a great DIY project in the spring before enjoying the lazy days of summer. Even smaller entertainment items like CDs and DVDs are a top-selling category with the average annual earnings coming in around $1,185, according to the 2018 Report. Once you start looking around at your unused or unwanted items, you may realize you are basically sitting on cold hard cash.

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As you tackle your own spring cleaning, I want to offer my tips for crafting the perfect Kijiji listing:

  • Photos: I recommend taking your photos in natural light and taking about 3-5 photos that show all angles of your object.
  • Descriptions: I’ve noticed that a lot of listings on Kijiji are pretty bare bones in terms of descriptions but I prefer to put as much information as possible. If you are selling something like a treadmill or bike, make sure to list the year, make, model and what condition it is in. For furniture, I always make sure to note any imperfections, damages or even minor wear and tears.
  • Pricing: If there is an item that I am particularly motivated to get rid of quickly, I often include “Price is negotiable. Please message with best offer.” in the listing. Chances are you’ll get a few people completely lowballing you or even asking for the item for free but if you are trying to get rid of it quick (i.e. an old sofa that you need moved out before your new one arrives) you can use your own discretion to decide how low of an offer you will accept.
  • Promoting: And lastly, I definitely recommend including in the listing that you have other items for sale as potential buyers can click through to all of your listings and potentially buy multiple items from you. Kijiji also offers a variety of ad features that can help with increasing the visibility of your ads to make them sell quicker!    

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Processed with VSCO with c1 presetAs I continue to help out with my parents’ spring cleaning tasks, I’ve also been working on a bit of spring cleaning at my own house too. My parents are passing along some beautiful antique furniture pieces (these ones are staying in the family – not going up for sale) my way in the midst of their purging. So, now to make room for them I’m also making sure I’m not hanging onto any items that no longer serve a purpose for me. It is amazing how much easier and more fun it is to tackle all of these projects when the sun is shining, birds are chirping and you can let all that gorgeous fresh spring air in. Happy spring cleaning!

CATCHING UP WITH SHAW BLUESKY TV

Sponsored post by Shaw BlueSky TV.

There is nothing quite like getting lost in a piece of fiction, whether it is a short story, novel, Netflix original or a feature length film – there is just something so awe-inspiring to be engulfed inside a story that some great creative mind dreamt up one day. I’ve been getting lost in lush and complex fictional worlds thanks to the plethora of quality TV series and movies available lately. And due to the sub-zero temperatures we’ve been experiencing here in Calgary, I don’t feel one ounce of guilt about it.

I’ve always loved the art of storytelling, which is probably why and how I wound up being a writer for a living. Although I tend to stick to non-fiction editorial work on the regular, my mind is constantly buzzing with ideas for fictional stories that I feel would translate perfectly to the screen. Time to get on those New Year’s writing resolutions, I suppose!

Back to the shows and movies I’ve been swept away by lately, I’ve been continuing my trial of Shaw BlueSky TV with Netflix. I have been enjoying so many aspects of it, especially the freedom of FreeRange TV, which is Shaw’s awesome mobile and desktop app where you can watch all of your favourite On Demand shows like Will & Grace, Schitt’s Creek and This Is Us.

I absolutely love FreeRange TV for the ability to watch my favourite shows pretty much – anywhere I want to. Catching up on the best guilty pleasure shows in bed, tuning into a new show while I work, awesome kids shows like Daniel Tiger’s Neighbourhood on the iPad for Jack or watching classic movies while having a break in the tub – I can do it all with FreeRange TV.

Also, did you know that you can watch LIVE TV as well on your FreeRange TV app? Yup, I’ve been tuning into all of the Pyeongchang Olympics coverage and it has been fantastic. To be completely honest, I can barely turn away from the screen as I watch Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir make magic across the ice.

The only thing I miss while watching FreeRange TV is the voice-controlled remote and all of the great content not available on FreeRange – but I mean, that simply means walking over to my television instead and hitting play on my favourite show. Now, I must get back to binging my latest obsession – Netflix’ Queer Eye.

 

This post is sponsored by Shaw. All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep this blog going with fresh content.

 

THE THRILL OF THE HUNT

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been someone who enjoyed a good treasure hunt. Raised by two antique-loving parents, many of my childhood Saturdays were spent perusing antique shops and flea markets. Over time, I too, grew to love it as my own hobby – even sourcing out a beautiful mint-condition mid-century sofa for my *future home* while I was still a teenager. During high school and university, I loved hitting up second-hand vintage and thrift shops to find the best vintage clothing. I found some truly incredible pieces over those years, including some highly sought after 1950s Hawaiian dresses that I was able to sell for quite a bit more than I paid for – helping me pay down my student line of credit at the time. I even sold the vintage sofa later on – after realizing that while I loved the aesthetics of it, it wasn’t truly comfortable for my style of lounging.

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Over the years, I’ve been able to supplement my income by not only saving on some beautiful pieces, but also later down the line when I resell those items myself. I certainly have found some success over the years – and I don’t even do it as a business.

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Nowadays, I’m usually out hunting for home decor and furniture pieces for my heritage apartment. While I still love haunting thrift stores and antique shops, I really love setting keywords and notifications on Kijiji for specific items I am looking for – meaning I can scope out those awesome finds pretty much 24/7 if I want to. I’ve been using it for years now for both buying and selling and because of this,I am thrilled to be partnering with Kijiji over the next year to share my experiences with the second-hand economy.

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Kijiji just released their 4th annual Kijiji Second Hand Economy Index 2018 Report in which they study and detail how Canadians are using the second-hand economy, why they are using it and other super interesting facts on how people buy, sell, donate, lend and swap second-hand items across the country. It is so fascinating to me how the second-hand economy generates so much income for people all over Canada while at the same time promoting sustainable methods of reusing and recycling. It is super thorough including everything from the top categories of items sold to how it is impacting the Canadian economy.

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For example, in 2017 85% of Canadians participated in the second-hand economy and $28.5 billion was spent on second-hand items. That number alone is so impressive and makes me happy to know that so much waste is being averted by people selling and buying second-hand items. For my fellow Calgarians, average earnings are estimated to be around $659.19 per year in Alberta. Between all of the different outlets I use to participate in the second-hand economy I probably made around $750.00 selling off my second-hand items in the last year.

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For the year ahead I have some big plans in the works for using the second-hand economy to both buy and sell. I’m planning to sell off some things that I no longer need – it is always great to do a big spring clean and I’ve already identified all of the things that are just taking up space and not serving a purpose. As I’m always keeping my eyes open for new and unique finds I’m also looking forward to buying some new pieces for my home – including prepping my balcony for the summer. It is currently set up just for my son Jack and I to relax and hang out but I would love to make it a bit more functional to have company over to enjoy the summer days and nights. Kijiji is fantastic for finding furniture so it is no surprise that it is one of the top five categories in the second-hand economy, so I’m confident I’ll find the perfect pieces to make our balcony summer ready.

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There are so many ways to participate in the second-hand economy and I’m only really just scratching the surface of what Kijiji can do for you in terms of generating cash flow, protecting the environment, finding amazing treasures and giving new life to old items. I am looking forward to sharing more ways to utilize the second-hand economy and join 85% of Canadians who are already doing it.

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This post is in partnership with Kijiji Canada however all words and opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting such an amazing brand like Kijiji here on The Archives of Cool.

Shaw BlueSky TV with Netflix

Sponsored post by Shaw BlueSky TV.
If you know me personally, you know that I love TV and movies – a lot. I am that person who starts a show and HAS to finish it. I watch The Office seasonally, meaning I watch the entirety of all ten seasons in spring, summer, fall and winter. I am a sucker for Hallmark movies – my mom and I binge on all of the Christmas specials every year.

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Full disclosure: despite my innate love of all things technicolor, I cancelled cable almost two years ago when I made some deep cuts in my monthly budget and (almost) never looked back. I lived off of Netflix and YouTube, so it wasn’t like I was some purist “I don’t have a TV” type. I was still consuming television as we’ve come to know it. Just not in the same way. Fast forward to having the opportunity to try out and review Shaw BlueSky TV with Netflix. I had heard amazing things about the product but when they told me that I could watch just about any show or movie on demand, my jaw dropped.

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I was in, of course. I started making mental lists of all the shows I had been missing during my cable-free stint. All of the movies that never made it to Netflix but you could easily find on the movie networks.

Lucky for me, my installation occurred just before the Christmas holidays, meaning I had some time, some unadulterated, stress-free television time to indulge in. One of the features of BlueSky TV that immediately hooked me was the fact that Netflix is completely integrated into the programming. Meaning you don’t have to switch out of your cable to connect to Netflix anymore – you can sign in within BlueSky TV and flip back and forth between Netflix content and cable programming to your heart’s content.

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My all-time favourite feature of BlueSky TV, which will help you flip back and forth with ease, is the voice-activated remote. No more searching for shows by using the up and down arrows – now you can simply say the show you are looking for into the remote and it will display all results on the screen. I use it frequently to go to my recordings and check out what shows I’ve recorded or have coming up this week. You can even say actors’ names into the remote and BlueSky TV will come up with a listing of every single film or TV show that is available currently – such a great tool if you have your favourites.

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I also use the remote to throw on a fun kid’s show for my three-year- old son in a hurry. When he’s having a tough day, nothing cures his mood faster than putting Little Baby Bum on Netflix for him. Something about those saccharine lullabies combined with big-eyed animated characters just works – I won’t question it.

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For myself however, I’ve been blown away and overwhelmed with the sheer expanse of the media library at my fingertips. The first thing I did was get caught up on The Great Canadian Baking Show on CBC. Thanks to Shaw On Demand, all of the episodes I had previously missed were available for me to watch at my leisure. If you haven’t watched it or its predecessor, The Great British Baking Show, I highly recommend you catch up. The Canadian version is co-hosted by one of my favourite Canadian actors, Dan Levy, as well as Julia Chan and features some seriously amazing desserts created by talented bakers from across the country. It is a mouthwatering show to say the least.

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Speaking of Dan Levy, Season 4 of his show Schitt’s Creek just debuted. This hilarious show features a wild cast of characters, with the previously very wealthy but now impoverished Rose Family at the heart of it. The show showcases Levy’s talents as well as his father, Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara and Annie Murphy. The first three seasons are also available on Netflix so you can catch up in no time.

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Another surprising thing about BlueSky TV is that it encompasses a lot of HBO and CraveTV content, meaning I could catch up on shows I had never had an opportunity to watch before. Broad City is one such show, an HBO comedy production featuring two lovable-if- slightly- problematic misfits, Ilana and Abbi, whose main ambitions include getting high, coming up with ridiculously implausible schemes and perpetually trying to get by as modern women in NYC.

Lastly, BlueSky TV is a great way to discover new shows or new-to- you shows. I recently got into Big Little Lies, as it was trending on Twitter because of the Golden Globe Awards. When you say “What’s on now” to your remote, it will show a list of a programs that are on right that minute but also show what is currently trending as a topic on Twitter. Never will I be left behind again! I’m excited to continue to dig into this new form of television technology – the addition of voice control and a multi-platform experience is truly revolutionizing how I watch TV. Can’t wait to see what’s next…


This post is sponsored by Shaw. All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep this blog going with fresh content.