shopping

AN ERA OF NOSTALGIA: LAURA ASHLEY

Growing up in the ’90s meant a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Fashion, music, pop culture all rapidly jumped from one hot topic to the next; present day excluded it was the first decade where all of styles and ideas of preceding muddled to create an odd sort of cultural melting pot. Style of the 90s had an emphasis on nostalgia; you could channel anything and anyone from any time.

There was nothing precisely distinct about the 1990s but you kinda know it when you see it, especially now as we are seeing a resurgence of 90s fashion appearing and feverish feelings of nostalgia are ultra-present.

For me, British textile designer Laura Ashley epitomized nostalgia for my ’90s childhood. As a child who perpetually looked to other eras for comfort, Laura Ashley padded my overly active imagination with daydreams of frolicking through flowered meadows at dusk, enjoying a leisurely picnic under an apple tree, and dipping my toes into a cool stream while reciting poetry to no one in particular. My already romance-addled mind was absolutely intoxicated by Sunday night episodes of Road to Avonlea, thumbing through the American Girl doll catalogue (picking out my dream pair of high-button black boots)and visits to our local Laura Ashley shop.

I remember spending hours with my Mom in the Laura Ashley boutique, considering toile after toile, trying on so many beautiful dresses, straw hats and imagining my fantasy life in which I’d wear them all the time. My Mom, who in modern day would be the ultimate Pinterest/Instagram Mom, captured so many great photographs of myself living out my fantasy in our lush plant-filled front yard. In my opinion, some of the photos sum up my inner self more than any other photo taken since. Also an avid sewer, my Mom purchased their fabrics and made my room so beautiful and magical; totally fit for someone who was able to escape into literature (Laura Ingalls anyone?) for hours and hours, while of course, wearing a frock.

When I saw that Laura Ashley had collaborated with Urban Outfitters on an Exclusive Collection, my head was instantaneously filled with near-psychedelic images toile and floral. I asked my mom to dig up some of the photos she had taken of me in all of my floral-dress glory. I find it awe-inspiring and confusing how things have come full circle; even more mind-boggling is the fact that I’ve even considered buying one of the UO capsule pieces.

UO even has removable wallpaper and bed linens in their signature perriwinkle toile.

Whether you wore Laura Ashley in your youth, or are considering adding the soft, dream-like pieces from UO to your current wardrobe, one thing definitely remains the same: fashion is a beautiful escape from real life.

Covetable Christmas Gift-Giving with Big Savings

**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!

Telescope

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.

Digital Camera

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.

Instant Camera and Film

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.

Microscope Kit

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!

SHOP SMALL THIS HOLIDAY

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

Neutral Woven Rainbow Wall Hanging by RhinoRepublic

This wall hanging is perfect for a nursery or for someone who loves a bit of playful design mixed into their home decor.

Simple Ribbed Baby Bonnet by sweetKM

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.

Christmas Cracker Card by TriangleTrees

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. 

War is Over! print by ArteHausPrints

Start off the year on a peaceful note by gifting this iconic poster.

Favourite Things Pencils by ACDShop

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. 

Ooops Print by coniLab

Typography enthusiasts will love this bold and fun Ooops print.

Atari print tea towel by Leah Duncan

Screenprinted tea towels are always a great host gift – just wrap it around your favourite bottle of wine for a cute little treat.

Colors II 2019 Calendar by DOZI

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!

EVERYTHING I WANT BUT DON’T NEED

Like many Canadians, I’ve long been a disciple of the Chapters Indigo world. As much as I love shopping from independent book stores, those big bookstores also have a place in my heart; a place where you can wander for hours, finding new and interesting things. Over the years, I’ve also really fell in love with their lifestyle product lineup. I’ve purchased things you’d never have guessed were from a “bookstore”. I really appreciate how they keep up on trends and give Canadians a wide variety of beautiful things to fill their lives with – alongside the most important part: literature.

Anyways, I was updating my book wish list the other day and realized that they have a FULL BLOWN home section now. It appears that most items are available only online but I’m seriously so impressed with the selection. The colours, the materials, the styles; well done Indigo! I’ve pulled together a selection of my favourite pieces I’ve come across so far – some serious gems and a lot are currently on sale. Bonus.

A perfect example of the items you’ll find is this adorable little compact toaster oven! Who wouldn’t want to tell everyone they bought this from a bookseller?!

Chapters Indigo has proven to me that design is IMPORTANT to them – this Cloudnola Flipping Out Clock is pure loveliness and would look great perched on a bedside or desk.

This Wild & Wolf English Mustard desk lamp is the perfect accent colour for any workspace. I love the matte powder-coated finish and the minimalist design.

I want a nice big stack of these adorable floor pillows for my living room. They kind of remind me of elementary school – something you’d grab for story time. Except now I picture my pals coming over for wine and snacks and pulling one of these up for some good chats.

This Neon Eye Wall Light is such a good price point – and adds a bit of mystical fun to any space. Ideal for the up and coming tarot card reader to put in their front window.

Beautiful chairs from….a bookstore. I’m obsessed. The Kvell Kaptain Chair is gorgeous and at $170.00 it will give you the designer look for your space without an outrageous price tag!

Love this Monbento Square Bento Box! I picture packing Jack and I delicious things for a picnic in the park – while simultaneously looking so stylish and effortless. Haha!

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!    

INSTANT TEEN WITCH KIT

It is a severe understatement when I share that I am beyond thrilled for the new Netflix show, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. This modern day take on Sabrina the Teenage Witch is produced by the same people behind Riverdale and stars my fave teenager Kiernan Shipka – so you know it is going to dark, moody and glorious – and probably a bit kitschy. It comes out on October 26th and I cannot wait.

Lately, I’ve been spotting the teen witch vibe all over the place – it is totally in the air, riding a broomstick and looking cute. Here are some great finds from Etsy! Just an FYI, this post contains affiliate links.

know your power pin from glitterpunkjewellery

witch hand patch from lunalotusuk

black cat backpack from theshedoutlet

bulgarian rose lip balm from anitako organics

spirit speak tarot deck from spiritspeak

moon child candle from velvetcocos

gold moon bowl from liquoricemoonstudios

vintage candle holder by heartofthehunter

lunar calendar from durido

little witch zine from spiritspeak

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.

ETSY 13TH BIRTHDAY SALES EVENT!

Did you hear the news? Etsy is officially a teenager – an adorable quirky teenager that sews their own clothes and collects vintage pieces and takes pottery classes on the weekends. It is amazing to think about how much the internet, the maker world and online shopping have changed in the past thirteen years but it is nothing short of inspiring. To celebrate the big 1-3, they are having an amazing sale from today until Friday June 22. Select items are on sale for 10-60% off. Um, hello – YES!

I hunted through the thousands of items on sale and found 13 of my favourites! There are some real gems on there (yes, like, actual gems/crystals on sale!) so get browsing! Just an FYI, this post includes affiliate links.

pink incense holder from Nightshift Ceramics

splatter ashtray from BIANCA and SONS

blush espresso mugs from SINDstudio

vintage bath tray from SharonMfortheHome

underneath the stars tea towel from LeahDuncan

the magic is in you wall hanging from SecretHolidayCo

azilal cushion from depeapa

Blush Leather Backpack from MeitaLev

rose quartz pendant from adela rose

Natural Facial Spray from HVER

moon phases print set from 324art

minimalist tarot set from DarkSynevyrStore

jasmine & vetiver candle from brand & iron

ARTIST TEE +COLLAB SERIES AT DRAKE GENERAL STORE

There was a long period of time when I decided to eschew the beloved graphic tee. I think it was post-high school when I perhaps overdid it on the cute and witty t-shirts that were so popular in the early 2000s – picture a Threadless addiction x 1000.

Now fifteen years later (*cries*) I think I’m finally coming back round to the idea of a bold yet simple design to add an otherwise boring outfit.  I instantly fell in love with The Drake General Store’s +collaboration series, where they partnered with Toronto-based creators to design an exclusive, limited edition capsule collection. The tees are all made using ethically sourced, fine twisted combed cotton that is knit, cut and sewn in Toronto – which makes this crush even harder.

talulah_fontaine_tee

This sweet and springy design is by artist and illustrator Tallulah Fontaine and features her beautiful, minimal style on the Shared Women’s Relaxed Tee ($55.00). I can’t say no to anything blush and floral so this is an instant winner in my book.

josh_pong_tee

This beautiful piece is by graphic designer Joshua Pong, echoes the bold pop images and logos that inspire his work. The design is embroidered on a Shared Men’s Relaxed Tee ($55.00).

guyx3_tee

And lastly this tee ($55.00) by designer GuyGuyGuy is inspired by a spread found in a vintage spelling book – tho I think optometrist and glasses-loving folks would also be appreciative of this tee.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Drake General Store, Shared returns with a capsule collection that celebrates authenticity, quality craftsmanship, art and design. Originally established in 2004 with a line of ethically sourced, Canadian-made modern classics and extraordinary essentials that are fit for everyone. All of the tees are proudly made in Toronto.

SAKS FIFTH AVENUE NOW OPEN

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Fashion lovers in Calgary will be thrilled to know that Saks Fifth Avenue has officially opened its doors at Chinook Centre. It is the third location to open in Canada and I couldn’t be happier to welcome this luxury retailer to the spot that once housed Target and Zellers. Talk about a transformation!

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Last night I attended a pre-opening tour with Saks Calgary Vice President & Store Manager Lydia Seifert and was blown away by how glamourous the store is. There is truly nothing quite like it here in Calgary and it is so exciting to have such an established brand open its doors right here at Chinook Centre. I attended the opening gala along with some of my lovely friends, fellow media and bloggers and I think everyone was really impressed with the presentation. The people-watching was fabulous; it felt like every fashionista in Calgary was in attendance and everyone REALLY showed up with their own personal style. There was live music, performance artists (more about that later), an artist drawing ten-minute fashion portraits and of course all of the shopping that your heart can handle.

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The 115,000-square-foot location houses women’s and men’s categories, including exclusive brands. One thing I really love about the space is all of the locally sourced artwork that they curated for opening night. Every single detail is flawless; they truly thought of everything. The beauty and fragrance department alone is sprawling with so many exquisite scents, candles and potions – I could spend all day perusing the amazing brands available.

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Beyond the endless shopping experiences throughout the two-floor store, there are many personalized services at Saks that really set them apart from their potential competitors. One being the private shopping suites, which are absolutely stunning and I not-so-secretly wish were my own personal living rooms. Serving up champagne while you shop and try things on, their amazing staff will help you find everything your heart desires.They also have styling services that involve custom creations and in-house alterations, as well as made-to-measure and tailoring experts on hand. If you are a beauty nut like I am, you will love the beauty experiences that they offer. Makeovers, skincare analysis, on-the-go facials and personalized fragrance consultations are all part of the experience. On top of that you can indulge in a facial or massage in one of their private beauty treatment rooms – seriously the dream! There is also plans for an in-store salon opening soon.

If you’re looking for a bite to eat while you are out shopping, look no further than Buffo at Saks which will be opening soon. Open seven days away, this rustic Italian restaurant is great spot to enjoy dinner or a glass of prosecco.

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One of the really special elements of the night’s festivities was an live art performance by Brooklyn’s The Bumbys where they provided guests with a typed note (on actual typewriters!) giving a Fair and Honest Appraisal of Your Appearance. I was thrilled to participate in this and I loved the note they wrote for me. I’m going to frame it!DSC02804-2 DSC02801-2

All in all, I can’t wait to head back to Saks soon and do some shopping!