SHOPPING WEEKENDERS

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The thrill of the hunt is what cross-border shopping is all about. There’s nothing better than coming home duty-free with some serious goods that you either can’t track down in Canada or are available at a better price in the U.S. I love crossing the Canadian border to hit the shops for both well-known American brands as well as those hidden gems that you can only find in small towns. I remember the first time I drove down to Kalispell, Montana to check out what they have to offer and was blown away by the experience.

I’m sharing lots of great spots to stay and shop in Seattle/Bellingham, Kalispell/Whitefish and Coeur d’Alene over on Trivago. You can read more about my cross-border shopping tips over here. With spring right around the corner it is the perfect time to book your first road trip of the year.

REAL LIFE SUPERHEROES IN THE SKY

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Life can change in an instant and services like STARS Air Ambulance are the ones who can truly STARS provides critical care in life and death situations.

In the early 1980s, studies showed about half the deaths due to trauma could have been prevented if patients had received critical care sooner. When Dr. Greg Powell lost a young mother, who was being transported from a rural area to Calgary by ground ambulance, he decided something had to change.

That’s when he founded STARS. STARS first launched off the ground in 1985, the year I was born, so as a born-and-raised Calgarian, I know how important and essential it is to keep this life-saving service available in our province. Every time my son Jack and I see STARS in the air, we do a cheer for the real life superheroes on their way to help save someone in need. STARS air ambulance is now an integrated part of the Western Canadian emergency response system operating six bases in communities across Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

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For family day, we received a truly special gift from STARS which included this beautiful wooden STARS helicopter that Jack absolutely treasures as well as a note from one of STARS’ patients. Read the note here – it was really heart-wrenching to read because it puts these tragedies in perspective – this is a real child who endured a traumatic, life-changing experience but was saved thanks to the medical professionals that were able to reach them in time.

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Dear friend of STARS,

Being in a car crash is scary. When I was six, I was thrown through the windshield of our family car onto the highway, close to my home. I was on my way to school.

My body was very sore and I had a really bad brain injury. My family was very worried about me. Our house was far away from a big city, so the paramedics knew to call STARS so the helicopter could carry me to the hospital quickly.  I was in a coma for three weeks and more than 400 people came to visit me.

Today, I am so much better. I go to school where my favourite subject is math. My teachers and my grandmother help me do my school work. I also play lacrosse and bug my brother a lot.

Even though being in a helicopter was cool, I don’t think I want it to happen again. I know that it took a whole bunch of people to save my life and that makes me happy.

  • Casey

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They are currently in the midst of their big fundraising campaign; here in Alberta, a significant amount of STARS’s operating budget comes from charitable sources, including the lottery

Fundraiser. If you feel so inclined, I’d love for you to check out their lottery tickets. This lottery fundraiser is crucial to the ongoing operation of STARS and tickets start at only $25. There are some seriously incredible prizes up for grabs including cars, vacations and more. The ticket sales deadline is March 22. Get your tickets here!

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In the meantime, keep an eye out for those real life superheros up in the sky and give them a wave! If you’ve been touched by STARS in some way be sure to share your story on social media using the hashtag #ISupportSTARS.

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

IKEA SUMMER 2018

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Anyone else craving warm summer air as though their life depended on it? I’ve just been daydreaming about long summer days when Jack and I can bring his little bike out to the parks and enjoy some some picnics in the sun. IKEA just launched their Summer 2018 lookbook that debuts on March 1st and it is definitely inspiring me to start planning out our summer. Their tagline is “this summer, there is no place like home” and I couldn’t agree with that more.

Anyways, the new collection is absolutely dreamy (those textiles!) and I’m excited to explore the products very soon when I pop by the Calgary store.

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SOMMAR 2018 mug $3.99

Dark grey SOMMAR 2018 bowl $1.99

Dark grey SOMMAR 2018 mug $1.99

Dark grey STOCKHOLM 2017 carafe $12.99

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SOLVINDEN LED pendant lamp, outdoor $49.99/each

Orange/blue SOMMAR 2018 tea towe l $4.99/2 pack

Beige/striped SOMMAR 2018 tablec loth $24.99/each

Beige/striped Turquoise/pat terned SOMMAR 2018 cushion cover $5.99PH148374

SOMMAR 2018 tray $9.99

Beige INTAGANDE glass $1.99/each

Light pink SOMMAR 2018 tea towe l $4.99/2 pack

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SOMMAR 2018 beach towel $14.99

Multicoloured, light SOMMAR 2018 cushion cover $5.99

Multicolour/striped SOMMAR 2018 picnic hamper $19.99

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SOLVINDEN LED light ing chain with 12 bulbs, outdoor $39.99/each

Multicolour SOMMAR 2018 cushion cover $5.99/each

Multicolour/striped Pink SOMMAR 2018 full/queen duvet cover and pillowcase $29.99 PH148394

SOMMAR 2018 mug $1.99 27cl. Pink SOMMAR 2018 mug $3.99

Pink VARDAGEN teapot $9.99

Dark grey VIGDIS cushion cover $9.99/each

Dark grey Beige AINA curtains, 1 pair $69.99 PH148397

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!

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.

HAPPY 2018!

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Happy 2018! Hope you are all off to a great start into this new year – refreshed with hope, creativity and inspiration. I am definitely very excited about the year ahead – I’m planning on pushing myself in exciting new directions and following through on some projects I’ve been dreaming about it for so long.

Thought I would share a new article I recently wrote for Trivago. If you are planning on heading to the mountains you’ll definitely want to check out these destinations – perfect for skiers and non-skiers alike. The mountains are so stunning this time of year – hope you all get a chance to stare up in wonder at those beautiful hills. Have an amazing January!

PLAYFUL + COLOURFUL FINDS COMING TO IKEA IN FEB 2018

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BURVIK side table $39.99/each Red White Black

Coming this February – IKEA is introducing a range of products that make the everyday more playful. The launch comes in a modern style that’s about colour-blocking, simplicity in shapes and experimenting with materials. I am SO excited about these new products – I can’t wait to see them in person. I will definitely be picking up a few additions for our home. Highlights include two side tables and pendant lamps in attractive, modern designs. Parents can delight in a new baby textile collection and children’s mattresses, all developed with child safety as top priority. For the bathroom there’s a range of water and energy-saving showers. Other highlights include a range of clocks with new functions and products for tea and coffee times — making the everyday a little bit more fun and tasty!

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HÄLLAN series. Cabinet $50/each W45°—D47, H50cm. Cabinet $60/each W45°—D47, H75cm.

Leg $9/each W45°—D2, H28cm.

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GRANBODA nest of tables, set of 3 $59.99

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HÄLLAN cabinet $60 W45°—D47, H75cm.

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KLÄMMIG series. Towel with hood $7.99 Turquoise/red

Duvet cover and pillowcase for cot $11.99 Red $11.99 Turquoise

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KLÄMMIG towel with hood $11.99 Grey/yellow

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JOHANNE cushion cover $14.99

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KLÄMMIG duvet cover and pillowcase for cot $11.99 Turquoise

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BROGRUND shower set with thermostatic mixer $39.99

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BILLSJÖN hand towel $2.99/each BILLSJÖN bath towel $7.99

LASJÖN shower curtain $9.99

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PANORERA wall clock $24.99 Ø24cm. clock $17.99 Ø15cm. STOLPA wall clock $29.99 Ø32cm.

clock $17.99/each Ø14cm. SNIFFA clock $12.99 Ø9cm.

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VALLAMOSSE riser rail handshower $29.99

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TORRILD rug, low pile $49.99

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BROGRUND 1-spray showerhead + arm chrome-plated $39.99

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KRUX series. Wall lamp $39.99 Work lamp $39.99

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ÖVERST 3-piece metal coffee

filter coffee set $12.99

Stainless steel.

Designer: Nike Karlsson.

TRÅDLÖS honey drip

and tea measure $3.99

Metallized stainless steel.

Designer: N Karlsson/M Axelsson.

SEEING MORE POSSIBILITIES

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I have never taken my eyesight for granted. It feeds my creativity; it is my main source of productivity as a writer, blogger and photographer; I rely on my eyesight constantly as I seek out the best in decor, design and lifestyle trends for my work. As someone who works in a visual field, I couldn’t imagine not maintaining my eye health.

I spend hours behind the camera every month shooting interiors and products – and then more hours editing the photos in Photoshop on my computer. Once the photos are edited, then I am writing the articles or blog posts to accompany them.

Social media also plays a huge role in my job – I not only use it for promoting my work but also for connecting with like-minded individuals. Instagram in particular is where I find a lot of amazing designers, makers and interesting homes to feature in my columns. Without my “good eye” I wouldn’t be able to seek out these incredible sources of inspiration for my articles.

All of this being said, spending a lot of time in front of screens means I need to also spend a lot of time giving my eyes the rest they need. It is so important to take breaks while working – staring at a screen for sometimes four hours with no break can lead to bad headaches, dry eyes and even blurry vision.

Earlier this year I partnered with the Canadian Ophthalmological Society to share their See The Possibilities campaign and I’ve learned SO MUCH about the role of an ophthalmologist and the impact they have on lives of their patients. Most people don’t know the difference between an ophthalmologist, an optometrist and an optician. Luckily, they’ve given me the full scoop so I can share it with you:

If you don’t know the difference, ophthalmologists specialize in eye and vision care and are the only eye care professionals who are medical doctors. They are trained to perform eye exams, diagnose and treat eye diseases, prescribe medications and perform surgery. They also write prescriptions for eyeglasses and contact lenses. While other eye health professionals can correct vision, only an ophthalmologist can restore it. Ophthalmologists are essentially the medical “quarterbacks” of the eye health team. They work collaboratively with the other eye O’s (opticians and optometrists) and other medical specialists to ensure optimal patient treatment and care.

Optometrists examine eyes for both vision and health problems and correct refractive errors by prescribing eyeglasses and contact lenses. An optometrist receives a doctor of optometry (OD), but is not a medical doctor.

Opticians use prescriptions written by an optometrist or an ophthalmologist to fit and sell eyeglasses and other eyewear.

As part of the See The Possibilities campaign, there are a number of amazing patient stories that share the transformative effect ophthalmologists have on the lives of their patients as well as the lives of their loved ones and family members. It’s so inspiring to see and also such a great reminder to remember how important it is to maintain your vision health. I know I will continue to put an emphasis on my own eye health and also on my son’s eye health. With a family full of people who wear glasses and contacts, I can only expect one day he might have to as well.

 

To learn more and watch inspiring patient videos visit seethepossibilities.ca

 

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This post is in partnership with the Canadian Ophthalmological Society, Eye Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep this blog full of fresh content.

DONNA MAC: THE BELTLINE’S NEWEST EATERIE

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I am always thrilled to hear about new restaurants opening up in the Beltline, my neighbourhood and I was even more excited to find out that Donna Mac was one of the newest spots to open it’s doors before Christmas. This beautiful space was designed by my friend Sarah Ward of Sarah Ward Interiors. The room is stunning – she did a phenomenal job creating a warm, welcoming space with many exquisite details like the lighting, the yellow door with the port-hole and the seamless flow throughout the space.

➔ Donna Mac is the brainchild of industry veterans Jeff Jamieson, Jesse Willis, Amy Turner and Justin Longpre. Located at the base of the Versus building on 10th avenue, the Beltline restaurant is a neighbourhood hub with approachable favourites. Named after Turner’s grandmother, the all-encompassing hospitality concept echoes values of resourcefulness, community, and humility. 

I had the opportunity to try out their gluten-free dishes at a recent media dinner and was absolutely blown away by the incredible flavours, originality and impeccable service. Their cocktail list is pretty fantastic too.

If you love a dining experience that evokes the spirit of home cooked dinners, has a friendly inviting atmosphere and fills you up with comforting and inventive dishes, you’ll definitely want to pop into Donna Mac as soon as possible. ♥♥♥

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Donna Mac will be open every day from 11:00am to 11:00pm, including weekend brunch.

For more information and to make a reservation please visit: https://www.donnamacyyc.ca/ Follow Donna Mac on Twitter twitter.com/donnamacyyc, and Instagram instagram.com/donnamacyyc/

PINK + GOLD HOLIDAY TABLESCAPE STYLING

Tis the season to be sparkly! I’m not sure about you but I am so ready for the Christmas holidays to begin – I’ve had my Christmas tree up since October (I bought a new one this year and wanted to make sure it was going to look good, okay?!) and I’m feeling very festive and excited to settle in for some holiday relaxation. I’ve been dreaming up some beautiful table stylings for the holidays and thought I would finally make it a reality. I love all things gold & pink and decided to forego the traditional red & green decor of Christmas for something a bit more glam and feminine.

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I am a big fan of shopping the secondhand market (thrifting, consignment and Kijiji typically) so when Value Village reached out to me to talk about holiday decor, I got super inspired to go out hunting for some special additions to my pink & gold holiday tablescape. Scroll down to the bottom for a few of my favourite tips on thrifting for decor.

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I set out to do my shopping with a few things in mind. I wanted to find some unique bowls, an ice bucket and some elegant decor touches for my holiday tablescape. I must have been very lucky that day because I found more than a few gems in my hunt.

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I absolutely love these gold poinsetta picks that I found. I clustered them around my candlestick display and also tucked them into the green garland I had purchased from IKEA. They are super versatile (could use them on the Christmas tree next year or as part of a napkin holder) and they add a bit of holiday shine to the tabletop.

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Placecards are always an elegant touch to the table. These sweet Christmas tree cards are actually gift tags I found in my Christmas wrapping stash.

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This sweet little golden sleigh was one of my favourite finds at Value Village that day. It is so gorgeous on its own but I filled it with some of my favourite glitzy Christmas balls for a bit more of that holiday glam essence.

 

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The brass candlestick trio is another one of my favourite finds. Also, I love collecting candles in unique colours from the thrift store. They are very inexpensive (4 for $1.00 in this case) and you can put together some really beautiful arrangements with your finds.

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Another tip I can offer is to look at the silverware – it is definitely an overlooked section of the thrift shop as most people don’t want used cutlery but you can find some really beautiful, quality pieces if you look. I love these silver tongs I found!

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Another amazing find from the day, I have been searching for the perfect ice bucket FOR YEARS. I was so thrilled to find this gold and clear plastic ice bucket in such perfect condition. It works great – kept ice frozen over night – and it matches so much of my decor.

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I love this beautiful glass bowl I found; there is something so elegant and delicate about it. Plus, the colour is perfect for my collection.

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Another special glass find, these candlestick holders are gorgeous additions to my candle collection.

 

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Top 4 Tips for Thrifting for Decor

  1. Set a budget. The whole point of shopping secondhand is to save a couple of bucks so you don’t want to go over budget when you are hitting up the thrift stores. The more you thrift the better you’ll know what is a good price and what is not. If something is a splurge but is on your list, go for it but don’t go over budget just for the sake of finding something.
  2. Don’t get distracted by things you don’t need. Sometimes the thrift store can offer you a plethora of amazing finds on one day and it can be so easy to get distracted and start filling your cart with all sorts of treasures. Stick to what you are looking for and only get distracted if it is something you’ll never be able to find again.
  3. Come with a list. Though I do love to go thrifting just for the heck of it if I don’t have a list I end up forgetting the things I need (picture frames, candlesticks, ceramics – usually!) or end up wandering around aimless, buying things I don’t need.
  4. Take chances. Decorating is supposed to feel good and exciting and if you stick with the same old basics you’ll never fully explore your own creativity. Take some risks and try out something new and beautiful.

This post is not sponsored however I was gifted $50 store credit to Value Village to find these holiday decor items. All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep this blog full of fresh content.