Here are some favourite vintage Christmas decor items I found on Etsy.

Letterpress blocks from Monki Vintage

Bottlebrush Christmas trees from Haven Vintage

Rocking horse from Recycle Buy Vintage

Sock stretchers from Little Byrd Vintage

Needlepoint stocking from Sugarpush Vintage (my own shop)

When decorating our home, I try to incorporate as much vintage stuff as I can because nothing adds more character and style like vintage does. And Christmas is an excellent time to mix in some vintage-y goodness with your contemporary decorations. I don't go nuts and deck out the entire place as if Santa and his reindeer came in and exploded. There's usually an Advent wreath, an ornament tree, and this year I added the Christmas felt garland I sell in the LAX TO YVR shop. A vintage item or two are, of course, thrown in to the whole shebang like these.

vintage egg ornaments

Typography is still very hot in home decor. Letterpress types are a fantastic way to add some holiday flair. I have a set of Scrabble tiles that I might use to say something appropriate for the season.

Happy decorating!



bag by bookhou

Although Bookhou is an Etsy shop based in Toronto, I actually made my purchases at the CircleCraft Christmas market a couple weekends ago. I'd been eyeing the stuff at Bookhou, especially the bag above, for a while now. And when I found out that Arounna was going to sell her wares in Vancouver, I went to CircleCraft without hesitation. I wanted to see the products in person before buying.

I love everything about Bookhou, especially their products that feature geometric patterns. I also couldn't resist getting this 2012 tea towel calendar. It's hanging in our dining nook, which had a big empty wall until now.

2012 calendar by bookhou
2012 calendar by bookhou

Seriously, buying handmade is the best. I'm always happy to buy things that are well designed, and it feels good to support the creative efforts of a real person(s) behind the product.

While on the topic of buying stuff from Etsy, my own Etsy shop, is having a sale this Thanksgiving weekend. Because we live in Canada where we already celebrated Thanksgiving in October, it feels odd that today's Thanksgiving and we're not doing anything to celebrate. Oh, well. Every year I mean to do a Thanksgiving dinner but things get in the way (this year is Photoshop class). That's expat living for you.

I'll also be offering special discounts on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. So be sure to check the shop on those days for all the details!




I love going down to Bellingham, WA whenever I get a chance. At first I went down only to go shopping at stores I miss like Trader Joe's and Target. But as I got to explore the town a bit, I have totally fallen in love with it. The Dude and I went this past Saturday, and I took pictures of some of my favourite spots.

We first went to Fairhaven, a cute little part of Bellingham that's right by the water. It's a bit of a tourist-trap but you can't help but enjoy its quaint old-timey atmosphere. We had lunch at Avenue Bread where they serve excellent sandwiches! Then we browsed through a great independent bookstore called Village Books.

fairhaven collage 2
Fairhaven collage

Then we went to Downtown Bellingham. It has a really cool vibe for such a small downtown. My favourite store to visit is Digs. They specialize in modern, vintage, and cool home decor. They carry Dwell Studio bed linens and Gus furniture! Need I say more?


A visit to Bellingham is never complete without getting a little something something from Rocket Donuts!


Violin shop storefront window.


Other cool downtown businesses worth checking out are Northwest Yarns, Mallard's (for super good ice cream), and Taco Lobo (for yummy Mexican food).



I've included some Christmas-themed home decor items in the LAX TO YVR shop. One is a green and hot pink felt garland. The others are JOY and NOEL painted in green and red on burlap. Also, new in the shop are $25 and $50 gift certificates.

Can't believe Christmas is next month! Have you started decorating your home yet? I start decorating on the first Sunday of Advent, which this year falls on November 27. I usually begin by making an Advent wreath, but I think this year I'll be skipping it because the fresh pine and leaves I typically use tend to aggravate my allergies sadly. Maybe I can make one by using leaves made out of felt fabric or lots of tinsel! Both are quite flammable though, which perhaps is a bad idea for an Advent wreath...

I've already gone to one Christmas craft fair this year. I'll be attending the Got Craft? holiday craft fair on December 4. Looking forward to seeing some Etsy sellers there!

Finally, stay tuned for an announcement regarding the upcoming U.S. Thanksgiving weekend sale in the LAX TO YVR shop! If you'd like to stay up-to-date on shop sales, then sign up for the newsletter.



griffith park observatory "entrance"

This blog post will be relevant to those who deal with skin problems like I do.

I just wanted to share with you about my struggle with acne. It frustrates me to no end that even in my early 30's I still have to deal with pimples, zits, whiteheads, what have you. Acne has been the thorn on my side (or face, I suppose) since adolescence. I've tried everything: topical creams, special cleansers, antibiotics, vitamins, and birth control pills. Sometimes they're effective initially but then things go back to their usual state of acne pandemonium.

But a couple months ago I accidentally discovered a regimen that's helped my skin tremendously. The best thing about it is that it doesn't cost anything! In September, I underwent laser eye surgery and so I couldn't let water near my face for a week in order to protect my eyes. That's right, I had to go a whole week without washing my face! I was really worried that this would cause a breakout of apocalyptic proportions. Plus, I couldn't wear makeup. So I went around with a bare face, and the only thing I could do to clean my face was wash it with a damp, warm washcloth at night. In the morning I didn't bother cleaning my face. To my surprise, not using soap on my face and not wearing makeup improved the condition of my skin very visibly. I think gently scrubbing my face with a warm, damp washcloth every night would exfoliate the dead skin cells, which prevented my pores from getting clogged.

So that's what works for me! I'm not saying this is the solution to everyone's skin problems. But I think face wash in general, even a gentle one like the one I use, dries out your face and causes acne. I've read that dry skin causes your oil glands to overproduce to compensate for the dryness. Oil is good for your face, but too much of it can clog your pores, causing acne. Actually, I read a tip years ago from a girl who had dealt with acne suggesting that in the morning you should just wash your face with water and that's it, since your face is already clean from the previous night's washing. I implemented this tip earlier this year and saw some improvements. But avoiding soap altogether has been the best solution for my skin problems.

The downside is that I don't wear make-up as often as I used to since if I do put it on then that means I have to wash it off with a facial cleanser. Sadly, I look really haggard without make-up. But it's so nice not to have pimples and whiteheads dotting my face. I do have occasional breakouts of course depending on my menstrual cycle, but I've seen a 90% reduction. Seriously.

So this is my simple skin care regimen for reducing acne breakouts: 
:: Avoid wearing make-up or wear it as infrequently as possible
:: At night, gently scrub your face with a warm, damp washcloth (avoid soap or any facial cleanser!); follow with toner and moisturizer
:: In the morning, either don't wash your face or only use water



new office

This fall the Dude and I have been busy doing a major overhaul of our apartment. I painted the walls in our bedroom and living room. Furniture was re-arranged, purged, and acquired. Now the part of the apartment that looks the most different is my office.

My office has gone through a few reincarnations. It takes up a portion of the living room, and it's been placed in different corners of it throughout the last couple years. This and this is what it looked like just before. Now the office is completely furnished with IKEA products. I've accepted that when it comes to office furniture and accessories, IKEA is really one of the best options. Their office furniture is so modular that you can easily create a custom office for yourself. I'm quite pleased with the results.

It's definitely a luxury to have extra work space finally! And to have all my craft supplies in one place instead of in five different places around the apartment. 

new office

I love having the rubber plant at the corner of the desk. It's nice to have plants near me while I work.

plants in new office

stuff in new office

task lamp in new office

The red task lamp, which I found at an estate sale, is one of the very few non-IKEA furnishings.

new office

vintage toolboxes - new office

My vintage toolbox collection.

stuff in new office

I read one chapter from Don't Sweat The Small Stuff every day before I start work. It provides plenty of good advice, reminders, and much needed perspective. Mountie coaster - I used to have a thing for Mounties.

The plumbing pipe desk we built is now the dining table. It's replaced the last piece of furniture from the Dude's bachelor days - a kitchen table that got sold on craigslist. He pretends to be indignant about my systematically purging his furniture, but deep down he knows that good decor means happy wife means he's better off.

Isn't it ironic now that finally when the apartment is set up in the optimal way that works for us and is starting to look decent, we've decided it's time to move?



ACE hotel sign

Although we stayed at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs just a few weeks ago, already it feels like a distant dream. It was nice to be back in the desert. I LOVE the desert. It's one of the things I miss the most about Southern California.

I've been wanting to check out the Ace Hotel ever since I learned about all it's design-y goodness. It used to be a Howard Johnson, and now it's the hippest hotel in Palm Springs. I thoroughly enjoyed the two nights we stayed there and wished we could have stayed an additional day. This was the first vacation the Dude and I took just the two of us since our honeymoon in 2009. All our vacations since have involved visiting family, which is fun but not very relaxing. I really needed to get away to somewhere where I could go and do absolutely nothing but lounge around.

I should mention that right before we arrived at the Ace, we spent the morning going through my stuff in storage that I hadn't seen since 2004. It was super stressful as we didn't have much time. It was also physically and emotionally draining as I threw away most of the crap I saved. By the time we got to the Ace, it looked like a veritable paradise. So my experience may have been a bit coloured due to the sheer exhaustion I was feeling when I arrived.

ACE pool collage

Needless to say, I spent a lot of time by the pool. I'm not normally the lounge-by-the-pool-all-day kind of gal, but that's all I wanted to do while we were there because I was feeling weary and it was too damn hot to do anything else.

Now I'll shut up for a bit and let the pictures do the talking.


ace hotel room


I was absolutely in love with the side table on the right.


wall art

french doors

ace hotel room bar


I really dug the light fixtures, particularly their industrial look.


Next time I'd like to stay in a room with a private patio. You get your own fireplace!

ace hotel lobby

The hotel lobby. I really wanted to take the leather chair home.

ace hotel lobby

The famous plumbing pipe shelving unit. It inspired this internet sensation, which prompted a slew of others to make their own version. When I saw it, it felt like I had reached a pilgrimage destination.

king's highway restaurant in ace hotel

King's Highway restaurant on the hotel property. It used to be a Denny's. Gosh, I love the paint-dipped legs of those Bentwood chairs.

The first night we ate at the restaurant it just happened that it was Sissy Bingo night. The hostess, Linda Gerard, would belt out a song occasionally while calling out the bingo balls. My favourite song was "Who Do You Have to Fuck to Get in a Movie." Linda is in her 70s, but given her energy you wouldn't know it.

king's highway restaurant in ace hotel

Love the tile work.

king's highway restaurant in ace hotel

The Dude was cracking me up with his silly antics. Again, love the pendant lamps. Whoever designed the property really paid attention to lighting.

The food served at King's Highway was absolutely delicious. Most of their food is local and organic. And they have the BEST, DAMN coffee EVER - Sumptown Coffee. If it weren't for my bladder condition, I would have stolen more than just a few sips from the Dude.

ace hotel card

One thing I really appreciated about the Ace is that they have an entertainment offerering almost every night. Our second night we attended a karaoke event in the Amigo Room, which is a cozy dark little bar. It was so much fun. I can't wait to stay at the Ace again as I thoroughly enjoyed my time there. And I hope to visit all their other locations, two of which are in the Pacific Northwest!

My photo collection of the Ace can be found here.