Dear Diary

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Product design has intrigued me for quite some time, but it always seemed like too massive a project to take on by myself. I was over the moon when Teapigs, one of my favourite tea brands approached our team to design a limited edition mug for their holiday collection!

The only issue is… I’m not really a designer. Luckily I have Johanna as our in-house artist, and our intern Olivia who’s a total design BOSS. Together they worked with hand-painted watercolour textures and fun fonts. We probably did about 50 mock ups combined with the Teapigs design team before we finally settled on the final version that you see now. Crazy right?! It’s amazing how much time and energy goes into just one of the products you find on a store shelf. Definitely feeling a newfound appreciation for beautiful design details!

So here it is, after months of reworking and reimagining, just in time for Christmas! Rise and Sparkle comes from the idea that every day should be extraordinary… don’t just rise and shine, rise and SPARKLE! Tis’ the season to sparkle more than ever, right?

When I say sparkle however, I don’t just mean pile on the illuminator and dress only in sequins. Being sparkly is so much more about spreading joy wherever you go, like a beam of sunshine in the middle of a snowstorm (and there WILL be snowstorms ahead Toronto friends!) With this philosophy in mind I decided to donate $1 of each mug to a local charity that always makes me smile: Save our Scruff. Rescuing adorable dogs day and night from all over the world, SOS brings joy to so many pups and humans alike, and I can only hope our donations from this project can help find as many furry friends a home for the holidays as possible!

Scroll down for a holiday gift from us… aka a CONTEST!

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Want to win a Rise and Sparkle mug + a pack of Teapigs tea? Think of it as a gift from us to you!

To enter simply:

1 // Follow RAOP and Teapigs on Instagram

2 // Tag a friend who loves tea on today’s Instagram post

3 // For bonus points, comment here with your Instagram handle, or tweet the link to this post (just make sure you tag me so I can find you)

Winner will be announced Friday here and on Instagram. Good luck!

Ready to get cozy AND support a great cause? Shop the mug here now!

Dear Diary

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As easy as it is to get lost in sugar cookie-baking and gift shopping, it’s really important to remember what this time of year is really supposed to be about: giving.

A few years ago in early Spring someone forwarded me a link to a reddit article about two beagles that were set to be put down if a foster parent in Toronto didn’t come forward. Without even thinking I sent a panicked email riddled with all caps to the rescue contact explaining I had a lot of experience with dogs and was eager to help. I heard back a few days later that the beagles in question had successfully found homes, but that there were a massive number of other dogs who still needed a place to go on-route to their forever families. I explained I was still eager to help, and about a week later Honey arrived in a crate at my apartment.

For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of meeting my pup, here’s a bit about her. Honey is the perfect size, has a lovely soft cinnamon coat and big pleading eyes. She never makes a sound, loves to cuddle, and when she isn’t sleeping (her usual state) her tail is constantly wagging. She loves kids, cats, other dogs, and every human she’s ever come across, and most importantly, she’s my best friend. When the weather turns cold she’s my little spoon, and when the summer rolls around we can be found running all over the city together sharing ice cream cones and basking in the sun at the park. Though I wasn’t particularly ready for a dog, and didn’t originally expect to keep her for more than a few weeks as a foster parent, I can’t imagine where I’d be without her.

The crazy thing is, without the rescue and a foster mom Honey wouldn’t be here at all. She’d be one of millions of amazing dogs who are put down in high-kill shelters every year. To be blunt, she’d be dead.

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Pet overpopulation and abandonment is a massive issue worldwide- did you know that a shelter dog is put down every 11 seconds in the USA alone? I’ve written about my feelings on buying pets over adopting before, but this time I have a favor to ask you: in the name of the Christmas spirit, do what you can to help this holiday season. That’s where Save our Scruff (aka SOS) comes in!

A Toronto based-rescue organization, SOS doesn’t discriminate between breeds or age. To them, “a dog in need is a dog in need”, even if that means transporting dogs from Egypt or taking on massive vet bills. Without organizations like them, so many wonderful pups just like Honey wouldn’t have a home this Christmas. At best they’d be wandering the streets or living in a cement cell, at worst they’d fall victim to euthanization or mass exterminations.

Adopting instead of shopping is a fantastic way to help save pup lives and reduce the overpopulation issue humans have created when it comes to animal breeding, but it’s not the only way if you can’t fully commit to a new family member this year. Save Our Scruff is in constant need of transport volunteers, foster parents, and donations to fund all of the amazing work they’re doing to help give these dogs a chance at a happy life.

For my birthday this past year a very dear friend gave me a donation to Save our Scruff instead of a gift, and it really meant so much more to me than any of the material objects I had received. That gift has inspired me to partner up with Save Our Scruff this Christmas, and I’ve decided to donate $2 for every donation you guys are able to make until December 26th. That’s right- just comment on a post, shoot me a DM, tweet me, comment here or simply send me an email at alyssa@randomactsofpastel.com letting me know that you’ve made a donation, and we’ll automatically up our company donation by $2. I know it’s cliche, but no amount is too small, every bit helps, and at the end of the day every single stray or abandoned dog out there deserves a home for the holidays. So what are you waiting for? Let’s make it happen!!!

To make a donation, click here (and don’t forget to let me know!)
To learn more about fostering and volunteering click here.

In the market for a new fur baby? Take a look at some of SOS’s adoptable pups (a few of whom we were able to capture in our pastel wonderland with photographer Jill Botting!)

Keep scrolling for more puppy cuteness…

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Photos by Jill Botting