Get Creative

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December is the perfect month for parties and dressing up, and one event we will never miss out on is a good old Ugly Sweater Party – we just prefer to call it a Pretty Ugly Sweater Party instead! We kicked off this annual tradition by taking a trip to our favourite thrifting destination to pick out the perfect pretty sweaters, then gave them a personal twist.

There’s something so fun about browsing the many colourful racks at Value Village to find the ideal piece that you know nobody at the party will have. This year, we decided to make our knit picks even more unique by hand-stitching some holiday love. You can even find unexpected props and decor items (like pom poms and tinsel) at your local Value Village too if you’re going for a simpler “tacky” DIY, but we wanted the challenge of hand stitching this time around!

See the steps below to find out how we turned our Ugly Sweater Party pretty with the help of Value Village!

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What you’ll need //

Yarn
A darning needle big enough to fit your yarn
Vintage sweaters from Value Village
Scissors
A chalk pencil (optional)

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Think of the knit pattern as a grid and you can use simple needlepoint techniques to embroider simple phrases and images. If you don’t feel comfortable free-handing your design, you can plan it out first using a chalk pencil.

Tie a knot at one end of your yarn. Use a darning needle to come up from the back of the sweater and all the way through. Now go back in and out following along the grid of the sweater knit, you can even count the stitches to make sure you evenly space out your lines.
Make sure you don’t pull too tight after each stitch or you’re sweater will buckle. Finish your design on the backside of the sweater and tie off your yarn.

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This post was sponsored, but all opinions are my own. To inquire about sponsored posts, please email jess@shineinfluencers.com 

Dress Up

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I subscribe to “cute halloween”. Every year I dress as something fun and glittery, like a unicorn, a Barbie, an ice cream sundae, or the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland. The best part about this type of costume choice is how easy it is to wear all day, wherever you go, and since I love dressing up for work during the Halloween holiday week (that’s a thing, right?), I’m all for it.

That said, there is something appealing about a dark night time costume too. It is, after all, Halloween, and since I live a pastel lifestyle every other day of the year, maybe this should be the one night where I go over to the dark side…

Torn between two worlds this year, I decided to go with the obvious choice: come up with two costumes!

After much debate I decided on two of my favourite strong female characters – Carrie Bradshaw and Catwoman – as a jumping off point, and immediately got to work sourcing my costume. First stop? Value Village of course! One of my favourite places to donate and go thrifting year-round, Value Village doubles as the perfect shop for all of your halloween needs. The shelves are suddenly stocked with every costume option you can dream of, and if you have a particularly great imagination, you can also skim through the second-hand racks and find some amazing dress-up items too!

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With a bag of donations on hand (because I like to donate whenever I can!) I headed to the nearest location, determined to find the perfect pieces to complete both of my costumes. Luckily I had a lot of what I needed already in my closet, so there were just a couple items left on my list! I immediately pulled a simple pair of cat ears from the new costume section, then went off in search of amazing leather pants. After some heavy hunting I managed to find a pair that would fit perfectly with a bit of alteration (a key factor in second-hand shopping). For the Carrie look I was lucky to already own the key pieces, though I did contemplate a big blonde curly wig from the amazing wig selection on the Value Village shelves. Finally I scooped up a few spooky decorations at the cash register, because you can never have too many Halloween props for photoshoots!

If you’re still hunting for the perfect Halloween ensemble for the 30th, I highly reccomend you head to your local Value Village – and don’t forget to say #ThriftorTreat!

One more fun treat: All Value Village stores will host free Halloween Costume Catwalk fashion shows at 3 p.m. every Thursday in October showcasing the season’s most popular Halloween looks! Be there or be scared!

This post was sponsored, but all opinions are my own. To inquire about sponsored posts, please emailjess@shineinfluencers.com

Dear DiaryDress Up

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I’ve been feeling a little bit worn down lately by how little people are able to see their impact on the world, and I figured National Thrift Shop Day might be a good time to speak up. The world we live in is so much about the new- new apartments with new fixtures, new cars, new gadgets… even new puppies instead of rescue dogs who desperately need a home! It gets overwhelming when I sit down and think about it but perhaps the most constantly noticeable result of this dangerous “new” cycle is the obsession with new, trendy clothing.

Don’t get me wrong- I love having fun with how I dress, and I’m constantly changing up my look. That said, I’m into style, not trends and fast fashion, which means I really believe in working with what you have, reinventing old favourites, investing in carefully made items that will last a long time and shopping for thrifted items whenever possible. That’s where National Thrift Shop Day and Value Village’s #IGiveAShirt campaign comes in.

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Did you know it takes over 700 gallons of water to make just one new cotton t-shirt? That’s right, a single t-shirt. This back to school season Value Village is asking that instead of buying everything new all the time, people start to reflect on their clothing footprint and buy used items whenever possible. With our help they save roughly 650,000,000 pounds of clothing out of landfills every year, and maybe if we all stop and think about where our clothing is coming from we can make that number higher than ever in 2016.

Oh and where did I get my t-shirt? Glad you asked- I thrifted it!

This post was sponsored, but all opinions are my own. To inquire about sponsored posts, please email jess@shineinfluencers.com

Dear DiaryDress Up

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Happy Earth Day! A new season is here, and you know what that means? Shopping! All new everything! The more the merrier! Goodbye frumpy old sweaters, hello Spring shopping spree!

But wait- there’s something wrong here.

I’m ashamed to say that over the past year or so my consumerism has gone from average to out of control. Keeping up in this industry can be really tough at times, especially with all the pressure to always look clean and new and perfectly groomed. I’m not by nature a dainty take-a-taxi-in-the-rain-type of person… I jump in puddles, I spill every beverage I sip all over myself, and I’m always wrinkled or stained in one way or another.

I used to be pretty blissfully unaware of my scrambled messiness, until I became a blogger.

These days I find myself more self conscious about my clothing than I care to admit, and as a result I have accumulated a ton of new items in a very short time. I have two massive closets that are always way too full, and yet I keep adding faster than ever before. I hold on to stained, damaged, and worn out items forever even though I have no intention to wear them in public again, which means everywhere I turn things are constantly piling up.

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So what’s a girl to do? Live under mountains of unwearable clothes while more and more join the party every day? This past weekend I took a look in my closet(s) and decided no more: I packed as many bags as I could full with clothing that I never touch, and started an hour long trek through the city to my local Value Village. To be clear, I easily could’ve taken public transit or a taxi, but I really wanted to feel the weight of all the clothing I’d acquired- plus, it was a good excuse to explore the city in the sunshine!

The amount of clothing consumption in North America spreads far beyond my pastel closet. Every year we send 10.5 million tons of clothing to landfills, ninety-five percent of which can be reused or recycled. This year as part of my big #RAOPspringclean I’m trying my best to cut down waste by sharing clothing with my friends, taking unused makeup to women’s shelters, and donating everything else at Value Village every few weeks. Best of all- I almost always find a second hand treasure or two on my way out, which this year, is my kind of Spring shopping!

How will you Spring clean for Earth Day?

To learn more about Value Village’s #RethinkReuse campaign and to find your nearest location to donate today, click here!

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This post was sponsored, but all opinions are my own. To inquire about sponsored posts, please email jess@shineinfluencers.com

Dear Diary

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I don’t know about you, but personally I love cleaning out my space, and donating whatever I possibly can, whenever I possibly can. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not too bad when it comes to consumption (I tend to keep items for years and years, and limit what I buy), but I always like to go through my life every couple of months and pass on some of my under-loved items. Nothing deserves to sit in a cupboard for months on end, or remain forgotten at the back of a closet, so if I find I’m not enjoying something often enough I’ll pass it on to a friend, or take it down to my local Value Village.

I probably sound like just about every single other 20-something urban resident right now, but I don’t care- I love Value Village. There’s something so exciting about combing the racks for a cute vintage dress, or sifting through the decor section in search of a unicorn figurine. I remember the first time I went thrifting in Vancouver as a teenager, how cool I felt for buying something recycled instead of contributing to yet more consumerism (to my mother’s horror!).

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The best part about thrifting, though, is the story-telling element. I love to imagine where things came from whenever I’m on the hunt. Who brought them there, and why? Where has this particular item been, and where will it end up next? The secret narrative behind each item is one of the biggest draws for me when it comes to thrifting, and I never tire of dreaming up stories for the treasures that I take home.

In the spirit of passing it on, I’m going to be sharing some of the items I’ve recently decided to donate. Each one holds a special place in my heart, but I know someone else will probably give them more love than I have lately. You can follow along on my Instagram account if you like, or take a look below at some of my favourites!

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WORN Fashion Journal // I worked at WORN for so many years, and though the magazine is no longer in production, it still has so much meaning to me in so many ways. WORN helped shape me as a writer, and taught me so much about the world of independent publishing. Over the years I acquired quite a few copies of each issue I contributed to, and I love the idea of dropping off some of my extras at Value Village for someone else to discover, take home, and flip through.

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Sweet Sounds // This one is really tough for me, but I know it makes sense. Now that I have all of my music on my computer, phone, and iPod, it doesn’t really make sense to keep the hard copies around anymore, does it? I’m definitely going to hold onto a few favourites in case iTunes disappears someday, or I buy myself a beat up old car (which is very possible), but I’m thinking a clean out is definitely due.

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Oh Deer // This little deer print dress was so sweet to me for a season, but it somehow ended up in the dryer and instantly became much too short to cover my behind. Hopefully it finds its way into the closet of someone a little bit smaller than me who will love it equally as much as I once did.

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Value Village is more than your favourite thrift store- they also support nonprofit organizations like Canadian Diabetes Association and Developmental Disabilities Association, among others, in your community. Remember to donate your reusable items to local nonprofits at Value Village! In addition to supporting the nonprofit, you’ll also be helping planet Earth. Value Village, Good n’ Thrifty!
Learn more: http://www.valuevillage.com

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Disclosure: This post was brought to you by Value Village via Mode Media Canada. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Value Village.