Wedding Wednesdays – Using Vintage Books as Table Decor

As an avid reader (and a hopeful someday-librarian), incorporating books into our wedding was an obvious choice. Soon after we got engaged, I began collecting beautiful hardcover books wherever I could find them. Although I didn’t know exactly where they would be used yet, I did know we needed them. Lots of them.

books 3Once the search began, finding books like the ones in these photos turned out to be a task more difficult than I expected. I scoured thrift stores, online boutiques, craigslist and garage sales – but found many were priced based on the actual book rather than appearance. Since I wasn’t picky about which story it was, this proved to be a costly problem. Luckily, I had months and months to collect them at the right price (which, for me was anything under $2) and somehow managed to scrape up enough before the big day!

books2One of the biggest helpers throughout my inspiration & planning process, was focusing on what I didn’t want instead of what I wanted. In the age of Pinterest (which resulted in way too many ideas), I found that I was much more clear on looks I didn’t want, than deciding between the looks I did. After a few rough sketches, I was able to conclude I did not want any books to be used upright (such as the one above) and that I would use all book displays sideways for height and as risers.

books1After it was all said and done, I had the best luck at flea markets – although I have to warn that this was not always fruitful either. When they did have them, they were the cheapest source by far. Although, as one would expect, whether they had them in stock was always hit or miss. If you are planning to utilize vintage books for table decor at your wedding, I would recommend to start looking early… and enjoy the ride! There’s just something about the thrill of the search that adds to the fun, especially when it all ends up coming together on your big day.

books4Somewhere along the way, you’ll want to stop and devise an accurate plan on how you will be using your books. This will keep you in line from purchasing too many, as well ease your mind to make sure you have enough. While many inspiration pictures showed table centrepieces with 3 or more books, I found that stacking them too high had a tendency to take away from the flowers and any other pieces you may have at your table. A few weeks before our wedding, we visited our venue to do a mock up table complete with linens – and although we reworked the table so many times it made my head spin – I’m so glad we did it! It was such a relief to make final decisions on placement. I honestly had no idea that choosing between one book or two, small vase or medium vase, tea light or no tea light would be such a big deal! Above all, I was so relieved that those decisions didn’t have to be made the day before the wedding during set up!

So, we took pictures of the final decision for reference, I spoke all the decisions out loud so other people could witness the decisions being made (in case I tried to change my mind), and off we went. Another wedding task completed, and I could suddenly breath a little lighter!

Here is a picture of what the end result was, from the day of our wedding. These were snapped by our photographers just before our ceremony started at 2:00pm, and the hall was filled with so much natural light I wanted to cry (of happiness, of course).

Untitled-5The tin you see on the left hand side is actually a numbered tin, which we used for our table numbers. I scored those puppies from the clearance rack at Michaels and they are now scattered in various rooms throughout our house. Some of them even still contain the original succulents from our wedding day! An impressive feat for me, since I could barely keep an air-plant alive.

We sold most of our books through our store (AllyBeth Design Co.), although a few of my favourites were kept back to use as decor in our home.

Do you have any of your wedding decor still in your home to remind you of your beautiful day?

Much love,





Contest Roundup!


During our weekend getaway to Seattle, we got more than a little lucky at the ol’ roulette table (although we probably owe at least half of it to my beautiful niece since we played her birthday all night)!

So what better way to keep the luck going, than to enter a few online contests? There are some really great ones going on right now and most of them use a great app that connects via Facebook. Which means you don’t have to keep retyping a ton of your information each and every time!

Here are a few great ones you should probably also go enter too:

Just click on the links above to be taken directly to the contest page. Follow their prompts for how to enter – don’t forget to do the bonus prompts for the bonus entries!

Good luck to everyone!

xoxo, shan

5 Fave Friday (wee bit late!)

Since Jess and I took a little vacation south of the border this past weekend, my list of things to do before we left were a little long. In the mix of everything, I didn’t get my Fave Friday post out on, well, Friday!

1. The Good Wife. Anyone who knows me well, knows that once I start on a show I can get a little bit addicted. Enter The Good Wife. On Netflix. Meaning all of a sudden at least 4 seasons were available to me all at the same time. I’ve somehow managed to work my way through 3 of those seasons in the past ohhhhhh, 3 weeks or so. I’m terribly ashamed yet also slightly proud of this.

Good Wife

2. The Portage Bay Cafe, with 3 locations in Seattle. The first time we visited Seattle last year (read part 1 & part 2 here), we were told this cafe was a ‘can’t miss’ kind of place. Unfortunately, we did miss it, but only because the wait to eat was an hour and half! This year, we were determined to get in to try their famous fruit buffet, and lucked out with only a 30 minute wait. We made the most of it by ordering a mocha while we waited and watched the Seahawk excitement buzz around us!

Portage bay

3. The Mango Madness Tea from David’s Tea. Although I’m normally a coffee person, I’ve been trying hard to limit my caffeine intake now that the holiday season is over. Less caffeine usually means a healthier me, especially when it comes to my anxiety levels. Now that my David’s Tea collection is growing, I’m realizing that maybe my brain was just subconsciously finding something else for me to spend my money on. It seems the stuff really does burn a whole through my pockets!


4. This adorable little photo collage that Gussy Sews created for her son’s nursery nook. It’s no secret that I’m a sucker for photo walls, especially when they include pops of teal and bright yellow. Instant happiness? Yes please!


5.This living room nook by the wonderful and incredibly talented Mandi from Vintage Revivals. I used to think that when I had a bigger home things would just fall beautifully into place like Mandi has done here. Although, now that I am in a bigger place, I’m realizing it actually takes a bit of work (and inspiration) to create that perfect nook that makes your heart happy. Lucky for me, that realization has lead me to discover a whole new appreciation for great design, colour coordinations and that perfectly place ornament!

Living Room Makeover @ Vintage Revivals-30[7]What have you all been loving this week?




Sweet Chocolate Love! The Vancouver Hot Chocolate Run

If you’re anything like me, you might need a wee bit of motivation to keep you getting up each morning and throwing on those trusty runners. My motivation for the next few weeks? The 1st Annual Vancouver Hot Chocolate Run, of course! A race where every finisher gets a cute medal and copious amounts of hot chocolate at the end? Sign this sister up!


Following the 4th Annual Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival (which runs from now until February 14th), the Vancouver Hot Chocolate Run is an event you probably don’t want to miss. Taking place on March 1st 2014, this run offers 5km & 10.4km race options that take place along the beautiful Seawall in Stanley Park.

We’ll just be running the 5km (which is an out-and-back course route), but the full 10.4km course will take you around the entire Stanley Park Seawall. We’re hoping to be able to take part in that race next year, but since this is my first official timed race, we decided to start small and work our way up to the bigger ones. A decision I was more than happy accepting.

Hot Chocolate

This is also the first race that Jess & I will be doing together, and we’re really looking forward to getting a few training days in together over the next few weeks as well. I’m sure he’ll be overly embarrassed as I try to take photos (for Project Life, of courses) and maintain regular breathing patterns throughout the  run. But I’m hoping he’ll get past it rather quickly!

Thinking that the Hot Chocolate Run might be for you? We would love to add a few others to our team – here’s a few more reasons why this one is a good one for you.

What’s Included With Registration:

  • Souvenir Finishing Medal – This means, everyone who finishes – gets a medal! Who doesn’t like that?!
  • Souvenir Event Mug –  (for all of that delicious hot chocolate you get to consume after)
  • Hot Chocolate Run Tech Shirt  – Valued at $39, this makes me feel much better about the $50 registration fee.
  • Individual Timing – We all have to start somewhere. Might as well know where your starting point is!
  • After Event Refreshments – Need we say more?
  • Prizes! – Think of it as a door prize. For an outdoor event. 🙂

Registration costs vary between $35 – $65, depending on your age and when you register. As always, register early for the best deal (and a guaranteed spot). We never know if/when these races will sell out, so be sure to register as soon as possible if you’re wanting to go!

Participants can register at Try Events via Credit Card, or on the day of the event with cash or cheque (if spots are still available).

Wishing you guys love and lots of chocolatey goodness on this fine Tuesday morning!


P.S. Want a bit more information on the Annual Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival? Check out this video displaying some of the featured participating vendors and their sinfully good creations.

Hot Chocolate Festival promo video 2014 from CityFood Magazine on Vimeo.

5 Fave Friday

1. It’s usually about a few times a week that I stumble across something awesome that makes me want to spent all my monies. This week, it was these Plan It Stamps by Studio L2E! Since this is the first year that I am completing Project Life, I’ve been mapping up my online communities on Facebook & Instagram, to surround myself with others who are doing the same thing. Since these people are (of course) of the creative variety, I should have expected to discover many more pretty and beautiful things through them!


So far, I’ve discovered the wonder of Filofax and have totally fallen in love with this artsy journal and planner tool! Sadly, I’ve already selected and starters by Sugar Paper planner for 2014, I quickly noticed that there are many elements that crafters are using for their Filofax, that I can use in my existing planner now. These stamps included! I love, love, love the hydrate stamp, because heaven knows I need reminders to drink enough water every day! Go on, search #filofax and #planneraddicts on Instagram. I dare you not to get addicted.

2. These planked wall hooks will most certainly be making an appearance in our home sometime in the near future. Even though we are renting, I’m determined to find a way that passes the ‘Jess test’ and allow me to bring a bit of dimension to my craft room. Now the only question is should I use white or beige trim on my beige walls. Any great opinions out there to help me out?

6a00d8358081ff69e2019b01659156970c-800wi copy

3. I’m loving the new design space over at Arrow and Lace Designs – and I’m so excited for them to reopen their doors in February!! She will probably have you loving everything crisp, clean and gold after you check it out!


4. This haircut! Since they’ve added a higher volume of chlorine into our water here, my tresses have not been doing well. I’ve never been one to suffer from dry or damaged hair, but I’ve been getting split ends like nobody’s business! I’ve been putting off visiting my hair stylist because I have a feeling I’m going to have to loose a few inches, and I just don’t feel 100% ready yet. Except for this style. It’s going to be my saving grace, I can feel it.

afa35950b4e52a81af3a9516c98009eb5. These super comfy & super cute leg warmers from Salem Wolf Designs. I’ve been coveting them for a while – especially the ones on the far right! Since Jess and I will be heading off to Seattle relatively soon (and I usually buy a new pair of boots every time we visit the Seattle Premium Outlets), I think a pair or two of these might be needed. A gift can dream, right?


I hope your week was lovely, and that you were able to keep your spirits relatively high even through all this gloomy weather!

Much love,


Project Life / A Project Overview


You may have noticed that I’ve mentioned something called Project Life a few times on the blog, during the past few weeks. I gave a brief overview of it during in this Fave 5 post a few weeks ago, but I’ve been wanting to give it the true introduction that it deserves! Because let me tell you, I freaking love this idea!!

Project Life is the brainchild of Becky Higgens, a bit of a celebrity in the scrapbooking world. Now, if you’re not a scrapbooker please, please, please don’t go running for the hills just yet. I promise, you’re going to like this! When Becky became a mom, she no longer had time to devote to elaborate layouts, crazy embellishments and fancy stamping tricks. She did, however, still have a desire to capture their lives together as a family. Although scrapbooking has always been about pictures and the memories behind them, sometimes the art (and the pressure) of creating the perfect page, would take away from the story that was being told.

Enter the relatively new trend of documenting life. This approach is less about the scrapbooking, and more about letting the memories of everyday life shine through. It’s taking pictures of the avocado covered floor when the guacamole was dropped, it’s receipts from your first date as a married couple, it’s pictures of the impromptu photo shoot at Christmas dinner last year. It’s a way of doing something with those photos might have otherwise just sat on your hard drive!

To make a long story short, Becky designed a method that worked for her and her family. It included page protectors, pre cut pieces of paper and trendy rounded edges. Add a few journalling blocks and she was set to move onto the next page. Her fans started picking up on her idea, and before you know it, Project Life was available to purchase in beautifully designed packaging! As if us design lovers don’t have enough trouble keeping our money in our wallets!

Here’s How it Works

Step 1: Pick up a Project Life Binder & Project Life Page Protectors!

03Step 2: Pick up a Core Paper Kit! My favourite right now this one, called “Midnight Edition”

20130518-202110Step 3: Get those photos ready and slide em’ on in!

380038_2013_ProjectLife_Midnight_Sample copyEasy, right? I’ll doing a 2 page layout for every week in 2014 and I’m so excited to work on it! As someone who used to scrapbook quite a bit, I’m loving this gentle nudge to get back into being more creative on a daily basis. I’m looking forward to sharing my pages along with you as I go!

Project Life products can be purchased on Amazon, but I picked up all of my essentials from my local Michael’s craft store (with a 50% coupon, of course).


On My Shifting View of Resolutions

ae9287f4e1dfbdb73376e54cb761bd63I’m not normally a resolution kind of gal.

I’m usually more of a planning & analyzing goals to death kind of person. The problem is, by mid-March I’ve usually overwhelmed myself so much with all the big hopes and ambitions, that I back out before even starting.

Caution // I do a little soul searching from here on out. You’ve been warned 🙂

In previous years, I would latch onto goals that involved doing more or less of something that I felt guilty of doing too much or too little of in the previous year. I would look back on my year in review and pick it apart. I worked too much, I watched too much television, I didn’t eat right or visit the gym enough. Or the kickers: I spent too much money and I made too little. Somehow then, my goals for the following year were all fuelled from a place of dislike for both myself and my choices. I would start planning lofty goals to somehow make the next year much bigger, and better. I’d be a better friend, daughter and sister, if only I could fix everything I did wrong last year during this new fresh year ahead.

Queue to 12 months later, when it was time to review the year again. Somehow, I’d still find ways to pick away at it and admit to myself I’d come up short yet again. Anyone else picking up on the cycle that’s beginning to emerge? Funny how things can be unfolding right in front of your eyes, without you even noticing – and then one day BAM. You can’t help but scratch your head and wonder why you didn’t pick up on that before.

I’ve been listening to (and loving) The Self Love Revolution recordings that I have, and words cannot express all the doors they have been opening in my little mind. I feel blessed to be able to start a fresh new year armed with a growing appreciation for my sense of self.


So this year, for the first time, I’m working on my resolutions from a place of love. I’ve chosen things that I would like more of in 2014, not because I feel like I have to, but because I want to. And not in that whiny “I want that toy because she has one” or “I want to have a peaceful life like that lady over there, why can’t I have that?!” kind of way either. But because I’m ready to fully experience it.

Coolest of all, though, is that my new resolutions didn’t emerge after reviewing 2013. Nor did they come up while looking in the mirror or sitting in front of the television with a bowl of chips. They came from a little voice inside my head while I was in my office doodling to Enya. They came while I was working on my Project Life binder. They came when I was walking my pup in the glorious sunshine. My inner goddess was saying “this is fun, it would be nice to do this more.”


And so I have been. It’s interesting how much easier things fall into place when you approach them from a place of gratitude rather than resentment. In previous years, I didn’t go to the gym or work out often because I resented the fact I had nobody to motivate me. I felt as though I tried really hard to make it work, but it just seemed too difficult.

Starting the Chilliwack Running & Wine Club was just one of those things that sort of happened. There was a voice, I responded with action and now we have a group that is growing. Of course, keeping up with the fresh air jogs might not always be easy, but I can certainly tell you my soul loves the extra vitamin D and the bonus of excellent company. There wasn’t an elaborate plan, or a much of a group discussion… it just fell into place. 

Since changing my mind frame to be more about what I enjoyed, and less about expectations I put on myself, my outlook has shifted dramatically. I’m learning that our inner selves already know what we need, and are just waiting to help us get the wheels going. It’s too bad most of us (myself included) fill our minds with so much noise, that their nudges can’t get through. I hope my more-than-a-few words of honesty help you re-evaluate your own resolutions and check to make sure they are making you feel wonderful about your fine self!

So with that, I leave you for my resolution whispers for 2014. They’re very simply & very easy to remember. Things that I’ll be reminding myself of throughout the year to keep me on the track of nourishing my own body, mind & soul. Most importantly, they come from a place of love, acknowledgement and gratitude for myself and those I share my life with. And they feel oh so good.

  • If it makes me feel joyous, celebrate it. If it doesn’t, walk away.
  • Spend plenty of time connecting with the outdoors, and disconnecting from technology
  • Show gratitude towards the ones that fulfill my life
  • Indulge in inspiration & creativity
  • Take time for slower steps, moments of peace and allowing the nudges to come through

Much love,


P.S. Didn’t you know? Resolutions that come from a place of love clear out more room for lots of happy shenanigans for 2014! 🙂