Friday, 25 December 2015

Childhood Christmas Memories

Photo from Tumblr

Christmas during adulthood, is more often stressful than fun. Working into the holidays, preparing gifts, making plans, and attending gatherings (perhaps even dealing with drama) can put a damper in the holiday spirit. It still can be full of good cheer, but it takes more effort than just waking up on Christmas morning to open presents beneath the tree. We're looking back on our Christmases from years ago as a reminder for our adult selves the meaning of Christmas as it was in our childlike innocence.


Thanks to this photo, I can trace back my earliest memory of setting up the Christmas tree to when I was five. I still recall hauling in a newly bought fresh Spruce tree that my dad had bought into the house and decorating it with my mom and younger brothers. Dressed in my favourite dress, wearing my favourite bow, and with my favourite angel (standing in the corner of the window still), this image draws back to familiar traditions and the festivities of the season. Although the tree looks pretty bare here, I am thankful to have this memory because it leads me to set up the Christmas tree year after year as a recollection of my fondest childhood memories with my family.

Another highlight I look forward to is going to church on Christmas day for service and coming together with brothers and sisters in Christ. It reminds me of the true reason for the season and the significance of what I do and why I do them because of my faith.


What I am most fond of, during the Christmas season, is wrapping presents. I think I enjoy wrapping presents so much is because it was an activity unique to myself and my dad. He was the one who taught me how to fold the neat creases and how to curl the ribbons as a child. I always enjoyed lending a hand holding down the paper while he did the taping and vice versa.

Growing up, my dad always found ways for my siblings and I to be active and enjoy the cold winter season, namely sledding down Government House Park, walking through Candy Cane Lane, and skating at Hawrelak Park (especially when Bright Nights was still on). The best part was when we hung onto the tail of each others' coats and my dad would lead us in a choo-choo train on the frigid lake.


Christmas is always a major event in my family. There is no way my mom will not let the holiday slide by without roasting a large turkey at a large family gathering. As long as I can remember, Christmas day involved me adorning a new, fancy, festive outfit. Needless to say, I am now always looking forward to dressing up for holiday parties! 

As a child celebrating the holidays at school was one of my favourite moments. Singing Christmas carols, decorating gingerbread men, and crafting decor was all too exciting. Even better was a visit from Santa for me to receive a gift and share all of my holiday wishes!

xo Meraki Connexion

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Beauty Junkie

Bring on the bright red lips and add a little sparkle to your look this holiday season. With so many magnificent palettes and gift sets available by a variety of beauty brands, there is something for almost everyone! Whether it be a glimmering eyeliner, illuminating highlighter, or a fresh fragrance, beauty products are one of my top picks for gifts this year.

Beauty Junkie

Monday, 21 December 2015

Edible Lumps of Coal

You might as well equate the holidays with baked goodies because I haven't put the brakes on the sweets. Tis the season for borderline diabetes. It's also the season for Sannta, the cheeky cousin 365-times-removed, to be featured as a guest blogger!

And what should you find in your stocking from Sannta? Why lumps of coal, of course!

Well... no. They're actually Rice Krispie treats smothered in black food colouring (Michael's or Bulk Barn) and slopped onto a baking sheet to resemble that of coal, which I find ridiculously amusing. So naturally, I had to try it out. Adapted from Mallow & Co., I decided to stick with the original Rice Krispie recipe found in the cereal box.

1/4 cup butter
5 cups mini marshmallows OR 40 regular marshmallows
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Black food colouring
6 cups rice crisps cereal
1 cup chocolate baking crumbs

Yields about 20 lumps of coal

  1. Combine the rice crisps cereal and chocolate baking crumbs into a bowl and set aside. 
  2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan, on low heat, until completely melted. Turn it down to the lowest setting, and add the marshmallows. Stir until the marshmallows are almost melted. Add in the vanilla extract and the black food colouring until you've reached your desired colour. Continue mixing until the marshmallow are all melted.
    (Don't be alarmed if it looks more dark purple than black. Once you add in the chocolate baking crumbs, it will help to give it a more greyish tinge.)
  3. Take the saucepan off the heat. Stir the dry mixture into the marshmallow fluff. Mix until fully incorporated. 
  4. You can use your hands or scoop out the mixture with a spoon onto a greased cookie sheet. They don't have to be perfect because they are supposed to look like lumps of coal. Allow them to cool for 20 minutes. 

Presentation-wise, if you want to be real fancy you can stencil "coal" onto burlap bags, but I have neither the time nor the budget for that. I'll stick with the brown lunch bags and my lovely penmanship to identify its contents. 

Happy Holiday Baking!
xo Sannta

Friday, 18 December 2015

Handmade Holiday Cards

As the holiday season looms, gift exchanges are a popular tradition amongst friends, family, and colleagues. Circumstances surrounding distances and schedules has made it a challenge for us to get together and execute the exchange. Instead, we chose to create and mail out our own handmade holiday cards to one another. However, one of these ladies will be getting hers personally delivered!

Crafting cards is a great creative outlet to share in the holiday spirit while incorporating personal touches. Sending out holiday cards via snail mail may not be a popular tradition anymore, but it sure is pleasant finding one in your postage box. Below are some more delightful ideas, found on Pinterest and Tumblr, to inspire your next handmade holiday howl. 

One layer card (die-cut pattern adhered behind the window):

xo Meraki Connexion

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Tuesday Thoughts: Jetsetter Gifts

For some, the holidays are a time to escape to sunny beaches, hop on a new adventure, and travel to a whole new land. However, the jet setter in your life still deserves to be spoiled whether or not they are sticking around for Christmas. From sentimental scratch maps and journals to the dreamy passport holders and bags, let them choose the destination, and you choose the gifts!

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Winter Lookbook

We've been so spoiled with such a mild winter so far in Edmonton; I'm finding myself wearing more pieces of my wardrobe that aren't necessarily winter specific. After discovering this blog post about capsule wardrobes, I've decided to challenge myself to reduce the size of my wardrobe - I know, seems impossible to a shopaholic. With this mindset I've been trying to create outfits for the week based around styling the same few items in different ways.

Jacket - Calvin Klein, Knit Sweater - Vera Moda, Jeans - Abercrombie, Dress - Abercrombie, 3/4 Sleeve Top - Artizia, Sherpa Vest - Abercrombie, Cardigan - Forever 21, Scarf - Nordstroms, Shoes - Gabor , Purse - Saturday by Kate Spade

I styled 5 outfits for the week using 10 different pieces. Although I found this to be difficult at first, the task soon became simpler when I realized each piece is quite versatile. I purposely chose a neutral colour palette for my clothing and utilized my accessories for colour accents. The key to creating multiple outfits is layering (especially to keep warm)! 

Look for more updates on my wardrobe in the new year :)

xo Steph

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Tuesday Thoughts: Tech Gifts

It's no doubt that there is a great variety of gadgets out on the market today and something out there for everyone. Tech gifts can supply hours of entertainment and often exude luxury. Although many of these items may be considered investment pieces, you can still manage to pick out a great tech gift on a budget - everyone owns a phone and needs a new case right?

Tech Guru

Friday, 4 December 2015

Uppercase Press

Living in a modern era where messages are sent and received instantly, the thought of handwriting a note is almost foreign. As the holidays are right around the corner, I was looking for something to spread the holiday cheer that would be a little more personal. Last week I was able to create these greeting cards and tags during a workshop at Uppercase Press.

Uppercase Press is a local letterpress studio, where Lu Mascaro creates fantastically unique and individually printed stationary. During the workshop I learnt so much about printing and letterpress that I really had no idea about. 
Here are some fun facts Lu shared:
- Letterpress is the oldest form of print making
- Gutenberg was the first to invent the letterpress machine where he went on to use this technique to print the Bible
- Originally, the texture of letterpress print was not intended
- Martha Stewart introduced the letterpress as an elegant technique for stationary in the 90's

There were four stages to the workshop:
(1) Planning out my greetings.
(2) Spelling out my greeting on the composing stick
(3) Mixing the ink and prepping the press
(4) Printing my cards

Before the workshop I wasn't sure how complex or how much arm muscle letterpress would require (surprisingly, my weakling arms did alright), but it ended up being quite straightforward. The though of the letterpress being used to print bulky items, such as the Bible and newspapers, baffles me completely. The Uppercase Press workshop was a great learning experience and so much fun! If you are interested in taking a workshop learn more about it at

xo Steph

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Tuesday Thoughts: Foodie Gifts

It's no surprise that copper/ russet tones are incredibly desirable. And it's no surprise that they're also incredibly expensive (*cough* KitchenAid) and possibly overpriced. That doesn't mean you can't treat others (or yourself) to a more affordable kitchen piece that is both stunning and functional. But if you want to give them a gift of choice, a gift card to a beloved local eatery will satiate their tummies and boost Edmonton's dynamic food culture. In the meantime, I'm just going to drool over these!

Copper Kitchenware

Meraki Monthly: December

Ahh... it's December - the home stretch of the year. This month, snuggle up to a cozy blanket because we've got some exciting things happening.

Tuesday Thoughts: Brings great gift ideas for all of those on your list 

Experience: A local workshop for the holidays with Uppercase Press

DIY: Sharing the holiday cheer with handmade cards

Adorn: Festive holiday outfits for dinner parties and seasonal events galore

Throwback: To childhood Christmas memories

Upcoming events in YEG

Shopping Markets & Fairs
December 3-6: Butterdome Craft Sale 
December 5-20: It's a Wonderful Whyte

November 29-December 23: A Christmas Carol
December 10-13: The Nutcracker
December 17-20: The Singing Christmas Tree

Holiday Festivities
December 3: Legislature Light Up
December 4-13: Festival of Light at the Valley Zoo
December 11-January 3: Candy Cane Lane
December 11-30: Christmas Reflections at Fort Edmonton Park
December 12: Southeast Winter Edmonton Fun Festival
December 31: New Year's Eve Countdown

Other Events
December 4-6: 48hr Closing Party at Royal Alberta Museum
December 5: PARKSHOW YEG at WEM

xo Meraki Connexion

Saturday, 28 November 2015

All is Bright in YEG

Twas the night of November 21st,
Where Stephanie and Sarah decided to explore the streets of 124th. 
Lined with strung lights, holiday decor, and friendship in hand,
The walk was splendid and we anticipated warmly for that night's plans.

Festivities were bright, and fire pits were all around,
People lit smiles with candles, glow sticks, hot chocolate, and melodic sounds.
The event was "bright" with a lighting ceremony that became our favourite part -
Glowing trees, buildings, and a firework show - a surprising work of art!

A great event for families, for young and old,
Ice hockey to play, ice sculptures to see, and sleigh ride stories to be told.
Dressed-up characters of all sorts mischievous and entertaining in their holiday looks!
Many photos were taken, and #allisbright hit the Instagram books.

Food trucks were out, and the lines were never gone,
The Beverage Garden was a perfect addition all the night long.
Embracing the local businesses and shopping left and right
We browsed for holiday ideas and found plenty of gems in sight!

Twas was our first time taking part, but definitely won't be our last-
Our stomachs were filled at Nosh, and we had a joyous blast.
We highly recommend All is Bright to your list next year,
It's definitely going to kick off the holiday cheer!

xo Meraki Connexion

For more information, visit All is Bright's website.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Tuesday Thoughts: 5 Things

All images from google images & pinterest

What five things am I loving at the moment?

1. I gotta admit...I have a thing for over sized knit cardigans.
2. Slouchy knit beanies or toques
3. Chunky knit circle scarves

4. Cream blush- especially with the dry weather here, a cream blush won't dry out your skin as much as a powered blush!

5. Creamy Stick concealers
PS : Stay warm everyone!!!! 

xo Carmen

Friday, 20 November 2015

Holiday Shopping Tips

As December draws closer many of us are looking to spread holiday cheer by finding the perfect gift for our friends and family. While for many gift shopping can be overwhelming and seen as a chore, for a few of us this is a vital part of the holidays. Therefore, we have compiled a few tips to make your holidays more merry!

Plan Your Shopping

  • Make a List - Know who you are buying for.
  • Have a Budget - No one enjoys the shock of opening your credit card statement in January. *This also helps us indecisive shoppers when it comes to narrowing down your choices.* 

Give Yourself Time 

  • Start Early - Nothing can be worse than fighting the last minute shopping crowds or finding out your perfect gift has sold out. 
  • Set aside a full day or weekend - Finish it all off in one go so you can enjoy the rest of your holidays with friends and family.


  • Know Your Facts - Find out if what your looking for is really fitting for who you intend to give it to. (No one wants something that will just collect dust!) 
  • Compare Brands & Read Reviews - This is handy for those big ticket items or the latest and greatest to know if they really live up to expectations and aren't just a trend.
  • Ordering Online - Purchasing items online can save you time and sometime money too! Know the return policy.

Don't Buy Just Because 

  • Its Better Because It's Cheaper - Avoid purchases just because they are on sale. Not many retailers allow for you to exchange or return sale items. Plus, let's face it. There's a reason it's on sale.
  • Do They Really Want It? - All gifts should have some thought put into them. Stop contributing to others' junk accumulation. 
  • Can it be Returned? - Someone's going to change their mind right? 

Have a Plan B

  • Gift Cards - These can be your savior. Some one is bound to be forgotten, or a last minute gift exchange may pop up. It's not a bad idea to have a quick back up gift idea in mind! 

Whether you find holiday shopping excruciatingly painful or a highlight of the season, don't forget gifts are not the most important part of the holidays! Take a breather, enjoy a hot beverage and relax, everyone will have a jolly good time no matter what.

All photos found on Tumblr.

xo Meraki Connexion