Enjoy a Staycation in Calgary

By | Calgary, Vacation

Earlier today our host Kim Hayden went through her ideal staycation in Calgary on CTV Calgary. She highlighted a few of her favourite spots, how to get around, where to dine and hotels with amazing amenities that will have you truly believing you’re on vacation! This is incredibly fitting seeing as our next episode coming up next week is all about loving Calgary, becoming a tourist in your own city and having your own staycation without having to spend a pretty penny on a plane ticket.

Stay tuned to our blog for a full list of idea’s launching with the episode next Wednesday, May 23. In the meantime, feel free to send us a note and tell us your favourite thing to do in Calgary.

Catch the episode next Wednesday May 23 at 8:30 a.m. on CTV Two or Saturday May 26 at 10 a.m. on CTV Calgary. 

Garage Sale 411

By | Calgary, Community, Home, Kim Hayden, Lifestyle | No Comments

Just like the smell of fresh cut grass, garage sales are SUMMER. And if you’re like many Calgarians, you’ll be checking a few out or even hosting a sale of your very own; especially now that this warmer weather is here to stay. Garage sales are a fantastic way to shed items you no longer want or have any use for. Remember, one person’s junk is another person’s treasure! Garage sales make an amazing finale to an intense SPRING cleaning project, so it’s best to prep for one now. After a long winter (and wow, this has been a long one), it is energizing to open the windows, bring out ALL the cleaning products, and get scrubbing. Pair your cleaning efforts with the right organization plan and you’ll be set for preparing for a garage sale of your very own.

On the show this week, Kim learns how to clean and organize her space. Just think S.P.A.C.ESort, Purge, Assign, Containerize, and Evaluate. Kim goes through these steps to get the most out of her space but for now let’s tackle PURGE. You’ve picked out what you no longer need and you are ready for your sale. But are you? Not to worry, your garage sale 411 is here to help.

Getting Started

The best place to start is to talk to your neighbours. See if they have anything coming up and if there is a chance to work together on a sale. If nothing is going on, pick your date and time. Try your best to pick something on the weekend and cross your fingers for good weather. You can share your event on Facebook, Kijiji, or even take out an ad in your local community newsletter. If you don’t have enough items to host a sale, you can always use Facebook buy and sell groups, Kijiji, or sites like VarageSale.

Helpful Tips

Weather you host a sale or use one of the sites above, make sure your item is priced appropriately. Don’t be afraid of a little barter but do the research and know what your item is worth. On the day of your sale, make sure to have enough change (minimum $100) broken up into small amounts. Use a pen and paper to keep track of your sales and how much things went for. It helps to have an extension cord on hand so that interested buyers can try out an electronic device before buying. Keep bags and newspaper on hand for wrapping items and packing them up. Don’t forget signage and balloons to help draw in crowds. Pair that with live Tweeting, Instagram Stories, and Facebook Live and you’ll be sure to attract a crowd online and in the real world. Last tip, make sure to have lots of help!

Donate!

Not everything is going to sell but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t still have worth. Take your left-over items to one of the amazing organizations listed below. We’ve broken down what each will take but be sure to check their website or call ahead if you aren’t sure.

Calgary Drop-In Centre

  • Clothing
  • Furniture
  • Computers
  • Mobile phones
  • Small appliances
  • Books

Habitat for Humanity ReStore

  • Large appliances (less than 10 years old)
  • Furniture
  • Home décor
  • Lighting
  • Electrical supplies
  • Unopened paint, primer, stain
  • Sinks and faucets
  • Showers and bathtubs
  • Cabinets
  • Unopened flooring
  • Hardware and tools
  • Building materials
  • Microwaves

WINS – Women in Need Society Thrift Stores

  • Baby and Children’s Clothes and Toys
  • Women’s Clothes, Shoes and Accessories
  • Men’s Clothes, Suits and Shoes
  • Jewelry and Collectibles
  • Furniture
  • Household Items and Home Décor
  • Sporting Equipment

Electronic Recycling Association (ERA)

  • Unwanted electronics

Cerebral Palsy Association in Alberta

  • Clothing and shoes
  • Bedding, linens, drapes
  • Housewares

WorldServe

  • Bedding, linens, towels
  • Books, CDs, DVDs, games
  • Clothing and footwear
  • Craft items
  • Furniture
  • Home furnishings
  • Antiques
  • Kitchenware
  • Sporting goods (no mechanized exercise equipment)
  • Small appliances
  • Yard/garden items
  • Seasonal items
  • Shopping bags

Calgary Inter-Faith Furniture Society

  • Furniture
  • Kitchenware
  • Small appliances
  • Toys and games
  • Clothing
  • Books
  • Music

Goodwill

  • Clothing
  • Home décor
  • Small appliances
  • Tvs, stereos, small electronics
  • Small tools
  • Sporting equipment
  • Toys, games
  • Books, movies, music
  • Household goods
  • Linens

Cornerstone Youth Centre

  • School supplies
  • Art/Craft supplies

Food Bank

  • Canned food
  • Juice
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Baby food and formula
  • Diapers

Comrie’s Sports Equipment Bank

  • Sporting equipment

Two Wheel View

  • Tools
  • Bike pannier sets
  • Bikes

Kidseat Recyclers:

  • Take your old carseat in to be recycled

Best of luck getting prepared this spring!  Download our Garage Sale 411 PDF for a quick breakdown to help you make the most out of your garage sale. Catch us this Wednesday May 9 at 8:30 a.m. on CTV Two or Saturday May 12 at 10 a.m. on CTV Calgary to catch our full Spring episode.

Home Automation: The Future is Here

By | Calgary, Design, Entertainment, Home, Home Maintenance, Home Security | No Comments

Picture this. You come home after a long day and your home is ready for you. The door is unlocked, the lights are on, blinds are drawn, the temperature is set to where you like it, and that package you ordered is waiting for you on the counter. No, you didn’t forget to turn everything off before leaving and no, you didn’t forget to lock your door, your home is smart. A quick trip over to your wall mounted, touch-screen control panel reveals the time that package was dropped off, how many times your door was opened during the day, and any motion that happened within your home.

Home automation may seem like science fiction, who can forget the iconic 2001: A Space Odyssey’s HAL? Okay, let’s forget about HAL, please! But home automation is exactly what it sounds like, the ability to control devices and things around the home. And it really isn’t the far off futuristic concept you might think it is. At its core, home automation is about setting up your home environment to adapt to what you do and how you live your life. You can do this remotely with the simple push of a button, you can program things in advance by using your touch-screen panel, and you can even control things with your voice once you are home.

On the show this week, we learned the best ways to keep our home secure. We teamed up with the experts at Adera Technologies learn the best ways to use home automation to complement a home security system to give added piece of mind.

Panel Touch-screen

This main access panel provides control over all automated aspects of the home. Think of it as your central control station. You can make changes instantly or program things in advance – like having your lights come on at a certain time of day or having your doors unlock just before you arrive home. A processor is at the core of every home automation system and this processor sets the customized system apart. Think of the processor as the brains of the operation – it keeps everything in check and allows you to add in features like voice activation or apps on your smart phone to control your system in different ways. When paired with an app on your phone, as long as you have access to the internet, you are able to control things when you’re away from home – however far away that might be.


Alexa or Google Home for Voice Command

Step up your home automation by adding in voice command system like Alexa or Google Home. Imagine walking into your home and using your voice to control the TV going on, the blinds going up, and the doors unlocking. It’s as easy as asking.


IP Cameras

In simple terms, these are cameras that can be accessed over a network connect. Read: as long as you have access to the internet, you can check on your home while you’re away. This digital video camera is commonly used for surveillance, which can be professionally set up to take your security system to the next level.


Automated Blinds

This is just want it sounds like, blinds that go up and down automatically. Step it up a notch with a device like Alexa or Google Home and use your own voice to command the blinds. These can also be controlled from a distance or programed in advance when tied into an overall system, giving you the ability to heighten your home security.


Door Stations

Have a nagging feeling that you forgot to lock the front door? Not a problem. Imagine being able to lock and unlock the doors to your home from a distance. You can take it a step further and monitor how many times the door has been opened during a specific timeframe. If something is being delivered to your home and you’d like it brought inside, check in on your front door IP camera, let the delivery person in, and then lock the door behind them – all from a distance.


Motion and Flood Monitors

Track motion throughout the home while you are away and use a flood monitor to ensure no problems arise while you are on vacation. When added to your home security system, these two monitoring system will take your security to the next level.

If you have any questions about home automation, check in with the experts at Adera Technologies.
ANA Interiors tours us through Adera Technologies on Homes & Lifestyles this Saturday, April 28 at 10:00 a.m. on CTV Calgary.

A Heart of Gold: Calgary’s Relentless Entrepreneurial Spirit ft. the Recess Shop

By | Community, Entrepreneur, Kim Hayden

As you may know, Homes and Lifestyles is a show written, filmed and created by Calgarians, about Calgarians, for Calgarians! We like Calgary – have you heard?

All jokes aside, we have some mad love for this big little city of ours. It’s full of dreamers, doers and ambitious humans who hustle hard and together make up the vibrant pulse that Calgary is known and loved for. With this energy on a constant high, it makes people passionate, encouraging authenticity and a deliberate mandate to be true to yourself.

Being a part of this incredible community is what makes our big (little) town somewhere that you can not only dream, but also become a part of something bigger than yourself. Our metropolis has been handed a few very large lemons, but time and time again Calgary has managed to turn them into some very delicious lemonade.

One particular person that is a true example of this is Kyle Chow, founder of Recess Shop and Plant, both located in the heart of Calgary’s historic neighbourhood of Inglewood. Kyle is one of the many entrepreneurs and small business owners in Calgary who is genuinely so excited to share their dreams and passion with the rest of the world and this energy is radiated through every vein that runs through both of his businesses. Even if plants or stationary aren’t your thing, they certainly will be after talking to Kyle for a mere 5 minutes tops.

We had the exciting opportunity to sit down for a quick chat with Kyle and we were blown away at the tenacious spirit that drives him to be a small business owner in Calgary day in and day out. Saying that his passion is inspiring is by far an understatement. Take a read below to find out a bit about Kyle’s story, what inspired him to open a stationery shop and some tips for aspiring entrepreneurs in Calgary.

What inspired you to become an entrepreneur in the first place?

I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit, It started with an Iced Tea Wagon that my friend and I set up at our local community college when we were 8 or 9. I’ve always been excited about creating things on my own, and initiating projects I had imagined. I wanted to be an entrepreneur to be in charge of all the decisions and details when running a business. Watching my dad running his own successful company gave me an idea of what it entailed, while revealing that I liked the idea of having the creative control to execute, unhindered by other decision makers.

Was there a specific “aha” moment?

There wasn’t a definitive “aha” moment- more like several over time as you move beyond what you think is sensible or even possible. You find new ways to do things or you come up with a new idea and that can just blow the doors of creativity wide open. It has taken consistent effort on a regular basis to fully realize my ideas, and even then, it’s never done. In all honesty, growth and opening my businesses came out of necessity. Each stage built on what I had created before it.

What motivates you when you wake up in the morning?

I am motivated each morning to constantly evolve my businesses. I strive to make my shops feel new and fresh each time a customer comes through the doors. You may visit every couple of weeks or every few months, but each time you will find new products, new ideas, and a fun, approachable, exciting environment.

Where did the inspiration to open a stationery shop come from?

My inspiration to open a stationery shop stemmed from my early childhood love of pens and paper. I never wanted toys as a kid, I just wanted my desk and all the supplies to fill it. I would sit for hours organizing my books and pencils, practicing my printing and handwriting. My love of tactility grew and grew, before I opened the shops I was a practicing graphic designer for a number of years, so utilizing stationery and collecting notebooks and pens was second nature for me.

What is the concept behind Recess Shop? 

The idea to open Recess came when I could only get my inspiration and products mostly outside of Calgary. I wanted to create a place where you could find, discover and enjoy the really unique, beautiful, and functional things that I’d only seen while visiting other cities. It’s such a joy to find small ways of contributing to the evolving culture here in Calgary, and being part of a small business community that helps make Calgary a great place to visit, and an even better place to live.

What is the premise behind Recess? Shop

We spend so much time in the digital realm, and I really think there is just so much value in slowing down, and literally putting a pen to paper. I know for me it helps me map out ideas and think more creatively, and I think there are a lot of people out there who feel the same. There is something so simple about it, so accessible. You don’t need anything fancy to get a good idea going: just a simple pen and paper will do the trick.

What has been your largest struggle since starting your own business?

Demands on your time as an entrepreneur are challenging. For a long time, my wife and I (and some wonderful friends and family members) WERE the business, and there were times when you burned out because it takes so much time and energy just making it work. As the business has grown and expanded, roles have shifted and that comes with different demands, including setting up processes to explain to others the things that have been buzzing around in my own head for years. To make explicit the things that you just do without thinking is a real challenge, so you need a great team to help you translate it and put it into action. We’re fortunate to have a talented and dedicated crew that does just that. If I’m being totally honest, my biggest struggle is living up to my own expectations. It’s always a work in progress.

What advice do you have for any aspiring entrepreneurs? Where do you recommend that you start?

My advice is to start with your interests, the things that you spend your time reading about, follow on social media, where you put your energy in your free time. Then from there get excited and gather information. Inform yourself about what others are doing: as inspiration, as a jumping off point for your own ideas, as a way to find out what is and isn’t being done already. Find gaps in the market, and find your own take- the things that will set you apart.

If you have not had the opportunity to check out this beautiful stationary shop, we highly recommend it. However, prepare yourself for some serious stationary envy!

Missed catching the Recess Shop being featured on Homes and Lifestyles? Check it out here!