The iconic lifestyle expert shares stylish ways to give your bedroom a fresh new look.
We recently had the chance to talk to Martha—who just launched her latest collection of home decor products at Hudson’s Bay—and ask her some of our burning questions about bedrooms and bedding. Yes, she irons her bed linens. No, she doesn’t like accent cushions on her bed, instead opting to style them on a nearby chair or chaise. How often does Martha think you should change your sheets? Once a week. “Investing in good bed linens will last you for many years. Wash them once a week and they will last you for a very long time,” she says. Here’s what else Martha has to say about making your bedroom design a “good thing”:
1. Add a headboard
A headboard can instantly pull an entire bedroom together! It gives the room a focal point when layered behind your comfy, cozy pillows.
2. Use colourful accents
Liven up your room with colourful lamps, a fresh coat of paint on an old dresser, or wallpaper in your closet. A light, floral pattern makes a statement next to a solid wall without being too bold. It's eye-catching and creates depth.
3. Use mirrors
Create the illusion of more space by using a wall full of mirrors. It's a beautifully polished touch that matches almost every colour and decor.
4. Get artsy
Bare walls really only mean one thing –room for art! Keep your bedding subtle and go bold with your favorite paintings and art pieces. It will make your bedroom more personal and way more interesting.
5. Style the nightstand
The nightstand is an oft-neglected but valuable piece of furniture in your bedroom. Turn it into a picture-perfect composition that will make your bedroom feel both homey and inspiring.
Whether you're on the hunt for a thoughtful gift that's sure to impress or simply a gift that can be delivered, your answer is easy: Go for subscription boxes.
They're trending hard in the gift department. So, what are subscription boxes exactly? Basically, there's a company out there (yes—in Canada, too!) that will bundle up specific things you're interested in and deliver them in a package right to your door. No matter what your thing is—beauty, sweets, wine, more wine—there's a subscription box for you.
Think about the people on your list and narrow down what makes them tick. Beauty buff? Get her a subscription to Glossy Box. Goop-enthusiast? Mama Earth Organics. Coffee Lover? The Roasters Pack. Sweet tooth victim? Bakers Krate.
Treat your mom to Oh Mother's boxes, which will deliver pampering products to ensure she gets a little "me" time. For your daughter, Ellebox will help her get through that gloomy time of month, for the bookworm, Owl Box offers new young adult books and fun extras, and for the relative who's going through a difficult time, Caring Crate will help keep their spirit up.
And there's still plenty more subscription boxes to choose from.
Flip through the slideshow to find out some of the best boxes available to Canadians and learn about what each one has to offer.
WineCollective sources wine from around the world and delivers a selection of the best that's been curated just for the recipient.
Ellebox offers a monthly delivery of pads, tampons, self-care gifts, and treats to help the least-fun time of the month be a little bit easier.
Up to a dozen healthy items–including skincare, snacks, vitamins and lifestyle items—will be delivered to her door in this box by Little Life Box.
This quarterly subscription box by Oh Mother ensures your favourite lady gets some "me" time. The box consists of artisan products including teas, chocolates, bath salts, aromatherapy sprays, candles, and more.
Canada Craft Club has scoured the world to curate a collection of the best craft beers and will deliver top selects to the recipient's door every month.
Perfect for the Gwyneth-type—the one who juggles it all and is devoted to healthy, organic goods—will go crazy for this monthly subscription service. Mama Earth Organics offers healthy foods and fresh produce from local organic farms and will deliver right to her door.
Ensure your friend who's out-of-the-country doesn't get too homesick this holiday season with Expack's Canada box. It boasts classic Canadian treats—like ketchup chips, Coffee Crisps, and Flakies—that are beloved by everyone north of the border.
Keep your guy organized with Harry's subscription service for shaving products. It offers simple items—like razor blades, shave gel, and post-shave balm—in sleek designs and at fair prices.
This one's for the coffee
snob adorer. The Roasters Pack delivers three amazing coffee roasts from three artisan roasters to the recipient's door each month.
She'll probably be equally happy and mad at this gift: Bakers Krate delivers locally-sourced freshly baked goods (including cookies, brownies, and cupcakes), made by Canadian artisans, right to her front door.
Help your beauty-loving bestie stay in-the-know with the classic, latest and greatest beauty finds with Glossy Box. It brings makeup, hair, and skincare products to consumers’ doorsteps around the globe.
For the friend who's suffering—whether from a life event or a mental illness—Caring Crate delivers care packages that include mood-enhancing aromatherapy and tea, journals, and healthy snacks.
Full of cat treats and toys that have been selected for each individual feline, Meowbox's monthly boxes will be a fun gift for your cat-loving friend—and for her little cat too.
My Tea Box will deliver three new blends of loose leaf tea to the recipient's mailbox each month. Our favourite blend so far? Tiramisu rooibos tea.
Fuel your teen's love for reading with the Owl Crate—the company delivers a brand new young adult novel as well as some extra goodies to recipients each month.
We have helpful tips to manage your gift list, avoid overusing your credit card and affordable gift ideas.
It's late, the mall's crowded and you've been shopping for hours—yet, you're still no closer to finding the perfect Christmas gift for that someone special. Maybe the season got away from you, and you missed earlier sales, or perhaps you're just not into online shopping. Either way, you're wandering from store to store, hoping to find that just-right mix of thoughtful, useful and affordable. But the clock's running out, so you grab the first gift that ticks the first two boxes, even though it costs triple your budget. Sound familiar?
The fact is many of us are living beyond our means—and not just during the holidays, but year-round. According to Statistics Canada, last year ended with a bang: We had record-high debt, owing $1.65 for every dollar of annual disposable income. While holiday shopping isn't solely to blame, if you want to avoid spending setbacks this year, it's worth the time to make a plan before you get to zero hour at a crowded shopping mall.
Kelley Keehn, an Edmonton-based personal finance educator, says that's the best way to curb overspending and the credit-card debt that comes with it. "Figure out whom you're buying for, your budget and your ideal items," she says. Then, "research the best places to get the items you need."
The best way to do that? Go online to find the cheapest price for that camera or hot new toy, or make use of the many free cash-saving apps: RedLaser or ShopSavvy (both available for Android and iOS) make it easy to compare prices offered at online and brick-and-mortar retailers. And though most gift-list apps are Christmas-themed (think Santa's Bag—Christmas Gift List for iOS, or Christmas Gift List for Android), they're handy tools no matter what you celebrate, especially when it comes to setting a budget and tracking your spending for each recipient.
Then, says Keehn, keep an eye on your spending when you're in store. If you start going overboard—and over budget—take a breather. Ask the salesperson to hold your items, then go for a snack or bathroom break. As a fail-safe, only purchase gifts that have a generous return policy. That way, if you have buyer's remorse later on, you can get your money back, says Keehn.
Another option is to completely overhaul your family's gift-giving strategy. "I got everyone together a number of years ago and asked, ‘What did I buy you last year?' " recalls Keehn. "Most of my family couldn't remember—kind of shocking, because I spent so much time and money getting those things—and I couldn't remember, either." While Keehn's family decided to go entirely without gifts for a couple of years, that's an extreme measure. Instead, your family could try secret Santa or set a modest budget to ensure that no one feels pressured to spend tons of cash. And keep in mind that you can reevaluate your gift-giving strategy next year.
Just because you have a credit card doesn't mean you should use it. But if you do decide to pay with plastic, here's what you need to know about keeping your credit score healthy.
1. Don't run up your credit-card balance to more than 50 percent of its limit. If your limit is $1,000, never have a balance of more than $500.
2. Resist the urge to sign up for department-store credit cards. They're easy to obtain if you have low credit, and they have high interest rates, so owning one will make you look desperate for credit and will lower your credit score.
3. Pay your bills by the due date, but be aware that the statement date might be different. The statement date is the day that your credit-card company will file with the credit-reporting agency, and it sometimes falls after the due date. If you make a big charge to your card after the due date and don't pay it off before the statement date, your credit score could take a hit.
4. Don't apply for too much credit at one time. If you request a new credit card, register for a new cellphone and lease a laptop within a short period, you might be flagged as high risk and get declined.
Cheap and cheerful: Three thoughtful affordable gift ideas
For anyone who could benefit from a little positive thinking, The Five-Minute Journal ($27) can help redirect attention to affirmations and inspiring "listicles" in just five minutes daily. "I do it every day," says Kelley Keehn, an Edmontonbased personal finance educator. "And I buy it for everyone. I mean, who wouldn’t want to spend more time being grateful?"
Whip up batches of your favourite cookies for a few close friends and family members, but don’t just toss them into a tin. "Remember, it’s often about the packaging," says Keehn, "especially with the incredible paper and ribbons available at dollar stores today. Let your packaging showcase what you made." You can even include the recipe on a handwritten card.
If a loved one has a dream such as scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef or running a marathon, help her visualize that goal. Start by purchasing a cute but affordable picture frame, then fill it with a photo (from a website, a magazine or an old calendar) that represents that passion. On a card or the back of the frame, "ask her to think of one thing she’s going to do in the next year to achieve that goal," says Keehn. "Tell her you want to hear from her in a year to see if she did it."
5 money mistakes to avoid
Pull out all the stops for Santa this year, starting with a batch of cookies that are ALMOST too good to share.
For a shift from standard royal icing, we've topped these sugar cookies with marzipan, a mixture of sugar and almond paste, which is easy to roll out and adds rich flavour.
Get the recipe: Marzipan Star Cookies
Drop cookies make a fuss-free base for these delightful sandwiches, as there's no rolling out or cutting required.
Get the recipe: Minty Swirl Sandwich Cookies
A crunchy chocolate topping adds a whole new level of deliciousness to the winning combo of chocolate and peanut butter.
Get the recipe: Peanut Butter and Chocolate Crunch Cookies
A creamy, sweet and nutty filling takes these cakey chocolate cookies to a whole new level.
Get the recipe: German Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
Slice-and-bake cookies are great for time-pressed cooks because there's no rolling or cutting out shapes—simply form the dough into a log, chill and slice.
Get the recipe: Chocolate Almond-Slice-and-Bake Cookies
Buttery shortbread gets a warm hug from spiced gingerbread dough in this mash-up of two favourite holiday cookies.
Get the recipe: Two-Tone Gingerbread and Shortbread Cookies
Store a log of this oatmeal raisin dough in your freezer so you can enjoy freshly baked cookies at a moment's notice.
Gooey marshmallows and melted dark chocolate give these soft thumbprint cookies the irresistible flavour of the classic campfire treat.
Get the recipe: S'mores Thumbprints
Sesame seeds add the perfect amount of savouriness to these otherwise sweet cookies.
Get the recipe: Apricot Sesame Thumbprints
A buttery coconut filling takes these chocolate cookies into extraordinary territory.
Get the recipe: Chocolate Almond Coconut Thumbprints
Stuffed with a creamy cookie-crumb filling, these soft chocolate cookies are a cocoa lover's dream.
Get the recipe: Cookies and Cream Sandwich Cookies
Get creative when painting the glaze onto the trees. Windswept cedars, bending pines and evergreen boughs dotted with tiny bobbles look wintry and festive.
Get the recipe: Painted Tree Cookies
No ugly sweater party is complete without these themed cookies!
Get the recipe: Ugly Sweater Cookies
These colourful wreaths may look intricate, but all you need is a piping bag with a small star tip to give them their realistic look.
Get the recipe: Festive Wreath Cookies
White sprinkles give these stockings a fluffy-trim effect.
Get the recipe: Stocking Cookies
Every bite of these easy-to-make cookies will melt in your mouth.
Get the recipe: Classic Whipped Shortbread
Two buttery chocolate chip cookie doughs—one with an extra hit of chocolate—are baked together to make these scrumptious cookies.
Get the recipe: Two-Tone Chocolate Chip Cookies
These soft and cakey molasses cookies are rolled in coarse turbinado sugar for a pleasant crunch and an extra hit of sweetness.
Get the recipe: Big Fat Molasses Cookies
These festive drop cookies are both chewy and crisp.
Get the recipe: White Chocolate Sprinkle Cookies
Christmas colours add holiday flair to these giant cookies.
Get the recipe: Festive Canvas Cookies
We've added a subtle blend of spices to basic shortbread for extra festive flavour.
Get the recipe: Spiced Ombre Snowflake Cookies
These chewy, mildly spiced cookies are covered in a pretty crunchy coating. They may appear soft when they come out of the oven, but they will firm up as they cool.
Get the recipe: Chewy Spiced Double-Chocolate Cookies