Notes on Boxing Day Shopping

Whew.

I know I'm supposed to be on a break from blogging, but I'm on a post-Boxing Day adrenaline high after 10 hours of malling and the euphoria hasn't worn off yet. I got up bright and early today (well, not exactly "bright" since it was 7 in the morning and still dark out), and along with my brother, took the bus out to Coquitlam Centre. CC has the H&M, plus I figured it was far enough away from the really high-traffic Boxing Day attractions (Robson, Pacific Centre, or the largest mall in the province, Metrotown) to not be terrifyingly claustrophobic. We also wanted to go to CC early because my brother wanted to exchange the bootcut jeans I got him for a pair with a more classic cut.

Just some notes, tips, and observations...

Drink coffee and pace yourself. The caffeine kept me going from 9 in the morning until about 3 or 4 in the afternoon when I finally decided I needed a rest stop. There were also periods where I put myself on autopilot and just strolled around aimlessly rather than searching out the sales.

If you know before Boxing Day that you want to do an exchange, call ahead and ask. My brother tried on the jeans on the weekend and decided he didn't want them, so I called Buffalo the next day and asked whether they do exchanges on Boxing Day. Many stores won't accept refunds and exchanges because Boxing Day is one of the most hectic shopping days of the year. With clothes strewn everywhere, people demanding different sizes, and the cash registers ringing and ringing, many of the employees we saw didn't even have time for a real break; they ordered pizza or sushi into the store to scarf down. Luckily Buffalo was very lenient with Boxing Day exchanges, and my brother traded in the jeans I got him for two pairs he liked better and a sweater.

Set your alarm! After we hit Buffalo, my brother and I went out separate ways and browsed around the mall by ourselves. I was expecting my friend J to meet up with me around 10, and when 10 rolled around, I called her to see where she was, thinking she was circling around the parking lot trying desperately to find a spot. Imagine my surprise when she answered the phone sleepily: "Hello?...What time is it?...Ten? Really? Aiya!" Then she had car trouble, and then she really did have a hard time finding parking. By the time we met up it was 2pm and I was already loaded down with tons of stuff.

All the weirdos come out on Boxing Day... And how! When I met up with J in the food court and excitedly showed her my haul so far, a girl walked by and, I don't know what she was talking about with her friend, but I swear she looked right at me and said, "Gross!" Excuse me, did she just say my classic argyle sweater in white, pink, and orange was gross?!? I've since taken a poll of my friends, and the general consensus is a) the sweater is cute, b) she is weird, or c) both of the above.

The offending sweater (H&M):



...but you can also share some endearing moments with store employees and fellow shoppers. In Buffalo, my brother put down his jacket on top of some jeans as he pulled a sweater off a table to try on. I stood by watching his stuff, not really paying attention and just sipping my coffee, when a guy sidled up to the sweater table. I thought he was looking at the sweater when he reached for my brother's jacket and started looking for a price! I said with a sheepish tone and an embarassed laugh, "Oh, that's actually my brother's." He looked equally sheepish and said, "Oh sorry" as he put it back down...then reached for the jeans my brother had picked out.

Short-sleeve sweater (Buffalo), black tee (Smart Set), black patent belt (Xcetera...the best bargain of the day at $7.50!):



That wasn't the only time an item belonging to us was mistaken for store merchandise. In Mantique, I tried on a black graphic tee while still wearing my jeans (the Sweetheart bootcut pair from Old Navy I got in September). Mantique sells some pretty expensive jeans, so I was oddly pleased when a beaming sales girl came up to me and said, "That tee looks great on you! And those jeans fit really well." She took a closer look at the pockets to see which pair they were, and her smile faltered as she said, confused, "Oh, they're not from this store!"

Tee (Mantique), with jean jacket (Smart Set...great find at $20):



My best customer service experience probably occurred at Aritzia though, and that was mostly due to Maria. I have to confess I've never actually bought anything from Aritzia. While they have some nice things, I find a lot of their stuff to be overpriced and self-consciously hip and trendy. Anyway, J and I went in with the mission objective of finding premium denim jeans after hearing rave reviews about Rock & Republics. We each picked up several pairs of jeans and hit the change rooms in side-by-side stalls. We'd try on a pair, step out, assess and check out our butts in the mirror, and when we worked our way through the jeans we'd swap and repeat (we're the same size apparently). The sales girls in the back answered our questions about how much R&R's stretch out ("quite a bit"), and we went back on the floor to find the pairs we really liked in a smaller size.

While on the floor, a sales girl named Maria walked up to us, asked what we needed, and picked up R&R's in our sizes from all around the store. She was so warm and funny and friendly as she sent us to the back loaded down with new pairs of jeans to try on. She disappeared and then came back; I overheard her tell another sales girl she was "checking up on these two Asian girls shopping for jeans" and "wanted to see how they'd fit." I tried on a pair that fit perfectly, but Maria was skeptical and thought I might be able to go down another size. She returned with a smaller pair.

As soon as I pulled them on I knew they wouldn't zip up. Maria stuck her hand past the curtain and knocked on the stall wall.

"How are you doing?" she said.

"These are way too small. I can't zip them up," I said, struggling with the zipper.

"Just try, c'mon. Are you decent?" She peeked in. "C'mon you can do it!"

I sucked it in and zipped up, then gasped, "Ohmigod, I think I just dislocated a kidney!"

Maria cracked up as J and I stepped out.

The Rock and Republic jeans I finally went with because they gave me traffic-stopping booty according to general consensus among J, Maria, myself, and all the sales girls hanging out in the changing room area (Aritzia):



Some of the sales aren't actually that great. I can see how a place like Aritzia would be worth the lineup, but Guess, Off The Wall, and Sterling had people lining up even before they opened...and once we made it past those doors we were sorely disappointed. You'd never be able to tell that the sales weren't all that great from the piranha-like feeding frenzy happening inside. In reality, the 25% off sale at Guess meant that the $120 top I was eyeing was still not worth my while. The "25% off everything in store" sale at Off the Wall didn't make me like any of their clothes any better. The "buy one, get one 40% off" sale at Sterling was nothing new; it'd been going on pretty much all of December, and if you'd gone earlier there would've been better selection and less likelihood of a claustrophobia attack to boot.

Some people need to relax and remember that shopping is supposed to be fun. As a true shopaholic, I personally find shopping to be a relaxing and pleasurable activity. Most of the time when I'm shopping I'm in a happy mood and I certainly was today. However, I think some people lose sight of this in the mayhem. For example, I encountered a girl in Urban Behavior who needs to take a serious chill pill. Fitting rooms being closed, I pulled the top I was interested in over my tank top. J said it was cute but I wanted to see it in the mirror to make sure. The closest mirror was occupied by this girl, who'd just finished trying on something and was pulling it off but wouldn't move out of the way. My usual experience with communal mirrors has been that the other girl sees right away I want to use the mirror, and she makes room for me, I thank her, and we share a commiserating smile. This girl, however, gave me attitude with a drawn-out "Excuuuse me!" Startled and irritated by her attitude, I shot back, "Hey, I'm not the one blocking the mirror here!" She walked off in a huff with her boyfriend.

Cardigan (Urban Behavior) and tee (Smart Set):


Finally, J and I have discovered the perfect Boxing Day shopping outfit. Boxing Day shopping outfits are tricky. You don't want to overdress for the cold outdoors because you end up getting overheated in a stuffy mall and carrying your jacket and scarf around. You also want to wear something that doesn't require tons of work to take off and put back on (shoelaces, buckles, buttons, multiple layers) because it takes you longer in changing rooms. On top of that, some stores (like Urban Behavior) close their changing rooms to decrease stress for an already overworked staff, so you might be stuck trying things on in the middle of the floor.

Our perfect Boxing Day shopping outfit consists of:

  • A short jacket: A short jacket keeps you warm outside as you walk from the mall to your car or the bus stop, but isn't too burdensome if you end up carrying it as you shop.

  • A lightweight cardigan: It keeps you warm but won't let you overheat.

  • A close-fitting cami: It lets you try on sweaters, tees, and dress tops without having to wait for a change room.

  • A flowy or A-line skirt: J and I were thinking about this one for a while before we came up with it. If you need to try on jeans, you can pull them on under the skirt and still remain covered, then flip it up to see how you look in the mirror. If you think you'll freeze, pair the skirt with knee-high socks or leg warmers.

  • A hairtie/headband/clip: to tame crazy flyaway hair from changing room chaos.

  • Comfortable slip-on shoes: I wore my Point Zero maryjanes with the velcro strap. Don't wear anything with buckles, laces, etc...it'll only slow you down.
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Dreaming of a Green Christmas

Christmas tends to be a time of conspicuous consumption in Western society. Food, decorations, shopping, Christmas lights, presents, gift wrap...all of these things generate a lot of garbage and take a serious toll on the environment. The transportation that's involved in shipping also drives up overall carbon emissions. Now, I'll be the first to admit that as a fashion blogger I love conspicuous consumption as much as the next person. With all the attention paid to global warming and going green this year though, I thought it might be a good idea to compile a list of the ways in which we can cut down on consumption and enjoy a greener Christmas.



Buy Less

  • Instead of getting something for everyone on your list, draw names with your friends and family and arrange to get one large, more expensive item for the person whose name you drew. You end up buying less overall and using less gift wrap, plus this method can also save on shopping stress (bonus!).

  • Avoid the urge to buy little extras and stocking stuffers by setting an agreed-upon budget.


Buy Locally

  • For the foodies on your list, consider getting them locally sourced items instead of ordering food items and gift baskets that have to be shipped from elsewhere. Some items to consider are sweets from a local chocolatier, pastries from an artisanal bakery, domestic wine, and microbrewery beer. In Vancouver, the Granville Island Public Market is always a great place to shop for one-of-a-kind food gifts.


Consider Alternatives

  • Give someone a gift card or cash. Often at this time of the year people feel compelled to get someone a gift, and because of stress or lack of time, or simply because they don't know the recipient well, the recipient ends up getting something inappropriate or something they'll hardly ever use. Gift cards and cash don't require wrapping, and people can always spend them on items they actually need later on.

  • Instead of buying something for someone, cook them a special meal, take them out for dinner, or get them tickets to a play or show. These gifts are more about thoughtful gestures and quality time together than exchanging "stuff."

  • Wrap gifts loosely in tissue paper and reusable gift bags instead of gift wrap, which can only be used once (unless you're one of those types who recycles gift wrap, which, let's face it, never looks the same because it's all creased and crinkled).

  • To save energy, forego doing your own Christmas lights display at your house and go to a public lights festival. Two standouts in Vancouver are the VanDusen Garden Festival of Lights and Bright Nights in Stanley Park; proceeds from both go to charity.

  • Send e-cards instead of paper greeting cards.

  • Likewise, create photo albums on Facebook Flickr, or picasaweb instead of printing out photos.


Happy holidays everyone! Solo Lisa y Nada Mas will be taking a break to spend time with friends and family, unwind, hit up the Boxing Week sales, and do NYE in style.
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Boot Heartbreak and More

So, the day after I posted the last entry I returned to Sterling wearing my slim-cut jeans and hoping against hope that those gray suede boots would zip up over them. Sadly, they did not. The zipper decided not to accomodate my overdeveloped calf muscles about 2 inches from the top. When I tried on the boots without tucking in my jeans, I discovered that they barely did up over my calves and were way too loose around my ankles even when I tightened the ankle buckle as much as possible. So, I suppose this pair of boots and I simply weren't meant to be. Sigh. I ask you, how can one petite Asian girl have such huge calves and skinny ankles and such a hard time finding tall boots that fit?!?

Ah well, such is life. On the bright side, between crazy work hours I did manage to fit in some last-minute Christmas shopping yesterday at Coquitlam Centre. I rarely make it out to Coquitlam Centre, which has become my new favourite mall because most of my favourite stores are packed together into one very convenient shopping location. The big draw at the mall is, of course, H&M, which is where I found this wonderful dress...I have yet to find a party to wear it to, but I'm sure I can talk my friends into going to an upscale eatery for Dine Out Vancouver sometime in February so that I have an occasion to don it.



Like many others I've talked to about the perils of Christmas shopping, I somehow ended up shopping for myself. I found my brother the hoodie and jeans he asked for, and decided that as long as I was there I should browse. Big mistake. I ended up with a cardigan, a pair of tights, and some knee-high socks.

I also fell madly in love with a 1950s style deep orange jacket at Jacob. It was $165, which is more than I've paid for any sort of jacket or coat, but the salesgirl said if it went on sale during Boxing Week, I could get a price adjustment and have the difference refunded to me. Anyway, I love it too much to bring it back, so I guess any Christmas money I get goes to the Pay Off Lisa's Visa Bill fund.

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Fickle Boot Fancies

So as it turns out, boot love is as addictive as relationship drama, a box of Christmas chocolates or a trashy TV show: once you start you can't stop. Ever since I bought my first pair of boots earlier this season, I can't stop noticing boots, whether it's a cute pair worn by some girl out and about in the city or one of the many pairs on sale during this time of the season. And while I love the way my black leather Aldo boots look with tights and skirts, I've found that they're too tight around my calves to wear against bare skin comfortably and I definitely can't tuck jeans into them. That leaves me with a roving eye...and what does my fickle heart settle on but another pair of boots?!

This time around, the boots that caught my eye are slightly slouchy, flat-heeled gray suede beauties from Sterling, with oversized burnished silver buckles around the calf and right by the ankle. I can't stop picturing how nice they'd look with a pair of skinny jeans tucked in and an oversized sweater coat, or a sweater dress and thick opaque tights, or an outfit composed entirely of silver, black, and blue. Perhaps best of all, they're on sale for a ridiculous price: $70, which is half of what I paid for my Aldo boots.

I spent forever trying to find a picture of them online, but neither Sterling nor its sister company Joneve seem to have posted these boots on their website, and as I found out after two hours of searching, it's not easy to Google an image of your dream pair of boots when all you have to go on is a vague description and not even the brand. So here is a picture of a black leather boot which I think closely resembles my dreamy gray suede pair in terms of design.

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Quoted: Weirdest Pseudo-Compliments I've Received to Date

"You look like you were one of the popular mean girls in high school."

-My ex-boss's 13-year old son when he found out I was actually the exact opposite in high school

"So did a customer-facing department try to nab you?"
"What?"
"Well, let's just say technical communicators = Addams family."
"Huh? Oohh you're saying most tech writers look like freaks and I'm somewhat normal?"
"YEES"


-My coworker trying to say I looked nice in the office Christmas party photos

"I've seen your Facebook...your life is like Sex and the City now!"

-An ex-coworker's comments during a long overdue reunion
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Dressing for the Holiday Season on a Budget

The December holiday season is probably one of the busiest and most expensive times of the year. On top of your everyday priorities, all of a sudden you have to find time to shop for presents and wrap/ship/deliver them, go to a million casual get-togethers/parties/dinners, figure out plans for New Year's Eve because you know the tickets to events are pricey and sell out quickly...and you have to look good to boot!

I myself have already been to one formal Christmas party already and clubbing on several occasions this month with friends; I also have a dinner coming up tonight. Dressing for all these social occasions can be a bit stressful if you feel as though you've worn everything in your wardrobe and are bored with all your options but you're reluctant to splurge on a new outfit. With that in mind, here are a couple of tips for putting together a plethora of looks to get you through this holiday season while feeling fresh and stylish at every occasion.

Note: In case any of my readers decide to lambast me for the pricey examples I've chosen below when this is supposed to be a budget-conscious post, keep in mind that the pictures are supposed to be illustrative examples of what I'm talking about. I'm not saying, "Get this piece or die!" They're guideline pictures.

Really look at your wardrobe and assess its potential. You're bored with what you already have, but could that possibly be because you've forgotten exactly what you have? I experience this all the time: I'll think I've exhausted all my wardrobe choices, dig through my dresser or my closet, and lo and behold, discover the perfect blue silk blouse or coral pink jersey top for dinner and drinks. If you're looking for party-appropriate attire amongst the clothes you own, keep an eye out for these items:

  • tops in silky, satiny, lacy, patterned, or microfibre fabrics
  • classic-cut skirts and trousers in neutral colours (to wear with the aforementioned tops)

  • little black dresses

  • knee-length cocktail dresses

French Connection top from Nordstrom, $128



Marc Jacobs navy crepe silk skirt from Bluefly, $122.40



Nicole Miller lace-trimmed jersey dress from Bluefly, $148.50



ABS crimson dress from Bluefly, $183.60



Consider accessories. Accessories can be an inexpensive way of freshening up what you feel is a stale look. Maybe the LBD strikes you as a bit boring. But what if you pair it with a lilac pashmina and bright yellow patent leather pumps? Or chunky-heeled platforms or wedges? If shoes are what you need to update your look, you can always try browsing Payless. Many clothing stores (RW&Co, Old Navy, Sirens...just to name a few) also sell shoes on the rack (literally), so you can look for a cheap pair of glitzy flats to dress up your outfit.

Pura Lopez yellow patent leather heels from Nordstrom, $300



Gucci lilac shawl from Bluefly, $298.80



Shop if you must, but splurge on one item that will mix with the rest of your wardrobe and consider it an investment. If all else fails and you still feel frustrated by what you have, consider spending money on one item that will carry you through the season and beyond, whether it's a spectacular cocktail dress in a standout colour or a pretty top. Just make sure that it fits you perfectly and you feel like a million bucks in it, because if you don't, then chances are you'll never want to wear it after the big event and it'll be money down the drain. Then have it cleaned and stash it away in your closet for the next special occasion or holiday season. This top from Anthropologie (for $98) is a great example of an ideal splurge item: after Christmas you can wear it with jeans for clubbing or cocktails year-round.

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The Comeback Kid

I have to confess I've been a pretty mediocre blogger lately and let a full five days go by with nary a post or a word about my whereabouts. It's been a busy time of year with work and holiday parties galore.

One other major cataclysmic event in my humble life that occurred in the past few days was that I got contacts. Now, lest you think this is a relatively minor thing, let me just say that I am extremely, extremely squeamish about anything to do with eyes. Remember that episode of Friends where Rachel gets an eye infection and is too freaked out to go to the optometrist, and he prescribes eyedrops for her, and Chandler and Monica and Phoebe have to tackle her and hold down each limb so that Monica can administer the darn things? That's exactly how I've been ever since the age of 8 when I first started wearing glasses.

Then something changed. I had an eyelash stuck in my eye for the longest time, and one day I spotted it on the white of my eye. Without thinking, I dabbed my fingertip on my eye and removed it. As simple as that. Emboldened, I decided to take the next step and make an optometrist appointment for an eye exam and get a prescription for contacts.



Of course, taking an eyelash out is not the same as having your optometrist come at you with a foreign object perched on the tip of his index finger and the fingers of his other hand firmly yanking your eyelids open. It took him fifteen minutes to put the first one in (I was blinking and my lashes kept flipping the lens inside out), at the end of which I realized I hadn't been breathing most of that time, and I felt sick, nauseous, dizzy, and lightheaded all at once. My optometrist took one look at me and said, "You look a bit green" and handed me a glass of water. I sat there with my head between my knees, clutching the glass of water, trying to stop shaking and keep from hurling. Definitely the most traumatic optometrist appointment of my life. Within about ten minutes, though, I got up and said I wanted to try putting the other one in by myself.

That was last week. I've been able to wear them for about three days now, and I'm happy to say I'm not freaked out about taking out the contacts and putting them in anymore. What took about 20 minutes to do for each eye has been reduced to a 5-minute routine for both eyes.

I'm also discovering some of the fashion perks that come with wearing contact lenses. For one thing, whenever I wear headbands the arms of my glasses don't catch awkwardly on the headband. I don't have glare problems with eyeglass lenses in photos. People actually notice my eyes and many have complimented me on a different and more youthful appearance. And once they're in and worn properly, you don't notice them or feel them.

The perk that really has me excited right now is being able to wear sunglasses that normal people wear. When you wear glasses, wearing ordinary sunglasses always seems like a trade-off between being blinded by the sun or being blind period. Clip-ons cause glare, and if you get prescription sunglasses you're forced to switch between two pairs of glasses every time you go from indoors to outdoors and vice versa--not exactly convenient when you're street-shopping in the summer. Plus, all those stylish designer sunglasses are off-limits. Who knew that if I'd been able to touch my eye sooner, I could've saved myself all these little troubles?

So now I've been browsing designer sunglasses on various websites and drooling, drooling, drooling. So far I've been gravitating towards black frames in classic shapes with purplish or dark lenses, and avoiding the oversized frames that Nicole Richie favours. I think that after all these years of depriving myself of being able to wear proper sunglasses, I deserve to splurge a bit, don't you?

Dolce & Gabbanna sunglasses, $240 from Better Vision Better Prices



Prada star sunglasses, $250 from Better Vision Better Prices (These ones are my favourite pair so far. Sleek and subtly sexy, and the silver stars on the side give them a whimsical and idiosyncratic touch.)



Marc Jacobs cat-eye sunglasses, $175 from Better Vision Better Prices



P.S. Jo, this post is dedicated to you! Have fun working your sunglasses in the Dominican Republic.
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Blech.


The regular Crocs are bad enough. Lining them with fleece does not make them more attractive or even remotely cold-weather appropriate. I'm not even going to provide a link for you to search out this abomination because chances are it's already available at a mall near you. Ugh.
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To All the Vancity Men Who Wear Shorts with Socks and Sandals in Winter...

It's a high of 3 degrees Celsius and low of -2 outside. There's frost on the ground. Today would be a good day to put on some pants. Oh, and proper shoes too.
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Translated: Alejandro Sanz

I've been feeling kind of blue lately...yes, even more blue than all those cocktail dresses I was coveting about a week ago. One of the things I always do when I feel like this is listen to sappy Spanish love songs, and nobody does a sappy love ballad like Alejandro Sanz. I like his lyrics because they're more demanding than the standard pop fare, which also makes the love songs richer and more satisfying to listen to when you're going through a hang-up.

My Spanish is very rough at best so the translation below may be a little off. If you want to watch the video, click here.

I'm dedicating this post to myself, my friends, and anyone else going through a hang-up at the moment.

Amiga Mia

Friend of mine, I know, you live only for him,
he knows it too, but he doesn't see you
like I do. I beg you to listen to what my mouth says
what I have confessed between drinks:
it is with your skin he dreams at night,
he goes mad with each button that
you undo thinking of his hands.
He hasn't seen you tremble, waiting
for a word, gesture, or embrace.
He doesn't see you like I do breathing
with eyes wide open.
Listen to me as I say this.
Oh friend of mine, I know it and so does he.

Friend of mine, I don't know what to say
or do to see you happy.
I hope I'd be able to give you soul or freedom,
that which is lacking;
to fill your pockets with wars won,
with dreams and renewed illusions.
I want to give you a poem;
You think I"m giving you the news.

Friend of mine, I hope one day you'll listen to my song,
soon; you understand that what I never wanted
was to tell your story
because I'd become sentimental.
But, forgive me, friend of mine,
it's not intelligence, neither is it wisdom,
this is my way to say things.
This is not just my work, this is my language.

Friend of mine, princess of an infinite fairytale...
Friend of mine, I only pretend that you count on me.
Friend of mine, one of these days
I'll learn to speak
without having to be so indirect,
to say that all of this story matters to me,
because you're my friend.
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Quoted: Michael Ondaatje

I'm rereading Running in the Family right now, which is one of those books that you relish and want to linger over for its lines. I love that feeling you get when you reread a book after a long time and rediscover something--a passage, a turn of phrase, a moment--that gave you immense pleasure the first time around but has since been forgotten. "The Cinnamon Peeler" is one of those moments within Ondaatje's literary homage to his family and is one of my all-time favourite poems.

The Cinnamon Peeler

If I were a cinnamon peeler
I would ride your bed
and leave the yellow bark dust
on your pillow.

Your breasts and shoulders would reek
you could never walk through markets
without the profession of my fingers
floating over you. The blind would
stumble certain of whome they approached
though you might bathe
under rain gutters, monsoon.

Here on the upper thigh
at this smooth pasture
neighbor to your hair
or the crease
that cuts your back. This ankle.
You will be known among strangers
as the cinnamon peeler's wife.

I could hardly glance at you
before marriage
never touch you
--your keen nosed mother, your rough brothers.
I buried my hands
in saffron, disguised them
over smoking tar,
helped the honey gatherers...

When we swam once
I touched you in water
and our bodies remained free,
you could hold me and be blind of smell.
You climbed the bank and said

this is how you touch other women
the grass cutter's wife, the lime burner's daughter.
And you searched your arms
for the missing perfume.

and knew

what good is it
to be the lime burner's daughter
left with no trace
as if not spoken to in an act of love
as if wounded without the pleasure of a scar.

You touched
your belly to my hands
in the dry air and said
I am the cinnamon
peeler's wife. Smell me.
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Eye Candy: Cupcakes!

If yesterday's Hello Kitty bento boxes weren't enough to satisfy your craving for yummy cute-looking food, check out CuteAddict's collection of amazing cupcake pictures. Here's a sneak peek. Hooray for more eye candy!







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Eye Candy: Hello Kitty Bento Boxes

Bored and snowed in, I spent many hours wandering around the Internet and stumbled on Hello Kitty Hell, a hilarious blog written by a man trying to cope with his wife's insane Hello Kitty obsession. Some of the weird Hello Kitty stuff he writes about is funny and disturbing all at the same time (a Hello Kitty themed S & M room at a Japanese love hotel; an all-pink Hello Kitty armoured military personnel carrier; Swarovski crystal studded laptop...with matching accessories, natch). My favourite post, however, was the Hello Kitty bento boxes. In the words of one friend, "they look so cute and yummy!" Looking at the pictures, I didn't know whether I wanted to eat them or spend hours on end admiring their cuteness and all the hard work that must've gone into putting them together.

Anyway, if you find yourself with a bit of free time on your hands, definitely check out Hello Kitty Hell. In the meantime, here are pictures of those bento boxes I told you about.




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Ever Clever Boots Not So Clever?


I saw these lovely maroon leather boots on the Anthropologie website. They're called Ever Clever Boots because they have two built-in pockets on the side so that you can stash necessities (cash, a small cell phone, lip gloss) for a night out and not have to carry a purse. I'm sure every woman dreams of that at one point or another when she's out clubbing, and even a small wristlet can feel like a hassle as she's dancing with some guy.

However, upon closer examination, perhaps these boots aren't as clever as they claim to be. For one thing, they're pull-on boots rather than zip-up, which makes them harder to put on. The other thing about them that puts me off is the height of the heel; anything above 2.5" kills my feet. These boots weren't made for walking, that's for sure.

If these boots tickle your fancy and you have feet that can stand the torture of sky-high heels, you can find them here for $288.
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Blue Frocks from Nordstrom

I think the title of this post is pretty much self-explanatory. What can I say? I'm in love with the bright sapphire hues of this season's party dresses.

Bonus points to anyone who knows how many blue dresses I've coveted this week!

Maggy London sleeveless silk dress, $148



Jones New York beaded silk dress, $188



Maggy London cutaway silk charmeuse dress, $178 (probably my favourite of the bunch!)



Maggy London chiffon halter dress, $128



Donna Ricco sheath dress, $158



Adrianna Papell beaded chemise dress, $138

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Online Window Shopping at Guess


Lately I've been coveting a gorgeous blue dress on the Guess website which I actually picked up in-person at a store yesterday. Before I took the plunge and purchased it, though, I spent a couple of days visiting and revisiting the website, looking at the picture and trying to decide. The first time I checked out the dress, the price was around $89. The next day, the price changed to $91. Surprised, I read the disclaimer attached to the listed prices for Guess merchandise and discovered that they re-adjust their Canadian prices on a daily basis to reflect the exchange rate. It's pretty cool of them to give Canadians the best price for their dollar. What's even better is, as a sales clerk at the brick-and-mortar store explained, Guess adjusts their online prices so that they're slightly lower than what you would see in stores to make up for what you would pay in shipping. Kudos to them for being so forward-thinking and considerate of Canadian customers.

Ambri deep V dress, Guess, $90.54 (for today anyway)
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My Favourite Hoodies

I'm pretty much addicted to hoodies once the weather cools despite the fact that I rarely use the hood part. (I usually have an umbrella or a toque.) There's something about hoodies that just feels so cozy and comfortable. I spent many a chilly autumn or winter day in campus libraries studying and writing term papers while wearing a hoodie. I wore them layered over tees and tanks before and after salsa classes. They were perfect when I was working at the toystore, and now they're perfect as deadline time approaches at work and it's all I can do to drag myself out of bed in the morning, let alone worry about what I'm going to wear. In fact, I'm wearing a hoodie even as I write this blog post.

Hoodies have crossed the line from casual slob-wear to ubiquitous wardrobe item. Karen Von Hahn recently wrote an article for the Globe and Mail arguing that hoodies are the perfect aesthetic metaphor for the 21st century because they embody layered complexity. Nowadays you're just as likely to find luxe cashmere hoodies as you are screened, plain, or embellished versions. They've come a long way from varsity sweatshirts.

So, in honour of one of my favourite clothing items ever, here are some of my favourite hoodies.

Metallic skyline hoodie, Forever 21, $19.80



2 B Free blue orchid hoodie, Bluefly, $90



Tokidoki cactus girl hoodie, Emoda, $99



Pink butterfly hoodie, Forever 21, $19.80



Patch pocket sweater hoodie, Old Navy, $29.50

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Luxe Or Less: Phillip Lim Minidress


As far as sweet-looking cocktail dresses go, it's hard to beat this gray silk number by Phillip Lim. The length, trapeze neckline, light gray colour, and bead embellishments render it mod, trendy, and classic all at the same time. What's more, seen from the back, the trapeze neckline actually ties into an oversized white bow. If this dress is a bit on the steep side at $700 from Net a Porter, you can try a similar version from Forever 21 (below) that retails for $24.80--sans bow, unfortunately.

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Non-Black Cocktail Dresses

The LBD is a standard in most women's wardrobes and I love mine to death. But because the LBD is so safe, it's always my last resort no-fail option provided I can't find a fun, fabulous frock of a different colour. There's something so appealing and fresh about a dress in a standout colour or pattern. Also, deep down, most women would rather be in distinctive dresses and stand out in the crowd than blend into a sea of basic black.

Dresses tend to be relatively expensive, so I consider any dress I buy to be an investment piece that will last me a long time. For this reason, I usually like classic silhouettes that flatter my figure and a hemline that hovers around the knee to maximize the dress's versatility. I won't consider any dress that pinches or doesn't fit just right, or any dress that I feel uncomfortable in; if I don't love myself in the dress, why would I want to wear it more than once? I'll also spend a bit more on lined dresses because I don't want to have to hunt for the perfect slip to wear underneath (unless it's a dress I really love and a total bargain, like the cream and black boatneck H&M silky shift dress I found for $40).

With the holiday season coming up, I've been contemplating the dress options in my wardrobe to see if I can wear something a bit more colourful or unique to potential parties. So far I have two, perhaps three, options, but I've been looking at some of the fabulous dresses on Bluefly for further inspiration and I think it might be time to shop around before I settle.

ABS gold sheath, $162. This dress is classic and simple; the high hemline would tempt me into wearing it with knee-high black leather boots for an edgier evening look.



Alexia Admor copper lace dress, $147. Although it looks demure in the front, the back has a very deep V. This dress definitely requires a specialty bra to pull it off, but it would look great with a long string of knotted pearls, a black envelope clutch, and round-toed black pumps.



BCBG red jersey dress, $120. I don't consider jersey to be as evening appropriate as silk, satin, or chiffon, but the elaborate pintucks in this dress make it a bit fancier than run-of-the-mill jersey numbers.



Betsey Johnson sequined dress, $150. Girly but not at all frilly is the best way to sum up this dress. A cute cardigan, bolero sweater, or faux fur capelet can keep those bare shoulders from getting chilled at the office Christmas party.



Design History embroidered jersey dress, $60. What else can I say except this dress is really cute and a total bargain?



Tadashi lace cummerbund halter dress, $170. This shade of fuschia would look great against darker skin tones. Out of all the dresses in this post, I think this one and the Wendy Katlen bubble dress are my favourites.



Wendy Katlen electric blue satin bubble dress, $168. I know, I know...bubble skirts seem kind of ridiculously trendy and like a flash in the pan, but there's something so appealing about this dress. Can it be the crisp clean silhouette and pintucks in just the right places? The satiny electric blue material? The girly black bow sash? Whatever it is, this dress has me hypnotized. Besides, when you think about it, a bubble skirt is just an alterna-A-line skirt.



Y Yigal dress, $128. Again, the bright colour will look great against darker skin tones.

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