Sample Killah – Week 3

Uh, so this is an embarrassing post. See that one folie of toothpaste. Well, there’s supposed to be three but my husband was “helping” and threw the other two away. Still. Three. Kalyn had a bad week and still posted like 20+. Oh well. On the bright side, I have super white teeth, it’s actually impressive.

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Happy Shopping!

Nail Polish Canada 200 polishes giveaway

Want to win 200 polishes? I know I sure do. Lucky for us, Nail Polish Canada is giving away up to 200 polishes in their Great Polish Giveaway of 2014. So far some really gorgeous stuff has been added to the pot including Sugar Fix by NCLA, Electric Circus by Cirque and Candy Mountain by Rainbow Honey.

So, the way the contest works is that bloggers (like yours truly) nominate polishes they would like to see in the giveaway and we can host extra entries on the blog for the giveaway. So I nominated Fairy Dust by China Glaze. I have loved it since Lipsticks and Lullabies wrote about it in her A Few of My Favourite Things post. Then she used it in the following manis (both pictures used with permission):

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Can you say gorgeous? I wish I had it to be able to swatch it for you but lusting after it together is just as good, right?? lol

Head over to Nail Polish Canada and enter there: link. And don’t forget to enter in the Rafflecopter widget below. Happy Shopping and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Kalyn Lord’s #samplekillah

I’ve mentioned before how much I love Kalyn Lord’s biting wit and honest makeup reviews. Join me in entering her Sample Killah contest. During the month of July she challenges us all to use up the many, many samples that we’ve accumulated over the year.

Sadly I did a big bathroom clean last month and threw away a bunch of samples. I also have a sneaking suspicion that my husband threw away a bunch too cuz this is all I have right now:

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Seriously, not much. I was even looking forward to the sample that I would get with my Sephora purchase the other day and the clerk gave me men’s fragrance. Talk about a let down!

Lucky for me it doesn’t matter how many samples you have during the challenge, just that you have some and you use them up.

How many samples do you have? Are you entering Kalyn Lord’s #samplekillah? Happy Shopping!

 

Call Me Beautiful, Or Don’t, Whatever

So, hopefully there will be a TRF later today. Instead of writing about shopping, I’ve spent the past two days working on my response to this article: Don’t Call Me Beautiful. I’m still soul-searching about why this bothers me so much but I would truly love some thoughtful feedback on whether you agree with me or the author or have a differing view entirely.

 
 
My gorgeous friend posted this article on Facebook with the words,

I made a point awhile ago to stop wearing makeup unless the moment struck me, to stop focusing on whether my outfit was ‘pretty’ or ‘feminine’ enough for whatever occasion I happened to be dressing for. To my surprise, the most telling result of this has been that when I look at pictures of myself, I look happier, more at ease and in general, I like them more.
And just to be 100% clear, this is not something I  think speaks for everyone nor should it. This is something that I personally struggled with for a VERY long time throughout my teenage years and the better part of my 20s. Learning to let go of these expectations is a constant struggle but a freeing one.

Now I would guess that we are about the same age (early 30s) and growing up in the 90s she would have been considered beautiful: tall, blonde, classic features. Me… not so much. I am short, wore glasses, had braces in my early 20s and always carried around about 15 lbs more than I wanted to. I wasn’t ugly but did not consider myself pretty.

After I got my braces off, I started to feel pretty. I finally liked the pictures I saw of myself and I began to smile bigger and bigger for each picture. Those teeth, and in turn my smile, was gorgeous and it lit up my face. People started commenting on how photogenic I was.

And I have always loved makeup. My parents gave me my first small palatte of eyeshadows at 11 with rules about when I could wear it (at home, at special events, not at school or grandma and grandpa’s) and it began a lifelong relationship with ways to paint my face and I have loved every minute of it. When we were 16, when my friends were buying Bonne Bell lipsmackers, I was at the Lancome counter and eventually found my way to MAC which I still frequent to this day.

I have some problems with the article [as I edit this, there is almost 1500 words – ‘some’ problems might be an understatement]. I mean, the author was filled with self-loathing on the days she didn’t feel beautiful?! I’m not trying to downplay her feelings or anything but isn’t that a little harsh on yourself? There’s days when everything works and there’s days when everything doesn’t. Sometime you gotta put on your best smile and say “F*** It! I’m gonna pretend I like it this way!” and head out the door anyways. As I type this there is a stain on my skirt because I dropped my lunch on it. I can’t allow something like that, or that my hair desperately needs a haircut, to ruin my day.

If I wasn’t beautiful, how could I put my best self forward? How could I designate myself as worthy of someone’s time?

Um, you are always worthy of someone’s time, whether you put on a full face of makeup or walked out the door without brushing your hair. I would say this points to self-esteem issues that have nothing to do with makeup or beauty, just accepting yourself for who you are. And rejecting those people who try to convince you otherwise.

There is a familiar anxiety that runs throughout all of these movements, however – the idea that all women must feel beautiful.

The idea that if you don’t feel beautiful, you’ll be miserable without any self-esteem.
In that sense, not feeling beautiful becomes almost threatening.

Which prompts the question: Why? Why should women be obligated to feel beautiful? And what happens when we consider that fact that beauty may not matter?

REALLY? My self-esteem comes from my skills, my smarts, my personality, my husband, my child, my parents, my job AND THEN my beauty. If I didn’t have it, would I never have self-esteem?? I don’t think that’s true. And no, women don’t have to feel beautiful if they don’t want to but to be comfortable with themselves. To accept who they are, that’s all I want for my friends, my clients and the other women in the world.

This one is pretty common sense. If the first thing you routinely think to say to a woman is something about her looks, we’ve got issues.

Do we have issues?? I can tell on the street if someone has good fashion sense and I can compliment that. But I’m sure as hell not gonna walk up to random strangers and tell them they are smart. First of all, they are going to think I’m nuts and secondly, I don’t know that they are.

You might be well aware of unattainable beauty standards. You could feel the need to constantly remind women of their beauty to make them feel good about themselves.
The problem is that beauty can often be inherently reductionist. Imagine how it feels to have all of your accomplishments superseded by your appearance on a daily basis.

I don’t know how that feels. Do you?? Are you really telling me that it doesn’t matter to your boss or your mom that you are smart or good at your job? They would continue to comment on your hair or your outfit? I highly doubt it. I will find a supermodel and ask her.

We need to start teaching ourselves that womanhood doesn’t constantly need validation. My womanhood can thrive without your approval. Further, my womanhood comprises a hell of a lot more than my fashion sense.

You are right. You don’t need my approval at all. And I don’t need yours. But I am always happy to lend a hand with fashion sense.

Womanhood and femininity are not inextricably intertwined, contrary to popular belief. You don’t need to be feminine to feel like a woman, and you certainly don’t have to be beautiful to feel like a woman.

I feel like the author keeps getting beauty mixed up with comfort. Women don’t have to be beautiful or feel beautiful. They do have to be comfortable with themselves, whatever that means to them. I wrote this post a couple of months ago on having a moment where I looked in the mirror and accepted the person staring back at me. Sure, I would love to lose a few more lbs and be a few inches taller but those things don’t define who I am.

I always felt uncomfortable thanking people for calling me beautiful because it seemed to indirectly reinforce the behavior by giving the impression that I was insecure. Instead, without thinking about it, I began to reply to “you’re beautiful” with a joyful, minimally sarcastic “Thanks, I know”.

This quirk produced quite a few chuckles initially, but it also steered the conversation in another direction because I was able to reclaim my right to validate myself and take appearance off the table.

This comment really bothers me. What happened to being gracious? Who wants to be friends with someone who every time you pay them a compliment gives you a snotty answer and refuses to compliment you back? Maybe I’m not understanding the audience. Are complete strangers telling you you’re beautiful? Your  co-workers or your boss? Please explain this to me.

Yet again, there is a nagging insistence that we always have to find beauty in everything and that there has to be something analogous to beauty in every situation to make a person whole, especially in regard to women.

Can I have a “for instance”? I really don’t understand this comment at all.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be beautiful as long as you don’t allow society’s definitions to overwhelm you or make you doubt yourself.

Here is where the author and I finally agree on something. I feel that the author has often felt this way and I’m sorry that she has. I’m not judging but by her picture she looks young (yes, I know I’m not so old either) and maybe time will help with her confidence in life and she will feel less like she needs to use her looks to explain her presence and make herself worth of someone else’s time.

I reject all the “alternatives” she gives to say in place of this. None of them would be appropriate in the workplace. I already respect the women I work with and my attitude shows that. Saying things like, “I admire the energy you contribute” comes off as condescending, especially if your co-worker is older than you.

And my friend, the one who initially posted the article, she will always be beautiful, whether she wears a pantsuit or a dress, does her makeup or doesn’t comb her hair. I think both she and the author need to accept that this is part of themselves that people are always going to comment on and that part needs to be accepted just as much as the rest of themselves.

What do you think? I am very interested in thoughtful comments that spark debate. Derogatory or unhelpful comments will be deleted. Thanks and Happy Shopping!

Spring SampleSource box

My SampleSource box arrived in the nail last week! SampleSource is a website that lets you choose samples and mails them out to you. I believe they do this twice per year (spring and fall). So much fun to get a pkg full of goodies that you don’t have to pay for!

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This time was a really great box! Included in mine was:

Twistos (Asiago flavour)

Aquafresh Extreme Clean toothpaste

Jergens Natural Glow lotion

Burt’s Bees Intensity Hydration

Frizz Ease Thermal Protection Serum

Harvest Crunch Granola Bar (Quinoa Chocolate Nut Medley)

Hersey’s Whole Almond Bar

Frizz Ease Dream Curls (Shampoo, Conditioner and Calming Creme)

Sunlight Dishwasher Tabs

Coupon for full-size Tropicana Farmstand Juice

You should head over and sign up to be included in the people that gets the fall box. Happy Shopping!

Keds and Kate Spade

I love collaborations. As I type this I’m wearing one of Sarah Stevenson’s pieces for Target. And Prom Queen blush from the Veronica and Betty collection that MAC did a couple of seasons ago.

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Here is a sample of my favourite shoes from the newly released Keds and Kate Spade collection exclusively at Town Shoes. Enjoy!

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Which one is your favourite? Happy Shopping!

A few of my favourite blogs

Here are a few of my favourite blogs.

Lipsticks and Lullabies – not only is this woman my BFF (IRL), I would love her anyways for her quirky and detailed makeup posts. I thought I was a makeup junkie until she started blogging, then I realized I was just an amateur. I love her Mani Mondays and Weekly Highlights. I have two favourite post of hers are Our Favourite Childrens’ Books and A Few of My Favourite Things – Makeup and Manis.

Bakingdom is a baking blog I found years ago. Darla makes gorgeous baked goods and I am constantly referencing her website when I want to bake something special. Some of my favourites include pretzelspizzathis icing (not too sweet, kind of whip cream-y), buns, and chocolate sheet cake (only make this for a group or you WILL eat the entire thing yourself – I heard, not that I know from experience ;). She does have a strange preoccupation with putting bacon in her baking. I’m not really on board with any of those recipes. She swears they are yummy. To each their own. Cautionary note: While she does have some gluten-free and dairy-free recipes, I would not put her recipes in a healthy category. Yummy, yes. Healthy, no.

Barbells and Bellinis – This is a blog I would definitely put in a healthy category. As someone who eats low-carb, I find her recipes (mostly) fit in with my food choices and lifestyle. One of my absolute favourite is the BBQ Chicken Pizza Stuffed Chicken. YUM! All the tastes of a BBQ chicken pizza without the carbs of the pizza crust. I have also tried Buttermilk Chive Roasted ChickenThai Chicken Tacos and Spaghetti Squash and Asparagus Casserole and they have all been delicious. Plus she has inspiring (and totally dauting) workouts.

Cake Wrecks is a hilarious blog of a husband and wife team who make fun of professionally decorated cakes. Every Sunday they mix it up with Sunday Sweets – some of the most gorgeous cakes you will ever see. And keep in mind, it all started with this post.

The PolishAholic is a great nail polish review blog. And she posts daily (something I still aspire to). I never really thought about nail polish a lot before reading her blog and now I’m glad someone is out there trying all the nail polishes and posting great pictures so I can see before I buy. I have started a running list of polishes that I love from her blog so I can pick them up in the store when I find them. Love it!

Many of you probably don’t know this but I knit in my spare time (what little I have now). I love to make my own wooly accessories and clothing. Any other fibre-working lover out there should read the Yarn Harlot. This middle-aged woman has written nine hilarious books about knitting and people and people knitting. She can also pound out projects faster than anyone I know (even my grandma, who at 91 has all the free time in the world to spend knitting). I’m still working on the same pair of socks and legwarmers since Christmas!

We Wore What is one of my favourite daily fashion blogs. While I would never wear any of the things that Danielle wears (she is more boy-meets-girl and I am more glam girly), I love that she mixes in unconventional items with her outfits. Take this outfit where she pairs a utility suit (read: overalls) with high-heeled Jimmy Choo booties and a quilted Chanel purse. Something I would never wear but I’m glad someone somewhere is.

Okay, I’ve probably given you enough links to click to keep you reading for awhile. What is your favourite blog (besides mine, of course ;). Happy Shopping!

This is me and I’m okay with that

I was telling this story to a friend of mine and she exclaimed, “You should write about THAT on your blog. A lot of people use fashion to hide who they are. I think people would be interested to know that you use it to emphasize who your qualities.” So, here we go. The day I learned I really accepted myself.

Sadly it was only a couple of months ago. I guess better now than later and definitely better now than never.

A friend of mine texted me on a Friday night:

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Yes, I lead such an exciting life.

So (once my nails were dry) I changed out of my yoga pants into some jeans and we went to Bar Italia. Not the trendiest spot ever but it’s within stumbling distance from my house which is always a desirable trait for a bar.

We had a few drinks and I went to the washroom. When I was washing my hands, another girl joined me at the sinks. She was tall, at least six to ten years younger than I am, impeccably done up, hair, makeup, a semi-dressy outfit. (Yes, she was totally over-dressed for Bar Italia – I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt that she was pre-gaming there and off to something way more glamourous after). Now keep in mind I haven’t done my hair or my makeup, still wearing whatever I had put on that morning to go to work. And I looked atmyself in the mirror: shorter, older, minimal makeup and not remotely glamourous (at that moment). And I thought, f*** it. I’m good with that reflection. I’m never going to be taller, and while I am working on losing the last of the baby weight, I am way too curvy to ever look like this girl. I have a great husband who loves me and a daughter I would move mountains for, I get paid to shop for other people and my full-time job is something I (normally) enjoy. Life is pretty great. And I wouldn’t trade that for being 5’10” or looking like a waif.

Happy Shopping!

 

Advice to Customer Service Specialists

Customer Service Specialist is a fancy title we had when I worked at Wal-mart (over 10 years ago, I’m sure they are still called that today). Specialist is definitely an overstatement. Specialist implies training and it feels like many of the people who work in the service industry lack training. Sure, they’ve been trained in how to serve your food or how to ring through your groceries but it sure feels like there needs to be sensitivity training and common sense training.

Here are my top 5 things that you shouldn’t say to customers. And let me tell you, any of these will almost guarantee that I will stop frequenting your store.

1. “Last week I had lots.”

This makes my blood boil when I hear this. I wasn’t here last week, I’m here now. I want to hear what you can do for me now, not what you could do for me last week. Show me a substitute item, tell me where I could go that might have the item in stock or tell me when you are getting more in. Solving my problem will guarantee me coming back to your store.

2. Guilting your customer. I see this over and over, in two different incarnations.

It happens when customers bring something back they didn’t love. Sadly, I did this when I worked in retail. I want to apologize to all those women, I would never do that now that I’ve had it happen to me. If customers bring something back, don’t go on and on about how it’s too bad they didn’t like it, how you know 500 other people who did like it and you love it but it’s just too bad that this person didn’t like it. Ask if there is anything you could do to fix it or find them something else that they would love. If not, quietly and pleasantly refund their money and they will probably be back to shop in your store.

The second way of guilting customers is prevalent in the beauty industry. I had a sugaring lady (way better than waxing, btw!) that always needed to know why you missed or rescheduled an appointment, making me feel guilty for missing even though I’d been seeing her every four to five weeks for two years. Obviously I was a loyal client. She badgered me so intensely after I canceled an appointment and didn’t reschedule for three weeks that I felt forced to tell her about my miscarriage. Talk about something she didn’t need to know. She didn’t even have the grace to be embarrased about it and continued on by making a rude comment about miscarriages that told me she had never been through one herself. I stopped seeing her soon after.

Recently, I’ve been shopping around for a new sugaring lady. I went for a bikini sugar last month and upon seeing my (stretch-marked) stomach, the lady asked me how many children I had. When I replied, one, she made a comment, “Only one?! You’re really wrecked.” Oh geez, thanks. Needless to say, I will be continuing my search.

3. Not greeting customers. Especially in small, independent stores.

Hey, you, in the corner. Yes, you. I see you there. You can pretend that stocking your store is the most important thing in the world but me and my daughter are the only ones in your f’ing establishment, lady, so the least you could do is say hi and maybe fawn over my baby a little bit. I don’t care if you are having a bad day and not saying hi or pretending to care that I’m there will mean I will never shop here again and encourage my friends not to either.

4. Not pricing things correctly or not pricing them at all.

I feel like this is just some ploy to get me to overspend. At one baby store, there aren’t always prices on everything. And when I ask how much things are, the saleswoman (who I know is the owner) quotes me one price but when I go to pay, she corrects herself, “Oh sorry, it’s actually more.” Once is an accident, twice is getting suspicious. I will no longer purchase anything in her store that isn’t specifically marked and always check my receipts before I leave.

Or, I won’t buy anything at all. If you can’t be bothered to price items then I can’t be bothered to buy them. And before you blast me for being too hard on small business owners, this has to happen in the same store more than twice during the same visit for me to give up on your altogether.

5. When I ask for help finding something and the salesperson asks me if it was on the shelf. Uh, if it was on the shelf, would I be asking you to help me find it? Or, I’m naked in the changeroom, can you stop checking your Facebook status for two minutes and go look for me?? While this is usually an interaction I have with younger service staff, it occasionally happens with a seasoned salesperson. It will generally make me turn around, swear at you under my breath, leave without purchasing anything and never return to your store.

Anything I’m missing? These are my biggest pet-peeves. And I didn’t really even touch on restaurant staff. (Hint, if I have to ask for a refill on my water, you aren’t getting a tip.)

What are your shopping peeves? Large retailers, independent business or the teenage staff at the mall? Happy Shopping!