How to update your wardrobe for fall

So, winter is coming and… haha, I mean, fall is coming. Hopefully winter will be far behind it. Anyways, it’s that wonderful season to pull out your leather (or faux, whichever you prefer) boots and your sweaters or even better, head out and start shopping for new fall items.

I know that can be pretty overwhelming to head out to stores and figure out what to buy and what’s in style this season. Some salespeople are great help but I have several clients who are worried they are going to be talked into some ridiculous fad that the salesperson insists they must own.

So, how do you navigate the stores and buy some pieces that you truly need? Here’s my plan to stay on target (and budget) this fall season:

1. Since you are already reading my blog, I’m going to tell you to read more blogs for inspiration. Canadian Fashionista is one I just found and We Wore What has lots of mens-wear-inspired and designer pieces.

2. Rip pictures out of magazines and create a little pinterest board for yourself.

3. Write a list, which sounds totally boring but I am desperate for a black tube skirt exactly like the 424 Fifth one in orange that I bought at Hudson’s Bay this summer. And if I don’t write a list I’m going to get totally derailed by something else beautiful and will forget.

4. Pre-shop on e-railers. I have had excellent experiences with Hudson’s Bay, Gap, Banana Republic, Joe Fresh and American Apparel . And all have free returns in store if you don’t like what you bought.

5. Head out to see what your local retailers are carrying. You are more likely to have original pieces and supporting local business is always good. Style Bar, Out of the Blue, Para Mix and October always have unique pieces and have great atmosphere with an easy, no-pressure sales team.

Here’s my list of things I need for this fall:

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And here’s some things I would love to buy if I had a million dollars:

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You probably noticed there’s a lot of black. Well my friends, black is the new black. You know how much I love colour and I will be sure to let you know if any colour emerges this season. So far tho, black on black, with black.

Still having trouble with this “shopping thing?” Gimme a shout at tiffany@tlcshopping.ca – I would love to give you a hand to figure out your own style for Fall 2014.

What are some of your favourite fashion blogs? I would love to hear, especially Canadian ones. Happy Shopping!

Online Holiday Shopping

I know i’ve covered online shopping before but I think that Christmas and the holiday season deserve it’s own post on the topic.

Many of you probably aren’t thinking about shopping yet. And some of you might be done. Most of you are probably in the middle somewhere, like I am. The Internet is a great place to do some research about the gifts you would like to buy either online or in your local retailer. Here’s some points to consider before pressing the “Check Out” button.

Shipping is the number one concern when shopping at Christmas. Any good website will have clearly posted a date that you need to order by for guaranteed delivery for Christmas. And be sure to read the fine print, as they list dates for large urban centres and rural addresses separately. Also note that free shipping with have a sooner date than overnight or priority shipping but those options will probably cost you a pretty penny. Be aware of any shipping charges before you finalize the transaction.

Sign up for emails from stores and companies that you are interested in buying their merchandise. Many have special deals and sales only for those who receive their emails. Banana Republic and the Gap are good examples of this. Hudson’s Bay is having a “one-day specials” sale and you can get the daily updates sent to your inbox. After Christmas or whenever you’ve bought your item, you can unsubscribe from the emails to stop receiving them.

If you collect Airmiles, check out Airmiles Shops. It’s a way to collect Airmiles while you shop online and there are a TON of retailers, even ones that allow you to collect online but not in the physical store. They also have bonus Airmiles if you shop online and games and contests where you can win even more Airmiles. Easy way to rack up Airmiles quickly and not spending any extra money. Some surprising retailers that you can collect Airmiles at only while shopping online: Apple Store; Coach Store; Starbucks Canada; Toms Canada; Lego Shop; and dozens of others.

I hope these are helpful tips for you while you do your holiday shopping. If you are thinking about shopping online for the season, it’s better to start early so all your gifts arrive before December 25th. Having trouble finding something or thinking of a gift? Give me a shout at tiffany@tlcshopping.ca. Any tips I missed? Leave a comment. Happy Shopping!

Random Wednesday

Sorry for not posting for awhile. I’ve been working on several blog posts but none are ready right now. So I thought I’d just post some random pictures of things I’ve bought and tried over the past couple of weeks.

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Baby gift I bought yesterday at Itty Bitty Baby. I could’ve bought EVERYTHING there. Love that place!

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Sally Hansen gel strips in Hooray Ombré. Such a gorgeous colour.

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A box I got in the mail full of fall separates.

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Invitations I got printed at Vistaprint for my daughter’s upcoming birthday party.

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A cute dress I bought in Fargo (at Sears) for my daughter’s upcoming birthday party.

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Mmmm… Can only buy these in the States and at Sugar Mountain. They should come with a warning label for being addictive.

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And finally, some amazing toffee made by my friend Cate. Small confession: this was supposed to be a picture of a full bag of toffee so you folks could see it but Doug and I had a taste and it was so yummy we ended up eating it all before I could take a pic. Sorry! You’ll just have to head over to Utoffeea for some mouth-watering pictures.

What have you been buying lately? Any back to school sales worth checking out? Happy Shopping!

 

I am made in Canada

Happy Canada Day everyone! As a proud Canadian, I figured this would be the perfect time to highlight some of my favourite Canadian websites and products.

First of all, when given the choice of two products of equal quality, I generally will choose the Canadian one, even if it is higher in price. I believe in shopping Canadian to keep jobs here in Canada (in Winnipeg is even better) and because I know that the workers that made my products are generally well-treated and fairly-paid. We enjoy an excellent standard of living in Canada, something that I think many of us take for granted. We enjoy an eight-hour work day and a forty-hour work week. We have minimum wage and labour standards. We have safe working conditions and government-sponsored programs like EI and Workers’ Compensation to help us when the unexpected circumstances come up. Now, this is not a debate about these programs or the state of Canada now, I’m just saying that in the scheme of things, we got it pretty good.

As a new mom, many of the companies I’m about to share with you are baby-related products. I’ve found them in the past year and have come to love them. Many of my friends will recognize the names as they have received baby gifts from these stores.

Itty Bitty Baby, AMP Diapers, Peachy Baby and Sling Sisters are four of my favourites. Not only are they Canadian but they are Manitoban!  Itty Bitty Baby makes the best quality sleepers I found. They are made of good-quality, pre-washed cotton and correctly sized (by lbs) for Canadian babies (Cally is a good-sized girl). Plus they are sooooo cute, I have to hold myself back from buying all the styles when I go there.

Cally wearing an Itty Bitty Baby sleeper with a hat my mom made her
Cally wearing an Itty Bitty Baby sleeper with a hat my mom made her

I’ll probably do another post about cloth diapers so I’ll just post a pic of my darling baby modelling hers. They are cute and super easy.

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Sling Sisters make cute and easy to use baby carriers and wet bags . Here’s Cally and I wearing our pouch sling which is our favourite carrier and we still use it to this day! (She is now 9 months and this pic was taken when she was about a month old).

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Baby Trekker another Manitoban company that I just found out about. I haven’t used their baby carrier yet but my friend gave them a glowing review.

Okay, now onto companies that aren’t baby related.

Canvas Pop is an Ottawa-based company that print your pics onto canvas with several mounting options. I’ve used them three times now and each picture is more fantastic than the last. The prints are stunning: super-vibrant colours and excellent detail.  Their website is extremely easy to use and they also will scan pictures for you if you don’t have a digital copy. They also just started this cool idea of making wallets out of canvas scraps – they look awesome!

Gelaskins is a company that I just found last week. They customized an amazing looking iPhone case for me with my new logo. I am so happy with it and it was here incredibly fast. I ordered on a Wednesday night and it was here on Monday! Their prices were very competitive and their site was easy to use, go and check them out!Gelaskin iPhone case

VistaPrint and Zazzle are two other companies that I’ve used for printing that are Canadian or subsidiaries.

I would have totally bought coloured laces for the groomsmen from Stolen Riches for our wedding but sadly I didn’t find out about them until after and then I didn’t need them anymore. Hopefully I’ll find an occasion that Doug will need coloured laces for his dress shoes yet!

And for my crafty friends, Sweet Georgia Yarns will send you the most sumptuous, beautiful yarn you can imagine in your life. They are based in Vancouver and they produce skeins that are a work of art.

I feel like I’m forgetting some, especially in the baby category. Please leave me a comment and let me know your favourite Canadian product(s). Happy Canada Day!

How to shop online

I frequently buy things on the internet. Gifts, clothing, shoes, a shelf for my back entrance, canvas prints, a customized cell phone case, electronics, media, all sorts of stuff. And for the most part I’m really happy with what I’ve gotten. Now don’t get me wrong, there are a couple of “oops!” items: the time I ordered some gorgeous B&W BCBG heels and didn’t read the heel height and ended up with 5″ stilettos (email me if you’re interested in taking them off my hands, lol); and the time I ordered a size M shirt for my husband not realizing he now wears a L (it went to my brother). But overall I like Internet shopping. I mean, what’s not to like about shopping in your pajamas and then getting mail. Since no one writes letters anymore, it’s the only interesting mail I get. Anyways, there are definitely some guidelines you should use when you’re shopping online.

First of all, if you are a newbie at this, first try shopping at a site that has a physical store that you are familiar with. Like Hudson’s Bay or Chapters or Home Depot. Somewhere that will take back your purchase at their physical store if you order the wrong thing. Paying for shipping to return something you incorrectly ordered is awful and will sour your online shopping experience.

Which leads me to the next guideline. Shipping. Check the shipping rates on every single website you shop at. There are no rules and what sounds like a great deal can quickly become expensive simply by not paying attention to shipping costs. Also, some companies will not ship to Canada so best to check this out right away. In some cases, you have to put the item in your cart and start the check out process before you can find out what shipping costs will be. Don’t ever buy anything without finding out how much shipping will cost.

Duty can be another surprise cost. Some companies will tally it up front for you but mostly you get a surprise bill either when it’s delivered or in the mail. If you are concerned about duty, try to shop at Canadian sites. Most sites will tell you in the About section where they are located. Another way to deal with duty is to have it shipped to a cross-border depot like Connie’s Depot.

The saying “Buyer Beware” applies doubly when shopping on the Internet. Read all the fine print when shopping somewhere new, ask friends for recommendations and trust your instincts. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

In my next post I’ll talk about how to buy clothing and shoes online and demystify this tricky bit of shopping.