2011-03-29

Fashionably Too Late

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Shirt? Ali & Kris, Winners Sweater? Gap and thrifted Jeans? Gap Necklace and hat? Banana Republic Boots? Winners Fur muff? Consignment store that has been out of business for years...


Remember this post? No need to reread it (unless you are on company time)... I can sum it up for you. Basically, I went to bed when it was spring and I woke up (or got woken up far too early by a work phone call...) and it was still winter. I might as well have saved my bitching because last week it happened again, except this time the snow fall was much worse and the cold snap still hasn't really lifted. But as my winter weather whining quota is used up, I shall take this opportunity to be positive and think about happy things.


Like this plaid shirt, which was $3 in final clearance.


Like the fact that someone left a great lawn chair at the construction site which ended up being really handy...for taking government mandated breaks during outfit pics and stuff...


Like the presence of Diet Coke in my fridge and chili dark chocolate (don't knock it until you try it) in my cupboard.


I feel better already. Though I wouldn't mind it if spring would stop being so fashionably late... being thankful for the little things is hard work.


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2011-03-28

Seams like a Big Deal

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Skirt? Donna Karan Collection, thrifted

Clutch? Thrifted

Blouse? I.D. by Marquis (?), Winners

Shoes? I.D. Browns

Earrings? Gift from my ladyfriend Linda


Sometimes I feel like I need to stop bragging about my thrift finds. But then I find something stellar and I just can't. shut. up. That's OK, you may brag about your delicious home made cupcakes and about JR's perfect spelling test and I shall brag about thrifting and Stella's (the cat) fetching skills.


I found this skirt in the 2 minutes I had to scan the rack at the thrift store. I saw that the colour was saturated and even, so I grabbed it to take a second look. That's when I saw that the skirt was wool with silk trim and had some crazy seam work. Having lost far too many hours in pattern making class at school, I knew that the exposed and silk lined darts and the perfectly curved seams were the work of someone who paid a lot more attention in class than I ever did. I tried to take some good pictures of the seaming because that is genius work. Turns out the skirt is Donna Karan... Donna Karan Collection. You can link through and check out comparable prices. Make sure you are sitting down and your beverage is resting... Don't want to cause any accidents. The best part is that the skirt fits perfectly. No big deal. I get my custom fit designer clothing from a thrift store.


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(Ok, I realize there are some spacing issues, which, when I fix them just get worse. And I am running late... so sorry about that awkwardness.)

2011-03-26

Thrift Day. Cheaper is Gooder.

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(Picture taken by the multi-talented Merl (jewelry, photos, websites... what can't you do?)).

You know how to get yourself a long-sleeved, silk blend dress for free? Go thrift shopping with a friend, tell her that this dress will look so good on her and convince her to buy it. Wait a year for said dress to show up in a box of swap clothing circulating around the friends, take the dress and laugh wickedly. I did put a little effort in because all the hems had come undone and I moved the closures for a better fit but besides that effort, I essentially scammed a dress out of a friend. Go me!

If you are unwilling to build your closet on the backs of friends there are ways to get clothing in cost efficient manner. Some say cost efficient, some say cheap.

The word cheap is a funny thing. I grew up in a Dutch Canadian community and I think in many ways 'cheap' was used as an insult. Many of our parents or grandparents immigrated to Canada and had very little, so being very careful with money was survival tactic. It became one of the character traits associated with being a Dutch immigrant but now I feel like we are working very hard to avoid the labelling given to our forefathers. In my opinion, if you pay your portion of a joint dinner bill but don't factor in the tip or the taxes, you are a jerk (seriously, if you do this we can't be friends, sorry) but if you clip coupons for those diapers and go to garage sales to decorate your house, you are a smarty.

In and of itself, thrifting is a money conscious activity. Yet your bill can accumulate quickly... maybe Kyla can find things at her local Goodwill for $0.30 but most places run considerably higher than that. And it's not a secret that thrift prices are creeping up.... grrrrrr. Hence, it is important to take advantage of every deal that may come your way as you shop your feelings in the thrift store.

1. Brave the crowds at the 50% off days. Almost every thrift shop has 50% off days (or even better, in Texas we found one that had March as their 50% month. I need a green card.) and while the craziness of the day may turn you away, it's worth putting up with the hassle. It's 50% off everything!!!! Wear comfy, easily layered clothing (so you can try stuff on in front of any available mirror space and not wait in line for the change room) and if at all possible, arrive at opening time. If you are a conservative thrift shopper, now is the time to take some chances and try some new styles. I admit, every time I have woken up early to be at the thrift store for its 50% off day, I have never had the epic success I have had other days. However... two of my favourite dresses have come from these sales...

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2. Take advantage of any promotions offered by your favourite thrift stores. Every thrift store has their own set of promotions. Some stores sell coupon calendars, others offer student and senior discounts (one for me and one for Matt), and some will give you 20% off your next purchase if you drop off your grandmother's heirlooms. OK, don't do that. Or do that and message me promptly afterwards so I can buy them.
I shop at Talize a lot and I always donate a bag of clothing every time I go (yes, in a fit of organization, I made several good sized donation bags and left them in the front closet), so I always get a coupon for $5 off a $25 purchase. I am also enrolled in night school so I flash my student discount card at every opportunity. Unless, there is a 50% sale, my student card gets me 10% off everything and it can be used with other promotions.
You need to check out any discounts offered at your favourite thrift stores and take advantage of them!

3. Just ask for it! I have no idea who opened my eyes to the concept that it is OK to ask for a discount at the thrift store. I may have to credit Matt because what thrifting is to me, is what bargaining is to him. It is important check over any of your picks for stains, holes or missing buttons. If the issue can be fixed (without much effort... be realistic about this or you end up with a closet full of stuff to fix like...ahem... me) then most stores will offer a percantage off the price. But most importantly, ask for a discount on the bigger ticket items. Sometimes, I will find something that has been priced high for good reason but I still feel uncomfortable paying that much at a thrift store. In that case, I will politely ask if there is any budging on the price. I don't haggle or hassle, I just say that I really like the item but I am not ready to pay that much. And that's just the truth.

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I found this Roots purse in the Talize showcase for $35. For a vintage, leather Roots purse, it is not an unfair price but it's hard to pay that much at Talize. I worked at Roots when I was in University and I love that it is a Canadian brand so I knew that purse wanted to come home with me. I just asked the lady if there was anything she could do about the price. The purse had just been put on the floor but she ended up giving it to me for $30 plus my usual discounts (coupons and student discount). Was it still more expensive than I usually pay? Yes, but I don't usually find vintage Roots at the thrift store. You might not get any discount but it is always worth asking.

(And I apologize that I have been on Thrift Thursday hiatus. When it gets busy, they are the first posts to go because they take up a lot of brain power (it's the serious talk that makes it take a lot of time). I was all set to go for this week when we got socked with a major snow storm that took my sleep and your Thrift Thursday. But I am back in the game... I just need to find a way to claim my thrifting when I do my taxes. It's all research baby!)

2011-03-22

Guns, Kardashians and Sophistication

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Jumpsuit? Zara
Purse? Thrifted
Shoes? Zara
Necklace? Banana Republic
Gun sign? c/o Texas


For years I thought that jumpsuits were better left to the Kardashian sisters... turns out they are best left on Zara clearance racks. Left there just long enough that the price warrants a second look and then curiosity got the better of me and I decided to try them on. At that point I did something I have never done before and I did the whole 'send a pic to your friend to ask for her validation' thing... And she first textually reprimanded me for my occasionally excessive shopping (ok, she may be on to something there) and then told me that the jumpsuit was good and I had to get it. I aim to please...

This was what I wore when Kendi and I raided the local thrift stores down in Texas. At the animal shelter thrift store, the one sweet lady told us that she comes in for her volunteer shift early just so she can hang with the resident cats and later, she told Kendi privately that I was sophisticated. It's too bad that Kendi didn't tell me this compliment until after had we left... a fellow cat lady who flatters would have made a good friend. I'm sure if I had messaged her the changeroom picture of the jumpsuit, she would have skipped the reprimand and headed right for flattery.

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It appears I am using cheap tricks to lure you in... This may be the world's worst gif but it made me laugh... and it kind of makes me dizzy when I look at it too long. Not that I spend too long looking at my own gif... aaaannnnddd... I'll just stop now...

2011-03-21

Google Tips

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Apricot pants? h&m
Silk shirt? Thrifted
Necklace? Borrowed permanently from my Mama (with her permission!)
Shoes? Dumond
Trench? Mackage, Winners
Calfskin purse? Winners

The last time that magazines and trend reports were yelling 'colour blocking!'and 'spring brights!' at us, I was in the middle of my university years. I distinctly remember the mall being over-run with mannequins wearing bright blue tube tops under hot pink mesh tees. Does anyone else remember this particular style or was it just a Canadian Urban Behaviour kind-of thing? I tried to google this look so everyone could experience the awesomeness but like usual, I goggle weird things that always end up taking an awkward turn. Pro tip: Don't google black booties and mesh tops.

At the time, I managed to resist the tube top and mesh overlay but I still jumped on that colour trend train. I recall A LOT of pink, a pair of banana shoes (described here) and a tight neon yellow top that I loved to wear with my low-rise, stretchy Levi's. I think I like my 2011 version of colour blocking better... though this look might not bring all the boys to the yard like my yellow top and low rise jeans did...
That's OK. This look did bring the best boy of all to the school yard to take these photos. Winning.

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2011-03-19

Cram

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Emily, Lisa, Amanda and Merl. These kids were top notch. I didn't know Lisa before this weekend but I knew if she could handle a road trip with these ladies, she was cool beans.

If I were to describe my week in Texas and the weekend participating in the TSCC in one word, it would be fun. I spent two days after that week recovering at home, thinking that this might be the most massive hangover of my life but I was relieved to find out I was just sick. Yes, I was relieved to be sick because massive hangovers can only be the sign of one thing... I am getting older.

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The Skeens. They are real sweet... I can't say real now without Kendi's accent getting in the way.

This last weekend was the first time I ever met another fashion blogger. I have been doing this fashion blogging thing for two years and it is only now that I have proof that this most special breed of humans exists. I met Kendi and Bryan the first night that Matt and I got to Texas. Kendi and I gabbed our faces off, fell in love and had our first fight within 24 hours (she tweeted my most hated words, nom, nom, nom at me just to set me off). The second night we headed off to the swap and as we drove by the location before finding a parking spot, we caught a glimpse of Suze and Erin's noticeable and fantastic hairs and had that moment of panic. Are these Internet relationships going to pan out in real life? In real life my forehead wrinkle is more pronounced, my language is saltier and my opinions are stronger. But it didn't matter because by the time the whirlwind of the swap was over, I felt like I belonged. Isn't that so sweet that you have a toothache? And meeting an awesome group of women was, hands down, the best part of the whole weekend.

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Lisa and Merl. Surprisingly we didn't do a lot of this... you know, taking outfit pictures.

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Matt and Merl talking politics for a long time. I told Matt that opinions were for losers and his role was simply eye candy but then the conversation turned to unions...

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I wanted a picture with the pedicab driver, OK?

I have to say that no one really surprised me, which was good. I certainly met some awesome new people (and their patient husbands...) and I was excited to check out their stake in the www universe but from the people that I followed beforehand, I got exactly what I expected. And because we already 'knew' each other from our blogs, we didn't waste a lot of time on polite words but skipped right to the sarcasm and deep conversation. I am thrilled to call such stylish, smart and sassy (haha...sassy is a funny word) my friends. And be it negative or positive, people were represented pretty accurately by their blogs. And that's the beauty of fashion blogs... though there are things that bind us together (namely pigeon toes, cupcakes and twitter), there are many things that set us apart. There is room in fashion blogging for the angsty, the over-sharer, the sweet, the snarky... The thing that attracts one person to my blog may be the thing that turns others away.

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Awww... I love this girl. She is fearless, sweet and has a garage full of clothes. We are picking a sunset to run off into together.

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I have been following Erin's blog (and by extension, life) for about 2 years. She is crazy fun! And rocks at karaoke! Elissa is also a newer find but she loves sequins so I knew we would be cool... The photobombing is pretty good too...

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Jen and Kendi in the pedi-cab. Even though it kinda looks like Jen is giving me the finger, I assure you both of these ladies are super.

The conference itself was well-planned and casual. I haven't been to any of the other fashion blogger conferences but the casual vibe led to conversations that went past the business card exchange. Personally, I found the panel day a little frustrating. Not like the panellists weren't well-chosen or well-spoken but the focus of most of the day (not all of the day... don't jump on that) was skewed towards taking your blog to a professional level. That was frustrating because I think many people start a blog thinking about sponsorships before they think about content. There are certainly successful and talented bloggers out there who can make it a full time gig and it is good to aspire to their success but figure out your own voice first (getting preachy here). There are also certainly many great fashion bloggers who have no plans on ever becoming professional, and what fashion blogging means outside of getting free clothes and side bar ads is not often discussed. And though up until now, I have been sponsor free, I can't say that it will always stay like that...who knows what the future holds and what opportunities may arise... However, that doesn't mean that my last two years of unpaid Internet yammering has meant nothing. Meh, maybe it is meaningless..:)

I am sure I could go on and on about the TSCC events but I am trying to be concise and wrap it up within one post. I didn't take enough pictures (at all!) of all the days and nights and the wonderful people, so I just tried to give an honest post of the overall weekend. It's hard to say all you want in one little post; to give opinions on all the panels, to tell the funny stories and inside jokes, togush over some people but I don't want to be still writing the wrap-ups in July. Most of my spare time in July has already been pre-booked with cat snuggling and full leg shaving (as opposed to this) anyways. But if you are a fashion blogger, know this... there are some pretty awesome girls in your peer group.

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Amanda, Jessie, Merl, Emily, Kendi, me, Rach and Amy . Like how I just mentioned a group of awesome girls and I then post a picture including myself?

2011-03-17

Carry On

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Dress? Thrifted
Jacket? Zara
Boots? Winners
Bag? Thrifted and gifted by my Mama
Necklace? h&m

My Mom found this huge leather bag at a garage sale and by Christmas time she was so worn down by my constant badgering, that she gave it to me. I decided to use it as my carry-on for our trip to Texas because it would make her proud and because I thought it made me look cool. Yeah, I did... walk through the airport with my pretty, giant bag on a limp forearm acting as if I like my coffees extra large and my sunglasses extra dark. I'm a staarrr, dahling! But as much as I liked that bag for making my butt look small in comparison; it was also too easy to throw a crap load of stuff into the abyss, resulting in a very heavy bag. And I couldn't let Matt help out and carry it because I am the staaarrr, not him... Now, though my back is killing me, my star power is still intact.

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And this is the part where we took awkward and hilarious photos of myself trying to stuff Kendi in my bag (that doesn't sound right). We were trying to show how ridiculously large the bag is but unconsciously, I was seeing if she could have come along as carry-on back to this north land. It's easy to see from her blog that she is pretty, stylish and witty but in real life, she is even more put together, incredibly encouraging and funny to the point of crossing the line. It would have been easier to have just remained Internet lovers but now we've met. And now I know I have a bestie who lives a country and a green card away. Life was simpler before I started a blog.

2011-03-15

Snap

It's funny how you go to a blogging style conference and you get so busy talking to people in real life that you have no time to blog. Clearly my priorities are not in order. Less deep conversations, more posing...
I am actually still in Texas, relaxing with the Everyday clan. I have just a few more days of over discussing fashion blogging before I return to my Jentine Everyday life. A life where I just pretend fashion blogging is either not a part of my life (liar!) or that it's just some little hobby I do...
And I have lots of outfit posts ready to go and some thoughts on the TSCC but until then I have for you the best photo of the weekend.

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I might not have a crazy camera (awwwww.... your lens is bigger than mine), great photography skills or a picture of Conan O' Brien (who Matt did see this weekend) but this is Klassic. With a K.

2011-03-09

The Grump

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Bomber? Cost Blanca
Vest? Talie, Winners
Sequin sweater? Thrifted
Jeans? Gap
Boots? Winners
Collar? Given by a friend's grandmother
Bag? Roots

This last weekend when I got the call at 2 a.m. to go snow clearing, I muttered many bad words under my breath. I knew the call was coming; The Weather Network got it right this time, but I was living in denial. Last week I exposed a little glimpse of feet to Mr. Golden Sun, the snow all melted and I got pretty excited. That night when I went to bed at 11:30 p.m. it was pouring rain and then when I got the call at 2 a.m. there was enough snow to plow. Curses... I admit I was grumpy.

I like to think that most of the time I am a pretty even keeled but there are those (occasional?) moments when the grumpiness arrives and it's all encompassing. The funny thing is that when The Grump sets in, I want to laugh at myself for being completely unreasonable but I can't manage a laugh until the mood lifts. For the sake of others I try to sequester myself until The Grump is over. It's better that way. If you are around I might just get mad at you for smiling ... or for breathing.

And so, waking up that morning to the return of winter did put me in a mood but I just got into my truck and let the soothing melodies of Britney work their magic. And you know what winter? I might be sick of you but I still got some tricks up my layered sleeves. You won't put me in a style rut. You might make my company unbearable but I will be looking stylish in my self imposed solitary confinement.

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