Zara Dresses for Now and Then

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I went on a spree a while back and feel VERY happy that I did, since each item was selected in the hopes that it would fit now (then, several months back) and later (now, now).

One fave feature of Zara’s website is that you can search the sale section by size. Nothing was over $30 and every item can be tried on at home, returned in store – no questions asked, and you can source all the stock in one place (way better than going to several stores for hit-and-miss sizing).

Knowing a baby was in progress, I selected a few great, stretchy pieces. Thanks Zara!

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What is your go-to online shopping destination? Why is it your favourite? Any sites that you have tried and now avoid? How did you get burned?

Money-saving Mama

DIY

I’m a big fan of shopping, but I’m an even bigger fan of recycling and reducing. Especially when there’s a great deal to be found! So, as an expecting mom, how do I save money while preparing for our little one, and making sure we have all the essentials?

I’m anticipating the strain on our budget when I move from a full salary to EI; I’m sure that I’ll find more great ways to save, but for now, here are my top tips:

Reuse! I googled the maternity and baby stores in my area that buy and sell gently used items, and found that right around the corner for me was a great place: Once Upon A Child. I sold five or six items and they paid me cash. In turn, I browsed the racks and racks of adorable baby items, everything from clothes arranged by size and type, to mobiles and baby gates. For less than $30 I got:

Three sleep sacks, swaddles for $3-$5 each

Then, mixing and matching sizes, I grabbed 5 items for ten bucks from the ‘sleep’ section and ten for $10 clearance items; supplementing the wonderful gifts from our shower with these great finds will have our little babe well outfitted. Definitely see what is happening in your local area.

Next, check out Facebook Marketplace and online ‘Mommy Groups’. I got a lead on our stroller AND car seat, which my parents ended up offering to get us as our shower gift, still in the box, never used and with all the warranties and manufacture boxes checked for a cool $200, retailing online for $450. I’ve also been able to locate items from our registry at great prices, so if you happen to have your eye on a particular item, like I do on the Halo bassinet, scouring the Internet and checking reviews on the seller might lend you the item you’re looking for at way less than store price.

Amazon Prime. Save tons of money on your shipping, search for and save items to your wish list and get notifications when the prices go down, and when you create a registry you can get a 15% off completion discount if you decide to purchase items from your registry.

BUNZ it. What is BUNZ, you ask? It started as a local swap site in Toronto, but has expanded to many other major cities and suburbs. The motto is no cash, all trades. Sounds suspect? I have traded lamps I no longer wanted for laundry soap; pants that no longer fit for handbags; a cactus and succulent for picture frames. Now I have my sights set on trading items that of been cluttering up my basement for things like baby wipes. One person’s trash, as they say. Now BUNZ even has an app.

Sign up for store email lists, you can Always unsubscribe later! By registering at Thyme Maternity And Snugglebugz I received a whole bag full of samples:

Use gift cards, trade gift cards, enter raffles. If you have a gift certificate for The Keg, but you’re a vegetarian, why not trade it for one to Babies R Us?

Borrow from friends and accept hand-me-downs! This is especially great if you have parents or in-laws who might need to have items that they use in frequently, like car seats and play pens. Some very generous friends have given us items to keep at my moms house so that when we travel we won’t half to take an extra car seat for Nana to cart our little dude around.

One neat thing about our shower is that people know us really well, and knowing how much we love supporting local, we were gifted a store credit to use at an Etsy store where the owners make handmade baby accessories. So, I picked out three reversible bibs and a teething toy that is also a soother clip. Perfect! Shout out to Urban Rustic Baby Co.

Last but not least, see if your place of employ has a buy and sell for its members. As a teacher we have our own version of Kijiji. Here, from someone I assume it’s not a total creep as they work in the teaching profession, I was able to get a crib mattress, mattress cover and she threw in two sets of sheets … for $125. No kidding. She still had all the assembly instructions and because I picked it up at her house, I was able to see the immaculate place where the crib used to live and feel confident that it had a nice life prior to coming home with me.

That’s my two cents about saving a ton of money. If you have tips please post them in the comments. I am eager to learn!

Gift List

Indulge

For you and for yours. Here are some sure-to-be-a-hit items that might fill the stocking or heart of your special people during the holidays.

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Better than Bedazzling – this Popsocket is functional and pretty. Never drop your phone again, and prop it up to watch something hands-free. Popsockets. 

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Eberjey Violeta Short PJ Set, $102.00, available at Eberjey.

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Bambüsi Bamboo Bathtub Caddy Tray , $27.99, available at Amazon.

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Start fresh with a set of Juniper Ridge Smudge Sticks

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Perfect slide slippers from Anthropologie.com

 

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Uncommon Goods grilling baskets

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Daily Gratitude for your Loved One – Daily Love from Studio Penny Lane. http://www.studiopennylane.org/product_p/mjglnotes.htm

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Moxi Moxi Leather Roller Skates,$299.00, available at Urban Outfitters.

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Junebug and Darlin Nasty Woman Cross Stitch Kit, $20.00, available at Wildfang.

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Stuff a stocking with this calming nighttime pillow spray from Thisworks. http://www.thisworks.com/deep-sleep-pillow-spray.html#sthash.dBYuHwaF.dpbs

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Tech-love marries Nostalgia: Get a portable Instax printer for their phone… or yours.

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Gift Boutique Splash Tunes speaker for in-shower listening. https://www.shopbop.com/splash-tunes-bluetooth-speaker-gift/vp/v=1/1555090551.htm?folderID=13568&fm=other-shopbysize-viewall&os=false&colorId=11784

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USDA Organic Castor Oil – for face, hair and for lush lashes. I’d love this perfect stocking stuffer.

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Amazon Vegan Bath Bombs Kit,$19.98, available at Amazon.

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Something for EVERYONE – H&M 2-Pack Smartphone Gloves,$9.99, available at H&M.

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For the life-long learner: a book that piques their interest.

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A themed tea tree: Thirsty For Tea 

Get personal-ized with some Anthropologie lettered items, but caution- if you are in Canada or outside the US, beward the duties, tax and handling fees!

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Monogram pouches from Anthropologie.com

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I get compliments every time I wear my letter A, so I purchased one for each of my favourite ladies. Anthropologie.com

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Monogram treasure box from Anthropologie.com

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Monogram trinket dish from Anthropologie.com

My personal favourite: a piece that fills a gap in their closet. I have been coveting an oversized plaid blazer. I love this idea so much that I added it to my own wishlist AND added one to my cart when I was finishing a purchase online (to qualify for free shipping). A little bird told me by the time Christmas rolls around, I’ll have two. I just cannot wait.

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The perfect layering piece: Zara has some amazing oversized plaid blazers! 

 

What are you hoping to gift or receive this season? Share your ideas in the comments! Who do you find hardest to shop for?

*featured image from: https://www.instagram.com/p/BOP7xAODVz3/

Festive Customer Complaints

Indulge, Open Letters

I love getting into the spirit of giving, whether it’s giving back to the community, taping a Mariah Carey inspired “All I Want For Christmas …. is youuuuuuuuu” carpool karaoke video (for students to giggle at their teachers playing at late night stunts, or planning and wrapping the beautiful surprises that I hope will light up the faces of my friends and family.

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Anthropologie Lamb Ornament

Unfortunately, in our well-connected, cyber world, the ease is sometimes accompanied by glitches. Case in point: one of my go-to stores, Anthropologie, is usually a place I hit up in person, but the selection of baubles online is far better. Due to some site problems, I ended up finding out part of my order would ship separately, which sucks as a Canadian, with border agents charging a tax per package, flat rate. So, I wrote to Anthro:

Hopefully, in the holiday spirit, I get a solution, or at least they consider this problem for others in the future.

Question:

What stores have the best customer service that keeps you coming back?

What local shops and artists, or causes, are you supporting?

What stores have policies around this time of year that make you reluctant to shop there?

For the rest of December I’ll be posting festive gift lists, wish lists, holiday fashion and featuring hand-made and one-of-a-king artisans whose products are worth the investment.

Hi there, I’ve been a longtime fan of Anthro. Instead of a wedding registry, we made an Anthropologie wishlist. Needless to say, I’m a fan. I was hoping to spread some cheer by shopping for friends this year at Anthropologie online, and filled my cart. Your shipping to Canada is often fraught with problems, like unpredictable taxes and duties, and shipping costs. I figured I’d bite the bullet and go ahead. This time, however, an item that the site said it was available wasn’t. As a result, part of my order is to ship separately. The problem: Canadian customs bills us $10.00 for EVERY order they process. So, Anthropolgie having an out-of-date stock list is going to cost me $10… twice. The remaining necklace that I want is $38.00 and will end up costing me 25% of the cost of the item just to have it ship on its own. This is such an unfair burden to pass on to the customer since there was no notice from you that the item wasn’t available when I placed my order. What can you do to fix this?

Happy holidays to those who celebrate ambiguously, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa and Happy Hannukkah and wishing you a very Stylish, Merry and Bright season ahead!

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Anthropologie Penguin Ornaments

Yours Truly,  The Style Sa Vie

Wish I May, Wish I Might – A holiday list that’s surely a hit!

Indulge

For all the good folks on your list this year, consider some outside (or inside) of the box gift options. Don’t forget to get yourself a little something, too.

From home decor with some sparkle, to baubles for your own body…

From left to right: Target floor lamp, YYZ Imports necklace, Hammered Serving Tray, Coffee Table Book, Mix-and-match scents, Bralettes from Aerie, Lumee self-lighting selfie friendly phone case, sleep set from H&M, Board Games for Drinkers, IKEA white throw rug and cozy booties, pompom scarf, gorgeous patterned briefs from Toronto darlings – Nuvango.

Try a bold t-shirt that puts you firmly on the map. This ‘The Future is Female’ shirt was gifted to our adorable niece. Her dad (the father of three girls) wants one of his own!

For the person with everything: a hand-crafted treat – like this leather leash for their bestie, an ornate herb-chopping knife, sleep soothing machine, aux-naturel Burt’s Bees Lipstick, a decorative perch for the brights and sparklies, cellphone lanyard, statement purse with bees… from Zara, amazing flamingo print leggings from Nuvango, satin pajamas, snazzy ampersand cutting board; for the health and wellness guru – yoga block, mat and accessories. And more Nuvango marble-print leggings, for good measure.

Above, a nubby, fat woven textile; some R&R for the bath, or the booze; little extras that are shiny and bright, or add some personality (patches, hammered coasters and ice bucket from Target, shoe polishing kit, a book that has her name all over it).

What is on your wish list for the holiday?

Words of Wisdom: Fashion Edition

Open Letters

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I read this on Refinery29 and smiled:

“Clothing Shopping Mistakes: “The Too-Small Thing (That Fits If You Haven’t Had Lunch Yet & As Long As You Don’t Breathe)”. News flash: You like lunch. And breathing. Buying clothes that don’t fit with the assumption that they may fit if you do a bunch of things that aren’t that fun is a terrible idea. There will always be another version of that item in your actual size. You can wait.”

On that note, as someone who loves clothes, I cringe a little as I recognize the traps we create in ‘justification land.’

I feel like I have this problem with coats … and shorts. I always envision myself being this kickass person with the perfect, polished winter coat. I usually buy a discounted version of the coat I really want and end up not loving it, while secretly envying other people’s amazing outerwear. I need to learn to hold off. I need to cull and then just wait for the perfect coat… not its kid sister.

I have the same problem with shorts and leg-revealing items, but worse. I trick myself into thinking that if I just buy the right pair of shorts,.. I will be a person who likes to wear/looks good in shorts. Buying the right pair of shorts will not change my legs. Only eating less cheesecake, drinking less wine and working out more will change them; and I’m not sure that the sacrifices I’d have to make to get those legs (ie. living without the joys of eating delicious desserts) would actually be worth having those model-esque legs… or make me the kind of person I’d enjoy being around. So, rather than envision and be tormented by clothes that fit a “better” version of me – a deluded, unrealistic version – I should focus on wearing the clothes that make me feel great NOW. I’ve been going to Polefit (more on that another time) and it has totally changed my relationship with my thighs; I can now go to the gym in shorts and be proud of how hard my legs work for me. Win.

Although it would be kind of nice if just buying the shorts Shay Mitchell is wearing on Instagram made me look like Shay Mitchell…

But clothes, for me, are like a superhero costume – items that send a message out into the world, transforming and arming the wearer, concealing tiny weaknesses (our personal kryptonite) and letting us putting on a braver face to the world. It’s not quite an ‘I woke up like this,’ as much as a ‘I created the me before you. Good work, me!’

If I spend too long living in fashion ‘future’, I will miss fun present. I have a great collection of well-worn faves, vintage, hand-me-downs, handmade items and a mish-mash of pieces from contemporary stores, and making good with what I have has been the focus of this past year.

I want to be focused on enjoying my slice of life (and cake), while relishing the great assets that might I might be overlooking while considering my (mostly) shorts-averse pear shape. Also, when I do wear shorts, I ought to consider that the strength in these legs is what lets me do all the things I love, like dancing in the kitchen, walking the streets of foreign places, and shaking it to music out on the stage, or on the dance floor.

It’s a fashion mindfulness moment: be present. be happy.  and eat that cake.

Sale-ing Away

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Amidst my supremely unsatisfying stack of exams to mark, I escaped for a mini-vacation to the land of Anthroplogie-Sale-Rack. Here are the wonderful pieces that are just a fraction more accessible thanks to their declining price tags. I may just treat myself to an item to reward myself for reading over a thousand frantically scrawled pages of teenage handwriting.

4130089170142_041_b.jpg  Liet Shirtdress

4130317993784_041_b.jpgPutomayo Shift

4130320851088_014_b.jpg Orto Silk Maxi: still a soaring price, but so very, very pretty.

4130204596699_067_b.jpg Nona Silk Tunic: also way up there in price. But don’t you just love these big blooms?

4130204585555_023_b.jpg Bera Mockneck Dress – under $100.

4130221641023_009_b.jpg Lourdes Swing Dress (under $100)

4130069694242_069_b.jpg Chava Maxi (Under $100)

4130339182782_009_b.jpg Ludlow Dress (under $100)

4130089867993_011_b.jpg Lanka Tunic Dress

4130019031919_009_b.jpg Floral Fields Dress (under $100)

4130265408459_067_b.jpg Nora Swing Dress (in blue and blush options, $49.99)

Or maybe I just want to look as radiant and gorgeous as all these models. Either way. One of these dresses should be mine.