Monday, July 30, 2007

Special invitation for Bargainista readers: ChickAdvisor Shop Crawl

If you’ve been following the blog lately, you’ll know I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the lovely Ali de Bold, co-founder of ChickAdvisor.

And here’s some good news...
ChickAdvisor is having an exclusive Queen Street Shop Crawl on August 9 for ChickAlert members.

As a special offer for Bargainista readers, Ali has invited you to the Queen Street Shop Crawl too!

I’m so excited to see someone organizing a real life social shopping event. How cool is that? It’s just like After a Fashion but on Queen Street instead of Second Life.

The ChickAdvisor team has a great evening planned with 20% off at several stores, goody bags and even an after party where you can win great prizes.

And that’s not all: I have an extra ticket! Interested? Just e-mail me by August 6, 2007, explaining why you’d like to be a Bargainista reporter for a day. You may score a ticket and get to cover the event for Bargainista.

ChickAdvisor Queen Street Shop Crawl
Free full sized product from Kiehl’s (value of $20.50) plus a free consultation and additional free samples;
Exclusive discounts of 20% off from the participating popular Queen Street boutiques on either all regular-priced merchandise only (details)
Free food and drinks at Milestones After Party (e.g. appetizers, sangria, mojitos, lemonade, etc.)
Enter to win over $500 of prizes from event sponsors

Queen Street West, Toronto
See Shop Crawl map

Thursday, Aug. 9: 6 p.m.-9 p.m.

How much?
Tickets in advance: 1 for $20 or 2 for $35
Contact Bargainista about being a reporter for a day and go for FREE!

Technorati tags: Ali de Bold, ChickAdvisor, Queen Street, Shop Crawl

TFBB IX - the recap

Brassaii was host to our first TFBB mid-afternoon bite. Knowing several of the gang would be at the debut of Carolyn’s band, Satan’s Candy the night before, we decided to have a fashionably late 2 p.m. brunch. What style!

We had an intimate group of bloggers:
Anita Clarke of I want - I got and blogTO
Carolyn Rohaly of the TFI blog
Danielle Meder of finalfashion
Henna Singh of Canadian Beauty
Sonja Andic of Toronto Street Fashion
Gail McInnes of the Plutino Group
Ali de Bold of Chick Advisor
first timer, Jenna Wilson of Girl from Auntie

and friends:
Tierre Taylor, photographer extraordinaire, of SNAP Downtown Toronto; and,
Barry Freedman - a reader who shared his interesting insights about mens' fashions and international travel.

We had some lively discussions including:
Satan’s Candy's debut performance the previous night
Toronto Fashion Week (again)
local designers and artists
Moo cards
copyright issues for bloggers
creative manicures, especially the custom hand-painted designs sported by Carolyn

And speaking of food...
Brassaii came through once again and we’re getting better at dealing with the “no individual bill” policy.

photo credit: Tierre Taylor, SNAP Downtown Toronto via finalfashion on flickr

Technorati tags: Brassaii, blogging, TFBB

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Muggle muddles: a lesson in blogger relations

I was vacationing in Halifax on July 20. It was pouring so we saw the late show of Hairspray at Park Lane. It ended just in time for the start of the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows party at Frog Hollow Books - a wonderful indie bookstore. Inside, Harry Potter fans were having a wonderful time all dressed up, playing games and indulging in treats made especially for the occasion. The festivities spread a bit outside the store too.

With my cell phone camera in hand, I thought I’d get a shot or two and share the goings on. Unfortunately, that’s not all that happened. After I took a pic, a security guard popped out of nowhere. He demanded I remove the picture from my phone and stood over me until he was satisfied I did. Bummer! Apparently, Park Lane has a policy forbidding photographs.

In this day and age, they need to get with the program. The world is changing. Just think of how much free (and positive publicity) they are missing by not letting bloggers and other social media enthusiasts snap a few photos.

Technorati tags: blogger relations, cameras, digital photos, Frog Hollow Books, Park Lane

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Tip of the Week - Sears’ sweet baby deals

I was at the b5media Office Warming Bash with my friend Jen the other night. It was nice to see some old friends and make some new ones, especially those whose blogs I’ve been following.

Across the room, I spotted new dad, Bernie chatting with Ryan, so I went over to say hi and congratulate Bernie. I certainly wasn’t expecting any shopping tips but Bernie surprised me when he reminded me about the Waiting Game contest at Sears.

Here’s the scoop...
If you’re an expectant parent, all you need to do is sign up for Sears’ baby registry then register to play the Waiting Game. If you correctly guess your baby’s due date, you’ll win Sears’ coupons equivalent in dollar value to the amount spent on your baby registry up to one week before your baby is born. Just by registering, you will be eligible to win Sears’ coupons in monthly draws. Read the rules.

It’s been awhile since I’ve been an expectant mom. At first I thought the Waiting Game was new. Then I remembered playing it before the birth of my first baby. Unfortunately, I didn’t win. Too bad I didn’t play it the second time around, my younger son was born at exactly 40 weeks to the day!

If you do have a baby or older child at home, take note of Sears’ kidvantage policy. To the best of my knowledge, Sears stands behind children’s clothes and shoes better than any retailer.

Technorati tags: baby registry, b5media, kidvantage, Sears, Waiting Game

Friday, July 27, 2007

Just for Laughs in Toronto

I’m hoping to have some good laughs this weekend. What about you? If you’re still figuring out what do to tonight or tomorrow, hop the red rocket and get on over to Yonge-Dundas Square for lots of free entertainment and guaranteed belly laughs.

Just for Laughs Toronto Festival

Yonge-Dundas Square
Massey Hall
The Winter Garden Theatre

July 26-28, check showtimes

How much?
Street site: FREE

Indoor Galas, starting at $45.50 per ticket:
Howie Mandel Gala
Lewis Black Gala
Craig Ferguson Gala
Ethnic Heroes of Comedy

Technorati tags: Just for Laughs, comedy

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Cows ice cream: a tasty treat

Originally uploaded by espodek
No trip to Halifax is complete without a walk along the waterfront, a visit to the Historic Properties and a stop at Cows for ice cream. Choose from several yummy flavors, many with “cow” in the name.

There’s more than ice cream here...
If you have a sense of humour and either love cows or want a gift for someone who loves kitsch (especially kitsch with a cow theme) then this is the right place.

Choose from several t-shirts, tanks, sweats, pjs as well and dozens of other tchotchkes. I think they mocked everything (or everyone from Old MacDonald’s Farm, Sydney Crosby and iPods to Lost, Pirates of the Caribbean and Grey’s Anatomy).

Have you been to Cows? Do you have a favourite treat you’ve discovered in your travels? Leave a comment.

Technorati tags: Cows, Halifax, Historic Properties, ice cream, tchotchkes

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Weekly wish - Foreign Affair

Foreign Affair on Barrington
Originally uploaded by espodek
I just returned from a five-day trip to Halifax, N.S. and checked out lots of shops during my stay.

Foreign Affair is somewhat sentimental for two reasons:
• It was my favourite place to shop during my high-school years whenever I needed special something to wear. (FYI, I was born there and grew up in both Halifax and Toronto.)
• My grandfather's last store was at the same location on Barrington St. now occupied by one of two Foreign Affair shops in the downtown core.

During my high school and university days, Foreign Affair was always known for carrying fashions more comparable to what was available in bigger cities like Montreal and Toronto, yet still somewhat affordable.

Over the years, it’s become a high-end boutique carrying an interesting collection of designer fashions. Labels vary by store and include: Lida Baday, Missoni, Seven, Citizens of Humanity, Fidelity, Ella Moss, Elle Tahari, HUGO, Juicy Couture and many others.

So why am I including Foreign Affair as one of my Weekly wishes? Well, I was with Mr. Bargainista and I didn’t want to make him spend his vacation waiting for me to try stuff on.

Despite the big sale signs in the window, I resisted the temptation to go inside. Well sort of. I waited until the last hour of our trip then I took the plunge and went inside the Spring Garden Rd. location. What a mistake - the front of the store was filled with amazing stuff with huge markdowns. For instance, I saw $700 dresses for $125! Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to try anything on. I don’t know about you but I don’t usually see such big markdowns in Toronto.

So this week, although I usually say there’s no use crying over spilled milk, I’m admitting my regrets and wishing I’d left some time for shopping at Foreign Affair. On the bright side, I didn’t leave Halifax empty-handed. I’ll be sharing more of my Halifax shopping adventures soon.

Do you have a favourite store in another city? Do you regret not buying something on sale lately? Leave a comment.

Technorati tags: Foreign Affair, Halifax

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Town House - another great read from HarperCollins

A few weeks ago, I shared my thoughts about The Line Painter, a book I received and read as part of my membership in the HarperCollins group on Facebook. I just finished my second book: Town House by Tish Cohen. I couldn’t put it down. It’s a perfect summer read. It’s light, funny, poignant, original and has interesting, complex characters.

The story revolves around agoraphobic Jack Madigan, living off the riches of his late rock-star father and how his life changes once the money runs out. (In a brilliant move, Tish Cohen’s website asks readers to share their phobias. What a great way to engage readers.)

I stopped following the Facebook discussion after I read a rumour about the actor hired to play Jack in the movie version of the novel. What a disappointment. I prefer imagining characters myself.

After the first few pages, it became abundantly clear Town House is Tish Cohen’s tribute to John Cusack (the actor who is rumoured to play the lead.) I could hear each and every word Jack said being uttered by the actor himself. Coincidentally, I finished the second half of Town House on a flight to Nova Scotia. I went there to visit my childhood overnight camp ... the same place where Summerhood was filmed. It’s an upcoming movie narrated by none other than, you guessed it: John Cusack

Jack lives with his son Harlan and I couldn’t help but think of how he reminded me of Nick Tweed-Simmons. Cohen does a wonderful job of fleshing Jack’s character and the supporting ones as well.

I laughed out loud several times and I don’t want to ruin the book, in case you want to read it too.

What have you been reading this summer? Do you belong to a book club? Will you check out Town House?

Technorati tags: book clubs, Facebook, HarperCollins, John Cusack, Summerhood, Tish Cohen, Town House

Monday, July 23, 2007

Funky, chic and cool laptop bags

Looking for something to protect that new laptop of yours? Not sure what to buy? Want something fashionable as well as functional?

Make sure to check out the Funky, Chic and Cool Laptop Bags lens on Squidoo. (Full disclosure: Kate Trgovac, the author of this informative web destination for everything you always wanted to know about laptop bags but were afraid to ask, is a friend of mine.)

Kate has a slew of laptop bags on display. She tests out each one before she’ll write a review. Read her insights of what it’s like to use each bag in everyday life in the big city. Kate also travels a lot and needs a laptop bag with room for a lot of extras and can withstand the test of major schlepping. So if you need to find a laptop bag for your travels, this site is for you too.

A couple months ago, my friend Connie told me about a great laptop bag she bought online and how she learned about it on Funky, Chic and Cool Laptop Bags. She only knew Kate virtually through After a Fashion and had no idea the woman reviewing the bags was the same Kate from our Second Life group. Talk about a small world.

I should have written about this earlier but I’ve been a bit selfish since I didn’t have much interest in laptop bags till now. I don’t have a laptop yet. I’m hoping to get one soon and when I do, I think I’ll buy something like the Milano from Mobile Edge. Kate doesn’t want to give hers up. Perhaps I can convince her that she has enough laptop bags already and she should make some more room in her closet. ; )

Have a look at Funky, Chic and Cool Laptop Bags and let me know what you think. Which one would you choose? Did you have a laptop bag? Which one, would you recommend it and why?

Technorati tags: computer, Connie Crosby, Kate Trgovac, laptop bags, Mobile Edge, Squidoo

Friday, July 20, 2007

Tip of the Week - manicure tricks

I’m a pretty low maintenance girl. I have one vice: I love getting manicures. Who can blame me living in a house full of guys? Getting a manicure is my great weekend escape. It’s relatively inexpensive and doesn’t take much time.

Here are two little tricks:
Pay for your manicure and leave a tip for the esthetician before your appointment begins. You’ll be less likely to ruin your manicure if you don’t have to start rooting around your wallet for change after your appointment, especially if your nails aren’t completely dry.

If you’re having your nails done for a special occasion, buy a bottle of nail polish in the same colour. If you chip a nail before the event, you can repair it yourself.

Do you have any beauty vices? What are your manicure tricks? Leave a comment.

If you have any tips you want to share with readers for Tip of the Week, email me.

Technorati tags: manicures

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Mind the Gap: panties on sale

I don’t really like discussing my underwear in public but after 10 months of writing about my shopping experiences, I’d be doing you a disservice if I didn’t tell you about my recent trip to Gap Body on Bloor.

I really haven’t been shopping much at the Gap this season. The styles just haven’t been doing it for me but I do have a soft spot for their panties and camis. Lucky for me, I found a whole bunch of new undies on sale for $2.99. I also found two, pretty lacy camis in basic black and ecru for $12.99.

As for my bras, that’s a whole other story. My favourite lingerie store is undergoing a major reno and I’ll tell you all about it when it re-opens.

Technorati tags: camisoles, Gap Body, panties

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Weekly wish - a trip to Colette

I don’t travel much so to get outside of Canada (or even Toronto for that matter), I often have to do so vicariously through others, tv, movies or online. Last Sunday, I watched the last 30 seconds of Fashion File and a preview for a segment about Colette on an upcoming episode, caught my eye.

I’d never heard of Colette before but I was intrigued. It’s a magnificent looking shop on Sainte-HonorĂ© in Paris. Their tag line is “styledesignartfood” and from what I can see on their website, it seems like a cornucopia of everything awesome under one roof.

I’m not going to tell you too much because you should see for yourself. Colette even offers “Justin” dance lessons and special screenings. I’ve included several screenshots to give you an idea of what it’s all about but nothing beats the real thing. So this week, you guessed it, I want a trip to Paris including an all-expense paid visit to Colette - who wouldn’t?

But if Paris isn’t in the cards, visit the website. I know it’s not like visiting Paris but it’s so engaging and you’ll enjoy the virtual escape. Just be prepared to spend at least a half hour checking it out. There are wonderful animated robot-like mascots, cool music - 5 new tunes each week, games and of course shopping! You can even download Colette wallpaper designed by Jeremy Scott.

Have you been to Colette? What did you think? Did you visit the website? Was it awe-inspiring for you too? Leave a comment.

Technorati tags: Colette, Fashion File, Jeremy Scott, Paris, style, trends

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Win big with Gmail and Smarties

Two great brands, one old, one new (well, sort of), want you to show your stuff...

Gmail and Threadless have joined together and are looking for the ultimate t-shirt design. Your mission is to create a stand-alone design and they prefer you create an original design without the Gmail logo! Come up with the winning tee and win the ultimate prize: a brand new iPhone and a whole bunch of other swag. The contest runs through August 16.
As if Gmail and Threadless weren’t cool enough already.

Smarties Canada has bared all and changed all their 5o gram boxes to black and white during the nationwide Smarties “Gimme Colour” contest. Ten winning designs will be featured on 50 gram boxes throughout 2008. Even better, you don’t need to be a graphic designer to win. They provide all the tools on their website. Between now and December 12, 150 iPod Shuffles will be given away each day. All you need to do is enter for a chance to win.

As for Gmail and Threadless, consumer-generated content isn’t anything new, it’s one of the secrets of their individual success. As for NestlĂ©’s Smarties, this is something quite new and exciting!

What do you think about these contests? Will you enter? Leave a comment.

Technorati tags: contests, Gmail, iPhone, iPod, Smarties, Threadless

Toronto Fashion Bloggers Brunch IX - Sunday, July 29

You’re invited! Calling all local fashion bloggers:

Toronto Fashion Bloggers Brunch (TFBB)

461 King St. W. (map)

July 29, 2007
2:00 p.m.

Special shout-out to Danielle for her awesome poster (more about that later), Anita for her technical expertise support and Carolyn for co-ordinating this event.

RSVP by logging on to

Technorati tags: Brassaii, blogging, fashion, TFBB

Monday, July 16, 2007

Club Monaco linen Bermuda shorts

It’s easy to find sale items this time of year but it’s not always easy to find good basic summer pieces that will still be in style next year.

Although I had to check out two Club Monaco stores until I found what I wanted in the right size and colour, I found a great pair of linen Bermuda shorts for half-price! They are well-made, comfortable and dressy enough for the office when paired with a co-ordinating blazer and easy to dress down for casual weekend and evening wear.

If you’ve been following the fashion mags, Club Monaco has been singled out for designing great shorts this season. I’m so thrilled to have a pair. If you like them, try and catch them before they’re gone. I also snagged a nice, basic sage green v-neck tee for $15.

Note: Club Monaco is still receiving new summer merchandise. Be prepared for a lot of fashionable finds still at regular price.

Have you found any special items on sale lately? Leave a comment.

Technorati tags: Bermuda shorts, Club Monaco

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The art of grilling at dish

I spent a wonderful afternoon at dish cooking studio. As one of 10 eager students, we were mentored by Chefs Elena Embrioni (of Southern Accent fame) and Charmaine Baan (former pastry chef at Splendido and Susur).

We learned new techniques in food preparation, including how to turn your BBQ into a smoker. I learned how to use a knife properly (sad but true.)

We made 7 marvelous recipes:
Grilled Porterhouse Steak w/Gorgonzola Compound
Marinated Boneless Leg of Lamb w/Pistachio-Mint Feta Pesto
Grilled Calamari w/Chili Scallion Sauce
Grilled Vegetable Ratatouille
Balsamic Roasted New Potato Salad
Ultimate BBQ Pork Ribs w/Bourbon Sauce, and
Chili Rubbed BBQ Shrimp

My favourites were the lamb and ratatouille. Everything was delicious. What a feast!

A class at dish isn’t cheap but you do get excellent value for your money. (Fortunately, I had a gift certificate.)

Prefer cooking lessons on a more modest budget? Have no fear, founder Trish Magwood has a cookbook and a new series on the Food Network coming out in September.

Check out my flickr picks - I’ve posted the collage on the right side of this blog.

Have you ever taken a hands-on cooking class? If you could study with any chef, who would it be? Leave a comment.

Technorati tags: bbq, Charmaine Baan, cooking lessons, dish cooking studio, Elena Embrioni, Food Network Canada, grilling, Trish Magwood

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Results of last week’s poll

Last week I asked readers if they followed Bargainista on Twitter.

The results are in:
33% of readers do always or sometimes
66% of readers either don’t follow Bargainista on Twitter or didn’t know about it

What am I going to do about it?
I’m thinking about ways to bring more sales updates back to the blog posts. I asked the same question to the Bargainsta group on Facebook and got some interesting suggestions. What do you suggest? Leave a comment.

Please take a few seconds to answer this week’s question:
How often do you shop online?

Cumbrae’s: It’s mainly because of the meat

Feeding a family of four, especially with two growing boys, is expensive. But when it comes to food, I won’t sacrifice quality. I’m every brand manager’s dream 'cause I’m a sucker for name brands. I’ll bet anyone I can tell the difference in any soft drink taste test any day!

Until recently, I’d been buying all my meat at Loblaws with the exception of a couple of celebratory steaks from Pusateri’s. I started buying more meat and poultry at Costco - excellent quality and value. But then, from out of the woodwork, a best kept secret hiding out on Church just south of Wellesley moved uptown. Cumbrae's opened shop on Bayview at Manor Rd. I’d been told it was the best meat in town but I just figured that meant expensive. I just drooled from the outside.

It’s all his fault! A couple weeks ago my husband who had never heard of Cumbrae’s before, decided to step inside. He suggested I join him. So I did. We started slow and tried the Asian marinated chicken breast - grilled it on the BBQ. Until then, I thought chicken was chicken and the only difference was in the cooking. Boy, was I wrong. I'd never tasted anything like it before. Guess what? We’ve been back a couple times tried a few other things. Tonight was pepper steak - yummy!

Anyway, like I’ve said before, sometimes quality is the better bargain even when you’re paying a bit more. It’s worth it, trust me.

Where do you buy your meat? Are you a sucker for brand-name groceries too? Leave a comment.

Technorati tags: bbq, butcher, chicken, Costco, Cumbrae, groceries, Loblaws, Pusateri, steak

Friday, July 13, 2007

Tip of the Week - awesome make-up remover

You probably know by now, I don't spend a lot of time pimping specific products. There’s an awesome one I’ve been using for years and I thought I should share it with you...

I love Cetaphil cleanser. My dermatologist recommended it years ago because I had eczema on my hands. I started using it on my face too.

I’ve tried literally dozens of make-up removers. Many of them high-priced. Several of them are oily, messy, smelly and/or sting my eyes. In my experience, Cetaphil does the best job of removing eye make-up. It’s fragrance-free, easy to use and gentle on my eyes. Best of all, a 460 ml bottle lasts me about 6 months and it’s costs about $12. Now that’s a real bargain. Don’t you think?

I found an order form for a free sample, if you want to try some.

Apparently, Cetaphil is also a treatment for lice.

What’s your favorite eye make-up remover? Leave a comment.

Technorati tags: Cetaphil, cleanser, lice, make-up remover

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Talk to Me

While at Vortex trading some old CDs, my husband picked up a free movie pass for the Mix 99-sponsored, Toronto premiere of Talk to Me.

What? Never heard of it? Neither had I ’til then and it’s too bad this hidden gem of a film hasn’t been getting much attention in the shadow of summer blockbusters like Harry Potter and Transformers.

Don Cheadle (one of my favorite actors) is wonderful in his portrayal of Ralph “Petey” Greene, an ex-con turned DJ and community activist in Washington, DC, during the turbulent ’60s. Director Kasi Lemmons elicits brilliant performances from the entire cast.

At any price, tickets for this movie are a bargain. But don’t just take my word for it. As I write this post, Talk to Me has a 74 rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

In case you’re curious, here’s a video of Petey Green I dug up on YouTube:

Technorati Tags: Don Cheadle, Kasi Lemmons, Mix 99, Ralph “Petey” Greene, Talk to Me, Vortex

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

So long “Honest Ed” Mirvish

Today was a sad day for bargain shoppers and arts patrons in Toronto, “Honest Ed” Mirvish died at the age of 92. His contribution to this city is unparalleled. He will be missed.

Honest Ed’s has been a landmark a the corner of Bathurst and Bloor since 1948. The department store defined bargain shopping since it’s inception and has never strayed from it’s roots.


Technorati tags: Ed MirvishHonest Ed’s

Weekly wish - hold on to summer

Okay, so it seems like summer began a couple weeks ago but here’s an e-mail conversation I had with my husband today at lunchtime:

“Am at the mall. July’s not even half over, and Walmart already has a section with school supplies. That’s so depressing.”
“So funny, I was just thinking of writing about that very subject for weekly wish - way too early. when you want to shop in season, everything is already gone. : (”
Time sure is flying. Summer always seems so short. It’s also the time of year when retailers make us acutely aware the colder weather is just around the corner. I’ve barely started shopping for summer and already lots of things are sold out and big sales are popping out all over the place.

Sure, I can buy most of what I want at great prices and I resent any store still trying to charge me full price on any spring or summer clothes. I’m confused and don’t know what to make of stores bringing in new regular-priced summer stock. Are you?

I’m having a rough time whenever I see fall clothing, shoes or boots on display. Heck, I’ve even seen some spring/summer stock mixed in with the new merchandise and jacked back up to regular price. What’s that all about? Don’t retailers know regular customers are on to them?

Enough ranting, I’m tired of seeing the next season’s merchandise on the racks before we’ve had a chance to enjoy the current one. What ever happened to living life for the moment?

So this week, if you haven’t already guessed, I’m wishing for retailers to change their ways and stick with summer for at least another six weeks. I know I’m asking for a lot but c’mon, are you really ready for big boots and warm wool jackets when its 35o outside?

Do you want to hold on to summer? Have you been buying summer or fall stuff? Share your thoughts with Bargainista. Leave a comment.

Photo credit: jacquiak on flickr

Technorati tags: retail, summer, seasons

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Citrus Silver update

Read my update about my experience with Citrus Silver.

Toronto Street Treats

Do you eat on the run?
Tired of hot dog vendors?
Have a passion and palette for gourmet food but not the budget?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then Toronto Street Treats is for you!

Toronto Street Treats Main Course Event
Hosted by Toronto Coucillor Joe Filion and several of this city’s finest chefs
Sample the next wave of Toronto street food
Feast on gourmet treats ranging from $1-$6 each

Nathan Phillips Square

Friday, July 13: noon - 2 p.m.

Thanks to Lex from CheapEats for the tip.

Technorati tags: CheapEats, Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto Street Treats

Monday, July 09, 2007

Sole searching at Browns

After much complaining about my misadventures in shoe shopping, I actually found two fabulous pairs at great prices at Browns. Well I actually found three pairs but with a bit of a hassle, I was able to return the first pair at another store within 20 minutes after I bought them.

Back to Browns. So I bought a pair of sandals at another store out of fear I wouldn't find a pair of comfortable black sandals. I really wanted a pair with just the right combo of fashion, fit and function. I ended up settling for fit and function. But I didn't stop there.

I ventured over to Browns. They are having an amazing sale - up to 70% off with 25% off the purchase of any and every additional sale item! They are also the only store with racks of shoes in all sizes, so I had lots to choose from. At first, nothing I tried fit properly.

Then I discovered a great pair of Camper sandals on another rack and they were almost half price. They were with shoes in a different size but since I had nothing to lose, I went ahead and tried it on. It fit! Talk about a Cinderella moment. ; ) I looked at the bottom and saw it actually was my regular size but had been misplaced. And with an additional 25% off any other sale items, I thought I'd better find another pair.

I found a cool pair of Puma leather walking shoes at 70% off. Add another 25% off and those babies originally priced at $180 were mine for a mere $38 plus tax. Score!

Good news you can use:
This sale is online too and includes free shipping for a limited time.
I found they still have lots of designer brands in stock at good prices (sometimes lower than some of their competitors).
As for their return policy: 15 days full-refund for unworn shoes w/bill; after that they will give you an exchange or credit.

Technorati tags: Browns, Camper, Puma, sandals

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Introducing weekly polls on Bargainista

I’ve been shopping writing constantly for the past 9 months sharing my shopping experiences with you. Some of you have commented but I really have little way of knowing if you like it here. Starting now I’m going to have a weekly poll so you can help me learn what works, what doesn’t and how to give you more of what you want. I may be the facilitator but Bargainista is a community of people including you.

Please do your part, take a few seconds each week and answer the poll. You’ll be glad you did.

Green Shopping Bags

In honour of Live Earth, we decided to use green bags at the grocery store today. We bought our bags a while ago at Costco. A 3-pack for $5 includes an insulated bag.

I’m not sure whether or not using green bags will make a difference. My neighbour and I were just discussing that very question since both our families recycle plastic shopping bags. I do have a stockpile of them at the moment, so at least for now, I'll go “green”.

Have you seen Galen Weston Jr. plugging green bags for Loblaws? What do you think of his new commercial?

What are you doing in support of Live Earth this weekend?

Technorati tags: Costco, green, Galen Weston Jr., Live Earth, Loblaws, shopping bags

Friday, July 06, 2007

Tip of the Week - wear comfy shoes shopping

Okay, I admit it. I should know better than to wear my nicest looking shoes shopping. Nice doesn’t necessarily mean comfortable. Don’t ever let anyone tell you anything different.

I spent most of the day downtown. I had a 10 a.m. appointment then walked from King and Yonge to the closest mall.

After an hour or so, I hopped the rocket and headed to Holt Renfrew on Bloor to meet my pal Henna of Canadian Beauty, for lunch. From there I did some more shopping and browsing. My tender tootsies were aching but I chose to ignore them. Ouch!

By the time I hopped the rocket home it was after 3. Then I had to walk through a construction site to get there. Now I’m paying for it big time. I have new matching blisters on my baby toes. And just to make things a bit more interesting, my husband wants to go for a long after-dinner walk. You can bet I’ll be wearing walking shoes this time. ; )

You guessed it, you probably didn’t hear it from Bargainista first but remember the next time you go shopping, make sure you’re wearing comfortable shoes!

Technorati tags: Canadian Beauty, Holt Renfrew, the rocket, TTC

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Weekly wish - iPhone

Okay, so I’m a little late on the mark but I’d be lying if I didn’t wish for one of these babies. I’ve blogged about it before.

No need to go on incessantly about this revolutionary gadget so here goes:

• I wish I had an iPhone
• I wish iPhones were available in Canada
• I wish iPhones were more affordable - i.e. more in line with my current $20 cell phone bill

... need I say more?

Do you have an iPhone? Do you like it? Do you want one? Will you get one? Why or why not? Leave a comment.

Technorati tags: Apple, iPhone

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Misadventures in shoe shopping

Oh, why do I always wait until the last minute to buy shoes. I have a tough foot to fit and I’m very picky. It’s probably just my optimistic nature and refusal to pay full-price every time I want a new pair of shoes.

On my way to a movie a few days ago , I took a detour into Town Shoes. There wasn’t a lot on sale in my size. I found 3 pairs of black summer shoes I liked and I probably would have been happy with any of them.

Only one problem: it was getting close to showtime and not one salesperson acknowledged me. Oh well, their loss. I’ll find something else, I know I will. Please tell me I will. I will won’t I?

Have you bought any shoes lately? Have any poor customer service stories to share? Leave a comment.

Technorati tags: movies, Town Shoes

Monday, July 02, 2007

The Line Painter and online book offers

I just finished The Line Painter, a new book from a first-time author, Claire Cameron.

The Line Painter recounts the complex and personal journey of Carrie, a young woman grieving over the death of her husband and Frank, the line painter who rescues her on a northern Ontario highway. The suspenseful journey ensues on many levels - literal, emotional, physical - for both Carrie and Frank.

Cameron’s writing style is sparse and to the point; however, she does an excellent job of helping an urban girl like me understand life in the rural Ontario setting, as well as building up suspense throughout.

What happens to Carrie? Will she be safe? Is Frank a creep or a nice guy under all that tough guy trucker facade? What about his friends? Can Carrie trust anyone? These were some of the questions running through my mind as I read The Line Painter.

I have to admit this isn’t the type of story I’d usually be compelled to read had it not been for my membership in the HarperCollins book club on Facebook. However, I’m glad I did and I’m looking forward to her next novel.

What’s also interesting about this book is how I learned about it in the first place - Facebook. I joined HarperCollinsCanada - The Reading Group, requested a copy and participated in a book club for the first time ever. I wish I’d been a more active participant. As a newbie, I spent most of the time reading what others had to say and reading an author interview. I was impressed by Claire Cameron’s involvement in the group as well. She responded to almost every reader comment.

What’s in store for you?
HarperCollins is introducing a new book or selection of books each month, making the books available to some of the members over the summer and doing a fine job of creating a community of readers. If you’re not already a member, consider joining

These days, several Canadian publishers are finding new ways to bring Canadian literature to Canadians. There are even some interesting ways you can find some great reads for free in exchange for a blog post or a comment or two online.

Now I’m on to my next book: Town House by Tish Cohen. I’ve heard it’s being made into a Hollywood movie. Stay tuned.

What have you read lately? Any new Canadian authors you can recommend? Do you belong to a book club? Leave a comment.

Technorati tags: Claire Cameron, HarperCollins, The Line Painter, Town House, Tish Cohen