Thursday, January 31, 2008

Weekly wish – grey-haired beauty

I’ve been colouring my hair for a long time. I’m currently a brunette. I’ve gone as light as strawberry blond (but don’t tell anyone) and used to have brown hair with highlights in varying shades of chestnuts and reds. I didn’t always colour my hair to cover the grey but I’d be lying if I told you that wasn’t the case today.

I got to thinking, how much money do I spend on hair colour in a year? Rough guestimate: $800. How many more years do I expect to colour my hair? 20? In today’s dollars (without factoring in the inflation rate) that’s roughly $16,000! When Mr. Bargainista reads this, he’s gonna flip!

“Damn straight!” says Mr. Bargainista.

Last week I was chatting with David Jones aka “the silver fox” who was nominated as one of Toronto’s sexiest PR & Marketing bloggers in 2006. Unless he’s lying about his age, he’s gone prematurely grey and loving every minute of it.

I asked David how men are able to get away with grey hair when women are shunned for doing the same. His answer was simple: George Clooney.

My friend Alexa Clark of Cheap Eats fame told me how she took the plunge and decided to let her silver hair shine through. Some of her friends thought she was making a political statement. That simply wasn’t the case. She’s got gorgeous locks and she’s showing them off. C’est tout!

So this week, my wish is a bit different. I’m wishing for a female celebrity of Mr. Clooney’s stature to stand up and be a role model for prematurely grey-haired women everywhere.

The current Hollywood writers’ strike presents the perfect opportunity for a talented and beautiful actress or two to grow out her locks. Several mature, sexy women actors are starring in TV shows and films and aren’t letting down their hair and showing us their true colours.

Just think, what if the Desperate Housewives returned with their natural silvery or salt and pepper manes? How ‘bout Mary Louise Parker or Holly Hunter? She’s turning 50 this year – surely she’s not a natural brunette anymore. ; ) Of course if/when Julia goes grey she’d be the perfect candidate.

And to those of you who think I’m making a political statement, that couldn’t be further from the truth. If you’ve been visiting here for a while, you’d know this wish is all about saving money. ; )

photo credit: Andrea Busse using Lex 's camera on flickr

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The NutriSystem Countdown - no news

Hey, Tamsin and I would like to tell you how it’s going but it’s not. At least not yet. Hopefully we’ll have some news for you soon.

In the meantime, I probably should buy a scale. Any recommendations?

i like to cook gets thin(ner)
has already lost seven pounds in two weeks. I’m jealous.

Food please.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Join me at PodCamp Toronto 2008

PodCamp Toronto Feb. 23-24 is FREE!
Last year I extolled the virtues of PodCamp Toronto and told you about some of the wonderful podcasts available. But PodCamp isn’t just about podcasting. It’s THE unconference for podcasting and social media. This year, PodCamp Toronto is taking place February 23 and 24 at Ryerson University in Toronto.

I learned a lot and had a great time meeting new people last year. So when Connie Crosby asked me how I felt about joining the 2008 organizing team, I jumped at the chance. In addition to Connie, this year’s team includes: Dave Fleet, Rob Lee, Katherine Matthews, Sean McGaughey, Jay Moonah, Tommy Vallier and yours truly.

Less than five weeks away, there are already more than 200 people registered and a slew of jam-packed sessions. There is an exciting new concurrent track – From Zero to Podcasting (Z2P) – offering a mix of campfire style discussions and technical presentations aimed at helping everyone, from newcomers to advanced podcasters. You can even start from nothing and learn the skills necessary to plan, prepare, produce, publish and promote your own podcast.

Have a listen to the audio promo.

Hope to see you there. Did I mention registration is FREE! Sign up on the wiki. Volunteer, it’s a great way to get involved and meet new people. If you have something to share, why not offer a session. I am.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Four questions for Ali de Bold from ChickAdvisor

I recently had the pleasure of emceeing Third Tuesday Toronto with guests Ali and Alex de Bold from ChickAdvisor. Donna Papacosta from Trafcom News also interviewed Ali and Alex for the first Third Tuesday Toronto podcast.

I still had a few questions, particularly about social shopping, so I interviewed Ali this weekend. I thought you might be interested in her answers too...

Why did you decide to start the Queen St. Shop Crawl?

Our members were asking for the longest time to get together. We wanted to create an event that would be a lot of fun and get the word out. At first I was thinking of booking out a nail bar and having drinks, snacks and manicures but we realized there was no way to accommodate a large group of people.

I started thinking about the things I love to do with my friends and of course shopping came to mind. I got the idea one night last spring (2007) as I was tossing and turning not able to sleep. (I suffer from insomnia quite a bit and have had many of my best ideas when I can’t sleep.) I immediately worked out how I would do it, and in August 2007 we had our first Shop Crawl.

Are you planning Shop Crawls in other locations besides Queen West?

Definitely. We did the strip between Spadina and John twice because there are so many independent boutiques and it is an easy walk, but we plan to hit up other areas of the city for future crawls, and eventually expand the idea to other major cities in North America.

Have you ever considered negotiating volume discounts for products or services like a hot new gadget or purse for ChickAdvisor members?

Yes. That is actually part of our original business plan. ;)

What advice do you have for PR or marketing professionals wanting to pitch you?

We are very careful to ensure that anything advertised on ChickAdvisor is appropriate and useful for our members, and that it delivers value for the advertiser. We are also flexible and have on a number of occasions worked out custom strategies/campaigns.

As a social network/platform, we have many ways to work with large national brands (we’ve worked with Maybelline New York, TravelZoo, Herbal Essences, etc.), as well as local businesses and smaller companies.

We have the ability to incorporate brands in our video series, “Where’d You Get That?” and Product Review Club (companies provide product, members review it).

There are opportunities for:
email newsletter sponsorship
category level sponsorship (Beauty, Shopping, Wellness, Deals, Restaurants); and,
we also have a business service we just launched, where local businesses can create profiles on ChickAdvisor similar to other business directories, for $300/year.

If you have something you’d like to promote, email us. If we believe it will be of value to our members, we’ll work something out.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Tip of the Week - tiny living for tiny things

I was hanging out at my favourite social network and Lex asked where she could order Tabasco sauce in tiny bottles. Not one to pass up a shopping challenge, I found what she was looking for in minutes from a nifty little store: tiny living furnishings for small spaces.

A husband and wife team in New York City opened tiny living in 2005 as a response to the tiny living conditions in NYC. They’ve lived in many small spaces including a 200 sq. ft. studio! Fortunately, they were smart enough to venture into e-commerce and attracted customers worldwide.

Even though they don’t sell their entire inventory online, they offer a wide-variety of cleverly designed, affordable items that are small in scale, multi-purpose, flexible or for storage. Designed for usability, I suspect they ring up more sales online than in their bricks ’n mortar store.

Do you have a favourite store catering to a niche market?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

CHANGE gets into social shopping

The first time I wrote about CHANGE was during ChickAdvisor’s Queen St. Shop Crawl. CHANGE caught on quickly. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, they’re offering a $100 gift card for anyone organizing a Girls-Night-Out Valentine’s Day Prep-Party.

Want to get your gal pals together at another time? You can book a private party at CHANGE for any occasion.

I just love shopping with a group of friends, don’t you? Interested in a party for Bargainista readers at CHANGE? Leave a comment.

Girls-Night-Out Valentine’s Day Prep-Parties
Book a night of private gal pal shopping at CHANGE lingerie boutique.
CHANGE professionally-trained staff will be available during the party to provide expert bra fittings and share lingerie trends for 2008.
Get practical advice on the dos & don’ts of bra shopping.
In addition to the ultimate in personalized service, parties feature scrumptious cupcakes and sparkling champagne.
Party organizers will receive a $100 gift card

Any time. Private parties are available year round for a twist on bachelorette or birthday parties – or just as a fun excuse to get the girls together.

315 Queen St. W (see map)

Want one before Valentine’s Day?
Call Lisa Bernstein (store manager)
416 977-7667 for more details.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Weekly Wish - MacBook Air

This week I’m doing something a little different. I’m giving a member of the community a chance to share his wish. Mario Parisé blogs at Happy Pixels, publishes Second Slice and is currently conducting a job search experiment.

For as long as Mitch Joel’s been bragging about his tiny long-lasting Vaio, I’ve been wondering when Apple would come out with something similar (but with OS X, not Windows, of course). Well now Apple has come out with MacBook Air and my dream is close to coming true. Check out these mouth-watering specs:

At its thickest, Air is only 0.76 inches thick.
80GB hard drive
1.6 GHz Intel Core Duo processor
Up to 5 hours battery life
Plus the usual iCam, back-lit keyboard, 13.3" display

Many people have criticized that it doesn’t have its own CD/DVD drive. You need to either:
(a) buy an external one; or
(b) wirelessly connect to the drive of another computer.
This to me is a feature. I love the idea of carrying only what I need, and the truth is I rarely use discs. Beyond installing basic software (a one-time thing), I don’t carry CDs around with me as I work. Heck, most of my files are stored online.

In short, as the name suggests, the MacBook Air takes full-advantage of wireless technology. It’s built with people like me in mind: those whose primary concern is with getting rid of the extras. And yet it does this without sacrificing speed, memory, or battery life. It’s brilliant.

On top of how cool the Air is, my wonderful 2 1/2 year old daughter spilled a whole glass of cranberry juice on what was once my laptop. Which means I have more than a simple desire. I have a need.

So my first (perhaps not the last? Eden?) Weekly Wish here at Bargainista is for a new MacBook Air. Because this is a HUGE wish, I’m completely willing to reciprocate somehow to anyone who grants if for me. For example, I’m not averse to trading ads at Happy Pixels and/or in Second Slice (hey, I publish it for free), sponsored guest posts, product reviews (honest and transparent), consulting, or whatever else might appeal to your tastes.

Any takers?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Behind the scenes at Test the Nation

By now you may have heard about my whereabouts yesterday. Thanks to my uberblogger-friend Kate Trgovac, I was asked to be a back-up blogger for CBC’s Test the Nation.

Although I never made it on the air, I had a great time. I caught up with blogger friends: Kate, Lex and Dave. Met new ones including: Rannie, Andy, Lainey, Jules, James, Ryan, Jon and Rick (winner of the $5,000 prize for the highest individual score). And, I reconnected with Julien, who I met at PodCamp Toronto 2007. For a great recap and fabulous photos of the winning team, read Rannie’s post.

Seeing the celebrity look-alikes was a hoot. Some of them were dead ringers. Figuring out who others were portraying wasn’t always clear.

Waiting in line for dinner, I had the pleasure of chatting with a friendly cabbie from Sudbury.

As for the show, I watched it on a big-screen TV in the holding bin with all the CBC part-time assistants and chatted with Chef Michael Olsen (his biz partner and wife, Chef Anna Olsen host of Sugar on Food Network, was a member of the chefs team.)

Does it sound like I missed out? Heck no.

And by the way, I scored a respectable 48 out of 60!

The NutriSystem Countdown - anticipation is keeping us way-ay-ay-ay-iting

Guest blogger and future NutriSystem buddy, Tamsin, shares her thoughts about our upcoming NutriSystem Challenge...

I’m really eager to get started on my NutriSystem adventure. I look at this as an adventure of-sorts because I have never really dieted before -- let alone followed a prescribed menu that comes in little packages. I’m very curious: will it look like astronaut food? Are the scrambled eggs as bad as some bloggers describe? Will I STARVE? I am grazing like crazy these days, as if I am off to Yummy-Snacks rehab! I need to clean house of temptation foods before Day 1.

In anticipation of Finally Getting Started, I’ve thought about some good habits to develop over the next 3 months -- perhaps some of these will even take my mind off the great meals I’ll miss during the upcoming Winterlicious:

• Keep a daily journal. Aside from reporting on my experience and progress through Bargainista, I will keep a daily personal journal. I used to journal religiously, but I somehow lost the habit and have longer planned to get back into it. This is my chance! I’m still not sure if this will be paper or blog, but I look forward to a personal space to clear my thoughts.

[Bargainista: I used to journal when I was on Weight Watchers and worked really well.]

• Drink more water. Surely water intake will be a component of NutriSystem, but I plan to make an extra effort.

• Daily walks. With a new job downtown, I plan to use the great window-shopping as incentive for a quick afternoon walk. Is it too early to dream of a spring shopping spree in a smaller size?

[Bargainista: If you don’t start dreaming now, what’s the point? Dreaming is what motivates me this time around. ; )]

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Tip of the Week: Great deals at the Gap - a Bargainista exclusive

You know I haven’t been doing much clothes shopping lately and I’m no longer a fan of the Gap but...

With a busy week ahead. I needed wanted something new to wear, don't want to spend much on clothes right now and had next to no time to shop.

Yesterday afternoon, I started panicking and chanting the “I have nothing to wear” mantra. It was 4:30. I only had an hour to spare so I headed out to my neighbourhood Gap.

At first nothing caught my eye. Sale prices were insanely low, so I picked up stuff to try on for the heck of it hoping I'd find that special something. No go.

Fortunately, I had the help of Jenna one of the best Gap change room staffers I’ve met in a long time. We came up with two outfits: One was on sale, the other was from their new selection.

I’m not usually a sucker for suggestive selling but when she told me I’d be nuts to pass up on the 100% merino wool grey sweater on sale for $14.99, she was right. I took the bait. I also found a cropped grey velour jacket in this season’s new round neck style for $29.99.

Okay, so what’s the exclusive?
You heard it here first: Gap just had a markdown and is having another one next Thursday!

Thinking of buying something on sale there but you aren’t sure? You may want to pick it up now before it’s gone. Hold on to your bill. If the item is marked down next week, go back and get a price adjustment. Just remember you’ll need to do so within two weeks from the date of your purchase.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Toronto Fashion Bloggers Brunch 14 - Sun., Jan. 27

You’re invited! Calling all local fashion bloggers:

Toronto Fashion Bloggers Brunch (TFBB)

461 King St. W. (map)

Jan. 27, 2008
11:30 a.m.

The TFBB gang and friends.

RSVP by logging on to

It’s been a while since I’ve brunched with the gang. I’m looking forward to this one. Hope to see you there.

Monday, January 14, 2008

I’m so rumbly in my tumbly for Ghiradelli Triple Chocolate Brownies

Love chocolate? Need to bake something yummy to impress a crowd in a hurry?

Well, I’ve got the perfect treat for you...

I found a four-pack of Ghiradelli Triple Chocolate Brownie mix at my neighbourhood Costco – and it only cost $6.99. You’ll need to have vegetable oil and eggs on hand. If you want to be really decadent, you can serve them with ice cream and chocolate syrup. Yummy!

As for me, I’ll just be dreaming about them for the next three months.

Would you bake these for your honey as a Valentine’s treat?

Have any baking secrets to share? No, not for me, I promise but just ’cause I won’t be eating them doesn’t mean you can’t. ; )

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Tamsin joins me for the NutriSystem Challenge

One week, nine entries, two posts and three judges later, we have a winner...

Congratulations to Tamsin who will be joining me in Bargainista’s NutriSystem Challenge.

Here’s Tamsin’s winning entry:
Happy new year Eden
I’d love the chance to give NutriSystem a try. In 10 minutes, I face my 37th birthday and, while I feel blessed and pretty good about my life, I know that I weigh more than I ever have and hate the way my clothes (don’t) fit. Like you, I’ve lost and gained -- back and forth -- over the past 5-8 years. I’m sick of maintaining 3-sized wardrobes! I feel I know my natural “happy” weight and this 145lbs isn’t it!

As for my physical activity, I began taking pole dancing fitness classes a couple of years ago and trained to become a part-time instructor last year. The pole dancing (2 classes a week) keeps me fairly fit, but natural aging has changed my body (I don’t have children). I *know* that I need to eat more healthily to trim my extra pounds -- I’d love to see myself 15-20 pounds lighter. (Portion control is another challenge for me, especially as my husband is the cook in our family.) I have never tried formal dieting before; I’m curious about NutriSystem.

I would love to share updates with your readers.

Tamsin has agreed to write guest posts so expect both of us to provide you with regular updates.

Thank you to everyone who entered the NutriSystem challenge. I hope you’ll follow our trials and tribulations over the next 12 weeks or so and share your weight loss experiences in the comment section.

In total, I received nine compelling entries from across Canada. The judges had their work cut out for them but in the end, Tamsin was clearly the winner.

Judges scored each entry individually. In order to stay objective, my role was simply to determine judging criteria and add up the scores. Judges were asked to score entries based on three criteria around the theme of building community.

A big shout out also goes to the judges:
Kate Trgovac (Vancouver), publisher of One Degree – “a marketer's secret weapon” and author of My Name is Kate, one of Canada’s leading blogs on marketing and technology;

Kim Vallée (Montréal), writer of At Home with Kim Vallee – inspiration for stylish living and entertaining; and,

Sameer Vasta (Toronto), storyteller and new media junkie who likes to laugh a lot. You can find him at blogTO and Eloquation.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Tip of the Week -

This week’s tip comes from Mish who told me about This handy website offers an easy way to check coupon codes before you shop online. You may even find unadvertised specials. offers a handful of nifty widgets too. There is also an ad revenue sharing program so members who submit their coupon codes can make some cash.

The site is easy to use. I like is the “First time here?” message on the top right of the screen. It tells new visitors what is about and links to an online tutorial. There’s even the instructional video I’ve posted below:

Friday, January 11, 2008

Weekly Wish - Check out ChickAdvisor at Third Tuesday

When it comes to the communities in the social media space, my memberships divide pretty neatly into two categories:
• fashion/shopping
• marketing/PR/communications

These days, my favourite communities are the ones where I can meet with other members both online and in person. So you can imagine how excited I was when I learned these two groups were mashing together for the next Third Tuesday Toronto (which is going to be on a Wednesday but don’t get hung up on details).

Third Tuesday, for those of you who don’t know, is a free monthly event for PR and marketing types interested in learning more about social media in business.

ChickAdvisor founders Ali and Alex de Bold are this month’s guests. They will be sharing the secrets of their success about their thriving online shopping community. What I really admire is their determination and risk-taking. And, you know how I feel about ChickAdvisor Shop Crawls and their adventures in social shopping.

If you can’t make Third Tuesday, don’t despair. ChickAdvisor will also be featured on CBC’s Fortune Hunters starting Saturday, Jan. 19.

So this week, I have wish for you: check out ChickAdvisor at Third Tuesday and who knows, you may even see me there too!

Third Tuesday Toronto with Alex and Ali de Bold on starting a Web 2.0 site: ChickAdvisor

Fionn McCool’s Irish Pub
181 University Ave. (map)

Wednesday, Jan. 23
6 p.m.

It’s free but you’ll need to register first!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Vichy with podexine provides TLC for my tootsies

Okay, so you know I love pedicures. Yes, pampering is part of the appeal but it’s not everything.

I have had very dry, disgusting feet with cracked heels. I’ve tried all kinds of foot creams with wide-ranging price points produced in various exotic locals. None seemed to do the trick. Until now.

I admit it’s partly my fault. I had a hard time remembering to apply the gunk every day. It was always, greasy, slimy, stinky or gooey. I’ve changed. My feet look pretty and have that fresh pedicure smoothness to them all the time, well almost.

I learned about a product from Vichy with a special little ingredient called podexine. I decided to try three items from the foot care line:
Kerato-Reducing Scrub,
Cracked Heel Repairer, and,
Reconditioning Care for Dry Feet.

I’ve been using them for a month. I don’t know whether or not the stuff works because of the podexine or not, but it works and that’s what matters. The creams aren’t greasy and they absorb into my skin quickly so I don’t mind using them daily. I’m not even using them as often as suggested and I’m still pleased with the results.

The trio set me back about $50 and items are sold individually. My pedicures last longer so I’m saving money while saving my feet and my dignity. I don’t need to hide my tootsies anymore.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Beauty Confidential - how to look like a million bucks for less

One of my favourite holiday surprises was receiving a copy of Beauty Confidential, a new book by former magazine beauty editor, Nadine Haobsh (aka blogger Jolie in NYC).

Nadine is big on developing personal style and doesn’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach to beauty even if it’s the mantra espoused by her peers.

Although I read beauty mags at the hairdresser, I’ve never paid much attention to beauty books. Until now that is.

Beauty Confidential is written in a light conversational style and chalk full of valuable tips about every beauty concern under the sun. The format is useful too. Each chapter includes a “product guide” listing each product mentioned in the chapter, along with it’s website address and price range. How handy.

If you’re like me and find yourself collecting cosmetics, hair care and skin care goodies, this handy little beauty book is a must read. You’ll learn when to save your money and what products are splurge-worthy in order to look your best.

Good haircuts and colour are worth the big bucks but you can follow Nadine’s illustrated step-by-step instructions and learn to blow-dry your own hair like a pro. Learn how to groom and trim your eyebrows properly, give your self a professional manicure and lots more. Why throw money away on expensive nail polish when you don’t have to when the less-expensive brands will do. Did you know lots of drugstore skincare products are formulated the same way as others costing megabucks?

You’ll get lists of all the best beauty products (i.e. shampoo, mascara, skin cream, blush, foundation, sunscreen, etc.) and why those products have earned their stripes. Even some of my personal favourites including Lancôme Definicils mascara, Essie nail polish and Cetaphil were list-worthy. ; )

So, if you’re like most women I know and have a stockpile of make-up, skin creams, hair care, body lotions and potions, Beauty Confidential is a smart investment.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Join me for a NutriSystem challenge

If you’re like most Canadians, one of your New Years’ resolutions was to lose weight. I didn’t make any resolutions. Never do. But when NutriSystem asked if I’d have a reader giveaway, I immediately stepped up to the plate. (Bad pun, I know but I couldn’t resist.)

NutriSystem has been helping Americans lose weight for 35 years. New to Canada, they want to share their secrets with us Canucks. Apparently, clients who stay on the program for three months, lose 1.5 - 2lbs/wk (.68-.9 kilos). Carol Prinn has been on the plan for five months and lost 36 pounds. I want to know if her results are typical and what it’s like to be on the program. Teena has just started so I’ll be watching her closely too.

I’ve been struggling to shed the extra 25-30 pounds I gained back after a successful experience with another weight loss program six years ago. I used to go to meetings but got bored when the focus shifted to a triathlon the company sponsored. Last year I tried a workout program but it didn’t work out for me.

I lost some weight last summer but gained it back. My clothes aren’t fitting and nothing I try seems to look good on me. (The cat is out of the bag. Now you know why I haven’t been shopping for clothes lately.)

I’m curious to see if NutriSystem really works and what the food is like. I’ve never been a fad dieter or tried anything like this before.

Wanna join me for FREE?
Here’s the deal... NutriSystem will give us (me plus one lucky reader) a 3-month supply of food plus phone and online support for free (approximate value: $1,000). I’m going to blog about our progress at least once a week. And don’t worry, I’m not posting my actual weight and I won’t share yours either unless you want to. I’ll be focusing on weight changes. We can start the program together and I’m hoping the community will cheer us on. If you have a blog or podcast and you’d like to discuss your results, that’s cool too.

Want to join me? Leave a comment or send an e-mail explaining why. The contest is open to Canadian residents and ends on Wednesday, Jan. 11 at 5 p.m. EST. So, what are you waiting for? Get your entry in soon.

Another NutriSystem freebie
NutriSystem has a promo on now. Buy 28 days of food and get one week of food for free. You won’t be alone. NutriSystem offers counseling and support for everyone on the program and provides preliminary counseling and assessment for those who are thinking about joining. If you do decide to try it out, as always, leave a comment.

The fine print
As with any weight loss program, contact your doctor first and read NutriSystem’s Terms and Conditions. I (“Bargainista”) am not responsible for any problems ensuing as a result of your participation in this program.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Tip of the Week - Green shopping

Mish invited me for coffee the other day. She said she had something to show me and proceeded to pull a small green nylon pouch from her purse. It was about the size of a large cell phone or small digital camera but it was something else altogether different.

For a mere $5, she purchased a Reisenthel mini-maxi nylon shopping bag at Solutions that folds up into it’s own little carrying case. It weighs next to nothing and is small enough to fit into a small purse. Best of all, when Mish goes shopping she can open it up and fit lots of stuff inside. Boy, do I need one of these. ; )

I did a little research and learned award-winning design firm, Reisenthel has a whole line of shopping bags. I even found a post Kim Vallée had written about some of their other bags last spring. You can also find Reinsenthel bags at, but I didn’t see the one sported by Mish on their site.

Green bags come in many colours and aren’t just for groceries anymore!

Do you carry a “green” bag when you go shopping or do you keep one in your purse just in case? If you don’t, do you think this post has convinced you to reconsider?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Win free tickets to the Wedding Show

The Wedding Show
Oyster shucking with celebrity chef Jamie Kennedy (Friday night)
Meet top wedding professionals in the industry
Sweet treats, favours and more: indulge at The Wedding Co. candy store
Your name in ink: on-site calligraphy by Claire Reyes
Decorate your own favours: hands-on demonstration by Bonnie Gordon (Saturday)
Take home a bag full of Wedding Co. ideas, contacts and your copy of Wedlux Magazine.

Friday, Jan. 11: 5 p.m.-9 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 12: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 13: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

The Carlu (map)
Yonge St.

How Much?
$20 at the door, or reserve yours online.
Save $3 if you sign up for The Wedding Co.’s weekly newsletter.

How to win FREE tickets?
The Wedding Show is giving away two pairs of tickets to ChickAdvisor members (or friends of members) right now! To enter is tell them your proposal story. How did he pop the question? Was it a complete surprise or did you see it coming from a mile away? Email your story or share it in the ChickAdvisor forums by next Tuesday. Winners will be announced Wednesday, Jan. 9.

Eight new things you didn’t know about me...

Mish tagged me about a year ago. I suspected when I read Maggie Fox’s Eight things you (probably) didn't know about me” yesterday, I’d be tagged again. My only questions were when and by whom. It didn’t take long. Kate Trgovac tagged me last night. What a way to usher in the new year. ; )

1. I was born in Halifax, moved to Toronto when I was five and back to Halifax when I was 15. At 18, I moved back to Toronto for university and I’ve been here ever since.

2. The first self-serve grocery store in Atlantic Canada was started by my great-grandfather. My grandparents owned various shops in downtown Halifax. I guess you could say the seeds for Bargainista were planted many years ago.

3. As a geek, I hate to admit it but I don’t do much else with my cell phone but make phone calls and store phone numbers. Okay, so the cat’s out of the bag. To be honest, my current cell phone has a fickle key pad and my contract runs ’til August ’09. I’m too cheap to buy a new one. An upcoming Weekly Wish perhaps? Cell phone companies, are you listing?

4. Recently I’ve been diagnosed as lactose intolerant. No more decaf low-fat lattes for me. Yes, you read that right: DECAF!

5. Two events changed my life in 1995: I gave birth to my first son and I started using the Internet. Both still challenge me on a daily basis.

6. I’ve been married to my husband for almost 17 years.

7. During and following university, I worked in fashion retail, merchandising and buying before moving into communications.

8. I launched a successful online community for kids in 2001. I gained a deep knowledge of Internet safety and privacy issues. Now I help parents navigate the ’Net so they have a better understanding of what their kids are doing online.

So, I’ve come up with eight new things you may not have known about me. And now to keep this thing going, I’m tagging Michelle Tampoya, Kathryn Lagden, Kim Vallée, Saul Colt, Jay Moonah, Dave Fleet, Ali de Bold and Vasta.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

20% off at Penny People Designs - Update

Penny People Designs is offering 20% off all personalized stationery orders (except wedding invitations) from now through Friday, Jan. 4.

Make sure to enter “SAVE20” in the promo code box at check out.

UPDATE: As a special promo to Bargainista readers, Penny People Designs is offering 15% off wedding invitations until Friday, Jan. 4. Just e-mail them directly and mention my blog.

Choose from a large selection of designs for address labels, calling cards, stationery and invitations.

I need some address labels and thank you cards for a family celebration this spring. Maybe I’ll stock up now. What about you?

Spending Saturday at Vaughan Mills

I don’t know why our family started a ritual of going to Vaughan Mills at the end of December but we did. In the beginning, we focused on three places: Build-A-Bear, NASCAR SpeedPark and Eggspectation.

Vaughan Mills is a haven for outlets but we weren’t there for the bargains.

2007 was no exception. First, we ate lunch at the food court and then went bowling at Lucky Strike Lanes. What a blast! This state-of-the-art bowling alley isn’t your typical bowling joint. It’s upscale and spotless. Had we planned better, we would have eaten lunch there too.

If I’d had my way, I’d have spent more time at Holt Renfrew Last Call. They always have great stuff, sometimes even at affordable prices. I need new jeans and there was a 7 For All Mankind promo for $59, plus racks of other designer denim for under $100! But I did a dumb thing: Instead of trying on jeans when I got to the mall, I waited until we were about to leave. The line-up for the change rooms was huge and I didn’t have the patience to wait. Even Bargainista can pass up a good deal!

Next visit, my guys can go bowling or to NASCAR and I’ll go shopping.