Friday, 21 December 2012

In My Closet- Accessories

Hello friends, I thought that I would share with you some of my FAVOURITE thrifted accessories.

Accessories are an inexpensive way to update any outfit, bring life to an outfit with a pop of colour, or just show off your own unique style.

Here is what is in MY accessory closet:

Was I NOT just saying last week that I was on the lookout for an infinity scarf? Well, lo and behold, I walked into Bibles for Missions yesterday and there was one hanging amidst the scarves! And for $2, no less!! Amazing. Love when that happens.
These are my FAVOURITE necklaces.If you know me at all, you will smile and nod because I will almost ALWAYS be wearing one of them. I found them both at Value Village (on separate visits) for under $6 each. These are also FANTASTIC distractions for little flowers girls to play with while I am working on wedding day hair. And, of course, for my boys as well...haha.

I found these lovely turquoise pieces at a Calgary yard sale years ago. I'm sure that I got all 3 for under $10.

I really scored at Bibles for Missions yesterday. All of their jewelry was 50% off. I ended up getting this adorable vintage bow necklace for $1!! Seriously how cute is this!!

 I really like this necklace, although I don't wear it that often. I picked it up at Value Village for under $5.


Again, if you know me at all, you know that I LOVE big bracelets and bangles. The two on the left were thrifted at Value Village for under $5 each. The bangle on the right- one of my MOST favourite things- was picked up at Hawk and Sparrow at a James St North Art Crawl.
So, there you go folks. Some of my interesting, unique, and not-so-unique pieces that I usually have on.  
I really encourage you to consider thrifting at least some of your accessories. Not only will you save money and recycle, but you can find pieces that are more unique and individual.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!!

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

At A Loss...

I've really been struggling with what to blog about in the last week.  It just seems so frivolous to talk about cute clothes and accessories with all that went on in Newtown last Friday. It has seemed to really affect everyone around me very deeply, myself included.
I'm unsure if this is because I have a son in kindergarten, and I try to imagine how I would feel if that horror had happened here, in his classroom. I can't.  I'm not sure if it is because it all just seems so senseless- I just don't know...
Then, this morning I wake up to a story about women in Pakistan (3 were girls, really- teenagers!) that were killed at close range for providing Polio vaccines to children. So, what do I do with this information.....Pakistan's largest import is cotton- do I picket cotton use to try to make a difference? (I realize that doing that would do absolutely NOTHING to hurt or help the situation, btw). But, I am someone with a deeply ingrained sense of justice (for better or for worse), and when things like this happen....I try to come up with a way to make a significant change....
If I didn't have my children, I might pack up and move to Pakistan or Afghanistan, try to make a difference in the world- but would I? Well... it's a moot point anyway....
Last night I slept snuggled up in my 5-year-old's tiny bed all night because I just couldn't let go. "What will this world look like for my kids?", I wondered. I feel almost guilty (and truly thankful) that I was born in North America and that my children are Canadian. "How did we all win the 'birth lottery'??", I ask myself.  I pray that this world will be a safer place then it is now- for my kids, and also for the children in other nations that aren't nearly as blessed as mine are. is messy. Life is hard. Life is not fair. This is something that I have had to come to grips with in my own life in the last year or so. This was a shocking discovery for me (!!)- as I said earlier- I ALWAYS try to find justice, for me or for someone else that I may see that is wronged. So... am I upset that the young man from Newtown took his own life instead of being held accountable? Of course, the part of me demanding that the scales of justice be balanced screams "YES!"  But, the part of me learning of the sorrow, sadness and poverty that the vast majority of people on this earth live through on a daily basis just needs to hold my kids tight and be thankful for all we have.

In the last week or so, I keep going back to the quote by Mr. Rogers, the beloved tv icon, who once said: 

 “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.”

I pray that my children will see a 'helper' in me. 

Love and Peace, my friends. And Hope. Always Hope.


Friday, 14 December 2012

Pinterest-Inspired Thrifty-Chic

Think that fabulous new fall look on Pinterest has to cost you a lot of money? I'll show you how to get the same look for a fraction of the original.

Do you doubt? Take a look...

This is such a cute, laid-back look. I REALLY love the Lulu infinity scarf. I do not have one like that, but will be on the lookout for a similar scarf from now on....

I wanted to show my version of this Pinterest look, if only because it named the brands that were used. That way you can be SURE that my version cost a small fraction of the original.
Cardi- $5.99 Value Village
Scarf- gift
Black Shirt- $5.99 Talize
Jeans- $12.99 Talize
Belt- thrifted so long ago- probably under $3
Again- no need to break the bank, friends! If it makes thrifting easier for you- go with a specific look in mind. You'll be amazed what you can pull together for next to nothing! 

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Local Vendors in the Hamilton Area


Are you still getting your Christmas shopping done?? Are you looking for some Local Vendors that you could support instead of your Big Box Stores?? Then, this post is for you! And also for anyone already done their Christmas shopping but still looking for areas to visit where they can 'Shop Local'.

I'll go over a few areas for you- and name a couple of my favourite stops...

James Street North Shopping
First of all, you can go James Str's Facebook Group and check out all they have to offer. Or you could check out an Art Crawl - the second Friday of every month all of the galleries and shops on James St N stay open late and you can wander through. It's always interesting and fun.
My suggestion, if you want to head there on a weekend, is to stop in at Mulberry Street Coffeehouse and grab a delicious cup of coffee and/or a snack to take along with you while you shop. If you are looking for gifts for others, I suggest HumblepieHawk & Sparrow, Relish, White Elephant, or Mixed Media for some truly unique gifts and/or stocking stuffers for those you love.

Concession Street Shopping
Concession Street is an adorable little neighbourhood along Hamilton's escarpment. This Saturday (Dec 15th) there will be fun for families because they will be having Breakfast with Santa, local carol-ers carolling, and carriage rides. Concession Street has many fabulous locally-owned shops, but the one that I frequent the most (being a hairstylist, obviously) is the Mountain Beauty Supply. It is a great little shop and is open to the public. Right now they have various Christmas packages with shampoos, conditioners or nail supplies that are sure to please the women on your list.

Ottawa Street N Shopping  
Before you head down to Ottawa Street for the day, check out all the information that you would need at Shop Ottawa Street. They have an alphabetized business directory on there as well. I suggest stopping in at Cannon Coffee Co. for a cup of joe and a bite to eat before you start your day of shopping. They girls that own this shop are beyond fabulous. Definitely check out the Allsorts Gallery - a local artists co-op selling local, handmade, unique artistic gifts. Also, be sure to check out Granny's Attic for some amazing vintage treasures. You will definitely need the day to travel up and down the street checking out all the antique and vintage stores that Ottawa Street N has to offer.

Locke Street Shopping
I'm sure everyone that lives in Hamilton has been shopping on Locke Street before. I won't spend much time here. But, in case you've been living under a rock, and have never ventured to Locke Street before, here is a list of what this vibrant area has to offer. Definitely go into Ten Thousand Villages for beautiful fairly-traded gifts from around the world. For big appetites, eat at Chuck's Burger Bar and check out Locke Street Antiques for all things vintage.

Westdale Village Shopping
Like the Locke Street area, I'm sure that most of you living in Hamilton have been shopping in Westdale Village. It truly is like being in an adorable little village inside of a big city. For an alphabetized list of shops and services in Westdale, click here.
This Friday, Wesdale is having it's 2012 Winter Wander:

If you do head down to Westdale Village, make sure to pop into Global Village Market for some organic/ fair-trade coffee and also some fairly-traded gifts as well. And grab some dinner at The Bean Bar- you won't be disappointed.
Well- there you are, friends. My extensive list of local vendors to check out for not only your Christmas shopping, but throughout the year as well.
Enjoy supporting local!!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

In the Mood to Swap


If I could have one wish this Christmas, it would be that 'Swapping' would forever be the new shopping.
Clothes Swaps are a win-win-win (win times however many girls show up)! You can leave with some fabulous, new-to-you clothing without spending a thing!
And, for a moment, lets put aside the money saved and the clothing gained...this is a crazy-fun girl's night out! Open some wine, put on some music, and let the excitement take over! What girl doesn't like a night out with the girl's- free clothes are just icing on the already iced-with-wine cake. Have I mentioned that there should be wine...?


According to Life Organizers, here are the tips to organizing a successful Clothing Swap:

Invite your friends & ask your friends to invite their friends 

About 10-15 people is the goal - aim for all shapes & sizes 

If you are hosting the swap at your house, make sure you have at least two full-length mirrors available

For those of us who are modest, make sure there are other rooms available to dress and undress. If this isn't possible, remind people they can wear a body suit or bathing suit underneath their clothing if they wish

Clothes swaps can be seasonal, but they don't have to be: The best clothes swaps have all seasons clothing.

If two people want the same item, you can have fun with this by either a coin toss, or having each person model the item of clothing and have a vote (do this only if you're sure there won't be hard feelings).

If you have second thoughts about an item you have up for grabs - speak up quickly. A simple "Hmm, I'm not so sure I'm ready to give that up yet," should suffice, before someone else gets too attached to the item.

Be prepared - for a good time! You'll be surprised how much fun you'll have with a group of women trying on clothing!

There were many how-to lists online- but this was the best one in my opinion. There is one thing this list is missing, however. Did you catch it? No wine! OF COURSE you can have a successful Swap without it, but really- WHY would you want to??

 I would also like to add to the list:

Ask that the clothing is laundered before bringing it

No soiled, stained, severely ripped clothing should be brought to the Swap

Other than those few guidelines- have fun with it! I think it is best to bring all seasons, but if you'd like have one just for Spring/Summer or for Fall/Winter, go for it! Whatever floats your boat. :)

I'm mulling over organizing a clothing swap in the early new year in the Hamilton area.  Comment below or let me know on facebook if you'd like to be included. 

Thanks for stopping in!


Sunday, 9 December 2012

Pinterest-Inspired Thrifty-Chic: 6th Edition

Think that fabulous new fall look on Pinterest has to cost you a lot of money? I'll show you how to get the same look for a fraction of the original.

Do you doubt? Take a look...


2 amazing maxi-skirt looks from Pinterest


Look #1: Really cute and casual. I wore almost this exact outfit to a birthday party for my friend's 5-yr-old daughter.

Maxi-skirt- $7.99 Talize
Jean jacket- $12.99 Talize
Black tank- $5.99 Value Village
Cream- coloured clutch- $3.99 Value Village
Black ballet flats- $7.99 Talize

Look #2: A bit dressier. I find when the skirt has a slimmer fit- it automatically feels slightly more formal, or something. Maybe that's just me...

Black short-sleeved blouse- Cast-off from friend
Maxi-skirt- $7.99 Talize
Skinny belt- thrifted so long ago...$1.99 I believe
Black ballet flats- $7.99 Talize

Guaranteed, my outfits cost a fraction of the ones that are on Pinterest. Hope you are all getting inspired to take a look through your closet and to give thrifting a chance. Maybe as a New Year's Resolution, perhaps?? ;)

Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays to all. Hope you are able to slow down and spend time with those that you love.



Friday, 7 December 2012

A Real or An Artificial Tree- Which One is Greener?


Every holiday season when I lug out my boxed-up artificial Christmas tree, I wonder about the the 'great debate' (well, at least it is a Great Debate in MY head)- which one is truly 'Greener'- a real tree or an artificial one?
And every year I try to convince myself that my artificial tree is indeed the greener choice. I did not kill a real live tree to get it. I am reusing my tree every Christmas season. That is not only GREEN, but thrifty, yes? I am not driving to a tree farm (and thus polluting the earth) to then cut one of those dear sweet innocent trees down...friends, these are true conversations that go on in my head every year....
I recently saw a link to an article on EcoSuperior's facebook page on this very subject. I couldn't wait to read it and find out if I was making the right call or if I was actually living a lie as a HUGE
The article  that was featured is on David Suzuki's website and it's findings are not at all what I expected. This is what the article says:
"The research team at Ellipsos has provided a definitive answer. In its study, the real tree emerges victorious!
According to Ellipsos, the artificial tree has three times more impacts on climate change and resource depletion than the natural tree. That's assuming your artificial tree lasts six years. If your tree will last more than 20 years and if you'd have to drive a long way to buy a real tree, the opposite becomes true."
Interesting. BUT, instead of being discouraged by these findings, I am now more vigilent to take care of the tree that I have. Now I MUST keep this tree for at LEAST 20 years. That's only 12 more years anyway...I take this a personal challenge...

In case anyone is interested, the article has also added some tips- whether you choose a real or artificial tree this holiday season:
 Real Christmas Trees
Buy locally
Choose trees from farms that minimize (or do without) pesticides and herbicides.
Cut your own with a provincial permit, from lands that must be kept clear anyway. In many provinces, hydro right-of-ways have to be kept clear. This is a win-win way to meet that mandate.
And for Artificial Christmas Trees
Avoid PVCs — the grinchiest of plastics — that most artificial trees are made of. Not only are these hard on the environment, they're bad for your health.
Make it last 20 years!
I'm not sure if this changes anyone's mind out there, or if anyone else wonders about these things, but I hope this helps!
The article also talks about living Christmas trees (which are unfortunately sold out for the year). These are a fabulously GREEN option, as well. Not for me, though. I have at least 12 more years with my beauty... 
Christmas Blessings, friends!

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Pinterest-Inspired Thrifty-Chic:5th Edition

Wowza! I just realized that I had better post the rest of my fall Pinterest looks before winter is upon us. Although, let's be serious, the styles don't really seem to change ALL that much from fall to winter. Maybe just a few layers are added on...

Think that fabulous new fall look on Pinterest has to cost you a lot of money? I'll show you how to get the same look for a fraction of the original.

Do you doubt? Take a look...

I mean, C'MON!!! How FABULOUS is this outfit?! It can't be just because I am desperately in love with all maxi skirts, can it??
I have been searching for weeks and weeks for a denim shirt that fit me like this one fits her. It's perfect. I have not found one...yet. I will not give up. I still have hope. :)
The flip-flops don't work particularly well in Canada come autumn, but other than that, this is a beloved outfit of mine.



I am very aware that the choice of denim jacket instead of shirt does add a certain 'boxy' feel, but as I said earlier-I've been looking for the perfect denim shirt.... and I've got to work with what I got! Everything in this outfit was found in my closet, just like all of my other Pinterest outfits.
I think this outfit is definitely one of my favourites. (Actually- I say that a lot, don't I??)  Dressy-ish, but oh-so-comfy at the same time. Perfecto.
Denim Jacket- $12.99 Talize
Black Tank- $5.99 Value Village
Skirt- $6.99 Talize
Belt- Came with a dress that I was given: FREE
Black Ballet Flats- $7.99 Talize
Necklace- $5.99 Value Village
Thanks for stopping in! Happy thrifting!
Only 19 days until Christmas! Are you ready?

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Christmas Repurposing Ideas- The SEQUEL

Since I wasn't able to stay awake long enough to post all of the fabulous Christmas repurposing ideas last night, I will post the rest of them now.
There are some truly creative and inspiring ideas here, folks. Hope you can find one or two to use for yourself. :)
Repurposed rulers turn into a rustic Christmas tree decoration.
Take an old slab of wood and some yarn and make it into a beautiful piece of Christmas art.

Glue circles cut from Christmas cards to those clear 'stones' from the dollar store with a dollop from a glue gun, stick a magnet to the back and VOILA- Holiday magnets! I have also done this with my friend's family pics. Love.

An old, out-dated placemat gets a new life snipped into ornaments for the tree. Just add a loop of twine and a cute red button to each.

I really love this. Create a luminary from repurposed Holiday cards. Amazing.

Old buttons get a new lease on life as an adorable ornament. Simply thread yarn or wire through and add a cute ribbon.

Now, this takes a bit of dedication....but, you can reuse old jam jars to hold hand-poured candles to give as gifts.Very lovely.

For any fishermen/women (or fishermen/women's partners, haha) out there, if you have an old minnow bucket lying around, you can repurpose it into a beautiful lantern.

Another one of my favourites...Old screens become fabulous 
winter-y art.

And...the best for last. How beautiful are these?! Simply spray paint an old light bulb with silver after wrapping the bulb in lace. Gorgeous!!
Well, that ends my Christmas/ Winter Holiday repurposing posts. Or, does it.....???  Stay tuned for ideas for after the holidays... Here's a teaser...

You can reuse Christmas cookie tins as storage tins. Simply Spray with chalkboard paint and label. Brilliant.
Happy Holidays, friends. Peace.
*Oh, and most of these were found on Pinterest- as if you didn't know. haha.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Christmas Repurposing Ideas


'Tis the season, my friends, of lights, trees, wreaths and ornaments. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year.
But, it can get pricey as well as produce a lot of garbage if we aim to change up or even add to our much-loved decorations each holiday season. 
So, here are some fabulous ideas to not only repurpose items that may end up in a landfill, but to also beautify your home and get you in the holiday spirit. And is there any better feeling than glancing at something beautiful in your home and knowing that you created it out of something else? I think not.

Repurposed ribbon or fabric plus pine cones make an adorable decoration for your front door.

A Christmas tree made of repurposed tree branches

Love this. Old slats of wood made into a Christmas card holder with twine.

Pages of an old book or maps can be made into super cute ornaments.

I love the idea of repurposing fabulous little knick-knacks into ornaments.

Pages of old books can be made into this beautiful angel wing decoration.
Using an old sheet of music (awesome if it were a Christmas carol) to cover an old star adds interest and updates it instantly.
You can give old, burned-out light bulbs new life by making them into ornaments.
You can save $ on wrapping paper, and save the trees as well- if you wrap your gifts with napkins or scrap fabric.
I have actually been using this repurposing idea for years. I got the idea from my friend, Leanne. You can reuse your Christmas cards from last year to make gift tags for this year!
 Old scratched, unusable CD's can be painted and used as holiday decor.


And, for my Jewish friends, you can repurpose snowflake and Christmas tree cookie cutters for Hanukkah!

There are so many more ideas that I have stumbled on and LOVED, so this will be the first of (at least) 2 posts on Christmas Repurposing.

Stay creative! Much love to all!


*Oh, and most of these were found on Pinterest- as if you didn't know. haha. 

Monday, 3 December 2012

In My Cuban Closet

Well...I'm back!! Did you miss me at all?? What a fabulous trip! It's always so nice to get away, especially with someone that you love as much as your sister.
I always feel a wee bit guilty, though- going to all-inclusive resorts. I feel like I shouldn't be catered to all day every day- so that's why I went to Cuba! Haha.
I do feel good knowing that tourism is their main industry, so we are helping those working at the resort (?), and I do like to add to their monthly wage by tipping- and NOT just to get better service...
Anyhoo....the thrifted outfits that I brought to Cuba....
Here are a couple of them. I meant to take photos of all of them, but I'm sure you understand how it is. After the first couple of days, 'vacation brain' takes over and you can't seem to do anything other than eat, drink, sleep, and swim.

I love, love, love this dress. I snatched it up on a quick run into Value Village Stoney Creek. It's one of my favourite finds ever. I did alter it, however. It was originally a halter, and I took it to a tailor and had it changed to spaghetti straps. I just find that style easier to wear and more flattering on me.
Maxi Dress- $12.99 Value Village
Necklace- $5.99 Value Village
Belt- thrifted so long ago, I can't remember

This was a very fun outfit, and the one that I was wearing when I got thrown in the pool one night....but THAT is a story for another time...
Tank- $6.99 Talize
Skirt- $5.99 Value Village
Necklace- $5.99 Value Village
Bracelet Cuff- $12.99 Hawk & Sparrow

I WISH that I had a better photo of this maxi dress. It is another one of my fav's and was actually given to me by my sister because it was too long on her. Looking back- I'm not exactly sure why I didn't get her to take a photo of me in it.
Dress- Sister's cast-off
Necklace - $5.99 Value Village
It's so good to be home! I can't wait to blog about some great repurposed Christmas ideas soon! Exciting stuff! It was a little tough, though- to come home from sun and sand to snow and Christmas lights....
Thanks for reading!!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

My Journey To Never New

I get the feeling that some people are still wondering 'WHY?' I do what I do. I guess I have done a number of posts on 'WHAT' it is that that I do- but perhaps it is time to go through my journey a little bit.
I have said before, and it is definitely the truth, that this was NOT a decision that was made overnight. It was a choice that I made gradually over a number of years- the more I read up on it and the more I looked into where our stuff comes from.
I would have to say that the seed was planted the day that my then-husband told me that we should not shop at Walmart anymore. I was SHOCKED! What!! How could I possibly NOT shop at Walmart anymore??? I bought all of our toiletries, housewares, electronics, cleaning supplies, a lot of our clothing...etc., etc. there. How could I cut that out? (AND that was even before they had groceries there!!).
It seemed to be something that was important to him and so I said that I would go along with it. But- I must confess- I still did run in there once in a while and stock up on low-priced 'this-or-that'. I think that was because it was HIS choice and not mine. I really didn't see the value in it.
Then, I went to a screening of Garbage- a documentary by Andrew Niskar. He had a family of 4 collect all of their garbage, compost, recycling inside of their garage for (I think) about 3 months. The kids had to bring home any garbage they had from school, friend's houses and birthday parties. The parents had to bring home their garbage from work and when they were 'out'. The results were astounding. It's amazing how much it adds up for just an 'everyday family'. I started to think about where all the waste that I was making went to....
After that, I saw the documentary What Would Jesus Buy. This movie was about the 'over-consumption' at Christmas, and the need to support local vendors. Again, my eyes were opened.
I began to hunger to learn more, and the more I learned the sadder I became. I no longer wanted to buy the least expensive items that I could find- because I knew that someone who made that item was living in poverty because of it. So, I told myself that I could not buy anything from China (ya right) or Bangladesh (most manufacturing of clothing is moving there because they only have to pay there workers $1 American for a days [11 hours!!!] work).  You can read about this in Confessions of an Eco-Sinner. Well, that was nearly impossible.
So, for me, though the journey was far longer than this one page- and had many more twists and turns- ended at I would stop buying new. At least then, I was recycling, and saving something from a landfill.
I understand that most people will not understand or agree with the choices that I make in my life. And, that's ok. :)  Again, I just hope to maybe get some wheels turning and to plant some seeds of 'Consumption-doubt'.
Well friends, this will be my last post for a week- off to vacay with my sister. More and more posts to come upon my return. :)
Here is a little Smile (??) that seemed appropriate for today's post: