Things you learn when you’re an entrepreneur

I came across this article by Melyssa at the Nectar Collective and it really struck a chord!

Me and my best friend/business partner have been working on our company H&P Properties together for more than 2 years and have been learning so much along the way.

There are definite struggles, but some really great moments, too, like when you get publicity for the first time, or you get a contract signed.

Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely experience, so it’s nice to hear from others in the same boat. You realize that you’re not the only one and that being different is ok.

We definitely identify with this article, so take a read!

What I’ve learned after one year of running my own business

Big Deal Toronto 2014

Big Deal 2014 Bloggers
Big Deal 2014 Bloggers

Are you going to the amazing fashion smorgasboard Big Deal Toronto this weekend?

Because I sure am!

Once again I will be opening my closet up to the general public and selling some great gently-used pieces from my collection. Other bloggers will be in attendance and I can tell you, it’s a fantastic event!

Last year was a blast. It’s a great way to pick up lovely clothes for such good prices (most of us only wear our stuff once… eep!) meet some plus size fashion bloggers and have a generally good time.

Raegan & I selling our frocks with smiles!

Tips to get the most out of your shopping trip

There are a few things I’d suggest to make sure you get the most out of Big Deal Toronto 2014.

1. Get the VIP ticket
La crème de la crème goes quickly at this event. For your best chance of scoring something truly fabulous, you’ll want to be there first. The tickets sell at a premium price but it’s worth it. The best selection and only 50 shoppers makes it a much more pleasant experience. You’ll have more space to move around and try things on.

2. Dress comfy
You’re going to be standing, shuffling and generally moving about with a sea of other plus size women. Wear clothes and shoes that are easy to get on and off, and allow your body to breathe. It gets hot in there!

3. Wear your Spanx if you’re into that!
There will be both private and communal change rooms this year. If you wear Spanx to make your outfits look nicer, wear them and your good bras to this event so you’ll know how things fit.

4. CASH ONLY
The event will have a few Square readers to take Visa and Mastercard, but the 3% processing fee will be passed onto you, so bring cash to avoid this.

5. Plan to spend lunch there
3030 serves up some great nosh and drinks, so do them a solid and enjoy their menu for lunch. The little tapas plates are a great way to snack or try something new, and the craft beer selection is aces. 3030 is providing this space free of cost to us bloggers, so we need to thank them by driving sales. Otherwise there might not be a next time!

6. Leave the hubby/child/stroller at home
Big Deal gets pretty crowded, hot and loud and is not a good environment for male partners (other than those rare gems who like shopping with their partners), children or anyone else that can’t deal with environments like that. Plus, it’s common courtesy not to bring your giant stroller into a cramped space. Don’t be that woman.

7. Don’t be a jerk
This means you should be polite and friendly to other shoppers, bloggers and volunteers. Don’t steal please, because you’re literally taking our personal belongings from us. From me. We are people and it hurts.

I know it can get exciting/stressful but try to keep cool and have fun! Come mentally prepared for the melee and you’ll do great. Your patience will be rewarded!

Neato Robotic Vacuum = Household Hero

Wow, ok so I got this cool new robot vacuum because I am lazy and also like having cool house gadgets.

Guys! This thing is amazing! Kinda makes me feel gross, but also amazing. You see, because I run a B&B from my home, I am always cleaning and vacuuming. I had just vacuumed before I got this little guy, but after I ran it through the living room it was full of crap. Like, gross, floor-icky junk. I couldn’t believe it.

I’ll spare you the photo of it, but just believe me, it was gross.

I couldn’t believe it because I had just cleaned, and it still managed to pull up that much junk. I don’t know if I should be ashamed or proud of myself for getting this thing.

Like I said, this thing is cool in a Star Wars kind of way. Just look at it!

In a living room far, far away...
In a living room far, far away…

Details

This little magic trick is a Neato Robotics Xv-12/Xv-11 Automatic Vacuum Cleaner. You can find it online in a bunch of places, but I got a refurbished one from FactoryDirect.ca because I’m a little low on funds right now and really shouldn’t be buying robots for my house.

I got the basic one I think (hard to tell) and it’s been great. I just wish I had the extra brush for all the cat hair around here!

I decided to go with this brand rather than a Roomba this time for a few reasons.

  1. Price. Generally speaking, this brand is much less expensive than the Roomba models currently available.
  2. Positive Reviews. I did a bunch of research and this brand seemed pretty solid to me. We’ll see how it fares over time.
  3. Features. This is the only robot vac that is actually a vacuum and not a sweeper. I also like how it has a square shape for corners, maps the space & it’s path around it efficiently and won’t fall down my stairs. I can also program it to clean automatically every day and it usually finds it’s way back to the docking station.

I had a Roomba way back in the day, when they were still new. It was a cute little red thing we called Ruby; I had bought it for my parents. Unfortunately the battery died and they never really used it. At that time they had to be manually plugged in to charge, so that was a pain. At some point my folks threw it out which was a shame because it cost so much.

Now the Roombas are so damned popular, they can charge a small fortune for it. I don’t think they’re really that much better than the other brands, they’ve just done a great job branding themselves. I wouldn’t say no to a free one, but I don’t see myself paying $800 for a robot vac that still can’t get into the corners or get a room 100% clean.

Like any robot vac, I’ll still need the old canister vac to do a really thorough job, and also to pick up after whatever the robot misses. I really, really, REALLY want a super-sexy Dyson vacuum, but haven’t been able to justify the spending, no matter how much my allergies, cat, and guests demand it. One day. For now I shall content myself with a robot. In my house. Doing my chores.

Life is good.

Cat vs. Vac
Cat vs. Vac

SexyPlus Clothing Review

Kiss Kiss! All the bloggers at the Fall Preview
Kiss Kiss! All the bloggers at the Fall Preview

A few weeks back I was invited to a plus size fashion blogger event at SexyPlus Clothing’s new location in Mississauga.

I was excited to attend because it meant I could

  1. See all my fatshionable friends
  2. Check out the store & selection (I’d never been to SPC prior to this)
  3. Try on lots of fun stuff!

And it didn’t disappoint. Owner Stephanie Augusteijn has created a lovely, plus-friendly

Robes in the changerooms are so convenient!
Robes in the changerooms are so convenient!

boutique complete with spacious changing rooms with robes & shoes (amazing forethought!) chairs for resting (or putting your man on to wait for you while you shop) and of course a nice selection of clothes.

I’ll admit I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived. I never actually made it out to the previous location on Yonge St. partially because of scheduling and also because the name

Tierra doing some shopping
Tierra doing some shopping

SexyPlus Clothing made me think of slinky, cheap clubwear like Voluptuous and that just isn’t my style. The new location was also a little daunting as it is out literally in the middle of nowhere at the end of a long row of industrial units.

Despite the location, you could call it an oasis of fatshion! Stephanie had a great selection of upmarket brands like Igigi, Kiyonna and Joseph Ribkoff. I love Joseph Ribkoff stuff! And in a nod to the “sexy” part of SexyPlus there was a nice section of lingerie and other risque underthings that I was happy to see. Oftentimes you  just see them online and can’t try them on which is sooo frustrating. I liked that I could touch them for myself here.

As for the event, it was smashing! There was yummy food and a gorgeous cake by Cake Star

Stephanie with the yummy cake!
Stephanie with the yummy cake!

Sweet Boutique and Ms. Tierra Sedgemore of  Size Sexy Clothing line herself was there! Tierra led a size sexy self esteem activity at the event that got us all talking about what makes us “size sexy”. It’s great to see such positivity and support in our community.

I think all the ladies can agree that we had loads of fun shopping, modelling and socializing that night. I got to hang out with lots of great people, and meet some new ones. Here’s a list of the blogs represented that night:

Candi Apple Couture
Petite Plus, Meow
Curvy Canadian
Cloud 14+
Erica Exposed 
Big Hips, Red Lips
Clothes and Shit

Gorgeous!
Gorgeous!

 

Rebecca Northcott of Rebecca Northcott Photography was there to capture the night on film for us. She’s a great photographer! Maryanne Walczak of My Beaded Designs was also there displaying her beautiful creations. We even got a pair of earrings, how nice! I love mine.

 

Of course no blogger shopping night is complete without me coming home with something… *sigh* here’s what I picked up at the event:

Perfect for all my client meetings
I wore this one out for my anniversary with the bf
I wore this one out for my anniversary with the bf, with some spanx underneath

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Pre-Opening Sneak Peek at Tatyana’s new Boutique in Toronto!!!

As a member of the Toronto Vintage Society I obviously love vintage, but as a plus size woman it can be hard to find the real deal. Enter reproductions and rockabilly style. Most of my wardrobe is made up of this stuff, but it’s still difficult to find even in Toronto. Much needs to be purchased online and the measurements and sizing never seems to be right!

All Vintage-y for my birthday this year
All Vintage-y for my birthday this year

That’s why I’m super-glad a bricks & mortar location of Tatyana is opening up right here in Toronto! I am looking forward to being able to paw through the racks and actually try stuff on before shelling out bundles of cash. Yeah!

My friend Jacquie got a chance to get a sneak peek at the new boutique and wrote up this great article about it, which I am sharing here. I’m particularly excited about the discount and goodie bags, I’ll be there with bells on!

 

Mmmm! I’d love to try this one on!

It’s opening up in the old Fashion Crimes spot at 322 Queen St West in downtown Toronto.

Are you a fan of the vintage look? Where are your favourite places to shop?

 

 

Review: Essie Resort Fling Collection 2014

Whew, what a “summer” it has been here in Toronto. We’re in July and it’s finally starting to feel like the summer. June was mostly a washout until the end of the month.

It has been super-busy though! Working on my business, becoming a real estate agent to make my business even more valuable and I got myself a boyfriend. He’s super sweet. We’ve just passed the 3 month mark and a friend of mine invited us up to a beach house on Georgian Bay for a few days.

I haven’t had a getaway in ages so I was really looking forward to this with my man… and beach! Glorious beach! Plus the timing for this review was just perfect.

Recently the folks over at ObessedLook.com sent me two shades from the new Essie Resort Fling Collection to test drive. I think everyone knows what a sap I am for nail polish. I just can’t get enough of doing my nails and I love the Essie brand (Essie and OPI FTW!) so this was great for me.

Out of the collection I chose the shades Cocktails and Coconuts and Resort Fling because they were the most different from what I already had in my collection.

Cocktails & Coconuts

Cocktails & Coconuts by Essie

I love this shade, even though I was a bit iffy at first. The neutrals I’ve tried in the past have all looked a little cheap on me, but this one wasn’t cheap at all. It goes on nice and thick and is described as “a light neutral with a very subtle shimmer.” I agree with this description and found the colour true to the bottle & photos.

Resort Fling

Resort Fling by Essie

This shade is bright and cheery, but a little more “liquid” to apply, if you know what I mean. I like the colour but it didn’t suit my skintone quite so well. I’ll probably keep it around for design details when I get creative. It’s described as ” a light pinky-orange crème with a jelly finish.”

Honestly I don’t know what they mean by jelly finish, but the rest of the description is accurate.

Here is what my nails ended up looking like:

IMG_2274
Please excuse the poor manicure, I was just farting around with the colours!

I really liked the light neutral, so I actually wore it on my beach vacation, though I forgot to take a photo. When I actually spent time on my nails it looked much nicer! As a side note, it was pretty close to the shade of the sand I was on, too cool!

I’m interested to learn more about the site that sent these to me. It looks like they have a massive collection of colours in nail polish, and the prices aren’t bad, either. It’s Canadian and I also learned that Essie nail polishes ship for free within Canada. Don’t know if that applies to other brands though.

Product Review: Truvia Sweetener

I was sent some Truvia to try out recently and I’ve been using it in all sorts of applications to see how it compares to regular sugar and sweeteners.

I’ve been trying to make small changes in my diet to be a bit healthier (a never-ending journey!) so when the PR company offered me the sample I was happy to try it.

Truvia is a brand of stevia-based calorie-free sweetener. Unfortunately it is very loosely based on stevia, with only 0.05% of the product being Rebiana, which is a derivative product of stevia. I was pretty disappointed to discover this in my research. I was hoping the product would be more natural and higher in stevia, since I was concerned about chemicals entering my body. When I visited the website for the product they made it seem like it was a natural, safe, stevia-based sweetener, but again it was super-misleading. Just because there is a tiny bit of a trendy ingredient in it, doesn’t make it legit.

Originally I wrote this as a positive review. I found the product to be a decent alternative to sweeteners and sugar, but I find the name to be quite misleading. Shame on me for assuming it was made from stevia, I guess. :(

If you’re in the market for something other than Sweet n Low, Equal or Splenda, Truvia would be a good choice. However if you are looking for a natural alternative to sugar I would suggest something else. Personally I’ll stick with my honey and agave syrup.

You can learn more about the ingredients in Truvia from this great article from a dietitian. Another one is here.

Take this as a lesson to always read the ingredients!

Sweet & Spicy

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