Category Archives: shopping

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!

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?

 

 

Holiday Preview – Lots of Photos!

My dear friend Karen from Curvy Canadian brought me along to today’s holiday preview for Addition-Elle at the SoHo Metropolitan Hotel in downtown Toronto.

Actually, it turned out to be more than just AE that was presenting their holiday lineup! There were loads of brands to check out and lots of nice perks waiting for us that day. I wasn’t officially invited but the organizers were gracious enough to cobble together a nice little gift bag for me as well. Thanks, Brill Communications!

Addition-Elle

AE has a nice new lineup of lingerie coming out this season. I like the feminine touches, details and colours that they are presenting. I feel like as plus size women we’ve got our bases covered when it comes to “fun” bras and panties; now it’s time to get the grown-up versions, too! I’m really into the whole romantic theme this year. I think the film The Great Gatsby has a lot to do with it, and a general nod towards our more refined eras. I’m very glad to see this coming around.

New Ashley Graham lingerie at Addition-Elle
New Ashley Graham lingerie at Addition-Elle

The holiday collection from AE was a little bit disappointing. Recycled designs, patterns and embellishments were throughout and really didn’t do anything for me. Some of the pieces looked downright cheap, so buyer beware! I was happy to see an improved offering in the outerwear category with snowpants and sporty jackets for winter. I also liked the jewellery offerings with the deep sapphire and cobalt gem hues. A little over the top, but it’s the holidays, right?

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Bonnie Gordon College of Confectionary Arts

The college was also present for the preview, offering a glimpse into what their classes have to offer. They had a pastry chef making a lovely winter cake, and a cookie decorating bar! Karen and I both took a shot but sadly forgot to pick up our cookies on the way home :(

Cookie bar!
Cookie bar!
Karen makes good cookies
Karen makes good cookies
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I love decorating stuff!

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Ecco Canada

I love this brand. They make such nice things of good quality. I was really drawn to their leather goods for this season. They have some great classic styles in wallets and handbags coming out. I am in love with the leather purse!

I need this.
I need this.

 Emjoi Micro Pedi

OMG I love this thing! It was like they read my mind or something. I noticed my feet were getting a little rough despite my recent pedicure and I was contemplating getting out the ol’ “cheese grater’ for my feet and getting an upper body workout. This little gizmo saved me from having to do that. It’s like a Pedi-Paws for your feet, gently sanding away the calluses and dead skin easily. We got a demonstration on our feet and then got to keep the product. Very nice! I will definitely be using this in the future!

Pedicure time!!
Pedicure time!!

Josephson Opticians

Another brand I was impressed with was Josephson Opticians. I know, I know, I got the laser eye surgery a while ago, but I love glasses as an accessory, and sunglasses are mandatory!

I love all things retro, so their seasonal offerings were right up my alley with lots of tortoiseshell, cat-eyes, embellishments and style! They were also very nicely made, which will justify the higher pricetag.

I’m styling a photo shoot this fall for myself and a male model so I might pop by their store to borrow a few sexy frames.

I loved these frames so hardcore, but I don't know if they suit me. Thoughts??
I loved these frames so hardcore, but I don’t know if they suit me. Thoughts??
The second from the right were my choice!
The second from the right were my choice!

There were a bunch of other great brands there as well, including Donato Salon & Spa, Nespresso, Ecco and Kohrani, but I didn’t get many photos of their stuff.

By the end of the tour, we had spent a few hours more than the 30 minutes we had planned! We also ran into fellow blogger Jessica from Clothes and Shit. Group photo time!

Jessica, Karen & Ginger
Jessica, Karen & Ginger

All in all it was a great day and I look forward to seeing some of the great new stuff in stores soon.

The Second Annual BIG Deal Toronto Blogger Closet Sale!!!

Come on out to the second annual BIG Deal Toronto bloggers’ closet sale! We’re hosting it at 3030 bar and lounge in Toronto this year, so there’ll be plenty of space for browsing and socializing, and we’ve got a great cocktail menu lined up!

I’ll be selling some of my wardrobe goodies and giving a sneak peek at my new image consulting services, for free! Come meet me and rifle through my stuff, you know you wanna!

Follow us on Twitter here

Review: Made By Hand Show

Mom and I went out this dreary day to check out the annual Made by Hand Show in Mississauga. For only $2 entry fee it’s one of the more reasonably-priced shows this time of year for crafty things.

I mostly wanted to go to see if I could find any new artists to bring on board for With Heart. My inventory is getting old, but I don’t have enough free cash to bring in much more right now. I need to find newer artists that are willing to do consignment deals with me for the first little while. This way I can sell the stuff and make money, but if I don’t, then I just return the items to the artist. It’s a pretty decent deal.

So it wasn’t too bad today. I’ve been to all sorts of shows in my day, ranging from tiny church and community centre shindigs to the juggernaut One of a Kind Show every year. I do wish it was in a better location, but I guess there aren’t that many large halls in the area.

In terms of selection it was ok. There was of course a million baby stuff, soap and jewellery makers. Not a whole lot of remarkable stuff there, either. I’m looking for the really stand-out items that are worth a second look. Most of the booths were not very professional and had many of the same items, over and over. But this is the trouble with crafting and shows; there are always going to be more than enough of those vendors to go around. That’s why I created my boutique anyway, so that you could shop simply online and get the creme de la creme of handmade goodies without all the hassle of these shows. (shameless plug)

Anyway, I feel like my adventure today was fairly successful. I found some vendors with interesting wares and grabbed some cards to research them further at home. I made some personal purchases, too!

I picked up a couple of pottery mugs (replacing all the ugly ones from the set with unique & interesting pieces) and I love these. I ran out of money or I would have bought so many more things from this woman. I can’t carry these items in With Heart and that’s a shame, but at least I can enjoy them myself!

These are just stunning IRL

I also picked up some adorable cloth button earrings:

What do you think? This size was about $10 each. They came in a ton of great fabrics and different sizes. I’m thinking of getting some for the store, what do my readers think? Would you buy something like this?

The gal Jenny was pretty rad too. A bit Rockabilly in her style, she really had a nice but simple booth and her packaging & presentation were excellent. She’s not online yet but I think she’ll do relatively well.

Now I’m going to sit down and go through all the other cards I collected during my visit and decide whether to contact the artists to work out a deal for the shop.

Rock the Vote For New With Heart Lines

Politically, I have no idea what’s going on these days.

But voting is something I understand!

Here’s the deal. for my shop With Heart, I want to introduce some new lines. The problem is, there are too many cool things to choose from and not enough moolah to go around. So I’m putting it to a vote.

 

Visit With Heart!

Please head over to the With Heart Blog and cast your vote on your favourite new artists and lines. This is your chance to have a hand in the creation of an awesome store.

New artist suggestions are always welcome, so hit me up if you’ve got any!

Thanks!

Successful shopping for the store

Well today went fairly well despite the continuing heatwave.

I was lucky enough to stumble across a listing for the Big On Bloor festival on Friday night. Lucky because it was going on the following day, and was a great place for me to source some vendors for the shop!

I headed out there this afternoon and meandered along, alternating between mopping my brow and fanning myself. I felt like some kind of old Southern woman or something…

It was a cute little festival, and I had no idea it existed! A couple of bands performing, food vendors, lemonade stand and all kinds of little pop-up shops. I just love going to stuff like this. I find a lot of them can be hit or miss, with either too many people or too many of the wrong kind of vendors, or the opposite of both. Today’s seemed to be just the right amount of vendors and activity.

Anyway, I meant to go shopping for the store today (and I did!) but ended up doing a little shopping for myself.

My cute new necklace, and the earrings match!

At the end of the day I ended up with earrings & necklace set for myself, earrings for my mom’s birthday, a ceramic mug, a sun hat and a new wristlet for when I go out (HA. IF I ever go out again, that is…. *sigh*)

But I also made some valuable contacts for the shop, and will hopefully set up some meetings to talk business next week.

By the by, I’ve already had one meeting with a vendor. It went ok, but she didn’t really seem to have her act together yet, so it was hard for me to wade through things. At first I thought it would be cool to give guidance on the kinds of products I’m seeking… but now I think I’d rather just take a look through what they’ve got and commission just a few things. I guess my work is cut out for me… I need to find the crafters that are more inclined towards business as they’re much easier to work with.

Next week my plate is pretty full with more vendor meetings, and also my second try at the OSEB program. I wasn’t sure if I was going to go for it again, but this time it looks a little more hopeful. It’s at a different location and they seem way more helpful already and really seem to know what they’re doing. Now that I know the kinds of things they’re looking for I might be able to make it. If not, I got a chance to refine my concept a little more.

Sorry about the blog,

I know a lot of my posts lately are about the business, but you have to understand that my whole life is pretty much the business right now. I don’t have a whole ton else going on, plus getting all this stuff done is sucking up all my time. You should see my to-do lists, they’re behemoth. There are just so many little details to cover, decisions to make and people to talk to.

I’m not going to say I didn’t see this coming, I did choose to jump in with both feet. But it’s certainly a handful! I’m still confident that I can do this though. I try not to let the little monsters in me get too loud and bring me down.

Anyone have any organizational or productivity tips to share with me? I’m doing ok most of the time, but occasionally get overwhelmed. I definitely need some kind of system to deal with stuff. Suggestions???