Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Mirage You'll Want to See

I'm not sure when my fascination with stationary products started, but one thing is for sure, the more I see, the more I want. Its actually kind of odd because I rarely write letters these days. This whole thing may have begun when I was searching for thank you cards for my housewarming party. My visit to the CGTA show for work reinforced this new obsession when I came across the booth for Mirage Paper. They had the coolest designs on journals, notebooks, folders and cards that I have ever seen. I think I fell in love on the spot. We girls have always loved fashionable accessories, and now we could have notebooks too.
I have since discovered that Mirage has now become Ecojot, placing emphasis on their eco friendly products and rightly so. Thank goodness their dedication to the environment has not compromised their fashion sense. I currently own 3 small journals and matching note pads. They are great for throwing into my purse and jotting down notes on anything I am shopping for (currently that is condo furnishings). I had to search high and low to get the prints that I wanted but it was well worth it.
You can find their products at Chapters/Indigo stores, and independent retailers. I found the styles I wanted at Solutions but I'm not sure if they are a regular item there. They also make for great gifts. Faced with a Kris Kringle one year that I had no idea what to get, a Mirage (Ecojot) jumbo journal was the perfect thing. My friend loved it, and she loved walking around her office with such a stylish book. Why should note taking be boring?
Thanks Ecojot for designing great products that are environmentally friendly and Canadian made! Ecojot also has an outstanding children's line and sketch books, among other numerous products. Check it out. I think you'll love it.

Ecojot and Mirage Paper Co.
ph: 1-800-836-6669

Monday, December 8, 2008

Luv Your Shooz Miz Mooz

A few months ago, a couple of us cool gals headed down to NYC for a mega shopping trip, and a bit of sight seeing. New York City never disappoints in the shopping category and we were up for the challenge. Shopping along Broadway one day, shoe store after shoe store, a common element began to emerge; this cool, funky, well priced line of shoes called Miz Mooz. Some of the coolest shoes I have seen in a long time, with prices in the "I don't have to wait for them to go on sale to buy them" category. How rare is that? After much consideration, many shoe stores, several try ons and a lot of group consensus, each of us girls walked away with a brand new pair of shoes or boots. From what I remember no one spent over $150 US which is pretty darned good I think. I don't recall ever seeing this brand in Toronto but Rita did say she had seen the brand in a store downtown although she could not remember which one. If you see Miz Mooz in any stores in Canada, let me know which ones and I will post them. This is a brand we need to see more of!
Happy Shopping.

Here is a link to Infinity Shoes where we bought ours. The Miz Mooz website doesn't seem to be working.

Infinity Shoes

3 locations in New York City:

391 Broadway
2476 Broadway
510 Broadway


Friday, November 7, 2008

The Furniture Invasion

Finally, some more options when it comes to furniture and home décor. September and October saw the Canadian debut of two well known American home décor retailers. Crate and Barrel opened their first Canadian store at Yorkdale Mall and West Elm-a division of Williams Sonoma, opened in Liberty Village. I for one am thrilled to have both of these stores here, as finding things for my condo has been a long, slow and sometimes painful process.
Both stores have a strong catalog and website based business. Hopefully Canadian versions of both are in the works. With each of them only a short drive away its nice to see that Canadians, or at least Torontonians, have some more options. What I like about both is that they are very reasonably priced and their products are modern, fluid, clean and condo friendly!
Crate and Barrel will open a second store in Calgary in 2009. West Elm has yet to reveal their next Canadian location. Non-shopaholics everywhere are hoping for rapid expansions from both.
This may be the best thing that's happened to Canadian retail in a long time. I am seriously considering moving right into the Crate and Barrel store. Think about it, you'll never have to change sheets or wash dishes again!

Crate and Barrel
Yorkdale Mall

West Elm
109 Atlantic Avenue
ph: 416-537-0110

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Get Your blik On

If you are anywhere close to my age group, you probably have the same horrible memories that I do of wallpaper your parents put up in your house. I can still see the 1970's ish wallpaper in my parents kitchen. Its been gone for years but the memory never goes away and it made me swear off any kind of wall decoration for good. Thank goodness there are companies like blik, helping to transform those of us who are still scared witless about the thought of putting something other than paint on our walls.

blik makes adhesive wall decals (stickers) in various styles, shapes and colours. With blik, anything goes, from the funky and fun like the Giant Robots, to the cute and cuddly Wee Gallery series to the hanging Chandelier or Bamboo. Quite literally, there is something for everyone. As quoted from their own site, "blik surface graphics are over sized, self-adhesive, removable decals that allow anyone to quickly & easily create decorative patterns or custom wall murals for home or office". blik designs some of their own stuff and also partners with other various artists to keep their designs fresh and unique. Some of bliks design partners include, Threadless, Keith Haring, Ilan Dei, Mel Lim and Undoboy. You'll find profiles of all the artists on the site.

Visit the blik website for a complete list of graphics available. There are way too many to list here! New things are being added all the time like the Nintendo graphics and SCAD-a partnership between blik and the students at Savannah College of Art and Design. You can go as tame or as crazy as you would like. And if you don't like it, just remove it and put up something else. The only thing holding you back is your imagination. Pick a room, a design and get your blik on!
Graphics are sold online or check the website for a retail location near you. Custom orders are available for personal or promotional use. Contact blik to get an online quote.

blik surface graphics
Venice, CA
ph: 866 262 blik (2545)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I Luv Luxe-Design

Seems to me that I should have timed this entry better since this one also refers to the birthday party I threw for my friends back in the summer. But I’m getting around to it now so I guess it all works out.
Luxe Design accounted for the gift portion of the evening when I had the Chiquita’s over for a joint birthday party. These gifts had been planned months in advance and were too similar to have the gift giving spaced out. Luxe is another one of my great finds from the One of a Kind Spring show in Toronto. I first became aware of them when I clicked onto the link from the One of a Kind website to theirs. It sounded like a great idea and I knew I had to check them out at the show. When I did not count on was not being able to get to the counter at their booth! It was a madhouse. Looks like Luxe is a show favourite. I did what any sane person in that situation would do, I stuck my hand in and asked for a card. Trust me, it was the safest thing for all involved.
Luxe Design is so fantastic because they make necklaces and other types of jewelry that have great words, phrases, names, etc, on them. There is a selection of various shapes and sizes for both pendants and chains. You can choose from a list of words on their site or you can create your own. They are very flexible so ask for whatever you want. If they can’t do it, they will let you know.
For my married friend with children I had the names of herself, husband and children on one side of the pendant. For my other friend, I had “Friends are Forever” stamped on the first side. For all of us, the back was stamped with the three of our names tying each of them together and unique to the three of us. As for myself, I went with the popular words of “Dance, Dream, Trust, Believe”. It was a great personal, unique and memorable gift. Thank you Luxe for making such wonderful keepsakes for all of us.
Luxe Design
Vancouver, BC
ph 604-602-1921
Visit their blog at: http://luxedesign.blogspot.com/

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Somerset Collection

One of my favourite malls to shop in is Somerset Collection in Troy, Michigan. I used to think of it as my own special shopping secret, but in the past few years several co workers and friends have made the Somerset connection. Having added Somerset North to the mall over 10 years ago, it really is one stop shopping for anything you could possibly need.
Anchor department stores include; Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Saks 5th Avenue, and Macy’s. Speciality stores include your everyday shops like Fossil, Express, Victoria Secret and Bath and Body Works in addition to some harder to find retailers like Anthropologie. There are several restaurants to eat at. My favourite is California Pizza Kitchen. Out of all the shopping I do in the States, this is the only mall I go to with a CPK and to only be able to eat there once a year is torture but well worth waiting for. I highly recommend the Santa Fe Chicken pizza or the California Club with avocado.
Somerset first started off as a small mall with some very high end exclusive shops. This was expanded later on to include J. Crew, Armani Exchange, Crate and Barrel, Tiffanys and Barney’s New York to name a few. It is now called Somerset South, with no shortage of luxury retailers to choose from. Lululemon is the most recent addition to Somerset South. Judging from the amount of Lulu bags I saw last time I was there, our American counterparts love Lulu as much as we do. Somerset North is where you’ll find all the stores your used to seeing in everyday America malls. The highlight of the mall is the moving walkway over Big Beaver Road that connects Somerset South and North. From Gucci to American Eagle, there is something to be found at Somerset Collection for everyone. My only complaint is that I don’t live closer!

2800 W. Big Beaver
Troy, Michigan
48084 2 Miles West of the I-75, Exit 69

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Fan Mail from Fuzz Ball

Wow, Not A Shopaholic has received her first piece of fan mail. A devoted reader asking my opinion on hair products! I am so happy I think I will go to Danier and buy myself a leather blazer to celebrate. Oh wait, I've already done that. Guess I'll just answer the question then. If you have a question for Not A Shopaholic, you can email me at notashopaholic@gmail.com.

Dear Not a Shopaholic

I recently purchased the Ojon 5-piece Hair Ritual Kits for about $80(!)

The product promises:

restores, softens and adds shine to dry, damaged hair
restores manageability, eliminates static and frizz
provides protection from thermal styling and combing
keeps hair healthy between deep conditioning treatments

I’ve used the products twice now (shampoo, conditioner, repair treatment, leave-in-treatment & styling product). Followed all the directions and even kept the treatment on my hair overnight as suggested.

After the first use, my hair did felt softer but it was the frizziest it had been in months. After the second use, my hair still felt soft, but again it is still frizzy, even after using additional styling products.
The smell is very unpleasant. It reminds me of stale cigarette smoke. Have you heard of anyone else using this product?
Shouldn't $80 for hair products entitle me to products that work?

Fuzz ball

Dear Fuzz ball
I sympathize with your problem. I have not used this product nor have I heard of anyone else I know using it. I have also purchased beauty products that made all sorts of promises and have been disappointed almost every single time. This lead me to hunt down reliable information so I would no longer spend money on overpriced products that do not work. Paula Begoun-the Cosmetics Cop, has spent many years dispelling the myths and exaggerations of the beauty industry. There are good products out there, we just need to know what to look for. You can log on to Paula's site and get some of her reviews for free or pay the membership price and get access to thousands of reviews. Or you can buy the latest edition of her book "Don't Go To the Cosmetics Counter Without Me, 7th edition". I have an earlier edition and consult it before I buy new products. There is also a newsletter you can sign up for to get weekly/monthly updates delivered to your inbox. It is up to us to educate ourselves and Paula's website is a good place to start. Good luck.


Monday, July 28, 2008

Lollicakes for Your Life

In July I threw a joint birthday party for my two closest girlfriends, Chiquitas 1 & 2. I had been planning it for months between the gifts, cards, birthday cake, and the dinner. As an alternative to the tradional birthday cake, I decided to go the Lollicakes route for something different, fun and unique.

I first saw Lollicakes at a Toronto Home show back in February 08. I thought it was really cool but at the time didn't think I had a need for it, until I started throwing this party together. It became obvious Lollicakes would make the perfect birthday cupcakes. They do custom orders and could probably accommodate almost anything you want. I had a small order so I did the walk in thing and designed my own right on the spot. Now, I like to think that I am creative and decisive, but I have never had to look at 50 different jars of sprinkles, 6 colours of frosting and design my own cupcakes. Then pick out a painted chocolate lollipop to add a fun look. They were certainly memorable birthday treats. And the girls just loved them, like I knew they would. The reaction of women in their 30's and those of small children to cupcakes with lots of frosting and sprinkles are pretty similar.

Their website has great images and the store also has a binder of pictures that you can look through for some ideas. Anyway, I finally made up my mind and the the finished product is in the image included. I'm pretty sure it was their best birthday ever. My only problem is how I'm going to top it for next year. I wonder if Lollicakes will make me some double decker cupcakes for next year? Maybe after reading this they will!

Lollicakes are peanut free and certified kosher. Lactose free, wheat free and other dietary requirements can be accommodated. Just give them a call and speak with them directly. Everyone needs some Lollicakes in their lives.

559 Mount Pleasant Avenue
Toronto, ON
ph: 416-482-2253

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Glam-o-rize Yourself

Here's a tiny confession from a non shopaholic: this year was the first time I've ever attended the One of a Kind Show. Shock, horror, and dismay; this accurately describes some of the reactions I got from my friends when I shared this tidbit of news. If ever there was such a perfect event for me to attend, it was the One of a Kind show. Glam Julz is one of several great finds from that show. I have continued to shop from here since the show and Monica and Karen are delightful to work with.
With jewellery in mind, the One of a Kind show did not disappoint. I picked up my now favourite necklace of all time from Glamjulz. A small company from Burlington, ON., run by Monica Graves and her staff, Glam has the most beautiful baubles and gems any girl would love to have. And so affordable! A variety of necklaces, earrings and bracelets graced the counters at Glamjulz. It was quite difficult to make up my mind. My first purchase was the blue, white and granite strand necklace. It devastated the Glam girls to have to give it up, but I promised them I would give it a good home and I think they would agree that I have. It really is the necklace that goes with everything. And the amount of compliments I get! Every time I wear a Glam piece, I always have someone commenting on it. Goes to show you the uniqueness and beauty of their pieces.

At a later date, I visited the Glam studios to see if they could make a necklace to match a dress I was going to wear to a friends wedding. Sure enough, after much consultation, the circle necklace with stones was created with the matching earrings. Several other items were purchased and I wear them all the time. Every piece elicits compliments from complete strangers. Just the other week, a Country Style employee offered to trade me a cup of coffee for my Glamjulz necklace. As much as I love Country Style coffee, nothing could make me part with my julz.

You can view the vast Glam assortment in their online catalogue. A comprehensive lists of stores that sell Glam can also be found on the website. I promise, you'll never be the same. Go ahead girls, Glam-o-rize yourselves!

Burlington, ON
Monica Graves-Designer
ph: 905-467-7904

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Bath and Body Works to Open 6 Stores in Canada

Well its about time. Thank you to my BBW obsessed friends who forwarded me this great news a short time ago. Limited Brands has announced that they will be opening 6 Bath and Body Works stores in Canada this fall. We Canadians no longer have to make that trip across the border to stock up on our favorites. My friends and I had an understanding that whoever was making a trip needed to check with the others to see what they wanted. Now we can all buy our own!
No telling what the retails will be in our Canadian Dollar parity world. It still may be cheaper to stock up in the US. We'll have to wait and see. This is good news for all and its been a long time coming.
This non shopaholic can't wait to see what US retailer breaks ground on our soil next. I keep my fingers crossed for J. Crew. Happy Shopping!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Buying Your New Eyes Online

A recent change in my eye prescription sent me off to the mall to get quotes for new eye glasses. Because I switch back and forth between glasses and contacts, I wasn't looking for anything fancy or expensive in my glasses. I have to say the prices I was quoted for bare bones glasses-cheap frames and none of the coatings-was shocking. The average price I was given was $300, which is the total my benefits covers. This means I would have been footing the bill for all of my contacts for the next two years.

To get a better price, I took my search to the internet and stumbled upon Clearly Contacts.ca and their trial pack glasses. I have to say that eyeglasses falls into the category of "Things I Never Thought I Would Buy Online", but this was pure desperation. I actually started looking at the site for contacts and then checked out their glasses section. What I found there has saved me hundreds of dollars.

Clearly Contacts.ca offers a trial pack of glasses frames. Certain styles of frames are eligible for this program. You can select up to 4 frames to be shipped to you to try on at home. I ordered my frames on Wednesday and had them the next day. This is impressive considering I live in Toronto and they were shipped from BC. Clearly Contacts covers the cost of shipping the trial pack to you and the return back to them. My four frames were in the box as well as an order form and a return label.

I selected the frames I wanted, marked them on the order form, put a copy of my prescription in the box and dropped them in a mail box to be returned to BC. Less than two weeks later, my new glasses were sent to me. The total cost, around $100. This included the frames, lenses, anti scratching coating and anti reflective coating. A bargain any way you look at it.

Orders over $99 are free shipping. You pay for your order within 15 days of receiving the product. A number of different ways to pay give the customer a lot of options and add to the ease of the process.

Their prices for contacts are pretty good with volume discounts for purchasing multiple packs and an auto refill option if your one of those people who forget how long you have been wearing your contacts. We are all guilty of this.

I have forwarded this website to several friends and co workers. Who doesn't need to save a bit of money these days? Its nice to know we have options. Check it out for yourself and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Hello Fellow Bloggers
This is my first foray into the blogging world. I look forward to sharing my thoughts and great finds with you. My intent is to focus on cool, unique, and fashionable products, services and websites that I stumble upon. I am always on the hunt for cool unique things and wanted a way to share this information with others. I hope you enjoy my blog posts.