Sunday, March 28, 2010

Headbands: My New Favourite Accessory

Whenever I go to the One of A Kind show, I always stop by the booth for this is J. I have been in love with their prints and headbands for a few years now. The same thing usually happens each time I visit. I hesitantly enter their booth. I hover around looking at the headbands too scared to try one on. I wait for one of the salespeople to declare I have the most perfect shaped head for their headband, so perfect in fact they suggest that I become their spokesperson! While this is all playing out in my head (sans headband) the reality is, headbands kind of scare me. I’ve never been really good with hair accessories or appliances. I only bought my first flat iron just over a year ago. It’s rare for me to even put my hair in a ponytail. But every time I see a headband from this is J, I feel drawn to them; I feel I must have one. I feel a headband is in my foreseeable future.

Sporting my this is J toque at the Vancouver 2010 Curling Semi Finals

Last year at the One of a Kind Christmas show, I decided to take the plunge and buy one of these beautiful hair accessories. I did my little booth visit hesitation thing and walked out with a catalogue that I looked over for the next few hours. Then I went back in, picked up my future headband and paid for it. I guess I did well because while I was paying for it, someone from the booth who looked like they were in charge asked the salesperson if they had picked it out for me. I was pretty proud that I had done so well on my first try. Since then I have added a second headband and the Lafleur Army toque to my possessions. I wore the toque while at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics and got comments from total strangers on it! Yep, you bet I was promoting our Canadian designer talent while at the Olympics!

This Is J also offers an assortment in mittens and scarves to co ordinate with the toques, of course there are the aforementioned headbands, as well as pyjamas and blankets which I believe are a new addition. All of their products are made from custom made fabrics that are designed by this is J. You can get 1 piece or a few in matching prints to co ordinate if you want. I have lots of favourites and am trying to balance the number of headbands I buy to how often I would wear them. I’m happy to say I have worn both my Basha Flower in Black headband and the Lafleur Brown one a few times now and am getting more used to them. Now that its warming up here in Toronto, I will shed the hats and use my headbands more. Oh my, is that headband #3 I see in my future? I think so. And I’ll go with some pj’s next time too. The set includes a headband! Could it get any better?

Lafleur Army reversible toque, $39

The One of a Kind show begins in Toronto on March 31st and runs until April 4th. You can visit this is J at the show or their website where you can place orders if like me, its takes you a couple of visits to make a decision.
For a promo code to get $3 off of One of a Kind tickets purchased online, visit my newly created Not A shopaholic Facebook group page.

Product images from this is J website.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Join Me On Facebook

Want to interact with people who love shopping as much as you do? Want to have a place where you can share all of your best fashion finds and retailers who have the best threads? Come join my newly created Not A Shopaholic Facebook group page.  A lot of friends were leaving comments about my blog posts on my Facebook page and try as I might I just could not get them to visit my blog to leave their comments. Then I thought, why make them go there when they are very clearly quite comfortable leaving their comments on Facebook. So I have created a group page for Not A Shopaholic. Now there is a place we can all share information about favourite Canadian and international brands, retailers, discounts and sales.  I look forward to input on this page from people all over the world. Unleash your best shopping secrets with people who will really appreciate them and not tell you that you shop too much. In fact, we encourage you too!
Go to Facebook and join the Not A Shopaholic group page now!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Mixing Shopping With Vancouver 2010

Depending on how you know me and how you came across this blog, you may not know that in February I was a part of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. A willing and able participant in spectating and displays of exorbitant amounts of Canadian pride. Yes I was in Vancouver to see and experience it all. It was a fascinating experience and very special to me as I have always wondered what it would be like to be at the Olympics. I started another blog to capture everything leading up to and at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games. You can read my 2nd blog Journey to Vancouver 2010 – Diary of a Fan to get more details on everything that happened there. I was also guest blogging for Inside Vancouver which was great fun for me and gave me a chance to meet some great people. I was also grateful for the opportunity to have my writing reach a different audience.

In getting ready for Vancouver 2010, I knew I was going to want to spend some time looking for shopping places that I could write about in this blog. I did find a few, although not as many as I would have liked. I simply ran out of time and energy! I do hope to go back to Vancouver soon, possibly in the summer to explore the shopping areas I didn’t get to this time around. The ones I did see were great and I will definitely visit them again whenever I am in Vancouver.

The first area I went to was Gastown. It was a short walk on a beautiful day from our condo to the Gastown area. Quite a few souvenir shops occupied the area, as well as furniture/decor stores. I was on the hunt for clothing stores. The first store I went into was obakki. Their collection is manufactured locally in Vancouver. The clothes were beautiful, I loved their accessories and in particular their jackets caught my eye. Unfortunately for me, the prices were out of my comfortable range and I had to be happy with just looking. I checked out their website and they do sell online as well as wholesale their collection so there may be an obakki garment in my future wardrobe yet.

Photo: obakki website

Next door to them was Ishara. Another store with beautiful clothes and accessories from many different brands like: Modern Amusement, Smythe, Joe’s Jeans, Ella Moss.  I was fortunate to find a sweater on sale that I liked from brand Modern Amusement, a multi coloured stripe sweater that I see myself wearing with my Second Yoga jeans and silver Steve Madden flats. The store was recently located to Gastown from a mall and I’m glad they did otherwise I may never have come across them. There were some other tourists in the store while I was there. It was nice to see some other Olympic travellers getting away from events and street parties long enough to take in other parts of Vancouver.

My sweater from Ishara. I can't wait to wear it!

In our last few days in Vancouver after the Olympics were over was when I was able to do most of my shopping assignments. One store that caught my eye when I was shopping on Robson Street was Plenty. They had a great mix of price points, merchandise and brands. You could do one stop shopping there from tops and bottoms to shoes and accessories, even an Olympic souvenir if you wanted to! There were some familiar brands in here like Kensie, denim brands and their own in house brands like Propaganda. I tried on many things, mostly looking for something funky I could take home from Vancouver and because I feel like I am always so conservative. Well I tried funky and I think maybe it’s not for me. I ended up with a few tops that I think I can make funky with belts and accessories. Plenty is definitely a funky store and I really enjoyed shopping there. I’m trying to convince them via Twitter that they should open a store in Toronto but they don’t seem to be going for it. They have suggested that I come back and it’s a pretty sure bet that I will. I’m keeping an eye on their website, if it becomes an ecommerce site, I will be the first one to purchase from it.

My tops from Plenty on Robson Street. I should have bought more! It's a great store.

The last shopping area I managed to fit in before leaving for home was Yaletown. I had been told a lot of things about Yaletown and I have to say that people were right. They said I would love it there and I did. They said that it was all shops and restaurants and it was. They said it was a cool area and it was. They said I probably wouldn’t be able to afford anything and they were right! On a different trip I may have splurged and bought something expensive for myself but I couldn’t do it on this trip. It was cool to see brands I hadn’t ever seen before.  If nothing else it was an education into additional fashion brands out there. One store I was very intrigued by was Marimekko. As soon as I walked into this store I knew I wanted to buy something. Everything was bright colours and bold patterns. It immediately woke me up and made me feel like it was a brighter day. All fabrics are made by them and you can buy readymade pieces or buy fabric for a particular project you are working one. I didn’t have anything specific in mind that I needed for my home so I left there empty handed, unfortunately. I did get a card, will be checking out their website and will make sure I go back there if I visit Vancouver again this summer.

Kissanminttu pattern from Marimekko, one of their many fabrics Photo: Marimekko website

I did find 2 tops in the Mavi store in Yaletown. The off the shoulder style and raglan sleeve is a style I had been looking for so I bought 2 colours. The Mavi brand is sold in many stores across Toronto but we are without a store dedicated to the entire Mavi collection. Again at some point in my future I see another pair of Zoe jeans in my future, if only I could decide on a which wash I wanted.

Shopping areas I really wanted to get to but didn’t have time was the Mount Pleasant area around Main Street and Broadway and Granville Island. Think I’ll be watching West Jet for a seat sale and hoping someone in Vancouver invites me to stay with them this summer! It was amazing to be there in February when Vancouver welcomed the world, but I still have some shopping to do, or as I like to call it “research”!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Back to Not A Shopaholic

My deepest apologies for ignoring this blog the last few months. As most of you probably know, I was preparing for my trip to the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. The trip was everything I thought it would be and more. Now that I am back, I am focusing my attention back to this blog. I still have a few brands and stores on my list that I need to write about. After that, I'll be on the hunt in Toronto and the GTA for cool, unique brands, stores and shopping districts. If you have any suggestions for places for me to check out, leave a comment or send me an email. Again I am very sorry for ignoring you, but I'm back and anxious to bring you great places to shop and to support our independent retailers.

If you are interested in reading about my Vancouver 2010 Olympic adventures, please visit