I have a shopping budget.


Budget (Photo credit: Tax Credits)

It’s small. It’s pitiful if you ask me. Significantly less than when I had an employer paying me for my work. However, any sized budget is 100% necessary because I get immense pleasure from shopping. I get a high from the entire experience. Starting with making a wish list to the sensory input upon entering the store. From selecting pieces that catch my eye to narrowing down the pile. From bringing my new additions home to ending with creating different ways to wear it all. Trouble is, I can easily get carried away. I mean, there are so many categories to buy from: skincare and make-up, hair care and tools, undergarments, clothing, hosiery, shoes, accessories, and outerwear. And I constantly see missing pieces in my collection as well as having the desire to remain current.


I used to go window shopping but I quickly realized that I ended up buying things. I fall in love with the vision of myself using the product. I am also quite able to do some serious on-line shopping. I have a few sites that I can easily drop a few hundred dollars at… at each one.


So I have a budget and I am having a very difficult time adhering to it, mentally and emotionally. I have concocted several arguments that might rationalize increasing this budget. But in the end, I value other areas in my life too. Such as renovating my home. Going on trips with Ross as well as with our kids. And having a large nest egg for retirement.


Being able to prioritize the use of my money is very… mature. I am trying to rise above the immediate gratification of purchasing and am working towards finding true gratitude in the items I already own.


To quote Ross “baby, any budget you have won’t be enough. You’ll always see something else you really, really want.” He is wise, my husband.





Sky High at Upstairs

Do you know my mom? She’s beautiful, amazing, kind and fun. She also celebrated her 65th birthday last week and we all went out this past Sunday night to enjoy some time together. My brother and sister-in-law, my mother and father-in-law, my parents and Ross and I went for a night of food, drinks and live jazz. I had a wonderful time. The best memories were watching my mom move to music as her facial expressions mimicked the singer’s.


Shirt: Express; Jeans: Paige Denim; Boots: Raphaella Booz

It was also a great opportunity for me to introduce my new bag to the world. It was a present from Ross on our 7th wedding anniversary. It went a little like this:

Me walking around by myself at Aldo sometime in August… “Oooh, I love this bag! Oooooh, I want this bag!”

Two weeks later, I casually brought it up to Ross…

“Baby, are you looking for a wedding anniversary present suggestion?”

“Uhhhhhhh,” Ross was apparently caught off guard.

“If you did, there’s a great bag at Aldo. I could even make it easy for you and go get it.”


And that how I got my bag. Thank you Ross!

IMG_9269 IMG_9271

Bag:  Adelaide by Aldo

Comfy Cozy

We use this term a lot in my house. To describe getting into our pyjamas. To describe getting into our beds at night. To describe getting ready on the couch to watch a movie.

And now I’m using Comfy Cozy to describe these boots.


Aldo (old)

The lining of these boots is incredible! Fuzzy deliciousness!

Some back-story: These are the first pair of shoes I bought for myself after Gabi was born. She almost 1 year old. I felt like my coach had put me back in the game. I walked around the store eyeing the candy and settled on these. Good for the cooler/colder season and with a decent platform and heel height.


Jacket: H&M (old); T-shirt: Old Navy (Canada – only $3.99, US – only $4.97); Jeans: Kensie; Boots: Aldo (old)


That’s A Whole Lotta Purple

I love color! My closet has always reflected this. Over time, I have owned (and rocked) blue, yellow, coral, red, green, purple, black, and checkered jeans. Although I tend to buy neutral outerwear, I have a rainbow in my closet… including my footwear.

So when I came upon these slouchy lilac boots at DSW by Penny Loves Kenny a few moons ago (B.K., meaning Before Kids), I brought them home without hesitation. Why not use footwear as the pop of color when the rest of my outfit is neutral? It’s a win-win.


DSW (old): Steal

So why these boots yesterday? Because Emma grabbed them! Of course she did. It seems that my youngest daughter has taken to the color purple as I did when I was younger. As a teenager, my friends on the ski hill knew it was me from afar. I was the only one decked out in full purple attire, from my hat and goggles down to my ski boots!


Dress: Akira (old); Sweater: Gap (old); Tights: HUE; Boots: Penny Loves Kenny via DSW (old)

I’m trying really hard to dress in new ways, at least new for myself. If I’m going to really adhere to my monthly shopping budget, I need to reinvent the clothes I already have. And as much as I love to layer, I usually like to work progressively from the under layers to the outer layers. However yesterday, I wore the long sleeve under the short sleeved dress. New. For me.

What I like about this hand-me-down dress I inherited from my mom, is the embellishment at the neck. It has enough bling to be worn with just earrings.


Do you wear a t-shirt over a long sleeve? Do you share clothes with your mom?


When I’m Bored, I look At Fall Booties On-Line

Not sure if we share this beloved past-time, but when I have a few minutes to disconnect from my day and want to do something to reboot, I window shop on-line. I go to a site and fill my cart with all things beautiful. There’s something refreshing about discovering new items and how I would style them.

If I were in the market for a new bootie, and wasn’t restricted by price, I would have bought this one (in black as pictured) at first sight.


They’re by Vince Camuto. I spotted them a couple of months ago at The Bay (Canadian version of Macy’s) and although they were out of my budget, I sort of begged my husband to green-light the purchase. I tried to rationalize it as a necessary boot for the season. He didn’t bite. He very diplomatically said I could buy them, as long as it came out of my budget. I hung my head and walked away from them. I still think about them and yes, I do regret not buying them.

Tell me you’ve also regretted not buying a shoe 2 months later!!!

So, back to on-line window shopping. Piperlime. I like the site, being able to buy from Old Navy, Gap, and Piperlime all at once. Very time effective. They offer free shipping and free 30-day returns, which makes shopping on their site a no-brainer. (Unfortunately for my Canadian readers, they only ship to the US).

It just so happens that I had a few minutes to myself and I decided to fill my Piperlime cart with fall booties for the season. I realized once my shopping excurson was completed, I had three categories of booties: the ones that fit into my $100/month fashion budget, the ones that are just above my budget and maybe I could borrow from next month’s, and those that are ridiculously out of my budget. Regardless of the category, I find something interesting in each.

Full disclaimer: I have not tried on these boots. I have no idea of their fit or comfort. This is simply a wish list and if I were in the States, I would probably order some from the first two categories to try on at home. Piperlime has not solicited my opinions. I have compiled this without any association to Piperlime.

Category 1: $100 or less and in my budget


Steve Madden

Category 2: Slightly out of my budget. I wouldn’t order them but I would most certainly try these on if I found them in a store!


DV by Dolce Vita

Calvin Klein

Nine West

French Connection

Kenneth Cole Reaction

Boutique 9

Arturo Chiang

Vince Camuto

Category 3: These are so out of my price range, they make me nervous! I probably wouldn’t even try them on in fear of falling in love and having to walk away! Beautiful footwear, nonetheless.


Rachel Roy

Sigerson Morisson


Stuart Weitzman

Tell me, do you fake shop too?


A Nine West Wish List

I have the fortune (or misfortune, depending on how you look at it) to have signed up for email alerts for sales and promotions from many different stores, both Canadian and American.  At first, I rationalized by telling myself it was a great way to know what was current. Pictures sent to me could be used as inspiration for my own outfits. Now I see these emails as messages my shop-a-holic alter-ego wants to receive so she can goat me into buying more than my budget allows for! It’s so hard! Are you with me on this? Truth is, regardless of what my budget would be set at, I would find more than that to buy!

Thank you for letting me share!

I own several shoes by Nine West, and have already showcased thesethese and these. Nine West is what I define as a no-nonsense, straight-forward and classic-looking shoe. They may use some (not much) playful patterns, some embellishing with buckles and knots, but mostly, this company creates shoes for the modern working woman. And they are made well.

This weekend’s email alert was for their Friends & Family sale of 30%, and it piqued my interest. Once I got to looking at what the site had to offer, I started looking at other shoe sites as well. I’ve compiled a few shoes and boots that I would easily bring home to join my collection:

NWalyviaAlyvia: and if I didn’t have enough oxfords, I’d buy these! Pair with anything (Canada, US, US)

NWocco  Occo: Pair with a feminine dress (Canada, US, US)

NWlayeaLayea: pair with skinnies or leggings and an over-sized sweater or blouse (Canada, US, US)

NWCometeComete: pair with a dress, pencil skirt, or leggings/skinnies… and if you can wear 4.5 inch heels! (Canada)

NWHollydayHollyday: I love these booties! They have the perfect delicate detail in the stitching while having a very structured shape. Can be worn with anything! (USUS)

NWpristeenPristeen - Black/ black leatherPristeen: pair with a mini skirt, mini dress, skinnies. This might just be the over-the-knee boot I’m looking for! (US)

What are your thoughts on on-line shopping for shoes? What are your thoughts on Nine West?


The Underdog

I look at this shoe and I say to myself “why did I buy you again?”


Steve Madden via 6pm.com

Here may be a few contributing factors:

  • I bought them on-line
  • They were quite inexpensive
  • They looked easy to put on and off
  • They were/are trendy
  • I needed more flats

Overall, these shoes don’t excite me. They’re a bit floppy for my liking. They don’t seem to help me express the mood I’m in either. Oh well. That’s why I’m calling them the underdog of my collection. The pair that I only put on when I don’t seem to care what I put on my feet. They’re also the underdog because I seem to wear them more often that the pairs that do excite me and allow me to express different sides of myself.

Go figure!


Blazer: Jennifer Lopez via Kohl’s (old); Tank: Old Navy (old); Jeans: Rich and Skinny via eBay

Steph, why is the area below your knees wearing out? Are you a plumber? Are you a floor-washer aficionada?

Why no, I’m neither of those things. You see, I bought these jeans on eBay and so they were already worn in. But truthfully I started noticing it becoming lighter and lighter the more I wore them. I loved these jeans so much. They were, and still are, my favorite pair. So I wore them often, Maybe daily for a while. I chalk it up to getting down on the floor and playing with my then 1 and 2 year old daughters. I promise you that’s why. Please believe me.

Overall, I feel polished in this outfit. I like the loose jacket with massive pockets – in which I can easily put my phone, keys and other diddies. I like the straight legged jeans to counter-balance the proportions. And the gold chain, which coincidentally was purchased not long ago on-line, helped fill the space near my collarbone nicely.

When I left the house on this blistering windy fall day, I wore my basic black trench and a black and white scarf. All cozy!


Trench: Will Smith via Marshall’s (old); Scarf: H&M (old)

Do you own a shoe that is blah? How often do you wear yours?


Laid Back

There are days when a woman wants to wear heels.

There are days when a woman wants to wear her Converse. Yesterday was one of those days.


Converse: $35 at Winners (Canadian TJ Maxx) similar

For some reason these shoes make me want to call them ‘kicks’. I hear this term in songs and by the cool people I pass on the street. Not entirely sure if using ‘kicks’ to describe my Converse is right or not… I may have just flashed my geek card. Actually, I’ll wave it high and proudly!

I was channelling a muted version of grunge when I got dressed.  Grunge, including plaid, is back with a vengeance and for those of us who wore grunge in the 90’s because we were old enough to shop for ourselves might find it a bit hard to re-play the part in 2013. But maybe that’s just me. Truth is, I like plaid. I might not be able to wear a red plaid mini skirt anymore, but I can certainly figure out how to incorporate the look. So I’m interpreting the trend in my own way, subtly via my shoes (unless I go back to Jacob and buy their plaid dress pants! In which case I will proudly display my attraction to plaid).

The rest of my outfit was monochromatic… in one shade: black. Black skinnies and a black light sweater. Grunge-y, right?! I know, not really. Just remember it’s interpreted 🙂 I certainly felt relaxed with a slight ‘I-don’t-care’ attitude. A slight one.


Shirt: DKNY Jeans (old); Jeans: Rich and Skinny via eBay; Shoes: Converse via Winners

The point of interest up top is the crochet-like inlay on the shoulders and down the back. Love the details! Subtle but interesting.


And since fall is in full swing in Montreal, I want to also include how I dressed to leave the house.


Jacket: Gap (old); Scarf: H&M (no longer on-line)

How did you dress for Hump Day? Did you sport heels or flats? Do you Grunge or not?


Black, Red and Purrrrrr

It’s raining, it’s pouring, the old man is snoring.

What do you wear when you know you’ll have to don your animal print rainboots? 


Why, red skinny jeans and a black top, of course!


Shirt: Forever 21 (old); Pants: Joe Fresh (old); Boots: Wal-Mart (old)

I’ve pinned this color combination enough times to know that it works. Thanks Pinterest!

I personally like both color and texture in my closet. I was wandering around the store having to use up a store credit on the spot when I noticed this lonely sweater. Either someone had left it on the wrong rack or it really was the last in stock. Either way, it played out like this in the changing room: Hmmm, the sleeves are a bit short… I could push them up and make it a 3/4… I’ve never worn something like this… could be interesting… (try on other clothes. try this sweater on again) Ok. I think I’ll take it seeing as it’s only $10… My chance paid off because I now love love love it. It takes the ordinary and makes it a fun and interesting top.


What do you do when the clouds break and the sun comes through half way through the day?

Why, you switch your animal print rainboots for your animal print flats, of course.


Did you notice my polish? I used Essie’s No Place Like Chrome (I know I’m late to the party on this color!)


Monday Mom-day

I know the title is confusing cuz today is Tuesday. Nevertheless, I’m trying to make Mondays less agonizing and less depressing by dressing myself up a bit more.

Yesterday morning, I needed inspiration and so I looked through my trusty Fashion BInder. You have one too, right? Hmmm, probably not.

What’s a Fashion Binder, Steph?

It’s a binder I keep in my closet, that I file any pictures I have pulled out of magazines. I use them to help me know what’s in season, what’s trending and also as a quick way to inspire my outfit.

Did you come up with this genius idea all by yourself?

Alas, no. The binder maybe, but definitely not the magazine inspiration part! That I got from Jeanette (aka ‘J’) over at her blog. Hers was probably the first fashion blog I ever dedicated time each day to read. She was pivotal in helping me discover what my style is and also take pride and time in dressing myself accordingly.

So, what inspired you yesterday?

It was a picture in my binder of Tilda Swinton dressed in white and black:


Picture: http://www.oxentemenina.com

I can definitely pull something out of my closet that’s black and white! And so I did.

Is there another useful reason you have a Fashion Binder?

Why, yes! Having a collection of pictures can allow me to spot any patterns. If I notice that I have pulled out pictures with similar aspects (stripes, scarves, booties), then I know that that item/trend/color is something worth purchasing. One of the first things I noticed when I began this journey was that I like to layer. At first that’s all I could identify. And so I went forth and made sure I had good quality cardigans and blazers, as well as tanks and shells to wear underneath. Now I understand more why I like that look. I can create more interest with layers. Whether it’s through color or texture, the eye is more interested.

Hopefully this outfit is a case in point.

IMG_9195 IMG_9192 IMG_9190

And the perfect shoe for this black and white outfit was this pair by Nine West. I purchased this kitten heel in July 2012 to be complete my bridesmaid outfit for my brother and sister-in-law’s wedding. Elizabeth has a good eye, and a kind heart to have chosen a shoe that can be worn time and time again. It was a great addition to my collection!



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