Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Some Like It HOT

If you like it a little or a lot hot, check out Cajun Corner. Specializing in products from Louisiana this little shop has all types of spices, sauces, mixes and rubs to make you sweat when you eat. This is THE place to go if you are looking for the Zatarain's line of products or Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Magic Seasonings (his picture on the packages makes him look a lot like Dom DeLuise).
They also carry Mardi Gras supplies and offer authentic Louisiana take-out and delivery.

920 Queen ST E, Toronto www.cajuncorner.ca 1-800-459-9588

Knit One, Purl Two

The Purple Purl is now open on Queen St E near Jones. Even though I’m not a knitter (or crocheter) this store caught my eye, mostly due to the Purple sign and large “ball of wool” hanging over the entranceway.
Their website mentions they are a cafe and this brought to mind images of people purchasing coffee then proceeding to spill it all over expensive skeins of yarn. Now that I've visited the store, and found they do not serve hot caffeinated beverages, I realize ‘cafe’ refers to the comfy seating area at the front of the store where you can sit and knit and chat with other knitters.
This cozy store is stocked with lots of cotton yarns, as well as those made from bamboo, soya and corn – my favourite being the wool, silk and bamboo blend with mini sequins! They also carry beautiful crystal beaded stitch markers as well as needles and books. The friendly staff are more than happy to help answer any questions you have or help you find the perfect yarn for your next project.
1162 Queen St E, Toronto

For the Cook In You

Opened just last week, The Inspired Cook, is sure to be a hit with cooks who don’t like cluttered stores. This shop sticks to a minimal aesthetic so it’s easy to spot exactly what you’re looking for, but if you can’t find it, the cheerful staff are more than happy to help you. The silk-screened dish towels are on item that caught my eye right away.
They carry Le Creuset enamel cast iron pots, Pullivuyt white ceramic dishware, Lampe Berger , lead free crystal stemware and an assortment of small kitchen gadgets.
1378 Queen St E, Toronto

Organic Chocolate Truffles

Handmade, organic and fair trade truffles is what you’ll find at Kakayo Chocolate Company. The truffles are handmade in small quantities every few days to ensure freshness. A small sheet of paper saying when the truffles were made and what each truffle contains is included in your purchase. I tried the Hot Tamale (just a slight spicyness), Pumpkin Pie (heaven!), Raspberry Nipple (disappointing as the raspberry was very subtle) and Trailer Park (peanut butter) truffles.
You can purchase wooden gift boxes of truffles or select any number of truffles that are then packed into a Chinese takeout carton.
Buying truffles as a gift sometimes is a little challenging, as everyone has their own chocolate preference – milk, dark, white, so Kakayo offers a gift voucher that entitles the bearer to 8 truffles of their choice!
They also make chocolate truffle and chocolate mint lip balm.
1584 Queen St E, Toronto

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Lush Life

You either love’em or hate’em. I’m very sensitive to smells but LUSH is one ‘smelly’ place I can actually stand to be in. I find the secret is not to handle too many items, or you end up transferring the mix of scents to everything.
My favourite things at LUSH are definitely the bath products – bath ballistics and bubble bath bars. They’re colourful, have great names and make taking a bath that much more enjoyable with their moisturizing ingredients.
Holiday season is a great time to visit as they come out with their limited edition Christmas items. Their Christmas angel bath ballistic is chocolate mint scented; Green Green Bath of Foam bubble bath bar is a grapefruit and cedar leaf scented tree shape; Mr. Butterball emits the yummy scent of vanilla as he fizzes away in the tub. For those who like sparkles or glitter, choose from Twinkle or Jingle Spells bath ballistics, Greenwash soap or Bling Crosby bubble bath bar.
They make is easy for the time-pressed shopper by offering gift boxes containing anywhere from two to twenty great items, all beautifully wrapped and clearly labelled with their contents.

http://www.lush.ca/ (for store locations or to shop online)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Winter Woolies

ENDS discount warehouse is overflowing with winter wear at hard to beat prices. Whether you need warm inner wear or outer wear, this is a good place to visit.
You can get men’s sweatpants for $9.99, longjohns for $8.99, wool work socks $11.99/6pairs, and ultra suede button down shirts for $12. Finding kid’s clothing here is hit and miss, but right now they have Hot Paws mitts and hats for $2.99 each.
There’s lots of stylish stuff to choose from for the ladies. Flannel pajamas, in fun prints, by Twisted Wear are only $15 a pair; quilted vests are $12, velveteen coats are a great deal at $39.99; hooded zip-front sweaters with faux fur trim are $8 (available in blue, white or pink). If you have the time and the inclination, rummage through the four bins of faux fur mitts, hats, collars and shawls all priced at $7 each.
For both men and women there are Misty Mountain snowpants for $49.99 and leather gloves in assorted colours for $12 a pair.
1930 Queen St E, Toronto (2 blocks east of Woodbine)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

More Than Just Fabric

Fabricland is a great place to buy ribbon (organza, satin, wired) and trimmings (rickrack, tassles, crystals) for gifts or holiday decorating. If you’re not a sewer, they do sell already made holiday placemats, table runners, tree skirts, napkins and stockings. They also have round and square charger plates in gold, silver, red and green. There’s a tiny section of tree ornaments that include clip-on birds for $3.20, large felt snowflakes and my favourite, the frosted acrylic shoes and purses with marabou trim - $21.98 for a package of six. Fabricland members save 50% on regular priced holiday items.
In their home décor section you will find comforters, sheet sets, throws and cushion covers in all sorts of colours, designs and fabrics. (not all stores may carry these items)


Beddington's get in a small selection of holiday items, but they’re also a great place to buy gifts such as duvet covers, sheet sets and cozy bathrobes.
On the holiday side they have brown and bronze pillar candles, coco doormats with reindeer or snowman on them, dish towels, wash cloths in sets of 6 for $10 with an assortment of snowmen, reindeer, Santa and trees embroidered on them, ball shaped silver oil lamps, and Reindeer Collection ceramic dishes (platter $30, serving bowl $15, set of 4 mugs $10).
More gift ideas: throws from $30-$80 in a variety of colours and fabrics; washable microsuede placemats in beige, brown or red 8/$19.99; to cut down on morning bathroom time, get your man a Zadro fog free shower mirror $40. There are lots of Upper Canada body products to choose from. They carry four of their product lines – Fresh Cut, Naturally, Gardeners and Body Truffles (these sound good enough to eat!).
Warm Buddies look like stuffed bears, cats or dogs but they have removable pouches that can be heated in the microwave. A cute, cuddly alternative to a water bottle.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Mark's Work Wearhouse

Mark's is having a customer appreciation event on Saturday, December 8th from 5pm-11pm. Save 20% on all regular priced and sale merchandise. I really like the colour pallette they've chosen for winter (it includes purple, yeah!). Check out their women's pajamas, vests, hoodies, sweaters and boots. You wont' be disappointed.
(some stores only open until 9pm; discount cannot be used when purchasing gift cards)

Monday, December 3, 2007

Popcorn Balls

4 tbsp unsalted butter (plus more for hands)
1 bag (10oz or 283g) white mini marshmallows
¼ c packed brown sugar
3 quarts popcorn (12 cups)
1 c Smarties, M&Ms, pecans (optional)

Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat then add sugar and marshmallows. Stir until marshmallows are melted. Remove from heat and add popcorn and candies/pecans (if using) and toss until well coated. Butter your hands and shape mixture into 2 ½ inch balls and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Let cool for 30 minutes (do not refrigerate) then place in airtight containers. Will keep for up to a week.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Kitchen Stuff Plus

This store always has lots of interesting little, inexpensive things all year round and they don’t disappoint come holiday season.
Kitchen Stuff Plus carries reasonably priced everyday dish sets for $25 (16pc) and $30 (20pc) that are great for people just starting out on their own (college students) or if you’re in the need to replace your own dishes. If you need ideas for decorating your holiday table on a budget check out their placemat/napkin/napkin ring sets for $18; charger plates in gold, red, silver or bronze for $10/set of 4 or TWO sets for $15; table runners in elegant fabrics or with cute reindeers $15; ball ornament name card holders $5 for a set of six.
Don’t forget the candles! Choose from the 3pc reindeer tealight holders $10; metal votive or pillar holders 2/$6 (snowflake, reindeer, or tree designs); angel shaped candles; Christmas tree shaped tealights in packages of 6 for $5.
As for gift and decorating ideas, check out the Grimm magnets 3/$8; the Roll-Up piano $25; plastic ball ornaments in containers of 30 for $12; the vanilla candle set contains tapers, votives, tealights, floaters and holders all for an amazing $7.50 and the flower candle set is only $10 for 16pcs. In keeping with the “modern” black and white holiday theme there are square glass plates and coasters with snowflake designs on them as well as ceramic mugs. Kitchen Stuff Plus is the place to pick up dish towels no matter what time of the year. You can’t go wrong with three dish towels for $7.50 or two sets of 3 for $12. There’s a whole wall of holiday designs to choose from.
Right now velour wine bags are two for $5; a hot chocolate mug with a tin of cookies is $10; reed diffusers are $8; individual tree ornaments are priced from $1.50-$5 and they have dish sets with reindeer or trees on them if you really want a festive holiday table.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Mmmmm Chocolate

They look good, they taste good and they’re always packaged so prettily. Godiva Chocolatier has a variety of items that will be available only during the holiday season. Here’s just a few to get your mouth watering. Holiday Truffle gift boxes with eggnog, gingerbread and maple walnut truffles 6pcs for $17.50; Dark Truffle Heart or Raspberry Chocolate Premiere biscuits $12; milk chocolate Hanukkah gelt; Lady Godiva 2008 Limited Edition Gift Tin – a keepsake tin ‘baring’ the chocolatier’s namesake; Rudy the Bear holding a four piece box of chocolates; and my favourite just for the way they look, G Collection Gift Boxes “the ultimate fusion of art and chocolate”.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Microwave Peanut Brittle

This recipe is so simple. The mixture is very HOT so handle with caution and keep a bowl of ice water and some aloe gel handy, just in case. As all microwaves are different, you may have to reduce microwave times by 1-2 minutes.
1c white sugar
1 c peanuts
1/2c corn syrup
1 tsp butter
1 tsp vanilla
1tsp baking soda

Stir sugar and corn syrup together in a microwaveable casserole dish. Microwave on high for 4 minutes. Add peanuts, stir and microwave on high for 3-5 minutes (until mixture turns light brown). Stir in butter and vanilla and microwave on high for 1-2 minutes.

Remove from microwave and add baking soda. Blend well.

Pour onto cookie sheet and cool for 1-2 hours. Hit brittle with the end of a wooden spoon to break into pieces. Store in an airtight container. Keeps for up to a week.

Pier 1 Imports

Ideas galore at this store! Perfect (and affordable) gifts for stocking stuffers or secret Santa at the office. Pink/black/white paper cubes with pictures on all four sides of a purse/dress/handbag/shoe for $10; tape measures in rococo printed cases or metallic hot pink pleather holders for $8; purse-shaped mirror compacts $4; scented candles in holiday decorated tins – mint chocolate chip & orange truffle are just two of the four scents to chose from $4 each; mirrored trinket boxes in a package of 3 for $15; flower rings $6; “diamond” paper weights with their own red satin gift boxes $18; bath confetti $5-$8; candy cane striped candles $8; apple cinnamon tealights in a candy cane shaped box 20/$8; hand made natural soaps $1.50; compact umbrellas in their own case in a variety of colours and prints $15.
They also have lots of decorations and décor items to choose from. Glass ball wreaths or garlands come in red or green $50 & $65 respectively (great Boxing Day purchases!). For those who don’t have room for a Christmas tree and like to buck tradition, Pier 1 has pink sequinned trees and silver beaded trees. Ornaments start at $4 and come in all shapes, sizes and colours. The gold reindeer with the beaded legs is a cutey and the glass birds with feather tails are a must have.
Gift wrap, gift bags, tags and ribbon can also be found here. For something a little different, package a gift in one of their satin covered Chinese food takeout boxes – red or gold – for $3.50.
I was able to practice a lot of self control in this store and my one and only purchase was a couple of boxes of table confetti in silver, miniature diamonds - $5 for 200 pieces.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Cheap gift ideas, cheap decorations. Gotta love it! If you aren’t a regular IKEA shopper, you wouldn’t know that every year they have a “colour scheme” for their holiday items. One year it was blue/white/silver, the next year red/green/beige. This year they’ve done away with the holiday colour scheme so you can choose from items in red, green, white, gold, silver, bronze or blue.
Holiday Décor Items: 62pc (plastic) ornament set includes icicles, snowflakes and balls $14.99; glass birds 2/$9.99; large ball candles in gold or silver 4/$7.99; super soft guest towels red/white snowflake and white/navy snowflake $1.99 – these make great hostess gifts; children’s apron with snowflake print $4.99; paper cocktail napkins in gold/white or silver/white stripes as well as ones with, you guessed it, snowflakes on them in red, blue or green $1.99 for a package of 30.
They also have wrap, bags, cards, gift tags, ribbon and bows for low prices, that get even lower (50% off) during the Moonlight Madness event coming up in December (date not yet known).
Gift Ideas: terry slippers $3.99; milk frother $3; set of three bud vases $14.99; velvet heart shaped cushions $8.99 (purple or brown); frosted glass sectional dish $9.99; stuffed animals from $5.99-$19.99 (beavers, hippos, elephants, turtles, pandas, dragons, and animals you’ve never seen before); soft sided pirate treasure chest toy box with a velcro closure padlock $19.99; hobby horses $14.99; rubber ice cube trays – all sorts of shapes $1.99 – these also make good chocolate molds; numerous frames, farmable postcards, tealights and holders.


At Sephora you’ll find something for the guys and something for the girls. They have a variety of fragrance gift sets for men and women. The one that caught my eye was the Lolita Lempicka set, it’s purple and folds out into a three dimensional dressing room.
Stocking stuffer ideas:
Rosebud Salve $8.50; GoSmile Touch-up $9.00; Sephora mini nail polishes $6 each; Sephora Round-a-Pout four colour lip gloss ball $11; metallic and sequinned makeup bags $18-$22.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Gift Sets

Pharma Plus has a lot of items SDM doesn’t and this includes gift sets for the holidays. They have a great one for men, Burt’s Bees Dopp Kit Essential Skincare for men that includes 170g of shave cream, 73ml of aftershave cream, 250ml of shower gel, a bar of soap and a canvas dopp kit to keep it in for $39.99. Sally Hansen has also put together a gift pack for the gentlemen, Male Nails Tool Kit containing hand & nail restoration cream, cuticle repair cream, a buffer, tweezers, nail file and a nylon case to store it in $9.99.
Scünci has two hair accessory gift sets to choose from the “Wrap” $16.99 or the Scarfband set $14.99.
SOHO Style has trendy handbags for $19.99 in leopard print, silver or metallic red.
Disney Read-along CD’s in Dora, Little Mermaid or Instant Classic sets contain 3 CD’s and books for $12.99.
And for a little nostalgia, they have Chia Pet figures in Shrek, Scooby Doo, Homer Simpson and Garfield for $19.99.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Carlton Cards (and more!)

Carlton Cards has gift card holders (holiday themed) in small and large sizes for $2.99. The small holders are similar to a pillow box and the larger ones fold together to form a house. You will find them near the cash register on a display rack along with the gift cards. That right, they sell the gift cards to go in them!
Choose from Starbucks, Swiss Chalet, Subway, iTunes, Foot Locker, Pier 1 Imports, Roots, Chapters/Indigo and Linen'N'Things. Most gift cards are in increments of $25 and will be activated when you pay for them. I personally am a fan of gift cards (as long as they're from a place you regularly visit) as they are never the wrong style, size or colour. And if you're a saavy shopper, you can buy twice as much with your gift card during sale time!

Decorations & Gift Ideas

It’s been a while since I’ve stopped into a Home Outfitters and this weekend it proved to be full of (mostly) affordable holiday decorations and gift ideas. They have beautiful stockings, tree skirts and feather wreaths; cute fingertip towels embroidered with moose or snowmen ($6.99); purse and shoe ornaments – six per package for $30 (this is a Boxing Day 50% off purchase).
Gift ideas include Revlon Styling set (1”ceramic straightener and brush in a hot pink case) $24.99; peppermint lollipop lip gloss 3/$4.99; Oneida silver and white snowflake plates, mugs, teapot and mini cake plate; hot pink martini shaker with crystal studded top $19.99; Tubular wine travel case by Trudeau – complete with corkscrew, pourer/stopper and dripless ring; ice swizzle stick trays $7.99.
A stocking stuffer idea for the eyeglass wearer or cell phone user, Swivelz eyeglass cleaner $4.99.

Pottery Barn

You can be pretty sure you’ll find something you’ll like amongst Pottery Barn's holiday items, whether it’s something to decorate your home or to give as a gift. For the past two years they’ve had some really memorable large-sized candles (trees in 3 sizes or houses to create a “candle” village) but this year I have yet to see these eye-catching items. Never fear, they still have some interesting items this year. Their most mentionable candles are a box of 4 votives in glass holders available in orange blossom, chocolate truffle or neroli spice priced at $36 (the holders are reusable). A few stocking stuffer ideas include moc-croc luggage tags in red or brown for $15 and metal snowflake paperclips $12 for a box of eight.
Their silver “twig” reindeers would add a bit of glitz and cuteness to any mantle and they have a selection of beautiful tree ornaments starting at $8. Don’t overlook the faux fur wine bags ($15) that can be used for small gifts and not just bottles of wine.

It's All in the Wrist

Check out the wallets with wrist strap at Aldo Accessories (unfortunately no photo available for this). These convenient little items have enough room to hold your cash and all of your cards, but are just larger than your hand. A wrist strap can be pulled out of its hidden compartment, leaving your hands free to pick up and try on that great ring/bracelet/pair of gloves you just spotted! The wallet comes in black patent reptile print, metallic bronze and either gray or yellow(?) printed with colourful butterflies and purple or green trim. Being both a wallet and purse all in one, it’s a steal at $20.

Monday, November 19, 2007

For the TV & Movie Watcher

Everyone gets the munchies while watching TV or movies. For a change from the usual potato chips/stale theatre popcorn, why don't you give your favourite couch potato or movie critic a gift from Kernels. They have over a dozen different popcorn flavours to choose from (sweet, salty, savoury) and a portion of them are "low fat" due to being hotair popped.
Tins, pails or buckets can be filled with a selection of 2 or 3 popcorn flavours. They also have bottles of popcorn seasoning for the "do it yourselfers".
My favourite combo is half white cheddar, half lowfat caramel.

Williams Sonoma

We’re going a little high-end this time with gift ideas. Williams Sonoma has lots of kitchenware and bakeware to ooh and aah over on a regular basis, but here’s a few items they’ve gotten in just for the holidays. A gift box containing four snowmen mugs complete with top hats, where you insert the “frother” to whip your hot chocolate, makes a great gift for the cocoa lover ($64.95). Choose from a variety of “cleansers” such as peppermint dish soap 483ml/$12.50 or liquid soap and hand lotion sets for $15 in spiced chestnut or winter forest. There also have a variety of loaves in a box, gingerbread house kits, festive cookie cutters and baking pans to put a smile on any cook’s face.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Body Shop

The Body Shop is one of those stores that have great, affordable gift ideas at holiday time. Here's just a few of them - 60ml of shower gel and shower cream package along with a mesh puff for $12.00. Choose from mango & coconut, satsuma or passhion fruit.
Satsuma shower gel (60ml), watermelon lip balm and a heart shaped soap for $14.00. Shower gel, soap and shimmer lotion in their holiday scents (cranberry, rich plum OR vanilla spice). For the man in your life try the face protector, shower gel and a gray mesh puff gift pack for $17.00.
For those of you who would rather choose your own "gift pack" items, The Body Shop sells gift bags and boxes for $5 and under.


There use to be a Bowring in almost every mall, but they "downsized" and are few and far between these days. Some of the gifts and decorations you will find there - Silver aluminum birds in small $4.99 or medium $5.99 that would look great on any mantel. Beautiful silver, gold or black acrylic charger plates. Glass snowman candy dish $9.99. Good sized snowman or snowflake decorated mugs – 4 per box $14.99. Beautiful black, white and silver glass balls for decorating the tree.
Great little gift: Red or green popcorn “trees”. Coloured popcorn kernels in a tree-shaped package. The popcorn is for microwaves only (“how to” directions printed on package) 349g for $5.99.

Do I bother mentioning the moose dropping or penguin poo? Apparently penguins poo miniture white marshmallows. Who knew?!

Gift Ideas at Shoppers

Yes, Shoppers Drug Mart again. Hey, they’re everywhere and who doesn’t love collecting those Optimum points? It’s possible that some of the following items may not be available at all locations.
For the little one: 13 piece soft toy set of Noah’s Ark $9.99 (regular $24.99)
For him: Calvin Klein cologne “sampler” set; contains 5 bottles (30ml size) of men’s cologne $45.00
Biotherm Homme gift box containing cleanser, exfoliator and moisturizer $35
Neutrogen Men gift pack with hair & body wash, shave gel, post shave lotion, handcream and a travel bag to put it all in $14.99

Holiday Cards

Believe it or not, Shoppers Drugmart always has a great selection of boxed holiday cards. I’m tempted to wait for Boxing Day sales before I purchase them, but I know the ones I really like will be gone by then and with most boxes priced at $6.99 for 10 cards, why wait?
I have my eye on a few of them – the polar bear sporting a green felt hat with a pompom (also available in penguin wearing a red felt beret or angel with felt hair and “glowing” cheeks) box of 12 for $7.99; the “make your own scenes” cards that come with stickers you put on a background containing either snowmen or penguins $5.99 for 5 cards; and I just saw the pop-up cards 10/$7.99 available in four different scenes.
Selections vary from store to store, but you’re sure to find something that appeals to you.

Christmas Tree in a Box

You don't have to worry about cleaning up needles or figuring out the colour coding for the (fake) branches.
Christmas Tree in a Box includes an 80-page full-colour book, directions for folding five origami ornaments and instructions for assembling the kit’s centerpiece -the almost two foot tall Christmas tree, complete with ornaments, star topper and tree stand. Great for a child's room, kitchen, or desktop. It's really quite cute and a very clever idea.
Christmas Tree in a Box is available at Indigo/Chapters and sells for $17.95

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Helpful Holiday Hints

The holidays are coming so I’ll be posting gift ideas and and places to shop for great, affordable holiday decorations.

Let’s start with my favourite item to kick off the holiday season – Advent Calendars. The ones with pictures behind the windows are nice, but the ones filled with chocolates are nicer. I’m not talking about the calendars with no-name/unknown chocolates, I’m talking the GOOD kind.
Lindt does ones for $12.99 available at Winners.
Nutty Chocolatier have ones from Cadbury and Laura Secord has calendars for only $10 and each chocolate is wrapped in colourful foil representing snowmen, nutcrackers, Santa, etc. YUMMY!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Proctor & Gamble Warehouse Sale

The annual P&G Warehouse Sale is under way and well worth the visit. Wear your comfortable shoes and go early in the day if possible because this is a very popular event. Be prepared to spend 30-45 minutes standing in line, but thankfully most of the line-up takes place inside the warehouse so you don’t have to worry about the elements. You’ll find great deals on P&G products such as Pampers, Swiffer, Febreze, Always, Bounty, Pringles, Crest and Cover Girl Cosmetics.
Some of the great deals you will find - Pantene scrunching spray gel for $1.50; Daisy disposable razors (10/pk) $5; Charmaine (6 jumbo rolls) $5; Tampax tampons (18 count) $3; Venuse Divine razor blades 4/pkg for $8; Pringles 100 calorie individual servings (6 servings/pkg) for $2; John Frieda Radiant Red shampoo or conditioner 3 for $10; Cover Girl lipstick and lipgloss $3 and $5.
There is also a section with men’s (Pint Zero, Tommy Hilfiger), women’s and children’s (Kushies, Levi’s, OshKosh) clothing reduced by 50% or more as well as Cambridge towels, name-brand fragrances, DVDs and books.
1160 Birchmount Rd, Toronto; Mon-Fri 10am-8pm; Sat 10am-6pm; Sun 11am-5pm; Sale is on until Nov 18th.
4 blocks south of the P&G sale is the Johnson & Johnson warehouse sale located at 200 Ashtonbee Rd, Toronto; same times and dates as P&G

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Make-up Galora!

Just a reminder that the new Toronto location of Sephora opens tomorrow, Friday November 2nd at 10am. 131 Bloor St, just east of Avenue Road.

Shop and Donate

The new Canadian Tire store (70,000 square feet!) at Lakeshore and Leslie in Toronto is celebrating its grand opening. As with all new Can Tire stores, this one has a Mark's Work Warehouse.
From November 1-4 people are encouraged to drop off gently used winter clothing at Mark's and in return they will receive a 20% discount on anything purchased in the store. The donated items will be given to the United Way.
So clean out those closets (to make room for new items) and support a good cause in the process!
Check out the huge Shoppers Drugmart while you're there. They have a food & beverage section (mini grocery store), a beauty boutique and a large mother & baby section.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Costa Blanca X

A spin-off of the Costa Blanca clothing chain, Costa Blanca X is nothing but accessories. They have gloves, purses, evening bags, belts, jewellery and shoes. Everything in the store is reasonably priced. Jewellery starts as low as $8 and shoes are priced at $30-$40. They have great metallic flats in a variety of styles and they carry up to size 11!
Locations are few and far between (TD Sqaure, Calgary;
Square One, Mississauga; Scarborough Town Centre, Scarborough, to name a few) but judging on how busy the store I visited on the weekend was, more locations should open up soon.
www.costablanca.ca for further store locations

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Eclectic Closet Random Thoughts & Pondering

Janelle Martin probably reads more books in one week than the average person reads all year. Her informative and honest book reviews will help you to decide which books to take with you on vacation and which ones you probably shouldn’t. Her book reviews are divided into fiction, non-fiction, chick lit, mystery and young adult. There’s also something for you knitters out there. Janelle is a seasoned knitter as well as an avid reader and has posted many reviews on knitting books.


Trove is a cute clothing, shoe, purse and jewellery boutique located in Toronto's Annex. They also have a gallery and offer customers the chance to meet the artists. On Thursday, October 25th from 6-9pm artist and outdoorsman/adventure guide Jeff James will be there. Drop by to view his paintings and meet him in person.
Bonus: all shoes will be 15% off, but just for this evening.
791 Bathurst St, just south of Bloor

Jeanne Lottie Sample Sale

The Jeanne Lottie sample sale will take place at the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel, Main Floor on October 27 10am-4pm and October 28 10am-3pm.
Shoes, handbags and accessories will be discounted up to 80%.
16 Minthorn Blvd, Markham; call 416-975-5115 for more information

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Last Minute Halloween Preparations

Don't forget Party Packagers has opened a Halloween Extreme Superstore at Dufferin Mall. This is only a temporary location until October 31st. A great place to go for costumes and decorations.

Monday, October 22, 2007

H&M's Next High-End Designer

All of you vixens with cavier dreams and a KD budget rejoice! H&M's next "designer line" is by super sexy (his clothes anyway) Roberto Cavalli.
The line will be available Thursday, November 8th at the Bloor and Eaton Centre Locations in Toronto, Coquitlam Centre in BC, and Rockland Centre in Montreal. You can look forward to flowing dresses and his signature animal prints. Get there early so you can get your size!


Calling all cosmetic and beauty junkies in Toronto! You will now be able to get your fix at a new downtown Sephora location. My sources say they officially opening is November 2nd, but their phone/voice mail is up and running so keep your eyes peeled in case they open early.
131 Bloor St (east of Avenue Rd)

Friday, October 19, 2007


Jones New York Fall Warehouse Sale October 25th - November 4th. Enjoy savings of up to 80% off with prices starting as low as $9.99 on a large selection of brands including Jones New York, AK Anne Klein and Nine West. Petite, Missy and Woman sizes available.
388 Applewood Cres, Vaughan, ON Hours: Mon–Wed 9am–6pm, Thurs–Fri 9am–9pm, Sat 9am–6pm, Sun 10am–5pm

Eddie Bauer's Annual Warehouse Sale starts this coming week. Huge discounts and a great variety of quality clothing and gear for the entire family.
201 Aviva Park Drive, Vaughan, ON, Hours: Oct 19 to 28, Mon to Fri 10am-7pm, Sat 10am-6pm, Sun noon to 5pm.

The annual Hadassah WIZO Bazaar takes place Wed October 24th. The Bazaar is back for another year of great brand name fashions at a fraction of the retail price. Name brand jeans can be bought for as little as $7 and purses start at $5. There is a $4.00 entrance fee (children 5 and under are free).
Exhibition Place , Direct Energy Centre, Hall B, Toronto, ON
Hours: Wed, October 24, 9am to 7pm

The Toni Plus Warehouse Sale continues until Oct 21st. Pick up plus sized clothing at up to 90% off. They have brand names such as Ellen Tracey, Jones Woman, Spanner and more.
1140 Sheppard Ave. W., Unit 16, North York, ON, Hours: Oct 17 to 21. Wed to Sat 10am to 7pm, Sun 11am to 6pm.

Friday, October 12, 2007

New Winners Location in Downtown Toronto

Winners is opening a new downtown location at 35-45 Front Street East in the St. Lawrence Market area on Tuesday, October 16. Doors open at 8 a.m.
The store is located on the south side of Front Street, just west of Church.

Oxford Mills Outlet opens in Mississauga

Now you don't have to travel to Kitchener to get great deals on linens and towels. Oxford Mills is celebrating their grand opening in Mississauga today, Friday October 12th. Some of the deals they're offering - queen matress pads starting at $16.99, comforters and duvets covers 20% off and Harmony towels priced from $2.63-$18.39.
5120 Dixie Rd, Unit 12, Mississauga

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Kitchener Textiles Ltd

This is another great store I visited while in Kitchener. From the outside it looks very small and non-descript, but once you step inside you'll be amazed by all the colours and selection. Beautiful fabrics in every print, colour and price range imaginable. You could spend hours browsing all the tables of good quality fabrics and just as much time deciding which ones to buy. My favourites had metallic dragonflies or butterflies on them and came in 2-3 different colours. They have a small section of children's prints and like most stores they have started to receive their Christmas stock. Check out their fabric advent calendars (which you assemble yourself) with little pockets to fill with trinkets and treats.
131 Strange Street, Kitchener ON 516-743-3391

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Smart Set

Smart Set has reduced the prices even further on their remaining summer merchandise. Some of the great deals available: jean mini skirts for $9.99; wrap tops $14.99; lightweight long sleeved sweaters $22.99; dress pants $34.99; knee length checked shorts $19.99 - these can be carried into fall when paired with tights and the new cropped jackets.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Lingerie Sale

Super Seller Inc offers brand name lingerie at 25% off the regular price. But now their lease is up, so they're offering even bigger discounts on all of their stock. Choose from names such as Champion, Papillon Blanc, Chantelle, Jockey, Dim and Cosabella. Not only do they offer bras, underwear and lingerie, they also carry socks, nylons, wigs and cosmetic accessories (sponges, nail files, etc).
474 Yonge Street, just north of College

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

St. Jacobs Factory Outlet Mall

A friend of mine always has great outfits on when she comes to visit. When I ask her where she bought it her reply is almost always “the Jones New York outlet in Waterloo, you should come visit me sometime and we’ll go there.” So I finally hopped the bus to Kitchener and met up with her for a visit and a day of shopping at the outlet mall.
I can’t believe I waited this long to go! Where to start?

Jones New York Factory Store – regular, petite and plus sizes available. They already had lots of fall/winter stock in and reduced by at least 40%. The first time reductions aren’t bad, but the clearance section at the back of the store is even better. There were 2-3 racks of summer items marked way down but they had also started extra price reductions on their fall items. I pretty much liked everything I saw in this store. The casual tops were all made of super soft jersey, the pants were beautifully tailored, there was a variety of jacket styles to choose from and the colour palette was rich and vibrant.

Kodiak – men’s and women’s rugged apparel. I only checked out the women’s wear in this store and was impressed with the super cheap prices of their end of summer items. They had sleeveless t-shirts marked down to $7 – great for outdoor exercising or yoga class! Some of their early fall stuff was also marked down, such as ¾ length and long sleeved t-shirts in a variety of colours for a mere $13. It’s a fairly large store well stocked with lots of merchandise.

LEGO – if only to see the dinosaur made entirely of Legos or the life-sized Batman. This store carries Lego, Duplo and Bionicles. Most of the Lego is sold in sets/kits, but they do have a small selection of bulk Lego if there are specific pieces you need to complete your set. The Duplo blocks came in handy storage buckets in a variety of sizes. The 128 piece zoo bucket was $24.99 and the 405 piece bucket was $32.99. I was amazed at all the different sets Lego has to offer. They had everything from Sponge Bob, to Spiderman to Hogwarts Hall.

Liz Claiborne – regular, petite and plus sizes available. I was disappointed with this store in regards to their marked down prices - still rather high for my liking, but the selection of clothing didn’t disappoint. Lots of great items for fall/winter in wonderful colours. Unfortunately they don’t have a clearance section, but it’s worth stopping in to check out the purses.

Oxford Millsthe place to go for towels. They also have bed linens and bathroom accessories, but the real reason you shop here is for the fabulous prices on towels. You can get towels in every size, colour and quality here. At the lower end you can find fingertip towels for $1.69, facecloths for $0.99 and bath towels at a very reasonable $6.99. Their luxury line is also reasonably priced with bath sheets selling for $15 or less. You can pick up great bath mats starting at $7.99.

Tootsies Factory Shoe Market – I’m not a lover of loafers but the purple leather ones they had for $39.99 were fabulous. I could have easily expanded my shoe collection by shopping just at this store if it weren’t for my size 10 wide feet. Tootsies has something for everyone. The women’s section is quite large and the men’s section is a good size too and a small children’s section can be found at the back. Definitely check out the women’s slipper section; lot’s of styles and colours to choose from starting at $7.00. They also have a small clearance section.

Some other stores of interest: Corningware Corelle, Paderno, Royal Dalton, Reebok and Rockport
25 Benjamin Rd, Waterloo ON

Monday, October 1, 2007

Bits & Bites

No time to post anything substantial today. Was away last week and still need to report on my excursion to Kitchener.

Marks Work Warehouse has women's dress boots at great prices. The "Emma" high stretch boots look great with skirts and dresses and are priced at a reasonable $49.99. For those on the hunt for short boots to wear with pants, you can choose from the "Amika", "Monika" or "Paula" models also reasonably priced at $39.99 each. All models come in black, with some available in brown . Bonus - wide sizes are available in most styles.

Cotton Ginny has all their summer stock on sale with the further enticement of buy one get the second 1/2 off the sale price.
They are also offering buy one get the second one half price on all new fleece.

Spent an afternoon at
Dufferin Mall. They never stop putting work into this place. It's cleaner, brighter and better than ever! Some stores of note: Le Chateua - nice sized store with men's, women's and accessorie sections; Cotton Ginny - regular & plus sizes as well as their reintroduced baby organic line; Reitmans - regular, plus, petite and petite plus;
You'll also find The Children's Place, Winners, Payless, Aldo & Aldo Accessories, Pennington's, Fairweather, Moore's, Pinstripe, Costa Blanca and many more.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Joe Affordable

It’s time to start updating your fall/winter wardrobe. Fall/winter trends this season are fun, fabulous and can be hard on the wallet, but Joe Fresh can help make it easier. My trip to check out their new merchandise was a much more exciting experience this time than last (see Joe Disappointed).
The first thing that caught my eye were the patent leather flats in lipstick red, royal blue, black and gray for a very affordable $16 a pair! For those who prefer their shoes not to shine so much, there are gray reptile print flats or matte metallic flats in silver or bronze for $19.
Waist skimming swing coats or jackets with bracelet length sleeves are a big trend for the season and Joe has them in black or gray wool blend for $49 and green brocade for $39. The same brocade is also available in a silver-gray A-line coat for $59. The short, swing style has also been applied to a burgundy sweater for a reasonable $29.
Feminine silk blouses in black or cream are priced at $29 and look great with the new pencil skirts or dressed down with a pair of dark-wash jeans (Joe jeans are only $29!). And as always, they have lots of long sleeved t-shirts in super soft jersey knit. I highly recomend visiting one of their larger stores near you to get the best selection of sizes and colours.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


This isn’t your average quaint, cozy little tea shop. On the contrary, Tealish is rather modern looking and the interior would be considered well laid out and functional. Using the word modern to describe a tea shop may turn off/scare away some people, but don’t let it.
Tealish sells loose tea, tea accessories and freshly brewed tea. The large, square tins of loose tea, adorned with colourful labels indicating the teas name and ingredients, line the three rows of long shelves behind the counter. The staff is more than happy to open a tin or two so you can smell the wonderful aroma of a certain blend, and can tell you about that type of tea. Tea selections include orthodox black, rooibos, herbal & fruit, special teas (such as Yerba mate and blooming tea) and orthodox green. Tea can be purchased in amounts of 50g for $5-$7, 100g $10-$14 and 250g $23-$28. May I suggestion the Canadian Breakfast Blend, Patisserie and the dessert of teas Toasty Almond.
They have many different styles of tea strainers to choose from - my favourite being the plastic flower-shaped ‘Audrey’ from Koziol. A Bodum travel press for $26.50 is a great gift for the tea drinker on the run. Those who are always on the look-out for cute cups/saucers and teapots to add to their collection will be charmed by the ones from CoroCoro decorated with lady bugs. For the girl who likes a little ‘bling’ with her tea, there are the mirrored metallic ‘Alice’ tea cups and saucers from Torre & Tagus.
Make sure to order yourself a tea from their menu of hot, cold, smoothie or latte style tea drinks while you’re taking a look around.
located at 198 Walnut Ave (next door to Burst Flowers)

Friday, September 7, 2007

La Boutique ParPar

If you’re a girly girl La Boutique ParPar is for you - the pink exterior is kind of a giveaway. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to look through this store as it is filled with many little (and big) delights. Where to start? Just inside the door you will find Elle lunch bags for $25 with moc-croc trim in blue, green or red as well as hand knit hat and scarf sets for $35. Their stationary section has file folders, accordion folders and clipboards with a feminine touch. You will also find cards for all occasions and my favourite, pop-up gift cards.
They have a small lingerie section, but a really large section with pajama tops and bottoms in cotton, flannel and waffle-weave fabrics. Lots of girly prints and colours to choose from. You can top off your pj’s with a super soft, cuddly bathrobe available in two different lengths and a variety of pastel colours (don’t forget to also pick up a pair of slippers). For your delicates, there are linen wash bags with cute images of stockings, undies or bras embroidered on the outside.
The children’s section has onesies, bibs, growth charts, blankets, car seat covers, night lights, china tea sets and more.
Sparkling chandeliers, beaded jewellery, serving platters, dessert plates and Cake Beauty products can also be found in this delightful shop.
(A word of advice: the St Clair streetcars are not running at this time, but don’t bother waiting for the bus as the walk from St Clair West subway station is under five minutes)

649 St Clair Ave West

Friday, August 31, 2007

A Little Something for The Boys

Ozz Jeanswear sells men’s t-shirts, dress shirts, casual shirts, jeans and sport coats. They carry such labels as Parasuco, B.E.K. Sportswear, Masi and 4You. Dress shirts are reasonably priced at $20 and $30 while t-shirts are $10 and $20. They have a good selection of jeans. I liked the cotton sport coat with the detachable hoodie for $50.
672 Yonge St

JJ & T Co.

This is a little store with some great handbags. They carry names such as Chinese Laundry, Concubine and Giovane. The ones from Concubine are suede with colourful, suede flower appliqués. Right now regular priced handbags are buy 1 get one ½ off and be sure to check out the wall of bags reduced to $19.99.
You’ll find bags in all sizes, styles and colours. Metallics are big for fall/winter 2007 and JJ&T have a nice selection in gold, silver and bronze. If you know you’ll be hitting the party circuit during the upcoming holiday season and need a new evening bag, check this store out. They don’t have a huge selection of evening bags, but you’ll have a hard time deciding which one to buy.
There is a small selection of jewellery to chose from – necklaces, earrings, rings. You will also find candles for $8 that would make great gifts. They come in frosted glass containers in white, blue or amber with wooden lids, sporting a black and white rococo design.

674 Yonge St (north of Wellesley) 416-928-5993

Monday, August 27, 2007

Urban Outfitters

It may be pushing forty degrees, but the stores are overflowing with fall fashions and all the short sleeved tops and sundresses have been pushed into a corner. If you venture into the back corner of Urban Outfitters you will find racks of summer merchandise reduced by a further 50%. There are dresses, tank tops, tunics, pants and skirts to choose from. You can pick up a vinyl tote bag in lavender, yellow, black or white for $12.99. The shoulder straps - large enough to fit over normal size shoulders, two inside pockets and generous sprinkling of sparkles on the outside make this bag both funky and practical. Another great find is the lightweight, short sleeved, v-neck sweaters that are perfect for wearing over strapless dresses, camis and bathing suits. They’re available in purple, black and white with metallic thread knitted in and have been reduced to $49.99 (regular $62) with an additional 50% off. Cotton eyelet sundresses in black or white have also been reduced to $49.99 (regular $79) with an additional 50% off.
Upstairs you will find men’s wear and housewares. There is a small selection of men’s clothing on sale – pants, shorts, jackets and button front shirts. Striped or plaid button front shirts have been reduced to $39.99 with an additional 50% off.
Housewares has a small sale section with some very interesting items. You can get the soundtrack to Spiderman 3 or Borat for $9.90; Borat the movie is $19.90;
disposable clipboards are $6.99. They had one Steve Irwin talking action figure complete with a crocodile for $14.99.
Also in the housewares section, but not on sale, you can pick up a flatware sets by Murval with skulls or leopard print on the handles for $42.00 or
metal pedestal tables (available in 7 designs) from 4040 Locust for $39, great for dorm rooms or small apartments. They also have great throw pillows, cushions, chandeliers and bed linens.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Burst Flowers

Located just off Queen St W, in the area known as Trinity-Bellwoods, is Burst Flowers. You’ll find more than beautiful, unique flower arrangements at this wonderful little store. They have pots and planters in a rainbow of colours and made from a variety of materials (ceramic, aluminum) on sale for 20-50% off until the end of August.
You should definitely stop in to check out their selection of
sterling silver jewellery. There are many items to choose from such as earrings, necklaces, pendants and bracelets. Some items are plain sterling silver while others include crystals, semi-precious stones or Murano glass. Now is a great time to pick up a little something for yourself and a gift for a friend as all earrings are buy one pair, get the second pair for ½ price until the end of August. They also have boxed earring and necklace sets priced at $39.99. If you are picking up a gift, make sure to buy one of their whimsical hand-made cards to go with it.
My favourite item(s) are the tealight holders made from recycled bottles. They come in clear or pink glass with a rose pattern etched on them and are available in two sizes. The smaller holder sells for $9.99.
Did I mention they also sell
chocolate truffles?
(located at 198 Walnut Ave, Toronto)

Monday, August 13, 2007

More End of Summer Sales

Cotton Ginny - take an additional 50% off red tagged items. Their organic baby clothing line is buy 2 get 1 free.

Fashion Crimes - dresses for $50-$100; jewellery for 1/2 price; selected purses and hats are also on sale. (322 1/2 Queen St W)

Lilith - up to 70% off. (541 Queen St W)

French Connection - up to 75% off selected merchandise.

Le Chateau - shoes $19.99 and up; fall coats & jackets $39.99 and up; jewellery starting at $4.99; selected skirts, tops, shorts and dressses also on sale.

Peach Berserk - 10-50% off selected bags, dresses, jackets, tops and skirts.

Accessorize - up to 70% off flip flops, hats, belts, jewellery and scarves.

Bed0 - up to 70% off selected merchandise.

Mendocino - nothing over $95

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Designer Depot

Basically, this is the Bay's version of Winners. And just like Winners, Designer Depot they carry men, womens and childrens clothing abd accessories; housewares, linens and small furniture items. It's also one of those hit and miss type places. Some days you find lots of stuff you like at great prices and other times you don't see anything that catches your fancy.
Like most other stores they already have fall merchandise for the back to school crowd. You'll find backpacks priced at $16.99-$19.99 from such labels as Airwalk, Eddie Bauer, CCM, Jaguar. They have a great selection of women's hoodies, jackets, sweaters and jeans by such names as Mexx, Kenzie Girl, Parasuco and Starling.
They have some fabulous leather handbags by Franco Sarto, Nine West, Tommy Hilfiger, Steve Madden and Chinese Laundry.
There is an additional 50% off selected summer merchandise.

Monday, July 30, 2007


No, it’s not a typo and don’t ask me how to pronounce it. YZZA is a new division of Liz Claiborne. Their mandate is to carry good quality clothing made of cotton (or mostly cotton) and nothing in the store is priced at over $100. Right now they are offering 30% off already reduced summer merchandise.
While not impressed when I first saw the store, once inside I ended up with armfuls of items I wanted to try on. LOVED the fact their XL size actually looks and fits like an extra large. The sizing runs XS-XL or 4-18, so women of all shapes and sizes can find something that will fit them. They carry t-shirts, shells, blouses, pants, skirts and dresses as well as some accessories such as earrings, necklaces and handbags.
The dressing rooms aren’t big, but they are very clean, have a sufficient number of hooks and a mirror inside. Imagine that, you actually don’t have to leave the dressing room to admire your reflection, in front of a bunch of strangers!
YZZA offers a loyalty program. A salesperson will sign you up on the spot, if you wish, and give you a ‘Y Card’ right away. Every time you make a purchase at YZZA you present your card and collect 1 point for every dollar spent before taxes. Once you have accumulated 300 points, they mail you a $15 gift certificate. The card can also be used for 10% of any purchase during the week of your birthday (you must present your Y Card and proof of birth).
I did purchase a lace cotton blouse in a beautiful turquoise colour and a white t-shirt covered in a silver metallic floral print. I will definitely be making many return visits to check out new stock, to see if some of the items I tried on get marked down even further and to keep my eye on a really great top that I’m not quite convinced to pay full price for, but it did show “the girls” off really well. My only complaint is their website needs a lot of work. It doesn’t really show much in the way of the clothing they carry.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Marlborough's Stationery Inc.

Marlborough’s is a stationery store and more. When you first walk in, there is a small selection of children’s toys. My favourites are the brightly coloured Stephen Joseph rubber coin holders with animal faces on them for $2.79 and the hand painted wooden puzzles by Melissa & Doug. Their Fresh Start Peg Puzzles are on sale for $5.99.
The stationery part of the store contains such things as cards, good quality pens (the type that come in their own case and are kept locked behind glass), notebooks, daytimers and some craft supplies. Check out the Stabilo high-lighters in the funky Swing Cool Pacific line. They have some party supplies and their dinner and cocktail napkins, in a range of colours and sizes, are on sale for $2.99 - $3.99.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

HATS (& bags)

KC's Hats is located at St. Lawrence Market in the south building; right inside the Jarvis St. entrance. All of these great hats are hand made by milliner David Dunkley. He also makes bags that are the perfect size for carrying your things to work or toting items to the beach. You can have a tote made to match your hat if you so desire. Custom hats can be made for those who are hard to fit or have a special occasion to attend. David also creates customized head wear for brides looking to wear something other than the usual tiara or veil on their special day. Make sure to check out his fabulous line of cocktail hats while you're there. KC's fall/winter 2007 collection is now available. You must check out the cloche hats with silver work and ribbon flowers.
A hat created by David Dunkley and Margret Donnelly for graduating Ryerson University fashion student designers Natasha Ferro and Diana Peters' was featured in the "...coveted position of [Holt Renfrew's] main entrance area" on Bloor Street!
St. Lawrence Market, 92 Front St E, lower level

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Time for Tea

I am not a coffee drinker. I can’t stand the smell of freshly brewed coffee, especially first thing in the morning. I don’t like anything coffee flavoured, OK, I do like Coffee Crisp. When I say I don’t drink coffee people assume that it’s because of the caffeine and then they start to ramble on about how tea has way more caffeine than coffee. As soon as I tell them I don’t like either the taste or the smell, they immediately clam up.
I’m a tea drinker. I take it strong, hot and with a decent amount of skim milk in it. I enjoy different varieties of tea, but not herbal ones. Green tea is fine from time to time and I have to be in the mood for Earl Grey.
Say Tea has something to make any and all tea drinkers happy. Most of the tea they sell (their own brand) is loose leaf, but they do offer some bagged tea. Most recently they have been offering ‘Tea to Go’, which just means you can buy a single cup of tea to enjoy during or after your visit.
I try to visit their Bloor Street West location at least 3-4 times a year to stock up. On my most recent visit their front window was decorated in a Teddy Bear’s Picnic theme with two huge stuffed bears sitting at a picnic table “having tea”.
Of course, any store that sells tea usually sells tea accessories/accompaniments and Say Tea has a great selection of these. Amongst the tea pots, tea cups, mugs, tea strainers, miniature tea sets and tea cosies you will also find preserves, gourmet cookies, fancy sugar cubes, chocolate covered caramels, greeting cards from Warm Fuzz Cards, and teddy bears. They also had a few items I'd never seen before. Check out the Bodum cosies and cup wraps by Honeysuckle Cottage Sales (and their travel tags).
I like that you are able to buy sample packages so you can try a few teas out without having to invest a lot of money and then find out you don’t like them. Say Tea has their own brand of bagged tea in sample packs - 5 bags for $1.50 or you can get 10 bags of Taylors of Harrogate tea for $3.50. They also carry boxes of bagged tea by Barry’s and T of H’s Yorkshire Gold (my fave!) They also have a lovely selection of Rooibos teas you should try.
Oh yeah, as I was paying for my purchase I noticed they are now selling coffee. Let's hope it doesn't take over.
located at 2362 Bloor St W and 2496 Yonge St

Monday, July 23, 2007

Jolanta Interiors

You will find gourmet kitchen wares, unique glassware and contemporary home accents in this small but well stocked store with a European flare. Jolant Interiors is an authorized Alessi dealer, carries Lampe Berger and is the sole distributor of Universal Stone. They have a great selection of amber rings and their silver jewellery is 20% off right now. Before you get to the jewellery though, you have to make it past the wall of kitchen gadgets such as olive spoons, seafood forks, ladels, peelers, pitters and the item that caught my eye - the tea bag squeezer.
The colourful aprons with matching oven mitts and pot holders would make excellent house warming gifts. Their bakeware section is small but well stocked. Their pineapple upsidedown cake pans are on sale for $29.95 (regular $45.95) and they turn out six mini pineapple-shaped cakes. There's a lot to look at in this quaint store, but if you take your time you'll find little gems like the glass frog and butterfly magnets for $0.75.
located at 2368 Bloor Street West (www.jolantainteriors.ca coming soon)

Quipus Crafts

Jewellery, Home Accents, Pottery, Furniture is what it says on the Quipus Crafts sign, but they sell much more than that. The silver jewellery is beautiful and so are the amber earrings. This is a great store to pick up unique or whimsical gift items. Some of the itmes that would make great gifts are lamps, hooks and necklace holders with dress and purse themes, business card cases, wind chimes, placemats and napkin holders, and my favourite - GelGems. While gift shopping, make sure to treat yourself to a colourful, hand crafted tote bag or purse.
Don't forget to check out their patio in the back for cute garden itmes.
located at 2414 Bloor Street West

Friday, July 20, 2007

Old Fashion Fun

Polka Dot Kids carries toys of a different kind for infants and toddlers. Nothing you purchase from this store will require batteries. What will you find? Arts and crafts style mobiles, toy food made from colourful fabrics (such as pancakes & doughnuts with sprinkles), animal stamps and ink pads, a small selection of books and wooden toys. They do have a small rack of clothing as well as bibs, booties and bags. Little ones will love the cute, plush animal rattles and musical animals by Trousselier Paris (after clicking on the link, scroll down to the giraffe rattle). But my favourite items were the bumble bee and cow by Wheelybug.com. What could be more fun then riding around on your own little bug mobile?!
917 Queen St West

Free Movies

Beginning Tuesday June 26th, free movies are being shown at Yonge & Dundas Square. The theme this summer is Futuristic Flicks. Everything from the 1956 classic Forbidden Plant to The Minority Report. Movies start at sunset so bring your lawnchair, lots of snacks and enjoy! Free movies will run from June 26th until August 28th. Check out http://www.ydsquare.ca/ to see what's playing each week.

Monday, July 16, 2007


ENDS is a discount clothing store that is always an adventure. Some days you walk away empty handed, other days your arms are so laden down with great deals you can barely see your way to the check-out counter. They carry a large selection of women's clothing but some of the best deals can be found in the men's "section". Occassionally they will have a rack or two of children's clothing. Right now is a great time to pick up summer essentials. Some of the deals on women's items - Jantzen two piece swimsuits sizes 12 and up $9.99; golf shirts $5.99, Levi's capris $11.99, tank tops for $5.00, Hush Puppy anklet socks pkg of 6 for $9.99.
In the men's department - golf shirts $3.99, t-shirts $1.99, short sleeve shirts $1.99, Misty Mountain skater shorts $19.99, assorted other shorts $12.99; Perry Ellis sport jackets for $59.99!
Some other good finds: Haviana flipflops $12.99; girls bathingsuits $6.99; good quality bath towels $9.99.
1930 Queen St E (and other locations)
PS: don't forget to check out their store 2 doors down that carries women's designer label clothing at reduced prices.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Books Magazines Vidoes

BMV is the place to go for gently used books, DVDs, comic books and magazines; and yes, they do carry movies in VHS format. You can pick up paperbacks for as low as $3.99 and DVDs start at $8.99. Not all of the books are second hand, there’s a large number of over-runs, but the books that are second hand are in excellent shape and most of them look like new.
Their selection of books ranges from fiction and chic-lit, to history, art and self help. Upstairs is where you will find shelf upon shelf of sci-fi and comic books as well as children’s books. This is an excellent place to buy reasonably priced DVD box sets of such popular TV shows as The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Sex and the City, Stargate SG-1 and many more.
2289 Yonge St, north of Eglinton

(other locations: 10 Edward St & 471 Bloor St W)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


I love this place. They have modern furniture that looks good and is back and butt friendly. None of that stuff that looks great but you’d never want to sit on it for more than a minute. What you’ll find here are sofas and chairs designed with simple, clean lines and upholstered in wonderful fabrics. Most of the sofas are available in three sizes – love seat, standard and condo size. The selection of upholstery fabrics and colours are endless. The staff are very helpful and extremely knowledgeable about where the furniture is made, how it’s made and with what materials. They are happy to take customized orders.
I’m a big fan of chandeliers and Pavilion has them in different shapes and sizes with the unique touch of being enclosed in either rectangular or drum shaped organza shades. If new furniture is not in your budget, there is always an interesting selection of tealight holders, throw pillows and vases to choose from.

739 Queen Street W (west of Bathurst)

Pretty Paper

Essence du Papier has 75% off selected items. Unlike some stores, the selection of discounted items includes more than one or two things. Choose from single sheets of gift wrap or writing paper, boxed invitations and announcements, gift bags, bows, organizers, and notebooks. Other items to check out (but not on sale) are packages of facial tissue printed in a variety of designs such as flowers, animals and toile prints, embellishments for gifts or cards, note cards and their customized invitations.
2476 Yonge St, north of Eglinton (and other locations)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

And So It Begins

It may only be the second week of July, but most stores End of Summer Sales are in full swing. In another four weeks, stores will be receiving their early fall merchandise and displaying racks of winter coats. Six weeks after that every stylist and editor will be heading to Europe to attend the shows of designers previewing their Spring/Summer 2008 collections.
Now is a great time to stock up on summer basics such as t-shirts, tank tops, shorts and flipflops to carry you through the rest of summer or to kick start your summer wardrobe next year.

Living Lighting is having their storewide summer clearance event. Sale ends August 19th.

Aldo Accessories - get 2 items for the price of 1 on selected merchandise. Check out the new line of purses/bags for fall; they're not on sale but worth the look.

Laura/Larau Petite/Laura Plus are having their mid summer sale with items up to 60% off.

Cleo is having their Beath the Heat sale with tank tops priced at $9.99, t-shrits for $16.99, selected tops/blouses for $19.99 and they have a section of already reduced items that are an additional 50% off. My friend bought some really cute cotton shells for $10 each!

Ricki's has pants and skirts for $29.99 and under. You have to look for the other sale items as the racks do not have a "sale" signs on them. But your search will turn up camis for $7.99, tank tops for $9.99, cute cotton sleeveless blouses starting at $14.99. They also have select jewellery buy 1 get 2 free.

Aldo has flip flops and canvas slip-ons for $19.95; sparkly thong sandals and regular sandals starting at $19.95; purses for $19.95 and $29.95. Don't forget they also carry men's shoes and have many styles on sale as well.

Smart Set has button front t-shirts in an array of colours for $4.99; hair accessories buy 2 get the third free; v-neck or round neck t-shirts for $7.99. They've just begun their buy 1 get 1 free on already reduced merchandise sale.

H&M has selected items up to 50% off and a few racks of (mostly) dresses that are 2 for 1. Also check out the new shoes they've received for fall - not on sale but now is the time to get your size!

LaSenza has selected bras on sale for as low as $8.50, they also have a good selection priced at $16.50; panties can be had for 3/$10 or 5/$25; pajama tops and bottoms are two for $34 and they have some great lounge sets for $19.50.

At Excetera Accessories everything is buy 2 get the third item free. Choose from their selection of earrings, necklaces, shoes, flipflops, belts, purses, headbands or hats. (416-204-9639 for locations)

Reitmans has selected merchandise up to 70% off. T-shirts for $6.99, assorted tops priced at $14.99 and capris for $19.99.

Town Shoes has select summer styles up to 50% off.

Bentley's end of summer sale has select bags at up to 60% off and 20% off luggage sets.

Fairweather has tank tops and regular tops for as low as $10; flipflops and thong sandals are two pairs for $15; select summer dresses priced at $19.99.

Cotton Ginny has up to 50% on selected items; flipflops 2 pairs for $9.99 and cotton sarongs for $7.99.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Find Your Type

TYPE books is a great change from the regular, huge bookstores. Just because they're small doesn't mean they don't cary all the newest releases or the most popular titles and authors. You can find everything from thrillers, murder mysteries and chic lit to art books and cook books. They have a good selection of magazine from Canadian, American and European publishers. The staff is very friendly and are willing to help you find what you're looking for.
Their childrens section (for babies to teens) is filled with classics and childhood favourites as well as new titles. Nestled in amongst the shelves of books are Sandy John's Little Zoo leather animals, that just call out to be touched and hugged. Little kids and big kids alike will enjoy the finger puppets of such notable figures as Freud, Frida Kahlo and Gandhi.
My favourite items, due to their usefulness and small price tag, are the scented pencils. They come in yummy flavours like rootbear, orange, chocolate and cinnamon.
Don't forget to check out the art gallery downstairs before you leave.
Located at 883 Queen St W

Brazen Hussy

Beyonce wannabes this place is for you! They even have a photo of Destiny's Child wearing Brazen Hussy dresses hanging in the store.
A relative new comer to Queen West, Brazen Hussy opened in April 2007.
Their sexy summer dresses are perfect for partying pool side (preferably in LA) and their tiny, colourful bikinis are a must for those who are bootylicious. I was tempted to buy an I heart Brazen Hussies t-shirt, because really, who could resist?
Definately check out the unique and beautiful jewellery by Josie Tecson to complete your new outfit or any outfit for that matter.
Located at 863 Queen St West

Wednesday, July 4, 2007


When you first enter Châtelet you should make sure to look up. What will you see? Chandeliers, chandeliers and more chandeliers. This shop is one of my favourite stops along Queen West just for this reason. I would have a chandelier in every room if I could and with the great selection Châtelet carries, this dream could one day become a possibilty. I'm also intrigued with their selection of drawer pulls. They have beautiful glass and ceramic drawer pulls in all shapes and sizes.
The white painted wood furniture has a homey, French country look and the handmade lampshades would add a touch of whimsy to any room. For bathing beauties there are bath products from Nougat London (love the girly packaging) and shea butter soaps from Lothantique.
If you take your time while looke through the store, you will come across little "gems" like Risque Ladies of the Theatre playing cards and the Cinderella Card Game. Châtelet is the store to satisfy the girly-girl in everyone. 717 Queen St W

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The Dog Days of Summer

Timmie Doggie Outfitters is a boutique for the discerning pooch that also offers spa services. Even though I don't own a dog, I was fascinated by all the products this store offers. Their selection of collars and leashes was one of the best I've seen. They're available in all sorts of colours, as well as sparkles, metallics and studded. The selection of dog coats is just as varied and they also carry doggie life jackets and neoprene suits.
Don't forget to treat Rover to a home made dog cookie from the "bakery" counter after you've purchased him a squeaky or chewie from their cute and colourful collection of toys. I loved the little ceramic treat jars, available in both cat and dog "patterns" and was happy to see they carry a small selection of cat toys.
The most eye catching item in the store was OPI's Pawlish - Colors for nails. . . for those with tails. I kid you not.
Located at 867 Queen St W

Friday, June 29, 2007

HomeSense is Good Sense

I finally made it into HomeSense on Yonge Street. OH. MY. GOD.
It's HUGE! Two floors of fabulous home decor at reasonable prices. They even have an escalator (up only) and an elevator, or you can take the stairs.
It's a very well layed out store. Every inch of square footage is well used and there is large, easy to read signage hanging from the ceiling indicating each section.
I became very excited the minute I walked in the door as I spotted the same chocolate coated reception candy sticks (not necessarily this brand) they used to give out when you were leaving Olive Garden (remember Olive Garden?). I love those things! They also come in peppermint, but I like the fruit flavours much better. The next thing I spotted was a fabric basket covered in the same print as my shower curtain. What are the odds? Resisting the black and white rococo sandwich plates ($4 each) was difficult, but I wasn't going straight home and didn't want to lug them around. The urge to buy the butterfly print cake stands (available in 2 sizes) was pretty strong too; there was also a matching teapot, creamer and sugar bowl. If you're in the market for some mercury glass candlestick holders, HomeSense has some beautiful ones in three different sizes at reasonable prices.
Bath, bedding, kitchen utensils, small pieces of furniture and pictures are all on the second floor. The linens sections is impressive, as much for the selection and prices as well as how very neatly they are displayed. Check them out today.
Located at 195 Yonge Street, just north of Queen.

Forever 21 - Disappointment and A Mystery

So excited. So looking forward to checking them out. So disappointed. I was in and out of the store in 15 minutes, and it was crowded. The store is two floors and there's tons of merchandise, but nothing to rave about.
The sizing is quite small. I found one XL tank top but it was neither extra nor large. A lot of the jewellery was brightly coloured wood or plastic, not my thing, but I did find a cute pair of gold butterfly chandelier earrings. The only other thing that caught my eye was a great metallic, silver fold-over clutch for $20.
The clothing wasn't any different from most other stores. You could probably go across the street to H&M and find the same things. Upstairs there was a section that had very trendy, clubbing clothes which were definately more interesting. I think the biggest disappoinment was the prices. I expected them to be much lower.
Now, if they were selling the great chandeliers, massive candelabras and antique styles tables used as display and decor items, I would have left the store incredibly ecstatic and a few hundred dollars poorer. I'd recommend visiting this store just to see these items.
The mystery - the large, empty wooden crate just inside the door. It not only took up valuable space, it looked awful. Everyone knows you must always have all packaging put/hidden away before the doors open.

Monday, June 25, 2007

There's a Tiger in Toronto

Giant Tiger has been in business since 1961. Priding themselves on being an all Canadian family discount outlet, they offer a wide variety of merchandise at great prices. You can find men, women's and children's clothing along with groceries, DVDs, CDs and stuff for summer (sunblock, flipflops, patioware). The children's section carries sizes from newborn to 16. The women's section carries junior, regular and plus sizes. If you're in need of cute, cotton summer blouses or brightly coloured bras and panties, this is the place to pick them up cheap. Some of the great deals to be found are: good quality beach towels for $9.88, women's tank tops for $3.97, knitted shorts for $7.97 (perfect for the beach or the gym), kids hooded beach towels in dog, duck or frog designs for $14.97 and pet t-shirts for $9.97 with such slogans on them as "Bad to the Bone" and "Talk to the Paw". Don't forget to check out the grocery section while you're there. They have lot's of frozen foods and snacks to choose from. My favourite purchase of the day was a Fiorucci tote bag for $5!
682 Kennedy Road, north of St. Clair. Take the 113 Danforth bus from Main station and get off when you see the bright yellow sign.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Orufs Road - Part II

LeChateau - almost everyone can find something here to add to their summer wardrobe, thanks to sizing from XXS-XXL. Give yourself at least an hour to peruse the endless racks of dresses, both casual and formal, cute tops, flirty skirts and fun t-shirts plus shoes, shoes and more shoes. Once you've picked out a new summer outfit, take a look at their wall (yes, wall) of accessories before heading to the check-out. They also carry men’s clothing and their LeChateau Jr. line.

Kitchen Stuff Plus - it's big, really big. Not as big as the one at Kennedy Commons, but it's big. A great place to pick up fun, affordable stuff for the kitchen, bath or patio. They also carry some furniture, such as end tables, ottomans and dining room tables and chairs. Paper napkins are priced at $10/3pkgs and tissue at $5/3pkgs. With all the colours and designs they had, it was difficult to narrow my purchase down to just three each.
Summer Sidewalk Sale on Saturday, September 29th - it's the final one of the year (rain date Sat Oct 6th).

Fairweather - What can I say, this is a store full of cute summer clothes. They have lots of items priced at 2/$20 or 2/$30.

Labels - This store was supposed to give Winners a run for its money, but hasn't. The location on Orfus Road is a bit disappointing at first. When I started looking through the merchandise I thought the store should be renamed "The Discount Outlet for Isaac Mizrahi's Fairweather Line" as that is what 75% of the stock is. If you're willing to make your way to the very back of the store, you will find other designer name clothing at greatly reduced prices. Names such as Nine West, Jones New York, Delicious, Kenneth Cole, Buffalo, Dex, Lady Dutch, Mexx and Louben can be found on these racks. The outlet carries both men's and ladies clothing.

Roots - This is one store you should never plan on finding something specific in or you will be sorely disappointed. The best approach to take is the "I'll just stop in and see if there's any good deals happening", then you will likely hit the jackpot. My favourite thing is digging through the tables of clothing to find those hidden gems. I lucked out recently and found some great yoga/exercise tops for $7 each. I also ran across a burgundy corduroy skirt reduced all the way down to $4.99! This outlet carries men's, women's and children's clothing. And don't worry if you're not the type who likes to put some effort into bargain hunting, a lot of the stock is hung up or neatly stacked on shelves.

Snugabye - Not actually located on Orfus Rd, but around the corner and just past the next light, at the intersection of Caledonia Rd and Bentworth Ave. This outlet used to be quite large in size and stuffed full of stock but they have considerably shrunk their store space. Snugabye is famous for their convert-a-foot sleepers and this is the place to buy them (as opposed to paying the mark-up in a department store). There is a wide variety of cute sleepers and pajamas to choose from. They also carry outfits, socks, sweats and some crib bedding and blankets. Sizes range from newborn to size 3.

There are many other stores on Orfus Road, too many to mention in any detail. Here is a list of other places to check out: Strada Italy Menswear, Grande Cheese Factory Outlet, Body'n'Sole, Nine West, Urban Behaviour (they have both a men's and women's outlet), Emmanuel Bitini, Ponti Designer Menswear, The Suit Exchange, Stitches, Bowring, Sirens, The Shopping Channel, Windsor Bridal, Costa Blanca, Pinstripe Menswear, International Clothiers (men's and boy's outlets).