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).

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Goodbye GAP, Hello Forever 21!

Imagine my surprise when I was at the corner of Yonge and Dundas and saw the windows of the GAP empty. I wondered to myself, renovating or closed? To my delight, closed was the correct answer.
Then I spotted a very small, unobtrusive sign: XX1 Forever.
OH MY GOD! Forever 21 has made it to Canada; well at least to Toronto. This store is always mentioned in fashion magazines underneath photos of really cute, fashionable clothes for unbelievable prices. Not sure how the prices will translate into Canadian dollars, but I will definately be there on opening day to check everything out. Opening June 23rd.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Orfus Road - Part I

Orfus Road is outlet heaven. You need to put aside an entire day so you have lots of time to check out every store that interests you. You also need to pick a good weather day (not too hot, not to cold) to shop on as there is no shade or protection from the wind/blowing snow. The most important thing you need to know is there are no public washrooms.

It is possible to get there by TTC. I find the easiest way is to take the subway to Yorkdale, walk through the mall, exit through Sears (last opportunity to powder your nose), walk through the parking lot, then head south on Dufferin for two short blocks to Orfus.

Fabricland is set back from Orfus Rd in a little strip mall. This location is very home decor oriented. They have a large selection of drapery and upholstery fabric as well as hardware and trims.

Dollarama - stop here first to pick up a pop, juice or water for just a dollar a bottle. On hot days, it's a must.

Jessica Cosmetic Nail & Beauty Supply - this store is so new, the staff were still stocking the shelves when I walked in. I had my best find of the day here:
Essie nail polish for $5 a bottle and OPI priced at $8 each or 2 for $12 (my faves: Russian Navy, OPI Ink, Didgeridoo Your Nails?, Pink Before You Leap). They carry at least four other brands of nail polish that I'm not familiar with, as well as all the tools needed for manicures/pedicures, hair colour and hair colouring supplies. Short orange sticks with pointed ends are $2 for four dozen and the longer sticks with squared ends are $3 for four dozen. They sell both retail and wholesale.

Beddington's - not as large as the Bloor or Beach locations, but they carry a good selection of bed and bath linens. They had soft, thick beach towels for $10 and 300 thread count sheet sets in queen size for $40.

Tabi - a great place to pick up affordable, quality tank tops or t-shirts with lots of colours to choose from (3 for $30). Capris were reasonably priced at $20 and came in both regular and petite sizes. Check out the earrings, necklaces and bracelets before you leave. I'm sure you'll find at least one of each to accesorize your new outfit.
Giant tent sale August 24 - Sept 3. All items under $20.

Bentley - this use to be my favourite store on "the strip" but my recent visit was quite disappointing. As soon as you walked into the store, it used to be nothing but purses for miles! Their purse selection has been cut by about 75% and been replaced with luggage, knapsacks, messenger bags and (horrors!) the kind of plastic "stuff" you can buy at any dollor store. Some of the lines they carry: Nine West, Kenneth Cole Reaction and Baby Phat. For a little fun, check out the scarves ($4.99 with 50% off) and brightly coloured fashion panty hose (2 pairs for $0.99).

Deblins - my favourite discount linen store! Rows and rows of sheets in all sizes, colours, prints, thread counts and countries of origin. There's always a table of flat and fitted sheets in a variety of sizes for $10 each, ranging from 250-300 thread count. For those with champagne taste, they have a large selection of Egyptian cotton sheets in 500 and 800 thread count. I like that each bathroom theme has it's own little display stall. All the items from the set are displayed together: shower curtain, soap dispenser, garbage can, toothbrush holder, towels, bathmat and even framed photos. Cute hand ($10) or fingertip towels ($7) with either shoes, purses or umbrella drinks embroidered on them make great housewarming or hostess gifts.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Let's Talk Makeup

I haven't had the chance to do much shopping lately, but wanted to post something new before the weekend, so I thought I'd mention a few of my favourites.
Rimmel has a new/limited edition line called Rimmel Underground. Their print materials refer to the line as "edgy fun". The sleek, simple packaging and great choice of colours had me running around to every Shoppers Drugmart in the GTA desparately trying to locate the line. Unfortunately, only Wal***t carries it. I opted for the Gloss Over lip gloss in Hot To Trot which consists of six stripes of gloss in various orange and gold shades and the Eyeful glistening eye colour in Straight Laces, an irredescent mauve. I regret not picking up the Stir It Up sparkle infused cream eyeshadow that combines both cream and powder shadows and looks like a speckled easter egg. Rimmell Underground is definately for those not afraid of colour, but at such reasonable prices, even the shy can afford to try it out. Also available at PharmaPlus and Zellers.

MARK is a line of cosmetics developed by AVON to appeal to the "younger crowd". My favourite MARK products are the hook-ups. You choose two items from a variety of eye shadows, eye liners, lipsticks, lipglosses and shimmer powders and hook the two together (the connecting device is provided free). The two products attached together are shorter than the average pen, making it easy to fit into an already over-stuffed purse. I've done a lipstick/lipgloss combo; love that the lipgloss wasn't sticky. I now have an
i-sheer/eyeliner combo in champagne/callisto which gives you that perfect done, but not overdone, look for summer.

MAC is always coming out with limited edition lines and Moonbathe is their most recent. I am quite partial to their Honey Moon lipstick and Cosmic eyeshadow. They provide just enough colour so you don't feel "naked" but do feel like you made an effort.

Friday, June 1, 2007


Just a reminder that the FC Garage Sale will take place this weekend, June 2 & 3 from 10am - 5pm. The location is
688 Broadview Ave - beside the Loblaws, just south of Danforth.
Merchandise remaining from the Fashion Cares boutique will be available at deeply discounted prices. Items include men and women's clothing, jewellery, cosmetics and housewares.
Cash, Debit, VISA, MC and AMEX accepted.