Archive | November, 2011

Weeks 35-36 Challenge

23 Nov

Alright, so I’ve been feeling a little under the weather for the past few days (I’m actually writing this post at home in my PJs right now) and this challenge post is late. But, the usual rules apply and I am now down to a week and a half to complete it.

It’s no secret that my last few challenges haven’t been the most successful so I am ready to go back to basics for this one. This challenge is going to be to find a grey sweater similar to the one below:


Banana Republic $74


Exciting? Not the most. But I really, really need some new sweaters. Most of the ones that I currently own are either thin cardigans or are so ratty and pilled that even an hour with a fabric shaver can’t rehabilitate them.

You may be asking why a grey sweater in particular? Well, I just really like grey since it’s classic and pretty much goes with anything (if you asked my friends they would tell you that most of the walls in my house are grey, I think that it drives my best friend nuts since grey is considered a depressing colour but personally I think that grey is very clean) . I also like v-neck styles because you can either put a t-shirt or dress shirt underneath.

So that’s my latest challenge, if I can’t complete this one successfully I’m going to be really worried!

Weeks 33-34 “Results”

19 Nov

Unfortunately, I may have been a little too ambitious with this challenge (aka I totally failed!). I knew that finding a black blazer, let alone a black peplum blazer similar to the one below would be difficult, but I think that I may have overestimated my budget shopping abilities on this one.

Nina Ricci $2,590, Barneys


*Just a quick note, pardon the small pictures, I couldn’t make them any bigger but if you click on them you’ll be taken to the store sites with bigger images.*


I didn’t come across any black blazers at all in most stores (I really thought that Forever 21 would be a gold mine for this challenge but the only store in town never seems to have black blazers in stock!) , and the stores that did have them didn’t have anything attractive  priced less than $40 (there was one for $39.99 at Eclipse but let’s just say that the quality left a lot to be desired).

Smart Set had a cute tuxedo blazer for $65 but I wouldn’t exactly call it a peplum blazer:

Smart Set Tuxedo Blazer $65


And Jacob also had some beautiful blazers, including one on sale but alas, it also wasn’t a peplum blazer and was almost $10 over budget before taxes:

Jacob One-Button Blazer $49.50


Sadly, I just couldn’t find anything that fit my budget or style criteria in any of the 25+ stores that I visited (which even included stores that I never or almost never visit like Reitmann’s, Marie Claire and Eclipse).

However, grey blazers seemed to be on sale everywhere so if you’re in the market for one now is apparently the time to shop (both the blazers below were actually an additional 25-50% the prices listed in store):

Smart Set Pleather Trim Blazer $37

Dynamite $30


I’m actually pretty disappointed that I couldn’t find anything. I’m taking my husband out to dinner tonight for his birthday and was really looking forward to wearing a new blazer with the skinny jeans from the Weeks 29-30 Challenge (thanks to Coco’s vinegar in the wash tip my skinny jeans have finally stopped bleeding dye!) and some cute heels 😦

Oh well.  For now I’m going to keep my $40 in my back pocket in case I come across an affordable peplum blazer while shopping for a future challenge.

Hopefully my next challenge is more successful! Eesh!

Triumph or Tacky?

13 Nov

Wow, I just realized that it’s been forever since I’ve written one of my Triumph or Tacky? posts! Looks like I’m going to have a lot of backlog to get through!

This post is going to address the black bag that I bought for the Weeks 31-32 Challenge. If you recall I was looking for a bag similar to one of these by Michael Kors:

Michael Kors Jenna Large Tote, $464 CAD Bloomingdale's

Michael Kors Gia Ostrich-Embossed Leather Satchel, $805 CAD Zappos Couture

And what I ended up finding was this bag from Aldo for a budget-busting $62.15 (after taxes):

Aldo Pressel, $55 (front view from the website)

Although votes were split three ways between “you did great”, “not quite close enough” and “better luck next time”, many of you pointed out that this was more than a tad expensive for a so-called “budget find”  and you were completely right. It was WAY too expensive and in all honesty not a worthwhile use of my Experiment money. This one unfortunately falls into Tacky territory.

The funny thing is that I knew this when I was buying it but for some reason I was in a “OMG I just need to buy something for this challenge!” state of mind.  So needless to say this challenge has ended up costing me even more money when you factor in the gas that I used driving back to the store to return it!

However, when I brought the Pressel bag back to Aldo I ended up coming across a bag that I like a lot more than the original bag:

Aldo Gillyard $39.98 (photo from the Aldo website)

Back view

Is it a perfect representation of either of the Michael Kors bags? No. But I think that it bears at least a small teeny tiny resemblance to the Jenna tote. Plus it has a really cute houndstooth lining and also a shoulder strap that’s handy (or shouldery I guess…pardon the awful pun).

It was still a bit over budget once the taxes were factored in ($45.18 total) but at least this time I can say that I’m comfortable paying the overage.

Hopefully I can find something more affordable for my next challenge though, my track record hasn’t been great lately and I’m starting to worry about my budget shopping abilities!

Weeks 33-34 Challenge

7 Nov

I’m going to keep this post short and sweet since I’ve been blabbing on and on in my posts lately and will probably continue to do so in my next Paris-related post!

I need a black blazer. The only one that I own is made of velveteen and only comes out about once a year around Christmas time and even then I’m never sure about wearing it. Flashbacks to the 90’s and velvet babydoll dresses maybe? Eek I can hear the Ace of Base now! But I digress…

Peplum jackets are in this Fall so that’s the look that I will be seeking out:



I think that this one is my favourite but then again, I would pretty much take anything from Burberry’s Fall 2011 line:

Burberry $995


This one is also great in a very romantic way (click on the picture to see a larger view on the Barney’s website):

Nina Ricci $2,590, Barneys


Now, to all you peplum virgins out there (as I was before coming across the word for the first time ever last month), the definition of peplum is, according to the ever-reliable “a short skirt attached to a bodice or jacket”.

I’m not going to be looking for a blazer with a full-out skirt attached but I am going to keep in mind the overall shape of a (subtle) peplum jacket when I’m on my quest.

Wish me luck!

A Little Orange Box

6 Nov

This post is going to tread into actual spendthrift territory because of something that has just found its way into my possession. I feel a little guilty writing about something so luxe on the SpendThrift Experiment (especially after my last slightly disastrous challenge, stay tuned for the Triumph or Tacky? post this week because I have a feeling that purchase is being returned) but it was a gift and an AMAZING gift at that!

I’ve made it no secret that my 30th birthday is fast approaching (yay?) and even though I thought that my trip to Paris was my birthday gift (if you recall I had a conference in France that fell through but we decided to go anyway) my husband decided to surprise me with another early birthday gift that is also an early Christmas gift (best husband ever!).

He was in Vienna on business last week and when I picked him up at the airport he presented me with this:

Which of course contained a beautiful little orange box:


Which contained a ridiculously gorgeous bracelet:

Hermes Clic Clac H

Anyone who knows me knows that red is one of my absolute favourite colours and to receive a simple, beautiful, classic piece like this sent me over the moon! I was actually jumping up and down at the airport! Needless to say it went straight on my wrist and will have a home there uhmm, probably forever! The box has already taken up residence as a display piece on my dresser! I adore this bracelet, so much so that I haven’t even taken the protective plastic cover off of the silver yet for fear of hurting it, lol.

Did I mention best husband ever? He has earned himself some serious brownie points! This definitely makes up for my lack of shopping in Paris!

So here it is on me:

Don’t worry though, I am not suddenly abandoning the SpendThrift Experiment to take up a life of luxury! I’m pretty sure that the early 90’s blinds in my living room in the photo above that are in desperate need of replacing (once we have the money saved up for new windows) show that I still have a long way to go!

Up next tomorrow the Weeks 33-34 Challenge.

Weeks 31-32 Results

5 Nov

It’s results post time! This challenge was to find a new black bag, which was necessary because of the dire condition of my Cynthia Rowley bag:

Notice the lovely frayed straps

My inspiration pieces were two lovely bags by Michael Kors, both of which are WAY over my budget:

Michael Kors Jenna Large Tote, $464 CAD Bloomingdale's

Michael Kors Gia Ostrich-Embossed Leather Satchel, $805 CAD Zappos Couture

So keeping these bags in mind I set out to find a new one. Easy right? There are millions of affordable black bags in this world! Well, apparently not anywhere near where I live because I had the hardest time finding one that wasn’t way over budget or one that looked even remotely close to the Michael Kors bags!

I finally managed to luck out at Aldo. Correction, the third Aldo that I visited. I had no luck at the outlet or at the Aldo accessory store (or Payless, Ardene, Smart Set, Forever 21, Jacob, Le Chateau, Winners…my list could go on and on!) but finally found something at a regular Aldo shoe store in the mall:

Aldo Pressel, $55 (front view from the Aldo website)

Back view of the bag I bought

Now I really like this bag, I’m a big fan of big bags that you can store your whole life in. However, I don’t know how much it resembles either of the inspiration bags. I kind of think that if I squint it looks like a mash-up of the two Michael Kors bags but that may just be me seeing what I want to see. I don’t know, you’ll have to be the judge on this one.

Also, I went slightly over budget. The bag retails for $55 (so already $15 over budget) and after taxes it came to $62.15:

So the SpendThrift Savings Bank is going to take a hit this time!

Was it worth it? I like the bag but my success is for you to decide!

Up next tomorrow I’m going to delay my next challenge post until Monday but I have a very good reason for it…and it involves an orange box (squeal!!!).

Paris – Part 2: Lesson #2

3 Nov

Continuing on with my series of posts entitled:

“What I Learned About Packing for Paris/My Paris Fashion Disasters”

You're guess is as good as mine on this "exhibit" at Centre George Pompidou


Here is my next lesson (if you missed #1 you can see it here):

Lesson 2 – Pay attention to the weather report!

And by this I mean, actually pay attention to the weather report! Just because it’s Fall doesn’t mean that you should pack for Fall even when the forecast is calling for unseasonably warm and sunny weather!

The gardens outside of Napoleon's tomb at Les Invalides


When we got to Paris it wasn’t just a little warm, it was about 30 degrees (celcius) and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky! It was absolutely gorgeous for the first 5 of our 7 days and we enjoyed it but we would have enjoyed it even more if we had packed some summer clothes!

A testament to how hot it was, and this was after cooling off in the Louvre!


I kind of had a feeling that it would be hot but I figured that in Paris the street fashion would have still moved ahead to Fall and wouldn’t be stuck in the last season…boy was I wrong! Everywhere we looked people were decked out in summer clothes!

I had packed some skirts to wear but they were heavier and the only shoes that I brought to wear with them were either heels (not so good for sightseeing) or also too heavy/warm for the heat (except for one pair that didn’t work out, see Lesson #3 which is coming soon). I would have KILLED for a pair of sandals and we tried to find some but of course, none of the stores were carrying sandals anymore, NONE!

Riding boots were great later in the week when it cooled down, not so much in 30 degree weather. Jardins du Luxembourg


We looked everywhere from Les Galeries Lafayette, to random stores, to H&M. We could not find one single pair! Yet every girl on the street was wearing a super cute pair of leather gladiators. Sigh.

So many girls were wearing gladiator style sandals, I kind of thought that they were going out of style though?


Now if I wanted suede boots or anything covered in fur I would have been in luck (H&M I’m looking at you!). I still don’t understand why we couldn’t even find dressy sandals/evening wear sandals, don’t people wear them for fancy nights out, even in the winter?

Thankfully I did pack some tank tops however, a tank top, jeans (not the pair from Lesson #1 of course) and clunky shoes became my uniform. Not the most fashionable look…

Don't even get me started on these shoes...Outside Les Invalides


Thank god for tank tops though and air conditioning! Centre George Pompidou


I don’t care next trip, even if we travel to Siberia I’m packing sandals and a summer dress just in case!

 Next up in my lesson series Lesson #3: If you thought you broke your shoes in before your trip you’re probably wrong.