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Update

8 Mar

Alright, you may have noticed that I haven’t posted anything in quite some time. My apologies, my schedule has been insane, I’ve been ridiculously stressed out and I just needed to take a breather for a bit. I want to assure you though that with only three official challenges to go I’m not stopping this experiment!

Hermes Orion suitcase, I can assure you that my suitcase looks nothing like this...unfortunately!

 

At the moment I’m in Toronto on a two-week stint for work (crazy schedule right?) so I’m going to issue my next challenge this Sunday. That gives me one week in TO to try to find something and one week back at home in case I get so lost driving around here that I can’t find any stores!

So stay tuned, there’s a new challenge to come!

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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:

Squeal!

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.

Paris – Part 1

20 Oct

I’m back from Paris and finally ready to post about my trip! Just a warning, this is the first of two parts and it will be long!

I have to admit that I’ve been feeling very guilty for not having already posted anything since I’ve been back for a little while. We came home Thanksgiving weekend (Canadian) and had a bunch of family commitments and then had to play catch up on a bunch of other things so it’s been a busy few weeks! Oh yeah, and we also took about 1200 pictures on our trip so it has taken me forever to go through them all! Don’t worry though, I’ll only subject you to a few of them and I’ve decided to pepper them throughout the post just to break things up a little.

Sacré Cœur off in the distance

So back to the trip itself! In short it was absolutely amazing! There are so many things to do and see and the French were really great (too great in some instances, we ended up staying out half the night one night drinking with some guys from Bordeaux and consequently had to postpone our trip to Versailles by one day…oops!). We really enjoyed ourselves however, our trip was BUSY since we wanted to see as many sights as possible. We were only there for one week and trust me when I say that you need much more than a week to truly experience all that this amazing city has to offer!

The gardens at Versailles

Now in relation to my usual topics of discussion on this blog I have some good news for you, and some bad news.

First let’s get part one of the bad news out of the way: I’m ashamed to say this but when I was in Paris I barely shopped at all! Seriously, next to no shopping! I know, it’s shocking and at first I thought that I may have let anyone who reads my blog down, but in my defense I had some good reasons for my lack of fashion follies.

Requisite cheesy Eiffel Tour shot!

First, it is impossible to see all of the major sights and fit some major shopping into one week. It just can’t be done. Everything, both the sights and stores, is open from around 9 am to 5 or 6 pm so you either have to pick and choose a few choice sights that you want to see or you have to forgo the shopping altogether (or only have time for short shopping interludes). I did manage to make my way into a few stores like Diane von Furstenberg, Chloé and Chanel on Avenue Montaigne about 20 minutes before closing on the Thursday but it really wasn’t enough time to truly explore them.

It was probably for the best anyway, the one Chanel purse I picked up had a price tag of 2450 euros which is definitely too rich for my blood! Obviously not too rich for other people though since there was a tour bus’ worth of Asian tourists in the store double-fisting merchandise up to the cash! One girl had to be buying at least 30,000 euros worth of Chanel!

Sitting in les jardins du Luxembourg

Second, and in relation to my first point, stores are not open on Sundays! For a type A North American girl who is used to at least some stores being constantly open or at the very least open on weekends (or later than 6 on weekdays) I totally wasn’t expecting this. I know that I should have since Europeans have a much more relaxed way of life but for some reason the thought hadn’t even crossed my mind!

I wish I could remember the name of this store!

So of course, the one day that we were more leisurely about things was on the Sunday, sigh. At least I saw the outsides of stores like Hermès and some really cool displays in shop windows like beautiful ballerina tutus at a shoe store (can’t remember the name) and shoes with funky faces in the display window of Rodolphe Menudier.

Rodolphe Menudier

Third, you can’t just assume that there is shopping everywhere in Paris. Trust me on this one, when you want to find something you will be in the completely wrong district! One day I needed a new pair of shoes desperately (I’ll elaborate more on this in my next post, there is some “Quelle horreur” involved though) and the area where we were next to the Louvre had no shoe/clothing stores! We spent forever trying to find something but I think that we just ended up walking circles in the same district.

Outside the Louvre

Fourth, plan out what stores you want to see. I had just assumed that I would stumble upon Christian Louboutin, the original Chanel store on Rue Cambon, or another Hermès after our Sunday stroll, sadly I this did not happen. We did manage to spend a little time in les Galeries Lafayette but never did come across Printemps (even though it’s close by) so again, if it’s important to you to go then actually look for it, lol.

The view from the top of les Galeries Lafayette. Hmm, slightly crazy hair from the wind and hot weather...

Also, I had planned to do a little shopping on the Champs d’Elysées and allowed some time for it but when we got there I found that the street was actually really junky! I had an image in my mind of it being a beautiful classy street (probably planted in my head from watching movies) but it was just packed with people and dirty!

Maybe we were at the wrong end of it? We were at the end by the Arc de Triomphe and we did come across Cartier (but didn’t go in) and saw the Louis Vuitton flagship store but LV had a lineup that stretched around the corner and the stores were closing in an hour so we weren’t willing to wait.

Arc de Triomphe

Cute Lacoste concept car at Citroën

Now for my second piece of bad news: it was fashion week and we saw nothing going on related to it! Ok, not nothing, there was an accessories trade show going on in a park but you had to be registered to get in.

Random accessories trade show we came across

We also saw many girls who were most likely models, always buying bottles of carbonated water in Monoprix stores for some reason (my husband kept asking me if I thought they actually got paid because they obviously couldn’t afford to eat, lol), but besides that most of the fashion week related events must have been going on in specific areas that we weren’t near or privileged enough to be let near, lol.

Les Catacombes de Paris

One cool fashion-related thing that we did see though was an exhibit at Le Grand Trianon at Versailles that compared clothing from the 18th century to Haute Couture pieces by designers/fashion houses like Christian Lacroix, Christian Dior, Chanel, Vivienne Westwood and Yamamoto. The pieces were amazing! Unfortunately you couldn’t take any pictures though so I’m disappointed that I can’t share anything that I took with you but here’s a picture that links to a review The Guardian did of the exhibit:

The Guardian

Alright, so after all of that “bad news” you may be thinking that I didn’t actually enjoy my trip, well, you would be completely wrong! Here’s the good news: I loved every second of it!

The Seine

I bought no high-end goods, we didn’t go out for any fancy dinners and I didn’t even wear a dressy skirt or dress once (even though I packed them) but we had so many great experiences and saw so many sights!

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

We visited (in no particular order): the Eiffel Tour, the Arc de Triomphe, Versailles, the Catacombes, Sacré Cœur, Montmartre (our hotel was actually in the Pigalle district, lol), Notre Dame, the Louvre, les Invalides, the Musée d’Orsay, the Luxembourg Gardens, Centre Pompidou and we took a river cruise on the Seine. It was totally worth it to see so many places!

Staying classy at Centre Pompidou. This also a hint as to what will be included in my next post...

Outside the Opera

In front of the Musée d'Orsay

We spent all of our breaks sipping wine or beer in cafes, just relaxing and soaking up the sights around us, it was so nice to sit back and just spend some quality time together. We also had a bunch of little picnics where we picked up our bread, meat, cheese and a bottle of wine and again, just sat down by a fountain or beautiful old building taking in all that Paris had to offer. It was divine and I think that I enjoyed it more than any expensive dinner at a fancy restaurant! As it turned out, this didn’t end up being a “fancy” trip and we wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Our one "fancy" dinner in Paris. We once again stayed classy by eating fondue and drinking wine out of baby bottles. If you like fondue you must go to Le Refuge des Fondus it is AMAZING!!! If you don't like fondue then WTH is wrong with you?!

In terms of what I bought I got a great scarf for 15 euros in Versailles, a bottle of perfume at Guerlain and a “Chat Noir” poster (the hotel we stayed at was called Le Chat Noir so it was fitting). So really, not much at all!

The scarf I bought in Versailles

Thinking more about what little I bought I’m actually not disappointed. I think that if I went out and blew a bunch of money on some expensive designer goods I would have been very disappointed in myself because that would have gone contrary to the whole essence of the SpendThrift Experiment. The trip to Paris was frivolous enough in expense and I wouldn’t have done myself any favours by spending even more money when we have other things that we should be putting it towards (like the new furnace we just bought, yay?).

Looking out a window at Marie Antoinette's cottage

So in the end we deemed this trip to Paris the “crazy-busy-let’s-see-as-many-sights-as-can-be-possibly-crammed-into-one-week” trip. Now that we’ve gotten the sights out of the way our next trip to Paris (most likely when we’re more financially comfortable) will be the “designer-clothing-fancy-dinner-relax-and-explore-everything-else” trip 😮

If you’ve made it through this novel to this point stay tuned, my second Paris post will be “Things I learned about packing for Paris/My Paris fashion disasters” so stay tuned!

Off to Paris!

30 Sep

In a few short hours (ok many hours since we’re flying out of another city) I’ll be on my way to Paris! As I mentioned in my results post yesterday, thank you so much for all of your comments about whether or not I should give myself a shopping challenge while I’m there! You’re all awesome! I have decided to take your advice and just sit back and enjoy everything that Paris has to offer!

Unfortunately, I won’t be posting anything for the next week or so, but hopefully I’ll have some great pictures and stories to share when I get back. And of course I will be indulging my shopping habit to some degree so I will be sure to share what I bought with you 😮

It’s crazy but when we booked this trip we didn’t even realize that we would be in Paris for FASHION WEEK!

Vogue.com

I am so looking forward to people watching and maybe even snapping some pictures of famous or at least beautiful people (in a subtle non-creepy, non-paparazzi way of course!).  Plus there are a few events going on that we’re going to check out like the Diane von Furstenberg flash mob that’s supposed to happen on the Champs d’Elysées on October 5th to celebrate the launch of her new fragrance at Sephora. So fun!

Alright, I’m off to finish some last-minute packing (yes, I’m still not done…). Expect a full trip report upon my return!

Au revoir et à bientôt!

Mid-Year Review

17 Sep

I can’t believe that this experiment is already half over! It seems like just yesterday I was coming up with this crazy idea and now I’ve surpassed the 6 month mark! Wow does time ever fly!

To celebrate this little milestone I figure that it’s about time I do a little recap of what I’ve bought so far. So here goes! Just a warning, this could be a long post…it’s taken me days to load all of these pictures!

Week 1 Challenge

Inspiration: Marc Jacobs cardigan

February 2011 Edition of Marie Claire

What I found: a cardigan from Old Navy and a skirt from Winners.

Old Navy $12.42

Winners $1.05

Total spent: $13.47

Week 2 Challenge

Inspiration: Ralph Lauren and DSquared2 vests

Ralph Lauren $149

DSquared2, Spring 2011, Milan Fashion Week

What I found: a Tommy Hilfiger and a Sirens vest from Value Village

Tommy Hilfiger $11.29 from Value Village

Sirens $4.51 from Value Village

Total spent: $15.80

Week 3 Challenge

Inspiration: Little black Gucci dress

Gucci $1300

What I found: A bandeau-style dress from Suzy Shier

Suzy Shier $19.21

Total spent: $19.21

Week 4 Challenge

Inspiration: Proenza Schouler PS1 Extra Large leather travel bag

Proenza Schouler $2350

What I found: Nothing for under $20 :o( See Week 10 challenge

Total spent: Nothing, my $20 was carried over to the Week 10 Challenge

Week 5 Challenge

Inspiration: Rose quartz ring

Moonlight Mining $48

What I found: A “gold”/”rose” ring from Aldo

Aldo $9.04

Total spent: $9.04

Week 6 Challenge

Inspiration: Banana Republic fedora

Banana Republic $50

What I found: A fedora at Old Navy

Old Navy $16.39

In the end I actually ended up trading my husband the hat for this one he bought me in Mexico:

Total spent: $16.39

Week 7 Challenge

Inspiration: Floral D&G dress

What I found: An Old Navy dress

Old Navy $22.04

The SpendThrift Savings Bank also took a hit on this one because I couldn’t return a dress to Sirens >o(

Sirens $18.08

Total spent: $40.12

Week 8 Challenge

Inspiration: White dress shirt

Iro $265, NET-A-PORTER

What I found: A dress shirt from Costa Blanca

Costa Blanca $16.94

Total spent: $16.94

Week 9 Challenge

Inspiration: Tory Burch flats

Tory Burch

What I found: Flats from the Shoe Company

The Shoe Company $16.94

The unfortunate fate of these flats: chew toys…sigh

Apparently my dog was a fan...or wasn't. I'm not quite sure.

Total spent: $16.94

Week 10 Challenge

Take 2 on the PS1 bag challenge from Week 4

What I found: Actually it’s what my parents found in Florida. A much discussed knock-off bag from Target

Mossimo, Target

Total spent: Nothing! It was a gift, thanks Mom and Dad 😮

Week 11 Challenge

Inspiration: Black dress pants

Theory Denison Teach $255

What I found: Two pairs of pants at Jacob!

Jacob $10

Jacob $10

Total spent: $22.60

Week 12 Challenge

Inspiration: Gucci colour blocking

Gucci

What I found: A shirt and capris from Jacob

Jacob $12.99

Jacob $10

Total spent: $18.18 after a 30% discount

Week 13 Challenge

Inspiration: Lululemon/Adidas tennis skirt

Lululemon $54

What I found: A super comfy running skirt at Old Navy

Old Navy $10.16

Total spent: $10.16

Week 14 Challenge

Inspiration: Multi strand necklace

Nina Bukvic $950, Barneys

What I found: A great leucite necklace at Jacob.

Jacob, originally $25.90

Total spent: $17.56

Week 15 Challenge

Inspiration: Roxy athletic tank top

Roxy $59.99 (this is the back of the tank)

What I found: Unfortunately nothing under $20 this week, sigh…see the Week 16 Challenge

Total spent: Nada

Week 16 Challenge

Inspiration: See the Week 15 Challenge since this is the continuation…

What I found: A tank at Foot Locker that wasn’t far off from my original budget!

Foot Locker $22.59

Total spent: $22.59

***This is the point where I switched to bi-weekly $40 challenges***

Weeks 17-18 Challenge

Inspiration: White Peter Som dress

Anne Menke, Self Magazine. Dress Peter Som $1,395, necklace Roxanne Assoulin for Lee Angel $275, belt Forever 21 $9, bag Jamin Puech $470, shoes J.Crew $148

What I found: A tunic-style white dress from Joe Fresh

Joe Fresh, $19 (it definitely has more shape when I'm wearing it!)

Total spent: $21.47

Weeks 19-20 Challenge

Inspiration: Brown belt to go with the white dress from the Weeks 17-18 Challenge (see inspiration photo from that challenge)

What I found: A funky belt from Smart Set

Smart Set $20.34

Total spent: $20.34

Weeks 21-22 Challenge

Inspiration: My need for black work-appropriate sandals

What I found: A pair of black patent sandals at the Shoe Company

Greenwich Village $44.99, The Shoe Company

Total spent: $38.13 after a discount!

Weeks 23-24 Challenge

Inspiration: Black flats to walk around Paris in. Originally I thought Pumas but then I changed my mind

Puma Espera III $70

What I found: Originally a pair of black flats from Winners:

Winners $38.40

But I wasn’t very sure about them so I went shopping again and found a pair of motorcycle boots:

Aldo $43.49

Total spent: $81.89…the Savings Bank took a big hit on this one so I’m going to try to be extra frugal with future challenges!

Weeks 25-26 Challenge

Inspiration: A black Calvin Klein trench

Calvin Klein ~$79.99

What I found: A great trench with a hood from Suzy Shier

Suzy Shier $63.27

Total spent: $63.27…again, I think that I’m going to need more $20 challenges to make up for my recent spending creep, eek!

GRAND TOTAL SPENT: $484.10 (out of a possible $520)


Phew! That’s a lot of clothing but I’m really happy that I’m still under my original budget!

Can’t wait to see what I find over the next 6 months!

Weeks 21-22 Results

23 Jul

It’s once again results post time and I am very excited to share my find with you! This time my challenge was to find a pair of black work appropriate sandals. I wasn’t sure of exactly what style I wanted so I left the choice up to you. The options were: kitten heels, leather flats, or wedges.

After a vote from a very devoted reader 😮 I was out to search for a pair of kitten heels and boy am I ever glad that this was the style that was chosen! Thanks to my lovely reader I found these:

Greenwich Village $44.99, The Shoe Company

 

I was smitten from the first moment that I saw these babies at the Shoe Company! I was there with my husband and pretty much told him that I was in love and didn’t care how much they cost. When he gave me the whole “don’t you have a $40 budget to stick to?” line I pretty much told him that I would empty the Spendthrift Savings Bank if I had to, lol.

Thankfully the Shoe Company was having a sale (I know, not a mind blowing observation when shopping at a discount shoe store…). Although the sandals were $44.99, if you bought one pair of shoes you got 25% off of the second pair. Lucky for me my husband needed a new pair of shoes and passed the savings on to me! So after subtracting $11.25 and adding the taxes the total came to $38.13, just $1.87 short of my $40 budget! Score!

They’re black patent and are more of a stacked kitten heel but they’re really comfortable and I completely heart the design.

I tried to get a picture of them on me but I was taking the picture myself so it came out really awkward (plus I’m in desperate need of a pedicure, it’s pretty embarrassing actually…). I’ll try to post something better when I write the Triumph or Tacky? post (yes, those do still exist and are coming soon I swear!).

So what do you think? Do you love these as much as I do?

A New Game Plan

20 Jun

You may have noticed that I was MIA this weekend since no results were posted for the Week 17 challenge and no new challenge appeared. I have to apologize for that, I was competing at a Dragon Boat festival all weekend and by the time I got home at night both days I was so pooped that I could barely spell my own name let alone string together a coherent sentence! However, I think that it was worth the sacrifice since our team did really well and we had so much fun!

The other reason why I didn’t end up posting this weekend (or pre-writing my posts so that I could just hit the publish button at least) is because I have been thinking a lot about this experiment in the context of my crazy new schedule and also in relation to the clothes that I have amassed over the past 16 weeks (well, 17 sort of).

First of all, over the past 16 weeks I have bought a lot of clothes! To date I have bought (in no particular order): 1 sweater, 2 skirts (one dressy, one for running), 3 dresses, 1 bag, 1 pair of shoes (that unfortunately got eaten by my dog), 2 vests, 1 hat, 1 ring, 1 necklace, 1 dress shirt, 3 pairs of pants (two pairs of dress pants, one pair of Capri pants), and 2 tank tops (one dressy, one for running). Phew!

Although I love having such a great clothing haul, my closet is getting a little full and that list above doesn’t even include the clothing that I purchased for my new job!

Second, the fact that I am now a working woman who is also a full-time student means that my free time is close to non-existent (at least when you throw in all of the other things that are important to me in life, this blog included). As I have mentioned in previous posts I’ve been having a hard time trying to actually find the time to shop on a weekly basis. I have also found that an activity that I normally find relaxing and fun has become slightly stressful. Since this blog is supposed to be fun I have decided once again to tweak the rules. All experiments evolve and change over time and this one is proving to be no different!

So what is my new game plan? Well, I am going to shift challenges from every week to every 2 weeks. So for example, the Week 17 challenge (which I unfortunately was not successful at since I couldn’t find a dress anywhere close to $20) will become the Weeks 17 and 18 challenge. I will still post my challenge on the Sunday at the start of every 2 week period and a results post on the Saturday at the end of the 2 weeks. My budget will increase from $20 to $40 (aka adding the normal $20 for each week together) BUT I will still try to find every article of clothing for the least amount of money possible.

What about the days in-between, you may be asking yourself? Does that mean that the frequency of posts will be less than before (is that even possible right now, lol)? To answer this question: no.

I will still be posting Triumph or Tacky posts but I will also try to add in more commentary/opinion posts and also some posts here and there about other articles of clothing that I love, see on the street, or interesting fashion-related news stories that I come across.

I think that overall this will make for a much more consistent blog with more meat to its content. I still want to abide by the original purpose of this experiment, to prove that anyone can still have fun with fashion, even on a tight budget, but I want to make sure that I keep the fun in it!

As always thanks for reading!