Monday, 31 December 2012

Reasons to Celebrate

We have two reasons to celebrate today - First, it's New Years Eve and second, this just happens to be our 100th post! I can't believe we managed to produce one hundred posts in less than a year. It wasn't so long ago when we feared that we didn't have any more outfits to showcase. 

Tonight I’ll be celebrating the New Year with my friends, hopefully in pyjamas and a glass of champagne playing Cranium and Pictionary. Since I didn’t think a pyjama ensemble was appropriate for this blog, I decided to dress in something more traditional for a New Years Eve party, like this blue sequinned dress that I have yet to wear out. I've been waiting for that perfect occasion so its been hanging in my closet for awhile.  

Since we’re wrapping up the year, I thought it was only appropriate to share our goals for 2013 with you. I haven’t had the best track record in terms of keeping my resolutions in the past, but this year I actually managed to keep a couple. 

One resolution that I’m particularly proud of keeping is dedicating more time to my interests which evolved into the development of this blog. Although it started as a solo adventure, joining forces with Emma half way through the year was a good way to not only produce more content but to introduce other topics that I’m in no way an expert (health and beauty). Plus, having your best friend share in your hobby just makes thing more fun.

Next year, we decided that we are going to start introducing videos to our blog. We’ve been talking about this for a while but we haven’t formally hashed out the details.  We’re brain storming some ideas at the moment so we're hoping to get our first one out by March. If there are any particular topics that you would like us to cover please let us know below.

The second goal is to be more consistent with other social media sites under the Budget Brunettes name. We would like to build our readership and gain followers so please don’t forget to follow us on facebook, twitter and pinterest.

Lastly, we would like to thank our readers who continue to read our blog and especially to those who leave comments. We very much appreciate your feedback and your kind words give us motivation to continue to produce more content. I hope everyone has a safe and happy New Year and we look forward to touching base in 2013.

Thanks for following and happy shopping!

Dress: FCUK - $45, Jacket: H&M -$45, Heels: Nine West - $35, Earrings: Claires - $16.

Photo Credit: Emma Kapetanovic
Location: Toronto

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Deal of the Week: Zara Party Dress Sale

Now that Christmas has come and gone and New Years is just around the corner, we thought that for this deal of the week we would focus on some party dresses appropriate for that special count down. Since many of the stores are continuing to have their Boxing Day sales we were able to find some glamorous dresses at a discount. Here are some of my favourites:

Sequined Dress - $100 $80

Sequined Bodycon Tube Dress - $80 $60

Dress with Diamantes and Sequins - $120 $80

Strass Dress - $120 $80

We would love to know how you will be spending the last day of 2012, so please let us know by commenting below.

Thanks for following and happy shopping!

Photo Credit: Zara

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Silver Snowflake

Merry Christmas! I realize I’m 2 days late, but I got caught up in all of the Christmas festivities and I completely forgot to post. Yikes! My apologies.

For today’s post I thought I would dress up in my most Christmasy of Christmas day outfits. I actually borrowed this sweater from Emma and decided to pair it with some white tights converting this long sweater into a sweater dress.  

Tuesday was Christmas day so I made Christmas dinner for my family and friends, a ritual that Emma has been a part of for close to 14 years now.  

Every year is the same routine, I slave away in the kitchen in my pajamas and refuse to change into anything else for dinner. Emma of course insists that I put on something more appropriate. At some point there is a verbal battle, which becomes a physical struggle which inevitably ends up with me changing into some kind of stretchy pant or dress that allows me to comfortably consume copious amounts of delicious food.

On the day of the shoot, we happened to stumble upon Santa so obviously I used this as a photo-op. I’m pretty sure he thought I was 12 years old and Emma was my stage mom as she insisted on taking a ton of photos from multiple angles. 

Santa insisted that I take a seat in his lap and that I walk away with a candy cane (no argument there... I’m always happy to accept candy). But now that I think of it, it’s kind of a weird concept. Essentially, kids sit in a strangers lap and chat for 5 minutes in exchange for candy. Isn’t that exactly what our mothers have been teaching us NOT to do for years?

I hope everyone had a great holiday and Santa brought you everything you wished for.

Thanks for following and happy shopping!

Sweater: French Connection - $20, Tights: Superstore - $1.80, Sunglasses: H&M - $13, Flats: Zara - $20, Jacket: Zara - $120, Necklace: Zara - $25.

Photo Credit: Emma Kapetanovic
Location: Hometown

Friday, 21 December 2012

Gift Ideas for a Beauty Junkie: Last Minute Gifts!

There are only 5 days left until Christmas! How can this be??

If you’re anything like me, then you still have a few gifts you need to pick up. This “Gift Ideas” is focused on great gifts from easily accessible stores that are open late (handy when you’re present-less at  Christmas Eve with no idea where to turn). All of the products featured are tried, tested and approved by yours truly as the best and most effective I have found at absolutely the lowest prices out there because, let’s face it…if these are last minute gifts, your wallet is lookin’ a little bare right now,  isn’t it? I'm here to help.

1. Essence Cosmetics - Start at $1.49, 15% off, Shopper’s Drug Mart  2. NYX Eye Pencil Jumbo - $5.99, Rexall Pharmacy  3. Maybelline Baby Face BB Cream - $7.97, Walmart 4. Revlon Just Bitten Balm Stain - $10.99 30% off, Rexall Pharmacy  5. NYX Lipgloss Megashine - $7.99, Rexall Pharmacy 6. NYX Eye Pencil Slim - $3.99, Rexall Pharmacy  7. CoverGirl Lip Perfection Lipsticks - $8.99, Superstore

We have all seen those oh so generic gift sets that pop up this time of year. These are very convenient indeed, but perhaps a little too convenient? Often the gift-receiver can feel that adequate thought has not been put into their present. So, I have devised a plan! I have split these products into 3 different categories, the first of which (above) I lovingly call, My Favorite Cosmetics for Under $10. Pick up a few and make your own gift set OR grab one or two and use them as great stocking stuffers. All of these are great quality products which is not always the case with many of the pre-made gift sets out there.

1. Spectroderm Cleanser - $8.99, Walmart 2. Polysporin - $8.99 to $11.99 15% off, Shopper’s Drug Mart
3. Spectroderm HydraCare Facial Moisturizer - $11.97, Walmart 4. Palmers Coco Butter Lotion - $5.99, Superstore 5. Aveeno Mini Set - $5.99, Rexall Pharmacy

The next category is titled My Trusty Skin Care Arsenal. These are products that I use, love and trust on a daily basis and also when my skin decides to go on a little strike every so often. A gift set comprising of these five products would be a blessing for ANYONE (guy or girl) who has ever had a bad skin day. I realize that the odd-man-out here is the Polysporin - let me explain: This magical little gel is my secret weapon against acne blemishes. Not only does it take away the sting, but it helps speed up healing so you can get back to looking flawless in no time.

1. CoverGirl Outlast Stay Brilliant Nail Colour - $5.47, Walmart 2. Essence Nail Polish - $2.49, 15% off, Shopper’s Drug Mart  3. Revlon Crazy Shine Nail Buffer - $3.49, Walmart  4. Revlon Holiday Pedicure Kits - $7.99, Rexall Pharmacy  5. Revlon Nail Art Moon Candy- 2/$14 at Shopper’s Drug Mart 6. KIT Nail Lacquer - Buy one get one 50% off at Rexall

Lastly, the My Nails Are My Best Accessory category. This category is all about fun. Not only is this the least expensive of the three, but the look of a gift set with all of these nail nik-naks is a colourful delight for anyone to open on Christmas day! My favorite is #5 since you get twice the value with this dual nail polish tube AND twice the fun. Why, you ask? One word: sparkles. Everyone knows how we feel about sparkles by now, right?  I hope that this gift guide makes this a Merrier Christmas for everyone!

Thanks for following and happy shopping!

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Deal of the Week: 40% off Banana Republic

This sale is on for TODAY ONLY (Dec 19th) and requires the use of a coupon code: BRCPRESALE.
Banana Republic is taking 40% off your purchase for their "best costumers" in this "pre-sale" sale. The offer is valid online and in store.

Note: Today is the last day you can order from BR online and recieve your
goodies in time for Christmas Eve!

Thanks for following and happy shopping!

Photo Credit: Banana Republic

Monday, 17 December 2012

Office Party

Today I bring you another outfit inspired by the season. Due to a plethora of holiday office parties I've had to attend, I thought it would be appropriate to showcase an outfit perfect for those office holiday shin-dings.

Instead of decking out in mis-matched red/green items from my closet or sporting awkward Christmas sweaters (nothing wrong with that if it tickles your fancy), I find that wearing festive inspired articles that can transition from day time to night is a chic way to do Christmas proud in an office environment. 

This also means that in case the party continues after regular work hours you don't have to lug around a change of clothes in a tote all day long. I like this outfit because it combines two different looks into one ensemble. To me, the blouse and cardigan duo says “woman at work” but the sequined skirt says “bottoms up”.

The white stripes in the cardigan tie in the white skirt, stockings and shoes so the outfit blends from top to bottom. I also recently got a new pair of eyeglasses so I thought I would showcase them here for the first time. I hope all of you are having fun at your holiday parties!

Thanks for following and happy shopping!

Jacket: Japan, Cardigan: J.Crew - $31, Blouse: Winners - $17, Skirt: H&M - $30, Shoes: Forever 21 - $32, Tights: Joe Fresh - $1.99.

Photo Credit: Emma Kapetanovic
Location: Toronto

Friday, 14 December 2012

Picking Trees

It's almost time, it's almost time!!! There are 10 days until Christmas and we have decided to bring you another holiday inspired look, this time featuring TREES!

I love Christmas trees - the smell, the nostalgia, and the foresty-green colours all serve as inspiration for my wardrobe this time of year. This outfit incorporates pine tones seen in the shirt dress as well as a pop of colour thanks to my fuchsia and moss green scarf (a spin on the traditional red/green contrasting colour pallet) - another great find from my local thrift store.

A couple of weekends ago, Emma and I decorated my Christmas tree. Although our tree is plastic and doesn't have the evergreen scent I love, it does save one tree from having to be cut down this season. This was the first Christmas tree that Emma has ever decorated because she doesn’t celebrate Christmas, except for Christmas dinner at my house (a 13 year tradition).

In my house, most of our ornaments are sentimental. For example, ornaments that my mom got when my brother and I were born, when we got our dog, when my parents bought their first house, etc. Personally, I like collecting Christmas ornaments because then the tree has a story, but perhaps not so fortunate to others who have to listen to me point out every ornament and describe its history.

During my first road trip with my friends, I started a tradition where I now collect Christmas ornaments from each big trip I take or each country I visit. The first ornament I ever bought to start my collection was from San Francisco. It was one of my favourite cities during the road trip and I didn’t think at the time that I would ever go back given I was moving to Toronto shortly after.  It’s funny how things work out. 

Now I have ornaments from Prague, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and lots more that decorate my tree. It was hard to backpack across Western Europe collecting ornaments considering we visited 13 countries but I was able to turn small souvenirs that conserved space into ornaments. For example, I kept a bottle cork from the Moet and Chandon winery Emma and I visited in France and turned it into a Christmas ornament.

I hope you are enjoying the holiday decorations at your house just as much as I am.

Thanks for following and happy shopping!

Dress: Zara - $25, Sweater: J.Crew - $12, Jacket – Japan, Earrings – Bosnia, Scarf: Thrifted - $5, Jeans: Macy's - $20, Boots: Steve Madden - $105, Sunglasses: Urban Outfitters - $10.

Photo Credit: Emma Kapetanovic
Location: Hometown

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Deal of the Week: 50% off Topshop at The Bay

I recently checked out the Topshop at the Yonge and Queen St. location in Toronto and was amazed by the variety and quality of their foot wear. It so happens that they are currently having a 50% off sale at The Bay on regularly priced shoes which lasts one day only - TODAY! While you're there, make sure to take advantage of this extra saving: $25 off in store or online when you spend $100 or more (coupon here). We think that these double savings call for double purchases...or triple...or quadruple....

Thanks for following and happy shopping!

Photo Credit: The Bay

Monday, 10 December 2012

Gift Ideas for the Fashionista - Who Loves to be Cozy

During this time of year, there is nothing better than sitting in front of a fire place, sipping tea and watching a Christmas movie with the Christmas tree lights blinking in the background. So, as a complete departure from our first edition to the Gift Ideas for the Fashionista Series, we decided to share gift ideas that will help keep the fashionista in your life stay cozy during this holiday season.

For those really cold winter days, my biggest concern is shielding my extremities from the wind and nothing is more important than keeping your fingers from getting frost bite. I prefer mittens over gloves because they keep my fingers together for extra warmth. Only one small issue ... how is the modern girl supposed to dial and text with mittens on?? We suggest getting her ones with removal fingertips for additional manoeuvring capabilities if this is a concern for your fashionista.

When it comes to Christmas sweaters, let's stay clear of those tacky holiday ones that tend to rear their ugly heads at family get togethers. Festive sweaters can be a challenge to the fashionista - how is one supposed to look stylish and modern with a gigantic reindeer head on one's chest? Well, when gifting, my suggestion is to look for sweaters that merely hint at holiday festivities rather than being so literal and bold. I like sweaters that sport silver, blue and bronze rather than the typical red and green. If you want to get your fashionista something a little more "holiday" then one with a snow flake silhouette might be an ideal option.

1. Lobers Wired Earmuffs - $20 2. Mossimo Cable Knit Headphone Earmuffs - $17 

Why not inject a little fun into winter head-gear by getting her something in faux fur? I think earmuffs are a great option because not only are they a fun alternative to the run of the mill hat, but they keep you from getting that dreaded hat hair (admit it, we know you care).  An added bonus is that some earmuffs on the market come with earphones already in them. Neutral colours are always a good choice because they will go with any winter wear she may already own but I suggest getting her something with a pop of colour for a little pazazz. When purchasing earmuffs, choose something with an adjustable head strap if you can find one and make sure to test them out. There's nothing worse then a piece of plastic jabbing at your ear. Above are some options that I like.

Lastly, it’s just as important to be comfy and cozy inside the house as you are outside, so pyjamas make a great gift option to help her keep cozy. Now to the boyfriends who are reading this, when I say pyjamas, I don’t mean lingerie. This is a gift for HER, not for you! Let's save that idea for a different day shall we? I love me some flannel, but cotton is a tad better because it’s more breathable. Pyjamas are pretty easy to buy as a gift because they tend to come in only three sizes, S, M or L (less chance of offending your gift recipient in case you get it wrong). I would suggest going up a size rather than down if you aren’t sure…looser pyjamas are always preferable to tighter ones.

We hope these gift ideas will make the fashionista in your life very happy and we promise not to tell her you came to us for a little help.

Thanks for following and happy shopping!

Friday, 7 December 2012

Deal of the Week: 25% off Lucky Brand

Right now Lucky Brand Jeans, a store that is about more than just jeans, is taking 25% off all their merchandise. Plus, if you simply do not have the time (or the patience at this time of year) to get to a mall this weekend, Lucky is offering free shipping so shopping online is really a cinch. What more could a girl ask for?

I love LBJ's boots, jewelry and belts and strongly recommend checking them out for some great holiday finds...or perhaps for a little self-present as a reward for being so generous to others.

Thanks for following and happy shopping!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Visiting Nathan

After taking some much needed time off, I’m back in the city and adjusting to the cold flurries we've had as of late. I’m not exactly sure why I live all the way up here given how many cities just a little down south are experiencing summer temperatures right now. Curse those west coast California fashion bloggers and their endless amounts of sunshine!

As you know, since I live in Toronto, Emma and I don’t have the luxury of shooting in temperate weather all year round. One of our most memorable photo shoots was me, in an early fall appropriate ensemble shivering my butt off as the thermometer dropped to 1°C. Suffice it to say, there was a lot of cursing involved.

So, on this not so warm day, I bundled up in my warmest leather jacket and draped myself with this turquoise scarf. I think scarves make the biggest impact when it comes to warmth. I love this one because not only is it soft and large and warm, but the colour is quite vibrant so it pops on this otherwise muted ensemble. 

The only good thing that comes with freezing temperatures is snow, so if we have to continue to endure this weather let’s hope there is white blanket on the ground just in time for Christmas.

Thanks for following and happy shopping!

Jacket: Danier Leather - $230, Sweater: Banana Republic - $15, Pants: Gap - $16, Scarf: Smart Set - $10, Earrings: Stella & Dot - $40, Clutch: BCBG - $40, Boots: ASOS - $36, Sunglasses: Urban Outfitters - $10.

Photo Credit: Emma Kapetanovic
Location: Toronto, Nathan Phillips Square

Monday, 3 December 2012

Sunset Vineyards

As the sun was setting behind the mountain, I decided to do a quick outfit change for dinner. I kept within the same colour family as my day-time outfit (see post here) but added a few more feminine touches appropriate for a dinner date with my man friend.

This necklace is probably my favourite piece in my jewellery collection because not only is it stunning, but it’s also super easy to dress up and down. For this outfit I decided to keep the necklace understated by letting it peek out from under my blazer.

As you probably know, I love touring vineyards and I try to do so whenever I have a chance to get away. I’ve been to a couple of great places in Europe and Canada but Napa Valley is probably my top wine destination. 

It was actually five years ago in Napa Valley where I first fell in love with wine. Before then, I was really reluctant to have any kind of alcohol that wasn't packed with sugar, but after my first wine tasting - at a good winery, I was hooked. You will always remember your first. For me it was a bottle of off-dry Johannesburg Riesling by V. Sattui.

There were a lot of restaurants nearby that are BYOB so if you pick up something you like during the day, you can drink it with dinner that night. We found some really great sparking Muscatos during our wine tour so I picked up some bottles for our Christmas/New Years celebration.

On a side not, the necklace that I'm wearing here from Stella & Dot is now on sale for $198 and right now, for every $50 you spend in December, you earn $25 to spend in the New Year. If you're like me (a budget conscious gal with an unrelenting weakness for neck candy) and are on the fence about purchasing, this is probably the nudge you needed, huh? I like to help when I can.

Thanks for following and happy shopping!

Blazer: Nautica - $65, Dress: Urban Outfitters - $20, Necklace: Stella & Dot - $225, Heels: Nine West - $20, Sunglasses: H&M - $2.

Location: Napa Valley
Photo Credit: Dream