Friday, 30 November 2012

Autumn in Napa Valley

Last week, I took some much needed time off from work to visit my man friend in San Francisco. It so happened that my vacation fell upon Black Friday and Cyber Monday – the American holidays for those on a budget, or not so politically correct, the American holidays for “cheap bastards” like myself.

Surprisingly I did not go shopping. I KNOW…I know. Believe me, it was not without restraint. I’m trying to limit my shopping because I’m going back to school in January and hence will be a poor student once again. 

Instead of shopping, we decided to escape the madness of Black Friday in the city and head to Napa Valley for the day. Apparently our idea wasn’t unique - it seemed like most of the city was in traffic with us! On any other day I would have found this quite annoying but when I thought about my friends back home in Toronto…in the snow…I would smile. 

While it was snowing in Toronto at the end of November, it was the beginning of fall in the Valley. Ooohhh.....look at that, leaves…turn…pretty…colours. My man friend was able to snap a couple more pics from our day trip so look forward to more pics from the Valley next week.

Thanks for following and happy shopping!

Blazer: Nautica- $65, Sweater: J.Crew - $25, Shorts: H&M - $25, Loafers: Cole Haan - $48, Earrings: Kenneth Jay Lane - $120, Sunglasses: H&M - $2, Necklace: Tiffany & Co - Gift.

Location: Napa Valley
Photo Credit: Dream

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Gift Ideas for the Beauty Junkie: Who Loves a Night In

Today we continue our Gift Ideas series by bringing you some great finds for those beauty girls who just need some rest and relaxation with a night in....or perhaps to help our Fashionistas Who Love to Party recover from that late night out. Everyone needs a little papmerping so we suggest you help your beauty junkie get comfy, get warm and get a good nights sleep.

1. Lambie Slippers - $15.00 2. Penguin Shea Infused Socks - $8.50 
3. Hydrating Aloe and Vitamin E Therapy Socks (2 pair) - $14

I am a big fan of dual purpose products. These adorable socks not only keep feet warm but they are also infused with moisturizing shea butter - a great idea for the winter when soles tend to get super dry and flaky. You can wear these while you sleep to get those feet extra moisturized. If your beauty junkie is not the socks-in-bed type, then these sheep slippers are a perfectly adorable alternative to keep your beauty junkie toasty after she has lotioned up with her favorite moisturizer.

Moving up to the face:  masks are a great way to give skin a little boost whether you are being proactive and planning for the next day, or whether you are trying to reverse some damage from the night before. Face masks draw out dirt and oil from the skin as they dry leaving pores clean and small. Since most require at least five minutes of wear, your beauty junkie will get the benefit of absorbing any vitamins or minerals found within the mask itself. Face masks can get pretty pricey so we have gathered up some of our favourites above that do the trick without breaking the bank.

1. Chamomile - $9.20/2 oz 2. Jasmine Dragon Phoenix Pearls - $12.00/2 oz
3. Calming Moon Tea - $13.90/4 oz 4. Sleep Well Herbal Tea - $7.94/2 oz
5. Organic Rooibos - $12.77/4 oz 6. Lavender Dreams White Tea - $15.00/2 oz

What's a beauty junkie to do while waiting for her face mask to harden? Drink something warm and comforting of course! We suggest getting her some well known sleep inducing teas. I bet you didn't know that not only do these  teas help the beauty junkie relax on her night in, but are also very good for your skin.  She can beautify from the outside as well as the inside - double whammy! Chamomile is a well known relaxant and has many skin clearing benefits. If your beauty girl doesn't like the taste of this herb, get rooibos, a South African tea with tons of antioxidants (and no caffeine). My personal favourite is vanilla rooibos.

Finally we get to the end of the night. Her feet feel like a baby's bottom, her pores are impeccable and her skin is glowing with antioxidants and hydration. It's now time for the beauty junkie to get her beauty sleep. It's important to get a good seven to nine hours of sleep a night and if the tea didn't do the trick, then surely these aroma therapeutic pillow mists will! I absolutely love the Lavender Vanilla pillow mist and use it avidly. However, if you don't like that scent, then try the Body Shops' mist which boasts the smell of geranium, juniper, chamomile and patchouli oil in order to promote deep sleep and relaxation.

I hope these ideas have inspired you as we count down the days to the holidays. 

Thanks for following and happy shopping!

Monday, 26 November 2012

Deal of the Week: 40% off Mexx

Happy Cyber Monday! It's finally the day we've all been waiting for - accessible sales worldwide via the glorious internet. I'm going to continue my deal sharing tips via Facebook and Twitter so follow along in order to get all the best bargains. I couldn't leave you without sharing at least one deal:

Mexx is having a Cyber Monday sale where all regular priced items are 40% off! This is probably a good time to stock up on that much needed office attire. 

Thanks for following and happy shopping!

Friday, 23 November 2012

Deal of the Week: $5 Finds at H&M

Happy Black Friday Everyone!! There are so many deals to be had today that I decided not to bombard my poor site with deal of the week finds. Instead, follow me on Twitter and Facebook where I will update you with my favourite deals from this mayhem holiday. But of course, I couldn't leave you without showcasing at least one great find. For today only, H&M is having a $5 sale across all departments! 

Thanks for following and happy shopping!

Photo Credit: H&M

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Going Around the Merry-Go-Round

Who doesn't just LOVE a merry-go-round?? The colours, the music, the fun little creatures moving up and down and in circles at the same time!? Suffice it to say, a great opportunity for me to act my shoe size and not my age for an afternoon.

While we are getting well into November, the weather has been pretty mild as of late - a blessing that I fear may be reaching its expiration date soon. But nontheless, for now, as I relish in the sunshiny goodness, I am able to wear my favorite seansonal transition pieces.

I love this jacket because of its versatility. We featured this jacket here and decided to use it again but this time with the sheep shearing wool collar removed. Pieces like this are great because you can get two completely different looks for the price of one jacket, something that I can get behind.

I added this flowy scarf to add some interest to the outfit and bring some colour around my face. I love how big this scarf is on me. It becomes the focus point of the outfit without taking away from the rest of the ensemble.

I also decided to wear the earrings purchased from the Anna Dello Russo and H&M collaboration featured here. Can you believe that these are the first hoop earrings that I have ever owned? I think cobra hoop earrings make quite the statement so I decided to keep the rest of my accessories to a minimum so that these babies could really shine.

Just in case you were all wondering, my shoe size is a 5.5/6. Being a grown up is only fun if you let yourself act like a kid once in a while, or in my case, 60% of the time. On that note, "Weeeeeeeeeee"!

Thanks for following and happy shopping!

Jacket: Zara - $70, Sweater: Banana Republic - $13, Scarf: Urban Outfitters - $7, Jeans: Macy's - $20, Boots: Steve Madden - $105, Earrings: Anna Dello Russo for H&M - $30.

Photo Credit: Emma Kapetanovic
Location: Hometown

Monday, 19 November 2012

Tree of Light

Over the weekend Emma and I attended a Christmas festival in our hometown and stumbled upon this silver tree covered in white lights. Christmas trees are popping up all over the city but I think this has got to be the best the one I’ve seen yet.

I look forward to Christmas all year round but this year I’ve been so busy with work and prepping for school (I'm starting in January 2013) that I’ve been too stressed to give it much thought. 

But somewhere between the carollers, bonfire, Christmas vendors and kettle corn my small heart grew three sizes that day – a Christmas movie reference. If you don’t know which one I’m referring to then you’re probably a lot cooler than I am. 

Now to the outfit - I wanted another excuse to showcase these maroon tights that I featured in a recent post here, but this time around I decided to pair it with pieces that I thought were completely unexpected such as leather shorts, a skull blouse and a ski vest. 

I realize how ridiculous that sounds in theory but c’mon, don’t you think it works? I think that the reason this outfit works so well is because all of the items apart from the tights are neutral so they aren’t competing with each other. If I were to have added some colour somewhere else I think that would have been a tad too much. It’s a delicate balance this styling thing I do.

This skull blouse was another gem I found at my local Winners. Eventhough its one size too big on me I had to have it. How often do you come across blouses with skulls on them? I feel like this “skull” obsession might be a recurring theme as of late – see previous blog here.

As gorgeous as this tree is during the day, its even more beautiful at night so I drove back once the sun set and snapped a couple more pics. If this doesn’t bring warmth to your heart then, you just might be dead inside. Just kidding…not really.

Thanks for following and happy shopping!

Blouse: Winners - $17, Vest: Esprit - $35, Shorts: Forever 21 - $22, Tights: Vintage – Mom’s, Necklace: H&M - $16, Zara - $25, Boots: ASOS - $36, Sunglasses: H&M - $2.

Photo Credit: Emma Kapetanovic
Location: Hometown

Friday, 16 November 2012

Deal of the Week: 60% off Dresses at the Bay

Over the last few years, The Bay has really vamped up their marketing campaign by bringing in designer labels, moving towards a shopping experience more akin to Macy's. A perk of this transformation? Sales of course!

For TODAY only The Bay is having a 60% off designer dress sale.  They have dropped prices on specific Anne Klein, Tahari and Adrianna Papell dresses from $185 to $69.99, a savings of 62%. This sale is valid in-store and online. Will you check out the savings today?

Thanks for following and happy shopping!

Photo Credit: The Bay

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Downtown Princess

A while back I wrote a tips and tricks post on shopping designer retailer collaborations featuring Anna Dello Russo and H&M (read here) and I thought it was about time I shared my shopping experience with you.  

On the day of, I arrived an hour before the doors opened and I was a little surprised to see that the line was a lot shorter than I expected. I’m not exactly sure why that was, perhaps the lack of marketing? Or perhaps people weren't interested in an accessories collection? I didn’t give it too much thought at the time because that just meant there would be more choices for me. 

Going into the store I had a list of “must have” items that I followed…for the most part. Some of the things on my list that I expected to look amazing were sub par in person and other items that I discarded online were outstanding, like this pair of emerald earrings that I’m wearing above.

These earrings came with a matching emerald necklace that I also picked up but will probably never wear together because I think wearing matching jewellery items looks a little well…tacky…My general rule of thumb when pairing items not exclusive to jewelery is that pieces should "go" not "match." Does that make sense?

Since I was one of the first 25  customers, I got an Anna Dello Russo key chain, which lets be honest, I will never use, but hey, thanks for the freebee H&M. A friend of mine wanted to check out the collection so I went back with her during lunch the same day and many of the items were still there apart from some highly coveted luggage pieces and crocodile sunglasses (which I scored, thank you very much).

All in all, I thought that this was a great collaboration. Short lines, really organized and lots of choices. It may not have been everyones cup of tea but for the girls who have a jewellery obsession (like yours truly) this partnership was one of the best. 

The next collaboration I’m looking forward to is the Target-Neiman Markus collaboration that will launch on December 1st of this year. Why partner with just one designer when you can partner with a whole luxury department store, right? This holiday collection will feature big players like Alice + Olivia, Carolina Herrera, Derek Lam, Diane Von Furstenberg, Marc Jacobs, Oscar de la Renta, Proenza Schouler, Robert Rodriguez, Rodarte, Tory Burch and more! 24 in total to be exact.

This drool worthy collection will consist of 50+ items that range between $8 and $500 from men's clothing, children's clothing, electronics, home goods and accessories for pets?! Amazing. I think I might be more excited for this event than opening presents on Christmas morning, I'm definitely  checking this out and I expect to see all of you there.

Thanks for following and happy shopping!

Dress: H&M - $50, Earrings: Anna Dello Russo for H&M - $30, Jacket – Japan, Boots: Locale - $35, Bag: Mom's - Vintage.

Photo Credit: Emma Kapetanovic
Location: Toronto

Monday, 12 November 2012

Gift Ideas for the Fashionista - Who Loves to Party

We’re only six weeks away from one of my favourite holidays and if you don’t want to be stuck in long lines, pushed around in big crowds and cursing the holiday season I would recommend getting a head start on your holiday shopping. Here, on Budget Brunettes, we decided to introduce a new series that showcases some gift ideas that would be ideal for those fashionistas and beauty gurus in your life.

For fashionistas who love to mistake, I mean "par-tay", I suggest getting some bling. And if more bling is better then the only jewelry item acceptable for the fashionista are earrings right? Ok, not sure how sound that logic is but lets just roll with it for a minute. Earrings are a great way to bring a little razzle dazzle to an outfit especially if wearing any of the statement earrings chosen below. Just make sure her ears are pierced before buying a pair in order to avoid a very awkward moment.

1. Canary Drops - $42  2. Turq Theda Chandelier - $32 3. Violet Chain Drops - $26  
4. Azure Chain Cascade - $26 5. Urban Nero - $30  6. Deco Celadon Drops - $24
7. Iced Lance Drops - $26  8. Teardrop Drops - $42  9. Urban Multi - $26  

What is a handy man without his tool belt? A surgeon without her scalpel? Bacon without eggs? The second gift idea is a party girl’s go to accessory; both functional and fashionable, a necessity for all evening outings. My God this is quite the build-up…for those fashionistas in your life who like to party, I suggest buying them a clutch...and a pretty one at that. Try to look for clutches with straps so they can be worn multiple ways and reduces the chance of being left behind in a taxi. However, if you do find one that is “oh so special” without a strap, it’s easily forgivable. Here are some clutches that I would love to find under my Christmas tree:

7. Red Selena Studs Box Clutch - $26  8. EST. 1969 Black Studded Clutch - $40  
9. Blue Velvet Snake Print Envelope Clutch - $26

This next gift is just as much a gift to the boyfriend as it is to the fashionista. We’ve all been there, before we leave the house, we demand to be in our big girl shoes in obvious denial about what’s to come later in the night 1) you’re walking home barefooted avoiding glass and questionable liquids 2) you are taking a $$$ cab ride home 3) you’re being carried home by the same person who told you not to wear the tallest heels in the world in the first place. So what’s the remedy to this? How do we break the cycle? Most fashionistas would hardly give up fashion for comfort BUT if it so happens you have a comfortable fashionable alternative in your purse, then it’s a win-win right? 

Flat Out Heels Rollable Flats - $20

These flats are both practical and fashionable where no compromise is necessary between you and your significant other. Wear the big girl heels in the beginning of the night and if it so happens that its gets too painful after a couple of hours, you can do a little switch-a-roo. Best part is that these flats come with a little pouch so you can store them in your purse without getting the contents of your purse dirty. 

I hope you enjoy this new series as we start counting down the days to the holidays.

Thanks for following and happy shopping!

Friday, 9 November 2012

Deal of the Week: 50% off Aldo Clearance

This year I was so overcome with summer glee that once the season changed, I realized that I had not planned my foot gear accordingly for the fall and winter months. Usually, in an attempt to be budget conscious, I try to purchase boots (which can be quite pricey) at the beginning of summer when everything from the previous season has been discounted. Due to my slacking this year, I was disheartened to find  that all boots and lace-ups were freshly marked for their regular prices during a recent stroll through the mall.

THEN I found this...

Aldo is having a 50% off sale and among their clearance items are some great fall and winter gems! My favourites are below. Added Bonus? Free shipping for purchases over $75. Are you inspired to shop these great deals?

Steppig - $90 $45

Statler - $90 $45
Daman - $150 $75

Thanks for following and happy shopping!

Photo Credit: Aldo

Deal of the Week: Esprit Warehouse Sale

This deal is extra special to all those living in the Greater Toronto Area. Between November 8-11, 2012 Esprit is having their semi-annual warehouse at the International Centre. I've picked up a lot of great gems from here over the years so I definitely recommend checking it out. Let me know what you pick up!

Thanks for following and happy shopping!

Photo Credit: Esprit

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

The Hobbit House

So what to do with all those summer dresses that have no use in your fall/winter attire? Let them collect dust for the next 5 months? I say NO! I refuse to be a victim of cold weather and neither should you.

I tried to incorporate a little colour into this attire. The problem is that the only pieces in my wardrobe that have bright colours are summer items. During this time of the year, I naturally gravitate towards darker muted colours. A habit that I’m trying to break myself out of.

So for this fall look, I paired this dress which was last showcased in this previous post here, with the only sweater that I own that is of a bright colour. Luckily, this cranberry orange went perfectly with the orange and red flowers in my dress.

In order to play down the colour, I thought it would be best to have everything else neutral, like these black boots. The reason I love them so much is that they have an adjustable strap on the side which means they can be customized to your calf size, which in my case, is almost non existent.

You are probably wondering what we are standing in front of. On our drive through the country side…I noticed this cute little building from a distance that Emma and I lovingly refer to as the hobbit house. It’s actually a polish orthodox catholic church. So not at all a hobbit house...not sure what would characterize this building as a hobbit house but lets just pretend it holds hobbits for the sake of this post.

Thanks for following and happy shopping!

Jacket: Japan, Dress: Forever 21 - $20, Sweater: J.Crew - $12, Tights: Mom's - Vintage, Boots: Steve Madden - $105.

Photo Credit: Emma Kapetanovic
Location: Hometown

Monday, 5 November 2012

Leading Role: The Sequined Mini

For this post, I wanted to bring a little drama to the daytime, so I decided to showcase this gold sequined mini skirt that I bought last year during the holiday season.

As you all know I have an unrelinquishing soft spot for sequins so despite the fact that I was not exactly in need of a sparkly mini, somehow it found its way home with me. 

With a little magic (also known as "trial and error") this clubbing staple became the foundation for an everyday chic and stylish look. Result? An ensemble worthy of 4-5 days worth of outfit repetition.

In order to play down the skirt, I decided to pair it with my over sized sweater and a plain white t-shirt.  I love the juxtaposition of these styles since it creates a sort of ying-yang balance throughout the outfit; casual and formal, tight and bulky, sparkly and muted.

I'm really enjoying the fact that Halloween has come and gone and there are still plenty of leaves kicking around. It makes for a gorgeous backdrop. Notice how the yellow foliage matches my scarf? I call that serendipity (good word, bad movie).

Now that we are into November, I really cant get away with going bare legged anymore (brrr) so be prepared to see a lot more hosiery. One nice thing about the influx of cold weather is that I now have an excuse to toss the razor and go into hibernation mode for the next 5 months...I'm just kidding...half kidding.

Thanks for following and happy shopping!

Sweater: Uncle's - Vintage, Scarf: Mom's - Vintage, T-Shirt: Joe Fresh - $7, Skirt: H&M - $35, Tights: Mom's - Vintage, Heels: Nine West - $20, Earrings:  Kenneth Jay Lane - $120.

Photo Credit: Emma Kapetanovic
Location: Hometown