Catching Up: A Whole Year of Events and Happenings #amwriting #nonfiction


Good morning. I hope you’re all well. One of the things I have not written in an extremely long time is a personal update. A lot of this had to do with my disability case and the fact that social media was initially used against me to say that this made me capable of work at forty percent of my former job as an administrative assistant.

That was nine years ago, and I was on long-term disability for eight years. However, after a year of dealing with lawyers and the insurance company through my lawyers, I’ve settled and I’m so glad to not have that hanging over my head. I can finally, relax!

img_5419
(Credit: Tao Heftiba via Unsplash.)

However, there are a few thoughts I have been thinking about sharing with you guys from the past year and currently. I think I’ll begin after I first hired the lawyers for my case and initially signing all these forms and files after Christmas. The first thing I learned was to cut my budget from 60 percent of what I was bringing in before, and that took a couple of months for me to become used to, having less available funds. I learned to carefully budget my months beforehand and where to cut spending. Even if I could save ten or twenty dollars and hold off on buying an item until the next month, often this helped my monthly budget a great deal. As well, if you’re in Canada and searching for a great Disability Law Firm, you can contact Share Lawyers. They are awesome if you are initially, denied disability or if your insurance company cuts you off.

img_5420
(Credit: Tao Heftiba via Unsplash.)

As well, I began freelancing on a site called Upwork.com and it took about three months for me to find steady work for a two to three hours some days. I do a lot of academic writing, and that was a learning curve, as writing pays terrible. But even what I earned was better than nothing at about $5 US per page. I continue to do this although I’m taking a break right now for the holiday season and it brings in from $200 to $250 on average per month in Canadian dollars.

So, that’s not bad, and I enjoy the academic research a great deal, and I have written on many topics. Dealing with difficult clients online can be frustrating as face to face communication and affirmation of instructions is much easier than messaging each other. And of course, if the client did not provide clear instructions, to begin with, that’s your fault, not theirs. However, on the other hand, I have some great communicative and thoroughly clear clients too.

img_5421
(Credit: Green Chameleon via Unsplash.)

I tend to enjoy English Literature, Creative Writing projects, Psychology, History, Philosophy, and topics related to these areas the most. Also, although they are rare, Art History and any kind of Design topic or feature is great fun to research and write. I have learned a great deal about American History after the Civil War and into modern times and how that effects present-day America and immigration and other foreign policy. Also, I love writing on favorite poets such as Emily Dickinson and Sylvia Plath, along with various new poets. Also, I have written on poetic works I know well such as “Beowulf” and “Dante’s Inferno” but compared these to Modern Superhero’s such as Superman or Iron. And I’ve written on feminism and the development of Disney princesses, for example.

As well, from June until September, I did do a couple of blogs per week for a company from Upwork.com on beauty topics including anything to do with eyelashes — falsies, extensions, Mascaras, growth treatments, and natural lash treatments. Also, I reviewed hair straighteners on Amazon and wrote for a business that does non-evasive cosmetic procedures such as Botox, dermal fillers, dermal lip fillers, laser skin treatments, CoolSculpting, and many other fascinating procedures to help people shed excess fat cells or to improve their youthfulness. The neat fact is that many of these cosmetic procedures have medical applications as well.

img_5422
(Credit: Johncoutu.com.)

Moreover, I learned a great deal about blog writing for companies, how conversational and informal it is compared to academic writing. At first, I had to learn to ‘dumb down’ my writing in a sense to write at a grade six to eight level at the most. I learned about a couple of tools that help me both in freelance blog writing and in academic writing. Grammarly is an awesome tool for any type of writing and is worth paying for the add-on monthly, and it works on WordPress too, to polish your writing and save time.

Also, Readable is an awesome tool to see where you need to make your writing simpler for blog or magazine type writing. I wouldn’t pay for it unless you use it 24-7, but you can use it for free a few times a day. As well, since Upwork.com charges you for working through them, you have to keep that in mind, and I would recommend if you work for a client you can trust, work off of Upwork.com, unless they’ll raise your wage. You can both save money after initial jobs on the site. For instance, I made $20 a blog piece and Upwork would take $2.50 off that. Invoicing through PayPal or another system works much better if you have clients you can trust.

Moreover, in a strange way this careful budgeting and knowing I needed to earn an extra two to three-hundred a month quickly, became apparent to me and gave pushed my boundaries. If I wanted to continue to buy my preferred skin care (Clinique), foundation, concealer, and the occasional other items that I could not find in quality drugstore makeup brands, then I had to earn more than what I was before freelancing.

img_0644
(Credit: Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved– At my friend, T’s, June Wedding.)

Actually, the most important aspect of why I needed to make more money each month was to save for the wedding and the wedding events of my two best friends who had wedding events in June and in later fall. Even if I wanted to go out and visit friends, especially because a long bus trip would leave me exhausted before I even had a chance to visit, I knew I had to earn some kind of income. It had to be no more than $300.00 per month at the most to still receive my government benefits as a person disabled from working, and that amount was enough to buy extras and see my friends most vitally.

Both weddings were a ton of fun, and I have many great memories from Bridal showers, Stagettes, and for my one friend T, the wedding itself. Freelance writing permitted me to pay for presents, take taxis, and buy a couple pairs of dresses and shoes. LeChateau outlet is amazing for this kind of event in Canada while staying on a budget. They are an awesome trendy Montreal based clothing store in and not only an outlet.

My second friend, S, had her Bridal Shower at the very end of September and her shower Theme was a ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ theme and her Stagette, a ‘1950’s Rockabilly Theme.’ They were a lot of fun, although, I did not make it to her actual marriage celebration or the following Pub night as I was having a terrible day (health-wise). While T had a traditional wedding which was awesome and a lot of fun, S’s wedding occurred on the field of our Home Canadian Football League (CFL) team field and her actual wedding for all those who could travel was in Varadero, Cuba.

img_4919
( Credit: Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved).

I was looking forward to attending the Cuba wedding initially, but my settlement had been so close to the wedding that it wasn’t possible and even making a couple of extra hundred dollars a month I couldn’t have afforded Cuba in November this year.

Anyways, both brides are deliriously happy, and my friend T is pregnant with her first child who is due in a couple of months now. I received the baby shower invite but already had the gift put together. It’s difficult not knowing if the baby will be a girl or a boy but at least her nursery theme of woodland/jungle animals is quite ‘in’ and I found outfits and blankets along with a couple other great items.

img_5423
Unknown Unsplash

Another friend found out she was having twins and twins are a great deal to handle along with her almost two-year-old. My Mom and I attended a ‘The Handmade Revolution’ craft-show, ‘MakeIt‘ and I received the business card there from a lady who makes these soft terry blankets/towels perfect for swaddling a baby and carrying a larger infant/toddler. Later, they work as towels for kids from three to five years old. I got two bundles with cream good for chapped skin, especially where babies feed. You can check out these handmade goods below if you’re interested. Here’s the online shop called OneBerrie.

Finally, one of the things I had been saving up for was a tattoo, and lucky I had saved it before my income went down last December. I found a great tattoo artist through friends at a place called Eye of Lotus. Megan is amazing, does watercolor tattoos and has a six-month waiting list at least and that’s always a sign of a talented artist along with Megan’s years of training, tattoo portfolio, and the personal artwork around her working space.

So the tattoo took two sessions and was three hours along with a touch-up session which was about thirty minutes but truly brought my tattoo to life. The touch up was only $25.00 but the other three hours were regular price for most tattoo places of repute where I live. Eye of Lotus was also rated highly as a tattoo place in Edmonton so there are also other talented artists there. Megan specializes in watercolor. Anyways, below is the final result.

The tattoo is on my right side and hip. It was not that painful. I mentally psyched myself up for much worse and truly it was pain much less worse than waxing certain areas of the body. The black lines barely hurt at all. Where the color was filled in felt like it burned at first, but I got used to it quickly. Only when the tattoo went right into my side did it hurt. The words of the tattoo have personal meaning and refer to the Bible verse in Romans 5:8.

img_1468
(Credit: Mandibelle16.(2017) All Rights Reserved).

Last but not least, I wanted to share some odds and ends with you guys. I can still apply for my MFA in Creative Writing, and I’m thinking about it. I have to act fast though as I only have a month. I’ve wanted to work on a short story for it, but it’s been hard with freelancing. Also, I do plan to work on my book now shortened to the title How Was Last Night?. I’m still on my second draft, finished until about Chapter 20 or so, maybe a bit further.

However, I’m attending a writers conference next August with my friend who is also writing a book. I have learned a great deal more in a year and want to have the third draft done for this event or at least the first quarter of the book for the conference as we do have the opportunity to pitch our work. Here’s the conference website if you are in the area for When Words Collide. Of course, there are many speakers and a fun Galla at night so I’m looking forward to this as it’s all at the hotel we’re staying at and I think the conference will be educational and fun.

(Credit: Whenwordscollide.org.)

Also, I have a story that is going to be part of a Cinderella Anthology. The Anthology is still being edited and I’m excited about its release. Moreover, if you want to read what I have of my novel in the second draft, it’s on Wattpad under my pen-name ‘A.M.Wilson’ and @mandibelle16. It’s still rough, even the two-thirds of it that are edited from the first draft, but unfortunately, this year has not left me much time work on it except after last Christmas.

But that will change as I’m not paying off debt anymore, due to my settlement. I do not have to freelance as much if I do not want to. Here’s the link to my unfinished novel How Was Last Night by A.M. Wilson. Any tips, thoughts, or constructive criticism can be left in the comments after each chapter so please don’t hesitate to speak up.

Lastly, something neat I found on Indigo this morning that you all might enjoy when searching for something good to read: Indigo’s Best Books of 2017. This list is their top 50 books.

Have a Merry Christmas!

img_5425


©Mandibelle16.(2017) All Rights Reserved.

Advertisements

Fall 2016 Fashion Picks Part 1 – Clothing and Scarves #fashion #scarves #clothes #accessories #shopping


I’ve been doing Fall Fashion picks I believe for about the past three-years. I always think I’m going to do Spring picks too but life seems to be a lot busier in spring. Anyways, hope you like my picks, they are from a variety of different stores and price points.
——–

Everyday Dress in Plum (www.bananarepublic.ca)

———

Classic Little Black Dress for Worknd After ( http://www.bananarublic.ca)

——–

Shapely Jean Dress for Casual Friday and Weekends
——–

The Perfect Little Stripped Navy Blazer (www.bananarepublic.ca)

——–

Cute Blazer Tied at The Waist (www.bananarepublic.ca)

———

A Lovely Vest In Plum to Spice Things Up (www.dynamiteclothing.com)

———

The Classic Cardigan in Black or Any Colour (www.lechateau.com)

——–

An Open Version of the Classic Cardigan (www.lechateau.com)

——–
A cozy thicker Cardigan for cold Days. (www.bananarepublic.ca)

——–

Black Waxed Moto Jacket (www.bananarepublic.ca)

——–

A Bright amd Cheery Wool Coat for the Cold (www.bananarepublic.ca)

———

Cropped Black Dress Pants with Flare (www.anthropologie.com)

———

Straight Black Dress Pants (www.lechateau.com)

——-

Flared Black Dress Pants (www.lechateau.com)

——–

Skinny Ankle Jeans (www.bananarepublic.ca

——–

Dark Flared Jeans (www.bananarepublic.ca)

——–

Boyfriend Jeans for the Weekend (www.bananarepublic.ca)

——–

Fluted Navy Skirt Alone or With Navy Jacket (Above). (www.bananarepublic.ca)

——–

Classic White Blouse (www.dynamiteclothing.com)

——-

Pink Blouse with Ruffled Collar – Taking the White Blouse Up a Notch (www.bananarepublic.ca)

——–

Peplum Lace Shirt In Ivory (www.dynamiteclothing.com)

——-

Silky See-Through Black Blouse (www.anthropologie.com)

——–
Classic Black T-Shirt Taken Up a Notch with Faux- Leather Insert (www.dynamiteclothing.com)

——–

Cozy Turtle Neck in Icy Sea Blue. (www.bananrepublic.ca)

——-

Blue and Grey Scarf (www.anthropologie.com)

——–

Printed Green and Off White Scarf (www.anthropologie.com)

——-

The Go With Anything Greyish Scarf with Gold Highlights (www.anthropologie.com)

——–

Purple/Orange/Pick Gradiated Scarf, Bright, the Perfect Outfit Brightner (www.anthropologie.com)

——–

Thanks for browsing. I will be doing a part 2 of my fashion picks tomorrow with jewelry, shoes, boots, and different purses.

——-

©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved

One Lovely Blog Award


Thank you to Mark from Colouring Outside the Lines for nominating me for this lovely award.

 

The Rules:

  •  Thank the person that nominated you and provide a link to their blog. (See above).
  • Display the award on your post of the award.
  • List seven facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 15 bloggers for this award and comment on one of their posts to let them know you have nominated them.

——

Seven Facts About Me:

1. I’m currently on an eight-day detox using some supplements that many people have had excellent results with. On the detox you can lose anywhere from five to fifteen pounds. And after, you can continue to lose weight. I’m going on the weightloss program but you can use these supplements to support an active lifestyle, help with issues such as fibermielga, arthritis, high blood pressure, and to maintain a healthy lifestyle. They are great products and I plan to do a post on them at the end of the month showing my results. If you’re interested in the redbox before then, let me know 🙂

2. My favourite yoga brand is Lululemon. The company first started in Vancouver,  Canada. The pieces can be expensive but I have found few yoga outfits that compare to Lululemon’s quality. Despite the fact, they too did have issues in the past, for the most part they make fantastic athletic clothing. I’m happy to support a Canadian company and I love to do yoga as much as I can. It makes you limber, stretches out aches and pains in your body, and tones muscle. The meditation aspect of it, while doing certain kinds of breathing, can be useful too.  I meditate on God and pray as I do this, I feel unburdened when I’m finished meditating.

3. I love beautiful art whether it is a fantastic drawing or a painting. One place I follow on my Facebook wall only shows paintings of different artists. It is one of my favourite posts to see when I log on. I love beautiful bright colours in paintings, with vivacity. I love to see all the different styles people paint in according to their personal style. Going to the Alberta Art Gallery is a fun visit some afternoons.

4. My favourite chocolate treat are dark chocolate mint melties at a chocolate store called Purdy’s. On the inside the chocolate is soft and melts in your mouth literally. I used to prefer milk chocolate it now I find I prefer dark chocolate better. Not only is it healthier for you because it is less calories, it has great anti -oxidants, and I love the flavour of dark chocolate. Pretty much anything ‘mint’ from Purdy’s is delicious. I also enjoy Lindt chocolate wherever I might find it. The best place to buy Lindt here (and the most dangerous), is the Lindt Store in South Edmonton Common.

5. My favourite clothing stores to shop at besides Lululemon, for clothes you can wear out (etc.) are RW&CO, Banana Republic, Anthropologie, Le Chateau, Loft, and Simons. I find when I sign up for emails for these stores I can always time my purchases for a time when there is thirty to forty percent off instore or online, free shipping online, spring/winter/fall/summer sales, and a certain percentage off or a gift card on your birthday month.

6. Both my Grandma’s are still alive and I am thirty-years-old as well as the eldest Grandchild on both sides. Grandma is eighty-six-years-old and Baba is ninty-three-years old. Both are doing well in senior’s homes. 

7. I have two younger brothers. The youngest who is four-years younger is in University and doing a degree in Human Geography. He is an avid cyclist and his minor is in German. He is going to Germany this summer for a student exchange program. The eldest younger brother is two-years younger then me and works in IT. He has always been gifted with computers and has worked in the same place since he was a High School student. He received the extra-mile award for his hard work. He loves to travel and has been to Australia twice. I think he wants to go to Iceland next. 

——

As for nominations, it is too difficult to nominate people I find because many blogs go award free after awhile. So I would like to nominate any blogger who is within their first-year of blogging for this award. I am nominating YOU for this award.

——

©Mandibelle16. All Rights Reserved. 

A History of My Fashion Vibe


Prompt:

Ah, sweet youth. No matter whether you grew up sporting a fedora, penny loafers, poodle skirts, bell-bottoms, leg-warmers, skinny jeans, Madonna-inspired net shirts and rosaries, goth garb, a spikey mohawk, or even a wave that would put the Bieber to shame, you made a fashion statement, unique to you. Describe your favorite fashions from days of yore or current trends you think are stylin’.——–

 

http://www.katemwellceephotography.com
 
I think I have always been interested in clothes and shopping. I remember being a small girl helping my Mom decide what to wear when she was going out for dinner or to something with my Dad’s work. We didn’t have a lot of money when I was little so my Mom often sewed her clothes and even some of ours. 

Mom has been sewing since she learned how to sew when she was a young teenager. My Baba and Grandpa Wilson didn’t have much money and Mom could stretch her dollar by buying fabric and thread and not buying something ready made. Not to mention, when my Mom sewed she could sew so her outfit fit her perfectly. She is short so she could make her pants whatever length she wanted and her dresses could be any fabric she chose. 

 

http://www.sewfun.com
 
In elementary school, Mom made my first two winter jackets. The one I remember most was a purple jacket with purple snow pants. I got to choose the color. I never chose pink because when you’re a blond girl whose young everyone wants to dress you in pink clothes. I don’t think I ever wore pink again until high school. 

I went to Brownie’s for a bit on Tuesday nights at this church. I loved how all the girls wore these dresses with big skirts that were frilly. So, my Mom made me this black dress with pink and purple flowers and we bought a frilly white skirt to put underneath. I wore that dress along time. 

 

http://www.claytonladuetory.org
 
As I became older, my Mom worked a bit as a supervisor at our school lunch program so we had a bit more money and could afford clothes from stores more. Also, my Mom had less time to sew. There was this store I liked when I was around eight to ten-years-old called Please Mum and I fit their clothes well. I was stocky as a little girl. We didn’t go to the mall often but when we did my Mom would often by me something. She bought me this white blouse once and it had a frilly clown collar. I told her I would wear it but you know what I hated that collar it was too girly for me then. 

Later, there was a store Northern Reflections for Kids and my Mom bought us clothes there. I was fashionable for the nineties I suppose. I wore jeans in various colours that were ‘Mom Jean’ like in a relaxed fit and went skinny at the ankle. I wore ugly sweater vests and mock knocked shirts.

In grade six I began to thin out and all I remember wearing were oversized T-shirts and flares. The flares weren’t too big in grade six but I remember they got bigger like to “elephant” pants in grade eight. My Mom made me a pair of green cord elephant pants. I also loved these sweat pants I had with a rainbow ribbon down the side of each pant leg and the flare was pretty big coming down from the knee.

 

http://www.fashion.allwomenstalk.com
 
In high school for the majority of it, I wore a uniform. I wore a grey kilt, a white blouse, a navy sweater/cardigan/vest and tie. I wore knee socks and dress black shoes. There were casual t-shirts and long sleeved shirts and casual pants but I mostly wore a kilt with little gym shorts underneath with a pair of name brand converse type shoe. I cared about fashion and tried to dress my most stylish on the few non-uniform days we had. I bought my clothes on sale at The Gap or Jacob. I loved Jacob clothes for along time but they shut down in Canada last year. I wore flares in jeans and khaki’s and I liked pink a lot. I wore pink three quarter length shirts and I had the cutest black jean jacket that I received for Christmas with Ruffles at the top of the shoulders. Plus, we all tried to find substitutes for our uniform clothing that a busy  teacher wouldn’t catch. Needless to say, the vice-principal started calling almost everyone to the obvious one day a month and we would all get written up for having uniform infractions. The rest of my high school clothes were gym sweatpants and hoodies, team shorts, and team t-shirts. I played both volleyball and basketball so those things were a must along with good runners. My parents paid for items such as a winter coat or new shoes but everything else including skincare and makeup I purchased with family allowance money. Both my parents had good jobs, in fact my Dad was the principal at my high school, but they paid for my tuition partially because in junior and senior high school I went to private schools.

In university, I worked on campus at the bookstore. I paid for half my tuition, got scholarships, and received my books at cost because I worked at the bookstore. I liked yoga pants and sporty tops especially by Fila and Adidas. My jeans were flared and from the Gap. With my birthday and Christmas money I went shopping before each school year. And I bought other clothes with money earned during the year.

 

http://www.lululemon.ca
 
Lululemon became a huge thing in university. Despite being an expensive yoga store, all girls bought hoodies, shirts, zippy’s, and yoga pants/crops there. I still have my first Lululemon top and it still looks good. On the other end of the sporty spectrum was the bar shirt spectrum. We shopped for sexy black shirts and tiny skirts to wear out to the bar. Not to mention a comfortable enough pair of high heels. Somedays in university I dressed up with heeled boots, jeans, and a tight long sleeved top but because I was hauling around boxes of books and going to the gym everyday, sporty clothes were good. We also had one or two formals every year in university so I had a few pretty dresses for formal occasions from Le Chateau. My favorite was this slinky pink dress I got for $13.00 and it had no back. But it fit tight and I paired it with some silver sandals and it looked great. 

 

http://www.celebzz.com
 
After, I left university I looked through my wardrobe and realized I had only two blouses and one pair of dress pants. I wasn’t making much money yet, I was just temping but a place called Ricki’s had a sales rack with pairs of pants all my size, a suit that fit me, and I found a couple blouses at Jacob cheap. That did me for my first job before I became sick and went on disability. I hated how cheap Ricki’s material felt. My Mom always made emphasis on good material but $80.00 for four pairs of pants, a jacket, and a couple blouses was truly a good deal.

When I was sick I lost a lot of weight so at first nothing fit me. Then I gained it all the weight back and then some. Once I reached about 175 lbs I was able to shop. Even though I was on disability, I had more spendable income because it was too hard to go for more then coffee with friends so I wasn’t spending money at the bar or out with co-workers at lunch. I wasn’t even paying rent at that time.

 I bought Lululemon and I had just started to begin getting into Banana Republic for clothes for work that were more expensive but of quality. I started shopping online because it was easier and found that BR clothes went 40 % off often. But I liked how their clothing fit, the material was nice, and if I bought clothes on sale, it was a good place to shop. Skinny pants have come in so I buy jeans and black pants from them. They are great for sweaters or cardigans with wool and cashmere blends. Their shirts fit well. I liked the blendability of the pieces and especially the dresses and skirts. 

I cannot work now,so I dress up when I go out for an appointment or to see a friend. I like Simons too for a little cheaper clothing that is more of a fad. Jacob is no longer, as I said. And I love Anthropologie and its boho look but it is too expensive with the rate of the Canadian dollar.

 

http://www.stylaholic.com
 
When I see fashion I think they want us to wear big bulky shapeless sweaters over skinny pants. On most people even if you’re skinny a belt that gives you a waist or a tighter shirt underneath a cardigan looks nicer. I hate the wide wide pants that are trying to come in. I don’t think they will because they are too big and don’t look good on anyone. But I could see flares coming back in as they seem to have a little bit. 

I like that there is colour out this winter, not only black or grey. I think skinny pants look good on most people it depends how you wear them. Sometimes a shirt a little more tunic length looks better but I have seen nice looks with moto leather jackets and blouses too that are shorter. Peplum has been in awhile and I think it is a flattering shirt or dress style. I love pearls and pearl like jewelry and I like to mix my mettle colours of jewelry. I like high heels and tall boots. But I think the shorter boots might be in for awhile now. Booties are good in Fall in Canada but I like the taller boots in Winter for warmth. The problem is it’s hard to get boots for smaller or thicker calf sizes. I like flowy tops that give you a waist and float out and cover stomach problems. But I like tighter shirts honestly most of the time, the show shape. I still like Lululemon for anytime and for Yoga and workout wear. I like to look put together in general and look for classic silhouettes. But I do find a modern thing here or there I like. What about you?

I’m So Sick of Shopping and Fashion!


There you have it! I have uttered the words I never thought I would say. I am not just sick of shopping and fashion, I have become a junky. You see there is a certain high you get, a rush of endorphins, from buying that beautiful dress or that fine silk shirt. There is an addiction behind every Pinterest post in Women’s Clothing, to see where that lovely pair of shoes came from. There is an addictive quality to every issue of Instyle that I pour over; I trace that pretty dress back to the website it came from loving its supposed uniqueness. And as I browse through the mall I feel like I have to get something, just a little something – I need that hair spray varnish that makes your hair shine; I need that lace skirt because well it is a-line and that is hard to find in a skirt, plus it’s lace and that is so ‘in’ and so lovely.

I think after the month of picking out the perfect Christmas presents – I
have had enough of the mall at least. Today walking through the mall I only bought what I needed. I bought bus tickets, stamps, Christmas cards, and hair volumizer because I really did actually need that stuff. I am becoming better at the mall, ignoring Jacob, Banana Republic, Le Chateau, Sephora. It just seems I am always buying stuff and I’m sick of it; yet some things I really do need!

And do not get me started on the Internet. On line shopping has become an addiction that I cannot shake. Unlimited or nearly unlimited selection and sizing. Easy returns that include return shipping labels and or free shipping for $50.00. Groupons and Living Socials to Spas – sometimes they save money but let’s face it I’m addicted and bored and when I start not receiving those packages in the mail and deals to the spa; I feel empty – that shopping high fades and I’m left with that empty feeling: what does a girl with health problems, whose ability to work and do physical activity is not very big do? I do not know how I will just stop but I know now after my last order comes in that will be it for the shopping of clothing and accessories; this time I have to break the habit and find that high somewhere else, where I do not know. Writing helps but I used to get that rush of endorphins from exercise so now where?

I have these lofty goals you see. To save and pay off my credit card- it’s not too high but high enough! I want to save in tax free savings. Save so in May I can actually spend just a little bit on shopping in Montreal. I need to save for the future. But this shopping addiction is dangerous for me – I just need more things to do, less things that involve browsing the Internet for clothes. It has become a hobby, has always been one and I still want to be fashionable but I want to follow my budget too. I need to learn how to do this now for life. So yes, I hate shopping and fashion, the thorn in my side!
But what is really in the balance here besides financial stability is self control; and one must always have self control to some extent. In this case, it is okay for me to buy an outfit once a month, it is not okay for me to do this every week.

I feel very disconcerted admitting this. But think of it as an early New Years resolution; but it’s better to just start doing something, than to wait and do more damage. Along with the usual ‘do more exercise’ I will do almost no excess shopping. I’ll buy only what I need and ignore those longings for spring dresses, holiday cuffs that sparkle, and silky lingerie – I love Victoria Secret – but no longer. I have built my dream wardrobe, all the clothes I never could buy before – funny thing is being ill- I often have no place to wear them. Life is ironic.

So anything like shopping, you find addictive ( besides drugs) any advice about gaining self control and financial stability? Let me know.

Shopping for Women’s/Men’s Clothes and Beauty Products: My favorite Sites!


Lately, I have found that a lot of the shopping I have done for myself and for other people (for Christmas) has become internet based. I have learned a few things about internet shopping for clothing and beauty products along the way. For instance, it is best for sizing if you know what size you or somebody else are, or you can check the sizing chart on the site you are on. The best internet shopping sites have return labels included so you can return what you ordered for free; but after a couple of purchases on the same  site you will find out your size, and how the clothes fit in general and should have to return items less often. It is also best if you know what styles look good on you. So maybe you want to take a trip to the mall first and just go toyour favorite stores and try on different styles of clothing. For example, A-line skirts look better on women with hips and pencil skirts are good at creating curves for women who do not have such curvy hips. Depending on where you order from, you also want to keep in mind you may have to pay Custom’s fees on some out of country sites; prices which increase, as the total price of your order increase. For example, I ordered a dress off of the website www.houseoffraser.com a British Department stor,e not realizing that a dress that was 145 pounds in Britain was more like $245.00 Canadian dollars and $60.00 in Custom’s fees; so you want to be aware of  the value of different currencies in other countries. Sometimes though, an item is worth the extra cost despite the custom fees, it is entirely up to you. One thing good about House of Fraser for example, was that even though I had to pay to return the dress, House of Fraser returned both the cost of the dress and original cost of shipping for the dress to me back onto my MasterCard. Good stores in Canada will also let you return you order at their in store locations. Jacob for instance, will return your online purchases in store, but charge you $5.00 for each item you wish to return by Canada Post. Lastly, despite the fact that it is more secure to pay by PayPal, the only way you can return a PayPal item is online and not at the actual store.  So without further ado, here are my 5 current favorite online stores and some important information on them.

1.http:// http://www.asos.com

Image 1 of Coast Palladium Dress

  • ASOS ships world-wide for Free.
  • has interesting and eclectic clothing sold at a variety of prices.
  • British sizing so for instance, I am a 10/12 in Canadian sizes and usually a UK16 but check the sizing chart for sizing and fit.
  • You pay to return, takes up to 21 days. And you have to place a new order – cannot exchange items.

2. http://www.bananarepublic.gapcanada.ca

http://bananarepublic.gapcanada.ca/browse/product.do?cid=88818&vid=1&pid=323319003

  • Banana Republic or the Gap often have sales from 25% to 40% off one or more items if you sign up for their newsletter. For instance, today Banana Republic has a 30% off  sale called “Merry Monday.” Sometimes these sales are only in store, sometimes only online, and sometimes both.  Also, BR and the GAP will sometimes mail coupons to you if you subscribed to their emails. Because they have sales or coupons it is usually best to wait to buy until these discounts are available unless you think an item is particularly cute  and will go fast.
  • Shipping free over $50.00
  • Your shipment comes with a return labes by which you can return items that do not fit for full refund by BR or the Gap through Canada post, so free to return. No exchanges by mail but easy to reorder or even order one of each size to try on. Can return at stores.
  • Regular sizes 0 to 14 for  women. Also, have petite, and sometimes tall ( ie. tall jeans inseam at the Gap).

3. http://www.modcloth.com

New Arrivals - Feather Ice Dress

  • Unique retro and vintage based designs. If you are looking for something interesting or a pretty dress this is the place to shop.
  • Ships USPS around $11.00 for items around $100.00  takes around 2-3 weeks, or around $26.00 for faster shipping through UPS in about one week.
  • You have to pay to return your items but you have 30 days to return so you can choose the cheapest method possible for shipping so probably around $8-$14 dollers to return an item through USPS through Canada Post.
  • Can exchange on the shipping/return invoice
  • Canadians must pay through PayPal which is more secure than credit cards. You can even just put your credit card on PayPal.
  • Modcloth is  just women’s clothing unlike ASOS or BR and the Gap.

4. http://www.lechateau.com

Professional Double Blazer

  • Canadian based clothing company with dressy, funky, colorful clothing for women and men.
  • Ground shipping 3-10 days $10.00 and 2-3 days $20.00 but I find their ground shipping really fast. Last shirt I ordered was at my house in 3 days.
  • Cannot exchange or return in items ordered in store, return through Canada Post, Fed Ex etc. at your own cost.
  • Much more variety and sizes available online than in store, the same with BR.

5. http://www.sephora.com

http://www.sephora.com/debbie-harry-eye-and-cheek-palette-P374608?skuId=1444363

  • Almost any brand name of makeup, hair products, body products, and perfumes and/or colognes for men and women, available for shipping most anywhere in Canada over $75.00 is free – it adds up fast!
  • Can Ship returns to Sephora (call them first) at your own expense or even better go into the store Sephora in Canada or the USA and return for free on the same credit card you paid with.
  • Some items available online in the US are not available in Canada.
  • Takes a couple of weeks to ship but worth the convenience; nonetheless, it is so much fun going into the store to look at all Sephora’s products –  it is equally as good going to the store yourself except that Sephora is usually not out of certain products online.
  • All order’s come with 3 samples of your choice and you can collect points in store and online on your Sephora card to spend on larger sized samples for 100 and 500 points. Points add up fast!

Those are my 5 favorite current online shopping websites. What are your yours? What kind of incentives do they offer for you to shop online at their stores? Let me know!