Last week, when I stepped outside, I could see grass. It was ugly, brown grass, but it was grass, nonetheless. Of course this week all my excitement for an early spring was forgotten because winter decided to dump a huge winter snowstorm on me. I know March is going to give it to us good, too, but I'm prepared for that last blast of winter that we'll inevitably face before we can finally shed our winter boots and socks, because you know what? Winter is MY Hunger Games. I will survive. Because damn it, I want to wear my flip flops again! A few more weeks? Bring. It. I'm ready. I'm ready to embrace spring, and colour and sunshine again. I am SO ready.
Here's what I'm looking forward this spring:
1. Wedge heels. I cannot get enough of the wedge heel. Luckily, wedge heels for the summertime are a lasting fashion staple and not just some passing trend. Every year I buy a new pair, or two, because well, shoes are meant to be worn and I um, walk a lot. So I always need new shoes!
2. Dressing preppy. Oh, this excites me. I think I'm also excited because I just found out what OCBD means: oxford-cloth button-down! Really, I just found this out. I'm a late learning, I am. Dressing in classy, timeless pieces is always a big DO. Also big right now: coloured pants. I am not on board with this, but I have seen the look of green pants pulled off effortlessly! (I'm talking to you, Ali Martell!) Time for a visist to Lacoste, anyone?
3. Colour, and more colour. And add a bit of colour, will you? This year, I will buy more colour. Pink tops, green dresses, bright cobalt blue tank tops, and lots of yellow flowy dresses. I have my entire spring wardrobe planned out, and hung in my closet. Now, to find the funds and the time to find all the clothes I want...In the meantime, frequent manicures in bright shades of pink will keep me happy!
4. Tory Burch everything. I'm not one to fall in love with one specific designer, probably because most designers (Versace, Valentine, Gucci) are out of my price range, unless we're talking about buying one or two 'things' a year, like sunglasses, a pair of shoes, or a purse. I find Tory Burch to be affordable, for the most part, and I also find everything she designs to be classy, effortless, and wearable. Also, perfect for summer. From scarves to shoes—I can't live without my Reva flats or Tory Burch flip flops!
5. Dresses of all kinds. This season, we'll be seeing a lot of bright colours, and colour-blocking is back! Dresses in graphic prints are also hot right now, but I am not loving that look. I am more likely to keep things safe, and stick to stripes, also hot right now.
Now, I have to go—time to get in shape before all the snow melts and I have to shed the sweaters and coats...oh, and next up? Whipping my wardrobe into shape: gotta toss the old to bring in the new, right? Get ready, because warm days are getting closer!
One of the things I loved the most about taking a winter vacation to south Florida was spending hours in my favourite shopping centre, Aventura Mall. After a day of swimming in the ocean and sipping pina coladas by the pool, I'd get on my serious shopping shoes (read: comforable flats) and make my way to this heavely, beautiful, mall where I'd visit all the stores we didn't have in Ottawa. Thankfully, a lot of my favourite stores are now in my hometown, like BCBG, Banana Republic, Lacoste, Sephora, and the stores that we don't have yet, Toronto has, like Anthropologie, J.Crew, Victoria's Secret, Pottery Barn, and more. Hence the reason I'm not giving up my Canadian citizenship any time soon. (Oh, and our free health care, safe streets, amazing maternity leave, quality education, and beautiful cities are keeping me here, too, but I digress...)
This year, I faced a new challenge: a four-year-old and six-year-old. In a mall. Against their free will. Yikes. Gone were the good old days where I could pop the kids in a double stroller and offer them snacks as a peace offering, allowing me more time to shop. No, now, things were different. With two boys, each running off in a different direction, I had a choice to make, and quickly. WHICH ONE STORE COULD I MAKE THE BEST USE OF MY TIME IN?
Don't worry, friends. I have come up with a fail-proof plan to allow you to shop with your children. Here's how you can leave with a few bags in your arms while maintaining your sanity:
Pick one store. I know, it's not an easy thing to do, when there are so many stores calling your name. But trust me. One store. My choice? Nordstrom. Nordstrom is my happy place, my most favourite store on the planet, and a great place to bring the kids, because the sales associates aren't mean, and they have a great children's section. Also, you can get it all in one store. Shoes, bags, (I bought my favourite Marc Jacobs purse from Nordstrom in under five minutes) clothes, make-up, whatever you want, this department store has it. And as much as I love Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom is way more affordable, and still offers a wide variety of brand names you love.
Give yourself a time limit. My time limit? 15 minutes. I'm not kidding. I ran in with my boys, distracting them with discussions about the LEGO store we were going to hit next, and I did a mad dash. Whatever I saw that called my name, I grabbed and ran to the cash with.
Don't try anything on. You have to really know yourself and your body if you're going to buy things you can't first try on, but I know, 10 times out of 10, a medium sized shirt will fit me. Same with dresses and skirts. Pants can be more tricky, so don't bother, under these conditions. I bought a few tops, and a dress. All fit perfectly when I tried them on in the hotel room later.
Bring snacks. I bet no mom has a purse that doesn't contain at least half a granola bar and some Goldfish crackers in it. Bring snacks with you. And water. And ipads/ipods/headphones, books. Seriously. Nordstrom has comfy chairs for kids to sit in while you finish up your shopping!
Make it fun. Ask your children what you should buy. Don't always take their advice, of course, but ask! They'll have fun telling you what they want you to buy, and what you shouldn't buy. Next time, however, I will not listen to my six year when he tells me I don't need the same shirt in pink, because for the last few weeks now, that one shirt on sale for $24.99 that I did not buy because a six year old told me not to is the only thing I've been thinking about.
And...exhale. You did it! Okay, it's not as fun as it used to be, but mission accomplished, right? A few new outfits, from your favourite store, check! And remember, children will grow, and so will your bank account. Shopping will be fun again, one day soon.
I'm not most romantic person in the world, but I am a very emotional person. I cry easily, and a hand written letter will have me swooning way more than a dozen long-stemmed roses.
The best Valentine's Day gift I received from my husband (before we were married) was a home-cooked dinner of my favourite meal complete with a special cake. It's the thought that counts, certainly, when you're trying to impress your loved one on Valentine's Day.
Is Valentine's Day just another Hallmark holiday? Sure. But it's also a day to embrace love and it's also a great day to wear to pink. Or red. Or, if you're bold, both pink and red together! Now that I think about it, I need to go shopping... I need something new and pink to wear on the 14th!
Since I'm a mom of two little boys, the best part of Valentine's Day for me is baking special treats for my children's classroom, and helping my boys make their cards for their friends.
Of course, giving presents to your loved one is also a really sweet thing to do on February 14th. Here's what I think would make pretty awesome gifts:
For the guys:
Tickets to a concert, sporting event, or show. I gave my husband tickets to see The Book of Mormon in NYC last Christmas, and he loved it!
Sex. Let's be real here. The best gifts are always the ones given in the bedroom. Especially if you're wearing sexy lingerie. Girls, get some lingerie! Valentine's Day is a sexy day. Be daring. In more ways than one!
Food! After sex, eat pizza in bed! Or, you can be a bit more romantic than that. Call a babysitter, go out to eat at your favourite restaurant, and enjoy an expensive bottle of wine together. Valentine's Day is the perfect date night.
Anything electronics. An ipad 2, the newest iphone, or basically, anything with an apple on it. Or, anything for the wii, PS3, or XBox. And play games together. Kick it old school and compete in a game of Tetris again!
Personalized gifts. Gifts from the kids, or gifts from the heart, are so awesome. Hand made cards from the kids, new pictures in nice frames for the office, or a new mug, painted with love, from the children are all sweet things to receive. With a kiss, of course.
For the girls:
Anything in a blue box. Really, you cannot go wrong with a gift from Tiffany & Co. My list doesn't even need to go on!
Perfume. Smelling pretty is awesome.
Spa day. Trust me. We want a day to go for a mani and pedi, followed by a facial and one hour body massage. This is truly the best gift idea ever!
A housekeeper. A personal trainer. A chef. A vacation. Okay, maybe I'm going overboard here.
A card, chocolates, flowers. All acceptable. Breakfast in bed is also nice.
Sex. We want it just as bad as the guys, you know. If you can find time in our busy schedule for this? We'll love you forever.
Another great idea? Hand over your credit card for a day of guilt-free shopping! Yes, I think that is my most favourite idea of all.
However you celebrate Valentine's Day—gifts, or no gifts—have a happy day. And dot your Is with hearts!