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Archive for Wardrobe and Fashion – Page 3

For Mother’s Day

The author as a toddler with her mother

If you are among the fortunate majority, you probably grew up with your mother. Or maybe a female relative was like a mother to you. Lucky you! My deepest sympathies for those who did not know their mothers or had them for too short of a time.

She is often our primary caregiver and role model. A person you may wish to be like … or someone you may not wish to be like. Or both! A person who shaped our lives, our beliefs, our faith – almost everything about us. Our mothers!

My Mom was a stay-at-home mother and I always remember her freshening up before my Dad got home from work. She changed her dress, washed her face, put on lipstick. A nice idea!

She made our clothes, and matching ones for our Barbies. She made our meals (Shake ‘n’ Bake, anyone?) and taught me how to bake. Mom taught me how to sew, knit, write thank you letters and do laundry. She wouldn’t let me wear jeans or pierce my ears. She made me take piano lessons and practise daily. She bought me round toe brown oxfords because they were good for my feet. She also bought me these amazing pearlized leather pumps for my wedding day thirty years ago …

My mother – My Friend, Globetrotter, Social Butterfly and Shopper Extraordinaire! Maddeningly self sufficient with energy to spare and in excellent health! I want to be you when I grow up!

Twenty nine years ago I became a mother and its a role I always wanted. I am fortunate to have both a son and a daughter and even though they are adults now, its true what my mom always said – You never stop being a mother! Its one of the strongest bonds between human beings and vital for our survival. It will be interesting to hear what my children think I taught them someday, but truly I probably learned as much from them! Thank you Mike and Shannon for letting me be your Mom!

Contrary to my own popular belief, Mother’s Day was not started by Hallmark Cards – its roots trace back to ancient Greek times. Mothering Sunday has been celebrated in the UK since the 1600′s. It does not need to be a huge commercial celebration. Most of my friends who are moms appreciate time with their grown children – and moms with little ones underfoot generally appreciate some time with themselves! However you celebrate it – enjoy your Mom, your kids and your day!

Happy Mother’s Day! And thanks Mom!



Celebrities, spring cleaning and the area under the sink

Katie Couric – Hoarder? Courtesy People Magazine March 4, 2013


Believe it or not, organizers don’t have some crazy organizing gene that makes and keeps us organized. We struggle to keep our possessions in check just like you do and celebrities are no different! The March 4 issue of People magazine featured a half page article and photos on talk show/celebrity Katie Couric. Katie recently devoted an episode of her show to decluttering her library which had become a dumping ground for many items. She found it hard to let go of many things because she is sentimental, especially condolence cards.

Although some may question my overall excessive tidyness ( i.e., is she OCD or anal-retentive? Chris Farias, you know who you are!), there are plenty of areas where I find myself challenged. My particular nemesis has been the area under the kitchen sink! It is an assorted catchall for garbage, recycling,  shoe polish, cleaning products, liquor, empties, plastic bags, leather cleaner, rubber gloves, and so on … Having been reminded by a family member several times that “there are people we could hire who could organize this kind of stuff”,  I finally tackled it.

After purchasing some clear shoe boxes at The Home Depot for $1 a piece, I discovered that one of those perfectly fit all the shoe laces, polish and rags. I got a stand up caddy that holds cleaning bottles and a dispenser on the cupboard door for plastic bags. I no longer shudder when I see the area under the sink. Family photos and old negatives – brace yourselves! And desk, watch out, you’re next!

So, if like Katie, you are sentimental and have boxes of cards to sort through -  keep the special ones, the hand written ones, the milestone birthdays, etc. but let most go. If you’ve been hanging on to wardrobes in many different sizes (fat clothes and skinny clothes), keep what fits now. If your weight changes, you’ll want clothes more reflective of the new you. And if you’re like me – they may be neatly stored, but recognize that you can’t keep every cool fashion magazine article you rip out …

Since Spring is no longer around the corner, and has officially arrived, could there be a better time to go through your worst area and see what the best outcome will be? Send me your thoughts! And your photos!




Stuff and the 80/20 rule

home is where you keep your stuff

Strange isn’t it, that humans spend the first half of our lives accumulating things and the second half of our lives disseminating the same items! We are born with nothing and we take nothing with us when we leave this world … but we seem collect a lot of stuff in between!

This spring I plan to be moving to a different home and although I’ll have more room in my new place,  I’m spending time while I’m packing now to purge un-needed items. The last thing I want to do is clutter up my new space with stuff I don’t need … and I’m beginning to see a pattern.

Early in my career in the business world I learned about the 80/20 rule or the Pareto Principle. We learned that 80% of our sales came from 20% of our customers. Twenty percent of our products accounted for 80% of our sales, and so on. This seems to hold true in my wardrobe – I wear 20% of my clothes 80% of the time. And with my belongings, I use the same few items over and over while the rest sits untouched…  I’ve packed up many of my possessions, and the household seems to be functioning quite well. Better in fact!

Less stuff = less decisions = less stress.

Decide before you buy or get something new if you can afford to keep it. In addition to initial outlay of money, there are hidden costs you may not think about when you acquire an item. Don’ t forget there is also upkeep & maintenance, depreciation and storage of the item. Maybe it would be better to borrow or rent it. I’ve decided to stop buying books, DVD’s and CD’s. I just don’t want to carry them around with me anymore.  And I generally follow the “one out – one in” practice when buying new clothing. I just have one question -

Does anyone need a crockpot?


Travel and Packing Tips for Parents

Be ready for fun in the sun!

Are you lucky enough to be heading for warmer climates with your family?Here are ten tips to help you with your travel and packing.

  1. Pack twice as many tops as bottoms, if your kids are out of diapers. People notice what you are wearing on top more because it is next to your face. Also, you are more likely to spill on your shirt than on your pants.
  2. Pack reversible clothing – if it gets dirty, turn it inside out!
  3. Roll your clothes – they take up much less room in a suitcase or duffel bag.
  4. Place your rolled clothes in resealable plastic zip lock bags. You can use one for each child for each day. These can be reused from trip to trip.You can also pack the dirty clothes in them at the end of each day. Squeeze out the air and toss in the suitcase.
  5. Pack a few unisex items in case one child’s bag is lost or delayed.
  6. Pack the same clothing items for each family member.  i.e. “OK, everyone – put 1 pair jeans, 2 pair shorts, 5 T shirts, a windbreaker,  pyjamas and 6 pair underwear in your bag.”  Bring hats, sunglasses and sunscreen for everyone whatever the season.  If everyone has the same type and number of items it is easier to keep track.
  7. Consider taking fewer pieces of luggage, as many airlines now charge $25 each way for a suitcase. Double up if you have several children. Their clothing is generally smaller so you can fit two or three children’s clothing in one bag.
  8. Check if there are laundry facilities at your destination. Tossing a load or two in the washer mid-week can save you money and will greatly reduce the amount of clothing you need to bring.
  9. Get suitcases with the new wheels that roll in all directions. Even your kids can help guide those around an airport.
  10. Think and pack light!

 Bon Voyage!

Carryon vs. Checked Luggage

If you are lucky enough to travel, you know travel has changed.

Instead of meals – you may get a package of peanuts.

Instead of free movies – you get asked to buy a headset.

Instead of checked luggage – there’s the $25 charge each way to bring your suitcase along. (This is absurd to me because my weight, plus the weight of my suitcase do not equal the weight of an average man … just saying).

So, in order to save some money you may consider packing a carryon instead of a full size suitcase. If you are used to having zillions of options and taking your whole wardrobe with you on a trip, you will be forced to cut back considerably. I actually find it easier to get dressed when the options are fewer.

Here are a few tips for packing your carryon:


  1. Choose a colour theme – one or two neutrals are perfect – maybe camel and black, or grey and navy.
  2. Add colour and change your look through accessories – no more than 3 pair shoes, jewellery, scarves, etc.
  3. Choose clothing that can be worn more than one way – reversible tops and dresses can sometimes be worn back to front or inside out.
  4. Pick clothing that can be dressed up or down according to what you plan to do. A dress can be worn with a chunky sweater over it for day paired with boots and tights. Swap those for sheer hose and heels, add a scarf or jacket and you have a whole new look for evening.
  5. Roll your clothing – it takes up much less space and prevents.
  6. Take more tops than bottoms – people notice what you wear on top more because it is next to your face.


Have fun spending that $50 you saved and pass the peanuts please. Bon Voyage! No lost luggage!

Holiday Styling

holiday glamourParties, lunches, dinners, dances, open houses, concerts, pagents, candle lightings … lots of occasions to see and be seen at. You need to have a few outfits ready.

Something comfy for lounging at home or gift unwrapping. Something  attractive but not flashy for family dinners. A sexier outfit for going out with your mate. Something appropriate for the company party. And so on …

I always found I would wear my favourite outfits first – or my red sweater, and then the closer to Christmas it got I would run out of clean laundry. Now I plan what I am going to wear in advance so that all the components are clean and ready (not at the cleaners or in the laundry hamper). It helps to have a few combinations of separates or clothing and accessories that you know work well together. A stylist can help you put together some outfits for all your holiday occasions.

I am excited about a fur scarf I bought (in Florida of all places!). I have plans to wear it with many different pieces this holiday season. Greetings!


Brunch, Christmas Eve, Hanukkah, Work Party, New Years, etc.

Red is best!

I love red coats! Especially at this time of year. Last week I drove past a young woman walking on Queen Street South wearing a red coat. It made me smile! Red stands out, red goes with everything. Red just feels warmer than black. It’s loved by the military and our own RCMP.

woman in red coat

Stand out from the crowd in a red coat. Red is best!