Thursday, July 28, 2011

update on New Brunswick Fashion Week...

As of current, New Brunswick lacks a legitimate fashion industry. Sure, our choices of boutiques and access to fashionable goods has been steadily improving but a true fashion industry much exist beyond just retail. This industry is one that starts with the fashon designers. Although we have 3 design schools in Atlantic Canada, the collective provinces lack the support system to allow these designers to thrive and make a career after their training- that is if they want to stay here. We lose our talent to the bigger cities, whether it be to the likes of Montreal, Toronto, or New York.

As of last week, the province of New Brunswick has indicated interest in changing and advancing the fashion industry here. We may have the support and programs to produce designers, but beyond the buyers, designers here have lacked afforable access to production and distribution of their products. The purpose of New Brunswick Fashion Week (NBFW) is not only to promote the growing fashion culture within our province, but also to really kick start the industry.
We'll be seeing NBFW kick off in Moncton, move onto Saint John, and wrap up in Fredericton during the week of September 30-October 8, this fall. Two big events planned for to happen in Saint John would be the equivalent of Fashion's Night Out as well as a fashion gala.
So a head's up to all the designers, models, photographers, retailers, make-up artists, and hair stylists- stay tuned to find out what's scheduled and how you can be involved- one of those ways to find out would be to attend the Industry Night next Wednesday, August 3, at Shadow Lawn.

Be sure to follow New Brunswick Fashion Week on Facebook and Twitter! Join the buzz: use the hashtag #NBFW when talking about the plans for NBFW. As well, a blogger meet-up will be scheduled to happen during NBFW and I'll be sure to share details of the plans shortly!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

short, short summer...

I apologize my post have been a little infrequent and less steady than before. I find that's what can happen once summer comes along- I find my schedule becoming incredibly busy and then you feel compelled to get out and make the best of the good weather on top of that- because, let's face it, in this part of the world our summer seems to be so short that you need to soak up every. last. ray. We take our sunshine and warm weather very seriously around here!

Last week was another mix of humidity and fog when I headed uptown for Fusion's Newcomer Night at Happinez. This outfit was my answer to combining the need for for a somewhat casual outfit that also included a dress- like I said these summer dress days are limited!

The Outfit
  • Dress: Red Berries- Sweet Pea (Halifax, March '11)
  • Sweater: Toggery- Black Dog Boutique (SJ, July '11)
  • Scarf head band- Coach (Toronto, Dec '09)
  • Necklace: Dogeared- Je Suis Prest Boutique (SJ, Mar '10)
  • Belt: Eve Gravel- Black Dog Boutique (SJ, Dec '10)
  • Sandals: Sam Edelman- Piperlime (July '11)

I also apologize for the delay in getting the updated news on New Brunswick Fashion Week- promise I'll have that to you before the week's end!


Monday, July 25, 2011

bonne fete...

Last Tuesday I leaped into my late 20s...officially. I had dinner with friends and B at the Alehouse in my current favourite dress. When I tried this BB Dakota number on earlier this month in Je Suis Prest, it was the perfect fit. And I just couldn't say no to the pink blazer below when I spotted it in Envy that same Saturday afternoon!

Last week was a busy week! One of the many things on my to-do list was attending Industry Night in Riverview on Thursday evening- and I may have worn the pink blazer again! (It's not that bad to rewear within the week it's not the same group of people, right?) Anyways, I have to say that Saint John dominated in attendance at this event! We all had the opportunity to chat about how Atlantic Canada is viewed as a fashion market and talk about the potential and need for growth of the fashion industry in New Brunswick (especially considering the Maritimes are host to 3 design schools)!

The Outfit
  • Dress: BB Dakota- Je Suis Prest Boutique (SJ, June '11)
  • Blazer: Aubrey- Envy (SJ, June '11)
  • Espadrilles: Steve Madden- The Urban Shoe Myth (SJ, June '11)
  • Belt: American Eagle (SJ, 7-8 yrs ago)
  • Long necklace: Banana Republic (Freeport, Nov '10)
  • Shorter necklace: Swarovski- Charm (SJ, Feb '10)
  • Head band scarf: Coach (Toronto, May '09)
  • Stud earrings: Kate Spade (ordered online, July '11)
  • Clutch: Kate Spade (ordered online, July '11) 

We got a little info on the insights and goals for New Brunswick Fashion Week (NBFW) so far (hashtag #NBFW on Twitter). Tomorrow, I'll give you the scoop in greater details, but here is some of the top take-away messages:

  1. Graphic designers: Buchanan & Co. is hosting a contest in search of an official logo needed ASAP for NBFW! (Email me for more details.)
  2. New Brunswick Fashion Week is on Twitter now: @NBfashionweek
  3. Designers of clothing and accessories in New Brunswick- get the word out on your designs, come forward and prepare to showcase your work come the week of Sept 30- October 8! We want to know who you are! 

 Stay tuned for more details on NBFW tomorrow!

P.S. Thank you so much for all the lovely birthday wishes last week!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

another year older...

This outfit below I scored at 50% off at the Black Dog Boutique a little over a week ago. (Sad to say that the quaint chic space on Germain Street has closed its doors for business as of late last week.) Who doesn't love a perfectly cute romper? It cuts down on deciding what to wear and how to coordinate this. In this matter, it was only a matter of accessorizing, which I did so with my first Kate Spade purchases!

The Outfit
  • Romper: Valerie Dumaine- The Black Dog Boutique (SJ, July '11)
  • Belt: H&M (Dartmouth, July '10)
  • Necklace: Splurge (Halifax, 2-3 yrs ago)
  • Flats: Aldo (ordered online, Oct '10)
  • Gold clutch: Kate Spade (ordered online, July '11)
  • Spade stud earrings: Kate Spade (ordered online, July '11)

As of today, I've finally embarked on my late 20's. The big 2-7. Birthdays may get less exciting as you get older, but I'm still a firm believer in having that one day that's for you. So, I'll like embark on a little "me" time today- look into getting a pedicure, do some shopping, relax with a drink on the deck, and then join some friends and B for dinner!

Monday, July 18, 2011

what's new on the brunswick square blog...

As many of you know, I write a fashion blog for a local shopping centre, Brunswick Square, in the uptown of my quaint east coast city of Saint John. It's been a fun project to date, getting to know the store owners, all while showing how Brunswick Square is staying on top of what is trending and fashion-relevant.

After a weekend away at a friend's cottage in Nova Scotia, I didn't get the chance to put together a Monday post on my own blog, but there is my latest post, just published today, on Brunswick Square Shopaholic that features some great cautionary summer hair tips from local hairstylist Adam Donnelly, who works at Hairacy's. And while you're at it, be sure to check out Adam's recently launched hair blog, ADonis.

Heat-protectant products recommended by Adam
on this week's post on the Brunswick Square Blog.
(Click to find out why!)

From tomorrow, until Friday, I'll be back with regular postings- so be sure to check back tomorrow for an outfit I recently purchased during The Black Dog Boutique's farewell sale! (Yes, sadly, they've closed their doors at their cute little spot on Germain.)

Friday, July 15, 2011

3 things: colours for fall 2011...

I know, I know using the word fall makes me a bit of a Debbie Downer! But I have to admit, fall is my favourite season, most anticipated to shop for (September's Vogue isnt that thick for nothin'!). And while we're still hitting the beach and flipping burgers on the grill, some fall lines will be hitting stores by later this month or early the next. Although it might be a little early to start talking clothing trends and what to wear, I'd like to share my 3 favourite colour trends for fall (and I thought I'd have a little fun demonstrating with paint swatches)!

1. Champagne

Very understated but elegant when you add a little sheen,
this colour will be fun to sport in a silk top or layer with darker hues.

2. Plum
A colour fit for royality, this hue looks good on everyone!

3. Lemon

Wear it bright or slightly subdued,
here's a way to keep the sunshine alive into the cooler weather.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

reviewed- what I wore, the book...

It's really exciting how varying industries, not only fashion, have embraced what style and fashion bloggers have to offer. If you're one of those people with a keen, quick eye for style and deliver unique content through a well-versed, captivating blog, the opportunities to get your opinions out there are really quite vast. One such girl is personal style blogger Jessica Quirk of What I Wore.

Photo Credit: What I Wore (the book website)

I've been a regular follower of Jessica's blog for about a year and 1/2 now, though she's been posting her outfits and writing when, why, and where she's worn them for just over 4 years now. (Makes my 1 1/2 year-old blog a baby still!) From our computer screens to actual paper, I was excited when Jessica announced last spring that she was working on a book to be published.

Photo Credit: What I Wore (blog)

Flash-forward a little more than a year later and you have What I Wore: Four Seasons, One Closet, Endless Recipes For Personal Style landing on my doorstep one day after its July 5 release date. I immediately dropped everything to read the 130 charmingly illustrated pages of Jessica's book.

What I Wore: Four Seasons, One Closet, Endless Recipes For Personal Style is a guide that provides extensive advice on how to build a practical, but stylish wardrobe season by season. The books is full of suggestions of how to build on the clothing basics, what are the must-haves for every woman's closet, how to make sensible purchases toward expanding your wardrobe, and how to remix what you have to make your wardrobe go the distance. Jessica's book is an effortless read that is presented in the cute metaphor of a cookbook as she suggests step-by-step how to put together the perfect wardrobe similar to how you would follow recipes to cook up a fantastic meal.

Photo Credit: What I Wore (blog)

My true critisims are few: and they are more related to the construct of the book rather than the actual core content. The illustrations are awesome, but the outfit photos of Jessica at the beginning of each season appear a bit grainy. My only other criticism was just with the ease of referencing the descriptions in the text to particular outfit illustrations. Despite the fact that the written content itself is an easy, interesting read, sometimes you have to flip forward or look back a page to discern which group of images she is referring to. For a more seamless flow between images and the text, the illustrations could have benefitted from subtitles/labels.

Now I'll get to the positives about the book, because overall I really did enjoy What I Wore and thought she did an awesome job in her written composition and her beautiful illustrations! 

My favourite aspects and advice from What I Wore, the book: 
  • She provides perspective on what percent of your clothing budget you should spend on each season (and it's not divied up to be 25% per season..)
  • Before purchasing a new article of clothing, Jessica makes the great suggestion that you be sure it can be worn with at least 3 items already existing in your closet.
  • She provides basic check-lists of what you should have in your wardrobe and what to add to it
  • She reminds us where to spend and where to splurge.
  • As a girl that sports vintage herself, she gives the down-low on what exactly classifies as vintage and how to shop for quality items second-hand.
  • She gives helpful hints on how to measure yourself and prepare to shop successfully online.

Photo Credit: What I Wore (blog)

If you're familiar with Jessica's blog you'll start to recognize that she made an interesting move and illustrated her own wardrobe on the models- as a fan of her blog, it was interesting  to recognize and remember  items her outfits! Although following these step by step instructions to a T will build you a wardrobe just like Jessica's, if you're not the type to dress fairly girly (with lots of full, longer skirts), you can still get many excellent pointers out of this book.

I'd say What I Wore: Four Seasons, One Closet, Endless Recipes For Personal Style is worth a read, no matter if you are building a wardrobe or forcing your overflowing closet doors shut. Jessica's got some pointers that will even give the seasoned fashionista a few things to think about.

Monday, July 11, 2011

summer perfection...

Today I had hoped to have my book review up for Jessica Quirk's book, What I Wore: Four Seasons, One Closet, Endless Recipes for Personal Style. Just released on July 5, I enjoyed reading her suggestions for building a versatile wardrobe and viewing the cute illustrations that go along with them. Didn't quite get a chance to finish up my review- so look for that tomorrow. For today, I'll tide you over with an outfit post!

I'd define Friday as one of those perfect summer days- sunny skies and just hot enough that you can sport bare legs and don't need a sweater. Thought it was the perfect opportunity to pull this dress out of my closet- I gained this hooded halter dress for a steal in a silent auction at Silver Daisy's fashion social fundraiser back in March.

The Outfit
  • Dress: Three Stones- Silver Daisy Designs (SJ, Mar '11)
  • Sandals: Sam Edelman- Olam (Montreal, June '09)
  • Belt: American Eagle (SJ, at least 8 yrs ago)
  • Sunglasses: Michael Kors- TJMaxx (New Hampshire, April '09)
  • Bracelet- Joe Fresh (won in Rebecca's giveaway, Mar '11)

So this is my first time posting since Google implemented a new look for Blogger as part of rebranding. The only contention I had at first was the fact that they've messed with the layout and moved all the buttons around. Like any changes, it just takes a few introductions to get used to it. Sometimes when it isn't broke, do you really need to fix it? But, overall, now that I got over the hijacking of Blogger's interface, it might actually be a step up with it's new look. Thankfully my blog will still look the same on the outside, so it shouldn't be affect you! No unwanted surprises there! How have other fellow Blogger users made out with this transition?


Friday, July 8, 2011

3 things: wish list crushes...

So as women who love to shop, we typically have a running flow of a wish-list that we'd love to have if money were no object. However, the unlikeliness that we'll win the lottery, marry a millionaire, or find a way to grow money on trees typically keeps us in check. After all, we may need to cloth ourselves and ensure we have good footwear to walk in, but the essentials like shelter, transportation, and food are all real priorities on the must-have list.

Sometimes the impulsive child in me wants everything at once, but she doesn't always get her way since my adult self isn't made of money. Right now the top 3 items on my wish-list are as follows:

1) A pair of cork-heel TOMS wedges

Photo credit: TOMS

It was love at first sight when I saw the red striped wedges on Pretty Shiny Sparkly's blog- I'm really eager to get my hands on these yellow ones! I had already been wanting another pair of TOMS since I bought my first from Je Suis Prest Boutique last month. I'm also crushing on these ash canvas TOMS.

2) A white mens-sized wrist watch

Photo credit: Fossil

I've been meaning to acquire a new watch for some time now- given that I had lost my previous 2 pairs and only have my unattractive sport timex I used for work. It may prove to be functional and essential but doesn't exactly cut it as a fashion accessory. I feel in love with Fossil's pearlized Stella resin watch over the Sears counter the other week but had to use restraint from making an impulse purchase!

3) A custom twitter handle necklace

In all fairness I realize this one makes me an uber geek. But I'm willing to accept that- twitter has played a big role in how I have branded my blog and social media has made a huge impact on how we network. I see an "@mshopaholic" necklace as my version of the Carrie necklace (Sex & the City).

So what's at the top of your must-have list?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

dreary mondays...

Let's face it: Monday is the jerk out of all the days of the week. For many of us, it's the rude, abrupt, shove back into the daily work grind after the weekend's relaxing festivities. And if that wasn't bad enough, on a Monday that is damp and rainy, it can be a chore even rolling out of bed.

My Monday this week, in all honesty, wasn't that bad aside from Mother Nature's idea of "switching it up" after a beautiful weekend weather-wise. I spent the day getting organized for the rest of the week, running errands, and collaborating with Perfumes Plus' make-up artist Laura for an upcoming post on Brunswick Square's blog. (Have you checked out this week's post on statement jewellery trends?)

The Outfit
  • White jeans: iT jeans- Je Suis Prest Boutique (SJ, May '11)
  • Flats: Sam Edelman- Winners (SJ, April '10)
  • Tank: Free People- Je Suis Prest Boutique (SJ, Feb '10)
  • Cardigan: Toggery- The Black Dog Boutique (SJ, July '11)
  • Necklace: Silver Daisy Designs (SJ, May '11)
  • Bracelet- Joe Fresh- won in Rebecca's giveaway (March '11)

In this post I'm also trying out some new blue eye colours from Gosh and Lise Watier that I picked up over the weekend. I wanted to do my make-up in that soft water colour that I've been seeing popping up over early summer: pastels aqua and mint have been on my favourites colour pallet to incorporated into my summer wardrobe! 

Although Mondays are always the best day of the week, usually the remaining weekdays bring something good. Such as yesterday when my package from Amazon was delivered to my doorstep. I was beyond excited to rip it open and find the first 2 seasons of The Rachel Zoe Project (if you haven't watched this, you need to) as well as the very first book written by one of my favourite bloggers, Jessica Quirk of What I Wore! Look for that book review coming up on Monday!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

inspiration board...

How do we keep up on the revolving door of style trends? Mind you, I've always had a system for how to get the scoop on what's coming up and what's already in when it comes to fashion: I usually look to those who have already done the research for me in the trend forcasting. Often these sources are fashion-based websites and newsletters such as Refinery29, WhoWhatWear, and now also the Glitter Guide.

I also have my handy stack of fashion magazines (which I am finally signing up for subscriptions with). I often comb through these like catalogs with my coloured sharpies, making notes within and using my Post-It tabs to mark the pages worth consulting (sounds a little like what I did throughout my university career.. but replace the stack of magazines with a 25lb combo pile of binders and text books).

But sometimes keeping all this info along with what I surf on my favourite style blogs, catch mention of on twitter, see on the street/in-store, and view during conferences via livestream on is hard to keep harnessed into my brain! I'm sure we can all agree on that one?

For a while now, I've been meaning to start an inspiration board to keep track of it all and on Sunday I finally started this project with those magazines seen above, a pair of scissors, a few boxes of push-pins, and a cork bulleton board (to be hung over my desk). And voila! I've got a new way to keep track of trends and all things fashion-related that I'm crushing on:

Getting the process started

A think this shall be a great system to help generate blog post topics for both my blog here and Brunswick Square Shopaholic as well as prioritize my shopping. What do you do to keep up with the fast flow of fashion and trending?