Archive for the 'Bargain Hunting' Category

Post Tax Treats

Friday, April 9th, 2010

I am a firm believer in treats, even after declaring that I will change my self -indulgent, spendthrift, treats-for-me-all-the-time ways. Dealing with taxes and facing my bleak financial state is a prime time for such proclamations.

That did not stop The Sweetie and I from having our annual cookie and coffee treat from the bakery located in the same dismal mall as our accountant. Knowing the cookie is waiting for me helps when I have to fess up that I have not saved any money for my taxes, have made pitiful RRSP contributions, and my future as an old lady eating cat food becomes more and more of a terrifying possibility.

The cookie is followed by a trip to the nearby Value Village since part of the yearly tax time ritual also involves a declaration that I will never buy anything new again. I will only buy items at thrift stores and garage sales or make my own clothes from old foraged rags.


My new frugal self was rewarded with this sweater for a mere $7.99. It will amuse me to no end as I mince around pretending I am a French ingenue. It was sweetened by the fact that the helpful store clerk with braces opined that I can wear horizontal stripes because I am slender.


The small treasures make me feel rich. A cookie with my soul mate and partner in crime, trying to coax a smile from the gruff but lovable bakery guy, being called slender. Life is still sweet even on tax drop off day.

Fighting Winter One Treat at a Time

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

The winter has been reasonably tolerable so far. We’ve hardly had any snow, the temperatures have been mild-ish and I am noticing that the days are already getting longer. I have been vigilant with my light box and so far I haven’t sunk too far into winter melancholy. I was getting cocky, believing that perhaps this would be the year that I would conquer the winter blues.

Alas, I have started to notice a rising note of hysteria in my voice as I merrily chirp that I am okay and that winter is half over. My words ring hollow and false. I hear the manic undertones and I am sure there is a giant thought bubble looming over my head with nothing in it but a black cloud. I yearn to hide from the world until spring, shuffling in my bathrobe with kleenex boxes on my feet. I am starting to feel broken.

I believe that when you are down a pick me up is in order, especially in the winter. I am determined to treat myself to all things happy until spring arrives. Good-bye shopping hiatus and resolutions to be less self indulgent.

First order of business, I treated myself to an adorable fox locket I found on Lanyapi on Etsy. It will go perfectly with my fox bracelet from Fey Handmade, although I don’t think I will wear them together and be all fox matchy matchy. It would be too much, akin to the unfortunate look of sporting jeans with a jean jacket so that it looks like you are wearing a denim suit.


I also happily picked up Neil Diamond’s greatest hits at the library. If a sweaty guy with sideburns and silky shirts singing his heart out doesn’t lift my spirits, even temporarily, I need to book a beach vacation immediately.

And speaking of denim suits here is my sure thing for dumb laughs, Will Ferrell doing a Neil Diamond impersonation.

The no sugar resolution is also off. The temperature has dropped and so has my resolve. I have visions of being in a canoe made of bread paddling through swirling eddies of hot fudge. There will be a bake-off this weekend and I will not be stopped. Sugar, and lots of it, is the answer. The same goes for bread and all things carb related. There will be croissants in my hands. Soon.

Winter may get the best of me yet. There are still 50 days left until spring officially arrives, then another couple of months until it really feels warm and pastoral, but I will fight the good fight, one giant brownie, trinket, and warbling singalong at a time.

Sorry Autumn

Friday, November 6th, 2009

Okay autumn. Perhaps I’ve been unduly harsh. I’ve complained about you a lot. I think I’ve even said I hate you on occasion. Maybe that was a little strong. You’ll never be my favourite season, let’s be clear on that. How could you be when summer is so fun and frolicsome. Spring is pretty amazing too. What makes spring even better is that it is followed by summer, whereas you are followed by winter, a fatal strike if ever there was one. If you were followed by summer maybe you’d stand a chance and I’d feel differently. Maybe.

Nonetheless, I have had to rethink my harsh stance against you. The past couple of weeks have been pleasant and I am trying to be open to your special charms. The fall colours have been spectacular. Lots of burnt orange and gold and that dried up smoky leaf smell that makes me think of an old steam train.

Halloween was nice. The Sweetie carved a great pumpkin and I enjoyed roasting the seeds with lots of salt and cayenne pepper.

I have been making giant batches of soup. That’s a cozy autumnal thing to do. Big bubbling pots of soup on the stove aren’t appealing in the summer. One point for autumn.

I found a fabulous pair of mint condition boots at my favourite vintage shop (The Refinery on Markham Street, the best shop ever). Autumn lovers always seem to comment on how happy they are to wear cute boots again, as if that makes all the cold dreariness okay. I rarely find vintage boots in my big girl size. These fit like a dream and they are a gorgeous burnt orange, a perfect fall colour. It was your offering to me, wasn’t it? A little gift in autumnal hues to try and win me over.

So far the season has not been filled with the endless misery I had expected. Maybe I shouldn’t have been so hard on you. Well played autumn, well played.


Foxy Fox Bracelet

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

I am a walking contradiction. I am aware that declaring myself a declutterer and taking a Zen Buddhist meditation course conflicts with shopping online and amassing more stuff. One would think that I’d be slightly ashamed and cool it just a little, but I am weak. So far, I’ve only attended two meditation classes so I still have a way to go on my path to enlightenment. My Peter Walsh decluttering book is buried somewhere on my night table beneath magazines, a couple of books and piles of torn out recipes. I have lost a little of the decluttering fever.

A woman gets tempted every now and then. Especially when faced with this foxy fox bracelet from Fey Handmade.


I couldn’t resist. I found the site the other day on Bliss when I was procrastinating rather than decluttering. I saw the fox bracelet and became obsessed. There it was in my mind’s eye, haunting me. How could I resist such a delightful woodland creature? I thought about it while at my mediation course and felt extra guilty. How could I be thinking of jewellery at a Zen Buddhist temple of all places? I thought about it even though I had decided that as a woman reaching some semblance of maturity I should quit it with the animal motifs and become a little more sophisticated. I thought about it while I gathered up my piles of clutter. I couldn’t stop thinking of that little fox with his sprightly tail.

Perhaps I will never find freedom and enlightenment. Perhaps I will never be clutter free. Perhaps I am a shallow person with a strange obsession with animals who is a bit too introverted and prefers animals over people most of the time. Perhaps I am impulsive and indulgent and a spendthrift. Perhaps it is all of these things, but the lovely fox bracelet will be mine. Oh yes. It will be mine.

Lovely Summer Sunday

Monday, September 7th, 2009

The Sweetie and I went on a quest for garage sales yesterday. There weren’t many considering it is the Labour Day weekend and everyone is out of town, but I was determined. There may only be a couple of weekends left before the cold settles in and garage sales disappear for another year reducing me to hiding indoors – gloomy, bitter and bargain hunting deprived.

The sun was shining and the air was warm. We found a fantastic cache of cd’s, 10 for $5!! Robert Johnson, the blues man of all blues men according to The Sweetie, old Tom Waits and Devendra Banhart.

I spent the evening sipping wine with two of my favourite girlfriends, the night air cool but not uncomfortable, watching my friend’s dog chasing shadows.

It was a lovely last gasp of summer. As I sipped my wine and imagined The Sweetie at home doing his best Mississippi blues impersonation to his new cd, I remembered one of the  garage sale ladies I’d met that morning. She was a tiny woman under an enormous sun hat that made her look like a wizened smiling mushroom. She had an inordinate amount of muffin tins and backpacks for sale. We chatted about the gorgeous warm weather, commiserating over the irony of summer finally arriving on the Labour Day weekend.

She sighed and said, “Yes, it is so beautiful. I want to gather the summer in my arms, hold it close and keep it with me forever.”

I know how she feels.

Garage Sale Joy

Monday, July 20th, 2009


I love love l-uh-ove garage sales. I love the thrill of the hunt and finding treasures in other people’s discards and, of course, I love a good bargain. Unfortunately I work on Saturdays and usually miss out on the best garage sale fun. Occasionally I find some good Sunday garage sales and drag the ever patient Sweetie along, provided I bribe him with a cheese scone and a coffee.

I found an armload of books priced at a dollar or less, cd’s going for a song (tee hee!), including the Flaming Lips (squee!), and, find of all glorious finds, a collection of Christmas elf heads for a mere loonie. The Sweetie was appalled at the hideous elf heads, but I was instantly smitten. I may put them in a festive bowl or mount them on branches or use them on mini lights. Christmas will have an extra touch of creepiness this year.

It was a wonderful morning and I hereby declare that all Sundays should be teeming with funky street sales until the end of summer.