August 29, 2013

Back-to-School Backpacks!

I'm going to be starting school again next week (Yay!) and I know I'm not the only one who is in desperate need of back-to-school shopping shenanigans type of fix. See, I've had the same backpack since Grade 11. I absolutely love it, but... I think it's time to move on. It's a gorgeous black patent nylon LeSportsac backpack with a matching pencil case (too cute), but I've got to admit it has seen better days. A few tears have started forming, the straps are cracking, and the drawstring pull broke, so I have to keep knotting and unknotting it (and with my nails, that becomes annoying REALLY quick).

I would now like to share with you my favourite backpacks that I am totally coveting for the new school year.  Bear with me, I'm incredibly indecisive... and so madly in love with too many styles.

*Please note, although I am totally aware of the fact that you don't necessarily need a backpack for school, a tote or shopper would work well enough too, my textbooks are heavy and I get back pain pretty easily, so I prefer backpacks for comfort. Plus, I can put them behind me on my chair - voila, instant back-pillow!*

Also, I'm totally hooked on the new Eminem song "Berzerk". Just thought it was worth a mention.

Now baby's got some back... pack to pick out.

Stela 9 - Shiva Backpack (Lovely detailing)
Alexander Wang - Flap Pocket Backpack in Ink Croc Embossed (Crikey! Get a load of this bag!)

Old Trend - Moto Distressed Backpack in Cafe (It can only get better with age)

Harper Avenue Backpack (There's something so sexy about being able to see right through this...)

Free People - Downtown Leather Backpack (Gorgeous bleached-like leather)
Jansport - Etoile Floral Print Backpack (Pink IS my favourite colour after all)

BDG - Cargo Pocket Backpack in Olive (I don't mind the Red either)

Sweet Lord O'Mighty - Purrfect Backpack (I need this right meow)

UNIF - Gamma Ray Backpack (Blindingly beautiful)

Nasty Gal - Star Studded Backpack (Hoping this gets me gold stars in school)

Marc by Marc Jacobs - Pretty Nylon Backpack (Love the double handle, but would want a different colour/pattern)

3.1 Phillip Lim - Zip Around Backpack (Simple and stylish)

orYANY - Holly Backpack (Red-y for school)

Which one's your fave?


August 22, 2013

My Top Kitchen Stuff Plus' Red Hot Deals! Plus a Contest!

I'm a huge KSP fan (okay, junkie), and my love for them will continue to grow as long as they continue releasing their weekly Red Hot Deals! 

This week their deals are only $5 - which means you're saving 37%-66% off!  That's what I like to hear when it comes to stocking my kitchen with gizmos and gadgets aplenty, which is surely going to be the case with this week's selection of steals.

Now you can order them all on-line (free shipping when you spend $75 or more on-line), but I totally recommend going in-store and seeing what other great buys they have to offer. Just remember to have a copy of the coupon ready! You can either print it out or have a screenshot of it available on your phone for scanning at the cash. 2pc limit on each item, so bring your friends. And remember, this deal is only available from August 21st, 2013 to September 1st, 2013. So get shopping!

Also, don't forget to sign up for KSP's Exclusive E-mails so you can be notified of their amazing deals (and crazy warehouse sales) as soon as they're available.

Click here to check out this week's $5 Red Hot Deals and get the coupon!

My picks for this week's Red Hot Deals are:

KSP Spiral Pineapple Corer/Slicer: Was $14.99 - Expect a Useful Uni-tasker post after this purchase.

KSP Mesh Kitchen Cabinet Organizer (Silver): Was $9.99, Compare at $12 -
Perfect for your cleaners, or to keep clutter off the counter but still within reach!

KSP Soda Can Dispenser: Was $9.99 - For organizing soda AND soup cans!

KSP Metro Glass Oil & Vinegar Set: Was $9.99, Compare at $15 -
So you can buy in bulk, refill the bottle, and keep the counter clean & clutter-free!

What I don't understand is why they have TWO paper towel holders on sale, but I guess I can't complain when there is money to be saved!


To sweeten the pot, KSP has a Pinterest contest going on right now where you can Pin to Win 1 of 2 X $50 giftcards, or the grand prize of 1 X $150 giftcard. Just pin any of your favourite KSP products onto any existing or new Pinterest board with the tag #KSPPin2Win in the pin's description.

Contest ends August 26, 2013 and winners are announced on August 30, 2013!

Click here for the contest details!

See you all tomorrow with a cool DIY, and hopefully if all goes well, the results of one of my frequently fun culinary conquests!

Stay sassy,


August 21, 2013

The Inspiration Within: IKEA Catalogue 2014

I was going to do a post on some of my favourite items from Ikea's new catalogue, but then something seriously caught my fancy and I decided to do a 180 on this post. I hope I'm not the only one that likes to read every little blurb on the page of a magazine (or a textbook, I can't help it, and it really doesn't help me come exam cram study time...). Today's blurb reading adventure opened my eyes to the genius that is the editing team for the Ikea catalogue. I would like to share with you some of my favourite quotes, pro-tips, and ideas from Ikea's beautiful pages. It's so amazing how Ikea really does take into account every little detail of their products, their own brand's goals and values, as well as their consumers' lifestyles. They think long and hard about everything, so you don't have to. So grab a copy of the 2014 catalogue to follow along, and enjoy the...

Philosophy of the home, according to Ikea:

-Life at home is about creating space for everyday life as it happens. For all the things you want to do. For the things you love. And for everyone that you spend your time with. Because when the home works for the way you live, life simply becomes better.

-Often, it's the smallest moments that matter the most. Like being lazy on the sofa, legs crossed, talking about everything and nothing. Or finding the time to be together, doing the most ordinary everyday things. Don't be afraid to bend the rules to create a home that works for you.

Pg. 21: Underneath this GÄSER rug, there is a basketball court painted on the floor. (You wouldn't even know it if they didn't mention it. For context's sake, there's a basketball net hung up on the wall of their displayed living room. Genius!)

Pg. 23: Switch your phone off and take 15 minutes on your own in a cozy, quiet spot.

Pg. 25: Plant's make a room come alive. And they're good for the air too.

Pg. 29: This SÖDERHAMN sofa combination sears you and 13 of your favourite people. (Those couch feels.)

Pg. 35: In all homes, big or small, you sometimes need to be on your own for a while. To turn yours back on everything, but still stay close. Two sofas, back to back, can create such calm little islands for 30-minute anyday holidays.

Pg. 42: Mixing and matching only has one rule. If things are beautiful to you, they will always have the right style.

Pg. 49: Let your storage grow with your interests and needs. Add one piece of storage at a time. It also becomes your own style - eclectic, ever-changing and rich with experience.

Pg. 67: Having a day bed in your office - now that's a good idea.

Pg. 81: Given their size, babies need a surprisingly large amount of space. Part of it has to do with those grown-ups who follow them around everywhere.

Pg. 87: Combine tables with similar measurements to make a really long one. And why not go for legs in different styles to give each table its own expression?

Pg. 87: Storage doesn't have to be stationary - wheel the stuff you need wherever you want it. And then put it back at the dedicated parking spot.

Pg. 95: By extending the kitchen island with a table, the one who's cooking becomes a part of the party too.

Pg. 101: Watching someone cook can be fun, no matter if it's a plain pasta or something fancy and festive. By having a small dining area at the kitchen island, it becomes easier for everyone to get closer to the cooking action. It will make the food a lot tastier and the chef a whole lot prouder.

Pg. 112: Save the water you use to rinse vegetables in the VÅLLÖ watering can and then water your plants with it.

Pg. 124: You know that weekend getaway feeling? This is just like that. Only you're in your own home.

Pg. 148: Keep dryers, brushes and combs on a cart outside the bathroom so you can fix your hair there during the rush hour.

Pg. 182: Fine dining isn't about the silverware or fancy napkins. It's about coming together and creating a moment that feels just as good as it tastes. So why not let everyone bring their own favourite chair to the table? Comfort is individual.

Pg. 256: Our elk holds his head high and looks out, fearlessly. The elk represents strength and confidence. That's what we felt when we designed this quilt cover and that's what we hope you will feel when you sleep in it - and wake up feeling strong and ready to face your day. (Talking about the elk motif on the ÄNGSSPIRA duvet cover.)

Pg. 257: A magical place where fern grows wild inspired Maria Vinka to create this pattern. (Talking about the pattern on the STOCKHOLM duvet cover.)

Pg. 274: Anyone between 1 and 99 years old can slip in a bathtub or shower. This crocodile will, however, try to prevent that from happening. (Talking about the PATRULL bath tub mat.)

Featured in this year's catalogue, here are some products that I'm super in love with:

STOCKHOLM swivel easy chair (Pg. 43 - Also available in Yellow and Dark Beige. The perfect stand-alone accent chair for my living room.)
TOBIAS chair (Shown in Grey on Pg. 90 - Would love this as a vanity chair.)
LÖVBACKEN side table (Pg. 178 - Mid-century mania!)
RÄSKOG kitchen cart (Pg. 202 - Also available in Dark Gray, but the Turquoise will make my day.)
IKEA PS cabinet (Pg. 207 - Also available in White. Pop of colour TV stand, anyone?)

IKEA PS cabinet (The other cabinet, not shown. Still, love it.)

VETTRE nightstand (Pg. 212 - You can run your chargers' wires through a hole in the bottom!)
KOMPLEMENT multi-use hanger (Pg. 216 - Perfect to hang up my vintage scarf collection!)
CIRKUSTÄLT children's tent (Pg. 244 - Can you say AWESOME CAT BED!?)
LAPPLJUNG RUTA rug, low pile (Pg. 271 - It has matching cushions too!)
HÖNEFOSS mirror, 10 pk (Pg. 283 - Rearrange to your heart's content!) 

Please note that the kid on Pg. 303 takes the cake.
And don't forget the awesome teaser on the final page for Ikea's new TRENDIG collection, debuting February 2014.

Asian Persuasion.

What are some of your favourites from this year's catalogue?

I'm a sucker for STOCKHOLM and colour...


August 19, 2013

How to Shop at Thrift Stores

Being a student and only working part-time means I don't have much to spend (though my VISA would disagree...) and I love saving money every chance I get. One of my favourite places to visit are thrift stores. They're where I can find quality, cost-effective items that have stood the test of time! There is absolutely nothing wrong with going to thrift stores as opposed to vintage stores. Sure in vintage stores everything is meticulously hand-picked, and it's all nice and neat, but the selection is minimal and tends with be overpriced (Etsy really isn't all bad though, it's the shipping that will get you). Also, I can guarantee that there are vintage stores that actually source their items from thrift stores, so you're not only saving money, but you're buying stuff you would've probably bought anyway if it was in a curated mid-century wooden showcase, tastefully displayed next to a deer antler.


First things first, bring hand sanitizer. You can't do this right unless you get down and dirty. You could even bring gloves if you're particularly opposed to dust and grime, but I just do the hand sanitizer thing until I can leave and properly wash my hands. 


Also, I recommend you use the bathroom before you leave home. I'm usually perusing the store for a good 1-2 hours, and unless my boyfriend is accompanying me, I have no one to watch over my cart if I have to go. A lot of thrift stores don't even have washrooms, and if they do... well, you really won't want to be using them. So go before you enter the store!


Bring a bag, trolley, whatever you think you will need to bring back your haul. I frequently bring an oversized backpack, but if I know I'm shopping for furniture, I'll bring my KSP Shopping Trolley. That way I can either fill the bag with goodies, or remove the bag and use it as a small trolley that can easily handle side tables, small shelving units, and even our TV stand. I know that a lot of stores offer plastic bags, but they tend to rip and definitely hurt your hands after awhile. I recommend lining the bag with a garbage bag (as not to get the lining of the bag dirty, damaged, or accidentally stained by any grease or grime remaining on whatever you bought), and pre-packing the bag with newspaper (just grab a few from the newsstands on your way out), a flashlight, and possibly a magnifying glass. The newspaper is so you will have no trouble wrapping delicate/fragile items (the thrift stores I visit tend to be high volume and frequently run out of their own wrapping paper), the flashlight is so you can see in every nook and cranny of furniture or even store shelves (you might end up in a store with quite a few dark corners, come prepared! I like to use this Free Flashlight app I downloaded on my iPhone:!/id429177928?mt=8), and if you don't have particularly detailed eyesight abilities, a magnifying glass will help you read brands, names, signatures, serial numbers, maker's marks, etc. 

Chris with our KSP Shopping Trolley & our new TV stand.
TV Stand: Only $5.05 at Goodwill!

If you like something or are considering it, put it in your cart. You can always put it back later, and I can guarantee that there is someone else in the store who'd consider it too. If you can't put it in the cart (the item is in a showcase), then ask if the cashier/showcase manager can set it aside for you or hold it until you are done making your rounds of the store.


Always do a quick once-more-over of the store before cashing out. People frequently put things back, move things around (which can often reveal hidden gems!) or new stock is put out on the shelves, and sometimes you just plain miss things the first time around due to excitement and distractions. Check out your favourite sections one more time to make sure you didn't miss anything - Recommended for any accessories, furniture, art, and home decor/kitchenware. I don't bother with clothes because you usually get a pretty good idea of what's there and what isn't (there's nothing to hide), and same with the books. I especially recommend doing the twice over when you're looking for something specific.  "Pretend you're a pirate combing the beach for treasure, you would be very thorough aye? That's what thrift shopping is. Pirates looking for booty." -My boyfriend, Chris.


Always bring your phone with you, make sure it has data, and pack a charger. I can guarantee that you will discover many brands that are totally unheard of on your mystical thrifting journeys. I frequently find things dated from the 40's to the 60's, from brands that have been sold off, merged, or simply gone right out of business within the last 20+ years. With your phone, you can search databases like Etsy and Ebay and get an approximate value/rarity scale for the item in question. If you see it selling for $5 and there are about 10 or more listings, you can gage that the piece is a dud. If you're looking for quality pieces with some history, this is a must. It's better to buy valuable items even if you're not planning to sell them, that way you're not collecting total junk (which runs pretty rampant in these kinds of places). I've also been able to find lots of cool information on the web that convinced me to buy certain pieces I wouldn't have considered, like a hand-painted set of teacups and saucers made in England in the 40s.


Continuing on that point, learn to look for quality. You won't always recognize brands, and if your phone's dead or your quick google search comes up empty, you've got to judge yourself whether or not this piece is worth it.  Try to figure out whether the piece is made of, get a feel for the materials (and do your best to become familiar with different woods, metals, finishes, fabrics, constructions, etc.) Is it leather (if so, does it have a strong smell, is it peeling and dried out), are the seams straight or uneven or torn? Look for cheap hardware, frayed edged, discolouration, visible glue, and all the ugly poor-quality giveaways you can come up with. Give it your best guess; at least you'll have less of a chance of buying cheap junk!


Learn the "fundamentals" of the brand's design. It'll help you spot the fakes, or be able to tell if it's the "real deal" even if the tags are damaged/clipped!  Some vintage pieces might not even have the maker's mark that you're used to, so always double check online if you're unsure, or let the quality of the item speak for itself. For clothing and accessories, look at the lining/buttons/snaps for any indication of authenticity. There are a lot of fakes out there, so try and become familiar with the "authenticity indicators" of your favourite brands! Some fakes even use the "popular serial numbers", numbers known to be on a lot of fakes, so check up on those too. On a recent thrift trip, my boyfriend found a jacket from Hugo Boss's Boss Orange line, but there was no way of telling what it was at first glance as the tags had been clipped. He owns a few other pieces from Hugo Boss, which lead him to the jacket's pocket (his own Hugo Boss jacket has it's information on a tag in there), where he found all the info he needed to determine it was indeed authentic. Now if only it fit...


Demographics that is. Consider the area you're shopping in as well, as it can give you an idea of what kind of things you should expect to find. A thrift store in Oakville might have more valuable items than something in Scarborough, but there are always exceptions!  Just take it into consideration when you find brand name items, or those questionable finds. 


Be careful when you fall in love with something and it's a fixer-upper. A dress with a stain, a pillow with a hole, a table with a cracked leg, a TV stand with a scratched topped. Don't underestimate the work you'll have to put into it; it can be daunting, time-consuming, and you'll probably procrastinate the hell out of it. First ask yourself if you can live with it in its current condition. If not, ask yourself if you're willing to fix it and take the time (or spend the money) to do it right. Be honest with yourself about whether or not the fix is even possible. If you can't totally justify it, don't worry. Just don't waste your money, and remember to be patient. There are plenty of other thrift stores to visit, and tons of new stuff coming in every day, you don't need to buy every little thing you find! Remember the piece, be on the lookout for something similar, and keep a space open in your home for when you do find it!


Before you visit the stores, do some research online too! Websites like Yelp can offer lots of helpful reviews of store specials and discounts (student discount days are great), and visiting the stores' websites might tip you off to super sales (I know Value Village sometimes does 50% off days) and members-only discounts and E-mail offers. If you're looking to donate, visiting the websites provides you with a guideline of what's acceptable, the dates and times you can donate, and even the perks of donating (I got a coupon for 30% off my next purchase at Value Village for donating some of my old clothes!) Also, you could use the site's store locators to find locations near you, and Google can open your eyes to some of the smaller thrift stores that might not be as big, but that can still offer some pretty cool things! 

Some of my favourite thrift stores to visit are: Value Village, Goodwill, and Salvation Army.

Just remember to be open minded; you never know what cool treasures you'll dig up next!

Got any other tips? Lemme know!

Stay thrifty my friends,


August 18, 2013

Dollarama's Lori Cosmetic Organizer - Stock Up While You Can!

Although I'm not a make-up junkie, I seem to have amassed quite the collection of beauty products. I love trying to keep things organized, and stores like Solutions and Winners have a decent selection of acrylic make-up organizers. However, as my collection grows, I'm finding it more expensive and harder to justify purchasing some decent organizers. What is a girl to do?

I've been trying to get creative with little metal trays and baskets and buckets, but nothing has the same appeal as an acrylic organizer. I mean, you can see exactly where everything is, it's easy to spot and clean-up spills, and they're quite durable to boot! 

As a student on a budget, I find comfort in the aisles of Dollarama, and it is within those aisles that I discovered a solution to my dwindling storage budget.

I present to you, the Lori Cosmetic Organizer:

With 3 compartments and a lid, this little organizer is a STEAL at only $3! As you can see, I've organized Q-Tips, make-up sponges, and cotton pads in mine. It's super cute, goes really well with the rest of my acrylic organizers, and doesn't look particularly cheap at all. You could organize compacts, hair accessories, little tester packs, travel-sized things, and lots more! Get some for your bathroom, use it to organize paperclips, toothpicks, sequins, or craft products on your desk, sort your tea bags in the kitchen, whatever you can think of.

My advice: Buy 'em while you can. I can guarantee that once savvy shoppers catch wind of this, they will be out of stock soon enough. 

Here's a comparable product from Solutions, and it doesn't even come with a lid!

Another idea: If you need a small storage box, for jewelry, compacts and what not, why not repurpose hard plastic containers from some of your foods and snacks?  I know that's what I'll be doing once I'm done with my box of Ferrero Rocher!

Happy hunting,


August 15, 2013

The Chef'N Bananza Banana Slicer Review

Banana banana banananananananananaa batman!
My kitchen is kind of becoming a bit uni-tasker haven (I can't help myself, when stuff goes on sale, and it's kind of cute/cool, I buy), and I've got a pretty creative imagination, so I figured I should add a few posts about useful uni-taskers. I'm going to come up with new uses for you to use those single-purpose kitchen tools that you're not taking advantage of! 

Alright, so I'm assuming I'm not the ONLY one that loves to add sliced banana to her cereal, to fruit salad, or even on toast with peanut butter and honey (try it, it's delicious). If you're like me, the idea of a banana slicer can seem kind of nifty. Let's be real though, how many of us honestly spend a good portion of our morning slicing bananas, or can't just pull out any old butterknife and chop up some thick, gooey slivers of potassium?

I'd say this slicer is better suited to those who require a mess-less banana slicing experience. I know it's nothing a little hand washing can't fix, but if it can be avoided, and perfect slices of banana can be had in a flash, then why not?

This product features "kid-friendly" stainless steel blades, so that's a plus for all of y'all who are harbouring fugitives of the womb-originating variety.

Also, it's dishwasher safe (Can I get a hallelujah?)

Moving on.

Use #1: As a banana slicer.

Duh. Also, note that bananas DO turn brown after awhile (oxidation, booooo), so being able to chop large amounts of banana in a short amount of time can really do wonders for your plating, presentation, and general loveliness.

Use #2: Quick strawberry and peeled kiwi slicer!

Not only can it handle bananas, but other users have reported it can handle strawberries and peeled kiwis as well!  Fruit salad FTW.

Use #3: Slicing Mushrooms/Small Zucchini/Small Parboiled Potatoes for stirfry/home fries!

It just might work with the mushrooms, and with small yukon gold and fingerling potatoes. Don't take my word for it though, I'm just the silly banana-slicer obsessed girl trying to make awesome excuses to invest in a banana slicer. Heh.

Use #4: Slicing whatever fruit can fit! 

If you're down for dehydrating fruit or making fruit chips, you could use this to pump out faster, thicker slices than your mandolin!

Use #5: Slicing little pickles or mini-cucumbers!

It's just an all-around great tool for getting those little veggies into sweet, succulent slices for sandwiches, garnish, salads, skewers, I could go on! But I won't.

Use #6: Asparagus. Mmm.

Seems like a pretty good idea to get your stalks of asparagus into manageable bits and pieces.

That's all I've got, for now.


It will make banana slicing a dream, breakfast a breeze, and for those of you that extend into the banana bread/banana pudding/sundae Sunday realm, you will be thanking the heavens for this one.

KSP sells over 500 of them a year.

Be 1 of the 500; join the banana slicing cul... community.

If that hasn't convinced you, here's 25 Powerful Reasons to Eat Bananas from Food Matters.

Don't know what to do with a truck load of sliced bananas?

Here's some positively lurvely banana-rama-dama recipes:

Fried honey bananas from Rachel Shultz:

Spicy banana curry from All Recipes User kidcharlemagne:

Orange banana smoothie from Dianna Rattray on

Another recipe from Dianna Rattray for sweet potato and banana casserole:

Buy the Chef'N Bananza Banana Slicer on-line or in-store at Kitchen Stuff Plus for only $8.49 (Williams-Sonoma sells it for $12.40!):

Peel you later, alligator.