Top Five Items That Will Always Be In Style (And What To Never Wear Again!)

I'm sure we've all looked at pictures of ourselves from "back in the day" (wait - we can say that now, right?) that make us laugh, cry, or cringe. We laugh when we see the awful hairstyles, we cry when we look at how absolutely flat our abs once were, and we cringe when we see the fashions we used to wear, from safety-pinned jeans and shoulder pads, to mis-matched earraings and push-down socks.

Oh, yes... I am sure you're guilty of wearing certain items that were trendy at the time, but are now so awful you want to burn the pictures and the box they came from. However, back then, you thought you were HOT STUFF... am I right? Right...

Yeah... I was guilty of wearing the heck out of these red pleather pants. Worst yet, I would wear these awful pants with little cropped tops and go out in public. This picture was taken after I had graduated from university, when I went to college to fast-track my Broadcast Journalism degree. I can't even look at this picture without laughing. Red... pleather...pants, you guys? Who said that was okay?

Anyway. I've since learned what works and what doesn't, and I know that you only need a few select items to always look classy and never dated.

Here are my picks for Top Five items you should own that will never go out of style:

  • A LBD: This is perhaps the most important item you can own. I have several little black dresses in my closet, and I wear them all the time. In fact, I've worn my favourite little black dress to three BlogHer conferences in a row! That's love, baby. And the thing is... no one really remembers, especially when you wear it with different shoes and accessories. Or maybe no one remembers because of all the wine we're drinking? Either way, LBD? Essential!

  • A perfect pair of jeans: Jeans, as long as they're not 'mom jeans', be-dazzled, or acid-washed, will always look great. Once you've found your perfect pair of boot cut, skinny, or curvy jeans, buy them and then buy another pair, too! Jeans are my favourite go-to item in my closet, and can be dressed up with sexy heels and a sexy top for a night out, or can be worn with cute flats and a t-shirt during the day.

  • A classic white top: I have tons of white shirts, and I especially love the t-shirts from Club Monaco. Pair your white shirt with a fitted navy blazer, your perfect jeans, and some heels and I promise you, you'll look and feel great.

  • Black (and beige) heels: I love my flats, but I need my heels! Every woman needs a pair of amazing black high heels, and while you're at it, invest in a great pair of nude heels, too. They're sexy, and you can wear them with anything.

  • A trench coat: I love my classic trench coat, and I start wearing it as soon as the weather turns cold. Since we're in Canada, that means I start wearing it in September. (How depressing is that?) I buy a new trench from Banana Republic almost every year. You cannot go wrong with a classic trench coat, and once again, this can be worn with everything and  look great.
Other items that will always remain in style? Solid colours, simple lines, pencil skirts, fitted blazers (J.Crew has some amazing blazers) and a great pair of sunglasses. Think Audrey Hepburn or Grace Kelly. They always looked so beautiful! Now you can go shopping for things you need, without feeling guilty, because you know you'll wear these items year after year.

Happy (guilt-free) shopping!

Random Pieces Of Awesome (And Where You Can Find Me!)

Can you believe how quickly September has gone by? In just a few days, October will be here, and then before we know it, we'll all be talking about the holidays, the cold weather (wait—I'm already complaining about that, damn Canada!) and Christmas shopping. (I've already got my list...)

Anyway, things have been busy up in here, as things usually are in September. My boys have happily adjusted to the back-to-school routine, and after-school activities like swimming, and I'm loving that they're together in the same school, finally.

Things with me have been good, too. I went to the Madonna concert a couple of weeks ago and even though she was 2 hours late to hit the stage, it was worth it, because hello, Madonna. It helped that I was in a nice big box with my friends, with our own server, yummy food, and drinks flowing all night long.

Anyway, if I'm not blogging over here, you can always find me on my shopping blog where I write about a whole lot of things...

Like my post on fall fashion and what I think this year's must-have pieces are!

And about my experience co-hosting the Grand Opening of the newest department store in my city, terra20!

And about who I think wore it best at the Emmy Awards... and who I thought was Best Dressed.

And of course, I talked more about my experience learning about wine and winemaking after my evening with Wolf Blass.

I always have great giveaways on my shopping blog, too, like this one I had going on with Zutano.

Anyway, I'd love to see you visiting my shopping blog, and if you have any fashion or shopping related stories you want me to write about, just drop me a line and let me know.

I am going to get into planning mode for winter vacation soon—once I'm forced to stop wearing my flip flops it means I need a tropical destination vacation soon! It's almost that time, right?

On Meeting Wolf Blass, The Man From The Land Down Under

Someone great once said, "For every occasion in life, there is reason to drink wine."

Actually, I just made that up now, but I'm sure many people have had that exact thought. Drinking wine is something I enjoy, immensely. I'm no wine expert (yet) but red or white, my love for a great vino knows no boundaries.

Wine is my drink of choice with dinner, when I'm celebrating happy news, attending a wedding, travelling, having a night out with friends and family, or when I have guests over for an evening. I enjoy my wine when I'm flying, too. It tends to take the edge off, you know? Also, when I drink wine I'm doing my body a favour, since it's good for you. So, win-win, right?

I was invited by Natalie MacLean (the talented Canadian author of Unquenchable: A Tipsy Quest for the World's Best Bargain Wines) to attend an "An Unforgettable Evening of Wine, Laughter, and Storytelling" at Restaurant 18 on Monday night for a tasting of eight Wolf Blass wines with Wolf Blass himself. Yes, the Wolf Blass entertained us all while we enjoyed some of his finest wines paired with some delicious food.

I honestly did not know there was a man so inspiring and hilarious behind the colourful Wolf Blass labels I so frequently buy, but the name is not just a label. Rather, Wolf Blass is one heck of a vibrant business man and world-famous winemaker, and it was an honour to meet him and share a drink together.

Wolf Blass was born in Germany and emigrated to Australia in the 1960's with a vision and a few hundred dollars in his pocket and, long story short, his Yellow Label Cabernet—a wine frequently enjoyed in my home—became the bestselling red wine in North America. How's that for inspiring, boys and girls?

I brought my mom to the event with me and we had a blast enjoying the different wines, which included Wolf Blass Yellow Sparkling 2010, Wolf Blass Gold Label Riesling 2011, Wolf Blass Gold Label Chardonnay 2011, Wolf Blass Yellow Label Pinot Noir 2010, Wolf Blass Gold Label Shiraz 2008, Wolf Blass Grey Label Shiraz Cabernet 2009 and Wolf Blass Black Label 2007.

All I know is this: whatever I put in my mouth, I loved, especially the Shiraz. And the Riesling. And I also know this: Wolf Blass will continue to be the wine of choice for me when I'm buying. It's shopping, simplified. If I can understand what's on the label, it's coming home with me.
Wolf Blass is a great speaker who kept us all laughing the entire night, and now? I want to go to Australia. Also keeping the audience entertained was George Samios, Global Director of Fine Wine and PR for Treasury Wine Estates. He was hilarious, and although we didn't get a chance to speak at the event, (how did that happen?) after a few exchanges over email, I found out he was Greek, and so, total bonus. Maybe we can create a Greek wine people will finally rant and rave about?

Not only does Wolf Blass make great wine, he's also totally inspiring and  knows the importance of really enjoying life. Isn't that what it's all about? I loved listening to his stories.

Cheers... here's to many more nights of raising our glass and enjoying great wine!

School Days

We've come a long way (four years, in fact) from the day my oldest son started junior kindergarten. It has been a mostly smooth journey throughout the years, and my boy has loved every second of grade two so far. He's in a classroom with all his friends, sits next to his best friend, has an amazing teacher, and this year, his little brother joins him at the same school.

Today was little D's first day of kindergarten. It was an orientation "meet the teacher" morning, and he was so brave, it made my heart hurt. I held it together pretty well, though.

Until I got to my car, and opened the little bag with a few items (tea, tissues, a cotton ball) his teacher gave me, attached with a note...

Here is a little gift for you as you leave your precious little one with me on the first day of school. As you hold the cotton ball in your hand, the softness will help you remember the gentle spirit of your child.

After you have gone home and dried your tears, make yourself a cup of hot tea. Put your feet up and relax. Remember that together, you and I will work for your child to be the best he/she can be.

Thank you for entrusting yoru child to me for the coming school year. I will do my very best to be your child's guide in learning and exploring this bright, new world they have just stepped into.

Yeah, so all the tears I bravely held back as my little one walked around his new classroom? They came out as I drove away.

I'm excited to have both boys in the same school, finally, and I am so thrilled that my little D has the same kindergarten teacher his big brother had for two years. She is the best teacher, ever.

Here's hoping all our little ones have a great school year! Let the journey begin...

The Power Of Awesome

He walked on stage to Fleetwood Mac, and exited to Tom Petty. I mean, really, he had me at hello. Bill Clinton rocked the socks off of us last night, and even though I'm a proud Canadian, I felt like an honorary American, at least for a little while.

How absolutely incredible was his speech, you guys? It was brilliant, and witty, and his words moved an entire nation.

Clinton also bit his lip a lot, like only he can do. (I lost count after a while.) And when he spoke, we were listening...

"I want to nominate a man cool on the outside but burning for America on the inside. A man who believes we can build a new American Dream economy driven by innovation and creativity, education and cooperation. A man who had the good sense to marry Michelle Obama."

Okay, seriously?

He's a charmer, President Clinton is. I believe (and I don't have a political background, except for when I worked for an MP here in Canada) America will vote for Obama for another four years, in my humble opinion. (And coming from a Canadian perspective, where I thank my lucky stars for our free health care, I think it's the right way to go.)

"We Democrats think the country works better with a strong middle class, real opportunities for poor people to work their way into it and a relentless focus on the future, with business and government working together to promote growth and broadly shared prosperity. We think “we’re all in this together” is a better philosophy than “you’re on your own.”

Clinton's entire speech can be found here and you should go read it, if you didn't get to see him rock the Democratic National Convention last night. It actually explains a lot, in terms everyone can understand.

Unless I find myself a job and get a green card, I won't be voting in the US elections this November. And that's cool, because I do love being Canadian, even though we've never had a leader as charismatic as Clinton or as awesome as Obama. (And let's not forget how amazing Michelle Obama was the night before, with her powerful words and awesome J.Crew shoes...)

Anyway, amid jokes last night on Twitter of people being jealous of Monica Lewinsky, all kidding aside, I thought there was a lot of value in what Bill Clinton had to say. I love the way he spoke. He is inspiring, and he's a brilliant story-teller. Had he been a professor at my university, I'd probably have spent a lot less time in Rooster's, and a lot more time in class.

Is Clinton one of the best orators in the world? I guess it's a matter of opinion, but right now I'm going with... hell yes!

36 Things I Love On My 36th Birthday

Today I'm thirtysomething years old. I am another year older.  It's not that I'm not okay with being another year old, it's just that... I guess I'm kind of in shock over how old I really am. Not old-old, (not that there's anything wrong with old!) but well, there is no denying it now—I'm definitely an adult. And well, getting... older.

I celebrated my birthday at the Marriott in Yorkville last year in a two-floor Presidential suite with my family and friends, and it was one of my most memorable birthdays. This year's celebrations won't be as glamorous, but I'm still excited to blow out my candles, because I have a lot to be thankful for. Every day is a blessing, after all.

Last year, I wrote about 35 things I love.

I'm adding to my list, and I will not focus on the things that annoy me. Like people who are terrible drivers and people who are mean and people who bite down on their forks or don't understand that Katniss should have ended up with Gale or people who don't really have a clue. Oh, right.

Things I love.

I love my entire family and where I'm from.

I love my boys more than anything else.

I love the ocean.

I love swimming and I'm convinced I might have been a mermaid in a past life, although fish kind of freak me out, so maybe not.

I love shopping. Shopping makes me happy and gives me a natural high. A new pair of shoes, a new dress, that perfect lipstick? I call that amazing therapy!

I love movies. My favourites include Scarface, Dazed and Confused, Kill Bill, The Breakfast Club, Pretty In Pink, The Usual Suspects, American Beauty, Clueless, Mermaids, Goodfellas, Dirty Dancing, and Stand By Me.

I love music, passionately. Music moves me and soothes my soul and makes me want to dance.

I love the Beastie Boys, The Tragically Hip, Blue Rodeo, Pet Shop Boys, The Eagles, Tom Petty, The Rolling Stones, Jay-Z and Eminem. And well, pretty much everything else, too.

I love Marilyn.

I love travelling, except the whole getting on a plane-and-flying-in-the-air-without-any-control-of-my-destiny part.

I love movie popcorn, (and don't even think about sharing with me.)

I love white wine.

I love Mad Men.

I love pizza.

I love Pinterest, as in, it's my new obsession.

I love blogging and the wonderful, smart people I've met over the last few years.

I love vacations that involve sitting on the beach, listening to the sound of the waves, and taking in the sunshine.

I love back-to-school shopping, and am happy that now I get to do it for my children since my school days are sadly behind me.

I love being together in the same room with the people I love.

I love Christmas and celebrations and traditions.

I love feeling comfortable in my surroundings.

I love exploring new places.

I love being a little different.

I love summer evenings on patios with my best friends.

I love Europe SO much, and the carefree lifestyle of people in most European countries. When I'm in Greece, I wonder why I don't live there, but...

I love Canada most of all.

I love that girls in public bathrooms, especially if they've been drinking, become instant best friends for five minutes while they're re-applying lipstick.

I love being the mom of boys because it's opened up a whole new world of awesome for me.

I love George Carlin.

I love road trips, and the fun that comes with adventures on the road.

I love long conversations with friends that result in tears and always crazy laughter.

I love playing at the park with my children and acting like a child.

I love when I'm right.

I love people who love to read and who make me think.

I love my stick-shift VW Jetta, and will always love the Volkswagen Golf more than any other car on earth.

I love scaring myself to death when I start thinking about the life and universe.

I love reading and spending hours in a book store.

I love getting older, too. Another birthday means I have another thing to be thankful for!
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