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Off Price Retailers- Are they worth it?

19 Feb

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T.J.Maxx bag filled with Off-Price retail purchases

 

 

Marshalls. T.J Maxx (T.K Maxx). Ross. Big Lots. Home goods.

 

We have probably all heard these names before and probably shopped in one of these stores a few times. These types of stores are called “Off-Price Retail Stores” and they continue to grow and expand their base.Some are massive multi-billion dollar companies and some are stand alone stores. I’m sure we can all think of a local store that sells off-price items.

But, are they worth it? I did a similar article examining Outlet malls and whether or not they are worth it if you are interested.

The first thing we must do is define an Off-Price retailer. What makes a store just that? An off-price retail store is described as one that sells high-quality items at lower prices.  If you go back to the origins of outlet stores, this is a similar concept.

So… how do these off-price retail stores do it?

This is an important question. How can these stores sell quality items at bargain prices? Especially around the same time, similar items are found in department or brand stores? Immediately you think that something is wrong with the merchandise. It’s either damaged or lower quality or fake right?

Well here are two major ways these types of stores acquire their merchandise.

Overstock

This is what occurs when a company overestimates the demand for a product. For example, if a Department store might order 500 pink floral dresses but it turns out only 200 sold in the expected time.  Off-price retailer buyers swoop in and purchase the remaining 300 dresses at a discounted price. The company will then resell them at a profit to themselves but at a discount to you, the consumer. Everyone wins.

Irregular Items

An irregular item is one that is less than perfect. For example a dress with a red zipper instead of a black one or a shirt with the buttons sewn on the wrong side. These items, in the world of retail, are deemed unworthy to be displayed and sold full price in department stores and brand stores. They are, however, perfect for an off-price retail store where they will be sold discounted. Everyone wins again.

 

But the question remains, is it worth it?

To give some perspective here is an off-price retail shopping scenario:

You go into “OffpriceretailerX” and see an amazing top. Its cobalt blue with a watercolour inspired print, half sleeves, and a loose fit, just how you like it. You pick it up and realise it’s extra small. You wear a medium. So you go over to the medium and search and search. Nothing. Okay, you can wear a large, it will be more comfortable that way. So you go to the large section and search. Nothing. Hmm. Determined you decide you can squeeze into a small. You’ve lost 5lbs recently anyway, so you go to the small section and look. You look and look and …nothing. At this point you are exasperated. You walk through the entire section until your eye spots the shirt. Yes! You grab it! You hold it up and look at it!. It’s a 3XL. It is far too big.

If you had gone into a department store, there is a good chance that same top would be hanging on a rack with a bunch of tops that looked exactly like it. They would be arranged front to back from XS right through to 3XL. You would ask the clerk to get it in your size and he would do just that and take it to the checkout for you and ring you up. No hassle. But, you might pay 3 ½ times as much.

This is the bane of an off-price shopper. Getting a good deal is a downright treasure hunt. There is always a missing size (yours) or a missing colour (the one you want, obviously) or you want six of something and there are only five.

Shopping off-price can be exhausting and tedious and sometimes completely unrewarding and you can find yourself tucked away in a corner sitting on the floor picking through every, single stationary item trying to piece together a set. (I swear it wasn’t me) Yes, this type of retail therapy can land you in actual therapy and it is a major turn off for some. BUT, when you get that deal. When you get that Stella McCartney perfume for 20% less and when you find the perfect pair of ankle biting blue jeans for under $20, it all seems worth it. It makes the digging and rifling worthwhile. For some of us at least.

So let’s review our points:

1)Off Price retailers sell you real, quality items-This is in comparison to many outlet stores which are now producing lower quality items specifically for outlets.

2)They sell it at a reduced price- This is why we look for bargains, we hope to pay a bit less for what we want without completely forfeiting quality.

3)They can be difficult to navigate-There is often a surplus of merchandise packed in and overflowing in most cases and no matter how diligent the staff appears to be, everything always looks picked over.

4)You won’t always get what you want-In these types of stores, you get what you find not necessarily what you go looking for because the stock is often piecemeal.

5)It may not be perfect- As mentioned, some of this merchandise may have some damage or imperfection which landed it in that store in the first place.

To answer the question as to whether or not it’s worth it, it depends on you. Are you willing to hunt through random unrelated items to get the one you desire? Are you okay with having an item that may have an imperfection? If the answer is yes, then it is totally worth it because as I said, when you get that deal there is no better feeling.

If you prefer to know precisely what you are getting and want a fairly hassle free experience then stick to retail and perhaps wait for your favourite stores to put on sales if you want a good bargain.

Thank you for reading. Happy shopping and have an awesome day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Healthy Snack-Energy Bites

8 Feb

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Health Bites

Hello and welcome to another post on a delicious, healthy snack. Today I make energy bites also known as healthy bites, energy balls, health balls etc. These treats are pretty genius because they are easy and quick to make, easy to carry on the go and you can make so many different flavours.

I made three flavours today: Peanut Chocolate, Fig, Cranberry, and Coconut and Prune and Molasses. Let us begin. These are all oat- based but they don’t have to be. The measurements are fairly vague as you can add as much of what you want.

WHAT YOU NEED

Peanut Chocolate

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1)1 cup of peanut butter

2)2 tbsp of cocoa powder (unsweetened)

3) 1/2 cup of honey

4) 1 cup of oats

 

Fig, Cranberry, and Coconut

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1)1/3 cup of shredded coconut

2)1/4 cup of dried cranberries

3)1/2 cup dried figs(or dates)– about 5 or 6

4)1/2 cup oats

5) 1/2 cup of honey

 

Prune and Molasses

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1)1/2 cup of prunes– about 5 or 6

2)1/2 cup of molasses

3)1/2 cup of oats

4) 1 tbsp chia seeds

WHAT TO DO

1)Prune and fig paste

Place 1/2 of the prunes/figs into a food processor or nutribullet with a very small amount of water (approximately half tsp) and blend until paste forms. Each paste will be added to the respective ingredients to act as an adhesive in the mixtures.

 

Fig paste and Prune paste

2)Chop remainder of prunes and figs to add to respective ingredients.

3)For each set of ingredients

Combine in a large bowl until a stiff consistency is achieved, you need it to be able to hold its shape. You can add a bit more honey or molasses or oats to do this.

 

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Peanut Chocolate ingredients

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Stiff Consistency

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Fig, Cranberry, and Coconut ingredients

 

 

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Consistency

 

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Prune and Molasses ingredients

2)Place mixture in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes to firm up.

3)Remove from the refrigerator and roll into balls- I made mine approximately 1.5 inches in diameter and got approximately six from each.

Formed energy bites

4) I coated each bite in extra ingredients just to be a bit extra. I coated the peanut chocolate ones in cocoa powder so they looked like chocolate truffles. The Fig, Cranberry, and coconut was coated in shredded coconut and the Prunes and Molasses in Chia seeds. This step is optional.

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I’m so glad I decided to make these. I am always looking for cheap, easy healthy snacks and this one is a gem. I love Luna bars and other energy bars but they do not come cheap. This is a great way to get a similar type of snack except you get to decide exactly what goes into it.

HOW TO MAKE A LUXURY PURCHASE

18 Jan

Chanel classic flap in black (large)




This blog is titled Poor Party Girl and my catchphrase is Entertaining and living fabulously on a Budget. One might think my goal is to always buy the cheapest versions of things and never making luxury purchases. But it’s not. In fact, my whole aim is to be able to live the way you want: travel, entertain, eat and shop no matter your budget. It’s about being savvy vs plain old cheap, it’s about saving here and there so that when you want to make a more expensive purchase, you can.

 
This brings me to today’s topic; making a luxury purchase. Let us begin with a definition of luxury. Luxury is defined by Investopedia as an item which is not necessary for living but is deemed as highly desirable. Luxury items are associated with a certain status as they often signify some measure of financial success. Additionally, some luxury items are subject to “luxury taxes” though it varies depending on where you live. Luxury items may be anything from private jets and recreational boats to designer handbags and shoes. For my purposes, I am referring more to smaller luxury items but certainly this can be applied to any luxury purchase.

 
Maybe it’s a Chanel classic flap in black caviar leather or perhaps it’s a pair of Valentino Rockstud heels… we all have those dream items. The ones that merely seeing a picture of them ignites a spark in our stomachs (no I do not mean heartburn, lol). We also have that moment when we see the price and get that sinking, dreadful feeling. 

Depending on our age and stage in life we have varied budgets, indeed there are things I can easily purchase now that four years ago, would have been a fleeting wish. However, we are all on some kind of budget and luxury purchases are often the last thing we think to buy and we often cannot afford to stroll into a department store and pick up the latest designer handbag. Oftentimes those who do find themselves either with significant debt or no savings. I’m sorry but I’m not going into debt over a handbag. So then, how do you make a luxury purchase while remaining on a budget?
I have some tips that I have accrued over time and inspired by luxury YouTuber Chase Amiee (a favourite of mine).

1)What Do You Want?
Make a list of all the luxury items you want. All of them: shoes, bags, clothes, car, boat, plane, basketball team. All of it.

2)What Do You Really Want?
Go through your list with a fine-toothed comb deciphering what you actually want. Do you really want those designer shades? Yes? then leave it. Do you actually want a Rolls Royce? No? then cross it off. What you should have at the end is a far more concise list of items that are more attainable and that you actually want to attain.

3)Prioritise
It may seem like an oxymoron to suggest prioritising a list of luxury items but you must do this. For example, if my list contains ten items I’m sure there are four or five that I want more than the others. Place these at the top of your list. These are the ones you will focus on first. By doing this you will find you may be able to narrow down your list even further.

4)Research
Research all the items remaining on your luxury list. Research the company, the reviews, the cost. Making a luxury purchase can be viewed as an investment and you don’t make investments without doing some background checking.

5)Refine your list
After doing your research you may find your luxury item dream list is even shorter or has somewhat changed.
A few tips to use when refining your list:

Resale

If for example, you like to collect designer handbags as fashion pieces you may want to purchase something from a permanent collection rather than a limited edition. Even though many of us make luxury purchases planning to keep them forever, these are the types of items people often sell. You will generally get better resale on a classic item rather than a trendy one.

Use

This is in the same vein as the previous tip. If you are spending two months’ worth of your salary on a pair of shoes, you want these shoes to last long and still look current. This is why choosing a more fashionable vs trendy style is better.

Quality

“All the Glitters is not Gold”. I swear, if I had a dollar for every time I saw that play out in real life, I would be able to buy all the items on my luxury wish list in one go. But I digress. Luxury items are often high quality, that’s what makes them so luxurious. All of the finest materials are used by the most skilled craftspersons to make your deluxe item. Wrong. Believe it or not, some brands charge disproportionately high prices for their items. I don’t get too upset when I get ripped off buying a drink at the gas station, but a luxury item is not the same as a $2 beverage. You want to make sure your purchase is what you are paying for especially if you plan to resell.

6)Make a Plan
 Now that you have your list that you have tweaked and refined it’s time to get your life in order. You need to find a method of going about making your purchase:


Set a Time Frame

You need to decide over what period of time you want to make this purchase. This is typical goal oriented behaviour, you set the goal and work towards it. An example is 1 year. You can decide that over the next 12 months you will save up enough for a bag.

Use milestones

This is another way of setting a timeframe. You may decide to reward yourself with a pair of designer boots you’ve been eyeing for months when you complete your Bachelor’s degree.

Start Saving


Start a luxury savings account

That’s right. Open a savings account dedicated just to your luxury purchase. Put a designated amount of money e.g $50 a month into your account and don’t touch it until you have saved enough to make your purchase. 

7)Making the Purchase
By the time you have saved enough for your dream item many weeks to months or maybe years would have passed. Reassess and determine if you still want to make this purchase. A lot may have changed. You may simply no longer want that item or there maybe something else you want more. You may decide to continue saing for a bigger purchase or even transfer the money saved to another cause e.g travel fund or mortgage payments.


8)Buy it and enjoy it

After much deliberation, planning, plotting, scheming and more deliberation you are ready. You have earned it and it will likely be another year or two before you can make a similar purchase. So do it and enjoy it. Walk into that store and let them serve you champagne and canapes. Have a glass of wine if you are purchasing online. Sleep with your item like it’s a teddy bear if you want to. Make your purchase with no regrets because you have worked towards this.

Hopefully these tips will inspire you to start working towards your luxury purchase whatever it may be. Have an awesome day!

Valentino Rockstud heel in black

Garbanzo bean Stew

8 Jan

Today I bring you a dinner recipe of Garbanzo bean Stew served with roasted sweet potato.

Garbanzo bean Stew and sweet potato 




Garbanzo beans also called Chickpeas or channa are a great source of protein and starch. They are pretty versitile and can be used in cold salads, ground to make hummus or cooked into a delicious vegetable stew like this. 

Makes 2 servings 

WHAT YOU NEED 

1) 1 can of Garbanzo beans

2) 1 large tomato (diced)

3) 1/2 a medium onion(diced)

4) 2 cloves of garlic(sliced)

5) Approximately 2 cups of fresh spinach 

6) 1tbsp of paprika 

7) 1tbsp of yellow curry powder 

8) 1/2 tsp of all purpose seasoning 

9) 1 tbsp of Sriracha pepper sauce (or other spicy sauce)

10) 2tbsp of tomato sauce

11) 1 medium-large sweet potato


Unlike baking, where precision is key, cooking is very subjective.  Feel free to add more or less of something as you see fit. 

Ingredients 

Spices and sauces




WHAT TO DO 

Sweet Potato 

1) In a saucepan bring water to a rolling boil then add both halves of sweet potato.

2) Once cooked through,  drain water and allow to cool.

Boiled sweet potato 




3) Take a fork and plough the centre of the potatoes and sprinkle with seasoning. 

Add seasoning




4) Bake around 350 F for 10-15 minutes.

Baked potatoes


Stew

1) Add 1tbsp of butter to a medium heat frying pan and allow to melt.

2) Add garlic and onion and Sautee

Butter, garlic and onions




3) Add spices and continue to Sautee

Spices

4) Add garbanzo beans and allow them to Sautee for a few minutes. Be sure to continually stir and coat the beans with spices,  not allowing them to burn.

Beans added

5) Add tomatoes and mix

Tomatoes added




6) Add spinach and let it sweat down then mix

Spinach added



Spinach cooked down


7) Add tomato sauce and Sriracha and mix.

Sauces

8) Turn heat down to low and let it simmer until preferred consistency. 

Simmer

Plate stew and sweet potato and serve.

Finished meal

This meal came together by happenstance one evening and I’m so glad it did. The stew is hearty without being heavy and the potato is starchy and filling (in a healthy way) What I love about it is that this dinner is so effortless yet is so complex in flavour. This is a great dinner to have at the end of a long day either alone or with family and friends.

Have an awesome day 

Ten Fashion Trends in 2017

4 Jan

Greenery

Greenery was recently named the Pantone colour of 2017. For anyone who doesn’t know, this increasingly iconic and influential company has been selecting the colour of the year since 1999 and trends that follow often incorporate whatever tone they choose. This colour is described as a yellow-green although I personally find it to be more cool toned. It is a neutral green reminiscent of lush vegetation and I can see it working as an edgy eyeshadow colour, in a vibrant cushion fabric design or splashed onto an accent wall.

 
So we know what colour sets the tone for fashion and design this year but what else will be trending in 2017?

 
I have a list of ten fashion trends to look out for. This list is based on my review and perusing the 2017 runway shows. There are certainly more than ten trends but I chose the one I liked the best or that I saw most often, in other words it is not an exhaustive list. For a longer list you can check Fashionisers

 

1 ) SHEER FORCE

By this I mean sheer fabrics namely Tulle and Lace. While these fabrics always have their place every season, they are more prominent in 2017 with full tulle skirts and dresses made entirely of lace and beads.

Alexander McQueen                                                 Dior

 

2) TOPSY TURVY- Asymmetric Tops

Those cheeky cold shoulder, long sleeve tops that made a splash towards the end of 2016 were just the beginning. One shoulder tops, diagonal cut tops, will be really trending and I for one cannot wait. Who doesn’t love an asymmetrical top?

Moschino (top)                 Philosophy (bottom)


3) 1980’s

2016 definitely saw the return of mid 1990s fashion, with button front skirts and chokers a plenty and I was there for it. I still am. But let us step aside and give the 1980s some time to shine. Literally. We are talking lame, sequined leggings, neon colours and of course wide bold shoulders.

(Clockwise) Saint Laurent,  Moschino,  Balenciaga And Saint Laurent
 
4) THINK PINK

Hot pink, Fuchsia, Mauve. All the more grown up variations of the colour pink were seen on the runways. And what a beautiful time it is. Pink is an amazing colour because it literally matches all skin tones. Definitely get a splash of this in your wardrobe this year.

Oscar de la renta,  Botegga Veneta, Balenciaga 


5) KEEP IN LINE- Stripes

Horizontal, Vertical, Thick, Pinstripe. Bold. Every version of stripes will make an appearance. Stripes can be so versatile, it’s impossible not to find a style that suits you. White Pinstripes on your pantsuit for work or horizontal multicoloured stripes on a jersey dress for a sporty look.

Mulberry                                                                         Proenza Schouler


6 ) FLOWER POWER

Again, floral prints will almost always be present in some form or fashion year after year. This year however the prints are more 1960s and 1970s inspired with simplified lighter coloured prints as well as more intricate English garden style patterns.

Balenciaga                                                Zac Posen (top)  Dole &Gabanna (bottom)


7 ) OXFORD STREET-Shirt fashion

2017 welcomes the era of the deconstructed and reconstructed Oxford shirt. This is by far one of my favourites. I love the idea of dismantling a crisp Oxford with all its implications of stiffness and conformity (I also happen to love a regular Oxford btw) and making it into something edgy and with attitude. In 2017, it’s all about the attitude.

Monse                                                                       Off White


8 )BARE NECESSITIES

The bralet is no longer being hidden underneath an oversized tank top or relegated to a festival outfit. It is becoming way more widespread with many designers making the tops of their dresses into this style or creating pantsuits or skirt suits which incorporate bralets. This trend definitely takes some confidence as you will obviously be baring it all. But like I said, 2017 is all about having the right attitude so if you like it, wear it.

Victoria Beckham                                Alexander Wang  (top)   Altuzarra (bottom)


9) EXPLORER- Khaki

I call this: “The other neutral” (Black being the first one). I used to love khaki, in fact I used to have as much khaki as black in my wardrobe. Then I stopped wearing cargo pants, and suddenly…no more khaki. But seriously this time around khaki has come back savage being seen primarily in the form of trench coats and other beautifully designed jackets.

(Clockwise)Talbot Runhof, Less Copains, Dion Lee,Talbot Runhof, Miu Miu

10 ) BOTTOM LINE

Culottes with their midi length wideness are here to make a statement. This style of pant has had a few moments in the limelight since their initial debut in the 1970s but this time the trend is hard to ignore being more ubiquitous than ever. Joining the culottes in the 2017 trend list is wide bottom pants. This style of pant had been very slowly seeping into popular fashion over the past few years but remained relegated to fashion bloggers and stylists who were more willing to take a chance. Now we can all jump aboard on this wearable trend.

Gucci                                                                                                       Chloe

What trends do you like? What are you thinking of experimenting with? 
Have an awesome day! 

CHRISTMAS MOVIES LIST

21 Dec

BLOG-Mas DAY 21!

This is a list of ten movies to keep you entertained during the festive season. They are really all classics in their own right.

 

1) The Harry Potter Series (2001-2011)
– Though these aren’t Christmas movies, there is a Christmastime scene in almost all of them and something about Hogwarts invokes visions of Yuletide Cheer.

 

2) The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993
)- Part Halloween, part Christmas, all awesome.

 

3) A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
– Who doesn’t love Charlie Brown.

 

4) Gremlins (1984)
– If you like a bit of gore with your Christmas pudding.

 

5) Elf (2003)

 

6) Scroodged (1988)
– An oldie but a goodie

 

7) How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

 

8) Christmas with the Kranks (2004)
– It’s funny and heart-warming but not too cheesy, lol.

 

9) Krampus (2015)
– Based on the creature from European folklore, this is for people who like things a bit on the dark side (Like me!)

 

10) A Christmas Horror Story (2015)
– An anthology movie based on Christmas gone wrong.

 
As you can probably tell, my taste tends to be a bit on the dark side, a bit anti cookie cutter, mushy stuff so if that’s your taste as well then hopefully you’ve found some useful suggestions. Have an awesome day!

Festive Makeup- Muted jewel tones  and Metallics 

20 Dec

BLOG-Mas DAY 20

Hello. Today we continue our Festive fashion with a makeup look fit for a night out this season. As with my post on festive nails, I’m keeping with the theme of muted jewel tones with metallic accents.

The star of this show is the Mario master palette by Anastasia Beverly Hills  (ABH) .I mentioned this beautiful palette in my Blogmas Day 6 post; A few Festive things. Even though it isn’t a holiday palette I feel the dark deep jewel hued shimmer shades are perfect for the holiday season.

This palette cost $45 US and is limited edition. I would say there are some fairly unique shades here but you can absolutely create a similar look with different palettes both high-end and drug store. In my small repertoire the closest I have to create a similar look is a Wet and Wild palette  (about $6). I put them side by side for comparison.

Mater Palette with Mario by ABH and Wet n Wild palette


My focus is on the eye look but I will list all the products used for my overall look.

Primer- NYX photo finish primer

Foundation Maybelline Fit me matte poreless in

Eye primer – Urban Decay age defying primer

Brows- ABH dip brow pomade in dark brown

Eyes- ABH Master Palette by Mario 

Liner- Kat von D liquid liner in Trooper (mini)

             M.A.C pencil liner in Engraved

Lashes- Rimmel Scandal eyes in blackeSt black

                 Kat von D mascara in Puro Amore

Fixing spray-NYX matte finish spray





Crease- Real Techniques brush

Brow bone- e.l.f flat brush

Lid-ABH brushes  (came with sets) double ended. Each has a round topped flat brush on one end and a fluffy blending brush in the other.

         Urban Decay brush double ended. A fluffy dense brush on one end to pack on shadow and small round topped flat brush freat for the inner corners.

So now we begin. It turns out I am not a beauty guru or a photographer and therefore not that great at taking pictures of nyself doing makeup so please excuse the lack of pictures as I do each step.



Step 1

Apply Claudia , a deep navy shimmer shade into the crease. Start with a small amount going back and forth in the crease using windshield wiper motion gradually building up.



Step 2

Using a thin flat brush apply 5th ave, a golden hue to the brow bone. I went heavy with this because I wanted a bolder look.



Step 3

Apply Isabela , a medium brown with an orange undertone all over the lid. This will form a base for the rest of the colours.



Step 4

Using a small round topped flat brush,  apply Bronx, a sparkly deep olive shade to the outer corner of the lid, blending it out.



Step 5

Using another small round topped flat brush (or your finger tip) apply Muse, a coppery burgundy in the centre of the lid and blend.


Step 6

Using a small brush place Marine, a delicious shimmery rose gold on the inner corners and blend.

 

 

Step 7

Take a thick fluffy brush and gently blend everything out. Line lids and apply mascara.

Finished eyes (open)

Finished eyes (closed)

I finished up my look with a peach blush and lined my lips with a deep purple and a coated of gloss(Too Faced Lip Injection Extreme ). I kept the rest of my face neutral as I wanted the attention to be on the eyes.

Finished look




Thank you for reading. Hopefully this look will inspire your holiday makeup looks. Have an awesome day!

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