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I don’t know if it’s just me … but decorating a tree is stressful and a lot of work … I felt like I was planning my wedding all over again. What theme should I go with .. what colours … style of tree … the ornaments … it’s just mind boggling. Our place is pretty tiny and couldn’t fit a tree in and therefore didn’t have one up for the past two years … it didn’t feel like Christmas … not at all.  Where am I gonna find a tree that’s going to fit in our tiny house and the hubby suggested getting a half tree. Why didn’t he bring up that idea 2 years ago and more importantly why didn’t I think of it.  I found an awesome half tree at Rona for $80, it was a little skinny but at least it was 7 1/2′ tall.

Here’s our tree:

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I decided to go RUSTIC, so that it goes with the theme of our home.  Every single ornament on this tree is from Homesense,  I was going  2-3 times a week and sometimes twice a day.  I got insider scoop that they were getting shipment everyday!  I had to check out the new merchandise as it comes in.   It was an obsession … more like determined to Christmas-ify our house. So I got the theme  … now on to the ornaments. What kind of ornaments will make our tree look rustic … the colours … OMG … the dilemma!!  I pretty much bought everything in sight that looked appealing to me and to other customers too!  I would park up my cart to the side .. maybe 3-4′ away .. so it’s not taking up space in the aisle or block the view from merchandise and I would glance at my cart every so often and at my second glance …  a lady actually went into my cart to grab my sh*t!  WTF?!?  I politely said, “uuummm… that’s mine.” “Ooohh … sorry … those ornaments are so nice … thought someone didn’t want it and left it behind … hahaha” was what she said.  Surprisingly, this incident didn’t only happen to me … I noticed the same thing happen to another lady.  The lesson of this story is:  Keep your cart close … pretend it’s your baby in that stroller … you never know who could be lurking around and take your baby!

The burlap and twig wrap thing is from Michael’s.  The twig wrap thing was actually a wreath that I tore apart which half of it ended up on the floor.  I’d like to know how on earth twigs can bend like that and into a wreath without breaking them!!

Some of the ornament selection:

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I felt really bad for the cashier that had to deal with my return as I had probably about 20 receipts and the lady had to go through them all.  As I was called up next to be served, the cashier had  a wonderful welcoming smile on her face which slowly turned upside down as she saw my cart full of bags … a clear indication of returns.   She was extremely upbeat and really nice, I apologized in advance for the big return … I tried to keep the ornaments organized by receipt … it was just not possible.  I actually laid everything out on my floor sectioned by receipt, so that when it was time to return it, it would be easier for the cashier.  But that didn’t happen, I ended up mixing everything and grouped the ornament by shape and colour … it was like a sea of ornaments.

My favourite thing in our home besides our tree is our Snowman (see below picture).  Isn’t he just so cute?!?  From Homesense obviously.  I actually had to think twice about purchasing it … if that’s hard to believe.  Just wanted to take a quick look in Homesense and check out what they had for the Holidays and ran into this little guy and thought “wow, you’re cute … I wanna take you home with me” and heard my hubby’s voice “we don’t need it, go home”, strangest thing because he wasn’t with me.  He’s learned throughout the years not to come on my trips to Homesense or any kind of shopping … well except for food. So I left the Snowman where he was and continued on my stroll around the store … I still couldn’t get the Snowman out of my mind and decided to go back, get him, pay and get the hell out before I purchase something else I don’t need.  Best purchase ever!  On my way out, a lady came up to me (looked like she just came in) asked where the Snowman was because she’s been searching for it everywhere.  I had to give her the bad news and said I only noticed the one which I bought and suggested she walk around the store in case it was displayed elsewhere besides the Christmas section.  The lesson of this story is: JUST BUY IT!  You can always return it (just be aware of the return policy), in the event you change your mind or it just doesn’t work.  We’ve all been in a situation where you did a good thing by not spending money on something you didn’t need.  I did good … I didn’t need it … then you get home … you start thinking about that pair of shoes, coat or a snowman … and you’re thinking … maybe I should’ve grabbed it … I could wear it with so many things … it’s super comfy … the snowman is like a new addition to the family … I made the biggest mistake of my life … I should have bought it.  Your decision is made … I’m going to buy it … not right now it’s 2am.  Then the inevitable happens …  you’re all excited to go get that pair of shoes, that coat or snowman because you carefully thought about it and you’re not just buying it out of impulse.  So you finally get to the store only to find out it’s not there … not at any location … how heartbreaking is that?!?  I learned the hard way and don’t ever want to be in that situation again … that story deserves it’s own blog post … if I ever decide to tell it … it’s been a slow healing process and I’m getting way off topic … let’s get back to Christmas!

Here’s what the rest of our home looks like:

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I’m actually disappointed with Homesense’s selection of stockings and holders.  Other than that everything else was amazing!!  Maybe I was too late into the season and missed out?  Anyway, I had to go to Michael’s on Saturday to return raffia which i was going to use instead of the twigs and it was crazy busy.  What was going on?  There’s definitely some kind of sale going down right now … all their Christmas decor was already at 50% off … what more of a promotion could there be with over a month to go until Christmas?  Well it was an additional 25% off on all sale product … which can be applied to the already 50% off on their Christmas stuff.  Found our stockings and the holder for it and a little something for our door.

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So it’s that time of year again … Rudsak’s sample sale! Do I really need another coat? Of course not! Do I want another coat … OF COURSE I DO! A few days before the sale, I decided to stop off at Rudsak’s new store at Square One … you know just to check it out and look who I ran into … none other than Shauna … the love of my life revamped and more gorgeous than ever. I didn’t want to put this jacket on. That’s the truth! Really! I asked the sales person how much it was and where it was in the store and of course it was the last one and I can’t justify paying for a jacket that could pay for a trip somewhere tropical where I don’t have to wear it. He asked if I wanted to try it on and I said NO THANK YOU… I knew that once I put her on, I had to take her home. As I was browsing the store, that same sales person comes back with Shauna in hand (he actually took her off the mannequin) for me to try on and I couldn’t refuse. I didn’t want to take her off … she was a little big as the jacket I tried on was a medium. I thought of asking the hubby to get the car so I can run out the store and out of the mall … but then I would be banned from the mall and that can’t happen … oh and I would probably get arrested and do time … that can’t happen either. Here she is …

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The sale is on until November 16 (see details below). They’re very well organized, the racks are by size, there’s a section for footwear and accessories. I’ve got to give praise for the workers there cuz at one point there were jackets everywhere … on the floor … piles of jackets on top of racks … just everywhere and the next minute it was like it wasn’t even there … good job on keeping up with the putbacks.

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After spending almost 2 hours in there …. was relieved that I only walked out with these (didn’t do much damage):

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Boots: $175 (reg. $300+)
Bag: $125 (reg. $250)

Who Wore It Best?

As the new correspondent for US Weekly’s WHO WORE IT BEST … I decided to feature myself. Just kidding … but seriously someone should call them. I found this pic of Kelly Kapowski aka Tiffani Amber Thiessen aka Tiffani Thiessen in the same dress for her Hallmark TV premiere North Pole on November 4. The dress is from Zara from last fall. I wore my dress for the first time finally this September for a wedding ceremony because I finally got to fit myself back into it. The dress is gorgeous … But it has no stretch whatsoever … sitting and bending in it was quite difficult … getting out of the bloody car was a mission!! So kudos to her for wearing that dress all night. I know I wouldn’t last … I would have probably made my own slits half way through the night.

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Sssoooo the question is who wore it best? Kelly Kapowski, I mean Tiffani Thiessen of course … what a stunner! My hair totally ruined the dress while her updo was very simple and let the dress speak for itself.

Don’t forget to vote!!

Who sacrifices their lunch hour to cab it from Yonge & Bloor to get to Front & Bathurst for a sample sale?!? That would be moi. I have been in search in one of those fur hooded jackets that I see all the ladies rocking and was prepared to spend the hefty price tag … no not really … who am I kidding … my husband would leave me and my family would disown me. The jacket I had my eye on retails for about $1195 … but isn’t she a beaut?? Meet Shauna, she also has a twin who’s in all black.

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Photos courtesy of http://www.rudsak.com

I don’t know why I decided to Google Rudsak this morning … something just told me to … next thing I know an ad for a Sample Sale was listed in the Google search and click … there it was … starting Thursday November 21 until Sunday November 24 … I was like OMG that’s today! I have to go right now … no I can’t … DARN IT … I do have a job and have to go there first and it is only 8am … sale starts at 10am. Took an extremely early lunch to beat the lunch rush that would make my journey complicated. To my surprise there was no line up, the sample sale in Montreal apparently had a 30 minute wait to get in. I got in there and it was comfortable to walk around in. They had racks upon racks full of jackets, it was easy to find your size, every rack was labelled by size so you know where to look. They had quite the selection of coats, I was disappointed to learn that it was not their high end line … but RUD styled by RUDSAK … didn’t even know that existed. Maybe they did have some coats by their regular Rudsak line, I may have missed it … but all the coats I looked at were all by RUD. Thank you Rudsak for RUD making it somewhat affordable and definitely fashionable for the gals who can’t spend that hefty price tag.

Browsed for a bit and seen this lady wearing my Shauna … OMG … she’s even prettier in person … her fur was so fluffy … so full … so full of life and quickly asked the lady, where I can find the coat. My heart was racing … How did I miss this jacket, OMG … is it already sold out?!? Her response shattered my heart into a million pieces “Oh, this is from the regular store”. Well that totally sucked. I did find a jacket that I really liked … I couldn’t decide on a colour and a really nice lady saw me going back and forth between 2 colours … she helped me out with deciding on a colour … she tells me that the prices were extremely high compared to last year. She mentioned the coats were starting at $175 and how she bought 2!! OMG!! Wish I was aware of this sample sale!!

This is the jacket I ended up with … definitely cheaper … wwaaayyyy cheaper than my first love Shauna. It also comes in army green and black, I settled with the sand … thought it suited me best. Sale price: $250 Retail: $600 (If you pay cash you get 5% off).

(I apologize for the poor quality of the photos, the hubby was on his way out for his soccer game and didn’t give me his full attention)

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What do you think? Belt or no belt?

Well it’s that time of year … my favourite time of year … WINTERLICIOUS!!! 3 course meals starting at about $15-25 for lunch and $30-$45 for dinner. I was determined to dine at Canoe as it always receives the best reviews and ranked #1 for Winterlicious. Restaurants were to start taking reservations for Winterlicious on January 10, but if you are an AMEX card holder, you had the advantage of calling in on January 8 or 9. Didn’t have an Amex … so I had to wait ’til January 10 to call in … set my alarm 5 mins before 9:00am so I could call and make resos. Getting through was not easy!! Thought 9am was the start time but it was 10am, so I called ByMark instead … got through with reservations for next Saturday night … Can’t wait!! Back to Canoe again … I felt like I was calling into a radio station … busy … busy … busy … for at least a half hour!! I was getting so irritated! I was ready to give up … put the phone down for a few minutes … I’M NOT GIVING UP … I NEED TO EAT HERE (I’m such a fatty)!!! Called Canoe again … busy again … and finally after 15 minutes I get through only to have to wait … after all that ringing, I have to stay on the line to keep my place … all of a sudden it went from calling into a radio station to Roger’s (you know how irritating that can be!!). I did manage to get reservations for February 3 dinner, had no idea it was Super Bowl that weekend (like that really matters to me) & that date didn’t work for some of the people I was going with. Canoe had originally had their restaurant closed for a private event on Saturday January 26, but were taking lunch & dinner reservations. I scooped up the last lunch reservation for that day. Check out their lunch menu:

Winter Green Salad
Charred Pear, Aged Cheddar & Caramelized Onion Vinaigrette
or
Roasted Squash & Parsnip Soup
Birch Yoghurt & Spiced Croutons
or
Sheep’s Milk Quark
Baby Greens, Beet Reduction & Crisps

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Maple Braised Willowgrove Pork
Orecchiette, Crackling, Kale & Thunder Oak Gouda
or
Slow Cooked Ontario Brisket
Steel Cut Oats, Red Wine Cabbage & Cedar Pickled Mustard Seeds
or
Smoked Pan Seared Heritage Salmon
Wilted Greens, Horseradish Slaw, Wild Rice & Swede Broth

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Maple Gingerbread Pudding
Cranberry Preserve & Scorched Citrus Crème Anglaise
or
Spiced Chocolate Panna Cotta
Marshmallow Graham Cracker Crumb
or
Almond Cake
Niagara Apple Compote & Salted Caramel Sauce

I started with the Winter Green Salad:
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Sheep’s Milk Quark:
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My main was Maple Braised Willowgrove Pork:
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OMG!! Soooo delicious … I love my pasta!!

Slow Cooked Ontario Brisket:
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My Dessert, Spiced Chocolate Panna Cotta:
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I totally got sold on the description of this dessert … spiced, chocolate, graham cracker, marshmallow … made me think of S’mores … mmmm … Prairie Girl … S’more cupcakes… I have a problem … that damn sweet tooth of mine will be the death of me!!

Almond Cake:
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That was a delicious meal, definitely worth $25!! I will eat here again, that’s for sure … next year!! I will make sure to get my credit in check so I can get approved for an AMEX in order to get early bird reservations for Winterlicious. I’m joking, I wouldn’t do that … I’m not that crazy … actually … yes … it’s a Chiara thing to do … when it comes to food … drastic measures must be made!! Check out their view, on the top floor of the TD Center … wining & dining to this:

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My Canoe outfit (this photo was taken after dinner – hence the sleepy face):
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Grey Chiffon Top: Winners ($19.99)

Jeans: James Jeans (Twiggy Jeans – Night Shade) purchased at Winners ($99)
My absolute favourite jeans, bought the same exact pair from Beyond The Rack for when the first pair dies.

Rabbit Fur Vest: Costa Blanca

Necklace: Banana Republic

Boots (for sale): Zara
I wore a similar looking boots to these. I obviously didn’t wear these today as you can see the tags are still on and that would be just so wrong!! LOL!!! For any takers out there. These are about 3-4 years old … Size 38. Paid as per tag … will take best offer for these boots. Email or message me on Facebook if interested. Pick up locations: Toronto (Financial District) or Mississauga (Square One or Erin Mills area).

Arm Swag: Michael Kors Watch, Orange Bow & Gold Spiked Bracelet (Obsessions – TD Center).

Nothing like rabbit fur to keep me warm at this time of the year!! Bugs Bunny would not be impressed … Lol!!!

I’ve been MIA with the blog posts because I’m a homeowner now & that’s where my time & $$ have gone to. Hopefully when my place is furnished to my liking I can blog about it. But for now my only splurge is the hat ($39) & scarf ($59) I scooped up on sale at Danier.

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My absolute favorite piece, my rabbit fur vest. Purchased last year at Costa Blanca ($175 … I think?). Best investment ever!!

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Wow it’s been a while since I’ve posted!! Sorry guys!! Can’t believe Canada Day and Civic Holiday has passed and Labour or Labor Day (ya know what I mean!!) is just around the corner!!! Booohoooo!!! Well I’ve been out and about enjoying the weather … beach trips, BBQ’s, swimming, tennis and little partying here and there!!! I can’t even count how many heat waves Toronto’s had, but I definitely wish we were on that wave still. Can’t believe how drastically the temperature has dropped :( That hasn’t stopped me from wearing dresses, especially maxis!!! This is definitely my dress of the summer, I love the fit and in love with the colour combo. Loved it so much that I want to buy it another colour … nearly died when all was left was the yellow & white combo in XL, and found the colour I bought in my size at half the price with an addition 30% off … yeah FML. What surprised me most was that buying it didn’t cross my mind … as I type this post … come to think of it … why didn’t I buy it?!?! You know as a back up when the first one falls apart. What was I thinking?!?

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Denim Jacket – Costa Blanca (I know what you’re thinking “there’s that denim jacket again!”

Chevron Maxi Dress – Gap $79.95 currently down to about $39.95 + 30% off

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