Can Celebrity Mugs Mask Poor Quality?

I confess, I don’t care about celebrity style. Outside of the major red carpet moments, I generally don’t care what a celebrity is wearing. But I do believe in tastemakers. I listen to restaurant recommendations from my friends who frequently dine out for work and pleasure, for example. Same goes for that girl in yoga with the great nails. Where does she get that killer mani? I need to know.

But tell me what jean shorts Kristen Stewart wore last week? YAWN. So when the celebrity styled BeachMint invited me to test drive a few of their lines now available in Canada, I agreed to set aside my lack of enthusiasm over the celebrity quotient and just think about the fashion.

The BeachMint properties are free to sign up. Each month the sites offer an item based on your personal style. You can choose to buy that month or skip it. According to the site, subscribers pay $30 for pieces that the company says would normally retail for a multiple of that price. 

Anyone who knows me knows my love of accessories. (I live by the line from Steel Magnolias, “the only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize.”) BeachMint’s first vertical, JewelMint, features curated jewelry from celebrity duo actress Kate Bosworth and her stylist Cher Coulter. My ring, below, was actually five separate rings, or stackables, that could be combined in whatever combination of color I was feeling that day. Unfortunately the woven metal came with harsh edges around the beads and after continually catching it on my clothes – and worse, my skin – I tossed it. 

Jewelmint’s stackable rings didn’t last long

Next up was ShoeMint by celebrity Rachel Bilson, Nicole Chavez, and Steve Madden. The two-toned sandals were cute, but I couldn’t ignore the visible wear on the (brand new!) straps where they had been buckled prior to meeting me. Their cuteness was quickly downgraded to a cheap, “made in China” vibe. I was torn. Truthfully you can’t see the damage if I’m wearing them. And while they may be from China, they are still cute. And since I have no other cute brown sandals…well, now you see how fashion decisions are often made.

My Shoemint shoes

Finally I checked out my StyleMint t-shirt, endorsed by Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen. Definitely cute, definitely comfy — frankly it’s hard to go wrong with a t-shirt. And they don’t. But how many t-shirts with budget-friendly prices does a girl need? Wisely, StyleMint now goes beyond basic tees to offer some ready-to-wear items, cashmere options and even sunglasses. It has inspired another celebrity-backed t-shirt start up. The LA-based, from a couple of whiz-bang tech entrepreneurs and Jennifer Lopez launched earlier this month. 

Still not sold on the celebrity factor, I do see the appeal of having an item curated for you each month for your taking – or not. Since announcing they ship to Canada, BeachMint has added HomeMint and IntiMint to keep your home style feeling fresh. Let’s hope their quality lives up to the names on the business.

Mary Kate & Ashley. Or Ashley & Mary Kate. Who knows?

F-listed Auction is Live

 Happy birthday to me! For the next ten days explore F-listed, the first online auction of its kind. Browse and bid on fashionable goods donated by Canadian designers, retailers, tastemakers and celebrities across Canada. 

New items will be added throughout the week, so check back frequently. Are you on the mailing list? We’ll notify you when new items go live. Sign up here.

Proceeds help support Dress for Success Toronto, a cause I feel passionately about because we all deserve to look and feel our best. Dress for Success not only outfits disadvantaged women in professional attire, it helps them enter the professional world with mentoring
and job interview training. It’s a volunteer organization with outlets all over North America.

For more on F-listed, click here. Shop, browse and bid now, click here!

Holiday Wish List: Item #5

For any shoe lover, the idea of not having shoes is unimaginable.  But the notion that not having shoes could lead to death is purely unthinkable.  All hail TOMS Shoes.  This charitable organization has created a movement to outfit children in developing countries with shoes by way of every sale it makes. One for one.

According to TOMS website, a leading cause of disease in developing countries is soil-transmitted diseases, which can penetrate the skin through bare feet.  Wearing shoes can help prevent these diseases, and the long-term physical and cognitive harm they cause.
Wearing shoes also prevents feet from getting cuts and sores. Not only are these injuries painful, they also are dangerous when wounds become infected.
Many times children can’t attend school barefoot because shoes are a required part of their uniform. If they don’t have shoes, they don’t go to school. If they don’t receive an education, they don’t have the opportunity to realize their potential.
So this holiday season, I have my eyes on this cute pair of canvas wedges that will be perfect come spring. This charitable shopping exercise is well within anyone’s budget at $69.  (The resulting feelgood vibes are free.)
Do you need any more reason?!

Holiday Wish List: Item #47

I’m a very late Christmas shopper. I never shop for the people in my life until weeks – sometimes days – before Christmas. But picking things Santa could bring me?  Easy peasy.  Luckily my husband is a great giver with or without any hints from me.  And the best part is he buys me things I would never buy myself (read: splurge-worthy).
Occasionally he marries the “need” with the “want” so I’m hoping to find these under our Christmas tree – a smart, sexy winter accessory.  Why freeze your digits off when texting whilst outdoors?  Barrington’s carries these rather sleek cashmere and leather gloves with finer cut-outs, $95.  They only come in black, pine and aubergine and the store is located out in Oakville (totally out of my downtown comfort zone).  But my guess is if they have them, somebody else does too!

Online Shopping is Fun & Festive

Aria Boutique

Aria Boutique is a happy discovery for any online shopper.

Where else can you find Mackage’s Trixie coat, Fluevog’s Listen Audrey black patent pump or Comrags’ Ripper shirt? Aria Boutique has a sweet selection of Canadian and international labels.

Its CLUB RED membership program is perfect for a frequent online shopper who wants deep discounts and opportunities to win merchandise. For $20 a month a CLUB RED membership makes you eligible for generous giveaways ($1,500 in prizes awarded so far), valuable discounts through its 48 hour sales and invitations to private events only for CLUB RED members.

This holiday season why not treat yourself to a year’s worth of savings? Sign up for a one year subscription and receive an instant $50 gift certificate to use at any time on regular priced items (reducing your cost of membership to $190.00).

Congratulations to @melissabernais from Waterloo, Ontario who won a three month introductory
CLUB RED membership in our “Follow and Retweet to Win” contest on Twitter!