Shopping & Me…on Urbandig!

It’s no secret that I love to shop – the hunt and its tangential discoveries, the rush of finding it (on sale!), the promise of transformation, I love it all. And from J Brand skinny jeans to Rocky Mountain Foot Butter to a Goorin fedora, I’ve bought it all. I’ve been teased that Confessions of a Shopaholic’s Rebecca Bloomwood is loosely based on my life – except perhaps for the bits about the enabling roommate and that glossy pink (iLove!) Macbook. I do, however, own more stilettos than you can shake a stick at and have had my credit cards declined at Henri Bendel. Tres embarrassing!!

So enter Urbandig. Urbandig is a cool new app that delivers “off the beaten path” city experiences right to your smart phone and these experiences have been “curated” by hipsters in the know. I knew I had to get on board.

As for my curator credentials, I’m a born and bred Vancouverite and as mentioned, I love to shop. In fact, I believe I am a pioneer in the shop-tourism sector – having travelled to London, Paris, Milan, Tokyo, Marrakech, Toronto, NYC, Chicago, and San Francisco to name a few – like a UN Goodwill ambassador, only I’m spurring local economies. Secondly, I have four sisters and our favorite holiday of the year is Boxing Day. After the tree is trimmed, the turkey gobbled, doodads purchased, wrapped and then unwrapped for every member of our extended family, we wake up at 6AM, zip to Caffé Artigiano for a latte to go and then shop till we drop (dollar bills obviously!) And finally, living as I do, with 4 boys under my roof, there is not much I won’t do for a day out with my girlfriends. And so, as often as we can, my girlfriends and I come together to brunch, shop, spa, shop some more, drink & dance – and as such, planning Girls Days Out are somewhat of a specialty of mine.

With the malls of North America so cookie-cutter boring, there are really just two shopping destinations in Vancouver that I love to waste a day away at – Main Street and South Granville Street. For my Girls Day Out tour, I chose Granville Street as it caters to foodies, shoe lovers, and all shoppers who love good style as much as they love good labels, plus it ends at a world-class spa. Everyone’s a winner on Granville Street!!

So grab a girlfriend (or eight) and follow my Girls on Granville Tour on Urbandig. Meet over brunch at Café Barney or Luke’s Corner Bar (but don’t eat too many breakfast potatoes or you won’t fit into those skinny jeans you covet!) and take a wander down beautiful, historic South Granville Street, I’ll bet you’ll find just what you’re looking for!

Love Lucie

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Hi, My name is Lucie and I’m a Shop-a-holic

At least that’s what my husband calls me, but I prefer the term, savvy shopper.

My shopping skills were honed early on in the malls of suburbia, where my mother (a hard working farmer’s hard working wife) faced with having to get her 5 daughters ready for “back to school” would hand us 3 older kids $100 apiece (worth much more in 1981 dollars!) and tell us to get ourselves some back-to-school outfits. Flush with cash and the heady responsibility of choosing our own outfits for the status-setting super important first day of school, my sisters and I would comb the mall for hours, scouring all the stores for the must-have trends and the best bargains. Each sale and promotion was scrutinized and once our research was complete, we would conduct our analysis over Orange Julius drinks in the food fair, carefully considering the versatility of each item before one dollar could be wrested from our sweaty and excited hands. My sisters and I were the original Shopping Bags, debating the pros (status, sex appeal) and cons (cost) of French Jeans vs. Rainbow Jeans, Ralph Lauren Polo shirts vs. Daniel Hechter.

It was around then when I had my first sale-induced hot flash – you know the feeling, stumbling upon a deeply discounted item in your size and favourite color, in perfect condition, marked ridiculously low because it was the very last one in stock. Never mind the fact that is was a halter top and it was the beginning of September, you just can’t ignore good karma like that! One year, my sister discovered white leather Stan Smiths on sale for the ridiculously low price of $19.99 in our size! “Just imagine the possibilities,” I screamed, but she hesitated, unbelieving this incredible deal. So then I threw down the gauntlet saying, “If you don’t buy them, I will.” She quickly bought the shoes. Back at home, while she was lacing up her prized sneakers, we discovered that the left shoe had 6 sets of holes for the laces and the right shoe had 7! We briefly considered taking the shoes back, but 1) after the day shopping with her 5 daughters, our mother didn’t want to step foot in the mall again until 1984, and 2) we figured that if it took us that long to discover the mismatch, no one else would either.

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Now that I’m a bit more flush with cash (thank you Poker tournament!) I have been hunting for a pair of the famed red-soled Christian Louboutins. These shoes cost $595US and hurt like a bitch, but I don’t care, I want them anyways! PLUS as my feet have stopped growing, I was pretty sure I could get the cost per wear down to something more reasonable over the rest of my lifetime. But I’ve been wrestling with my desire, as I still hate paying full retail and they simply do not go on sale. One sunny day, I tucked my savvy shopper tail between my legs and headed for Holt Renfrew’ shoe department. Unfortunately for me, the sales person either didn’t like me or didn’t believe I was the type to part with that much money for a pair of shoes (in her defense, she would have been right on a normal day) and gave me such lazy service that I decided to walk away from the shoes, validating her point, but saving my savvy shopper ego.

That was about a month ago. Since then, I’ve been spending my poker winnings in dribs and drabs – $200 on sweaters at Club Monaco (I know, I know Spring is around the corner, but they were on sale and I’m cold NOW!), $250 on a neon-yellow puffy ski jacket (ditto), $99 on a pair of cool cargo ski pants (really cheap) and assorted other things, leaving me with just enough poker money STILL to buy the Louboutins.

That was before I went shopping along Vancouver’s famed South Granville area. Well actually, I was returning some bathmats to Restoration Hardware, but I digress. I popped into Ashia Mode since I had a few minutes left on my meter. Ashia Mode is a super swish ladies store where I once bought a Lida Baday ball gown for 50% off! I’ve only worn it once and now hemlines have changed, so this was not one of my more stellar purchases, but I thought their winter sale deserved a quick peruse.

And there, looking forlorn in the 70% off and more section, were these babies.

So cute! Last pair. My size. Leather soles. So comfy. And look at them on!

And the piece de la resistance?

Moschino Cheap and Chic for 90% off!! Yes, I am a savvy shopper! And Mr. Louboutin, I’m still searching for you!

Love Lucie

I ♥ Shoppers Drug Mart

It’s as predictable as a rainy winter in Vancouver – the month of January is known as belt-tightening season at our house. Over indulgence with loved ones during the holiday season always leaves me with a thicker middle and a lighter wallet. So each January 1, I dive into the new year with the optimism and energy to tackle whatever money/ parenting/ fitness/ relationship/ muffin-top woes the year brings me. So every January 1st, I say good-bye to eggnog lattes, lower the thermostat a few degrees and say hello to my long lost friends, frugality and austerity. But like so many failed resolution runs before me, by the 25th of January or so, the enthusiasm with which the year started has been washed away by the endless rain and grey skies, leaving me with boring bills to pay, an empty box of chocolate and that ever present itch to spend.

So, I’ll let you in on my little secret. Every January, when I can’t find two spare twenties to rub together and buy a cute new top, I empty out my wallet and dump all the cards in a pile on my desk. This is when I notice that I’m carrying 27 membership cards which attach me to 27 businesses around town. Among them are a Whole Foods Rotisserie Chicken Punch Card, a Chatters Beauty Salon Customer Appreciation Card, a Goorin Brothers Loyal Customer Card, and a Pure Nail Bar Pamper Card. I love loyalty marketing programs and they love me, as my loyalty can be bought easily with a generous points program.

However, my favourite loyalty marketing programs are as follows (in order):
RBC Avion Visa – As the primary shopper of the family, I have been known to accrue a LOT of points on this card in just one year. A lot. Enough to fly this family of 5 somewhere guaranteed to be hot and sunny when the skies are non-stop crying in Vancouver. Spring Break in Oahu anyone?
Shoppers Drug Mart Optimum card – I currently have 94,364 points which is just 636 points shy of $170 of whatever I want from Shoppers!! After one more trip to get toilet paper, some extra strength Advil and some multivitamins, I can see myself spending my little windfall on that great Smashbox primer and Dior anti-aging eye cream!
AirMiles – These guys invented loyalty marketing in Canada and I love them. However, after cashing my points for a Cuisinart Griddler last year, I only have 712 points currently, which is not quite enough for that DeLonghi food processor I have my eye on. Guess I’d better stock up at Safeway soon!
Sephora Beauty Insider – I have 112 points there, which granted is not much, but a free mini mascara is nothing to sneeze at.
GAP Sprize – I’m so sad to see that this brilliant loyalty marketing move (where your account automatically gets debited if what you’ve purchased goes on sale AFTER you’ve purchased it!) has fallen by the wayside. Without a few bucks sitting my Sprize account to draw me in to browse, it’s unlikely I will be shopping there for me again.

The rest of the loyalty cards in my wallet are dead weight – more a membership ball and chain with nothing in it for me (yet). Except for requiring a giant wallet and the biceps to carry it around.

I love my Shoppers Drug Mart Optimum Card, I feel like I’m getting kickbacks for buying toilet paper and sunscreen. Now, if only those smart people at Holt Renfrew would discover loyalty marketing and jump on the bandwagon!

Here’s hoping!
Love Lucie