Posts Tagged ‘Trends’

Goodbye Retail, Hello Price-Slashed Wholesale

March 4, 2011 9 comments

My new Sun Ice raincoat. Okay fine, it's not me wearing it...

Retail shopping is so yesterday.

I refuse to pay full price for anything anymore. If it’s not on sale, forget it. With huge outlet malls cropping up in suburban areas, and email alerts conveniently telling me when my favorite shops are busting out goods at huge discounts, who needs to?

The only thing better than driving south of the border to hit these outlets is when these outlets come to you, in your own backyard, a new trend that is catching on like wildfire.

My friend has an in on a sweet line of Sun Ice ski jackets and outdoor apparel – her family owns it. Instead of shipping their extra stock off to a discount center, she is setting up racks in neighborhood homes and selling them at big discounts. I went by her house for a sale where she had partnered with a local yoga line, Tonic. We had coffee and I left with a super cute yoga outfit and raincoat that both rival Lululemon – but at half the cost.

Next year's ski jacket - would it look as chic with a helmet and no make up?


I was giddy with delight, flushing with victory so pure I was puzzled. I felt something was missing, and then realized it was that feeling of buyer’s remorse. Unlike usual, I had none. No guilty feelings thinking, “I didn’t need that”. I had gone with the hope of finding some new yoga wear (whether doing yoga or not, I live in this stuff) and a raincoat that was a tad different from everyone else in Vancouver. I found both within the confines of her friendly living room and spent a fraction of the cost.

Life may be beautiful, but mine is seldom this easy.

I am being invited to sales like this on a regular basis; women hosting jewelery designers and clothing lines in their own homes. The environment is much more welcoming than harsh fluorescent light and those mirrors that make my hips look wider than they are. I’ll gladly exchange the bored out of their mind teenage shopkeepers for honest women who know a garment flaw when they see one.

The concept of shopping is changing as quickly as the world is shedding its landlines. I don’t aimlessly browse through shops in the hopes of randomly discovering something I like and is on sale (unless, of course I’m at Winners and in need of retail therapy). My shopping is much more purposeful and driven by red tags.

I’m ignoring the middle man in favor of neighborhood homes, my days of mall crawling are officially over.

YouTube, My Uninvited Dinner Guest

January 18, 2011 2 comments
Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

Every dinner party I throw or gathering I host, my guests end up gathered around my computer, vying for elbow space as someone looks up a video on YouTube.

This preponderance could be a result of my poor cooking skills or boring conversational tendencies, but I prefer to think of it as a trend that is happening across dining rooms in the world as social media furthers its impact on our lives.

With politics being too polarizing, reality television getting old and the news being almost exclusively depressing, YouTube has established itself as the savior-topic for social gatherings in my household.  Have no fear, YouTube is here!

Last Saturday night, the featured videos showed delusional children and weird animal behaviors, both boasting huge hit numbers. Other evenings have showcased funny droid spoofs of husband and wife scenarios, hilarious sports bloopers, and occasionally we have sat through videos that their children have uploaded.

According to their site, YouTube receives over 2 billion hits a day, and the average person spends fifteen minutes a day surfing their network – my dinner guests clearly among them.  Since my fifteen minutes mostly occurs when friends are showing me things, that translates to a lot of people spending boatloads of time on this site.

I’m told that besides its amusing and iconic videos, there is also a huge catalog of useful how-to videos on YouTube that teach people things from how to speak french to installing counter tops, so the popular site serves a useful purpose.

My personal experience has not been particularly positive – I have searched the site very rarely, mostly before going to a concert when I want to watch the band’s videos.  If it’s a popular song by a well-known artist it is usually the first thing that appears.  If not, I may end up watching Betty Sue plucking out her acoustic version of the song, or a llama giving birth to a squirrel, you never know.

To find an illustration for my point, I just searched for “Phoenix” on YouTube, and the first featured video was indeed Phoenix, the band, but the other featured videos on the sidebar were named “Tips and tricks on how to save money on printer ink” and “I PEED ON IT SO IT’S MINE!”. The search engine seems to spit out random videos that have nothing to do with my search criteria, and it annoys me.

In fact, my experiences with YouTube are similar to my experiences channel surfing during daytime television: extremely rarely do I find something worth watching, and mostly it saddens me about the state of humankind.

But for all of the misadventures and crap that is on YouTube, there are irrefutably diamonds in the rough; creative and brilliant missiles produced by amateurs on a budget of zilch, or hilarious moments of everyday life caught on video.

This is the stuff good dinner parties are made of.

Ten reasons why I blog

January 11, 2011 2 comments
Blogging Readiness

Image by cambodia4kidsorg via Flickr

1. For the title, blogger.

It may not be much of a title, but at least it’s better than nothing, which is exactly how my six-year old filled in the blank of what her mother does.

Besides, Oprah is going off the air.

2. Therapy

Shrinks are expensive; blogging is cheap.

3. To be published

I always wanted to be, and now I am! Who knew it was so easy?  I don’t make a living by it, but everyone knows money is overrated in our society.

4. Twitter sucks

I guess I’m not succinct, the 140 character thing stymies me, as does the whole follower issue.  Blogging, in contrast, is easy; set up your blog and you’re off to the races, followers notwithstanding.

5. Release

I don’t know about you, but I have been walking around writing essays in my head for my whole life, or at least since I learned how to compose an essay in high school.  It’s not always relevant – when I’m unloading the dishwasher I might be writing a piece about Nelson Mandela or reviewing Wuthering Heights, so very random.  I finally have a place to put these thoughts, poorly constructed or otherwise.

6. Shameless self-promotion

My ego thinks what I have to say is important or witty.  You need not weigh in here – ignorance is bliss.

7.  Demystify modernity

I wasn’t really sure what a blog was before a few months ago.  It sounded sexy, I wanted in!  The best way to learn is by doing, so after meeting with my friend who blogs I took a deep breath and started my own.  I still have a lot to learn, I keep subscribing to the RSS feeds for other blogs but then don’t know where to find them, but I’m getting there, albeit more like the turtle than the hare.

8. No editorial haggling

It really is like having your own column, or owning a newspaper and writing all of the content – you have free reign to say what you want in as many or few words as you like.  It’s like Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park without the box.  At least I’m the boss of my blog, if nothing else.

9. Beats scrapbooking

I’m not one for literally cutting and pasting, and on the couple of occasions I forayed into this other mystical world I wound up with ten paper cuts  – as if life wasn’t hard enough.  I attempted to document my first child’s life for her first two years, and then called it a day.  My second and third children sometimes complain about this exclusion, to which I reply “try being the ninth child” (which reminds me, I should back up my hard drive).

10. I blog, therefore I am

Everyone seems to borrow content from somewhere, and Descartes is as good as the next guy.  I blog to prove I exist.  I have an entire essay stashed in a box somewhere about why thinking also proves I exist, but it’s not online so I can’t find or remember what I said.  You see where I’m going.

Why don’t you blog?  Everyone’s doing it.