Tag Archives: aunti

a perfect AUNTI day!

hands down, when i see my real-life friends who read the blog, the posts that elicit the most compliments and exclamations are those featuring little e and cutie c. and who am i to argue!? my nieces are the most adorable children on the face of this earth bring a lot of joy to my life!

file photo, july 2012

so, as you know, goal #2 of this year’s kikiproject was to “babysit little e and cutie c two times so that the brother and sil ana can enjoy a significant date or special event.” and babysit i did, here (in march)and here (in may).

well, if we stretch the definition of “special event” to include “the brother and sil ana must go to work,” then i can count this past wednesday as extended babysitting day #3!

aunti wednesday is nothing unusual, but today’s EXTENDED aunti wednesday plans came together with very little effort – funny how that happens sometimes (and then other times you’re emailing back and forth 54 times, trying to pull a date together).

i arrived in TO just after 11 a.m. and after chatting with sil ana for a bit, the girls and i hung out until lunchtime. happily, sil ana left all the ingredients so that aunti could make one of her three specialty lunches: grilled cheese [it’s either going to be melted-cheese-on-bread, tofu, or scrambled eggs, those are the only options when aunti’s in the kitchen].

and cheesy was the operative word!

nice work, little e!

cutie c enjoyed a little sandwich with her ketchup!

wednesday was a perfect summer day – so we headed over to the neighbourhood park!

the girls were very excited to tell me that they dressed as twins on purpose: same-patterned shirts, bright pink bottoms, and the sandals were the same brand!

we started off in the playground area…



…then it was splashpool time!

the girls were mesmerized…

…by the pool-filling process!

nice balancing, cutie c!

ready to play!

the cool water was refreshing!

now THAT’S a snuggly towel!

then it was back home for some arts ‘n’ crafts and reading time:

yea – stickers! here, we’re making a garden…

we got through a maze a-ok!

fortunately, the brother bbq’d up dinner for us before he and sil ana enjoyed the “date” portion of the day:


unpictured moments of our time together included a dance recital, reading with all three of us squished in the comfy chair, and a singing performance (with glue-stick + popsicle stick microphones!).

such a great day!

with four plus months left in the year, we’ll see if more babysitting adventures can be had!

people pictures!

for as far back as i can remember, i have so much preferred looking at pictures of people rather than gazing at scenery or peering at historic sites. for example: our family subscribed to national geographic magazine when i was little and every month, i read the magazine – well, let’s use the term “read” loosely as i never read the articles, just looked at the photos. i loved the people pictures the best, and would simply skim over the blah blah greenery of south america or the white snow peaks of the himalayas.

nowadays, i quite enjoy looking at friends’ vacation photos…as long as there are lots of people pictures! and those are the type of photos i prefer to take, too.

today, i’d like to share with you some fun photos from the past little while:

1) early last week, the brother had to be in waterloo for some meetings at the uni (and he and dad managed to squeeze in nine holes of golf, too!) so little e and cutie c tagged along in order to enjoy some g’ma/g’pa/aunti time!

this is my absolute favourite photo of our time together – i even posted it to fb and it is now my new background on my laptop:

as i’ve said before, you can’t *pose* children too long – this was a lucky break to get all three of us “lookin’ good!”

i asked little e to show off her gap-toothed grin…since BOTH front teeth are now missing!

cutie c’s curls are growing!

up, up and away! the barrels in g’ma and g’pa’s lobby are always a big hit!

it was a marvelous day! and the very next day, we celebrated cutie c’s THIRD bday, in toronto!

happy third bday, c!!!

our little darlings are growing up so fast!

2) last sunday, it worked out perfectly for me to go watch cousin alex‘s soccer match!

there’s alex in the yellow jersey, on the left – number eight!

the morning’s overcast skies turned to beautiful sunshine by the 5 pm game time – although it was super windy!

cousin alex plays for a rep/travel soccer team – the opponents were from london (ontario, not england!).

action…as seen from afar!

i had so much fun at the game!!! sharon and i sat together and chatted non-stop, and the soccer game was pretty intense. alex’s team ended up winning 4-1 – yippee! i was super-impressed with the skill level of all of the players – fancy footwork, quick sprints, we saw it all.

and – bonus! – i feel like i increased my knowledge of soccer’s rules and strategies ten-fold! it is just too bad that this was alex’s third-last game of the season and his last year of playing competitively (alex begins university in september and his studies will take priority!).

cousin alex, post-match!

…and the three of us, post-game! me, alex, sharon – see how that strong wind was messing with our hair!

3) now let’s go back and talk about the olympics for a minute. specifically, i want to revisit the women’s marathon [i watched pvr’d coverage over at mom and dad’s sunday eve, after the soccer outing]. obviously, i was not in london in person [although my friend julie is, lucky duck!!] but i feel the need to exclaim about the running form of competitor priscah jeptoo from kenya who won the silver medal. take a look at this photo:


jeptoo is the runner on the extreme right.

all through sunday’s race, i could not hold back my verbal outbursts to mom and dad on her *unique* style of running – see how her knees almost knock each other? and when they showed the leaders’ foot strikes in slo mo, it positively made me cringe to see how she landed on the inner portion of her foot, pronating extremely.


i just cannot fathom how an elite marathon runner can have success with this running form! i guess there is something to be said for running in a way that is natural to you. but i tell you, all through the viewing of the race, i was thinking “ouch! oo! yikes!”

the women’s marathon was super exciting to watch – i hope the men’s race on sunday is equally as captivating!

4) vfbf joanne and i are on a roll!! three weeks, three visits at vincenzo’s. yesterday was the first day we had to sit indoors due to inclement weather:

we were aiming to get that bistro-ish poster in the background…not quite!

an hour of chitchat always flies by – but we talk very fast and non-stop, so we do squeeze in quite a bit of updating!!

ok, that’s it for today. i may see you tomorrow, i may see….in a while!

happy weekend!

another chapter ends

30 day photography challenge

day #28: flowers

no idea what this orange flower is! help?!

there was absolutely no pre-planning to this photo, at all! little e and i were walking home from school on aunti day when we passed the neighbourhood corner store. this particular “mom and pop” shop sells the most beautiful assortment of fresh flowers. little e and i always pause to look them over and pick out our favourites. on this particular day, i just happened to say to e, “let’s get a picture!” and the result is what you see, above – our official photo for today. [i think memories of her recent dance recital were fresh in little e’s mind – don’t you love the dramatic arm placement!]. i never have little e or cutie c “pose” – it’s open camera, aim, shoot, hope for the best! and this snapshot turned out pretty darn cute, no?!

anyway, i realize the flowers (our theme) are more of a border to little e’s smiling face…but this photo fits in perfectly with my thoughts, today.

first, i love how e is missing a tooth right now. the hole-in-the-smile era is a short-lived one, but so significant in terms of marking a milestone in the growing-up years. and all children look so cute at this stage!

second, yesterday (aunti wednesday) was little e’s second last day of school, so my chauffeuring and meeting-the-bus duties are over for this school year. and since little e will be at the same school all day next year, we will never again have the same schedule as we have enjoyed together from september to yesterday. i am really feeling sentimental about this! of course, lots of fun awaits over the summer months and then looking ahead to a new fall routine, but it’s still a change, and i will really miss our routines and 1:1 time from the past nine months.

do you remember how old you were when you lost your front tooth/teeth? i just went through my photo albums trying to find my own toothless-grin examples and came up empty-handed! how can that be?! i am going to guess i was in grade one. mom, can you verify?!

sulphur springs saturday!

there’s going to be a lotta big mileage numbers recorded into some runners’ logbooks after this weekend at the sulphur springs trail races! today, over near ancaster, you will find ultrarunners participating in 50k, 50 mile and 100 mile distances [there are also 10k and 25 k events, and while still worthy distances, those are not ultras!]. i will be eagerly awaiting the results: one of my fb friends, s.p., is in the 100 miler. this has got to be s.p.’s eighth or ninth attempt at completing this distance, and i soooo hope he gets his finisher’s belt buckle this weekend. s.p. has run amazing mileage thus far in 2012, and it’d be great to see all his dedication rewarded. i think some other fb friends are running, too, so i wish them all the best! you planned the work, now work the plan (and drink up – it’s going to be hot!).

sulphur springs is no walk in the park for a 100 mile race. the course is very hilly, and the trails can be quite technical, at times. i ran the 25k distance a couple of years, and still have the scar on my left elbow from a spill i took after catching my toe on a tree root as a souvenir (well, that and the race tshirt, of course!). one of these years, i would love to volunteer at an aid station at sulphur – it’d be super cool to observe the will and might of these runners!

have you ever stayed up all night to participate in a sporting event? i know fran recently did when she walked in the relay for life! and when i was five, i remember dad being a part of a 24 hour relay running team, back in the 70’s – i clearly recall sitting in the back seat of the car as we picked him up at seagram stadium!


on wednesay, i was chauffering little e and all of a sudden on z103.5 a song came on that i have not heard in ages – well, since i used to teach aerobics back in the 90’s. i am sure little e thought that aunti had flipped her lid because i squealed excitedly as i animatedly explained to her that this was one of my favourite songs EVER! i had completely forgotten what a kick-ass song it is! [i did not use that term when chatting with little e!].

google is such a beautiful thing. i am really bad with song titles, so i came home wednesday eve and simply googled, “i’m knock knock knocking, knocking on the back of your door” and within two seconds double vision’s “knockin‘” was blasting out of my laptop. man, playing this song is so ENERGIZING!!! it makes me very HYPER (not the best emotion at 10 pm!) and brings a huge smile to my face, both because of the fantastic beat and the happy memories of aerobics-teaching days. immediately after my google search, i bought the song on itunes – best $0.99 purchase in eons!

so watch out: i am seriously contemplating having knockin‘ and ONLY knockin’ on dad’s my ipod on endless repeat for my next running event. the combo of knockin’ + compression socks could bring about quite the race experience!

what is a song that revs you up? my favourites all have a strong and quick bass beat, i’ve noticed.


remember the super cute card that gina sent me?

andrea’s work of art

well, gina let me know that andrea has a website where she features her cards, and you can order them from this site, as well. i’m passing along the link simply because andrea’s creations are so imaginative and so beautiful – and you may need some cards?!

are you familiar with etsy? i have poked about once, but that was it. i really like going to craft shows (like stitch n kitsch!) where you can see products *for real* and purchase directly from independent artists/creators!

have a sensational (sunsational?!) saturday!

wiggles no more

my neighbours were away over the long weekend, and as a result, i got to inherit their saturday edition of the toronto globe and mail. so, what news reports do you think i read the most avidly?

it was not the coverage of charles and camilla’s visit to canada.

it was not hockey play-off final scores.

it was not even the scoop about madonna’s new perfume.

nope, what grabbed my attention was this article by marsha lederman:

why i love the wiggles (and will be sorry to see the original cast go).

first of all, i was gobsmacked because i had not heard the news that jeff, murray and greg are leaving the group.


then, my thoughts turned nostalgic.

ever since little e was a baby, i have brought down wiggles cd’s to toronto as part of my aunti visiting routine. for over five years, we have listened to every cd that the wiggles have ever made – numerous times. out of all of the children’s cd’s that we have tried, the wiggles are far and away my favourite. their tunes are catchy, their banter is energetic, and who does not enjoy hearing an australian accent? little e has been a loyal fan, too – many an hour we sat curled up on the couch, listening to music and looking at the cd covers. [sidenote: we’ve talked about the wiggles on the blog before, most noticeably here and here!]. in fact, little e’s very first sticker book featured the wiggles at the beach!

now, the globe and mail article does state that the wiggles are going to carry on – three new members will join the group. well, imho, if you replace 3/4 of a group…they might as well be a new band (esp when, as is the case here, one of the new cast members is female! do we call her a wigglette, then?!).

the original wiggles foursome is going to do a final farewell tour (cha-ching, why would you not?!) and will play TO this fall. then, it will be the end of the jeff/murray/greg/anthony wiggles era.

i guess i also feel a bit melancholy because little e is already over 5.5 years old, and it won’t be all that much longer until she outgrows the wiggles altogether. [as is to be expected, little e and cutie c have different personalities, and c has just never gotten into the wiggles – at least in my vicinity – quite like little e did. in fact, cutie c will be quite relieved that “wake up, jeff!” will be no more!].

to be optimistic, i am sure there are more fun musical discoveries that lie ahead as little e and cutie c get older. while it would be a real thrill to take the girls to the wiggles final appearance in TO, should that not prove to be possible, that is all right. cuz aunti will be more than ok with volunteering to take the girls to go see whoever is the next miley cyrus or justin bieber. in fact, i can’t wait!


it felt so strange to have saturday off from the store! i don’t remember the last time that happened.

a few weeks ago, we arranged that may 12th would be extended babysitting opportunity #2 for the 12 days of kiki project. [hence today’s title: saturday’s date in numbers, then the twelve for the 12 days of kiki, project #2, date #2]. i was able to swap my usual saturday hours for my colleague’s wednesday eve shift (had to skip aunti wednesday), and presto! saturday in TO was on!

i started my day with a drive to food basics for essentials: coffee! carbonated water! sardines, $0.88 per tin, on sale!

then, i popped over to mom and dad’s for an early mother’s day moment with mom:

nothing wrong with a mother’s day WEEKEND of celebrations!

we anticipated that sunday would be busy with g’ma’s bday celebration, so saturday worked out well for some mother-daughter visiting.

i had time to go see the blanket!

its temporary “haus”

why, hello again!

see you again at the end of the month!

early aft, it was time to head down the 401 for the day’s main event – babysitting little e and cutie c!!!

it’s a beautiful day in the neighbourhood – and no traffic issues. bonus!

i had to parallel park behind this sporty bmw – nothing like a little added pressure to an already challenging task!

we played downstairs for a while:

the happy camper??!

little e proudly showed off her new ballet shoes!

sure we can play with every toy available…

aunti does not know the meaning of the word “no” unless bodily harm is a risk.

the girls were pretty zonked from a busy morning:

ready for some quiet time.

look who was on treehouse channel!

aunti loves the wiggles (honestly!).

and the girls introduced me to a new show:

i actually really liked “bubble guppies:” it was educational, had catchy/boppy tunes, cute graphics, and an actual storyline. *** three stars!

the brother and sil ana planned an easy and appealing treat dinner:

aunti doesn’t cook, as you are well aware…i could handle this prep, and it was a real crowd-pleaser!

i almost forgot to share the big news of the day:

look who has lost a front tooth! ah, a sign of growing up….

…little sister just wanted to smile for the camera, too.

can’t end without a group photo:

at least all three of us are (mostly) within the frame!

bedtime was a breeze. is there anything better than snuggling with storytime?

i feel so lucky when i get to spend time with my little princesses – they fill my ♥ with joy. i’m definitely going to encourage the brother and sil ana to book me for as many extended babysitting days as we can manage, this year!


parallel parking: rate your skillz on a scale of 1-10. me = 4. it’s completely hit or miss: when my aim is good, it’s very, very good, and when i’m off, it’s positively hideous. the only time i absolutely nailed the parallel park was on my driving exam, way back when – whew!

‘sitting in the city

as you know, one of the things i love about my job is the flexible schedule and the fact that no two weeks ever seem to be the same. usually, on a friday, i work 9-6 at theOTHERstore. however, i front-loaded my week this week with more hours than normal, which made my friday a short 9-2 shift.

i had a grand and very FUN idea, early in the week! let’s see: i am done work early on friday; it is march break, thus no aunti wednesday is planned as the little ones have a different schedule; i am fifteen minutes closer to toronto if i leave from theOTHERstore; hopefully TO traffic will be reduced, thanks to march break…

a-ha! the timing was perfect to complete part one of number two in the 12 days of kiki! luckily, the brother and sil ana were open to me shooing them out of the house for a date night! the plan was set! [yes, i realize i could have spent these hours knitting on THE BLANKET. however, family trumps knitting, regardless of impending deadlines].

i got onto the 401 east asap after unpacking the awesome spring clothing collection from adidas. what a beautiful day to end a spectacular weather week, in our region! [florida is the #1 choice for a traditional march break vacation, but anyone *stuck* at home this week sure lucked out…it was practically tshirt temps the whole week].

whee!!!! off we go! don't worry, this photo was staged, i wasn't really driving.

ok, for this next one i was driving. you should not do that. do as i say and not as i do.

look at that haze, thanks to the heat! (car thermometer hit 24 degrees, at one point!). can you make out the cn tower??!

traffic was much heavier on the 401 than i anticipated – bumper-to-bumper from cambridge to the dixie cut-off! that’s ok, who could possibly complain on such a fine and FUN day.

oh, this was a good babysitting time! life is just more fun when…

you wear wings...

...or a sun visor, don't you agree?

we settled in…

blackberry pictures and colouring!

[dinner (and bedtime) are undocumented; all hands needed on deck!]

we played…

waiting for the school bus...

you need your ticket! customized with your favourite colour! one for each family member!

we watched two videos on aunti’s computer…

"harry and his bucket full of dinosaurs" - this was a new one for me!

such a fun evening together. i love hearing the thoughts and stories that come out of a five year old and a two point five year old’s mouths. aunti is looking forward to extended babysitting date part two, already! [silly me, why did i not reverse my time slots, and offer to babysit eleven times and skip diet coke for two months?! now i think of these things…]

favourite van halen tune?? they are playing in toronto, tonight! the brother is going! jump is just epic; i’d rank it among my top ten favourite songs of all-time.

happy st patrick’s day!

how i spent my leap year day

seeing as february 29th = wednesday, that means leap year day was an aunti day in TO, right?

wrong. 😦

just enough snowfall to potentially cause havoc on the roads

the weather gods decided to have a little *fun,* and delivered a spring-like storm of flurries and freezing rain on us. since the conditions were already getting nasty before 8 a.m., aunti made the executive decision to not make the drive down the 401 to toronto. sad.

the latest selection of cd's from the library will have to wait til NEXT wednesday to be delivered!

sooo…that meant that i now had an unexpected and unplanned day at home! what to do?

well, it didn’t take me long to make some plans.

first: i completed another step on the surprise project for dad:

a far-away photo, on purpose!

all will be revealed [to dad + on the blog] within the next week!

given the crappy weather, i declared yesterday a car-free day. that meant that i had no other option than to get my groceries at valumart [i had been planning to hit up the neighbourhood food basics in TO]. after tabulating my grocery expenditures for the month, i realized i had saved between $100-$200 during february, thanks to switching over to food basics for the majority of my shopping – wild, eh?! so, since there was extra money in the grocery kitty, i decided to perform r.a.o.k.#2!

thinking ahead to just such a day, i had saved the food drive bags that were delivered to our building a few weeks ago:

this time, the bags were smaller than the usual grocery bag size

when i went over to valumart to get my own groceries, i decided to fill the bags. there is no food drive going on right now, but the food bank always needs to replenish its stores.

my philosophy is that i only pick items that i would eat myself or give to my family. i had great FUN sourcing out sale items!

bag #1 was baby themed...(eight different flavours!)

...bag #2 was for an adult.

...and into the food bank receptacle they go (which is very small right now because there is no food drive going on).

completing r.a.o.k.#2 deserves a reward, agreed?! yesterday, juanita left a blog comment to let me know that david’s tea was offering a FREE large TEA in celebration of leap year day! i scooted directly from valumart to david’s.

sign in the window! how many people took advantage, i wonder?!

there were two types of tea available, for free:

(L): "green & fruity rooibos" w mango, peach, papaya, apple; (R): "north african mint," a green tea w cardamon, peppermint, ginger, black pepper and fennel

after sampling both offerings, and since i am not a fruit flavour fan, i chose the green tea. i brought my cuppa back to the condo casa…because david’s is also right across the street from home!

tea and knitting -> very nice!

in the aft, i coffee-shopped with mom and dad!

back to the mall, to "a matter of taste," this time!

and for my evening activity? how about a movie?! last eve, the princess was showing both “the artist” and “the iron lady.”



if you read yesterday’s blog post, i think you can guess which film i chose to see [although after reading zo‘s comment about “the artist,” i will say that i did consider picking the oscar-winning best picture movie…but my love for meryl streep’s acting won out, in the end].

the verdict?

totally worthwhile. i had a marvelous time watching “the iron lady,” and was very engrossed by the movie.

as anticipated, meryl is wonderful – phenomenal, even? – and deserves every inch of that oscar statue that she won. the storyline is touching, informative, enjoyable. i do recommend seeing this film! i’ll give it *** (three stars) out of a possible **** (four stars). 1.75 stars for meryl, and 1.25 stars for the movie.


all in all, it was an enjoyable leap year day. although, i did miss my little chiclets!

a christmas file photo will have to suffice!

better luck next week!

did you celebrate leap year day by doing anything out-of-the-ordinary and/or did you see any leap year day deals? tangent: i am freaked that i will be 46 years old when the next leap year rolls around! closer to 50 than 40 = O.L.D.!!!! :0

new experience #38: decorate two g’bread houses with two nieces!

on the twenty-third day of december...

little e and i have decorated a gingerbread house together every year since she was one. i can’t believe i don’t have photo documentation of each of our projects – slacker aunti! but, here’s a look back at the last two years!

2009: this year, i had purchased a ready-made kit, but you had to assemble the walls and roof. our roof ended up caving in!

a pensive look!

…so that year the gingerbread house became the gingerbread stable.

fun wow!

2010: we made a house and also decorated gingerbread cookie people! i believe cutie c was napping at the time (i see the baby monitor in the bottom of this photo!).

busy bees! i mean ELVES!

nice work!

2011: i’ve been excited about continuing the gingerbread house tradition for weeks! the last aunti-visit wednesday before the hols would be a good day for house decorating – save the most exciting tradition for close to christmas!

this was the first year, then, that cutie c joined in on the gingerbread fun. i thought it best to provide TWO gingerbread kits for TWO nieces. that way, there’d be no fighting, no biting over the execution of artistic ideas.

it was meant to be: i got the last two kits on the shelf at valumart, and they were on sale! talk about the stars being in alignment.

yup - a PRE-FAB house - no wall-building necessary!

we set up operations on the dining room table: the houses were unearthed from their plastic wrap, and the girls helped pour the candies into little plastic bowls, for easy access:

someone is pleased as punch already!

the great thing about these kits is that you don’t even have to mix icing. you just squoosh the icing baggie to warm it up a little, then you’re ready to go!

squish squish!

so just like that, we were ready to d e c o r a t e

nicely done, cutie c!

it was interesting to see the difference between a 2.5 year old and 5 year old in terms of creative ideas and advancement in fine-motor skills:

little e thought to dip her bead candies into the icing and then apply them

fingers as "glue" applicators!

cutie c got super-involved with pouring the candies from one bowl to another, back and forth – i think she liked the sound?!


our house decorating party went a lot more smoothly than i had anticipated! to be honest, i was not sure how much mess and cacophony might arise with this project (two frustrated children? one frazzled aunti?) but the girls were awesome little decorators – they were really focussed and interested in our project. they also did not need much assistance – i helped with squeezing out the icing, but they handled the candy applications pretty much on their own. we each had a ton of fun!

someone is pleased with her finished product!

...as is someone else!

a view of the back door!

and at the end of the day…

a couple more christmas decorations for the dining room table

let’s pose for a final photo!

take one!

take two!

take three! oops, we lost someone!

what a good party. the girls agree that we need to decorate gingerbread houses every year!

is gingerbread house decorating a tradition with you? we didn’t do this activity as kids – there were no kits for sale back in the 70’s – but we did decorate sugar cookies.

i think it’d be fun to do a mini-village of houses – get everyone in the family to do their own house!

it never hurts to plan ahead

two more sleeps and advent calendar season begins!

my wooden board + pieces are ready to go!

and i have the advent calendars for little e and baby c set out on the table so that i don’t forget to take them to toronto tomorrow – that would be a shame!

when i was trying to round up the second advent calendar, i had left my name with shelley, the manager of write impressions – when they received their expected supply of calendars, she’d give me a call. shelley DID call me, but i had already made my calendar purchase at words worth books. this past saturday, i decided to pop into write impressions anyway, just to see their selection, the designs, and the prices. wow! they had an impressive array – about 8-10 different calendars were available.

i was just going to look and leave…but then i decided i might as well pick up a couple of calendars and put them away for next year. even paying full price – the total for two adorable calendars was a mere $11.87 (there was tax!). i’ve paid more than that for two birthday cards, so i thought this was a deal.

advent calendar #1...

advent calendar #2!

now to decide which one for which niece!

i actually debated buying FOUR advent calendars and having a little stash to cover christmas 2012 and 2013…but decided that was a little excessive in the planning department, even for me.

i did make my “note to self”…

all the details, just in case of a brain fart...

now: if, perchance, i can get into write impressions during their boxing week sale, i WILL pick up another two calendars for two years from now – just because i love a 50% off deal. however, shelley FYI’d me that the calendars are going fast, so i am doubtful that there will be any left by boxing day. no worries – at least i am set for next year!


last thursday was the first day that i really noticed an influx of christmas shoppers in the storeS. i think the impact of black friday is rubbing off on canadians [anyone else notice how many black friday sales we had this year? i don’t remember so many in other years??].

since i’m familiar with being on both sides of the sales counter, i thought i’d share four “insider tips” to keep in mind as you do your own holiday shopping:

  1. visit stores during off hours, if at all possible: if crowds make you antsy or twitchy (as lisa would say!) aim to do your shopping during the weekdays, preferably in the a.m. hours or afternoons (lunch times get a bit busier). obviously, saturdays all day and sunday afts are the times to avoid if packed stores put you on edge. (i had really good luck one year up at conestoga mall when i went on a saturday eve – they are open only for december with these hours – there were very few shoppers).
  2. inquire about refund and exchange policies when you make your purchase. for example, at the store, you are able to do a full refund if you have the original sales receipt; with a gift receipt, we can do exchanges, only. it’s best to avoid future frustration by asking for details when you check out. also, find out when you can do a return -> many stores do not deal with returns on boxing day or even during boxing week.
  3. come armed with as much detail as possible: it’s absolutely fabulous when i get customers who come in with someone’s wish list, and they have style numbers, size, price, colour all noted. i can run around and efficiently pull out options – we all save time!
  4. be patient. it’s a given that christmas shopping is a hectic time. as sales associates, we really want to help you find the perfect gifts. by being polite and friendly, everyone’s day is much more fun!

any shopping tips to share? grumpy christmas shopping is just oxy-moronic, no?!


november thankfulness:

(for monday, november 28): yesterday i was thankful that i genuinely love mondays! (actually, i look forward to all the days of the week). i’m glad i can go to bed each night and not dread the return-to-work cycle of the next day. that was not the case when i was a teacher – i’d get the blahs sunday, already, because i knew that monday was not that far off.


not me!