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  1. #JanuaryCure: Week 3

    Sunday, January 20, 2013

    Another week, another cure update! This week seemed to go by incredibly fast. Here we gooooo:

    Day 9: Create A Landing Strip - DONE
    Ian and I have always had a landing strip in our house. In the front entry way is two shoe racks (one for me, one for him), hooks for coats and Daisy's leash, and a mat. I always hang my keys (they're on a lanyard) on the doorknob for easy access as I'm heading out the door or command-starting my car. Mail sits on the top of the shoe-rack and is then brought into the kitchen to be sorted OR is marked return to sender and sits there until the next time you leave OR junk mail goes straight into the recycling bin by the door. Also sitting by the door is my workbag, so I always have my work essentials at the front door.

    Day 10: Work on Your Goal Project - DONE
    On Friday, even though I was tired and it was raining and I just wanted to get home, I did some errands after work. And by errands, I mean I went to Sally Beauty to buy a brush and end papers and ended up dropping $40 (as you do). BUT right beside Sally Beauty is Canadian Tire, which held one of the keys to my Goal Project - a circular bin for cans.

    My Goal Project is to get the kitchen clutter under control, and a big part of that is having a functional recycling space. Being a BC boy, Ian is very adamant about recycling everything, so we have separate containers for paper, cans and garbage. For the longest time we just had cans in a bag on the floor (yuck) or in boxes (better but still yuck). For $20, this goes a long way to hide the mess (but we still use boxes for beer bottles).
    Another thing I want to do is figure out what to do with this corner. The bookshelf is great, but isn't used much because of all the recycling things in front of it. I'm thinking of doing an overhaul: moving the bookcase back to the living room to replace the badly leaning one that's currently in there, and re-arranging all the stuff that's currently there. The only problem is where to put the stuff. Our cupboards are pretty full up as it is, except for the reaaaaally tall ones that I can't reach! I must think on this further.

    Day 11: Try a Media Fast - NOT DONE
    It is VERY hard for me to unplug. Even if I'm doing something like knitting, I have my tablet (with my pattern on it) and my cell phone (to count rows) close at hand. I'll be the first person to admit that I'm never without my cell phones (Yup, I have 2 phones - for personal use and work), and I use my tablet to read blogs and books.
    Basically, this is a massive fail for me. But, knitting and reading relaxes me, so I'm not sure if it's a total failure in the end.

    Day 12: Declutter Books and Media - DONE

    I always try to keep our house clutter-free, and Ian (bless his soul) is doing his best to keep up with my de-cluttering neurosis. Our bookshelfs are organized (in no particular order, I'm not that OCD) and all the DVDs are hidden in our lovely credenza, except for the Lord of the Rings trilogy, since that's currently what we're watching. (After taking that photo, I may go in and turn all the DVDs around so the titles are at least facing the right way). Who knew that a credenza from the 60s would be so perfect at holding DVDs and Blu-Rays!
    One thing we do need to get under control is our massive amounts of remotes (TV, Telus box, Xbox, Playstation and stereo) and game controllers. But it's at a place I'm very happy with!

    Day 13: Weekend Chores - Flowers and Bedroom - 50% DONE

    Ok, so I didn't buy flowers again, but in my defence it is really cold this weekend and the poor buggers would probably freeze on the way home. BUT I did tidy up the bedroom! I neglected to take before photos, but previously there was an old computer monitor on Ian's bedside table, a bonnet dryer and some jewellery underneath. I tidied up the bedroom closet and was able to put those things in there. Voila! A neat and tidy bedroom.

  2. #JanuaryCure: Week 2

    Monday, January 14, 2013

    I have a confession: I've majorly fallen off the January Cure bandwagon. I've had a busy week with long work days, a busy weekend and to top it all off, I think I'm coming down with something.

    However, I'm not going to give up. My goal is to get all of the January Cure stuff done, just not necessarily in order.

    Day 4: Get a Fresh Perspective in Just 10 Minutes - NOT DONE
    Let's be honest: the main problem is that I find it hard to sit for 10 minutes without some sort of distraction. That said, I have done this mentally - focusing on rooms that make my skin crawl and focusing on why they give me that reaction, then thinking about what I'd like to change. I just happen to do this while vacuuming, doing the dishes, knitting, etc etc. But in terms of the challenge, I'd consider this not done, I suppose.

    Day 5: Select One Project from Your List to Complete this Month - DONE
    I'm going to focus on my "corner of clutter" in the kitchen. This is where all the recycling goes, but we don't have bins for the cans, so they just pile up in boxes in front of the shelving units, which then become underused. The solution is as easy as buying a round bin for the cans and bottles, but I haven't gotten around to it.

    Other kitchen-related projects include reorganizing the Tupperware cupboard (which I did Sunday night after coming home from a friend's Tupperware party) and cleaning out utensils/dishes we don't really need. (Note that the task is just to select the project, not to do it!)

    Day 6: Choose a Piece of Artwork and Get Going on Framing It - DONE

    Another one I actually did! I had my Jason Blower postcards framed in my old apartment, but when I hung then up in this house my giant klutz of a boyfriend (whom I love very, very much) knocked it off the wall and broke the frame. We'd had the frame for a while, but then I lost the postcards - until I found them again Sunday! I've rehung it in the same spot as the fatal accident, but higher and sturdier, so I don't think it will fall again.

    On a related note, buying cute postcards and framing them are a great way to do cute, kitschy art on the cheap! These cost about $3 each, plus frame.

    Day 7: Get Your Get-Together Together - NOT DONE
    So, I'm supposed to have a party at the end of the cure. I love this idea, but I haven't made any moves on it. It would also be a good "semi-house warming" party and a good chance to my friends and Ian's friends to mingle, but it's definitely on the backburner for a while.

    Day 8 (weekend): Flowers, kitchen cleaning and make yourself a meal - NOT DONE 
    No flowers, no kitchen cleaning and I made supper one night, which was over-ridden by the fact that I didn't eat AT ALL Sunday. Fail all around.

    Are you doing the January Cure? If so, how's your progress going? Have I inspired you (or scared you away) from doing it yourself?

    PS - I'm really sorry about the fact there's only one photo in this post and a gajillion words. If you actually got all the way to the bottom of the post, congrats. You deserve a cookie.

    XO Laurie

  3. Show 'n' Tell: Simons and Sears

    Sunday, January 13, 2013

    I haven't done a shopping haul post in forever! May 2012, in fact. In case you missed those kinds of posts, I'm back with a vengeance.

    My parents were in Edmonton this weekend for an Ukrainian New Years Eve celebration with friends, so before their big shin-dig, mom and I went to West Edmonton Mall for shopping, lunch, a pedicure and more shopping.

    I don't particularly like West Edmonton Mall, mostly because it's so busy, but there are some stores in the mall that are ONLY at WEM. For example, Quebec department store Simons, who opened its first store outside Quebec in Edmonton this fall.

    I scored this cardigan (with detachable fur collar) for $20.

    These socks were $2 from Simons! Aren't they adorable? They'll be so warm under my winter boots too.

    These two pieces are the creme-de-la-resistnece. The faux-fure beret was about $10 from Simons, while the faux-fur stole is the one I previously showcased from Sears. I'm in love! 

    Sears had some crazy deals on when we were there. I got $90 worth of stuff for under $40!

    I was incredibly warm after taking these photos.
    I may have melted a bit.
    Gloves that actually fit me in the fingers - hallelujah! 

    Super cozy house-slipper-boot things ($10+80% off), as well as two pairs of fleece-lined knee-high socks from Winners.

    I also stocked up on some super cute kitsch for next Christmas!

    These were $3 after discounts.....

    While these were $1!

    Daisy, Ian's dog (and my step-dog, I suppose) wasn't quite sure what to make of my funny poses and tripod.

    Gizmo just wanted to trick me into feeding him again. Silly kitty.

    XO Laurie 

    PS - don't forget to like Retro Reporter on Facebook

  4. How to: be prepared when going shopping

    Saturday, January 12, 2013

    Important announcement: Retro Reporter is now on Facebook

    There are two kinds of clothes shopping in the world: The casual 'I'm just going to pop over and see what catches my eye' kind and the 'all-or-nothing, marathon' kind. The latter is not for the faint of heart, but the stress of shopping can be eased when you follow a few key rules.

    1. Hair and Make-up
    Prime example of my everyday hair and makeup
    Wear your hair and make-up to go with the kind of garments you're looking for. If you're shopping for a fancy dress and find the perfect one, you'll feel blah if you're not wearing any make-up or just have your hair up in a pony.
    There's been lots of times that I feel an outfit doesn't look right on me, only to realize it's because my hair is up in a scarf or just lying there straight. Just a little concealer, mascara and red lippy with a pair of victory rolls can make me feel fabulous in 15 minutes.

    2. Proper undergarments

    When you undertake marathon shopping, you likely have a few specific items in mind that you want to look for: perhaps its sweaters and cardigans, work clothes, shoes or a cocktail dress. No matter what you're shopping for, you should always wear the correct undergarments.

    • If possible, wear nude underwear, so if you put on a slightly sheer garment you won't be distracted by your black and leopard print bra. The same goes for wearing sheer pantyhose instead of coloured tights. You want to start with a clean slate.
    • If you're looking for a dress or blouse with a little va-va-voom, wear your pushup bra.
    • If you're looking for the perfect sweaters, wear a bullet bra (and pads!) to see how it fits. 
    • If you're looking for something that requires shapewear, bring it along (or wear it if it won't make you too terribly uncomfortable). 
    3a. Neutral layers and separates

    I am totally guilty of breaking this rule most times I go shopping. I'll either wear a favourite dress or a skirt that only a few tops go with. That's why my favourite skirt (shopping or no shopping) is the cream circle skirt with black piping shown above. It goes with everything and is incredibly comfortable. Here I'm also wearing a light summer cardigan that can easily be taken off if I don't need to change in the change rooms, as well as a camisole (so I'm not flashing my goods in the store if I do take off my cardigan).

    3b. Looking for something's mate?
    If you are looking for a coordinate with your favourite skirt/cardigan/blouse/dress, obviously wear that. Don't him and haw over whether something will go together when you can just bring it along!

    4. Wear/bring accessories 

    If you're looking for a fancy dress, bring the shoes that you want to wear with them so you know if they'll go (or vice versa). Same thing goes if you're looking for pants and want to make sure they're the proper height with your favourite heels.
    ALWAYS bring or grab a belt in the store (although if you grab a belt off the rack, sometimes the retail staff won't let you bring it into the change room). It's amazing how a belt can transform an outfit!
    (Don't have a great belt? Stay tuned for a sewing tutorial and giveaway.) 

    5. Be Comfortable
    In spite of all the rules above, it's still very important to be comfortable while you're out shopping. Wear comfortable walking shoes, drink lots of water, eat and take a break if you need to -- and yes, I'm serious. Shopping can be a bit of a work out, and my legs are aching today after walking around the mall in flip-flops post-pedicure with my mama. They're definitely not ideal footwear for power shopping. Eat and drinking are also important, because I can get really cranky if I'm in a mall with a zillion other people (most of them slow walkers), especially if my blood sugar is low.

    What are some of your "rules" for marathon shopping to make sure you and other shoppers get through unscathed?

    XO Laurie

  5. How shall I spend my Christmas money?

    Friday, January 11, 2013

    I am facing a strange dilemma, dear readers - what am I going to spend my Christmas money on?
    I got a pre-paid Visa and a Sears gift card for Christmas from my parents and grandparents (thanks guys!).

    I have no idea what I should spend my cards on. There's lots of things I want, but I really want to make sure I use it on something I truly need.

    Here's what I'm narrowing it down to, thanks to Pinterest.

    Sugar Swing dance lessons - $69 for four weeks

    Anyone who knows me/has seen me attempt to walk will know that I am the least coordinated person on the planet. That said, swing dancing is something that has always appealed to me, especially know that I'm a vintage girl. Even better, Ian also wants to learn to dance, so we'd be able to take lessons together!

    1940s repro bra from What Katie Did - ~$50 CDN

    Since learning how to sew, I've manage to put together some bullet bra pads for my longline from Sears to make my girls nice and pointy! But even though I have a longline, I'd love to get a "real" bullet bra from What Katie Did because:
    a) sometimes I like to eat waaaay too much, which makes the long-line uncomfortable
    b) the longline is textured, which can sometimes show up under sweaters
    c) the longline bra sometimes is a little too high for my lower-cut sweaters. (Mind you, these ones may be just as high)

    But if I do get a BB from WKD, I'm not sure if I'd get the 1940s style L6036 CC09 (top), which isn't as pointy as a 50s style bullet bra, or the Harlow (bottom). If only there were a supplier in Canada I could go to try them on first! For more on vintage bras, visit BooBoo Kitty Couture's post on the vintage silhouette and Janey's series called Bullet Bra Revue.

    Wonderform Garter - $37 (Sears)

    Source: via Laurie on Pinterest

    I currently have a girdle gifted from Miss Bee, but it's much too large and long for me, so I mostly use it as a garter. I'd love to get this garter from sears, since I rarely wear stockings (despite what you may think, it's quite uncomfortable to wear a too-big girdle!)

    Books - ~$50

    Source: via Laurie on Pinterest
    Source: via Laurie on Pinterest

    These books have been sitting on my Pinterest shelf for quite sometime now, and all seem like great books for the vintage gal. Have any of you read them? I know the Retro Make-up one is well-known, but what about any others?

    Ridiculously amazing 1940s-style winter gear from Sears - A bajillion dollars
    Source: via Laurie on Pinterest

    Source: via Laurie on Pinterest

    Source: via Laurie on Pinterest

    Source: via Laurie on Pinterest

    Ok, some of this stuff is somewhat affordable, but just look at that cape! I dieeeeee. If only it wasn't $88 (gift cards or not, I'm still a cheapie) and totally not practical in Edmonton, due to it being white and really a fair-weather winter garment.

    Did you get some gift cards or money for Christmas? What are you planning to get with them?

    XO Laurie

  6. #JanuaryCure: Week 1

    Sunday, January 6, 2013

    As I said in my previous post, I'm participating in Apartment Therapy's January Cure. To help keep me on track, I've decided to give weekly progress on my cure. So, without further ado, here's week one.

    Day 1: Make a project list - DONE

    Step 1 was easy-peasy for me. I'm a total list junkie so I had no problem in writing these down. I use Google Drive so that the list is always accessible and nicely organized. I even got some things done even though they weren't assigned! I've had most of these ideas bouncing in my head for a while, and getting them written down and categorized made them seem much smaller.

    Day 2: Set Up Your Outbox - DONE
    Again, this was fairly easy. Our spare room is our "outbox" in the sense where everything that doesn't quite have a home is put there.  I have somethings mentally ticked as outbox items (like some dresses I'm no longer in love with, or some hair product that I've been meaning to gift to my sister) that just haven't been acted on yet.

    Day 3: Weekend Chores: Flowers, Floors, Green Cleaners and Outbox - 50% DONE

    Assignments this weekend included buying flowers (done), vacuuming and mopping floors (not done), stock up on green cleaners (I use vinegar and borox already, so done) and using the outbox (done). The only reason I didn't vacuum is because we ran out of vacuum bags and couldn't find more in the store, so I'm going to have to investigate where to find them before I tackle that one. But we knocked off a lot of things on my project list as well as had some fun, relaxing time (Ian's finally geting me to watch a bunch of movies I haven't seen, starting with Lord of the Rings.)

    Now, I'm off for some thrifting fun now that the snow has stopped falling. Are you doing the January Cure? How is your progress going so far?

    XO Laurie

  7. A look ahead at 2013

    Thursday, January 3, 2013

    While I said in my last post that I don't intend on setting resolutions for myself this year, I do intend to set a few goals for the year ahead, just to keep me on track to happiness.

    One thing that I signed up to do today after reading about it was Apartment Therapy's January Cure. While I no longer technically live in an apartment, our rental (the main floor of a character home) is pretty small when you consider that it's two adults, a German Shepard, a grumpy cat and two huge couches living in it. The Cure is a project designed to help you cut clutter and have a happy home.
    I've already completed Day 1 (project list) by using a spreadsheet on Google Docs and will do Day 2 (creating an outbox and putting one thing in it) once I get home from work. I'll be blogging about my process too.

    Another thing I am doing is reading The Happiness Project. I'm a big fan of the Apartment Therapy blog, and lately they've been referencing Gretchen Rubin's novel an awful lot, so I decided to dive into it myself (I haven't actually done this yet, but will as soon as I finish my book club book, Doppler).

    Another goal I want to make is.... making more goals! I want to have a new goal every month, every six months, every year and in five years to work towards making my life the best it can be! I'm not sure what my big future goals will be, but my January goal is already sorted out:

    Make my Kinsmen pool pass worth its value
    I wasn't sure how to write that in a sentence that wasn't awkward, so here's a bit of an explainer.
    Yesterday I finally buckled down and bought a January pass ($61.50) to go swimming. It's $8.50 per drop-in swim, so I have to swim 7 more times to make it worth my while. Hopefully I'll do more, but 7 is my goal!  On a side note, I felt like a loser getting a gym pass on Jan. 2, but that's even more motivation to keep up with it.
    I love swimming (I used to be a lifeguard and swimming teacher) but since moving to Alberta it's fallen by the wayside. I hope to use swimming to improve my posture, get more energy and to improve my cardio! If I happened to get a little toned by doing it, then that's a bonus for me :)

    What are some of your goals in 2013? I'd love to hear them!

    xo Laurie