Archives For shopping

Greatest Hits, Volume 1

August 11, 2016 — 2 Comments

Vintage Handmade Dress // Julie Van Can

Summer Party // Julie Van Can

Vintage Handmade Dress // Julie Van Can

Vintage Handmade Dress // Julie Van Can

Whoa guys! How ARE you, old friends? How has your summer been? (Or is it, “how has been your summer?” I really don’t  know. If you could explain the preposition rule to me, and THEN tell me about your summer, that’d be great).

Let’s pretend it hasn’t been 5 months since we last met here, and instead pick up right where we left off. Although, there’s one small hiccup with that plan: when we left off, I was 29. And now I’m 30! MeeeeOOOOOW! (…I don’t know what that was. It’s really hot outside. I’m rusty. It’s been 5 months!)

Back to it: I celebrated that milestone about a month ago today, and it really was such a great time, I said to myself many times since “I should blog about that.” And lo! Here I am. Blogging about it. Or at least I will when I eventually stop rambling and get to the point.  And the point is this! I thought a recap of my 30th birthday party would be a good excuse to get back to blogging because the whole event really served as a Greatest Hits Compilation of (most) everything and everyone I hold dear.

Were I to retroactively apply a theme to my party, it would be Classic Julie, because if there were ever Julie-themed Bingo boards (*GREAT IDEA ALERT*), this party dabbed every box:

My weird, vintage, handmade dress was thrifted for a song just a few days before the party (CLASSIC JULIE); the decor was an random explosion of every fun thing we could trade or buy (CLASSIC JULIE); the food was, honestly, anything I deemed delicious + much much cheese (CLASSIC JULIE); and all of it was pulled together and brought to life by my wonderful mom, who has the unique ability to make any space look and feel groovy-yet-classy, without a whiff of pretension. Lastly, and most importantly, the guest list was full of friends and family that I’ve either know for 30 years, or will certainly treasure for 30 more (SAPPY JULIE).

I’m not too sure how many of those years I’ll document on this blog, but I just renewed my annual WordPress Premium plan, so you can count on at least one more. And with a Greatest Hits album out of the way, it’s the perfect time to start working on some new material.

Summer Party // Julie Van Can

Vintage Handmade Dress // Julie Van Can

Summer Party // Julie Van Can


Summer Party // Julie Van Can


What I’m Looking For

August 19, 2015 — 9 Comments

Vintage denim dress // We So Thrifty

Vintage denim dress // We So Thrifty

Vintage denim dress // We So Thrifty

Leather purse // We So Thrifty

A few weeks ago,Yen, Bekah and I hopped on the highway and headed to a city not too far down the 401. Value Village London was celebrating their grand-reopening, and we were lucky enough to be invited to do some damage in the new store, which was bright, clean, and packed to the brim with freshly-organized thrifted goods. (It was also ALL ABOUT the Halloween life, but I am so so not there yet, even though they had a stinkin’ cute selection of baby costumes. For the love of all that is good and sweaty, let’s not rush summer, okaaaaay?)

Anyhoo, what I loved about going with two serious thrifters was that we, without a parting word, immediately split up, and got to work. We’d occasionally meet in the skirt section, or pass like ships in the night by the change room, but these pros know that thrifting is a solo sport. After an hour or so, we all met up again by the housewares to regroup. We refined our loot, tossed the extras, and headed back to Hamilton.On the drive home, one thing we all remarked on was how attentive the staff were. Not that that’s unusual, but these guys were EXTRA helpful. Around every corner, someone would ask “can I help you find what you’re looking for?” While they certainly meant that question in a general sense, we joked that the thrift store is the only place in which that question almost doesn’t apply. The thrift store is the one place that, most of the time, you have only a vague idea of what you’re looking for. The thrill of the thrift is always in the surprise, and that’s the beauty of it.

I wasn’t looking for a spaghetti strapped medi denim dress, a cheetah print mug, a cozy sweater or a pair of Brazillian sandals, but I headed home with all that an more. So, to the extra-chipper staff at VV London: No, you can’t help me find what I’m looking for, but that’s just the way I like it.

Dress: $12.99 // Value Village
Purse: $3.99 // Value Village (straight-up stolen from Yen’s cart)
Huarache sandals: $30 // The Edit

Easy Does It

March 6, 2013 — 19 Comments


Two weeks ago, I decided I needed a new winter coat. Like, “new” new. As in, not from the thrift store (yes, that still happens sometimes). I have suede coats and vintage trenches galore, but I still lacked something 100% suited for Canadian winters at their worst. While I am fully aware winter is on its way out, March can be pretty crummy. So by purchasing a parka now, I’d still get some use out of it, and I’d get it at least 50% off. Because my limbs are about 25% longer than the average person (I guess I’m doing a percentage thing in this post?), I knew I’d have to do a far amount of scoping to find something that works. Not too long into my search, I ended up at the Long Tall Sally website. This store was formerly a Tall Girl, and Tall Girl pretty much got me through high school, because ankle pants just weren’t in style back then.

Guys, I was on that website for hours. HOURS. Days changes to nights. Food expired in my fridge. G.R. R. Martin finished the last two Game of Thrones books. It was that long. While normal people speak of the ease of online shopping, I find it to be one of the more difficult and insane activities human beings have taken to. There are too many options, too many colours, too many sizes, and too many styles. How do you choose between charcoal or slate? Textured or non? Size 8? 10? 12? IT’S TOO HARD.

This overwhelming experience stood in stark contrast to how I usually shop. You know when I found that navy Ralph Lauren blazer? On my lunch break. You know what it costs me? $2. You know what size it is? I have no idea. I just bought it ’cause I liked it. Same story goes for that colourful scarf, and the belt, and the purse. While some people might find the limitations of thrifting frustrating, I find them positively freeing, because there are only three questions I have to ask myself:

1) Do I like it?
2) Does it fit?
3) Does it smell?

And that’s it. So simple!



While I eventually did eventually order a coat off of the Long Tall Sally site, I’m still terribly anxious over its impending arrival. Should I have listened to customer reviewer 104 who said it might fit funny at the hips? Or should I have gotten the one with the down filling, even though reviewer 3762 said the down clumps at the bottom? I chose the coat with toggles, do I like toggles? What IS a toggle, anyway? I thought that was something people did to their emails?

Even after I’ve made my purchase, the options not chosen are still nagging at me. But have I ever had a single regret about the $2 spent on this Ralph Lauren blazer? Nope. Online shopping has opened up a glorious new world of infinite possibilities, and if that thing floats you’re boat, live it up like you’re on a boat. I, on the other hand, would basically drown in the sea of too many choices. Like this! Thus, I think I’ll stick to the thrift stores. 90% of the time, anyway.


Blazer: Salvation Army | $2
Belt: Talize | $0.99
Bag: Salvation Army | $5.99
Boots: Me Shoe | $50 (from $250!)
Photos by the lovely Yen!

Behind the Seams

February 28, 2012 — 26 Comments

I’m coming up on my two week anniversary with the new love of my life, my iPhone. I am currently obsessed with every little thing this fancy phone can do, so I thought it might be fun for me and my new buddy to take you on a thrift trip. This past weekend, I documented a typical saturday in the life of a thrifter like me. I’ve created a play-by-play of all the laughters, tears, heartbreaks and victories that accompany my average thrifting excursion, peppered with the occasional tip, and the frequent unnecessary Instagram filter. Let’s begin!

The first thing one must do when thrifting is prepare for the long journey ahead. For me, this included a breakfast of champions. This has nothing to do with thrifting, but I can’t resist bragging about the life-changing orange-chocolate french toast that kicked off my day. Sweet mother of mary, that’s some eatin’!

With a belly full, I stopped at home briefly to ensure my outfit was thrift-friendly. What makes an outfit thrift-friendly? Leggings. I always thrift in leggings because then I can try on shirts, skirts, and dresses without having to change my bottoms. I also put on some slouchy boots that I could easily remove, and pulled my hair away from my face. That changeroom is a hotbed for static activity.

Hamilton is home to a wonderful assortment of thrift-stores. I could easily hit up five without having to drive more than twenty minutes between them. But I set a more realistic goal for myself, and decided on the Salvation Army and Bibles for Missions. Salvation Army was up first.

I have a specific order for attacking thrift stores. It usually goes: dresses, long sleeve blouses, skirts, short-sleeve blouses, coats, shoes, and housewares. I intended to stick to the order, but upon arrival, I laid eyes on a most-awesome sheer blouse. It was cropped in the front, long in the back, with tres long sleeves. I was already imagining myself looking super-awesome drinking super-lattes (I don’t even drink lattes…) when my vision was abruptly cut short.

Turns out the previous owner of this blouse also drank alotta lattes, and one ended up all over the sleeve. Too bad. Onward!

I resumed my regular order, rounding up a very colourful first haul:

That H&M peach dress in the bottom right corner made it to the change room strictly because it looked so very Kelly Kapowski.

With my arms nearly full, I was about to try on these finds when something unexpected caught my eye.

This sweet jacket was in the pyjama section, with a “Men’s Sportwear” tag. The only person who would consider these pyjamas would be Sue Sylvester. This jacket sums up what I love so much about thrifting – the surprises. Was I looking for an purple and orange Adidas jacket? Heck no! Did I try it on? Heck yes!

All the other items I tried were too big, too short, and too tight, but this jacket was a winner. Will it compel me to start workin’ on my fitness? Probably not. But still – purple!

The last item I tried also referenced another favourite TV character of mine. Can you guess?

Hint: FLARE! 

That delightful stripy number didn’t fit quite right, but I was already satisfied with my jacket. On my way to the cash, I gave a longing look at all the cute heels that a tall chick like me will never get to wear, and strutted out of the store with my new find tucked under my arm.


The next stop was Bibles For Missions. I love BFM because everyone there sounds like an Oma. I also love BFM because while their selection is smaller, all the clothing is in fanastic shape. The final reason I love BFM is because they have belts for $.50! That’s a deal from Archie comic days!

I found two belts, and my sister snagged those awesome leopard flats you see. I wanted them, but my toboggan feet wouldn’t fit.

I picked up a few more items to take the change room. Braemar by Jeremy scott is one of those brands I see all the time at thrift stores – he could have his own section. I also giggled when I saw “Totes Coat”.  I’m a loser.

Sadly, that lovely coat had just a lingering scent of mothballs. I’ve learned my lesson with that – it doesn’t go away. I did manage to find another item to take home though:

I love the floral trend that’s here, there, and everywhere these days. Could I have found a similar top at a Forever 21? Probably. But the tag on this top looks so old-school, I take comfort in the fact that it’s probably ten years old and still looks great. I challenge anyone to say that about something from F21 in ten years.

The grand total? 2 belts, 1 jacket, and 1 top. All in all, not a bad little saturday. I hope you enjoyed my play-by-play. Maybe next time I’ll make a video, with effects! It will go something like this: Star-wipe! Profound quote! Fade to black. Morgan Freeman Narration. End scene.

You can just give me my Oscar right now.