Thursday, May 21, 2015

Small Business Chronicles: What's to Love?

Let me just say that having a small business is serious fun. This is in no way mitigated, as far as I'm concerned, by one's relative inexperience or non-full-time status. It's a hell of a learning curve and work, work, work, but if you're one of those people who never sits still, you might as well do something challenging. There is NO shortage of brain gymnastics when it comes to this activity, particularly when the lever is one's own hand-made product.

There are some boring parts on the business scene, so naturally I'll gloss over those. (Yes, they involve spreadsheets.) This post is about the aspects which are most fun. If one's business is a metaphor for oneself (and I'm not saying it is), I'm a serious extrovert. (Actually, I am a serious extrovert.)

My extroversion has facilitated things tremendously. In the broadest sense, I love introducing people to terrific things that I've discovered. I have always loved doing this. I mean, I started a freakin' blog so I could get the word out to people I didn't even know - and I'm still doing it 8 years later (though happily now I do know many of you). With this biz, I'm simply introducing people to things I've made. Things I can vouch for. Now I can align my quest for quality and value with my creative spirit. And peeps, it's a TRIP.

I've always wanted to work in a shop (strange, I realize). Not a bland shop, of course, but the kind with treasures. I'm that lady (browsing) who somehow ends up selling you yarn at the yarn store and lingerie at the lingerie store, the one who tells you that you can do better in those blue pants that don't taper quite so much at the ankle. Having a shop - even a virtual one - is an opportunity to enrich the consumer experience, and that activity is utterly enjoyable.

Another thing I love, though I never would have imagined this, is the imperfection of it all. I'm a newbie and - in the way I never judge a novice for his or her relative inexperience - I'm giving myself the benefit of the doubt. I've decided to undertake this as if it were a craft, an extension of myself. I'm ok with evolution. Don't get me wrong - I strive for perfection in everything (even though the experts say it's a bad idea. What can I say? I'm a St. Clement's girl.) But perfection is unattainable. On the flip side, evolution is inevitable. My goal is simply to learn and improve - and to provide excellent product that appeals to purchasers, of course. Theoretically, there's no end to this project, just betterment through experience. (Note to everyone: Krissie of 15 years ago would never have had this perspective. So let's give a shout out to age. It's living those 15 years that's shown me what I can achieve in 15 years!)

My third fave element of the business process is refinement (dare I say, curation) of the collection. It's really creative and the grain of every new idea is entirely spontaneous. For example, when I started CURIO, Serum A was the keystone. I sensed I had a winner and it is my most popular item, so far. Having said this, I would never in a zillion years have imagined that Deodorant A was going to give the serum a run for its money. Deo A was developed organically (no pun intended!), almost accidentally, in discussions with my mother. And man, am I glad I went on that conversational journey.

Over the course of the last 3 months I've had a number of people (aka guys) ask me about creating a Deodorant with "manly scent". In truth, I feel that Deodorant A is unisex - I used lavender and frankincense for a reason, after all. However, apparently guys feel that "manly scent" is something like the woods. Full stop. And really, who doesn't love the woods? So, you know what? I'm going to start making Deodorant B (the one with cedar - and some other goodies to, maybe, remind one of pines and lakes - but in the most delightful and original way). It'll be a special edition product - made specifically for the askers - unless it takes off. Let's give it a go and see what happens...

On the topic of Serum A, the one you know from the shop is not actually Serum A, the first. It's Serum A, the second. The first was made specifically for my mega-oily skin (an outlier perhaps, or maybe not) with organic jojoba, not rice bran oil. I also used a different ratio of oils and different essential oils. Short story: While the rice bran version is exceedingly moisturizing and awesome for dry/mature skin, it's not best for me - at least not in summer. You'd be amazed by how efficiently the jojoba version absorbs into oily skin. It's pretty illuminating. Natch, this has compelled me to reconsider that the reason most lines sell a range for oily skin and another for dry skin is cuz these skin types have very different needs. I mean, I know this. As such, it's just sensible to offer Serum B (really, it came first, but let's not confuse things) for the oily-skinned like me. This one will be a continuity product because I want the option to wear both and maybe you (or your daughter or your mother or your brother) will too.

At any rate, I know I've veered a bit into the weeds, but the point is that there are always opportunities to consider how to make things better or to make new things or to package them in new ways to best suit the client. Cuz in the end, it's really only about the client.

A business is like a puzzle, a machine with moving pieces. Extroversion is the lubricant. Refinement is the maintenance. And being receptive to whatever comes, allows for lessons-learned and inevitable improvement.

But man, those spreadsheets are a bitch.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Make Your Own Cologne

Have you noticed this whole mountain-man beard uprising? I have to be honest. I don't get it. Of course, if one wants to wear a beard, one should absolutely feel free. If one wants to pair it with Levis and a plaid shirt atop a T shirt with a meaningful slogan, go ahead. If one enjoys multiple tattoos layered under that T, that's good too. The look is perfectly completed with a short espresso, in case you're wondering.

Gotta say, TO is riddled with guys who fit this description and it's all starting to seem so derivative (not to mention unkempt). I prefer the metrosexual thing, any day. I love an impeccably-tailored slim suit with a crisp shirt (patterned natch) and a contrast tie. But then, if I were a guy, that's the look I'd be working.

My husband, who had a close beard for many years - and it looked good - shaved it off one day when he finally decided it was more trouble than it was worth. My kid, who was 6 at the time, came downstairs, took one look at him and started shrieking. She then hid under the dining room table (not the most secret of locales) and proceeded to cry: What happened to Daddy??? Ah, those were the days.

My point is that there's no need for beard oil in this house. But have you noticed how you can find that stuff everywhere?? Every shop on Queen West is selling it. I do wonder if and how it works. It must, or all the plaid-wearing, mountain-beard guys would be scoffing at it. Does it soften the beard like conditioner would? Does it mitigate the scratchiness? (Note: The puffy beards are less scratchy than the cropped ones, so I wonder if it's even necessary...) Is it like face serum for the part of the guy-face with hair?

I don't suppose we're gonna answer these important life-questions in this post - though if you're a mountain beard-having guy who happens to be reading this (and I haven't totally put you off), please do let us know!

This is actually one of those Simpsons-style segues into my real topic - man cologne. Not sure if your SO likes to wear it or if he wears it for you. Personally, I love man cologne and I've been known to buy it and wear it happily. It's generally constructed from chyprous scents I love: citrus top notes, mossy mid-notes and resinous base-notes. I love a man cologne that's also confident enough to subtly highlight florals (neroli, anyone?). Scott, too, appreciates these fragrance qualities, perhaps from years of coaxing. (Mind you, I don't think that scent-preference is taught.)

He sees me making all the potiony things and occasionally says stuff like: What about something specifically for me? Oh, how plaintive. So, today I made him bespoke man cologne. After doing a scent-testing, to determine what he'd prefer, I tinkered and combined essential oils and came up with something so delicious that I made one for myself too!

In case you'd like to give it a go, here's what you do:
  • Make sure you have an appropriate glass container (10 ml). One with a roll on applicator is optimal but you can use a pump closure or a dropper. Note: Not a lot of guys like to use droppers, in my experience. You can find roller containers here. Plastic won't work.
  • You'll want to use jojoba oil as your base. You can use ethanol or vodka if you're making an alcohol-based fragrance, but that's the subject of another post... Oh, and if you wanted to go crazy, you could make a solid perfume. But again, one thing at a time!
  • You'll need the following essential oils: Cedarwood (Atlas), Ylang Ylang, Neroli, Orange, Cypress, Vetivert, Frankincense. Don't cheap out on these cuz when it comes to scent, you get what you pay for. Neroli is particularly expensive. Consider finding a place that sells a 3-10% dilution in jojoba. This may still be of very high quality, but the bottle will be affordable. Plus, neroli is so intense, uncut, that it's sometimes hard to appreciate its awesomeness until you dilute it.
  • Experiment with your preferred ratios. I try to balance the low notes (vetivert, cedarwood) with the mid notes (ylang ylang, frankincense and neroli) and the high notes (orange, cypress). Let's not get too prescriptive... Use 35 drops of EO in total. No, it's not "accurate", drops of different EOs will be of slightly different sizes. But every bottle you have will provide its own basic drop size, from which you can extrapolate. You're making this "to smell". When you've got a combo you love, it's done.
  • It's as easy as adding the EOs into the bottle (in your preferred ratios) and then topping up the mixture with about 9 ml of jojoba oil. Of course, finding your special sauce may take time. Don't be afraid to throw out the EO mixture and start again. And write down how many drops you're using in each mixture. Cuz you'll forget in 3 minutes.
Note: If you do throw away the mixture and decide to start again, only wash out the container if you're prepared to let it dry completely. Water droplets in your bottle will corrupt the oil mixture and it will turn into a bacterial soup. You want this mixture to be entirely anhydrous - without water. I've been known, when experimenting with ratios for myself, to just discard the not-perfect EO mix, making sure to get rid of 99 per cent of the liquid in the container, and to start again - unless I'm using different oils on my next try. In that case, you've got to use a new bottle or one that's entirely clean and dry.

You may find that your final cologne smells very different on you than in the bottle. It's just like when you buy alcohol-based perfume at the store... Your biochemistry is highly engaged in the wearing process, so you may want to vary your formula once you've worn it for a while. For example: Maybe your skin gobbles up vetivert, leaving too much top note. I find that, in my formula, I need more of all the EO drops, because I seem to eat up all EO scents quickly.

Hopefully you'll give this a go because it's totally fun and impressive for your giftees. If you do try it, let me know. I want to hear all about it!

Today's questions: Have you made your own fragrance? If no, would you? Do you like the manly scents? Peeps, let's talk!

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Rabbit Hole Is Deep

On reflection, there are three reasons I make things:
  • I honestly believe that I can make them well, to suit myself specifically (aka The Conceit).
  • I am slightly obsessed with the platonic ideal of the DIY crafter (aka The Artist).
  • I have this perspective that, if I can make it, why would I pay someone else to (aka The Craft Fallacy).
Intriguingly, I have one more philosophical reason - abstractly intertwined with my off-the-grid Krissie alter ego: In the apocalypse, I'm going to be the one living high on the hog (kale?!) cuz I can get peeps their socks and face serum. Of course, I mean this tongue in cheek. What I'm saying is that applied knowledge is power.

There are many holes in my arguments (hilariously, I initially wrote the word "wholes"), not least of which when it comes to the Craft Fallacy. Yeah, I can make all the things, but in many instances, there is NO way I can do it more efficiently than a commercial business making something in volume.

Apparently, this little inconsistency is of no mind to me.

Enter: Handmade Shampoo and Face Cleanser. Note to reader: It ain't gonna be "natural".

Here's what I use now:
  • Herbal Glo Shampoo: I know - the branding is hideous! but the product is Canadian, very effective for me and M and it's affordable, given that my kid goes through it like water. I also like the conditioner. I've used this regularly for the last 20 years - because the ingredients are pronounceable and vegetable-sourced. OK, I've really used it cuz it works and I can afford it. But it definitely appeals that it's on the natural end of the spectrum. Of course, I switch it up on occasion, but I'm a creature of habit.
  • Avene Cleanance: Oh, there is nothing pronounceable about this formula except the special Avene spring-water. I mean, it's blue. But it works exceedingly well on oily skin - and on acne-prone, teenaged skin. I'm no apologist. It works. I'm buying it. It's also Canadian.
Let's address the elephant in the room. I'm not the girl who's going to go all crazy on your ass when it comes to surfactants. I have the oiliest skin you'll ever meet. You know how the super-hairy ladies go on about their leg treatments and the super-sweaty ladies go on about their antiperspirant needs. I am the super greasy lady who carries around powdered face blotters in every purse.

I'm three weeks from being 45 years old and I cannot go 2 days without washing my hair because it turns into a grease-ball.

Please don't suggest that I just need to do things differently to get the oil under control. I'm cool with the oil. It's why I'm going to look 15 years younger than my actual age for, like, ever. I have nice, unblemished skin. I'll try that "wash your face with oil" thing when I have 6 weeks to acclimate in the privacy of my own home because walking out of the house like a grease-slick is just not attractive.

Would I prefer not to contribute to the decline of our world by using formulas that foam? Absolutely. But that's when I remind myself that I don't own a car and I almost always take public transport or I walk. I recycle everything. I reuse paper towels. Kind of puts my dime-sized amount of daily soap into perspective.

Feel free to be horrified, but I'm actually as excited by the idea of mixing hard-to-pronounce chemicals as I am by the idea of mixing beautiful, natural organic oils. Why? I like chemistry! I'm that kid whose mind was blown in grade 7 Biology when she had to do that kitchen experiment assignment that turns out to be a one-pan chocolate cake. I don't judge the things I'm mixing. I mean, I research them and make sure that they're not harmful - even if they aren't "natural". But peeps, I use these chemicals already. Everything is a chemical and when you need the ones that cut grease, well - have at it, I say. I don't want to be that meat-eater who won't kill her own dinner.*

I'm thrilled at the prospect of making cleansers that do the job for me with a minimum of surfactants and hard-to-pronounce things. I want to add neutraceuticals and essential oils. I want to fool around with the ratios to maximize hydration - even as I need to keep the grease at bay.

So stay tuned for more on this. (You can roll your eyes now.)

*Alas, I am most definitely that meat-eater who won't kill her own dinner. And for this I am an apologist.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

I Don't Know if this Counts as Doing Something

This weather is turning me into a crazy-person. It's so fantastic that I feel like I'm actually on holiday - like somewhere fantastic - and it's bringing out my spend-instinct.

Having said that, I do love the spend-instinct - especially in others. Last night, out at my friend Hilly's for dinner, she had so much fun looking at my new loot and listening to my shopping exploits, I wanted to charge her a little fee :-) She told me the fee was dinner, and to get the cheese plate from the dining room table.

I decided to go out mid-aft, just to look around in the shops and to people-watch. My, was the watching good. There were chic ladies in embroidered caftans (like we live in Palm Beach), trophy ladies in bandage dresses (like we live in Miami Beach), young ladies in bikini tops (um, seriously? like we live in freakin' South Beach?). It's so bizarre when the weather warms up here. People lose all sense of proportion. And by that, I do mean that most of those outfits were too small.

I felt so dull wearing jeans, a stripey top and and a black waterfall sweater. Sure, I was over-dressed for the heat (I was going to be out well into the night so I needed to plan for the temp drop), but I default to outfits for October. Note: I did wear my orange bag and my Arche sandals (purchased in Eur last summer) and, by nightfall, I looked entirely adequately mid-May. Other Note: I realize that those sandals are hideous in that photo (see link above), but on one's foot, they transform. I swear! Plus, it's like walking on a cloud.

Anyhow, can you blame me for feeling drawn towards Anthropologie? That place is like summer in 5000 square feet. Every time I ask someone at work where she got her new, cute item X, and she replies "Anthro",  I'm intrigued. But I never purchase at this shop. It's too boho for me. The set up is too crowded (so a lot of cute items aren't readily visible). It's also, dare I say it, it's a bit "young". I mean, how many shoulder buttons and sleeve ruffles can a girl wear to the office?

Mind you, the shopping goddess was on my side yesterday. Also, I was in it for the crazy so I tried on everything in the store. May I just reiterate, this place would be much better if it took a minimalist approach. Garments inevitably look crappy when there's no white space.

I got these pants (which cost more in Canada):


They're so NOT me. But I'm getting sick and tired of what is me. (You know how that happens...) So I'm branching out.

I also got this top, which totally is me:


I bought it in black, because almost-white grey makes me look dead. But this colour shows off the beautiful line and drape of the garment.

Then I ambled over to the Gap - cuz who doesn't want to mingle with the entire universe, frenzied by the chance of half-price shorts, all at once? Note to People: They're cheap to begin with. Don't smack into me like it's Filene's basement on Boxing Day!

I found this dress, on sale for 30 bucks??:


Weirdly, I'm drawn to black right now - a shade that rarely impresses me. What does impress me about this dress - and frankly it looks better on me than on the gorgeous lady above - is that it highlights all of my slender toned bits (neck, shoulders, arms, legs) and you cannot begin to guess the state of my lower abdomen. Or whether I've eaten BBQ in the last 2 hours. Plus dessert. It also looks great with skinny jeans underneath - a look we have more use for in Canada, than that depicted above, at least for 9 months of the year. Also, in case you're thinking - wow, that's short! - that woman is approximately 8 inches taller than me. But it is a short-ish dress. Show off your legs, ladies, that's what I say. One other thing, in case you're interested in buying it online, the sleeves are quite snug. I bought a small, after trying an XS. The two sizes fit the same in the body (hello sack!) but the arms were notably snug in the shoulders and arms in the XS.

When I took it out of the bag to show Hil, she was momentarily horrified and could not believe that there might be a chance in hell that it would look anything other than horrid. (I will warn you that it looks ridiculously bad on a hanger. Those are the things I secretly enjoy trying on. There's so much potential for excitement.) But I put it on and she was shocked - in that way I love to shock people - and agreed that's a perfect basic.

I followed this up with a cocktail at the Holt Renfrew restaurant. I do love sitting at the bar and chatting with the peeps. I had this hilarious-named fresh juice called Holt's Happiness, which is marketed to rejuvenate and "youthen" the drinker, what with its composition of beet juice, acai, grapefruit etc. Naturally, I directed them to booze it up; with a bit of vodka and Cava it was a delight! I felt both youthened and aged at the same time! Gotta love a neutral.

After a bit more window shopping, I picked up some double-cream blue cheese, hopped on the subway and went to Hil's. And what a beautiful evening it was.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Time Elapsed

There are 2 ways to manage a long-weekend, IMO: Do everything or do nothing. As it's almost 10 am and I just got out of bed (and I went to bed last night at 10 pm), I sense I'm working the latter option.

It's occurred to me lately how much I feel manipulated by holidays: Mother's/Father's for the facile commercialism, Easter for the facile religiosity, Valentine's because it's just a pink puff ball of stupidity...

(On a side note, my husband is quick to remind me that I'm the kind of currently middle-aged person who's likely to turn into that really mean old lady who scares the neighbourhood kids.)

But I've got nothing bad to say about the May 2-4, even if it does fall on a different date every year. Note: Apparently, it has this name because it celebrates Queen Victoria's bday (which 100 years ago was relevant, I suppose). It's also a nod to the Canadian pastime of beer-drinking, an activity I've never embraced. This is the weekend when the rich peeps open their cottages in Muskoka and the regular peeps try to fix their winter-ravaged gardens and those without a particular love of nature sit on patios on dusty streets and feel blessed, to their bones, that there's some fucking green fuzz on the trees.

In southern Ontario, you don't plant anything until this weekend. To wit: We had a frost warning 2 nights ago. Seriously, plant at your own peril. The fact that we often get a week of 30C weather in early May, on the heels of 5 months of hideous cold, is a mind-fuck that propels even the most level-headed gardener to take the plunge at least twice.

I've been walking around in a daze of gratitude for temps that only require a sweater and a light jacket (ok, and a scarf - but a light one!), observing that every lilac in the land has bloomed - except mine?!

Here's how it looked on May 2:


Here's where we're at today:


Mind you, it's on the right track and I have a feeling, if the weather cooperates - and it's supposed to - I might have a gorgeous, deliciously fragrant cloud of purple flowers by Monday.

And since Frances asked, here's how the garden's shaping up this spring:


It's not the Luxembourg Gardens, but it's my own piece of outdoor tranquility, in a densely populated city, and I value it beyond measure.

How's your garden -  or weekend - shaping up?

PS: I def have to get some herbs for those planters this weekend. So I suppose I will do something after all.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Maintenance

Sometimes I'm reminded, writ large, about how much of life is simple maintenance. To wit: This week I renewed my health card (thank you socialized medical care), my driver's license (not that I use it much), my US passport (don't get me started on this one) and I had to buy every paper-product that the drug store has ever stocked.

Turns out I can't leave the passport topic without telling you - and you probably don't know this if you're not an American expat who also has dual citizenship in another country: I am ineligible to travel to America without a valid (not expired) American passport. Fair enough, you might say. But I'm as Canadian as I am American (albeit not by birth), and I do have a valid Canadian passport with which I can travel the entire rest of the world! Those things do cost, you know. And furthermore, it is veritably blissfully easy for me to engage with Canadian government offices (living in downtown TO and all), as I'm "bureaucrating" in the country in which I reside. To renew my US passport, I have to take a trip to crazy-land, aka the US Consulate, which is without doubt, the most officious place I have ever set foot in, in my life. And I'm a freakin' public servant!

But enough about the riches of my access in North America...

Maintenance is this strange space between novelty and capitulation. It's not exciting, but it's oh so necessary. And, secretly, it's a sweet spot I love. It's why I eat at the same neighbourhood restaurants (though not Bar Raval, necessarily) again and again. It's why I MELT and do yoga, multiple times a week, to stay as supple as possible. It's why I use the same products practically in perpetuity. When something works, it's a delight. A delight I don't need to concern myself with. Ya know?

A propos of this, I have put together the CURIO Traveler. It's a little sample of the products I use every day:


It includes:
  • A full-size Serum A (which you can order in plastic with a reducer insert and a squeeze lid, for travel ease, or in glass)
  • A travel-sized Deodorant A (the cutest thing you've ever seen)
  • A full-size Lip Balm A (I cannot be without this), and
  • A travel-size version of your preferred Salve (immortelle, calendula or arnica)
It's a great skin-care travel pack - or a great way to get to know a new line. Feel free to check out my Etsy store for more details.

Of course, maintenance has many facets. Small business is teaching this to me...

I've decided I'm not happy with the durability of my current labels (they're laser printed by me) so I'm looking into a thermal option. I mean, they look delightful, IMO, but they don't last optimally as far as I'm concerned. Sure, this business maintenance process is a bit of a pain in the butt (cuz I can't directly control the output) and stupidly expensive in the short-run. But everyone who buys CURIO deserves the best experience I can provide. This label-transition will take a bit of time. So I'd just like to say that, if you purchase between now and when the new labels arrive, I'm happy to send you updated labels (which won't look different, they'll just be shinier and better) when they're available.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Orange is the New Black

I've been working pretty hard lately which, as I'm sure I've harped on about a lot, leaves little time for things like sewing. Moreover, the weather just went supernova, bat shit, freakin' gorgeous. (No, one absolutely cannot count on it in May, but I'll take what I can get). The combo of delicious outdoor time and little other time has made for quite a shop-y Krissie.

In truth, I have a rationale. In truth, I always have a rationale, as should we all, so let's just pat ourselves on the back and get to the (regrettably mediocre) photos. Cuz I'm not spending time inside with a camera when I could be on every patio within a 3-block radius drinking Cava:

Fossil Preston Crossbody Monarch - $178 CDN
See this adorable expansion feature which I love on any bag? So good for when you need to put an umbrella in there...
Alas, this photo doesn't give you a true sense of the colour, but it shows the proportions.
The orange colour has been discontinued in this style, which shocks me because orange is the perfect neutral, in my books. Seriously, it goes with everything and it tells people that you have personality. Plus it's cheerful. I'm wearing this today with a pink/brown/orange tropical floral print dress (handmade years ago but I can't be bothered to link to it right now) and it looks terrific.

But back to the rationale... Y'all know I cannot carry around a large bag any longer. (Brief aside: You shouldn't be either. Eventually, it's bound to lead to pain, especially if you walk long distances...) But the mini-bag I purchased in the fall was just all kinds of "wrong shape" and slightly too small. I mean, you have to recognize that the bare minimum needs to come with you everyday. What I discovered, when I transferred all of the things I was carrying in my oddly rectangular Rudsak bag (and I must carry them), was that they all fit just beautifully in a square shape (10x10). Not to mention that the expandable zipper feature on the Preston is all kinds of genius, if not novel. I never seem to find a bag I like with this feature, however, so this is a lucky state of affairs.

What do I carry (in case you wonder)? Glasses case with either sun or regular glasses contained within. (Non-negotiable and my sunnies are absurdly large so this case is big.) Credit card holder. A bit of cash (not in wallet), subway token holder (size and shape of a business card), keys, work ID, wireless headphones and iPhone, lipstick, lipbalm. Yeah, that's it. You'd be amazed to find how difficult it is to fit this in a small bag.

I've never owned a Fossil bag before. I'd actually never heard of Fossil till I ran into the shop on Bloor Street the other day. I'm really not a "bag person" and I tend to stick to Roots, M0851 and Rudsak on the rare occasion when I do add to my little collection. But the brand seems to be of quality and the leather on this orange one is like butter. Totally gorgeous. Small complaint: I hate the name which, for some reason reminds me of Diesel (so not my scene). Could they not have come up with something prettier? As it happens, the store didn't have the orange colourway in stock, so I ended up buying it at the Bay (also so not my scene but if you've gone to the upgraded, Sak's-funded one on Queen Street it's looking pretty awesome-American). The Bay was having a Mother's Day sale and I convinced the SA to give me an extra 5% which saved me 20% in total. Not bad (and I wouldn't have got this discount at the flagship store).

So, that's my weekend treat - very practical AND affordable. Thoughts?