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Paris Flea Markets Are The Absolute Best

January 16, 2016

Paris-Flea-MarketsWhen we dream of visiting Paris, we conjure images of well-balanced Bordeaux wines and flaky croissants, twilight strolls along the Seine, Eiffel Tower views, afternoons spent in cozy neighborhood bistros–and plenty of time to wander the city’s fabulous flea markets. Which is why when we heard that antiques expert Barbara Milo Ohrbach, the author of such best-selling books as The Scented Room and Antiques at Home, was planning a trip to Paris’s marches aux puces to research her new book, A Passion for Antiques, we tossed our manners to the wind and begged to tag along. Graciously, Barbara agreed to give us an insider’s look at her favorite Parisian flea markers.

Since most of the markets take place on the weekend, we flew out of New York City on Thursday night and arrived in Paris early Friday morning. This gave us a day to shake off any lingering jet lag, have lunch at a brasserie, and explore Paris on foot. To make the most of our time …

Are Personal Shoppers Still A Thing??

January 9, 2016

Personal-ShoppersWhen Maureen (Mo) Doss needed to throw together an ensemble for George W. Bush’s inauguration festivities, she turned to B.J. Wilson.

Wilson, owner of the upscale specialty boutique Dressoir in Fort Worth, Tex., has been helping her clients update and retool their wardrobes for years. Wilson and her staff quickly found a Victoria Royal gown, suggested shoes and a bag, then went a step further

by arranging a hairstylist and manicurist.

“I don’t know what I would have done without her,” said Doss, who lives in Aledo, south of Fort Worth. “She made it so easy. It was really a one-stop deal.”

For Wilson and her staff, such last-minute consultations aren’t unusual. They are part of her business strategy of offering attentive, personal shopping services that cater to time-pressed clients who want professional help and are willing to pay for it.

“They’re busy but they’re not in the fashion business,” said Wilson. “They want to look coordinated and current, but they need help putting it all together. …

Bargain Hunting Is Always A Good Way To Shop

January 2, 2016

Good-Way-To-ShopLike surfers travelling the world for the perfect wave or mountaineers finding their own rugged route to the summit, bargain hunters have a code of honour. We want to be first at the hottest sale in town, but once we’ve scored our prize and savoured the bragging rights, we like to share the good news. That’s how we stay on savvy shoppers’ tip lists. Friendly competition is the essence of our game.

You think Caren got a deal on a jacket? Let me tell you about my Italian tweed number. Ninety bucks, and it doubles as a dress. I found it in a tacky little place where the peeling walls are festooned to the ceiling with last year’s designer wares and the owner, bracelets jangling, spears your size with a hook. As she stuffed my purchase into a white plastic grocery bag, I asked the question that obsesses bargain shoppers: how much money had I saved? She threw up her hands. “How much do you think? …

Do Mystery Shoppers Still Exist?

December 19, 2015

Mystery-ShoppersShop-a-holic. Born to shop. Shop ’til you drop. Do those. words describe you? If so, then do I have the job for you!

It’s a job that’s not only perfect for compulsive shoppers, it’s also the ideal job for anyone looking to supplement her income or even for stay-at-home moms to get out of the house a bit.

Think about it. Free lunches. Free gas. Free purchases at the convenience store and even free clothes. All this can be yours just by becoming a mystery shopper.

“Just what is a mystery shopper?” you ask.

Mystery shoppers are known by different names, depending on the company. Expect to be called an evaluator, a customer service representative, or just a shopper, but you’ll still do the same thing and that is to contact businesses to determine how the employees and the company’s business practices are working.

The mystery of it is that the employees won’t know you are anything more than a regular customer. You won’t have to feel …

Registering Is Huge For Gift Shopping

December 12, 2015

Gift-ShoppingWhatever the occasion, registering is quickly becoming an art form. Gone are the days of Mother taking Daughter to the local china shop to choose a formal pattern (to be used only on holidays and when the in- laws come for dinner, dear). Today registering, though still used as a means to help establish a young couple’s household, has also become a way of pleasing relatives, asserting an individual’s or couple’s personality and, most important, avoiding nasty surprises. “My parents got three fondue makers for their wedding,” says Winnipegger Maggie Nighswander, who’s not convinced she and the man she recently married, Daniel Rempel, would use one, let alone three. “Besides, my grandmother doesn’t know how to buy from anything but a register.”

In terms of weddings, the biggest change to this pre-nuptial ritual is that grooms have finally cottoned on to the fact that registering is the closest they may ever come to the genie in a bottle. Men are signing up for everything from camping equipment …

Buying Skin Tag Removal Creams Can Be Tricky

December 11, 2015

Skin-Tag-Removal-CreamsThey’re tiny little devils that prefer to live in the folds of skin. The neck, groin, armpit and even under breasts isn’t safe from them. Sometimes they even make an appearance in the fold of an eyelid. While they’re small and don’t grow to more than 3mm in diameter, if you know of the existence of this devil you can’t help but stare. They sometimes live in packs, sprouting up in numbers from 1 to 100 at any given time. What are these annoying little things? They are skin tags and they don’t discriminate.

A single person could have a skin tag anywhere on their body at any time. While skin tags prefer the flesh of the newborn or the elderly, they will still grow and cling on anyone else. They aren’t dangerous but they are definitely annoying. Based on their preferred locations for growth they can get caught by hair brushes, razors and jewelry which make them more nuisance than anything.

There are several ways that someone can remove a skin tag from their body. While others are more permanent there is really only one true method that is instantaneous: cutting the suckers off.

There are creams and freezing products on the market that do a fabulous job of getting rid of skin tags. This site offers many skin tag removal product reviews. They both work by attacking the cells (more…)

Negotiating Prices Needn’t Be So Difficult

December 5, 2015

Negotiating-PricesLet me confess up front: When it comes to negotiating, I’m a full-throttle, pedal-to-the-metal wimp. And I’m not alone. “Our culture has program reed us to believe that the sticker price is what you’re supposed to pay,” explains Herb Cohen, author of You Can Negotiate Anything. But the reality, he says, is that “almost no price is etched in stone.”

So where can we hesitant hagglers begin? First, know that it’s generally best to wheel and deal on weekdays, preferably in the A.M., when retail traffic isn’t at critical mass. When you shop, picture yourself as a seller, not a buyer. “Your money is actually the product up for sale,” Cohen says. Beyond price bargaining, consider asking for an extended warranty or free delivery, suggests Roger Volkema, author of The Negotiation Toolkit. Or, if you’re buying several blouses, see if they’ll throw in a scarf or earrings for free.

Here’s the technique. Get the salesperson’s name and use it, Cohen says. Then plop on an imaginary dunce …

Christmas Spending Down Everywhere

December 2, 2015

Christmas-SpendingThat late Christmas rush, which usually surfaces at least by the weekend preceding Christmas and builds until the afternoon of Christmas Eve, just didn’t materialize the way retailers wanted. While malls and downtown stores did report decent traffic this past weekend, the level of shopping did nothing to change the outlook for the season. By and large, it’s been disappointing, and it looks like it will stay that way for the remainder of the holiday shopping period.

Desperate for business, many retailers over the past several days felt forced into unplanned markdowns. Generally, they say they’ve been adept at managing the merchandise through this challenging season, and had all along set conservative sales goals. That means profits for the fourth quarter, which for most retailers concludes at the end of January, may not be as bleak as the current mood, and there is still some time left to perk up results a bit, if consumers respond to the bevy of sharp discounts that will be offered during …

Canada’s Le Chateau Does It With A Parisian Edge

November 29, 2015

Parisian-Edge“What we do here,” says Amrick Autwal, supervisor of six Le Chateau stores, “is definitely influenced by what’s in right now–what the big designers are showing, what look is hot in music or in film, what people are wearing in clubs and on the street … It’s also about the general mood, about economics and politics. It’s like that old saying about hemlines going up and down with the stock market. In the past year, after September II, there was a lot of camouflage in stores and dark colours.”

“A lot of times it’s just guesswork,” Autwal says. “There have been so many times when I’ve seen an item and thought, `that is really going to sell, that’s really going to be popular,’ and no one buys it. A store or a designer might try to dictate to the consumer what they should be wearing, but in the end, it’s the customer who decides.”

Dressed in a denim shirt over a T-shirt, brown, pinstriped pants and thick-soled …

A Great, Short Trip From Paris: Marrakech

November 26, 2015

Trip-From-ParisMarrakech is once again Morocco’s most sought-after city. It was, remember, hugely popular in the sixties and seventies, when it was known as the capital of hippiedom. (For verification, just listen to Crosby, Stills & Nash’s 1969 recording of “Marrakesh Express,” or rent the movie Hideous Kinky.) Real and faux bohemians of all stripes–including Talitha and Paul Getty and Yves Saint Laurent, who still has a house there–went for drugs and sex (and maybe for rock and roll too, although I doubt it; more likely they came for the richly flavored Moroccan food).

For those who knew it back then, Marrakech is not exactly what it used to be (oh, jaded travelers, is anything?), but that hasn’t stopped Morocco’s third-largest city from enjoying yet another favorable moment in the North African desert sun. This time around, Marrakech has become a popular weekend destination for Europeans. It always has been one for the French: after all, Morocco was a protectorate from 1912 to 1956, and French remains the …

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