About Sarah

 

Sarah Francis is a fashion addict with a serious shoe fetish and a penchant for shiny things.  She's the Director of Real Life Runway and Official Stylist of Vaughan Mills. Her work has appeared in some of the country's top magazines, newspapers and TV shows.  Oh, and she loooves to shop. Obviously.

 

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Tuesday
Nov082016

HOLIDA-AY, CELEBRA-ATE | 10 Festive Finds You'll Want to Pick Up Now

via WhoWhatWear

Not to seem too eager or anything but, now that Hallowe'en is done, is anyone else just a little bit excited about what's coming next? While it's probably too early for stockings and trees (#nevertooearly), there are certain festive finds worth picking up in advance. Whether it's those cold weather essentials that make the snow a treat instead of torture, or those most-wanted gifts that are sure to sell out, I've rounded up 10 things you're going to need soon that you'll want to get now. Read on for my picks, then get ready to feel fa-la-la-lamazing about how relaxed you'll feel in 47 days once the holidays hit (not that I'm counting)...


WHAT TO PICK UP NOW | Over the river and through the wood, it's time for family to invade your 'hood. Whether you're hosting loved ones for a big family dinner or welcoming your in-laws for the whole of the hols, it's fun to get all festive this time of year. Cozy flannel sheets are the perfect winter update for your guest bedroom and pre-lit trees will make every room look fun & festive, no extra decorating required. 

OUR PICKS | WholeHome Luxe Portuguese Cotton Flannel Sheet Set, $82, SearsWholeHome Luxe Yarn-Dyed Triple Brushed Flannel Duvet Cover Set, $82, SearsWholeHome Pre-Lit Birch Tree, $34.99, Sears


 

 

WHAT TO PICK UP NOW | It happens every year: I think I have loads of time and then BAM! Snow, sleet, and freezing cold temps arrive overnight and my poor kids have to walk out the door in mismatched mittens and too-small boots. This year, I'm picking up all of the cold-weather essentials before the snow starts. Um, seriously though, how cute are those hockey stick BOGS?

OUR PICKS | Alpinetek Baby Pram Suit, $60, Sears; BOGS Classic Hockey Boots, $95, Soft MocSorel Winter Boots, $59.99, Soft Moc

 

 

WHAT TO PICK UP NOW | I grew up with those classic chocolate advent calendars and let's be honest: chocolate before breakfast is always a good thing. But still, I'm pretty tempted by all the creative, non-chocolate Advent calendars out there, too. For Lego-lovers, the Lego City Advent Calendar is a genius idea that will have your littles counting down the days. And for grown-ups, what better way to find your new fave tea than with the 24 Days of Tea Advent Calendar from DAVIDsTEA? I mean, why should kids have all the fun?

OUR PICKS | 24 Days of Tea Advent Calendar, $40, DAVIDsTEA; Lego City Advent Calendar, $40, Walmart

 

WHAT TO PICK UP NOW | You never know when a can't-miss party invite might make its way into your inbox; and when it does, it's best to be prepared. With office parties, open-houses and family functions on the horizon, this time of year calls for dressing your best without the stress. Be sure to grab a classic black jumpsuit for this year's party season, plus some amazing extras to help you win Best Dressed Guest every time. 

OUR PICKS | Tricoteen Wide Leg Jumpsuit, $169.99, Le Château; Statement Earrings, $18, ALDO; Scattered Sequin Box Clutch, $50, ALDO

 

WHAT TO PICK UP NOW |  Wine is always a fine idea but your holiday hosts will remember the extra thoughtful gifts the most. This year, surprise them with a great new Christmas album (CDs, vinyl or iTunes gift cards work, depending on the host) or an acacia wood cutting board, sure to come in handy over the holidays. 

OUR PICK | A Pentatonix Christmas, $12.99, HMVAcacia Wood Cutting Board, $39.99, Sears

WHAT TO PICK UP NOW | As of post-time, there were still a few random Hatchimals spotted at Walmart. Same goes for all thing Paw Patrol and Pie Face. But unless you want to be stuck bidding double on eBay in a few weeks or are prepared to find the look of pure disappointment under the tree on Christmas morning, I suggest you pick up this year's hottest toys while you still can. No presh ;) 

OUR PICKS | Hatchimals, $84.99, Walmart; Paw Patrol Paw Patroller, $80, Walmart; Pie Face Showdown Game, $28, Walmart

WHAT TO PICK UP NOW | There's nothing better than taking some genuine time off, at home, with nothing to do but eat, chill and read a great book. Whether you're looking for some great books for yourself or have some random giftees on your list (co-workers, Secret Santas, that uncle you don't really know that well), it's always smart to have a few good reads on hand, just in case. 

OUR PICKS | Born To Run Bruce Springsteen, $25, Coles; Kakuma Girls, $19.95, Coles

WHAT TO PICK UP NOW |  If you find yourself in the pet aisle on Christmas Eve every year, desperately reaching for catnip and dog toys, do yourself a solid and get your pets covered early. While I'm not usually the early shopping type, I've already picked up this amazing Nerf Dog ball gun for my Westie - that classic game of fetch will never, ever be the same. 

OUR PICK | Nerf Dog Dog Toys, $34.99, Sears

WHAT TO PICK UP NOW | Want to win with the ugliest sweater? Want to be the cutest at the toboggan park? There are so many wonderfully tacky finds to celebrate the joy of the season that I see absolutely no point in waiting. Ugly sweater? Check. Kitschy toque? Check. Hmmm...now where is that perfect fleece onesie....

OUR PICKS | Ugly Holiday Sweater, $25, Sears; I Love Winter Toque, $26, Roots

WHAT TO PICK UP NOW | From snow tires to snowshoes, you need the right stuff for the white stuff. See what I did there? No matter how you choose to make your way through the mush, having good gear is essential to help you have the best winter ever. With an extra snowy winter in the forecast, this might be the perfect year to give yourself an upgrade.  

OUR PICK | Louis Garneau Transition 723 Women's Snowshoes, $139.99, Sport ChekYamaha FX Nytro Snow Bike, $79.99, Sears; 4' Toboggan with Cushion, $78, Walmart

Thursday
Oct202016

PRETTY LITTLE LAYERS | Our Top Picks for a Perfectly Cozy Fall

via Watchabuy

Think the colder weather means the end of looking cute until next spring? Hold up. With the right layering pieces, you can greet the next several months in style without sacrificing a single second of warmth.  

Read on for the cozy picks you'll love to live in this season. As for that cold weather? Brrring it on. 


WHY YOU'LL LOVE IT | Never underestimate the power of a perfect crewneck sweatshirt - it's classic, it's cozy, and it lends instant chill to any outfit. Want to wear your sequined skirt all day? Go for it. Just add a grey sweatshirt and cute white kicks. Sexy black waxed skinnies and pumps need some taming? Add a grey sweatshirt. Go a size up from what you normally buy to look stylish, not stuffed. 

OUR PICK | Raglan Crew Sweatshirt, $46, American Eagle

WHY YOU'LL LOVE THEM | There are so many ways to justify living in your black leggings on the daily, from the obvious comfort factor to the ease with which they work into your wardrobe. Still. I mean, do leggings really have to be so basic? If you haven't already, look for leather (faux or real) details to add some interest to your leggings this season. Simply add a chambray shirt, a cozy knit, some black ankle boots and a fun scarf (see below) for any cool fall day or family photoshoot that comes your way. 

OUR PICK | Black Pleather Insert Leggings, $59.90, Cleo

WHY YOU'LL LOVE IT | Since every woman owns that same plaid scarf by now (you know the one), this fall feels like the perfect time for a switch-up. Whether you choose a fun star motif, an animal print, or a graphic that helps you express your M.O., pick a playful scarf to throw on when it gets freezing or to toss oh-so-awesomely over your couch like a Pinterest pro. Good vibes all around.  

OUR PICK | Good Vibes Scarf, $29.95, Garage

WHY YOU'LL LOVE IT | A turtleneck is a super sleek and easy way to update your wardrobe staples for the colder weather ahead. Wear it with a pleated skirt and over-the-knee boots, layered under a shift dress, instead of a scarf (on those days you don't feel like wearing a scarf) or with those overalls you rocked all summer. Keep it fitted, keep it simple, and be sure to pick one up in grey, black and white - you're going to need them all. 

OUR PICK | Kismet Clare Turtleneck, $39.90, Bootlegger

WHY YOU'LL LOVE THEM | This fall, don't let your extras be an afterthought; they might be little but gloves and scarves can totally make or break your outerwear game. You can never go wrong with black or grey but next time you shop, pick up a colour-blocked hat and a pair of mixed media gloves - practical enough to go with any of your coats but with just the right amount of detail to keep things interesting. 

OUR PICKS | Knit and Faux Leather Gloves, $40, ALDO; Roxana Pom Pom Toque, $30, Roots

WHY YOU'LL LOVE IT | Don't suffer through another Saturday morning hockey practice alone. A S'well bottle will keep you company on the bench and keep your hot drinks (tea, coffee, Baileys - we won't judge) piping hot for up to 12 hours. Here's hoping hockey practice won't last quite that long...

OUR PICK | S'well Bikini Pink Water Bottle, $46.99, Jean Machine

WHY YOU'LL LOVE IT | Think cozy has to mean shapeless? Meet the sweater dress - one of the sexiest ways to warm up this winter. The knit will hug your curves and show off your shape, whether you're heading to work (um, maybe add some black tights in that case) or going out for a cozy dinner date. 

WE LOVE | Midi Sweater Dress, $64.90, Dynamite

WHY YOU'LL LOVE IT | Hit the snooze button one too many times? Here's a fast wardrobe fix, guaranteed to make your mornings a breeze: choose a monochromatic base (black, grey or off-white), then simply add a long vest and black ankle boots. Faux fur is always a cute option or go with one of fall's hottest outerwear trends: the sherpa vest. Kind of makes you want to climb to the top of a very large hill. Or hunker down for an epic Netflix sesh by the fire. Totally up to you. ;)

OUR PICK | Textured Faux Sherpa Vest, $79.95, Le Château

WHY YOU'LL LOVE IT | Hoodies made fashion headlines this season as the stylish sweat of choice. Whether you wear it with a skirt (seriously) or your workout gear, opt for a zip hoody with thoughtful details; we love this one for its colour-blocking, its figure-flattering seaming and of course, those super cool thumbholes. 

OUR PICK | Hyba Hooded Quilted Jacket, $69.90, Reitmans

WHY YOU'LL LOVE THEM | When it comes to the weather, fall is a funny time - from pouring rain to freezing mornings to those unexpected f-words (I'll just say it: flurries) - which makes footwear decisions tougher than usual. Since tall winter boots often feel way too clunky between seasons, you'll need a pair of transitional boots in your life to get you from A to B and back again. BTW, Timberlands = instant street cred. 

OUR PICKS | Timberland Flannery Sneaker Boot, $119.99, Journeys; Birdy Lace-Up Boots, $110, ALDO

WHY YOU'LL LOVE THEM | If you want to look chic from your toque to your toes, sport socks just aren't gonna cut it. We love cabin socks for all the practical and the pretty they provide to our rainboots and snow boots and every other boot we'll live in this season. 

OUR PICK | Ashli Cabin Sock 2-Pack, $18.50, Roots

WHY YOU'LL LOVE THEM | With the athleisure trend going nowhere, it's perfectly acceptable to wear your joggers in public right now. The key to keeping it stylish? Make sure your joggers are a not-too-tight slim fit, with figure flattering seams and knees that won't stretch out. If you like the baggier look, look for joggers with volume through the thigh and tapered cuffs at the ankles. Go for a grey or black pair and you can take them from your house to the grocery store without missing a beat.  

OUR PICK | Training Pant, $74, Roots

WHY YOU'LL LOVE IT | A pretty colour block poncho is the perfect way to add a subtle pop of print to your solid turtlenecks, classic white button-downs or denim shirts this fall. Once the real cold arrives, don't be afraid to layer it over your black coat to make winter way more stylish. Aaand, that's a wrap. ;)

OUR PICK | Grey Colour Block Poncho Wrap, $49.90, Cleo

Friday
Oct072016

SWEATER WEATHER | 30 Luxe-Looking Sweaters That Won't Ruin Your Fall Budget

via Rocky Barnes Blog

While I'm already mourning the loss of this fall-that-feels-like-summer, the cooler weather ahead does have a silver lining: sweater weather. There's nothing like tossing on a cozy knit on a brisk day to feel all those fall feels. In my swingy long cardigan, I won't have to wear a coat while picking pumpkins with my kids. In my XL sweater, leggings and Timberlands, I can conquer a fall hike in style.  And in one of this season's off-the-shoulder knits, I can still feel the sun on my skin, just for a little while longer. 

While you'll never go wrong investing in a quality knit, it doesn't mean you can never save on sweaters. With the right construction, good yarns and thoughtful details, some of this season's sweaters are surprisingly affordable. Before you buy, check the knit in the light. Is it already pilling? That's a good sign that your sweater won't last. Next, look for any holes and stretching at the hem and shoulders. A poor construction means the sweater is likely going to stretch out of shape after a few wears.  Finally, check the label and look for either a cotton, merino wool or wool blend. Acrylic is okay but ideally try to find an acrylic that's been blended with better fibers. Sure, you might not find a luxe cashmere for under $100, but the good news? A blend is usually machine-washable. You might not want to part with $200 for a bright red sweater but at $40, it's definitely worth the risk. And if you fall in love with a certain sweater and love how it fits, a lower pricetag lets you buy it in grey AND in black. Yup. Silver linings all around. 

Happy Thanksgiving and happy sweater weather!

xx