advice from smythe

I was at a event recently where the founders of Smythe were dolling out advice to mostly type “A” women.  Between the wine and cheese, this is what I remembered.

1. If you choose to have a business partner, go into it like you’re picking a spouse.  It’s so important that they share your fundamental values and support you when you need it most.  I think it’s definitely easier for these ladies as it apears they have been friends for decades.

2. The sweetest words that every boss wants to hear “I can save us money”.  5 years ago, I would not have appreciated this line as much.  But once you’re in charge of millions, every dollar counts.  I am happy to save $50 here and there, at every turn. At the end of the year, it all adds up.

3. (Targeted) Marketing Works.  I am still in awe that this small fashion house was able to get the princess to wear their jacket/blazer on her trip to Canada.  I am sure every fashion house in Canada was after this opportunity, but it looks like the PR team at Smythe had the magic touch.  This is a fete that goes down in marketing / PR history. (As a side note, the day Kate landed in Canada, Smythe’s website crashed, their jackets were sold out practically everywhere like Holts, Saks and their business has grown exponentially since then)

4. Do what you love, it’s that simple.  The older I get the more it resonates.  I have been lucky that I always accidentally land jobs that lead to fulfilling careers.  Working in telecom in its early days in Canada and going to phone launch parties was thrilling for me when I was in my 20s.  Growing and transitioning into the world of Advertising / Communications was pure happenstance but I could not have asked for a better career.  There are grueling days but then once in a while, when I catch myself at the music recording studio, media parties, tv and photo shoots, I have to pinch myself to realize it’s not a dream.

5. It’s okay to have a family and be really, really, successful.  You just have to be planful.  I am so skeptical about this ideal.  Success comes out of sacrifice and hard work. Having a loving family with kids and a rocketing career still seem unattainable for women as not many men/spouses have the patience to put up with a partner that works 12hrs/day.  Which means the men/spouses have to pitch in and do a lot of the house hold chores that were once done by women.  I am skeptical but both Smythe founders have young families and their growing successful company.  It just may be possible after all.

It was a fun event and I am glad that as lazy as I am, I still make a effort to attend industry events.  It’s so easy to stay in your own little world, with the same people you’ve always known.

Bonus Advice: Always look polish! Both founders of Smythe (Andrea Lenczner and Christie Smythe) dressed casually that evening, but looked totally put together.  As a woman, I  don’t think you  need to wear a lot of make up and spend a ton of time worrying about how you look.  But a little effort goes a long way.

A night at the bar…

When going to the bar and hanging out with friends.  I think a t-shirt and jeans is the perfect outfit.  I am also trying really hard these days to travel light.  So a little cross body purse is the perfect accessory.

Top: Club Monaco

Bottom: H&M (bought two years ago!)

Purse: Esprit from Goodwill for $5

Shoes: Halogen Size 4 from Nordstroms

yellow mellow

I am such a creature of habit.  Once I like something, I latch on to it.

Here’s my one of my favorite goodwill purchase of all time.  I am delighted that I can wear it at work.

I’ve also been reading a lot about marriage.  There’s so much to learn.

cardigan: club monaco

tank: goodwill

pants: banana republic

shoes: halogen size 4 (nordstrom)

There’s no such thing as settling down…

If there’s one thing some of my single friends misunderstand about long term relationships or marriage, is that you don’t settle down when you get marry or committ to someone long term.  It’s quite the opposite.

Your life is far from settled, since your journey is just begun.  Being committed to someone for life, really gives you the freedom to dive into the things you are passionate about.  The nice thing about marriage is that you have someone to catch you if you fall.

Since being married, I’ve push myself further towards my passions and I can do that because there’s someone next to me, pushing me to try harder, to go out of my comfort zone. Though I’ve been married for less than 6 months, I can’t imagine that I will someday be a shell of my former self. If the early stages are a indication, I’ll continue to chugg along, pushing myself to reach higher and further, for the things I am passionate about.  Like any marriage, there will always be ups and downs.  That is also what I mean about no such thing as “settled down”,  you’ll have highs and lows.  During the low periods, you wont’ feel “settled” at all.

Okay, Okay…back to what this blog is all about.  I found a gorgeous silk scarf the last time I was at Goodwill.  I can see myself strolling the cobble stone streets in europe this summer with this scarf wrapped around my neck.

100% Silk Scarf: Goodwill for $5 (and another $5 to dry clean)

OR

The Club Monaco Silk Scarf below for $150

  Club Monaco scarf

 Club Monaco scarve (see more lightweight scarves)

If it’s good enough for Zsuzsanna M. Zsohar, it’s good enough for me…

For those of you who don’t know,Zsuzsanna M. Zsohar is the wife of Michael Ignatieff (former leader of the Liberal Party). A few years ago, I was at Scarborough Civic Centre while  he was campaigning.  It was interesting hearing him talk in person and try to relate to the low income and disenfranchised folks.

He comes to mind because his wife,  Zsuzsanna shops at Goodwill.  Even though she patronizes the shops in Yorkville, I have heard that she likes to shop at Goodwill every now and then.  She even has a favourite store location.

Michael Ignatieff with wife and Goodwill shopper Zsuzsanna M. Zsohar

My favourite goodwill location to donate is the Scarborough Eastown location at Brimley and Eglinton Avenue.  I was there just last week with ML dropping some old clothes and books off.  It was a nice day and I was able to capture a clear picture on my phone of the storefront.  It does not look like much, but this location provides a great avenue for folks to buy clothes and also provides great job training.  I also spotted a few grew item’s that I am dying to share next week.

Making it better…

Happy New Year!!  It’s been a great 2011 for me.  As with every passing year, I learn a little more, feel a little more humble and just thank the heavens that I get another year to make myself and my surroundings better.

I have some personal and professional projects planned.  A new marriage to work on and new friendships to nurture.  What can’t be neglected are friends that have been there, thick and through, family that will always love and support my flawed self.

During the holidays, I made a trip to Goodwill to try to create my first vlog.  It did not go well, but I did manage to find a few pieces to start a new series called “Style It”.  I found a straw tote that can easily  be paired with all the resort pieces I’ve been seeing.

Bag: Goodwill for $3

I would Style It with this easy and comfy outfit.  The weather in Toronto has been so nice, I wouldn’t have any hesitation debuing this bag. (can’t believe it’s 7 above zero on January 1!)

Straw Bag Outfit


Organic by John Patrick trench coat
$550 – lagarconne.com

J brand skinny jeans
£190 – liberty.co.uk

TopShop leather boots
$185 – topshop.com

Top
look.co.uk

Casual Fridays

I love casual fridays. However, women should never take casual friday too literally.  Some thought should always be put into dressing casual at work.

Top: Shirtmate Brand bought at Goodwill

Bottom: Banana Republic Petites

Shoes: Halogen Size 4 at Nordstroms

Daily Meditation: Living with Less

Today, I am donating more books to Goodwill. I struggle with accumulating too many books.  I love to read and as a kid, my father introduced me to the world of books.

Albert Britnell’s at Yonge and Bloor was my dad’s favourite book store.  My dad is very frugal and the only time I saw him spend money was in a book store.

These are books that I’ve read need to pass them on to someone.  The Road Less Travel is special to me.  I’ve been reading it on and off for over 8-10 years.  I’ve bought a digital version now and there’s no need to keep it on the shelves.

The wedding book inspired me to make my wedding as simple, tasteful but uniquely me as much as possible.  One thing that is uniquely me at my wedding was the vases for the centre pieces.  Every single vase from my wedding was from Goodwill.  I paid no more than $30 for all the vases, even the big ones that were used in the entry way.

Farmer’s Market

I am a huge fan of local food.  During the summer months, just right outside our apartment, there was a farmers market each and every thursday.

I would delight ML when he came home from work with crepe for desert or  fresh peppers and tomatoes for his pastas.

Now that the weather is near zero, I really miss the lovely weather and the local farmers that make the trip into the city once a week.