Style: Bling on a budget

If you’re like me and a tad bit obsessed with all things J.Crew, it can be a bit disheartening to browse their jewelry section. Most of their fantastic statement necklaces are in the $150-200 range – the kind of dough I’m willing to spend on a watch I’ll wear every day, but not a trendy necklace that may go out of style next year. So what’s a girl to do?

If you want some dazzling bling without breaking the bank, then one trick is to browse online. Etsy has plenty of fantastic hand-made costume jewelry and much of it comes at bargain prices. Local designers often have designer knock-offs as well. Hamilton-based Sexton in the City, for example, is selling colourful bubble necklaces for just $20. At that price, you can buy one in every colour for less than the price of a single similar necklace at J.Crew.

However, if you’re like me and have a try-before-you-buy philosophy, then shopping in-store is the way to go. I’ve been scouring stores lately for affordable bling and found some great options at surprising locations where I don’t normally shop.

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From left to right:
Ann Taylor, $54.99 online and $19.88 in-store; Smart Set, $10; Forever 21, $29.80.

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Yard sale exploring

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What’s a good way to spend a sunny Saturday? At a yard sale, of course.

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We checked out this sale at Trinity-Bellwoods Park today and it was definitely a good place to find unique vintage furniture for low prices. Of course, it’s only good if you’re willing to put the work in after bringing them home (otherwise… sorry, you’ll have to try IKEA).

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Chests of drawers like these could be beautiful statement pieces – with a little creativity and TLC! Imagine what they’d look like with a paint job and new knobs from, say, Anthropologie.

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This beautiful typewriter would be stunning on a bookshelf or extra desk.

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We also spotted some knick-knacks that could be interesting pieces for the kitchen…

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…or the bedroom!

Have you ever scored something awesome at a yard sale or flea market?

Let me know in the comments!

A new home

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Just a few days ago, I moved into a bright, spacious new condo in downtown Toronto with my boyfriend Jordan. We’ve got our furniture set up, so we’re mostly settled into our new home – but it doesn’t have that “homey” feeling just yet.

So now it’s the fun part – decorating! First priority: the living room. It’s a nice, open space with a great layout. The challenge? Balancing out the dark floors and furniture. I think it needs a few pops of colour, an area rug to lighten all that dark laminate flooring, and definitely some artwork and plants to soften the clean lines.

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Here’s a closer look. Jordan brought the table and couch, and they definitely look like a dude’s furniture. My goal is to balance it out with a few throw pillows and coffee table books. And look at that wall behind the couch! A nice big chunk of space to put a gallery of art, photos, knick-knacks of some kind. We’ve been pinning to an inspiration board on Pinterest to share our ideas for the space.

So what do you think we should do with the area? Leave a comment and let me know!

Recipe: Cuban corn

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I’ve always enjoyed corn on the cob in the summer, usually with nothing more than a bit of butter and salt. But one trip out to a smokehouse on Roncesvalles changed that. I tried “cuban corn” and loved it, and I was bent on finding out how to make it at home.

Cuban corn definitely has kick. It’s a Mexican side dish that uses the power of chili peppers to get that hot sensation. It’s also customizable based on your preference towards spicy foods. Ground cayenne is a delicious option and not overwhelmingly spicy, whereas chili flakes pack a more powerful punch and should be used more sparingly. Whatever you choose, it’s delicious!

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Ingredients (for 4 servings):

  • 4 tbsp. parmigiano reggiano
  • 2 tbsp. ground cayenne (or 1 tbsp. chili flakes)
  • 1 tbsp. ground black better
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • A few slices of butter

Directions

  1. Precook the corn for 3-5 minutes by adding it to a pot of boiling water. This will give you time to make the coating.
  2. Grate the parmigiano reggiano.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the cheese gratings with the cayenne or chili flakes (depending on your preference) along with the pepper.
  4. Crush cloves of garlic and set aside, along with the butter.
  5. When corn has boiled for a few minutes, season it on a plate, starting with the butter and garlic to make it nice and moist – then add the cayenne/pepper/parmigiano mixture.
  6. Toss the corn on the barbeque for a few more minutes – then enjoy!

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