getting stuff

Yesterday was Chris’s last full day here to help me get set up. Our to-do list was long.

But first…my inaugural coffee in my new place.

That view though!

The first errand on the agenda was to pick up my car. I had to use some French to communicate with the security guard at work to get the keys and I remembered the words for “car” and “key” so that was great. The car is a Ford Escape and while I’m not a huge fan of driving a branded car, my only real complaint is the dial button gearshift. Ford, really? Otherwise, the car is very nice to drive. I think our next car will be a small SUV. Or a more luxurious hatchback (Mini Cooper would be my dream!) Anyway…

Next we got groceries to be the necessities. I wanted to drive out of the downtown core to find a store with parking and we ended up in Westmount. The store was actually pretty small and was missing a lot of things on my list, but a beautiful grocery store is across the street from me and I plan to check it out and get those remaining things on Monday after Chris heads out of town. Even without getting everything in my list, we spent a small fortune and the cupboards and fridge still seem bare!

Next we went to IKEA for some non-food essentials and had to wait in line to get in for about 20 minutes!

At least the weather was nice!

We got almost everything I was looking for (and a few things I wasn’t) and got in and out fairly quickly.

We returned to the apartment to find someone had taken my parking spot, which was annoying but at least it gave me an opportunity to bond with Nour (my building security guard who I didn’t find to be overly friendly that first day). Yay for being friendly!

We dropped off the goods and then headed out on foot for one last batch of errands. First we went to The Source to get an Apple TV. I was disappointed to find that the TVs in my apartment aren’t smart and so without the Apple TV I couldn’t watch the only things I use a TV for: YouTube, Peloton classes, and Netflix. I also wanted to hit Nota Bene for a classy notebook and pen for my new job (putting the right foot forward and excuses to buy stationery and all that).

We got back to the apartment around 5. Chris got to work setting up the Apple TV and running extension cords. I unpacked and organized the IKEA goodies which involved taking off many irritatingly stubborn stickers and washing dishes. But I’m feeling much happier now that all my things are contained versus piled loose in the bathroom and kitchen cabinets.

Finally, it was time to eat and rest. We ordered poutine (bien sûr!), I took a bath (my tub makes me want to cry with appreciation), and then cuddled on the couch before I called it a day and went to bed early again.

conflicting values: fast fashion

I have two personal convictions, both virtuous, but often in direct conflict, it seems. This is what is on my mind today. Specifically two personal values that I try to uphold: frugality and avoiding fast fashion. I avoid try not to buy mass-produced (often sweat-shop produced) clothes because of the environmental and social impact this has. I believe that the many of the retailers that sell fast fashion have unethical practices, too. This is a US-centric article, but it does a good job explaining some of the reasons why I try to steer clear.

I’m usually successful in avoiding fast fashion because I’m frugal and try not to buy a lot of clothes. And I kinda suck at fashion. Read on.

My current dilemma I’ve been invited to a work event in a couple of weeks that feels like a big-enough deal that I’m a bit worried about what I’m going to wear. I readily admit that I dress for comfort and warmth in freezing cold offices and so I’m rarely seen in high heels or without a cardigan or scarf.

But for this event, I feel like I really should kick things up at least a tiny bit. The quintessential ugh, I have nothing to wear moment.

Have I mentioned that I hate shopping? I don’t even really like clothes, as I never feel completely comfortable in my skin, and don’t know how to put a great outfit together. My dislike for shopping and my lack of fashion sense has led me to have developed a bit of a work uniform. Pants, simple top, cardigan, and flat. All stretchy and warm.

So, I don’t buy clothes very often. It’s a necessary evil for me, like paying for insurance.

Here’s where the conflicting values come into play. Since I avoid shopping, I tend to do it under duress, like now, when I feel like it’s an emergency. I can either to go to a small boutique, getting the help of a doting salesperson who can invest time and energy into dressing my hopeless self, and likely spend a small fortune. Here’s where my other personal value kicks in and nags at me. My desire to be frugal.

So, to be frugal, I could go to a place like, say, H&M or Zara. A place where I’m left to my own devices, trying to cobble together a good outfit from the racks of limply hanging clothes. These stores are obviously much cheaper than the boutiques, but I’m not a fashionista, and it’s struggle. Not to mention the all the ethical reasons for avoiding fast fashion.

Frugality versus ethical shopping.

OK, I know, I know. I could be frugal and ethical by buying well-made and well-priced clothes at secondhand shops. But remember – I’m terrible at dressing myself and adding the challenge of vintage shopping seems far too daunting to me. And from what I hear, the secret to successful second-hand clothes shopping is to go early and often. Finding just what you need, just when you need it, is probably very, very unlikely.

I might have just talked myself into giving vintage shopping a serious try. Maybe I’ll try an online store? So I can torture myself about the shipping…<sigh>.