The Average Girl's "How To" Guide

Advice on how to live a well-balanced lifestyle

Tag: shopping

What’s Yo’ Beef #27

by Rachel


Perma-B.O. The grossest. You put on a shirt fresh from the laundry, put deodorant on a fresh armpit, and an hour later you smell like B.O? Something is not adding up. It’s the buildup of the little bit of B.O. that doesn’t get washed out with each wash. Eventually, a perfectly good shirt otherwise, smells bad about 5 minutes in. And if you are someone who sweats a lot, the new sweat just empowers the stink more. The bad? You stink. The good? Time for new shirts!


Speaking of new shirts, my beef today is not knowing where to buy cool shit. I really love shopping most of the time (or, I hate it. It’s one or the other), but when I’m really in the mood, I just don’t know where to go in Toronto! Tell me your cool shopping stores, World!

How To: Remind Yourself of George Costanza

by Rachel

Order 2 velvet dresses online because you are secretly obsessed with velvet at the moment. It takes me back to my figure skating days, only I can wear it in public! Because how many times I have wanted to put on my old skating dress is… uncountable.

Just call me Velvet Fog.

I would drape myself in velvet if it were socially acceptable – George Costanza

What’s Yo Beef #8

by Shannon


Guys, today my beef is so good that I texted it to Rachel last Saturday, just so I wouldn’t forget. It’s changing rooms without mirrors in them. So that, of course, when you go in and have that J. Crew sweater on that’s pretty long so you’re wondering if you can wear it as a dress because you’re only 5 feet tall and all, you have to go outside of your changeroom so that everyone can see you and judge you.

It entirely defeats the purpose of a safe space, something the changing room is supposed to be the epitome of! A place where you can try on different clothes and get to see for yourself if you like them or not, without having little blond girls with too much make-up and highlights look at you like you’re an idiot. Sometimes if the changing room is like that, I will refuse to go outside it, and just not buy anything, causing the store to lose my well-earned dollars. Suck it, stores. Get some mirrors.


I hear that beef sister… My beef today is when you are brushing your teeth a little too vigorously, and one slip of the brush lands it in your gums. There’s a searing pain, a bellowing curse word and bloody spit afterwards. Then, by the next time you brush your teeth, you forget about it… and once it’s been done, for some reason, as if it changed the shape of your mouth, you do it again. And again. And again. It’s just how I brush my teeth now guys, and I feel like I will forever have a raw spot in my gums.

Life is hard.


How To: Have A Lovely Weekend

by Shannon

I hate to say it, but for this week’s post, step one is having your husband go away for the weekend, like on an annual sports trip with his Dad, or moose hunting or something.

Then, hang out with friends Friday night – maybe at a special Shabbat Shalom Birthday Dinner? Make sure you ask them to print out the Kiddish words, so you can sing along. It’s really fun, educational, and challah bread is so damn delicious.

Proceed to do some cleaning on Saturday, watch the end of Girls, season two, go shopping and buy some stuff, and then make yourself a fabulous dinner and have all the snacks you want.

Have a wonderful sleep with all the blankets because there’s no one telling you the comforter makes him “too hot” in September, and sleep with all the blinds open to take advantage of your amazing Toronto view and glass walls, because it won’t wake you up, because you have your eye mask on that you have to sleep with because your optometrist says you sleep with your eyes a little bit open and dust and shit fly in there at night. When you wake up, it will be glorious.

Sure, you have to do work the next day, but just work it baby, work it. You deserve this special, special weekend.

How To: Thrift Shop – Clothing Edition

by Rachel

With clothes shopping at the thrift store, you don’t have as much of a risk getting too much crap like chotchkies. Clothes have to fit and still look good before buying them, which plenty of the clothes at thrift stores don’t. This does make it a bit trickier to find good stuff because you have to be patient and really dig deep sometimes. Here’s some things that help me out with clothes and accessory thrifting:

  • You gotta be in the mood. Wait until that day where you don’t have much to do and a whole bunch of time on your hands. When the phrase “I feel like thrift shopping” enters your head, then you know it’s time.
  • You MUST try things on. These clothes have been used and washed and dried many times… a 32 length might not be a 32 length anymore.
  • When looking at pants, check the area’s that are commonly worn out. Namely, the hems at the bottom, knee’s and between the thighs (ladies you know what I’m talking about).
  • Make sure zippers work/stay up/stay closed! Same with buttons.
  • For shirts, I go straight for the armpits.. nothing worse than pit stains that aren’t even yours!
  • Generally, in all pieces, look for pilling, thinning, rips, tears, and stains. If you are lucky, you might be able to get a stain out, but don’t always count on it.
  • For the love of Peter, Paul and Mary… stay away from the underwear! Ultimately it’s up to you, but that’s nasty!
  • If you find an amazing pair of pants where your butt looks good, but the length isn’t right, either get them hemmed if too long or roll them up for summer if they are too short. I have a short pair that I roll up and wear with heels or sandals in summer, or wear them only with high boots in the winter. They are one of my fave pairs!
  • Have an open mind… if there’s a sweet blazer, but it has huge shoulder pads, be willing to take them out and sew it back up. Ugly buttons can easily be replaced. Seemingly ugly skirts and dresses can be saved by a cool modern belt or cardigan. You just need a little imagination.
  • When you get home, wash your thrifty finds in hot water. After they are dried, smell them to make sure the thrift store smell is GONE! I tried wearing a dress from a thrift store that I had washed already, but kept getting thrift store whiffs… gross.
  • And ultimately, If it doesn’t fit, don’t buy it, even if it is only $2.99.

I meant what I said and I said what I meant

How To: Thrift shop – Chotchkie/Home Decor Edition

by Rachel

I love to decorate. I love to style pretty much all surfaces (vertical and horizontal) of my home. I do not have a lot of money (I do not love that), but I get by with my well developed thrifting skills. It took me some time, and a lot of patience, but it has now come to be a bi-weekly, if not weekly, occurrence for me. It’s cheap, and it’s great for the environment because you aren’t buying new crap, just reusing someone else’s old crap.

However, everything is so cheap that it is reallllllly hard not to go overboard. Here are a few ways that I avoid buying too much shit.

  • If you see something you think you might like but aren’t sure, leave it on the shelf. Let fate decide! And sometimes, by the end of your shopping trip you will have forgotten about it, meaning you probably didn’t want it that bad anyways.
  • Look for chips, cracks or any unnatural imperfections that will definitely annoy you. Some people have a hard time throwing stuff out, so they just give broken stuff to thrift stores. If I see any of that, it goes right back on the shelf (same goes if you are looking for dishes). Would you buy something broken at a regular store? No. My only personal exception is unless it is absolutely the coolest, one of a kind thing and you don’t think you will ever find another.
  • Try to picture where you will put the piece. This may help you decide if you want to buy it. Another option, buy it regardless because it is probably pretty cheap! If you can’t find a spot, gift it to a friend so you can enjoy it at their place. Or, just send it back to the store on your next drop off!
  • Similar to the above, try to give anything you buy a purpose. If it’s just a random little dish that strikes your fancy, use it as a soapdish or ashtray. If you find a cool pitcher but don’t even use pitchers, use it as a vase! Found an awesome bowl that’s too small for baking, but too oddly shaped for soup? Use it as a catchall at the front door. That really rad plant pot can be used as a garbage bin if you don’t have a green thumb. If you can’t think of a use… leave it. It’s a good tactic to avoid getting too much junk.
  • Lastly, perhaps the most important and most freeing is if you bring something in, take something out. This allows you to buy as much as you want… as long as you get rid of an equal amount of other things in your house to make room!

Another issue is not finding ENOUGH cool things, so here are some tips for the opposite problem

  • Go in knowing that you MIGHT not find anything at all… it’s just a risk you have to take when thrifting.
  • If you like the shape of something but hate the colours, I have two words for you: SPRAY PAINT! Don’t give up on a cool piece just because it’s ugly. You can paint almost anything black or white and it will look tres chic.
  • Brass and silver is very easy to polish.. there are tons of cool trays and figurines in these materials.
  • When it comes to art and picture frames, try to look at them separately instead of together. Sometimes, there is a really great art piece hidden by a hideous frame, or a really great frame that looks like crap because of the art… And again, if you love the shape but hate the colour or texture… SPRAY PAINT!
  • Same goes for lamps… found a cool lamp but not sure about the shade? Picture it with a cool modern shade.

General Thrifting Tips

  • Always take a basket. If you see something you really like, GRAB IT! If it’s so cool it stood out for you, it will for someone else too and it might be gone before you are even done at the store.
  • Think to yourself, “if I leave this, am I going to think about it later and then come back tomorrow for it?”. If the answer is probably yes, just go for it!
  • If you do miss out on something you really like it, always remember that of all the thrift stores in all of your town (and maybe surrounding towns) + the incredible turnover of items you will either find it again or find something you like even better!
  • Find out what days your store gets shipments, and when they put out new merchandise… first dibs!

It’s important to remember you want your home to look nicely decorated, not like your opening up your own thrift store.

It’s not a good deal if you don’t need it -Harvey’s Mom

(sometimes I disagree… most of the time I disagree…)

How To: Spend $100 At The Gap

by Shannon

Just redeem those lovely, love Air Miles that you’ve been collecting (gee, thanks Metro and LCBO for your bonus points!) for a $25 Gap gift card.

Proceed to not be able to limit yourself to $25, obvi, and spend about a million dollars there.

How To: Not Act Surprised

by Shannon

Go around the corner to gasp in surprise when you discover the level of excitement he’s exhibiting over shopping for wedding clothes.

How To: Be Fiscally Responsible

by Shannon

Decide that no, you won’t go clothes shopping after work, because you are too hungry and would rather eat dinner.

How To: Have A Panic Attack

by Shannon

Realize that the dress you’re trying on is too small for your broad shoulders, and you are stuck inside it. Ask for assistance for a store clerk, who tells you there was a zipper you didn’t know about. 

Thank her, then realize you are still stuck, and she needs to come in the change room and pull the dress off you.

(Buy it in the next largest size anyway, because hey, it was a very nice pattern.)

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