Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Visiting Montreal in the Summer


OK. So summer is almost here, well a part from the floods we have been seeing today in Montreal, it's still extremely warm and I'm only hoping it's going to get better every day. What better time to visit this beautiful city? Or even if you're a local, it's fun to be a tourist from time to time and visit the beauty that this city has to offer. N.B To everything you might be hearing on the new, yes students and other individuals are protesting the hike in tuition fees and the way the government is taking care of it BUT this in no way would ruin your trip. You might hear a few people banging on casseroles but it's almost charming to be part of this type of revolution! So don't let this stop you from coming, by all means, come on down, bring your casseroles if you must!

So I put together a little non-fail plan (with PLAN B options!) on some things you can see while you are here in the summer. OK, here is a perfect weekend plan... of course, I always suggest you look up some stuff on your own depending on your taste and try it, you never know what you might discover!!

FRIDAY

So you might be working Friday or you might be arriving Friday evening, and only have time to go for dinner, well why not try one of my favorite places - IMADAKE on Ste-Catherine. This place serves up some of the best Japanese tapas. You must try their black cod, white fish carpaccio and the goat cheese balls. But their most famous specialty are their SAKE BOMBS! They get you screaming, banging tables and get the whole restaurant going. Make sure you don't wear anything too fancy because chances are, you will get dirty! (PS this is my own personal video of the whole Sake Bomb experience!)



After dinner, which can end around elevenish if you have taken a bit too much sake, you can either go clubbing on St-Laurent,  Gogo's or Koko's are perfect destinations for some dancing, which is about a 15 min cab ride from IMADAKE, or you can head into Little Burgundy, a 5 min drive to Burgundy Lion, the neighborhood English pub for some beer on tap. If it's nice outside, you can sit on their terrasse both one in front or in their courtyard. People are friendly, it's a nice place to go for a drink and partay!

SATURDAY

As you might know Montreal is a Festival City, as of June 28th, the festival season begins with the Montreal Jazz Festival, followed by the Francofolies (a french themed festival), the Just for Laughs, a comedy festival, and other smaller ones like the Festival des Films du Monde, African and many more. Festivals are perfect to enjoy during the day if you're a young one like me who likes to party a little in the evening! So take the day to enjoy whichever festival is in Montreal when you are visiting, or decide which one you want to attend. You can also go in the evening before going out. Be good to the environment, you can get around on your BIXI and discover Montreal by bicycle.
Credit : © Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, Jean-François Leblanc
For Saturday night, I'm a big fan of Old Montreal. New restaurants just opened like Bevo Pizzeria and Baxo, but some other great places are Barocco for a more romantic evening, or Bocata for some italian. Montreal is full of delicious old Montreal restaurants. You can finish off the night at Velvet for some underground electronic music, Santos for some more mainstream R&B and House music or Confessionnal for some mainstream music. All places are fun!

SUNDAY

If you wake up early on Sunday, well, you're awesome. If you are like anyone else, you will wake up around 11ish, crawl out of bed and want food. Montreal is GLORIOUS for brunch places. Check out this website for some great brunch places - Montreal Brunch. Once brunch is over, you can head over to the Mount-Royal for the Tam-Tams, people playing drums, having fun, dancing like Africans and just chilling on the mountain.

Tam-Tams at the Mount-Royal
Once you are done eating and the Tam-Tams, get your bum to Parc Jean-Drapeau for the Piknic Electronik for some daytime dancing. The great thing about Piknic is as the word says, it's a picnic, bring your food, bring your booze, head there for 2:30pm to get the best spot. People poor in around 3-4pm and start dancing around 4:30pm-5ish and it is open till 9pm. As you guessed they play electronic music, don't expect any Guetta, this is mostly underground, but still lots of fun! 
Piknic Electronik
You can leave earlier and head to Plateau Mont-Royal area for some good dinner. A favorite of mine is Restaurant Bungalow on the corner of Rachel and St-Hubert. Sit at the bar, talk to the chef, he will make some great suggestions. The food is outstanding!

So now, I have given you my best suggestions, go out and have fun! Meet fun people, try different things and walk in to places you might love! I hope you enjoy your fun summer weekend in Montreal, or your tourist weekend! And if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask, or if you loved something you did in Montreal, add it here for others to try!!

N.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Selling Your Clothes Online 101

BIG NEWS! I'm moving out on my own shortly. Yes. I'm finally becoming a big girl, and soon will be settling down in my own pad. I gotta say, I'm pretty excited to come home to my own home! The only down part to this is actually the funds to live alone. No more splitting bills, thankfully, I have found several ways to save some  money and.. to make some on the side too! I have decided to liquidate my wardrobe! Yes you heard right. I'm getting rid of some old pieces of clothing and accessories that I had lying around, that were still in good condition, and that could be great for someone else...I use 2 websites to liquidate my stuff - CoinDressing.com (for Quebec based and french speaking shoppers) and Kijiji.
First item I sold! A Betsey Johnson handbag for $25

To be perfectly honest, a couple weeks ago, I had no idea you can do this. And since then, I have become somewhat of an accessories seller guru. I really suggest you all go out and do the same, honestly, it's a great way to make a few extra dollars. It pays for my outings, and lets me put some money aside for my new home! So how do you do this? Well now that summer is around the corner, I suggest you go through all your stuff. I know it's a pain, especially when it's sunny and beautiful outside. But it's a job that MUST be done. According to the Coin Dressing website, they suggest you make 3 piles: SELL - GIVE - KEEP. In the SELL pile, put all the clothes and accessories you don't wear anymore, but that are still in good shape, it can be anything. Note that clothes don't sell as fast as accessories. My purses disappeared in 2 DAYS. People love brands, especially in purses... Matt & Nat, Michael Kors, Miss Sixty, Coach, whatever you have with brands will sell well. Clothes are a little harder. Don't think that because you paid $300 for it, that you can sell it for half price, you might need to go lower. Sometimes it's the cheap Zara or H&M stuff that go fast!

Items on a white background always look great!
Once you have your SELL pile, it's time to photograph it. (This isn't the spring cleaning blog so I'm sure you can figure out what to do with the other piles!!). Photographing your stuff is the hardest part, basically, your picture is the selling feature. For handbags, make sure they are stuffed, and also make sure to take a picture with the bag on your shoulder or arm. I have learned that people like to see what it looks like on the person. Also, when taking ANY pictures, if you have a white wall, USE IT. Any piece of clothing looks great on a white background. You also need to make sure your lighting is good. If you don't have good lighting in your home, daylight is the best. Coin Dressing recommends you even take your shots outside. But, daylight is still ideal. I take my pictures on my towel and bathrobe hook behind my white door, it's perfect! Some people even like to pose with the clothes, that's also great, because you see the fit. But I have seen people sell things without showing the piece on a body. For things you can't hang, like shoes or small purses that would look ridiculous on a hook, place them on the floor by a white background. If you have a wood floor that's fine, if you don't, you can take some white sheets of paper and put them on the floor to get that effect you are looking for. 
Branded items like Matt and Nat disappear quickly

Now it's time to set prices and post your items. Post the younger looking items on Coin Dressing (this will cost you a little money for credits - 2 credits per item - I bought 100 credits for $20), and the ones that would suit an older crowd on Kijiji. The good thing with Kijiji is that it's free, so you can even put stuff on both of them. If you want to sell expensive branded stuff, Kijiji is a good source. The buyers tend to have more money and you can sell things for more. The issue is the time it takes to put all this together. Then you need to set the prices. You can check the sites for similar items, or check ebay too for some guidance, and finally, it's time for the negotiating and meeting up with the people who want your stuff. People like to meet at metro stations most of the time, but make sure you don't always go out of your way to meet them and that you find a good meeting point for both of you. 

So go on, get rid of some of your old stuff, and make a few bucks, it's really great! And who knows, you might even find some things you like on their site as well!

Here are the sites again! 
-  Kijiji.

Knock yourself out! Happy Selling! :)

N.