Shoe Addicts: Meet the Shoes.com Store in Toronto

When people ask me what I miss most about Toronto, I usually mention the shopping. During the time I lived in the city I was extremely spoiled when it came to my retail options. I never shopped online because if I needed something, I could literally step out of my door and find it. My office was located a stones throw away from stores like Zara, H&M and Holt Renfrew (Canada’s answer to Neiman Marcus or Saks.) If I wanted to browse Chanel and Prada on my lunch break, I could. Even when I started working from home, I could easily walk down to Queen St West or take a short subway ride to a bunch of different shopping areas.

While shopping in Victoria, BC isn’t terrible – we have a decent selection of vintage stores and indie boutiques – when it comes to name-brand items (like finding that sought after pair of Nikes that you’ve been jones-ing for), the selection often leaves a bit to be desired. Since moving back to the West Coast, I find that I do way more shopping online.

Since Zappos no longer ships to Canada and buying from the States can involve hefty duty fees and/or ridiculously pricey shipping, I do a lot of my shoe shopping via SHOEMe.ca – a Canadian online retailer based out of Vancouver. So, I was really excited to find out that that ShoeMe.ca had recently opened a brick and mortar Shoes.com store on Queen West (my old stomping grounds!) Since I wasn’t able to be there in person, their lovely PR manager gave me a tour of the new space via FaceTime.

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The 3000 square foot space, designed by Canadian architecture and interior design firm, Dialog, originally opened as a pop-up shop in November 2015 and has since become a permanent store.

It probably seems counterintuitive that a company would open a physical store after achieving online success (isn’t it supposed to be the other way around?!) but Shoeme.ca wanted to bring the digital experience to life for their customers.  By the sounds of it, they’ve done just that.

The front space of the Toronto store is named the ‘Home Room’ and reflects the products and messaging of the Homepage on SHOEme.ca. The mirrors in the Home Room create an optical illusion of an endless selection of shoes, just like the online experience.

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The middle of the store is called the ‘Dressing Room’. This space host 5-6 new brands every two months with the goal of allowing customers to discover the styles, stories and the people behind new brands, while rediscovering brands they know and love.

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However, my favourite part of the space has to be the ‘Editors Room’ which is located at the back of the store. Designed as a community space for workshops, speaker sessions and/or taking a break from shopping over a coffee with friends, the Editor Room also displays curated collections of local handmade products by well-known Toronto makers.

Coffee + Shoes = Swoon.

Behold this South Western themed curated vignette that makes my West Coast girl spidey-senses tingle.

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Also located at the back of the store are computer stations where you can access the Smart Shopper tool. Instead of browsing through 1000’s of shoes, Smart Shopper is an AI-powered shopping experience that uses visual intelligence technology to show right product, to the right consumer, at the right time. As you click on product images, Smart Shopper rapidly learns your unique style preferences. The tool identifies and draws connections between hundreds of shoe attributes, creating a deep understanding of the individual’s personal style preferences.

To fuel my shoe addiction and so I could test out the Smart Shopper tool for myself, the lovely team at Shoeme.ca sent me a gift certificate. A few minutes and clicks later, I was lead to the Steve Madden Nilunda sandals – a gorgeous pair of shoes that I didn’t even know I needed.

steve madden nilunda black

steve madden nilunda black

steve madden nilunda black

About a week later, my shoes arrived and I was able to wear them out for drinks with friends to celebrate my 36th birthday. Made of real suede, the leather is super soft and the heel is the perfect height. These are honestly some of the most comfortable heels I own.

steve madden nilunda black

Overall, I really enjoyed my SHOEme.ca shopping experience (both virtually and online.) I try to always support Canadian retailers, so that my money stays in Canada. So, while I probably won’t be able to stop by the brick & mortar Shoes.com store anytime soon, it’s great to see companies pushing the envelope when it comes to creating new and better shopping experiences for Canadians.

Review | These Shoes Were Made for Dancing…Almost

I don’t know about you, but when it comes to putting together boudoir looks (i.e. lingerie or sexy costumes) the shoes are always an afterthought. I usually just grab my favourite pair of super high, black patent leather, stiletto pumps and call it a day. However, lately I’ve been thinking more about shoes and how they play into acting out your fantasies in the bedroom.

So, I was really intrigued when Shoefreaks.ca contacted me about trying and reviewing a pair of their shoes on the blog. Shoefreaks.ca is a 100% Canadian company based in Montreal that specializes in Alternative footwear. Think: anything from wild stripper shoes, platform goth boots to pin-up inspired pumps. If it’s out of the ordinary, they’ve got it! To quote their mission statement:

“We want you to have the power to be who you want to be whenever and however you want to. Want to feel sexy? Then be sexy. Want to rock 10” platforms to your high school reunion? Then rock them. The world is your paradise and if you’re planning on leaving a footprint behind, you better make sure it’s one people will remember you by.” 

Amen to that.

However, although I’ve been known to rock some crazy cheetah print pumps on occasion, my shoe taste tends to fall more in the “ordinary” category. So, when it came time to choose my shoes I went with one of their more subdued options. Skinny Dippers, meet the Fabulicious Lip 139 Sandals by Pleaser.

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The Fabulicious Lip 139 Sandals are a black patent, D’Orsay style, platform sandal with an adjustable ankle strap. Made of man-made faux leather, feature a 3/4 ” platform and 5″ heels. I was initially attracted to these shoes because their minimalist structure reminded a bit of a very sexed up version of the Stuart Weitzman “Nudist” sandal.

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First of all, I was really impressed by the packaging. The shoes arrived in a blue “Fabulicious” box and came with a coordinating blue dust-bag for storage. FYI, when I travel I pack all of my shoes in dust bags, so this is definitely a plus in my books.

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At first glance, the Fabulicious Lip 139 Sandals are very sleek, however also slightly daunting in height. However, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that they have a nice cushy insole made of soft black suede material. Here’s a few photos of what they look like on.

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Learning to Spend on the Right Things

I didn’t make any real New Years Resolutions this year (except for one: “Learn how to drive” – more on that later). I already have a long list of things I have been working on since November. One of the things I do want to focus on in 2012 is “spending money on the right things.”

When I sat down in November to brainstorm on ways I could improve my life & love myself a little bit more, I noticed a lot of things were out of balance:

I had a brand-new, unworn Alexander Wang top in my closet but I hadn’t been to the dentist in over a year. I love my Prada eye-glasses that I wear in the evening but I can’t watch any films with subtitles because I have neglected to get the prescription updated (for like, 2 years).  I always seem to have money for nights out with friends but I can’t use my lap-top (the computer I use every day to write and work) without plugging it in because the battery has been dead for god knows how long. My daily wardrobe consists of a lot of white or light colored tops but the only flesh-toned bra I own died about a year ago. Since then I’ve just been wearing black bras with my white T-shirts in hopes that everyone will think I’m doing it on purpose to be “edgy and urban”. I have the confidence to pull this off but really, I just need to buy more bras. Of course there are also all the chiropractic appointments, doctors appointments and bills which were all put off because my mind and wallet always seemed to be elsewhere.

Yes, I have messed up priorities of the First World kind.

I’ve known these truths about myself for a long time but have just been in denial. Although I do enjoy the pretty things I am fortunate enough to own, by not taking care of other areas of my life I’ve created a lot of extra stress. A lot of the negative thoughts I have about myself relate back to how I manage my finances. I want to love myself more and part of that means changing the way I spend my money.

While I am on this topic – I’m pretty sure I’m not the only young professional woman who has felt like this at some point. I feel like we live in a culture where we’re told that it’s OK to make certain sacrifices in order to look good or have fun. When I used to work in high-end retail, several of my co-workers would routinely forgo real groceries and live on a ramen noodle diet just so they could afford the latest $750 handbag on a retail salary. A good friend of mine recently confessed that she owns 20 Marc Jacobs handbags (at $400 a pop) but feels sad that she’s never traveled internationally. I call this the “Carrie Bradshaw-ification” of society. It seems like somewhere along the line we lost our way and it became OK, even chic, cute & urban, to own a closet full of very expensive shoes at the cost of being able to do other things like own your own home. How did this happen and how do we make it stop?

Although I’ll never forgo good food for fashion (I love my veggies & whole grains too much) and try to travel whenever I get the chance, I’ve definitely been the girl at the party with the killer vintage Chanel handbag who has to demurely reach into her handbag mid-conversation to turn the ringer off her phone because creditors are calling about her  large unpaid phone bill. There’s nothing cool or glamorous about it. It’s actually just a shitty scenario that makes me feel like I failed somewhere while on the path to becoming a fully functioning adult.

The great thing about this situation is that I have the power to change it.

So, what does “spending on the right things” mean?

For me, it’s not just about spending money, it’s about spending the time to actually take note of what my real needs are. It means looking after myself, paying my bills first and only spending on experiences & things that will improve my quality of life.

This holiday season, with the help of loved ones, I’ve been able to get a few things that I actually need that will improve my life in small (but large) ways:

1. Matryosh-keys Key Covers: Following my move in October, I realized I had way too many keys on my key ring that all looked very similar. Opening the front door to my apartment building would always involve a few minutes of utter confusion trying to figure out what goes where. I saw these key covers at Nood in Victoria ($6) and decided they would be the perfect way to separate my keys and play up my Eastern European heritage at the same time. It may seem inconsequential but no longer having to spend that 2 minutes feeling frustrated every time I leave my house makes a big difference.

2. The Magic Bullet:  This sounds like it should be the name of yet another luxury sex toy but it’s actually a blender. I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited about a blender before but I love this thing! I like to make green smoothies but I have been avoiding making them because my blender is difficult to clean and it doesn’t fit in my new fridge so I can’t store leftovers. Now I can make a single serving smoothie with less fuss and waste. (Thanks Mom!)

3. Ombrello Black Riding Boots. These are probably one of the nicest gifts anyone has given me. My shoe collection is full of pretty high heels but the boots that I wear on a daily basis were worn out, hurting my feet and causing back problems. My Mom bought me these for Christmas and I absolutely love them. They’re incredibly comfortable, great quality, water-proof and I feel amazing whenever I wear them. I know I’ll have these boots for many years to come.

4. Michael Kors purse: This was my Christmas gift to myself. I know what you are thinking: THIS WOMAN CAN’T POSSIBLY NEED ANOTHER BAG. Yes, I do have a bit of a handbag “problem” but let me explain: I  love my purse collection but I realized something recently: a lot of my bags aren’t cut out for day to day wear. With the exception of my black Longchamp bag & a few summer purses, when loaded up with my daily essentials they hurt my shoulder (and this dominoes into back pain). My body was in pain all the time so I just didn’t notice. This purse isn’t as exciting as some of my other ones but it’s actually comfortable! Plus, it’s a bit smaller which will encourage me to carry less stuff on a daily basis. It was brand new but previously owned so I was able to get it at a very good price. No shoulder pain = worth every penny.

My Dad, instead of giving me a physical Christmas gift, decided to pay for some of my counselling sessions which is way better than anything he could have physically put under the tree.

Instead of hitting up the Aritzia winter sale (which I do enjoy oh so much) I’m using that money to book an appointment with a personal trainer.

Now when I’m faced with making a purchase I try and ask myself “Do I need it? Am I going to feel good about myself for spending my money on this?” If the answer is “no” and the money would be better spent on something I need more, I walk way. Taking control like this feels pretty amazing.

I’ve also started keeping a list of things I actually need and only shopping from that list. It takes a bit of discipline but it works! I already have my next purchase planned out: an electric toothbrush. It’s never too early to start preventing gum disease.

I wonder if Carrie Bradshaw ever worried about her gums?

What does “spending on the right things” mean to you?

Oh, Hello Lover!

I have lots I want to blog about but, the weather has been so beautiful in Toronto the past few days that I am having a hard time tearing myself away from the sunshine. I made a promise to myself that I would write more of the Ex-Boyfriend letters (since some of you asked) but, to be honest I’ve been in too good a mood lately to “go there”. When faced with the choice of window shopping on Queen St & writing silly posts where I make fun of sex toys OR documenting details of a past painful relationship, the former two have been winning out lately. The Ex-Boyfriends can wait.

A while back my friend Cristina of the Shoe Tease fame came over to document a love of mine that will always remain true: My shoe collection.

Cristina took some fantastic photos & you can read the rest of the post here.


Cristina got me to do something I’ve never done in bed before: roll around in a pile of shoes.

I had a lot of fun working with Cristina. This is partly due to the fact that we seem to share the same mind-slightly-in-the-gutter sense of humor. Whenever she’d say stuff like:

“Ok, Simone its time to try a new position”.

or,

“Lets try it with you on your back”

or,

“Could you just move your legs a tiny bit further apart?”

…we’d both be laughing.

I don’t know if it was the way I had to contort my body to make some of the poses work or the lunges I did that morning while I was working out but, I was really sore the day after our photo shoot. Modeling and posing (especially if you’re not a model) is hard work!

(Pssst. If you love shoes as much as I do, I suggest you check out Cristina’s blog for your daily dose of shoe porn. I am lusting after these hot pink beauties this week)

What have you guys been up to? Tell me what’s new!

What are YOUR favorite pair of shoes?

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