Shop Fashionably Late

Sunday, December 05, 2010

My shopping habits have changed dramatically since we moved to suburbia extraordinaire in July, and by 'changed', I mean 'disappeared'. Gone are the days of leaving our apartment building and walking for less than a minute before we were sipping on elaborate caffeinated drinks with approximately 40 names and 4,000 calories and browsing in our favourite bookstore. 'Getting coffee' now means 'going into the kitchen and brewing some Maxwell House', or driving to find some mass-produced drive-thru swill. More of my clothing purchases than I care to admit have come from Joe Fresh at Superstore or Winner's in Bedford. Shopping now means driving 20+ minutes, and as a result, shopping trips are fewer and farther between.

When I was asked to participate in the Shop Fashionably Late event at Bishop's Landing on the Halifax waterfront, I couldn't say yes fast enough. To break it down, five local bloggers were invited to come to Bishop's Landing on Friday night to participate in a Secret Santa gift exchange. We were each given $50.00 and one hour to shop for gifts for another blogger. Shopping with SOMEONE ELSE'S MONEY?! Getting to scope out the selection at Bishop's Landing? Browsing in the kind of shops where you can't purchase winter tires, milk, shampoo, Christmas lights and tampons in one place? Heavenly.

So Friday night, myself and the other four bloggers met up at Cafe Ristretto for delicious lattes, coffee, squares and cookies, picked up our gift certificates and our instructions, and drew our names. I chose Anthony's name. Ooooh, this was going to be hard. I've read his blog but I had no idea what would make a good gift.

My first stop was easy - everyone likes booze, right? I beelined for Bishop's Cellar, which is an amazing wine store in Bishop's Landing. I've been there before and love not only their selection of wines and the fact that they're open late at night, but also their staff. They are absolutely fabulous, helpful, and know their wine without being snotty about it. Quite the opposite, actually. I told them I had $25 to spend and wanted a really nice red and was promptly shown what is supposed to be a fantastic red wine. I wish I could remember the name of it! (What's nice is that it's saved on my file so next time I'm in they can look it up and I can buy it again.)

With half my money spent, I had another $25 to use wisely. I chose to head to Rum Runners Rum Cake Factory to get a little something sweet to go with the wine. Again, the girl behind the counter was super helpful and friendly. She let me sample the various cakes (traditional rum cake, chocolate rum cake, and whiskey cake). I decided to pick up some of the whiskey cake. It tasted less boozy and more like a spice cake and set me back about $7.00 for a small package. It had been made fresh that day.

I finished off my gift card at the One Stop Wood Shop. This place is a gem. Full of beautiful woodworking, art, and furniture, every piece is unique and of exceptional quality. Again - awesome staff (Bishop's Landing is like the Disneyland of Halifax - the happiest place in the city). I selected a bowl made out of eco-glass, which I found out from the clerk is actually recycled pop bottles from Spain. Giddyup. $15 plus tax later, I'd spent all my moolah and the best part of an hour.

Back at the cafe we swapped presents and it felt just like Christmastime. I was thrilled with my gift: a wooden candleholder made from a tree that was uprooted during Hurricane Juan, a tube of pink lip gloss which has been going everywhere with me since Friday, and a bottle of awesome pinot grigio, which just so happens to be my favourite kind of wine.

There will be another Shop Fashionably Late event at Bishop's Landing this Friday, December 10 and if you are in the Halifax area it's worth checking out. In addition to the stores I visited there are a few beautiful clothing, jewelry, and accessory shops that are real hidden gems I didn't know existed, as well as a cigar store and some great restaurant options no matter what your palate. If there's someone you're having a hard time shopping for, I guarantee you'll find something nice at Bishop's. The stores are not crowded and the staff in all the shops I visited were more than helpful. The merchandise is unique. And there were carolers - I'm feeling Christmasy just thinking about it! Go go go!

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  1. Fun to read everyone's account of the evening. We all scored nicely!

  2. 50 bucks!! depending on the store/freepile i could pretty much outfit a whole fam for a year with that ... i joke. but for real, sweet deal! glad you had fun!

  3. Shelagh - thank you! Loved your post as well, the photos were gorgeous!

    Meredith - $50 was pretty generous and went a long way. I think if we'd received $25 each it would have just turned into a wine exchange :)