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Update: My summer with the Waspinator

Category: What's hot in Home

You might all remember my post back in June.  I found out that the wasp problem I was having was at least partially caused by a bunch of wasp nests hidden in my roof under the shingles.   I was hoping that when we put in our new roof and eliminated the wasp nest that they not return to ruin another summer evening dinner - and I was hoping that The Original Waspinator would be my key tool versus toxic sprays.

The Original Waspinator hard at work

Well, I’m  thrilled to report as we head into September that it was a great summer. Not only did we enjoy a wasp-free deck/outdoor eating experience, but our flower garden thrived (oh, and thanks for that Root Blast - see you again next year!).  I did have one persistent little nest that I had to resort to wasp killer spray, but that was the only time I had to use it all summer (and I was all guilty - had just watched “The Bee Movie“. )

A Colourful Garden Thanks to my friends, the Bees (with a little help from Root Blast)


Joan Rivers gets her Shoppie award

Great video from our broadcast of Joan Rivers recieving her Shoppie award - our customer choice awards for favourite shows/products (you can see all of the winners for 2008 here

Joan won in two categories: Favourite On Air Guest and Funniest Guest.  You can easily see from watching this video why she won in both categories - both gracious and hilarious at the same time, Joan is truly one of a kind!  Don’t forget, just because Joan isn’t visiting this month doesn’t mean there isn’t a great selection of product at your finger tips.


What to Wear: Dressing a petite figure

Ironically, this was the most difficult of all shapes for me to dress. You’d think that at 5ft 2″ I’d know all about this one but sometimes it’s most difficult to be objective about your own body! Many people assume that the biggest challenge for the petite is length - constant hemming is required. And indeed, a friendly tailor is a must-have.

Unfortunately, it’s not always that simple. You see, petites have different proportion all over. The distance between the waist and crotch of a pant is smaller and the distance between shoulder and waist of a fitted jacket is smaller too. Petite clothes are not just shorter versions of regularly clothes; they’re tailored all over to fit a diminutive frame.

The worst thing a petite can do is wear clothes or patterns that overwhelm her body. Also, colour-blocking, which works so well for the tall figure, can make petites appear smaller. Instead, head-to-toe co-ordination will lengthen and streamline your silhouette.

For evening, take a cue from diminutive starlets like Natalie Portman and Audrey Tatou and go for shimmer and sparkle. This will also trick the eye into making you appear taller. And finally, heels are always a good way to actually add inches to your frame.

Read my other What to Wear blog posts

Bravon on the bareMinerals 1-minute face

With back to school just around the corner, I can already envision how my hectic mornings are going to get even crazier. In the game of getting yourself and others ready in the morning someone is bound to lose. In my house, it’s usually me. My daughter gets dropped off at school sparkling and ready to go … while I’m often finishing up my makeup at whatever red lights happen to come my way.

Knowing how to apply a 5-minute face is a godsend. A 1-minute face? Even better. Bare Escentuals international make-up artist, Bravon Pascua, details how in this backstage interview:

If you’re interested in adopting this quick & easy routine yourself, check out the products Bravon mentions: bareMinerals Foundation, bareMinerals All-Over Face Colour (for that “warmth” he refers to) and bareMinerals Mineral Veil. Or shop the full bareMinerals by Bare Escentuals line.

What to Wear: Dressing an apple-shape

We all have body-shape hang-ups. And while many of us want to shed 10lbs, or more, it’s rare that your fundamental body shape will change. So understanding the shape you have, and learning to dress that shape, is a key to flattering style, plus or minus that annoying 10 lbs.

The apple shape is perhaps the hardest to dress, because the waist lacks the definition that so many looks rely on. However, you have assets with shapely legs and a nice decolletage. So, draw attention to those areas and away from your midriff. Try a scoop or v-necked top to draw the eye upwards. And wear accessories around your neck.

You can also create the illusion of a waist by cinching in the area just below your bust (the thinnest part of all women’s bodies). Look for an A-line skirt or dress that will skim over your hips and create an illusion of an hourglass silhouette.

Avoid “tent-like” silhouettes. You may feel comfortable in those baggy tees and babydoll tops, but they’ll make you look like a sack of potatoes. Also, avoid anything that adds extra bulk to your midriff (pleated pants, embellished belts) and look for trouser-cut or wide-leg pants (not tapered or bootcut). For jeans, I also prefer a trouser style rather than a traditional jean.

Finally, examine, dissect and imitate the style of these famous apple-shapes: Catherine Zeta-Jones, Liv Tyler and even Liz Hurley (yes, that’s a thin apple, but she’s an apple-shape nonetheless).

The dress shown here is by A.B.S.

Read my other What to Wear blog posts

Opportunity Knocks: Vendor Search 2008

Do you know someone who has a manufactured product that would be a good fit for The Shopping Channel?  We’re conducting a new vendor search on September 24 in Toronto. 

At this Vendor Search event, prospective vendors will be given a 30-minute appointment to conduct a one-on-one business discussion with the appropriate member of our senior merchandising team. Spaces are limited and you must submit an application for consideration prior to being asked to participate in this event.  Visit our Vendor Search 2008 site to learn more and apply today!

Selling pots & pans with a showbiz legend

Category: General

On my way into work the other night, I heard a report on the radio that former Tonight Show sidekick, Ed McMahon, is being financially rescued by none other than Donald Trump. Ed suffered a neck injury that has prevented him from working for some time. I was reminded of when Ed McMahon was a semi-regular guest here at The Shopping Channel in 1994. Along with chef, Jean-Luc Touchard, Ed appeared on-air selling Le Dome cookware by Sitram. He also wrote a great book that we sold and he was a guest for the Johnny Carson “Best Of” video tapes. He always brought his wife, Pam, with him.I’ve been asked many times over the years who my favourite guest has been and I always have many different answers because I have many favourites. However, in the celebrity grouping of guests, I always say that Ed McMahon is my all-time favourite. This is a man, who while working for so many years with Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show and with Jerry Lewis on the Muscular Dystrophy telethons, had rubbed elbows with almost every notable house-hold name in the world!

Actors, singers, politicians, and people who have been famous for being famous. Many of today’s biggest stars were first launched into stardom on The Tonight Show. The stories that this man would tell every time I spoke with him were always entertaining and plentiful. Despite his place in Hollywood, he was always so down to earth and walked the halls of The Shopping Channel like a regular employee. I have a framed letter sent from him after we appeared together for the first time. A donation was made in my name to one of his favourite charities as a Christmas offering that year. The following Christmas, I received a beautiful picture frame from Ed that, today, holds a picture of 3 generations of my grandmothers and is in my dining room. I was, and still am, so grateful for his kindness and friendship he showed all of us back then. There’s something about hearing one of the most recognizable voices in the entertainment world booming out your name from down the hall, even just casually greeting you.

But of all the memories I have from Ed McMahon appearing at The Shopping Channel back in the 90’s, my most cherished is a video tape of my show with Ed. I only need to watch the first minute, really. The show started with the camera opening up only on Ed McMahon. (You know what’s coming next, don’t you?) He started by humbly stating how much of a thrill it was for him to be here in Canada, and at The Shopping Channel. Then came the thrill of a lifetime for me, as he introduced me with a flawless and powerful, “HEEEEEEEEEEEERE’S NORMIE!!!” I remember how not-worthy I felt of this most grand introduction. If I never worked another show at The Shopping Channel, I was happy to shake Ed McMahon’s hand, take my taping of the show and go home!

Here’s hoping one of the nicest guys in Hollywood keeps filling our airwaves with his vocals (and his smile) for many years to come! Thank you so much for reading this! I believe that every day we are ‘shopping’ for something. So, that is why I say…

Shopping is life,
Norm Murray

National Post Friday Fashion Blog Post

Category: General

Nice mention today and nod to our great Canadian designers (including David Dixon, Brian Bailey, ABS, Linda Lundstrom) from Nathalie Atkinson from the National Post in her Friday fashion blog

David Dixon Swing Jacket

What to Wear: Dressing a tall figure

Being a meagre 5ft 2″, I sometimes have a hard time sympathizing with my tall friends. But I’ve shopped enough with them to know how infuriating it can be. It’s just proof that every woman, no matter what her shape or size, faces a wardrobe challenge.

While I whine about having to get trousers hemmed, my tall friends often can’t find something long enough. And because of their height they sometimes feel like bright colours or bold patterns will make them appear huge and intimidating.

The upside of being tall is that you can carry clothes very well. While the petite struggles with pieces smothering her, the tall figure can carry off those more challenging shapes with panache. The key is to break up your seemingly endless torso and legs.

One way of going this is looking for separates with pleating, seaming and details like ruffles which slice up the ensemble. Layering is your secret best friend for this reason too. Another is through the use of pattern, which will break up your body and, if executed in a flowing fabric, will also soften your shape.

Above all, choose clothes that fit. You’ll look taller if your pants and sleeves are always too short. If you can’t find that perfect fit off the rack, make friends with a seamstress who will be able to work wonders altering some of your pieces to fit.

Finally, examine, dissect and imitate the style of these famous tall sisters: Uma Thurman, Brooke Shields and Gabrielle Reece.

(Dress shown by ABS, skirt by Coupe Fashions)

Read my other What to Wear blog posts

Handbag trends + must-haves for fall

Nothing can add a fresh look to a tried-and-true outfit like a new handbag. And that couldn’t be more true than for the upcoming fall season. Colours are going to shift from the bright blues and yellows that were so perfect for summer to more luxurious, rich shades of Bordeaux and eggplantPatent will continue strong, through the fall and will be mixed with more exotic textures such as croco- and python-embossing as well as nylon, quilting and suede.

The Shoppng Channel Maxx New York Handbag

In my ideal world, every woman would have an entire wardrobe of handbags! No fall wardrobe is complete without three basic styles:

Everyday staple bag - for some, this is the basic black or brown bag that goes everywhere. For others, it’s a microfibre bag that can stand up to your everyday demands.

Classic bag - no wardrobe is complete without a classic leather or suede bag that never goes out of style.

Fashion-forward bag - try to step out of your comfort zone with a fashion-forward design that offers you stand-out style. This bag will be perfect for those days you need a pick-me-up, nights on the town and those special occasions when you want to stand out from the crowd.

The Shopping Channel Maxx New York Handbag


Check out our full assortment of Maxx New York styles, including hot new designs for fall.

The Shopping Channel Cherie Christmas
Cherie Christmas
Maxx New York