How to Prepare for a New Erstwilder Brooch Release

If you’re an Erstwilder brooch fan, you’ve probably noticed that they’ve been growing in popularity! Many of their new releases sell out within SECONDS. So how can you buy your favourite brooches before they quickly disappear?

I’ve only been an Erstwilder broochie for a year, and the above photo doesn’t include three orders that are still in the mail, but even as a newbie I’ve never missed anything I’ve wanted on release day so I thought I’d share what’s worked for me.

With a little preparation–and speed–I’ve bought everything I’ve wanted including from the ever-so-popular Pete Cromer release. Since I see a lot of people have been struggling, I thought I’d share a few of my tips!

12+ Erswilder Brooch Buying Tips

1. Know the release time and double check it for your timezone! Check the counter they put on their website and triple check that you know the time for your location.

2. Know what you want to order and have your list ready. There will be no time to ponder this. Be ready!

3. Login to your account or create an account and login well in advance. I’m always at my computer at least 20 minutes early. Make sure that your address and all of the details are correct for your account.

4. Use a computer, not a phone. It’s possible to checkout quickly on a phone I guess but I would personally never trust it.

5. Do a couple of test checkouts to practice your speed. Try adding some items to your cart so you know what the process will be and take the checkout right to the last step when it asks for payment so that you’ll know what to expect.

6. If you’re going to apply any points to your order, you can prepare this in advance in your test checkout and have the code copied to your clipboard as a backup in the unlikely event that your points coupon code disappears. (I tested this several times and it never disappeared once I’d applied the coupon early, but better to be safe.)

7. Use the “add to bag” button that appears right below each item. Don’t slow down by opening up the individual product page. If you’ll be buying more than one item (you’re allowed to buy up to two of the same item for you and a friend) then you can increase the number to 2 in the sidebar that appears, which shows the items in your cart.

8. Know your payment method. Even though my payment method is usually automatically populated because I usually use Google Pay, on the last release that didn’t work for some reason so I quickly had to switch to Paypal or populating my credit card information. I decided in a split second that Paypal would be faster so I went with that. But have your payment options ready to go. Items *do* disappear from people’s carts even at this late stage of checkout so you must be speedy and prepared.

9. Have a stockist website (or two) open on your computer in separate tabs as backup. If for any reason you can’t get what you want from Erstwilder, immediately flip over to the stockist website. Follow all the same steps to prepare yourself on the stockist websites; login and familiarize yourself with their checkout process so that you’ll be able to be super speedy.

10. Go to the  NEW collections page and start watching the timer. Like a hawk. Don’t get distracted! Be ready to refresh the page as soon as it’s time.

11. When the items start to appear, you’ll have no idea what order they will appear in so it can be a bit of a panic. In the last release, the items actually pushed on to two pages because the essentials (earrings) ended up showing in the middle of the collection. Try to keep your cool but be quick. Click add to bag for each and as soon as the sidebar for your cart appears, you’ll need to “x” it to close it so that you can add the next item. It’s seriously always an adrenaline rush but with practice and preparation, you can do it!

12. Keep going! If anything disappears from your cart, which has happened to other people, don’t lose the opportunity to buy the others. Stay focused. Keep going through your checkout as quickly as possible. Then turn to the stockist websites you’ve had ready to grab what you missed.

If you still couldn’t get what you wanted, make sure you’ve joined all of the many Erstwilder groups on Facebook. As people’s orders start to arrive, sometimes people find that they are not as in love with an item as they thought they were. These groups are a good place to try to find your DISO (desperately in search of) items.

eBay Tips

As I said before, try all of the Erstwilder swap and sell groups on Facebook before turning to eBay. But as a last resort, you might choose to use eBay, or evilbay as many broochies call it, to snag your most wanted items. If you aren’t familiar with eBay auctions, here are my tips:

a) My first tip is probably obvious but I’ll say it anyways: Never ever bid on an item before the end of an auction. You’ll just drive the price up.

b) Use a bidnapper program. You will never win a popular auction manually. If it’s an in-demand item, like many popular Erstwilder items, you must use a bidnapper. These programs automatically do super speedy bidding within the last 60 seconds of an auction so if you’ve ever lost something in an auction at the very last second, you have almost certainly lost to a bidnapper program. This is the one I use but I’m sure there are many of them.


I think these are all of my tips for the moment but if I think of anything else, I’ll update this!

Thanks for reading! Let me know if you have any tips I’ve missed.




Shhh… it’s a surprise!

For Geoff’s birthday, which will be just a few days before our trip to Disney World, I’ve had these custom t-shirts designed for him. I hope they arrive in time!

These are sort of “black market” custom Disney t-shirts, highlighting our own favourite inside moments at the parks. There’s a Haunted Mansion t-shirt, Haunted Mansion t-shirt, Enchanted Tiki Room t-shirt, and Carousel of Progress t-shirt.

Inspiration: Haunted Mansion /  Text: We’re assembling for a swingin’ wake



Inspiration: Twilight Zone Tower of Terror / Text: This, as you may recognize, is a maintenance service elevator still in operation, waiting for you.



Inspiration: Carousel of Progress / Text: You know that pilot fellah… Charles Lindberg? He’s about to fly a single winged airplane all the way across the Atlantic. He’s never gonna’ make it.
Inspiration: Enchanted Tikki Room / Text: My siestas are getting shorter and shorter

And they’re in! They came out great. I can’t wait to see Geoff wearing them at Disney World!

And here he is, happy as pie at the Enchanted Tiki Room.

And at the Haunted Mansion:

More Dresses for Sale

I’m selling some dresses. Open to offers. The prices are listed in USD but I’m open to offers in CAD.

Prices do not include shipping from Canada. Shipping to US destinations is $17 USD. Shipping to Canadian destinations is $18.50 CAD. If you’re Canadian and would like to make an offer for everything in CAD, just give me a shout.

“Alice” Dress – L – $25 USD


“Summer of Love” Dress – L – $25 USD

Eva Franco Dress – size 10 – $30 USD

No longer has the belt, therefore the great price.

Charming Blue Dress – XL – $25

Damzels Seahorse Dress – L – $25

Please contact me if you’re interested in any of these items.

Click here to see more dresses.  

Stop Staring Dresses For Sale & More

Closet purge! Brand photos appear first followed by photographs of the garments. Prices $30 and up. Everything is in excellent condition from a smoke and fur-free home. I’m a clothing “collector” so I keep everything in excellent condition.

  • Stop Staring, Suit Dress pink/black – “like new” condition, L – $85 USD
  • Stop Staring, Black Timeless – “like new” condition, L – $70 USD
  • Miss Candy-Floss – Trixie-Rose skirt, new with tags, MEDIUM – $60 USD
  • Bettie Page, Scottie Dress – shortened slightly, L – $30 USD
  • Rock Steady, I call it the Calamity Jane dress, L – $40 USD
  • Bernie Dexter, patterned dress, L – $40 USD
  • Collectif, beige with floral print*, new with tags, L – $30 USD

**Prices do not include shipping from Canada. Shipping to US destinations is $17 USD. Shipping to Canadian destinations is $18.50 CAD. If you’re Canadian and would like to make an offer for everything in CAD, just give me a shout.

Stop Staring Suit Dress – $85 USD

Stop Staring Timeless Dress – $70 USD

Miss Candy-Floss Trixie-Rose Skirt – M – $60 USD


Bettie Page Scottie Dress – $30

Bernie Dexter – L – $40 USD

Rock Steady – L – $40 USD

Collectif Dress – L – $30 USD


Please contact me if you’re interested in any of these items.

Click here to see more dresses.  

The launch of my new business, Barker Social!

I’m thrilled to announce my new business with my pal and partner, Chachi. As of this morning, we’ve launched Barker Social Marketing, Marketing worth shouting about!

Chachi and I have worked together in a lot of different capacities over the years. Now he’s helping me take the social marketing and copywriting work that I’ve been doing for the past couple of years to the next level. Together, and with our international team (Laura Barros in Portugal and Jay Zambranoin Colombia), we’re able to offer our clients much more than what I could do alone.

Please have a look at our new website and let me know if you ever have any questions about social media marketing, ghost blogging, or copywriting services.



New Spin on Social Media Marketing Shakes Up Industry
Read the Press Release


Swing Dancers Take Old Dance Partnership Off the Dance Floor and Into Business
Read the Swing Dance Announcement

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Niagara Summer Events 2016

I’m trying to compile a list of Niagara summer events for 2016. What am I missing?

Summer Events

June 4 – Niagara VegFest Vegan Wine Tour & Film Screening

June 5 – Niagara VegFest

July 7 – 70s Pop – Brass Monkey – 7pm @ Charles Daily Park

July 8 – Shake, Rattle & Roll – 7pm @ Niagara Falls Museum

July 11 – Jimmy Stahl Big Band at 7 p.m. – 7pm @ Montebello Park

July 13 featuring Kindred – 7pm @ Montebello Park

July 14 – Jazz – Barbara Mantini Jazz Quartet– 7pm @ Charles Daily Park

July 17 – All Star Big Band – 7pm @ Crystal Beach

July 18, The Tempest 7:30pm @ Montebello Park

July 21 – Open Microphone – JAM NIGHT with Flat Broke – 7pm @ Charles Daily Park

July 27 featuring Solstice – 7pm @ Montebello Park

July 28 – Duelling Pianos – Duelling Pianos Niagara – 7pm @ Charles Daily Park

July 29 – 31 Niagara Jazz Festival

July 31 – John Denver Tribute – 7pm @ Crystal Beach

August 4 – Concert Band – Lincoln Concert Band – 7pm @ Charles Daily Park

August 7 – The Moonlighters – 7pm @ Crystal Beach

August 8 Dragon Ritual Drumming at 7 p.m. @ Lakeside Park

August 10 featuring Marty Allen Band – 7pm @ Montebello Park

August 11 – 50s & 60s Hits – Johnny and the Cruizers – 7pm @ Charles Daily Park

August 13 – Peach Festival –10am – 5pm – Niagara-on-the-Lake

August 15, American Graffiti at dusk at dusk @ Montrebello Park

August 18 – Country – Elton Lammie – 7pm @ Charles Daily Park

August 21 – Barley Brae – 7pm @ Crystal Beach

August 24 featuring Walter Ostanek – 7pm @ Montebello Park

August 25 – Swing – Jimmy Marando Swing Band – 7pm @ Charles Daily Park

September 1   – RB Funk Soul – LMT Connection – 7pm @ Charles Daily Park













Hoppin’ on the Hudson

April 9th, 2016

*Most of the photos are from Voon Chew & Geoffrey Holmes. Thanks guys!

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 6.16.20 PMThe cat is out of the bag. I was the event planner for a very special event called Hoppin’ on the Hudson that took place this past Saturday at the Rockefeller Estate in Tarrytown, just outside of New York City.

Due to the nature of the event being private and the strict security surrounding the estate, it had to be kept very quiet. I wish that the event could have been open for the Lindy Hop community; it was a very special occasion, but it was private and only the performers and a small pool of guests could be included. The guests were mainly non-dancers. My sincere apologies and regrets to all of my New York friends who had to be left out. If it had been my event, I would have invited all of you.

The show was put together under the artistic direction of Chester Whitmore and was absolutely brilliant. Thank you so much to all of the performers who helped make it such a success. Michael Hashim’s 12 piece band, similar to the one that played at the Apollo Theater, was outstanding. The Big Apple Lindy Hoppers, Bathtub Ginnys, Harlem Strutters, Catrine & Chazz, Barbara Morrison, Barbara Billups, Sugar Sullivan, LaTasha Barnes, Calle Johansson, and many others were all incredible. A highlight for me was certainly the terrifying and thrilling experience of performing with Norma Miller to close out the show. That was not part of the plan and I couldn’t be more stunned and honoured that it actually happened. I’m still pinching myself. Thank you Voon for posting many lovely photos!

Thank you so much to everyone who was a part of it. I’d especially like to thank my good friend and partner in crime, Elliott Donnelley, for driving me crazy but always managing to make incredible magic happen. You’re nuts and I love you. Jen Pringle, I could NOT have done this without you! You are my favourite person!!! Besides my husband. 🙂 And my husband, Geoffrey Holmes, for supporting me and for sharing this memorable experience with me.

Videos to come.


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Geoff has uploaded a big photo album to Facebook:
Geoff's Album
Voon took a photo series of me at the pool.

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Chester Madness! Photo by Jen Pringle.
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Great to see Daniel!
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Breakfast at the guest house for our guests! Photo by Catrine Ljunggren.

Elliott Donnelley Mandi Gould

Jen Pringle Mandi Gould

Antiques for Sale in St. Catharines

I’m converting my dressing room in to a walk in closet and have to part with a few beautiful and cherished antiques.

A beautiful antique dresser:

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Antique dresser
A closeup of the gorgeous hardware.
Antique Dresser in Niagara
This is what the detail on the woodwork looks like on the edge of each drawer.

Antique dresser in Niagara

There is an antique vanity with matching bench and chair:

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antique bench
Matching bench with luxurious deep pink upholstery. Newly re-upholstered just a couple of years ago.
Antique bench
Another angle.
Antique lady's chair, Niagara
A matching chair in the same luxurious deep pink upholstery as the bench.
Antiques in Niagara
Intricate work on the chair.

Antique chair

Antique vanity for a lady