December 26, 2010

OPI Brand New Skates

OPI Brand New Skates

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas (or other holiday-related celebration)! It's been so nice to relax, not have to worry about anything, and stuff my face with delicious food.

In the spirit of the season, I thought it would be appropriate to paint my nails one of my absolute favourite cool weather colours: Brand New Skates by OPI. This is from the 2008 Holiday in Toyland Collection and has been a staple for me ever since it came out.

You just can't go wrong with this gorgeous metallic charcoal! It's packed with lots of glitter so that it shines differently in all sorts of lighting. Brand New Skates is quite a unique colour too; I don't think there are really any dupes for it.

Application, as with most OPI polishes is also great. You can reach opacity in two semi-thick coats, though I usually do three just for good measure.

December 21, 2010

♥ Happy Anniversary

My bf and I recently celebrated our anniversary at The Observatory, a restaurant at the top of Grouse Mountain. You have to take the gondola up the mountain and on a clear night, there is a beautiful view of the city.

 Top with Lace Sleeves: Zara / Pants: 7 For All Mankind / Pumps: Steve Madden
Pashmina: gift from Hong Kong / Bangle: Marc by Marc Jacobs

The Observatory is quite small, with attentive staff and a really nice ambiance. It's the perfect place for a romantic date!

The food is also sooooo good. I had the Diamond Willow Organic Beef ($39) and Vanilla Crème Brûlée ($13) for dessert.

Address: Grouse Mountain, North Vancouver, BC

December 18, 2010

Just a quick note to say that I got a domain name! The old address still works but from now on, my blog will also be accessible through:

December 14, 2010

Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm

Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm in Hibiscus
In February 2011, Burt's Bees will be launching their new line of Tinted Lip Balm, available in a range of 6 versatile shades to suit every woman. They are 100% natural and contain vitamin E and shea butter to keep your lips soft and moisturized.

Thanks to PR, I was able to get a sneak peak at Hibiscus, a rosy pink that looks much darker than it actually applies. The product itself is very sheer but definitely gives me "my lips but better." Perfect for those simple makeup days. Plus, this stuff is yummy! A sweet and delicious pear flavour that's not overpowering at all.

Look for the adorable packaging in stores next year. I know I'll be stocking up!

December 11, 2010

Green Gradient Nails & Another FOTD

Finally got a much-needed break from the stress of finals and papers. I would so much rather be shopping for Christmas presents and relaxing! December 17 can't come soon enough...

Sheer Blouse: Zara
Jeggings: Paige Premium Denim
Boots: Aldo

In the spirit of the season I also decided to adapt my pink gradient nails with a more holiday-appropriate green colour palette. It turned out a lot better than I thought it would!

Products used: Nicole by OPI Sheer Fun; Nicole by OPI Nicole...Spotted!; Essie Sew Psyched;
Revlon Galaxy Top Coat; Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat

And while I was at it with all the picture-taking, I figured I might as well do a FOTD too. I've been getting a lot of use out of my MAC Tartan Tale palette (it really does make the perfect purple-hued smoky eye).

Benefit Dr. Feelgood
Everyday Minerals Foundation in Golden Medium

MAC Beauties Play It Cool Palette: Silverwear, Hold My Gaze, Magic Moor, Heather Belles (reviewed here)
Sephora Eyeshadow in Alpine Snow
MAC Carbon Eyeshadow
Urban Decay 24/7 Liner in Zero
Maybelline Volum' Express Turbo Boost Mascara

Rock & Republic Blush in Tease (reviewed here)
NARS The Multiple in Copacabana

MAC Vegas Volt Lipstick

December 7, 2010

Holiday Wishlist: $$$ Edition

In the spirit of Christmas (or perhaps I should say, in the spirit of all things materialistic), I have been wasting a lot of time compiling various wishlists. I love making lists of things (makes me feel accomplished when I cross things off!), and I keep a Word Document of things I want that I am constantly updating.

This list, what I like to call the "$$$ Edition" features some of my more expensive wants - basically things I totally don't need but lust after like mad. I'm sure everyone's got at least a couple of these!

1. Chanel Classic Flap with Silver Hardware (Medium/Large or Jumbo)
I have wanted one for years and years. Wish they weren't so expensive!

2. Louis Vuitton Epi Speedy 30

3. Guccy Sukey Medium Tote (Special Edition Gucci for UNICEF)

4. Tiffany & Co. Diamond Key Necklace
So. Much. Shiny.

5. Miu Miu Matelassé Wallet
Price-wise, this is much more reasonable than the other things on this list but still a splurge considering the fact that I rarely use large wallets. But perhaps if I got one, I would be encouraged to use it all the time!

November 28, 2010

Rock & Republic Contrived Pressed Blush: Bedroom and Tease

The beauty blogger world has been raving about Rock & Republic Contrived Pressed Blush for quite some time now, and I finally managed to get my hands on Bedroom and Tease from a HauteLook (invite code link) sale a few weeks ago.

First off, the packaging is beautiful and super luxe. Each blush comes individually packaged in a round "hat box". When you open that up, you reveal the absolutely gorgeous, shiny compact with the R&R logo embossed on the front. So pretty!!

Rock & Republic Blush Packaging

Now, these are rather pricy ($40 retail or cheaper if you get them on sale) but when you think about it, you really are getting your money's worth. These compacts are HUGE compared to other blushes [see my comparison with MAC and NARS below]. You get 9g of blush versus 6g in MAC and 4.8 g in NARS.

Bedroom is described as a "guava" (essentially a matte peachy-pink shade). Tease, on the other hand, is a cool-toned mauve/pink. I decided to blend out my swatches a bit to show how these would look when worn (for reference, I'm a C4 in MAC). Both are great, wearable colours.

Rock & Republic Bedroom and Tease Blushes

I was super impressed with the quality of these R&R blushes. They are finely milled, apply like a dream, and last a long time. Since they are extremely pigmented, however, you do have to be careful not to overapply. I usually use my MAC 187 duo-fibre brush to apply blush and that works well with these.

Anyway, long story short, I LOVE THESE BLUSHES and I highly recommend them. Next time they show up on HauteLook I am definitely purchasing more (and you should too!)

November 25, 2010

Aki Japanese Restaurant

In a city where there are sushi restaurants on every corner, it's a treat to find a joint that is actually authentically Japanese. Aki Japanese Restaurant is one of these places.

Located in the heart of downtown Vancouver and in operation since 1963, the restaurant is reminiscent of the izakayas you can find in Japan with its wooden decor and perky waitresses who greet you in Japanese the moment you walk through the door.

Their menu features a wide variety of sushi and sashimi, but you can also order plenty of robatayaki items (meat, seafood, and veggies that are grilled up by the chef). And of course, there are the standard tapas items, like gyoza and my favourite - agedashi tofu.

I prefer Japanese tapas over sushi and sashimi (when I eat sushi it's generally only the vegetarian kind), so I opted for the above dishes along with a plate of beef short ribs (not pictured) from the robatayaki menu.

My friends are more adventurous than me, however, as evidenced by their orders of sushi, chirashi-don (sashimi over a bed of rice), and Japanese-style pasta with beef (which I forget the name of!).

As you can see, there are plenty of menu options to suit all tastes and the prices are consistent with most other Japanese restaurants in Vancouver (not dirt cheap but not super gourmet either). Definitely worth a visit for the atmosphere and delicious food!

Location: 745 Thurlow Street, Vancouver, BC

This post was kindly sponsored by Sauce Communications.

November 21, 2010

More iPhone Day-in-the-Life Shots

I was supposed to start using my iPhone camera more often... Unfortunately I haven't been that diligent about it, but here are a few snapshots from the last little while.

Strawberry crepe from Gypsy Rose Cafe on W. 4th

 Very "realistic" portrait of me and my bf drawn by a homeless man (if only my eyelashes were naturally that curly!)

English Bay, the day after our first snowfall

They serve as reminders of those simple but memorable moments in life, and will hopefully get me through the super boring studying/paper writing I've got going on for the next month or so.

November 18, 2010

American Apparel Coney Island

American Apparel Coney Island
Here's yet another nail polish post (I'm in the middle of preparing for exams/final papers so have been painting my nails as a distraction).

This is American Apparel Coney Island, perhaps named after the giant bags of cotton candy you can buy there... and that's exactly how I would describe this shade: cotton candy pink! It's super girly and I feel like it's the kind of shade that people would either love or hate (I love pinks so not a problem for me).

The formula is quite watery and applies thinly. Coney Island is also quite light, so it streaked a lot with the first two coats. I had to apply 3 coats to reach opacity.

In my review of Factory Grey (here), Dani mentioned that the AA polishes made her nails feel really brittle and dry. I haven't really noticed that yet but it may be because I change polishes fairly often and didn't really give this time to "sit" on my nails? I'll have to try wearing these ones longer and try and compare with my other polishes to see if this is really true.

November 13, 2010

Sally Hansen Evening Fog

Sally Hansen Evening Fog
I've blogged about Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure polish before (see here, here, and here), and everytime I've been impressed by the quality and shade selection. For Fall 2010, Sally Hansen has collaborated with Tracy Reese once again to create a collection full of on-trend greys/browns/taupes, glitters and reds.

I was immediately drawn to Evening Fog, a creamy "greige" which I am totally in love with. The colour is neutral but still noticeable, and the formula is consistent with all the other Complete Salon Manicure polishes I own (i.e. applies smoothly and is opaque in 2 coats).

Unfortunately the brush on my polish is a bit wonky. I've heard of people having problems with brush quality and so far, I've never had a problem. On my Evening Fog, however, the bristles are kind of all over the place and super splayed out. Was very annoying to deal with at first, so I'd recommend checking the bottles before you buy. I didn't really have an option though -- this was the only bottle left and I had to have it!

November 9, 2010

China Glaze Vintage Vixen: Classic Camel

China Glaze Classic Camel
China Glaze nail polish is hard to find in Canada, so I was super happy when I stumbled upon a few bottles from the Fall 2010 Vintage Vixen collection. Unfortunately there was no Ingrid or Emerald Fitzgerald which I was looking for, but I did manage to pick up Classic Camel (the focus of this review) and Foxy (which I'll review at a later date).

A lot of bloggers have been saying that these give the illusion of "mannequin hands" and I have to admit that when I first saw swatches of Classic Camel I thought it was a super weird colour. But it's kind of grown on me! I mean, I love unique nail polishes and this certainly fits that category - a mustard with distinct gold flecks. Definitely work-appropriate too.

The formula, on the other hand, leaves much to be desired. I don't have a lot of experience with China Glaze but I'd heard that it can be a bit tricky to work with. I had problems reaching opacity in two coats, though I know others managed to just fine with this polish. I think once I figure out how to work with it, it'll be fine, however. I've never let a poor formula stop me from using a colour I like!

November 6, 2010

Gyudon Ya

Community Wool Cadet Coat (featured here) / Boots: Steve Madden

I recently discovered Gyudon Ya, a Japanese fast food-type restaurant that specializes in donburi rice bowls. The menu is super simple and it's very reasonably priced. You can also get a large size bowl for $1 extra or make it a "value meal" (comes with salad and miso soup).

I suppose the signature dish is the Beef Bowl, which is exactly what it sounds like - a bowl of rice and beef. My bf decided to order that while I opted for the Beef Shortrib Bowl. Both are really good, but I think we both preferred the shortribs. Seems like it comes with more meat!

Gyudon Ya Beef Bowl
Gyudon Ya Beef Shortrib Bowl

Address: 500 Robson Street, Vancouver, BC

November 3, 2010

MAC A Tartan Tale: Beauties Play It Cool Eyeshadow Palette

I've been eagerly anticipating A Tartan Tale, the 2010 holiday collection from MAC ever since the promo pics were released in the summer. Sometimes the holiday sets are a bit hit or miss for me, but what can I say? I'm a sucker for plaid!

At the top of my wish list was the Beauties Play It Cool Eyeshadow Palette, which is now in my possession thanks to my bf who thought I deserved a present. He ventured into the MAC store all by himself - very brave for a guy who knows nothing about makeup!

MAC A Tartan Tale Beauties Play It Cool Packaging

The eyeshadows are neatly packed in a square palette with a blue plaid fabric covering and plastic gold MAC charm in the middle. The paper box mirrors the design of the palette - cute!

Now for what's inside... six cool-toned eyeshadows with a distinctly purple theme. Lately I've been really loving purple eyeshadows (remember my post about Dior's Stylish Move?) so it's no surprise that as soon as I saw this palette I knew it had to be mine.

Silverwear (frost) is silvery white; Hold My Gaze (frost) is a shimmery khaki; To The Ball (satin) is a grayed purple; Altered State (veluxe pearl) is a shimmery grape; Magic Moor (veluxe pearl) is a blackened plum; and Heather Belles (satin) is a charcoal grey.

Silverwear, Hold My Gaze, To The Ball, Altered State, Magic Moor, Heather Belles
(Clockwise from top: Silverwear, Hold My Gaze, To The Ball, Altered State, Magic Moor, Heather Belles)

The eyeshadows all coordinate well, which is convenient for creating a range of looks from a more neutral day look to a smokey night look. This makes it the perfect palette for travelling or just tossing in your purse for on-the-go, especially since it comes with a tiny brush. I never use the brushes that come with these palettes because they're usually quite cheap quality and don't work as well as my full-size brushes. But if you're packing light, this mini brush will get the job done!

October 31, 2010

Closet REMIX Re-Cap

Last week I posted about Closet REMIX, where Vancouverites were invited to "shop the closets" of local fashionistas. Well, the event was yesterday and, as expected, it was lots of fun!

Sara and I had a ridiculous amount of clothing, shoes, and accessories for people to purchase at dirt-cheap prices. (Embarassingly enough), this picture only shows half of what we had!

The next Closet REMIX should be in a few months, and hopefully we'll be able to get even more people to come. Anyone in Vancouver should pencil this into their calendars -- there are some really great deals to be had!

October 24, 2010

Military Chic

I've always loved the military look, especially for key Fall pieces like outerwear and boots. So it's no surprise that I couldn't stop myself from snapping up the following:

Community Wool Cadet Coat with Removable Fur Collar (via Aritzia)

Mizz Mooz "Hannah" Boots (via Spank Shoes)

If you couldn't tell already, I've been awaiting the cooler weather with great anticipation! (I actually bought the coat in August -- talk about being a tad over-eager, HAHA!)

October 22, 2010


Being the shopaholic that I am, I've amassed more clothing, shoes, and accessories than I know what to do with. That's why my friend Sara and I will be hosting a table at the upcoming Closet REMIX event, where people can essentially "shop the closets" of local fashionistas (like us!). What a cool idea, right?

If you're in Vancouver on Saturday, Oct. 30 or know anyone who will be, please stop by or help  spread the word. See the Facebook Event Page for more info!

October 19, 2010

American Apparel Factory Grey

American Apparel Factory Grey
I've finally gotten around to trying out American Apparel's line of nail polish, which I believe they came out with at the beginning of this year. The polishes are fairly reasonably priced -- $7.50 each or 3 for $18 (CAN), and there is a wide range of colours available.

This is Factory Grey, a lovely grey creme. The formula reminds me a lot of Joe Fresh Style nail polish (see some of my reviews here, here, and here).

It applies very smoothly and is opaque in only two coats. I've heard good things about AA nail polish, and I can now attest that all those raves about the stellar application are true.

The only thing I'm not loving is the bottles. They're quite slim and seem rather unsteady... anytime I re-dipped my brush I was afraid I was going to accidentally tip the bottle over and spill nail polish everywhere! The glass also seems quite fragile, although AA did recall the original bottles because they were prone to breaking. So I guess these "new" bottles shouldn't be as fragile as they feel?

October 13, 2010

Essie Fall 2010: Little Brown Dress

Essie Little Brown Dress
The Essie Fall 2010 collection features a lot of really great cool weather colours, and I know Sew Psyched (a sage green) and Merino Cool (similar to Sephora by OPI's Metro Chic) have been at the top of many people's "to-buy" lists. Aside from these more popular colours, however, I think one of the most standout polishes in the collection is Little Brown Dress.

LBD is a dark chocolate creme - a polish colour I've never actually worn before. There's something about brown, especially a shade like this, that has always seemed a little odd to me. Nonetheless, dark nails are a Fall staple of mine so I decided it was time to branch out a bit.

With LBD, what you get is a colour so dark it's almost black, yet still remains distinctly brown. It's kind of vampy, kind of sexy, and kind of classy all at the same time.

I was also quite impressed with the formula, considering Essie polishes tend to be hit or miss. LBD is richly pigmented and was opaque in only two coats. The polish is super glossy so you can even skip the top coat.

A perfect alternative to black or dark purples and burgundies! I will definitely be inserting this into regular rotation.

October 10, 2010

Rainy Long Weekend & FOTD

Trench Coat: Talula Babaton (featured here) / Pants: 7 For All Mankind
Boots: Steve Madden / Flower Headband: Forever 21

Unfortunately Thanksgiving Weekend here in Vancouver looks like it's going to be very rainy (annoying but not surprising). I am, however, looking forward to all the yummy turkey dinners I've got lined up! Mmm...

I also thought I'd do a FOTD "just because". Nothing super crazy - just a variation of my everyday makeup. I always find it extremely hard to smile without teeth so I invariably end up looking a little silly, haha!

- Smashbox Photo Finish Primer 
- Everyday Minerals Foundation in Golden Medium

- Urban Decay Naked Palette: Sin, Sidecar, Toasted, Darkhorse
- Urban Decay 24/7 Liner in Zero
- MAC Carbon Eyeshadow
- Maybelline The Falsies Mascara (reviewed here)

- MAC Dollymix Blush
- NARS The Multiple in Copacabana

- MAC Blankety Lipstick

October 3, 2010

The Italian Kitchen

The Italian Kitchen is part of the Glowbal restaurant chain (see my previous review of Glowbal Grill & Satay Bar here), and is located right in the heart of downtown Vancouver. I've been wanting to try this place for ages since I've heard a lot of good things so I was super happy when my bf said he'd take me there for dinner.

Obviously the restaurant serves Italian food, but they do it with a bit of a twist. There are sharing platters like at Glowbal Grill & Satay Bar, as well as lots of pizza and pasta. I opted for their signature Spaghetti with Spicy Kobe Meatballs ($24), which features truffle cream sauce, tomato garlic confit, and herb ricotta. The meatballs are HUGE and super tasty but the best part was definitely the cream sauce on the spaghetti. So good!

For dessert, my bf and I decided to split the tiramisu. Presentation maybe not the best but it was delicious!

Our server was really nice and knowledgeable, but the restaurant was very busy so there was some wait time to order. I suppose when you're doing the whole "fine dining" thing, the wait is to be expected and even wanted. No big deal on that front.

One thing that I wasn't too fond of, however, was how close the tables were to each other. I understand that from a business point of view you want to get as many people in as you can, but as a customer, it's not ideal to be able to hear the intimate conversations of those around you and vice versa. As such, I don't think The Italian Kitchen would be my pick for a super romantic and intimate meal, but I'd definitely go under other circumstances for the delicious food.

Address: 1037 Alberni Street, Vancouver, BC

September 30, 2010

Pink Gradient Nails (+ Revlon Galaxy Top Coat)

I pretty much never do "elaborate" nail designs due to lack of time (thanks, law school!) but since I was in a procrastinating mood, I decided to try out the gradient nail look that's been popular with nail bloggers everywhere.

One problem: the gradient nail look often requires a sheer polish to create a more seamless effect and I hate sheers! Consequently, my nail polish collection is significantly lacking in that department. I refused to let that stop me, however, and eventually came up with this pink gradiant look -- no sponge blending and only one semi-sheer polish required!

Products used: OPI Tijuana Dance?; OPI A-Rose At Dawn... Broke By Noon; Nicole by OPI Star of the Party
Revlon Galaxy Top Coat; Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat

Revlon Galaxy Top Coat
This was also my first time using Revlon Galaxy, a new glitter top coat from the Just Add Sparkle line. This collection contains 4 polish duos: 1 creme base and 1 coordinating glitter top coat. The colours are red, purple, grey, and black. Galaxy is paired with the black polish called Lunar which I didn't buy since I can easily replicate the intended look with my own dark base.

This is apparently the "hot" polish from this collection... I suppose because it's the prettiest? It's a clear base that's packed with black, blue, and silver glitter as well as some larger silver hex glitter. The hexes take a bit of work to get out but the top coat itself goes on quite well.

I have to admit that I wasn't super impressed with this top coat but maybe that's because I didn't use it over a dark base like I'm "supposed" to. I've seen some swatches of it over black and blue where it looks more impressive so I'll have to try that next. And at only $5.99 CAD for a bottle, it's not like this put a big dent in my wallet!

September 28, 2010

Maybelline The Falsies Mascara

Maybelline The Falsies Mascara

Ever since Maybelline rolled out their ad campaigns for their newest mascara, The Falsies, I've been intrigued. The company claims that this mascara will build your lashes 8x the volume to give you a "false eyelash look." False eyelashes without the hassle of actually applying them? I'm sold!

I picked up The Falsies in "Blackest Black", but it also comes in "Brownish Black" and "Very Black." The mascara features the kera-fiber formula, which you can supposedly build up to create a voluminous look, and the spoon brush is intended to lift and add some curl to your lashes.

Application-wise, Maybelline recommends you repeat coats until you get the look you're going for but since this dries quite quickly, you do have to act fast to avoid clumping.

So did this live up to my expectations?

As you can see, The Falsies didn't really add much volume to my lashes at all. It did, however, seem to add length. For me, volume is much more important than length so I was kind of disappointed with the results. These also don't look like false eyelashes at all (though to be honest, I wasn't really expecting them to... I mean, that would be a miracle product!)

If you are much more concerned about lengthening your lashes, then this might be the mascara for you. But if you are looking for volume or are lazy and want the "false eyelash look" without using false eyelashes, I don't think The Falsies lives up to its promises.

For me, mascara is one of those products that I'm always coveting yet more often than not, I find myself disappointed when I attempt to switch from my HG (Maybelline Volum' Express Turbo Boost, in case you were wondering). I'll continue to use The Falsies, but I think it's back to my tried and true after this!

All content and photography © alison*elle. Design By The Sunday Studio.