September 30, 2012

Currently Using: Bath Products (& September Must-Reads)

Question of the month: What bath products are you currently using?

1: UNITE Volumizing Shampoo and Conditioner (c/o)
UNITE is a premium boutique line of hair products that cater to many different types of hair needs. I love the smell of this shampoo/conditioner but unfortunately I haven't found it to help much in the way of volumizing.

2: UNITE 7SECONDS Detangler (c/o)
Like a leave-in conditioner, you simply spray this on tangles after you get out of the shower and your comb glides right through. This product is seriously amazing and also doubles as a heat protectant.

3: Cake Beauty Bath & Shower Gel
It's no secret that I love Cake Beauty (see here and here). I can't get enough of their delectable scents!

4: Mèreadesso Beautiful Body Balm (c/o)
I'm a fan of the Mèreadesso Lip Treats, and this body balm is quite nice too. It's supposed to be an all-in-one type product for all skin types and has great moisturizing properties. However, I tend to prefer thicker, more creamy products for Fall/Winter so I think this would be better as a summer lotion for me. It's also quite pricey at $54 CAD a bottle.

As for a few other bath-related products I've been using lately, my LUSH Ocean Salt Scrub and Breath of Fresh Air Toner (that I posted about here) have also been in heavy rotation!

P.S. Don't forget to check out some of the other girls' monthly must-reads. So happy to now be a part of this group :)

September 25, 2012

Prada Pointy Toe Pumps / My Stay at the St. Regis Hotel

As the lucky winner of the Modern Mix Vancouver x St. Regis Hotel giveaway, I was recently treated to a one-night stay in an executive suite at the St. Regis Hotel, dinner at Gotham Steakhouse, and a Holt Renfrew shopping experience. It's definitely the biggest contest I've ever won and happily coincided with my trip back to Vancouver for my Bar Call Ceremony and birthday. Talk about perfect timing!

Since it was a special occasion, I decided it also warranted a special purchase so I picked up these gorgeous new Prada pointy toe pumps during my visit at Holt's. The underlying texture and glossy patent gives the shoes a special touch, but they are also a very classic shape and height.

The St. Regis Hotel, by the way, is absolutely lovely. I'll admit that I initially felt a bit weird staying in a hotel in my own city, especially when I got into the elevator full of tourists. However, it was nice to be right in the heart of downtown and I would definitely recommend it for anyone visiting Vancouver or even Vancouverites looking for a staycation.

The hotel has so many great amenities, including free long distance calls, internet, and a full à la carte breakfast. Plus, look at the amazing suite I stayed in:

Thanks again to Modern Mix Vancouver and especially to Jeremy, GM at the St. Regis!

September 21, 2012

End of Summer Snapshots

To mark today's official change in seasons, I thought I'd share some long overdue snapshots from the end of my summer back home in Vancouver. As it gets cooler by the day here in Calgary (the afternoons are warm but morning/night are freezing), I am treasuring these summer memories more and more!

Lazy beach days in my coral ruffle bikini (c/o Hapari)

Can't have summer in Vancouver without a visit to the Summer Night Market

My first time seeing the Terminal City Roller Girls in action; wish I was that hardcore

A very 90s summer outfit featuring some shorts I DIY'd from my 7 For All Mankind Cropped Dojos

One donut obviously wasn't enough since I had to go all out at Cartems Donuterie

Take me out to the ball game: Vancouver Canadians v. Yakima Bears

FORE!! Pitch & Putt at Queen Elizabeth Park

Best chocolate fondue in the city at Mink Chocolates

Stopping for a photo-op on a very long walk along the Seawall with my girl friends

Delicious home-made Greek feast & girls night with a few of my best friends

Kayaking around False Creek

My boyfriend got me tickets to see Seinfeld for my birthday!

I especially love the corn kakiage at Suika Snackbar

Coconut gelato at Kits Beach

P.S. Don't forget to follow me on Instagram if you want to see these updates in real time (as opposed to months later)! My username is alison_elle.

September 18, 2012

LUSH Cosmetics Ocean-Inspired Essentials

After a crazy-busy week in Vancouver which included my official Bar Call Ceremony, seeing Jerry Seinfeld live (so funny), birthday festivities, and lots of other fun, I am now back in Calgary. Unfortunately, coming down from such a whirlwind trip has been hard... I miss Vancouver!

Thankfully these oceanic-inspired treats sent along by LUSH Cosmetics arrived at just the right time. After all, there's nothing better than some beachy goodness packed into my bath & body essentials to remind me of home. Plus, aren't they pretty?

Sea water is apparently good for your skin because it hydrates and balances, so LUSH made the Breath of Fresh Air Facial Toner ($8.95 for 3.3oz/$19.95 for 8.4oz) with real sea water from the shores of the Pacific Ocean. I've been using it as my regular toner at night and like it a lot but it also makes for a very refreshing facial spritzer if you're travelling.

The Ocean Salt Face and Body Scrub ($19.95 for 4.2oz/$34.95 for 8.8oz) is made with organic avocado butter, nutritious seaweed absolute, and cocoa butter to leave skin feeling soft, smooth and moisturized. However, the key ingredient is fresh lime extracted in vodka, which means this smells delicious... like margaritas! I do think this might be too harsh for sensitive skin though with the mix of coarse and fine salts.

Dirty Springwash Shower Gel ($9.95 for 3.3oz/$17.95 for 8.8oz/$27.95 for 16.9oz) is part of a new range for men (though the product itself can obviously be used by whoever), and I do find the scent to be quite "masculine." The mint and spearmint create a very refreshing, tingling feeling when you wash which makes it better for hot summer days than the cooler weather we're soon heading into.

Seanik ($10.95) is an easy-to-use solid shampoo made with seaweed and sea salt to soften hair and pump up the volume as it nourishes. I love the exotic fragrances of mimosa, orange blossom absolute and jasmine but this formula isn't the best for my hair type. While I do need the volume, my hair is also colour-treated and needs more moisture than I can get with this puck. It would probably work well for people with less damaged hair.

September 13, 2012

Pretty in Pearls

On the topic of pearls (see my previous post), I recently rediscovered this pearl & lace crochet top in my closet, which only cost about $10 at an Asian boutique in Aberdeen Centre. A number of years ago, I was extremely into Asian fashions because they catered to my more girly tastes. Lace, ruffles... you name it, I wanted it!

My style has evolved quite a bit since then; however, it's nice to still be able to work some old favourites into my current wardrobe. $10 well spent, no?

Top: Asian boutique / Blazer: Zara (similar) / Pants: Gap (here) / Bag: Miu Miu (in black)
Shoes: Ralph Lauren (here) / Earrings: Juicy Couture 

September 10, 2012

A Twist on a Classic: Chanel Black Pearl Necklace

Compared to last year's birthday splurge, this year's was a little (okay maybe a lot) more extravagant. However, my birthday this year just so happens to coincide with a number of other important life events... namely, officially being called to the Bar and starting a new job. So let's just say it's justified ;)

I stumbled upon this Chanel black pearl necklace when I had originally gone into the boutique to look at some classic white pearls. Once I tried it on, I knew that I'd be walking out with this one instead. It's just more me.

September 7, 2012

Mèreadesso Lip Treats

If you're in the market for some luxury lip balm, look no further than Mèreadesso Lip Treats!

Truthfully, I had actually never heard of Mèreadesso before I was sent these products. However, I just love the concept behind the brand, which was founded by a former cosmetics executive who, putting her degrees in Chemistry and Botany to use, came up with a line of "one-step" products packed with enough ingredients to satisfy all your skin's needs. Essentially, you won't have to rifle through a roster of different lotions and potions because there will never be any confusion over what product to use at what time. Great idea, right?

The Clear Lip Treats contain a blend of evening primrose, grape seed, coconut and sunflower oils, enhanced by the added benefits of Vitamins C and E. In addition to acting as a lip balm, they also act as primer for any lipstick, lipgloss, or lipliner. I usually use regular lip balm as a base for my lip colour but sometimes it's nice to use something that's actually intended for that purpose.

I love the slim, sleek, white packaging of these lip balms, which are sold in sets of two so you can keep one in your purse and one in your makeup bag at home. This is perfect for people like me who often have a lip balm in every room of the house so that they're easily accessible at all times.

The Tinted Lip Treats are made with the exact same formula as the Clear Lip Treats, just with the addition of colour. Burgundy (left) shows up as a wine-coloured stain on my lips, which I love. Rose (right), on the other hand, is unfortunately very sheer on my pigmented lips so I don't get much colour pay-off. Both can be used as lip primer as well, particularly to enhance shades in similar colour families.

There is no denying that these are quality products which means they do come at a price: $28 CAN ($14 per tube), to be exact. I recognize that this is more than most people are willing to pay for lip balm but with its double use as a (very good) primer, they're worth a try if you have the extra cash.

For those who are interested in trying some of Mèreadesso's other products, check out their anti-aging Face + Neck Toning Gel, Face + Neck Cleanser, and Beautiful Body Balm.

September 5, 2012

Exploring the City

One major difference I've noticed between Calgary and Vancouver is that nobody seems to hang out downtown on the weekends. I'm so used to a downtown that is constantly bustling with people everywhere so the relative quiet here is just so strange to me. The other major difference I've noticed is the weather, which is completely unstable. In one day, it will be freezing in the morning, hailing at lunch time, sunny and hot in the afternoon, then raining at night. Makes it hard to plan outfits!

Top: Talula (Aritzia) / Pants: Gap (here) / Bag: Marc By Marc Jacobs (here)
Flats: Bloch (different colour) / Hair Cuff: H&M (similar)
Earrings: Front & Company / Watch: Michael Kors (here)

Since I haven't quite figured out the transit system yet, I've been walking all over the city exploring what I can. Thought I'd share a few shots of downtown: Olympic Plaza with Calgary Tower in the background and me posing with members of the Famous Five installation.

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