December 29, 2014

Sleepless in Seattle

I hope you have all been having a lovely holiday season! Although my Christmas was very low-key compared to previous years, it was honestly a nice break from the usual craziness.

A few weeks ago, however, I did head down to Seattle for some pre-holiday fun. On the agenda was a 12 Bars of X-mas Pub Crawl, which is exactly as it sounds: 12 bars in 8 hours, starting in Belltown and ending in Capitol Hill. It was so fun getting a taste of the city's nightlife with the locals but of course, I made sure there was time for some tourist-y activities as well.

(yes, I am totally wearing a reindeer & snowflake dress)

I feel like you can't really go sightseeing in Seattle without a visit to Pike Place Market or the Space Needle. The Olympic Sculpture Park is also really nice to walk around in with a coffee in hand on a nice day.

As a huge NFL fan, it was also incredibly exciting to get swept up in all the football furor down at CenturyLink Field. I wish I'd had tickets to the game despite not being a Seahawks fan (go Cards!)

Another place I really wanted to check out was the Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room. As the birthplace of Starbucks, Seattle is home to the only location -- kind of like a Willy Wonka factory for coffee lovers. The space is absolutely beautiful with all the wood, copper, and machinery.

I packed a ton into less than 48 hours, from (exorbitant amounts of) eating and drinking to shopping and other fun. Seattle is so close to Vancouver, I'm not sure why I don't go more often but after this weekend I am definitely already planning my next!

December 22, 2014

Velvet Kimono (& New Blonder Hair)

I debuted my new hair on Instagram a few weeks ago and it's finally making its appearance on the blog (I had a backlog of pictures to post first). I am loving the lighter and more ashy balayage and will hopefully make it to white blonde on my next salon visit! Also super obsessed with this long velvet kimono. Long time readers know what a huge fan of I am of kimonos and wraps (see just a few examples here, here, and  here) so this one kind of had to come home with me.

Velvet Kimono: Zara (here) / Silk Tank: Club Monaco (here)
Pants: Babaton (Aritzia) / Booties: Topshop (similar)
Purse: Proenza Schouler (here)

December 15, 2014

Parka Love

This parka has been a mainstay in my winter wardrobe for well over 6 years now, and it's still going strong. I especially love it with some of the more sporty looks I've been wearing this season!

Sweatshirt: TNA (Aritzia) / Leggings: H&M (similar)
Parka: TNA (Aritzia) / Shoes: Nike
Toque: Babaton (Aritzia) / Sunglasses: Ray Ban (here)

December 12, 2014

Holiday Rose Gold FOTD

It's been ages since I've done a FOTD, so I figured now was as good a time as any since we're right in the middle of holiday party season. I adore rose gold (see my review of Urban Decay's Naked3 Palette, a perennial rose gold favourite) so I decided to use this lovely shade as inspiration for this look.

I first started off with Marcelle Ideal Skin Perfector, which is supposed to be used prior to moisturizer (the company touts it as being to skin care what BB cream is to makeup). Next, I applied MAC Prep + Prime in Natural Radiance for an overall glow.

On my face, I am wearing L'Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation in Natural Buff, a new long-wearing oil-resistant foundation. For some subtle shimmer, I used the YSL Touche Éclat in Rose Gold (which you might remember seeing on my Instagram a few months ago) topped off with MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Stereo Rose as a blush.

I wanted a very soft light pink for my eyes so I started with Lise Watier 24 Hrs Glam Eyeshadow Pencil in Satin Glam as a base. Next, I applied the pink shade in the Lise Watier Quatuor Féline, which was a limited edition Fall 2014 palette, all over my lids and added the champagne colour under my brows as a highlight. For some extra glam, I am wearing ESQIDO mink lashes in Unforgettable with NYX Two Timer Liner in Jet Black. I have reviewed ESQIDO lashes before and they remain my favourite false lashes as they are super comfortable to wear and look so pretty on.

Since this makeup look is not overtly showy, I think the statement lip really pulls it together. This is Estée Lauder Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipstick in Confident, a richly pigmented berry fuschia.

Phew -- that was a lot of products! To keep all my hard work intact, I spritzed on the new L'Oreal Infallible Pro Spray & Set Makeup Extender, which is the company's first makeup setting spray for the mass market. It's a lot like the Skindinavia Makeup Finishing Sprays except more easily accessible since you can find it at your local drugmart.

And while we're at it, I might as well show my winter nails too... this is an alternating mani featuring Avon Gel Finish Nail Polish in Alaska and Iceberg White. I love the Gel Finish line (the formula applies like a dream and is very glossy), and you can't go wrong with either of these colours. 

P.S. Be sure to check out my post on this week's FASHION Magazine Beauty Panel for more pictures of my holiday hair from this look -- an easy braided headband!

December 10, 2014

Revlon Boho Chic Collection: Nail Polish

For Fall/Winter 2014, Revlon has released its Boho Chic Collection by Gucci Westman, the company's global artistic director. A celebration of French mystique, the collection features a range of gorgeous shades in Revlon's main product range including a super pretty PhotoReady Primer + Shadow Palette and four new Colour Suede lipsticks. Today, however, I've got the three nail polishes to share.

Jewel tones and glitter are holiday season staples, and the Boho Chic Collection is teeming with great versions to get you party-ready. The three new limited edition shades that Revlon has added to its nail polish lineup are: Bohemian, Artsy, and Edgy (left to right).

Bohemian is a metallic turquoise with microfine glitters that give off a sparkly sheen. I love this colour because it reminds me of a peacock feather -- so pretty, right? Application was super easy as well; this is only two coats.

Artsy is a royal blue jelly with a mix of silver hexagonal, circle, and bar glitters. It's slightly reminiscent of my favourite Deborah Lippmann Across The Universe though Across The Universe contains different coloured glitters (which I personally prefer since they add more dimension). This is three coats.

Edgy is Artsy's purple counterpart, and this is also three coats. Due to their thick formulas, both require extra care when applying. You can't just paint the polish on like normal because you'll end up with major streaking and not much glitter. Instead, you have to blob it on and kind of place the glitter onto your nails with the brush for maximum opacity.

I'm not wearing a top coat in any of these swatches but I would definitely recommend using one, especially something chip-resistant for Artsy and Edgy. Without a top coat, the texture is rough and chunky, and both glitters chipped like crazy after only a few days.

December 8, 2014

Sweater Dress

I don't know why its taken me so long to get a sweater dress... there is something so easy about throwing on a warm & cozy knit and just being ready to go!

Sweater Dress: Wilfred Free (Aritzia) / Boots: Steve Madden (similar and similar)
Tote: Madewell (here)

December 4, 2014

Fresh Sugar Legends

For all my fellow lip product junkies out there, can I just say that you need the Fresh Sugar Legends set? Like, right now. With a shade for every day of the week, it's a great way to try out Fresh's signature lip treatments without investing in the full-size versions first (if you received the 2012 Sephora birthday gift, these minis are the exact same size: 2.2 g). I have been dying to try some of the other shades myself, so it was a lucky coincidence when this showed up in my mailbox a few weeks ago.

If you've never tried the Sugar lip treatments before, they are noticeably different from your typical lip balm. The formula, which contains SPF 15, is super moisturizing (an almost "slippy" texture) and feels very comfortable on the lips. Because of this, you do have to be careful with the product since it's prone to melting or getting smushed if your application is too vigorous.

The Sugar Legends set contains seven of Fresh's tinted lip treatments: Sugar Petal (pink blossom), Sugar Tulip (sheer hot pink), Sugar Rosé (sheer rose), Sugar Honey (warm nude), Sugar Cherry (sheer sunny red), Sugar Passion (vibrant yet sheer rouge), and Sugar Berry (flirty berry). Each shade applies sheer but can be layered for a more opaque colour.

If you can get your hands on this (I know a lot of Sephoras have been selling out), don't hesitate! It's a $93 value for only $65 CAD and would make the perfect gift for either yourself or a friend.

December 2, 2014

My Favourite Spa in Vancouver: Miraj Hammam

Earlier this year, I discovered the Miraj Hammam Spa and since then, it has quickly become my favourite spa in Vancouver. My last visit was for some birthday pampering back in September so I was super excited to be invited in for a complimentary treatment last week. Work has been really busy lately so having some "me"-time was much needed. Besides, I should have written about this place a long time ago anyway since I love it so much!

Based on authentic Middle Eastern traditions, Miraj Hammam is not your typical spa experience. For one thing, you must be comfortable being completely naked in front of someone else (the esthetician). Disposable underwear is available but I personally don't use it. All of the employees I've encountered thus far have been nothing but professional and made me feel completely at ease in what could otherwise be an awkward situation.

As for the treatment, you first wrap yourself in a sarong and enter the hammam, which is a steam room that pumps out a refreshing eucalyptus mist to stimulate the senses. After 15 minutes in the hammam, an esthetician takes you to an outer area of the room for the gommage (full-body exfoliation). Using authentic Moroccan black soap made with olive oil and eucalyptus, you are scrubbed from head to toe with specially imported gloves and then rinsed down. It may sound a little weird but it really does leave your skin feeling incredibly soft and supple.

After the gommage, a massage is recommended to add some moisture back to your skin. The masseuses at Miraj Hammam are so great that I have honestly fallen asleep every time from being so relaxed. The relaxation then continues after the massage with some lounge time on comfy velvet beds with silk pillows, magazines, and a cup of hot tea and sweet cakes.

If you are looking for a unique spa experience, I cannot recommend Miraj Hammam enough. Like I said, it's my absolute favourite spot in the city (my friends can attest to how frequently I rave about it) and I am already thinking of my next visit back!

Location: 1495 West 6th Avenue, Vancouver, BC

November 27, 2014

(Burrard Street) Bridging It

I am being such a creature of habit these days: sweaters layered over shirts (or in this case a shirt dress) and sunnies (when it's not raining, of course). Speaking of sunglasses, I was recently sent this fabulous pair of Ray Ban Oversized Clubmasters from SmartBuyGlasses. I have an obvious Ray Ban addiction (I also own the flash aviators and New Wayfarers) so when I saw the huge selection on SmartBuyGlasses, I was hooked. The company also offers fast shipping, and when they say "fast" they really mean it. My sunglasses arrived in only a few days and even came with a complimentary travel cleaning kit.

If you're in the market for new designer sunglasses or prescription glasses, I highly recommend SmartBuyGlasses. They'd also make great presents for the upcoming holiday season! Check out the Christmas Gift Guide, which makes it easy to shop for those on your list thanks to a number of curated themes. Alternatively, at least for me personally, a gift card is always appreciated.

Shirt Dress: Wilfred Free (Aritzia) / Sweater: T. Babaton (Aritzia)
Jeans: PAIGE (lighter wash) / Coat: Community (Aritzia)
Booties: Rachel Comey (here and in black) / Bag: Mulberry (here)
Sunglasses: Ray Ban (c/o SmartBuyGlasses)

November 25, 2014

Gift Guide: ShopBop & EastDane Black Friday Sales

Is it too soon to be posting a gift guide? Maybe... but Shopbop and EastDane are both having their "The Big Event" sales right now, which means it's an excellent time to start Christmas shopping! Especially because the more you spend, the more you save:

Spend $250= 15% off
Spend $500= 20% off
Spend $1000 = 25% off

To get myself thinking about my own Christmas shopping list, I've put together a few ideas from both sites that I think would make excellent presents (or, you know, treats for yourself)...

The sale started today and runs until December 1 at 11:59 p.m. PT. Details on Shopbop and EastDane -- but here's a big one: no brand exclusions apply!

November 21, 2014

Rocky Mountain Soap Company Opens in Vancouver

I first encountered Rocky Mountain Soap Company when I lived in Calgary (the company started in Canmore, Alberta), and then again when I attended the ChickAdvisor Showcase this past summer. As a Canadian-owned and -operated business, Rocky Mountain specializes in 100% natural and toxin-free products, using only the finest essential oils, pure natural beeswax, food grade vegetable oils, real grains, fresh herbs, fruits, and vegetables.

With this philosophy, it makes perfect sense that the company has decided to expand to Vancouver where we obviously love everything green and environmentally conscious. This month sees the opening of two new concept stores: one downtown in the Bentall Centre and the other in Burnaby at Metrotown.

I was kindly sent a few products to test out and I have really been enjoying their addition to my usual skincare routine. At bedtime, I begin by applying 2 pumps of the Rosehip Transformative Cleansing Oil to a cotton pad. The oil is fairly good at wiping away makeup and dirt but if I'm wearing a lot of makeup, I do prefer to do a full wash with a cleanser first. Next, I spritz on the Aloe Vera Hydrating Toner and wipe it off with a cotton pad. I prefer natural toners like this one since many commercial toners contain alcohol which can be very drying. I usually alternate moisturizers depending on how my skin is feeling, but have been experimenting with the Pomegranate Day Cream every few days. The cream feels light but rich and absorbs quickly. The best part, however, is the scent which I can really only describe as "delicious" (ha ha, sorry that is so not descriptive).

Rocky Mountain Soap Company was founded in 1995 to make natural soap by hand so trying their soap is a must as well. The Sugar Plum Soap is a limited edition holiday product which would make a great stocking stuffer. The scent is subtle but a little spicy and the bar contains gorgeous purple swirls throughout, making it a pretty addition to your sink or bathtub as well.

November 17, 2014

Greyed Out

If you follow me on Instagram (if you don't, what are you waiting for?), you may have already gotten a sneak peek of this outfit which has been on major repeat this season. As someone who rarely wears colour, black and white are always my go-tos but I've been injecting quite a bit of grey in lately as well. You can't go wrong with matte grey nails either, and I highly recommend this combination of American Apparel Factory Grey and Essie Matte About You Top Coat if you want to get the same look.

Shirt: Talula (Aritzia) / Sweater: Wilfred (Aritzia) / Pants: Babaton (Aritzia)
Booties: Sam  Edelman (all black and suede) / Hat: Holt Renfrew (similar)
Bag: Proenza Schouler (here)

November 14, 2014

L'Occitane En Provence: Arlésienne

L'Occitane En Provence has always been one of those brands I keep meaning to try more of but never get around to for one reason or another. It's a shame really because I actually do like the products I have tried -- especially their Cherry Blossom Hand Cream, which comes packaged in L'Occitane's iconic painter tube. That's all about to change, however, since their gorgeous new flagship store happens to be very close to my office (hello lunch break pit stop!). I was lucky enough to be invited to their recent opening event where I was able to admire the thoughtful store design, learn more about the brand, its history, and explore some of their collections.

For those not familiar with the brand, L'Occitane is a family-owned French company that prides itself on its unique ingredients and signature scents. As I went around the store testing out products it became apparent to me that if you're looking for a good fragrance that's delicate, well-crafted, and not overpowering, this is where you should come.

This winter, they've released a new line called Arlésienne for Holiday 2014. Inspired by women in the South of France, the fragrance subtly blends saffron, rose, and violet. I usually don't like florals but Arlésienne is definitely an exception. The scent is sweet and feminine without being cloying and is perfect for daytime wear. I wish there was a way to transmit scent over the Internet because I would if I could -- it smells so good!

Shower Cream ($22 CAD) and EDT ($48 CAD) (c/o)

Be sure to check out the new collection, as well as L'Occitane's carefully curated gift sets for those on your Christmas shopping list. And if you're in Vancouver, the new store at the corner of Robson and Burrard is an absolute must-see.

November 10, 2014

Fall Accessorizing

I know it's the most cliché thing ever for a fashion blogger to say but I love Fall outfits. Last year I shared some of my Fall staples and while those are still going strong, this year I've really been embracing accessories too -- from a giant & cozy blanket scarf to a cognac leather tote (which you might recognize was on my recent ShopBop wishlist).

For chilly but sunny days, sunglasses are also a huge must. I have especially been loving this pair from Polette, a super affordable French eyewear company (read about their concept and history). Not only are the frames on-trend, but they are made of metal which means they are basically indestructible. Be sure to check out the Polette website for a huge selection of prescription glasses and sunglasses, plus their Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for more eyewear fun!

Sweater: Forever 21 (similar and similar) / Pants: Babaton (Aritzia)
Tote: Madewell (here and different colours) / Blanket Scarf: Wilfred (Aritzia)
Booties: Rachel Comey (here) / Sunglasses: Polette (c/o)

November 6, 2014

Skincare Backed By Science

Science has never been my strong suit (there is a reason I have a B.A. and then went to law school, after all) but I have always been fascinated by beauty products that claim to be "backed by science." Aside from the intriguing catch phrase they carry, how do some of these products differ and do they really work?

I was introduced to Cloud Vitamin Cream this past summer by a local PR company. Created by the award-winning dermatologist, Dr. Gordon Telford, his vitamin creams are the result of extensive data gathered both in the lab and from years of consultative experience with patients.

I was sent a tube of Cloud's Vitamin A Cream ($48 CAD), made with retinyl palmitate which is a naturally occurring form of Vitamin A that is sometimes called "nature's sun protection." Apparently, while conventional sunscreens like the kinds I typically buy every summer at the drugstore provide decent protection from sunburns, they protect against a very limited percentage of the sun's skin damaging spectrum. Cloud's Vitamin A Cream, on the other hand, protects against 93% more of the sun's power than conventional sunscreen. Once absorbed into the skin, it is virtually waterproof and its sun-protecting effects last up to 17 days (!!).

I have been applying the cream on and off for the past few months and I'll be honest in saying that I'm not entirely sure how to tell if it's been working. I do, however, love the concept behind the line and the fact that its effects are backed by scientific studies.

Another line of medical skincare that I have been using recently is SkinCeuticals, and in particular, their new antioxidant night concentrate Resveratrol B E ($165 CAD). I was introduced to the line and this product last week at the gorgeous South Granville space that houses ProjectSkin MD.

Dr. William McGillivray, the dermatologist who founded ProjectSkin MD, was kind enough to walk us through the science behind resveratrol, a potent antioxident found in grapes, berries, nuts, and other plant sources. Although resveratrol has long been known as the "longevity molecule," as a hydrophobic (oil-loving) molecule, it has been extremely challenging for scientists to solubilize a high concentration in an aqueous solution for use in skincare products. Through extensive research, however, Skinceuticals was able to formulate a maximized concentration of pure, stabilized resveratrol which penetrates skin through a delivery system of hydrotropes. (Seriously, how scientific do I sound right now?)

In a 12-week clinical study, Resveratrol B E was found to significantly improve radiance, firmness, elasticity, and density in women aged 45-60. Although I'm not in that age range, anti-aging products have become an incredibly important part of my skincare routine (prevention is key!) and with all the science and research behind it, I'm confident that this product has been an excellent addition to my arsenal. I guess time will tell how well it works...

October 31, 2014

Nails Inc. NailKale in Holland Walk

Happy Halloween! In honour of this decidedly Fall holiday, I thought I'd share a new favourite Fall nail polish, Nails Inc. NailKale in Holland Walk.
This is my first foray into Nails Inc. and I've got to say that I am super impressed. This particular line, NailKale, is infused with kale extract, which is known for its high levels of Vitamins A, C, and K. Kale is already a popular superfood so I'm not surprised to see a beauty company embracing it as an ingredient. Though it might seem like a trendy concept, apparently the kale extract is good for dry nails since it stimulates advanced keratin production. I change my polish too often to say for sure if it actually lives up to its claims but my nails did feel quite strong with this on.

Holland Walk is a deep plum that is perfect for the season (you guys know I like darker colours in the Fall). The formula was opaque in 2 coats, drying to an extremely glossy shine, and wear time was great. I also love the bottles! I used to think Nails Inc. polishes looked kind of cheap with their "nothing special" round bottles, but the brand's repackaging is A+. The new bottles are made of glass and feel very weighty and expensive when you hold them. You remove the silver cap to reveal a smaller round black cap for easy application (similar to Butter London). 

Not that I need to feed my nail polish addiction anymore (owning over 400 nail polishes is only slightly excessive), but I really can't wait to try some other Nails Inc. polishes. Let me know if you have any recommendations!

October 27, 2014

Pixel Wall

To bring this sleeveless swing dress into Fall, I've been layering it over my black tissue turtleneck (which you might recall got a ton of wear last year too). I love simple tricks like this to make pieces work through all seasons!

Turtleneck: Club Monaco (here) / Dress: Theory (with sleeves)
Belt: Moschino (here) / Booties: Report (similar) / Earrings: Etsy (similar)

October 22, 2014

LUSH Cosmetics Halloween 2014

I've been posting about LUSH Cosmetics' Halloween collections for the past few years (see 2011, 2012, and 2013) so it should come as no surprise to anyone that I was excited to see what was new for 2014. Here are just a few offerings you should check out -- and be sure to get to them quick since they're limited edition...

Clockwise from left: Lord of Misrule, Sparkler Bath Bomb, Sparkling Pumpkin Bubble Bar

I wrote about  the Lord of Misrule Bath Bomb ($7.95 CAD) last year and apparently it was such a fan favourite that it's back again this year (though there does appear to be a $2 price increase). Featuring the world's first Fair Trade Vanilla Absolute, this bath bomb dissolves slowly to reveal a wine-coloured centre and popping candy. Add in a combo of spicy black pepper oil and soothing patchouli and it's a great treat for cold nights.

The new Sparkler Bath Bomb ($6.95 CAD) differs from LUSH's typical spherical bath bombs with its rod-like shape. Its centre is filled with gold glitter and popping candies so it creates the sound and appearance of exploding fireworks as it dissolves. Fun!

Also new for Halloween 2014 is the Sparkling Pumpkin Bubble Bar ($7.95 CAD). It reminds me a lot of the of Golden Egg bath bomb that was out this Easter since it's covered in PET-free gold luster. Unlike Golden Egg's caramel scent, however, this bubble bar is fragranced with Orange Flower Absolute, Blackcurrant Absolute, Juniper Berry and Lime Oils for a more citrus-y kick.

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