June 29, 2016

Leather Backpack

I have been adamantly against the mini backpack trend forever (I was super into them in the '90s and most give me flashbacks to being 9 years old) but I recently purchased a second bicycle and, unlike my city cruiser, it doesn't have a basket or any racks. This means it's much lighter and I can ride faster... but it also means there's nowhere to stash a purse and I personally feel kind of lopsided riding around with a purse over only one shoulder.

I opted for the Auxiliary De Bray Backpack from Aritzia because I liked the minimal aesthetic and vachetta leather (very Mansur Gavriel minus the higher price point). You guys, I'm gonna have to eat my words here because I'm kind of obsessed. What was initially supposed to be mainly a "biking backpack" has now become an everyday handbag for me. I haven't carried a backpack since high school and I forgot what it felt like to have my arms so free!

Top: Oak + Fort / Jacket: NOUL / Jeans: J Brand (similar or in white)
Shoes: Miu Miu (here) / Backpack: Auxiliary (Aritzia)
Sunglasses: Polette (c/o) / Necklace: Couturist

P.S. How good are these grey reflective sunnies from Polette? Polette offers such a great range of stylish eyewear at very inexpensive prices, and right now you can get 10% off anything in their e-shop using the code "Lucky" (excluding e-polette and sales).

June 27, 2016

Custom Engraved YSL Rouge Volupté Shine in #30 Corail Ingenious

Some of you may have seen this picture from my Instagram showing the custom engraved lipsticks that my friend and I scored during a YSL Beauty event at Sephora. I am so glad I needed to stock up on essentials that day or we never would have walked in. Once we learned that we could get free custom engraving with the purchase of any two YSL Beauty products, we were totally sold. Never mind the fact that I'm already drowning in lipsticks... this opportunity could not be passed up! Plus, now when I buy a replacement lippie, I can simply remove my engraved cap and pop it on the new one.

I opted for something fairly similar to my last YSL Rouge Volupté Shine (I'm surprised I didn't accidentally end up buying the same one... I clearly have a preference when it comes to lip colours). However, unlike #15 Corail Intuitive, which I was slightly disappointed in since it wasn't very pigmented, #30 Corail Ingenious is just right. In fact, it's probably the shade I should have bought in the first place.

On my pigmented lips, this lipstick appears as a nice pinky coral. The formula is the same as always; hydrating and easy to wear. Plus, it's got the signature fruity scent which I like a lot.

If you're looking for a treat makeup-wise, I really feel like you can't go wrong with YSL. Their packaging is seriously gorgeous -- even moreso if you're lucky enough to get a custom engraving like I did!

June 23, 2016

Miu Miu Metallic Cap-Toe Skate Shoes

A new addition to my small but beloved Miu Miu collection (joining my mini bow bag, St. Cocco bracelet, and velvet loafers) are these metallic cap-toe skate shoes (here and here). Although I know their designs may not be to everyone's taste, Miu Miu holds a very special place in my heart because it was one of the first designer brands I ever loved.

As for these shoes... well, they match basically 90% of my wardrobe and really could not be more "Alison." You'll definitely be seeing them a lot on the blog!

June 20, 2016

Easy Colourblocked Nails with CND VINYLUX Weekly Polish (Flirtation Collection)

You've probably all heard about Shellac since it's pretty much the gold standard for UV-cured manicures around. But did you know that CND also makes a long-wearing nail polish called VINYLUX Weekly Polish?

I loved the CND Shellac mani I received back in February but as someone who changes her nail colour frequently, I find it hard having the same nails for weeks on end -- no matter how pretty they are. This is where VINYLUX comes in... you get similar benefits of Shellac (including the same shade availability) but you can actually remove it with nail polish remover.

I created the above mani using two polishes from the Flirtation Collection: Desert Poppy (bright coral) and Date Night (blue creme). The diagonal colour blocking was so easy to do and because orange and blue are complementary colours, I think it really pops.

To use VINYLUX Weekly Polish properly, you have to thoroughly cleanse hands and nails (CND ScrubFresh Nail Surface Cleanser is perfect for this). Next, you apply two thin coats of the polish to the nails making sure you coat the tips. Then, finish off with one coat of VINYLUX Weekly Top Coat. The polish is fully dry in 8 1/2 minutes and then you can get on with your day! Over the week, natural light helps cure the polish and it lasts for days with only the most minimal of tip wear. When I want my mani to last (but not forever, obvi), VINYLUX is what I'm reaching for.

In addition to Shellac and VINYLUX, CND also offers a number of other products to keep your nails in tip-top shape. Call it the #CNDRescueKit, if you will. First, there is RescueRXx which is a daily keratin treatment aimed at repairing dry, weakened, and damaged nails. There's also SolarOil which consistently receives rave reviews for its conditioning properties (it seems a bit like Essie Apricot Cuticle Oil which I love). Lastly, Cuticle Eraser micro-exfoliates the cuticles and can be used on a daily basis.

June 16, 2016

Quay Australia "My Girl" Sunglasses

I'm a little late on the Quay Australia bandwagon since, as many of you are already aware, this affordable sunglasses line has been all over social media for the past few years. Oh well... better late than never, right? I wear my Ray-Ban Flash Aviators all the time (just a few recent examples here, here, and here) and wanted to a pick up another pair of sunnies with reflective lenses in a different style. These Quay Australia "My Girl" sunglasses caught my eye with their blue lenses and fun cat eye shape, and you can bet they'll be making many appearances this summer.

Top: Oak & Fort / Leggings: Wilfred (Aritzia) / Denim Shirt: TNA (Aritzia) 
Booties: Vince / Sunglasses: Quay Australia (here, here, and here)
Bag: Auxiliary (Aritzia)

June 13, 2016

Trust Fund Beauty Nail Polish (Again!)

Back in 2014, I featured the just launched Canadian indie polish line Trust Fund Beauty, which has since seen incredible growth over the past two years. Beyond their signature 10-free nail polish, the company now offers a line of lip products as well -- all formulated with the same vegan and cruelty-free philosophy that the brand was founded on. Not only that, the products continue to carry the fun tongue-in-cheek names they've been known for.

Some of the polishes I previously reviewed are sadly no longer available but I was recently sent some new colours to try out by their PR. The paper packaging has changed slightly (a new pattern); however, inside are the same chic, rectangular glass bottles with black lids. The brushes are still the same as well... long and thin. The bristles aren't the easiest to work with but they are okay.

Rude Nudes is an opaque pink-toned nude with a creme formula. I was afraid it would be streaky but it wasn't at all. This is two coats.

Adult Content is a frosty champagne pink and, as typical with frosty shades, a streaktastic nightmare. I think that's just par for the course though... some people might like it but this is definitely not for me.

Going Commando was my surprise favourite of the four polishes I received, especially since I don't tend to wear such neutral shades anymore. It's a milky opalescent white with some micro-shimmer. Three coats is perfect and it looks great with a tan.

For a mani with a lot more pop, Gossip Mag is a bold red creme with just a hint of orange. You could easily get away with one coat though I used two for this swatch. It's so shiny even without a top coat!

June 7, 2016

UBC Rose Garden

My alma mater, the University of British Columbia (UBC), is known for its beautiful campus and, in fact, the campus is one of the main reasons I decided to pick up and move to the west coast from Toronto so many years ago. The Rose Garden is one such a treasure... can you believe this was just a few steps away from where I took many of my law school classes?

Dress: Sunday Best (Aritzia) / Shoes: Topshop (here)
Bag: Chanel

June 3, 2016

CLEAN Reserve EDP: Terra Woods & Skin [Reserve Blend]

When it comes to fragrance, CLEAN is definitely one of my favourites for simple and, well, "clean" scents (check out my thoughts on CLEAN Cashmere from last fall). Now, taking its philosophy of simplicity and eco-consciousness one step further, all of us fans can indulge in the company's latest launch: a whole new line of luxury fragrances called CLEAN Reserve.

The concept behind CLEAN Reserve is simple... think "farm to bottle" (kind of like "farm to table") made with raw and sustainable ingredients. There are 9 unisex scents to choose from: Blonde Rose, Sueded Oud, Terra Woods, Smoked Vetiver, Amber Saffron and Velvet Flora, as well as Reserve Blends of CLEAN's most popular traditional scents Skin, Rain and Warm Cotton.

I received bottles of Terra Woods and Skin [Reserve Blend] to play with and I love both. Terra Woods is a floral woody fragrance with notes of Fresh Accord, Fresh Geranium, Jasmine Sambac Petals, Coconut, Skin Musks, Textured Woods, Tonka Bean, and Madagascar Vanilla. Skin [Reserve Blend] is much more elevated version of original Skin with notes of Fresh Musks, Warm Skin Accord, Tonka Bean, and Salted Praline.

Each bottle is made with 100% recyclable glass and comes housed in a beautiful white cushioned box that's perfect for storing. The wooden cap is made of wood sourced from certified sustainably managed forests in Spain.

As with all of CLEAN's fragrances, you can blend the Reserve scents together to create something more unique, and suggestions for pairings are offered on the sleeve packaging.

The retail price for CLEAN Reserve is $125 CAD which is on the expensive side but not so much when you consider the fact that you're getting 100 mL. These bottles are hefty! The scents also come in super cute travel sizes (also with the wooden cap) for $30 CAD (example), as well as a Discovery Set of mini spray bottles so you can try everything before upgrading to a full-size.

CLEAN Reserve can be found at Sephora. Note: Terra Woods is an online Sephora.ca exclusive.

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