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Friday, September 4, 2015

My At-Home Spa Day

It has been a LONG time since I've had a facial, so when Indeed Labs invited me to experience an at-home Spa Day - I was ready! Due to my acne-prone skin, I'm not adventurous when it comes to skincare - but I've purchased and used Indeed Labs products in the past, so I felt comfortable trying items from their range.


I started with their Exfoliator. I've never used a powder-based exfoliator before, but it was easy. You just shake out some powder on to the palm of your hand and add water. It transforms into a creamy paste which you massage on to your skin and leave on for a minute. It rinses off cleanly, leaving no residue. I love that this product uses enzymes rather than granules to exfoliate the skin, since physical exfoliators can actually damage the surface of your skin! The powder contains active ingredients from Bamboo, Rice Bran, Red Algae and Pineapple - which help with skin issues including acne, wrinkes and skin elasticity. It is gentle enough to use every day - but I plan on using it once a week.


After my exfoliation, it was time for the Hydraluron Moisture Mask (a step my husband called "Totally Terrifying"). I opened the sealed package and spread the sheet mask on my face, adjusting it carefully around my eyes, nose and lips (at this point, my husband called the children over to see how scary I looked...thanks!) Stares from family aside, the mask felt cool and soothing on my skin - I headed to my bed, (took a selfie) set my timer for 15 minutes and had a little nap. When my timer went off, I removed the mask, massaged in the residual serum and topped it off with my moisturizer. My skin looked plumped up and glowing, and my pores seemed smaller. The mask contains timed release Hyluronic Acid so the effects last 24 hours. When I examined my skin the following morning, it still looked bright and poreless. I think this mask would be a great treatment when your skin looks dull and rough - if you've had too many late nights or travelled on a long-haul flight.

Hi Honey!

Along with the mask, the serum and jelly are part of the Hydraluron skin hydration series. They all contain high levels of Hyaluronic Acid, which provides deep and long-lasting moisturisation. In addition, the serum contains Red Marine Algae to increase cell turnover, while the jelly creates a protective film on the skin to lock in hydration.

The last item I was sent to try was Nanoblur - an "instant skin finisher" that minimizes the appearance of wrinkles and enlarged pores. You can apply it on bare skin, on top of makeup or mixed in with your moisturizer/foundation. You can also use it as a spot treatment to address shiny/oily spots.  I applied it over my makeup and here's what I noticed: my skin looked matte and airbrushed BUT you could still see the enlarged pores on my cheeks. I dabbed some on my naso-labial lines - and they disappeared! So my skin looked pretty but not completely flawless. I wore it out all day and was amazed that I didn't need to use blotting paper  (a first for me!) - so I think this product will be great for targeting my oily t-zone.

Hope you liked my mini-review of these Indeed Labs products. If you're curious to try them for yourself - you're in luck! I'm giving away 4 products - the Exfoliator, Mask, Jelly and Nanoblur - enter below for your chance to win:




a Rafflecopter giveaway


DISCLAIMER: This post was sponsored by Indeed Labs. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Discovering my Wild Side

I'm so excited to partner with Dixie Outlet Mall for another "She Who Hunts Finds" blogger campaign. In our Spring collaboration, I found my forever favorite pink dress. This time round, I was on the hunt for an amazing fall outfit.

Sunglasses: ALDO / Jeans: Aeropostale / Heels: Bandolino (similar) / Scarf: Call It Spring (similar) / Clutch: Call It Spring (similar)

I started by taking the "Discover Your Wild Side" Quiz to find out what my shopping persona is - apparently I'm a peacock! Click over and take the quiz - leave me a comment telling me which animal you got!


Although I love bargain-hunting...I never buy something just because it's inexpensive. Whether I pay full-price or clearance, I always choose versatile pieces that I can wear repeatedly. And I have to say - I'm in love with EVERY aspect of my outfit. From the classic denim to the metallic aviators and leopard print scarf, each piece is a fall staple!



I knew from my last shopping challenge that I would find amazing deals at Dixie Outlet Mall. But this time around - EVERY time I checked out, I would ask "Seriously???" when I was told the balance - I couldn't believe how crazy low the prices were. Look at the breakdown and let me know if you agree with me:


I think some of my craziest finds were: the leopard scarf for $7, the envelope clutch for $5 and dark-rinse denim for $27! Since I had a complete outfit for under $150, I picked up another pair of shoes and some jewelry that I'll share in my next post.

I also discovered two new favorites during this shopping trip: Aeropostale jeans fit me PERFECTLY - both the cut and the length - I'll be buying a lot of denim from here. And the Bandolino brand of shoes at Nine West were a revelation...the soles were cushioned and the design was so comfortable - it felt like I was wearing flats. I'd love to wear heels more often, so I'll definitely be exploring this brand.



Hope you enjoyed my bargain shopping haul. Check back soon because I'll be giving away a $200 Dixie Outlet Mall giftcard so that you can Discover Your Wild Side and get a new Fall Outfit too!

Have you done any fall shopping recently? Let me know what you bought!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Capsule Travel Wardrobe - How I Packed for 7 Days in London

My ideal travel outfit would look something like this: (p)leather jacket for warmth, a pretty lace shirt, dark-rinse denim and comfy espadrilles.

Jacket: ZARA (similar) / Shirt: Express (similar) / Shoes: Target / Bag: Chanel




However, when you're going on a family holiday - sometimes looking stylish has to take second place to other considerations - such as packing light and choosing outfits that work for long and very active days.

We recently traveled to England for a week - 3 days were spent sightseeing around Central London, and the remainder of the trip was hanging out with my in-laws. Since we were staying at 2 different hotels, I wanted to pack as few items as possible - and I think I did pretty good job sticking to the bare minimum - I took 2 pairs of shoes, 2 necklaces, 1 bag (!!!), 4 pants and 8 tops.

TRAVEL OUTFIT:
The theme for my travel outfit was: "how to wear pjs without looking like you're wearing pjs"! We were on an overnight flight - so I wanted to make sure that I got lots of sleep on the plane. My faux pjs consisted of charcoal grey leggings paired with long Chambray shirts. Wearing a long shirt helps disguise the fact that you're wearing leggings - nobody can tell...you might be wearing jeans or really tight pants!

Shirt: Old Navy, Old Navy / Leggings: Costco (similar) / Flats: Old Navy / Bag: Pashli / Necklace: Similar, Similar

DARK JEANS:
I paired my dark-rinse jeans with pink blouses and tan flats.

Shirt: F21 (similar), H&M (similar) / Flats: Target / Bag: Pashli / Necklace: Similar, Similar

LIGHT JEANS:
For my light-rinse jeans, I went with my favorite combo - cream colored tops with gold accessories.

Shirt: c/o Romwe, F21 (similar) / Flats: Target / Bag: Pashli / Necklace: Similar

PRINTED PANTS:
To add some interest to my denim-heavy wardrobe, I packed these floral pixie pants. They were as comfy as jeans but worked well for days I wanted to look a bit dressier.

Shirt: H&M (similar), F21 (similar) / Pants: Old Navy  / Flats: Target, Old Navy / Bag: Pashli / Necklace: Similar, Similar

OUTFIT PLANNING TIPS:

I really enjoyed packing light for this trip - it's definitely something I'd want to do again - and it didn't take TOO much pre-planning. Here are some of my top tips for packing a capsule wardrobe:
  •  Choose staple pieces depending on the climate you're traveling to. I picked jeans and pants - but if you're going on a beach holiday, perhaps your staple would consist of versatile maxi dresses.
  • If you're aiming for hand-carry only and/or you have access to laundry at your destination, you can reduce your clothing items even more - you definitely don't need both dark and light wash jeans...and you can re-wear some of your tops.
  • Pick a color scheme so that you can keep shoes and accessories to a minimum. My main colors were blue, white and pink. I packed both light and dark colored flats, while my taupe Pashli worked with both color schemes.
  • Streamline your jewelry - I wore diamond studs and chose a chain link necklace and a pearl cluster.
  • If you're tempted to pack extra clothes "just in case"....remind yourself of times in the past where you've over-packed and never worn the excess clothes. And in the rare eventuality that you NEED something you didn't pack....well - it's a great excuse to indulge in some local shopping!

Capsule Travel Wardrobe - How to Pack Light

What are your top travel packing tips?

Linking up with More Pieces of Me and Sincerely Jenna Marie,

Friday, August 14, 2015

Buying a Vintage Chanel Flap Bag

I've always dreamed of owning a classic quilted Chanel flap bag - but with all the dramatic price increases, I felt that I had missed my window of affordability. There's no way I'd feel comfortable buying this bag at today's prices (around US$ 5K).

Buying a Classic Vintage Chanel Quilted Flap Bag
Dressc/o Romwe / Shoes: Nine West (similar) / NecklaceJ.Crew / WatchMichael Kors

I was open to buying a vintage Chanel bag - I'd heard that older bags were made to a higher standard. But I didn't know where to look - and buying online seemed very risky. At a recent blogger event, Krystin mentioned that she had purchased her Chanel bag from a local reseller - a reputable expert who also sold online at Portero and Malleries.

Buying a Classic Vintage Chanel Quilted Flap Bag

All my boxes were ticked - I found a trusted source AND I could go in person to choose a bag! Visiting Luxe Touch was a bag-lover's dream - here's a peek at part of their boutique! There were multiples of each type of bag - with different price points depending on condition and whether it came with its original dustbag, box, etc.

Buying a Classic Vintage Chanel Quilted Flap Bag

I mentioned I was interested in a medium/large classic flap, and the owner put aside 3 bags for me to choose from. I picked this beauty - all in, I spent around US$1.7K. This cost less than my Chanel WOCs (I bought those new and in-store at Chanel) but my vintage bag is made of lambskin, while my WOCs are made of a more durable caviar leather. I'm VERY happy with my purchase - I love the gold hardware and the vintage "loved" look of my flap bag. Because it's slightly distressed, I feel I can use it freely without worrying about keeping it perfect.

If you're thinking about purchasing a vintage designer bag - I'd highly recommend buying from a trusted source - such as Malleries or Portero. The Purse Forum is a great place to ask for advice. And if you can find someone who is reputable AND local - even better - because you can check the condition of the bag before committing to buy. Finally, if you're in the GTA - definitely get in touch with Luxe Touch - their bags are amazing and they are so honest, kind and sweet to work with!

P.S. If you own a lambskin Chanel bag - here's a tip from the owner of Luxe Touch - use this sponge to keep your bag looking great.

DISCLAIMER: I purchased this bag myself and am in no way affiliated with Luxe Touch.

Linking up with More Pieces of Me and Sincerely Jenna Marie,

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Winning the Mapleview Blogger Challenge & ELLE Canada Feature

This has truly been an amazing and exciting week! The fun started when I attended the Mapleview Muse Summer Soiree on Wednesday.

With Krystin from Suburban Faux Pas, Jenelle from Nelle Creations and Dee from Liner, Glitter, Gloss

Earlier in the summer, I had been contacted by Mapleview Centre to participate in their Curated for a Cause contest - three local bloggers (including me) were given a $200 giftcard and asked to style a mannequin (view all the mannequins here). Customers were asked to vote on their favorite outfit - and the blogger with the most votes would get $500 for a charity of their choice.

Jacket: H&M / Shirt: H&M / Necklace: F21 / Shoes: F21 / Bag: F21 / Jeans: True Religion

My chosen charity was Food for Life, and I shopped for my mannequin at my favorite stores at Mapleview - H&M and Forever21. Here's the outfit I put together - totally something I would wear, with lots of blush pink and gold!


I was so excited when they announced the results at the Mapleview Soiree - my outfit got the most votes!!! (More on the party and contest results on the Mapleview blog).


On top of that - I found out on Friday that I would be featured on ELLE Canada online as part of their Street Style Hall of Fame - read my interview here. And the perfect end to the week was visiting a vintage Chanel shop and purchasing a classic Double Flap Bag in Lambskin!!! Can't wait to share it on the blog in a future post.

Linking up with More Pieces of Me and Sincerely Jenna Marie, Rachelle and Cha Cha for #HowISummer.. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Bag Review: My Michael Kors Sutton Satchel in Black

The Michael Kors Sutton Satchel is the latest addition to my handbag collection. Unlike a lot of my bags, it wasn't a planned purchase. I was returning this bag, and had to pick out something in exchange. I knew I couldn't go wrong with a durable black bag in a classic design.

Bag Review Michael Kors Sutton Satchel in Black Small
Shirt: c/o ROMWE / Bag: Small Sutton / Sandals: F21 (similar) / Necklace: (similar)

INSIDE THE SUTTON:

The Small Sutton is a spacious bag (8" W x 6" H x 3-3/4" D) - I can fit in my large wallet and makeup bag with room to spare - it could even hold my iPad mini. Here's a pic of what's inside my bag: makeup bag, wallet, sunglasses, gift card pouch, car keys, coin purse and card holder. There are several pockets inside the lining, as well as a zipped compartment along each side. There is a magnetic clasp to secure the contents of the bag (I'm holding it back in the picture below), as well as external snap buttons which can be clicked shut or left unfastened for a more boxy look.


What fits inside a Michael Kors Sutton Satchel in Black Small

WAYS TO WEAR IT:

I mainly use my Sutton as a cross-body bag, although I'll often slip the strap off and carry it in my hand if it gets too heavy. The shoulder strap has an adjustable buckle so you can change the length according to your preference (for reference, I'm 5'4 and wearing it on the longest setting for cross-body, and adjusted to the middle setting when I use it as a shoulder bag). I prefer to keep the handles up, but they can also be folded completely down. As mentioned previously, the shape of the bag can be altered by clicking the side buttons shut - but they only stay shut if the bag is relatively empty - otherwise they snap open (as seen in the shoulder pic below).
How to wear a Michael Kors Sutton Satchel in Black Small

SIZE COMPARISON:

 

The Sutton Satchel comes in three sizes: Small (8" W x 6" H x 3-3/4" D), Medium (13" W x 9" H x 5" D) and Large (14" W x 10" H x 4" D). There's around a $40-$50 price difference between sizes. I opted for the smallest size because I have a weakness for teeny bags (they just look cuter!) but also because I don't like carrying heavy bags. In fact, I'm thinking of selling my Selma satchel because I don't use it as much as my smaller bags.
Bag Review Different Sizes of Michael Kors Sutton Satchel (Small, Medium, Large)

OTHER THOUGHTS

I love my Sutton Satchel - and I would definitely recommend this bag. I think it's priced very reasonably given the saffiano leather construction, timeless design, and quality workmanship. I've been using it non-stop since I bought it, and there's been no sign of wear or staining. It is quite similar in design to the Prada Saffiano Lux Small Tote but at a FRACTION of the price. P.S. I like dressing up my bag with a pom pom charm (similar here).
Bag Review Michael Kors Sutton Satchel in Black Small versus Prada Saffiano Lux Small Tote

Here are some other Michael Kors bags I'm loving - especially the Dillon tote - it's a great dupe for the YSL Sac de Jour!



Have you tried the MK Sutton bag? What is your favorite bag?

 

Liked this post? Read my other bag reviews here


P.S. Check out Extra Petite's Sutton Satchel review here - I always love reading her posts!



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Sunday, July 19, 2015

Summer Staple: Styling a White Blazer

Although my white blazer is a recent (and much-loved) purchase, it has been on my wishlist for a LONG time.

White Blazer, Anchor tank, Gold sandals
Blazer / Sunglasses & Sandals: Marshalls / Anchor T (similar) / Bag / Photo Credit: Shizzy

In fact, the first time I realized that I NEEDED a white blazer, was back in May - when I attended a presentation hosted by Celebrity Stylist Cristina Ehrlich. Cristina, whose clients include Penelope Cruz and Emma Stone, excels at helping celebrities pick clothing pieces that work with their personal style. She has partnered with Marshalls to help shoppers identify their style profiles, so that they know which key pieces they should focus on to amp up their wardrobes.

From L to R: Dressed as Modern Femme, Power Dresser and Mix Master

In her presentation, Cristina showcased 3 celebrity-inspired style profiles: the Modern Femme (ladylike style with a contemporary twist), the Power Dresser (those who favor structured pieces and sophisticated staples), and the Mix Master (fearless dressers who aren't afraid to experiment with the latest trends). The three models pictured above were dressed according to each style. Which of these profiles do you identify with? I think I used to favor Modern Femme pieces in my 20s, but I'm definitely more of a Power Dresser now.


As Cristina talked us through each style profile - she discussed key pieces for summer - one of which was this white blazer. She demonstrated its versatility - from dressed down with jeans to worn over an evening dress (as pictured above). Of course, I was immediately convinced - and wondered how I'd managed so long WITHOUT such a key piece! As you can see, since acquiring my blazer - I've worn it with several different outfits.


If you're shopping for a white blazer - I'd recommend choosing a draped style rather than a button-down, as you don't want it to look ANYTHING like a lab coat! For the same reason, a cream-based shade is better than something stark white. My blazer has ruched sleeves, which is an added bonus, as I tend to push up my sleeves to 3/4 length anyways.

For further stylish shopping inspiration - check out Cristina's summer must-haves below! What is your Summer Staple?


Linking up with More Pieces of Me and On the Daily Express.
Mix & Match Fashion

Monday, July 13, 2015

Tourists in Toronto

My husband and I have a tradition called 'day of fun' - it involves taking the day off (usually on one of our birthdays) and exploring the city we live in. When you live somewhere, you often take it for granted - and you may not pay attention to the amazing sites that other people are flying in to see. 


This past weekend, we decided to take our kids on a "day of fun" to Toronto - we're so lucky to live near such a beautiful and historical city. We started the day at our local GO Station in the suburbs and hopped on a train heading for Union.


While hubby and I frequently travel on the GO Train for work, it still feels like an adventure for my kids. They love sitting on the second floor and looking out the giant windows.


After arriving at Union, we stepped onto the subway. Several stops and a short walk later, we were at our destination - Spadina Museum - a stately home belonging to the Austins - one of Toronto's wealthiest families at the turn of the 20th century.


Nicknamed "Toronto's Downtown Abbey", the whole house has been restored to how it looked in the 1920s-1930s. The furnishings are so luxurious and ornate.


I love seeing how people used to live - to me, it feels like I've stepped inside a book. Here's a behind-the-scenes peek into their spacious kitchen - I think the cream and turquoise color scheme is so charming.


I must have modest tastes, because one of my favorite rooms is this bedroom belonging to the housekeeper! It's simply furnished and so light and airy with a beautiful window.


After our guided tour of the house, we headed out into the famous gardens - my daughter loved looking at all the beautiful flowers. Doesn't this look like the French countryside? Who could guess that this is located in the heart of Toronto.


Here's a pic of my son and husband as we walked back to the subway after our afternoon of exploring. We picked up some delicious chocolate croissants at Union Station and then took the GO Train back home.

I really enjoyed sharing my love of history with my kids and taking them to discover unexplored parts of the city. Traveling on the GO Train was a fun and easy option. We didn't have to worry about traffic or finding parking, and it made it feel more like we were on a mini-holiday together.

Have you pretended to be tourists in your own city? What is your favorite spot to visit?

We live for the weekends, especially during the summer. And planning them is just half the fun. Exploring the big city or biking through wine country – it’s good to have weekend options and we give them to you. Toronto to Niagara. Barrie to Toronto. Either way, we’ll take you there. Seasonal weekend train service runs until Sept 7. Discover a different side of GO this summer at gotransit.com/getaway

http://www.gotransit.com/getaway

Disclosure: This post was brought to you by GO Transit  via Mode Media Canada.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Metrolinx.


Linking up with More Pieces of Me and On the Daily Express.  

  

Sunday, July 5, 2015

A Day at the Races...

I received an exciting invitation this week - a VIP ticket to the Queen's Plate at Woodbine Racetrack. And not only would I be attending the races, I would ALSO get to pick my race-day outfit from Vaughan Mills - the official Fashion Sponsor of Queen's Plate!

Queens Plate 2015 Race Day Outfit Vaughan Mills Vaughn Mills Fashion
Blazer: H&M, Tank: H&M, Skirt: H&M, Necklace: J.Crew Factory, Shoes: Old Navy (similar), Bag: Chanel WOC (similar)

The dress code was inspired by the Rethink garden party at Queen’s Plate: Black & White with a pop of pink. I headed over to Vaughan Mills to choose a suitable outfit. I had a lot of stores I wanted to check out - from outlets such as Banana Republic Factory, J.Crew Factory and HR2 Holt Renfrew - to my tried-and-true favorites - including Winners, H&M and Old Navy.


Here are three of my finds - a FCUK embroidered maxi dress from Winners, a RWxELLE dress from RW&CO and a lace-trimmed white dress from Carriere Studio.

Queens Plate 2015 Race Day Outfit

Despite these pretty choices, I ended up in head-to-toe H&M! I'd been eyeing their ruched white blazer for a while now, and when I spotted this fitted black midi skirt, I knew I had found the perfect comfortable yet elegant combination. In lieu of a fascinator, I picked up a headband and some floral clips from Claire's Accessories. My pop of pink came from my Old Navy Heels.

Queens Plate 2015 Race Day

I headed to the races with Jenelle - our first stop was the Vaughan Mills tent where we hung out with Sarah - Vaughan Mills' new Official Stylist. There was quite a line up of people waiting to take photos on this couch because Vaughan Mills was giving away $250 shopping sprees to 2 lucky winners!


We then went over to the Rethink "Black Beauty & White Rose" Party. They were serving delicious food (from a food truck!) and had a lot of fun stations set up. People were getting their nails done, their hair styled - and our favorite - there was a talented duo making custom fascinators! I asked for a pink and white headband, while Jenelle opted for a rosebud crown. I'm so in love with my headband - it's a work of art!

Queens Plate 2015 Race Day Outfit with Fascinators

I had SUCH a fun experience - definitely a glamorous change from my usual Sunday schedule of errands and grocery shopping. A huge thank you to Vaughan Mills for this lovely day!

Which of these 4 race outfits would you have chosen?

DISCLAIMER: Outfit and Queen's Plate invites were gifted by Vaughan Mills.

Linking up with More Pieces of Me and On the Daily Express.  
 
Mix & Match Fashion

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