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Monday, September 15, 2014

How to Style an Embellished Sweatshirt: LovePrettyXLOFT

I'm finishing off my trio of Fall LOFT posts (1,2) with this intricately adorned Jeweled Sweatshirt.

LOFT Embellished Sweatshirt
Sweatshirt / Shirt / Jeans / Shoes / Bag / Lips - Brick

I love the combination of soft terry fabric with elaborate beading - it almost feels like cheating since you're wearing a sweatshirt (yay for comfort) yet it looks so dressed-up!

To give this top the LovePretty treatment, Elaine glammed it up with edgy accessories (doesn't she look like she could be snapped for Toronto Fashion Week?) while I layered it over a button-down to demonstrate how it can be worn casually yet still look polished.

How to Style an Emebellished Sweatshirt

We hope you enjoyed this latest #LovePrettyXLOFT installment! We were pleasantly surprised to see Oliva Palermo and Emmy Rossum followed our advice and tried on the Mustard Shirt Dress from our last post:

LOFT Mustard Shirt Dress with Floral Piping

Okay....maybe they wore it before we did :-)

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

Photo credit: Elaine 

DISCLAIMER: LOFT provided us with these sweatshirts.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Mustard with Pops of Blue: Bloom Pencil Skirt & LOFT Fall Preview

Old Navy Cobalt Blue Heels
Shirt: Express (similar), Skirt: LOFT, Shoes: Old Navy, Necklace: Wantable (similar), Bag: Balenciaga, Lips: Lady Danger
I was recently invited to my first TIFF party, hosted by L'Oreal at the Shangri-La Toronto. I was SO excited to attend a glam event, and wanted to wear something colorful and elegant to celebrate. I've been loving mustard this fall - so I chose this Autumn Bloom Pencil Skirt, and paired it with cream and gold accents, contrasted with pops of cobalt blue.

I first spotted this mustard skirt at the LOFT Fall preview - I loved its longer length (the regular is knee-length on me - I'm 5'4) and that it could be dressed down with a t-shirt or dressed up with a blouse. Scroll down for some of my other faves from the preview:

LOFT Tweed Zip Pocket Skirt 

Love this pairing of a light shirt with a burgundy tweed skirt - it's a great way to bring chambray into the fall. I have some similar pieces in my wardrobe, and I'm definitely going to wear them like this!

This Piped shirtdress is so slinky - the white piping makes it look tailored and formal while the soft material is comfortable and casual - I'm also loving the shirt version of this dress.

The Snow Leopard Print Car Coat was a crowd favorite at the preview - it's definitely a statement piece!

I don't often wear heels with jeans - but if I did - these Peeptoe Booties would be my first choice - they're gorgeous.

I hope you liked the sneak peek of my favourite LOFT pieces...one of the background items will be featured in our next LovePrettyXLOFT post! I'll end with 2 Instagram pictures from the TIFF L'Oreal party:

Shirt: Express (similar), Skirt: LOFT, Shoes: Old Navy, Necklace: Wantable (similar), Bag: Balenciaga, Lips: Lady Danger

A quick selfie before I left the house!

With my Beauty Blogger babes: Nelle, Ashley, Elaine & Rema. We were all SO excited because Julianne Moore was hosting the event!

Which is your favorite piece from the LOFT preview?

DISCLAIMER: Skirt provided by LOFT.

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

Monday, September 8, 2014

LovePrettyXLOFT: The Mustard Shirt Dress

LOFT Tiny Floral Piped Shirtdress in Golden Mustard

Mustard clothing will be a huge trend this fall, so it's no surprise that this floral piped shirt dress from LOFT is such a popular item. Elaine and I gave it the LovePretty treatment - we had so much fun showcasing this dress using our "one piece, two styles" motto! To highlight its seasonal versatility, Elaine styled it for warm weather, while I layered up and showed how I'd wear it when the temperature drops.

LOFT Mustard Shirt Dress
Dress / Bag / Boots

The dress features a lot of pretty details including a small floral print, black piping on the collar, and a black fabric belt. To offset its feminine design I kept my accessories to a minimum: flat boots and my City bag. This dress can also be worn buttoned to the top, as shown in the LOFT lookbook.

This is the first item of mustard clothing in my wardrobe - I wasn't really sure if it would suit my colouring - but I was pleasantly surprised once I tried the dress on. Mustard works well with gold, bronze and brown shades - it brought out the highlights in my hair - and I think it would look really pretty with a bronzed glowy makeup look. Click here to see how Elaine styled her dress!

LOFT Mustard Shirt Dress

Do you own any mustard pieces? How would you style this dress? I'd love to hear your suggestions!

DISCLAIMER: LOFT provided us with these dresses.

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

Photo credit: Elaine 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Lotions, Liner & Lashes: Tatcha, Lancome Grandiose & Benefit They're Real

I've been feeling super-pampered recently as I've been testing out some very LUXE products!

TATCHA Aburatorigami blotting papers review

First up is a trio of products from luxury skincare brand TATCHA. Inspired by Geisha skincare rituals, TATCHA takes classic ingredients and adapts them for modern life. The Soothing Silk body butter and hand cream are infused with indigo extract - which helps promote the skin's natural healing ability. I've been using the body butter every night (on dry skin, as per the instructions). It spreads easily and absorbs immediately, leaving skin supple and glowing with a slight sheen. The product has a light citrusy-sweet scent that is so fresh and invigorating!

I was very excited to try the Aburatorigami blotting papers, as they are the ULTIMATE in blotting papers...they've been raved about in Vogue and the Zoe Report! Created from Abaca-leaf paper hammered with gold-leaf, these generously sized sheets absorbed every last bit of oil from my face, leaving my skin glowing and my makeup undisturbed - will definitely be stocking up on these.

Lancome Grandiose Mascara Swatches

Next up in luxury beauty is Lancome's Grandiose. This is the prettiest packaging I've ever seen on a mascara - there's a beautiful 3-D black rose encased in the lid, while the wand swoops in a "swan-neck" design that's both elegant and functional.

Lancome Grandiose Mascara Swatches

Pictured with 3 coats of Grandiose versus my bare lashes

The unique swan-neck design made it super easy to get the wand close to the base of my lashes. The comb-like bristles (of varying lengths) ensured even application and prevented any clumping from occuring. The formula is very lengthening, as you can see in the photos above - it even coated my sparse inner lashes and made them more noticeable.

Benefit They're Real Mascara Review

And while we're on the topic of lashes, my eyes were treated to the whole Benefit They're Real experience - from mascara to liner and makeup remover.

Benefit They're Real Mascara Swatches

Let's focus on the Benefit They're Real Push-Up Liner since it has redefined the whole gel liner experience. Rather than using a gel pot and a liner brush, this product uses a pen with a slant-tip rubber applicator to dispense the product. It took me a couple of tries to get used to this -  it's a different process using a rubber tip applicator versus a soft brush! But once I got the hang of it, I was able to stamp on a perfectly-angled cat's eye - no guesswork involved, the slant tip creates the perfect wing.

On days when I don't want a dramatic liner look, I gently press the product along my lash line for thicker-looking lashes. The liner formula is matte, smoky and very long-wearing. This is definitely a great product to keep in my travel makeup bag - as I can get the gel look without fussing with an extra brush.

Have you tried any of these products? What are your favorite mascara and liner products?

DISCLAIMER: These products were sent to me for review but all opinions are 100% my own.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wearing my Heart on my Wrist & Michael Kors Cross-body Bag

Longines Watch Dolce Vita Mini Ladies Watch

I'd seen Alex and Ani bracelets featured in magazines and worn by my favourite Youtubers, so I was super-excited to have been sent the Bamboo Beaded Bangle and Claddagh Charm Bangle. These bracelets are infused with positive energy - both in the way they are produced, and in the symbols inscribed on them. The Claddagh charm represents love, loyalty & friendship, while the Bamboo invokes strength and protection. I love meaningful jewelry and will definitely be wearing these bangles a lot - especially the bamboo one!

Michael Kors Selma Mini Messenger bag Luggage

In other exciting news, I've been asked by Mapleview Centre to take over their instagram account and share my top back-to-school picks for Moms and Kids. My favorite finds were these 2 bags from Michael Kors - the Hamilton Traveler Cross-Body bag and the Selma Mini Messenger bag. They're the perfect size for school-run essentials (wallet, sunglasses, phone & keys). I'm especially loving the new shape and smooth Vitelo leather of the Hamilton Traveler - if I didn't already have my Pashli Mini, I'd be super-tempted to buy this instead!

Top: Garage (similar), Necklace: c/o PinkLoveBird (similar),  Hat: Target (similar), Jeans: GAP, Shoes: Target

I've been living in my GAP distressed boyfriend jeans this summer - they work well with all my favorites: lace, button downs, florals. I love how they add a bit of texture to simple outfits, although sometimes I wonder if I'm the wrong demographic to wear them - I've been "told off" by my parents AND my kids for wearing torn clothes!

LV Speedy 25
Top: H&M, Necklace: c/o PinkLoveBird (similar), Bag: LV Speedy 25, Jeans: GAP, Shoes: Target

Top:  F21, Necklace: c/o PinkLoveBird (similar), Bag: M&S (cute option), Jeans: GAP, Shoes: Sam Edelman

These Camo pants are also from the GAP, but I have a harder time figuring out what to pair them with, as I don't like them to look too casual.

Top:  c/o Skip N' Whistle (similar), Jacket: American Eagle, Bag: Marc Jacobs Single, Jeans: GAP (similar), Shoes: F21 (similar)

Have you heard of Alex and Ani bracelets? Do you love the MK Hamilton Traveler bag as much as I do? And do people think you're wearing torn clothes when you're JUST trying to make a fashion statement, LOL?

DISCLAIMER: The Alex and Ani bracelets were sent to me.

P.S. I've entered Smart Set's Denim Stylist contest - it would mean a LOT to me if you could click this link and vote for me :-) Extra incentive: each voter gets entered to win a $50 gift card from Smart Set!!!

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

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Blueberry Lemon Popsicles and Minty Lemonade

Earlier this summer, I received the cutest invite in the mail:

It was for a Minute Maid Cocktails & Creations Brunch - with demos of recipes featuring Minute Maid Lights (the lower calorie versions of Minute Maid's classic orange juice and lemonade).

Greek Yogurt, Blueberries and Lemonade recipe

My favorite creation was the Blueberry Lemon Popsicle -  a smooth and tangy combination of Greek Yogurt, Lemonade and Blueberries. I've been making these for dessert all summer - my whole family is addicted! (complete recipe at the end of this post)

Outfit details in this post. Photo Credit: Lena's magical iPhone!

It was also my first time trying a lemonade bar - who knew that adding lemons, limes, mint and raspberry to lemonade would transform it completely?

I loved how the mint infused the lemonade with freshness and gave it an edge - it's the perfect thirst-quenching concoction.

lemonade with mint, blueberry, lemons and limes

Here's are the pitchers I've been making at home for my family - we've even added in frozen blueberries for a fun variation.

Photo Credit: Environics PR

Of course the best part of the event was hanging out with my birth year triplets - the fabulous hostess Lena and my style-partner-in-crime Elaine. As you can see - we all got the 'wear floral' memo! Seriously though - these two ladies are amazing and I feel lucky to know them.

To see more pics of the brunch, check out Lena's post here. And now for the promised recipe:

Blueberry Lemon Pops (from the recipe by Nadine Hughes):

Blueberry Lemon Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup Minute Maid Light Lemonade
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch (mixed with 2 tablespoons water)
Heat water, lemonade and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. When the sugar is dissolved, add blueberries and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat back to medium and add cornstarch mixture. Stir until thickened (about 5 minutes) and then remove from heat and allow to cool.

Frozen Yogurt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups plain Greek Yogurt
 Make a sugar syrup by dissolving sugar into the water over medium heat. Once syrup is completely cool, fold it into the Greek Yogurt.

To Assemble:
Fill a popsicle mold 1/4th full with the Frozen Yogurt mixture, then add in an equal amount of the Blueberry Lemon Sauce. Alternate layers until mold is full, and freeze overnight.

Hope you love the popsicles as much as I do!

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

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Target Designer Dupes & Recent Outfits

I spent the long weekend with my sister - we got up to our usual activities: swimming, snacking...and late night Target runs (aren't they the best?)

watch / necklace / bag

I spotted a LOT of designer dupes at Target - firstly, this Merona Rose Gold Watch is IDENTICAL to my MK 5430 Michael Kors watch ...except it's under $20! The clover necklace (I couldn't find it online) is a copy of the Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra necklace (I picked up a similar necklace from Loblaws in 2012). I didn't get a chance to take a picture of the Mossimo Scrunch Ballet flats - but they feel super luxe - and look just like Lanvin Ballerinas. I don't think that the Merona Sequin Tote is a dupe for anything, I've just wanted it forever - I should TOTALLY grab it now that it's on clearance!

Now on to some recent outfits:

Top: Zara (identical), Necklace: J.Crew, Bag: Pashli, Shoes: Sam Edelman

This ZARA floral peplum is my favorite top of the summer. The print is so cheerful - and the flare doesn't make me look too hip-py - finally, a peplum I can wear!

Top: Garage (similar), Necklace: H&M (similar), Bag: LV Speedy 25, Jeans: GAP (similar), Shoes: Sam Edelman

Pairing my camo leggings with a crocheted lace top.

Top: H&M (similar), Necklace: F21 (similar), Bag: Minkoff, Jeans: GAP, Shoes: Sam Edelman

Graphic shirt and distressed boyfriend jeans.

Top: H&M, Necklace: Friend's store, Bag: Pashli, Shoes: Target

Oversized button-down and white jeans.

Jacket: Walmart (similar), Necklace: F21, Bag: M&S (similar), Jeans: GAP, Shoes: Old Navy (similar)

Backpacks are quite popular again - so I took this 12 year old (!!!) bag out of storage. I bought it from Marks & Spencers when I used to work in London - the faux leather has held up amazingly well despite being squished away in a box!

Are you loving the backpack trend this time around? Have you found any Designer Dupes recently?

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

Friday, July 25, 2014

Pretty in Pink Picks from Forever21 and Almay

Pink Birkenstock Madrid Cashmere Rose Flat Sandals
Shirt: Forever21, Necklace: Forever21, Jeans: Garage, Shoes: Birkenstock, Bag: Pashli

I've become embarrassingly obsessed with Forever21 recently - they have so many pretty (and ridiculously cheap) pieces! I've never outgrown my love for pink so I had to order this Deep V-draped Blouse.

Sam Edelman Rose Gold Gigi Sandals
Shirt: Forever21, Necklace: Forever21, Jeans: Garage, Shoes: Sam Edelman

...And this corally-pink Satin Floral Top. Not only is it under $20 - it's completely wash and wear - no need to steam or iron, just drip-dry and it's as good as new!

Stella & Dot On the Mark necklace dupe

All the necklaces I'm wearing above are from Forever21 too...and they all remind me of other popular styles! The Heirloom Tassel necklace is reminiscent of the Kendra Scott Rayne (which is still on my wishlist!), the Sparkle Feather pendant is slightly similar to the Jennifer Meyer Leaf pendant, and the Shot to the Heart pendant is like the Stella & Dot On The Mark necklace. Do you guys see the resemblances?

Almay Smart Shade Pink Blush Swatch

My last pink picks are from Almay. I was recently sent some of their Smart Shade makeup to review. In this FOTD I'm wearing their concealer, lip balm and blush:
  • Smart Shade CC Concealer & Brightener - it was easy to get a perfect match for my under-eye skintone by mixing the pinkish brightener and the nude corrector. This medium coverage formula is slightly too creamy for my skin, as it creased and settled into my fine lines. It would probably perform better if I were to set it in place with a powder.
  • Color + Care Liquid Lip Balm in Lilac Love - this is my second tube of Almay lip balm, and I love how this formula always leaves my lips pouty and hydrated. The lilac color is such a pretty shade, the initial pigmentation lasts for an hour before it loses intensity and leaves behind a sheer glossy finish.
  • Smart Shade Powder Blush in Pink - this blush is a must-have. The 3 pink shades swirl together to create a perfectly blended finish - the wash of colour is sheer but definitely noticeable AND long-lasting. It incorporates ready made highlighters that leave your skin looking flushed and glowing...it's the ultimate "I woke up like this" blush!
What's your favorite blush? Have you tried Almay makeup?

P.S. Thanks to everyone who entered my Coolibar giveaway - the winner is Kristin Williams (@kpatchy) - please check your inbox!

DISCLAIMER: I purchased the Forever21 items myself. The Almay makeup was sent to me for review. All opinions are 100% my own. 

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

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Five Steps to Recreate a Salon Pedicure at Home!

How to do a pedicure

I don't often go for a pedicure at a salon, but when I do, I always take notes. I like being able to recreate a salon pedicure at home - enjoying a pampering experience while using things I already own. Here are the five steps I take:

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

1) SOAK:
Remove any existing polish. Fill a shallow tub with Epsom Salt, scented body wash and warm water. Soak your feet in the tub and flip through a magazine while the warm water softens your skin.

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

Rest one foot on the edge of the tub and apply cuticle remover to each toe. Massage it in and scrape the cuticle pusher along the base of your toe nails to remove any loose dead skin. Place foot back in water and repeat on the other foot.

Take your time and massage a creamy scrub onto each foot. Use circular movements to soften dry patches, covering all areas from your ankles to the soles of your feet. Dip your feet back in the tub to rinse them, and use a pumice stone or foot file on any calloused areas. (At some salons, they repeat the cuticle work after this step - do this if you have a hard time getting your cuticles in shape.)

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

Rinse feet under running water and rest them on a towel to dry. Cut toenails and file them to desired shape (I cut them short and file them straight across the top.) Apply a rich moisturizer all over your feet, you can add a coat of Vaseline over the moisturizer to seal in the softness.

Place a toe separator on each foot. Go over nails with nail polish remover to clear off any oily residue. Apply a base coat and let it dry (this Orly one is my fave!) Dip brush in colour, carefully wiping off excess polish on the sides of the bottle. Press the colour on to the nail, leaving an adequate distance from the cuticle so that it doesn't get flooded with polish. If you get the first coat placed properly, it will be easy to apply the next two coats in the right place. Use a brush dipped in remover (or your fingernail) to clean up any mistakes. Apply a top coat - I like using Seche Vite because it blends away any streakiness and leaves a gel-like finish.


Do you like doing pedicures at home or do you prefer going to the salon?

How to give yourself a pedicure

Saturday, July 12, 2014

There's No Shame in my Sun Game....

Coolibar Ruche Jacket, Tropicana Sun Hat, Gloves

Over the years, I've become more committed to protecting my skin from the sun. After years of beauty blogging and reading about the aging effects of sun damage, I've realized that sunscreen is not sufficient to truly shield my skin from the sun...I need physical protection too!

These days I have no shame in wearing a large hat while outdoors. Yes, I felt self-conscious the first time - just like I felt conspicuous the first time I wore red lipstick. But I realized that it only looks odd if you feel uncomfortable - nobody else really cares, and now, it's become second nature.

I've heard that the face, neck and hands are the first places to show signs of aging, so I wanted to figure out a way to physically protect them from the sun. I remembered reading about Coolibar and their range of sun protective clothing on The Skiny, so I reached out to the company and asked if they were interested in working with me on a "Sun Kit" - an easy and stylish way to transition any summer outfit for a day in the sun.

Coolibar uses UPF50 SUNTECT fabric to create sun protection clothing that block 98% of UVA and UVB rays. Their name comes from Eucalyptus Coolabah, an Australian tree that provides shade and protection from the sun. I picked 3 Coolibar items to create my instant Sun Kit: the Ruche Water Jacket, Tropicana Sun Hat & Fingerless Gloves.

Before & After: Ready for the sun

The jacket is such a pretty shade of pink. It looks like a yoga jacket and can be worn casually with jeans or even over a swimsuit at the beach (it's saltwater and chlorine resistant). The sunhat has a generous 4-inch brim and tightly woven straw fabric to effectively shield my face. I love the structured brim - floppy sun hats that block visibility are one of my pet peeves! It comes with a removable black sash - I threaded in a pink ponytail scarf to make it more me. The gloves are perfect for any long days out driving, hiking or at the beach. It's so important to protect your hands from the sun...when it's extra hot out, I can feel my skin getting shriveled up!

Tropicana Sun Hat Giveaway:

Get a head start on your Sun Kit! Coolibar has generously offered a Tropicana Sun Hat ($49.50) for one Ella Pretty Blog follower (US & Canada only). Please use the rafflecopter form below to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Find Coolibar here: Website / Twitter / Facebook.  
Click here to learn more about why you should wear sun protection clothing

How do you protect your skin from the sun?

DISCLAIMER: The sun kit items were provided by Coolibar - but I initiated contact because I truly believe in the effectiveness of their products.

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


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