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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Getting Holiday Party Ready: My Top Hair, Makeup & Outfit Tips!

Top: H&M (similar), Skirt: Smart Set (similar), Boots: c/o Cougar, Bag: Marc Jacobs Single (similar)

I love getting ready for holiday parties - it's fun putting on your best clothes and spending time with friends and family. Of course being comfortable is VERY important to me - which is why I've been loving this wool plaid skirt lately. Paired with opaque tights, it's warm and easy to wear - while the subtle print makes it easy to pattern mix without clashing.

I've shared my top Holiday Party makeup tips in this YouTube video. I gave my friend a makeover using simple but effective steps that are easy to recreate at home. Also - one lucky viewer will win a Target package containing all the makeup used in this video - so be sure to enter here!

And if you're looking for hair-styling ideas - I've demonstrated 3 of my favorite holiday hairstyles (with step-by-step instructions) here. From a sleek ponytail to a glam topknot or the loose curls shown below - there's a hairstyle for every occasion!

And finally - if you need outfit inspiration for work, cocktail, family or kids parties - check out this post with seven outfit ideas!

Hope you've found some helpful tips in this post! What's your favorite Holiday Party outfit?

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

 Credit for 1st Photo: Elaine 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Winter Style: Black Blazer, Lace Tank and Warm Boots

Jacket: H&M, Top: ExpressBoots: Cougar FIZZ, Clutch: GAP (similar), Necklaces: Forever21 (similar)

I'm a firm believer in dressing warmly... I can't just throw on a coat and be happy - I need cozy covers for my ears, hands and feet too. I think it's because I was born in a tropical country... Hubby was born in England and he's happy wearing a sweatshirt on days when I'm bundled up in my puffy winter coat! (Sidenote: I quickly slipped my coat off to take these photos... it was minus 4C... do I look freezing?)

Since I value warm feet - I was super excited to get the chance to try the FIZZ boots from Cougar. Not only are they oh-so-warm (they're made of Suede with an insulated Micronylex lining)...they're HEAVEN to walk in, because they have a molded memory foam insole. I didn't even know memory foam insoles existed - how come they're not mandatory for all shoes? It makes you feel like you're walking on little clouds! Here are some of my favorite FIZZ-features:
  • Guaranteed waterproof with a non-slip sole - perfect for wet winter weather.
  • Hidden 1.5 inch wedge heel - adds a little bit of height without any discomfort.
  • Almond-shaped toe and pretty gold zipper & tassel details - they work well with jeans but are also chic enough to wear with dresses too!
  • Flexible - some winter boots are stiff and hard to drive with ... these boots allow a full range of movement. This is important to me since I'm a very cautious new driver and pedal control is so crucial!
While the Fizz is my favorite style, I also love the slouchy Fandango Boot and the sturdy Danza Boot too! If you would like your own pair of Cougar Boots - you should definitely enter their contest (details here

Which boots keep your feet warm in the winter?

P.S. For more cold weather tips, check out my Top 5 Snow Day Essentials for Kids.

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

 Photo credit: Elaine 

DISCLOSURE: Boots were provided by Cougar - but I selected the style myself.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Draped Blouse, Leopard Clutch and Pure Red Lips

Shirt: H&M, Jeans: GAP, Booties: Old Navy (similar), Clutch: GAP (similar), Necklace: LOFT

I was so thrilled when I heard that L'Oreal was coming out with a matte red lipstick inspired by Blake Lively - I couldn't wait to try it. So imagine my excitement when I received this package in the mail containing L'Oreal Paris Collection Exclusive Pure Reds!

As with their Nudes range, this Collection Exclusive features "L'Oreal Spokesmodel"-inspired lipsticks and polishes. The Pure Reds range features "matte reds sculpted by semi-tones to offer every woman the perfect shade to enhance her beauty."

I'm wearing Blake's Pure Red Lipstick and Polish in my pictures. The color is gorgeous and the formula is everything I look for in a red lipstick - matte, non-drying and super-long lasting... it does NOT budge!

Doutzen (Fire Red) / Eva (Brick Red) / Blake (Pure Red) / JLo (Ruby Red) / Laetitia (Garnet Red)

As a LOVER of matte red lipsticks, I am obsessed with this range. I feel SO lucky to have received all the different shades to try - I'm going to have the perfect lip to match any holiday outfit I wear!

Doutzen (Fire Red) / Eva (Brick Red) / Blake (Pure Red) / JLo (Ruby Red) / Laetitia (Garnet Red) / Freida (Amaranthe Red)

The nailpolishes come in such pretty shades - I think Blake and Laetitia's berry toned polishes look gorgeous in the winter, while Doutzen's coral color will be pretty for a summer pedicure.

Have you tried anything from the L'Oreal Paris Collection Exclusive Pure Reds line?

In preparation for the holiday season, I've teamed up with a group of U.S. and Canadian Bloggers to gift one lucky reader with a $650 EXPRESS Gift card! Fill in the rafflecopter form below to enter - good luck (and please take me shopping with you if you win LOL!!!)
  • Start time: Monday, December 1st at 7am central
  • End time: Monday, December 8th  at 11:59pm central
  • Winner will be announced on Wednesday, December 10th.
  • Open to US and Canadian residents, however, the total of the e-gift card will be based on $650 US dollars.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

DISCLOSURE: L'Oreal products were sent to me by the company for review.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Fall Essentials: The Faux Fur Vest

Philip Lim Pashli Mini
Blouse: LOFT, Vest: Express (Similar), Leggings: H&M, Boots: Hunter, Necklace: c/o PinkLoveBird (code: ELLA10) Bracelet: J.Crew (similar), Bag: Pashli, Lips: Lady Danger

For the second installment of my Fall Essentials series, I HAD to feature a faux fur vest. When else but Fall do you get the chance to wear this fun layering piece? It keeps your core warm without feeling too bundled up. I purchased my vest at Express a couple of years ago (I styled it four ways in this post.) As it's slightly bulky, I like to wear it with a slim fitting shirt - like this lightweight one from LOFT.  I paired this with my faux leather leggings and Hunter boots - perfect for the brisk fall weather!

Although my exact vest is no longer in stores, there are a lot of cute and affordable options currently available - these 4 are all from Forever21... I'm especially loving the white one!

Two-tone / White / Black / Leopard

If faux fur is not your thing, you can still get in on the vest trend - try other options such as shearling, utility and quilted styles:

quilted / utility / shearling / tweed

And if it's already coat weather where you live - you might want to check out this pretty pink coat I found at H&M - it's under $50! Disclaimer though - I'm still trying to figure out if I should keep it myself - I love the color but I don't know if the raised collar will work well with the scarves I love to wear!

H&M Double Breasted Jacket Pink
Pink H&M Coat

Ending with a quick mirror pic of my outfit:

Philip Lim Pashli Mini it Taupe
Blouse: LOFT, Vest: Express (Similar), Leggings: H&M, Necklace: c/o PinkLoveBird (code: ELLA10) Bracelet: J.Crew (similar), Bag: Pashli, Lips: Lady Danger

What is your favorite vest to wear in the fall - faux fur, quilted, utility or shearling?

P.S. If you enjoy reading my blog - PLEASE click here and press the vote button (no registering required - just one click and you're done!). I'm in the Best Fashion Blog category for the MIB2014 Awards! 

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

 Photo credit: Elaine 

Monday, November 10, 2014

"Other Bloggers Made Me Buy it" Shopping Haul and Designer Bag Dupes at Express

H&M Black Jacket
Jacket: H&M, Top: Express, Jeans: GAP, Booties: Old Navy (similar)

Sometimes, you don't have to take responsibility for your recent purchases. Why feel guilty when you can blame your dear blog friends instead? If they hadn't made an item seem like SUCH a must-have, you wouldn't have HAD to buy it, right? Like this Express Baroque Tiered Lace Tank that Gina's been making me want since June! Not only is it beautifully embroidered...it layers so well with contrasting camisoles. I'm wearing it with a white tank - but look at how cute it looks when paired with a pop of orange! I waited patiently for it to go on sale - and it was worth it - it's currently $20 instead of $59!

My second blogger-inspired purchase was this H&M Draped Wrap-Style Blouse that I spotted on my forever favorite blogger - Jean of Extra Petite. As she mentions, the quality of the fabric is not that great - it seems a bit delicate and prone to snagging. Still, it's so beautifully designed that I HAD to keep it - I'll just be extra careful when I'm wearing it!

I know EVERY blogger owns this plaid blanket scarf - but there's a reason for that...the colour combination is just so classic and gorgeous. While the ZARA one sold out a while back, Target has a similar option - for under $20! Given my love for plaid blanket scarves, I definitely needed to add this to my wardrobe. (Click here for my top scarf-tying tips: How to Wear Scarves.)

While at Express, I was drawn in by the bag display - they have so many well-made choices, including "designer-inspired" versions of all the hottest IT bags. I had fun matching the Express bags (on the right) with their designer counterparts! Which of these do you like the best?

I ended up purchasing this wristlet (how could I resist the black quilting!) to hold my essentials (wallet/keys/phone). It easily fits within my bigger bags, and I can carry it by itself when I only need the basics.

On a more serious note, no matter WHO inspires you - it's always important to shop responsibly and stay within your budget ;-) That being said - have you made any blogger-inspired purchases recently?

P.S. If you enjoy reading my blog - PLEASE click here and press the vote button (no registering required - just one click and you're done!). I'm in the Best Fashion Blog category for the MIB2014 Awards! 

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

Friday, October 31, 2014

Fall Outfits, Fashion Week and Self-Esteem

October has been SUCH a hectic month - FULL of blog events and activities, yet not enough blog posts - so I wanted to share some of the things that have kept me busy this month!

With Janelle, Elaine & Dee

First up was World Mastercard Fashion Week - I spent a fun day attending 3 shows while also getting the chance to go backstage and check out the hair and makeup looks on the models. Read about my favourite pieces (MAJOR style inspiration) here - and also enter to win a model-worthy 5-piece set of Redken products!

I had a fashion emergency before the show and ended up trying on some FAKE nails (not my usual look!) and was surprised by how much I enjoyed wearing them - read my review here!

Aside from fashion week, I had the opportunity to get involved with the Dove Self-Esteem project - I moderated a one-hour workshop for mothers and daughters on how to encourage healthy self-esteem and body confidence. Can you spot me in my pink jacket at the front of the room?

It had been nearly a decade since I had to "present" in front of such a large group - I felt a bit nervous before the event...but as it turned out - it was a lovely and comfortable experience. I was in a room of mothers and daughters - and we all wanted the same thing - to learn how to help our daughters feel their best.

Here's a post I wrote about my own struggles with self-esteem (yes, those are photos from my childhood up there!). My post includes links to a self-esteem resource page which has been SO helpful. I've passed the resource page on to my kids' school - and they're planning on using some of the materials in the classroom!

Jacket: WHBM (similar), Necklace: Pink Lovebird (10% off with code ELLA10), Bag: LV Neverfull (similar), Shoes: F21 (similar)

Here's the outfit I wore for the workshop - pink is my happy color and makes me feel my best :-)

Shirt: Old Navy, Scarf: H&M, Boots: Old Navy (this year's version),  Bag: LV Neverfull (similar)

I've also been incorporating some darker fall colours into my wardrobe.

Sweater: Old Navy (similar), Vest: Express (similar), Jeans: GAPBag: LV Neverfull (similar), Shoes: Old Navy

As well as my fur vest...

Scarf: F21 (similar), Sweater: H&M, Boots: Old Navy (this year's version)

And lots of scarves...

Jacket: ZARA (similar), Scarf: F21 (identical), Boots: Old Navy (this year's version), Bag: LV Neverfull (similar)

Including my plaid blanket scarf!

Shirt: H&M (similar), Skirt: Smart Set (similar 1, 2, 3), Bag: Marc Jacobs (similar 1, 2), Booties: Old Navy (similar)

For evening events, I've been pairing mini skirts with opaque tights and black booties.

Shirt: LOFT, Skirt: J.Crew Factory (similar), Bag: Marc Jacobs (similar 1, 2), Booties: Old Navy (similar), Necklace: Pink Lovebird (10% off with code ELLA10)

It's a fun (AND WARM!!!) combination!

Shirt: Old Navy, Skirt: Smart Set (similar 1, 2, 3), Bag: Balenciaga, Boots: Old Navy (this year's version)

For my fashion week outfit - I stepped slightly out of my comfort zone and pattern-mixed with TWO plaid prints!

Ok...I think this post has gotten really long, so I'll stop here - I feel much more caught up now! I'll be updating soon with a shopping haul featuring some of my favourite recent purchases - including a pink fall coat.

Have you ever struggled with self-esteem? 

P.S. If you enjoy reading my blog - PLEASE click here and press the vote button (no registering required - just one click and you're done!). I'm in the Best Fashion Blog category for the MIB2014 Awards!

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

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Final Reveal: My Clairol Makeover with Before & After pics

I was so excited when I arrived at Hair on the Avenue for my #shiftashade makeover. I've always loved learning about beauty and fashion, and this day represented not only the chance to learn from Canada's top experts, but also the opportunity to have their advice tailored specifically for me...I felt like a celebrity!

My first meeting was with Clairol Consulting Colourist, Luis Pacheco. I explained how my hair was a combination of highlights (that I loved) and an accidental ombre which left me with yellow streaks and dried-out ends! With Luis' amazing reputation and coloring expertise, I felt confident that he could rescue my hair. He suggested applying Clairol Nice 'n Easy in 5N/118A (a natural medium brown) on top of my existing color. (Click here for $2-off Clairol Nice 'n Easy.) Because it's a long-lasting permanent hair color, it covered my bleached-out strands. The expert blend of 3 complementary tones per box ensured that my hair color remained multi-dimensional rather than flat. As for my yellow streaks and dried-out ends? Luis recommended using a colour-safe shampoo to retain my medium brown colour. I've replaced my regular conditioner with the Nice 'n Easy CC ColorSeal Cream included in the dye kit, leaving my hair glossy and soft.


With my hair dilemma solved, I went upstairs for my consultation with Pro Makeup Artist Patrick Rahme. Hanging out with Patrick is a beauty blogger's dream come true; from peeking through his kit to see which products make the cut, to learning new tricks and techniques, Patrick has a wealth of knowledge and he shares it generously!

My main makeup concern was how to make my lips look fuller while wearing bright lip colors. Patrick advised me to choose creamy lipsticks (especially those with moisturizing ingredients such as Vitamin E), as they will ensure that my lips look bright AND glossy. To offset my bright lips, Patrick did not use any blush or bronzer on my face. Instead, he added subtle dimension using different shades of powder foundation. A lighter shade was used to highlight and a darker shade was used to contour. Because they're foundation powders, they're very pigmented and the results are long-lasting. I've been trying to implement some of his tips at home!


My final consultation was with Stylist Extraordinaire Alexandra Melancon. I wanted to learn how to dress up my jeans. I think Alexandra understood my style a little TOO well: compare my final picture with  this outfit—scarily similar, huh? Of course, being a fashion expert, Alexandra has some tweaks that went further than my usual styling attempts, from getting my jean cuffs just right to perfecting the half-tuck of my shirt, her attention to detail was amazing! One lesson I plan on incorporating is purchasing more heeled booties to wear with my jeans—they're easier to walk in than regular heels, and they instantly make jeans look more classy!


I'm SO happy with my #shiftashade makeover. Each change was subtle yet impactful, so I still look like myself! I feel confident now that I’m armed with tips and tricks to improve my overall look; I’m ready to face a new season. Check out my makeover from start to finish over here:

Go bolder. Go warmer. Go deeper. Go golder. With our broadest spectrum of natural looking shades, you can change it up and still look like your most amazing you. Get inspired and #shiftashade. Nice n' Easy with Colour-blend Technology is available in 44 shades. For more information visit Clairol.ca   

Disclosure: This post was brought to you by Procter & Gamble via Glam Media Canada. The bloggers were compensated for the Clairol Shift A Shade campaign and were asked to review our products. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Procter & Gamble.

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

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Fall Essentials: The Plaid Blanket Scarf

ZARA Camel Plaid Blanket Scarf Dupe
Scarf: Forever21 (identical), Blazer: H&M (similar), Boots: Old Navy (similar), Bag: Balenciaga Lips: Lady Danger

With temperatures dropping, it's definitely 'scarf and boots' weather now. I thought it would be fun to post a series of my Fall Essentials, starting with the Plaid Blanket Scarf. These over-sized scarves became popular last winter - with everyone trying to track down the infamous ZARA camel blanket scarf (posted about here). It's no surprise that Plaid Blanket Scarves continue to be popular this fall - the cheerful print combined with voluminous material make them ideal for keeping you warm and cozy in the colder months...what's not to love?

Although I missed out on the ZARA original, I was very happy to find this brightly-colored alternative at Forever21 last January. It's no longer available - but I've found a lot of VERY similar pieces at ASOS - see below!

Tartan Blanket Scarf
1. Grey Check / 2. Grey Plaid / 3. Square Check / 4. Camel Check

A quick mirror pic of my outfit:

ZARA Camel Plaid Blanket Scarf Dupe
Scarf: Forever21 (identical), Blazer: H&M (similar), Boots: Old Navy (similar), Bag: Balenciaga

Here are my top scarf-tying tips: How to Wear Scarves. And in case you're looking for plaid shirts rather than plaid scarves, check out my latest post for Yummy Mummy Club here!

Joe Fresh / J.Crew Factory / Old Navy / Garage / LOFT

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

P.S. If you're looking to take your blog to the next level - be sure to sign up for Spark Sessions! I attended last year and learned so much about working with brands and improving my photography skills.

 Photo credit for 1st photo: Elaine 


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