Monday, December 31, 2012

ZARA shoes, Pillow Mist & Flipping Through...

I haven't really taken advantage of the post-Christmas sales...the whole month of December seemed like one LONG sale (which is nothing to complain about!) but I personally have lost the motivation to go out and find bargains - I'm shopped out! The only 2 holiday sales I went to were ZARA and Bath & Bodyworks.

Black studs shoes ZARA Nude & Gold Platform shoes ZARA
ZARA TRAFALUC Black studded heels ($79 on sale for $49) ZARA WOMAN Nude leather heels ($99 on sale for $49)

At ZARA I picked up these black studded heels and nude platform heels. Although I love bags and have a suitable one for every occasion - I can't say the same about shoes. I have everyday shoes - but on the rare "going-out" occasion - I never have anything suitable to wear. Hopefully these 2 pairs will coordinate with most outfits. I love the studded details on the black pumps - and I've always wanted a pair of platform nude pumps. Though they're VERY high, they are deceptively comfortable & the perfect shade to coordinate with my skin tone (plus $49 is a BARGAIN for real leather shoes!).


At Bath & Bodyworks I stocked up on Wallflowers - I use these around the house instead of candles because of my kids - love the 6 for $24 offer. I purchased a lavender pillow mist (not on sale) to turn bedtime into a spa experience. I also bought  Physicians Formula Organic Wear Lash Boosting mascara from the drugstore. I've had success with the Revlon Grow Luscious Plumping mascara - so am hoping this would be a good alternative - especially as it has more natural ingredients and a better brush - will definitely post an update!

Don't you love flipping through a magazine with friends: pointing out your favorite looks and wishlist items, then tearing out pages for future inspiration? Grab a mug of Green Tea and see what caught my attention in this month's Stylewatch magazine:

Taylor Swift on the cover.

Sandrah Hellberg, the new Guess model is so pretty - her makeup is very Ava Gardner, and she looks like Bridget Hall - one of my favorite models from the 90s.

Love this gorgeous hairstyle on Nicole Richie - shoulder-length with waves.

ZARA sparkly strappy heels
Was hoping to find these sandals at ZARA - aren't they the most sparkly & beautiful shoes you've ever seen?

Gold Sparkly skirt
More sparkles - love how the bold skirt is toned down with a chambray shirt and tan accessories. (The skirt is by Rafaella)

Although I don't always like her choice of clothes, Katie Holmes is just stunning. Love her hair, make-up and black shirt.

Cute gift idea - I adore strawberry-scented bath products and am going to check this set out the next time I'm out shopping.

 Hope you enjoyed flipping through with me! Have you been shopping the Holiday Sales? 

HAPPY NEW YEARS - here's to an amazing 2013!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Products I've Used Up...Part 1

Hope everyone is enjoying the season! I've kept away from the holiday sales - wish I could say the same about the holiday food...

I'm so excited to do my first Empties post... I love reading these on other blogs because they provide the most comprehensive product reviews. By the time you've used up a product - you know for sure whether it works or not and if it's worth repurchasing.

Fragrance & Body:


L'Occitane Rose 4 Reines Body Milk, Eau de Toilette and Bath & Shower Gel - I love buying travel-sized body products as I like to switch them up frequently. Of these 3 products, I would only repurchase the Body Milk - it has such an amazing "true rose" scent. The EDT and body wash are average - they smell okay but the fragrance doesn't last too long.

Jennifer Aniston Perfume - I always layer perfumes and this one makes a great base scent - it's sweet smelling (from the Jasmine & Rose water notes) and lasts a long time. However, it's not a must-have and I'm not going to repurchase it.

Chloe Eau de Parfum Rollerball - I'm so glad I purchased the rollerball rather than the full-size perfume. I started off LOVING this perfume - I was obsessed. But now I don't really like anymore - I find it too sweet!

Burberry Weekend for Men - Now this is a perfume I will ALWAYS love - this is my 3rd bottle. It's for men but it has a light and powdery citrus scent - no musky/masculine notes. I like layering it on top of a sweet smelling perfume as this doesn't last too long (I've found that most citrus scents don't). I'm not sure if this is being discontinued - it's getting harder to find - but whenever I see it at Winners/Marshalls, I stock up - I currently have 2 back-up bottles.


Face, Hands & Hair:


Kiehls Amino Acid Shampoo - Got this as a deluxe sample with an order. Nothing special at all. Will not repurchase.

Spa Sister Hand Scrub & Hand Butter - Bought this set from Winners mainly for the cotton gloves that came in this package. I thought these products would be cheap & ineffective, but was pleasantly surprised to find that the Hand Butter had lots of natural ingredients (like olive oil) and was very moisturising. However, I have A LOT of hand creams and will not be repurchasing.

Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture, Sensitive Skin - One of the only products I can use when my skin is acting up (like it did over the summer). Luckily my skin has calmed down and I have moved on to an Olay moisturizer with SPF. But I always keep a bottle of this in reserve to use when my skin is feeling sensitive.

Proactiv Revitalizing Toner - This is my night time toner - I chose it because it contains 6% Glycolic Acid. It is mildly exfoliating and helps fade acne scarring - I'm quite happy with it and will continue to repurchase.

Dermalogica Skin Refining Masque - I bought this back in 2010 during my last acne outbreak. Although I used it up, I did not find it to be effective. I get better results using Queen Helene's Mint Julep Mask or Proactiv Refining Mask.

Clean & Clear Popped Pimple Drying Paste - I have my reservations about this product. I used it on large pimples - and it smoothed them out within a day or two BUT I feel that it drove the infection under the surface of my skin. So although I had smoother skin in the short term, the whole area underneath the spot was soft and painful - and more breakouts followed.

Nivea A Kiss of Flavor Milk & Honey Lip Balm - This is my holy grail lip balm - I've repurchased it multiple times and will continue to do so!

Hope you liked my mini-reviews. What products have you used up recently? Were you happy with them?



Thursday, December 20, 2012

4 Ways to Wear a Fur Vest

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Express Canada for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

My 3rd and final purchase during the Express Canada Grand Opening Event was a faux fur vest (sold out online - only one left is this burgundy one).  A faux fur vest has been on my wardrobe wishlist for several years - but 2 things held me back. Firstly, it was hard finding the right fit. I've tried many versions, but they often felt overwhelming and left me looking "bulky" on top. Secondly - I wasn't sure if it was worth investing in a vest (they're often quite pricey) as I wouldn't wear it that often.


Luckily, this Express fur vest addressed both my fit & price concerns. While it is soft and fluffy around the collar, it is slimmed and fitted around the waist - so although it is voluminous, I don't look like a Yeti (I hope!). And because of the Black Friday/Grand Opening sale, it was 50% off and was priced around $50 - a bargain for such a soft and well-made piece. However - even $50 is not a bargain if I don't get much use out of it - so I've been playing around with different ways of wearing this vest.

Fur Vest outfit

BASIC JEANS:  This first combination is one I've already worn out. Most statement pieces work well with basic jeans and a white top.



LAYERED WITH OUTERWEAR:  This outfit was inspired by this picture of Jessica Alba. I would never have thought about combining the vest with a fall coat - but they fit together quite comfortably - the vest adds so much warmth!



CHAMBRAY & OLIVE: This was an experimental combination - I'm still not sure if I should wear the vest with a button down shirt, but I like how the olive skinny jeans and taupe bubble necklace complement the colors in the fur vest.



SWEATER DRESS: This is a fun and cozy winter outfit. I haven't worn this combination out yet, but if I did, I think I would switch the heels out for suede flat boots.

Which was your favorite combination? Part of the fun of getting a new item is "playing dress-up" in my closet and figuring out new combinations - do you guys do this too? What is your favorite way to wear a fur vest - I'd love some inspiration! 

If you're looking for a fun statement piece for your holiday wardrobe - be sure to check out the Express gift guide and the Express holiday catalog.

EXPRESS BAGS I LOVE:


EXPRESS TOPS I LOVE:



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Monday, December 17, 2012

Outerwear, Star Sweatshirt & More Skull Scarves

Remember the outerwear dilemna I posted about here? I couldn't decide between this grey peacoat and this navy faux-shearling coat:

Old Navy Pea Coat and Old Navy Shearling Coat

As expected in situations like this - my choice turned out to be NEITHER and BOTH! I ended up getting the peacoat style but in navy (and XS rather than S). I prefer the shrunken fit - and have been wearing my new coat a lot! Can't believe it costs less than $30!!!

Old Navy Wool Coat
My Winter Uniform: Hat: F21, Turtleneck & Coat: Old Navy, Jeans: Garage, Boots: Hunter

In other non-surprising news - I keep getting sucked in by Garage clothing. When I picked up my red skinnies from this post - I found 2 more items that I "needed". First was this oversized & slouchy star sequin sweatshirt:


A perfect compromise for those days when you want to wear something soft and comforting but not completely slobby. I definitely plan on pairing this with my new red skinnies soon - the grey will tone down the brightness of the skinnies.

Alexander McQueen Skull Scarf and Garage Skull Scarves
My skull scarf collection: Coral scarf: Alexander McQueen, Black & White, Pink & Grey scarves: Garage

My other great find was this large print skull scarf in pink & grey. Don't ask me why I keep accumulating skull scarves - I'm not sure myself. But skulls or not, with this color combination and softness - I'll always love this scarf!

Garage is definitely my weakness - which store can't you help buying from?  



By the way - the winner of my CZ earring giveaway is:



Congratulations - please check your email - I'll need your mailing address to pass on to Anjolee.com!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Holiday Party Outfits, Red Skinnies & More Bubble Necklaces

I had 2 holiday parties to attend last week: one was held at hubby's office downtown and the other was at a bouncy castle play-center. For the Office party, I paired my favorite H&M lace dress with a cuffed charcoal grey cardigan (to disguise the boxiness while highlighting the pretty lace sleeves). I wore my latest statement necklace from Forever21 - I'd been staring at it for months and am so glad I finally ordered it - the quality is amazing - can't believe it was only CAD$16! Since I was taking my kids downtown on the train, I decided against heels and wore flats.

What to wear for a Holiday Party
Lace Dress: H&M (similar, pricey but classic), Cardigan: Garage, Necklace: Forever21, Shoes: Wanted (similar),

For the play-center party,  I finally got to wear my sequin H&M sweater that I bought back in May. The sweater is beige with silver sequins...it is definitely more gaudy than my Express sequin top - while I was wearing it, someone came to ask where I bought it from as she wanted one to wear to a Lady Gaga concert! It may be too sparkly for day wear - but I can't help it - once the holiday season starts, I have to break out the sequins!! I plan on wearing this sweater on New Years Eve as well.

What to wear to a holiday party
Sweater: H&M (similar), Jeans: Garage, Boots: Hunter, Scarf: purchased from Turkey

I also went to Garage during the weekend, to exchange the "London Blue" skinnies I bought during their sale. I think the colored denim trend will still be going strong in 2013, and I wanted something I could wear both in the cooler and warmer seasons. So I set aside my inhibitions and went for the boldest of colors - red! I was definitely influenced by this pic of Lauren Conrad:


Although the color is VERY bright and will take getting used to - it coordinates well with my existing wardrobe (unlike the London Blue denim). I plan on wearing them with camel or cream tops and cognac or metallic shoes. Here's a quick dressing room shot...I also purchased the navy polka dot sweater from the first pic.

Red Denim

Lastly - my bubble necklace collection has now gone up to 5 - think I should stop now? I found this adorable mini-bubble necklace by JoeFresh while doing groceries - it was in the clearance section and cost only $7! The beads are smaller than the regular necklaces (you can see the size difference against my red H&M bubble necklace). By the way - the original J.Crew necklace is now on sale for $75 here, while Arden B has a blue-green one for $34 (plus 20% off) here.

J.Crew Bubble Necklace dupe

Hope you had a great weekend! What will you be wearing to Holiday Parties?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Wardrobe staple: Diamond Earrings & Giveaway

This is a sponsored post written by me for Anjolee.com. All opinions are 100% mine.

I like looking put-together when I get dressed. I find the best way of achieving this is by keeping some elements of my outfit constant: pearl or diamond earrings, well-fitting denim, ballet flats or boots and a luxe bag. These wardrobe staples allow me to experiment with a wide range of shirts/scarves/necklaces while still looking elegant.

My Wardrobe Staples: Classic Jewelry, Luxe Bags & Well-fitting Denim

The 3-prong stud earrings pictured above were sent to me by Anjolee.com, a unique company that allows its customers to personalize any jewelry design on their site (by size, type of metal, weight of diamond etc). Basically, you can custom design any piece so that it suits your preferences and budget - resulting in the perfect staple piece for your wardrobe.

When ordering luxury goods online, it's important to verify that you're doing business with a company you can trust. It's reassuring to note that Anjolee is a 35-year old company based in California and has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

Some of Anjolee's classic pieces - I love the sparkling diamond pendant and the art deco bracelet

To highlight Anjolee's workmanship and attention to detail, they wanted me to review and giveaway a sample of their classic earrings BUT since they're samples, my pair and the giveaway pair are NOT diamonds but Cubic Zirconia set in Silver.

Wearing my Anjolee earrings

I've loved wearing the sample earrings sent to me - the craftsmanship is exquisite. The earrings are light and VERY sparkly (imagine if they were real diamonds - people would be blinded LOL!) The prongs are discretely placed to draw maximum exposure to the stones. It even features a notched post  - a small but super important detail which prevents your earrings from slipping out easily.

Anjolee Classic Three-Prong Diamond Earrings

If you would like to sample Anjolee's craftsmanship in person and win a pair of Cubic Zirconia earrings like mine, please follow these 4 mandatory steps (I will be verifying each entry) : 
   1) Follow me through GFC
   2) Like Anjolee's FB page
   3) Like my FB page
   4) Look through Anjolee's site and leave a comment below telling me which is your favorite.

Contest is open to U.S. & Canadian Residents only.

Please enter using the Rafflecopter form below - Remember all 4 steps have to be completed in order to qualify for the giveaway.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, December 6, 2012

One Sequin Top - Styled 3 Ways

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Express Canada for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

As I mentioned in my "I shopped til I dropped" post, I had the opportunity to select 3 items from Express during their Eaton Center Grand Opening Event. In today's post I'll be revealing 2 of my 3 picks!

My first choice won't come as any surprise as it's been on my wishlist for a while: The Iridescent Sequin Tulip Back Tank in Nude Blush. Shimmery, festive and in my favorite color - it's perfect for the holiday season!

Pink Express Sequin Tank Rose Gold
Sequin Tulip Back Tank

Sequins are VERY popular right now, and I knew I would get a lot of wear out of this top - it's so versatile! I've already put together outfits based on it for 3 different occasions:

How to wear a sequin tank

Casual - I've toned down the sequins by pairing it with a charcoal grey cardigan, faded jeans & my new Hunter rainboots.


How to wear a sequin tank casual wear

Cocktail - You may have seen this outfit in my previous post, as I wore it to the L'Oreal Holiday Cocktail Party. I amped up the sparkles by pairing it with a gold sequined shrug and faux-pearl necklace. I also wore black skinnies and gold sandals (although I wish I had some metallic heels instead!)


How to wear a sequin tank party outfit

Work -  I paired the sequin top with a classic white shirt, black editor pants & loafers. Of course this may not be appropriate for all work environments - but perhaps it would be a good choice for the office party.




My Cocktail party picture also featured my 2nd Express pick: The Colorblock Satchel. There are so many things I love about this bag - including the workmanship, material, color and size. I can see it being the only bag I use in December! It looks elegant yet is so spacious - for the L'Oreal party I was able to fit in our BIG camera AND a spare change of shoes, along with my makeup bag/wallet/phone etc. In the coming weeks I have several holiday parties to attend with my children - this bag will be able to accomodate all the extras I'll be carrying!
Gold and Taupe Bag by Express
Express Color block Satchel

Hope you liked my 2 picks - there's 1 more reveal to come in a future post! Have you purchased anything from Express for the Holiday season? Click through to check out the Express holiday catalog and gift guide.

express_win_your_wishlist_contest


By the way - Express is running a Express Win Your Wishlist Pinterest contest - enter to win a $500 giftcard! Just pin items from Express' Gift Guide or Holiday Board. Contest runs until December 14, 2012 - FIVE winners will be chosen!

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Sunday, December 2, 2012

What I've learned from Blogs/Youtube & Must-Reads

Question of the month: What are 3 of your favorite things you've learned from other blogs/Youtube?

I've learned SO much from blog posts & Youtube videos - they have been more effective and useful than anything I've ever read in a magazine. Maybe its because they're by REAL people sharing what's worked for them rather than cliched, generic advice from "professionals". I wish I could share all my favorite posts/videos - but it would take too long - so here are 3 important ones:

1) HOW TO STYLE MY HAIR:
I'm still no expert - but I've gone from someone whose curls would fall flat within half an hour to creating a beachy waves look that lasts up to 3 days! Game-changing videos were this one from TiffanyD and this one from MaskCara. Crucial advice includes: only using this curling iron and spraying a Soft-hold Hairspray BEFORE curling each section.

My curls still going strong half a day later!

2) THE BABY POWDER/DRY SHAMPOO TRICK:
Firstly - just learning from beauty blogs that you can extend the time between shampoos by using dry shampoo sprays was HUGE! But I'd always worry about white-looking residue in my hair from the spray. Then I came across a simple tip from this post. Just spray your dry shampoo in the night before - no need to comb it out - by morning all the shampoo will have absorbed and your hair will be voluminous and fragrant! (In case you're interested -  my favorite dry shampoo)

3) TIPS FROM A JCREW STYLIST:
I've learned 2 important tips from this post - how to drape a scarf with the ends tapered and how to layer sweaters & shirts with the shirt-cuff showing. Both SO simple yet with they make SUCH a difference in your overall look. I've been using these tips non-stop!

Using what I've learned: Draped scarf & Rolled-Cuff sweater

Hope you enjoyed reading about the things I've learned. Please share YOUR favorite tips/links in the comments - I always love learning new things from the blogosphere!



Wednesday, November 28, 2012

L'Oreal Paris Cocktail Party & Spring 2013 Preview

Last night I attended my first L'Oreal event, held at the Trump Hotel in downtown Toronto. It was such a glamorous party -  with dazzlingly dressed attendees and amazing food & decor. Just take a look at the beautiful treat bar - can you spot the chocolate Louboutin?


We were introduced to over 80 products scheduled for a Spring 2013 launch - here the 4 I'm most excited about:

1) Visible Lift Color Blush: A creamy lightweight powder blush formulated with Tourmaline. This blush has a very soft texture - and leaves such a glowing and radiant finish. I LOVE my blushes and can't wait to use this one.

2) Color Genius iPhone App: Take an iPhone picture of your outfit and this App will process it and match it up with coordinating eyeshadows, nailpolishes and lipstick shades! So much fun AND it's free - search for "Color Genius" in the App store.

3) Elnett Satin Heat Sprays: L'Oreal has combined it's famous Elnett Hairspray with a heat protecting formula (to protect up to 230 degrees Celsius). Now I don't have to use 2 different sprays before I curl my hair - so simple & easy!

4) Infallible The Super Slim 12H Eyeliner: This is the product I'm most excited about - a liquid eyeliner pen with a TEENY brush that deposits the most pigmented line of color across your lashes. I always line my upper lash line before applying mascara. I usually use gel eyeliner because of its rich pigmentation - but this would be so much quicker for daily use.



I had a great time catching up with old friends (TOBeautyReviews & RubanXRose) and meeting new ones (PriincessEmily & Joyce Wong).
I'm in Pink & Gold, RubanXRose is in Black, PriincessEmily in Blue, Joyce in Red & TOBeautyReviews in Black & Grey

A lot of us had a sequins theme going on (I even doubled up!) - we planned on taking a group picture but it was hard to track everybody down LOL! Although I didn't get a picture with them - I loved chatting with: LinerGlitterGloss, FunnyFaceBlog, BlushPretty, Rica, Fionaman, GlitterGeek, PerilouslyPale, JilloJello, EtTuAndYou, Anjali, Amelia & JennMUA. (Sorry if I left anybody out!) 

As we left the event we were gifted with a selection of products from the preview - here's what was in my bag: Power Moisture Haircare, Healthy Look Gloss, Elnett Heat Spray, Age Perfect BB Cream, Color Riche Caresse Shine Stain Lipcolor, Color Riche Nail Color, Telescopic Shocking Extensions Mascara, Color Riche Eye Shadow Quads and Visible Lift Color Blush.

I can't wait to try these products out - especially the lipstains, nailpolish, mascara & blush!


Which preview product are you most excited about?

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