Sunday, September 30, 2012

What's in my Shower & Must-Reads: September 2012

Question of the month: What bath products are you currently using?

I'm really excited to see everyone's answers to this month's question - I'm so nosy! Here's my current group of bath products:

Shampoo: I always use 2 shampoos - a volumizing one on my roots and something conditioning for the rest of my hair.
  • My HG volumizing shampoo is the Burts Bees Very Volumizing Pomegranate & Soy shampoo - BUT they've reformulated it! In my picture is the old formula - here is the new one - the name is the same but the ingredients are completely different - DON'T BUY THE NEW ONE - it made my hair fall out - no joke! So I use my old formula sparingly - and the Kiss my Face Big Body Volumizing Shampoo the rest of the time. I'm still on the lookout for a new HG though!
  • My moisturising shampoo is Kerastase Cristalliste - I won this in a blog contest, and while it is meant for long hair - this is the "thick hair" formula and I think the "thin hair" version would have suited me better. I'm using this up but it's nothing special and I don't think I'd repurchase it.
Conditioner: I use Macadamia Natural Oil Deep Repair Masque - and it is without a doubt the BEST conditioner I've ever used - it keeps my hair moisturised and tangle-free. My hair is getting really long - and usually by this stage it's driving me crazy and I'm ready to cut it - but this time round my hair is just so tangle-free and easy to manage!

Body Wash: I like variety in my body wash & moisturizers, so I try to buy travel sized versions whenever possible. I'm really enjoying the fresh green scent of L'Occitane Verbena Shower Gel - and can't wait to try the Almond Shower Oil next.

Moisturizer: I'm switching between Pacifica Tahitian Gardenia Body Butter and Pacifica Coconut Crushed Pearl Body Butter. These body butters are very thick with a long-lasting fragrance - they absorb quickly but leave my skin feeling super soft - would definitely recommend them.

Now it's your turn - what are your bath product must-haves? I can't wait to find out!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Belted Sweater, Navy Stripes & Almond Delight

Last Sunday was SO COLD! We were heading out to the park with the kids, and this is what I wore under my fall jacket:
Sweater: New Look (UK), Belt & Jeans: Garage, Boots: Old Navy (mine are the 2011 version), Necklace: Joe Fresh
I've had this white sweater from New Look for 5 years now - but I hardly wore it because it comes with a woolen belt that just keeps slipping open (so annoying!). Thanks to this image on Pinterest, I was inspired to switch it for a leather belt. Success: the sweater stayed closed all day - and it looked much nicer too!
Top: H&M, Jeans: Garage, Flats: Old Navy, Bag: Balenciaga, Necklace: JoeFresh
I wore my H&M navy striped top while out running errands today, paired with with black ballet flats and my black Bal bag. I'm really drawn to navy at the moment - I picked up a navy lace dress from H&M yesterday along with some peplum tops (a first for me!). Will share pics of those in another post.
I've been wanting L'Occitane's famous Almond Milk Concentrate for a while now (I adore L'Occitane bath products - they smell so luxurious and pure). However, since the cream is so pricey, I was waiting for a really special gift with purchase. Well - I found one! I purchased it from - and received a "Best of L'Occitane Body Care" bag for free - containing a travel sized Almond Shower Oil (another item on my wishlist!), Verbena Body Lotion (love the citrus scent), Lavender Body Soap and teeny hand and foot creams (always useful) in a colorful travel bag. Am so glad I waited and got all these freebies with my purchase!

Do you like L'Occitane products? Are you drawn to Navy clothes?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Multiples: I Know What I Like....

I like.....

Lace dresses:
Winners/ New Look/ H&M

Gingham Shirts:
H&M/ Garage/ Old Navy

Bubble Necklaces:
H&M/ eBay/ H&M

Cream Necklaces:
Joe Fresh/ Joe Fresh/ Winners/ Amrita Singh

F21/ J.Crew/ Joe Fresh/ Gift from Aunt

Leopard Print Scarves:
H&M/ Aldo/ eBay/ GAP

Garage Skinny Jeans:

I could go on MUCH longer but I won't! It's interesting to see what items I'm drawn to time and time again. I think it's okay to own multiples as long as you get good use out of them - not purchase them just for the sake of acquiring them.

What are there multiples of in your closet?

p.s. Check out my guest post on Schnelle's blog about my love of hot pink!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Fish Taco recipe & Photos from My Week


One of our weekly staples is this simple fish taco recipe I put together. It's an easy yummy dinner - and most importantly - the kids love it!

-Marinate tilapia fillets in El Paso taco seasoning, olive oil, lime juice and salt for 30 minutes
-Grill or pan-fry fish for 8 minutes on each side (could be less, but I'd be on the safe side)
 -Serve on multigrain tortillas with toppings

-Tomatillo salsa (key ingredient for us!)
-Red onions and tomatoes marinated in lime juice and salt
-Homemade guacamole (mashed avocado, sea salt, lime juice and finely diced tomato, onions & garlic)

My daily breakfast - egg white omelet with spinach and cheese plus a giant mug of green tea.

Enjoying homemade iced coffees - just add the syrup and ice to milk - you can get your daily coffee fix without waiting in line at Tim Hortons.

Gorgeous flowers I walk past everyday

I finally gave in to the hype and ordered a Tangle Teezer from ASOS (all the UK bloggers rave about it). It feels amazing on my scalp, but I have to keep testing to see if it works better than a wide-toothed comb on my tangles.

Aqua nails & necklace

 Hard Candy Sky on my nails.

Hope you've had a great week - if you try out my fish taco recipe - let me know how it turns out!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Dressing for Fall & Trench coat hunting...

PTA meeting: I'm really enjoying this H&M elbow-patch shirt - so glad I picked up 2! And I love the combination of icy-blue with the neon yellow necklace.
Shirt & Neon Necklace: H&M, Jeans & Belt: Garage, Wedges: Old Navy, Bag: Louis Vuitton Speedy 25

School Run: It was so cold out this morning - the 3/4 sleeves on my trenchcoat were not cutting it! Still loving my MJ bag for when I'm out with the kiddies - easy to hold little hands and carry backpacks without worrying about my stuff getting in the way!
Coat, Jeans & Flats: Old Navy, Bag: Marc Jacobs Quilted Single, Watch: Michael Kors Rosegold Mini
It's a bit warmer now so I've switched out the trench coat for a bird-print Old Navy scarf. I know I JUST picked up the heart scarf last week - but the bird print one was on sale for $9 - and I love how it coordinates with dark denim. I highly recommend Old Navy viscose scarves - they're light, fluffy and easy to wear.
Head to toe Old Navy (should I be embarrassed? I'm not!): Bird Scarf, Sweater, Jeans & Flats
Since the 3/4 sleeves of my trench coat leave me feeling cold - I'm on the hunt for a new one. I'm not ready to invest in a Burberry one yet (if ever!)...but in my dreamworld this would be my first choice:
Burberry Mid-Length Slim Fit Trench coat in Nude Gold

I love the mid-thigh length and the warm-toned color. I haven't found anything similar in Old Navy/Gap/Banana Republic, so I'm going to look in Zara, H&M and Mexx next.

Speaking of Burberry trench coats - I've always loved Kate Middleton's cashmere trench coat with the frilled hem - so feminine!
Image Source: InStyle

Any suggestions on where I could find an affordable version of the first trench coat?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Recent Outfits, a Heart Scarf & Burgundy Flirt polish

School run plus Coffee Date: Chambray shirt, white jeggings & belt from Garage,  Necklace from Forever21, Leopard flats from Old Navy & Black City bag from Balenciaga.

My coffee date was at the mall so I dropped by Old Navy - fell in love with this lilac shirt - am getting it next time there's a coupon out - hope it doesn't get sold out before then!

Amazing black scarf with white hearts - so soft & light! I've worn my purple floral Old Navy scarf to death, so I knew this would be a good purchase - I didn't want to risk it going out of stock so it came home with me right away!

School run: Lace top and Jeans from Garage, faux-pearl necklace from my aunt

Friday outfit: I can sleep in tomorrow - yay! Getting as much wear out of my white jeans before it becomes seasonally inappropriate. Sweater from Old Navy, Jeans and belt from Garage, necklace from my aunt, ballet flats from Old Navy.

And on my nails I'm wearing Burgundy Flirt from Rimmel - love this range, the polishes are so opaque and the curved brush makes it easy to apply :

Would you wear white jeans in the fall? Any styling ideas would be appreciated!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Mascaras...I've got plenty!

I currently have a lot of mascaras on rotation - some are freshly opened, while others are nearly ready to be thrown out - so this is a great time to do an "I've got plenty" post comparing all my mascaras.

Mascaras are tricky to review as there are so many factors affecting their performance including:
  • Type of lashes - mine are long, thin & hold a curl easily (I always use my Shu Uemura curler)
  • Lash preference - I like my lashes to look thick, feathery and curled
  • If you use a primer - I don't
  • Waterproof vs washable formulas - mascaras don't usually smear on me, so most of my mascaras are washable
  • Application technique - I tend to experiment with different wands or layer with another brand if I'm not happy with a certain mascara...I have tried using a lash comb but can't get the hang of it.
  • Age of mascara - some mascaras are great from the start - others perform better 1-2 weeks after opening (when the formula has had a chance to dry out a bit)
If you're looking for a new mascara to try - this is the post for you. Hope my mini-reviews are helpful!

1) Maybelline Illegal Length Mascara in Blackest Black Review
CLAIM: Adds 4mm of measurable fiber extensions
MY THOUGHTS: It definitely adds dramatic length - it makes my lashes reach my eyebrows! I like this mascara - the fibers are effective but natural looking, and my lashes stayed curled all day. The downside: there was a slight transfer of color on to my upper lid (not very noticeable) - and I prefer a thicker lash look - so I will layer with the CG Lashblast Volume in the future.
GOOD FOR: People with thick lashes who want length and definition.
Mascara Illegal Length by Maybelline
Maybelline Illegal Length Swatch

2) Maybelline The Falsies Volum' Express Mascara in Blackest Black Review
CLAIM: False lash glam - 300% more visible lashes
MY THOUGHTS:  I'm a huge fan of this mascara - this is my 3rd tube! The formula is a bit finicky - it starts working well 1-2 weeks after opening - and has a short lifespan of around 2 months (after that the formula dries up and not much comes out on the wand.) This tube is pretty much done - so my lashes are not as volumized as they can be. This mascara really makes my lashes look noticeable and fake - in  a good way! 
GOOD FOR: Anybody who wants dramatic length, volume and curl.
Mascara by Maybelline The Falsies
Maybelline The Falsies Volum' Express Mascara Swatch

3) Maybelline Full 'N Soft Mascara in Very Black Review
CLAIM: Full, soft & thick lashes. Quick dissolve system that removes easily.
MY THOUGHTS: Full bristled classic brush makes it easy to apply the mascara evenly - good for when you're getting ready in a rush. It provides slight thickening at the base of my lashes and is able to hold my curl. However, when I wear mascara - I want DRAMATIC results - this is too subtle for my taste.
GOOD FOR: Someone who only wants subtle lash definition.
Full 'N Soft Mascara Brush Maybelline
Maybelline Full 'N Soft Mascara Swatch

4) Covergirl Lashblast Volume Mascara in Very Black Review
CLAIM: Big lash look with volume-boosing formula and patent pending brush.
MY THOUGHTS:  My mascara staple (repurchased MANY times). Has a good formula and an AMAZING brush (I save & wash my old wands and use them with other mascaras). Very good on its own - really volumizes my lashes - but also great for layering with lengthening mascaras (like Falsies & Illegal Length).
GOOD FOR: Everyone - one of my Holy Grail products!
Covergirl Lashblast Volume Mascara Brush head
Covergirl Lashblast Volume Mascara Swatch

5) Revlon Grow Luscious Plumping Mascara in Black Review  
CLAIM: Lash-enhancing formula that conditions lashes and makes them stronger 
MY THOUGHTS: I bought this to use as my daily mascara since it is meant to have nourishing and conditioning benefits. However, the brush is very hard to work with - it's too big to reach my inner lashes, and makes the rest of my lashes spidery and clumpy by the second coat. It's too bad the brush is terrible, because the mascara formula is amazing. It seriously makes my lashes grow longer and keeps them healthy. My mother thought I was wearing false lashes because regular use of this mascara made my lashes long and strong! But it is a pain to apply as I have to brush the mascara onto an a clean Covergirl Lashblast wand and apply it from there! 
GOOD FOR: People who want long and healthy lashes, and have the time to apply it with a different mascara wand

Brush head Revlon Grow Luscious Plumping Mascara
Revlon Grow Luscious Plumping Mascara Swatch

6) Bourjois Volumizer Mascara in Noir Review 
CLAIM: 2-step brush to provide 11x more volume with no clumps. 
MY THOUGHTS: This brush concept is similar to MAC's Haute and Naughty wand. The wand has 1 brush head but 2 options - the first option scrapes the brush head through a narrow tube to provide light coverage. The second option is the mascara without any scraping. Option 1 is difficult to apply with control as the wand is quite long and skinny. Once applied, it provides a clean and defined look with separated lashes. The second option was quite thick and clumpy - my lashes felt heavy and weighed down with product.
GOOD FOR: Someone who would like natural and dramatic options for their mascara - and who can work around the clumpiness of option 2.
Bourjois Volumizer Mascara Brush Head
Bourjois Volumizer Mascara Swatch

7) L'Oreal Extra-Volume Collagen Mascara in Black (WATERPROOF) Review
CLAIM: Extra thick brush creates up to 12x more volume with no clumps.
My only waterproof mascara - I save this for holidays to humid locations and for the beach & waterparks. I thought this mascara was ready to throw away - but this product has thickened up and gotten BETTER over time - I really love it now! The brush distributes the mascara easily - no clumps or globs, just amazingly thick & feathery lashes! Waterproof formulas really do hold curl better - look how curled my lashes are in the closed-eye pic compared to all the other closed-eye pics. However, removing this product was too much of an effort - Bioderma didn't work - I had to use a cream cleanser, and even then I had dark smudges under my eyes the next morning (really hate that!) so it will never be an everyday mascara for me.
GOOD FOR: People who want gorgeous thick & curly lashes - and who don't mind spending lots of time removing the product from their lashes at night.
L'Oreal Extra-Volume Collagen Mascara Brush head
L'Oreal Extra-Volume Collagen Mascara Swatch

8) Marcelle Xtension Plus Mascara in Black Review
CLAIM: Formula and innovative polymer brush work together to create extreme length and curl
MY THOUGHTS: Makes my lashes look really noticeable. Love that it really lengthens, thickens and curls my lashes - no need to layer with this mascara! The brush is amazing - I will definitely save it even after the mascara runs out - it has thin comb-like bristles that apply product evenly from root to tip. Makes my lashes look fake (in a good way) with thickness at the base and flared tips.
GOOD FOR: Anyone who wants easy-to-apply mascara with dramatic results
Marcelle Xtension Plus Mascara Brush head
Marcelle Xtension Plus Mascara Swatch



The Maybelline & Covergirl mascaras are variations on formulas I've already tried and loved (Lashblast Volume & Falsies) while the L'Oreal Voluminous is a mascara I keep reading rave reviews about.

What is your favorite mascara? Do you have any application tips to share?

DISCLAIMER: I purchased all these mascaras myself except for the Bourjois and Marcelle mascaras, which were given to me at blogger events. As always - when I review a free item, I consider it as if I paid the retail price...and evaluate it objectively. Gifted or not, I blog to share my true feelings and help my readers

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Sweetest Gift & Flipping Through: Stylewatch September 2012

I came home from our long weekend trip and found the sweetest package in my mailbox from Lilly:

Everything was so thoughtful - the pink chevron card with the sweetest message, the fun sparkly nailpolish (my first Julep!) and the AMAZING turquoise and gold necklace from Bauble Bar - I'm super grateful - thank you so much Lilly - I wish we lived closer so that we could do brunch and shopping (my dream blogger date LOL!)

Along with my sweet gift, the September issue of my Stylewatch magazine was also in my mailbox...which means: time for another Flipping Through post!

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:

Emma Stone is on the cover - she's such a pretty girl (love her Covergirl ads) - am not sure why they chose this picture for the cover, it doesn't really look like her. She could be mistaken for Naomi Watts here...

Loving this outfit for fall - I'm still on the lookout for the perfect tweed jacket (since this Uniqueen one didn't work out for me).

After seeing this picture, I FINALLY understand the appeal of Alexa Chung - she looks gorgeous in this photo - love her dewy makeup and her blush pink clothes. And that bag...I think I need a Mulberry mini-Alexa - how can you resist such a teeny bag?

Am obsessed with Ashley Olsen's hand-embroidered pashmina shawl. I own 2 from Kashmir - but would love to pick up more (they're super pricey and it's not always easy to find ones with delicate work and the right color scheme).

Perfect outfit, shoes, hair and makeup: Kate Middleton can do no wrong

I'm getting excited for fall...I need new outerwear - Camilla Belle's looking cute in this Coach trench coat.


Love Katie's hairstyle here - sophisticated braids - so pretty!

Burgundy EVERYTHING is going to be huge this fall - including burgundy lips. Kate Bosworth looks great here - but I'm getting a very 90s vibe from this trend - am I the only one?

Claudia Schiffer is so gorgeous - always a supermodel!
Hope you enjoyed flipping through with me. All images are from People Stylewatch September 2012.

What trends are you excited for this fall? Will you be wearing burgundy lipstick?


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