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'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

Sunday, July 13, 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.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

ZARA Sale, Express Midi Skirts & Recent Outfits

Have you guys checked out the ZARA sale? I stopped by this weekend and found the cutest peplum blouse (similar) - the print is so pretty and I adore the green colour - I plan on wearing this on my birthday.

Express sequin midi skirt
peplum (similar) / jacket / sequin skirt / floral skirt

I also loved the frayed green tweed jacket - but they were sold out of my size. I like longer skirts so I stopped by Express to try on their pencil midi skirts. I'm obsessed with the sequin skirt - it's perfect for parties. The floral skirt is very pretty too - I'm just waiting for a sale and I'll definitely be buying them.

Now on to some recent outfits - here's what I wore on Canada Day - my whole family wore themed shirts to celebrate our love for Canada!

Shirt: Old Navy, Necklace: H&M (similar), Sandals: Aeropostale (similar), Bag: LV Speedy 25

Chevron Maxi Dress:

Dress: GAP 4-in-1 dress, Jacket: American Eagle, Sandals: Sam Edelman Gigi, Bag: Minkoff, Necklace: F21 (similar)

Pink Button Down:

Shirt: H&M, Necklace: JoeFresh (similar), Jeans: GAP, Sandals: Sam Edelman Gigi

By the way  - I've received a lot of emails asking about the Forever 21 shirt I'm wearing in the second picture here - and it's finally back in stock in case you were looking to buy one!

Have you shopped the ZARA sale? Did you dress up for Canada Day and/or the 4th of July?

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

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Blue Suede Shoes & $20 Maxi Dress Love!

Dupe for J.Crew Everly Pumps

These suede heels from Old Navy are my new favorite shoe. I bought the hot pink pair first - and after wearing it to a blog event with no stumbling or discomfort, I knew I needed the blue pair too. They remind me of the J.Crew Everly Suede pumps, but at a tenth of the price!

Shirt: Old Navy, Skirt: J.Crew Factory (similar), Clutch: LOFT, Shoes: Old Navy, Necklace: Forever21 (Photo Credit: Elaine)

I love how the bright heels add a pop of colour to my outfit - and with ON sale prices - you can't go wrong (I got mine for $24-$29). I've always found Old Navy shoes to be super comfortable - and these pumps are no exception. To see how versatile bright shoes are, check out how Noelle styles her J.Crew cobalt heels. By the way, if you love chambray shirts as much as I do - check out the sales racks in store - I've seen the Pin-dot Chambray Shirt I'm wearing above marked down to $9!

Dress: Old Navy, Cardigan: GAP, Bag: Minkoff, Necklace: H&M (want this version so badly!)

Another recent Old Navy find is this floral maxi dress that I picked up during their $20 dress sale. The blue and white print is so fresh for summer - and would look great with either cognac or gold accessories. Another bonus is that this dress is made of rayon rather than jersey - so it will not fade or pill with washing.

Have you found any great summer deals recently?

Thank you to everyone who entered my LOFT contest - here are the winners:

Giftcard: Fiona Man
Clutch: Kate McLean

I'll be sending you an email shortly! And to everyone who didn't win - stay tuned for another exciting giveaway in the next couple of weeks :-)

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


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