Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Casual Lace

While the weather has taken a decidedly cool turn (yay!!), I'm still clinging on to some of my more summery items, just paired with heavier pieces. Actually, I find I get the most wear out of this lace dress when the weather is that bit crisper, because I can only wear it with tights (it's suuuper short and would be kind of indecent otherwise), and I feel that dark tights can look a bit heavy in the dead of summer. 

Parka - Aritzia
Floral scarf - H&M
Lace dress - American Eagle
Brown tights - Penneys
Boots - Steve Madden
Lipstick - Kate Moss 08, Rimmel

Monday, September 29, 2014

Colours for Your Complexion: Winter

We're excited to share the first instalment in our new "Colours for Your Complexion" series today! You've probably heard of the whole "what's your season?" thing, and over the next four weeks, we'll be giving a breakdown of which colours look best on which seasonal categories of complexions.

There are four basic types -- Winter and Summer (cool tones) and Autumn and Spring (warm tones) -- which can each be broken down into further sub-categories (we won't be going into that depth for this series, but you can read more about the 3 types of Winters here if you're interested). 

Basically, if your skin has a pink or bluish cast to it, then you're a cool tone; if it's more golden, you're warm. If you've got light to medium skin, you can also determine your type by what colour your veins are: cool tones tend to have bluish-purple veins, while warm tones often have greenish ones. 

While I love most colours and kind of hate the idea of barring some from my wardrobe because they don't suit my skin type, I know that certain shades just look so much better on me than others. I'm a Winter, and in general, I find bright, cool jewel tones work best for me -- they liven up my (often pasty) skin, while drab earth tones have a tendency to wash me out. Over the years, I've fake tanned and dyed my hair (under which circumstances I can pull off other shades), but in my natural state, I'm a definite Winter.

If you're a fellow Winter, you'll probably have these characteristics:

Skin: Cool undertones (blue/pink). Skin can range from very pale to very dark.
Hair: Generally, Winters have dark hair.
Eyes: Anything goes really! Winters can have anything from pale blue to dark brown/black eyes.

You Look Best In: Bright jewel tones and icy shades.
You Can Look Washed-Out In: Earth tones and nudes.

Winter Skin Tones

Best Colours for Winters
Winter Colours

Next week is your turn, Summers!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Lipstick of the Week: Revlon Lovesick

Technically, this week's lipstick isn't actually a lipstick at all...it's a "balm stain" from Revlon's Colorburst Collection in Lovesick, a deep pink. I'd been wanting to test out one of these crayon-like stains for a while, so when they were on sale for half price at Shopper's not too long ago, I snatched one up. And it didn't disappoint. While it's definitely not the rich, highly pigmented kind of product that I typically wear, it's good for days when I want a slightly more natural look (of course, natural for me being a relative term). Although it's not nearly as drying as some stains I've tried, I wouldn't exactly call it moisturizing -- I'd recommend having a clear chapstick on hand to layer over it.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Thursday Travels: County Clare, Ireland (and Thoughts on Cork & Waterford)

Last March, my mum and I paid a trip to Ireland. We visited family in Dublin, then managed to squeeze in a road trip around the rest of the country, taking in the beautiful scenery of the countryside as well as visits to three of Ireland's major cities: Galway, Cork and Waterford. I'm kicking myself I didn't take any photos in these last three destinations, but let's just say that I loved Cork and hated Waterford! (Galway I'd lived in for a year when I was 12 and have visited a few times since...and I'd definitely recommend it: it's a very lively, bustling city, but compact and easy to get around). 

I'd never been to either Cork or Waterford though, and that part of the country (the south) felt so different from where I'm more familiar with (the west). The countryside was more lush, the accents different...even the buildings had a different look to them, I thought. I didn't really know what to expect of the city of Cork, but I found myself loving it far more than I thought I would (don't you love when somewhere exceeds your expectations for once?!). While the area around the quays and docks is pretty dark and grimy, the city centre itself is bright, airy, and spacious; totally not what I had in mind. Corkonians will probably hate me for saying this, but something about the city had an English feel to it to me...I can't explain why, exactly, it just reminded me of various places I'd been to in England. So, yes, Cork was a definite love, must-go-back-to, etc. etc. for me. My grandmother's family on my mum's side are actually from County Cork, so what can I say, it's in my genes!

Now Waterford on the other hand... Ugh. Shiver. I think I was just in a bad mood that day, but I really really didn't like the place. My mum (who worked in the city for a while in her 20s and wanted to see it again) thinks I must have been beheaded by Vikings there in a past life or something, which could explain it! But in fairness to Waterford, it isn't really a destination city, and doesn't advertise itself as such, so it's not exactly like I had high hopes that were sadly dashed on visiting it or anything. And it's actually not that bad, I think I just like playing up my dislike of it. We were only there for a few hours, on our way back to Dublin, so didn't have a huge amount of time to do stuff, but there are a few museums and things of interest to see (it's the oldest city in Ireland, after all -- founded by Vikings in 853), so you know, maybe I'm being unjust here. But let's just say I wouldn't be in a mad rush to go back.

Ok, now how about I talk about the place where I actually took photos?! That would be County Clare, the county where both of my parents grew up, where my grandparents used to live, and where some of my happiest memories are from. My mum and I spent a few nights in her hometown of Kilkee, and one sunny afternoon, we decided to go on a mini road trip around the surrounding countryside. 

{And we're off!}

{Ugh that freaking blue bucket obstructing the view >:-(  }

{Cows just chilling}

{Carrigaholt Castle. We really wanted to get up closer to it, but then we saw this sign...}


{But the bull didn't appear to be in that day, so we took our chances...}

{...and it was worth it for this magical view}

{We paid a trip to the Church of the Little Ark...}

{...so named because it's home to this wooden structure --"the little ark"-- in which a priest would say mass for local Catholics in the 1850s (their landlords wouldn't let them build a proper church). You can read the full story here if you're interested}

{Church grounds}

{The village of Kilbaha, whose local pub claims to be the closest one in Ireland to New York}

{Yeah, I don't know why either}


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

5 Favourite Nail Polish Colours for Fall

Last week, I shared some of my favourite beauty trends for this fall; today, I thought I'd put the focus on some of the nail colours I'd like to try out over the next few months. These five rich, deep shades will work well with the more muted tones of autumn, but they're a bit more unusual than my typical go-to fall nail polish shades of burgundy and black.

Nail Polish For Fall

1. Jungle Green
Marc Jacobs: Jungle pinterest.com

2. Navy
Christian Louboutin: Wherever - selfridges.com

3. Chocolate
Essie: Partner in Crime nail beauty.com

4. Plum
Opi: Skating on Thin Ice-land amazon.com

5. Gunmetal
Butter London: Chimney Sweep - thehut.com

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

September Reading List

While I'm thankful that I no longer have to write essays and read 50 page academic papers on a regular basis anymore, there are definitely some things I miss about university, and being forced to read novels is one of them. When left to my own devices, my reading matter tends to gravitate towards lighter fare (ie. my 10 favourite magazines), but there is something so rewarding about reading an actual book. I was a voracious reader growing up, so reading has never exactly felt like a chore to me, but it's definitely something I'd like to make a bit more time for. 

I've made it my goal to aim for reading two books a month: one "modern" (and by that I mean something that's been written in the past decade or two), and one classic novel. Here are the books I've been reading/plan on reading this month; I'll let you know how I enjoyed them in October!

If you've got any great recommendations you'd like to share, please comment away! I'm always looking for new books to add to my reading bucket list.

Modern Pick: 
A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout & Sara Corbett

I'd read an article about Amanda, a Canadian, in a magazine a while back, and was intrigued by her story of being held hostage in Somalia for 15 months. This book, her memoir of that time in captivity (co-written with a journalist), has been on my must-read list for a while, and I'm so glad to have finally gotten round to reading it. I'm about halfway through and really enjoying it: it's well-written and a total page turner. I'll give a more in-depth review of it next month once I've finished it, but I think this will definitely be a book I'd recommend...  

Classic Pick: 
A Room with a View by E.M. Forster

This book was a recommendation from my dad, and I can't wait to start reading it. I read one of Forster's other great novels, A Passage to India, in a class on 20th century British fiction a few years ago, and it really stuck with me. It's a pretty weird book, and kind of hard to explain (superficially, it's about an Indian doctor being accused of assaulting an Englishwoman in colonial India, but there's so much else going on), but I loved Forster's understated yet deftly observant writing style. I figure that because I enjoyed A Passage to India despite its overall sombreness simply because of Forster's brilliant narrative style, I'll really love a novel where he's writing about happier themes set against the backdrop of Italy.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Five Favourite Shops: High Street (Ireland & UK)

One thing I miss about living in the British Isles is the fashion: in general, people over there are more daring with their style, and the high street shops (a phrase that just refers to middle-of-the-road chain stores as opposed to designer brands) reflect this. The downside, however, is the price (clothes over there are so expensive when you do the conversions!). 

Here, in alphabetical order, are some of my favourites (I've left Topshop out of this list, because although they're the quintessential high street classic, they've now got locations in North America).

1. Dorothy Perkins
Aimed at the 25-35 demographic, this shop is not quite as trendy or cutting edge as some of the others, but it's great for the kind of clothes I like---pretty dresses, skirts, and the like (and the sizes are nice and generous).

2. Miss Selfridge
Similar to Topshop and River Island, but I always feel that Miss Selfridge leans more towards girly than edgy. They often have great going-out dresses, and pretty tops and coats. 

3. New Look
One of the more budget-friendly high street shops, New Look still has the of-the-moment trends, but at more reasonable prices. And they have an incredible selection of shoes!

4. Oasis
Like Dorothy Perkins, Oasis is geared towards a slightly more mature demographic, and is not quite so trend-driven. I'm big into colour and pattern, and these are two things they do really well.

5. River Island
River Island has some fairly out-there stuff that I wouldn't be caught dead in...but then they also have really interesting but wearable pieces. Definitely a mixed bag, but I find I always strike lucky when I pay them a visit.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Lipstick of the Week: MAC Rebel

Let me introduce you to one of my all-time favourite lipsticks for autumn: MAC's Rebel. While it's a slightly intimidating looking dark purple colour in the tube, it's not actually that scary when it's on, I promise! It's a beautiful rich wine shade in a Satin finish, and it's my go-to colour when the weather starts turning autumnal (it's become a little ritual of sorts that I wear it on the first cold day in September). 

I love it with all the usual suspects: navy, midnight blue, grey, and camel (and occasionally black, although that combination can look a little bit intense for day), but my new favourite colour to wear it with is orange! 

Are you a fan of the berry lip?! Any favourite lipsticks in this shade?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thursday Travels: Portland, Oregon

For the Labour Day weekend last year, Vicky, Claudia and I paid a south-of-the-border trip to Portland. We got the train down from Vancouver, which was fun in and of itself (as soon as we stepped onboard, we already felt like we were in the US thanks to little touches like the garbage bin being labelled "Trash." I feel like Canadians never use the word "trash"?!). 

Aaaanyway, the eight or so hours on the train went by pretty quickly, and we were in Portland by late afternoon. I know it's got a reputation for being one of America's rainiest cities, but for the few days we were there, the weather couldn't have been more perfect: sunny but not oppressively hot. I really think that the weather you have while visiting somewhere new can really cloud your perception of it; had we seen Portland in grey, rainy weather, we might have not liked it so much.

As a city, it's definitely got that very West Coast vibe going on. It reminded us of Seattle, but I think I probably even preferred it to Seattle...it was obviously more compact, and I found the attractions there more enjoyable (I thought Seattle's Pike Place Market was incredibly overrated, and I could take or leave the Space Needle).  

We got a 2-day pass on a hop-on, hop-off Big Pink sightseeing trolley, which worked out perfectly, allowing us to see 12 of the city's major sights at our leisure.

{This may be very basic of me, but I actually love visiting different Starbucks around the world, and this one in Pioneer Square might be one of my favourites (alongside the one adjacent to Canterbury Cathedral in England)}

{On the trolley!}

{View of the city from one of our stops...can't remember which one}

{One of our favourite stops was the International Rose Test Garden at Washington Park...}

{...they don't call Portland the City of Roses for nothing!}

{We also loved the leafy streets of the Alphabet District (where all the street names progress alphabetically)...}

{...and don't even get me started on my love for Powell's Books: 68, 000 square feet of book heaven}

{We paid a trip to the Saturday Market...}

{...and we had a look at Voodoo Donuts (but didn't have the patience to line up. Ditto the city's famous Stumptown Coffee)}

All in all, we loved our time in Portland. Now that we're living apart, it's rare for us all to be able to take a trip together, and Portland just happened to be the perfect backdrop for spending some quality sister time :-)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

5 Favourite Beauty Trends for Autumn/Winter 14

As well as seeing what fashion trends are emerging for a new season, I love finding out what beauty trends will be prevalent, too. While there are some A/W 14 trends I wouldn't be the hugest fan of (I'm not quite confident enough to pull off the whole bare-faced look that's apparently a thing, for example), there are a handful that I'm excited to test out at some point this season. Here are my top 5 favourite looks:

a/W 14 Beauty Trends

1. Spidery Lashes
Decade-wise, the '60s seems to be dominating the fashion scene this season, and with it comes some of the beauty trends from that era. I've never been a fan of false eyelashes, but I think I'd be willing to try that spiky, mascara on the lower lashes look.

2. Navy Nails
To be honest, I'm not really a "nails" person (more often than not mine are bare), but I do like experimenting with new colours, and I love this matte navy look for fall. A lot of the time, I'll hesitate to paint my nails a certain colour because I feel I'll have to base my outfits around it for the week or so that I'm wearing it, but navy just seems to go with everything.

3. Violet Eyes
This look is ideal for those with green or hazel eyes, as purple apparently enhances greenness. I love the idea of trying out different shades, like a subtle lilac for day and a smoky plum for night.

4. Graphic Blue Eyeliner
I have yet to muster up the patience to perfect a cat eye look, but this trend may just inspire me to do it. (Vicky, on the other hand, has the cat eye down to a fine art and recently tried out a cobalt-blue winged eye that looks amazing). 

5. Nude Lips
I'm definitely a bright lip as opposed to strong eye kind of person, but I like the idea of shaking up my make-up routine a little bit and testing out a more neutral lip. (If anything, it'll mean I can eat things like apples and burgers without fear of smearing lipstick all over my face, for once).

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

5 Favourite Shops: Pricier (But with Great Sales)

Last week, I shared 5 of my favourite budget shops--now it's time to feature some of my pricier favourites (in alphabetical, not preferential order). These are the kind of stores where I only buy stuff if it's on sale...but luckily, their sales are frequent and/or good.

1. Banana Republic 

Both Vicky and I have worked at BR at some point in our lives, and we had the nice little 50%-off-everything Gap Inc. discount that comes as one of the perks. While neither of us work there any longer, we'll still occasionally buy stuff from Banana Republic because of their great sales (frequently 50% off the lowest price tag). Twice a year, they have a "Friends and Family" event where employees can give 50% to their friends on up to 5 items of regularly priced clothing (which is why you should all be friends with BR employees ;-). In terms of what to buy there: they're great for high-quality workwear and big-item pieces like coats.

2. French Connection
I don't really have a lot from this British high street staple, but what I do have I love and wear a ton. I can't comment on what the sales are like there over in the UK, but here at their Vancouver location they tend to be pretty good. As a store, I find it's great for sophisticated yet feminine pieces: think dresses, tops, and jackets.

3. J. Crew
You either like J. Crew or you don't, and I'm one of those people who loves it. They don't call it J. Crack for nothing! While some of their stuff can be super pricy at regular price, I find their sales are fantastic--if you have a Student Card, you get an additional 15% off sale items (and their sale items are usually 50% off the lowest price tag; I've got some pretty sweet 65% off deals because of this). They're great for preppy, often colourful basics, and we all know how much I love their dresses!

4. Topshop
I love Topshop because it is the one store that seriously caters to every style of dress, and it has some of the most delightfully WTF items (not to mention that they have a separate Tall section. Yay!). However, it can be pretty pricy, which is why I hold out for their sales--the best of which are the after-Christmas ones, although I find they tend to have pretty decent ones throughout the year. 

5. Zara
If I had to pick just one shop to buy all my clothes from, it might just be Zara. Often, when I shop, I'll wonder if an item is too young or too frumpy, but with Zara there just seems to be this unspoken guarantee that everything in their store is cool and age-appropriate. The caveat of course is the price (their TRF brand is cheaper, but in general, I find it a pricy place to shop at), which is why I pretty much always buy from their sales (which are phenomenal after Christmas, by the way). 

Monday, September 15, 2014

10 Items Inspired by Pantone's 2014 Fall Colours

It's that time of the year again! Once again, we've compiled a list of 10 items for fall based on Pantone's Colours. (You can see last autumn's picks here, and this past spring's here, if you're interested). 

What are your favourites of these 10 shades? I think I'm kind of feeling the purples, interestingly enough! It's not a colour I wear too much despite my love for it, so I'd love to find some way of incorporating it into my wardrobe this season...

Pantone Colours Fall 2014

1. Radiant Orchid
This warm purple is not just Pantone's Colour of the Year; it's also made it on to both the Spring and Fall colour charts. For the cooler months, consider incorporating it into your wardrobe via a leather handbag. It's actually a surprisingly versatile colour, and would look fantastic paired with a coat in navy, camel, grey, or even a deep forest green. 
Purple leather purse chikoshoes.com

2. Royal Blue
This classic colour just lends itself to outerwear, whether you opt for a classic peacoat or a modern wrap.
Miu Miu royal blue wool coat mytheresa.com

3. Aluminum
Unexpected use of leopard print is big this season, so why not consider wearing a swingy dress in a putty shade of print?
Mango dress mango.com

4. Aurora Red
This rich red would look fantastic in a midi skirt (a style that's still going strong for the fall). 
Oasis red midi skirt - oasis-stores.com

5. Misted Yellow
For those of you who secretly think midis are frumpy and unflattering, rejoice! The '60s, A-line mini is making a comeback, and would look fab in this autumnal shade of yellow. 
Victoria Beckham wrap skirt farfetch.com

6. Sangria
This warm wine colour is perfect for accessories; consider incorporating it into an outfit with a pair of suede pumps.
Tory Burch pointy pumps toryburch.com

7. Mauve Mist
Instead of your classic grey oversized cardigan, why not consider one in this lavender shade? 
TIBI peach cardigan tibi.com

8. Cognac
Chances are, you probably have a black leather jacket, but have you thought about updating to a moto style in a rich brown? 

9. Bright Cobalt
A shade or two lighter and brighter than Royal Blue, this hue would look fresh and unexpected on your fingertips this fall.  

10. Cypress
Exchange your dark-wash denim for a pair in this always autumn-appropriate deep olive green.

Pantone Colours image via:http://itsthreethirty.com/nail-polish-fall-forecast/

Friday, September 12, 2014

Lipstick of the Week: MAC So Chaud

Back when I featured Morange, I mentioned its not-so-neon but still orange sister, So Chaud. One of my year-round favourites, So Chaud is a rich, orangey red with a matte finish. If you've been thinking you'd like to test out orange lipstick but want to play it safe, I would definitely recommend it! I particularly love it with all shades of blue: navy, cobalt, cornflower, ice...it plays well with them all, and is a bit more unexpected than a classic red. Oh, and surprise! I cut my hair!*


*Just kidding, it's a faux bob...fob?!