Sunday, September 27, 2009

My anniversary present

Here is a picture of my anniversary present - diamond earrings.
4 years ago, I picked up the diamond pendant at the Jewelry Exchange (it's a building with lots of little booths with independent certified jewelry dealers). This year I went back to find some earrings - and I found the perfect pair - they match perfectly with the pendant. I think they might have been made by the same dealer - but I can't know for sure, as the booths change locations over time.



The earrings are quite small and simple - which is what I wanted, as they are great for everyday wear. They are 18K white gold, and were very overpriced given the size of the diamonds (22 points). BUT - I checked these out a month back, and have been looking in other stores since, and nothing else appeals to me like these - so I had to go back and get it (and of course, they were even pricier this time around, since gold prices have gone up...sigh!) The workmanship is great (they are made in Hong Kong) - it is not a screw back (which I *hate* - the posts are so bulky), but is designed with notches so that they don't come out easily.

Outfit of the day - Sep 25/26

On friday night, we decided to go out to dinner on the spur of the moment. I didn't really have time to change into anything nice. I'm wearing a pink jersey top by H&M, brown plaid trousers by Chado, pink strappy sandals by town shoes, and brown leather and canvas bag by Coach.



On Saturday, we went downtown to pick up my anniversary present (a bit delayed - but better late than never). I wore a camel v-neck jumper by Old Navy, grey skinny jeans by Old Navy and a brown and pink shawl from the flea market. I carried a canvas bag by River Island.



Here is a close up view of my Coach bag. Pictures of my anniversary present and a close-up of my River Island bag will be added soon.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Outfit of the day - Sep 15

Today I went to Downtown Toronto. I wore a white t-shirt with a bow neckline from Primark (UK brand), camisole from H&M, jeans from Old Navy and green bag from Target.

I think this outfit was a bit plain and boring, but I didn't want to clash with my bag! And when in doubt, I always err on the side of simplicity.



I met up with my sister for lunch - we had delicious sushi - so fresh and good...I had chirashi - which is raw fish on rice. It was amazing. I had to pick out the octopus though - I've never been a fan of it!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Facial Exercises

I was worried about developing naso-labial lines (the lines that run from the ends of your nose to the corner of your lips) - so I started researching solutions on the internet. A lot of sites recommended injecting filler in that area - not something that I would ever consider doing...I've seen some reality TV stars with their n-l lines filled in - and it is not a solution - it just looks odd and swollen.

Then I stumbled across a beauty forum where people were recommending facial exercises. Apparently - if you target and build the muscles in your face - they can naturally lift your skin up - giving you a more youthful appearance. The concept made sense to me - I'd previously read about the "new face lift" in the NYT magazine. Celebs like Madonna are allegedly injecting filler into their cheeks to replace the fat they lose there as they age. With facial exercises, rather than injecting fat, the muscles are built up - to have the same plumping effect.

Facial exercises have been around for a long time - and there are many programs that are currently popular, including "Flex Effect" and Carole Maggio's system. I'm personally a fan of LouLou's "Ageless if you Dare" program. You can find her website here.

I've been doing facial exercises for 6 months now, and I've had people comment on how I look younger and that my face now looks like it did when I was a teen - hey - that is reason enough for me to keep at it!

Friday, September 11, 2009

I went shopping today...

Sometimes shopping is the best medicine...I went to Old Navy today and got some new clothes:

Outfit 1:
I'm pretty sure I'm returning the top - the magical changing room mirrors made it look so good - but the waist tie is too fussy - and I'm not sure how to style it. I love the skinny jeans (I already have a dark blue pair, so I got grey) - I can see myself wearing these through fall and winter tucked into my faux Uggs. The faux Uggs are from Payless - I bought a mid calf Camel boot in 2004 - and it's still going strong through constant use - so I know these will last me a while. And no matter how ugly some people think Ugg-type boots are - they are the last word in comfort when you live in a cold climate!


Outfit 2:
I've been wanting a maxi dress for a while - but I avoid wearing sleeveless and strapless outfits - so I paired it with this matching sweater. It may not be the most stylish outfit - but at least I get to wear a maxi dress and feel comfortable.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Outfit of the day - Sep 10

I've decided to post my outfits on this blog. I want to improve my style - and I think taking photographs encourages me to dress up, and also see what I need to improve on.

For example, I was first wearing this outfit with the wrap tied across my waist. In the first picture I took, I realised it emphasised my hips in a *bad* way...so I untied it.

Today I'm wearing a Camel wrap top from Walmart, White t-shirt from Aeropostale, White camisole from Smart Set, Jeans from Topshop UK and a LeSportSac bag.



Here is an closer look at my bag - I love the colour combo.

Do you believe in moisturiser?

Ever since I read about Dr. Zein Obagi's claim that moisturisers can age you...I've been cautious about using too much moisturiser. As he states in the link above: "Moisturizers, when used daily as part of a skin care program, will accelerate aging and wrinkling of the skin, as they reduce cellular activity, causing the cells to become lazy and sensitive."

In the second part of his interview he elaborates: "It seems antithetical — a moisturizer was probably the first product that you used on your skin . . . With young and healthy skin, the cells in the dermis collect water from the food we eat and water we drink, and deliver that water to the surface of the skin. But, when you apply a moisturizer to hydrate and plump the skin, the skin cells in the epidermis send a message to the cells in the dermis: slow down, we’re fat and happy up here. That causes the cells in the dermis to become lazy, go dormant, and the skin becomes drier, thinner, and less elastic."

However, he clarifies that cremes that "work at the cellular level" and have properties other than pure moisturisation can be used. These include his skin care products (surprise, surprise) which contain retinols, herbal extracts and anti-irritants.

On the one hand - using moisturiser is instinctive...it seems like the first step for keeping wrinkles at bay. Yet Dr. Obagi is a highly respected skin expert - and the skin care systems he created are a favourite of dermatologists and beauty experts. His claims cannot be completely discounted - as he has quite an impressive reputation and strong credentials in his field.

Personally, I'm not sure what to believe...can cells really "become lazy"? Empirically, I've seen that my elderly relatives with the "plumpest" skin, use copious amounts of moisturiser. Furthermore, so many celebs swear by rich moisturisers - such as Creme de la Mer and La Prarie. Yet I keep thinking - if Dr. Obagi's claims were so preposterous, why are "beauty experts" (and I am a novice in this field) buying what he's saying?

Until there is a consensus on the "right" way - I've been keeping my moisturiser use to a minimum. Instead of slathering my face in moisturiser twice a day, I only use a morning moisturiser if I'm going out and need SPF (My face wash is oil-based, so my skin is never dry), while at night, I apply my serum of essential oils.

All quotations are from bellasugar.com


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Online shopping

I've been wanting a canvas tote for a while - they are so practical for travelling. And hubby and I are planning a transatlantic trip soon - so it will be good to have my tote ready to go.

I think the ultimate classic is the LL bean tote - but Lands End are pretty popular too.

After playing around with different combinations on both websites, I chose the Medium Zip Top Coloured Tote Bag in Autumn Orange/Spice Brown from Lands End. The combination reminds me of the Hermes Logo...I hope the colours are as nice in person. Sorry for the small website photos!



Source: Landsend.com

I've been meaning to buy this tote for a while, but just never got around to it. Then I saw this picture today of Gweneth Paltrow travelling with her kids - and I *love* this customised green tote she has for her daughter Apple. It inspired me to get my act together and just order my bag already!

Source: People.com

Monday, September 7, 2009

Timeless classics

I love my Longines Dolce Vita 'Mini' Ladies' watch with its pink face - it is *so* me. I wear it every day. My first choice was a Cartier watch - but they look too bulky on my wrist. The Longines watch is more delicate (and more pink - which is always a plus for me!)





Here is the watch I was initially considering:



And here is another watch that I found - I love the pink - if it was a mini one, I would have wanted it!


The funny thing is, now that I have my Longines watch, I don't want any other watch - as I don't want to switch between watches. I'm loyal like that! I feel the same way about rings and necklaces - I chose them and then wear them all the time.

Luckily - I don't feel that way about handbags - I'll show my collection in another post!

What watch do you wear - and is it your *ultimate* - or are you saving up for something more special? Please link a picture if you can!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

What is your beauty routine?

I've always had blemish prone skin. Luckily, I haven't had severe acne, but I have always had clogged pores, some blackheads and occasional pimples. Over the years, I've tried different routines - which have helped clear up my skin, but after a while, they lose effectiveness.

Here is my current routine - it is working for me for now. I will update if that changes. Burts Bees seems to suit my skin - it doesn't irritate it - and I love how most products are usually at least 95% natural!

AM:

Wash with Burts Bees Orange Essence Facial Cleanser - this cleanser is very oily, which seems counter-intuitive for use on oily skin - but it makes my skin look dewy, eliminates the need for a morning moisturiser, and hasn't clogged my skin up at all.

Source: Burtsbees.com

Use Sonicare toothbrush - is great for removing plaque - I never need to get my teeth scraped during my dental cleanings now. Also, it really whitens teeth. The sonic effect really makes a difference.

Source: Drugstore.com
Apply Clinique SPF 25 moisturizer (if I'm going out) - a friend gave this moisturizer to me. I don't love it, but it doesn't irritate my skin - and I'm just using it up.


Source: Clinique.com
PM:

Wash with Burts Bees Orange Essence Facial Cleanser using Clarisonic face brush - Of course I had to get it in pink! This brush has made a huge difference in my skin. I have very few clogged pores now, and it also makes my pores appear smaller. Even my facialist asked me what I have been using - as my skin is so much better than it used to be. And coming from her (she's very blunt) - that's an honest compliment!

Source: Drugstore.com
Apply Burts Bees Garden Tomato Toner - I use this to remove some of the oiliness of the Orange Essence Cleanser - and it also catches any mineral make up that has been left on my skin.

Source: Drugstore.com

Use Burts Bees Herbal Blemish Stick where necessary - I used to use Juvenil by Yonka - this is way cheaper, and very effective.

Source: Burtsbees.com

Apply Burts Bees Repair Serum with Attar of Rose - I would highly recommend this product - it is full of natural oils that are great for your skin - including rosehip oil and jojoba oil. It is really light, but I feel like it is the most effective moisturizer I have ever used. Definitely *Holy Grail* material!

Source: Burtsbees.com

Dab on Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque on any acne scars - the proactive method recommends using kaolin clay to deal with acne discolouration. This has kaolin clay in it - but the lightening effect is very subtle. I may go back to my Christian Dior clay mask after I finish this.

Source: Drugstore.com

Use Sonicare toothbrush

What is your skin care routine - and what products have you found to be the most effective?

Who are your fashion role models?

I am drawn in by the fashion choices of certain celebs...whether it is their own style, or that of a great stylist, I find myself saving pics...hoping not to replicate their outfits, but use some elements of their outfit - in a combination that is flattering for me.

Here are some of my current faves:

Cameron Diaz - I love her easy laidback style. She wears simple, casual clothes, but she wears them extremely well.


Source: People.com

Nicole Richie - I love her hair and make-up. Her braids look great - both for casual events and in formal buns. Her eyeliner is always applied perfectly. Her clothing style is often "Hippy-chic" - and while I like some elements of her outfits (sandals or jewellery or top), I personally wouldn't try her look from head-to-toe.


Source: People.com

Reese Witherspoon - I love Reese's red carpet looks. Her hair is styled and curled beautifully, and her clothes are lady-like and elegant and also young and fresh.


Source: People.com

Who are your fashion inspirations?

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