Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Outfits and Inspiration Pics

Le Pliage bag, Garage Sweater and Jeggings, Old Navy Scarf and Nine West boots
My Le Pliage bag arrived - and I've been using it non-stop. It's great for my daily needs - small and light, but still enough space for me to fit in my checkbook wallet and stuff in my hat and gloves. Look at how long my hair was getting! I've cut it since (pics at the end of this post).
I picked up this polka-dot ruffled top at Old Navy.  I think it would be lovely in summer - either as a tunic with skinny jeans and a belt, or tucked into a slimline black skirt. I also bought this belt recently (from Garage) - love the colour - now I want boots and a bag in this shade too!
I also picked up this hot pink checked shirt from Old Navy. I love the colour - and how it contrasts with my dark blue jeans. However, I'm not sure if I like the fit and the collar doesn't sit that nicely (I pressed it down for the photo) - so I may return it.

I took some photos of my October and November People Stylewatch magazine (much easier than scanning, though the image quality is not as good). I've posted about my love for this magazine before here
 Love Elle Macpherson's style - very simple and classic - she always looks youthful and amazing.
Kate Beckinsale's casual layers look really comfortable - and the lilac top makes the whole outfit look elegant. I usually always love Kate's hair - but it is curled a little strangely in this pic.
Love how Eric Daman (Gossip Girl costume designer) styled this outfit. I love the shades of green and brown that he used - I'm never usually drawn to this colour combination, but now I want to try it out.
This outfit was put as a "don't", but I think it's so pretty. I like the style of her dress and her thin belt. Also, her hair and make-up are flawless.
Lastly - here's a quick picture of my hair cut - it's really hard to take a self-hair-portrait! I didn't want to lose much length, but my stylist convinced me to part with an inch of my hair, to keep the ends healthy. I mainly wanted to get my layers refreshed - they had gotten too long and were very tangly. Also - I like having shorter layers as it adds volume to my hair - but with longer hair - you have to be careful to NEVER venture into mullet territory!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Barry M make-up

Barry M is one of the make-up brands I fell in love with during my London visit (I mentioned them before here and here). I follow a lot of UK beauty blogs - and have often felt envious that they had access to such high-quality products - at very low (even for drugstore) prices. Their most popular products include: Dazzle Dusts (similar to MAC pigments), Lip Paints, Nail Paints (they have the best range of current shades, including dupes for Chanel's Paradoxal, Jade and Particuliere) and Dazzle Bronzer. Although they have a variety of products that are similar to premium make-up brands, Barry M is not a copycat brand - they are innovative and manufacture a lot of unique make-up (check out their black lipstick and crackle effect nailpolish!)

My Barry M Lip Paints - these are my Holy Grail lipsticks - they are pigmented, long-lasting and don't make my lips peel (I have very sensitive lips that can get irritated and flaky when I wear some lip products). I dab them on over lip balm for a soft stain, wear them straight from the tube or layer them under lipgloss.
Barry M Lip Paints in 53(Coral) and 141(Royal Raspberry)


Since I've returned to Canada - I majorly regretted not picking up more Barry M products - and then I learned from Monica (the lovely blogger behind BeautyParler) - that there was a chance that Barry M might come to Canada!!! I know several popular UK brands have come here like GOSH (not UK-based, but widely available there) and Boots No. 7 - and it would be amazing if we were able to get Barry M here too!

So this is where you guys come in - there is a Facebook group called Get Barry M into Canada. Please click on the link and "Like" the group if you'd like to see their products sold here in Canada! I would SO love being able to get Barry M here - otherwise poor hubby is going to have a long list of make-up to buy on his next visit to London!

I'll leave you with some links to Barry M posts by my favourite UK beauty bloggers:
  • Bubblegarm compares MAC pigments to Barry M dazzle dusts here
  • Bubblegarm compares NARS Laguna to Barry M dazzle bronzer here
  • Yummy Mummy features Barry M Pink Orchid blush here
  • Mouldy Fruit models Barry M Strawberry Ice Cream nail paint here
  • Lollipop26 wears Barry M purple nail paint here
  • Zoella shares her dazzledust collection here
Is Barry M available where you live? Have you tried their make-up? Which products do you love?
    DISCLAIMER: I am not affiliated with Barry M and am not being recompensed to blog about them. I am just a HUGE fan and I would love to have their products available in Canada.

    Tuesday, December 7, 2010

    ELF Studio brush set, Le Pliage bag and Product Review: One 'n Only Argan Oil from Sally Beauty Supply

    I use the original Morrocanoil Treatment - but because it has a glass bottle, I didn't take it on my London trip. Instead I took my One 'n Only Argan Oil Treatment that I purchased from Sally Beauty Supply earlier this year (it comes in a plastic bottle, and was sealed - so I didn't have to worry about it leaking all over my suitcase). Since I used the One 'n Only oil exclusively over 3 weeks, I'm now FINALLY able to review it.
    Price: US$ 7.49 for 3.4oz (MOROCCANOIL is US$ 27.50 for 3.4oz)
    Usage: I use Argan Oil daily. I apply a tiny amount to towel-dried hair to help untangle it, then apply a little bit more to the ends. On days I don't wash my hair, I apply it before combing to undo tangles and prevent hair breakage. I don't usually heat-style my hair, but have heard that this is a great protectant against heat damage.
    Application: This product is thicker than MOROCCANOIL and takes longer to absorb. Upon initial application, it can make your hair look clumpy and oily - you have to keep massaging it into your hair strands. I've found the MOROCCANOIL is lighter, distributes easier, and is better at untangling my hair. I only need a small amount of MOROCCANOIL, whereas I have to apply the One 'n Only oil at least 2-3 times to get the same effect. These products both have a lovely fragrance, although the MOROCCANOIL is sweeter and longer lasting.
    Packaging: As mentioned earlier, the One 'n Only oil comes in a plastic bottle, which makes it more travel friendly than the MOROCCANOIL. I suppose it's possible to decant the MOROCCAN OIL - but it seems like a lot of trouble, and you'd have to be very careful to choose a plastic container that won't leak.
    Ingredients: Both contain "cones". MOROCCANOIL contains more ingredients - including Linseed Oil.  
    (MoroccanOil Ingredients: Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Cyclomethicone, Butylphenyl, MethylPropional, Argania Spinoza Kernal Oil (Aragan Oil), Linseed (Linum Usitatissimum) Extract, Fragrance Supplement, D&C Yellow-11, D&C Red-17, Coumarin, Benzyl Benzoate, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone.
    One'nOnly Oil Ingredients: Dimethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethiconol, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Fragrance (Parfum), Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Yellow 11 (CI 47000), Red 17 (CI 26100))

    Would I buy it again? No. Although MOROCCANOIL costs at least 4x more (depending on where you purchase it), it lasts a LONG time. One 'n Only takes more time and effort to use, and although you'll get a similar result, the extra effort is not worth the savings. Also, I need more of the One 'n Only oil, so 3.4oz of MOROCCAN Oil will last you a lot longer than 3.4oz of One 'n Only oil.
     

    While I was in London, I heard that ELF were offering a 50% discount code - so I used it to purchase the 11 Piece Brush Set from their Studio line - and had a nice package waiting for me when I arrived back in Canada. I'd been reading rave reviews on several of their brushes - and $15 for 11 full-size brushes is an amazing bargain - especially since it includes a travel case. So far I've used the flat top powder brush (for applying liquid foundation with an airbrushed finish), the eyeshadow "c" brush (applies a wash of colour better than my MAC 239 brush) and the small smudge brush (perfect for concealing tiny areas). I'm really happy with my purchase - and can't wait to try out the rest of the brushes. They are really well made - I don't know how they can offer them so cheaply! If you do order from the site - keep in mind that ELF have several different ranges - I can't vouch for all of them - but the Studio line is worth checking out. Also, wait for a special offer - the 50% discounts come around quite frequently.
    I tried on the small Le Pliage bag by Longchamp while walking through duty-free in London. These bags are a common sight - but there is a reason why they are so popular - they fold up perfectly for travel, so you always have an elegant and classy bag. They are also easy to wipe clean. Unfortunately, they didn't have this pink colour in the size I wanted at duty-free - so I didn't get an amazing deal on this bag (I paid US$98 plus shipping and customs rather than £40 at duty-free) . But I know from experience that it's better to pay up and get what you really want, rather than getting a deal and wishing for something different.

    What are your thoughts on Le Pliage bags - do you own one? Have you tried ELF products - what do you recommend? Do you use Argan Oil?


    Disclaimer: I purchased these products myself and was not paid to review them.

    Wednesday, December 1, 2010

    Happy to be home

    We got to see and do a lot of fun things during our London visit - but I'm SO happy to be home, and so grateful that our permanent home is in Canada.
    Hubby was sweet enough to give me his business class bed for the plane ride home!
    I am majorly shopped out! Unpacking is no fun when you're running out of space to put things...I have some serious decluttering to do. Here are the last items I picked up:
    I adore Accessorize - it's one of those stores you walk into - and before you know it - you're at the checkout purchasing items you didn't need - but have to have! Their items are a mix of classic and cutesy - my current favourite is the gold disc necklace - it's an easy layered look (the last 2 items were pictured in  previous posts).
    I didn't buy as many clothes as I expected on this visit. I'm not sure if this was because the current styles didn't appeal to me or because it was too cold to try anything on (I'm used to shopping in malls, not going from store to store right off the streets - gosh I sound like a spoiled teenager!) I picked up these two tunics from New Look - they seem quite unique, and very useful for the holiday season. I plan on wearing the pink dress with a cardigan and tights - either charcoal grey or chocolate brown - am not yet sure what would go better.
    This last picture is a mixture of London purchases and FREE make-up. The 2 lipsticks are Barry M lip paints (in Royal Raspberry and Coral). I'm in love with Barry M products, these lipsticks were under £5 but are so pigmented and moisturising. I also bought the Dior Ultra-Gloss in Twin Set Pink - I don't love it as much as I thought I would, but it works well on top of lipsticks.
    Now on to the free stuff! I won the Balmshell mini-gloss set over at MAKEUP JUNKIE'S blog - so many different shades to experiment with! The Covergirl blush and concealer were sent to me by P&G. I signed up to be on their product review panel (non-blog related) - and was so pleased to be sent these 2 items (they also sent a lot of their bath products). I've raved about my CG blush in Lush berry before - so I'm excited to try out the Plush Peach shade.

    I still have some unpacking and a LOT of jet lag to get over...so that's all for now.

    Sunday, November 21, 2010

    London Part 3

    Here's what I've been up to since I last posted.

    I braved the crowds and went to the flagship Primark on Oxford street - here are some of the items I bought:
    Mulberry blouse (£9), Pink and brown thermal camisole(£6?), black leather gloves (£6) and stripey socks (5 pairs for £2)
    I ended up keeping the hot pink leather gloves from my last post - and also picked up a more sensible pair of classic black gloves.
    I bought a taupe bucket bag (£9) for my sister (since I love my black one so much) and a pink over sized evening clutch for me (£6). Unlike the bucket bag, I think the clutch looks a little cheap in person - but it's a great size and has been useful for this trip. Below are modelling pics with my two Primark bags:
    Hubby took me out on a date to Nobu at Park Lane - where I had the most divine meal ever! Pictured below are the Rock Shrimp Tempura with dipping sauces (all three sauces were AMAZING) and the Chocolate Bento Box dessert (molten chocolate cake with green tea ice cream). We also had Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeno (I could eat this every day for the rest of my life!), Seared Salmon and Tuna salad, and Spicy Salmon and Tuna rolls.
     
    I took my kiddies to the London Museum this week. I've always loved this museum - I love seeing how people used to live in different time periods - and this museum does a fantastic job recreating the sights AND sounds of different eras. I was enthralled by the Blackett Baby House - a doll house from the 18th century. Look at how detailed the bedroom is (I will admit - the doll itself is a little scary!)
    We also took this kids to the English countryside over the weekend - we went to Rye, a medieval town in East Sussex. The bed and breakfast we stayed at was beautiful - and the fresh country air made us so sleepy - we got lots of rest!
    View from our bedroom window
    We had hoped to take the children to ride on the restored Kent & Essex Steam trains - but EVERYTHING is shut in November. Luckily, we read about Drusillas Park in a tourist brochure - not only was it OPEN - but it had a Thomas the Tank Engine ride! My kids love Thomas - so they were very happy!
    Driving on beautiful cobbled streets
    We have one more week left in London - I hope to meet up with some more friends, and then start the monumental task of packing to go back to Canada!

    Tuesday, November 16, 2010

    London Shopping Part 2

    I haven't really bought much since I last posted. Last weekend we spent one day at a shopping complex - but since I had the kiddies with me, I didn't get much. I went to New Look (bought a handbag for my mom) and Primark - and I definitely want to revisit both stores and try on some clothes next time! I also want to go to Dune, NEXT (for kid's clothes) and Miss Selfridges.
    Here's what I bought from Primark - a bucket bag (£9), bedroom slippers (£2) and leather gloves (£7). I love the colour of the gloves, but I might exchange them for a pair WITHOUT holes in them...I was carried away by how cute they look - but it's not practical to have so much of my hand exposed to the cold winter air! I'm LOVING my black bucket bag - bucket bags are very popular this season - and this one is so perfect for walking around London with. It weighs nothing, is very roomy, can be worn cross-body, and fits across stroller handlebars! I may have to pick up a couple more as gifts.
    I also picked up some items from Boots and Accessorize. I bought travel-sized versions of Batiste dry shampoo and L'Oreal Elnett. We have Elnett in Canada, but apparently the UK version is better. I also got some batteries for my curling iron (behind the earrings) and some hand cream - the air here is so dry! I picked up another braided hairband - this one is thicker than my Sephora one - and even more comfortable - I've had it on all day - and didn't even notice it. I love the light blue earrings I picked up from Accessorize (£10) - they are such a pretty shade.

    Round Pond at Kensington Gardens
    I had a really lovely day today with my children revisiting all my favourite places in the Kensington neighbourhood. We started off at High Street Kensington with shawarmas at my favourite Lebanese restaurant. We then walked to the Round Pond in Kensington Gardens - there were ducks and swans and pigeons EVERYWHERE! It was quite chilly, so after walking around the pond, we went down Gloucestor Road (and past my old apartment) to my favourite bakery - and had some delicious Cadbury's Hot Chocolate...it's the perfect antidote to the chilly weather. Tomorrow I'm off to have lunch with a former colleague - and may spend the afternoon clothes shopping on Oxford Street.

    Thursday, November 11, 2010

    London Shopping Part 1

    Shopping in London is so much fun - it's exciting to have access to products that we can't get in Canada. But I have to be careful not to buy TOO much...since we brought a lot of luggage with us. Although I would like every single thing in this picture from NEXT, I had to content myself with a cupcake themed cloth bag!

    I think I'm especially drawn to cheerful prints at the moment, as it helps to detract from the gloomy weather outside (sorry - but the stereotype is true - it is very grey and drizzly here!)
    Here's the cupcake-printed shopping bag I picked up at NEXT. I also picked up some bracelets and a cupcake phone charm from Accessorize - I thought I outgrew my love for "cutesy" things, but I was wrong...I blame it on the weather!

    I picked up this gift set at Sainsburys (a supermarket chain). The bath items look and smell quite similar to Soap & Glory products - to be honest, I'm not really interested in them - I only purchased it for the lovely tote bag. It's the perfect place to stash all my make-up and brushes.
    Here's all the make-up I've bought so far:
    Me Me Me Blush in Rouge - this resembles Benefit's Coralista in packaging and colour. It's not as chalky as Coralista - and much cheaper too. It has been on my wishlist ever since I read this review by Lollipop26.
    Me Me Me Shimmy Shimmers Bronzer in Gold - this was an impulse buy - it is very pigmented and seems like it would be a great highlighter.
    Barry M Lip Paint in Royal Raspberry (141) - another impulse buy - I love the current trend for berry lips - and was attracted to this gorgeous shade. I've already worn it - and I'm in LOVE - the formula is long-lasting, non-drying and VERY pigmented. Also, it wears off evenly and doesn't leave any scary rings around your mouth (unlike my Revlon colourburst lipstick!). I might try out a few more shades in this range.
    Dermablend foundation cream stick and setting powder - These products were on my wishlist after watching Lisa Eldridge's "Acne Covering Make Up" video. I haven't tried them out yet, but apparently they provide professional-strength coverage and are suitable for even the most sensitive skin.
    Simple Eye Make Up Remover - I'd been using Cetaphil moisturiser to remove my eye make up but it was getting too messy. I found this to be very gentle and effective.
    Here's a closer look at the Me Me Me blush, bronzer, and the Barry M lipstick.


    Do you have any other recommendations for must-have London products?

    Monday, November 8, 2010

    Holiday Reading

    We arrived in London today - it's great to be back. The corporate apartment we're staying at is lovely - it's modern and compact but it has everything we need.  The appliances are a bit intimidating - everything is touch screen, including the stove! We've already had some yummy food from Waitrose: Pain au Chocolats, Chocolate Chip Brioches and Freshly squeezed Orange Juice for breakfast; Spinach and Ricotta Tortelloni in Arabiatta sauce for lunch. I guess it's good that I can't find supermarket meals this delicious in Canada - I'd have a hard time sticking to my healthy eating! Since I'm jetlagged and awake, I thought I'd share some of the books that I brought with me to read on this trip:
    The Acne Prescription: The Perricone Program for Clear and Healthy Skin at Every Age - As I mentioned previously, I'm on antibiotics for my skin. However, this feels very unnatural and unhealthy - especially in the long run. I plan on finishing my prescribed medicine, but I'm also going to make dietary changes to help my skin get better. Tomorrow I'm going to try Dr Perricone's 3-day Acne Diet. I will report the results here - and will probably do a more in-depth review of this book soon.
    Shop Your Closet: The Ultimate Guide to Organizing Your Closet with Style Who wouldn't like to have a beautifully organized closet? This book covers clothes maintenance, display and wardrobe advice.Since I'm happiest when my surroundings are neatly organized, I'm hoping this book will help me cultivate an organized wardrobe of classic investment pieces. 
    Lauren Conrad Style I love Lauren Conrad's style: her hair and make-up is always flawless - and her outfits are classic and fresh. Although this book is not ground-breaking (and hasn't received great reviews), I thought it would be a fun read.
    People StyleWatch (1-year auto-renewal) I've written about my love for this magazine before. I love getting this in the mail and can't wait to read this month's issue!
    Grazia - England - I missed reading this - so glad to have access to it again. This week's issue had a fun feature on my favourite guilty pleasure reality show "The Only Way is Essex" (I've been watching it online). I love British magazines with all their free gifts - I'll definitely be purchasing a lot of them on this trip!

    Have you read any of these books? What's your favourite guilty pleasure TV show?

    Tuesday, November 2, 2010

    Sydney Evan Tweet mention!


    You know my new necklace...the one that I just adore? I think that Sydney Evan saw my post about it! A newsfeed retweeted my last post (not sure how that works - I don't use twitter that much) - but look at the part highlighted in pink...a response from Sydney Evan herself!

    It's such a little thing - but it makes me so happy because I'm such a huge fan of her work. It is so exciting to think that the creator of the piece saw it on me! Of course, it could have just been someone from her tech team LOL!

    Saturday, October 30, 2010

    Sydney Evan Necklace and Outfit Planning for My Trip....

    I've been waiting impatiently for my Sydney Evan necklace to arrive - I'm so glad it's finally here! I love delicate jewelry, and Sydney Evan makes beautiful shimmering pieces. Some of her popular creations include evil eye pendants, hamsa charms, and love rings/pendants. I've been admiring her disc necklace for a while - it's a modern design with a classic shape. When I found out that there was a rose gold version - there was no turning back - it had to be mine! Hubby got it for me as a late anniversary gift (our anniversary was a couple of months back - but there was nothing I wanted at the time - shocking, huh?) 
    It feels so light around my neck - which is good, because I don't plan on taking it off! I love the look of rose gold (it's even featured on my engagement ring) - I find the copper finish subtly complements my skin tone.

    I picked up another rose-hued item this week: a draped top from H&M. I wish I had a better place to take outfit photos - as I can never capture the true colour of my clothing - in this picture, my top looks nude-ish brown - but in person, it's much more rosy.
    My current fall jacket is 6 years old (and looking quite worn out), so I picked up this black canvas Old Navy trench coat as a replacement - with their amazing outerwear sale, it only cost around $30!
    Even though we have a week to go before our trip, I've already been putting aside clothes for my trip. Planning in advance is always good - and I still have to pack for the rest of my family! I'm mainly taking sweaters, skinny jeans and boots - but there is a slight chance I'll have to go to some work dinners with hubby. I didn't want to waste precious packing space with too many outfits - so for "dressy clothes" I'm only bringing one pair of dress shoes, 1 pair of dress pants,1 black dress and a couple of light tops and accessories:
    H&M tops (the cream and black ones are more than 5 years old), Forever 21 necklace, JCrew belt, Nine West shoes
    I don't usually wear tights with dresses, but I was inspired by a recent JACOB ad - and thought it would be a versatile winter look. It also meant that I could shop my closet, rather than having to go out and buy something new.
    Lauren by Ralph Lauren dress, JCrew belt, Forever21 necklace, Nine West shoes
    It feels good to have most of my clothes packed - but I still have so much to do before I go!!! 

    Are you planning any trips soon? What type of jewelry do you like? I'd love to read about it in the comments!

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