Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Finding Inspiration in Old Magazines + Neon Yellow and Soft Blue OOTDs

My love for People Stylewatch is no secret: I've written countless "Flipping Through" posts. While browsing blogs and Pinterest have eliminated the need for nearly all my other style/design magazine subscriptions - nothing can replace Stylewatch. I even have a hard time recycling old issues because it's always fun to look through them.

I recently found this image in my May 2012 issue - I decided to recreate the *feel* of the pic using clothes I already had in my closet (an H&M shirt from last year and a maxi skirt from 2005!). I loved finding a new way to wear items I already owned - the best type of style inspiration!

Necklace - Forever21. Sorry about the smudge - my kiddy put lipbalm on and kissed the mirror LOL

Reorganizing my closet has really made getting dressed so much more fun - I can actually find & use items I had forgotten about!

 Shirt, Jeans & Belt - Garage, Flats - Old Navy

I enjoy pairing neon yellow and soft blue - it looks so fresh. I've had this H&M neon necklace since last summer - it's fun to wear on its own, but I also think it would  be a great candidate for layering with other statement necklaces.

Shirt & Necklace - H&M; Jeans - Old Navy; Sandals - F21, Watch - La Mer (similar style), Bag - LV Speedy 25

Where do you get most of your style inspiration from - blogs, magazines or Pinterest? Do you enjoy wearing maxi skirts?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Contest Winner: Skip N Whistle Anchor Tank

Thank you so much for entering the Skip N Whistle Anchor tank contest - I loved reading your entries and got so many new outfit ideas - I even made an inspiration board based on reader suggestions!


I used random.org to pick the winner:



Congratulations MomsMakeupStash - I hope you love your anchor tank as much as I love mine! Please check your inbox as I've sent you an email.

To all my other readers - thank you so much for participating. Please stay tuned, I have another giveaway coming up in the next 2 weeks!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Peek Inside My Walk-In Closet & Organization Tips

I've been planning a closet/organization post since last year...but my closet is a work-in-progress, and it always seems like I'm waiting for that last piece to tie the whole thing together. So instead of waiting until everything was *perfect*, I decided to share my closet as it is now - and update in the future as necessary!


My walk-in closet is located in a corner of the master bedroom. Here's a slightly distorted and fuzzy stitched-together picture showing a complete overview:


One of my major challenges was organizing my shelving unit so that my most-used items were at hand and easy to access. Canadian Tire came to the rescue - I found $1 clear plastic shoe boxes there. Not only do they keep my shoes tidy, they're also great for storing makeup and other small bits.


Shelf contents (top-to-bottom):

1st row - Overnight bags & larger handbags
2nd row - My designer handbags in their dustbags. Currently shelved in a repurposed shoe rack
3rd row - Toiletries, handbag essentials & wristlets/cross-body bags
4th row - (shown twice in the pics) My scarf collection & super-tall ZARA heels
5th row - Accessories & boxes filled with extra make-up, tights, belts and jewelry
6th row - My most-worn shoes


Choosing outfits is SO much easier now that I can see everything I own. I did a major closet purge: I donated unwanted clothes to charity and moved all my warmer pieces (sweaters & jackets) to the spare room closet. I'll rotate them back in and switch out my summer clothes when the weather gets colder.

Top Row (left to right):
- Dresses
- Long-sleeve button-down shirts
- Short-sleeve button-down shirts
- T-shirts
- Light-weight cardigans
- Sleeveless tops

Bottom Row (left to right):
- Dressy tops
- Light-weight jackets & blazers
- Jeans & jeggings (2 per hanger)


There are several techniques and products that have made organizing my closet easier:

1) Rolling my scarves - my preferred method of storing scarves. It's much easier & quicker than hanging them or folding them PLUS I can see them all at a glance.
2) Specialty hangers - slim felt hangers to maximize space, loop hangers for my belts & pant hangers for my jeans - all purchased for a bargain at Winners/TJ MAXX.
3) Jewelry organizer - another Winners/TJ MAXX find. Necklaces are an essential part of my daily outfits: having them in clear pockets in front of me makes it super-easy to pick out the perfect one.
4) $1 shoeboxes - Easy to see what's inside. I can choose the box I need and easily remove it. I can configure them any way I need to fit in my shelving space.

BEFORE & AFTER:


The key phrases driving my closet organization were "easy to access" and "simple to maintain". I love walking into my closet and picking out all the different elements for my daily outfit. Although there is room for improvement, it feels really peaceful and tidy inside.

Look what I found at the back of my closet - a 3-year old forgotten maxi dress that was perfect for today!


Oh - and in case you're wondering where hubby keeps his clothes since I took over the walk-in...don't worry! We designed a 3-door floor-to-ceiling PAX unit to hold all his clothes - and he has more than enough space for all his things :-)

How do you keep your closet organized? I'm always looking for new tips & tricks!

Don't forget to enter my Anchor Tank giveaway here.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Summer Staple: Skip N' Whistle Anchor Tank - Giveaway!

I've really been loving my Skip N' Whistle Nautical Anchor Tank - the bold graphic print makes it a statement piece, and it's made of the SOFTEST cotton ever! Skip N' Whistle specializes in screen-printing graphics on American Apparel tri-blend tops, and their products have been featured on People.com and Fab.com.

This tank has been on repeat in my wardrobe - it instantly brightens up a casual outfit.


Cardigan & Jeans: Garage
Watch: Target

I love how it looks when paired with camo jeans and a gold necklace.


Jeans: Garage
Necklace: Banana Republic (similar)
Sandals: Payless

If you love this anchor tank as much as I do - today's your lucky day! Skip N' Whistle have generously offered to send an Anchor Tank to one of my readers!


Contest open to ALL my followers: Entering this contest is easy - just fill in this Rafflecopter form.
Contest ends on July 26.

PLEASE NOTE: You MUST complete the first 3 options listed to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Disclaimer: The Anchor Tank was sent to me by the company, but I truly love it! It's great quality at a reasonable price point.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Summer Purchases: Wardrope Staples, Designer Dupes & Casual Tops

I love Express Portofino shirts - my black & white contrast trim version (last seen here) is SO easy to take care of - it drapes beautifully and requires no ironing. After seeing the Warm Stone color on Noelle, I was inspired to pick up a few more shirts for myself.

Express Portofino Shirt in Soft Ivory

I bought the Warm Stone and Soft Ivory versions. They were a bit pricey, but Express is currently running a promotion: if you buy 2, the second costs $29.90. I think these tops are wardrobe staples - they can be dressed-down with jeans, or paired with a pencil skirt (saving for this) and heels for a more elegant look.

outfits for summer

These H&M tops are more comfortable than stylish, but I think they're perfect for wearing while lounging around with my family this summer. I have a hard time resisting pink gingham, and I loved the vintage-y rose print of the graphic tee.

Forever21 Free Spirit Pendant Necklace

I adore my Forever21 designer shoe dupes (as seen here), and these Edgy Studded Thong Sandals remind me of the Balenciaga Arena Studded Flat sandals - except the studs are smaller...and they're $17 rather than $500+!!!! I've been looking for an oversized turquoise pendant for a while, and I'm so glad Forever21 finally restocked their Free Spirit Pendant Necklace - it's the perfect accent piece for the summer.


My HG thermal spray (posted about here) was on sale, so I stocked up, and was super-happy to be given a gift-with-purchase when I checked out. I received a hot pink toiletry bag, mini-thermal spray (love the teeny size - perfect for my travel bag), a mask and cream.

I'll end with 2 recent OOTDs:

casual summer outfit
Top: J.Crew
Jeans: Target
Shoes: Aeropostale (similar)
Necklace: Forever21 (similar)

longchamps le pliage bag small pink
Top: H&M
Jeans: Garage
Shoes: Sam Edelman
Watch: La Mer

Have you tried the Express Portofino shirt? What are your recent summer purchases?

DISCLAIMER: I purchased all these products myself.

Friday, July 12, 2013

My Updated Skincare Routine (& why a $1 washcloth is more effective than the Clarisonic!)

My approach to skin care has gone through some major changes this year - and my skin is SO much happier because of it. Although it is still acne-prone, it feels glowing and smooth, not irritated or fragile.

The major source of these changes is Caroline Hiron's amazingly informative skincare blog (here are my 2 favorite posts - Acne & Routines). Although some of the products she mentions aren't easily available in Canada, the guidelines she provides are universally applicable.  She emphasizes that acne-prone skin should not be treated like an enemy that needs to be dried out - but rather, nursed with moisture and care, to bring it back to health. She advocates the use of balm cleansers and hot washcloths for cleansing - this deep cleaning lifts off sebum, sunscreen and makeup - reducing your chances of clogged pores and blemishes.

My current skincare routine:

Kiehls Avocado Eye Treatment, Sprectrojel

Apply SpectroJel and remove with a warm washcloth (rinse and repeat 3 times). Pour ProActiv toner on a cotton pad and spread all over my face, concentrating on blemished areas (the glycolic acid exfoliates and fades scars.) Finish off with Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture on my face and Kiehls Creamy Avocado Treatment on my eyes. Apply sunscreen if I'm going outdoors (I use the Vichy one on my arms & neck, my facial sunscreen is by Neutrogena).


Apply Clinique Take off the Day Balm, gently massaging into my eye area to lift off liner & mascara. Then I rub it in circles over the rest of my face to remove foundation and blush - paying special attention to areas prone to clogged pores (my cheeks & forehead). Rinse off with water. Put Spectrojel all over my face, rinse off with water and use a warm washcloth to deep clean all the product off. Spray Avene Thermal Water (*not pictured* - I've tried other thermal waters and they don't seem to have the same effect. This soothes and heals my skin and restores its pH balance). Apply  Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture on my face and Kiehls Creamy Avocado Treatment on my eyes. Use Tactuo on acne-prone areas (this prescription cream contains benzyl peroxide and a form of retinol). I sometimes use a Kaolin clay mask like this one as a spot treatment.

Why a washcloth is better than the Clarisonic:

I was an early convert to the Clarisonic - I purchased mine in 2009 and have used it regularly since then (changing brush heads several times a year). It has some benefits - it removes all traces of makeup from my skin and prevents blackheads.

However, using a warm washcloth morning and night to cleanse has improved my skin in a way that the Clarisonic never did. The washcloth retains heat and gently deep cleans my skin while unclogging any congestion. It leaves my skin feeling plumped up and glowing.

I've gone from using the Clarisonic every night, to twice a week. Despite all of its sonic & deep-cleaning properties, I no longer think the Clarisonic is a necessity - but I'm HIGHLY dependent on my cotton washcloths (I picked up a HUGE stack at Costco so that I can wash and change them frequently).



Here's a picture of my cheek, taken this morning. Although there is acne scarring, you can see there is a HUGE difference from its condition this time last year.

Right now, I'm focusing on keeping it clear, but eventually I want to address the pigmentation and scarring. For that, I plan on using SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF. This highly rated antioxidant serum contains topical Vitamin C which reduces hyperpigmentation and improves skin texture. I will definitely post an update on how this product works on my skin.

SkinCeuticals Sunscreen


Do you still use a Clarisonic? Do you find it effective?


DISCLAIMER: The Phloretin CF was provided to me by SkinCeuticals upon my request. The Vichy sunscreen was sent to me for consideration, but my opinions are 100% my own.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

What's in my Beach Bag & Monthly Must-Reads

Question of the month from Kristen: What are your beach bag essentials?

The perfect question for July...especially for me as we're off to the beach this weekend!



Bag: Lands End
Water Bottle: Bubba (LOVE this brand so much - my model has a flip-up straw and keeps water so cold that ice cubes stick around for hours!)
Facial Sunscreen: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Water Light Sunscreen SPF 60 - (love it because I can use it daily without breaking out. Also works as a great pre-foundation primer! Not sure if it has the same name in the US but the packaging is identical to this one.)
Lip Sunblock: Vichy Lip Protection Stick SPF 30 (so important to protect your lips from getting burnt!)
Lip Gloss: Revlon Super Lustrous Lipgloss in Pink Pop (love this whole range of glosses - super high-end quality at drugstore prices!)
Body Sunscreen: Vichy Capital Soleil SPF 60 (glides on SO smoothly! Leaves skin moisturized and NO white-ish cast)
Reading Material: My favorite magazine - Stylewatch!

And here's what I'll be wearing:


Hat: Target (similar for $7.50)
Flip flops: Old Navy
Swimsuit: Old Navy (control max one piece *aka spanx in a suit* at a bargain price - perfect for me!)
Cut-offs: Old Navy
Cover-up: Winners/TJMaxx (similar)

Happy 4th of July to my US readers!!! What are your beach bag essentials?





DISCLAIMER: The Vichy Lip & Body sunscreens were sent to me for consideration - but I use them constantly and truly love them!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Four OOTDs and Some Arm Candy

Hope my Canadian readers had a lovely Canada Day! Our family had a great time - we ate from food trucks, attended live music shows and finished off the day with an amazing display of fireworks - I LOVE Canada! Here's my patriotic Canada day outfit:


Shirt - Aeropostale
Jeans - Garage
Flats - Old Navy

Here's the outfit I wore on a recent date night with hubby - we went to a Murder-Mystery dinner theater. We had SUCH a fun time - especially because it's not something we'd usually go to (the tickets were a gift from my Aunt).


Shirt - ZARA
Jeans - Garage
Necklace - H&M (J.Crew original here
Shoes - Forever21
Clutch - ALDO

Here's an outfit I wore to hubby's co-worker's BBQ - most people were coming straight from work, so I didn't want to dress too casually.



Shopping OOTD (don't mind the smudged changing room mirror!)


Shirt - Forever21
Jeans - Garage

Arm Candy #1 - while I was waiting to meet hubby downtown, I picked up this pink charm bracelet from a random accessories store - I loved the silver hamsa charm and adorable elephant bead!



Arm Candy #2 - I finally got the chance to wear the La Mer watch I picked up on our last US trip - love how easy it is to get the layered look with just one piece!



To all my American readers - hope you have an enjoyable 4th of July celebration!

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