Friday, January 31, 2014

Birthday Goodies (LV, Tiffany & Pandora) and Recent Outfits

It's not my birthday...it's not even close to my birthday. But looking through my photos folder, I  realized that I never got around to posting my favorite presents from my last birthday. And since I always love peeking at other people's presents, I thought I'd share mine. Better late than never, right?

From Hubby:


Louis Vuitton Monogram Multicolore Canvas Business Card Holder - I needed a slim card holder to use with my smaller bags (for my credit cards/health cards & cash). We were originally looking for this Prada case in pink, but had no luck. Although I'm not always a fan of the LV Multicolore print, I think it's cute in the smaller print used for this case - and who could resist the bubble gum pink interior?

From the kiddies:


Tiffany Bead Bracelet (with pink enamel heart) -  You may have noticed me wearing this bracelet in earlier posts (including my Breakfast at Tiffany's one). I love mixing metals - and adore the combination of the innocent pink heart and the classic silver beads.

From my parents:


Pandora Bracelet - Sadly my Pink Leather Pandora bracelet from 2012 did not survive daily wear (pictured here) so I'm LOVING this silver replacement since it won't deteriorate over time! (Not pictured in this post - the oh-so-cute gifts from my sister - including gorgeous dangly earrings and the pinkest, fluffiest minky blanket in existence!)

RECENT OUTFITS:

Sweater: ZARA girls (similar from GAP), Tank: Phillip Lim for Target, Necklace: J.Crew Factory, Jeans: Garage, Boots: Old Navy (this year's version)

Finally got to wear my only find from the Phillip Lim For Target collection (the asymetrical tank) for a blog-friend coffee date.

Sweater: Garage, Scarf: Forever21 (similar for $12), Jeans: Target (similar), Boots: Old Navy (this year's version)

Nothing cozier than my Forever21 Plaid scarf.

Shirt: H&M, Vest: Old Navy (similar), Necklace: J.Crew Factory, Jeans: Garage, Boots: Old Navy (this year's version)

What I wore when I volunteered for my kids' field trip...copious amounts of coffee were needed!

Shirt: Old Navy, Vest: Express, Necklace: H&M (similar), Leggings: H&M, Boots: Old Navy (this year's version)

From when I wore ALL THE TRENDS in one outfit (i.e. faux fur vest/faux leather leggings/tassel necklace/plaid shirt.) Not my usual comfort zone but a fun experiment!


By the way - if you've ever crushed on Kate Beckinsale's style, don't forget to check out my Steal Her Style post here!!

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


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Five Beauty Tips: Sparkling Teeth, Soft Lips, No-Sock Bun, Perfect Highlight & Thick Lashes

I love discovering and sharing beauty secrets - sometimes a simple change in routine can have a huge impact! Here are five of my current favorite tips:

beauty secrets - thicker lashes, highlights

1) Sparkling Teeth - Changing from manual toothbrushes to electric toothbrushes have made such a huge impact on my teeth. The year I first made the switch (2004) my dental hygienist was amazed at how little plaque built up versus previous visits. Electric toothbrushes (especially Sonic ones) are super efficient because they can thoroughly clean your teeth and gums in a way manual ones can't. Teeth are definitely worth investing in - for health reasons and aesthetic ones - so I'd definitely prioritize buying a good toothbrush over purchasing a whitening kit. My favorite toothbrush is this one - I paid less than $70 for it (on sale) at Target.

2) Soft Lips - I've recently been putting on lipbalm with a q-tip before applying makeup - a trick I picked up from Lisa Eldridge's videos. The q-tip gently exfoliates your lips so that they're smooth and moisturized for any product you want to apply on them.  I tend to use use this technique with my potted lip balms - as I don't really like dipping my finger in the pots anyway.


3) The No-Sock Bun - Anytime you've seen my hair in a bun recently - it's been thanks to this EASY tool - Hot Buns. I've always struggled with sock buns and bun doughnuts because my hair is cut in layers, and it is hard to twist layers into a bun shaper. This product is a soft bendy stick with velcro strips that grip your hair in place. I put my hair in a ponytail, place the stick on top of my loose hair and roll down until I reach the base of my ponytail. Then I clip the 2 ends of the stick together to form a bun, and adjust my hair to hide the clip - SO simple! There's a photo tutorial here (I personally don't think step 5 is necessary). It takes me 3 minutes to do my hair in a bun (with the sock bun, I'd struggle for at least 10 minutes before giving up in frustration!)
 
4) The Perfect Highlight - I've found the perfect product and perfect technique to easily highlight my features on a daily basis. I was inspired by Youtuber sccastenada and use L'Oreal's True Match Super Blendable Crayon Concealer in W1-2-3 as a natural looking highlight. This product is so creamy and easy to apply - pick a shade lighter than your skin tone and color in the areas you want to highlight. This blends like a dream - it just melts into your foundation, leaving you with a gorgeous glow. To see sccastenada's highlighting technique, fast forward to 4.35 in this video. (My variation: I apply the crayon with a lighter hand and use my foundation brush to blend.)

5) Thick Lashes - After wearing waterproof mascara during our beach holiday, I noticed that my lashes became brittle and sparse. Even though I removed my eye makeup gently, some lashes would always fall out. So I started applying Castor Oil to condition my lashes every night (Castor oil is used safely in many cosmetic formulations - including drugstore lash-boosting serums.) While this doesn't magically grow your lashes like Latisse, since adding this step to my nightime routine, my lashes are softer, healthier and thicker. My technique: I transfer this castor oil into a small sterilised bottle. Every night I dip a fresh q-tip in the oil and apply it at the base of my lashes. Then I sweep it on my lashes in the same motions I use when applying mascara. While this tip has really worked for me, please use it at your own discretion: buy a good quality castor oil, be careful not to get any IN your eye and don't double dip your q-tip in the oil!

Hope you liked this post - do you already use any of these tips?

If you're looking for a new crossbody bag, be sure to check out my latest post on Yummy Mummy Club over here:

cross body bags celine, aldo, forever21
Celine / Michael Kors / Forever21 / Coach / Aldo / Phillip Lim

DISCLAIMER: I purchased all the products mentioned above myself (except for the Hot Buns - those were a gift from my lovely sister!)

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

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Fab Finds, Glove Project & Some Exciting News!

I love finding hidden gems at Winners - on my last visit I found this white tray and sparkly candle - just what I needed for my coffee table!

 
I purchased this camisole top during the GUESS winter sale using my $20 giftcard from the #PRESSDAYS event. It will be perfect to layer under a wrap sweater when I'm lounging around the house - a lot more glam than my usual tank tops!


Speaking of lounging around - I was feeling crafty over Winter Break and made these glove animals as New Year's presents for my kids (I confess...the one in the middle is for me!!! Doesn't she look like Hello Kitty?). I followed this tutorial from Martha Stewart - and sewed on buttons and pieces of felt to make the faces. This is a great craft to make - the materials are easy to source (gloves from the dollar store!) and the steps are very simple. It especially helps if you do it in a group/assembly line - my mother, sister and I made 5 of these in total - with my mother on the sewing machine and my sister in charge of stuffing.


And now for my exciting news...you can tell from my blog that I LOVE to shop...so what could be more perfect for me than joining Yummy Mummy Club as their Shopping Blogger? So excited for this new role - check out my first post here.


I'll leave you with 2 recent outfits - with the deep cold setting in, I need all the layers I can get.

Olive & White:
Jacket: Walmart Boys Section (similar), Sweater: Old Navy, Jeans: Garage, Boots: Old Navy (this year's version)

Sequins & Gingham:

Gingham Shirt: Old Navy (similar from GAP), Sweatshirt: Old Navy (similar but $$$ from J.Crew), Jeans: Garage,, Boots: Old Navy (this year's version)



UPDATE:

I also made some POM POM puppies for my kids recently - here's my daughter's puppy. I followed the instructions in this book - luckily all the supplies (except for scissors) came in the kit, so it was really easy to make!






Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Express Haul: Leopard Infinity Scarves & Grey Cowlneck Sweater

I finally tracked down the Coral leopard scarf I'd been dreaming about ever since the Spring 2014 preview.

Express Charcoal Grey Cowlneck Sweater
Express Leopard Infinity Scarves (coral, brown), Charcoal Cowlneck Sweater (similar)

The scarves were on Buy One Get One 50% off, so it would have been rude not to pick up a brown leopard friend for my coral scarf! I love how voluminous they are - I like my scarves to look fluffy, not stringy - and these drape easily and stay 'puffed up' all day. Another lucky find was this classic charcoal grey cowlneck sweater in the clearance section - it was marked down from around $60 to $17.99! I sized up because I wanted a slouchy, over-sized sweater to pair with my H&M faux leather leggings.

Michael Kors Selma
Necklace: H&M (similar), Sweater: Express (similar), Leather-Panel Leggings: H&M, Boots: Old Navy (this year's version), Bag: Michael Kors Selma

I purchased my leather-look leggings from H&M before Christmas, but it took me a while to figure out what to wear them with. I was worried that the faux leather would look too shiny or cheap . However, when they are paired with the right fabrics, they add an interesting texture to a simple outfit. And as a bonus - they're also super warm!

Louis Vuitton Speedy 25
Scarf: Express, Sweater: Old Navy, Jeans: Target (similar), Boots: Old Navy (inspired by these Sorel ones), Bag: LV Speedy 25

I wore my coral scarf on a slushy winter's day (thus the chunky snow boots). I think this coral scarf is my new favorite item - it adds such a pop of brightness to dull winter outfits.

Louis Vuitton Speedy 25
Scarf: Express, Chambray Shirt: Garage (similar), Leather Panel Leggings: H&M, Boots: Old Navy (this year's version), Bag: LV Speedy 25

I paired my classic leopard scarf with a chambray shirt and the faux leather leggings. If I have to recommend one must-have purchase this month, it's this scarf. It's such a classic piece, and everyone needs a little leopard in their life!

Coach Mini Tanner Navy
Scarf: Forever21, Sweater: H&M, Jeans: Garage, Boots: Old Navy (this year's version), Bag: Coach

While we're on the subject of scarves, my Forever21 order arrived - and I absolutely love the plaid scarf. I ordered it recently from the Canadian site but it's not there anymore. They often re-stock popular items - so it may come back. I wish I could say my whole F21 order was successful - but sadly the ruffled tunic (which looked coral in pictures) is actually a garish fluorescent shade...and unfortunately it's final sale! The perils of online sale shopping....

Are you a leopard print fan? Do you own any leopard scarves?

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Sunday, January 12, 2014

An In-depth look at the Henkaa Signature Sakura Dress

The Henkaa philosophy is rooted in sustainable fashion: One high quality dress that can be worn in multiple ways, rather than a dress for every occasion. There's a reason why Henkaa is particularly popular with bridesmaids - it's easy to coordinate colors and find a dress to suit every person in the bridal party. It's affordable, no time-consuming alterations and no neglected dress pushed to the back of the wardrobe after the event!

SHOWROOM & FITTING: 


The Henkaa showroom is located near Yorkdale in Toronto. I visited the store in December, before I took my Henkaa dress on Holiday. Isn't the showroom so elegant and chic? I met with stylists Julie and Ada, who showed me how easy it was to style the maxi dress. (I purchased the matching bandeau because I liked the coverage it added to the dress).


COLORS:
 
If you're unable to make it to the showroom, online shopping is simple. I found the website colors to be VERY accurate - however, you can also request fabric swatches here.


TUTORIALS:
 
Learning how to style the dress is super-easy too. There is a gallery of dress styles (here), with step-by-step videos demonstrating how to create each look. Click the video below to watch a quick summary of 21 ways to style the Henkaa dress in 5 minutes!


STYLES:

The convertible dress comes in 3 different lengths: mini, midi and maxi. The mini can also be worn as a top, while all three lengths can be styled as a skirt. 



THE KATE MIDDLETON CONNECTION:

A lot of the dresses Kate Middleton favors (especially the ISSA ones) have wrap details similar to the Henkaa dress - in fact there are two Kate tutorials on the site! So you can 'copyKate' your own version and look like a princess.


WHAT I'D LOVE TO TRY NEXT:

Here's where I first fell in love with the Henkaa dress - at the #PRESSDAYS event. Aren't the Robin's Egg Blue & Nude Beige such gorgeous colors? I think a Nude Beige mini dress would be lovely in the spring - either worn as a top or paired with black tights and worn as a dress.


NEED MORE STYLING IDEAS?

Henkaa has a style gallery featuring pictures of customers wearing the dress (am so excited to see my photos there too!). You can also see the Henkaa Dress styled by these lovely Canadian bloggers:



View my original post on Henkaa here.


Find Henkaa on: their website / facebook / twitter / youtube.


Henkaa Signature Sakura Dress in Hot Pink
Update - Wearing the Henkaa Dress in Summer 2015


DISCLAIMER: I contacted Henkaa after the #PRESSDAYS event and they kindly provided the dress for this post. I purchased the bandeau top myself.

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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Mad for Plaid, My 1 Resolution & F21 Mini-Haul

This year is off to a freezing start - so I've been adding warmth to my outfits by incorporating plaid shirts & sweater vests:

Plaid:
Louis vuitton speedy 25
Shirt: Old Navy (on sale!), Necklace: Le Chateau, Jeggings: Garage, Bag: LV Speedy 25, Boots: Old Navy (this year's version)

Sweater Vest:

Black Balenciaga City bag
Vest: Old Navy (REALLY old - similar), Shirt: H&M (similar), Jeans: Garage, Boots: Old Navy (this year's version), Bag: Balenciaga City

Instead of facing the cold weather outside, I've been enjoying online shopping - here's my mini haul from Forever21:

High Collar Running Jacket, Classic Plaid Square Scarf, Ruffled Georgette Tunic

Since I'm in love with everything plaid - this grey, red & blue scarf seems like the perfect accessory to pair with warm sweaters - it reminds me of the sold-out ZARA blanket scarf (seen on AP here). I found the peachy-coral ruffled tunic in the SALE section. It's not weather appropriate at all, but this shade isn't always available, so I purchase it whenever I see it.

And the Lululemon-inspired running jacket leads me to my ONLY resolution for the year...rather than focusing on a number of goals (fitness, family, organization), I intend to cultivate one quality that will help me reach ALL of my goals...discipline. Instead of doing what I please, I want to focus on doing what is right...it may not be fun all the time, but it will be worth it in the end.



Are you loving Plaid too? Do you have any New Year's Resolutions?

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Friday, January 3, 2014

Looking Back - Events, Trips, Bags & Friends

2014 started off in my favorite way - surrounded by my dearest family (parents, sister, husband and kids), eating way too much dessert, and lots of hugs and kisses at the stroke of midnight. There is so much I want to achieve in 2014 - but I wanted to start by looking back at all the amazing blog highlights from last year:

EVENTS:

Breakfast at Tiffany's:


 TIFF with L'Oreal:

:

Toronto Fashion Week with Maybelline & Redken:






TRIPS:

South Carolina:


Muskoka:


Turks & Caicos:


BAGS:

LV Neverfull:


Coach Mini Tanner:


Michael Kors Selma:


 Minkoff Mini MAC:

 
FRIENDS:

I've met so many amazing people through blogging - and interacting with YOU has been the best part of blogging. Thank you to everyone who has read/commented/shared my blog posts - you make blogging SO worthwhile :-)


A special thank you to:
- Elaine & Mehreen - love that I can turn to you 2 for behind-the-scenes advice anytime I need it. And SO glad we live in the same city and get the chance to hang out in person too!
- Noelle - You inspire me with your style (twinsies!) and I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate the time you take to consistently comment on my posts - you really are the best!
- Lilly / Skylette / Schnelle - gorgeous ladies - I love our interactions on blogs and Instagram!


And finally - here's to my first best friend. Do you have someone who told you that you were gorgeous when you felt invisible and different from everybody else? Someone who thinks you are amazing and capable of great things? So certain, that you surprise yourself and make their beliefs a reality? A best friend, kindred spirit and soul mate? For me - that person is my sister. I am so blessed to have had her in my life from birth to now. Tomorrow is her birthday and I just wanted to let her know how important she is to me - love you SEESTER!

Looking back, I feel so blessed - here's to an amazing 2014 for all of us!

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