Fawning Over Gentle Fawn

Take one part sailor chic, combine it with Zooey Deschanel's quirky feminine look from 500 Days of Summer, and add a dash of classic cool. The result? The pieces I'm coveting from Gentle Fawn's spring/summer 2010 collection. The navy shirtdress is a no-brainer; I've had shirtdresses on my mind for some time now and the pleats and tucks in this one are girly without being saccharine. Rounding out my wishlist are a filmy white button-down shirt tunic, a sweet nautical-inspired sundress, cuffed and tailored shorts, and a pinstriped romper. It's what I'd love to live in this summer for strolls on the seawall, picnics on the beach, or window-shopping along Main Street with an iced latte in hand. But hey, I'd also settle for having a couple days off to lounge around the house and enjoy the dappled sunshine like the lookbook models seem to be doing!

Full Disclaimer/Contest Announcement: This post is my entry in the Blog-a-Fawn contest that Gentle Fawn is running. The top prize is a $300 Gentle Fawn wardrobe. If you're interested in entering as well, the details are in the flyer below (click to enlarge). Good luck!


From Solo Lisa's Kitchen: Baked Salmon

My cooking resolution has hit a bit of a rut lately. I keep getting stuck for ideas of which recipe I want to make next, and consequently I keep making the same thing several times before I move on to the next recipe. After the improvised udon noodle soup, I roasted more chicken for a bit until I decided to tackle salmon.

Like the udon, I didn't go at it with a set recipe, but this time the results were much tastier. I sprinkled salt and pepper on the salmon filets, and combined melted butter, dill, and chopped garlic into a sauce and poured/brushed it on the top. Then I laid thin lemon slices on top. I sprinkled salt and pepper and brushed olive oil on the veggies as well. The salmon filets only took 20 minutes to cook to perfection, but the potatoes and zucchini had to stay in the oven for another 30-40 minutes.

What dishes do you like making? Any ideas or suggestions about what I should try cooking next?

Featured On Discovering Elegance

A little while ago, gorgeous blogger chellemorgan contacted me with an interview request for her blog Discovering Elegance. She was so sweet and charming and such a joy to talk to. The interview along with the beautiful photos Chelle took of my outfit are now up. Click here if you want to find out about where I went to school (and what I studied), my regular fashion staple, which film character's wardrobe I'm coveting, and other fun facts. Thanks for the fantastic profile, Chelle, and to my readers, I hope you enjoy reading it!

Product Review: myfaceworks Paper Facial Masks

Have you heard of or tried paper face masks? If you're clueless about them, you're not alone: Until the publicist for myfaceworks contacted me, I was pretty ignorant about them too. Paper face masks are basically a facial in a packet: they're fibrous masks soaked in serum or solution which you unfold and place on your face for the specified time. After you're done, you peel the mask off and dispose of it, then massage any leftover serum/solution into your skin.

Paper face masks are quite a popular beauty trend in Asia, but myfaceworks is the first beauty line purely dedicated to them. MFW has 12 masks in all, each designed to address a different concern: wrinkles, the undereye area, inflammation, dryness, etc. They sent me an assortment of masks to try and review:
  • The 'i need to open my eyes' revitalizing eye mask was very soothing. The first time I tried it I was perky and well-rested so I didn't see much of a difference, but the second time I used it I noticed a marked difference in my undereye circles and puffiness.
  • After using the 'i need to be firm' collagen boosting mask, my skin felt tighter and firmer immediately, although the results didn't seem to last beyond the day I used it. I'm not sure how effective repeated use of this mask would be in plumping the skin.
  • The 'i need a quickie' pre-makeup express mask was probably my least favourite of the bunch. The instructions tell you to leave the mask on for the same amount of time as a normal mask--I fail to see what's so "quick" about it. Also, the mask's scent reminded me of sandalwood (which I'm not usually a fan of).
  • However, the 'i need to heal' aloe vera mask was my hands-down favourite. Talk about a godsend for parched winter skin. The aloe vera instantly cooled and quenched my skin on contact, and after leaving the mask on for the specified amount of time my face felt a lot softer. The moisturization effects lasted all week. If you experience problems with dry skin in the colder months, I recommend stocking up on the aloe vera masks and doing a facial once a week.

My overall impressions of the entire myfaceworks line were:
  1. The individual facial packets would be great for travel. There's no mess and you can pack one to unwind in your hotel with after you've reached your destination. Perfect!
  2. All the masks were cool and soothing to the touch and left my skin feeling smoother. It was a very luxurious feeling to lie back with a book or magazine and a mask on and just take 20 minutes to relax.
  3. Kudos to myfaceworks for making the masks out of biodegradable materials such as silk and cellulose.
  4. At $40-60 Cdn for a boxed package of 3-6 masks, the masks work out to be $6.66-16.66 per use with most masks being $10 per use. It's inexpensive compared to professional facials, but if you're used to purchasing liquid or clay face masks for at-home pampering, the prices are quite a bit higher.
  5. I'm definitely ordering the aloe vera masks to get me through the coming winter.
Have you tried myfaceworks or any other brand of paper face masks? What types of skin concerns do you use them for? Do you use any other types of face masks in your skincare regimen?

Update: Since I've been getting comments asking where to purchase these masks and assuming they're not available in North America, I should clarify that MFW is indeed available in North America and you can buy them directly from the website.

Today's Outfit: Think Pink

I love pairing fuchsia with black, white, or gray as a bright accent colour. I wore this combination a while ago as a "lazy day" outfit on one of those blustery early spring days that makes you feel as though winter will never end. The hat did a great job of disguising a bad hair day and keeping my hair in place when it was windy. Since then, the weather has thawed considerably and there's no need to wear three layers at once anymore. Now if only the temperature will rise to the point where I can start thinking about cuffed high-waisted shorts, sandals, and pedicures...
  • Fuchsia cardigan (Banana Republic)
  • Tunic sweater (H&M)
  • Camisole (Zara)
  • Leggings (American Apparel)
  • Boots (Miz Mooz)
  • Hat (Edie Hats)

SATC Tour Tix Giveaway Winner & Random Friday Tidbits

First things first! The winner of my SATC tour tix giveaway (chosen randomly) is:

All eligible contestants had to leave a comment saying which SATC character they resembled most. Kb's response was: "I would love to win as I'm in NY atm! I think I'm a Carrie, due to her eclectic dress sense and analytical nature." Congratulations! I'll be emailing you very shortly with details on how you can claim your prize.


Now, on to an announcement pertinent for my Vancouver readers: Yaletown Fashion Day is happening tomorrow from 11am to 6pm at the Yaletown Galleria (1058 Mainland St.). A $10 ticket will get you 50% off beauty services (makeup application, eyebrow shaping, blow dry, manicures), complimentary refreshments, a gift bag, and a chance to win some cool door prizes. Check out their website for more info.


And finally, gorgeous blogger Fur Elisse gave me this Sunshine Award. Thanks Elisse!

The award came with these rules:
  1. Put the logo on your blog or within your post.
  2. Pass the award on to 12 bloggers.
  3. Link to the nominees within your post.
  4. Let them know they received this award by commenting on their blog.
  5. Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award.
And now I'm passing the award on to these wonderful bloggers:
  1. Already Pretty
  2. BonBon Rose
  3. Daddy Likey
  4. (Into) the Fray
  5. Kage
  6. La Mimi
  7. Savvy Mode
  8. Sugar Lotus
  9. I'm the It Girl
  10. Le Mode du Jour
  11. Haus of Hybrid
  12. Saturday Jane

I guess I'll wrap things up by wishing everyone a happy Friday! What are you up to for the weekend?

Product Review: L'Oreal Lash Boosting Serum

After testing a bunch of high-priced mascaras, I was ready to move on to excellent drugstore ones (hello, Cover Girl Lash Blast Length) and away from those that promised a lot and failed to deliver. It was around this time that a publicist from L'Oreal contacted me about trying their new L'Oreal Lash Boosting Serum.

The first such serum to be available at the drugstore level, L'Oreal Lash Boosting Serum boasts a pro-keratine, pro-peptide, pro-vitamin B5 formula that also contains the amino acid arginine. In other words, it contains ingredients that help lashes grow thicker and longer by infusing them with good stuff. To achieve optimal results, it's recommended that you apply the serum in the morning before putting on mascara and then at night before you sleep. Sweep the applicator on your lashes, then use the tip to swab the upper lash line.

The publicist sent me three full-size tubes of the serum. Because I received so much product, for this review I decided to pass on the other tubes to friends Aliza and Cwangdom to test. Here are our impressions of the product in a nutshell.

Aliza: I'm not a creature of habit so throwing a lash serum into my routine every night was challenging. Needless to say, I didn't use it every night as instructed. The upside is I think I still saw a slight difference in my lashes after a few uses. They were slightly darker and seemed fuller. However, this product stings if you get it on your lash line and anything burning around my eye is a turn off. Plus the serum is pretty thick. Once applied, it makes your lashes seem like you've done too much crying, so going out before it dries is not recommended.

Cwangdom:I noticed that my lashes appeared to be slightly thicker/fuller but not longer, shinier or darker. It takes a little while to add it into the routine. I was applying the serum every day after I curled my lashes and under my mascara in the morning. I found that when I put on the serum it pretty much cancelled out using the eyelash curler, which was annoying. I didn't like using it at night because I would wake up with dry clumps of stuff on my lashes--not the most lovely sight. It seems like the serum is more like a glorified clear brow/lash gel. I wouldn't continue using this product as the results weren't worth it. I'd rather just use the eyelash curler and mascara.

My Take: Like Aliza, I found that L'Oreal Lash Serum did sting a bit when it got in the eyes. After trying to use it as a mascara primer once and finding the product too sticky and clumpy, I gave up. (Kudos to Cwangdom for persisting.) Instead, I only applied the product at night. Like Cwangdom, I noticed that it left whitish clumps on my lashes in the mornings but they came off pretty easily when I washed my face. After 4-6 weeks, I did notice that my lashes appeared thicker, longer, and darker. The results weren't as noticeable as what you'd achieve with makeup, extensions, or false lashes.

All in all, I'd say give this product a try if you're curious. At roughly $13 Cdn, you don't have much to lose, but results aren't guaranteed. I also suspect they aren't as dramatic as what you'd get with a prescription product like Latisse.

Have you tried L'Oreal Lash Boosting Serum? Do you use any other products on your lashes?

Tomorrow is the last day to enter my Sex and the City tour tix giveaway! I'll be drawing a winner at 12pm Pacific time. Have you entered yet?

It's Craft Fair Season!

Spring always brings with it a slew of fun craft fairs. If you're looking for something to do on the first weekend of May, mark these events on your calendars.

Make It! Vancouver
When: Saturday May 1 (11am-7pm) and Sunday May 2 (11am-6pm)
Where: Croatian Cultural Centre
Fee: $5 (but a $2 discount is available on their website)

Got Craft?
When: Sunday May 2 (10am-5pm)
Where: Royal Canadian Legion (2205 Commercial Drive)
Fee: $2 (but kids 10 and under are free)

Only 3 more days left in my Sex and the City tour tix giveaway! Have you entered yet?

Shirtdresses, My New Obsession

Since purchasing my shirtdress last month, I've become obsessed with the look to the point of contemplating another one. Although they're ubiquitous this season and lots of options exist at every price point, a good shirtdress is hard to find in my experience. My ideal version would walk the fine balance between masculinity and femininity, and be loose-cut enough to remind me of a men's shirt but figure-flattering so as not to dwarf me. Then there's the pattern, colour, detailing, buttons...the list goes on. While I'm a long way from finding the next one, I did find a few for us to ogle. Enjoy!

All Seasons shirtdress (Anthropologie), $118 Cdn. White and semi-sheer with ruffles and pleats, this dress is feminine without being over-the-top girly--just the way I like it.

BB Dakota Rhea Self Embellished Dress (Urban Outfitters), $68 US. The hue and hemline make this shirtdress true perfection.

Shore Leave dress (ModCloth), $47.99 US. The cuffed sleeves, embroidery, and military styling of this shirtdress set it apart from all the others.

Eliza J belted stretch cotton shirtdress (Nordstrom), $128 US. The ruffles! The bow sash! The pleats! The bright yellow colour!

Are you a fan of shirtdresses? How do you like wearing this look? What's your ideal shirtdress style?

Only 4 more days left in my Sex and the City tour tix giveaway! Have you entered yet?

Today's Outfit: Stripes On Stripes

At the Noir Lash Lounge party, photographer Darryl Humphrey complimented my outfit and asked what inspires me to put things together the way I do. Like a lot of fashion bloggers, I think my inspiration comes from a mishmash of magazines, street style websites, blogs, and people-watching. Most days I get dressed according to a certain mood, what the day holds for me, or what I think the weather will be like. (Getting caught in the rain without boots is never fun.) But sometimes I get an idea in my head and it won't let me out of its grasp. After I bought this striped shirt, the idea of mixing different stripes entered my thoughts and never left.

So I did it. Was it my most flattering, winsome, adorable outfit? Probably not. But it made me feel really happy to wear it and exorcise the thought out of my system, and that was what counted that day.
  • Striped top (H&M)
  • Skirt (Francis)
  • Tights (H&M)
  • Shoes (from London)
  • Swear rings (Wendy Brandes)
Your turn now! What inspires you to dress the way you do each and every day?

La Femme Networking Event

It's a typical drizzly Saturday in Vancouver and I'm here at JC Studio, live-blogging and live-tweeting the La Femme networking event co-organized by Diamonds In The City and Operation Style! The weather outside may be less than satisfactory, but the atmosphere inside JC Studio is warm, bright, and extremely fashionable. The event organizers are getting some last-minute details arranged and there's a definite energy in the air. I'll be posting party photos and updates here and live-tweeting as I go along this evening, so if you're spending a quiet night in I invite you along with me. Enjoy!

7:19 pm: JC Studio is packed! Everyone looks quite stylish and conversation is flowing. A cluster of very fashionably dressed girls is chatting just over my left shoulder. I've been busy going around talking to vendors and taking party photos. They'll be uploaded very shortly...

7:27pm: Two ladies were just talking about having their nails done over my shoulder. And I'm still uploading photos. Sometimes it's tough being a live blogger. :/

7:34pm: Round 1 of photos!

Anne Carson was just one of several jewelry vendors present. She specializes in eclectic jewelry composed of sterling silver components and semi-precious stones.

RozeMerie Cuevas, the designer behind Jacqueline Conoir and the owner of JC Studio, poses next to some of her beautiful creations. (And yes, she's wearing her own design.)

Heather of up-and-coming beauty business Luxe Beauty Lounge was one of the businesses in the Spa Room at the La Femme event which offered mini beauty services onsite. Luxe is a mobile spa and specializes in throwing pampering parties--great idea for a bridal shower or party.

The front desk at JC Studio was manned by the most stylish crew! Carolina of the blog Closet Full Of Nothing is standing on the far right.

With Mandy Wong, one of the event organizers

8:03pm: Ack, web browser crashed!

8:10pm: Okay, let's try this again. Photos, round 2 (or is it 3?)...

Erin Gee of Define Magazine and Dammy of Reach Magazine

Okay, I need to go back to Elysha Low of Lysh & Lo and see if the gold bead/link bracelet is still there.

Kathy Lee of Modest Goddess hasn't been in jewelry design for long, but she learns fast: Everything she picked up about metalsmithing and working with sterling silver and semi-precious stones was learned from friends. "When you're motivated, you learn pretty quickly," says Kathy. Her jewelry line is lovely, but these pieces made of vintage components sourced from 1940s and 1950s Toronto are particularly eye-catching.

Vivian Ko of Wink Beauty Lounge was present along with her in-house line of cosmetics, false lashes, and complimentary 5-minute makeup touch-ups.

8:28pm Yay, the Lysh & Lo bracelet was still there! I just bought it; expect to see it in an upcoming outfit post. I think that's it for me as far as live-blogging at La Femme goes--I've got to run and meet the boy for salsa dancing. A big thank-you to the event organizers for inviting me along!

VFW FW 2010: Drew William

Of his fall/winter 2010 show, Central Saint Martins (London) graduate and designer Drew William said, "I was inspired by the paintings of Eugene Delacroix, specifically Liberty Leading the People and the collection evolved organically from that point." Perhaps it was the tones and colours of Delacroix's paintings and the draping of his subjects' garb that caught William's eye, because apart from those elements I saw little of the famous painter's influence in the collection.

Instead, William's show was equal parts drama and fashion, eerie and memorable. Models with ship-festooned hair and blood-red eye makeup made their way down the runway with the stiff, slow gait of the walking dead. Clothes ranged from preppy classics such as a rugby shirt and a gray peacoat for men, to an avant garde lightweight trouser with pant legs that cocooned around limbs. Women's dresses were asymmetrical and draped.

My favourite piece used feathers trapped between a layer of black mesh and nude material to add volume and movement. This dress was a true show-stopper. The pleated black mesh formed interlocking lines across the bodice and skirt, and the feathers along the hem made it seem heavy and light all at once.

Overall, the show reminded me of horror movies and ghost ships more than French Romantic paintings. But that's okay; sometimes you don't have to understand fashion to appreciate its artistry.

All runway photos by Wayne Mah.

P.S. Don't forget about my Sex and the City tour tickets giveaway! Remember that the tickets don't expire, so even if you're thinking about going to New York you should go for it. Click here for the full rules and to enter. Good luck!

VFW FW 2010: Retarded Velvet

When I first heard about fledgling label Retarded Velvet and its debut at Vancouver Fashion Week, my reaction was something like "Huh?! That name can't be right." After all, it was hard to reconcile such a name with the design duo behind it. Theresa James ("Holiday") and Roger Prince ("Capital") graduated from Blanche Macdonald with honours and thought-provoking grad collections. She's a former human rights lawyer for the UN, he has a background in home renovation and interior design. I still remember how well-spoken and intelligent Theresa was when I interviewed her for Vancouver Fashion eZine last year.

The name may have been an unexpected shock, but I'm pleased to report that Retarded Velvet's debut collection has Theresa and Roger written all over it. Its aesthetic is thought-provoking,'80s-inspired, eclectic, and exuberant--or "Rick James in Rajasthan, Grace Jones in Goa," as the designers put it.

Drawing on a colour palette of fuchsia, purple, yellow, and black, the clothes were full of unexpected surprises that demonstrated the designers' attention to detail. I loved the risks they took with construction techniques and asymmetry. Pleated puffs usually seen on shoulders graced the hips of skirts and bottoms. Insets in contrasting fabrics appeared on bolero jackets and trousers. Jumpsuits have become trendy and somewhat ubiquitous in the last few seasons, but RV's version looked fresh with its jodphur bottom. My favourites were the sheath dress with black insets, the skinny trouser with ruched insets, and the dress with a floating yoke neckline.

Regarding Theresa's grad collection, I wrote for Vancouver Fashion eZine: "James's graduate collection was inspired by the notion of parallel universes and re-examining the ordinary: 'I wanted to take really conventional fashion elements and use them in an unconventional way.' Thus a pair of yellow pants unexpectedly becomes a halter top, dozens of zippers merge into a voluminous green skirt, and the human torso is deconstructed into a sleeve, a bra top, and a corset which can be worn together or separately." These same deconstructionist tendencies were apparent in the one-sleeve jackets. One particularly stunning number had a black-and-white pattern on top and a yellow lining. One side of the jacket was a typical bolero, while the other side had a full-length ruffle cascading down the torso.

If the pieces presented on the runway are anything to go by, Retarded Velvet was a smart move for Theresa and Roger. Congratulations to the talented pair on a stellar debut collection.

All runway photos by Wayne Mah.

P.S. Don't forget about my Sex and the City tour tickets giveaway! Remember that the tickets don't expire, so even if you're thinking about going to New York you should go for it. Click here for the full rules and to enter. Good luck!

VFW FW 2010: Red Jade

Some time ago, I read an amusing column in the Globe & Mail about "Streep syndrome." Streep syndrome is when someone performs well so consistently that people come to expect great things from that person all the time; subsequent outstanding work is therefore underappreciated. (The cheeky name that the columnist gave this phenomenon comes from actress Meryl Streep, who has been nominated for an Oscar 16 times and only won twice.)

This is the third Red Jade show I've had the privilege of seeing, and based on my cumulative impressions of designer Margarita Angelatos's chic eco-friendly label, she runs the danger of suffering from Streep syndrome herself. Her collections are just too good.

Similar to her previous collection, it was the details of each piece that captivated me. A carefully constructed sleeve puff folded in on itself at the arm opening. Rows of buttons large and small marched up the neck of a turtleneck dress or down the front of a funnel-necked frock. A skinny belt looped through a high-waisted trouser in matching fabric provided just the right amount of contrast.

Other inter-collection consistencies were apparent as well. As always, luxe natural materials such as hemp, organic cotton, silk, and merino wool were used. The clothes struck a fine balance between structured, tailored elegance and flowy draping silhouettes. The colour palette was restricted to gray and black with a touch of blue.

However, it was interesting to see Angelatos experiment with innovative techniques. On a couple of dresses, what appeared to be a typical bubble hem was, upon closer examination, squarish boxy seams reminiscent of the corners of fitted mattress sheets. The effect was one of architectural quirkiness.

On a side note, the clothes were perfectly styled alongside chunky square-link necklaces and carved wood accessories by Lemon Park. Kudos to Red Jade for putting on a great show and proving that eco fashion can be interesting, innovative, and sophisticated. Here's hoping Angelatos enjoys more future successes (minus the Streep syndrome).

All runway photos by Wayne Mah.

P.S. Don't forget about my Sex and the City tour tickets giveaway! Remember that the tickets don't expire, so even if you're thinking about going to New York you should go for it. Click here for the full rules and to enter. Good luck!
Back to Top