My Spring Shopping List

My valiant resolution to stick to a monthly clothing allowance and not resort to shopping as therapy crumbled after about 1.5 months. That was when I realized: 1) Not shopping wasn't doing anything to address the underlying reasons for the stress I felt, and 2) the miserly amount I set meant I couldn't buy the better quality pieces I really wanted without blowing my arbitrarily set budget, thus making me more miserable.

So, I'm back to shopping as I please! (Within reasonable limit, of course.) And this season, I've got my eye on a few things to round out my wardrobe. Some are variations on basics, like a silk blouse in a new colour and stud earrings. Others--like tuxedo trousers, peplums, and a pair of beyond basic black suede pumps--will infuse more casual pieces with a sense of sophistication.

1. Judith & Charles 'Lana' pant

2. Gorjana gold plated stud earrings ($42.29)

3. Madewell silk 'Sheffield' shirt ($74.99)

4. Pour La Victoire 'Chantel' pump ($267.30)

5. Tuleste Market tulip stud earrings ($68.72)

6. Babaton 'Cody' blouse ($110 at Aritzia)

What's on your spring shopping list?

P.S. Your chance to win $100 worth of Shu Uemura beauty products ends tomorrow! Enter my giveaway now.


Latest Outfit: Chambray

Madewell chambray shirt | J. Crew no. 2 pencil skirt | Benji Frank shades (c/o) | Mexx necklace | Coach bag | Banana Republic flats

Wardrobe-wise, I'm still reaching for a lot of basics. We've had sublime weather all week--sunshine and temperatures in the mid-teens--so I seized the opportunity to wear a pencil skirt with bare legs. A knotted chambray shirt (purchased during my last Seattle trip) and beige flats tempered the skirt's tailored, ladylike vibe. Some of my stylistic staples--red lipstick, a fun statement necklace, classic shades--rounded out the look.


Dior Addict(ed) to Matching Lips & Nails

Matchy-matchy lips and nails in Dior Addict gloss's 'Be Iconic' campaign

Lately, the idea of going matchy-matchy with my lip and nail colours has been growing on me. What a refreshing break from OTT nail art! What a delightful nod to retro beauty looks! This attitude adjustment is largely thanks to a very special delivery from Dior, which included the new Dior Vernis 'Sparkling Shine' nail lacquers and their corresponding Dior Addict glosses. My favourite colour among the bunch? 'Diablotine', a bold neon red with lots of sparkle.

This was my first experience with Dior's beauty products, and overall I was very pleased with the formulas and luxe packaging.

  • Dior Addict gloss in 'Diablotine' leaves a sheer, shiny red tint on my lips--a nice alternative to matte lipsticks for summer. (If I want to intensify the colour though, I can layer the gloss on top of Dior Addict 'Diablotine' lipstick.) The formula feels more like a thick balm than a sticky gloss (yay!), and it boasts high shine, moisturizing benefits, and hyaluronic acid (a plumping agent that minimizes fine lines). Other pluses: the gloss's scent is sweet but subtle; the applicator is a brush, not a sponge tip; and of course, that signature Dior packaging!
  • Dior Vernis nail lacquer is super-pigmented. One coat of 'Diablotine' is enough to give my nails the same coverage as a cream polish and a smooth, shiny finish, although two coats are more chip-resistant. Just as Dior Addict gloss is a nice break from matte lip colours, the sparkles in Dior Vernis 'Diablotine' are a fun departure from creamy polishes. The wide, dense brush earns points for ease of application.
  • Dior Gel Coat reminds me a lot of my Holy Grail top coat, Deborah Lippmann 'Addicted to Speed'. Both provide high shine and dry completely within 10 minutes. No risk of dents or crease marks post-mani.

Of course, it goes without saying that a girl can mix and match these Dior Addict products to her heart's content for custom looks. But coordinating lip and nail colours is so much easier when the shades for gloss, lipstick, and nail polish are perfect matches. Now tell me: Would you ever go matchy-matchy?


Low Wedge Wonders

This season, I'm obsessed with the idea of adding a pair of low wedges to my shoe collection. The two pairs I used to own wore out ages ago. I've been waiting to replace them ever since, biding my time while the gladiator sandal (yuck), the flip-flop (gross), and the platform sandal (too va-va-voom for the office) had their day in the summer sun. Now, low wedges are back with a vengeance: colourful suede or patent leathers, metallics, neutral styles with lots of texture, espadrille soles.

I love the fact that these are truly 24/7 summer shoes. Casual enough for weekend brunch, polished enough to pair with circle skirts or cropped trousers for the office. A little dressier than a flat sandal for a low-key date night, more comfy than heels or high wedges for balmy evening strolls. No wonder I wore out my old pairs! And with the alluring styles available at the moment, I'll probably run the danger of doing it again. Better buy two pairs, just in case.

1. Lauren by Ralph Lauren 'Cecilia' wedge ($69)

2. Madewell ankle strap mini wedge ($94.50)

3. Loeffler Randall 'Alana' twist wedge sandal ($400.30)

4. J. Crew 'Lillian' suede low wedges ($206)

5. Coclico 'Karmina' wedge sandals ($389.62)

6. Loeffler Randall 'Amelie' sandal ($375)

7. Luxury Rebel 'Cutie' demi wedge sandals ($149.45)

Are you a fan of low wedges?

P.S. Don't forget to enter my Shu Uemura giveaway!


Earth Day Beauty Round-up

We buy organic produce and refuse plastic bags in favour of reusable ones when we're at the grocery store; why not extend this same ethos to our beauty routines? In honour of this year's Earth Day, I challenge you to swap out one of your everyday products for an eco-alternative. Judging from the beauty goodies in this post, the hardest part won't be finding a product--it'll be stopping at just one!

1. Burt's Bees introduced me to the world of all-natural products with their beeswax-based lip balms and skincare. Try Burt's Bees Lip Shine ($9.99, available at drugstores) if you're looking for a yummy-scented, 100% natural lip gloss.

2. Consonant Organic Foaming Face Wash ($18, available at BeautyMark) remains one of my all-time favourite face cleansers: One pump removes oil, dirt, residue, and makeup without overdrying. The fact that it's organic is just icing on the cake.

3. I've had my Eco Tools brush set ($12.99-15.99, available at London Drugs) for 5 years now and it's still going strong. They're the perfect combination of quality and eco-friendliness (the handles are sustainable bamboo and recycled aluminum), and they're cruelty-free. The secret to making this budget-friendly buy last longer? Regular brush cleanings.

4. Vancouver-based ILIA Beauty is stocked by some of the most discerning retailers in the world, including Net-a-Porter and Colette. If you haven't experienced the label's creamy organic lipsticks firsthand, see what all the hype is about with ILIA's limited edition lip conditioner in 'Pink Kashmir' ($24), a pretty lavender-based pink.

5. The Eminence Organics Mineral Illuminator in 'Chai Berry Glow' ($36, available at Spa Boutique) adds subtle highlighting and a healthy glow without going overboard on sparkle or shimmer. The distinctive bamboo compact scores major style points, while the formula (infused with acai berry, green tea, and vitamins A and E) has anti-oxidant benefits.

6. I'm planning to stock up on Whistler Naturals Vanilla Silk Sugar Body Scrub ($13.98) for some pre-summer exfoliation. Raw plantain sugar, vanilla extract, and a mixture of natural oils make for a sweet-smelling scrub that sloughs off dead skin while moisturizing effectively.

7. Lippy Girl Lip Love Conditioning Stick ($8) is the newest addition to the pouch of beauty essentials I tote around in my handbag. Its mix of mint and eucalyptus oils is at once soothing and invigorating; I wear it alone or blot it on my lips before and after applying matte lipstick colours to fight dryness.

8. Giovanni 2chic Ultra-Moist Super Potion ($7.99) tames frizz and nourishes hair with a mixture of avocado, olive, shea, and sunflower oils among other natural ingredients. I worked 4 pumps of product through damp hair and used another 2 pumps to smooth fly-aways post-blow-dry. The result: shiny, manageable locks.

9. Spritz Pangea Organics French Rosemary and Sweet Orange Toner ($28, available at BeautyMark) on your face and neck after cleansing. The rosemary and sweet orange have anti-oxidant and calming benefits, while the cooling mist refreshes fatigued skin and moisturizes.

10. Tata Harper Refreshing Cleanser ($82.50, available at BeautyMark) is a rich, moisturizing cleanser that's gentle on skin and smells like an orange Creamsicle. I recommend using makeup remover to take off your face full of makeup beforehand, but once you do, this cleanser's anti-aging, deep-cleansing, and exfoliating benefits will give you a radiant, even-toned complexion.

Looking for more info about natural or organic beauty labels? Check out my Vancouver Loves Natural Beauty series for further reading.

P.S. Don't forget to enter my Shu Uemura giveaway!


Latest Outfit: Easy Does It

Aritzia trench (similar) | Gap sweater (similar) | RW & CO. pants (c/o) | Banana Republic flats | Coach bag | Bracelets: BCBGeneration, Joe Fresh, Nordstrom

As you can probably tell from this week's lackluster blog posts, I've hit a bit of a slump. Burnout, if you will. And in an effort to revive my flagging energy and low spirits, quiet evenings at home have superseded working on the blog, answering emails, and attending events.

My blah state of mind seems to have translated into not wanting to think very much about daily outfits, so I've been reaching for staples that make me feel put together with minimal effort. A classic trench and basic black bow flats are pretty much no-brainers--so timeless, but they feel au courant paired with a graphic intarsia sweater and bright trousers. I like the mix of bracelets too; they seem to say "Look, I really did try, honest!" even though we both know that's not the case.


Seattle Trippin'

The rainy drive | Cocktails at Oliver's in the historic Mayflower Park Hotel | Neon dance sign, Fremont | Jive Time Records | The famous Fremont troll | Quirky bike | Carl S. English Jr. Botanical Garden | Freak hailstorm | La Carta de Oaxaca | The Chittenden Locks on a sunny day | Surreal blue trees in downtown Seattle

Most Vancouverites approach Seattle trips as shopping/nightlife/dining extravaganzas. I should know--the boy and I have been to the Emerald City multiple times without venturing beyond Pike Place Market and downtown! Although we still did our fair share of shopping and eating when we were there last weekend, we also made time to check out sights off our beaten path. Trip highlights included:

  • Strolling around Fremont, a quirky, formerly independent township which feels like a larger version of Mt. Pleasant. Public art abounds, from a massive troll sculpture under a bridge to a Lenin statue salvaged from the former Soviet Union. We had a lot of fun browsing the Fremont Vintage Mall, where I found brass scallop-shaped bookends for a mere $6.
  • An incredible meal at La Carta de Oaxaca, a small Mexican eatery in the heart of Ballard (another formerly independent township). We waited 30-45 minutes for a table, but our dinner was well worth it: guacamole and freshly fried tortilla chips; spicy and hearty caldo de pescado; the best mole I've had outside of Mexico--rich and dark, the perfect balance of savory, chocolate, and spicy flavours; and fresh, vibrant halibut tacos.
  • Watching a tour boat get lifted from sea level (Puget Sound) to lake level (Lake Washington) at the Chittenden Locks.

Vancouver readers, I want to know: What do you like to do when you're in Seattle?


Garnier BB Cream Video

You may remember my impromptu trip to Toronto last month to shoot a video for Garnier BB cream. Well, the video is finally here! In case you missed the product review earlier this week, you can watch the video to learn more about Garnier's new BB cream formula and why it's great stuff. I hope you'll enjoy the video as much as I enjoyed the shoot.

Many thanks to Glam Media and Garnier for the opportunity!


Latest Outfit: Autumn in April

Joe Fresh silk blouse and necklaces | Banana Republic cashmere sweater and trench | Uniqlo denim leggings | Pour La Victoire boots | Roots bag | Lipstick: Stila Long Wear Lip Colour in 'Intriguing'

The weather's been hit-and-miss lately--sunny one day, rainy the next, sometimes both in the span of an afternoon--so as much as I would like to, I can't pack away my fall wardrobe quite yet. Instead, I've been mixing last season's favourites (cognac leather boots, black cashmere sweater) with some of this season's purchases (a water-resistant trench, a silk blouse, layered necklaces) for a look that's spring-appropriate but weather-proof. This outfit proved perfect for traipsing around Granville Island last Sunday in a light drizzle. And this weekend, I'll probably be dressed in a variation of the same since the forecast calls for showers and chilly temperatures during our mini getaway to Seattle.


Shu Uemura Website Launch & Giveaway

Canadian beauty lovers, rejoice! Shu Uemura has just launched a new Canadian e-commerce site, which means it's easier than ever to try their iconic lash curler (seriously the best one I've ever used), infamous cleansing oils, or otherworldly faux lashes. To celebrate, they're offering one lucky Solo Lisa reader the chance to win $100 worth of product from

To enter, simply leave a comment on this post by April 30th, 12pm PST, with a URL for your favourite Shu Uemura product. A winner will be chosen randomly.

P.S. For more, check out the Shu Uemura website to learn how you can win a $500 GC by creating a wishlist, or the ultimate prize of a $2,000 makeover and a trip to Montreal. Good luck!

P.P.S. If you decide to splurge on foundation (one of my coworkers swears by it) or quality makeup brushes, use special promo code SHUBLOG for $10 off any purchase over $50. Happy shopping!

UPDATE [April 30, 2013] And the winner is...Perdita! Thanks to everyone who entered!


Product Review: Garnier Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfector BB Cream

I’ve disliked foundation since high school and am always on the lookout for more natural-looking, less mask-like alternatives. I was on the mineral makeup bandwagon for a brief time, but these days I’m a huge fan of BB creams. BB creams are all the rage in Asia, and for good reason: these miraculous multi-taskers even out skin tone and moisturize while boasting a slew of skincare benefits (and they make getting ready in the mornings a breeze). No wonder Korean actresses swear by them.

Garnier Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfector BB Cream is the latest one I’ve tested, and it’s great stuff. The new combination/oily skin formula promises to absorb oil and minimize pores—all while also evening, hydrating, and protecting skin. Its key ingredients include perlite, an oil-absorbing mineral derived from volcanic rock; mineral colour pigments, which even out skin tone and deflect light; caffeine, which wakes up a tired complexion; and vitamin C, which has antioxidant properties, brightens and protects.

I was concerned that a mattifying, oil-absorbing product would dry out my skin or leave it looking ghastly, but I was pleasantly surprised by Garnier BB Cream. The unscented formula goes on light and leaves a velvety even finish when I apply it in the morning. It hydrates my cheeks effectively while combatting T-zone shine throughout the day. The mineral pigments in the light/medium shade blend into my fair Asian skin tone flawlessly and never look ashy, unnatural or overdone. I finish the day looking as good as when I started it. Garnier BB Cream’s new formula is definitely a terrific choice for preventing makeup meltdown in the summer.


To learn more about this product, click here.

Disclosure: This post was brought to you by Garnier via Glam Media Canada. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Garnier.


Latest Outfit: Head-to-toe RW&CO.

RW&CO. blazer, sweater, pants, and shoes (c/o) | Forever 21 necklace | Chanel 2.55 bag | LUSH liquid lipstick in 'Strong' (c/o)

RW&CO. was one of my go-to shopping destinations when I was in university and shortly after I graduated. At the time, it couldn't be beat for blazers and embellished skirts, and for affordable but quality basics like their nearly indestructible layering camis. (I still have a white one from 6 or 7 years ago. Really.) My tastes changed though, and while RW&CO.'s colour palette and aesthetic remained muted and restrained, I found myself straying to other stores for trendier, brighter pieces.


Sneak Peek: Marshalls Opens in Vancouver

The only thing better than buying designer duds is finding a designer deal. Marshalls understands this sale-shopping mentality like few other retailers do, which is why its Vancouver grand opening is welcome news to many fashion lovers. The off-price retailer is set to open Thursday April 4th (that's tomorrow!) at Ontario St. and SW Marine Drive.

Doors officially open at 9am, but early birds who show up at 7:30-8:30am will have the chance to fill out a ballot and win a $1,000 shopping spree. (This giveaway is exclusive to the Vancouver store's grand opening, by the way.) As Marshalls spokesperson Tamara Robbins Griffith joked at yesterday's media preview, "Think of how many pairs of shoes that buys!" It could very well be your chance to take home a pair of discounted Tom Ford stilettos guilt-free. Or if you need new sheets instead of shoes, you can save the spree for August when home decor and accessories will be available.

Because I had to rush downtown for an evening class, I didn't have a chance to really browse and spend my complimentary media preview GC. But based on what I saw, I'll definitely have to come back. Here's a little glimpse of what awaits you at Marshalls.

For the media presentation, style expert Luisa Rino used Marshalls items to put together four distinctive looks based on different Vancouver neighbourhoods, proving that the store has something for almost every Vancouver woman's style.

Kate Spade and Badgley Mischka bags, anyone?

Gucci, Tom Ford and Dior are just some of the high-end designers showcased in the shoe section.

A quick perusal of the racks uncovered a multi-coloured tweed By Malene Birger jacket. With a little more time, patience and digging, who knows what I might find next time!

Welcome to Vancouver, Marshalls!


Product Review: Dove Deep Moisture Nourishing Body Wash

This winter has proven to be the harshest one yet – leaving me with dry skin, chapped lips and a fervent desire to moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. While I gave a lot of thought to the balms, lotions, serums and oils I slathered on my face and body, I never stopped to consider that switching body washes might also help. Luckily, the new Dove Deep Moisture Nourishing Body Wash landed in my all-too-dry hands just in time to help my skin transition through a severe winter to the first chilly, dreary days of spring.

Infused with a unique Nutrium Moisture complex, this body wash nourishes skin with a rich, moisturizing lather. I love the scent (a fragrant version of the classic “clean soap” smell) and how the suds rinse away cleanly with no residue. Over the past few days, I’ve stopped moisturizing post-shower just to see whether this body wash holds up on its own. My elbows, knees and feet—all problem areas—are a bit rough, but my arms and legs feel as though I’ve never missed a lotion application (which is pretty impressive).

Dove Deep Moisture Nourishing Body Wash is a drugstore delight for the transitional season and beyond (think bare summer skin). Now, if only this dreary weather would get a move on so I can look forward to sunshine, skirts and sandals.


Introducing a new, breakthrough body wash from Dove. New, improved Dove® Deep Moisture combines a blend of our mildest cleansers ever and NutriumMoisture®, our rich blend of nutrients naturally found in your skin which effectively nourishes deep down. This is our PROVEN best care. Head to our Facebook ( page today for a $2-off coupon & tell us why you want to make the switch?

Disclosure: This post was brought to you by Dove via Glam Media Canada. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Dove.

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