Latest Outfit: Florals and YSL

J. Crew shirt, necklace (c/o), belt, and wedges | Topshop skirt | Saint Laurent 'Belle de Jour' clutch | Lipstick: Make Up For Ever Aqua Rouge #16

Another J. Crew-heavy outfit. Please excuse the broken doll pose, the burn on my right hand (grazed the oven rack while taking ribs out, ouch!), and the dishevelled hair. Despite the photographic evidence to the contrary, I was actually trying my best to look nice last Friday evening when the boy and I went to his favourite musical Les Miserables. For the occasion, I paired my favourite new floral skirt with the YSL clutch I bought while in Portland.


The Golden Touch

I’ve always been a fan of silver’s clean minimalist shine, but for the past few seasons I’ve been incorporating more and more gold into my look—and now that I’m a homeowner, into my home décor as well. Whether real or faux, the metal traditionally associated with riches and all things luxe adds warmth and glamour to any ensemble or decorating scheme. No wonder I’ve been indulging in gilt-y pleasures any way I can!

As part of Magnum’s collaboration with Glam Media, I’ve been sharing snapshots of how I work gold into my life via Instagram. For a recovering gold-phobe like me, small but subtle touches go a long way. A foil print and mercury glass candle blend in seamlessly with all the other objets in my home, while a touch of gold (whether in the form of accent nails or little hearts) dresses up an understated manicure. Statement costume jewels like brooches and spiked bangles add the Midas touch to the most casual tee-and-jeans combo. And even if I don’t dress myself or my home in gold, I enjoy how it can make even the simplest acts, like putting on lipstick, feel more sophisticated.


Magnum Gold?! is rich vanilla bean ice cream with a sea salt caramel swirl, dipped in a golden coating made with thick Belgian Chocolate. New Magnum Gold?! As good as Gold.

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


Luxe or Less: Soft Blushes

By "soft blushes," I don't just mean a whipped mousse softness, although both of the blushes featured here would qualify. I mean that the blush feels spongy and bounces back to the touch when you press it with your fingertips. The tactile novelty definitely makes getting ready in the mornings more interesting.

On the luxe side, we have Diorblush Cheek Creme ($30 at The Bay). The highly pigmented formula—available in four shades ranging from fuchsia 'Paréo' to peachy-pink 'Capri'—blends smoothly, lasts all day, and has a subtle floral scent. A little Diorblush goes a long way and it's easy to over-apply, so it's best to put this on in a brightly lit space.

And on the more wallet-friendly side, we have Maybelline's aptly named Dream Bouncy Blush ($9.99 at London Drugs), which I first spotted while attending the London Drugs beauty preview last week. Same bounce, but a little lighter in the colour pigment department. I love how touchably soft it looks in this photo, all baby pink and round-edged fonts. It looks like a blush you'd want to hug.

From bouncy blushes and fancy palettes to a blush you stamp on your face like a Bingo marker, I've come a long way from only depending on NARS 'Orgasm' for a healthy glow. Are you tempted to try a new blush?


John Frieda Blonde Product Giveaway

Blondes may have more fun, but they also have their own set of hair woes come summertime. (Think fading colour, chlorine-induced green, and brassiness.) To help golden-haired gals keep their locks in the best shape possible, John Frieda is generously offering one lucky Solo Lisa reader a gift basket stuffed with $150 worth of products customized for blonde hair.

To enter:

  • Simply leave a comment on this post along with some means of contact (email, Twitter, or blog URL) before Monday July 8th, 12pm PST. (required)
  • Tweet "Blondes do have more fun! Win $150 worth of blonde haircare products from @JohnFriedaCA x @SoloLisa. Details:" (optional; +1 entry)

A winner will be chosen randomly when the contest ends on Monday July 8th, 12pm PST. Good luck!

[UPDATE—JULY 8, 2013] The winner is Shelley B. Congratulations, Shelley!


Latest Outfit(s): In Portlandia

En route: J. Crew tee, flats, and bracelet | Benji Frank shades (c/o) | Monk & Lou scarf (c/o Plenty) | RW&CO blazer (c/o) | Banana Republic jeans | Coach bag | Joe Fresh earrings


Product Review: Dior One Essential Ultra-Detox Treatment-Mask

As far as face masks go, Dior One Essential Ultra-Detox Treatment-Mask ($100) is definitely one of the more luxurious ones I've tried. The science behind it sounds complicated (a patented algae extract and mysterious blend of detoxifying ingredients), but the concept is simple enough: This mask roots toxins out of your skin once or twice a week so that your anti-aging products absorb better.

The detox mask is cool to the touch and gel-like in texture, with a pretty scent that reminds me of my mom's old xuehuagao face cream. It's meant to be left on for 15 minutes. Afterward, the enclosed spatula is used to scrape off any excess and simultaneously massage your skin to accelerate detoxification. (Follow the enclosed pamphlet's instructions for the removal/massage!) I also like giving my face a quick rinse to get rid of the sticky texture, although technically you're not supposed to do that.

Online reviews of this mask are mixed; some swear it does miracles for their sun-ravaged skin, while others are disappointed with the results considering the high price tag. My theory is that if your skin is good to begin with, the effects of this mask are much subtler because it has less work to do. I didn't notice a huge difference after 3-4 weeks of regular use; my skin just seemed softer and more even-toned. The most noticeable change occurred to the congested pores and under-the-skin blemishes around my hairline and on my cheeks—rough-to-the-touch bumps that persist despite scrubs, exfoliation, and salicylic acid. After one use, they vanished and my skin felt completely smooth.

So is that complete smoothness worth the $100 price tag? Compared to the cost of a one-time facial, I'd say yes. Compared to the cost of a less expensive mask, I'm not so sure.

P.S. In case you haven't heard, Google Reader is retiring at the end of this month. So if you've been using it to read this blog, please subscribe to my RSS feed in a different reader!


Your Best Bra Fit: Q&A with Lyne Glanzmann of Empreinte Lingerie

Chances are that at least some female readers of this blog are wearing the wrong bra size. After all, didn't Oprah proclaim years ago that 8/10 were wearing ill-fitting bras? Whether the problem is a band that digs into your back, overflowing (or underfilled) cups, or straps that leave your shoulders aching, the litany of complaints seems never-ending.

So when I was offered a proper fitting at Dianes Lingerie on South Granville and the chance to take home a new bra, I was definitely intrigued. Was I among the supposed legions of women in the wrong size? Turns out I wasn't (phew), but I did get to pick the brain of French lingerie expert Lyne Glanzmann, who happened to at Dianes that day. Glanzmann—who works with Empreinte, a luxury European lingerie label that makes beautiful, lacy creations for fuller-figured women—gave me the lowdown on what a girl should look for in a proper-fitting bra.

Can you tell me a little about what you do?

I've been in the [lingerie] industry since 27 years, and I used to work with a lot of companies. Since 10 years I've been doing training of how to fit bras, how to make bras, and some consulting.

In your experience, are most women wearing the right size bra?

[Emphatically] No. Most of them, especially today, you know. I would say 80% of them do not know how to wear the right bra. First of all, they all the time want something really loose, they don't want to feel it and feel the elastic. It's the opposite: to be fit when you are any kind of size, you need to be a little tight to feel the bra, to get the full support. The strap position is to lift your breasts, so there has to be a little bit of pull [lifts bra straps off the mannequin's shoulders], and most women they don't want that. They don't want to feel anything. And when you don't feel anything, that becomes not a good fit and the bra will go down, and the back will [ride] up, and that will give not a good support.

What are some of the common problems you see with poorly fitted bras?

[Women] all the time want to attach the [last] hook and eye in the back instead of here [motions to the centre hooks], and that will make the bra [ride] up and no support at all. And after that the straps: they never adjust the straps.

When we fit the customers, we recommend the customers wear the bra on [the outermost hooks], wear that for one or two months. This will make the bra adapt to your body. After one or two months, we recommend to go to the middle [hooks]. After again one or two months, we recommend to go to the tightest one, and that would be the perfect fit.

How should women be taking care of their bras after they buy them?

[Wash] in a [delicates] bag, cold water, gentle cycle. Never, never in the dryer!

How long will a good bra last?

Depends on the brand. An Empreinte bra, you can have that at least two years because at Empreinte we don't do any compromises on the quality of the fabric, and that makes a big difference.

To check out Empreinte's newest styles or book your own fitting appointment, visit the Dianes Lingerie website for more info.

P.S. In case you haven't heard, Google Reader is retiring at the end of this month. So if you've been using it to read this blog, please subscribe to my RSS feed in a different reader!


A Taste of Portland

The paella at Toro Bravo (an old favourite from trips to Portland past).

After all the amazing food we enjoyed during our weekend jaunt to Portland, it's a wonder my jeans still fit now that I'm back in Vancouver! From food carts to gourmet restaurants, one of the main highlights of every trip we've taken to Portland has been of the gastronomic variety. The boy and I introduced our friends to longtime favourite Toro Bravo, but we made sure to make time to check out new restaurants too, starting with a pit stop in Bellevue to sample the xiaolongbao and steamed dumplings at Din Tai Fung. The lineups at this famous Taiwanese dumpling chain started before the restaurant even opened.

Riffle NW was recommended to us by the boy's sister-in-law, and we weren't disappointed. The catch-inspired seafood restaurant located in the Pearl District had some of the freshest, most flavourful oysters I've had in a long time. The halibut and dockside chowder I ordered were nothing to sneeze at either.

And finally, I love the feeling of randomly discovering culinary gems in a new city: walking into an unknown restaurant, reading the menu, grabbing some seats. That was exactly what happened at Eat Oyster Bar, which was a couple doors down from a brunch spot we didn't feel like waiting two hours for. A build-your-own Bloody Mary bar, a live band, Cajun-inspired cuisine, and oysters on the half shell—so good.

I ordered a soft shell crab po'boy, which I'd only ever read about but never tried. The sandwich arrived and was just as dramatic-looking in person as what I'd pictured in my mind: two soft shell crabs deep-fried whole and served on an open-faced sandwich. This was more food than I could finish on my own, but everyone else at the table was glad to sample some fries and a crab leg or two.

If you're thinking to yourself that all I did in Portland was eat—well, you'd be partially right. But the food was so good! And I promise that later in the week, I'll show you non-food glimpses of Portland and what I wore to disguise my ballooning waistline.

P.S. In case you haven't heard, Google Reader is retiring at the end of this month. So if you've been using it to read this blog, please subscribe to my RSS feed in a different reader!


Packing for Portland

The accessories: Monk & Lou scarf (c/o Plenty), Benji Frank shades (c/o), J. Crew necklace (c/o) and bracelet, Joe Fresh earrings

Phew, this week has just flown by! Apologies for disappearing from the blog yet again. Between hosting a barbecue and family dinner on the weekend, lots of freelance deadlines, work, salsa classes, and planning this weekend’s trip to Portland, I’ve been running myself ragged. Let’s just say I’ve spent more than one weeknight slumped in front of the TV after dinner, mindlessly perusing Netflix.

The clothes: Faded cuffed jeans, RW&CO blazer (c/o), several tees, and a patterned skirt.

And now, Portland! For our third trip, the boy and I are driving down with some friends for a couple days of food, shopping, and relaxation. I've always been obsessed with packing the perfect bag for trips; it bothers me when I bring something I never end up using, which has happened on every single vacation. This time around, I'm going with versatile basics, some well-chosen accessories that will add colour during the day and much needed sparkle during the evening, and one or two lip colours along with my daily makeup essentials. Stay tuned until next week when I show you how I turned my minimalist packing job into three days worth of travel outfits for every occasion.

The bags and shoes: Coach city bag, J. Crew invitation clutch and flats, Pour La Victoire sandals.

P.S. In case you haven't heard, Google Reader is retiring at the end of this month. So if you've been using it to read this blog, please subscribe to my RSS feed in a different reader!


Adieu, Google Reader

As many of you have already heard by now, Google Reader will be retiring at the end of this month. I’ll be sad to see it go: Checking it for new RSS items while enjoying a cup of coffee has been my daily ritual for the past 5+ years.

Have you been using Google Reader to follow Solo Lisa and other blogs all this time? Make sure you export your RSS feeds before July 1 when they’ll be gone, gone, gone! And if you’re still looking for an alternative RSS reader, might I suggest Bloglovin’ or Feedly?


Latest Outfit: Crew Member

J. Crew necklace (c/o), belt, and flats | Anine Bing blouse (c/o) | Banana Republic jeans | Kate Spade bag

At the J. Crew Pacific Centre grand opening, a couple of sales associates and I stood in a corner, not-so-shamefully citing our addictions to the store's particular brand of cheerful prep. My J. Crew-aholism is bad enough that these days, most outfit posts feature at least one J. Crew item (this one has three). I can't get through one day without wearing something from them.


Product Review: Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess Powder Bronzer

I'm more than a little in love with Estée Lauder's limited edition Bronze Goddess powder bronzer ($40 at Estée Lauder counters), which is really saying something because: 1) I've always steered clear of bronzer for fear of looking like a Jersey Shore reject; and 2) I never considered bronzers and self-tanning products to be a necessary part of my beauty regimen.

The jury's still out on self-tanning products, but in the meantime, the Bronze Goddess palette has ingratiated itself into my daily makeup routine. It's an ideal gateway product for bronzer-phobes like me. The powder (available in four shades to suit a wide range of skintones) goes on sheer and has buildable coverage; there's no telltale orange hue, OTT shimmer, or unblendable streaking to be had here. I like sweeping it on the sides of my face and along my jawline for some subtle definition. The fact that the tortoiseshell palette and soft crescent brush make this product feel like a luxurious pleasure to use—why, that's just icing on the cake.

P.S. In case you haven't heard, Google Reader is retiring at the end of this month. So if you've been using it to read this blog, please subscribe to my RSS feed in a different reader!


5 Dresses You'll Live In This Summer

Although there's an endless variety of dresses to covet (florals! ruffles! pleats!), in reality a girl only needs a few well-chosen ones to sail through this season in style. Don't believe me? Check out this round-up of five frocks for all occasions.

1. A-line: An A-line style in a flattering colour is equally appropriate for weddings or the office. Pair with a statement necklace, heels, and clutch for the former; wear with a blazer and nude wedges for the latter. Shown here: Vince Camuto fit and flare dress ($170 at The Bay).

2. Silk shift: On the hottest of summer days, few dresses rival the effortless cool of a silk shift. A simple style like this one means a blank canvas for day-to-night accessory changes. Shown here: Madewell 'Scenic View' dress ($119.50).

3. Chambray shirtdress: The versatility and comfort of chambray with the crisp polish of a shirtdress—this one is a no-brainer! I like wearing mine with neon or metallic accessories for contrast. Ideal for casual or creative office environments, weekend errands, or as a cover-up over your favourite bikini when you're at the beach. Shown here: Banana Republic chambray shirtdress ($124).

4. Stripes: This dress is essentially the semi-formal version of your go-to striped tees. Wear it with a faded denim jacket, flat sandals, a crossbody bag, and cat-eye shades for Sunday brunch. Swap in dressier accoutrements for a romantic date night. Shown here: Anthropologie striped day dress ($78).

5. Maxi: A bold print and ankle-grazing hemline make for a casual-glam wardrobe staple. Ideal for attending patio parties, meeting friends for coffee, and afternoons spent window shopping. Shown here: Banana Republic 'Maylene' printed patio dress ($160).

So what do you think? Have I made my case for a capsule wardrobe of summer dresses? Do you agree or disagree with any of the choices? Are you missing one of these styles in your closets?

P.S. In case you haven't heard, Google Reader is retiring at the end of this month. So if you've been using it to read this blog, please subscribe to my RSS feed in a different reader!


Product Review: Woolite Laundry Detergent

Confession: I don’t trust my boyfriend to do the laundry. He does a fine job of washing his polos and work khakis, but I’m wary of his inattention to the finer details of laundering girls’ clothes. (Once, he forgot my bras and a linen tank in the washer for over a week.) I love my clothes—my essential striped tees, the perfect chambray shirt that took months to find, my goes-with-everything black cashmere cardigan—and finding out that he’d ruined something irreplaceable would break my heart.

Of course, caring for my clothes goes beyond insisting I handle laundry: it starts with a trustworthy laundry detergent like Woolite, which keeps clothes looking like new for longer by preventing shrinking, fading, and stretching. What’s more, Woolite is compatible with standard and high-efficiency washers and is suitable for hand-washing. The everyday formula is suitable for most clothes, while the darks formula is especially effective at keeping your dark-wash denim and blackest LBDs from fading.

Woolite became part of my careful (or “obsessive,” as my boyfriend calls it) laundry routine during my product test-drive. The routine starts with sorting: darks, lights, machine-wash, hand-wash. Any bras, cotton sweaters, delicate blouses, and lacy items go into special mesh bags to avoid snags. Tees and denim are turned inside-out. Before turning on the washer (always delicate cycle, cold water), I put in just enough of Woolite’s mild, sudsy formula for the load size. While the first load is going, I start hand-washing silk blouses and wool sweaters in a separate basin of cold water with a smaller amount of Woolite. At the end, I air-dry everything—so much gentler than the dryer’s hot, harsh air. The result: clean, soft clothes which look as good as new, with just the lightest of clean laundry scents. Now if only I could learn to entrust my clothes with my boyfriend the same way I do with Woolite.


Woolite® is specially formulated to protect from shrinking, stretching and fading. WooliteWashed keeps clothes looking like new, longer. Visit for more info.

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



On my desk | First attempt at homemade pizza | Test-driving Dior skincare | Stroll through New Westminster downtown | Special delivery from Lise Watier | Leopard flats and kelly green | Sushi dinner | Colourful touches with navy and denim | West Elm's paper flower shop | The cutest Victorian in the West End | This outfit | New ramen fave Marutama

I don't know about the rest of you, but I find that the more the weather improves, the less inclined I am to blog. It seems like a waste of a beautiful day to sit in front of the laptop working on posts when there are adventures to be had.

This summer, as a way of beating the staycation doldrums, the boy and I are making it a goal to do something new and/or out of the ordinary every weekend. Too often we find ourselves eating at the same restaurants, hanging out in the same neighbourhoods (Mt. Pleasant, downtown), going through the same routines. Going out of our way to do something novel takes a bit of planning, but so far it's been worth it, from spending the day in Stanley Park to enjoying New West's historic downtown and attempting homemade pizza.

So here's to adventures big and small! Find me on Instagram if you want to follow along.

P.S. In case you haven't heard, Google Reader is retiring at the end of this month. So if you've been using it to read this blog, please subscribe to my RSS feed in a different reader!

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