Hello and happy Monday, everyone! I hope you've been enjoying your holidays as much as I have. The past few days have passed in a haze of indulgence and sweet nothingness: eating, drinking Bailey's spiked hot chocolate and coffee, spending time with friends and family, hosting a waffle brunch, salsa dancing, watching movies, going for long aimless walks...I can't remember the last time I was this relaxed. I'm at work for the next couple of days and then off again from January 1-4. Until the blog returns to its regular posting schedule in 2015, here's a look at some of my favourite posts from the past year.
Still stumped about your holiday hair and makeup looks, or searching for NYE inspo? I delved into last year's archives and came up with a few ideas to get you started, from a dramatic glitter-infused liner look to tutorials for braided updos and a glam blowout. Click the photos to go directly to the posts!
I'm winding down the year with a little blogging break so I can fully immerse myself in holiday festivities, and enjoy time with friends and family! In the meantime, here's a look back at my favourite style posts of 2014. My style has simplified signficantly compared to previous years—whether because of busy schedules or the influence of normcore, I can't decide. Click the photos to jump directly to the posts. Enjoy and happy Monday!
For many years of my young life, LUSH was the gift of choice when guys were stumped about what to get girls. In high school, boys invited to girls' birthday parties and Secret Santa get-togethers would pick up an assortment of bath bombs as a gift; their scent wafted through the telltale black-and-white bag. When I was in university and got my first job working retail at a toy store, my former boss would buy us all pre-wrapped LUSH sets as gifts, along with a yardstick of Purdy's chocolates and a nice little bonus tucked into a Christmas card.
The warmth of gold is lovely year-round, but during the holiday season it takes on a particularly festive allure. I loved the gold gift guide I did last year so much, I decided to do another one featuring a fresh crop of gilt-y pleasures.
Just off the busy intersection of Robson Burrard, the newly opened Papyrus store (765 Burrard St.) in downtown Vancouver is a veritable treasure trove of paper goods and neat gift ideas. I was invited to check out the store last Monday and do a little shopping myself and curate a gift guide. Well, you can imagine how with this stationery geek, "a little shopping" turned into 2 hours of serious browsing and indecision.
Aside from the stylish social stationery and paper goods for which Papyrus is rightly renowned, they also carry an extensive array of Crane & Co. cards, Kate Spade office supplies, and the best collection of ban.do merchandise I've ever seen in Vancouver. Add to that home decor, bath and body products, candles, jewelry, photo frames, books, products for kids and babies..and well, it was pretty hard to narrow it down to what you see here. Details (plus a giveaway) after the jump!
Between Christmas presents and saving for next year's wedding, I've been trying my best to shop my closet when it comes to holiday party looks. That meant this oldie-but-a-goodie little black dress made an appearance when the boy and I went for a romantic dinner Saturday night. Its classic style and versatile silhouette can be dressed up in a number of ways, but this time around, I was really eager to pair it with my new Swarovski baubles and particularly the earrings. The leaf-shaped stones swirled with my every movement and complemented the lace pattern of my dress; they really make a statement with their sparkle and glimmer of blue! They're pretty much the perfect statement earring for the holiday season and—dare I say it—the "something blue" on a bride's wedding day.
I don't know if it's because I've been working so much or sick so frequently, or if it's because the weather has been inordinately cold/rainy/windy/all of the above. Whatever it is, lately all I seem to want to do is stay at home curled under a throw with hot tea and Netflix. This gift guide is full of unique picks that will make your apartment or house just a bit cozier, cheerier, more comforting. And hey, as long as you're spending the night at home, you might as well indulge in a beauty ritual while your favourite Christmas movie is playing in the background.
Of all the gift guides I did last year, the runaway favourite was by far the $10 gift guide. I still stand by last year's picks, but this year I decided to increase the price point a tad to highlight finds that are too good not to share. Consider yourself covered for Secret Santas, stocking stuffers, hostess gifts, and presents for coworkers.
Quick, hands up if you can use: a) a facial; b) a massage; c) some serious "me" time; or d) all of the above. Have I got your attention? Good, because I'm about to tell you that the new Holiday Facial ($80; available for a limited time until December 24th) at Skoah seriously delivers on all fronts. I was invited to try the Holiday Facial—which combines a typical Skoah facial with a hand exfoliation and upper body massage—last week, and I can definitely attest to the sheer bliss that followed.
Sometimes a girl needs a look that lets her roll out of bed and out the door in less than half an hour, and that's especially true during the holiday season when a hectic schedule might shift into overdrive with shopping, parties, and entertaining. I wore this while running errands yesterday when it was unseasonably warm and thought to myself, Now this is "effortlessly put together." The black sweater dress and leggings were as comfy as my favourite flannel PJs, while the trench and tartan blanket scarf kept me cozy without letting me overheat. Berry lips, tassel loafers, and a luxe handbag finished the look with just a touch more polish.
I'm going to go out on a limb and say I didn't really love the latest seasonal collection from Lise Watier. Yes, the formulas and textures are top notch as always and the blue glitter swirl palettes (meant to evoke the shimmering light of the aurora borealis) are limited editions. But it's the holiday season, which means all the makeup and skincare brands are bringing out their A game in the form of blockbuster gift sets and luxe palettes that inspire unspeakable lust at first sight. There are hits in the Aurora collection (I'm going to talk about two of them right after the jump!), but there are near-misses too.
Oh Stila, you really know how to celebrate! Just in time for the holiday 2014 season and their 20th anniversary, Stila cosmetics has launched some truly lovely limited editions. From a collaboration with Bauble Bar to gorgeous eyeshadow palettes dressed in metallics, here are the items sure to shoot to the top of beauty lovers' wishlists (or tempt you to keep them for yourself!).
Well, here it is, the second part of my collaboration with Bootlegger! This time around, participating bloggers were asked to style a holiday party look using some of the dressier pieces from the store's offerings. Their holiday Temperance collection is gorgeous as usual (I wore one of their dresses to the boy's office Christmas party last year), but this time around I found myself being more drawn to the effortless chic of a dressy top and slouchy trousers. With suede stiletto booties the look is dressy enough for a party at a downtown hotel, but it's also just as appropriate for a low-key dinner party at home. The necklace picks up on the gold and sequin details in the patterned top, and adds just enough sparkle for a festive vibe.
The best part about these Black Friday sales is that they're all online, so you can shop them in your pajamas, on lunch break at the office, or while getting ready for your next holiday party. Details after the jump!
My biggest beauty splurges to date have been a $54 lipstick (Tom Ford) and skincare products that hover around $100, so imagine my shock when I heard that Dior was launching a ultra-luxe skincare product that costs $2,200. The new L'Or de Vie La Cure is a limited edition available exclusively at Holt Renfrew Bloor Street and Holt Renfrew Vancouver starting December. (If you know a skincare-crazy one-percenter, you should mark your calendars now.)
When it comes to a bride's big day (or the holiday party circuit, for that matter), few makeup tricks can rival the allure of long, luscious lashes. After all, with the right lashes a woman can go from doe-eyed beauty to glam vixen in a heartbeat. Strip lashes and lash extensions are usually the way to go if you want to achieve high drama and maximum impact. And thanks to some new ultra-luxurious lash services in Vancouver, I recently had a chance to further explore the pros and cons of each method.
You may remember me cryptically alluding to a special holiday collaboration with Bootlegger a couple weeks ago; I was asked to style two looks—one cozy, one holiday—and co-host a giveaway alongside two other bloggers. Well, I'm so happy that the time to share the cozy look and the giveaway has arrived. More photos and details (plus a chance to win a $300 gift card) after the jump!
Each winter I seem to find myself adding another coat, sweater, or pair of boots to my collection of cold weather staples. At the same time though, I have to admit I get a smug little thrill out of pulling out the winter clothes and realizing they look just as good as ever. That's why I tend to gravitate towards classic styles in neutral shades, punctuated by a bright cashmere sweater here or a colourful coat there. Here, my picks for what will keep you warm and transcend seasonal trends.
Consider the Emergency Bold Lipstick (or EBL) your makeup bag's version of the little black dress. It's that lipstick you should always carry with you that makes you ready for fancy evening plans in seconds, and around this time of year, it's an essential for instantly transitioning from the office to a holiday party.
Last week was filled with ups and downs. Ups: Having Remembrance Day off and spending most of it with the boy; finally getting to see Gone Girl and Interstellar; resuming wedding planning; crisp, clear, sunny weather. Downs: Too much to do; not enough exercise; having a full week's worth of work was crammed into a scant four days; congestion that never seems to go away and persistent fatigue; the dry air that has me reaching for my go-to moisturizing products of the season. When things get this busy, I love having essentials I can count on without fail. Sweaters, skinny denim, and ankle boots have become my uniform, spiced up with a new scarf, quilted leather gloves, and moisturizing fuchsia lipstick.
On the days it behaves, my hair is thick, dark, and shiny, mostly straight but just wavy enough to give it interesting texture and body. But on rainy days or in weather like this dry cold snap Vancouver's been going through lately, it descends into a coarse, frizzy, static-ridden mess that sticks out in all directions. Thankfully, I've been having more of the former than the latter lately—even with the cold weather—largely because of John Frieda and their new Stylist Selections tool.
Happy Wednesday, dear readers! For those of you who had the day off yesterday for Remembrance Day, I hope it was restful and rejuvenating. I come to you today with a small favour to ask: This year, for some random reason, I've thrown my hat into the race for the Made In Blog Awards for Best Beauty Blog and Best Lifestyle Blog. If you could take a moment to vote for me either by clicking the image above or in my blog's right sidebar, I'd really appreciate it. Thanks!
Here at Solo Lisa headquarters, it's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. I spent part of the weekend working on a fun holiday collaboration with Bootlegger that will be going live very soon, but for now, I just wanted to share this black-and-grey swing coat which I've been wearing non-stop for the last week. It's gotten compliments from my drycleaner to my coworkers, many of whom gaped in disbelief when I told them where it was from.
When you've lasted 10 years as a fashion designer in a city known for Gore-Tex and yoga pants, all the while creating clothes fit for a modern-day glamazon, what do you do to mark the milestone? If you're Jason Matlo, you put on a luxe runway show at the Fairmont Pacific Rim on a Friday night, and you invite Vancouver's industry insiders, media, and fashion influencers.
Maybe it's me getting older or the winters getting harsher, but whenever this time of year rolls around, I find myself slathering on as many hydrating lotions and potions as possible. The flurry of beauty samples crossing my desk this season has led to the discovery of some new favourites which will be on heavy (i.e. daily) rotation in the coming weeks.
When One Of A Kind asked me to contribute to their blog and curate a holiday gift guide, my mind instantly jumped to all the cozy things that make a house truly feel like a home during the winter months. The Toronto-based craft-fair-turned-online-shop offers nationwide shipping and an eclectic selection of unique wares from Canadian artisans. Just think: hand-screened linens, handcrafted beeswax candles, Canadiana throw pillows, and adorable ceramics are a click away from brightening up your home or making someone on your Christmas shopping list very happy. And to sweeten the deal, OOAK is offering one lucky Solo Lisa reader a $50 GC to spend online.
3.1 Phillip Lim shoes | Longchamp tote | Scarf (borrowed from the boy) |
Lips: Dior Rouge 999 | Nails: Dior Vernis Gel 'Massai'
Like many women, I harbour fantasies about "borrowing" my significant other's clothes and looking sexily tomboyish in them. But in reality, with the boy being a full head taller and much bigger than my petite frame, the only thing I can feasibly swipe is this plaid scarf. That's why I was ecstatic to find this menswear-inspired shirt on our trip to San Francisco. The cuffs, collar, tails, and fabric make it look as though it was borrowed from the boys. The way it fits in all the right places, and looks oversized but never overwhelming, makes it utterly perfect. I wore it yesterday with my blue winter coat, skinny black cuffed denim, and silver loafers—a polished-but-effortless combo for running errands and making the most of Daylight Savings.
It's been raining constantly, Daylight Savings is this weekend, and for the first time in a long time we had to turn on the thermostat. All signs point to winter, which means it's time for the heavy-duty outerwear to come out. Every winter I seem to find myself "investing" in a new winter coat (and consequently building up quite a collection!). In a way, it makes sense. A well-made coat not only keeps you warm but forms the outermost and therefore most visible part of any outfit. It's also the most highly complimented piece during colder seasons in my experience. So based on years of coat-buying and compliment-reaping, here are my top picks if you're in the market for a new one.
On Tuesday night, I was thrown out of a liquor store for looking too young and not having any ID to prove otherwise. I'm sharing this embarassing humblebrag with you to illustrate that I'm not exactly in the market for Botox or laser treatments anytime soon, if at all. But that said, I'm always up for a good preventative treatment or product that helps me take care of the skin I have now and prevent problems down the road, which is how I found myself saying yes to a HydraFacial at False Creek Skin Solution Clinic. One Canada Line ride and a short walk from Olympic Village station later, I found myself on the waterfront at FCSSC's doorstep, learning more about the HydraFacial from owner (and former plastic surgeon) Natasa Glogovac.
I had the privilege of being profiled in the beauty/lifestyle magazine portion of Sing Tao Daily 1.5 weeks ago along with a bevy of other Asian fashion bloggers. Perhaps not a big deal to English speakers, but for my parents who follow Chinese media and are regular readers of Sing Tao Daily, it was huge. My mom actually laughed out loud with delight when I called her and told her to pick up a copy. If you can read traditional Chinese, I encourage you to expand the photo and give it a go. Huge thanks to writer Vincent Chik for the honour!
After feeling under the weather most of last week, the cold that was threatening to overtake me finally broke. Friday and Saturday were spent at home in my cake flannel pajamas, sleeping and consuming as much soup, tea, and OJ as possible. By Sunday though, I felt pretty stir-crazy after being cooped up in the condo for 2 days. I bundled on whatever layers were close at hand and the boy and I ventured out for brunch and a walk, during which these photos were taken. The day was perfect: crisp fall air, pale sunshine, brilliant foliage all around. I'm still not completely better, but I'm convinced the fresh air did me a world of good.
As I mentioned previously this week, my eyeshadow skills have atrophied the past few years as I've become increasingly reliant on bold lip colours to achieve an evening-ready look. So when I was invited to meet with Diorshow national artist Pascal Grand'Maison at The Bay downtown early Saturday morning, eyeshadow tips ranked #1 on the list. Over the next two hours, the staff at the Dior counter gave me a complimentary facial (did you know they have a skincare cabine where they offer complimentary facials with product purchases on certain weekdays?) and Pascal performed a makeover, focusing on eyeshadow application and sharing tips. Here's what I learned from our one-on-one session.
I've been under the weather this week, which means tea, soup, and endless episodes of Gilmore Girls on Netflix. I just finished the episode where Rory is kidnapped by the Puffs in her pajamas, and whisked away to Chilton for her initiation. Do any of you diehard Gilmore Girls fans remember the pink cake pajamas Rory wears in this episode? It was the second time in a week I'd spotted cake pajamas—the other time was on Diane's Lingerie's Instagram—and suddenly cake pajamas became an obsession. I had to have them. Never mind that I'm a 30-year-old woman with her own home and a fiancé; I want my former teen idol's sleepwear, damn it.
What do you do when you get to sit down with the director of global makeup artistry for Estee Lauder, Blair Patterson, for an intimate interview? Why, you pick his brain about all things beauty, of course. Blair's CV—which spans more than 15 years—includes highlights such as working with spokesmodels Carolyn Murphy, Joan Smalls, Constance Jablonski and Arizona Muse; traveling the world for new product launches like the Pure Color Envy eyeshadow palettes and lipsticks; editorial work for the likes of Vogue, Vanity Fair, and Harper's Bazaar, to name a few big-name publications; and a growing presence on Estee Lauder's social networks and how-to videos.
So what can you learn from Blair in 30 minutes? Plenty, as it turns out. Details after the jump!
Lips: Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy 'Thrilling'
I'm always looking for ways to streamline my life when things get really busy, and this is doubly true when getting dressed. This outfit is a prime example of all my favourite style shortcuts. Glasses instead of contacts: check. Basic white tee: check. A jacket that makes everything else look put together (in this case, a black moto): check. Tassel loafers that are as comfy as sneakers, but look a notch dressier: check. Berry lips: check.
A creme blush is simply the bee's knees. You don't need a blush brush to apply it, which means one less makeup brush to wash weekly and tote around, and a good formula will deliver a natural-looking flush that stays all day. Many makeup brands do limited-edition ones for spring and summer, but don't fret if you've missed the boat. MAKE UP FOR EVER HD Blush ($31) is available year-round and its formula—smooth, ultra-blendable, highly pigmented—just melts into your skin to create the most natural glow. (It was designed for HD cameras, after all!)
Shopbop has long been one of my favourite online retailers for its eclectic and extensive selection, from well-known designers to up-and-coming labels and mainstream brands (ahem, Madewell). A Shopbop spree can cost a pretty penny, but there's good news for girls on a budget: They're having their friends and family sale right now with 25% almost everything! Just use the code FAMILY25 at checkout. Better hurry though because it ends tonight!
Sales like these are a great opportunity to nab an investment purchase that'll instantly make any outfit better. To get you started, I've rounded up a few picks based on my own closet essentials. Happy shopping!
I know we've only just passed Thanksgiving and the trees still have most of their leaves, but here at Solo Lisa headquarters, I'm already dreaming of Christmas thanks to the Dior Golden Shock Holiday 2014 Collection. Beautiful products, exquisite packaging—really, what's not to love? The Golden Shock collection is available in stores October. Whether you're looking for luxe gift ideas, looking to treat yourself, or planning your beauty looks for the holiday party circuit, this collection has something for everyone.
Many more photos and details after the jump!
Yesterday was the sort of grey autumn day that makes small pleasures like cozy knits and hot tea more keenly felt. I finally got to bust out my burnt orange cardigan in a layered look that perfectly matched the fall leaves at the local park. As soon as the boy and I wrapped up these outfit shots, we went for brunch and a walk before heading to his parents' place for Thanksgiving dinner.
Happy Thanksgiving, dear Canadian readers! A lot has happened the past year—heck, even the past couple months—and it's lovely being able to slow down and savour the changes. I'll be taking it easy this weekend, relaxing with loved ones and enjoying some good food.
Now, normally I don't post on weekends, but my friends at rewardStyle forwarded the scoop on some sales happening right now that are just too good to miss. I've rounded up a few favourite picks above. Like my fall closet edit, there's a strong focus on basics and staples—this time with a cozy, cognac-leather twist. How autumnal!
Sale details and coupon codes for some of my go-to shopping destinations after the jump...
French women are renowned for their taste, their style, and their flawless complexions. And while achieving French chic may be an impossible dream, for the latter there's always YSL Touche Eclat Rose Gold, the new pink-based, gold-flecked twist on YSL's cult fave concealer. It's the same luxe click-dispenser pen, the same brush tip, the same creamy texture—but tinged with pink this time, from the illuminating formula to the rose-gold exterior.
Have you ever heard the expression "It takes money to make money"? I feel like some version of that could apply to streamlining one's closet: It takes acquiring some key pieces to make the most of everything else in a girl's wardrobe. Most of my fall shopping has revolved around replacing staples that don't fit anymore (like my classic khaki trench) and updating others. Here's what I'm adding to the mix to optimize my closet, this season and beyond.
Wow, you guys. Thank you so much for the tweets and comments regarding last week's outfit post; it's nice to know I'm not the only one with newfound appreciation for great basics as I've gotten older. In the last couple weeks of editing my wardrobe down to what I actually wear, I've discovered that my closet is split between my fantasy self, my past self, and my current self.
For those who fantasize about reaching the C-suite—or the women who are already there—the Max Mara Tailored Suit Project is the stuff that dreams are made of. The prêt-à-porter collection revolves around the jacket, available in three styles (single- and double-breasted and tuxedo) and made from soft-as-a-cloud wools using tailoring techniques worthy of Savile Row. (Think hand-stitching, an inner canvas, and lapels reinforced with horsehair loops to give them a gentle roll.) The modern businesswoman can build out a savvy capsule wardrobe from the jackets with trousers, skirts, or lightweight sweaters to mix and match. With power dressing as uncompromisingly chic as the Tailored Suit Project, leaning in has never looked so good.
Fresh out of makeup remover wipes, I rifled through my beauty samples the other day and found L'Oreal Sublime Soft Gentle Micellar Solution ($11.99 at London Drugs). Now I wish I'd rediscovered it sooner. This ultra-gentle micellar cleanser not only removes makeup from face, eyes, and lips, it also gently cleanses dirt and oil without rubbing or rinsing.
Doing my nails is my relaxation ritual of choice, namely because waiting for them to dry forces me to sit still and do nothing for once. But sometimes a girl just needs to shed a chipped mani and re-paint her nails as quickly as possible, and for that, Cover Girl Outlast Stay Brilliant Nail Gloss fits the bill very nicely indeed. I recently dipped into my sample stash by trying 'Ever Reddy' (a very pretty tomato red) and sharing a photo of the results on Instagram. I was so impressed I started moving on to other colours.
I turned the big 3-0 last Thursday, but the day passed as uneventfully as any other. Between everything that's been going on lately and feeling under the weather, I was honestly very grateful for a night at home watching Bones on Netflix. If I've learned anything as I enter a new decade, it's that sometimes the simplest pleasures are the best ones, and the same can be said of one's wardrobe.