Dress It Up

I hope you're enjoying your holiday, dear readers!

By now you've probably opened your presents. You may be living on turkey leftovers and Christmas goodies and feeling an immense sense of satisfaction after the Boxing Day sales. You're probably also trying to finalize plans for NYE. I'll most likely be going to a house party this year, but if I were going to a fancy fiesta, I'd love to wear something like this Laila Azhar drape front strapless dress from Shopbop ($436). Simple and sexy, this little fuchsia number relies on clean lines, bold colour, and a clever knotted drape at the empire waist for its wow factor. Although I can't justify the price tag on this dress, I can have fun picturing myself wearing it for a sophisticated dinner party. Or a gala in some ballroom with champagne and noisemakers. Or a Valentine's Day dinner with a special someone...hmm, actually, the dress may be worth it if it's appropriate for so many occasions!

How are you spending New Year's Eve?

Impromptu Weather-proofing

A couple weeks ago, Miss Greentea left this comment on my strategic layering post:

"Nice post, Lisa. I wear tights under my leggings and then my boots whenever I need to wear a skirt to church, because it always gets so cold."

I really have to thank Miss Greentea for saving my naively optimistic butt yesterday. Since it was raining in the morning, I foolishly thought to myself, "If it's warm enough to rain instead of snow, it's warm enough to get away with opaque tights." Boy, was I wrong! I was regretting my decision by lunchtime when I saw actual flurries outside, and yearned to return home and pull on a pair of sweater leggings over my tights, one-hour round trip be damned. (I know this is ironic coming from someone who did a post on strategic layering--but hey, it isn't exactly "strategic" when the weather catches you off guard.)

Luckily, I didn't have to. I popped into Exposure in Yaletown during my lunch break. They were having a 50% off all winter stuff sale, including their selection of knee-high and thigh-high socks. I chose a glittery black pair of thigh-highs with vertical ribbed stripes and pulled them on over my tights right in the store. 10 minutes and $11 later, I had toasty-warm, windproof legs.

Miss Greentea, I salute you and your layering wisdom! This is yet another reason why I love reader comments: the style-tip swapping goes both ways!

A Very Lady-like Christmas

This year, Christmas came early in the form of my much-anticipated order of free clothes from LadyLanguage.com, which arrived in the preceding week! Back when I was encouraging people to donate to the NieNie fund and bid in WendyB's auction, I donated money to the NieNie fund myself. Lovely Michelle, a fellow blogger and the founder of LadyLanguage.com, stepped forward and offered to match donations with double the original amount in coupons for her website. If you donate $10, you receive $20; if you donate $20, you receive $40; and so on.

I can't praise Michelle enough for her charitable spirit, sweetness, and all-around awesomeness. Not only did she match my donation (even though I preceded the day her offer started by 1-2 days), she threw in a free gift with my order when a slight misunderstanding caused a delay. Plus, she took care of the details of my order personally. I was already psyched at the prospect of free clothes, but her kindness and attention to detail delighted and overwhelmed me.

So, what did I order with my coupon? Scroll down to find out!

Studio top. This would make a great layering piece under a vest or cardigan.

Calloway eyelet skirt. White eyelet is a perennial craving for me when spring and summer roll around, but until now I've never given in. I can't wait to wear this skirt with a tee and my gold leather Gap Kids cork wedge sandals.

Lattice blouse. The sleeves on this blouse are puffier than pictured and didn't flatter my already broad shoulders, but I'm pretty sure I can find a friend who would love it.

Deep cowl neck tunic sweater. I think that when this sweater makes its debut, I'll be pairing it with a colourful cami, pendant necklace, studded belt, dark-wash skinny jeans, and my tall boots with the brass buttons down the sides.

Merlot tunic sweater. You may remember me modeling this sweater as a mini-dress in my red+green post. Just so adorable.

And finally, my free gift: this striking BOMA silver filigree necklace!

Many thanks, Michelle!

How To Wear Red+Green Without Looking Tacky

This was what conditions outside my house were like on Christmas Eve morning. (Obviously I didn't make it into work.) Today's post may be about wearing red and green, but there's nothing like a white Christmas to get you in the festive mood!

Around this time of year, even those of us who live in monochromatic wardrobes year-round may yearn to wear red and green and "look festive." It's easy to do if you're going to a fancy party--after all, you can don a satiny emerald or scarlet cocktail dress and look drop-dead gorgeous. But what about a more casual get-together? That's a bit trickier as you try to avoid looking clichéd or tacky.

In today's post, I'm using my own wardrobe to put together some festive casual looks that are perfect for a turkey dinner with the family, or snuggling next to that special someone in front of a roaring fire, hot cocoa in hand. Enjoy and Merry Christmas, everyone!

1. Avoid Crayola-esque red and green shades. If the red and green resemble the crayons you would get in a basic 8-colour box, chances are they'll look terrible together. Try richer shades of red like burgundy, maroon, or tomato red. For green, go with a super-bright shade like the trademark Lacoste green, or choose a more subdued mossy or emerald hue.

Turtleneck sweater (Jacob), jacket (Jacob), jeans (Mavi), boots (LF Boutique--NYC)

2. Don't be too literal with the holiday motifs. No jewelry shaped like miniature Santas, no brooches shaped like evergreen wreaths, and definitely no necklaces with tiny Christmas light bulbs on them. Instead, try accessorizing with jewelry that evokes a holiday motif in an abstract way, such as silver filigree blossoms that are shaped like poinsettias, or jeweled brooches that resemble art deco snowflakes. In the outfit below, I paired the maroon sweaterdress with my Forever 21 necklace, which has a pearl accent reminiscent of an ornate snowflake.

Dress (Lady Language), necklace (Forever 21), leggings (H&M), boots (LF Boutique--NYC)

3. For those who like to play it safe, accessorize with red and green. This is an easy way to wear red and green for those uncomfortable with anything except head-to-toe black. My outfit below is quite simple and relies on the red headband and burgundy pumps for pizzazz.

Headband (Claire's), dress (CiCi), leggings (H&M), pumps (Breckelle's)

4. Use black as a neutral instead of white. Red/white/green are rather clichéd together, while black adds mystery and sophistication.

5. Realize that plaid is rad. Tartans and plaids often incorporate red and green in the pattern; all you have to do is pair the plaid with another red or green piece that will play off the colours in the fabric. I layered a red cami under a black cardigan in the outfit below; notice how the red cami picks up the faint red lines in the green plaid skirt.

Cardigan (Banana Republic), cami (RW&Co), skirt (Dynamite), pumps (Ann Taylor), necklace (gold chain from childhood, pendant from Chinatown)

Do you have any suggestions for wearing red and green in a stylish way?

The Lament of the Toque

As you can probably tell from this post and this post, I've had toques on the brain both literally and figuratively. The snowfall in Vancouver this week has only intensified my desire for a new one to alternate with my gray flowered one. After all, to my Canadian girl mind, you just can't beat a toque (or a "beanie" as it's called in the US) when winter rolls around: It's warm and practical, great for a bad hair day, and unlike other hats, it stays put no matter how windy it is. Plus, you don't have to worry about irrevocable damage if you sit on your hat by accident.

But who knew finding a toque that was sleek, chic, and interesting-looking would be so tough? I'm not a fan of rib knits or cable knits because of their sheer ubiquitousness, and even popcorn knits have lost their appeal for me because I've seen them one too many times since spotting Blair Waldorf's tam. Pompoms could look cute or horribly juvenile (most likely the latter on me since I already look a tad younger than my age). I'm not a fan of the newsboy knit caps with the little brims--a bit too casual to pair with wool coats. Crochet is okay as long as there aren't too many little gaps and holes in the pattern. And as much as I like flowers and blossoms on hats, I already have a toque with a flower and I'm not too keen on buying another.

My extreme pickiness didn't leave me with a lot of options. Regardless, after several hours of Internet research, I did find a few that were appealing. Maybe I'll have better luck once I begin pounding the pavement on Boxing Day.

Eugenia Kim 'Colleen' cable-knit cap (Shopbop), $188. I know I'd said no cable knits, but the extra chunky braid detail on the edge elevates this toque above standard cable-knit fare. At that price, though, this one seems like it's strictly a "Look and drool" item.

Crochet beanie with bow (Forever 21), $8.80. At the opposite end of the price spectrum is this purple beauty from F21, also available in ivory and light gray. The colour is scrumptious and the bow embellishment even more so!

Goorin Brothers 'Fishhawk' beanie (Zappos), $41. Someone I met recently introduced me to the Goorin Brothers label in a rather serendipitous way. They do great fedoras, but I liked the look of this toque for its simplicity and sass. The fish-scale pattern is streetwise yet sleek and understated enough to pair with a polished peacoat.

Pink ribbed beanie by MeandTex (Etsy), $35. A quick search on Etsy yielded tons of hand-knit toques, many of them with floral appliques and embellishments. This one stood out from the rest because of the cheery pairing of pink and orange-red. The colours would brighten up any solid black or white winter coat.


Quoted: The Little Bro

"Lisa, look outside. It's like God is shedding His dandruff."

-my brother commenting on the heavy snowfall...eep!

MacGyver Would Be Proud

This afternoon, I noticed that several days of trudging through slush laced with rock salt had left my leather boots in sad shape. The leather around the toes felt dry and was creasing more than usual, and crusty dried-on salt was everywhere. It would be hours before I could get home and clean the boots properly and rub mink oil into them. In the meantime...hmm...would hand lotion work?! I eyed the Vaseline hand moisturizer on my desk.


I worked dabs of lotion into the creased leather with my hands, rubbing it in until I couldn't feel the residue. Within 5 minutes, the traces of salt disappeared. The leather uncreased and looked smooth and shiny. I felt so proud of my makeshift shoe-care prowess that I couldn't resist sharing this tip with you.

I don't recommend this for all types of leather, of course. My boots are made of the tough sort that looks shiny and feels smooth to the touch--definitely treated. Don't try this with untreated leather or suede. But if you're out and about and the leather on your shoes looks like it might be on the verge of cracking before you can tackle it with oil, hand lotion is an excellent improvisational solution.

That Half-and-Half Moment

You'll know what I'm talking about if you have a knack for finding inexpensive things that look luxe. It's that moment when you feel half sheepish, half proud as another person says, "I love what you're wearing! Where did you get it?" They expect you to say "Oh, it's vintage" or cite some little-known boutique or expensive department store, and you admit with a mixture of glee and embarrassment that your find came from H&M, Zara, Forever 21, or Sirens.

Although I've had my share of half-and-half moments, I seem to get a disproportionate number when I sport these 3 items.

Item #1: The gray toque with the flower (H&M)

I wore this hat everywhere the first time I was in NYC back in February; it was so cold and I had no idea how windy it could get in the Big Apple. I think I averaged one half-and-half moment a day as people in various stores said, "I love your hat! Where's it from?" The half-and-half moments were especially acute when I was in some of the ritzier stores on Fifth Avenue.

Item #2: The white wool coat (Sirens)

Photo by Yvonne Chew

Sirens is a bit like the Canadian version of Forever 21; think cheap fast fashion and, at times, clothes with loose buttons and funny seams that look like they're falling apart before you even wear them. Given Sirens's reputation, this coat was quite the surprising find. Compliments that have induced the half-and-half moment include:
  • My former manager being flummoxed by the source and price of said coat on a day we met for lunch and window shopping. We popped into a Yaletown boutique and saw similar white coats being sold for $250, and she emphasized again what a great find she thought mine was.
  • A former intern thinking that I'd splurged on this white coat while I was in NYC.
  • A volunteer at BC Fashion Week who said, "Who's your coat by? I love it! I've been looking for a white coat just like it."

Item #3: The little white evening jacket (Target)

I wore this jacket to my toy store staff Christmas party last week. My manager and a coworker seriously believed I'd bought it in Paris. On my last night in NYC, I wore this jacket out for dinner with Mark in Williamsburg and the waitress asked if it was vintage. Um, yeah...I found it at a little vintage shop in the Village St. Paul called Le Boutique de Tar-jay. :P

Have you ever experienced a half-and-half moment? Do you have items in your wardrobe that evoke more HaH moments than others?

Today's Outfit: Strategic Layering Challenge

"Feels like -17 degrees Celsius with the wind chill factor" is not something you hear often when you live in Vancity, but when you do, you better bundle up! As a born and raised Westcoast girl, I can be a real baby about extreme temperature fluctuations. On Monday when the mercury dropped dramatically, I set myself a challenge: How can I look cute and stay warm without resorting to my tried-and-true sweater/tee/jeans/boots combo? Answer: Strategic layering that swathes me in 2-3 layers without adding bulk.

Step 1: Don a long-sleeved tee and sweater leggings. (I put on the skirt just for this picture and took it off before getting dressed for real; there's no way I'm modeling leggings as pants on my blog. I mean, my coworkers read this stuff.)

Tee (Smart Set), leggings (H&M)

Step 2: Add a dress in a warm material (like corduroy) and tall leather boots.

Dress (Chulo Pony), boots (Aldo)

Step 3: Top it off with a knee-length coat, toque, brightly coloured scarf, gloves, and a fabulous purse.

Coat (Anthropologie), toque (H&M), scarf (Blubird), gloves (cheap and eponymous mini stretch gloves), purse (Chanel)

How do you stay stylish when the weather gets cold?

Suri And Me

When I saw this picture of Suri on Fashion Ivy, my most immediate thought was "Holy crap, I have the grown-up cheaper version of Suri's coat!" Mine is double-breasted with button-cuff details on the sleeves, but the shape and colour are quite similar.

Me wearing my white coat at Vancouver Fashion Week. Who knew I was dressing like a 2-year old? (Photo by Yvonne Chew)

For an alternate view of this coat, click here. (The photo is blurry, but it gives you a better idea of what the coat looks like from the front and how Suri-esque it really is.)

Tagging Gets Personal

I've been tagged by the lovely Couture Carrie to list 7 personal details about myself and then tag 7 other bloggers to do the same. So, without further ado, here goes!

  1. I double-majored in English literature and international relations for my BA.
  2. I've been to Mexico City 3 times and NYC twice.
  3. I can be single-minded to the point of ruthlessness about certain things--typos and grammatical errors, food cravings, crushes on boys, clothes and accessories I'm coveting, history. "Fixated" is an understatement.
  4. I have a weakness for pandas and bunnies above all other adorable fuzzy animals.
  5. I spend 8 to 12+ hours on the computer everyday--working, blogging, or researching.
  6. I speak English, two Cantonese dialects, some Mandarin, some Spanish, and some French.
  7. I am not a classy dame when drunk. Anyone who saw me on last Friday's pub crawl (or received my texts that night) can attest to that.
I'm tagging the following 7 blogs to do the same:
  1. Being High Maintenance, Not Bitchy
  2. Koko Stiletto
  3. Trisch Express
  4. Clothes Line Finds
  5. Fabutopia
  6. Already Pretty
  7. Wendy Brandes Jewelry

WendyB's Holiday Sale

I'm just passing on some good news and relaying the message about WendyB's jewelry sale! Wendy cites why you should buy her jewelry in the most eloquent way, so I won't do her words an injustice by recapping what she said in a lesser way here. Just follow the link and check out the sale details on her blog; meanwhile, I'll drool over some of her pieces. If I had unlimited funds, I'd be all over these pieces like ants on a picnic table.

Cleves necklace (20% off). The golden swan against the black background is striking.

Acorn necklace (30% off). I love the basket-weave detail on the acorn and the little squirrel inside! Wendy wore this necklace with a black button-down shirt when we hung out together in NYC and it looked stunning.

Sophie twisting heart necklace (30% off). This necklace converts into a gold heart, diamond heart, or diamond/gold oval, and looks great each way.

For those of us whose pockets aren't so deep, WendyB's sterling silver collection is more affordable and just as stunning. I succumbed to temptation and ordered the squirrel necklace in sterling silver ($125), which I'd been coveting for ages. I can't wait to wear it!


Lisa's Gift Guide For People Who Have Everything #5: Food Baskets

Good for: People who like to eat.

Not for: Someone on a diet (you're getting them indulgent foods, after all!).

What to go for: This is your chance to put together a really personalized, special gift. Buy a basket, fill it with goodies you think the recipient would like, and decorate it to your heart's content. I like the idea of shopping local public markets such as the Granville Island Public Market--special teas and spices, gourmet fudge, pastries, cheese, olives--yum! For more adventurous palates, try visiting ethnic food stores like T&T, H-Mart, El Comal, or Fujiya and fill your basket with goodies such as Korean roast seaweed, pickled jalapeno peppers, or miso soup mix. The expert bakers among you can make special packages of cookies or squares for your baskets. Lastly, make sure you know about any food allergies or dietary restrictions (e.g. diabetes, low-sodium foods only) the recipient may have beforehand.

Granville Island Public Market (image from vancouverbnb.com)

Lisa's Gift Guide For People Who Have Everything #4: Earrings

Good for: I don't know any girl with pierced ears who would say no to a pair of earrings.

Not for: Girls who don't have pierced ears, obviously--unless you buy clip-ons.

What to go for: Earrings are great because there are options at every price range. You can buy an inexpensive pair for a female coworker or--boyfriends, take note--splurge on something beautiful for the special gal in your life.

Jeweled clip earrings (Forever 21), $4.80

Bee 23 by Bing Bang Bow Locket Earrings (Urban Outfitters), $28

Soda dot earrings (Blue Ruby), $80


Lisa's Gift Guide For People Who Have Everything #3: Cute Tea Towels

Good for: Culinary enthusiasts, bachelor guy friends, people who have moved into new apartments, homemakers, hostesses, people who appreciate good design.

Not for: Kitchen-phobic urbanites who subsist off of take-out and restaurant meals.

What to go for: Tea towels are one of those extraordinarily useful items you can never have too many of. Crafts websites like Etsy and Canada's own goodEGG Industries are a gold mine for cute, one-of-a-kind linens. Alternatively, check your local paper for Christmas craft fair listings and support your local artists!

Tea towels by LU prints, $15 each (the prints are pretty unisex; click the link to see what each towel looks like when unfolded)

Boojiboo tea towels, $6.75 each


Lisa's Gift Guide For People Who Have Everything #2: Novelty Umbrellas

Good for: Frugal fashionistas who would coo over these but never spend the money to buy one for themselves, inhabitants of rainy places, commuters who wear head-to-toe black and need a punch of colour to brighten up their ensembles without committing to anything too crazy.

Not for: Wallflowers. These umbrellas will attract admiring glances and compliments galore.

What to go for: Founded in 1935, Vancouver's own The Umbrella Shop has been stylishly shielding Vancouverites from the rain for years. If you don't have any time to swing by The Umbrella Shop in person, check out these fun options from Modcloth.

'Raining Cats and Dogs' umbrella, $31.99

'Lovely Plumage' umbrella, $20.99


Lisa's Gift Guide For People Who Have Everything #1: Gift Certificates and Gift Cards

Every year, I get the masochistic pleasure of Christmas shopping for my family, a group of people who buy for themselves everything they want or need and possessed of picky consumer habits. So, what do you buy for people who already have everything and don't seem to like anything you get them? This is the first in a series of posts offering holiday gift ideas for just such a group of people.

Image from canada.com

Gift Idea #1: Gift Cards and Gift Certificates

Good for: Pragmatic-minded people who like shopping, dining out, or going to movies at their own pace. Teenagers who would rather hit the Boxing Day sales and find their own treasures than receive another sweater.

Not for: Absent-minded folks. Gift cards may have expiration dates, and if they're forgotten or misplaced, well, tough luck.

What to go for: Although gift cards come across as highly impersonal, this need not be the case. Just consider the recipient of the card and what they would most like. For example, I got my dad--a daily patron of his local Starbucks--a gift card loaded with $100. He thought it was a great idea: Not only did he not have to pay for his daily coffee, now he didn't have to fumble around with change everyday. Other good gift cards/certificates include ones to movie theatres, beloved restaurants, techie shops (they can splurge on a new camera or laptop, or buy DVDs), major department stores, or favourite clothing boutiques.

Have you ever gotten someone a gift card or gift certificate? How did they like it?

Saving Your Shopgirl's Sanity

Don't let your retail buzz be the cause of your shopgirl's despair. (Both images in this post from imdb.com)

Alright, hands up: Who was as appalled as I was over the news story about the Walmart employee being trampled to death by Black Friday sale-goers? 'Tis the season to be jolly, but it's also the season to shop, shop, shop, and in the process I'm afraid some of us shoppers have--to put it bluntly--gone insane, forgetting that their friendly retail staff are human, too. I've been on both sides of the fence: I'm an avid shopper, but for the past 4 years I've also worked part-time in retail as a sales person at an independently owned local toy store. With my experiences as shopper and retail personnel in mind, I offer these basic points of etiquette for shoppers. Trust me, your retail staff will love you for this.

See your shopgirls as people and they'll thank you for it!

  1. Remember that retail people are, well, people. They have basic needs for food and bathroom breaks like you do, but unlike you shoppers, they might have to hold it in or hold out for nourishment until things are less busy. I work in a small store--sometimes all alone--and I always get annoyed when, after a rush of people, someone comes into an empty store to browse with no intention of buying just as I'm about to lock up and run to the bathroom.
  2. Say "please" and "thank you," and remember to smile!
  3. Don't go into a store just to browse or because you're bored if the store is 5 minutes away from closing time. The longer you stay, the longer the staff has to stay after closing hours. Just because the store closes doesn't mean that retail personnel can go home. They have to tidy up merchandise, straighten displays, do the deposit, count the float, etc. And I don't know about other retailers, but I certainly don't get paid for the time I spend doing these things after closing. I've been stuck in the store as much as an hour after closing because people overstay and browse even beyond closing time, despite the fact that other stores shut their gates a good 15 minutes ago.
  4. If you must browse close to closing time, try not to touch too many things. Anything you touch during your aimless browsing has to be straightened out. That haphazardly folded sweater you left on the pile, the dress slightly askew on the hanger--you may not notice, but retail staff do and they're the ones who clean up your trail.
Do you have other suggestions for shoppers' etiquette?

Lisa's Most Coveted List

5 things I'm loving or lusting after right now.

1. Island Farms Vanilla Plus Yogurt. Mirror mirror on the wall, who makes the creamiest, most delectable yogurt of them all? That would have to be Island Farms. Their Vanilla Plus yogurts are just as satisfying as a big bowl of ice cream but so much more nutritious (hello, calcium). I keep large containers of this stuff in the communal fridge at work for my 3pm snack.

2. Mavi Jeans. Dear Mavi: First off, thank you for making no-nonsense dark-wash skinny jeans (the Lindy) which fit me perfectly. You don't know what an ordeal it is to find jeans that flatter a flat butt. And then, on top of that, you offer free hemming service, with jeans available for pick-up in 1-2 business days! Your staff even encouraged me to take my jeans home and wash them first before bringing them back for hemming. I think I'm in love.

3. Kimchi. As odd as this sounds, lately I find myself curling up on the couch with a book or a movie, a huge bowl of kimchi, and a fork in hand. It's such a fantastic snack because of how much salty/spicy/sour flavour it packs, and at 30 calories a serving, completely guilt-free.

4. Vera Wang Princess perfume. I don't care about celebrity endorsements, fancy ad campaigns, or marketing mumble-jumble about how a fragrance represents some archetypal female figure (although I am a huge sucker for a pretty bottle!). I just want a perfume that smells good on me without being overpowering, and Vera Wang Princess is exactly that. I got a little trial-size roll-on with my Holiday Shopathon goodie bag and tried it out, and I think I may have found a runner-up to my favourite, Chanel Chance.

5. London Drugs aloe vera lotion. A huge 600 ml pump bottle of lotion that'll last me through the winter for less than $5. A light-feeling, non-greasy yet effective formula that absorbs quickly and doesn't irritate my skin or leave me with red bumps. An ingredients list that boasts glycerin, aloe vera and cucumber extract, sunflower and soybean oils, milk proteins, and collagen. It's a store-brand lotion, yes, but talk about bang for the buck!


Holiday Shopathon--Last Day!

Tomorrow night at Orb Clothing, The Style Spy will be holding their last Holiday Shopathon party of the year. Orb Clothing specializes in streetwear with unique touches; this would be an excellent opportunity to pick up a hoodie or two for yourself or as gifts to others. If you haven't had a chance to check out the previous parties, I highly suggest you hop on over to W. 4th Ave.
  • Exclusive one-night only 30% discount on all Orb and Arson clothing
  • Bubbly, sweets, and a live DJ
  • Goodie bags
  • Stylist contest (style yourself in an outfit and win what you're wearing!)
Exclusive offer to blog readers! Mention "Solo Lisa" when you RSVP to party@thestylespy.com or at the door and get in for free. (It's normally $10 at the door.)

Holiday Shopathon Party
Orb Clothing
2028 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver
Tues. Dec. 9th, 5-9pm

Product Review: CG Wetslicks AmazeMint Lip Gloss

I'm usually a lip balm girl, so it takes me ages to use up a single lip gloss or lipstick; in fact, I often find myself throwing out lip products because they've gone bad rather than buying replacements for empty ones. For these reasons, the CG Wetslicks AmazeMint Lip Gloss I'm reviewing today wasn't something I purchased for myself, but a freebie I received as part of my goodie bag from The Style Spy's Holiday Shopathon.

The formula contains Crest peppermint oil and promises high shine, a balm-like texture, and smile-freshening properties. The gloss I received was a shimmery mocha colour called Toasted. Looking at it in the tube, I was wary that the colour would be too dark on me, but it looked quite sheer once I swiped it on my lips. The gloss has a delectable peppermint smell and taste: If I were one of those types who constantly licks the flavoured gloss off her lips, I'd definitely be re-applying this one constantly!

That being said, I'm very skeptical about the gloss's promise that it'll freshen your breath and your smile more than a conventional lip gloss would. Although the peppermint smell reminds me of toothpaste, it seems like a mask for bad breath and not a real solution like flossing and thorough brushing would be. Ladies, don't rely on lip gloss as a cure for hardcore halitosis.

One positive effect of the tingling peppermint oil, however, is that it has some mild plumping benefits. My lips seemed fuller and rosier within seconds of applying the gloss. While the effect wasn't dramatic, the shine of the lip gloss, its moisturizing qualities, and the peppermint oil made for a subtle difference. This might be worth considering for women who find real lip plumpers such as DuWop's Lip Venom too irritating.

Finally, one cautionary note: While looking up information on this gloss online, I noticed a lot of negative reviews where users complained about the tube leaking once it's been opened. Eep! I'd stash this in a small makeup case in my purse rather than directly in the purse itself.

What are your favourite lip gloss brands?

Today's Outfit: La Casita

So, yesterday was quite a day! After a day of meetings, revising files, and getting riled up by the Globe and Mail comments forum on my lunch break, I went to The Style Spy's Holiday Shopathon party at Fine Finds. I didn't buy anything, but I did have a very pleasant time browsing and saying hi to people I knew. I also bumped into Koko Stiletto; what a sweetheart! It was lovely meeting a fellow blogger who had left so many thoughtful comments on my posts.

After the party, it was off to La Casita in Gastown for margaritas and Mexican food with Miranda and Anthea, who is flying to Japan tomorrow and staying there for a year. (Boo urns, I'll definitely miss having her in the same time zone!) Anthea was kind enough to snap this pic of my outfit yesterday with her spiffy new camera.
  • Hat (H&M)
  • Long-sleeved tee (Smart Set)
  • Dress and belt (H&M)
  • Tights (H&M)
  • Shoes (Next--London)
  • Pearl earrings (Claire's)
  • Purse (Chanel)

The Pin Says It All

I think this pin would be fun to wear on stressful deadline days, work environment permitting. It'd definitely perk me up if I were working from home.

'Oh Crap' pin (way to sanitize the name, ModCloth!), $29.99

Luxe Or Less: Blair Waldorf's 'Lothians' Tam

As Blair Waldorf knows, nothing says cozy cool in the winter like a knit hat. I blogged about this tam in one of the first posts I ever wrote about Gossip Girl. A year later, the little popcorn pompoms and the cable knit detailing are as appealing as ever. Too bad that the hat is no longer available at Anthropologie even if you are willing to fork over $68.

While not an exact replica, the aptly named 'Popular' beret from Modcloth.com captures some of the same cute factor as the Lothians, at a more palatable price tag of $32.99.

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