Definitely A Lipstick Lady

Buying a $52 Tom Ford lipstick at Holt Renfrew yesterday with gorgeous blogger Carolina (Closet Full of Nothing) sealed the deal: I'm no longer a gloss girl and officially a lipstick lady. Why else would I spend a seemingly crazy amount of money on one? After tweeting about the Tom Ford lip colours obsessively, lots of online swatch-ogling, and much careful deliberation, I decided on a deep wine/purple hue to round out my so-called "lipstick wardrobe."

Bruised Plum was the clear winner. Truthfully I was pretty indifferent toward plum shades until I saw some women wear them beautifully, prompting me to reconsider their possibilities. The colour is a deep plummy purple with a hint of red and a satiny finish--pure pout perfection and lovely for fall. The packaging is a luxe-looking rectangular prism of gilt and ivory which feels heavy and luxurious in-hand. And the formula? It's very moisturizing and pigmented with a light vanilla scent, and can last anywhere from 3-5 hours depending on what you're doing. (When I tried Bruised Plum on Tuesday, it only reached the 3-hour mark because I ordered the chicken wings during dinner with the boy.)

Thanks to Carolina for snapping this pic!

Speaking of lipstick wardrobes, building a mini collection of lipsticks for every occasion has been a fixation of mine ever since I read a featurette about it in the May issue of Glamour UK. Their version included 3 neutral/pink shades, which seemed like 2 too many. A coral, a light pink, a fuchsia, a red, and a purple are perfect for me.

From left to right: Chanel Rouge Allure in 'Exotic', Chanel Rouge Coco in 'Ruban Rose', Sephora Rouge Cream in 'Hot Tango', Stila Long Wear Lip Colour in 'Intriguing', and Tom Ford Private Blend Lip Colour in 'Bruised Plum'.

What are the lipstick shades and brands you love to wear? If you're still a gloss devotee, would you consider trying lipstick?

From Solo Lisa's Kitchen: Guacamole

My cooking resolution has fallen by the wayside in the last few weeks because it's too hot and lovely outside to be stuck indoors next to the stove or a scorching oven. That's not to say I haven't tried making one or two things of late. Veggie skewers for a beach barbecue. Sangria for a housewarming party. And now guacamole. The first batch was for a casual Mexican dinner at someone's house, and the next batch I made was for a barbecue at the office.

Before trying my hand at making guacamole, I consulted this recipe for an idea of the ingredients required, but I didn't follow it exactly. I only used one roma tomato and left out the onions entirely. I also added more of one ingredient or another as I went along, tasting the mixture at regular intervals. (Guacamole's pretty much goof-proof that way.) The prep work is time-consuming, but the results are so tasty and satisfying. There's something about fresh guacamole that just hits the spot on a hot summer day.

Do you still cook when the mercury rises? What are your go-to dishes? Any recipes for delicious party appetizers, salads, or summer-appropriate foods you'd like to share?

P.S. In case you missed it, my guest post about the new Chanel cosmetics and fragrance counter in Holt Renfrew is up on Closet Full of Nothing. Click here to read it. Enjoy!

Today's Outfit: Holt Renfrew/Chanel Cosmetics & Fragrance Space Launch

  • Blazer (Gap)
  • Dress (Juicy Couture)
  • Necklace (H&M)
  • Shoes (Browns)
  • Purse (Chanel)
These days I find myself going straight to fashion events after work quite often, leading to this age-old dilemma: should I bring a change of clothes and makeup to work--which is a lot to carry--or should I just go straight to an event in the same thing I've been wearing all day? Case in point: Last week I left the office for a cocktail party thrown by Holt Renfrew and Chanel to celebrate Chanel's newly renovated cosmetics and fragrance space. Something chic and Chanel-worthy, but comfortable and wrinkle-resistant, was required. Just as I was about to give up on "comfortable and wrinkle-resistant," I remembered the gold-and-black lace Juicy Couture dress I bought in Vegas. Paired with a blazer, statement necklace, jeweled flats, and a 2.55 purse, this outfit met all the criteria I had in mind. (Okay, admittedly I might have been overdressed for work, where the outfit de rigueur of software developers is graphic tees, jeans, and sneakers.)

Huge thanks to gorgeous blogger Carolina of Closet Full of Nothing, who generously gave me her invite because she was going to be out of town during the event! I offered to cover it for her as a guest blogger in her absence, so I'll be updating this post later with a link to the recap on Carolina's blog. In the meantime, here's a little sneak peek.

UPDATE: My guest post is up on Closet Full of Nothing!


Product Review: Stila Long Wear Lip Colour

This year I've gone from being a devoted gloss girl to a lipstick lady. Lipstick delivers a bold surge of colour, typically lasts longer than gloss (which can rub off within 1-2 hours of application), and usually looks more polished. Plus its packaging is more sophisticated, making the experience of applying it more fun: the click of a cap being removed, twisting the tube of colour up, smoothing it on your lips with a precise hand and blotting a kiss onto a tissue. No wonder Chanel Makeup's global creative director, Peter Philips, cited re-introducing this feminine ritual to a generation of lip gloss girls as one of the reasons for Chanel's new Rouge Coco lipstick line.

Looking to expand my lipstick collection with a new shade, I picked up Stila Long Wear Lip Colour ($25 Cdn at BeautyMark) in 'Intriguing', a matte magenta hue. Unlike your typical lipstick, Stila's product is more like a twist-up lip crayon that never needs sharpening. This product boasts patent-pending polymers and promises to feel as moisturizing as a gloss while delivering the colour and long wear of a matte lipstick. But does it deliver?

  • The colour is bright and vivid and really does last a long time. One application endured for 6-8 hours without fading. I also noticed that there was very little colour transfer when I drank out of glasses.
  • The crayon-like design let me apply the lip colour precisely without a lip brush.
  • The size of the tube makes it easy to tote in small handbags for evening.
  • The long skinny shape of the lip colour means it breaks more easily than regular lipsticks. The fuchsia lip colour broke somewhere in the middle of the tube and has trouble retracting fully now.
  • I didn't think it was as moisturizing as it claimed to be. Matte lipstick formulas tend to be a bit drying, and this one definitely was compared to the creamier Chanel lipstick formulas that I've tried. To make it feel good on my lips, I had to dab on Burt's Bees pomegranate oil lip balm before putting on the Stila lip colour. As the day wore on, I'd apply more lip balm on top of the lip colour at intervals.
So is Stila Long Wear Lip Colour a worthwhile buy? Kind of. While I like how long-lasting the formula is, I don't like how easily the lipstick snapped and how drying it feels. I'll keep it, but I think I'll stick to creamier, more traditional lipsticks in the future.

Solo Lisa Reads: The Narcissism Epidemic

It's rare for me to find a non-fiction book this compelling, and rarer still for it to change my outlook. But that was exactly what happened when I picked up a copy of The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement by Jean M. Twenge and W. Keith Campbell. (Well, more truthfully, I started reading it at Chapters and couldn't stop raving about it to the boy, who later bought the book. He very graciously lent it to me.)

The Narcissism Epidemic argues that Americans have higher levels of self-esteem and self-love than ever before and are positively obsessed with themselves, never failing to proclaim how hot, fabulous, unique, and successful they are. But underneath it all, Americans are more isolated, in debt, and unhappy than ever. What began as a push to promote self-confidence and positive self-image by educators and parents alike has gone beyond that and is now promoting narcissism, with narcissistic personality traits on the rise in society. Although much of the evidence that Twenge and Campbell present is specific to the US, their observations and conclusions are probably applicable to Canada and many other individuals in societies with Western cultural norms.

The evidence compiled by the authors is broad in scope, covering pop culture phenomena and topics such as:
  • Web 2.0 and the rise of social media
  • Tabloids and the obsession with celebrities
  • Education curricula emphasizing uniqueness and individualism
  • Vanity
  • Easy credit and the resultant high levels of debt as overconfident narcissists buy things they can't afford
  • How narcissism operates as a negative force in the workplace
  • How narcissism affects relationships (hint: it's hard to have a relationship with someone who's in love with him/herself)
As a fashion blogger and social media user, I was particularly interested in Twenge and Campbell's discussions of vanity and Web 2.0. Unfortunately, much of their research centred on Facebook and MySpace; their coverage of blogging and narcissism only spanned two pages. The authors concede that a lot of wonderful topical blogs exist, but what do they think of the fashion blogging community, which has been criticized as narcissistic on many an occasion by non-fashion bloggers? I'd like their two cents on this topic, please.

Overall, The Narcissism Epidemic is a fascinating book and I highly recommend it if you want something more substantial to read this summer than a fluffy romance novel. The arguments are articulate and readable, and the evidence is well-presented with a touch of humour. But be forewarned: as soon as you finish reading it, you'll be tempted to examine your own behaviour as well as that of others for touches of narcissism.

P.S. Yes, I'm aware of how ironic it is to review a book about narcissism in a post with my name in the post title and on a blog named after me.

Today's Outfit: Navy & Nautical

  • Striped cami (Zara)
  • Blue oxford shirt (Aritzia)
  • Jeans (Banana Republic)
  • Sandals (Pour La Victoire)
  • Necklace (Spring Shoes)
  • Belt (from a CiCi dress)
Nautical-inspired looks come and go every year, so it seems a bit silly to call them a "trend." Although the appeal of sailor stripes has endured fashion's seasonal whims, I don't think I've ever seen them as trendy as they are this season. Breton stripes are a ubiquitous sight downtown; every other girl that I see is in a striped top. I can certainly see the appeal of stripes because they add visual interest to any outfit. They're classic and stylish and you feel like you tried to put together a cute outfit, but you're not so far out of your sartorial comfort zone that you feel awkward. I know this outfit wouldn't have been quite as satisfactory if I'd used a solid-coloured cami for layering.

Are you a fan of stripes? How have you been wearing them this season?

Today's Outfit: Hot Summer Days

  • Tee (Urban Outfitters)
  • Skirt (CiCi)
  • Sandals (Kelsi Dagger)
  • Bag (vintage Coach)
  • Necklace (Filou)
  • Polish (L'Esprit by American Apparel)
I took a break from blogging for a few days this week to focus on work deadlines and enjoy the summer weather. It's amazing how time-consuming blogging can be. If you blog regularly and it's part of your routine, you don't realize how demanding it is until you stop and you have free time to do other things. I've been reading magazines, getting frozen yogurt with the boy, and walking along the waterfront and enjoying hot summer evenings. Work craziness aside, the downtime freed up by the hiatus was wonderful.

What have you been up to? Do you have any weekend plans?

CiCi 'Lolita' Short

Like jeans, the perfect pair of denim shorts is hard to find. It's their promise of potential and versatility that keeps many fashionistas and bloggers searching for them. After all, when styled correctly, denim shorts can take you from a picnic in the park to a patio party. They look good with boyfriend blazers or cardigans, glam heels or laid-back sandals, sophisticated blouses or simple tanks.

Factor in a predilection for polished ladylike looks, and the perfect denim shorts might as well be the Holy Grail. Luckily, I found mine quite by accident at the Two of Hearts Boutique many months ago. The 'Lolita' short by CiCi is more elegant and classic cool than your run-of-the-mill denim cut-offs. The inseam is long enough to be modest yet short enough to make your legs look slim and long. The cuff hems, slight puff in the leg, and white buttons give them a slightly retro charm.

The 'Lolita' comes in other fabrications (black and khaki) and is available at the Two of Hearts Boutique, Forsya, Shop Cocoon, and Dream. If I were you, I'd act quickly--these shorts have been selling well all summer and your size may be gone in the blink of an eye.

July issue of Vancouver Fashion eZine is out!

This has been an insane week at work for me and I know I've been slacking on the blog front. If you're having an easy Friday at the office and want something to read--or simply want to procrastinate--hop on over to Vancouver Fashion eZine. This month I had the privilege of interviewing Jillian Rothert, a recent Blanche Macdonald graduate whose grad collection was inspired by the glory days of aviation. She envisioned urban professionals who like to fly planes as a hobby and look debonair doing it. Talk about a weekend getaway!

Still bored? Read my article in last month's issue of eZine where I interviewed Ayala of Ayala Moriel Perfumes. She was such a pleasure to meet and speak with--very passionate about what she does, and just a genuine, warm personality overall.


American Apparel Nylon Tricot Floral Lace Cycle Short

In the colder months, the addition of leggings or tights made even the most immodest skirts seem day-appropriate. But now that the weather is warming up, what should one wear under this season's short shirtdresses, tunics, and floral dresses? I found my solution in American Apparel's nylon tricot floral lace cycle short ($34 Cdn). Made of sturdy stretchy material, these cycle shorts serve the same modesty-preserving purposes as leggings but are a much more summer-appropriate length. The lace trim makes them more interesting and feminine than run-of-the-mill spandex bike shorts--and just think how cute the touch of lace will be peeking out from underneath your vintage-inspired mini sundress!

From Solo Lisa's Kitchen: Pasta With Bacon And Peas

Thanks to everyone for their kind and supportive comments on the last post! I feel a lot better, and even though work is going to be psychotic for the next few weeks, I think I'm in better shape to face it. I'm going to take it easy with blogging for the next few weeks so I can focus better in the office.

This also means a break from my "cook once a week" resolution, so this will be the last recipe for a while. Weeks ago, I made pasta with bacon and peas based on a recipe in a back issue of Everyday Food magazine--sort of a modified pasta alla carbonara. The pasta turned out light and tasty and was very quick and easy to make.

  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 4 slices bacon, sliced crosswise into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 shallots, halved and thinly sliced
  • 10 ounces frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 18 ounces fresh angel hair pasta [I used boxed spaghettini]
  1. Set a large pot of salted water to boil. In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium until crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer to a papert towel-lined plate to drain (leave fat in skillet).
  2. Add shallots to skillet; season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, 1 to 2 minutes. Add peas and half-and-half; season with salt and pepper. Simmer until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.
  3. Cook pasta in boiling water until al dente, according to package instructions. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water; drain pasta, and return to pot. Pour sauce over pasta; toss to combine, adding some reserved pasta water a little at a time to coat. Sprinkle with bacon, and serve immediately.

I made enough pasta for 2 days of lunches and made baked salmon and zucchini for 2 other days. I also cut up kiwis and watermelon for a simple fruit salad.

Today's Outfit: The Sorta Weekend

  • Shirtdress and necklace (H&M)
  • Jeans (Mavi)
  • Flats (Browns)

I'll be the first to admit I've been a bit of a lacklustre blogger lately. Apologies to my readers and fellow bloggers if I haven't been as entertaining or been able to keep up with reply comments. Simply put, I am burned out. Work has kicked into overdrive with one deadline after another, I still have a Vancouver Fashion eZine assignment to finish, and in between dance and yoga classes, fashion events, trying to keep up with my resolution of cooking once a week, ongoing blogging, and time with the boy, I'm pretty exhausted. Life has become a neverending to-do list with one task demanding my attention when another one ends, and I'm dying for a vacation away from everything.

The day before Canada Day, I had one of those work days where every email arriving in my inbox felt like a letter bomb. I pleaded with the boy for a date night out, so we had some Thai food and saw Toy Story 3 in 3D (very entertaining with a delightful Totoro cameo...highly recommend it). On Canada Day, we strolled around downtown, watched a live band play Michael Jackson and James Brown on Robson Street, picked up the navy blue Keds I ordered, and went back to his place to watch the classic Sergio Leone western A Fistful of Dollars. Oh, and I splurged on a red Ferragamo wallet. I'll do another "what's in my bag" post someday and show it to you along with the other contents of my bag, I promise...what I'm toting around now has changed since the last time I posted.

My "sorta" weekend turned into the perfect staycation to keep stress at bay. To my Canadian readers, how did you spend Canada Day? To all of my readers, what are your plans this weekend?
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