Lipstick Love: Plum Perfection

Plum: so lovely, so dramatic, but so intimidating. In fact, my lipstick-loving self didn't exactly warm to plum until I saw other ladies wearing wine-hued shades and looking quite sophisticated. Unlike my slightly out-of-control pink and red collections, I only have two purply shades I swear by:

  • Tom Ford Private Blend Lip Colour in 'Bruised Plum' ($52 at Holt Renfrew...when they're not sold out, that is). You have to really love lipstick to pay that much for one, and I do love this colour every time I wear it. The colour is a warm deep burgundy with a slight satin finish. It looks quite dark in the tube, but don't let that intimidate you: 'Bruised Plum' is surprisingly flattering once it's on. Even out your complexion with some concealer and foundation, apply some blush and mascara, swipe on a bit of this lipstick and you're good to go.
  • NARS lipstick in 'Viridiana' ($30 at Sephora). I bought this lipstick because I wanted a less extreme plum/berry shade that I could wear during the day. 'Viridiana' is just that and is quite pretty on, but for some reason I rarely ever reach for it. Maybe it's because 'Viridiana' has to compete with an intimidating collection of reds or the sexy allure of Tom Ford.

Are you a fan of plum lipstick? If you haven't tried it yet, is it a look you're willing to try?


Holiday Sparkle

December is almost here, and along with it comes holiday party season. While I love a new party dress as much as the next girl, I'm also a big fan of giving the clothes in my closet a fresh look with costume jewelry. A distinctive bracelet or necklace can do wonders, breathing new life into a staid LBD or brightening up a plain frock. For costume jewelry that won't break the bank, you can always search the accessories aisles of Forever 21 or H&M, but won't one of these luxe picks from Shopbop be positively dreamy for a Christmas or New Year's fete? I can't even pick a favourite amongst the bunch. Can you?


Today's Outfit: Cozy Casual Weekend

For once I have a surplus of outfit photos to share with you in weekly blog posts, so today you're seeing an outfit from two weekends ago while I talk about what I did last weekend. (How's that for a time warp?) On Friday, I met the boy in Richmond so we could avoid the Grey Cup madness downtown. We ended up having a quick dinner at the Aberdeen Mall food court before going to an evening showing of My Week with Marilyn, which turned out to be a pretty good film. Saturday: early morning yoga class, lots of lounging around in the afternoon, a late dinner at Habit with the boy and salsa friends who also decided to stay in Vancouver instead of going to the Seattle Salsa Congress, and coffee at Cafe Montmartre where some other salsa friends played and sang on open mic night.

After going to so many events in the past few weeks and dressing up for most of them, I'm relishing every opportunity I get to dress down. There's something cozy and comforting about simple outfits and warm knits, especially when the weather is as abysmal as it's been lately. As I often say though, dressing down doesn't have to mean looking slobby. Luxe-to-the-touch angora and cashmere, a rich-coloured lipstick and a cocktail ring (courtesy of local jewelry maker Georgia Heraty) elevate this look from a typical sweater-and-jeans combo to something a little more special.

Speaking of "courtesy of" items, did you see the thought-provoking post and discussion about c/o items on the Independent Fashion Bloggers site a while ago? It's definitely worth a read as it raises interesting questions about blogger integrity and it prompted me to try to verbalize my own policies around c/o items. In case it isn't clear from how I conduct myself on this blog: I feature and speak favourably of things I like. If I receive something (like a beauty product) to review, I strive to write an honest, thoughtful review that would be useful to readers. If I don't like something, I either don't feature it or I feature it and explain why I was disappointed.

This is probably one of the most verbose Today's Outfit posts I've ever done, so now I'll turn over the discussion to you, dear readers. What did you do on the weekend? Do you like dressing down or dressing down with an element of dressing up? What do you think of c/o items?


Today's Outfit: Polka Dot Passion

  • Tommy Hilfiger cardigan
  • CiCi skirt
  • Pour La Victoire shoes
  • Joe Fresh earrings
  • Timex watch
  • H&M belt
  • Vintage Coach bag

One of my favourite trends this season has been polka dots, although the feeling that I've bought into this so-called trend long ago via accessories held me back from going crazy. One polka dot cardigan to belt over pencil skirts or layer over plain tees seemed sufficient. Something tells me I'll love this sweater next year and the year after that, though. I'm such a sucker for classic patterns of any sort: stripes, polka dots, houndstooth, plaid, etc.

In other news, TGIF! I'm happy that Friday is here, even happier that the blustery wind and harsh rain of the past few days seems to have abated, however temporarily. Here's to a fun-filled weekend free of precipitation. To my American readers, hope you're having a great break filled with food, company and amazing shopping deals.

Thanks to Melissa for helping me take these outfit photos at the Jacqueline Conoir fashion show.

Joe Fresh Holiday Preview

For those of us who want a stylish, enjoyable holiday season that won't break the budget, it's Joe Fresh and PC Home to the rescue. The two Loblaws in-house brands have transcended their humble supermarket roots: Joe Fresh is opening ever more standalone clothing stores in North America and PC Home is going to be under the creative direction of Joseph Mimran going forward. But both can still be depended upon for cheap chic holiday attire, entertaining ideas and decor as evidenced by the well-attended media preview held in a luxe False Creek flat last week. Here's a glimpse of what a merry Christmas looks like according to Joe and PC Home.

Go for elegance with silver and white table settings.

Trim your tree and put gifts of cozy knits and portable travel mugs underneath.

Nutcrackers in the foyer make for interesting decorations.

A closet stocked with Joe Fresh: warm knits to snuggle up in, gold sequins and a fringed leather miniskirt.

Joe Fresh beauty can always be counted on for great colours and good quality at an astonishingly low price. My favourites at the preview: nail polishes ($4 each or 3 for $10), the portable holiday swivel palette and the huge eyeshadow palette.

I love advent calendars and this advent truck is one of the cutest I've seen in a while. All the doors open so you can stash tiny treasures inside and make the countdown to Christmas even sweeter.

House Guest Supper Club

Comfort food. An inviting atmosphere. Eclectic artwork, taxidermy and glass skulls lining the walls. If any of this sounds appealing to you, you should definitely stop by HousexGuest in Gastown. The newly opened restaurant and "see and be seen" bar threw an invitation-only supper club party last Thursday.

Although I'd seen and heard a bit about HousexGuest, the supper club was my chance to check out the place in person. Guests enjoyed beef tartare, sliders, scallops and pork belly as they mingled. The cozy space had no shortage of interesting curios and decor details on the walls, providing the perfect icebreaker conversation points for first dates and social brunches. And speaking of brunch, I've heard great things about their chicken and waffles, which I'll have to try on the weekend of the boy's Christmas party.

For more coverage of the HousexGuest Supper Club, check out The Anthology's post.

UPDATE [December 4, 2011]: After returning for Sunday brunch and receiving horrible service, I retract everything nice I said about HousexGuest.


BeautyMark Holiday Preview

Philosophy product tree ornaments ($13 each)

It's mid-November, which means winter is well under way already and there's just a little over a month until Christmas! Think prepping for party season and buying presents for loved ones; luckily, one-stop shops like BeautyMark take the guesswork out of both. Here's a glimpse of what caught my eye when I attended their holiday preview last week.

Fleece-lined Plush tights to keep you cozy on blustery days ($42)

Give winter-weary skin some TLC with Pangea Organics skincare products. I've been trying some of these products for the last couple of weeks and will be writing a review soon!

Luxe men's grooming products make great gift ideas.

Get your manicures party-ready with glittery Deborah Lippmann nail polishes ($20).

Great colours and fun packaging make Butter London polishes ($17) the perfect stocking stuffer choice.

Sparkly bracelets and whimsical headbands

Lipstick Love: Ravishing Red

When you have six red lip colours in your makeup kit and you can justify owning each of them, does that qualify as a lipstick addiction? It depends on who you ask, I guess. According to my manager--who has dozens of berry shades--it does not. Phew. Besides, red in all its incarnations is the colour I wear most, and even within this one colour I like a bit of variety in the shades and finishes I have on hand.

My scarlet addictions starting from the back row, left to right:

  • MAC lipstick in 'Lady Danger' ($17.50 at MAC stores). This photo doesn't convey how bright the colour truly is: a highly pigmented matte orange with a touch of red that demands a precise application technique. I use a lip brush (my favourite is the Joe Fresh retractable lip brush) to line my lips and fill them in.
  • Chanel Rouge Allure in 'Enthusiast' ($38 at Holt Renfrew or The Bay). Okay, this is where the crazy justifying comes in. If MAC 'Lady Danger' is orange with a bit of red, then Chanel Rouge Allure 'Enthusiast' is red with a touch of orange. Does that make any sense? It's a lovely tomato red with a sheer, creamy texture.
  • Sephora Rouge Cream in 'Hot Tango' ($16 at Sephora stores). This was my first red lipstick and the one that unwittingly started this whole obsession. It's a very pigmented bright fuchsia-y red, and like MAC 'Lady Danger', requires a lip brush to apply properly. The colour is beyond flattering on fair skin though, and I always get a ton of compliments when I wear it.
  • Boxx Cosmetics Lip Colour in 'Garnet' ($24.50 at BeautyMark). Aw, poor neglected 'Garnet'. Because it's in a compact and I usually reach for a tube or pencil to stash in my purse, I don't use this colour nearly enough. But that doesn't detract from how pretty it is: a true red that can be worn sheer for a stain effect, or layered on for more drama. It also doubles as a cheek colour.
  • Chanel Le Crayon Lèvres in 'Rouge' ($28 at Holt Renfrew and The Bay). I bought this colour to layer under Chanel Rouge Allure 'Enthusiast' specifically because I wanted to deepen the tomato red colour of the latter. I think this pencil would look great on its own with a little lip balm on top for shine and moisture.
  • NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in 'Cruella' ($30 at Sephora). This true red goes on matte, pigmented and smooth, and is touted by NARS fans and makeup artists alike as one of the most flattering reds out there.

What are your favourite reds?

P.S. In case you missed it, my recommendations for pink lipstick.


Thomas Sabo Giveaway Winners

After 3 weeks and a slew of entries, it's time to pick 3 lucky winners who will each have a set of Thomas Sabo sterling silver charms to call their own:

  1. Linda
  2. Kathygko
  3. Eddie

Congratulations! I'll be contacting you each with further information on claiming your prize.


Jason Wu at The Room

It was a homecoming of sorts for Jason Wu last week at The Hudson's Bay Company's The Room. Clients and media alike welcomed Wu to Vancouver, a city which the young designer briefly called home when he moved to North America from Taiwan with his family as a child. (He still has fond memories of Granville Island!) After rising to fame for dressing Michelle Obama and for his fresh take on ladylike dressing, and with an upcoming Target collaboration under his belt, Wu was on hand that night to present his spring/summer 2012 collection to a curious Canadian crowd.

It’s one thing to see Wu’s collection in online photos, quite another to appreciate the impeccable construction and fabrication up close. Drawing on a palette of neon brights, neutrals and blushing shades of pink, the collection is vibrant and fun while still maintaining a classic sensibility. The highlights: petal prints designed by graffiti artist KAWS; handbags and wristlets in a variety of colourful leathers (all bearing his adorable cartoon owl logo); voluminous skirts in bright shades of neon yellow, pink and cobalt; and intricate beading and feathers on bodices. If any of this whets your appetite, please note that The Room is taking pre-sale orders now.

The evening wasn’t complete without a photo op with the man himself. Despite a hectic schedule that saw him fly in one day and out the next, Wu was gracious enough to pose for photos and exchange a few words with anyone who approached him.

Me, Jason Wu and Anya

P.S. For more coverage and photos, check out this write-up for FASHION Magazine by Joy Pecknold which, ahem, features a photo of yours truly in the gallery.


A Taste of Chinois

The latest entry in Vancouver's growing Asian fusion scene, Chinois (1035 Mainland St.) opened its doors last week in Yaletown with a party for media, well-wishers and food bloggers. Inside, the trendy nouveau Asian decor featured lantern-like metal light fixtures and colourful paintings set against exposed brick walls and wooden beams.

As for the food, it was an homage to executive chef Ryan Mah's traditional Chinese background, featuring tasty spins on classic dishes familiar to many Chinese people: chow mein, kung pao chicken, fried rice. Those who've had a lot of exposure to Asian food will be quick to point out that the prices seem steep for fried rice and noodles. But then again, Chinois prides itself on quality. Organic ingredients, AAA beef tenderloin, free range chicken and ocean-wise seafood all appear on the menu. Besides, this restaurant is a good way to ease the uninitiated into what good Chinese food should be like. (Yes, people who don't know about good Chinese food still exist in this world.)

X.O. fried rice

Pork sliders

The Mao Zedong cocktail: gingery to the taste and garnished with a pickled beet.

Welcome to Yaletown, Chinois!


Holiday Shopping Events

'Tis the season to make your list and check it twice! I'm talking about Christmas shopping, of course. Whether you're searching for the perfect gift, finding the finishing touches for your party decor, seeking holiday attire inspiration, or buying some warm winter things to bundle up in, be sure to check out these events happening in the next few weeks.

Gastown Shop Hop - Thursday November 17, 5-9pm

Some of Gastown's most fashionable boutiques will be open late for one night only, offering discounts, drinks and nibbles to shoppers hopping from shop to shop. Be sure to check out a few of my favourite stores: LYNNsteven, Ishara, (212) and Rowan Sky. For more information, check out the event listing here.

BeautyMark VIP Holiday Party - Thursday November 17, 5:30-8:30pm

Scope out the latest beauty goodies from Philosophy and Stila, stock up on moisturizing skincare to battle the elements, and pick up a gift or two for the beauty lovers on your list--all while enjoying a 20% discount on regular-priced items. See the flyer above for all the details.

Festive Collective - November 2-27

This month-long pop-up shop in the Rize showroom (196 Kingsway) offers an eclectic selection of clothing and accessories from some of Vancouver's best emerging design talent. Be sure to check out the sterling silver and laser-etched wood jewelry by my friend Fiona Louie. For more information, check out the flyer above or their website.

Le Chateau x FLARE Magazine Shopping Event - Saturday November 19, 1-4pm

The Le Chateau location at Pacific Centre is hosting a holiday party wear event this Saturday in collaboration with stylist Luisa Rino of FLARE magazine. If you're weary of duking it out with frenetic shoppers over pieces from the Versace x H&M collaboration, stop by for Luisa's presentation on holiday wear ideas and enjoy complimentary nail and hair touch-ups by Suki's salon.

The Style Spy x Gap Shopping Party - Tuesday November 22, 5-8pm

The Style Spy and the Gap on Robson Street team up to present a fun night of shopping. 25% off the holiday collection, a braid bar and candy bar, DJ, and gift bags for purchases over $50. See the flyer above for all the details.

Banana Republic x 'Holiday Style in the City' - Wednesday November 23, 5-8pm

Join's co-founder/editor-in-chief, Sarah Bancroft, as well as gorgeous bloggers/Vitamin Daily contributors Anya and Kelsey at the Banana Republic Robson flagship and enjoy 25% off the new holiday collection. Get help for your holiday party wear conundrums and search for the perfect cardigan for your beau. See Anya's blog post for all the details.

Got Craft? - Sunday December 4, 10am-5pm

Probably the most indie of all the indie craft fairs in Vancouver, Got Craft returns to the Royal Canadian Legion for one day only to purvey all things handmade.

One of a Kind Vancouver - December 8-11

One of a Kind Vancouver is like a one-stop shop as far as unique gift ideas go. Think dinnerware, food items, decor, art, clothes, can find anything and everything at this huge show taking place in the Vancouver Convention Centre. (I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek at what's in this year's show earlier this year.) If you, like hundreds of others, are after some Coach shortbread, go on the first day and go early; they've been known to sell out in the first few hours.


Today's Outfit: Emerald Green

If compliments were dollars, this Madewell dress would've paid for itself the day I wore it to meet Jeanne Beker and celebrate the grand opening of Metrotown's H&M store. Everyone loved the bright emerald green hue and the cutout details along the neckline and hem. Aside from the luxe silk fabrication and the colour, I love the fact that it makes for the perfect day-to-night ensemble: demure enough for the office, but dressy enough for a party afterward.

Photos in this post kindly taken by Ellen Ho
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