Today's Outfit: Summer Shorts

J. Crew white shirt and bangles | Joe Fresh silk shorts | Chanel bag | LOVECOCO earrings (c/o)| Seychelles sandals | Joe Fresh nail polish in 'Canary'

For my last outfit post of August, I thought it'd be fitting to feature a summer shorts look for a too-short summer. These photos were actually taken on the humid day before the one thunderstorm that Vancouver experienced this season, which explains why I was in shorts and sandals when the skies looked so dreary. Looking at them now, I can't help but look back on all the changes that occurred during the last few months. I went from living at home to being a homeowner, being in a relationship to moving in with my boyfriend and taking that next step. Crazy! Hopefully, fall will hold many more good things.

See you in September!


Product Review: La Roche-Posay Hydraphase Intense

Sometimes it takes me a while to get around to product reviews. Such was the case with the La Roche-Posay Hydraphase Intense products I received at the beginning of the summer, although I wish I'd tried them sooner because these two products are best in hot weather. The gel-based, non-greasy formulas of Hydraphase Intense Serum and Hydraphase Intense Eyes make them ideal for daytime wear under makeup--no mid-afternoon oiliness or shininess. That being said, I do have mixed feelings about both products.

La Roche-Posay Hydraphase Intense Eyes claims to hydrate, de-puff eyes, and diminish dark circles and signs of fatigue with its hyaluronic acid and caffeine. I liked the cooling feel of the gel-based formula and the fact that it was fragrance- and paraben-free. In terms of moisturizing the delicate eye area, it performed as well as other eye creams I've tried. However, I didn't notice any significant effect on puffiness or dark circles.

Similarly, La Roche-Posay Hydraphase Intense Serum is a paraben-free gel infused with hyaluronic acid. It also contains a high concentration of La Roche-Posay thermal spring water, which is said to have therapeutic and anti-inflammatory benefits. I like using it under an SPF moisturizer or BB cream during the day because it's non-greasy and absorbs quickly, and I did notice a bit less redness in my skin tone over time (probably thanks to the thermal water). But Intense Serum does have its downsides: It's not as moisturizing as a cream or lotion, and I experienced some congested pores and breakouts after switching products. (It should be noted that the formula has a light fragrance and is not marked non-comedogenic.)

Overall, these new Hydraphase Intense products are good for summer, especially if you have a problem with oiliness. But personally, I don't think they perform well enough for me to continue using this fall.


Lipstick Love: Orange You Glad

I didn't think I would continue my Lipstick Love miniseries after last December, but that was before I developed a new colour obsession this summer: orange. Orange (or "Tangerine Tango," as Pantone might call it) is a nice change from fuchsia or red, surprisingly flattering, and a veritable magnet for compliments. Sheer lipstick/balm hybrids provide a subtle wash of colour suitable for daytime wear. More pigmented formulas pop for evenings out.

Here's a round-up of the orange shades I've been loving lately.

  • Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter in 'Tutti Frutti' (available at most drugstores). Revlon's bestselling ColorBurst Lip Butter delivers long-lasting moisture and a hint of colour. The first morning application is sheer and coral-y, but by the evening (and after 3-4 re-applications), the hue becomes much more noticeable.
  • ILIA Beauty lipstick in 'Voila' ($24, available exclusively at Misch Boutique). ILIA's line of organic lipsticks is more pigmented than its preceding line of tinted lip conditioners, but still feels great on and moisturizes effectively. 'Voila' goes on bright orange in 2 coats, and gets even brighter after the first re-application.
  • MAC lipstick in 'Lady Danger' ($18). 'Lady Danger' is red-orange, matte, and super-pigmented. It's one of my go-to shades if I want a lipstick that makes a bold colour statement on an otherwise clean face. Before applying 'Lady Danger' with a fine-tipped lip brush, I prefer applying some lip balm blotting to combat the drying effects of the matte formula. Afterward, I line my lips with clear liner to prevent feathering.
  • LUSH Liquid Lipstick in 'Strong' ($22.95). Although I like the look of clear gloss layered on a bright lip, gloss-on-lipstick often results in a goopy mess that's prone to smudging and colour migration. The solution: a lip lacquer like LUSH's which goes on and stays put. With its thick texture and intense pigments, it literally is a liquid lipstick.

Do you have any favourite oranges in your lipstick collection?


From Solo Lisa's Kitchen: Easy Summertime Salsa

One of the things I've been making a lot of this summer is fresh salsa. Not only is it nutritious and delicious, it's super easy and always feels like such a treat compared to its store-bought counterpart. I like serving it with chips and chilled white wine for some impromptu entertaining, or eating it with scrambled eggs and warm corn tortillas for a quick weekday dinner. With the last long weekend of the summer approaching, I thought I might share this simple recipe in case you were looking to add something extra to your backyard barbecue menu. Enjoy!


  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 or 3 tomatoes on the vine, diced
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • Cilantro, chopped, to taste
  • 1 tbsp Cholula hot sauce
  • Kosher salt, to taste

Combine ingredients in one bowl and mix well. Chill before serving if desired. When serving, stir occasionally with a spoon so the hot sauce and lime juice at the bottom of the bowl are redistributed throughout the salsa.


Today's Outfit: Summer Stripes

Joe Fresh tee | J. Crew cafe capris and enamel bangle | H&M belt | Banana Republic flats | Coach bag

What do you wear when you oversleep on a Wednesday morning and have to hurry into work for a marathon morning of meetings? In my case, I reached for stripes, the nearest pair of flats, and some accessories in the same colour family, then put my hair into a messy ponytail and flew out the door. With my work schedule the way it is, I don't think the madcap Wednesday morning scramble is going away anytime soon.

My mid-week battles with the snooze alarm aside, Wednesdays are quickly becoming a highlight of my week along with Friday evening date nights and Sunday afternoon brunches. They're the only weekday when the boy and I have nothing to do in the evenings. No yoga, no dance practices, no kickboxing classes, and for the most part, no fashion events. Just a whole evening ahead of us with nothing to do but be homebodies and cook dinner and unwind.

What do you wear to work when you oversleep?


Product Review: Dermalogica SkinPerfect Primer SPF30

The summer sunshine may be fading away, but SPF should still be mandatory year-round. Luckily, a versatile multi-tasker like Dermalogica's SkinPerfect Primer SPF30 ($64, available wherever Dermalogica products are sold) makes this simple but important skincare step easy to remember.

On paper, the SkinPerfect Primer sounds like a BB cream on steroids. Not only does it brighten and even out complexions, absorb excess oil, and smooth out fine lines, its potent mix of cosmeceutical ingredients boasts a number of skin benefits. White tea, peptides, hyaluronic acid, and soy protein work to protect against free radicals, firm skin, and hydrate. But the star ingredient is pearl powder, a substance that stimulates cell regeneration while inhibiting melanin (aka dark pigments that cause discolouration) and boosting hydration. All that, and it delivers broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection. Whew, talk about a product that does it all.

While I can't attest to its loftier claims, I can say that SkinPerfect Primer is a perfect pleasure to use. The pigments blend into my fair Asian skin seamlessly and provide sheer makeup coverage as well as a lit-from-within glow. I've been wearing it on top of a light moisturizer or hydrating serum because the formula's oil-absorbing properties and dry-yet-velvety feel negate any hydration benefits the cosmeceuticals have. I like the slim tube and needlenose dispenser, which make it easy to squeeze out just the right amount of product. (As is the case with all of Dermalogica's offerings, a little goes a long way.) And most of all, I like the fact that I can use a single product as light makeup and super-effective sunscreen. That convenience factor is appealing enough to transcend seasons.

Have you tried SkinPerfect Primer?


Wear Now, Wear Later

The evening chill that signals the impending arrival of crisp fall days is coming, and with it come thoughts of transitioning our carefree summer wardrobe into something more polished. It's certainly a question worth contemplating while we shop summer sales and look at the new arrivals trickling in, trying to figure out the pieces we can wear right away and keep wearing. Here's my shortlist of 6 pieces that'll take you through the transition in style.

The piece: A denim or chambray shirt (like this one from Zara, $59.90).

Why: What once seemed to be a passing revived fad has proven to be a resuscitated classic. If you haven't jumped on the bandwagon yet, it's time to figure out how this casual chic staple might work in your wardrobe.

Wear now: As a relaxed substitute for cardigans and blazers with the sleeves pushed up. It's still too warm for anything thicker, after all.

Wear later: With the top button buttoned up and a jeweled necklace and prim pencil skirt.

The piece: A lace-embellished tee (like this one from H&M, $12.95).

Why: For only $12.95, why not? The lace makes it slightly dressier than a basic tee.

Wear now: Tucked into full knee-length skirts for a fit-and-flare silhouette that'll make you feel like a nouveau Audrey Hepburn on a hot summer day.

Wear later: With anything. T-shirts are made for layering.

The piece: J. Crew Collection 'Janey' calf hair flats ($344).

Why: I love the look of heels as much as the next girl, but as a commuter my flats get worn the most so I always try to go for interesting ones. Like lace and chambray, leopard print is a modern classic; here it's updated with on-trend metallic detailing.

Wear now: With office shorts, a white blazer, and cat-eye shades.

Wear later: With cropped wool trousers or skinny jeans.

The piece: Colourful cropped trousers in cotton (like J. Crew's bestselling Cafe Capris).

Why: The cotton Cafe Capris are on sale! Unlike its wool and silk counterparts, the cotton Cafe Capri is machine-washable. Besides, Vancouver doesn't get cold enough for the wool version until at least November anyways.

Wear now: With striped tees and contrasting brightly coloured skinny belts.

Wear later: With a flannel blazer and cap-toed pump as pictured above.

The piece: A silk dress (like the Madewell pleated shirtdress, $158).

Why: Regardless of the season, throwing on a dress is the easiest way to look put-together instantly. Plus, silk is light and airy for the summer months but is also an insulating fabric when the mercury drops.

Wear now: With metallic sandals and a small cross-body bag.

Wear later: With tights, oxfords, and a cashmere cardigan.

The piece: Cute canvas sneakers (like these Keds for Madewell polka dot ones, $62).

Why: Keds can be worn barefoot when it's warm, with socks when it's cold, and look good both ways.

Wear now: With denim shorts and a striped tee as you make your way through the PNE, eating your weight in funnel cake and mini doughnuts.

Wear later: For laid-back Sundays consisting of brunch and grocery-shopping.

Your turn! What are your must-have transitional pieces for this time of the year?


Ora 'Toby' Bag

I love bags that boast good quality leather, classic design, and convertible handles or straps. The Ora 'Toby' bag ($350, available online or at Nouvelle Nouvelle) ticks all three boxes. It's the quintessential black handbag that every woman needs in her closet, except in this case, the handbag converts from a shoulder bag to a cross-body to a backpack with the help of clever clips and loops.

Ora designer Randi Obenauer makes her bags in Vancouver, using only the most supple new and vintage leathers. Her attention to detail and workmanship, combined with her minimalist design aesthetic, make her creations the epitome of discreet luxury. In person, the 'Toby' (a variation on Ora's best-selling 'Sadie' bucket bag) seems deceptively simple. Its soft leather hints at luxury. Its braided tasseled drawstring and silver hardware are its only ornament. Beautiful, understated, versatile--if you're lucky enough to buy one, I predict the 'Toby' will be your go-to black handbag this fall/winter season and beyond.


Today's Outfit: Deighton Cup

Francis dress | Pour La Victoire shoes | Roots clutch | Fascinator from Fine Finds | Joe Fresh earrings | J. Crew bracelet | Lipstick: Chanel Rouge Allure 'Enthusiast'
Photo by Framework Magazine

Donning fancy hats and fascinators, sipping mint juleps under the hot sun, enjoying live jazz, betting on thoroughbred horses. This might be de rigueur for regular attendees of the Kentucky Derby, but in Vancouver, this sort of horse-racing fantasy can only be had at the Deighton Cup. I had the chance to experience the Deighton Cup myself last weekend and see why it was dubbed the fashion and social event of the summer season.

Photo by Jonathan Evans

Not only was this my first time at the Deighton Cup, it was my first time at the race track and first foray into horse-betting. Who knew betting on horses was so complicated?! Hastings race course employees circulated through the crowds and explained the basics to novices like myself. The score sheets they carried bore a dizzying array of statistics in teeny tiny print: how the horses performed in their last four races, how their jockeys fared, how much the jockeys weighed, how the horse ranked after passing certain posts on the track, and so on. Beginners' luck worked in my favour though: I placed bets in two different races and won both times. I also had a lot of fun catching up with familiar faces. All in all, it was a great way to spend the afternoon.

After a day at the races, it was time to go home. The boy and I managed to fit in a few quick outfit photos before a sushi dinner and a night of salsa dancing.

Some notes about the outfit: I bought the fascinator at Fine Finds during my lunch break and figured I'd work out an outfit around it later. The colour was eye-catching, the shape was flattering, and it was substantial enough to almost pass for a hat. That fascinator was about to be worn with a black-and-white outfit when I remembered that I had this dress. I liked how everything worked together in the end: the navy blue, the red and orange accents, the ladylike feel of the fascinator and lipstick and low-heeled pumps.

Last weekend proved to be pretty busy. Let's see what this weekend holds. Happy Friday, dear readers!


Product Review: A Tale of Two Eyeliners

When my eyes are fully open, my lash line is almost but not quite against my crease. I also have a tendency to get oily eyelids. For these reasons, eyeliners--even the ones that claim to never budge--always disappear within an hour or leave behind a smudged mess. In fact, the only one I've tried that has lived up to its stay-put reputation is Geisha Ink.

I was complaining about my eyeliner plight at the Almay media preview a couple months ago, and lo and behold, their publicists sent me samples of Revlon ColorStay Creme Gel Eyeliner and Almay Liquid Liner (both available at London Drugs) a couple weeks later. Hot August weather is as good a time to test-drive budge-proof eyeliners as any, and I was able try both in the last week or so.

Klutzes beware: Revlon's ColorStay Creme Gel Eyeliner requires a steady hand and some practice before you can get a thin, smooth line. Part of the problem may be the pull-out brush which plugs into the top of the twist-off cap; it's just too wide and blunt for any precision. Using my own angled liner brush and pressing the colour into my lash line yielded much better results. That being said, I found the eyeliner didn't stay on very well during an evening of salsa dancing (hello, panda eyes) despite its claim that it would last 24 hours.

Ironically, I had better luck with the Almay Liquid Liner even though it only claims to last 16 hours. The brush is fine-tipped, deposits an even amount of liner, and makes it easy to achieve a precise cat-eye look. In fact, when I wore it on one of the hottest days this month, it performed as well as my beloved Geisha Ink normally would. Although I won't give up my tried-and-true liner anytime soon, it's nice to know that high performance can be had from a drugstore product. And one formulated for sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers, no less!

Have you tried either of these liners? What's your favourite budge-proof liner?


KNOWSHOW Spring/Summer 2013

Stylish eyewear from newcomer FarmFresh

Season after season, KNOWSHOW can be relied upon to deliver a sneak peek of what we'll be wearing next year. (Hint: Hang on to your coloured denim, heritage-inspired sunglasses, and metallic accent shoes because they're still going to be major trends.) Canada's premiere lifestyle trade show was in town again this weekend featuring a mix of well-known and emerging labels. Here's a little glimpse of the things that caught my eye.

Saskatchewan-based FarmFresh was only founded in May of this year, but their heritage-inspired eyewear and leather men's bags quickly made them one of the most buzzworthy newcomers at KNOWSHOW.

For out-of-the-ordinary sunnies, look no further than Shwood. The wood-framed shades offer a unique spin on classic styles and are all made in Portland.

Coloured denim is still in, proclaims Cheap Monday...

...and Mavi agrees.

I love the look of these metallic cap-toed flats from Seychelles.

Colourful, patterned, and unabashedly cheerful, Swedish-designed Happy Socks are sure to brighten up a gloomy day. In Vancouver, you can find them at Holt Renfrew, Gravity Pope, and Eugene Choo among other retailers.

Fans of Herschel Supply will be happy to hear that they're coming out with new iPad and laptop cases.


A Little Home Decor Update

A bouquet from gorgeous blogger Carolina

It's been almost two months since the boy and I moved in, and our place is still coming together gradually. Even though we're still waiting for some of our furniture to be delivered, it's really starting to feel like home. Here's a look at some of the cozy little touches we've added since my moving update in July.

The boy spotted this vintage 1950s Snyder side table at Metropolitan Home, an independent Vancouver store specializing in vintage and mid-century modern pieces. I love its blonde-hued solid maple, which exudes sturdiness and warmth. And unlike contemporary wooden furniture, the sleek curves on this piece made it feel light. The fact that it was the perfect height and size only cinched the deal.

On top of the Snyder table: a navy blue table lamp and silver basket from Parliament, an Olla orchid (housewarming gift from Anya), and two scented candles from Violet Boutique (c/o) to be placed on the coffee table and lit when the mood strikes.

Our chick candle holders (c/o) and coffee table are from CB2 and our rug is from Overstock. (If you're looking for a blue-and-white patterned rug for your space, this one and this one are cute alternatives.) The colours and pattern really work well with the blue chevron-striped throw on the couch (also from Parliament) and the blue lamp, providing the living area with a consistent colour accent. I swiped the glass vase from my mom's house (with her permission, of course).

I purposely kept the bedroom as bare, white, and serene as possible. The CB2 'Nash' lamps and IKEA 'Hemnes' nightstands feel modern yet classic and clean. I added the Birks silver bowl and photo frame (both c/o) for a bit of metallic texture. The frame still doesn't have a photo; I have yet to find one of both of us that I want to put inside it!

Today's Outfit: Warm Jade

Joe Fresh tee and nail polish in 'Canary' | J. Crew no. 2 pencil skirt in 'Warm Jade' and bracelet | Toodlebunny earrings (c/o) | Faryl Robin heels | Roots cross-body bag (worn as wristlet) | Ray-Ban cat-eye shades

Unlike other style bloggers who buy something new and make a point of photographing themselves wearing it, I'm usually so excited about wearing my purchases that I don't think to feature them in outfit posts until much later; by then the novelty has worn off. Such was the case with my second J. Crew no. 2 pencil skirt purchase: a cotton number in a bright green hue dubbed 'Warm Jade'. (My first one was in an equally bright pinkish purple called 'Iris Orchid' and made of wool.) Although that warm fuzzy post-consumer glow has worn off, I still love how this skirt is structured enough for the office yet colourful enough to attract a slew of compliments whenever I wear it to fashion events.

Actually, it's probably a good thing that I don't feel pressured to always wear and feature new things in outfit posts since all my money seems to be going toward home decor and furniture items these days. The boy and I went shopping last weekend and bought a dining table and four chairs, a chair for the hallway, a side table, and a lamp. Now to wait for everything to be delivered...

Have a great weekend!


Product Review: Givenchy Mister Light Instant Light Corrective Pen

This product review is going to read more like a rave, but that's because I really love Givenchy's Mister Light Instant Light Corrective Pen ($37 at Sephora) that much. Its specs are somewhat similar to YSL's legendary Touche Eclat in that it's a brush-tipped concealer pen meant to conceal and brighten at the same time. However, Givenchy's version also boasts SPF 10 (always a plus).

Having never tried Touche Eclat, I don't know how the two concealer pens compare to each other. What I do know is that shade #3 (Mister Toast) suits my fair Asian skin and provides sheer to medium coverage--perfect for summer days where I want to look groomed but not overdone. The concealer has a creamy consistency and doesn't settle into fine lines after long periods of wear. I love how easy it is to apply too: a couple clicks of the pen, a couple brushstrokes on the face, and blend in the concealer with clean fingers. No makeup brushes to wash, no separate concealer and colour corrector products to erase my dark under-eye circles. Talk about a morning time-saver.

Have you tried either of these concealer pens?


Estee Lauder Fall/Winter 2012 Preview

Although we're still in the throes of an August heat wave, beauty and fashion lovers are already looking ahead to fall trends. So are the major brands who deliver what they love season after season. I was lucky enough to attend an Estee Lauder fall/winter 2012 preview at the beautiful Hotel Georgia a couple weeks ago, where I got a sneak peek of their new Pure Color Vivid Shine collection for eyes, lips, and nails. Created by creative makeup director Tom Pecheux, the colours were inspired by the luminosity and ever-changing colours of Paris's city lights at night. The result: rich jewel tones with multi-dimensional pearlized textures. Here's a little look at what you can expect.

The Pure Color Gelee Powder Eyeshadows feature a liquid/powder/gel all-in-one formula that goes on smooth. The shadow isn't too pigmented, making it easy to get a subtle wash of colour or layer and blend multiple shadows for more dramatic looks. I love the texture of the eyeshadow (like a crumpled knit sweater) and the gold gilt square compact.

Estee Lauder's popular Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup has been reformulated to suit more skin tones, making it easier to find your exact shade.

The lipsticks in the Pure Color Vivid Shine collection contain silver and gold sparkle pearls, feel creamy on the lips, and have just enough pigment to provide a pop of colour without feeling really done up. The colour range contains a lot of pinks and corals that would flatter a wide variety of skin tones and brighten tired complexions. Again, love the gold packaging!

I was particularly intrigued by the Vivid Shine Luminizers. Wear them alone, or layer them over lipsticks you already own to subtly change their hue or texture.

The Pure Colour Nail Lacquer collection gets mad kudos for its breathtaking packaging: the ice-cube-shaped bottle and gold applicator feel oh so luxe. This collection also marks Estee Lauder's return to nail polish. Expect jewel tones with a touch of pearlescence and multi-dimensional shimmer as well as high shine. Also, keep your eyes peeled for limited edition colours only available at Holt Renfrew.

Pure Color Vivid Shine products are available at Estee Lauder cosmetics counters and online beginning this August.

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