Today's Outfit: #RachelRoyBayVAN

RACHEL Rachel Roy 'Charleston' dress (c/o) | Zara moto jacket | Banana Republic shoes | Chanel purse | Tom Ford 'Bruised Plum' lipstick

It's not every day that a girl gets to meet the designer of the dress she's wearing, but that was exactly what happened last Friday thanks to the Hudson's Bay Company and the RACHEL Rachel Roy PR team. I love the dress they sent over in honour of Rachel Roy's appearance at The Bay downtown: a sheer, sequinned, plaid-patterned sleeveless frock. Who knew so many disparate elements could come together in one garment in such a chic way? To keep the focus on the silver-sequinned plaid pattern, I kept the rest of the outfit relatively simple with a black jacket, my Chanel 2.55, and neutral colour-blocked pumps.

That evening, fans lined up patiently inside the White Space, enjoying drinks and canap├ęs and admiring the models clad in RACHEL Rachel Roy head-to-toe as they waited for Roy to come out. They didn't have too long to wait before a smiling Roy emerged looking beautiful, self-assured, and ready to chat with everyone.

While waiting for my turn, I had a chance to check out The Bay's selection of RACHEL Rachel Roy. Expect day-to-night dresses in bold patterns and bright hues; lots of chartreuse, coral, berry, and emerald green; work-appropriate blouses and pencil skirts; and weekend-appropriate gear. Handbags, shoes, and jewelry rounded out the selection. With the eclectic styles available and the appealing price point (most of the clothes were under $200 and the costume jewelry was under $50), Roy's lower-priced line is definitely worth checking out.

When it was my turn to meet Roy, I asked her about the eclecticism of the collection: What did all of these pieces from seemingly different styles have in common? What was the underlying thread? Her response: The clothes in the collection are meant to reflect the many facets of who women are, what they need, and what they do, and are meant to carry her through every occasion in style. How appropriate.

Meeting Rachel Roy with Carolina

Product Review: China Glaze Real Nail Polish Appliques

Achieving the look of nail art with minimal mess, time, and fuss seems too good to be true, but that's exactly what adhesive nail strips promise. You may have seen them in beauty boutiques and drugstores. These patterned, nail-shaped stick-ons are supposedly made of real polish and behave just like the real thing, except that they're easier to apply. Simply press onto clean nails and file away the excess--no waiting required.

I had a chance to try appliques recently when Nail Polish Canada sent me their China Glaze Real Nail Polish Appliques in 'Jane Loves Tarzan' ($11). My nail strips came packaged in airtight plastic along with an orange stick (for pushing back cuticles), a nail file (for prepping nails and filing off the excess length), and clear-cut instructions. Not wanting to do a full set of giraffe-print nails, I opted to do giraffe-print accent nails with a deep red mani instead. If you decide to do the same with your appliques, make sure you seal the packet well as air will dry out any unused ones.

As promised, the appliques were easy to use and took no time to dry. In fact, they were probably the easiest part of my manicure (adhere, file, apply top coat, done). Over the course of the week, the accent nails didn't chip while the red nails did. However, I never quite shook the feeling that I had stickers on my ring fingers. At about the one-week mark, the adhesive started losing its stickiness and the appliques began peeling. Each applique came off in one piece, just like a sticker. It was a fun experiment while it lasted and I'm open to another giraffe accent nail mani. But appliques won't ever be a substitute for real nail polish, especially given my propensity for solid colours over patterns.

To see the full selection of nail appliques on Nail Polish Canada, check out their website.


New Outerwear Obsession: Varsity Sweaters

This season, my most coveted topper isn't a classic trench, blazer, or anorak, but a varsity sweater. In fact, since buying the Madewell letterman sweater jacket pictured above, I've been secretly hoping for cooler weather just so I have more opportunities to wear it. I'm planning to wear mine with skinny jeans and ankle boots for a laid-back weekend, or throw it on as a quirky counterpoint to a ladylike sheath and pointy-toed pumps. But no matter what they're paired with, varsity sweaters deliver a dose of collegiate cool plus the softness of a beloved cardi.

My preferred styles are thick and cozy enough to double as a light jacket, channeling the look of the varsity/letterman jackets that are so trendy now without being too literal about it. If you're still looking for your perfect varsity sweater, here's a round-up of my favourite picks.

Lifetime Collective varsity sweater (available via Karmaloop and the Lifetime Collective website)

Dear Cashmere sweater ($295 on Stylebop)

Moncler vintage varsity cardigan ($695 at Bergdorf Goodman)

Are you planning to wear a varsity sweater this fall? Maybe we can be twinsies!


Vancouver Loves Natural Beauty: Tata Harper

Vancouver Loves Natural Beauty is a blog miniseries running during the month of September, and highlighting the great organic and natural beauty and skincare labels founded right here in our fair city. Although Tata Harper technically isn't a Vancouver-based skincare label, the fact that Harper was in town recently and her products are available at BeautyMark merited an addendum to the miniseries.

Organic makeup and moisturizers are becoming more common, but the search for effective and all-natural anti-aging skincare remains a challenge. Enter Tata Harper.

Harper--who holds an engineering degree and comes from a long line of beauty-product-loving Colombian women--was prompted to create her eponymous skincare line after her stepfather was diagnosed with cancer. Women, she reasoned, shouldn't have to expose themselves to the harmful chemicals in beauty products when the products themsevles aren't very effective in the first place. Her epiphany took her on a five-year-long journey as she traveled the globe sourcing and researching ingredients for her new line.

But that journey was well worth it. Today, Tata Harper skincare is made on Harper's 1200-acre Vermont farm using ingredients from around the world. Her products have been earning raves and accolades since the line's launch. Organic, all-natural, chock full of active ingredients, and clinically proven results. No wonder celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Christy Turlington, and Julianne Moore are fans.

The products Tata used on me

I got to see exactly what all the fuss was about when I met Harper herself and she gave me a facial using her skincare line. While we chatted about Latin music pop stars, Harper washed off my makeup using Regenerating Cleanser ($82.50) and applied the Resurfacing Mask ($60.50). She told me about the gentle enzyme-based exfoliants, hyaluronic acid (a humectant and skin plumper), and active botanicals in her products. She then inquired about my anti-aging skincare regimen as she spritzed Hydrating Floral Essence ($71.50) on my face, and then applied Rejuvenating Serum ($165) and Repairative Moisturizer($110). When I sheepishly admitted I didn't have a regimen and I'd be turning 28 soon, she exclaimed, "Girl, you better get on that!" The facial ended with the application of Restorative Eye Creme ($99) and a spot of aromatherapy. As she worked, I kept exclaiming how good all the products smelled; Harper explained that their sweet scent comes from all the natural ingredients and flowers in the formulas, not artificial fragrance.

The proof is in the pudding--or in this case, the post-facial complexion. I was absolutely glowing. My skin felt smooth, hydrated, and plump to the touch, and I had the sort of rosy yet even-toned complexion I can't achieve without a bit of concealer and blush. An hour with Tata Harper, and I was a believer.

Tata Harper skincare is available at BeautyMark in Yaletown.


Today's Outfit: Geek Chic

Banana Republic cardigan | H&M tee | J. Crew no. 2 pencil skirt | Nicholas Kirkwood flats | Kate Spade Bow Bridge Kennedy bag | Joe Fresh earrings

These photos were taken several weeks ago, but geek chic perfectly captures my state of mind lately. Aside from wearing my glasses a lot, I've been geeking out over work in between blogging and thinking about shoes or nail polish. Most of my brain power these days is devoted to explaining market research concepts or understanding how the developers are implementing a new feature. Between all the meetings and last-minute tasks, I've taken to bringing my laptop home on weeknights, trying to squeeze in a couple hours of work each day. Overwhelming sometimes, yes. However, as my mentor pointed out, it's better to be super busy because you're part of a growing company as opposed to the alternative.

This weekend though, I'm determined to enjoy every moment to the fullest instead of being cooped up at home complaining about how tired I am. Yoga, salsa dancing, brunch, some grocery shopping and maybe a leisurely stroll along Main Street. Yes, that sounds just about right.

Have a good weekend!


The Bay Presents RACHEL Rachel Roy

In case you haven't heard, Rachel Roy herself is making an appearance at The Bay downtown tomorrow to celebrate her line, RACHEL Rachel Roy, being carried in Bay stores across the country. Exciting! All the details are in the flyer. Will you be there?


Product Review: MAKE UP FOR EVER Aqua Cream and Shadow

MAKE UP FOR EVER has been known for its long-lasting products and intense colour pigments since founder Dany Sanz set out to create a line that would perform under extreme circumstances. No wonder MUFE products are beloved by makeup artists, discerning beauty lovers, and Olympians (their waterproof shades are a godsend for synchronized swimmers). I got to take two sychronized swimmer-approved products for a test drive recently, MUFE Aqua Shadow ($23 at Sephora) and MUFE Aqua Cream ($26 at Sephora).

Smooth and pigmented, Aqua Cream lives up to its name as a waterproof, budge-proof eye colour. Apply it straight from the pot with your fingertips for a sheer wash of colour, use a shadow brush for a deeper hue, or press the colour into your lash line with an angled liner brush. I tend to play it pretty safe with my everyday makeup, so I wore Aqua Cream in 25 Pastel Blue around the house for a sweaty afternoon of chores and as I blogged. The colour stayed on without fading for hours, although because I applied it directly to my eyelids sans primer it began creasing around the 5-hour mark.

Aqua Shadow is a jumbo eyeshadow crayon that, like Aqua Cream, boasts long-lasting colour. Because of the blunt thick line that it leaves, I found it difficult to use Aqua Shadow in 0E (black) as a precise liner. But I imagine the light beige, pink, and taupe shades would make great apply-and-go eyeshadow sticks.

While testing Aqua Cream and Aqua Shadow, I tried my hand at re-creating Mugler's dramatic cat-eye look with colour accents.

Before this MUFE experience, my only exposure to their products was the Glossy Full Couleur glosses. This was before lipstick made a comeback and I was hard-pressed to find pigmented lip glosses or opaque lip lacquers, so I was impressed with the colour pigments in Glossy Full Couleur. Now, after two good experiences, I'm looking forward to experimenting with other MUFE products.


A Tale of Two Events: The Lazy Gourmet Menu Launch, Plenty F/W 2012 Preview

One of the beautiful floral arrangements at the Lazy Gourmet launch

Last night, I attended a tasting event to celebrate the new fall/winter menu from The Lazy Gourmet in the heart of Gastown. Then I hightailed it to Kitsilano where I got a glimpse of the fall/winter 2012 offerings from local fashion retailer Plenty. Oh, what I rough life I do lead.

Winter Berry Martini and Spicy Ginger Man. Yes, that's a full cinnamon stick as a swizzle stick in the Spicy Ginger Man.

Thoughts of Christmas rarely cross one's mind while in the throes of an Indian summer, but the holiday season--and the pressure to host the perfect party--are just around the corner. Luckily, the harried and the cooking-challenged alike can count on catering companies like The Lazy Gourmet to deliver. Aside from staple fare like fruit, cheese, and charcuterie platters, the classic caterer (founded in 1979 and one of the oldest in Vancouver) has revamped its fall/winter 2012 menu with new hors d'oeuvres and dishes. "At The Lazy Gourmet, we are always looking to reinvent classics and favourites, but still echo the type of nostalgia people love during the feasting season,” says general manager Kevin Mazzone. True to that ethos, last night's menu featured a number of items that tickled adult palates while pleasing the child in all of us. Standouts: maple bacon cupcakes (the saltiness of the bacon garnish contrasted well with the sweet icing and cake); kale Caesar salad with horseradish dressing on endive (nice presentation, melt-in-your-mouth texture); portobello fries with garlic aioli (crispy tempura-like texture on the outside, tender savoury mushroom on the inside); and the bevy of custom cocktails (Sage Bulldog, Winter Berry Martini, Spicy Ginger Man) that highlight traditional holiday flavours in a more sophisticated way.

And from food to fashion: The Plenty flagship store in Kitsilano was packed with guests eager to check out the fall/winter 2012 merchandise and hear FASHION magazine's West Coast editor, Joy Pecknold, present her take on the season's trends. Pecknold did not disappoint with her hilarious commentary and the casual looks she put together using Plenty's pieces. Expect coloured denim in muted yet rich shades rather than the brights of seasons past; soft knits; notice-me outerwear like capelets and fur-trimmed blanket coats; and lots of layer-able separates like sheer blouses, crop tops, silk tunics, and long but lightweight cardigans.

A quick browse around the store revealed some covet-worthy labels. I spotted Herschel Supply backpacks, Matt & Nat handbags, Cheap Monday denim, and Lifetime Collective separates. Affordably priced scarves, shoes, and accessories (including the cutest and most inexpensive little satchel I've seen in a while) rounded out the selection.


Vancouver Loves Natural Beauty: Daniela Belmondo of Belmondo Skincare

Vancouver Loves Natural Beauty is a blog miniseries running during the month of September, and highlighting the great organic and natural beauty and skincare labels founded right here in our fair city.

Daniela Belmondo of Belmondo Skincare believes in being kind to the earth as well as your skin. (After all, "Belmondo" is a play on the Italian words for "beautiful world.") Her line of organic olive oil-based skincare products is infused with calendula, chamomile, lavender, and rosehip to gently cleanse, protect, and nourish skin. Carefully considered details like eco-friendly glass packaging, distinctive white-on-black labels, and fair trade ingredients make Belmondo a winner. I got a chance to talk to Daniela about Belmondo, whether she'll ever do organic makeup, and her desert island essentials.

What inspired you to create Belmondo?

A true desire to share the natural benefits of olive oil for your skin. I grew up in Italy with my grandmother who used olive oil for everything so it was natural to create this line to share with everyone.

Many of Belmondo's products are made using organic olive oil. What are the benefits of using olive oil on your skin?

The wonderful benefits of using olive oil on your skin are plentiful and have been know for centuries. Olives, being a fruit that grows on trees, are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids, three components your skin needs for optimum health, beauty, and well-being. I've written a great article on this and you can learn more of the benefits here.

Your products are sold through Anthropologie (congrats, that's huge!). How did that partnership come about?

We had a dream to be in Anthropologie and just went after it. We put together a lovely package of our collection and sent it to them. They loved the line and and our vision and they accepted us as a vendor. It was a pretty exciting day!

Have you ever thought about branching out from organic skincare into makeup?

It's been thought about and so have hair products and sunscreen...these are all requests from our loyal and current customer and we're only willing to develop what our customers ask for. Otherwise we can create new products all the time and this is great, but it takes away from what we do best and our obsession with customer service. For the time being there are many amazing makeup lines and sunscreens I gladly recommend to everyone.

What are the Belmondo products you use on a daily basis?

I love After the Rain Face Toner, it's so much more than a toner and I love this product. I also use The Cloud Face Cream and weekly I exfoliate my skin with The Dunes Face Exfoliator and use The Rain Face Cleanser, especially when my skin tends to feel congested.

What's next for you, personally and professionally?

Professionally, I'm continuing to build my brand by growing and getting exposure in more cities in Canada and the US. Personally, I have a dream to live in NYC with my man, and it will happen when the timing is right. In the meantime Im looking forward to moving to a new area in the city (currently in Vancouver) and exploring new hidden gems.

If you were stuck on a desert island, which 5 essentials would you take with you?

My boyfriend, olive oil, food, laptop, tea.


Solo Lisa Reads: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky is a heartfelt, believable young adult novel with a compelling protagonist at its centre. In other words, it's exactly the sort of bildungsroman I enjoy when I'm in the mood for YA novels. There are no vampires, werewolves, or teenage blood battles in futuristic dystopias here. Rather, The Perks of Being a Wallflower tells the story of Charlie, an introverted young man who has spent life on the sidelines observing others.

Desperate for someone to listen to him, Charlie writes a series of confessional letters to an anonymous friend in his freshman year of high school, chronicling his journey from wallflower to full participant in his own life. A large part of this journey centres on his budding friendship with Patrick and Sam, step-siblings who embrace Charlie for who he is; his family, particularly the enigmatic figure of his late Aunt Helen; and Bill, an English teacher who sees something in Charlie and encourages him at every turn. Growing up is a bittersweet business though. While Charlie finds love and joy in his relationships, he also discovers that life is full of complexity and sadness.

That's probably one of the vaguest book reviews ever, but trust me when I say that Wallflower is worth reading. Chbosky gives Charlie a distinctive voice; his spare prose heightens both the humour and sadness inherent in Charlie's experiences. I found myself chuckling at certain passages and tearing up at others.

Chbosky's ouevre has received widespread acclaim since its publication and was a New York Times bestseller. The film adaptation (also penned by Chbosky) just premiered at TIFF and is slated for a widespread release next month. After having read it, I can certainly see what the fuss is about and can't wait to see the film.

Will you be reading the book or seeing the movie?

Special thanks to Simon and Schuster Canada for the review copy.


Today's Outfit: A Touch of Red

Zara denim shirt | Gap tee (c/o; similar style here) | Cici pencil skirt | Rachel Comey x Urban Outfitters sandals | Necklace from Nordstrom Rack | Ray-Ban cat-eye shades | Roots bag

One of my favourite shortcuts for looking put-together with minimal effort is small but strategic doses of colour. In this case, I opted for red: orange-red lipstick (MAC 'Lady Danger'), sandals with a red vamp, and the red Roots wristlet I can't seem to stop using recently. These little touches of crimson really liven up an otherwise neutral outfit.

My sartorial goal for this month is to transition gracefully from summer to fall and take advantage of what little sunshine and balmy weather there is before the rain and cold arrive. (That being said, it's hard to resist the siren's call of the cozy sweaters, boots, and jackets in stores and in my closet.) I'll be wearing pencil skirts with bare legs whenever I can, and layering light cardis or a denim shirt over a tee or tank to fend off those chilly breezes. I'll have months and months to wear boots later; for now, I want to enjoy my open-toed shoes.

Have a good weekend!


Vancouver Loves Natural Beauty: Darcey Diehl of Lippy Girl

Vancouver Loves Natural Beauty is a blog miniseries running during the month of September, and highlighting the great organic and natural beauty and skincare labels founded right here in our fair city.

Organic makeup label Lippy Girl first came to my attention when I attended an event at Wishlist Boutique. With vibrant colours like 'Sassy Ass' (a neon pink, super-moisturizing lipstick which builds in intensity with every coat), fun names, a growing range of products, and cruelty-free USDA-certified organic formulas, Lippy Girl is a noteworthy beauty newcomer. I had the chance to talk to founder Darcey Diehl about the origins of Lippy Girl, balancing two careers with a bustling family life, and what's coming next.

Lippy Girl is a pretty new organic makeup line. What inspired you to create it?

Lippy Girl launched in October 2011. The idea hatched in my brain in March 2011 and I began experimenting and developing it soon after! I was pregnant with my second child, Olivia, and seeking hip, organic, natural makeup without lanolin, lactates, and other animal products as ingredents. Then I saw a famous quote that inspired me by Lily Tomlin: “I said 'Somebody should do something about that.' Then I realized I am somebody.” So I started making makeup.

What readers may not know is that you started this line as a chemistry teacher with zero background in the beauty industry. What were some of the obstacles you encountered in trying to get Lippy Girl off the ground?

I definetely had no experience in the makeup-making industry. I had modelled in my younger years, so I have a strong sense of what I want in a makeup product and a need to wear colours that are pigmented, vibrant, and fun. I spent hours reading blogs on makeup-making and watching Youtube videos, and then even more time in my lab and kitchen developing recipes. The biggest obstacle was finding manufacturers who wanted to work with a high school chemistry teacher starting a makeup line with her meager savings. Several times I wanted to give up, and rejection became a normal occurrence. Thank goodness my husband was always there to keep me going.

Is it hard balancing all these facets of your life--beauty entrepreneur, teaching, family life?

Incredibly hard sometimes, and blissful other times. Sometimes they all seem to co-exist happily, and other times all the areas of my life seem to be in crisis. I get up early and go to bed late, but everything I do is highly rewarding. My children, my students, and my makeup all grow and mature and make me proud of all the work I put into them.

What are your personal can't-live-without favourites from the Lippy Girl line?

I use Lip Love lip conditioner constantly! I love that it keeps my lips so soft and smooth. I wear 'Bewildered' Bronze blush everday, and 'Nonplussed' lipstick most often.

Are there any new products in the works?

I have just received Sha-Zam, a tinted lip shimmer made with organic ingredients. Still waiting for the labels to be printed and then they will be available. Extra Virgin Vegan Lip Gloss is USDA-certified organic and is due to be launched. Vegocentric Vegan lipstick is a mineral-coloured, organic lipstick line that is due to arrive this winter. And finally Lippy Girl is in pre-production with lipliners which have a tentative timeline of next spring. So lots to look forward to!

What's next for you, personally and professionally?

Personally I look forward to my son turning 4 and my daughter turning 1 in September! My son is busy planning his party and designing his cake already. Professionally, I look forward to growing and developing Lippy Girl; the plan next year is to expand into the USA.


Spend on Trend Sept. 14-16, 2012

Spend on Trend returns for its ninth year this weekend at Heritage Hall on Main Street. Stop by for a mix of locally made and designed clothes, accessories, and home decor items from established labels like Filou and emerging ones like Thinkhead. All the details are in the flyer, so mark your calendars and make sure to stop by Heritage Hall!


Secret Location Fall/Winter 2012 Preview

European-inspired high-concept store Secret Location opened in July, but it was only recently that I had the chance to take a closer look. Secret Location offers a unique blend of high fashion, art, design, lifestyle, and food with its gallery-like retail space on one side and cafe/restaurant on the other. Fashion lovers will be delighted to find Teatum Jones, Rad Hourani, and Pringle of Scotland among the hard-to-find luxe labels stocked at the store. Meanwhile, the accessories selection features the likes of Gio Diev and Liam Fahy shoes, Katie Rowland jewelry, and vintage Chanel. Here's a little peek at what's in store for this season.

A huge selection of fashion, design, and art books

Gio Diev and Liam Fahy shoes

The clothing displays have a gallery-like feel

A model in Pringle of Scotland F/W 2012

Surrealist Rene Magritte plates

Truffles in the prettiest packaging

Vintage Chanel

Today's Outfit: Anchors Away

J. Crew 'Maritime' striped dress | Joe Fresh belt | Coach bag | Marni x H&M sandals | Beausoleil glasses

When I first bought this dress, I envisioned myself wearing it to work as the perfect summer-to-fall transitional piece. The heavyweight cotton material and long sleeves would counterbalance the short hemline, keeping me warm but not letting me overheat. Since receiving it in the mail though, this dress has only seen the light of day on weekends. It's such an easy piece to throw on for laid-back days: incredibly comfortable, plus loose enough around the waistline to let me have a generous brunch and a big dinner, and maybe gorge on popcorn at the movies afterward.

Also noteworthy: my new tortoiseshell cat-eye glasses! Aren't they wonderful? They were an early birthday gift from the boy in August, when I was suffering too much from itchy allergy-ridden eyes to tolerate contacts for more than half an hour. Practicality, style, and 20/20 vision--these specs couldn't have been a more perfect (or more welcome) gift. Whenever someone compliments them, I make sure to pass on the compliment to him.

So, a quick status update on all the other areas of my life. Work is crazy enough that I now have to bring my laptop home at least one day a week and put in a few more hours. Our media stand finally arrived so we could put together that and the TV, and we've been hooked on Netflix ever since. As for my plans this weekend, they involve yoga and salsa dancing and who knows what else?

Have a good weekend!


Product Review: StriVectin-EV Get Even Brightening Serum

It's been said that dark spots and unevenness can age skin even more than wrinkles. Since reading that statement ages ago, I've become extra conscious of dark spots, especially one in particular which is forming on my right cheek. I've also dabbled with brightening and lightening spot treatments here and there, but nothing has been as effective as StriVectin-EV Get Even Brightening Serum ($89). Paraben-free and non-comedogenic, Get Even promises to accelerate exfoliation and brighten in a mere two weeks. After 4-8 weeks, dark spots are noticeably diminished thanks to the proprietary niacin complex and high vitamin C content.

Simply put, Get Even really works. Although the instructions say to use it in the AM and PM before applying anything else to your skin, I've only been using it at night (and sometimes forgetting to apply it). Even so, after about three weeks of semi-regular use I noticed a definite improvement in the dark spot on my right cheek; it seemed smaller and less noticeable. I suspect that if I use Get Even diligently for the full recommended 8-week period, the spot will come close to disappearing entirely. My short trial has convinced me--this is definitely a product to keep in my regular routine and my medicine cabinet. Pricey, but worth it.

In Vancouver, StriVectin products are available at London Drugs.


Vancouver Loves Natural Beauty: Sasha Plavsic of ILIA Beauty

Vancouver Loves Natural Beauty is a blog miniseries running during the month of September, and highlighting the great organic and natural beauty and skincare labels founded right here in our fair city.

ILIA Beauty has come a long way since its founder, Sasha Plavsic, first launched a collection of tinted lip conditioners. Now ILIA has expanded to include high-pigment lipsticks and face products, with even more offerings coming soon. With each new addition to her growing line, Plavsic still manages to stay true to her original vision: cosmetics with 85% or more organic content that are as effective as their mainstream counterparts. I had a chance to talk with Plavsic about all of her successes in the past year and ask what she has planned for the future.

A lot has changed for ILIA in the last year. Can you give readers a quick rundown of the newest products and developments?

Yes, we are launching six lip glosses, four mascaras and two new limited edition shades later this fall. It's been steady growth and we've had many requests for the two new products that are entering the collection soon. Colour will remain a focus for the time being and eventually we will make it to foundations, which is a different ball game altogether, but an important one to consider.

Organic makeup gets a lot of flack for having boring colours. How do you achieve bright and on-trend shades like 'Neon Angel' and 'Voila' while keeping the organic content percentage high?

The organic content stays high due to the percentage of organic ingredients, such as beeswax, and the various oils we use in the product. The color is such a small percentage and in order to achieve the bright shades we mix natural iron oxide mineral dyes with mild food grade dyes. Not all of our shades contain food grade; some are 100% natural. Yet we find the combination of the two to be the most successful for achieving on trend colors and good consistency.

ILIA is carried at Colette (congrats, that's huge!). How did this partnership come about?

A little luck and good timing. When ILIA launched last spring, I sent a package to Colette in the mail with a really nice handwritten note. I think handwritten pieces go a long way today and can have a much stronger impact than just sending an email off into cyberspace. Luckily, the product was well received and a relationship to grow ILIA in Paris with Colette worked out for the best.

What are the ILIA products you've been using regularly all summer, and which ones do you see yourself using well into fall?

This summer, I've been on the road a lot! Every morning calls for a little 'Sway' on the eyelids followed by a blend of 'I Put A Spell On You', 'Sway', and 'Polka Dots & Moonbeams' along the cheek bones. For lips, I've been using 'Crimson & Clover' and 'In Paradise' a lot. With fall around the corner, I will move to deeper richer shades like 'Cheek to Cheek' and 'Femme Fatale'.

Finish the end of this sentence: "When I'm not working, I can be found..."

...sitting on the couch in London with my friend who is pregnant and talking about how crazy life is! Well, that's today at least, tomorrow will bring new things!

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