Facebook Giveaway: Spring Vanity Revamp

I've been preoccupied with sprucing up my decor and my blog lately, which is why I'm celebrating the launch of my new Facebook page with a combined giveaway that combines these fixations and my love of beauty products. Let's take a look at the prizes, shall we?

Spruce up your vanity

Whether you need to revamp your vanity table or you have a messy bathroom counter, a few pretty but practical accessories go a long way. I love using vintage-inspired tumblers to hold brushes and liners. A three-drawer clear acrylic organizer keeps face products, lipsticks and eyeshadow palettes organized while taking up minimal space. Porcelain dishes are excellent catch-alls for trinkets and hair ties. The giveaway winner will receive the two glass tumblers, plastic drawer unit, and bowl pictured here (combined value $45).

Refresh your beauty kit

I filled the vanity accessories with my own beauty products and jewelry to give you an idea of what it all looks like. The bad news is my stuff isn't part of the prize, but the good news is that the products pictured below are. After all, what good is a pretty vanity if you don't love what's on it? At the very least, a new palette and a beautiful perfume bottle are essential.

The winner will receive these products with a combined retail value of $240:

Enter the giveaway

'Like' Solo Lisa on Facebook, then upload a photo. The photo can be of anything as long as it's related to beauty or vanity tables: your favourite lipstick or perfume; what your makeup organization (or lack thereof) looks like right now; the beloved trinkets that you always keep on display.

This is purely a Facebook giveaway, so don't leave any comments on this post! The contest ends on Wednesday March 13th, 12pm PST, at which time a winner will be randomly chosen. Good luck!

An Instagram shot of the products in their boxes

A Home Decor Refresh

The dining table and chairs I alluded to in my last home decor post. To add a pop of colour, I chose one orange chair to go with three white chairs and the glossy white dining table.

The boy and I invited a couple of friends over for an impromptu dinner/Oscars viewing party last night. On walking in, my girlfriend exclaimed, "Wow, it looks so much more put together now!" Indeed, the past couple months have given us an opportunity to shift things around slightly and shop for the little things that make a space feel more like home. Buying these little things has also pulled our decor scheme together and better highlighted the key accent colours in every room (blue and orange with a touch of silver).

A lot of what you'll see in these photos comes from CB2. Full disclosure: I'm not sponsored by them (although that would be pretty amazing because it would save us a lot of money). CB2's functional, modern and sleek wares just happen to jibe with the boy's sense of aesthetics and mine--stylish enough for me, masculine and streamlined enough for him. So without further ado, here's a glimpse into our home.

Orange tulips on our dining room table to go with the orange chick tealight holders you probably remember from previous posts. The glass vase is actually an ice bucket from The Cross; I love how the bubbles add a textured twist to something basic. Sometimes if I want to switch things up, I'll move the candleholders to the coffee table or fill the ice bucket with mandarin oranges.

Obsessive that I am, I bought the blue-and-white coasters (also from The Cross) because they went with the blue-and-white trellis rug so perfectly. A silver bowl holds cough drops, while a square bento plate acts as a tray corralling all our remotes in one place. Fashion magazines are stacked neatly on the side in case I want to do some reading on the couch.

In a minimalist bedroom, simple things like proportion and bedding go a long way. I've always loved how the nightstands are the exact height of the bed, keeping sight-lines clear. We've stowed away our Marimekko bedding for the next few months at least, opting instead for a graphic duvet cover and a new look.

A mercury glass trinket box holds stray hair clips and elastics, and dresses up a plain nightstand. When I finish burning the gold mercury glass candle, I plan to save the votive and use it as a mini bedside vase for single blooms.

A few tweaks since my workspace was featured on The Anthology: A monogrammed mug holds stationery supplies atop a blue box that corrals together business cards; a silver tray groups together small sundries nicely; and a small turquoise glass vase finishes off the tableau (again, great for single blooms like gerber daisies).

Sometimes the funnest finds also happen to be the least expensive. Case in point: this neon heart-perforated basket that I scored for a mere $2 at Daiso, which now holds beauty product samples on my desk.

P.S. Speaking of the Oscars, what did everyone think of the award winners? This was the first year the boy and I had seen most of the nominated films, and overall I thought the right nominees won in most of the important categories.


Latest Outfit: Relaxed

Zara moto jacket | Joe Fresh sweater | J. Crew no. 2 pencil skirt | Lucca Couture scarf (c/o) | Pour La Victoire boots | Marc by Marc Jacobs bag | BCBGeneration and H&M bracelets | Beausoleil glasses | MAC 'Lady Danger' lipstick

I wore this outfit last week to have coffee with a friend, go to a massage appointment, and shop for a couple of things for the home. (Closet organizer, anyone?) The moto jacket and red pencil skirt, along with the knits and flat boots, felt like just the right mix of sleek and cozy elements for a low-key day.

As for the llama scarf, my love of intarsia knits featuring weird animals has already been documented on the blog, so you can imagine how delighted I was to find it in my gift bag from the Parker Project. On drizzly days, I throw the llama scarf on top of light-but-warm jackets and a sweater to keep my neck toasty. The fact that the hunter green fringe adds a touch of colour to neutral outerwear doesn't hurt either.


Product Review: Philosophy Eye Hope

Can one eye cream do it all? I used to believe this was the impossible dream before I tried Philosophy Eye Hope ($66 at Sephora), which promises to tackle dark circkles, puffiness, and fine lines. This multitasking miracle also contains beta glucan, a naturally occurring compound that supposedly has anti-aging benefits. (Interesting fact: beta glucan occurs naturally in oats and is an immune system booster.)

My old eye creams moisturized well enough, but I still had puffy eyes in the mornings, especially with my ongoing sleep deprivation. Halfway through the day, I would also start seeing fine lines under my lower lashline. Based on the last four weeks of testing, I'm happy to report that none of this stuff happens with Eye Hope. I use it in the mornings and before bed; it's lightweight enough to be worn under makeup for day but moisturizes just as effectively, if not more so, than a rich nighttime formula.

The first time I used Eye Hope before bed, I woke up and thought to myself, I look so awake. My usual bleary, half-closed peepers had been replaced with a look of bright-eyed alertness. Puffiness and dark circles had given way to smooth, bright skin around the eye area that was usually only achievable with a cooling mask, concealer, and two cups of coffee. Even the boy noticed, remarking "Your eyes look so big today." Eye Hope continued to deliver consistent results over the next few weeks.

The only downside: At $66 for 15 ml, Eye Hope is pricey. But considering the zero waste pump dispenser, the fact that it does all it claims to do, and that it replaces two eye cream formulas in my medicine cabinet which combined cost more than Eye Hope, I'd say this product is worth it.


Soirée Snapshots: The Parker Project

An unassuming building sits on a quiet East Van street. Unbeknownst to the surrounding houses, this building is filled with brands such as Designers Remix, United Nude, Soia & Kyo, Mackage, Matt & Nat, Vince Camuto, Luxury Rebel, Left on Houston, Gentle Fawn, and many more. A DJ spins tunes inside, while outside the Tacofino food truck serves up freshly made fish tacos.

This was the scene at the Parker building a few weeks ago when its tenant showrooms (including the likes of Skout Agency, Brunette Showroom, and Dakota Group) hosted a collaborative open house. Media, bloggers, and fashion industry insiders were invited to take a look inside the Parker building's corrugated gray walls and preview a mix of clothes and accessories from this season and next. Here's a small peek at what caught my eye.

This Vince Camuto sandal is the ideal heel for summer: not too high, with an appealing mix of cognac and snake-embossed leathers and a touch of gold.

I've always preferred a chic flat sandal to a flip-flop. Luxury Rebel puts a colour-blocked twist on theirs.

I was tweeting photos furiously that evening as item after item caught my eye. Standouts from left to right: a burgundy Designers Remix cocoon coat with exposed zippers, a long and cozy Left on Houston Aztec-print cardigan, and a cobalt-and-black colour-blocked Soia & Kyo trench.

LUSH Launches New Gorilla Perfume Collection

Are you bored by vanilla musk? Do you find yourself doing a mental eye-roll every time a celebrity announces a new fragrance? If you're guilty of either, you might want to check out LUSH's newest Gorilla perfume collection. The capsule collection of nine distinctive scents is anything but ordinary.

Inspired by eclectic elements like ancient British history, music, politics, and literature, LUSH founder Mark Constantine and his father Simon have created perfumes worth a second sniff to truly understand all the notes. I'll admit, when I had a chance to check out the new Gorilla perfumes at the Robson LUSH store last Monday, my less-than-educated nose was overwhelmed. But after smelling each fragrance several times, I grew to appreciate the complexity and distinctiveness of the different formulas. Here's a glimpse of the collection.

Apothecary-like bottles and packaging inspired by comic books add up to a novel perfume experience. Each perfume is available in 6 different bottle sizes, with prices ranging from $14.95 to $179.95 depending on bottle size and formula.

My favourite of the bunch (and probably the most accessible, least challenging scent) is 'The Sun', a citrusy blend of tangerine and sandalwood that effortlessly evokes summer. 'The Sun' was purportedly inspired by Mark Constantine's cold winter drive down the New Jersey turnpike, listening to Simon and Garfunkel and wishing for warmth.

Top picks from left to right: 'Devil's Nightcap' (a fresh, clean scent inspired by a famous Druidic stone circle with oak moss, clary sage and ylang ylang); 'The Sun'; 'Furze' (reminiscent of a classic English garden); 'Flower's Barrow' (another scent with floral undertones as well as sage, thyme and blackcurrant); and 'Euphoria' (an uplifting citrus scent similar to 'The Sun').

LUSH's new Gorilla perfume collection is definitely an acquired, very personal taste. One person's favourite perfume could very well be another person's most despised. If you're lucky enough to find these fragrances at your local LUSH store, I encourage you to stop and smell them. Your nose might be in for a surprise.

The collection is available at select stores in North America and online starting this February.


Intarsia Interest

Original outfit posts here, here, and here

Spring may be on its way, but winter still has us in its chilly and sometimes depressing grasp. Luckily though, the intarsia knits dominating this season are a sartorial remedy for both ailments. Not only do they add coziness, colour, and cheer to a drab winter wardrobe, their graphic elements are a refreshing alternative to solid-coloured knits. I've turned to intarsia sweaters time and again this season when I wanted a bit more visual interest in my casual outfits.

Intarsia sweaters are also ideal transition pieces for early spring since their sense of whimsy transcends seasons; layer them under light jackets and over silk blouses. And with so many appealing motifs like hearts, anchors, polka dots, and obscure animals to choose from, it can be hard to stop at just one. Which explains why even though I have several already, I'm eyeing the J.W. Anderson x Topshop dodo sweater set to hit stores in March.

1. Boy. by Band of Outsiders ($365) | 2. Tibi ($355) | 3. J. Crew ($98) | 4. Chinti and Parker ($545) | 5. JW Anderson x Topshop

Are you a fan of intarsia knits? Which ones do you have in your wardrobe?


Latest Outfit: Chevron

Gap sweater and 1969 Always Skinny jeans| Banana Republic trench | Converse sneakers (c/o) | LOVECOCO 'Valentina' earrings (c/o) | J. Crew invitation polka dot clutch | Hair bow from mirror mirror | WendyB and Filou rings | Joe Fresh 'Watermelon' (c/o) and Zoya 'Kissy' (c/o Spa Boutique) nail polishes | Revlon ColorBurst 'Fuchsia' lipstick

Perhaps it was the blazing sunshine or my long-anticipated yoga class, but last Saturday felt balmier and more cheerful than ever. In fact, it seemed so spring-like outside I was tempted to don my new piped navy trench for a few afternoon errands. I regretted my choice after a few hours though, when the sun disappeared behind cloud and fog and left a familiar, wintry chill in its wake. By the evening when the boy and I went to his brother and sister-in-law's place for dinner, I was back in a wool coat.


Kissable Lips

I sing the praises of lipstick/gloss/balm hybrids an awful lot on this blog, and for good reason: They have a sheer wash of colour which is office-appropriate; they're layer-able for added intensity; and they moisturize and add a bit of shine minus the stickiness of full-on glosses. Plus, this winter in particular, they've saved my lips from many a chapped day when matte lip colours proved unwearable.

That's why I'm proposing you choose a hybrid formula this Valentine's Day for soft, kiss-ready lips. Unlike pigmented lipsticks, hybrids don't smudge too noticeably and are easy to re-apply and wipe off--perfect for romantic wining, dining, and smooching. Another bonus: You only have to tote around one lip product in your evening clutch.

Bright lipstick addicts who crave colour should choose an orange or fuchsia shade, which brightens up winter complexions while providing a noticeable change in tint. Here are my top picks, most of which can be found in drugstores for under $10 a pop.

If you really can't bring yourself to part with bright lips for one evening, try a long-lasting matte formula like Stila Long Wear Lip Colour (my go-to when I need something that won't budge for 6-8 hours) in 'Exhilarating' or 'Outrageous'. Dab on lip balm/gloss at intervals to keep lips soft; I like LUSH's limited-edition The Kiss lip balm ($8.95 at LUSH stores) for its cute tin, shea and cupuacu butter formula, and sugary scent.


My Valentine's Day Wishlist

Instead of exchanging gifts and sending flowers, the boy and I are keeping things simple this Valentine's Day and merely going out for a special dinner. But if we were to get each other presents, these ones would be at the top of my list.

1. Okay, I know I already have a colourful, bow-adorned Kate Spade satchel that can be worn as a crossbody bag and carried by the handles. But that doesn't do anything to lessen my desire for the Kate Spade 'Bow Terrace Bradshaw' bag ($498). A magnetic closure at the top allows for easy access, while zippered compartments and plenty of pockets make organizing contents a cinch.

2. The Brave Leather 'Aine' cuff ($60) is pretty and occasion-appropriate, reminding me of Chanel's signature chain-strap bags.

3. I've been yearning for a bar cart for some time now. The Kate Spade two of a kind his and hers DOF glasses ($50) would be ideal starters for that bar cart's glassware collection.

4. Not only is the Kate Spade USB ring ($50) adorable, think of all the practical joke fun I can have telling people he bought me a ring for Valentine's Day! I'm smirking just thinking about it.

5. I've been hooked on vintage-inspired bras by Toronto-based Fortnight Lingerie ever since being introduced to them last winter. No foam and no underwire make for a very comfortable bra--so comfortable, in fact, I've fallen asleep in mine sometimes. A new one such as the 'Mira' longline in red ($110, available at LYNNsteven) would be a welcome addition to my underwear drawer.

6. A girl can never have too many statement necklaces. The J. Crew beaded rose necklace ($156), with its many-petaled blossoms and punchy coral hue, is definitely a scene-stealer.

What are you wishing for this Valentine's Day? Any special plans in the works?


MAC Archie's Girls Collection

As a former Archie comics fan (see this post for proof), I was more than a little excited to meet with MAC cosmetics last week for a glimpse of the MAC Archie's Girls collection. The collection--which comprises lip products, liners, pigment powders, nail lacquers, and face, blush, and eyeshadow palettes--is split into two colour stories inspired by girl-next-door Betty and rich vixen Veronica. The Betty products are light, natural, and suitable for daytime wear; think peaches, pinks, and pastels. Meanwhile, the Veronica products are darker and more dramatic, featuring a palette of reds and purples.

Pretty colours and MAC's notorious high-performance formulations aside, expect some seriously covetable packaging. Heart motifs and classic Betty and Veronica drawings adorn palettes, lipstick cases, bottles, and bags. The 5-piece brush set would be an adorable addition to any vanity, while the heart-shaped makeup bag and coin case are great for organizing handbag essentials.

Archie's Girls officially launches February 7, 2013, at all MAC counters in Canada. Like previous limited-edition MAC collaborations, this one is expected to sell out quickly. But Solo Lisa readers are in for a treat: The MAC Robson Street location is having an Archie's Girls launch event tomorrow evening 7pm-9pm and you're invited! Call to RSVP.

A few Archie's Girls samples I've been playing with

Now, the only question is, are you a Betty or a Veronica?


Latest Outfit: Pattern Mixing

Joe Fresh scarf and pearl stud earrings | J. Crew polka dot sweater (other colours) and clutch | MICHAEL Michael Kors blazer | Gap 1969 Always Skinny jeans | Joules wellies | Sephora by OPI nail polish in 'Metro Chic' | ILIA lip conditioner in 'Arabian Knights'

Fellow style bloggers, a question for you: Do you have items in your wardrobe that you wear constantly but have somehow never been featured on your blog? Such is the case with my houndstooth-patterned scarf. Its lightweight wool and oversize print have made this scarf one of my winter mainstays, adding visual interest and much needed warmth to any look. Last Sunday, I used the scarf as the focal point for a casual brunch-and-errands outfit that combined a lot of textures, patterns and colours. Tweed, leather, houndstooth, and two types of polka dots...on paper, it sounds like a recipe for disaster, but all the neutral colours and splashes of navy tied everything together well.

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