Season's Greetings

Warmest wishes to you and your loved ones this holiday season, and many thanks for stopping by and supporting Solo Lisa throughout the year! I'm officially off blog duty although you can still catch me on Instagram. See you in 2016!


Cozy, Merry, Bright

I don't know if it's the relentlessly dreary weather outside or the busy season getting the better of me, but these days all I want to do is cozy up in the great indoors—on my couch, specifically, surrounded by a few of my favourite creature comforts.


The Best Beauty Gift Sets To Get & Give

Bigger, better, more glamour, more prettiness: Every year, beauty brands outdo themselves during the holiday season coming up with new temptations for the pocketbook. It was tough narrowing it down to 9 gift sets, but the ones you see here represent the tried-and-true—plus an irresistible, new-to-me makeup label.


Burt's Bees Lip Balm #UncapFlavour Instagram Giveaway

Lip balm is one of my daily essentials all year round, but it becomes especially important come winter. I've long been a fan of Burt's Bees lip balms for their effectiveness and affordable price tag (under $5 a pop), but I didn't know just how many flavours it came in until I was invited to host the #UncapFlavour giveaway. All the details (and instructions on how you can win them all) after the jump!


Gift Guide For Him

The key to picking out the perfect gift for the guy in your life? Choose something he wouldn't necessarily buy for himself, a treat that makes him feel warm, loved, spoiled, entertained—any or all of the above.


15 Gift Ideas Under $15

My most popular gift guide every year also happens to feature picks that cost the least, and for good reason—expenses during the holiday season can really add up. These ideas are simple and affordable, yes, but they're also thoughtful, fun, and stylish above all. Consider yourself covered for stocking stuffers, Secret Santa exchanges, and coworkers.


Holiday Gift Idea: Birchbox Subscription

As a beauty blogger, a lot of samples cross my desk and I'm constantly trying (and writing about) new products risk-free. But what if you're not a blogger or editor and you want to do the same? That's where subscription boxes such as Birchbox come in: For a nominal monthly fee, Birchbox sends a box of samples to subscribers each month, allowing them to try before they buy the full size. Aside from the risk-free appeal, the fun also lies in the surprise—you never know what will be in next month's box.


My Favourite Cyber Monday Deals

If you missed out on on Black Friday, now's the perfect time to get that treat for yourself or that gift for a special someone. All the details after the jump!


The Best Black Friday Sales From Around The Web

Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers! Today also marks one of the biggest shopping days of the year, Black Friday. I've gotta admit, I'm not the super organized sort who has Christmas presents planned weeks in advance and strikes while the iron is hot, so more often than not I end up cruising websites shopping for myself. Above are the sorts of items I've got on my mind since it's been so cold lately: lots of plaid and cozy knits, wear-all-the-time ankle boots, gloves that'll still let me use my iPhone, scarves, and goes-with-anything bags. Whether you're shopping for yourself or others, I've got the best Black Friday deals from my fave retailers—all after the jump!


Product Review: Laneige Water Skincare

Korean skincare label Laneige now available at Canadian Sephora

Have you ever watched a Korean drama and wondered how the leading actress maintains her flawless complexion? Well, us North Americans are one step closer to achieving K-beauty perfection thanks to the fact that Korean skincare and beauty brand Laneige is now available at Sephora. You may remember me raving about their BB Cushion Compact in a recent post; their skincare is no slouch either. More details after the jump!


Shower Staple: LUSH Rehab Shampoo

LUSH Rehab Shampoo

Keratin shampoos and conditioners, hair masks, styling my quest to tame my tresses, I gravitate towards anything with the words "moisturizing," "smoothing" and "frizz-fighting" in the name, but all these formulas have resulted in product build-up that leaves my strands dull and my roots limp. Luckily for this beauty blogger, LUSH Rehab Shampoo ($13.95-39.95, various sizes) is just what the hair doctor ordered.


Lazy Girl Approved: ILIA Silken Shadow Stick

Lazy Girl Approved highlights long-lasting, goof-proof, fuss-free products that can fit into the most minimalist of regimens. If you consider yourself a low-maintenance beauty lover, these product reviews are for you!

ILIA Silken Shadow Stick eyeshadow crayon

I never wake up motivated or organized enough to apply eyeshadow as part of my daily makeup look. It's just too much work, and frankly, I'd rather hit the snooze alarm one more time. One way to make eyeshadow less of a hassle is to get a goes-with-everything neutrals palette that corrals together primer, tools, shades, and liner; the other way is with an eyeshadow crayon, like the newly launched ILIA Siliken Shadow Stick ($37 each at BeautyMark).


Style File: The Floral Shirt Dress

1. Diane von Furstenberg ($415.14 at Nordstrom) | 2. Olsen ($159 at The Bay) | 3. Chelsea28 ($108.48 at Nordstrom) | 4. Dynamite ($44.95 now $30; the floral style is sadly sold out, but other prints are available)

Since I KonMari-ified my life and stopped outfit blogging regularly, I've been doing more closet-purging than shopping for new clothes. But one piece I couldn't resist picking up was a floral print shirt dress which I spotted at Dynamite's press preview earlier this fall. One of Dynamite's reps told me it was the bestselling dress of the season, and it was easy to see why. The wintry floral feels seasonal and a bit dressier than plaid or a solid colour, plus it lends visual interest to any outfit; the silhouette is loose yet flattering; the sleeves keep chilly arms covered.


Product Review: Almay Smart Shade Butter Kiss Lipstick

Almay Smart Shade Butter Kiss Lipstick

One lipstick to rule them all? That's the premise of Almay Smart Shade Butter Kiss Lipstick ($9.49 at London Drugs), which claims to deliver the perfect shade of nude, red, berry, or pink depending on one's skin tone (light, light-medium, or medium), along with an ultra-emollient formula—all for under $10. More details after the jump!


Style File: Wool Coat Required

J. Crew winter wool coats

Um, where did autumn go? One minute I was reveling in fall colours and crisp mornings; the next minute, that same crispness had become a lingering, deep-in-your-bones chill that calls for a warmer topper—in particular, my J. Crew stadium wool cocoon coat (as seen in this post). Mine still looks like new after two winters and is easily one of the warmest coats I've ever owned.

J. Crew makes the best coats for the price in my opinion: For a couple hundred bucks more than a fast-fashion number that'll leave you shivery and pilling before the season's out, you get Italian-milled wool in a gorgeous colour and timeless style; it really feels like it'll last ten years. Now the hard part is picking a style and colour!


Lazy Girl Approved: Laneige BB Cushion SPF 50+ Compact

Lazy Girl Approved highlights long-lasting, goof-proof, fuss-free products that can fit into the most minimalist of regimens. If you consider yourself a low-maintenance beauty lover, these product reviews are for you!

Laneige BB Cushion SPF 50+ Compact

Cushion compacts have been all the rage in Korea for a while now, revolutionizing the way Korean women apply foundation and BB cream, but it wasn't until recently that I had the chance to try one for myself. Korean skincare and beauty brand Laneige just launched at Sephora Canada and invited me to try a handful of cult faves, including the Laneige BB Cushion SPF 50+ ($44). After using mine for the past month or so, I can definitely see what all the fuss is about. More about why the Laneige BB Cushion is Lazy Girl Approved after the jump!


Product Review: Benefit Roller Lash Mascara

Benefit Roller Lash Mascara

As an Asian girl who's not exactly blessed in the lash department, I'm always on the lookout for the next great mascara. Benefit Roller Lash Mascara ($31) launched a little while ago to great aplomb on social media, but it wasn't until recently that I got the chance to try this curling, lifting mascara for myself. So how did it work out? You'll have to click the jump to find out!


Dior Holiday 2015 State Of Gold Collection

Dior Holiday 2015 State Of Gold Collection Diorific Vernis nail polishes

Let's get one thing straight here: The Dior Holiday 2015 State Of Gold limited edition collection (available on counters now) isn't about what a beauty lover needs, but what she wants. Does a beauty lover really need another red or fuchsia matte lipstick, or a plum nail polish? There's nothing revolutionary here in terms of colours and finishes, but there is a lot that's covetable and I'll go into all the reasons why after the jump!


Life Lately

I know my last post made October out to be a real grind, but if I look back at Instagram, there were plenty of amazing moments too. Maybe this sort of reflection should be my new end-of-the-month ritual.


Product Review: Tata Harper Aromatic Bedtime Treatment

Work, school, sleep, repeat: October's been a slog, to say the least, and between working OT on a crazy project and doing homework for my Illustrator class, I've been logging long, hermit-like hours in front of the computer. Throw a couple bouts of illness into the mix, and it's no wonder I've been suffering from bouts of insomnia. Luckily, as I noted on Instagram a couple weeks ago, Tata Harper Aromatic Bedtime Treatment ($67 at BeautyMark) has been a godsend.


Drugstore Delight: L'Oreal La Palette Nude 2

L'Oreal La Palette Nude 2

L'Oreal La Palette Nude 2 ($29.99 at London Drugs) is one of those eyeshadow palettes that even girls who rarely wear eyeshadow will covet. It's spendier than the average drugstore eyeshadow palette, but worth every penny considering every aspect of the palette is comparable to that of a higher-end brand. Shall we take a closer look? More photos and details after the jump!


Beauty Bag Staple: MAKE UP FOR EVER Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation

I'm about to confess something that might get my beauty blogger card revoked, but here goes: Foundation has always intimidated me. The few times I've tried it, I've been turned off for one reason or another. The colour pigments are either a tad too light or too dark, the liquid formula too mask-like, the powder versions too cake-y, the coverage insufficient or way too much. That's why throughout my fresh-faced 20s, I mostly relied on BB cream or tinted moisturizer when I wanted to even out my skin but still have a natural, dewy finish. Now that I'm in my early 30s though, I find myself craving more coverage for special occasions but still wanting that natural, dewy finish, which is why new MAKE UP FOR EVER Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation ($50) is such a godsend. More details after the jump!


10 Reasons To Book Your Next Mani/Pedi At The Ten Spot

Few things are better than having the day of your birthday off work and indulging in a mani/pedi, which is exactly what I found myself doing at The Ten Spot last Friday. (Ah beauty blogging, what a rough life.) This Toronto-based, new-to-Vancouver beauty bar franchise specializes in manis, pedis, waxings, and facial treatments. If the 45-minute pedicure and 30-minute manicure I tried are any indication, you'll definitely want to book your next mani/pedi at The Ten Spot. Read on for all the reasons why!


Vancouver Loves Natural Beauty: Gwen Richards of Fable Naturals

Vancouver Loves Natural Beauty is a semi-regular column that highlights organic and natural beauty and skincare brands founded in our fair city.

Fable Naturals co-founders Gwen Richards and Chris Nicol

When I think "perfect hostess gift," I think Fable Naturals. This up-and-coming, Vancouver-based beauty label combines cheerful packaging with fair-trade ingredients and all-natural ingredients. The result? Skincare, handcrafted soaps, and yummy-flavoured lip balms (in biodegradable tubes, no less) that will please anyone and fit into any beauty regime. What's more, whether you're buying it for yourself or for others, Fable Naturals does the community as much good as it does your skin. I caught up with Fable Naturals co-founder Gwen Richards to find out more.


31 Little Luxuries To Savour Everyday

Call it maturity or a newfound joy in the simple pleasures of life. These days, the definition of "luxury" doesn't just mean designer handbags and fancy vacations to me anymore; it also extends to the nuanced delights that make daily living worth savouring. These delights are different for everyone, I'm sure, and thankfully for my pocketbook many of mine cost little to nothing as you'll see below. So why 31? To celebrate my upcoming 31st birthday this Friday, of course.


Vancouver Loves Natural Beauty: Warren Brander of Thera Wise

Vancouver Loves Natural Beauty is a semi-regular column that highlights organic and natural beauty and skincare brands founded in our fair city.

Q&A with Thera Wise co-founder Warren Brander, maker of all-natural medicinal ointments in Vancouver, Canada

So you've greened up your beauty and skincare routines, replacing as many conventional products as possible with natural and organic versions (hooray!), but what about the ointments in your medicine cabinet? Founded in 2003, Vancouver-based Thera Wise believes you can have all-natural medicinal ointments that are just as effective as Preparation H, Vick's Vapor Rub, Lanacane, and so on.

Skeptical that Thera Wise products would measure up, I've been using Ac+ Acne Ointment (which has 0.5% salicylic acid) to control and prevent breakouts, and Dpr Natural Baby Diaper Ointment (which combines soothing calendula, chamomile, and aloe) to relieve itchy bug bites all summer. Conclusion? This stuff really works! Come fall/winter, I'll probably be relying on the Vpr Vaporizing Ointment to combat congestion during cold and flu season.

I caught up with Warren Brander, co-founder of Thera Wise, to learn more about his background and the range of ointments.

Thera Wise medicinal ointments: all-natural versions of Vick's Vapor Rub, Lanacane, Preparation H, diaper rash ointment, etc. made in Vancouver, Canada

Newly Reformulated Dior Addict Lipsticks: Photos & Review

Dior Addict lipstick with new hydra-gel core

Remember my last Dior post where I promised the lowdown on all the fall 2015 launches? Well, it turns out I was unintentionally lying to you all, dear readers, because right as I was putting that post together another piece of beautymail was winging its way to me, bearing the newly reformulated Dior Addict Lipstick ($42, available now at all Dior counters and The Bay). Shall we take a closer look? Many more details and photos after the jump!


Q&A With Linda Stephenson, Founder Of Mèreadesso Skincare & Beauty

When Nordstrom opens its doors to the Vancouver public this Friday at 9:30am, beauty lovers should keep their eyes peeled for a very special homegrown success story amongst the Dior lipsticks and Chanel fragrances: Toronto-based Mèreadesso, whose claim to fame is a simple two-step skincare system that will replace your cleanser, makeup remover, toner, eye cream, serum, and day/night creams combined. Mèreadesso founder Linda Stephenson holds a degree in chemistry and botany, and boasts 20+ years' experience at companies such as Estee Lauder, MAC, and Mary Kay; needless to say, she knows her skincare and makeup inside and out.


Product Review: LUSH Fresh Face Masks — Cup O' Coffee, Don't Look At Me, Rosy Cheeks

LUSH Fresh Face Masks — Cup O' Coffee, Don't Look At Me, Rosy Cheeks

Fresh season, fresh face forward: LUSH has added three new formulations to their bestselling Fresh Face Masks lineup—Cup O' Coffee, Don't Look At Me, and Rosy Cheeks. Ready for a closer look? More details after the jump!


My Fall Goals

If September is the January of the fashion world, this month marks the start of a new year, which means new dreams and new goals to look forward to. Fall—with its crispness and coziness, its back-to-school (or work) connotations, its promise of fresh beginnings—always brings with it such a sense of renewal. Of course, the fact that I'll be celebrating my birthday later this month doesn't hurt either! So here, in no particular order, from the significant to the absurdly mundane, are the goals on my list.


Latest Outfit: #everydaymadewell

#everydaymadewell casual outfit

You know how some style experts say most people wear 20% of their wardrobe 80% of the time? Lately, I feel like that 20% is made up exclusively of Madewell. This is not a sponsored post at all, but rather a testament to how much I love the brand for its wear-all-the-time cardigans, classic-with-a-twist tees, well-fitting jeans, versatile ankle boots...the list goes on.


The Best Labour Day Long Weekend Sales

Happy Labour Day long weekend, dear readers! I hope you've been having as relaxing a time as we have. Yesterday I met up with an old friend for Indian food, and afterward the boy and I went on his semi-annual clothes-shopping spree. While he's more of a "I came, I saw, I bought new shirts and a sweater" type, I prefer to take my time browsing and picking up a few essentials here and there like the ones pictured above. Regardless of your shopping style though, you'll want to check out these sales if you're gearing up for fall. All the details after the jump!


Lazy Girl Approved: MAC Vamplify Lip Gloss

Lazy Girl Approved highlights long-lasting, goof-proof, fuss-free products that can fit into the most minimalist of regimens. If you consider yourself a low-maintenance beauty lover, these product reviews are for you!

MAC Vamplify Lip Gloss

A bold lip colour is the easiest shortcut in the book for looking glam in a hurry, and they don't come any bolder than the new MAC Vamplify lip glosses ($20 each). If you suffer from dry lips but adore pigmented lip colours like I do, do yourself a favour and swing by a MAC counter this weekend. I'm not usually a fan of lip glosses, but I adore this one. Lots more details and photos after the jump!


Dior Fall 2015 Launches: Cosmopolite Collection, Addict Fluid Shadows, Fix It Concealer, Sourcils Poudre Brow Pencils & More

Dior fall 2015 Cosmopolite limited edition: Diorblush Cheek Stick

Of all the Dior posts I do, this has to be the most epic one yet. There are so many new goodies this season that I spent all of yesterday photographing, testing, and writing—all to bring you this post for your viewing pleasure on the first day of September. You might want to go to the bathroom or grab a snack before you start reading, because what follows are loads of photos and swatches. There are some brilliant wins in there (yay, Diorblush Cheek Stick!) as well as products that almost, but didn't quite, win me over. Much, much more after the jump!


InstaBeauty: August 2015 Edition

Can you believe it's the last day of August already and fall is just around the corner?! Although I'm not quite ready to give up summer just yet, Mother Nature seems to have other plans: the last few days have been stormy, rainy, and chilly in Vancouver. My InstaBeauty items also seem to reflect this transitional state of mind. More after the jump!


Q&A With Melanie Cruickshank, Founder Of Da Lish Cosmetics

Melanie Cruickshank, founder of Toronto-based natural beauty and skincare line da lish Cosmetics

In preparation for a busy fall, I've been thinking a lot about how to streamline my life lately, which includes getting ready in the mornings. Evidently beauty entrepreneur Melanie Cruickshank feels the same way because her Toronto-based line da lish Cosmetics is all about "uncomplicated beauty." Think creamy textures that can be blended on skin with fingertips, sans brushes—ideal for touch-ups on the go or achieving that no-makeup makeup look in a hurry.

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