Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thursday Travels: Portland, Oregon

For the Labour Day weekend last year, Vicky, Claudia and I paid a south-of-the-border trip to Portland. We got the train down from Vancouver, which was fun in and of itself (as soon as we stepped onboard, we already felt like we were in the US thanks to little touches like the garbage bin being labelled "Trash." I feel like Canadians never use the word "trash"?!). 

Aaaanyway, the eight or so hours on the train went by pretty quickly, and we were in Portland by late afternoon. I know it's got a reputation for being one of America's rainiest cities, but for the few days we were there, the weather couldn't have been more perfect: sunny but not oppressively hot. I really think that the weather you have while visiting somewhere new can really cloud your perception of it; had we seen Portland in grey, rainy weather, we might have not liked it so much.

As a city, it's definitely got that very West Coast vibe going on. It reminded us of Seattle, but I think I probably even preferred it to was obviously more compact, and I found the attractions there more enjoyable (I thought Seattle's Pike Place Market was incredibly overrated, and I could take or leave the Space Needle).  

We got a 2-day pass on a hop-on, hop-off Big Pink sightseeing trolley, which worked out perfectly, allowing us to see 12 of the city's major sights at our leisure.

{This may be very basic of me, but I actually love visiting different Starbucks around the world, and this one in Pioneer Square might be one of my favourites (alongside the one adjacent to Canterbury Cathedral in England)}

{On the trolley!}

{View of the city from one of our stops...can't remember which one}

{One of our favourite stops was the International Rose Test Garden at Washington Park...}

{...they don't call Portland the City of Roses for nothing!}

{We also loved the leafy streets of the Alphabet District (where all the street names progress alphabetically)...}

{...and don't even get me started on my love for Powell's Books: 68, 000 square feet of book heaven}

{We paid a trip to the Saturday Market...}

{...and we had a look at Voodoo Donuts (but didn't have the patience to line up. Ditto the city's famous Stumptown Coffee)}

All in all, we loved our time in Portland. Now that we're living apart, it's rare for us all to be able to take a trip together, and Portland just happened to be the perfect backdrop for spending some quality sister time :-)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

5 Favourite Beauty Trends for Autumn/Winter 14

As well as seeing what fashion trends are emerging for a new season, I love finding out what beauty trends will be prevalent, too. While there are some A/W 14 trends I wouldn't be the hugest fan of (I'm not quite confident enough to pull off the whole bare-faced look that's apparently a thing, for example), there are a handful that I'm excited to test out at some point this season. Here are my top 5 favourite looks:

a/W 14 Beauty Trends

1. Spidery Lashes
Decade-wise, the '60s seems to be dominating the fashion scene this season, and with it comes some of the beauty trends from that era. I've never been a fan of false eyelashes, but I think I'd be willing to try that spiky, mascara on the lower lashes look.

2. Navy Nails
To be honest, I'm not really a "nails" person (more often than not mine are bare), but I do like experimenting with new colours, and I love this matte navy look for fall. A lot of the time, I'll hesitate to paint my nails a certain colour because I feel I'll have to base my outfits around it for the week or so that I'm wearing it, but navy just seems to go with everything.

3. Violet Eyes
This look is ideal for those with green or hazel eyes, as purple apparently enhances greenness. I love the idea of trying out different shades, like a subtle lilac for day and a smoky plum for night.

4. Graphic Blue Eyeliner
I have yet to muster up the patience to perfect a cat eye look, but this trend may just inspire me to do it. (Vicky, on the other hand, has the cat eye down to a fine art and recently tried out a cobalt-blue winged eye that looks amazing). 

5. Nude Lips
I'm definitely a bright lip as opposed to strong eye kind of person, but I like the idea of shaking up my make-up routine a little bit and testing out a more neutral lip. (If anything, it'll mean I can eat things like apples and burgers without fear of smearing lipstick all over my face, for once).

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

5 Favourite Shops: Pricier (But with Great Sales)

Last week, I shared 5 of my favourite budget shops--now it's time to feature some of my pricier favourites (in alphabetical, not preferential order). These are the kind of stores where I only buy stuff if it's on sale...but luckily, their sales are frequent and/or good.

1. Banana Republic 

Both Vicky and I have worked at BR at some point in our lives, and we had the nice little 50%-off-everything Gap Inc. discount that comes as one of the perks. While neither of us work there any longer, we'll still occasionally buy stuff from Banana Republic because of their great sales (frequently 50% off the lowest price tag). Twice a year, they have a "Friends and Family" event where employees can give 50% to their friends on up to 5 items of regularly priced clothing (which is why you should all be friends with BR employees ;-). In terms of what to buy there: they're great for high-quality workwear and big-item pieces like coats.

2. French Connection
I don't really have a lot from this British high street staple, but what I do have I love and wear a ton. I can't comment on what the sales are like there over in the UK, but here at their Vancouver location they tend to be pretty good. As a store, I find it's great for sophisticated yet feminine pieces: think dresses, tops, and jackets.

3. J. Crew
You either like J. Crew or you don't, and I'm one of those people who loves it. They don't call it J. Crack for nothing! While some of their stuff can be super pricy at regular price, I find their sales are fantastic--if you have a Student Card, you get an additional 15% off sale items (and their sale items are usually 50% off the lowest price tag; I've got some pretty sweet 65% off deals because of this). They're great for preppy, often colourful basics, and we all know how much I love their dresses!

4. Topshop
I love Topshop because it is the one store that seriously caters to every style of dress, and it has some of the most delightfully WTF items (not to mention that they have a separate Tall section. Yay!). However, it can be pretty pricy, which is why I hold out for their sales--the best of which are the after-Christmas ones, although I find they tend to have pretty decent ones throughout the year. 

5. Zara
If I had to pick just one shop to buy all my clothes from, it might just be Zara. Often, when I shop, I'll wonder if an item is too young or too frumpy, but with Zara there just seems to be this unspoken guarantee that everything in their store is cool and age-appropriate. The caveat of course is the price (their TRF brand is cheaper, but in general, I find it a pricy place to shop at), which is why I pretty much always buy from their sales (which are phenomenal after Christmas, by the way). 

Monday, September 15, 2014

10 Items Inspired by Pantone's 2014 Fall Colours

It's that time of the year again! Once again, we've compiled a list of 10 items for fall based on Pantone's Colours. (You can see last autumn's picks here, and this past spring's here, if you're interested). 

What are your favourites of these 10 shades? I think I'm kind of feeling the purples, interestingly enough! It's not a colour I wear too much despite my love for it, so I'd love to find some way of incorporating it into my wardrobe this season...

Pantone Colours Fall 2014

1. Radiant Orchid
This warm purple is not just Pantone's Colour of the Year; it's also made it on to both the Spring and Fall colour charts. For the cooler months, consider incorporating it into your wardrobe via a leather handbag. It's actually a surprisingly versatile colour, and would look fantastic paired with a coat in navy, camel, grey, or even a deep forest green. 
Purple leather purse

2. Royal Blue
This classic colour just lends itself to outerwear, whether you opt for a classic peacoat or a modern wrap.
Miu Miu royal blue wool coat

3. Aluminum
Unexpected use of leopard print is big this season, so why not consider wearing a swingy dress in a putty shade of print?
Mango dress

4. Aurora Red
This rich red would look fantastic in a midi skirt (a style that's still going strong for the fall). 
Oasis red midi skirt -

5. Misted Yellow
For those of you who secretly think midis are frumpy and unflattering, rejoice! The '60s, A-line mini is making a comeback, and would look fab in this autumnal shade of yellow. 
Victoria Beckham wrap skirt

6. Sangria
This warm wine colour is perfect for accessories; consider incorporating it into an outfit with a pair of suede pumps.
Tory Burch pointy pumps

7. Mauve Mist
Instead of your classic grey oversized cardigan, why not consider one in this lavender shade? 
TIBI peach cardigan

8. Cognac
Chances are, you probably have a black leather jacket, but have you thought about updating to a moto style in a rich brown? 

9. Bright Cobalt
A shade or two lighter and brighter than Royal Blue, this hue would look fresh and unexpected on your fingertips this fall.  

10. Cypress
Exchange your dark-wash denim for a pair in this always autumn-appropriate deep olive green.

Pantone Colours image via:

Friday, September 12, 2014

Lipstick of the Week: MAC So Chaud

Back when I featured Morange, I mentioned its not-so-neon but still orange sister, So Chaud. One of my year-round favourites, So Chaud is a rich, orangey red with a matte finish. If you've been thinking you'd like to test out orange lipstick but want to play it safe, I would definitely recommend it! I particularly love it with all shades of blue: navy, cobalt, cornflower, plays well with them all, and is a bit more unexpected than a classic red. Oh, and surprise! I cut my hair!*


*Just kidding, it's a faux bob...fob?!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Thursday Travels: London

Our Thursday Travels of Europe 2011 may be finished now (you can see a recap of all those posts here), but we've still got a few posts planned from various other trips, starting with our adventures in London (from two years ago if you must know, but hey, who's counting?!). 

We (Vicky, our mum and I) were there in June, around the time of the Queen's Jubilee (and a month before the Olympics), and the city was brimming with national pride: lots of Union Jack bunting and special British-themed window displays everywhere. I had been to London a few times before, but the levels of patriotism were definitely higher than usual.

Vicky and I both really loved London---she loved it way more than Paris, but I think I'm a fan of them both in equal measure. While Paris has that certain je ne sais quoi that makes it just so charming and enchanting, London, for me, is a far more liveable kind of place (chiefly due to the fact that it's English-speaking, I guess). When it comes to big cities, it's the one place I've visited  that I'd actually want to live in at some point. I probably shouldn't say this on the anniversary of 9/11, but I'm not the hugest fan of New York; it just didn't do it for me as a city, much to my disappointment. I found it dark and dingy and strangely depressing...but London?! London I loved

Here's a little recap of what we got up to in our few days there:

{We went to the Natural History Museum...}

{...where we saw lots of dinosaurs...}

{...and birds!...}

{...before taking a break to re-fuel.}

{And then it was on to Harrod's; the Food Hall, specifically...}

{...where I nearly got thrown out for taking these illegal photographs.}

{And then we wandered into a souvenir shop where we saw the ghost of Princess Diana!}

{We paid a trip to Kensington Palace...}

{...and saw Queen Victoria's dolls' house...}

{...and these beautiful gardens...}

{...this was before Vicky dropped a tray of china cups on my foot at the cafe (I still have the scar to this day)...}

{We visited my favourite museum in London, the V & A, and fell in love with this 15th-century Islamic minbar. (Of course I misread it as "minibar" and got really excited that not only did the Islamic world have minibars in the 15th century, but that they were of such magnificence!)}

{And then the following day we went to the Ritz...}

{...for a spot of Afternoon Tea...}

{...we're so fancy, you already kno-ow...}

{We hit the shops on Carnaby Street...}

{...and the stalls of Portobello...}

{...where we stopped for a Hummingbird Bakery cupcake break.}

{Please can I live in this pink house?...}

{...or any of these little gems, I'm not fussy.}

{Last random outing: the Leighton House in Kensington. A bit off the beaten tourist path, but worth a visit if you like that whole Victorian Aesthetic thing.}

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Neon Pops

Even though fall is (nearly) here, I can't shake off my love of brights just yet, so I'm still incorporating them into my outfits--just in smaller doses and tempered with darker pieces. This leather jacket is one of my favourite items of clothing, and I'm excited to be able to wear it again after months of sweltering, 30+ weather. I bought it in March when I was over in Ireland, after nearly a year of searching for the perfect leather jacket. I was looking for something that was buttery soft, with subtle zips, and sleeves that weren't too short (this is actually my biggest problem when looking for jackets/coats). The moment I tried this one on I just knew it was the one! (And, most importantly, it also happened to be within my budget, which was fantastic as even faux leather jackets can be so expensive). 

Leather jacket - River Island
Scarf - H&M
Lace skirt - Forever 21
Black top - Penneys/Primark
Tights - Gap
Boots - Steve Madden
Lipstick - Grace, Hourglass