Monday, January 19, 2015

My Personal Style (Interview with Vicky)

I recently had the honour of being interviewed on my personal style by Vicky for a school project she had. It's always nice being on the other side of an interview for a change, so I was delighted to take part. Here's what I shared :)

My personal sense of style is constantly evolving, but at the moment I'm drawn to feminine pieces,  interesting patterns, and striking colours. I wear a fair amount of neutral shades, but I love colour -- everything from pale, sugary pastels to punchy jewel tones to obnoxiously bright neons.

I would say that I've always had an interest in fashion -- in the sense that I've always had a weakness for a pretty dress -- but it was really only around 2-3 years ago, when I started my blog, that I began to pay more attention to trends. I don't slavishly follow them, but I always look forward to seeing what looks will be dominating a season. Above all, though, I try to wear things that flatter my figure -- for example, even though I appreciate how cool a mannish, oversized coat can look, I personally prefer more of a nipped-in waist.

My personal style has definitely changed over time -- a decade ago, I pretty much lived in oversized Gap hoodies, track pants, and Sketchers, while these days you'd be hard-pressed to find me in anything other than a dress or skirt.

In terms of style icons, I'm a big fan of Blair Eadie of the blog Atlantic Pacific. She has a fantastic eye for colour and pattern, and always looks immaculate. I also love Solange Knowles' style -- again, she always has fun with colour and print, and her lipstick game is on point. And I think I'll always have a special place in my heart for that other fashionista-named-Blair, with her perfectly placed headbands and daring tights. As I believe the wise Blake Lively once said, "You can watch Gossip Girl on mute and still be entertained."

How would you describe your personal style? And who are your icons? I'd love to know!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Five Motivational Quotes for the New Year

Some people may find inspirational quotes a bit, well, cheesy, but I can't get enough of them -- especially around this time of year! Here are some of my favourites (that I hope will help me stay motivated when my New Year zeal starts to wane...)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

10 Items: Pastel Coats

I love the idea of winter pastels around this time of year. I was all about plaid and rich, heavy fabrics in the months leading up to Christmas, but now that the festive season is over, I'm more than ready for springtime with its sugary shades. 

Here are 10 coats that look good enough to eat! Which would you pick? Or do you find pastels too sickly sweet for your taste?!

10 Items: Pastel Coats

1. Linea at House of Fraser / 2. Choies / 3. Lavand at House of Fraser / 4. Enföld / 5. New Look 
6. Pull & Bear / 7. Mackintosh at Harrods / 8. L.K. Bennett at John Lewis / 9. George at Asda / 10. Gucci 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Grey Days in Gardens

As you may have guessed from this post and this one (and even here, I guess), coats are kind of my thing. Some people lust over handbags, others favour shoes, but for me, a good coat trumps all. I only buy one new coat a year, but I keep my little collection in constant rotation (this H&M number, for example, is five years old but I have no intention of discarding it anytime soon). It's actually my favourite item to wear this time of year because it has an almost springlike feel to it -- as soon as Christmas is over, I'm always ready to ditch the red and plaid in favour of a lighter look.

Coat - H&M
Hat - Topshop
Tights - Penneys
Boots* - Steve Madden
Gloves - Accessorize
Lipstick - Posh Pink bLancôme

*eeee I never noticed how grey these boots are (I totally thought they were as black as my tights, and in hindsight probably wouldn't have worn them with this outfit...)

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Reflections

Some people find it overrated, but I've always been a fan of New Year's Eve...and New Year's Day too, actually. I love reminiscing on the past year, and planning on making the upcoming one the best one ever! (haha, don't we all?!).

Here are some of the good times I'll remember from 2014:

Honestly, I can't recall too much from January, but February marked the Sochi Winter Olympics, and all the fun and drama that comes with with the Games (I think this may have been my favourite part of the whole thing though). In March/April, my mum and I went to Ireland (see here for our adventures!). The whole family went to Vegas for the first time in May, where we -- obviously -- had a fantastic time (stay tuned for a Thursday Travels post on what we got up to...). Vicky and I had our double graduation from UVic in June, and then June/July marked the 20th FIFA World Cup, which we all got really into (fun fact: Vicky and I love watching football! We had serious game-watching withdrawal symptoms when it was over). In October, I visited my old hometown of Calgary to attend my friend Maria's wedding. I hadn't been back since I left 10 years ago, so it was the weirdest feeling returning -- so much had changed, yet so much had remained the exact same. 

And then there were all those little things that were so 2014, from Neknominations (wow, remember those?!) to Ice Bucket Challenges. So many tragic events were in the news, too, and let's hope and pray that 2015 will be a more peaceful year on a global scale. 

What were your favourite things about 2014?! And what are you looking forward to in the New Year? Happy 2015 to you all!!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014 in Books

While I certainly devote a lot of time to poring over glossy magazines, nothing beats the satisfaction of getting thoroughly engrossed in a good book. I thought I'd share my thoughts on the 14 books I read over the past year... and I'd love to hear yours, too! 

What were the best and the most disappointing books you read in 2014?! And have you read any of these? I love hearing other opinions!

                        {Also read but not pictured: Quiet by Susan Cain}

In no particular order, my favourite books I read this past year were:

  • A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout & Sara Corbett
Gripping, terrifying, and totally page-turning -- I couldn't put it down. (Full review here). 

  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain
I don't tend to read many non-fiction books, but this one was fascinating. A must-read for both introverts and extroverts alike. (Full review here).

  • A Room with a View by E.M. Forster
A bittersweet love story set in Edwardian England and Florence, Italy. Forster's subtle way with words and keen observations on class made this novel a stand-out for me. (Full review here). 

  • Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
So often, I start reading a book expecting to love it (it sounds like a good story, it's gotten rave reviews) only to find it disappointing. With Lolita, it was the opposite: I went into it expecting to not hugely like it but ended up really enjoying this controversial classic. Despite its dubious subject matter, I found it very cleverly written and witty -- of all the books I read this year, I found it the most humorous, bizarrely enough.

The two novels I found most disappointing were:

  • The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Just didn't do it for me. While I don't need a book to be heartwarming for me to enjoy/be moved by it, I just found this one far too bleak and self-indulgent.

  • Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
This book got rave reviews ("You'll laugh your pants off!"... "a comedic delight!"..."the most absorbing novel of the summer!"), so I was excited to start reading it, but wow, was it ever a letdown. I didn't find it remotely funny, and the plot -- told through a series of emails/letters/faxes -- was scattered and not terribly engrossing. 

And then there were the other eight novels I read that were good/goodish/average but not exactly stand-outs:

  • Room by Emma Donoghue
I actually liked the majority of this book (it is a fascinating premise, after all: a young woman, held captive for seven years along with the son fathered by her abductor plots their escape) but I found the ending a bit too neat and implausible. 

  • The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot
While it was definitely dense in parts, on the whole I enjoyed this classic...but the ending (spoiler alert!) was just too heartbreaking for me to exactly love it. 

  • Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë
If I had to pick a fifth favourite from the books I read this year, it would probably be Agnes's basically Victorian chick-lit, really: middle-class girl on hard times hates her employers but falls in love and lives happily ever after. (Full review here). 

  • Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro
I have a bit of a confession to make: I don't really love Alice Munro. I just don't get the hype over her writing, to be honest. I've read a few of her short story collections, and my reaction is always the same: I find them fairly dull to mildly enjoyable when reading them, and then can't for the life of me remember the details of any once I've finished. 

  • The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison 
Definitely a haunting, moving book. I read it back in February around the time of Shirley Temple's death, which I found poignant (she's idolized by Pecola, the central character in the novel, whose greatest wish is to be a white girl with blue eyes). 

  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
I semi-enjoyed this book. For the most part, I found it fairly engaging and fast-paced but there was just something about it that held me back from completely loving it...maybe the fact that I wasn't rooting for either of the (pretty unlikeable) main characters? 
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker
Not gonna lie: I found this book just a liiiiittle tedious in parts. But on the whole, as a story, I enjoyed it. (Full review here).

  • Shopaholic to the Stars by Sophie Kinsella
I've loved the Shopaholic series for over a decade, so I'm always excited when a new book is published. While this one wasn't as good as the first few books, in my opinion, it was definitely a fun, light read. (Full review here).

Monday, December 29, 2014

Little Things I'm Loving: December

Hope you all had a peaceful and relaxing Christmas! In the past, I would always feel that Christmas came and went far too quickly for my liking, but this year I felt I'd got a sufficient dosage of festiveness (I think listening to Christmas music all day, every day since November 1st probably helped!). 

Here are some of my favourite discoveries from the past month...

little things december
1. I loooove everything that Rifle Paper Co. produces, from their greeting cards to their phone cases, and their 2015 Travel the World calendar is as gorgeous and colourful as you'd expect. I can't wait to break it out on January 1st!

2. The picture doesn't really do it justice, but in real life this Kate Spade wallet is a beautiful glittery midnight blue colour (I'm a total magpie for things with a sparkly finish). A sweet and thoughtful gift from Vicky, it's going to be the chicest wallet I've ever owned, and a far cry from the ratty old plastic case I've been carrying my cards in for the past few years.

3. Have you guys heard of Serial?! It's a podcast that aired a few months back, but I've only recently started listening to it. I was never really into podcasts before, but this one is just so incredibly gripping. The premise of the (true) story is this:

It's Baltimore, 1999. Hae Min Lee, a popular high-school senior, disappears after school one day. Six weeks later detectives arrest her classmate and ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, for her murder. He says he's innocent—though he can't exactly remember what he was doing on that January afternoon. But someone can. A classmate at Woodlawn High School says she knows where Adnan was. The trouble is, she’s nowhere to be found.

Adnan was convicted of the murder and is currently spending his life in prison, but Serial's host, Sarah Koenig, isn't entirely convinced that he's guilty. Each episode she presents a different element of the story, interviewing Adnan himself as well as his friends and family, leaving the listener in complete suspense as to what will transpire next...

4. On that cheerful note, let's switch the subject to hair products... This John Frieda Luxurious Volume Building Mousse is a lifesaver for my very fine, limp hair, giving some much-needed lift to my roots without leaving any sticky residue.

5. I wouldn't have the hugest sweet tooth, but I can never resist a mug of hot chocolate. While I usually opt for a cheap brand like Carnation, this decadent-looking Whittard Rocky Road hot chocolate was on sale at my local supermarket, and I just couldn't resist. I mean, with a description like "this all-time favourite combines classic flavours of marshmallow and milk chocolate with those of toffee, cherry, raisins and sultanas," how could I?!