Friday, October 31, 2014

Lipstick of the Week: MAC Heroine

Happy Halloween from me and my fake fringe, guys! In honour of the day, I thought I'd share the, uh, scariest lipstick I own: MAC's Heroine. It's a very purple purple, and let's just say that it isn't exactly one of my go-tos (I love it, but it's pretty intense). I have to be in the right (read: brave) mindset to wear it, but when I do, I'm always glad that I did -- it's more fun than berry, more unexpected than pink, and it definitely livens up an otherwise drab outfit. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

October Reading List & September Reviews

Back in September, I featured the two books I planned on reading over the month...and now that I've finished them, I think some reviews are in order!

  • Modern Pick: A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout & Sara Corbett
In a Nutshell: The true story of Amanda Lindhout, a fledgling Canadian journalist held captive in Somalia for 15 months. 

My Thoughts: I knew right from the start that this would be a book I'd love, and from cover to cover, it didn't disappoint. As someone who, like Amanda, grew up in Alberta and lived in Calgary for some time, I could relate to the early portion of the book, in which she shares stories from her childhood and her yearning to escape her safe but drab surrounds to see the world. The story takes off after her first trip abroad to South America fuels her desire to travel to the most off-limits parts of the world, and she eventually winds up in possibly the most dangerous place on earth, Somalia. Alongside another journalist, Australian Nigel Brennan, she is kidnapped and held captive until the pair's families can come up with the heavy ransom their captors demand. 

Critics of the book have pointed out that her behaviour -- travelling to parts of the world notorious for their danger and corruption -- was reckless and downright selfish, and, while this may be true, it doesn't detract from what is a completely harrowing and moving account of what she experienced in captivity, and how she found the courage and hope to carry her through. 

Would I Recommend It?: Absolutely! I found it incredibly gripping, and far more page-turning than even Gone Girl (if that's anything to go by!). There are some pretty awful scenes in it, so if you're in any way squeamish, you might want to steer clear, but otherwise, I would recommend this book to anyone. 

  • Classic Pick: A Room with a View by E.M. Forster
In a Nutshell: After a visit to Florence sets in motion a string of events that will change her life forever, Lucy Honeychurch, a young woman living in the repressive society of Edwardian England, must choose between the pretentious, upper class Cecil Vyse and the progressive-thinking George Emerson. 

My Thoughts: While I love a good, fast-paced page-turner, I'm equally fond of something a little more slow-going, as long as the writing is first-rate, as was the case with this novel. The issues of class and propriety are brilliantly (often humourously) observed, and as I've mentioned before, I really love Forster's understated style of writing -- it's so astute without ever being pretentious or verbose. Even though it was written over 100 years ago, his descriptions of Florence and the snobbery of the type of people who look down on "tourists" still seemed so fresh and relevant. 

Would I Recommend It?: I loved it myself, but I will say that despite its seemingly lighthearted subject matter, it's not exactly Pride & Prejudice -- as with all Forster's novels, there's a darker kind of undercurrent, and (spoiler alert!) while there's a happy ending, it's a little bittersweet. 

This past month, the books I've been reading (and will be reviewing next month) are:

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain (Modern Pick)

Another recommendation from my dad (a fellow introvert), this book is the culmination of Cain's research and observations on why the "Extrovert Ideal" -- society's belief that everyone should strive to be an outgoing people person -- is detrimental to introverts, who, she argues, are as stigmatized today as women were in the 1950s. 

Dracula by Bram Stoker (Classic Pick)

I actually started reading Dracula months ago, but got sidetracked a few chapters in (maybe because summer doesn't feel like the most seasonally appropriate time for such a novel?). I'm not too familiar with the story, as I've never seen any film version of Dracula, but I love anything good and scary, so hopefully it won't disappoint! 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Little Things I'm Loving: October

I'm excited to introduce a new feature to the blog today: a round-up of some of my favourite new discoveries over the past month. 

What little things have you been loving this October?!

Things I Love - October

1.  A few weeks ago, I bought a slouchy grey knit sweater (dress? sweater dress?) from H&M similar to this one and I have to restrain myself from wearing it every. single. day. because it's just so incredibly comfy. I love how it's both long enough to wear with just tights or leggings, and, well, sweater-y enough to wear with jeans.
H M women top -

2. Call me basic, but I'm a sucker for a good Bath & Body Works candle, and their new holiday collection doesn't disappoint. With jewel-toned glass and gemlike names (such as Sparkling Amber and Topaz Waters), these candles look just as pretty as they smell. Smoked Berries and Incense -- the red one -- is my favourite.
3 wick candle -

3. I had a small sample size of this lying around in the bottom of my drawer for ages, but it wasn't til recently that I finally, on a whim, decided to try it out. And let's just say I loved it! I probably have the most sensitive skin on the planet, so I usually stick to Cetaphil, but sometimes unscented products can be a bit...boring. This cleanser, on the other hand, is probably the only one I've ever tried that smells amazing and leaves my skin feeling refreshed and revitalized without irritating it. 
Burts Bees body cleanser -

4. I love apples and I love cinnamon, so my new favourite snack -- crisp, crunchy slices of apple with a sprinkling of cinnamon on top -- is a match made in heaven. Not only does this combination smell amazing, but cinnamon also happens to have a multitude of health benefits (it apparently really boosts your metabolism!). 

5. I loooove Butter's nail polish, but it's definitely on the pricy side, so you can imagine my delight when I found a whole bin on sale at my local London Drugs. I'd been looking for just the right dark, almost-black shade of burgundy polish for ages, and this colour -- La Moss -- couldn't be more perfect. 
Butter london nail polish -

Monday, October 27, 2014

5 Motivational Quotes for Your Monday

Happy Monday, everyone! To kickstart the week, here are five motivational quotes to inspire you and power you through whatever challenges you might be facing. You can do it!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Lipstick of the Week: Rimmel Lasting Finish -- Kate Moss 08

Despite my love for bright lipsticks, there are days (quite a lot of them, in fact), when I like to sport a more neutral lip. Not exactly a nude, per se, (because that chalky, pale look can reallllly wash me out), but something that's more of an enhanced version of my natural lip colour. This Rimmel lipstick, from the Kate Moss collection, is a gorgeous rosy, mauvey,  pinky brown colour, and of all the lipsticks I own, it's high up there on the most-used list. It's just so wearable! And, unlike many other lipsticks that wear off as the day goes by, this one just improves with time. When you first put it on, it's ever so slightly glossy, but wears down to a beautiful rosy stain the longer you wear it. 

If you're a lipstick newbie who's not comfortable wearing super bright colours, I can't recommend this shade highly enough! Usually, I find there's a noticeable difference in the quality between drugstore brands and higher-end ones, but to be honest, I find the quality of Rimmel's lipsticks every bit as good as some of the pricier brands I've tried, despite the fact that they're only around $6-7. Creamy, hydrating, great pigmentation, great selection of colours...some of them are even scented! Highly, highly recommended.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Autumn Wedding

A few weeks ago, Maria, one of my best friends from high school, got married in Calgary and I was delighted to attend her beautiful wedding. I hadn't been back to Calgary since I left it 10 years ago, so it was so weird being in the city again -- a lot had changed but so much was still the exact same. And even though I hadn't seen my old classmates for a decade, it was like no time had passed at all -- it just felt like we were all back at school again! So surreal. 

Aaanyway, I knew I wanted to wear something suitably...autumnal...and this dress, with its dark floral pattern, sheer polka dot overlay, and fit and flare shape was ideal! (Thanks, Claud, for helping me find it!). As I had no idea what the weather would be like (Calgary's climate is notoriously unpredictable -- just a few weeks prior they'd had an epic snowstorm), I brought along my trusty old brocade coat, but as it turned out, I didn't even need it, as the day couldn't have been more sunny and perfect. (I did need it, however, for this little photo shoot today -- it's gotten so chilly here in Vancouver! I'm loving it ;).

Dress - Eliza J at Nordstrom
Coat - Penneys/Primark
Clutch - Aldo
Shoes - Penneys/Primark
Earrings - vintage clip-ons
Lipstick - mix of Sweet Violet (Burt's Bees) and Rebel (MAC)
Nail Polish - La Moss (Butter)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Colours for Your Complexion: Summer

Welcome to the second instalment of our "Colours for Your Complexion" series! This week we'll be focusing on the best colours to wear for those of you who fall under the Summer category. Like Winters (who you can read up on here), summer complexions have cool as opposed to warm undertones -- think blue/pink rather than golden/peach. Unlike their wintry brunette sisters, however, Summers tend to be natural blondes (or at least they were as children). 

You're probably a Summer if you can identify with most of these characteristics:

Skin: Fair, with blue or pink undertones. You tend to burn easily. 
Hair: Anything from white blonde to medium brown. 
Eyes: Tend to be on the light side -- blue, green, grey. 

You Look Best In: Pastels and dusty, muted shades.
You Can Look Washed-Out In: Bright, intense colours, earth tones, and black. 

Summer Celebs

Best Colours for Summers
Summer Colours

Next week is your turn, Autumns

Monday, October 20, 2014

10 Trends for Autumn/Winter 2014

Hello! Sorry for the lack of posting these past few weeks...I was in Calgary for my friend's wedding at the beginning of the month (more on that later!) and things got a little sidetracked since then. Anyway, I'm back now with a post I've been looking forward to writing for quite some personal take on this season's trends! Back in June, I did a similar post for Spring/Summer's trends, and now here are the looks I'm excited to try this fall (as well as the ones that I don't quite think I can pull off). 

What are your favourite trends of the season? And which do you think you'll pass on?!

A/W 14

1. Moody Florals
While I love big, bright, splashy prints for spring/summer, this time of year calls for something a bit darker and moodier. Whether it's in the form of a dress, skirt, top, or trousers, I'm glad that the dark floral trend is sticking around for another season. 
Topshop midi dress -

2. Chelsea Boots
Chelsea boots have been kicking around for quite some time now, but are enjoying a resurgence in popularity thanks to the '60s trend that's been permeating the fashion scene this season. I love the sleek look of a classic black pair, but red would be fun, too.
Church's leather booties

3. Winter Pastels
I love pastels year-round -- I love how they can look so crisp and refreshing in springtime, yet so cosy and marshmallowy in the colder months. While I love the rich hues traditionally associated with this time of year, I'm also a fan of these more unexpected sugary shades.
Ted Baker pink coat -

4. A-Line Minis
Funnily enough, I prefer shorter skirts in the winter and longer, midi lengths when the weather's warmer (probably because I prefer minis with tights and midis with bare legs). The '60s-inspired A-line skirt is flattering on all shapes, and looks great paired with a chunky sweater or turtleneck. 
Carven short a line skirt -

5. Over-the-Knee Boots
Despite my love for this look, I've always found it hard to find boots that actually go over my knee (and not awkwardly hit right at it). Last year, however, I was lucky enough to score the perfect black suede pair at Aldo...and I have a feeling I'll be getting just as much wear out of them this winter as I did the last.
Tory Burch distressed leather riding boots -

6. Fast Food Fashion
For someone who loves McDonald's (and junk food in general) as much as I do, you'd think I'd be more enthusiastic about a Golden Arches-embossed handbag. But nope, this trend doesn't appeal to me in the slightest. What can I say? I guess I'm just not playful or rich enough for fast food fashion.
Moschino quilted chain handbag -

7. Colourful Fur
Back in the early '00s, I sported a subtle take on this trend (a denim jacket trimmed with a lurid red fur collar), but these days I'm way too sensible and boring to give it another shot. Another trend best left to the Cara Delevingnes of this world, I think. 
Oui Odile blue faux fur jacket -

8. Cocoon Coats
I think this mannish look is definitely cool, but really not the most flattering for my type of figure (I generally prefer a more feminine style with a defined waist). And in my books, flattering trumps cool every time.
Violeta by Mango wrap coat -

9. Monk Strap Shoes
What the ugly sandal was to Spring/Summer, the monk strap shoe is to Autumn/Winter...and again, I'm just not attracted to the ugly footwear staple of the season. Yes, it's cool, but as far as I'm concerned, this is one style that can stay in the monastery.
The Office Of Angela Scott low heel shoes

10. Turtlenecks
Turtlenecks, roll necks, polo necks...whatever you call them, they're back with a vengeance. While I'm including this look in my "No!" section, I'm actually more on the fence about it... Generally, I think turtlenecks look the most flattering and elegant on those with a flatter chest, but I think I could just about pull one off if I layered it under a jacket. 
Silvian Heach knit sweater -

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Five Favourite Quotes for October

Happy October, everyone! It finally feels like autumn is well and truly here, and I couldn't be happier! Here are five quotes (actually, make that four and a poem) that really capture the magic of this time of year.