Lipstick of the Week: Bolero by NARS

I recently raided Vicky’s lipstick collection and unearthed this little beauty: NARS’ Bolero, a lip pencil in a Velvet Matte finish. A light peachy-pink colour (described on the NARS website as “pink cantaloupe”), it’s a far cry from my favoured bright/intense shades, but it feels perfect for this time of year — very springy and fresh. And I love that because it’s so soft, I can pair it with a more defined, smoky eye.

A word of warning, however: it is very drying (even more so than other Velvet Matte pencils I’ve tried, for some reason), and can easily look cakey/flakey if you haven’t exfoliated well beforehand. Also, the swatch on my hand is somewhat misleading; on my lips it’s definitely not quite so vibrant a colour.

The Lowdown on Bolero
Brand: NARS
Product Type: Velvet Matte Lip Pencil
Shade: “Pink Cantaloupe”; light, peachy-pink
Price Range: $26US / $$
Celebrity Fans: Alexa Chung
Vibe: Fresh, playful, retro

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Thursday Travels: Las Vegas

This post is a throwback to our adventures in Vegas in May of 2014. None of us had ever been to Vegas before…but it was pretty much exactly how we expected it to be: brash, bright, buzzy, and neon neon neon!!! And HOT. Each day we were there the temperatures climbed into the high 30s (except for the day we visited Death Valley, when it RAINED. I know! But more on that in another post).

One thing we maybe didn’t expect was how much walking you have to do in Vegas. I guess we thought that the Strip would be a lot more compact than it was, and that you could nip in and out of each hotel in minutes. In reality though each hotel complex is so vast that walking from one to the other can take you a whole lot longer than that, and in the extreme heat this can be unbearable. Our saviour was the Deuce bus — it drives up and down the Strip all day and you can hop on and off at your leisure with a day pass.

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{In case you’re in any doubt as to where you are}

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{Can you spot the Irish flag?! ;)}

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Vegas has got to be one of the most visually stimulating places on the planet, and the sensory overload is intense. I mean where else in the world can you, in the space of a day, basically take a (very legit-looking) trip around the world?!

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{We visited Paris…}

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{…and Venice…}

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{This was INSIDE the Venetian — they had a fake sky that would darken accordingly as the day progressed}

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{We paid a trip to ancient Rome at Caesar’s Palace…}

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{…and popped by the Trevi Fountain…}

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{…and then nipped over to Egypt for good measure}

And that was just the Strip. There’s also “old” Vegas — the Fremont Experience, where you go for a slightly more seedy, less opulent, and some would argue, more characterful take on Vegas…

10365727_10152001701947371_6981923575459831263_n10372034_10152147172293437_6256983313800089253_nDSC_0718DSC_0642So that was Vegas! Did I love it?! Ehhhh, I mean yeah, it’s Vegas after all, but I think Disneyland would still be my cheesy American destination of choice 😉

Have you been?! What were your thoughts? I’d love to know…

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Pops of Neon and Dashes of Silver

I love nothing better than a crisp little white dress in the summer, and this one (a score from a J. Crew sale last year), is one of my very favourites. It provides the perfect base for playing around with statement accessories, and I opted for a playful vibe by pairing it with bright neons, lots of silver, and a hot pink lip.

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Dress — J. Crew (factory version here)
Bag — Kate Spade (similar here)
Shoes — New Look (similar here)
Necklace — Aldo (similar here)
Bracelet — New Look (similar here)
Sunglasses — Aldo (similar here)
Lipstick — Schiap by NARS
Black nail polish — Licorice by Essie

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10 Trends for S/S 2015

I love scoping out what trends are big each fashion season and then deciding which I’d like to test out…and which I’ll pass on. Here are some of my personal favourite and least favourite s/s 2015 trends — I’d love to know your thoughts!

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Yes! to:

1. Flared Jeans
I’ve been a big fan of this ’70s style for years thanks to the fact that they’re super flattering and comfortable. I guess the one downside to rocking a pair of flares is that you have to wear them with some kind of heel (preferably a chunky wedge sandal), but the payoff is worth it — your legs will seriously go on for miles.
MIH Jeans

2. Knee High Gladiators
I was a bit on the fence when this rather intense trend first caught my attention: did I find it crazy or cool?! After a bit of debate, I’m currently leaning towards the latter… I think I’d play it safe myself though and opt for a pair in a more flattering lighter shade like tan or gold.
Topshop Gladiator Sandals

3. Gingham
While I haven’t actually rocked a gingham frock since 1996, it’s a trend I wouldn’t be averse to revisiting (although this time around, I think I’ll stick with a chic black-and-white print instead of my blue Dorothy style of yore).
Dolce & Gabbana Dress

4. Suede Skirts
In a sea of florals and brights, I love the unexpected look of a luxe suede skirt. I’d pair it with either a cream, peasant-style blouse or a silky, printed shirt.
Miss Selfridge Skirt

5. Palm Print
This lush, tropical look has been sprouting up everywhere this past season, from clothes to wallpaper to uh, cakes (thank you, Pinterest, for enlightening me). I love its sultry vibe, and if I had the guts I would totally wear a full-on palm-print jumpsuit.
New Look Shirt Dress

No! to:

1. Extreme Fringe
All for very well for Coachella and the like, but I’m not sure I want to resemble Pocahontas in the real, non-festival world.
P.A.R.O.S.H Fringed Waistcoat

2. Bucket Bags
A bag should be one of two things (and ideally both): really capacious/functional and/or aesthetically pleasing… And I don’t know why, but for me bucket bags are neither.
Lucky Brand Bucket Bag

3. Flatforms
When I wear heels, I don’t do so for the extra inches of height they give me (I could do without that), I wear them because they make my legs look more lean and shapely. So a shoe that makes me six feet tall but does nothing for the actual shape of my legs…?! Yeah, no, don’t sign me up for flatforms.
Ash Flatform Sandals

4. Denim Dresses
Is it just me, or has denim everything suddenly reached a magnitude not witnessed since, well, this?! Jackets, skirts, overalls, jumpsuits, shoes (!), dresses…it seems no item of clothing is safe from being denimized this season, and I’m not sure I’m on board. I don’t hugely dislike denim dresses, but they just don’t feel very me.
River Island Shirt Dress

5. Round Sunglasses
They always say that with sunglasses you should opt for a style that’s the opposite of your face shape, so these Lennon-esque shades are a no-go for me with my chubby little cheeks. They would look great, however, on someone with a more angular face.
Necessary Clothing Sunglasses

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Fresh Starts & Midi Skirts

I am so excited to be blogging again, and can’t wait to share with you the things I have in store for this new venture over the next few months! First things first though, let’s talk about one of my favourite outfit formulas for warmer weather: a crop top + a midi skirt! (heels optional). I decided to stick with a basic black-and-white palette for a more minimalist vibe, accented with gold and black accessories, and my new favourite summertime lipstick, Heat Wave — a beautiful orangey-red. To be honest, I rarely wear heels, but these little beauties from Ross (a kind donation from my sister Claudia) are surprisingly comfortable and give a bit of edginess to an otherwise classic look.

midi-skirt2-IMG_4922IMG_4953IMG_4964IMG_4978IMG_4942Crop top — H&M
Skirt — Banana Republic (similar here)
Shoes — Ross (similar here)
Sunglasses — Givenchy (similar here)
Necklace — Aldo (similar here)
Clutch — Aldo (similar here)
Watch — Charming Charlie (similar here)
Lipstick — Heat Wave by NARS
Nail Polish — Fallen Angel by Estee Lauder (similar here)

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A Note on Thursday Travels…

These travel posts were originally posted on my old, now-defunct blog that I wrote with my sister Vicky. The majority of them recount our adventures in Europe in May-June 2011 (in all our terrible hair extensions and Ugg-booted glory), but I thought I’d transfer them over anyway. More than anything, we wrote them to keep our memories alive and share our scattered observations — they are by no means meant to be comprehensive travel guides or anything. Just thought I’d clarify that 🙂

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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.

DSC_0186DSC_0185DSC_0184As 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 Seattle…it 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.

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{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)}

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{On the trolley!}

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{View of the city from one of our stops…can’t remember which one}

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

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{…they don’t call Portland the City of Roses for nothing!}

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

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

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{We paid a trip to the Saturday Market…}

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{…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 🙂

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Vancouver Adventure: Nicola Street (West End)

Even though I’ve lived in Vancouver on and off for over a year, I still feel like a newcomer, and one of my favourite things to do is explore random little pockets of the city. For this new series, I’ll be sharing some of my adventures in Vancouver…and I can tell there will be a lot of them! Seriously, this city is crammed with the most intriguing, eclectic little neighbourhoods, and I can’t wait to discover them all. 

Vicky and I went for a stroll around the charming Nicola Street in the West End a few weeks ago — just a stone’s throw from where we live, but somehow a street we’d never ventured to before. The West End, in my humble opinion, is one of the most interesting places in the city to walk around, for the simple reason that it’s so architecturally diverse: shabby, ’60s apartment buildings stand alongside gorgeous, turn-of-the-century ones, and you’re bound to stumble across the odd beautiful little church or of-another-era corner store. 

{The intriguing-looking Niloo Hair Salon and House of Jewels}

We had lunch at the Greenhorn, a hipstery little place with delicious soups, salads, sandwiches, and a daily special (a mouthwateringly tasty truffled mac and cheese the day we were there). The exterior was under renovation when we went, and didn’t make for a terribly photogenic picture, but here are some interior shots…

{Bottles of soda and the menu written on rolls of brown paper}

{Wall of records on the second floor, where we sat. While seating isn’t exactly limited (it’s a fairly capacious place as far as cafes go), it gets super busy on weekends/holidays. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!}

After all that rich food, it was time to walk off some calories…

{The West End is beautiful in autumn (preferably on a sunny day, but hey, we’ll take a grey one too!)}

And then, wonder of wonders, we found a secret little tucked-away park…

{As Vicky aptly noted, the place felt very “Blair Witch.” Eeeeek! }

{The eerie vibe was definitely accentuated by the dark trees and this lone, forlorn-looking see-saw}

So those were our adventures on Nicola. Definitely an interesting little area to check out if you’re in the vicinity. Hard to believe it’s literally a block away from the bustle of Robson Street!

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Thursday Travels: Amsterdam

Amsterdam is kind of a love/hate city…at least, that’s what we’ve concluded on hearing people’s views on the place. It’s easy to see why some people aren’t crazy about it — unlike many European capitals, it doesn’t have strikingly grand buildings; it’s kinda grungy throughout the whole city and exceedingly seedy in parts (ie. the Red Light District); and you’re in perpetual fear of being run over by a cyclist (the bicycle culture there is incredible, by the way — we’d never seen anything like it. There are virtually no cars, and absolutely everyone gets around by bike, from young children to the elderly. Instead of parking lots, they have bicycle lots!)

Buuuuut, despite all these flaws, we fell into the love-Amsterdam camp. There’s just something about the place…it’s so eclectic and vibrant and cultural and…European. Although it’s a surprisingly compact city, and very easy to get around, it still has a bustling, energetic, “big city” vibe to it.

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{So quaint!}

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{Typical Amsterdam canalside view}

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{We love Amsterdam!}

We wandered the streets, admiring the tall, narrow houses overlooking the canals that are so typical of the city. We browsed around the various markets dotted around, including the colourful Bloemenmarkt (flower market) where bright tulips (of course!) abounded. We took in a few museums, including the magnificent Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum, as well as the Anne Frank Huis, which was fascinating, though so, so sad.

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{I amsterdam!}

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{Rijksmuseum}

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{The canalside houses were originally built for wealthy merchants in the 17th century}

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{Anne Frank Huis}

The Anne Frank House is located on the Prinsengracht canal, and opened as a museum in 1960. It was formerly a warehouse where Anne, her parents, sister, and four others, hid from the Nazis from 1942-44 before they were tragically discovered and sent to concentration camps. Anne’s father, Otto, was the only one to survive the war, and published his daughter’s diary in 1947.

It was a very sad, but completely moving experience. We were worried that it would feel kind of wrong to eat in the museum cafe but we decided that Anne would have approved of all the attention her home has gotten — she wanted to be a Hollywood star, so she would have loved all the fuss made over her 😉

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{Carrot cake overlooking the canal}

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{Seriously yummy hot chocolate}

Later on, we went on a canal cruise — perfect for gliding past all these lovely buildings while resting our weary feet! We got a real feel for Dutch architecture and learned some interesting stories about the city’s history…and then it was farewell to Amsterdam ;-( May we return soon!!!

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{Larger houses, like this one, would have been owned by very wealthy merchants}

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{Cruising}

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{Say cheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeese!!!!!!!!}

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{We stayed in a boat! Yes, it was a biiiit out of the way, but cool nonetheless}

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{Goodbye, Amsterdam!}

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Thursday Travels: London

LONDON-12Today’s Thursday Travels takes us back to our trip to London (only one of our favourite cities ever). 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. Weirdly enough, I’m not the hugest fan of New York; it just didn’t do it for me as a city, much to my disappointment. Maybe the fact that the one time I was there was in the dead of winter had something to do with it as just I found it dark and dingy and strangely depressing… But London?! London I instantly 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.}

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