Transitional Dressing: Summer to Autumn

While I can’t help but dream of thick, chunky wool sweaters, moody floral prints, and sleek leather boots, the reality is that the current weather doesn’t quiiiiite lend itself to such dressing…yet. Seeing as we’re likely to get another few weeks (maybe even a whole more month!) of summery weather, I’ve come up with ways you can incorporate two wardrobe staples — a maxi skirt and a breton top — into outfits that can be worn both now and on chillier days.

Breton Top -- Summer to Autumn

Jaeger top // Topshop sandals // Lucky Brand shorts // Marc by Marc Jacobs tote bag // Illesteva sunglasses // Givenchy bag // Uniqlo trousers // Grenson brogues // Intermix suede jacket 

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Lipstick of the Week: Heat Wave by NARS

While I’ve tested out probably hundreds of lipsticks over the years, it’s rare that I’ll come across one that I completely fall in love with immediately. This shade happens to be one of those rare gems; the second I put it on I knew I’d found a real winner. The colour is a rich, tomato-ey orange-red that has a carefree, summery feel to it (sometimes I find a classic, true red can feel a little prim and proper, but this shade totally pairs well with more casual attire). I’m also a big fan of NARS’ semi-matte finish: it gives you that cool matte look without being the least bit drying (Schiap is another shade I love with this same finish).

The Lowdown on Heat Wave
Brand: NARS
Product Type: Semi Matte Lipstick
Shade: Bright orange-red
Price Range: $27 / $$
Vibe: Fun, happy, summery
Celebrity Fans: Zooey Deschanel, Kate Bosworth, Jessica Alba

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Thursday Travels: Varadero, Cuba

This past February we went on a family holiday to Cuba, spending the bulk of our time in the resort town of Varadero, with a day trip to Havana (which, as you’ll see in next week’s Thursday Travels, was the highlight of our visit).

We went for an all-inclusive (pretty much the only way to go in Varadero), which was an…interesting experience. I’d never stayed at an AI before so had nothing to compare it with, but Claudia, who has been to a few in Mexico, said the standard was definitely not as high in Varadero. All I know is that I probably had the worst food week of my life while there (and that’s saying something, as I’m the kind of girl who actually likes airplane food and is a big fan of theme park cuisine). The buffet consisted of stodgy, mystery-meat stews, extremely dodgy looking fish, tasteless bread, and sickly sweet desserts, while the food at the “themed” restaurants that you had to book in advance (Italian, Chinese, Mexican) wasn’t that much better. But hey, I guess it was a bit of a blessing in disguise — this was an all-you-can-eat after all, and had the food actually been good, I wouldn’t have been able to squeeze into my bikini 😉

Food aside though, the rest of our stay was fun; largely spent on the beach or by the pool of course! The weather while we were there was pretty pleasant for the most part (high 20s), though some days were pretty chilly and breezy, and the beach would be off limits because the water was so choppy.

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{hey}

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{Totally candid, definitely didn't beg Claudia to take a covert picture of me reading ;)}

{Totally candid, definitely didn’t beg Claudia to take a covert picture of me reading ;)}

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Apart from our beach excursions, we did do other things in Varadero…

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{…like hop on the “Blue Train” to the Plaza America…}

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{…a shopping mall…of sorts}

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{Its offerings sadly didn’t tempt us, however}

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{FYI this is basically what we existed on during our stay. Also, FANTA!!! I don’t think I’d had a can of Fanta since maybe Ireland circa 1992, but it’s alive and well in Cuba}

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{Guantanameeeerrraaaaaa}

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While Vardero largely consists of dozens of big beachside resorts, there is a sort of town…and one day we decided to get the bus in (it was maybe a 20-minute ride) and investigate.

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{A Beatles-themed restaurant in the heart of Varadero. Because gringos love the Beatles!}

One of our favourite things to do was wander down the side streets, admiring the city’s dogs. Pretty much every house we passed in Cuba had a resident dog keeping watch on the roof– so cute!

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{Sometimes they’d be so tiny and silent (see above) that it would almost become a game of finding the dog…}

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{…but there would always be one…somewhere}

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{Those “cocotaxis” (so-named because they resemble a coconut) are everywhere in Cuba}

And then we somehow wound up in what may be the creepiest park I’ve ever ventured into (the Parque Josone if you’re interested)…

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{I mean, it wasn’t thaaaaat creepy…}

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{…but this abandoned mini-golf section *did* send a shiver down my spine}

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{Chao, Varadero! You were…an experience ;)}

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Lipstick of the Week: Grace by Hourglass

I would definitely consider myself a strong lip rather than bold eye kind of person when it comes to make-up…but that’s not to say that I don’t enjoy a good smoky eye from time to time. And, as we all know, the only possible pairing for an intense eye is a subdued lip. You’d think a basic nude lipstick would be an easy thing to obtain, but I found it next to impossible to find the perfect shade — all the ones I tested out were too pale, too chalky, too golden… And then Grace, this little Hourglass freebie from Sephora, came into my life and it was exactly what I was looking for. Described as a “peachy beige,” it’s the perfect nude shade for fair skin.

The Lowdown on Grace
Brand: Hourglass
Product Type: Femme Rouge Velvet Crème Lipstick
Shade: “Peachy beige”
Price Range: $35 / $$$
Vibe: Sleek, neutral, polished

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Thursday Travels: Death Valley

One of the most memorable things we did on our Vegas vacation last year was take a day trip out to Death Valley. It’s an incredible place to visit — silent, sparse, and more than a little eerie; a total sensory cleanser after the bright lights of the city, and only about a two hour drive away. Amazingly, it actually rained for part of the time we were there (apparently they hadn’t had a drop of rain for the past seven years!), and even when the skies cleared, it wasn’t quite as hot as we thought it would be (kind of late 20s Celsius, when temperatures at that time of the year typically climb well into the 30s).

I don’t really have too much else to say about our trip there, so I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. It’s definitely a worthwhile trip to take if you’ve got a day to spare when visiting Vegas — the sights you’ll see are truly unforgettable.

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Dare to Flare

While I definitely consider myself more of a dress/skirt kind of girl, I occasionally like to shake things up now and then with a look that’s a bit more out of my comfort zone, like these retrotastic flared jeans paired with a loud, printed shirt. I’ve always been drawn to a good pair of flares though, and, given that roughly 70% of the music on my iTunes is from the ’70s, this get up didn’t feel like too much of a stretch for me.

IMG_5473IMG_5477IMG_5478IMG_5479IMG_5474IMG_5482IMG_5509Jeans — Zara (similar here)
Shirt — Gap (similar here)
Sunglasses — Céline 
Boots — Steve Madden (similar here)
Lipstick — Velvet Teddy by MAC

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Lipstick of the Week: Ruby Woo by MAC

You’ve probably heard of this week’s lipstick, Ruby Woo — it’s reached cult classic status, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s just such a classic red red that looks good on every skin colour (though it’s especially great for those with cool undertones, as it’s a very blue-based red). 

Ruby Woo is definitely one of my all-time favourite lipsticks now, but it wasn’t always that way… When I first started wearing it, I didn’t realize that you need to wear some sort of primer underneath, so after a few hours I’d be left with really flaky, chalky lips. Thankfully, I know better now, and always apply a thin layer of clear balm underneath (any basic chapstick will do as long as it’s untinted).

The Lowdown on Ruby Woo
Brand: MAC
Product Type: Retro Matte Lipstick
Shade: “Vivid blue-red”
Price Range: $20 / $$
Vibe: Classic, iconic, timeless
Celebrity Fans: Rihanna, Scarlett Johansson, Dita Von Teese

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Super Easy Fish Tacos

fish-tacos

These babies have so much going for them: they taste amazing and also happen to be a cinch to make! I tore this recipe out of Cosmo (it caught my eye with the heading “How to Eat When You Hate to Cook”) and recently tested it out…and it was a hit! A big hit. I’ll definitely be making these again soon…

Here’s my adaptation (makes 4 tacos):

Ingredients
-frozen fish sticks (4) or fillets (2)
-3 tbsp sour cream
-2 tbsp mayo
-2 tbsp lime juice
-1 tbsp hot sauce
-1 tsp minced garlic
-2 cups packaged coleslaw/cabbage mix
-1/2 red bell pepper, diced
-1/2 avocado, diced
-4 6-inch tortillas

Directions
Bake fish sticks/fillets according to package instructions. When they’re ready, slice up into bite-size pieces.
Whisk sour cream, mayo, lime juice, hot sauce, and garlic, and toss with the coleslaw mix.
Divide the pepper, avocado, coleslaw mix, and fish into tortillas.
Enjoy!

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Grey Lace and Lots of Neon

I love pairing something a little on the dressier side with a more casual item, and this outfit is a case in point: a formal grey lace pencil skirt with a slouchy neon tee (topped off with a big, bold necklace for good measure). And with just a few simple adjustments, you can easily change the feel of the whole outfit — leave the t-shirt loose for a more laid-back vibe, or tuck it in for a look that’s a bit more professional.

IMG_5334IMG_5439IMG_5403IMG_5401IMG_5328IMG_5333T-shirt — J. Crew
Skirt — Jacob (similar here)
Necklace — Banana Republic (similar here)
Shoes — Steve Madden
Sunglasses — Aldo (similar here)
Lipstick — Love It by Lancôme (similar here)

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Lipstick of the Week: Violet by BITE

Alongside orange, another lip colour I’d been wanting to try out this summer was purple. And by purple, I mean more of a summery, magenta-y shade as opposed to purple purple or berry. I’d been obsessing over BITE’s Violet for ages (it was my go-to sample at Sephora), but I just couldn’t commit to buying the pricy full-sized tube. I knew they had a smaller two-in-one size for a more reasonable $15, but sadly they were sold out everywhere. So you can imagine my delight when my sister Claudia was able to snag one for me at a Sephora in Calgary when she was there a month ago! [Note: I originally wrote this post last year, for my old blog.] Not only is Violet now one of my favourite shades to wear these days, but Palomino, the other colour in the tube (a deep pinky red), is gorgeous too. BITE is a new brand on my lipstick radar, but this Toronto-based company is good. As well as being non-toxic and paraben-free and all that stuff, their colours are rich, vivid, and highly pigmented, which I love (there’s nothing I hate more than a wimpy, watery lipstick). Highly recommended.

The Lowdown on Violet
Brand: BITE Beauty
Product Type: Luminous Creme Lipstick
Shade: Magenta violet
Price Range: $28 / $$ (the 2-in-1 version is $15)
Vibe: Fun and a little bit daring and different

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