Month: December 2011

Seek and ye shall find

I hope you won’t mind another polish-themed post, but I was so excited about my newest finds, that I simply had to share. 

Polish collecting (who are we kidding, that’s what this has become) can be quite the expensive hobby when you’re as easily seduced by colour as I am. Those who know my shopping habits will not be surprised to hear that I just had to find ways to bargain hunt for polishes before things got out of control. I have no idea if and when polishes go on sale (and I’m pretty sure brands like Chanel never do), so I had to think of other options. I was chatting with a friend about our (mostly frustrating) experiences selling things on Kijiji – as opposed to buying – when I got an idea. Why not post a “wanted” ad, looking for unused or slightly used polishes? I would safely assume that people will occasionally buy polishes on the spur of the moment, and never end up using them more than once or twice; after all, I did that myself from time to time, back before I turned into a polish addict. I rationalized that those people would be happy to clear the clutter in their drawers and make some money back – and I was right. I got a few responses, not all of them for polishes I was interested in, but then … ta da! Someone offered to sell me a bunch of their OPI polishes; while I’m not usually a fan of this brand, a few of the bottles caught my eye – they were holographics! 
Holographic or “holo” polish (of which there are two kinds, scattered and linear, the latter being somewhat rarer) are relatively hard to come by, and there aren’t many drug store or department store brands that currently carry them in their collections. I’ve been wanted to try out a linear holo for a while … and was very excited for the chance to get not one but three! I paid $15 for all three, a pretty good deal since they were each originally about that much. Without further ado, here they are:

OPI Designer Series Original, Passion, Amethyst (l-r)

And here is a peek at the first of the trio, OPI DS Amethyst, in action. In the shade or natural light, the holo effect is very subtle, and what you are left with is a soft lilac purple – a very pretty, subdued color.

Under bright lights, however, the glitter is incredible:

The second in the trio, Passion, is a pretty rose colour – probably my favourite of the three.

Of course, the glittery goodness is just waiting to come out.

Last but not least, DS Original. I would call this more of an amethyst colour, but who I am to argue with OPI’s naming conventions? Instead of putting on two coats, as I did with the previous two colours – and acting on a tip I picked up looking over endless swatches on the internet – I decided to layer one coat over a purple polish, China Glaze Coconut Kiss (another Kijiji find) to bring out its holo glory. It turned out a bit strong for me – purple on steroids! – so I think I’ll try it on its own next time.

I was really impressed with the formula and application of these OPI polishes. They were opaque in two coats, and dried to an incredibly smooth finish (not always the case for glittery polishes). They took a little bit longer to dry than my Chanels, but I experienced very little wear, and clean-up was super easy as well. 

So the lesson learned: definitely give the “wanted” ad option on Kijiji a try, you might just be able to find what you’re looking for!

Manicure of the week: Particuliere

In my previous post, I mentioned that my first outfit pick for the office Christmas party had to be scrapped – but it doesn’t mean that it has to be forgotten. Here it is, featuring this week’s manicure: Particuliere. Released as part of Les Impressions de Chanel in spring 2010, Particuliere was a major hit practically before it even hit the stores. It’s not hard to see why – it’s a beautiful neutral, and one of the first to kick off the trend for greiges.
I love Particuliere; it’s a rich, creme polish that goes on like a dream in one coat, and it’s a perfect colour for fall and winter – it looks so warm and toasty! It’s also a great match for my new-ish Zara heels. These beauties were an impulse buy, but how could I resist them? Bows and sparkles – too much!

And here is the rest of the outfit.

I love the architectural neckline of this dress (a Winners find), but the rest of the dress is not particularly kind to curves; some help is needed to add definition and avoid the potato-sack look that flatters only the ultra thin. The print of the dress is so colourful, it’s tempting to anchor it with a “non-colour” like black. Instead, I decided to go in the opposite direction – even more colour – with a bright yellow belt. With nude-ish heels and minimal accessories, the belt becomes the main focal point – conveniently drawing attention to my waist. Which, finally, is making a much-awaited reappearance.

The finishing touch … bow earrings, of course!

Happy Friday!

The lumberjack dilemma

This is a guest post by one of my favourite people, Robyn J., on her recent experience in getting ready for the AGA’s Refinery Late Night Party, and its rather unique dress code.

I was recently faced with a very unusual fashion challenge. The Art Gallery of Alberta hosts the Refinery Late Night Party every few months. These parties are usually a pretty swanky and a lot of fun. They organize entertainment, activities, and decor around one of the current exhibits. The theme for the Refinery Party in November was “Explorers of the North and the Monsters who Killed Them”, to honour the current “Up North” exhibit. The suggested dress code was ‘lumberjack formal’. Their only direction was “any combination of formal attire and woodsman survivalist is the idea. That might mean a nice gown and hiking boots . . . or a suit, tie and fur hat! Plaid shirts, bowties, huge beards, Michael Kors, wool scarves and patent-leather shoes.” Although this was an exciting challenge, I also felt that there would be a fine line between dressing like a lumberjack (a la Halloween costume) and incorporating lumberjack-inspired items into my outfit.

Of course, I scoured the internet for inspiration. I decided that I wouldn’t take the lumberjack theme too far and maybe just dress up a plaid shirt. My initial idea was along the lines of a plaid shirt, black leather mini-skirt and pumps. My next source of inspiration and advice was our favourite fashion blogger at Blue Collar Red Lipstick. She provided some really great suggestions that factored heavily into my final outfit: booties, layers of girly necklaces, and Sharon Stone’s Oscar outfit.

I loved how Sharon Stone’s outfit took a plain white dress shirt and made it both sexy and black tie appropriate. I loved the idea of the booties – dressy and edgy all at once. And the girly necklaces would help to glam-up the plaid shirt. All of this gave me a really clear vision for my outfit – I wanted something edgy, yet feminine. Now I just had to find all the pieces to put it together. Thankfully, I had a few weeks to shop. Here’s what I came up with:

I found my lovely sequined skirt at Smart Set. It’s meant to be quite loose fitting and this made it very comfortable to wear (and sit in). I think this also gives it the “rocker” vibe I was looking for. My plaid shirt was from Garage, on sale, and it’s so comfy that I’ll definitely get lots more use out of it. I found all my great accessories at Superstore (making them very affordable). I bought two sets of bracelets and mixed and matched to get the perfect combination. Finally, a wonderful friend agreed to lend me her booties, and they were the perfect finishing touch!