Month: October 2013

What I Wore

Time for another round-up of recent outfits!

At this point, I’m still working on getting used to my post-baby body, which is – ahem! – not quite as I remember. Things definitely fit differently than before, if they fit at all. Since I won’t truly have my body “back” (to myself) until I am done breastfeeding, I’m not too worried about all that right now, but it does make putting a decent outfit together a bit challenging.

what i wore
Trench, Gap; skirt, Winners; sweater, J. Crew; shirt, no label (consignment); boots, Hunter; bag, Tory Burch (second-hand)

One of the things currently missing from my wardrobe is a thicker fall coat; I only have my trench. This means that on colder days, layering is key. These days, that’s made easier by the fact that I wear my nursing tanks practically 24/7. Hello, insta-layer! [As an aside, they are not actually nursing tanks. I bought one of those from Thyme Maternity, and found the quality to be shockingly poor given the price tag – $35 a pop! Instead, on a tip from my sister-in-law, I bought some Kirkland tanks at Costco (2-pack for $15) and they are very similar, function-wise, but far better quality in my opinion. They don’t have the detachable front flap thingie, but still super easy to nurse in. They are also made from Modal, so they are comfortable as heck; I’m not exaggerating when I say that I live in them around the clock.]

what i wore

Still loving my Target bag (and mustard yellow as an accent colour), and I have been pleasantly surprised by how functional it’s proven to be. I wear it a lot! Because of the price, I don’t feel bad about being rough on it – which happens a lot these days given the amount of stuff I have to cart around. I should mention that it is already starting to show some wear, mostly colour transfer on the back where it rubs against my clothes (I think my dark wash skinny jeans are the culprit in this case).

what i wore
Dress, Mexx (thrifted); jacket, Club Monaco (gift); scarf, gift; sweater, Joe Fresh; boots, Ecco; bag, 3.1 Phillip Lim for Target

I took a risk and bought this cute headband at Marshalls – is it too juvenile?

what i wore
Headband, Ophelie Hats (Marshalls)

For a girls’ brunch, I decided to bust out my new Elie Tahari blouse – over a “nursing” tank, natch. Did I mention those Kirkland tanks come in a variety of different colours? Very handy for accessorizing.

what i wore
Jeans, iT Jeans (consignment); blouse, Elie Tahari (consignment); jacket, Club Monaco (loan from my mom); shoes, Kenneth Cole (thrifted); bag, Kate Spade (Kijiji)

Still loving my rose gold accessories:

what i wore
Manicure: Chanel Rose Moire

We had glorious weather this Thanksgiving, and I seized the opportunity (the last one this year?) to wear a  dress.

what i wore
Dress, Diane von Furstenberg (consignment); tank, Kirkland; trench, Gap; boots, Sam Edelman; necklace, Tiffany

As you can tell, I had a blast frolicking in my friends’ back yard.

what i wore

This DVF dress is a size 4, which used to fit me just right; as you can tell, it doesn’t exactly do so now. Thank goodness that wrap dresses are ever so accommodating, eh?

what i wore

For my Thanksgiving manicure, I picked the appropriately named (and hued) Holiday:

what i wore
Manicure: Chanel Holiday

And that’s a wrap!

 

Home Decor: Toddler Bedroom

This past summer was full of big milestones for our son. He not only turned two (that most tumultuous age of toddlerhood), but also got ready to become a big brother. Part of the preparations involved moving into a new, “big boy” bedroom – which required that we wrap our heads around the idea that our son is a “big boy” now, and not the little munchkin we brought home from the hospital two years ago. Once we got over our disbelief, we got down to work.

The hardest part was dismantling what was once our spare bedroom, but had morphed in recent years into a dump pile of clothes, unused furniture, and random odds and ends. I never thought I’d see the carpet in that room again, but a couple of weekends’ worth of purging and cleaning was all it ultimately took. With the room back to its original, pristine condition, it was time to tackle the decor. When it comes to kids’ bedrooms, one of my pet peeves is over-thinking. Think of the typical celebrity baby room, or the kinds of bedrooms you see all over Pinterest; those rooms are generally decorated to please the parents’ style aesthetic, rather than the kids’ tastes or interests. I wanted Luka to feel comfortable in his room, and to love spending time in it, which meant filling it with his favourite things and making it easily navigable to him. Another pet peeve is clutter; granted, this is almost unavoidable in a kid’s bedroom, but the judicious use of storage solutions can make a big difference. Ultimately, I wanted a room that was functional, fun, and (mostly) tidy; style would have to take a back seat.

Here is the end result:

home decor diy
The “big boy” bedroom

Granted, most of Luka’s toys remain in the family-slash-play-room, which allowed us to keep his actual bedroom pretty simple. The furniture is a combination of new IKEA pieces (the bed and storage unit), and items we already had in the house (the table and chair, floor mats, mini sofa).  For decorations, we went with a car theme because that is one of Luka’s current obsessions. Most of the framing came courtesy of IKEA as well.

home decor diy
Some of his favourite things: cars, Winnie the Pooh, numbers

We chose to go with an extendable bed, which would give us several options; Luka can use it until he’s at least 6-8 years old, or he can pass it along to his sister in a few years if he ends up wanting something different (like a bunk bed). If necessary, the green bed-frame can work just as well with the current nursery wall decor, or else be painted a different colour to suit our daughter’s future preference.

Apart from the bed, the second most expensive aspect of the decor was the storage unit, particularly the various drawer units (sold separately). I customized those to be both kid- and mommy-friendly. The lowest tier is reserved for books and toys that Luka can easily grab any time. The lower of the two blue bins is filled with stuffed toys; Luka can reach it and pull it out, but won’t get hurt if anything falls out. The higher blue bin is filled with plastic toys; Luka can’t quite reach it yet, which helps prevent accidental spills. [Once he’s taller, I will probably reverse the order of the bins to avoid having any accidents with heavier items falling on his head.] The top 4 drawers are for miscellaneous items, like socks, baby creams and bandaids, which I want to have at hand but not in Luka’s hands. The remainder two sections are for extra clothes, like T-shirts and sweaters, but could easily be re-purposed for any items that we want kept out of sight.

One of Luka’s favourite things to do is to colour, so we put together a little “colouring station”. I decided to add a magnetic board with numbers and letters, because he loves having us spell things out for him and counting. The little magnetic pieces are technically for kids 3+, so we only let him play with them under direct supervision; however, it’s a fun way for him to learn the alphabet – he can already recognize most of it.

home decor diy
More of his favourite things: the “colouring station”

Our efforts paid off – Luka loves his bedroom, and took to it right away. Since he moved in, he’s added a few of his own decorating touches. Like a birds-and-flowers decal on the wall and … More cars. Of course.

Beauty Test Drive

I love Shoppers Drugmart points redemption events: it means I get to trying out new, splurg-y cosmetics! I almost never do so otherwise, so it’s a real treat whenever I save up enough points for a big buying extravaganza. [I also tend to stock up on cosmetic “staples”, like my favourite mascara, so it’s usually a mix of fun and practicality.] Here are some of the products I picked this time.

Lancome individual eye-shadow pots ($22 each)

I’m a big fan of Lancome eye-shadows, so I stock up whenever I get a chance to do it for free. [Getting the Shoppers points is not free, but you get my point.] Although I love their compacts, this time I wanted to pick and choose specific colours, so I went with individual pots. I knew I needed a light shade close to my skin tone colour for use as a “base”, but my other two picks were more impulse buys than anything. Mostly, I couldn’t resist their sparkliness. I know, I am a 12-year old at heart when it comes to make-up. Nevertheless, I am very pleased with all 3 choices.

beauty reviews
Lancome eye shadow pots

First, we have All That Glitters. It looks like an eye-shadow version of Chanel Graphite (nail polish) – a sparkly, silvery pewter. When I tested it on the skin, I was surprised that it went on a lot lighter than it looked in the pot; I figured I could wear it in the daytime if applied lightly, or for evening if layered and smudged for a more intense look.

beauty reviews
Lancome All That Glitters

Applied in a light layer, All That Glitters is quite sheer. It sparkles like crazy, with the result being that it reminds me of that “wet eye-shadow” look that was popular on runways a few years ago. Does anyone else know what I’m talking about?

beauty reviews
Lancome All That Glitters eye-shadow

I remember being intrigued by the look back then, but never quite figured out how to translate it into something wearable for everyday (I seem to recall that the runways version involved using Vaseline or something similar to achieve the “wet” look). I think this is actually a good candidate, albeit a few years too late.

beauty reviews
Lancome All That Glitters eye-shadow

Notwithstanding the sparkliness, I think it can be worn in the daytime without looking garish. It’s pretty subtle still, especially if you’re not in direct sunlight.

beauty reviews
Lancome All That Glitters eye-shadow

My next two picks were Latte (cream matte colour) and You’ve Got The Look (smoky mauve shimmer).

beauty reviews
Lancome Latte
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Lancome You’ve Got the Look

Latte is the type of colour I use everyday as a base for my eye make-up. I don’t put primer, face powder or any other similar product on my eyelids, so a neutral eye-shadow serves to even out the colour, brighten up the eyes, and keep my eyeliner from sliding around too much. I thought that You’ve Got The Look would be a good “crease” colour – the purple would be complementary to my eye colour, and the gold shimmer would brighten things up a bit more. Because my eyes are fairly deep-set, I don’t usually bother to put eye-shadow (other than the base) on my lids except in the crease area and a little bit above – it’s the only part that shows when my eyes are open. The only exception is if I’m doing a smoky evening look.

Here are the two eye-shadows together:

beauty product reviews
Lancome Latte + You’ve Got the Look

You’ve Got the Look is a bit darker than my usual “crease” colours (most days, either peach or camel), but applied lightly it can still be sheer enough for daytime.

beauty product review
Lancome Latte + You’ve Got the Look

All in all, I am very pleased with all 3 of my choices, and I think they will be great additions to my make-up arsenal.

Clinique Chubby Stick Intense in Two Ton Caramel ($20)

I so love the Chubby Sticks, I decided to get more once I used up my first one. In addition to the Chunky Cherry (sheer) I originally had, I also decided to try an “intense” version in a more neutral colour. Two Ton Caramel makes for a good “nude lip” look on me, without making me appear corpse-like (as I tend to do when my lips are truly naked).

beauty reviews
Clinique Chubby Stick (intense) Two Ton Caramel

Through a swap with one of my polish pals, I ended up getting my hands on a Julep Lip Vernis (aka lip gloss).

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Clinique Chubby Stick ______ & Julep Lip Vernis Camellia

I’ve never tried Julep products before, but I know lots of people are big fans, so I was excited to try this one out. On its own, this particular colour (Camellia) is not super-flattering; it gives me what I call “Real Housewives lips” – a wormy, flesh-coloured pout. It smells delicious though!

beauty reviews
Julep Lip Vernis Camellia

Layered over a matte “nude” base like Two Ton Caramel, however, Camellia looks fantastic on me:

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Clinique Chubby Stick + Julep Camellia

Together, this combo looks very natural:

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Clinique Chubby Stick + Julep Lip Vernis

L’Oreal Youth Code BB Cream ($25)

Everyone’s heard about the BB cream rage by now – skin care companies are now on to CC and DD creams, so the bandwagon has long moved on. I’ve been intrigued by them, and their much-vaunted benefits, but I’m pretty loyal to my old routine: Mario Badescu moisturizer and Bare Minerals face powder. It turns out that Bare Minerals is now a Sephora-only brand, which means I can no longer buy it at Shoppers Drugmart. While disappointing, I saw this as a chance to try something different – to wit, the BB cream.

Since I have no previous experience with this product, I decided to forego the top-of-line version (Smashbox, $50+) and go with a version that the sales associated told me was found to be comparable in blind studies (L’Oreal Youth Code BB Cream). I have no idea if that’s true (or how rigorous those studies were), but I figured it was worth a try given the cost and my general experiences with L’Oreal products.

On balance, my review of the Youth Code BB cream is mixed. The main drawback, for me, is that it’s more pigmented than I expected. This may not be a problem for others (especially anyone looking to use this in place of foundation or powder), but it is for me because of my paleness – the lightest version of the BB cream was a couple of shades too dark to look natural on me. I ended up mixing a teeeeeny smidge into my regular moisturizer, and that seemed to solve the problem. On the plus side, one tube of BB cream should last me a very long time; as an added bonus, it has SPF 15 built in for a bit of extra protection. On the downside, I still use my regular powder (albeit applied more sheerly) to even out my skin tone and camouflage blemishes.

Going forward, I doubt I’ll end up buying this product again, although it might be a good option for people looking for a lighter alternative to regular foundation.

Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eye Liner ($23)

I’ve used up my Benefit Bad Gal liner much more quickly than I expected (still loving it!), and needed to get a new one; wouldn’t you know it, my local Shoppers was all sold out of it. Grudgingly, I decided to try a different eye liner. This Stila version (Bluefin) caught my eye because of its unusual colour – a sparkly navy blue. Since I was planning to stick to the Benefit liner for everyday use anyway, I decided it was worth trying something more “out there” as opposed to trying to find a replacement black version.

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Stila smudge stick eye liner (Bluefin)

I am not a fan of the tip; I prefer the old-fashioned eye liner pencils that you can sharpen. With that said, I quite like the product. The colour actually shows up as navy blue on the skin as opposed to almost-black, which some coloured liners do. The sparkle is also visible, although very discrete, which makes it appropriate for day-wear.

beauty product reviews
Stila smudge stick eye liner (Bluefin)

I’m not sure if I would go out of my way to buy this again – after all, I don’t really need two different eye liners – but I am definitely happy I gave it a try.

Smashbox Lip Paint ($9)

This was a total impulse buy at Winners. I’ve mostly sworn off buying lip glosses, choosing instead to stick to my Clinique Chubby Sticks. For some reason, I decided to buy this – probably a combination of the lower-than-retail price plus the thought that the colour (Luminary) might work well with my new Clinique lip pencil (see above).

beauty reviews
Smashbox Lip Paint (Luminary)

The downside of buying cosmetics at Winners is that you typically can’t try them on before buying. In this case, I got lucky with the colour – it looks pretty good on me, both on its own or layered.

beauty reviews
Smashbox Lip Paint – Luminary

Unfortunately, I hate the applicator. It barely gets any actual product out, which means having to apply the gloss with a half dozen strokes; it takes way too long! I also made the mistake of trying to coax out some extra product by squeezing the tube gently, and a whole big blob squirted out- wasteful rather than helpful.

All in all, I won’t be looking to buy this one again – a good thing, since I would probably never find it at Winners again.

Have you discovered any new beauty products recently? Got some new favourites?