Sunday, 27 April 2014

Must-read Style books

I eat, sleep, and breathe style and, no surprise, I love reading about it too. I consider myself a student of life, with style books keeping my creative juices flowing. When I'm lucky, a great style book helps to build on my current perspective or leaves me with a whole new one. Recently, two books did just that: Nina Garcia's The One Hundred and Isabelle Thomas & Frederique Veysset's Paris Street Style: A Guide To Effortless Chic. Both books were eye-opening, practical and spoke to my style philosophy: Keep it Simple; Keep it Classic; And add a hint of Sparkle.


The Books


#22 Converse sneakers

Project Runway judge and fashion journalist Nina Garcia dedicated The One Hundred to her one hundred favourite pieces. Organized in alphabetical order, this book is an encyclopedia of timeless pieces that Garcia believes every stylish woman should own. The One Hundred opened my eyes to the full range of the classic wardrobe - Chuck Taylor's, leopard print, and red lipstick are all classics and now I understand why; No matter what year or decade, these 100 pieces have always - and will always - remain in style. This book is a great foundation for any woman who's looking to develop her own personal style (if not already working with a personal stylist). I'm not surprised that Nina Garcia, a Taurus, wrote a book about fashion classics. Taurean style is are all about simplicity, elegance and classic luxury, which is exactly the style philosophy in her book.



"As in fashion, so in life"
Chinos & Pea Coats

Paris Street Style embodies the epitome of cool - casual, natural and elegant style that's oh-so-chic. Not only did I find this book exhilarating, but it felt like coming home. I've always loved casual style and menswear (and often felt like a tomboy reaching for menswear-inspired over-sized collared shirts...), but Paris Street Style really spoke to my style sensibility. I was fascinated by the authors' perspective on "American Style" versus "French Style." Essentially, American women aim for perfection and an overt sexuality, whereas French women take a more subtle approach wearing a more casual, uni-sex style. The focus for the French is on confidence and conversation, which if done right, results in seduction. So classy... Written by a personal stylist and fashion photographer, this book really illustrates the different interpretations of the French style, encouraging women to make this style their own by finding a 'signature' piece. I fell in love with this book, read it in one sitting and have been wearing my collared shirts a little more often ever since.

What are your favourite style reads?

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Need a little bold or pretty?

I love organization and one place I find it's an absolute must is my purse. This week, I was introduced to All that is Pretty cosmetic bags by designer Erin Pierce. Not having an extensive makeup collection, my first thought was - another great organizing bag! It warmed my heart to learn that each bag is hand sewn and influenced by the designer's time in Africa. Canadian-born, Erin lived in Kenya for 2 years and was inspired by a piece of clothing traditionally worn by Kenyan men, the kikoy. All of her bags are made from 100% authentic kikoy (a cotton material). The designer's connection to the country not only influenced her material choice, but her desire to give back - 10% of the proceeds from each bag are donated to onevibeafrica.org, an inspiring arts organization for youth. I love hearing the story behind a designer's collection and this one left me feeling incredibly satisfied.

So aside from their very cool roots, why do I love these bags? 

1) They're Canadian
2) They're handmade
3) They're well-sewn with sturdy zippers - an absolute must for a cosmetic bag.
4) Their fun and bold patterns


The Bags

A stack of pretty!

Large cosmetic bag
$32

Medium cosmetic bag
$30

Small cosmetic bag
$25

What's in my purse

These cute little cosmetic bags help keep my purse
organized. I use one for my keys, cell phone charger,
ear buds, cosmetics and my stylist's tools.

I'm looking to add this All that is Pretty bag to
my collection!
Photo from allthatispretty.ca

All that is Pretty cosmetic bags are available on Etsy
For more information about All that is Pretty visit allthatispretty.ca.


Sunday, 13 April 2014

A Timeless Beauty: Brigitte Bardot

Brigitte Bardot is incredibly beautiful and her classic bombshell look transcends all space and time; She's just as appealing in 2014 as she was in 1964. This is one of the reasons why she's a fashion icon. The other is that she embodies the highly coveted French style to a "T". Like her fellow French style-makers, Brigitte Bardot's approach to fashion is simple, elegant, and classic, yet incorporates a signature statement piece. For her - that's sex-kitten hair. I can't say enough about how utterly gorgeous I think Brigitte Bardot is so, since a picture is worth a thousand words, a photo gallery is the best way to express my appreciation for this French actress.






















Great Movie Style: The Devil Wears Prada

Along with Clueless and Sex and the City, The Devil Wears Prada was one of the first movies to teach me about great style. I have to give Patricia Field (who also styled Sex and the City) huge credit for turning Anne Hathaway's character, Andy Sachs, from a clueless bookworm to a complete fashionista. After Nigel and his team give Andy a make-over, her look is sophisticated, sexy and utterly chic. I would shop her closet any day! 


Dripping in Chanel pearls and
a matching newsboy cap

Those black knee-high boots are
perfection! Paired with sheer black
tights, a mini dress and longer sweater,
the look is sexy but very classy.
My favourite outfit.

I love the chic newsboys hat,
feminine gloves and elegant coat.
Very chic...

I love the combination of colours in this outfit.
The look is bohemian, yet still so polished and glamorous.

Very 1960s Jackie O

Beautiful sophistication.
From her poppy red lips to her egdy,
yet elegant, leather gloves.

I can't talk about The Devil Wears Prada without mentioning Andy's hair. I've wanted to try this gorgeous bohemian style since I was 16. Having a face shape that doesn't suit blunt bangs, I haven't taken the plunge. Instead, I'll admire this...


Saturday, 12 April 2014

What's Your Season?

Normally when I ask someone a question that starts off "What's your..." it usually ends in "sign?" (ask anyone who has ever met me - they can attest to this). However in this instance, I'm referring to one of my other passions - colour. What I find fascinating is that each of us has a 'season' of colours that naturally compliments our skin's undertones, making us look like a million bucks. Like the four seasons in a year, colour seasons are divided into Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn. And these colour palettes are referred to as "seasons" because they resemble the ones you would see in the landscapes during that time of year. For example, the Autumn palette has an array of fall colours - pumpkin orange, burnt yellow (like tasty squash soup), and rusty red (like the leaves on the ground). Spring colours look like bright pastel Easter eggs - baby pink, turquoise, and chick-a-dee yellow.

Last summer, I had my colours done professionally in an Image Consulting course I was taking. I was and wasn't surprised to discover that my season is Summer. It made sense - I could see that Summer colours looked best on me, but that wasn't what I had in my wardrobe. Having embraced my palette over the past year, I'd definitely say it's helped me to come into myself. I've also learned to cherish my personality traits associated with the Summer palette. I absolutely still wear colours that aren't in my palette, but less and less often. I think there's something to be said about complimenting one's natural essence - those colours in my palette have started to feel like a second skin. And I really like that.


The 4 Colour Seasons

The Winter palette is bright, cool and intense.
Winter personalities are direct and passionate
risk-takers. They like to be in high-powered
roles - and to be in charge. Their homes are
very modern looking with clean designs.


Spring colours are bright, warm and intense.
Springs have big, bright personalities. They are
social, outgoing and entertaining and love to
socialize in their home.


Summer colours are cool and muted, almost
like a summer haze has washed over them.
Summer personalities are very gentle, delicate
and reserved. The summer home is said
to be decorated with much care and only
a select few are invited to visit.


The Autumn palette is warm and muted.
Autumn personalities are said to
be deep, intellectual, and have a love for
history and the outdoors. They like to use
natural fibers when decorating their homes.

All colour palettes were found through Google Images.


Which Season Are You?

There are a couple of different ways to test which palette naturally compliments your skin's undertones.

The first is the cool or warm test. You can do this either with a piece each of pure gold and pure silver jewellery. Alternatively, you can use a pure white top and a cream top. Get a large mirror and standing next to a window, for natural light, compare one at a time. A good way to tell which looks the best on you is to look at your cheeks and lips - they will take on a natural rosiness. Also, your jaw line will lift and your teeth and the whites of your eyes will appear whiter. So if you look better in gold and cream, your undertone is warm (Spring or Autumn); if silver and white enhance you, your undertone is cool (Summer or Winter). The next step is to compare individual colours from each colour palette to see which season you are.

The other way is to have your colours professionally done. Many Image Consultants offer these services (give me a call if you're in Toronto!). Having your colours done by someone with a trained eye eliminates guessing and saves you time and money in the long run.


Colour Comparison

Me in the 'wrong' colour jacket.
It suits me to an extent because it's muted,
but it's not the best. Notice how my skin tone
looks a bit pale?

Me in the 'right' colour. Notice how my look
seems more in harmony and my skin
tone more even? Summers look
fabulous in greys. 

So, what's YOUR season?


***Since this post, I had my colours re-analysed in Fashion School, confirming that my palette is actually Clear Winter (example below). Funny thing - cool, bright colours are the ones I've always worn and loved!

To err is human, and this taught me a good lesson in trusting my intuition.
The gut never lies!***


Image by cardiganempire.com

My 25 Beauty Favourites

I've always had a pretty low-maintenance beauty routine. My hair and makeup are very natural - I have sensitive skin and I also don't like the feel of heavy products. Five summers ago I was invited to a spa night. The products featured were by an all natural beauty company, one I'd never heard of before, called Arbonne. Being a little kid during the age of the Tupperware party, I was very skeptical of someone trying to sell merchandise in someone else's home. But to my surprise, I LOVED the products! They were exactly what I was looking for - natural, simple, and safe for my skin. I was so passionate about the brand that a few years later I became an Arbonne Consultant. I no longer sell the products but still use them everyday and love them. It's no surprise they make up a large number of my beauty favourites, which have three things in common - they are simple to use, have an overall natural feel and don't look heavy. Exactly my style. 

Skin

SeaSource Re-Mineralizing Body Lotion
$61, arbonne.ca
The BEST body lotion I've ever used.
It's soothing to the skin and I can actually
feel it getting absorbed into my pores.

SeaSource Detoxifying Rescue Wash
$50, arbonne.ca
My favourite body wash in the world.
It's so pure and clean feeling and
that makes it extremely luxurious.

Aquafresh, Fresh Mint Toothpaste
$0.99, Shoppers Drug Mart

I wrote an entire blog post about my love
for Aquafresh. It's the only toothpaste
I've used that actually leaves my mouth
feeling fresh. 

Voluspa, Crisp Champagne Body Mist
$20, Indigo

It's called Champagne and smells like candy!
Either way, it feels like I'm floating in
candy-flavoured clouds after a few sprits..

Ultra-Hydrating Hand Creme
$22, arbonne.ca

It's delicious strawberry kiwi scent is
ridiculously freshsmelling and the cream
sinks into my skin so I can feel it's working.


Hair 

Nourishing Daily Shampoo
$22, arbonne.ca

My hair looks and feels full, shiny and healthy
after washing with this product. I have baby-fine
hair and have tried so many shampoos. Nothing
works quite as good as this one, even on my
colour-treated hair.

Nourishing Daily Conditioner
$20, arbonne.ca

A dollop of this conditioner on my ends
is all I need to give my hair a silky-smooth
natural shine. Sounds cliche, but it's true!
And it smells delicious.


SeaSource Fortifying Hair Mask
$38, arbonne.ca

I'm crazy about this hair mask!
It's like rehab for your hair, but
the kind where you do yoga
and drink kale juice all day. It takes
my hair back to its roots.

Pureology, Pure Volume Blow Dry Amplifier
$29, amazon.com

I'm calling this product a miracle worker
because it was the answer to my life-long hair
prayers. It breathes life into my super fine hair and
keeps it voluminous between washes.
Thank you hair gods!

Redken Radiant Sea Spray
$30, amazon.com

A light-weight texturizer that gives my hair shape
that lasts for days. And it releases a refreshing
scent when my hair moves.

Batiste Dry Shampoo, Medium & Brunette
$7.99, Balmoral Chemists Inc.

I've tried just about every dry shampoo
on the market. Having fine hair this product
is my best friend between washes. I go for the Brunette
to enhance the roots of my Ombre.


Face
LUSH Bubblegum Lip Scrub
$9.95, Lush

This is hands-down the yummiest part of my
 beauty routine. Nothing is as tasty as scrubbing
pink bubble gum-flavoured sugar on my lips for the
sake of beauty. Too much fun...

Sheer Finish Tinted Moisturizer, Medium Beige
$50, arbonne.ca
I'm not a fan of heavy foundations, or foundation
in general, because it doesn't sit right on my
skin. This product is so subtle it gives me very
minimal sheer coverage, doing the trick. 

Foundation Brush
$3, CVS Pharmacy

I absolutely LOVE this brush! It makes me
feel like a painter and my face is the canvas.
I love how I have full control over applying
my tinted moisturizer and it's just plain
fun to use.

Smith's Strawberry Lip Balm &
Smith's Mocha Rose Lip Balm
$7.50, Sephora
Smith's has the best lip balm I've ever used.
The consistency is rich but not heavy.
Definitely a Canadian winter staple!
And the Mocha Rose scent is heavenly...

Sonia Kashuk Brow Kit
$9.99, Target

This brow kit comes in two different colour
palettes - warm and cool and a light and
dark shade for each. I use the lighter shade
when I just want a bit of definition and the
darker side when I want more drama.

Lancome, Hypnose Brow Shaper
$14, L'Oreal Wearhouse Sale

This shaper gel grooms while adding volume
and the brush is the perfect size - it gets the job done
without leaving excess gel on either side of my brows.

Sonia Kashuk, Eye Makeup Remover
$10.99, Target

The best makeup remover - hands down!
It's smooth as silk on my skin, which
is the perfect way to end the day.


Well Being

Smart Water is my favourite bottled water. The water
tastes great and I love the look of the bottle too.
I drink a tonne of water throughout the day.
Hydration is so good for you! 

Eggs are my new super food. I eat half a dozen a week and
I swear they are making me stronger. My favourite way to eat them -
in a warm fried-egg sandwich on a cool spring day.
Image Source: flavorsofbrazil.blogspot.ca

Fresh berries are my favourite fruit. While
they have many antioxidant benefit the taste is so
delicious too.  I especially love them with whipped
cream or chocolate cake.
Image Source: Google Search
I love to walk all over the city. I always think of it as
killing two birds with one stone - getting my exercise
and experiencing the city, all by foot.
Image Source: Google Search



Mind & Soul

Voluspa, French Burbon Vanilla Candle
$10, chapters.indigo.ca
I love the scent of vanilla filling my home.
Enjoying the vanilla fragrance, as a
candle gracefully burns, is ultra relaxing.

Katy Perry, Prism (Deluxe)
$11.99, iTunes

Music it the food of my soul and if my soul is
 fed, so is the rest of me. 

Tea Forte, Replenish Tea
$15, chapters.indigo.ca

Something about a nice warm cup of tea
at the end of the day is oh so soothing...

My beauty philosophy: a healthy mind, body, and spirit is what makes someone truly beautiful.