Clashtastic level 3: leopard and houndstooth

So you've mastered floral and stripes. You amazed your friends by pairing animal prints with polka dots.  Now you think you're some sort of print mixing hot shot don't you?

Well, you're wrong! Kinda... but only because I really really want you to read the rest of this post.

Welcome to level 3 padawan.  Here is where even I was feeling rather uncomfortable - how do you even match leopard and houndstooth? In level 2, I gave a couple pointers on how to match animal prints with other prints: stick to abstractly similar patterns, friendly color families, and keep the other color combos soft.  Well, in this level I'm kinda throwing that all out of the window! The only commonalities here is that both patterns are very loud and busy and that again, I'm going with a blue and brown combo.  In fact, when I wore this to Vancouver Fashion Week, I wasn't even sure if this would work at all, but the lesson here is to throw all that fashion pretension aside and just have fun with it!

 Sheer blouse: courtesy of Shoppalu | skirt: Zara | heels: Chinese Laundry

I'll leave you here with the #1 rule for being clashtastic: You're going to make mistakes and sometimes you're just going to look horrible, but dammit, you will be remembered! Now go out there and start clashing!

(insert evil laugh here)

I hope you enjoyed this series!
Check out part 1 here and part 2 here

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365 Outfit Challenge week 15

Chambray shirt: Forever 21 | Dress: Conversation Pieces | Tights: Urban Outfitters | Cuff: vintage 

Sweatshirt: Aritzia | Skirt: vintage |  

Cardigan: Urban Outfitters | Chambray shirt: Forever 21 | Skirt: Urban Behaviour | Flats: Steve Madden | Bracelets: Aldo 

Cardigan: Urban Outfitters | Cashmere tank: gifted from Mongolia | Pants: McQ | Flats: gifted from Hong Kong

The weather's been more cooperative lately, thus all the flats and lighter layers!  Hell, I even can wear skirts now with no tights!  Could Spring FINALLY be around the corner? It is after all, only nearing the end of April #fail.  I'm also happy because I think I'll finally be able to start going to the gym regularly again.  A few weeks ago I pulled a muscle in my leg while on the elliptical that left me feeling sore and with a gigantic bruise!  Between that injury and lots of work overload, I've been slacking on the exercising.  Time to gear it up again so I'll be beach ready for summer, which at this rate probably won't appear until October.

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Ben Tours: Notes from the underground Vancouver exhibit

Photos by me

A few weeks back, I caught the Ben Tours exhibit for Killahbeez out in Gastown. The wall-high graffiti was awesome. Wish I could get wall art like this in my house!

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Buy: Enesti Multiple Water Drop BB cream

The Product

I'd never tried a bb cream before, but they've been all the rage since forever in Asia and recently now in North America.  BB (beauty balm) creams were originally developed for recovering cosmetic surgery patients, but now they're the HG of women everywhere.  Moisturizing, protecting, and enhancing our skin, bb creams are a mix of sunscreen, moisturizer and foundation into 1 wonder tube.  3 steps of your daily beauty routine reduced - talk about magic! 

Since I don't like to wear a full face of foundation, I knew I wanted a bb cream that was more leaning towards the other 2 facets than for coverage.  I was recommended to try the Enesti Multiple Water Drop by the SA at a now defunct Asian makeup store in Metrotown.  

The Guts

Formulated as more of a tinted moisturizer, the Multiple Water Drop protects with SPF 27.  The tint is a light beige color that melts into my MAC Studio Finish NC25 skin.

Price & Packaging

I bought this cream on clearance, so I cannot speak to the price; however it is selling on gmarket for $24.80 SGD, which is about $19 CDN


I have to say I LOVE this cream!  It's my first bb cream so I cannot speak to how it stacks up against others, but it fits my needs perfectly.  The coverage is light, but just enough to even out the slight redness in my skin.  It's also moisturizing enough for my normal skin such that my skin feels soft all day.  I don't think this would be moisturizing enough for dry winters, but for a spring/summer lotion it's perfect.

In 140 characters or less: Love it. Am hooked on bb creams now!

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365 Outfit Challenge: week 13 and 14

Sweater dress: Zara | Silk scarf: Tory Burch 

Top: Zara | Skirt: vintage 

Blouse, owl ring: random shop in LA | Sweater vest: gifted, Gap | Skinny cargoes: Aritzia | Bracelets: gifted, Urban Outfitters,, vintage

Sheer blouse: H&M | Belt: Danier | Skirt: Urban Behaviour 

Jacket, bracelet: vintage 

Floral bolero: vintage | Sweater: Zara | Skinny cargoes: Aritzia | Watch: Invicta

I've been a bad blogger.  Some of you may have noticed my absolute disappearance last week and my bloglovin keeps pestering me with its ever growing list of unread blog posts.  Some days I'm seriously tempted to hit that "Mark all read" button, but I would never do that.  Who knows what good posts of yours I'd miss out on? 

Somehow, I still managed to scrounge together 2 week's worth of outfit photos for you.  A lot of these weren't worth posting about, so that's why you're seeing 2 weeks instead of the usual one.  Blame my current workload and valuing sleep more than fashion *gasp*!  Ironically, this all comes along when Elisse tweeted me asking me to give a how-to on my #365outfit project.

Let me tell you, it gets to be a struggle.  Most days, I drag myself to my drawers with absolutely no clue on what to wear.  Everything seems tired and old and I hate to disappoint you guys with boring stuff.  In reality, I probably have tons of combinations for things, but it's more me suffering a mental blockage recently than anything else.  I guess this point was to be expected and considering it's close to 90 days in, I guess that's not too shabby progress so far!  So what sort of tips can I share to those of you who want to try this?
  • Try to plan your outfits beforehand. This helps me a lot since thinking of a new outfit every morning when you're half-awake probably isn't super efficient
  • Just do it.  Get into a routine of forcing yourself to wear something in a new way and it becomes second nature.  Put sticky notes on your drawers, or keep a log in your calendar so you can be encouraged by your process. 
  • Blog about it, or tell everyone you know about it.  The social obligation is a powerful motivator. I've had lots of people ask me about my project and encourage me with it, and that's really what keeps me going on this journey
  • Don't be too rigid on the rules.  Keep it simple. I still allow myself to shop and I give myself weekends off because to be honest, I spend my weekends in PJs if I can!
  • Encourage yourself. Look back at your growing log of outfits and you'll be amazed at your own creativity!

You can follow my daily #365outfit updates on Twitter here!

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Clashtastic level 2: polka dots & giraffe print

Previously in part 1 of my Clashtastic series, I introduced you to the easiest way to incorporate some crazy clashing into your life.  Seemingly clashing prints together is a big trend lately partly, I believe, because it separates the women from the girls.  Not everyone can pull this off well, but fear not! I am here to help you venture into new fashion territory with some tried and true lessons I've learned.  First rule: mistakes are encouraged! 

Last week, we covered the classic floral and stripe combo.  Now, having mastered this level, it's time to upgrade to

Level 2: animal prints

Animal prints in any form of clothing can be daunting, although when you think about it, you've got to wonder why.  Nature is the de-facto guide for color and print matching, so really how can you go wrong with a print as natural as animal print?  

Very very easily.

The problem is that in fashion, animal prints can easily wander into sleazy land.  Be sure to avoid this pitfall by not overdoing the sexiness and keeping animal prints reserved for daytime.  Here, I pair my animal prints with fun, cheerful contrasting prints - in this case, polka dots!  Is there any print funner than polka dots?  No.

Polka dot blouse: Old Navy | Silk skirt: Tension
Photos by Sheila

In order to create some continuity, make sure that all the colors you use in your outfit compliment each other and aren't too clashing.  You're already clashing prints here, so clashing colors as well would just be overkill.  Here, the brown of the giraffe print pairs nicely with the mustard yellow of my blouse, while blue is a nice contrast to brown.  Also, blue and brown is a calming color combo that will also tone down the craziness of these prints.

Secondly, try to use patterns that are similar to each other and thus reflect the other. I kinda like how the clusters of dots on my shirt, kinda resemble the patches of this giraffe pattern in an abstract kind of way.  This blouse just wouldn't work as well with a totally different animal print like zebra, which would go better with a solid or large floral.

So what do you think of level 2? Would you try this look out?

Remember to stay tuned for Clashtastic: level 3 next week!

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How to restore and inspire your creativity

Last week I found myself at a low point, creatively.  There were some things going on in my life that just drained me of spirit and filled me only with weariness and a sense of frustration.  It's been a continual lesson the last few months to figure out work-life balance and how to deal with new lessons learned.  I'm definitely not regretting accepting my new challenges, but that doesn't mean they're any less challenging.  I think I've learned that I have a hard time admitting my limits - it's the perfectionist in me to expect myself to excel in all things, immediately.  It's an unrealistic expectation that leaves me empty and I need to learn to fill myself back up.

A large lesson I've learned is I need to keep myself creatively inspired as well as socially active to keep myself happy.  I need my friends and I need my creative spirit.  The former is obvious how to do (it just takes time), so this post is dedicated to some ways I've found to help with the latter.

When spending all day staring at words and using words, I find my primary outlet of writing to be more of a chore, than a solace.  These days, I'm indulging in my other senses to refresh me.  

A hot bath and a long nap both do wonders to restore the spirit; so apparently, does doing my nails:

Also, I've found renewed energy in my photography and indulging myself visually.  Lately I've been finding the following images inspiring, as well as the act of going out and doing some actual shooting myself!  Good thing the weather's been somewhat cooperative:

Finally, a song that captures you and sweeps you away in its melodies always replenishes my energy:

How do you refill your creative stores when you're running low?

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365 Outfit Challenge week 12

This past week was spent catching up with old friends, family and sleep making it a pretty stellar week!  On Thursday I hung out with my old crew of former work buddies and it was a long night of catching up on gossip and laughing our asses off while stuffing our faces with delicious Chinese food.  A highlight of the night was checking out this unique dessert place in Richmond called 100% Healthy.  Contrary to its name, this place is totally NOT HEALTHY, but is full of really yummy and reasonably priced Asian desserts.  

If you're tired of the usual bubble tea and shaved ice fare, then definitely check this little place out.  Hint: I ate hars har, which Google defined as the fatty tissue surrounding a frog's fallopian tubes!!  No lie, it was kinda sweet and delicious!  You know you're Asian when...

Sweater: Forever 21 | Pants: Top Shop |  Bracelets: charm bracelet courtesy of Cutey, Urban Outfitters, sapphire bracelet courtesy of | Watch: Invicta | Clogs: Michael Kors 

I'm trying to train myself to wear heels for longer periods again.  I used to be somewhat alright, but ever since I've been walking 15-20 mins to work everyday I've given up wearing heels for the most part.  Weekends are now designated heel days!  Not sure how this will work with all the dog walking I do with Mr. Artist on weekends...

Sweater: Jacob | Lace skirt: Lucca Couture 

I tried out this sweater again with a different skirt this time, but I think I'm liking the leather combo better.  While this skirt is just gorgeous with its blush colored lace, its shape makes it difficult to wear.  You could layer tops over this skirt as it has a cinched waist, but the pockets stick out just enough to add strange bulk.   Perhaps I need to try this with a longer bulky sweater so that it will cover even the pockets?

Sweater: Aritzia | Denim: Top Shop | Flats: The Gap

I liked this photo so much I made it my Facebook picture.  Jump shots are always a classic.

Sweatshirt: Aritzia | Bracelets: courtesy of, Cutey; vintage; Pandora charm bracelet | Ring: Aldo

When it doubt, accessorize the shit out of it.

Don't forget, you can follow my daily #365outfit updates on Twitter!

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Givenchy Antigona Tote: orange or cobalt - who cares?!

Orange or cobalt, this Givenchy Antigona Tote has me drooling all kinds of ways.  Seriously, someone get me a mop because I think I'm in love.

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Clashtastic level 1: florals + stripes

As a style blogger, I supposedly should know a bit about fashion and reflect that in my personal life.  It's easy to buy all the most expensive brands and look good.  It's harder to look just as polished on a much smaller budget.  As well, I truly believe a real sense of style comes within and is something anyone can develop over time.  After all, I'm an engineer - fashion is not rocket science.

Since I started on my #365outfit project, I've been asked many times how I keep things fresh.  I'm never sure how to answer because that's like asking a marathon runner how they do marathons - you just train.  

Style creativity is like a muscle and practice makes perfect.  I try to stretch my "style muscle" by making myself wear outfits that make me slightly uncomfortable and that gave me the idea for this 3-part series: Clashtastic.  

A big trend the last couple years has been to pair bold patterns.  It's a case of all the wrongs making a right, but how does the average person wade in these treacherous pattern-mixing waters?  Well, I'm here to help with a 3 level guide that will ease you into mixing patterns (somewhat) like a pro!

Level 1: stripes + florals

Start with something easy.  Mixing patterned accessories does not count as that's just a baby step.  Simply take two basic pieces that most of you should have in your closets: a striped item and a floral.  

It was a short while ago that I thought these two were not bosom buds, but I've since learned better.  Stripes are a fantastic neutral that go well with a ton of things.  Think of a tiger - does it ever clash with its surroundings?

Here's what I came up with for an easy clashtastic day outfit:

Top: Zara | Bolero: vintage | Leggings: Aldo | Shoes: Toms 

See how easy this looks? Comfortable and if you truly chicken out, it's easy to shuck off a floral layer.  You could truly throw on any sort of floral cardigan or jacket here and it would work.  Big, bold florals are really trendy this season.  Try to avoid smaller all-over floral prints as they will look too dizzying against such thin stripes as these.

Photos by Sheila

What do you think of this look?
Be sure to check back next week for parts 2 and 3!

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Vancouver Fashion Week 2012 recap: Xsenia & Olya x Ha Seng Beg x Vawk

Every other time I've headed to the hushed beauty of the Sun Yat Sen Gardens in Chinatown it has been to enjoy the serenity and pristine silence of this man-made oasis in one of the oldest part of downtown.  The Sun Yat Sen Gardens is a place for reflection, for tourists, and on this occasion the scene of this year's Vancouver F/W Fashion week.

Dressing for Fashion week is a difficult thing.  Imagine that dream where you show up naked to prom and you'll begin to understand the awkwardness one enjoys when arriving.  I tried to live up to it by opting to dress bizarrely, by wearing a clash of patterns which I will reveal in an upcoming post!  Luckily I didn't show alone, but with a bevy of my fellow bloggers!  For someone like me who is a perpetual "hover by the punch bowl" kind of girl, having that type of security made me much less anxious and I was able to concentrate instead on more important things - like the clothes.

The first show I saw was Xsenia & Olya.  It was a great way to open the hour-late show with its vibrant mix of colors and textures.  Although the theme of the week was Fall/Winter wear, half of Xsenia & Olya's show featured floaty evening and party dresses done in bold geometric prints and some serious color blocking.  Loved the rippling nature of a particular black skirt ripped into strips that floated by me.

The second half of the show was dominated by more appropriate outerwear.  Perhaps the design duo visited an Alaskan hunting lodge as they took the fur and leather trend to heart, sending down jacket after jacket that looked more like "pelts" than "coats".

Rating: promising newcomers.

Next up was Korean line Ha: Seng Beg.  If you have never checked into Asian fashion before then you would have had your eyes (and ears) blown out by this show.  The music was extremely loud to the point where it literally made your ear drums hurt and the fashions were the same "feast" for the eyes.  On a certain level I loved how in your face and just fun it all was.  It was extreme for Vancouver and I think we need a little thumb poked up our sometimes pretentious asses.  I wouldn't be surprised if body harnesses made their way into Aritzia in the next year.

Rating: turn down the volume on the music, not the clothes.

Last, but certainly not least, was the impressive VAWK show.  Hailing from Toronto, designer Sunny Fong showed us that Vancouver fashion still has a long ways to go with his gorgeous luxury womens-wear.  VAWK was all about tailored blazers, sharp shoulders and gold gold gold!  As a gold lover myself, you can imagine how much I loved this collection.  Fong also keeps it real by putting in subtle touches to his Asian roots with some beautiful paneling on the back of gowns and with a modern metallic gold twist on the traditional obi belt.

Rating: stunning

Which of these designers is your favourite?

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