Blogger Challenge: how to wear shorts from day to night

Last month I and a few of my fellow bloggers challenged each other on how we each could style a LBD.  The results were so fun and all so varied that we were energized to do it again!  For this month's challenge, we decided to try utilizing a common summer item: shorts.

Shorts are worn by many, but are sadly relegated to predominantly daytime events, which is unfair when they make perfectly good evening outfit items as well.  For my part of the challenge, I decided to take on a pair of leather shorts that I purchased earlier this year from Bedo.  I've been wanting leather shorts for a long while and it took FOREVER to find the perfect pair.  Leather shorts are surprisingly versatile all year and provide just the right hint of edginess to suit my downtown style.  Here's how I wore them:

For day, paired with: Forever 21 chambray shirt and Gap red flats.

For night, paired with: blush tone blouse, Tory Burch silk scarf and Michael Kors heeled clogs

I hope these outfits inspire you to throw on shorts both and night and show off your gorgeous gams!

Want to see more awesome shorts outfits? Then check out my fellow challengers:

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#365outfit Challenge week 24

Watch: Invicta | Sweater: H&M | Shorts: Guess 

Top: H&M | Sweater coat: Gap | Denim: TopShop | Bag: Zara 

Sweater: Joe Fresh | Leggings: Costco | Ring: random shop, LA 

Jacket: Garage | Floral tank: Aritzia | Skirt: Winners | Pashmina: c/o Revlon

Last week was been a whirlwind of homework assignments, catch-up with friends, family dinners, babysitting  and local fashion events, so I was glad for a low-key week to recover and work on some personal projects. As well, it seems that I spoke too soon and allergies have finally caught up to me :(  This weekend though promises time with friends and celebrating Canada's birthday!  Hope everyone enjoys their long weekend! I'll be happily stuffing my face with hamburgers and cake!

Catch my #365outfit updates on Twitter!

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#KeepItReal challenge day 2: why I quit bikinis

This is probably the one and only time you will ever see me post a photo of me in a bikini.  Probably because this is the last time that I wore a bikini.  This photo was taken in Cancun back in 2010 and I have to say this was a very brave photo for me. I've never posed so brazenly in my bikini before.  Usually I would sit, arms crossed over my stomach, or I'd lie flat on the sand either on my back or stomach to let gravity and a flat camera perspective work its magic.  Even in this shot, I'm favoured somehow by some trick of the sun and some very practiced sucking in of the stomach.  See, that's my secret.  People always think I'm thinner than I am because I suck it all in.  Constantly.  It's to the point where it's become a natural movement to firm up and suck in my stomach muscles.  And for most of the year, the seasons also help me hide my flub with pants, skirts and sweaters.  Only during beach time when there's literally nothing to hide behind is my secret so shamefully revealed.

Yes, I know that compared to some I don't have much to freak out about, but that doesn't mean I hate it less.  You see, it's all a matter of perspective.  I feel, no I know, that I'm proportioned wrong.  For someone my size and bone structure, I should and could be much much thinner.  I should really be a legit Asian waif, but due to my genetics and the plain fact that I like food (dammit!!) I will never be my ideal size.  I'm a large Asian and that is that.  My family genes have blessed me with short stature and ample curves.  I may have boyish lines, but I have an ass, thighs and breasts that just won't go away - like my love for noodles and carby desserts.

For the most part I'm fine with my curves.  In fact, I've actually come to really like them as I think it makes me feel womanly and sexy and my boyfriends throughout my life haven't seemed to mind.  Luckily I also live in North America, so curves are more acceptable.  The only part I continue to hate is my stomach and for that reason I've since stopped wearing bikinis.

Although I definitely celebrate women who are brave enough to do so and will adamantly defend a woman's right to do so (provided she does choose a stylish cut for her figure - string bikinis are NOT for everyone), for myself I found it more comfortable to forgo one.  The beach is one of my favourite places on Earth and I want to be able to sunbathe, swim and play without worrying about flub bouncing around, or the straps of my bikini flying off whenever I want to jump a wave, or leap into the sand for a Frisbee.  Does that make me weak?  Perhaps a bit, but I don't think I'm hiding in my one-pieces.  One-piece bathing suits have undergone a total revamp in recent years and they are sexy.  Plunging necklines, backless, high-legged, vintage necklines and daring cut-outs - these aren't the one-piece plain Janes of yesteryear.

By quitting bikinis, I chose to quit trying to be as hot as the other string chasers.  I chose to ditch away my nervousness every time I undid my towel, or walked across the sand.  I decided to take action against the feelings of self-loathing and absolute hate of my body every time I stood next to my slender, 0% fat friends and take action.  My body is not perfect, and I'm slowly learning not to care.  I have my advantages and I can work them in a way that hides the parts that make me feel less than awesome AND lets me be who I want to be: the best, most beautiful version of myself.

Learn more about the #KeepItReal campaign here and read more personal stories online.
Also, check out comedian Margaret Cho's recent call to action for a Fatkini revolution here.

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London Drugs Cosmetics Fall 2012 preview (*pic heavy*)

Last week I was super psyched to attend the London Drugs Fall Indulgence event, all thanks to my wonderful friend Sheila.  This was surely to be one of the hottest events of the season as many of the beauty brands sold in London Drugs were on hand to showcase their upcoming lines for fall.

This posh and exclusive event was hosted high above the city at the top of a tower in downtown Vancouver. Offering panoramic views of the city, the venue perfectly suited the white suit clad model/servers ushering guests into the area, delicate appies and tasty complimentary drinks on hand.  Sheila and I were like two kids let loose in a candy shop as we were greeted by one friendly brand representative after another.  Although in recent years I've bought my makeup and beauty products at Sephora more than LD, I've come to have a total 180 in my thinking after this event and the Almay event a few weeks ago.  Drug store makeup is totally making a comeback baby!  With quality comparable to luxe brands with way better prices, one thing is for sure - I'll be buying more than toilet paper and shampoo next time I hit up my local drug store!

Cannot wait to try out these anti-aging products from Strivectin!  Bright skin and fine lines BEGONE! 

Avene is an European line who is revolutionizing the sensitive skin beauty market by breaking down that incomprehensible ingredient list, taking out the preservatives, and introducing an innovative 2 layer system that prevents product from ever being exposed to the air and therefore beginning the breakdown process.  Simple.  No fragrances, no harsh chemicals and preservatives.  Why didn't I think of that?

Unbeknownst to me, London Drugs has a cool beauty service where they will test your skin for several key factors: sebum, hydration, keratin, and elasticity and recommend products to improve your skin's health.  It all looks very complicated, but in less than 5 minutes you'll have a customized regimen just for you!

Loreal's come out with a brand new formulation of their popular Voluminous mascara that's formulated to last as long as it lengthens.  There's also a new collection of lippies that are a mix of balm and lipstick AND a nifty new BB cream! 

I've never really used Marcelle before as I considered them an "older" brand, but I guess I'm getting old, so Marcelle is now for me!  I've already begun trying out their Duo Eyebrow-pro, which is a dual eyebrow shadow and gel and I'm absolutely in love with it! 

One of the biggest prizes of the night for me was the Marc Jacobs fragrance booth.  The ladies at MJ were super friendly and they had one of the cutest stands with their teeny potion bottles filled with little messages telling you which of the MJ fragrance line you'd won!  I got to try a sample of the Daisy fragrance (super fresh, youthful and perky) and I got to take a bottle of the lusher, more sensual Lola (review coming soon!) 

The makeup spread at NYX literally had me drooling.  There were a TON of products laid out there and I came home with a ton of things to try.  If the products make me look as gorgeous as the NYX staff, then I'm sold! 

Definitely the product I'm most looking forward to trying, this at home kit promises to give you salon gel nail results for way less and way faster!  Seems to good to be true? Only 2 ways to find out - either buy one yourself next season, or wait to read my review! 

The 2nd most fabulous nail table had to go to Revlon, whose event manicure table was a popular spot all evening.  The neon art line gave me the fabulous poppin orange mani you see here and it was all super easy with Revlon's innovative duo of a white polish base and a super pigmented neon polish.  Besides nail polishes, Revlon also wowed with these gorgeous balm lip stains, which give a creamy hit of color that's easily layered for everyday.

Lisa of Revlon and Sheila getting their nails did! 

Me with my mani... which I promptly ruined when I picked up my camera 

We're professionals

Lastly, we were introduced to a new and exclusive brand to London Drugs - Studio Makeup.  Giving professional quality for affordable prices, this line of super pigmented shadows, liners, mascaras, and foundations are going to be a huuge hit.  I was so impressed with the color impact of the shadows, I just had to jump into the makeover chair to get a touch-up by their flown in makeup artist!

Thank you to everyone at the event for being such gracious hosts! And stay tuned for product reviews of all these products (some may even involve giveaways!)

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Stand up and #KeepItReal - speak out against photoshopped reality

Try to think of a woman, any woman who doesn't have body issues; the ones I know number less than the fingers of a single hand.  Weight is that mental parasite that infects our mind, our collective consciousness so early that it feels like the imaginary friend you never grow out of.  That imaginary life preserver, that bump on your thigh that you're convinced is cellulite, that supposed scar on your face that you just know everyone is staring at - we all have something we just love to hate.  Even if we have found peace with our bodies, we are encouraged to hate ourselves by our very peers.  You know what I mean - those girl nights straight out of a scene of Mean Girls where every girl picks a thing to hate on about herself in a shallow ploy to feel better for when another girl seeks to comfort her by one-upping with her own horrid body part.

Being a lover of all things fashion and makeup, I find myself bombarded with images of women more perfect than realistic.  Although I know in my mind I know that it's photoshopped to all hell, after about 10 of those images, my subconscious starts to feel a little shitty.  Why aren't my pores so tiny?  How come my calves are muscular instead colt-like?  Why am I so goddamn short?! See enough fake and it all starts to feel very real.

Something has to change and it all began with one 14 year old girl.

In case you hadn't heard the story, teen activist Julia Bluhm started a famous pledge to get Seventeen magazine to stop photo-shopping its models.  The campaign went viral and gained attention worldwide.  Inspired by this youth's revolutionary act, the filmmakers behind Miss Representation, the Spark Movement, and I Am That Girl are teaming up for a 3 day call to social media action called the #KeepItReal campaign to ask print magazines that they pledge to feature at least one non-photo-shopped image of a model per issue.  Here's the deets:

As summer begins and teenagers wrap up school, the “bikini body” pressure is on. Instead of young girls pushing themselves to fit into a swimsuit, this social media campaign will inspire them to challenge the media creators who propagate unrealistic images of young girls and women, and encourage them to enjoy their summer in other more positive ways. Studies show that after reading a teen or womenʼs magazine, girls report feeling worse about their bodies and express a desire to lose weight. Eating disorders are the the leading cause of death for girls ages 15-24 (National Eating Disorder Organization 2012).

Inspired by 14 year old SPARK activist Julia Bluhmʼs successful petition demanding that Seventeen Magazine print one non-photoshopped model spread per issue, the campaign will continue to focus on this simple request.

The campaign will launch as a Facebook event where supporters can RSVP, comment, and collaborate. Each day of the challenge will be centered on a different online action. 

On day one (June 27th) Twitter users will use hashtag #KeepItReal, directly asking magazines to pledge to change their practices around photoshopping bodies. 

During day two (June 28th) participants will create a blogging firestorm – personally reflecting on how unrealistic images of beauty have impacted them. 

And on the final day three (June 29th), via Instagram, users will post their own photos of “real beauty” to be entered in the #KeepitRealChallenge – with selected photos to be featured on a billboard in New York City later this year.

Taken collectively, the social media campaign will serve as a massive wake-up call for the entire media industry as ordinary citizens speak up about the harmful effects of photoshopping images of people.

Join us for this three-day event at or SPARKSummit

If you have a sister, a friend, a mother, a daughter, let her know that she is real and she is beautiful by joining this global wave of action!

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#365outfit Challenge week 23

Chambray shirt: American Eagle | Skirt: Winners | Necklace: Betsey Johnson 

Dress: Forever 21 | Scarf: vintage | Brogues: American Apparel | Bracelets: Aldo, Pandora | Watch: Invicta 

Necklace: gifted, handmade

My hair is finally at the perfect length such that it allows me to pull it into a non-ridiculous looking ponytail.  I've been feeling kinda bored with it lately however, so been trying to think what I can do to spice my look up a bit.  Previously I mentioned a desire for a wavy bob, so I might have to bust out my curling wand and try some experiments.  I also recently received some hair dye samples from Revlon so I might actually try dying my hair (at home) for the first time!!  This seems very dangerous to me as let's just say I'm not very good with my hands.  Which experiment do you think I should try first??

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

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Stila Loves Vancouver | Summer Preview 2012

A couple weeks ago I was lucky enough to attend the exclusive invite-only Stila Summer Preview at the posh Opus Hotel to check out Stila's latest line of cosmetics, sip fancy cocktails and nosh on appetizers while mingling with Vancouver's fashion elite.  Yes, life is so difficult.

To be perfectly honest I've always been aware of Stila, but have never actually tried it myself as I saw Stila as too expensive for my drugstore self.  At the event I got to check out Stila in more detail than ever before as guests were able to peruse the various product displays and even receive complimentary makeovers!  I may just have to change my mind about this playful, pretty brand.

This special limited edition "Vibrant in Vancouver" palette features a universally flattering eye shadow palette of neutral creams and browns with a rosy cheek/lip stain.  I really liked the fun packaging which featured an artistic rendering of the view from the Convention Centre, but one thing I found seriously lacking in this palette was its lack of an applicator.  Considering it's a travel palette, it doesn't make itself very travel-worthy without a brush!

If only my makeup shelf could look so pretty!  Stila knows that for summer all you really need are lush lashes and glowing, flawless skin.  To achieve that perfect sun-kissed look, Stila has a full armada of flaw-correcting foundations, primers, rosy highlighters, pressed powders, blushes and mascaras.  I'm already trying out a skin perfecting loose powder, which contains a mix of green, cream and rose shades and I have to agree that it gives me a very polished, matte look!

Lilacs, creams and taupes are the shades of the season, giving depth and color to waken and highlight gorgeous eyes.

Besides the makeup displays, makeovers and eats, Stila also was generous enough to have a sketch artist to illustrate every guest with their own unique rendition as a Stila girl!

I didn't sign up for a sketch as I had to leave early, but bonus points to anyone who guesses which Vancouver fashion blogger this is!

Overall Stila threw a lovely event full of good people, entertainment, delicious food and lust-worthy makeup.  I cannot wait to try all the goodies I received, so be sure to check back for my review posts!

Thank you Stila, Vancouver loves you!

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All about the men: Swag of the Month x Alife sample sale

Ever heard of those services where you sign up and they send you a unique gift box every month filled with new makeup and beauty samples? Well now there's a similar service for men!  Instead of serving subscribers with beauty samples, Swag of the Month sends its customers a freshly minted new tee every month - all for $16.95.  While this service is targeted toward men, us girls can get in on the action as well by "borrowing" the best of the tees that our guy receives.  I've got my own eye on these two fun shirts below:

The shirts come from a range of 120 different designers so there's sure to be lots of variety.  I think this probably skews more to the casual, skater guy than the prep.  While I've heard mixed reviews about the beauty/makeup gift box services, this is a unique service that I think might have more promise - if the shirt sucks, you can always donate it to charity!

Psst and in other fashion news... for all you kicks lovers out there, ALife is having a secret sample sale!  Here's the deets:

June 22 12-5pm
June 23, 24 12-6pm
3rd floor, 411 W. Cordova St.
Cash only.

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Versace embroidered box clutch: maybe there's hope for Donatella yet!

I was browsing around Purse Blog today and stumbled across this little pretty that just floored me.  A Versace purse that was actually elegant, beautiful AND trendy? Was this the same Versace that produced that cougar hooker collection for H&M?  Apparently yes and for just a shade over $1000 this baby could be yours.

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Get customized TOMs at Twigg & Hottie | June 17

Lazy Sunday afternoons are the perfect time to stroll along your neighborhood streets, sipping tea and checking out whatever strikes your fancy.  South Main (or SoMa) is a great place to check out some great eats, sit in comfy cafes, and check out uniquely designed finds.

This Sunday, SoMa boutique Twigg & Hottie is hosting a special event where you could get the chance to take home a special pair of customized Toms!  Check out the official deets below:

Toms are a great pair of shoes with a good cause but it’s hard to stand out from the crowd when wearing them. So Twigg & Hottie has invited three local artists to take over their Main St. boutique to customize your freshly purchased Toms on Sunday June 17.

Mandy Tsung, Kristian Adam and Nomi Chi will showcase their creativity with a purpose. With every pair of shoes they artistically customize, a new pair of Toms will be donated to a child in need.

Twigg&Hottie has managed to make Car Free Days even more politically correct as they celebrate community, local design, art, and charity. It all happens at Style Your Soles.

When: Sunday June 17 from 11am-6pm
Where: Twigg&Hottie (3671 Main St.)
Why: Meet the artists and get cool, one of a kind shoes!

For more information:

Happy Shopping!

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365 Outfit Challenge week 22 + help save a life

Top: Gap | Shorts: Forever 21 | Booties: MNG 

Sheer leopard print shirt c/o Shoppalu | Belt, skirt: H&M | Brogues: American Apparel

Polka-dot blouse: Zara | Tee: Club Monaco | Hello Kitty ring | Ring: gifted

I usually blog about silly things like clothes, shoes and makeup here, but in a world full of depressing things, I think we all deserve a little escapism when we can.   My thoughts this week are in Alberta, for 2 reasons.

The first reason is because of the oil spill in Alberta which has devastated homes, livelihoods and environmental habitats.  Hopefully the good that can come out of this situation is that the government, and the people who vote them in, will realize that a coincidental oil spill is not coincidental, nor isolated when they continuously occur.

The second reason is because of my cousin who alerted me to a fight her close friend is going through.  Darla is a mother of 5 and young and full of life, yet Fate has somehow hit her with the big C - brain cancer.  Diagnosed with only months to live, Darla is now desperately fighting to try to find a doctor who will operate on her and raise funds to help give her a chance to stay with her family just a little longer.  Please check out her Facebook page to see how you can spread the word and help out.

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Toasted ravioli and fresh kale

This last week was a rough one for me.  What with all the stress, I took a time-out one evening to cook a healthy, easy dinner for myself and Mr. Artist.  I've been wanting to try this recipe I found on Pinterest since forever and I was pleased to say that it was super easy, cheap and delicious!  Plus, with the addition of super-food, kale, this dish was also very nutritious.

This recipe makes enough for 3 people and took me about 30 minutes to make.  You can see the original recipe here.

You'll need:

  • 2 bags Olivieri chicken and sundried tomato ravioli
  • 1.5 cups bread crumbs (I subbed in 2 packets of Shake & Bake, Italian Herb instead!)
  • 0.5 cups grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup buttermilk (I subbed in regular)
  • oil, for pan-frying
  • 1 large stalk of kale
  • 1 lemon
Submerge ravioli in a pot of boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Be very careful to not over-cook the ravioli - I did and they became super soft and harder to handle.  Drain into a colander and put aside to cool.  

In 2 separate bowls, pour the milk in one and the breadcrumb mix in the other.  Heat a saucepan at med-high heat and when the pan is hot, add a couple table spoons of oil to coat the pan.  Then, take one ravioli at a time and dip it in the milk, then toss it in the breadcrumbs to cover.  Add each coated ravioli to the pan and cook for 1 min on each side, or until golden-brown.  

While the ravioli is cooking, chop the kale into coarse, large bunches.  Don't worry if it looks like you have a ton of kale - it will shrink by 80% when cooked!  Toss in a wok or saucepan with a little bit of water (add just enough water to get that nice, sizzling sound) until the kale is cooked. Again, less is more so don't over cook the kale or you'll end up with wilty, stringy vegetables!  

Plate all your food then squeeze the lemon juice over your kale.  Lemon juice is a trick my sister taught me to cut out the bitterness of the kale and now it's the only way I'll eat it!

Happy eating!

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Buy: Element Botanicals The Balm review

The Product
Hi, my name is MizzJ and I am a lip balm addict.  I am never, ever, without lip balm except in dire emergencies where I've forgotten it, or used it up.  When I'm without lip balm, I imagine that my lips are slowly drying and cracking before my eyes and it leaves me very anxious.  It's probably unhealthy to have such a reaction, but at least this addiction isn't unhealthy to my body!

Anyways, I bought this balm at a craft show last season and was very curious to try it.  I've never tried Element Botanicals before, so I had no idea what to expect from this all natural brand.

The Guts
This lip balm is designed to 100% natural, soothing ingredients for dry, itchy lips such as like cocoa butter, olive oil, carrot oil, hemp seed oil, and peppermint to moisten and protect.

Price & Packaging
At $4, this lip balm is pricier than my usual fare.  The packaging is also different from other balms I've used with its almond-shaped dispenser rather than the usual circular shape of other balms.  The almond shape was a bit unusual, but overall useful as it fit the shape of my lips better, providing more coverage with less motion.

At first, I felt that this balm was too thick and waxy for my liking, but as time went on, this balm grew on me.  I love the tingly feeling from the peppermint oil and its fresh, minty scent.

What I didn't like about this balm was that during the first week or so of using it, my lips started peeling!  I can only attribute this to the hope that the ingredients of this balm were working to slough off my dead skin cells to reveal softer lips underneath.  Now the peeling only occurs a little bit first thing after I apply it in the morning.  Another con to this balm is that it tends to absorb faster than other balms meaning you'll find yourself applying often.

In 140 characters or less: 100% natural ingredients that give you soft lips with a minty fresh scent!

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Fashion Capsule F/W 2012 preview (*pic heavy*)

Summer weather has barely peeked its head out here on the West Coast, but already the fashion industry is looking towards crisper, blustery autumn days.  Fall previews are coming out like a storm and I've been kept busy trying to keep up with it all!

A couple weeks ago I visited the intimate Fall preview showing for Fashion Capsule along with some blogger friends: Sheila, Yvonne, and Rosie.  Fashion Capsule represents a variety of local, independent designers.  I love to support my local artisans so it was with eager anticipation that I brought out my camera to get snaps of everything for you!

Trends for F/W 2012 seem to be geometric shapes, natural stones, comfy knits and colorful patterns - everything that I love!  Maybe you'll see something you'll love below...

Necklace, bracelet by Marian + Hazel.  Available in Vancouver at Barefoot Contessa and Forsya Boutique

Cecile Benac knitwear.  Available across Canada 

Dahlia Drive. Available in various boutiques in Vancouver

Gaya handbags.  Available internationally, but here in Vancouver at The Bay, Plenty, Fine Finds.

Brooklyn Designs.  Available across Vancouver

I want to wear everything on these mannequins!

Photo credit: Myself, Sheila, Yvonne

Now who dares say Vancouver is unfashionable??

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