Anna Sui Fall 2013 preview

To make it in the fashion business, it seems you have to be memorable for something other than having dressed a celebrity or two. For some, this means a flamboyant, showy personality, whereas for others their design aesthetic is strong enough to be a voice of its own and a prime example of this is American designer Anna Sui. Known for decades for her eclectic, unique style, Anna's fashion line is a whirlwind of pattern, color and luxuriousness, while her namesake beauty line is also iconic for its feminine packaging and signature quality.

I've never used Anna Sui products before, but I've definitely always been aware of them. The Anna Sui counter was always something I loved to stare at as I would walk longingly by on my way to the drugstore, so of course I was delighted to get a sneak peek into the Anna Sui relaunch for The Bay this fall.

Anna Sui cosmetics are known for their unique packaging and rose scent. Everything in the line is rose scented and while at first I was quite hesitant as I abhor fragranced products, I was won over by the entirely natural and refreshing scent Anna uses.

Every product was a work of art. From sculpted nail polishes made to resemble evening gowns, to tiny lipsticks encased in floral sculpted rings, to the delicate butterfly wings on the La Vie de Boheme perfume - everything was awash in little details. My eyes were over flooding with eye candy and the products themselves all were amazing. Here are some of the products I'm most excited to see in stores:

  • Lip Top Coat - a lifesaver in a bottle, this gel formula adheres lip color to your lips for long lasting wear without that icky dry feeling
  • Nail Treatment Oil - this clear oil can be applied to nails to promote healthy, shiny nails and soft cuticles.
  • PH balm - this moisturizing balm goes on clear, but changes to the color of your lips, giving you a natural "my lips, but better" flush
  • Retractable blush brush - this super-soft angled blush brush is retractable, so that depending on how far you retract the brush, you can adjust the placement of product on your face and change your look from angular goddess, to blushing princess
Besides getting to play with all the products at the event, I was lucky enough to receive 2 complimentary products to take home. The first is this nail polish in 305:

This shade is a classic princess pink mixed in with a warm gold shimmer throughout. I didn't get a chance to try it out by the time of this post, but I think this would be a great subtle shade for anyone to wear to work or play.

The second item I received is this neutral lipstick in shade 701:

At first glances, I thought this shade was a lot more mocha than it is. I think at the time when I looked at it, I was so in love with the classic reds the Anna Sui reps were showing off at the event, that I had red lipstick on my mind and anything else was a huge disappointment. In any case, I was really really happy with how this color turned out! As you can see, it's a gorgeous pink-peachy color, with the peach dominating enough such that it's not a blue-pink nude, which looks horrible on yellow skin tones.

This color looks fantastic on my skin and a little less so on my lips. The formula feels very creamy and rich and almost more like a balm than a regular lipstick. The color payoff is fairly pigmented, with minimal settling into lines. This is definitely going to give my current nude lip go-to, the Revlon Just Bitten lip stain in Charm a run for top spot!

Be sure to visit the Bay this season for these and all the other great new Anna Sui products!

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Lust of the Week: Conversation Pieces' Dots to Love Dress

With fall just on the horizon, my thoughts are slowly turning to cooler weather. Part of my transition wardrobe is wearing dresses that work both in summer and fall days. Throw on some colored tights and a cardigan and that favourite sundress suddenly becomes chic for fall! A perfect example of this philosophy is this Dots to Love dress from Conversation Pieces.

This online retailer has long been a favourite of mine for their adorable, feminine pieces and I have owned multiple pieces from this store. With some pretty pleats, a flirty little back slit and a forgiving elasticized waist, what isn't there to love about this dress? Buy online now for $48.

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1 item, 3 ways: Rag & Bone Skinny Jean

In 1 item, 3 ways, I'll help you learn how to get the most out of every item in your closet. For this installment, I was requested by Sarah to showcase how I might choose to wear the classic denim jean.
Everyone has at least one pair of jeans and this Rag & Bone pair encompass everything I love in a good jean: great fit, a perfect dark blue color that goes with everything, and subtle whiskering that gives it that ideal slightly worn-in look.

I think this was a great choice for a 1 item, 3 ways topic because jeans are the go-to item for everyone and because of that, it can be overlooked as ordinary, utilitarian items. Hopefully, these next 3 looks will have you inspired to see jeans as something exciting and fresh again:

Look #1: One of the boys

Let's start off with a refresh on the typical lazy weekend look. Lately I've been obsessed with finding the perfect sweatshirt and I love how this G-star one has that inside-out look with its exposed seams and rolled cuffs. The loose, over-sized fit balances out the tapered leg of the denim and also the over-sized look of these fantastic Puma by Mihara hi-tops. It's rare to find such cool looking female kicks and this pair has me lemming. The shoes make the outfit here and provide some much needed pizazz that elevates this look from slouchy to urban couture.

Look #2: Preppy Sunshine

This next look is a complete opposite from the first with its embrace of classic, preppy colors and shapes. To start this outfit, you must have a plain white t-shirt. You can buy these from anywhere, but my favourites lately come from Joe Fresh, whose basic tees are comfy, cheap and well-made. A chambray blazer and lemon flats evoke the sunshine and easy-going nature of summer, making this is a great transition outfit for those warm early autumn days where you can still get away without much more than a blazer on at night. While I prefer the look of the yellow, you could switch this color out for a more burnt orange or wine tone to make it more autumn appropriate. This outfit would look great for work, school, or a casual lunch date!

Look #3: Candy confections

For the final look, I went balls out girly. The inspiration for this outfit is this embroidered floral top from ModCloth. I'm not a huge fan of peplum tops, but for this vintage-inspired number, I'll make an exception. This top's intricate embroidered flowers are just so adorable and I love the contrast of the white and pink that make this top reminiscent of the color of cotton candy.

To go with such a sugary sweet top, you should probably keep the shoes sophisticated and simple. Anything with ankle-straps has me drooling this season, so these Steve Madden heeled sandals were a no-brainer. I opted for the blush color rather than a black, so as to keep the candy color theme going and topped it off with a mint colored bracelet for contrast. The varying shapes of the medallions in this Olive and Piper bracelet remind me of the crests on a merry-go-round, which makes this a perfect fit with the cotton candy colored top.

So which of these looks are your favourite?

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Buy or Ditch: Lashem Eyelash Boosting Serum review

The Product
Do you want thicker, longer lashes? Hell yeah, you know you do! So how do you get it? You can try layering on the mascara, or paying for expensive, finicky extensions, or you can try Lashem.

Lashem is a revolutionary eyelash serum that promises to naturally grow and thicken your existing lashes. Think of it kinda as the Rogaine for eyelashes. According to the Lashem website, clinical trials resulted in a 46% increase in length in just 6 weeks. 46%!!

I first discovered this product at this year's London Drugs preview and was immediately intrigued. My lashes are fairly long for Asian lashes, but I've always wanted a dark, thick fringe. Would this finally be my HG product?

The Guts
Lashem contains a proprietary mix of peptides, amino acids and a special "Qusome" delivery system that ensures that ingredients adhere to lashes.

Price & Packaging
A 3mL tube will cost you $70, which is quite a significant investment; however extensions will cost you at least that or more, so relatively speaking it's not too bad a price.

Lashem comes as a single tube per box with a thin, paint brush-like applicator, similar to a liquid eyeliner.

Using this product isn't exactly no-fuss as there are a few steps to applying Lashem. First, you must start with clean, bare eyelids and then apply a thin line of product along your top lash line. Let it dry, then apply a second line on top and another line along your bottom lash line. It takes about a minute or so to dry between applications, so I'd recommend doing this only at night.

The instructions also state that you should follow this routine everyday for about 4-6 weeks, however I was only able to stick to using it for 3 and half weeks.  The reason for my giving up on this product after 3 weeks was because every time I applied Lashem, my eyelids would sting really badly. My eyes stung so bad, that I was really tempted to itch my lids and it was torture trying not to. Nevertheless, I persevered as long as I did to try to give this product a fair chance.

Here are what my lashes looked like at the beginning:

After week 1:

After week 2:

After week 3:

As you can see, there isn't much difference between week 0 and week 4. I was very disappointed with this product. For all my pain, there was no gain. Perhaps if I had kept it going for another 2 weeks, I would start to see some results, but I'm pretty skeptical that my lashes would grow 46% suddenly in another week.

Despite the awesome claims to have a non-prescription solution to growing lashes naturally and safely, this product failed to live up to any of its promises.


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Lust of the Week: Alaia Patent-leather Platform Sandals

Before you know it, summer will be over and it will be back to fall must-haves like leggings, booties and sweaters. One of the more fabulous items to wear in fall are a great pair of chunky closed-toe heels; they go fabulously with all your fall clothes and are a great alternative to regular boots.

Recently I spotted these Alaia platform sandals on Outnet and immediately fell in love. At first glances, these platform sandals are all vamp with their 5.5" heel and sexy ankle straps, but there's more to these shoes than just sex appeal. Look a little closer and you'll see all this neat brogue detailing stitched into the patent soles and along the heels. Plus, with these sandals being made of patent leather you won't have to worry about getting these heels wet or muddy!  Get them now on sale for $469.99.

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Buy or Ditch: Avon Mega Effects Mascara review

The Product
Mascara is a must-have in every woman's beauty arsenal and is something I wear 99% of the time, even on weekends where I may only venture out to get fried chicken (I live near a fried chicken place, don't judge), so I'm always on the hunt for a new HG mascara. When Avon offered to let me try their new Mega Effects Mascara, which claims to offer gorgeously lush lashes that last for 24 hours, I jumped at the chance.

The key to this new mascara is Avon's innovative brush design. In a dramatic departure from the usual wand, Avon has redesigned their brush to be more like a paintbrush with 270 degrees of bristles that coat your lashes from all angles, providing up to 40% more product coverage according to the Avon website.

The Guts
There's nothing particularly interesting in this formula, with the main ingredients being the usual adhesive and color coating materials.

Price & Packaging
One tube contains 0.317 oz and will cost you $10. Compare that to the Covergirl Lash Blast which weights in at just over 0.4 oz and costs around the same and you'll see that you are getting slightly less product. If you're one to quibble over 0.1 oz then power to you, but I don't feel that's significant enough of an amount to make much difference.

Besides the unique brush shape, this mascara also features a cap similar to the ones found on some nail polishes. I found this cap to be aesthetically pleasing, but superfluous and I would prefer this product without one. If you're doing touch-ups to your lashes on the go, it's handy to not have another thing to hold onto in your hands. Also, I found the applicator itself to feel too flimsy in my hands. While Avon encourages users to adjust the brush's angle to fit their application technique, I was too worried about breaking the brush, so I refrained from bending it too much.

The thing I disliked the most about this mascara was the learning curve involved with the new brush. The package instructions seemed clear enough, but after watching this instructional video, I realized I was using it wrong. In my opinion, mascara shouldn't require instructional videos!

Like most mascaras, the formula was a bit gloopy and wet on the first few applications. After almost 2 weeks of daily use however, I have to say I am fairly pleased with this product's results.

Here are my lashes pre-mascara:

And here they are after curling and applying Mega Effects:

As you can see, there is quite a big difference in terms of definition, curl and volume! I think the 3 sided brush does actually make a difference in volume and certainly in length. In fact, I found that my lashes would constantly brush against my glasses during the day because the mascara made them so long. #firstworldproblems.

Despite the boost in volume and length, I still find this formula to be too wet. It takes a good 3 minutes for my lashes to dry enough that I don't get product residue if I lightly brush my lashes over my finger. That's 3 minutes too long for me when I'm rushed in the morning.  Although I think Avon is truly being innovative here and has created a mostly successful product, I think I will still recommend Lash Blast as the better cheap alternative.


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KnowShow Spring 2014 Preview

A couple weeks ago, I whizzed my way through the recent KnowShow fashion preview for Fall 2013. Knowshow is an industry event where various lifestyle brands come together to showcase their latest collections for store buyers and media. I've been very fortunate to attend past Knowshows (check out my coverage here) and they are always full of lust-worthy items.

This coming season is predicted to be full of cozy knits, plaid, and other equally fun prints galore.  Ethnic prints continue to be popular and the summer spirit is alive and kicking with many brands showcasing bright, punchy neon tones, especially in socks for both men and women. When it comes to shoes however, the dudes win out, with my favourites being the loafer-sneaker hybrids at Ransom.  For the girls, my heart is always with Gentle Fawn and Uranium; both of these Canadian brands just continuously kill it with their laidback mix of urban and rural elements.

Want me to quit blabbing and just get to the goods? Here are the photos I snuck in with my trusty camera phone:

Cool streetwear kicks via Puma 

The new fall collection from Montreal's Uranium  including one gorgeous body harness!

Sock madness via Bjorn Borg

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Outfits lately: summer dresses

Dress: Urban Outfitters
Sandals, purse: Forever 21

Dress: Old Navy
Necklace: vintage

Dresses have got to be the easiest way to look stylish, be comfortable and be utterly lazy when it comes outfit creativity. Just throw it on and there you go - instant outfit. I'm all about wearing dresses when the weather is out and here are a couple of the new ones I've purchased this season. I literally cannot get enough of floral day dresses and would gladly have bought this dress in all the colors of the rainbow if I could. What are your summer outfit go-tos?

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Buy or Ditch: Bath and Body Works True Blue Spa Super Rich Foot Cream review

The Product
Bath and Body Works True Blue Spa Super Rich Foot Cream claims to be the ultimate in foot creams. Enriched with luxurious Shea butter, avocado oil and eucalyptus, this cream is designed to massage away rough heels and leave them baby soft.

The Guts

  • Petrolatum - a.k.a. petroleum jelly, Vaseline, or mineral oil, this product is derived from oil products and is a very common emollient. The jury is still out in Canada on whether this is a safe product or not, but in the EU petrolatum is only allowed if it is manufactured under certain restrictions. 
  • Shea butter - a super rich moisturizing ingredient derived from the oil of the Shea tree
  • Olive fruit oil - conditions and moisturizes skin
I think it's a great sign that unlike many others, all the "star ingredients" here actually make up a majority of this product. Shea butter, olive oil and avocado oil are natural ingredients used for centuries as moisturizers and safe alternatives to many modern ingredients.

Price & Packaging
Nothing fancy with this product - it's your basic squeeze tube. $21 will provide you with a huge 236 mL bottle, which is tons since you'll only be using this really as a spot treatment for the heels, soles and toes of your feet.

There are many things to love about this product. Firstly, it has this thick, rich texture that feels almost like super soft butter. Normally I don't like using buttery moisturizers as they're hard to spread and apply on skin, but for a small area like feet, it's perfect.

This cream also has a nice refreshing smell due to its orange, grapefruit, and eucalyptus oils. The smell is a tangy blend of citrus and mint that perks up the senses.

Since I've been going barefoot and in sandals everyday, I've been spreading this cream on my feet first thing in the morning and just before bed and I have to say, I adore this cream. It does take awhile to absorb, but it really does work. My rough patches feel so much softer and when I paired this cream with the Bath and Body Works Effervescent Foot Soak, my feet felt almost baby-like!!

Definitely buy!

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Lust of the Week: Monica Vinader Lace Gold-plated Moonstone Ring

I am always on a search for new rings to add to my accessory collection. Having skinny fingers and small hands though doesn't help and I usually find it difficult to find rings that I like and that fit. That's why when I saw this gorgeous moonstone ring by Monica Vinader I was quite excited.

Moonstone is said to be very lucky and to inspire its wearer by promoting vibes of love and creativity. I love the milky translucence of this stone and set against that gold band with its fantastic embellished lace bottom, this ring is just so feminine, graceful and full of quiet beauty. It's also on sale right now for $187.50! Sadly, the size is just a bit too big still for me, but perhaps one of you may be able to take this home to enjoy.

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1 item, 3 ways: Forever 21 Floral Pant

1 Item, 3 Ways, is a series where I show you how to get the most of your shopping purchases by styling an item into 3 different, but equally stylish outfits. You can check out past installments here.

For this post, I got a request from a friend to style another floral item: pants. The printed pant trend has been going strong since last summer. You may find printed pants in literally any type of pattern from basic stripes to crazy paisley and even hounds-tooth, but the most common pattern out there is the floral pant.

Not just for girly girls anymore, florals can suit any style from tomboy to preppy; it all depends on how you style it. For this trend, I'd recommend going cheap rather than splurging as only Karl Lagerfeld knows how long this craze will last. Here are the pair I'm featuring today, from Forever 21:

At only $23.80, this slim fit, high-waisted pant is super trendy and bold. Go big or go home I always say! This is no time to be a wallflower (bazinga!).

With so many colors and such a large floral print, this pant is one big hot mess, so I can certainly understand how daunting it would be to wear this. Let's see what I managed to come up with:

Look #1: Playing it safe

My first thought was to play it safe. Such a bold, edgy pattern screams for something clean and delicate to balance it and what could do that better than a pair of delicate sandals and a crisp white button-down? I'm really in love with buttoned up collars lately and the Natasha shirt has that perfect stiff looking collar. I really enjoy how minimal both the shirt and sandals are here. These sandals totally remind me of the stock ones that Club Monaco mannequins always wear except with some fun zig-zagging to keep it fresh. This outfit is just the right amount of stuffy.

Look #2: Print-tastic

Now bear with me as I bet you are screaming, "there are so many patterns going on here!!" and you would be right, but as Martha Stewart says, "it's a good thing." Don't be afraid to mix it up with this pant, otherwise you are only going to be able to wear it as look #1 and then it ceases to become an outfit and instead becomes a uniform. BORING. The key with this outfit is to, again, keep the other pieces clean, delicate and to think that you are varying textures instead of prints.

The soft white on white giraffe print on this spaghetti strap camisole is just perfect to be loosely tucked into the floral pants. I've been noticing that 90s camis are making a comeback, which I kinda dread as they really only look good sans bra, but I can't deny that they have a certain sexy appeal.

To finish the look, I've chosen these mesh metallic ballet flats. Metallic shoes are also having a moment and silver is a way more sophisticated look than other metallics, such as gold. So to recap, you've got floral, you've got sporty mesh and you've got animal prints and somehow it all just works - don't you just love it when that happens?

Look #3: A little rock and roll

Lastly, I had to give something for the less girly girls out there. This look is great for just kicking around on the weekends and it incorporates another trend for the summer: polka dots. Now, polka dots can be girly or saucy or edgy. Here, I've made them feel a little punk by pairing the whole outfit with these kick-ass Chuck Taylors. The polka dots of the shirt clash just slightly with the floral in an enjoyable way, while the graduated studding on the Chucks mirror the polka dots of this shirt and bring this outfit together.

What do you think of all these looks? 
Will this convince you to try floral pants?

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