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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Nail Reparation!

I've always had really weak nails that peel ... to the quick.  If I use regular nail polish it chips/peels within a day.  So for the past couple of years I've turned to Shellac (OPI and CND in salons, at home a Sephora/OPI Shellac as well).  But it really bothered me that the only way I could get my nails to grow on their own was through artificial means.  When I went on a recent trip, even my shellac nails chipped and I found myself hiding my hands the whole time.  I'm unsure if the recent shellac chips are an issue of unhealthy nails but it bothered me nonetheless.  

So I looked at the best two reviewed products that I could get my hands on to see if I could change the health of my nails with just over the counter helpers (and daily fish oil).

The last time Sephora had their 20% off sale, I bought the Deborah Lippmann Cuticle Oil and the Horse Power Nail Fertilizer by butter London.  

I think cuticle oil is widely accepted to be used twice daily and pro's say this is akin to using moisturizer for your skin.  Deborah Lippmann's Cuticle Oil smells lovely, like coconut oil, and was surprisingly not as messy as I would have thought...I think I can make the twice daily routine work without getting it all over clothes and my keyboard.

The Horse Power Nail Fertilizer has a dictatorial style to its instructions, which I found funny.  The net-net here is you use this once daily for 7 days, under polish or alone, and remove it on the 7th day.  Continue use for 4 weeks as is.  It feels less like a polish and more like a primer, so it dries quickly.  

So here goes the month long nail reparation!  

Week 1

Monday, August 20, 2012

Lululemon Dirt Renew Dress/Beat the Heat Dresses...Love!

I was just clearing room in my closet and stumbled upon a collection.  A collection of dresses.  All the same.  Who buys the same dress over and over in different colors?  One who appreciates the fact that a good design doesn't come along every day.

During summer months I live in the Lululemon Dirt Renew Dresses and Lululemon Beat the Heat Dresses.  I wish I could get away with wearing them to work.  But I do wear them to brunch, shopping, to casual dinners, family get togethers, sporting events and around the house.  They are lovely.

Design-wise, the Beat the Heat and Dirt Renew are almost the same...both have similar, gorgeous features. Lululemon claims the difference between the two styles is the waistband, but I can't tell when worn.  Both fit the same (vanity sizing, you can safely size down) and they are sublimely uplifting to the bust and shape in general.  Bra not required (I'm a C/D cup) and the A-line shape is a universally flattering to every body shape.  They hit right at the knee and depending on the color, can be dressed up (belted, with espadrilles and the right jewellery) or dressed down (flip flops).  Apparently these dresses can be worn multiple ways, but the only way I have worn them is one side of color or the other as all are double sided with different colors.  At retail, they were all $88.

I know they were sold from 2010 - 2011 but you can still score a brand new one on eBay if you're lucky.  Excuse my poor knowledge of Lululemon color codes, but as far as I know, the colors it came in were:
  • Alarming/Coal (Orange/Grey)
  • Chirp/Lagoon (Yellow/Green)
  • Pig Pink/Coal
  • Lavender/Mud
  • Black/White
  • Senorita Pink/Wren
  • Wish Blue/Citron (Bright Blue/Yellow)
  • Blue/Blue Chained Print
  • Ivory/Ombre
  • Heathered Grey/Navy
Stock photos of the Lululemon Dress from their site

Here's my collection.  Don't judge...

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Neon Pink

Had brunch with the beau and my dad and stepmom last weekend at Glow Restaurant at the Shops at Don Mills, so of course we had to stop by Anthropologie to see the new spring collection.  I found this beauty that I was skeptical of (and now seeing some of the recent reviews I know why!); the Garden Party Shift is stunning...bright pink empire summer dress with large pockets it fits the bill for almost any occasion on a weekend in the summer but it made me feel so cutesy!  I hauled in the beau for a critical eye and he said he loved it!  Very unusual for him to love pink.  My breasts were spilling out the top so that could have been the deal-closer, but I loved how I felt in it!  This one definitely makes you feel 10 years younger and oh so pretty.  The opening in the back is pretty sexy too.

Garden Party Shift Dress from Anthropologie
(much brighter than it appears in the pictures)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Fantastic shopping experience at Brooks Brothers!

I was wandering through the Toronto PATH system (underground shopping in downtown Toronto which links most of the financial district) and happened upon the new Brooks Brothers store.  I was drawn in by some cute sundresses in the window and it was only when I walked in I realized how large the store is!  I wandered around looking at a few dresses and summer suits but ended up gravitating towards the navy and black - surprise, surprise!

The sales woman, Ingrid, was really helpful and I was really happy with her help and recommendations.  I find that retail service in Canada is sub par to the US almost across the board (upscale luxury shops excluded).  I know that Brooks Brothers has an older, conservative demographic, but I think my taste is probably a lot more conservative than most women my age.

Anyway, I bought a basic black dress with a subtle but beautiful pinstripe and the jacket to match.  When I put them on they made me feel powerful and beautiful at the same time!  I will refer to it as my Promotion Suit, because obviously when I wear it, my boss will remember how successful and smart I am that she'll promote me.  I know it's a very simple dress but it's the perfect black dress I've been looking for.  The lines, the shoulders (so important) and the darts were all divine.   It must have made me look like a lawyer because Ingrid asked me if I was one (I'm not). 

Brookscool Wool Check Dress, Brooks Brothers

Brookscool Wool Check Jacket, Brooks Brothers

Cotton Ruffle Blouse, Brooks Brothers

I love that they are wardrobe staples.  The blouse has a good weight for summer...not too light that it wrinkles and not too heavy that it will get hot.  Mother of pearl buttons + a beautiful collar that accentuates the neck = perfect.

Later that day I received a thank you email and two weeks later (today) I received a lovely handwritten card from Ingrid saying she enjoyed meeting me and asked me to contact her again if I need anything.  How sweet!  My own friends don't send me hand written cards anymore!

I'm a Brooks Brothers fan!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Another Canadian: Smythe!

I love items made in North America, but even more love clothing made in Canada.  That's why I was delighted to found the homegrown Smythe brand and have tried on various occasions to get at their products, which are usually sold out.  They aren't sold in many stores, making them even more difficult to shop (but I guess that's half the fun).

I stumbled upon a Smythe gold mine in Holt Renfrew in the Yorkdale Mall.  As much as I hate malls, I am pretty impressed with the collections that particular Holt Renfrew has.   Today I was returning a blouse from DVF which was gorgeous, just not gorgeous on me.  When I found another picture of this model (below) wearing it I felt a pang of regret in not trying it on with a few different options. 

Diane von Furstenberg Cahil Blouse, $270

In any case, when I returned this, I saw the Smythe collection and tried on the Smythe Tuxedo Single Button Blazer in Cobalt/Black.  As much as I am a bit concerned this is a big investment (for me) for a fad, I thought it was just gorgeous.  I'm still on the fence about it.  In fact, my boyfriend said I looked like a German burlesque hostess, to which I poured myself a glass of wine and decided to sulk for awhile.

Smythe Single Button Blazer in Cobalt/Black

I'm a very conservative dresser and I can't think of many ways to dress this down...the lapel is satin. 

I also ordered the Smythe Serpentine Print Single Button Blazer from Nordstrom based only on pictures about a week ago.   I was so happy when I got to see it on the rack in Holt Renfrew and find it looked every bit as beautiful as the pictures, so I can't wait to get it!

 Smythe's model wearing the Serpentine Single Button Blazer

Nordstrom's Model wearing the Serpentine Single Button Blazer

I love how edgy the Smythe model looks...I just know I would never be able to pull it off the same way.  I'd definitely wear it more like the Nordstrom model...I'd also wear it with a simple skirt to work. 

I also saw the Tuxedo Stripe Single Button Blazer, and tried it on...but the combination of the linen and the strong contrast in colors made it much too bright for me. 

Smythe Tuxedo Stripe Single Button Blazer

Asos Color Block Blazer (Contrast Lapel)

I have a good collection of suits and basics, and am now trying to update my wardrobe by adding in fun different pieces.  With trendy clothing I don't usually spend a lot because I'm not good at (and don't have room for) maintaining clothes that I don't wear.  I like to think that I'll have a nice collection to pass on to another generation the way I wish my Mum kept her clothes, but I'm terrible with keeping clothes in great shape.

So, that brings me to Asos' house brand!  A wonderful way to stay on trend without spending a fortune.  For pieces I doubt I'll wear in years to come, or if I want to try and see if I can work it into my wardrobe, Asos, Zara, etc. are perfect.

I decided to try the color-blocking tuxedo jacket look...Asos had a beautiful little jacket I bought online.

Asos Color Block Blazer with Contrast Lapel, $72

It's beautiful!  I'd say the quality is definitely not the best (and I'll need a professional pressing before wearing) but for the money, I'm very happy with this purchase.  And for what it was intended to be: a trial to see if I liked it, it served just the purpose!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Discovery Stripe!

Well folks, I'm back on the LuLuLeming train, as my boyfriend calls it, with the new Discovery Stripe print and the aquamarine palette.  Is this not the most gorgeous print?  Some have said it looks too preppy, but I absolutely adore it.  For those who work out (or kinda work out, if that is defined as wearing it on weekends) their Luxtreme fabric is divine.  Smooth and silky, luxtreme feels glorious on the skin, as if you're wearing nothing at all, and when I actually do work out, it doesn't feel sweaty.  Lululemon just happened to have come out with a bunch of the Discovery Print luxtreme tops.  Pictures of the haul in aquamarine and discovery stripe are below!

I also adore their new Daily Gym Bag, which I got in every colour (cue the flushed cheeks).  The thing about a great gym bag is it inspires you to go to the gym and when you find handles that fit well to carry around usually two changes of clothes, you should buy it - in every color!  I got quite the haul in aquamarine and the discovery stripe!  I just got my bonus cheque, so I felt that with 90% going towards savings, I could splurge a little.

Daily Gym Bag in Black, $108

Daily Gym Bag in Aquamarine/Indigo, $108

Daily Gym Bag in Dune/Fossil

I also got the Push Ur Limits in the Discovery Stripe, Shape Jacket in Aquamarine, Stride Jacket in Discovery Stripe and the Retro Rainbow Crops for bottoms.  I feel I can probably pair the tops with black Inspire Crops or other shorts/crops I wear.  I love pastels, these are definitely right up a blonde's alley!

 Lululemon Push Ur Limits Tank in Discovery Stripe

Lululemon Stride Jacket in Discovery Stripe

 Retro Rainbow Crops in Discovery Stripe

Shape Jacket in Aquamarine

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Judith and Charles Sonya Dress

I have not been shopping much as of late as Christmas and a trip to St. Anne's were expensive this year...but I did manage to fall in love with Judith & Charles' new spring line items!  I popped by the store this week after seeing Charles' appearance on CTV Ottawa and showcasing a couple of dresses from the Spring line.  The Sonya Dress is stunning!  One of my colleagues mentioned that color blocking is on the way out but I think these clean lines and classic colors make this dress a great investment. 

Judith & Charles Sonya Dress, $365

I also tried on the Wanda Dress, which is gorgeous as well; it has navy lace and overlay and an interesting semi cap sleeve which is very flattering. 

Judith & Charles Wanda Dress

Others I love and can't wait to try on as they trickle in the stores...

 Rhea Dress (this is a MUST have for me)

 Gloria Top, Alessia Skirt

Neva Dress

Monday, January 2, 2012

My boyfriend reads my blog...!?!

Under the lit-up three-foot-high star we had this year in lieu of a tree, was the most beautiful colored box my boyfriend could have bought me: the fuchsia Holt Renfrew box every gal loves to see.  Inside lay the Elie Tahari coat in Stone that I had written about in a previous heart sang.  It looks just as beautiful as I had hoped. 

And although the belt is a different size than the coat, which will require an inconvenient and most likely irritable customer service experience, I can't wait to wear it!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Yowza! Sexy Secretary!

If you have a curvy body a-la-Joan Harris, or even if you don't, this dress will look fantastic on you...the Tie Neck Sweater Dress from Anthropologie is stunning on!  A few things to keep in mind: the material is thin and as with the model in the picture where you can see her navel, you'll need Spanx or a skin-smoother to avoid lines.  It's a beautiful length though - hits the knee, so it's great for the office.  The top is a bit greener in person.  All in all, one of the best work dresses I've seen and to boot, amazing price point!

Anthropologie Tie-Neck Sweater Dress, $158

And while I'm on the Anthropologie site, Cynthia Rowley has designed a beautiful Brocade Paisley Dress that's available.  I love anything Paisley...although it is a higher price point than I'd usually pay for Anthropologie, it looks gorgeous.  Must Try On.

Anthropologie Brocade Paisley Dress, $398

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Lululemon City to Yoga Jacket

I have a love-hate relationship with Lululemon.  As a shareholder, I like the "scarcity model", but as a shopper, I hate it.  The pricing sometimes seems to push the limit of what a shopper is willing to pay, (and hats off to Lulu, as sometimes they realize this and adjust their pricing) and the new colors they add are difficult to attain.  It makes a beautiful marriage of hard to get.  Sometimes I go a bit spend-happy with shopping at Lululemon because they do make beautiful clothing in flattering fits and gorgeous colors.  But sometimes I retract and won't step in a store for months.

This time, however, I fell in love with the City to Yoga Jacket.  The details in the arms, the peplum details at the waist and the feminine shoulder all made for the perfect storm of falling in love with a jacket.  Add the new color they have called "Black Swan" and I swooned.  It made my waist look small, my chest look perky and was a beautiful feeling fabric to boot.

Hard to get?  Absolutely - there were only 3 available in my size in the province.  I had to call their Guest Education Center to get them to track one down, and had to ask my boyfriend to do a big favour and get the jacket on his lunch hour as it was 20 miles away from me. 

Damn you, sweet Lululemon, my siren song.

Lululemon City to Yoga Jacket, $118

Monday, November 28, 2011

Porter flies with high style

I've always enjoyed flying out of Porter most people, I like the proximity to downtown Toronto, the cute lounge with salted almonds (my boyfriend's favourite) and the chocolate chip shortbread cookies (my favourite) and the chic uniforms designed by Pink Tartan!  The hats are meant to be tilted to be worn like the 60's pillbox hat although I get a chuckle when I see some flight attendants wear it dead center at the top of their head, like a Fez.

The pillbox hat on the woman on the right, how it's supposed to be worn.

 A picture of a Fez, for reference, in case you couldn't visualize it.

In any case, the point is I like how Porter does things.  And, upon coming back from a recent trip, I came back to a wonderful little package for being a good little Porter mile collector.    They had wrapped in the tell-tale Mr. Porter (the airline's mascot, a raccoon) paper a wonderful little gift from WANT Les Essentiels de la Vie, a Canadian company that provides all the luxurious things a bon vivant would want!  And what else would it be but a navy luggage tag?  Again, how chic!  I was very impressed with the packaging, the thought and the gift. 

Luggage Tag in Navy, $90 (if you're not a VIP Porter member) from WANT Les Essentiels de la Vie

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


It must be the Christmas season and memories of wrapping paper because I've had bows on the brain.  And it started with my summer purchase of a DVF black silk blouse with a bow.  Think sexy secretary...think hair up...think subtle feminity.

I love J Crew's Overtime Necktie Top in Bird's-Eye Tweed, pictured below.  Doesn't this just look feminine and soft and strong all at once?  I can't wait to try this on.

J Crew's Overtime Necktie Top in Bird's-Eye Tweed, $138

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I need a new coat to keep me warm!

Which means I need to look at some new outerwear, among my favourite things that Elie Tahari creates, aside from beautiful sheaths for work, is feminine, classic coats.  And I have my eye on a particular one in winter white...dare I?

What makes this piece so desirable for me is the collar and the length - just below the knee, the best place for a coat to land in my opinion - most flattering and covers most skirts.  (Side note: my pet peeve is when a skirt is longer than a coat, when both are meant to be longer.)  Both make it a great, wearable to work, after work functions and events.  The I even love the "country apple" colour, although I've never been a fan of how it looks on me, I think it is such a deep cranberry it could work on most complexions.  I predict this will be my winter splurge.

Elie Tahari Shawl Collar Wool Coat, $728

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Oh, and a review to the Anthropologie Four Corners Dress

I was really so excited to put on the Four Corners Dress.  I know my style is a bit conservative, probably driven more by my career than anything, but I thought this Paisley pattern (I capitalize as the pattern is named after a town in Scotland) with beautiful oversized sleeves would be beautiful addition to my was not meant to be for me.  As an hour glass shaped gal, the bottom was just too tight and it ended up looking like an odd mini dress...

So instead of this:

 it actually looked like this shape:

And was unfortunately not what I had in mind.   This is definitely a try on before ordering dress.  For me anyway.

Chicago: Incoming!

My New York trip was very expensive in July with the family as I had treated my cousins to their trip, so I've been a good girl as of late and refraining from shopping.  But I have picked up a few different pieces that are going to be great year in-year out. 

Like my Club Monaco Jane Trench Coat...this coat is absolutely gorgeous.  The silk lining is so luxurious feeling and the length is perfect, hitting exactly at the knee.  When I tried on this coat I look like I lost about 20 lbs with the way it snugs in at the smallest point at my waist.  I have a few trench coats but I think I'll be selling off my others for this one!  A great price point for a gorgeous, flattering and timeless coat.

Club Monaco Jane Trench Coat, $298

I'm leaving for Chicago on Sunday for work and can't wait to visit my fave Chicago store, Nordstrom!  The customer service in Nordstrom is really quite unparalleled.   I'm excited to see the DVF collection and try on a few fall wrap dresses as well as Milly and the new Armani jackets.  I love, love, love the fall and especially the autumn colours and clothes.  

I have some failed efforts at purging (in the healthy way), and selling off some clothing, purses and Lululemon gear (I'm a collector, not a wearer - despite my best efforts at a regular gym schedule), and what proceeds should be going toward other things, they have been going toward new in essence, I'm just updating my wardrobe, not paring down.  I bought a few Lululemon gym bags that usually serve as my laptop or every day bags.   Lululemon Pure Bag in Tweed/Flannel (shown below) and one in the same shape in a black and white Houndstooth with splashes of red in the zipper/pockets area.

Lululemon Pure Bag (from a previous year)

Hopefully my workouts will be more regular with these beautiful bags (I say, with my hands behind my back and coyly twisting my right foot on the toe).

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Buys from Judith & Charles

I had a few important meetings in my future, and in true New York style, thought it best to wow with some Pre-Fall Judith & Charles buys!  The beauty of Judith & Charles is also what makes it difficult for cataloging: beautiful pieces that aren't on every woman you see.  I bought two classic pieces: a camel wool blend pencil skirt that falls just below the knee, and a pair of black stretch pants that fall like a dress pant.  Very flattering - the most flattering pair of pants I've ever owned.  As Natalie from Judith & Charles said, "you can do squats in them!" - she was right!

I am definitely a fan of the Equestrian Jackets by Smythe (most jackets are around $695).  I love the elbow patches!  Also love that all the clothing is Canadian made.

Sold at TNT and Holt Renfrew in Canada and Bergdorf Goodman, Saks and Nordstrom in the U.S.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Dresses at Anthropologie

Everyone I know loves how much I love wearing easy to wear, so easy to run out the door with.  Just add accessories and go!  Sundresses are great for weekends and sheathes are just as easy for work, and much more comfortable than a skirt (which always seem to shift 180 degrees on me by the time I've walked any distance, no matter how small).

I'm lucky that dresses are in style now and many designers make dresses that have a jacket that can be work with it.  Although, if dresses weren't in style, I'd probably still wear them.  Teenflo/Judith & Charles make beautiful sheathes, Anthropologie also makes some beauties...Club Monaco, Armani, Hugo Boss, Milly (although less business friendly) as well.  I'm already thinking about the fall and some of the colours that will look gorgeous so I've added a few pieces from Anthropologie that are just gorgeous that I hope to try on this weekend!  My shopping budget this month has been absolutely gutted as I treated my cousins to their hotel in New York which really put a dent in my discretionary budget.  It kills me because all the fall collections are coming in right now!

 Sea Nettle Shift, $188
More of a fun dress but I can make this one happen for work.

 Skyscraper Dress, $298
More of a want than a need...but if I had an occasion for this, it would be in my closet!

Four Corners Dress, $298
I will be a better person when I have this dress.