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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Bag Review: My Michael Kors Sutton Satchel in Black

The Michael Kors Sutton Satchel is the latest addition to my handbag collection. Unlike a lot of my bags, it wasn't a planned purchase. I was returning this bag, and had to pick out something in exchange. I knew I couldn't go wrong with a durable black bag in a classic design.

Bag Review Michael Kors Sutton Satchel in Black Small
Shirt: c/o ROMWE / Bag: Small Sutton / Sandals: F21 (similar) / Necklace: (similar)


The Small Sutton is a spacious bag (8" W x 6" H x 3-3/4" D) - I can fit in my large wallet and makeup bag with room to spare - it could even hold my iPad mini. Here's a pic of what's inside my bag: makeup bag, wallet, sunglasses, gift card pouch, car keys, coin purse and card holder. There are several pockets inside the lining, as well as a zipped compartment along each side. There is a magnetic clasp to secure the contents of the bag (I'm holding it back in the picture below), as well as external snap buttons which can be clicked shut or left unfastened for a more boxy look.

What fits inside a Michael Kors Sutton Satchel in Black Small


I mainly use my Sutton as a cross-body bag, although I'll often slip the strap off and carry it in my hand if it gets too heavy. The shoulder strap has an adjustable buckle so you can change the length according to your preference (for reference, I'm 5'4 and wearing it on the longest setting for cross-body, and adjusted to the middle setting when I use it as a shoulder bag). I prefer to keep the handles up, but they can also be folded completely down. As mentioned previously, the shape of the bag can be altered by clicking the side buttons shut - but they only stay shut if the bag is relatively empty - otherwise they snap open (as seen in the shoulder pic below).
How to wear a Michael Kors Sutton Satchel in Black Small



The Sutton Satchel comes in three sizes: Small (8" W x 6" H x 3-3/4" D), Medium (13" W x 9" H x 5" D) and Large (14" W x 10" H x 4" D). There's around a $40-$50 price difference between sizes. I opted for the smallest size because I have a weakness for teeny bags (they just look cuter!) but also because I don't like carrying heavy bags. In fact, I'm thinking of selling my Selma satchel because I don't use it as much as my smaller bags.
Bag Review Different Sizes of Michael Kors Sutton Satchel (Small, Medium, Large)


I love my Sutton Satchel - and I would definitely recommend this bag. I think it's priced very reasonably given the saffiano leather construction, timeless design, and quality workmanship. I've been using it non-stop since I bought it, and there's been no sign of wear or staining. It is quite similar in design to the Prada Saffiano Lux Small Tote but at a FRACTION of the price. P.S. I like dressing up my bag with a pom pom charm (similar here).
Bag Review Michael Kors Sutton Satchel in Black Small versus Prada Saffiano Lux Small Tote

Here are some other Michael Kors bags I'm loving - especially the Dillon tote - it's a great dupe for the YSL Sac de Jour!

Have you tried the MK Sutton bag? What is your favorite bag?


Liked this post? Read my other bag reviews here

P.S. Check out Extra Petite's Sutton Satchel review here - I always love reading her posts!

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Sunday, July 19, 2015

Summer Staple: Styling a White Blazer

Although my white blazer is a recent (and much-loved) purchase, it has been on my wishlist for a LONG time.

White Blazer, Anchor tank, Gold sandals
Blazer / Sunglasses & Sandals: Marshalls / Anchor T (similar) / Bag / Photo Credit: Shizzy

In fact, the first time I realized that I NEEDED a white blazer, was back in May - when I attended a presentation hosted by Celebrity Stylist Cristina Ehrlich. Cristina, whose clients include Penelope Cruz and Emma Stone, excels at helping celebrities pick clothing pieces that work with their personal style. She has partnered with Marshalls to help shoppers identify their style profiles, so that they know which key pieces they should focus on to amp up their wardrobes.

From L to R: Dressed as Modern Femme, Power Dresser and Mix Master

In her presentation, Cristina showcased 3 celebrity-inspired style profiles: the Modern Femme (ladylike style with a contemporary twist), the Power Dresser (those who favor structured pieces and sophisticated staples), and the Mix Master (fearless dressers who aren't afraid to experiment with the latest trends). The three models pictured above were dressed according to each style. Which of these profiles do you identify with? I think I used to favor Modern Femme pieces in my 20s, but I'm definitely more of a Power Dresser now.

As Cristina talked us through each style profile - she discussed key pieces for summer - one of which was this white blazer. She demonstrated its versatility - from dressed down with jeans to worn over an evening dress (as pictured above). Of course, I was immediately convinced - and wondered how I'd managed so long WITHOUT such a key piece! As you can see, since acquiring my blazer - I've worn it with several different outfits.

If you're shopping for a white blazer - I'd recommend choosing a draped style rather than a button-down, as you don't want it to look ANYTHING like a lab coat! For the same reason, a cream-based shade is better than something stark white. My blazer has ruched sleeves, which is an added bonus, as I tend to push up my sleeves to 3/4 length anyways.

For further stylish shopping inspiration - check out Cristina's summer must-haves below! What is your Summer Staple?

Linking up with More Pieces of Me and On the Daily Express.
Mix & Match Fashion

Monday, July 13, 2015

Tourists in Toronto

My husband and I have a tradition called 'day of fun' - it involves taking the day off (usually on one of our birthdays) and exploring the city we live in. When you live somewhere, you often take it for granted - and you may not pay attention to the amazing sites that other people are flying in to see. 

This past weekend, we decided to take our kids on a "day of fun" to Toronto - we're so lucky to live near such a beautiful and historical city. We started the day at our local GO Station in the suburbs and hopped on a train heading for Union.

While hubby and I frequently travel on the GO Train for work, it still feels like an adventure for my kids. They love sitting on the second floor and looking out the giant windows.

After arriving at Union, we stepped onto the subway. Several stops and a short walk later, we were at our destination - Spadina Museum - a stately home belonging to the Austins - one of Toronto's wealthiest families at the turn of the 20th century.

Nicknamed "Toronto's Downtown Abbey", the whole house has been restored to how it looked in the 1920s-1930s. The furnishings are so luxurious and ornate.

I love seeing how people used to live - to me, it feels like I've stepped inside a book. Here's a behind-the-scenes peek into their spacious kitchen - I think the cream and turquoise color scheme is so charming.

I must have modest tastes, because one of my favorite rooms is this bedroom belonging to the housekeeper! It's simply furnished and so light and airy with a beautiful window.

After our guided tour of the house, we headed out into the famous gardens - my daughter loved looking at all the beautiful flowers. Doesn't this look like the French countryside? Who could guess that this is located in the heart of Toronto.

Here's a pic of my son and husband as we walked back to the subway after our afternoon of exploring. We picked up some delicious chocolate croissants at Union Station and then took the GO Train back home.

I really enjoyed sharing my love of history with my kids and taking them to discover unexplored parts of the city. Traveling on the GO Train was a fun and easy option. We didn't have to worry about traffic or finding parking, and it made it feel more like we were on a mini-holiday together.

Have you pretended to be tourists in your own city? What is your favorite spot to visit?

We live for the weekends, especially during the summer. And planning them is just half the fun. Exploring the big city or biking through wine country – it’s good to have weekend options and we give them to you. Toronto to Niagara. Barrie to Toronto. Either way, we’ll take you there. Seasonal weekend train service runs until Sept 7. Discover a different side of GO this summer at gotransit.com/getaway


Disclosure: This post was brought to you by GO Transit  via Mode Media Canada.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Metrolinx.

Linking up with More Pieces of Me and On the Daily Express.  


Sunday, July 5, 2015

A Day at the Races...

I received an exciting invitation this week - a VIP ticket to the Queen's Plate at Woodbine Racetrack. And not only would I be attending the races, I would ALSO get to pick my race-day outfit from Vaughan Mills - the official Fashion Sponsor of Queen's Plate!

Queens Plate 2015 Race Day Outfit Vaughan Mills Vaughn Mills Fashion
Blazer: H&M, Tank: H&M, Skirt: H&M, Necklace: J.Crew Factory, Shoes: Old Navy (similar), Bag: Chanel WOC (similar)

The dress code was inspired by the Rethink garden party at Queen’s Plate: Black & White with a pop of pink. I headed over to Vaughan Mills to choose a suitable outfit. I had a lot of stores I wanted to check out - from outlets such as Banana Republic Factory, J.Crew Factory and HR2 Holt Renfrew - to my tried-and-true favorites - including Winners, H&M and Old Navy.

Here are three of my finds - a FCUK embroidered maxi dress from Winners, a RWxELLE dress from RW&CO and a lace-trimmed white dress from Carriere Studio.

Queens Plate 2015 Race Day Outfit

Despite these pretty choices, I ended up in head-to-toe H&M! I'd been eyeing their ruched white blazer for a while now, and when I spotted this fitted black midi skirt, I knew I had found the perfect comfortable yet elegant combination. In lieu of a fascinator, I picked up a headband and some floral clips from Claire's Accessories. My pop of pink came from my Old Navy Heels.

Queens Plate 2015 Race Day

I headed to the races with Jenelle - our first stop was the Vaughan Mills tent where we hung out with Sarah - Vaughan Mills' new Official Stylist. There was quite a line up of people waiting to take photos on this couch because Vaughan Mills was giving away $250 shopping sprees to 2 lucky winners!

We then went over to the Rethink "Black Beauty & White Rose" Party. They were serving delicious food (from a food truck!) and had a lot of fun stations set up. People were getting their nails done, their hair styled - and our favorite - there was a talented duo making custom fascinators! I asked for a pink and white headband, while Jenelle opted for a rosebud crown. I'm so in love with my headband - it's a work of art!

Queens Plate 2015 Race Day Outfit with Fascinators

I had SUCH a fun experience - definitely a glamorous change from my usual Sunday schedule of errands and grocery shopping. A huge thank you to Vaughan Mills for this lovely day!

Which of these 4 race outfits would you have chosen?

DISCLAIMER: Outfit and Queen's Plate invites were gifted by Vaughan Mills.

Linking up with More Pieces of Me and On the Daily Express.  
Mix & Match Fashion

Sunday, June 28, 2015

My Experience Using Blue Light on my Acne (Before & After Pics)

I've been dealing with an acne outbreak since last December, and I've been exploring various options to get it under control (full post on this coming soon). My friend Elaine has significantly clearer skin after undergoing Blue Light Therapy at her dermatologist's office. I wanted to see if Blue Light would work for me, but before committing to a long commute and regular appointments with her dermatologist, I decided to explore at-home options. I remembered reading that Tria carries a wide range of at-home professional-grade devices, so I contacted them to find out more about about the Tria Acne Clearing Blue Light. The company generously sent me a device to try out - and after THOROUGHLY testing it for four months, I am finally ready to share my review.

Product Review Tria Blue Light Acne-Clearing Device


This FDA-cleared device uses the same professional-level blue light technology that is found in dermatologists' offices. It emits a non-UV high-energy light to treat mild to moderate acne by eliminiating bacteria deep within the skin. By targeting the P.Acnes bacteria, existing blemishes are healed and future breakouts are prevented. The light only affects the bacteria - so it doesn't cause much skin irritation or dryness (unlike other topical acne treatments). For further reading on the efficacy of Blue Light on Acne - click here.

Using the Tria Blue Light Acne-Clearing Device


I think this is my first no-makeup selfie on this blog- eek! But I wanted to show the Tria in action - isn't the glowing blue light so intense? After washing my face in the morning, I press the flat tip on my skin. The device automatically turns on - it glows blue and feels slightly warm. I glide it across my face, focusing on my problem areas (mainly my cheeks) - continuously "painting" them with the blue light. The machine beeps at 2.5 minutes and turns off at 5 minutes. After my treatment, I spray my face with mineral water and apply my moisturizer.


There's some painful acne in the "before" photos - so I'm going to split this post in case you're squeamish. Click here if you want to see my before and after -->

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

F21 & ZARA Haul, Longer Lashes and Larger Lips

I've been loving the jumpsuits trend - but sadly for me - most jumpsuits are either sleeveless or with shorts. So I was VERY excited to spot this jumpsuit at Forever21 - it has long sleeves and full-length pants but is still light and airy - so much fun for the summer!

Forever21 Belted Abstract Print Jumpsuit
Jumpsuit: F21 / Shoes: Target / Bag: Michael Kors / Necklace: J.Crew

Here are some more of my favorite jumpsuits from Forever21 - they're such a bargain too!

While on the Forever21 website - I checked out their trench coat section. I know it's too warm for trench coats at the moment - but it's hard to find them in stock when you need them, so I was trying to plan ahead. I ended up with 2 trench coats to try (one from F21 and the other from GAP). I didn't LOVE either of them - so I asked for some advice on Instagram.

GAP Forever21 trench coat
Forever 21 trench / GAP trench

Apparently ZARA has amazing trench coats, so I headed over there. And yes - the quality and design of their coats are amazing, but this year's batch is off-white and I want a classic tan one - so the search continues! But I didn't leave ZARA empty-handed - I spotted this faux leather jacket - and while it's slightly edgier than my usual style - it seems like the perfect light layer to wear with jeans or maxi dresses.

ZARA leather jacket
Jacket: ZARA (similar) / Necklace: J.Crew / Shoes: Old Navy

SUMMER STAPLES: Every time I use these beauty products, I keep thinking - I HAVE to share them on my blog - they're THAT amazing.

MAC Lip Pencil in More to Love - I'm always hunting for products to make my lips look bigger - but I didn't realize what a plumping effect this lip pencil would have! I bought it because it's meant to be the perfect liner to wear with Girl About Town lipstick. However, the pigment is so strong that it stains your lip line. So even after I remove my makeup, my lips still look big! This liner is part of the Pro Longwear range- but be warned that not all colors are created equal. I also own Staunchly Stylish but it doesn't have the pigment or lasting power of More to Love.

DIOR Maximizer Lash Plumping Serum - This serum works in two ways. Firstly, it works as a primer - it goes on as a white layer on your lashes, so when you apply your regular mascara - your lashes look thicker and longer. Secondly, it contains ingredients to make your lashes longer and stronger over time. I've found this works amazingly well for both purposes. When I wear it under my mascara - I get lots of compliments on my lashes - and I feel like my lashes are healthier and longer than they've ever been.

VICHY Capital Soleil SPF50 Spray (c/o) - I'm serious about sun protection - and not just for my face. Along with wearing hats and sun-protective clothing, I make sure to cover my body in SPF before spending time in the sun. I love this finely-misted spray because it's so easy to apply. Once I'm dressed, I spray any exposed areas (neck, back of hands, feet), rub it in - and I'm ready to go. It's a dry-touch spray so it absorbs instantly without any slippery-ness. And the spray is so light and focused, it doesn't stain my clothing. And most importantly - with an SPF of 50, I know I have strong coverage!

Jane Iredale Pressed Powder - Now that my skin is clearing up again (acne treatment update post coming soon!) I don't need to wear a full-coverage foundation every day. I've blogged about this a LONG time ago - and I still completely adore and recommend this! Unlike most mineral powders, it's pressed so it's easy to apply. It provides medium coverage - but more importantly - it gives your whole face an airbrushed finish - so even if you do have blemishes, they don't stand out. And the finish only gets better as the day goes on - it still looks glowing and pretty when I go to wash off my makeup at night! This is especially good for reactive skin, as it is such a gentle formula. The only downside is that it's mainly sold in salons - so you have to find one to get color matched (once you know your shade, you can order it online). FYI for anyone who is an NC30-NC35 like me - my perfect shade is Golden Glow - and I'd recommend this brush for applying ANY powder foundations.

Origins Clear Improvement Charcoal Mask - Everyone raves about this GLAM GLOW mask - but when I was looking up reviews on Makeup Alley - I noticed a lot of recommendations for this Origins mask as a more effective and reasonably-priced substitute. I tried the GLAM GLOW mask: firstly - it's CRAZY expensive, and secondly it doesn't produce any dramatic results on me. This mask on the other hand is so therapeutic and clarifying. Even when my skin was raw and broken out, I'd apply this overnight as a spot treatment, and when I'd wash it off in the morning, my spots would be less swollen and not as red. Definitely give it a try if you're looking for a good clay mask!

Are you loving the jumpsuit trend too? Have you tried any of my summer staple products?

P.S. For my Canadian readers - switch to the US F21 webpage to view exact product information (the Canadian F21 site just takes you to the homepage).

Linking up with More Pieces of Me and On the Daily Express.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

In Pursuit of a Hot Pink Bag

I have a lot of classic bags in my collection - but I was missing one item - a bright pop-of-color bag to brighten up my summer outfits. While either a red or yellow bag would work as a statement bag - I think we all know that I'd end up looking for something hot pink!

Michael Kors Hamilton Tote and Michael Kors Greenwich Satchel
Michael Kors Hamilton Tote and Michael Kors Greenwich Satchel

I thought I had found the perfect pink bag at Michael Kors - the Greenwich is a beautiful raspberry shade. It's made of durable saffiano leather and has a handy cross-body option- plus it was on sale for around $215. After admiring it in store several times, I went ahead and bought it.

Coach Mini-Domed Cora Debossed Satchel in Hot Pink
Shirt: Garage (similar) / Sandals: Payless (similar) / Jeans: GAP

OF COURSE, the weekend after I purchased it - I found the CUTEST hot pink bag EVER at the Coach outlet. The Mini-Domed Cora satchel is everything I could ever want in a hot pink bag - it's tiny yet big enough to fit in my essentials (wallet/phone/keys) and the domed shape is reminiscent of the Louis Vuitton Alma. It was a bargain at $100, and I couldn't leave it behind.

Coach Mini-Domed Cora Debossed Satchel in Hot Pink and Black
Coach Domed Mini Cora Satchel (similar)

And I'm not the only one who fell in love with the Cora bag - I ended up going back and picking up the black version for my mother! But I felt guilty - because as much as I love pink - I knew I only needed ONE hot pink bag!!! Luckily the lovely manager at the Michael Kors store let me exchange my Greenwich bag for the small black Sutton (usually all sale bags are FINAL sale - good to know for the future!).

Michael Kors Black Sutton Small
Shirt: F21 (similar) / Necklace: Aldo (similar) / Bag: Sutton / Pom Pom Charm (option)

I haven't used the Sutton bag too many times yet - but I'll definitely write a bag review for it soon! Isn't it such a cute bag?

Michael Kors Black Sutton Small
Shirt: Old Navy (similar) / Necklace: Joe Fresh (similar) / Shoes: Old Navy / Bag: Sutton / Pom Pom Charm (option)

Here are two of my recent summer outfits:

SheIn White V Neck Short Sleeve Floral Dress
Dress: c/o Shein (similar) / Bag: Minkoff / Shoes: Walmart (similar)

I'm super-crazy for ANY palm-tree prints - I can't get enough!

Palm Print Summer Dress SheIn Green Leaves Print Dress
Dress: c/o SheIn (similar) /Jacket: H&M / Necklace: F21 (similar)

Have you searched high and low for the perfect item - only to find something EVEN better a few days later?

Linking up with More Pieces of Me and On the Daily Express.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Gingham and Roses

I was so excited when I heard that Gingham was one of the big trends for this Spring. I already own checked shirts in pink, lavender, blue and orange - but there's always space in my closet for a little more gingham!

Lou Harvey Rose Print Bag in Alex Sage
Shirt: H&M (similar) / Heels: Old Navy / Clutch: c/o Lou Harvey

I've paired my favorite pink gingham shirt with a gorgeous rose print clutch from Lou Harvey. I first learned about Lou Harvey at The Original Petite Soiree hosted by CocoLily Magazine. As soon as I spotted their booth (pictured below) I was transfixed - such vibrant colors and beautiful prints!

Lou Harvey Rose Print

All their products are made of laminated fabrics which are both waterproof AND machine-washable - so their bags VERY kid-friendly. Not only are Lou Harvey products beautiful - they're also making a difference in the lives of South Africans affected by AIDS and HIV. Lou Harvey's Durban-based factory provides employment and skill training to grandmothers left to care for their orphaned grandchildren.

Lou Harvey Bag in Alex Sage

Their products can serve multiple purposes - my bag (Alex Sage Large Cosmetic) can be used as a clutch, toiletry bag or to organize items within a larger bag. The whole range is crafted from designer, limited edition fabrics - so if there's a print you like - stock up on it before it's gone for good!

Lou Harvey Large Cosmetic Bag in Alex Sage

Lou Harvey have kindly offered to gift a Rose print clutch to one of my Canadian readers. Entering is easy - follow BOTH @ellaprettyblog and @louharveycanada on Instagram, and comment below with your Instagram user name! Contest ends June 26. (PLEASE NOTE - winning clutch will have a rose design but fabric print may be slightly different depending on availability)

UPDATE:  Winner is @Argenplath

And if you're looking for the perfect birthday or baby shower gift - head over to Lou Harvey and use code ELLAPRETTY for 15% off your purchase! (discount code expires on July 8)

DISCLAIMER: Clutch was gifted to me by Lou Harvey.

Linking up with More Pieces of Me and On the Daily Express.

Mix & Match Fashion

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Decluttering and Donating this Spring

If you were to ask my family what we want our house to look like, they won't hesitate to say "a hotel". When we're tidying up, we don't just want our space to look good. We want it to look "hotel" good. That's not to say that my house looks anything LIKE a hotel (I wish!), it's just that we all love the peaceful and relaxing feeling that we get when we stay at a hotel.

Photo Credit: Baccarat Hotel

What is it about a hotel that looks so chic and put together? It's not just the decor...it's the lack of clutter! You can actually admire the furnishings because they're not hidden under a pile of stuff. But being part of a family of four, our stuff just seems to grow AND grow. There's always a steady stream of things coming in (clothes, books, toys) but hardly anything going out - and more stuff means more mess

This spring, I'm planning on doing some deep-cleaning around the house...and I'm going to be ruthless! For decluttering inspiration, I'll be following William Morris's quote: 

Image Source

The main areas I'll be targeting are: the toy room, my kitchen, the basement and my closet. Follow along on my instagram as I document some of the items I'll be getting rid of. Here are some of the items I've picked:

This Old Navy dress is from my pre-blogging days - I love the unique print of vibrant flowers on a tan background - but the babydoll design just isn't my style anymore.

I bought this pink and maroon plaid bag from River Island back when I was working in England. I remember debating whether I really NEEDED another bag (yes, I've always been a bag-lover) - but in the end I had to give in. Who could resist the little doggie charm hanging off the handle? But it's been years since I've used this bag, so I think it's time to let it go (although I may keep the charm!).

About 6 years ago I went through a "pyrex phase" - I'd search antique markets, thrift stores and eBay looking for colorful bowls. I especially loved pieces from the 60s and 70s: they're so sturdy and functional, and they made my kitchen feel old-fashioned and wholesome. While I'll always treasure some of my finds (like my pretty pink pyrex), I think it's time to let some of my other pieces go. I prefer a more simple color scheme now.

Of course, one man's recycling is another man's treasure, so I plan on being eco-friendly and donating my items to Value Village. I no longer have any use for them, but they may be just the thing someone else is looking for! I'll definitely be #HappyToPassItOn!

Do you have things you used to love but are now ready to pass on?

Value Village is more than your favourite thrift store- they also support nonprofit organizations like Canadian Diabetes Association and Developmental Disabilities Association, among others, in your community. Remember to donate your reusable items to local nonprofits at Value Village!  In addition to supporting the nonprofit, you’ll also be helping planet Earth.  Value Village, Good n’ Thrifty! 

Disclosure:  This post was brought to you by Value Village via Mode Media Canada.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Value Village.


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