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Saturday, January 17, 2015

Meeting the Pixiwoo Sisters & My Favourite Makeup Brushes

Sam and Nic Chapman
Photo Credit: John Goldstein Photography

If you watch YouTube as much as I do, you'll understand why I was SO excited to meet the Pixiwoo sisters when they visited Toronto last month - I've been watching their videos for YEARS! Sam and Nic are EXACTLY the same in person as they are in their videos...and their makeup application is flawless - they are both just so gorgeous! Aside from their Youtube videos, the Pixiwoo sisters are also famous for channeling their professional makeup artist expertise to create the Real Techniques brush line.

The meet-up was hosted by Farleyco Marketing - the official Canadian distributors of Real Techniques brushes. After taking pictures with the Pixiwoo sisters, we sat down for a Question and Answer session. Here are some of my favorite tidbits from their talk:
  • Their favorite Real Techniques Brush: Sam loves the Expert Face Brush and Nic thinks that the Setting Brush does not get the attention it deserves.
  • How NOT to wash your brushes: One of their pet peeves is seeing their brushes being "drowned" in a sink full of soapy water...it may seem like a quick way to wash your brushes, but submerging your brushes in water is a BAD idea - it will make the bristles fall out. (Try this instead - my top makeup brush cleaning tips)
  • Dealing with Haters: They are open to opinions and suggestions on makeup, but ignore baseless and personal attacks, as those reflect more about the commenter than their videos.
  • Who they watch on YouTube: Sam likes Lauren Luke and Nic enjoys Kandee Johnson's videos.  They said they don't watch too many other YouTubers as they don't want their style to inadvertently get influenced.
  • Using their platform for more than just makeup: The sisters recently posted a video about their experience with domestic abuse. They wanted to share their story and let other people going through a similar situation know that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Not only do I love Pixiwoo's videos - I'm also a HUGE fan of their Real Techniques Makeup Brushes. The quality is amazing yet they're so reasonably priced. They are made of the softest synthetic bristles (no shedding!) which are hand-cut to ensure flawless makeup application. Their aluminum metallic handles are lightweight (and pretty!!!), while their non-slip bases ensure that the brushes won't roll off the counter when you set them down. BONUS - the Pixiwoo sisters film YouTube tutorials on how to use each brush!

My most-used Real Techniques brushes (In case you're wondering - I purchased these brushes myself and have been using them for at least a year, if not longer)

  • Domed Shadow Brush - I use this to apply concealer under my eyes - it smooths on an even and thin layer.
  • Buffing Brush - One of the most famous brushes in the Real Techniques line. It's the best foundation brush I've ever tried - it takes even the thickest foundation and applies it so that it looks smooth and airbrushed without any caking.
  • Multi Task Brush - I use this with my pigmented powder blush - the large domed head deposits a light dusting of even color.
  • Contour Brush - Smoothly applies my bronzer for contouring - subtle application which allows you to build up intensity without overdoing it.
  • Detailer Brush - Not a complete necessity, but I use this to apply lip balm at night. It helps to work the balm into my lips...and it feels really nice too!

Real Techniques Brushes to try (these were gifted by Farleyco Beauty, they kindly allowed me to select the products I wanted)

  • Sculpting Brush - Specially designed (with a wide angled head) for contouring -  I think it will make it even easier to define my face with highlighter and bronzer.
  • Miracle Complexion Sponge - Their version of the beauty blender. Modified from the classic teardrop shape, this design adds in a flat edge to make it easier to work around the eyes and nose.
  • Silicone Liner Brush - I can't wait to use this brush with my gel liner. It features a solid silicone tip rather than bristles - and is meant to apply liner smoothly and precisely. I also think the silicone will make it easier to keep clean.
  • Retractable Kabuki Brush - Will keep this in my travel makeup bag for applying powder, blush and bronzer. Also, I kind of wanted it just because it's pink and portable - it's SO pretty!

Do you watch Pixiwoo on YouTube? Do you own any Real Techniques Brushes?

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

Thursday, January 8, 2015

First Forever21 Haul of the Year

Happy New Year - hope you had a fun-filled Holiday season! We definitely had a lot of family time and rest over the holidays - unfortunately it was because we were all struck by a family-wide virus! Thankfully we're all on the mend now - although my daughter and I are still on antibiotics.

Forever21 Draped Surplice Blouse (CAD link)

I might have done some online shopping from the sickbed - I've been loving these Forever 21 wrap shirts - and I now own three! But they're less than $20, made of great material and are easy to wash & wear - so they're definitely worth getting multiples of!

Forever21 Draped Surplice Blouse (CAD link) / Bag

I got the black and taupe blouses in small, but the cream was sold out so I purchased it in medium. Although it's slightly looser, I like the extra length!

Forever21 Layered Panel Chiffon Blouse (CAD link)

I tend to wear a lot of white and cream colors - but I also love vibrant colors too - like this hot pink chiffon blouse.

Forever21 Essential Pleated Top (CAD link)

And this radiant orchid top - I've been looking for a blouse in this shade for at least a year!

Forever21 Hooded Toggle Coat (CAD link)

I also ordered this camel coat - it's the perfect color but I'm not sure if it's a keeper - I wish the material was a bit thicker and warmer.

Apricot Long Sleeve Metallic Yoke Pockets Coat (size: small)

This jacket also arrived in the mail - it was sent to me by Sheinside. I'm completely in love with it - it's everything I wanted the Uniqueen Malang Jacket to be: it can be fastened up the front, it's tailored but the lining is not too thick (or hot) - plus the shoulder fit and the sleeve width are perfect!

Wow - it felt good to get this post written out - I've missed blogging over the past couple of weeks, and I can't wait to get all caught up! Also, stay tuned for a VERY exciting blog giveaway coming up soon (hint - it's an amazing smartphone!!!)

Have you made any clothing purchases recently? Which of these pieces is your favorite?

Disclaimer: I purchased the Forever21 items myself. The Sheinside jacket was sent to me by the company.

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

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Worn 3 Ways & Outfit Twinning

Shirt / Jeans / Clutch (similar) / Bag / Quilted Clutch / Necklace

Sometimes you don't feel like spending a lot of money on new outfits for holiday parties. In my latest holiday tutorial for Yummy Mummy, I posted about taking a closet staple and re-styling it for 3 different events. Read my post and let me know what you think!

Shirt: Forever21 / Bag: Balenciaga / Boots: c/o Cougar / Necklace: c/o Pink Lovebird

I've been sticking to my staples recently - cream and lace. I wore this outfit for a fun lunch with my super-stylish friend Mehreen - she used to be "the Currently Obsessed" but has relaunched her blog as Fifth and Bloor - be sure to check her out!

Shirt: Old NavyBooties: Old Navy (similar), Clutch: GAP (similar)

Of course plaid continues to be a favorite - this shirt is my second flannel one from Old Navy - I love the pretty light blue color.

Jacket: Forever21 (this one has a bow!), Boots: Old Navy (this year's version), Bag: Pashli, Necklace: J.Crew

I've really been loving tweed jackets - I wore this cream one to a recent blogger tea party.

Plaid Blanket Scarf

I had to share this last outfit...this is what happens when you love the Plaid Blanket scarf trend too much! My friend and I both showed up at a school event dressed identically from head-to-toe... This was totally unplanned - I didn't even know she owned the same scarf! But seriously, I think plaid blanket scarves are the best trend ever - warm, lightweight & an adorable pattern - I guess I should be prepared for a LOT more unintentional twinning! (My scarf is sold out but I found the same one here in case you're still looking!)

Have you ever ended up wearing the same outfit as someone else at an event? 

Hope you're having a lovely holiday season! Click here if you need any last-minute gift ideas!

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

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Getting Holiday Party Ready: My Top Hair, Makeup & Outfit Tips!

Top: H&M (similar), Skirt: Smart Set (similar), Boots: c/o Cougar, Bag: Marc Jacobs Single (similar)

I love getting ready for holiday parties - it's fun putting on your best clothes and spending time with friends and family. Of course being comfortable is VERY important to me - which is why I've been loving this wool plaid skirt lately. Paired with opaque tights, it's warm and easy to wear - while the subtle print makes it easy to pattern mix without clashing.

I've shared my top Holiday Party makeup tips in this YouTube video. I gave my friend a makeover using simple but effective steps that are easy to recreate at home. Also - one lucky viewer will win a Target package containing all the makeup used in this video - so be sure to enter here!

And if you're looking for hair-styling ideas - I've demonstrated 3 of my favorite holiday hairstyles (with step-by-step instructions) here. From a sleek ponytail to a glam topknot or the loose curls shown below - there's a hairstyle for every occasion!

And finally - if you need outfit inspiration for work, cocktail, family or kids parties - check out this post with seven outfit ideas!

Hope you've found some helpful tips in this post! What's your favorite Holiday Party outfit?

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

 Credit for 1st Photo: Elaine 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Winter Style: Black Blazer, Lace Tank and Warm Boots

Jacket: H&M, Top: ExpressBoots: Cougar FIZZ, Clutch: GAP (similar), Necklaces: Forever21 (similar)

I'm a firm believer in dressing warmly... I can't just throw on a coat and be happy - I need cozy covers for my ears, hands and feet too. I think it's because I was born in a tropical country... Hubby was born in England and he's happy wearing a sweatshirt on days when I'm bundled up in my puffy winter coat! (Sidenote: I quickly slipped my coat off to take these photos... it was minus 4C... do I look freezing?)

Since I value warm feet - I was super excited to get the chance to try the FIZZ boots from Cougar. Not only are they oh-so-warm (they're made of Suede with an insulated Micronylex lining)...they're HEAVEN to walk in, because they have a molded memory foam insole. I didn't even know memory foam insoles existed - how come they're not mandatory for all shoes? It makes you feel like you're walking on little clouds! Here are some of my favorite FIZZ-features:
  • Guaranteed waterproof with a non-slip sole - perfect for wet winter weather.
  • Hidden 1.5 inch wedge heel - adds a little bit of height without any discomfort.
  • Almond-shaped toe and pretty gold zipper & tassel details - they work well with jeans but are also chic enough to wear with dresses too!
  • Flexible - some winter boots are stiff and hard to drive with ... these boots allow a full range of movement. This is important to me since I'm a very cautious new driver and pedal control is so crucial!
While the Fizz is my favorite style, I also love the slouchy Fandango Boot and the sturdy Danza Boot too! If you would like your own pair of Cougar Boots - you should definitely enter their contest (details here

Which boots keep your feet warm in the winter?

P.S. For more cold weather tips, check out my Top 5 Snow Day Essentials for Kids.

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

 Photo credit: Elaine 

DISCLOSURE: Boots were provided by Cougar - but I selected the style myself.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Draped Blouse, Leopard Clutch and Pure Red Lips

Shirt: H&M, Jeans: GAP, Booties: Old Navy (similar), Clutch: GAP (similar), Necklace: LOFT

I was so thrilled when I heard that L'Oreal was coming out with a matte red lipstick inspired by Blake Lively - I couldn't wait to try it. So imagine my excitement when I received this package in the mail containing L'Oreal Paris Collection Exclusive Pure Reds!

As with their Nudes range, this Collection Exclusive features "L'Oreal Spokesmodel"-inspired lipsticks and polishes. The Pure Reds range features "matte reds sculpted by semi-tones to offer every woman the perfect shade to enhance her beauty."

I'm wearing Blake's Pure Red Lipstick and Polish in my pictures. The color is gorgeous and the formula is everything I look for in a red lipstick - matte, non-drying and super-long lasting... it does NOT budge!

Doutzen (Fire Red) / Eva (Brick Red) / Blake (Pure Red) / JLo (Ruby Red) / Laetitia (Garnet Red)

As a LOVER of matte red lipsticks, I am obsessed with this range. I feel SO lucky to have received all the different shades to try - I'm going to have the perfect lip to match any holiday outfit I wear!

Doutzen (Fire Red) / Eva (Brick Red) / Blake (Pure Red) / JLo (Ruby Red) / Laetitia (Garnet Red) / Freida (Amaranthe Red)

The nailpolishes come in such pretty shades - I think Blake and Laetitia's berry toned polishes look gorgeous in the winter, while Doutzen's coral color will be pretty for a summer pedicure.

Have you tried anything from the L'Oreal Paris Collection Exclusive Pure Reds line?

In preparation for the holiday season, I've teamed up with a group of U.S. and Canadian Bloggers to gift one lucky reader with a $650 EXPRESS Gift card! Fill in the rafflecopter form below to enter - good luck (and please take me shopping with you if you win LOL!!!)
  • Start time: Monday, December 1st at 7am central
  • End time: Monday, December 8th  at 11:59pm central
  • Winner will be announced on Wednesday, December 10th.
  • Open to US and Canadian residents, however, the total of the e-gift card will be based on $650 US dollars.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

DISCLOSURE: L'Oreal products were sent to me by the company for review.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Fall Essentials: The Faux Fur Vest

Philip Lim Pashli Mini
Blouse: LOFT, Vest: Express (Similar), Leggings: H&M, Boots: Hunter, Necklace: c/o PinkLoveBird (code: ELLA10) Bracelet: J.Crew (similar), Bag: Pashli, Lips: Lady Danger

For the second installment of my Fall Essentials series, I HAD to feature a faux fur vest. When else but Fall do you get the chance to wear this fun layering piece? It keeps your core warm without feeling too bundled up. I purchased my vest at Express a couple of years ago (I styled it four ways in this post.) As it's slightly bulky, I like to wear it with a slim fitting shirt - like this lightweight one from LOFT.  I paired this with my faux leather leggings and Hunter boots - perfect for the brisk fall weather!

Although my exact vest is no longer in stores, there are a lot of cute and affordable options currently available - these 4 are all from Forever21... I'm especially loving the white one!

Two-tone / White / Black / Leopard

If faux fur is not your thing, you can still get in on the vest trend - try other options such as shearling, utility and quilted styles:

quilted / utility / shearling / tweed

And if it's already coat weather where you live - you might want to check out this pretty pink coat I found at H&M - it's under $50! Disclaimer though - I'm still trying to figure out if I should keep it myself - I love the color but I don't know if the raised collar will work well with the scarves I love to wear!

H&M Double Breasted Jacket Pink
Pink H&M Coat

Ending with a quick mirror pic of my outfit:

Philip Lim Pashli Mini it Taupe
Blouse: LOFT, Vest: Express (Similar), Leggings: H&M, Necklace: c/o PinkLoveBird (code: ELLA10) Bracelet: J.Crew (similar), Bag: Pashli, Lips: Lady Danger

What is your favorite vest to wear in the fall - faux fur, quilted, utility or shearling?

P.S. If you enjoy reading my blog - PLEASE click here and press the vote button (no registering required - just one click and you're done!). I'm in the Best Fashion Blog category for the MIB2014 Awards! 

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

 Photo credit: Elaine 

Monday, November 10, 2014

"Other Bloggers Made Me Buy it" Shopping Haul and Designer Bag Dupes at Express

H&M Black Jacket
Jacket: H&M, Top: Express, Jeans: GAP, Booties: Old Navy (similar)

Sometimes, you don't have to take responsibility for your recent purchases. Why feel guilty when you can blame your dear blog friends instead? If they hadn't made an item seem like SUCH a must-have, you wouldn't have HAD to buy it, right? Like this Express Baroque Tiered Lace Tank that Gina's been making me want since June! Not only is it beautifully embroidered...it layers so well with contrasting camisoles. I'm wearing it with a white tank - but look at how cute it looks when paired with a pop of orange! I waited patiently for it to go on sale - and it was worth it - it's currently $20 instead of $59!

My second blogger-inspired purchase was this H&M Draped Wrap-Style Blouse that I spotted on my forever favorite blogger - Jean of Extra Petite. As she mentions, the quality of the fabric is not that great - it seems a bit delicate and prone to snagging. Still, it's so beautifully designed that I HAD to keep it - I'll just be extra careful when I'm wearing it!

I know EVERY blogger owns this plaid blanket scarf - but there's a reason for that...the colour combination is just so classic and gorgeous. While the ZARA one sold out a while back, Target has a similar option - for under $20! Given my love for plaid blanket scarves, I definitely needed to add this to my wardrobe. (Click here for my top scarf-tying tips: How to Wear Scarves.)

While at Express, I was drawn in by the bag display - they have so many well-made choices, including "designer-inspired" versions of all the hottest IT bags. I had fun matching the Express bags (on the right) with their designer counterparts! Which of these do you like the best?

I ended up purchasing this wristlet (how could I resist the black quilting!) to hold my essentials (wallet/keys/phone). It easily fits within my bigger bags, and I can carry it by itself when I only need the basics.

On a more serious note, no matter WHO inspires you - it's always important to shop responsibly and stay within your budget ;-) That being said - have you made any blogger-inspired purchases recently?

P.S. If you enjoy reading my blog - PLEASE click here and press the vote button (no registering required - just one click and you're done!). I'm in the Best Fashion Blog category for the MIB2014 Awards! 

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

Friday, October 31, 2014

Fall Outfits, Fashion Week and Self-Esteem

October has been SUCH a hectic month - FULL of blog events and activities, yet not enough blog posts - so I wanted to share some of the things that have kept me busy this month!

With Janelle, Elaine & Dee

First up was World Mastercard Fashion Week - I spent a fun day attending 3 shows while also getting the chance to go backstage and check out the hair and makeup looks on the models. Read about my favourite pieces (MAJOR style inspiration) here - and also enter to win a model-worthy 5-piece set of Redken products!

I had a fashion emergency before the show and ended up trying on some FAKE nails (not my usual look!) and was surprised by how much I enjoyed wearing them - read my review here!

Aside from fashion week, I had the opportunity to get involved with the Dove Self-Esteem project - I moderated a one-hour workshop for mothers and daughters on how to encourage healthy self-esteem and body confidence. Can you spot me in my pink jacket at the front of the room?

It had been nearly a decade since I had to "present" in front of such a large group - I felt a bit nervous before the event...but as it turned out - it was a lovely and comfortable experience. I was in a room of mothers and daughters - and we all wanted the same thing - to learn how to help our daughters feel their best.

Here's a post I wrote about my own struggles with self-esteem (yes, those are photos from my childhood up there!). My post includes links to a self-esteem resource page which has been SO helpful. I've passed the resource page on to my kids' school - and they're planning on using some of the materials in the classroom!

Jacket: WHBM (similar), Necklace: Pink Lovebird (10% off with code ELLA10), Bag: LV Neverfull (similar), Shoes: F21 (similar)

Here's the outfit I wore for the workshop - pink is my happy color and makes me feel my best :-)

Shirt: Old Navy, Scarf: H&M, Boots: Old Navy (this year's version),  Bag: LV Neverfull (similar)

I've also been incorporating some darker fall colours into my wardrobe.

Sweater: Old Navy (similar), Vest: Express (similar), Jeans: GAPBag: LV Neverfull (similar), Shoes: Old Navy

As well as my fur vest...

Scarf: F21 (similar), Sweater: H&M, Boots: Old Navy (this year's version)

And lots of scarves...

Jacket: ZARA (similar), Scarf: F21 (identical), Boots: Old Navy (this year's version), Bag: LV Neverfull (similar)

Including my plaid blanket scarf!

Shirt: H&M (similar), Skirt: Smart Set (similar 1, 2, 3), Bag: Marc Jacobs (similar 1, 2), Booties: Old Navy (similar)

For evening events, I've been pairing mini skirts with opaque tights and black booties.

Shirt: LOFT, Skirt: J.Crew Factory (similar), Bag: Marc Jacobs (similar 1, 2), Booties: Old Navy (similar), Necklace: Pink Lovebird (10% off with code ELLA10)

It's a fun (AND WARM!!!) combination!

Shirt: Old Navy, Skirt: Smart Set (similar 1, 2, 3), Bag: Balenciaga, Boots: Old Navy (this year's version)

For my fashion week outfit - I stepped slightly out of my comfort zone and pattern-mixed with TWO plaid prints!

Ok...I think this post has gotten really long, so I'll stop here - I feel much more caught up now! I'll be updating soon with a shopping haul featuring some of my favourite recent purchases - including a pink fall coat.

Have you ever struggled with self-esteem? 

P.S. If you enjoy reading my blog - PLEASE click here and press the vote button (no registering required - just one click and you're done!). I'm in the Best Fashion Blog category for the MIB2014 Awards!

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


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