The Twelfth Step…

In this series of posts, I am working through 12 steps I created to help refresh my wardrobe for fall. If you would like to follow join me in the challenge, you can find all the steps here.

Go shopping and buy yourself something new for fall! Share a picture with the class!

This is the final step of my wardrobe rehabilitation plan. I hit the mall this week, on a mission of great importance. I needed to find these basic fall essentials…

Basic Fall Essentials
 The goal was not to buy the exact items, but to use the list as a guideline to help me stay on track. It can be easy to get frustrated while shopping if you go in unprepared. I followed my own shopping best practices guidelines and the results were impressive. I found everything I needed and managed to stay right in my budget.  Let’s look at the actual items I purchased…
Basic Fall Results
 Most of the items above are the exact items I purchased with the exception of the brand of tights and the flat shoes (I ended up getting metallic flats instead). The coat I purchased is the same style but black. I purchased more tanks than pictured, they were only $5 at Old Navy. I ordered the tank dress and boots online. Since this was essential shopping, I stayed within my basic palette. Now that I have some nice looking black pants, I can wear all the printed tops I have sitting in my closet. Now that I have some warm wool tights, I can wear skirts more often. Now, I can shop for statement pieces without worrying if I have something to coordinate. I have the foundations.Full disclosure, I did buy a few things off my list because the prices were so good! Here are the bonus items I purchased. Each item was around $20…
Bonus Items
  This series has taught me the value of planning ahead before shopping. It took some time to narrow down my needs, but it was worth the effort. When you go grocery shopping without a list, you often buy a bunch of things that don’t add up to a meal. The same applies to clothing. Without a plan, you will have a lot of clothes but you won’t have a wardrobe that works. In the weeks to come, I’ll be turning my attention to accessories and styling these basic items. Bring on the shoes and jewelry!
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The Eleventh Step…

In this series of posts, I am working through 12 steps I created to help refresh my wardrobe for fall. If you would like to follow join me in the challenge, you can find all the steps here.

 Fantasize a little (or a lot)! Create a 10 piece fantasy fall wardrobe using Polyvore or link photos. Don’t worry about price, we are dreaming here. Try to pick styles that you would actually wear. You want to use this for inspiration when you go shopping for realistic items. You can use unlimited  shoes/accessories in your fantasy wardrobe, but stick to 10 clothing items.

A little fantasy can be good for the health of your wardrobe. It can provide a wealth of inspiration you can apply to your real shopping. I may not be able to buy a hot pink McQueen cropped jacket, but I could probably find a vintage jacket in the same shade on Etsy . (Note to self, write a post showing how you can replicate these pieces on the cheap.)

The items I picked are very much in tune with my personal style. They also work together in multiple ways. I just had to pick the black and white skirt because it looks like R2D2. I also created an accessory collage to compliment my fantasy wardrobe.
I like my handbags and shoes to be versatile classics and my jewelry to be architectural, humourous and bold.

After completing this exercise, I am ready and eager to shop! I know the basics I’m going to buy because I mapped them out in Step Nine . I will also supplement my basics with fun pieces inspired by these fantasy lists. This weekend, I’ll be hitting the stores. I’ll be sure to share my haul in The 12th Step.

 

Fantasy Wardrobe

Thakoon Addition cotton dress, 380 CAD / rag & bone chevron print dress, 550 CAD / Joseph cableknit sweater, 575 CAD / Marni draped top, 500 CAD / Meadham Kirchhoff fake fur coat, 6,785 CAD / Acne coat, 1,650 CAD / Alexander McQueen cropped jacket, 2,245 CAD / BROOKE ROBERTS gathered skirt, 295 CAD / Sonia by Sonia Rykiel loose pants, 150 CAD / White + Warren black knee length skirt
Fantasy Accessories

Yves Saint Laurent high heels, 1,050 CAD / Le Silla above the knee boots, 1,030 CAD / Alexander Wang leather motorcycle boots / Marni ballet shoes, 630 CAD / Diane von Furstenberg black shoes, 295 CAD / Leather handbag, 10,525 CAD / Lanvin camel clutch, 2,495 CAD / Yves Saint Laurent , 1,690 CAD / 3.1 Phillip Lim leather satchel, 795 CAD / Alexis Bittar victorian ring, 4,805 CAD / DANNIJO victorian necklace, 945 CAD / Delfina Delettrez tahitian pearl ring, 940 CAD / Cuff bangle bracelet, 785 CAD / Gold dog jewelry, 680 CAD / SHOUROUK tahitian pearl jewelry, 975 CAD / Valentino stud earrings, 575 CAD / Tribal jewelry, 550 CAD / Marni bracelets jewelry, 530 CAD / House of Waris , 330 CAD

The Tenth Step…

In this series of posts, I am working through 12 steps I created to help refresh my wardrobe for fall. If you would like to follow join me in the challenge, you can find all the steps here.

  Let someone else dress you! Have a girlfriend, boyfriend, family member or sales person pick out an outfit for you. It can be from your own wardrobe or you can do it at a store. You can photograph it on or off your body.

I was very resistant to the idea of being dressed by another person. I’ve always had very strong convictions when it comes to my clothing. I’m not always pitch perfect, but I like what I like. So it was with some trepidation that I asked my partner to pick out an outfit for this step of the challenge. He is a talented artist with his own very strong convictions. It did not surprise me when he picked out the one item I was trying to avoid. That damn dress.

Not only did he pick out that dress, but he paired with some wild leggings and a chunky scarf and orange boots! An outfit fit for Harajuku.

I didn’t do a very good job of wrapping the scarf, I look like I have a neck injury.

A funny thing happened when I was taking pictures in this dress. My confidence started to build, so I decided to try wearing it some other ways…not hiding behind the scarf!

 As you can see, by the end of it I was hamming it up and serving up my best Blue Steel. I couldn’t help it, I was feeling good!  The moral of the story, sometimes a fresh set of eyes can help you see yourself in a different way. If your wardrobe is feeling stagnate, let a friend make some suggestions. Even if you don’t wear the exact outfit they suggest, you may find yourself rethinking your own convictions.
Dress: Asos (straight size line)
Leggings: Asos Curve
Scarf: My Boyfriend’s Closet
Leather Jacket: Veda
Boots: Dolce Vita

Holy Grail Products: Foundation, Anti-Chaffing Gel and Sports Bras

 

When it comes to beauty and lifestyle products, we are always on the quest for the Holy Grail. Holy Grail items are those products so perfect, we need not look any further. I’ve only found the Holy Grail a few times in my life. I’d like to build on that list. Once you find a Holy Grail product, it’s easy to become evangelical about it.  So with that in mind, I’ve decided to start sharing my favourites as I find them. 

Armani Face Fabric ($50):

I mentioned this product in a previous post, because it is the only make-up product I am loyal to.  It’s definitely a luxury product with a luxury price tag that is totally justified in my eyes. This is the best, light coverage foundation product. It blends seamlessly with my skin. It has a matte finish, which I love. Some people prefer a dewy look, if I want shimmer or dew I add it afterwards. The most striking thing about Face Fabric is the texture of your skin after using it, smooth. It has a similar feeling to using a primer. And speaking of primer…

Lanacane Anti-Chaffing Gel ($9)

This is sold in drugstores as an Anti-Chaffing Gel. It does a great job of that. Many women have experienced the pain of thigh rub. It’s excruciating and can ruin your whole day. A liberal application of this stuff can save you some pain. However, that’s not why it’s on my list as a Holy Grail product. The crazy thing about this product is that it doubles as a make-up primer. It is very similar to Smashbox Primer for a fraction of the price. You can buy it in the drugstore. Monistat makes a similar product if you can’t find the Lanacane in your area. As a primer, this is a Holy Grail product. It’s cheap and it works!

Shock Absorber Sports Bras ($60+)

These athletic bras have a terrible name. I choose to ignore that because the quality of support is so great. I have a bra size that is often hard to find, and this company offers a range all the way up to HH. You can actually run in these bras, for real. They have the architecture to keep you secure. I have to order a new one because my old one is a bit too small. You can find a better price on eBay if you are not too picky about colours.

That’s my list for now. I’d love to hear about your favourite beauty and lifestyle items in the comments (and why you like them!).

Glossybox Canada October Review

 

In this series of posts, I’ll be reviewing beauty subscription services. I will be focusing on how well the boxes are suited to the brown-skinned beauty consumer. Although there are some niche focused beauty subscriptions on the market, I am only reviewing the ones designed for a general audience. 

My first GLOSSYBOX arrived today! It took about 2 weeks from my initial order to delivery. I learned from the GLOSSYBOX Facebook page that it used to cost $15 per month, but I missed that boat. The new price is $21. This first box is the October edition. I read all the spoilers on Facebook, so opening it was a bit anticlimactic. I’m going to have to avoid doing that in the future. It’s like peeking at your Christmas present. You only cheat yourself. Alright, now let’s take a closer look!

First things first, the packaging. It arrived in a sturdy, reusable, pink box. Opening the lid revealed decorative tissue and a pink ribbon. Fancy.

Even though I knew what to expect, it was pretty exciting to unwrap that tissue. Much like Christmas, I wanted to dig right in to the goodies. But wait! There is a card!

The card includes a description of the contents and some coupons I’ll probably forget about. Now for the good stuff, in order of the listing on the card…

JOUVIANCE REJUVENATING ANTI-AGING CREAM FOR COMBINATION TO OILY SKIN AND FOR NORMAL TO DRY SKIN ( Sample size value $9.50/ Full size $93.50)

I suppose I’m at the age where anti-aging creams are a thing. I don’t know if I’m really going to be able to decide if I like the product based on this small sample. It’s a pricey product, so I understand the limited sample size. It has no scent, so that is a selling point if you are sensitive. I washed my face and put some on, it did leave my skin feeling soft. (Update: I woke up and my skin still feels soft and moisturized.)

MODELCO FLIPSTICK LIP DUO (Full size sample $38.75)

I was prepared to dislike this product based on photos I’d seen online, but I was wrong. I don’t wear a lot of lipstick but when I do I usually opt for something super bold. I’ve never really got the hang of nude lips. This is a lip duo, one end is lipstick (dusk) and one is gloss (striptease). The lipstick is very moisturizing and the gloss is not sticky. This adds up to a winning combination. An added bonus is the smell, it’s sweet like candy but it doesn’t have a flavour. There is one major design flaw. It has a built in mirror, but you can’t use it while applying because it’s attached to the part you hold. Oopsie daisy!

ZOYA NAILPOLISH (Full size sample $8.00)

This colour is not really my thing, but it does look nice with dark skin tones. I’d be more likely to wear it on my toes. This is my first experience with Zoya. I painted one nail to see how it went on, one coat was nearly enough. I’m looking forward to trying other colours by the brand.

TRILLIANCE SHAMPOO & CONDITIONER WITH ROCK CRYSTAL EXTRACT (Sample value $6.48, Full size set $32.38)

I don’t use shampoo very often. My hair is so dry. Honestly, I’ll probably just give the shampoo to my boyfriend. I will try the conditioner. I don’t expect to get much “shine” from the rock crystals it contains. Since my hair is so thick, I’ll only get one or two uses out of this sample. I’ll report back if it’s phenomenal.

GILLETTE VENUS & OLAY RAZOR (Retail value $16.99)

Razors are not the most exciting thing to get in a beauty box. They are like socks on Christmas. In the long run, you are glad you didn’t have to spend the money yourself. Really, razors are expensive man! This little puppy retails for $17! I’m going to use that $17 on wine instead.

TOTAL BOX VALUE: $79.73!

I am satisfied with this box overall. The products were pretty universal. I believe I got my money’s worth. This is just the first of many boxes and bags to come. If they can all be this solid, I am sure to find a lot of great products.

Make-up for Dumb Dumbs

I am not a beauty junkie. Make-up application is not my strongest skill. I do have a serious looking make-up case from Holt Renfrew, a gift I requested from my mother a few years ago. Right now, it’s full of crusty old products and 3 identical shades of silver nail polish. Once again, my make-up shortcomings are a product of the abject laziness I described in my last hair care post. I don’t really care for make-up shopping. I don’t like trying on products at the drugstore (because eww!). I get overwhelmed after about 2 minutes in Sephora, and slink out empty-handed every damn time. The make-up counters at department stores are a bit better, but I hate being sold things and would rather go about my business shopping without the help of an employee. As a result, I buy nothing.

So what is a girl to do when she wants to step up her make-up game? Internet!
I hit the beauty blogs on a quest for product recommendations and stumbled on the whole Beauty Product Subscription industry. Now you are speaking my language. Beauty products delivered to my house for a low monthly fee? Sign me up!

I signed up for 3 monthly services (Glymm, Ipsy, Glossybox); and one quarterly service (LuxeBox). I’m also on the waiting list for TopBox. Why so many you ask? I thought it might be interesting to review them for my blog. I have brown skin (if you didn’t notice) and I want to see how well the products are suited to darker complexions (and black hair!). I figure, I’m a good guinea pig. I have average skills in make-up application and no brand loyalty. There is only one product I am devoted to, Armani Face Fabric.  That stuff is magical.

Since I only applied for most of the boxes this week, I am not sure if I will be getting November boxes from all the companies. You will be happy to know that I did receive one box today. I’m unpacking it for review tonight! I’ll be sharing shortly.

 

White Mom + Black Hair

I love my natural hair. It’s really lovely if I do say so myself.  I am not the type of girl who likes to spend hours getting ready for anything. That is because I am lazy. This presents a problem for me because my natural hair requires serious upkeep just to keep it from becoming a tangled mess. Combing my hair is the grooming activity I hate more than anything. It’s the worst, up there with dental visits.

A little back story here. My mom is an amazing, wonderful, beautiful human being. She moved to Zambia with my dad when she was only 18 years old and was promptly blessed with a chubby bundle of Jasmine. Everything was fine for the first couple of years, but then my hair exploded. Hair combing became an epic battle.We are talking about the type of nuclear meltdowns only 3 year olds can produce. I would only allow her to comb it when I was in the bathtub, because it was less painful when wet. It was easier for everyone if my hair was cut short, so I wore a little fro until I was old enough to have an opinion about my hair.

Mom and me in 1979

Despite her amazingness, my mom wasn’t equipped to teach me how to manage my hair. These days, you can find whole websites on the topic. I was a child in the 80’s, in Canada! You could barely find a black salon in my town. Subsequently, I grew up to be a black female with zero hair skills.

It’s one of my personal goals, to improve the health and appearance of my natural hair. This requires discipline and routine. Keeping my hair tangle free is the biggest challenge I face. Recently I discovered the magic of two-strand twists. If you want to see how that is done, I recommend this tutorial by Alicia James.  The two-strand strand twists give me a new look with very little commitment other than time. It does take hours, but I do it while watching movies.

My Two-strand Twists

After I’ve worn the twists for a few days, I take them out and my hair looks awesome! It also tangles less, so that is a mega bonus. Behold my magnificent twist-out! Isn’t it fabulous?

Magical twist out.

Now, the one thing I’m missing from my routine is product. My hair is parched. It is thirsty. It could really go for a big gulp right now. So, imagine my delight when I learned that a friend of mine had started her own hair care line!  I’m all for supporting local business and Sheena’s  products are made in Canada. Sheena was kind enough to send me a sample of her leave-in conditioner, it’s called Nourish.

  I’ll be conducting my product review next week. In the meantime, you can check out Sheena’s youtube channel.