Falling into a New Season

Fashion & Beauty, Lifestyle/Personal

“Aprils have never meant much to me, autumns seem that season of beginning, spring.” ― Truman CapoteBreakfast at Tiffany’s

I love the stillness that comes with Fall. I love the silence. I love the idea that hibernation is in the forecast. After a crazy-busy-beautiful summer I am ready for a change of pace. I am yearning for cooler weather, warm sweaters, dark nail polish, and pumpkin-spiced everything. Call me crazy but Fall is my favourite season. It has potential, it radiates happiness with modest charm, and although I’m officially not in school anymore, it still has that air of change, growth, and excitement.

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I’m looking forward to a Fall filled with new adventures, exploring different styles, and creating new goals. I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving, long drives surrounded by trees with leaves ignited by colour. I’m looking forward to cool evenings with my laptop on my lap, words floating around in my mind, and a hot cuppa tea nearby.

I’m looking forward to it all.

xoxo,

Vanessa 

MaskerAide Virgin #sheetmaskselfie INCLUDED

Fashion & Beauty

When it comes to taking care of my face, my daily routine is simple:

  1. wash face with water in the morning + moisturize with no-name cream
  2. wash face with Dove soap in the evening + moisturize with no-name cream

Seriously. That’s it. I tend to spend more time primping my nails than taking care of my face. The reason: the more I put on my face, the worse it looks. I have very sensitive skin that breaks out easily. I can’t use harsh-smelling lotions or face wash and I refuse to wear foundation or powders. That being said, sometimes my face is in need of some serious TLC.

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Karen Viray is the wonderful woman who sent me four MaskerAide sheet masks – All Nighter, Weather Warrior, Beauty Restore, and Pre Party Prep. I’ve wanted to try them our for a long time (#sheetmaskselfies have plugged up my newsfeeds for months) and I don’t think Karen realizes just how perfect her timing was!

After trying all four sheet masks I am happy to announce that I didn’t break out at all! My skin is a little more radiant and insanely smooth; it even looks hydrated! **EVEN THE FIANCE NOTICED*** MaskerAide sheet masks are easy to use, super gentle, and give you an excuse to close your eyes, blast a Sam Hunt playlist on Youtube, and just unwind. We seem to forget how important it is to have these little moments to ourselves. I promise that twenty minutes with a MaskerAide sheet mask will leave you feeling rejuvenated both facially and emotionally.

Love Always,

Vanessa Xo

**Photo from the MaskerAide website**

The Bride’s Diary – The Dress

Fashion & Beauty, Lifestyle/Personal

The Bride's Diary

Every girl dreams about is the moment they put on a white gown and are so overcome by emotion (and their own beauty) that they weep incessantly. Every girl except me. I’ve never dreamt about my wedding nor the dress I would wear that day. I’ve never obsessed about it and had no idea what style I even wanted. I also had no idea that I had to look for my dress at least a year in advance. Call me the Clueless Bride I guess.

I made an appointment at Ritche Bridal and brought along my mother, sister, and future mother-in-law to help me decide on a dress. I came prepared with ideas, photos, and a do not ever put me in a dress like this list. As usual we were a little early for the appointment so my sister took the opportunity to pull out a few dresses she thought would look good on me. One of which I wasn’t 100% sure of.

In no time my bridal consultant ushered us into the room with a few questions; budget? style? colour? The first dress I tried on just so happened to be the one that my sister pulled out. It was gorgeous. Simple. Sweet. Classic. Stunning. Even though I didn’t want to get out of it, we put it to the side while I tried on about 6 or 7 more gowns. None of which suited me the way the first dress did. Even the bridal consultant couldn’t get that dress out of her head, so just for fun, I tried it on again. Immediately a smile rose to my lips; this is my dress. For the finishing touch my consultant put a simple veil on my head which lead to an intense crying session starting with me and ending with my mother-in-law. Cue hand waving and mascara running.

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“Are you saying yes to the dress?” asked the consultant. 

“YES!” I replied. 

And THAT is how I found the dress, the dress I didn’t want to take off, the dress that I pictured Alex seeing me in when I walked down the aisle, the dress that my parents would “give me away” in, the dress that I would dance the night away in. I’d like to thank Ritche Bridal and especially my consultant Naima, for making dress shopping easy, memorable, and relaxing. Thank you for listening to me, for sticking to the budget, and for really understanding the kind of bride and person I am. I would recommend you to anyone!

Love Always,

Vanessa Xo

The Red Bow: Newer + Simpler

Fashion & Beauty, Giveaways, Products and Brands

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I love pretty things and this love brought me into contact with The Red Bow almost two years ago. Since then I’ve written about them several times, shopped on the website on numerous occasions, and even teamed up with them to host a giveaway or two. The mastermind behind The Red Bow is Karen Viray : a smart, passionate, kick-ass woman who has been a source of inspiration time and time again.

I connected with her recently to talk about Th Red Bow. When I asked her what her favourite pretty things are she replied: It is really difficult to choose but I love pretty books, desserts and wallpaper. On The Red Bow, I’d have to say our new macaron-shaped mini boxes. They are honestly so pretty and real looking, I love just having them on my desk or on my vanity. They are actual macaron-size and can hold small things like earrings or breath mints (or Advil, if you’re like me and keep them at your desk – it’s definitely a way prettier way of storing them lol).

When I heard that The Red Bow was getting a facelift and a complete relaunch my excitement was taken to the next level. When I asked Karen why she decided to change things around she told me that since she wants to keep The Red Bow a small business, she thought it would be best to make it as uncomplicated as possible. Simplifying the website and narrowing down the products to better reflect who she is will not only give her time to connect with her customers in a personal way, but it will also help her manage life/work and everything else in a more sane and (healthy?) way. It also gives her the time she needs to keep up her hand-written notes and personal wrapping for her customers.

That, that right there is why I’ve continued to be a huge fan of The Red Bow AND Karen. She says, I see The Red Bow as more of a community, rather than just another dime-a-dozen online shoppe selling similar things as everyone else. I want to grow the trb community with more online engagement, collaborations, blog content, local events and charity outreach.

The store will include three simple sections: PRETTY ACCESSORIES (statement pieces, old favourites, and new goodies), PRETTY BEAUTY (yummy fragrances and the very best Korean beauty products), and PRETTY HOME (art prints, stationery, journals, and even home decor accessories). I have earrings, a clutch, a bracelet, notebooks, art prints, and an iPhone case from The Red Bow and cannot wait to see all of the new products they have in stock. Karen is super excited to share some NEW favourite things with her customers too. Karen divulges that she’s MOST excited about the pretty beauty section, since beauty, make-up and skin care have always been an obsession hers. The newest products that the red bow will be carrying is a small selection of my favourite, and a few cult favourite, beauty products from Asia, she says. I for one cannot wait to get my hands on some of these products!

As for the future of The Red Bow, Karen says; I definitely look forward to seeing how it will transform in the next 5 years. Small businesses grow, just as the people behind them grow as well.  It’s a creative synergy. I couldn’t agree more! I was given a sneak peek of the new site – which will officially launch on June 1st, 2015 – and was blown away by the sheer beauty of it. Everything Karen set out to accomplish with the relaunch has been brought into fruition and I cannot wait for other lovers of pretty things to check it out!

Love Always,

Vanessa Xo

Pai Skincare [Product Review]

Fashion & Beauty, Products and Brands
From the Pai Skincare Website

From the Pai Skincare Website

I very rarely post beauty product reviews on my blog simply because I don’t try them out very often. I have super sensitive skin and tend to break-out when I try anything new. When I was sent a press release for Pai Skincare I thought I’d give them a try. Why? Well, their slogan is We Understand Sensitive Skin, and I’m a sucker for a good slogan.

Pai Skincare is a line based out of London and has officially landed in Canada. Their products are certified organic by the UK Soil Association. Their products are synthetic-free and made with ingredients proven to sooth the skin. They ensure that their products are free from irritating chemicals and alcohol. If that’s not enough to entice you to give Pai a try, check out what the CEO and creator has to say:

“Having suffered with extremely reactive skin, I know exactly what it needs and how it can make you feel,” said Sarah Brown, CEO and creator, Pai Skincare. “Pai is about products that you can not only trust, but really love to use. And thanks to the high quality, super-soothing ingredients, they’ll help you fall back in love with your skin too.”

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I was sent Pai’s Geranium & Thistle Rebalancing Day Cream, Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser, Muslin Face Cloth, and Echium & Argan Gentle Eye Cream. The cream and cleanser have a lovely scent to them, both natural and light. The camellia and rose really shine through and sooth you inside and out! Normally it only takes a few uses for me to break-out after trying out a new product, but I’ve been using the day cream and cleanser for almost a week and find my skin to be softer, blemish free, and more radiant than ever before. I have yet to try out the eye cream but I can’t see it being anything less than magical.

To learn more about Pai check out the links below!

Website:      PaiSkincare.com
Twitter:        @PaiSkincare
Facebook:    PaiSkincare
Instagram:   @PaiSkincare

Love Always,

Vanessa Xo

I Can See Clearly Now [Again] with @ClearlyContacts

Fashion & Beauty, Products and Brands

Three years ago I won a pair of glasses from Casie Stewart and Clearly Contacts. I wore those Derek Cardigans nearly every single day and even when my prescription changed in May of last year, I continued to wear them. The trouble is that I updated my contact lens prescription but didn’t change the lenses in my glasses, this equalled many headaches and an appalling amount of eye aches. After an intense inner-battle, I finally went over to Clearly Contacts and virtually tried on any pair that I found sale.

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Within an hour I decided on the pair that I wanted, the Dakota Smith Valor Brown, and placed my order. Within a week they arrived at my doorstep! For under $70.00 I got a brand new pair of glasses with the correct prescription, scratch-free lenses, and a repair-kit to boot! Since they’re men’s frame I find the bridge width a little too big but I think if I get them tightened they should be okay. I am loving these new frames and cannot believe how good they make me feel! Change your glasses and you can change the world, that’s they say right?

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Putting on a new pair of glasses or sunglasses is a simple way to completely transform your look – just like a new hairstyle. Brad Goreski

 

Love Always, 

Vanessa Xo

*Disclosure: Although I’ve worked with Clearly Contacts in the past, they had nothing to do with this post. I searched for and purchased the glasses on my own. I wrote this post because I love their products and my new glasses.

Holiday Gift Guide [for the Twenty-Something Woman in Your Life]

Fashion & Beauty, Just for Fun, Lifestyle/Personal, Products and Brands

I KNOW that it’s only November but it’s never too early to start your Holiday shopping! It may even get you into the Christmas Spirit. Below are six gift ideas for the twenty-something woman in your life. Hopefully it’ll spark some other great gift ideas too! box-women

Odds are, the twenty-something in your life takes pride in her appearance and enjoys testing out luxurious products that enhance her beauty. I recently discovered BirchBox and think it would make a great gift for your girl. They send 4–5 personalized beauty and lifestyle samples which are personally chosen based on your girl’s profile. You can gift a 3 month ($30 US), 6 month ($60 US), or 12 month ($110 US) subscription, which will have her remembering the thoughtful person who gifted it to her.

taylor-album-coversTaylor Swift has written and performed some of the most catchy tunes I’ve ever heard. She’s just a young woman, making mistakes and writing about them. What’s more is that she totally GETS US. The deluxe edition of her latest album 1989 is $15.00 at Walmart and will have your twenty-something shake shake shaking with excitement.

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Kate Spade has the cutest agendas and notepads, something every twenty-something woman could find use for. I bet the woman you’re buying a gift for is busy, and not just fake-busy, but busy-busy. The kind of busy where writing down her appointments (personal and work related), keeping track of assignments or blog posts, and remembering birthdays is a necessity. For $30 CA you could give her a year’s worth of organization and that is priceless.

Books are always great gifts, especially for the 20-something in your life who is in need of some guidance and inspiration. My top three are Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham, The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer, and Yes Please by Amy Poehler. Each book is roughly $30.00 list price but Chapters and Walmart usually offer them for 40-50% off! You can also check out my book reviews for more ideas, I read all kinds of genres and I’m sure there is a book on there that your girl would love!

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Watches make great accessories, even if you don’t always use them to tell time, they can really put an outfit together. I stumbled upon this Orchard Double Wrap Hazelnut Rumba Watch and have become completely obsessed! ($60 CA).

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Tiny Prints has a new home decor section filled with pillows, stockings, ornaments, and gorgeous blankets. The Herringbone Single Initial : Throw Blanket is my newest obsession ($124 US). Imagine your girl (bestie, cousin, or actual girlfriend) cuddling up on the couch watching hours of Netflix or reading her favourite book wrapped up in this cozy throw. You can personalize it with her initials or maybe even a favourite quote of hers. Talk about thoughtful and romantic!

When giving someone a gift I always recommend writing them a card to go with it. Putting pen to paper and telling someone how much you love and appreciate them is a lost art.

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”
― Dr. SeussHow the Grinch Stole Christmas!

– Vanessa

** Disclosure: Tiny Prints sent me the throw blanket as shown above as compensation for being added to this post. The blanket is chic, cozy, and warm. No other products or companies listed have given me compensation, they’re just products or books I want to read, have read, love, or want to try.

 

I Feel Pretty

Bursting the Bubble, Fashion & Beauty, Lifestyle/Personal

On the way to the bride’s house I couldn’t stop looking in the mirror. It’s too much isn’t it? I look fake, don’t I? Am I pretty? I pleaded to my brother. He told me that I looked fine, but I still felt weird. I barely recognized myself, hiding under a mask of foundation, creams, and blush.

That morning I woke up with a sick feeling in my stomach. Excitement, nerves, and anxiety to-boot, everyone knows you have to look good for the wedding photo shoot. In the mirror all I could see were red stained eyes and purple bags filled with exhaustion resting beneath, an irritated stye refusing to play hide-and-seek, and pores so big and round and deep. This won’t do, I thought to myself. And when my face-fixing fairy godmother arrived I greeted her without doubt. Two hours later, chalk-full of sweat and gossip and tears, I looked into the mirror afraid of what it would reveal.

Perfect completion, cheeks that blushed and high bones that didn’t exist before. Eyes bright, brown, and more almond-shaped than I had ever noticed. Lashes thicker and longer than most of the oceans. It was me but in HD. It was me but prettier. It was me, airbrushed to perfection. The more I looked in the mirror, the more I liked it. This mask of beauty gave me an air of confidence I hadn’t had when I woke up.

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By night’s end my face was still in tact but I had completely forgotten all about that. There were no mirrors in the church, limo, or hall, I hadn’t seen my face and it didn’t bother me at all. With my dress full of stains, my armpits less than fresh, I had danced the night away without a single regret.

When I got home in the early hours of the morning, I washed off my face, peeled off the fake lashes, and brushed my teeth. The mirror confronted me once again but it felt less than a foe and more like a friend. Sometimes it’s nice to dress up and play pretend. But it’s even nicer to wake up in the morning, not a drop of makeup in sight, and hear these two words from the love of your life: you’re beautiful. 

“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.”
― Jim Morrison

– Vanessa

Shopping Spree with Dainty Girl

Fashion & Beauty, Just for Fun, Toronto Adventures

Last week I won a shopping spree with Nicole Wilson from Dainty Girl at M for Mendocino. I entered the contest on a whim, thinking that if I won I could purchase a few new pieces for future job interviews, family events, or date nights. Considering how much I loath shopping, it was a pleasant experience. What made it easier were the suggestions from Nicole, the wonderful PR ladies who made the contest possible, and the reasonably priced clothes I got to look at and try on.

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I got to shop on my own, pulling pieces from every which way, and stacking them in my change room. I tried on a few pairs of distressed denim, they were beautiful and stretchy, so much nicer than any pair of jeans I’ve ever owned. I did pull something in my back trying to put them on though — jeans aren’t my friend. I tried on a few skirts, some gorgeous jackets, sweaters, and crop tops. Having Nicole’s opinion, as well as, the other ladies there helped me make a final decision. They know so much about clothes, what works and what doesn’t, and helped me find a few pieces that I would’ve been self-conscious about purchasing if I had been on my own.

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I settled on a beautiful red skirt, two sweaters, and the pièce de résistance, a beautiful black coat. I tried it on with a pair of their ripped denim, threw my hair up and stood in front of the mirror beaming. You know when you try on that ONE thing that you know you must have. That one piece of clothing that makes you feel beautiful, sexy, and confident? This coat did exactly that for me and thankfully it’s Dainty Girl-approved.

FullSizeRenderThank you Nicole and M for Mendocino for hosting such an amazing contest and for helping me pick out some beautiful pieces to add to my wardrobe. Thanks for a wonderful night in the city and for boosting my confidence level a little bit — I’m looking forward to strutting out the door in my new coat!

Vanessa xo

 

Sunday Morning Antiquing

Family Time, Fashion & Beauty, Just for Fun, Products and Brands

Mom and I took a drive over to Inglewood Antique Market on Sunday morning. The sun beamed as we rode along back street after back street. We passed roads that lead to my high school, a pizza place on Airport Road that we frequented, and a restaurant we saw on You Gotta Eat Here that we went to as a family. Memories everywhere, a reminder of how far I’ve come since I last drove on those roads, the friends I still have and the ones that didn’t last. Highway 10 is a gorgeous sight in the Fall, trees as far as the eyes can see on either side of the road, changing from lush green to a burning red and fiery orange. It smells like change.

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We pulled up to the market and were greeted by an orange cat looking to cuddle and an elderly man with a long nose, white hair, a gentle smile, and a spring in his step. I didn’t take many photos because there was so much to look at. Mirrors, vintage luggage, typewriters, chairs, tables, old milk bottles, tea sets, purses, books, toys, beautiful dressers, jewelry, and tonnes of unique pieces for the home. The prices were amazing and the product in such incredible condition, you can tell that the owners take pride in what they bring into their market. My mom was amazed at all of the treasures we found and we plan to go back when it’s time to buy Christmas gifts.

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“Vintage books, old china, antiques; maybe I love old things so much because I feel impermanent myself.” 
— Josh Lanyon
Talk soon,
Vanessa Xo