Fashion

#DealOfTheDay: Jessica Simpson Leopard Pumps

I took my first trip to Designer Shoe Warehouse (DSW), a US retailer who recently opened its doors in Canada. As you may have guessed by the name, DSW is known for having designer shoes at warehouse prices.  The store I visited was quite large, had great selection, and was well organized.  The prices were reasonable, and as a deal hunter, I was pleasantly surprised to find a sale section at the back of the store, even with it having been recently opened.  It was there that I was able to score these Jessica Simpson “Venita 2” leopard pumps, (made of printed pony hair and stretch fabric, with a 4-inch heel), for just a fraction of the retail price.  Typically, these pumps sell for $130.00 CDN, however DSW had them marked down to $79.99, and then an additional 70% off, making these beauties just $23.88!  The elastic fabric makes these shoes surprisingly comfortable to wear, and the leopard print is perfect for Fall’s warmer color palette. Love!

Advertisements

What I’ve Been Loving Lately…

It’s been a while since my last post, and I couldn’t be more excited to get back into the swing of things!  The products I’ve discovered these past few months are some of my all-time favourites, and I hope you’ll love them, too!

1. MantraBand “Smile, Breath, and Go Slowly” Bracelet

I discovered MantraBand during a trip to the USA this past summer.  Being someone who loves motivational quotes, I was immediately intrigued by these bracelets, which are sleek and simple in design (available in silver, rose gold, or yellow gold), and adorn various fun, inspirational messages.  In particular, I was drawn to the saying, “Smile, Breath, and Go Slowly“.  The MantraBand website describes this bracelet as a reminder to, “Remember to focus on one thing at a time and give it your all. Stay calm, look on the bright side, and keep going. Because it’s all about the journey, not the destination.”  I, like many others, often times find myself rushing to get things done, and I can easily forget to slow down and enjoy the process.  Naturally, I’m now hooked on these bracelets and have a handful of others on my wishlist: “Hakuna Matata“, “Ohana“, and “Que Sera Sera“, just to name a few!

2. L’Oreal Paris Hair Expertise Extraordinary Clay Shampoo and Conditioner

I’ve waited a long time for an affordable shampoo and conditioner that were specially formulated for oily roots, and guess what?  It’s finally arrived! L’Oreal’s Extraordinary Clay line is perfect for those who have hair the equivalent to “combination skin”: an oily scalp, with ends that could use some love.  These products use the power of various clays (white, blue, and green) to cleanse, moisturize, and revitalize the hair and scalp, leaving hair balanced for up to 72 hours!  The shampoo lathers beautifully and leaves your hair and scalp feeling clean and refreshed, and the conditioner is super moisturizing and lightweight.  Oh, and both products smell amazing.  Using the shampoo and conditioner, I noticed a difference in my hair within just two uses.  Next on my list to try is the Pre-Shampoo Clay Mask.

3. Benefit Cosmetics Dallas Box o’Powder Blush

I’d always heard great things about Benefit Cosmetic’s boxed blushes, but had never actually purchased or tried one for myself.  I decided it was time to hop on the bandwagon, and chose the shade “Dallas” (described as a rosy-bronze hue).  Trust me, the shade you see in the box does not do this product justice.  Once applied, it wears as a gorgeous, warm bronze that gives you a healthy glow, and is perfect for Fall.  You can even use it as a bronzer, or to contour, and it suits nearly every skin tone.

4. Quo Effortless Curl Mascara in “Black”

I’m someone who’s lucky enough to have long lashes naturally, but if I don’t use the right mascara, they just fall flat and can end up looking sparse.  I’m therefore always on the lookout for affordable options that give volume and hold curl.  I received this particular mascara in a gift bag from a Quo event, and was hooked after trying it just once.  The formula is glossy and super pigmented, the curved silicone brush adds curl, and it apples clump-free and lasts all day.  This mascara easily compares to high-end versions, and is just a fraction of the price. Definitely recommend!

5. Michael Kors Eau de Parfum in “Sexy Amber”

This is a perfume that has been on my wishlist for a long time, but due to it’s higher-than-average price tag, I always hesitated.  When Shoppers Drug Mart hosted their recent redeem your points event, I decided to finally take the plunge.  First off, this product is an Eau de Parfum, meaning a little bit goes a long way (making it a good value for money). It comes in a gorgeous glass bottle with gold accents, and the signature Michael Kors logo.  The scent itself has notes of warm amber, sandalwood, and white flowers.  It’s warm and musky but still feminine, and it’s perfect for the colder months ahead.

6. Bath and Body Works Ultra Shea Body Cream in “Golden Pear & Brown Sugar”

Surprise! Another warm, musky scent that I can’t get enough of.  Until it was recently discontinued, Bath and Body Works’ “Twilight Woods” was always one of my favourites.  However their new scent, “Golden Pear & Brown Sugar” has now replaced it as my number one.  It has notes of almond creme, Bartlett pear, brown sugar, toasted hazelnut, silken vanilla, and decadent pistachio mousse (hungry yet?).  It’s a pretty, sexy scent, but is also subtle and not overpowering.  I pair the shower gel in the same scent with the Ultra Shea Body Cream for an extra scent boost.  Note to self: stock up on this before it’s gone!

What have you been loving lately?  Let me know in the comments below!

#DealOfTheDay: Payless BOGO

With my birthday having just passed, I received my annual coupons from various stores, including one for 25% off my purchase at Payless Shoe Source. Right now, Payless is also having their BOGO event (buy one, get one 50% off), which you can combine with birthday coupons (or the survey coupon you receive on the bottom of your receipts).  While all the prices at Payless are reasonable, I always check out the clearance first.  I picked up the Ivy City Sandal (shown on right).  I don’t typically go for a chunky heel, but was drawn to their simple, classic look (they also come in royal blue).  For my second pair, I chose the Elektra Platform Espadrille in black (on left).  I love the way the modern, faux snake print upper contrasts with the beachy, casual, woven trim on the bottom.

So just how much did I score these for?  Both pairs of shoes were on clearance for just $21.00 CDN each.  This alone is already a great deal.  But, with the BOGO offer and my birthday coupon, my total came to just $23.62 plus tax!

Have you scored any #DealOfTheDay’s lately?  Let me know in the comments below!   

When life gives you lemons…

I first learned of ILYMIX when I came about their account on Instagram, and was drawn to their pictures of beautiful, bold statement necklaces and earrings.  This one in particular stood out to me: it’s bright, fun, and kind of reminds me of something Kate Spade would release.  I love the adorable lemons and lemon slices paired with starfishes and pearls (I mean, it pretty much screams Summer).

I paired mine with a J.Crew Factory sweater, American Eagle jeggings, and Payless Shoe Source pumps (shown below).


I definitely recommend checking out ILYMIX.  Their products are reasonably priced, ship quickly, and are of good quality.  There are tons of other items on my wishlist, from sunglasses, to scarves, to bracelets (and how cute is this watermelon clutch!?).  If you’re interested in making a purchase, ILYMIX has generously offered to give my readers 20% off your purchase: just use the code Elyse20.  Happy shopping!

*Note: Necklace provided for consideration.  All thoughts and opinions are honest and are my own.

Spring Favourites

With just a couple more weeks of Spring left (helloooo Summer!), I wanted to share some of the products I’ve been loving for the past few months.  Let’s get started!

1. Beauty With a Twist Daily Shampoo and Conditioner*

Created in 2013 by celebrity stylist Oliver Ifergan in an effort to capture the essence of the California lifestyle (palm trees, sandy beaches…basically everything I dream about), Beauty With a Twist’s products are formulated with only the highest quality, certified-organic ingredients.  Their products are not tested on animals, and a portion of their sales are donated to The Beagle Freedom Project to help end animal cruelty.  Their Daily Shampoo and Conditioner smell amazing, (notes of coconut and soft peach), and leave hair feeling soft and moisturized.  Both are formulated without parabens and are sulfate-free, ensuring they protect and preserve colour treated hair.  Beauty With a Twist products can be purchased in Canada exclusively on Amazon.ca.

2. Sahajan Discovery Kit*

This Discovery Kit is like an adult goodie-bag full of nourishing treatments for your face, body, and hair.  All of Sahajan’s products are natural and organic, and are developed and made in Canada (Toronto to be exact!) with eco-friendly and sustainable practices.  This kit is the perfect way to test out some of Sahajan’s products and includes: Nourish Face Cream, Restorative Eye Cream, Protective Face Serum, Nurture Hair Oil, and Ritual Body Oil (plus a handy linen makeup bag and a natural-wood mirror).  All of the products in this kit are impressive; they are nourishing, lightweight, and smell beautiful.  If I had to choose just one favourite (and trust me, it’s hard), it would have to be the Restorative Eye Cream.  A good eye cream is hard to find, and this one left the skin under my eyes feeling soft and moisturized, and looking brighter.  You can purchase this Discovery Kit, or the individual Sahajan products at Toronto’s Blossom Lounge.

3. Skechers Flex Appeal Sneakers in “Floral Bloom”

For me, these sneakers were love at first sight (um, hello, do you see those flamingos!?).  Not only are they bright, adorable, and perfect for Summer, they are also extremely comfortable, thanks to their memory foam insoles and stretch mesh panels.  They are light-weight (a women’s size 7 is just 6oz!) and are super flexible, allowing them to bend and flex naturally with your feet.

4. NYX Lip Lingerie in “Corset”

After reading positive reviews about this colour and formula online, I decided to give it a try.  This product is a matte liquid lipstick with a griege-ish tone.  It is long-lasting, and, as is commonplace for the NYX brand, is affordable without compromising on quality. If you’re looking for a super-unique yet wearable tone to add to your makeup collection, this is it.

5. Prada Candy Eau de Parfum

I’m one of those people who likes to switch up their scent on a daily basis, so it’s not often I find one that ends up on repeat.  I received a sample of this scent about a year ago, and brought it with me on a trip to Mexico.  Now, maybe it’s that every time I smell this scent I recall sandy beaches, warm breezes, and pina coladas, but since purchasing a full-sized version a couple of months ago, I still can’t get enough.  With notes of caramel, musk, and vanilla, this scent is soft and sweet with a nice warmth to it, just like a Summer night.

What have you been loving these past few months?  Let me know in the comments below!

Note: products indicated with an asterisk (*) were received for consideration.  All thoughts and opinions are honest and are my own.

Year-End Gift Ideas for Teachers Featuring Foxy Originals (+Giveaway!)

When I learned that one of my favourite Canadian jewelry brands, Foxy Originals, created a teacher-inspired collection, I just knew I had to share.  A love of teaching is something I’ve always held close to my heart, (I originally went to school to be one, after all!).  I think it’s such a kind and meaningful gesture to give back to a teacher who’s made a difference in your year (or perhaps your life).

Foxy Originals have created 2 necklace designs (both of which come in gold or silver), that arrive ready-to-gift on a card that reads “Live. Love. Teach”.

The Inspire Teacher Necklace reads “Inspire” one one side of a circle charm (1.38″ diameter), and “Live Love Teach” on the opposite side.  This necklace comes on a 17″ chain is just $20.00 Cdn.

The second necklace (and my personal favourite) is the Teacher’s Charm Necklace.  The front of the charm (1.25″ x 0.75″) reads, “It takes a big heart to teach little minds”, and the back reads, “Live Love Teach”.  Also on this necklace is a tiny heart charm, and small beaded charm.  This necklace is also on a 17″ chain, and retails for $25.00 Cdn.

Both of these necklaces are made from fine pewter, and are then plated in gold or silver.  Every item Foxy Originals makes is lead-free and is produced locally.  Both of these necklaces are affordable, meaningful, and versatile gift ideas (you can wear each of them 2 ways!) that a teacher will truly appreciate and use.  They’re also great for dance teachers, singing teachers, and beyond!

Giveaway! 

Foxy Originals has generously offered to host a giveaway of their Teacher’s Charm Necklace in gold to one of my readers!  To enter, simply click the “a Rafflecopter giveaway” link below and follow the instructions.  This giveaway is open to residents of Canada only, and will close on Tuesday, June 14th at 11:59pm EST. Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Spa Day Essentials Featuring Blossom Lounge

With a long weekend just a couple of days away, it’s the perfect time to prepare for some rest and relaxation.  And hey, why not make your extra day off feel like one spent at the spa?  Today, I’m featuring 3 fun products to help you do just that.  All can be purchased at Blossom Lounge, located in Toronto’s Distillery District (I’ve featured them previously here and here). Be sure to follow them on social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter) to stay up to date on new arrivals and more!

1. Graydon Clinical Luxury Superfood Mask + Scrub

This unique mask gently exfoliates and brightens skin, and is formulated with 19 superfoods (including papaya, matcha green tea, white willow bark, cinnamon, activated charcoal, and more!).  Each mask is individually portioned in a vegetable-derived capsule to ensure the product stays as fresh as possible, without oxidizing.  So how do you use it?  With clean, dry hands, simply break open a capsule (learn more here), mix it with your favourite creamy cleanser, soap, or face oil, and massage it into your skin.  Leave it on for as long as you’d like (try for at least 3-5 minutes), and then rinse off with water.  Repeat up to 3 times per week.  For an even more natural touch, try mixing the mask with ingredients such as full-fat yogurt, raw honey, coconut oil, or mashed avocado instead of your cleanser!

 2. Trust Fund Beauty Nail Polish in “Subtly Sassy”

This nail polish is the perfect everyday, cool-toned, nude (seriously, it matches everything).  But aside from being the perfect shade, it’s also an impressive, long-wearing polish: mine lasted a week with just a basic base and top coat.  The rich, creamy, 7-free formula only requires 1-2 coats, which, let’s be real, is a rarity in the light-toned, cream-polish world.  Another perk?  It’s also vegan and cruelty free.

 3. Coal and Canary Candle in “Gimme Some Sugar”

This candle’s unique notes of brown sugar, honey, yam, and vanilla, make it the perfect cozy-up-and-relax scent (and may also make you crave baked goods!).  Hand poured and made in small batches, these Canadian-made candles are created with only the highest quality soy/vegetable wax blends and fragrance oils.  The wooden wick burns cleanly (no smoke or soot here!) and provides a soothing crackle when lit. What I love most about the brand, aside from their unique scents, are their fun, catchy product names.  Some examples: “Good Beats & Eatin’ Sweets“, “Hiking Trails and Breaking Nails“, and “Peach Pies & Cute French Guys“.   Coal and Canary candles are 8 ounces each, and the burn time is an impressive 45-50 hours.

Which product are you most excited to try?  Let me know in the comments below!

*Products provided for consideration.  All thoughts and opinions are honest and are my own.  

Arbonne Cosmetics: A “Poppy” of Colour

My love of lipstick is no secret: pinks, purples, reds, nudes, I love them all! More recently, I’ve also been interested in finding cleaner, more natural products to work into my lifestyle.  So, when I was recently offered the opportunity to test out a product from Arbonne, it was somewhat serendipitous!

With botanically based ingredients, eco-friendly packaging, and a shipping process that is certified carbon neutral, Arbonne really is taking the lead in the cosmetic industry with regard to being earth-friendly.  They sell everything from supplements, to bath and body products, to makeup, and all are formulated with pure, safe, and beneficial ingredients.  There’s even an ingredient guide on their website, so you’ll always have the peace of mind of knowing what you’re putting on or in your body.

The product I chose to test was Arbonne’s Smoothed Over Lipstick in the colour “Poppy”: a gorgeous reddish-orange hue.  The first thing I noticed about this lipstick was how smoothly it applied.  It’s got a rich, creamy consistency that feels super luxurious (it’s formulated with natural butters), and it left my lips feeling soft and moisturized throughout the day.  It’s richly pigmented and has a glossy finish that makes your lips appear fuller and plumper.  Because it’s vegan and formulated with natural ingredients, (botanical extracts, fruit oils, and etcetera), you’ll want to apply it gently to avoid damaging the product.  Arbonne also recommends storing it in a cool, dry place (because no one wants a melted lipstick in their purse or car!).

The Smoothed Over Lipstick comes in over 15 different colours ranging from neutrals to brights, and retails for $34.00 CDN.  Some others I have my eye on? “Dream”, “Peony”, “Dahlia”…and pretty much every other colour (it’s a problem!).

Have you tried any Arbonne products? What’s your favourite?  Let me know in the comments below!                             

*Product provided for testing purposes.  All thoughts and opinions are honest and are my own.

Spring Sweat Series: Blogilates

It’s not something I typically blog about, but since recently embarking on my own personal fitness journey, working on bettering my health and wellness has truly become a passion of mine.  It all started this past January, where I found myself constantly feeling tired and “blah” (very articulate, I know), and my wardrobe options were getting smaller and smaller as my selection of pants got, well, tighter and tighter.  I changed into yoga pants, opened YouTube on my phone, and started my very first Blogilates (Pilates) workout.  I was instantly hooked: I loved the music, the combination of cardio exercises mixed with strength training, and the high-energy instructor (self-made YouTube personality Cassey Ho).  But what really, truly helped me commit was the fact that the workout program was structured, and that each workout was laid out for me in the form of a daily schedule.  For me, this took the guessing out of “where do I start?” and “what do I do next?“.  I started the first month with the Beginner’s Calendar (in the picture above) and by February, was all set to join the regular monthly program (which is free by the way; all you have to do is sign-up!).

I could feel myself getting stronger within just the first few weeks, had more energy, and was truly happier.  I found (and still find) happiness and gratification in checking off my workouts as I complete them each day (there are around 5 workout videos to complete a day, ranging from 3-15 minutes each).  Along the way, I’ve gained a new appreciation for fun exercise gear, healthy snacks, and nutritious meals.  So, for the next month, I thought I’d start a “Spring Sweat Series“, where I talk about all of these things, along with other tips and tricks that I’ve learned along the way thus far.  And don’t worry, if this isn’t really your thing, there will still be beauty and fashion posts mixed in along the way!  I hope you enjoy!

Have questions, or want to share your own health and fitness tips and tricks?  Let me know in the comments below!

February/March 2016 Favourites!

Happy Easter! It’s hard to believe that the end of March is already upon us, and Spring has finally arrived. Here are some of the things I’ve been loving for the past couple of months:

1. Yankee Candle Company Tumbler Candle in “Chocolate Layer Cake”

If you want your house to smell like the most delicious chocolate cake ever baked (who doesn’t?), this is for you.  It’s rich, decadent, and incredibly fragrant (you can smell it without even lighting it!).  I purchased this candle along with an adorable cake-stand holder (that I featured on Instagram here) for Valentine’s Day, but I plan on burning this candle through Easter and beyond.

2.  NYX Micro Brow Pencil in “Ash Brown”

I’ve mentioned my love for the Anastasia Brow Wiz in a previous favourites post, and it’s still one of my favourite brow products to date.  Late last year, I attended the grand opening of the NYX store in Square One Shopping Centre, and decided to try out their Micro Brow Pencil.  It’s very similar to the Brow Wiz in performance and design (one side is a thin retractable pencil, and the other is a spooley), but it’s a fraction of the cost at just $12.00 (Brow Wiz is $27.00)!

3. Physicians Formula Argan Wear Ultra-Nourishing Argan Oil Bronzer

I received this product in a gift bag during last year’s Spark Sessions conference and stored it away in my “products to try” drawer.  Recently, the life of my beloved Nars Bronzing Powder in “Laguna” came to an end, and I decided it was time to take this product for a test drive.  Truthfully, I was a little intimidated at first by the layer of gold shimmer on top (I’ve never been one for sparkle in my face makeup).  I simply took a tissue, and was relieved to discover it was simply a light layer on top of the product (for presentation purposes I’m assuming; it’s beautiful!). Once the gold sparkles were removed, the product applied beautifully and evenly, and created a subtle glow on the skin.  As the name suggests, this bronzer is actually infused with 100% Pure Argan Oil, which nourishes, conditions, and brightens skin.  It comes with a mirror and small brush, but I prefer to apply mine with a big, fluffy one.  You can purchase this product right now on Well.ca for just $13.99 (the Nars bronzer is $52.00)!

4. “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” by Marie Kondo

I don’t get to read as often as I’d like to (time: there’s just never enough of it!), but occasionally, I ‘ll find a book that sparks my interest and I’ll slowly make my way through it after work or before bed.  I’d seen this book in stores and on social media, but was curious to read it for myself after checking out an article on a mother who had implemented the practices of this book on her home.  It’s undeniable to me, how many things we (more specifically, I), own that we keep “just because”.  The premise of this book is that you should declutter your life, keeping only things that “spark joy”: that, when you hold them, make you truly happy.  It seems like such a simple, almost obvious, concept when it comes to cleaning, but it’s one that is so easily and commonly overlooked.  This book is a short, easy read that’s definitely worth checking out.

5. Marc Anthony Nourishing Argan Oil of Morocco 3 Day Smooth Perfect Blow Dry Smoothing Cream

Now, that is a mouthful!  Using the power of Argan Oil, this product promises to hold hair “straight, frizz-free and shiny for up to 3 days”.  I’ve never really been one to use a blow dry cream, but received a sample in my monthly Ipsy Glam Bag, and decided to give it a try.  I really do notice that my blowout lasts significantly longer when I use this product.  My hair stays smoother, has less fly-aways, and is easier to manage.  I simply apply it when my hair is damp, focusing mainly on the ends of my hair.  This product is made for all hair types, and, if your hair tends to be especially frizzy, you can even reapply to to dry hair on days 2 or 3 for touch-ups.

What have you been loving lately?  Let me know in the comments below!