Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Fantasy girls night in

Photo: From domainehome

This may be partially rooted in my infatuation for Nicole Richie's style. I am hooked on her Candidly Nicole webisodes- they are funny and short enough in length that her comments don't get on my nerves. Back to topic, if I were to have a fantasy over-the-top gals night in, it has been done. A night in is certainly more appropriate in this phase of my life as I cherish the intimacy of dinner get-togethers with our friends more so than being in loud restaurants or bars. And no time limit on how long you can loiter at the table. :)

Domaine Magazine has story in its September issue with NR's tips for dining al fresco. All the elements I would like for an extravagant but quaint dinner party with girlfriends are all there:

1)Al fresco - Who wouldn't love an outdoor dinner? When the weather is nice, there's a draw to restaurant patios or caf├ęs. My favourite al fresco experiences were in Toronto and of course, in Europe. In the article, I'm sure the host's beautiful backyard and California weather has its advantages, which leads to #2..
Photo: From domainehome

2) Garden setting - Again, beautiful backdrop: little pool, table & chairs with character...and colourful hydrangeas galore!

3) Neat (and expensive-looking) tableware and plates - Probably makes food taste that much better by enhancing the visual senses as well.

4) Catering by a gourmet chef - Why worry about burning dinner? Food presentation is covered so that your friends can Instagram or Facebook the food porn. The drinks are so exquisite, I probably can't drink them until the ice melts and it looks like any other ol' cocktail slush.

5) Best friends - The real reason this article fascinates me so is that I would love to have everyone together. I miss my dear friends tremendously as most live in other cities all over the country/continent, and some overseas.

Photo: From domainehome
Why is there no food on NR's plate?

Really, I suggest checking out the story at Domaine Home. See the rest of the gorgeous photography as it may inspire your next garden dinner party... though maybe for next summer if you live in Northern Alberta!

Photo: from domainehome

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Pared down make up essentials

With the launch of Marc Jacobs Beauty line at Sephora last week, I realised that I haven't covered anything in make up or beauty in over 3 years... back during those Facebook SOAF Digest notes days!

 I took a peek at the Marc Jacobs Beauty products and so far a vast majority of reviews from customers are rating least 4 out of 5 stars. Sounds promising, but it has only been a week. I also took looked at make up artist Michelle Phan's Em line, which was two years in the making. Without a doubt, both beauty lines will see relative success with MJ's brand power and Sephora's distribution; and with Michelle Phan's knack for marketing to the masses and her fan base. I would encourage make up aficionado's to check out their stuff.

However, on the other hand.. I am the last person to rush to try every new make up product we are bombarded with. I love looking at what's new but I wont often wear it.  In fact, I've had to feign ignorance to avoid buying stuff that is shown to me. In reality, I know enough about make up that I am excessively picky and loyal to what I already use. That applies only to make up, though. (Skin care is a whole other story- I spend hours upon hours researching a product and once I find the holy-grail-of-the-moment, the longevity of my loyalty is countable in months, rather than years).

Coloured makeup breeds clutter, would you agree? Anytime I buy any eye shadows, lipsticks, or glosses they are almost identical to what I already have and I only use the new item once or twice.  If I were to pare down to my make up bare essentials & throw out the rest, this is what I would have left behind:

1) Shu Uemura eyelash curler - using the same one for 13 years

2) Elizabeth Arden Double Density Mascara - Since about 10 years ago... the only mascara that doesn't give me raccoon eyes.. and it's not waterproof. Go figure.

3) Nars Orgasm blush & Laguna Bronzer duo - using for 15 + years. I'm so boring :)

4) Dior "Lip Glow" balm - more of a recent friend, but it replaced a dozens of lipsticks and I stopped using gloss all together.

5) Kate Kanebo eye shadow trio - simple browns that do not crease.. that's all.

6) Cle De Peau concealer - hands down the best concealer ever in this whole wide world! That $90 goes a long ways...

7) Giorgio Armani Lasting Silk UV Foundation - I was loyal to the GA Luminous Silk since 2005 and now I only use foundation for special occasions. I am a late bloomer to discover that letting your skin breathe has its benefits.

8) Bobbi Brown Mineral Foundation - a daily dusting to tone down the oily skin. This is probably the one item that I may experiment with a replacement.

9) Giorgio Armani eyeliner in #5 (Aubergine) - since 2005 as well

10) Chanel lip pencil in #34 - the best nude pencil IMO...

Boring as hell, but on the bright side: quality over quantity.. and my make up travel bag would be pretty light.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Fashionista-friendly city guides

Well, I already have a back-log of summer reading since my baby came a few weeks early. Now I am adding a couple more titles to my list once I get through those other books.

Photo: Illustration by Caroline Andrieu
via Style.com

French Vogue contributor, Carole Sabas, has penned a few books (so far) as a fashion insider's guide to New York, Paris, Miami, and Los Angeles. I personally love LA however I've heard some visitors express their dislike for the City of Angels. Sabas outlines a day in LA for this Style.com feature which I think provides the reader more ideas for activities than visiting Beverly Hills and Disneyland. The funnest things I've ever done is take a rental car and zip along windy Mulholland Drive in the Hollywood Hills. You pass by Runyan Canyon and the views are amazing. And just for kicks, I looked at open houses in Brentwood and stumbled upon a neighborhood fair. That was a blast- and that was all while exploring solo.

The point is, it's always great to move off the beaten tourist paths and find gems of boutiques, eateries, and attractions. Out of the three cities, Miami is the one city that's still on my to-go list.. and a layover at the airport probably does not count! :)

Photo: Courtesy of Abrams Books
via Style.com