August Beauty Picks


This summer my beauty routine has centered almost entirely around my complexion. Vancouver has been going through a major heat wave for the last few weeks. That combined with pollutants and toxins from forest fires have left my skin dry and irritated skin very prone to breakouts. Luckily, I have come across a handful of products that have kept my face free of congestion and glowy. From a deep cleansing mask that makes me look like an extra from Avatar, to the prettiest lip gloss I have worn since the eighth grade, here are my five favorite beauty finds this month.

1 // LUSH – Don’t Look At Me Fresh Face Mask

Behold, the delightfully scrubby antidote to oily, sunparched summer skin. Loaded with cleansing lemon juice, brightening neroli and exfoliating ground rice, this bright turquoise mask will make you look like a smurf when you first put it on, but after ten minutes you will be left with matte, baby soft skin that is as clear as the summer sky (not to be overly poetic). Plus, it smells like a lemon tart which is always a bonus.

2 // Organik Botanik – Brown Sugar Face Scrub

If you love DIYing your own beauty products, then prepare to fall in love with this sweet smelling scrub. Organic Botanik is an Australian brand that champions all natural ingredients and simple formulas that are effective and earth-friendly. This scrub is made primarily with, you guessed it, brown sugar, and polishes away blockages and dead cells for a complexion that is hydrated and glowing. You’ll be forgoing your tinted moisturizer after one use, because who needs makeup with a face this fresh?

3 // Benefit Cosmetics – The Porefessional Face Primer

I rarely use foundation, primer, or any other skin of face makeup, other than a touch of concealer and bronzer. Although this silky potion is technically a primer, I like to wear it and nothing else on my face. It glides on like whipped air and blurs everything from pores to imperfections. Seriously, my complexion looks like that of a China doll when I use this (which is quite frequently). It doesn’t provide a lot of coverage, but is great for hot, humid days when the last thing you want to do is layer on foundation.

4 // Urban Decay – Naked Ultra Nourishing Lipgloss in Streak

Let’s face it – Urban Decay can do no wrong. Although I am normally a lipstick kind of gal, this punchy coral gloss is too fun to resist. I love it because it deeply hydrates my chapped lips like a balm while providing a sexy, I-just-licked-my-lips sheen. This colour is also gorgeous – not too orange and not too pink. It absolutely pops against a (obviously faux – no skin damage here) tan.

5 // Hikari Cosmetics – Shimmer Bronzer in Flush

If you’re anything like me and have a naturally pasty complexion that you drench  in SPF from May through September, than an authentic sun-kissed glow is kind of a far-fetched fantasy. Enter, bronzer. This multitasking compact can be swept across your forehead, cheeks and nose for an all over glow, or used to contour and sculpt your face for a more polished look. I also love the hint of shimmer it gives. It’s not so much sparkle that I look like a disco queen, but is just enough to give my face a lit from within glow.

What are your favorite summer beauty products? Let’s chat in the comments!

xoxo,

Alicia

Elevated Office Essentials

In case you haven’t been able to tell from this blog, I am a firm believer in adding a little bit of pretty to every situation I’m in, whether I’m picking out new pieces for my fall wardrobe, making myself a cup of coffee, or decking out my desk as work. I consider myself to be very lucky in the sense that I genuinely enjoy my job and am happy to go to work 40 hours a week. We all spend a good chunk of our lives working away trying to earn those dollar bills and sometimes we forget that working can and should be a (mostly) pleasant, or at least not terrible, experience. Aside from, you know, actually liking your work and what you do, putting a bit of effort into making your surroundings stylish and comfortable goes a long way into making yourself happier at work. Sure, it’s not your apartment so you can’t exactly plunk a sofa in front of your desk or pick out paint swatches, but a few touches here and there – like a potted cactus, scented candle and pretty notebook – can make a cold and sterile looking office space look stylish and feel homey. With that in mind, here are seven elevated office items that will instantly add a sprinkle of luxury to your work day.

ELEVATED OFFICE PICKS

elevated-office-Essentials

1 // U Brands – Copper Tape Dispenser

Regular plastic tape dispenser = boring. Copper architectural tape dispenser = insta-worthy. #thatofficelife

2 // Vera Bradley – Mini Floral Notebook with Pocket

Flowers make my heart sing and so obviously this pretty printed pocketbook stole my heart instantly. Keep the meeting minutes in this gorgeous notebook and try not to get distracted by its loveliness.

3 // FrankieandClaudeshop (Etsy) – Pretty & Smart and Goal Digger Pencils

For when you need a mid-work day pep talk and also have no time for boring writing utensils.

4 // Delta Gamma – Striped Floral Motto Sorority Clipboard

Need a little extra motivation? This elegant clip board tells it like it is and mixes prints like a streetstyle superstar. #likeaboss

5 // Geddes – Donut Keepsake Erasers

Everyone makes mistakes, but not everyone has a collection of super cute donut erasers to fix them. Remember that.

6 // Pilot Lady – Sakura Cherry Blossom Fine Nib Fountain Pen

While 99% of what is written in an office is typed up digitally, sometimes it’s nice to have a beautiful pen for the rare occasions when you have to hand write something. Dreading that Monday meeting? At least you can take notes with a stunning fountain pen that makes you feel like Elizabeth Bennet in Pride & Prejudice.

7 // Forever21 – Tassel Paper Clips

Think that paper clips can’t make a statement? Think again! Tassels are one of summer’s hottest trend and they look just as cute when they are hanging off this month’s report as they do hanging off your sundress.

What indulgences and luxuries do you treat yourself to at work? Let me know in the comments!

xoxo,

Alicia

Brand Spotlight | Dusen Dusen

If wild prints, bold colours, and monochromatic PJ outfits are key components of your style MO, then prepare to fall head over doc martens for Dusen Dusen, a cool girl clothing and home decor brand based in Brooklyn. Designer and founder Ellen Van Dusen launched her first collection in 2010 and in the seven years since it burst onto the scene, it has expanded to include accessories and home furnishings, all with her signature eclectic aesthetic. Ellen draws inspiration from the typical sources – art, graphic design, culture – but she also creates each collection while considering how the human brain reacts to colour and contrast. Her artful (and somewhat scientific) approach translates into sleek and sharply cut silhouettes, bright hues (often primary colours), and geometric prints. It’s a magic formula that has earned this indie brand a cult following and Dusen Dusen shows no signs of slowing down. My usual style is pretty classic – think sleek cuts, lots of lace, feminine details, and lots of pastels with the odd bright here and there – so Dusen Dusen is not my usual cup of tea. That being said, there’s something about its unapolegtically in-your-face feel that pulls me in. While I’m not quite ready to don their head-to-toe printed panama suits, I am in love with their summery day dresses, cuddly (but with an edge) sweaters, and playful home furnishings line (I NEED the fruit bedding set). If you refuse to remain under the radar and love the ease of matching sets (and who doesn’t?), then allow me to introduce you to your style soulmate. Wallflowers need not apply.

DUSEN DUSEN PICKS


1 // Wrap Dress Lock Stripe


2 // Blue Key Tiered Tank Dress


3 // Floral Tile Jane Dress


4 // Rose Tile Mask Tee

5 // Floral Tile Level Tank


6 // Gray Curl High Waisted Pants


7 // Lilac Key Elastic Waist Pants


8 // Clip Throw


9 // Fruit Bedding


10 // Ladder Pillow

xoxo,

Alicia

Cotton Candy 


You know what they say – if you’re gonna think, think pink. Sugary shades of bubble gum and cotton candy pink will sweeten even the blandest of outfits. Even if this girly hue isn’t normally your cup of tea, it can be given an edgy update with lace cut-outs (check out the romper below), sexy hardware and edgy prints. Not ready to become a full-fledged pink lady? A sultry pair of pale pink kitten heels or a dab of shimmery rose eyeshadow are all you need to add a dose of playful femininity to your look without looking like Little Bo Peep. It’s my personal opinion that pink looks awesome on everyone and this fairy-floss inspired colour will instantly brighten up your face and make you look fresh and awake. Afterall, they don’t call it ‘pretty in pink’ for nothing! Scroll on for ten of my favorite fashion and beauty picks in summer’s sweetest shade.

COTTON CANDY PICKS


1 // Boohoo – Ellie Heart Pink Lens Sunglasses

2 // Monki – Stretch Cotton Playsuit

3 // N’Damus London – Mini Pink Leather Satchel

4 // Baja East – Pink Fila Edition Shearling Drifter Slides

5 // Humble Chic NY – Pom Pom Statement Hoops

6 // Smith & Cult – The Shining Lip Lacquer in Her Name Bubbles

7 // Guishem – Nail Lacquer in Paris Pink

8 // ZACASHA – Baby Pink Crystal & Silvertone Cotton Candy Choker

9 // Sugar Milk – Cotton Candy Whipped Body Butter

10 // Ariana Grande – Sweet Like Candy Eau de Perfume
xoxo,

Alicia

Brand Spotlight | Loeffler Randall 

Not to get all cliché, but I’ve kinda got a thing for shoes and bags. I’ve been known to line up my bags and shoes and take photos of them just because they make me happy. Is it normal to have more pictures of your purse collection on your phone than your friends and family? What can I say? My blog is named what it is for a reason! Although there are quite a few labels out there that I adore (hence the point of this ‘Brand Spotlight’ series), few come close to Loeffler Randall. This drool-worthy accessories label is the brain-child of husband and wife duo Jessie Randall and Brian Murphy, and they have been designing collection after collection of dreamy peep-toes, espadrilles, flats, bohos, satchels – you get the picture – since the Fall of 2005. Crafted out of the creme de le creme of materials, these pieces cost a pretty penny but are more than worth it. Every collection manages to walk the delicate line between trendy-modern and simple and classic. Translation? These are accessories you can wear with anything and treasure for years and years to come. So if you haven’t yet fallen into the Loeffler Randall rabbit hole, get ready to dive head first.

MY PICKS

1 // Lucia Studded Knot Slide


2 // Amara Platform Slide


3 // Elayna Ankle-Tie High Heel Sandal


4 // Domino Slide Sandal


5 // Coco High Heel Knot Slide


6 // Minimal Rider


7 // Knot Tote


8 // Drawstring Tote


9 // Tassel Pouch


10 // Dome Satchel

Photos via Loeffler Randall.

xoxo,

Alicia

Aqua


I’ve got a serious case of the summer blues, but in the best way possible. Nothing pops against a sunkissed complexion more than cool shades of turquoise, aquamarine and sky-blue. So go ahead and incorporate this refreshing hue into your home, wardrobe, and beauty routine. Think that blue makeup belongs in the 80s? Think again. Slick on a stripe of cobalt eyeliner, paint your nails periwinkle, or take a walk on avante-garde avenue with a bit of matte blue lipstick. This aqueous palette flatters all skin tones so it’s pretty much impossible to go wrong. While temperatures soar, I’ll be staying nice and cool in airy sundresses and swimsuits, all in ocean-inspired shades. I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling blue.


AQUA PICKS


1 // Make Up Forever – Aqua XL Ink Eye Liner

2 // Kate Spade New York – Silicone Duffy Square Watch

3 // Claudia Pierlot – Off The Shoulder Frill Sleeve Dress

4 // Lilly Pulitzer – Coraline Necklace in Seaside Aqua

5 // Luxury Days – Striped Top With Button Tab Sleeves

6 // River Island – Aqua Green Saddle Stitch Bikini Top

7 // Loeffler Randall – Sylvia Sandals

8 // Humble Chic NY – Carousel Pom Pom Dangles

9 // Paddywax – Ocean Tide & Sea Salt Jar Candle

10 // Mar y Sol – Ibiza Woven Tote in Aqua

xoxo,

Alicia

Fragrance Friday | Island Fantasy by Britney Spears 

NAME OF FRAGRANCE | Island Fantasy by Britney Spears (for Elizabeth Arden)

NOTES | Citruses, Mandarin, Clementine, Red Berries, Watermelon, Jasmine, Violet, Freesia, Musk, Sugar Cane

VIBE | Tropical, Summery, Flirty, Playful, Bright, Refreshing, Youthful

Tropical summer perfumes always have the same vibe. Whether it’s yet another Escada beach blend or an island-inspired Glow from Jennifer Lopez (seriously, Miami and Sunkissed Glow are pretty much identical), they all smell the same, with heavy doses of pineapple, passion fruit, and coconut. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy these tropical scents, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that Island Fantasy by Britney Spears (a beachy flanker of her original, and most popular, scent Fantasy) was completely unique in its interpretation of what a summer fragrance should be. Released in 2013, Island Fantasy was composed to capture the breezy feeling of relaxing on a remote island, with the scent of tropical florals and fruits in the air. Before I begin describing Island Fantasy, I have to say that this perfume is unlike any of her other Fantasy confections. It is not a gourmand and you will find no traces of vanilla, caramel, or any other foodie ingredients. Instead, it is refreshing and uplifting, like kicking back with an ice cold mojito while you indulge in trashy beach reads and soak up the summer sun.

Island Fantasy opens with a sweet yet clean opening of citrus fruits, clementine, red berries and watermelon. The watermelon is what gives the whole fragrance its character and it really dominates the entire experience. When I first put it on it smells tropical but in a watery, refreshing way. It doesn’t smell like a piña colada, but it reminds me of the feeling you get when you plunge head first into the ocean. It’s refreshing and fruity, but it’s also a little bit green. I always feel like I can smell cucumber in the top, but I think it’s the combination of sweet watermelon and the zesty citrus fruits. The red berries are not distinct and I can’t pick them out in the fragrance. They just enhance the fruitiness of the top without taking over like berry notes so often do. I adore the opening of this scent because while it definitely gives off a summer vacation vibe, it’s pared down and refreshing. It’s a fragrance that you can wear in the spring and summer without smelling like a sticky, fruity cocktail.

As the top notes transcend into the heart, the promised beachy florals begin to bloom. Jasmine, violet, and freesia soften the fruity notes, without being overly strong or opulent. Jasmine is one of my least favorite flowers in perfume (I just feel like it’s overdone. It’s in everything.) but it’s very subtle in Island Fantasy. It just adds a soft floral touch that reminds me of sunblock and works well with the other beachy notes. Violet is one of my favorite flowers of all time, but it isn’t strong in this scent. It’s barely detectable and, when combined with the fruity/floral fragrance of freesia, just adds a sweet and powdery backdrop to the more prominent fruity notes. I think the flowers in the heart are perfect, because they compliment the fruity notes of the top without taking over and transforming the perfume into a floral scent.

Finally, as the perfume dries down, all you’re left with is a delicate shimmer of musk and sugar cane. The base is unremarkable and all you will smell on your skin is a bit of sweetness. I hardly even smell the musk. It’s pretty and suits the sheer, almost translucent fragrance, but it isn’t my favorite part of Island Fantasy because, well, it’s a bit dull. It also doesn’t do much to increase the longevity of the scent. While I absolutely love the top and heart of this fragrance, I do wish it lasted longer and projected farther. This is a very light, eau de toilette and it only lasts a couple of hours at best. That being said, it’s quite inexpensive (I snagged a bottle for under $20) so I don’t mind reapplying it throughout the day. It’s very light and doesn’t project very far – others will only be able to smell it on you if they are standing close to you or hugging you. To some this may be considered a plus, but I like my perfumes to be just a touch stronger. I don’t want to walk into a room with a perfume cloud but I also don’t want to have to put my nose to my skin to smell my fragrance. With all that being said, I do enjoy Island Fantasy and it’s my favorite tropical scent right now, among designer and celebrity offerings. It’s a great casual or beach day scent. It’s also a good one to wear to the office just because of how subtle and light it is. If you love Britney scents and/or are sick to death of all the atypical tropical pineapple and coconut fragrances out there, than you need to spritz on a bit of Island Fantasy. Those who love clean citruses and watermelon scents with fall head over heels for this fragrance. I know I did!

What’s your favorite tropical perfume? Have you tried Island Fantasy yet? Let me know your thoughts and let’s talk perfume in the comments!

xoxo,

Alicia

xoxo,

Alicia