JCREW | Stadium Cocoon Coat

FLASH REVIEW | AFFILIATE LINKS

This is the story of how I fell in love with a coat – quite a feat as I’ve never really had such feelings towards a piece of outerwear until I laid eyes on the Cocoon Coat by JCrew! True to the brands aesthetic, it’s a modernized classic reminiscent of 1960s car coats done up in an array of continuously updated modern colours. In fact, of the years that I have been eyeing this coat, I think they ever only repeat basic colours like black and grey yearly.

WEARING | Coccoon Coat in Heather Acorn – Size 2Petite

While a permanent style in Jcrew’s catalogue, this does get updates with slight tweaks once in a while. My version from last winter is in a camel shade (Heather Acorn) and has triple slanted flap pockets along with a placket zip closure.  The tall funnel neck is awesome on days when I‘m not wearing a scarf but still need a little protection from the chill.

WHAT I LOVE

I find this coat to be surprisingly versatile in my everyday wardrobe both seasonally as well as complimenting a variety of casual to dressy outfits. The stadium cloth wool (as described by JCrew) is slightly lighter than boiled wool and has an interesting woven texture. This is absolutely a fall and spring staple and will weather most west-coast winter days if I layer thoughtfully underneath. Little menswear inspired details like an inner breast-pocket and contrasting trim adds charm to an otherwise understated silhouette. Yet I think above all else, I adore the pattern drafting and the lines in this coat. The front and back body pieces extend into the sleeve with no shoulder seam and there is an underarm gusset-style shaped panel that runs down the length of the sides for hidden contouring and movement.

THINGS TO NOTE

  • Comes in petite, regular, tall sizes
  • I sized down to keep the shape from overwhelming my frame and fit closer to the body for warmth, there’s still enough room for a medium weight sweater easily.
  • Great for both broad shoulders and slopped shoulders.
  • Ideal for straighter body shapes but can easily accommodate a larger chest or if you carry weight in your mid-section.
  • Not the best choice for wider hips if you intend to zip up
  • Looks better unzipped on me in terms of silhouette
  • Not for extreme winters – won’t replace your goose down

WEBSITE | JCREW Stadium Wool Cocoon Coat

Now, to answer the $420CAD question – is it worth your money?  If this can be a multi-season coat where you live then I think it’s absolutely worth the investment and especially if you need alternative sizes like petite or tall because those are hard to come by in the universe. A tailor isn’t cheap around here and there are certain things you can’t alter in a ready to wear item. Yet, I will say that this is out of my current everyday budget so I am grateful to have snagged it during a mega sale. Jcrew will often run percentage discounts so do hold out for some savings where you can. My recommendations for this year’s colour way are dark forest and bright cerise – holiday themes fully intentional.

Chat soon,

G

3 Things | Cold weather scents

FLASH REVIEW | AFFILIATE LINKSWinter Fragrances

Welcome to the very wet Pacific West coast version of autumn. Whether you’re the type to go thunderstorm watching or prefer to hygge on your couch, one thing we can all get excited about is rotating our fragrances for the season. I generally sort my collection into summer, winter and neutrals then pick and choose which ones fancy my mood. Currently on rotation are these three beauties.

MYRRH & TONKA : JO MALONE | Nobel, sensuous, captivating – this is how Jo Malone describes this rich dark bottle that is part of their cologne intense collection. This is my first experience with the brand but I didn’t want to go for the usual options, instead I was drawn to the heavier and lavish scents of this range. A tinge of spice wrapped up in the warm of tonka bean, this is one to use sparingly during the day and is perfectly paired with your cold weather woolens. The top note of lavender adds a hint of floral but this certainly reads as an oriental – sophisticated, mysterious and dreamy.

SUEDED OUD: CLEAN RESERVE | Another oriental option but this time with a bright and floral note is this charming bottle from CLEAN. This is a great day time scent that doesn’t weigh you down yet still has that tinge of autumnal freshness; like walking down a city street after the rain with the damp leaves under your feet. Honeysuckle and birch wood great you in the top notes followed by the familiar scent of jasmine and magnolia all cradled by the softness of suede – light, beautiful and classic.

L’ABSOLU: NARCISO RODRIGUEZ | The headier version of my fragrance of the year, this L’Absolu is a seductive take on white florals – tuberose, jasmine wrapped up in musk with a base of sandalwood and patchouli. Less pretty and more sexy, this fragrance really needed the cold weather to tone it down but is powerful when used sparingly. Its the liquid version of a power suit – unabashed, self assured, feminine.

Now it’s your turn, let me know what you’re wearing this fall and winter season.

Chat soon,

Solo Living – what I loved so far & others not so much

Well, it looks like my plants and I have successfully survived almost 3 whole months of living solo. While many find themselves moving out during university or even to a job in another city shortly thereafter, for those who leave our childhood home later on in life I think the change can still be quite profound (and perhaps even more thoughtful). Let’s take a moment to ponder and chuckle at the 3 things I loved about going solo and 3 things that I’m still learning to love.

coffee shop lifestyle

+ CALM SOLITUDE: I wasn’t quite so acutely aware of how much noise was around me until I had the chance to live in solitude with nothing but the ambiance of atmospheric sounds and my own thoughts. This switch alone had a notable impact on my mental health. As an introvert with an extroverted career choice, I craved those hours of cocooning in order to recharge because my day job can be draining. I used to take trips out after work just so I can be undisturbed and have moments to myself but now that I’m on my own, being able to truly make my home my nesting place has been a much welcomed luxury.

— MEAL PLANNING: Here’s one I’m still learning to do and had really taken for granted when my Mother made most of the kitchen decisions. I document my food journey over on my other blog CarrotsNChopsticks but in short, let’s just say that I have lost many fresh produce to the lack of good planning. When cooking for one and shopping mostly once a week, being strategic about my meals not only benefited my budget but also made sure I wasn’t freaking out last minute and resorting to ready made foods. With breakfast, lunch and dinner on daily rotation, this is one I certainly haven’t mastered yet.

coffee shop lifestyle

+ SURROUNDING MYSELF WITH JOY: While I grew up most of my life having my own room, I didn’t have much say in the the colour of my walls, my furniture or larger objects. My parents never indulged in decorations for aesthetic purposes and as a whole, I wasn’t able to make many style choices except the colour of my bedding. The freedom to build my space and fill it with objects and choices that brought me joy gave me a way to expressive my identity that felt fulfilling and joyful. Until I get around to doing an apartment tour, you can see what DIY house projects I’ve been up to in my house vlogs.

— COMPOSTING: Apartment life comes with certain conveniences and other well… new living habits to adopt. While composting it is the norm in a lot of big cities, doing so by going to the back yard of your house versus lugging it down to the basement of an apartment complex are two different things. Eating solo means I don’t necessarily make a ton of compost but the nature of what it is means I still have to take it out frequently.

+ NEW ROUTINES: New environments, new neighbourhoods and a new living style means I get to create new day to day rituals and routines. Things I previously had to do in order to accommodate others in my household now has become much more flexible. As a tinge selfish as it sounds, it’s been incredibly wonderful to only have to plan for myself and having control over the daily details brings down my anxiety dramatically.

coffee shop lifestyle

— MONEY MONEY MONEY: So paying your own rent in full really bites. Yes it’s an eminent realty of growing up and flying solo but the rental market in the Vancouver lower mainland is staggering. And it’s not just the roof over my head. Suddenly, factoring in everything from a grocery budget to my internet bill means I’m so much more away of where every penny goes. This increased money awareness is by all means a positive thing but certainly one that still takes some practice.

+ SENSE OF SELF: Now with all complaints aside, the most important and fundamental reason for my firm decision to detach from my childhood home is to have the opportunity to be my own individual in a physical, emotional and psychological way. It’s one of the best decisions I have made in life and while my bank account is poorer than it could have been, I am so much richer by investing in myself.

Chat soon,

Sephora: Charlotte Tilbury & Is VIB Rouge really worth it?

Charlotte Tilbury at Sephora
CHARLOTTE TILBURY PILLOW TALK LIPSTICK & 500PT QUAI GIFT

I grew up as a teenager lusting after the beauty wonderland that is Sephora. When the first shop opened up in downtown Vancouver, I watched on the news as people lined up down the street and around the corner to get their hands on exclusive brands. Fast forward to last year when I somehow shopped my way to VIB Rouge status and it felt like a life secret life achievement. Like breaking the high score on that video game or flying first class on the plane, I was giddy at the chance to finally be part of the elusive top tier but how did having this badge of beauty honour really pan out in my very regular everyday life?

Charlotte Tilbury at Sephora
Charlotte Tilbury at Sephora
THE ONE LIPSTICK & LINER AVAILABLE IN STORES

Last week, as part of my VIB Rouge perks, I lined up with my plus one friend at 8:30am to attend an “exclusive Charlotte Tilbury launch and holiday shopping” event. You know, the ones you had to sign up for online and be checked off of a list at the door. I had been quite excited to see Sephora adding the big name to their site (hey, the more points the merrier) but upon walking through the door we were disappointed to find only about 5 items for sale and no testers. Scouring the aisles for holiday sets came up with only a small handful scattered around the shop and none of really wow worthy things we snooped online have come in at all. One lipstick for me, a skincare set for her plus a few bite sized cupcakes later and we both wondered… what did we wake up for this morning at all?

Charlotte Tilbury at Sephora

Looking up at the Rouge benefits listed online, I realized I had hardly used any of them at all. Sure default free shipping was great but my average considered purchases usually went above the regular shipping threshold anyway. I was also never quick enough to grab the exclusive online Reward Bazzar point redemptions before they sold out. Free makeovers didn’t seem that enticing unless I go to the large downtown store where they have a sectioned upstairs vanity lounge as the regular counters are situated in the middle of high traffic areas. From an average consumer perspective, the only perk I actually actively used was the larger bi-yearly shopping discount but did this warrant and reflect the $1000 spent to be part of this exclusive club?

Paying for my Pillow Talk and redeeming for a set of Quai products, I pondered this as I walked into the newly opened Uniqlo store down the other end of the mall… my Sephora app reminds me I’m $417 away from another year of Rouge.

Chat soon,

FRESH | Coconut Lip Balm

REVIEW | AFFILIATE LINKS

Lip balms. It seems that while there’s always a new variety to try, finding a lasting favourite has always been a challenge – my current experiment is the FRESH Sugar Coconut Hydrating Lip Balm. Now while the original FRESH balms in twist up tubes are much loved, I couldn’t get past the scent which eventually deterred me from keeping them in my collection.

THE BASICS
BRAND: FRESH
PRODUCT: Sugar Coconut Hydrating Lip Balm
SIZE: 6 grams
PRICE: $22 CAD
AVAILABILITY: Sephora, FRESH
WEBSITE: www.fresh.com

INGREDIENTS: Isononyl Isononanoate, C10-30 Cholesterol/Lanosterol Esters, Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2, Cera Microcristallina (Microcrystalline Wax), Polybutene, Ethylene/Propylene/Styrene Copolymer, Glyceryl Behenate/Eicosadioate, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Butylene/Ethylene/Styrene Copolymer, Ribes Nigrum (Black Currant) Seed Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Sucrose Tetrastearate Triacetate, Tocopherol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Fragrance, Silica Silylate, Ci 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), Bht, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Ammonium Glycyrrhizate, Vanillin, Polyglyceryl-2 Triisostearate, Trimethylolpropane Triisostearate, Water, Propyl Gallate, Phenoxyethanol.

According to Sephora online, this (along with its caramel counterpart) is listed as an limited edition release but I’ll have to get back to you on that. Marked as a hydrating treatment balm, it clams to sooth dry chapped lips, provide subtle shine and not leave a sticky after feel.

TEXTURE & APPLICATION
I love how this balm is creamy yet not gooey or tacky. It falls somewhere between a balm and a cream without the waxy suffocating feel of traditional potted lip products. Now, as most people, I don’t love the idea of using my fingers for applying especially when I need a quick touch up out and about but I do think the beautiful texture can likely only work in a pot format.

COMFORT & WEAR
It feels like a good winter moisturizer on your lips. There’s no greasy slip, it’s not a thick waxy layer but it finds a good balance between being present and not intruding on your day to day activities. I can also report that even with long hair, the stick factor is pretty low. There is a subtle hint of shine but nothing that I think would deter this from being used (and loved) by men and women alike. No weird tastes either.

RESULTS
After wearing this both during the day and also as a nightly “treatment” product, I’d say it makes a good attempt at healing dry peeling lips. It’s not quite on par with something like the FRESH Lip Therapy but I can see this as a great everyday substitute. I get the best results when I leave this Coconut Balm on overnight, then do a lip scrub in the morning followed by another layer of balm. It also wears off evenly and doesn’t make your lips thirstier as some waxy products do. Reapplication is needed every 2-3 hours.

THE FINAL VERDICT

FRESH’s Coconut Lip Balm is a like a moisturizing cream for weary lips that feels good to wear and wears comfortably too. Not the best primer for lipstick but for casual or no makeup days it’s the perfect pairing. Think of it as your favourite sweatshirt but in a lip product form! I’ll be wearing this for as long as I can stand digging into the pot every time which is still a major inconvenience for me. Will I still be looking for a solid long term steady? Yes, but I’m not in a hurry.

How to touch up your makeup in summer

Let’s be honest, looking fresh and done up in the heat of summer only happen in TV commercials. More often than not, in between transiting to work, the dry air of the AC inside and the humidity of the outdoor heat my makeup is a mess in a few short hours – here’s a few quick fix tricks to touch up your look no matter what you’re rocking.

MELTY FOUNDATION
I always start by blotting off whatever product has given up on my skin using either blotting papers, a single ply napkin or paper towel. Blot gently using a pressing motion – rubbing will just move your foundation around – then touch up using a semi-matte foundation. While most people would recommend powders, I find my skin is often shiny on top while dry underneath and layering powders directly over this will tend to look cakey. Cushion foundations are great for this purpose. Add a very thin layer of powder on top of this if you prefer but I do often skip this last step when touching up.

SMUDGEY EYELINER
I rock a hardcore waterproof eyeliner but even the best products will sometimes need a little help. Using a cotton bud dabbed in a little moisturizer, clean up any smudges around the eyes; I find creams to be great at this since it helps to refresh and add a little moisture at the same time while easily wiping away leftover mascara or liner. Blot the area with a napkin to remove excess moisturizer then touch up your edges with a very fine eyeliner pen – my new discovery has been this micro pointed option from Miniso!

DRY LIPS
Dry lips isn’t just a winter phenomenon and I find that I tend to forget fixing up my lip makeup in the summer but it doesn’t mean that it should be neglected. I always start by removing whatever’s left of whatever I am wearing using a moisturizing balm (waxy ones don’t work as well) and a cotton bud making sure to reach all the corners. Letting the balm sit for a minute or so while I fix up my base and eye makeup, I then top off with either a creamy lipstick or lip gloss. Though I may start the day wearing liquid lipsticks, I will almost always swap to a sheerer product because they look much more forgiving when your skin is already tired from a long day.

.Chat soon,

FOSSIL | Rachel Satchel – the just enough bag!

REVIEW | AFFILIATE LINKS

FOSSIL Rachel Satchel - review//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

A little trendy, a little sophisticated and a whole lot of fun – this Fossil handbag has snagged me more compliments than anything else I’ve ever carried and I definitely think you all need one in your life. Meet the Rachel Satchel, similar to the previously released Sydney and might I add distractingly akin to the the shape of the Louis Vuitton Speedy 25 in size this bag has been my steady companion on days I don’t need to carry my work bag. 
FYI | I’m still trying to find the best format for a handbag post between filming a video and being able to show you detailed closeups, additionally I’m also trying to accommodate for those who have time to watch a full video versus those who just want a quick break down so, let me know if this format works out for you!
THE FULL REVIEW
THE QUICKIE
Size: 10″ x 7″ x 5″ 
(LV Speedy 25: 9.8″ x 7.4″ x 5.9″) 
Price at time of purchase: $188 CAD (tax included) 
How long I’ve owned it: 6 months
Materials: Coated PVC (outside), cotton twill lining
Details: Detachable crossbody strap, front and back slip pockets, interior zip pocket & 2 slip pockets
WHAT I LOVE
  • Easy to carry size that doesn’t overwhelm my 5’2 frame
  • Fits my small iPad pro with keyboard cover and still have room for everything else
  • PVC outer keeps clean and is water-resistant
  • Placement of cross body D-rings is well balanced and doesn’t pull on the bag body 
  • Duo tagged zipper opens all the way down yet is gusseted so things don’t fall out
  • PVC version is super lightweight
  • The zipper is smooth and slides easily every time
THINGS TO NOTE
  • Carrying handles are not removable (had someone ask!)
  • Handles are not large enough to use as shoulder bag under the arm
  • There needs to be a belt loop to keep the tail of the cross body strap in place when you have it on the shortest setting
  • I would love to see a key fob in future versions
THE FINAL VERDICT

I would absolutely buy this bag again in a heartbeat as it’s served so functionally in my life and make me smile every time I look at it. The fact that the bag was PVC didn’t distract from the overall beauty of the bag which I had initially worried about but now I love it as it is – the PVC versions also gives Fossil lots of creative play with prints that is hard to do with leathers. While I did compare this to the LV Speedy 25, I wouldn’t say this is a step down alternative as this absolutely has its own charm and is worth owning in multiples if it works for your lifestyle.

Chat soon,