5 steps for a better year of sewing

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UPDATE YOUR STATS | Ideally, you’d be doing this before starting every project but being mindful to remeasure yourself periodically will save you from unplanned surprises when things don’t fit. Granted, you may want to wait until after you’ve fully digested the holiday leftovers and get a friend to help you with the tricky parts like shoulder width and hips. I like to put my numbers on a sticky note right on the inside cover of my sewing notebook so it’ll be an easy reference whenever I need it.

INVENTORY YOUR STASH | No matter which method you use to organize (or not) your sewing stash, chances are there are deep dark corners that you have no idea what is hiding in there. Brave the uncertainty and have a thorough inventory of your fabrics, sewing supplies, books and notions. Knowing what you have, and maybe discovering a few new things you forgot you had is a great way to get a baseline for how to approach your projects in the new year. Make a list of items that need replacing and create a spot where all your supplies have a dedicated home – I’ve found that being prepared is the first step to a successful project.

GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO LET GO | Guilt. You know it, I know it and it’s often what prevents us from letting go of projects that are going no where. The difference I found with sewing, as compared to my other hobbies like makeup, is that the process to learning creates a lot of failed tangible material objects. You feel guilty for cutting into that nice piece of fabric only for it to look less than flattering when trying it on and even more guilty to get rid of it because of the time and energy already spent on it. Sometimes an item is worth re-strategizing and sometimes, if it brings you anxiety just to look in it’s direction – just let it go! The money was spent the moment you bought the fabric and it’s served the purpose of practice so stop hanging onto items you dread working on and start fresh. Continue reading

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,

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,

Chatter: So I spent $81 on hosiery…

 … no, you didn’t read the title wrong. I really did recently spend what seems like a small fortune on sheer, small pieces of fabric that need constantly careful care. Hosiery or the dreaded term pantyhose, was never one of those things I felt any excitement about and in fact I made sure to stay far away from them as possible for as long as possible. But between being fed up with blisters, wanting to wear more bottom options in the chillier Westcoast weather and determined to wear my pumps more often I finally gave in and bought my first base collection of hosiery. Sure I had the odd pair of winter tights but I was really lacking items I can wear on a regular basis and especially for transitional weather.

While I could have gotten them from The Bay or even Walmart, I decided to place my order from Marks & Spencer online which has a well curated selection of neutral basics in a variety of finishes and deniers in very reasonable multi-pack prices. There were two main brands available; the M&S in house brand and the Rosie Huntington Whitely endorsed Autograph line so I ordered from both. A few knee highs for wearing with pants, some sheer nudes for summer dresses and a pack of shine finish tights just for fun. And after spending a solid 30 minutes laundering them on my Sunday afternoon, I’ll admit that I’m just a little excited to test them out in real life. Who knows, I might even end up buying some fancy lingerie soap… #adulting

Chat soon,

Would you wear a men’s fragrance? Ft. Clean Perfume

Wearing unisex fragrances seem like such a cool girl thing to do but as a girly girl, it was a struggle to imagine ever making it work for myself. My recent surprise however has been White Vetiver* by Clean, who’s known for their minimalist aesthetic and cult classics like Warm Cotton and Skin. Created as part of their mens range, this scent has a smokiness that I adore – like something that you’d want lingering on a chunky knit sweater – but doesn’t feel heavy or dated. The notes contains hints of Sicilian bergamot, forest moss and tonka bean to create a cocktail that’s warm, inviting yet undoubtedly masculine.

So what am I doing with it? Well, I’ve been really enjoying layering this under this years popular sweet scents as a way to give it more depth and interest. Since White Vetiver is so smooth and uncomplicated, it layers easily without creating confusion and lately it has been a welcomed pairing with My Burberry Black* over top for an interesting twist. Who knows, this might be the start of a new thing…

 Stay cozy,

Chatter: The Winter Lip Trio

Winter Lips Nuxe ELF Hurraw
As much as I adore the winter weather for allowing me to wrap up in knitwear all day, my lips are not so happy about it. Every year comes the inevitable question of dry parched lips which not only makes wearing liquid lipsticks patchy but it’s also just so darn uncomfortable.

My current rotation has been this triple treat system. At night once a week, I start out with wet skin and I do a light round with the ELF Studio Lip Exfoliator making sure to pay special attention to the perimeter of my lips. This sugar based scrub is excellently priced and I love that it’s in a stick format so it’s also super convenient to apply.

Winter Lips Nuxe ELF Hurraw
Winter Lips Nuxe ELF Hurraw
Rinsing that off, I then treat with a layer of Nuxe Reve de Miel* while I sleep. Now I find this cult favourite much too thick to use during the day (it feels like a thick honey scented salve) but I’ve been surprisingly enjoying it at night as it doesn’t make my lips feel greasy and I’m not smothering the product all over my pillow because it stays put. In the morning, I take off any residual balm with my washcloth, pop on my favourite morning balm from Hurraw (currently love the natural vanilla version) and get on with my day. It’s been a simply enough routine that I can keep up on the regular and I’ve noticing my lips are in better shape even when I don’t have balm on.

Speaking of lip maintenance I’ve also been curious about lip masks such as the BITE Agave version and the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask so I’d love to hear your winter lip tips!

Stay cozy,

Chatter: Do brow pencil shapes matter?

Remember that first time you got started on filling out your eyebrows? No, not that clear mascara stuff you tried fooling your Mother so that she could let you wear real makeup. I’m talking eyebrow pencils. By far still the most popular shaping, defining, grooming brow product on the market I’ve come to notice that there’s now a great many options in the shape of the pencil itself. How curious.

brow pencils hourglass the face shop nyx

Lets start with the more traditional style of wooden casing holding a waxy coloured lead. Case and point, The Face Shop’s Style My Eyebrow. While this style offer a good range of flexibility (use it blunt for shading and sharp for defining) the down fall seems to be lead breakage if you’re prone to dropping makeup and there’s always that constant sharpening so good luck lugging that sharpener with you everywhere. I also find this hard to get a precise shape at the tail of my brow depending on texture of the lead and again how sharp the pencil is. Non the less I still reach for this particular one quite often for its affordability.

Popular for a few years now, we have the triangle or slanted pencil. These were designed to offer a wide range of styling capabilities. I currently have a few including the Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil which was recommended to me by a reader. Because of the width of this style, I find it easier to fill in large areas like the front and middle of the brow in a few strokes and the line tends to be quite soft and natural. I can see this being a great option for those already with a good shape but just need to deepen their colour or do minor spot filling. However it gets tricky at the tail of the brow since the only way to get a precise line is to use heavier pressure and turn the pencil on its edge both of which takes practice to perfect. I still haven’t quite got it yet.

Last we have the currently popular micro brow pencil with a very fine point – so fine in fact that sharpening is both unnecessary and pointless. The first of these I’ve used was the DIOR Brow Styler but Anastasia’s Brow Wiz (reviewed) fall under the same category and drugstores have now followed suit, like this NYX Micro Brow Pencil. Function wise they are all the same and do a great job of creating fine hairlike strokes and a very precise defined shape especially at the arch and tail. It does take much longer to fill in a full brow if you’re sparse to begin with but I’d much rather have control over speed when I’m working on a proper makeup look or putting on my face for photos. Sadly these do tend to be the most expensive of the bunch, having much less product for the same price as other brow pencils.

Ideally my perfect looking brows takes 2-3 products to carefully craft but I’ve heard that’s a common routine for the brow challenged and the advanced brow lover uses anywhere from 3-6 products.

So, what type of pencils do you use on the regular?

Stay Sharp.

My Bucket List: Dreams, goals, aspirations (video)

When we we young, we had a million different things we wanted to do and no problem in believing they were attainable. As we get older, I think it’s even more important to keep on adding to that dream list because it makes life interesting and keeps you motivated for the future. While I can’t map out every detail of what’s to come, knowing that I’m working towards some definite goal puts me at ease that some part of it is definite. Consider starting a list of your own and fill it with the big things and some little ones as well; I’d love to hear what you’ve got!
Stay Beautiful.

That Pinterest Life : My recent boards

The last few weeks have been filled with work, work and the occasional beauty event (of which I have yet to edit photos for but that’s a minor detail, right?). On the other hand, Instagram would have told you that I am on a serious bedroom revamping mission on everything from better closet organization to DIY-ing a new filming backdrop. For a little daydreaming, I’ve recently been all over Pinterest and wanted to share with you a few of my favourite boards right now.

If you didn’t get the hint from my last Style Bite post, I’m having a skirt moment. In particular I’ve always been swooned by the midi skirt and sweater combo which is both comfortable yet stylish whether you take it girly or modern. Of course there’s something undoubtedly vintage about this pairing which makes me love it even more.     
The Charmed Life is one of the first boards I’ve made and I wanted it to be an amalgamation of beautiful homes and interiors that will hopefully one day inspire my own. It has also been a great way for me to pin down my personal aesthetic by looking at reoccurring colours or styles that has made it on my board. Lately, backyard planning has been an interesting side track and I adore browsing all the innovative layouts which makes for a multi-purpose yard. No more boxed in, rectangular garden in my future that’s for sure.
Surprisingly The One About Faces, is actually quite sparse but I’ve pinned a few makeup looks to try plus a few artsy ones just to spice things up. It’s funny how I tend to be most picky about this board but only because I wanted every single post here to be something spectacular. (That’s a bit of my inner perfectionist peeking through.)
Let me know what you’ve been pinning lately. Don’t forget to follow my boards to see what new things I’m into and share with me your favourite boards as well!
Happy Pinning.