The best part of August is not the lingering summer afternoons, the barbeques, or the lazy days at the beach - it's the back to school shopping! Stores everywhere are bustling and brimming with new fall stock and I for one cannot wait! This season, my hot picks go casual cool style with soft cardigans, natural fabrics like feathers and suede, earth tones, unique detailing like lace, ruffles, or decorative draping, and grey grey grey. A light heather grey is my key colour for fall: it matches with everything, provides a softer contrast to bright colours than white, and isn't as serious as black.
However, shopping for back-to-school basics shouldn't mean busting your bank account - you already have enough spending to do on books, supplies, and if you're in college, tuition. There are great deals to be found if you pay attention: look for sale signs (avoid any deals offering less than 40% off or 2-for-1s, those are generally scams that get you to buy more than intended), make a focused list of your must-have items and stick to it, bring a friend who will talk reason into you when you contemplate something crazy, and troll your fav online stores (sometimes there are web exclusive deals not found in stores). Happy shopping and stay tuned for Back to School for $100: Guy's edtion!
Back to School Girl's edition
- Urban Outfitter's BDG Double Stripe cardigan
- PAPER DENIM & CLOTH Jayne in 1 Year jeans
- UrbanOutfitters's Silence & Noise Brushed Cape
- Tokidoki Striped Short-Sleeved Hoodie
- UrbanOutfitters's Preppie Cord Blazer
- Banana Republic Silk long floral-print scarf
- UrbanOutfitters's Caulfield Messanger Bag
- Urban Outfitter's Granny satchel
- AsiaJam's Hello Kitty Vespa Soft Cotton T-Shirt
- Urban Outfitter's Reuse Me tote
- AsiaJam's Victorian Lace Insert Tunic Blouse Top
- AsiaJam's Sporty Stripe Applique Sneaker Wedges
- UrbanOutfitters's Fairy Tales Are True Feather Skimmer
- J BRAND 18" Boot in Lapis
Previously I covered cheap back to school essentials for girl's. Well, this time it's the guy's turn. Since guys love comfortable clothes, I tried to choose picks that were stylish, versatile, and comfortable. Oh yeah, and cheap! An important tip for guys is to have more fun with your clothes: experiment! Choose items with colour, patterns, and contrast.
It's not as hard to mix and match as you think, and a little will go a long way to making you stand out. Cool graphic tees, like the Thelonius Monk one for you soul lovers, make a statement and look great under a timeless black blazer. When the weather gets colder, just replace the graphic tee with a sweater. Again, grey is my choice colour this season for guys as well as gals: check out the dark grey cardigan and the faded grey denim jeans. The grey denim especially is very fashion-forward, plus grey is like black: it goes with everything. So see guys, you can take a risk with your wardrobe with just a few small changes and you'll still have money left over for the latest version of Guitar Hero!
Back to School for $100: guy's edition
- Gap Fitted brown plaid shirt
- A. Tiziano's Sly Track Jacket (reversible)
- Shades of Greige's Jersey Cardigan in Skinny Grey/Black Stripe
- The Smooth Company's Mella Button Up in Navy
- Gap Pinstriped vest
- Gap Classic blazer
- The North Face DJ bag
- Friend or Foe's Action Thelonious Monk graphic tee
- Broken English's Construck in Blue graphic tee
- Adidas' The Campus II+ Suede Sneaker
- Supra The Ryder Mid Sneaker
- Supra The Black & Gold Cali Vulk Sneaker
- LRG The So Fresh and So Clean Straight Root Fit Jean
- Triko's The Black Rain Denim
- GOOD SOCIETY's Straight in Alvin
I've been reminded recently by a friend that I haven't done a trip update in awhile! My apologies readers! The Internet situation in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore was terrible! KL the Internet was literally slower than dial-up at times, and Singapore it was coin paid, so being cheap, I only used Internet for essential emails and facebook time!
In my last post, worries of political turmoil and airline shut-downs were looming, but luckily by the time we were to fly out the airports were back in business! In contrast to Bangkok, KL was much more orderly, cleaner, and modern. KL seems like a great place to live what with its awesome shopping and super cheap food. One can feast like an emperor everyday for literally only a couple bucks! Luckily I did lots of mall and street walking to work it off. Every mall in KL seemed to be at least 5 floors. Pavilion Mall was the best mall for luxury goods: Chanel, Gucci, Tod's, LV, Coach, Marc Jacobs, Prada, Dior, and so forth and so forth. Plus, when your feet need a rest, just head down to the bottom floor of Pavilion for some great food court eats. Unlike Thailand, there is no street vendors and in replacement, the food courts are your next best bet for cheap, authentic eats. We ate at a food court almost everyday! For restaurants, check out Madame Kwan's for Malaysian eats, and Hakka restaurant, which serves Hakka-style Chinese food. Being half-Hakka myself, I was really excited to eat at an actual Hakka restaurant, but oddly enough I didn't recognize any of the dishes! KL is also really cool because it is very multicultural. Everyone seems to be able to speak at least 2 languages and signs are all in English, Malay, Chinese, and Tamil. The only downsides of KL was the tourist sites, which were often all hype and no substance.
After a few days in Malaysia it was time to bus to Singapore. Our hostel had told us that our bus would pick us up at our hostel, but when the time came, a random woman from the bus company picked us up in her car, drove madly through KL rush-hour and dropped us off at the bus depot with a man who didn't seem to speak English, who then shooed us like chickens into the packed bus station and pushed us onto the closest bus. Was it the right bus? We had no idea as everyone on board was a local and our bus driver appeared to be mute. Our only reassurance was the words Singapore on the side of the bus. 6 hours of non-air conditioned driving later, we arrived sweaty and breathless in Singapore. The humidity there is thick! Still, it was less hot than Chiang Mai surprisingly and our room at the YMCA was the nicest we'd been in thus far. I had high hopes for Singapore, but they were all dashed. My hopes had been for good eats, cheap shopping, and cool sights. However the reality was expensive food, even more expensive shopping, and lame sights. If you head to Singapore, don't even think of heading to Sentosa Island, Singapore's "tourism hot spot" - it is a black hole which you cannot escape from without spending at least over 100 dollars. The only thing lamer than Sentosa was KL's Sunway Lagoon amusement park. However, Singapore is as clean and safe as they say, and having everything in English is really nice break from constantly being "lost in translation".
Currently I'm in my cozy hostel in Taipei after having survived my first typhoon! Yes, first there was political unrest, now a tropical storm. What next?! Taipei has been pretty cool thus far and I'm looking forward to spending my last week in Asia here eating, shopping, and taking in the sights. The good side of the typhoon was that I got to socialize more than I have the entire trip by hanging out with everyone at the hostel. I'm also looking forward to forging out on my own this week since my travel buddy has decided to split paths from me in Taiwan. Reasons why we split is something I don't want to get into on a public blog, but 4 weeks alone with one person who isn't your boyfriend is very tiring. Ah well, our room was too tiny for both of us anyways! So far in my time here I've gone up Taipei 101, one of the world's tallest buildings (FYI Taiwan, but Toronto's CN Tower is still taller! Take that bitches!!) and shopped at the luxury malls at its base; I've eaten pig's ear and done Japanese buffet; and ran across flooded streets to various Taoist temples! I've also gotten tons of confused looks from locals, which is still kinda odd. Understandably I can see them being confused by a Chinese person who speaks perfect English instead of Mandarin, but even when I'm just walking around I often see people, old men especially, looking at me funny. Perhaps I have a huge spaghetti stain on my stomach? Maybe it's because they aren't sure what I am... even one of my fellow hostelers thought I was Jewish! Oy vey.
In my dreams, I am sitting in a hammock tied between two tall lush palm trees, typing blog posts on my laptop while listening to the music of ocean waves crashing on the gold sand beach. The air is lush with the smell of plumeria and jasmine, and a cool sea breeze wafts across my bare legs. Aaah, if only paradise were so close. Until the day that dream can be realized, I'll have to make do with products that remind me of beautiful tropical places like Hawaii, such as The Body Shop's Miracle Monoi Oil.
This lush smelling oil is a multi-purpose spa treatment: body oil, bath and massage oil, plus hair oil treatment all in one! Based on Polynesian women traditions, this lightweight oil contains Monoi de Tahiti, a powerful potion of coconut, gardenia and jasmine flowers. It also contains Babassu oil from Brazil, a moisturizing ingredient derived from the rare babassu palm. Add a few skin quenching drops to your bath, or rub it into the skin post-shower, to soften even the most parched of skins. Alternatively, you could also use it as a conditioning hair treatment by rubbing into ends and leaving on overnight.
Since the ends of my hair are often crying for a little TLC, I usually use this as a leave-in hair treatment overnight once a week. The oil is very slick so spread evenly on hands before applying. For my shoulder-length fine hair, I used several quarter sized doses of this oil, since once it hits your hair it becomes somewhat hard to distribute evenly; however, I like to be generous with my conditioners, so if you're only looking to treat your ends you can afford to skimp a little. Comb through after application to evenly distribute the oil along your strands. After application, my hair was so well lubed, it looked like I hadn't washed it for a couple weeks! After a good night's rest, it was into the shower to wash it all out. You really need to do a good shampoo to get the oil out, and even post-washing, my hair still felt slightly greasy. However, after a couple treatments there is definitely a noticeable difference: my hair felt softer, smoother, and the oil left my strands smelling like plumeria, which if you haven't smelt that before, is a gorgeously fresh scent. As a side benefit, your hands will also feel softer just from applying this product to your hair!
Final Verdict: a great moisturizing agent for skin and hair. Lush tropical scent that leaves you feeling like an exotic princess. Definitely purchase!
During my travels I visited many a Prada store. Visiting luxury malls is a sadistic pleasure for me: I get so much enjoyment out of gawking over items and imagining myself in 10 different outfits with the item in question, yet I cannot actually attain any of them! Ohh the pain. One such item that tortured me endlessly throughout my SE Asia trip was this Prada wallet.
Featuring the classic Prada logo in silver and luxurious Nappa leather, this wallet/clutch is simply beautiful. It comes in 4 different shades, but I preferred the sophisticated "antique mordore" colour for its versatility and trendiness. The ruching and slightly metallic sheen to the wallet elevates this item from boring minimalism to cool classic. Its size is also great as it is not so big as to become a dreaded pit clinger; however it could stand to be a bit wider - I seriously doubt being able to fit essentials like a cell phone inside it. Nevertheless, the Prada wallet is a great investment.
I have never been a fan of dolls. Paper dolls were too flimsy and gave paper cuts. Barbies were boring and their boobs were scary. Cabbage patch dolls smelled funny. For me, it was all about the ponies. Now, I'm also not a fan of real horses as my childhood self thought they were too stinky, not cute, and may involve getting my shoes dirty (I was a very meticulous child!), but the My Little Pony toys I could easily fall in love with. My Little Ponies are cute, colorful, and just big enough to be substantial, yet easily fit into a kiddie-sized overall pocket. One day, my massive pony collection will be handed down tenderly to my future daughter(s). Given that they've proven themselves worthy of course.
Hasbro has created the "My Little Pony Project: 25 ponies for 25 years." This program features ponies designed by real designers, artists, and celebrities to support the Give Kids The World Village program, a non-profit organization that helps terminally ill children. The ponies designed through this project will be auctioned off in NYC with partial proceeds going to the charity. You can find out more details about the project here.
I'm so hooood! Doesn't this pony remind you of that song by DJ Khaled? You don't want to mess with this pony in a dark alley. Design by Claw Money.
I had a blue pony just like this one, without the board shorts and surf board. Mine however would have looked even more kick-ass in this outfit since he had a neon green mohawk, a tatoo on his ass, and went by the name of "Beau". Design by John Stamos (Uncle Jesse!)
I love how Kimora's pony resembles her: big hair, big bling, too much makeup. Someone explain why her hooves are so dirty?! All us high-maintenance chicks know that is such a no-no. Design by Kimora Lee Simmons.
The pony is certainly too 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse for me, but I love the freaky bunny!! He's just so cute and evil! Design by Superdeux.
The best for last. Purple is certainly one of the girliest of colours, plus big sparkly stars, and long wavy locks? I think secretly we girls wish we could be half as rock-star cool as this pony in real life. Design by Twinkle Hope.
Note: I would like to thank the unnamed blog(s) that I first found out about this story from. Unfortunately, due to jetlag, I cannot remember which one it was! Apologies.
MAC products are a common favourite among makeup artists, makeup enthusiasts, and women in general. Their products are always high quality and long-lasting. Recently I've found myself staring longingly at one of my local mall's MAC display sets for their limited edition Sonic Chic line. This capsule set of baked mineralized blushes promises to carve cheekbones out of even the most doughy of faces.
At first glances, the price is a bit much, especially considering the size and plainness of the compact. There are no brushes, mirrors, or fanciful details here, only straight-up colour. However, the blush comes in a domed, not flat, compact allowing your brush to pick up more colour and for the compact itself to contain more blush bang for your 25 bucks. The reviews on MUA rave all about the line, which you can see in its full range of shades below:
The only complaints I've heard about this product is that it goes on sheer, but then remember people these are mineral blushes! Minerals in general go on very light I am told, so buyer beware as always.
The best shade for lighter skin tones wanting that Jane Austen porcelain skin and English rose glow (see: Kate Winslet) should check out Dainty (see above: top left) although currently it's sold out! For those with medium to olive skin tones, I recommend Nuance (above: top right) which is a more peachy-gold colour that would look great for summer if you don't enjoy the orangeness of bronzers. Finally, winter calls for a deeper flush, so if you're looking ahead for next season's blush must-have, I say give Merrily a try with its rose red tones and pearlized gold finish.
Have you tried out the Sonic Chic Mineralize blushes? Tell me what you thought in the comments!