Thursday, July 31, 2008

Happy Birthday to Us!


The Soap Heiress has been up for a month! I'm elated and ecstatic and I just don't know where the time went. As always, thank you, thank you, thank you for supporting and reading this blog. You make my life.

At one month, we've reached my renewed goal of 200 absolute unique visitors (we've had 231), and we're averaging at about 30 hits a day, with visitors from 21 countries (wow!). Not too shabby! Visitor loyalty and the number of returning visitors are also increasing steadily.


Also, I want to thank everyone who participated in our One-Month Birthday Giveaway - your answers were all so good, I decided to choose a winner at random, literally by picking out a name from a container.

And the winner is...




Wendy from Scarborough, ON! Congratulations, Wendy, and thanks for your awesome input! Will be in contact with you shortly.

Now! When a baby is born to a (traditional) Chinese family, a banquet/party (called the "Full Month") is held when it turns a month old because it means the kid was strong enough to survive the first month of life, which then means that it is strong enough to be shown off to family and friends - and the mother has recovered sufficiently from her confinement.

If I were to hold a "Full Month" party for my blog, I wouldn't serve red boiled eggs and ginger with vinegar as tradition dictates, but stuff that actually tastes junk food. There's something really relaxing, delightful and comforting about junk food.

Lately at the office, the girls that I work with and I have been in Munchie Mode. It's like there's always a party at our corner because we they bring in lots of munchies. I've only contributed a couple times because there's almost no junk food at my house - I almost always eat it as soon as I buy it.

But if I were to bring in something really special, I would bring Japanese junk food. The packaging is always gorgous and really enticing - plus their food is really creative. A notable favourite of mine is Calbee Pizza potato chips.

I haven't been able to find pizza-flavoured Pringles in a long time even though I really like it, but it really doesn't hold a torch to Calbee Pizza chips. The latter is ruffled, so that the grooves can hold more flavour (same principle with pasta!) and not only is there flavouring, but also bits of cheese, dried herbs and (purportedly) bacon bit-type things on them. It sounds a little over-the-top, but I am telling you, it is phenomenal and SO worth the inflated prices.

If you ever need a little somethin' somethin' when you're studying or working or sad or when you're celebrating, I highly recommend adding a bag of Calbee Pizza chips to your plans!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

RIP Facebook Scrabulous

My name is Tina and I am a word nerd.

Don't lie; I know many of you are too - closeted or not. Words nerds all over the world today will be mourning the demise of Facebook Scrabulous, our favourite medium for duking it out nerd-style online.

The jerks people at Hasbro began the process of trying to take Scrabulous off Facebook back in January. They took the creators of the online game, a pair of brothers in Calcutta named Rajat and Jayant Agarwalla, to court for intellectual property infringement this past Thursday, and Scrabulous has been pulled off Facebook as of yesterday.

Scrabulous was one of the very first Facebook application games (added in 2007) and quickly because very popular. In March 2008, the official Facebook version of Scrabble was available, but only for people outside of Canada and the US because the application was developed by Mattel (who owns rights for the rest of the world) and not Hasbro (who owns the rights for North America) - so really, can anyone be blamed that we have Scrabulous? As of April 2008, less than 2000 people were using the Scrabble application, while there were 600,000 registered Scrabulous .

Apparently, over 54,000 people joined the Save Scrabulous Facebook group - I guess those are sometimes real after all! - but I wonder what this means for Literati?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Shopping Math

Please pardon the late post, everyone - was feeling very under-the-weather today, to say the least, and have just gotten home from a killer exam that (excuse my crudeness) I could've just bent over for.


The bright side is, the course is finally, finally done and I won't have to do any more school...for a month or so. Then I'm back slaving away in academia again, but I'll be in the French Riviera (where the two newest Jolie-Pitts were born!) and it'll be my last year, so that'll make things more palatable. I wouldn't really be able to complain, anyway.

But enough about me. Let's talk about you! Let's talk about how wonderful you are, and how much I adore yous. You are, and I do!

I especially love how we've opened up a line of discussion here. Have you been keeping up with the comments? Lemme fill you in - or you can see for yourself here.

So my friend Lexie bought these cute Italian shoes on sale at a store that was closing down, originally priced $140, marked down to $10. But she realized belatedly that, despite their innocent esthetic, they are absolutely torturous to wear. So she's decided to wear them only "to interviews or occasions where [she] can kick them off without anyone noticing," perhaps with a bandaid in some spots, because at least she's got dressy shoes out of the way.

Now, I think a pair of shoes shouldn't count as a functionable pair of shoes in your closet unless you can stand somewhat comfortably in them for at least half an hour. If they are sheer agony to wear, you may as well not have them because why put yourself through the pain?

Also, I think that wearing uncomfortable shoes to an interview will definitely affect how you do, and interviews are serious business, so it's very, very important to wear comfortable shoes to them - and of course, comfortable doesn't necessarily mean fug. I have a pair of really well-cut, 4-in. pointy stiletto pumps that are so comfy I can easily last in a four hour party in them (I got them from Spring, then known as Transit, in case you were wondering, for a great price of $60).

Besides all that, bandaids sticking out from shoes are a HUGE no-no. Not only because it looks terrible and garners pity/derisive snorts/weird looks, but mainly because you deserve better than that!

So let's look at this another way. Let's be logical.

As the incomparable Cindy Lu says, "I'm Chinese. We're good at math."

I'm Chinese and I was never at the top of my class in math at school, but when it comes to shopping math, I'm pretty good because I've had impeccable training.

There's a really important concept to keep in mind when you're out for some retail therapy: cost per wear.

The Fashion Girls' Maxims of Style strongly advocate quality because you'll look way better and in the long run, your cost per wear will be lower, which saves you money.

If you get a trendy sweater that was poorly made for $40, say, and you wear it maybe five times for one season (because trendy pieces get worn less often since they're easily recognizable), your cost per wear would be $8. On the other hand, if you got a good quality cashmere sweater in a colour that looks amazing on you, that is well-cut and fits like a glove, for say, $200 and you wear it 10 times per season, for 10 years (to be conservative - a great cashmere sweater can actually last you forever provided you take good care of it and can be handed down to your kids, as my mum has done for me), your cost per wear would be $2. That's a quarter of the price for the trendy, poorly made one.

Lexie bought her shoes for $10 and she's worn them once, so her cost per wear is $10. I told her it's not bad because if I were to go to Aldo, say, and get a pair of shoes of mediocre quality for $90, I'd have to wear them nine times to bring my cost per wear to $10. If I went to a party every week, that's a good two months of partying. My shoes would probably be in really bad shape at that point and they would have been seen very frequently. Lexie got to a great cost per wear value right away, her shoes are practically new and people have seen them on her once. Even if she were to not wear them again, it wouldn't be too bad, I think.

However, don't abuse cost per wear calculations and use them as an excuse to frequently buy things that are beyond your budget, because it'll come back and bite you in the butt - let yourself be warned!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Green Is Sexy

I know, right? This car is so hot I almost can't handle it. If the naked guy in the Sex & the City movie were a car, I think this would be him. Dark, streamlined and incredibly eye-catching.

But you know what the coolest thing about it is? This is a hybrid.This is the first car by Austin, Texas-based Ronn Motor, a company that specializes in eco-friendly sexiness - I love that, because I've always felt that hybrids look like coloured golf carts.

The Scorpion uses hydrogen fuel injection technology to increase fuel mileage by 30-50% and to minimize carbon emissions to nearly nothing. First, water is generated in the tank by the electrical system, and then it goes through electrolysis - remember high school chem? - which means that the hydrogen is separated from the oxygen. Then, the H₂is injected into the car's system, where it's converted to electricity, which powers the car.

Pretty snazzy.

And the price you have to pay to look cool while doing your part in protecting the environment/save gas money? Only $150,000. ;}

Friday, July 25, 2008

Shopping Knowledge & Fashion Engineering

At the risk of sounding like one of the members of the Manic Mama Mafia - we've hit another milestone! I got my first question. So exciting! It was written in response to this post, and it's from my friend Lexie, from Toronto:

"Oh Tina, I have to show you my 'devil shoes'. They don't look devilish at all- in fact, they look rather sweet and innocent and only have maybe a 2" heel or so. AND they were a steal- the store was closing, so they are apparently Italian shoes, originally $140, but I got them for $10. And they HURT!!! I tried to wear them to the mall and wanted to cry. Whyyyyy?!"

Well, my darling, that would be because of one of the Tenets of Shopping: "Everything is on sale for a reason."

Because it's totally true! (That's why it's a tenet, see?) Sometimes, if you're lucky, something could just be on sale because they're making room for the new collection or something - like the colourblock AE sundress I just got. But more often than not, things are on sale because of actual problems, which can be big or small. Like the genuine-python Carolina Herrera bag I scored at Woodbury a couple Christmases ago, marked down to $150 from like, $620 or something. It's this beautiful, well-made, tiny, little thing made of pink-dyed python with a perfectly-balanced pattern and camel-coloured leather. Let me show you: I held it to my heart and rocked it like a baby as soon as soon as it was mine. But why would it be marked down so much, especially if it's real python? It's hardly as if the fashion industry here is like that in Hong Kong, where it's totally uncool and unacceptable to be rocking last season's bags (in most circles, anyway).

Well, if you notice, there's a ginormous buckle at the front. It's thick, solid metal with cutouts. As such, it's very heavy, especially for so diminutive a handbag. When you hold the bag just by its handle and let it hang, I noticed, the weight of the buckle pulls the bag down to a slight foward-tilt. And that, my dear, is a classic case of poor engineering in a piece. Yes, there's engineering in fashion, too! But the nice thing about this is, when it's on my shoulder or against my leg, it's not noticeable at all - because I don't ever hold my purses away from my body like they're stinky diapers, right? In fact, it's not noticeable at all unless you're a real pro or unless I bring it up. So in this case, the bag was totally worth $150 despite the very minor defect.

A word to the wise about outlet malls, though: most of the time, what you're scoring at an outlet is made especially for the outlet. That's right. More often than not, they don't just pluck what can't sell, or what's been left from last season out of the flagships and chuck'em in outlet stores for our perusal - because we'd all just stop shopping at the flagships and dealers and just wait for things to make it to the outlets, right?

Instead, most companies have a cheap/sale/outlet line (I know, that sounds so awful) that is made to be sold at the outlet. Things may be similar to their original stuff, but obviously not quite as good. Like back in high school, when Guess? was still cool, I got this really great purse on sale at a Guess? store, then I saw a way uglier version of it in Vaughan Mills. The materials were cheaper, the work was sloppier, the colours duller, but it was similar in shape to mine. To some, this may be totally worth saving money for, but I wouldn't have it, personally.

Now, there may be a chance that your sweet, innocent devil shoes may become more tolerable for you since you've obviously paid your dues and broken them in already. From my experience, it's sort of 50-50 - if they're just poorly cut/designed, there wouldn't be much you could do about it, I'm afraid (except using them to hold champagne, maybe?) but if it's just a matter of you getting used to them, you'll be fine. Good luck and happy shopping!


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Career Pep-Talk

A good friend of mine was telling me how she feels really lost and directionless about her career, and that she feels like she's going nowhere. I'd imagine that she's probably not the only one of us feeling this way, so I decided to share this story:

I remember my mother nearly swooning when I was maybe two years old and someone asked me, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" and I answered, "I want to be a mommy!" because I didn't know what careers are. Out of the options I was aware of (Mommy, Grandma or Aunties) I'd say I made a fine choice.

Then when I was older, my family encouraged me to become a lawyer because A) I hated math, so accounting and engineering are out and B) although I wasn't bad at it, I wasn't particularly passionate about the sciences, so it was unlikely that I'd be a doctor. Like many Chinese kids, I grew up thinking that there are only five careers in the world - the four mentioned above, and teaching.

Then in university, I found my calling: PR. The organization I was working for was a colossal PR nightmare with no marketing to speak of, and I felt really fulfilled to see what a long way we went during the three years I was involved. So I decided last year that PR was the way to go after I graduate, and I've been working towards a PR career, trying to get my foot in the door since.

The next step, of course, was to try to find an internship . I had my heart set on New York City - I didn't even care what kind of PR I'd be doing, just as long as I could work in Manhattan. I started looking late because I didn't have the first clue how to kick-start a PR career or where to find resources - a lot of stuff on the web are scams, and I don't know anyone in the business.

My search last spring could only be called A Series of Unfortunate Events. I managed to snag the attention of a few companies, but one had hired already - they told me they would've hired me if their positions weren't already filled.

I made it down to Manhattan (in Times Square Tower!) for an interview, but didn't get the job - they were interviewing 14 other people and they told me that they'd neither hired nor interviewed a Canadian before. I saw it as an honour to have been chosen to go in.

Then I interviewed at a two-people company in Toronto. The office was in a more rundown part of town, and the office was a mess. They clearly weren't prepared to hold an interview, and they looked like they rolled out of bed, while I was in a business suit. They told me I'd probably do some coffee-fetching and that the companies they represent are boring. The boss told the associate to ask me questions, the associate said she didn't know what to ask, so they asked me what questions I had for them. I asked them what they were looking for in an intern, and they spent 20 minutes telling me all the things about they hated about their previous interns - names included. Naturally, I could imagine them complaining about me to some poor interviewee next year were I to work there. When there was really nothing left to say, I caught the associate doodling on my resume(!). Naturally, when I got the e-mail a couple days later telling me they chose to go with someone else, I was totally okay with it.

Finally, I went in for an interview at a very classy part of Toronto - the interview was booked two months before. I walked in and they had no idea anyone was coming in for an interview. The person I had been corresponding with told me she didn't remember that I was coming in, that they'd hired already, that she probably should have let me know. Yes, she should have. They showed me out, but not before assuring me that they would forward my resume to colleagues but by that time, the end of April/beginning of May, of course everyone had already hired and I never heard from anyone.

I was feeling really bad about myself, especially since one after another of my friends were scoring internships left and right. But it's okay, because I went from knowing nothing about the industry to having a much better idea of how to get my foot in the door. I've learned so much, which is the most important thing, and really, I couldn't help my bad luck. I'll be much better equipped to go internship/job-hunting in the future, and I'm not going to give up. It's been such a struggle, especially not knowing anyone, but I'm going to keep going for the absolute conviction that this is what I want to do.

So if you ever feel discouraged, beaten-down, directionless or just plain crappy about how your career is going - keep working hard at it! Think of me - we'll work hard together and see each other reach our goals, okay? :)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Shoe Theories

Is "edgy" really code for "stylishly ugly"?

I admit I'm kind of a selfish fashion admirer. In order for me to fall in love with a piece or an accessory, I have to be able to picture it in my life. By that I mean, I have to think that it can fit into my lifestyle (after all, don't labels want you to like their products enough to buy them so they can make money?), which then sort of implies just a hint of practicality.

Don't get me wrong, I have my own little collection of L2L (lobby-to-limo/limo-to-lobby) shoes. But I can walk in them and last at the very least a half hour on my feet in them. Despite my legendary prowess in walking in ridiculously high shoes, however, I don't think I'd be able to handle these (nor am I even tempted to try):
I apologize to the spirit of Louis Vuitton (although I guess he never really set out to sell shoes) but these are not beautiful. I hate, hate, hate the platform trend. I think it should have been left in the 90s along with Spicemania. They look like stripper shoes - so not classy. I also really don't like how 5-inch+ heels are de rigeur these days. I'm of the opinion that over 4-inches on a shoe is heading into tranny hooker territory. So platforms that are 5-inches+ in height totally repulse me.

Having said that, a very well-respected artist told me last week that as long as a creation has a meaning behind it, it is art. I agree with him, and I definitely believe that fashion is an art form. Maybe all platforms/5-inch+ shoes/5-inch+ platforms all have special meanings behind them to their designers - in which case I may be persuaded to buy them and put them on display in my house in a cabinet or a pedestal or something.
But to buy them to wear? The most organic way for a Fashion Girl to consummate her relationship with a pair of shoes? Definitely not.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Soap Heiress Turns A Month Old on July 31st!

One-Month Birthday Giveaway!

To thank all of you for your incredible support, I've decided to give away the swag bag I picked up at a recent posh Toronto event, sponsored by Procter & Gamble. The contents include:

*CoverGirl lashblast Volume Blasting Mascara (2 full-sized!)
*Venus Embrace 5-Blade Razor (1)
*Pantene Style Always Smooth Anti-Frizz Serum (1 x 50ml)
*Olay Definity Restorative Sleep Cream (2 x 7ml)
*Pantene Pro-V Restoratives Time Renewal Shampoo & Conditioner samples (7 x 10+10ml)

To apply, please tell me how you heard of The Soap Heiress and what kind of content you're most interested in reading about in the future (fashion, shopping, beauty, food...) at thesoapheiress(at) I'd love to hear your comments and feedback! The winner will be announced on the July 31st post.

Good luck+You rock!


The Fashion Girls' Maxims of Style

I've recently heard that Retro Fashion Girl is coming to town. Retro Fashion Girl, of course, is my maternal grandmother, who gave birth to The Fashion Girl, my mother (who founded and owns the soap business), and I am Baby Fashion Girl, otherwise known as your friend, The Soap Heiress. Gotta love genealogy!

Being raised by my mom's side of the family was literally like living in a personalized finishing school, because many a dinner, family event, shopping trip, car ride, conversation, and countless other moments in my childhood were like mini-lessons to train me into becoming (hopefully) a poised, classy, young lady with taste.

Like when I was little, my mum would run my tiny hand over three different sweaters and tell me, "Baby, this is wool, this is angora, and this is cashmere. All three of them are different kinds of knits." And she'd be delighted to hear that my favourite is cashmere. Or my grandma would coach me at the dinner table on the finer points of proper chopstick handling (Chinese rules, of course, like your chopsticks are not supposed to ever cross, and it's rude to skewer food on them, etc.) and banquet etiquette, which actually apply to any dinner with distant relatives, despite any pretense of casualness.

Of all my "lessons," my favourite had to be the ones on style. All my basic knowledge of being chic comes from them. And what good teachers, too - Retro Fashion Girl is literally "The Lady in Red When Everyone Else Is Wearing Tan" (there are pictures to prove it!) and The Fashion Girl is always the least adorned but the most beautifully tasteful at every event.

So I thought that I'd share with everyone the Fashion Girls' Maxims of Style. It's the sort of thing that you shouldn't study like a textbook, but should just soak in, forget about, and then let them resurface on their own later. The list can be quite extensive, but the basics are as follows:

The Fashion Girls' Maxims of Style
*wearing knockoffs is the #1 NO-NO because apart from poaching the designers' art, someone recognizing a fake on you is worse than not being able to afford the piece
*always dress appropriately for your age to enjoy every stage of your life (and the beauty of it) to the fullest
*less is more; truly beautiful people don't need a lot of embellishment
*don't be a style-prude - if it looks good and you can pull it off, don't be afraid to be a little daring
*it's all about good cutting, tailoring, fit and lush materials
*know how to appreciate (quality) handiwork
*take good care of your belongings (if you can't afford to hire someone to do it for you!)
*secondhand stuff is gross, unless it comes from someone in your family
*it is a basic courtesy to have your feet pedicured and your toes polished if you're going to wear open-toed shoes

Monday, July 21, 2008

Magic, Eye-Enlarging Contact Lenses?

It always sort of bothered me that in movies or TV shows where a female character undergoes a makeover, they basically take off her glasses, and -POOF!- she's gorgeous. What's wrong with glasses? Glasses are hot. I've always thought that I look better in mine.

But lately I've been considering getting contacts just for summer months because the bridge of my nose gets really sore with the frame rubbing against it in the humidity, and because then I would be able to rock my hot Betsey Johnson shades without being half-blind - it really bums me out that I can't drive in them. And I'm sorry, but I don't do clip-ons or transition glasses.

Then last night after dinner, my mom suddenly told me about these contacts that supposedly make your eyes look bigger. They're really popular in Asia right now, because naturally, we Asian girls love enhancing our eyes as much as Hollywood starlets love to drive impaired/starve/enhance other things/flash their crotches at the pappies.

The way they work is, there is a dark ring just a teensy shade larger in diameter than your natural iris (coloured part of the eye), with a shaded area within it that just sort of frames your eyes and basically makes your irises and your pupils look larger. This apparently results in a bigger and more alert effect. I think they look like anime eyes.

Personally, I have really dark irises already - they don't look discernible from my pupils unless you're really close - so I would only benefit from the dark ring making my irises look bigger. I'm not sure I'm edgy enough for cartoon-chic, though.

I think it's a matter of science. You know how lipstick was invented to emulate the flush of blood in the lips that occurs when you're attracted to someone or aroused? Similarly, the the pupils dilate when you're under the same circumstances, and this, I think, was made to create that effect.

But before you go rushing to your nearest Chinese mall to see if anyone has illegally imported them for sale here - beware that there have been cases where women have severely damaged their eyes and eyesight from these, so use at your own risk!

Friday, July 18, 2008

My Face In A Bottle

I think it's time for a heart-to-heart(-to-heart-to-heart-to-heart, between all 100 or so of us!). When I'm unhappy, I have this awful habit of buying things - not to the point of destitution, thankfully, but just things I may not need, or slightly more expensive than I can afford. I believe they call it retail therapy. ;}

This was the situation I found myself in during winter break last December, when I was home recuperating from an abusive relationship with my then-sorority. I was on my way to have dinner with my best friends on Bloor when, naturally, I was distracted by the gorgeousness of Holt Renfrew and just had to go in.

I was admiring the makeup counters and made a stop to chat up the Prescriptives people - I've loved Calyx ever since I was a little girl, after smelling it on my aunts and later being given a tiny vial, and I was really excited to acquire my own bottle just months before at 20 years old.

Out of curiosity, I asked about their foundation since I had been considering getting some, when they introduced me to their Custom Blend line - and a monster was created!

I was just fascinated with the whole process of them trying to match me - they swipe a few tester sticks on your jaw to figure out what undertones you have, and they adjust it from there. I have red/orange undertones, I was told, which is apparently rare for a Chinese girl (most of us are yellow, of course). They found the shade closest to me in the type of coverage I want, then adjusted it to fit the exact shade of my face - I think they put in a pump of purple to take away the yellowness, among a couple other things. Then, they added goodies to it to suit my skin type - moisturizer in my case.

Afterwards, I had loose powder and pressed powder made according to the same colour formula, and I was done! The nice thing is, the foundation and loose powder come with an additional travel-sized version of the product. They also write down the formula for you on a card so that you'll be able to get more when you run out, wherever there is a Prescriptives counter, and their cosmetics line is conveniently sorted according to whatever looks good for each undertone group.

The service was also great. My cosmetician was super nice; she gave me a mini-facial before matching me, and made me up afterwards. Let me tell you, I love Prescriptives' skin care line - they're really gentle on my sensitive skin. I have no use for all the anti-aging stuff yet, but the moisturizing products are all very nice.

The only thing was, I wanted to puke when they finally rang me up. The foundation, pressed powder and loose powder came to just under $200, at about $180something if I remember correctly. But seeing as how it's the exact shade of my face and it was such a good shopping experience and it'll last me forever because I don't go all out makeup-wise every day, it's very good value.

The best part? I won't have any more of these horror pictures! :D

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Before the Rainbow Gets Here...

It's our two week birthday today!

The growth of this blog has been more than I ever could've hoped for, and your continued support means the world to me. My blog is my baby. Thank you for loving my baby! :D

I also just found out that I'm receiving a $5000 scholarship next year - EEE!!! That almost covers all the rent for next year - that makes all my exhaustion and stress so much more worth it. I've been totally drained every day since I've started my current day job and I was feeling so awful/frustrated today, but now, suddenly everything is so much better.

And what heralded this awesome day this morning? Drizzling rain. Exactly the kind, I've been told, that I'll have to contend with next year during the winter months on the Côte d'Azur. That brings me to a question I've been grappling with for a long time: How does one stay fashionable in the shoe department when it rains?

I've decided that I will need to bring a pair of rain boots with me next year. Because aesthetics aside, I think that totally ignoring practicality (in my situation) wouldn't be smart. Here are the low-high choices I've discovered:


Target Solid Wedge Rain Boots in Pink $19.99

Good ol' Tarjay. It's not an option for all of us living outside the States, so in this case I'd have to hit up my Aunt Shirley in Westchester. But they have a veritable ton of adorable styles. Upon reading through the comments, I've found that there may be some issues with quality, but these are so affordable they won't be too painful to replace, and I'm sure that you'll be fine as long as you don't abuse them. My pick is the pink wedge because it gives you a lift, it's a little bit different (and therefore special) and it's my power colour.

$$: Floral Rainboot $34.00

I love the retro pattern on these - they kind of remind me of Ikea! These are pretty affordable too, except again, they only ship to the States, sadly.


Marc by Marc Jacob Rain Boot $194.00 now on sale for $166.00

Did you know that Marc Jacobs makes rainboots? I didn't until this morning. Not really my cup of tea, these ones, but if anything Marc Jacobs just does it for you (and you have extra money floating around) I say go for it.

Hunter Rain Boots $115.00

Hunters are supposed to be superpractical - perhaps that accounts for the price? Luckily, aesthetics don't have to succumb to utility because they're now available in all sorts of fun colours. These also have great traction, and I love that the shaft is nice and tall. Naturally, I like hot pink.

And best for last:

Juicy Couture Sabrina Viva Rain Boots $108.00

These are my dream rainboots! Le sigh. But even though I just got an unexpected $5000, I think my money would be much better spent on travelling next year - that's how I've been reining in my spending this summer. I think these are divine because the buckles are more ornate than your average, the print doesn't get all wonky near the ankle like lower-end rain boots, and the graffiti is so funky. These are definitely my favourites of the bunch, and I found them on sale here at JCY House!

So there you have it - your tootsies can be covered and dry no matter what your budget. For more great choices, click here (I especially like the Tretorn, Nine West and Roxy ones). Happy puddle-jumping! :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Thanks+Mascara Myth Busted!


As of yesterday, two days shy of this blog's 2-week birthday, I've reached my one-month goal of 100 unique visitors, with nearly half of you being returning visitors! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

According to Google Analytics, you guys are from nine different countries - welcome to the readers from Spain and the United Arab Emirates! So glad you're joining me here!

This is so overwhelming, I might need some waterproof mascara...

Okay, so I don't actually use mascara, but I know there are a lot of mascara addicts out there. (Don't worry, I won't judge you. ;P) And according to Napoleon Perdis, the makeup sponsor of Australia's Next Top Model, it's the one beauty product that every woman must own and use on a regular basis.

I played with mascara in high school, but I stopped using it because eyeliner seems to work better in making my eyes and lashes look bigger, and well, because a science student friend once told me with absolute conviction that mascara is made of bat poo.


The mother of the boy I love recently informed me that she plans to supply me long-term with Clinique mascara (because she's ballin' and gets lots of free stuff), so I decided to investigate the truth of this myth lest I blindly forfeit quality makeup and such a grand gesture of love.

The verdict?


You see, regular mascaras are composed of water, soft surfactants, waxes, pigments, thickening polymers and preservatives. Waterproof mascaras are composed of a volatile solvent, waxes, pigments and filmifying polymers. For a really informative look at the manufacturing process of mascara, click here.

So, dear mascara addicts and moderate users alike, don't worry! :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Québécois Fashion Bibles

Okay, I admit it - I'm one of those. Cancon is not the first thing I reach for, flip to or click on at the magazine stand, bookstore, on TV or on the Internet. I love foreign media products. Hong Kong cinema and gossip rags, American TV shows and European magazines just make my day.

The only exceptions to the Cancon rule are Fashion Canada, Lainey Gossip (not sure if it counts as Cancon at all, but Lainey is Canadian) and Québec fashion magazines. In fact, every time I go to Québec, I absolutely have to pick up the latest issues on the stands.

I've always loved Québécois fashion because it's sort of inspired by European style (like how Toronto fashion is influenced by New York style and Vancouver by LA). And okay, superficially, I have to admit that I feel cool just for being able to read these mags - I've worked really hard since grade four to be able to! Additionally, I appreciate that Québec has its own vibrant culture.

During my trip last weekend I realized that the Québec fashion publications scene has evolved quite a bit since the summer of 2005, when I spent 5 weeks in Rivière-du-Loup doing the Summer Language Bursary Program (now called Explore). Apart from Clin d'oeil, my French-Canadian fashion bible then, now there is also Elle Québec and Filles Clin d'oeil (FCD).

Let me break it down for you.

Elle Québec is more artsy and very fashion-heavy - full of Fashionland news, beauty spreads, great fashion spreads, all the Major Shows condensed stylishly onto the pages, with a touch of literature/film/art/culture info. Clin d'oeil, while also technically a fashion magazine, is just slightly more lifestyle-oriented, because of the genre of the articles, and more about clothes you can actually buy. I love both, but I must admit, I was a little disappointed with Clin d'oeil's fashion spreads this issue because I wouldn't buy anything on those pages. I don't know if it's the clothes themselves or the art direction - but I do believe that tie-dye is supremely tacky 90% of the time.

And FCD is clearly geared towards the younger set. The graphics design and layout are very hip, and I find the clothes generally way more wearable. Or at least, they're more like what I would buy. And even though I don't love the beauty section (the glittery smoky eye looks more "battered woman" than "rock star" to me) the features are more fun and relevant to my age group - the cover proudly exclaims, "PARTYS, BEAUX GARS, STARS, CRÈMES GLACÉES"). I like this one best (although Elle comes a close second!) probably because I'm firmly in the target sector of this publication, and I'm glad that the younger demographic of Québécois fashion girls is finally taken care of in the print arena.

The only issue is the age-old problem of wanting what you can't have. While it's great that everything is attainable domestically in these magazines, I think part of the appeal of spreads in foreign mags is the fact that I can't have what I see. I can only stare and admire. I know - it sounds so sick, right? I clearly have a problem. But I think that kind of appeal is akin to that of many expensive things and luxury items, don't you?

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Weekend in Val-David

My bosom is burnt to a glowing crisp. So are my face, arms, back and feet. I also got a heat rash, which was gracious enough to manifest itself on my face.

But it was totally worth it because I had a great time this weekend at Val-David, Québec, and the annual 1001 Pots ceramics exposition (the largest of its kind in Canada) is a definite must-go for all pottery aficionados/as - or good daughters of of pottery aficionadas, who also happen to need a relaxing getaway! It featured over 100 pottery masters from all over the country, and the amount of ceramic pieces there was just mind-boggling.

But for a die-hard city girl who isn't a potter herself, what is there to occupy me in a little town an hour north of Montréal? All the free food, of course!

On Opening Night of the expo, there were a lot of hors d'oeuvres floating around, courtesy of local restaurant sponsors, as well as all-you-can-drink free wine. It was pretty good - as good as massified food can be anyway (by that I mean food made for a large group of people, like in cafeterias and even at weddings and banquets). I had seared tuna with caviar, crispy wonton shells with salmon sashimi salad, all sorts of canapés...I wanted to take pictures of everything I had, but I was too busy eating!

But what takes the cake in Val-David is their organic farmer's market (where I got fried). It takes place every Saturday/Sunday morning until noon on the main street, and there you can find a huge variety of excellent quality organic foods, like veggies, baked goods (mm...chocolate croissants!), waffles, meats, honey, jams, fair trade coffee, teas...and the best part is, there are samples for virtually everything!

We bought some pâté and baguettes to go with our 12-year single malt scotch whiskey later that night, when we roasted marshmallows. That was the life!

Enjoy the pictures!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

In the Interest of Fashion and Sisterhood

*Note: This is a double-length post to make up for my absence tomorrow, because I will be away on a weekend getaway in Quebec!

I think prom is a very interesting North American concept. It's an event that people make a huge fuss about (so much so that it's a multimillion dollar industry), that's a rite of passage, that girls dream of and plan for years, the one night where any kind of economic rationality goes right out the window because girls are allowed to wear the most over-the-top outfit they could find and spend an insane amount of money for only one night's worth of fun. Significance of the actual event (graduating after nearly a decade and a half of education) is secondary - it's all about appearances.

Kind of like weddings.

And the funny thing is, inevitably people will take a ton of pictures to commemorate the event only to hide them in the most secluded spot possible years later, because they become really embarrassing to look at!

Don't lie. Almost everyone has prom horror pictures. I have prom horror pictures. And in the interest of fashion and sisterhood (because I don't want anyone else to make the same mistakes!), I will share them today:As you can see, the outfit was not the problem. I love my dress. It fit well, was flattering, well cut and well made with the lushest material - fully-lined black chiffon that had this gorgeous floral pattern of emerald green and glossy black velvet. I daresay it'll be beautiful and stylish 50 years down the road - I'd pass it down to my cousin or a daughter if I ever have one, except I wouldn't want to take away their fun of choosing a prom dress.

I'd wanted a dress that would either be royal blue, emerald green, peacock blue or peacock green, because they're unique, vibrant colours that I look good in, and I knew most people would be wearing black. I also wanted a simple design that would fit me like glove, that would look good years later so that I could avoid the prom horror pictures situation.

One day, I went to Unionville Main Street with my mom, and we decided to look inside a tiny boutique that was closing down and had all its dresses on sale. I wasn't expecting much and wasn't even looking very hard because I secretly was harbouring the fantasy of being able to afford a Pam Chorley original - Fashion Crimes has been one of my favourite stores in Toronto since like, grade six.

My mom pulled out a few dresses and insisted I try them on. I stepped out of the changeroom, looked at myself in the mirror and thought - this is it! Was it supposed to be that easy? It was clearly meant to be and I knew I wouldn't be able to find anything to top it. It was also on sale for $60, which was fantastic - my budget was about $200. I was going to go all out - but I was able to score an even more timelessly beautiful dress than I'd planned for (I'm huge on timeless) that wouldn't run the risk of looking garish later, at less than half my budget.

My lace shawl and beautiful necklace were on loan from Alice Chik, a family friend and Toronto-based costume jewellery designer. She has some of the most exquisite and dramatic pieces I've ever seen - she's also a One of A Kind artisan. The "pendant" of the necklace was actually a vintage (circa 1920s) brooch suspended by a chiffon ribbon - it has since been re-incarnated into a different style.

For those of you who will be choosing outfits for significant events, I can't advise strongly enough to go with something that'll still be considered gorgeous years later. These days pictures can actually last forever, you know?

As for the horror factor - here was the real problem:
I was really last-minute in booking an appointment for hair/makeup (so stupid!) and ended up going to Rêver, this bridal spa/salon place in First Markham Place (Woodbine + Hwy 7), which is one of the Chinese meccas in uptown Toronto. Big mistake. HUGE.

Not only were they really overpriced, but they did the worst makeup job ever, kept trying to upsell me and revealed all kinds of hidden fees at the end for services I didn't ask for or want. Speaking of service, it was awful. The place is owned and run by these two incredibly rude middle-aged sisters who kept insulting my skin in order to try to get me to purchase spa packages from them. Well, my skin is only the way it is because I was born with a condition called eczema, those morons.

Besides that, the major problem I overlooked is the fact that many Chinese women, especially the middle-aged ones, tend to use shades of foundation that are way too light both on themselves and on others, because a pale complexion is very coveted in our culture. Plus the women who did my makeup tried to cover as much of my awful skin as they could by stippling foundation/powder down my neck all the way to my collar bones - I ended up looking like a gypsum bust placed on a body.

In all fairness, it looked passable in person, but because flashlights were used in every picture (since proms generally take place at night!), all of my pictures turned out horribly. Naturally, I was incredibly upset.
So the lesson of the day is to always bring your own foundation when getting your makeup done professionally! And don't scrimp on it either, because trust me, a good foundation is worth its weight in gold. I use Prescriptives Custom-Blend Foundation, which is blended to match the exact shade of my face - the lamboughini of makeup, in my opinion. Will introduce that product here when I come back.
In the meantime, have a good weekend, okay? :)

Quick Update+Love!

You're awesome!

This blog has been up for exactly a week, and I’m beside myself with happiness over the warm response – thank you for visiting and for all the support! In just a week there have been 53 unique visitors and for the past few days, I’ve been averaging at about 20 hits a day. Thank you, thank you, thank you – please keep reading me and inviting your friends! :D

I use this fantastic free service from Google called Analytics, which enables me to see exactly how many people have visited my blog, from where, how they got here, along with a ton of other really useful information.

Am superexcited and glowing with pleasure to see that people from 7 different countries have visited this blog - Hello to all of you! ;) I don’t even know anyone from Greece or Mexico or Singapore; I’ve never been to the Philipines (even though my grandfather was born there); I haven’t been to Hong Kong in a decade – but here we all are, connecting on cyberspace, over the love of living the good life. LOVE. Of course, I can’t forget to give a shout out to my American It Girls, too – hello! You guys can subscribe to all the essential books (aka fashion magazines) at a fraction of the price we have to pay – am super jealous. And as always, am supergrateful to my dear domestic readers - love you guys!

I will be posting later sometime tonight, sooner if I can manage it (I’m holding down an 8-5 for the next four to six weeks) – expect a double post because I’ll be going away for a weekend vacay at Val-David, Quebec and won’t be able to update tomorrow. Naturally, I’ll keep you all posted on anything I encounter there that is pretty, tasty or fun.

You rock my world!


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Parlez-vous français?

Dearest fellow It Girls,

20 days. Unofficially, there are 20 days left of my summer French Lit course, and it’s not coming soon enough – summer courses should be illegal! However, it’s a very necessary evil because it’s a prerequisite I must take and pass before I will be allowed to go on exchange to France. As such, let’s make French more fun, shall we? Let’s talk French fashion designers.

You won’t believe how often I hear designers’ names pronounced wrong, in any language - even the really big household names! Materialism aside, pronouncing someone’s name wrong is just plain rude and therefore, as Karl Lagerfeld would say, so démodé (having good manners is timelessly fashionable, darlings). As a French/media-majoring fashion girl, I’m taking it upon myself to right this wrong to the best of my ability.

A “foreword” about French pronunciation:
The French R is notoriously difficult to say – it sounds a little like trying to dislodge a cupcake crumb scratching at the back of your throat. (Refer to the video interviews of Carine Roitfeld, Marion Cotillard, Audrey Tautou or anyone else fabulously French.) However, if it’s just not working out, just use the Anglo R – it’s not as big a problem as mispronouncing vowels, after all - we’ll just keep it our little secret. ;)

And when speaking French syllables that end with the letter N, you don’t end say it with the hard N (i.e. your tongue doesn’t actually touch the roof of your mouth), like in English. Instead, you make what is called a nasal sound, with your teeth apart and mouth open slightly, which from novices, can sound like a groan: “uhhhn” No wonder they call it the language of love. Hee.

Got it? Okay, here we go!

Louis Vuitton: loo-ee vwee-TOHN
*Notes: I know, I know – “vwee” is hard to say. All the little Hollywood tarts say it wrong, and unfortunately, everyone follows them. I shudder every time I hear “loo-ee vitt-TAWN.” Ew! If you want to sound like a pro, make your T and the entire second syllable really sharp. However, it’s totally acceptable to do as Asian fashion girls do and just say the acronym, “LV.”

Gaultier: gol-TYAY (gol-tee-ay, said quickly)
*Note: Not gawl-teer, please, or I will tear up! As a useful note, “er” at the end of a word is always pronounced “ay”, so “atelier” is actually “ah-te-lee-ay”, or even better, “ah-te-LYAY.”

Givenchy: jee-vohn-shee
*Note: Not pronounced the way it’s spelled! Make your J really soft, like the end of the word, “mirage.”

Hermès: air-MEZ
*Note: A friend with a normally sweet disposition almost engaged in a shouting match with me over this one, because she heard all the sales associates of the London flagship pronounce it a certain (incorrect) way. I pinky swear I’m not leading you astray!

Nicholas Ghesquière: nee-ko-LA ges-KYAIR (or ges-key-air, if that makes things easier)
*Note: A book I otherwise enjoyed printed the wrong pronunciation for this name in the designers lexicon – quel horreur!

Monique Lhuillier: mo-NEEK LWEE-lee-yay
*Note: If you’re ever lucky enough to get married in one of her designs, please don’t pull a Britney and say her name wrong!

There are a ton more that I want to include, but this post is starting to get wordy already, so I am only including the ones that are the most commonly mispronounced. Feel free to hit me up for any questions or clarifications, k? ;)


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Victoria's Secret Pink Collegiate Collection

Are you a sucker for school merch? I'm a sucker for school merch. My school can slap their name or logo on virtually anything and I'll be tempted to buy it. Pair it with a popular label and my resolve is dust.

That's probably why it's a good thing that my school isn't one of the 33 teamed with Victoria's Secret Pink in their new Pink Collegiate Collection. This collection features the logos and mascots of the 33 participating schools on a range of products, including sweats, totes, jackets, underwear, and even bedding - and let me tell you, if they decided to do that here just in the province of Ontario, all the Western, Queens, York and Ryerson girls, at the very least, would be all over it.

The only thing is, the Canadian counterpart of Victoria's Secret, La Senza, doesn't have the same level of prestige or "fab quotient" as VS itself, despite the fact that it is owned by Limited Brands, which also owns VS - and the company's reps have maintained that they are neither going to move the chain to Canada nor transform La Senza into VS. Thus, hardcore Canadian girls will have to continue to traipse to the States and/or search high and low online for avenues to score their precious VS stuff.

The new La Senza line, Lola & Coco by La Senza, is modelled after VSPink, but it seems to lack the same lustre as Pink, and there are way fewer products because it's a much smaller line. It still has quite some way to go to establish a following like Pink's, before it will reach that echelon of coolness, if ever. The marketing is totally not at the same level, either.

Still, one can dream. And this sweatpant with a large W on it, from the University of Washington line, is the closest I can find to my school's symbols. Maybe if I squint really hard and turn my head sideways it'll look like the real thing?

Monday, July 7, 2008

Ginger Esthetic Spa

I firmly believe that every girl/woman/gay boy should be married to a spa and salon. Every one of us deserves to have those two special places that we can count on to make us beautiful (and therefore happy), who will never fail us, who will cheer us up on bad days, who will pamper us without abandon, forever and ever amen.

When I went to school in London, Ontario, I was married to Ginger Esthetic Spa. Whenever I was stressed out from school, the drama of sororityland, or if I just needed to be pampered, I'd make an appointment and it worked every time. The décor is tasteful, the ambience is relaxing, and the service is great, especially since they don't try to upsell you, like many spas do.

There, I met Fiona, the best nail tech I have ever met - and I am almost unreasonably picky. If I ever become rich enough to be able to afford hiring a posse to follow me around to keep me beautiful, I'd hire her at any cost to be in charge of my nails.

Ginger's nailcare services really take the cake because they are the only place I have ever found that doesn't use drills for artificial nail application, so the damage to your nails is minimal. They do a great job for fakies because they use the Brisa nail system - it's so natural-looking and lightweight that no one could ever tell that my nails weren't my own.

I came across Ginger in first year, when I went to another spa in London to ask for sponsors for a sorority charity event. I'd just gotten my nails done very poorly at a cheap nail bar, and the ladies at the other spa totally cut me up, as if I weren't aware of how pornstar-like my nails looked! Then they referred me to Ginger because their spa doesn't offer these services, and I went to Ginger faithfully for the remainder of the time I spent in London.

The owner, Janice, is a certified podiatrist and natural-products specialist. All the ingredients they use for their facials and massages are all-natural, and they smell fantastic! Her products are available on sale as well, if you try something and really like it. Their repair serum is phenomenal, and better than all the serums out there on the market, in my opinion.

Ginger is located at 181 Albert St. in London, ON. For further inquiries, call 519-646-2979.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Brook's Delectable Chocolates

Image Source
This chocolate is SO unbelievably delicious. I once told Brook that a person can buy my affection with her chocolate, and it's still true. If I were only allowed to eat one kind of chocolate for the rest of my life (God forbid!), this would be it.

Brook's chocolate almond brittle has been a huge favourite of mine since I began frequenting the craft show circuit when my mum first began her business in '97. Every year at the One of A Kind Toronto Christmas show, my mom buys me a small bag - then at a different aisle, I'd tell her I have to "go to the bathroom," then I'd buy the large $25 bag and sneak it in my purse, swearing Brook to secrecy. I can easily inhale the $5 bag, the smallest, in two seconds flat, so I need a more substantial size, you know?

It's rich, imported milk chocolate surrounding the most delicious buttery brittle you will ever taste, with a ton of almonds around and in the confection. The middle is something else because Brook doesn't scrimp on her ingredients (you can't mistake the scrumptious buttery and maple syrup flavours) and because it's got this lovely, slightly crunchy, super brittle texture. By that I mean it's crunchy, but it breaks apart cleanly with the slightest pressure from you teeth and it doesn't stick to your molars (unless you buy a bag and let it sit for a year and don't eat it until a lot later - I learned this when I delightedly found a forgotten bag somewhere in the black hole that is our pantry).

As of 2006, this candy is also available in dark chocolate for those who are health conscious, chocolate snobs or both. I think I should work out some sort of plan with Brook so that she will bill me and send me a bag every fixed period…

For more information or to order, visit

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Bag Crush

I love pink. I love owning pink things. I think the right shades of pink can make a woman really powerful. Pink things just get me right there. So you'd probably be able to imagine my impassioned squeal when I saw this:
It's the Komen Collection version of the Milano laptop tote by Mobile Edge ($130USD).

You see, the Enter key of my 3-year-old laptop has fallen out (after I'd already had to replace the keyboard last year when the first two letters of my name fell out), and it's the last straw - so it looks like I will very likely be getting a new laptop. A much smaller version, which I've been wanting for a really long time now, probably a Dell Vostro with a 13.3" in screen.

So naturally, I'll need a superchic tote to carry it around in.

I adore skins, and this is a beautiful faux-croc pattern - awesome, because I won't have to sacrifice my conscience for style. It's lined in a buttery-soft tan suede, and it features a super secure laptop compartment, a removable wristlet, cell phone and pen/lipstick compartments, and - can you believe it? - a wireless security pocket that will prevent hackers from getting into your BlackBerry/PDA.

Plus it comes with a lifetime warranty and 10% of the proceeds go to the Susan G Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.


If only I didn't have to save up for travelling in Europe next year...