a style blog

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Hair desperation and expensive shampoo

I finally broke down and bought expensive shampoo and conditioner. I feel very strange about it, as I usually don't put much thought into my hair. Aside from my trusty Klorane leave-in cream, I just reach for whatever looks good, or is on sale, at the drugstore. But it would seem ignoring my hair is not the way to go about it. You see, I have an oily scalp, dry ends, and frizz for days, making for a very difficult hair type to accommodate. Which is why my go-to hairstyle is a topknot. Hopefully with fancy shampoo (made specifically for oily scalp) and fancy conditioner (intensive treatment to be used only on ends) I will be able to explore a wider variety of hairstyles, and maybe even wash my hair less. All of my fingers and toes are crossed.



The moneygrubbers I've invested in are from Phyto, namely Phytocedrat and Phytobaume Reparateur. I've only used them a few times, so I'm not ready with a verdict, but it's entirely possible that my scalp feels less oily since I started using it. The conditioner has a soft floral scent, and is nice and rich. But I have so much hair that I'm afraid I will use it all up very quickly. The shampoo is a liquid, making it a bit hard to hold in my hand in the shower, but it quickly turns into a lather once on the hair. The bottle says to leave the shampoo on for 2 minutes, which I have been doing, while the conditioner says to "rinse immediately", which I've been ignoring... 



As for other updates, the wallpapering in my bedroom is done, as is the furniture rearranging. For the wallpaper we used wallpaper liner on a part of my wall that is wood panelling, and for the most part it worked out great. A small little section ended up sinking into a crevice, but I'm the only one who knows it's there ;) I moved my bed to the other side of the room and Sadie ignored me for a day. She feels very strongly about the location of the bed. I'm still looking for a nightstand, but after that, my room will be done! 

xx Chloë
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Monday, August 19, 2013

Impulse Buy of the Week: Marc Jacobs Beauty Petra Nail Polish

I hadn't intended to give in to the hype surrounding the launch of Marc Jacobs Beauty, but while returning another product to Sephora I had a little stroll by the new display and I was sucked right in. I had looked online at the products and I knew that I wanted to try the nail polish, particularly the shade Baby Jane, as it fits with my "weird-greige" obsession. Sadly it was sold out in-store, but another, very different, shade caught my eye. Petra. Oh, Petra.



Sephora calls is a "dirty bronze metallic shimmer". I'd add a hint of purple/plum in there, as you can see from the photos. It's crazy metallic, but applies so smoothly with no pooling or streaking. It was nearly opaque in one coat (!!!!) but I applied two out of habit. I could have gotten away with one though! It's pretty much perfect in terms of application. To be completely honest, it gave me that giddy feeling Chanel Graphite does every time I wear it. I'm taking that as a very good sign.

The packaging is also very cool and sleek. The big lid comes off to reveal a more user-friendly brush top, so not to worry! As for wear time, I had my first chip on day 4, with zero tip wear before then. Keep in mind that I'm in the middle of tearing apart my room and putting it back together again... this stuff survived carrying and opening boxes, lifting furniture, cleaning, etc. Aside from not being able to fully withstand manual labour, I only have one (okay, two, if you count the price at $22 CDN) more quibble with this, and that it's not quite as "high-shine" as it says it is. I still found myself reaching for my Revlon top-coat to amp up the shine.





So overall this was quite a successful impulse buy, and I'm not even that disappointed anymore that they didn't have Baby Jane in stock. Yay for impulsive shopping! At the same time I also picked up one of the "gel" eyeliners in Blacquer, but I have yet to try it so I can't offer any opinion for that "impulse" quite yet :) This pencil is offered as one of this month's 100 point perks, so hopefully it's worth the full price I paid for it... argh...

On a related note, another of Sephora's 100 point perks this month is Deborah Lippmann's Happy Birthday polish, as Sephora will soon be carrying the line. This is so very dangerous for me, as I'm quite a fan and there are a whole lot of polishes in the range that I am currently coveting. I need to resist the temptation. I can do it!

xx Chloe


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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Baking: The Perfect Banana Bread

In case you were not aware, I fancy myself quite the baker. As a kid I was always down for some baking. I even re-fashioned one of those goo-cooking ovens, in which you could make your own rubber doll, into an Easy-Bake Oven. Because my parents would buy me a goo-cooking oven, but not an Easy-Bake Oven. I never did follow the logic there. Anyway, I digress. I've always been a baker. It was a great stress reliever in university, so I got to be quite good and adventurous. 

One recipe that I had (shockingly) never tried to make on my own was banana bread. This week, I changed that. I made banana bread, and it was divine. It was banana-y, moist, and perfect. Not too shabby for my first try!



The recipe I used is from America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book. For a lot of my recipes, the base concept comes from this book, and I add in my own modifications and variations based on my own tastes and experiences with the recipe. This time I followed the recipe pretty closely, since it was my first time making this bread. I have a bit of expertise in the zucchini bread department, but I wasn't sure how similar (or not!) the two loaves are, so I didn't want to get too risky!


Banana Bread 
Makes one 8" loaf (I used an 8.5"x 4.5" x 2.5" loaf pan) 
Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup of white sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
3 large very ripe bananas, mashed well 

  • I used 4 medium sized bananas, and ended up with maybe a little more than the recipe called for. They had been in the freezer for a while and were completely black on the outside and very soft, but still very sweet, on the inside. The bananas are key for this recipe, as bananas that still have green in them are way too starchy to bake with.
6 tablespoons (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1/4 cup whole or low-fat plain yogurt

  • I used Greek yogurt here, and put in probably closer to 1/3 of a cup. I think using Greek yogurt, especially the lower fat stuff they have nowadays, is a great way of giving a richer flavour without having to use whole fat yogurt. 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • I never pay attention to measurements for vanilla. It's hard to overdo vanilla, so I just splash it in straight from the bottle and eyeball it. I always at least double what the recipe calls for. 
1/2 cup of toasted walnuts (or whatever else you'd like to put in!)
  • I think here is where my bread could have been a biiiiit better. I didn't toast the walnuts, so they didn't have that nutty flavour. They added a nice texture to the bread but the flavour wasn't very apparent. 


Preheat oven to 350F, adjust rack to the middle. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients (except the walnuts). In a medium bowl, mix the remaining wet ingredients together. Slowly fold the wet mixture into the dry mixture until just combined. Add the walnuts. Pour the batter into your greased pan, and bake, rotating the pan halfway through. 

This recipe says to bake it for 55 minutes, but I had it in there for at least 15 minutes longer than that. There are a lot of factors at play when it comes to baking times, but generally you should get to know your oven (it has feelings too) and adjust the times given in recipes accordingly. I'd say 55 minutes is a good guideline, and when a toothpick inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out with only a few crumbs, that bread is done! Pull it out, and cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn the loaf out onto a wire rack to cool some more. 

Easy peasy :) Let me know if you try it out, and what modifications you make! Or, even better, if you have any secret tricks you want to share! 

xo Chloe

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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Polka Dot Silk Shorts, I Love You

I found these shorts in the Aritzia sale a few weeks ago and I've been smitten ever since. I'd been looking for another flowy-type pair of shorts for a while, so I was very pleased to find these, and at more than 50% off. I daresay I like them more than my Rachel Rachel Roy silky shorts from last season, so that's kind of a big deal. They're 100% crepe silk, so they do wrinkle a bit after sitting for a while, but that's what irons are for, I suppose! 




I paired the shorts with a whole bunch of neutrals to keep things classic and un-fussy, but still interesting to look at. In addition to black and white, I added a pebble grey, a pale pink (the cuffs of the blazer), and a nude beige. On the surface, they may seem a bit mismatched, but actually they are all very neutral and all very easily "go" with the other pieces. 

This look is the general direction my style is veering in right now, and I'm quite pleased. In the past year or so, I've found myself drawn to pieces I never would have looked twice at before. For example, blazers. I adore blazers. Two years ago, I did not. Ah, the evolution of personal style. If only my grade 9 self going through a punk/skater phase could see me now... she'd be cringing! 



Let's also chat about this bag. You've all seen her, but I don't think you've been properly introduced. This is the Coach Madison Phoebe in Pebble Grey. This bag is enormous and right up my alley. I had originally seen it in a cobalt, and it was lust at first sight. When I found out there was a grey... well... it was love ;) 

My shoes have been around for a few months now, but this is their first outing, you know... outside. They're a bit stiff in the toes so I usually just give up and go with my black ballet flats, meaning these lovely shoes get relegated to the "maybe later" file. Well, no longer. They have made their debut. And yes, those are gold studs around the heel. Maybe I haven't completely given up my punk phase ;) 



In other news, I have picked up a few new things beauty/haircare-wise, so keep an eye for a post or video on that in the near future. I bought expensive shampoo and conditioner and I'm a bit freaked out but hopefully it makes a difference. Fingers crossed!

Stuff:

Shorts - Aritzia/Babaton (Link!) (they are currently marked down even more! for sizing reference, since Aritzia can be really weird, these are a size 2 and I wear a 26 in denim)
T-Shirt - Aritzia/Wilfred Free
Blazer - H&M 
Flats - Zara
Bag - Coach Madison Phoebe
Sunglasses - Target
Necklace - Forever21

xx Chloë




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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

New Lens, New Problems

This is more of a "test post", but I hope you'll read and enjoy anyway :) And for all you photography enthusiasts out there, I'm sure you'll find something of interest. So here's the deal: I've finally outgrown my Nikon kit lens. Actually, I think this occurred quite a while ago. However I was unsure how to remedy this... then I came across the AF-S 50mm f1.4G. What a beauty... and what a steep learning curve! This lens is so different from anything I've used before, and it's wonderful and so frustrating! I've learned so much about my year-old Nikon D5100 in the past few days, just from playing around with my new lens.




 The first thing I learned is that it takes beautiful photos. I'd been shooting on the Aperture Priority setting a lot pre-lens, so moving on to this lens was kind of the natural progression of that... and now that I can shoot at f/1.4, well, this is a whole new world. The subjects glow. The bokeh is beautiful. However, since it's a fixed 50mm lens, there's no zooming in or out. Makes it a bit difficult for this beauty and fashion blogger to take selfies. I already rely on the self-timer to take most of my shots, but in order to get a full face shot with this lens I need to be at least 3 feet away from the camera. Focusing is even more of a problem than before (and don't even get me started on continuous auto-focus!).

Here are a few test shots from my experimentation with the self-timer. I think they turned out okay, but I definitely need to practice more (or buy a remote. Whichever). I also need to run faster (hello, self-timer countdown!). Good thing I can get my mum to take outfit shots every once in a while, or else I think I would drive myself crazy using the tripod and timer all the time. 






So I won't be filming my YouTube videos with this lens I don't think. If I get back into tutorials I think it could work for the close-ups... but for straight-up talking, I'd have to be almost in another room to fit into the frame ;) But that's quite alright, as I bought it for actual photography. If it had worked for my videos, that would have just been a bonus :) 


I've already taken some great shots of my family and my dog, but I'm looking forward to a big party where I can really test this lens out on a variety of faces and lighting situations. I've also taken some great shots of flowers in the garden with this, so hello versatility! 


I got this lens at Henry's, and I highly recommend them. Wonderful customer service from very friendly and knowledgeable staff. Can't rave about them enough :)


xx Chloë



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