Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Black & Blue



Now that autumn is in full swing and that black is back in force, I have been tempted to add some royal blue pieces in my wardrobe to create another kind of seasonal uniform. There is something about combining these two shades that brings spark to a look while adding a touch of understated elegance. Of course, it was the perfect occasion to wear my black wool cape and the latest addition to my hat collection, this charming wide-brimmed fedora with a slim leather band.

My love for dresses has been well documented on my blog (like here, here or here). I just have a thing for pretty dresses. Some women collect jeans; I prefer dresses. It's the first thing I notice in a store, on the street or in a window. I just have a massive fondness for dresses. I have found this one on the Montreal-based website New Social Class (NSC). I knew they had a nice collection of dainty and statement jewellery pieces from brilliant designers, but I didn't know they also had a sassy clothing selection. Obviously, my eyes spotted one of the few dresses available on their website. It's the royal blue shade as well as the flirty skater shape that first caught my attention. I also like the fitted waistline and the flowing hem of the skirt, it's so playful and feminine. 

To complete the look, I chose a few on trend jewellery pieces from NSC: a striking double pearl necklace à la Dior, a delicate evil eye bracelet, a fun Swarovski encrusted ring and a bold world map cuff. 





Dress: NSC Ride along dress designed by Stylestalke/ hat: Urban Outfitters / cape: Forever 21 (old) / 
shoes: Whistles (old) / braceletNSC Nazer bracelet designed by Jennifer Zeuner  / 
cuff: NSC World cuff designed by Artelier NSC / necklace: NSC Pearl necklace 

A special thanks to M Salon for the killer grey manucure!

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Photo credit: Denis Vayer  
dvayer@videotron.ca

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

RIP Oscar De La Renta





Oscar de la Renta, one of my favourite designers of all time, has passed away at 82. It's with sublime elegance, sumptuous details, ever-feminine designs, exquisite embroideries and luscious colours that I will remember him. RIP Mr. de la Renta.

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Image source: Pinterest

Monday, October 20, 2014

Artemano

In front of the Montreal Artemano store...back in the days when it was hot and humid
When it comes to interior design, I have a strong preference for contemporary decor with a soft neutral palette. 

But with a twist. 

As much I like contemporary pieces for their elegance and modern appeal, sometimes when put together, they can appear a bit cold and clinical. So to balance off chic minimalistic furniture, I like the idea of introducing wooden and oriental accents in a room. I just feel that adding a few rustic wood pieces and interesting Asian decor elements to a monochromatic room adds a great deal of warmth and personality.

When I recently furnished my apartment, I discovered Artemano, a Laval-based furniture company specialised in high quality exotic wood. Their stores are filled with beautiful one-of-a-kind pieces made out of reclaimed wood from India, Thailand and Indonesia. The old wood (either rosewood, suar, teak, mango or acacia) is re-purposed into various collections all exquisite for their unique aesthetic and fine craftsmanship.

To complete the decor, Artemano also has a nice collection of accessories such as stylish pierced metal lamps, ornate mirrors, hand carved buddha heads and exotic bedding collections. 

Here are the 5 favourite items I spotted when I last visited their Montreal store:


Buddha heads made of sandstone
Romy sideboard made of rosewood
Pieced metal cylinder hanging lamp with floral design
Large Romy cabinet made of rosewood
Tree trunk suar stool in silver
Have you familiar with this furniture brand? What are your favourite pieces?

You can also follow me on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram!

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Photo credit: Artemano

Friday, October 17, 2014

Happy 1st Anniversary Kyo!


I recently received an intriguing invitation to celebrate the first anniversary of Kyo, an upscale Japanese pub located underneath the Hotel Place d'Armes. Since I like a good comforting pub as much as I fancy Japanese food, I was thrilled to discover this unique kind of eatery and to experience the izakaya atmosphere.

What's an izakaya? Our charming host, Chef Terrence "Ding" Ting explained that it means "sake stay shop" and that it refers to these drinking establishments where customers can eat and share small plates of comfort food. It's a very laid back kind of watering holes where people go to relax after a long day at work. 



Our evening at Kyo started off with refreshing raspberry cocktails and an impressive assortments of mouth-watering sushis and sashimis. We also tasted other Japanese delicacies such as gyoza dumplings and jumbo fried shrimps with wasabi mayo. Everything was beautifully presented and just scrumptious.

To immerse ourselves deeply in the Japanese culture, three different stations had been put together for the guests to try. I first had the opportunity to learn how to make sushi rolls along with the Chef. I was carefully following his instructions until one point where I got caught up in a discussion with my fellow sushi makers and inadvertently put my avocados upside down! They were very good even though my rookie mistake.


Then, it was the sake tasting done by a sake expert who explained the history, the brewing methods, the distinctive flavours and the most distinguished labels. It was an enlightening session. The sake sommelier offered us to taste 4 different selections, some filtered, other unfiltered as well as sparkling sake for a more cosmopolitan taste. I even tried a lovely pink one, which was surprisingly delicious.


The last station was all about SHŌ'CHŪ, a hard liquor distilled from a variety of grains and vegetable. At Kyo, it is usually served with fresh fruits such as watermelon, lime or mango that you muddle and mix together. A friend offered me a sip from his drink without warning me about the fact that it is quite a strong cocktail. Be warned, this rare alcohol is not for the faint at heart! I don't think I have tried anything like it before. Even vodka appears like a mild liquor in comparison.


All in all, it was a memorable evening. I particularly enjoyed the cozy ambiance. There is something about the rich wooden furniture, the dim overhead lights and the welcoming staff that makes you want to unwind as you step into this pub. But what really stood out for me is the quality of the food. Although very simple, all the dishes were quite elegant and delightful. 

I look forward to coming back with a couple of friends, I'm sure they will get a kick out of it.

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Photo credit: Naskademini

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Chic Capes


If there is one thing I adore about fall aside from wearing fancy boots, cozy knits, flirty hats, eating apple crumble and watching all the leaves change colour, it's wearing a cape. I have been a longtime fan of the cape; I find that there is something utterly chic and feminine about it. 

If there is a woman who knows how to rock a cape these days, it's most certainly the Russian socialite and founder of Buro 24/7, Miroslava Duma. Known for her classic and sometimes quirky style, this member of the Russian fashion pack always looks effortlessly elegant and even playful when she wears a cape. I admire this tiny lady for her sense of style as well as for her ability to mix high and low fashion flawlessly. See for yourself...

Are you also a secrete admirer of Miss Duma?





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Image source: Pinterest

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Rediscovering TNT


Last week, I was invited to a cool shopping event at one of Montreal's best kept secret among fashionistas, TNT (The New Trend). Hosted by RKloset.com's Randy Kupfert, the evening was an occasion to mingle with other fashion lovers, discover hot new brands while sipping fabulous cocktails from Brahm Mauer Bar Services. I went for the designer cobbler, an inventive mix of Cointreau, pineapple juice, thyme and sherry puree, pear and nutmeg. It was truly refreshing considering that we were having an Indian summer week, lucky us!

But back to fashion...

Nestled in front of Westmount Square, TNT carries each season's trendiest styles in clothing and accessories by well-established brands such as Isabel Marant, Rag and Bone, Alexander Wang and Helmut Lang. With the recent change in management, the store now offers up and coming labels such as Tortoise, Sumi-Sumi, B-Used, Avant Toi, Public School, Veronique Branquinho, Nili Lothan and RTA

Among all of the beautifully curated pieces in the boutique, I was quite smitten by the lovely collection of wool jackets from Montreal-based designer Vaiken, who recently won the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week of Ottawa. Combining light and dark greys, these elegant, yet comfortable jackets are a great transitional piece as we move from the warmer months into the colder ones. Aside from the incredibly wide selection of clothing, I was struck by the amount of stylish boots available in the store. I was seriously drooling over how chic and pretty they were!

TNT, a place to discover or rediscover...

TNT is located at 4100 St-Catherine O. in Westmount, Qc. H3Z 3C9

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

3 New Retinol-Infused Treatments to Discover


I have started to use retinol a few years ago when I was concerned with the blemishes on my face. I still remembered being blown away by the rapid results. Not only did it help clear up my skin but it also made my complexion much more even and radiant than before. All that in only a few applications.

That is how I got introduced to retinol, a gold standard ingredient according to dermatologists.

Over the years, I have kept using retinol to counteract blemishes and also to prevent the signs of aging. I do believe that retinol is a strong ally in my overall skincare routine. However, much like French women, I think that aging gracefully involves not only a proper skincare routine, but also a healthy lifestyle. If you don't eat a balanced diet, avoid processed food, drink plenty of water, exercise regularly, use a broad spectrum sunscreen, have good sleeping habits and manage to relax, you can't expect that skincare alone will prevent you from having dull skin, age spots, dehydration, fine lines and all the other signs of aging. 

When first launched on the market, the anti-aging Holy Grail came with many downsides, namely skin irritation, dryness, itchiness and sometimes peeling. It was also considered safer to use it only at night because of the instability of the antioxidant when exposed to the sun. Now twenty years later, thanks to recent advances in science, the vitamin A derivative still stimulates collagen production, helps with skin turnover and exfoliation while being more affordable and less harsh on the face. 

From this new generation of retinol products, here are three different kinds of treatment I have recently discovered:

As a base or instead of foundation
RoC Retin-OX Correxion BB Cream
What I like about it
Did you know that RoC was the first company to stabilise the retinol molecule 25 years ago after more than 10 years of research? That's one of the first things I discovered while researching this topic. As I am well over the whole BB cream hype, I see this as a tinted moisturiser with benefits. It comes in only one shade with self-adjusting pigments that adapts to your skin tone. It also imparts a light coverage, cancels out redness, offers a good SPF 25 and has a nice creamy texture, which is easy to blend. It's a no-fuss product with retinol, great for light makeup days or to be used as a primer. 

As a treatment around the eyes, the lips and on the forehead:
Laroche Posay Redermic R 
What I like about it
Although my under eye area can be quite sensitive, this formulation containing 0.1% of retinol does not create any irritation. After a few weeks of applying this refreshing gel, I have noticed smoother skin on my forehead and less visible fine lines under the eyes. I find the packaging clever considering you only need a tiny amount at the time. Plus, it is a nice hydrating makeup base.

As an eye contour, daytime & nighttime treatment:
Jouviance Restructiv SRD
What I like about it
The multitasking aspect of this product is rather pleasing; who wouldn't want to use the same product in the morning, at night and for eye contour? Fortified with peptides and hyaluronic acid, this lightweight cream with 0.75% retinol has a unique delivery system by which the formula is slowly released to reach the deepest epidermis layers. I have been surprised to see my complexion turn more plumped and radiant in about two weeks. 
Have you also tried these products? What are your favourite retinol products?
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