NEW YEARS EVE LOOK

What I've realized most over the last year is that I'm definitely less of a party girl than I used to be. Offer me a night in with a Netflix marathon and a glass of wine and I'll take you up on it any time. I've been to one New Years Eve party in my day, and never to a bar. It's always been nights in and board games with friends—just how I like it. I hope that this year is the same. Even though I'll likely be staying in, there's no reason to not look a little dressed up. Below is my perfect New Years Eve look. It's cozy with a touch of elegance.

NYE

Wilfred Montpellier Sweater, Aritzia // Tasha Legging, Club Monaco // Clutch, Zara

I'm admittedly not very good at doing my nails. I love the process and the pampering, but I always seem to lack the patience to wait for it to dry and inevitably end up smudging it. Can't blame a girl for trying though. My polish collection is always growing, and I've found a love for Julep products. They dry incredibly quickly (the major selling point for me), have a huge assortment of colors, and the pigment is great. My New Years Eve look will be accompanied by the Julep look featured below, likely in a purple like Jessie as opposed to red. Let me know in the comments what you'll be wearing and doing for New Years Eve, and also if you give the tutorial a try!

HolidayNails


HOLIDAY BAKING

Holiday Baking
I'm admittedly a wee bit late on sharing my holiday baking game, but if you are looking for some last minute goodies to make, these are ALL good bets. Especially the Black Pepper Truffles.

White Chocolate Peppermint Cookies with Vanilla Salt from Not Without Salt
Rosemary and Salted Caramel Linzer Cookies from Two Red Bowls
Chocolate Truffle Studded Brownies from Spoon Fork Bacon
Oatmeal Cream Pies from Food52
Kahlua Spiked Mocha Cake Balls from Butterlust
Black Pepper Truffles from Sweet by Valerie Gordon

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and all that good stuff.

WEEKEND LINKS

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Hooray! Exams are FINALLY done and it's now time to get into the Christmas spirit. I can not even begin to tell you how excited I am. I somehow manage to always have exams on the first day and one of the last days, meaning that everyone is already done by the time I am. Tomorrow I'll be braving the mall to hopefully finish my Christmas shopping, and on Saturday I'll be doing the bulk of my holiday baking. There's some really good stuff being made this year!

The never-ending bang conflict. Guess it's time to cut 'em...
10 painfully obvious truths everyone forgets too soon.
The perfect breakfast for Christmas morning.
Quite possibly the cutest kids ever.
I could go for a peppermint mocha right about now.
... Or a big glass of nog. Vegan eggnog?
I've gotten really into beauty bloggers lately, and Essiebutton tops the list.

THE HOLIDAY PLAYLIST

8 days. 8 freaking days until Christmas. Can you believe it? I hardly can. I am usually very ready to go at this point, but this year that is just not the case. I will hopefully have my shopping done by Friday, and then the baking will begin on Saturday. My energy has been focused on exams (my last is tomorrow—so ridiculously late this year) and the move. Admittedly more so the move at this point. I'm excited to veg for a few days, that's for sure. Since 2008, I've put out a holiday mix for my friends in addition to their Christmas present. Last year didn't happen because my new computer doesn't even come with a disc drive, and this year I've decided to do it online for everyone!

DSC_0795

The Holiday Mix
Party Hard - Zach Gill
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - Andrew Belle
Dear Santa - Mr Little Jeans
White Winter Hymnal - Fleet Foxes
Good Winter - Rah Rah
It's Beginning to Look Like Christmas - Fruit Bats
O Come O Come Emanuel - Hey Rosetta!
When Christmas Comes - Los Campesinos!

The Holiday Playlist is available for streaming on Rdio.

HOLIDAY PARTY STYLE

Tis the season for holiday parties. It's not often that I have the opportunity to get dressed up for much of anything, so I am taking full advantage of the holiday season. Black is my go-to on any regular day, but I think all black is extra chic, especially with a hint of sparkle or a bold red lip. What are you wearing for holiday parties?

Holiday Party_2
NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl / Everlane Petra Crossbody / Wilfred Maison Wool Coat / Zara Trousers / Babaton Galen Camisole / Sam Edelman Balfour Flat

Holiday Party_1
Cuyuna Leather Mini Cluth in Mocha / Rachel Comey Solitaire Heels / Wilfred Free Lin Sweater in Black / Club Monaco Stalina Skirt / Tom Ford Noir de Noir Eau de Parfum / Lancome Hypnose Mascara

Holiday Party_3
Le Fou by Wilfred Coulisse Dress / Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray / Anthropologie Matchstick Bobbies / Madewell Ames Boot

CHRISTMAS WISH LIST

Wishlist
There are 23 days until Christmas. 23! That's nuts. I don't know about you, but the holidays have taken me by surprise this year. At this point, I am usually full force in the kitchen testing out recipes for holiday baking and have my annual holiday mix made. Not so much this year. I am on my last week of school before exams and am scrambling to get final assignments in. Not only that, but I'm also in the midst of packing up my belongings to move out in less than three weeks! It's a big month, for sure.

The above are some things on my Christmas wish list this year!
1. West Elm Rustic Bar Stools
2. Old Faithful Shop Edison Lamp
3. Wilfred Montpellier Sweater in Charcoal
4. Kiehl's Musk Eau de Toilette
5. Aesop Geranium Leaf Body Balm
6. Wilfred Diamond Mosaic Blanket in Balsamine
7. A Boat, A Whale, and A Walrus: Menus and Stories
8. Bar Tartine: Techniques and Recipes

What's on your list this year?

THE DECEMBER PLAYLIST

Lake Minnewanka

THE DECEMBER PLAYLIST

On the Fence - Milo Greene
Worry - Jack Garratt
Be Easy - Ghost Loft
Five Seconds - Twin Shadow
Oublie pas - Karkwa
Go Quietly - Cold War Kids
The Honest Truth - Typhoon
Temporary Ground - Jack White
Kline - Speelburg
Ephemera - GEMS

Listen on Rdio.

THE OCTOBER PLAYLIST

Glenmore Reservoir, Calgary AB
It's takes me an hour and a half to get to school every day. That's three hours out of my day from Monday to Thursday. It's inconvenient and really kind of annoying. It does mean that I get to see this eight times a week though, which is a treat. It's my favourite part of the bus ride, and I always take pause to leer out the window. Out one window is the above, usually with a view of the mountains in the distance. Out the other window is more water, the dam, and downtown. It's pretty dang good if you ask me.

It's taken a while, but I'd say that fall is in full force in Calgary now. The above photo was taken on Sunday, and already in the last few days the weather is a little moodier, a little cooler. I'm not complaining. Out come the sweaters, the boots, the jackets, and infinite cups of tea in an attempt to keep warm. This is really just the tip of the iceberg (ha! iceberg! impending snow! get it?!) in regard to the "cold weather," but hey, after an entire life minus one year of living in Calgary, I'm still a wuss.

Enough about the weather. There has been a boatload of really great new albums out in the last few months. I've compiled some of my favourite tracks into what I'm deeming the October Playlist. Enjoy!

THE OCTOBER PLAYLIST
Body Gold - Wonder Wonder
Bridges - Boy & Bear
Our Love... - The Rural Alberta Advantage
Oh Cecilia - Born Ruffians
Dripping - Blonde Redhead
Stay With Me - Ryan Adams
Dancehall Domine - The New Pornographers
This Isn't My Song - Tennis
Bloodflood Pt. II - Alt-J
Fuck Em Only We Know - Banks
Coffee - Sylvan Esso

Listen on Spotify.

MAY FAVOURITES

May Favourites
My first installment of the monthly favorites. I’ve gotten super into all things beauty over the last few months and have managed to try out some pretty stellar products. I’m dubbing May the month that I reached Sephora VIB Rouge (in the matter of about three months—YIKES) somewhat shamefully. Nevertheless, it only seemed natural to spread the wealth in regards to some products that really do it all.

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Kate Somerville EradiKate. Blemishes be gone. This is a nighttime only product as it leaves pink dots all over your face where you’ve applied the sediment, but it works amazingly. By morning, whatever freaky stuff was happening on your face is dried out and the most that you’re left with is a little redness that can easily be concealed.

Aesop Chamomile Concentrate Anti-Blemish Masque. Besides its heavenly scent, this is definitely one of the easiest masks I’ve ever used. It dries in the same manner that you would expect a charcoal mask to, and removal is mess-free. Skin is left super soft, and I find that it really helps to decrease redness.

Origins High-Potency Night-A-Mins. Also in my skincare post, I mentioned the KORRES Wild Rose + Vitamin C Advanced Brightening Sleeping Facial, and how I reluctantly would have to find a substitute to it since Sephora no longer stocks the brand. Well, when I ran out of Origins GinZing Moisturizer, I picked up their High-Potency Night-A-Mins as a night cream in the hopes of filling the void of both the KORRES mask and a cream. I’m pretty sold on the product. It definitely leaves my skin moisturized and feeling very refreshed come morning. The KORRES mask definitely provided a lot more in the way of immediate brightening, but I’d say Origins Night-A-Mins more than delivers with its duality.

Dr. Brandt pores no more Pore Refiner. I first received this as a sample and went back a few days later to purchase the full-size. I’ve noticed a lot of products coming out as of late promising that poreless, blurred sort of effect on the skin. I also tried out Lancome’s Vissionaire 1-Minute Blur, and I found the Dr. Brandt primer to be far superior. It makes skin look flawless and acts as a really good base for foundation.

ASP Kitoko Oil. This guy is not new for me, but will forever remain a favorite. It’s a “blend of Karite and Argan Oils, Vitamins A & E and a natural UV Filter.” I apply it twice—once out of the shower on damp hair and again as a finishing product, and it makes my hair silky smooth and smell so good.

Sephora Formula X ‘Unmistakable’. I’m really into Sephora’s Formula X nail polish line, and I dare say that this mint shade rivals Essie’s mint candy apple. Yup, I said it.

Deborah Lippman ‘Don’t Stop Believin.’ Other than Unmistakable, this is the color that I rocked all month. It caught my eye online and I waited weeks for it to finally come in stock in stores. It was well worth the wait. It’s the perfect orangey-red for summer.

Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage in SC-1. I’m glad that I took recommendations on purchasing this concealer. It really is the perfect combo for both covering blemishes and any dark spots. I find that the lighter shade is really great at adding extra brightness on top of cheekbones without adding sheen.

Hourglass Brow Sculpting Pencil in Soft Brunette. I purchased this guy after Anna of Vivianna Does Makeup continually raves about it. For good reason! The color match is great and it’s really easy to make brows look natural but enhanced.

Anthony Logistics For Men Advanced Formula Lip Balm in Mint & White Tea. I am definitely not a lip gloss girl and have always had an issue of finding a balm that doesn’t leave a weird white-cast on the lips. I figured that a product formulated for men would likely solve both of those issues, and this absolutely does.

INSTAGRAM LOVE

My go-to for meal inspiration and overall healthy living inspiration these days tends to come from Instagram instead of blogs. There is a lot more instant gratification that comes from Instagram than having to hunt down blog posts on my seemingly endless Bloglovin' feed. I've been stockpiling Instagram accounts of some ladies who are showcasing some really lovely things right from the photography down to the actual meals. By following these accounts, I find that it's a lot easier to keep myself on track and inspired to mix things up in the kitchen. Here are a few of my favourites.


SPRING STYLE

Images from Zara.

Zara is killing it this season. Usually, I'm not one for spring/summer attire because, well, layers, but I am really into the offerings at Zara. I've come to accept that the only colours that I wear are black, grey, camel, blue and the occasional mustard and red. There are a lot of really great pieces in that scheme at Zara right now, so I can't wait to get my hands on them.


FITBIT FORCE: A REVIEW

Fitbit
I caved and bought a Fitbit instead of a Basis. There are a few reasons for this:
    The price. At $129, the Fitbit Force comes in $70 cheaper than the Basis, plus what would have been an additional $50 for the leather strap.
    The technology. A fitness tracker is basically a glorified pedometer with some other fancy features, including an estimate of calories burned and distance traveled. The tech offered by Basis is pretty darn cool, but seems slightly useless. According to most reviews that I read, the extra sensors for things like perspiration, stress management and heart rate are either underdeveloped (the former) or faulty (the latter). What I was really looking for in a tracker was the pedometer, distance traveled and pedometer. The Force offers all of that, plus the inclusion of an altimeter, silent alarm and a fancy feature that allows you to track your sleep.
    My Fitness Pal. The Force allows you to sync with your My Fitness Pal account, which is prime for crazies like me who track everything that they eat and their workouts. While I’m sure that Basis will eventual have third party features, I wasn’t prepared to wait.
I’ve only had my Fitbit Force for a week now, but I love it so far. The only downside is that it’s pretty ugly and goes with nothing in my wardrobe except for my Lulu gear (go figure). It’s bulky and reminds me a bit of one of those probation trackers. I’m getting used to it though. Although I am generally quite active, I’ve found myself taking more sets of stairs and trying to beat my step counts each day.

My favorite features are the step and calorie counters and the silent alarm (a pleasant change to my angry iPhone). The sleep tracker is cool too, and I’ve learned that once I’m asleep I’m pretty much dead to the world (no surprise there). Overall, taking into consideration the price (nominal), the Fitbit Force is a great buy if you're looking to increase your activity level.

SOME GOALS FOR 2014

Breakfast
Hey, 2014. What's up?

2013 pretty much sucked all around (lots of personal/family crap not suitable for sharing), so I am more than happy to see it go. Whatever. We all came out relatively unscathed. Of course, tacking up a new calendar means so much promise for the coming months, right? I'm not sure if I buy into that, but I like the idea of 'new beginnings' (do we ever really get them, though?), and cracking the spine of my new Moleskine seems as good a time as any. Also, two weeks off (up to a month for some) and I am ready to go back to school. Enough sitting on my ass. I need something to strive for. Remind me that I said this when it's midterms in a month and I'm flipping my shit and claiming that I need a holiday. Yeah, okay.

My overarching goal for 2014 is to try harder in all aspects of my life. Pretty lofty, right? It gives me a lot of room to succeed and fail, which I like. Of course, I've made some smaller goals, which include:
  • Drink fresh juice once a day to amp up my veggie intake. I'm still undecided on purchasing a juicer, or where I’m going to get a constant supply of organic produce. The farmer’s market would make sense, except that it’s pretty inaccessible for me on a weekly basis (without a vehicle). I think I might finally give Spud a try, as they offer juicing packs.
  • Master artisan bread-making. Last year, I tinkered with recipes in Tartine and Flour Water Salt Yeast, but never committed to learning the art. I am in the midst of reading Cooked at the moment, and as per usual, Pollan has inspired me to pick up the craft. I don’t eat a lot of bread or gluten products as it is, not because I’m intolerant (there was a scare last year though), but because conventional loaves contain a whole lot of shit that I frankly just don’t want to put into my temple body. When I do have a craving for some avocado toast, I exclusively eat Ezekial products, which are fine, but NOTHING like homemade bread made with a starter. Another inspiration: a loaf that my mother and I shared at Sitka & Spruce. Ohmyword, it was incredible.
  • Run a half marathon. Surprisingly my one fitness goal for the year. It's been in the works for a while. Last year, I really got into running (despite quite a few minor injuries... Running doesn't seem to like me) but was unsure as to whether or not I wanted to run another race. For me, running is very much a solo activity. While some people do yoga or meditate to clear their heads, I run. Alas, I've decided that this is the year I'll do my first half-marathon. I have yet to commit to anything, but I'm looking into Rock N Roll Seattle, SeaWheeze Vancouver, or the Portland Half. It seems like I am down to travel for three things: guaranteed runs, hiking, and food/coffee.
  • HIKE. This one really requires me to first get my drivers license and a vehicle, which is what has stopped my from being out in the mountains every single weekend. I'm anticipating having that taken care of by May/June (JUST DO IT, UGH), which guarantees at least a couple of good (read: warm) months of hiking before I'll likely make the plunge and purchase snowshoes. I've started a list of hikes that I'd like to do in Alberta, Washington and Idaho, which leads nicely into my next point...
  • Travel. Unlike everyone else I know, I'm pretty AOK with hanging out in the US and ignoring Europe, South America and Asia (those are the hot spots for 20-somethings, right?) for the time being. I want to do San Francisco and Nashville this year (firsts), as well as a return to Portland>Seattle>Vancouver Island. What can I say? I'm hooked on the Pacific Northwest.
  • Read one book that is not required for school per month. Self explanatory. My brain could use it.
  • Invest in quality pieces for my wardrobe. Every season I decide that I'm going to liquidate my closet, and every season I dump maybe five pieces and call it a day. I've done a MAJOR overhaul getting rid of all of the crap that I've (1) had since high school or junior high (ack!), (2) haven't worn in a year or, (3) is just not me. I'm committing to buying less, but higher quality pieces. Frye boots and Canada Goose jacket, I'm looking at you.
  • Garden. Yeah ok, so I did this last year. I was a novice. I want to learn more this year. I've already been looking at seed catalogues (May, please come faster) and have been checking out books about composting and soil management. A major perk of still living at home is that my parents have a pretty decent sized backyard with ample space to grow. My challenge this year is convincing them to let me turn some of the lawn into a micro-farm.
There you have it. What are your goals for 2014?
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