December 30, 2012

take me to that last place

Staring At Stars beanie; vintage choker; H&M jacket; Motel dress; Dr Martens boots

The psychedelic/kaleidoscopic print on this Motel dress gets me kind of excited. A classic, so-tough-they're-ugly pair of boots with a minuscule dress or anything typically feminine always feels right. These shoes are not made to please the male species, I think -- I've been berated for wearing them more times than I can count, which is funny because they're so classic they would be almost cliché if they weren't still so damn cool. Please yourself first, and others will follow. Sincerest apologies for the crazy baby hairage going on. Sometimes the most liberal amounts of hairspray can't put things right when all hell decides to break loose. 

December 29, 2012

the groovy gentlemen collection

Photos by Richie Lubaton

We had the pleasure of collaborating with the Groovy Gentlemen Collection - a collection inspired and based around the street dance culture situated here on the West Coast. The design and apparel collection revolve around one simple notion: "Quality Over Hustle." For the Gentlemen, quality is a direct byproduct of their love and passion for everything they do: whether it be in the world of design or dance. Check out their website and online store here for a selection of awesome crew necks, raglan sleeved shirts, and the comfiest of toques. The collection is also stocked at The Goods Apparel and Exhibit Men's Apparel which are both based in Vancouver.

The street wear/dance apparel is typically not our style, but needless to say we bought the merchandise afterwards because we loved it (we both have become partial to the knit pom toques). Without even realizing it, this post has epitomized the whole (at the risk of sounding overly pompous) "chainsnob concept" of different people coming together, and having a common element of appreciation for style, be it "street", "chic", or any other seemingly categorical adjective.

A thousand thanks to photographer Richie Lubaton for being extremely patient while putting up with our awkwardness on set.

December 25, 2012

i walked into the room dripping in gold

vintage wool scarf and cashmere cardigan; self-designed tank; modified Aldo body chain; American Apparel skirt; Urban Outfitters socks; H&M ankle boots; Forever21 cuff

There is something oddly Christmas-y (doesn't it have a little drummer boy-ish vibe?) about this outfit: mixing winter fabrics with a skirt in full possession of a festive color but decidedly-unwintery hemline might, in some convoluted way, be it. I hereby dub this look "tree-ornament-gone-wrong". So fun. The tank top is a plain American Apparel one that I designed the appliqué for and then proceeded to go nuts on with a pair of scissors. There are many, many stories behind this top: if clothes could talk, I'd probably lock this in a safe. One highlight from this shoot was the worker pleading with us to "please try not to break anything." I immediately pictured us smashing bottles left and right in a frenzy like a rocker onstage with his guitar -- alas, such frenetic (and probably epically photogenic) displays are usually not in my nature. On a side note, this is the first time I've ever braided my hair. Think I might have to start doing this more often as my hair was wondrously and uncharacteristically tangle-free the whole night. 

December 23, 2012

a time for giving

Christmas is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year (the incessant re-wind of Christmas songs blasting throughout the malls never fail to remind us of this). It is a time where friends and family get together to feast, and to exchange pleasantries and gifts. Unfortunately, it is also a time where many families have to endure a whole lot of nothing. As cliché as this is going to sound, the holiday season is also a time of giving. It doesn't have to be something you can easily purchase at the mall, but something as simple as offering a few hours of your time. 

This year Vanessa and I dedicated a few hours to helping out the Greater Vancouver Food Bank accepting non-perishable food items and cash donations with the 12 Bands of Christmas event at the Fairmont Pacific Rim. We didn't want to settle for just any benevolent deed, but wanted to give up our time to something that was worth it. As a child (I was about 6), I remember lining up with my mother, garbage bag/cardboard box in hand at the Vancouver Food Bank hoping that I'd get Chef Boyardee in my package. That shit was my favorite. My family and I came to Vancouver when I was just two. We arrived at the airport with literally two suitcases and not much else - one of which contained only medical books (my dad wanted to be a doctor). Anyways, I'm not going to go into a whole spiel about the trials of my earlier life; however I will say that the Greater Vancouver food bank did help us out at a time when we needed it the most. 

Those of us who have the time and means to do something this year should remember to keep in mind those who are less fortunate. I'm not saying you should go out there and do something glorious with all the attached displays of "Hey, look at me, I'm such an awesome samaritan" - but do something worthwhile and important to you, even if its the most simple of acts. I believe this exemplifies the true "spirit" of Christmas - and as Charles Dickens so eloquently taught us, cold-pinched hearts can be restored, especially during this time of year.

December 17, 2012

ginger & the ghost

If I had a specific soundtrack that followed my curious and rather freakish imagination, this song/video would make the cut. Ginger and the Ghost are a duo from Australia who utilize their visual world and imagination, and create with ease, music that will soon reign in the realm of experimental indie pop. When I first heard their music, Angus and Julia with a dash of Bat for Lashes came to mind. What's exceptionally rad and original about this group however, is that the construction and layering of their percussion and instruments is driven by their desire to create music that is improvised - and organic. Her impalpable yet delicate voice transports me back to a time where I believed faeries were not just a distorted figment of my imagination. Might I also add that the image of the writhing body enveloped by the shredded paper in the video is deliciously creepy. Ginger and the Ghost plan to debut their EP sometime in January. New tunes for a new year - this is one type of dark I'll gladly drown in.

December 13, 2012


Products: NARS Illuminator in Copacabana; BH Cosmetics eyeshadow (neutral brown for contouring); Anastasia Brow Wiz in Medium Ash; Bobbi Brown Long-wear Cream Shadow in Galaxy; MAC Eyeshadow in Forgery; Maybelline Master Precise Liquid Liner in Black; Tom Ford Lip Color in Scarlet Rouge

One of my favorite things about the holidays is getting to pile on all the shiny, sparkly, glittery things on our faces that we never get to wear during warmer months for fear of being mistaken for either a deranged fairy or Stephanie Meyer's version of a "vampire". Christmas parties, New Year's Eve, and all the soirees/get-togethers in between all require face paint that catches the light and the eye just slightly more than usual. I don't put up a Christmas tree at home, so the principle of all things shiny/tinsel-like are henceforth transferred to my face. Generously applied (read: swept on with wild abandon) shimmery silver eyeshadow, winged eyeliner and a lot of red lipstick does it for me. There's no better time to pair metallic eyeshadow with a red lip that's so loud people almost want to tell you to STFU and turn it down. And how demented is that one stray eyebrow hair in the last picture?

December 11, 2012

a review: e.l.f zit zapper

I don't break out often (sure, the occasional zit/blemish here and there), but most of the time my face is pretty clear of all things horrid. However, in the past few months or so, I've been noticing quite a few planet sized pimples appearing on one specific part of my face (left cheek/temple area). Thank god my bangs cover up this monstrosity.  I'm attributing this to my greasy Iphone screen (make sure you wipe/clean your screen everyday - I've turned this seemingly menial task into a daily obsessive ritual). 

I was not expecting much from this product because I tend to have no faith in any roller ball treatments out there that are used specifically to fight acne. However, this was $ can you go wrong?  I've been using it for the past four months or so, and surprisingly enough, it seems to be doing its job quite well. I roll on the clear formula in the morning after I wash my face and before I put on any moisturizer; same deal applies before bedtime. Let me just say though, that it doesn't magically make your zit friends vanish just like that. I do notice however, that it does significantly lessen the swelling a long with the redness, therefore diminishing the appearance of this natural nuisance. One thing I find annoying about this product, is that not a lot of the actual product comes out onto the roller ball. I find that you have to violently shake it, and press down rather hard on your pimple (much to my chagrin because this tends to fucking hurt -- especially the super painful ones) to make sure it is covered. Otherwise, I'd say it's a pretty rad find. You can purchase it here -- check out all the other goodies as well, while you're at it.

November 26, 2012

an ode to the vancouver special

Every Vancouverite has mixed feelings about the city we call home. Personally, I enjoy the massive diversity of people, culture, cuisine (so far I still think Vancouver has the best food around); enjoy slightly less the more-often-than-not dismal weather; enjoy immensely our (albeit short) summers that neither too hot nor too cold. We have a weird reputation for being a health-crazed, organic-coffee-sipping, yoga-practicing people who somehow managed to make the list of one of the worst-dressed cities in North America. We took the top spot for the city home to the snobbiest female population, which leads to my opinion (without any hint of self-praise or conceit whatsoever, as I do not currently include myself in this category) that Vancouver is home to some of the most meticulously and immaculately made up Asian girls/women in the world. Nobody does it quite like a Vancouver Special.

First off, it is necessary to explain what constitutes a Vancouver Special for the benefit of our readers who do not reside in our dear city on the west coast: 

van·cou·ver spe·cial /vanˈko͞ovər/ /ˈspeSHəl/ (n.) 1. a young female of typically Asian descent residing in the city of Vancouver 2. heavy patron of clothing chainstore Aritzia and luxury brand giant Louis Vuitton 3. often frequents nightclubs in a Wilfred spaghetti strap tank and pencil skirt 4. sports ashy brown hair with blonde highlights, of which is ruthlessly tamed and teased into submission via straightening/curling irons 5. a wealthy abundance of false eyelashes 6. has a crippling addiction to tanning beds 7. a) a proud owner of breast implants or alternatively, b) a perpetrator of the double-bra technique 8. often enjoys dating men of the underground variety for immediate material benefits 9. in which no.7a is often provided for by no.8 10. rarely found without the company of other like-minded females of similar dress, affect and stature

The running jokes about the Asian Barbie are plenty: the Bump Its, the plus 2's, the generous makeup one could scrape off with a spatula, the uncanny feeling that it is nigh impossible to distinguish individual members from the herd -- all have their unique place and are perhaps infamous and much-loved/detested fixtures of Vancouver's Asian culture. These women are Vancouver's fierce and perhaps overly-enthusiastic answer to the Hollywood stereotype of the tanned, bleached-blonde Californian bombshell. And this particular breed of female is what immediately comes to mind when I hear that Vancouver is one of the hardest cities for picking up women: such an appearance is more often than not accompanied by a holier-than-thou, blasé yet vapid attitude that simultaneously enhances and is detrimental to their appeal. 

With an eerie Stepfordesque uniformality, they wear their teased beehiveish hairstyles like crowns -- I find this isn't simply a principle of aesthetics, but rather an intensely competitive sort of conformism: we must all wear our hair this way, but who has the biggest hair? The most makeup? The shortest dress? The sac-du-jour? Any foray into a Vancouver nightclub packed with these specimens eyeing each other up and down and exchanging overzealous, insincere greetings will attest to my claim.

Making myself up to be a Vancouver Special was exceedingly easy in more than one way. Firstly, there are many similarities between myself and these paragons of immaculate artificiality. Secondly, it was because I used to be one (without the double-bra thing -- I've tried it once before without a trace of the irony employed for the purpose of this post and swore I'd rather remain a breastless phenomenon than to do it ever again). Dark eye makeup? Regular practice for me. The false eyelashes that could easily serve fan duty in hot weather? Those are my "normal" eyelashes. Revealing outfits? Well, they have a special place in my heart (and closet). I am a girl who unabashedly loves skyscraper heels and is irrationally attracted to false eyelashes of gargantuan proportions. To an extent, I still feel that it is not okay to go out without being made up to this invisible standard. My hair is admittedly exponentially less structured as of now and I no longer feel the need to step out in barbie-doll makeup and outfits -- I don't fit in much with that scene, what with my half-bald head and all (which is also responsible for the shitty hair-teasing job you see above) -- but the need to be made up to the nines remains. It's not so much a question of wanting to go out looking a certain way, but needing to go out looking a certain way. Which is kind of counterproductive to the whole idea of self-adornment as a liberating medium of self-expression, I find.

Relax, babes. Let's stick to one bra per doll.

November 19, 2012

only love can dig you out of this

I always get super excited when I find/hear a new song that I know will integrate perfectly into my "sleepy time" playlist. I could listen to these songs all day and all night, and I know the melodies and the lyrical content stir my soul while I'm asleep because I'll wake up thinking -- what just happened?! If you don't understand what I mean, it's completely alright, because you'll get it after you listen to this track by the Lumineers titled "Slow it down" I've only just recently discovered this American folk rock band, much thanks to my friend who told me about their other song "Stubborn Love" (which is apparently up my alley) Anyways, I suggest you go have a listen to it here; it will change you, I swear.

They will be performing at the Vogue Theatre on December 3, 2012 in Vancouver, BC -- it appears the concert is sold out..which makes complete sense because they seem like they would be beyond amazing live. This could be bigger than big.

November 12, 2012

destination sn_w

Dané: Tom Ford glasses, Talula Babaton blazer, Madewell shirt, cutoffs from Bangkok vendor, Urban Outfitters thigh high socks, Nine West booties, Archetype necklace and bracelet, Blue Ruby and Tiffany and Co. rings

Vanessa: Ray Ban aviators, vintage sweater, American Apparel bodysuit, American Apparel thigh high socks, Roberto Vianni thigh high boots, Zara bag, Chanel Rouge Allure lipstick in Rouge Noir

Random sidenote: We did not coordinate our outfits to both include thigh high socks. Apparently we both decided to employ the same common solution for girls who want to wear something short when it happens to be sub-zero temperatures outside. 

A massively hungover me and a comparatively more chipper Dané went for burgers and sundaes before she took off into the young Saturday night. The most mindless dressing is sometimes the most fun. Last night's bag, last night's shoes, thrown together with a thick pair of socks and a massive sweater that somebody once said made me look like a woolly mammoth. I was too hungover to put on makeup and instead decided to be that one douchebag who always wears sunglasses at night/on cloudy days/indoors/anywhere else equally inappropriate and douchebaggey -- and I kind of liked it. Not bothering to shower nor wear pants and recycling last night's accessories may be awfully lazy of me, but more importantly, last night's bag packed with party necessities (read: makeup) leaves me with almost nothing that is useful for a regular outing. But I guess that's okay. If I'm going to walk into Dairy Queen in sunglasses and thigh high stiletto boots, then I might as well wear dark lipstick too. 

November 9, 2012

top ten for margiela x h&m

images c/o H&M, in stores November 15th
view entire collection here

Browsing through all 105 pieces of the Maison Martin Margiela collection for H&M admittedly gave us a few wtf moments. I won't sit here and proceed to fall into raptures over the collection because it is generally not my style to dress so avant-garde, and thus I would be supremely lacking in integrity if I did so. However, the more Dané and I perused the collection, the more I found myself defending many of the pieces that were so unworthy of my said raptures. "This is actually pretty wearable," I'd say, or "That might look better on" (this went on for a good hour, much to her consternation). So, I am not going to tell you I love this, but rather that much of the overwhelmingly "high-fashion" details will work for real life in measured increments. What the Margiela collaboration lacks in effortless wearability, it more than makes up for in charisma and intrigue. And doesn't that one strange standout piece make putting together the rest of the outfit super simple? Picture an alien-like jacket thrown over a t-shirt and leather leggings: simple, but carries so much impact. A perverse sort of effortless wearability then, might be a more accurate description. 

 Among items like giant metallic candy wrapper clutches and the slightly eerie lock of hair necklaces hailing from the design house's S/S09 collection, we picked ten of our favorites, which reside on the more wearable end of the spectrum. The lucite wedge ankle boots retain the classic Margiela boot's wide silhouette, but at a fraction of the price -- worth looking into. The guitar case backpack makes for a hilariously cool weekender bag I can see myself lugging about (airplane carry-on!!). The architectural suede jacket, haphazardly/expertly draped red dress and saggy oversized turtleneck are basics with a surreal twist: they can stand out without being outlandish. Dané picked out a faceless watch which strikes me as an edgier rendition of the one in Erin Wasson's Low Luv jewelry line (lower in price too, for a watch that lacks the talent to serve its intended purpose). The men's fair isle knit sweater and red sneakers are things we threw in for the boys -- perfectly wearable winter gear (the dress shirt with the irreverent bow tie is also from the menswear collection, but I had myself in mind when I chose it). And chromed-out leggings? Easy.

November 8, 2012

the outsiders

H&M circle scarf; vintage Gap Blue denim vest; Urban Outfitters flannel shirt; Marciano "skirt"; Urban Outfitters stockings + socks; Aldo combat boots; vintage locket

A slightly threadbare way of dressing is a go to for me when I don't feel like primping it out (which tends to be most of the time). I recently found my denim vest that I used to wear back in grade seven -- who would've thought our luckless romance would resume, and we'd be reunited by my random choice to one day dig through the past (literally). I love how I fit perfectly into this oversized flannel shirt (funny how that works) that I picked up from the guy's section in Urban Outfitters. It's way more than comfortable, but that goes without saying. My "skirt" actually used to be a top, but one day I got sick of the studded designs and chose to re-work it into this skirt type of thing. Destruction is creation after all. I bought these boots about two years ago, and it's like none of my other shoes exist any more; these own me. Loitering is chilly, so I threw on this exceedingly warm scarf.

November 5, 2012

five for the future

(Clockwise from top)

1. Sisley botanical floral spray mist: Every time I walk past a Sisley counter in a department store, I end up leaving with nothing - this is due to the fact that the price points definitely do not agree with me. Winter is closing in on us however, and i'm sure my dull/dry face would benefit from this fine misty spray. I don't wear much foundation (if any at all), but I'm sure this would help set my makeup if I ever decide to one day cake it on. It seems ideal for a quick and efficient way to hydrate your skin; and I'm all for efficiency. 

2. NARS Andy Warhol self portrait eyeshadow palette: If I said I wanted this just because I was running out of my current smokey eye palette, I'd be flat out lying. The NARS x Andy Warhol Silver Factory holiday collection is nothing short of awesome. Everything from the packaging to the colors are constructed in a way that evokes the intensely expressive brilliance that Warhol embodied. With that being said, I'd make use of this particular palette..I have a limited repertoire when it comes to eyeshadow.

3. Clarisonic Aria sonic skin cleansing brush: The thought of purchasing a Clarisonic intermittently pops up in my I'm thinking I might as well. The Aria cleansing brush kit screams convenience. The charger works as a stand; and did I mention it's travel friendly? USB enabled products rule.

4. Aveda Invati: There is much hype going around about this new line of hair care products from Aveda - I am super curious indeed. I wash my hair everyday (yes, I know it's horrible but it's an OCD kind of thing that I've got going on). As a result, I do find my scalp to be really dry, and I find breakage and splitting to be an issue that I have to contend with on a regular basis. The exfoliating shampoo, thickening conditioner and scalp revitalizer are suppose to work together to reduce all this bad stuff.

5. Tom Ford Neroli Portofino: I don't like to change my signature scent (I currently wear and am forever faithful to Chloe Eau De Parfum) but this is something else entirely, and I'm tempted to make the switch. Citrus, floral notes and myrtle is all that comes to mind when I think back on our first encounter. The scent leaves a lasting impression, but light and fresh enough to not make a big deal out of itself.

November 1, 2012

the five of the moment

(Clockwise from top)

1. Olio Di Argan face serum: I rediscovered this facial oil/serum not too long ago, nestled amongst the plethora of products on my bathroom counter. I use this every morning and night under bb cream and it gives my skin a nice dewy sheen for the whole day. It just looks really well-hydrated, if that makes sense. I've also noticed that there are no dry patches on my skin when there usually should be come cold weather time. 

2. Anastasia Brow Wiz in Medium Ash: Somehow manages to fill in my brows without looking like they're filled in. The color is neither too dark nor too light, has a brush on the other end to brush out eyebrows/blend and doesn't need to be sharpened (!). I  brush a little clear mascara on afterwards to set my brows and it lasts me the whole night (and well into the next morning if necessary).

3. Clinique Even Better Eyes dark circle corrector: Makes the list because every eye cream I've ever tried has consistently given me breakouts in my eye area, except for this one. Enough said.

4. Maybelline Color Tattoo in Bad to the Bronze: I've actually had this for a while now, and only recently realized how versatile it is by way of how much I use it. And it's not a weird bronze: it's a quiet, neutral-yet-warm bronze that doesn't look cheap or glittery or clash with whatever ridiculous amounts of makeup (or lack thereof) I decide to wear with it. Lasts forever. I am a self-admitted makeup snob, and not only usually have no expectations whatsoever from drugstore makeup, but have outright trust issues with it. Some of the other colors in this line have a strange, flaky silver glitter in them that I find slightly cheap looking, but this stuff is gold (or bronze, if you must). 

5. Tom Ford lip color in Scarlet Rouge: First off, I'd just like to say that there is the most satisfying-sounding, heavy click when you close this tube of lipstick: the packaging for Tom Ford cosmetics is spectacularly unparalleled in both elegance and quality. I've never waxed poetic about a lipstick container before until I bought this one. Shallow bit over, Scarlet Rouge is audacious, lively and vivid but also manages to have the depth of a warm, rich red. I've actually never noticed how long it lasts because I love reapplying it... yeah. Glides on, has a creamy, slight sheen to finish -- the kind of proper red lipstick that's appropriate to put on at the dinner table. 

October 25, 2012

just bite it in half

Products used:

On Dané: Anastasia brow wiz in ash, MAC paintpot in groundwork, Bobbi Brown smokey eye palette, BH Cosmetics (light blue eyeshadow swiped on lids), Wet n' Wild lipstick in 901B, Givenchy Rouge Interdit lipstick in fantasy pink (used on lips and cheeks)

On Vanessa: Giorgio Armani luminous silk foundation in no. 5, BH Cosmetics (neutral dark brown eyeshadow used as contour), Make Up Forever extreme camouflage cream (used over eyebrows and lips), Maybelline lasting drama gel eyeliner in charcoal/Maybelline color tattoo eyeshadow in pomegranate punk/Bobbi Brown longwear cream shadow in galaxy (blotted with makeup brush on eyes)

Note: Absolutely no sparkles or glitter in any shape or form was used for my vampire look. Sorry Edward. 

Dané: Mimosa tiara; Blue Ruby pearl necklace; La Vie en Rose dress; Mackage leather jacket; H&M stockings; Forever21 + Joe Fresh bracelets; Aldo heels

Vanessa: Dillema faux fur collar, Aldo rosary necklace, H&M bustier, maxi skirt from Bangkok vendor, Aldo laceup boots, Forever21 cuff

There is always a certain mysterious freedom that comes with Halloween. This freedom seems to present itself in different forms -- from the makeup, to showing X amount of skin, to simply dressing a little more outlandish or fancier than usual (all done in character, of course). A time when calculated creativity and being flamboyantly ludicrous coexist in perfect tandem. 

October 21, 2012


It would be highly unoriginal of me to say that wine lipstick is the most standout fall beauty craze and leave it at that. Having only just started wearing bold lip colors (I was always more of a nude/lip balm/gloss girl), I naturally read all the necessary "how to wear wine lipstick" articles in order to prep for such a seemingly scary color. There were many ways to wear wine lipstick, but dark eye makeup is, apparently, unacceptable and too goth (but whoever said goth was unacceptable?!). So here I am, with a perhaps slightly overenthusiastic dose of black eyeshadow on my face, and the "it" lip color of the season. Sometimes being unacceptable feels much more interesting.