Monday, August 29, 2011

Five Things!

Scarfs - It's getting a bit cooler, and I'm having the opportunity to pull out all my scarfs from last Fall & early Spring.  I love how they can update & make a simple outfit enjoyable.
Roses - Who doesn't love receiving flowers at work - best thing, it was my first time! {my bf is the best}
Pizza - One of our favourite places to grab a bite to eat after work is Pizza Rustica.  This badboy is the: Siciliano {Hot calabrese salami, mozzarella, sweet roasted peppers, and our signature tomato sauce} 
Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte - IT'S BACK!  Unfortunately the Pumpkin Spice Latte signifies Fall, but it's the most delicious latte Starbucks offers.  Best part - not released until September 5th, but the bartista let me 'pre-order' it ;)

Completing a Project! - It's been a long time coming (probably 2 months) and I'm happy to say, it's COMPLETE!  {what an amazing feeling}

Enjoy the day!

Friday, August 26, 2011

My Favourite Cupcakes: Red Velvet!

I love to bake and I love to cook.

My mom said if you truly enjoy doing something you will excel at it and it will never feel like work or a chore.  Not only does this apply to my love of cooking/baking but I think it's a great motto to live by.  My mom was full of these inspirational quotes when I was growing up.  She would write them on a piece of paper and post them on the bulletin board in our kitchen ... I might have to do the same but update the look with a chalkboard!

I recently made red velvet cupcakes, and boy were they delicious.  Surprisingly, I actually wasn't familiar with what flavour red velvet cupcakes were.  I just knew they were a red cake base.  So when reading the recipe (I decided to make them cause I thought they sounded fancy) I was pleasantly surprised to find out that they were a chocolate cupcake with a cream cheese frosting.  Delicious. 

I found the below recipe on Annie Eats

Red Velvet Cupcakes
Yield: about 24 cupcakes
For the cake:
2½ cups cake flour
1½ cups sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1½ cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp. (1 oz.) liquid red food coloring
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. distilled white vinegar
For the frosting:*
8 oz. cream cheese
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, combine the cake flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt; whisk to blend.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the eggs, vegetable oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla and vinegar.  Beat on medium speed until well blended.  Mix in the dry ingredients on low speed and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared liners.  Bake, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18 minutes.  Let cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Beat on medium-high speed until well combined and smooth, about 2-3 minutes.  Mix in the vanilla extract.  Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until totally incorporated, increase the speed and then beat until smooth.  Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.  (I used a large, unlabeled star tip to frost these cupcakes.)

*If you are big on frosting as I am, you may want to increase the quantities by 50%.  That is what I typically do for a batch of 24 cupcakes.  I usually end up with some left over, but I would rather have too much frosting than not enough!

Here is a picture of my version of Annie Eat's Red Velvet Cupcakes!!!  Unfortunately I didn't know how much red food coloring I needed so I didn't have enough to make them a dark red.  The color didn't affect the flavour!  Also, I completely agree with the note Annie mentioned on the frosting.  I love adding a lot of frosting to make the cupcake more visually appealing (and who doesn't LOVE cream cheese icing).

Here is my OOTD today!  I didn't feel like wearing jeans (even thought it's Friday), I wanted to dress up a little, so I took a dress that I usually wear out on the weekends and paired it with a more casual top!

jean shirt - jcrew
dress - aritzia

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

J.Crew Hits Canada & I Get a Little Piece of it!

As a somewhat preppy dresser and lover of all things pretty & structured I was ecstatic to find out that J.Crew opened their first ever store in Canada (and even better in Toronto) this past week.  I have been a fan of J.Crew for a couple of years: hearing about them and seeing their collections mainly on popular U.S talk shows.  I would luck out about twice a year when I made last minute plans to go to Buffalo in order to find deals and I would get the opportunity to stop off at both the J.Crew outlet store and the J.Crew store in the Walden Galleria.  I couldn't get enough and would always splurge on something from both locations - even if it was just a tortoise shell headband or a candy colored cardigan.

I visited the store at Yorkdale this past weekend and was blown away with what I saw.  Gorgeous silk tops, patent wedges, wool mini skirts, shirt dresses, oh-so soft cotton tees, tights in every color over the rainbow and perfectly structured leather purses.  I was in heaven - if I couldn't live in the store, I wanted everything at the store to live in my closet.  Unfortunately, my dream of owning pretty much everything in the store was shut down pretty quickly when I saw the prices of each item (I believe there is a 15% mark up from the US locations).  I don't think there was anything in the store that was under $100 (unless it was a t-shirt OR accessory).

My favourite item was this beautiful orange/red silk shirt dress.  LOVE! 

I ended up leaving the store with a classic tweed wool mini skirt and a pair of ribbed grey tights.  The tweed skirt has a bit of gold in it so I figured it was perfect for work but also for going out (imagine it with a tight tank in orange or even gold!)

Ohhh the last thing to note about the J.Crew store - If you are EVER in need of style inspiration just take a quick walk through.  The sales girls are exceptionally dressed and will offer their expertise of putting together the perfect outfit.  If I could, I would have taken pictures of all of them - I just didn't want to seem like a creeper.  My favourite sales associate was wearing a pair of skinny lavendar cords and a leopard print chiffon shirt!  I would have never have thought to pair them together, but wow! 

Ps. Follow me on Twitter @iipscrapbook

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Look I'm Coveting for Fall

I know I know,  I'm being a downer talking about Fall, but I've been seeing a lot of fashion sites & stores start releasing their Fall collections & lookbooks.  I'm really liking all the trends I've been seeing: loafers, jewel toned skinny jeans (my fav are red), blue nails (check out Chanel's new demin inspired collection) and calf-length dresses with platform shoes.  I can't wait to see what the rest of the season holds. 

Now, on to my favourite look I'm coveting and one that I definitely want to incorporate into my wardrobe for Fall and then even into Winter (paired with tights!).  I was on one of my favourite blogs to get fashion inspiration from - Hills Freak and I saw a scan of Lauren Conrad in the September issue People Style Watch. 

She paired a long sleeve silky shirt with a mini a-line skirt.  It's adorable and so easy to wear.  I believe I have seen some of these tops at Zara so I'm hopping to find a replica there.  I kinda love the mis-matched (clashing) combo of the light pink blouse with the red chiffon American Eagle skirt or even the metallic skirt!!!  Wish me luck in finding this look.  I hope to post it as one of my OOTD's in the near future.

Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, August 19, 2011

My Week in Photos

This week has been really busy at work, but I've managed not to look like I've stuck my finger in a light socket by going out and enjoying myself with the people closest to me.  Ever heard of the saying: Work Hard, Play Harder!  haha :) 

Anyways, here is a snapshot of how I spent my week!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Product Review: Diorskin Nude Skin Perfecting Hydrating Concealer & OOTD

I'll be the first to admit it, I have bags & dark circles under my eyes - and sadly I'm friggin obsessed with finding a cure!  There I said it (isn't admittance one of the steps to over coming an addiction)!  On my quest for finding the perfect remedy; I've tried cucumbers/tea bags under my eyes, drinking lots of water and getting 8 hours of sleep a night -- but nothing seems to work.  I am certain now it's genetics - so I have resorted to trying my best to cover up my undereye area with concealer.  In the past couple of years I have pretty much tried every brand of concealer (high vs. low & drug store vs. premium makeup establishments). 

Here is just a small list of concealers I have experimented with:
  • MAC Studio Finish Concealer NW20
  • Benefit's Erase Paste in No.2
  • Rimmel London Hide the Blemish Concealer in Soft Honey
  • TheBalm Concealer in Light/Medium (this offered great coverage, but was very cakey and when applying I felt like I was stretchy my sensitive undereye area)
  • Smashbox Photo Op Under Eye Brightener (I use this on top of all my concealers when going out at night!)
  • CoverGirl Fresh Complexion Under-Eye Concealer & CG's Smoothers Concealer
Not to say that any of these products aren't good.  They just didn't work for me.  They don't give me the right cover-up that I need and they wear off through out the day.  I think I must have an oily complexion or am not applying the product correctly.

Now, onto my NEW find!  Diorskin Nude Skin Perfecting Hydrating Concealer!!!  LOVE!

I am a huge find of DiorShow Mascara so the last time I was perusing the aisles at Sephora I decided to spend a bit more time at the Dior display counter.  I love testing out products at Sephora!  I can usually spend a good 30-60 minutes trying on the latest lip shade or just even talking to one of their consultants.  One thing I truly love about Sephora is that they give you samples of some of their products so you can try them out for a couple of days prior to purchasing.  This is huge for me as Sephora isn't cheap.

Product Details
Name: Diorskin Nude Skin Perfecting Hydrating Concealer
Color: Beige - 002
Research Claim: Clinically proven to decrease undereye puffs by 22% after 4 weeks. (this excites me)
How product applys: The smoothest application I have experienced - this is beneficial as I don't have to continually touch my undereye which could probably lead to more damage.
Consistency:  The concealer is a liquid and it's pretty lightweight, but offers amazing coverage

Here are some pics of before and after. I took all pictures approximately 30 minutes after waking up.

Please note:
Before (no undereye makeup or cream)
After (application of concealar & my tinted moisturizer)

What do you think?  I really love this product and think I will continually use it for a couple of months/years to come.

I also want to share two OOTD's that I wore this week.  This week has been a weird one in terms of weather, so I had to be creative with what I selected to wear.

I decided to pair a shorter skirt with a long sleeve t-shirt.  This is one of my favourite work outfits as it's business casual, but I feel comfortable in it to go out for a couple drinks after work.

top - H&M
skirt - Gap
shoes (not shown) - TOMS
TOMS are my go to shoe for walking to and from work in.  Of course I change into work appropriate shoes (mainly heels) but I have a long commute (approximately 40 minutes) so comfort is necessary for walking & public transit.  TOMS offers a variety of colors and fabrics so you can mix and match with whatever you are wearing.  I used to resort to my Converse, but I prefer Converse on me when I'm wearing jeans in the Fall & Spring.  TOMS look great with skirts in the Summer.

Here are my fav TOMS:

My second OOTD is a basic flowly sleeveless top with a pair of skinny jeans!

top - F21
tank - TNA
jeans - F21
shoes (not shown) - Banana Republic

Friday, August 12, 2011

Obsessed with Window Seats!

I love home inspirations and I love envisioning what I could possibly have one day, probably only in my wildest dreams or if I won the lottery, but I suppose that's why they are called INSPIRATIONS - something to strive for. 

For the past couple of years I have carried a USB stick in my purse at all times JUST INCASE I saw a gorgeous picture.  The world wide web is huge and I know I would have a hard time finding the pictures again if I needed them in the future (of course, speaking from experience), so I have the compulsive personality of collecting pictures online with my USB.  Now, even though this habit sounds crazy, I have accumulated a ton of pictures I love & would like to incorporate into my future home.

One inspiration I have for my future home is a gorgeous and comfy window seat.  Window seats just scream relaxation.  They also give off that welcoming vibe, which I think is very important in a home.  A window seat says, "come, sit and stay a while".  You can enjoy your morning tea wrapped up tightly in a knitted blanket, cuddle with your family on a cold Winter night or grab your favourite book and fall asleep.  Window seats are a dream come true for me.

Here are some pictures of window seats I have collected.  I believe they can also be found on Pinterest.  I think I might have to do a post all about Pinterest.  I am loving that site, however I'm still awaiting my official invitation to join.

  A great use of space.  A window seat on the landing of a staircase.  (LOVE the California Shutters too!)
Love the fabric on this window seat & all the pillows!
Another great use of space.  A book shelf!
Window seats add seating to a family room.
God, I love window seating in a kitchen.  What a welcoming kitchen.
So country chic & nautical.

Please tell me you agree with the look of a window seat.  Do you have any inspiration pictures?

Also, here is what I'm wearing today.  It's casual Friday in our office (which is at least 15-20 degrees cooler than it is outside).  I'm going out for a friends 30th birthday tonight so I knew I would be changing into something a bit more fancy in the evening, so toning it down for work was right up my alley!

top - club monaco
skinny jeans & necklace - forever21 ($12!!!) My designer Paige skinny jeans zipper broke after only half a year of wearing, but my LFL version from F21 have lasted all Spring & Summer!
shoes (not pictured) - banana republic

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Decluttering my Magazines (My Style Scrapbook)

About 4 years ago, I realized that my collection of about 250+ magazines (all fashion, fitness or celebrity gossip) was getting to be a bit too much for my tiny bedroom.  They were taking up too much space and collecting dust.  I hate throwing out magazines as I feel as though I'm going to want to go through them at some point to look at all the gorgeous pictures of fashion trends & possible outfits I want to try.  And even though I love the look of stacked magazines, it just doesn't make sense for my lifestyle of living at home.  So I decided to start a 'Style' scrapbook!  :) 

I took a basic black notebook and added a cutout of the word Style to the front so I would know what the notebook contained.

(unfortunately the Y is missing)

Then I spent hours upon hours going through my collection of magazines to find all the photos I wanted to keep forever.  Of course I mean keep forever in one concise place rather than piles & piles of magazines.  The best part of my Style Scrapbook is that I can keep adding to it AND I can open it up at any time and get style inspiration!  This works best for me on a morning when I find myself without any energy or time to think of the dread 'what should I wear today?' question.

Here are a couple pictures of my favourite pages within my Style Scrapbook.  Enjoy!

Sorry about the lighting, I'm using my BlackBerry camera...
For me, my Style scrapbook works!  But I know other bloggers who have been successful at keeping magazines organized in magazine holders ....
... or even cutting out full magazine pages and putting them in plastic wrap holders & then into a binder.  I find this specific organizational tactic very helpful for my recipes that I either find online, are family favourites or found in magazines.  I plan to blog about my recipe binder in a future post.

Just a quick side note.  I was on Running on Happiness' blog ( this week and feel in love with a dress from Windsor Store. 

GREAT NEWS: It's affordable @ only $39.90 USD!!!
BAD NEWS: When you add in shipping & duties it comes to almost $100 USD.

Worth it?

Friday, August 5, 2011

10 Cottage Swoons

I've been so lucky to have been given Summer cottage privileges by staying at my bf's family's cottage for 6 days this past week!  The cottage was situated just a mere 2 minute walk from the absolutely gorgeous Sauble Beach (which is about 3 hours North of Toronto) -- I know again, so lucky!  I really needed some time to de-stress, relax, eat & just tune the world out for a couple of days, and boy did I take full advantage.

Unfortunately, I was unable to find my digital camera before going up, and I didn't want to carry around my Blackberry (that wouldn't be a relaxing way to spend my vacation), so I didn't get the chance to snap any photos of 'living the cottage life'.  So instead of posting photos of the beach and fun finds I found in town I decided to create a SWOON list from my cottage stay. 
(definition of swoon: to be overwhelmed by ecstatic joy.)

10. Tanning & beach waves
9. Playing hearts on uncomfortable picnic bench and realizing you can put a pillow under your bum to relieve the pain (even better ... changing up my typical strategy to Go For Them All!) #win
8. Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeer (lots & lots of beer)
7. My bf's mom telling me that she's never seen her son so happy
6. Enjoying a greasy burger joint on the beach while eating fresh cut fries & burying your feet in the sand
5. Creating playlists & CD's just for the drive
3. Realizing I'm 'One of the guys' to my bf's brothers by playing tag on the beach, having smelly clothes thrown at me in the middle of the night and crying over a teeny-bop Mandy Moore movie
2. People watching on a bench in town
1. Witnessing my first sunset ever! :)

Sauble Beach has been voted one of the best places to see a sunset in Canada!  When it's your first, you gotta do it right ;)