Saturday, 31 August 2013

Boho Chic

Please ignore the slight Asian glow (I'd had a glass of wine prior to taking these pictures).
Lace Top: Urban Outfitters // Denim Shorts: Zara // Sandals: Steve Madden // Necklace: Banana Republic (via clothing swap) // Hat: H&M 

The fall season is a bittersweet time during which I become resigned to the fact that summer must indeed come to an end. Also, while the thought of cooler temperatures infuses a sense of excitement within many of my friends for boots, scarves, jackets, and other colder-weather sartorial necessities, I for one only can think about how much I'm going to be shivering within the next nine to ten months. However, I was more than happy to be able to soak up the last few rays of summer sunshine on my boyfriend's balcony while we hosted a small dinner for some of our friends. 
This top, which I bought on sale from Urban Outfitters, has been companion to many of my little summer adventures, including my Las Vegas trip, beach days, and general summertime bummin' around. I find myself feeling slightly melancholy at the thought of retiring my favourite summer pieces into a storage closet for the fall and winter seasons.

Are there any warm weather clothing that you will particularly miss after the summer ends?

Friday, 30 August 2013

TEACH: Our Future Rests in Education


Hello everyone,
As you know, my blog typically focuses on fashion, lifestyle, and whatever travelling I can fit into my tight student budget. Today, however, I want to address another topic that is close to my heart: education. While many of you probably know that I love fashion and good food, education has always played a significant role in my life ever since I first walked into that kindergarten classroom. If you don't already know, I'm a geek and nerd on a massive scale; if you think of the most keener person you know who actually enjoys class discussions and memorizing pages of information, that would most probably describe me quite accurately. Most of my academic career has comprised of my vying for top marks in whatever classes I happened to be taking, whether in it was in elementary, high school or university; nothing excites me more than getting the highest mark in the class on an exam or an A+ on a paper. But beyond the thrill of being one of the biggest nerds in almost any classroom, I adore learning and obtaining valuable knowledge.

As someone who enjoys constantly learning, I hold to the extreme importance of instilling a thirst for knowledge in future generations. Although I am only in my early twenties, I'm already beginning to worry about the young children who are bombarded by our society's increasingly pervasive and overly-sexualized mass media. Just take a look at the local mall to see the disturbing phenomenon of preteen girls buying lingerie or skimpy clothing. So what can we do to ensure that our children grow and mature using their brains to critically analyze the overwhelmingly commercialized mass media that seeks to make them buy into consumer products and ideologies that may be harmful? We make sure that the teachers who are laying down the basics of their education are topnotch individuals who are dedicated to the morals and principles that uphold our society.

In terms of my own experiences, my teachers and professors (after my parents) have been most instrumental in shaping my character, beliefs, and life goals. For instance, in high school I was inspired by my amazingly perky and slightly eccentric English/Humanities Honours teacher to take an interest in global and local current events and to make a difference in the world in our own small way. In fact, my entire class obtained T-Shirts that featured Mahatma Gandhi's famous quote: "Be the change you wish to see in the world." As a result of her prompting, the Gleneagle Secondary Global Issues Club was born and I was given the priceless opportunity to fundraise for worthy causes, such as building wells or buying livestock for impoverished African villages. All of the Shave-A-Thons, movie nights, and bake sales that our club held were fun ways to engage our entire school in the process and to raise awareness of relevant issues such as AIDS and child labour. In fact, I'm proud to say that several of my fellow Global Issue club members even went to Africa or International Law schools to make a difference in international healthcare and government. In other words, the prerogative and encouragement of one incredible female educator had a huge impact on several young individuals that would result in them dedicating their lives towards causes much larger than themselves. Talk about making a huge ripple from one small drop of positive influence!

So how can you learn more about the education system in North America that will be greatly affecting our youth both today and in the near future? Join Academy Award-winning director Davis Guggenheim in his third documentary film TEACH as he seeks to answer the question of what it means to be a great teacher in today's society and culture. See below for a trailer:




This film follows four dedicated teachers from different schools across the country over the course of one school year, giving viewers a window into the challenges, demands and rewards of teaching, with the purpose of elevating and promoting the profession. As well, TEACH seeks to engage new teachers and support current teachers. The filmmakers understand that for the best teachers their vocation is not just a job but a mission. Click here to visit the TEACH website.

As intense as it is emotional, this year in the life of four public-school teachers illustrates how tenacity, passion and a belief in innovation drive these educators as they navigate the daily ups and downs of the 2012-2013 school year. These educators use conventional and unconventional methods and do whatever it takes to overcome obstacles and strive for success.

TEACH premiers on CBS on September 6th and on Pivot on September 14th at 8 PM ET/PT.

Disclosure: While this post was kindly sponsored by Participant Media in order to promote this wonderful and deeply relevant film, all opinions are as usual my own.   


Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Touches

R-L: dried roses and vase: present from the bf, shoe ornament: HomeSense, candleholder lantern: Urban Barn
Lately I've been more than a little bit obsessed with collecting unique and interesting decor pieces for my tiny bedroom. In the past I declined to put too much thought into my bedroom decor since I felt that any efforts should be put into whatever (hopefully larger) space I would eventually call my future home. However, I recently realized that whatever space you live in, be it your minute-sized bedroom or a house of your own, should be regarded as the place that shapes your mood, creativity, and focus. As a result, I've been making efforts here and there to transform this room into my place of relaxation, comfort, and tranquility. 
This sundial is a vintage piece from my mom that she received way back in the day as a present from her employer in Singapore. 
According to many girls, you can never have enough mirrors in the room. This mentality certainly holds true for myself as I find myself constantly obsessing over the pretty mirrors I often see in stores like Ikea, Urban Barn, HomeSense, and other similar places. 
A recent purchase that was greatly discounted at the local Urban Barn outlet store: a box fit to hold any secret- guaranteed! However, in actuality I just use it a decorative stand for other items...
...such as these lovely King and Queen chess piece tealight holders that I also bought from Urban Barn. I love finding quirky and unique pieces that breathe some life into my bedroom decor scheme.
One rule of decorating on a budget that I found truly helpful from experts on the matter was the notion that one should always check around their parent's home first for unwanted or hidden treasures. This guideline was proven when I spotted an old white table that had been used by my family for years but had been thrown aside into a storage room in recent times. When I saw it again with new eyes, I fully realized how perfect it was for my room! And, best of all, I spent not a dime on it.
I also bought some pretty prints from a local blogger and artist, Randa Salloum, of I See Noise as decoration for both my room and my bestie AK's. While she, an Audrey Hepburn fanatic, received the Breakfast at Tiffany's print, I chose the Chanel No. 5 Perfume Bottle print for myself. As well, Ikea, a wonderful place for those with tiny decorating budgets, was the perfect place to find a cheap and colourful frame for the meagre price of $10. 
I also began scouring dollar stores for potential pieces. The result of such searching was the purchase of this cute quotation board that cost $3 from Dollarama. 
A dear colleague of mine who has now returned back to England was kind enough to give me this lovely blackboard, along with a variety of coloured markers and cute magnets. So much neater and easier to clean than chalkboards!
Additionally, I bought this cute zebra-print memo board from Target that should prove useful as an inspiration board for pictures and ideas that I want to keep in mind and close at hand.
Lastly, I found some pictures of myself around the house taken by a friend who is a wonderful photographer and put them where they should be- in my own room.

Are there any ideas that you could share to make a bedroom a more personalized, organized, and stylish space?

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Summer Saturdays

Sweater: American Eagle Outfitters // Skirt: Express // Shoes: H&M // Bag: Nine West // Sunglasses: Forever 21 // Necklace: Banana Republic (via clothing swap) // Bracelets: Aldo, Forever 21

As this was the first entire weekend I had off since the beginning of this month, I took full advantage of it by beginning my Saturday early with a trip to Ikea for breakfast and miscellaneous shopping. After that, the boyfriend and I enjoyed a dim sum lunch, decor shopping at an Urban Barn outlet, and a delicious Korean hotpot dinner. We also made sure to fully appreciate the fleeting beauty of the summer sunset by taking in the gorgeous view of the mountains with our evening cup of Starbucks coffee. 

In regard to that day's outfit, I finally gave into the call of autumn by wearing this new American Eagle sweater that I bought the day before on sale. Such a comfortable and casual piece will be perfect for incorporating into upcoming transitional outfits that need to bridge the gap between the summer warmth and the cooling temperatures of fall. 

What are some fall pieces that you've been picking up lately in preparation for the next season?

Friday, 23 August 2013

Polka Dot Tea Parties and Spa Dates

Note those adorable sugar icing flowers on the sugar cubes.
There are few things that rival spending quality time with some high quality people. This past Tuesday I was fortunate enough to attend a lovely (and slightly kooky) tea party and spa day at the wonderful residence of LP of Fashion To The Nine. We were joined by the very stylish and highly amusing Sarah, who will soon be starting a blog of her own. Although these pictures make our time together seem sophisticated and lady-like, I'll let you know that we were more than comfortable enough with each other to be our strange and weird selves. 
The lovely ladies and I.
From left to right: blueberry muffins, cream-cheese-icing red velvet cupcakes, cucumber sandwiches, and bagels with cream cheese salmon spread. 
A very tasty yogurt parfait treat with raspberries.
LP also set up a facial and manicure station for us while we watched random movies on Netflix.
(More photos after the jump.)

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Mint Flounce

(Photos courtesy of the very lovely Sarah M.)

Skirt, Bracelets, Sunglasses: Forever 21 // Crop top: Urban Outfitters // Shoes: Sam Edelman // Bag: Olivia + Joy // Belt: vintage // Necklace: Ell and Em 

Hello y'all,
After a very long work week I was finally able to relax and enjoy myself yesterday with some good friends over a tea party and DIY spa date. Although I have known each of those girls for such a short period of time, it already feels like we've known each other for years. When you have such similar interests, experiences, and tastes, you can find yourself bonding with other people stunningly fast. Weird facial expressions, accents, and gestures often come into play when we communicate with one another- and believe me, it can get really out there! A blog post on said tea party and spa date will be posted up soon. :)

Anywho, I was pretty excited to wear this cream skirt for the first time, it was a great steal for a mere $6 from the Forever 21 sale! As well, I was able to wear this mint crop top for the first time since before this I was having major trouble figuring out an outfit that would go with it that wouldn't look too scandalous. It also helped that yesterday wasn't cold and cloudy like it had been over the past weekend, the sunshine has quite left us yet!
What have you been wearing over these last few weeks of summer?

Monday, 19 August 2013

Vegas Highlights [Part II]

 Outfit of the Night: Topshop dress // Forever 21 necklace // Zara heels // Michael Kors bag

Welcome to my very last and very belated post on my Vegas trip (it took place a month ago but it feels like much longer). Summer is nearly over and it's already becoming a little strange to remember the 40-something-degree heat that I was experiencing over in the Nevada desert. On our third night, we went out for a very fancy and expensive dinner at Strip Steak over at the Mandalay Bay hotel. Before that, we went over to the very lovely (and clean-smelling) Vdara Hotel and Spa. Since it was a spa and not a casino, that hotel was so refreshing to walk around and breathe in! I would definitely want to stay there if I ever go back in the near-ish future.



Taking self-timer pictures in our friend's very enviable suite, which was complete with a giant bathroom and a kitchenette.
(Excuse the grainy photos in this post- sometimes an Iphone was just the most convenient picture-taking tool at hand.)


Another restaurant, Charlie Palmer's, at Mandalay Bay that is famous for its sky-high wine collection and for the staff who apparently perform acrobatic stunts in order to reach said alcoholic beverages.



Our complimentary fries, of which our favourite were the fries fried in truffle sauce or something equally as fancy.


My delicious filet mignon. While it was quite sizeable, it had nothing on my boyfriend's Jurassic-sized porterhouse steak that was a whopping 30 oz.! 


Our sides: spinach souffle and... 


Asparagus and Potato au Gratin. Delish!

After dinner, we headed out for some entertainment at Surrender Nightclub at the Encore Hotel. Unlike the last time I had gone there, I actually got about 3 free drinks from the open bar as well as free admission. Definitely one of the times in which it rocks to be a lady!