The First Layer

If you know me, you know that my “thing” in my closet is a nice coat…maybe a few. Living in Canada we are in layers the majority of the year. Wool coats, transitional jackets, trench, short or long leather, puffers, you name it. It just comes with being Canadian. My argument is that if outerwear is the first thing people see on you, why not let your look start from there? If you’re going to rock a hot outfit, then complete your look with the right top layer.

This season I was shopping for a coat (as usual) and I decided to change it up by creating my own look – mostly because I couldn’t find what I had in mind or everything I liked was stupid expensive.

This time I wanted something long. So I went with the long wool “wrap collar” from Zara. A look that I can wear casually but is more flattering in heels. I also picked up a black fur collar piece from Rudsak. This accessory dresses it up and is fun to wear on a night out or for a special occasion. It even looks good on other coats/jackets. In the end, I found the look I was going for and it cost me half the amount I would’ve paid for a similar style.

And there you have it, proof that you can still be frugal and stylish. Or frugish?

I LOVE NY

Over the holidays I snuck in a trip to New York City with some dear friends – celebrating my girl’s 35th. After my many trips to New York, this was the first time I stayed in New York City. I know, shame on me. I can honestly say that being in New York is always that strange place where I always feel I belong. The noise of traffic, the smell of street food and yummy sewer smell, and who can forget the glare of lights. As a Montreal native, it made me feel right at home. I always find something beautiful about the confusion and chaos in a big city. After a walk through the Meatpacking District I couldn’t be bothered by the uneven cobble stone streets, but it was enough to ruin my heels!

For me, New York is not the city to escape but the place that makes me feel so alive. It was a breath of fresh air…really but not really. I appreciate the variety of fashion and the eclecticism. The furs and faux furs. The leathers and pleathers. Where people unapologetically embrace their looks. Nothing generic – that’s just New York.

I ❤ NY


In the closet:
coat – Zara
fur collar – Rudsak
glasses – Gucci
boot – Jeffrey Campbell
crop sweater – House of CB
joggings – Bida Boutique

A White Christmas

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For years I used to stress around the holiday season. I rushed to malls and drove all over town to find specific gifts for loved ones. Drove from one city to another to visit friends, sipped on cocktails or met for dinner, and exchange more gifts. In the meantime, running around doing 50 last minute errands. Now the holiday season means so much more to me – something so different. I’m not against the shopping and rushing to see friends, but in the midst of driving around to see everyone, I was missing out on the meaning and the enjoyment. Aside from a quick getaway to New York City (post to follow), this year was the first time in my career I took time off. I flew to Montreal earlier to spend time with my family and helped in the kitchen. I watched Christmas movies (yes, Home Alone was one of them), and enjoyed some traditional Trinidadian Christmas delicacies on the couch, all while the slow falling snowflakes dusted the streets and trees in white. It was one of the most relaxing holidays spent, and I got to take it all in.

In the closet:

And of course, part of my early planning this year involved my holiday outfits. With Christmas parties kicking off a littler earlier, I got the closet ready with holiday party attire. I stayed away from the typical red and changed it up a little. One of my favourite pieces was from my new favourite boutique – House of CB. The Azariah dress, an all white slim fitted bandage dress, with a covered neck. As someone who wears black like it’s a colour code, wearing all white was risky and according to some, “bold”. Once again, my effort of stepping out of the box and acknowledging winter white as an acceptable holiday colour was a success with no wine spills. I feel like I can check off a box on my fashion bucket list. As for being a skeptic of online shopping, I can honestly say that House of CB’s pictures are not deceiving (no, this is not a sponsored post). The pieces I ordered looked just like the pictures on their models, and fit to expectation – nothing less. Of course sizing can be a little challenging but they have a chart on their website that is very helpful.

Cheers to an amazing holiday season with loved ones and good times! May the year  of 2019 bring us all happiness, love, success, and more blog posts. ❤

 

The Colour of Change

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So while it started to snow where I live, I jet setted to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Mostly because I have no tolerance for cold, and because it’s one of my favourite beach destinations.

I had the usual in my carry-on except this time I packed my ankara styled top. This piece is very special to me because I bought it at the Festival nuit d’Afrique in Montreal a couple of years ago – my all time favourite festival. I remember it like yesterday, my friend and I decided to have a girls weekend in Montreal. We especially went for this event. 30 degrees celsius, hot and humid, and a woman performing on stage with a voice so strong it gave me goosebumps. Her band delivered beats so hypnotic I forgot where I was – so taken away. Despite the name, this is a festival that brings everyone together. A park filled with people, so happy, different colours, and nothing matters. I always try to take advantage of this liveliness when i’m visiting my home city.

As I walked through the marketplace I laid my eyes on this colourful piece. At the time I was on the tip of, “I need a change. Maybe I just need to add more colour to my wardrobe…or my life.” I wanted to do something different, out of my norm. I know, not a big deal, but it was to me. I’m the girl who’s usually in black, from head to toe. A colour, or shall I say shade, which I wear with pride as it represents prestige. Something i’ll get into later. The problem is that at this time in my life I needed change. I could’ve gotten a tattoo, a new haircut or a trip to Timbuktu. Instead, I bought this top. I was in a pleasant place in my life but not exactly where I wanted to be. Not only does this piece represent my deep roots, it represents something even deeper in my life. It was the day I decided to add some colour to my wardrobe, but also a day that brought a positive change in my life. Coincidence? I couldn’t say.

I wear my ankara top with pride and with a big smile on my face as it only brings me great memories. On this day in Cabo San Lucas, I wore it with my bikini bottom. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not very pleased with the swimwear fashion in Canada (sad face). So I usually mix and match my beach outfits. There are so many things about this top that make me happy. They say that African wax print clothing was originally worn as a nonverbal way of communicating. To be honest, I don’t know what this pattern means but I would hope something along the lines of, “change is good”.

Wedding Ready?

‘Tis the season, wedding season and it’s inevitable that someone will ask me, “what do I wear?”. The questions I ask is “What kind of wedding is it? Will it be hot, cold or humid? Formal or casual?”. I even ask what kind of food will be served. It may sound ridiculous but it’s a serious question. We all know certain cultures love to feed their loved ones, and I have no issues with that, however I make sure I’m prepared.

First thing’s first, read the details on the invitation. Most invites specify the attire which I must say is very helpful (*useful tip for those who plan on tying the knot). Most of the time a formal attire is expected. What’s formal anymore? That’s another post for another day. For those who don’t know anymore, you definitely want to dress up. I always say, it’s alway better to be over than under. Pull out the pearls, Swarovski crystals and cubic zirconias (or diamonds). Go crazy. It’s an occasion and certainly something great to celebrate. So don’t be shy to be SEEN.

For a summer or hot destination wedding, keep it loose and flowing. Maybe a long dress, off the shoulder, with a bottom that moves with the wind – literally. The last thing you want is clingy material in the heat. I’m from Montreal, and believe it or not that city feels those hot and humid summers. I myself have made the mistake of wearing the wrong thing, and felt drips of sweat rolling down my legs and onto my feet (TMI, sorry). The point is that you always want to be comfortable. Make sure the material is light and non-restrictive. You may want to grab a shawl for the night, just in case the temperature drops drastically.

Autumn and winter weddings. I hope for your sake you don’t get invited to a mid-February wedding. It happened to me once. Let’s just say I was sipping on more tea than wine. If that’s the case, make sure you go with the thicker material. Something fitted and long-sleeved. Another great look is a princess skirt as a bottom and a fancy crop top to complete the outfit. You might want to do a thick cashmere shawl or even a faux-fur shrug (I won’t judge you if you wear real fur). These pieces usually dress up your look, with the right accessories of course. I also suggest wearing tights or nylons in cooler temperatures, as it’s more fitting and adds class to the outfit. That’s just me though.

This past weekend I attended my friend’s wedding in British Columbia, Canada. It was honestly one of the most beautiful weddings I’ve ever witnessed. To be honest, before going I had no idea what to wear (i know, not a real problem). An outdoor wedding in June, and on the mountaintop. Although it’s summer, it still meant I had to take backup layers for this wedding because those BC mountaintops are chilly. Lucky for us the weather was beautiful and although chilly on the mountain, the sun kept us warm during the ceremony. My dress was from Nordstrom, by Bardot and although not loose and flowing, it was just perfect. The day wasn’t too hot, and it definitely cooled down at night. I showed off my open shoulder with an updo bun, and wore my simple “diamond” button earrings with a dainty necklace. I’ll also say that my Lulu Guinness lips clutch completed my outfit, and held more nonsense that I could imagine.

It’s important to look good and fit in at a wedding. As guests we end up in countless pictures and videos – memories that last a lifetime. Sometimes it just takes a little more thought to find the perfect outfit for a long day.

Wearing Cause

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Most of us may already know that beauty and fashion are multibillion-dollar industries. It’s quite evident that I contribute as a consumer, also because it’s my hobby. No guilt there yet. However, I do confess that I feel the guilt when I think about where my money could or should have gone. I’ve become more mindful of my fashion/beauty spending, and have been doing research on how I can contribute to local or international charities/foundations while shopping. I know, the first thought most of us have is, “how do we know are money is going where they say it’s going?”.  I ask myself that all the time when asked to donate. Sometimes I’d rather personally give my money to an individual or cause to know it’s in fact making a difference. So it’s understandable that there may be that skepticism when giving away money. I don’t blame anyone because I’m a skeptic myself! In any case, I do my research on different companies and organizations, and I use my discretion on the cause.

With that said, I’m sure you’re wondering what a picture of me chilling on my couch has anything to do with giving back. This week I decided to use M.A.C’s Viva Glam.  This line is a public charity which donates to an AIDS fund. Every penny of their sales from the product line go straight to the fund which was established in 1994. I’m also proud to mention that it started in the lovely Toronto (#OhCanada). This has since evolved over the years and has touched the many lives of those affected by AIDS/HIV. It also brings educational programs to communities to teach people how to prevent the disease. Since it’s establishment many celebrities such as Nicki Minaj, RuPaul and Rihanna have been faces of the product line, but most importantly voices for the cause.

The cause I’m wearing today is Viva Glam III on my lips, and I love how it perfectly matches my kimono. I may not be a spokesperson for a cause…yet, but I believe each person can make a difference while doing something they love. #VIVAGLAM #WEARINGCAUSE

Out of the Closet and in the Bag

This past long weekend I jetted off to Costa Rica. It was my first visit, but it definitely won’t be my last. Four days was too short that it wasn’t sweet – almost a tease. I met hospitality from the minute I walked off the plane until my return. The culture is warm, welcoming and rich like its ineffable sunsets. The food is tasty with a big Caribbean influence, something very familiar to me. I’m ashamed to say that I stayed at the JW Marriott Guanacaste (20 minutes from Tamarindo Beach) only because as beautiful as Costa Rica is I was not doing myself any justice by staying so remote #dontjudge. A big however, it was one of the nicest resorts I’ve ever stayed at, with impeccable service and perfect for a short weekend getaway.

If you know me, you know that I hate baggage. That includes life baggage but staying within context I’m talking about packing. I figure the less things I travel with, the less I have to worry about. Put it this way, I’ve done national and international pageants with one piece of luggage. Crazy? I think not. As a woman who mostly travels to warm countries, my pieces are usually small and light. The typical trick – roll everything, and mix and match – it’s the key to traveling light. I know, most of the time we don’t want to wear the same thing. To be honest, when you change things up and accessorize, very few people notice or even care!

What to pack? : My essentials are my toiletry bag which I make sure to keep everything under 100 ml. This usually holds my essential hair and makeup products, creams, lotions, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc. Enough underwear…maybe that extra one for unexpected layovers. For accessories I usually carry sunglasses, earrings, and necklaces. At least two pairs of practical shoes or sandals plus running shoes which I wear during travels because they’re heavy. A camera because I love to capture every moment. Last but not least, my clothing. I might pack one pyjama, but to be honest I usually sleep in underwear, especially if where i’m staying is hot #TMI. I make sure to have at least two leggings, one to travel in and the other matched with a sports bra for working out. A couple tank tops only because they go with almost everything and take up no space at all. One or two summer dresses, one skirt and my bikinis of course. One of my tricks is to make sure that most, not all, of my pieces are practical in colour which makes it easier to mix and match. Statement belts or necklaces will also dress up your outfit for a night out. It may sound like a lot, but so far these items only take up three quarters of my bag. I usually fill the rest with smaller items if necessary, like a belt, socks, and my travel blanket #yesihaveablankie #imalwayscold. Also, make sure to leave a little space for souvenir shopping.

All of this is very possible with a maximum sized carry-on bag (9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches) and don’t forget your personal item (i.e. duffle bag, backpack, tote bag). Most airlines will not charge you fees and you don’t have to worry about waiting on your bags when you get off the plane. That’s unless they make you check in at the gate.

Remember to make a list. Thank me later. That’s if you’re down with traveling light.


 

sunglasses (right) –> purchased in a little shop in Tamarindo Beach $9 USD. I always buy a fashion piece as a souvenir when I travel to a new country.