Best of 2013

|
Surprise! If you're a frequent visitor, you'll notice that I redesigned the website... basically from scratch. It honestly took me a whole year to figure out exactly what I wanted and how to make it as easy and clean to navigate as possible.

All the pages have been refreshed, new widgets have been added, but my personal favourite is the static navigation bar on top. I'm still tweaking little things and have a few more changes to implement, but I'll announce them as they happen. I really hope you like the new look! Feedback is key, so I'd love to hear what you think in the comments.


Wrap Up of Folgers Morning Tour

|
In November and bit of December, I had the opportunity to work with Folgers to promote their Morning Tour in Toronto.


eBay Deals for the Holidays (+ giveaway)

|

Aside from gifts, the one thing I love about the holidays is spending quality time with family. Drinking hot cocoa while watching the snow fall, getting together for a big turkey dinner and eating LOTS of baked goods.

However, nothing is wrong with treating yourself to a little something! So many times I make a wishlist but end up getting the most wanted item for myself because I can't hold on that long... this recently happened when I gifted myself the Urban Decay Vice 2 Palette for working super hard for the last few months.

AE Legendary Gifts: Merry Maker Thermal Sweater

|

Dynamite's Best Dressed Shopping Party

|

Right before going on vacation in November, I had the opportunity to host Dynamite's Best Dressed Shopping Party at Square One Shopping Centre. I was lucky to be chosen as one of 15 bloggers across Canada to collaborate with; it was so fun dressing up for an evening and shopping with friends and fans!

We're Officially Engaged!

|

There is always a purpose to a vacation or trip, whether you're going to meet someone or getting away just to relax and unwind. Yesterday I came back from a 10-day vacation to Pakistan; the best part was that I took James with me to meet my family. We had an official marriage proposal in front of everyone, and an engagement party to celebrate as well!

Update on The Folgers Morning Tour (+ giveaway!)

|
Have you been following the Folgers Morning Tour in Toronto? For the past few weeks, they've been going around the city promoting the new Mocha Swirl k-cup packs and giving away complimentary coffee. I was lucky enough to drop in twice... once at Yonge/Dundas with Maria (Beauty and a Bite) and the very next day when it was parked right next to my office!


We received these really cute Folgers jackets and they're SO warm. I also love that Folgers' colour is red, it makes me feel pretty. :)


Since the idea of the Folgers Morning Tour is to introduce the new Mocha Swirl, naturally I just had to try it. If you like chocolate and coffee, this is the perfect blend for you. It still has the scent and main flavour of coffee, but there is a surprising hint of mocha. I was afraid it would be overbearing but it's actually so subtle that I really enjoyed it.

Now for the exciting part...


As part of the campaign, Folgers sent me my very own Keurig machine along with various k-cup flavours and cute kitchen accessories! As much as I love coffee, I simply never had time to make it in the morning before going to work, but now it's just SO easy. The Keurig machine is a beautiful shade of red, simple to use and very tiny. All you have to do is put in a k-cup and you'll have fresh coffee within seconds.

WIN A FOLGERS PRIZE PACK!


Folgers has also kindly offered to give one lucky reader a prize pack worth $150! Here is what you'll get:
  • Mini-red Keurig coffee machine (just like mine!)
  • Assorted selection of Folgers Gourmet Selections k-cups packs including the new Mocha Swirl
  • Folgers branded mug
  • Premium sugar & creamer set (trust me, it's super cute)
To be eligible, you must fill out the Rafflecopter widget below and comment on this blog post telling me what your morning routine is like! For extra entries, you can do the following and indicate you did them in the Rafflecopter widget.
  • Follow @summerxskin on Twitter
  • Become a fan of SummerxSkin on Facebook
  • Tweet: " Hey @SummerxSkin, I love coffee - I want to win the Folgers prize pack! #FolgersMorningTour. http://bit.ly/Ii7I3n "
  • This contest is open to Canadian residents only and ends on Saturday, December 7 at 11:59 p.m.
Good luck!

This is a sponsored post.

Insta-Monday: #SparkSessions!!

|
I've been talking about Spark Sessions for month (online and offline), and I can't even express how amazing it was to see our little project come to life in a big, bold way!

This is a quick run-down but I'll be doing a more lengthy one soon with lots of photos and details. :)

Listed from top to bottom, left to right:
  1. Group photo of the Spark Sessions Executive Committee (l-r): Nicole (Dainty Girl), me, Melissa (The Domestic Peach), Anjali (Rock That Look), Deanne (My Fash Avenue), Elaine (Toronto Beauty Reviews), Marissa (Chic Darling) and Jenny (Crazy Style Love).
  2. Our opening keynote speaker was Jeanne Beker! She had a very inspirational speech and answered so many great questions from the audience.
  3. I moderated a couple of panels throughout the weekend, one of them being about my favourite topic: Branding, Blogging and Social Media! Our speakers were Sheryl Bhagga, Crystal Gibson and Nicole Wilson.
  4. James was at the conference all day and night with the team! He was such a great helper and did everything he was asked. :)
  5. Our closing keynote speaker was Elaine Lui a.k.a. Lainey Gossip! She is just so awesome and funny... it was a fantastic way to end the conference.
Stay tuned for more posts this week! I've got lots to share. Connect with me through Instagram and Twitter as well!

Hint of Pink (+ giveaway)

|

(Photos by James)

Outfit Details: Skirt (c/o Dynamite), Pumps (c/o Nine West), Top (thrifted), Clutch (c/o Smart Set), Necklace (c/o Shop for Jayu), Bracelets + Earrings (various)

I've really been enjoying putting black & white together with pops of colour (see here, here and here). So much so that I even took out this peplum top that I thrifted years ago, and wanted to add a more contemporary touch. The hint of pink on my clutch definitely stands out but isn't over-empowering the rest of the look.

How could you not love the dazzling necklace that I'm wearing? Shop for Jayu, one of my favourite boutiques in Toronto, kindly gifted the Beaulah necklace to me a while back and it has currently become my go-to necklaces when I want to make an outfit look glamorous!

One thing I truly admire about Shop for Jayu is how on-trend they are when it comes to bringing in new pieces and collections. Spikes and studs were huge during the past few seasons, and Shop for Jayu had all kinds of options so everyone would be able to find a piece they like. I've been noticing more silver in the market lately, it look great with warm colours and works well with leather and mixed media, that is why I went ahead with this gorgeous "Beaulah" necklace in silver (it also comes in gold).

WIN A BEAULAH NECKLACE JUST LIKE MINE!


Since the holidays are coming up, Shop for Jayu has offered one lucky reader a chance to win the Beaulah necklace! Enter to WIN the Shop for Jayu necklace, and you can choose whether you want it in silver or gold.

To be eligible, you must fill out the Rafflecopter widget below and comment on this blog post telling me how you'd style this necklace! For extra entries, you can do the following and indicate you did them in the Rafflecopter widget.
  • Follower @summerxskin on Twitter
  • Follow @ShopforJayu on Twitter
  • Become a fan of SummerxSkin on Facebook
  • Become a fan of Shop for Jayu on Facebook
  • Tweet: "Hey @SummerxSkin, I want to win the @ShopforJayu Beaulah necklace. It's perfect for the holidays! http://bit.ly/184nxVV" You can tweet this once a day, every day.
  • This contest is open to Canadian residents only and ends on Wednesday, November 20 at 11:59 p.m.

Spark Sessions in Toronto Next Weekend (+ giveaway)

|
If you're a fashion or beauty blogger in Toronto, you may have already heard but Spark Sessions is next weekend! On November 16-17, Canada's FIRST and ONLY fashion & beauty blogger conference will take place at The Centre of Social Innovation (720 Bathurst Street).


I'm so happy to be part of an amazing executive team and can't wait for everything to come to life this weekend. We have a great line-up of speakers (including fashion icon Jeanne Beker!) + relevant and informative panels specifically catered to fashion and beauty bloggers.

WIN A COMPLIMENTARY PASS TO SPARK SESSIONS!


The team has partnered to give one lucky person a weekend pass to Spark Sessions ($100 value)! Simply fill out the Rafflecopter widget below to be eligible to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck!

Insta-Monday: Designher Kit, Folgers Morning Tour, Dynamite Party & More

|

Listed from top to bottom, left to right:
  1. Recently attended Designher Kit's launch party; an amazing DIY jewelry-making monthly subscription kit. I was surprised at how easy it was to make a cute spiked bracelet. Check out their Indiegogo campaign!
  2. Got to hang out with Jenny (Crazy Style Love), Elaine (Toronto Beauty Reviews - she was also the co-host), Dara (Designher Co), and Rica (The Office Chic) at the Designher Kit launch party.
  3. Lately I've been having easy-going and relaxing weekends with close friends - dinner, drinks and playing cards!
  4. The chocolate brownie at Canyon Creek is AMAZING. It was devoured quickly by four people.
  5. So excited to partner with Folgers for the #FolgersMorningTour campaign! Read all about it here.
  6. Folgers recently introduced the Mocha Swirl K-Cup packs and it's delightful. I love the combination of coffee and chocolate, so I had no doubt it would be a good mix.
  7. Hosted a fabulous shopping party with Dynamite at Square One last Thursday. More details to come on the blog, but you can read the invite here.
  8. More photos of the Dynamite shopping party! It was amazing seeing some of my followers and friends. :)
The upcoming weeks are absolutely insane and exciting at the same time! Stay in the loop through Instagram and Twitter.

Dynamite's Best Dressed Shopping Party at Square One

|

(Photos by James)

Outfit Details: Dress + Accessories (c/o Dynamite), Bag (Ralph Lauren), Jacket (H&M), Boots (c/o ECCO)

This season has been bittersweet so far. Even though it's been pretty chilly for the past couple of weeks, for the most part we had a really nice, mild autumn. I'm a total advocate of dresses (even in the winter) so I'm really not complaining about the weather too much. Typically I'll throw on pair of tights or a scarf to stay warm no matter what.

Grey isn't always the happiest of colours, so I wanted to wear this dress with contrasting accessories. The burgundy boots complement my bracelets, and the bright brown bag adds brightness to the look. All of these fall colours together have created this rustic feel and I just love it!


I'm so happy I've got to work with Dynamite for the past few weeks - I've been a fan of their clothing since high school and it's still the one store I absolutely have to stop at before leaving the mall. Last week they just introduced online shopping; as dangerous as this is for my wallet, it makes me super happy at the same time.

To celebrate, Dynamite is having a shopping party on Thursday, November 7 in stores across Canada. The objective is to enjoy 25% off your purchase, be gifted with free items and spend some quality time shopping and mingling with fashion bloggers. I'll be stopping by at Square One Shopping Mall from 6:30-9 p.m., JOIN ME! I would absolutely love to meet and hang out with you if you're in the area.

You can follow the #DynamiteBestDressed through that hashtag, as well as Dynamite's official Twitter and Instagram. If you can't make it to Square One, I will also be sharing tidbits of the evening on social media as well.

Hope to see you there! xo

Folgers Morning Tour in Toronto

|

What's the first thing that comes to mind when you wake up? For me it's definitely COFFEE! Mornings aren't the same without a hot, delicious cup of coffee while getting ready for the day. As the days get shorter, it becomes more difficult to wake up early. A lot of my photos for style and beauty posts are often taken in the mornings as well; caffeine helps me stay alert and look awake.

One of my favourite coffee blends is Folgers; it's easy to make, consistent and tastes great. When I'm feeling extra special, I'll opt for a flavourful blend. I was thrilled when they introduced the new Mocha Swirl K-Cup packs. There are already seven other flavours including one of my favourites, Vanilla Biscotti.

To spread awareness about the new Mocha Swirl K-Cup packs, Folgers has set up a Morning Tour that's open to public in Toronto! Each day from November 5 to December 14, The Folgers Morning Tour will park at a neighbourhood in the GTA and give out complimentary cups of the chocolatey flavour! All other flavours will also be on-site if you aren't a big fan of mocha.

See the full list of #FolgersMorningTour locations here >>


I've partnered with Folgers along with my good friend and blogger Maria (Beauty and a Bite) and we will actually be stopping by during the Folgers Morning Tour a couple of times. We would love it if you could join us and get in on the #FolgersMorningTour!


Look out for us at Yonge & Dundas Square on Wednesday, November 6 at 8 a.m.! We will be there right when it starts. If you miss out on this one, we will again be at Roncesvalles & Wright Ave on Saturday, December 7 from 9 a.m. to noon. We are both super excited to be attending together and would absolutely love it if you joined us!

This is a sponsored post.

Spooky Nail Party

|

Happy Halloween!


What better way to celebrate here on the blog than to share photos of a fun Spooky Nail Party I hosted for my close girlfriends a couple of weeks ago?


Lately I've really been loving nail art stickers; they are quick, last long and make your nails look stunning. As soon as I discovered Halloween-themed imPRESS Press-On Manicures and KISS Nail Dress, I immediately decided to throw a party for my friends to enjoy trying them as well.

We had such a great time catching up while DIYing our nails. I really wanted to create a spooky atmosphere, so James helped me decorate the table.


Each attendee was presented with their own little section on the table, along with options for what kind of manicure they would like to try and a goodie bag to keep them energized. I was really impressed when all the girls shared their nail art to mix and match and make new amazing designs!


My lovely attendees! I had a lot of fun teaching them how to apply both the imPRESS Press-On Manicures and KISS Nail Dress


I also set up a dessert table with homemade cupcakes (without icing) and apple caramel cake...


Which my niece seemed to enjoy!


Check out all of the fun manicures! This was a great way to spend time with my girlfriends and I encourage you to throw a themed nail art party as well. Be sure to share your Halloween nails with me through the hashtag #SpookyNail Party. I'd love to see! :)

This is a sponsored post.

Leather on Leather

|

(Photos by James)

Outfit Details: Earrings (Butterfly Beads), Headband (Ardene), Booties (Aldo), Everything Else (c/o Dynamite)

I remember seeing the initial comeback for leather about three years ago when I worked as a merchandiser, and it's amazing to see how it is now incorporated in entire outfits and through mixed media with other fabrics. People are still scared or not sure how to embrace this trend, and I think the best way to explore something is in small doses first.

Here I've paired this loose and flattering striped shirt with front faux leather leggings. I can't tell you soft they are! I have actually been on the hunt to find these type of panel leggings for a while and Dynamite has an excellent selection right now. You can get a pair like mine with the front leather, or you can try the side panel or even some funky triangle panel ones! I finished the look with a sparkly headband, diamond earrings and a quilted laptop bag (SO cute).

Dynamite has been one of my favourite shops for a very long time. It's the perfect spot to find trendy office-wear, but I really like their selection of dresses and casual tops as well. Whenever I go to the store, it's well-merchandised with the right colours spread throughout. I was thrilled to hear that Dynamite just launched their official online store! Goodbye, money. ;) This makes my life so much easier since I'm already an avid online-shopper.

I'd love to see how you would style leather for fall/winter! Tweet me a look or leave me a comment.

Insta-Monday: World MasterCard Fashion Week (Spring 2014)

|
Another season of World MasterCard Fashion Week (Toronto Fashion Week) came and went. Unfortunately I wasn't able to attend due to other commitments, but I did manage to catch a few and got to hang out with blogger friends as well. It's always fun to catch up and admire stunning collections on the runway together!


Listed from top to bottom, left to right:
  1. First up was a Town Shoes x Trend Marketing event in celebration of World MasterCard Fashion Week. We got to preview shoes from brands including Vince Camuto, Jessica Simpson, BCBG Generation, Arturo Chiang and many more. I fell in love with these Lucky Brand owl sandals!
  2. We were lucky enough to go home with a pair of Sam Edelman flats. I can't wait to style mine! Loved their display.
  3. My date for the Town Shoes x Trend Marketing event was the lovely Elaine (Toronto Beauty Reviews). So happy I got to see her!
  4. I didn't get to the tents of World MasterCard Fashion Week until Wednesday, and spent the entire time attending shows with Amber (Canadian Fashionista)!
  5. Met and hung out with one of the sweetest girls, Zeba (Ella Pretty).
  6. For my second night I got to hang out with Tiffany (TC and the City), Katelyn (The Skinny Blonde Girl), Rica (The Office Chic) and Naghmeh (The Fashionista Bubble).
  7. This was my first time seeing Christopher Bates' designs and I really liked the Spring 2014 collection. I've always admired mens fashion so it was nice to see well-tailored suiting on the runway. Each look was classic!
  8. I had a really good view of Klaxon Howl's Spring 2014 show and thought it was interesting. It was casual but a lot of it was still everyday-office appropriate. These were my favourite looks from the collection.
  9. It's no secret Whitney Linen is one of my favourite Canadian designers. I got to work with her earlier this year and it was a show I could NOT miss! She makes linen look so fabulous and the print she used for Spring 2014 worked SO well with the neutral colours. Jewelry was by Marka Designs, who I also had the pleasure of working with.
  10. One of my favourite shows this season during World MasterCard Fashion Week was TARGET! The energy and music was so fun and made all of us feel like Christmas was already here. Loved how all the outerwear was styled. I'm so glad I didn't miss this show!
I hope you enjoyed my brief overview of World MasterCard Fashion Week. The next few weeks are going to be quite exciting for me + the blog. Stay in the loop through Instagram and Twitter!

Polka-dot Dress

|

(Photos by Maria)

Outfit Details: Dress (Boohoo), Bag (Rebecca Minkoff), Pumps (Nine West), Bracelets (Dynamite), Necklace (Forever 21)

I wore this dress on my birthday in July and it became one of my go-to dresses ever since. Shift dresses are flattering on any body-type, since they don't really emphasize on curves but give more of a boxy shape.

The polka-dot print is a statement on its own. I just added a string of pearls around my neckline, elongated my legs with black pumps and added a pop of colour through my bag and matching bracelets. I love how easy it is to add colour and accessories to a black and white print.

How would you have styled this dress differently? There are just so many ways!

Insta-Monday: ZICO, AndroidTO, Korean Food & More

|
Listed from top to bottom, left to right:
  1. Got a massive amount of ZICO Coconut Water in four different flavours. I'm slowly getting through them all. DELICIOUS!
  2. Attended the digital conference AndroidTO. I was one of the few with an iPhone, but still enjoyed the panels.
  3. Hosted a Spooky Nail Party in celebration of Halloween for a few close girlfriends. I'll be sharing photos very soon! We had so much fun.
  4. Enjoyed dinner at Korean Village Restaurant and can't wait to go back. Mmmm, Ja Jang Myun!
I'm always tweeting and sharing photos on Instagram; be sure to follow my adventures. :)

Coffee Break

|

(Photos by Maria)

Outfit Details: Sweater + Accessories + Bag (Forever 21), Leggings (Aritzia), Pumps (Aldo)

Don't you love it (or maybe it's slightly weird) when trends from your childhood make a full-fledged comeback? I definitely remember wearing these types of boxy sweaters over a comfy pair of leggings or jeans back in the 90s. It was one of my favourite outfits to wear to school! I was ecstatic to see it all over magazines and on the runway this year and couldn't wait to try it out for myself.

To give this look a bit of edge, I paired a bright red sweater with leather leggings. While I have a rule to not wear shorter tops with leggings, these luckily almost pass off as pants. I wanted to keep it vibrant, so I used black and silver accessories. Not only would I wear this to a coffee date or girly hangout, but I think it's a great outfit for a fashion event as well!

This trend almost makes me want to raid all of the thrift shops in Toronto to find one of those Club Monaco labelled sweaters. Remember those? ;)

Revlon x Marchesa 3D Jewel Appliqués

|

One of my favourite beauty brands, Revlon, recently collaborated with fashion designer Marchesa (BEST Oscar dresses) to launch unique, limited 3D Jewel Appliqués. As soon as I heard about this I knew I had to get my hands on it and was SO ecstatic when they sent me a package to play around with!

This Fall 2013 collection comes in 8 different textured shades, each resembling one of Marchesa's couture pieces. Be sure to call your local drugstore to reserve some for yourself, trust me, they're STUNNING.

I've photographed five different shades above and provided a tutorial below using a sixth design. They were very easy to apply (as long as you're gentle and patient), and the whole process took about 40 minutes.


I'll be honest; the pink shade doesn't look that nice in the package but when I actually started putting them on my nails... it was love! I can't stop staring at my nails. :)


Here is a quick step-by-step photo tutorial, followed by a text version below. I hope you find it as simple as I did. Let me know how it goes if you try them!

Steps:
  1. Pick the shade you want to use.
  2. Take out of all the contents inside the box. You will find 18 appliqués, nail file and cuticle pusher.
  3. Use the cuticle pusher (and some nail polish remover) to clean your nails and shape them. Then select a size that best fits the nail.
  4. Begin to wrap the appliqué around your nail.
  5. Make sure the appliqué doesn't touch your skin or cuticle and fold the remaining part.
  6. Begin filing gently around the nail in one direction until the excess begins to peel off.
  7. This is roughly what your nail should look like.
  8. Tada! All my nails (both hands) are done in 40 minutes.
These Revlon x Marchesa 3d Jewel Appliqués are so fun and pretty; you will actually enjoy doing your nails! Share your manicure with me, I'd love to see!