Hello Blonde!

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(Photos by Maria) 

Outfit Details: Dress (Blooming Clothing), Booties (Nine West), Cardigan (MANGO), Accessories (Butterfly Beads), Handbag (Ralph Lauren)

Last week I promised I'd bring more colour into this blog, and it happened! Frankly all the dark and warm shades in my closet were driving me crazy, so I reorganized a bit and brought the bright colours to the front. It's still chilly in Toronto, in fact, there is a currently a gross slush-storm happening but that doesn't mean I can't wear a pink dress. ;)

I also changed my hair - decided to go for subtle blonde highlights and a much-needed trim. Whoever says that changing your hairstyle doesn't affect your mood is WRONG, because I've been having a fantastic week. I'm thinking of going even lighter but we will see. As much as I love to experiment with my hair, I hate the damage that it brings!
There are a lot of things coming up for this little blog of mine! I'm so grateful that people actually read my posts and interact with me via social media, some have even requested for me to publish more frequently. I am trying to fit more time for it in my schedule because I really do enjoy writing here, so that is something to look forward to! I also have a lot of projects with brands and other bloggers in the works and can't wait to share them all with you as time progresses.
Thank you for your ongoing support. I really appreciate it! If you don't already know, I can be found on almost every social media network, so feel free to interact with me at any time. :)

Feeling the Winter Blues

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I know there is still snow on the ground (and small/large blizzards happening every week), and while it has been a great winter this year for outdoor activities, I'm just about ready to say goodbye to my bulky TNA coat, mitts and boots.


Lately I've been feeling the winter blues; there is nothing worse than getting dressed for a night out on the town and being surprised with 20 centimetres of snow. It really hit me yesterday and I knew I had to make a change... starting with my wardrobe. This week I will be getting rid of all the fall/winter shades in my closet and brightening it up with colour. Lots and lots of it.

Okay, enough with the moping... back to the style part of this post.

Considering how busy my daily schedule is with work, events and of course, making time for family and friends, I usually plan my outfits for the blog ahead of time and get them photographed (thanks Maria!) so they're ready for the month. A lot of times I don't even get a chance to publish some outfits for various reasons. Today I'm sharing two looks that I put together (and definitely wore) this season.

Chambray Shirt with a Pleated Skirt



 

(Photos by Maria) 

Outfit Details: Shirt (Blooming Clothing), Skirt (MOON Apparel), Belt (H&M), Booties (Aldo), Earrings + Necklace + Clutch (thrifted), Pearl Bracelet Set (Joe Fresh)

Royal Blue Blazer



 

(Photos by Maria) 

Outfit Details: Blazer + Top (Forever 21), Jeans (MANGO), Necklace + Earrings (Butterfly Beads), Boots (Vianni Collection), Clutch (gift)

Can't wait to bring some Spring into this blog next week!

HUG Cookies & Champagne Party

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(Photo by James)

Outfit Details: Collared Shirt + Floral Tights + Ring (Forever 21), Shorts (H&M), Bracelet Set (Butterfly Beads), Handbag (Kate Spade), Boots (Steve Madden)

Last night I went to the annual Cookies & Champagne Party hosted by The Hip and Urban Girl's Guide at Steam Whistle Brewing. If you've never been or even heard of such a thing, it's a big gathering that happens in Toronto, where guests are asked to bring 3 dozen homemade cookies and then participate in a cookie exchange while hanging out with a fantastic crowd and enjoying a drink or two. You also have the option to not get involved with the cookie exchange and simply buy the networking ticket.

There were some really great vendors on-site and perfectly themed for Valentine's Day including LUX-Spa offering manicures throughout the evening, Inspire Cosmetics, Arbonne, Samantha Stylish, Laborde Designs, Stella & Dot, Le Dolci, Pita Break, Summer Fresh and more.

This was the first year that the HUG ladies opened up the event to guys as well. I was impressed to see 10 per cent of the crowd were men. ;) Hopefully there will be many more next year.

 
 
James went to the HUG Cookies & Champagne Party with me and had a fantastic time. Maybe I should drag him to more events with me, hehe.


It was good to see + catch up with Raymi again! Yep, we were stuffing our bags with cookies.


There were sooo many choices. I was amazed at some people's creativity.

 

Saw some beautiful pieces at the Laborde Designs booth, and had a nice time chatting with Margarita who was representing the brand.


Always great seeing Canadian/local brands being represented at events! Samantha Stylish (left) is a writer and photographer, and on the right we have Manda, who is the head designer for Manda Designs.

I will be uploading the rest of the photos from HUG Cookies & Champagne Party along with recipes of the cookies James and I made on PB&J Mag in the next few days. Look out for it!

Be My Valentine: The Heart Stopper

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Thanks for checking out the final look in my #BeMyValentine mini-series. I had a lot of fun collaborating with local boutiques and designers to bring you outfit ideas for Valentine's Day.

If you're in for a surprise Valentine date, I suggest going for The Heart Stopper. No matter where you're going, you will look glamorous and not feel out of place (unless it's paintballing, in that case, I'm sorry).

This stunning skirt is by Sarah Donofrio Designs. It can be worn with or without a belt, but I thought it added more of a girly touch. I absolutely love how simple it is, but completely makes the outfit because of the pop of pink on black.

Sarah Donofrio Designs can be found at Fitzroy Boutique. If you saw my outfit for Be My Valentine: Out On The Town and were impressed, you must check out this boutique in a lovely nook inside BYOB Cocktail Emporium. They carry amazing brands.

Necklace and earrings are from MoonRox Jewellery. Looking for a unique and jaw-dropping statement necklace? MoonRox is your spot. I was so happy with this look because of how good the necklace looked with everything else.

The ring is from 3Shahs, another local jewelry and accessories line, but it's known internationally and by celebrities too. Founder and designer Shah Emily Noaman thinks very creatively about each piece she makes, and also specializes in custom orders for people who are particular about what they want. You can't see the detailing of the ring in these photos, but it actually has many pearls glued together with a dainty flower as the main piece. Check out some of their "cocktail bling" here!



Photography: Emanuel Pires, PiresPhotography.ca
Makeup and Hair: Kristen Foote
   
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I'd love your feedback on this mini-series (should I do more or never again? hehe) so please comment below, tweet or e-mail me.

Be My Valentine: Demure Date

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This is the third look in #BeMyValentine mini-series, where I have collaborated with local talent (designers and boutiques) to help you find the perfect outfit for Valentine's Day!

de·mure
  1. (of a women or her behaviour) Reserved, modest, and shy.
  2. (of clothing) lending such an appearance.
When going to an art gallery, showing, play or exhibit, I think of dressing up in more reserved, yet stylish and timeless attire. This outfit is ideal if you're going on a Demure Date.

My favourite part about this look is obviously the skirt by Studio Fresh. Designer Connie Meyer makes innovative pieces that are trendsetters on their own! Made for all sizes, this wraparound skirt relies on Velcro with no additional buttons for closure. I love the asymmetrical look and the fact that there is a conveniently large pocket in the front! Hello, women need pockets too. ;)

The comfortable black top is made by Nude Clothes, a clothing line designed by Rita Di Cesare, that focuses on chic office wear. This top can be worn two different ways: you can either wear the basic side (like the one photographed; ideal if you'll be wearing it with a statement necklace) OR you can choose the other side with a draped neckline.

Necklace and earrings are by Elemental Jewellery Design, owned and designed by Kelly Kan (I actually met her a week ago at the Fresh Collective + Dainty Girl Fashion & Beauty Night, she is LOVELY). All of her pieces are stunning and I love how she plays with colour. Kelly and I have something in common: we both have a thing for pearls. ;)

Studio Fresh, Nude Clothes and Elemental Jewellery Design can all be found at Fresh Collective. I recently found out about this boutique that carries unique clothing, jewelry and shoes all from local designers and I'm a little more than obsessed. It doesn't help that they have three locations, all easy to get to. Since I practically work, live, eat and breathe on Queen Street West, that's the one I go to the most.

My ring is from Butterfly Beads, one of my favourite spots to pick out jewelry and accessories. They always carry the latest and trendiest pieces. I'm also looking into creating some of my own jewelry from scratch and their wide selection of {everything} is astonishing.



Photography: Emanuel Pires, PiresPhotography.ca
Makeup and Hair: Kristen Foote
  

Come back tomorrow because the last outfit will be revealed!


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I'd love your feedback on this mini-series (should I do more or never again? hehe) so please comment below, tweet or e-mail me.

Be My Valentine: Out On The Town

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Welcome back to the second day of #BeMyValentine week-long series! I have collaborated with designers and local boutiques to help you find the perfect outfit for Valentine's Day.

Many people still believe Valentine's Day is only to be celebrated between couples or if you have a date, but let me tell you, that is a myth. You may avoid treating yourself to dinner at a restaurant, but why not gather a group of girlfriends and go Out On The Town? Begin your evening with a fancy meal and extend the night by going bar-hopping or to a nice lounge and dance to your favourite music.

I often stress about what to wear when I'm going out, but a good reminder is the age-old saying: It's better to be overdressed, than under-dressed. If you are ever unsure, choose your favourite pair of heels and work your way up - similar to this look.

Leather shorts and skirts are really in, but they can be tricky; depending on how you style them, they can either make the outfit or throw it off completely (in other words, sexy/classy vs. trashy/skanky). I decided to go with the sexy/classy route and paired these amazing BB Dakota leather shorts with leggings. If you've never heard of BB Dakota, I highly suggest you check out the website. Designed by mother-daughter team, Gloria and Katharine Brandes, this line focuses on quality fabrics and construction while offering trend-driven apparel (picture Forever 21 but with excellent quality).

To play more on the Valentine's Day theme, I picked a red sweater by Wish, another clothing line that primarily focuses on e-commerce and can be found in some boutiques. Designer Annette Cannock's passion for fashion started at a very young age, since her mother also owned a boutique. She has worked in the fashion industry for many years and finds inspiration everywhere. She loves colour and incorporates it as much as she can in her stylish and wearable collections.

Don't feel like shopping online? Fitzroy Boutique in Toronto carries pieces from BB Dakota and Wish. Owned by Angela and Julie, this lovely shop is located inside of BYOB Cocktail Emporium, where both ladies carefully pick all of the items they think are trendy and will do well in the city. They also have an online store.

For jewelry, I chose gold pieces with hints of black and white. The necklace and earrings are by MoonRox Jewellery, a Toronto-based jewelry and accessories shop. Monique Chan, owner and designer, handcrafts and sells unique pieces ranging from simple to delicate to bold and dazzling.

The bracelets and ring are from Butterfly Beads, a jewelry outlet with the hottest pieces at extremely affordable prices. They sell ready-made jewelry and accessories, as well as supplies for you to create your own (including authentic Swarovski crystals, real pearls, sterling silver chains and more).



Photography: Emanuel Pires, PiresPhotography.ca
Makeup and Hair: Kristen Foote
  

Look out for Be My Valentine Outfit #3 tomorrow!


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I'd love your feedback on this mini-series (should I do more or never again? hehe) so please comment below, tweet or e-mail me.

Be My Valentine: A Cozy Night In

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We have all been there; nervous for date night and unsure of  what to wear or how to keep it casual and comfortable but still look chic as ever. In celebration of Valentine's Day coming up next week, I have collaborated with local boutiques and designers on a week-long series to help you out a little!

As much as I love fast-fashion and trendy pieces like the next girl, it's time to ditch the easily-accessible H&M and Zara, and go for something unique for Valentine's Day... after all, it only comes once a year.

The first of this series features an outfit idea for A Cozy Night In. This look is perfect if you're planning to stay in for the evening; perhaps rent a movie, order some Chinese food (or better, prepare a meal together), cuddle by the fire and enjoy each others company.

A tunic can be styled for daytime, and easily accessorized for the evening as well. Paired with your favourite tights and booties, it could make for the most comfortable outfit. If you're looking for one with a unique print and flattering fit, check out Monikova, a Toronto-based clothing line by Monika Francikova. This designer has an eye for femininity; her collections are timeless and work well for all seasons.

Monikova tunics and blouses can be found at the boutique-chain Fresh Collective, which features stylish and unique clothing, jewelry, accessories and shoes (all few of a kind) from local designers at an affordable price. If you don't live in or around Toronto, you can still shop from their online store!


Photography: Emanuel Pires, PiresPhotography.ca
Makeup and Hair: Kristen Foote
  

Look out for Be My Valentine Outfit #2 tomorrow!


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I'd love your feedback on this mini-series (should I do more or never again? hehe) so please comment below, tweet or e-mail me.

My Experience at Privé Spa in Toronto (+ giveaway)

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For years, doing my nails has been a Sunday night routine while catching up on TV shows and downloading new tunes for my iPod - all of these items help me prepare myself for the week ahead. However a while back I was invited to spend a relaxing evening at Privé Spa in Toronto to get a complimentary manicure and pedicure, and I just couldn't pass that up.


Conveniently located by College and Dufferin (1039 College Street), this spa is a gem. The ladies working that evening greeted me so nicely and offered me beverages and snacks to munch on while I enjoyed a hand massage and foot scrub, but it's not something they did just for me - Privé Spa offers complimentary drinks to all of their guests.


Aside from manicures and pedicures, Privé Spa offers a variety of services including facials, massages, hair techniques, hair removal options, makeup application, body treatments, electrolysis, acupuncture and more.


One thing to note is their location hours, and yes, they are open seven days a week! Most spas and hair salons are usually closed on Sundays and/or Mondays, but Privé Spa uses that to their advantage.
How many times have you wanted to get a hair cut on a Sunday afternoon but couldn't because the salon was closed?!

Currently Privé Spa has some really cool Valentine's Day promotions. I don't know about you, but a 75-minute Rose Essential Oil body massage and facial + wash and blow out while sipping on a glass of pink champagne sounds pretty amazing to me. You can view other promotions here.


Giveaway: $50 Gift Certificate to Privé Spa!
I have partnered with the generous people over at Privé Spa to offer one lucky reader a $50 gift certificate. I'm opening the contest up to anyone who is able to get to and from the spa (it also helps that there is no expiration date).

To enter, simply use the widget below with all your submission options You must like both summerxskin and Prive Spa Toronto on Facebook.

You also have to leave a comment on this post answering the question: When was the last time you treated yourself to a spa day?

You can get extra entries by doing the following:
  • Follow @summerxskin on Twitter
  • Follow @PriveSpaToronto on Twitter
  • Tweet "Hey @summerxskin, I want to win the $50 gift certificate to @PriveSpaToronto! #SpaGiveawayTO". You can do this once a day, every day for more points. ;)
  • Contest is open to everyone (as long as you can get to and from the spa in Toronto) and will close on Tuesday, February 12 at midnight (EST). Hurry and enter now!

UPDATE: Congratulations to Summer Plewes for winning the $50 Gift Certificate to Privé Spa in Toronto!