Thursday, July 20, 2017

Travel Diary: 10 Things to Do in Paris (Eat, Shop, Landmarks)

I recently spent 3 weeks in Europe in May and I'm still in the process of going through my pictures and getting all my travel posts up! If you are headed to London or Berlin, you should definitely give my other travel posts a read. Paris was the last city I visited and since my parents have already been to Paris twice, we only budgeted to spend 2.5 days here.

I put together my top 10 check list items to do in Paris! Most of these things are centered around 1st and 2nd arrondissement. These include eating, shopping, and of course visiting the famous landmarks! In no particular order, let's get started!


1) Mobilis in Mobili

The last time my parents were in Paris, they had a delicious seafood platter, so that was on the top of their to do list. The closest seafood restaurant to us was Mobilis in Mobili and it was one of the best seafood meals I've had! They have a variety of platters to chose from and the one we picked was around 70 Euros and had crabs, oysters, clams, shrimp, and a bunch of other seafood items.

You could also individually pick the type of seafood, and the way it can be cooked while the platters are pretty much all raw. I liked the oysters the most and definitely wish I got more! I would recommend getting more open shelled items as it's much easier to eat when you're hungry! Overall, it was such a fun experience and the seafood all tasted so fresh!

2) Le Comptoir de La Gastronomie
Rue Montmatre/Rue Etienne Marcel

For classic sophisticated French food, you have to pay a visit to Le Comptoir de la Gastronomie. It's a pretty small restaurant with about 4 tables outside and 10 tables inside. The food is well priced and around 15-20 euro for an entree! We ordered some classics like foie gras and escargot!

Everything was delicious and the service was not pretentious at all! There's also a little shop inside with a good selection of wine, cheese, caviar, and other French delicacies. There were no issues ordering in English and another great al fresco dining experience in Europe.

3) Amorino

There's probably as many Amorino locations in Paris as Starbucks in Seattle. But I had no idea that this was such a big chain until I was writing up this blog post. At Amorino, you can choose as many flavors as you want to be made into your rose ice cream! In addition, you can add a macaron on top which is also made of a gelato filling! It was pretty much heaven in a cone. If you are craving a Parisian snack, you need to get one of these.  I think there are 10 locations in the states right now and I hope it comes to Canada soon!


4) Galeries Lafayette

If you are in Paris, you have to pay a visit to Galeries Lafayette. It's a huge department store that sells from mid range to high end clothing and accessories! I could have seriously spent a day in here (although window shopping). If you are on the hunt for designer items, you'll have the option to compare all the designers here. The store itself is also beautiful, definitely do not miss if you love shopping!

5) Rue Montmartre

For a more boutique shopping experience, walk down Rue Montmartre! Between Rue de Clery and Rue de Turbigo, I found tons of cute stores selling fashionable mid-range clothing and accessories. Some of my favorite ones that I stumbled into are & Other Stories, 58M, Maje, and El Ganso. & Other Stories might be my favorite discovery, I love how on trend the pieces are but it still feels high quality and at a reasonable price. 

6) Forum des Halles 

If you keep walking down Rue Montmartre towards the Seine river, you'll reach Forum des Halles, one of the biggest malls in the city. After not spending our money at Galeries Lafayette, we decided to go to stores with a more reasonable price tag. I was mainly on the lookout for stores that we didn't have in Canada! I bought a ton of stuff from Mango (surprisingly I found out later that they have online shopping to Canada). Other stores include Yves Rocher, New Look, Sandro, Pimkie.

On a side note, the restrooms in the mall are all for a fee so you should bring change! Also there are bag checks at all entrances to the mall!


7) Bike Tour

I've never been to Paris before so I wanted a quick way to see all the famous sights. I signed up my parents and myself with Blue Fox Travel based on reviews from Tripadvisor. Their Best of Paris tour is 4 hours long and covers all the essential sights. After taking quite a few walking tours in Europe, I can confidently say that bike tours are SO much better than walking! You get to hit up so many more locations and it's way less tiring!

One of the most interesting things I learned about were the public sparkling water stations. It's just like a drinking fountain except the water is sparkling, yum! We paid 35 Euro each for the tour and it was worth every penny as our guide was so clear on explaining the history and importance of the various landmarks. 

8) Louvre

It would take you days to fully see all the displays in the Louvre! The iconic pyramid on top of the plaza is perfect for cheesy tourist photos! I was a little embarassed at first to be a super tourist! There's also one night of the week when the museum is open for much later in the night, so if you can time it right, you can spend a lot more time in the exhibit. 

9) Eiffel Tower

Our tour took us to the Eiffel Tower right after lunch. But our tour guide didn't tell us and we were biking in a park and all of a sudden the Eiffel Tower came before my eyes and I got chills! The tower is so classic and elegant although pretty brassy without the lights. We had some fun with photos in the park right in front of the Eiffel Tower. Did you know, people have to hand paint the Eiffel Tower to keep it in good condition? What a cool job to have!

10) Pont Neuf

Lastly, I have a hidden gem to share which is Pont Neuf! The bridge doesn't have fancy decorations but is in a great location and is one of the ways to get onto Paris Island. There is a love lock area by the statute and the bridge is never very busy so you can take photos without tourists in the background!

If you are planning a trip to Paris, I hope you found this helpful! And if you recently went to Paris, let me know what your favorite things are!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Laneige Two Tone Lipsticks Review + Demo

I first discovered Laneige when I went to Hong Kong on exchange in 2013! I bought some nose strips and also their famous sleeping mask. However, I didn't know where to find them in Canada but now Sephora stocks the brand!

A little while ago, I did an ombre lips tutorial which is one of the beauty trends in Korea right now. Laneige came out with these Two Tone Lipsticks which are suppose to create an ombre effect with it's pre made color combinations! I received 4 shades to test out and will be sharing my review and swatches!

Packaging: The lipsticks are in a sleek half white and half silver packaging. At the bottom of each lipstick, the color shows through clear packaging which is great for picking up the right shade in your collection. The way the lipstick twists up is very unique! Instead of turning in a circular motion, there is a clicker on the side of the lipstick. You just push down on the clicker and the lipstick will push up. I like that the packaging looks sophisticated and minimalist!

Formula: Each of the lipstick is very creamy and glides smoothly on the lips. The formula is light weight so you won't feel anything on your lips once applied. However as it's so creamy and light, I find it settles into my lip lines instead of gliding over. The staying power is actually quite good considering it gives more of a natural look. The colors stain a bit to help with the staying power. There is a light scent as you are applying but it disappears pretty quickly. Overall, the formula is nice but I wish it's a little bit thicker so it can hide more imperfections such as dry skin and lip lines.

02 Red Blossom

Starting off with my favorite shade out of the 4, Red Blossom is half red and half nude. The color contrast makes it very easy to create the ombre effect. For all the other colors, I used my fingers to dab, but this shade I can just purse my lips create a natural ombre look. The shade is also flattering on my skin tone as I prefer more bold colors as my lips are so pigmented!

02 Red Blossom before blending

02 Red Blossom after blending

03 Pink Salmon

This shade is half orange and half light pink. I think coral is a very flattering summer time color and this when blended gives a fresh natural look. The pink doesn't show up much on my lips so after blending, the orange tends to take over. I still like the final look but it's not really an ombre effect.

03 Pink Salmon before blending
03 Pink Salmon after blending
07 Cashmere Nude

I can't usually pull off nude lips and this is no exception. I think my lips are too pigmented so either nude colors don't show up or it just washes me out. This shade is half pink nude and half brown nude. Unfortunately when applied I can't tell the distinction on the lips and it ends up looking like one color. As you can see in the swatch it settled into lip lines a bit too much and is too light for my current skin tone.

07 Cashmere Nude after blending

11 Juicy Pop

This is the most unique color combination with red on one side and yellow on the other! This was the first lipstick I pulled out from the packaging and I didn't realize how to push up the lipstick and ended up smushing the top of the lipstick :(! When swatched I can see the yellow on my hand but it does not really show up on the lips. Once blended I can see an ombre effect as the red is much lighter towards the edges. But you won't get the bright yellow color if your lips are pigmented!

11 Juicy Pop before blending- ignore the slip up

11 Juicy Pop after blending

Left to Right: 02 Red Blossom, 11 Juicy Pop, 07 Cashmere Nude, 03 Salmon Pink

 I love the packaging and unique concept of these lipsticks but only 1 of these shades provided a flattering ombre effect on me. There are four other shades available though and I'm interested in trying the burgundy and berry toned shades. My favorite is definitely Red Blossom and I love being able to get an ombre lip without any work involved. These lipsticks are available at Sephora so give it a try and see which color combination works best for your lips!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Summer Fragrances: Clean Lovegrass + Ultimate Beach Day

I featured Clean fragrances a few times on the blog before and I really love both their Cashmere and Sueded Oud scents. For summer 2017, they came out two brand new scents to capture the spirit of the season. If you've never smelled a Clean fragrance before, you might be pretty thrown off as it is very different from the designer fragrances full of floral and musk. Most of their scents essentially smell "clean" and you can layer scents to your preference.


The first summer scent is called Lovegrass and features the prettiest minimalist packaging. I really enjoy lying on grass in the summer time while enjoying a picnic. The scent surprisingly doesn't smell like grass at all. At the first whiff, I find it smells more like fresh air! But it turns a bit more floral as time goes on and even a bit powdery after an hour. The official notes show that it's very citrus forward but I don't really smell that. I do like that the inspiration was "getting lost in the grass" and the scent is very unique but I'm not sure yet if I'm a fan.

60ML $95 Cad

Ultimate Beach Day

In Vancouver, we try our best to squeeze in as many beach days as we can in our short summers! Now you can wear that scent throughout the year with the Ultimate Beach Day fragrance. The packaging is so pretty with an ombre pink to purple effect on the box and on the bottle. This fragrance is unlike anything I've smelled before and truly is beach in a perfume!

The fragrance remindes me of sunscreen, coconut, and a whole lot of sea salt! But the official main notes are Orange, Bergamont, and Lemon. My boyfriend thinks this smells like flowers but maybe because I know this is suppose to smell like a "beach day", I can only smell the sand, sea, and sun!

60ML $73 Cad

Both of these scents are very unique and I can't say I've tried any perfumes that are similar. However, I'm not sure if either would be my every day scent this summer. The idea of Ultimate Beach Day is amazing but I found the scent a bit too over powering for me. Both of the scents lasted around 4 hours. If you're looking for something new, you should definitely go find these at Sephora and give it a whiff! At the very least, the bottles are gorgeous and perfect for the season!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

How to Clean White Leather Shoes + Cole Haan Grandpro Review

I finally got on the white sneakers trend, probably 5 years too late! But keeping them looking fresh is a job all on its own. I wore mine when I was traveling in Europe and it got pretty beat so I wanted to give it a good refresh! The leather on my shoes are surprisingly delicate and seems to scruff at everything! So I'll give some tips on making your white shoes look fresh without actually cleaning the leather!

Here's another look at how the sneakers looked before cleaning. The laces are quite dirty especially at the tip. I have some dirt near the tip of the toe and lots of creases.

I find having clean laces makes the biggest difference in whether your shoes look fresh. So the first step is to make those laces white again! Before you start pulling out the laces, take a look at how the laces were originally put in if you want to have the same look. You'd be surprised how many ways there are to lace up shoes.

1) Clean the Laces

I took a bowl and put in some luke warm water. I added normal detergent until the water felt very silky smooth. Then I just dumped all the laces in the bowl and made sure they were all soaking. I kept them in for about 20 minutes. Then I used an old tooth brush to do a quick scrub end to end to break apart any dirt.

While the laces were soaking, I cleaned the tongue of the shoe. You'd be surprised how much dirt builds up in this area! At first I tried to use some water and soap with a cloth, but my shoe seemed to react badly to it. So I just took a dry cloth and lightly rubbed away at the dirt. This is also a good area to test out how your leather may react to certain products because you'll be able to cover it up with laces if it goes badly.

2) Clean the Rubber Sole

The other thing I found that makes a big difference is the rubber sole! This area is not as sensitive to water and soap so you can scrub it back to it's original whiteness. Filling the bowl with lukewarm water again and detergent, I dipped my toothbrush in the solution and scrubbed away dirt on the rubber sole. I also had a Mr.Clean eraser on hand for any stubborn spots.

As you can see, my shoes were looking a lot better after this clean! It took about an hour in total so it is a bit time consuming, but definitely worth the effort in my books. You should also protect your leather and you can buy the products at shoe stores (Aldo, Town Shoes etc.)

Sneaker Review

I wanted to "sneak" in a sneaker review (hah). These are the Cole Haan Grandpro Sneakers and are available at Nordstrom, the Bay, and online for $200 CAD. I picked these because of the slim profile, the contrasting heel, and most importantly because it's so light! However, I found these sneakers to get beat pretty fast! I have a lot of creases already and the leather seems to scruff easy. I went to have my shoes cleaned at the airport and they used a gentle solution that seemed to damage the leather but the employee said it was just revealing the scruff underneath...either way, I had to be very careful when I was cleaning as the leather didn't seem to like being cleaned by any liquid.

Overall, I love the design and comfort of these shoes but I'm pretty unimpressed by the quality of the leather. At $200, I would expect it to be a bit more durable especially since it's leather for shoes.

What are your go to white sneakers? And what are your shoe cleaning tips?

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Rimmel Shake It Fresh Mascara Review + Other New Eye Products!

The drugstore has been pushing out tons of great products in the past few years with some very interesting collections and much improved quality! I'm really excited today to review a few new Rimmel eye products that I have been testing out including their new Shake It Fresh Mascara!

Side note, Cara Delevigne is now the face of Rimmel, how cool is that!

Rimmel Shake It Fresh Mascara

The new mascara by Rimmel features a shaker system that will refresh the formula whenever needed by just shaking the tube! The product is a lot heavier than a normal mascara and you can hear and feel a block inside when you shake. I tend to keep my mascara for longer than 3 months so this would be useful to refresh the formula! Although I usually have so many mascaras open at the sample time so I don't know if I ever really finish any of them.

The formula is on the light side. I get a very nice intense black tint, but I can't get much length or volume out of this formula. I'm not sure if it's just too runny right now as it's too "fresh"? But I get good separation and tinting and almost no volume. It's too bad as the medium sized natural bristle is just how I like my mascara wands.

I'm not sure how I feel about this idea as we probably shouldn't have more encouragement to keep our mascaras even longer (I do 6 months-9 months usually, yikes). Since the product is so new, there's no chance to see how it performs when it has a bit of time to just sit in the tube so maybe I'll come back into this post to edit my views later. But for now, this mascara doesn't give me the big lashes I want.

Rimmel Scandaleyes Bold

Just about a year or two ago, I was all about pencil eyeliners. But now, I can't live without my liquid eyeliners! I find the color pay off is much more bold and the precision for a flick at the end can't be achieved with a pencil! 

The applicator for this eyeliner is super unique! It has a tapered felt tip as usual, but then at the end, it's a ball shape! I thought it was be very difficult to use but it actually glides along my lash line perfectly and I can still be precise. The formula on this is fantastic! The color is very intense and glides smoothly on without and gaps. It stays on well all day but then is easy to remove at the end of the day. Big thumbs up for this product!

Rimmel Browshake Filling Powder

I have pretty naturally thick brows so usually brow products for me are to just define the edges a bit and to fill in any spots that may need a bit more color. I usually tend to choose a dark brown color so I was a bit surprised that this powder is grey black. 

It has a very unique applicator that is a rounded foam tip. There's powder attached to the applicator and you lightly sweep it across your brows for the powder to attach to your brows instead. I liked the idea, but having black powder was way too intense for the look I wanted. It also is a bit messy as if you wipe your brow during the day, you'll wipe off some of the product.

The brow product for a natural look is the Brow This Way Fiber Pencil. It is a simple pencil liner with no additional frills. But the unique thing about this is that the product is fibers which will attach to your brows. Rimmel compacted these fibers into a pencil format but you can definitely see fibers poking out on the corners. I found this easy to use and created a naturally defined brow. Although in comparison in photos, I can see why some people would want a bolder brow which would be better achieved by the Brow Shake.

Left to right: Rimmel Scandaleyes Bold (thick and thin stripes), Rimmel Browshake, Rimmel Brow This Way.

My favorite product out of all these new releases is the Scandaleyes Bold eyeliner! It's extremely versatile and fits all the criteria of a good liquid eyeliner. The Shake it Fresh mascara is the most interesting in concept but the formula unfortunately was disappointing. And depending on how bold you like your brows, one of the two products would be a fit for you!