Never Too Early: Holiday Cosmetic Sets

As a beauty product junkie, we have entered into one of my favorite times of the year. Cosmetic companies everywhere package their best-selling products and special made-for-the-holidays lines together and price them way below full dollar value. You may wonder why I’m telling you about these holiday specials now. You see, people wait all year for these gift sets to come out, and some notoriously sell out within days. If you wait until you start your holiday shopping, you may be out of luck!  In fact, Sephora just stocked their sets last week and the Eaton Centre location is already sold out of a couple of them.

My biggest piece of advice for those looking to invest in great cosmetics is to start with good brushes. They last forever, use less product and can really help with application. The caveat is that buying a brush set is an expensive investment. Every year MAC comes out with a brush set during the holidays and they are priced well below the value of buying the brushes individually. This year there are 3 different sets, but to start your collection, this “Essentials” kit ($59.50) is perfect, since it includes a powder brush (for bronzer/blush), and the most important eye shadow brushes (for liner, blending and angled for the smoky look). Plus they come in a cute case and in mint green!

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Colouring Books for Grown Ups

Although I’ve long been a sucker for pretty stationary and writing utensils, nothing gives me quite as much pleasure as cracking open a new package of crayons or coloured pencils.  Remember those giant three level Crayola boxes with the sharpener in the back?  The fancy 60 packs of Laurentian pencil crayons that flipped open to create their own stand?  LOVE.  To this day, my favourite part of signing up for an art class is checking off the items on the supply list.  Last year someone gifted Robyn this amazing Indie Rock Colouring Book.

One night after a couple glasses of wine at Robyn’s place we busted out the crayons and went to town.  I’m not sure why we’re not still doing this all the time, but the memory (and the discovery of #1, below) inspired me to put together a list of my favourite grown up colouring books.  Go ahead and splurge on the Crayolas – you know you want to.

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A new kind of art gallery: The Room

Toronto is home to numerous amazing art galleries, large and small.  Personal favourites include the AGO, MOCCA and the #Hashtag galleries, but for the past couple of years, I’ve had another less traditional escape haven for inspiration: The Room at the Bay on Queen Street.

The Room is a go-to for very high-end designer clothes, filled with labels that are rare to find in Toronto and even in Canada.  First opened in 1937, the old, regal decor of The Room was beyond due for a facelift.  Yabu Pushelburg was commissioned for the renovations, the same design firm responsible for the W Hotel in Times square, restaurants in Las Vegas and the Trump Hotel in Hollywood. The new look was complete in 2009 and has brought a crisp, fresh and contemporary change that beautifully highlights the fashion pieces on display.

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Must Find: Fall Shopping List

After some time spent scouring through fall fashion magazines and posts on websites, I’ve got my shopping list and am ready to hit the stores. I’m hoping to score a few of the items featured in this fashion board that I’ve created on Polyvore: a leather A-line skirt, new booties, anything peplum, ox-blood coloured accessories and some metal-capped flats.

Most of of these items are really reasonably priced (pants are $24 at H&M! One-shouldered sweater is $24 online!). To see where you can get these specific items, check out the image board.

Now that my wish list is complete, bring on the shopping!!

Shop here: Durumi & Chocolate

Today’s post is for the ladies! Introducing Durumi & Chocolate, a clothing, shoes & accessories shop nestled just west of Spadina on Queen Street. Durumi & Chocolate has been my gem of a secret. Until now.

Always on trend, this summer the racks featured piles of sheer pleated skirts, fishtails, sleeveless blouses, mint green aplenty and metal studs on everything. The price points at Durumi & Chocolate are right where you’d want them to be for pieces that you may not wear season after season (think $50 for skirts, under $100 for shoes, dresses for $65).

Good news is that the summer stock is now 30% off (including shoes, which you know we’ll keep wearing through September!) to make way for the Fall pieces. Last time I was in the store, a vanity was set up solely to showcase collar necklaces, which I’m seeing everywhere I look. The shoes and handbags are colourful and different from what you’ll find from your run-of-the-mill retailers – there’s no doubt they’ll garner you envious eyes from other women on the streets.

Perhaps my favorite reason to stop in at Durumi is for the great and cheap accessories. Watches, rings, bangles and earrings are all lust-worthy and are perfectly priced so you don’t have to think twice or pick just one piece! I had been coveting a turquoise and metal bracelet all summer but didn’t want to pay the $50 other stores have been charging – at $10 at Durumi, it felt like highway robbery!

Durumi & Chocolate – 416 Queen St. W., Open Mon – Sat 11-8, Sun 12 – 7.