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Wardrobe Staple: Opaque Black Tights

I have a few rules when it comes to buying black tights.

1) They must be 100% opaque and flat black.  None of this sheer gloss business.

2) They can't make me itchy.  Scratching in public is embarrassing, but scratching anywhere tights-related?

3) They can't do that supremely awkward thing where the control top ends up between your knees, leaving you -- the wearer -- to helplessly perform lunges while pulling up at the waistband to make sure they don't become MC Hammer tights.

Calvin Klein Ultra Opaque Hosiery in 120 Denier, I will never be without you.  Not only do they completely satisfy the above three conditions, the tops are ultra-controlling and create a completely smooth, svelte silhouette under all clothes.

Layer under pants in the winter for an extra layer of warmth or under your favourite summer outfit to make it fall-appropriate. These typically run $20/pair at full retail, so I always stock up on 2-packs at the Calvin Klein outlets.

Edit: These legs belong to Tod.  She has much better core strength than I do.

10 Tools I can't live without

  1. Salux Wash Cloth - I once went without this for a week, and I didn't realize quite how much I rely on a Japanese bath towel to keep myself clean
  2. Beauty Blender - I was surprised by how effective this is!  It's my new favourite way to powder.
  3. Shiseido Cotton - All other cotton is inferior.  Buy it in bulk because cotton is only getting more expensive.
  4. Brow Brush - The one on the Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil is the best I've ever used.  Also good for teasing your bangs in small sections.
  5. MAC 217 - My go-to eye shadow brush
  6. Suqqu Cheek Brush - Review here.  I don't regret purchasing this at all.
  7. Tweezerman Tweezers - Did you know Tweezerman is a Henckel's brand?  That's why these are so sharp and precise!
  8. Curling Iron/Straightener - Depends on my hair cut.  More layers = straightener, fewer layers = curling iron
  9. Blow Dryer - Currently using the T3 Featherweight travel dryer; it folds up so small!
  10. Muslin Cloth (not pictured) - It turns a nightly chore into a spa experience.  Run in hot water, fold in half, lay over your face. 

Minimal Makeup for Fall

Tod is back and better than ever in a brand new tutorial featuring fresh skin, a softly shaded eye and peachy everything else.  This is a light, almost no-makeup makeup look that takes five minutes and makes her look more awake, put together and fresh.

September will always feel like the start of a new year, so I'm on a mission to reorganize my life -- decluttering, streamlining, routine-ing, you name it, I've got a plan for it.

Who's ready to start fresh?

New Thing: Turkish Towels

I think there's quite a few names for this genre of towel. In my research I've come across peshtemal, fouta, hammam towel, among a few others. If anyone has more background on this type of cloth, please do share!

I purchased these at the end of the summer for a day out at the island to use as a beach towel -- I don't love the way regular beach towels hold water and stay damp.  Bevause the cotton is so lightweight and the fabric is relatively stiff, sand never gets caught in them and the drying time is much less than any other towel I've previously used.

You have to wash these before your first use (I mean, you should do that anyway for all new towels), otherwise they won't absorb water.  I've seen these recommended as beach coverups as well, and I totally get it -- these wrap/fold/tuck way better than regular towels.  I managed to roll mine down to the size of a small Thermos.

I got mine at Au Lit (midtown, near Yonge and Eglinton), but I've seen a few Etsy sellers who say they'll happily ship theirs to Canada.  So far we've been mixing prints, but the colours are so subtle and subdued that I'm not too concerned with matching future towel purchases.

Have you tried these?  Which are your favourite?

What's on my Vanity?

I don't technically have a vanity where I sit and do my makeup -- I learned some time ago that my life is laptop-centric, so if my makeup is anywhere farther than arm's length from where my computer lives, it's not being used.  True for eating as well -- Tod and I don't have a dining room table because we eat over our Macbooks.  Right.

That said, since we both prep/eat/watch tv/blog/tweet from one single, narrow IKEA table, I've learned to invest in very streamlined storage that keeps my everyday products organized.  I've also given myself a little room to squeeze in a few options so I keep my rotation fresh and my collection in use.

My set up consists of a MUJI Acrylic 3-Drawer Case that I schlepped home from New York last year (YAY for Muji coming to Toronto!).  The drawer height is very narrow, just high enough to accommodate a Tom Ford lipstick.  In fact, that was the original reason I bought it -- this unit used to house lipstick in one drawer, lip gloss in another, and lip balms in the third.  After a huge decluttering sesh, I've managed to fit 95% of my lip collection in one drawer.  The rest is in various bags or at the office. *pats self on the back*

On top is a cosmetic case from The Container Store -- I was inspired by Emily Weiss's set-up on Into The Gloss.  In the back I keep all tubey makeup things like brushes, pencils, mascaras, and general tools -- I think my nail clippers live in there, but I never cut my own nails so...that's moot. In the tray in front I keep a tin of cotton wool and cotton buds and everything I need to prep my base.

Is anyone else as obsessed with makeup collections and vanity tours as I am?  I find myself getting sucked in to those videos for hours.  Worst clickhole ever.

PS: Today is my big brother's birthday -- you know, the brainiac behind this video.

Nail Polish Repurchases

In a time when I thought I would literally never run out of nail polish -- that is, before I proudly decluttered to thirty bottles, go me -- I still managed to find a reason to repurchase a few.

Chanel Blue Satin / Vendetta - Blue Satin was my first dark nail polish, my first Chanel purchase, my first bottle I legitimately used up. I've lamented several times before that black nail polish never actually looks black on me -- I need the cool tone of a navy to give me that inkiness that just screams chic.  And I never use that word.  They released Vendetta, a purple version of Blue Satin, and honestly, you don't need both.  I'll probably go back to Blue Satin after I finish this bottle of Vendetta.

OPI Quarter of a Cent-Cherry - This is my perfect red.  It's perfectly midtoned with just enough blue to balance the skin tone in my hands, keeping them from looking too red, too ashy or too muddy.  This was released in 2008 with the 25th Anniversary collection, but I think most displays still have a few kicking around.  That said, I dropped my only bottle a few years back and have been hoarding it ever since.  It looked like a scene from Alien -- or at least what I imagine the Alien trilogy to look like.

Nails Inc Baker Street - I have a weakness for blue/turquoise/green, but for some reason this particular blue --  a neon-level bright cobalt that leans slightly periwinkle -- this incredible colour is a game changer.  In my entire nail polish career (can we call it that?), I've never felt so strongly about a blue, and that includes OPI Dating a Royal, which was the first blue I ever purchased.  That one will always hold a special place in my heart, even though I don't feel the need to keep it in stock.  That said, I just threw out a half-empty bottle of Dating a Royal, but I've run through half a bottle of Baker Street in less than six months.

DIY: Saltwater Toner

My brother was browsing my YouTube channel the other day and came across my Tanda Zap review.  He's a longtime sufferer of acne -- two rounds of accutane, antibiotics, prescribed topical mediaction, you name it, he's done it.  He's started getting his skin relatively under control in the past few years, and this is a tip he's shared with me several times.

When I was a kid and got canker sores in my mouth, my mom would force me to swish my mouth out with saltwater.  Salt is a natural antiseptic, striking fear into the hearts of bacteria and other microbial beings.  I finally tried it as a beauty remedy, and it's pretty magical.  Tod will show you!

Other ways to use:

  • Spot treatment -- you could add a few drops of tea tree oil to help treat surface blemishes
  • Mouthwash -- add a few drops of peppermint oil for flavour
  • Hair rinse -- not recommended for coloured hair, but I occasionally will rinse my hair with saltwater to give it a little beachiness when it air dries.

On Not Washing my Hair..

My hair sticks to a fairly strict regimen in the summer -- freshly washed, one day straight, second day curl, third day loose curl, 4th day beachy wave, and depending on how much activity it's seen, I might even leave it on the fifth day.  I'm gross.

My tips to preserve curls and get away with not washing my hair?

#1 - Invest in a great dry shampoo -- these work differently for everyone, but a few favourites include Klorane, Batiste, Rene Furterer and good old baby powder.  Not sure how to use dry shampoo?  Check out my handy-dandy video.

#2 - Body shower -- My biggest issue is that no shower cap in the world will contain my hair, so I've started using my bamboo head wrap to help my hair avoid getting wet.  It also helps to have a shower head that detaches, instead of the fixed ones that force you to contort in all sorts of positions to avoid the spray.

#3 - Texture will help hide any dirty hair, so embrace that tousled, beachy, bedhead. My hair is super straight, so that usually translates to dreadlocks, but if I take a few minutes to put a little wavey dent in my hair, it goes a long way.   Take ten minutes to wrap your hair around a 1 inch curling iron or to get some waves with a GHD -- the messier, the better.  Don't stress if the waves loosen on day three/four, it'll add to the 'I woke up like dis' effect.

#4 - When in doubt, put on a hat.  Or if you're feeling super 90s, a bandana.

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