Gifts For Dads!


I had meant for this post to go "live" before Father's Day, but I wasn't satisfied with the gifts I had chosen for my dad. Luckily enough, I was able to buy some aviation souvenirs that doubled as a Father's Day present from the National Air and Space Museum, which was a unique and special treat for my dad, an aviation enthusiast. However, his birthday is another story. My mother, my sister, and I always have trouble getting my dad gifts. Well, that's not exactly true, my sister and I always had trouble getting my dad gifts. My mom's got the art of gift giving down.


Whereas my mother and I are eerily similar and oft butt heads, my dad has always been the strong, hardworking, dad that always has his needs taken cared of. Sort of the the mysterious, albeit a bit distant, father. He is never in want of anything, but when he is in want he just goes out and buys it for himself. He's also incredibly frugal when it comes to gifts, so often instead of a good "eyes-wide open, mouth dropping in joy" reaction we get more of a "Why did you waste your money on this?"



Let's be honest here, when you give a gift...you want that sort of reaction, right? To varying degrees of course. As much as I gripe about my mother being a difficult buy, my father is even worse. For the man who has everything, the constant, dependable stoic provider of our family, these are the ideas I thought of. Even though these ideas are tailored specifically to my dad, maybe you can find some inspiration here! This post is not sponsored nor a contest entry, like my previous Mother's Day entry, so I didn't have any restrictions as to what I could put up.

Alcohol Enthusiast

My dad is someone that enjoys a nightly glass of whiskey or some glasses of red wine before dinner. As someone who enjoys his nightly "vice" and the spirit of utilitarianism, I kept that in mind as I picked two gifts that would make his nightcaps more enjoyable. 

Image From Think Geek

Whiskey stones! This gadget is something fun and, often times, something not many people have in their alcohol arsenal. The concept behind whiskey stones is that they replace ice cubes to cool down your whiskey, but where ice melts and dilutes your whiskey, the stones just stay as they are allowing the whiskey to maintain it's strength and flavor until you reach the end of the glass. Even better, if your dad is lazy, he doesn't have to refill the ice tray! You can just recycle the whiskey stones over and over again. 

Purchase Link: 
Whiskey Stones | $19.99 - $29.99

Image Taken from Amazon
If you're an oenophile like my dad, I think it's an absolute necessity to have a good wine opener. Recently our resident corkscrew broke, after ten years of remarkable service, so its an easy gift to give that fills out both categories of necessity and utility. The wine opener brand that we've stuck with for the longest time is Le Creuset and their range of Screw Pull Levers. The model shown above is called their Le Creuset Lever and Foilcutter Gift Set in black, I know it's a super mouthful, but multiple Amazon reviews , Consumer Reports, and my own family's experience with this rate that this is best Lever wine puller on the market! It also comes with a 10 year warranty. =)

Purchase Link:
La Creuset LM 250 Giftset | $70.67

Cooking Expert

My dad loves to flex his chops in the kitchen and on most nights in our family, my mom and dad often make dinner together. I thought it was only appropriate to give him some fun kitchen gadgets as well. 

Image From Think Geek
After becoming obsessed with the restaurant elBulli and the idea of molecular gastronomy, I think this starter kit will be right up his alley. Flavor foams, spherification, and jelly-fying ingredients and additives all come in this little kit for you to try at home and enjoy. Also, so you're not flying by the seat of your pants all the time, there's an instructional DVD included with 50 demonstrations of how you can properly utilize all the components you've just received. =)

Purchase Link:
Molecular Cuisine Starter Kit | $58.95


Image taken from Amazon

According to my coffee aficionado friend, the Aeropress changed his coffee drinking life. My dad has three french presses at home, he's the only one in the house that drinks coffee, so I think this might be a cool addition to his coffee routine. The aeropress uses air pressure to press hot water through the coffee grounds cutting the brewing time down to 20 seconds and, supposedly, reduces the bitterness of the coffee through the shorter brew time.

Purchase Links:

Aerobie Aeropress (Through Amazon) | $26.19
Aeropress Coffee Maker (Through Think Geek) | $25.99

Technology Gifts 

Everybody loves tech stuff! 
Image Taken From Think Geek
So my dad is a technology buff as well as a neat freak. I think this gift is the perfect solution in answering both of those problems. Given that my dad has so many gadgets: an iPad, cell phone, laptop, and a whole other menagerie of devices that need charging, you might as well make them look nice right? With the "futon of charging docks" you can charge at least four devices on here, with all the power wires and ugly stuff going out the back. Although according to the picture it seems if you have an iPad it only has room for two items...anyway. For my dad, who wants everything neat and put away, I think this will have his desires quenched. 

Purchase Links:



Image taken from Think Geek

Going along the vein "constantly needing to charge things", what better than a portable battery? A MODULAR portable battery! This gift was actually inspired by a recent gadget that my dad gave to me. It was a small portable battery for my cell phone and I've found it to be immensely useful, especially since my cell phone battery never lasted until the end of the day. With the Exovolt Plus Stackable Battery back you can adjust your charge and battery as needed by adding on more bricks and each brick can store about 5,200mAh through a lithium polymer battery. It has a usb and a micro-usb port so I'm pretty sure that makes it just about "everything compatible" even though it was originally created for Apple products. Now when you're traveling, you don't have to constantly look for outlets! You can just pull out a stack of these and you're set =) 

Purchase Link: 
Exovolt Plus Stackable Battery Pack | On Sale for $71.89 (July 25, 2013) 

Pocket Sized Gifts


Image Taken from Think Geek
Something about gadgets that can fit in your pocket appeal to my dad. I think it's his fascination with James Bond and the whole mystique of a "prepared spy." A common problem people face is the need to cut something on the go, whether it's electronic twisty ties, a forgotten clothing tag, or even cutting through some fresh fruit...sometimes you just have to cut something. Swiss army knives are a bit of a burden to carry around, so the Cardsharp 2 Credit Knife takes all the bulk out of carrying around a useful tool. The blade snaps into place when you're using it, is machine washable, and is the size of a credit card! It's a cool, streamlined gadget, that'll make any utilitarian happy. 

Here's a Vat19 Video Demonstration:

Purchase Links: 

Image Taken from Think Geek

From the photo can you tell what this is? A credit card holder? You're right! My dad likes to carry his wallet and his credit cards separately, don't ask me why, so this modern, minimalist card case seemed like a good gift idea.  In addition to being sleek, streamlined, and having the ability to hold 6 credit cards, it also protects against RFID identity theft. I was alerted to RFID Identity Theft through CSI: New York, I know a very realistic show (sarcasm), but regardless it's still a real problem. Any hacker with the right tools can simply get close to you to steal valuable information. This sleek case protects against that. Cool right?

Purchase Links:
Secrid Aluminum Card Protector | $39.99

So that wraps it up for my dad's birthday/father's day gift guide! As you can see from my choices my dad loves gadgets and gizmos, so my gift choices reflect quite heavily on his personal preferences. Even though these items are tailored to my dad, I hope you can find some cool inspiration here for items for your dad or any significant others in your life.



Once again, I just want to say even though I draw heavily from Think Geek, Vat19, and Amazon, I'm not being sponsored in any way, shape, or form from these sites. I just enjoy their products. =) If you don't like the items that I've chosen here I encourage you to peruse their sites on your own and pick out the perfect gift for your dad/loved ones!

I've purchased, and am eagerly awaiting on, two items from this list! I'll make sure to take photos of them when they arrive and give you the lowdown on how they were received.



I love you dad! I hope you enjoy your gifts!



Ebates Review!

Yeah, this is me.
Man, I just got my wisdom teeth taken out and I'm so chipmunk-y right now. So that means no fashion/makeup photos cause it'd just be a terrible time. Or even more of a terrible time than it already is. BOO HOO. I've just been subsisting on smoothies, babyfood, and soups. Have you had your wisdom teeth taken out yet? 

Anyway, since I can't show my face to the world, and have become a hermit inside my home, I thought I'd do a review on a popular service and no....this isn't sponsored. Just my honest opinion. =) 


Have you guys heard of Ebates? I feel like a lot of Beauty Gurus and other "internet personalities" have been advertising this service a lot lately. The tagline that Ebates' uses a lot is "Where it pays to shop online." So if you click through their portal for almost any online store they'll give you a certain percentage of your purchase back, ranging from 1.5% to 50% for some stores. However, I noticed for some shops they just offered some coupons or like "$1 Dollar" back as opposed to cash back. So it really depends for each store. Although Ebates is based in the US, a Canadian Ebates recently launched to cover Canadian retailers.

Ebates is able to give you money back because when you click through their portal, they receive a set commission from the company and they give a portion of that commission money to you.

So this is what I was talking about....
However, I'm appreciative of the large variety of stores that Ebates offers "rebates" back on. The stores that I often frequent are Sephora, Topshop, Nordstrom, Club Monaco, and J.Crew, but the shops that they offer rebates on range from well known electronics stores like Best Buy, designers, like YSL and Betsey Johnson, and even something as "outrageous" as Adam and Eve Adult Toys. So that gives you a clear idea If you shop online, you should probably check to see if a store you like is hosted on Ebates and get rewarded for shopping! 


They don't send you money back after each purchase, but instead send it to you in quarterly installments:

                                                    Purchase                                Date Sent
                                                  Jan 1 - March 31                       May 15
                                                April 1 -  June 30                          Aug 15
                                                  July 1 - Sept 30                          Nov 15
                                                  Oct 1 - Dec 31                           Feb 15 

You have the option of receiving your rebate, through paypal or by cheque, yourself, giving it to a friend, or donating to charity. However, if your first ebates purchase is under $5.00 you won't get your "Big Fat Cheque" until you spend enough to surpass that $5 bar. I haven't received my first big fat cheque yet, but I'm anticipating to get it on August 15. =) So, I'll let you know how that develops. 

However, I have to say that the percentages that the stores promise to give you are not fixed in anyway, shape, or form and there's no way to protect the consumer from this fluctuation. In some aspects, the percentage they promise you at that time, is a bit like a sale that you can "buy into." 

I recently purchased some items from Sephora, for my mother, my sister and myself in order to maximize the money that we received back, and at the time they were offering a cash back rebate for 2.5%. I had waited for the percentage to change for a couple of weeks, but it seemed like it has stabilized at 2.5% instead of the previous 8%. However, within four days of my purchase the percentage jumped back up to 8%. I emailed customer service about this and this is the response they gave:

Thank you for your email. I am sorry for the trouble you are having. The Cash Back offers are subject to change at any time. The promotions can last from one day to a few weeks. Please let me know if you have any further questions or concerns. I thank you for your time and understanding.
Sincerely,
Amy
Customer Care
Ebates

So, instead of getting $24 dollars, I'm only getting $7, which is disappointing. I wish I had waited those extra four days.  Honestly, that's the only thing that I've been really disgruntled about. Overall, I am really pleased about the fact that I get a portion of my money back from shopping online. I wish the percentages were stable, or bigger, but I'll settle with this for now. 

What are your experiences' with ebates? I know there are other alternatives out there, how do you think they compare? 

Links of Interest:

Main Site:
http://www.ebates.com/ 

If you click through the link below, I'll get a "tell-a-friend" bonus but I'll leave that decision up to you. =)

http://www.ebates.com/rf.do?referrerid=VChdbB%2FBCWyRr21zU%2BrzcQ%3D%3D



Brunch dates with stolen photos!

Taken From Viranlly from a lovely, and recent, lunch date!


I think I always get a little over my head with makeup reviews. I always want to do swatches and get photos and do different lighting and try to make them okay looking...and all of a sudden a week has passed. Crazy right? He...he...he...

Anyway, I have some new content all written up and just awaiting some photos. ;) Hopefully they'll be up soon. These photos are from my incredibly amazing and talented friend: Viranlly! He's quite the Vancouver sensation if you want lovely photos and a updated blog you should check his out here!

Thanks for coming. =) 

Recent Aritzia Haul


I talked about my first "official" purchase from Aritzia here. When I heard they were having their 2013 Summer Sale, I decided to buy some basics that I've been eyeing for a long time. I must say, Aritzia doesn't have sales very often, but even when they do...the discounts aren't that great or at least...I don't "feel" like I'm getting a great deal on most items. I still bought things though, so I definitely fell prey to the hype.

Palmdale Bustier


Sorry for the weird lighting!
One thing that was on my must buy list were these lace bustiers. Through a revelation on my "true" bra size , I've realized that most of the bustier/crop tops that I've bought are ridiculously over sized, rendering them unwearable. Either the cups are too big for my tiny endowments or the band is too large for my rib cage...it was a disaster. I was measured, once upon a time ago, at a Victoria's Secret, as a 34 A and I've been buying that bra size ever since. In reality, I'm a 27 B, but since you can only order specialty petite bras online, in most stores I'm a 30/32 A. I'm a size XS in these Palmdale Bustiers and they actually fit.

Backfat
One thing that's a double edged sword is the stretchy back. With the stretchy back, I'm basically insured if I grow or shrink a little. However, I hate pulling this thing off over my head because I'm so afraid I'll like rip the lace or get makeup smeared all over it. I would have much preferred a zip closure...even though I know it probably wouldn't have "fit" as well. 

Purchase Link: Palmdale Bustier (White)
Original Price: $50 | Now: $45


Usually I don't condone buying the same item in different colors, but given the state of my current wardrobe I thought it would be a good idea to have some "staple options" to mix and match with. Black and White for some silky, flowy translucent shirts, under some hole-y sweaters, or even on their own. The black is exactly the same as the white and...as such...my feelings are the same too. =) 


For those of you wondering, these bustiers do come in other colors, I remember seeing a teal in store, but the only color online seems to be a bright orange.

Purchase Link: Palmdale Bustier (Black)
Original Price: $50 | Now: $45 

Capucine T-Shirt


Sometimes I'm a sheep. I've seen this shirt on girls in random places and I've always admired the "tulip" cut of the outfit. Since it's so long, and covers the bum adequately, I think this t-shirt is a good spring/summer casual item that can be dressed up for winter. I'm already thinking of wearing these guys with like pleather leggings and a big sweater.


It's just a basic tee that has a unique shape to bring a little class to any outfit. In this outfit, as well as most of my Aritzia purchases, I'm an XXS. I must say though, the one drawback for this shirt, is probably its tendency to wrinkle. I left it in the Aritzia bag kind of kicking around and it seems to have gotten very wrinkly...I'll have to steam or wash it soon.



The Capucine T-Shirt comes in a plethora of colors, I just decided to be boring and go with the light heather grey. Seeing as they have so many colors, their unpopular colors are the cheapest, starting at $24.99, with their more popular colors going up to $40. Unfortunately the heather grey shirt was something that fell under the $40 range. 

Original Price: $50 | Now: $40

Manuscript Blouse


Yes, I'm aware you can see my bra, but I sort of like the sheerness. Nothing inappropriate at least! This 100% silk shirt is just really nice and I think the stark grid pattern really lends itself to being dressed up or dressed down. I first remember seeing this shirt on a woman who was dressed in head to toe black, with a black blazer and black skinny jeans. She just looked SO SHARP. I wanted to emulate her. I was staring at her boobs a lot too. The grid pattern is/has always been one of my favorite patterns, especially since the long ago debut of the YSL Cage Sandal. Beautiful!



With this shirt I was, again, an XXS. The shirt also comes in the inverse color scheme, white background with a black grid,but in the white version the pattern doesn't continue onto the sleeves. For that reason, I think the black looks better. 

Original Price: $95 | Now: $80 

Balzac Sweater


As you can probably tell from the photo, I was most pleased about getting my hands on this sweater. Again in size XXS, I think this sweater was a great deal, as opposed to everything else in my haul. It's a mix of cotton, cashmere and silk and feels nice. It's hole-y and cute, and again, can be worn during the spring or winter. The fit of this sweater is tight around the arms and the waist, but slouchy in the middle. I had tried the XS size in-store, but then it just looked too big on me. Although the sweater is tight in the arms, it's not uncomfortable and I'm sure will slightly loosen up in time.

In addition to the beige this sweater also comes in a dusty rose color that looked absolutely awful on me, but the option is out there if you can rock it!  The back is the same as the front so I didn't feel the need to include another photo. =)

Purchase Link: Balzac Sweater (Beige)
Original Price: $125 | Now: $85

One big caveat to buying anything from Aritzia is that all item are final sale even those purchased online. Usually I always veer towards online shopping, because I don't like the bustle and rush of sale events, but in this case when nothing is returnable it's probably best to go in and try things on.

I hope this post was helpful to you!


Yves Saint Laurent Glossy Stain vs. L'oreal Colour Caress Wet Shine Stain


Everyone has their makeup weaknesses. Some girls go gaga for mascara, others are obsessed with foundation, and yet even others go crazy for eye shadows. For me? It's lipsticks and lip stains! Last year when YSL's Glossy Stains came out, they literally rocked the makeup world. Opaque as a lipstick, with the finish of a gloss, and the staining power of a lip stain, glossy stains were everything they advertised and more. I, too, fell under their spell, but I always had a bit of a hard time choking out $36 dollars for .2 oz of product. So when the blogosphere blew up again, this time for L'oreal's Colour Caress Wet Shine Stain (Whew! What a mouthful...), I had to see what the hullabaloo was about.

YSL Glossy Stain 


I have three of YSL's Glossy Stains (from Left to Right): Rose Pastelle, Rose Vinyl, and Corail Aquatique. I'm very happy with all of them, save for Rose Pastelle, but I'll get into that in a little bit. This is going to sound overly dramatic, but YSL's Glossy Stains led the charge in a new trend of lipstick technology opaque, liquid lipsticks and their unique formula remained my first choice and I would always shell out for YSL's quality and color. I tried to find a cheaper dupe, but they never really stood up in terms of quality or color range.


The "spade" like applicator evenly applies and distributes the thick formula very well. However, out of all the luxury brands that I've been compelled to dabble, I've found YSL's packaging on their glossy stains and lip glosses to be "cheap." It's light and plastic-y, compared to the hefty metals of Guerlain or even YSL's own Rouge Volupte Lipsticks. 


My statements here reflect the Glossy Stain range as a whole, so I'll save you the repetition and I'll just leave my thoughts here. YSL Glossy Stains are amazing.Their color range is expansive and they're incredibly moisturizing. I've heard that some people have complained about the "feel" of the the product on the lips, as it feels a bit like a thin layer of vinyl on the lips, but I think that the sensation is something akin to wearing false eyelashes: even though it feels a bit weird putting them on, you'll get used to them over time and eventually forget all about them. The YSL Glossy Stains' lasting power, on most colors, is amazing and I really do feel that they stand up to the claims that YSL advertises.

The only qualms I have with the Glossy Stains are the packaging and the smell. The bulky packaging makes it difficult to slip it into a small clutch or purse and the plastic lends itself to be a little cheap. Although the smell doesn't bother me, it smells a bit like chemicals, I've seen many complaints about the off putting smell. My third problem is this:


Leaking. Unfortunately, only my favourite color, Rose Vinyl, leaks. I think for a luxury lip gloss this is a huge, huge faux pas. First of all, you're only given .2 oz of product and half of it leaks out and picks up small particles in your purse. I was dumb and didn't take advantage of Sephora's return policy, but if anyone gets a dud package like this, I strongly, strongly advise you to return it or exchange.



The first color that I bought was number 15, Rose Vinyl, and it is da bomb. It's a beautiful fuchsia, with very subtle shimmer, and a fantastic color on any skin tone. As I've said before, I've always had a problem with pinks and my skin tone. If I go too bright or too pale, pinks always have a tendency to make me look like a hooker. Hahaha. However, this is not so for Rose Vinyl! It's a bright color that actually reads modern, modest, and chic.





The second color that I bought was number 7, Corail Aquatique. For a Coral color I feel that it leans more on the "red, orange" side of the color spectrum. With its subtle gold shimmer, I would say that Corail Aquatique almost even reads a bit "adobe." I really enjoy wearing this coral out, as it doesn't clash too badly with the yellow tones in my skin. It's subtle and completes any summer/spring look.




The third color I bought, since I had such a good reaction to the first two, was number 18: Rose Pastelle. This is the color that's actually my least favorite, not for the beautiful pale, baby pink color itself, but simply because it doesn't apply opaquely. You get these odd patches of opaque color, usually focused around your outer lips, and the light color and formula seem to sink into cracks on your lips super easily. Honestly, the photo speaks for itself. *cough cough* Jizz lip.




L'Oreal Color Caresse Shine Stain


Honestly, when I heard about the L'oreal Colour Caresse Shine Stain, I was really excited. I think the rest of the world was excited as well! When you google "YSL Glossy Stain Dupe" the first page is absolutely filled with blog posts, youtube videos, and webpages dedicated to comparing the two. They're right! L'oreal's Colour Caresse Shine Stain is the best dupe there is on the market. 


I purchased 184, Rose On and On, and 187, Infinite Fuschia, and love them both. Although L'Oreal's packaging is more reminiscent of Lancome's La Lique Fever Lipgloss, the quality of the product inside is more similar to YSL's Glossy Stain. However, the small difference in YSL's Glossy Stain and L'Oreal's Colour Caresse Shine Stain is a matter of opacity. Although the Shine Stain's color is buildable, it's more like a "watercolor" compared with the Glossy Stain "oil paint" where you can usually get an opaque wash of color in one swipe. As for the overall aesthetic, the packaging is small, compact, and cute.


The applicator is very similar to the YSL applicator, but the only difference is that it has a small "divot" in the center. I really dislike this small detail, simply because I feel like product gets lodged in there and you don't get quite as even an application as you would get with the YSL Glossy Stain. However, that's a small detail that can easily be overlooked. 



The first color, Rose On and On, is beautiful. Ever since I've purchased it, I've been wearing it on the daily. It's a beautiful light pink that gives your lips a flushed healthy glow. It really is a a color that can easily go with everything. Honestly, whenever I put this on I feel like a model. It gives your lips a very youthful shiny, glow! 




The second color, Infinite Fuchsia, is true to its namesake and is a very, very bright Fuschia. I find that it's a shade too intense for me when applied directly, but I do enjoy dotting it on my lower lip and blending it out with my finger. It's a very bright color, and very luscious, especially with the inherent shine that it promises. 



All in all, being the lip junkie I am...I really like the new drug store dupes of the YSL Glossy Stains and I think I'll invest more time, and money (sigh), into exploring their new colors! =)

I hope you guys enjoyed this post!