Thursday, 29 January 2015

An Ode To The Coach Brooke Purse

Since I've just recently added a new handbag to my collection (see what it is here), I thought it only fair to take a look back at my very first designer purse purchase: The Coach Brooke Bag.

It really wasn't all that long ago that I first started to take an interest in Fashion, and decided that it was time to invest in a real-life designer purse.  I had never spent more than fifty dollars on a purse before, so to say that the purchase of a high-end handbag was a big deal to me would be an understatement.   I had seen girls wearing their Coach purses at the restaurant where I was working at the time, and thought that this must be the place to start looking.  After scouring the Coach website, I absolutely fell in love with a particular style.  The Brooke was everything I was looking for: it was slouchy, had both long top handles and a shoulder strap, and to me just looked so elegant.  Mulling over the decision for months, I finally decided to take the plunge and buy my special purse.  After waiting in line at the Coach outlet, 30% off coupon in hand, I left with my very first designer handbag.  I managed to score the Brooke handbag for about $130 that day, but I felt like a million bucks.  Finally I had my very own designer purse!  I still remember being so proud to wear that thing around town, and how happy it made me every time I got to use it.

Now I know at the mere mention of a Coach purse, many of you may be tempted to roll your eyes.  I've feel as though I have heard a lot of negative comments about Coach bags; everything from how over saturated the brand is, to even how obtainable they are.  Really - obtainable?  Girls, if you have said anything remotely like this in the past about the Coach brand - or any brand really - I ask you to take a step back and really think about what you're saying.  Does a brand name define who we are?  Absolutely not.  My heart breaks thinking about how my younger self would have felt after hearing such comments about the Coach brand and purse I was so proud of. I would have felt awful, and embarrassed. I have since added a few more handbags to my collection, so my beloved Brooke does not get the same attention that it used to, but that does not make it any less special to me.

The takeaway that I hoped to achieve from this post was not only to pay tribute to my first designer handbag, but also to hopefully get us thinking about how hurtful classifying people based on the brands that they wear and purchase can be.  My Coach Brooke handbag still looks and feels as fantastic as it did all of those years ago when I first bought it.  It makes me happy.  And in the end, that's really all that matters.

Let me know your thoughts!  What was your first big handbag purchase?

xo Joëlle

Monday, 26 January 2015

OOTD - Weekend Uniform + Phillip Lim Pashli

I think that we're all guilty of having a weekend uniform of sorts - you know, one go-to outfit that seems to consume all weekend wear.  I definitely seem to abuse this concept, as I'll find an outfit that I like and wear it the entire weekend.  Loungeing, shopping, brunch, dinner plans - you name it, and I'll find an excuse not to change.  This particular weekend I was drawn to my much-loved big, fuzzy faux-fur coat and just a simple pair of black jeans and a sweater.  I didn't want anything to over shadow my new purchase - the 3.1 Phillip Lim Medium Pashli Satchel!  Read on to hear more about my new purse, and for additional photos and outfit details.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Easy Half Up, Half Down Hair Wrap Tutorial

I'll admit it - sometimes my hair is truly the bane of my existence.  Not only do I need to wash it, condition it, and dry it - by the time I get around to styling it, I've either lost the patience for anything elaborate, or just don't have any inspiration left.  Enter my favourite lazy-girl hairstyle: The half up, half down hair wrap that adds some romance and whimsy to your style and best of all, takes all of 5 minutes to do!  I've worn this easy hairstyle with a dress, and also with comfy leggings and a sweater - it always works.  Check out how to achieve this simple half up, half down hair wrap for yourself!

This hair wrap works well with both straight and curly hair, but I prefer it with curly hair.  I've gone ahead and curled my hair with a straightener to get things started.  Be sure to check out my my tutorial on how to curl your hair with a straightener here.

As always, I like to give my hair a bit of a tease at the root to get a little more volume.  Call me an old Italian lady at heart, but I've gotta do it!

Take an elasticized headband, and place it over the crown of your head, resting it right at the base.  The headband should go over all of your hair, and be secure on your head.

Grab the first few pieces if hair on one side of your head and start wrapping them around the base of your headband. Make sure the entire base of your headband is completely hidden with your first few layers of hair on one side.

Repeat the last step on the other side of your head, grabbing pieces of hair around your face and wrapping them into the base of the headband.

At this point, I like to smooth out the hair on the crown of my head to tame any fly-aways or loose hair that may have sprung up when wrapping.

Guess what - we're done! This is honestly one of my simplest hair styles that always makes me feel put together.  It also lasts all day, which is a huge plus!

What do you think about this half-up, half-down hair wrap?  Do you have a simple hairstyle that you tend to use frequently?  Let me know!

xo Joëlle

Monday, 19 January 2015

OOTD - Black Over Coat + Mustard Accents

Is there anything better than a timeless coat?  As much as I've been having fun this season with faux-fur, I really enjoy the clean lines of a classic wool coat. This is an outfit that has been on repeat pretty much all weekend on account of it's simplicity and warmth.  I subbed out my favourite black beanie for a bright mustard, and I love the pop of colour it brings to an otherwise very neutral outfit - plus the fact that it matches my weekend flowers doesn't hurt!  Read on for outfit details and more photos.

Friday, 16 January 2015

How to Take Instagram Photos - My Tips & Tricks

One of the most asked question that I get e-mailed to me is in regards to my Instagram photos - specifically how I take and edit the Instagram photos in my feed.  I love getting your feedback and, while I'm certainly not an expert, I do enjoy taking and editing photos for my Instagram. My pattern for photos is pretty consistent, and I've developed a few tips and tricks along the way that I would love to share with you.

Wipe off your Phone's Camera Lens

It seems insignificant, but cleaning your phone's camera lens before you take a photo makes an enormous difference in the clarity and crispness of a picture.  I try to carry a fibre less cloth for this exact purpose, but honestly even just giving the lens on my phone a quick wipe with my shirt before I take a photo with my phone makes a world of a difference.

Take Every Photos in Natural Daylight

After wiping the lens of my camera, making the conscious decision to take every photo that I post on Instagram in daylight has made the biggest difference in the quality of my pictures.  Shooting in daylight gives you a sharper image, more vibrant colours and generally a more visually appealing photo.  This can be hard during the winter months, so I will generally either take the majority of my Instagram photos during the weekends or when I'm out and about on my lunch break.  After getting the perfect photo on my phone, the next thing that I do is some quick edition before I post to Instagram.

It's All About Your Apps

Gone are my days of slapping a generic Instagram filter onto a photo and posting.  Now I rely on a few other apps to get a more subtle effect for my pictures - specifically VSCO Cam.  Seriously, if you're an Instagram addict like myself and don't have this powerful editing app then I insist that you stop reading and download it immediately!  VSCO cam is incredibly popular for it's unique filters that give your photos a professional quality, and the ability to control the intensity of the filter.  I tend to use S2 and S3 the most, since they give a brightness to photos and saturate the colours nicely.  You can also do some basic editing such as adjusting brightness, contrast and temperature - among many others.  I also have a few other photo editing apps on heavy rotation: Diptic for creating collages, SquareFX for cropping photos into the Instagram friendly square, and Facetune for perfecting a selfie.

Don't Be Afraid to Ask For Help

I feel as though the quality of my Instagram photos increased tenfold when I basically lost all shame in asking people to take photos for me.  I'm extremely lucky to have an incredibly patient husband who takes most of my photos without too much fuss, but I have also had friends take outfit shots when we're out and about - and have even had my mom teetering on a chair to take an aerial shot from above.  You feel silly asking at first, but having the people around you take photos for you is incredibly helpful in the quality and diversity of the images that you can produce  Plus in my experience friends and family are happy to be included, and it's fun!

Tag Relavant Brands

My last tip that I try to use for all of my photos is to tag any relevant brands that are being used in the picture.  For example, in the photo below I tagged Chapters Indigo as the mug since that is where I got it from.  Tagging relevant brands not only lets your followers know where your purchased any clothing or items in your photos, but also automatically includes your photo into the 'tagged photos' tab of that particular account, giving your picture some more exposure.  Tagging brands also alerts them that you have posted a photo featuring one of their items, and they may chose to repost the photos on their own Instagram account- huge exposure, which leads to more followers!

There you have it, my Instagram practices that I use with every photo posted.  What are some of your best Instagram tips?  Please share with me, as I would love to know! Also if you aren't already, please follow me on Instagram - I would love to get connected with you!

xo Joëlle
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