Lupita Nyong’o Covers American VOGUE

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Finally an American VOGUE cover I can get excited about! After the disaster that was Kimye cover, I was so pleased to see the gorgeous Lupita Nyong’o on the cover of the July 2014 issue. And while the styling of the cover itself is pretty blah, her beauty radiates and improves it tenfold. Luckily, the rest of the photos are much better. Set in Marrakech, this shoot really inspired me to look into packing my bags and jetting off to Morocco for a week – to explore the bazaars, chill at the hammam, and just lounge around looking drop-dead-gorgeous and Lupita-like. I mean…that photo of her on the couch…she looks incredible!

So there you have it…first VOGUE puts a reality TV famewhore on the cover, and then follows up with an uber-talented loveliest and smartest actress around…Colour me confused. But since an American VOGUE cover is till a huge deal (sorry, Victoria Beckham), this is yet another win for Lupita, who’s already had a pretty kick-ass year so far. You go, girl!

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What I Wore: Easy Does It

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One of my favourite things about summer (other than endless sunshine, BBQs, beach days, and ice-cream) is dresses. I wouldn’t call myself a girlie-girl, but once summer rolls around, dresses is all I want to wear. I’m sure I’ve blogged about that before, but here I go again. This one in particular is from Zara, and it was love at first sight. I bought it when it was still wintery and snowy outside, daydreaming of those warm afternoons when I would be able to throw it on, tie those faux sleeves around my waist and go – so easy and comfy.

I wore this on a neighbourhood discovery walk I took with le bf recently. Since we bought our house a year ago, we haven’t really had the chance to explore our new hood, and now that it’s summer again, we are making an effort to discover the cool things about the place we call home…like this amazing park we stumbled upon – with a stunning ravine, fun splash pad, and this beautifully-painted wall. Definitely a gem that we’ll keep in our regular rotation.

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Travel: Shangri-La Hotel, Toronto Staycation

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The month of May was more than a little crazy. Apart from helping organize the Blogger Bazaar event, last month I also finished a quarter-end at work, filmed not one, but two Styled By Nelia videos, hosted an ALDO A-List party, participated in an Aveda photoshoot and photo exhibit, all the while preparing for yet another month-end. Don’t get me wrong, I had a lot of fun doing these things, but doing them on top of my 9-5 job made me feel more than a little stressed. Knowing that yet another month-end was staring me square in the face, I knew that a staycation was in order. So last Sunday, le bf and I packed our bags, and took the 15-minute Car2Go ride to Toronto’s Shangri-La hotel, where we had a room booked for one night of fun and relaxation.

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ROOM

Shangri-La is one of the most prestigious hotel brands in the world. Synonymous with paradise, Shangri-La is all about providing sophisticated luxury, transporting you to a place of deepest calm and relaxation. The moment we walked into our suite, we were wowed by the size and design of our room. With a spacious living room, two stunning bathrooms, welcoming bedroom, plush robes, marble and velvet finishes, two closets, and a Nespresso machine, our suite felt more like a sleek condo in the city than a hotel room. There were labelled buttons everywhere, to make turning on the lights, as well as opening and closing the sheers and drapes a breeze, a built-in TV in the master bathroom vanity, and an in-room iPad for our room-service ordering ease. In one word – impressive!

After checking out our room, we dropped off our things, and took the elevator down to the lobby for the first stop on our staycation itinerary! Shangri-La’s afternoon high tea!

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HIGH TEA

Having heard great things about high tea at Shangri-La, our expectations were pretty high. When we arrived, our VAWK-clad hostess handed us a tea menu and asked us to choose our favourites from the 68 varieties on hand at the hotel. After taking our time to peruse the tea library (68 teas is no joke!),  we settled on Sunrise Serenade flowering tea. While we waited for our tea service, we had a chance to fully take in our surroundings. While the high tea service is held in Shangri-La’s Lobby Lounge, nothing about it felt “lobby-like”. We were seated on a comfortable sofa overlooking a large fireplace, and while the lounge was full of people, our high-tea experience felt very intimate.

When the tower arrived, I didn’t hear a single thing our hostess told us about it (I asked her to repeat it for me later), because I was ready to dig in and everything looked amazing. We started at the bottom, and tucked into lobster and chive rolls, cucumber apple and cream cheese, roasted chicken with grain mustard, and egg and watercress sandwiches with crispy Serrano ham on top. De-li-cious! Next up, we spread some creamy Devonshire cream and jam on warm, flaky chamomile scones, and they were gone in a flash. I am not usually a fan of scones, but these were divine. We moved on to the much-anticipated dessert plate, which consisted of a chocolate ganache cake with raspberry compote, passion fruit ball, berries and citrus pastry, and a pineapple verrine. Once again, everything was delectable, bursting with flavours. Even half of each rich pastry was enough to satisfy me and my sweet tooth. Once the tower was polished off, we sat back, sipping our fragrant tea, more intense with each cup, looking at the fireplace, and enjoying the soft piano music playing in the background.

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SPA

After our delightful high tea experience, we went back to our room, put on our bathing suits, and headed to the Miraj Hammam Spa by Caudalie Paris. Having visited the spa a few times before, I already knew what to expect – pure relaxation. We chose Hammam and Gommage for couples – 15 minutes in a high-intensity steam room to detox, followed by a full-body scrub. Hammam and Gommage is a great intimate treatment to share with a loved one, and I am really glad I finally brought le bf to experience it with me. The 15 minutes inside the steam room are very peaceful, and let you be alone together, breathing in and out, letting your pores open up, and rid your body of toxins. While the scrub treatment just feels incredibly nice, and can be as intense as you’d like.

Post-gommage, we marveled at our smooth, baby-soft skin, and relaxed some more in the little outdoor oasis on the patio of the spa, refreshed with some grapes, sweet Moroccan mint tea, and baklava. We probably could’ve stayed there all day, but we chose to pay a visit to the hotel pool instead. Private cabanas equipped with personal TVs, and stunning views of Toronto all around, made for a cool and refreshing post-spa visit – simply blissful.

More after the jump!

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Style Fille: Emily Blunt

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Last week, I was invited to attend the Toronto premiere of Edge of Tomorrow – the latest Tom Cruise action flick set in the dystopian future. I went to the screening, not expecting anything extraordinary, and was actually wowed by two things…

1. Tom Cruise…actual Tom Cruise showed up at the theater, gave a little speech, and took a “selfie” with the audience (yours truly included). So random, but also pretty cool.

2. How much I actually loved the movie. While I won’t spoil it for you, I have to say that the premise – Groundhog Day meets the Matrix – was mind-blowingly good, and Emily Blunt was even better. I simply can’t get enough of strong female protagonists and Blunt as “Full Metal Bitch” was perfection. Strong, smart, beautiful, and not at all Cruise’s “spear-carrier”. If you’re looking for a thrilling summer blockbuster, this is it. I actually want to see it again, that’s how fun it was.

But let’s look at Emily Blunt’s just as thrilling wardrobe choices that she selected for her 24-hour London/Paris/New York whirlwind premiere circuit. First up, she wore a sweet, printed Osman dress to the London premiere, leaving her hair and makeup soft, and looking like the antithesis of “Full Metal Bitch”. Next up, she leathered-up in a David Koma skirt and top combo at the Paris screening. And while I actually loved this edgy combo (though maybe not those shoes), my favourite of the three was the glam Prada gown that she wore in New York. It was classic, and sexy, and just perfect for her. I also loved the fuchsia lip colour, and the pink pair of shoes that she chose to wear with her scarlet frock. Red and pink look so fresh together, and much better than the boring/expected red and black.

So what about you? Did you like Emily’s three red carpet looks? Which of the three is your fave? Share in the comments.

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You Are Invited: Blogger Bazaar Toronto 2014 Sneak Peek

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BLOGGER BAZAAR is almost here…we only have a couple of days to go until the BIG SALE, and just like last time, I wanted to give you a glimpse at the goodies that I’ll be parting with this Sunday at Toronto’s Soho House! It’s a mix of high and low, designer and fast-fashion, brand new and gently used, and I hope that a lot of these items find new homes.

10% of all proceeds will be donated to the Corsage Project – Toronto charity that provides formal gowns and accessories, free of charge, to Toronto area girls that need them. And we will once again have amazing swag bags that will be given out with a purchase of $30 or more (while supplies last). Stuffed to the brim, these gift bags will be full of cool items from ALDO, Artemano DecorCall It Spring, Dove, eLUXE, essence, FLARE, Forever 21, Le Chateau, Miraj Hammam Spa by Caudalie ParisRoots, TRESemme, and vitaminwater! How epic is that?!

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So if an afternoon of shopping while hanging out with your fave fashion bloggers sounds like your idea of a fun Sunday, then make sure to pop by the BLOGGER BAZAAR this Sunday, June 1st at the Soho House! It’s steps away from St Andrew subway station, and right around the corner from the luxurious Shangri-La Hotel, where you can grab a table and settle in for some post-sale afternoon high-tea.

Hope to see you all there!

WHERE: Soho House, 192 Adelaide St W, Toronto
WHEN: June 1st, 2014 12-4pm
GIFT BAGS WITH PURCHASE (minimum purchase of $30, while supplies last)
CASH ONLY
10% of all proceeds will be donated to The Corsage Project

Sale items with prices after the jump!

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What I Wore: Jumpsuit Up

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After searching for a pair of perfect denim overalls, I stumbled upon this Zara jumpsuit, and immediately fell in love. Instead of channeling J.Lo circa 2001, I decided to jumpsuit up in this simple, super comfy, and versatile one-piece instead. So far, I am seriously obsessed with it, and want to wear it all the time. And the best part is…I can! During the summer, I can pair it with short-sleeved tops. To dress it up, I’ll wear it with a tuxedo jacket and sky-high heels. And when it gets colder again – this leather jacket will save the day. So simple. It may just be the most versatile piece in my wardrobe.

So what about you? Would you wear a jumpsuit in your daily life? Or do you still prefer J.Lo’s denim one-piece? Share in the comments!

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Styled By Nelia: White Denim for Summer

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It finally feels like summer. So to prep you for more sunny days ahead, I thought I’d share one of my favourite summer must-haves! Year after year, white jeans remain a staple in my warm weather wardrobe. Not only are they incredibly versatile, but they are super flattering to boot! I know that white denim has gotten a bad rep over the last few years. I blame it on the “ultra-low hiphugger” phase, followed by the “trashy denim” phase. But no word of a lie – white jeans are flattering…you just have to find the right pair for your bod!

Last month, I stopped by Smart Set at Yorkdale to show Ash how she could add a pair of white skinny jeans to her wardrobe, and to prove to her (and you) just how versatile those pants can be. Dare I say, even more versatile than your blue jeans?! Don’t believe me? Here are three super easy ways you can integrate a pair into your everyday life.

Nautical

Is there anything cuter than a nautical look? Well, it’s also incredibly simple to pull together – all you need is a pair of white jeans, a striped tee (or a striped blazer), and you’re done! Stick to the “nautical” colour palette, which should include pops of red, blue, and white, and you really can’t go wrong. Wearing white jeans in this case, provides a clean background for all the other colours, keeping this look from becoming too costumey.

Black and White

The monochromatic trend has been around for seasons now, and it’s not going away any time soon. For this look, I styled a fab striped blouse with an edgy faux leather vest to create an outfit that works at the office, as well as happy hour! And don’t those white jeans look a lot cooler than a pair of boring black slacks would?

White on White

There’s absolutely nothing chicer than an all-white outfit. Caution must be used when putting together various shades of white and cream – keep it all the same colour…or if the shades are starkly different, make sure that textures are too, which will make the mismatch look deliberate instead of looking like a washing machine accident. You can never go wrong with a smart, well-tailored blazer or vest, thrown over a white tee or blouse, and a pair of white pointy-toe pumps. The great thing about white-on-white, is that you can really make it your own – minimalists can forego the accessories altogether, while the peacocks could pile on bracelets and rings, throw on a chic gold chain necklace, and finish it all off with a pair of Hollywood starlet sunnies. Whatever rocks your boat.

I hope these 3 easy ways of wearing white jeans inspire you to try this timeless trend this summer, and check out some of our previous Styled By Nelia videos for even more styling tips!

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Photos and Video by Max Kopanygin

Beauty: NARS Adult Swim Collection Summer 2014

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Well it looks like summer is finally here, and with it all of the new and exciting summer make-up collections. One I am particularly thrilled about is NARS Adult Swim Summer 2014 Collection, which includes an unbelievable selection of fun and flirty shades to put you in that summer mood and get you all dolled up. Because summertime is the perfect time to get adventurous and playful with your make-up!

Earlier this month, a few bloggers were invited to preview the collection at Holt Renfrew on Bloor, and we were treated to a demonstration and a Q&A session with International Lead Makeup Stylist for NARS - Jane Richardson. Jane graciously walked us through a make-up demo using the beautiful summer collection, while giving us fun tips on achieving that vibrant look for the summer. She used the Duo Eye shadow in Tropical princess, which is comprised of a lovely lime green/lavender eye shadow and used the lime colour on the lids. For the lips, she applied the lovely Wonder Sheer Lip Gloss, which is a mandarin orange colour with hints of pink and gold. Both looked beautiful on the model, giving her a fresh look without looking overdone, and made me want to try it out for myself. A perfect look for sipping margaritas on a sunny day!

NARS make-up is always at the top of my must-buy list – with their beautiful selection of colours, silky smooth textures, and lasting power, it just doesn’t get better than this. I’ll leave you with the tip that Jane gave me during our chat – try and take 5 mins before bed to play with your make-up. It’ll help you get to know your face and your bone structure and to create a look that will show-off the best version of you. As they say…practice makes perfect!

xoxo

Aleyda

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More photos of NARS Summer 2014 collection after the jump!

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Coming Soon: Altuzarra for Target Fall 2014!

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Huge news! Target has just announced their latest designer collaboration, and this time it’s with Joseph Altuzarra! Altuzarra for Target collection will be launching on September 14, 2014, and will include more than 30 items, ranging in price from $17.99 to $89.99 for apparel, and $29.99 to $79.99 for shoes and accessories. The collection will be sold at most Target stores in the United States and Canada, with an edited assortment available globally at NET-A-PORTER.COM.

“As a designer, I believe firmly in the transformative power of fashion. It has the ability to not only change how you look, but also how you feel,” said Joseph Altuzarra, the brand’s designer and creative director. “I’ve admired the elegance that Target brings to fast fashion. By working together on this capsule collection, we hope to instill a sense of power, confidence and beauty in women everywhere.”

Fans of the brand include celebs like Lady Mary (aka Michelle Dockery), Nicole Kidman, Cate Blanchett, Rihanna, Cameron Diaz, among many others, and I am really looking forward to seeing what the collab will actually look like. I’ve wanted to buy a pair of Altuzarra heels for a while now, and perhaps now, I can get a pair on the cheap! Are you excited about this collab? Share in the comments!

Check out celebs in Altuzarra after the jump!

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Wishlist: Chanel Cruise Dubai 2015 Collection

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While I am usually a huge fan of Chanel and nearly everything the brand puts out there, the Chanel Cruise Dubai 2015 Collection actually took me by surprise. I knew I’d have a few favourites from the collection as I usually do, but this time around, my favourites included pretty much every single thing that I saw (save for the thong-sock-sandal-boot hybrid).

Set in the exotic and cosmopolitan emirate of Dubai, the collection was heavily inspired by the East-meets-West locale, while styling made sure to take into account the Sharia law, by covering up the models from neck to ankles. The collection included artfully printed gowns and harem pants – flowy and dream-like, classic-looking tweed pieces that I hope to one day add to my wardrobe, stunning covet-worthy coats, and of course – bags and accessories galore.

As usual, everything that Karl Lagerfeld sent down that Dubai runway looked immaculate, but only by seeing the close-up shots could you really appreciate just how intricate each and every one of those pieces is. This totally  justifies those Chanel prices, especially when you consider how many of the items are done by hand.

And while I absolutely adored Chanel Cruise Dubai 2015 Collection, I want to hear your thoughts on it. Did you love the prints? What about the bags? Please share in the comments!

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