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Thursday, January 22, 2015

DIY Beauty Hacks From Your Kitchen

dr oz mariana leung

I made my second appearance on the Dr. Oz show this week. I demonstrated the simple beauty hack of reviving your mascara with your microwave. I thought I might share a few more additional DIY beauty tricks you can perform in your kitchen.

Dried Mascara
Stick your old mascara in a microwave safe mug filled halfway with water. Put it in the microwave for about 15 seconds and check your mascara texture. If you have some contact lens solution, add a few drops of that as well.  It’s not a permanent fix, but will give the mascara an extra day of use in an emergency. My girlfriend Claribel also just let me know that you can use mascara to cover grey hairs and tame flyaways!

Tea Bags for Puffy Eyes
Green tea is the most soothing type for this. After your used tea bags are cool, place them on your closed eyes for a 5-10 minutes to reduce puffiness and swelling. No tea? The classic of cucumber slices cools down stressed eyes too.

Sweet Scrub
Some of the hottest  beauty ingredients right now are coconut oil and honey. Make a scrub out of both of those by adding brown or turbinado/raw sugar. Massage this scrub on dry skin next to your bath tub (it IS super sticky) so you can rinse afterwards without making a mess! Hot water when you rinse can also help melt down the ingredients so they don’t clog your drain.

Manicure Prep
While you have your coconut oil out (or olive oil), warm it to slightly above room temperature and rub on your cuticles. In the winter, my fingers really take a beating, so moisturizing them before a manicure keeps them soft.

Citrus Toner
Again with your coconut oil, you can also make a toner and lightener for your skin by mixing it with some fresh lemon juice. I learned from a fellow guest on the Doctor Oz show that you can get more juice from a lemon by putting it in the microwave for 20-30 seconds first. Be careful that you don’t get it in your eye though!

What are your favorite beauty hacks?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Thalia Sodi & Macy's Collaboration Launch

Latin Pop superstar Thalia Sodi launched her sizzling fashion collaboration with Macy’s last night at New York’s Gold Bar. It was an intimate runway show featuring affordable outfits, jewelry and shoes that fit with the diva’s brand.

I don’t think it would be a surprise to say there were a lot of animal prints and bright colors. For the women who like to go dancing at night, there were plenty of tight short dresses and skirts. Cute cropped faux leather jackets were offered in gold, black and red. Flowing camisoles were paired with leopard print leggings.

As body conscious as this collection was, there were certainly pieces that were suitable for bodies of all types. A shoulder baring dress had a more relaxed fit on top but a mini skirt length at the bottom. A bright print dress had a twist front detail under the bust that showed off curvy hips but the shirring and fabric pattern could obscure the belly.

Fans around the world will love the pricing. I think the most expensive jacket or dress did not go over $100. The same pricing applied to the party-worthy shoes. The jewelry, piles of bangles, statement earrings and necklaces were all under $50.

The president of Macy’s announced that this collection has been Macy’s biggest fashion launch. Choosing a Hispanic superstar as their collaborator shows the influence of the Latina market in both style and sales. This fashion show was live streamed on Facebook; another first for Macy’s. The funny angle on the photos is due to me balancing myself between the two video cameras.

Unlike most major fashion shows, all the looks from last night’s show are available to buy right now (instant gratification!) If you’re on a budget and want to flaunt Thalia Sodi for Macy’s for the upcoming fashion weeks, you totally can. 
photos by Mariana Leung

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Surfing Style – Reef Sandals

Are we sufficiently chilled this winter? My thoughts increasingly run towards tropical climates and sexy surfers on the beach. Reef founders, the brothers Fernando and Santiago Aguerre felt the same 30 years ago and built a company around their shared passion for surfing. The happy ending is the stylish collection of Reef Sandals beloved by surfers around the world.

I first noticed Reef sandals when I tripped over my own cheap flip flops during a Hawaiian vacation. I was then distracted by hunky kite surfers on the quiet Maui beach where they did their thing. These guys would not stand for inferior footwear. The surfers I watched needed shoes that gave real arch support and had real rubber soles for outdoor wear. Reef’s Canisteo sandal had both of these qualities and had a rugged leather fabrication. For more eco-minded guys, the Phantom Player shoe had a sportier look and made with lightweight foam with eco logic compounds for enhanced 
biodegradability. I like to fantasize these guys stroll off the beach and into town for some fun. The style quotient of these sandals makes them date-worthy.

For myself, I want beach-worthy shoes, but the fashionistas in me misses my heels. Reef’s Krystal Star sandals takes care of both. They have their signature EVA footbed for comfort. The outsole is embossed for traction. I love the sparkly strap that makes it just a bit dressier. For ladies more practical than me, you will be fans of the GypsyLove. This shoe has a cushy suede overlay on top of the anatomical arch support. The straps are lined in terry cloth and the soles are embossed rubber for traction. It also doesn’t hurt that the Gypsy loves are cute.

Reef builds its credibility with brand ambassadors all over the world. These guys are hardcore surfers with exotic lifestyles to match. I like seeing true athletes rather just another pretty face. Whether you are planning a winter getaway or preparing ahead for summer, make sure your beach shoes look good AND feel good! Reef Sandals will be there to take care of your surfer guy and your surf chic wherever that beach may be.
-Hawaii photos by Mariana Leung, Content and product photos presented by Reef.com


Michael Costello Art Hearts Spring 2015

Aliens on the runway! That was my first impression of former Project Runway contestant Michael Costello’s fashion show. His collection at the Art Hearts Spring 2015 presentation at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week sent mixed signals.

The fabulous costumed aliens (I think) that flanked the runway for the models made me think that this would be an avant-garde, artistic show. The looks that came down the catwalk though, were sexy, dark, evening wear pieces that were daring, but not particularly forward. The deep browns, black, blue along with lots of sheer lace and metallic have a sultry look to match the models. Many of the body hugging silhouettes with revealed leg, fishtail hem or cut-outs are just screaming out for a Kardashian sister to wear them. Costello’s West Coast base also makes him primed to serve many a red carpet in the upcoming awards season.

Less successful were the few pieces of lace bottoms. Very sheer lace bottoms with a triangle patch at the crotch? These are the cringe-worthy items that women shake their head at and only a male would design.

Other spacey touches included spiked and studded masks that many of the models wore. I was unclear if this was part of the collection, a separate accessories brand or meant to convey a character? Also, those aliens were distracting because they were so cool, they took focus away from what otherwise was a great ‘diva’ collection.

Aside from these minor rookie mistakes, I am looking forward to what else Michael Costello Couture has in store for on this planet or the next.
photos by Mariana Leung


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Blogger Love: Real Style Essentials


What do you really need for good style? The answer could be, "More clothes." But we know better. It's about knowing what you wear. It's about finding your self, not your clothing self, but your real self. It's about taking care of yourself. It's about feeling good in your own skin. This week's roundup is about the real essentials you need to be stylish. Whether it be your skin, what's under that skin, or what you're wearing to cover it.


Saturday, January 17, 2015

Madame Moje Spring 2015

malashnee naidoo
madame moje toronto
 This Toronto Fashion Week collection was born far far away and now resides in the mall I worked at in High School. Madame Moje is produced by the husband and wife team of Malashnee Naidoo and Hamed Emtiaz. It is an interesting love story and brand tale.

The couple met in Johannesburg, they had backgrounds in finance and electrical engineering. They lived in Singapore for awhile but fell in love with Vancouver Canada while on a cruise. Loving the city, but not finding the fashion options to suit her taste, Ms. Naidoo solved the problem by designing her own.

malashnee naidoo hamed emtiaz
photos by David TW Leung
Malashnee Naidoo and Hamed Emtiaz design and produce the Madame Moje collection within Canada. They recently opened a boutique at the Shops at Don Mills, the shopping center where I used to work in High School (but upgraded nicely since then).

The World Mastercard Fashion Week collection and shop was touted to be Parisian-inspired. I don't see a direct Paris muse in the clothing, but the models all sported the side swept hair a la Sophie Marceau. The looks were all dresses. Malashnee favors hyper-feminine, curve flaunting silhouettes. She loves to mix fabrics and textures, pairing lace with brocade, leather and satin, etc.  You may not see these looks in the street style blogs of Le Marais, but I wouldn't be surprised if they are the favorite of every Middle Eastern socialite.

Well there you have it, the global journey of Malashnee Naidoo and Hamed Emtiaz to the hyper-local runway of Madame Moje.