Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Best Buys 2015

Taking a look back on 2015, I was able to add some great basics into my wardrobe that will be around for a few years to come. I thought I'd share my five best buys of 2015 - those items that I constantly reach for and were great additions to my closet.

Hunter Boots

I can't believe I haven't styled these for the blog yet. I've worn them a ton, but I guess mainly to work, and I often don't have time for photos on work days. I'll be sure to include them in a style post very soon. I need to get some boot socks for them so I can wear them comfortably as a winter boot too.

Gap Jacket and Diesel Jeans

These have been on constant repeat for me all year. The jeans just keep getting better with more wear, as premium denim tends to do! This field jacket is perfect to throw on with just about any casual attire and is roomy enough to fit a sweater underneath.

Town Shoes Boots

Black tall boots are a wardrobe staple in Canada. These have been worn so much since I bought them!

Madewell Jeans

I spent several hours in the Madewell store in Scottsdale, and one of the items I came away with was these jeans. They are the perfect rise! I chose to leave them long and roll them instead of hemming them. It would be fine by me if Madewell came to Canada!

All of these items can be considered pretty basic, which is why I reach for them so often. I'm ever so slowly edging more towards a minimalist look.

All the best to my blog readers for a very happy and healthy 2016. See you in the New Year!

Glitterary Girl

Holiday Casuals

I hope your holiday was filled with laughter and love. Mine definitely was. Christmas Day here in Halifax was unseasonably warm - 14 degrees! It made for lovely travel weather if you had to drive or fly anywhere.

I kept it casual on Christmas Day and wore clothes that allowed me to easily eat and cook, which is how most of the day was spent! Of course, I had to have some sparkle via the tank top.

Sweater: Gap
Scarf: Zara
Jeans: Madewell
Sneakers: Converse
Tank: Old Navy
Bag: Nine West
Sunnies: Coach

Now it's between holidays and a bad head cold is really kicking my butt. I've been catching up on Season 3 of Orange is the New Black and taking some solid naps!

Glitterary Girl

Monday, December 21, 2015

The Week Before

As much as I love this time of year, I get a bit frazzled in shopping crowds. I'm not a fan of standing in long lines or bumping elbows. I work close to the mall and grocery store, so I tend to do a lot of errands at lunch. I had all of my shopping done last week, so I had no intention of going anywhere near the shopping centres this past weekend.

Turns out, the only time of the year I ever hear R say, "Let's go to the mall" is at Christmas. So to the mall we went.

Vest and sweater: Club Monaco
Jeans: Madewell
Scarf: Gift
Shoes: Also
Bag: Nine West
Bracelet: Banana Republic

Turns out, the mall a few days before Christmas isn't bad when you're not rushing around getting gifts! Too bad we were only there for ten minutes before we had to go to the grocery store... where things weren't quite as jolly!

Glitterary Girl

Friday, December 11, 2015

Girly Stuff: A Haul

For the second time this year, I was able to redeem $200 of Shoppers Drug Mart Optimum Points. I thought I'd show you some of the more fun things I picked up on my spree as well as a few things I ordered on-line from Sephora on Black Friday.

The only thing I dislike about these lipsticks is they easily smudge on the cap. I like things neat and tidy.

Primrose (left) and Orchid (right)

Essie Gel Setter top coat
Lately I've been using the OPI Infinite Shine top coat, but that's not available at Shoppers and I really needed a new one. I decided to try this Essie one and I'm not disappointed. I had red nails last week and they lasted 5 days with absolutely no chipping and on the sixth day it chipped a tiny bit. I was bored with it anyway, so I changed it, but I could have lasted another few days I'm sure. 

Revlon Ultra HD lipstick in Orchid and Primrose
I have this type of lipstick in Magnolia which is gorgeous, but more of a summer shade. I wanted something bold for the winter so I tried these shades. They were on sale too! I love both colors. They make your lips feel really soft.

Sally Hansen Complete Manicure in Tropical Thunder and Branch Out

Tropical Thunder is on my nails right now and it's a beautiful dark blue/teal. Branch Out is a dark brown that will replace my super old Sephora polish that is similar. I love the wide brush on these polishes.

Boscia Pink Peppermint Blotting Linens (from Sephora)
Now that my skin has decided to go oily, I wanted to try some blotting papers. I've only tried one on my make-up free face just to see how they worked. I'll try them with makeup soon and see if they disrupt things. 

Rimmel Brow This Way
No more shelling out $30 for Benefit Gimme Brow! I discovered this brow gel over the summer and while it's maybe not quite as good as Benefit, it's so much less money and the difference to me is really minimal. 

Quo Art of Blending sponge set
These little Beauty Blender knock offs are too cute! I've not tried a Beauty Blender so I can't comment on a comparison, but I quite like the dewy finish these sponges give. My skin has gone cray-cray again this week, so I've been leaning toward a higher coverage face. I need to play around with these a bit more to try to get full cover.

Tarte High Performance Neutrals Cheek Set
This was a Black Friday Sephora deal. I got the little Tarte set last year with the stick blush and mini lip crayon and I use it a lot so I figured I'd love this set as well, and I do! The pan blush is a really pretty neutral and it does have shimmer, but a tasteful amount. The stick blush is less shimmery and is a color that would probably work on anyone.

If anyone has any specific questions about the products above, throw me a line! A huge thanks to fellow blogger Sara at Girl Met Blush who helped me out a lot with the SDM haul.

Glitterary Girl

Monday, December 07, 2015


When I've hit a bit of a slump, there is one thing that will get my motivation back on track. New workout gear! Are you shocked it involved clothing? No?

For the past many months, I've been struggling to stick to any type of exercise. I have a great week or two, then I get exhausted and can't drag myself down to the basement to work out. As an ex gym rat, I often consider getting a gym membership again, but the thing is, I KNOW I don't need one. I can do this with what I already own. I've been doing incline training on the treadmill and throwing in some Beachbody workouts as well.

Any of the health-related info below is specific to me - I'm not pretending to be a doctor and what works for me might not be the right thing for you. 

The following may be oversharing, but that's sometimes what bloggers do. Several months ago, I decided to try seeking the advice of a naturopath to see if we could get to the root of why I always felt so freaking tired. It was getting to the point where I'd spend my work breaks sleeping in the reading room. Not cool, and not normal. To make a very long story short, I'm teetering on the edge of hypothyroidism and low B12. What I didn't know is that there is a vast range of "normal values" for both thyroid stimulating hormone and B12 (both which affect energy and thyroid affects metabolism), and when you're symptomatic, you can try to try to treat both to see if it makes you feel better. It's been a long few months of injections, blood tests and new medications, but I'm starting to feel better for the most part. Some weeks are better than others, and I feel almost euphoric with energy. Other weeks, like this past one, I've been feeling sluggish again. 

I'm still dragging around extra pounds and waiting to see if my thyroid meds need adjusting, but I'm more in tune with what my body needs for its best functioning. For me, it's making sure I'm getting enough protein and limiting carbs to around 100 g per day. Not to say that I am perfect at sticking to it, but at least I know why I was feeling so gross and bloated all the time. I was eating far too many carbs. My skin has also been suffering from all the changes in hormones, but I'm getting that back on track as well. 

This new gear from lululemon arrived at the perfect time. Christmas is a hard time to keep snacking in check, and when I'm working out, I tend to eat healthier. These clothes make me want to be active!

Top: Runderful c/o lululemon
Bottoms: All the Right Places Pant c/o lululemon
Hat: Forever 21
Sneakers: Asics

I'm loving everything from lululemon! These pants are fabulous for streamlining - everything is held in place! This top is great for working out, but could be worn in other settings as well. The staff at the holiday pop-up store in Halifax Shopping Centre were so helpful - and not having to worry about parking downtown to access lulu is a gift in itself!

Glitterary Girl

Thursday, December 03, 2015

No Thought Fall Uniform

There is nothing wrong with a style equation to make getting dressed easy. Much like the long sweater + leggings + infinity scarf, the button-up + skinny jeans + boots combo is a quick way to pull an outfit together.

Shirt: Old Navy
Tank: Smart Set
Jeans: Guess by Marciano
Boots: Call it Spring
Hat: Le Chateau
Necklace and Bracelet: Stella & Dot

How's everyone doing with Christmas preparation? I'm feeling much better this week, as I made some progress with shopping. I've done a mix of on-line and store shopping this year. I try to hit the stores on my lunch break to avoid the crowds on the weekend. Once again, I'm really thankful for the RBC Avion holiday lounge at Halifax Shopping Centre. Free poinsettia, cookies, hot chocolate, tea, water, fruit, and gift wrap? Amazing!!

Glitterary Girl

Monday, November 30, 2015

My Monthly Purchases: November 2015

Every month, I break down my clothing expenses and share them. I used to have a monthly budget, but partway through 2014, I switched to a quarterly budget of $500. This can be rolled into the next quarter if it's not all spent. My goal is to keep my out of pocket expenses within $2000 a year. Gifts and gift cards don't count towards my budget.

November was very quiet on the shopping front! I tried to stay away from the stores. 

Scarf: Zara
Reg $10
This is a very different type of scarf than I'm used two (I have a zillion chunky infinity scarves). Mine is in black.

Tee: Zara
Reg $25
This is taking the high/low shirt trend to the extreme! I'll for sure need to wear heels with this. Loving the bold graphic print.

Leg Warmers: Garage
Reg $20 each, on sale for $8 each
So I haven't warn these since I was nine-ish.... but they really do look cute! They give leggings a little bit of extra coziness this time of year.

Original value of items: $75
Price I paid: $51
I saved 32%.

This leaves me with a total of $212 to spend for December. I'll probably save it for Boxing Day and see what deals I can find.

Glitterary Girl

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Little Loves Lately: November 2015

Wow - it's been a long time since I've written one of these posts! Get ready for three of my favourite things for late 2015.

DAVIDSTEA- Mulled Wine

It's super frowned upon to crack open some actual wine at work, but this tea is the next best thing. Brimming with orange, cinnamon, and ginger,  Mulled Wine is one of those teas that smells just as good as it tastes. Being an oolong, it's low caffeine, which means I can drink it in the afternoon without worrying about it affecting my sleep.

GLAMGLOW- Supermud Clearing Treatment

My skin has been so dramatic lately, it needs it's own one-hour slot on HBO. I'll save most of the details for another post, but I've had some changes in my health, medications, and hormones lately, which my poor face has been bearing the brunt of. My skin is normally on the dry side, so it has no clue what to do with extra oil besides make clogged pores. Boo. After scouring the internet for solutions, I stumbled upon this mask. Naturally I headed to Sephora where they gave me a generous sample. The thinnest layer of this product on problem areas is miraculous. It sops up oil, drawing it into the mask, so you can actually see little dark spots on the mask as it dries. Almost as satisfying as a Biore strip, but with much less irritation and pain. I bought the full size mask which will last forever  if it's only used on a small area. I can't see me ever needing this on my whole face. I used it for four nights in a row on my chin and I'm super impressed. It cleared anything up that was present, and there seems to be no problems lurking on the horizon. Sephora has the mask for $76 (gulp) OR in a gift set for $76 with a cleanser too (of course I got the set).


If you haven't listened to Justin in a bit, it's time to pay attention because his music has matured in a big way. I've liked all the singles he's released lately, and I had high hopes for the new album. For real, all the songs are good... all 18 of them. There are two that I sometimes skip over, but only because I really like the next song. I'm beyond excited to be traveling to LA to see his concert in March- like if I think about it too hard I might dissolve. Purpose is sitting at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart this week for a reason!

Glitterary Girl

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Plaid x Polka Dot

Print mixing can be a scary thing, but if you stick with two colors, it's hard to go wrong.

Jacket: Danier
Tunic: Forever 21
Leggings: Banana Republic
Boots: Town Shoes
Scarf: Dynamite

Am I ever going to get over the fact that it's late fall? Not early fall where you can get away with bare ankles, but LATE fall where you might perish without a scarf?  I thought about how cute this outfit would look with my ballet flats. One step outside, and I was trading them for boots. 

Glitterary Girl

Monday, November 16, 2015

Hello 90's

One of the best things about fashion in 2015 (in my opinion) is the nod to decades past. I was in Forever 21 recently, and at least 75% of the things in there could have easily been from the 70's or the 90's.

In a way, I feel this outfit has a touch of 90's about it (hello blue lace-up boots!)

While watching Homeland (I'm at the end of Season 3, don't spoil it!) I can't help but call Carrie Angela by accident (as in Chase). I'm also watching My So Called-Life again, and holy, the plaid pattern mixing was strong!

Jacket: Old Navy
Cardigan: H&M
Tee: J Crew
Pants and hat: Gap
Boots: Aldo
Necklace: Joe Fresh
Watch: Guess
Glasses: Burberry
Bracelet: Stella & Dot

Did the 90's not have some great music? I used to study to Soundgarden, Nirvana, and Bush. I also loved 90's R&B and hip hop (Boyz II Men, TLC, Kriss Kross!)

Glitterary Girl

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Currently 11/11/15

Reading: I literally just finished a book with the final line being "Eat the cupcakes." Obviously the book was good. It was Tales From the Back Row by Amy Odell - a funny read about behind the scenes in the fashion industry. I feel like it's been a long time since I've talked about books... I've read a lot in the past few months, partly because I'm spending some time on the incline treadmill, and I can read while I burn calories. Other reads include:
For Today I am a Boy - Kim Fu - A solid read about a transgendered youth.
Adult Onset - Ann Marie MacDonald - So sad to say this was disappointing to me. I love her other books. I found the main character just wasn't likable enough for me.
In the Unlikely Event - Judy Blume - So many characters! It was a good read but if you have the choice, read it in hard copy rather than on an e-reader. It's easier to go back and re-read parts that way!
To Lain Roads - JJ Goosens - My brother in law gave me a copy of this book. It was a bit slow to start, but then it picked up and got really funny. An odd ending, but worth the read!
My Townie Heart - Diana Sperrazza - This was kindly sent to me as a review copy. I totally enjoyed it! Raw at times, and certainly not a feel-good read for the most part, but her character development was excellent. I loved that it was set in the seventies as I haven't read many books from that time period.

Writing: The usual blog posts, although I've reduced to two-ish a week. I'm also jotting down ideas for a novel, although I'm not sure I'll ever have time to actually write it. I'm going to try a detailed outline with this one, as my first novel was only loosely outlined. Maybe if I break it down a lot, it will be easier to write in small chunks. I always felt I couldn't get into a good writing groove unless I had a few solid hours, which just doesn't happen very often. The second half of my first novel was written when I was unemployed and had lots of free time!

Clicking: It's funny how I tend to rotate my social media obsessions. Lately, I've been spending more time on Twitter. Not that I'm tweeting much - I'm just lurking. I've also been spending a fair bit of time on Bieber News (I've always been a fan of JB, but even more so with his new music, which is amazing...)

Seeing: I'm sitting here in front of the TV watching DVR'ed episodes of The Social. There may be almost thirty of them on there. I'll watch them eventually.

Smelling: My tea - North African Mint from DAVIDsTEA. It's in the cutest mug from Chapters Indigo that I picked up for $2! The coaster is from Winners/Homesense.

Feeling: Pretty excited today! We're talking about our March vacation and it just so happens that a certain favourite musical artist of mine just released tour dates for LA and Vegas during our week off, which I totally wasn't expecting. #PURPOSETOUR.  Overall, I have been feeling much more awake thanks to B12 injections and a starting dose of Synthroid.

Watching: We're one episode away from finishing season three of Homeland. R and I are watching together which is a must as I get hopelessly lost and need to be reminded of who people are quite often! We also finally started watching this season of Grey's. The dance video for "Sorry" has also been viewed by me approximately 7,000 times.

Wearing: Sweatpants, t-shirt, hoodie and slippers. It's a holiday and a housework day. My skin also needs a make-up break too.

Hearing: R is crunching on carrots and hummus. I'd have some too but it's too annoying with my Invisalign. I'll be ending active treatment in January and moving on to a retainer!

Anticipating: Is it super-geeky of me to be looking forward to a work course I'm taking next week? I'm heading back to my old stomping grounds (Truro) to a palliative care course I've been wanting to take for quite some time now. Christmas season is just around the corner, and I may get a start on my shopping this weekend. For those of you who haven't heard, lululemon will be opening a seasonal store in Halifax Shopping Centre on Nov 16. How convenient!

Follow me on Instagram! @jennifermerlin14

Glitterary Girl

Sunday, November 08, 2015

My Monthly Purchases: October 2015 (2)

Every month, I break down my clothing expenses and share them. I used to have a monthly budget, but partway through 2014, I switched to a quarterly budget of $500. This can be rolled into the next quarter if it's not all spent. My goal is to keep my out of pocket expenses within $2000 a year. Gifts and gift cards don't count towards my budget.

My last post was some of my October purchases, with the rest being shared today. In case you missed it, I was in Scottsdale, AZ and did a bit of shopping while I was there!

T-Shirt: J Crew
Reg $42 on sale for $18
I'm a fan of sparkly things on shirts. 

Sweater: Banana Republic
Reg $80, on sale for $30
This was something I was eying in Canada, so when I saw it south of the border (and deeply discounted) I nabbed it! I'm glad I wandered in BR - I nearly by-passed it.

Pants: Anthropologie
Reg $128, on sale for $20
You know how you're shopping by yourself, and you really have to trust the opinion of the sales person? This is how came home with these pants. They are definately more of a summer item, but I might be able to squeeze a wear out of them before I put them away for the season. They have crazy-wide legs!

Dress: H&M
Reg $15
Cutest dress. Amazing price. Can't wait to wear it!

Shirt: Forever 21
Reg $16
The navy and orange in this shirt caught my eye, and it has a cute upper back cutout. 

Tunic: Forever 21
Reg $18
This is listed as a dress on the tag, but even on a shorty like me, it would be tres short. I'll be wearing this with leggings or pants!

Boots: Aldo
Reg $120, on sale for $54
I've had these boots for MONTHS. I really liked them, but I was hesitant if I'd actually get a lot of wear out of them. So I left them in the box to think about it. Aldo has a great return policy (unlimited with receipt and unworn) so I was able to give them a lot of thought. I finally caved and wore them last week - twice! I'm glad I didn't take them back.

Shoes: Aldo
Reg $80, on sale for $40
This sneaker/loafer hybrid is the best. So comfy, so cute, and they add a few inches! The only thing I worry about is the white part getting dirty. 

Sneakers: Converse
Reg $60 on sale for $23
If you've not been to a Nordstrom Rack, you need to find one next time you're in the US. I could have spent hours (and a ton of moola) in this place. Thanks to R's shopping threshold (45 min), I didn't even have time to try on any clothing. But I did find these gems.... last pair... in my size. 

I also purchased some accessories, but I'm not going to show them all. I bought a few pairs of earrings, a hat, a few necklaces, socks, and a few more things I'm probably forgetting. The total I paid for all of these was $60 (regular price was about $180)

Original cost of items: $739
Price I paid: $294
I saved 60%

My total spend for October was $468. That leaves me $263 left to spend of the rest of the year - including Black Friday and Boxing Day (gulp). Give me strength. 

Glitterary Girl

Monday, November 02, 2015

My Monthly Purchases: October 2015 (1)

Every month, I break down my clothing expenses and share them. I used to have a monthly budget, but partway through 2014, I switched to a quarterly budget of $500. This can be rolled into the next quarter if it's not all spent. My goal is to keep my out of pocket expenses within $2000 a year. Gifts and gift cards don't count towards my budget.

You know those months when you buy so much, you can't possibly talk about it all at once?

October was one of those months, thanks to a lovely trip south (way south) of the border. Scottsdale was a lovely place to shop. We strategically planned to stay at a resort that was within walking distance to two outdoor shopping complexes. R was in training for a few days, so I needed something to do while he was gone.

Kierland Commons was literally across the street, then once you walked to the end of Kierland Commons, you crossed another street and there was Scottsdale Quarter. Both were great places to shop, and there were lots of snack stops and restaurants mixed in as well.

Keep in mind that for budget purposes, I don't convert to Canadian dollars. For this trip, I had US cash purchased when the dollars were close to equal and I paid cash for all my clothing.

I'll show you some of what I bought in this post, then do another post about the rest of it.

Shirt: Madewell
Reg $42 on sale for $30.
My obsession with army green attire continues. I kind of wish I bought more than one of these shirts - they are so soft and I love the sleeve length. Madewell does ship to Canada, but not for free, and you have to pay the shipping to return stuff. They are a sister company to J Crew.

Jeans: Madewell
Reg $128 on sale for $54
My old black Calvin Kleins needed replacing. These jeans are the perfect rise for me, which is so hard to find due to my long torso. Very soft and comfortable, I'd definitely buy another pair of Madewell jeans. The wash I bought isn't available (inky black) but the ones I linked above are the same style.

Dress: H&M
Reg $20.
I really liked the colors in this dress and the button detail at the collar. I haven't worn it yet, but I likely will soon with my brown riding boots.

Dress: H&M
Reg $18
A basic grey dress that is multi-seasonal and can be styled a ton of different ways. I've worn this already to a wedding with black tights, black blazer, and a statement necklace.

Shirt: H&M
Reg $20
I've always liked green and blue together. This shirt has buttons up the back, which is a different touch.

Shirt: H&M
Reg $25 on sale for $13
A nice basic silky shirt that can be dressed up or down.

Sweater: American Eagle Outfitters
Reg $50 on sale for $14
I upsized with this sweater to make sure it was a loose fit. I retired one of my white sweaters this year, so I needed a replacement. This was bought at home.

T-shirt: Gap
Reg $20 on sale for $5
No photo, but I picked up a basic medium grey crew neck. Gap has the best tees for layering. This is the fourth one I've bought this year!

Original value of items: $323
Price I paid: $174
I saved 46%

I'll continue with my October buys in my next post.

Glitterary Girl