REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Lee Stafford CHoPstick STYLER Ceramic Curling Wand

Happy hump day! We’re halfway through the week and I have a really fun treat for you all today! I’ll be reviewing one of the most interesting curling wands ever, the Lee Stafford CHoPstick STYLER ceramic curling wand, and giving one away. How’s that for a mid-week surprise!?

For starters, here’s something you should know before I share my review: this review and giveaway is in partnership with Lee Stafford (thank you!). When I tried out this curling wand, I had 2-day old hair with no product in it. I always wait 2 days before styling, as newly washed hair tends to not hold as nicely.

Lee Stafford chopstick styler curling wand review and giveaway
The barrel on this ceramic curling wand is just under half an inch, making it the smallest barrel of any curler I’ve ever owned (including the thinnest end of my tapered curling wand). Having never had tight curls before, I was really excited to try this out.

This curling wand only has a single temperature (200°C) and was fully heated and ready to start curling in less than a minute after turning it on. As I continued to curl, I became more and more impressed with how uniform the tight curls were, and how much volume I was getting from them. Granted, I do have a lot of hair to begin with, so this was a lot more volume than I’m already used to.

My hair, when straightened, hovers around chest-length. After curling, my hair was hovering around shoulder length! It was so fascinating to see what a length difference and to feel like I could rock a lot of versatile hairstyles just from having tight curls with an overall shortened length.

Lee Stafford chopstick ceramic curling wand
I specifically chose to only curl onwards from the temple so that I could style my hair by pinning the curls behind the ears. It’s truly night and day between the volume of my straightened hair vs after using the curling wand.

This curling wand was really easy to use. I appreciated the single temperature (no fuss to have to pick my own heat level) and the safety glove that was provided. Although I really like the results and look of the tighter curls, it took almost double the amount of time to curl my hair with the CHoPstick wand than my regular curling wand. The thin barrel meant being able to curl only small sections of hair at a time. This is a curler that I think would be perfect for those special nights out when there’s a bit of extra time to prep for the night, but I don’t think I would be able to work the almost 30 minute curling session into my daily morning routine.

All in all, I had a really great time testing and reviewing this product! I’m also extra excited to offer one lucky winner a curling wand of their own through the giveaway below. Good luck!

Win a Lee Stafford CHoPstick STYLER Ceramic Curling Wand #33


REVIEW: Betabrand indigo travel jeans

I cannot thank you all for the comments, feedback, and constructive conversations around this weekend’s post about the future of this lil ‘ol blog. I read every single one of the comments, emails, and DMs and cannot thank you enough for the ongoing support. I’m excited to see what 2017 has in store for all of us and will keep the transparency going on my end if you promise to keep the feedback coming too! ;)

With that said, I’m excited to kick off the first review of 2017 with an item that was purchased last year. A few of you requested reviews for items that I purchased that I thought I would love, but in the end may not have kept. Today’s review is highlighting one of these items.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and these jeans were purchased on my own. While Betabrand is one of my ongoing partners here on the blog, I have been a customer and huge evangelist of their products even before we started collaborating on posts.

With that said… Remember this outfit from October 2016?

In trying to avoid wearing leggings (or dress pant yoga pants) all the time on travel days, I pre-ordered these Betabrand Travel Jeans back in April of 2016. They were slated to ship a few months later in July, which would’ve been perfect considering that my travels were going to pick up starting in the middle of the Summer. Unfortunately, due to some fabric manufacturing issues, the jeans didn’t arrive until September. No sweat, though! Still lots of flights and road trips to take these jeans on… or so I thought.

I love the way these jeans were intended by design: 2-way stretch, classic 5-pocket design with 2 sets of invisible zippers for extra pocket storage on the front and back– nothing short of what I would want in a perfect pair of jeans for the road! Sadly, my hopes may have been set too high.

Betabrand travel jeans review via (more…)

REVIEW: and how I found the perfect piece

Thank you all so much for the sweet notes on the last post that featured my holiday party outfit this year! It was such a fun look to pull together, especially since I had never done separates before for a holiday look. Plus, this is only the second crop top I’ve ever owned (surprise, surprise)!

To find this crop top, I used the website I’m excited to partner with Octer today to share an honest review of what my user experience was. If you’re not familiar with Octer, Octer is an aggregated, one-stop shopping site that pulls products all across major retailers (e.g Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Forever 21, etc).

Whenever I have a specific style of clothing in mind (e.g. crop top) and am open to specific details (e.g. colour, crop length, brand, etc), my usual online shopping patterns lead me to having 20+ browser tabs open with products from across multiple retailers. While this helps me to feel like I’ve done “extensive research”, it is also very time consuming and sometimes frustrating– especially when you see the same brand of item sold at different stores for different prices.

With, I was able to see the aggregated search results of a single product type (crop tops) across all major retailer that I would regularly shop at. Below is the first round of results I ran into using the mobile version of the website: review - aggregated shopping
As you can see, there was a pretty wide range of “cropped” items that showed up in the search. The results returned anything from crop tops to cropped jeans to sports bras. This was a little bit frustrating, as I wasn’t exactly ready to pair a sports bra with a satin skirt for the holidays, but I ended up finding a style of crop top with a twisted front in my initial search, which helped me to refine my second round of searching.

Instead of a generic term like “crop tops”, I searched “twist front crop top” to help refine the results. What I ended up with was exactly what I didn’t know I was looking for! The best part was being able to refine the search results by price, helping to make sure that I wasn’t going to break the piggy bank with this year’s holiday outfit. review

Once I found the twist front crop top of my dreams (on the right, but in black), it was a simple interaction of clicking the “Buy Now” button, which directed me straight to Nordstrom’s website to make the final purchase. I loved how seamless the whole experience was.

You’re probably wondering why the phone screenshots include the header bar for my phone. What I really wanted to emphasize was how fast this whole shopping experience was. By aggregating all the items across retailers, it only took me 12 minutes from start to finish to find the item I was looking for! Isn’t that crazy? In my previous methods for having multiple browser tabs open, this process would take at least 30-45 minutes, depending on the number of stores I was shopping across.

If you missed the earlier posts this week, here’s what the final crop top I purchased looks like, styled for my first weekend of holiday parties:

holiday party outfit ideas - statement necklace

Just a quick recap of my shopping experience on Octer:


– Very easy to use interface, especially when shopping from a mobile device
– Great selection of retailers to aggregate results over
– Refine and sorting functionality provided a great way to hone in on results
– Buying process was seamlessly integrated to retailer’s website
– The whole end-to-end shopping process only took me 12 minutes!!


– Although the selection is wide across retailers, there were some retailers in there that I would personally not have purchased from, and it would have been nice to be able to filter these results out
– Since shipping methods and prices vary across retailers, it was sometimes hard to gauge what the final price of a piece would be, especially if I had never shopped from a retailer before and was not familiar with their shipping policies

Overall, I really enjoyed my experience with shopping on Octer. What I love so much about the concept of Octer is the marriage of tech and fashion coming together to make seamless user experiences. The site is free to use, so I would definitely recommend checking it out! The aggregation of products makes online shopping a lot faster and easier for cross-retailer style and price checking from a consumer standpoint!

Thank you again for the partnership to write this review! I was compensated for this post, but all opinions and user experiences described above are 100% my own.


REVIEW: Fujifilm Instax printer

fujifilm instax printer review

They say the best camera is the one you have on you. For me, this would be the camera on my phone. The days of carrying around a DSLR have been rare, as I stopped carrying a purse most days and there is not enough space in my jean pockets for anything more than keys, a wallet, and phone.

I do all of my photo editing on my phone during my commute to and from work. This means having piles of photos just sitting around in the digital space. As someone who loves tangible photos to thumb through, I started making an effort to print and sort my photos after every trip. Since many of the photos I take on my phone aren’t high enough resolution to make quality 4×6 prints, I bought myself a Fujifilm Instax printer (SP-1 edition).

Back when I bought this printer a year ago, it was the only one in the market. There is a newer version available now (SP-2), where most of the reviews online cite the main differences being print speed and a rechargeable battery through USB. With the SP-1‘s current price already starting at $145, I’m personally in the camp of being more than happy to wait a couple extra seconds for a photo instead of spending an extra $40 on the SP-2. That being said, the gold version of the SP-2 is quite pretty!

fujifilm instax mini

Why buy a printer instead of an Instax camera?

Before the printer was released, I bought an Instax camera (the original version of the Instax Wide). I personally picked the wide as my first Instax camera because of the fact that I love the landscape layout. Now with phones being the most common camera and portrait photos highly celebrated, the Instax Mini camera would seem like a better option.

Although cameras are fun and make for spontaneous photos, the biggest pro for using the Instax printer vs a camera is the fact that photos can be printed by anyone who has a smartphone with the Instax Share app installed. Gone are the days of having to carry around an extra camera just for Instax prints! Phones connect to the printer through wifi, which makes the printer awesome to have at parties where all friends can print their favourite photos from the night! Of course, you can lock the wifi connection down with a password in case you’re worried about random people in near proximity printing off your printer. ;)

What if I already own an Instax Mini camera? Should I still get a printer?

One great thing about the Instax printer is the fact that it uses the same film as the line of Instax Mini cameras. If you like having both the spontaneous and perfectly edited photos, the printer can be a great complimentary device to the camera.

As someone who has owned both an Instax camera and printer together for more than a year now, I can honestly say that I stopped using the camera as much as I used to once the SP-1 printer came into my life. I like them for different reasons, but if I could only have one to use for the rest of time, I would pick the printer over and over again.

If you’ve been on the fence for Instax cameras or a printer over the last little while, I’d highly recommend putting one on the wish list this holiday season. Maybe even adding to your shopping list in preparation for the upcoming Black Friday deals!

P.S. This post is not sponsored. I love my Fujifilm Instax printer so much that I will vouch for it time and time again.


REVIEW: 52 Lists for Happiness by Moorea Seal

If you’ve been following my Instagram stories, you may remember a sneak peek of this journal from September’s stories. I shared all the chapters and a bit of the photography on the day before the official launch date.

Moorea Seal 52 Lists for Happiness journal review
Today’s review post is particularly exciting for me because it’s for the second book by one of my favourite Seattle-based shop owners, Moorea Seal. Moorea’s first book, The 52 Lists Project (review post here), was such a personal favourite of mine because of the perfect prompts for self reflection and development. Fun fact: her first book sold out multiple times over the 2015 holiday season, requiring 5+ reprints just to keep the shelves stocked! It’s hard to not fall in love with such a productive journal. I may have gifted 5 copies to friends and family for Christmas last year.

This second book, 52 Lists for Happiness, is even better! Instead of being sectioned by seasons like her first journal, this second one’s “chapters” are in order of reflect, acknowledge, invest, and transform. In her first journal, I jumped from section to section, whereas I’ve been working through the sections in chronological order for this second one.

My partner and I have a weekend tradition of exploring Seattle’s coffee shops and spending a morning unplugged from our phones, laptops, etc. During this time, we bring the Sunday newspaper, books, magazines, or journals to enjoy some unplugged quiet time with each other.

Moorea Seal 52 Lists for Happiness journal prompts

On top of my weekly magazine reads, I’ll pack my 52 Lists for Happiness journal and spend 10 minutes reflecting on my week based on the prompt. Being unplugged helps me to stay focused and grounded during these quiet mornings. What I love the most about Moorea’s journals and prompts are the actions at the end of every list.

Moorea Seal 52 Lists for Happiness journal review

Aside from the content itself, let’s talk about the design! The rose gold foil looks so regal against the floral cover. Similar to her first book, the 52 Lists for Happiness is full of gorgeous photography and illustrations throughout the journal. Not only is this journal an emotional and self-reflective treat, but it’s also a very visual and creatively-stimulating one!

To avoid making the same mistake I did last year of waiting too long to stock up on these journals for the gift giving season, I made sure to stockpile. I purchased 3 copies of the 52 Lists for Happiness journal so that I can avoid scrambling to find them in stock this holiday season!

Moorea Seal 52 Lists project journal review
If you’re looking to get a copy of your own, you can purchase one from Amazon (here), or directly from Moorea Seal’s online store (here).

Disclosure: I received a copy of the 52 Lists for Happiness journal to review in exchange for this post. I did, however, also purchase 3 in addition to the review copy because I just love the journal so much! All opinions are 100% my own.

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