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Target has not arrived in Montréal — or Québec — just yet but during a quick trip to Toronto last month, I dropped by the Target location at Cloverdale Mall in west Toronto (Etobicoke).

My reasons for dropping in? Curiosity, to grab a stick of deodorant left at home, and to check out their makeup aisle. Target in the U.S. carries makeup lines like E.L.F. Cosmetics (eyes lips face), Sonia Kashuk, and Pixi, brands that you cannot get at any Canadian retailer as far as I know, though E.L.F. was carried by Zellers before all but three stores were purchased by Target to convert into Target Canada. I also wanted to see how the retailer was doing during its first few months operating in Canada as I had heard of inventory issues where aisles were already out of stock, as well as complaints that the pricing was not as cheap as usual U.S. Target retail prices.

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Have you seen this?

The video is a few days old and is an instalment of the Ask a Grown Man series from Rookie Magazine. You know, the online teen girl magazine founded by Tavi Gevinson, the fashion blogger extraordinaire, who is also editor-in-chief? Rookie Magazine, like Tavi, is both smart and wise, and populated with illustrations, videos, and other submissions from staff and readers, as well as the adorable Ask a Grown Man advice series that features various celebrities answering reader submitted questions regarding their love lives. Jimmy Fallon, Judd Apatow, and Jon Hamm have all participated.

So the video above features Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich of Atoms for Peace (Nigel also produces the work of Thom’s main band, Radiohead). Here, you can watch Thom and Nigel give some sound and practical advice for readers ages fourteen to nineteen on questions such as how to identify whether you like a boy, anxieties about body image, and being too shy to speak to your crush. They share personal wisdom in their answers and the result is great and sound advice for viewers of any age. Even us grown ups.

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On nails: Essie, Geranium

I love nail polish. Many girls and women these days do. In fact, during the recession starting in 2008, many economists expected that lipstick sales would surge as per the Lipstick Effect which posits that the sales of inexpensive indulgences, such as lipstick, increase during lean economic times. Instead, a 2010 study found that the sales of nail polish, not lipstick, actually increased by 0.8% in 2009.

This I do not find surprising. I would say that, as someone who likes to follow fashion and beauty trends, many women including my peers are not as enamoured with lipstick which is not a staple for many grooming routines. We women continue to wear foundation/concealer as base, love to pile on tons of mascara, groom the brows, and maybe some blush and eyeshadow. For the lips? Not lipstick for every day wear, but instead something sheer and more natural like gloss or balm. Lipstick, when used, is reserved for special occasions (or daring fashionistas featured on a street style blog). Amongst all the women I know, I would say I am the only one that still sports lipstick though only for a night out or for events. And when I wear lipstick, it is bright and meant to be seen, never soft and demure.

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On nails: Butter London, Yummy Mummy

But nail polish is a different story. Just about every female friend I have has a nail polish or two to paint at home on a week day night, or bring to their neighbourhood nail salon. When I was working full time, I sported nails in unassertive colours for the sole purpose of looking neat and professional. Nowadays, as a student, I wear nail polish in both brights and neutrals, and more as an accessory. I do not usually pile on the earrings, necklaces, or other accessories on a daily basis. But my nails? They are a relatively cheap and fast way to complete my outfit. And they bring a flash of colour to the sometimes grey transitory season that is the end of winter, or beginning of spring.

My all time favourite is Essie’s Geranium, which can only be found at specialty beauty shops or salons though Essie now carries select colours in drugstores here in Canada. It is a bright, warm coral that I sport all year round (top photo). The orange makes it a non-basic red, and it is flattering on my yellow-based skin tone. I apply three to four coats for maximum coverage and opacity.

A new discovery is Butter London’s Yummy Mummy (second photo from top). Horrible name and quite a high price point, by the way ($17 CDN!). But it is a beautiful, cool beige-grey tinged with purple and fine shimmer. It is quite sheer and applied in two coats, it retains some translucency and looks like your nails, but better. For a completely opaque look and to emphasize its cool undertones, use at least four coats. I surprisingly purchased this product at Indigo bookstore amongst their array of lifestyle products (with a gift certificate, natch).

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Montréal had yet another snow fall in the last couple of days, meaning winter is still making itself comfortably languid in this part of the world. All these months of winter weather has changed my skin into a dysfunctional and irritable mess. I usually have the oily, shiny type and moisturizing lotion was something I used strictly below the chin. But come December, I was digging through my medicine cabinet for something to control my flaky, peeling visage. This winter I even started to experience frequent rashes and other forms of skin irritation from exposing myself to -40°C temperature. My skin demanded attention; it became red, taut, and even sported a matte texture for once. My usual grooming regimen needed an overhaul.

I admit that I already am a skincare junkie. I read news and articles concerning skincare like the way you hope your broker keeps tabs on your mutual funds. My Internet bookmark is set to various beauty sites and I peruse Sephora almost like the way Terry Richardson picks his young models — ravenous and wide-eyed though perhaps I am more restrained. I regularly scan the flyers for my local drugstores so that I know when there are sales and deals for my usual lotions and serums, leaving me no excuse for ever running low on eye cream.

This may seem odd to some people since I keep my makeup to a minimum and seem accepting of many so-called imperfections on my skin: freckles, acne, and pores so huge I could probably stock an emergency supply of water jugs for the apocalypse. I accept that I do not have “perfect” skin and even dismiss such an objective though yes, I do drink the Kool Aid of the beauty myth. That said, I do enjoy many grooming rituals, even the artistic nature of makeup, and I want to feel confident and look presentable. However, that is hard to do when my face has been invaded by an army of red bumps and blisters that the wonders of makeup can only partially address.

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Hence, this winter, I stored away my soaps and scrubs, and looked for something mild and soothing. I had a couple of thoughts on how to go about restoring my skin to a less angry state, which included some measures by two of my friends involving products meant for nursing mothers and their babies (i.e. slathering on nipple cream and lotion for eczema on baby skin — they swear by it!). Well, those options were at the back of my mind, but I decided to try some alternative options first while being as economical as possible.

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Today is the third anniversary of fashion designer Alexander McQueen’s untimely death. If there is a silver lining to this sad event it is Björk’s rendition of Gloomy Sunday, which she sang during McQueen’s funeral in London, U.K. Since the Hungarian composer Rezső Seress penned the song in 1933, many notable singers have covered the song including Billie Holiday and Elvis Costello. However, it is Björk’s version that I find the most beautiful and haunting; I feel like the song was made for her powerful and elastic vocal style. What a great tribute to an immensely talented designer and innovator.

[Image Credit: Still from Motherlover by The Lonely Island – Video link NSFW]

Last summer I was inside a Winner’s department store with my boyfriend, grabbing a few essentials missing during our trip to Toronto. Boyfriend decided that, due to the sweltering Ontario heat, he would buy himself a few short-sleeved shirts. We were in the men’s clothing section when he turned to me and said, “Pick me three shirts.”

I was startled by his request, which was really more like a demand. I do not like making decisions for other people unless I am in a work setting and need to flex my bossy skills. I am Lucy, I like cooperation, I believe that people live their lives in the ways best fit for them, and I would never tell anyone what kind of shirt to wear .

That is not to say that I do not like fashion nor appreciate good design. In fact, I am a fashion and design snob — to myself. I have a fine arts degree, I have British Vogue bookmarked on all my devices and I eagerly await each season’s runway shows. I even had a tendency as a toddler to refuse wearing tops with collars, buttons or polka dots. My parents had to explain to other people that I was “allergic” to these embellishments, and to this very day I still squirm in collared button-downs and squint my eyes at polka dot patterns.

However, I do not mind at all if other people, even my significant other, wears collars, buttons or polka dots. (Well, maybe not the polka dots.) In fact, I do not like making any of his decisions. We definitely discuss joint decisions and bring equal perspectives to any matter. But when it comes decisions that do not affect me or are relatively insignificant to my well-being, I relinquish any responsibility that my boyfriend may try to bring my way. This is truly an example of my life philosophy of “Live and let be.”

However, that summer day, my boyfriend insisted that I pick out his shirts. I sifted through the racks nervously and kept muttering, “Hmm, I don’t know, I don’t know.” Boyfriend grew impatient. “Just pick what you would like to see on me. Pick what you like. I trust you.” I reluctantly came out with a casual navy blue top, a light blue collared button down with a strip of yellow interior lining, and a utilitarian black button down. He took the items to the change room and then had me give him my opinion, which mainly came down to the fit of the tops. We ended up buying two of the shirts.

I was telling a married friend of mine about that particular day last week when she stopped me mid-sentence and said, “Lucy, I buy all of my husband’s clothes. ALL OF THEM.” It is perfectly fine for my friend to buy her husband’s clothes, but I still feel weird about the thought of doing the same for my boyfriend. However, I know that my friend is not an anomaly; I have another friend who nonchalantly buys complete work outfits for her boyfriend from Banana Republic as if she was grabbing a carton of eggs from the grocery store. I would watch her match the merino wool sweaters to charcoal trousers and wonder if, when she came back home with her shopping items, her boyfriend would clap his hands excitedly and exclaim, “You’re the best mom ever!”

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