Inspiring Imagery

With the growing popularity of Tumblr, Pinterest, IMGfave, I'm inspired to try a little something different with today's blog post. This is a collection of inspiring images I've found around the web (sources included when possible). If you like it, we'll do it again soon! Let me know if there's a picture you'd like me to include next time.

 Ville Valo
 Kaley Cuoco
Worshipping Winter Citrus - DesignSponge


The One of a Kind Christmas Show and Sale 2012

The One of a Kind Christmas Show & Sale is a great opportunity to buy gifts for family and friends (and a little something for yourself!), support local artisans and get in the holiday spirit.

Since 1975, the show has been a festive fixture in Toronto and now, in its 38th year, it's better than ever-- not to mention the largest consumer craft show in North America.

Here are some of the things you'll find at the show this year:

 Gorgeous handcrafted ornaments, including matryoshkas.
 Cupcakes bath soaps! They smell so good, you'll want to eat them.
 Wooden bookmarks. These would make a great stocking stuffer.
Me, with my media pass.

The show is on until 2 December at Toronto's Direct Energy Centre. For more information, visit The One of a Kind Show website.

All photos by Rebecca Esther. I received a free press pass, but that does not affect my review. All opinions expressed are my own.

How To Get Great Job References

Whether you're looking for a freelance gig or a full-time office job, the (unfortunate) truth is that you'll usually need references. Fortunately, these tips will make finding references a breeze.

1 Ask. Really. Sometimes it's that simple. Send a pleasant email or pick up the phone and say you need a reference for a job you're applying for, and you would really appreciate it if they could help you out.

2 Tell them what you need. Specifics. What does your interviewer want to talk about? Your organizational skills? Your ability to work in a team? Don't leave your reference out of the loop. It's disrespectful, annoying, and simply won't help them help you make a good impression.

3 Return the favour. Simple paying-it-forward and good karma work wonders.

4 Have friends in high places. You know how they say "it's about who you know, not what you know"? Sometimes that's true. Networking is vital to your career.

5 Be great at what you do. Then, asking for a reference is simply getting a friend to rave about how awesome you are.

6 Remember that a little politeness goes a long way. Say please, and be sure to shoot your references a thank you email afterwards.


Won't You Be a Doll? Matryoshkas in Fashion and Decor

Matryoshkas are the height of playful and kitsch. To warm up your winter, add some Russian dolls to your fashion or decor.

Matryoshkas in Fashion

Russian Dolls Decor

Product information at Polyvore

Winter Nail Polish Picks

Cold weather doesn't mean giving pretty manicures the cold shoulder! Here are some of my favourite colours and styles:

Cobalt - If you like bright but not quite neon, this is the perfect shade for you. Essie makes a gorgeous cobalt polish. A shocking colour like this looks best on short, square or rounded nails.

Berry - Berry lips were en vogue this fall, and the trend continues with nails. Bonus: berry shades are flattering on most skin tones.

Nude - Subtle and pretty, no matter your colouring, nude nails are many women's go-to, and it's easy to see why. This shade looks great on long or short nails.

Jewel Tones - Match your tips to your Baroque-inspired jewel toned accessories. Jewel tones are not only a great way to be on-trend, but you'll look luxe without spending lots of cash. Elle Canada's list of polishes is great.

Crimson - Fiery red is classic, sexy and screams vixen. What's not to love?

Fun, quirky, colourful nail art - Add a little whimsy to your winter with glitter, designs, or even candy cane stripes. Lots more ideas are at my Pinterest Nail Art board.

What's your go-to winter mani?

Image from

Music Monday: Love Metal

Listening to HIM will forever fill me with melancholy and nostalgia. I could listen to this band on repeat for hours during my teenage years, and Ville Valo's writing and aesthetic have endlessly inspired me.

This Music Monday, let's listen to some Love Metal:

What's your favourite HIM song? 

Hey Ocean!, Winter Knits & Emma Stone: Link Love: 24.11.12

10 Ancient Beauty Products is an interesting (but slightly horrifying) read from Lip Magazine.

Emma Stone's style is always on point!

"Wear your mood on your finger" with The Bay's mood ring that supports Not Myself Today, a Canadian mental health initiative. A good cause and an excuse to wear fun jewellery? Count me in! 

The right way to care for winter knits. Do you 'follow the rules'?

A rare white falcon was recently spotted at a Scarborough, ON mall. Usually these birds are only found in the arctic!

I love this outfit post from Not So Starving.

Sure, I enjoy reading Cosmo from time to time, but these sex tips? Terrifying. Please take them with a grain of salt (hell, the whole shaker!).

Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock are going to star in a movie together! I'm looking forward to this, aren't you?

I talk about Hey Ocean! a lot, but they're an incredible band, and they have another new video out, sooo... :) "I'm a Heart".

Enjoy your weekend!

Image: Tess Munster & Girlie Show Photography

8 Things To Do This Black Friday

Note: This article is especially for my American readers, who are celebrating Thanksgiving today.

Instead of rushing to the mall tomorrow, here's how you could be spending Black Friday:

1 Shopping online instead. No crowds, so you can take your time. Less stress, so you'll probably spend less money. And you can stay in your pj's.

2 Writing a Things I Love Friday list. Thanksgiving should be every day!

3 Curling up with a great read. Pore over your favourite blogs' archives or choose an exciting novel.

4 Whipping up a yummy, light, post-Thanksgiving brunch for yourself and your family.

5 Taking a day trip to Canada, where we don't observe Black Friday quite as fervently!

6 Looking into setting up a savings account.
Save instead of spending!

7 Skimming through the Polish and Sparkle Link Love archives.

8 Giving yourself a DIY mani-pedi. Go all out with warming scrubs and gorgeous polishes.

How are you going to spend Black Friday?

Image Source: SomeEcards

KStew hates heels; The Internet is pissed

Celebrity gossip rags (and now The Internet) are making a fuss about Kristen Stewart's disdain for high heels.

"Anyone who’s seen photos of Kristen Stewart in one of her perpetually occurring thousand-dollar-gown-and-ratty-sneakers getups... may be surprised to learn that the Twilight star works with a professional stylist".

Actually, no. Most actors have stylists. Also, most of us don't spend our days pondering the lives of said actors.

And really, 'getups'? Only tabloid writers and exasperated fathers who say to their teens "you're going out in that?!" say 'getups'.

Besides, every job has uniform requirements and being a celebrity is no different. But it's not like Kristen eschews heels and fancy dresses completely. She makes her appearance, then changes into her sneakers.

"[The stylist's] name is Tara Swennen, and she wishes Stewart would wear heels just as much as the rest of us".

Really? I don't "wish Stewart would wear heels". I like her laid-back, 'real girl' vibe. Not everyone is into wearing party dresses and stilettos. It's cool that she's confident enough to flaunt it.

"Unlike the rest of us, Swennen actually gets paid to try and convince Stewart to wear heels. And most of the time, it still doesn’t work".

Well damn, doesn't that suck? At least it means that tabloid journalist still has a job, right?

Go for 'Baroque'!

This winter, fashion is all about indulging in rich fabrics, like brocade and velvet, that make you look and feel expensive. Wear luxe jewel tones and your most opulent accessories.

Baroque is incredibly en vogue. It was all over the runaways at Alexander McQueen and Dolce and Gabbana, and now it's in magazines like Elle Canada and Marie Claire.

The history: "Baroque is a period in the history of Western arts roughly coinciding with the 17th century. It's also a style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and abundant amount of details....and an overall sense of awe." [source]

So how can you incorporate this style into your own look?

How to wear Baroque this season:

Choose a show-stopping dress in your favourite Baroque print and colour and pair it with modern, sky-high heels and pared-down accessories. OR Wear a glamorous 17th century accessory with neutral pants or skirt and a blouse.

Some visual inspiration:

Baroque Winter 2012

Are you going to rock the Baroque trend this winter?

Product Review: Alison Claire Natural Skincare

My skin gets awfully dry during winter (I think most of us experience that! Ick.). Fortunately, the lovely ladies at Alison Claire were kind enough to send me a couple of their natural skincare products to review for you.

The Lemongrass Foot Cream's texture is absolutely perfect! It feels amazing on sore feet. It's very moisturizing and rejuvenating, and not nearly as greasy as other products I've tried-- score! The only downside: I don't like the scent, (but then I don't like lemongrass in general). The scent isn't that strong, though, so it's not enough to put me off of using the cream again!

I like the Lavender and Chamomile Body Lotion too (though admittedly not as much as the foot cream!). It smells great, is also non-greasy and very pleasant to apply.

Bonus: the minimalist packaging is fresh and pretty.

Alison Claire herself (the company's founder and a natural healthcare practitioner) calls the products "so pure you could eat them"-- and after hearing about the vanilla coconut body butter, I'm pretty tempted!

Final thought: I really like this company:They have lovely products. They have great twitter presence that's friendly and engaging. And their website is easy to navigate (and easy on the eyes), so shopping is made to be a really positive experience. It's definitely worth checking out their site and following them on twitter.

Full disclosure: Alison Claire provided me with product samples in exchange for this honest review. All opinions are entirely my own. 

Image Source

Hello, "Polish & Sparkle"!

This blog is a work in progress. Proof: its name has changed for the 3rd (and last!!!) time since its inception 2 and half years ago.

And as much as I'd like to say I'm a polished, perfect person, I have to admit... I'm a work in progress, too.

I've learned a lot, running this blog. Most notably:

1 Creativity doesn't come just because you want it to. Quite the contrary. If you wait for your muse to appear, she probably won't.

2 Churn out a whole bunch of ideas, and you'll say something brilliant (eventually). Keep working at it, and a gem will be borne.

3 Honesty is vital. I'm kind of embarassed by all the times I've changed things up here. But it's important to me to be transparent with you. Besides, some of those new things have really stuck, not mention they've been really great.

So back to the name change. Polish and Sparkle -- because those are the two things, I've learned, that every girl needs. Polish: refinement, class, sophistication. Sparkle: fun, glitter, glamour, whimsy. It's like yin and yang or chocolate and pretzels: put together two different but complementary things, and they'll shine.

- Polish is business, elegant, time-consuming (but totally worth it).
- Sparkle is fun, flirty and exciting. A perfect match.

More importantly, Polish and Sparkle are two traits every woman can have, even if she's battling a chronic or mental illness. I'd like to dedicate myself and this blog to erasing the stigma attached to invisible disabilities, to sharing my struggles and helping you with yours. You can live the life you've dreamed, no matter what obstacles you encounter.

Other than the name,the niche and my new, improved, deliciously beefed-up editorial calendar, this site hasn't changed at all! My attitude- optimistic, witty and helpful- hasn't changed, either. Your (near-) daily dose of inspiration, encouragement, news and fun is here to stay!

I love you. Thank you for standing my me-- and this site. It's all for you!

-Rebecca Esther

Link Love 17.11.2012: Public Transportation, Scrub Soaps & Apple Cake

Hey, it's Saturday! Enjoy this week's links:

I really liked this interview with Kristen Stewart.

Amanda Palmer's open letter to PETA about their latest ad campaign.

I love all things Oz, so I'm looking forward to Disney's Oz: the Great and Powerful. How about you?

How to get verified on Pinterest.

Scrub Soaps are ah-mazing! I'm enjoying the scent and texture of Bath and Body Works' new cashmere one. although I find it leaves some residue, which is kind of icky. Good to know there are more options to try!

This easy apple cake contains only 4 ingredients and looks delish!

Have you seen the Target + Neiman Marcus holiday collection look book yet? What do you think?

Cracked's list of 6 Unspoken Rules of Public Transportation is pretty amusing, not to mention accurate.

Julianne Moore looks amazing as L'Oreal's newest spokesperson. I have such a crush on her!

Torre Deroche makes a great point about people's reactions to solo travel:

"...I trust that other adults are capable of doing their own research in order to make sensible decisions for their lives. When somebody is floating sky-high in a bubble of inspired bliss, I don’t go shooting at them with missiles of death and fear.
Adventure may be risky, but so is life. It comes with a 100% chance of death.
And while I’m touched that people take time out of their day to offer free safety tips and third-hand horror stories, I don’t understand why morbid warnings are a socially acceptable reaction to talk of travel and adventure".

Work Save Live is giving away an iPad mini!

Kris Atomic's photos of models reading is pretty cool.

Have you tried Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics' Lip Tar? I'm tempted to!

And finally, in Lip Magazine, Sarah Fortuna says:  

"The ultimate tip for building a happy community – embrace the position you acquired as soon as you moved in. You are a member of your local community, just as much a part of it as anyone else with the same postcode. You’ve got a network of people around you who care about the streets you live on, which is pretty nice when you think about it".

I find that empowering.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Image: Roxi Dlite

Things I Love Friday 16.11.2012

Hey darlings! 

I'm at home with an awful cold (which I've complained about sooo much already. Ugh!). In an effort to get better, I'm doing this stuff as well as focusing on being grateful for everything awesome that's happened this week. Join me?


♥ Sorry to be so vague about this one, but... Really exciting things are happening here, to be unveiled soon! Eeeee!!

♥ I was invited to cover the One of a Kind Christmas Show (November 22-December 2) for Fashion Beauty Body Image. I've covered the show before, and it's always fun-- and a great place to do some holiday shopping.

♥ I'm feeling especially grateful for my parents today. I know they're far from perfect, but they instilled a lot of incredible values in me, gifts I'll continue to discover for years to come. I'm very blessed.

Little things which made me smile:

♥ Tomato soup... yummy. ♥ A really sweet email from Shirley 
♥ Got my Glymm box today! It's fun to get samples of cosmetics in the mail every month. ♥
My Cat is a Dick. *giggle* ♥ Marilyn Wann's HAES talks. She's brilliant. ♥
♥ Oh my goodness, I love imgfave! ♥

How about you? What made your week?

P.S. If you're thinking about doing your own TiLT/F list, you should read what Gala Darling said about her experience:

"...learning to see the blessings in your life is one of the fastest ways to feeling true, genuine happiness. I’ve been writing my Things I Love Thursday column for six years now — that’s crazy! — & it really helps me keep perspective. It is so easy to grumble & grizzle, to be pedantic & pout, but it takes skill & discipline to look on the bright side.

My weekly TiLT lists serve a few purposes. Firstly, it gets me to focus on the positive, & not just in some abstract way: it forces me to really sit down, assess my life, & shine a light on the best parts of it. Secondly, it serves as a kind of “happy diary”, a way of chronicling & remembering my life — which I need, because my memory is not what it used to be! 

I’m sure that to some people, my writing of a public gratitude list is weird & incomprehensible. I don’t write this to boast; instead, I write it to hopefully persuade you to do the same. When I commit myself to doing this every week, out loud & in public, maybe that will inspire you to commit in a similar way.

Writing a list of your blessings doesn’t have to take a long time — it could be as short as a tweet! — but it is an instant mood picker-upper, & the long-term effects from doing it on the regular are immense & wonderful". 

Isn't that gorgeous?

Under the Weather? Get Better ASAP!

Hey, lovely readers! My online presence has been somewhat sparse the past few days, because I'm sick! Fever, congestion, migraine, coughing, runny nose... The whole bit. I'm sure that some of you are a little under the weather too, so here are my top tips for getting well ASAP:

-Take it easy when you have a cold! This should be common sense, but it's imperative to rest (mind and body) if you're sick. I know the world is fast-paced, especially if you live in the city or have a high-power career. Being productive and "on" all the time is important. But you should come first. Always.

-If you *have* to be at the office, drink lots of hot tea, suck on cough lozenges and try to sneak in a power nap.

-Go to bed early. You need your beauty sleep, especially when you don't feel well.

-Cheer yourself up. I tend to feel blue when I've got a cold, but sweets, Netflix and snuggling my cats makes it all better. Find a little way to pamper yourself. It could make all the difference.

-Have some soup (matzah balls optional). Jewish grandmothers know best, in this scenario. I don't have any in the house, so my mom made me tomato soup, which was perfect!

-Lastly: if you don't start to get better within the week, see the doctor. Obvious, but so important. Going to the doctor isn't fun, but suck it up, just to be sure your cold is nothing serious.

How do you take care of yourself when you're sick?

Link Love 10.11.12: Jennifer Lawrence, Crazy Breakfasts & Beauty Products That Look Like Sex Toys

Happy Saturday! Here are this week's links:

This article from the New York Times leads me to believe we're finally making a little progress, when it comes to accepting women's gorgeous, naturally curvy (read: sometimes fat) figures.

Jennifer Lawrence looks amazing in Elle magazine! I can't wait to see her new movie, and this just adds to my excitement. How about you?

Very entertaining: 10 beauty products that look like sex toys!

The Happy HAES Holiday webinar looks great! Bonus: it's pay-what-you-can.

I adore this list of 7 things you should never say to someone who works from home. Accurate!

I'm seriously laughing out loud because I can't believe anyone ever thought this breakfast was a good idea!

It Girl? Bombshell? American Beauty? Whichever you are, a gorgeous mani/pedi will do wonders for your (physical) beauty and self-esteem! Become a Julep Maven to get incredible deals on amazing polishes and other products that I swear by, plus a monthly subscribers' only gift box. [Affiliate link].

Just for fun: a couple giveaways you can enter, if you're so inclined: Favorite Things Giveaway Blog Hop & 1-Year Blogoversary Giveaway! Apple iPad Mini, $100 Amazon GC, $50 Paypal Cash!

My recent posts at other sites:

Great Quotes from the 2012 Presidential Candidates at Stars and Stripes, Eh?

Be Kind to Your Friends & Yourself: 10 Ways at Kind Over Matter

How To Cope With Travel Anxiety at

Enjoy your weekend!

Image Source?

Snapshots: NYC & DC October 2012

I still can't stop talking about the incredible time I had on my trip! Whether you're planning your own trip to NYC and DC or simply want to live vicariously through mine, here are the highlights:

New York City

-Checking out the amazing exhibits at MoSex
-Exploring Greenwich Village ("The Village").
-Stagekittening class with Lefty Lucy at the New York School of Burlesque
-Authentic New York-style cheesecake at Good Fellas
-Staten Island ferry & Statue of Liberty
-The metro
-Times Square
-Hilariously (and somewhat frighteningly), Elmo is a panhandler!!

Washington, DC & Alexandria and Arlington, VA

-Toured Old Town Alexandria (my favourite part of the state of Virginia)
-Brunch with Lexi and Susan
-Bought new dresses
-Visited the Smithsonian Museum of American History. My mom hung out with Kermit the Frog!
-We flew Porter Airlines home to Toronto, which included a fabulous glass of red wine en route.

And the little things that added that special something to my trip:

♥ Strangers complimenting my pink sequined tote bag ♥ Trader Joe's cinnamon whisks ♥ 
Taking DC's metro (without getting lost!) ♥ My first spa pedicure (!!!)
♥ Fresh peaches (they taste like summer!) ♥ Glittery, skull-patterned manis ♥
Have you ever visited these destinations?

New York State of Mind: A NYC Playlist

If you're in a New York state of mind, I have the perfect playlist for you! This is what I listened to during my last trip to the Big Apple:

Note: I feel this post is especially pertinent after Sandy's destruction. Even after a hurricane battered the city, it's still one of the most magnificent the world over. While you're listening to this playlist, if you have any time or money to spare, check out these post-Sandy volunteer opportunities or where to donate to help those affected by Sandy. Thanks!

♫ Around the World - Buddy Greco (featured on the Pan Am soundtrack)

Around the world / I've searched for you / I traveled on when hope was gone / To keep a rendezvous.

♫ Sherry - Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons

Technically, I suppose this is more of a New Jersey song than a New York song, but to each her own, right? Besides, it's so dance-y!

♫ Manhattan - Ella Fitzgerald

How can you go to Manhattan and not listen to this song?! I already sang its praises here.

♫ Downtown - Petula Clark


♫ New York State of Mind - Barbra Streisand

Another classic!

♫ Empire State of Mind - Jay-Z & Alicia Keys

A new classic?

♫ Rent - Anthony Rapp & Adam Pascal (Rent Official Broadway Cast Recording)

The title song from the NYC musical.

♫ New York, New York - Frank Sinatra

It's up to you, New York, New York!

♫ The Edge of Glory - Lady Gaga

This song is epic, just like the city. Plus, it's by a native New Yorker.
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