Saturday, April 25, 2015

Bomb City Beauty - Body Butter & Lip Balm


I was recently contacted by Starla - Bomb City Beauty creator to try out a couple of her organic and delicious smelling body butter and lip balm products and I'm so glad I did!  These things feel awesome on the skin and what makes it even better is that they are all natural, handmade  and good for you!

Bomb City Beauty originates from B.C. Canada and I'm all about helping out other Canadian companies and start ups...I think it's really important for us to try and support local and small businesses vs. always shopping for the big name brands.  If you're in Salmon Arm BC you can get the products straight from the source at Shuswap Health Foods and Bar but if you don't find yourself in Salmon Arm BC no worries Starla also has an Etsy page where you can buy her yummy products and she's working on a website too (she ships worldwide)!

I got to try out the Top Secret Strawberry Body Butter and the Strawberry Spark Lip Bomb...all the names have little references to bombs, spies or that sort of thing. As I mentioned before the products are all Organic, Made to Order, Homemade and Never Tested on Animals so you know you aren't getting something that has been sitting around on shelves for mths.

The body butter lists its ingredients as:  Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Coconut Oil, Jojoba Oil, Vitamin E, Organic Fragrance Oils & H20...so nothing we can't pronounce and no chemicals or additives...just all good natural stuff.  It melts onto the skin really nicely and feels very moisturizing but not too oily..although I would leave a few minutes for it to absorb before you put your clothes on.

The lip bomb's ingredients are also kept simple and easy: Beeswax, Coconut Oil, Shea Butter, Organic Strawberry Oil

Some of the other flavours of Lip Bomb include: Mint Explosion, Vanilla Fuse, Cinnamon Sizzle, Pineapple Pow, Licorice Wick, Mint Cocoa Charge & Orange Blast - $4.00/each

Other Body Butters: Chocolate Espionage, Peppermint Vendetta & Restraining Order (Fragrance Free) - 50ml @ $9.98 150ml @ $19.98

Definitely worth trying and they feel and smell delicious...I actually kind of want to eat them lol!


Friday, April 24, 2015

Yorkville Engagement Shoot

About a mth ago I did a trial w/ my one upcoming bride Katherine for her May wedding.  She had decided to schedule her engagement shoot the same day as the trial which I find can be a good thing as long as you don't mind having the same look for your shoot as your wedding.

Katherine wanted a grey black smokey eye and a fancy Kate Middleton inspired updo so I wanted to make sure it was okay for the shoot but she explained she was doing a fancy shoot in Yorkville so it actually all complimented itself perfectly.

Engagement shoots are the perfect time for couple's to get comfortable and practice in front of the camera as well as get to know their photographer.  It's also a great chance to see how makeup reads differently on camera than it does in real life.  The look you might have thought was super dramatic in person actually reads fairly natural on camera.

That's actually what Katherine decided after the shoot,  She realized she wanted the eye more intense and the lips brighter which I'm more than happy to accommodate on the day.  At the trial Katherine wasn't even sure she wanted to wear the fancy blue dress she had picked out for the shoot b/c she thought it might be a bit too much but I said you have fancy hair and makeup you have to have a fancy outfit...plus it's Yorkville!

I'm so glad she went w/ the dress b/c the pics are just gorgeous thanks to the awesome photography of Jessilynn Wong!  Very excited to work w/ her on Katherine's wedding in May b/c if these pics are any indication of things I know the wedding pics will be amazing!









Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Importance of a Professional Makeup Artist for Corporate Shoots

 I do quite a bit of corporate work...I'd like to do more but overall with my experience I definitely say I understand the needs of corporate clients when it comes to makeup and hair.  Unfortunately, not everyone understands the value of hiring a professional makeup artist for their corporate head shot shoot or video production.

A lot of times people in the corporate world don't understand the difference using a professional artist will make in their pictures and videos.  It's not their fault.  Typically, their work is about business or numbers or computers etc. Not exactly the most beauty focused fields lol.  What exactly do they know about the benefits of hiring a professional makeup artist.  That's why it's up to us as professionals to help educate them.  In fact it actually holds a lot of the same principals and facts as to why brides should hire professionals are their day too!

I thought it might be smart to outline some of the important reasons and benefits as to why businesses should hire professional makeup artists for their photo or video needs.

Reasons to Hire a Professional Makeup Artist

1. Makeup Reads Differently On Camera - You may need more makeup than you typically wear day to day.  A lot of women think that the makeup they put on for work is perfectly fine for pictures or videos but the camera takes away about 30% of the makeup.  That's why you need to "up it" a bit but still look professional.  A makeup artist will know how to keep you looking like you while still enhancing your look enough that it will show up on camera.

2. They Use Professional Camera Friendly Products - I'm sure it's obvious to most but not all makeup is created equally.  A lot of consumer products are great for day to day use but they aren't necessarily "camera friendly" meaning they might create a flash back (white face) for pictures or just not be strong enough for film or pictures.  A professional makeup artist will know what products work for what situation and will have a kit stocked with camera quality products that they've tried and tested out so they know exactly how they react and what works best depending on the lighting, setting and type of picture or video you're working on.

3. They Will Be Available For Touch Ups - When you hire a professional they will typically be just off camera and ready in case you need a lip touch up, powder for shine or to fix fly away hairs.  Small things like this may not seem like a big deal at the time but they will be huge on camera and ultimately very distracting.

4. It's An Investment For Your Business - You are already investing so much into your pictures or video it only makes sense to make it the best you possibly can.  There is not point in investing all of this money into a project if you're not going to look your best in it.  If the star element of the picture or video doesn't look good it doesn't matter how much money was spent on the photographer/videographer or production value the project will ultimately look cheap and unpolished and I don't think anybody wants to have that as their last impression.

5. How Many People Will See These Pictures/Videos? - These pictures and videos will probably be around for a long time and hopefully be seen by thousands of people.  It's important that the impression you leave people with is a good one.  If you look disheveled or unpolished that's the impression you're going to leave clients or potential business contacts with.  If you're going to use these pictures or videos for several years it's only smart to make them look the best and most
professional you can.

6. You'll Feel More Confident - When you hire a professional makeup artist they come to you.  You don't have to worry about anything on the day with regards to your hair and makeup.  The convenience of it all can't be beat and it can be a very relaxing and pampering experience to get your hair and makeup done which in turn can raise your confidence and reduce your anxiety which will both show on camera.

7. Men Need Makeup Too! - This is actually a big one!  Most men don't realize the benefit of having their makeup done for photos or videos.  It's true that day to day the average man does not wear makeup and because of that a lot of men see it as something only women need for pictures or film but that's not true. As mentioned above the camera picks up small details and magnifies them.  A lot of men just like women have redness in their skin or dark circles under their eyes.  These sorts of things can make a man look tired or unpolished on camera.  Now of course the level of makeup needed on a man compared to a woman is very different but even just some concealing of redness or dark circles and a bit of powder foundation to reduce shine can make a a world of difference in photos.

8. It's More Affordable Than You Think - A lot of times budget and money are huge factors in this sort of thing but when you break it down the cost of hiring a professional makeup artist for your shoot or video is actually a small percentage of the total cost.  Plus if you think hiring a professional is expensive imagine the costs if you need to do a re-shoot because the first shoot wasn't good enough!

Now like any professional or business there are different levels of skill and quality.  It's important for people to do their research before hiring someone.  Like the saying goes - "You think a professional is expensive, try hiring an amateur" ;)

Monday, March 30, 2015

Wedding Hair - Why Using Your "Usual" Stylist May Not Be The Best Choice


So as anyone who reads this blog knows I do A LOT of weddings.  Sometimes I do just makeup, sometimes it's just the hair and sometimes it's both makeup and hair.  The more I do weddings and the more confident I get w/ both bridal makeup and hair I will be honest the more I enjoy having complete control over the entire look...that means being in charge of both the makeup and hair (at least for the bride).

Of course that is not always the case and I'm totally cool with that but I will say there has been more than one occasion where I have thought "Oh she would have looked better if she just let me do her makeup or her hair" when I haven't been in charge of both services.  

A lot of times when I'm not booked for hair it's because the bride has opted to use her "Usual Stylist" for her wedding day hair.  Now I'm not going to say that this is always a bad decision because it's not - there are plenty of salon hairstylists that are good at wedding updos and styling...but there are also a lot that aren't!

I think a lot of times brides feel "guilty" if they don't hire their regular hairstylist for their wedding day or they just assume they are a hair stylist and they cut/colour my hair great therefore they'll do my wedding hair great...but that's not always the case.  Do not feel like you are "cheating" on your usual stylist if you don't use them on your wedding day.  

So this isn't to say you shouldn't hire the person that cuts/colours your hair it's just important to ask some questions and make sure they'll be the right artist to achieve you wedding hair dream.



Here's some questions to ask or things to think about:

Do they do weddings often/Have they done a lot of weddings in the past? Ask your stylist this don't just assume they do.  There are a lot of hairstylists nowadays that don't want to do weddings or almost never do weddings.  Either because they don't like them or their specialty isn't updos or wedding styling.

How comfortable are they with Wedding Hairstyles? Some salon stylists are amazing and cut and/or colour but you ask them to do an updo or half updo and it's just not their forte.  This doesn't make them a bad stylist it just means it's not one of their strengths.  If they aren't strong in updos do you really want to risk their skills on your wedding day.

Are they willing to come to you on your Wedding Day? Weddings typically happen on Saturdays which of course is the busiest day in the salon.  Are they willing to leave the salon for several hours to work your wedding w/ you and your bridal party or do you have to go to the salon? 

 If you have to go to the salon how will this effect your timing for your wedding day?  Is this going to cause more stress or anxiety for you having to travel to and from the salon vs. getting your services in your home or a hotel where the artist comes to you?  More and more brides are opting to have mobile services for this reason.  It's just so much more stress free to have an artist or team come to you and your girls where you are!

If the stylist comes to you or you go to the salon what's the timing like? I've also seen several times where b/c the bride wants her usual stylist to do her hair she's had to get it done HOURS before the ceremony or pictures b/c that's the only time the stylist could fit her in.  Either the stylist came to her and did it super early before their Saturday salon hours or the bride went to the salon super early in the morning.  If you have an updo this might not be the end of the world as they are typically pretty sturdy if done properly but if you are wearing your hair down and you get it done hours before pictures or the ceremony you have a much stronger chance that they hair is going to fall and not look like you had hoped by time the ceremony comes around. 

Remember to ALWAYS do a trial with your usual stylist! If you do want to use your usual stylist make sure to book a hair trial with them...don't just chance it and think they will do exactly what you want on the day b/c they are use to cutting/colouring your hair.  I personally find even with my own work I do a better job on the hair the second time around.  I figure out little adjustments and things I want to fix for the wedding day.  The trial is as much a practice round for me as it is for the bride so it's VERY important!

If you aren't happy with the trial DON'T feel obligated to still use your regular stylist!  I've seen and heard this time and time again.  A bride does a trial w/ their stylist and they leave unhappy but then somehow magically hope/expect that their wedding day will turn out better.  Speak up at your trial.  If the stylist isn't getting your vision let them know so they can try to fix things they aren't mind readers lol!  If they still don't get it and you are doubting they'll get it on the wedding day FIND ANOTHER STYLIST FOR THAT DAY!!!  It's one of the most important days of your life and you're spending so much money on every detail you HAVE to hopefully LOVE...at least LIKE your hair!  DO NOT stick w/ a stylist if you are judging their wedding hair skills.  It will cause more stress for you and you'll actually resent them later if you hate your wedding hair.


Like I said above just b/c a stylist is amazing at cutting and colouring doesn't mean they understand or can execute wedding hairstyles.  It's a VERY different skill set for a stylist and truthfully a lot of stylists don't get that much practice at it and it's not heavily taught in school.

I don't cut or colour hair but I specialize in wedding hair...you wouldn't want me to cut or colour your hair b/c it would be a disaster but I feel pretty confident doing your wedding updo lol!

I've had it happen multiple times where a bride who I was doing makeup for contact me after and ask to do a hair trial b/c her regular stylist just didn't seem to get her vision.  I've also seen brides cry b/c they had their regular stylist do their hair while myself or my team has done their bridesmaids' hair and it's looked better.  And of course I've seen salon hairstylists do work that's amazed me where I've wanted their card lol!

All I'm saying is think about what's right for you on your wedding day and don't feel obligated to make a choice b/c you feel pressure or a sense of loyalty if it's not what's right or convenient on your wedding day.  

Friday, March 27, 2015

Collectiion XXII - Anti-Aging Skincare

As I get older I'm more and more concerned w/ aging and the signs of aging showing up on my face in particular.  So whenever I get the chance to try out new anti-aging products I of course jump on that.  Awhile back I was asked to test out some new products from a company called Collection XXII who are based in Quebec but formulated in Switzerland.  They are new to the anti-aging market just coming on the scene in 2009 w/ a single product.  Since then they've taken the past 4 years to formulate 4 products in total and are continuing to develop more.  I like when brands take time to develop and formulate a couple of good products vs. throwing a lot of mediocre products on the market just to create a "full line" to retail.

So all of their products are infused w/ their 4 "Secrets" which include: Collagen, Cavier, Gold & Grape Seed Oil.

Collagen - Helps skin's elasticity and helps prevent wrinkles. As we age collagen in the skin breaks down creating wrinkles, saggy skin and age spots.

Gold - Absorbs into the skin and creates a healthier glow.  Collection XXII gold flakes help open up the pores which helps the collagen penetrate the skin which makes for a more effective treatment.

Cavier - Helps to speed up the natural  production of collagen in the skin.  It's also rich in vitamins A, D, B1, B2, and micro-elements Co, Cu, P, Si, Zn.  Cavier extract helps firm the skin and provide optimal hydration.

Grape Seed Oil - Provides protection against sun damage and the astringent properties can tighten the skin.  It can really help with things like acne, dermatitis and eczema.  It also helps reduce age spots, stretch marks, sunburns and wrinkles.

The first product I got to try out was the Collagen Eye Mask XXII.  The patch targets the delicate area under the eyes and it helps reduce wrinkles, fine lines and diminish dark circles and puffiness. Pretty much issues all women (and men) face.  I really liked these patches and definitely felt that they were hydrating to the eye area.  I can't speak about any long term results as I only had the one set of patches to try the one time but I definitely felt like the skin around the eye was softer and more moisturized.  I'd definitely use these on or recommend these to brides on their wedding day.  A lot of brides don't get a lot of sleep before their wedding so I think a product like this would be great for moisturizing and de-puffing the eye area which would allow for better and smooth makeup application after.

I also got the chance to try Collagen Lip Mask XXII.  This patch also reduces fine lines and wrinkles by softening and hydrating the skin.  I had never used a patch like this before so this was unique to me.  Again like the eye patch I found it very hydrating.  I don't personally have a lot of wrinkles around the mouth area so I don't know if it would benefit me in that way but I imagine for someone who is a smoker something like this might be very beneficial to them as they tend to develop more or premature wrinkles around the mouth area.






Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Theatrical Wedding - Young People's Theatre

Last November I had the pleasure of working with Rebecca...probably one of the kindest and sweetest brides I had last season.  Right away during the trial we hit it off and actually had a few hidden connections!  We actually both studied Theatre at York University but didn't know each other b/c we were in different sections of the program and she was a year younger than me plus my friend Victoria actually stayed w/ her mom when Victoria was touring her one woman show this past Summer in London!  Not only that but when Rebecca spoke of her fiance Stephen she mentioned he was a Dramaturg at Young People's Theatre and I nodded my head...she asked if I knew what that was and I did (b/c of my theatre background...this was before we realized we both went to York lol)...I'm probably one of the only makeup artists (or non theatre ppl) to know what a dramaturg is so we definitely had a chuckle over that and she joked her fiance would want her to hire me just on that face alone lol!  Btw a dramaturg is someone who deals mainly with the research and development of plays and operas.  

So right off the top we obviously got along great...plus the trial went superbly (of course) so she locked down the day right away!  Which was actually great for her as I had a few brides interested in the date (and I actually ended up doing two weddings that day)...yes even in November ppl are getting married in Toronto!

Rebecca and Stephen's whole weddings was so unique and perfect for them and I really loved that aspect of it!  They actually met while working at Young People's Theatre and even though Rebecca no longer works there Stephen still does so they actually got to use the space for some of their wedding pictures and ceremony which they got to do on the stage!  How perfect is that for two people working in the theatre world!  I believe the show that season was To Kill A Mocking Bird so the courtroom stage set up was pretty perfect for a wedding ceremony lol!

For Rebecca's look I created a really beautiful side updo w/ a few small accent braids and overall I was really happy w/ how full I made her hair look b/c it was actually pretty fine in reality.  For her makeup we did a gorgeous natural champagne/brown eye w/ a winged liner and flared false lash and made the look really pop w/ a nice bold vibrant magenta lip!

I really love these pics that Mike Pochwat took b/c I felt he did a great job capturing some wonderful behind the scenes moments as well as the uniqueness of Rebecca and Stephen as a couple!  Can't wait to add these to my site!

 Love the eyes here!






Yeah...my station is usually a disaster after a wedding...I'm hygienic but not neat lol!



 Really wish my hand wasn't in the way of this shot as it's really beautiful lol!

 My usual "work face" aka "bitch face" lol

In the workshop of Young People's Theatre






On a final note I should add that Rebecca also wrote one of the kindest and most detailed reviews I've ever read...seriously!...how nice is that!?!

Short Version: Jessica is amazingly talented , and I think everyone should hire her!
Long Version:
I booked her for hair and make-up services for myself and my bridal party for my November 1, 2014 wedding. She was absolutely amazing, and I am so glad she was able to work my wedding. She made my wedding party and me look absolutely stunning. She created a look for me that was both natural and dramatic/vintage glam, which was exactly what I wanted and perfectly fit with the look and feel of my wedding.
My bridal party was completely composed of people who never ever wear make-up, and Jessica ensured that everyone had a natural look. She was also able to calm their fears of looking overly made-up (fears which were completely alleviated when they looked in the mirror). My make-up artist cousin raved about how everyone looked.
Beyond the looks, Jessica is utterly professional. She was always quick to respond to emails and provided me with thorough, detailed information. Jessica and her assistant were also amazing presences to have around on the wedding day. In addition to raving about their skill, my bridal party raved about what awesome people they were and what a great energy the added to the day. Honestly, it was like adding two more friends to the room. I really feel that Jessica and Amber helped me relax as I was getting ready.
Not only would I recommend Jessica to a friend, I loved her work (and her) so much, I plan to treat myself to future stylings when I have a special event. Why should my wedding day be the only day I look that good?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Miracle 10 Skincare and Peel


A few mths ago I had the pleasure of attending an awesome blogger event at the Miracle 10 Skincare Spa in Yorkville.  During the event we got to learn about the latest in skincare and makeup trends as well as have your own skin analyzed and assessed by the Miracle 10 skincare specialists.  At the end of the event we all received full size bottles of the Miracle 10 skincare system based on our skin type and needs.  We also were lucky enough to get a complimentary skin peel to be booked on another day! So overall I have to say a pretty awesome event w/ some pretty awesome swag!

I went away to Central America for 3 wks right after the event so I didn't want to start using the skincare system until I got back.  Plus I had to wait until the New Year to book my first peel b/c I was going to be in the sun a lot on my trip and you can't do a peel if you're going to be/or have been in the sun a lot.

For products in our gift bag we got to try out:

Cleanser - Cleansing dirt, oil, makeup etc. from the skin
Solution - For exfoliating and toning the skin
Sunscreen - Water and Sweat resistant, non-comedogenic (won't clog pores) and offers protection against premature aging and sun damage
AHA Gel - Advanced exfoliator that reduces build up of dead, lifeless skin.  Helps brighten the skin and improve the overall tone and texture of the skin - probably my fav. product in the system - also please be aware it may cause a bit of burning or itching when it's first applied (at least it does for me)
Light Serum - Hydrates and Soothes the skin.  Also helps to reduce fine lines and doesn't leave a greasy residue which is great for oily skin

So as you can see they were MORE than GENEROUS with their swag bag!  Also, feel free to check out their FAQs - it has lots of great answers about the products!

Anyone who reads this blog knows I do not have great skin...in fact especially considering my age I'd say it's quite problematic :( and I'm not going to lie here...it took about a mth for my skin to get use to the system and during that time my skin actually got worse...like a lot worse than it's been in ages! So bad that when I went to get my peel the woman giving it actually called in another esthetician to get a second opinion on some of the very deep/painful pimples I was getting.  They both agreed that I should stick w/ the system as it was probably just really deep cleaning my skin and pulling out/drawing the the surface a lot of the dirt, congestion and bacteria that's deep within my skin.

My skin has improved a lot since that first peel.  In fact I've now had 3 peels at the clinic and I really like what it's doing for my skin!


I've never actually had a peel before a couple of mths ago so it was a really cool process to me and my esthetician was great about talking me through all the steps and explaining what each step was for and the benefits of it.  I actually just had another peel yesterday and this time I took some pics and video of the process (which is also why there was a delay in my post...I wanted to wait till I had another peel).

It first started w/ cleansing of the skin and then next we did an optional (but actually my favourite) step called dermaplaning - it's an exfoliation treatment where a very fine blade is run over the face in order to remove dead skin and fine vellus hair (peach fuzz).  Afterward, I do find my makeup goes on the skin smoother and no you don't have to worry about hair growing back thicker or coarser on the face.

I actually took a short video of the procedure which you can see here!

video

After that the peel is applied to the skin.  I started w/ the most gentle lactic peel but last time I did the 30% Glycolic Peel..my skin is red for a bit after the procedure but it's nothing a little makeup can't fix.  And it's not that painful.  A little stingy but it's only on for a minute and w/ the fan blowing on my face I personally don't find it that bad at all. 

After that a soothing and hydrating mask is placed on the skin which is very cooling and relaxing after the peel.

After that they do this sort of neat dry ice type thing which is anti-inflammatory and helps disinfects the area...in this pic you'll see the "redness" from the peel.

I've already got my next peel booked at the Yorkville Miracle 10 Spa...definitely worth checking out!