Friday, January 23, 2015

I Love Hourglass Cosmetics

I have to say I've tried a few things from the Hourglass Cosmetics so far and I've LOVED everything I've tried thus far.  I've loved their products so much that I thought it was worth writing about AND they don't have a Pro Discount (well they have one for US artists but not Canada :( ) so that means I've been paying FULL PRICE...something I pretty much NEVER if that doesn't say something I don't know what does lol!

It is a "luxury" brand and therefore at a bit higher price range than some brands but the quality is there so I think it's worth it.  Plus when it comes to things like foundation I think investing money on good products is never a waste!  They have been around for just over 10 years and from what I know they've been in Sephora (where I get my Hourglass products) for at least a few years now.  I really love that they are a cruelty free brand and many of the products are vegan and produced w/out gluten, parabans, phthalates, sulfates, synthetic fragrances, synthetic dyes, GMOS, Triclosan and nonoparticles ...very important for a lot of ppl these days!

I originally got introduced to the brand when I was sent a Nude Lip Stylo to review.  Right away I really liked that the brand had many different colours of nude lip stylos...often ppl don't realize that one shade of nude isn't right for everyone and ppl w/ darker skin tones often have to go darker in nudes than they might initially realize.  It was a great product and I love the chubby stick pencils for lipsticks these days as they are very easy to apply and fill in...especially if you're on the go!

One of the biggest products for the brand and probably the one that has made them the most well known has been their primer.  I've never actually bought a full size version of it but have tried samples.  It's good but the funny thing is it's not my fav. product by them lol!

Next I think I got another mini rouge liquid lipstick in Icon w/ one of my Sephora orders. Immediately I loved it!  Went on matte/opaque and was a gorgeous that I think would look good on almost anyone!  Very smooth and easy to apply and very long lasting!  I think it was after this that I really started to take notice and look at the other products the brand had to offer.

After hearing a lot of buzz about it I decided to invest in one of their pricier items - The Ambient Lighting Palette!  I'm obsessed w/ a nice glowy cheek for my clients so I thought this would be a gorgeous addition to my kit and I was definitely not wrong!  Goes on so smooth and seamlessly blends into the skin.  Creates a gorgeous glow - not too sparkly or shimmery.  All 3 powders would be universally flattering on pretty much anyone and the product is definitely good for both day and evening looks!

After this I was pretty much hooked so when Sephora released an Ambient Light Blush Palette for VIB members I knew I had to give it a try...and of course I was not let down.  Gorgeous finish and colour - Peach, Pink, Plum blushes. I really love how smooth and buildable all the products are...never cakey or powdery looking. I would say though this product probably wouldn't be suitable for darker skin tones as I don't think it would show up.

Finally after all of this and being a die hard Cover FX foundation user on myself I decided to try out their Liquid Powder Foundation.  Anyone who reads this blog knows I have oily and acne prone skin so the idea that a foundation was oil absorbing, buildable coverage and had a matte/velvet finish all sounded pretty good to me.  The "secret" ingredient is Cashmere Kaolinite Clay which has been shown to absorb 75% of it's weight in sebum while still retaining moisture in the skin.  I personally like to apply the product w/ a damp beauty blender and tap/bounce the product into the skin.  One of the first days I was wearing it another artist commented how great my skin looked...umm right there I guess we can say I was sold!  When another artist comments your skin/foundation looks great you know you have a winner!

So yeah I guess you can say I'm a fan of the brand.  Haven't tried anything I didn't like...and I've even been paying full price :S  If anything all I have to say is Hourglass bring your Pro Discount to Canada!!!  Definitely worth checking out the products though if you don't mind investing in good quality makeup!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Special Day of a Special Friend

Whenever one of my friends are getting married it makes that special day a little more exciting for me.  Of course I love seeing all my brides looking beautiful on their wedding days but obviously when it's a close friend it's a little more personal and exciting to be part of it.

This past September one of my oldest friends Sophia got married so of course I offered I'm my makeup and hair services on her special day!  I must say overall I'm really lucky...I have a really attractive group of friends so anytime one of them gets married I know the pictures are going to be a great addition to my site and of course Sophia's wedding was no different.

Sophia got ready at the Thompson Hotel and married at Spoke Club which is just around the corner. We were a little nervous about the weather but it ended up being a gorgeous and fabulous evening and her intimate rooftop ceremony was so beautiful.

For her look I wanted to keep it really soft and beautiful.  Sophia is a natural beauty w/ gorgeous pale skin so that makes my job pretty easy lol!  I did a natural smokey eye, flushed cheek and soft nude pink lip.  I used airbrush on her skin just b/c I'm really loving the flawless finish these days and the durability of it.

For her hair we added in some clip-in extensions for her undone updo b/c her natural hair was a bit short and too fine to achieve the look we were after.  It was accented beautifully w/ a flower I pinned into the back of the updo.
Photos courtesy of Diane at DNA Weddings

Obviously I don't typically have curls in my hair on the job lol! I look short next to my tall friend in her heels...this is why I almost always wear heels lol!

These are just some photos with my phone from the night :)  I really need to get my butt in gear and get back to this size lol!
 The York University Theatre Crew

A little later in the night obviously ;)

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Gorgeous Couple, Gorgeous Day!

Back in August I had the pleasure of working with a beautiful bride named Lori.  I knew after the trial that I was definitely going to be hounding her for pictures after her wedding day!  And once I finally got the pics earlier this month I knew all my emailing was worth it!  Lori sent me the full gallery to look through which to me is always awesome b/c then I can pick and choose the pics I like most...brides don't always realize what I'm looking for in a picture or why I think a particular picture is good.

Let me just say there were SO MANY amazing pictures...seriously I'm going to show you a bunch in this post but I could have picked at least 10 more!  It's hard to pick even just a couple for my site! Well done Renaissance Studios Photography!  Lori mentioned possibly submitted the pics to some various places for publication and I really hope she does b/c they are gorgeous...of course the ones I'm going to show focus primarily on the makeup and hair but there were a ton of great pics!  It of course doesn't hurt that both Lori and her husband are super good looking lol!

For Lori's look we decided to do a gorgeous side updo w/ lots of curls and twirls for texture and it paired perfectly with her fascinator veil.  For the makeup Lori let me get a little bit dramatic on the eyes which I always enjoy.  I did a gold/bronze/brown smokey eye accented w/ a bit of black and full black liner (which is something she does every day anyway so she felt "naked" with out it).  Always important to ask brides if they have anything makeup wise they do every day...especially when it comes to eye liner!  Lori was super tanned so it paired beautifully w/ the more dramatic eye style and the airbrush foundation looked flawless on her.  All her bridesmaids were super pretty girls too making my day especially easy lol!

You know I love some good action shots ;)

Gorgeous Girls - Thanks Becca for your AWESOME hair work that day!

I kind of like when all the girls do the opposite of the bride for hair - Bride has updo/Girls where their hair done in various styles or vice versa

The Bride, Her Husband & Parents

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Fall Flashback - Wedding Creative

I just realized I never shared with you guys the pics I did from a wedding creative shoot I did back in the Fall with Lisa Mark Photography.  Don't know how I missed that one b/c the pictures are gorgeous and the location was seriously stunning!

I had known about Lisa's wedding work for awhile now and had even assisted a few weddings where she was the photographer so this past Summer when I realized we'd be working together on a wedding I was super excited.  From that wedding I took it upon myself to introduce myself and let her know if she had and wedding creative shoots in the future I'd be more than game to do makeup and/or hair.

So when Lisa contacted me saying she was planning a Fall Wedding Creative I was more than excited to be a part of it.  I actually only did the makeup for the shoot which was actually a nice treat b/c it's so rare when I'm working that I only have to do makeup.

For the shoot Lisa used a former bride of hers - Stephanie who was a delight to work with.  Lisa also created the most amazing tulle skirt for the shoot which went so well with the magical, romantic feel of the shoot.

For the makeup I actually got to do a bit more intense look than a lot of my brides will let me do and you know what - it looked gorgeous!  I really wish I could convince more clients to do this level of makeup.  It wasn't insane by any means but it did have a bit of drama but still looked gorgeous in real life and was intense enough that it looked awesome in pics too!  I airbrushed her face for the foundation and I'm not going to lie the more I do airbrush and since I got my new Temptu airbrush compressor the more I'm loving it!  For the makeup I wanted to do something that had a sort of Fall feel to go w/ the season and the scenery - we were shooting on cliffs and in forests and highlighting the changing of the leaves in the Fall.  Therefore I wanted to do browns, golds and bronze types colours on the eyes, bronzed/rose cheeks and a deeper nude/peach sort of lip.

The weather that day was amazing!  We were a bit worried about rain but it held out and it was cool of course - it was Fall after all but not freezing so that was good for both crew and model...I'm not gonna lie I'm not a happy makeup artist when I'm cold on set outside lol.  The leaves were just changing and it all turned out beautifully!  As you can see from the gorgeous pics below!

Seriously how stunning is this location!

Gotta love a nice action shot ;)

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Wedding Wire 2015 Couple's Choice Award

Just wanted to share with you all that my wedding company Toronto Beauty Group  has won a Wedding Wire Couple's Choice Award for the 4th straight year!  Just wanted to thank all my amazing clients for their beautiful reviews...seriously these things make me gush they are so thoughtful and heartwarming...and I'm not really the gushy type lol!  Also, thank you to my awesome staff as I truly believe you are only as strong as your weakest link which is why I chose to only surround myself with artists I know I can trust and rely on.

What a great way to start the year and the launch of Toronto Beauty Group.  Hopefully this is only the beginning of amazing things to come this year for the company!

Toronto Beauty Group :: Wedding Makeup & Hair Specialists Reviews, Best Wedding Beauty & Health in Ontario - 2015 Couples' Choice Award Winner

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

2015 Goals & Resolutions

Well we are about a wk into the New Year and it's already looking to be a promising and busy year!  I'm feeling very optimistic about this year after ending last year on what I thought was a productive high note!  So just before the New Year I wrote about how I felt I did tackling last years goals and I'll talk about the plan for this year!

2015 Goals & Resolutions

Drink More Water - I know this is a pretty simple one but literally if I don't make a real effort to drink 6-8 glasses of water a day it won't happen.  It's kind of a pain in the butt for me sometimes b/c I then have to go to the washroom ALL THE TIME...and I feel like I already have to go to the washroom a ton lol!  But it's good for my skin, bloating and overall health so yeah really gonna try on this one.

Get Back In Shape - I'm still looking okay but I've put on about 10 pds w/ my trip and the's time to kick it into high gear and get back on track.  Lose that weight and fit back into all my new "skinny" clothes...that are currently a bit tight I'll be honest lol.  Got a gym membership as it's way too cold for me to run outside right now so definitely hope to put that into use..the key for me is really to work out in the morning before other things start "getting in the way"...I always make excuses if I wait until later in the day.

Run Another Half Marathon - So I got through my last half marathon last year...want to do another this year and do it in under 2 hours!  That's my goal!

Stop Cyber Stalking So Much - Yeah we all do it...but I'll admit sometimes I get a little obsessed.  I need to leave certain things in the past and worry about my future.  This isn't just to do w/ exes it's about a lot of different ppl from all times of my life.  I need to stop concerning myself w/ other people and just worry about me and doing my thing!

Make Lists - I think this will really help me be more productive day to day b/c sometimes I think I don't have much to do and I end up wasting time when if I thought about it there's actually a lot of different projects I could tackle.  I think having lists and checking off stuff will make me feel and be more productive day to day

Practice and Revive Some of My Skills - Sometimes when we are busy we tend to just get in the habit of doing the hair and makeup styles that we know work and we can do quickly and well.  I need to keep up on some trends and learn some more tips and techniques.  As an artist it's important to always keep learning and practicing and I feel I've let this one fall away a bit in the last year.

Keep Better Track of Finances and Spending - I made more money this year than last sales were definitely up but for some reason I also think I spent a lot more money too.  I want to keep better track of that and see where my spending it going and maybe adjust things accordingly.  And to go along w/ that I want to save more this year.  I definitely did a pretty good job this past year and I'm glad I know have a financial planner and I'm saving a certain amount every mth but of course I can always do better!

Expand the Wedding Business - Already talked about this one before and it's pretty much a goal every year but I don't really have a prob with that.  Now that I've changed everything to Toronto Beauty Group I really want the business to grow w/ my staff and my outsourcing of bookings.   I can only do so much so the only way it's really going to grow is with the staff!

Do Creatives & Network More - This is one that I openly said I failed at last year.  I've definitely put the "fashion" side of my career on the back burner b/c let's be real it's not the area I make much money with but I'm feeling way out of the Toronto fashion scene loop and I love doing creatives so in the coming mths I really want to reach out to photographers and stylists again start producing some creative and inspiring work!

Travel More - Yes...this is another one of those that I put down every year but every year I want to travel more so why not!  I do really want to work on maybe taking a couple of short get away trips a long with a nice vacation.  I really want to make a point to go to NYC at some point this year.  And I have no idea where I want my next big trip to be!

Blog More - Again another one I failed at miserably but as I mentioned these past few mths have sort of revived me so I'm feeling inspired again and I think that will lead into me blogging more as I won't think of it as so much of a chore or annoyance.

Decorate & De-clutter my Apt - Okay overall my apt. doesn't have a lot of clutter b/c I hate clutter but I do have a couple of pieces of furniture I need to get rid about 5 bags of clothes just sitting there lol!  Also, I'll admit one of my weaknesses is home decoration.  I moved a lot growing up and so I never decorated much...I've been in my place for almost 4 years now...I should at least put a freaking picture on the wall!!

I think that's a pretty good start for now lol!  I'm sure knowing me I'll add more as I think about it and the year progresses!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 - Reflections on the Past Year's Goals & Resolutions

Every year at this time I like to look back and reflect on the goals I set for myself for 2014.  I find it really interesting to look back and see if I overall achieved what I set out to do that year.  This is usually one of my fav blog posts every year and typically I find that I've done a pretty good job at nailing my goals.

Well I'll admit this year wasn't always an easy one for me in a lot of ways.  I actually kind of chuckled to myself at some of the goals I wrote for myself at the beginning of the year b/c I definitely know there's more work to be done lol!

First though I guess like any good teacher I should touch on the positive and talk about the Goals & Resolutions I do think I did "right"!

Exercise More - Although I've been a little off the bandwagon since my trip I'd definitely give myself a gold star for this one.  I ran a half marathon so right there I'm saying "Good Job, Jessica".  I may have kind of thrown the idea out there a bit before but I don't know if I ever thought I'd actually do it and I'm so happy I did.  Can't wait to beat my time next year!  And I can't believe I just started running a year ago pretty much!

Live a Healthier and More Balanced Lifestyle - Again overall I'm pretty happy with this one.  I did a juice cleanse back in March and since then I've reached a weight and size I don't know if I ever thought I'd see...again been a little off track since my trip but I'm confident I'll get back to that weight again - too many nice dresses and skinny jeans to fit into again ;)  This combined w/ the exercise has really been good for me this year!

Read More - I've definitely found the reading bug again and I'm happy about that.  Having my Kobo really does make a difference and it was great on my trip where I must have read at least 3 books.  I tend to go through phases where I read a ton and then go a couple of mths where I read nothing.  I really should try to read 1 book a month or something b/c truth is once I start reading a book I'll typically finish it in less than a wk.

 Travel More - Well even though I didn't do any small trips like I was hoping I did do a big 3 wk adventure to Central America and did 5 countries while there so I guess I'll give myself a pass on this one. Although I was definitely cutting it close since I only did the trip in late Nov/early Dec.

Network More Within The Bridal Industry - Well I didn't hit the 80 wedding mark like I was hoping for...only came in at 76 but I can tell from my sales that the weddings I was doing were definitely bigger than years past.  Plus I grew my team a little bit more and had more weddings for said team.  And as I mentioned yesterday I've been working on rebranding my wedding business to make it grow even bigger for everyone involved.  I've even networked a bit more w/ some of the other sections/industries in my biz and did a wedding creative so that's good.

So next I'll touch on some of the things I did okay on but definitely could have done better with.

Be More Productive - Most ppl who know me don't believe me when I say this...and maybe I am being too hard on myself but I think I'm actually incredibly lazy and waste a huge amount of time.  I definitely think I've been getting better at being productive.  Especially these past few mths since I got rid of a couple of the toxic things that were holding me back and stopping me from concentrating.  I really need to make lists for myself on a daily basis b/c I think that would help me do more and be more productive.

Stop Concerning Myself So Much With Other People - Not gonna lie this is still something I struggle with.  I've definitely found it helpful to actually just delete or block the feed of certain ppl on my facebook or instagram if I found them to be doing more harm than good to my well being. Although it may not be the most mature thing sometimes the best way for me to not get jealous or compare myself is just to delete and forget about them...although I do need to work on just living w/ it and being happy for everyone else and their success.  Typically I am happy for others success just sometimes when I'm in a down mood it's a bit much for me.

Stop Living In The Past - In some ways I've definitely been a lot better about this and than in other aspects of my life, specifically my last relationship I constantly keep running through "what if" scenarios in my head and that doesn't help anyone...especially me because it played out the way it did and I have to remind myself even if certain things didn't go down there would have probably been other issues at other points anyway.  Although, I'm not going to lie this one has been a hard one...especially during the holidays.

Cut Out Toxic Influences or People - Well even though I would have never put my ex into the "toxic people" category at this time last year b/c we were still together I guess how everything played out he kind of would be there now so I guess it's good we're not together.  Like I've said before I wish things had worked out differently in a lot of ways but they didn't and he was making me miserable, lonely, isolated and sad...and I didn't even realize it until everything was done.  I probably should have realized it sooner so there was definitely some toxicity in my life for several mths this year. And I know for a fact that toxicity definitely affected my productivity in every part of my life unfortunately.

The rest of the list is honestly things I think I failed at achieving pretty miserably lol.

Blog More - Yeah well I blogged less this year than any other A LOT yeah definitely failed at that one.  I think I was just going through so much I just didn't feel I had anything interesting to write about or share.  Hopefully that will change this year and I'll be re-inspired and reinvigorated!

Get More Commercial Work & Do More Creatives - Yeah was definitely not focusing on these things enough last year.  I think I only did 1 creative that got published.  It was a beautiful story but seriously I use to be doing that stuff all the time.  I did also do a wedding creative but I wasn't counting that one.  Commercial work...did a bit but again I really need to focus on this!  I was so busy in the Spring/Summer w/ the wedding stuff that it all got kind of sidetracked.  This is why I really want to start making lists so that I can check things off and be more productive!

Overall I guess I did okay.  Unlike last year I think I didn't necessarily start that strong but I definitely finished strong by time September hit...hopefully I can carry that momentum into next year!

Tomorrow I'll write my Goals & Resolutions for 2015!  Hope Everyone has a Wonderful New Year!