Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Another Beautiful Bride = MORE Beautiful Pictures!

I just wrote last week about getting pics back from brides and I showcased some pics from the last 3 brides that sent me pics...and guess what ANOTHER bride sent me pics yesterday!  I actually wasn't sure if I was going to get the great pics from this wedding as it happened back in June and the bride (Eden) was SUPER busy after the wedding.  She shared w/ me the photographer's gallery but her and her husband didn't even start looking and deciding on the pics for a couple of mths after the wedding as they were busy w/ some other things at the time.  And as I mentioned before I'll send 1 or 2 follow up emails but after that I kind of leave it b/c i don't want to harass anyone lol!

But just like that, mths after the wedding I get a great surprise in my inbox of pics from Eden!  She hadn't forgotten about me...and b/c she knew how much I wanted to see her pics she remembered to pass some along to me!  Yeah my brides are the BEST!

Eden's wedding was a really great wedding to work on...not only b/c her friends and family were so warm and friendly but also b/c she literally lives around the corner from me!  Like less than 5 mins away lol!  After a long day of weddings (I had two on her wedding day) it's nice to be able to WALK home after a job!  I'm actually really surprised I haven't run into her in my neighbourhood before...maybe I will now lol.

Anyway, here's some of the pics from Eden's wedding...very natural and very pretty!  Love the flowers I pinned into the hair...such a nice touch!  Pictures courtesy of Ikonica!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Eyelash Extensions Review - Eyelash Canada

So last Thurs. I got to experience a very special pampering treat for the VERY FIRST TIME - Eyelash Extensions!  I have been curious about eyelash extensions for sometime now...I mean how can you not be when everywhere you turn you see those Group On coupons for eyelash extensions...but something always made me a bit weary about getting such a good deal on something that involves my eyes...sort of like why I would never get laser eye surgery on special lol.  Plus as a makeup artist I've seen A LOT of eyelash extension work...some of it very good...and some downright awful!

So when Yvette from Eyelash Canada contacted me about trying out eyelash extensions for a review on my blog I was very curious to find out more.  Plus and I know this sounds stupid I thought it might be useful for my trip to India if I didn't have to worry about mascara...lol yes, only a makeup artist would think about mascara when she's backpacking in India lol! Also, I never realized but I actually spend quite a bit of time everyday putting on mascara b/c I'm so anal about it...I curl my lashes, first coat of mascara, let dry, curl again (I have really stubborn straight lashes), second and third coat of mascara, comb through clumps (b/c I HATE clumps)...these extensions are going to save me so much time lol!

So here's a little back story about Yvette.  She's been doing eyelash extensions for A LONG time...like 8 years (I didn't even know eyelash extensions were around 8 yrs ago).  In fact she was the first to bring this skill to Canada.  She first witnessed eyelash extensions at a trade show in California and she was fascinated by the technique and results.  As an already practicing esthetician she already had a firm understanding about skincare, nails and other spa and beauty treatments so eyelash extensions seemed like a natural fit. Like any pioneer in any trade it was a lot of long, hard work before things started to catch on here in Canada.  She became one of the first technicians in Canada to awarded approval for the use of medical grade adhesives and she even developed a technique for applying lash extensions to the lower lashes - a service exclusive to her company in Canada.  Plus she teaches and trains other technicians all across Canada in the art of eyelash extensions...and she's still obsessed w/ learning about new techniques, products and visiting trade shows to this day.

Knowing all this I definitely felt like I was in safe and skilled hands.  Plus, I can tell you first hand she treats eyelash extensions as an art form...she is so meticulous and quite the perfectionist and after all these years she still gets excited when she sees the surprise and joy on her client's faces when they see the results for the first time!

She has two locations for eyelash extension services.  Her main location is up on Orfus rd. near Yorkdale Mall (this location is apparently much larger and this is also where she teaches) but I opted for the much more convenient Yonge location which is literally just a block away from my apt.!  She had just moved into the space a few days before my appt. so she apologized for the appearance...not it wasn't a luxurious spa location but it was clean and I'm practical I don't need a fancy atmosphere...just give me good, clean work and I'm happy!

Upon meeting we discussed the look that would best suit me and my needs.  I wanted something natural but w/ a little more...but I didn't want to look like a drag queen (God I sound exactly like my brides lol).  Right away Yvette made me right at home.  She's very friendly and talkative and throughout the whole experience I learned so much about the history of eyelash extensions, different curl grades of lashes, her business, the saturation of the market plus I learned a lot about the difference between good eyelash extensions vs. bad and how a lot of those "deals" actually scrimp on the lashes or do quick and shoddy work.  

Overall the whole experience isn't uncomfortable or painful.  It is a little weird at first...esp. for someone like me who is not the best at having anyone near my eyes...yes I was a pain to try and work w/ in makeup school...lots of blinking and twitching lol!  It does feel a little weird at first to have your eyes taped in various ways...no idea what it looked like as my eyes were obviously closed during the procedure.  I don't know if I could have fallen asleep during it like I've heard a lot of my clients tell me they do...but who knows maybe if I got more use to it I would have.  In total the whole process of the application takes about 1.5 hrs...she's quick (a lot of ppl take a couple of hrs for the first application)...after all she is a Master Technician!  

She did one eye and let me look, already I was amazed!  Then she did the second eye and I couldn't believe how natural yet gorgeous my lashes looked!  Such clean work - no clumping of lashes, nicely spaced...really amazing!  Yes, my eyes were bloodshot afterward and a little sore but that went away after a couple of hrs...plus I think my eyes just weren't use to it.  

Of course Yvette is a little more pricey than some of those are ppl out there offering lots of deals and sales...but you can't argue w/ experience or skill (also like I said before I don't know if I want a "deal" w/ anything that involves my eyes).  Just like w/ makeup artists...of course sometimes ppl just want to hire the cheapest but does that really get them what they want in the end.  If you want quality you have to pay for quality!  I'll be curious to see if these last 4+ weeks like Yvette said they should...I know a lot of other companies say they last that long but most of my clients have told me they usually need to get them filled every 2-3 wks...so if Yvette's do last 4+ weeks like she said they are actually a good deal b/c you don't have to get them filled as often.  She does also have other technicians that work for her at a reduced price that might be worth checking out too.  

I'm not going to go into everything here but on her website she has a very full detail section w/ FAQs for all your eyelash extension questions, history, eyelash options, training etc.  You can even book an appt. online

So if you're thinking about eyelash extensions and don't mind a bit of an indulgence but are really looking for the best I definitely suggest Yvette...I think I might be hooked!

Here's the Before & After Photos!

Before...As you can see my natural lashes are pretty long

But compare...this is just ONE eye!

How good is that looking!

Even though they are gorgeous and long look how natural they look! Excuse the bloodshot eye lol!

Final result AFTER shot!

I've already had several friends and clients comment on how natural they look and how it just looks like I have the most amazing lashes ever!  No one can tell that they are "fake"!

 I'm definitely interested to see how they hold up...esp. through my backpacking tour of India...I'll give you an update in a few wks!  Btw can't believe I leave for India next SUNDAY!!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

How To Get Pictures From Brides After The Wedding!

As any of my readers can tell from the MANY posts I do on here sharing pics from my brides on their wedding day I think it's safe to say I'm somewhat of a pro at getting pics from brides after their wedding.  I probably see pics from at least 75% of my brides after their weddings...that's really high!  But one of the biggest complaints I hear from other artists...esp. newer artists is that they don't have enough pics on their site b/c brides don't send them pics after the wedding.

Guess what...it's up to YOU to take the initiative to follow up w/ brides to get pics.  Very few brides are going to remember to send their makeup artist pics after the wedding...truthfully after the wedding guess what you aren't a priority and they have NEW bigger and better things to do then remember to send you pics.  It's up to you  to be SUPER proactive but not quite annoying to get pics from brides...and it can actually be a fine line to walk between the two.

I should note that I always make sure my brides are okay w/ me showcasing their pics on my blog or site and any bride that wouldn't be okay w/ that I wouldn't do it plain and simple!  Truth is I think most brides kind of get a kick out of being featured on a website or blog...sort of like the "star treatment"...I mean I know I would feel really proud and beautiful if someone thought I was pretty enough to be on their site!

Here's how I lay the groundwork to up the chances that I'll see pictures after the wedding.

1. I start right at the trial.  Yes, that's right - at the trial I will always ask who the photographer is.  In fact I ask it on my contract now too!  I like to research ppl in my biz...always important to learn about new talent after all...plus networking is oh so important in this biz!  I always make mention how important the pictures are to the whole day...I mean they are after all the memories of the day!  And I always make mention that I can't wait to see the pics after the wedding day b/c I know they are going to be gorgeous...b/c guess what - they are!  I'm good at what I do...so that raises the chances of good pics by A LOT!  Plus w/ a good photographer even the most uncomfortable girl in front of the camera can usually get a few good shots w/ the proper lighting, angle and makeup and hair!  Also, if I can I like to ask if they are going to do an engagement shoot...another thing I think is Oh So Important!  Great practice in front of the camera and great way to get to know the photographer to feel more comfortable.  AND it's a chance for me to up sell my services for another event...and possibly get more pictures...b/c I'm a greedy little picture monster muah hahaha!

2. On the wedding day everyone is (hopefully) in a good and excited mood!  If you do your job right the bride should be feeling relaxed, happy and the most gorgeous she's EVER felt in her entire life!  Of course on the wedding day I'm always mentioning how I can't wait to see the pics.  I mean I LOVE seeing the bride all done up and all my hard work on display.  I love getting the beauty shots in the hotel or home but I love seeing the pics throughout the wedding too!  I love to see how my work held up throughout the night or learn a thing or two on things I might have improved on.  I don't always get to see the bride all dressed so of course I love seeing pics of  her all done up and looking beautiful and perfect.  I think the last thing I say before I leave the bride is Congratulations, I can't wait to see the pics, you look beautiful!

3. The wedding day is also a great chance to meet the photographer if you can.  Unfortunately, my timing doesn't always overlap w/ the photographer.  It really depends on how the bride has the scheduling set up that day.  But if it does it's a great way to ask for the photographer's card, that way if the bride doesn't remember to send you photos (b/c she's just gotten busy w/ "real life" after the wedding) but you have her permission to use photos of her you can always contact the photographer yourself!  Sometimes the bride has shared a gallery w/ me but never ended up sending pics or sometimes I've never seen pics at all...but usually a nicely worded email peppered w/ a little flattery to the photographer and they are more than willing themselves to send you a couple of web size images from the day.  Totally let them know it's okay if they want to put a small watermark on the images (it is just the web after all).  Plus I always assure them that I'll be sure to give them full credit for the photo and link their website up to my site or blog whenever possible.  I've never had a photographer against that sort of thing personally.

4. A couple of days after the wedding I always send a follow up email to my bride just to let her know it was a pleasure to work w/ her and her friends and family on her wedding day and I always end the email w/ a short note saying I can't wait to see the pics!...do you see where I'm going here...I'm not being pushy, I'm just mentioning it repeatedly at appropriate moments to slowly work it into their minds that I really, really want to see their pics after their wedding lol!

5. So I have a lot of weddings...sometimes 4 a weekend.  That's a lot of brides and pictures to keep up w/ esp. during busy, busy wedding season.  The way I've dealt w/ this is to make a list of names w/ their wedding date beside it.  Usually, after 1.5-2 mths I'll send a short follow up email to see how the bride is doing and to see if she has any pics yet.  I always make sure to tell her no rush just checking in.  Sometimes, she has them and sometimes she doesn't.  If I get pics I can then cross her name off my list.  If not, I'll check back in a couple of weeks or kind of see what she says...if she says it will be awhile b/c they haven't even look through pics I know not to bug her again for awhile.

6. If I didn't get pics when I asked the first time I will usually send one more email inquiring about pics a few weeks or a mth later.  If I don't hear back from her or she just never sends me pics but I know from our past correspondences she was going to but just got busy...this is when I'll contact the photographer if I have their info.

7. If after all that I don't have pics then I just have to let it go...can't go harassing the former client after all. Sometimes it sucks b/c you know her photos were going to be gorgeous or amazing but you don't want her telling ppl ugh the makeup artist is such a pest or something like that.  I always make sure when I ask to say if you don't have them yet no worries, no rush, just checking in.

Just a side note...I personally only like to have professional pics on my site now...but that's b/c I've been doing this a few years and have enough pics now.  If you don't, there is nothing stopping you from asking the bride if you can take a couple of snap shots of her and her bridesmaids w/ your phone or camera.  Most brides are more than happy to do that.  Plus, then you don't have to wait a couple of mths for pics if you really need them!

Also, a lot of artists do Before & After shots w/ their cameras.  I know it's really popular w/ brides and I'm all for it if the artist wants to do it...personally though I just don't feel right asking my bride if they mind me posting pics of them w/out any makeup.  I know I wouldn't want pics of me on someone's site looking like how I know I look w/ no makeup lol (even though I have posted no makeup pics on this blog lol).  But like I said that's really a personal choice for the artist.

Another side note....depending on my rapport w/ the bride I will also sometimes ask for a review at various sites...I of course give them the links to the sites...want to make this as easy as possible for them.  I totally let me know they by no means have to do this and they shouldn't feel any pressure whatsoever it just helps me and my business a lot.  A lot less brides go through the steps to write reviews and I'm fine w/ that...I NEVER ask more than once about a review...to me that's very different than pics.

So anyway, here's some more pics I've collected in the last week or so from some of my brides this past Summer!  My website is getting so full I'm trying to get rid of some of the older pics but I love them all so much it's hard lol!

Amanda - Did both her Hair & Makeup...such gorgeous naturally curly hair!

Meaghan wanted a very simple almost rustic look.  I think we accomplished that w/ her Hair & Makeup.  I love her small, doll like features!

I wanted to keep the hair very "undone" and rustic to go w/ the whole look!

I actually only did Makeup for Krista's wedding...one of the only times this year where I only did Makeup!  Photos courtesy of Daryl Banks

Loved her bridesmaid's skin...and hair...I can only take credit for the skin and makeup though lol ;)

Krista and her younger sister both had their hair done at Bespoke Salon in Yorkville - it's on Yonge just North of Bloor...actually perfect for me to walk to lol!

Even younger clients can wear a full face of makeup including lashes and still look natural and age appropriate!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Fabulous Finds - Yves Rocher's Holiday Limited Editions

 The wonderfully generous ppl at Yves Rocher recently sent me another AMAZING  box of products to try a couple of weeks ago.  It's so funny, I'll be honest until they first started sending me things to sample and review I was not at all familiar w/ their makeup line (I don't even know if I knew they had one).  Now, several of their products have worked their way into being mainstays in my daily makeup bag!  Plus, their prices are totally reasonable.

So now onto the new stuff...okay, they sent me SO MANY things.  So basically, I'm just going to touch on a few of my favs...and talk about a few things I think could be improved (hey there's always room for improvement ;) ).

First off, I'll touch on one of the first things that's now going on my face the Perfect Primer.  I really like this primer.  It doesn't feel heavy on my skin and it doesn't roll or make my skin feel too slippery like some primers can.  I feel like it does smooth out my skin and "prime" it for foundation.  What I like most about the "Pinky Complexion" primer I received is that I feel it really gives my skin a nice glow (but not shiny glow), just brightens it up which is good w/ Winter coming when my skin starts to look dull.  I notice on their site they have an "Apricot Complexion" as well...I'd definitely be interested in trying that one out too!  Plus it's only $14 which for a primer is a steal!  One thing I would say though is that this primer is probably only for light to medium skin tones.  I don't think it would really work on girls darker than that.

Speaking of glow I also received a couple of illuminating/highlighting products...and I really liked them both!  First, there is the Illuminating Pearls - which is a little container of different pastel coloured balls or "pearls" that you swirl your blush brush into and then sweep onto the areas you want to highlight - cheekbones, chin, brow bone etc.  If you've always wanted to try the Guerlain Meteorites Powder for the Face but couldn't bear the over $60 price tag definitely look into Illuminating Pearls which is a much more affordable at just under $14.

The other illuminator is called Radiant Glow Fluid Foundation.  Now I definitely wouldn't say use this in place of foundation but it would be good to mix a drop or two of it w/ your foundation to give you skin a nice glow and beat that Winter dullness.  Also, I think it would look beautiful in photo shoots on camera.  It's not overly sparkly like a lot of highlighting products and just creates a nice glow to the skin...plus I  know a lot of artists these days are trying to rely less on powdered products and get their results w/ more cream or liquid based products in which case this product would be great.

Now onto lips!  I was given 3 lip products to try.  First I got the Moisturizing Cream Lipstick in Velvet Red. Now we all know I LOVE my red lipstick and I can definitely see this shade being a universally flattering colour.  Sort of similar to a MAC Russian Red but not quite as blue/red or bright if that makes sense.  It feels great on the lips.  I don't mind a matte lipstick but for those that do you'll be happy to know this isn't matte and does have a slight sheen to it but definitely not glossy and definitely not for the faint of heart as the colour is intense! But it is creamy and it feels nice on the lips!

I also really like the Sexy Plump Volume Gloss I received in Taupe Rose.  It's a great nude gloss to either wear alone or layer over your fav. nude lipstick.  Sometimes I find nude colours can be a bit too nude or brown but this one is balanced out nicely w/ just a touch of rose so it doesn't wash you out or make your lips look to nude.

The final lip product I received was the Gloss in Cashmere Pink.  I really like how Yves Rocher's gloss do not feel sticky on the lips at all!  In fact they feel really nice and smooth.  I just wasn't crazy about the colour they sent me w/ this one.  It was a bit too light pink for my tastes as I think I would have preferred the more flashy Pomegranate colour but there are a lot of woman out there that I think would actually love the Cashmere Pink colour as a great, sheer light pink gloss.

I also got sent some Yves Rocher brushes which was a really nice treat!  I really LOVE the foundation brush they sent me and it's quickly become my go to foundation brush in my makeup kit on set (I don't really use a foundation brush on myself).  I've actually never even been a huge fan of foundation brushes but this one may just be changing my opinion on that front.  Again, very affordable at $14!  The powder brush is also a good brush if you're looking for a bit of a stiffer powder brush...definitely not a super fluffy brush but again it all depends what you're looking for in a brush and what the job calls for...sometimes you want stiffer sometimes you want fluffier!  I also really like the retractable lip brush - great travel lip brush and great for reapplying those perfect red lips w/ my new Velvet Red lipstick ;)

Now they all can't be winners, I think the product was I was least impressed w/ was the Sexy Pulp Ultra-Volume Mascara.  I'll be honest it just didn't give me the volume I wanted even after 2 or 3 coats.  Now, I will admit I do like a full lash (even during the day) so maybe this would be a good mascara for someone who wants a more natural lash but when  you call something ultra volume I expect ultra volume and this mascara just wasn't delivering that in  my books :(  My fear is that I'm now addicted to the overly expensive Givenchy Noir Couture Mascara I reviewed a couple of weeks ago lol!

The next product isn't a complete flop...in fact the product itself isn't bad.  It's just WAY TOO MUCH fragrance!  The product I'm talking about is the Velvety Loose Powder.  I actually like it for a loose powder but boy does it have a strong perfumy fragrance.  I don't even mind fragrance in my makeup products but this one I find rather strong...and there are a lot of ppl that can't use or don't like fragranced makeup products so I def. think this would not work for them.  Like I said I actually like the product but just wish the fragrance wasn't so strong as I think it could offend or turn away a lot of ppl!

So overall some really great stuff in this collection and definitely worth checking out if you've never heard of or tried Yves Rocher's makeup line before!