Friday, December 12, 2008

Face the day.

As a makeup artist, people are always grilling me on not just techniques, but also what I use on my own face. Some days, I really turn it out with the makeup I wear and really go out full-faced, but most of the time I’m in a rush in the morning, so all I want to do is slap a little product on my face, gulp my coffee and trudge off to work through the snow. So, here are some thoughts on what I do on a daily basis and how to do it.

When it comes to skincare, I am pretty anal. And I also use exclusively Clinique skincare products. It’s not that I think they are any better than any other brands, I just like their giveaways the best. I stock up when they have good bonuses. (Bonii?)

At night, I take off my eye makeup with Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm. I dab it on my eyes and then gently swab it off with cotton pads (I buy these in bulk at the dollar store, five or six packs at a time). Always work from the outer corner of the eye to the inner corner, very gently, so as not to tug on this delicate skin. Repeat until your cotton comes away clean.

Following up the eye makeup removal, I lather up my skin with Rinse-Off Foaming Cleanser, making sure I get into all the little nooks and crannies to take the day off. Never, ever pull downward on your skin, always work up. You want that skin to look young as long as possible, don’t you? (Other ways to keep your skin looking young? Well, maybe that’s going to be another blog post...)

Rinse off with lukewarm water. Ten splashes should get it all off. Make sure there’s no residue on your skin.

My skin tends to be rather oily, so I always follow-up my nighttime cleansing with a swipe of Clarifying Lotion 3.

Every once in a while (particularly once a month), I get a few little spots on my chin and jawline. When I get one of those, at night I dab on a tiny bit of Acne Solutions Spot Treatment Gel. That usually gets rid of the little devil after a couple of applications.

Are you using an eye cream yet? Maybe you think you don’t need to, because you’re still in your 20s and don’t have any lines around your eyes. Trust me when I tell you that it’s never too early to start. I started religiously wearing eye cream at night when I was 26, and I wish I had started a little bit sooner... Maybe 24? But I can’t really complain, because practically everyone I meet thinks I’m younger than I am... Anyway, at night I slide on a bit of Repairwear Intensive Night Cream. Then I follow-up with my night cream, Zero Gravity Repairwear Lift. And then, sleep!

You wouldn’t think that a morning routine would be that much different than an evening routine, but what can I say, I love products!

In the morning I need a quicker routine, so I wash my face in the shower with Liquid Facial Soap - it comes in a pump and you don’t need much, just the size of a pea. The great thing about higher-end products is that you don’t need much and they go very far. This cleanser is pretty strong and gets rid of all the oil on my skin from the night before, so I don’t bother with the toner follow-up in the morning.

I had been using Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion, but I recently picked up the Superdefense SPF 25 Age Defense Moisturizer, because I like two-in-one moisturizers with sunscreen in them. And I am loving it!

I take a dab of my moisturizer and put it on the back of my hand. Then I take my MAC Select SPF15 Foundation in NC25 (to which I have added a pump), and add one squirt of it to my moisturizer. I blend the two together*, and voila! Tinted moisturizer! That gets a smear all over to even out my skintone.

Now, it’s time for some magic. Yves St. Laurent Touche Eclat has changed my life. The texture is magnificent, you need the tiniest amount, and it brightens and lightens everything. I dab a bit in the following places:

- under the brow bone
- on the inner and outer corners of my eyes
- on the bags under my eyes
- in the nooks beside my nostrils
- down the nasal-labial folds to the corners of my mouth
- around my cupid’s bow and lower lip

Tap it into the skin gently, and glow glow glow!

Eyes are simple as anything - Benefit BADGal eye pencil on the upper lash line and smeared into the waterline, followed with a slick or two of L’Oreal Bare Naturale Mascara in Black, which I liked when I first bought it, but now I’m not really loving it. It gets really flaky throughout the day, which is really too bad because it looks really pretty. I’m too cheap to replace a mascara before it’s done, though, but as soon as it’s gone I can’t wait to try something else... I would use it on a photoshoot though, if I was looking for a nice, natural-looking lash.

I throw a little blush on the apples of my cheeks - Clinique Fresh Bloom All Over Colour in Peony. Followed with a slick of either lipstick (Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Mad About Mauve), or gloss (Benefit Her Glossiness A-List Lip Colour in Who Does Your Work?), depending on my mood...

And that’s it! I know it seems like a lot, but this takes me about five minutes in the morning, and with practice it should take you no more than that!

*Do note that SPF25+SPF15 does not equal SPF40. It’s still just SPF 25.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Ten Out-Dated Items of Women’s Clothing Which Are Nonetheless Charming.

Although women may pay attention to fashion, they do so at a loss to their personal style. How often do you see a woman who looks like she could have just stepped out of a window of a shop? This kind of dressing might not be easy, nor is it inexpensive (when one has to replace one’s wardrobe every season it gets pricey), but it is, in fact, boring. Dull as the doldrums.

Personal style is as important as good manners when you are presenting yourself to the public. You want to be remembered in a good way, not for being poorly dressed.

Creating one’s own personal style is a life-long process, and what works for other people might not work so well for you. Look at people who you see as stylish. Study the way they (or their stylist) put their look together. You will notice, after paying attention for a while, that the details will be what take an outfit from hum-drum to smashing.

So, how do you find those little details that make you stand out from a crowd? Where should you look for them? My suggestion: look to the past. There are several items that can be incorporated into all but the most hyper-modern of wardrobes that will lend you a bit of charm, grace and elegance. And (not most importantly, but certainly important), they will make you memorable!

1. Cat’s eye glasses

Have to wear glasses? Embrace them! Cat’s eye glasses (with rhinestones, without, it doesn’t really matter) on a modern woman look refreshingly innocent. Pair them with all-black if you must, but better yet pair them with everything. If you think they look nerdy, perhaps you’re missing the point. They make you look interesting and will make men want to order you a Manhattan.

I currently don’t own a pair, but am on the lookout for an antique pair that I can take to have re-lensed. I do have a pair of cat’s eye sunglasses, however, and I can tell you that they not only get noticed, they also get complimented rather heavily.

2. Scarves

It used to be that a well-dressed lady never went anywhere without a scarf. These days you might be hard-pressed to see one on the street. Scarves are for more than just keeping your neck warm – they add visual interest and texture to an outfit. Youth League and the Spies have recently written about them here (with an excellent bunch of pictures to give you some ideas on the scarf possibilities).

While I am a fan of the muffler, scarves aren’t just for keeping your neck warm in winter. Consider the possibilities and actually look at scarves the next time you’re out shopping. A bonus: when riding your bicycle and wearing a scarf, the way it flutters behind you is completely bewitching.

3. Gloves

Another item of clothing abandoned last century is the glove as accessory. They’re for more than just practical purposes! Again, it’s that little piece of visual interest that will make you memorable.

If you do decide that a pair of gloves is for you (I would recommend a short, white pair for summer, so fresh with a dress!), there are some basic dos and don’ts (yes, this is an etiquette lesson) to keep in mind when wearing them in public:

While wearing gloves, don’t: eat, drink or smoke; play cards; apply makeup; wear jewelry over them (with the exception of bracelets); make a habit of carrying your gloves – they should be an integral part of your look; wear short gloves to a formal occasion.

While wearing gloves, do leave them on: as a mark of respect in a place of worship; when shopping, visiting, driving; at garden parties or outdoor receptions; at formal occasions; at the time of arrival at a luncheon or dinner party; in a receiving line; while dancing at a formal party; at a cocktail party until the drinks and hors d’oeuvres are passed, then remove one (the one from the hand in which you will be holding your drink or snack).

When arriving at an informal party or luncheon, leave your gloves with your coat.

4. Floral nightgowns

Between Victoria’s Secret and lad’s mags, you’d think that the only lingerie women were allowed to wear to bed would be binding and polyester. Allow me to remind you of the cotton floral nightgown.

A dream in the summer and cozy in the winter (if made from flannel), there is definitely an innocence associated with the cotton nightgown.

Take a look around next time you are at a lingerie store (The Bay and Sears are also good bets). They’re at the back (not a big draw to get people through the doors). Choose a style that you feel reflects you. Just get one for now. Try it. You might like it. And your significant other might discover that sweet is just as sexy as sexy.

While definitely not daywear, if you were to throw on a pair of Wellingtons to go out and grab the paper on a damp summer morning and the neighbour saw you, you wouldn’t be ashamed.

5. Hats

Bring back the hat! Hats are flattering, practical and pretty. They make a great accessory that people forget – you got dressed all the way up to your neck, why not take it farther? I currently own four hats: a straw fedora (which is my most frequent choice at the moment), a cowboy hat, a baseball hat and a beret (for the cooler months). And yes, I am looking to expand my collection.

Next time you’re out (preferably while you’re looking at scarves), try on a few hats. And try shapes that you might not have considered before! There’s more to life than a baseball cap.

Bonus points: wearing a hat pin.

6. Capes

We’re not talking about voluminous capes that are popular with the 20-and-under goth set. We’re talking about the cape that fits close to the body, almost like a jacket. Shorter length, slits for your arms. It’s the perfect amount of warmth for those days that aren’t too cold, where you might need a jacket but you also might not.

Capes are one of those things that you just can’t buy new. Vintage shops like Vintage Vixen are a good path to take, or if you are crafty at all (and I hope that you are) you could try your hand at making one. The Vintage Vogue collection should steer you in the right direction.

Wear it a lot. Make it a signature look.

7. Tortoiseshell

While the Hawksbill turtle (from which tortoiseshell comes) is sadly on the endangered list, there are some great imitation items on the market that bear this pattern and look just as good. If you can find a real piece vintage, I say go for it. Regardless on where it comes from, it’s classic, classy and just looks great.

8. Spectator pumps

John Lobb claims to have invented them. Coco Chanel made them famous. You can make them fabulous.

During certain periods, spectator pumps were considered very high fashion. Although they have fallen out of favour, they have returned to the fashion forefront with the resurgence in popularity of retro/rockabilly/swing styles. This spells good news for you, as you won’t have to hunt for a pair at a vintage store (there is something inherently ick to some people about wearing used shoes).

Find yourself a pair. Wear them with a pencil skirt and a body-conscious sweater. The steno pool’s got nothing on you.

9. Argyle

Better yet, pair your pencil skirt and spectators with a white dress shirt and an argyle vest. Sexy secretary. Meow.

Argyle is said to be derived from the tartan of Clan Campbell, but is a mark of class and distinction.

Argyle socks (to the knee, please) are a cute weekend look with low-profile sneakers and a denim skirt.

10. Circle skirts

On the subject of skirts – the circle skirt is one of the most memorable silhouettes of the 1950s. From Christian Dior's New Look to poodle skirts, an end to wartime rationing led to a certain romanticism and luxury of a wide-sweeping skirt.

If you think skirts are just too darn uncomfortable to wear, I challenge you to try on a circle skirt. You can do anything in it that you can in pants (except, maybe, handstands, and that only depends on your level of modesty), and the swing of it as you strut down the street is sure to catch the eye.


I’m not saying you should go out and immeadiately purchase everything on this list. But it might give you something to think about the next time you go shopping. Be distinct. Be you. Be beautiful. Be memorable.

Stand out in a sea of cut-outs.


Monday, July 14, 2008


I'm on Youth League!

Last fall, Patrick e-mailed me and told me about this great blog built by two cool gals called Youth League and the Spies - it's a local fashion blog featuring street style. I told myself then and there that I wanted to be featured on it someday.

Well, I met those gals and we became pals, working on photo shoots together and even going through my closet to find some cool, workable pieces. Now, every time I get dressed I think to myself, "Would Youth League approve?" I think they are two damn stylish ladies, and to find myself featured on their blog chuffs me to no end.

Kudos to them as well, for featuring my plus-sized body - proof positive that you can be plus-sized and still participate in fashion.

PS: The cardi in the photo is indeed hand-made. I'll be posting my how-to another day.


Sunday, June 8, 2008

Tutorial - Turquoise Cat Eyes

In honour of The Boss Hop*, coming up this Friday night, a makeup tutorial!

Did you know? Clicking on the pop-ups within the video will take you to the product websites! Cool!


Sunday, March 9, 2008

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Makeup Tutorial - Pinup Girl

Very special thanks to the Carneys for helping me build my first overlay!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Take My Clothes - Please!

So I decided it was time for a closet clean-out, I was feeling frumpy, dumpy, and worst of all, like my mother.

With the assistance of the lovely girls (and new friends) of Youth League and the Spies, I have a cleaned-out closet, a list of new things to get, and a fresh attitude about my clothes.

My new motto for my clothes is, "Try everything with everything! You never know what's going to work."

As in shrunken cardis work with wrap tops*:

, crazy jackets work with silk acorn-print shells, and skinny jeans work with everything.

Now that the crud is gone, I can see the forest for the trees.

I know I'm mixing my metaphors, but what a good time we had! You can read all about it here.

Now, the only question left is how do I haul all this stuff to consignment? I figure any money I can make off my old clothes can be turned into... New clothes!

*Kindly ignore the gawky pose, I had not yet had a coffee!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Stockings Stuffed to Perfection

Although Michael and I don’t always necessarily agree when it comes to fashion*, sometimes he’ll surprise me with a gift that is so out of left field and awesome I just have to crow about it. One year for my birthday it was a fabulous silver hinged necklace, that same year for Christmas it was coordinating earrings (Asymmetry! Wonderful!), and this year it was my Christmas stocking.

Along with the obligatory jewellery (“What do you want for Christmas, Jes?” “Sparklies!”), he remembered how much I love nice leg wear. The first pair I unwrapped was a lovely charcoal heather pair of Ralph Lauren angora socks. They are toasty warm and best worn in boots – especially since the boots I’ve been wearing this winter are cheap plastic numbers. But he outdid himself on the second pair – Givenchy Chevron Opaque 80 denier black tights.

These tights are fantastic with skirts and flats, or capris and boots (although I am nervous about the second combination, given my penchant for catching my tights on the zipper while crossing my legs).

Here’s the thing with expensive tights – you get what you pay for. These tights are so stretchy that it would take some pretty ragged fingernails to do damage to them. (This isn’t to say I didn’t put a teeny tiny little hole in them the first time I wore them, but I’m especially gifted when it comes to ruining new tights. I patched it up with clear nail polish, and it’s high up on the thigh, so it’s nearly invisible.) They are warm, the pattern is beautiful, and I can’t wait to go and buy more Givenchy tights!

On the subject of leg wear, I must say one thing I hate about tights is the gusset. When I am wearing stockings I am a fan of the garter belt/stocking combination, but I have yet to find a pair of high-denier tights which are a stocking style. If you see some anywhere, let me know!

*Examples include:
“That coat is weird. It looks like five coats all mashed together.”
“You look cute. And swashbuckling”
My personal favourite, starting with a scan from the feet, “Yeah, that’s a great outfit.” Then he gets to my head, with my hair in a pseudo-pompadour, tilts his head to one side, and wrinkles his forehead in consternation. He looks a bit like a cocker spaniel when this move is preformed.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

This Is Not a Paid Advertisement

I’ll make a confession – I love high heels. And if you don’t, you should. Here’s why: when you wear high heels you walk differently. If you know how to manoeuvre them, you can flirt, tease, and drive potential partners wild without ever opening your mouth. They elongate the leg, make you look taller and slimmer, boost your calves, and make your butt stick out just enough.

Having said all that, I am a high heel addict. I am smart about it (two days on, then one day in flats), but I love shoes and my shoe collection is threatening to take over Michael’s closet as well. Last night, after tripping over a pair in the hallway, he hollered, “Your shoes will be the death of me!” But he never complains when I’m wearing them.

I have recently discovered a fabulous brand of shoes and I simply must tell you all about them. The brand is Kenzie, and I recently bought a second pair. (Up until that point, the only shoes I owned more than one pair of were Chucks.)

I fell in love with the Kenzie Marathon shoes last spring – they were so unique and cool, but unfortunately, due to governmental incompetence, I hadn’t been paid properly in about six months, and therefore could not afford them… I went back to visit them several times, and the last time I went to visit them, they weren’t on the shelf! I was devastated, and decided to check out the clearance racks. There, sitting on the rack, marked down and down and down again, were my Marathons. They were the last pair and were my size – I mean, how’s a girl supposed to resist?

A couple of months later (which is to say mid-January), I was trolling the racks at Winners looking for a decent pair of black pants for work. I found the pants, but I also stumbled upon the Kenzie Aston shoe. Needless to say, I snapped that pair right up (even though the right one seemed a little tight, which I just chalked up to my right foot being slightly bigger than my left), and took them home with me.

That evening, while lounging in front of What Not To Wear, I decided to take the stickers off my shoes. I took the sticker off the left one, and as I began to peel the sticker off the right, I noticed something strange. The size. The shoe was a full size and a half smaller than the left. “AHA!” I thought, “So that’s why it didn’t fit!”

Suffice to say, I called Winners right away, and spoke to a surprisingly helpful person, who located the correct size and set it aside for me. I picked it up the next morning and never looked back.

The moral of this story is, Kenzie shoes are super-cute, crazy-comfortable and well worth their price. However, if you want them, you might have to work for them. Because anything worth having comes at a cost.