Friday, May 25, 2012

It's Makeover Time!

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for me. Good, but busy! So thought it was about time for a little me time. And what better way to treat myself than with a mini makeover! New hair, new makeup, and a little extra bounce in my walk. I think I might have even creeped out a few people on the street today when I smiled at then. I couldn’t help it! Makeovers make me smile!

 (okay, so maybe not quite that excited)

And maybe I didn’t go all the way on the hair. I got a bunch of layers, a few highlights, and as much as I wanted to take the plunge and chop all my hair off, I just wasn’t ready. So instead I found the perfect solution. The trusty faux bob. Now, I can don the cute 20s style bob when I want, and then my long hair the rest of the time. I tricked one of my friends too, who saw me and exclaimed "you cut your hair!" psych! Not actually. The commitment phobe in me loves this easy hair slump solution. Try out the bob without all the stress of potential haircut regret. 

Just because I didn’t get a drastic haircut doesn’t mean I still can’t have fun with my hair. Again, thank you pinterest for all your lovely hair-spiration. Most of my friends will tell you, I’m a bit of a braid addict. They add the perfect boho touch to any hairdo. Even a boring old ponytail or bun can get a facelift from a few well placed French braids. The braid has a bit of a bad rap. It doesn’t have to look like school girl pigtails, or a little house on the prairie style plait. Rather, it can look completely modern, fun, and fresh.

The side French braid bun: This is probably one of the easiest hairstyles to master. It literally takes me less than five minutes to pull off a style like this.

 Hair and images from "Hair and Makeup by Steph"

The fishtail braid: The latest braiding craze, and I’m loving it. 

 Hair and images from "Hair and Makeup by Steph"

The Waterfall Braid: I’m still working on mastering this one on myself. But I’ll tell you, I can pull off a mean waterfall braid on someone else. A Fun tip is to do multiple waterfall braids across the back and then you can create a pretty funky updo!

 Hair and images from "Hair and Makeup by Steph"

And for a few non-braid adorable and simple updos for when you’re running late for work or a date:

 All 3 images from pinterest

Once I got my hair mastered it was time to move onto makeup.

Mad Men has encouraged a resurgence of 50s fashion and makeup over the last few years. And I’m not complaining. The cat eye is one of my favorite looks. The trick is, if you’re doing a fairly thick eyeliner line, to not do too much eyeshadow. You want to avoid looking trashy, and instead look like a classic vintage beauty. Usually when I go out I opt for either a brown, purple, or grey smoky eye. But lately, I’ve been sporting very light eyeshadow with cat eye liner, and a pop of red colour on my lips. It’s fun to mix things up! And it’s definitely an easier look to execute than smoky eyes. A perfect option for when you’re limited on time. 

Also, to go from day to night all you have to do is add lipstick. A simple cat eye can totally work for the office, and then after 5 just add some pink or red lipstick and you’re set for a night out!
Adele is one of my fav celebs sporting this look right now. She just always looks so fresh and fabulous.

And finally, no makeover is complete without a good manicure. This spring its all about the pastels. Pink, purple, yellow, blue, green, coral…I’m sporting them all at some point or another. Nailpolish is a great way to play with colour and trends without having to replace your entire wardrobe. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Long Weekend Memories

So the long weekend is coming up, and I’m getting pretty pumped! It seems like May 24 is always timed perfectly – it comes right at the moment when I need a few days break. When I was a young,  May 24 was the weekend when my family would take off to Honey Harbour to go boating and fishing all weekend.  We’d spend the weekend water skiing, tubing and swimming (if the cold Canadian weather was nice to us), having ridiculous bonfires, and eating more smores than you would think humanly possible. Okay, so I guess some things never change.

But now that I am an adult one of my favourite past times at the cottage or on long weekends it to try out a new drink receipe!  Drink of choice for these types of weeks are either beer, wine, cooler  (love pomtini) or something vodka based.  A good ceasar to start the day off is always tasty!  You can see some other drinks I would like to try on on my Pinterest Board - Drinks I Want to Try!

I’m thinking this May 24, I’ll break out the Sangria. My friend Anna makes the best Sangria but I might try this recipe and if you have a better one please share!

Canadian Living’s Sangria Recipe:
Quarter, then thinly slice and seed 1 lemon, 1 lime, 1 orange and 1 apple or peach into pitcher; add 1/4 cup (50 mL) granulated sugar and a generous pinch of salt. Stir. Let stand for at least 1 hour. Add 1/4 cup (50 mL) brandy. Stir in 1 bottle (750 mL) of wine, slightly mashing the fruit. Let stand for 30 minutes. Add lots of ice. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

And I love my wine so much I had to get the bottles a cute little accessory to add a surprising dose of style to any get together. I’m drooling over rad wine stoppers like these to save, and keep fresh any leftover wine for drinking later.

My favorite thing about the May 24 weekend, is everyone has their own little traditions. Some people plan a BBQ at home for a bunch of their friends. Some people head up to a cabin or camping, where they like to rough it a little. No hair straighteners, heavy makeup, or heels allowed.

A lot of this:

Rather than this:

 (I wish my room at home was as nice as this cottage bedroom)

Other’s prefer a bit more glam cottage experience. Some flowing wine, maybe a slightly fancier dinner party. With cool platters like these:

(That Brie looks delish)

But it really doesn’t matter what you have planned, as long as you have great company.

Oh, and if you own something ridiculously amazing like this swing, that could probably make your weekend even better. And I might be totally jealous. Care to invite me over? 

image from pinterest

What are your plans for the long weekend?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Spring Fitness and Body Image

As it gets closer and closer to June, I can’t help but notice my bathing suits glaring at me from within my dresser drawer. Yes, the dreaded bathing suit season. It always seems to creep up on me so quickly and I feel like I never have enough time to prepare! All those delish winter comfort meals and April birthday cocktail parties tend to leave me with a bit of extra padding, and leave my bathing suits feeling a teensy bit tighter than last summer.

So, I guess its time to gather myself and get going on my fitness routine. February, March, and April were so busy with work and travel that I started to find it difficult to source the time for working out. But, I’ve got to say, i’ve been missing my regular dose of workout endorphins. Plus, with all the pinning on pinterest I’ve been doing I’ve been slowly getting more and more motivated to get back to the gym.

That meme speaks the truth. Seriously, pinterest has secret powers to help me waste more time than even Facebook.

So this week, I decided to slowly but surely rise from my desk chair, and start to put all my fitness pins on Pinterest to use. I did a few home exercises during my favorite TV shows, or while blasting some fab tunes. But I have to admit, i’ve always had a problem where I get easily bored while working out. The home workout thing is great sometimes but I really need to mix things up in order to get the most out of a workout plan. So a day or two a week I might run in the mornings, another day (usually during Thursday night tv) I’ll do home workouts.

Lately I’ve also been trying some new, more exciting workout options. I’ve started cross fit. And ladies, I have to tell you, it’s a surefire way to feel like a total badass. It’s awesome and completely empowering. I never realized how powerful I could be until I started crossfit training.

Why thank you Ryan.

No, but seriously, if you’re looking for a more intense workout try crossfit. And even better, do it with a friend! You’ll motivate each other, and you’ll feel less shy or intimidated in the beginning.

A few other fun options are of course:

-       Dance classes. For the more coordinated of us, this is a great (and super fun) option. Maybe you took ballet or jazz 10 years back and would love to get back into shape (and maybe even improve your flexibility!). Dance isn’t just for kids or teenagers. Various studios in most cities have great adult dance programs. And even better, some studios are actually solely dedicated to adult dance. Literally just do a little googling and you’re sure to find something. I did a jazz class once a week in January and February, and I’ve got to say it was a great experience. I felt like I was getting a workout, but it also improved my coordination (um, totally klutz over here), and even added an extra strut in my step throughout my day – a total self esteem booster!

My plan for this summer is to try all these cool fitness classes:

- Pole Dancing: This had been on my bucket list for so long. It’s hugely popular in Toronto right now and I’m definitely dragging a few of my girlfriends out to one of these with me.

- Aerial yoga: So excited to try this new fitness craze. I like to think of it as extreme yoga. Yoga, upside down, in the air, while hanging in fabric anchored to the ceiling. Sounds wicked, I know. I’ve always wanted to try silks (think cirque de soleil) so this will be my first foray into reaching for that ultimate goal one day.
Image from pinterest

While I go about all my new fitness plans, I usually try to create some sort of goal for myself. But I’m not all about the number on the scale, and even what measurements I am. And I definitely don’t trust what I see in the mirror, so I usually try to judge my progress by an improvement in energy levels, amount of weight I can lift, and an overall atmosphere of just “feeling great about myself.” Those things are hard to quantify though, and the mirror can sometimes taunt you.

Have ever you looked in a mirror and wondered if that’s what you actually looked like? Then maybe, especially before an important night out, you’ve had a friend take a photo of you in your outfit, because you don’t trust what the mirror tells you? This is actually incredibly common, so don’t worry you’re not a weirdo! Us girls (and guys too!) seem to always doubt our own perception of what out body looks like. I found this incredibly interesting article about this exact phenomenon.

Apparently, an incredibly high percentage (we’re talking over 90%) of women overestimate the size of their bodies. So a website called “My Body Gallery” was created with the intent of giving women a sample of what “real” bodies look like. Women around the world upload an image of themselves (with faces blacked out usually) and insert their height, weight, and pant size. Then, when a visitor comes and types in their own height, weight, and pant size into the search engine all these images of women with unique and diverse body shapes will come up who fit those measurements.

I have mixed feelings about this website. I think it’s potentially beneficial for women to look at “real” bodies to gauge their size rather than those photoshoped images we find in magazines. But I also think the whole atmosphere of comparison is a bit problematic in and of itself. Does it just promote more body hate and competition between women? Who knows. I think it’s incredibly subjective to the individual using the website.

What do you guys think about it? How do you gauge your fitness goals? And suggestions for how to get fit, the healthy and fun way this spring and summer?

And for a little extra treat, don't forget to check out our May super sale this week! Some amazing products at prices so ridiculous low you'll think you're being Punked

Friday, May 4, 2012

Spring Cleaning: Makeup Bag Edition

Back to Spring Cleaning!  Up Next: my makeup bag!

And by makeup bag, I mean bags, and bins, and random compacts and tools scattered throughout my bathroom, bedroom, and purse. I have to admit, my makeup collection is a bit absurd. I have so many different brushes, and shadows, and blushes from every brand under the sun. The other day I hit what I would call makeup rock bottom. I was looking everywhere for my favorite dark blue mineral eye shadow to go with this fabulous new dress. I got on my hands and knees, crawling around searching under my bed, in my bathroom drawers, and even on the floor of my clothes closet. Where did I find it? With the cover open, spilled over, in my desk drawer. How it got there I’ll never know? As I lamented my spilled eyeshadow and tried to save as much of it as I could, I thought...this is a sad, sad moment. (for both my eyeshadow and my lack of organizational skills)

Where do you start?

1. Gather it all in one place & organize

Dump everything on a flat surface so you can see it all at once. Then go through each piece one by one and toss out anything that is old, damaged, or you know you don’t use (and never will. Like that frosted pink lipstick). Then arrange everything in sections like lip products, eye products, foundation and blush, and brushes.

2. Check expiration dates

Generally, you don’t want to keep any of your makeup longer than two or three years. But you can usually tell if the makeup has run its course by its smell or texture. Yes, I know that favorite lipstick shade still has a tiny bit left in it, but when it starts to feel like its dried up, time to toss the tube, and cross your fingers the colour hasn’t been discontinued. 
Expiration is especially important for products like eyeliners and mascara. Don’t keep mascara for more than a few months and eyeliner for more than a year. Bacteria lingering on the products can increase your chance of an eye infection. And I don’t know about you, but my eyes are some of my best features. So I’d like to keep them in tip top shape!

3. Clean your brushes

I have to admit, this is something I can get a bit lazy about. So I took this as an excuse to do a major brush clean and to promise that I’ll keep up to date with the cleaning. All you have to do is use a small amount of shampoo on the brushes with water. Make sure to rinse out all the soap, then lay the brushes out to dry overnight. Also, take a moment to go through and throw out any brushes that have seen better days. Toss them if they’re frayed or ancient (if you’re using the same brush you used as a teenager in the 80s, it might be time to retire it).

And of course, I always need a little dose of fun and style in order to help keep me organized.  I’m loving the following ideas:

This is a great craft idea, for organizing your brushes

image from pinterest

I wish I owned a makeup desk like this. Oh well, a girl can dream. (that’s what pinterest is for after all anyways)

image from pinterest

And for a perhaps more achievable means of organization, I love this palette. The available colours, first and foremost, are beyond adorable. Pastels are my favorite part of spring, so of course I’m drooling over the lavender and pink. Because I love to use eyeshadows from a variety of brands, I find myself dragging around huge bags of makeup. So not convenient. Instead I depotted all my eyeshadows (watch this video for steps on how to do this)

Then I created a magnetic board like this for my bathroom:

image and idea from Laura Thoughts

I stick most of my depotted eyeshadows on here (instead of keeping them in their smaller cases like the eyeshadows on the original magnetic board idea), and then put my favorite ones in my UNII magnetic palette. Then, when I’m on the go, I can mix and match the eyeshadows, so I always have the exact ones I need on me in an easy to transport, compact device. Gotta tell you, this was probably my favorite part of my makeup spring cleaning. Finally a system that actually works for me! Looks like I won’t be crawling around looking for my eyeshadow any time soon. 

Also, I am loving these adorable cosmetic bags to put my palettes in! Nautical is a fav this summer for me! 

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