the freelance life : karma is going to get you …

June 2, 2014By stephanie

illustration by the talented Joanna Pop …
(welcome to the blog Joanna!)

This past weekend, I got to spend time with one of my artists during a drive out to the west end and our conversations are never boring. We speak about it all, from personal to professional. We laugh, we vent … we have yet to cry in front of each other … but you get the idea.

Usually, our conversations visit professional mishaps and obstacles and this artist mentioned that she has yet to be paid for certain jobs where she has completed services. She isn’t alone, it’s happened to many, me included. I am flabbergasted that the non-paying clients/colleague/people in question wasn’t/isn’t/aren’t mortified or embarrassed enough to see that overdue payments are a serious issue.

Now, I cannot tell you how her story ends, as I don’t know … I’m not even sure it’s been resolved yet. But what I can tell you is that I believe in karma.

You’re probably wondering what karma has to do with the story above … here it is:

I believe in karma.
And I believe that what you put out into the world is what you get back.

As a freelancer, it’s easy to justify any action you take – good or bad – as part of the ups and downs of entrepreneurship, career building, getting ahead, and the freelance life. But just because you can justify it, doesn’t mean its right.

I’ve heard my share of stories :

  • the artist who refuses to let new up and comers to shadow her because she doesn’t want to help foster potential competition. bad karma : in an industry where your colleagues are quick to refer their peers when they are unavailable to take on a client, said artist gets shut out since goodwill is a two way street. She refuses to help others . Why would they send her business?
  • the artist who claims she can do hair in order to land the job. bad karma : she lands a big photoshoot but cannot create the hairstyle requested nor does she have the proper tools only to disappoint the photography team, model and client whom hired her … that’s like three bad karma returns. Needless to say, she was never booked again by that client.
  • the artist who books herself back to back to back without regarding time, location, and accessibility to each gig in order to earn more. bad karma : after being late to all bookings but the very first one for the day, bad reviews on popular sites like Yelp or even Twitter followed.

I think its important, as creative and success-driven individuals, that we treat everyone we come across with respect and humbleness (totally not sure if that’s an actual word, but I’m going with it!). Each action you take will impact the future of not only yourself but others. Therefore, your everyday goal is to start and complete every action you take with good intentions.

As a freelancer, here are some Karma and Business 101 Rules I tend to live by.

  • be helpful and be grateful
  • share your knowledge with others
  • pay it forward when you can

Going back to my story above, I remember saying to my artiend (artist+friend) that I believe BlushPretty grew on karma. The really good kind.  By being positive, respectful, and appreciative in all (positive and negative) situations presented to me as bp grew, I think I managed to build a positive growing business that I am really proud of.

When she turned to me and said “I believe that …” I smiled large.

I’m very happy I’m not the only person that believes that Karma rules.

Remember, everything you put out there, comes back …


beauty on duty: Denise Wild, The Sewing Studio

January 10, 2013By stephanie

“I LOVE makeup!!! I love reading about new products and looking at new products and buying new products and testing new products. That being said, I own WAY more makeup than I actually wear. To be honest, as a former beauty editor, I can write how to apply makeup much better than I can actually do it. So, I keep things simple.

I’m pretty boring when it comes to my daily cosmetic routine because I do my makeup the exact same way every day, and I use only three products: Eyebrow pencil, mascara, and blush. That’s it. I try to look as fresh and natural as possible, so I like to keep things to a minimum. With much trial and error (including mass, prestige, and even cult brands), I finally found the perfect pencil for my eyebrows. And it’s under $2 at Walgreens! Wet n Wild Kohl Brow – Eyeliner in Mink Brown is the perfect shade for me, and I’ve got three of them in stock just in case they stop making it. On my cheeks I’m currently using Bobbi Brown Blush in Clay (sounds muddy, but it’s a nice, bright pink), and I’m obsessed with finishing the entire pot before moving on to another product. Mascara I’m quite picky about. It has to go on easily, and it has to wash off completely with no effort when I wash my face at night. If it doesn’t, I toss it, and I move on to the next tube. Right now I’m using CoverGirl LashBlast Fusion Mascara in Black, and it fits the bill.

I’m trying to play more with makeup these days and actually use all of the products I own. So for special occasions and nights out, I’m experimenting with eyeshadow and liner. (The one thing I pretty much steer clear of is lip colour — there’s something about it that I think often ages people.) And I’m starting to watch YouTube makeup tutorials, which are quite inspiring, but a little overwhelming. When I do TV or video, I slather on a thick base (M.A.C Select SPF 15 Foundation in NC25 and M.A.C Studio Careblend/Pressed Powder in Medium), darken everything up, and play around with my eyes.”

– straight from Denise’s mouth …

To learn more about Denise’s Beauty OFF Duty, click here

Former magazine editor Denise Wild, a sewing star since the age of 13, started teaching sewing classes in her Toronto apartment in 2004 while she was working at FLARE, Canada’s top fashion publication. Those classes evolved into The Sewing Studio, now North America’s leading sewing school with locations in Toronto and New York City. In January of 2010, Denise merged her love of sewing with her passion for magazines by creating, the top online sewing destination and the only sewing portal to focus on fashion and style. Denise has worked as an editor for top national publications including FLARE, House & Home, Faze, and ANOKHI, and has written for Hello!, Elle, HGTV, W Network, Glow, Elevate, Chatelaine, and Slice. Denise has regular television appearances that include The Shopping Channel, Steven and Chris, Inside the Box with Ty Pennington, Breakfast Television, CityLine, Daytime, NBC Mobile News, and Fairchild Television. For more information on Denise, visit

beauty ON Duty: Jennifer dela Cruz, Wedding Planner

December 5, 2012By stephanie

“Those who know me would describe me as being minimalistic or natural since I don’t usually wear any makeup at all.  But more recently I do find myself wearing more makeup on a normal basis.  That’s because I’ve come to realize that with age together with sleep deprivation (having a toddler and a 10-month old takes a toll on your sleep) does a number on your skin.  So makeup has become my new best friend as it tries to hide all my flaws.

Luckily, I have a cousin who is also a make-up artist so she has greatly influenced how I choose my makeup and has taught me how to properly apply it.  My bare essentials would be primer, liquid foundation, and concealer, all of which are from MAC.  This helps even my skin tone and hides the dark circles under my eyes.  I try to blend as much as I can to avoid the cakey look.  The colours of my eye shadow and lipstick would depend on what I am wearing and where I am going, which is essentially either neutral or bold (basically anything with colour since I’m a very “safe” and “boring”, as others would say, person).  Lately, my two favourite shades of lipstick for my neutral days are Spice and Viva Glam IV, both by MAC.  On my more daring and bold days, I would wear black eyeliner together with Brick-o-la lipstick from MAC.  Also, I always try to remember to wear mascara.  My favourite is Hypnose Waterproof from Lancome.  I always make sure that I have waterproof mascara.  I tear up very easily so waterproof mascara is key for me, otherwise I look like a complete mess.  One technique that I’ve learned to do, at least in my cheekbone area, is contouring using bronzer and a highlighter.  I’ll put bronzer under my cheek bone then apply blush just above it.  I’ll also use a highlighter just above that to create more depth.  Whether I’m doing it correctly or not is a whole different story but it works.  I usually do this on special occasions or when I just need to feel “pretty”.  I then finish it off by spraying Fix +. ”

– straight from Jennifer’s mouth …

To learn more about Jennifer’s beauty OFF duty, click here.

Jennifer dela Cruz is the owner and principal event planner of J. dela Cruz Weddings & Events. She is a certified wedding planner providing services in the Greater Toronto Area, and surrounding areas. She received her certification from the Wedding Planners Institute of Canada in 2010 and has planned and coordinated many weddings, themed-showers, and baptisms over the years.

beauty on duty: nasya n., the sewing studio

November 13, 2012By stephanie

“Morning is the worst time of day for me. I am always rushing to get my face put on and my style pulled together.  Most of the time my beauty routine ends up being as minimal as possible.  I like a clean face and less to worry about fussing with through out the day.  However, the one thing that I never leave the house without is my lip-gloss.  I can’t deal with the gunky, sticky, funky tasting ones, so lucky I have found the perfect lacquer, Liquid Lip Shine by NYC in “Nude York City”.

As for the base of my face, I am extremely loyal to Bare Escentuals make up, which was passed down to me by my mother who is also a loyal user of their products.  Their SPF Matte foundation, in fairly light, it goes on evenly, its lightweight and does wonders for my skin.  When I don’t use it, I actually get breakouts.  All of the minerals in their products act as a natural evener and keep a nice balance to my skin, meaning I don’t need a concealer.  I enjoy that it is a power foundation and that you don’t get those same lines that a liquid foundation does.

The eyes get a light dusting of one color usually “peace” or “foreshadow” from Bare Escentuals.  I like to keep it simple and neutral toned. Then I line with L’Oreal Liner Intense, in carbon black and a quick brushing of Colossal Volume Express by Maybelline on my lashes.  I do get a bit more creative for an evening out though.  I tend to get inspired by Audrey Hepburn cat eye, extend my liner and add a “chicory” eye shadow with a slanted brush to get a smudged look.  It helps if you wet the brush a bit to get a good line and less flaking of color on your skin”

– straight from Nasya’s Mouth

To learn more about Nasya’s Beauty OFF Duty, check it out here.

Originally from Denver, Colorado, Nasya is a self-proclaimed New Yorker whom moved to the city to pursue an education in Fashion Design at FIT.  She graduated with her BFA concentrating in Special Occasion and bridal and went on to intern and study at design houses like Zac Posen and J. Mendel, after which she honed her skills doing custom bridal gown and accessories  while getting back to the heart of what make fashion so exciting for her, the sewing. Coming from a long line of seamstresses sewing is something that in beaded at a young age.  At The Sewing Studio, she melds her design background and sewing skills together by interacting with students and instructors as the Studio Director.  This job is ideal, allowing her to sew and teach, leaving time for custom projects, and being able to move the studio forward as they grow, passing on our sewing knowledge.  She is always looking for opportunities to pass on her skills and share her passion for sewing.


beauty on duty: kathy chin of vodka and soda

October 30, 2012By stephanie 1 Comment

“My beauty routine is really simple.  I’ve always followed the advice from my mom who believes in simplicity, wears zero makeup but looks like she’s wearing makeup all the time!  There are many times she’s asked what color her lipstick is (because it’s the “perfect shade”) but she doesn’t own a tube of lipstick.

I only wear makeup when I go out because I prefer to let my skin “breathe”.  When I do wear makeup, I don’t wear a lot of it; I believe in letting my skin show and only accenting my features so I don’t use foundation but spot conceal instead.  My makeup routine is as follows (in order of application):

  • I always start with sunscreen because no one likes wrinkles!  I use Dermalogica Solar Defense Sunscreen SPF30.  It’s from their ultra sensitive line for sensitive skin.
    I have weird, brown-ish eye circles which I suspect is partially due to my hormones.
  • I NEED concealer to look normal otherwise I look like something that just crawled out of a crypt.  Every single concealer I’ve tried never worked – it was always too cakey, showed my wrinkles or never covered enough – until I stumbled upon Giorgio Armani cosmetics.  Who knew that not only does he make awesome clothes, but his makeup is amazing too!  I use his Master Corrector in “salmon” (to neutralize the darkness) and concealer in #3.5 (to brighten the area around my eyes).  Because this is a fluid, it’s great for dry skin (doesn’t settle in the lines) and never gets cakey.   This is THE best concealer that’s worked for me and I swear, this stuff is like liquid eraser!
  • I set the concealer with a light dusting of translucent powder — Laura Mercier Secret Brightening  Powder.  This product has a very slight shimmer to “brighten” the eye area.  I use a fluffy eyeshadow blender brush from Lancome. Trick: the best way to get a light dusting of powder on the brush is to tip the jar over (lid closed), then flip it right-side up, tap the lid a few times and then swipe the brush onto whatever powder is left sticking on the underside of the lid.  This reduces waste and gives you better control over how much powder you use.
  • Curl eye lashes – I use a tarte eyelash curler.
  • Eyeliner on upper lid.  I save liquid liners for evening/going out because I find that for me, liquid liner is too harsh for daytime.  I prefer a softer look during the day so I stick with pencils.  The best pencil liner that refuses to budge is NARS Larger Than Life eyeliner.  I usually wear a charcoal gray or if I feel fancy, a deep purple.
  • I apply a light dusting of translucent powder on my face to get rid of the shine.  I use an all-natural mineral powder by La Bella Donna in Honey.  This gives me a flawless look without looking “powdery”.  The brush I use is a big fluffy one by Cala (one of the best brushes i have and found it at winners for $6!)
  • Blush.  I tend to stick with powder blushes since I learned how to properly apply them.  I use an all-natural blush by La Bella Donna in Tangerine.  It’s the perfect shade of peach/pink and suits me better than NARS orgasm.  The brush I use is a blush brush also by Cala.
  • Trick:  sometimes if I’m looking a bit tired and I want to brighten my face, I swipe on some shimmer on my cheekbones/eye lids.  I stumbled upon this “trick” when I was getting ready to go out one day and found a Shimmer Brick (Bobbi Brown) that I forgot I had.  I swiped some on my lids and cheekbones just for fun and when I saw my friends, they were all “omg, you’re glowing!! you look amazing!” So I now do this when I want to look awesome but feel like garbage :D.  The shimmer brick I have is Bobbi Brown in Rose.  I use an angled brush because I found it works the best.

That’s it!!  From start to finish, it takes me about 5-8mins to put my makeup on.  I don’t really wear lipstick (just a lip oil) but if I’m feeling fancy, I’ll use some light, sheer gloss like Korres Lip Butter in Quince or Pomegranate.”

– straight from Kathy’s mouth

To learn about Kathy’s Beauty OFF Duty, click here.

Kathy Chin is an IT consultant by day and a wannabe fashionista and skin expert by night.  She’s addicted to exercise, stella and dot jewelry and blogging, not to mention purses and boots.  In addition, she is married to the love of her life for 8 years and a mother to a beautiful and hilarious 4 year old girl named kayla.  The blogosphere is her second home and her blog is where she goes to escape and/or post random things about life, her obsessions and the funny thoughts running through her head.  She often uses colorful words so you’ve been warned.  Visit Kathy at her blog,  vodka and soda or follow her on Twitter!