get inspired : pictures are worth a thousand words … and a great wedding day!

May 21, 2015By stephanie

Today, I wanted to write about the importance of images – whether tears from a magazine, a pinterest board, or even a couple of screenshots saved onto your phone –  and how they are key to having a successful trial run with your makeup and hair artist.


Photo by Rhommel Bernardino

Beauty jargon, like “textured”, “glowing”, “dewy”, and “voluminous” mean different things to different people. Your artistry team will understand the words one way, and you might envision them another way. In addition when you start to actively psuedo-quantify the words … “a little bit of texture” can be tricky. Or “more dewy” can be an oily mess.

This is where pictures come in. Pictures are the best references for artists, and even for yourself, to measure what you like and what you don’t like. When you can’t find the right words for the look or style you’re trying to achieve … the pictures can find and translate them for you.


Photo by Jonathan Ponce

Remember, you are paying good money and spending from your wedding day budget to have a trial run with your artistry team. Make it worth every penny (and easy on your budget) by making sure the look you want is achieved (or as closely as possible with respect to your hair type, skin type, and face shape) that first time.

I highly suggest collecting images of looks you love and looks you do not like.  I also recommend that you prepare “second choice” looks – especially if you are aware that your hair isn’t the right length for your most preferred look, or if you want to try smokey eyes but aren’t sure how you will feel about it once it’s done.  There is nothing wrong with a back-up plan!

Keep in mind, that saying to the artist “just make me look fresh and beautiful” is very subjective.  They might think you will look beautiful in a bronzy glow with a liquid liner eye … when you prefer to be fair and pink. Or perhaps they see you in a glorious upsweep hair do … when you were hoping for a half up / half down with bangs hiding your face.

Communication is definitely key and as makeup and hair artists, WE LOVE looking at beauty images. If you have yet to have your trial run, start collecting images now. Pinning, saving, or screen-shotting one a day can result in a huge pile by the time your trial run or wedding day rolls around!

Happy planning!


scene+heard : on set with donisha marley-prendergast …

May 20, 2015By stephanie


photo by Ashlee Hutchinson, Toronto

All I remember from this day, is that it started off very normal.
I was doing errands, volunteering at the school, and bringing my dog,
Yoda, to get his nails clipped.

A very normal day …

And then, that evening, I went to my call for a photoshoot
and found out I would be doing makeup for the Marley family.
The beautiful Donisha Marley, his granddaughter, and her mother
Sharon Marley, Bob and Rita Marley’s daughter and
vocalist for The Melody Makers.

My time with them was short and sweet.
But all I could remember was thinking :

“is this really happening right now?”

Life is good folks!


get a skin fix with skinfix …

May 19, 2015By stephanie

Without a doubt, us Torontonians suffered a very long and cold winter. While I am normally a fanatic about skincare, it didn’t matter what my routine was I was experiencing dry skin all throughout the season. Couple already dry skin with heavy layers of wool and anything else that could keep me warm and my skin was really suffering.  Insert sad face emoticon right here.

When the weather started to come around, I turned my attention and focus to correcting, healing, and nourishing my skin. My arms were dry and itchy. My legs were scaly looking (ew!), and overall, my skin was just blah. And then I received the opportunity to try Skinfix. *applause*


I have actually seen Skinfix around at my local Superstore, but never took the time to research it since there was always a body lotion or balm waiting to be reviewed and tested in the bp vault. So when I was contacted by the brand to try a few things, I happily accepted.

For the past four weeks, I have been using Skinfix’s Cleansing Oil Wash and Daily Lotion – both of which are formulated to treat dry, eczema prone skin using natural ingredients without hydrocortisone, steroids, parabens or phthalates.

My repair plan was to use the skin cleansing oil all over the body in the shower in place of my regular body washes and soaps, followed by a full dose of the daily lotion from head to toe. After the first day, my arms weren’t as itchy as they had been – my skin was still a little ashy white (dry) but I didn’t feel the need to scratch and apply more lotion throughout the day.

After three days, the white dry flaky appearance to my skin disappeared. The scaliness on my legs started to fade too, and my skin felt softer. After seven days, the appearance of my entire body looked healthier, smoother, and definitely softer. I needed less product to hydrate my skin with each following use, and I could see that my body was on its way to repair.

My skin feels great now (about one month of consistent use) and I’m a big fan!

Skinfix definitely assisted me with my dry winter skin, but what I couldn’t assess was how it would treat eczema-prone skin. Since I was really happy with the results, I decided to bring in bp’s littlest test monkey to figure our how well it would work on eczema type rashes and skin. Enter Harlowe “bp junior” Daga.


To be clear, my little girl has not been diagnosed with severe eczema, nor have I ever had a script for a steroid cream to treat any of her skin issues, however, bp junior had two scaly, bumpy, slightly red patches over the front of her thighs throughout the entire winter. The patches were long from the top of the thigh to just above the knee.  It was rough, dry, and not smooth like the rest of her skin.

I wanted her to have her baby smooth skin back, so I went to my local Superstore and picked up Skinfix’s Gentle Eczema Balm and Daily Lotion for Infants and Toddlers and put it to the test.

For the first use, I washed her with her regular baby wash and then applied the Skinfix Daily Lotion. Once absorbed, I applied a thin layer of the Eczema Balm directly to both patches. The funny thing is, I planned to check on it the following morning for any progress, but it was my son whom piped up later that same first day “hey ma … harlowe’s patches aren’t red anymore”.  Thumbs up!

The next day, I reapplied another layer of balm and by the end of the day, the bumps while still visible, were smoother and less noticeable. By the end of seven days, all signs of redness and dry skin had disappeared and the bumps were next to non-existent.  Three weeks out, bp junior shows off her gams in diapers and a onesie like nobody’s business.

I have since stopped applying the eczema balm on her since it’s no longer needed but I am still using the Daily Lotion for both myself and my children.  I highly suggest incorporating the Cleansing Oil Wash if you can (bonus : I apply and rinse before and after shaving the legs for a smooth shave!) since I believe in tandem it works best.

Skinfix is available at your local pharmacy and Superstore. Get started on your Spring skin!



because mom’s like stuff!

May 6, 2015By stephanie

We are four sleeps away from Mother’s Day. Many of you have most likely planned out your special day with the one you call mother. Others have perhaps already mailed out your greeting card. Some of you have scheduled in your overseas call to mom, making sure the timezones match up. And the rest of us … well … we’re probably still trying to figure out what might make the best gift; or maybe … we haven’t even made a list yet.

Sometimes its really easy, right? Departments stores are offering ready to buy gift sets; salons and spas are offering gift certificates on packages; and online sites have speedy delivery direct to her home. Click, click, click,  and … send.

And then other times, it’s hard. Your mother might appreciate the finer things in life, but does she ever make time for it? Maybe she’s perfectly fine with going to her regular lady for a haircut and colour for $18 plus tax, she doesn’t want to try your new fancy salon where the taxes are $18 alone. Or perhaps, she doesn’t like anyone touching her face and getting nekkid in public! She’s okay with her old soap and water routine and doesn’t want to be fussed over. And that beautiful makeup set? It’s gorgeous, but she can get by with that lipstick she received in that gift with purchase when she replenished recently her favourite yellow moisturizer. Moms are hard to shop for. Period. Exclamation Mark. Times 100.

So today, instead of focusing on beauty products and services for mom that she appreciates but finds extravagant … I wanted to focus on beauty tools. Tools, strictly for vanity purposes, that I think mother’s will love unexpectedly.  She will love them because they feel luxurious but also, because she can do it herself. Because as a mom myself, there are two things I know I love : money well spent on quality and being in control.

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 


Dental hygiene – it’s the stuff moms are constantly reminding their kids to do – but not themselves. The Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean comes complete with charging travel case and charger glass to make cleaner, whiter teeth for a busy mom totally possible. As someone who gets shamed by the dentist bi-annually for receeding gums and bad flossing habits, this electric toothbrush is a god-send. It has 5 brushing modes, 2 of which are “gum care” and “sensitive”. Over the past few years I’ve been brushing lightly to avoid harming my gumline, but now with my new Soniccare, I can can a deep clean without damage or feeling like I’ve bruised my teeth. Perfecto! The other three settings are  ”clean”, “white”, and “polish” – all useful for a perfect smile.  Lastly, as a bonus for Mother’s Day – you can find the Sonicare in a beautiful shade of blush pink (black and white are standard). It might seem odd to give your mother a toothbrush for Mother’s Day … but how many times have you given a gift to your mom and she has replied “when can I use this?”. Toothbrushes are staples. Moms need them. This is the Tiffany’s bracelet of toothbrushes.

Trust me!

Foreo Luna Mini


I have owned my t-sonic Luna Mini forever a year almost now and I love it. This handheld device – so compact it’s wonderful for travel as well – allows me to give my skin a deep cleanse with every use removing dirt, oil and makeup with ease. If your mother happens to steer clear of spas and facials, or happens to keep a simple regimen, this one little tool would be a welcome addition that is neither intimidating or a hassle to use. The Luna Mini holds its charge for about three months of consistent use – which is only about 1 or 2 minutes a day. It works with any cleanser and there are two speeds to drive away blemishes and congestion. After a week’s use, you mother will see a brighter, softer complexion and she never had to leave the house or change her products. Another easy does it gift for mama.

Konjac Body Sponges


My friend, Marni, from Pelle Beauty introduced me to The Konjac Sponge Company and konjac sponges. With several options for the face or body, konjac sponges are earth friendly, sustainable sponges that provide a cleanse and balance the skin at the same time. Clay-based, the sponges gently exfoliate the skin and different clays can promote different results  from deep cleansing the skin to rejuvenating the complexion to improving circulation. With proper care, one sponge can last a few months. Gift her two or three, and she won’t need to replenish until the holiday season when you can place a few more in her stocking! I suggest a mix of one for the face and one for the body!

See – Mother’s Day doesn’t have to always be about ribbons and teacups. It can be about functional too! :)

Happy shopping – you’ve got four days!


lookbook love : jourdan dunn at the met gala

May 5, 2015By stephanie


Without fail, the annual Met Gala brought out another round of visionary fashion with this year’s theme of Chinese Whispers. I’m sure if you head over to any fashionable blog worth it’s weight in designer handbags, you’ll catch all the news on who wore what (or catch the Rihanna pizza dress memes), but here – you know, at your run of the mill beauty blog – we’re focusing on the face.


The people behind Maybelline shared with us three different looks from their ambassadors for the evening : Gigi Hadid, Adriana Lima and my personal favourite, Jourdan Dunn!

I adore Jourdan’s  look (created by Frances Hathaway) the most because I think it combines two things I love for eyes but without going overboard: bold black liner and a pop of colour.

Often, the everyday beauty gal will apply a strong lid colour and then finish it off with their liquid line but with Jourdan’s look, the liquid line does all the work against a lid shaded in soft mauves which actually reads as natural and almost nude. The freshness comes from that pop of colour across the lower lashline which is a mix of bronze and pomegranate shades. People often reserve this technique for your basic black, brown, or grey smudge for a super smoked up eye … but choosing a brighter colour with a hint of sheen looks so clean and fresh.


What do you think? Agree or disagree?

Below is the full how-to and product list for this Maybelline look. Think you’re going to try it out?



Jourdan’s “how-to” for her eyes, courtesy of Maybelline :

To create a gorgeous, stand-out eye look, Hathaway used Maybelline New York The Blushed Nudes Palette (launching June 2015), focusing on the beautiful, mauve toned shades on her lid and crease. To create a glow-y effect on her lower lash line, Hathaway then applied Maybelline New York Eye Studio Color Tattoo 24HR Cream Gel in “Bad to the Bronze” and “Pomegranate Punk”. As the look was “all about the eye,” Hathaway used Maybelline New York Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner in “Blackest Black” to create a more pronounced winged eye. She finished with multiple coats of Maybelline New York Lash Sensational Black Pearl Waterproof Mascara. Hathaway sculpted her brows with Maybelline New York Brow Drama