get inspired : crown braids …

October 19, 2015By stephanie

Braids are officially everywhere and the team and I have seen it all. French braids, dutch braids, fishtail braids, micro braids …

But, my favourite braid is officially the crown braid. Whether you circle it all the way around, or have two braids start from the top and meet at the bottom, crown braids don’t have to read as “cute”. They can be fashionable and bohemian when roughed up a little, regal and sophisticated when smoothed over and tucked neat.


For this particular crown braid, the bride had mid-length hair that was fine and tapered towards the ends. I started by parting her hair deep on one side and dutch braiding both sides right at the top and towards the bottom middle of the back of her head and then braiding all the way to the tip. The heavier braid tail circled back up towards the front on top and the lighter braid trailed across the bottom.  The end goal was to have the tails tuck in on the opposite side at the top of the head.

Unfortunately, hair that tapers on the ends don’t make for prominent braided tails, so I used hair filler to create thick fat braids right to the tip of the tail. This is key for having a strong noticeable braid.

To add weight and thickness, I used Hairintensity Extensions and cut them into 2-inch strips.  I didn’t use or sew on any wig clips. I cut about 12 2-inch sections, and kept them close to me as I braided. I started the dutch braid, and as I started to create my second plait and brought in a new section of the bride’s own hair to add to the braid, I also tucked in an extension underneath that; I continued the weave and repeated it, adding filler hair each time. Repeat for the other side.

Adding in the filler hair created full tails and made for a prominent, stand out, double crown on both sides. I simply pinned the tails over one another securing it every plait or two, and then tucked the ends in at the top. Then I inspected for any telltale tracks and hid those either under the braids. To add some size, I tugged on the plaits of the braids also.

This bride wanted a rougher appearance to her crown braid, so we  didn’t completely smooth her hair, except for where tracks of the extension pieces could be seen. During my process, I adding dry shampoo to the hair, and then curled.  I teased round the front and the crown of the head for volume and texture, and then went right into my braiding process. I sprayed it all down for hold.

If you prefer a cleaner smoother appearance, you can add some smoothing creme to the hair before braiding and keep your braid tight.  Finish with hairspray and shine spray.

Something to try and it’s great for keeping the hair off the face and neck!


get hitched : the radisson admiral toronto

October 9, 2015By stephanie

After many years in this business, there probably isn’t many places yet for me and my team to discover. We’ve visited remote cottages for weddings inspired by nature to the cream of the crop hotels for the truly sophisticated nuptials.

Every bride brings in a different experience, and the truth really truly is that no two brides are the same. We have had bridal parties love particular venues (and ideas) – while another, the very next day, didn’t fall in love too quickly. So, you know, to each their own … BUT that doesn’t mean we cannot give our opinions or share our thoughts on the various trends, ideas and venues that we have come across.


So let’s start with the Radisson Admiral Toronto. I have had very very few brides or clients call us to this hotel situated right by the lake in Harbourfront. I think that in the past two years while construction in the area seemed to block up everything, brides shunned the location and chose more accessible hotels in the area, north of the Gardiner.

However, not only did the roads in Harbourfront go under construction, but the Radisson also went through a bit of a “facelift”. With a neutral colour palette, hardwood floors and a furniture update, the rooms at the Radisson are welcoming, open, and clutter-free.

Rooms with large windows allow for plenty of light to come in on the right day and bonus – have a great view of the beautiful waterfront! This brightly lit room serves well bridal parties that are having on-location services for makeup and hair. In addition, the open concept of the room allows for multiple artists to set up without having to climb over one another.

Again, the open concept lends itself to photography well AND allows artists, photographers, and videographers to move around each other without bumping or interrupting one another.


I think a one bedroom suite, like the images posted above, would work well, for a bride with a smaller bridal party. Suites with two beds are also available, with a just as spacious set up. And, in line with having several individuals in one or two rooms, the bathroom is big enough to accommodate one or two individuals getting ready as well with a larger vanity table top to spread out all the makeup bags, toothbrushes, cans of hairspray, etc.

Parking is available along the street (metre parking, but limited spots), as well as an underground parking lot and above lots as well. Perhaps a smidgen cheaper for your guests in comparison to parking and hotels north of the Gardiner.

I highly suggest looking into booking a room at The Radisson if you’re aiming for a hotel steps from downtown, but without all the hustle, bustle and noise!


if you must : palmers skin therapy cleansing oil FACE …

October 8, 2015By stephanie

Since the birth of my youngest child – my daughter – over two years ago, I have taken on a whole new approach in how I treat and care for my skin. Nothing like heading towards the big 4-0, and at the time having 2 children with 1 on the way, makes you scrutinize your skin and your face more …

I took an interest in changing the way I cleanse/treat my skin and fell in love with face oils. At first, I used a variety of face oils to moisturize and treat my skin, using dabs to prepare my skin for the day, and heaps to heal my skin at night. I saw an immediate improvement in the tone and texture of my skin. In addition, I became less oily and my complexion just balanced itself out.

And then, I took the next step : using oils to cleanse my skin.

There are many out there to try – and I have tried plenty – but right now, I’m enjoying Palmer’s Skin Therapy Cleansing Oil FACE. It’s a lightweight but effective oil that removes makeup and dirt without stripping the skin.


Yes, that’s me – taken today – no makeup, no filter and pretty much in my pajamas and blogging.

I keep the bottle right by my tub, and in the morning I pump a drop into my hands and gently cleanse and rinse in the shower. Before bed, I pump a bit onto a cotton pad to gently remove the day’s makeup from the eyes. After that,  I pump another few drops into my hands and start to massage over my entire face before rinsing clean.

With it’s convenient pump top, it is cleansing made easy – no caps to remove when your hands are slick but also it’s foolproof to add more drops without over-pouring if a deeper cleansing and more product is needed. It removes the heaviest and most waterproof of eye makeup in an easy swipe and I never feel like there is any trace dirt or residue left behind. It’s rinses off easily and quickly too.

Formulated with grapeseed, jojoba, and rosehip, my skin never feels tight or stripped after use – nor does it feel oily and slick. Many people, especially those who have an oilier complexion, tend to shy away from using face oils of any sort because they believe that using oils would actually make them oilier. But believe me – that is simply not the case.

I’ve been using Palmer’s for about 55 days now. In addition to using the cleanser, I also moisturize with a variety of face oils, including Palmer’s Skin Therapy Oil. My skin is brighter, softer and smoother.  I can go makeup free confidently on most days and other than the bags under my eyes (ha ha), my skin looks healthy enough that it doesn’t need concealer or foundation. Fine lines are NIL, and the skin is plump. I believe my skin is more youthful and more even, and that it’s maintaining it’s elasticity well.

I highly recommend trying Palmers Skin Therapy Cleansing Oil FACE for yourself. If you have drier, mature or aging skin and want to see results … changing it up to an oil based routine could be beneficial to you. Oilier skin types can also benefit and you might find that using oils helps to regulate your skin. Perhaps start light with this cleansing oil first, and down the road, start moisturizing with face oils as well.

Palmers can be found in all our favourite shops for beauty : Shoppers Drug Mart, Walmart, and it can also be found at The SuperStore!


lightbox : classic+simple …

October 7, 2015By stephanie


There is something about embracing a natural look that will never be dated for years to come. This October bride had beautiful long hair with such subtle highlights and colour that it looked lovely swept into this low-wearing chignon. Her skin was flawless to begin with, so not much work was needed, but we played it up with some highlighter and peachy cream colour (NARS Anguilla and Puerto Vallarta Multiples). Her lids were left soft, with champagnes and taupes and a dose of inner corner highlight. We completed the look with a soft pink lip.

Many brides might feel like their wedding day style has to be about glam and a whole new makeup look, but I think this image proves that there is always a place for natural beauty to shine in a white wedding dress too!



try it : deep lips, fresh skin …

October 6, 2015By stephanie

The trick to wearing deeper shades whether its day or night is to actually focus on the skin. Pairing a deep wine or aubergine lip with fresh skin makes the look appear casual and effortless rather than the glam it’s often associated with.


The next time you dabble with the idea of wearing your favourite dark shade during 9 to 5, try this : focus on concealing only in the areas you need it – I find under the eyes and around the nose are more than sufficient … along with any prominent pimples or marks. Use a creamy concealer and blend and blend. Finish with a light layer of your favourite tinted moisturizer or light foundation – no sticks, creams or heavy coverage products allowed.

Some cream highlighter over the cheekbones and down the centre of the nose will help to bring some dewiness to drier skin.

Sweep a light, unclumped swipe of mascara and comb the brows up.

Finish with your favourite deep lip shade.