April 2020 : Hello? Is anyone there?

April 1, 2020By stephanie

It’s April 1, 2020 … and today, we start this new month knowing that the world as we know it has changed; and that when the time comes and we emerge from the comfort of our homes : things WILL be different.

Perhaps, our Pinterest boards will no longer be filled with aspirational travel locales, but posts on how to travel locally with your health and safety in mind. Instead of Instagram feeds filled with #girlsquads at fancy restaurants weekly, an image of dinner for two made with love just once a month. Rather than a wedding in the countryside with 150 of your closest … it’s a quiet elopement and courthouse vows. My goodness, what will the new normal look like?

The truth is, no one knows. I surely don’t.

What you can do right now is take care of you. And yes, your family too, but I’m talking about you – you are important! And I’m not writing this post to preach about beauty based self-care – face masks, bubble baths, giving your hair a good wash – I know I talk about that a lot. I’m speaking more about taking care of you, your mental health, and doing what it takes to make you feel safe, secure, and as positive as possible coming out of this pandemic.

Everyone has the right to deal with the current world events in their own personal way. You can smile through it, you can cry through it, you can sleep through it. You do you. But, if you find that your anxiety or stress levels are getting the best of you, I encourage you to test out and try different actions and steps to protect your mental health. It could be as simple as practising a regular morning routine to bring back some normalcy to your day, or something a little more complex like finding an online therapist to check in with weekly.

My biggest concern right now, is keeping my family fed and healthy and keeping my small business, BlushPretty, alive. I’ve managed, for the past few weeks to maintain a calm and positive outlook, but as news broke yesterday that we potentially have another month to go … I realize I need a bit more than positivity and a go-getter attitude to keep on trucking. I need a plan. It’s the only way my mental health will survive.

And so, I made one and it goes like this :

Wake up everyday, stretch, have some water and walk the dog : Stretching and meditating calms me, water wakes me up, and being out in the sunlight instead of inside has made a difference; I just make sure I practise physical distancing.

Eat three meals a day : Because I’ve undertaken a “homeschooling” situation with my children, I treat breakfast and lunch as I do for their school schedule, and have dinner as normal. I have a chalkboard which lists out what they are getting for each meal so they don’t ask repeatedly, and it takes away the mental weight and strain of figuring it out in the moment.

Check in with my finances daily : We just moved into a new home last November, and I have rent to pay on two studios; drops in investments and interests rates don’t scare me – but I feel better knowing what’s coming in and what’s coming out. It calms me to check each of my banking apps daily, to know what payments are coming up and having a plan for each dollar that’s come in. I know for many this can be scary but try to find a financial check-in that works for you. Better to be aware than surprised.

Connect, even if briefly, with a friend : Not through an Instragram or Facebook comment … connect with one person daily by videochat or a messaging system. It takes two minutes on WhatsApp to ask how someone is doing. And a 30-minute videochat can do wonders for your emotional health.

Nap, Read and Work on the Business : I always said I would do it more, if I had the time. Guys – I have the time. After homeschooling my kids, I have three options : nap, read, or tackle my business to-do list.

Build my Animals Crossing New Horizons world : What we fear the most right now is lack of control. We don’t have control of our work, our day to day life, or what they have in stock at the grocery stores. But I do have control over my little virtual island.

I truly believe “having a daily plan” has gotten me this far. It’s definitely not a one size fits all solution, but the purpose of my post today is to tell you to seek out what you need to protect your mental and emotional health. I would love to hear about what you’re doing to have some consistency and routine in your life. Leave a comment and share your tips, tricks or troubles!

Growing Up Pretty : Laura Amaya T.

March 11, 2020By stephanie

Introducing Laura Amaya Tran! What can I say about this beautiful creature? I met Laura Amaya (I’ve always called her that – her full name before being married thinking ‘Amaya’ was her adjacent middle name) when she came on to join the BlushPretty mobile makeup and hair team around 8-10 years ago (who keeps count these days?).

Back then, Laura was just starting off in makeup … and if my memory serves me correctly, I think after a year of having her on makeup, I started to teach her how to do bridal hair. And then one day, I took her by surprise when in the middle of makeup and hair for a bridal party, a bridesmaid showed me her hairstyle and I told Laura to do it. And she did … without hesitation … but after giving me a look of “WTF? Are you sure???????”

That was the moment that I knew Laura was destined to do great things in makeup and hair.

Fast forward to today … and Laura is still active on the BlushPretty team but living a few long miles away from us in Buffalo, NY where her career is taking off in the bridal industry down there. She has grown into skincare as well, making her a triple threat in beauty.

What did beauty mean to you growing up, and what or whom were your major influences?

Growing up I honestly didn’t feel beautiful. I felt like everyone around me was more beautiful than me and I was just the unseen. I definitely lacked confidence but as I grew older this began to change and slowly I started to appreciate my own beauty. My mom was, and still is, truly my major influence. I remember just being so mesmerized by her beauty, I aspired to be just like her. Also, my aunt Paola who passed 8 years ago was one person in my life that always made me feel like the most beautiful girl in the world. She was so loving and kind and I appreciate so much how she made me feel without her even knowing how I was feeling and what I was going through. She truly helped me during a time of self doubt.

What role does beauty play in your life at this moment? How has it changed over the years? What do you focus on to feel like your most beautiful self? (e.g. skincare, makeup, hair, mental well-being, physical well-being)

I work in the beauty industry as an Esthetician and Makeup Artist, so I’m truly constantly surrounded by it. I feel like as I’ve gotten older my views have changed significantly. I have learned to appreciate the beauty in everyone and everything including our flaws – its what makes us unique. I’m inspired by all the things around me and appreciate the beauty in everything. To feel like my most beautiful self, I’m focused on just being myself and taking care of me – that could be going for breakfast on my own, grabbing a coffee, and enjoying just browsing around a store. Or even my daily nighttime skincare routine (which is probably my favorite part of my day); its truly my moment of zen. I take my time with each step and once a week I throw in a mask while I sip my tea and relax.

What are your thoughts on beauty in social media and what do you wish for or hope to see as beauty evolves each year? (e.g. inspirational, aspirational, overdone, attainable, unattainable?)

I love that beauty has such a huge social presence and that so many people are enjoying it and getting out of their comfort zones. My only worry is that sometimes unrealistic views and perceptions are displayed. It worries me that boys and girls will grow up with unrealistic views and expectations about beauty or themselves and I only hope that as parents or role models to the younger generations we can help to remind them how incredible they each are and to not get stuck on what they see on social platforms. I hope that we see more realness, not always just the good or “perfection”; there’s so much beauty even in the imperfect.

Describe your journey with beauty as each birthday or decade passes.

I can happily and confidently say that in my 30’s I feel the most beautiful I’ve ever felt. I can now see the distorted view of beauty I had growing up and looking back at photos of myself when I was younger, I’m so puzzled at how I could have ever thought or felt that I wasn’t beautiful or enough. I’ve learned to appreciate all of me.

Explain your current beauty routine, and please feel free to provide examples of looks you want to learn, procedures you want to try, or treatments you are curious about! Also, if you have recommendations for services in the city – please do share!

My daily beauty routine consists of serum, oil and moisturizer and minimal makeup or no makeup on my off days. If I have work, I love to glam myself up a bit which is usually foundation, concealer, blush, bronzer, mascara, a simple eye – usually just bronzer in the crease with smudged liner and mascara – and of course a lipstick. Wow : that was a lot! Lol! Nighttime, I go all out with a double cleanse, exfoliate (2x per week), serum, oil and moisturizer and mask (1x per week). I use the Eminence Organics line which I’m so in love with. I will say that as I’m getting older, I am curious about botox. I’m thinking about very small amounts of botox for my minor “11” lines – possibly a 35th bday gift for myself next year – after all prevention is key for anti-aging! I would also love to do laser [hair removal] cause I’m so over waxing and shaving.

Give us your fast five …

Beauty Muse :
Zendaya! I would love to have her sit in my chair and allow me to paint her face …
Favourite Product : Facial Recovery Oil by Eminence
Your Splurge Item : my Replica Beach Walk perfume and my Dior concealer that I’m in love with …
Best Beauty Skill : perfected skin that looks like skin
Worst Beauty Skill : I absolutely suck at putting lashes on myself; I can get them on everyone in 2 minutes but on myself its nearly impossible …

Being Your Best Self

September 2, 2019By admin

It’s been 15 years since BlushPretty became “a thing!” 15 years!!!

Can you believe it?  We can’t – mainly because it’s been so much fun growing over the years that it flew by. In all that time, we’ve been so busy beautifying brides, teaching beauties new tips and tricks, and promoting self-care and self-love … that we kind of forgot to take care of BlushPretty. So what better way to promote “being your best self” than practising what we preach????

I am so happy and so excited to announce that our brand and website have finally gotten a (very much needed) “makeover”. We’ve brought out pretty little website up-to-date, making it mobile friendly, easy to navigate, and chock-full of information!

We hope you love the new website as much as we do! Be sure to check out our new offerings (skincare anyone?) and our new membership program (beauty your way, any day!). We’ve introduced these new services and initiatives with you in mind in the hopes of helping you along on your journey to being your best self!

Thanks so much for being a part of our growth over the past 15 years … and here’s to 15 more!

Happy Long Weekend!


Popular Opinion : yes, you need more than one concealer!

January 30, 2019By stephanie

I like to pride myself on the idea that despite being a makeup artist with plenty of makeup to play with, I personally can do a decent “face” with minimal product. In fact, I usually can do my daily makeup in about three minutes. It’s all about a little bit of coverup, a good eyeliner, and some bronzing powder.

Most beautycentric people’s talk a lot about having lipstick wardrobes or several eyeshadow palettes they play with every day … and technically, I could be considered one of them however, as of late … I find myself buying concealers; concealers of all sorts and kinds actually.

Every time I pick up a tube or pot of flesh coloured cream or liquid, I silently shame myself. Is this really necessary Stephanie? Is it? C’mon now …

But then, I decided to go easy on myself; because I actually do need different concealers. I do. I really really really do.

I currently have four in rotation, and I managed to justify each one.

MAC Studio Fix 24-Hour Smooth Wear Concealer in NC35 : I use this for blemishes and marks, and in lieu of wearing full foundation. The wand applicator makes it super-portable. It’s super pigmented and blendable which provides seamless coverage!

Make Up for Ever Ultra HD Self Setting Concealer in 21 : Packaged similar to MAC Studio Fix concealer, I use this concealer in a lighter shade to brighten up under the eyes and diminish the signs of fatigue. I also do a trace down the centre of the nose for a slimmer look! Bonus : this concealer self sets and doesn’t crease – perfect for the the eye area.

Benefit Cosmetics Boing Brightening Concealer in No. 2 : When I plan to wear a bareface, but still want to brighten up a bit – I apply this concealer with my ring finger and gently dab around my eyes. While the product is full coverage, it feels lightweight and like silk on the skin. I’ll also take a bit right under the brow bone to lift the eyes a little!

Cle De Peau Concealer in Ochre : This is my luxury, always with me, make me fabulous concealer. It’s the priciest of the bunch, but for me : it can do anything and everything – so it’s worth it. In a stick format, it’s Thin Fit Layer formula can give me a natural layer on the days i don’t need much … but with the right layering and blending, can perform like a full coverage foundation in a pinch.

So, does anyone else’s concealer wardrobe look like this?

How to have great makeup, every day …

January 4, 2019By stephanie

Photo by Mohsin Javed | Hair by Samantha Wilson | Makeup by Stephanie Daga

You can spend as much as $250 dollars on your everyday makeup essentials like foundation, concealer and mascara, but that doesn’t guarantee that your endgame makeup will look like the megabucks you spent.

Great makeup actually starts the night before with the right skin prep, and if you aren’t practising these three tips just yet … the new year is the perfect time to start!

  1. Cleanse and moisturize every night. Your skin needs to breathe and repair every night while you get your shuteye! As much as it sounds like a broken record, I’ll say it again : remove your makeup and apply your serums and moisturizer. Giving your skin what it needs to recuperate before bed means a well-prepared complexion in the morning! Think soft skin, non-existent eye bags, and plump lips!
  2. Skip cleansing in the morning, but repeat the moisturizer. Avoid stripping your skin of its natural oils in the morning which can dry out your skin and create problems for your foundation application. Rinsing your face with water to wake up is fine, but skip the cleanser or soap. After rinsing, follow-up with a lightweight, daytime moisturizer and apply some eye cream (firming or brightening – pick your poison!) and lip balm. Give it time to sink in before starting your makeup application.
  3. Prime the skin and work in layers. If you have textured skin or are concerned about uneven tone or discolouration, a targeted primer can help for a more even makeup application. Apply a light layer before foundation, and be sure to wait a beat to allow the primer to set the skin. When applying foundation, start off with a light first layer working your way from the centre of the face outward. Blend well! Just like your primer, give it some time before adding another layer of foundation or moving on to concealer . Repeat your layers until you get your desired coverage.

Unfiltered “filtered-looking” makeup is all about prep and patience! Begin with these three tips and start to see results almost immediately!

Happy skin prep!