Tuesday, August 25, 2015

How To Create an Elegant Day Into Night Look

There is something to be said about finding an elegant day into night look.  I find that this look always comes in handy, particularly if you want to wear something natural at work, but then need to go out afterwards.  The 'easiest' way to achieve this (and this is coming from years of observation - seeing various women in films, observing people at restaurants etc etc) is to keep your day makeup, but switch to a deeper lipstick.  I've posted before that MAC Retro is my favourite 'day red' - but it can also be the ideal 'crossover' colour, meaning it can easily cross over from a day to evening look.  The other KEY element to achieving the perfect day into night look actually has 'nothing' to do with makeup at all - its all about your accessories, the colour of shirt/dress you wear.  If you wear neutrals with minimal jewelry during the day, simply swap your studs for an elegant hoop earring, switch your work bag to a classic clutch, put on a funky bracelet and voila, you've completely changed your look. Similarly, if you wear very neutral shades to work, put on a pop of colour for evening - change your beige shirt to a pretty periwinkle, or add a gold scarf to your plain T - creating a great day into night look isn't complicated - it's about 'tweaking' what you already have for day!

Here is my day into night look:

I decided to keep my usual day makeup - concealer/tinted moisturizer, MAC Trace gold blush, a swipe of woodwinked shadow on the lid, some black mascara and Retro lipstick.  I then decided to put on a pair of glamed up gold hoops (they didn't really turn out in the pic because of my hair).  I put on a classic periwinkle toned top, kept my black pants and added a more dressy shoe (again, sorry didn't make it into the pic) - but basically, an evening look doesn't have to be outrageous - it should still be simple and 'You', just an enhanced version :)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Light Lemon Yellow

I absolutely adore the shade of light lemon yellow.  It's such an elegant shade of yellow and it makes me happy just looking at it :)  Finding the right shade of yellow for yourself is like finding your best lipstick colour or discovering your best neutral.  Yellow is a colour that I used to shy away from because I didn't know quite how to wear it.  I liked the mustard shades, but something was always 'off' when I wore it.  Now that we are in the final summer stretch and most stores are already thinking 'fall/autumn' clothes, I can't help but want to embrace this shade of yellow as the perfect summer-ending shade.  I decided to keep my makeup fresh, but with a pop of rose-gold and warm pink.  I started with my basic concealer/tinted moisturizer and applied MAC Trace Gold to the cheeks.  I then swiped MAC Sable eyeshadow onto the lids, applied a few coats of mascara and used Ramblin Rose Lipstick (also MAC) - voila - fresh, pretty and 'Happy' :)

Saturday, August 22, 2015

MAC Retro Lipstick - The Perfect 'Day' Red

I wrote a blog post about MAC Retro lipstick not too long ago, but now that I'm experimenting more with a simple-natural makeup look, I wanted to show how nicely Retro compliments this!  Retro truly is a perfect day Red shade because its not a true, bold and bright red, but rather a more muted, soft red with peach and earthy undertones.  It's also easily blends in well with lipliners that correspond well to the Red lip - like MAC Auburn/Mahogany tones, but this will take Retro to a deeper, more dramatic look.  Simply swiping on Retro on its own, is ideal for everyday:

I kept the rest of my makeup very minimal (in fact, its the same look as my last post) - MAC woodwinked shadow on the lid, some mascara and Blushbaby blush by MAC!  This is such a classic look and I can't wait to pair it with some classic clothing looks, perhaps a navy blazer or a camel toned shirt dress.  Retro is definitely chic and polished, so loving this lipstick right now!!! :)

MAC Woodwinked and Kinda Sexy

There are plenty of pretty colour combinations for a natural-minimalistic look.  The trick, I think is to find some soft, elegant shades that really harmonize together.  I went for a muted gold and warm pink for this look - MAC Woodwinked on the eyes and Kinda Sexy Lipstick on the lips.  For my minimal look, I just used a little mascara and Blushbaby blush (also MAC) to finished up this look.

What I really like the most about this colour combination is that it's so natural that it literally blends into my squinting, but at the same time, it highlights with a subtle sheen.  I forgot to mention that I used NARS Rue Bonaparte eyeliner just in the inner tear ducts and rim of the lower lash line. I wanted to really open and brighten up the eye.  Woodwinked eyeshadow is the 'perfect' everyday eyeshadow - it's warm, yet at the same time leaning neutral, so it really goes with everything.  I think that for a more polished look and to slightly deepen the lips, I'd wear the MAC Boldly Bare liner!  The great thing about creating this look for everyday is that when you're ready to go out, the base of your makeup is complete and pretty, so anything goes from here!!! :)

Friday, August 21, 2015

Minimal/Natural VS Smokey/Dramatic

I'm definitely on a roll when it comes to 'a-ha' moments!  I've recently started to take the advice of some of my readers to try a more natural/minimal makeup look.  I'm surprised as how much I really like it.  However, it wasn't until I took this comparison photo that I can really see the difference.  Now, that's not to say that the smokey/dramatic look doesn't have a place in my future.  I just think that it's definitely a look reserved for evening or a special event.  However, for everyday, I'm really preferring the 'le no makeup look'.  I'm almost kicking myself a little for not really seeing the difference.  I think I was so caught up with creating an alluring smokey eyed, dramatic look, that I failed to see the elegance of 'unmasking' the drama and using makeup to enhance my features in a 'Delicate' way.  I think that Delicate is doing to my be my new makeup word/look - a delicate, soft elegance.  In a way, this a-ha moment is linked with coming to terms with my soft autumn palette once again.  Wearing shades that are soft, warm, Renoir-esque, has inspired me to create a different type of look.  However, those of you who read my blog and comment, give me feedback - you have all inspired me as well, so Thank-you!!! :)

The first thing that's obvious right away is that I look much younger without makeup.  Now that i'm getting older and am in my late 30's - that's a very good thing!!!  I also feel that my face 'glows' with less makeup - although I haven't changed my concealer/tinted moisturizer routine.  The liner on the lower lash line definitely closes in the eye as well!  I still like the smokey look for a glam event, but even then, I think I'll try to create a look that is somewhere in between these two looks!!!  I'm very inspired and happy to be creating some more natural-minimal makeup looks soon :)

Minimal, Simple, Just a 'Touch' of Makeup!

I've been getting a lot of positive feedback from my 'Le No Makeup Look' post!  I very much appreciate that many of you like my look 'makeup free'!  I wanted to try and create a look where I'm wearing just a 'touch' of makeup.  One of the comments that I got a lot was 'why not try just wearing mascara?'.  I've been an eyeliner woman for a 'very' long time - so its a little foreign to me to just wear mascara.  However, I have to admit, I 'love' the idea of a simple, minimal, swipe and go look.  Even more, I like the idea of going 'makeup free' more often.  I had an interesting conversation with a young teenager recently, where she told me that she feels makeup is a mask.  I was taken a-back because I've been wearing and blogging about makeup for so long, that I sometimes forget that not everyone likes the look and feel of makeup and the definition of femininity isn't always a gorgeous makeup look.  Femininity, beauty and elegance are about so much more!  Makeup is simply 'one' factor, its not the 'whole'!  I really admired this young teens opinion on makeup!  So here is a very simple, minimal makeup look that I hope to sport more often:

I used only a few products for this - I started with my typical concealer/tinted moisturizer combination - I like tinted moisturizer so much better than foundation.  It's so light and sheer.  My favourite it Laura Mercier's oil free TM in 'Ochre'.  I then blended two blush shades - MAC Trace Gold and Bushbaby for a very natural flush.  I applied a light sweep of Sable eyeshadow, just on the lid and used black mascara - a swipe or two!  For the lips, I decided on a soft, pretty shade - Ramblin Rose by MAC!!!  I have to admit that looking at these photos, I really like the shape of my eye!  Maybe I have been masking myself with too much of a dramatic look or perhaps I need to reserve that look for a different event/evening.  Either way, I like the idea of 'taking off the mask' once in a while!!!  It's like I'm shedding a makeup skin and the real me is coming through!!! :)

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Soft Coral Pink

I think I've discovered a new favourite colour - at first it seemed hard to describe, but the more I started to study the soft autumn palette, the more I recognized it described as blush-coral, soft coral pink, dusky coral etc - basically, its a very soft, romantic version of coral :)  I wanted to create a look using this shade.  My absolute favourite soft-coral-pink shade is MAC liner Boldly Bare.  It's the perfect blush-coral shade!!!

I decided to take a photo in two different areas of my apartment so that you can see that in some cases, this shade morphs more pink and in others more coral!  I think this colour is the perfect 'elegant' romantic shade - its the colour you want to wear to an evening restaurant/bistro!  When various lighting hits this shade, it takes on a life of its own and it always looks chic!

For this makeup look, I started by using my MAC concealer palette and Laura Mercier Oucher Tinted Moisturizer.  I applied Trace Gold blush by MAC quite liberally - it's such a beautiful blush shade and the perfect partner for the soft coral pink lip!  On the eyes, I used Soba shadow by MAC, lined my upper lash line with Teddy liner and applied NARS Rue Bonaparte in the tear ducks and rim of the lower lash liner before applying black mascara by Dior!  For the lipstick shade, I applied Boldly Bare lipliner by MAC and blended in a touch of NARS Belle De Jour lipstick!!! :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Value Yourself As You Are.............

There are many different standards of beauty and beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.  What one person finds attractive, other person won't like as much!  It happens with makeup all the time - some people find a smokey-eye with red lips sexy and sultry, others will say its heavy and unnatural!  Furthermore, there are many countries where beauty and wealth are determined by looking healthy and 'heavy set' and others where being a size 0 is some sort of weight loss accomplishment!  Every person will value attractiveness differently and there is something really awesome about that.  I have struggled with my weight and finding makeup looks that suit me my entire life.  I have questioned my value based on how I look - am I thin enough?  pretty enough? am I wearing the right colours? what do people think of my blog? what size am I in clothes?  The self validation questions sometimes never end, but what's even worse is - what am I validating or not validating about myself???

I had a life changing 'a-ha' moment when I felt an intuitive shift in my understanding of colour and my own personal colour palette.  I was at the institute of art in Chicago when I saw a Renoir painting called 'Child In A White Dress' - I felt an instant connection with the palette and shades used in the painting and I instantaneously felt 'this is my best colour palette' - this led me to understanding that the Soft Autumn palette is so very right for me!  This was the first step in truly valuing my intuition and myself.

I recently had another major a-ha moment, once again thanks to Renoir.  I've been very interested in his use of colour and painting technique.  I even watched a foreign film called 'Renoir' based on his painting subjects and how elegantly he captured the female form.  I couldn't believe that since the late 1800's to early 1900's, how our ideal of a beautiful woman has changed:

In almost all of Renoir's paintings of a woman, her form is voluptuous, curvy and beautifully 'full'!  The more I looked at all of his paintings, the more I realized that we often let others and our society 'assign' to us a model of beauty.   What's even worse is that we judge ourselves as attractive, thin, fat or unattractive etc etc based on this assigned societal model.  However, what if we decided as a society to simply celebrate our bodies just as they are!!!  I've been watching a lot of TED talks lately and the more I watch various talks concerning diet, health, weight etc, the more I'm learning that our body has its own natural compass of its perfect weight and form.  We destroy this inner compass every time we diet, use food to mask our emotions or simply deny our own intuitive appetite and hunger.  Shouldn't we know our bodies the best?  Shouldn't we know when we are full, hungry, when we feel healthy, sick?  If only we valued ourselves and accepted ourselves just as we are - no more diets and trying to be something that we're not.  Acceptance and self-validation and respect of ourselves needs to be what we as a society value in each other.  Personally, I think Renoir's women were perfectly themselves - natural, full, healthy.  Starving ourselves to fit into a size 0???  I'll let you as readers decide what you value and think - but as for me, I've learned a valuable lesson in acceptance and appreciation!!!  

Connecting Palettes, Art an Makeup!!!

Sometimes it an be difficult to blend various palette colours.  You can have a whole range of colours sitting in front of you and it can be confusing to pick the perfect shadows and liners to blend together.  This morning I got out some of my favourite warm-neutral shades and instead of looking at those shades as 'makeup', I saw them as an artists palette - I think part of me was inspired by my Renoir a-ha moment, but another part of me has decided to embrace being a makeup artist in a whole new way -- I'm embracing the power of a palette!!!  After picking out my palette shades, I decided to mix and blend my way to this look and this was what I 'created':

I started with my concealer and tinted moisturizer to even out my skin tone - once the fall comes around, I'll probably add a bronzer into my palette!  I first picked out my eye palette - I used a blend of MAC Soba, Sketch and Sable on my eyes.  I used Teddy eyeliner and then blended Sketch into the liner also.  I used MAC Trace Gold and NARS Oasis as blush and then blended two different shades on my lips - MAC Retro and Plink!!!  I'm really enjoying the process of discovering the power of using my own palette.  I think a part of me has 'always' done this in a way as a makeup artist, but I have now tapped into a new appreciation of an artists palette.  The connection between painting, art, palettes, makeup is very deep and interconnected.  Add your personal energy into the mix and its like you've tapped into a new way of doing your makeup every morning - you become your own walking, living, breathing Renoir - how awesome is that!!! :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Soft Harmony

I'm to create a look that is soft, natural and elegant for everyday.  I'm so inspired by the soft gold tones of wheat, light muted gold and golden-sand shades.  I wanted these shades to be really well represented in this look, so I used my favourite MAC shadows of Soba and Woodwinked.  I started by using Woodwinked on the lid and into the crease.  I applied NARS Rue Bonaparte in the tear ducks of the eyes and used MAC Teddy eyeliner on the upper and lower lash line.  Using an angled brush, I blended Soba shadow into the upper lash line, creating a subtle smokey effect, but still blending well into the woodwinked shadow.  I continued with the golden theme, by using MAC Trace of Gold blush - next to NARS Madly, its my current favourite shade!  For the lips, I was really debating between trying a soft warm pink or using MAC Honeylove.  I decided on the Honeylove with MAC Stripdown liner:

I think this look is very chic and harmonious and if you read my last post about getting real with colour analysis and what it now means to me, you'll know that this look represents something unique and personal!!!  I feel much closer to my personal 'colour truth' than I ever have before :)

GET REAL...... My A-Ha Moment, thanks to Renoir!!!

This summer, I've secretly been toying around with the idea of re-defining colour analysis and developing my OWN system of colour analysis.  I've found myself in a whirlpool of CONFUSION when trying to define myself within a 'season'.  I think I got closer to my truth when I understood that we are each unique and have our own palettes.  I then discovered a huge 'a-ha' idea - finding your best self is not just about understanding what colours suit you, its even more about knowing yourself and getting 'real' about who you are.  I can't tell you how many countless times I've seen a photo of Elizabeth Taylor in her youth and thought to myself - wow, she has these amazing bright-cool eyes and raven hair, what a stunning Bright Winter - I wonder if I could be a bright winter too, let's test this???  In the end, all I did was try to be something I'm not and also try to 'push' myself into a season where I don't belong - we all know that theory doesn't work and its a slap in the face to your own true self.  So this summer, I decided to 'Get Real'.........  I first decided to figure out all the things I know about colour analysis that really Piss Me Off:
1) A somewhat of a cliquish attitude concerning seasons - i.e. unless your analyzed by a particular person or type of analysis, you're just 'struggling' to find your season
2) Colour and judgement of colour is really in the eye of the beholder - we each see and process colour differently.  I can't tell you how many times on various Facebook groups, I'd hear someone say 'that colour looks amazing on you' and then seconds later, someone else will comment 'you look sick and horrible in that colour' - what about instead asking yourself 'how do YOU feel wearing that colour?' - lets face it, many of us are looking for acceptance and validation that we look good, but are we validating ourselves???
Which leads me to #3..........
3) Your own intuition knows what works and what doesn't.  I thought about the origins of colour analysis and one of the key founders of how we use colour analysis today - it really started with Johannes Itten, a Swiss painter - here is a little write up about him from Wikipedia :

 " The students chose colors, lines and orientation that showed themselves "as they are." To Itten, subjective color is "the aura of the person."[5] For example, a high contrast brunette will choose dark colors and high contrast, "suggesting a lively and concentrated personality and intense feeling." On the other hand, for a fair woman of low contrast the "fundamental contrast is hue."[6] He links these subjective colors to the four seasons of spring, summer, autumn, and winter and notes: "Every woman should know what colors are becoming to her; they will always be her subjective colors and their complements."[7] Itten believed that "subjective colors" were of a lower artistic value and significance than what he deemed "objective colors," color harmonies of a higher order." (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_analysis_(art))

I've come to understand that you yourself are the best guide to understanding what colours work for you - you will be 'drawn' to those colours, you will know which ones make you come alive - you will instinctively choose your best colour palette.  The real injustice comes when YOU decide to put the opinions and suggestions of others above your own intuitive understanding of who you are.  I put the emphasis on 'YOU' because no one can force you to be something you're not, but if you don't 'know yourself' and if you aren't confident in the power of your own intuition, you'll easily give up your inner compass to listen to someone else.

I will admit that for many years I gave my power away to others to define what my best palette is, but I feel more and more that I'm reclaiming this power - I had to take a break from colour analysis because I needed time to define for myself who I am.  I literally surrounded myself with various palettes, looked at various pieces of art, took out all my season palette fans and just 'meditated' on what my inner guide knew to be true.  I also did some colour experiments in different lighting until I found the most natural lighting and best photos that represented what my colouring is really like - I found myself 'intuitively' knowing and feeling my best season.  It's one that I had experimented with quite a bit before, but I wasn't 'in tune' with it as much as I am now.  Here are the colours that really brought me to the right understanding of myself:

It all started when I was at the institute of Art in Chicago - I literally couldn't stop staring at Renoir's Painting 'The Child in the White Dress':

Everything about this painting spoke to me - I loved the peach-beige tones, the soft white, the golden tones, the beautiful blues - I literally could have stared at this painting ALL day if I could - I was 'mesmorized' and it hit me in that moment, that my personal energy was connected to this colour palette.  I thought at first that perhaps this colour palette was some sort of spring, perhaps light spring, but the overly bright corals just didn't work - When I finally did the natural flush test by looking at the natural red that comes up when you pinch your finger, this is what I saw:

When I did more of a close up, I noticed a clear pattern start to emerge - and it ALL connected to Renoir's painting 'Child in White Dress':

I saw the most beautiful shades of a lighter soft autumn palette.  I realized that something in me has always loved this palette but I denied Soft Autumn because I never saw it as 'attractive', but instead soft, boring and uninteresting - how wrong was I??? I couldn't get enough of Renoir's painting and there was nothing boring or uninteresting about it!  In fact, it was 'captivating, rich, feminine and elegant'  When I allow my intuition to guide me, there is nothing more harmonious than the Soft Autumn palette for me!!!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Ancestry, Genealogy and Self Identification

Connecting to my ancestry is something that has always been very important to me.  I started becoming interested in Genealogy way before the learning channel and discovery channel ever made it popular!  I've been asking myself the question 'Who Do You Think You Are?' from the time I saw the first photograph of my great grandparents.  I've been studying my 'roots' for a while now and have discovered some really interesting facts!  I know that I definitely take after both my moms and dads side of the family.  From my dad's side,  my family is Ukrainian, 1/8th Polish and more recently we discovered that we most likely have Hungarian roots as well.  I've been told that my dad's side of the family most likely were Carpatho-Rusyns - I feel that I really connect with my great aunt Veronica - not just from a personality/family connection, but I feel that we resemble one another as well:

From my mom's side of the family, I really connect with my grandmother Olga - Once again, not only are we alike in our personalities and mannerisms, but I feel like we have a strong resemblance to one another:

Why is it that I'm so drawn to learning about my physical appearance in connection to my ancestry?  I feel that a big part of answering that question does help me understand who I am and where I come from.  I want to be able to identify with my roots, celebrate my uniqueness, understand their journey and how it influences my own!!!  I feel a very strong connection to both sides of my family - particularly these two women :)

Polished Up Day

I wanted to try a makeup look that combined everything I felt looked 'polished' and 'chic' for day!  I wanted to try a natural/brightened up eye, a perfect 'day' red lip, natural bronzed skin and a subtle golden glow.  I started this look by combining all my favourite natural shades - for the eyes, I mixed various colours for the lid and brow shades - I used MAC soba and woodwinked for the lid shade, lined the upper lash line with MAC teddy liner and smudged the line with a blend of cork and espresso (I used this same combination for my brows).  To brighten the eye, I used my new favourite Rue Bonaparte liner by NARS in the inner tear ducts and lower rim of the lash line.  Since I already have a natural bronzed glow from the summer sun, I just used my tinted moisturizer and a sweep of Trace Gold blush by MAC on the cheeks.  For the lipstick, I went with Retro by MAC - the 'perfect' day red lip!!!  Here is the look:

The thing that I like the most about these shades is that they really are neutral, warm and classic - I feel I could wear this look with anything and feel polished and chic!  I was thinking a lot about what colour palette this falls into and really, I feel like its autumn-esque, but its so neutral that it could either be a soft or deep autumn - regardless of the 'season', I'm very happy with this look - no more playing around with this because its exactly what I want for my back to work look!!! :)

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Rediscovering a 'Classic' - MAC Retro Lipstick

I have always said that everything happens for a reason.  I spent some time thinking about all of my favourite lipsticks and the shades that look the most 'classic'.  I came to the realization that no matter how many lipsticks I buy or try, there is a certain shade that I always have in mind - a wearable 'daytime' red.   I love playing around with different nudes, reds, corals, but finding a daytime red has always been more difficult for me - Until Today :)  I stopped by to visit my mom and helped her with her makeup.  I noticed that she had a ton of MAC lipsticks lying around - they were all the shade 'Retro'.  I haven't worn Retro for a while, so I decided to try it on - I had a massive 'a-ha' moment - it was exactly the shade I was searching for - the perfect daytime red.  Even my mom was stunned that her favourite shade suited me so well and got mad at me for always 'searching' lol.  How did I manage to pass by this lipstick all this time? and most importantly, who am I always searching for different lipsticks.  I think it's time to 'settle' :)  It's like Retro was always sitting in my makeup bag saying 'I'm here, I'm here' and I was just ignoring it :(  Poor Retro!!!  Well, I'll have to make sure that I never ignore this shade again - it's going on my classic essentials list, which is almost complete - I can't wait to share it with you!!!  Here's a pic of me literally just a few minutes after my 'Retro a-ha discovery' moment.  I'm wearing the same makeup as my last post from this morning: http://renata-beautyandelegance.blogspot.ca/2015/08/nars-rue-bonaparte-eyeliner.html

I'm loving the feeling of rediscovering this classic!  Even more so, I love that I've found that perfect daytime red.  I guess you can almost say that today is somewhat of a huge makeup moment for me :)

NARS Rue Bonaparte Eyeliner

I have to admit to everyone that I am quite enjoying playing around with a lighter, more natural eye-makeup look.  A huge part of my new conversion is thanks to discovering NARS Rue Bonaparte Eyeliner.  The credit goes to the awesome makeup artist at the Saks Fifth Avenue Chicago location that helped me out on my recent trip.  Since that time, all I've been doing is testing out the beauty of this liner and how to sculpt and highlight the eye to really make them pop!  The trick for this look is applying the liner in the inner tear ducts of the eye and on the inner-rim of the lower lash line.  I used to apply my eyeliner on the top and bottom lash line and then smudge it out with a shadow to create that smokey look, which I still like, but I'm also really loving this look for everyday.  What I'm starting to really love is applying a darker liner on the inner rim of the upper lash line and using an angled brush to smudge in the liner slightly above the lash line!  I used Urban Decay 'Smoke' Liner and MAC espresso shadow to smudge.  I then applied my Dior black mascara!!!  For the rest of the makeup, I decided to keep it fresh, natural with a pop of warmth.  I used MAC Trace of Gold Blush and blended two of my favourites lipsticks - MAC Mocha with NARS Catherine (which I also picked up when I was in Chicago).  I always wanted to capture that perfect everyday natural look that is chic yet classic and I have to say that this is pretty close to the vision that I've always had in my mind!  I'm excited to play around with the Rue Bonaparte liner - I think that my next look will be to create a light, natural eye with a deeper, red lip!  Stay tuned!!! :)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

NARS Catherine Lipstick

I just came back from spending a few days in Chicago!  Chicago is definitely one of my all time favourite cities - absolutely love the vibe, the people, the food!  I got quite a few style and beauty ideas and had a great conversation with a few makeup artists in SAKS!  One of the tips/tricks that I've decided to embrace is using a lighter liner on the bottom lash line and play around with a few looks that are less 'heavy' on the eyes.  I tend to do the smokey look a lot and often get requests to create a look that is less heavy handed!  I used NARS Rue Bonaparte eye liner on the inner tear ducts and lower lash line.  I 'very' lightly applied MAC teddy liner on the inner rim of the upper lash line, applied a silver shadow from my YSL eyeshadow quad and finished with some black mascara.  I decided that since my eyes were light and bright, that I would do a neutral blush with a pop of colour on the lip:

I used NARA Catherine lipstick and Madly blush - I thought it was a great combination, especially with the eye makeup look I created.  I've decided to play around with this look for a while and try different combinations of shades to brighten up the eye area vs always doing a heavy-smokey look!  I'd love to hear back about what you think - I know many of you have requested this type of look before, so I hope you enjoy it!!! :)

Friday, August 7, 2015

The Lime Scarf Experiment

I recently did a write up post about MAC's So Chaud - I ended up getting quite a few compliments about the scarf I was wearing in the photo and a request to create a lighter, warmer look.  I decided to do some colour experiments today and I settled on a look that I personally find very harmonious.  So much so, that I like it much more than the soft, neutral-cool colours that I just blogged about.  It's almost as if the colour universe Gods were saying 'wait, don't give up on warm, spring toned just yet' - lol.  All kidding aside, I decided that since So Chaud was a 'loud' orange, that I should try a lighter peach shade.  I picked NARS Barbarella!!!  I had almost forgotten how much I ADORE this colour and how well it works against my skin tone!  I wanted to keep the blush in the warm, clear tones as well, so I went with Stila Convertible blush in Coral.  For the eyes, I went with Cork eyeshadow by MAC in the crease and phone number eyeliner.  Although, next time I do this as a day look, I'm going to try a bronze/gold liner vs a grey shade.  Here is the look I created:

I never realized how well this palette would work until I draped myself in this lime green scarf.  I realized that even though I can pull off many colours, the fact that I can wear the light, warm, clear tones so well, probably indicates that I'm some sort of seasonal spring.  I'm definitely going to play around with this palette!!!

Soft Summer-esque Makeup

I just wrote about a cool app called 'plum perfect' in my last post!  It's a fantastic little app that recognizes all the elements of your personal colours based on a selfie!  When I got my photo analyzed, I noticed that most of the colours fit in perfectly with what the colour analysis world sees as the 'Soft Summer' Palette.  Basically, my recommended colours were soft neutral pics, cooler tones for the eyes and pink toned blushes.  I decided to create a makeup look based on the results I got from the App - I also tried to use the colours they recommended (if I didn't have the exact makeup brand they suggested, I found my own dupe) - check it out:

Basically, I used my usual concealer and tinted moisturizer - on the cheeks I applied NARS Angelika blush (the app recommended MAC Dame blush, but Angelika is an excellent dupe - almost identical).  For the eyes, I used some MAC shadows - I applied copperplate shadow on the lid and then layered Satin Taupe shadow from the lid to the crease.  I applied Phone Number eyeliner and smudged Soot into the upper lash line.  I finished the eyes with Dior black mascara.  For the lips I used MAC Spice and Saint Germain lipstick (recommended by the App) - I have to say that I really, really like this as an everyday look and its getting me to consider trying the Soft Summer palette for a while!!!

Rimmel 104 Lipstick

I love when you go to the drug store and they have a sale on their makeup - its always such a great deal.  Well yesterday I had to go pick up a few things for an upcoming trip to Chicago!  I actually tried my best to 'avoid' the makeup section, but who am I kidding?  It's okay just to look right???  lol

I actually have never worn any of the Rimmel matte lipsticks - the Kate Moss line.  However, I noticed a really pretty neutral-pink shade that I wanted to try, so I decided 'why not' - it was a really great deal!  I couldn't wait to try on the colour, I actually didn't even wait until I got home, I ended up using the receipt to take off the shade I was wearing beforehand :)  Anyhow, I tried on the #104 and I instantly noticed how great this lipstick feels as a 'matte' shade - it glides on beautifully, and it settles into a matte shade, but its not drying at all - bonus!!!  Next, the colour, it was fantastic - It was like a true neutral pink - very classic!  When I searched it up when I got home, I noticed that a few websites mentioned that this shade is actually a dupe for MAC's Twig lipstick - another bonus!!!

This is the same makeup look that I posted about yesterday (minus the lipstick change) - MAC Goldmine shadow, Phone Number eye liner and black mascara.  NARS Madly blush!!!

I'm really impress with this Kate Moss Matte lipstick line.  I'm curious to test out some of the other colours, however, nothing really spoke to me other than this neutral pink shade - however, there were a few reds that looks really great!  Just goes to show you that the next time you check out the drug store, don't forget the makeup section sales, you may just find a new fantastic colour!!! :)

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Casual Classic Work Look

One thing that's been on my mind lately is getting back to a simple, classic palette for work!!!  September is just around the corner and I'm committed to sticking to a minimal, chic makeup wardrobe.  I started decluttering my makeup bags and made quite a few interesting discoveries, particularly about the colours I keep coming back to and which are my best neutral/natural shades.  One of those shades is the lipstick 'Pigalle' by NARS - I swiped it on just now and realized that it's the perfect 'classic work' lipstick!  I created a warmer, bright orange look earlier, so all I did was adjust the blush - I removed the brighter coral shade from earlier and applied Madly blush by NARS. I kept the eye makeup the same - its neutral/natural enough to work with many different looks and I'm absolutely loving the gold/grey combination right now for eyes.  The gold really picks up on the natural gold flecks in my cool grey hazel eyes, so gold/grey is the perfect combo for me!!!  I removed the bright orange (which would be a great go to evening look, so its worth keeping it around in your purse) - and applied Pigalle lipstick - NARS!!!

Super excited to wear this when I get back to work - I think its polished, classic and perfect for a day/casual look :)

Orange Love - MAC So Chaud

Pinterest is one of my favourite websites.  I absolutely love pinning makeup ideas and searching for look ideas.  Yesterday, I came across a look I really loved and I decided that I had to create my own version.  The look was entered around the lipstick NARS Heatwave, which I don't currently have in my makeup bag, but its definitely going on my wish-list.  However, MAC So Chaud is an excellent dupe for Heatwave, which I absolutely 'always' have in my makeup kit!!!  I realized after playing around with So Chaud this morning how much I love the 'Orange Lip' look - its so 'Happy'!!!  What other colour says: loud, bright, fun, happy???  Well, maybe if you wore a bright yellow, but in all reality, that look is more for the runway and not so much for everyday.  I think that Orange is actually quite do-able for everyday, depending on how you wear it.  I think Orange is a lot like Red in that it can be quite classic when you pair it with neutral shades and a more natural looking face.  The Orange should be the focus with no other competition!!!  Here is the look I came up with.  I liked the combination of the Orange with the Lime green scarf.  However, if I wanted to wear this to work, I'd probably wear it with something more neutral.  Anyhow, here's the look:

I started this look with a classic golden toned based - I used concealer and Oucher tinted moisturizer (Laura Mercier).  I used a pop of colour blush by the company NYX (not sure of the name as the label has worn off, but it's a bright coral-orange shade) - super pretty with the Orange Lip.  On the eyes, I tried to create a more classic look - I applied Goldmine Eyeshadow and Phone Number eyeliner by MAC - I smudged the liner on the upper lash line a bit to give this look a slightly classic-smokey look!  On the lips - So Chaud Lipstick by MAC!!! :)

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Baring it All - Going Make Up Free

One thing that I don't do as much as I'd like, is go makeup free.  It's so important that we let our skin breathe and take a break to rejuvenate itself!  I've decided that I need to make this a weekly habit.  Not only is it a great practice for your skin, but I think that there is some ownership in loving how you look just as you are, without the 'makeup mask'!  I myself get caught up sometimes in showing my best self with makeup that I forget my true best self, which the person underneath the mask.  So I decided that a good way to start this 'going naked' routine is to show myself 'makeup free':

Baring it all can be very vulnerable, especially when we live in a world where looks are so 'important'.  I've decided to do a bit of a study of the question 'what is beauty?' and the various interpretations of how beauty is seen around the world.  The more pictures I see, the more I notice that beauty is when your natural self is exposed - when you are being your most real, you are being your most beautiful self.  Beauty shines 'through you' - its not always what you layer on yourself and what you use to decorate the body you have!  I personally want to take a pledge to be more vulnerable, to be myself in all my glory, to accept every aspect of myself!!! I hope that more women around the world will take a similar pledge -to be themselves and to love themselves, just as they are!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

A 'Geneological' Lesson in Unique

Being off for the summer, I've been able to get caught up on reading the things that really interest me.  Genealogy, history, even old family documents and letters that my parents recently found.  One thing that I've recently come to understand, is just how unique we really are - our origins, our ancestry, our likes/dislikes, personality, mannerisms etc etc.

It really got me thinking about every time we 'personalize' something - our colours, our style, our fashion sense etc etc.  I think that it can be quite clear with some people wether or not they are a cool, warm or natural skin tone.  It can also be quite interesting to see someone fit in perfectly with a seasonal type.  However, there are always exceptions and there are always people who don't fit the mould, they are the 'uniques' of the world.  Let me give you an example, I've been interested lately in looking at old National Geographic photos of people from all over the world.  I noticed that the most captivating looking individuals are unique in some way.  Remember that famous photograph of the woman from Afghanistan who has clear, green eyes?  Sometimes I think the beauty/fashion world tries to create a box of how we're supposed to look and they don't celebrate our diversity enough.

The same thing goes with colour analysis - I think some people fit in very well within a certain season and I think it's very good and helpful to know what colours work for you!  However, colour analysis doesn't leave room for the 'uniques'.  I've always been interested in learning about peoples cultures and our ancestry as humans in general.  Archeologists are discovering more and more things about different cultures that just blow our minds out of the water.  People and races of people that we never expected to live in certain parts of the world are being found to have lived in those areas.  For example, a mummy with Celtic DNA was found in China and now archeologists are discovering other European settlers in China.  It would be sad to think that our ancestors just stayed in one area - I love that Humans have that inner need to explore, travel.  I'm sure that our ancestors did it more for survival though.  Today, we look around and find stunning women in European areas of the world with Mongoloid/Turkish features and Norwegian/Norse features from Viking conquests in Eastern Europe, France, Germany etc.  Our world is so unique and our personal ancestry is so unique.  I have come to learn that my great grandfather was from the Carpathian area of Ukraine and his ancestors most likely spoke a dialect - I was told he has Hungarian roots as well.  On my maternal side of the family, my one grandfather had a very deep olive skin tone - I seem to be a mix of everyone in my family - a true 'unique' - I don't fit 'in' so to speak and that used to really bother me because I wanted to look a certain way so that I'd know more clearly who my ancestors were - did I have some Viking blood? Turkish? Mongolian? etc etc  However, I had a huge A-Ha moment when I realized that I am a unique mix of many interesting ancestors.  My blood type is proof of that - I'm AB, a mix of European (A) and Nomadic Steppe Dwellers (B).

If I can tie this into my passion for makeup, style and creating looks - I really need to say that the most beautiful looks are the ones that are the most 'unique' - Instead of trying to hide certain things like freckles, moles, a certain skin tone shade - we need to celebrate those things.  We may have a warm skin tone and cool toned eyes or a cooler skin tone and warm tones in our hair etc - instead of trying to look a certain way, why not play up all the things that make you truly unique?  I decided to include a few interesting photos in this post - one is of my paternal great-grandfather and the other of my maternal grandfather:

Monday, August 3, 2015

Gold meets Gray

I decided to try something new with my eye makeup today - lately I've been wearing a lot of my favourite goldmine eyeshadow by MAC, but Pairing it with browns and deep aubergine shades.  Today I decided to try going a different route.  I continued to use the goldmine shadow, but this time I used Phone Number eyeliner, a deep true grey as a liner.  I decided to blend Cork eyeshadow slightly into the liner to give it a touch of warmth.  I'm actually quite liking the gold/grey combo - it's such an unexpected, but pretty combination - check it out:

To finish off the look, I used NARS Oasis blush and then dabbed a little bit of Goldmine shadow on top of the blush.  For the lips, I went with my newest favourite shade - Het Loo by NARS :)

When I look back at my colour journey and think about all the colour combinations I've tried, there really is nothing better than using a palette that truly suits your skine tone, eye colour and natural hair colour - nature really knows best!!!  I have a lot of golden tones to my skin and quite a bit of grey in my eyes, so the gold-grey combo is definitely a keeper :)

Sunday, August 2, 2015

MAC Goldmine Eyeshadow

Goldmine is an eyeshadow that I 'always' have on-hand, even during the phases of my makeup obsessions when I'm not necessarily wearing the warmer tones.  I keep it on hand because its my absolute favourite gold shadow and no matter how many I try, I keep coming back to this one.  It's kinda like me and Mocha Lipstick by MAC, no matter what other colours I wear, this is one of the shades I keep coming back to - its like a trusted and worn out pair of jeans :)  You may find a better pair, but nothing beats whats the most comfortable!!!

Goldmine has a lot more yellow pigment in it compared to other gold shades, but its because its a more 'vivid' gold that it tends to go well with so many other colours and when you layer it overtop a darker shadow, the gold really comes out.  So yes, on its own it can be quite yellow, but layered, it's gold perfection.  In the look I created today, I applied goldmine from the lid to the crease and then created a smudged look with MAC coffee eyeliner and blended Deep Damson shadow into the coffee liner.  I wanted to make the look a touch more natural, so I took my goldmine brush and went over the liner/shadow look - result - perfect blend-ability :)  For my look, I used NARS Oasis, not only because I loved it, but it also has a slight gold shimmer and I thought the two would compliment each other well.  For the lips, I used MAC Boldly Bare lipliner, because I wanted something neutral as a foundation and then used my new NARS Het Loo overtop!!!  Check it out:

Saturday, August 1, 2015

NARS Het Loo

I'm so happy that I just discovered this shade - its the perfect copper-brown shade (described as cognac on the NARS website)!  I've been really into wearing the brown lately - in fact, i'm fascinated by the brown lip shade family.  Browns are so chic and versatile - not boring at all!  I wasn't intending on getting yet another lipstick, but when I tried this on, I didn't just love the colour, I loved the consistency and feel of the product on my lip - Bonus - great shade, great formula and it stays on!!!  Woo Hoo Het Loo :)

Here's today's look:

I used MAC concealer from a palette kit I have and then blended NARS Sand Tinted Moisturizer over top.  I applied NARS Oasis blush (the perfect blush for brown lippies).  For the eyes, I used MAC Goldmine from lid to crease, Coffee eyeliner and then smudged Deep Damson shadow into the liner before finishing with black mascara.  I finished the look with Het Loo lipstick - NARS :)