Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Trip to Spain - and NEWS about this blog!!!

I just came back from two incredible weeks in SPAIN!!!  For me, it was a life changing trip, so much so that it's inspired me to begin a new blog (more info to come soon).  :)  One of my habits when I travel is to people-watch, especially when it comes to what people are wearing, style, makeup etc etc.  I would have to say that one of my impressions about Spain, in regards to makeup, is that is incredibly chic.  While shopping at El Corte Ingles, I was in awe of how elegant and put together the looks were.  In some ways, it reminded me of the Parisian look, but with more emphasis on accessories and incredibly stylish hair.  I recall being mesmerized by the look of one woman who had her dark hair loosely pulled back in a half pony tail with loose waves, a red lip (which seemed to look incredibly natural on her), gold hoop earrings and a very simple, casual outfit.  She looked so incredibly 'casually chic' - yet she looked better than someone who took 2 hours to get ready.  She reminded me so much of Penelope Cruz - a natural, confident Spanish woman.  I think this look has always appealed to me - the idea that the true mystery of feminine beauty is in being simple and elegant and not trying too hard to be a part of the 'beauty industry'.   Traveling back to Toronto, I wanted to create a similar look - casual, chic, red lip :)

You could call this my Spanish inspired jet-set look :)  Since I was able to get such a great golden-bronze tan, I found that I didn't need any makeup products for my face, so I'm not wearing any concealer, foundation, bronzer etc etc.  I did apply just a touch of blush - I found that NARS Torrid was the only blush that had enough colour to enhance my tan.   I applied a touch of Bobbi Brown Mahogany shadow on my brows and some black mascara.  The key to this look is the red lip.  I'm wearing a shade that was recommended to me by a makeup artist at the NARS counter in El Corte Ingles, Alicante Spain.  I spent some time with her talking about makeup and picking out my best red.  She was so helpful and we both agreed that NARS Red Lizard is the winning shade for me. 

 I've spent YEARS trying to figure out my best look and it took a trip to Spain to finally come to some serious realizations about what I'm really searching for.  That being said, I'm saving my most important news for last. I think that it's time for me to say good-bye to this blog.  It's been a great journey and my experiments with colour analysis have been really fun.  However, I want to blog/post about so many other things and not just focus on makeup/colour analysis.  I have a new vision for a new blog that will still include my passion for makeup to a certain degree, but will also include information/reflections on food, cooking, lifestyle, music, wine etc etc.   

I wanted to personally thank everyone who has followed me on this blog and read my posts.  I'm not going to delete or take down this blog, so you can continue to search, read my past posts.  However, for me, personally, it's time to bring in some new, fresh energy and let go of what is no longer serving me at this time.  Thanks to those who have followed me.  I will most likely write one final post once I've set up my new blog :)  Excited for my next new venture :) :) :)  

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Not Impressed with MAC Cosmetics - A bloggers Vent Post

Today is a very sad day.  It's a day that I've lost a lot of respect for MAC Cosmetics.  For YEARS I have been a loyal MAC customer and have had my Pro Membership card.  I have purchased a lot of money worth of their products and have promoted them throughout this blog.  Recently MAC has changed it's application process and the qualifications that you must now have in order to keep and use the MAC Pro Card.  Apparently, being a makeup artist, promoting their products on this blog and not being 'agency branded' is their reason to 'decline' my membership.

What is happening to the face of MAC and what it used to stand for???  I guess just like every company, money and elite membership takes centre stage.  To be honest, I'm not surprised.  I'm just really hurt and upset!  I know the MAC product line like the back of my hand.  I've recommended MAC products as a makeup artist and being declined because I'm not 'agency branded' is a slap in the face!!!

Personally, I've always believed that everything happens for a reason.  Perhaps, it's time to move away from MAC products, as I can no longer support them knowing that I've spent so much time, energy, money promoting their products with nothing in return.  MAC has declined me and now it's time for me to decline MAC!!!

There are so many wonderful other makeup companies and products that are available on the market. Products that stand for something other than corporate gain.  :(

Boooo MAC - you've really disappointed me!!!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Bobbi Brown Sunset Orange Art Stick

I am starting to fall in love with Bobbi Brown's Art Sticks.  I've had my eye on a few of them but decided to wait until the fall-time to play around with the more neutral shades.  However, the last time I was at Sephora, I found myself drawn to the 'Sunset Orange' shade.  In fact, I couldn't put it down - I kept swatching it, holding it up against my skin - I think it's the 'perfect' orange shade.  What I love about it the most is that it's not quite pure orange, but more of an orange-red.  Most orange red's however, I find 'too bright'.  Bobbi Brown's sunset orange is perfect - it's not too bright, but it's not muted/soft either.  It reminds me a little bit of NARS Red Square, but the Sunset Orange just has that additional classic feel.  I also love the idea of an 'Art Stick'.  It sounds so 'playful' - I love that I can wear it as a lipstick, but also use it as a cream blush.

It's interesting to me how my natural lip shade allows this colour to appear more 'red', yet still hold on to the orange undertone.  I think I may have just discovered my perfect red liner/lipstick.  I can't wait to play around with this shade as a base to my favourite reds like YSL #1 and even Bobbi's 'Burnt Red' would be beautiful paired with this shade :)

I decided to pair the Sunset Orange with Bobbi's Tawny blush - it's the perfect pairing, as both are warm and it allow's the lip to still take centre stage.  For the eyes, I used a blend of MAC embark and expensive pink shadows, Bobbi Brown Caviar gel liner smudged with embark shadow and MAC Teddy liner on the lower lash line.  I really love these combination of shades against my golden skin and dark hair - I feel it gives me a very unique and original look, something that is authentic to me :)  The Bobbi Brown Art Stick's are amazing - I will definitely be getting more of these in the future :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

700th post - Reflection on my Ancestry

It's my 700th post!!!  I wanted to do something a little bit different and special to celebrate this blog.  I'm always creating looks and experimenting with different palettes.  Today I want to dedicate this post to all the unique things that make me 'ME'.  Almost a year ago now, my dad and I both took the 23andMe DNA test.  I've always been interested in my ancestry and have always wanted to know 'where do I come from?'.  All I have known up until that point was that my ancestors were Ukrainian, from various regions of Ukraine, but mostly the Galician areas and my grandmother was born in Poland.  On my dad's side, we were told that my great-great grandfather 'came from somewhere' - one aunt said Hungary, another said somewhere from the former Yugoslavia.  The results that I got from 23and Me both surprised me, but also helped me put the pieces of the puzzle together.

Because my dad took the test too, I was able to get the split results to see what ancestry comes from my mom's side and what comes from my dad's side:

Here is my mom's.  Apparently, out maternal haplogroup is: J2b1a  (currently: Dutch, German, Spanish Italian)

Here are a few photos of my grandparents and great grandparents:

My great grandparents (grandmother's parents).  Unfortunately I don't have any photos of my grandfathers parent's, as they both died when he was very young :(
I also have a photo of two of my great-uncles.  One is from my great-grandfathers side (Surname Bazarnyk)
and the other from my great grandmother's side (surname: Novocad)

My dad's (paternal haplogroup is): 12b1 (currently: Balkans and Sardinians) 

Here are my grandparents from my paternal side:

I am very blessed to also have photos of my great-grandparents from my grandfather's side (the side that we found out 'came from somewhere' and now we know he had the Balkan/Ashkenazi)
My great-grandmother was originally Yuchmanovich (she was Polish), but we found out that originally it was Ychman (German) - so the Northwestern DNA is most definitely from her side :)
Here is another photo of them (with my great aunts in the background):

I have always been fascinated with Genealogy, Ancestry, where I come from, who I look like etc etc. I know that I've devoted this blog to exteriors and cosmetics, but that is only one side of who I am.  The most important part of who I am, comes from my ancestry.  I've always been told that I look European, but that I could be from anywhere.  This makes so much sense now that I know that I have influences from Eastern Europe, the Balkans, Western Europe (Germany, Italy, Iberia), Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry and Northwestern European.  I truly am an interesting mix!  I'm also proud to know that so many people have migrated from different areas of the world.  It really makes you think about current migration trends and immigration.  I would hope that in today's modern world, we would grow to be accepting of people who need to migrate (for whatever reason).  All those who leave their own land to seek refuge elsewhere or move to start a new life, these people will become someone's ancestors.  I am proud that Ukraine is a land that is so diverse with so many people who were able to migrate there.  I am also proud to have been born in Canada and see further diversity and multicultural beauty all around me.  It's important to be proud of your nationality, but also to understand that there is no such thing as a 'pure race' of people.  We are all so diverse and beautiful.  We need to each embrace our own ancestry and be be thankful and grateful for those who came before us and understand that one day someone will look at us and say "who was that person?" with wonder and 'awe'.  I want to end this post, by sharing a link with you that is very powerful:

It's called the DNA Journey:

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

What's In A Scent???

I had a request to write a post about my philosophy on fragrances, perfumes and scents.  I wanted to point out that there are many different elements that must be considered before you find a scent that works best for you.  Here are some things that I consider important when choosing a fragrance:

1) Your body chemistry.  Your own ph levels and body chemistry can alter how a scent sits on you and the 'perfume' that it gives off.  That being said, a scent that suits one person may not necessarily suit you.  It's similar to a colour palette in a sense.  Also, I've had the experience where I've worn a perfume for a very long time and then all of a sudden, it starts smelling horrible on me.  This happened with a Versace scent I used to wear.  I even went back to the store and told them that they had given me a rotten bottle.  However, that wasn't the case.  My body had just gone through some type of change (which happens often hormonally for women) and the scent didn't change, but my body chemistry did!!!

2) The Season and Your Environment.  There are winter scents and summer/spring scents.  There are also different environments which may influence the type of scent you wear.  Many businesses, professional environments are either scent free or ask that you wear a more gentle, subtle fragrance.  You may also be allergic to an ingredient in a scent and this will impact what you can wear.  Also, a spicy, exotic scent that may be perfect for a winter evening by the fire may not work for a 'summer picnic' - just like makeup, there are different looks (i.e. scents) that work for different seasons and occasions.

3) Your Personality.  I think that there is something to be said about finding a fragrance that works with your personality.  I think that companies know this and use this to their advantage when selling a product, calling a scent 'flirty' or 'me' or 'sexual' etc etc.  The labels of a fragrance are meant to sway you to purchase something that resonates with who you are.  Which isn't necessarily a bad thing because your best scent should be reflective of who you are.  I find that women who are always happy and cheerful smell so good when their scent matches their inner 'sweetness and freshness'.  I also know of one woman, a business woman, who always wore a men's scent - everyone complimented her and wanted to know what she was wearing.  It wasn't until she ended her career that she finally told both me and my mother that she had always worn her husbands cologne.

4)  Je Ne Sais Quois.  I wanted to continue with number 3 and add another story.  I had a wonderful conversation with a woman who was in politics. She had worked as a diplomat in Europe and told me that when she was in Europe (in France especially), she noticed that women would 'layer' their perfume.  They would have a base scent and then layer on another one overtop.  This would keep people guessing 'what is she wearing?'  This gives a woman that special allure.

So really, when choosing a perfume, you must take a few things into consideration and really make your perfume selection based on something that is unique to YOU!!!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Revisiting the BEST reds for Warm Autumn

I think that if there is one look that I absolutely love and admire the most, it's the CLASSIC red lip!  Now that I'm personally settling back into the Warm Autumn palette, I want to re-discover all my red options, but in particular, Warm Autumn's BEST red.  There are a few options with the warm autumn reds: mahogany (which leans into a brown-red), orange-reds and warm true reds.  My personal best picks for each are the following:

Mahogany Reds:

NARS Leslie
Chanel Antoinette

Orange Reds:

MAC Chili
Bobbi Brown Burnt Red
NARS Red Square (Liner)

Warm True Reds:

YSL #1 Le Rouge (the winner)
Chanel Passion

I have to say that there are a few classic red looks that I really love.  The mahogany reds are perfect for everyday chic.  They are not as bright as the true red/orange-red options.  On the other hand, the orange-reds can be quite bright and perfect for a warm autumn glam type of look.  The warm true red is the most 'classic red' look in comparison to the other shades in the warm autumn palette.  It's the red that you think of when you think 'Parisian Chic'.  Interestingly enough, my favourite warm true red swatch is the YSL #1 Le Rouge, which I first came across on a trip to Paris.  I was at the Gallery Lafayette and was in awe of all the YSL makeup counter when I was approached by the Makeup Artist there.  I remember that he literally said to me "come, sit in this chair and I will show you your perfect red".  It was one of those 'life-changing/movie-esque' moments.  He told me that the #1 Le Rouge is so classic and perfect for me.  He also showed me a set of shadows (also warm autumn shades - the #10).  However, I remember that red lipstick the most, as I left feeling so 'Chic'.  Since being officially draped as a Warm Autumn, I was thrilled to see that Le Rouge is the PERFECT true warm red shade:

Although I didn't realize it at the time, there is something to be said about finding your best red.  There is also something to be said about the clarity and warmth about the Warm Autumn palette that is just prefect against my skin tone.  I am happy to be revisiting this palette and in particular to start wearing my best red again :)

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Crazy Week of A-Ha Moments

I sometimes wonder how silly I am doing all these colour experiments.  I'm always looking for the best season, but never feeling satisfied.  I think there is a difference between an objective analysis and a 'subjective reaction'.  Perhaps some of my own frustration with colour analysis hasn't been quite fair and it's me who needs to take a step back and be a little more 'objective'.  I decided earlier this morning to put together a timeline of my own colour journey and in person and computer analysis results.  Aside from one on-line analysis as a cool winter and then deep winter soft, all of my in-personal analysis resulted in some form of Autumn.  Yes, I've had 3 in-person analysis EACH time resulting in autumn (part of me is frustrated with myself right now for even questioning this so much).  Twice, I was analyzed as a 'true autumn' and in my last analysis, I was draped as a 'warm autumn'.  I was also lucky enough to get feedback from David Zyla (a stylist) who confirmed without doubt, that I am a Bronze Autumn.  So you would think that after 4/5 times I would feel confident that Autumn is my best palette :)  Here are some photo's of me as a warm autumn:

I think that perhaps it's time to put colour experiments to rest for now and learn to be comfortable in my own skin, embracing my own personalized results and colour harmony with the warm autumn palette.  I'm not going to stop creating various looks, perhaps even in various seasons, but for my own personal palette, the quest is over!!!  :)

Deep Winter Makeup Looks

Thank you all so much for your supportive and helpful comments on this blog.  I really appreciate getting feedback from my readers and those who are also on this 'colour journey' of discovering palettes and creating colour experiments.  I've noticed that many of you have been recommending both the Soft Summer and Deep Winter palettes are something to explore (and perhaps this also includes palettes like Soft Summer Deep and Deep Winter Soft).  That being said, I think I'm going to take the next little while to revisit these seasons and create some fun makeup looks.  In the meantime, here are some photos I've taken when I was experimenting with the Deep Winter and Deep Winter-Soft palettes:

Thursday, June 9, 2016

RUBY WOO - I love you!!!

I've been getting a few personal emails and requests to try a cooler winter 'red lipstick' look.  Today my school is having their Athletic Banquet and what better occasion to dress up than today.  Since it's still day-light outside and our office is practically empty, I thought, perfect opportunity to put a look together and take a pic:

The base of my makeup is a cool toned foundation - the l'oread true match in C4.  I then applied NARS angelika blush - I wanted something cool toned, but not something that would overpower the red.  Angelika was perfect!!!  For my eyes, I just smudged MAC Phone number on the upper lash line and applied to the lower lash line as well and some black mascara.  The star of the show - MAC RUBY WOO!!!  I'd love to hear your thoughts :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Blue and Pastel Pink

The combination of various blues and pastel pink is pure 'pretty'.  To me its such a 'happy' colour combination.  I decided that I wanted to create a makeup look that is simple, natural and that you can wear with any blue/pink combo.  I started with a pink foundation base (L'oreal true match in C4 is perfect for my skin tone).  For a pretty pink blush, I went with NARS Mata Hari - NARS Angelika is another great option, but this morning, I just gravitated towards the Mata Hari shade :)  For my eyes, I decided to actually go for a charcoal grey instead of a blue toned liner because I wanted to create a defined and neutral eye look.  Since I'm wearing blue, I wanted something to compliment, not overpower and blend.  I used MAC Phone Number liner and then smudged Copperplate eyeshadow into the upper lash line.  I finished the eye look with black mascara.  For the perfect pastel lip - I went with NARS chubby liner in Roman Holiday.  I really wish they still had the lipstick, but the liner is uber pretty too :)

I took two photos of the same look.  One in more natural light without the scarf, and one at my work place with full accessories.  I think both looks really work well and the charcoal-grey eye with the pastel lip is perfect to compliment the blue/pink palette I'm wearing!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Chanel Enigmatique #135

Chanel really makes beautiful shades of makeup.  I know that there are some people who don't like the price of Chanel makeup, especially since there are many cheaper drugstore/makeup company options.  However, there is something to be said about quality.  Chanel makeup is very high quality and you feel the difference every time you apply their products.  Enigmatique lipstick is a stunning raspberry neutral-red.  It's not a pink-red that is overly bright, but rather 'delicate'.  It's the first lipstick I've ever purchased that my own mom 'raved' about.  She usually just says that lipstick is lipstick, but she couldn't get enough of this colour on me.  That says a lot :)  I wanted to create a pretty everyday look using this shade.  I'm still suffering from allergies this spring/summer, so I'm not applying my regular concealer/foundation.  However, I've decided that perhaps it's time to find another tinted moisturizer, all in one product.  That being said, for this look I'm wearing Laura Mercier's violet orchid blush and a shadow/liner combination for the eyes.  The shadow I'm wearing is very similar to MAC Swish.  It's actually a Mary Kay tester, so I'm not sure of the exact name, but it reminds me so much of Swish.  For the eyeliner, I swiped on MAC Prussian (on the upper lash line only, and very lightly).  I finished with some black mascara by Estee Lauder.  For the lips, Chanel Enigmatique :)

Enigmatique is a very rich shade.  It definitely leans towards a cooler berry shade, but again, it's still quite neutral, which makes it 'perfect' for everyday!!!

Sometimes Things Get Cooler - Summer Discovery

Yesterday was a day filled with surprises from the 'Colour Universe'.  It all started when I created a look in the morning based on some softer, warmer shades.  I was quite happy with the look and ventured out for my favourite Saturday routine - grabbing a Starbucks and then meeting my friend and god-daughter for a coffee and some shopping.  One of the things on my shopping agenda was to go to the Chanel counter.  I had written to the Chanel head office because a few years back, I used to wear a lipstick shade called 'Bois De Iles' that they discontinued.  I got an email back and was so happy to hear that they suggested another shade similar to what I was looking for: Enigmatique #135.  I was really excited to check out their recommendation.  While I was at the Chanel counter, I had such a positive experience with the Makeup Artist.  We were so 'aligned' with how we saw makeup and colour, that after about 10 minutes of trying out different shades (Enigmatique was an instant winner for me), she told me that knowing your best colours is very important and it's 'not an 80's thing', but rather something every elegant woman knows.  I asked how if she ever had her colours done and she then told me that she has been a colour analyst for over 15 years, studying under some of the best and original colour analysts.  I was so taken aback because I've been so confused about colour analysis, was experimenting with the soft autumn/autumn palette, but still feeling that something just isn't right.  I, of course, had to ask her "so what season do you think I am?".  She began by telling me that although most colour analysts don't just give out an answer because they need to see you without any makeup and that usually people have their hair coloured and there are many elements that can distract the eye from seeing the 'real season'.  However, that being said, she told me "With you, I have no doubt that you are a classic summer".  I have to admit that I wasn't expecting her to say I was a cool season.  I was set on either soft autumn, light spring or true autumn. We started to talk about cool vs warm seasons and with her experience as an analyst, she told me that it's not uncommon for a cool person to be mis-read as a warm season.  She then began to explain to me how I really am a true cool season.  I asked her how is it that I can wear a lot of warm shades and her answer was that they may look 'okay', but they won't be my best'.  After this amazing experience at Chanel, I went home and reviewed this blog.  I spent hours last night looking and studying all my experiments and I noticed something very interesting - the cooler, brighter, summer shades were bringing out my best features and eye colour the best.  The warm shades, although seeming natural, created this muddy tone to my face.  The cool/Summer colours bring out that healthy glow - here are some of my favourite photos of me (at my best).

I honestly never expected to wake up yesterday and meet such an awesome and talented person who was able to see the truth in my colouring.  It gave me confidence not to give up just yet on colour analysis.  I'm really looking forward to playing around with the cool colours again.  I did sort of like the soft autumn shades, but they were energetically starting to 'drain me'.  I look at these photos and I realize that I am full of energy and I 'feel good' looking at them :)

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Summer Neutrals - Polished Look :)

Although it's not 'officially' summer, it sure does feel like it :)  For those who read my posts regularly, you'll know I'm currently really loving the softer warm palette, particularly neutral shades of warm peach, champagne, light rose etc.  I think these are perfect summer lipstick shades that pair well with a soft smokey eye.  My current favourite eyeshadow is MAC club.  I love wearing it on its own as a sheer swipe over the lid with some mascara or blended into my eyeliner.  For this look, I decided to blend Club into MAC's Phone Number eyeliner:

For the rest of this makeup, I went with Laura Mercier Rose highlight shimmer as an eyeshadow on the lid and Bobbi Brown Tawny blush.  For the lipstick look, I used Chanel Natural lipliner and then used L'oreal Crystal Praline lipstick.  I'm really enjoying perfecting this look - I'm enjoying experimenting with the warm-soft palette again :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

L'Oreal Color Riche Lipstick in Praline Crystal

I'm so happy that I discovered this beautiful lipstick today.  It was actually one of those 'accident' discoveries.  I was uber excited about my Estee Lauder Tiramisu discovery, only to find out that this colour will soon will discontinued.  It's just my luck that the moment I finally 'settle' on one colour I love, it gets discontinued lol.  Anyhow, I had this on my mind while I walked passed the L'oreal makeup section in my local grocery store.  The Praline lipstick grabbed my attention because it sort of reminded me of the Tiramisu, except ever so slightly more pigmented and shimmery.   It was on sale, so I picked it up :)  I'm not saying that Praline is an exact dupe for Estee Lauder's Tiramisu, but it's a nice alternative.

The rest of my makeup is the same as the look I created in the last post.  I'm wearing MAC Club eyeshadow and Phone Number eyeliner, l'oreal brown-black mascara, Bobbi Brown Tawny blush and the Praline Crystal lipstick by l'oreal.  If you're looking to put together a nice chic look with a subtle smokey eye and a neutral lip, definitely give these shades a try :)

My Favourite Natural Everyday Lipstick - Estee Laduer Tiramisu

It's taken me a very long time to get to the place where I can say that I literally have a 'favourite' everyday lipstick.  In the past, it's been so hard for me to just stick with one shade or wear one colour, but I am so in-love with Estee Lauder's Tiramisu Lipstick.  I think what I like the most about this shade, is that it's sheer with enough neutral colour to layer over your natural lip colour and create the perfect 'Your Lips But Better Look'.  I've been searching for a lipstick that can do this for a long time and I realize now that Tiramisu is exactly what I've been looking for :)

For this look I wanted to create something that was soft and elegant, so my inspiration was 'pearls and blush'.  I'm really loving that light pink blush shade and it goes so perfectly with pearls.  It's classic, but also perfect for spring.  For the makeup, I used Bobbi Brown Tawny blush, MAC Club eyeshadow on the lid into the crease, MAC Phone Number eyeliner (and then smudged the upper lash line).  I finished the eye look with a brown-black mascara.  For the lipstick - Estee Lauder Tiramisu :)