product reviews


It's been a while since I posted a product review, but I had so much fun testing out this collection that I hope to post many more reviews in the near future! My friends at MAKE UP FOR EVER sent over their Aqua XL Eye Pencils, released in collaboration with singer Charli XCX. This collection contains 20 boldly coloured pencils in five different finishes: matte, diamond, satin, iridescent and metallic. The "XL" in the name stands for extra-long lasting formula, which uses a unique blend of ingredients to offer impressive durability, as well as a vegetable wax that gives strong colour payoff. I can definitely confirm that all the pencils in this collection have crazy staying power. They also apply and blend beautifully. 

Here's an image of the full range of shades:

Rather than show you swatches, which has never really been my thing, I thought it would be more fun to show you how the products look in context. My cousin Tara stepped in to model three different looks using this pretty fabulous collection. On her lips, she is wearing MAKE UP FOR EVER Natural Rouge Lipstick in N4 (a pink-beige) with all three looks.

First up, I did a very simple two-tone pastel look using the seafoam M-30 and lilac M-92 pencils. I also used the charcoal M-14 shade to tightline her eyes by applying it to the upper and lower waterline of her eyes. Anchoring pale eyeliners with a deeper tone along the lash line provides a subtle bit of contrast and actually helps show the pastel shades off much more than if you'd used them alone.

For the second look, I wanted a more lived-in look that allowed me to test out if the shades play nicely together. I combined the coppery M-42 and the aubergine M-80, blending them with my fingers for a smoky effect. Essentially, I smudged them enough that they became eyeshadow more than eyeliner, and they blended really smoothly under my touch.

For the third look, I decided to do a more graphic combination of colours. I started by lining the outer two thirds of her eyes with the taupe S-50 pencil. I layered the royal blue M-22 on top, on her top lashline only and added a bit of the chocolate brown M-60 just along the lashline at the outer corners of her eyes. I finished by adding the light turquoise M-26 in the inner corners of her eyes. The pencils go on silkily but dry quickly enough that the colours don't bleed into each other, which is key for super defined colourful looks.

I would recommend this collection to any makeup artist, as it has a bit of everything and the possibilities for different looks you can create with it are virtually unlimited. The quality is so high and colour intensity is great.  It was the sheer ease of application and blendability that actually impressed me the most. I look forward to playing around with these waterproof beauties all summer!

new sample albums!

In preparation for The Wedding Co. Spring Event tomorrow, I ordered some brand new sample albums to have at my table. Just in case you get as excited as I do by pretty new things, I thought I'd share a glimpse inside both books. The first is a sample my new Linen-bound offering. I ordered a 10x10" slate linen cover with white debossing, white core between the pages, as well as white ribbon. All of the above can be customized to your taste. I was very honoured to use some favourite images from the outrageously beautiful wedding of Lesley & Graeme from this past summer.

Debossing on the cover

Thick pages bound by lovely linen

 I like that these albums begin with single-spreads, so you can kick of the album with a thematic image to set the tone or colour palette. This would also be a good place for an image of your wedding invitation to share the key details of your day.

A few of my favourite spreads from this album:

I also placed an order for smaller scale book to show some favourite images from my engagement portfolio. I just started offering these Premium Flat albums this spring, and am really excited to be able to offer a slightly more modest and lightweight alternative to my other albums. I envision the Premium Flat albums as a perfect option for printing your engagement session to be kept as-is or signed by friends and family as your wedding guestbook. It is also a great style of album to give to your parents

These albums are available in linen (gold linen, pictured below), leather, leatherette, or an image wrapped around the album as a front/back cover. They have vellum sheets at both ends to for extra elegance and protection, and much like the Linen-bound album above, the pages lay flat. 

Both types of books really shine when you see a double-page spread with virtually no gutter between pages.

Hope to see you at The Wedding Co. Spring Event tomorrow at the Gladstone Hotel!

make up for ever fifty shades of grey collection

When MAKE UP FOR EVER sent over some products from their brand new Fifty Shades of Grey collection to test out, I thought the best way to explore them would be through a shoot.  After all, I have a vested interest in how different makeup photographs. I posted on instagram about wanting a model to play around with the collection, and my cousin Tara volunteered. This collection is (obviously) inspired the wildly popular/notorious book Fifty Shades of Grey and by the makeup looks featured in the film. I tested the Give in to Me set, which includes an eyeshadow quad, mascara, liquid eyeliner, lipstick and lip gloss in a silk and velvet-lined case. I decided to do two looks based on the "innocent" and "empowered" face charts that accompanied the kit.

We shot these looks sequentially at my apartment in natural evening light. First up, the "Innocent" look:

After setting Tara's foundation, I used the kit's creamy and taupe eyeshadows, a light coat of mascara and the lipgloss.

 The second take is the collection's "Empowered" look:

For this more sultry look, I used the darker two eyeshadows and intensified Tara's eyes with the liquid liner and two more coats of mascara. I applied the kit's nude lipstick and topped it with the lip gloss.
This is a solid makeup collection. It's actually quite a good kit for anyone who doesn't buy makeup often but wants a selection of products in neutral tones. The eyeshadow quad is perfect for day-to-night looks and the lipstick is such a pretty shade that I've been receiving emails inquiring about it since sharing a photo from another shoot on which I used it. For those asking, it's Rouge Artist Natural N4. All the products are highly pigmented and the eyeshadows have a dreamy texture that blends with ease.

MAKE UP FOR EVER also hosted an advance screening of the film last night, which I attended with my friend, Peter. You know what? The film is much better than the book, which isn't saying too much, but it was truly, surprisingly enjoyable. This review, passed on to me by Peter, raises some interesting points. I've long judged movies by the quality of the makeup, as great beauty work always elevates overall production value. In this case, the work of Makeup Department Head Victoria Down certainly enhances things.

Tara, thank you so much for your time and for letting me test out this collection on your beautiful face!

review: the salon outlet

If you're a regular reader, you'll know that I've been doing a lot of travelling and moving around over the past year and a half. One of the challenges I've encountered during this time is finding a way to cart all my makeup around with me. It's particularly important that I be able to fit all my makeup into one or two cases since I also have to carry my photography equipment. For that reason, I was really excited when The Salon Outlet reached out to me about testing out one of their products. I chose to review their black key-locked makeup train case, which I've already begun using.

Here's a look at it from the outside:

It has a strap that allows for easier lugging, so that the stress of carrying it by the handle doesn't get to be too much, especially for those of us who work with our hands. I placed a few items inside to give you a sense of the size.

What's different from this case and others that I've owned is its depth. The compartment at the bottom is much deeper than others, allowing you to store many different brands of liquid foundation upright, which helps avoid leaks. It's also ideal for stacking a bunch of cream foundation palettes such as the ones by Yaby or Cinema Secrets.

The spacing of the compartments is completely customizable, as you can remove or reposition the dividers easily. As a side note, I've got reviews coming up on some of the products I've placed inside the case here, so stay tuned for those too.

Overall, I'm really pleased with this case. It's durable, can be adjusted to suit my needs, and the price is really reasonable too. Now I just have to keep saving up for the black rolling makeup train case with lights and stand!