Doing your own nails…why it’s better…

I’ve had a long relationship with doing my own nails. Ever since I was a teenager, searching for the trendiest colours, whether it be gun metal black, or a candy inspired pastel-y blue; it’s been something that as a nail art enthusiast, I’ve known all about. As a teenager, I didn’t really have the cash or the need to go to a salon to get my nails done…and as much as the thrill of getting pampered is these days now that I’m older with a ton more on my plate…one thing still stands; I want to do my own nails.  I prefer to shape, paint and design my own nails…and here’s why…

Reasons to do DIY manicures:

  1. It’s easy to do. There is a misconception that a manicurist can do it better than you. Well, maybe they are better at painting within the lines, but ultimately, all you need is: a base coat, two colour coats and a top coat. The real trick is keeping all the coats thin so they dry relatively fast…(a cool tip for setting the polish real quick? Rub each nail with coconut/olive oil for a minute after the final coat to help it set)
  2. The myth that a manicurist shapes better…this is not true. Invest in some basic nail files, coarse for shaping and fine for smoothing, and you’ll get the loveliest shapes with your nails. My go to shape? An almond shape…short on the sides and softly arced on the tips.
  3. The misconception that the quality of the polish is better: there is so much noise out there today about gel nails, seaweed nails, and all this stuff. But when it boils down to it, the salons are using the same paints that you can buy at any quality beauty supply shop.
  4. Health reasons: you can choose to buy and use formaldehyde free polishes, “three free”, and “seven free”…basically, you can get gentler products that contain less toxins in them if you really wanted to and you should for the sake of you and your nail health.
  5. Think of the health and ethical rights of manicurists/beauty workers. I recently read this scary article about how in New York City, manicures are so cheap, like less than $10 a pop, and the reason for that is not pretty: a lot of the salon workers are immigrants that don’t get paid well, and are exploited in terrible work conditions.  Not only that, but they are exposed to really toxic nail enamel solvents and chemicals and it affects the worker’s health (even their unborn babies if they are pregnant!)  I also feel like it places a big divide between more fortunate women and less fortunate ones…At the end of the day we are all people, so don’t support these back-alley nail salons.  At least go to a higher end salon that is known to treat their workers right and pay adequately for the luxury of being pampered.
Have fun with designing and creating colour combinations…I always do!

So there it is, my 5 main reasons why it’s better to DIY your manicures.  Yes, it takes more time and effort to do your own nails, but at the end of the day, they are your nails and if you want them to glow and shine…it is a creative job that should not be “outsourced”.  🙂

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Habits from Paris…French Bohemian Mindset…

I lived in Paris France for two years a while ago, when I was pregnant with my baby boy who is now a teenager of fifteen years!  But back when he was a newborn and I was just an art student, aspiring to be an artist, that was when I moved to Paris as a young woman to have my child, get married to another artist and settle down–whatever that meant.  But I learned a lot about lifestyles back then, and I admit till this day, although I am a Canadian born and raised, (Torontonian for that matter) I still hold dear a lot of the French mentality and outlooks on life and still adore Parisian Bohemia.  So let me share with you all a few of my experiences…I want to talk about the mindset of French bohemia, because the fashion will always follow suite…

Forget the beret! These mindless stereotypes of what the French are about are ridiculous. (wearing hats in general is cool though!)

We live in North America, the land of donuts and coffee, cold winters, fast food, and malls, cars and outlets.  Suburbs, churches and barbecues…flannel shirts and jogging pants. But my experience living in Paris tells me there is a more elegant, thoughtful way of living… And by looking at most fashion trends, it is actually super in style at the moment. French Bohemia is about being a free spirit, not following rules, or worrying about the 9-5 agenda.  It’s more about having the ability to have free time, rather than about what to do with it.  Hanging out with friends because they are cool, and not because it’s cool to hang out and an obligation to be social.  It’s really about simply enjoying life, but more specifically enjoying the visual and meaningful beauty of life. And how the two connect. Here are some things I’ve learned:

  1. Try to dodge trends by finding old things you forgot about. Dig into your closet and look for items of yours that are simple, classic, and chique.  French styles are often simple, and not looking like a slave to the trends is key (even if you are!).
  2. Eat less, but eat well.  The French are all about liking food, but good food.  I often have a day of very little indulgences, but for dinner, I will have treats like fish and chips, burgers, pizza, ice cream. Flavourful things in moderation…Pleasurable things…but just a little.
  3. Be interested in visual culture.  I mean this in a general way.  You don’t have to be into art and know everything about it academically (like I do as a former art student), but notice movie posters, graphics on your daily products, architecture and design. Work up to visiting an art show, weather it is at a small local gallery, to a big city art museum.  Just enjoy looking at things and thinking about how things look. People watching (not leering, or gawking or staring) is a fun pass time when on patios.
  4. Care about how you look.  BUT–don’t fuss over your appearance, and don’t be vain by thinking you’re all that, but put a bit of effort into your appearance.  Wear clean, fitted clothes, have manicured nails…give yourself the right to “judge a book by it’s cover” because well, the cover says a lot about something! Don’t be afraid to be a little superficial and care about the face value of things.
  5. Enjoy life, don’t stress. Avoid stressful things/activities as much as possible …ie event/parties you don’t want to go to.  If you don’t think you want to do it, unless you risk social shame for opting out, do opt out! There is nothing worse that regretting going out to an event.  Better to stay home and relax any day.
  6. There is always a more elegant option to whatever you are eating. Instead of toast, have a croissant in the morning!!! my favourite breakfast ever! (beats bacon and eggs too!) Instead of having a muffin, have a cupcake…Instead of ham and cheese sandwich, do ham and brie (a french cheese), instead of watered down coffee, try espresso. Little variations in daily mundane life such as standard food is a great way to add a bit of french to your life.
Me enjoying my favourite breakfast of all time due to its simplicity and deliciousness. A flakey, moist, buttery croissant, with a cup of hot coffee. yum!

What is your favourite way to be embody a bohemian babe? Do you like the fashions it’s famous for?  Do you like stalking the sale rack at the closest Free People store to you, or finding a way to make braids and plaited hair and staple? Wearing that vintage dress you found with sneakers?  How do you show you are a free sprit?

 

Movie Make up Inspiration: The Love Witch (2016)

I think almost everyone knows that I like horror movies quite a bit, but what I even like more are genre b movies mixed with art house, such as Anna Biller’s 2016 feature film The Love Witch that is half satire and half homage to the campy melodramas of the 60’s.  Visually, you almost can’t tell it was made a few years ago, with its rich popping colours that compete so much with the a sharp dialogue to tell the story of love, attraction, revenge, and “magick”.  The movie centers around a young woman named Elaine, who was jilted in love by her former lovers and husband. Elain is on a mission to take control of her life by means of joining a witches coven that teaches her to use potions, rituals and magick to get rid of her abusive husband.  After that, Elaine moves to a small idyllic town to get a fresh start, and to also find “love” by any means, including seducing and casting spells on the local men.

Spellwork and bold colours make this film a magical delight to look at.

I adore how the movie is so female centered and encourages that we sympathize and root for the femme fatale protagonist who is also over whelming her victims, um, I mean “dates” with her powerful magic–to the point to death sometimes…But is it her magick at work, or just the craziness of love in general?  Treat your senses to the richness of it’s look, and then decide for yourself.  Is it inherently feminist, since it is about a women deciding to control her love destiny, by any means? Or sexist since she uses her foxy looks to get what she wants?  It’s all up for debate, but one thing is for sure, The Love Witch can also stand alone for a piece of visual art.  And I am just digging the fashion and the make-up!  That retro/vixen/glam/goth look is soooo gorgeous.

Samantha Robinson plays a young witch, the love seeking Elaine. I have a crush on the hair, make-up and fashion she dons in this movie.

How to get this retro glam make-up:

Step 1: Prep the face:

This look requires smooth, creamy even pale skin.  Almost porcelain like.  I find bb creams to do the trick since they often lighten your skin tone and give you a really matte finish. (most do at least, don’t get the “dewy” kind).  Set bb/foundation with a light powder.

Step two: Define eyebrows:

They should be as dark as your hair, slightly defined, with medium thickness, softly blurred with a eyebrow comb. Draw them with a slight arch, to give a bit of retro drama!

After prepping face, I drew in my eyebrows with a soft brow pencil. make sure you comb it to get it even as possible.

Step three: Find a pretty turquoise eye pencil or high pigment eye colour

Powder eye shadows will not work, because they are too subtle.  You wont be able to see a turquoise coloured powder on your lids, since your skin tone also kills some of the blue/green colour. Instead of using heavy primers and shadow bases on your lid, simplify by finding a soft eye pencil in the right colour.

This is the pencil I found and it’s a gorgeous celedon colour, slightly lighter than the torquoise that the love witch uses…the shadow is to set it.

Fill in the upper lid in turquoise until almost to the brow bone,  then smudge the harsh edge lines of the colour with your finger, and set it with either translucent power, or a blue/green shadow on top.

See how pencil liners show up, even when it’s a light colour?
Because it is a pencil, you want to smooth the edges and pat with your fingers to make it less harsh. don’t forget to set lids with powder.

Step four: Black lining your eyes, Cat eye make-up:

You need three products for this!  I know, this is crazy, but the reason you need three is for colour intensity, precision, and setting of the black line. So first off to use is black pencil as close to the upper lash line as possible.  The second step is setting it with a thin layer of black eye shadow with a thin brush.  Third step to making the black line into the defined shape of a dramatice cat eye with liquid liner/pen.  Also fill in any light/uneven areas in the black line with pen for maximum drama.

This is before I put on fake lashes. Using 3 products: liner, shadow and liquid/pen gives the pigmentation and drama needed for a retro cat eye line.

Step Five: Mascara and False Lashes…

Mascara and fake lashes are key to the look.  Nothing says vampy witchy gal more than a cat eye with fake long lashes the reach for the skies!  I like to do two coats of mascara and then add some demi lashes, since my eyes are small, but if you can, go for full lashes to complete the look.

Let me read your future! Add anything victorian looking and glamourous to your outfit and now you are a love witch!

Okay, thoust ready to go out into the world casting spells on unsuspecting lovers wherever you go…Just be careful wielding that feminine power of yours and I hope no casualties are a result.  I cannot be held responsible. 🙂