Going from Work to Party: Fashion/makeup hacks

So you have an event coming up at 6:00 and you’ve been working all day and are far from feeling like a model. After the recycled air, computer screens, standing/sitting and fulfilling the demands of clients/employers; and all the stresses of whatever work environment you are in, the bottom line is you’re pooped. And you probably look it too. Not exactly fun to have to scramble home, freshen up, change your clothes and touch up a make-up application that has long expired since the morning when you put it on. It is looking more like an oil slick, than prettily powdered, and well, you’re not exactly feeling primped and ready to go after work in general.. What to do? Let me share with you a few hacks that help me, when it comes to feeling glammed up, rejuvenated and able to face the world, whether for a date, a party or event when you don’t have a whole day to preen:

1. Skip putting on make-up in the morning and just moisturize heavily and allow your skin to soak it up all day. Make-up is drying to the face, which is why skin produces so much excess oil by nightfall. By not wearing make-up during the day, your face skin can breathe. Then you can do your make-up before the event after a quick face rinse or toning, for a fresher application.

2. Dry shampoo is your best friend. Hair gets limp and oily throughout the day. There is no time for a shampoo in the shower, but a little bit of dry shampoo will make sure that by night fall, it looks like you just got a blow out.  I like to do it the night before to make sure hair is not too powdery with residue from the dry shampoo, but if you have really greasy hair, during the day works fine too. Just shake it out lots when you’re done. Check out my article on how to DIY a dry shampoo.

3. Drink lots of water. Dehydration not only dries out your skin, but it also causes water retention, tired puffy eyes, and a look of fatigue in general. Aim for at least 2 litres during the day, especially after coffee. Having a nice hot herbal tea flushes out toxins and helps you de-stress so definitely try that.

4. Pre-plan your outfit. Believe it or not, even if you kinda know what you are going to wear, you don’t. Something you pictured working can suddenly look out of place or odd: ie a skirt your thought would match doesn’t, a sweater/top is too see through, (or not see through enough!) Put on the things the night before so that after work you are ready to go.

5. Over pack your arsenal: Unless you have time to go home (which you probably don’t) Bring all your trade secrets to work to use before leaving: perfume, hair spray, culing iron, straightening wand, combs, hair clips, lotion. Don’t be afraid of looking high maintenance with having to carry a huge bag to the event. Just leave everything at your workplace/office in a discreet bag that is in nobody’s way, and pick it up on your next shift…while you go out with the tiny purse that says you didn’t have to work at it!

6. Eat little meals through out the day. Nothing is grosser than feeling bloated and tired after eating a big lunch, having to digest that, and then topping that off with a big snack at the end of the workday too. Eating small meals through out the day makes your energy better, and lets you not have spiking sugar levels that add to fatigue. Also, it prevents you from getting too hungry so that when you are out, you don’t binge on food.

Is this not a yummy sight? Fruit and nuts and water make a great snack on busy work days leading into a night event. They are easy to digest and cause minimal bloating.

7. And the number one tip to looking your best in the least bit of time? Just make an effort to take care of yourself daily, event or no event. Have nice manicured hands, moisturized skin, brush your hair and your teeth. Always eat well and drink lots of water. When you are making self care a habit then the odd times that you have to hustle to glam up for a date are that much easier….because you are often looking your best anyway!

Just before an event I had to go to…and yes, I ate the heck outta that pear!

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”.  🙂

Habits from Paris…French Bohemian Mindset…

I lived in Paris France for two years a while ago, when I was just an art student, aspiring to be an artist, that was when I moved to Paris as a young woman to move in 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?