Monday, February 25, 2013

Make It Up To Me

I have a strange relationship with makeup. On the one hand, I love trying new products, I completely geek out at Sephora over pretty packaging, scents and colours, and I consider at least basic makeup a must-have when going out in public (if I want to look alive, that is). On the OTHER hand, I abhor anything high maintenance and spending an hour "primping" every morning (no one's got time for that!), and I don't like to wear lots of makeup or LOOK like I'm wearing lots.

I have developed a pretty standard beauty routine that works for me and that easily fits into my lifestyle. I have a few go-to products that I use daily to get the "look" that I want. It's nothing amazing (again: low maintenance is my game when it comes right down to it) but it works for me! I thought it would be fun to share some of these current make-up must-have's with you!

I say "current" because I'm generally a fickle person who bores easily with the same routine and changes things up regularly. I'm sure this routine may change down the road, but for now these are the tools I am loving right now:

1. Liquid eye-liner

This was always a product that scared the bejeesus out of me. It seemed far too complicated for a plebeian like me to use. Makeup artists, yes. Me at home in my bathroom with shaky hands? Not so much. But I took a leap and bought some one day and surprisingly it wasn't so hard to apply after all! Once I used it a few times, it didn't seem intimidating anymore. Practice makes perfect, as with most things.

You do need a steady hand to apply, but I always start small and add from there - start with a very thin line and add colour to thicken as needed. I love that I can control the drama of the line (thick or thin) and add tiny flourishes, such as a cat eye, if I'm in the mood for something a bit more fun. My FAVOURITE part about it is that it lasts ALL DAY. Seriously, after 8 hours, it still looks the same as when I applied it at 7am. I have oily skin so eyeliner and shadow, etc, tends to melt off by the end of the day, but not-so for liquid liner! It's great for a day when you have to rush somewhere after work and don't have time to touch up. And just sweeping a line of this on only takes a few minutes but has big impact - my eyes look super awake and the liner also accentuates my eye shape.

A brand I have been using and enjoy is the Sephora brand. I currently have glitter black, which I know sounds tacky but the glitter is so subtle you don't even notice it. Appropriate for work, believe it or not! At $12 for a tiny tube, it seems a bit expensive, but the tubes usually last me several months, and that's using them (almost) every day. I also bought a Maybelline version in brown recently that I am enjoying (I tend to stick to black or brown), although this version is waterproof and I am learning it can be tough to take off (even when it comes off, it tends to be in flakes, so make sure you rinse your eyes out after removing).

2. Mascara and eyelash curler

These two combined are an absolute MUST for me. I have strange eyelashes - they are super long but not super thick, and they are as straight as a pin (like my hair). If I don't curl them it doesn't even look like I have lashes. On top of all this, I wear glasses, so using lengthening mascara on my already super-long lashes just results in said lashes pressing up against my lenses! Alas, not wearing any eye makeup is not an option for me - I have wide lids so if they are bare my eyes look very tired and droopy - so trying to find a mascara that thickens and curls without lengthening too much or making the hairs look "spidery" (you know what I mean, ladies) is tough.

My current fav mascara is Too Faced Lash Injection. It really thickens without lengthening, which amazes me, plus (oddly enough) it has a nice, slightly floral scent! To my major disappointment, the last time I stopped by Sephora to stock up, they were out (!!) so I bought the Lashgasm style instead and I'm not as much of a fan. This one definitely gives me the "spidery" look. Dislike. Will definitely go back to my tried-and-true next time.

I don't really prefer a particular eyelash curler - to me they are all basically the same. Mine is Revlon and I have had it forever and it gets the job done. Even if I don't have time or energy to put mascara on, I try to at least take 2 minutes to give my lashes a little curl - that way I at least look slightly less zombie-esque.

3. Translucent Face Powder

As mentioned, I have oily skin and I find the best remedy for this is loose powder. I don't use as much in the winter because my skin is generally drier, but in summer I take time to sweep this on every day, particularly on the t-zone. Translucent feels lighter and looks more natural than coloured powders, so that is generally my preference (those coloured powders can be really tough to match exactly to your skin tone and if they don't exactly match you can easily look clownish).

I'm currently using Marcelle and I really like it. It's a great value since the large container will likely last you at least a year. That being said, in my experience, face powder/foundation are things that are worth splurging a bit on (you really get what you pay for).

So, that is basically it! If I only have 5 minutes in the morning (which is most mornings), I try and at least get the first two products in there. If I have a few extra minutes, I will sometimes put on a bit of bronzer, maybe a touch of eye shadow, or even concealer if I have a problem spot I want to hide. But generally, this is my routine. As long as I have something on my lids, soak up the oil on my face and give my lashes a bit of curl, I go out into the world feeling good.

What about you - what are your makeup must-have's? Or, if you don't wear makeup, what is your general beauty routine? What steps do you have to take to feel ready for the day?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

I've Got Events To Keep Me Warm

Have I mentioned that I hate winter? Well, I do. And February has got to be the worst month of the year in Nova Scotia. It's long enough after Christmas break that the holiday seems like a distant memory, far enough away from Spring and the next long weekend that the days seem to drag on. AND, as if that was not bad enough, we seem to get most of our snow in February - big storms interspersed with warmer, wet days, resulting in a whole lot of dirty slush all over town. You can see why one would become hateful and depressed at such a time!

That being said, what is getting me through is the great events happening in February and March. Here's a few that I am looking forward to:

1) Stargazing and the Science of Love: My boyfriend and I decided to visit the Discovery Centre this Thursday, for a unique Valentine's Day outing that is romantic without being cheesy. Adults looking to "mix it up" for V-Day can do some stargazing and listen to a talk by Matthew Numer, PhD, on "The Science of Love and Attraction". Can't beat $10 for a night of learning something new together. Plus, we are going for supper at Piatto first, a place I have been looking forward to trying since it opened (I had two separate people tell me they had the best pizza of their life here!). The only thing better than learning is learning with a belly full of delicious pizza!

2) Savouring Some Delicious Cocktails: The Savour Food and Wine festival is taking place for most of the month of February and there are tons of great events happening. Alas, I am not able to make it to the main event - the Savour Food and Wine show - but we are hoping to take in the Imbibe cocktail event on February 21st. This is basically a gathering of the best mixologists in Nova Scotia (along with a couple of special guests, including Jeremy Parsons, who is heralded as "one of the top mixologists in North America") and a chance to sample some of the most delicious and innovative drinks that local restos are pouring. Trying to sample as much as possible without getting totally sloshed on a weeknight will be tough, but I am up to the challenge!

3) North End Tour of Yum: On March 9th, the boy and I will embark on the North End Fantasy Food Tour, and I will finally get the chance to try two more places that have been on my list for a while - Ace Burger (from the guys who brought us the Brooklyn Warehouse, one of my favourite restos in Halifax), and DeeDee's (who apparently makes amazeballs gelato and burritos). We will also stop at an old standard favourite of mine - Java Blend coffee shop. Their coffee is delicious and the owner is like a local business powerhouse (he just opened a new brewery and is always willing to donate an awesome item to the silent auction for my sister's work). Guessing I will be supremely stuffed by the end of this evening, but I KNOW I will be supremely happy.

4) Tedx Nova Scotia: I have never attended a Ted conference before, but I am really hoping to get the chance this year (March 10th). In case you couldn't tell from #1, I am a bit of a "learning nerd" which means I really enjoy any event where my brain can soak up tons of interesting information and my synapses are fired off in quick and constant succession. The full list of speakers isn't posted yet so I'm not quite sure what specific sessions I will be attending but I am sure there will be some great choices. If nothing else, the Ben Caplan concert should be fist-pumping. I really enjoy the event motto "ideas worth spreading" - it could easily be a life motto for me!

The snow may be snowing and the wind may be blowing, but I will weather the storm thanks to all the fun events to keep me warm this February and March!