Reasons to be grateful.

It's cold out but my jacket is warm. I have to work on a Sunday but I'm not unemployed. I'm tired but I can buy a coffee and go to bed early in my big comfy bed. The salt from the ground will not stop making my hallway dirty, the kitchen floor is always dirty and there is dog hair everywhere but at least I get to go home. I'm grateful for jobs and mess and weather and the bf that keeps me up too late.

I'm so glad I woke up to this post on Daniel Laporte's blog this morning. Perspective is everything.

Have a wonderful Sunday little chickadees. Even if it's cold, enjoy the sunshine.


The Sticky Situation that is Self Promotion

For ages I've toyed with the idea of being completely freelance. But time and again, I find myself working for other businesses part time because frankly, that shit is scary! The thought of being 100% responsible for all the work I get... well, that's the stuff horror films are made from. 

I spend a lot of time creating my six month/ 1 year/ 5 year I'm-going-to-freelance-only plan. I read about it incessantly, mentally taking notes on tricky clients, freelance finance but the thing that scares me most seems to be the least approached topic... how the eff am I suppose to talk about myself to potential clients?

Here's the deal, that whole 'if you build it' thing is fooey. They don't always show up! Many people before and many after me will build what no one will come to see. So, if you build it and don't talk about it to anyone, no one will come. Not even your mum. 

The answer and the thing I tell anyone starting out, is to talk about yourself at every opportunity. Which is hard and not that fun and pretty confusing when trying to decide what's an opportunity and what is you being a pain in the ass. It's hard to to decide what will lead to clients and what will lead to your friends blocking you on facebook. When does self promotion become shameless? 

Look, I don't know. I'm sorry because I bet it seemed like I started out this post with the intention of answering questions but I tricked you. But check out this wicked post on Jezebel because they put together some amazing tips that will lead you, and subsequently, me, in the right direction. I'm all over the books they recommend in it, because I'm still working on the six month/ one year/ five year freelance plan.

How to Survive and Prosper as an Artist: Selling Yourself Without Selling Your Soul

Getting from College to Career: 90 Things to Do Before You Join the Real World [GETTING FROM COL TO CAREER]



My nail polish collection

I have very limited storage. In fact, I have 1.5 bookshelves in my room that serve as basically the only storage I have. And they are kinda full of a whole lotta' books. 

A few years ago I decided to colour code my books instead of trying to decide on genres etc. This way, whenever I get a new book, if it doesn't fit, I have to get rid of a book. That's the rule. Though I see that rule changing in the near future as I recently acquired two orange books that I'm forcing onto that shelf come hell or high water.

I digress.

The nail polish found its way onto my book shelf so that I could see it and is always organised by colour. Here are a few shelves. I realised I skipped the white, grey and black shelves. C'est la vie. I received two fantastic gifts from my parents and awesome Heather of nail polish this past Christmas and I'll have to show them off in a separate post. Sephora by OPI from the 'rents and Barry M (all the way from England!!!) from Heather. 

Anyway, enjoy! 


Daria... you own my heart.

I loved watching this vid of Daria Werbowy shooting the Salvatore Ferragamo campaign for spring. The glimpses of the makeup artist at work make my heart pitter patter.

Working for Free

Lets talk for a second about working for free. Because in this industry, it comes up a lot.

While I was in school, they warned us, you'll do it. You'll have to work for free, likely your entire career but almost exclusively in the beginning. I expected it and to this day still welcome pro bono opportunities. But once I graduated, the emails started and they haven't stopped. Makeup for school theatre productions. Fashion shows. Sponsored Events. To this day, I still get emails at least once a week referring me to a job for the grand day rate of $0. Take a look on craigslist. For free. For credit. We'll refer you work later. We're a great new start up. 

No worries, I called my bank and told them I would recommend everyone to Bank of Montreal for their mortgages and they were totally cool with letting my payments slip.

They just said they would take my house away.

Ok, I'm getting carried away with sarcasm. The thing is, working for free is great and nessecary but often misused. It gives you guilt free first time experience in the beginning from people who you aren't burning bridges with because they were never going to hire you anyway (hello, school plays). Later on, it has the potential to open you up to great contacts, build your book and meet tons of awesome people (hence, creatives). But you will see the most ludicrious offers come from all sorts of people who are taking advantage of eager people looking for their big shot. 

I took a long hiatus from hair and makeup freelance work after I was tricked into doing a lookbook for free. I was under the impression I was filling in on a last minute creative with a team I was interested in checking out. Imagine my surprise when I found out I was shooting a campaign for a local designer. I'll check the story, sparing you the acrimonious details and leave you instead with the easiest solution to addressing offers for free. Consider this, ways not to get burned:

Think to yourself, why is there a budget for everything else BUT hair and makeup? How did they create a line of clothing with no money? Why can a charity pay for a venue or a marketing campaign? How will a start up company with no budget lead to future paid work?

I think this is the best article I've read about working for free and why you should/not do it. And even better than that, this flowchart from swiss miss' blog will lead you in the right direction. 


Review - Body Shop Nail Polish

It's always easy to tell when I REALLY love a nail polish. I wear it on it's own. As in, only one shade on my nails at a time. Take a look at my past nail photos - I obviously have colour-commitment issues.

Just before Christmas, following drinks and too much laughing, B's friend Adrianna pushed a bag full o' Body Shop products into my hand as I was walking out her door. She is way too sweet and is to thank for an upcoming giveaway (which, sidenote, I'm totes excited about! Check back the third week of January for my first giveaway!!!!). In that bag were two nail polishes; a light sparkle pink and a sparkle black. 

I opted to try the black first. Starry Night, here I come.

First thing I noticed, as this is my first nail polish by the Body Shop, it has a great consistency. I like nail polishes just a touch thicker. One of the reasons I can't get on board with China Glaze nail polish is that it's far too runny. The Body Shop polish on the other hand has good stick. It dries super fast and before the top coat was even on, I was in the kitchen chopping and preparing dinner. Right after the top coat was dry I was back in the kitchen cleaning up. So far, no dents and no smudges. I'm impressed. I may paint my nails a ton but I'm relentlessly impatient. This stuff is great for quick dry (which typically dents hours after it should be long dry).

Their website promises four days chip free which frankly, I think is silly. Lifestyle contributes more to a perfect manicure than great polish. I'm open to being proved wrong, but doing hair and makeup, washing my hands the way I do, I never time frame my mani's. Let it dry and hope for the best is the way I roll.

Anyways, check out the photos below. I used an actual camera today! No photobooth!

Oh gosh. I'm cringing looking at pictures of my hands.
Excuse the rough shape my hands and nails are in.
The cold weather and constant washing have taken their toll. 
It's time for mittens and hand lotion. Stat.


Ok, you need this book. Makeup is Art!

I declared to my mother just before Christmas that surely, I had enough makeup books and would not need anymore. Any new acquisitions to my book shelf would have to be food, fiction or business based. 

Then Thursday, on my way home from blo, I passed a Chapters and decided to check for the new In Beauty (more on that later) and saw Makeup is Art: Professional Techniques for Creating Original Looks for 60% off!!!!! Well, 60% for irewards members. No big deal, but I'm a member. So, it was $8 something and I threw it into the pile and went home. I didn't really get a chance to take a look until this evening.

I have been poring over this book for the past hour or so. The photography is excellent, the writing is clear and concise and the product recommendations are all totally reachable. The makeup ranges from contemporary takes on period looks, to outlandish bejeweled creations, to wearable, tangible faces. I haven't finished reading all the text but I can tell, this is going to be one of my favs. 

Aside from the oh-so-right rhinestones, the book includes a great Q+A's for newbie's and finishes with a comprehensive list of suppliers. The list of makeup and hair products used, hair and makeup artists and more (complete with websites!) has given me hours more of drool-worthy inspiration. 


My most important client yet.

Two weeks before Christmas I had, to date, my most important client yet. Here's the thing. I tell everyone that. But it's not all fooey. I treat everyone like their are the most important too. 

But this was different. This client was my mum.

I don't know that I've said too much about my mum on this blog, but let me give you a bit of a rundown on who she is and what she's about. 

For one, she's the best. She is kind and giving and tough and challenging. She expects more from me than anyone else but believes in me like no one else can. Two: If I do anything good with my life, it will be because of her. 

The reason for her photoshoot is that she is starting a project, that I'll detail another day, and I figured she should have some great head shots to accompany said project. My fantastic friend and photographer, Carla Silva took the photos and we had a blast. She's so amazing at directing people who aren't used to being infront of a camera. I'm really excited to see the finished photos. 

One of the reasons that I am doing makeup today is because of my mum. This isn't the 'I used to watch my mum apply lipstick blah blah' story because she's never been much of a makeup lover. But after I finished art school and felt hopeless and lost and stupid for not doing makeup five years earlier, she encouraged me, and made sure whenever I sucked (which was often. seriously, I was BAD when I started doing makeup) I kept going. She was never one for blind encouragement. My mum still holds me accountable for getting the things I want in life. 

As she sat in front of me on that day, and I was blow drying her hair, I kept thinking of Billy Collin's poem, Lanyard. There is so much thanks, love and overwhelming debt that I want to express to both my parents but there is never a way to make it... big enough. Watch the video below, look up the poem; Billy Collins says it better than I can.

Side note: Also, my mum is a babe. She just is. But following the crashing of my computer, none of my pictures are on my hard drive. So uh, this is all I've got. But trust me, she's not always blurry. Or far away.

What I do have, are pictures of her cat, Eleanor Rigby. She hates me because I always try to play Lion King with her. 



Nails... and Tonka.

2011 - Resolutions

I've been trying to write this post for awhile and I've since completely flip flopped on the idea of resolutions and then flip flopped right back to where I started. So, in the words of my dearest Emily, here's the thing.

New beginnings? They happen every day. Every night I go to bed with the opportunity to wake up and change my perspective. Start a new habit. Quit an old one. Lose one thing and find another. Every single day, I can do that.

To me, starting something on January 1st, is kind of like setting myself up for failure. It's the new year, and everyone is talking about it, so it's easy and natural to make a long list of things I wish were different and plans to change those things. But the holidays are hectic and crazy and the first few weeks of January, when I'm planning to make over my whole life, are often spent playing catch up. There's laundry and grocery shopping to do. I need to mop the kitchen like you wouldn't believe. And Tonka? He looks like he could use a shower and that is a whole other drama. In between of my regular chores and duties I'm exhausted just thinking about including a whole new list to do that are completely out of my routine. Whew.

What I think the end of the year is great for, is, reflection. I reflect to find things to change but I'm not going to give myself a list and a due date because if I had a list, the first thing on it would be STRESS LESS. People change, and I am no exception. But this year, that change is welcome to come on it's own, as it seems fit. Not all within the first month of the year. 

January is just another month and 2011 is just another year. I'm pumped to keep going forward in my life and career. Instead of stressful expectations, I just want to keep on keeping on. I'm planning for more in every aspect of my life. But it's not a goal for the year. It's a continuation of my life.


ok. also, I did totally make a resolution to learn more about food in an effort to eat better. Than I ate oreo's with whip cream. So uh... maybe I should resolve to grow some will power.