The Blog

Hi again!
It’s been a long, long time since I put a blog post together. I’ve been just busy working away.

Currently I’m on the set of a Papa John’s commercial. In commercial work there is usually some
downtime, and, if I can, I’d like to take advantage of it by trying to get in a quick blog post.☺

Since you last heard from me:
I’ve had my 11th cover with Avenue magazine.

One of the photographs I did makeup for, taken by Daniel Wood, of our premier Rachel Notley, was awarded silver for photography in People & Portraiture at the Alberta Magazine Awards. My separate works with Curtis Trent, Cory Johnn, & Curtis Comeau were also nominated this year.

I was invited to the ACE awards where some of my work with DDB was awarded as well. It was so cool to be at an event where I thought I wouldn’t know anyone, and it turned out that I’d worked with more than half the ad agencies in Edmonton. I ended up having a great time visiting with clients and friends I’ve made over the years in my work.

I’ve been working hard with Eveline Charles in creating a virtual learning, online version of my level one makeup course (which I still teach at the academy). It’s been quite an experience and more work than any of us anticipated, but it’s looking really good and coming along. So if you’re someone who has always wanted to learn more about the basics of makeup but don’t live near the bricks and mortar of a facility, this course can be taken anywhere in the world.

imgI’m still privileged to work closely with Vue Weekly & Meaghan Baxter on their style & trend pieces. In fact, I was asked to be in a style feature for Vue Weekly magazine, where I had to be in front of the camera. https://www.vueweekly.com/seasonal-update-local-pros-weigh-in-ontrends-for-spring/

I had the cool opportunity to weigh in on this season’s blue makeup runway trend when my girl Julia Lipscombe was writing an article for the Edmonton Journal. I found myself again in front of the camera when they sent a photog to shoot me at my home studio doing makeup focused on that trend. https://edmontonjournal.com/life/into-the-blue-80s-makeup-trend-is-back

My volunteer initiative with Sorrentino’s Compassion House has finally commenced after months of talk and preparation. I go once a month and
do makeup appointments with the women staying there during their cancer treatments.

My relationship as a freelance artist with MAC Cosmetics has grown and become stronger. They’ve sent me two rounds of product support (20 products) for using their product on certain
jobs. They were also able to donate a huge amount of products for my volunteer initiative at the Compassion House. Thank you MAC for supporting the artist community!

My relationship with the couple I spoke about in my M.I.A blog post has been completely repaired as I was able to do his hair, makeup, and styling on the house for his Top 40 under 40
placement with Avenue Magazine. They also came to see me for Halloween makeup! Congratulations to them on their recent engagement!!! Major hot couple alert. ☺

Not everything has been amazing however, I started the year by being on the receiving end of a lay off with CTV. I had been doing makeup for Alberta Primetime for about two years when, back
in December, the show itself felt some major cuts in staff. Unfortunately makeup was one of those cuts.
At first it was very upsetting to lose that job and I struggled to be optimistic, for about 5 minutes, and then I decided that worrying about it was was not going to change anything. It was just making me feel like crap and stressing me out more. I took a step back and looked at the bigger picture, and realized that in the first few years of being an ‘Independent Business Princess’ (or an ‘IBP’ as I like to call myself) I hadn’t had any major set backs. Things had been going pretty smoothly, so I figured I was probably due for a challenge.

If I had let losing my job with CTV set the tone for 2016 I might not have had so many cool things to update you on. So as I’ve said before ‘A door has closed on me. Now I gotta bust open that fucking window and get my ass to work.’

This year optimism, determination, gratefulness and joy are my focus & so far so good!

P.s If you’re still reading this, thank you, I appreciate it.
Xoxo A

The Blog- M.I.A.

I want to address a serious topic, a topic that I am disappointed to even have to share with you.

That topic is…missing a gig, being a no-show, missing in action, however you want to word it.
After nearly a decade in the industry, it finally happened to me.

My story begins in the month of June when I decided to make work and life easier – or so I thought – by purchasing an iPad mini.
My iPhone is full, and since I work independently, I was having a hard time separating my personal life from my work life.

I figured a second device would help keep things separate and allow me to still do business in case anything happened to my phone.

I noticed some weird things happening when syncing my iPad to my computer.

For instance, I have been recording my kilometers since the start of the year and suddenly they were gone! They just disappeared into thin air. Also pictures, some pictures uploaded to my iPad and some didn’t. But as far as I could tell, that was it. Everything else seemed fine. I considered the few issues an overall win as I am somewhat technologically inept.
And with that, I moved on with my week, enjoying my new work/life balance.

It wasn’t until a few weeks later, while I was at another makeup job, that I found out just what else did not successfully sync over.

I was nearly finished at my gig and had a down moment to check my email and do some other work while at work, which is my favorite—multitasking excites me.
I opened my email at nearly 4:30pm to find emails from a client who had booked me weeks prior.
I’d missed two emails and had been completely M.I.A for a 3:30pm call time THAT day. Not to mention he had driven to a pre-planned meeting destination to make sure I didn’t get lost on the way to the shoot location.

First, my heart stopped, then was in my throat, and finally sank so hard, so fast. I was mortified, and devastated, and in shock.
My mind raced. How did this happen?! Why was I here if I should be there!?

I remember booking the shoot specifically and was looking forward to it.

It wasn’t in my calendar and didn’t come up as a reminder at all, so I had recently booked another gig for that same day and was a complete no show for a client and model who were relying on me for a fitness shoot.
I picked up the phone and immediately connected with the client.
“I am incredibly apologetic and completely and quite frankly mortified that this has happened today. Can I send another artist to you right now!!?”
I was frantic- thinking I could call a pal and pay them to go save my ass.

He was so understanding and quite gracious over the whole scenario.
I was very grateful for his reaction as well as forever apologetic and I think he sensed my distress was genuine.

In the end, the model did her own hair and makeup and looked great on her own.image00

Before I hung up the phone with him I promised to redeem myself by offering to do his next hair & makeup job completely complimentary. It was the least I could do after such a complete fail on my part. I also made sure to send an email offering the model a complimentary service as well.
After all it was her fitness shoot and I wasn’t there as I had promised to be, so I felt she deserved my apology as well.

I have since recovered my kilometers and made sure that my sync is complete! I haven’t missed another gig since, and hopefully never, ever will again.

It happens to the best of us and I’ve learned to forgive myself for being human and busy, instead I choose to feel blessed and so grateful to be busy.

Here’s to another 10 years with a clean attendance record. 40967082_s

 

 

The Blog – Arbonne

amber17 years ago I had the pleasure of meeting a young new bride on her wedding day.

 

Karyna came to MAC to get her makeup done on her big day and we connected immediately on our mutual love for color as we designed a beautiful neutral smokey eye with soft green highlights. (Juxt eyeshadow-since discontinued-for all you MAC junkies out there)

 

The pictures of me doing her makeup that day are still some of my favorite. Her photographer was nowhere in sight capturing these beautiful and candid moments from somewhere in the distance.

 

Karyna and I stayed connected through social media, even when she moved to the UK. While there she started her own business venture with Arbonne,  Recently Karyna and her family have moved back to Edmonton.

 

amber2A few weeks ago Karyna reached out to me about doing some product testing with Arbonne.  Which I was very interested in. I had heard good things about Arbonne but hadn’t had an opportunity to be left alone with a bunch of the product for a few days. So of course I jumped at the opportunity.

 

Karyna and I met at chapters in the Starbucks both toting our little ones, her 3 year old daughter Robyn on foot and new son Henry strapped to the front of her and me with my 2 year old Staffy, Gnarley. We chatted for a while, Gnarley entertaining Robyn,  catching up and she gave me a  makeup case full of an array of different product to take home and test.

Below I will list the product, my thoughts and review of it and the link to shop Arbonne

Listed in order of my favorite things.

Liquid sunshine – A self tanner for your body.

Packaging: I liked the bright blue squeeze bottle. Easy to access and no mess.

Texture: A lightweight gel like lotion which allowed for it to be easily blended and absorbed into the skin. Unlike other self tanners I use, this one did not have a color to it. (It’s important to be thorough when you can’t see the tan right away.)

Smell: I quite enjoyed the initial lemony, citrus scent. However I did end up with that tell tale self tan ‘smell’ once it was totally set.

Finish: Once the self tan was applied, my skin was tacky to the touch until I was completely dry. I liked the tackiness because that’s a good indicator as to when you have dried enough to put on your clothes.

Acceleration: I applied this product at 2:30pm and by 5pm I started to see the color develop. By the following morning the tan had deepened, with a nice olive undertone.

I was the most excited about this product and enjoyed the color it gave me for about a week. Although I liked the liquid sunshine I think I prefer self tans that have a bronze tone in them so I can see where I have applied. As thorough as I tried to be I still ended up with streaky elbows and wrists.

 

Sheer glow highlighter – A cream highlighter for all skin types.

Packaging: Another easy to use squeeze tube that allows you to control the amount you desire.

Texture: Creamy, smooth and almost fluffy.

Smell: No strong smell.

Finish: A hydrated sheer glow that can be applied under foundation all over or on top of foundation pressed onto high planes of the face. A dewy finish.

I really enjoyed this one. It reminded my of a cross between strobe cream and strobe liquid from MAC Cosmetics. Not as thick or as runny. To be used sparingly on mature skin and not in place of a moisturizer on dry or dehydrated skin.

 

Smoothed over lipstick:  A creamy, medium coverage lipstick

Packaging: Large circular container with an embossed bullet.

Texture: Creamy, smooth and hydrating.

Smell: Minimal to no smell.

Finish: Hydrated with a soft sheen and medium color payoff.

I enjoyed the packaging the most about this product. The large round container felt luxurious and would be easy to find at the bottom of my purse. The texture and finish is most comparable to MAC amplified lipsticks.

 

Eyeshadow: Matte, satin and shimmery medium to full color payoff.

Packaging: These come in small single or double shadow packaging with an easy to open and click to lock kid.

Texture: I tried the matte, the satin and the shimmery finish shadows and enjoyed the soft, blend able texture.

Smell: None.

Finish: Nice color payoff, decent staying power and the finish was true to the way it looked in the packaging.

I would definitely work with Arbonne shadows again. I used them on myself and liked them enough to bring them in to play with on Shawna Randolph (host of Alberta Primetime on CTV)

It’s a Long Story, Mascara:  A juicy, wet mascara with a lengthening water resistant formula.

Packaging: Big container, big wand, big lashes.

Texture: Wet, but kind of creamy.

Smell: I didn’t smell this one.

Finish: Thick and dark long lashes.

This mascara had a nice big wand and a really lightweight creamy consistency to the formula which didn’t weigh my lashes down. I’m a self proclaimed ‘drug store’ mascara fan. My favorite being Voluminous by Loreal. I feel like Arbonne’s mascara stands up to my standards. No smudging and easy to remove.

 

amber3I am really into Arbonne’s value system as a company when it comes to ingredients. Some ingredients you can not expect to find in their products are:

talc | tallow | carbon black | animal products or by-products | parabens | formaldehyde-donating preservatives | phthalates | formaldehyde | alkylphenols | benzene | monoethanolamine | triclosan | synthetic dyes | hydroquinone | artificial sweeteners | artificial flavors | cholesterol | trans fats | mineral oil

 

If you are looking to use a natural and cruelty free brand I think Arbonne is a great choice! They also claim to follow the principles of ‘green chemistry’ however I am not sure what that means.

 

Thank you again to my friend Karyna for giving me the opportunity to play with this amazing product!

The Blog

As an Edmonton Makeup Artist, I am lucky enough to get to work on some really cool jobs, some of which happen to be on television.

Another unique thing about my job as an Edmonton Makeup Artist is that if I’m sick, running late, or something unforeseen occurs, I don’t have a team or staff to cover for me. I am it.

If I don’t show up or I’m late, it not only looks terrible, it leaves my client, for lack of better words, screwed.

I mean sure, there are the odd times when I get lost or there’s an accident, but for the most part I try to account extra time for these things, and most clients understand if the situation is out of my control.

For me, especially in my line of work as an Edmonton Makeup Artist, reputation is everything. Have you ever asked yourself, “what is my reputation worth?”
Well not too long ago I found myself faced with that very question…

***

If you read my last blog, you know that I have a dog. I always like to take her out to use the bathroom right before I head out anywhere. It’s an opportune moment, in these Edmonton winters, to start the car and bring half of my makeup kits down at the same time.

I live off Whyte ave and I know to lock my running car, especially with the amount of make up products and tools in there.

It was 11:30am and I had to be 20 minutes away for a taping by noon. As I sat in the drivers seat to start the car, my purse fell off of my shoulder…no big deal, in fact, I’m not sure that I even noticed.

It certainly didn’t register to me that ALL of my spare keys for this now-running vehicle were in that purse as I locked the doors and closed my drivers side.

As soon as that door closed my heart sank. I realized what I had just done and I couldn’t believe it. I moaned a dramatic NOOOOOOO!  and wanted to face palm myself.

I still had Gnarley with me, as well as my house keys in my jacket pocket, and that was it. My cell phone? In my purse.
So my brain starts running through a list of my options…AMA, mom & dad, brother, brother in law, neighbour….the one thing all of these options needed was time, and I didn’t have any to spare. I had to be at a gig in 20 minutes.

I knew what I needed to do.
With an eerie calmness I walked back into my building, gave Gnarley her ‘mommy’s going to work’ snack, grabbed a hammer, shut the lights off, and left.

Once back at my car, I took my jacket off, covered the drivers side back window, and on the third whack the entire window came shattering down around me.

I tossed the hammer in the backseat, unlocked the car, and headed to work. On time.

The moral of the story? And the answer to my question… what is my reputation worth?

Windows aren’t cheap, but don’t let a situation that seems impossibly out of your control get you down, bust that fucking window and get your ass to work.

XO

~A

The Blog

It’s New Years Eve, 2014. It is a transition time. A metaphorical shedding of past self, an opportunity for renewal. And so it makes sense that this post would be about my life over the past year. And what a year it has been.

I became self-employed, I fell in love, I turned 30. But it hasn’t all been roses.

I battled (and still do) with anxiety and depression throughout my twenties. This I discovered through a series of anxiety attacks that would wake me from a dead sleep in the middle of the night. The combination of an unhealthy relationship and a demanding career at a really poignant time of growth in my life was debilitating. Through that relationship I lost my spark for life, I just plain lost myself.

In life facing betrayal and loss, after throwing your everything into making it work, knocks the wind right out of your lungs.

Ending my relationship with both my partner and my career over the course of about 3 years is what has allowed me to be able to write about my healing process and essentially, I believe, my recovery.

At the time that my relationship dissolved I threw myself into my career. I worked hard to be successful in my position, and it paid off. I was making annual bonuses, training, and being a leader of industry in my city at a prestigious make up brand. Fortunately things took a turn when my views were no longer synching with the ‘team’. I say fortunately because the best thing I’ve ever done for my career, my sanity and myself was to step out on my own.

I have been a freelance Edmonton Makeup Artist, solely, for just over a year now, and I can tell you that it was more than scary taking that first step. From the moment I pressed send on my resignation email I haven’t looked back.

It was around that same time that something inside of me clicked and I knew it was time to start feeling again. I spoke with my doctor and we decided I was ready to stop taking my depression medications.

When I try to culminate the reasons and strategies I may have come up with or used to get me through the last year I can think of only one major thing. A realization. -I am in control of my own life. So simple, right?

Before this, my decisions were always based on a series of thoughts about everyones needs but my own. An abusive partner-don’t make him angry, don’t talk too long with someone from the opposite sex, don’t wear that skirt; a demanding job- what time do I need to be at work for my 9 hour shift, often times getting home at 1030pm just to be back at 9am, keeping the peace and setting the tone for a staff of over 20, helping hundreds of clients and customers a week to look and feel their best. I was being pulled in so many directions at all times and not one of those directions I felt I had any control over.

Sure, I chose to enter a relationship with this person, I chose this job and this career. So why was I feeling so out of control?

Throughout all of this one thing did remain constant; my love for my art. My connection with people and my ability to bring the beauty out of someone was my bliss. No matter what I was dealing with personally I drew confidence and strength from connecting with everyone that sat in my makeup chair. My work, not my job, was my home away from home.

When I hit the glass ceiling at work it felt like my rock bottom and I knew I had to say goodbye. My benefits, health coverage, 3 weeks vacation a year, salaried position at one of the largest makeup retailers globally—all of that security—I walked away from with my head held high. I would now have only one boss and one employee. Myself.

The first thing I did with my new found freedom?

I got a dog, who needs me. Not a depressed me but a steady, consistent and strong me.

I made things official with the ‘man-friend’ who is so supporting and loving. He helped me create a make up studio and my new ‘baby’ the website you are currently visiting.

I’ve been blessed with an abundance of new and old supporters both of my work and my career. I couldn’t be happier with the path my life has taken. I embark into my 30’s with a renewed sense of who I am, a stronger sense of what I want and what is most important in life, the human connection.

Should my path cross yours somewhere in this new year, I hope we make each other smile and feel beautiful.

Gnarley

Gnarley

~A

The Blog

beauty4This picture is the first image of my work that was ever published to print. For that reason it holds a very special place in my portfolio.

It was printed in Issue 1 Volume 3 of Parlour  Magazine back in Spring 2010. Emily Haines, lead singer of Metric, was gracing that issue’s cover. This was not my first shoot for this magazine, my first beauty shoot got axed (learning to grow a tough skin in this industry). This one however did get printed and was shot while the snow was still on the ground so it would be ready for the Spring edition.

We were on location at Le Marchand Mansion here in Edmonton. At a salon called Venus Hair Artisans. The Editor in Chief was on set art directing, and we were shooting an ad for Bamboo Ballroom at the same time.

The photographer, Clayton Didier, was very direct with me on the look he was envisioning for this model and so I built her makeup around his direction. I remember being really nervous.

Pam Poch is the owner at Venus and she did the beautiful ballerina bun on the model. When our model was ready to shoot we took her out to a common area in the Mansion and set her up in front of this beautiful ornate glass window pane which was back lit with the photographers light.
About 10 minutes into shooting the photographer turned to me and said something along the lines of, ‘I need to blur this out, do you have any sort of sticky clear product that I could use?’ I run back to my kit looking everywhere for my Clear MAC lip glass …. nothing. Can’t find it anywhere.

I start to feel panic stricken, I so desperately want this shoot to be a success I can’t believe I don’t have the most common lip product (of my generation) in my kit.
What an amateur move I say to myself. Then I remember that I recently loaded up on samples of products I wanted to play with.

In a MAC stackable container I had Matte Texture and Gloss Texture (2 mixing mediums used for an array of different things) and I almost squealed with joy. I grabbed the sample container and ran back to join the team.

The photographer proceeded to dunk his finger into my Gloss Texture, sullying the chances of keeping it sanitary, again rookie mistake. I should have brought my spatula. Anyway…he takes the gloss texture on his finger and smears the lens of his camera just around the edges, which is how he got that blurred effect in the photo.

When I think back to that now I think there are programs you can use to have the same effect (Photoshop, Instagram) so I wouldn’t try that at home. Camera lenses are not cheap!

Parlour Magazine was a local magazine here in Edmonton, Alberta, which featured work from many different Edmonton Makeup Artists throughout it’s pages. The magazines most acclaimed Issue was Issue 1 Volume 2 2009 when Lady Gaga was the cover model. My work was seen in this edition on the Editor in Chief in the editors letter. Unfortunately the magazine in no longer in publication.