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

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.




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.