The Recap: TIFF 13 Madness!

I’m in recovering mode now that the Toronto International Film Festival is done. The last couple of days I’ve been longing for my cushy pillow. But when you get to start mornings with the likes of Mila Kunis or James McAvoy, you think what pillow? From going between the Ritz and the Windsor Arms Hotel with weddings and private clients in the mix, the madness is finally done after working the event 6 days straight. It’s my 3rd year doing makeup for the festival and every year is just as exciting as the previous one.




I got to do makeup for Russian actress, Eugenia Kuzmina, who is starring in a new John Turturro film called Fading Gigolo. The film also stars some heavy hitters like my all-time favourite Woody Allen, Vanessa Paradis, Liev Schrieber, Sharon Stone, and Sophia Vergara. Eugenia is naturally gorgeous and knew exactly what she wanted for her makeup – smokey eyes, glowing skin and soft lips. She was so lovely to work with. On her eyes, I used Dior 3 Couleurs Smokey Brown Palette, Lise Watier Limited Edition Cream Shadow/Gold Glitter in the inner corner, L’Oreal Liquify Eye Pencil in Carbon Black, and lots of Ardell individual lashes.


Eugenia Kuzmina and John Turturro at the Fading Gigolo after party.

I was also very honoured to do makeup for socialite and philanthropist, Suzanne Rogers for Jackie Gideon Beauty. She was attending the George Christy Luncheon. I was in awe of many things but it was her natural beauty and graciousness that I admired the most. Oh ya – and her taste for fashion is pretty UH-mazing! For her makeup, we went with soft pinks and browns on the eyes and did a pretty awesome cat eye with lots of lashes. We matched it with pink cheeks and lips.

Photo Source: Suzanne Rogers Instagram

Photo Source: Suzanne Rogers Instagram

I am really lucky to have some genuine friends in the industry. I got to work a couple of days in the InStyle Dior Lounge at the Windsor Arms Hotel. I had such an amazing time working with Dior’s PR queen (she truly is hilarious to work with). Check out the awesome Dior kit I got to work out of. Drool. 


It was celeb central! My 2nd day there our morning was a rush of A-listers. Check out some of the creeper shots we took! WARNING: Blurry pictures. Hard squinting may occur.



The above photo is a blurry Thandie Newton being interviewed by InStyle’s editor. Thandie was even more drop dead stunning in person, had a killer voice (she sang a few tunes), and cracked a few jokes. Some women just have it all…sigh.



Ok, the morning when Mila Kunis walked in I was super stoked because my husband and I will be seeing her and the cast of Family Guy September 28 for the Just For Laughs festival! First, she is gorrrgeous. If she were one of my girlfriends (I can dream), she’d be the friend that wouldn’t BS you and would always have a witty comment to say. Yup, I got a creeper shot of her chatting it up with Jessica Chastain (who has skin like a porcelain doll) and the dashing James McAvoy. Other celebs that came through was Daniel Radcliffe who went around to everyone in the room and shook hands introducing himself (gotta love those polite Englishmen), Adrien Brody, Michael C. Hall, Tom Wilkinson, Emily Watson, Olivia Wilde (stunnnning and super sweet), Maria Bello, Jessie Eisenberg (best dry sense of humour ever), Dakota Fanning, and so many more I can’t remember their names!

One of my favourite moments though was getting to meet some of my makeup heros like celebrity makeup artist, Agostina  who I first met in the blogosphere a few years ago. Through the wonders that are Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram we’ve been able to carry on our long distance admiration for each other. I am a HUGE fan of her work and always love seeing the latest campaign or celebrity she is working on. At TIFF, she did makeup for one of my favourite comedic actors, Amy Poehler! I kept eyeing Agostina and wasn’t sure it was her until she came closer and we smiled at each other. I knew right then it was her! We hugged and laughed about finally meeting each other. Yes, we’ve already set our dinner date for next year’s TIFF!

Shortly after that, I got to meet the legendary Grace Lee who is also Maybelline Canada’s lead artist.  I met her once a long time ago back in my MAC days and since then have followed her on every social media outlet possible (we also have a million mutual friends) but we had never been officially introduced. I was a bit of a scaredy cat and feared she wouldn’t remember me. I didn’t say hi until she walked up to me. I realized after I was being ridic but I was also really nervous! I’m telling you, makeup artists are my celebrity.


Star TIFF products:

Dior Diorshow Universal Brow Styler – I’m glad I revisited this product. I absolutely love how precise it fills in and the soft, powder finish. It’s not like a typical brow pencil where it can look so dark. I have yet to try it on someone with very fair brows so I still have to test the universal claim but on me it’s perfect.

Dior Diorshow Maximizer Lash Plumping Serum – I stopped using lash primers years ago mainly because I didn’t like how clumpy my mascara would make my lashes look. I wish I had never tried this product because I’m afraid my lashes can’t live without it! When you first pull it out of the tube, it leaves behind the excess product so your lashes aren’t overcoated with primer. When I apply my mascara now, my lashes are so thick and lifted my lashes do a little dance. It doesn’t hurt that my lashes will get some nourishment too.

Dior Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara – Ok, I’ve tested, bought, reviewed, and raved about a lot of mascaras but I’ve finally found my HG mascara!! Get this – it’s not waterproof either (rejoice!). The only formula that lifts my straight, short lashes up have been waterproof ones. But even with waterproof mascaras, I still get the dreadful smudging. Not with this mascara! No flaking either just thick, curled and voluminous lashes. Oh and the pigment is just as black as L’Oreal’s infamous Carbon Black – seriously (love this mascara but can’t use the waterproof one on me because of smudging). I’ve never really been a fan of curled brushes, but the combination of the brush and formula really works at lifting and curling those lashes. I hate dishing out money for expensive mascaras, but I’m going to have to bite the bullet on this one!

Dior Addict Lip Glow – The combination of lack of sleep, not enough water, and too much coffee did a number on my lips. I had to put away my beloved matte lipsticks and rescued my lips with Dior’s Lip Glow. I LOVE their lip balms. They are so moisturizing and deliver the prettiest shades on the lips. I used their Coral shade all summer and luckily had it replaced thanks to the lovely Dior PR queen. Why you’ll love Lip Glow? It enhances your natural lip colour giving your lips the prettiest shade of pink. The more you apply, the brighter the pink gets.





Makeup 101: Trial Inspiration Megan Fox


Whether you’re a fan of Megan Fox’s or not, there’s no denying she is drop dead gorgeous. I did a bridal trial today with one of my past bride’s maid-of-honour, Carla . Now it’s her turn to say “I do”! I’m really excited to do this wedding because these two friends love makeup, are super nice and fun!

This photo of Megan is Carla’s makeup and hair inspiration. I LOVE this look. It’s glamorous and oh-so red carpet – perfect for bridal. I just love how the light catches the eyes and how the lush lashes give this simple look some glam and flirtiness.

Here’s our version. I chose a mix of shimmering soft pinks with charcoal-y grey blacks. What do you think? (Lashes aren’t actually glued on or cut to size!)


New! Benefit Cosmetics Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow! brightening makeup oil-free (review to come)
Clinique Translucent #8 Powder
Cover FX Full Coverage Foundation/Concealer

Dior Nude Tan Bronzer 001
NARS Douceur Blush (apples)
Lancome Illuminating Powder  001 – cheekbones

Cover FX Full Coverage Foundation/Concealer – lids
Clinique Translucent #8 Powder – set
Tarte Cream Shadow in Shell Pink – lid
Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadow Pencil #4E (matte taupe grey) – outer lash line to outer crease
MUFE Aqua Cream Steel #2 – mid to outer crease
Urban Decay Naked Palette Virgin – brow bone
Dior 5 Couleurs Garden Edition Garden Pastels – center pink to inner to center of lid and bottom inner lash line
Clarins Graphites Palette – shimmering charcoal grey on outer crease and outer bottom lash line
Lancome Black Fishnets Gel Liner – top
MAC Behold Shadow – contour crease
MAC Carbon Shadow – outer lash line
Clarins Black Mascara Volumizing
Ardell Lashes #110
Clarins Pro Brow Palette – mix medium and dark brown

MAC Dervish Lip Liner – to shape lips
Cover FX Tinted Lip Balm in Pink Copper
Chanel Glossimer in Mica on top

Celebrity Gossip: The Latest Engagements!


The holidays is always a popular time for popping the question. Congratulations to all the brides that said “yes” over the holidays! It was only a matter time before news of the latest celebrity engagements were announced. Aww, so special right? But let’s be honest, weren’t you just a little shocked by some of them?


Photo Source:

Sorry ladies, JT is OFF the market! This was the biggest shocker. These two have been on-and-off for four years, but I guess Justin finally realized Jessica was the only one who could bring “sexy back”. Shall we start predictions now of how long their marriage will last? Yes! I give them a year tops, but I hope I’m wrong!

As for hair and makeup predictions, Jessica is known for her wholesome all-American girl-next-door look. I think she will stick to a classic blushing bride look – flawless skin and neutral makeup with a pop of soft pink on the cheeks and lips. I can see her doing all down and wavy or half-up and wavy.


Photo Source:

I have a girl crush on Drew Barrymore, but I gotta say her choices in men have always been questionable (except Fabrizio from The Strokes) – Tom Green? Really?! To be honest, I like most of the world did not even know she was dating. I thought she was still on-and-off with funny man, Justin Long. I really hope 3 times a charm for her because she deserves some forever happiness.My predictions for hair and makeup? Although her everyday style is boho chic, I think she’ll stick to Old Hollywood glamour with a simple yet elegant up-do.


Photo Source:

You gotta feel for Britney. She’s been through hell and back. I hope this time around will be for real. I think she’s finally got it together. There was some buzz about an engagement, so it was no surprise that he popped the question during the holiday.

I pray to God Britney will have the sense to hire the top hair stylist and makeup artist in the biz! It’s time we see Britney looked put together sans the exposed hair extension and smudgy makeup. I predict she’ll go with a smokey eye and nude lips. Hair will be lots of volume, wavy curls, and all down or half up.

What do you think of the latest celebrity engagements? What are your predictions?


Makeup 101: My Bride Gets The Royal Treatment


The Duchess of Cambridge looked absolutely glowing don’t you think? While I didn’t wake up bright ‘n early to watch this historical fairy tale of a royal ceremony, I did PVR it just so I could see the hair, the makeup, and of course her stunning wedding gown designed by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen.

Word has it that although Kate did her makeup herself for the big day, she did receive lessons from makeup artist, Arabella Preston. If you’re not going to hire a makeup artist, I definitely recommend getting lessons from a trained professional (me!). Her look fit for a princess or your average commoner, was completely true to her style. She was a “blushing bride” in every sense of the word. Kate’s blushing pink cheeks and matching lips complimented her subtle smokey eyes. Her skin was absolutely flawless! Kudos Kate! The only thing I would have changed slightly was to go a little softer on the bottom lash line. The black liner, while from far away defined her eyes, up close looked a little harsh. Otherwise, she was princess perfection!

I’m thrilled that one of my brides, who has similar features to Kate, is getting married tomorrow! Prior to the royal wedding, we talked about doing a blushing bride look so I was pleasantly surprised that Kate was wearing the same look today!I will be giving my bride the royal treatment! Here is a face chart I made and a list of all the essentials: 


I haven’t done a full face chart in years! It was actually very calming and helped get my creative juices flowing. It’s not perfect – I messed up the lashes a bit – but you can see where my vision is going. Rather than going with charcoals on the eyes like Kate did, I think soft pinks and chocolate browns will look gorgeous against my bride’s skin tone.

The Essentials:
MUFE HD Primer
Face Atelier Ultra Foundation
Kett Setting Powder
CARGO blu_ray HD Bronzer

NARS Mata Hari (matte deep pink for contour)
CARGO Catalina Blush on the apples (the perfect pink “blushing” shade)
CARGO blu_ray HD Pink Blush/Highlighter (to enhance her glow)

UD Eye Primer Potion
M.A.C. White Frost eye shadow (highlight on brows and inner corner of eyes)
Lancome LE Pink ‘n Punked Quad (light pink as the base)
M.A.C. LE Diana Ross Quad (Thunder, rose pink lid, outer crease and bottom lash line)
Sephora Water-Proof Gel Liner in Brown (line the eyes and base for outer crease)
NARS Coconut Grove Eye Shadow (dark chocolate brown in the outer crease and outer lower lash line)
L’Oreal Voluminous Waterproof Mascara in Black
Ardell Lashes to really bring out the eyes

Sephora Nude Lip Liner
NARS Catfight Semi-Matte Lipstick (mauvy-pink lipstick)
Chanel Glossimer in Mica

What do you think of my bride’s look? How do you think Kate did with her DIY bridal look? 

UPDATE: Check out celebrity artist, Andrea Claire’s, insightful yet comical rundown on the hats and Kate’s look:

Makeup 101: Men’s Makeup With Shawn Desman & CARGO Cosmetics


Shawn Desman Junos 2011 Photo Credit: Much Music
If you’re a Canadian and a big music fan then you probably watched Canada’s version of the Grammy awards, the Junos, which aired in Toronto on March 27th. The Junos were not only celebrating Canada’s finest musicians but it was also the 40th anniversary! 

I had the wonderful pleasure of doing makeup with the awesome CARGO team – that was only half the fun. I was on-hand in the red carpet tent in case any stars needed touch ups! It was definitely the spot to be for celebrity sightings! A few celebrities I rubbed shoulders with: Shawn Desman, Danny Fernandez, Emily Hanes of Metric, Bare Naked Ladies, Kardinal, Down With Webster, Hedley, amazing host of the night Drake, Canadian icons Bryan Adams, Daniel Lanois, Shania Twain, Sarah Mclachlan, and the legendary Neil Young! 


Shawn and his dancers Photo Credit: Much Music
For the night, I was personal makeup artist to the hilarious and talented Canadian pop cutie, Shawn Desman, and his awesome dancers. Fellow CARGO artist, Arabella, did the makeup for Shawn’s lil’ bro and pop cutie, Danny Fernandez. The brothers and their dancers were incredibly sweet and funny. They put on a never-been-done-before red carpet performance that got the crowd fist pumping Jersey style!

Doing men’s makeup is not as easy as you would think. A challenge sometimes is making men look like they’re still men with a face of makeup on. It’s all about using the right products and using a very important technique: blending! 


Step 1: Make sure the client’s skin is properly cleansed. Guys skin can especially get greasy and sweaty more frequently. I used a non-rinse cleanser that you can wipe off with a tissue or cotton pad. (Note: Do NOT use cotton pads on men that have facial hair or stubble or you’ll end up with little fuzz balls all over the face!)

Step 2: After applying an oil-free moisturizer, I used CARGO’s blu_ray High Definition Mattifier ($28 CAD) which preps the skin for makeup and mattifies the skin at the same time. This is one of my favourite mattifying primers and is a kit staple for me! It leaves the skin feeling smooth and minimizes the appearance of fine lines, blemishes and pores.

Step 3: Skin issues that most men have are oily skin with big pores and razor bumps. Thankfully the guys had fairly good skin with a bit of redness. All that was needed to even out the skin was CARGO’s blu_ray Concealer ($28 USD). I applied it only where it was needed: middle of the forehead, eyelids, under eyes, around the nose and mouth, cheeks, and chin. It’s light-weight but still offers great coverage without looking heavy. The only complaint I have is that it needs to come in more shades.

Step 4: I buffed CARGO’s blu_ray Pressed Powder ($32 CAD) into the skin for a natural finish and applied it heavier over blemishes and around the eyes. This powder adds a bit of coverage without the powdery, cakey finish. I need to pick up more of these for my kit!

Step 5: To give them a “manly” bronzed glow, I contoured the face with CARGO’s blu_ray Bronzer ($30 CAD). It has a matte finish which is perfect for men. The bronzer comes in one shade and suits most skin tones. This is also a staple in my kit!

Step 6: Guys lips can certainly get chapped and dry. To avoid a shiny, goopy finish on the lips I used CARGO’s PlantLove Lip Balm ($20 CAD). It’s ultra-moisturizing, all-natural, and doesn’t leave a shiny, sticky finish. For a lip balm, it’s pretty expensive considering you use it everyday which means it doesn’t last as long. I like the all-natural factor, but with daily use (and I have really dry lips) the balm only lasted for maybe a month. There are many all-natural lip balms on the market that are much cheaper, but if you like CARGO it’s a great balm! 

Overall, a guy’s makeup should never look made up or powdery. To give the skin a natural quality and to tone down overdone makeup either by removing with a sponge or applying a setting spray all over the face.

Have you tried these products from CARGO’s blu_ray line?