Archive for March, 2013

March 31, 2013 2:23 pm

Get the Look: Sun-Kissed, Dewy Skin

Get The Look

Makeup trends are constantly changing and evolving. There are always different looks that are more popular during different times. For a long time, having perfectly matte porcelain skin was the it look. Now, trends tend to be turning more towards a dewy, sun-kissed look. This look is flattering on all skin types and all ages. Dewy skin is a sign of youth, so achieving this look on a more mature client is ideal. There are a few different ways to achieve this look. Here are a few…

First off, getting that sun-kissed glow…

Adding a little warmth flatters any skin tone, if done properly. Achieving that sun-kissed look is just a few steps away. Lucky are those with naturally sun-kissed skin, but for those of us who need some help to achieve the look, we can do so by using a few simple products. Using a self-tanner is always a great way to achieve a safe sun-kissed glow, but if you are looking for a quick fix, try a liquid bronzer or bronzing gel. Apply it before any makeup and be sure to apply the product all the way down your neck (if applying on a client, use a foundation brush for your application). A product like this can be used on any skin tone, even extremely pale skin – just be sure to blend! Look for a “bronzer gel” or “liquid bronzer,” like this product from Clarins called “Self-Tanning Instant Gel.”

Next up, adding a dewy sheen to the skin…

Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer

Personally, I love the Laura Mercier Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer! Use this product on its own or mix with a foundation. If you decide to use this product on its own, I suggest setting with a matte powder or bronzer to take down a bit of the sheen.

Illuminating Primer

There are tons of illuminating primers out there. This is a great one by Fresh called Twilight Fresh Faced Glow. Apply before foundation for that lit from within glow coming from underneath the foundation.

Liquid Illuminator

Liquid illuminators are a more concentrated formula. That means they are almost opaque in their finish. That being said, you want to be more careful with your application. A liquid illuminator is perfect for mixing with foundations or applied sparingly to certain areas of the face. Lightly tap and blend with your fingertips onto the tops of the cheekbones, bridge of the nose, or anywhere you want to highlight. Usually these products come in a few different shades. Choosing an appropriate shade for your skin tone is important. For example, this Illamasqua illuminator comes in three shades: “Glimmer – Golden Tan,” “Odyssey – White Pearl” and “Poised – Pale Pink.” A darker or olive complexion would benefit from the golden tan shade while a more porcelain skin would complement the white pearl shade.

Any of these three products is a great way to add light reflection and an illuminating finish to your look. Like I said, mixing a liquid illuminator with your foundation is a great option, and using an illuminating primer as the base for your foundation will do the trick as well.

Follow up with a bronzer and blush to finish the look and ta-dah! Beautiful, dewy, sun-kissed skin!

brittany hallWritten by Brittany Hall
Makeup by Brittany
Visit Brittany on Twitter and Facebook

Brittany Hall has established herself as a freelance makeup artist, with over five years experience in the industry. She’s also an established blogger – on “Makeup by Brittany”, she blogs about fashion, beauty, home decor, and makeup. She brings her flair to the QC blog with regular posts about her experience in the beauty biz.


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Ceiling Decorations

When it comes to ceiling decor, even the simplest touch can easily leave your guests looking up in wonder. Ceiling decor adds height and drama to any event, and makes it seem as though you’ve broken the laws of gravity. By paying some extra attention to the ceiling, you’ll really go above and beyond as an event planner.

We are just loving these balloons turned picture holders as lovely event decor, and the photos add such a special touch (not to mention a great conversation starter). This idea would work well for an office party, anniversary celebration, or bachelorette party. Pick balloons with a pop of color for an added touch.

If you’re working with a narrow table, you don’t have much room for centerpieces. That’s why you should consider pulling the centerpieces up into the air, and hanging them from the ceiling! You’ll have more space on the table for important things, like food, and your guests will easily be able to see and interact with one another across the way. Something simple like these mason jars, wildflowers, and votives are the perfect touch.

Dining under a canopy of flowers – can there be anything better? This is an excellent way to have the comforts of an indoor setting with the atmosphere of an outdoor garden. The pink orchids in this photo really bring elegance to the entire setting, although this look could easily be achieved with any gorgeous flower.

These cute little floating paper hearts are so whimsical, they would be just perfect at an event like an engagement party or a child’s birthday party. The hearts could be swapped for any suitable shape, and are oh-so easy to do-it-yourself. Hang the strings just a bit lower to give guests the perfect photo-op – a fun feature they’re sure to enjoy.


March 29, 2013 8:11 pm

Today We’re Dreaming of…Portugal!

Portugal seems to have it all – white sand beaches, a bustling European metropolis, old stone castles, fishing villages, good food and drink, and not too many tourists. We think it would be the perfect destination for someone looking to experience the flavor of Europe, in a laid-back, quiet way. If you do go to Portugal, here’s what you need to experience:

1. Belem

If you’re a history buff (and even if you’re not) you’ll definitely appreciate Lisbon’s 16th century stone tower. A UNESCO World Heritage monument, the top of the tower offers breathtaking views of the Tagus River.

2. Alfama

The Alfama is Lisbon’s oldest neighborhood and certainly its most interesting. Tourists will love getting lost in its winding, mazelike, cobblestone streets. This is the kind of neighborhood where women hang their laundry out the windows. It’s also the birthplace of the fado – traditional Portuguese music that can be heard on nearly every corner.

3. Azores

A cluster of nine islands nearly 1000 miles from Portugal’s mainland, the Azores Islands are a little slice of paradise. The lifestyle is definitely slower than on the mainland, but visitors will enjoy exploring the breathtaking scenery, and participating in village life. On Sao Miguel, the natural hot springs are a special treat – the volcanic ground is so hot that you can cook an entire meal underground (another thing to do if you go!).

4. Porto

The birthplace of port wine, in Porto you’ll eat very well, you’ll relax in its laid-back atmosphere, and you’ll fall in love with this old, historic urban center. With a mixture of the medieval and the modern, Porto always offers something to admire.

5. Algarve

The Algarve is a region in southern Portugal offering sun-seeking visitors a Mediterranean climate amidst breathtaking natural landscapes. It’s Portugal’s most popular vacation spot with its secluded beaches, top-notch resorts, and vibrant city life.

What country are you dreaming of? Let us know in a comment below.


At QC Event School, not only are you getting top industry training from a trusted name, but also personal instruction from a professional event planner. We have brought together a team of personal tutors to guide you through your course. After you enroll with QC Event School, we’ll match you with your very own personal tutor who we feel can best help you accomplish your unique goals.professional event planner Heather Hawes is a QC Event School tutor

Your tutor will review all the work that you submit, and provide you with in-depth audio feedback on your assignments. You can access your feedback on your Online Student Center, where you will also find electronic copies of your course guides, course resources such as business forms and templates, and our online career center. Your tutor will let you know what you’ve done well, and what areas you can improve. Whether your goal is to work for an established company or hotel, or to go into business on your own, your tutor is dedicated to helping you achieve that goal. She will draw on her years of industry experience to help you reach your full potential as an event planner. On the right is Heather Hawes, one of our wonderful event tutors.

You will be asked to complete a variety of hands-on assignments to help prepare you for your new career. Assignments such as:

–          Choosing a suitable speaker for a particular event

–          Selecting possible venues for a corporate retreat

–          Finding vendors in your area who could provide catering, photography, stationery, etc

–           Working with case studies to gain practical planning experience

For more information on our event planning course, please visit


March 28, 2013 3:50 pm

The Great Gatsby Movie Summer 2013

The Great Gatsby, the famous novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, has been adapted for the silver screen and is set to hit theatres on May 10, 2013 and will surely be the must-watch movie of summer 2013. The big-budget film adaptation of The Great Gatsby stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Isla Fisher, Cary Mulligan, Jason CLarke, Joel Edgerton, and Tobey Maguire. The film is set mainly in Long Island and New York City and features extravagant costumes, sets, and plenty of jewels and vintage cars. We think Carey Mulligan is the perfect choice to play Daisy and can’t wait to see how Leonardo DiCaprio fairs as the eccentric millionaire, Gatsby. They’re big shoes to fill, but we’re certain Leo’s up to the challenge.

If you’re unfamiliar with the book, it goes a little something like this:

Nick Carraway, a Midwesterner now living in Long Island, finds himself fascinated by the mysterious past and lavish lifestyle of his neighbor, Jay Gatsby. He is drawn into Gatsby’s circle and quickly becomes a witness to Gatsby’s undying obsession and greatest tragedy.

We’re busy re-reading F. Scott Fitzerald’s book to prepare for the May release of the film and want to know… are you as excited as we are? Leave a comment and let us know if you’d rather the story be left to the book, how you feel about the actors chosen, and anything else Great Gatsby. We’d love to hear your thoughts! Watch the trailer below.


Other movies we can’t wait to see this summer are the movie adaptation of The Host and Tom Cruise’s Oblivion. We have a feeling we’ll be spending almost as much time in the theater as we will outside in the sunshine!


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When you first launch your wedding or event planning business, you will be faced with the decision of where to build your office. This is a question you’ll revisit several times throughout your business’ life, as your company grows and changes over the years. In this post, I’m weighing the pros and cons of these two career paths: office space vs home office.

As do many small businesses, most wedding and event planners launch their businesses from a home-based office. It’s a natural choice since it helps reduce the start-up costs of a new business, as well as the risks associated with establishing ourselves. Within my own market, all but three wedding planners continue to run their businesses out of their home, myself included! I have seen more than one planner move into formal office space without fully considering the costs versus benefits in doing so, just to have to up and move back home months later. I’m hoping by discussing this today, I might prevent you from finding yourself in the same situation!

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating one option over the other. There is no doubt in my mind that I will never rent office space. It’s just not the right fit for me, both personally and professionally. But for many, getting in the car and driving to an office every morning is a necessary component of being a productive business owner. Being surrounded by personal things just doesn’t work for them, and I totally respect that. There are pros and cons of both situations and only you will be able to decide which suits you best. Here are just a few pros of setting up an office outside of your home environment:

  1. Getting away from temptations that can distract us from getting work done (e.g. refrigerator, TV, gardens, housework)
  2. Respect for our professional time. I can’t tell you how many “work” hours I lose each week dealing with questions from my children, or picking them up and driving them places,  just because I’m home and available. If I worked off-site, the respect for my work schedule would increase hugely
  3. Having a storefront can often increase your credibility as a business. It’s not viewed as a “side gig” all of a sudden
  4. Meeting clients is simplified with an office since they come to you, instead of your having to either travel to them or try to conduct business in a coffee shop. Plus the ability to host meetings within an office can increase your professionalism and credibility in your clients’ eyes
  5. You can take advantage of tax deductions associated with the costs involved in running an office
  6. When you leave your office at the end of the day, you are more likely to leave your stress there much more easily than if you were working from your home

Alternatively, there are also pros to working from a home-based office. Here are a few that come to mind:

  1. It can be a great situation for women in particular, as they are able to remain available to their children and family better than they would be able if they were to work offsite
  2. You’re already paying your rent/mortgage anyway, so you don’t have to rent a separate space for your office, thereby reducing your costs
  3. A percentage of your lease/mortgage and home expenses can be used for tax deductions for your business
  4. Your productivity may be greater since more time is spent actually accomplishing work tasks and less time spent commuting to an office situation every day
  5. Some people love the flexibility in schedule. You can work sporadically through various periods of the day instead of having to maintain a more rigid 9-5 routine
  6. With less overhead, you are able to test out new ideas, change business direction, or scale down more easily since you don’t carry the same long-term commitments that you would leasing an office
  7. Many proponents for this style of office swear that it is less stressful and wonderfully free from office politics

There is no right or wrong option, just right or wrong for you! It’s important to consider all of the pros and cons before making your choice so that you can evaluate which is the best direction for your business. I do caution, however, that in addition to deciding which scenario is best, it’s as important to consider the timing of your decision. Here’s where the experience of my colleagues comes in.

During the evaluation process, you may decide that leasing is the way to go, as some of my colleagues have. But is it the right time to make this decision? When your business is just starting out, do you really want to obligate yourself to a long term financial commitment if you can avoid it? Maybe you don’t have the funds available to make it work. Or maybe you are wary of your newbie status and want to establish yourself prior to carrying unnecessary overhead costs. These are all good reasons to be cautious.

On the other hand, what if you’ve got a year or two under your belt? Maybe you’ve seen some success very quickly and are encouraged that your business will continue to thrive. That deserves some congratulations, and I can certainly understand the temptation to now grow into a formal space. Even I have considered it. This is exactly what happened to two of my colleagues.

Their first couple of years in business were very encouraging as they worked hard to establish their brands within the marketplace. Neither planner enjoyed working out of a home environment. They found it isolating and had difficulty staying motivated. So both women signed up for office space. They loved the new-found professional digs where they could meet clients and network with fellow professionals, all in very hip districts within our city. The move was probably viewed with envy by many other planners; I know I envied them. How wonderful would it be to enjoy increased visibility and gained credibility just by hanging your sign over a cobblestone walkway! But as I quietly envied, I also worried for these two women, wondering if they would be able to sustain such high overhead costs. I knew how hard I worked for my own income and how disappointing my earnings were given the hours of output. Were they really in that much better shape than I that they could spend thousands of dollars a year on formal space?

As it turns out, I’m not sure either were in much better shape than I was. That is my story of caution. The one planner in my market that is able to sustain office space and lofty financial commitments is also the planner who leads the market in sales. She has been in business for eight years and has a staff of four. Her ability to do multiple events each day is key. Her years of branding and networking allow her to enjoy a track record that helps predict future sales and growth, something a new planner wouldn’t have access to. Both of these colleagues saw a steady increase in the demand for their services. But I fear that both jumped the gun a bit and obligated themselves to office space before they had enough “earned” revenue to be able to pull it off.

The growth gave them hope that the next year was going to bring wild things, but when next year came, it was less than disappointing. All of a sudden, both realized that their growth had reached a bit of a plateau. Granted, the economy also played a role in decreased spending by their clients. The money they were shelling out to keep a roof over their business was so weighty that it prevented them from earning what they needed, and from allocating funds to marketing efforts that would have helped increase business. The jury is still out on my colleagues and whether or not they will be forced to move back “home” after the year’s commitment is up. Regardless of what they decide, I do know that each regrets jumping on the opportunity so quickly. If they had to do it again, they would take a more conservative approach.

I know what it’s like having your kids yelling at you when you’re trying to write an email. Having to schedule work appointments around picking up your kids from school. Trying to keep your focus when all you really want to do is sit out on the deck in the sun! But remember, it took great effort and discipline to build your business and that same effort and discipline can enable you to successfully work from home. Take a hard look at your business prior to committing yourself to any long-term commitments and take out your calculator while you’re doing it. You may be surprised at what you come up with.

Till next time, happy planning!

Wedding planner Lynn LeeWritten by Lynn Lee

Lynn Lee has over 10 years experience in the event and wedding planning industry. These days, she’s focusing her attention on her growing wedding planning business, Weddings Unveiled. Her weekly blog posts include business tips, wedding trends, and expert advice.


March 27, 2013 6:46 pm

Bronze, Blush, and Highlight

Bronze, blush, and highlight – the three key staples to a flawless complexion. Once you have perfected and neutralized (removed any redness, dark circles and spots) the skin with foundation and concealer it’s time to bring back the color and definition. Sometimes after we apply foundation we feel a little washed out or pale. Bronzer, blush, and highlighter are perfect ways to brighten up the face!

There are no rules for the order of application. I prefer to apply bronzer, blush, then highlighter – in that order – but you may have another method and that’s okay too! I find that applying bronzer first allows you to see the face shape better and identify where you need to apply the other two products.

When applying bronzer you want to focus on the hollows of the cheeks, the top of the forehead, and underneath the jaw bone. This is a gentle contour for the face and helps the face appear thinner and more sculpted.

When applying blush, focus on the apples of the cheeks blending back towards the ear, basically right above where you have applied the bronzer. Use small circular buffing motions to apply the blush. This will help with an even application of product and a natural finish.

Lastly, highlighter should be applied where you want to highlight certain areas of the face. Applying highlighter to the tops of the cheek bones helps to accentuate the contouring you have already done. With the darker bronzer in the hollow of the cheekbone (drawing it in) and a bright highlight on the top of the cheekbone (drawing it out) you’re really able to make cheekbones appear more pronounced. You can also apply highlighter along the bridge of the nose up into a V on the forehead, as well as temples, centre of the chin, cupids bow (just above the upper lip), and brow bone!

Here is a diagram I drew to give you a visual on these application tips!

bronze blush and highlight

Model: Siobhan Bolton / Makeup: Brittany Hall

brittany hallWritten by Brittany Hall
Makeup by Brittany
Visit Brittany on Twitter and Facebook

Brittany Hall has established herself as a freelance makeup artist, with over five years experience in the industry. She’s also an established blogger – on “Makeup by Brittany”, she blogs about fashion, beauty, home decor, and makeup. She brings her flair to the QC blog with regular posts about her experience in the beauty biz.


March 26, 2013 8:04 pm

The Sweater Poncho – Wear It Right!

The sweater poncho has been a must-have item this winter, and it looks like lighter versions are going to be just as popular this coming spring! I personally love this style and am happy to see it stay, but have often seen it cross the line from casual chic to casual sloppy. Today I’m going to share with you my tips for keeping this look pulled together.

First thing’s first. When choosing a sweater poncho, make sure it is long enough. The biggest mistake most women make when trying this style is choosing one that is too short. A too-short poncho will visually cut your body in half and make you appear shorter and wider than you actually are. Choosing one that just skims your thighs will balance out the bulk and give your torso some length. This will keep the look sophisticated and chic, especially if paired with slim fitting bottoms.

That brings me to my second tip. Never wear a wide leg or loose pant with a sweater poncho as it won’t do your figure any favors. If you’re going to try out this loose fitting style you want to make sure your legs are well defined. Try opting for skinny jeans or leggings to keep the ensemble from looking frumpy, and if you’re comfortable in them, definitely throw on a pair of slim heels. Keep them close to the same color of your bottoms and opt for pointed toes. This will visually add more length to your legs.

Lastly, you want to keep the look current. A great way to do this is to choose a sweater poncho with a relaxed round or V-neck. This style already has you pretty covered up, so there’s no need to add a restrictive turtleneck to the mix. Also, as this style does add some width to your torso, it’s nice to show some delicate neckline.

Another quick tip: You can incorporate the sweater poncho into your wardrobe almost all year round, even in the summer. With warmer months fast approaching more poncho sweater styles are being introduced in lighter fabrics with looser necklines, so they make perfect cover-ups for chilly evenings spent on the beach or by a camp fire!

Have you fallen in love with this comfy trend? How do you wear it? Share with us in a comment below!

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Even if you’re not yet working as an event planner, you should definitely start browsing online job postings to get a feel for the demand of jobs in your area, and what skills employers are looking for. It’s important to educate yourself not only on event planning, but also on your local and regional industry – you need to know what options are available for you when the time comes. That’s why we’re posting this example event planner job description, to give you an idea of what an employer is looking for.

Position: Assistant Events Coordinator

This individual will help to coordinate up to 200 annual events, alongside the Event Coordinator. You have a highly motivated, take-charge personality, good customer service and ability to build relationships with clients and vendors, and excellent organization skills.

Responsibilities include:

  • Negotiate vendor contracts, book venues, arrange catering services, order necessary equipment, and supervise event decorating.
  • Manage day-of set-up tasks and take-down for events.
  • Provide promotional materials, gift bags, registration lists, name-tags, and any necessary paraphernalia for conference attendees.
  • Analyze effectiveness of events to improve future projects.
  • Prepare budgets
  • Create and manage invoices and contracts
  • Organize schedules and appointments with clients, staff, and vendors

Skills required:

  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • High level of professionalism
  • Ability to work independently
  • Superior customer service skills
  • Relevant event planning training
  • Computer literacy in Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint is a must

Does this sound like viable job for you? Then you’ve made the right choice in pursuing a career in event planning. For top industry training, consider taking a course with QC Event School. It’s the first step to an exciting future!

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March 25, 2013 9:12 pm

Make Your Own Wedding Playlist

When it comes to weddings, it might just be the end of the Macarena.

That’s because more and more couples are opting to save money on DJs by creating their own wedding playlists. They also feel like choosing from their own iTunes collection adds an extra personal touch that a DJ simply cannot give.

It seems relatively easy – go through your iPod, choose a few hours’ worth of your favorite tunes, and you’re good to go! But creating a good reception playlist takes quite a bit of thought and careful planning if you want to pull it off successfully. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

People love to dance

People especially love to dance at weddings. If no one’s on the dance floor, you can bet that your guests will not have a positive lasting impression of your special day. Your very favorite songs just may not be the most danceable. If that’s the case, you have to let them go and opt for more poppy numbers that will have your guests grooving. But don’t forget the slow songs as well!

What’s the age range of your guests?

Try to be considerate when putting together your playlist, and include songs that can appeal to every generation. Personally, my grandma loves a good polka, and I would absolutely love to see her cutting a rug to an old polka tune on my wedding day. That’s what memories are made of.

It’s all about the flow

It will feel really strange to your guests if you follow up a modern pop song with 1970s rock. Instead, group songs into categories (like oldies, slow songs, and hip-hop), and send them out a few at a time. It will feel more natural, and people will stay on the dance floor for longer.

Have people heard this song?

If you’re the type of person to want to make your own playlist, you’re also probably the type of person to have an eclectic taste in music. That’s great! But this is not the time to introduce your guests to a new, unknown band. Play a wide variety of music, and choose songs that most people are sure to know.

We want to know: what songs must be played at a wedding reception? Leave us a comment below with your top picks for wedding songs!

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