Archive for June, 2013
We love living in Canada’s capital city, Ottawa. With its mix of green space, culture, great restaurants, and amazing shops – there’s something for everyone and always plenty to do. That’s why, in this post, we’re going to tell you all about the things to do in Ottawa this summer 2013.
Each year, thousands of people flock to Ottawa’s Bluesfest – one of the largest outdoor music festivals in North America. This year, the festival runs from July 4-14 and features acts including Jimmy Eat World, She & Him, and more. Day passes and festival passes are available, and fees vary depending on the day and which acts are playing. Once inside, you can move from stage to stage freely and enjoy plenty of food, drink, and fun. The festival goes on rain or shine, so be sure to pack an umbrella or rain poncho just in case!
2. Visit the Byward Market
The historic Byward Market is located North of Rideau Street and runs all the way up to the river. The main streets, filled with restaurants, bars and small shops are George Street, York Street, Clarence Street, and Murray Street. You’ll want ot be sure to walk along Dalhousie, too, as it’s home to plenty of unique stores including Victoire, Workshop Boutique, Young Janes, and more.
Looking to get your hair done while in Ottawa? The Byward Market boasts many award-winning salons including Texture, Rinaldo, and others. If you’re looking for somewhere tasty to stop for a bite, try Sidedoor Kitchen with its Asian fusion cuisine (order the fish tacos, you won’t regret it!) or swing by Melo’s on Dalhousie for an ever-changing dinner menu featuring some of Ottawa’s best chefs.
3. Enjoy Parliament Hill
If you’re up for a walk, stroll through Major Hill park and up to the Parliament buildings. You can go on a number of tours within the buildings, or just walk around and take in the sights. Since you’re over in the area, you should also visit Sparks Street and Elgin Street to check out some of Ottawa’s oldest buildings. In the summer, plenty of festivals and performers fill Sparks Street (Rib Fest, anyone?) so be sure to have your camera ready.
4. Shop along Sussex
If shopping’s your thing, be sure to visit the Rideau Center and then head North on Sussex. You’ll find boutiques like Trust Fund, Schad, Wolf & Zed, and others offering hand-selected items that are sure to build an enviable wardrobe. Feel free to stop at one of the many pubs along the way for some appetizers and a cool drink!
5. Visit the Many Museums
Ottawa-Gatineau is home to many museums! Whether you feel like taking in a little natural history at the Canadian Museum of Nature, or want to brush up on your history of civilization at the Canadian Museum of Civilization, there are options for you. Perhaps aviation is more your thing? If you head West on Wellington you’ll find the Canada Aviation and Space Museum. There are also plenty of art galleries sprinkled across the city and you can always enjoy a show at the National Arts Center on Laurier Ave, too.
6. Take a Tour
Want to see it all, but don’t know where to start? Take a bus or walking tour. We love the Haunted Walk of Ottawa, but recommend hopping aboard the Lady Dive if ghosts aren’t your favorite things. The Lady Dive is actually a bus boat that takes you along the streets and then into the Ottawa River! Enjoy bilingual tours all day long and get an experience of a lifetime.
7. Canada Day!
What better place to celebrate Canada’s birthday than in the nation’s capital? Roads shut down, you can ride public transit for free, and the entire downtown core turns into one big party. Enjoy fireworks over the water and walk the streets with thousands of people from all over the world. Just be sure to get downtown early if you want a table at a restaurant or bar… it’s the busiest day of the year by far!
We hope you like our guide to Ottawa! Which city would you like us to write about next?
Summer can take a serious toll on your foundation – from causing powder to cake to making your foundation transfer onto your sunglasses and everything else your face touches. If you live somewhere that experiences both ultra cold and super warm weather, chances are that you just can’t get away with using the same foundation throughout summer that you do in the winter. That’s okay, though, because we’ve compiled a short list to help you find your best foundation for summer.
1. NARS Sheer Glow Foundation – $44
NARS Sheer Glow Foundation comes in a large variety of shades and has a consistency perfect for the summer’s warmth. I recommend applying it with a dampened Beauty Blender or other domed sponge for a flawless finish and lightweight coverage. It’ll even out your skin tone without clogging your pores, and appears to just melt into your skin, providing just the right amount of coverage with a very small amount of product. I recommend using Make Up For Ever HD Finishing Powder to set it, or any other ultra fine powder that is talc-free.
2. YSL Touche Éclat Foundation – $55
Although this lightweight, luminous formula foundation from Yves Saint Laurent is a little pricey – it’s worth it if you’re able to splurge. Your skin will look glowing all day long with just the right amount of coverage. The foundation comes with a built-in SPF 19, so you’ll be both protected and gorgeous.
3. Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 Oil Free – $43
If your skin’s feeling dried out and you love an SPF/foundation mix – this tinted moisturizer is for you. A little goes a long way with this product, and it blends like a dream. It’ll leave you with sheer coverage and a natural glow, so you can spend less time worrying about your complexion and more time enjoying the summer sun. We love this product for all the beach babes out there!
4. Clinique Moisture Surge Tinted Moisturizer – $27
Clinique is the choice for sensitive faces and those looking for more affordable yet high quality products. Their Moisture Surge Tinted Moisturizer is no exception. Yet again, a little goes a long way and will give you an even complexion, natural appearance, and that “no makeup” look everyone tries for in the summer.
Writer’s block is a nasty thing, and can cause some serious emotional and mental strain – particularly if you write for a living or are “so close” to finishing a big project. Our number one recommendation for someone experiencing writer’s block is to relax, unwind, and let the ideas come to you for a change. When you find yourself idea-blocked, often thinking even more about it only makes it worse and can stress you out even further. But, just how do you get yourself to stop thinking about how you can’t think of anything? Read on to discover our favorite ways to relax. We promise, it’s easy when you don’t try!
Soak the Stress Away
An oldie but a goody, a warm bubble bath does wonders for the mind and body. Combine a relaxing bath with a little aromatherapy or your favorite scented candle and soak away your stress. A warm bath will help your muscles relax, skin feel more hydrated, mind become freer, and your overall mood to improve. If you’ve had an especially trying day, hop into a bath before bed and you’ll be sure to fall asleep the moment your head hits the pillow!
Take a Hike
Walking for at least 30 minutes and taking in the scenery is a fabulous way to get your mind off work. If you love nature, head to a park or take a stroll along the water. If you’re more of a lively city person, take a stroll through downtown and soak in the culture. Whatever you do, concentrate on what you’re seeing around you and try to be in-the-now as opposed to leaving your mind back at your desk.
Snap some Photos
Many of us find taking photos to be very relaxing and inspirational. You’ll be concentrating on getting a good shot and finding new things to photograph and won’t have time to stress about the project you’ve taken a break from. If you’re looking for a fascinating new subject to shoot, consider visiting a local festival, park, or heading into a nearby city and snapping portraits of interesting people. You never know what might inspire you and get you writing again!
Music for the Mind
Music is sort of a cure-all in our opinion. When you’re feeling sad, a happy song can get you back up and smiling. When you’re feeling tired, a soft song can rock you right to sleep. Whatever your musical preference, put on some music and concentrate on the notes, lyrics, and how the song makes you feel. If you’re able, leave the house and see a live performance once in a while. You never know who you’ll meet or what you’ll see, and might find that ideas start flowing in once again.
Trip to the Theater
As a story teller, it be really nice to take a break and have a story told to you. So, go see a movie! Head to your local theater, alone or with a friend, and pick a movie to watch. Being in a theater full of people and watching a movie will make you forget about your writer’s block. Even if you end up not liking the movie, you might find inspiration in one of the characters or something you see on the screen. Oh, and popcorn is a must!
Hang With a Furry Friend
There’s a reason why many people have therapy pets – furry friends calm us down. Set aside some time and go for a walk with your dog, give your cat a massage, or visit a friend with an animal. Being around a pet and seeing how happy they are to have you there will make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. Who doesn’t love to be loved?!
What’s your favorite way to unwind and escape writer’s block? Let me know in a comment!
The maxi skirt is a must-have for every woman, particularly in summer! It’s easy, versatile, lightweight, and will give you the illusion of added height when paired with a low heel or wedge. In this post, I’ll show you how to wear a maxi skirt three different ways for summer. Enjoy!
1. Effortless Glam
The first way to wear a maxi skirt is effortlessly glam. It’s comfy, too! Pair your favorite grey t-shirt with a punchy pink maxi skirt, white and metallic sandals, basic white bag, and add a statement necklace. You’ll be ready in a pinch for a day of shopping, visiting, or just about anything else. I love this laid-back but still glamorous take on the maxi skirt.
2. Edgy Cool
The second way to wear a maxi skirt is edgy cool. Perfect for a night out, music festival, or your favorite band’s concert – this look is sure to turn heads. You’ll stay cool in a cropped tank, comfortable in flat gladiator sandals, and will have plenty of room to store essentials in a medium sized neon yellow clutch. Add a few layered necklaces and your look is complete!
3. Office Appropriate
The third way to wear a maxi skirt is my personal favorite – office appropriate. Who says you can’t look good at the office? Not me, that’s for sure! I love letting the maxi skirt take center stage. Pair your skirt with a fresh white silk blouse, metal and pearl mixed necklace, navy blue clutch, and closed toe gold heel. Can’t show your shoulders at the office? Swap the sleeveless blouse for one with capped sleeves and you’ll look just as great.
Which is your favorite way to wear the maxi skirt? Let me know in a comment!
Everyone knows what I’m talking about when I refer to the “no makeup” look. Of course, a lot of people aren’t sure how to achieve this ultra natural look without going accidentally overboard. The no makeup, or natural makeup look, is all about letting natural beauty shine through and only really evening out complexion, hiding blemishes, and emphasizing the eyes. Read on to learn how to do natural looking makeup!
Natural looking makeup starts with a good base. For the “no makeup” look, I would recommend going with a light but build-able coverage – something like NARS Sheer Glow. This will allow you to let natural beauty marks like freckles show through while being able to build up the coverage to cover any imperfections – like a minor break out, scar, or dark circles. Apply with a dampened sponge (I love the Beauty Blender sponge!) for a line-free, flawless finish. Working with a slightly dampened sponge will also help you use less product and blend more evenly.
To hide any imperfections that you weren’t able to conceal with foundation, grab a creamy concealer like MAC’s Studio Fix palette. Apply a little and build when necessary. For the under eye, try using the salmon colored concealer and only targeting the darkest area – typically right near in inner corner of the eye. This will break up the darkness and make the eyes look more awake, refreshed, and avoid too much product from being used on the face. Be sure to set the product with a light dusting of powder or setting spray!
As for the eyes, you have a few options. You can apply a matte champagne shadow, dark brown kohl liner, and finish with a swipe of mascara – or you can just go with mascara. If your client has darkened lids from lack of sleep or genetics, you’ll likely want to use a matte shadow to add some brightness without looking overdone. The dark brown liner will draw further emphasis to the eyelashes and the mascara will provide a finished effect.
Opt for a soft, peachy blush like NARS Sex Appeal or grab a bronzer like the Shimmer Brick from Bobbi Brown. For lips, we love a neutral gloss or balm. If your clients lips are a little chapped, like the model above, recommend a sugar lip scrub like the ones available at LUSH. They’ll help slough away dry, dead skin while infusing the lip with peppermint oil and moisturizing at the same time.
Et voila, you now have the “no makeup” makeup look. This is a great look for everyday, weekend, or when you’re headed to the beach and want to feel confident but not look overdone. There are plenty of waterproof mascara and cream blush options out there that will help keep you looking gorgeous and natural all day long, too!
What do you think of the natural looking makeup shared above? Let me know in a comment and feel free to share your product recommendations for achieving the look!
When I was 17, I traveled to Europe with a bunch of kids from my high school for a senior trip. Of all the places we saw and things we did on that trip, visiting the Eiffel Tower was probably the most memorable. It was a somewhat rainy, overcast day and was a little too windy for my liking – but climbing the Eiffel Tower stairs is something I’ll never forget.
When I arrived at the Eiffel Tower, We climbed the first set of stairs to reach the “first floor”. On this floor, I was 57m from the ground. There’s food, washrooms, and anything else you could need. It’s a great point for taking pictures, though the second floor was where I snapped most of my photos from.
To reach the second floor (115m from the ground), we climbed more stairs. There are plenty of binoculars on this floor and it was by far the busiest of the areas I visited. While the rest of our group lined up for the lift that brings you up to the third and final floor (324m from the ground), a friend and I opted to grab a cappuccino and sit and enjoy the views instead. The line to take the lift to the third floor was long, and the lift can only take so many people up and back down at once. We simply weren’t interested in wasting our time in line like that when we could soak in Paris from the second floor. What a view!
When we were finished, we started our climb back down to the ground. I have to say, going down the stairs is much more frightening than going up because you can actually see the ground when you’re headed down! The stairs are made of steel and have holes all through them, so being able to see through them down to the ground coupled with the fact the wind was picking up made the experience a little scary. It was all worth it, however.
That’s my story of climbing the Eiffel Tower. Have you ever been? Let me know in a comment! I’d love to hear about it and swap travel stories.
With the weather finally changing and summer fast approaching, it’s always good to take a look at our makeup routine and adapt it to the warm weather. Today I’m going to share with you my summer makeup routine as well as some must have products!
Going into summer with a tan feels great. Invest in an amazing self tanner and you will have everyone fooled. A self tanner is always a safer way to achieving a beautiful sun kissed glow. Plus, once the shorts and skirts come out of the closet it’s nice to feel extra confident by adding a bronzed glow to your legs!
I recently tried a new self tanner called Vita Liberata sold at Sephora.
I am absolutely loving the color this self tanner provides. The mousse pumps out and has a reddish undertone which really helps you avoid looking orange and appears so naturally sun-kissed. I find a mousse self tanner to be extremely foolproof when used with a tanning mitt like this…
You can see where you are applying the product with each swipe, allowing you to create a streak-free glowing tan from head to toe!
Once you have created a nice base tan with a self tanner of your choice, it is important to keep skin hydrated. For summer, I am absolutely loving dry oil for my skin. It’s fast absorbing and still super hydrating, leaving a beautiful glow on the skin. I’m currently loving this head to toe body oil from The Body Shop called Beautifying Oil. It’s safe for the body, face and hair!
Now that we’ve achieved glowing, hydrated skin from head to toe, let’s move on to a beautiful summery fresh daily makeup routine. This is great for the office or for a girl on the go!
After cleansing and moisturizing your skin, apply a tinted moisturizer all over, blending in with your fingers or a brush. Right now I’m loving the Stila Illuminating Tinted moisturizer. It takes down any redness and naturally blends out minor imperfections while adding a dewy glow to the skin.
If you tend to be oily, gently dust a translucent powder all over to set the tinted moisturizer. If not, let the tinted moisturizer dry for just a few moments before moving onto the next step…bronzer! Apply a bronzer along the top of your forehead, almost brushing the bronzer into your hairline. Then apply into the hollows of the cheeks, under the jaw line and anywhere else you wish to look bronzed! Personally, I love a matte bronzer. I find you don’t have to worry about looking like a disco ball if you like to apply your bronzer with a heavy hand. My personal fave is Chocolate Soleil by Too Faced.
Blush! I absolutely love a rosy glow for summer. Blush complements bronzer and a beautiful tan so well. I like to get playful with my blush for summer, using brighter shades that pop. Apply a blush of your choice to the apples of the cheek or just above where you applied the bronzer (more to the side of your face). Both application techniques are great, it’s just a matter of choosing one you feel works best for you. For a bright pop of pretty pink try the NARS blush in Gaiety.
On to the eyes! A summer look to me is about low maintenance and easy wear. As always, give your brow some definition by brushing a brow powder (in the appropriate color) through your brow. This look can be all about the brows. After creating your summer glow and supple dewy skin, apply a strong brow and you’re out the door! It’s a very chic summer look. If a strong brow isn’t for you, a waterproof cream shadow can be your best friend. Using your fingertip, blend a cream shadow across your lid, softening it into the crease. Choose a color you love or one that complements your eye and skin color! I love the Stila Smudge Pots; a great universal colour is “Kitten.” It’s a pinky nude and can also double as a highlighter! Add some mascara and eyeliner (if you choose) and ta-da! A fresh summery eye look.
There you have it, a fresh summery look that will wear great on a hot summer day!
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.
Your client’s wedding day is likely one of the most important days of her life thus far, and she probably wants it to go as smoothly as possible! Even the most amicable of family members can sometimes break under the pressure of a big (and sometimes expensive) day. As an event and wedding planner, it’s your job to ensure your client is happy. Once in a while, this may involve knowing how to handle guest conflict during the wedding.
Whenever possible, it’s ideal that families sort out their differences, or at least agree to place them on hold, before the wedding festivities. However, sometimes you’ll have an out of town Uncle who’s been harboring hard feelings for some time and decides to bring up his issues after one too many glasses of wine at the reception. Knowing how to handle a situation like this will help set you apart from your competition and show that you’re ultra professional and can keep a cool head under any amount of pressure. Plus, it’s going to help your bride concentrate on enjoying her day, resulting in a very happy client.
Option A: Pass It Off
Passing the conflict handling off to someone else is an ideal situation when it’s an argument between youths, or the person in question regularly causes the same issue and at least one other family member knows how to handle it. Let’s say Uncle Andy is trying to start an argument with someone who has borrowed money from him in the past and he still hasn’t been paid back. Of course, you can sympathize that the man just wants to resolve the problem by getting his money back, but it’s really not the time nor place for that sort of discussion. Politely asking his brother, wife, or someone else close to him in the family to escort him away from the possible conflict area will work most of the time and will cause the least amount of embarrassment for everyone involved.
Option B: The Polite Ask
Sometimes, all it takes for someone to realize they’re acting inappropriate is to be taken out of the conflict environment and politely asked to stop. Let’s say a bridesmaid is upset because she wasn’t chosen for the Maid of Honor role and is making a fuss at the head table or audibly complaining to guests. Take her aside and let her know that you sympathize, but that complaining about it now won’t change anything and it would make everyone’s evening more enjoyable to just have fun and deal with her feelings at another time, one-on-one with the bride. If they are close friends, she may realize that handling it at a later date and in private is the best solution, as causing any more disruption to the evening could result in even more damage to the friendship.
Option C: Distraction Method
The distraction method is a great one for children who have simply had enough, are tired, and are starting to get upset. Maybe you can ask the DJ to put on one of their favorite songs and get them up and moving. Maybe you can set them up with a game. If you notice an adult who is being disruptive (maybe she’s a second cousin who is trying to go around and tell everyone about her own upcoming wedding or is belting out the lyrics to every song the DJ plays causing a lot of annoyed faces), try to assign a task. Sometimes, all the person wants to feel is included, so try to make that possible. Whether it’s ensuring there are enough favors for each table or having them check in on the children, try to give the individual a productive distraction so the event can continue as planned.
Option D: Removal
Sometimes, it does come down to someone having to be removed from the event. If someone becomes overly intoxicated, starts a physical altercation, or is causing damage to the property, it’s time for them to leave. In some cases, you may be able to have a family member or friend take them home from the event. In the situation of a physical altercation or property damage, however, you might have to rely on security to have them removed. Whatever you do, try to act as quickly and efficiently as possible. You want to shut the bad behavior down as soon as possible and remove them from the area. If two people are verbally arguing, they can continue it – just not inside the event. Send them outside, home, or suggest they finish their conversation anywhere else. When it comes to any sort of behavior that could result in bodily harm or property damage, the individual needs to go home. It’s very rare an ambulance or police car needs to be called to a wedding, but it’s not like it never happens. Have the appropriate phone numbers on hand just in case you should need them.
Are there any other conflict resolution methods you have used at an event or wedding?
We’re all supposed to wear sunscreen each and everyday, but most people forget to do it. It can be especially hard to remember to apply it to your face, particularly when you’re not sure which product is right for you. No one wants to breakout or end up with a chalky-looking face! In this post, I’ll be sharing my opinion on some of the best sunscreens for faces.
First up, we have my personal favorite – the Ultra Fluid SPF60 for Face/Visage from Ombrelle. It’s incredibly lightweight, but you need to remember to shake well before using. A little goes a long way, and the tiny package is perfect for popping into your bag or keeping at your office desk for when you need to apply. If you wear makeup, apply this underneath your makeup. If you plan on hitting the beach or spending a lot of time in the sun, you’ll need to take off your makeup to re-apply OR you’re probably better off with an SPF mist instead.
Secondly, we have a sunscreen I have not personally tried but have heard rave reviews about – the Clinique Broad Spectrum SPF50 Face Cream. Clinique is specially formulated for sensitive skin and does not clog your pores, making this sunscreen a perfect choice for acne-prone skin. Yet again, a little will go a long way so start with a small dab and use a bit more if you need it. Rub it all the way into your skin 20 minutes prior to sun exposure for full protection, and don’t forget to re-apply!
Hampton Sun’s SPF15 Continuous Mist Sunscreen is oil-free and perfect for the no-fuss sun bather. The mist makes it easy to apply under and over makeup, and to touch up all day long. Hampton Sun also offers a continuous spray mist with a bit of bronzer, but the SPF is only 8 – too little for my liking! I’d never recommend applying anything less than an SPF15. Your skin in 20 years will thank you for it, trust me.
Lastly, we have a natural alternative for our eco-makeup lovers. bareMinerals offers a powdered UVA/UVB protective natural sunscreen with SPF30. It comes with a built-in brush so you can apply it evenly all over your face. We don’t think this would be an ideal option for someone heading to the beach for the sake of swimming, but if you’re just on-the-go or heading to the park, this may be an easy and green option for you.