The Shiniest Time of the Year

I just calculated that I'll be home for the holiday in exactly 8 days! That's right. Be jealous.  Besides family, food and presents, I love the holidays because everything just seems so much shinier. Glitter is in full effect this season. Here are 3 of my favourite ways to rock glitter this holiday and not look like a Las Vegas showgirl's Christmas tree.

Bejeweled hair accessories can make any outfit instantly more opulent. Curl you hair and brush out the curls for a glamourous old Hollywood look and push your hair backward on one side with a jeweled comb.

For nights out, false lashes with subtle glittery accents are super fun. Just make sure that the rest of your make up isn't flashy. These babies draw enough attention on their own and are perfect for a New Year's Eve bash.

Shiny eyeshadows work best on the inner corners of the eyes, balls of the eyes, or on the browbone. Shimmery formulas have the tendency to crease faster than matte formulas so make sure you use a primer. I like Urban Decay's Eyeshadow Primer Potion with Make Up For Ever's Diamond Powder in White Gold to highlight.

Pretty Peeve: Matchy Matchy

Matching your eye makeup to your clothing is only okay under the following circumstances:

1. It's Halloween or some sort of costume party
2. It's Homecoming or St. Patrick's Day
3. You are a performer in Cirque du Soleil or Dancing with the Stars
4. You are just trying to spite me and this blog post.

A Damask Lover's Dream

For anyone who knows me, I am obessesed anything that comes in a damask pattern. As tacky as it sounds, if I could I would have every room in my house in that pattern. M.A.C. has made my dream one step closer with their new Baroque Boudoir collection.  The Sheer Mystery Compact goes on the top of my wishlist this Christmas.

Blog Me Fabulous

People go to blogs because its a more authentic voice, its a citizen voice and not a so-called expert voice. But wouldn't you want to know that the person isn't just making things up? That's the risk we run when getting our information from blogs rather than print sources. It has come to a point where bloggers are revered as much as newspaper and magazine journalists. This is particularly evident in the fashion industry where—in the words of Heidi Klum on Project Runway—“one day you’re in and the next day you’re out”. The instantaneousness of fashion blogging feeds fashionistas the trends of today and tomorrow. The blogging medium has catapulted young bloggers to A-list journalist status in the fashion industry. From New York to Milan, the front row seats during Fashion Week usually reserved for editors and the glitterati, are filed with these young, fashionable, internet sensations.

Fashion and beauty go hand in hand, and when I'm not knee deep in beauty blogs I like to frequent some fashion sites too. Here are my faves:

1. The Sartorialist
2. Jak and Jil
4. Style Rookie
5. Bryan Boy
6. Sea of Shoes
7. Garance Dore
8. Polyvore
9. Looklet

YouTube Brings Beauty to the Small Screen

The popularity of video is growing exponentially. Through sites like SlingBox and other services that stream online video conventional television is becoming less popular. Like radio, television is threatened by the need to eliminate commercials and pick and choose content on demand. Television shows can be streamed online, downloaded on iTunes or illegally via file sharing sites like BitTorrent. Even though TV reaches over 70 million homes, on YouTube alone, 40 million videos are viewed daily. The beauty industry has capitalized on this trend by having their own TV channels online to advertise their products. Rather than having a television show, companies like Smashbox  take the more economical route by posting tutorial videos on YouTube. Among the thousands of beauty tutorials online, videos put out by large companies have the authority of CNN over citizen vloggers. At the same time, this free access to television outlet puts everyone on a level playing field, giving bloggers, like myself, the opportunity to freely share my knowledge and my passion.

Lady Gaga: Better Blonde or Brunette?

Lady Gaga wasn't always the platinum blonde sensation she is now. Back in the day, she used to rock long, dark brown locks. Below are two vids: one from a talent show when she attended NYU in 2005 and the other the music video for her newest hit from her album The Fame Monster, entitled Bad Romance. I'm a huge fan of LG's avant-garde hair and makeup choices but which do you prefer. Blonde or brunette?

Radio is dead. It's okay, I brought my iPod.

In CBC’s series The End, host Jian Ghomeshi, explores how radio, TV and print are quickly on their way to being obsolete. With podcasting, satellite radio, digital radio, and downloading people are given the opportunity to be more selective about what they are listening to. Listeners can be their own deejay and choose to fast forward through commercials, rewind and re-listen to their favourite parts. As a student, podcasts make it very easy to use as part of a presentation in class or to cite in an essay. Rob Farina, Program Director of CHUM FM, notes that radio is one of the only technologies out there that "is free, reaches 95% of the population, ubiquitous and portable"; however, it does not have the personalization features that podcasts offer. Having an RSS feed, mp3 capable phone or an iPod  make fiddling with the dial on the ye olde FM/AM radio and listening to commercials a thing of the past.

My take on the end of TV and Print to come...

Glow Like an Angel sent fashion blogger, Tommy Ton to photograph behind the scenes at the filming of this year's Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. The VS Fashion Show airs on CBS, Tuesday Dec. 1 @ 10pm or 9pm central time. One of my fave holiday traditions is to curl up on the couch with my roomies and yell at the screen at the musical acts who are trying not to gawk at the models while they are performing. Besides the showstopping costume-lingerie, no one does glowing skin like Victoria's Secret!

Makeup artist Tom Pecheux applies glow on cheeks, brow bone and in the inner corners of the eyes. Because VS's makeup line isn't available in Canada (La Senza boutiques carry some lipglosses, shadows and some body products) I turn to M.A.C.'s Iridescent Loose Powder in Golden Bronze.

First Video Hair Tutorial!

If anyone has any requests let me know in the comment box below.

Where the Trendy and Beautiful Things Are

Tonight, I'll be attending the Charity Ball Theme Release Party at The Barking Frog. There are bound to be some hair masterpieces and beauty blunders that await me! Pictures to follow!

Pretty Peeves: Dark Lipliner

"Pretty Peeves" is going to be a series of hair/makeup/grooming habits that many people think look good, but makes my blood boil. This season, I am a huge fan of the deep burgundy lip and lip liner worn on the entire lip to make the colour last longer. But lining the outside of the lip and filling it in with a light lipstick--or even worse--not filling it in at all should not happen.

It was a very brief trend at one point in the Nineties and its intention was to make the lips appear fuller. Leave this trend in the past where it belongs and use a lip plumping lip gloss instead. My pick? Smashbox's O-Plump Intuitive Lip Plumper.

Undereye Quick Fixes: Top 3 Concealers

A little concealer goes a long way to cover up under eye circles caused by late night studying and celebrating. Here are my top picks:

1. DIOR Skinflash Radiance Booster Pen
PRO: The clickable pen form makes application super easy because it deposits just the right amount. This is perfect for when you're in a rush to get out the door. Even if this is the only makeup you have on your face the light reflecting formula brings lightness to darker areas on your face making you look like you've slept forever.
CON: $44.00 for 0.05 ounces

2. M.A.C. Studio Sculpt Concealer
PRO: full, buildable coverage. Great for scars, blemishes too.
CON: the formula works best with a brush especially made for concealer. Using your fingers gets a different finish.

3. Maybelline Mineral Power Natural Perfecting Concealer
PRO: Effortless natural coverage that lasts all day + can be found at most drugstores
CON: Fantastic for undereyes but not for dark scars and raised blemishes.

Minty Fresh Fingertips

 This winter, hands are all about mint green nail polish. This pastel hue is all the rage in nail salons right now. Silver, diamond/rhinestone jewelery complement this cool hue. But I'm still going to sport my deep purples until it snows. When that time comes I'll be reaching for Essie's Limited Edition Winter Collection's Mint Candy Apple. Not only is it fashion forward but it contains no formaldehyde, DBP or toluene that can be found in many major nail polishes.

Portrait Tips: Gentlemen's Edition

Even if you live in sweatpants, t-shirts with ironic sayings or have a baseball cap that seems permanently attached to your scalp make people forget that when they look at grad photos. Here are a few easy tips that will help you go from dumpy to dapper.

1.  Patterned tie + Patterned shirt + Grad photo = Disaster
I personally cringe at the sight of a striped or patterned button up shirt peaking out of a graduation gown. It looks really busy. Like young Tom Cruise up there, go with a white shirt; This way you can show your personality with your tie print. Again, make sure your tie's pattern isn't too busy and your shirt is pressed.

2. Keep your facial hair in check.
If you plan on sporting a mustache/goatee/soul patch/chin strap etc. be sure you trim and groom it the morning of. And no, those 8 hairs under your lip does not count as a beard. In this case, opt for a clean shave.

3. Your smile is your best accessory.
Keep chapstick on hand to avoid having dry, windburned lips next to your pearly whites. Choose a non-shiny formula like Burt's Bees.

4. Wait a week after a haircut.
Sometimes a fresh new haircut can look really short and stark in pictures and you might not be used to it. Keep it for a week and play around with how you want to style it before the big day.

5. Don't load up on hair gel.
The studio can airbrush out shaving nicks or acne scars but not the globs of gel in your hair. Too much shine can make your hair look greasy. If you're using more than a loonie size amount you're using too much.

p.s. Can you believe the kid in the glasses is RYAN SEACREST!?!?

Portrait Tips: Ladies

I know starting this week a lot of you may be taking graduation photos and if not family portraits will be coming up real soon.  So here are some tips that will help you look your best. Look out for guys' portrait tips coming soon!

1. Avoid large accessories that may detract from your face.

Keep the focus on you with small accessories, such as simple earrings, thin necklaces. Leave large hoop earrings at home!
2. Get your beauty sleep.

All the retouching in the world won't fix puffy eyes. If you do happen to pull an all-nighter before hand put some tea bags in the freezer and then put them on your eyes in the morning to reduce swelling.
3. Aim to look like a more polished version of your everyday self.

This isn't the time to try out new hairstyles, hair colour or makeup. Concealer and mascara are a must even if you don't wear them usually.
4. Powder will be your best friend today.

Keep it with you to reduce shine and apply it right after your concealer to keep it in place.
5. For grad photos, opt of a collared shirt or one that won't show up under the gown at all.
6. Opt for a moisturizing lipstick or lip stain instead of a gloss.

Lip gloss looks great in person but can look like a shiny, I-just-ate-fried-chicken mess in portraits.

Top 6 Men's Fragrances: Axe isn't one of them

I was at a party a couple weeks ago and I saw a guy I knew there that I had not seen for quite sometime. I was glad to reunite with him again unfortunately his cologne managed to greet me before he did as a cloud of Drakkar Noir assailed my nasal passages. Fragrances, even for women, should only be smelled by another person when in very close proximity. How close is close? A hug, not a high five. Here are L&L's top 6 fragrances for men...she just might forgive you if you spray one of these ones:

1. Hugo Boss Selection
2. Lacoste Challenge
3. Burberry Brit for Men
4. Givenchy Play
5. Armani Acqua Di Gio
6. Hollister Jake

Do you have any faves?

Salon Review: A Cut Above

A Cut Above, a hair salon in the basement of Masonville Mall was responsible for this highlighting fiasco. In this case, A Cut Above was definitely a cut below. Mall salons have a high turn-over rate, meaning that mall salons, especially in London, usually will take stylists straight out of hair school who probably haven't had a lot of experience. Getting a bad hair cut is fine because hair grows back. Getting a bad colour job, especially when you are lightening your hair can potentially dry out your hair or worse, fry it completely and cause it to fall out.

Clairol Natural Instincts's Demi-Permanent formula was used to cover up this disaster. This formula will fade out gradually so that the colourist who takes Curtis' hair status from sad to sunkissed will not have to strip out permanent dark box colouring out first.

Salon Review: Jeffrey Donald & Joseph Hair Salon

As a student who isn't from London, its hard to find out what salons are good and what salons are within the student budget. I am a loyal client of Civello Rosedale in Toronto so finding a good stylist/colourist to tide me over before I could go home to see my regular guy was important to me. Jeffrey Donald & Joseph Salon, an Aveda concept salon,  just opened their Richmond & Hyman location about 6 months ago. Their friendly and attentive staff put me at ease made me forget that I was putting my hair into unfamiliar hands.  Andrea was able to match my colour formula perfectly and gave me the most amazing scalp massage.

The best part? For a limited time, highlights are 50% off for all UWO students. If your roots are showing, get on this offer while you can. Just mention the ad in The Gazette. All other services are 15%off if you show your student ID.