Get Ready with Me for a Date Night:

Getting ready for “date night” is a really basic beauty ritual that needs no explaining, in my opinion. We all do it, primp and preen and get our skin glowing for that special someone. But there is actually a lot more to it that flexing our vanity and grooming muscles. There is an order and logic to it. It’s a process, so let’s talk about that process. I will start by talking about my emotional state recently and how getting ready for this one date was so interesting to me.

So I do have a boyfriend. I guess that’s what he is, considering that it we’re monogamous and it’s pretty regular that we see each other. And it’s really difficult making time for each other with our busy adult lives. And the future is always uncertain, in terms of the longevity and meaning of the relationship. I recently feared a lot of things after some revealing text messages from my boyfriend. And I didn’t know how to deal with them. I am a hairstylist in Toronto; my day to day consists of taking care of the business of looking good, and not much else. So there it was–a wall of emotions that floored me and I didn’t know what to do for days. But as a date night with my beau approached, I did what I had to do. What I always knew how to do…prep and get ready. And believe it or not, the process of selfcare and beautification really made me feel more secure of myself and what I want and was therapy in a way.

After showering I love to just relax in my robe and plan my next beauty moves. Usually it involves grabbing a tea!

The Ritual of Getting Ready:

  1. Facial Pampering: I like to do this the night before a date, or the morning of. It’s exfoliating with a gentle face exfoliator. I used Deciem’s Lactic Acid. Then applying a mask. The exfoliating makes the skin cleaner by removing dead skin cells so that it can absorb the nutrients of a moisturizing mask and expel toxins trapped within. It’s also creating the ideal canvas for make-up application. Also the best time to do my nails is the night before!
  2. Cleansing face, body and hair: I like to do this a few hours before the date: I do the whole enchilada; shampoo, condition my hair, shave, brush my teeth. After all the cleansing, don’t forget to moisturize with a nice light body lotion.
  3. Blow Dry and Style hair. My hair style depends on the formality of the night. After being apart for a while from my beau, I needed to have a more carefree, low maintenance look. This was because I wanted to create a more relaxed vibe between us after the awkwardness of the previous week and the messages. So I opted for a tousled look without flat ironing or curling. It was very natural. To achieve this I just blow dry and add a bit of serum for shine and de frizzing.
  4. Decide on outfit: Do this before putting make up on. Even if I don’t dress until right before the date, I still need to know what colors I’m working with. After choosing the appropriate outfit, for this one night I chose a lace turquoise body suit spaghetti strap tank and flare jeans. Casual but stylish attire to match my mood.
  5. Make up time: I decided since few colours didn’t clash with turquoise I would wear a smokey beige shadow with a bit of shimmer. It was perfect. Subtle, but alluring none the less. Liquid line with a pen, my usual day to day make up. Blush, brows, and lots of mascara.
I’m a fan of mascara. I truly believe that is there is one make up arsenal that really makes or breaks a look, it’s the mascara on lashes!!
Tada! The finished look. Is it possible that something so subtle and easy looking took about 2 hours? That is the mystery of getting ready!

By the time I got picked up by him, I was looking fine. Not overdone…even with all the work and prep it took. I enjoy the process. By the end of out date, after a hard couple of weeks second guessing our relationship, it felt nice that at least I always knew how to put on a good show; even if the future is uncertain with my beau. And well…it’s who I am to put my best face forward.

Choosing to go blonde, why or why not?

One of the many blonding services that I provide at the Queen Shop Hair Salon in West Toronto. Getting hair lighter is my thing!

There are so many hair colours out there in the world, but as a hairstylist, I know what the most common natural hair colours out there are. Most people are naturally dark haired….black or brown. A small percentage of the population is red haired, and dirty blonde…but even fewer are are the light blonde. So let’s talk about the idea of being “blonde”. What does that mean and what does that entail?

Blonde hair in western culture has been the conventional beauty standard for decades, mostly for females. While dark hair has it’s beauty moments, such as it’s mainstream normalcy in Asian culture, or in alternative goth emo sub culture; in general though, very light hair has been most unquestionably desirable. Which goes to explain why highlights and balayage are my bread and butter service. But I digress. What does being “blonde” exude? I’d say it’s a feeling of freedom, passion, carefreeness, poise, softness and uber femininity that other hair colours are not as readily associated with; it’s not to say that dark hair doesn’t convey beauty,. But it’s a more cerebral beauty. It’s more mysterious and fleeting. In terms blatant obvious beauty, blonde hair does it in one go.

Famous Blondes:

Elle Woods from “legally Blonde” is a prime example in how her appearance changed the way people treated her. Elle had to fight to be taken seriously in law school, to been seen as “smart”. She had a depth of knowledge in the area of fashion and make-up, but it was not deemed as a strength that was worthy of respect. Marilyn Monroe, an icon of blondeness was mostly revered for her sex appeal, and countless interpretations of her life story shows how she had been, in a way, a victim of her fame. Having started out as a pin up model, Marilyn was often overly sexualized. Madonna, Gwen Stefani…represent the other side of blonde beauty. They took to it as a way to express and embody ambition. They are strong and determined and have a voice, a direction. They were artists.

Image from Legally Blonde, 20th Century Fox, 2001.
This image released by Netflix shows Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe in “Blonde.” (Netflix via AP)
“I’m just as girl” a song lyric made famous by the Singer of No Doubt, Gwen Stefani.

Things to consider before going blonde

  1. Different hair gets different degrees of damage when going blonde. Very fine hair breaks easily when lightened, and dark coarse hair can also break easily because of the amount of lightning strength needed to lift it so many levels. It’s important to proceed with caution.
  2. Blonde hair requires more maintenance to keep it looking good. But ironically, once hair has been lightened, any additional chemical services on it also makes hair risk breakage. Lightened hair needs more moisture as it’s lost some of it’s ability to retain it. And it needs time to recover from being lightened.
  3. Going blonde as a way to cover grey hair is one of the best reasons in my opinion to go blonde. Instead of monthly visits to the salon, blonde foils make the greys look like highlights, or at least less noticeable. And the visits to the salon for colour can be stretched to 4 to 6 months.
  4. Going blonde just for “fun” is not fun, in my opinion. Because of the commitment needed to upkeep it and the potential damage it causes to healthy hair, it’s just not worth it for a temporary kick from having a change of colour. It’s also expensive and time consuming to do, and not everyone looks better with lighter hair.
  5. There is the danger of blonde addiction. After a while of being blonde, the colour sometimes looks dull for some reason and there is an urge to add more highlights, to keep going blonder. It happens because we get used to being blonde and don’t see how light we actually are. And the down side of that can be an over processed and unbalanced platinum mess. So beware of that!

What are the joys and pitfalls of any hair colour? I’m sure its all very personal to each of us. And as long as we wear the colour we feel the most “us” in, nothing can go wrong. But let’s be nice to our hair, even if we are not planning to grow it past our shoulders, hair should always be encouraged to let it do it’s own thing.

Different blonde “me’s” I always have fun being blonde and will keep this colour for a while. It suits me, no?

Why biking during a pandemic is beautiful…

So I write about fashion and make up…yes. And I am only interested in that. I will not write about anything else.–NOT! I also write about how to deal with mental and physical health, which is connected to daily life and feeling happy and beautiful…It’s a lifestyle interest, just the way fashion and make-up is also lifestyle interest… So why is biking around where I live, the city of Toronto, a “must-do” for me right now? What does it have to do with the simple lifestyles I promote? It’s important now more than ever, because I heard that as major urban center with the hugest population in the country, Toronto has been in the longest lockdown of any North American city and I believe it. I am just so floored by the year long lockdowns since March 2020, just excluding the small brief windows in the summer months that saw city open up for patio dining and in person shopping. Now that has all been shuttered again until the end of May 2021.

Near the bike/walking path, West Toronto Railpath. It goes along the railway and there is nature and industrial buildings along its path. Here I am in my cute but functional outfit. make up, and hair do!

Boredom is now the norm as it was in the dead of the past Canadian winter. No seeing friends, no dating, no going outside, because it was too cold and everywhere was shut. But a life saver for me this Spring was getting back on my bike; I got transportation without relying on the crowded Toronto transit system. Biking was also an chance to exercise, get fresh air, and just see outdoor sights that were forgotten when I was hibernating in my apartment. Getting to view the cityscape, and the urban wildlife while riding. The sun and wind on my face as I whirled about bike paths and busy main streets. The exercise biking provides helps me stay slim and the mental health it gives me by being me outside and moving. Nothing about being trapped at home and eating was gratifying… Even though that was the message all Ontarians were told to do during lockdown. Gaining weight and feeling old was what the pandemic restrictions were prescribing. That was considered safe, but so much torture as well. But as spring hit Toronto and the weather became sunnier and warmer, out came my bike and all the urban exploring that it would bring.

Dutch braids keep my hair looking good and wispies in place under a bike helmet

Beauty tips for biking:

Getting outside is the most important thing to take from what I’m saying. But hey, I am a beauty blogger so here are my go-to tips for being gorgeous while out and about.

  • Wear sunscreen: the spring time sun is actually pretty fierce as the sun is closer to the earth than before, even though temperatures seem chilly.
  • If desired, minimal make-up is always nice: I have written many articles on no make-up looks. Here’s one of them. But the basic idea is foundation/powder. brows, mascara, and blush…super simple and easy.
  • Stay hydrated. The wind and sun can do a number on the face and skin. Drinking plenty of fluids keeps everything smooth and healthy. I usually pack cold water with a herbal tea bag and let it steep slowly during the ride.
  • Dress appropriately. Pants that are too baggy can get caught in the chains; tight dresses and non flexible wear just restrict movement. Long jackets and skirts are not welcome on bikes. The best thing to do is wear clothing that is semi wind repellant, stretchy, perform functionally and are stylish too. For example; Athletic leggings, bike shorts, rompers, sweatshirts and hoodies, t-shirt and looser jeans (not bell bottoms/flares), a short light jacket, windbreakers….etc…
Urban exploring: In front of the iconic Sterling building. I believe it was a car factory back in the day…now it is the new home of the Museum of Canadian Contemporary Art. (another huge interest of mine)

And the most important rule of all? Stay safe! Obey traffic rules, never go too fast, keep an eye on traffic, explore urban spaces safely without trespassing. And watch out for pedestrians (they still own the scenic paths more that cyclists do). The best way to have fun is to do it safely.