Micro what?

In May 2017 I decided to get some microblading done to fill in my over plucked eyebrows. I started this post and there it sat until now.

I had been thinking about it for sometime and a friend of mine had it done and it looked amazing. Then on a vacation I found out that my mother in law had hers done too, and they looked amazing also. So I thought what the heck, go for it! What’s the worst that could happen?

Well… the worst thing that can happen is not doing the research first so that you know what to expect. I had NO IDEA what I was in for other than that it’s basically like getting a tattoo. Since I have a couple tattoos I figured that was all that I needed to know. And at the core of it, really it is, but had I done a bit of reading first I would have been better prepared.

So this is for anyone thinking of getting microblading done on your brows: everything you wanted to know about microblading but didn’t even know to ask.

First off, for those who have no idea what microblading even is, it’s basically getting strands of hair tattoo in to fill in your brows. It’s not as deep as a tattoo so it lasts about three years before you need to get them touched up. This is great as you are not stuck with the same style for the rest of your life, but it does mean that you will have to go through the whole process more that once.


When I set up my appointment with Megan Klimkowski (Instagram: Brow Design by Megan), who came highly recommended by my friend with the new great brows, she sent me a list of dos and don’ts leading up to our first appointment.

1.  No plucking your brows for at least a week.

2. No facials, chemical peels etc one week before.

3. No Advil, Tylenol etc 24 hours before.

When I finally met Megan I was excited and nervous but she was fantastic about giving me a run through of what was about to happen. She drew out the shape of what my brows would be so that I could see and agree to it.  She recommended the colour to match my existing dark brown brows, but with a blend of a lighter brown so that they didn’t look too heavy against my bottled blonde locks.

After showing me the blade, yes that’s right microblading used a blade, not a tattoo gun, that looks like a scalpel but with tiny forks on the end, she explained that as the blade pierces the skin it sounds like Velcro being ripped apart. Which some people find unnerving. Amateurs, I thought.


The microblade tattoo tool.

I opted to skip the numbing gel to avoid the accompanying redness she cautioned would be a side effect (and because with most things in life I tend to think that because I play roller derby I’m tough enough for anything) and soon my head was back in the chair and the blade was about to make it’s first slice. Yup, Velcro. The sound of Velcro ripping over and over as she created perfect little strands of hair. That was the sound of my skin being sliced open over and over. Not so bad. Just a little annoying. Then a little uncomfortable, like when getting a tattoo and you’re near the end and just need it to be over.

Soon it felt like it was to be a death from a thousand slices. I could feel myself starting to do some deep breathes, exhaling with every slash. You know the ones, when you’re getting a massage and it feels like you’re gonna barf. The deep breaths that women use while trying to push a baby the size of a football out of something the size of a lemon. Dramatic? No.

Once the gazillon slices are done – it’s dye time. The custom dye that Megan whipped up for me was applied and we waited for it to soak in. I looked VERY glamorous and obviously had to capture the moment:

Once it was all done I gazed upon my new, VERY DARK CATERPILLARS. Wtf?! They sooo very dark and were going to last for three whole years?! Shit! What had I done, I thought to myself. Megan, accustom to seeing that look of panic I’m sure, quickly reassured me that once the cuts healed over and the scabs flaked off, the colour would be lighter. I was skeptical, but it was too late now…

Here’s what they looked like right after. Not too bad if my hair was anywhere near its natural colour, but very stark against the blonde:


As they healed, they darkened about 20% more thanks to the tiny scabs – but as they healed, they did indeed light up as promised – of course they did, Megan knows her stuff after all – and now they look natural. No more pencil needed!


So if you are considering getting microblading done, my recommendation is to go for it! And if you live in the Ottawa area, I highly recommend Brow Design by Megan. Just make sure you don’t have any big events in the following weeks to given them time to heal up.

Fashion Fun Friday: Toques

Spring is on its way. Or at least that’s what the latest issues of magazines like LouLou and Glamour are telling us. Their glossy pages show bright colours, fun playful heels and light jackets that are the new must-haves for spring. Meanwhile here in Canada, at a balmy -20C, we’re still choosing what toque to wear with our parka.

Funny thing about the toque; it’s a Canadian thing. Eh? According to this National Post article about Canadian-isms, the word toque is only used by Canadians. Apparently every culture that has cold weather (and access to sheep) has some national variant of the knit cap: Afghans have pakols, Americans have beanies, ski caps and toboggan caps; and we Canadians have our toques.

Did you know that toques were popular from the 13th to 16th century in Europe? Although they didn’t look exactly the like the toques we know today, I can see the resemblance. Can you?


Did you also know that the toque was worn in France? By chefs? They chose to wear white toques as it was deemed “more sanitary”. The chef hat we know today was called a toque blanche aka white hat. Feeling smarter yet? According to the ‘all knowing’ Wikipedia, the modern toque was credited to French chef Marie-Antoine Carême, who was thought to have created the original toque blanche. Take that and stuff it in your French beret!

Of course today’s toques have come a long way from the puff-pastry looking chef’s hat. Thankfully for those of us living in sub-zero temperatures right now, there is a plethora of styles to choose from. Check out these Canadian sites below for playful, fashionable and patriotic options. Happy shopping!

The Canadian Pook Toque. Bonus: it’s reversible!











Then there is the classic maple leaf toque from BC’s Toque.ca. Also reversible!


And for a more hipster look, there’s the Ginger Snapped Toque from the WhistlerHatGallery.com. (Also available in grey.)









Fashion Fun Friday: The Humble Cardigan

As the temperature drops, I’ve noticed that the cardigan sweater has become a wardrobe staple of women working business-casual environments. A friend of mine commented on her growing collection of cardigans as a testament to the length of time she’s been working for the government. Office workers, especially government office workers, don the cardigan on a daily basis. Now that I find myself working in a business casual office, I am acutely aware of the number of cardigan wearing peers. The blazer is something I’ve fully gotten behind. Ask anyone I work with and they’ll confirm my love of a good black blazer. In fact, I currently have five black blazers in full rotation.  The cardigan however is not a staple in my wardrobe. Or so I thought.

Over the years the humble cardigan has evolved from its knitted beginnings with buttons; to zippers, different fabrics and, as I discovered, a more modern version that just hangs open by design. These I have in abundance (in black, of course), so imagine my surprise to discover I’ve been on the cardi-wagon all along! When done right, the trusty cardigan can look like a million bucks.

Here’s a couple ways to rock your cardi at work:

  1. Wear a skinny belt on a light-weight medium-length cardigan. Bonus Points: over a pencil skirt for a classic corporate look.
  2. Layer a longer cardigan under a cropped leather jacket.
  3. Pair a floor length cardigan with a short skirt and tall boots.
  4. Tuck a fitted, waist-length cardigan into high-waist skirt or pants.
  5. The draped open-front cardigan (my fav!) looks sharp when matched with skinny jeans, tank and kick-ass heels. Bonus Points: Add a statement piece necklace.

Now it’s time to rock our brains! When someone compliments your awesome cardi-look, segue into this history lesson:

The cardigan was named after James Thomas Brudenell, the 7th Earl of Cardigan, who introduced what came to be called the cardigan jacket in the mid-1800s. (Thank you Encyclopedia Britannica!) Cool right? It’s gets better…

Brudenell was also the British general who, in 1854, led the charge of the light brigade of the British cavalry in the Battle of Balaklava. This battle was the memorialized by Alfred, Lord Tennyson in his famous poem “The Charge of the Light Brigade.”


Fashion Fun Friday: Crimped Hair

I think crimped hair is finally back!

Recently I read this article on Yahoo that stated crimping was making a comeback at Stella McCartney’s show in Paris. The author lamented that crimped hair was one of those beauty trends that “you cringe and cross your fingers that it won’t catch on.” I feel quite the opposite. For years I’ve been hoping this 80s trend would make its way back. Anyone else with me!?

To this day I regret tossing my pale pink crimper into the garage sale pile in the early 90s when I decided that I’d never crimp again. Note to younger readers: EVERYTHING comes back, so if you really love something that is no longer in fashion. Keep it.

One great thing about crimping is that you can create many different looks, such as this chic look that Beyoncé rocks here:


And speaking of rocking, it can also make you look like a rock star. Those who know me well know that I’ve always wanted to be a rock star. Save for the lack of talent, I’d be a great one. Check out Guess model Gigi Hadid’s rock star crimping! #LOVE


If all over crimping is too much for you, you can try doing a few strands to add interest. Or try it on a ponytail like Portia de Rossi:


Whatever look you choose, have fun with it.

Here’s how to get started:

  1. Determine the sections of hair to be crimped for your desired style and section them off.
  2. Crimp one section at a time and no wider than the plates of your iron starting at the highest point first – whether that’s right at your scalp or 3 inches away.
  3. Clamp the hair with the iron and hold for 5-10 seconds.
  4. Repeat all the way down the hair shaft towards the ends
  5. To soften the crimp you may lightly separate with fingers.
  6. To finish, set your style with strong hold hairspray

Fashion Fun Friday: White After Labour Day

No white, no floral patterns, and definitely no sandals after labour day.

We’ve all heard these “fashion rules”, but have you ever stopped to think about where they originate? What’s the deal with no white after labour day anyway?

You can blame high society snobbery for this one. Basically a bunch of women from old-money families were upset that their exclusive richie-club was being run over by new-money. So they came up this fashion rule and a few others to ostracize the new-money wives who were not in-the-know. (High school flashback to the year of the must-have Club Monaco sweatshirt!)

Even though the rule was originally enforced by only a few hundred women, over time it trickled down to everyone else. By the 1950s, fashion magazines made it clear that white clothing came out after the May long weekend in Canada and Memorial Day in the US, and put away after Labor Day.

These days, fashion is more relaxed and there is no longer a hard and fast rule about what colors to wear and when – think winter white! For example, even through we’re well into September I wore a pair of floral pants to the office this week. Why? Because it was sunny and warm out. Weather should play a more important role in our fashion choices rather than a date on the calendar. And while I’m sure most of you would agree, we still hear people make comments about ‘no white after Labor Day’ – all thanks to some snobby millionaires from 100 years ago.


I love that song…

Have you ever heard a song that just makes you stop what you are doing and start dancing? Or a song that compels you to crank up the volume and belt out the lyrics at the top of your lungs? Do you wish your volume went to 11?

Whether it’s a great beat that appeals to your need to ‘dance it out’ or lyrics that beg to be belted out, music can be profoundly evocative and can draw out memories of a long-forgotten time. Socrates said “when the soul hears music, it drops its’ best guard.” I agree. It’s the experience of being transported by the beauty of a song. It’s suddenly finding yourself in tears, not knowing whether they are of joy or sadness. It’s the feeling of exhilaration and the sense of calm. We turn to music for joy and comfort. We need music because of its ability to move us.

Ask ten people to describe a scene and you’ll get ten different accounts. Ask a 100 people and you’ll get 100 different versions. Yet ask those same ten or 100 people to sing you a song and you’ll get one version. This is because our recall of music tends to be close to the original piece. Yes, we all listen with different interpretations and emotions; but we tend to remember the basic characteristics – tempo, rhythm and pitch — with remarkable accuracy. Think of how many songs you can sing right now; or back to the last time you heard a song on the radio that you hadn’t heard in years, yet sang along word-for-word. Basically, we’re hard-wired to respond to music.

I love music. Whether it’s my new favourite “gangsta chick’ Iggy Azalea singing Fancy or my longtime friend Iggy Pop with Candy, music has been there to provide a soundtrack to my life. Here’s some songs that would make the soundtrack:

  1. Hot House Flowers – Think of Beauty
  2. James Taylor – Fire and Rain
  3. Billy Idol – Rebel Yell
  4. Katy Perry – Roar
  5. Corey Hart – Never Surrender
  6. Alphaville – Forever Young
  7. The Cult – She Sell’s Sanctuary
  8. Allie X – Catch
  9. Deadmau5 – The Veldt
  10. Journey – Don’t Stop Believing

Think about the songs you’ve loved over the years. If you could only pick ten songs to be on your life’s soundtrack, which ones would best recount your life?

Carpe Diem!

tornado saskatchewanIf you read any books about career, life choices or any type of business book, most will tell you to seize the moment when opportunity presents itself. Here is a picture by photographer Colleen Niska who did just that when she noticed a tornado while taking a client’s wedding photos in Saskatchewan. Thanks to her creativity and quick thinking, she took some pretty outstanding images that have garnered worldwide attention.

On her Facebook page, she posted: “I’ve dreamed about a day like this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Could NOT wait to post these! Pretty sure this will only happen once in my lifetime!”

I’m gonna have to agree with her on that one. But what a day indeed! When I hear about stories of chance and opportunity that are seized and rewarded, I always feel inspired to do the same in my own life. Do you have the courage to face a tornado (figurative or literally) to make your moments happen?

Here’s five tactics from Tiny Budda for a motivational kick in the derriere:

  1. Live your life with purpose.
  2. Stop making excuses.
  3. Choose not to be a victim.
  4. Stop comparing yourself to others.
  5. Take action now.

Carpe diem!

The Power of Scent

Scent branding can be a powerful extension of a brand’s existing marketing strategy. For decades, it’s been a successful tactic for bakeries, popcorn stands and fast-food retailers. I dare you to pass by a Cinnabon or even a KFC and not have your mouth water!

Scent can affect your mood, your memory, in fact, your entire sense of well-being. We associate scents with people, places and specific memories because our olfactory nerves connect directly with our brains, where scent impulses create virtually instant memories. Case in point, to this day I will always associate the smell of Calvin Klein’s Obsession cologne with my hubby – even though he hasn’t worn it in over 15 years – because it’s what he wore when he first came-a-courting.

As scent is tied to memory and feelings, it’s not surprising that marketers and the like have been trying to cash in on this concept by adding smell to our media experience. In fact this has been happening through trial and error for over 50 years! In 1959/1960, competitors Hans Laube and Charles Weiss introduced to ‘Smell-O-Vision’ and ‘AromaRama’ respectively to North America movie goers. The principle was simple, movie goers experience would be enhances by experiencing the same scents as the characters on screen.

While the concept never really took off, researchers today are revisiting the concept to bring the power of scent back but this time to our personal media devices. Tokyo University researchers Haruka Matsukura, Hiroshi Ishida, and Tatsuhiro Yoneda, created a prototype of a “smelling screen” that they debuted at the 2013 IEEE Virtual Reality Conference. (IEEE is a professional association for the advancement of technology.) The “smelling screen” features fans on both sides of a computer screen and uses hydrogel pellets aka “aroma chips”, which are heated to create different scents to accompany content.

fb-shareNot to be outdone, a Tokyo company called Scentee has an app for that! Scentee’s app is used in combination with an add-on for smart phones that plugs into the headphone jack that releases scents on demand. For example, you can set it to give a burst of scent when you get a text from someone, or even LIKE on Facebook. They’re calling it a “new way of communication with aroma” as you can send an apology text and the scent of rose could be released (provided the receiver happens to have the rose scent disc inserted). I’m not sure how this will translate for marketers as the choice of scent is up to the user, but if you want to give it a go, a Scentee starter kit will run you about $70USD… and for an extra $7.50 you can have them toss in a bacon disc! Mmmmm bacon.