Artistic Talent

Artistic Talent:
Some people have it…some people don’t.

I am unfortunately one of the latter…however I am lucky to know some incredibly talented artists and I wanted to highlight some work of a friend of mine who amazes me with her concept ideas and raw artistic talent.

Her name is Sarah Gasparetto and she is the owner of TreMura Photography, which is a client based business focused on photographing individuals for headshots, boudoir shoots and also capturing special events such as weddings. You may have seen our new pics on our “About Us” page, and those are all thanks to Sarah!

Although she was incredibly successful with this type of photography, she is now transitioning to more fine art, and I wanted to share her new project concept as well as some of her past art pieces.

Here are a couple of her latest exhibits: (I was lucky enough to actually be the model for her “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” show piece :))


Title: “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” Showcased: “Paper Cinematheque” October 2014 UAS Satellite Gallery


Title: “My Intermission” Showcased: “f100 Exposure Photography Festival” January 2013 Lougheed House Calgary Showcased: “Pin Up” February 2012 UAS Satellite Gallery















The new concept!

Sarah’s new concept is so interesting to me. To have the ability to come up with something so unique and powerful truly amazes me.
Her new project will be a collection of portraits (head shots) of artists from around Calgary who make visual fine art and relate their photos to their artwork and concepts. i.e. the below photo is an image of Ashley Huff (a local Calgary painter) of her own art depicted on herself.

456625_349599378434095_1152682711_oAshley Huff is a local Calgary artist that focuses her art on internal reflection and the escape from one’s self from the outside in. It is a hauntingly beautiful image that reflects the paintings that she has created and ties it directly to herself. Ashley made paintings of a woman who ate herself from the outside in. Therefore she was photographed with the image of a place setting and a large scar/cut on her cheek to mimic the cuts that she painted.

“My goal for this project is to create awareness that art is directly tied to artists and their concepts and experiences. I find this connection can often be lost” says Sarah.

I am so honored to know Sarah and be able to watch her career as an artist bloom. She is a fantastic lady, and I invite you to keep an eye out for her new exhibit coming to a gallery in Calgary soon. For those interested in participating in this project, or who would like to be notified (via mailing list) of its formal release and exhibition they may contact Sarah directly at or phone at 403-807-5079.




DIY Crayon Lipstick

This is a very cool DIY that I got from Pinterest and YouTube! I was skeptical at first, as I am not one to take on crafty projects and find much success. However, I have been using my little pot of crayon lipstick every day since!

Here’s what you need:

–> Coconut Oil

–> Crayola Crayons (This brand is non-toxic)

–> Glass jar (not in pic)

–>Small containers (try the dollar store)


Here are the colours I tried! My absolute favourite is the pink/red one.  The purple I made a little too thick and did not quite turn out the way I anticipated…


1.  Heat up a couple inches of water in a pot and place the small jar in the middle

2. Cut up the crayon into peices and take the wrapping off

3. Measure out 1 tsp of coconut oil into the jar and let it melt


4. Add 1 crayon and stir until they are melted

5. Pour into little containers and put in the fridge

6. Voila!!



If you use the 1 crayon to 1 tsp of coconut oil ratio, you get a nice sheer gloss.  I found this to be the best combo in all the different ways I tried!

Let me know if you try this and what you think!!





The Basics: Brushes

Makeup brushes can be pretty important when using various products. It may seem minor, but once I started buying them I was hooked.  Did you know you can buy a luxury powder brush for $70!? I used to find that really insane, but now it’s what my dreams are made of…
Where to start!?

I would suggest you need the following brushes to start:

-Flat shader brush –> This is to apply eyeshadow over your entire lid

-Crease brush –> I have probably 5 of these and always on the lookout for more. They are big and fluffy and meant to blend colour into your crease

-Foundation Brush –> I will write an entire post on this. But I like using a brush waay better than slapping it on my face…unless I’m in a rush of course. TIP: most makeup sponges absorb too much of the product!

-Blush & Bronzer brush –> Essential. I like spending a little extra money on these brushes because it feels like a treat when they are high quality.

Where can I buy brushes?!

Walmart/London Drugs –> These places carry my absolute favourite line of brushes. The line feels very high end, but don’t cost half your life and it’s called Real Techniques. They are created by makeup artist sisters who have a very helpful YouTube channel to give you amazing makeup tips. TIP! Check Winners for these brushes! I have bought a few from there for an amazing price.

Another line is Eco Tools. They have some great eye shadow brushes to make applying very easy and affordable.

Sephora –> The first nice brushes I ever got were a gift from my mom and I still use them. To get the best value, I recommend buying a set to start. Or if you have some already, Sephora also has a range of single brushes. A great thing is that they offer lower end and higher end varities. Remember…if the product turns out to be terrible, you can return it!

Check out the link and get familiar with different brushes!

Happy shopping xo



The Basics: Eyeliner

First off, I do not claim to be an expert. I do claim to be somewhat obsessive with learning about makeup. One of my favourite things is to play around with different eye shadow and create various shadow/liner combos.

Make up is funny because from a young age we women are told we need to start using 3 things: mascara, blush/bronzer, and eyeliner. I remember my feeble attempts in highschool trying to put on eyeliner. Like, I’m supposed to just put black around my eyes and call it a day?? Cool. Lemme just do that and hope for the best.

As the years have gone on, I’ve tried many different techniques, formulas and strategies to get that black rimmed look, but not look like I drew two circles around the outside of my eyeballs. Why you ask? When done right, it can completely finish a look, create fuller looking lashes and be the only thing you need paired with mascara.

Okay, enough talk. Let’s look at our options…

1) Gel pencil   2) Liquid Liner    3) Gel Liner   4) Shadow


What did I use?

Pencil: Covergirl Liquiline Blast in Black (under$10)

Liquid: NYC Liquid Eyeliner in Black (under $5!)

Gel Liner: L’Oreal Infallible in Blackest Black (over $10)

Eye Shawdow: Urban Decay Naked 2 Pallet using “Blackout” shade ($60+)

Tip time–> I don’t have overly big eyes. When applying eyeliner, I try my best to have a very thin line in the inner corner and work my way out having the thickest towards the end. This helps to keep the eye more open. *Disclaimer* may have done crappy job at showcasing that.


–> Pencil is the easiest to smudge into your lash line in a hurry. I would not use a pencil to outline an intense eyeshadow look since it might not be dramatic enough. I like to draw the line, smudge it out with a brush, add mascara, and run out that door!

–>Liquid Liner takes practice, but can provide multiple different looks.  I love the precise line you can achieve and dramatic effect. This is a perfect pairing to complete a dark smokey eye.  Don’t be afraid to give this is a try and use this to create a nice flick to elongate your eye.

–> Gel Liner is my personal FAVE. I like the brush that the L’Oreal brand provides. This glides on easily over eyeshadow and leaves an intense black outline. I find it is a little more forgiving than liquid since the formula is thicker and you can build it up.

–>Eye Shadow is great for a softer look. Paired with some mascara or as an accent to a more natural look makes this a great transition from a day event to a night event.

Since I was having so much fun painting my eyes, I decided to try a more dramatic “cat eye” look!

cateye  TIP! Keep your eye open, look straight into the mirror, and start your line from the corner of your bottom lashes. Then start your next line at the top of your lashes, connect it up to the line and fill it in. Something fun to try!

Questions? I still have some, but feel free to ask with me!

Love! xo

The Red Lip

The red lip is perfect any time of the year. In summer, bold lips are the easiest way to take your daytime look into night. The problem is that they can be messy!! You don’t want to be checking your lipstick every five minutes, which is why I normally stay far away from it when going on a date, or out for a work event. Usually at those types of events no one is going to tell you you have red teeth or that your red lips match your now red chin.  I’ve also found lipstick on the top of my forehead? Who knows..

I have tried many different techniques in order to avoid such scenarios best I can and thought I’d share what I’ve learned.

For these lips, I am really into a matte finish and love this red hue on my olive skin type, I’m using Kate Moss Rimmel Matte lipstick in ‘111’ and the waterproof Sephora retractable lip liner in ‘Red’.

Find it here: and

Step 1: Lipliner is insanely important for bold lips! This particular one is waterproof and prevents the bleeding of the colour outside of your lips. I don’t have an obvious cupids bow, so I always draw an “x” to help a girl out.
Step 2: Outline your entire lip with the liner. It may look a bit funny, but try little strokes so you don’t completely draw it everywhere. Another thing you can do is take your liner outside your lip line a little bit to create a poutier pout (technical term…).
Step 3: Important step! Fill in most of your lips with the lip liner since this is a great base for your lipstick. Then put on your first coat of lipstick.
**TRICK TIME: take a tissue and blot your lips now. This will increase the wear of your red lips a lot longer!!

Step 4: Add your top coat and voila!

The other red I love:
MAC ‘Red’ Satin Finish

Hope you enjoyed and since I’m now a Sephora “VIB” member I may start posting more reviews on products or tips on what products are worth putting into your collection.

For the love of: Mascara

As I was putting this post together I constantly kept thinking how weird it is that we paint eyelashes in black most days of the week?
With makeup being a new hobby, I’m always curious how high end compares to makeup from the drug store. I love browsing Sephora and talking to the girls there…mainly so I can geek out about products. I wanted to see if any high end mascara could top my favorite $12 L’Oreal Telescopic.
So I conducted the ultimate experiment and used my face to demonstrate.

First up: Lancome Hypnose Drama mascara $32
In doing my extensive research (I asked 3 Sephora employees?) I discovered this mascara has been Lancome’s best seller for many years. This is specific for creating and building volume in the lashes. Lemme say, it can definitely build volume…but it is not user friendly: Exhibit A:

Maybe I just suck at putting on mascara (c’est possible)? It was tough to use I got a nice little clump I had to brush through with another wand and it got all over my eyelid.
Verdict? I returned it. I don’t need stumpy, clumpy lashes.

Next contender: Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara $31
This was the other suggestion that I not only heard from the Sephora crew, but have been seeing it in YouTube tutorials lately. And who doesn’t like a racy name? I was intrigued.
Exhibit B:
THE CLAIM IS TRUE! Man, I love this mascara!! User-friendly and it makes my lashes truly feathery, full and gives them length. The first photo is when I applied just ONE application and the last photo is putting on the absurd amount I prefer.

I hope you found this somewhat informative and if you have a favourite mascara you can’t live without…let me know!

April Lips

I have been looking forward to Spring for many reasons. It’s the time when everyone in Calgary start to come out of hibernation and I get to start obsessing over bright new lipsticks.
Coral! Peach! Pink! Orange! Nude! Fun!
You should know that one of my favourite hobbies is making a delicious cup of coffee and watching make-up tutorials on YouTube. Nicole, Carli, Shannon and PixieWoo are my girls!

For this month I’ve picked two of my current favorites and go-to’s that I’m constantly reaching for.

Lips April
1) Lip Paint in Hibiscus by Top Shop

This colour is more than eye catching, it’s poppin’. One of those colours that you test on your hand, smile, and know the rest of your day can’t be bad. It is a deep pink/red and acts like a stain so it has amazing staying power. Have you tried any Top Shop products you love?!

2) Apocolips in Aurora by Rimmel London

Dark dusty rose? That’s what came to mind first trying to describe the colour. Yeah, I’m hoping I get better at descriptive words also. It is very easy to apply, not sticky and very wearable for people who are a little nervous about lip colours.

Take it for what it’s worth, but I’m loving this for something to put on during a work day. Throw on some mascara, this lipstick and you got it going on!

Picture: Hibiscus on top and Aurora below



Amanda Signature