Sunday, 29 November 2015

Shop Local Sarnia - Gift Guide

A few weeks ago I shared some ideas to help you shop local in my Think Before You Shop post and now I want to offer you some specific gift giving ideas from some of my favourite Sarnia businesses.

Silpada - Joan Armstrong

Shopping from Silpada for any lady on your Christmas list is a no brainer for me for 2 reasons. 1. This line has a huge selection of jewellery offering styles for anyones taste and 2. I can shop when it is convenient for me online and have the items delivered to my door. If you like shopping online, consider the variety of direct sales companies that offer their consultants websites. Silpada  has been offering some great sales, you can sign up for their newsletter so you can take advantage of some great deals.

I have been wearing the two Silpada jewellery pieces featured in the images below a lot, dressing them up and down. I know these earrings and necklace will be at the centre of many looks I create this season. If you have any questions about Silpada, Joan would be happy to assist you with your shopping. You can send her an email from her website or get in touch with her through her Facebook page

The Book Keeper

Childrens books are an amazing gift for young families because they provide an opportunity to spend time together. I love the children's corner at The Book Keeper, you can pull up a little stool and let your inner child take over as you browse the wide selection of books they have available. They have books for anyone on your list from young to old and they even carry some books written by people from Sarnia Lambton and books about our community!

If there is a specific book that you are in search of, they can help you find it in store or order it in for you. If you would prefer to shop online, you can do that as well from their website. This store is cozy, the staff are welcoming and shopping at The Book Keeper for gifts is always an enjoyable experience.

Shoes @ 144 Front

This is one of my favourite stores in Sarnia and they don't just sell shoes. In addition to an amazing variety of footwear, they also carry funky socks, purses, bags, wallets and super stylish hats, all great gift ideas for a girlfriend, sister or mom. For all the males out there who don't know what to get their lady, a gift card to this store would be an excellent present for Christmas morning. Your lady will love the selection of beautiful items to choose from and I guarantee she will have the most pleasant shopping experience while she is there.

Specifically, I love the line of Co-Lab bags that Shoes @ 144 Front carries. This line designs everything from wallets to large totes. I have a few of their faux leather items, they are functional, quality bags that make it easy to be a stylish mom. A few months ago I shared why I loved the Co-Lab back pack in the My Diaper Bag story but most recently I have been loving this magenta over the shoulder bag (pictured below). This purse easily transforms into a clutch that I can throw into Luke's diaper bag by clipping off the shoulder strap. If you have a mom on your Christmas list that loves stylish bags, a purse that allows her to keep her fashionista identity and be prepared for everything her child may need during an outing, is a very thoughtful gift!

Greg's Auto Detailing

Tyler gave me the idea of a truck detail this year as I was having trouble thinking of something unique for him. I loved the idea of a vehicle detail for anyone who loves their ride. As you can see from the images below, this gift is not your average car clean, this is a vehicle transformation. After reviewing all the images on the Greg's Auto Detailing Facebook page I could see why Tyler would want his services as a gift. Greg's Auto Detailing doesn't just clean your vehicle, he makes it look like new. It is amazing how having my car cleaned to perfection makes me love it like a brand new vehicle all over again.

Greg's Auto Detailing has been in business for over 15 years. His work is proof that he takes pride in his business and appreciates his clientele.

Sticks and Strings

I think warm and stylish winter gear is always a great gift for us up here in the true north. I want to be able to enjoy my time outside during the winter but I want to look cute too. Within the Sticks & String line, there are many pieces that come in child and adult sizes which means Luke, Tyler and I can all match, wouldn't matching knits be a great gift for a little family! These handmade knit items will keep your loved ones warm and on trend all winter long. You can browse the variety of items from their Facebook page and if you see something you like, just send a friendly message.

The woman behind Sticks And Strings is a friend of mine whom I have known for many years. Her creativity easily flows into all of her handiwork. She also creates custom Nuns and other cool items, if you are looking for a very personal and unique gift idea.

As I learn more about my favourite local businesses there is one common thread, they are all prideful and appreciative of the community they live and raise their businesses in. For this reason they give back to our communities joyfully at Christmas and all year round. Shopping local doesn't just support the business owners and their employees, it supports our community and makes it stronger by allowing businesses to continually support the charities in Sarnia Lambton. The positive ripple that will take place when you begin to change your mindset and thoughtfully shop in our community, will reach so many of our neighbours. Have fun shopping local this Christmas Sarnia and all year long.

Merry Christmas!

P.S. Connect with these businesses on their Facebook pages to keep up with all the fun stuff they have going on all year long.

Silpada - Joan-Armstrong

The Book Keeper

Shoes @ 144 Front

Greg's Auto Detailing

Sticks and Strings

Friday, 27 November 2015

Christmas Makeup Tutorial by H.A.L. Makeup Artistry

This time of year I love my makeup to really sparkle and shine. In this makeup tutorial I show you how to use a little glitter on your eyes and shimmer on your skin. 

The jewellery I am wearing in this look is from Silpada. I have been wearing these pieces so many ways and thought it was the perfect addition to a holiday look. My friend Joan is a Silpada Consultant and you can see more of their jewellery and connect with her through her Facebook page.

I love Christmas and am excited to share all of my holiday adventures with you and hope to hear about yours as well! I would love to connect with you through InstagramTwitter, and Facebook so we can share in each others Christmas memories. Not only do I love sharing my story, I really do love to read the stories of others and communicate with all of you. I believe when we share honestly, we have the opportunity to create real relationships and THAT is what I truly love about social media!

Anyways, here is the video, THANK YOU for watching.

Have a great weekend and .......... MERRY CHRISTMAS 

P.S. Luke makes an appearance at the end of this video:)

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Eliminate Violence Against Women

Wednesday November 25th was the International Day For The Elimination Of Violence Against Women and on this day I had the pleasure of sharing One Spark with a local ladies networking group. The work of One Spark is important to me so I thought I would share their story here as well. Their mission is to provide  barrier free opportunities for women experiencing violence, to generate income through entrepreneurship. One Spark wants to create a world where no woman faces financial barriers to living a life without violence.

The Executive Director of One Spark became familiar with the needs of women in transition through her work with Child Protection services, as a strategic planner. She recognized the staggering need for women fleeing violent living situations to have accessible housing and to generate or supplement an existing income quickly after deciding to leave her dangerous living situation.  Interval homes are an amazing first step in the process to living violence free but many are over capacity and are for short term use. After their time in an interval home, women are faced with job searching and in need of childcare with little external assistance. Some face living in poverty causing them to often return to living in violence. These financial barriers cause many women to have to choose between being poor or living in violence, a choice no one should ever have to make.  More specifically these are some details that demonstrate the need for the work of One Spark:
  • Half of all women in Canada have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16.
  • On any given day in Canada, more than 3,300 women (and their 3,000 children) are sleeping in a shelter to escape domestic violence. Every night, more than 200 women are turned away because the shelters are full.
  • 1 in 4 Canadians say they have tried to help a friend leave a violent relationship.
  • On average, every six days a woman is killed by their intimate partner. In 2011, from the 89 police reported homicides, 76 of the victims (over 85%) were women. 
Women sometimes stay in abusive relationships because they are financially dependant on their partner. Leaving the relationship often means doing so without sustainable income or accessible housing. Interval homes serve as a short term safe house between a victim leaving the abuser and finding long term housing. During this short period of time it can be challenging for a woman to deal with all the facets of her current situation, find a job and childcare, if children are involved. 

One Spark's program works to remove the financial barriers women face when fleeing violent living situations by coming along side them to assist them in setting up a business that could provide them with income. A woman going through the One Spark program will be provided with the following: 

  • assistance creating a simple business plan
  • have her business registered for her including the costs being covered
  • provided with a laptop and basic software required for running a business
  • provided with information regarding legal compliance and government remittances
  • provided training on tracking business income and expenses
  • provided up to $2,000 in start up costs and ongoing mentorship
The time frame for going through the One Spark program varies but we want things to move efficiently for the women in our program. The start up costs are grants and repayment is not required but our hope is that one day the women that have gone through the program, will want to continue to be part of the One Spark effort as part of an advisory board, offering guidance to the other women going through the program. This program provides women with opportunities to financially support themselves and their children in a way that puts them in control of their lives. 

We are currently working with The Work Place Group in Sarnia and other similar organizations across Southwestern Ontario to connect with women in need of our services. The organization is based out of the Toronto area but we are set up to service any woman in need across Ontario. We are working to build more relationships with organizations like The Work Place Group so that we can continue to connect with more women in need of our services. 

Unfortunately, I am sure that many of us at some point in our lives have seen the need for the services of One Spark and other services working to end violence against women. In our own community we have witnessed the tragedy that can occur when a woman is living in violence. I believe in the work of One Spark because I know there are still many women that need its voice to be loud on their behalf. This organization helps to remove a woman from violence but it also provides her with tools to find her own voice once more. Entrepreneurship provides an option for financial freedom and provides women an opportunity to grow in their self confidence. Owning a business is very empowering as your skills are providing for you and you are in control of your success.  In our community, being a female business owner makes you part of an amazing group of women who work hard to support each others professional and personal endeavours.  

Sometimes it can be crippling to hear about the violence and sadness in our world, what can I really do to make a difference with the issue of violence against women. The thought of the overwhelming work that needs to be done, does exactly that, cripples my actions and sometimes I  regretfully do nothing. I do believe that we can make a difference and raising our voices can make positive change on the issues of violence against women. We can make a difference with our voices, we need to use our voices for those who are unable to speak for themselves. We need to talk about violence against women in hopes that someone in need of assistance will no longer feel they need to be silent. We need to remember those who have been lost to violence so their stories are never repeated and we need to tell the stories of survival to bring hope to those escaping violence. 

The issue of violence against women is still in need of being brought out of the darkness so that the women currently living with violence, are not afraid to take the first steps in living a life free of violence. On Dec 6 National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women we would ask that you join One Spark in honouring the women we have lost to violence, to give hope to the women experiencing violence and to bring the issue of violence against women out of the darkness. We can create awareness and conversation by sharing our moments of remembrance on Dec 6 by lighting candles in our windows, taking a photo of them and sharing them on Facebook. Please tag One Spark (Facebook) to create awareness of our work and to show that we have hope that one day our world will be free of violence against women. 

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Luke Lately

I really love hanging out with Luke, he makes me smile pretty much all day long. Even when I need to be strict mom, sometimes I am still smiling inside. Luke, here is what you have been up to lately. 

You say "no no" all the time and shake your finger at me (you learned this from me).

You say "ning ning" you learned this from me and your aunt Emily during a very long car ride. I am sorry if I have confused you by teaching you a word that is not real. 

You still love smoothies.

Your favourite protein is pork.

You thrive when you are on a schedule.

You are becoming more independent and confident in yourself, I notice this in the ways you will go to others and play independently more often.

You love to hang with dad and the boys.

You love the Truck book, I can never just read it to you once, it gets read minimum 2 times every time. 

You like to sit on things that are the perfect height for you to sit on by yourself. 

You like to play with toys that require fine motor skills, I think you will have great attention to detail. 

Keep doing you son.

your mom 

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

4 Shadows 4 Ways

I needed a little inspiration for my everyday eye shadow look so I challenged myself to create 4 different looks with 4 shadows. I normally have my go to products for each season and these colours are what I have been gravitating towards lately. All of the makeup used in these looks are Arbonne, I love this product line because the pigments are fantastic and you can achieve a variation of intensity from subtle to dramatic. The shadow colours I used were Linen, Java, Ivy and Smoke, all of these shades are great for anyone in need of building an eye shadow collection.

In this video I talk you though how I created these looks. Once I started to play around with the placement of the various colours, I realized I could have created even more. I hope this video inspires you to get creative with the makeup you have in your collection at home.

Thank you for watching!

Monday, 16 November 2015

Family Recipes

This year my sister Emily and I pickled for the first time. We recently popped the top on our pickles and are happily surprised at how well they turned out! I plan on giving some of my pickles away as Christmas gifts or hostess gifts this year but my pickle loving sister may keep hers all to herself :) (she has been obsessed with dill pickles since she was little).  

The recipe we used was from a friends mom, I am so grateful she shared her family recipe with me because I think it will now become a staple recipe in my family cook book too. Its really comforting for me to cook, bake or can with a recipe that has become a tradition in someones family. I like thinking about all of the memories that are wrapped up in that recipe, creating the dish and sharing it with others. 

I love to cook food because I love eating it but most of all I love how it brings people together and allows us to create memories. It is at the centre of almost all holidays and special events and I plan on making it a big part of my family traditions as our family grows up. 

What are some foods or recipes that are special to your family? 


Thursday, 12 November 2015

Think Before You Shop

Christmas is right around the corner and I have started to make my gift giving shopping list. I try not to put all the focus of Christmas on gifts as I believe it is about so much more but I love brainstorming the perfect gifts for my loved ones. You know that feeling when you know you got the perfect gift and it is so hard to wait until Christmas morning for the recipient to open it because you are so excited to see their reaction, I strive for that with the purchase of every gift!

In my shopping and gift giving experience (which I think is pretty extensive), I have found that many of the best gifts can be purchased from a local business here in Lambton County. The local vendors I shop from tend to have unique items that can't be found in big box stores and very often if they don’t have something in stock, they are happy to order it in for you. I also much prefer the shopping experience in a local store because I am often dealing with a passionate business owner who is just as excited as I am, to help me find the perfect gift!

I think shopping local is an amazing way to make your holiday details so much more special. By purchasing my Christmas turkey from a local farmer I am starting my own family tradition that is now part of a family tradition that has been bringing Christmas joy to the dinner table for probably many generations, how cool is that!

It’s not about how much I have but how what I do have, is special. I would rather spend a little more on a few special items than have many not so special items. It’s not about how many presents are under the tree but the uniqueness and thought of those gifts. 

Not only do I encourage you to consider local stores and farmers when doing your Christmas shopping but also the people in your life who run direct sales companies and offer really cool products that can only be purchased through them. If you like to shop online this can be a great way to shop locally without leaving your home. Many direct sales companies provide their Consultants with personalized websites so their clients can shop directly from them online.

The ways to support our local economy with your Christmas dollars are endless and I assure you that shopping locally will fill you and the recipients of your gifts with so much joy.

Here are some of my favourite local stores and vendors to shop from to get you thinking about your gift giving list. Put a little extra thought into your Christmas gift, grab a coffee from your fav local coffee shop and enjoy the Christmas shopping experience that is available to us right here in Sarnia Lambton!

Turkey - Jeffrey Farms

Gifts For Her - Joan Armstrong Silpada

Gifts for Him - Gregs Auto Detailing

Cozy Gifts For The Family - Sticks And Strings

Gifts For The Girls - Shoes @ 144 Front

Gifts For The Whole Family - The Book Keeper

This is just the beginning of some exciting posts and content that I will be sharing here throughout the Christmas season. I love Christmas and I want to share in the awesomeness of this season with you. Check me out on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook so you don't miss any updates or giveaways.

Makeup Tips For Girls Who Wear Glasses

Check out my latest makeup tutorial where I offer a few makeup tips for girls who wear glasses. This was a request from a friend who watches the channel, I love hearing from you so please feel free to get in touch with your beauty questions.

Let's Connect

Thank you for watching!

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Christmas, Red Cups & Starbucks

If you have seen any of the controversial conversation on social media about the new Starbucks Christmas cups, I am sure you can agree that Starbucks has done an excellent job in creating conversation and marketing themselves this holiday season. I am a Christian who loves Jesus, good marketing, coffee and Starbucks and if you check out my Instagram account you will find images declaring my love for all of these things!

I don't think creating an awesome minimalistic red cup is a brands way of removing Christ from Christmas, I think they were focused on a design with the hope people would talk about, post pictures with and share their own personal designs, doodles and messages on it. Mission accomplished Starbucks, well done! I am also making an effort as a Christian to not only keep Christ at the centre of my Christmas but at the centre of my entire life. I hope I do this in a joyful way so people will see Christ through me and the way I live, a red Starbucks cup or a Starbucks cup with a snowflake on it is not going to make a huge difference in my efforts either way. 

I plan on stopping by Starbucks all Christmas long to grab cups of holiday joy to sip while I Christmas shop and I also plan on buying a few cups of joe for the person in line behind me and asking the barista to write Merry Christmas on those cups! Starbucks left it blank so we could do what we want with the red cup, make your red cup spread Christmas joy! 

Merry Christmas, 

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

I Love Bridal Makeup

I love creating a bridal look for a bride on her wedding day. I feel very privileged to be a part of anyones wedding, especially that "get ready" time when all the girls are together. Sometimes there is a special note or delivery from the groom to the bride, creating even more anticipation for the bride and groom to see each other. I normally get to see the brides father see her for the first time dressed in her wedding gown, an amazing sight of pride in a fathers eyes. I love a wedding day makeup look but these little moments are what make my job as a makeup artist so amazing.

I am just the makeup artist on that special day and I simply want to apply makeup that will make you feel like the best version of yourself. If you don't normally wear a lot of makeup, we will apply a little to enhance your features so you look bright in photographs. If you normally wear a lot of makeup, we can create a look that will make you feel even more glamorous on your wedding day.

I want to be your wedding day makeup artist and I am confident that with my seven years of experience in the beauty industry, I will be able to meet your beauty needs. You will never have to think twice about your makeup because there is so much more for you to be focused on for the day of your wedding.

If you book your wedding day makeup applications for you and your wedding party with me before November 30 2015, you will receive a complimentary Holiday makeup application for the month of December, a $50 value.

You can see more of my work on my website in the Portfolio and you can also check out the video below where I create a classic bridal look on myself. As a freelance makeup artist, I travel across Southwestern Ontario to you for your wedding makeup application. To book your wedding day with me and take advantage of my offer, text me 519 - 384 - 8778 or email me

Monday, 2 November 2015

My Fall Fashion

I love fashion, everything about it. I love planning outfits in my mind, getting dressed in the morning and coordinating my outfit with hair, makeup and accessories (oh and sometimes Luke's outfit too). I love fashion because it allows me to express my mood and when I am well put together I feel confident, like I always say "when you look good, you feel good".

Like many fashionistas, Autumn is our season to shine, layer up and start walking around in those boots that were made for walking.

I am not going to deny that I like to shop because I do and I shop often but as I get older I think I am getting smarter about my purchases and working on building a wardrobe. I rarely go out and buy a bunch of new items (unless I get lucky at the Goodwill) but I do pick things up here and there as I need them. Each season I usually have a few items I would like to add to my wardrobe and then mix those in with my good old favourites. Oh those favourites, I definitely become attached to some of my clothes that hold sentimental value. And of course I am attached to my leggings, all my leggings. Ladies, lets keep these bad boys in style FOREVER please, I don't want to have to be the only 80 year old granny rocking leggings ok.

Here are some of my favourite fashion moments from this fall!