Thursday, 7 July 2016

Easy Summer Beauty with Quo

Happy July, Guys!

We've had roasting hot weather for about six weeks already, which showed up five days after it last snowed.  We had about three days of spring in total.

Yay Canada!?!

When the weather is like this, I want an easy, fresh face. I can't think of anything more uncomfortable in 27 degree heat than 5 layers of products!  Tidy brows, flushed cheeks and a softly tinted pout is my jam these days. 

Quo has got it covered!

A little while ago, they launched some new additions to their product line, in honour of the 16th anniversary of Quo being sold in Shopper's Drug Mart.  These little beauties could not have arrived at a better time!

The first thing I want to dish about is the Quo Glow Blush Stick.  These chubby crayons contain a creamy blush that is well-pigmented.  The application is smooth, and it dries to a soft powdery finish.  The colour blends well, and is buildable.  The wear time is pretty good, if it's set with a loose powder.  I wear a moisturizing ointment on my face and I can't use powder on my cheeks, since my skin is such a mess, and I still get several hours of wear. I'm impressed! 

The Blush Sticks come in three shades: Pizazz- a creamy, bright pink.  Sundown- a fresh, peach shade with shimmer. Cosmic- a vivid coral with shimmer.

Next, we have the Quo Lip Cocktail Tinted Lip Balm.  These balms are super hydrating with a sheer, juicy finish.  They really do have a pretty pop of soft colour, and a great shine to them!  They wear comfortably for a few hours, which is par-for-the-course as far as a tinted balm is concerned, and they are the most wonderful size for just throwing in your bag for re-application.  These balms apply like butter, smell like candy, and even have a hint of a candy flavour.  They are so fun to wear!  A total summer staple in my life now!

The Lip Cocktails come in six shades.  I have put the shade Tequila Sunrise in a safe place apparently.  So safe, that I have no idea what the hell I've done with it.  It's a yummy, orange-red shade. Dammit.  The other five are pictured above, from Left to Right: Martini, Cosmopolitan, Mai Tai, Raspberry Mojito, Daiquiri. 

My favourite combo lately has been Cosmic and Mai Tai.  There is just something so fun about the coral with gold shimmering across my cheek, and the fresh hit of juicy coral on my pucker!  So summery!

Top-Mai Tai, Bottom-Cosmic
Quo is available at Shoppers Drug Mart, and while you're there, if the summer collection is still available, pick up the Lip Oil!  Talk about hydration and juiciness!  *LeSigh!
Of course, all of this was worn over a good sunscreen for face and lips.  Don't leave home without it!
Welcome to Summer!!!
Donna Xoxo


*Products were provided by PR, opinions are mine.  I truly adore these!!!


Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Lupus and a Lippy Featuring Maybelline's Vivid Matte Liquid Lip Colour

Happy World Lupus Day!

Every May 10th, all of us lupus survivors around the world, try to spread awareness in the hope of giving lupus a face. Lupus is an autoimmune disease, which means that the immune system doesn't differentiate between healthy tissue and sick, so its attacks everything, leaving the  area attacked weaker.  As you know if  you've read my blog before, (and if not, welcome!)  I have had lupus for over a decade, but I didn't get diagnosed until three years ago.  It's tricky to diagnose, since it mimics so many other diseases and there is no single test that confirms it.  There are also many different types of lupus, such as discoid, which affects the skin only.  Rock star, and really hot dude, Seal has discoid lupus.  (No, they aren't tribal scars!)  I have SLE, (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus) which affects the whole body.

Let's get to the fun stuff!!!!

The colour for lupus awareness is purple, so I thought I'd blend my love for a bold lip with some awareness fun!

Since my lips are super dry, the matte lip trend is a tough one for me.  Mattes usually look flat and dry on my lips, and are really uncomfortable.  I have, however, found a couple of exceptions to that,  and they're by Maybelline!  I talk about the Creamy Mattes, which I love, here, so I thought I'd try the Colour Sensational Vivid Matte Liquid Lip Colours.  I heard some great things, and since I had luck with the lipstick, why not?

The Vivid Mattes are a velvety smooth, marvellously pigmented cream in a sleek rectangular tube, with a really well done doe-foot applicator.  I don't usually worry about a doe-foot, kind of figured that you've seen one you've seen them all, but nope.  Not true. The applicator is slightly elongated and the edge is more defined, which gives a cleaner application.  With softer colours, you can fudge it a bit, but with something this dark, it makes a huge difference!
The formula, according to the Maybelline webpage, is "infused with pure-pigments for high impact colour", and does it ever deliver!  The colour payoff is outstanding.  The shade pictured above is "Possessed Plum".  It's a rich blackened plum, which is ideal for spring/summer's dark and edgy        lip trend.  It was all over the Met Gala, and I find it such a breath of fresh air!  I love coral and hot pink, but this thrills me to bits :)  There was a bit of patchiness on application, since it's a darker shade, but after giving it a second swipe, that was taken care of.  I did a quick pass with some lip balm before I started, since I had no idea if my lips would freak out as soon as the lip colour was on, but my lips were happy chappies after application!  I didn't feel dry or cakey at all.  The formula does have a soft floral scent, not unlike the Elixirs, and I felt a touch of tingling, but it was pleasant to wear.  The finish is more of a soft-semi-matte, almost satiny.  I find that a much more appealing finish anyways.  a dry, chalky matte lip is wonderful if you're 18, but it doesn't always translate into the grown-up world.  I'm an awful judge of wear time, nothing lasts long on me. I need to have hydrated, comfortable lips at all times, so if I get a few hours out of something I'm good, and that's what I got from this.  Once the colour starts to wear, it leaves a great berry-tinted stain behind that I just swiped some non-shiny lip balm over.  TaDa!  Gorge new lips!
It's safe to say I'm a fan!  I can't wait to pick up some more of the ten, (yes ten!), shades!
Are you guys familiar with Courtney from "La Belle Sirene"?  If not, you need to be!  Courtney is a lifestyle/beauty/fashion blogger with spectacular style.  Her blog is girly, pretty and elegant and the fact that she's ridiculously beautiful doesn't hurt, either!  She is also, like myself, a Lupus Survivor!  (We totally need a better name.  Lupus Lovelies?  Leave it with me...)  She faces her illness with grace and positivity.  We all hope to face each day in that way.  It's not always easy, but it's what we do. 
Lupus is frightening!  It's often passed off as hypochondria, or else met with complete panic.  The truth is there are lots of us out there, and we all have differing degrees of disability.  The ten year survival rate for lupus patients has risen from 40 percent in the 90's to 60-80 percent now.  It's not good enough!  To learn more, or find out how to donate for a cure, check out
Have you tried the Vivid Matte Liquids yet?  Let me know what you think, and if you have any questions about living with lupus, ask away, Kids!!!!!
Donna Xoxo

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Seventies Fever Featuring the Hilary MacMillan Spring/Summer '16 Collection

On the outside, I'm a short, pale Scottish lassie, but inside, I'm a tall, lithe woman, with glowy skin and chic, bohemian style.

To say I'm enamoured of the glamorous era of the 70's is an understatement.  I adore Bianca Jagger, Debbie Harry and Liza Minelli from the days of Studio 54.  The silhouettes were elegant, with deep-V's, softly draping jersey dresses, and wide-legged pants.

Imagine my excitement when the lights lowered on the Hilary MacMillan Spring/Summer 2016 show, and the funk music started. Did I mention that the music was live?  And amazing? 

Once the models started strutting, I was simply beside myself!

The clothes were in rich tones of emerald, grape and deep teal, along with a spectacular peacock print.  The silhouettes were varied, with flowy tunic dresses and crop tops with culottes, also structured crop pants, blazers and a phenomenal wrap skirt.  The silk dresses were sexy, with a strapless, halter or slip-dress options.  If office appropriate options are your jam, there were shirtdresses, and an amazing sleeveless vest!  The collection felt clean and modern, while giving a nod to the  past, all without looking costume-y.  This is retro for grown-ups. 
The inspiration for this collection came from a visit to a village in Tanzania, where Hilary volunteered at a children's home.  The children and women were optimistic, with a determination to empower themselves, get an education and hope for a better future. 
While at the local marketplaces, Hilary found a particular print with shades of green, purple and gold which then became the centre-piece for the whole collection. As a feminist, this was extremely inspiring and also humbling.
The collection also contains a silk tee with the head of a peacock, which was painted by her Mom!  How cute is that? Every Hilary MacMillan collection has a wonderful family-oriented detail in the pattern choices.  It makes me so happy when there is a personal element to a design.  It's like each piece has a part of the designer's heart in it.  Gives me the feels!
The beauty look of the show called to mind a soft, sunkissed elegance.  The skin had a lit-from-within glow using shades of peach and bronze.  The eyes had washes of the same shades, with lots of lashes, and the lip had a gentle coral stain.  Hair was centre-parted with soft waves cascading down.  The jewellery was minimal, only gold lariats around the neck.  Oversized sunglasses and the occasional headwrap sent down the runway, added to the breezy summer vibe. The whole aesthetic was extremely chic!

                                                               all photos - George Pimental
I will leave you with some more images from the show, for drooling purposes.  Visit for a full list of retail locations, which include Monaco, BTW!  Don't forget to keep an eye on my Twitter and Instagram for images from the Hilary MacMillan show on Wednesday at 7, and if you're a fan, don't miss Hilary's Twitter page!  This is a very cool lady!
Donna Xoxo


Saturday, 12 December 2015

Finding the Muse Again, and Talking Gloss and Dirt With Shannon Ray.


As you can see in the above photo, I'm more of a silver fox these days, than a redhead.  My utter devotion to a fabulous lip, however, hasn't changed!

Welcome to An Occasional Redhead!  

I've been on, let's call it sabbatical, for a while, and it's a pleasure to be back!  If you're a returning reader, you may know some of my life for the last year. If you're new here, I'll fill you in a bit. 

As of Nov. 17th, I've been on weekly low-dose chemotherapy, for Lupus, for a year.  It's been a roller coaster, but it's going to be worth it.  I might not have a lot of hair for a while, my skin is a bit bananas, however, the fact that I'm writing words which seem to be sensible is a huge step in the right direction. Couldn't do that last April!  Or August!

One thing that I've been struggling with has been inspiration. I felt like warmed-over death, looked like it too, and could hardly keep a coherent thought rolling around in my head for the first six months. I didn't show my mug on social media for ages. How was I supposed to be a voice for beauty, when I felt like I had none?  Inspiration was in desperately short supply. 

I had no idea how to get my groove back, so I decided to strip everything away and figure out why I started writing a blog in the first place.  I'm so glad I did! It was almost cathartic to just let the muse find me again. No deadline, no stressing about pageviews, only finding the joy in sharing this part of my being with the world!

There were a few different things that inspired me to take the leap into blogging, and keep An Occasional Redhead going. Over the next month or two, I want to share some of those things  with you. The ladies that I want to talk about in these posts have made me smile, say WOW, laugh, and want to be better, both personally and on An Occasional Redhead. I think you'll enjoy them as much as I do!

First, I want to tell you this.  If I lived in Phoenix, Arizona, there are two things that I know would be true. Since the climate is dry, my arthritis would be far less bitchy, and Shannon Ray and I would the kind of friends that drank wine on the porch and had serious, occasionally loud-ish, discussions regarding the eyebrow situation of everyone on the street. 
Shannon Ray is the brains and beauty behind a blog called Gloss and Dirt.  Gloss and Dirt is a marvellous blend of honest, thorough beauty reviews, clever tips and tricks, snark and glorious pop-culture. I discovered Shannon's blog about 3 years ago.  I had stopped work a couple of  years earlier, because I couldn't get my health under control and still didn't know what was going on with me.  Had NO idea what to do with myself.  I liked reading blogs, but I was not nearly sweet and flowery enough to write one.  Or so I thought.  Once I read Gloss and Dirt, that all changed!  This lady had a gorgeous face, kick-ass makeup skills, lots of knowledge, a semi-dirty mouth, and a mountain of personality!  I saw that I didn't have to be ultra-bubbly to write a beauty blog!  Some snark and an honest voice are what made me want to read more of this blog, and I figured that I had those qualities, so I gave it a whirl!
What makes this blog different is that it's not just about what's new.  It also features products that perform regardless of how long they've been available.  One person's stand-by may be brand new to someone else, and I love when an oldie-but-goodie is shown in a new light!  It's certainly not the standard review-the-same-collection-that-600-other-bloggers are swatching as we speak, and that's part of why Gloss and Dirt became Allure Magazine Best Blog in 2012.  Shannon still posts on the Allure website till this day!
Gloss and Dirt was started in 2012, like many other blogs, as a creative outlet.  Shannon had owned a women's clothing store for several years and started working at a Dermatologist's office.  This was, ultimately, boring and had zero creativity involved.  At this point, a friend, Shannon says, "was like, 'Why don't you start a blog? You could talk about makeup and celebrities and whatever the hell you want!' He was on Ambien at the time, so I didn't take it TOO seriously, but it stuck in my brain. So, I finally decided just to do that crap,"
The thing Shannon enjoys most about blogging is the total creative expression, and the fact that she's free to work with 100 percent freedom.  A job has guidelines to be followed, this doesn't.  "When you're writing or creating something of your own, it's like a little piece of your heart and brain that other people might just read. And might just relate to.  So, when other people are like 'OMG I THINK THAT TOO!' it's just kind of the best."
 You may notice, that Shannon has some spectacular brows, among other things, and if we want hot-ass eyebrows of our own, she spills her secrets in this post. There is now no excuse for bad brows! ;)
I hope you guys are well, getting ready for the holidays, and most of all, being good to yourselves!  Keep your eyes peeled, Boys and Girls, because there's some fun and a lot of pretty coming to the blog.  Follow me on Twitter and Instagram for updates!  Also for doggies, tv shows, and nonsense.  It's how I roll.  Don't forget to check out Gloss and Dirt on Twitter for updates and a whole bunch of entertainment, too!
Donna Xoxo

Sunday, 15 March 2015

A Face Full of Spring Feat. Maybelline Creamy Matte Lipstick and Bouncy Blush

The sun is shining and we could not be happier!  The temperature has actually above zero, and the days are getting longer. 

Holy Hell did we earn this!

This face feels like spring to me, thanks to the Creamy Matte Lipstick and Dream Bouncy Blush from Maybelline.

Let's discuss the lip first, shall we?  The ColourSensational Creamy Matte Lipstick is a collection of shades that are literally a creamy matte!  The texture is buttery and smooth while the finish is an opaque, velvety matte.  The comfort comes from a blend of three different oils.  It feels incredibly creamy, and the matte finish is really modern.  The colour is rich, and full.  The formula contains mattifying cream and pure pigments. The wear time was great too!  I got about five hours the first time I tried it, which is a lot for me, since I'm Larry the Lipstick eater.  Not something I'm proud of.  Maybelline ColourSensational has been killing it in the lipstick department for the last few years.  Each shade extension has been on trend and each has performed beautifully!  If you haven't read my post on the Vivids Collection, you should!  The shade I'm wearing is "Faint for Fuchsia".  It's a gorgeous vivid pink that is saturated and rich.  The matte finish keeps it from looking overly girly.  This hue can come across as too sweet, but this feels grown-up and currant.  The Creamy Mattes come in eight shades.

On my cheeks is the Dream Bouncy Blush in Fresh Pink.  When they say bouncy, they're not kidding!  In the pan, the blush feels soft and springy!  Like Jello and pudding had a really pretty baby!  The powder-gel formula applies softly and smoothly.  The best way to apply this is either using fingers, or a stippling brush.  It melts into the skin leaving a sheer, healthy glow.  If it's too sheer, keep in mind that it's easily buildable for a deeper flush.  There is a shimmer, but it doesn't come across as too shimmery on the cheek, just leaves a glowy radiance.  The wear time on some people has been a little on the short side, but it is easily re-applied throughout the day.  No pilling!  It can also be layered under a powder blush for some more oomph!  I have personally had no problem with wear, but I haven't left the house for more than a few hours since 2014.  My life is a riot. These blushes come in 10 shades.

I've missed you guys so much for the last few months!  The truth is, it's been a while since I've felt up to writing at all.  My focus hasn't been spectacular, and I just haven't felt pretty.  My skin lost it's mind and my hair started  to fall out, so I ended up  just saying Eff it, and shaving my head!  It was liberating!  I've learned to be so much more comfortable in my own skin.  My skin and eyes became extremely sensitive and dry like the Sahara. Because of that, I was makeup free entirely since November until very recently.  I've had to get used to going out sans makeup.  I miss colour on my face like crazy, but it's freeing to just slather on the sunscreen and go! 

The worst of it seems to be over, however.  A few more months of chemo, some surgery and by end of May, I'll be a whole new woman!  It's really exciting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. 

What are you most looking forward to wearing this Spring?  Which shades are you excited to try?

Donna Xoxo

Monday, 9 February 2015

The Laid-Back Girls Valentine Gift Guide

Happy Almost Valentine's Day, Boys and Girls!

How the hell did that happen?  Where did the last few months go?

On the up side, winter is on the way out!  Another five, six weeks and the worst of this is behind us!


I'm not your typical girl when it comes to Valentine's Day.  I'm not one for lavish displays of affection in the form of diamonds and fancy dinners or hotel stays.  It's just not my thing.  With Ray being a chef, this is one of the busiest nights of the year for him, so it's always quiet for us.  We eat Kraft Dinner, drink beer and chill once he gets home.  That's our version of romance!

I also don't think that V-day needs to only be about romantic love.  It can celebrate your BFF bond, or you can be the sister that's doing it for herself!  Love has no rules, so why should the day that celebrates it?

The best gift's I've ever been given have been fun and playful, so I wanted to talk about options for the easy, laid-back chick!

Shoppers Drug Mart is the perfect place to hit up for your V-day needs!  One of my favourite gifts is the All The Right Smoothes Body Butter Trio from Soap & Glory.

These three mini-butters are perfect for your winter weary skin!  The formula is thick, creamy, and richly hydrating.  Even the flakiest skin is left velvety and lush!  Each butter leaves the skin scented differently.  The Righteous Butter, which is the most popular in the S&G line, has a fruity-floral fragrance.  The Butter Yourself Body Butter has notes of green fig and yuzu fruit to it, and the Sugar Crush Buttercream has a sweet lime fragrance, just like a margarita!  These scents are so much fun!  Total mood boosters!  I will say, however, that they are pretty potent, so if you don't do well with scent these may not be the best choices for you.  This package sells for $15.00.

Another gem from Shoppers is the Fragrance Sampler Coffret. For $75.00 this package contains 10 samples with a gift certificate for the full size version of your favourite. This is genius!  When I was in my 20's I was given a bottle of perfume as a V-day gift and it was awful! It was something an octogenarian in a twin-set with a bad wig would have worn. I had to fake-smile, say I love it (barf) and soon after the relationship went the same way as the sickly bottle of fragrance went. Out. The. Door!  With a choice of high quality, beautiful scents like CK Reveal, Marc Jacobs Daisy Dream, and Givenchy's Hot Couture to name a few, you'll find something that works on you!

Don't we all want a luscious pout, and A Great Kisser on Valentine's Day?  Soap and Glory have you covered on both counts with this Super-Fruit, buttery lip balm.  This powerhouse has everything you could ask for in a balm, between a sheer wash of colour and its "just right" not too sticky, waxy or slippery texture. This balm contains mango butter for moisture, apricot butter to protect from cold and windy weather, lingonberry oil for barrier repair and water-loss prevention and pomegranate extract to return a "dewiness" to the lips. The flavour shown above is Juicy Peach, which has a sheer coral finish. So much pretty for $10.00!

I'd love to hear your plans for Valentine's Day, if you have some!  I'm actually quite sappy and enjoy hearing other people's ideas of romance!!!  

Donna Xoxo

Thursday, 18 December 2014

The Cutest Last Minute Gifts From Quo

Happy Holidays!

Can you believe that Christmas is next week?

I have been chillaxing, watching tv, and drinking gingerale for the last 5 weeks because of my treatment, so I'm totally behind the eight ball.  As per usual.

If you're still looking for some adorable gifts at the last minute, Quo and Shoppers Drug Mart have you covered!

First up is the Love Lip Set, which contains six gorgeous mini-glosses.  There are five neutral shades, and one soft pink glittery shade.  Each one is nicely pigmented with a delicious vanilla scent.  The texture is creamy and quite rich, without a lot of stickiness. These are perfect for throwing into a purse, keeping at a desk, or a locker.  A girl can never have too much gloss!  This set retails for $20.00.

The Quo Walk The Line Set contains four different shades of eyeliner.  Each liner is well pigmented, and soft in texture, with no drag when applying.  Since they are creamier in texture, they may smudge a bit, so use a primer on the lid before hand.  The metallic blue, copper-brown, and silver are all loaded with shimmery loveliness, while the black is inky and deep. This set retails for $20.00.

This little beauty is my favourite!  The Quo by ORLY 18-Piece Mini-Laquer set is an amazing gift.  The 18 polish shades are separated into three sets of six: The Nudes, The Pinks, The Glitters.  I had never tried Quo by ORLY nail colour before, but after one try I was hooked!  The formula lasts like a champ, and for the most part goes on well in two coats.  I am particularly enamoured with the glitter polishes in this set!  I don't have a lot of luck with glitters, but these particles are perfectly distributed throughout, and there is a great tint to the base of the polish.  That green shade is super-pretty on toes!  The price is $43.00, which is wonderful for the amount of laquers, as well as the fact that you can split into it three gifts!

Are you guys going to run out to Shoppers ASAP to check these out?  Or are you going to take someone there as a subtle stocking stuffer hint for yourself?  That works too!

 I hope everyone's well, and I wish all of you the Merriest of Christmases, Happiest of Holidays, and a Spectacular 2015!!!!!

Donna Xoxo

*These products were sent for consideration, however, the opinions expressed are all mine!