I'm just a girl standing in front of a lipstick, asking it to love her.....

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