Photoshoot: AS98 Montreal

I recently had the opportunity to work with Suite 203 Communications; a Montreal-based boutique marketing communications agency that specializes in strategic content, social media and Montreal public relations for lifestyle brands. They needed someone to shoot AS98’s fall/winter collection and asked if I would be up to the challenge! Their client; AS98 an Italian shoe company, recently opened up shop on Crescent street! Their shoes are all unique works of art. Each shoe is made by hand with high quality materials and unique designs that stand out among the rest. If you are looking to make a statement, AS98 is a great place to go, not to mention their shoes are extremely comfortable (I had the opportunity to try out a few pairs).

I wanted to capture the shoes in their grungy element so we used the cities (many) construction sites and back alleys as our backdrop! Here are a few of my favorites from the shoot!

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Stay tuned for their Spring/summer collection and be sure to follow AS98 on Instagram and stop by at their store on Crescent street!

Top 5 Etsy Shops for Wedding Invitations

With our wedding fast approaching in the beginning of July we are starting to tie up loose ends and make sure that everything is thought of. Planning our wedding has been really seamless so far. We haven’t felt stressed or overwhelmed at all and it has been pretty fun! Then it came time to pick wedding invitations and our difference in taste appeared. I love all things really feminine, floral and clean. He likes more simplicity and not so much “greenery” so I was really having a hard time picking something that we both enjoyed. I looked on Minted.com, Paperless Post and Etsy. In the process I fell in love with a few shops on Etsy that have the most incredible wedding invitation designs.  The greatest part about ordering a template on Etsy is that you can then choose your paper and have it printed locally which saves you money and time! Unfortunately, we couldn’t agree on any of these, and I ended up designing my own wedding suite which combined both of our tastes (which I am really excited about) I still wanted to share them with all of you, because they are really stunning.

White Willow Paper Co.

I love how whimsical these cards are! They are all unique works of art and created locally here in Montreal!

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Georgia Blue Design Co.

I love the modern yet feminine simplicity of these cards!

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La Bohemme Paper Co.

There is a good mix of whimsy and modern simplicity here!

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Alexa Nelson Prints

These are not available in template form, but they are serious works of art and worth every penny in my opinion!

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Shine Invitations

One of my favorites for their modern, sophisticated look. No florals here, but definitely feminine.

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What are your favorite shops on Etsy for invitations?

The 2nd Annual Stroll for Kids With JFK

Once again, I had the pleasure of donating my time by photographing a great event supporting the Just for Kids foundation. Check out the first event I photographed for them here!

This past September on a beautiful sunny Sunday morning in Rembrandt Park, Cote St. Luc, the 2nd annual Stroll for Kids took place. With the sun shining bright, there were a lot of happy faces of all ages to capture! I have been taking part in this non profit organization for the last 9 months, volunteering for the annual hockey tournament and getting the opportunity to take photos. It is the least I can do for such an amazing cause!

For the past 2 years JFK has partnered with Stroll for Kids in a group effort to raise funds to purchase high-priority medical equipment for the Montreal Children’s Hospital. JFK’s fundraising achievements improve the effectiveness of doctors and nurses on a daily basis and help parents sleep better knowing that their children are getting the best possible care. To find out more, please visit www.jfkfoundation.ca.

This year over 500 participants strolled on Sunday September 25th. The Stroll was not only sold out but it succeeded in raising a whopping $180,000 in support of JFK to benefit the MCH. Featured in my photos are only a handful of the many faces and only few of the several sponsors who helped make the event possible. Local Montreal sponsors including RustiqueRichter, Urban Bonfire, Sumac, Mouton Noir Catering and ReJuice and the international brand; Keurig are just to name a few. You can find out about the rest of the sponsors, and see all of the photos from the event on the Stroll for Kids Facebook Page!

Here are some of my favourite shots of the day. Enjoy!

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Non-Toxic Makeup Routine

A couple of years ago I discovered the Environmental Working Group. A non-profit, non-partisan organisation dedicated to protecting human health and the environment. With groundbreaking research, it guides consumers to make healthy choices and helps us understand what is in the things we consume and the products we use. I soon realized that in the beauty world, the word “organic”, didn’t really mean non-toxic, and that a lot of the products I thought were good for me, were actually filled with scary ingredients like formaldehyde and parabens (both labelled as carcinogens).

I decided it was time for a change, so I started doing research and began paying attention to the ingredients in the products I was buying. EWG has a great app which gives you the option of scanning a product or entering its name into the search bar. It then shows you a score in terms of its health concern. The rating system is from 1-10. 1 – being a low concern and as clean as it gets, and 10 – being a high concern and quite hazardous for your health. They break down products by their ingredients and rate each one individually. I started researching the products I was using on a daily basis and was shocked to find out that none of them were clean… My makeup bag was in need of a serious makeover!

Since I am not one to waste, I decided to replace my products one at a time. I would use my old products up until they were finished and replace them with a clean alternative. Over the last 2 years I have replaced each and every product in my makeup routine. I have now curated a non-toxic makeup collection and a simple everyday routine that is good for me and my health! I thought it would be fun to share it with you. Here is my personal roundup of clean makeup for an every day, dewy, sun kissed look:

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  1. I start with the Juice Beauty Phyto-Pigments Illuminating Primer made with coconut alkanes instead of silicones and botanical juices. Primer is a great way to even out my skin and get it ready for foundation and concealer and this one is great. It hasn’t been rated by EWG but I checked all of the ingredients and they are all a 1 or 2 rating.
  2. I use RMS Beauty “Un” Cover-Up in #22 as a concealer for my everyday routine, but it doubles as a foundation so when I am going out and I want to look more made up I will apply it all over my face. Daily, I dab this under my eyes and over redness or blemishes. This is the product I started my clean transformation with and I love it. It’s light weight, spreads evenly and looks really natural. It’s made with ingredients like coconut and castor seed oil, beeswax, and cocoa seed butter. It has a rating of 1 on the EWG site.
  3. For bronzer, I had been using the Bare Minerals Warmth powder for many years, which is actually a good rating of 2, but I loved my RMS concealer so much, I switched to their Buriti Bronzer which is a really lightweight cream bronzer that seeps into my skin and feels great. It too is made with all natural ingredients including coconut and castor seed oil, beeswax, and cocoa seed butter.
  4. For a natural blush to my skin I use bareMinerals Blush in “Hint” which also has a rating of 1. It goes on really nicely and has a warm pink hue.
  5. To add some depth to my cheeks and create a nice dewy look, I use the W3LL People Bio Brightener Stick. I love the way this product illuminates and enhances my cheek and brow bones and it has a rating of 1 and is EWG verified!
  6. For my eyes  I use the Alima Pure Satin Matte Eyeliner in Soft Inky black and apply it as an eyeliner by using a liner brush dipped in water. It can also be used as a powder for a smokey look. It has a rating of 1 on the EWG site.
  7. Finally I swipe on some Organic Wear mascara by Physicians Formula which I buy at the pharmacy, in black. This product is great, cruelty free and has a rating of 1 of EWG

For a daily makeup routine that’s fast and natural looking, these products do the best job, and if you’re like me, and live in Canada, you know that these products are not as readily available as they are in the states. Luckily, I recently discovered Detox Market, which is a great website for all things clean! I am able to find the majority of my items there and the rest are in stores near me; like Annie Young, Sephora, the pharmacy and Holt Renfrew.

Do you have any non-toxic beauty favourites to share?

JFK Glam Jam; For the Kids

A few months ago I got involved with the Just for Kids Foundation when I sat on the committee to help organize their annual hockey tournament. JFK is an amazing foundation which is dedicated to raising funds to purchase high-priority medical equipment for the Montreal Children’s Hospital. I had so much fun on that committee that I couldn’t wait to get involved again! I was really happy, when I was asked if I could photograph their next event; Glam Jam, which was held at the brand new AVANTI spa in Decarie Square. Of course I said yes. Not only was it a great way to practice, but it was an fun way for me to give back! It was a night filled with beauty and fun, and it was a pleasure to shoot! Here are a few of my favourites from the evening.

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If you are interested in getting involved with Just for Kids or if you would like to see the rest of the photos, be sure to check out their website and Facebook page here: JFK Foundation!

 

Snapshots of life lately: A photoshoot

Photography has been a hobby and passion of mine for years. I got my first DSLR camera over 10 years ago now and I have grown so much since then. I started out using it for fun. Then a few years ago, I started my blog and got really into food photography. I love styling and shooting still life. Then, I was asked to take photos at a friends bridal shower, which led to another bridal shower gig. Being asked to shoot these events, I was faced with a new challenge; capturing moments, emotions and moving objects! It was scary at first, because it’s so different from taking your time placing your items where they need to be, in the perfect lighting and taking as many photos as you want. In event photography, timing is everything. Lighting changes all the time, and capturing human emotions is a whole new world! With that, I have been putting  a lot more energy into taking photos of people. I have been doing family photos, and got a chance to shoot an event recently. It has been really fun and I love all the new skills I am learning. I am now in a place where it is time to upgrade my camera so I can continue pursuing this hobby of mine as more than just that; a hobby.

A few weeks ago, I was shooting a 1st communion and rented a wide angle zoom lens. I wanted to use it a bit before the gig, so I gathered the troops and did a mini photo shoot. I thought it would be fun to share it with you all!

Enjoy!

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Anyone have any tips on turning a photography hobby into something more? I would love to hear about it!

Jess

Birthday Cake Popcorn: An Alternative to Cake!

I love popcorn! It’s such an easy, light snack. Since I got rid of my microwave 2 years ago, I avoided making it, thinking it would be a big “to do” in a pot. I soon realized that it’s really the simplest, most delicious way to make popcorn and it is way more fun than doing it in the microwave!

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I use coconut oil, and a dash of salt on most days, but when there is a special occasion, I have a lot of fun with it. There are so many delicious ways to turn your everyday popcorn into a party in your mouth (check out this post), and this birthday cake popcorn is no exception!

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I recently found myself in need of a lighter, and somewhat healthier alternative to cake, but I still wanted it to be fun and special. So, when I came across this post about birthday cake popcorn, I was really excited to give it a try. It was a huge (addictive) success with the masses, and took me no more than 15 minutes to put together!pop3

Here is what you need:

• 1 1/2 cup white chocolate chopped

• 1 1/2 cups classic white cake mix of your choice.

• 2/3 cup kernels

• 1/2 cup coconut oil for chocolate and popcorn

• A sprinkle of sea salt

• 1/4 cup sprinkles

Step 1: Pop your kernels

In a large pot with a lid, over medium high heat, add 1/4 cup of coconut oil and 3 kernels. Wait until the 3 little kernels pop (these are your testers). Remove them from the pot, add the kernels to the oil with a sprinkle of sea salt and shake it up. Cover and let that pop, while shaking regularly to ensure every little kernel gets a chance to pop. This should take about 2 min. When you start to hear the popping slow down, take off the heat and let it rest.

Step 2: Melt the Chocolate

You can do this in the microwave, but since I don’t have one, I boil a little bit of water in a pot and put a glass bowl overtop. Mix the white chocolate and the remaining 1/4 cup of coconut oil to the bowl, and stir with a spatula until nice and smooth.

Step 3: Make the Batter

Remove the chocolate mixture from the heat and add to it the 1 1/2 cups of cake mix. Stir well until there are no lumps left.

Step 4: Assemble

Pour this cake batter, chocolate mixture all over the popcorn that has been resting in the pot. Add the 1/4 cup of sprinkles and fold over until well combined.

Step 5: chill out

On a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, spread the popcorn out evenly and let it chill for at least an hour. You may need 2 baking sheets for this recipe.

Step 6: Try your best not to eat it all!

Do you have any fun popcorn recipes to share?