Category Archives: hello beautiful

foundation part 2! | vancouver makeup artist

So, last week we started to dive into foundations and, as promised, here is part two!  More types of foundations:


type of coverage: medium. good for evening out skin tone and texture but not full coverage of dark circles or bad breakouts

good for_______ skin type: good for all skin types

how to apply: same as a liquid foundation (see last weeks post) but you will find that since it is lighter in texture that it doesn’t require as much blending.

cream to powder:

type of coverage: medium to light

good for_______ skin type: oily and “normal” (I have a hard time with calling it “normal” because normal skin is whatever the skin your in is doing at the time, that’s normal but I have yet to come up with or find a term for not too oily or too dry.  If you have one let me know because it is not cool that women of all ages think that just because there skin is a little shinier or drier means that they are not normal! Sorry, psychology of marketing and the way that it kills our self esteem rant over… for know) oh, if your skin is on the drier (lacking oil) or dehydrated (lack water) side then you will want to stay clear of a mattifying product because it will dry you skin out a little more and enhance any flaking or dry patches that you have.

how to apply: same as a liquid foundation but you will want to apply it in smaller sections since it is harder to blend once it is set.

powder foundation:

type of coverage: medium to light

good for_______ skin type: oily and “normal” for the same reasons mentioned above

how to apply:  powder foundation is usually pressed into a compact  and comes with a sponge applicator.  You can use this for more coverage or if you are looking for just a little coverage use a powder brush


So, I hope this helps you next time you are heading out to buy or even use the foundation you have in your cupboard J


Thanks and have a beautiful day!

foundation 101 | let’s makeup | vancouver based makeup artist

So, let’s talk makeup! I decided for makeup tips and tricks I would start with the base and work my way up. Last makeup tip I talked about the importance of primer, why we use one and how to use it. So logically the next step would be foundations.

Foundations come in many types and a lot of ladies don’t use “traditional” (a.k.a. liquid ) foundation any more. There are so many kids of foundation our there (liquid, powder, whipped, cream to powder, mineral powder and tinted moisturizer… and I’m sure a few more too!) that it can be overwhelming to me to pick the right one for my need and skin type and I am educated in this stuff! Oh, little side note: I get overwhelmed very quickly by too many choices. Cereal, clothes, makeup… really anything, if there are too many choices my brain goes into overload and shuts down and I end up leaving without what I was set to get. I LOVE to research things online so I can avoid decision-indecision… but I digress…

So, the best way to know what YOU want to pick up next time you are at the makeup counter here is a little Foundation 101. I thought I would share a little about all the different types out there but, once I was done, I realized I went on a bit long so I decided to break it down into more digestible chunks. Today’s types of foundations are the 2 of the most popular types…


type of coverage: medium to full. Good for covering scars, breakouts, dark circles under the eyes and general discolouration.

good for_______ skin type: all skin types but some that are made to be “long lasting” may cause sensitive skin (and even not-so-sensitive skin) to breakout because they add oils and other waxy products to make them stay put. If you use a primer you don’t need long wearing products because that is what the primer will do for you!

black makeup sponge

most amazing (and chuckle worthy shaped) makeup sponge EVER!!!

how to apply: You can use your fingers or a foundation brush to apply the product to your skin (I use my fingers when I do my own makeup but when I’m working on clients I like the brush… I’m sure I will post about that another time ☺ ) When I am working on a client I approach the face in quarters since liquid foundation can set up a bit and make it harder to blend. If I am doing my own make up then I take the make-a-mess-and-clean-it-up-in-a-hurry method,. I put a good amount on the tips of my fingers and then smoosh in onto my face (hey, I’ve got two young kids and a whole lot going on so the days of having an hour to get ready are long gone). Then (whether on clients or myself) I use my MOST FAVORITE makeup product in the WORLD… the blender sponge. It is a makeup sponge made of rubber that looks more like a sex toy than a makeup applicator but it is AH-MAY-ZING!!! With it’s unique design you can get into the corner of your eyes, the crooks of your nose and use it’s broader sides to blend. I use it damp and it blends so beautifully that you look like you’ve been airbrushed. No streaks! Also, because it’s rubber you can just give it a little wash with shampoo when you’re done, let it air dry and it’s like brand new every time you use it!

personal favourite: Make Up Forever HD Foundation.

tinted moisturizer:

type of coverage: light to barely there. good to even out slight variances in the skin and slightly evens out skin tone. Really great for those who want to wear makeup but don’t want to look like they are wearing makeup.

good for ________ skin: all skin types and very beneficial to drier skin since it only has a slight pigmentation but is high in hydration.
how to apply: just like you would your moisturizer, a little on your finger tips and rub it in until it is absorbed.

personal favourite: personally, I think buying a tinted moisturizer (unless you are in LOVE with your brand) is a waste of money. I take my favourite cream and add a couple of drops of my favourite foundation to it, blend it in the palm of my hand and, viola, I’ve got tinted moisturizer. Then I can vary the amount of coverage when needed by changing the ratio of cream to foundation.

How do I get the right colour?

Especially post summer tan this one is a tough one! A lot of girls match their face but because a lot of girls where sunscreen all the time on their face but not their necks or chest there can be a couple of shades difference between the two.

Here’s my rule of thumb when it comes to skin matching. The lighter the coverage, the higher you match it. If you are going with a full coverage foundation, match it to your neck because that is where you will blend to and if you match it to you face and it is a couple of shades lighter than your neck it won’t look right BUT is you are using a tinted moisturizer then you want to match it more to the skin on your face otherwise you could end up with dark and light streaks and that’s no good. When in doubt, ask a professional! From Holt Renfrew to Shoppers Drug Mart, there are plenty of places that will give you samples and do your colour selection for you. And remember you may need to colours; one for summer/fall when you have a bit of colour to you and one for winter/spring after your tan fades.

Next week I will cover the rest of the foundations.

Thanks and have a beautiful day!

choosing to say “no” to sunscreen | vancouver makeup artist, esthetician and mom

I grew up in Southern California in the 80’s and early 90’s.  My memories of this time seem to resemble more of a John Hughs movie than it probably actually was but So. Cal was in it’s hay day and the place to be.  In the summer, my parents would drop my older sister and I off at the beach and come get us at the end of the day.  It was pretty awesome…dude!  We were armed with our beach towel and that was about it.  No cell phones (well, no one had cell phones because at that time the battery was about 10 lbs and required it’s own bag), no umbrellas, no sun shirts, no hats and, gasp, no sunscreen.

My heritage is part native and, even though you wouldn’t know it by looking at my pasty, Vancouver, alabaster skin, I used to be very dark and olive in tone and because of this I didn’t tend to burn and when we moved to Washington it took 2 years for my tan to fade.  Honestly, I still remember the day my tan lines disappeared and I became as white as my white parts.  I was never overly fearful of the sun.  I had a great relationship with it.  Slow and steady at first and once I got a good base I was good to go.

Fast forward 20 years (OMG! 20 YEARS?!?!?!?) and I am faced with the big question.  I know the answer for myself, but, when it comes to your kids… I don’t know about you, but I always make better choices for my kids than I do for myself.  Tobin has skin that will burn on a cloudy day in the shade, Oliver has more my skin and Miss Isla, well, she seems to be sun sensitive too.  So, to sunscreen or not to sunscreen?

The past couple of summers I’ve had little ones running around I was totally pro-sunscreen.  I slathered and sprayed to protect my little monkeys while they played but this year something happened.  I sprayed Isla and Oliver and they got a rash.  No big deal, I thought and went on with my day.  The next day I sprayed them again and they complained about the sunscreen stinging.  I thought they were just being silly but then I sprayed it on myself and my skin started crawling and by the end of the day Isla not only had her little rash on her face but broken capillaries on her cheeks too!

At this point I said NO MORE SUNSCREEN! and went to trusty google to find an alternative.  I knew from my ingredients training when I did my CIDESCO certification for esthetics that some natural ingredients have a natural SPF to them , like avocado oil, so I was on the hunt.  Funny enough, right then, a friend posted on FB an article about all the amazing uses of coconut oil (oh, I will share later about my love affair with coconut oil) and one of them was that it has a natural SPF of 4 and that’s a good start for me!

I have found great looking recipes online for homemade sunscreen but I haven’t gotten around to gathering the ingredients and to be honest, I choose limit exposure, hats, shade, coconut oil and when we go out to the spray parks, sun shirts and that’s good enough for all of us.  No ones been burned, everyone is getting their doses of vitamin D and no scary chemicals are being sprayed on us or being absorbed into our biggest organ.

Thanks and have a beautiful day!

exfol ELATION | beauty tips and tricks from a vancouver makeup artist

I wrote this post in March but didn’t know where to post it, but now I have the perfect place!  So, here you go…

You know that feeling when you slip into fresh clean sheet?  It’s AH-MAY-ZING!!! Well, I just got that feeling with my own skin…literally.

At the end of this week Tobin and I are going to a fancy event where I not only am going to wear 5” heels (for the first time since I was 18 and a dancer, oh that reminds me, I should start practicing walking around in them 🙂 ) but I am wearing a fantastic silk and chiffon dress that is…above the knee.  EEEKKKK!  I have hidden my legs since I was 20.  This dress shows so much skin (legs and arms) I needed to get myself psyched up a week in advanced.

On top of running our full time photography business Tobin and I are full time parents to our amazing son and daughter who are 4 and 2, respectively.  I literally have calluses on my knees from playing on the floor with them and exfoliation is a word from my past kid-free days of working in a spa.  Also, I am on a big kick of moving away from the so many toxins that we are exposed to everyday in search for alternative beauty products that I can find in my kitchen.  I needed to do something about my calluses since they will be on display for the first time in over a decade and a half and I wanted to start now.  My esthetics background has taught me that everything I really need is in my kitchen and my computer.  We have lemons that are turning and need to be used, I’ve got sugar, and Google!  I found the most AMAZING scrub recipe.  All natural and, honestly, tastes great (I was using it on my super scaly face and lips).

The recipe I found online and tried is here (plus she has some great advice on WHY you want to use these ingredients) BUT here is how I am going to make it for next time (because, oh, there will be a next time!!!):

body scrub from the kitchen

everything you need may be in your kitchen


¼c.  lemon

1 teaspoon olive oil (but I think I will try coconut oil)

1 teaspoon organic honey

1/3  cup refined sugar

small bowl with lid

Squeeze juice of lemon into small bowl, whisk in honey and oil.  Add sugar and stir until all sugar is coated.

This makes a smaller amount so you don’t waste any and since you shouldn’t exfoliate like this more than once a week and I’m not sure what the shelf life on this would be, I just plan on making a small fresh batch each time.  I like my scrub to be a bit drier and grittier than the original recipe.

Now here is the big tip for use.  If you are an old scaly mess like me you will want to use this scrub from forehead to toes.  I started on my face and only applied a small amount of pressure then I worked my way down my body with a Mr. Miagi approach of “wax on. wax off.” (a.k.a circular motion).  Then I rinsed.  My skin felt soft but also a little filmy still.  So I started to rub at my skin and *OVER SHARE WARNING* the yucky layer of dead, dull skin started rolling off.  It was like the scrub prepped my skin for exfoliation but didn’t finish the job.  So I manually exfoliated (a fancy way of saying rubbed) my skin and was SHOCKED.  First shocked at how much build up there was on my skin but more shocked that the exfoliated skin on my legs was coming off blue…BLUE!  It took a minute of thinking and then it dawned on me.  It’s the dye from my dark denim jeans.  CRAZY!  So after a final rinse off I jumped out of my amazingly relaxing and rejuvenating “research” and did the final step of exfoliation I always recommended to my clients at the spa, dry yourself off vigorously with your towel.  What’s great about this is there is no need to moisturize after you shower because the olive oil in the scrub does that for you!


my little helper

Isla getting in on the action.

homemade body scrub

our final product!

diy body scrub

Isla moving in for a taste.

body scrub taste test

She LOVED the way it tasted! Think lemon drop candies… YUM!


Now I can’t stop caressing my super soft skin.  Even my clothes feel better. So simple and so absolutely fabulous!  I can’t wait to do more research for more wonderful things to share with you!!!


Thanks and have a beautiful day!


primed for perfection | vancouver makeup artist tips and tricks

Happy Makeup Monday!

I have a confession.  Up until a year ago I didn’t understand the importance of primer.  All these years I allowed my makeup to just run off my face and eyes and I would get mad at my product or my skin.  I mean, come on skin, it’s important to me that my makeup stay on all day and looks the way I applied it that morning.  Who hasn’t walked out of the house to head off to some event feeling AWESOME about the way their makeup looks thus feeling AWESOME about the way they look thus just plain ol’ feeling AWESOME, to get home, or slip into the bathroom, to look in the mirror and your eye shadow is a mess and your foundation and powder is no where to be seen.  Confidence ROCKED!

I got to the point that I stopped wearing eye makeup, except mascara, because there was NO point.  It would rub off in about 30 minutes.  SO frustrating.  Well, that frustration happens no more!

As I brushed up on my makeup artistry skills, I went to makeup stores and artists to talk to them about their little tips and tricks.  This is where I learned the importance of primer and what kinds to use.  There are tinted primers, primers for eyes, primers for face, gel primers and cream primers, primers that mattify and primers that add shimmer.

I am a basic kind of gal, so I went with a mattifying gel primer and a clear eye primer.  Why not just use the face primer on your eyes too?  Well, I’m glad you asked.  The primer you use on your eyes is a little more waxy than the one for the rest of your face since your lids get rubbed every time you blink.

So, how and when do you use your primer?

After you’ve washed and moisturized your face, put a small amount of your face primer on your finger tips and rub onto your skin.  It depends on what brand you are using but, usually, a little goes a long way.  Then apply your eye primer to your eyelids using your finger tips or, if you want you can use a lip brush.  Let both set up for a minute or two.  This is a good time to brush your teeth or practice your expressions in the mirror (you know you do it :)), then apply your foundation, or go straight to powder, and apply your makeup as usual. Don’t have an “as usual” routine yet? Well, hopefully these tips and tricks will help you find what works best for you.

*LEARNED THE HARD WAY NOTE: after priming your eyes it is vey important to set your eye primer with your foundation or skin coloured powder.  If you don’t you will not be able to blend your eye shadow and will end up with a frustrating mess. Believe me!

Where do I get some of this AWESOME primer stuff?

You can find it everywhere from your local drugstore to MAC and Sephora.  Also, we have my favorite (Sensation Primer Mattifying Gel by Modern Basics and their eyelid primer) available for sale here at PHOTOBIN PHOTOGRAPHY (email me if you’re interested. I can even ship it to you!).  SO many people kept asking about it when I did their makeup that we’ve decided to bring it in.

The best example I have for the “you should use primer” debate is from a client of ours.  I did her makeup early one morning and she told me that she couldn’t believe how long her makeup stayed on!  She went home, packed (she was moving), took a nap, packed some more, went for a run, took a quick shower and went out dancing that night and said her makeup never budged!

So next time you are updating your makeup kit, make sure you include primer on your list and keep your makeup where you put it; on your face 🙂

Thanks and have a beautiful day!

my first tip | vancouver modern glamour and makeup studio


Hello Beautiful!

It’s Monday and I am gearing up for my first makeup/makeover tip or trick.  I’ve been pondering all weekend what to write for my first post.  I’ve asked friends, I’ve thought about tips I give clients while they are in my chair and I’ve thought about the questions I had when I first dusted off my brushes to get started as a makeup artist.  I even noticed that as I put on my makeup I am thinking about how to break it down and show it in a vlog or a post.  I used to think in FaceBook statuses and now I narrate my activities in my head as blog posts 🙂

So, without further ado, I am going to share the BIGGEST tip I know for looking your best (and surprisingly, it has NOTHING to do with makeup)!  All right.  Here it is…

Drink water!  When you are hydrated your skin is clearer, brighter and plumper making it a great base for makeup or, heck, you’ll feel so great you can go without.

How much water should you drink?  Well, that’s up to you.  If you already are a water drinker, good job!  But a lot of us, nowadays, are fuelled by coffee, sodas and juice and forego the H2O for one of these.  Don’t worry if you do, just make sure you have an extra glass of water to counterbalance the caffeine or sugar.  Personally, to make sure I’m drinking my water I have a fun, refillable, double-walled 16oz cups with a lid and straw that I sip on and refill it all day. And if you want to make it interesting, add a slice or two of lemon (even better, slice the lemon and freeze them to it not only does it add flavour, it keeps it cold!).

So there you have it!  Water!

Thanks for stopping by and have a beautiful day!



our content commitment | vancouver modern glamour portrait studio


overcome your fear and work hard for your deams

these words sat on my desktop over the past year to keep me focused!

Hi and thanks for stopping by!

Well, after a year of irresponsible blogging (as in not knowing what the heck we were doing and thinking no one was going to listen anyway, silly us ;)) we are reformed and ready to make the change.  If you decide to join us on this journey we promise to be consistent, educational, informative, opinionated, authentic and maybe even entertaining.  This is where you will get to know us and we would LOVE the chance to get to know you too so feel free to comment and start a conversation.

Yes, we are a photography studio but our blog won’t be just photo talk.  My (Sarah’s) hope is that we become a diverse resource.  As we go through this journey of life we are not JUST a photography studio, we are a married couple (for over 16 years), we are parents of young children, we are embarking on whole food cooking, we are running a business AND a household and we are doing all of this together.

To help us be consistent in our blogging (and to let you know what you can look forward to) here is our content commitment to you… though we do allow (and hope you do too) for some small variances should something super awesome happen that we want to share.

Mondays- HELLO BEAUTIFUL!– this is where I (Sarah) will share my primping and pampering tips and tricks as well as my favourite finds.  I will blog and even vlog some step by step demos.  For this one I will reach deep into my decade of esthetic expertise.

Tuesdays- HE SAID– this is where Tobin gets to share what’s on his mind.  The rants, raves and other inner workings of my modern man not put through the Sarah filter… okay, well, maybe a little filtered but, hey, I’m a totally control freak. 🙂  Tobin will share his thoughts on everything from smoothies to movies to tips on surviving crazy wife syndrome and everything in between.

Wednesdays- SHE SAID– my turn!  Here I will share what it really is like “behind the curtain”.  I will candidly share what it’s like systemizing the family and the business, balancing the notion of “having it all” with the reality of it, cooking, cleaning, co-parenting and co-working with my soul mate.  But I’m not JUST going to share but I’ll let you know what I’m doing about it.  Recipes, crafts, trials and triumphs will all be shared here.

Thursdays- PHOTOGRAPH RESPONSIBLY– this is for you photographers out there.  Tobin and I will take turns talking about our business and photography in general.  Tobin will talk the technical stuff (I’m not a photographer AT ALL) and I’ll talk business (though Tobin has AMAZING insight in business too so he’ll share as well).  What we are doing, what is working and what isn’t working.  Tobin will vlog tips and tricks from how to take a better selfie to how to pose.  We would also LOVE to know what your questions are for us.

Fridays- THEY SAID– this is where we will feature one of our clients.  We will share their story, either through their own words and photos or a video of their experience.  We can talk about what we do until we are blue in the face but we want you to hear from the people that really know what they are talking about.  The ones who have experienced for themselves!

Some posts will be long (we both can get going sometimes when given a soapbox to stand on) but some will be short and we are excited for this journey to begin.  I hope you’ll join us.

Thank and have a beautiful day!