Author Archives: Mary S.

IMATS Toronto 2014 Recap

IMATS Toronto 2014 Recap PostI’m excited today to bring you my IMATS Toronto 2014 Recap!

As I announced in this blog post a few days ago, I attended IMATS Toronto 2014. (Click that link if you want more detailed background information.)

IMATS stands for International Make-up Artist Trade Show, and it’s an event presented by Make-up Artist Magazine that I’ve been going to every year since 2010, with the exclusion of 2013.

It’s open to anyone aged 17 or older, and you don’t have to be a makeup artist to purchase tickets.

So why do I attend IMATS when I’m not a makeup artist? Simple. I am a beauty-and-creative enthusiast who appreciates artistic inspiration and learning from thought leaders who not only think outside the box, but who break the box wide open.

I’m never disappointed in my trips to IMATS Toronto because it’s like a condensed version of going to summer camp, except everyone who’s there shares a similar passion for makeup, artistry, and an undeniable drive to do something different.

Although commercial beauty is lovely, it’s the editorial looks that inspire me on a whole other level, and IMATS Toronto gave me inspiration galore.

This year, I mainly went for the experience, to attend seminars, and to check out the competition. Those are my favourites, and the shopping is just secondary.

This blog post is photo-heavy, hehe, but if you’re a regular reader of Swatch And Learn, you know that it’s the usual here. I always like to share many photos.

When I participated in IMATS Toronto 2014, I took several photos along the way, which you may have seen on my Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, especially. By providing live coverage during the event, it was my little way of take my dear readers with me, so that you could see some of the exploding talent and get a glimpse into how amazing the experience was!

Since I brought both my smartphone and my DSLR camera, I snapped photos with both, and you’ll see a bunch more photos that didn’t make it onto my social media.

Continue reading


Nail Art Tutorial: Snowman Nails

Snowman Nail Art TutorialIt feels like I haven’t worn faces or eyes on my nails in a long time.

(Taken out of context, that might make some people scratch their heads.)

Although my schedule after work has somehow gotten busier than ever before, I want to make time to do more freehand designs, especially festive ones leading up to Christmas.

Today, I’m showing you easy Snowman Nail Art that only requires a base coat, a top coat, five colours, a dotting tool, and a striping brush.

The nail polishes I used to create the snowman nail art are The Body Shop Colour Crush in Minty Amour, OPI Queen of the Road, OPI Angel with a Leadfoot, OPI Juice Bar Hopping, and OPI This Gown Needs a Crown!

I love sharing these kind of simple designs because it might encourage someone to try their hand at nail art, even if they’ve never done so before. There are a lot of overly complicated designs out there that, while nice to look at, can be intimidating to beginners.

It’s my goal to make nail art that’s easy to replicate because I believe that everyone should enjoy the fun and creativity that it has to offer. I don’t want anyone to feel excluded!

To do this design, you don’t need masterclass skills, but you will need patience. Also, remember that happiness is your goal, not perfection, and you’ll always be a winner. ;)

P.S. Read the bottom of this post for a short story from my childhood about how I once got in trouble for building a snowwoman.

Continue reading


Blog News: I’ll Be Attending IMATS Toronto 2014 Today

It’s that time again for IMATS Toronto 2014! :)

Every year, except for 2013, I attended IMATS (the International Make-Up Artist Trade Show). All the years I went, it was held in Etobicoke at the Toronto Congress Centre. Then, last year was the first time it was held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. I’m very much looking forward to experiencing IMATS at the new venue!

IMATS Toronto 2014

Although makeup artists definitely attend, it’s also open to people like me – beauty enthusiasts. (Also, you have to be 17 or older to attend.)

It’s an opportunity to get great deals on makeup, brushes, and more from brands such as beautyblender, Eve Pearl, Kryolan, Make Up For Ever, Naked Cosmetics, NARS, and more!

But it’s not all about shopping. There are also student competitions, which are always inspiring and fun to watch, as well as seminars led by professionals in the makeup industry, so you can learn new techniques and tips. (I actually enjoy the seminars and competitions more than the shopping aspect because it’s neat to see the personality of industry greats.)

The people who are scheduled to hold seminars today are: Thomas E. Surprenant, Siân Richards, Eve Pearl, Kevin James Bennett, Randy Daudlin, Sébastien Tardif, Barney Burman, and Gina Bettelli.

IMATS is also a great place to network for bloggers. In past years, I’ve bumped into many beauty bloggers, and it’s nice to see familiar faces and people who share a similar passion.

Unfortunately, the general admission tickets for $45 CAD have already sold out for today, but the Pro-Card Tickets are still available, according to the IMATS website at the time I wrote this blog post. The general admission tickets are still available for tomorrow, though.

IMATS Toronto 2014 will be running this weekend only:

  • Saturday November 22 – 8:30 am to 5:00 pm EST
  • Sunday November 23 – 10:00 am to 5:00 pm EST

I’ll be taking some photos and possibly a few video clips and sharing them live during the IMATS Toronto 2014 trade show, so if you can’t make it and just want a little glimpse, please follow me on social media this afternoon.

I plan to post specifically to my Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts. (Although, I may also post on Google+ and Pinterest.)

Haha, since I already did a lot of damage during the Sephora VIB Sale, I probably won’t go buck-wild buying things, but I am on the lookout for a good fan brush to apply highlighter. And if there are really good deals on the beautyblender, I may have to stock up. I’m actually falling more and more in love with it since using it damp with the Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation. (I’ll need to update that review to reflect my change of heart.)

I’m going to IMATS mainly for the experience and to learn some new trends and tips, not really for shopping. Because of this, when I post my recap post later, it’ll be more focused on that and less of a haul-type post.

P.S. If you see me there, I’ll be the one wearing freehand snowman nail art!

Whatever your plans are today, I hope you have a wonderful day! :) Thanks for stopping by Swatch And Learn!

Edit: In case you’d like to see some posts I did in the past about IMATS, please see below:


The Body Shop’s Black Friday, Cyber Monday & Giving Tuesday Deals

The Body Shop Black Friday 2014 Cyber Monday DealsAre you going to be doing any Black Friday shopping this year?

Back in the day, I had an American boyfriend. (He was raised in the United States, but came to Canada for university. We met at our first full-time jobs as writers.)

One year, we went down to New Hampshire to visit his parents.

It was my first time celebrating American Thanksgiving. His mom cooked a huge feast and decorated the place so well, even Martha Stewart would approve!

As a Canadian, it was really exciting to partake in the frenzy of Black Friday shopping at midnight.

We went to the mall, and it was packed, even though we got there a little before the witching hour. And once the shops opened, everywhere you looked, there was a swarm of people in the Black Friday beehive!

I hit up Coach, Banana Republic, and a few other places. It was far too easy to go nuts, but I had set aside a budget for this shopping extravaganza, and I made sure not to spend more. (Always practice responsible shopping. No item, no matter how coveted, is worth getting into debt over.)

Since then, I haven’t made a trip south of the border for American Black Friday shopping, but over the years, I’ve noticed that the Black Friday Fever is spreading to Canada. :) We’re getting more sales here than years ago, so now instead of heading south in search of a good deal, you can support the local economy.

In this post, I share with you The Body Shop’s Canadian Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday Deals!

In another post, I’ll show you some of The Body Shop’s holiday offerings because they have a lot of options this year, and they’re all full of amazing products!

Continue reading


Quick Look: Nicole by OPI 2015 Collection Swatches, Photos & Press Release

Nicole by OPI 2015 CollectionWhen I attended the Nicole by OPI Blogger Dinner back in October, PR gifted me with the entire 11-bottle Nicole by OPI 2015 Collection!

The recap post on that event will be coming just as soon as I get some free time after work! (Phew, my schedule continues to be as busy as a bumble bee in herringbone! I’m also gradually replying to comments that my lovely readers have left on the blog.)

Today, I’d like to show you some bottles shots and quick swatches of all the shades in the Nicole by OPI 2015 Collection, which will be available in stores beginning January 2015!

Also included is the official press release, so you can read about the inspiration behind the collection.

Continue reading


Quick Look: Too Faced Melted Kisses Set

Too Faced Melted Kisses Set ReviewDuring the Sephora VIB Sale, I did some damage, as you may remember when I published the latest Haul of Shame post.

One of the items I got that readers showed interest in seeing was the Too Faced Melted Kisses Set, which includes four deluxe-sized liquid long-wearing lipsticks with 5 ml of product.

There are four shades: Melted Nude, Melted Peony, Melted Fuchsia, and Melted Berry.

I’ve never tried any of the Too Faced Melted liquified lipsticks, so I’m really excited to try these!

In this post, I’ve done a Quick Look at the Too Faced Melted lipsticks. You’ll find swatches, too. Later, I hope to review at least one in-depth for a separate post. (If you’d like the review to be on a specific shade, please let me know.)

Continue reading


Haul of Shame: Sephora VIB Sale Haul 2014

Sephora VIB Sale 2014 HaulHi! I’m Mary, and I’m a beauty junkie! Here’s my Sephora VIB Sale Haul;)

It’s both exciting and embarrassing to admit that I re-qualified for my second consecutive year of being a VIB Rouge member. (Maybe I need to join Sephora Junkies Anonymous. However, if there is such a group out there, I think we would just wind up talking about our favourite makeup items and then enable each other to buy more. Dangerous! We’re talkin’ Code Red or…Code ROUGE! Hehe, I can’t resist cheesy puns.)

Recently, Sephora had their much-anticipated VIB Sale, which only happens a couple of times each year, and it’s available to those who reach VIB and VIB Rouge membership. This time, the Sephora VIB Sale was for 20% off everything in-store and online.

Since I have a lot of favourites, I try to hold out until these sales, so I can stock up. But, of course there are always makeup products that wind up in my cart. (Don’t know how they sneak in there. Life’s greatest mystery. Or not.) *Shrugs shoulders and gives a sheepish grin*

While I don’t often post hauls, I thought I would do one this time because I really enjoy seeing other people’s Sephora VIB hauls. It’s a grown-up version of Show And Tell.

When I was in kindergarten, for Show And Tell, I would often just grab something random to bring to tell my classmates about.

Once, it was a piece of lint that I told the class was part of a cloud from Heaven. (After Show And Tell was over, I didn’t keep the story going. It was just a piece of lint again.)

Sometimes I would bring meaningful things to talk about, but I enjoyed making interesting stories about ‘boring’ objects or even just things that could be considered garbage. (Haha, one time, I brought in trash and explained how it was really a piece of history! Like nearly every kid, I was obsessed with time capsules.)

Well, I don’t have any lint or garbage to show you. Bummer, right?

Instead, I have my Sephora goodies that came in the mail yesterday! :)

When I returned home after having a lovely dinner out with a friend, I immediately picked up my camera and became a paparazzi.

This post just contains quick photos of what I got. If you’re interested in seeing a detailed review and additional photos of any of the items, let me know. (Not all the stuff is for me. I got some for my mom, so I’ll only be able to do reviews on the things I keep. I’ll indicate which ones I got for her.)

P.S. Ever since Wiz Khalifa’s album, Blacc Hollywood dropped, I’ve been listening to it almost on a daily basis. I think this is why whenever I read or write the word “haul”, his song “We Dem Boyz” plays in my head. Instead of “Hol’ up”, I think of it as “Haul-up”. Yeah, I know. Something just ain’t right with my mushball upstairs.

Continue reading