New Beauty

Ever stood in front of a row of mascaras at the beauty boutique feeling totally baffled? With aisles full of choices it’s hard to figure out what will actually make a great addition to your beauty routine.

Beauty

In an attempt to combat this problem not just for myself, but for hundreds of confused women everywhere each month I will be sorting through and testing the latest product offerings over at the Hip + Urban Girl’s Guide to put together my top picks of the items that deserve some consideration in your beauty arsenal. May nothing but good hair days, DIY manicures and the perfect lip colour be in your future. Here’s what’s new and exciting this month.
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Developing a Killer Personal Brand

This post was first featured on Hipurbangirl.com

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I recently started a new job, and on the first day my boss told me that what separated me from all the other interview candidates and ultimately won me the position was my online brand.

Whether you’re on the job-hunt, launching your own business or looking to establish yourself online, it’s important to invest some time and thought into the business of you. By effectively developing and marketing your online reputation you’ll be in a better position to target your personal and professional goals.

Get Recognized and Be Consistent 
Determining who you are and what you do is the first step in creating your personal brand and an online marketing strategy for yourself. Think about your strengths, skills, experience and interests, and ask yourself what you can bring to the table that will set you apart from the competition. Do you have a knack for graphic design, or are you a makeup artist experienced in bridal looks? When you know your strengths and passions you can highlight them by creating a personal brand that’s consistent with your objectives. Whether your audience is hiring managers, peers or potential clients they should be able to get an understanding of who you are, where you’ve been and what you can offer when they connect with you.

Dream Job

Decide your core message and start building your profiles. It’s a good idea to use the same username across all platforms so you’ll be easy to find on every network. Using a site like Namecheck you can search to see if your name or chosen brand name is available across all major social networks and then claim them for your use. About.me is a great tool to build yourself a splash page that will lead your audience to all of your social pages and websites from one place.

Google yourself and take note of what already exists about you online. Take the time to go through the privacy settings on your Facebook account and remove anything you wouldn’t want a potential boss to see. You’ll also need a headshot of yourself to use across all your channels. Make sure it’s simple, professional and easily recognizable so your peers can pin point you when you’re networking in real life!

Know Your Niche
Trying to be something or someone you’re not online won’t benefit you in the real world. Thus, it’s in your best interest to be honest and realistic with what you know and what you like rather than faking it in an attempt to win influence and recognition. Select your area of focus based on the industry you work in, your skills and experience and what you are passionate about. This will let your true self shine through online and get you connected with others who have similar interests.

Dream Job

Share Who You Are
How will you communicate your personal brand to potential clients, peers and hiring managers? Knowing the right social platforms to use to get yourself heard will ensure you’ll stand out from the crowd. A photographer might want to promote themselves online with a digital portfolio or Flickr account, while a stylist might want to share outfit posts on a blog and connect with other fashion enthusiasts via Twitter. Make sure you are present in the channels that will connect you with your target audience. This is your opportunity to leave a memorable first impression and leave your audience curious to learn more about you.

Life Quotes

It may not happen over night, but thinking through your personal and professional goals and aspirations to put together your personal brand and marketing strategy will lead you on the path to a future of endless possibilities.

Tell me: How have you used your online brand for career success?

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BYOB: Bring Your Own Bracelets

As that old song goes, two’s a party, but three’s a crowd, however in the world of arm accessories the part really is just getting started at four. Not quite sure how you can stack up to the bracelet trend? 

If you’re late to the Arm Party there’s no need to wait for your formal invitation. I’ve put together a starter kit of bracelets for you to check out over at The Hip + Urban Girl’s Guide. Arms up! 

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An Organized Writing Desk: It’s a Good Thing

Sometimes where you write is almost as important as what you’re writing.

In my experience a dark and cluttered area tends to leave you more distracted and uncomfortable than a bright and cheery space with everything you need to keep productive. Over the last few months I’ve slowly been trying to put together a space where I can be inspired and write. It’s still not perfect, but with some help from my friends at Staples I now have the foundations in place for a desk that will help me reach my freelancing goals in 2013.

Martha Stewart Avery

With some of the latest pieces from the Martha Stewart Home Office Collection by Avery and a few personal touches I set to work on building my ideal writing space. I’m now equipped with a variety of spiral notebooks and notepads for jotting down To Do lists, names and numbers and notes from my interviews, as well as folders and labels for my business invoices and receipts. The white organizer, magazine file, trays and boxes in different sizes and lengths add height interest to my desk, and I can change up their configuration to suit my needs. With items starting at $2.99 you can afford to put together a desk that’s stylish and functional. Now all that’s left to do is sit and wait for the creative juices to start flowing.

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How do you organize your writing space?

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A Food Lover’s Mission

Follow me on Instagram and no doubt you will see one of two things; photos of my manicures and photos of some of the best things I’m eating at home or at a restaurant. I’ll get into more detail about the first point in another post, so today we’ll focus on the second: food.

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I’m guilty. I like to take pictures of anything from a summertime fresh garden tomato to the entree I ordered at that trendy new Toronto restaurant. To my epicurious delight I recently discovered Gastropost, a special feature from the National Post that encourages foodies to take part in weekly food missions for a chance to have their culinary adventures shared online and in print.

Simple follow @Gastropost on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and tag your food photos with the #Gastropost hashtag each week to participate in their food missions. You might find yourself a foodie celebrity one week like I recently did.

paper

Earlier this month I participated in the Pizza Rising Mission and submitted a photo of a pizza I ate on a recent trip to New York City at Otto Enoteca. It was called Pane Frattau topped with tomato sauce, pecorino cheese and the best part of all a sunny side up egg right in the middle!  A few days later I got an email from the friendly Gastropost team notifying me that my entry would be featured in the print edition that weekend. My submission would even be accompanied by a cartoon drawing of myself. How fun is that?!

Don't I make a good cartoon?

Don’t I make a good cartoon?

What I really love about this project is how the Post has taken an activity many social media users already love to do and created an engaged and interactive community of fans that transcends the traditional newspaper page right over to the most popular digital platforms. There’s no app to download and the missions each week ensure that food lovers can share a wide range of culinary favourites that are fun, seasonal and unique. Plus who wouldn’t love to see themselves in the paper? I’ll definitely be keeping up with this project.

Have you participated in #Gastropost? Show me what you’ve submitted!

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Mix n’ Match Like a Genius

It’s T-minus one week until Christmas Eve, meaning the holiday party circuit is in full force. Between gifts, menu preparations and last-minute decorations you probably don’t have much time to give your outfit-clothing coordination too much thought.

L'Oreal App

If you’re not sure which shade of lipstick goes best with that new holiday frock, may we suggest downloading the free L’Oreal Colour Genius app from iTunes.  I discovered it a few weeks ago at the L’Oreal Spring 2013 preview event in Toronto and have been playing around with it ever since.

See how it can help you save time and keep stylish in the review I put together here on the Hip + Urban Girl’s Guide, or let the L’Oreal beauties tell you all about it themselves.

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Store, Storo or Negozio?

Panoram Italia Winter 2012 IssueItaliese-the language of Italian-Canadians. If you grew up Italian in Toronto or another major Canadian city home to a large community of Italian immigrants your Nonna, Nonno, Zias, Zios and maybe event your parents were speaking this and probably still do today.

Neither Italian nor Canadian it’s Italiese : a language in between two cultures. It was born out of necessary to describe new places, things and experiences Italian immigrants encountered as they became part of Canadian society. The winter edition of Panoram Italia Magazine looks into the story of Italiese with a special feature section, including my contribution you can read online here.

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Gift Guide

Winter-2012

If you’re like me you’re lusting over many beautiful things this holiday season. Some are shiny and sparkly, others are soft and cozy and the rest are sweet enough to eat!

If you’re having some trouble checking off the most important people on your gift giving list here is some inspiration that will set you on a merry shopping path without going over budget. It’s Whatever Magazine’s Gift Guide with presents from under $50 to well over $2,000. Check it out here and happy gift giving!

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The Beach is Calling

You need a vacation.

You need to turn on your Out of Office, turn off your computer, put down your cell phone, pick up your luggage, book a ticket and go. But where are you going you ask? Here: The Cayman Islands.

In a couple hours you’ll be trading in your view of the Gardiner Expressway in traffic for  7 miles of white sandy beaches, sparkling water and a Mudslide. No need to worry about where you’re going to stay, what you should eat and what you should do because it’s all been figured for you in this handy travel guide on Hip + Urban Girl’s Guide. 

Now don’t just sit there, the Stingrays are waiting for you!

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You’re the Machine at FitWall

On a Wednesday night in a fitness studio located in a strip mall in Vaughan, I was hanging onto a steel rung above my head for dear life. House music was blaring from the speakers, the instructor was enthusiastically yelling at us to push harder and my forearms were burning.

FitWall Studio Vaughan

This was my first experience at Canada’s flagship FitWall studio- a fitness concept where strength-training exercises are done on a vertical steel apparatus while your arms and feet hold you up on the eight rungs. Classes are only 30 minutes, but boy do they get you feeling the burn. You can hear more about my experience in my Activity-A-Week post on Hip + Urban Girl’s Guide before you go get those biceps pumping for yourself.

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