My Curated Life

I’ve been kissed (Kissed by Light Studio Review)

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

Kissed by Light is an all-female photography studio based in Toronto. The studio caters to women who want to capture their femininity while celebrating both their bodies and personalities. The studio’s work ranges from boudoir and fashion, to business and maternity shoots. The studio also uses photography to empower women entrepreneurs and tackle body image issues. I really liked their philosophy and aesthetic. So, when I needed to have business portraits done a few weeks ago, I knew this was the studio I wanted to use.

Other than school photos and a family portrait at Sears, I’ve never had professional portraits taken. As a perfectionist, I prepared ahead by scouring Pinterest for inspiration and packing a carry-on of my favourite outfits/accessories. But, on the day of the shoot I had butterflies. I’m always uneasy when I have my photograph taken. That feeling often leads to awkward facial expressions that make me avoid taking photographs and selfies altogether. I’m more at ease behind the camera. But Claudia Baltazar (make-up artist), Lora Vertue (the studio’s lead photographer) and Ameri (the studio assistant) made me feel very comfortable during the shoot. I’m so grateful for the great experience.

The morning started out with having my makeup done by Claudine. While she was doing my makeup, we talked about how insightful kids can be, crossborder shopping for makeup and Drake’s Hotline Bling memes. Claudine even took a quick look at my makeup bag and made suggestions on new products I might like. One of the products she recommended was Charlotte Tilbury’s Retoucher concealer for under the eyes. Claudine was so kind, informative, and humble I didn’t even realize how much of an accomplished make-up artist she is until I read “Plutino Group” on her business card. Her past work has been published in Nylon, Flare, Toronto Life and Billboard magazine (she worked on Drake’s Billboard shoot).

During the shoot, it was easy to trust Lora’s expertise and interesting to see her genius at work as she styled furniture and props for the shoot. Lora showed me exactly how to pose - point toes, lean into the shoulders. I felt like Joan Smalls for the day.  I wanted my business portraits to be glamourous but still true to who I am as a person. And based on what I saw, I can tell Lora captured that. I can’t wait to see how the final images turn out. Until then, below are a few behind-the-scenes photos.

If you’d like to have a little taste of the Kissed by Light experience, the studio will be hosting an “Art & Beauty” event this Sunday. The event will feature an art showcase, music and vending tables by local female entrepreneurs. And there will be wine! The event seems like it will be an enjoyable way to spend a Sunday afternoon. The event will be held at their studio on November 8th and begins at 1PM. See the flyer below. You can also visit the Kissed by Light Studio blog here.

This is not a sponsored post. The thoughts expressed are honest and my own.



Motown The Musical - Toronto


The appreciation of good music has always been a part of my life. One of the first things I remember my dad teaching me is reverence for the vinyl record and how to gently place the tone arm down. “Hold it like your holding the hand of a lady,” he would say. Saturdays mornings were for pancakes and cleaning the house while my brother pretended to be the young Michael Jackson and I, with the mop as my microphone, was Diana Ross.  For my family, Motown music is filled with all the memories of the good days -the laughter, the dancing and the singing. Each song brought my parents nostalgia of their own youth; it was almost as if the stories of their lives were connected to each note.  

When I heard that Motown, the Broadway musical, was making a tour stop in Toronto I knew I had to buy my tickets. I thought that the musical would have the same story line as Dream Girls. But, instead it takes from Berry Gordy’s memoir, “To Be Loved: The Music, The Magic, The Memories of Motown”. The musical is a first-hand account of Motown through the eyes from its founder.

It was so hard to just sit still and watch. My mom and I had to sing, dance and clap in our seats. The musical had all our favourite songs; “Ain’t no mountain high enough”, “Baby Love”, “Stop in the name of love” and the list goes on.

The choreography and costumes were exact to the iconic performances. And I can’t image the casting being any better. Leon Outlaw, Jr. did an amazing job playing the roles of the young Berry, Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson.  And Allison Semmes WAS Diana Ross- hair flips, shoulders action, dainty wrists and all. When performing “Reach out and touch,” she got right into the audience and had everyone holding hands and singing along, just as Diana Ross would.

But the parts of the show that stuck with me the most were the scenes when Berry Gordy (played by Josh Tower)and Marvin Gaye (played by Jarran Muse) were debating the release of “What’s Going On” and later Marvin Gaye singing “Mercy, Mercy Me (The Ecology)”. That was the moment I realized that this was not just a Broadway show. It was a history lesson. Motown’s music was part of a greater struggle for peace and equality. It broke barriers. The matinee crowd laughed awkwardly when lines like “trigger happy cops” were said. But, being at the show on the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March reminded me of the historical context in which those songs were written. And how, in many ways, we still face those issues today.  

Motown the Musical is playing at Mirvish Princess of Wales Theatre until November 1st. Tickets start at $49.

This is not a sponsored post. The thoughts expressed are honest and my own.



The Morning Routine

jo malone IMG_3696.JPG

Even though I’m not a full-time student anymore, September still feels like an unofficial new year. I use it as a time to reset, reorganize and re-evaluate my goals for the rest of year. This usually means changing my routine and stepping up my productivity. This week I came across a very useful article by A Pair and a Spare called “5 Steps for Creating the Perfect Morning Routine.” I find having a routine like this can save a lot of time and energy in the morning. Doing a few basic things like taking the time to have breakfast can also boost your focus for the day ahead. A few of A Pair and a Spare’s tips are definitely things I need to start incorporating into my mornings. I’ve summarized the tips below and I have a few suggestions of my own.

  1. Make Time: Simply put, make sure you get enough sleep. Go to bed earlier. Wake up earlier. Easy to say, so hard to do sometimes.

  2. Ban Work: This is one I really need to work on. A Pair and a Spare suggests an 8 pm to 8 am screen ban. So for me, that means cutting my habitual 5 a.m. Twitter crawl and email check.

  3. Get Moving: As in incorporating some form of physical activity in the morning, even if it’s just stretching. The most I get in is a walk to the Go Station (or run depending on how many times I hit the snooze button), so this is on the “needs improvement” list for me.

  4. Feed Your Body: A travel mug full of tea and Eggos with jam is usually the most breakfast I get when I’m on the run in the mornings. Definitely not a fulfilling, grown-up breakfast. But with a bit of overnight prep, like A Pair and a Spare suggests, a hearty breakfast can be within reach each morning. With that being said, I’ll be mining Pinterest for a few quick and easy breakfast recipes.

  5. Just Add Water:  Drinking a glass of cool water in the morning has a few benefits. This healthy habit hydrates your body and helps flush out toxins while giving your brain and metabolism a boost.

  6. Feed Your Soul: Many find the morning to be the best time for mediation. Plus, taking the time to cultivate a sense of inner peace and stillness has been shown to help eliminate stress and anxiety throughout the day. I used to be better at doing this daily, but I try to say a quick prayer asking for wisdom and protection before stepping out the door. Once I’m on the bus/train, I would also read a scripture on my Biblegateway app like this one, “let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I entrust my life.”

To add to these tips, I suggest also:

7. Prepare Overnight: For me, that’s packing my lunch, bag and setting out my clothes for the next day. Sometimes, I’ll also write a to-do list so I’m not thinking about all the things I need to remember when I should be sleeping.

8. Have a 5 Minute Every-day, Make-Up Look: This is something new I started a few months ago. In my field of work, I can’t have my face look too made-up but I still want to look presentable (read: awake). I keep all the makeup I need for my 5 minute look in one case that sits on my vanity. That way everything I need is in one place and I can also “grab and go” if I’m running late. I’ll write another post about the specific products I use, but my routine is simply using a tinted moisturizer, mascara, brow pencil and a lip colour.

Hopefully these suggestions will help you build a morning routine of your own as well. I recommend a read of the full A Pair and A Spare article. One of my other favourite blogs, The Coveteur, has a related article called "5 Ways to Start Your Day Like a Supermodel" that's a great read as well. Enjoy and let me know what you think on Twitter or Instagram.