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Curating Highlighters For A Few of My Favourite Friends

The idea of curating anything came from a friend who is a frequent flyer as well as a designer known as House of Hayla. One day she slipped some temporary metallic tattoos in my work mailbox, which, I knew she dabbled in. When I asked her about them, she said, “I curated them just for you!” It may also be the brainchild solution of overbuying highlighters in Manchester’s Primark department store to compensate for my diminishing golden cream Chanel Soleil Tan. I found these fancy jars in the discount British chain of stores, and suddenly, I just wanted to share my love for highlighter with a few of my favourite friends.

I decided not to blend the highlighters seamlessly. I chipped off the chunkier, more solid highlighters with a knife, and poured the differing textures and shades into these tiny yet fancy pots. One of the highlighters was very lotion like and super strobe white. I felt it was too light, so then I put a lotion textured golden-bronzer in the mix. Yet I did not mix them. 20180504_133154Every time you unscrew the lid, you get another combination of magical highlighters. Highlighters instantly update any look and puts that glow back into the skin. Highlighters accentuate the cheekbone, can be mixed with any foundation, placed along the bridge of the nose, top of the forehead, a slight dab on the middle of the chin. The key is to blend with the other makeup on the skin, whether it be with your bronzer, your blush, or your powder or cream. Yes you can even mix with your cream to get your glow on.20180504_132958

Upon presenting the containers of personally curated highlighter, each friend held it in their palm as if it was a treasure box. Curating says, “I created this blend especially for you.”  Sharing your stash of highlighters is a great way to let your friends know that even though I may be travelling and away, I was thinking of them. The glowing smiles are contagious.20180516_162557

 

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Blog Statement

I release any airline mentioned in this blog of any liability, including Air Transat and it’s competitors, and all other airlines. I am simply sharing my own personal travel, eating, venturing, attending events, concerts, classes and modelling experiences in a positive light and with enthusiasm. I do not represent anyone, I simply record my travels and findings of many marvelous places around the world which I have stepped foot in. I believe it is my freedom of speech. Any information found here is for reading pleasure and a record of historical itineraries that others may enjoy reading about. By discussing trips and travels I in no way represent anyone, any organization and can not be held responsible for any liability as I don’t insist you travel. I can only encourage us all to explore this world inside, and out. We are all free to choose our experiences and read freely. Thanks, and may the force be with you as your journey onward!20160713_1654261

 

 

Frida’s Answer to The Wall between Mexico and U.S…Plus 5 Things To Visit, Eat and Explore in Playa Del Carmen, Tulum and Azul Cenotes

Frida Kahlo, a stoic, talented, resilient, controversial and revered artist and feminist from Mexico, would likely have had plenty to say about “the wall” being built between the borders of United States of America and Mexico. To paraphrase Zen masters, water is stronger than rock. Artists take walls that are divisive and unbending, and transform them into a mere background canvas for a greater purpose.

If your mind is quiet, what they have to say will move you, motivate you, inspire you to be authentic, question, contemplate, and start a new conversation about how we can all make this world a better place, starting with your higher self. The best self you can be. And by example, we raise the consciousness of the planet, moving mountains, and thus transforming walls into a canvas for a new reality.

Let’s continue to explore and respect mother earth and its people everywhere we go. Art, music, mother nature, oneness are louder in their stillness than any wall that has ever been built to divide. The conversation is bringing more and more people together as a backlash. It turned my attention to the beauty of Mexico in a short 4 days worth exploring.20170206_101906Casa de las Flores, Playa Del Carmen, Mexico (all photos by Paula Erskine) A waterfall pours over the staircase wall, with Frida’s artistic attention on a higher plane.20170206_164826

Playa Del Carmen, Mexico…walls become a canvas for a higher message to be enjoyed. Graffiti can be found throughout Playa Del Carmen, a photographer’s treasure. In Tulum we began with a homemade soup before our light trek, then began bird watching.

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In Tulum, Mexico, the walls mark ancient civilizations. Iguanas make these walls their roaming places. Take a “collectivo bus” white van, from Play del Carmen for a little less than $3 U.S. Make sure you bring pesos for better value.20170205_14310220170205_144601Water is stronger than rock and walls…it molds, it soothes…it beckons…it purifies…

20170205_14432020170205_152426After visiting Tulum, we walked towards the closest beach and discovered tejon, which surprised and delighted us. They were very gentle, and liked our cranberries. They are like  Mexican raccoons, also know as coatimundi. They were adorable, and in my experience, ate gently out of hand, but be careful to give these omnivores what they would normally eat. We were quite grateful later to learn that they eat tarantulas too, so for that, we thank them. Time stood still as we socialized with mother earth’s delightful creatures. It was in Tulum that we met this lovely couple, a Canadian artist living in Berlin, with her lawyer boyfriend. We enjoyed chatting with them, and we all agreed that artists and lawyers make very good couples. 20170205_151836020170206_211134At the 3D Museum of Wonders, Kurt Wenner’s art bends walls, taking us out of our comfort zone. Kurt Wenner is a famous street artist and his art was finally recognized and is enjoyed in only 3 museums world wide. Japan, Singapore, and Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. Bring your camera and ask for Gustav, or any staff, who are there to take pictures of you that are mind-bending. It is well worth the $30 U.S., however, Sundays are rumored to be half price. Luckily the museum was open till 10:00pm, we rushed through on our last night in Playa Del Carmen, and it was still very enjoyable. 20170206_20574920170206_205232

Playa Del Carmen has many delicious places to eat, very budget friendly, we loved La Catrina on 4th and 20th…just down the street from the entrance of Mom’s Hostel where we stayed.20170206_11284220170206_104100The view from La Catrina is another wall with even more thought provoking art. An ode to ancient civilizations.

20170206_104357La Catrina makes a delicious breakfast, but they close in the evenings.Mouth watering.

20170206_105331La Catrina’s menu in pesos…bring your appetite!20170206_10572320170207_08395120170207_08385420170207_083848Mom’s hotel is a hostel on 30th and 4th, it is very basic, no frills, but it is clean, and after walking for 2 hours in the heat, walking away from “recommended” hostels on hostel bookers with bed bugs, we found refuge here, without bed bugs. A clean place to to park our stuff and rejuvenate for 4 short days in Mexico.http://www.momshotel.com/ We paid $40 U.S. per night and had no prior reservation. They speak a good amount of English there, and can recommend restaurants nearby where locals go. Like El Fogon https://www.facebook.com/El-Fogon-Playa-del-Carmen-Mexico-113664555317230/20170205_214358El Fogon is on 30th and everything was delicious, we ate there twice which was twice as nice. Two blocks from Mom’s hotel (hostel). Our average dinner cost us about $10 U.S. each with fruit smoothies and guacamole and cactus salad. Many locals can be found here, enjoying a night out with their families.

Then we also ate at Casa Romero Bar and Grill and don’t let the empty restaurant fool you. It is absolutely heavenly tasty, gourmet food, and very reasonable at about $10 U.S. each. The fish was marinated with our choice of butter, garlic and a little bit of chili, and the quacamole with shrimps was to live for. Their lovely family charmed us as the food melted in our mouths. Casa Romero is a hidden treasure in Playa Del Carmen among restaurants.http://casaromeroplaya.com/ Find it on 20th Avenue, between 4th and 6th calle.20170206_19093520170206_19314220170206_19490520170206_190941Casa Romero’s Restaurant walls are adorned with living plants, artfully displayed. They food was cooked to perfection and plated as if we were in a top hotel in Mexico. Don’t let the empty restaurant deter you from dining off the busy areas, it is well worth your tastebuds and budget. We praised the chef personally for the marvelous dinner.

Playa Del Carmen’s beaches are a gathering of beach goers. We can all imagine, a world without walls here. How free it feels to breathe in sun, sky, air, warmth, sea…20170204_153959Azul Cenotes, can also be accessed by collectivo white vans halfway to Tulum, you can line up at the station in Playa Del Carmen, and you can also flag them down. http://www.playadelcarmen.com/blog/cenote-azul. It was approximately $6 U.S., with 4 swimming areas, life jackets and snorkel gear for rent. It was magical. I did some good old fashioned swimming, watched people jump from a cliff, and if you’re really still, the little fish will give you a pedicure. Someone decorated one of the cenotes with rose petals.20170206_12151720170206_12222820170206_12241420170206_101906With a little creativity, we can be like Frida, and rise above the wall to enjoy the history, art, culture, cenotes, sea, and food of Mexico.

Curvy Expo, Mississauga May 14th, 2016 Discount tickets and Giveaways

Ever look through a magazine, love the look, but feel like, fashion does not cater to the majority of women who hunt for pieces in size 12  and up? Instead of accepting this long standing disassociation between fashion’s offerings and its unlimited market potential, Curvy Expo being held in Mississauga, Ontario, will take the mystery out of fuller figure shopping by hosting curvy-body conscious retailers, all under one roof.

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Meghan Bradley, a top 10 plus size Canadian model, spokesperson, and “fashion for all” advocate is the illustrious director. She is the brainchild behind Curvy Expo happening on May 14th, 2016, from 10:00am to 6:00pm, at the International Centre, Entrance 4, 6900 Airport Road, Mississauga. Her television appearances and interviews to promote this pride in being “the best you at any size” has stirred the media  and proud women to join in this movement towards a healthier, more positive outlook on one’s appearance and importance in society. A professional, fun, fashion forward image is what we all crave. We all want to project our best self, to reflect how good we feel on the inside.

To save money on your entrance fee ticket, go to Eventbrite.ca and find Curvy Expo. When you buy your ticket, type in ADDITC and receive $4.00 off the $27.00 ticket price at the door. There are some ticket giveaways and contests as well which you can follow on the facebook page aptly named, Curvy Expo.

For years, I have had the good fortune to be a plus size model myself and worked many times with Meghan who is a wonderful, enthusiastic, beauty whose success hinges on the fact that she radiates positivity and enjoys empowering women in every project she touches. My spellcheck reveals that positivity is not a word, but that is the only way I can truly describe her, other than someone who is down to earth, real, and a visionary when it comes to this brilliant idea of Curvy Expo. It is my privilege to be a part of this wonderful, evolving movement, so, come say hello to me and sign up for great giveaways at the Curvy Expo booth!

I have long craved fashion shows where you can actually buy what you just saw shown on the runway. The runway shows being held at 12:00 noon and 4:00pm are a great way to see many looks on body types that reflect our own. I have modeled in individual stores where appetizers and drinks were served, and customers were invited to a runway show and shopped immediately afterwards which is a wonderful, intimate, personalized shopping experience. But Curvy Expo is a fast track, short cut to all the fashion Meghan could muster under one roof, and believe me, an even more efficient way to shop.

Be sure to check out Dare Magazine https://issuu.com/daremagazinecanada/docs/dare_spring2016 which Meghan contributes to regularly and will be part of Curvy Expo. The articles and fashion shoots are very inspiring!

Retailers benefit because I personally love to mix and match from different stores, different designers, different price points, to make the look my own. As far as retailers are concerned, I believe this type of shopping experience where we all get together and celebrate our curves and discover ways to combine jewelry, makeup, undergarments, casual, formal, and every day pieces to express our relevance and presence in society is filling a much needed gap in the market.

Liis Windischmann, will also offer her expertise as a fellow plus size model and body love fan of every type of woman at 1:30pm. She too, is an inspiration and successful blogger with unique challenges that never get her down, they only push her to be even more amazing on her blog, Liis on Life. I am equally proud to have modeled with Meghan and Liis in catalogues, magazines and the runways for many of the retailers featured at Curvy Expo. You can say, it will be a bit of a reunion of a plus size movement we have moved with, became passionate about, and want to empower other women to follow suit.

I have had the privilege of modelling for several of the forward thinking retailers that will have clothes available to purchase at Curvy Expo, right on the spot. Pennington’s has been a great account over the years, always treating the customers to fashion shows, and hiring plus size models such as myself for major campaigns, posters, ads and changing with the times to embrace different styles. Two other major players I have modeled for are Addition-Elle and ToniPlus.

I remember a campaign I did where Pennington’s hired me for the whole day, which was a big deal in the plus size booking world at the time, and I had baked banana bread for the shoot. When they passed out menus to order lunch for everyone, I was amazed. It was a pleasure to work with the whole team. No shoot can be successful without a great hair and makeup artist, a fashion stylist, a vision for the shoot, an assistant photographer, great lighting, creative directors and a great rapport between model and photographer.

I loved what the makeup and hair artist, Paul Venoit, had created, when I looked in the mirror. I loved the tailored suits and casual jeans. The enthusiasm and the support from the team helped boost my confidence and ability to perform on camera. I felt like an actress, with a role, to show how the clothes made me feel, convey an air of friendly confidence, I felt empowered and I wanted to make the shoot worth the client’s while. When the posters came out in the store windows, they were larger than life, almost the entire height of the store window! The look was soft, romantic, with a muted, almost Monet background.

MXM, which I love, one of many of the fashion lines you can find in Pennington’s, used to be considered the younger, edgier line of clothing, but many of us enjoy the edgy style, regardless of age. Thank you Pennington’s for having shopping carts which more retailers should provide so we can sling our coat and purse and pile a few things in, rather than getting frustrated trying to carry everything around the store. Now there are so many more celebrities coming up with their own lines of clothing under major Canadian retailers which I am really impressed with! Check out Melissa McCarthy’s line now at Pennington’s.

Addition-Elle will always hold a special place on my first modelling composite card and in my heart. I traveled to Montreal, a fashion mecca in itself, for several shoots for this plus size retail pioneer. It was probably the first time ever, that a plus size model was featured in a campaign with a male model. What a concept! A handsome french male model was handpicked for the shoot, and our pictures were published in newspapers, ensemble! Formidable, avant guarde, and ahead of its time.

On the other hand, so normal! It’s just that, pairing a plus size female model with a male model had never been done before, not to my knowledge anyway. I was nervous, and wanted to do my very best to represent plus size customers, that were having fun, looking good, and living life to their fullest. There was a romantic air about the photos, shot along an ornate staircase, in a theatre, and one shot, from a very high ladder, offering a bird’s eye view of the two of us. The architecture of Montreal’s buildings in the background really gave the pictures a European flare.

My work with Addition-Elle was dreamy, exciting, forward thinking and creative. I will tell you a little secret, the best part of these shoots is getting your hair and  makeup done. Once these artists reinvent you, the confidence just oozes out and boosts your ability to express a sense of fashion satisfaction that is hard to describe. You walk taller, no matter what your height, and there is something in the way that you move in front of the camera which translates into a very special feeling you get while wearing fabulous outfits.

ToniPlus was also an incredible experience where I had the chance to meet visionary Toni herself and also to work with triple threat makeup, hair and photographic artist Korby Banner. ToniPlus has always offered its customers a sophisticated, classic, tailored silhouette. The day shoot gave me some of the best editorial shots I ever showcased in my portfolio. I had just changed my hair to a bob, and my booker at the time failed to convey the message to refresh my highlights. Korby came to the rescue with his chocolate mouse and creative stylings. I felt like a million dollars after he had finished my makeup and hair.

The movie star lighting, the carefully chosen clothes were elegant and with Korby’s guidance my mood  was transformed to one of mystery. Korby said he picked me because of the way I moved during the audition, and I am so grateful for that. I certainly felt wonderful during the shoot, and the pictures turned out very artistic. I remember Liis buying a full length, chic, tailored black coat from ToniPlus for a meeting she had with executives in New York for a pilot show to mentor young modelling hopefuls learning the craft of runway. These pieces stand the test of time, so artfully tailored.

Although I have proudly worked as a plus size model in the Toronto area, Chicago and New York, I certainly am interested in each new collection and fresh new take Canada has to offer as a leader in the plus size fashion market.  I have had the benefit of shopping curvy in Europe, where some countries acknowledge the existence of women size 14 and up, while others are in the dark ages, unwilling to cater to a segment of the population which is more than just niche. Having asked women all over the world deserving of fashion selection in their size, I learned that some have adjusting sewing patterns to make the clothes themselves. Model or not, every woman can look their best by feeling their best, no matter what their size. I know very well that clothes that are a reflection of my personal taste and fit well can give me such a motivational boost and inspire me to enjoy every day.

I am a big fan of all sizes getting a variety of fashion to create a look that is unique. The only way to do this, is for plus size fashion to reflect a variety of designer duds, interesting and ethnic accessories and modern yet comfortable shoes. Kudos to Canada, ever the salad bowl, offering up the  freedom to choose from an ever widening selection of fashion for the majority. I am also excited to discover the newest and latest of retailers to see what interesting pieces I can add to my wardrobe. I am so grateful for these retail pioneers identifying a still not completely tapped market and catering to curvy women like myself. For more information, visit http://www.curvyexpo.com and check out their show guide for a list of sponsors, show times, special guests, and mingle with fashion bloggers and plus size models. Note to all the lovely ladies out there, you do not have to be a plus size model to accomplish the “look” of a model. Don’t let anything stop you from applying any tips and tricks of the trade right after the show.

Shop all in one spot for clothes and accessories and get makeup tips from Cityline guest makeup expert Tracy Peart slotting in at 10:30am, so come early! Two fashion shows at 12:00 noon and 4:00pm are not to be missed. Lynn Spence celebrity stylist,  and enthusiastic commentator will share the latest in fashion trends. Movers and shakers in the fashion industry can pay close attention to the buying power, the desire for great style and the beautiful women that will attend and shop with their mothers, daughters, sisters and friends at this history making event. Now let’s celebrate our curvy womanhood! YAAY!DSC02317

 

 

Fashion Stalking in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Fashion Stalking in Amsterdam's Airport, all images captured by Paula Erskine

Now, before you say, “she’s gone too far,” you must admit, it all makes for entertaining fashion stalking in Amsterdam’s Airport. all images captured by Paula Erskine

Me watching them watching buskers on the street.

Me, watching them, watching buskers on the street.

Berget Lewis, free concert in the park. A great oppournity to fashion stalk. Love that Rihanna hair, Berget.

Berget Lewis, free concert in the park. Work that jumpsuit! Love that Rihanna hair, Berget.

Spectators at Berget's concert in Vondelpark.

Spectators at Berget’s concert in Vondelpark. You go girl!

Gwen Stefani might approve all this stripe fashion.

Gwen Stefani might approve all this stripe fashion.

Fasjoon meets function.

Fashion meets function. So inspiring.

Waiting for a decadent eggs benedict at a popular cafe on the canal, and noting the naturally fashionable Dutch style.

Waiting for a decadent eggs benedict at a popular cafe on the canal, and noting the naturally fashionable Dutch style.

Casual and boating the canals, Amsterdam.

Casual style and boating the canals, Amsterdam.

Downtown Amsterdam, orange pants and messenger bag.

Downtown Amsterdam, orange pants and messenger bag.

On the train to the airport, Amsterdam

On the train to the airport, Amsterdam. Anything goes.