May 29, 2014

Life Lately.

It's tough to get back into things after a vacation. We got back at the end of April, and that sort of of lead into this month being mainly a resting period for some much needed errand-running, future planning and even some thrifting here and there. 
One of the very first days back my mom and I went for a good Value Village hunt as we often do. I came back with this chair for three dollars! Eventually I want to change the fabric on its seat cushion, but for now it looks pretty darn cute in this corner of my living room.
I have stumbled upon a few retro patterned clothing in the last month. More than I ever have. I can't wait to get these two in the shop among a couple others. I am planning something special for my vintage shop in the next little while. I usually just have my clothing on hangers in my shop listing photos, but in the next little while I'll be reshooting everything with live models to best show off the clothes. I think I'll use my go-to gal, my sister Erin. I might even do a few myself. We'll see!
All I know is background decorations for the photos need to be made!!
Recently we had our 2nd house anniversary. The house itself was built in 1950, but we've only known it for two years. This house is a vintage dream, but it has it's problems as all old, fixer-upper homes do. We are slowly finishing it up room by room. I always feel self-conscious about it in the summer, because it's easy to spot the outside problems, like our crumbling front step or our leaning fence. I just have to remind myself we'll get there in time. This house deserves a lot of love and we're totally willing to put in the time to get it back where it should be. 
I tend to spend a lot of time at home, because that's where most of my hobbies and interests take place. It's tough for me to break away from that, because it seems like theres always something to do at the house. I always have to remind myself to stop being such a hermit, because it can and will go completely unnoticed by me. In the last year I've spent lots of time rekindling friendships with old friends, and going out more. It's been so nice having an added support system, especially of people who know me really, really well. And of course, going out more means getting dressed up more and I'm totally into that.
It's been raining a lot lately. I love staying indoors, hearing the raindrops at our old windows. Night times here have been consisting of movie watching and the occasional bowl of popcorn.
I am not the only thrifter in our household. My fiancé (Oh, that's still weird for me!) has his favourite things to look for too. We recently went thrifting together, which is a rarity. He found this truly amazing 1970s receiver for our record player. We've waited since our apartment days for a good one. Now it's all hooked up in the living room and sounds crisp and clear. I've been playing Henry Mancini's soundtrack for Breakfast at Tiffany's a lot and I can't get enough! I'm in a Sixties sort of mood right now.

This month is winding down, but the busiest summer is ahead. My mom is selling her house. My dad bought a cabin. I'll be busy helping them both. On my own end, there's house renovations to plan for, shop updates to do and somewhere in there we'll start wedding plans. 

I hope May has been a good month for you!

Marissa xo

May 26, 2014

Chicago Part Two

Today I'm putting up the second set of photos from our Chicago trip. I seriously can't believe it's been a month since we were there. I already feel like I'm ready to go somewhere else again!
The art gallery was truly amazing. There were so many incredible paintings I've always wanted to see in real life. The collection of miniature rooms were the first thing we looked at and I took pictures of each one. I couldn't believe the intricate details put into each tiny room. Those three photos in the top right corner are of the some of the miniatures. You wouldn't even know they weren't real rooms with real furniture and decor! 

I am a huge, huge fan of surrealism. Seeing the Salvador Dali paintings, especially this one painted on a big wooden divider, was unbelievable. I wanted to see the paintings by Renee Magritte, because he's my favourite artist and a big influence in my own art. Unfortunately they were all in storage, because they were having a large Magritte exhibit in the coming months. I can't believe I missed it! Oh well. 

I loved every bit of the art gallery, from the paintings, to the sculptures and statues, to the furniture exhibits. It was all fantastic! 
We went to the Willis Tower on the same day as the art gallery, later in the evening. There's an observation deck on the 103rd floor. I was a little worried about the glass floor, because I'm very afraid of heights. It's one of the tallest buildings in the world, so the thought of that kind of view terrified me! It was packed and not as fun as we thought it would be, but after a long wait in line we got our chance to look out over the edge. Then there was a extra long line to get back down. It would definitely be worth going on a quieter day, because the view is so nice, but it was way too busy when we were there. Too busy for me anyway. Afterwards we went to Giordano's for deep dish pizza, but they were overbooked. We just ordered it to-go and hopped in a cab to take it back to the hotel for a quiet, late night pizza dinner. 

While we were back at the hotel, Wai proposed to me! He had been carrying the ring around for the whole week and was waiting for a good moment. His idea was to propose at the Willis Tower, but because it wasn't the best experience, he didn't do it! It was nice that he did it in the hotel though. It was just the two of us. We're more of a private, low-key couple, so being alone for it was just our style anyway. He proposed to me in Chicago. That's romantic enough for me! I'm so excited to start this new chapter of our life together and of course, start planning for our wedding!
Our first actual day as an engaged couple was spent at C2E2, the Chicago Comic Con. I've never been to one before. We were there for eight hours and it was quite whirlwind of an experience. Their convention centre is such a huge space and it was filled with so many booths and thousands of people dressed in the most elaborate costumes. 

Wai got his Comic Con day, so the next day was for me! We went to the Randolph Street Market, to check out some local vintage and makers' wares. It was fantastic, but it was early in the season, so not as big as they usually are when it warms up in the spring and summer. We were there for a long time, hunting through all the booths for some really great items and deals. I got a fabulous 60s minidress, 60s box-y top, three pairs of earrings and a few gifts for family members. Even Wai found some things for himself; a vintage music poster from Europe included. We both love vintage things and we both have our own styles. There were even some some ridiculously amazing furniture pieces there that I wish I could've taken home with me. We would never find those kinds of things here in Winnipeg. 
The next morning we went to the airport to make our way home, but it was not in the cards for us in the end. The short story is, our flight was delayed many times, then cancelled, and then we waited for a transfer flight to Montreal in order to get home faster the next day. In Montreal our luggage was lost and on a separate plane flying in later that night. By 2 am the next morning we were in our little airport hotel just outside Montreal, exhausted and ready to go home. We got some sleep and woke up early to head to the airport once again. We waited and waited and finally got on our plane back to Winnipeg. Air travel can be so frustrating, but in the end we got home okay and that's all that matters.
Our trip to Chicago was so much fun. I think we will be going back again in the future. The city is so colourful, creative and energetic. It was just the type of vacation we needed. I hope you liked the photos! Obviously I couldn't fit them all in. I just had to pick the best ones. I'm glad I took so many, so I can look at them and remember how amazing it is there! 

Well have a great Monday everyone!
I'll see you again soon!

Marissa xo

May 18, 2014

New Collections for Spring/Summer 2014

I don't always discuss my cosmetician roots and current real life job, but I know I should. I have a lot of information to give and knowledge to share. I am so lucky to be able to easily get my hands on the latest beauty products and be well informed. Easy access to tricks, trends and new releases are what keep my in the loop and at the top of my game. I have been fortunate to work along side so many beautiful and talented women in my career, and of course lucky to work with such groundbreaking products. The beauty industry never ceases to amaze me. These brands (well most of them) are working harder than ever to keep up with their customers and give them exactly what they want.

With that being said, I am going to introduce you to some of my favourite new and limited edition products right now. I have no loyalty to one brand or another. I am not promoting these for any other reason than I trust in their claims and believe that they work. But remember, beauty is like anything in life, everyone has their own likes, dislikes and opinions.
ONE - One product I'm super excited about is the Limited Edition Gel Liner from Lise Watier. It's part of the Eden Tropical Collection and will only be available until June or until supplies last!
This liner is in a pot form with a screw off lid and glass jar. The packaging itself is very nice and has some weight to it. The product though, is out of this world. It has a great, creamy consistency. It's glossy, smooth and easy to apply. Once dried it acquires a strong matte finish and is resistant to smudging, rubbing or removal, which is lovely for us gals who like waterproof makeup exclusively. The winged or cat eye effect is the perfect matchup for this new eyeliner.

TWO - Clarins recently launched a beautiful new summer product that I know will become really popular in the coming months leading through summer. It's their new Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster. If you've ever tried any of the Clarins Self Tanners or Sun Care products, you'll know Clarins knows how to make your skin glow with a natural finish, and of course, with the health of your skin in mind. This French skincare uses top of the line, nature based ingredients to help your skin radiate. This product is a concentrate. The way it's used is you put two to three drops into your daily moisturizer or lotion and mix well. Apply to your skin and voila! You'll get a nice enhanced bronze look. Subtle and gentle. No harsh looks here. 

THREE -  This is also a Clarins product! It's called Splendours Shimmer Body Oil. Now Clarins tends to have a limited edition shimmering body oil available most years and for good reason. It's very popular. Not only does it give you a very sheer glow, the oil is extremely hydrating on your skin, and it smells amazing too! For what this product is, the bottle is huge. You'll definitely have it for a long time. Whether you apply it all over, or maybe just on your legs, your chest or just on your cheeks, this product is worth every penny. Just to clarify though, this is not a self tanner. It does not make you progressively darker. It's only a shimmer product for a temporary glow.

FOUR - Some people like a bronze shimmer (like above) and some like pearl. Personally, I like pearl! The Elizabeth Arden Pure Finish Cool Radiance Highlighter is from the new Summer Escape Collection. Oh man, the first time I tested out this illuminating stick I fell in love. If you like shimmery, dewy looks, this highlighter is going to be your best friend. This is a real departure for Elizabeth Arden. I love that this new collection holds something for everyone. Some daring items for young women and classic key products for more mature women. The direction Elizabeth Arden is going in is fabulous and I can't wait to see what else they can come up with. This stick is also limited edition and if I had to guess, based on past collections, it probably won't be coming back once it's gone. How sad!

 FIVE - The Lise Watier Cream Blush (or Blush Creme Satin) in Rose Eden for the Eden Tropical collection is heavenly. It comes in a fabulous pot with a screw off lid, much like the eyeliner, but larger. I have never seen such a smooth and gentle application. This blush leaves your skin looking fresh, clean and naturally delicate. The colour payoff is amazing. You just need the finest amount and because the jar is on the larger size, you'll be using it for a long, long time. Right now she is limited edition (hopefully to come back in the future as regular stock though), so pick it up while you still can!

Well I hope you liked this little wrap-up of beautiful items currently on your drug store/ beauty store shelves. 
Have a great day everyone!

Marissa xo

May 14, 2014

Art Talk - My Relationship with my Work

Before anything else, I would classify myself as a pattern artist. Don't get me wrong, I can do a lot of other styles with a variety of different media. A common misconception from someone standing on the sidelines of the art world is that an artist can do only one thing. We have talent for one look only and in all others, we fall short. This is not always true. We choose.

I feel like I didn't choose or create my style like others maybe do. But I did decide I liked where I was going. Years ago I made this amazing vintage wallpaper piece that truly inspired me as I went. After that, I couldn't quite figure out how to move on from there. In my mind everything was falling short. I thought my wallpaper piece would be a one time thing. But in the end it was a jumping off point from which my best creations have been born.

I am inspired by a lot of things and I take a lot of influence from feelings, possessions, history and knowledge. Being self taught, I have always felt this kept my work and it's emotion at its rawest and purest form. My aim is always to create texture and detail wherever I might go on paper.

Right now my heart is really open to 60s and 70s retro patterns. I think if I really analyzed that it would be in part due to my underlying love for vintage repeating patterns, the growing retro-loving and collecting community, the popularity of vintage in entertainment as of late, i.e. Mad Men, and  of course my interest in modernizing for the masses.
As someone who grew up getting weird looks because I preferred everything I owned to be old and antique, I always had this task ahead of me to take what I loved and make people get it. In their own minds, I wanted them to feel how I felt about vintage and about their historical and sentimental relevance. I realized through my art that mixed media pieces would get me to that place a lot faster than anything else could.

My art is not about a subject. You usually never see real, tangible things in them. It's more about feelings or moods that will bring you to where I'm hoping to take you. Through the use of mixed media I can open myself up to surrealist views and truly create whatever I envision. Even things that don't quite make sense or have a true explanation. For me, it's not just about the pattern anymore. It's about the whole story I can create by first developing a pattern and branching off of it.
For example, sometimes I plug into a pattern I love, and then I will imagine it in the past. On someone's wall, perhaps - the background of someone's actual life. Who is this person? What do they do for a living? How do they dress? It's not always about a person, place or thing. Other times I already know where I need to go with something, and I let the colours and shapes lead the way. All these imaginary answers are crucial for me to develop and piece together my artworks. It seems so weird I know, but I feel it's incredible that technically, as an adult, I still get to play.
I know art talk can be so abstract, serious and formal. I think maybe in part because the artist feels so deeply about it. I know that's my thing. Let's face it, if I didn't feel deeply about my work, I probably wouldn't be making it. It's my self expression and a way to pour out all of my thoughts. I love it wholly and I let it envelope my life.

It's always so different looking at a piece of art in person and then talking to or reading about an artist in their life. I think that's why I am so interested in keeping that dialogue free and transparent. You can come to your own conclusion and also see my point of view, if you're interested.
These photos you've been seeing here are a few of the newer things I've been working on lately. You'll notice none of them are ever quite the same as the other, but I treasure them equally, and attempt to tell their stories all in a similar, cohesive way. I hope you enjoy them!

 This summer you're going to see a lot of new pieces finally entering my Etsy shop. I've been saying that for quite a long time now, but I finally have the energy to get them out there. I have planned out a very extensive overhaul of the look of CharmingShop. I really hope I can create a better world for my art. It's so hard to have an online template and have your views and abilities translate through that. I haven't figured out how to make that work quite yet, but it's getting there.

Thanks everyone! See you again soon.

Marissa xo

May 12, 2014

Chicago Part One

I really wanted to put together a grouping of some of our most memorable Chicago experiences and favourite photos from the trip (all taken with my iPhone! Whoa.) I have so many I wanted to share, so squeezing them in here was tough. I decided to send them out into the internet world in two parts. You're looking at part one, my dears.
The first night we got to Chicago, after dropping all our stuff off at the hotel, we took a nice walk down to the Navy Pier at sunset. It was the perfect way to start off our vacation. It was Easter Sunday and everything seemed to relaxed and wonderful. I couldn't believe how turquoise-blue the water was there, and especially how warm it was!
The second day I was so sick, but it didn't stop me at all. We were determined to be seriously 
tourist-y and get to all our planned stops. Millennium Park was on the way to the Aquarium and Museum so we had a little rest at this incredible fountain along Magnificent Mile. An hour later we had made it to the Shedd Aquarium. We spent close to 4 hours there, but I could've easily stayed longer. There were so many interesting sea creatures to see! We don't have an aquarium here in Winnipeg, so soaking up as much as I could was a must. The Field Museum was even better than I expected. Right next door to the Aquarium, we spent another 4 hours going through all of the quiet museum collections and exhibits. I was especially taken with the African exhibit. I've never seen one before! 
Some more Field Museum photos. We were so in love with the use of these very old wooden museum displays. You can really feel history in this place, and not just with the subjects themselves. That's probably what I like most about Chicago.
I would have to say the Driehaus Museum was my favourite stop of the whole trip, and we were even debating on whether to go or not! I would recommend it to anyone considering Chicago as their next destination. The Driehaus Museum is a wealthy socialite home turned museum, which had been restored, honouring it's original look and property. You can find the most amazing and extensive Tiffany Glass collection you've ever seen here. For someone who has never seen a piece of Tiffany Glass up close in person, I was completely blown away. The history was so well recorded and too breathtaking to fully describe. I really felt at one with this place. 
Here's the last grouping until Part Two! The one place we skipped over in Millenium Park was the Bean! We decided to go back in our best tourist fashion and get some photos of it. We couldn't go to Chicago and not go see it! I was really surprised at how grand it is in person. It was snowing here in Winnipeg at the time, but we were basking in the nicest weather with flowers blooming on the trees. 360 Chicago was a great thing to go see. 94 floors up, you get a great view of the city, and we even spotted our hotel and some of the places we had already been on the trip. It's kind of crazy this is only  the first few days into the trip. We really packed in the fun.

Well I hope you liked Part One. I'll be holding off on Part Two for a couple days, to give myself and everyone reading a breather. I know looking at vacation photos can be boring sometimes, but I hope these aren't too bad! 

Have a great rest of your day lovely people!

Marissa xo

May 05, 2014

CharmingShop on Television

Hello ladies and gentlemen, 
I hope Spring is treating you nicely! We got back from our Chicago trip less than a week ago now. We had an incredible amount of fun (and of course I'll blog some pictures and quick stories soon!) Even though there were many points at which I wished we could stay there forever, I missed home. Just like the typical homebody that I am, I missed my little cat and sleeping in my own bed! 24 years old and homesick in one of the most beautiful and inspiring cities.
Another reason I couldn't wait to get back here into the swing of things, is that while I was away, my handmade confetti was featured on Steven and Chris. That's two TV shows in the last couple of months! I was contacted to be a part of a grouping of Canadian Etsy sellers who specialize or cater to handmade-loving brides with party favours, wedding decor, or bridal party gifts. I was so honoured to get any kind of air time for my newly blossoming business. My confetti even being in the same vicinity of other Etsy sellers products I have long admired and hoped to one day make a part of my own special day, was so special.
I was in the States and couldn't access the Canadian network, so the suspense was killing me. Maybe you even caught it before I did! ( We had a little video clip of it sent to us a couple days later.) If you didn't see the segment (or both), I thought I would post the links up here for anyone interested.

Like I said before, I am just a teeny one-woman show trying to do it all. I am so proud of everything I've accomplished so far, especially when a lot of times I feel very held down by time constraints. I think maybe everyone feels that way. Being noticed is a scary, but great thing. I am so thankful for these opportunities and I'm ready for new experiences that might come my way next. 

Have a great day everyone!