Motivation Mondays: Leah- makeup artist, girly girl and home-gym friendly!

I am very excited about today’s “Motivation Mondays” post, because a beautiful friend of mine from high school agreed to share her beauty tricks and secrets with us…and it’s all coming from a professional makeup artist, since that is what she does as her career. Leah and I were able to stay in touch via the awesomeness of Facebook, and I knew she would be a perfect fit for Motivation Mondays.

From her beautiful, long and shiny naturally red hair to her gorgeous skin and smile, I would say Leah’s look is wonderful beauty inspiration. I am so jealous of her red hair! As you know from my previous posts, I absolutely LOVE red heads! I wish I could have red hair, but sadly, I don’t think I have the skin tone for it.

If you’d like to know Leah’s best beauty, fitness and skin and hair care tips, read on.

And just to add a fun little tidbit to this post- Leah and I had an English Media class together in high school, and we had our first dose of “modeling” in a photo shoot we did for a “denim line” for a class project. I will never forget that fun day and I still have the photos! We even climbed a tree to get cool shots posing amongst the fall leaves. Memories, memories!

Thank you so much Leah for sharing your tips with us, and for being so incredibly sweet!

Here we go:

Name: Leah M.


Career: Beauty Advisor/Makeup Artist, trained by Lise Watier Makeup

Who is your beauty/fashion inspiration and why?
I would say my beauty and fashion inspirations are for Fashion I like Jessica Simpson’s Style I like how she can look so different no matter where she is going. I love how she can throw on her jeans, boots and over-sized sunglasses and bag and go out shopping but also on the red carpet she looks so beautiful and polished. I don’t really mimic any stars style in particular there are certain items I see in magazines that I love but I feel like my style is kind of my own. As far as beauty my “nickname” with my co-workers is the “bronze godess” because you will never see me without self tanner and bronzer and some sort of illuminating eye shadow so with that being said I would definitely say my beauty icons are the Victoria’s Secret Angels because they have that gorgeous Tahitian bronze glow, always look dewy and like they have a halo glow on their skin that is my inspiration.

What do you do to stay in shape nowadays?
I was a ballet dancer for 13 years and I feel those years molded me into the woman I am today! Anyone who has ever been a dancer knows what it can do for your body, the stretching the muscle toning and overall the cardio workout that it gives you there is truly nothing like it in the world to me! I do not dance at this point in my life though so enter my second love I found in….PILATES! I do love the stretching and overall body toning you can get from this workout. When I began doing Pilates years ago with my University roommates we started by doing the video in our house and slowly moved up from basic to advanced workouts. Now because it is easier for me I will still at the very least do this advanced video at my own home but I also enjoy going to Pilates classes once a week at the gym near my house. I am more of the “home gym” kind of girl at this point in my life I make sure to do my Pilates times a week as well as using my mat, resistance bands and stability ball for core strengthening and ab workout.

Another thing I love to do at this point in my life is walking! Although I have always loved the feeling of taking a nice long walk the main reason why I have introduced this into my everyday routine is because I have a VERY energetic 10 month old Boxer. He is my motivation to get out there even when I am tired and just want to lay down on the couch I know that I cant say no to his little face. I have made it my goal to walk, “power walk”, or jog with him everyday for at least one hour. I am a Canadian girl and we have had some very cold days but I still make sure to give him and myself this amount of time everyday even if I have to do a 30 minute walk in the morning and a 30 minute jog at night. I feel so much more energized and motivated since I have started doing this, don’t underestimate the power of walking and jogging it sounds sooo easy but it really can make a difference in your life.

For those of you who do not have a furry friend I really do recommend you tie up your running shoes and put on your iPod and get out there too you will feel great and if you start off walking soon enough you will find yourself able to jog and stay out longer as well. For those of you who are indoor girls and still want the overall benefits of the “all over workout” you can get this from an Elliptical Trainer. I love my Elliptical Trainer I have been using this for a few years and i love it so much, on days that we are more inside due to weather or if I am feeling particularly peppy I will get on the Elliptical Trainer for 45minutes-1 hour. I found it a little difficult to do this when I first started but you do have to work up to a certain time and you can increase your resistance and incline as well.

Basically for me I am doing a structured workout 3-4 times a week and making sure to get in my one hour of walking a day. This is just a regime that works for me and my lifestyle, I think that is the most important thing to do when finding a fitness plan make sure it works for you and you have a clear goal in your mind of what you would like to achieve. I tend to alter my fitness plans at different points in my life and that is key- DON’T get into a rut keep it fun and that way you will be more motivated to achieve your goals. Make sure you switch it up a bit if you are going to the gym integrate yourself into taking a class one day a week or get together a group of girls and get your water bottles and hit the bike path or take a walk. Have fun with it!

What are some foods/snacks/meals that you would recommend to woman who are trying to eat healthier?
We all know that a good fitness plan in conjunction with a balanced diet= an overall “healthy lifestyle” so it is very important what we are eating on a daily basis. What I would recommend for meals are:

Breakfast: Yogurt (I love Activia with Probiotics) or plain yogurt with fresh fruit (blue berries, strawberries, etc.) and granola (optional)

Lunch/Dinner: For afternoon and evening meals it is important to try to eliminate “pre prepared” food like anything frozen. I do not like to cook with or use a lot of salt or butter on anything. I like to eat a lot of chicken in a whole wheat wrap with veggies at lunch is so great too! At dinner time chicken and salad is my favorite with a vinaigrette dressing, No creamy dressings! I am loving asparagus right now which I didn’t care for up until a few months ago but now I am all about it. I also love green peppers, broccoli and cucumbers…uncooked veggies are my favorite and easy to bring to work with you as well! I have also just recently started loving Salmon as well it is such a healthy dinner alternative and is great with rice, or in a salad.

Snacks: Ok this is my downfall snack foods are my arch enemies! I usually do not have a sweet tooth so that is not my biggest problem its the salty snacks oh chips and crackers how I love thee…sigh! OK, so when I am dying for a bowl of chips or cheese and crackers big enough to sink a battle ship I will try to reach for a bowl of unsalted nuts or popcorn instead. Or the best thing I can do for myself is just don’t have it in the house. Do not have those foods at your disposal when you are trying to nix them “what you don’t have wont haunt you”. In all seriousness I feel that it is ok to have what some people call a “cheat day” on the weekend or something while you watch a movie or I do like to say its ok to do somethings in “moderation”. Lastly I think there are many benefits from taking a daily Woman’s Mutil Vitamin and also I take a daily dose of Vitamin C in capsule form.

Where do you love to shop for clothing?
My favorite stores to shop at are Guess, H&M, and Club Monaco. I do find that most stores are hit and miss depending on the season. I can usually find an inexpensive shirt in a pinch at Costa Blanca or Urban Behavior (for my Canadian girls, I don’t think these stores are in the states?) Veronika’s Note: we don’t have those stores in the US, but we have similar ones.

Describe your personal sense of style:
My style is very reflective of my mood and where I am going. You will find an array of clothes in my closet that range from quite dressy to casual and everything in between. The main thing you would notice about my sense of style is there is a lot of BLACK! I find black clothing to be easy and sophisticated and makes me feel good when I wear it.

It’s funny if there are 3 colours of one shirt my eye will 9 out of 10 times go straight to the black one. I find there are certain staples that every girl should have in her closet in my favorite shade: A black cardigan (that can be put on with any top or dress to make it practical no matter where you are), a black dress (that can go from casual to semi formal depending on shoes and accessories), a black skirt (that can be professional or trendy, I love the pencil skirt), a black jacket/blazer (can change the look of any outfit instantly), and a great black handbag! (I am sure most of us would have more than one of these though). Veronika’s Note: You know I love black clothes, Leah! We are so on point with our love of black clothes and accessories!

With these staple items you can pair them with anything and look great no matter where you are going! I love to be very girly with textures- I love ruffles and bows but I have to be careful with what colours I wear as a redhead I find pinks and reds to be not so great on me so I tend to lean towards blues, white, coral (more peach than pink) to add the pops of colour to my wardrobe. My belief is your signature style should be a distinct reflection of you and your uniqueness, find what works for you!

What are some of your cant live without em’ clothing items?
My favorite pieces of clothing are not shockingly BLACK! My favorite items are ones that make me feel good when I wear them and would be: My black sweater dress it has a beautiful back cutout and looks hot with stilettos or pair it with tights and boots! My next item that is close to my heart are my Guess boots they go to the knee and look great with anything and everything! The last item that I covet are my Guess skinny jeans, now I was pretty skeptical of this cut when they first came out but I embraced them after I tried my first pair, they fit like a glove and are so easy to dress up or down.

What are your favorite 5-10 makeup products?
Ahhhh how I love makeup, being a makeup artist I have so many items that would be on my list. I always think about it when I hear people ask what one or two items would you take if you were stranded on an island? I would find this soo difficult because I am so not just a mascara and lip gloss girl (although I can be some days) my favorite products would have to be:

Smashbox Halo Hydrating Perfection Powder (The healthy skin powder! It has traces of gold, 48 minerals,11 amino acids and peptide complex which creates the most flawless looking skin and smooths out the look of lines around the eyes)

Christian Dior Sun Powder Spray (This is a spray bronzer, the colour is amazing your skin truly looks sun kissed. MY TIP: Spray in a “S” shape over your face with your eyes closed and blend very quickly with fingers because it can be difficult if it dries.) I add a bit more on my cheeks and blend again.

Benefit Hoola Bronzer– This is a nice matte Bronzer which I think everyone can use. MY TIP:Apply it where the sun would naturally hit your skin don’t forget forehead, nose and chin not just cheeks!

Lise Watier Waterproof Eye liner in Cacao (I believe this is only available in Canada) These liners are the smoothest pencils I have ever tried and last all day!

Cover FX Radiant FX powder in Golden Bronze- This products is a mineral loose powder that I use on the cheek bone it creates the “halo” look a-la Victoria’s Secret Models on the runway.

Smashbox Lash DNA Mascara

Clarins Intense Bronze Self Tan Tint– This self tanner is for face, do not fear the name it is the most beautiful, natural tan I have ever had. It looks like you were on vacation for a week! This is a liquid product you apply with a cotton pad and again the colour comes out quite dark brown but it instantly gives your skin a glow. You can put your makeup on over it and it will develop over the day. The best part of it is there is no yucky smell from the Dihydroxyacetone (self tanning ingredient) and the texture is like water so it is nice and light for your facial skin.

Urban Decay eyeshadow in Chopper

What are your top 5 hair products and how do you style your hair?
My top five hair products are:
-Bed Head Control Freak Shampoo
-Bed Head Control Freak Conditioner
-Bed Head Control Freak Frizz Control & Straigthener
-Bed Head Foxy Curls Spray
-Biosilk Serum

As you can see most of my favorite products are by Bed Head, I have tired a million products and these work best for me. I have naturally wavy hair and I straighten it constantly. The reason I don’t embrace my curls is because they are quite temperamental and certainly don’t remind me of those waves you see the Victoria Secret models sporting. When I do want to give my hair a break from heat styling I will use a Shampoo and Conditioner for enhancing curls and spray the curl enhancing spray and scrunch my hair as I spray.

I will let my hair air dry for the most part but usually will get the dampness out with a diffuser attachment on my hair dyer. I have told myself because I have basically virgin red hair (except the one time I got caramel highlights in my hair in high school) that it is acceptable to heat style my hair to death as I am not frying it any other way. Hair denial, I know. So this is my routine when I do my hair straight I do love to use a Shampoo and Conditioner that will help my curls calm down and fight frizz.

Then comes my absolute favorite hair product the Control Freak Frizz Control and Straightener. This product goes in your hair when it is wet, what I love about it is that it is not sticky or too heavy like I find many other “straightening” products are. I really don’t like alot of styling products textures but this one is WOW and it doesn’t change the feeling of your hair at all. I will blow dry my hair in sections semi roughly and then follow up with my CHI straightening iron. I blow dry my bangs to the side with a large round brush and have an off side part as well, I like the way it shapes my face best this way. Usually I fight frizz and get some added shine from the Biosilk serum and tada that is my easy hair routine. I like to basically stick to the same style, I don’t stray too far from it but I am going for a haircut in the next few days as I am writing this I am seeing a lot of split ends not a good look!

What are your best beauty tips/secrets?
I am a huge skincare lover and I think it is important to note that you can have the most expensive and beautiful makeup and if you don’t take care of your skin your makeup will not do as much for you. You definitely need to start with a fresh canvas, not saying that we all don’t have our imperfections because we are human but it is important to do the best we can to take care of our skin.

My beauty tips are: I always exfoliate at least once a week. Your skin naturally has an exfoliation cycle of about 28 days and as we age it slows down that means that there are many built up dead skin cells on the top layer of our skin just waiting to be “sloughed” off. These cells sitting on our skin will affect the way our foundation lays on our skin and will give you the rough “scale like” texture. I like to use a “man made” exfoliant. Which means no apricot scrubs! It is a misconception that people think because its “natural” its better for you. This is the one time I say don’t go by this philosophy. Natural exfoliants are irregular shapes and will scratch the skins surface which could lead to infections. “Man made beads” are round in shape and will buff the skin not scratch it.

The best thing after exfoliating is a mask one that hydrates and infuses your skin with energy I also like to do a mask at least once a week. My favorite one is by Biotherm called Flash Recharge it is jam packed with vitamins, minerals, and ginseng and will help reinvigorate the skin and fake an 8 hour nights sleep even with our busy schedules.

My last and probably favorite beauty tip is MICRODERMABRASION! This treatment can be done on a higher scale at a dermatologists office and will basically buff and polish the top layers of the skin leaving your skin more even from redness and discolorations, even scarring from acne, helps with brightening the skin and hyper pigmentation (sun damage) and large pores. Everyone can benefit from doing this at home treatment. The aluminum oxide crystals found in these products are not like the ones found in basic exfoliants they will “polish” the skin on a different level than that of an exfoliator and will remove damaged epidermal tissue. You can usually notice a dramatic change in the feel and look of your skin after only one treatment. I would not recommend doing this on the day of an event because the skin tends to be a little red, those with extremely sensitive skin should refrain from using this method of skincare but virtually everyone else can benefit. I will usually do an at home microderm treatment once every two weeks or when my skin needs an instant “pick me up”.

Tell us about your skincare routine:
My skin care routine is I like to do my basic cleansing, toning and moisturizing regime twice a day. Bearing in mind that all day creams should protect the skin and all night creams should repair your skin so look for that when you are buying them. I will remove my makeup with a Micellar water like Vichy’s and this takes off your makeup so easily then I like to put on a hydrating moisturizer like Vichy’s Aqualia Thermal Light it hydrates your skin with water not heavy oils and will decrease sensitivity by 49%. I also will do a self tan on my face every other day because I often exfoliate I need to reapply it often. My body gets a sun kissed glow once a week as well. Of course like I said above I exfoliate and do a facial mask once a week as well as a microdermabrasion treatment once every two weeks.

Which of your accomplishments are you most proud of?
I would say that I am proud that I followed my heart and decided to become a Beauty Advisor. I went to university with a major in Sociology and then later realized that my true passion was something else. I love that I can help some of my clients feel good about themselves everyday. I have seen them through some of their best times and some of the hardest times in their lives and there is something about being able to make someone feel good about themselves even in the smallest way that touches my heart!

Thank you so much again Leah for your awesome tips, tricks and for sharing your favorite products. I am sure my readers will very much enjoy reading this entry! If you have any questions for Leah, please leave them below and I will ask her to answer them for you!

As always, thank you SO much for reading, and I hope this post was motivational to you!



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  • Reply
    Tuesday, February 2, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    good grief V! you and your friend are both super gorgeous! too bad I'm all the way over here in Maryland or I'd be hiring your friend for the slew of events I have coming up.

    and you're right, she does have one lovely sheaf of hair.

  • Reply
    Tuesday, February 2, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    Hi Leah !
    Just wondering what exfoliator you use for your face?
    Thanks !

  • Reply
    Tuesday, February 2, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    I use Biotherm's Biosource Exfoliator for Normal/Combination skin it leaves my skin smooth and even. I also like to use Avene Paris' Gentle Exfoliator for sensitive skin because in the winter my skin tends to be quite delicate and red (I am not sure if this one is available in the US). Hope this helps hun! *Leah*

  • Reply
    Tuesday, February 2, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    Is the girl in the first picture the same person as the other pics?! She looks so different in the first picture, if it is.

  • Reply
    Tuesday, February 2, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    Yes it is the same girl. I believe the first picture is an older shot and the others are more current.

  • Reply
    Tuesday, February 2, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    awesome blog i love this post!! !I'm a skincare junkie!!! What do you think about peels? Oh Veronika did you try the zinc yet?

  • Reply
    Wednesday, February 3, 2010 at 12:16 am

    Urban Behavior stores are located in the US. (Chicago and the upper east coast.)

  • Reply
    Wednesday, February 3, 2010 at 12:37 am

    What a great post! Do you have any suggestions for a microdermabrasion???

  • Reply
    Wednesday, February 3, 2010 at 1:43 am

    just wanted to say how much i love your blog veronika! Thank you for supplying us all with such great fashion and beauty advice! I always look forward to reading your blog!

  • Reply
    Wednesday, February 3, 2010 at 3:18 am

    Anonymnous: I absolutely love Glycolic Acid Peels as well. As an at home treatment I think it is a great idea, if you get them done at a Dermatologist or Medical Spa you can definitely benefit from an occasional in between at home treatment. This is by far your best option I do not recommend Salycilic Acid ones as these are better for targeted areas not the entire face bear that in mind when you are looking to buy one. If you live in Canada I love love love the NEOSTRATA Advanced system this will give the smoothest skin in the world! Glycolic (AHA) Peels are also great for softening the look of fine lines, and wrinkles and skin discoloration. Please be aware of the PH balace of your product and strenght of the AHA 30-70% for at home is usually best. If you are not able to get this one I also like the Olay Microdermabrasion/Peel you will get softer and glowing skin with this one as well and it should be easy to find! Hope this helps!

  • Reply
    Wednesday, February 3, 2010 at 3:27 am

    Again, the Neostrata Microdermabrasion system is fabulous if you are looking for a system for at home. The thing I like about it is a complete system and provides you with pre and post care products as well as an activator so you know your product is working on your skin each time you use it, it also times out so you are not damaging your skin after 3 minutes so it is a wonderful choice and great quality. It comes with 10 uses and you use your fingers with this one. There a lot of the other ones on the market where you use a device and the pad spins with your product on it I do enjoy these ones a lot too but try not to overuse them I do like the ROC one and have used it many times as well, and Neutrogena one if you are going this route! Good luck in your search to find one and you will instantly love it and never be able to live without doing it!

  • Reply
    Wednesday, February 3, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    I would just like to say that my sister, the talented, beautiful Leah Miller, is a fountain of knowledge for all of your beauty-related questions, so keep them coming! Not only has she been recognized in a professional setting as a leader in the field of cosmetic style and management, she has helped her fairly clueless younger sister pull off some great looks for various formal events! I know I can always count on her to give me the low down on what is hot in the beauty and fashion world.

    Keep on rockin your style Lee!

  • Reply
    Wednesday, February 3, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    to leah's sister- you are so sweet to write such wonderful things about your taltented sister! 🙂

  • Reply
    Tuesday, February 9, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    Hi Leah –
    Just wondering if the Clarisonic counts as exfoliating ? I do it once a day, should I exfoliate as well?
    Thanks 🙂

  • Reply
    Tuesday, February 9, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    The Clarisonic is used primarily as a "deep cleaner" and of course allows for many other skin benefits from using this daily but to me does not take place of an exfoliant! I would only use a gentle exfoliator once a week or once every two weeks depending on your skin sensitivity and skin type (Dry skin might still need it once a week). The only reasons I would say NOT to are:
    1) If your skin is extrememly sensitive/reactive
    2)If your moisturizer contains a Retinol or Retin-A
    3)If your moisturizer contains an AHA (Glycolic Acid) as these are exfoliants as well and that would be overkill!
    Hope this helps! Leah

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