Announcing the LesFic Bard Awards

Working with K’Anne is such great fun, no idea is dismissed out of hand, everything is explored, everything is for the benefit of the authors. on behalf of the readers and the more fun we have doing it, the better !  And thats how she came to create the Lesfic Bard Awards.

What makes this such a unique award for authors to enter and win is the Triple blind judging system that the executive committee have chosen to employ.  This UNIQUE system of reviewing books means that the judges don’t know the author, the book title OR the subject matter.  AND no one knows who the judges are !!!

There’s no risk of authors or readers currying favours to influence the panel or the award.  Its a high integrity system.   Completely FAIR and UNBIASED.  It’ a great idea which reflects the morals and ethics of K’Anne herself.  Just to reinforce this, she isn’t submitting any of her own books or part of the judging panel.  This helps ensure no conflict of interest.

I’m really excited about these awards and what I’m hoping they’ll come to represent for authors and readers.  There’s been great interest in the award already since it’s been announced, particularly when the trophy was shown !

If you’d like to know more, there are a number of ways you can get involved with the Awards.

  • If you’re a reader, and we mean a KEEN reader, then you might be just the person we’re looking for to be part of the judging panel.  Just think, you get to read great fiction, from talented authors, for free !!!  How cool is that ?  Just follow the link to join in !!!
  • If you’re an author, we’d love to have you enter and be part of the awards.  It’s a great opportunity to showcase your book and if you’re lucky enough to win, the way in which the award is judged makes a real statement about the quality of your work.  You can enter by clicking on the link here.  Then make sure you share the fact you’ve entered !!
  • If you’re a sponsor (hey every scheme needs sponsorship !) the awards give you a nice way of giving something to an undervalued section of society and associating your brand with some of the best that lesbian fiction has to offer.  Get in touch with the committee by clicking on the following link and marking your mail “sponsorship”.

Can’t wait !!!

 

#Transgirlfitness

SavedPicture-2017111392129.jpgWhen my sister Janiz got in touch with me a little while ago, to satisfy her usual makeup fix (She’s worse than me, at least i don’t buy lipstick because it tastes like chocolate) we got to chatting and i asked her what was new with her.

Seems she had got a new tattoo done, so, i asked her to pop me a photo and when it came through, I couldn’t help but say ‘wow !!!” She had dropped almost 60 lbs from when we last chatted by video on my birthday and looked amazing !!!!

“You alright sis ?” She asked, so i had to say “Kitty, you look amazing !! Something obviously agrees with you – spill the beans !!!!

Jaisha has always been into her fitness and since becoming a qualified instructor has been working hard in the gym and you can really see the benefits. Chatting away, we came to the idea that we should bring her street and gym workout routines, as well as her lifestyle and motivation coaching to what we’re doing at TransgenderMakeupAdviceandSupport. Just like that our #transgirlfitness was born !!! Two trans women, doing it for themselves !!!

I’m so excited that she has found her passion and we’re so excited to be able to bring this to you. There’s nothing quite like going into business with your little sister and the excitement of having fun and supporting our community.

More to follow – very soon !!!

Letting go

While out doing the “girls that do lunch” thing, my friend Kate asked me what being mindful meant.  Pretty deep stuff (and awkward to answer with a mouthful of cheesecake) But in between my munchings, it made me wonder what it really means, “to be in the present moment” ?
It’s a great question !!! I wonder what your answer would be ?  For me, being in the moment means being mindfully aware of what is going on right here and now, in our experience, and this includes any thinking we do about the past or future. Much of the time our experience does not have this quality of awareness or mindfulness. A lot of the time we are like robots, automatically living out habitual patterns of self-pity, anger, wish fulfillment, fear, etc. These habitual tendencies take us over and run our lives for us – without our being able to stand back and decide whether this is what we actually want to be doing. It can be a real shock when we start to realize just how habitual and automatic our lives are, and when we realize how much runaway thinking leads to states of suffering.
When we’re in this robotic state, we’re not mindfully aware of what’s going on. We may know on some level that we’re angry but we probably don’t realize most of the time that we have an option not to be angry. We fantasize without any discernment of whether what we’re thinking about is making us happy or unhappy. And in fact, a lot of the time when we are letting our habits dominate us we are not making ourselves or others happy – often quite the opposite.
Being in the moment is just another way of saying that we are aware of what is going on in our experience, that we are not just being angry (or whatever) but are aware that we are angry and are aware that we can choose to be otherwise. Of course a lot of the time when we are not being in the moment, we are literally thinking about the past or present. We might be dwelling on the past – brooding about some past hurt. Or we may be fantasizing about a future in which we have won the lottery and are living out our lives in some imagined paradise, or daydreaming about being with the perfect partner.
Often these fantasized pasts and futures are not even real possibilities, but simply fantasies of how things might be or of how we would have liked them to have been. And as with all unmindful activity, we have no awareness that this fantasizing is pointless. All that it does is reinforce unhelpful emotional tendencies that can never truly enrich our lives.
Reflecting with mindfulness

There are, of course, ways of mindfully thinking about the past or future. Being in the moment does not mean that we are stuck in the moment. We can mindfully and creatively call to mind past events, or imagine what might happen in the future. We can think about the past and think about how we might have acted differently, or wonder why something happened the way it did. We can think about possible futures, and of how the actions that we commit now will make those futures more or less likely. When we are thinking about the past or future while being in the moment, we are conscious that we are reflecting and we’re not lost in thought. We don’t confuse fantasy with reality. We don’t stray from thinking about the past in order to construct imaginary pasts in which we said or did the right thing – or if we do so then it’s part of a conscious thought experiment to see what we might learn from the experience. We think about the future, but rather than it being idle daydreaming we’re thinking about the consequences of our actions or otherwise reflecting on where we want to go in life.
Sometimes daydreaming can be creative. It can be wonderful to relax the reins of consciousness and allow our creative unconscious mind the opportunity to express itself.

But it’s generally far more useful to have a part of our conscious mind standing by, observing, watching for any sign that the creative expression of the unconscious is turning gray – turning into the repetitive and reactive expression of old and unhelpful emotional patterns. The conscious mind can intervene at such moments with a light touch, a gentle redirection of our mental energies so that we stay in the present; aware, mindful, and creative.

 

Love and Light

New year, New beginnings

makeup instructor

2019 is shaping up to be a hectic and exciting year for me !!!  Not only have I got a number of really amazing projects on the go with my charity work, but following a number of discussions with my friend Lesley, I agreed to join her team at Lesley Gray as their make up instructor, working on helping trans women in the states learn how to make best use of their makeup as well as helping Lesley developing her business in preparation for retirement.

It’s always so much fun working with Lesley, not only is she a wonderful woman and great friend to me personally, but she gives so freely of herself, with no thought of reward, that you can’t help but be inspired by what she is doing and  join in !!

I’m really excited to join her team for a number of reasons, firstly, its a natural extension of what we’re doing in the UK with YNotbU and the Transgender Makeup pages and groups I run in Facebook, but secondly, it continues to validate my work as a professional makeup artist.  Something I’m not only having a lot of fun doing, but also immensely privileged for the trust, friendship and the chance to be able to share what I’ve learnt with Lesley and her friends.  Really thrilling for me !!

Bring on 2019 is what I say !!!

Joanna

Meet Photographer Laure Dherbécourt

What a lovely article and such a talented woman !!! Thanks for sharing her with us Lynn ❤❤❤

Lynn Lawler's Book Blog

Good afternoon friends. It is so great to see you all. Today I have a real treat for you. Photographer Laure Dherbécourt is here to chat about her work. This woman is amazing and each aspect of herself describes just that. Come on over and meet this talented and humble woman.

Profile picture (3)Where Reunion Island is on the map           Tell us about yourself.

I was born and raised in France. I wasn’t born there but I grew up in Normandy, in the country surrounded by goats and plenty of other animals and my parents always showed me the sustainable development. I made my entire schooling in Normandy… I worked 8 years near Paris after my graduation from college. It’s when I had my 1st experiences with women… 10 years ago, after I’ve lost my job I had a wonderful opportunity to come in Réunion Island (a French overseas department located in the…

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Ethereal – All around the world video

Earlier this year, a close friend of mine, the lovely Waritsara,  got in touch to ask if I could help with her music career which had stalled for the last four years and gotten to the stage where she was thinking about giving up.

Well, I couldn’t have that !!!!

She’s a super talented bunny with a really unique sound, chilling and haunting at the same time and her lyrics (all her own work) So, we set about a plan to get her out there, to hook her up with some great people and lone behold, two months later – this great video !!!

Would love to know what you think !!!

Like it ?  Of course you do !!! You can catch up with up with her on her Facebook page here

Beneath Everything – Suzie Carr

beneath-everything-webjFor me, the news of a upcoming release of a book by Suzie is something that always makes me smile when I read it. She has a way of writing which makes every book a joy to turn the pages of, something for her readers not just to enjoy, but also to reflect and learn from. This joy of expression and skill in creativity shines through in her characters, which she gives so much of herself and her own experiences to. They’re the kind of people you want to get to know and spend time with.

Her latest book, “Beneath Everything” is the story of Sarah, a marketing executive who, without knowing it has slipped into a soulless, joyless existence in the endless pursuit of a career which she has risen to the top off but has seen her lose perspective and left her empty of feeling and passion. Stuck in an unseen rut, it takes a meeting with Jolene, a diver or Divrer if you read her business card (it’s not a spelling mistake, it’s just a little fun from their story) from the Island of Bonaire to open her eyes to what she has become. Their first meeting, outside a friends party sets the scene for the rest of the book. Sarah, being challenged to realise her fears and encouraged to face them by Jolene slowly comes to change her views on what’s important and reconnect with her friend Frenchy, a friend with whom she has drifted apart.  This first

But it takes the change in perspective the experience of a scuba diving course which gives Sarah the push to overcome her final fear (and which gives the book its title) and commit to the moment and the simple joy of just being. Accompanied by Frenchy who, herself is overcoming her own personal trauma they travel to Bonaire and experience the vast, colourful silence of ocean diving, which opens Sarah’s eyes to what she has become. Changed, from that moment, romance and longing lead to relationship with Jolene and the final chapters of their story.

There’s so much to enjoy in this book, not just for the realness and beauty of the characters, but also their expression, their frailties and the journeys. Sarah’s story is one of the exploration of life to find joy, freedom, wedgieless knickers and non cannibalistic escalators. Not being afraid to lose control or ownership of the material things that you don’t really want and seek out those experiences that bring real value and meaning to these precious moments we spend on earth. It’s a story of the benefits that taking a risk can bring and never being to be too old, too afraid or too closed minded to try. I particularly like Frenchy’s approach to getting over a bad relationship, she has a “good Will”, well actually more than once.

It’s a beautiful book, something to treasure and not just read once, but to return to again and again. There’s a particularly lovely section about the various meanings of friendship which has been highlighted by a number of readers in the kindle edition, which is worth reflecting on a moments in your life. I don’t know about you, but I love this feature in my kindle. It adds layers and insight into what the book means to people and what they are reading into it, which you just don’t get outside a book club. There are lots of notes and highlighted sections in this one, a sure sign that its come to mean a great deal to the people who’ve read it.

You can catch up with Suzie on Amazon here

or her Facebook author page here

or, you can join her Facebook group “feed your joy” here

Smokey Eye Tutorial

This weekend, the lovely Holly Willis reacted to a post we shared on our Facebook page about how to do a Smokey eye look.  So what else could I do when I got to the shop today but prepare a little tutorial ?  Hope you like it Holly, Kate, Alyssa, Sara, Marijke and everyone else !!!

Step one – PRIME !!!

Primer
Primer – why aren’t you using it yet ?

Even though step one on all my makeup tutorials is to prime, it’s worth while repeating it here.  Every great artist starts with a properly primed and prepared canvass and you should too !!!  As well as drinking lots of water, adopting a good skincare regime and staying out of sunlight, an absolute essential for good makeup application is to use primer.

It won’t surprise you to learn that I personally use Younique primer, which you can get from my main site here, primarily because it’s a great mid price range product which gives a nice finish, but there are a  number out there to suit all budgets – just be sure to choose one and use it. OK ?

 

 

Step two – choose your shade

 

Pallette 1
Pallette 1 – Warm Peach

Today I’m going to be working on Denise who has the most lovely shade of green eyes.  Green (and brown eyes) are great to work on as a makeup artist as they suit a number of colour pallettes that makeup companies produce.

Pallette 2
Palette 2 – Grey and Silver

I’m using a mix of Palletes 1 and 2 from Youniques range of eye-shadows here today as they’re the backbone of my kit, but in general, you’ll find a single palette is ideal for creating your look.  The only reason I’m using two pallettes on Denise today is that I wanted to use the mid shade of palette 2 to generate more of a contrast around her eye, which you’ll see later.

Step three – lets get started !!

Picture1
Step two  –

To start with, I’m going to use shade 1 of palette 1 to apply the first base layer, using a shadow brush (I prefer to use this brush to start with, moving to a blending brush for the final stages).  The reason for using this neutral colour today is to emphasise the eye definition which I’ll be applying in stage fourThe reason for using this neutral colour today is to emphasise the eye definition which I’ll be applying in stage four.  The key point is that you don’t apply too much powder and to get it reasonably even (Don’t worry too much about it as we’ll be blending later).  You want to let the colours do the work for you, rather than layer on layer upon layer after colour.  This can cause flecks of shadow to drop of the eye onto the upper cheek area and make you look a little speckly.  In general I apply two layers of each colour and certainly no more than three.  If you find you’re using more, you’re probably using a low pigment colour content powder and it might be time to reconsider the brand that you’re using.  I say this because lots of layers of makeup tend to drag the eye down. make you look older (sounds weird but it’s true) and make it look as if you are trying to hide something with your makeup.  Ideally you want to keep it nice and light.

Stage four – eye definition

Picture 2
Step three – Using a pencil on the lower eye area

So, I’ve got a nice coloured even base, the next thing to do is to start defining the eyes. In order to match palette 1, I’m going to be using the prim chocolate shade of the Moodstruck precision pencil eyeliner below the area for the lower eyeliner, and the proper, dark chocolate shade of the Moodstruck Liquid eyeliner for the upper and lower eye edge definition.  Two things to note here are that you want your pencil to be a soft “kohl” style one, because you’re going to be smudging this out later and the eyeliner itself needs to be capable of generating a really hard line, in order to get the edge definition to blend into.  As you’ll see in the picture on the left, I’ve given Denise a little bit of a “cat eye” ( eyeliner which extends past the outer edge of the eye)

Picture 3
Using a liquid eyeliner to create a strong bold edge definition

The reason I’ve done this is to give a edge to blend the main part of the eyeshadow into, past the eye, which will extend it and make the look more dramatic.  You’ll also see that I accidentally went a bit wonky with the pencil in the corner of the eye.  If the same happens to you, don’t worry about it, the smudging will cover all later !!!! Although some makeup tutorials suggest applying the eyeliner first and then the pencil, I personally prefer the other way around, as I find the edge definition holds a little better.  But that’s just personal preference.

 

Step five – Little bit of smudging !!

Picture 4
Smudge the lower eye pencilled area to even out the application

Now that we’ve got the eye defined, we just need to smudge the lower pencil line.  Taking a clean brush (this bits really important, you don’t want to drag in colour from other areas of the eye) lightly brush over the pencil line that you applied in stage four.  You might need to add another layer of pencil at this stage to build up a little bit of colour as you’ll probably find that the brush will pull some colour off.  Another good reason for using a clean brush (or a ear bud) at this stage is that it allows you to correct any mistakes that you may have made (remember that wonky edge ? – GONE !!!)

 

The shape you’re aiming to create blends out to nothing at either edge and about 3-4mm depth in the middle.  I personally find it easier to blend from the inner eye to the outer edge in a smooth gentle motion, adding the odd spot of pencil in the middle to get the shape in the picture.  Don’t be afraid to take it to the edge of the cats eye that you created earlier to extend the eye.  It will all make sense in a bit !!!

Step six – bring the colour !!

Picture 5
First application of colour.  Note where it starts and stops and the taper on the front edge

Edges done, its time to add the colour which is the signature of the smokey eye look.  Going back to palette 1, I’m using shades 5 and 6 from the pallete and shade 4 off palette 2 for Denise’s look today.  The trick here is that I’m applying the darker shade first and then the lighter shades over the top of it.  Again, some tutorials that you see will show a transition from light to dark, but I prefer to apply the other way around.  The reason being that it adds depth to the lighter colours and makes the blending that we’ll be doing later really shine.    You’ll see in the picture that to start with, I’m only applying the darker colour from the middle of the eyelid out to the edge of the cats eye that I created in stage four.  You should also notice that I’ve applied it in a taper on the front edge.

Picture 5a
Add shimmer and shine with your lighter metallic shade

The reason for this is that it opens the inner eye up and creates a more natural shape for the eyelid. Next, I’m using shades five from palette 2 and shade four from palette 1 on the inner edge of the eye.  Although I’m using three colours here for my colours, most Smokey eye looks are a blend of two colours directly from a single palette.  If you’d prefer, leave out shade four from palette 1 (You’ll save yourself a little blending later) Again, a couple of key points of this stage are, use a clean brush and don’t take the lighter colours all the way to the inside of the eye.  Remember, you’re not looking for smooth transitions at this point, as you’re going to be blending later.

 

Step seven – Blend girl blend !!! Get the look !!!

 

Picture 6
Blend the edges – you can carry it up into the brow area to add shape and arch

Edges defined, colour applied, its time for the most fun bit, blending !!! This is where you bland and smudge (carefully) in a range of stokes across the eyelid.  You can also be a little daring and take it up into the eyebrow area as you can see here.  The nice thing about using shades four and five as I did here is that it creates the “shimmer” that you can see in the picture, which lightens the whole overall eye.  For blending, I recommend you use a specialist brush, like the one in the link, but I also use blending buds occasionally, depending on the consistency of the powder that I’m blending.

Picture 8
And voila !!! one Smokey eye look !!!

You’ll get to work out which one works best for you with practice and depending on which makeup brand you use.

 

Finish the look with some of Younique’s epic lash mascara to really add to the look – you wont regret it !!!

There really isn’t a product like this on the market at the moment – it’s just that Younique !!!!

Get yours here – You’ll thank me later !!!

Know the basics – Makeup Primer

 

makeup primerI was asked this weekend by the lovely “Friend of the store” Allison (it’s a new thing for us – go with it !!!) if I could write some articles going over some Makeup basics, which sounded like a great idea to me !!!

I thought for this series of articles, I’d start with (naturally enough) makeup primer. If you’re one of the many ladies who don’t use (or have heard of) this little gem, this essential is a worthwhile addition to your makeup bag. So, come with me into the store and let’s have a play !!! After all, that’s how I roll !!!)

Younique Touch Glorious Primer
As you know, I present for Younique and their version is called “Touch Glorious primer” which you can find here. If you’ve not tried Younique, or prefer a different makeup brand, don’t worry, pretty much all of what I’ll be talking about here is equally applicable to other brands products, so you won’t be losing out, except when I’m talking about ingredients, which I know a lot of girls are interested in, particularly when it comes to using a product that is cruelty free. So let’s get that out the way first shall we ? Are you ready ? Here comes the sciencey bit !!
Younique’s primer contains the following ingredients. Isododecane, Dimethicone, Polysilicone-11, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Retinyl Palmitate, Ascorbic Acid and Tocopheryl Acetate. That’s a lot of chemistry !!! But you needn’t worry, like a lot of cosmetics suppliers, Younique is cruelty free and I’m sure your preferred brand will be too.
Most primers contain silicon-polymers which help flatten out or smooth the skin, so you’ll probably notice your products ingredients will be similar to the above. Taking the above list as an example though, if like me, you have sensitive skin, the ones to look for are Dimethicone and Retinyl variants. The reason for this is that they can cause some skin irritation, or in extreme circumstances and allergic reaction, so it’s worth getting a small sample to check before you start using, particularly if you suffer with acne or eczema.

How do primers work ???

Unlike a moisturiser, which you apply to soften the skin, a primer smoothens the skin, improves the adhesion of your makeup and hence it’s resistance to coming off through the day. When used over nourished skin they create a thin, weightless film on the surface of your skin, which provides the key for your foundation to stick to. It can also help keep your foundation in place in wet or humid environments (it can even help if you tend to sweat your makeup off during the day !!!)

How to apply your primer

Apply your primer in a circular motion over your skin
You should apply your choice of primer onto clean, dry skin, but you don’t need a lot. This is definitely a case of less is more !!!! A spot the size of a 5p coin (or similar) is enough for most people. All you need to do is massage it into your skin with your finger tips in a circular motion. Some people find it easier to apply under their eyes using a small, thin brush (like an eyeshadow brush) but I don’t find a need to do this personally. Some people also find the area under their eyes to be a little more sensitive than the rest of their face and will use a specialist, gentler eye primer, but, even with my sensitive skin, I don’t tend to find I need this. The key after application is to allow it to dry on the skin for a 2-3 minutes to get completely dry before you apply the rest of your makeup.

Advantages of Using Makeup Primer

As a makeup artist, makeup primer is an essential piece of kit, which I always keep to hand in my makeup bag of tricks.  Why ? Well, here’s my top 3 reasons……….!!!
  • It reduces the appearance of pores – I’m not proud of it, but just to the side of my nose, I have a large pore (You could probably serve dip out of it at parties, gross but true). If like me, you have the occasional deep pore, you’ll find that using a primer will seal, fill and reduces their appearance. Even if you’re one of those lucky women who are blessed with small pores, you’ll find that it a useful to use a primer, particularly if you use a liquid foundation, which can sometimes magnify their appearance.
  • It smoothens your skin and evens its tone – Using a primer will make your skin smooth and soft to the touch – Glorious !!!! (See what I did there ?) If you have redness, burst blood vessels, moles or freckles on the face, a primer will help minimize all these. Using a Primer, gives your skin a smoother more even tone. It will also help with evening out fine lines around the eyes or edges of the lips.
  • It makes the makeup more resisilient – The main task of a primer is to make your makeup more resistant. A primer helps reduce sweating through the pores; it helps the makeup remain longer held in its place. A primer also acts as a certain shield for dust, water, and dirt, which erases makeup.
So, finishing up, a makeup primer is really simple to use. It dries instantly without leaving a sticky sensation. And reduces the appearance of fine lines, pores and skin redness. Don’t think of it as adding more time to your daily beauty ritual. Think of it as adding 2-3 minutes, which will give you extra confidence that smudged makeup is a thing of the past, as well as the need for constant re-applying !!! (And if you are worried about the 2-3 minutes, use it to work on your nails with some lovely Jamberry Nail wraps !!!!)
I’d love to know what your experience of using makeup primer is, or, if reading this you’re tempted to try it – why not pop me a line and tell me ?
Love always
Joanna