Tag Archives: Contessa

My Exclusive Interview with Canadian Nail Artist, Valerie Ducharme (Contessa Awards 2016 Finalist)

This evening, I’ll be attending the 27th Contessa Awards at the Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto. Hosted by Noah Cappe (from Food Network’s Carnival Eats) for a second consecutive year, the special gala honouring creative Canadian talent: hairstylists, colourists, salon teams, makeup artists, and nail artists!

Check out Salon Magazine’s list of all the finalists on their website. Also, during the event that begins today at 7 pm EST, you can watch the live webcast here.

Follow me on social media because I’ll be sharing some photos and videos. Mainly, I plan to share them on Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat (username: swatchandlearn), but in case I also post them on Facebook, Google+, and Pinterest, I’m including those links, too.

Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Valerie Ducharme, a Canadian nail artist from Quebec who’s a Contessa Awards 2016 finalist and last year’s winner! (Good luck to her tonight!)

She took the time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions I had, and it was fun to get a closer glimpse into the nail industry.

Below is just one of the many intricate nail designs she’s created.

Check out the rest of this post to read her responses to all my questions and to see more photos of her inspiring nail art!

Valerie Ducharme Canadian Nail Artist

Continue reading


Contessa 2016 Canadian Hairstylist of the Year Awards

Contessa Awards 2016

The other day, I received a goody bag filled with tons of amazing professional hair products and some nail polishes, as well as an official invitation to attend the Contessa Awards in November from PR and Salon Magazine! (If you followed me on social media, you saw this photo of the goody bag and this photo of what was in it.)

For the past two years, I’ve been fortunate enough to attend, and I remember them being a blast.

They start off with cocktails, and you can check out photos of the hair, makeup, and nail designs from talented Canadian professionals who are nominated. Then, the gala starts with a dinner and some performances. Throughout the night, they announce the award winners, and the winners give their speeches.

When I go, I’ll be sure to share photos and video clips live during the event, so it’ll be like we’re there together. 🙂

In this post, I share more details about this year’s theme (exotics), the host (Noah Cappe from the Food Network’s Carnival Eats), and background information about the Contessa Awards, which are owned and produced by Salon Communications Inc. (Salon Magazine, Elevate Magazine, etc.).

To follow information about this year’s event, look up #Contessa2016 on social media. (Yes, 2016 and not 2015.)

Continue reading


Blog News: I’m Attending the Contessa 2014 Awards Tonight

Happy Sunday, everyone!

I’ll be attending the Contessa 2014 Awards tonight, which will be hosted by Noah Cappe, the TV personality and host of Food Network Canada’s Carnival Eats!

(You may remember that last year, I attended and blogged about the awesome time I had at the Contessa 2013 Awards. Last year, there was a circus theme. This year, there’s an elemental theme – i.e. earth, air, fire, and water.)

Contessa 2014 Canadian Hairstylist of the Year Awards

The Contessa Canadian Hairstylist of the Year Awards celebrates 26 years of Canada’s top hair talent, and it’s a grand event taking place at the Westin Harbour Castle in downtown Toronto.

I’m not a hair professional, but PR was thoughtful and generous – they invited me to the event and provided me with a courtesy ticket for myself and my “date”. 🙂 (Good thing, too, because earlybird tickets were sold for $175 CAD, and afterwards, leading up to the Gala night, you can buy a ticket for $200 CAD!)

A portion of the proceeds from the Contessa 2014 Awards ticket sales and corporate sponsorships go toward Look Good Feel Better, which is a national, non-profit organization that supports women living with cancer through workshops, which help improve self-image of women fighting cancer.

It includes cocktails, the awards show with artistic presentations, and dinner! There are going to be over 1,000 guests attending, so yes, it’s a big, elaborate event, and I’m looking forward to soaking it all up! (Learn more about the Contessa 2014 Gala.)

While the main stars of the show will be professional hairstylists, there will also be categories for makeup artists and nail artists.

Tonight, check me out on social media, especially Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, as I will do my best to post photos and video clips from the event live. (It’s my way of ‘taking you with me’ and sharing the experience, which is way more fun!)

Also, there will be an official Contessa 2014 Awards Webcast, sponsored by CND. This webcast begins at 7 pm EST.

The entire event is presented by Salon Magazine, and you can see from the image above that there are a lot of professional haircare companies who have sponsored the Contessa 2014 Awards.

I’ll do a recap blog post in the near future, so you can see more from photos of this event that don’t make it onto my social media.

Yup, I’ll be busy working on a bunch of recap blog posts for my lovely readers:

Please stay tuned for those, and be patient. As you know, I blog as a hobby, and these days after my full-time job, socializing, and doing personal projects, I come home feeling pretty exhausted. I’ll do my best to get the posts up as soon as I can. I hope you will find them worth the wait! 🙂

If you’re not familiar with the Contessa Awards, please continue reading the rest of this post because I’ve included the press release that PR provided me with. It includes background information.

Continue reading


Blog News: I Attended the Contessa 2013 Canadian Hairstylist of the Year Awards

Contessa 2013If you followed me on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, you already know that on Sunday November 10, I attended the Contessa 2013 Canadian Hairstylist of the Year Awards.

It was held in downtown Toronto at the Westin Harbour Castle.

I’m not a hairstylist, but one of the amazing PR firms I collaborate with (Langton Communications) invited me to the event because they thought I’d enjoy it – they were so right! 🙂

The Contessa Awards are pretty much like the Academy Awards, except for the hair industry. They were founded in 1988 and are Canada’s longest-running and most prestigious awards honouring excellence and creativity in salon professionals. (Top manufacturers and distributors of professional beauty products support Contessa. They have many sponsors including CND, JOICO, L’Oreal Professional, Marvel Beauty Schools, Paul Mitchell, Redken 5th Avenue NYC, and many more!)

According to the press release PR provided, the submissions “are evaluated on originality, creativity, fashion appeal, model suitability and technical execution”. They also take into consideration the quality of the photography, makeup, and clothing.

They announced the nominees for each category, and then the winner headed to the podium and gave their acceptance speech. (There were some that were so raw and emotional – you could truly see just how much it meant to them and how much hard work they put in to deserve their place in the spotlight. It was inspiring!)

A lot goes into the cuts, colours, and vision for the entire image, which includes makeup and nails. (This post is very picture-heavy, but stick around because I’ll show you some of the winners’ photo submissions. One winner is actually a nail artist, which I thought was really cool to see. I’ll show you the manicures she came up with.)

Even though I brought my DSLR camera, I rarely busted it out. So all the photos you see in this post that were taken by me were with my smartphone. The quality isn’t the best, but I also included some Instagram videos, so you could get a glimpse into what it was like to actually be there. (A pictures says a thousand words, but a video says even more!)

The entire night was like nothing I had experienced before. It was so great to see everyone dressed up and to be among creative artists who challenged the status quo and who weren’t afraid of taking risks.

I’m in desperate need of a haircut, and there was so much inspiration at the Contessa Awards!

What an honour and a privilege it was to be invited! I am so very grateful to the entire Langton Communications team, especially Donna-Lee, Michelle, and Maxine, all of who I saw at the event.

Continue reading