Spotlight on Aimee Dow Cosmetics

beauty, PEI Girlbosses

As a makeup artist, I’m always excited when I hear about a great new beauty product – especially if it’s local! While many of my skin care products are locally made (more on that in the future!), most of my makeup is from Sephora, MAC, or other big brands, as it’s rare to find a local boutique company that boasts high quality. That’s why I was beyond excited when I learned that fellow PEI makeup artist, Aimee Dow, had created her own line of liquid lipsticks and launched her own company, Aimee Dow Cosmetics!

I’m always curious and full of questions when people launch new businesses, so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a few of samples of her lipsticks, ask her all about her inspiration for the passion project, and just generally get to know her a bit better. (After all, we work in the same industry but never get to actually work together!)

Savannah: What inspired you to become a makeup artist?
Aimee: Makeup has always been a passion of mine. Since the age of 12, I have been completely enchanted by makeup and all of the possibilities you can create with makeup. I can still remember getting into my mother’s Amway Artistry makeup, and I was completely fascinated by all of the beautiful colours, textures, and different uses of it. I still feel this way now, and I would say my passion has only grown over the years. I’ve always dreamed of being a makeup artist owning my own cosmetics line. To say that those dreams have now both come true is so surreal, and I am so thankful for every opportunity I have been given.

S: What is your favourite makeup style or trend right now?
A: As we move into spring and summer, I am all about minimalistic makeup with fresh looking skin and a bright pop of color on the lips. I love a good dewy golden highlighter that makes you look perfectly sun-kissed and like you’re glowing from within. I’ve been going for more of the natural fresh-skinned look lately, and I think it is going to be a huge trend for this spring and summer season.

S: What is a makeup mistake that you wish people knew how to fix?
A: Brows! I would hate to make anyone feel bad, but I do feel a little uneasy when I see brows that are too dark, too warm, too thin, too bushy/unkempt or just not shaped the right way for their face. Brows really are so important, and they frame the face. If the brows look wrong, then it can mess up your entire look.

S: Tell me about a career highlight you’ve had.
A: There have been many noteworthy highlights but the most recent is creating Aimee Dow Cosmetics – a cosmetics company, primarily focusing on liquid lipstick for now, that I truly believe in. I can’t tell how much money I have spent on searching for a perfect liquid lipstick, the kind that is moisturizing but stays on. After forking out tons of money, I was still finding faults in all the formulas I tried, only to be left disappointed and defeated. I thought I would never find exactly what I was looking for. So, since creating a makeup line of my own has always been in the back of my mind, I took charge and did loads of research. I searched for manufacturers from all over the world, some nights being up until 3AM talking with companies overseas. I finally settled on three manufacturers that I was really impressed with, and the work begun. After months of back-and-forth, and lots of testers, I finally had my hands on my dream formulas… and they were all mine! I am so proud to say that my liquid lipsticks are perfection in my eyes. They are the perfect mix of moisturizing and long-wearing, and all of which are incredibly pigmented. So, this for me was a huge success in my books, and definitely my biggest career highlight to date! I am a proud mama!

S: You’re heading to a desert island and allowed to bring five beauty items – what are they?
A: I’ll have to play it safe on this one, and makeup will need to take a back-seat! That hurts a little! But, I would definitely take my essentials which are:
1. SUNSCREEN! So important to preserve your skin from the damage the sun can cause!
2. Body wash that could double as shampoo…. I mean, do I need to explain?
3. A nourishing moisturizer to help repair my skin, if damaged, and keep it moisturized.
4. A razor.. again, need I explain?
5. A moisturizing SPF lip balm to help prevent my lips from becoming cracked, damaged, and dry.

S: What is something you wish more people would ask you about?
A: I actually don’t like to talk too much about myself but I love hearing all about what’s going on in your world! I find it awkward to talk about myself too much with others, so I often try to redirect the conversation. I love to help others, and I think that is why I also became an RN. I wish people would ask me more about self-help questions because I truly love helping others search for answers related to their health, and I love making suggestions when I can. I love talking about the brain and the chemicals involved, and I also love talking about different illnesses and why they are brought about. I love solving health problems, it makes me feel good and almost like an FBI agent!


Favourite colour:
Most people would think it is pink, but my favourite colour of all is actually blue. There’s just so many gorgeous tones of blue! Plus, something about blue reminds me of blue skies and gorgeous shimmering blue waters and just enjoying nature. Everything about it represents calmness for me and I like that.

Lucky number:
I would have to say 5… Don’t ask why, though!

Fave self care method:
I love a good face mask and a nice bubble bath! Right now I am loving the Charlotte Tilbury Dry Facial Sheet Mask – so luxurious feeling and leaves you looking so refreshed. Who wouldn’t dig that?!

Fave TV show or movie:
Hands down, “This is us” – I instantly fell in love with that show and it’s even one my husband enjoys too. So, any show that we can watch and both enjoy together is definitely a fave!

What are you listening these days:
It’s actually kind of funny because my playlist is literally all over the place. I am a small-town country girl, so I can appreciate George Jones (I know, right?) but I also love the complete opposite as well, like Post Malone or Cardi B. All time faves for me though would have to be Rihanna, Beyonce, and Nicki Minaj. I’ll admit, my playlist recently has had Post Malone and 90’s music on repeat – can’t go wrong with either… right? So all over the place. For the most part, I like to listen to music that I can relate to and I love that about music. There’s a song for every mood!

Favourite season in PEI:
I’m definitely a summer girl. For me, and probably many others, there is something about the warm weather and sunshine that makes me feel 100%.

Dead or alive, who do you wish you could meet:
Personally, I think it would be cool to have a chat with Princess Diana. I also think Oprah would be an amazing individual to have a conversation with. I think there would be so many different and interesting conversations you could easily have with both. They both are two very inspirational women, and I’m all about that!

Favourite quote:
“Life’s too short.”
Short and sweet, but it reminds you to always keep what is important to you at the forefront and close to your heart. Hold on to the ones you love, and take every opportunity that comes your way. If they don’t come your way, do what you can to create them. Make your dreams a reality. Do what makes you happy…because life really is too short. Don’t you think?

…I agree! And life is also too short to be wearing bad lipstick, so head over to Aimee Dow Cosmetics and find your new favourite hue! (Hot tip: my personal fave is ‘Romance‘).

New Years Resolution? Nah! But here are my intentions and hopes for 2018!

Prince Edward Island, Self Care, wellness

The last four or five years, my routine to prepare for each new year has evolved from choosing (and rarely achieving) a traditional resolution to setting several smaller intentions and goals focused on different parts of my life. This year, I adapted it further to include a ‘shedding’ of negativity from the last year, highlighting of all of the great things that happened in 2017, and then set my intentions for the upcoming year as well as a little trick to keep me motivated for the months to come. Below is how I set my new years intentions and a free downloadable worksheet for you to do this, too!

Shedding the Past
I’m not going to lie, 2017 was a strong kick in the pants for me. There were a lot of things that I would love to forget, but I’m a firm believer in learning something from each experience (good or bad), so in order to learn I needed to shed how terrible I felt about these things. My process looked like this…I wrote all of the hardest parts of 2017 onto a sheet of paper, read it out loud (and cried about some of them – crying is cleansing!), and then I lit that piece of paper on fire and watched it dissolve into ash. Sounds pretty dramatic, but I swear I felt such relief! It’s really helped me to appreciate the challenging times that I’ve survived and move on to focus on more positive things.

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Highlighting the Good
As much as 2017 served up some big health and business challenges for me, there were so many wonderful things that happened, too. It was a year filled with lots of family, friends, and Love.
In my bullet journal, I’ve made block of space titled ‘gratitude & memories’ each week, and at the end of the year I go through each of those highlights and write them all into a new spread all together. This is the second year I’ve done this with my bujo, and it’s become such a great way to remember both the tiniest and biggest beautiful moments (some of which are shown above).

Intention Setting, Hopes and Dreams

Once I finish reviewing the year that’s gone by, I start to look at the new year ahead. There are quite a few different areas of life to think about here – personal intentions (family, relationships, friends, travel, health, fitness, self-improvement, etc), business goals (marketing campaigns, financial targets, creative expansion, etc), household dreams (decluttering, renovations, painting, landscaping, etc), and many more.
In my opinion, setting one big resolution in one single area of life would not make for a very productive year, even if the target was hit. Setting several smaller goals for each ‘category’ will show the biggest difference and the most overall improvement.

BONUS: Choosing a Word (or two) of the Year

With my intentions and hopes and business goals and life dreams are all laid out on paper, it’s often easy to see a theme amongst them. Choosing a word that fits with the theme can be a simple reminder of the intentions, and help to motivate throughout any challenges in the months to come. My words of the year are “less and more” as in less clutter and creating more space in my home and workshop, less busy and more productive time management, less digital connection and more time spent with loved ones in person, less spending and more saving…you get the picture. This little reminder to think of what I really want in my life is just the thing I need to keep me in line with my intentions for 2018.

Just getting started on your intention-setting for the new year? Me too! Who cares if we’re late to the party as long as we show up. And if something you thought would be good for you isn’t working, change it up! No need to wait until next January 1st to start anew. Today is always the start of a new year, and it’s always a great time to set new goals.


My wellness journey

I am currently feeling overwhelmed with sadness, anger, and frustration. Upon learning that one of PEI’s two gastroenterologists is leaving the Island, I don’t know whether to curl up in the a ball and cry, or go light something on fire. I’m actually devastated.
Here’s my story in as small of a nutshell as I can put it in:
I was 11 years old when I was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). At the time, this was the label for a throw-away condition. A “we know there’s something wrong, but we don’t know what it is” diagnosis. After enduring what were very traumatic tests for a little girl, this diagnosis was extremely depressing.
Fast forward to 2015. I won’t get into all of the details of those 21 years in between, but an important thing to note is that IBS is now categorized as a chronic bowel disorder. It’s been mostly manageable for me over these years, with a few bad spells here and there, but ultimately I could live my life without worrying about having symptoms every day, and I had very few dietary restrictions aside from very spicy foods and fried foods.
At the end of 2015, however, my digestive health took a sudden and severe turn. My general digestive problems were much more painful more often, and I was having far more frequent ‘attacks’ where the pain was so bad that I couldn’t leave the house, not to mention there was very little time to go anywhere between the urgent trips to the bathroom. After being very sick over the holidays last year and a visit to outpatients, I realized I needed to pay more attention to my diet and my overall my health.
Now…It’s been nine months since my first visit with my doctor to figure out what had changed with my digestion, and I’ve still had no updated diagnosis or treatment. Blood tests and stool samples have been the extent of my testing within this time period. A shrug and the words, “I guess it’s just IBS. What a way to live” was a definite low point in this experience. I mean, thanks for the sympathy…but…I’m not satisfied with that response to my life upheaval. My doctor’s referral for me to see a gastro-specialist was denied, apparently because “there’s a 3-year waiting list”, which I guess means that my case is not yet severe enough to be added to the list.
But let’s just talk for a minute about how severely this has been changing my life.
I’m 100% self-employed, and in this last nine months, I’ve had to turn down so much work to the point that I may have to close one of my businesses. I don’t really like to publicize my income, but if I tallied the freelance contracts I’ve lost, it would add up to be about $15-$20,000 of lost income. I’m grateful to be capable of being home-based with my other businesses so I still have some income, but there are many days when I can’t make it to meetings that are necessary to move forward, grow my businesses, and pursue new opportunities. I’ve missed many family and friend gatherings, and the ones that I’ve been able to attend I’ve been so preoccupied with how I’m feeling that I’ve hardly been able to enjoy them.
On bad days, leaving my house at all is out of the question, even an 8km drive to the nearest convenience store is not an option without having to pull over and run into the woods. The distance I travel on those days is rushing from the couch to the bathroom. On the worst days (thankfully these are rare), I can’t stand upright, I’m convinced that my appendix has ruptured, I’m dying, and have to go to the hospital.
All of this alludes to the fact that my IBS (or whatever it is now) has pretty well become a disability. If that doesn’t warrant being on a waiting list to see a specialist – even if it’s three years until the appointment – I don’t know what does.
But just because PEI’s medical system has failed me, doesn’t mean I’ve been sitting around moping and feeling sorry for myself. Aside from focusing on working from home and trying to be as productive as possible within these limitations. In the spring time, I eliminated dairy, wheat, and corn from my diet and I have been making all meals from scratch – no prepared foods whatsoever because everything seems to have milk, wheat, or corn derivatives it in. I’ve since started the FODMAP diet in addition to these eliminations. I’ve tried being more active. I’ve tried being less active. I’ve tried decreasing and increasing my fibre intake. I’ve removed refined sugars from my diet. I’ve tried costly holistic allergy treatments. I began a meal and symptom tracker (August-to-present) to see if there are any patterns with the types of foods I eat and my digestive issues, and there are no patterns at all, which makes me question if it’s even food-related and if I’ve been making these changes for nothing. Very, very frustrating and discouraging.
And…this is just my own story! There are countless others in PEI who are dealing with terrible digestive issues who are unable to or don’t know how to change their diets/lifestyles in ways that make even the slightest difference in their digestion. These people need doctors and gastroenterologists. We need help.
There needs to be much more focus on gut health in Prince Edward Island. Because, as Hippocrates said, “All disease begins in the gut.” Therefore, anyone can rationalize that diagnosis and treatment of gut issues is important for the overall health of Islanders.
Healthy Gut