Takin’ Care of Business

Hard work is a misleading term. Physical effort and long hours do not constitute hard work. Hard work is when someone pays you to do something you’d rather not be doing. Anytime you’d rather be doing something other than the thing you are doing…You’re doing hard work.”

George Carlin- When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops


I once read a statistic that stated that we spend 1/3 of our life at work. At first this seemed slightly depressing, perhaps daunting at best. After some thought though I realized that stat is only as much of a bummer as we let it be. “Work” and “Mondays” get a really bad rap these days, so I thought I would take this opportunity to share with you some ideas on how to take that 9-5 and turn it into a 10/10. Or at least a solid 8/10. We all have to start somewhere right?


  • Keep hydrated! Now I completely understand that a cup o’ joe in the morning is essential, but draw the line there. Drink plenty of water, and if you are in need of an afternoon caffeine boost choose a green or black tea instead. Try and avoid beverages filled with sugar, as they are loaded with unnecessary calories and coming back from that sugar crash is never a good time.
  • Eat a light lunch and snack through the day. Chowing down on sugar laden and grease ridden foods is a quick way to make yourself exhausted after lunch. Make sure you bring plenty of crunchy veggies and fruits to snack on during the day, and when lunch time rolls around choose something that won’t make your stomach work overtime to digest. How does brown rice and veggies sound? Not as yummy as a burger? Get over it princess!
  • Get up and move around! Every chance you get, whether it be a mid-morning break or a trip to the printer, move that body of yours. You can simply walk faster than you normally would to get that document photo-copied, or you can take a brisk walk around the building. You can thank me later for the adrenaline rush.
  • Do you suffer from afternoon headaches? I can tell you from experience it is most likely from your computer screen, and fluorescent lighting. Make sure you have a proper anti-glare screen, set the brightness to low, and see if maybe you can switch out the lighting for a less painful alternative. Not working? When you have a moment massage the tips of your fingers. Your fingers are loaded with pressure points that are linked directly to the same nerves that are causing you pain.
  • Stay positive. To me this seems like a big no-brainer, but you would be surprised at how hard it can be to accomplish. Let’s be clear, no one wants to spend 40 hours a week in an office. Yes, we all know you would rather be with your children, snow-boarding, doing your taxes or hanging with your mother in law. But let’s be honest- you aren’t going to be winning the lottery anytime soon, so you better make the best of what you are doing. Put a smile on your face, lend someone a helping hand, make a joke, and find the bright side of what is enjoyable about your job. If you can’t find it, you aren’t looking hard enough. If you aren’t looking hard enough- you are the one solely responsible for your grump-buttness.
  • Do work you are proud of. This isn’t saying that you must be the worlds most perfect employee, but coming home from work knowing you have done your very best is great for your self-esteem. I have never once returned home from a job well done and thought to myself: “Man, THAT sucked.”


Now don’t forget- when all of this amazing advice leads to your promotion to CEO of that big corporation you work for, I will gladly take monetary and fruit basket donations. Besides, I worked really hard while writing this. You don’t want me to feel under-appreciated do you?


-Andrea Phaneuf, Owner and Operator of Alkeme Beauty


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Never has there been a more appropriate situation to bring out "Business Cat"

Never has there been a more appropriate situation to bring out “Business Cat”



Barenaked Lady

When I first had the idea of doing this blog I had brainstormed in an entirely different direction. I thought it might be interesting for my lovely followers (thanks you so much for your support and involvement by the way) to see just exactly what makeup can do for a woman. That woman would be me. I then started discussing my fears of posting a picture of my bare naked mug on the internet with my husband. That is when he said something to me that really got me thinking.

“Hey Andrea, do you remember that big scandal with David Letterman? He had multiple indiscretions with his fellow interns, some creepy guy had found out, collected proof and was planning on blackmailing him. A trial in front of a judge was quickly arranged and the man was arrested. Dave then had to decide what he was going to do because certainly the media would go into a frenzy when they found out. What did he do? After his opening monologue one night he sat at his desk and on national television he told his story. With humor, grace, and respect for all people involved he was transparent with his flaws while at the same time displaying his strengths.”

I was floored. My husband (whose thoughts I had gathered until this point mainly consisted of video games and cheeseburgers) had rendered me speechless with his insight. I literally barely spoke for an hour as I thought about it, and now am sitting at my laptop to share those thoughts with you.

Why would I ever fear that a picture of my face without makeup on it would end up on the internet? Well the answer is pretty simple, and I am pretty sure that a lot of women would feel the same. There you are, for the entire world to see with every flaw hanging out. Every blemish, wrinkle, and age spot rendered helpless to the camera flash. What if people called you ugly? Or even worse, what if people called you beautiful but you weren’t able to convince yourself they were being truthful? Oh man, the nasty thoughts that can race through someones mind.

How about this instead? How about we approach makeup and the reasons why we use it a little bit differently. Instead of concentrating its use to conceal imperfections, we set our sights on using it to enhance our strengths. In my view makeup is supposed to be fun, not a crutch to bear the weight of our insecurity. You and I are both the same (yes, YOU). We are deeply flawed as all humans are, but we also have a rich bounty of strengths to our disposal. An acceptance of both aspects is surely the path we all should be on. So the next time you reach for your makeup bag I ask you not to change what you do, but how you think. Change the way you see makeup, and you can change the way you see yourself when you are wearing it. Also, when you have nothing on at all don’t be afraid. It’s only YOU. And I am sure you are truly beautiful, flaws and all.

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In the words of Wayne Goss- "Remember, it's only makeup."

In the words of Wayne Goss- “Remember, it’s only makeup.”

Originally posted on alkeme beauty:

So can I tell you a secret? Pinky promise you won’t tell? I have a confession that I need to get off of my chest.

I am not a naturalist. Never have been. I’m not vegan, not even vegetarian, I wear discount celebrity perfumes sometimes, I love Pop Tarts and there have been times I have fed my daughter…. BOLOGNA! *gasp* I am slowly making better choices, and working harder to make sure what I make in my kitchen is as close to natural as I can get but by no means am I there yet. I’m not even close, but my intentions are true and noble. Although I have to admit that the idea of saving tonnes of cash by making my products at home is pretty encouraging.

I am blogging today to rave about the one thing that has made this transition easier on me. …

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Smoked Out!

Here’s the thing- I firmly believe that when you do someones makeup (especially if they are paying you) that you should follow what your client asks you to do. If they want lime green eyeshadow and pink lipstick you have to find a way to make it work. Someone’s definition of what they think is beautiful can be completely different from my view. It’s my job to give my input, advice, and expertise and try to blend that with what has been asked of me. It’s at times very challenging.

That’s why I love when I can be completely free to do whatever the hell I want. I am lucky enough that one of my best friends is GORGEOUS, and when I call and say “Hey, can I borrow your face? I wanna try something.”, she is more than happy to help. Oh Jaime, how I adore thee.

Tonight was one of those nights. I had the artist itch and was dying to do a flashy, smoky, and 60’s- esque look. I was frothing at the mouth to use some huge lashes and create a bombshell. So I called Jaime, we put on some tea, and went to work. Results below (please pardon the quality, they were taken by the camera on my phone):




Jaime I know you are reading this, and I have to thank you from the bottom of my heart for letting me experiment on you constantly. Damn girl, you even grew out your brows for me. Now THAT’S friendship.

Curious as to what Alkeme Beauty is up to outside of the blog world? Check out what I am doing here:

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Lips Like Sugar.

When I get an idea in my head I am like a dog with a bone. It’s all I can think of and if I cannot physically manifest this idea quickly and efficiently I become twitchy and obsessed. For example- If I have a great idea for a blog, it doesn’t matter what I am doing at the time, the topic and form will consume my every thought before I can get to my laptop. This is probably why I keep such a strict calendar, have detailed lists all over the place, and often space out when people are talking to me. I just can’t help myself.

Let’s rewind to last week.

Fall and winter makeup trends have certainly been favoring dark lip stains. “Oxblood” is certainly the name of the game (Ew, what a gross color name). One thing you have to be especially careful of when you are sporting those dark vampy lips is to ensure your lips are soft, flake-free, and moisturized.

Glamour Women of the Year Awards 2012

This lead us to my new obsession- lip scrubs. What is a lip scrub? Well generally they are a lip balm of sorts with an exfoliant in it. The composition can greatly vary, but the desired effect is all the same. Soft and supple lips with no icky flakes. Lip scrubs are sold at most drugstores, and speciality shops. They range in price from $5-$25 which I think is an absolute crime.

This is when the fever started. I wanted a lip scrub. I didn’t want to pay for one. But I wanted one so bad. But they are so expensive! BUT I MUST HAVE ONE.

Calm down Andrea. Think for a minute and just make one yourself. So I did, and it turned out better than I could have ever expected. Here is my magical recipe:

1 Tb petroleum jelly

1 Tsp coconut oil

1 Tsp honey

3 drops peppermint oil

5 drops Vitamin E oil

2 Tb raw sugar (refined white works as well)

 Take all of those ingredients, and mash them together with a fork. If you would like it to be more grainy, add more sugar, less grainy, less sugar. Mix them up until you can mix no further and then stick in an old lip gloss pot (sterilized). BAM! LIP SCRUB! The coconut oil, honey, and vitamin E are super moisturizing and the peppermint oil is super refreshing. It’s also delicious if you happen to get some in your mouth.

This recipe makes a huge amount of scrub, and costs less than a dollar to make.

Feel free to comment down below and let me know how this recipe works for you! Have a recipe of your own? Let me know!

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What’s In the Box?!?

If you are asking that question right now, I assure you the answer is far more innocent than the one Brad Pitt received in 1995. Poor Paltrow…

I am often asked what brands of makeup that I use, personally and professionally. I am not going to delve into what I keep in  my makeup kit because I am pretty sure I would max out my upload limit, but I have decided that today I am going to show you what I keep in my personal makeup case.  I have had to master the art of space-saving so you are going to notice that I am able to keep a pretty big array of product in a very small area.

Before we begin I am going to start by saying I hugely recommend every product I am going to show you. Each one I have used for a long enough time to know I love them, and any product I buy that doesn’t keep to that standard does not go in my personal case. I stuff it in a drawer to later donate to a friend, or to never speak of it again…

Here's what I keep it all in- an old Glossybox! It's incredibly sturdy and is just the right size.

Here’s what I keep it all in- an old Glossybox! It’s incredibly sturdy and is just the right size.


My skin products from left to right:
Revlon Colorstay for Combo/Oily skin in 150 “Buff”
Revlon Colorstay concealer (I use for blemishes) in 02″Light”
Maybelline Age Rewind Dark Circle eraser in 20 “Light”
Maybelline Age Rewind Dark Circle eraser in 60 “Brightener”
Maybelline Dream Matte Pressed Powder in “Cream”
Everyday Minerals Matte Base in “Fairly Light Neutral”


My cheek products from left to right:
Sleek Makeup Face Contour Kit in 884 “Light”- An excellent highlight and contour.
Kryolan for Glossybox Blusher in “Glossy Rosewood”
Tony Moly Lip and Cheek Tint in “Red Apple”
Elf Shimmering Facial Whip in “Lilac Petal”- An excellent and much less expensive alternative to Benefit Highbeam.


My mascara, eyeliners, and brow products from left to right:
L’Oreal Telescopic Mascara in “Carbon Black”
Maybelline Line Stiletto Liquid Eyeliner in “Blackest Black”
Maybelline Master Drama Eye Pencil in “Midnight Master”- GREAT for your waterline.
Elf Eyebrow Treat and Tame in “Ash”
Essence Kajal Pencil in “Taupe Me!”
The reason I love those brow products so much is that they have very little red undertone to them, and aren’t TOO ashy. This is a difficult combo to find in drugstore products.


My lip products:
I own every single Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Lip Balm Stain. I have a color for every occasion, which is excellent because I am not kidding when I say I wear one of these every single day of my life. You will never see me not wearing one. Even if I decide to wear a different lipstick I guarantee you I always have one of these mixed with it. They are moisturizing, pigmented, and last forever. They also have a yummy minty smell.


My eyeshadows:
Sleek Makeup iDivine Eyeshadow Palettes in 601 “Au Naturel”, 731 “Ultra Matts V2″, and 578 “Storm”. I find these three palettes are just small enough to not become cumbersome, and offer an excellent array of shimmer vs matte and neutral vs bright. They are creamy, extremely pigmented, have limited fallout, and very long lasting.
Elf Long Lasting Lustrous Eyeshadow in “Toast”, “Gala” and “Party”. I consider these to be my “going out” shadows. They are ridiculously glittery and have excellent staying power.
Maybelline Color Tattoo Metal Cream Eyeshadow in “Barely Branded”- This is my go-to eyeshadow base. When I layer this underneath my eyeshadow it lasts for-ev-er.

Well now you have seen it all, you’ve seen my makeup box and there is no going back. We may as well get married now, or at least move in together.

Feel free to comment down below and let me know what YOU keep in your makeup bag! Also,if you have any questions about the products I have listed I would be more than happy to help a sista out.

 If you want to be filled in on everything Alkeme Beauty is up to find me on-

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