why I went vegan

Being that it is WORLD VEGAN DAY and I have this platform, I want to share a little of my story. I grew up being told we needed meat to survive. Ironically, I first turned to a plant based diet for health reasons. I will admit though, having grown up on a farm I saw the whole process. I was so emotionally confused but to be honest, as I got older I felt more numb to it. That sounds terrible but it was all around me. I think there was a hardening of my heart as almost an emotional survival technique. We would get attached to these innocent little beings, we couldn’t help it – they were so cute and so vulnerable. But then we would have to say goodbye and at some point they would end up on our plates, or someone else’s.

Fast forward to me in my twenties….I was in such horrific pain constantly. Doctors had no answers. After several years I started to lose hope I would ever live a normal life. I couldn’t even hold down a job. I came across a doctor who asked if I had ever tried changing my diet. I hadn’t and was so desperate to be free of the pain that I did a complete elimination diet. I hadn’t even meant to give up meat permanently, I just wanted to figure out what my body was reacting to. Within three months of giving up meat though, a miracle happened. I went two of the three months without pain and was continually feeling better. For the first time in almost a decade I was off my pain medication that doctors said I would be on my whole life. When people would say ‘Good for you but I don’t think I could ever give up meat…’ I realized there had to be some sort of addiction involved with eating meat and dairy. And yet, the release from my pain was overriding any of my taste satisfactions. For me it felt like it was a matter of choosing life or death. I had meant to re-introduce meat back into my diet when ‘malnourishment’ set in, but the reactions from the people around me when I was on my elimination diet were not what I expected. I thought I would receive more support and less criticism. I wasn’t joining a cult, I was sick and I just wanted to feel better, but whatever my reason I wasn’t hurting anyone else. It was actually the opposite.

Then I started coming across other vegans. It was like being a little person and thinking you are the only one in the world and then you turn a corner and find this whole village of people just like you. That is when I reached the point of no return. It proved to me that one cannot only survive on a plant based diet, they can thrive. Now I meet vegans everywhere I go. My doctor, the same one who saved my life by encouraging me to try changing my diet, is vegan. My clients who have become my family have decided to go vegan too. The interesting thing about it is that everyone has a unique story behind becoming vegan. Instead of judging them, ask them about their story. For me, I am a truth seeker, and the more I learned about animal agriculture, the more of an obligation I felt I had to do better. It is not about being perfect, it is about compassion and wanting to be a decent human being. I think for a time I learned a behaviour where I could compartmentalize my feelings. But it didn’t feel emotionally healthy, it scared me. I have always wanted to protect the underdog. And yet, my daily actions were going against my core values. Through my experience I have come to believe that when we eat fear and suffering, we become it.

I also realized that my choice of whether I eat meat and dairy is not just a personal choice. It will affect my nephews and my niece. It presently affects the rainforests and the inhabitants of those forests who don’t have a choice, and it affects the millions of people facing water shortages and who don’t have a choice. People are actually losing their lives to climate change and they don’t have choice. I don’t think my personal choice should eclipse everyone else’s. ‘I HOLD THAT, THE MORE HELPLESS A CREATURE, THE MORE ENTITLED IT IS TO PROTECTION FROM THE CRUELTY OF MAN.” {mahatma ghandi}

fake news….fake foundation?


So I have had others try to copy my formulas before but this company has taken it to another level. Word for word, they copied the product page of my BIO-FOUNDATIONS, pasted it to their website to make it look like their product, and inserted their brand name. Same product name, same ingredients(???), and same page content. I suppose imitation is the sweetest form of flattery. However, being that my suppliers are local Canadian farmers and this company is based in Florida in the US, I would question whether our formula of unique ingredients is even what is in their foundations. Seeing the lack of ethics thus far, I would be concerned as to what they are actually selling. I wanted to give my HAUT family a heads up in case you have already come across them and are thoroughly confused.

Here are my BIO-FOUNDATION ingredients (created 14 years ago):

Zinc Oxide, Arrowroot, Pyrophyllite Clay, Canadian Glacial Clay, Aquiterra Clay, Kaolinite, Bentonite Clay, Rhassoul Clay, Yellow Clay, Siberian Chaga*, Iron Oxides + Our Signature Fermented Blend: Purple Carrot Root*, Purslane Flower*, Sea Buckthorn Fruit*, Whole Coffee Fruit*, Alaskan Blueberry*, Tomato Fruit*, Cantaloupe Fruit*, Cocoa Seed*, Amla Fruit*, Marigold Flower*.

Here are the foundation ingredients of I’M FABULOUS (created this year):

Ingredients: Zinc Oxide, Arrowroot, Pyrophyllite Clay, Canadian Glacial Clay, Aquiterra Clay, Kaolinite, Bentonite Clay, Rhassoul Clay, Yellow Clay, Siberian Chaga*, Iron Oxides + I’m Fabulous Cosmetics Signature Fermented Blend: Purple Carrot Root*, Purslane Flower*, Sea Buckthorn Fruit*, Whole Coffee Fruit*, Alaskan Blueberry*, Cocoa Seed*, Amla Fruit*, Marigold Flower*, Arnica*.

Here is the LINK to their product page: https://imfabulouscosmetics.com/collections/makeup/products/bio-mineral-foundation-1

I noticed they have deleted my comment on their Instagram and blocked me since I expressed my feelings regarding their naughty behavior. I am hoping eventually they will attempt to use their own imagination and come up with their own formulas. I was watching the movie THE WORDS the other night and couldn’t help relating. This act is a different form of plagiarism but it is really very much the same. It is not like they stole my whole ‘book’ and published it as theirs (maybe I should be thanking them) but they still stole a few pages. Creating that one product, my first, took years of my life to perfect and a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. Just looking at their product photos is painful. I can tell the texture of their foundation is completely different than mine. It looks heavy and chunky.:(

They have copied my content I wrote on the product benefits word for word onto their website also – sadly not a lot of creativity on the part of I’M FABULOUS. My client had mentioned that at first she thought our companies were affiliated. NOPE, absolutely not. We don’t seem to be cut from the same cloth. I’M FABULOUS COSMETICS is not a plant based or natural line. I noticed one product even contains Clostridium Botulinum, a bacterial spore or virus that grows on food and produces toxins that, when ingested, cause paralysis. And then there is my bio-foundation right next to it. But even before my client emailed us she felt something was a little off about I’M FABULOUS (thank goodness) and wanted to alert me. I have received worried messages in the past of ‘copycats’. I appreciate all of you looking out for me and my brand. Like I said, it does sting, but I am more concerned with the trusting people who are not aware this is going on. Try to get to know a company through social media and their blog before you invest in it. If something just doesn’t sit right, go with your gut. Feel free to reach out to us too if you need a recommendation. There are a lot of amazing companies who care about each individual’s well being but there also seem to be more and more cropping up which just see dollar signs. They are in disguise – wolves in sheep’s clothing. Please be careful out there. Because there are no regulations in the cosmetics industry, I think we are going to see the creation of ‘FAKE HAUT FOUNDATIONS’ and other products happening more and more.:(

what is your slavery footprint?

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Questions you could consider asking the brand

  • What do you do to ensure decent working conditions in the factories where your clothes are made?
  • How do you support workers being able to negotiate their own working conditions?
  • Are you confident that the price you pay for your garments is enough to ensure that the workers who make them earn a sufficient wage to support themselves and their family?

Vintage fashion and second hand clothing is also an option

As a consumer you can buy things from second hand stores, borrow, swap, and generally find ways to buy less new clothing. This is one way to slow down the ever increasing speed with which we consume clothing. This approach also pays heed to the environmental problems of clothing waste and over consumption of materials.

However, we don’t propose this as the simple solution to the industry’s problems. Jobs for workers in the fashion industry are a life line for many. We feel it is our job to promote these jobs, but advocate for them to be well paid and secure. Buying less first hand clothing could slow down production, reduce pressure in workplaces, and help improve conditions. But it could also cause job losses for workers who rely on the fashion industry for their livelihoods, and not improve workplace pressure at all. We have no way to measure this effect. {Yes, we know it’s not a pretty picture!}

It is also important to mention the big problem of waste created by the second hand clothing business. It is often the case that second hand clothing, when not sold, is dumped on emerging markets in developing countries, and their local fashion industry is damaged. If and when you support a second hand clothing retailer, it is important to ask questions about their waste and ensure that it isn’t having this effect.

We realize that this is not a very clear answer, but it is all we are in a position to give, right now. The main point is that, as with first hand clothes, it is important to be aware of the possible effects of our actions, also when buying second hand or vintage. Clearly the long term solution to all these issues is that changes in the production process have to be introduced in which respect for workers’ rights are embedded.





is makeup shaming really a thing now?

I have been wanting to address this topic for awhile now but I was not sure how to describe it. Then I noticed it had been given a name, ‘makeup shaming’. It has been bothering me that people who are used to expressing themselves through the art of makeup are being made to feel guilty. For any of you who are thinking…’Huh? What did I miss?’ I came across this article which explains it quite clearly, MAKEUP SHAMING by Huff Post.

In my early twenties I became very sick. Until that point, I had felt pretty invincible. So I kept expecting to wake up one day and feel myself again, the way you do after suffering from the flu. Instead, I had to take a leave of absence from my career and I spent the next decade in and out of the hospital, often in debilitating pain. I was used to being the person people could count on. Even though it took patience and a lot of prayer, I was eventually able to get my health back, but the experience changed me. Makeup had always been a passion, but in those quiet days of solitude, makeup became a lifeline for me. It kept me sane. It gave me something to look forward to. It was like therapy.

A few years ago I heard about a makeup artist named Talia, who had been diagnosed with cancer. Doing makeup for her seemed to be like breathing, it was a natural outlet. It saddened me to see her becoming more sick. I knew of that place she went to when she did makeup. It was an escape from the doctors and medicine and pain. Talia passed away in 2013 but I still think about her often. I was never able to meet her face to face but through her art I saw her beautiful soul. Even though she was only thirteen when she passed away, she accomplished a lot in her life. She reminded me to seize the moment and to focus on what I am passionate about.

These days, I often feel more like a makeup ‘naturopath’ than a makeup artist. On a weekly basis I have clients and friends who need makeup and skincare advice after being scarred from a serious skin condition, disfigured from an accident, or because they are recovering from cancer. They are not trying to use makeup to be someone else, they just want to get back to feeling more like themselves again.

You might be wondering what this has to do with ‘makeup shaming’. That is just it. From my point of view, it doesn’t really make any sense. Yes, there are some people out there who wear their makeup as a mask and hide behind it. But you cannot put everyone into that same category. And if someone has deeper issues, I don’t believe that ‘makeup shaming’ is going to bring about any kind of positive results. We need to lead with empathy and encourage young people to express themselves, not the opposite. I think if you can see makeup as a form of art, you will understand that we are all creative artists. What is the shame in that?

I want to extend my gratitude to all of you who put yourselves out there by sharing your story. Below is a photo from a beautiful client and friend from New York who, like each of us, has become her own artist. She is a cancer survivor, and although she has regained her health, her skin has changed and it has become part of her story. If there is anyone out there who is looking for full coverage makeup that is also healing for skin, we would love to help. Just send us an email at iartists@hautcosmetics.ca.



Haut summer forecast

Photo 2015-05-18, 2 39 42 PM

I found out about this challenge in the above photo a little late but I love the tips. It is documented on Instagram @davidsuzukifdn. Did you know that May 2nd was International Gardening Naked Day? What I would like to know is, where were you that day?? Lately I have been in awe of the beauty that surrounds us. We can take it for granted. Have you watched COWSPIRACY? If not I encourage you to take a moment to focus on the present crisis that is happening in nature. As a society we have fallen asleep at the wheel and it is time we wake up and start voting for change with what we choose to eat. I know that at some point all the little ones in my life who I love dearly, are going to know what I did and what I didn’t do to make a difference. Their future and the future of our oceans, forests, and planet depends on us.


This summer HAUT will be expanding into the UK and we will have a couple new locations in the US too! As we continue to grow, we appreciate as much feedback as you can give. We will let you know when these locations are planning to launch as soon as we know! Also, if you are in the US and order $100 or more in product online, we will pay half of your tracked shipping cost. Just select ‘+$100 tracked shipping to US’.


On a personal note, for the past week I have been feeling…well…OLD. It actually has nothing to do with my outer makeup and everything to do with my inner makeup. I went for a thai massage, a gift from a friend, and somehow my lumbar got twisted funny. I have been feeling very restricted in my movements and so, naturally a little late, I am all about back health. What I have been reading is that our sedentary lifestyles contribute to a lot of unhealthy backs. I am now looking into a standing desk and trying to spend a little more time reading emails on my treadmill instead of sitting at my desk. I just wanted to share my story in hopes of inspiring others to strengthen their back now and steer clear of a long term injury over the summer months.


If you haven’t yet, be sure to read my blog post about how to use our BRIGHTENERS and foundation together! These tips will not only keep your eyes bright and face highlighted throughout the day, it will help to protect your skin from future hyper pigmentation, or dark spots from the sun. The creams to fade these spots are very toxic and laser treatments can be expensive so I feel good when I can offer these tips that have worked for me.


Also, please join us on social media every Wednesday as we bring awareness to bullying of all forms, including bullying of nature, animals, child bullying and self bullying. When you purchase one of our pendants, two dollars will go to bullying.org, a Canadian organization that is working hard to bring greater awareness to the act of bullying.  Bullying.org’s purpose is to eliminate bullying in our society by supporting individuals and organizations to take positive actions against bullying through the sharing of resources, and to guide and champion them in creating non-violent solutions to the challenges and problems associated with bullying. Together we can make a difference!


Have fun playing!

Jo xo

an accidental rescue mission of love

If you have ever met people who seem to choose a more minimalistic life, that is my brother and his girlfriend and their dog to a ‘T’. They would be happiest I think if they could just go exploring the BC wilderness and camp 24/7. My family have always been hard-working farmers all week, from sunrise to sunset. But on the weekend we had fun! We would have family picnics with loads of cousins every weekend at some beautiful little lake nestled in the BC Interior mountains and after we ate we would hike to see some natural flowing mountain waterfalls to climb and play. It was such a cool upbringing. We even grew up in a cozy log house by a lake. It was nothing short of ‘Mountain Family Robinson’.


My brother just took his very first selfie this weekend! He and his girlfriend Erin have carried on that family tradition of getting away from it all and going camping as often as possible. And not glamping – hardcore camping. They go to remote areas that worry me sometimes because there is no phone service. Somehow, they always seem to make it back alive, and with new stories to tell. This past weekend I got my usual ‘Sunday night slide show’ but there was more…



My brother said they found a dog. They had gotten to their destination and were settling in while their friends decided to go a little further to check out Fossil Beach. When they got back they said they found a really small dog.They had come up on the beach and these little teeny tiny ears poked up from behind a log. They found a very scared and growling teacup Chihuahua. She was also weak to the point that she was having trouble walking. They brought her back to the campsite and Erin, who works at a vet clinic at the coast, quickly examined her and gave her some food. She really took to Erin and all weekend she slept with them in their tent.


They returned home after their weekend in the wilderness to find a post online of the very chihuahua they had found, listed as missing. The female owner was beside herself when she got the call that they had found her long lost companion. Her boyfriend had been looking after her dog while she was on Vancouver Island. One evening when he had driven out to a very remote lake with his friends, the little dog had hopped out of the vehicle without anyone noticing. The distance was very great between where he had lost the dog and where my brother and his friends had found her. What a story she must have after being in the wilderness for a few days and nights.


The moral of this story is that brave souls come in all shapes and sizes. This tiny little ‘Fossil’ had to have had angels looking out for her. What is even more incredible is that my brother and his friends just happened to be out in the back country exactly where Fossil ended up. After hearing this story today, I kept thinking to myself, if Fossil could have braved the cold, lonely nights all by herself and somehow not gotten eaten by coyotes, surely I have been underestimating my own inner strength.



UPDATE ON ‘Bella’….

She is officially part of our family. The owner felt she was in a better place. We are thankful that she successfully made it through surgery and she is on the mend.