Alias Grace – What You Need to Watch This Weekend

Drop everything you’re doing and pop some popcorn because here is what you should binge watch this rainy/snowy weekend!!

Go to Netflix and search “Alias Grace”

I stumbled upon Alias Grace on Netflix earlier this week, and as we all do, I finished the whole 6 episode mini-series within a 24-hour period. This Netflix hstorical fiction drama depicts events from an actual murder that occurred in 1843, supposedly by a woman named Grace Marks and James McDermott. Marks and McDermott were both Irish immigrants to Upper Canada who worked as servants for a man named Kinnear. Marks and McDermott were apprehended and convicted of killing Kinnear and his house mistress Nancy Montgomery.

This show is told from Grace’s perspective as she is interviewed by a psychiatrist named Dr. Jordan while she is in the state penitentiary. She begins her life story from when she first immigrated to Canada with her family aboard a ship, follows her struggles leading up to the murder, and her story ends in the “present time” as she grows close to her psychiatrist. There is a prologue as well, so you see where she ends up.

Alias Grace

Both McDermott and Marks were convicted and sentenced to death, but only McDermott hanged and Grace’s sentencing was changed to life in prison. Before McDermott is hanged, he claims Grace planned the whole scenario and made him do it. Now, from the first episode you are wondering if this girl is bats*** crazy, or if she is an unfortunate unwilling accomplice, or if she was in on the plot to kill Kinnear and Montgomery.

Now McDermott is hot-headed and did serve in the Canadian military before working for Kinnear, so he is definitely suspect. But throughout the story, you feel a lot of emotions towards Grace. A lot of the time you feel bad for her, but then sometimes you feel like she is totally guilty. And I don’t want to spoil too much for you, but let’s just say the ending makes you THINK HARD!!!

If you have not watched this program yet, I totally recommend it! It combines murder mystery, with Canadian/American history, and even some supernatural!! I would definitely watch this series again because it is so intriguing, and paints an interesting portrait of the way women were viewed during this time in Nothern American history.

If you watched this show, comment below and let me know your thoughts on it! I thought it was brilliant!

Happy bingeing!

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QALO Silicone Engagement Ring

Hello Leaps readers, how are you on this drizzly Sunday?

Today I am reviewing the pink silicone QALO ring my fiance bought me. If you don’t know what QALO is, it is a brand that manufactures silicone engagement and wedding bands for couples who are active and who don’t want to let their daily activities ruin their regular engagement and wedding bands.


The brand’s name means Quality, Athletics, Love, and Outdoors. These rings are ideal for people in professions that utilize weapons, (such as military or police force), for people in active lifestyle and fitness professions (dancers, athletes, coaches), and for people who love to spend time adventuring outdoors (hiking, camping, international traveling, etc.).


I dance and teach over 30 hours a week, so I don’t like to wear my beautiful engagement ring everyday since there is always the threat of it being scratched or damaged from the work I do. So for Valentine’s day babe bought me the cutest ring from QALO! We picked out a cute “stackable” ring which is thinner than the QALO wedding band design. These stackable rings are designed to mimic the look of an engagement band, and to wear these stackable rings with the QALO wedding band (which is thicker and wider).


The package comes with a cute neoprene bag. Each ring has a corresponding bag in a different color (mine happened to be rose gold <3), and the ring itself is in a small plastic bag within the neoprene case. Also included in your package are coupons for 20% off your next order, a ring size guide, and QALO stickers.


The ring is obviously not as stunning as the sparkler my man gave me when he proposed, but it is a cute and fun way to celebrate our engagement while I’m at work, dancing, teaching, and auditioning! I wore this baby all day yesterday, and actually slept in it, and it is super comfortable. My regular engagement ring is a size 5.75, but online the QALO size 6 looked really tiny. The website recommends you size up so I ordered a QALO size 7. It moves a little bit on my finger, however, I love the size 7 because it is not squeezing or suffocating my finger. Definitely size up if you order from them!

I hope you enjoyed this post, and let me know in the comments below if you have a QALO ring and what you think of it!! Mine is going to be amazing for my work demands! ❤

Happy Sunday everyone, and happy engagement!

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Nutcracker Week – Sugar Plum Fun Palette Review

Hi everyone! It is OFFICIALLY Nutcracker season, and since my Nutcracker performances are this week, expect some dance-related posts! I am so excited to be dancing in my Nutcracker, and I cannot wait to take photos in my costumes and share some Nutcracker history with all of you! Nonetheless, I figured I would start this week by sharing my review of my Sugar Plum Fun palette from TooFaced and HSN.


If you have no idea what this set is, please refer to my first post (TooFaced SugarPlum Fairy Makeup Set) to get an idea of what this set is and where to buy it. I was so excited for this set, and I am sure y’all are wondering if it lived up to the hype. This set included the Sugar Plum Fun palette, a full-sized 24-hour Shadow Insurance eyeshadow primer, a full-sized Better than Sex Mascara, and a full-size Lip Creme in the shade Sugar Fairy.

Of course the packaging is to die for with the foiled writing and the beautiful fairy design! Upon opening the package, I was met with the palette and the three full-sized extras! I took out the palette and immediately looked at the back to the cute description on the back of the palette. Click the images to enlarge them and read what it says.

Inside of the palette I found the beautiful decor around the large mirror (which is amazing!). Then there are four quadrants of different eyeshadows that are curated to be worn together! The colors are pretty neutral minus a few glitters and the dark plum color. I swatched all of the colors below without using the 24-hour Shadow Insurance eyeshadow primer that came with the set. I was disappointed that a lot of the pretty matte shades are so powdery that without a primer they are almost not noticeable to the eye. The first image includes the top two rows, and the second image includes the last two.

Most of these eyeshadows are better applied wet and with a great eyeshadow primer or base on. I have found my favorite shades to be Metal Petal, Tutus and Tiaras, and Magic Fairy. They are the ones I reach for the most, and they give a better color payoff then some of the other shades. The 24-hour Eyeshadow Primer is good, but it doesn’t work as well as I hoped. I’ve found drug store eyeshadow primers to work just as well, if not better, than this one. But I will end up using the whole product because I am always using eyeshadow primer.

The matte lip creme in Sugar Fairy has to be the biggest disappointment in this set. I know with gift sets companies like to keep the color scheme neutral, however, this set is Nutcracker themed. And in the Nutcracker, there is no “Sugar Fairy”, the character is the “Sugar PLUM Fairy”. This formula for the lipstick does not sit well with the texture of my lips. Instead of applying smooth, it applies patchy and doesn’t make one cohesive color. It is also so creamy it smudges super easily. I wish they included a PLUM shade in a matte or semi-matte finish because it would make more sense with the set theme (**cough cough SUGAR PLUM cough cough**), and because the darker color is better for winter. This color is nice, but for something this light, the formula falls apart on my actual mouth. I am going to try to apply this lipstick using different lip primers and techniques and see if anything else works. But straight on the mouth, this lipstick is not great.


As a whole, I would give this set a 3 out of 5 star rating (0 being the worst and 5 being the best). It is ok for a gift set, and for the price (I paid their special doorbuster price of $49 plus free shipping) it is definitely worth buying and checking out for yourself. Some of the shadows require a bit finessing to get them to apply evenly and smooth, and the lipstick may work better with your lip texture than it does with mine.

Nonetheless, if you’re a sucker for packaging and you love dance/ballet/theNutcracker you will be over-joyed to receive this set. It is so fun, and is very festive for the holiday season. This set is also a wonderful gift idea for the beauty-lover in your life, or for someone who is just starting to play with makeup and eyeshadow who wants a neutral set to experiment with. I will continue to play with it, and definitely use it for my Nutcracker performances this weekend! ❤ I will be posting looks and Nutcracker photos on my Instagram, so make sure to follow me @julias_leaps_of_faith!

I hope you enjoyed this in-depth review and have fun playing with your holiday makeup!

Until next time, Happy Nutcracker season!

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National Dance Day & National Lipstick Day!


Today is a double national holiday for me – it is NATIONAL DANCE DAY, and NATIONAL LIPSTICK DAY! Can you believe the two coexist on one amazing day of the year?! 🙂 I am so thankful for both dance and lipstick, and in honor of recognizing the two holidays, today I wanted to tell you all about my favorite ballet shoes, and favorite lipstick to wear on stage!

Let’s start with ballet shoes. I used to be devoted to Bloch Zenith ballet slippers – the canvas type to be exact. I wore them all throughout college. However, as I progressed through college and danced many hours a week, the bone structures of my feet actually shifted and changed, and the Bloch Zenith’s lost their perfect fit. The reason I loved them was because they were soft and form-fitting, and the elastics came pre-sewn. They are still a great option to look into if you’re shopping for new ballet slippers.

Nonetheless, the ballet slippers I am highlighting today are So Danca SD16s! I recently have become a huge fan of these shoes! They fit like a sock, come pre-sewn, are canvas, and hug the shape of the foot in a very flattering way. Furthermore, they are GREAT for turning, center tendu and pirouette, and even for allegro. When my feet get sweaty, they stay put, and I don’t find my feet slipping out of them, or sticking to the floor in a negative way that inhibits my movement.


So Danca SD16 – I wear a size 7.5 B width

They are incredible, and AFFORDABLE so I highly recommend these slippers to any dancer who wants to try something new! These shoes retail for about $22, and are totally worth the money. As you can tell from the picture, I just bought a new pair for company rehearsals, and I’m obssessed.


So Danca SD16

Next onto lipstick! I love wearing red lipstick, and more time then not if I have red lipstick on, that means it is show time!! I’m either at a dress rehearsal or in a dressing room putting my makeup on for a show! I’ve tried so many shades of red in all types of finishes – satins, mattes, ultra mattes, metallics, etc. I’ve tried cool-toned reds, blue-toned reds, warm-toned reds, and rust-toned reds. I sweat a lot during dress rehearsals and shows too, and I require a lipstick that can stay put and not move when I am sweating and quickly changing on the side of the stage between numbers.

The lipstick I’ve found that steals the show and is my favorite lipstick for stage is ColourPop’s Ultra-Matte lipstick in the shade Mama! It is a warm/orange-toned red that is super matte! It looks amazing on, and doesn’t move for hours! When reapplication is needed, a dab in the center of the lips will do, and it looks great in photographs, up close, and from far away.


ColourPop Ultra-Matte Lipstick in Mama

As you can see, I use this lipstick really often and the ColourPop logo has actually rubbed off of the tube. I always throw this in my beauty bag when I have any sort of performance that requires a full-face of makeup, and I am always complimented on it when I wear it. I don’t think a lot of warm-toned reds look good against my teeth, yet this color completes my makeup look when I am on stage! It retails for $6 on the Colourpop website! It’s a steal and definitely worth the very affordable price of $6.


ColourPop Ultra-Matte Lipstick in Mama

Today is a beautiful Saturday, and the beautiful weather makes it a perfect day to celebrate National Dance Day and National Lipstick Day! I hope you all find something to dance about today, and put on a little bit (or a lot) of your favorite lipstick and let yourself feel beautiful! ❤ Because that is the nature of today, and it is only right to celebrate appropriately!

Thank you all for reading! I hope you enjoyed my post, and let me know how you all are celebrating National Dance Day and National Lipstick Day!


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La La Land – Synopsis and Review (Spoilers)

Good evening internet beauties! I hope your week has been/is full of laughs, quality time, and celebration! Mine definitely has been. This was probably one of my most favorite Christmases yet, and I am so thankful to be home for the holidays this year! Tonight I want to tell you about my latest obsession, which is the movie La La Land! I have seen it twice in the last five days, and I have the soundtrack on repeat constantly! Yes, it sounds excessive, but if I’m going to attempt to put into words how amazing this movie is, and why I am obsessing over it. If you do not wish to read the synopsis, skip to the “Review” section to read my thoughts about the production!


This movie follows the stories of two hopeful artists – Mia who is an actress (played by Emma Stone), and Sebastian (played by Ryan Gosling) who is a jazz musician. They both are living in Los Angeles hoping to make it big, but unfortunately, the performer life has knocked them both on the ground. It is alluded early on in the film that Sebastian invested all of his money into a jazz gig, and was bamboozled by a shady guy who took all of his money from the investment. Mia has been in L.A. for six years and has yet to land even a small supporting role, and is currently a barista on the Warner Bros. film lot. As fate has it, their paths keep crossing until they decide to get to know each other. Sebastian swears he can’t be with a woman who hates jazz, but naturally, they fall in love and Mia comes to love the genre.

Moving forward, Sebastian and Mia are both dreamers who support each other’s big goals and dreams. Sebastian dreams of opening his own jazz club (staying true to classic jazz music), and Mia is a naturally-gifted playwright who dreams of acting in her own show she wrote. With Sebastian as the driving force to inspire Mia to write her own script for her one-woman show, Mia begins writing her play. Meanwhile, one night at a local jazz club, Sebastian and Mia run into one of Sebastian’s old classmates named Keith (played by John Legend), who offers him a spot as a keyboard player in his band. Sebastian, still tight on money, cautiously accepts the offer.

Sebastian comes to know the band (called “The Messengers”), and although they are a jazz band, the band is actually a jazz pop band that appeals to younger audiences, despite Sebastian’s oath to keep classic jazz alive. As the band gains popularity and go on tour, Mia and Sebastian’s relationship becomes strained. Mia doesn’t understand how Sebastian can be so committed to something he doesn’t believe in. Sebastian says he thought this is what she wanted for him – to have a stable source of income and to play music.

Later in the fall, Mia has booked a local theater and is all set to perform her one-woman show. Sebastian’s obligations to his band conflict with his personal life, and he decides to go to a band photoshoot instead of supporting Mia’s one-night only performance of the play she wrote and stars in. The audience at Mia’s play is sparse, and Sebastian is absent. Mia leaves the theater as Sebastian pulls up and attempts to apologize. Mia, sick of rejection, leaves to go home to Boulder City, Nevada. The following night, Sebastian receives a phone-call from a casting agent who was at Mia’s play, who wants her to come in for an audition for a movie. Sebastian travels to Boulder City to tell Mia the news, and convinces her to leave with him the next day to go to the audition.

At the audition, the casting directors instruct Mia to “tell them a story”, and inform her there is no script. Mia tells them a story in the form of a song “The Fools Who Dream”. Sebastian is no longer with “The Messengers”, but knows Mia landed the role. Mia and Sebastian are not sure where their relationship stands and she waits for a phone call as to whether or not she landed the role. Mia looks at each Sebastian with a bittersweet expression and says she will always love him. He tells her he will always love her too.

Flash forward five years later, Mia is a superstar actress visiting L.A. from New York with her husband (not Sebastian) and toddler daughter. After a night out in L.A. for dinner, Mia and her husband are walking to their car when they hear great music coming from a club. They walk in, and Mia realizes it is Sebastian’s jazz club. They grab drinks and sit down to listen to the band play. Mia’s husband the whole time is unaware of the significance of the club and who owns it. As the song concludes, Sebastian comes on stage to introduce the band members. He spots Mia in the crowd and he sits down at the piano to play one of the first songs Mia ever heard him play. The story flashes to Mia day-dreaming of how she wished her life happened – success for her and Sebastian with Sebastian at her side. Mia comes back to reality as Sebastian closes out the song in a quiet and somber piano tune. The crowd erupts into applause; Mia and her husband get up to leave. Mia’s husband walks out of the club first, but before Mia exits, she gazes back at the stage. Mia and Sebastian exchange bittersweet glances, but acknowledge they are happy for each other with faint smiles and head nods. She leaves and Sebastian counts 1, 2, 3, 4 to start a lively jazz song with the band.


This movie is everything I wanted it to be and more. The cast was absolutely amazing, the music was great and clever, and the choreography was reminiscent of Broadway, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, and West Side Story. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are not primarily singers or dancers, but they did a tremendous job despite what would have been limitations. Between the music, singing, waltzing and soft shoe tap dancing, they nailed every aspect of a classic Hollywood film.

One of my favorite Hollywood classics is Shall We Dance with Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, and Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone’s characters capture the essence of Rogers and Astaire, but still manage to make their own characters unique and relatable to the 21st century. Characteristic of most Astaire and Rogers movies, the endings were always happy and gave the viewer what they were expecting. Contrarily, the ending of La La Land doesn’t give the audience what they want, and I think the realness and reality of modern-day long-distance relationships displayed in the film is a reason this movie feels so authentic.


The lyrics to every song in this movie also cleverly intertwine the storyline, and allude to the outcome of Mia and Sebastian’s relationship. I realized this as I’ve played the soundtrack on repeat, and confirmed my assumption today when I saw the movie for the second time. Even from the first song, “Another Day of Sun”, you can gather some information about what is going to happen to Mia and Sebastian. Yet, the lyrics don’t give clues that are too obvious either unless you are looking for them and unless you already know how the film ends.


Drinks before the movie tonight

I give this movie a 10/10. I highly recommend everyone see this film, even if they are not into Broadway or old Hollywood movies. This movie was created in Hollywood, USA (just like the classics), and I think this movie is going to leave a significant, almost historical impact on Hollywood movie production. I hope to see more films like La La Land in the future, because quite frankly I don’t remember ever seeing a movie in the last two years that has touched my heart the way this film has.

Have you seen La La Land? What do you think? Let me know!

Until next time – here’s to the fools who dream!