Pre-Fall 2015 Lip Picks

Lipstick is probably the most popular, most familiar member of the makeup family.  I mean, think about it.  Your brother or boyfriend might make all those lame jokes about not knowing what mascara is, or they act like they don’t know what you’re talking about when you mention foundation (and I submit that they are all liars and most guys actually could pass a basic makeup identification test if needed; they just needlessly feign ignorance for fear of looking less than ‘dude’), but every person on the planet knows what lipstick is.  Without question.  I’d venture a guess that most any person, in any country, anywhere, would know exactly what to do with that bright red bullet in a Revlon tube.  Now, how many of those red bullets we come across in a lifetime will vary from person to person, but generally speaking, lipstick is a globally known thing.

Which is why I think it’s so well loved.  Some form of lip rouge has been around forever, and it seems that every year there is some new shade, some new formula that the public goes absolutely nuts for.  MAC has their annual Viva Glam lipstick shade that always debuts with great anticipation.  People go on rabid Google searches for a certain lip color seen on a celebrity, causing it to sell out everywhere.  New long-wear formulas like Stila’s Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick and Kat Von D’s Everlasting Liquid Lipstick have introduced a cult-like frenzy, garnering the praises of countless beauty bloggers and Instagram-ers.  The new trend of blue, lavender, and pink hair has seemed to inspire a breaking of boundaries in lip color as well with shades of deep purple and dark blue showing up on both the runways and on the streets.

You don’t just buy your friend one shade of lipstick for her birthday; you buy her four.  Many women don’t merely purchase one shade of lip color in a formula they love; they purchase multiples, if not the whole line.  We seem to treat lipstick like candy.  We want every flavor, every kind.  I believe if we could eat lipstick, we would.  And while this strikes me ultimately as bizarre and animalistic, I admit that I’m part of all this.  I’ve never seemed to develop a loyalty toward one brand or one formula, but I can certainly play the game.  And I would definitely eat MAC’s Candy Yum-Yum if I could.

I have two lipsticks that are inspiring me for the moment.  One you could consider an easy, wear-everyday-if-you-wanted kind of color, and the other could be taken as your way to play with this fall’s trends.

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Too Faced has had this line of Melted Liquified Long Wear Lipstick for a couple years, and I’d avoided them until now because anything with the words “long wear” tends to really scare me and make my lips turn reptilian.  I harken back to my high school days when CoverGirl first introduced Outlast All Day Lip Color, and I remember feeling like I was literally painting cement on my lips with the comfort and ease of a brillo pad.  That first go round at long-lasting lipstick was god awful, truly.  I mean, how dry does something have to be to the point where they feel the need to include another product with it, a “moisturizing topcoat”?!  Lord, no.  And does anyone remember trying to remove that stuff?  Might as well have used paint stripper!

But I feel that such formulas have improved over the years in comfort and practicality, with Too Faced having introduced one improved version.  I can’t say that the shine lasts especially long, but the feel of ‘Melted’ is very pillowy and buttery.  My lips appeared fuller as well, a result of glossy, light reflecting properties.  I purchased this in a shade called “Melted Chihuahua” (insert mental picture of the Taco Bell dog being thrown into a volcano here), and it’s an easy color for everyday, a warm, nude-ish rose that’s “my lips but better”.  The highly saturated pigment did linger for quite a while (through morning coffee, church, and brunch more or less), and the scent is tart and sweet.  I would love to go for a full-on vampy look with the dark, purple-blue Melted Villain shade, but I’m playing it slightly safer when it comes to this fall’s deep berry trend.

Which brings me to the nearly-black bullet pictured beside the Too Faced.  Revlon has a number of lipstick shades that have become cult classics over the decades.  You’ve got Fire And Ice, Love That Red, and the color pictured here, Black Cherry.  And no, the color doesn’t swatch as black but rather as a deep plum-berry stain.   I love this color.  I really, really love it.  Darker colors do make your lips appear smaller, but I don’t mind.  I like it when lips show a merlot tinge after a couple glasses, and I like how lips show all of their cracks and crevices when stained.  I actually don’t prefer perfectly smooth, plump lips- there’s not as much character in that look for me.  Even Angelina Jolie’s full lips have a lot of crevices and irregularities about them.  So anyhow, the Black Cherry is a fun find.  And for less than ten bucks at Walgreen’s, it’s nice to save a trip to Sephora and some cash that would otherwise have been blown on a lipstick I won’t wear super often.


Pictured here- Black Cherry while out and about in the Midwest suburbs of Illinois.  Maybe the city will provide a better opportunity- I’ve always wanted to look like a wicked city woman (though I’m about as intimidating as a bulldog puppy).  xo, MR

When Snow White got married. Or, my bride Ali!

Oh, where to begin?  I have been looking forward to this wedding for a long, long time.  Mike and Ali have been dating for as long as I’ve known each of them (since they were seniors in high school), and my husband and I have spent so much time around them both as individuals and as a couple that when their wedding weekend was finally upon us, it just felt like some kind of surreal.  And I’d had a feeling that Ali would be giving me the honor of doing her makeup for her wedding day, but having me as her bridesmaid?  Too much.  Too much joy.  Ali is all at once lively and calm, silly and subdued.  She’s at first glance an introvert, but you then come to realize that she’s an adorable rabbit waiting to pop out of the magician’s hat.  Ali is wise, thoughtful, mature, and unwavering in her convictions.  She’s a gem, and I’ve barely seen her since the wedding day and it’s killing me!  Just a few more days, Ali!

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Now, back to business.  What’s great about doing a friend’s makeup for their wedding is the fact that you’ll probably get to do multiple trial-runs on them, editing and choosing different things as you go along.  Ali and I got to do exactly this, as I did her makeup for her engagement shoot (which I blabbed about here), for fun several times, and for two of her bridal showers.  Now, I’d given Ali a smokey eye for her engagement shots and I’d say it turned out pretty well.  It was sultry, exciting, but not quite … I don’t know … Ali?  If you know her, you get it.  It was ridiculously fun at the time, but as the months passed I was still uncertain as to what I was going to do for the big day, and I knew it wouldn’t be a smokey eye.  So for her first bridal shower, I decided to have a little fun and go with a hot pink lip.  It was a hit.  I absolutely loved it.   It worked with her fair skin and dark hair, and it took the drama down a necessary notch while still having impact.  And then the wedding inspiration came: a berry lip.  I dreamed of something along the lines of Snow White, and the vision began to come together.

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I began collecting the tools necessary for my vision, and l once again lucked out by owning a foundation shade that matched my bride perfectly (MakeUpForEver HD Foundation, uh-gain).  I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve built such a kit that I don’t have too much of a need for new product.  However, I chose to invest in Hourglass’ Ambient Lighting Powder in Mood Light, mostly because I wanted a great finishing powder that A) wasn’t loose (like MakeUpForEver’s HD Finish Powder) and B) didn’t leave any possible ghostly white traces (like MakeUpForEver’s HD Finish Powder).  Hourglass did the trick perfectly.

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There I am at work!  We’re just about ready to walk down the aisle, so I’m just doing touch-ups here.  For myself, I had my hair blown out by the fabulous Dani of Salon reBelle in Orange, and I went with a deep side-part just to add some drama and show off the lovely highlights that Justin of Salon 9 had given me some time ago.  I chose a smokey eye for myself, which I tend to favor when it’s time to dress up.  I wasn’t completely happy with the combination of shades I chose … a bit too grey for my taste, which is oddly my least favorite shade on my own eyes … but it was fun anyhow.  Any time I *need*  false eyelashes is a fun time.


Here’s a shot of mi’lady I took once I was completely finished with her makeup.  I had to have my dear friend Laura (who was responsible for hair, by the way) help me apply Ali’s eyelashes because by that point my hands were so shaky from caffeine and small finger movements.  But nonetheless, everything turned out exactly the way I’d hoped.  Oh, and speaking of things being exactly what I’d hoped for: Ali snapped up my out-of-this-world talented friend Bethany for her own wedding photography.  I’ve raved about Bethany in my post on Ali’s engagement shoot, but also in this post here when she envisioned an old-world romantic desert wedding using my husband and I as models.    I really can’t explain how ethereal Bethany’s photography is to me.  Everything she sees is romance.  There’s a special character to her eye that I just can’t describe, and so I just have to let her work explain for itself.  Below, the perfect kind of shot I was hoping for once Laura and I were finished with Ali’s hair and makeup.  This particular shot is nothing special, and yet, it totally is.

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Things just kept getting better once Ali put on her dress.  And oh, THAT DRESS.  Ali had tried on a number of dresses, and while they all looked stunning on her, this one both looked stunning and perfectly captured her personality.  Again, if you know Ali, you just get it (not to get all insider on my readers, but some things are just difficult to explain without knowing a person).  This dress was something out of Downton Abbey, it was!  And it doesn’t hurt that Ali has always reminded me somewhat of Michelle Dockery.

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I remember how I kept constantly saying, “YOU LOOK LIKE SNOW WHITE” allllllllll day long.  But I meant it!  If there were ever an illustrated bridal interpretation done of that princess, this is what it would look like.  I just couldn’t get over it.

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I happily reapplied Laura Mercier’s Lip Stain in Mulberry on top of Stila’s Lip Stain in Cherry Crush frequently throughout the day.  The former can be a tad drying, so Ali’s sister offered up some of her own gloss later in the day for the reception, which worked out nicely.  For Ali’s cheeks, I only stuck with some contouring (no blush, technically) by using MAC’s blush in Buff.  I absolutely love that shade for contouring on fair-to-medium skin, as using bronzer for contouring just doesn’t work on everyone.

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Isn’t she something straight out of a fairy tale?!  I kept waiting for bluebirds and chipmunks to start following her and carrying her train!

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And at last, the beautiful couple.  I couldn’t have imagined a more glorious bride for this day.  And this day in it’s entirety was, in fact, wonderful.  I got to play bridesmaid duty for an incredible friend, one of my own bridesmaids did the magnificent photography work, and my husband performed the wedding ceremony!  I was in heaven.  But that’s what weddings are, aren’t they: the slightest, sheerest picture of a heaven that we’ve yet to see.  Love you so much, Michael and Alison! xo, MR

All of the photography featured in this post (save for the fourth picture) is credited to Bethany Carlson Photography.  For more of Bethany’s beautiful work, you can visit her website at