Makeup for the traveler’s soul. Or, my beautiful friend Bethany.

I’ve had the privilege of meeting some extremely talented, inspiring, and creative girls over the past couple years. I’ve also managed to make friends with more than a few ladies that have the most bold sense of adventure and calling in their lives. There’s a running joke between those who know me that if I meet a girl that I click with, that means she’s going to leave the country in less than a year (whether she knows it or not). I’m serious. The past few new girlfriends I’ve made have left for Germany, Japan, South Korea, Uganda, and even just a different states, all within a year or so of becoming closer. Some have returned (and then relocated again!), and others have remained at their new homes. But what all of these ladies seem to have in common is a sense of righteous restlessness; the need to meet people, truly use their five senses, and do good things. I’m in great company when around my friends, and Bethany just might be one of the most inspiring of them all.

At the core of Bethany’s heart is a love and need for adventure. There’s a thirst there that I both admire and envy; I just love how desperately she wants to see everything. It’s moving, and it’s taken her to places like Iceland, South Korea, and Turkey. The following is a beautiful video done for her photography website, and I can’t explain how perfectly it captures her essence. Just these two brief minutes left me smiling and whispering saying aloud, “Yep, that’s her”. Insane props to Two Spoons Productions for seeing the details of a person, and the intricacies of a spirit. That takes more than camera skill. And that whole Celine Dion thing is no joke.

I had the pleasure of doing Bethany’s makeup for this video, and my main focus was her eyes. I used Chanel’s Illusion D’Ombre cream eyeshadow in Illusoire, and a more alluring pair of false lashes ensured you wouldn’t miss them. Some light contouring with MAC powder blush in Buff, and some highlighting with my NARS cream shadow in Thebes kept things light but defined. Bethany uses MAC’s Mineralize Moisture SPF 15 foundation, and I topped it all off with a dusting of Hourglass’s Ambient Lighting Powder in Mood Light. We chose a light pink lip gloss and I left her with a Revlon Super Lustrous Lipgloss in Rosy Future to keep for touch-ups. Bethany had originally asked me to do her hair as well, but as soon as she took it out of the soft bun it had been in, I realized the texture was perfect. There was no need to do anything to it, and so I didn’t.

Love you much, Bethany, and may all your wildest and most adventurous dreams come true. I can’t thank you enough for so perfectly capturing my friends and I over these past years.  I owe you one.  xo, MR

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Video credit to Two Spoons Productions.  Photo credit to Bethany Carlson Photography.

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

Gettin’ all old-timey kinds of purtty. Or, styling myself in a smashing Mojave Desert wedding shoot.

This is my first post on makeup I’ve done on myself.  Alright, I see that’s somewhat inaccurate.  I should say that this is the first post of makeup I’ve done on myself for a photo shoot (and that’s not many).  It’s easy for me to be overly critical of my own work, and especially work from over a year ago because … I don’t know … something about this year kind of just raised my standards on makeup all around, and it probably has something to do with the fact that I’ve started doing bridal makeup for others and the pressure’s gone from cat-sitting-on-my-chest to elephant-sitting-on-my-chest.  I’m happy to say that I’m still pleased with what I did for my wedding makeup, and I’ll post on that later.

But for this post, I once again invoke the magical name of Bethany Carlson (sorry for the wizard-y phrasing … too much Harry Potter lately).  Nearly a year ago, Bethany developed a concept for a mock wedding that she wanted to shoot, and she asked my husband and I to model for her.  The main point was to shoot in the Nevada desert around 4:00 pm in order to catch the perfect light of the “golden hour”.  The styling of the shoot was something we weren’t entirely sure of to begin with, but we knew we wanted to go for something dramatic if it was possible.  I set out to find some kind of white dress (any kind of wedding-type dress, really) that would hopefully set the tone for the shoot.

Somehow I ended up finding this for the rental cost of $35.00 at a vintage and costume store maybe two miles away from my apartment.  Believe me- I’m flabbergasted, even ’til this day.  One does not simply find an incredible 1970’s gunnysack wedding gown in decent condition for the rental cost of $35.00!


I’d really wanted to find a dress with character for the shoot, and upon trying it on and realizing that it nearly fit (being a little big in the waist), I figured I probably wouldn’t happen upon such a unique item at this kind of price, with this kind of close fit, ever again.  I was sold (and to actually buy the dress would’ve only cost an extra thirty bucks!).  Bethany was able to go all-out with prop styling once she’d seen the dress, and the shoot’s aesthetic developed into an almost Downton Abbey-inspired look with some antique Western elements happening (and she even had invitations created!).  Now, I know the dress looks all soft and dainty in the photos, but believe me, it was like wearing a couple of tumbleweeds stitched together.  The thing itched like fresh-cut grass on your freshly-shaven shins.  Some of the lace trimming was tearing, it looked more yellow than any kind of ivory in a few spots, and it smelled old.  It also was lacking any lining or slip, so I had to find a flesh-colored cami and pair of dance shorts to wear beneath it (and I wanted you to be able to see through it more or less, because sheer was going to be big for that spring).  But let me tell you, that dress just seemed to come alive in the desert, in that light.  Bethany found gloves, put together a silk bouquet in sync with the color scheme of the desert, and things just happened.


Hair and makeup were all on my end, and I was more than excited about it.  Now, I have to confess that for my hair, I tried a new technique I’d learned that proved a bit ambitious.  I blew my hair out straight for the most part that morning, and then proceeded to take 1-2 inch sections of it and twirl them up into pin-curls all around my head.  I secured them with bobby pins and light hair spray, with the intention of leaving them in for 45 minutes.  They were in for nearly two hours.  My bad.  So, you may feel that my hair looks a tad wonky from some angles, but I tried to just do my best Janice Dickinson and werk it.  A couple sections of hair just weren’t able to relax much because they’d been pinned for too long, but that goes for most of us anxious people- Stay wound up for too long, and you’ll find that you’re never able to relax again.  But honestly, it didn’t really matter.


In doing makeup, I learned the real reason why celebrities have a team of artists there for every shoot- That junk’s gotta get reapplied every five minutes for it to even look remotely similar to how it originally looked.  But did I touch up at all once we got going on the shoot?  Nope.  My bad.  That was a major note-to-self:  Despite however much you may have put on to begin with and despite whatever Armageddon-strength primer you use, it will wear off and you’ll need to touch-up.  How can you get your makeup to last all day?  By reapplying it every three hours, that’s how.  And we weren’t dealing with heat or wind or hostile elements of any kind out there.  In fact, it was decently chilly and still as death.  Seriously!  This is where the mob takes you to put you out for a dirt nap!  See those mountains behind me?  Know where that is?  It’s nowhere.


For my face, I wanted a navy-blue smokey eye with basically just bronzer on the cheeks.  I can barely remember everything I used for this shoot because I kind of flew by the seat of my pants, but I do know I used an awesome deep navy shadow by Urban Decay called Perversion, and for bronzer I tend to use nothing other than NARS’ Laguna.  I didn’t use false lashes (my bad), but there was plenty of MAC Kohl Liner in Smolder.  Yes, I’m lookin’ at you, Glamberace.  And I seriously couldn’t tell you what I did, if anything, to my lips.


Bethany and her husband literally piled a room full of furniture in and on top of their car for the drive out to our desert spot.  The two of them found and brought along table settings, chairs, DOORS, everything.  Oh, and we were packed in that car too.  I can’t describe what the whole experience felt like other than Wow … we’re doing this? … we’re doing this … we DID this!  It was literally a game of chasing the light and watching it all come together.  It was thrilling.


I loved everything about this.  Bethany was on her A-game (though I have yet to see a shoot of hers that presents otherwise), I felt proud of my own styling (even if it wasn’t perfectly executed), and my husband was looking all kinds of old-timey handsome.  And look at the prop concept Bethany designed!  Again, I really can’t encourage you enough to take a stare peep at my dear friend’s work, and who knows?  Maybe one day you’ll find yourself all alone in a desert getting shot.  Hopefully it’s just not by someone named something like Toothpick Charlie or Luca Brasi.  xo, MR

All photos in this post are credited to Bethany Carlson Photography.  For more of Bethany’s work and for more of this shoot, visit her site/blog at

The talented magician and the beautiful girl that the magician saws in half.

I shall be raving about *two* people that I love on this particular post.  Let me begin by saying this:  It takes two components to create a good magic show.  First, you must have a talented and crafty magician.  And second, you must have a beautiful girl that the magician impresses his or her audience with, an assistant of sorts that the magician then magically saws in half (or something like that) that causes everyone to gasp and say their “Oohs!” and “Aahs!”.  Both are essential for a great magic show.  I’ll also admit that I got to play a little part in this show, too- I got to be the makeup wizard for the beautiful girl that gets sawed in half.  I would’ve been glad to simply have been the rabbit that gets pulled out of a hat for this one, so needless to say, I was quite thrilled with my role.

For this particular magic show, let me first introduce you to the beautiful girl that gets sawed in half.


This is Ali.  It’s Alison, really, but everyone calls her Ali and she is beautiful.  I’ve known her for a while now, and for as long as I have known her she and Mike have been together.  These two are awesome, to say the least.  Their engagement is one that a lot of folks have been excited for, and needless to say I was ecstatic when Ali asked me to be one of her bridesmaids next summer.  In addition to this though, I shall also have the honor of being Ali’s makeup artist for her big day.  Double stoked.


Ali and Mike had their engagement shoot in early December at Disneyland on a Friday morning, and I was initially so bummed because I already knew I’d be teaching that morning so I’d have no chance to do her makeup.  But then it dawned on me- Ali lives right by the school I was booked for, and I was going to have a free hour in the earlier part of the school day, so why not do her makeup beforehand at the school?!  Let me tell you, it’s a little awkward doing someone’s makeup in a teacher’s lounge as teachers pass you by and whisper, “Maybe it’s Maybelline!”, but hey, I was asking for it.  And it was worth it.  And there’s nothing better to give me energy before teaching high-schoolers than doing makeup for a friend!


I went for a more dramatic eye on Ali (because let’s face it- those eyes are too much fun) using L’Oreal’s eyeshadow that I talked about here, and we did some false lashes too because she’d never done them before!  And of course, falsies are great for photos because they ensure that your eyes will not be ignored (Dan!).  I used my trusty neon-hued NARS blush in Exhibit A to also help Ali’s cheekers not go unnoticed, too.  And Ali and I are both huge fans of BareMinerals Original SPF15 Foundation, so we naturally stuck to it.  And check out Mike!  Ain’t he a regular ole’ Captain America?!


Ok, now let me introduce you to the talented magician behind this magic show.


This is the lovely face behind Mike and Ali’s amazing Disneyland shoot- Bethany Carlson.  I had the privilege of having Bethany as one of my own bridesmaids, and there are few individuals I know so personally that are so deeply talented.  Seriously, I mean it when I call Bethany a magician.  I’ll be posting in a bit on a bridal shoot she did of my husband and I (I’ll give you two hints- Downton Abbey and Mojave desert), but all I can really do now is encourage, no, implore you to check out her site here for some of what I’d shamelessly call the most stunning wedding and engagement photography you’ll ever see in your life.  All Bethany seems to see through her lens is romance and beauty, and some of her work from this past year is nothing short of breathtaking.  I also have to briefly toot my own horn and say that I had the pleasure of doing Bethany’s hair and makeup for this particular shot, which is credited to Damaris Mia (and I so wish I could credit you more, Damaris!  Please send me a link if you have your own blog so I can share it!).

I can hardly wait to be part of Ali’s wedding next year, whether it’s by helping her into her dress, applying those finicky false lashes, or being photographed alongside her by Bethany!  xo, MR

All of the shots in this post are credited to Bethany Carlson Photography, except for the shot of Bethany which is credited to Damaris Mia.  For more of Bethany’s work (and in case you were silly and didn’t follow the previous link), check out her site at  The girl does not disappoint.

P.S. Oh, and if any of you caught the Fatal Attraction reference in the middle of this post, a million points for you.