Party Season Looks You Haven’t Tried

I thought I’d committed to a once-a-month post, but turns out I literally couldn’t get through party season without a round-up of some current favorite going-out looks. And beings that this week I’m running the holiday party gauntlet (and you may be too), it’s the perfect opportunity to share some serious get-ready inspo. Bring on all the color, glitter, and texture!

If you’re craving a retro moment …

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While the Gucci gown is really what keeps this look centered on the 1960s (and of course we’d all love to wear it to our next party), Dakota Johnson’s hair and makeup here are the perfect inspiration for a retro beauty look. She’s probably got some extensions going on to beef up her ponytail; the outcome is glorious and something I aspire to in all my retro lounge dreams. The smokey cat-eye paired with a bare lip is textbook, as well. Hair by Mark Townsend, makeup by Mélanie Inglessis.

If you’re tired of eyeshadow but don’t want a lip-forward look …

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This look on model Woan Ni was created by Kara Yoshimoto Bua using Shiseido’s newly revamped makeup line. White eyeliner was never a look I cared for much, but I think it’s because I’ve never seen it balanced out well with the rest of the face. This look is so beautifully balanced with a good brow, a shimmery, rosy cheek and a stained, blurry lip. So natural but still so party ready, right?

If you’re feeling classic Christmas but, like, extra …

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Oh, snap! Like, Merry Christmas Batman right?!? And of course, it’s Pati Dubroff (THEE queen makeup artist) for Margot Robbie on her way to the UK premiere of Mary Queen of Scots. The Pati-Margot duo was already blowing me away last year during awards season for I, Tonya and Margot’s premiere looks for Goodbye Christopher Robin. I love just the pat of glitter on the center of the lids- so modern. Pati hasn’t listed what she used yet so everyone’s guess is as good as mine, but who cares?! Go crazy! Use whatever! Recreate your own version.

If you want to focus all your energy on makeup and just get hair over with …

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Over at IntoTheGloss, Tom Newton took some fabulous photos of EmRata featuring some quick, lovely updos by Jennifer Yepez. This one using a claw clip was my favorite; a curly/kinky version would be workable and just as romantic, if not more so. As told on ITG: “Start with a middle part. Leave a few pieces out in the front, and gather the rest into a low bun, leaving the ends out for a more modern feel. Clasp it with your clip and bobby pin as needed to prevent strays from popping out. And then make sure it stays in place all night by giving it a healthy spritz of hairspray (Jennifer used Laque Couture). If you have curls, don’t worry about straightening all of your hair. Just focus on the front pieces by blow drying them straight, followed by a quick run with a flat iron.”

If you’re still bored …

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Don’t let boredom or lack of creativity force that red lip on you (or at least, a red lip with no other interesting details)! What’s a color you’d never associate with this time of year? Got an idea in your head? Good, now find a way to wear it! Or take Katie Jane Hughes’ countless colorful, glossy, glittery looks as a treasure trove of inspo, including this stunning lavender glossed lid. This is literally lip gloss (or anywhere gloss, really) on top of eyeshadow. And how do you keep it from creasing, you ask? You don’t! That’s part of the fun. It creases; just let it. Reapply if you want but enough with the set-in-stone, gotta-last-48-hours makeup. Let texture and skin be the real showstoppers.

If you’re still stumped on the hair question …

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Space buns! Like it’s 2002! I mean, how good is this? And people just don’t really do this anymore so it’s like the cutest Spice Girls throwback and a guaranteed conversation starter. The face framing pieces on Constance provide perfect balance, but I think you could even get away without them. And bonus: this look can probably be pulled off with any hair texture. Hair by Molly Greenwald.

If you’re sick of sequined sweaters …

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This whole shoot of Taraji P. Henson for the latest issue of InStyle is genius. Rip a literal page out of this mag (on newsstands now) and go with a direct Mary Tyler Moore reference for your party outfits. Short jumpers, miniskirts, graphic prints, power suits, flared pants, silk neckties- Moore’s playbook provides the right amount of inspiration for both dressing sharp and using color creatively. Because the holidays deserve so much more than just red and black sparkly sweaters.

xo, MR

All images are screenshots from Instagram except for the image from IntoTheGloss, taken by Tom Newton. In order of appearance: @melaniemakeup, @woanster, @patidubroff, Tom Newton, @katiejanehughes, @constancewu, @instylemagazine

Holy Blake Lively Batman! Or, my gorgeous friend Katie!

Katie is a friend that I seriously admire.  She works with my husband as a high school ministry director, and I have to say that if there’s one word to describe her it’s energy.  Katie’s got an unparelled talent for being able to speak in public on a moment’s notice, get a crowd going under any circumstances, and put a positive spin on nearly anything.  Katie is a classic extrovert, and she’s the first to organize game nights, community dinners, New Year’s Eve champagne parties, and she’s always the first one to raise a glass for a toast.  She loves to have a good time.

So when Katie let me know that she’d be going to a fancy Christmas soiree (that may or may not have been hosted by a vocal trainer on a certain little show called Glee), and that she wanted me to do her makeup for said soiree, I admittedly got a bit nervous.  I mean, what kind of makeup do you go with to reflect such a great personality?  And seeings that it was a pretty swank party Katie was headed to, how do I take things up a notch without going overboard?  And on top of that, Katie sticks to a consistent routine of bronzer and mascara (and she doesn’t need more, anyhow).  What’s a little more without being a bit too much?


Let me tell you this: If you have good teeth (which Katie has in spades), and if you’re not typically seen with bright makeup on, the absolute easiest and most high-impact answer to the above questions is a red lip.  Or pink or orange or plum, quite honestly.  A statement lip– we’ll just call it that.  Katie was a tad worried about going with this at first because her teeth and lips are such stand-out features of hers; she didn’t want to feel like she was all lip!  The best solution for this is not found in adding heavy eyeshadow or eyeliner (which can look overdone on top of a bright lip), but rather by adding some great false eyelashes.  Don’t overspend on these; Ardell’s from the drugstore are amazing! I used the Glamour Demi Wispies in Black on Katie, as this is my go-to pair for myself and for brides.  I dusted a champagne shadow on Katie’s lids (I believe I used Dior’s 5-Couleurs palette in Earth Reflection, or it could’ve been MAC’s eyeshadow in All That Glitters) and then lined just the outer corners of her eyes in deep brown shade for extra definition.  Lining the lids in powder shadow helps soften any harsh false lash lines, too.  I used the shimmery ivory shade in my Dior palette to highlight the inner corners of Katie’s eyes as a tribute to Blake Lively (whom I think Katie looks like!).  I dotted the same shadow on a blush brush and tapped a bit onto Katie’s cheeks, and used her MAC bronzer for some light contouring.  With a red lip, I don’t typically add blush because it competes too much with the lipcolor, so we left it at just highlighting and contouring.

I had Katie moisturize her lips while I worked on her face and eyes.  A good way to prep your lips for lipstick is by exfoliating them is gently with a toothbrush, but we skipped that and just had her saturate them in balm.  I used MakeUpForEver’s lipliner in Red 8C, and filled in her lips first with MAC’s Russian Red by using a lip brush (from SkinMarket … DOES ANYONE REMEMBER THAT PLACE?!).  I then had Katie blot, and filled her lips in again by using NARS’ Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl (a real fire engine red).  I then placed just a touch of Kevyn Aucoin’s Sensual Skin Enhancer on the cupid’s bow and on the inner corners of the lips.  Creating the perfectly-shaped statement lip is still something I’m working on; it’s harder for me than the most complicated eyeshadow.  Many professional makeup artists like to use a primer under lipstick (yes, an eyeshadow primer) and additionally like to dust translucent powder on top for extra staying powder.  However, in Katie’s case, I didn’t want things to get unbearably dry.  It was her first time doing a red lip, and matte lipstick can feel like cement if you aren’t used to it.  I’ll save the primer and powder for when I do Lupita Nyong’O’s makeup for the Academy Awards.  Right.

So, the final product: How amazeballs does Katie look?!  I was so, so pleased with the whole package.  With just a few curls in her hair (at her own hand), Katie was pure holiday magic.  I know I’ve been slow to crank out a post yet this year, but I sort of like that this first post of 2014 is a throwback to party season.  Everyone likes a fresh start with a new year, but at the same time I’m convinced that we still wish party season could continue well past January (minus the party planning).  And, I mean, party season sort of does continue past January with AWAAAAAAAAAAAAARDS SEASON.  Consider this makeup I’ve done for Katie my own teeny tiny contribution to the 2014 Awards Season, and just a little something to hold you over while I work on my Golden Globes post!  Thanks, Katie!  You look phenomenal!  xo, MR

On how I once kind of resembled a drag queen.

I have a confession to make.  For a few who (perhaps) read this, they will already know this strange secret of mine and it will be no confession.  It’s not that I’ve tried to keep it a secret, really.  It’s just that this all took place in such a weird, encapsulated period of my life and it’s like some strange time warp thinking about it.  So, here goes …

I used to wear glitter.

No big deal, right?  I mean, glitter’s back with a vengeance these days anyway.  No, no.  Do not be mistaken, please.  Let me reassure you- I. Used. To. Wear. Gliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiteeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrr.

Ok, ok.  Take yourself back to 2001 with me for a minute here.  You know, N’Sync and butterfly clips and boob tube tops underneath overalls?  You get the picture.  As you remember, glitter was a pretty common thing at that point (and I’m just going to mention *True Colors* and hope that rings a shimmery, shiny bell for some of you).  But just so you know, I am not talking, like, a little glitter in the lip gloss as was the thing back then.  I am not even talking a little strawberry-scented roll-on glitter on the cheeks as was so very common.  I am talking … well … let me put it in anecdotal form:  Every morning, from about seventh through eighth grade and then some, I’d cover my eyelids in glitter.  Thick, hexagonal glitter.  It might be blue.  It might be red.  It might be God-knows-what color, but whatever it was, it was slap-you-silly-with-a-ray-of-sunshine BRIGHT.  And it would frequently go all the way up to my eyebrows.  And then came the hair.  I had glitter gel.  Yes, repeat that- glitter. gel.  And I’d slick that stuff in my hair like it was 1985.  Did they use glitter gel in 1985?  Anyways, the final touch- I’d drag my mom out on to our driveway and I’d have her spray me down with the spray glitter used at dance and cheer competitions.  From top to bottom.  I’d throw on a sequined shirt with my glitter-coated jeans and I was good to GO.  Now, was I going to a cheer competition?  Nope.  Dance competition?  Nope.  I was going to middle school to pick my nose and learn things.  But I definitely looked like a walking galactic nebula while doing it.

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This all stopped freshmen year when I realized that I’d pretty much alienated all my loved ones because my glitter addiction gave off that certain stench of weird.  I normaled up, and now I’m me!

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What’s extra funny about this whole thing, though, is the fact that there is literally no primary documentation of these happenings.  None whatsoever.  There are no pictures that I can locate that properly do justice, and I even threw away all the glitter (and you wouldn’t believe how much there was … there are still traces of it in my bedroom and bathroom a decade later).  It’s sad, I haven’t got a single snapshot to show you what it was like to be somewhat of a drag queen in junior high.  So you’ll just have to believe me.

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But we come to today, and as you can see I still have a rather soft spot for glitter.  There were a good couple years where I detested the stuff, but I’ve realized that my glitter phase was the true beginning of my love for all that is makeup.  I even did a presentation on my love for makeup in eighth grade language arts (complete with torn-out magazine pages of makeup looks I’d liked … boy was that telling), and I’ll always remember my teacher complimenting me on how comfortable and knowledgeable I was with the subject.  It’s truly one of my first loves.  So here we have my present-day nails, painted not but a few hours ago, in The Living Daylights from OPI’s latest fabulous collection inspired by the James Bond films.  I know it’s a manicure quite fit for the ushering-in of December, but I have to say that I don’t think I’ve ever stared at my nails with so much love as I have these past few hours.  It takes me back and hits me right in the sparkly feels.  xo, MR


Every year, the issues I look forward to the most for almost every fashion magazine out there are the December issues.  The September and March issues, while amazing, are just a little too overwhelming for me, and though I do really love the summer issues of June and July, I always love the December issues because they’re all about dressing up, dramatic party makeup, and trying something fancy with your hair.  It’s glitter, sequins, lame’, metallics, brocade and jewel tones, and if there’s anything I love more than casual autumn style, it’s festive holiday style, because it’s … sparkly!!!

So, what do I do for makeup when it comes to holiday festivities?  There are several options I tend to choose from- smokey metallic eyes, glittery nails, perfected skin, red lips, and shimmery gloss.

I know it’s been quite the year for nail art, but really psychedelic  nails don’t seem appropriate to me until the party invitations start rolling out for Christmas.  I haven’t done real honest-to-goodness statement nails yet, but I do love to indulge in a special, sparkly varnish around December that evokes nothing other than Christmas lights!  Chanel’s Le Vernis in Black Pearl for their Spring 2011 line is kind of a bluish-greenish-silverish shade that I found mysterious and different.  Butter London’s Wallis is a blackish-gold glittery polish that does a good job at giving my nails disco fever.  I’ve often passed by some really cool shades by Deborah Lippmann at Nordstrom, and I’m contemplating picking one up in Let’s Go Crazy.  We’ll see.  I have to add here that my dear friend Hailey snuck a Christmas treat for me right under my nose while shopping together on Black Friday, in the form of Deborah Lippmann’s Forget You.  I love it even more than Let’s Go Crazy because it has a black base color rather than purple!  Perfect New Year’s polish!  Thanks Hailey!

During the holiday season, I tend to make greater use of items like my MakeUpForever HD MicroFinish Powder because photo-taking is more frequent (though Instagramming your photos is kind of the sad, cheap cure for any skin imperfections now).  I also like using shimmery highlighters on my face and chest more during this time, because it suits the festivities and stands out at night.

For lips, I know it could be easy to go the deep bordeaux route in honor of fall, but nothing seems to scream “HAVE A HOLLY JOLLY CHRISTMAS!” more than a classic red lip.  I get that they’re kind of a year-round staple that are here to stay these day, but red lips just feel so right against a formal, decorative ensemble paired with that faux-fur vest and those killer boots.  The key to a red lip is finding the right shade for you.  I have to admit that it really, really bothers me when I see ladies wearing the wrong shade of red.  If you have fair skin with cool, bluish undertones (check your veins), go for more blue-based reds.  I hear that Revlon’s Fire and Ice is a good choice, along with MAC’s Ruby Woo.  Whatever Dita Von Teese wears will work.  My NARS Velvet Matte lip pencil in Cruella seems to fit the category for medium shades, and if you have warmer or more olive skin, try for something more orange or brownish-based, like a tomato red such as MAC’s You Say Tomato or Revlon’s Orange Flip.  The shade that seems to get the most buzz for being universally flattering is MAC’s Russian Red, but I also hear plenty of good things about the NARS Velvet Matte lip pencil in Dragon Girl.  Take the time speak to a cosmetics consultant about finding your best shade of red, or do some true online or magazine research.  It’s worth it.  And if you’re going without the red lip, at least go for glittery gloss a la’ Givenchy Gelee D’Interdit in Icy Peach.  Yum.

And lastly, my favorite part- the eyes.  I love a smokey eye any time of year, but making them a little more special with metallic shades of gunmetal or gold jazzes them up just enough.  Sometimes I like to add a little color too, like with this Revlon palette in Sultry Smokes.  I was drawn to it because of the deep navy blue shade it featured; it wasn’t just different shades of black.  Or you could go for a plum smokey eye like Mila Kunis, or an all-over silver wash.  And of course, don’t forget to line the inner rims in a black, inky kohl pencil.

With Thanksgiving just days away, I’m excited to begin adding in little bits of sparkle into my makeup routine here and there.  It’ll have to come with my everyday look, because I honestly don’t have that many parties lined up for December.  Cheers to glittery nails on work days!  xo, MR

P.S.  People StyleWatch magazine used my comments for their “Are You Loving …” feature … again.  See what I had to say in the December ’12/January ’13 issue with Taylor Swift on the cover- it’s a whole six words long!  Although I am disappointed they didn’t use my mention of the word ‘avant-garde’ … must’ve been too high-brow for the demographic.  Whatevs.

Um … yes.

Here is my red carpet beauty idol, Keira Knightley, looking like December personified at the New York premiere for her latest film Anna Karenina.  It’s looks like this that make me pine for Christmas (pun intended) and the upcoming month of wintry festivities.  Seriously, I am like a kid ready to pee his pants on Christmas morning when I see styling like this.  The sleek, shiny hair, with her luminous skin and cherry red lips, accompanied by dainty black Valentino lace and Chanel starry diamonds – mmmmm-hmm!  It may simply be a very alluring woman in a very alluring dress with very beautiful makeup, but this has me screaming SANTAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I believe this appropriately communicates my feelings.


xo, MR