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 www.bethanycarlson.com.

Oh, hair.

Have you ever gone through pictures and looked at how your hair has changed through the years? I recently perused through my photos that I’ve had uploaded to my drive, and holy smokes– I only went as far back as 2008, and I am a completely different person. Completely. I know I’ve done posts on my hair journey before, but there’s something to seeing it and chronicling it in pictures. I’ve become so much more educated on how to take care of my hair and I’ve become so much more aware of how I like it within the past couple years that I’m not quite sure what I was doing with it everyday beforehand. Was I in tears every day? Was I cutting my own bangs out of a deep need for control in my life? Was I expressing a constant struggle with anxiety by curling every half-inch strand around a small curling rod until I looked like I just had a pile of springs on top of my head? What was any of this accomplishing?! I JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND!

October 2008 hair

This was when I thought I was cool. Well actually, that’s a problem I consistently have so that could likely be said for each picture here. But this was when I thought I was really cool. This was one of the first times when Justin colored my hair (a couple shades darker), and my cut was super-razored, super-layered, and super-textured. I wanted stick-straight hair back then, but I couldn’t figure out why I didn’t like it so much when I achieved it every once in a while. I finally realized that flat-against-the-head straight just isn’t flattering on my face shape, which is somewhat narrow. I look best with a little volume.

November 2008 hair

BUT NOT THIS KIND. This was maybe one or two months after the last photo, and I would trim my own bangs in little fits of impatience. Oh God. WHY?! I would rough up my hair at the top because I thought it looked edgy. Just … no.

May 2009 hair

Maybe six months later, and we’ve landed on this in May of 2009. The curl in my hair really came out with all the layers, clearly. My bangs are growing out slowly here, and so I would try to brush them to the side, but I’m pretty sure I was employing the dreaded “curly hair with straight bangs” look. Bad. But I had fun with this hair; I’d finally started using tools besides a straightener and so that was exciting.


This is my hair in October of 2009. I remember this being the first time that I felt extremely proud of how I’d done my makeup and my hair. I’d been skilled with the makeup brushes for quite some time by then, but this was one of those days when I set aside the time, I knew I was going to be in front of an audience, and I wanted it to look perfect. I also had Justin put in my first set of highlights that summer, and I’d wanted them to look grown out a bit by this point (a preview of my love for ombre’, all the way back in 2009!). This was probably when things started to take a permanent turn for the better …

February 2010 hair

… but apparently I still had an obsession with curling my hair with a one-inch iron. I’d gone back to a single-process color by this point, which was February of 2010. I liked the look at the time, but such curling madness without at least a little brushing out would be a no-no these days.


Ah, summer 2010 hair. This I loved. We cut it shorter and put in some new, sunny highlights. This was also the first year that I started actually enjoying summer. I’d always considered myself a fall/winter girl, but some trips to the beach alone along with tracking my severe dip in mood and energy during the winter lead me to realize that the sunshine may actually be quite good for me. The hair matched.

Fall 2010 hair

And then I went dark again, just for autumn of 2010. This was a rough season for me and for some reason, and the hair just brought me down. I should’ve kept up with the highlights, but I wanted “fall hair” and I felt that that meant it needed to be darker (and Meesh, you were blonde!!). I still wasn’t the greatest at styling it on my own, though (and I don’t know what was up with my eyebrows or face either– I look funny and I’m not sure why). However, hope was on the horizon- Jessica Biel had debuted an incredible hair style that became known as “ombre” during her press tour for “The A-Team” during that past summer. I’d been trying to go for something similar about a year beforehand and had adored the natural “roots” look, and here was a celebrity showing off the very look I’d wanted for so long (and all before it literally EXPLODED and devolved into the strange dip-dyed Pinterest-pandered look I see everywhere now). And so, in late December of 2010, Justin and I put our heads together and he gave me my first ombre’d hair.


I loved this. I LOVED this. It came out perfectly, and he placed the highlights closer to my roots so they could grow out and blend even more with time. This is one of mine and my husband’s kick-butt engagement shots by my amazing bridesmaid Kara Lackey, and there are few un-Instagrammed pictures of me in which I truly love my hair. This is one of them.


And this was the goal! Grow it out, keep up with the ombre’d color, and do a half-and-half look for the wedding in June of 2011. Achievement unlocked! My friend Kat Thompson styled my hair for the day and I probably sent her such a weird combination of pictures for inspiration that made absolutely no sense. How she managed to know what I wanted through all of that mess, I’ll never know. And speaking of my wedding, I still need to do a post on my hair and makeup just for that day.


During the autumn after the wedding, Justin cut some blunt bangs for me. I liked it, but they were difficult to style everyday. I don’t think I’ll do bangs again until I’m much older (because they make you look younger), but they were good to try just for a season. And I got to do this fun shoot thanks to the fabulous Laura Licata and her talents!

August 2012 hair

The ombre’ adventures culminated in long, wavy, grown-out beach hair by August of 2012. This was good. Very good. A lot of oil masks and a lot of tender, cautious care with natural products and little washing, but it was worth it.

Fall 2012 hair

And then we chopped it! And went back to fully brunette! I think I finally felt confident enough to style it and Instagram it myself by this point. I employed the use of larger irons and, ironically, just started caring less over all. Less became more in 2012. It was a good year for hair.

More Fall 2012Winter13 hair

And here we are today, basically. A little grown out (and I’m going for long again!), and my natural color. I’ve been wearing it straight; I’ve been wearing it wavy. I like to sleek it up, and I like leave it down. Who knows what I’ll say in a couple years, but for the moment I just feel like this works. Justin recently put an ashier single-process color that took out any red and put me back at a basic, natural brown that’s probably the closest thing I’ve had to my natural color in years. It’s good to be back, but the sun’s been out a lot lately and I just don’t think I’ll be able to resist some ombre’d highlights for long. We’ll see. xo, MR