Best Of The 2018 Academy Awards

We’re here for the dresses, people. Let’s just get right to it.

As usual, I was most drawn to color and sequins out of a sea of white gowns and some rather … odd choices that I’ll just let you scour the internet for yourselves. I was SO SAD to see my fave of the season – Margot Robbie – wearing a very tame white number as it seems that we’ve seen her in white and blush pink a number of times these past couple months. Wear some parrots! Go crazy! And Saiorse Ronan was wearing a nice shade of pink in a very glamorous silhouette with a giant bow, but then I realized how Anne Hathaway and Gwyneth Paltrow had both won their Oscars in the same shade of pink and I’m kind of tired of it. Who knows. I guess it’s just clear what I like. And speaking of what I like …

Allison Janney in Reem Acra

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Like, I’m not sure how old this woman is (refusing to Google), but she’s working it better than most 22-year-olds. Kendall and Gigi can sit down for a while and just let Allison reign on their parade with her magnificent sleeves and immaculate neckline. I am in awe. It’s this shade of red that makes me realize “Oh yes- it is officially THEE OSCARS.” This is like, royal tomato red. ROYAL TOMATO, I TELL YOU.

Viola Davis in Michael Kors

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It’s PIIIIIIIIIINK!!! But not like, Anne-and-Gwyneth pink. It’s the happiest, loudest, Barbie-est, most pinkalicious exciting shade of pink you’ve ever seen. What more do you need?! Aaaand it’s sparkly! Aaaand she has an amazing Roger Vivier clutch that matches perfectly! Aaaand I love it when Viola wears her hair natural! PIIIIIIINNNNNKKKKKKK!

Jennifer Garner in Versace

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OH I’M SORRY, BEN!!! The old Jennifer can’t come to the phone right now because SHE’S DEAD. HAVE FUN BEING SAD BATMAN.

Lupita Nyong’O in custom Versace

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WAKANDAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!

I have no problem throwing out exclamation points like confetti tonight. No problem.

Lupita is CLEARLY, UNQUESTIONABLY the princess of Wakanda and we are all just riding the Black Panther wave of insanity as her subjects. I can’t find a good image of her hair piece yet but I am quite excited for it, too. She is a WARRIOR PRINCESS and could not have worn anything more perfectly suited for her. Metallic sequins + Lupita = me screaming in my jammies in front of my laptop.

Betty Gabriel in Tony Ward Couture

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Have you seen Get Out? No? Well then please don’t assume that it’s a musical or comedy like the Golden Globes said it was. Just watch it. But also, this dress on cast member Betty Gabriel is giving me magical fairy realness. And her hair! Renaissance fairy magick with a k!! I sound out of my mind, I know, but would you look at this?! I love it when this is what we’re getting for a first-time Oscars attender. Like actually show up, people! Thank you!

Nicole Kidman in Armani Privé

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I mean did you really think you weren’t going to see this person on this list? No, no you didn’t. You knew Nicole would show up with a giant bow just as she’s shown up with parrots and puff sleeves and chartreuse (and even more giant bows, in fact) in the past. The woman is afraid of nothing. She’s been married to Tom Cruise, for God’s sake. Respect this person!

Any faves?! One’s I missed?! Let me know what you think- only two months to the Met Ball! xo, MR

Photo credits in order of appearance: Kevin Mazur/WireImage, David Fisher/REX/Shutterstock, Frazer Harrison/Getty Images, Kevin Mazur/WireImage, Kevin Mazur/WireImage, Steve Granitz/Getty Images

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Best Of The 2018 SAG Awards

Alright, the color is back in full force this round. I was most, most pleased with this red carpet. Some seriously stunning choices, and of course, I was all the more happy with the incredible hair make makeup styling at this year’s SAG Awards. The glam teams were bringing nothing less than their best work. Here we go!

 

Saoirse Ronan in custom Louis Vuitton-
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I would wear this. I would totally wear this! Such beautiful art deco inspiration I’m seeing here, and such a cheerful shade of pastel, millennial pink. And I do love a modest silhouette contrasted with two marvelous slits up the side. And Saoirse’s (pronounced SER-shuh) minimalist styling is the right choice, as I don’t believe her face is one that could take “a lot” of makeup if you know what I mean. Her features are so delicate and fairylike, and dark or harsh makeup choices would just overwhelm her. Or at least, those are my thoughts. I could proven wrong, though!

 

Mandy Moore in Ralph Lauren-
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This is the kind of look that makes me want to go on vacation. The ease of the strappy silhouette that makes you want to pack a weekend getaway bag, the dreamy shade of shimmery cobalt that makes you want to dive into a perfectly blue pool after sipping on a Mai Tai beneath your cabana …

Think I’m living in the MidWest in the middle of January? Maybe. Just maybe. Some daydreaming problems over here.

But truly, this styling is fabulous and I can’t wait for a closeup of Mandy’s makeup, too, as I’ve detected a bit of aqua on her lower lids. Oooohhh…

 

Olivia Munn in Oscar de la Renta-

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Ohhhhh sequins! Luscious luscious sequins. And beautious floral appliqués. While this is overall a safe choice- and I’ve appreciated Olivia in the past for bolder choices when it would be quite easy for her to ride on her bombshell looks- the center-parted hair that’s like a shiny black sheet combined with the glowy, rosy makeup makes this a win. It might be safe, but it’s so good that the lack of risk doesn’t matter to me. And check those metallic talon nails! Daaaayyyuuuum.

 

Lupita Nyong’O in Ralph and Russo-

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Mmmmm more metallic perfection. And feathers! Who doesn’t appreciate some good bird now? I used to think I’d know that I’ve “made it” by the fact that I was wearing a sequined dress on a red carpet somewhere, but I’ve since changed my mind. I now know that it’s when I’m wearing a dress with feathers on a red carpet somewhere that I’ll know I’ve made it. Feathers are just so extra, so Marie Antoinette. So unnecessary-but-why-wouldn’t-you.

And does Lupita’s skin have a shimmery finish?! I can’t tell, but I have to find out. It’s positively luminous.

 

Brie Larson in Gucci-

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If you’re not wearing Gucci these days, what are you even doing with your life?! I’ll tell you what you’re doing- you’re wearing knockoff Gucci. Like me. From Target. But don’t blame a girl- sequins and details and jewel-encrusted bows and so many colors and eeeeeeeverything you think of when you think of a fantasy dress- that’s Gucci. Remember Nicole Kidman’s green sequined parrot amazingness from last year’s SAG Awards? Yep, Gucci.

Also, digging the stunning shimmery blue shadows on Brie. So lovely, especially on brown eyes. In other news, Captain Marvel allegedly begins production … tomorrow!

And now, for the obvious-yet-still-too-good-to-be-ignored choice …

 

Margot Robbie in Miu Miu-

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Ladies and gentlemen, another round of applause for feathers! See? I’m telling you, they’re quite fetching and irresistible. I can’t tell at this point if this dress is white or a very light shade of blush. I’m thinking the latter when I see it against the red carpet, and oh, how I love a good rosé as my white girl self should.

I’ve noticed that each of Kate Young’s choices for Margot have all had that bit of figure skating extra-ness as a nod to I, Tonya, whether it’s a touch of sparkle or something like a ribbon and feathers to create the movement that’s so important in figure skating outfits. Makes for a fun press tour, no? But I have to note that it’s the hair and makeup team that’ve really astounded me with Margot on this tour of hers- Pati Dubroff and Bryce Scarlett have been absolute heroes with the hair and makeup game. And I don’t care how beautiful she is naturally! Having a team behind you that consistently takes you from plebeian to goddess is irreplaceable as a celebrity, even for someone as pretty as Margot.

Let me know what you think, and do tell me if you think I’ve forgotten anyone especially deserving! Cheers! xo, MR

 

Photo credits in order of appearance: Steve Granitz/WireImage, Frazer Harrison/Getty, John Shearer/Getty, John Salangsang/Shutterstock, Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty, Frazer Harrison/Getty

Best Of The Met Gala 2017

And tonight, once again, we witness Kardashian & Kompany turn out of for fashion’s most garish, most opulent night- Anna Wintour’s annual Met Gala.

Of course, we always hope to see more than just Kendall and Kylie competing for highest slit in a sequined gown, but in recent years that’s sort of what’s happened to this event.  The themes continue to remain quite highfalutin, but the guests and what they choose to wear and try to accomplish have seemed to wane in sophistication as of late.  The Met Gala used to appeal to me as the very height of fashion on parade, the epitome of bougie-ness and unattainable class.  Now it’s got more of a who’s-who-of-Snapchat flavor.  But that’s what makes a celebrity these days I guess, and the times have undeniably changed.

The theme of this year’s Met exhibit is “Rei Kawakubo/Commes des Garçons: Art of the In-Between”.  To make it clear, the exhibit is honoring revolutionary female Japanese designer and founder of Commes des Garçons, Rei Kawakubo.  Her designs are known for being high concept, visually stunning, architecturally forward, and typically weird.  And I mean really weird.  Her craft is the definition of avant-garde.  Kawakubo’s work has never seemed to be about making a flattering dress or celebrating the woman’s body as it is with some designers.  It has seemed her work is more about her.  “Pretty” isn’t what she goes for. Or at least, your definition of pretty.  Give her a rule, and she’ll break it.  The woman does what she wants, and so she has forged for herself a formidable career.  To read more about her exhibit and see more of her work (and trust me- you want to), check out this Harper’s Bazaar article.

So what can we expect with tonight’s looks?  Well, based on the theme, we can expect weird.  And that’s good!  Although, I wouldn’t have pulled a Solange Knowles and shown up in a puffer coat.  But we’ll get to see what many celebrities define as “weird” or at least a little off the wall.   A ball honoring Rei Kawakubo demands something far beyond the boundaries of a column gown.  As always, my same rules apply when choosing favorites: dress/outfit, hair, makeup, and accessories must all work beautifully in tandem.

Most This-Is-What-I-Would-Do – Rose Byrne in Ralph Lauren 

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I talk a big talk when it comes to the Met Ball, but I know I probably wouldn’t be brave enough to actually wear one of Rei Kawakubo’s designs.  Because they’re Charlie Sheen levels of crazy.  However, this I can do.  I like the wild hairdo.  I love the architectural neckline of this dress in this bright shade of true red.  I like the artsy jewelry.  And the makeup is beautiful.  This, I can do.

Most Not-On-Theme-But-Still-Fabulous – Jennifer Lopez in Valentinojennifer-lopez-met-gala-2017-ftr-1

Paging Betty Draper!  Or Meghan Draper.  Or Joan!  Or all of them at once!  Anything that makes me think of Mad Men is more than fine with me.  The powder shade of blue, the chiffon, the cape, the high neckline, the incredible jewelry, and obviously the hair and makeup made this a stunner look straight out of the sixties.  And thank you, J.Lo, for abstaining from a naked dress!

Best Model That Didn’t Try To Just Look Like A Model – Lily Aldridge in Ralph Lauren Custom Collection

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Even though none of my favorites have worn Commes des Garçons (yet…), I still appreciate models like Lily for taking a risk and clearly pushing boundaries with the intent of paying homage to the design house’s outlandish creations.  It’s interesting to see a lot of Ralph Lauren at this event; that’s a designer I would’ve guessed as too safe for the Met Gala.  But the accessories and styling of this white gown have kept it from just looking like another skin-baring dress on a model.  I love Lily’s crazy red boots (Balenciaga) and her fuchsia blush netting that she’s wearing across her face.  Her makeup is also spectacular.  I saw a lot of incredible makeup this evening regardless of what folks were wearing, with this being a particular favorite …

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Now that is eyeshadow fit for the gods.  Alright, now for my last pick …

Best Fantasy Moment – Zendaya in Dolce & Gabbana

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This woman is such a chameleon.  She wears anything she wants, and she does anything with her hair that she wants.  It’s so evident that she loves fashion, and I love watching that.  Her hair and makeup are gorgeous, and I already such a huge affinity for parrots- this is the dress of my dreams.

Most Perfectly-On-Theme-And-Still-Fabulous – Rihanna in Commes des Garçons

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Ok, finally we have someone that interprets this year’s theme literally and wears Commes des Garçons!  And of course it’s Rihanna.  I love that she’s always such a team player when it comes to the Met Ball themes.  Remember when she wore this insanity for China: Through The Looking Glass?!  That gown was the creation of a legendary Chinese designer and there was no better opportunity to wear it.  That’s what you’re supposed to do at the Met Ball.  So yes, this dress … or outfit, whatever we’re calling it … is perfect for a Met Gala dedicated to Kawakubo.  It’s one of her own creations, it’s a breathtaking-if-not-baffling work of art, it’s weird, and it’s Rihanna, who doesn’t seem to mind weird.  And be sure to search close-up shots of her makeup.  It’s incredible.  Perfect.

There’s lots to still sort through from tonight’s extravaganza, but other honorable mentions go to: Dakota Johnson in some excellent Gucci, Kate Bosworth in Tory Burch that looked dangerously similar to Dakota Johnson’s Gucci, Jennifer Connelly in Louis Vuitton (because DUH I’m obsessed with her), Elle Fanning in some very Cinderella Miu Miu, Doutzen Kroes looking natural and relaxed in Brock Collection, Ruth Negga in a very avant-garde cape thingy, and Lupita Nyong’O in a gorgeous shade of orange.

Let me know what you think, if things got weird enough for you, or if they just couldn’t get weird enough.  Anything goes at this party.  But you know who didn’t go to this party?  Taylor Swift.  xo, MR

Photo credits in order of appearance: Instagram, Rex/Shutterstock, Rex/Shutterstock, Instagram, Getty, Getty/John Shearer

Best Of The 2017 Academy Awards

And here we are, once again!

This is technically the fifth Academy Awards that I’ve blogged and it’s my favorite post each year.  I’ve had a lot going on this evening work-wise so this post has been a process of constantly refreshing my phone before and after in attempts to get some quick peeks at attendees as they’ve arrived on the red carpet.  Not ideal, but I’m making it work.

A couple notes- Firstly, I’ve seen more impressive red carpets.  We were doing really, really good during this awards season but we seem to have pumped the brakes a bit.  I had hoped to see more bold color and risk-taking tonight.  We saw mostly gold and other soft metallics, and Janelle Monae was probably our only kooky-crazy gown.  I only noted a bit of red and perhaps just Scarlett Johannson’s pretty purple.  Secondly, Natalie Portman did not attend tonight’s ceremony because she’s in her third trimester of pregnancy.  I mean, whatever, okay, FINE.  But in all seriousness, I was bummed because I know she would’ve shown up looking glorious but I guess third trimester pregnancy merits some rest and a break from uncomfortable shoes and everyone staring at you.  OKAY, NATALIE.

And finally, I can’t seem to find Amy Adams!  Has anyone seen her?!  I looked all over social media and I did the Google, and she appears to be nowhere.  I do concur, by the way, that it was wrong of the Academy to nominate Meryl Streep over Amy this year, but I’d thought she’d surely attend tonight to support Arrival!  I also missed seeing Cate Blanchett. She wasn’t involved in much this year, but she always wears the best stuff.

And so with that, on to my favorites!  And again, a reminder- It might be a great dress but if the styling doesn’t appeal to me, it doesn’t make my list!  And it might be a cooky/ugly dress but if the styling streamlines the look and makes sense of it all, it might make my list!

Best This-Person-Would-Look-Good-In-A-Burlap-Sack – Charlize Theron in Dior

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Charlize is the one woman who has made my Best Dressed list every year she’s attended the Academy Awards.  I get that it’s hard to make someone of her features look bad, but despite how we may feel we all know that it can be done.  I think that’s one of the reasons why I’m continuously so impressed with her- she always knocks it out of the park and keep things classic and beautifully flattering, and doesn’t rely on her physical beauty to carry a look.  She still makes the right choices.  Her styling is always glamorous but simple, and her contract with Dior has probably been the most successful partnership I’ve seen between a celebrity and fashion house.  This particular gown looks like liquid gold and those earrings are bonkers!

Best Overall Because LOOK AT HER – Taraji P. Henson in Alberta Ferretti

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I mean, okay. OKAY. There is literally nothing wrong with this whole thing.  There is no flaw.  At the SAG Awards, Taraji seemed to have her frothy, feminine fantasy moment.  But she wasn’t having any of that tonight and THIS look is just about as sexy as it gets in my opinion.  No, not in my opinion.  IN ALL REALITY EVER.  This neckline with that slit all in deep blue velvet (scratching my David Lynch itch, Cookie!) with those diamonds and that haircut is just deadly.  Deadly, I say!  Taraji looks like she was just poured into this dress like an expensive glass of the finest champagne.  She has never looked better. I can only pray I come across an occasion where I have to wear something this glamorous in my lifetime.

Most Welcome New Darling Of The Fashion World – Ruth Negga in custom Valentino

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So, I think Ruth Negga likes clothes.  I mean, I think she really likes them.  Most new actresses that arrive on the scene tend to play it rather safe for a couple years before taking a couple risks once they get a high-profile stylist or a new haircut or something like that.  Or they wait for a contract with a fashion house and suddenly every dress seems to be wearing them and not the other way around (paging Jennifer Lawrence …).  Such has not been the case for Ruth Negga (or Lupita Nyong’O, the other exception in this case).  Right out of the gate, Ruth has been a person made for fashion.  She clearly loves the artistry of clothes-making, and she appreciates unique and sometimes quirky pieces.  I loved this Victorian style custom Valentino gown she wore.  It was similar to what Ginnifer Goodwin wore, but Ruth’s seemed to have a more Gothic feel.  Her makeup and hairpiece matched the mood, too.

Best Old Hollywood Throwback – Emma Stone in Givenchy Haute Couture

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As I write this, they’ve only just announced the winner of the Best Supporting Actress (go Viola!) and so we’ve yet to learn if Emma will indeed win in tonight’s Best Actress category. I have a feeling she will, and this is a lovely dress to win in.  I love Emma’s 1920’s style dress paired with very 1940’s hair and makeup.  It really is a very classically beautiful look. I was hoping to see more color on Emma during this awards season, but for what we’ve lacked in color her styling team has made up for in texture.  Fringe, glittering stars, floral appliqués- we’ve seen plenty of gorgeous handicraft in the texture department on Emma this year.  I did like her look when she attended the 2015 Academy Awards for Birdman more than tonight’s look – I loved her updo paired with the chartreuse gown and coral lips – but this is still nothing short of stunning and worthy of a winner. I’m getting some Rita Hayworth vibes with her hair, too.

Best Holy Cleopatra Batman! – Jessica Biel in Kaufmanfranco

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I told you there was a lot of gold this year!  I wasn’t kidding!  But I have to say, this is my personal favorite.  Don’t you dream of wearing dresses like this?  I mean seriously. That necklace is incredible, and the gown reminds me so much of Nefertiri in The Ten Commandments.  Nefertiri was probably the first woman in film that I idolized and wanted to look like and dress like as a child.  Of course, I was supposed to be drawn to the humble shepherd girl played by Yvonne De Carlo, but that would take some Mount Sinai-levels of convincing throughout my adolescence and beyond.

But anyhow, this dress had me.  And the necklace.  And the styling!  I love Jessica’s bold cat-eye made with thick eyeliner (again, Cleopatra!) paired with peachy lips and cheeks.  I also love the sleek updo with the center-part in Jessica’s deep brown-black hue.  I can’t wait to get a view of the back!  And again, if you know me, you know I like it when something’s just a bit off. In this case, it’s hairstylist Adir Abergel’s genius work with this updo- it’s totally off-center on purpose.  It adds characters and just barely tweaks the perfect symmetry of the center-part.  Details like this that play with shape and balance are my favorite; details of color and texture are a close second.

So there you go!  Now tell me your faves!  Anything you hated?  Anything you hoped for but didn’t see?  And don’t forget, there are always the after-parties with plenty of gown changes and extra folks who just weren’t important enough to invite to the awards ceremony.  Have fun!  xo, MR

 

Photo credits in order of appearance:  Getty Images, Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, Noel West for The New York Times, Getty Images

Let’s Go To The Movies- Fall 2016 Beauty Inspo

Within the next month or so, there are a lot of new movies rolling out into theaters to look forward to.  And I mean A LOT.  This is the season when most Oscar contenders make their debut.  We also see many fan favorite heavy hitters show up at the box office like the next chapter of the Star Wars saga, the latest Marvel installment, a Disney movie, and whatever narrative Leonardo DiCaprio decides to use as his latest portrayal of a descent into madness.  Bear attacks!  Coke and money!  Matt Damon!  It’s always an adventure with Leo.

But truthfully, my favorite thing about all these movies isn’t actually the movies themselves- it’s the movie premieres and press circuits.  And when I say movie premieres and press circuits, I mean the hair and makeup that come with them.  We’ve got a Jackie O. biopic coming out starring Natalie Portman, along with a 1940s espionage flick with Marion Cotillard headlining.  Do you know how much I’m looking forward to these things just for the shades of Dior lipstick alone?  No, I don’t think you do.

That all being said, I love looking to the red carpet this time of year for some beauty inspiration.  People always seem to get a little more adventurous with fall hair and makeup because the trends are typically darker, moodier, and a bit fancier.  Movie premieres and photocalls, award shows, and press junkets are the perfect place to look if you’re in the market for some new beauty inspo.  Let’s peek at some of my favorite looks I’ve come across this season.

Rachel McAdams at the London and Los Angeles premieres of Dr. Strange

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Premiere Of Disney And Marvel Studios' "Doctor Strange" - Arrivals

Did you know this woman is almost thirty-eight?!  Thirty-eight!!  I can scarcely believe my eyes.  I guess it probably helps when your sister (Kayleen McAdams) is a celebrity makeup artist.  And a gajillion dollars in the bank thanks to The Notebook alone can’t hurt either as far as booking a regular facial or two.  However, I do think one thing that keeps Rachel looking so fresh and young all the time is her willingness to experiment with color and a bit of funk in the hair/makeup department.  A purple smoky eye paired with pink lips- Aren’t you supposed to be “done” with that stuff when you start pushing forty?  And a segmented ponytail?  Too much when you’re thirty-eight, right?  No!  It’s exactly this kind of playfulness that keeps things exciting.  Mixing up your color palette with your makeup is never a bad thing at any age, and a segmented pony is an easy and unexpected thing to pull off at a holiday party.  Now, if only we could all wear that dress to our Christmas party at work.

 

Lupita Nyong’O at the Los Angeles and London Film Festival premieres of Queen of Katwe

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No one does the bright lipstick-and-eyeshadow combo like Lupita.  No one.  In the second image, she’s even wearing bright blush just to kick up the temperature of her look that much more.  I love it.  One thing I’ve noticed about Lupita’s makeup is that she rarely wears noticeable false lashes.  There’s maybe some black liner on her waterline, but no big lashes.  Because she often wears bright makeup, I agree that it would be a mistake to add a pair of standout lashes because it would just be overkill and would detract from the modern, graphic feel of the makeup.  No crazy lashes necessary.  Makeup artist Nick Barose always seems to know when exercise restraint and yet keep things super playful with Lupita.  And it was so fun to see all of the amazing traditional headwraps Lupita wore on tour, too!

 

Jennifer Connelly at the Rome and San Sebastian International Film Festival premieres of American Pastoral

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This past month, Jesus decided to graciously bless me with a Jennifer Connelly press tour.  Yes, I am passionate about these things and I am not ashamed.  Jennifer must’ve made about fifteen different appearances for this film all over North America and Europe, and it was one fabulous Louis Vuitton ensemble after another.  It was her chic and flattering hair and makeup that consistently knocked it out of the park for me, though.  I particularly love Jennifer’s hair sleeked back and left down in her second look as done by hairstylist Renato Campora; I often like trying to do this myself but it works so much better on hair that’s a single, dark shade like hers.

I asked Kay Montano, the makeup artist responsible for Jennifer’s cat eye pictured first, what products she used to create such a gorgeous look.  She said, “To be honest, it’s less about the products than what you do with them.  I could have achieved the same result with many different products.”  Coy, but true.  Gooseberry green eyes, immaculate eyebrows, and cheekbones that could cut glass can’t hurt either.

 

Mandy Moore at the 2016 Emmy Awards and Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic

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So, these looks may not be from any movie premieres, but thanks to her new TV show This Is Us on NBC, Mandy Moore has been everywhere lately.  I’m not sure what she’s had going on career-wise outside of Tangled insanity the past couple years, so it’s been good to see her making the rounds again.  I will say though, I’ve been following her closely on social media for a long time because she’s a maayyyjor hair and makeup influence of mine.  I’ve definitely used her pictures as inspiration for my own hair (mostly for cut, though possibly for color in the next couple weeks).  The textured mid length shag-type-thingy with bangs has been a beloved thing of mine for a while, and Mandy’s is pretty much perfect.  It’s got that 70s vibe, you know?  She always parts her bangs in the center though, and I still can’t seem to get that right.

I also love that Mandy is always wearing coral makeup, as seen in both images.  It’s a shade that works so, so well on her.  She even wore coral lipstick to the 2011 Academy Awards when she sang her nominated song for Tangled.  It worked back then, and it’s still working now.

I’m sure there’s plenty more to look forward to on the red carpet this upcoming season, and I know there were lots of other looks that I just didn’t manage to squeeze in here.  I can’t wait for Jackie and Allied, and I’m sure Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence will be serving up their usual awesomeness with their upcoming premieres, too.  Let me know what you like best, and keep me posted when you see something amazing on the red carpet!  xo, MR

 

Photo credits in order of appearance: Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic, Anthony Harvey/Getty Images, gotceleb.com, John Phillips/Getty Images Europe, gotceleb.com, gotceleb.com, Steve Granitz/WireImage, gotceleb.com

The Best of 2013!!!

How does one introduce a post like this?  I have a theory that you really shouldn’t even try, so I’ll just go with this- the following consists of my favorite and most significant beauty moments of 2013.  Some involve me, some don’t.  But this is what made the year fun, exciting, and especially peaceful when it came to beauty and all that it involves.  Enioy!

 

#1  Hitting my hair stride.

Last year, as regular readers know, I cut my hair into a blunt long-ish bob and colored it a deep, ashier shade of brown.  I did it as an inaugural celebration of autumn, but the problem is  … autumn ends.  And having dark, ashy hair during winter just did not suit my mood.  In fact, I’m not entirely sure when it will suit me.  I came to the conclusion in 2013 that I am a brunette with spackles of light, and my hair, at this point in my life, is meant to be long.

Growing it out has been a fun, exciting exercise in patience.  There has been many a “good hair selfie” (at least according to my taste), but it’s just been too fun documenting the growth of it.  I’ve used my favorite hydrating and restorative conditioners by Davines and Sachajuan along with my trusty Rahua shampoo just twice a week for extra health insurance.  Little scalp massages, just enough protein, and plenty of moisture have allowed me to avoid the dreaded in-between phase of uncertainty, accompanied by a desperation to just cut it.  It’s been a long journey, and I’m gunning for one to two more inches, but whew … I think we’re just about there.  And you have to understand, I know the hair fixation has probably been a bit much for you readers, but this has been a long process of really choosing to like my own hair.  I’ve always been okay with my skin, and I’m decently handy when it comes to makeup, but when it has come to hair, I had always wanted anyone’s but my own.  I feel that within the past year or so, I can finally say that’s no longer the case (even if I’m crazy about everyone else’s hair, still).

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#2  This person existing

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I don’t know where this person came from, what she was doing before 2013, or how she managed to fly under the radar for this long, but Lupita Nyong’O is Thee. New. Thing.  Her role in Steve McQueen’s Twelve Years A Slave managed to catapult her into the spotlight literally overnight, and once I laid eyes on her, all I could say was OHHHH MYYY GAWWWDDDD THE MAKEUPZZZZZZ!!!  Whatever makeup artist that took hold of this girl before her first appearance (or who knows … maybe she did it all on her own?) seriously put their foot down and must’ve said, “GO BRIGHT OR GO HOME.”    Lupita’s makeup has been nothing short of showstopping in nearly every picture I’ve seen of her (and I seriously pee my pants just thinking about awards season).  You know those ridiculously obnoxious, acidic shades of NARS eyeshadow or MakeUpForEver lipsticks or Illamasqua blush that have made you wonder who could wear this and why is this here?  Lupita Nyong’O, ladies and gentlemen.  That’s who, and that’s why.

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#3  Finally making peace with this haircut

Premiere Of Lionsgate's "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" - Arrivals

You may recall that last year, I was somewhat traumatized by the amount of hair-choppage that had been occurring among celebrities.  I felt frustration over seeing girls with long locks deciding to go the way of the pixie.  Of course, this had much to do with the fact that I felt I could no longer identify with them, as I so strongly identify with longer hair.  However, this year presented me with a few challenges involving liking and enjoying people that aren’t like me.  What a bloody novel idea, right?  So anyhow, the lessons and growth within these challenges trickled down to even the most seemingly meaningless things, like the acceptance of short haircuts on celebrities.  So when Jennifer Lawrence chopped her locks this past November, I made the conscious decision to like it.  Get over the fact that you’ll probably never do it yourself; a damned haircut on someone else doesn’t have anything to do with you.  Lessening one’s focus on oneself enables you to actually enjoy others, to actually be happy for them.  And so this is why I like Jennifer’s haircut.  Because honestly, it looks good and I just need to shut up.

 

#4  Going luxe with these babies

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This year was a year in which I chose to invest.  It probably wasn’t always necessary, but Sephora gift cards and some celebrity makeup inspiration will do that to you.  And honestly … I just love makeup.  It’s fun.  I’ll save on clothes, use the same laptop that I’ve had since 2007, but when it comes to beauty, I’m a sucker.  So what’ll happen is this- I’m an introvert in the sense that I tend to recharge with alone time.  On an afternoon where I’ll be feeling especially antsy, I’ll head off to Bloomingdale’s or some place like that and I’ll just wander through the beauty department (NK Space is particularly dangerous for me).  I’ll mess around with the Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray, play around with the Kevyn Aucoin, put some Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat Foundation at the YSL counter, and try on the most expensive moisturizer I can find.  The SK-II “Try me” jars are especially exciting (at $250 per jar of “everyday” moisturizer).  Of course, I buy very, very little of it, but sometimes I’ll splurge.  These Dior 5-Couleurs Palettes are a couple of those splurges.  For the record, “Earth Reflection” is my favorite.  And they’re all seriously more fun than a box of kittens.  And if you know me, you know how I feel about boxes of kittens.

 

#5  Discovering this picture

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With all things being said about the acceptance of others’ hair, it’s still an admittedly good thing to find some true inspiration for your own.  For the longest time, all I could think about in terms of hair was Olivia Palermo, Olivia Palermo, and more Olivia Palermo.  Something about her hair seemed so wholly unattainable though, almost surreal.  I imagine that she gets blowouts every week, as many New York socialites do, and that kind of thing is just discouraging to us layfolk.  Comparing oneself with the privileged (or anyone, for that matter) can truly wreak havoc on your appreciation for what you have.  And so, I tried for a good while to give  up my Palermo obsession.  I had to really fight to love my own hair, you know?  And while on the road to recovery, I discovered this shot of Italian-French-Egyptian actress and model Elisa Sednaoui.  What struck me was the fact that I didn’t want her hair, but instead I felt that I sort of already had it.  Hers was just a little longer, but the texture, color, and thickness of it just seemed right on the spot.  Suddenly, I didn’t want someone else’s hair, but instead I was even more excited for my own.  Instead of comparison, this felt more like encouragement.

 

#6  Finally finding a home for my Hobbit feet

Fact: Mani-pedis give me anxiety.  I’m not kidding.  I can’t say I understand fully why, but there’s this- I have a fear of language barriers.  Real talk.  I get anxious when I fear that I won’t be able to understand someone, that the aesthetician won’t understand me, and that we’ll ultimately just have a shared, awkward experience full of silence and clinched teeth.  This has happened before during a nail service experience (or at least, it’s what I perceived to be happening, but it may just have been in my head which is so frequently the case).  When it comes to beauty services, be it massages, pedicures, or blowouts, I want the professional and I to feel comfortable.  Coming from the service industry, I get that the most fun, worthwhile interactions with customers are ones where you feel like you’re both human.  So consequently, I’ve avoided mani-pedis for fear of the awkward and for fear of looking like an idiot.

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The problem, however, is that my feet get kind of, um, janky.  See those remnants of polish?  This photo was taken in December, and that polish is from … the beginning of August.  Yeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh.  And I know I could take care of it myself, but honestly, I let it get to the point where my feet literally need to be left to the hands of trained professionals.  It’s bad.  And that right big toenail is really as jagged as it looks.  Like, Matterhorn kinds of jagged.  I mean, it’s easy to let your feet go in the autumn seasons because you’re wearing close-toed shoes and all, but sometimes, around late November, I worry that I’ll take my boots off and my feet will have sprouted bushes or something.  But the only place I’ve ever gone to have my nails taken care of is the place out by my parents’ home, just out of sheer fear of trying a new place.  However, on the day I took this photo, I decided something needed to happen now.

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So where did I take my little Hobbit feet?  Oh, just the place right outside my apartment complex that’s literally steps away from my front door and that has awesome Yelp reviews.  Hi-Tek Nails, folks.  If I could slap a sticker on that place’s window that says “THE BRIGHT BLUSH SEAL OF APPROVAL!”, I would!  But that sticker would probably look more like a piece of masking tape with my writing on it.  Anyhow, the pro that helped me out that day is Christy (not sure how she spells it, so we’ll go with this).  She was amazing.  She was a human.  And I acted like a human.  We talked.  We laughed.  Like humans do.  I saw so many regulars coming in and out of the place with Christmas gifts for all the ladies working there; you can tell Hi-Tek has a loyal clientele.  And they were playing The Andy Griffith Show and Flipper on their TV!  I mean, can you imagine watching an episode of The Twilight Zone and getting a pedicure at the same time?!  That’s like, my heaven.

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Thanks, Hi-Tek!  I’ll be back, now that my Hobbit feet are out of their hole and on off on an extremely unexpected journey in some Birkenstocks.  And properly painted a glittery black.

 

#7  Teal eyeliner EVERYWHERE

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Talk about a fast and easy way to change up your look.  I don’t know about you, but I saw teal eyeliner in every magazine, of seemingly every month, on almost every celebrity this past year.  We were adding it to our upper lids, our lower lids, or all around our eyes.  We were wearing it on more formal occasions, and on casual Saturdays.  We wore it as an edgy statement, or as a haphazard, last-minute add-on to spice up an everyday look.  And I loved it.

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I especially love that this shade seems to work well on everyone.  It’s so flattering, and it’s so unexpected.  There’s a girl that I work with who wears teal eyeliner almost every day, and I love that it’s the first thing I notice about her.  It’s like this extra little punch of personality in your look that feels so free-spirited.

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Even just the slightest touch of a darker shade of blue can work magic.  I love that the teal eyeliner is almost unnoticeable on Marion here, until you get a closeup look.  It’s like a hidden secret that just adds that extra half-inch to the whole package.  I can’t encourage you enough to give it a try, especially the next time you’re about to step out the door but still feeling blah.

 

#8  Reaching the end of my face makeup journey

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This is it.  This is the stuff.  I don’t really care about finding anything else.  I don’t wear all of this at once (obvi), and sometimes I only wear that little guy over there to the left (sunscreen/moisturizer), but mostly, I’m just happy with what you see here.  When I want to go the extra mile and give myself a little brightening mask, I reach for Clarins Beauty Flash Balm for a tightening and cooling effect.  I then immediately apply my loose BareMinerals if I’m going out and need a bit of coverage.  Sometimes, if I’m feeling a bit dry or want an extra glow-y look, I’ll mix Weleda’s Skin Food with Boscia’s B.B. Cream and forget the Aubrey moisturizer altogether (as the B.B. has SPF in it).  And typically I’ll apply my NARS Creamy Radiant concealer because my dark circles are pretty much Mordor kinds of dark (inherited from my dad’s side), but if I want something lighter in coverage and consistency I’ll go for the Yves Saint Laurent Touche’ Eclat, which I’ve also used as a highlighter.

And that’s it.  I don’t want any more searching.  I’m good.  My only skincare goal for 2014 is to add a serum into my regimen so I can start taking those first baby steps into the world of aging prevention and damage recovery (which for me comes in the form of dark spots and scars from years of picking zits).  But other than this, I’m done!  Achievement unlocked.

 

#9  Remember this person?  Yup.  She showed up to the Cannes Film Festival this year.  And you wanted to be her.

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This, ladies and gents, is Aishwarya Rai.  She’s an Indian Bollywood queen with a huge fan-base, a former Miss World, and once cited by 60 Minutes as the “world’s most beautiful woman”.  Unless you’re a weirdo that’s only attracted to goldfish, it isn’t hard to see why.  The buzz about Miss Rai seemed to reach a peak in the mid-2000’s (from what I remember in the States).  But she then decided to go off and do the stupid, dum-dum thing called getting married and having a kid.  Ugh.  So not modern.  And then she stated that she wanted to take some time off from work so she could “simply enjoy motherhood”.  Um, excuse me?  What tomfoolery is THIS?!  You can’t take time off and ENJOY motherhood!!  That is giving away your independence!  You are MISS WORLD!!!  You get yo’ butt back to WEEERRRRK, Miss WORLD!!  No dumb baby should stop Miss WORLD from being Miss WORLD!!!!!

If you don’t sense the sarcasm here, I can’t help you with life.  And I mean it.

So anyhow, post-baby Aishwayra chose to take some time off from Bollywood, and in the process of pregnancy and enjoying motherhood, proceeded to gain some weight.  Like most child-bearing humans.  But what happened then wasn’t so human- she received widespread criticism from her fans and the media for not losing her baby weight immediately and getting back to WERK.    A commenter on the Daily Mail claimed, “She is a Bollywood actress, and it is her duty to look good and fit.”  Another said, “She needs to learn from people like Victoria Beckham who are back to a size zero weeks after their delivery.”

Yup.  That happened.

So fast forward to the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, a couple years later.  Aishwayra had been invited to appear at the glitzed-out affair of international cinema royalty, and the pressure to show up in her former supermodel form was ON.  So how would she look?!   Like the skinny actress she was just BORN to be?!  Would that baby weight be totally gone?!

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Nope.  Oh sure, the baby weight wasn’t gone, but instead, she showed up looking like a FREAKING GODDESS WITH A TOTALLY NORMAL PERSON’S BODY.  BOOM.

See, this is what I’m talkin’ about.  She isn’t nearly as thin as in her earlier days, but can you seriously even argue that it matters?  I’ve never been so stunned by Ash as when I saw some of these photos of her at Cannes.  She’s glowing; she’s regal.  Her face, body, and hair are full, and it just looks divine.  And I’m sorry, but that face is just unbelievable.  I’m not comfortable with the word ‘exotic’ to describe a particular look, mostly because we can’t truly seem to define what exactly it means other than ‘you are a desirable, tan object hailing from the tropics’, and so to describe Ash’s beauty, I tend to favor the word ‘global’.  She’s full Indian, but her features appear as if to be a mix of all kinds of ethnicity.  She’s got that all-over-the-world look that’s so interesting and different.  Pretty fitting for Miss World, no?

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Yeah, that right there is seriously your quintessential HATERS GONNA HATE face.  Eat your heart out, critics.  And you enjoy that baby, Miss Ash.  Treat yo’self 2013!

 

#10  Making peace with no makeup on weekdays.

I have no image for this because the last thing any of us needs is another selfie #nomakeup.  So I’ll just use my words for this one.  I used to whine and complain about not being able to get my fanny in gear to the point where I could put on a full face of makeup for work every morning.  But I’ve finally arrived at the point where I’m okay with saying that that’s just me.  Makeup is for weekends or when I have the time.  Makeup is for when I can enjoy it.  Makeup is not a necessity (though the concealer, eyebrows, and lip balm can’t really be compromised).  Makeup doesn’t have to happen everyday, and that’s what makes it special.  Nice, freshly-washed hair isn’t a necessity either.  Sometimes a topknot and sunscreen is all you can ask of a Monday.  Or Tuesday.  Or Wednesday.  Or Thursday.  Or Friday before 5:00PM.  And that’s okay.  Just enjoy it for what it is, and don’t be a slave to it.

And these, my friends, are my favorite moments in beauty for 2013.  It’s been a good, challenging year of acceptance and learning to enjoy the routines I have rather than ache and yearn for ones I don’t.  I’m not even compiling a “worst of” list this year because there’s wasn’t anything that got me too irked anyhow!  It’s been a great year, and let’s keep in up in the one to come.  xo, MR

P.S.  Oh, and a total bonus #11- Thanks to new editor in chief Eva Chen, Lucky Magazine is totally on the comeback trail.  Remember how last year I wrote an entire post about how terrible it had become?  A year-and-a-half later and I’m thinking just the opposite.  Can’t wait to resubscribe and see Zoe Saldana on the February cover!  Woohoo!