If You Have Just Five Minutes …

My current living situation isn’t exactly the most glamorous.

I live in a building with many other families that are all living there for the purpose of someone completing a higher education degree.  It is a season of scrimping and saving, constant transition (as there is a moving truck in front of our building at least once every two months), and general uncertainty.  Many of the women in my building are busy raising three or four young children; others are plugging away at their own coursework or job responsibilities.  Any you way it slice it, it’s not exactly the place where you’ll see lots of false lashes or makeup brushes lying around.

That being said, all this doesn’t mean the lashes and brushes have been tossed to the wayside here, rejected as some sort of earthly frill without any value.  For so many of my neighbors, there just isn’t time, and one’s mind is simply preoccupied with other things besides finding the perfect highlighter that’s right for your skin.  I guess the same could be said for many folks in various stages of life- we often find ourselves without time, or living in seasons when we’re just distracted, and little things that brought joy are the first to go.  Something like makeup or skincare becomes more of a tedious effort than a delightful ritual.  One of my most restful activities has always been doing my makeup and hair, and even without children, I’ve already found myself slowing down and not wanting to take the time that I used to for these things.

But for me, my putting aside of makeup says more about the state of my mind and heart than about busyness.  I could take the time to do a little something, but when my mind and heart are clouded with worry or feelings of ungratefulness, I can’t enjoy something like makeup.  In moments like that it’s hard to sit down, take a deep breath, and choose which couple eyeshadows I’d like to wear.  It’s a challenge to let go of the worries of the moment and say, “You know, things are going to be okay.  Worrying truly solves nothing, so let’s choose joy and put on the makeup I love.”

But something funny happens when I do surrender those worries, when I say “no” to the seemingly looming cares of tomorrow- I find myself picking up the brushes, turning on the curling iron, and taking joy.  I find myself putting in the “work” of makeup out of thankfulness, out of delight.  And suddenly, makeup stops feeling so much like work, but rather like the pleasure it’s been for me since I was twelve.  You could almost call it worship.  I sometimes manage to get so caught up in this delight that I end up with full-face look, complete with primer, contouring, something colorful, and maybe even false lashes.  When I say no to worry and fear, I am able to take delight in beauty and creativity.

Think about that.

So for those of us that are busy, worried, tired, or feeling unsure of whatever it is in the season you’re in, I’d encourage you to choose joy and put on those false lashes.  Or mascara.  Or lash extensions if you’re especially busy!  Release those fears and bust out your exfoliant.  Surrender your anxieties and decide which color you’re going to paint your nails.  Say no to the fear and choose rest.  So if you have even just five minutes, here are a couple strategies for pursuing this very specific practice of joy and rest effectively:

  1. Choose a bold lipstick and strong eyebrows – Stop thinking of lipstick as overly glamorous and formal, and start thinking of it as your best femme-friend that can go with you anywhere to give things a little sunshine and “Yeah, girl!”.  A great lipstick is like carrying around Leslie Knope in your bag.  One of the easiest signature looks you can adapt is that of a striking lip color paired with gorgeous, groomed brows.  Have your face moisturized, and use one or two brow products to fill them in, brush them up, and tame them in place.  As you know, I like Glossier’s Boy Brow for a really quick fix, but Bobbi Brown’s Perfectly Defined Long-Wear Brow Pencil comes in a good variety of shades, is tapered as a pencil, and comes with a spooly brush.  You can always use clear mascara or Boy Brow to then set things in place.  Next, have your lips moisturized with your fave balm and then apply whatever awesome lipstick your heart desires.  Choose something that feels like you, but is perhaps a small step beyond your comfort zone. I love wearing MAC’s Russian Red by itself, but there are also some seriously amazing shades by Bite Beauty that I love staring at.  Colors like Jam, Tannin, or Dragonfruit would make amazing signature shades.  Moisturizer + eyebrows + lipstick = very French and very pulled together, probably within five minutes.  Below, my current look of choice.
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  2. Choose a perfectly-cleansed fresh face – Do your whole routine of a little exfoliating, a little cleansing, a quick spritz of toner, and a yummy moisturizer for a quick-but-indulgent accomplishment.  A bare but glowing face these days is widely accepted as a chic substitute for makeup (though I always recommend giving your brows a wee bit of love, too).  I use a small bit of Kate Somerville’s ExfoliKate as a mini peel for one minute (and I treat this stuff like golden elixir as it was a gift), and then I rinse and follow up with Ole Henriksen’s Empower Foaming Milk Cleanser.  After I rinse off the cleanser and pat my face dry, I spritz on Lush’s Eau Roma Toning Water.  I love that this is in a spray bottle as opposed to a needing a cotton pad for application- so fast and easy.  I follow up with Origin’s A Perfect World SPF 25 Age-Defense Moisturizer with White Tea, and I’m glowing like the sun!  A little brow gel to complete the look, a quick pull back of the hair into a low bun, and you’re basically ready for New York Fashion Week.
  3. Choose mega lashes and flushed cheeks – Mascara takes me the longest time of any other makeup product to apply, so if you’re short on time or patience but you really want lashes, choose to focus on only that and perhaps one more thing.  Use an eyelash curler like Kevyn Aucoin’s to gently curl and lift your lashes.  Lash curlers are really underrated in my opinion; they do so much to open up the eye and ease the application of mascara.  Next, pick a couple favorite kinds of mascara that thicken and lengthen (or if you can manage just one, props to you).  I like almost any kind from CoverGirl’s LashBlast line– the orange tube (LashBlast), the purply-blue tube (LashBlast Fusion), the lime green tube (The Clump Crusher), or the turquoise tube (The Super Sizer).  I could use any combination of these babies and get really black, super thick lashes that you can carefully build for length.  Once you’re happy with the outcome, do a quick dusting of a blush that you’ve found to be most flattering (and by flattering, I mean it suits your face nearly every day of the year).  An easy pick is NARS Orgasm, long hailed as universally flattering on all skintones.  The name may make your eyes roll, but the stuff is no joke.  If that’s out of your budget, Milani has a good variety of really pretty blushes that are super concentrated in both matte and shimmery finishes.  These get a ton of buzz on Pinterest and Instagram; I used on once on a bridesmaid who owned one and wanted to wear her own blush and I was really impressed.

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Whatever your plans involve this weekend, whether it’s a lot of running around, getting things done, or just sitting on the couch trying to catch your breath, be sure to open the door to joy.  And if that means exfoliating or applying lipstick in a shameless shade of merlot, to that I say, “Yes and more please”.  xo, MR

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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?

Katie

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

Thank God it’s Friday! NOW PUT ON THE EYESHADOW.

It’s official:  I have become one of those “working for the weekend” types.  I landed myself a job that consists of a solid eight hours a day, five days a week.  I start my day early in the morning and by 4:30 in the afternoon, I’m bushed.  Each day feels like an accomplishment, but let me tell you: Monday seems awfully far from Friday, and Friday seems SO CLOSE to Monday.  I’m not sure how that happens, but regardless of the fatigue, the regular schedule is all turning out to be great for me.  I’m eating regularly and all day long, and I get panicky if I don’t wear comfortable shoes or have enough water.  I can’t help but respond to these messages that my body is sending me, and so as a consequence I’ve ended up building healthier habits, little by little.  I can even take a nap now and it doesn’t have to be two hours long!

However, another consequence of having such a job is MAY-JER weekend anticipation.  Like, I am literally playing this in my head over and over come Thursday afternoon.  I officially get the point of happy hour.  I officially get “TGIF”.  I officially feel bad for all the times I sort of rolled my eyes at the folks who would enthusiastically update their statuses as they awaited their Friday night sushi or tapas or whatever.  So, what’s more exciting than actually making some concrete plans for a Friday night so I can do nothing but clinch my keyboard in anticipation at my desk all day (and stay on task, of course)?!

But naturally, the real pleasure of “going out” for me is not the actual “going out”.  It’s the “getting ready” part that hits my sweet spot.  Give me an hour or two to just zen out with my makeup brushes and trust me- I’ll be a happy camper that evening whether I end up at the Chateau Marmont or if I decide to just hang out in a dumpster with some Cheetos as I wave a flashlight around my head.  That’s some hoodrat clubbin’.

So what kind of makeup do you wear for a night out?  Well, during my two nights out in Vegas in which I stepped out of my room to escape the Circus Circus nightmare that I’d paid for, I’ve typically noticed the unfortunate combination of too-much-bronzer and too-much-eyeliner and too-much-lipgloss.  Rule of thumb:  You get one of those, okay?  YOU. GET. ONE.  Unless it’s opening night of Hairpsray AND YOU’RE THE STAR … you get one.  Unless you’re walking the runways at Paris Fashion Week and you’ve got the pancake face of Karl Lagerfeld HIMSELF to compete with … you get one.  But sometimes … sometimes … there’s a case in which you maybe get two.  For your consideration, a you-pick-two look brought to you by yours truly:

IMG_6645Now, I’d been wanting to put golden eyeshadow on Laura’s eyes for months but I’d just never had the chance to snatch those little blue eyeballs!  I used MAC’s Gorgeous Gold on Laura’s lids to bring out major contrast in her eyecolor, and that’s MAC’s Russian Red on her lips.  The lip color has got to be one of the most universally flattering shades of red, and what’s unique about gold is that it also works with eyecolor and skintone of all shades.  This particular shade from MAC does different things on different eyes, and I can’t recommend it enough.  I didn’t do a thing to Laura’s cheeks, and I only evened out her skin with a light wash of foundation and a good dusting of powder- I didn’t want her skin to be too shiny.  I love that the look is a little more of a Disney Princess look, and yet it still has the potential to be somewhat editorial.  It is in this case that I would submit that you can do both statement eyeshadow and statement lips.  It doesn’t happen often, folks.

So what will I do tomorrow night as far as makeup’s concerned?  I haven’t the faintest.  But I can assure that I’ll be thinking about allllllllll day long tomorrow as I sit at my desk.  xo, MR