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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Daytime Makeup- Simple, But Significant

It’s been two weeks since my last post, and I guess I’ll claim the excuse of having my birthday as a valid reason for not writing.  But seriously!  There’s been plenty going on.  And to complicate things just a bit more, my husband and I now use an HDMI cable connected to my laptop when we want to watch TV.  So, if we’re watching something, I can’t write.  That may sound like a silly problem to you, but I am actually most comfortable with writing if I have a program on in the background.  Yes, I blog and watch TV at the same time.  My modus operandi usually involves one of my I Love Lucy DVDs playing in the background while I pound furiously at my keyboard.  Or my Doug DVDs.  Did I just admit I own Doug DVDs?

Anyways, I’m kind of just giving a variation on a theme here today- another simple, everyday makeup look.  I don’t have a ton of unique inspiration at the moment so I figured I’d just share the easy stuff I’ve done lately.  And frankly, this is my favorite stuff to do on myself or anyone.  Easy peasy.

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Again, we see that even though this look is “no makeup” inspired, there is actually plenty of makeup that goes into it (relatively speaking).  I’ll start from the beginning:  I cleansed my face and then gave my face a couple spritzes of Lush’s Eau Roma toner water.  I then applied a beautiful essence from May Coop.  Other skincare products layered on top of this just seem to make your face glow brighter than a comet.  Because it was already near evening by this point I chose not to use any other serum or moisturizer with sunscreen.  Instead, I applied Clarins Beauty Flash Balm.  This stuff is a little hard to define because it’s not exactly skincare, but it’s not really makeup either.  It’s this fun little enigma of a product that makes getting ready feel a bit more glamorous, though!  I use it as a primer; I applied a thin layer all over my face and then proceed with makeup right away.  It creates a dewy canvas for makeup, and it brightens and blurs the appearance of pores and imperfections.  It also feels cooling, and it smells fresh and floral.

After that, I went for the natural-looking BareMinerals Complexion Rescue in Buttercream and undereye concealer from NARS (and can I just say that I love my shade names- Buttercream for BareMinerals, Custard for NARS).  On my undereye area, I used my new Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder for the first time.  I had asked a friend a couple months ago what she used for her undereye area because whenever I see her, there’s always this faint, flattering shimmer around her eyes that seems to mask dark circles and give the area just the right touch.  She directed me to this powder, and it really is lovely.  I also love that it sets your undereye concealer; I’ve needed something for so long to stop my undereye concealer from creasing.  It also seems to prevent mascara from smudging down there, too.  I wore Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara (yes, I know *eyeroll*) and while this stuff is amazing at building your lashes, it smears on to my lower lid pretty often.  That didn’t happen with the Laura Mercier!  It didn’t happen the next day either, when I tried it again.  My eyeliner is courtesy of the classics: Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Liner in Black, and Stila Stay All Day Liquid Eyeliner.  I use a very thin angle brush when applying the Bobbi Brown, and I use it to essentially draw my wing, too.  The Stila blackens it, sharpens it, and fills it in.  Here’s a look with my hair back (with both of the following pics sans filter).

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One thing I’ve noticed is that I’ve gotten so pale out here that most of my makeup is now just a teeny bit too dark.  If you see my face compared to my neck area, you can kind of tell.  Oi.  It is just too dang dark out here, and it’s May!

I chose to use some of the lighter shades in the Kat Von D Shade And Light palette, to help with the color of the Complexion Rescue.  This product is beautiful in that the shades can be very helpful and the textures are super creamy and yummy.  However, you really don’t need a contouring palette, in my opinion.  I’ve had a lot of fun with this one and it’s been worth it to watch a couple YouTube videos to see what others do so I can get the most out of it, but I think you can get away with just bronzer and a shimmery highlighter to get the same basic effect.  One thing I don’t like about using the lighter shades in a contour palette is the fact that they mattify things.  You know I like a glowing finish, and using the lighter shades in the Kat Von D took all the shine of the Clarins and Complexion Rescue away (and to be specific, I used the yellowish banana powder one on the middle-top).  You then need to reapply highlighter on top of that if you still want shimmer, so it can create a redundant process.  I prefer the darker shades meant for contouring.

For blush, I dusted NARS blush in Liberte all over my cheeks.  I used my trusty-and-now-discontinued CK One brow duo for my eyebrows.  I still am not sure what I’m going to use as a replacement for this, but I’ll probably just sell out and go the Anastasia route.  And lastly, for my lips, I just used my longtime favorite- MAC Cremesheen Glass in Strictly Plutonic.  It’s a peachy-pink neutral, and the formula is so much less sticky than the classic Lipglass.  I love it so much, but of course it’s from a limited edition collection so never again!

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This is kind of the makeup I do on a more regular basis.  I’ll switch out the type of foundation, or change the shade of blush, or perhaps play around with eyeshadow (that’s getting serious), but this is a pretty straightforward look for me.  I do give myself props for continuing to improve my cateye, but in the future I’ll continue working on making things pop a bit more.  I mean, I like simple things, so simple makeup really is my jam.  In the words of Don Draper, I like to keep it simple, but significant.  xo, MR

Average Makeup For Average People!

If you know me, you know I’m a huge fan of trends.  I always look forward to what’s coming out next season, and I’m the first one to jump aboard the bandwagon when everyone starts wearing their hair a certain way (hellooooo, ombre for life).  And I love it!  Trends are a fun way to keep my look dynamic, and I find myself trying things I wouldn’t normally try once something pops up on the trend radar.

However, when it comes to the beauty trends I’ve seen floating around Instagram these days, I’m not as keen. You’ve heard me say these things before- Kardashian-style contouring, so-called strobing (which is just a trend word for highlighting, which has been around forever), exaggerated lipliner, and the bright red cream blush that is suddenly being applied to everyone’s undereye area because it apparently cancels out green undertones … why?  I will admit that all of these tricks can be exciting when it comes to the transformative power of makeup, but it’s become popular to go through these complex makeup routines for everyday life.  The Kardashian-Jenner women look fully made up and one hundred percent camera ready every single day, and by sharing all of this with their followers, they have caused millions of other women to aspire for the same.

However, this is not a very realistic thing for most folks to aspire to.  Wearing the kind of makeup each day that is meant for HD cameras is not only a lot of look for many people, but it is also difficult to put into practice.  It can be time consuming and expensive to apply a full routine of makeup each day like what we see on Instagram, and many would find it uncomfortable to wear that much to work or just out running errands.

So what might a full (keep in mind, full) makeup routine look like for the more average person?  One that still ups your typical makeup game, but doesn’t require any red undereye concealer or even false lashes?  We can get to all of that, but let’s start with something basic.  It is presumptuous of me to believe that I have any answers, but here’s my stab at it:

  1.  Start by prepping your skin.  Got a good moisturizer?  Slather it on.  Or a sunscreen?  Serum?  Whatever it is, put it on to get your skin moist and ready to receive product.
  2. .Take either your liquid or powder foundation and use a brush (fluffy or foundation, depending on whether you’re using liquid or powder) to apply a light layer.  Be certain that there is no line of demarcation on your jawline.  In other words, blend, blend, blend so there is no visible line where the makeup begins or ends.  Check your hairline, the smaller areas around lips, and your nose!
  3. Use an eyebrow pencil no more than two shades darker than your natural brows to lightly sketch in any gaps or anywhere that you’d like more definition.  Use a brow brush to brush them up, and then use a brow gel to set them.
  4. Take a blush or powder that’s just a shade or two darker than your skintone and, using a blush brush, make light, consistent strokes just beneath your cheekbones (and I used MAC’s blush in Buff, pictured below).  This will create some light definition.  I typically like to limit my contouring to this.  You can also use bronzer for this step.  Just be sure to blend well.
  5. Next, apply a cream concealer to the couple darkened spots on your face such as the undereye area and beneath your nostrils.  I like NARS Creamy Radiance Concealer, Kevyn Aucoin’s Sensual Skin Enhancer, and Yves Saint Laurent’s Touche Eclat, which all work as both concealers and highlighters.
    1. Here’s where I add a bit of highlighting- Along with the darkened places of your face, apply small dots of concealer to areas where light hits your face naturally.  See my picture below for a reference.  I’ve actually mimicked Chrissy Teigen’s methods here and I’ve found that these little spots work nicely.  I also added some around the lips.
    2. Then, use a concealer brush (or your finger, which will work) to blend in the concealer.  Try your best to find natural light when blending so you can see clearly.  It is hard to blend accurately and thoroughly in a poorly-lit bathroom.  Your face should appear to have some nice dimension and should appear highlighted, even glowing.  Obviously, the picture below is pre-blending.

IMG_08646.  To add some extra shimmer (or “champagne pop” as some have called it), take any shimmery highlighter such as MAC’s Mineralize SkinFinish in Soft And Gentle and apply it to the apples of your cheeks, your forehead, and a bit on your chin.

7.  For your eyes, I like to choose a neutral but flattering eyeshadow such as Burberry’s Pale Barley and blend it all over my lids, stopping at the browbone.  For just a little extra drama, I line my eyes with a darker, matte shadow like the bottom-left shade you see in the Dior Grege palette you see below.  Line the upper lid, line the lower lid.  Add some brown eyeliner to the waterline.  I’ve used the same CoverGirl one for a couple years.

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8.  The one thing I’ll go overboard on is mascara.  I take as much time as I want on this.  However many coats, however many different kinds.  Everything else is so neutral and light that I like to add that small dose of glamour with a ton of thick lashes.

9.  And finally, for lips, I just add a gloss!  No lipstick, no liner, just gloss.  Pick any flattering gloss you like.  I’ve been using Marc Jacobs Enamoured Hi-Shine Lip Lacquer in Love Buzz.

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Give all this a shot.  There’s no filter here, so this is how it turned out in natural light in front of a window.  I’d say the steps that make this a little more difficult for those who’d call themselves “beginners” are those involving the concealer as highlighter.  You can always skip those steps and just start with concealing the darkened areas or problems spots (like zits), and add some shimmery highlighting powder to your cheeks.  Play around with it, and let me know what works.  xo, MR

How the dudes feel about the makeup.

Guys have a funny relationship with makeup.

And before I go further, I should state that I absolutely hate blog posts that make gross over-generalizations about the opposite sex.  I mean it.  It’s like, my very least favorite.  Because no, nice guys don’t always finish last, and yes, there are actually some women out there who don’t obsess over chocolate and babies.  And ladies, believe it or not, sometimes you are the dense one.  And so, just let me say this: I write the following based only on my experiences with guys and their understanding of makeup.  These conclusions are based solely on what I’ve learned during my short time in my own teensy slice of the universe, and if I were to meet someone who defied the following conclusions, I would fail to be surprised.  So anyhow …

I’ve been a careful observer of how guys respond to makeup for years, and not necessarily for the sake of seeing what attracts the most positive attention.  Some makeup features seem to go completely unnoticed, like bronzer.  Other things, however, can garner every kind of strong opinion (as one guy I know feels like red lipstick makes you look like “a clown”, and another I know feels it makes a girl look all kinds of 1940s awesome).  There’s one thing through this that I’ve found to be certain, though: it is difficult to find a makeup item that’s universally praised and appreciated by guys.  In fact, it’s difficult to determine if makeup is universally praised or appreciated at all by the dudes.  Shiny, healthy-looking hair is universally appreciated by malefolk.  Skin that appears well cared for is, too.  Makeup, however, seems to be different.  It somehow doesn’t attract the same amount of attention from guys as something like glowing skin or pretty hair, and yet ironically, I’ve found that it attracts criticism much faster than the topics of skincare or hair.  The opinions, overall, are fewer, but the ones that exist are quite deep-seated.

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I’ve known too many guys who’ve felt that the application of makeup is equivocated with a desperate desire to change yourself.  Coloring your hair is coloring your hair, but creating a different look for your face means you are having a crisis of insecurity and identity.  It means you want to cover yourself up.  It means you hate your features.  And now, I’m beginning to feel that I’m exaggerating.  Again, this hasn’t been the case for all guys I’ve known, but it’s honestly been the case for a great many.  I can’t recall how many times I’ve heard the phrase, “I want a girl who doesn’t wear makeup”, or “I want a girl who doesn’t think she needs to cover herself up”, or “I want a girl who doesn’t spend so much time on herself”.  Let me ask you this, gents: Do you even know when a girl is wearing makeup half the time?  I mean, I have a feeling you may have something more like this in mind when you think of the word ‘makeup’.  But tell me, when you think of the subject, do you ever think of this?  Or this?  Or this?  No?  All of the three aforementioned looks involve a great deal of makeup and an even greater deal of time and effort in order to make the look a natural one.  It’s quite ironic, you see- most wouldn’t be able to keep their jaws from hitting the floor if they realized the amount of product application, blending, and highlighting it takes to produce a truly high-quality “natural” makeup look.  Next time you suspect a girl of wearing no makeup simply because she looks “natural”, leave room for the possibility that she may, in fact, have put in a little bit of effort to look that “effortless”.  There’s a science to it.  Trust me.  And the millions of other girls that are “natural” makeup scientists like me.

Now, I suppose we can all agree that there can come a point where one reaches “TOO MUCH MAKEUP!!!!!”.  Where exactly that line is, however, is tough to pinpoint.  If you knew just how much makeup Natalie Portman was wearing at, say, the 2012 Academy Awards, you would certainly scream TOO MUCH MAKEUP!!!  However, because it doesn’t necessarily look like “too much makeup” from our point of view, we don’t slam her for it.  My guess as to where the line between “too much” and “acceptable” is lies somewhere within the judgment of whether or not the makeup begins to obstruct or alter one’s natural features.  But it’s even hard for everyone to agree when exactly ones comes to this point.  It unfortunately seems to be a subjective case of “I know it when I see it”.

There are those gentlemen, however, that don’t abide makeup in any quantity at all.  Long ago, I knew a guy that, upon accidentally coming into possession of my makeup, literally refused to give me my makeup back.  There was no negotiating; it was his now and he did not want me to have it any longer.  It was the strangest, most alarming thing- he just hated it when I wore makeup, almost as a rule.  I realize that such an attitude is probably fairly uncommon among guys, but I have to say that my husband’s first comment on the subject of makeup put to ease any fears of male makeup hatred- “Hey, you know, if the barn looks good red, then why not paint it red?”  Now there’s a cheerful spirit!

I guess that’s the one thing I’d want to pass on to any malefolk that are feeling extra suspicious of makeup- to perhaps see it not as a means of changing oneself, but rather a means of enhancing.  We like the canvas, and now we just want to have fun with it.  I like lining the inner rims of my eyes because of how it makes my eyes look.  I like filling in my eyebrows a little bit because of how it frames my face.  No, I don’t want to change my face or cover my face; I want to enhance and make the best use of my face.  Of course there are always exceptions to this, but I’d say that for the most part, makeup really is just a means of having fun with another artistic media.  Trust us, it’s safe in our hands.

However, it is not always safe in the hands of a dude when he’s curious about trying his own hand at a set of brushes.

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And furthermore, it’s even less safe when you allow him to attempt his version of a “smokey eye” on you as his first go-round with said brushes.

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He expressed a desire to line my lower lids with shadow, but I think his precision was a bit off.  Maybe just a little bit?  Oh well.  If you can’t achieve a Keira Knightley-level smokey eye, at least you know you’ll end up with a female version of Heath Ledger’s Joker.  I’m not sure if I’ve ever looked better.  Matt, you’ve made me proud.

And I must say you don’t look too shabby, either.

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I’m pretty sure he’s wearing MAC’s Ruby Woo, if you’re interested.  xo, MR

On how I was once told that I look like Severus Snape. And how someone fixed that.

I’ve never done a “before and after” makeover.  Ever.  I just haven’t had the opportunity, and I mean, I usually like to think that the “before” isn’t that bad.  However, this past week I made contact with an old childhood friend who needed a model for some before-and-after makeover shots.  Lauren had been working at the Laura Mercier counter at the Nordstrom in South Coast Plaza, and she’d been given an opportunity to pursue a counter manager position for Trish McEvoy at a different Nordstrom location.  One requirement for the position- produce some before-and-after shots of a model for direct approval by Trish McEvoy herself.  So Lauren threw up a little Facebook “Help me!” one night in search of a model, and I figured hey, I’ve never done it before, I had the time, and I’d love to catch up with a childhood friend, so why not?

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Welp, I know my initial thoughts regarding this whole thing were “Why not?”, but upon seeing the results of Lauren’s work, I think we’ve got a pretty good idea of, “Oh … that’s why”.

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Now, I do not mean to go on any kind of self-deprecating rant here.  I’ve always found an abundance of self-deprecation to be disingenuous for the most part, smacking of a sad search for affirmation.  When well-placed and given in moderation, self-deprecation can actually be my favorite kind of humor (read: Liz Lemon), but I try not to make it my go-to.  So know this: I’m being honest.

But let me tell you that upon showing these shots to my dad, he said that I looked like Severus Snape in the one to the left.  Yes, Dad was paying me the highly-coveted compliment of saying that I look like this man.  How fortunate am I among women!  But you know, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that, well, I couldn’t detect just a little bit of resemblance.  I mean, one of my regular coffee shop customers has told me within this past month that A) I look like Orlando Bloom and B) I look like a page boy.  And no, we’re not talking Orlando Bloom in full Nordic-blonde extensions Legolas-tic glory here.  While most women these days would love to be told that they look like Miranda Kerr, I was bestowed the honor of being told that I look like the dude that married and made a baby with Miranda Kerr.  But I mean, in regards to my “before” picture, I admit that I myself exclaimed that I looked like a gender-ambiguous prison inmate upon seeing it.  And it probably doesn’t help that the expression on my face seems to be bordering on Charlie Sheen mugshot territory.  But hey, it happens.  We’ve all got our Severus Snape/Charlie Sheen/Orlando Bloom days, and it’s for reasons like this that we can all appreciate miracle-workers like Lauren.

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I absolutely loved Lauren’s work.  She stuck to a palette of matte, brownish neutrals for my eyes, really played up my brows (which I loved), and we ended up doing more of a warm, coral lip.  I also loved her application of my face makeup because while she used a good number of products, she applied them in thin, sheer layers and blended them seamlessly to the point where I didn’t look like I was truly wearing makeup- it rather looked like I had perfect skin with subtle contouring.  Lauren was also honest in naming products that she was more excited about than others, and in steering me away from a couple that she wasn’t the biggest fan of.  And trust me- you are hard pressed to find a salesperson in the beauty industry that will be honest in their opinion of products that they have every opportunity to make commission on.  It’s almost always about the up-sale, but with Lauren I walked away with a gorgeous makeup job and a true education.  If you ever find yourself in need of a most excellent makeup artist while perusing the ever-intimidating grounds of the Nordstrom beauty department, know that Lauren is your girl.  I’ll be going back for that Laura Mercier Mineral Illuminating Powder in Starlight, Lauren!  You rock!  Lauren’s been working on a blog of her own recently that you can follow her at: http://www.loveyourlipgloss.com

And I have to add, simply because of all the grand compliments I’ve been receiving lately, that Lauren sent in the pictures for review (with a predictably positive outcome, thanks to Lauren’s talent) and Trish McEvoy herself called me beautiful … *squeal*.  Take that, Snape.  xo, MR