With Love From Chicagoland- My Bride Erin

So, it’s not like a lot hasn’t been happening in my life, but I admit that I am very late in posting my weddings from this past year.  Very late.  However, it is a sweet and beautiful thing to be able to sit down here in Illinois, after all this transition, and look back at an amazing day in California that was only four months ago.

I had the pleasure and the honor of making up my dear friend Erin on her wedding day.  This day was a marathon because the party was an all-day affair, literally.  We hit the ground in the early morning and things didn’t stop until late in the evening, and there might have even been a happy hour stop during an hour or so of downtime.  There were a lot of tears, a lot of tacos, plenty of wine, and an abundance of good, good people.

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I remember when a friend of mine suggested I meet Erin because he was convinced that we were sort of the same person.  No two people are ever quite alike, but some of my most authentic, messy conversations have been with this woman.  I have felt safe to be my unfiltered self around Erin, and I have received nothing but grace, edification, and laughter (loud, soul-empowering laughter) in return.  There’s no conversation too frightening and no drink too strong for this girl, and I am thankful to be called her friend.

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When Erin and I talked about what she wanted for her makeup, she immediately mentioned Princess Kate.  Inspiration like the Duchess of Cambridge fits well within my philosophy of “natural-but-enhanced”, with glowing skin and a bit of extra drama for the eyes.  I even managed to pick up the exact lipstick used by Kate on her wedding day- Bobbi Brown Lip Color in Sandwash Pink.  Nothing crazy; a perfect bridal neutral-pink.  I also did some research and managed to use one of the eye colors from Kate’s wedding day- Bobbi Brown Eye Shadow in Taupe.  I love this color.  It’s not brown, it’s not grey.  It’s perfectly in between the two and extremely flattering.  You can wear it everyday as a liner or build it to create a slightly smokey eye as I did for Erin.  I blended this shade with my trusty MAC Shroom, maybe a shade or two from Dior’s Earth Reflection palette, and Christian Siriano for VS Makeup in Royal (yes, I’ve had this shadow for YEARS and I’m not sure what I’ll do when it runs out because I’ve yet to find a perfect match). I used Bobbie Brown’s Long-Wear Gel Liner in Black to line Erin’s upper lids.

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For Erin’s skin, we used her BareMinerals Original SPF15 Foundation after applying Hourglass’ Veil Mineral Primer.  I used Urban Decay’s Naked Flushed palette in Native for some light bronzer-based contouring and blush, along with MAC’s Mineralize SkinFinish in Soft and Gentle for highlighting.  Once I’ve applied everything (including lips), I tend to finish off the face with an all-over dusting of Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Mood Light and a couple sprays of setting spray.

We also put a lot of focus on Erin’s brows (never a problem with me, as you know) using a powder eyeshadow of her choice and a gel to set.  We used accent half-strip lashes instead of full strips because we agreed (after some discussion) that while full strips work nicely for photos, they just didn’t quite fit the look we were going for.  Moreover, Erin already has long, beautiful eyelashes that really don’t need much help.

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I don’t know why but for some reason I’m obsessed with this shot displaying the finished product (minus the dress).  It might be the fact that I would wear Erin’s shirt and sweatpants out to dinner, but it might also be that I am just really, really happy with how she turned out and I love shots of the bride looking down.

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Seriously, would you check out those eyes?!  She looked stunning.

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And in case you’re dying of curiosity, here’s a shot of the dress, which was like nothing that I had ever seen before …

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What a great day this was.  I wish all weddings could be like this one, with this much laughter and this much open display of emotion and the sense that you have been invited into a marriage as a witness and an encourager.  Love you so much, Erin, and oceans of love to you and Carp.  I’ll be seeing you soon.  xo, MR

All photography (except still shot of makeup) credited to the fabulous John and Michelle Klewer, who turned out to be a special find amongst the beautiful chaos of the day.  If you like what you see, be sure to check out more of John’s work here.

Weddings: Why they can be hurtful and beautiful all at the same time.

I’ve had weddings on my mind lately.  I frequently reflect on my own for one reason or another, but sometimes it’s someone else’s nuptials that trigger something in you, and you just can’t help but pour over your own pictures, watch your wedding video again, and let your heart sort of go back to that time when you were preparing for all of it.  Preparing for all of those two seconds the wedding and reception seem to last.  It’s over before you know it, and you suddenly wish you’d relaxed a little more over this or that, paid more attention to this detail or that, or been more present and in the moment at whatever time.  And you then get the bittersweet joy of seeing what feels like hundreds of others’ weddings documented on your own social media feeds, and then the nightmare of comparison ensues.  Or you see someone else’s, whether in person or on Instagram or wherever, and you suddenly miss your own.  You feel like your time is done; it’s now everyone else’s turn and yours will soon be forgotten …

It’s hard.  Wedding culture in modern America is hard.  I’m saying this two-and-a-half years after having mine.  I’m still struggling with it in my own ways.  I don’t know what I would’ve done or how I would’ve behaved if I’d had a Pinterest account at the time of my engagement.  I didn’t have an Instagram account, either.  No wedding hashtag.  I can only count that as God literally looking out for my weak soul on what turned out to be a beautiful whirlwind of a day.  But even so, after it’s all been finished and over with for years, it is still hard letting other brides have their turn.  It’s sometimes hard even letting grooms have their turn, if you know them, simply because the attention is so completely not on you.  Our cultural surroundings don’t exactly help us with wedding recovery and the cultivating of a selfless attitude, though.  We are fed such delusional visions of grandeur surrounding our own nuptials, whether it’s through social media or the wedding industry or the strange idea that this is “the happiest time of your life” and you have to express yourself and be THAT wedding that NO ONE will forget and that this day is ALL ABOUT YOU, that when it’s all over, you feel as if you’ve had a rug pulled out from under you.  Or your wedding dress snatched right off you.  You’re done; it’s time to move on.  Of course, these struggles of mine don’t even begin to speak to the real meaning of a marriage covenant.  If I actually had a consistent amount of perspective on what was actually happening at my wedding and what really mattered that day, mason jars and artsy-craftsy creativity and cute boutonnieres and color palettes would suddenly cease to impress me.  For good.  But nevertheless, I manage to dig myself into a sad hole of Eeyore from time to time, and, in the words of my husband … well, these are things.

I think my point is that I mustn’t be too hard on myself.  Grace is necessary, all the time.  However, doing bridal makeup over the past couple years has been an extremely helpful exercise in letting other brides “have their turn”.  When I offer my services, it can’t be about me, at all.  I mean, the groom literally could not care less who applied the blush on his bride’s face.  In fact, he may not even realize that she’s wearing blush and he couldn’t be bothered with such trivial things on a day like this, anyhow.  So in summary, doing wedding makeup tends to mean (though not guarantee) that my heart and talents will be focused outward, instead of focused inward on myself.  Now, again, this is no surefire exercise in self-help.  Believe me- I can stare a bride straight in the eye and have only thoughts for me and my own vanity.  Real talk.  But the point is to do things that put a selfless heart attitude into practice.  Sometimes, if you keep eating the broccoli even though you initially hated it, you begin to love and appreciate and gravitate toward it naturally because of its known goodness for you.  And your taste actually begins to change.  Though I will say that I hate to use broccoli as an example because it’s now trendy to like it.  Anyways.

On to the stuff that really interests you:  I had the privilege of doing makeup for two brides under considerably relaxed circumstances this year (or at least, they were relaxed circumstances to me, as I know that’s rarely the case from the bride’s point of view).  One bride had been enjoying the planning and preparing for an adorable Star Wars-themed wedding, though calling it “themed” doesn’t really do it justice.  The entire bridal party was dressed in high-quality costume, there were basically what you’d call set pieces in the backyard surrounding guests, and each detail was given careful attention and thought so that it might reflect the cinematic theme.  I have to say that I was pretty impressed!  Cheryl was walked down the aisle by none other than Darth Vader, and even the guests were dressed up!

Below, I’m preparing a beautiful Princess Leia for her handsome Han Solo.  Cheryl didn’t have much of a preference when it came to makeup at all, so I decided to just have some fun with metallics and playing up her cheeks with bronzer.  Lovely!

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My other bride, Ashley, became engaged to my good friend Sean during an incredibly busy time in her life.  I remember when she told me what her typical week looked like as far as schedules went, and I was floored.  Something like a commute from San Diego to USC a couple times a week, right Ashley?!  Her commitment to her education and to Sean during this time was so amazing to me.  I so appreciated the trust Ashley had in me when it came to her wedding makeup; a little bit of playing around managed to land us on a a very natural look that brought out her natural features and gave her a soft, highlighted glow.  I still love how the inner corners of her eyes sparkle!

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In the end, the wedding itself is just one fleeting moment in the life of a marriage.  But I think that all the beauty of how a bride looks on her wedding day is sort of an image that speaks to the deepest nature of a marriage covenant: new, beautiful, set apart, and full of promise.  When I use my talents for this greater purpose, I find that I don’t need to worry about one bride having her “turn”, and that it never had anything to do with “turns” in the first place.  My walk down the aisle was not some sort of one-time strut down a catwalk by a now-forgotten model.  No, it really wasn’t about me at all.  And before I continue, I’ll simply choose to refer you here for a little further insight into the meaning of marriage.  And with that …

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… I’ll give you one last look at my “concentrating super hard with the eyeshadowz” face, and bid you good night and good marriage.  xo, MR