Bridal & Beyond: The Past Four Years


No “What I’m Using” feature this month; just awards season and THIS exciting little post. I realize in the past four years I’ve not shared basically anything about what makeup I’ve been doing for others (though some of it gets shared on IG). When we moved to Illinois, I sort of lost out on any potential bridal makeup clientele as most folks in our circles there were already married. However, there were a few opportunities – both there and back home in CA – to do what I love. Doing makeup for others is such a treat. I love planning out the look and taking my time with the client to slowly work our way into the final result.

**Hey! If I have done your makeup in the last four years and you HAVE NOT sent me pictures, please do! I can’t brag if I don’t have photos. ūüôā

So, here’s a smattering of what the last four years have featured in terms of makeup, both bridal and beyond:



Bridal for Chelsea Weeldreyer

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Oof. I love love loooove me a very natural bride- no false lashes, just as simple as it can get. It was a steamy August morning the day of Chelsea’s wedding but it added this soft glow to everything- the photos, the skin, all of it. I stuck to basic stalwarts so her makeup would be foolproof: MAC Woodwinked on eyes, NARS Orgasm on cheeks, Bobbi Brown Sandwash Pink on lips. Photo credit of above shot to Alexandra Burt Photography.

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Maternity shoot for Jennifer Clark

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Beautiful Jen even gave me the opportunity to do her hair for this, and that actually ended up being my favorite part (so shiny)! I used the Too Faced Natural Eyes palette and simple, natural tones to let her dress stand out. So pretty! Photo credit to Kristen Cloyd Photography.


Bridal for Molly Maxwell

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Molly literally flew me out to CA to glam her up for her wedding. For her lip she chose a Too Faced shade in Pink Chocolate and I first used their Natural Eyes palette on her (it really is the best for looks like this). You can see how much things tone down over time and in photos when you compare the intensity of the makeup in the second picture (right ¬†above), versus the first one with Paul. It doesn’t hurt to make it extra on the big day! ¬†Photo credits to Amy Buchanan.



Headshots for Katie Ernst


Describing Katie’s talent as a jazz musician in the Chicago and Great Lakes area is kind of impossible. She’s a jazz instructor at Wheaton, leads and writes original worship music at Grace Presbyterian in the North Shore area, and writes and records her own original music in both group and solo projects. She also tours, among other things. It’s a lot, and a lot of talent to justify it.

Katie’s headshot photographer – Celeste Maren – does these cool filters and overlays on her photos so I knew the makeup was going to look different than it did in “real time”. I used Bite Beauty in Beetroot and kept everything else simple.

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Bridal for Stephanie Poblenz

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What can I say? Got to play makeup artist, bridesmaid, and preacher’s wife for this round and it was an epic day. Couldn’t have been better. It was one of those weddings where I’d actually do the whole thing all over again if I could.

Stephanie had me use Fenty Beauty’s Stunna Lip Paint in Uncensored for her cherry red lip, and of course … I used the Too Faced Natural Eyes for her eyes. I was especially proud of her cheek, though (unfiltered pic below)- a little KVD contour, BareMineral GenNude blush in Beige For Days, and MAC Mineralize SkinFinish in Soft and Gentle.

Photo credits to Native Heart Photography (except closeup directly below).


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Oh and hey, that’s us (thanks, Native Heart)!

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xo, MR


My Grateful Bride, Kristin

My last couple weeks before moving from California to Illinois were pretty hard.  There were goodbye parties, a few last weeks at a job and with coworkers I enjoyed, overwhelming amounts of packing for one little apartment, and fun but truly bittersweet time spent with family and loved ones just before departing.

However, there were also weddings.

Being part of two weddings in the final weeks leading up to our departure was, to my heart, a sign and a reminder of promise.  Weddings are a sign that this is just the beginning, that the best is yet to come, and that despite the work and the stress and the unknown in front of you, the kingdom and the power and the glory lie ahead of us.  Weddings serve as a reminder of this for all of us who witness them, whether we are married or not, whether one ever does marry or not.  To be reminded of these things as I prepared to leave California was no small gift.

I played a part in two weddings before I left for Illinois.  In one, for my beautiful coworker Natalie that I miss dearly, I served as a witness.  For the other, I served as a makeup artist to the gorgeous Kristin.

I had worked at a school with Kristin, who teaches second grade, for the past two years. ¬†We’d interacted with the same families, the same children, the same staff. ¬†I watched her handle the stresses and challenges of guiding seven and eight-year-olds through a year of rigorous learning with grace, responsibility, and a meticulous, tireless work ethic. ¬†All of this, coupled with planning a wedding and trying to find a place to live, is a job meant only for someone as conscientious as Kristin.


I also had the opportunity to hear Kristin share her amazing story journey with me as we went through a makeup trial together, and I have to say, this wedding had been a wonderfully long time coming (and I say that in the most joyous, worth-every-second-of-the-journey kind of way). ¬†As I worked on her makeup the morning of the wedding, Kristin began crying as she listened to one particular song; she needlessly apologized and whispered, “I … I’m just so grateful.” ¬†I am always so moved when I work with brides that have so clearly counted the cost and sacrifice of marriage before they have even entered into it. ¬†This was no mere culmination of a few months on Pinterest; this was no “milestone life event” to be checked off on that great Milestone Life Event Checklist that God is apparently carrying around on a clipboard, disdainfully waiting for us to “complete” (as if marriage makes one person better than their non-married counterpart).

No, Kristin seemed to know that the wedding ahead was much more than these things. ¬†This was Kristin seeing heaven joyously ripping into Earth’s atmosphere through her vows, knowing that this was only the beginning, and that the best is yet to come. ¬†Even in the darkness and utter shame and horror of the days this world has just recently experienced, the promise still stands- the best is yet to come, and we can push forward for truth and justice because of the victory that has already been won. ¬†And with that victory comes healing, restoration, and new life- and how wonderfully appropriate is that considering that Kristin and her husband are now expecting their first child!

Kristin’s thankfulness encouraged me to enjoy what I was doing in the moment. ¬†It can be very easy for a bride to make a makeup artist feel like a cog in the Big Fat Pinterest Wedding machine, with expectations of a Kiley Jenner-type transformation but without any meaning or consciousness of what is happening. ¬†Such was not the case here- I was here to serve, and Kristin’s gratefulness for the circumstances that had brought her to this moment gave me rest, and allowed me to just enjoy what I love.


Kristin had really clear ideas about what she wanted for her makeup, and I so appreciated that because it takes the guesswork out of the process. She knew she wanted to use pink makeup tones on her eyes, lips, and cheeks that she felt would work well with the retro feel of her tea-length bridal dress. We used an excellent foundation that Kristin favored- Estee Lauder’s DoubleWear Foundation- and I used Hourglass’s primer as a light base layer beneath it and NARS Creamy Radiance concealer beneath the eyes for concealing and some basic highlighting. For some light contouring, I used the bronzer and highlighter from Urban Decay’s Naked Flushed palette.


To bring out some of Kristin’s features, I used my favorite technique of applying a creamy, pearly eyeshadow to the very top of the cheekbones, the area between the eyebrows, the cupid’s bow, the very center of their chin, and just above the center of the eyebrows with NARS Duo Cream shadow in Thebes. ¬†Once the whole look was finished, I dusted Kristin’s whole face with Hourglass’s Ambient Lighting Powder in Mood Light, which creates such a flattering glow without looking too golden or bronze.

For Kristin’s eyes, I applied Urban Decay’s Eyeshadow Primer Potion and then Bobbi Brown’s eyeshadow in Rose Gold and MAC’s Shroom all over her lids. We used a shade or two from Urban Decay’s Naked 3 palette to add extra sparkle and dimension in the creases. Bobbi Brown’s LongWear Gel Liner in black was used as topliner, and I applied just accent lashes to the outer corners of her eyes. I used one of Kristin’s own mascaras because her eyes were sensitive to many products. We used a blush of her own that she loved; it was very similar to NARS’ blush in Orgasm. Kristin’s lip color was Bobbi Brown Lipstick in Sandwash Pink with clear gloss on top. ¬†All very pink, and all very glowy! ¬†She is just so beautiful to begin with; it certainly wasn’t a challenge to work with her!


I am finding that MAC, Urban Decay, Bobbi Brown, NARS, and Hourglass are my favorite heavy-hitting brands for bridal makeup. Sometimes you have just so much going on in your kit that you can’t determine what brands you really trust the most, but after scrolling through all my photos in my phone, it seems that these names make the most frequent appearances (along with Dior thanks to their shadow palettes). ¬†If you need any recommendations on products, don’t hesitate to ask!


Kristin, I took such pleasure in serving you on your wedding day and I thank you for being a source of encouragement to me (even when you may not have known it).  You looked absolutely breathtaking, and I love this very photo for its tangible anticipation and excitement.  To the promise of healing, restoration, and new life!  xo, MR

A High School Reunion With My Gorgeous Bride Mindy!

Okay, okay- I’m back! ¬†It’s been a crazy month of too much stress at work, too much good food, too little vacation, too many special occasions, not enough blogging, and a lot more working out than usual. ¬†I barely know who I am these days! ¬†But anyhow, what better way to bring things back than with my first wedding of the season?


I’ve known my friend Mindy since high school, and I truly can’t tell you what joy and honor it brought to my heart when she contacted me to do her wedding makeup. ¬†I’d considered Mindy one of my favorite buddies during our senior year; I couldn’t have done AP art history or government without her! ¬†I hadn’t seen her much since our high school glory days (which looked something like fusing together Phantom of the Opera with the North American Free Trade Alliance to create a mini-musical to perform for our classmates … super glorious). ¬†There’s honestly no occasion I’d rather reconnect with an old friend over than her beautiful wedding. ¬†And it was also great to be back at the fantastic Red Horse Barn!


My day with Mindy started out in the hotel room she’d been sharing with her bridesmaids at the Waterfront Beach Resort in Huntington Beach. ¬†All the chaos of a bunch of girls getting ready together is one of my favorite things. ¬†The twenty different curling irons out, the makeup kits spread across literally ever surface, and the music … you never know what you’ll get with a group of girls on a wedding day. ¬†It could be Backstreet Boys, the Grease soundtrack, or Jason Derulo. ¬†You really never know, but it’s always a good time.


For Mindy, I’d chosen what could basically be identified as a smokey eye, but I wanted to keep it within shades of bronze and brown to bring out her gorgeous blue eyes. ¬†The Stila Eye Shadow trio in Gold Glow (pictured in the first image) worked its magic for me. ¬†Mindy wanted to keep her look very natural, but it wasn’t hard to make her features stand out. ¬†NARS Bronzing Powder in Laguna and a little NARS blush in Orgasm on her cheeks basically sealed the deal, along with a light dab of Dior’s Addict Lipstick in Tulle. ¬†She really is beautiful, isn’t she?!



I so wish I could’ve been around for the bridal portraits; I admit that I love being the stalker makeup artist that lurks around insisting on touch-ups in between every shot! ¬†It’s probably quite the nuisance for the photographers though, and Mindy clearly doesn’t need any help looking amazing.


I loved this next shot because her eyes just pop so much, and her beautiful cheekbones too.  Major props to Tyler Branch Photo!


I also had the opportunity to do makeup for one of Mindy’s awesome bridesmaids named Crystal. ¬†She, too, had an incredible face and personality to match. ¬†I only managed to get a close-up shot of Crystal on my own, and I’m sure glad I did because I was so pleased with how her look turned out! ¬†I used one of my trusted Dior palettes – Earth Reflection – to create a classic look that focused on highlighting and a somewhat silvery finish. ¬†For Crystal’s lips I used NARS’ Satin Lip Pencil in Rikugien, a vibrant rosy pink.


Like I’ve said in times before- with gorgeous faces like these, it’s hard to make ’em look bad. ¬†The day just went so swimmingly between myself, the two girls, and the incredible team surrounding Mindy on her day. ¬†I left Mindy as she was¬†waiting patiently for guests to be seated so she could go out and meet her groom, and I felt a rush of energy as I left the room for the last time from all the thick anticipation in the air. ¬†With a feeling like that, you know it’s been a good day. ¬†xo, MR

Doing Makeup for Underprivileged Teens: Everything It Was, and Wasn’t

Alright alright alright. I haven’t written in a while. March has been hella crazy, but with all kinds of good things. And what’s more is that a lot of that busyness has been specifically due to my preoccupation with hair, makeup, etc. Splendid.

For instance, let’s just go over this past Saturday.

On Saturday, March 22, I had the opportunity to attend the Orangewood Foundation’s Belle of the Ball event. What’s this? This is a day of beauty, self-esteem, and empowerment for around 400 teenage girls, many of whom are in the foster care system and the majority of whom are socioeconomically disadvantaged. The event is specifically oriented towards their senior Prom. Each girl participates in various seminars on topics like body image and stress, and they are given a formal dress (of their choosing), a pair of formal shoes (of their choosing), a purse, and a makeup and skincare consultation.

Just take a guess as to where I come in.

Two of my coworkers (the cheer coach for our 1st grade cheer squad and our performing arts teacher … surprise) headed off to Orange Coast College in the early morning to get ready for makeup consultations on approximately four girls each. We were given t-shirts to wear, and were escorted to orientation in a nearby classroom. There, myself and a couple hundred more makeup artists were given the run-down on what our job was for that day: to provide affirmation, easy tips on makeup and skincare that could be used forever, and a natural, customized makeup look. No photos were permitted as many of the girls in the foster system are put at risk when their photo is shared online. Done deal.

And so then we all headed off to our separate rooms where they split us up into groups of thirty or so. That’s when we all began pulling out our kits. Ohhhhhhh mama. Not only do you get insane kit envy when looking around at a room full of different makeup artists’ junk, but it’s also so interesting to see what different artists find important and essential to have with them. Many were prepared with a full range of eyeshadow colors (we’re talking canary yellow and such), whereas I limited myself to a mere two eyeshadow palettes so as not to overwhelm myself with options. There was a wide array of the various products I have read about over and over spread out among the long tables that filled our rooms, and some artists had brought their huge palettes from their cosmetology schools as students, while others brought an amateurish mish-mash of items that they just knew would work (and that would be me). The chatter of makeup talk filled the room (and I’m not sure how many times I heard OH GIRRRL said that day), and eventually the girls were escorted in by rounds for the next four or five hours.


Just a smattering of the kits spread about the room, with parts of mine on the top right.

What was supposed to be just four girls at a rate of fifty minutes per girl eventually turned into what I believe was seven girls at a rate of about thirty minutes each. Now, let me tell you- that is fast. Very fast. I greeted each girl, chatted for a bit, gave them each a facial massage with sunscreen moisturizer after removing any traces of old makeup, matched foundation (and mixed a couple shades on the majority of the girls), and got to work on color. I relied on MAC’s Sheertone Shimmer blush in Plum Foolery, NARS’ blush in Exhibit A and Orgasm, Dior’s 5-Couleurs eyeshadow palette in Earth Reflection and Stila’s shadow trio in Baked Bronze, and a bunch of other stuff that I really can’t remember. Yep. Oh, and the foundations consisted of just three shades of CoverGirl TruMatch. That stuff’s good for drugstore range (and it’s also good to be able to refer the girls to less expensive brands). ¬†For skincare consultations, I stuck with two rules for the girls: wear sunscreen everyday, and be sure to take off all makeup before you hit the sack. ¬†Easy enough, but essential nonetheless.

I can’t really explain how great the whole experience was. I was so nervous before beginning because I was terrified that the girls would want a really difficult look, or wouldn’t give an easy smile, or that I wouldn’t be able to properly match their skin tone and then I’d look like an idiot (note: I have worked almost entirely on Caucasian girls. That’s just how it’s been. I fully admit that I just don’t know enough and have enough regular contact with non-white people. We were told in advance that the wide majority of the girls we’d be working with would be of Hispanic or non-white descent, and so I was excited and anxious to finally practice on non-pale skin. I’ve done enough pale. Soft neutrals, rosy cheeks, blah blah blah).

However, I’m pretty sure that a couple of the completed looks I worked out on about three of these girls ( and I was crushed that I couldn’t take pictures of a couple) was some of the best work I’ve ever done. One of the things this experience did for me personally was affirm my capabilities as a makeup artist. I know some of you may scoff at that, but up until this point I had really thought that I might just be a white girl’s makeup artist. I felt that, sure, I was competent enough, but possibly only up to a certain point. Give me a face that doesn’t look remotely like mine, and I’m screwed (and they are, too).

But nope! This day confirmed that I’ve done my work. I’ve done my studying of what works with what, and what rules are okay to stick with and which can be broken. I’m happy to say that all the girls looked great. My first girl would giggle literally every time I showed her the mirror after applying the next step to her face. We loved it. A couple girls had really never worn makeup before, and I think the whole thing was just a bit overwhelming for them and they couldn’t see past the fact that this stuff was on their face (which is understandable). I tried to just affirm that whatever they were feeling was perfectly okay, be it delight or discomfort. One girl insisted on not wearing any makeup but she asked more questions about it than any of the others! One girl took selfies for every step of the process. Another just sat quietly, and I found myself awkwardly chatting to fill the silence until I confessed to her, “You know, you don’t mind the quiet, do you? I think I keep talking because I want to be sure you’re okay and I’m a bit excited, but if you’re okay saying nothing, I am too.” She nodded and agreed, and I shut up and got to work.

My first four girls (because I’d only planned on doing four) got swag bags that I’d prepared with E.L.F. and Yes to Cucumbers products, and by mid-morning you could feel all the wonderful energy that was in the room. There was so much mutual blessing that was being exchanged between all of us and the girls, and I seriously can’t get over how genuinely giddy some of them were. It wasn’t cheesy and silly; it was real and it was deep. I had come to this event with this somewhat condescending idea that I was to be a FORCE OF TRANSFORMATION in these women’s lives, and yet at the end of our half hour some of them grabbed me and hugged me in a way that affirmed my deepest humanity, simply because it was one human genuinely and righteously loving another human. They were giving to me; they were transforming me.

That was one of the most incredible things I took away from all of this- the fact that that entire morning and noontime was an exercise in healthy, righteous, human touch. Upon the moment of meeting each of these girls, I shook their hand and immediately began touching their face. When does this happen?! We typically only touch someone’s face when we’ve earned their deep trust, or we too often think of touch immediately in an eroticway. However, in the case of my Belle of the Ball girls, physical touch was to be the very grounds of our relation with one another. Despite whatever experiences she’s had, and despite whatever ones I’ve had, here we go- the first and only thing I’m going to do is touch your face. I’m going to massage your face and observe the little details of it. I’m going to reach for that makeup brush behind you and I’m going to keep my hand firmly planted on your shoulder while I do it (as my intent was to always have a hand on the girls as a way of asserting my attention toward them) . I’m going to purposefully use physical touch to create beauty and impart affirmation unto you, and all in a way that is healthy and good. This wasn’t some patronizing matter of “giving back” or some meaningless “WELL YOU’RE PRETTY NO MATTER WHAT THEY SAY” trope. No, this was a matter of two humans exchanging touch and affirmation in mutual blessing of one another. This was virtue and goodness; this was the kind of stuff that humanity was created for.


My fellow artists, colleagues, and friends, Jenae and Samantha.

And it was makeup that brought it all together! A shared joy over makeup, and a shared joy over, well, joy was what made this day what it was. We all finished about an hour late, but after clean-up and a couple good-byes exchanged with other artists, my coworkers and I left feeling fulfilled. Not fulfilled because we had just “done the right thing” or earned our charity points for the year, but because we had just shared an experience with other humans that upheld the most profound of truths: that we are made to be part of a loving community. We need each other. I needed those girls as much as they may have needed me in that moment.

So, that was my Saturday. ¬†And it was well spent to say the least. ¬†If you’re interested in getting involved with ¬†the Orange Foundation in any way, check out their site for opportunities at¬† ¬†Oh, and I can’t say that this will be the tangible outcome of any other volunteer work I do, but this was the swag we were all given after the event-

laura mercier

Holy what the WHAT.

xo, MR


When Snow White got married. Or, my bride Ali!

Oh, where to begin? ¬†I have been looking forward to this wedding for a long, long time. ¬†Mike and Ali have been dating for as long as I’ve known each of them (since they were seniors in high school), and my husband and I have spent so much time around them both as individuals and as a couple that when their wedding weekend was finally upon us, it just felt like some kind of surreal. ¬†And I’d had a feeling that Ali would be giving me the honor of doing her makeup for her wedding day, but having me as her bridesmaid? ¬†Too much. ¬†Too much joy. ¬†Ali is all at once lively and calm, silly and subdued. ¬†She’s at first glance an introvert, but you then come to realize that she’s an adorable rabbit waiting to pop out of the magician’s hat. ¬†Ali is wise, thoughtful, mature, and unwavering in her convictions. ¬†She’s a gem, and I’ve barely seen her since the wedding day and it’s killing me! ¬†Just a few more days, Ali!

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Now, back to business. ¬†What’s great about doing a friend’s makeup for their wedding is the fact that you’ll probably get to do multiple trial-runs on them, editing and choosing different things as you go along. ¬†Ali and I got to do exactly this, as I did her makeup for her engagement shoot (which I blabbed about here), for fun several times, and for two of her bridal showers. ¬†Now, I’d given Ali a smokey eye for her engagement shots and I’d say it turned out pretty well. ¬†It was sultry, exciting, but not quite … I don’t know … Ali? ¬†If you know her, you get it. ¬†It was ridiculously fun at the time, but as the months passed I was still uncertain as to what I was going to do for the big day, and I knew it wouldn’t be a smokey eye. ¬†So for her first bridal shower, I decided to have a little fun and go with a hot pink lip. ¬†It was a hit. ¬†I absolutely loved it. ¬† It worked with her fair skin and dark hair, and it took the drama down a necessary notch while still having impact. ¬†And then the wedding inspiration came: a berry lip. ¬†I dreamed of something along the lines of Snow White, and the vision began to come together.

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I began collecting the tools necessary for my vision, and l once again lucked out by owning a foundation shade that matched my bride¬†perfectly (MakeUpForEver HD Foundation, uh-gain). ¬†I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve built such a kit that I don’t have too much of a need for new product. ¬†However, I chose to invest in Hourglass’ Ambient Lighting Powder in Mood Light, mostly because I wanted a great finishing powder that A) wasn’t loose (like MakeUpForEver’s HD Finish Powder) and B) didn’t leave any possible ghostly white traces (like MakeUpForEver’s HD Finish Powder). ¬†Hourglass did the trick perfectly.

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There I am at work! ¬†We’re just about ready to walk down the aisle, so I’m just doing touch-ups here. ¬†For myself, I had my hair blown out by the fabulous Dani of Salon reBelle in Orange, and I went with a deep side-part just to add some drama and show off the lovely highlights that Justin of Salon 9 had given me some time ago. ¬†I chose a smokey eye for myself, which I tend to favor when it’s time to dress up. ¬†I wasn’t completely happy with the combination of shades I chose … a bit too grey for my taste, which is oddly my least favorite shade on my own eyes … but it was fun anyhow. ¬†Any time I *need* ¬†false eyelashes is a fun time.


Here’s a shot of mi’lady I took once I was completely finished with her makeup. ¬†I had to have my dear friend Laura (who was responsible for hair, by the way) help me apply Ali’s eyelashes because by that point my hands were so shaky from caffeine and small finger movements. ¬†But nonetheless, everything turned out exactly the way I’d hoped. ¬†Oh, and speaking of things being exactly what I’d hoped for: Ali snapped up my out-of-this-world talented friend Bethany for her own wedding photography. ¬†I’ve raved about Bethany in my post on Ali’s engagement shoot, but also in this post here¬†when she envisioned an old-world romantic desert wedding using my husband and I as models. ¬† ¬†I really can’t explain how ethereal Bethany’s photography is to me. ¬†Everything she sees is romance. ¬†There’s a special character to her eye that I just can’t describe, and so I just have to let her work explain for itself. ¬†Below, the perfect kind of shot I was hoping for once Laura and I were finished with Ali’s hair and makeup. ¬†This particular shot is nothing special, and yet, it totally¬†is.

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Things just kept getting better once Ali put on her dress. ¬†And oh, THAT DRESS. ¬†Ali had tried on a number of dresses, and while they all looked stunning on her, this one both looked stunning and perfectly captured her personality. ¬†Again, if you know Ali, you just get it (not to get all insider on my readers, but some things are just difficult to explain without knowing a person). ¬†This dress was something out of Downton Abbey, it was! ¬†And it doesn’t hurt that Ali has always reminded me somewhat of Michelle Dockery.

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I remember how I kept constantly saying, “YOU LOOK LIKE SNOW WHITE” allllllllll day long. ¬†But I meant it! ¬†If there were ever an illustrated bridal interpretation done of that princess, this is what it would look like. ¬†I just couldn’t get over it.

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I happily reapplied Laura Mercier’s Lip Stain in Mulberry on top of Stila’s Lip Stain in Cherry Crush frequently throughout the day. ¬†The former can be a tad drying, so Ali’s sister offered up some of her own gloss later in the day for the reception, which worked out nicely. ¬†For Ali’s cheeks, I only stuck with some contouring (no blush, technically) by using MAC’s blush in Buff. ¬†I absolutely love that shade for contouring on fair-to-medium skin, as using bronzer for contouring just doesn’t work on everyone.

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Isn’t she something straight out of a fairy tale?! ¬†I kept waiting for bluebirds and chipmunks to start following her and carrying her train!

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And at last, the beautiful couple. ¬†I couldn’t have imagined a more glorious bride for this day. ¬†And this day in it’s entirety was, in fact, wonderful. ¬†I got to play bridesmaid duty for an incredible friend, one of my own bridesmaids did the magnificent photography work, and my husband performed the wedding ceremony! ¬†I was in heaven. ¬†But that’s what weddings are, aren’t they: the slightest, sheerest picture of a heaven that we’ve yet to see. ¬†Love you so much, Michael and Alison!¬†xo, MR

All of the photography featured in this post (save for the fourth picture) is credited to Bethany Carlson Photography. ¬†For more of Bethany’s beautiful work, you can visit her website at

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‚Äôt 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‚Äôre 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 ‚Äúbefore‚ÄĚ 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‚Äôve all got our Severus Snape/Charlie Sheen/Orlando Bloom days, and it‚Äôs 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:

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

Bridal makeup on the fly … or, my bride Krista :)

So a while back on a Thursday, I was busily crafting drinks at my other job (one of them) when a couple girls came rushing toward me asking, “Hey, you do wedding makeup right?!” ¬†“Yes, I do … when would you need me to do it?” ¬†“Could you do it this Saturday?!” ¬†…………….. GAME ON.

I popped over to Krista’s house the very next day for a trial run, and I have to say that I so appreciated her chill attitude and clear trust that she had in me. ¬†I stuck to a couple wedding makeup stand-by’s that I knew I could rely on: ¬†NARS blush in Orgasm, a good set of false lashes (Ardell‘s demi set in 120 is my favorite), and, of course, Bare Minerals Original. ¬†Everything else is negotiable and can be experimented with, but the three aforementioned items are the most effective way to look awesome.

I’d known Krista a little bit in high school (I actually remember sitting behind her in math class my freshman year), and it was so fun reconnecting over such a great occasion. ¬†What was crazy was listening to Krista and her bridesmaids discuss her current situation, too- she was waiting for a phone call regarding a huge job promotion during this same weekend as her wedding, and when I saw her at my coffee shop she’d literally flown in from her home in New Jersey just hours before (and her wedding was in California in 72 hours from that point!). ¬†Krista is a girl on-the-GO! ¬†But I felt that it kind of worked perfectly with the makeup situation … sometimes things have to happen on the fly and under pressure, but those situations can yield the best results when it comes to things like makeup and fashion. ¬†You have no time to really fret or think or build up your anxieties or mess around … you just have to do it. ¬†Everything’s based on sheer moments of inspiration, and you just have to make executive decision upon executive decision (and yes, even when it’s something as seemingly small as choosing which eyeshadow to use, it still feels like an executive decision).

Krista’s makeup was one of my proudest moments because it affirmed (at least unto myself) that I could think fast on my feet, and that I’d built up enough know-how to be an effective makeup artist on short notice. ¬†I loved how Krista looked. ¬†She looked glowy and classically beautiful.

I’ll always remember this one moment when I’d just about finished with Krista, and she had her hair and veil all set, and her mom turned to her to check out the finished product and all she did was nod approvingly with a sweet smile, and then the tears came. ¬†My heart just about melted. ¬†It’s awesome to be part of moments like that.

Congratulations, Krista and Gerhard!  You looked incredible!  xo, MR

All photography is credited to Frenzel Photographers. ¬†For more of their work, check them out at ¬†And you might, just might, stumble across yours truly in their “Married!” gallery! ūüėČ