Bachelorette Beauty-Palooza!

Ah, the Bachelorette.  The tears (“I can’t control my emotions right now!”), the destination dates (someone should’ve told Alex to take off that Argentinian gaucho hat), the scapegoats (seriously, Chad was one of the only sane guys there), the dudes who all look exactly the same and who are white, one hundred percent of the time, when it comes to the final four contestants of each season.

This current season featuring Joelle “JoJo” Fletcher is one out of just two Bachelor/Bachelorette seasons that I’ve watched in the past decade.  I think I watched a Bachelor season with a contender named Moana in it years and years ago in high school, so it barely counts.  And in 2014, when my curiosity was piqued once more, I finally decided to tune again only to bear witness to the ridiculousness that was Juan Pablo Galavis, a Bachelor who has largely gone on to be known as one of the most hated in the franchise.  I can’t tell you how many friends said to me, “Oh, yeah, this is a really bad season to start watching again.”

But what actually kept me watching the dreaded Juan Pablo season didn’t really have anything to do with him.  By the sixth episode I couldn’t have cared less who he chose, but you know what I did care about?  Sharleen Joynt’s eyebrows.  And Andi Dorfman’s ombre.  And Nikki Ferrell’s waves.  And Sharleen’s lipsticks.  Yes, I continued watching this dumpster fire of a season (at least, until the final two) for the amazing parade of positively sensational hair and makeup.  And during this current season, JoJo has been quite the parade float, too.

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I once read an article in a February 2014 edition of Allure magazine that spoke of how the women vying for the Bachelor’s heart have so much downtime, are so constantly bored (no Internet, no outside contact, no phones), and spend so much time together that the main chunk of their time ends up focused on doing one another’s hair and makeup.  I mean, can you blame them?  It’s likely that there are at least a few girls with skills in the house, there are no stylists (except for the final rose ceremony and first introductions, apparently), and with burdensome amounts of time on your hands and your main priority being attractive for one guy, you might as well keep that curling iron on at 400 degrees all day.

However, it’s different with the Bachelorette, who has an on-set makeup artist to help her with every big appearance.  And concerning JoJo, I’ve admittedly really liked her hair and makeup all season.  I do wish she would get a little more creative beyond the Victoria’s Secret mermaid waves she sticks to, but it sure never looks bad.

So, how exactly does one go about looking like a proper Bachelorette?  What does JoJo use?  And how about any tips from former Bachelor contestants?  You’ve gotta admit that the insane glamapalooza of the Bachelor and Bachelorette franchise is quite riveting, and it all makes you want to try a little bit harder for your everyday rose ceremony … er … day at the office.

1. JoJo does the ever-popular “Hot Tools 1.25 inch curling rod + Oribe Dry Texture spray = pretty waves” routine with her hair.  This routine has been described so many times in the hundreds of magazines I’ve read (including on instyle.com, where JoJo was interviewed).  This is even what I typically do with my own hair when I want to really “do” it (though JoJo’s hair manages to look ten billion times more professional than mine). If you’re still looking for a tool and a product to give you the waves you’ve desired, this should all tell you something.  It works.

I think JoJo probably uses the clamp on the curling iron while I avoid it.  Whereas I like a more languid, who-cares look by wrapping sections of hair around the iron with your fingers, actually using the clamp will yield a slightly more polished feel.  I think JoJo probably does the latter.  However, a nice dose of Oribe’s Dry Texture Spray will always do a good job of breaking things up and keeping anything from looking too precious.  I can’t tell you how many celebs have mentioned this product in interviews: Blake Lively, Scarlett Johansson, Rihanna, Gigi Hadid, I could go on forever, baby!  And that’s to say nothing of the artists that use it (read: all of them).  I love the slight, tousled grit that this stuff gives your hair, with the addition of volume, a bit of oil absorption, and an amazing fragrance.  JoJo also uses a combo of Oribe shampoo and conditioner.

2. For Bachelor contestants, items or services that normally seem over-the-top for everyday life are non-negotiables for the show.  Imagine if you knew you were going to have no access to beauty services for at least a month or so, but you still had to look glamorous everyday.  Oh, and you’re going to be on camera.  Oh, and chances are you’re going to cry on camera, too.  What would you do?  Here are a few ideas: spray tans, eyelash extensions, Zoom whitening (with Crest WhiteStrips stocked up at the house), and Temptu airbrush makeup.  And I’m sure if this show had been around decades ago, they all would’ve been wearing chinstraps at night too.  Anything that’s going to have a long-lasting effect is a must.  Erica Rose, a season 9 contestant, mentioned eyelash extensions and airbrush makeup in an interview with with Allure magazine, and Courtney Robertson of season 16 and Catherine Giudici-Lowe mentioned WhiteStrips.  Additionally, JoJo mentions occasionally using clip-in extensions to help with volume, especially during rose ceremonies.

Interestingly enough, one thing many of the Bachelor contestants seem to avoid are acrylic or gel nails according to the aforementioned Allure article.  Sure, they last for a couple weeks or more, but if and when they chip, there’s nothing you can do about it.  Only professionals can manage such horrors, and since you can’t leave the mansion you’re stuck in, your nails are stuck too.

3.  JoJo’s routine for her makeup each day on the show was intense.  As in, four-full-paragraphs intense.  Like I said earlier, the Bachelorette gets to work with a makeup artist once a day- Gina Modica, who’s been a mainstay on the show.  Many of the following products used have been her go-to’s for multiple Bachelorettes, with minor variations on color products and the like.

According to an article for The Daily Mail, Modica starts JoJo’s routine with good skincare, including Glycelene’s Rejuvenation Cream, Beauty Serum, and Opalescent Eye Serum.  Another article tells us that JoJo layers Dermalogica Solar Defense Booster underneath her makeup for sun protection.  Modica, like many of the Bachelor contestants doing their own makeup, prefers using Temptu Air S/B Foundation for its long-wearing properties (and I can attest that this is a commonly requested product for bridal makeup), and she also uses the brand’s airbrush bronzer on JoJo.

According to an article on Flare.com, JoJo loves contour (shocker) and Modica uses NARS The Multiple in South Beach to achieve something subtle (and keep in mind that this is on top of bronzer). For highlighting, she used the ever-popular Becca x Jaclyn Hill Champagne Shimmering Skin Perfector Poured Creme in Champagne Pop in just a couple select places.  To set face makeup and to help with undereye circles, Modica cites Gorgeous Cosmetics Concealer in Medium (a brand I’d never heard of) and MAC’s Blot Powder in Medium Dark.  However, the Daily Mail article has Modica preferring Besame French Vanilla Brightening Powder for these purposes.  This was an interesting mention to me, as I usually see Besame cosmetics vetted by girls who fancy themselves as pinup, retro-ish types.  I’ve only ever seen Besame sold online or in vintage stores and I’ve never seen a non-victory-roll-wearing type of girl mention it, so it’s cool to see it used by a mainstream artist on a really mainstream show.  That means the stuff is legit and isn’t just loved for its cute, retro packaging.

For eyes, Modica credits Stila’s Stay All Day Brow Gel (and if it’s got any of the staying power of their liquid lipsticks, it works) and MAC’s Paint Pots in the Daily Mail article.  I can attest to the goodness of the Paint Pots; they make a great shadow primer or can be worn alone for something natural.  She also praises Chanel eyeliners and mascara in another article whose source I can’t remember.  To seal everything in (a priority, since we’re up against humid, tropical escapes and lots of tears here), Modica uses MakeUpForEver Aqua Seal Liquid Converter.  I wouldn’t even begin to know how this stuff works.

For lips, she recommends the following: Giorgio Armani Lip Maestro, Giorgio Armani Ecstasy Lacquer, Too Faced Melted Liquified Long Wear Lipstick (which I actually think lacks great staying power), and MAC Velvetease Lip Pencils.  I’m surprised that none of the typical cement-lock liquid lipsticks were mentioned such as Stila’s Stay All Day or Kat Von D’s Everlasting for their all-day effect (though the Armani Ecstasy is supposed to be in that ballpark), but then again, shine on the lips is always more flattering, romantic, and camera-friendly than a matte finish.  I think we can also agree that matte liquid lipsticks just aren’t that comfortable, and they aren’t super kissable either.  And we can’t be having that since the priority here is making out on the daily with a harem of men.

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So to summarize, JoJo’s routine for the show each day was basically more than what I typically do for brides on their wedding day.  Totally real life, guys!

4.  It’s easy to find a lot of former contestants’ favorite beauty products because a LOT of them are now bloggers.  Pastels, lots of feminine typography, picture perfect families, the assumption that you most certainly will want to shop what they’re wearing- you know the drill.  And if they’re not a blogger, they’re building a decent following on Instagram and spilling a beauty detail or two there.

The following former Bachelor/Bachelorette contestants all have blogs now that feature multiple beauty posts: Jillian Harris, Ali Fedotowsky, Emily Maynard, Kaitlyn Bristowe, and Desiree Hartsock.  And this doesn’t include any of the lesser-known contestants that were let go of earlier in their seasons.  Longtime favorite and original Bachelorette Trista Rehn Sutter also has a website dedicated to her designs, her family, and a variety of other things beyond her own content.  Knowing what I like though, you can guess that I’m most excited about something like Emily’s all-time fave perfumes (V&R Flowerbomb, Kai, Tom Ford Black Orchid, etc) or Ali’s go-to foundation (Smashbox BB Water), even though I really know nothing about them and never even watched their seasons.

5.  I tried to replicate a similar look to JoJo’s more casual makeup, and here’s how it turned out.

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To some this may still look fairly natural, but trust me, I’m wearing a lot of makeup.  I’m wearing a really good mattifying toner as a base for my makeup (Sunday Riley’s Martian) and I went with heaviest hitter in the foundation department – Lancome’s Teint Idole Stick Foundation, buffed out with a BeautyBlender.  I kinda dorked around with everything else- Kat Von D’s Shade and Light Palette for brightening powder and contouring, bronzer on top of all that, a rosy blush by Becca, still more highlighting with a NARS cream shadow, and NARS Creamy Radiance concealer for the undereye area.

I actually don’t have any neutral cream shadows at the moment (something that may need fixing?), so I used some shimmering browns from my Dior Earth Reflections palette. I don’t see much color on JoJo’s lower lids for date days (though I could be totally wrong), so I refrained. However, I applied lots of topliner, lots of mascara, and false eyelashes. Eyebrows are filled in with a pomade and set with Glossier Boy Brow (which is actually my norm these days). Lips are just like JoJo’s – Too Face Melted in Chihuahua, with a little extra shimmery gloss on the center of each lip. I’m going to try and leave this on all day to see if it actually lasts the way Modica believes, but I honestly feel like I’m wearing five layers of frosting on my lips.  They seriously feel sweaty, and it’s gross.  Oh well.  It’s for science.  And yes there is a filter on this picture.  You don’t really want to see the results of me quickly trying to contour my face without a filter.

I wondered what was so off about my overall appearance compared to JoJo’s aside from the obvious “she looks like her, I look like me” factor, and then I realized- she’s very tan.  And I, even in the dead of summer here, I am very much not.  Here, a very tan, very glamorous JoJo similar to what we’d find at a rose ceremony.

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I’ve really enjoyed the platform for beauty that the Bachelor franchise has created.  I never can turn down a chance to explore the daily hair and makeup routines of women, but I will admit that the diversity of those women (and men) has largely remained an awkward point of conversation throughout the Bachelor’s existence.  Producers claim that the castings are based on the preferences of the season’s lead, and so if the lead states a preference for something like “tall, brunette guys with the personality of a banana” like we’re seeing this season, then apparently that’s the majority of what we’ll be seeing.

Still, I can’t help but think that it says something when we look at the fact that a nonwhite contestant has never made it to the final two (or even four, really?) on either show, and that a nonwhite person has only been cast once as the lead on either show (and who am I talking about, you ask?  Juan Pablo- he is Venezuelan).  In fact, two black men who tried out for The Bachelor attempted lawsuit with the claim that producers of the show bar people of color from ever receiving the primary roles, if even that.  The charges of racial discrimination were dismissed.

All this to say, race is just one of the issues that has plagued the phenomenon that is the Bachelor and Bachelorette franchise, and I can honestly say that it’s one of the (many) factors that has kept me from being a true fan and consistent watcher.  When we’re down to the final four and I can scarcely … and I mean scarcely … tell the guys apart, I’m kinda over it.  So, we’ll see what happens with next seasons, but for now, I’ll just be enjoying the Bachelor’s history for its plethora of great lipstick and hair choices.  And as far as this season goes, I’ll guess I’ll root for the tall brunette guy.  xo, MR

Photo Credits: First picture to JoJo Fletcher’s Instagram – @joelle_fletcher; fourth picture to Lester Cohen/Getty

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An Afternoon With Lover.ly: Three Gowns, Three Makeup Looks

I first have to say that I am so, so happy to be blogging in this weather.  It just feels … right.  Autumn isn’t always a thing in California, and so this cloud cover today actually feels like a warm blanket, perfectly paired with my soy chai latte with one yummy pump of gingerbread. File that under “things white girls love”.

Now, on to the good stuff!

We’re coming up on December, and something we always seem to encounter during the holiday season is a slew of engagements.  Whether it’s on Christmas morning in front of the whole family or just the two of you on New Year’s Eve, December seems to bring with it the anticipation of wedding fever.  And we all tend to know that planning for one’s wedding basically begins the moment you write the date on the calendar (and for many I’ve known, it starts even earlier than that!).

Planning for weddings can be one of the most daunting tasks simply because there are so many details we feel obligated to cover.  Sharing sites like Pinterest create even more anxiety because of the comparison that ensues between friends and acquaintances, and the constant revelation of newer, more innovative ideas that we’ve never seen before.  That super creative photo op that your photographer didn’t think of!  The rare tropical flower from the heart of Congo that suddenly everyone has to have in their bouquets!  The ten billion invitation fonts!  The handmade EVERYTHING (and OF COURSE you have to DIY because this means your guests will look at your wedding details 2.5 seconds longer than non-DIY wedding details before they just want their food, like at every other wedding)!  I didn’t even have a Pinterest account when I was engaged and I have to confess, this reality probably saved me a lot of frustration (but not all of it, apparently)!

However, the convenience of sharing and planning sites are pretty undeniable, and I’ve had the privilege of being contacted by a newer wedding planning site called Lover.ly, the wedding planning binder that lives in the Cloud.  The site is pretty incredible for it’s one-stop quality for weddings- you can “save your favorite wedding ideas and inspiration to bundles to stay organized”, you can “shop over 200,000 big day must-haves from invitations to your wedding dress”, and you can “plan your wedding with [their] expert advice, trend reports, DIYs, and celebrity scoop”.  If you wanted to, you could honestly knock out all of your wedding planning just through this one site, especially with use of their amazing wedding planning page.  Oh, and Lover.ly also features an app and you can follow them on Instagram and Twitter!

So anyhow, I was contacted by Lover.ly with a fun challenge for a blog post- Choose three favorite wedding gowns from their huge selection and create a makeup look inspired by each gown.  Um, nooooo prob.  And I figured why leave the whole task to myself just to create three makeup looks only for me?  And so, I enlisted the help of two good friends to lend a hand, and here’s what we ended up with:

Valerie – Sophisticated and Trendy

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Surprise!  The first one isn’t even a dress!  I absolutely love that Valerie chose a jumpsuit for her wedding look.  Valerie selected this halter crepe and lace jumpsuit from DB Studio.  It’s a piece that I could really picture her in, and I personally am all about jumpsuits these days.  For those who aren’t too attached to the idea of a dress and who are more interested in making a statement rather than sticking to tradition, this is for you.  I decided to keep the makeup modern and minimal for Val, focusing on bringing out the brown in her eyes with deep purple and some lining of the waterline with brown pencil.  I didn’t want too much beyond this though, because it is still a bridal look and anything too much makeup-wise would read more club than wedding.  Some nude gloss and loose waves keep in step with the playfulness of the jumpsuit.  And in my opinion, I wouldn’t go for any stuffy updos here.  Clearly this would be a look for a bride that wants to just have a good time!

Stephanie – Feminine and Romantic

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I love that this second look is the antithesis of the first.  Stephanie selected the Faye gown from Anthropologie’s BHLDN line, with beautiful raw-edge layers of tulle and a lace-paneled deep v-neck.  The frothy, lighter-than-air feel of the dress was a perfect match for Stephanie’s curled red hair, and the dress’s bohemian princess vibe had me thinking pink.  I focused on glowy cheeks and rosy lips, while enhancing Stephanie’s blue eyes with sparkly brown shadow, black tightliner, and loads of mascara.  Unlike the last look, I would suggest keeping the hair up in a romantic, loose updo for this gown to show off the gorgeous neckline and to keep the whole aesthetic from going too far in the Disney princess direction (and a little bit is fine, but be careful).  A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is to not go with the first instinct for either hair or makeup, one of the two.  If the dress screams formal or very structured, I like to counter it with casual hair, and vice versa.  This keeps things interesting and sort of takes a look to the next level.  But really, this is just me blabbing.  If you want to get married in jeans with purple hippie braids, you do you.

McKenna – Elegant and Fashion-Forward

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Lastly, we have the look of my choice!  I selected what is listed as “Look 26” on Lover.ly brought to us by the late, great Oscar de la Renta.  This stunner features a corded chantilly lace sweetheart bodice with an off white silk faille cascading draped skirt.  With such an ornate and architectural silhouette, I wanted to keep the makeup very simple and yet still add some kind of punch.  I opted for an even, slightly bronzed complexion with deep, merlot lips by layering two shades.  I capped off the look with bold brows.  My eyelids are bare save for a bit of undereye concealer and a wash of champagne shadow. In contrast to what I’d normally choose for myself, I’d go with a very sleek and simple knot for a hairstyle to accompany this gown.  The dress has such a variety of shapes going on that I felt inclined to stick with clean, modern lines when it came to styling.  I often feel that with ornate garments, you should dial back your makeup- it puts the garment on full display and yet also creates a statement that says you are wearing this, not the other way around.

Wedding planning can be stressful, but the stress should never get in the way of the fun parts like choosing your makeup.  Contact me if you ever need a sounding board, and for any and every other bit of inspiration, get started on Lover.ly!  You’ll find all three of these looks, along with basically every other detail you could possibly imagine.  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?

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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!

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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.

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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?!

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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.

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

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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.

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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

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

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.

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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 www.bethanycarlson.com.

The talented magician and the beautiful girl that the magician saws in half.

I shall be raving about *two* people that I love on this particular post.  Let me begin by saying this:  It takes two components to create a good magic show.  First, you must have a talented and crafty magician.  And second, you must have a beautiful girl that the magician impresses his or her audience with, an assistant of sorts that the magician then magically saws in half (or something like that) that causes everyone to gasp and say their “Oohs!” and “Aahs!”.  Both are essential for a great magic show.  I’ll also admit that I got to play a little part in this show, too- I got to be the makeup wizard for the beautiful girl that gets sawed in half.  I would’ve been glad to simply have been the rabbit that gets pulled out of a hat for this one, so needless to say, I was quite thrilled with my role.

For this particular magic show, let me first introduce you to the beautiful girl that gets sawed in half.

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This is Ali.  It’s Alison, really, but everyone calls her Ali and she is beautiful.  I’ve known her for a while now, and for as long as I have known her she and Mike have been together.  These two are awesome, to say the least.  Their engagement is one that a lot of folks have been excited for, and needless to say I was ecstatic when Ali asked me to be one of her bridesmaids next summer.  In addition to this though, I shall also have the honor of being Ali’s makeup artist for her big day.  Double stoked.

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Ali and Mike had their engagement shoot in early December at Disneyland on a Friday morning, and I was initially so bummed because I already knew I’d be teaching that morning so I’d have no chance to do her makeup.  But then it dawned on me- Ali lives right by the school I was booked for, and I was going to have a free hour in the earlier part of the school day, so why not do her makeup beforehand at the school?!  Let me tell you, it’s a little awkward doing someone’s makeup in a teacher’s lounge as teachers pass you by and whisper, “Maybe it’s Maybelline!”, but hey, I was asking for it.  And it was worth it.  And there’s nothing better to give me energy before teaching high-schoolers than doing makeup for a friend!

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I went for a more dramatic eye on Ali (because let’s face it- those eyes are too much fun) using L’Oreal’s eyeshadow that I talked about here, and we did some false lashes too because she’d never done them before!  And of course, falsies are great for photos because they ensure that your eyes will not be ignored (Dan!).  I used my trusty neon-hued NARS blush in Exhibit A to also help Ali’s cheekers not go unnoticed, too.  And Ali and I are both huge fans of BareMinerals Original SPF15 Foundation, so we naturally stuck to it.  And check out Mike!  Ain’t he a regular ole’ Captain America?!

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Ok, now let me introduce you to the talented magician behind this magic show.

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This is the lovely face behind Mike and Ali’s amazing Disneyland shoot- Bethany Carlson.  I had the privilege of having Bethany as one of my own bridesmaids, and there are few individuals I know so personally that are so deeply talented.  Seriously, I mean it when I call Bethany a magician.  I’ll be posting in a bit on a bridal shoot she did of my husband and I (I’ll give you two hints- Downton Abbey and Mojave desert), but all I can really do now is encourage, no, implore you to check out her site here for some of what I’d shamelessly call the most stunning wedding and engagement photography you’ll ever see in your life.  All Bethany seems to see through her lens is romance and beauty, and some of her work from this past year is nothing short of breathtaking.  I also have to briefly toot my own horn and say that I had the pleasure of doing Bethany’s hair and makeup for this particular shot, which is credited to Damaris Mia (and I so wish I could credit you more, Damaris!  Please send me a link if you have your own blog so I can share it!).

I can hardly wait to be part of Ali’s wedding next year, whether it’s by helping her into her dress, applying those finicky false lashes, or being photographed alongside her by Bethany!  xo, MR

All of the shots in this post are credited to Bethany Carlson Photography, except for the shot of Bethany which is credited to Damaris Mia.  For more of Bethany’s work (and in case you were silly and didn’t follow the previous link), check out her site at http://www.bethanycarlson.com.  The girl does not disappoint.

P.S. Oh, and if any of you caught the Fatal Attraction reference in the middle of this post, a million points for you.

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 http://www.frenzelphotographers.com.  And you might, just might, stumble across yours truly in their “Married!” gallery! 😉

My beautiful bride Michelle … or, my bride that looked like Ariel.

Michelle (or Meesh, as I’ve known her for a few years now) has probably one of the greatest senses of humor you’ll ever encounter.  I’ve loved and known Meesh since high school, and the first thing I can remember doing around her is laughing.  Trust me- there’s nothing like finding a friend who can belt Duran Duran’s Rio at the top of your lungs together with you in high school, and my relationship with her has remained relatively similar all this time.  Meesh is resourceful and creative as a friend, and cheerful and outgoing in her nature.  It was a blessing to have her stand with me as a witness to my own wedding vows, and it was an honor to be there for hers.  But what concerns me here the most, of course, is the pleasure I had in doing her bridal makeup!

Meesh has some awesome facial features that I was so excited to highlight for her wedding.  She has huge blue eyes, adorable cheeks, and beautiful princess hair.  Meesh requested that we use a very bright blush I own for her day- NARS’ Exhibit A, which actually is the product that served as the inspiration for this blog’s title!  This blush was perfect for complementing Meesh’s beaming expression that she carried with her all day.  For her eyes, I used an ultra-flattering Chanel shadow in Taupe Grise’ and a MAC shadow in Embark for deeper contouring.  I applied some gel liner (Bobbi Brown‘s, of course) to her upper lids and on her inner-lower lids, and then applied some awesome false lashes (which Meesh is a huge fan of on a regular basis).  For lips, we kept it simple and I applied a basic, clear gloss from Chanel in Plaisir.  The right shade of Bare Minerals also perfected her overall complexion- I swear by that stuff for life, there’s no greater product that I’ve found for any skin type or tone.  You can trust it for your wedding day, without a doubt.

 Top it off with some MakeUpForEver HD Finishing powder (as I’ve used on every bride), and we’re good to go!  She looked like Ariel!  Stunning!!

Meesh and Justin’s wedding day was in August, and I’ll always remember it as one of the hottest days in which we’ve had to remain somewhat pretty throughout its entirety.  After dancing, sweating, and running around through all the excitement that weddings bring, I have to say that Meesh held up like a champ!  Her hair, her makeup, everything- it all hung in there, and I was really worried about the stability of  my makeup under such heat.  In fact, I’d say we all did pretty well!

Whitney, my April bride, was a bridesmaid for Meesh as well!  I kind of “coached” her in applying her own makeup so that I could keep my hands free for the bride, and Whit did a beautiful job on her own.  She’s really been picking it up!

I so appreciated Meesh’s thankfulness for my work.  She posted my very first review on weddingwire.com for me, and she made it so clear to me how beautiful she felt on that day.  Nothing could bless me more as an artist, and I could not agree more with how truly, truly beautiful she was and is!  xo, MR

All photography is credited to Amanda Doublin.  For more of her work and a full post on Meesh and Justin’s day, check her out at http://www.amandadoublin.com