A Present For You, Times Two!

Life has been pretty crazy since picking up and moving across the country. I was blessed to work on a really fun indie film all of November that I still need to tell you about! I will fill you in on that, and the rest of what I've been up to soon. I booked another film for January too. I love writing, and I love having this place to really share and connect with you all. But sometimes I am just without motivation and I can't put a paragraph together to save my life! So why force it!
I do want to say thank you for your constant support, love, and interest in my world. And I hope you all are having the very best holiday season and are setting concrete goals for the new year. Follow your heart, and your dreams. The happiness that will follow is priceless.

I feel lucky for the opportunities I've had this year, and the generosities that have been bestowed upon me. And I'm passing a little of that onto you. I have two gifts to give away to two of you guys! I recently reviewed a few accessories that Stilazzi sent to me. Now I have two of those goodies, brand new, to give to you!

First is the Clear Travel Bag. Perfect for holding your toiletries during that trip around the world you are taking in 2012, or even to organize part of your makeup kit for all my fellow artists out there.
And second is the Portable Kleenex Holder. This is probably more useful to makeup artists. I fill mine with a pack of makeup wipes and hang it off the back of the makeup chair. But this would also be great to just keep in your car. A constant cure for winter sniffles!

All you have to do is make sure you're following my blog with Google by clicking the blue "Join this Site" button over on the right.
"Like" me on Facebook.
"Like" Stilazzi on Facebook.
Leave me a comment here to let me know by 01/01/12 11:59pm (EST), and you just might win! Two winners! So I'd say you have a pretty good chance.

Have a great New Years! Take is easy on the champagne and make sure you wash your face before you go to bed!



Paige & Kyle's Wedding

I often find that when I get home from a day of doing makeup for one of my wonderful brides and her wedding party, it's like "where did the day go?" It's a whirlwind to say the least. Here's how it tends to happen:
  • Wake up.
  • Double check kit, make sure I have everything I need.
  • Plug my destination into my phone for accurate, current directions.
  • Pull up reference photos and breakdown of my bride's look on the iPad.
  • Triple check kit (and still forget something as silly as tissue, always).
  • Hit the road, usually grabbing a coffee along the way.
  • Sing in the car, thinking how lucky I am to do this for a living.
  • Arrive, figure out where to park.
  • Walk in to the lobby, guesthouse, grandma's living room, or wherever the bride and her gals are getting ready.
  • Set up my station while chatting with everyone.
  • Marvel at the sheer joy and excitement that fills the room, every. single. time.
  • Look at my timeline to see who is first, and start the first makeup.
  • Everything after this is a complete blur! No kidding! All of a sudden, the bride's dressed and everyone is rushing out the door. And I'm back in my car driving home.
Sometimes I get to see photos of the big day and my beautiful clients. Sometimes I don't. And sometimes, just sometimes, I am lucky enough to witness the magic of my clients wedding day, as seen through the eyes of other creative & talented vendors.

I could write about Paige & Kyle. Or I could just show you. I've actually had this post in draft form for over a month now, but I've been gone. So on the heels of this event being featured on Green Wedding Shoes, I figured it was time to finally share. Studio Castillero of San Diego, CA captured this day at Condor's Nest Ranch in Pala, CA. There's a saying that every picture tells a story... so as if their still images weren't enough to tell this story, Crafthouse Productions of New York City created a beautiful film to capture their day in all its glory. I have no qualms about telling you that these made my eyes a little misty. And it reminded me that even though working through a whirlwind of a wedding day can seem like a blur, it's really important to stop and take it all in. I am so lucky to be a part of such a beautiful day in my clients lives.

Please visit Studio Castillero's blog and the Green Wedding Shoes feature to see even more photos of this magical day, and more information about Crafthouse Productions can be found here.


Stilazzi Review

Greetings from Warwick, New York! Since the beginning of November, I've been away working on an indie feature film! I'll be sure to fill you in on all that soon. My first day off I headed home and discovered a package from Stilazzi waiting for me. I was recently invited to be part of their beauty blogger program, and was so happy to have some goodies to take back to set with me! I've had some time to play with them while working during the last couple weeks. The products are great, and their customer service is stellar! But best of all, they are having a sale this entire weekend. 50% off everything, no promo codes needed. Just shop! So good.

While working on set, it is so important to not only have an appropriately stocked kit, but also great tools and accessories to help get the job done! Needless to say, I was more than happy to play with these goodies in the best scenario possible, on location for a film.

First up is the Makeup Tool Belt. It has a great waist belt, and multiple pockets of all sizes, some open, and some with velcro closures.
I'll be totally honest with you. I really like this. But, I'm not a huge fan of makeup/tool belts in general. I have two others, and I never use them. I actually have a set bag I bought at IMATS that I adore, and that has been the best thing to happen to me on set. But I will say I love how simplistic this is. I could see this working really well on a photo shoot with one or two models. Or even great for a hairstylist, to hold pins, combs, brushes, spray, etc. But for me, I have had multiple actors each day, and I don't find the pockets in this versatile enough for my needs on a film. I will utilize this in the future however, when I don't need to carry as many different things with me to set.

Next is the Portable Kleenex Holder. What you see is what you get! It has velcro on the back so I'm assuming this can attach to some other Stilazzi bags. The size however only fits the skinny tissue boxes. I only had the jumbo boxes with me. So I slipped a pack of makeup wipes in there instead! This came in really handy while on set. I used the waist belt to slip over the back of the makeup chairs most of the time. Rather than always wondering where they have been tossed after I or an actor used one, they were always right where I needed them. I also slung them over my shoulder for easy clean up during some scenes with bloody special effects makeup.

Last up is the Clear Actor/Travel Makeup Bag. Initially I was excited to organize the skincare, and face products in my kit into this. Then realized I really needed something to organize MY stuff while away on location. So it quickly became my spot for shower goods, personal makeup, etc. It is so versatile because you can really do whatever you want with it. I packed this puppy full! Pictured is only the start of it though. It has one big zippered pocket and two removable inner zippered pockets. And since it is completely clear, you can quickly and easily know what's inside without taking apart and opening it all up. Out of the three things I got, this is a stand out for me! A total must have.

Make sure you head to the Stilazzi website and check out their inventory. They have some great products for makeup artists and hairstylists, as well as the beauty savvy consumer. And with a 50% off sale going on til Monday, now is the time to snag some goodies for yourself or someone on your holiday shopping list!


Happy Halloween & Happy November: Thankful Thoughts

Happy first day of November! And a happy Halloween! Time is flying by! Our spooky holiday will be a little drawn out during the rest of this week as we had some unseasonably snowy weather over the weekend. You may have seen some news footage about the snowgrinch who stole Halloween. Snowloween. Snowtober. Oct-snow-ber (credit to Jay for that one). Snowpocalypse. It was record breaking weather for this time of year, and many folks who are used to this kind of thing have never seen anything like this. Welcome to the east coast right? I hear it was in the 80s back home in San Diego!
The powdery stuff began falling around 10am Saturday and just. kept. coming. Jay and I thought it would be the perfect time to get him done up in zombie makeup, and take some photos out in the cold. We weren't sure what we were going to do on Halloween, so we wanted to get something scary in no matter what! And fake blood on crisp white snow? Yes please! I rolled up my sleeves and got down to it, and filled up a squirt bottle with a blood mixture to spray around for effect.
So we cleaned up the mess outside and headed in for a dinner not consisting of brains. We were nearing the end of our meal, and gearing up to carve pumpkins and watch Trick 'R Treat. And poof. The lights went out. We bundled up as temperatures dropped through the night, and were crazy enough to go out at one point and assess the damage. It was eerily quiet as we tried to walk around all the fallen trees and mess, up past our calves in snow. We stopped to build a snowman and then headed home. The night progressed and we loaded up the blankets, hoping the power might be back in the morning. Instead, we woke up to the news that it was "likely" to not be back on until Friday. Friday! Over a foot of snow will do that to ya! Or rather, to trees still full of foliage, weighed down and breaking on thousands of power lines. So we grabbed a few essentials, and headed a bit south to stay with family (who got just a couple inches of snow) and stay warm.
Well, what a way to start November. A month when we start feeling the holidays creeping up on us, and  stuff our faces and remember to be thankful for the things we have. I can tell you we were very thankful to find out power was back on at home! I know thousands are still without but we were among the lucky few to get back on the grid early in the week. So very thankful! So we are home now, and Halloween was technically yesterday, but we are going to keep it going this week since we missed out. Tonight will include the scary movies we wanted to watch, and tomorrow will be the pumpkin carving. Too bad a squirrel already carved mine!
I bet he was very thankful to find such easy access to food in the snow though! Happy November everyone!


It's Raining, It's Pouring, the Old Man is ... Drinking Fair Trade Coffee?

Hi loves. Ok so I'm no poet. But it is raining, and actually pouring. I hear talk of snow being a possibility this weekend? My west coast wardrobe is failing me miserably. There is no old man snoring, or drinking fair trade coffee for that matter. But I am! Not the snoring part!

So I usually like to focus my posts here about the makeup industry, my travels and adventures, and when I write a review of something it's about makeup or beauty products. But it's my blog and I'll do what I want! I love coffee. Even if it doesn't totally wake me up, there is something satisfying about an iced coffee while out running errands, or a warm mug on a cold day. And I almost always grab one on my way to a makeup job. I always get offered champagne when I show up to do makeup for a bridal party, and for the most part I don't think it's professional while working. So it's easier to politely decline when I already have a beverage to sip on.

But a girl can go broke with a bad coffee habit. So I am more motivated than ever trying to save money to live in New York City to just start trying to make it at home!

I was recently sent some Green Mountain Fair Trade Certified Coffee to try out. I'll be honest, sometimes I'm a lazy consumer. There I said it. But who isn't? I like to consider myself pretty with it and environmentally aware. I do my part. But this is an important issue, and October is Fair Trade Month! So go make yourself a cup of joe and check out some information about Fair Trade and my take on this tasty stuff.

What I thought of Green Mountain Fair Trade Coffee:
The last time I bought a cup of coffee was at a Starbucks during our cross-country drive. And I had a gift card. I know they offer fair trade options there, which is great! But let me tell you, I have enjoyed coffee from a variety of places since being on the east coast. And most of all, I have been making it at home. My package containing Green Mountain Fair Trade coffee for my review arrived literally days after we got here. So I have had a few weeks now to enjoy it. We are staying with my boyfriend Jay's grandparents for the time being, and they have a french press that I've been using.
This coffee is good. I mean, really good. The taste isn't too strong, and it works well even chilled over ice. The Organic House Blend smells rich enough to wake up a full household on a Sunday morning. And it tastes just as good, with a bold taste still light enough to drink black. The Seasonal Pumpkin Spice is great. Clearly, as the bag is nearly empty! It doesn't taste sweet like a dessert, which I can really appreciate as most flavored coffees do. But it still has enough of a dessert feel that I love sipping a cup of it while reading a book after dinner. I've been enjoying it with a little bit of almond milk mixed in, and Jay (who is not even a coffee drinker) has liked it over ice with a little splash of pumpkin spice creamer. 

What's the deal with Fair Trade?
There are so many sources of information out there that can explain it better than I can. To learn more go to Fair Trade USA to read about the organization's mission as a whole, and visit Green Mountain's site to see how they are working to "brew a better world." But in general, Fair Trade farms have strict labor laws, business practices, and environmental standards that not only ensure a better quality and better tasting product, but fair treatment of workers too. And work is being done to build up the Fair Trade communities to enrich the lives of the people in them, including new schools, scholarships, and businesses to grow their economies. Do some research elsewhere too! We are lucky enough to have information literally at our fingertips, and it's really interesting to see the how it all comes full circle. 

If you'd like a chance to win a gift bag filled with Fair Trade certified goodiescheck out this post from one of my favorite bloggers, Bonzai Aphrodite. She has also shared a quick video that explains it briefly and perfectly in only two minutes. I urge you to go watch it, and enter to win the gift bag she's giving away!
And if you're thinking of making some Green Mountain Fair Trade Certified coffee at home, use the code BETTER-4ALL at checkout on their website for $2 off certain items. And like them on Facebook where they share the most current deals and coupons.

I received these samples as a BzzAgent, and was received no compensation for this review. Just sharing my thoughts! 


Makeup Monday - Lip Service: Conquering Red, Part 2

Last Monday I talked to you about how to find the right red lipstick. Today I'm going to show you how to put it on like a pro. I always said to myself that I would never do video tutorials. There's even something about the word "tutorial" that really bugs me. But I'll let you in on a little secret, I first tried to make a bold lip step-by-step for you months ago. But the photos all looked super dorky, posed, and honestly would have taken way too many to show you what I wanted anyway. So I deleted them all, and promised to revisit the topic again some time. Which I did, in a different way, last week.

via Pinterest
Late last week, I set out to taking photos of how to apply a bold lip again. And once more, I was displeased with the results. Am I really this much of a dweeb? Yes. But then I remembered how much I love showing people bits of what I know as a professional, so that they can feel empowered with makeup in their daily lives.

Saturday was my almost-sixteen-year-old sister's homecoming dance. And for the first time, we don't live in the same city, let alone on the same coast. I wasn't there to do her makeup. It crushed me. She's great with her makeup, but I always spoil her for special occasions and try to make her feel like a movie star. I talked to my mom via FaceTime, and she said my sister was looking on YouTube for ideas for her makeup. Crushed again. I cried. How could I let her down like this? So I thought, if my sister called me and wanted to know how to apply a bold lip, what would I show her? Certainly not dorky, hard-to-explain photos.

So I made a video. A dorky, step-by-step video. Gather your supplies. Everything I do here will ensure a long lasting bold lip. The first step I show you creates a blank canvas of sorts, and also helps build a barrier to keep lips from bleeding. I skip it when I'm feeling lazy, and just start in with lining. But adapt things as you wish! Alright, just start watching. Enjoy!


Makeup Monday - Lip Service: Conquering Red

Hi my lovely readers! Happy October! Time just seems to be flying by. And my brief hiatus can be explained only by letting you know I now live on the east coast! Yes, we did it! We moved! I had so many posts planned for you so I wouldn't be absent during the last few weeks, but time is a tricky little bugger and I never seemed to find enough of it in the weeks leading up to us loading up that truck. But I am back! And Fall is too, and that means a shift in your wardrobes, both clothing and makeup.

Let's talk about lipstick. As the leaves begin to change, so do my go-to lipstick colors. I have been addicted to reds lately, just as I love my pinks and corals in summer. But I know not everyone is as comfortable swiping on a bold shade. I posted a question to my Facebook page asking your thoughts on wearing a bold lip. Hopefully the following tips will help guide you to a great lip color for the season.

How do I find the right shade?
Red can be bright and bold, dark and moody, glossy or matte, sheer or opaque. There are endless options so it can definitely feel overwhelming finding a shade. I always liken searching for lipstick shades to the process of finding the right jeans. You have to try a few on before you find the perfect fit. Don't get discouraged!
For skin with pink undertones, blue based reds tend to be more flattering.
For olive/golden undertones, reds with orange/brown undertones will be more flattering.
For darker skin tones, I have found that you really have your pick! But deep burgundy and berry shades are extra flattering!
Really, wear whatever you want! But if you're just starting out, that should get you in the direction of a color that will no doubt look good with your skin tone.

Do I need lip liner?
Yes. And no. This really depends on the finish of your lipstick. Yes it will help keep your color on, and keep it from bleeding and feathering. Do you need one? Maybe. On one extreme, matte and opaque shades will stay put either way, but to get a clean sharp edge, a liner is absolutely necessary. On the other hand, glossy and sheer shades can be more forgiving in the application, but are more likely to feather as the formula doesn't dry down completely. I find as a general rule when wearing bold shades that liner can really only help you in the long run. Invest in a good red pencil. It can't hurt.

Should I pick a matte shade or glossy? Should I go sheer or opaque?
This is ultimately up to you. Do you feel pretty in it? Do you like the way it feels on your lips? Do you want staying power or just something light you can throw on as you head out the door? I talked a bit about formula while discussing lip liner. The more matte (and often opaque) the shade, the more staying power it will have. If you're not sure, start with a red gloss and as you get more comfortable with  wearing a bold color, layer a lip liner underneath the gloss to bump it up a notch. Then transition fully to a lipstick instead.

Ok, so how do I keep it off my teeth? And the rest of my face for that matter?
There are a few techniques to help with this. As far as keeping it on your lips, and not the rest of your face, lip liner is the best tool. It creates a barrier around the edge so your lipstick doesn't travel away from your perfect pout.
Also, blot and powder. This is as old school as it gets. Apply lip color, then blot with a tissue and dust a translucent powder over top. And if you wish, apply a second layer of color after.
And the tip that always makes my bridal clients laugh and say, "you want me to what?" when I show them...after applying your lip product, take your clean index finger and put it in your mouth. Straight in like a popsicle, and wrap your lips around tight. When you pull your finger out, there should be lipstick on it. Wipe clean. That was all the stuff that would have ended up on your teeth! A fellow artist friend showed me that years ago, and it works wonders! You can use a rolled up tissue too, I suppose, but any time I have done that, I just end up with tissue stuck everywhere. Your call!

I love the look of red, but I feel like I can never get the rest of my makeup balanced. How do I make it work?
A bold lip is really an accessory in itself. So as a good rule of thumb, don't pile on a bunch of other (makeup) accessories too. Clean, perfected skin, and well groomed, defined brows are the most important pieces to making red lipstick work. Take the time to conceal and brighten under eye circles, and to disguise redness or discoloration in your skin. A sweep of natural cheek color to define bone structure is good. Tweeze straw brow hairs, and lightly fill in the arch to define a nice shape. Brows are so important I might have to dedicate a future post just to them. But for now, just make sure to pay attention to them in some manner. A lush, dark mascara on your lashes is a good idea too. 
From here it is up to you. It's the difference between wearing jeans, a t-shirt, and converse, and wearing jeans, a flirty blouse, and your most catwalk worthy heels. Winged liner? Sure. Smokey eyes? If you're feeling edgy. Soft smudgy brown liner? Subtly sexy. False lashes? Sex kitten status. Just remember, start with the basics of perfected skin and face-framing brows, then let your personality and mood determine the rest. You can always add more, but it's hard to take away. Start with less, and build. 

I'm ready for red! Do you have any suggestions?
A good place to start is MAC's Viva Glam I. It's a true brick red, and will suit everyone nicely. Plus the proceeds go to help people who are living with and/or are affected by HIV & AIDS. I am also a huge fan of MAC's Ruby Woo (a bright, velvety matte), and Diva (a deep, matte burgundy red that's gorgeous on darker skin tones). Want something more sheer, with a little bit of shine? Try Lady Bug (for pink undertones) or Spice It Up! (for olive undertones or darker skin).
Make Up Forever's Aqua pencils are to-die-for! I have told you this before! So pick up their 08C Red pencil. You won't be sorry. Their Lip Line Perfector is another good choice.
That is a good start for true reds. Head to makeup counters or Sephora and try things on! Let the person working there help you, and if you aren't ready to buy yet, tell them. There is nothing wrong with wanting to test drive your sassy new mouth before you sign on the dotted line!

Next Monday, I will show you step by step, how to apply a bold lipstick. A La Mused's first tutorial! Are you as excited as I am? Good! So go find a red you love, and then follow along with me next week as I show you how to put it on.

All photos via Pinterest.


Keeping Up With New York Fashion Week

I had little to no internet while in Seattle. It was actually refreshing! Did you miss me? With no internet, and no TV, we got out and you know, did stuff! Amazing thrifting, tourist stuff, and exploring all the neighborhoods. Plus we went to our friends amazing wedding and had a blast. I'll be sure to share some photos from our trip soon, but today officially marks the start of "getting down to the wire." As of yesterday, we have two weeks until we hop in the moving truck and hit the road. Crazy!

So I have been trying to keep up with New York Fashion Week and all the shows via Twitter and Tumblr when I can. Hopefully I'll be working the shows in Spring next year! I've been crazy busy since we got back from the northwest, but I thought I'd share a couple photos from the shows so far. I love backstage shots the most.

Richard Chai LOVE Spring 2012 RTW

Muted palette at Diane Von Furstenberg 

Minimal perfection at Derek Lam

Rag & Bone

Alexander Wang

In love with the look at Thakoon
Photos: Style, NY Magazine


Sayonara San Diego. Hello Seattle.

Seattle, Summer 2010

Today we leave for a week in Seattle. A lovely couple we know are getting married this weekend. I just love weddings! Jayson is a groomsman so there will be lots of festivities leading up to the big event, and we plan to do some sight seeing during the second half of the trip. We went last summer and had a blast, but will have to be extra creative finding free or budget-friendly fun this time. A week sounded great when we first booked our flights a while ago, but now so close to moving we are smacking our foreheads. Doh!

Seattle, Summer 2010

Have you been to Seattle? What are your favorite things to do and see? Museums? Hikes/outdoor fun close to downtown? People watching? Veggie friendly food? Tell me what we can't miss while we are there!

Seattle, Summer 2010


Behind the Scenes of a Styled Wedding Shoot: A Look at Making Astronomical Twilight, Part I

The time has come! Our out-of-this-world love story "Astronomical Twilight" is featured on Green Wedding Shoes today! It is one of the best blogs around when it comes to trend and style for one-of-a-kind weddings (you might remember my friend's April wedding was featured there too, and I shared it here).  All of the hard work our team put into making an amazingly unique wedding photo shoot happen has paid off ten fold. I wanted to share all about our experience right after I got back, but we didn't want to spoil it on the chance it would be published on an amazing site like Green Wedding Shoes. 

I was asked to be a part of this shoot early in the year, and when the initial ideas were expressed, I knew I had to be a part of this. Inspiration from galactic imagery, planets, and non-traditional attire and styling? Sold! I had so many ideas for makeup, but actually ended up letting the beauty of the landscape lead the way. More on that later this week! The location alone sounded so mysterious: "the Integratron is an acoustically perfect tabernacle and energy machine sited on a power geomagnetic vortex in the magical Mojave Desert." What a cool site for a photoshoot! And I wish someone had actually gotten married because it was seriously stellar.

I had never done a styled wedding shoot before and was so excited. It consists of putting together every element of a wedding and photographing it, but no one actually gets married. I feel so lucky to have been a part of this vision, because every single person involved is a true artist in their industry. With so many creative personalities, you'd think there would be some bumps along the road. But honestly, everyone's ideas flowed and intersected so organically, it was something I can't even describe. I feel honored to know and work beside these people! Enough mushy talk, on to the behind the scenes photos! Here's a look at the making of this magical shoot.

All photos used courtesy of Tangerine Tree Photography. See even more photos on their blog. And hugs to everyone on our wonderful team! 
Concept and design: Francine Ribeau and Chris Wojdak for Francine Ribeau Events 
Florals: Tend 

Props/furnishings: Tend

Gollypods: Collaboration between Tend and JXL Studios 
Hair: Quinn Kerrigan for HDF 
Venue: The Integratron, Landers, California 
Wardrobe: Rad Summer 
Accessories: Miss November Studio
Paper goods: Seaside Papery  
Models: Alejandra Acosta and Jason St. John


An A La Mused Makeover! And RSS Blog Reading for Newbies.

I am happy to announce I have given A La Mused a bit of a makeover! Once I get an idea in my head, there is no stopping me until I'm done. So I've spent the better part of this week Googling like mad, reading tutorials, using a tester blog to try things out, and learning all sorts of new things in Photoshop. And I'm finished! Voila!

For those viewing in an RSS reader, please come on over to the real deal and check out my fancy new digs! But here's a little screenshot to tease you! It's like blog Inception; a blog within a blog!

I would be lying to you if I said I didn't get close to giving up multiple times. Looking at html coding for hours can truly make a girl dizzy! But persistence is key, and I'm really happy I stuck it out! I will probably make a few tweaks, but overall I am pleased as punch. I was so excited to stumble upon Pugly Pixel. I downloaded the free "Strawberry Shortcake" layout she made, and then customized it to my liking with a personalized header, sidebar graphics, etc. She has so many great tutorials (like the scalloped edges in my last post) and free downloads that I felt like I had my own little blog design class going on. I love it, don't you?

I've also been wondering lately just who and how many people keep up with me here. I write here because I truly enjoy it, but I also hope that you guys are enjoying it too. I love feedback from you all! I really appreciate when someone comments, or sends me a message letting me know they are reading my blog. But some people have let me know via Facebook that they aren't familiar with blogging platforms so they miss new posts, or don't comment because they aren't sure how. I don't want anyone to miss out, on my blog or any of the other cool stuff out there! Here are some basic ideas to get you started in the world of blog readers and how to make it work for you. This will help you stay up to date with your favorite blogs, and probably find a lot of new ones too!

So What the Heck is RSS?

Hmm, how do I explain this...

 It took me forever to get into using an RSS feed to keep up with my favorite blogs. But once I did, it was as easy as getting the newspaper tossed to your front door. Without the ink stained fingers.

I cannot believe I didn't start using a reader sooner. I had bookmarks upon bookmarks of blogs I loved, and really had a love/hate relationship with it all. I was so inspired by independent designers, funky makeup artists, and overall cool girls with a knack for the written word and taking pretty photos. But I'd check in about once a week, clicking each bookmark, and going through tons of posts. How tedious. It was fine when I was just reading a handful of blogs, but the list of awesome bloggers just kept growing. Now that I have the feeds all in one place, it's so easy to just click through them in one window. It's the modern version of opening up the morning paper.

I currently use Google reader. I've heard there are some other great ones out there, some with magazine style layouts and other fancy bits. But the Google reader suits my needs just fine as it is super simple and user friendly. I won't go into great detail, but you can see my screen shot above showing my current set up. I have different folders for different types of blogs, and the number shows how many total new posts are in each one. Each folder opens in the side window, and then each individual blog shows its new posts in the main window. I can see the titles and pick and choose, or just go down the line.

So How Do I Start Using RSS? It Looks Confusing.

I came across this really silly video that explains it perfectly. You should probably take a moment and just watch this because it made me laugh and also can show you how to get started. They use the Google reader like I do. Seriously, just watch this. It shows you how to start, and how to add subscriptions. It makes it all makes sense, and if I had seen it a few years ago, I wouldn't have been so scared of something as silly as RSS feeds. 

So if you're ready to give it a try, look over in my sidebar where the little square orange icon is under the Subscribe label. Or this one here. (Anytime you see one of these on a blog or website, you can add it easily to your reader). Now click it. 

You should have something similar to what's pictured below in front of you now. The Google reader is at the end of the second row, but all of those links are options to use for your feeds. Pick one and keep all your content in one place. Easy, right?

So that should get you started! I am no expert on this stuff, but I like to think I am pretty savvy and can usually figure out anything that seems daunting. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask. Whether it's about blog bits, or how to use RSS feeds.

And one last thing, I know some people have let me know that they haven't commented here because they don't have a blog account or just they aren't sure how. Well guess what? You don't need one. If you have an account with Google already (the reader, g+, gmail, etc), you can use that to log in when you comment. That's the best option, but I've also enabled anonymous posting now. Quick and easy! Does that help you guys?


eBay Adventures

So things have slowed down a bit for me with freelance work. So it goes. July was totally crazy, rounding out with a very busy bridal weekend in early August. I've been getting prepped for the big move however, and that itself is pretty exhausting. 

When you start going through your things, you realize just how much you accumulate that really means nothing to you. But it's also a good time to donate or sell all those things. What have I learned? That I owned a lot of black clothes. And that nearly everything I "collected" as a child isn't worth it's weight in lima beans. Do I keep all these brand-new-in-box special edition Barbies that I don't really have room for, or sell them for eight bucks a pop on eBay? 

So anyway, I've talked before about how fun it can be to stumble upon second-hand gold at thift stores. But the time has come to let go of some things I have found that just don't work for me. With a lesson from my wonderful boyfriend who is a seasoned eBay veteran, I have officially listed my first items on the online market. I've purchased before, so why not sell? I'm starting with vintage cowboy boots and Jeffrey Campbell 99 Wedges. Bid on them here.

Also, I'm working on a serious A La Mused makeover. No more bare-bones blogging for me. The photo above are actually the boots I have listed on Ebay, but I thought I'd spruce it up in photoshop with some of my new goodies and tricks that I've been playing with during the blog makeover process. I'm hoping to have it finished by the weekend!


Things I Love Thursday

The weeks seem to be flying by! I was on the Home Depot website the other day trying to see how much a big roll of movers plastic wrap costs (which is only in store I guess, so I still don't know), and found they have a whole moving section on their site. So I plugged in my info, and it has a little countdown to your move date. 40 days. 40 DAYS! It'll be here before I know it. There will be even more moving talk in the next month, but I'll take it down a notch right now. Here's a love list of things that have made me smile in the last week!

A wedding over the weekend with a client who was one of the first to book me early this season! She and her bridesmaids were all so much fun and I had a blast doing makeup and hanging out with them in the morning before the wedding.

Seeing Death Cab For Cutie last night. They are one of my favorite bands, and I had actually never seen them live. My dear boyfriend made sure to get us tickets first thing when they went on sale. They have gotten a lot of criticism since signing with a major label, and their newest record Codes and Keys is quite a journey from their early work. But I love everything they've ever done. Plus in the encore, they played one of my favorite new ones. It's just so happy! Watch it below from their VH1 Storytellers episode.

Revamping my personal makeup stash. Working for a cosmetic line, you accumulate so much makeup you can't possibly enjoy it all. So I recently went through and actually looked at every single piece and decided what to keep and what to get rid of. I'm talking mountains of makeup. No small feat. I put it off for so long after quitting because I knew it would take forever. I look at my little organized box now and get excited about personal makeup again! I'll be sure to let you all know when the rest is up for grabs! All great stuff, some hardly used, some never touched. But I just can't keep it all!

Serious closet cleaning. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that I have pulled out at least half of my clothing and shoes to get rid of. All in bags ready to take to Buffalo Exchange, then our garage sale, then Goodwill! If I haven't worn it in 6 months, it's gone! 

And also: Fall being around the corner (ok so it's still a month away, but I'm excited!), new music, more blush and less bronzer, iced chai lattes, delicious smelling candles, testing out new products from Glamcor, dusting off Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred, and feeling inspired to revamp my website!

What are you smiling about lately? Do you have anything you've been really excited about or thankful for?


Missoni for Target

The blogosphere is sure to implode on September 13th when Target launches its collaboration with iconic fashion house Missoni. I have been waiting patiently for this, but just might have to pass as moving across the country means a very tight budget. What's a girl to do?! I just stumbled upon some look book images from the 400+ piece collection, and thought I'd share some of my favorite looks and pieces! I want it all! Enjoy!

See more here. If you were to get just one thing from this collaboration, what would be your pick? 


Glamcor: A Life (and Career) Changing Purchase

Readers, meet Glamcor. Glamcor, meet my readers. To be more specific, this is my new whip. My pimped out ride. My luggage, as it was confused for by a recent stranger in an elevator, who was baffled by the fact that I traveled with my own chair. I got a kick out of that one. The photo above introduces you to my livelihood. I protect my kit and its contents as if it were my child. My pudgy, overfed, very agile and talented child
I LOVE the heck out of this set up. I have been doing makeup professionally for about seven years now. With my dive into being an independent, full-time freelance artist starting just this past January. I have run the gamut of makeup cases, bags, suitcases, duffels, and bulky, clunky train cases. The carry-on size suitcase, small & light enough to carry by myself, was always my fall back when the new brilliant idea I would have for transporting my kit would inevitably fall through. I have wasted so much money trying to get it right.
My previous suitcase system, easy to work out of, but packed tight and a bit haphazardly.
Then I learned about Glamcor. They got it right. I kept hearing all this buzz about a new line of products for working makeup artists. A portable light kit. A bag system that would solve problems I didn't even realize I had. Wheels. Bags within bags. And all easy enough for little ol' 5'3" me to haul around on my own. It seemed too good to be true.

When I bought my ticket to IMATS, I had no intentions of making any huge purchases. But I knew I wanted to make the Glamcor booth a priority, so I could see the goods in person and decide if it was something to put on my wishlist for Christmas. I booked it to their booth first thing on the pro-only night, knowing I would have ample time to check it all out without the craziness of the convention. And what do you know, I took home my new babies that night. I am so impressed by the quality of my bag and lights. The products speak for themselves. But I have to tell you, the customer service provided by Erik Kaiser and Shana King at Glamcor is top notch. They are both super sweet and truly want to help working artists be as functional and look as professional as possible. [They have so much cool stuff in the works too, I can't wait to tell you about those when they launch!]. Erik is always quick to answer emails and provide insight to any questions I might have regarding the products themselves or business in general. It's great to know that the people behind a product I love are passionate about quality, innovation, and customer satisfaction. I urge you to contact him or Shana if you have any questions about products before (or after!) you purchase.

So anyhow, I have condensed my kit tremendously since switching to the Glamcor Mobile Studio Bag Set System. While chatting with Emmy-award winning makeup artist Kevin James Bennett at IMATS, and seeing how little he carries in his Glamcor bag, I knew I wanted to lighten my already compact load. But the great thing about this bag set is that it truly has room for everything I need. And makes it so easy to stay organized. I'll probably trim down again soon, I always love remodeling! Let's take a closer look at my current set up.
The breakdown.
Insert Bags fit perfectly inside Set Bag, with velcro to attach inside Lap Bag.
Top: main brush belt/roll panel; Bottom: rolled up, and an alternate snap-on front panel!
At a shoot. L to R: Lap Bag opened up with lashes, lips & disposables, skincare & face bags, eyes & blush/face bags.
Bags within bags! L to R: Eye bases & gel liners, shadow sticks & liquids, colored eye pencils, neutral pencils.
And the holy grail of anything I have ever purchased for my profession....
Let there be light!
If for some reason I was forced to give up half the contents of my kit in order to keep these lights, I would make it happen. Not only do these bad boys save me from poor lighting in hotel rooms and studios, but they just look super cool. To all you other professionals out there, I cannot say enough about how these need to be your next purchase. They have changed the way I do my job. Even hair stylists I work with love to utilize these when they are working their magic. Lucky for them I think sharing is caring and set them up so it helps everyone out. They bend and twist to any angle, and have a tripod style base to keep them secure, whether at a low height a couple feet off the ground, or expanded six feet up. A photographer asked me to pull them closer to our model for a nice, soft light on her face. Brides LOVE literally being in the spotlight. And I love being able to set them up, and pack them right back up in a matter of minutes and slide them onto my bag trolley with everything else. Did I mention they don't get hot? Yep, cool to the touch even after a morning doing a nine person bridal party. 

Lightbox made from tissue paper & cardboard. Lit up thanks to my Glamcor Light Kit.
Bonus! I use them at home to create better lighting for blog photos! Just today I fashioned a DIY light box out of scrap cardboard and white tissue paper. I move my Glamcor lights around easily to cast light from the top, sides, or both. More on than later though, as I have cleaned house and will have some makeup and accessories for sale soon! 

Have a great weekend! I've got my kit packed up and ready for a wedding Saturday, how about you?

Shop: Glamcor Professional