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


Things I Love Thursday

With the big move just over a month and a half away, I am in serious purge & organize mode. I get these second winds when I should be tucking into bed, but instead I just want to bust out the paper shredder and garbage bags and get to trashing! I definitely did round one of that last week. A friend of mine was kind enough to let me take heaps of moving boxes off her hands, as she and her family just moved into a new place here in town. I can't wait to fill them up and get organized. Also over the weekend, I wrapped up a couple of great weddings, and put the finishing touches on maternity photos for my friend and took them to her baby shower. So I've been a little distracted from blogging in the last week, but assuming the mailman has some goodies for me in the next week or so, I will have some fun things to share with you soon! And I promise tomorrow you get to see a little bit of how I get around with my makeup kit, and how much easier it's gotten since I made my favorite purchase of the year back at IMATS. I was hoping a certain something would be coming in the mail before I posted about my kit, but it hasn't. So I'll give it one more day just in case.
Mason jar color wash project success after multiple failed jars!!
Things making me smile lately:
Finally getting off my rear and experimenting with DIY projects I've had on my list for a while (I can't wait to decorate in our new place). Being coupon savvy and not having paid full price for nearly everything I have purchased in the last week (including but not limited to 40% off spray paint, half price groceries, thrift store student discounts, and Six Flags yesterday). Cooking things I have otherwise just been too lazy to try out (Kale chips, I'm looking at you). Cheap, neon nail polish. Planning a garage sale, and a going away get-together. Finding a stash of greeting cards from my late great-grandmother, and having a good cry over how amazing she was and how lucky I am to have had such an inspiring and intelligent woman to look up to (her words from nearly 10 years ago still remind me to be strong and follow my dreams). Apartment Therapy has been on a moving kick lately, and it couldn't be more appropriate for me these days (I read about an app to "inventory" each box with a scannable QR code? Be still my heart! So what if I don't want to use a sharpie and do it the easy way!). And last but not least, spending quality time with my little sister while I'm still on this side of the country. 
Me and the sis, on a train to Seattle with mom, 1998.
Me and the sis, on a trip to St. Louis and Springfield with mom earlier this year.


IMATS Special Effects Makeup & The Secrets of True Blood

Yesterday I shared photos from classes I attended at IMATS that were more editorial and beauty makeup focused. But the convention also showcases the body painting, special effects, and character makeup sides of this industry. My experience with this type of makeup has been mostly experimental. A body painting project for a class in art school and eerily realistic horror makeup or various other costumes involving blood and products with names like "Cadaver Grey" for Halloween over the years.

Special effects artists are incredible, and I hope one day I have the opportunity to work under an artist in this field. I had a chance to sit front row for Bloody Sunday: A True Blood Panel Discussion, and see never-before-seen makeup test shots, and hear the makeup and FX team talk about having one of the coolest jobs around! The following are some photos I snapped throughout the weekend of various FX makeups around the convention, and a few shots from the True Blood panel. I tried to pick and choose, but there were too many good ones! Enjoy!

I checked back throughout the day to see the progression of FX artist Scott Ramp's work.

Sho Takebe, 1st place winner of the Student Competition.

Colorful and glittery body painting at MAC.
In progress body painting at Make Up For Ever.
The makeup and FX team of True Blood.
Some visuals they shared revealing the coolest secrets of scenes from the show.
By far the raddest IMATS attendee, showing off his body painting!


IMATS Summary: A Month Late & Worth the Wait

Happy August everyone! Where has the time gone? IMATS was over a month ago? No way! I know I have mentioned it a couple times since attending the convention up in Pasadena at the end of June. However, I never really got around to showing you all the photos I took. I couldn't make up my mind how I wanted to break it down. 
So I'm going to just share all of my IMATS experience with you in a series of photo-focused posts throughout this week, wrapping up with my favorite purchase in detail at the end of the week! There are tons of photos coming your way over the next few days to make it worth the wait. Makeup brushes that don't break the bank, miracle brush cleanser, killer discounts...beauty makeup, creative makeup, special effects makeup and much more. But first, I attended some amazing makeup demonstrations, classes, and got to meet artists and professionals I really admire. Here we go!

Dany Sanz, of Make Up For Ever. Live demo to a small crowd during the Pro-Only preview night.
Dany Sanz' final creation.
Roshar, one of my favorite artists, teaching a Runway Technique class.
Runway makeup should stand out from afar since small details get lost on the catwalk.
So cool! And SO inspiring to watch.
The humble and inspiring Roshar. He's actually pretty tall, but was kind enough to get down on the runway for a photo!

Kevin James Bennett teaching how to translate runway trends to everyday makeup.
Me and Kevin James Bennett. He is so talented and had so much good advice to share. 
The fabulous Eve Pearl! I've turned you all on to her Salmon Concealer, and she remembered my blog post about it! She loves that you all love it!
Stay tuned for more this week!