Sunday, June 6, 2010

NP Styling

I had the pleasure of reconnecting with an old friend from high school, Nick Palacios, who has blossomed into an extremely talented and driven man. Nick, a professional stylist who works between Seattle and New York, was briefly back home in Seattle pursuing the launch of his new business, NP Styling and asked me to join him on a shoot early spring 2009. The shoot took place at two locations that Nick had scouted out. The first spot was downtown at the Ace Hotel (, The organically bohemian boutique hotel, built in one of Seattle’s historic buildings in Belltown, served as the perfect minimalistic milieu for Nick’s vision. After half a day’s work we packed up and caravanned it to the next destination, the Januik winery in Woodinville. ( The second half of the day was spent amidst the contrasting cement architectural angles that made up the grounds surrounding the winery, including a sleek trough fire pit, as well as the alluring aroma of wine that lingered every room we walked through.

Another treat were the talent I got to work with that included the photographer, Dave Scheibel (, and the models. Although I didn’t know them at the time, I went to high school with the two female models, Mallory Alberts and Angel Abrigo!

Make sure you check out Nick’s website!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Finding your Muse

A frequent aspiration I hear from my clients is to be able to overcome their angst and anguish over incorporating COLOR into their makeup regimen. It’s really easy to find ourselves wedged into a makeup ‘rut’; securely falling back into the safety net of ‘neutral’ shades. Putting colors together that are flattering, inspiring, and will lend the most ‘ooohhs & awwws’ from your friends is as simple as going for a walk and taking a look at your surroundings. The world was given 6 colors to work within and the multitude of the most stunning color combinations occur all around us and translate remarkably to the face. Whether it’s a cornflower blue and icy peach winter sunrise, the opulence of a rich teal and shimmering gold regal peacock, or the blending between colors on a velvety petal from a divinely held paintbrush; let yourself be inspired by the palette of creation and take a risk.

Here are some of my favorite pics I've run across that are directly inspired from some beautiful creations in nature along with some inspirational pictures!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Bitch Kitty Racing

Continuing on with my walk down memory lane, I found some pics of the first opportunity to do a shoot on my own several years ago.

A very special man I know, John, is the proud owner of bitchkittyracing and you may visit him at his website He is a jack of all trades within his brand, proudly recording and distributing artists and musicians, producing obscure, fantastic, and sometimes downright disturbing videos.

When he launched his apparel line (mostly boyshorts, tanks, and jackets) he borrowed me to help him out with the shots. His vision was a glamorous lady of the night motif paired up with the tongue-in-cheek concept he envisioned for the shoot.

Here are some of the shots from that day almost two
years ago...

Sunday, January 3, 2010


Foundation primers: What do they REALLY do? How do they work? Do I REALLY need one or is it just a gimmick that the salespeople throw at me to buy more product? These are all great questions that I am asked regularly so I thought I would break it down.

Imagine, if you will, you are painting your old backyard fence that has been ravaged by years of erosion and exposure and is desperately in need of some attention. If you were to paint half the fence with the paint and on the other half, applying primer before the paint, what would the fence look like in a year? Which half would hold up significantly better? Just like walls, fences, cars, and houses; faces need to be primed too for the ‘paintjob’ to perform at its optimum level.

Foundation primers are all about texture and performance; some tackle texture, some address performance, some treat both texture and performance.

Let’s talk about texture. When I say texture, I am referring to anything that is causing the skin to not feel or look completely smooth; fine lines, wrinkles, acne, scarring, enlarged pores, dryness/flakiness, etc. A primer that helps with texture generally has a silicone or dimethicone base which feels very silky and slick on the skin. The way it works is it smoothes over the top of the surface of the skin, literally filling in the crevices. Used alone, it diffuses the appearance of a very textured area. When foundation is applied over the top, the silicone base underneath allows the foundation (liquid, powder, cream, mineral..anything) look smother on the skin. Foundation can actually be applied even more sparingly because it glides further over the skin. Those who are concerned with pore clogging, do not be alarmed! Generally speaking, the molecular structure of the silicone that is used in primers is too large to get into the actual pore. (keeping in mind, of course, anyone can break out anytime with any ingredient. So the concept of trial and error is imperative when playing with primers!) Because it sits on top of the skin, moisture is actually held in better; great news for our dry skin friends! A great primer everyone has to try is Tarte’s Clean Slate or Too Faced Primed & Poreless Smoothing Face Primer…goodbye crows feet and brow lines for the night!

Performance: When I say performance, I am referring to the primer that provides a certain function, aiding in the performance of the foundation. When choosing a primer with certain complexion concerns beyond texture, there are a lot of options out there that address different concerns based on skin type! If you are concerned with excess oil that makes your foundation literally shift around your face during the day, or even change color, try a primer that actually mattifies and absorbs oil! I recommend Smashbox Photofinish Foundation Primer light and Bare Escentuals primetime foundation primer oil control. It is comprised of 60% water, oil absorbing mattifiers that also smooth the skin, and light diffusers to help minimize the appearance of imperfections. If you are experiencing flakiness or prefer to use a foundation that is a powder, there are primers that will add moisture, or contains ingredients that bind moisture into the skin. Try Laura Mercier Hydrating Foundation Primer or Lorac Aquaprime.

And the last function primers can help with is discoloration of all kinds! The benefit of using a color correcting primer under your foundation is beneficial because your foundation won’t have to work as hard to cover discoloration, ultimately not having to use as much foundation, thus offering you a more natural, but still corrected and perfected look. The color corrector you choose depends on the color you are trying to neutralize. Here’s my quick guide.

If you wish to correct redness or have rosacea, use a green corrector.

If you are feeling sallow or want to brighten a natural yellow undertone, use a lavender, pink, or mauve corrector. This corrector will also help to generally brighten your complextion.

If you are fair and want to add a little radiance, try a light blue corrector.

For our more warmer/golden toned medium to darker skin, try a caramel corrector if you are feeling ashy.

Lastly, if you want to take the edge off veins, dark circles, or sunspots, use an apricot color correcting primer.

If you are interested in trying a color corrector, I highly recommend the patriarch of all primers, Smashbox Photofinish color correcting foundation primers for more subtle correcting. Makeup Forever HD Microperfecting primer has a more extensive range of colors to choose from and the green corrector is great for someone with some serious redness to squash.

Monday, December 7, 2009

In the beginning...there was Smashbox Masterclass

I have so many recent photo shoot picture I would love to post, but I think it would be fun to pay homage to the reason I became so passionate about working behind the scenes.

In 2006, I had a great opportunity with my company to fly down to Smashbox Studios to participate in a photoshoot and learn the ins and outs of what happens behind the scene. If you are not familiar with Smashbox cosmetics, or smashbox studios; Smashbox studios is a wherehouse if you will of studio space that Dean and Davis factor began (the grandsons of Max Factor…not the creeper grandson). Almost any major fashion magazine cover you pick up or music video you see was filmed at Smashbox Studios, as well as major runway events including LA fashion week. So as you can imagine, this was a great oppiortunity to learn from the best.

We were all introduced to the designer, Jennifer Grossman, and what her line was all about. We then were taken through a lesson on what goes on back stage, expectations at shoots, as well as best practices for hauling our vastly huge makeup kit around with us the most effectively. We (I think there were about 8-10 of us) were then paired up with a model and sent away to start makeup. When our model was up, we got to be behind the scenes as they shot. Looking at the monitor the camera was tethered to, we could see how our work was transposing onto film and given the opportunity to make adjustments. It was an absolute blast! (and I even met one of my dearest friends that day)

Sadly after three and ½ years, I don’t remember my models name, (or have many pics left) but she was an absolute doll! We discovered she was attending FIDM, my alma matter, and we dished about it the whole day.

Here is a few of the pics I managed to salvage from the shoot that I have left!

The designer is Jennifer Grossman with Ankh apparel and you can find her clothing at

And if you have never looked at smashbox cosmetics, you have to check them out!

Come into Sephora and play or visit either or

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

What makes me blush!

Did you know that the first powder blush was created by Alexandre Napoleon Bourjois, a theatrical makeup artist at the Moulin Rouge in 1863? He noticed that the greasecake blushers that were used in stage were thick and messy, so he created ‘Pastel Joues’, the first dry powder blush. Baked into a little leather compact, and fragranced with a hint of rose; the color is actually still in circulation today!
We have come along way from the days of pinching our cheeks and rubbing berries on our apples; blush, blusher, rouge; whatever you prefer to call it…blush breathes life into a dull, lackluster complexion and I have narrowed down some of my favorite blushes. Eye shadow colors and lip-gloss preferences are fickle, but I never stray from my tried and true flushed favorites.

Ahhh…Monsieur Cherie, Francois Nars, no man can make a woman blush as beautifully and fashionably as he can! I swear to you Orgasm blush is the number one selling blush in the world. That must explain why three of his blushes have made it onto my list! The one blush magazines instruct everyone should own as well as the little gem consumers prophesy it will change your life, this cult classic color is the perfect combination of a peachy gold color against a soft warm pink that is flattering for all colors. Everyone has to try it once. ;)

And it doesn’t end there. When I am asked for recommendations for blushes, Nars is the first place I turn. Here are my other FAVS:

Gina: For fair skin (like my Casper complexion) this tangerine/coral matte color is dreamy on milky skin. It brings out a beautiful natural warm glow. I love to wear Gina when I am wearing cool colors on my eyes; purples, pinks, teals, and greens.

From the fairest of the fair to the most chocolate complexion, Exhibit A offers a beautiful brilliant flush that looks FIERCE on everyone! Be forewarned…It will startle you at first glance, but you have to trust me and countless others that, when applied with a light touch, will look radiant!

Okay I will move on past Nars and into another Blushing Beauty I can’t live without is Tarte’s cheek stain in Blushing Bride. The product itself is formulated beautifully. containing 5 natural occurring superfruits that make this product very high in antioxidant-rich nutrients and vitamins, it’s antiaging, reefing, and restorative for the skin. Okay so we know why its good for us, but why does it look so fabulous ON us? Its all about the glow! Your skin looks absolutely radiant and dewy when sporting this sheer deep plum (smells like plums too!) kiss of color. One thing I know for sure is how beautiful my dear friend, Suzanne, looked on her wedding day after she fell in love with this color! Blushing Bride? in point.

I actually had a list of 10 blushes I came up with that I couldn’t afford to have vacant from my makeup case, so keeping this brief is near-impossible, but I will conclude with one final product; Stila illuminating finishing powder in bronze. No, it’s not technically considered a blush, but I consider it GLORIOUS! It is a highly reflective bronze shimmer that is baked onto a clay pan. It gives a beautiful warm glow that makes the skin shine! The beautiful Lola is wearing this very color on her glowing gorgeous cheeks!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Compromising with your wallet…part deux

My previous saga details the reasons why I was inspired to discuss the differences between drugstore quality and department/specialty store quality of cosmetics, so I’ll spare the introductory details and jump right into it. Last week I spoke generally about skincare and this week I’ll dive into the cosmetic cosmos of color!

Eyes are the window to the soul (<-- insert cliché beauty idiom here) so let’s focus there!

Mascara: Let’s face it…there are some FANTASTIC options out there in drugstore land for mascara. If you have to save some pennies, save some here. These are my top two favorites HANDS DOWN: Maybelline Full n’ Soft; great for volume building and the lashes are left feeling soft and pliable, rather than stiff or flakey. This is the mascara I lived and died by before I was converted to my all time favorite: Dior Show. My other favorite drugstore mascara is Cover Girl Lash Blast Volume Blasting Mascara. This little guy’s brush is comprised of stiffer rubber bristles to build and build long luscious lashes. It took a few coats to get the ‘full’ effect, but I definitely got full plump lashes. I was pretty darn impressed with this little man. I will say (my disclaimer) to bear in mind that mascara works differently for everyone. One person may LOVE a certain mascara and the next person may try it and it doesn’t perform the same at all. Everyone has different lashes and different preferences.

Pencil Eye Liner: ahhh…I am remember the good ole days when I had to hold my eye liner over my lighter to melt the wax, giving me about 15 seconds of pliable soft liner to work with before it hardened up to its original crust. If you want a soft, workable, smudgeable eye liner that won’t drag your eyelid skin half way across your temple when you put it on, go with a specialty/department store brand. But no worries!! You don’t HAVE to drop $20 on an eyeliner…c

heck out the Sephora brand nano liners. They are soft, blendable, adequately pigmented, come in 20 conservative colors, and are (ready for it?) only $5!! My other favorite eye liners are Stila Kajal pencil, too faced lava gloss liner, and Urban Decay 24/7 glide pencil (waterproof!!)

Eye shadow: Like eyeliner, a great eye shadow needs to be soft and full of pigment. There is really only one drugstore brand shadow that I would classify in that category. If you haven’t tried out L’Oreal HIP pigments, I would encourage you to give it a whirl. Beyond that brand,

stick with the higher end brand shadows. To get the most value, look for palettes; they always give you way more for your money. My FAV palette for the moment is the Kat Von Dee Ludwig Palette at Sephora. It is only $35 and you get 8 great sized, full pigmented, super soft, sultry, shadows. That breaks down to less than $4.50 per shadow a deal

you can’t find at the drugstore! I promise, you’ll LOVE them! If you are looking for single shadows, there are too many amazing ones to count. (I will tell you that I can’t live without my Make Up Forever matte shadows.)

Eye Shadow Primer: There is really no point in putting on eye shadow if you don’t have a great silicone base primer underneath. Those of us who are allegiant to this product cannot live without it. I won’t even bother putting eye shadow on myself without this magical marvel underneath; it truly makes that big of difference. Would you paint your fence without priming it first? Sure, the paint would show up, but the paint would not perform as well as it could, having to contend with the color and texture underneath. So prep those peepers with a great primer! It keeps your shadow on ALL day, keeps your shadow from creeping around, creasing up your lid, AND you don’t use as much shadow by giving your shadow a surface to adhere to. There are a lot of options out there and us primer prissies are so particular about our primer preferences (I couldn’t help myself ); here are the top picks: Urban Decay primer potion, Too Faced Shadow insurance (lasts a really really long time), Paula Dorf eye primer (my 1st love), and Smashbox photo finish lid primer. Using a primer will make all your wildest dreams come true. That’s how exciting this product is; and that’s a promise!