Monday, March 6, 2017

The Wedding MBA Podcast Interview with Celebrity Officiant Clint Hufft!

I am SUPER excited that I've been invited back as a featured speaker at Wedding MBA this fall! Wedding MBA is a national conference of wedding vendors from all over the US held each year in Las Vegas.  There are educational breakouts for specialties like beauty, florists, planners, DJs, photographers, etc., as well as large presentations that apply to any vendor in the wedding industry....plus a full scale trade show and awesome parties sponsored by iconic sponsors The Knot and Wedding Wire.  If you're in the wedding industry and are interested in going, this year's event will be October 2-4, and you can find all the information here.  Last year, I met so many fabulous people and had some really great discussions about how we approach our businesses.  We're in such a unique industry...it's incredibly helpful to learn from each other!


As I prepare to speak again this year, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Wedding MBA Podcast host, Clint Hufft....an LA based celebrity officiant who, incidentally, married Ryan and Trista from the Bachelorette.  Very cool! Clint will be interviewing all the featured speakers leading up to the conference this fall.  We had a great chat last week!  We covered a lot of bases....including my backstory of my journey into becoming a bridal beauty expert, including the one (pretty silly) thing I was letting hold me back.  It led perfectly into one of my upcoming presentations this year, entitled "Breaking Bad: How to Set Yourself Apart from the Competition".  (Here's a list of presentations  from this year's event if you want to see more!)  In the competitive wedding industry, that's not easy, and if you live in a large market like I do (Dallas Fort Worth is one of the biggest wedding markets in the country), it can be intimidating!  I'll tell you a little bit about the journey I had to go through, the realization that some of the things I perceived to be different about me actually HELPED me become a bridal beauty expert, and my thoughts on the wedding industry and brides.  You can find it on Itunes under the Wedding MBA show, or there's a direct link to the podcast here.

I hope you enjoy it, and if you're a wedding vendor.....I hope you'll join us and stop by to say hello at Wedding MBA this October!  I'd love to meet you, and hear YOUR story.  Have a great day everyone!

Friday, February 24, 2017

5 Practical Tips to Organize your Makeup Bag (Reader's Digest Feature!)

When I teach private lessons, there's always a moment....
Before we begin with step by step application, I always review current products and tools and at least half the time, women are embarrassed to show me their makeup bag! Often, it's old, ratty, dirty and not at all reflective of the beautiful woman sitting in front of me. While I definitely don't judge, I will offer tips to get that bag organized....that's a pretty defeating way to start your day!

A few of my tips were featured in Genius Tips to Organize Your Makeup Bag in Reader's Digest Today (click on the link to check out the entire article!), but I wanted to share all of my tips so you don't miss out.  Let's go....


#1 Buy a new bag annually, and make sure it's big enough for your daily essentials! 


If you have a lot of cosmetics, store excess products in clear, plastic containers and just keep your everyday products in your bag.  Your goal is to quickly pull out your makeup bag, see all the stuff you need to get your daily makeup on and go!  Your everyday essentials should fit fairly snugly to avoid jostling and breakage.

#2 Choose a bag That can Wiped Out and Spot Cleaned  

Meaning, vinyl, plastic, or PVC, at least on the inside. You'll want to wipe down your bag every so often anyway, but definitely don't choose a delicate bag that will be ruined with one spill or broken eyeshadow!  Skip any kind of fabric....I once had a super cute canvas bag....I was sold on it because supposedly, it could be washed. It could indeed, but the makeup stains (particularly red lipstick) would not come out, so it was ruined anyway. : (

#3 Get Rid of any Products That are Broken! 

This can be an emotional issue...so many women hate waste, AND hate to spend money on themselves. It's shocking to see an elegant, put together woman attempting to create her daily beauty routine from a crumbled mess of almost gone and broken products.  Seriously ladies, you deserve better! Toss any shattered powders or items with broken cases ...now. Just do it.It's not worth dipping your hand into a case full of items covered with shattered eyeshadow every morning just to save that little bit of product! Yes, I know there are a jillion videos telling you how you can save it, but unless it's a brand new Chanel blush or something, it's not worth the hassle....just toss it and move on.  And while you're at it, go ahead and toss anything that's almost gone or expired too.  You'll enjoy getting ready so much more when your cosmetics are in good shape!

#4 Choose the Right Bag for You and Pack Wisely
 I like bags that either have two sections that you can unzip and lay flat while doing your makeup, or cases with a squared off bottom that stand up. There's no right or wrong....which bag works best will have a lot to do with how many cosmetics you have. (Check Pinterest boards for fab makeup bag inspiration!) One thing? Don't choose a case that falls over or requires dumping everything out every morning...ideally, you want to work from your bag and replace everything when you're done.

- Store palettes and hard cases standing upright....if they were a library book, their spine would be facing up. This will allow you to fit more product in your case. This works especially well with square or rectangular cases where you can stack up palettes against the edges.

- Buy a small mesh pencil case for small items - check the container store, office supply store, or dollar store (the Japanese dollar stores have lots of great options!). Use this small case to corral lip liner, eyeliner, skinny mascara tubes, tweezers, cuticle scissors.  Keeping all the little things under control is the easiest way to keep your bag neat.

- Buy jewelry ziplocks for disposables.  One of my favorite organizing tricks! Try Hobby Lobby or any store that carries jewelry making supplies....they have tiny ziplock bags that range from the size of a business card (perfect to store a stash of Qtips and keep them clean!), to a deck of cards (handy to corral a few odd sized items.  They even have really small ones that are perfect to store your pencil sharpener....it keeps it clean and keeps the shavings from getting all over the rest of your bag. (These bags are also genius for storing jewelry when you travel, or for packing vitamins, Advil and pills so you don't have to carry big containers.)

- Makeup wipes - always keep a pack in your case.  Not only used for removing makeup, but these are excellent for wiping down your products, the inside of your case if there's a spill, or for getting eyeliner or lipstick off hands.  Bonus, if your bag isn't super full, a pack of makeup wipes on top will keep your products from knocking around within your case.





- Do not, I repeat...do not store makeup brushes loose in your makeup case!  It's important to keep them clean and germ free, but also they'll make a mess on the rest of your products.  Assemble your most used daily brushes and then choose a small pencil case (similar to the one for eye and lip liners) or a brush roll that fits your stash...you can choose one that fits inside your bigger case, or just keep them separate. It Cosmetics also has several travel brush sets that have been edited to include essential brushes, and they're already packaged in a protective case.



Bonus tip?
If you normally do a natural look every day, create two makeup cases.....one with all your everyday essentials, and the second one should hold your date night/special occasion beauty supplies. Special occasion items could include smoky shadows, products with shimmer, bolder lip colors (yes, I recommend a deep red! : ), lashes and glue, slick black liner for a cat eye....anything you would normally choose for a fancier night out.  Keeping it separate means you don't
have to wade through lashes and glitter every morning to get to your daily concealer and mascara, AND having those items ready to go makes it super easy to stash that bag in your tote when you need to glam up for after work function, holiday party or date.

Remember, the whole point is that it should be easy and fun to get ready in the morning! It's pretty hard to feel beautiful and put together if getting ready means pulling out a germ laden, beat up makeup bag that has a bunch of old products covered in a broken blush, right? 

Thanks again to Reader's Digest for featuring a few of my tips today!
What are YOUR favorite makeup organizing tips?  Share in the comments below!


Monday, February 6, 2017

Will Your Flower Girl Remember Being in Your Wedding? I Say YES, and Here's Why.....

I was having a conversation with a bride recently...she wondered if her adorable little flower girls (ages 3-6) will even remember being in her wedding?  I definitely think so, and here's my proof....


Yep, that's me....I'm about 4 years old and I was a miniature bride in my Aunt Candy's wedding.  I don't know if that was a seventies thing, or a northern thing (I'm from Wisconsin), but I haven' t really heard of miniature brides since then, so I'm not sure?  Anyway, my dress and bouquet looked exactly like hers, and I had never been more excited I my life! Here's another thing...I'm one of 4 kids, we're all 13  months apart.  If your family is like that, then you know....you do EVERYTHING together, one on one attention is somewhat rare.  Being chosen for this special task, just me.....not one of my sisters....was the biggest thing that possibly could've happened.  I literally remember EVERY DETAIL...walking down the aisle, pictures, dancing.  I only have 2 or 3 pictures from the event, including this one, and I treasure it! The wedding day was an excited blur, but I thought it was the most incredible night.

Weddings are magical like that, aren't they?!? Who knew that someday I'd be a wedding vendor myself.....a bridal beauty expert. I have worked with well over 1000 brides (and counting!) over my 20+ year career AND get to live in the world of weddings every day. I never, ever get tired of it, and I never will...it's a honor to be a part of such a special celebration! This may be an old, grainy photo, but clearly, this pic is instrumental in explaining my love and passion for being a bridal beauty artist.

And yes, bride to be.....someday your lil' peanut will be a grown up too.  She'll remember every detail about being in YOUR wedding, and it'll make her smile.


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Should you Wear Foundation When it's Hot and Humid? (SheFinds Feature!)

I live in Texas y'all...
In case you've been living under a rock, then you know it gets HOT here....we often endure temps of 90 and up six months out of the year, and yes, that includes September!  Sometimes you just can't stay in AC...outdoor concerts, weddings, a photo shoot, or even just running around during the day...women are constantly asking me how they can look polished even when it's sticky and miserable weather.
So...the question really is:

Should I wear foundation when it's hot and humid?
and....
Photo credit: Chelsea Crockett
How can I apply my foundation so it doesn't have a complete meltdown?


You CAN wear foundation when it's hot and humid, but you need to make a few adjustments from your cool weather routine for best results.  Here are my favorite tips as profiled in SheFinds!


If it's a casual occasion and your skin is looking good?

Start with a mattifying primer, add a bit of concealer on dark circles and any red spots.....go ahead and skip a full face of foundation.  Add waterproof mascara, a fun lipcolor and a bit of bronzer and work a carefree natural look!

If you need/want a full face/full coverage look despite soaring temps, here's your plan of action:
Cleanse well, and use a light, water gel formula moisturizer (I like Garnier's versions), save the ultra-creamy moisturizers for nightime during summer months.

- Apply a mattifying gel (I like Benefit Porefessional Mattifying gel or Makeup Forever Step 1 Primer) to prep skin and keep oil at bay.

- Dot on a highly pigmented cream foundation or even a concealer that matches your skin and has a slightly drier texture (you can use less product!) with a foundation brush, focus on dark circles, blotchy areas,
shadows around your mouth.  Blend with a slightly damp beauty blender...skip using your fingers, they can add extra oil.  Use as little foundation as you can to achieve the
coverage you need to avoid a total meltdown!  (I use RCMA, IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Redness and Laura Mercier concealer)

Set foundation with a very finely milled setting powder (I like Cover FX or Laura Mercier) buffed on lightly using a
large, fluffy brush.

Take your dampened beauty blender and lightly press all over your face....this avoids a powdery look and helps to ensure your foundation is set.

- Final step?  A light misting of setting spray to lock everything into place....I like Urban Decay "All Nighter".


I don't recommend powder foundations for anything other than an easy mid-day touch up....., it's much easier to achieve natural looking coverage using liquid or cream products (sparingly!) and set with setting powder.

If you do get really hot and sweaty, remember these tips:

NEVER add powder to wet or sweaty skin...it'll look pasty and muddy!

BLOT - use a paper towel (My fave?  Viva! They have a soft, cloth-like texture that absorbs like crazy)  to gently blot moisture off your face and don't wipe...the combination of sweat/water
and wiping will ruin your makeup!  Blot gently, and it'll stay intact.

REMOVE OIL - Once you've blotted excess sweat, THEN blot oil using a oil blot sheet (I like Clean and Clear) to blot oil instead of adding powder.

Sometimes you just can't skip a full face of makeup even when it's super hot and humid.  Follow these steps and you'll look great, regardless of the temps!




(Thanks again to SheFinds for using my comments in their feature!  Click here to read these tips, plus so many other helpful beauty and lifestyle tips on SheFinds!)








Sunday, September 4, 2016

Bridal Portrait Session 101 - Absolutely EVERYTHING You Need to Know!

So if you're reading this and don't live in the South, you might be saying..."um, what's a bridal
portrait?"  Basically, it's a bridal preview...full hair and makeup, plus the dress and bouquet...all captured in a photo session by your photographer.  Often, girls will choose their favorite to have printed and framed at the wedding reception, later to hang in their home. It's mainly a southern custom, but it's quickly creeping into other parts of the US and it's already a tradition in other parts of
the world.
Image: Beatbox Portraits

You might be wondering...should I do one?  Is it worth it?  Is it really necessary?  Well, as a bridal beauty expert and makeup artist who's worked with hundreds and hundreds of brides...and the talented photographers who shoot the bridal sessions....I definitely know a thing or two about them.

Here's the lowdown so you can decide for yourself if a bridal portrait session is for you, and to ensure that you LOVE your photos if you do book one:

One thing you should know right off the bat?

Bridal Session Photos are VERY Different than Wedding Day Photos!
Wedding day is all about the intimacy, the emotion, the excitement....you're getting MARRIED.  A great photographer will focus on capturing not only the traditional family photos, but also all of the details and special moments that happen all throughout the day. When it's done right, it's a 360 view of the entire event to help you remember all the details! Whether you look at it once a year or every Friday night, you and your spouse, plus your kids AND grandkids will truly love enjoying your wedding photos for years to come.

 A bridal session?  That's about YOU, honey. When else in your life do you look that freakin' fabulous!?! No matter how practical you are, you can't deny that there is something magical about a beautiful bride. Here's your chance to be that beautiful bride....and the bridal session captures that moment in time forever. (Sounds cheesy, but it's SO TRUE!)

OK, But What Are the Benefits of Doing a Bridal Portrait Session?
- It's a chance to try everything together....hair, makeup, dress, veil, accessories...and make sure it all works.  If you need to change anything, you have time.
- Bridal sessions are a great time to bond and build trust with your photographer and beauty team. The more you all know each other, the more comfortable and relaxed you'll be on wedding day! Hopefully there won't be any snags, but if there are, you can solve them beforehand.
- It'll calm your nerves...bigtime.  Once you know that the intricate hairstyle you chose looks perfect with your dress, that bright lip color works and the necklace is the perfect length...it's a huge stress reliever the day of.
- A bridal session is relaxed and fun....a great way to capture how gorgeous you look BEFORE the big day.  Save wedding day for being "in the moment" and enjoying the emotion!
- And lastly, yes you'll have a gorgeous photo to display at the reception, or if that's not your thing, to hang in your home for years to come. You might not think you want it, but trust me....I've never heard
Image: Peyronet Photography
a bride say she regretted doing a bridal session, and they're always really happy to have the images.  And the husbands?  There's no man on the planet who doesn't want an image of his wife looking the most beautiful he's ever seen....#justsaying

What do Bridal Sessions Cost?
Just like everything else wedding related, costs vary according to where you live, and the type of vendors you've chosen.  Professional hair and makeup is 100% worth it, so don't skip it for your photo session! Expect to pay somewhere between $200-$400 for hair and makeup depending on rates where you live (less in small towns, higher in big cities) and expect to pay more to have your beauty team come on location.

 Expect to pay somewhere between $300-$900 for your bridal photography session (doesn't include prints, those are extra)....many photographers roll it into your entire package, but you can book it separately too. Use legit and reputable vendors ALWAYS.  Looking incredible and having stunning bridal photos will be an investment, but one that's worth it....don't fall into the trap of going cheap or hiring inexperienced vendors. (Read more about why here....)

Also...DON'T forget to order a bouquet!  It doesn't have to be elaborate or the same bouquet you'll have for your wedding, but it gives you something to do with your hands and provides a pop of color....cost starts around $75 for a simple version and goes up depending on size and the type of flowers you choose.

When Should I Schedule it?
- Look at dates AFTER your dress is due to arrive....and be sure to allow extra time for alterations.
Image: Matt and Ivy Weddings
- You can schedule it as early as you want once you have your dress, but most bridal sessions are done 2-3 months before wedding day.
- Expect to schedule a bridal session on a weekday or Sunday...Saturdays won't work for your photographer or your beauty team who will most likely be working a wedding!
- Early morning sessions work well for outdoor shoots in the summer to beat the heat, and afternoon/early evening shoots work well in fall and winter to capture "golden hour"...those hours before sunset when the light is amazing.
- If you DO want a framed photo for your reception, be sure to check with your photographer on how early you need to schedule your session so that there's enough time to edit, order and receive your image in time to display it.


How Do I Choose A Good Location?
Options are really endless, but here's a list to get you started:
Image: Peyronet Photography
- Outdoor Locations: Your wedding venue, Botanical Gardens, Historic Homes, Local Wineries, a Ranch in the country, The Terrace or Rooftop of a Hotel, Sports Venues, or even downtown areas with modern sculptures.  Ask your photographer for suggestions!

- Indoor Locations:  Your wedding venue, Museums, Art Galleries, Hotels, Fancy Restaurants, A Concert Hall, A Historic Theater, Sleek lobby of a building, a private home, a downtown loft or industrial space....get creative!

Just make sure you choose somewhere that allows photo shoots, and check to see if there's a fee involved or time restrictions. If you are working with a photographer who specializes in natural light be sure to choose a location that allows for that. Bonus tip #1: If you choose a hotel, book a night at that hotel, have a girlfriend or two stay with you and then arrange for your beauty team to come on location to help you get ready there in your room. Serve drinks and snacks, play fun music and Snapchat the whole getting ready process...make your photo session a truly fun EVENT!

Consider indoor locations during months that typically have rain, ice or extreme heat...it's easier to schedule and the shoot will be more fun! (translation, less of a beating ; )  If you want something outdoors, and a traditional garden backdrop isn't your style, that's ok...choose a location that that fits YOUR personality.

Bonus tip #2: Don't assume you can get ready or change into your gown at your shoot location, many venues don't have dedicated space for that or just won't allow it if they feel it interferes with customers or daily business.  Find out ahead of time to avoid having to change in the parking lot!

The Bridal Session Shoot.....Do's and Don'ts
Image: Tracy Autem Photography
- DO schedule a separate hair and makeup trial BEFORE your bridal session...particularly if you have no idea what you want or are planning on choosing a very complicated Pinterest-y hairdo or want makeup that is a big change from what you usually do.
- DO Plan on 2 hours for your hair and makeup appointment, and allow a little extra time if you're an out of town bride or didn't have time to squeeze in a trial first.
- DO consider having your bridal beauty team get you ready on-site if that's an option.  (Expect extra charges for travel and site fees! )
- DO Bring your BFF or your mom, or both! They'll make it fun and help you do relax.
- DON'T forget to bring your veil or hair accessory to your hair appointment so your stylist can put in in for you.
- DON'T forget to order and pick up your bouquet!
- DO make sure you have oil blot sheets and lip color with you for emergency touch ups. Avoid touching up with powder if possible...it can look cakey and can flash out.
- DO have a glass or two of champagne to relax and loosen up!
- DON'T drink too much...you'll get blotchy and have a hard time focusing.  No red wine...it can stain your teeth!
- DO bring an old white sheet with you!  You can sit on it if you need to wear your dress in the car and it can be spread out on the ground if you need to protect the bottom of your dress.
- DO bring your wedding heels (especially if they're really pretty!) so your photographer can capture a few shots of them, as well as a pair of slip-on flats for walking to and from shooting locations.
- DON'T freak out too much about getting your dress dirty!  A few specks of dust won't matter, and you can get it cleaned before the wedding if you really need to.
DO ensure that any friends or family who come with you remember to keep photos private until AFTER wedding day, especially if you're a traditional bride and don't want your fiance to see how you'll look ahead of time.  It sounds like common sense, but in this age of social media and non-stop posting, people accidentally leak them all the time!  Generally, it's considered ok to post hair and makeup only pics, but most girls don't want anyone to post the whole she-bang. Let everyone know what you prefer so your bridal look doesn't wind up all over Instagram weeks before the wedding!

And my number one bridal portrait tip?
- DON'T obsess about how you look!  If you're constantly thinking "do I look stupid?".....yep, you'll
Image: Jenny Martell Photography
look stupid.  Or at the very least, tense and awkward....not cute! Instead, think about when he proposed, the first "I love you" or the night you met.... it'll create soft and romantic expressions and you'll love how you look.  You really only need 2 or 3 good shots, and your photographer will capture plenty for you to choose from!  They don't all need to be super-serious either, so laugh, smile, and think romantic thoughts about your honey for fool-proof and fabulous photos!

(Stunning bride Lauren?  #nailedit!!!)









(All makeup on these lovely brides by Jennifer Trotter of Lip Service Makeup)

Copyright Jennifer Trotter (Lip Service Makeup) 2016