Wedding Belles

Three weeks ago my twin sister married the man she loves. They had a lovely ceremony and an even lovelier reception, all white linens and peach roses and flickering candles. The chilly April air outside was no match for the love and warmth inside that day. And the pretty decor was no match for the radiant bride; I have never seen my sister look more beautiful.

While I remember the way everything looked, and the way we all felt that day – I, for one, was an emotional wreck – the wedding itself flew by in a blur of activity: ceremony-photos-speeches-dinner-drinks-cake-dancing-what-do-you-mean-it’s-over? What I remember clearly, though, are the hours leading up to the big event. I will never forget the time spent “behind the scenes,” helping my sister (the bride) and all of our friends (the bridesmaids) get ready for the beautiful day that awaited us.

It’s obviously no secret that I’m a bit of a beauty fiend. The morning of the wedding I packed my entire beauty arsenal and brought it with me to the suite where we were to get ready. My sister had hired a hairdresser to come to the suite – a long lost childhood friend, with whom it seemed like no time had passed as she joked and chatted and whipped our hair into intricate updos and cascades of curls. We drank mimosas and steamed our dresses and listened to favorite songs as we decided how to go about making ourselves beautiful.

My favorite memories of the big day – memories that I will certainly cherish for the rest of my life – are of the frantic questions my friends were throwing at me as show time drew closer and closer: Can you fix my eye brows? How do I apply this eye shadow trio? Which color looks best on me? Can you trim my hair? It was a whirlwind of beauty activity, and I was honored that my friends trusted me at such an important moment. So I trimmed hair, gave a tutorial on eye shadow application, helped select makeup shades and dusted everyone’s face with finishing powder (Make Up For Ever HD High Definition Powder) to help keep shine at bay in photos.

My favorite memory – and biggest honor – involved the bride herself. Time was running out, and the hairdresser – who was meant to do my sister’s makeup in addition to everybody’s hair – had to make a call. “Can you do your sister’s makeup?” she asked me, a little flustered. “I trust you.”

So, as my sister sat still, getting her hair curled and pinned and hairsprayed for that oh-so-important walk down the aisle, I sat across from her and made up her face, determined to make her look just the way she’d want to – fresh, glowing, flawless, but not to “done” – she’s not really the makeup-wearing type, and I knew she wanted her soon-to-be husband to recognize her as she approached him at the alter.

Not to toot my own horn, but (toot, toot) I have to admit I did a damn good job with her makeup that day. She looked exceptional. And just like herself. Herself with impossibly perfect skin, soft lips, and eyes that were even more dazzling than normal.


So, in case she wants to replicate her gorgeous bridal look, or in case any of you, loyal readers, are looking for a perfect wedding look, here’s what I used and how I used it:

First, I used a warm washcloth to clean her face and dampen you skin – I find moisturizer goes on more smoothly when the skin is slightly damp. She didn’t want a lot of heavy makeup (she, like me, is blessed with pretty darn good skin), so instead of foundation I smoothed on Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint in Pearl. It has a bit more coverage than a typical tinted moisturizer but still has a light feel, and it does give the complexion a luminous glow. I evened out dark circles and any random blemishes with Mineralogie Ultimate Cream Concealer in U2. This is hands down the best concealer I have ever used; it has long lasting coverage and it doesn’t settle into creases around the eyes.

We wanted her eyes to stand out but in a natural way, so we used brown shades instead of blacks. First I had her curl her lashes. Then I lined the outer corners of her eyes with Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eye Liner in Lionfish, a rich medium brown. Stila Smudge Sticks glide on ridiculously easily – I highly recommend them. I then lightly lined her lower lash line with the same liner, smudging out ever-so-slightly at the outer corners for just a hint of a cat eye.

After the liner I used a trio of Clinique shadows on her lids. I used Teddy Bear as a highlighting shade from lashes to brow bone. I used Buttered Bronze, a medium brown, as a wash of color from her lashes to her crease, and then finished with a thick swipe of Chocolate Chip, a dark brown, right along her lashes. I finished off her eyes with a generous swipe of L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Hydrofuge Mascara in Black Brown. Her eyes looked stunning.

To brighten her complexion and give her a soft flush, I used a fluffy brush to sweep Tarte Amazonian Clay Long-Wear Blush in Dollface on the apples of her cheeks and along her cheekbones.

The finishing touch, of course, had to be the perfect lip color – something plumping and moisturizing, natural-looking, and kissable – no sticky glosses or chalky lipsticks allowed. I used Tarte LipSurgence Natural Lip Tint in Peaceful, a nude peach. It was absolutely perfect. It’s long lasting, very moisturizing, and not sticky in the least – ideal for a bride.

And, of course, I gave her a dusting of finishing powder, just like everyone else. In the end, mission accomplished – she was flawless.

Here are some other products that proved popular (and effective) as we made ourselves up for the day:

L’Oreal Paris Infallible Lipgloss in Sangria. An ultra-flattering red that did not budge throughout the entire day. It also has a mini mirror on the cap – handy!

Sephora Nectar Shine Hydrating Care Lipgloss in Raspberry Shine. Several of the bridesmaids swiped this berry gloss on before the ceremony. The color is universally flattering and the shiny gloss lasts longer than most.

Too Faced Lock Down Ultimate Creaseless Cream Eye Shadow in Bedroom Eyes. A bronzey taupe, this shadow stayed put through tears and tissues.

Speaking of tear-proof, I picked up Maybelline The Classic Volume Express Waterproof Mascara in Very Black on my way to the wedding, knowing I’d be shedding a few tears throughout the day. Boy am I glad I did – even when I flat-out bawled during my Maid of Honor speech, my mascara didn’t smudge.

And honestly, at a wedding, what more can you ask for?

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Vamped Up

 

Ah, Halloween. The one day, each year, that we are all free to try someone else’s persona on for size. A day that allows little girls to become princesses, little boys to become superheroes, and grown women to dress like slutty cats/nurses/police officers.

 

For me, Halloween has always been about the makeup. It’s my chance to try a different hairstyle, rock some red lipstick, or wear fake eyelashes. One year a girlfriend and I threw on some devil horns with cat-eyes and sexy Bardot hair. Another year I went all sweet and innocent as Little Red Riding Hood, with angelic makeup and pigtails. This year, I’ll be going all out gorgeous and getting in touch with my inner vamp.

 

Of course by vamp and I mean vampire, and I’m not talking about the just-rolled-out-of-the-coffin variety. I’m talking about the impossibly beautiful True Blood vampire, with fair skin, sparkling eyes and flushed cheeks.

 

When I learned that Tarte had created a special collection of makeup inspired by the show, I had to get my hands on it. The Tarte for True Blood collection is available at Sephora, and includes a colorful eyeshadow palette (complete with how-to instructions on recreating some True Blood looks) and a glamourous deep red cheek stain. Envious as I am of that sexy True Blood flush, I snapped up the cheek stain with glee.

 

The stain comes in Tarte’s signature tube and smells absolutely delicious. The deep dark red gel is laced with sparkle and can be layered for various levels of shimmery flush. Once applied, you have a few seconds to blend it before it sets, so be ready to smudge it or you’ll end up with an obvious streak of color on your face. Blended correctly, it creates a believable vamp-ish glow; the first time I tried it, my boyfriend took one look at me and said “you look just like Jessica.” He was referring, of course, to True Blood’s tall, pale, ridiculously good-looking redhead, on whom I admittedly have a bit of a girl crush. And although I know he was stretching the truth more than a little bit, with that one compliment I instantly felt I got my money’s worth.

 

In addition to creating a perfect vampire complexion – I’ll be playing up my natural fairness along with my sparkly flush – I found a sinful nail polish that will help me complete my undercover vampire appearance. Sephora by OPI’s Garden of Good and Evil collection is filled with rich fall colors, and I’m obsessed with What’s Your Poison, a deep glittery red that looks like it was made to match Tarte’s cheek stain. From the moment I saw the polish in a magazine ad, I started lusting after it. In fact, I gushed about it so much that my coworker (and good friend) surprised me with a bottle of it one Monday morning after a weekend trip to Sephora – talk about a great way to start your week! The polish looks very red in the bottle but actually goes on a sheer magenta. I like to apply it with a somewhat heavy hand – doing so creates a darker, redder shade with lots of glittery depth. It’s pretty and oh so fun: a mischievous addition to a refined vampire look.

 

To finish off the look, I’ll most likely dab a little of the cheek stain on my lips – as with the cheeks, you can add as little or as much as you want to create the desired level of color. I find that this shade creates a very subtle and sexy stain on the lips, making you look as though you have just been bitten by a vampire.

 

Or, at the very least, kissed by one.

Make Me Blush

Something about Spring always makes me crave a good blush. The reappearance of lawns after months of nothing but snow as far as the eye can see, the sunnier days and the fresh green buds on all the trees makes me long for a youthful glow. Luckily, there are many options – new formulas and old standbys alike – to get me ready for this most optimistic of seasons.

My all-time favorite blush is relatively new, but has amazing staying power and looks stunningly pretty. Tarte Amazonian Clay Long-Wear Blush in Dollface is the best things to happen to cheeks since Nars Orgasm. The soft pink powder is gorgeous, giving my pale complexion a cheerful wash of color that literally lasts until I wipe it off at night. Plus, it contains Amazonian clay, the hot new cosmetic ingredient that is great for skin and, let’s face it, just sounds cool. The blush comes in an array of colors, but Dollface was by far my favorite; it makes me look flushed, not wind-burned.

Nars Orgasm is of course a classic, a nice medium pink powder blush that looks good on virtually everyone. It goes on fairly sheer and you can layer it for your desired level of color. I personally don’t think it has the same staying power as Tarte’s offering, but it’s a classic for a reason.

If you’re more of a cheek stain kind of girl, Benefit Benetint is another cult favorite, and nothing beats it when it comes to a getting a nice rosy glow. The red liquid is great for lips, too. Unlike other stains that I’ve tried, I find this one easy to apply – you actually have a few seconds to rub it in before it dries, so you don’t end up with an obvious streak across your face instead of the intended wash of color. Benefit also has a pink version, Posietint, for days when you’re feeling less bold. In fact, you can buy a trio of sample sized Benefit complexion enhancers – Benetint, Posietint and the light pink highlighter High Beam – for $15. It’s a great way to add a little variety to your makeup routine.

My favorite way to wear blush is with clean skin, a swipe of mascara, and a clear or light pink lip gloss. It looks incredibly fresh, like you just came inside from a refreshing Spring stroll. And who couldn’t use a breath of fresh Spring air?