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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Me-ow!

I’m often too rushed in the morning to take time to really make myself up for the day, so I rely on products that are quick and easy and add a lot of oomph. Or, at least, enough oomph to keep me from looking like a corpse throughout the day.

Having an extremely fair complexion, I’ve discovered recently that failure to apply blush usually results in clients and coworkers asking if I’m feeling alright or commenting on my unusual paleness.

In an effort to look alive and feel pretty, I recently find myself reaching for a couple of feline-inspired products. The first, and most versatile, is Too Faced Pink Leopard Bronzing Powder. Packaged in an adorable pink leopard-print box, the powder is made up of shimmery gold, soft pink and brown shades. Swirled together on a blush or powder brush, the bronzer leaves a subtle glow on cheeks that is easily layered to create the desired level of color. I also apply a little to my brow bones to give my face an all over glow. This shade is perfect for us pale things, as the pink offsets the brown and the color never gets too dark. However, there is a nice amount of shimmer in the powder that would accent darker skin tones nicely as well. Bonus: the inside of the package features a mirror that says “You look absolutely purrrfect!” Not a bad way to start the day.

The second product is one I’ve mentioned before: Stila Kitten Eye Shadow. This shimmery neutral shadow is flattering to virtually all eye colors, and it stays put throughout the day. Whenever I want to play up my eyes a bit, I swipe on Kitten, curl my lashes, and finish with mascara. It’s a really nice look.

Fall Favorite

Every fall I get the back-to-school shopping itch, even though my school days are long over. As a result, I usually do a bit more shopping in September than I really should, updating the work wardrobe, buying a new purse, and, of course, buying new fall makeup.

Despite my love for beauty products I am kind of a makeup minimalist. I love the stuff but really try to never look too made up. I do, however, like to look pretty. I want my skin to look flawless and my eyes should look bright. And every now and then I want to make one of my features  pop.

This fall I’ve decided it’s time to give my lips a turn. (Usually if I’m going to get bold it’s with eyeliner and mascara. I’m definitely an eye girl.) So this season I’m keeping my face clean and pale (I’m absolutely loving Stila Illuminating Powder Foundation, it’s long lasting and makes my skin look pretty), swiping on mascara, and glossing up with what is my new favorite product, Too Faced Mirror Mirror Gloss in Envy Me, a black currant colored (and flavored) gloss that is ultra shiny and gives my mouth a dark purpley-pink look that is noticeable but not over the top. It’s definitely more pigment than I usually go for, but it’s still subtle enough to be pretty, not tacky.

And it’ll go perfectly with that purple sweater I just ordered.

What’s in a Name?

A few years back a friend of mine pointed out that the majority of the makeup I buy comes with a cool name. She laughingly pointed this out one day while we were getting ready to go out for a night on the town. While she painted her nails a color named something like “brick” and dusted on eyeshadow in a shade called “desert brown,” I was happily painting my face with my all time favorite makeup palette, Too Faced’s “The Temptress.”

It got me thinking, particularly when it comes to makeup, what’s in a name? Obviously the chicest, most fun name can’t make a lousy product a good one, but, I have to admit, I’d rather apply a product whose name is dripping with sex appeal than one whose name conjures up images of vultures and a cactus.

I have collected a variety of sass-inducing beauty products over the years, and I will confess to using them to boost my mood and confidence in addition to whatever increase in beauty they can contribute. Here, a few of my favorite sexy products:

– I’ve mentioned it before but I have to bring it up again. Ladies, if you don’t own Nars Orgasm blush by now, do yourself a favor and buy some. Yes, it has a naughty name, but the truth is this sheer pink blush looks fantastic on every skin tone I’ve ever seen it on. It goes on light, and you can layer it on for a darker glow or keep it sheer for a subtle one. There’s a reason it’s been a cult classic for years. It’s the second best way to get that glow.

– Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Lust. A metallic purple eyeliner might sound scary, but trust me, it’s not. This stay-put liner is one of my secret beauty weapons. Smudged lightly under the eyes it’s a subtle way to make my eyes pop. Or, when I’m feeling more bold, I use it to create a cat eye. Either way, who wouldn’t feel sexier after lining her eyes with lust?

– Too Faced Lock Down Ultimate Creaseless Cream Eye Shadow in Bedroom Eyes. One of my more recent beauty finds, this cream shadow is made with Too Faced’s Shadow Insurance, a primer that keeps your eyeshadow from creasing and smudging all over your face. Bedroom Eyes is a shimmery golden brown that stays put, even in hot and humid weather. And every time I wear it someone tells me I have beautiful eyes. Sold.

– My last pick is brought to us by OPI, a brand that in my opinion has mastered the art of naming products. My current favorite is their Nail Lacquer in An Affair in Red Square, a vampy red that stays put and looks absolutely fantastic, the perfect blend of classy and sexy.

And really, isn’t that what we want from our makeup?