Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Boudoir Photography

This is my take on a specialized kind of photography. . .

Boudoir photography is giving the gift of fantasy. It's capturing a time when a woman feels her most glamourous, confident self. This is one of those moments that I am so thrilled to be a part of.

It's one thing to stand in front of a photographer and pose, tilt a chin or cast eyes in one direction or other, but this is completely different. First, there has to be trust. . .almost a friendship between photog and client. I feel the photographer has to be invested emotionally in this client because it is an intimate moment. A time when someone has to let her guard down and trust that the best angle, lighting, etc. will be directed by the person in charge. . . that photographer.

I've had the privilege to work with such an artist. Her name is Kim Graham. She is a Charleston photographer who is constantly busy, and for good reason. Kim not only photographs amazing weddings, engagements, and family portraits, but she has a knack for boudoir photography. The main reason I say this is because her clients trust her. She is a kind, unassuming presence. . . gentle and encouraging, yet very much in control. These qualities enable her to put her subjects at ease and really get into the nuances of this sexy, intimate kind of photography. Kim innately knows the best placement of a hand or a downward glance or a prop that can help make a woman look like a celebrity and herself all at once. She is great at determining someone's comfort level and taking her to the edge of it. That's what makes great boudoir photography and keeps clients happy and confident.

What a gift! The ladies whose photos appear above, were both doing sessions for Christmas gifts for their husbands. Imagine that surprise! I am a big fan because it symbolizes them in their prime. It takes some guts to do this; to put yourself out there and say, "here I am. . .remember me like this . . ."

Boudoir photography is private. Often, it's just the photographer and client, to ensure her comfort. From the makeup artist's perspective, this is one of my FAVORITE ways to work. . . the makeup is quite a bit heavier than the client would wear on a daily basis. I usually have carte blanche in my choice of colors and formulations (always airbrush!). But take a look at the lashes . . . I could sing about the LASHES for days! For me, the lashes are key.

If you've ever or never considered boudoir photography, I suggest you think about it. No matter what stage you're at in your life, a little va-va-voom never hurt anything ;)

Thank you, Kim Graham Photography.

Thank you, Beautiful Wives.

Monday, December 21, 2009

And a poet said, Speak to us of Beauty. . .

And he answered:

Where shall you seek beauty, and how shall you find her unless she herself be your way and your guide?

And how shall you speak of her except she be the weaver of your speech?

The weaver of my speech? I am the first one to want to look good during this festive time of holidays, family, friends, food, and all other things Good. My prayer / meditation this year is for my speech, demeanor, and deeds, to be the beauty that is noticed first and foremost.

I love a good beauty product. . . both giving and receiving them. But this year, I want my actions to belie my "beauty."

Merry Christmas, y'all.


The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

Friday, December 18, 2009

Xmas Jam Part 2. . . Lip Junkies

I went over-prepared.

If I've learned anything in my years of doing makeup, it's much better to err on that side of caution. I didn't really expect the artists to sit for an airbrush application. But I didn't know, so I lugged it all.

It came down to a few staples: concealer, powder, eyeliner/guyliner, and a fluffy brush. But the most popular, sought-after product was my MAC Lip Conditioner. They came searching me out for this stuff. And for good reason.

MAC's Lip Conditioner (in the white tube) is amazing. It doesn't just sit on top of your lips like a wax-based product. It it's an emollient balm that truly conditions the delicate skin on lips. It contains almond oil, shea butter, avocado extract, wheat germ oil, and vitamins. This good stuff helps seal in moisture to protect lips from the environment. Asheville in December is COLD and chapped lips abound.

OK, so I was "popular" because of my MAC lip conditioner. I can handle that. . . I'm betting that more than a few of these people are converts, though.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Did That Just Happen? Xmas Jam '09

My brain is still trying to wrap around this. I waited for so long, and as with "all good things. . ." well, you know the rest. Because there is so much to tell you about, I'm going to keep this first installment short and sweet.

Last weekend I had the great privilege of being involved in an amazing philanthropic event: Warren Haynes' 21st Annual Christmas Jam. I did backstage makeup for the artists who participated in this year's benefit for Habitat for Humanity. Although Warren's name is on this (and because of that it attracts world-class performers), it takes an army of people to make this happen. Big shout out to all the fine folks at Hard Head Management! Phenomenal job. . . you certainly know how to
give back and for that, you are all blessed.

The two artists I'm pictured with are Jackie Greene (currently opening for Gov't Mule) and Mule bassist, Jorgen Carlsson. Please check out their respective websites listed below. Amazing music was made last weekend.

Peace and love,

Friday, December 4, 2009

Let's Talk Airbrush. . . MAC Pro Airbrush!!!!

Years ago, when I first heard the term "airbrush" as it relates to makeup, images of supermodels on the covers of all the top fashion magazines came to mind. Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, and Elle Macpherson on Vogue, Glamour, and Sports Illustrated. "Airbrushing" also carried connotations of a post-photo shoot computer correction of flaws. I never could understand why the supermodels needed to be "airbrushed" in that way.

Today airbrush makeup, riding on the coattails of all the aforementioned, implies the best in makeup for photography. With the advent of digital photography and high definition television and film, this is, in my humble opinion, the best way to apply foundation makeup. I'll save the equipment/tech-talk for another blog, but suffice it to say, MAC's Micronized Airbrush Formula foundation is at once sheer, providing wonderful coverage, and supremely matched to every skin tone. It is applied with an air compressor that disperses the foundation into tiny particles.

I'd like to thank my lovely model/bride Kate for allowing me to use her photos; and I'd also like to send a shout-out to Karen Julian-Smith of Simply Life Photography in Bluffton, SC. Although I'm posting only a few of her photos, I was awestruck by the way she captured the entire airbrush process. Check out her website because the same can be said of all her work!

The first photographs show some unevenness and redness in Kate's skin tone. By the end of the application, redness and pores are minimized, and Kate's overall appearance is even and natural. It's all about making the skin healthy and radiant.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

World AIDS Day & MAC Viva Glam

Just another reason I love MAC. . .

The MAC AIDS Fund was established in 1994 by Frank Angelo and Frank Toskan, the founders of Makeup Art Cosmetics, to support men, women, and children affected by HIV/AIDS globally. That same year, VIVA GLAM was introduced to financially support the Fund. To date, over $110 million U.S. has been raised for the MAC AIDS Fund.

The MAC AIDS Fund is dedicated to funding organizations worldwide that provide:
  1. direct care and daily essentials to those affected by HIV/AIDS (nutrition, housing, medical treatment, counseling, transportation)
  2. HIV/AIDS education and prevention programs; advocacy and capacity building
  3. support for the elimination of prejudice and discrimination against HIV/AIDS-affected people.
MAC and its retail partners donate 100% of the retail selling price of VIVA GLAM Lipsticks and Lipglass and Kids Helping Kids Cards to the MAC AIDS Fund.

Over 600 organizations worldwide have benefitted from funding from the MAC AIDS Fund.

For additional information and updates, please visit

In the meantime, please stop by your local MAC counter and check out the VIVA GLAM holiday lip kits and the Kids Helping Kids Cards.

Oh yeah.. . the kits, lipsticks, and glosses are BRILLIANT. . . great for stocking stuffers, presents, and "just for me" prizes :)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks

I wanted to take a moment to thank all the amazing people who have helped me along in my business endeavor. Without your knowledge, encouragement, patronage, confidence, artistry, and all the other good qualities that I drink in from each of you, this would not be possible.

To Makeup Art Cosmetics (MAC), for the training, guidance, and support.

To each and every lovely face. . . bride, model, performer. . . for the patience, excitement, and feedback. Your kind words sustain me; being a part of a moment in your life thrills me.

To all the amazing photographers whom I've worked with, thank you for your generosity and sharing spirit. I will always give credit to you and your work.

To all the stylists and artists I've had the good fortune to come across. . . there's always something meaningful to learn from our conversations and work together.

Last, but certainly not least, to my family and friends for your unconditional love and support.

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” (William Arthur Ward)

Happy Thanksgiving, Y'all!


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I Love A-Rod, but I Love My HAI Elite Rod More!

I'm no hair stylist, but I am "hair friendly."

I pay attention and can recognize something new and fabulous when I see it; this is a phenomenal hair styling tool. I consider myself in-the-know about lots of hair products, tools, styles, techniques. I have owned every kind of hair dryer, diffuser, hot roller, curling iron, hair straightener, brush, comb, pin. . . you name it. I still have my same set of Clairol hot rollers from my college days. So, I'm also something of a collector, too.

Several weeks ago I worked a photo shoot with the lovely ladies of Tresses Salon and the amazing photographers of King Street Studio (respective blogs to follow. . .). As the models were being styled, my curiosity was piqued by this new tool I'd never seen before.

It's called the HAI Elite Rod and it looks like a wand. . . the resulting curls are nothing short of magic. Although the barrel is conical in shape, and depending on how you hold it, your curl grades from loose to tight. The curl it creates is reminiscent of spiral or ringlet curls. It has no spring clip to hold hair in place which is very important because it gets super hot. That is why a heat-resistant glove must be used in conjunction so as not to burn the fingers / hands of those using it.

This rod is made of ceramic and tourmaline. It's the tourmaline that helps lock moisture into the hair cuticle. This is one styling tool that's actually good for your hair. I'm always game for "good for" my hair, especially since I put it through so much with heat, chemicals, and styling products.

The gurls at Tresses hooked me up when I went in for cut, color, and style. Jacqueline knew that I was interested in The Rod, so she styled my hair with it so I could see how to use it and extoll its virtues. One of the many virtues is that the curl lasted in my hair for a solid three days. No kidding. This tool takes the term "curls locked in" to a different level.

She also cautioned me, as I am about to for you, that you must be very careful and use the glove with this. This is no regular curling iron. . . it's a professional tool that gets extremely hot. This is a styling tool that was more than likely made for a stylist to use on someone else, but that is now being made available to the public. I do not consider it a novice/newbie tool. . . you have to be at least "hair friendly" to use it and not burn yourself.

So, I was hooked. . . after 3 days of curl. . .completely hooked. Last week I went back to get my own HAI Elite Rod. Before I did, I called around to several area salons and the professional beauty supply stores. No one has this; some have not even heard of it. Tresses Salon is the sole retailer on the East Coast of this amazing tool. Check it out at Tresses in the Oakland Market Shoppes, Hwy. 17 North, Mount Pleasant. Mallory, Jacqueline, Amy. . .or any of the stylists there can help you!

p.s. The photos that appear above are to illustrate the difference between my hair straightened versus Day Two of curls with the HAI Elite Rod.



I send heartfelt condolences to Barbara and Robert Kearns on the loss of their husband and father, respectively. P

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Luscious Lashes via MAC #4s, #7s, and #32s

I love lashes. Maybe it's because I don't have many of them, but mostly because it just puts a look "over the top."

In order to round out our discussion of lashes (see previous blog on Latisse), I must give equal time to false lashes. The pro's are many; the con's are few.

Pros: they provide POP immediately; they finish a look wonderfully; there are so many styles, sizes, and shapes available, that you can choose how much (or little) drama you want; they come off easily, and if treated gently, can be used 4 or 5 times. If you wear contacts, you're accustomed to having fingers near your eyes, so you, especially are able to wear them without much fuss.

Cons: gosh, I can't think of any. Some people say it's difficult to put them on themselves. There is truth in this. . . the first time I tried wearing them, it took me two times applying them before I felt comfortable with the process.

I try to talk all my brides into wearing them. Even if they are just "baby" lashes, that usually provides much more volume to a lash line. And mothers-of-the-bride, whose lashes may have thinned considerably, need them as well. For me, lashes are a must for any kind of photography.

I've attached some photos of the kinds of MAC lashes I use most. #4s are wispy and usually need to be trimmed, but I save those trimmings and use those for corner lashes at a later date. #7s are the spiky going-out lashes. . .people with a substantial distance between their lash line and eye brow wear these beautifully. #32s I use on many ladies who are on the fence about lashes or don't think they can pull it off. . . they are so very delicate and simply provide a little more oomph on thinning lashes. You can see from the first two photos the difference they make in my photos: one picture, I have nothing on my lashes, not even mascara. The other one I'm wearing MAC #7s. . . a little more drama than I'm accustomed to, but fun nonetheless. These two pics are a stark contrast, but included to show the difference between some and none.

I love my lashes. . . fake ones, real ones, or Latisse'd ones.

Thanks to the Lady at P.F. Chang's in Charlotte, NC ("Sushi Love!") and my MAC mate, Terrell. (Eyes, Lashes)

Proud Mama, Part Two

WARNING: Extremely proud Mama comments are forthcoming. Read at your own risk. Jordan, don't ask me to delete this :) Also, digressions are made all over the place.

Rounding out the Proud Mama / musical weeks referred to a couple of days ago, I have one more experience to relay. This one involves Son #1.

While Culley was off in Indianapolis winning national finalist honors with his high school band, and Livi and Jim were having their own Daughter/Daddy weekend complete with pedicure and date night, Jordan was with me.

Jordan is a sophomore at USC in Columbia where he's a morning deejay for WUSC-FM (90.5), the campus radio station. He's a graduate of the Charleston County School of the Arts (symphony major), and an all-around music lover. Because of his classical training at SOA, Jordan has a deep appreciation for all things music. Currently, improvisation and jazz are his favorites. My appreciation of music, which runs just as deep, is based on nothing technical, but on pop-culture. I love the history of music, lyrics, bands. . . the stories behind how things and relationships came to be. What dynamics were playing out among a band when they wrote a certain song? And of course, how certain music represents different stages of my own life. Was it a good time, a rough patch, childhood?

Well, last week the stars, moons, and planets aligned. I had urged Jordan to make a trip with me to Georgia to visit my mom. It was her birthday and it had been over a year since he's seen her. To my utter pleasure when I asked him to go along with me, he didn't argue or give any excuse about why it was inconvenient, etc. He just said, "Okay, Mom. I'll go." I didn't even have to sweeten the deal, which is what I was prepared to do. So, what happened next was just icing on the cake.

My friendships run deep. . . I have close, dear friends from elementary school through college through various jobs over the years that I still keep in touch with. A couple from my college days are currently professional musicians. One recently landed the job as new bass player for Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Well, as luck would have it, LS was playing in Augusta, GA, which was on our direct route to my mom's house in Monroe. Jordan and I got hooked up. . . tickets, passes, and some quality time with some old-school rockers. But my son impressed me more than anyone. And sometimes it cracks me up because I don't know where these qualities come from. There was nothing that intimidated him about any of this. None of the security, screaming die-hard fans, a full James Brown Arena, backstage access, dressing-room/catering; none of it daunted him. He was open and happy and at his most pleasant self. For any one who knows any of the LS history, there's currently only one original member with the band: Gary Rossington. He survived the plane crash that took the lives of six members of Skynyrd back in 1977. My friend tells me he's very low-key, a "man of few words," and due to his demeanor, revered among the band and fans alike. Well, to see this man walk out and shake my son's hand and tell him how nice it was to meet him, was a bit surreal. Then there was Johnny Van Zant, and Rickey Medlocke, and all of the other members. Each and every one commented on Jordan's height and red hair which he took good-naturedly. But the highlight of the evening came when the sound and lighting engineer stopped to chat and invited Jordan back to the boards for the show. So, my son didn't sit with me for any of the concert, but at the back with a birdseye view of how a Lynyrd Skynyrd show is put on. He was as happy as he could be, and once again, I was a proud Mama.

Only one regret from this: I didn't take pictures. Except one. It was taken with my Blackberry after Jordan had explained how much each amplifier cost (and there were many of them). He got up and let me take his photo so I could text Jim and give him the play-by-play of what was going on.

One last note that brings this full circle: last March when my friend called with the news that he would be Skynyrd's new bass player, I got out my "Street Survivors" cd just to put it back on my radar. That same night, Jordan texted me before going on air at WUSC. It said, "Mom, what should I play?" I said the first thing that came to mind, "how about 'Street Survivors' by Skynyrd?" Evidently the show went well. He sent another message that said he'd received a record number of calls from listeners thanking him for playing some classic Southern Rock.

Thank you Universe; thank you Robert Kearns; thank you Lynyrd Skynyrd; thank you, Jordan.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Luscious Lashes via LATISSE !!!

LATISSE. . . I've tried it, and I love what it's done for me. . . long, luscious lashes that I've grown myself.

Latisse is the brand name for a pharmaceutical by Allergan called bimatoprost ophthalmic solution. It contains the same ingredient found in a medication for glaucoma patients whose side effect is growth of darker, longer lashes. It touts the ability to grow your lashes longer in 12 weeks of consistent use. Well, I'm here to testify!

It definitely worked, growing longer, fuller lashes, but I did encounter a couple of the side effects. Mainly eye dryness and darkening of my upper lash line. However, I feel the trade-off has been worth it. I use eye drops to keep my eyes moisturized and I use a little more eyeliner to conceal the darkness at my lashline. Coincidentally, an ophthalmologist recommend I not use Visine, which is a vaso-constrictor, meaning in order to "get the red out" all it does is shrink capillaries in your eyes. The redness comes right back, and therefore I use eye re-wetting drops.

As a makeup artist and a person with "insufficient" lashes, much of my work goes toward enhancing that feature. . . not only on myself, but my clients, too. When I'm dealing with a client, model, or bride the quickest route to long, luscious, stand-out lashes is a strip of false ones. However, it's impractical for me to apply false lashes to myself every day. That's where, for me, the beauty of Latisse lies. Every night after removing my makeup and washing my face, I brush on one drop of this product along my upper lash line. If you are a bride and have several weeks or months to go before your wedding, I'd highly recommend this product. If you are a consumer like me who wants to have your own "natural" lashes, this is a great way to go. Don't get me wrong, I love my false lashes! There's a time and place for them, especially in photography or for a special occasion.

I've spoken to some other Latisse users who have had hyper-growth. . . they responded very quickly and with an abundance of eyelash growth. When I began my treatment, the doctor's office was running a special where I got two bottles of Latisse for the price of one. My first bottle lasted me about 16 weeks. I saw maximum results at about 10-12 weeks. That was over the summer, and I decided to give it a break for a few weeks, mainly because of the eye dryness. True to all the literture, my lashes went back to their normal volume and length, so I'm currently on round two. This product is available by prescription only, so do the research, talk to other users, and find out if this is something that you could benefit from.

A real moment of validation came when I saw one of my sisters over the summer, and she commented on my "false lashes." She honestly thought I had put on my "Vegas Lashes." It was a Lash Moment that Brooke Shields (an endorser of Latisse) would've approved of.

I've included some candid shots of myself and my sister, Jenny, without any makeup on. Compare our lashes. . . (she's the blonde). Hers are a little longer than my normal (non-Latisse) lashes. Mine in the photo are without mascara. Thank you, Jenny, for allowing me to use your au naturel face!

The fine folks at Lowcountry Plastic Surgery set me up with my Latisse. This is a wonderful group of people who are well-trained, extremely knowledgeable, and offer a plethora of products and services. Michele Hensel is the office manager and a proud Latisse user. Check out their website below, or call Michele or Kirsten at 843.971-2860. There will be future blogs about them. . . awesome people who do wonderful things for our community while making this world a more beautiful place!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Please Pardon a Proud Mama. . .Part One

Can a Mama brag for just a minute? We've had a very kid-centered week or two here in the Lesch household, all revolving around music. It's been a state of grace, actually.

Son #2, Culley, has embarked on an adventure his freshman year of high school known as The Wando Warrior Marching Band. The WHS band is a magnificent organization headed up by the most amazing director, Scott Rush and his assistant directors, Sean McGrew and Lanie Radecke, drill master Tim Cole, and art director/visual coordinator Michael Gray. Jessica Crum and Bobby Bethea direct the WHS Color Guard.

Band rehearsals started in mid-July. These kids gave up a solid month of their summer break for 13-hour days in the hot South Carolina sun in order to begin preparing for the prize: a trip to Indianapolis for Grand Nationals. . . the "Holy Grail" of marching band competitions here in the United States. Wando has a proud tradition of being among the best, if not THE best high school marching band in SC. However, this would be its first showing at the national level. Excitement throughout the marching season was palpable with the running countdown to the regional competition in Atlanta, the state competition in Orangeburg, and then to November 14 for Grand Nationals.

Weeks were consumed with 3 days of after-school rehearsals, plus football games on Friday nights, and weekend exhibits or competitions. Of course, this is in addition to the kids' academic classes and it has been Culley's life since July. He's loved every minute of it. This band has provided so much more than music. It's been a refuge in a school with over 3,300 students; it's been a place to bond with other kids who love the same things he does; it's been food for his brain and nourishment for his body; it's been more physically taxing than any P.E. class would request of him. We have truly learned the meaning of the "Wando Band Family."

As a freshman band parent, I was on the periphery looking in; I was a bit overwhelmed by the scope and magnitude of this operation. It's daunting. But what I learned was, like a colony of ants, there's a job for everyone. . .there's room for everyone. These people get things done! As a novice band parent, I'd like to make a disclaimer here. . . if I've gotten any names wrong or left any one out, please accept my apologies and chalk it up to my newness :)

I'd like to publicly thank all those other parents who treated and fed and nursed my son as if he were their own. All the parents who gave him water in the sweltering heat; nurses and physician parents who answered the calls of help when needed, all the merchants who donated food, water, and Stuff; the uniform committee who saw to it that my son had a stunning uniform that fit his exponentially-growing legs; the moms and dads who helped check luggage for field trips and went on the trips so my son could feel safe and secure. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

To Mr. Rush and staff. . . my gratitude runs deep for the life lessons you've taught these students: Graciousness and humility go so far in life; it builds character. All band students from all high schools are out there doing their best, too . . . they deserve our utmost respect and courtesy. Discipline is a means to improvement but self-discipline is a means to true understanding. And the list goes on. The WHS marching band is a microcosm of the best of humanity.

Fast forward to Sunday, November 15, as I'm waiting for Culley's bus to pull into the Wando parking lot, along with 300 other parents and family members with signs, noise-makers, sparklers, bull-horns, and posters, I'm thinking about the goals that were met. The first place win in the 5A South Carolina band competition; the 4th place win at the Bands of America regional competition in Atlanta; and now, (drumroll please) the 11th place win at the Grand Nationals. The goal from the outset. . . and I understand it was a lofty one since this was Wando's first trip to "Grand Nats". . . was to place in the top 12. And by golly, they did it!

All this hard work and dedication paid off. It was a wonderfully proud moment, when those 5 motor coaches pulled in, with a Mount Pleasant police escort. That's when the tears poured out. . . seeing my son come off that bus with a large medal around his neck and the exhaustion over his body. That's when I knew this was more than worth all the work, trips, expense, time, and energy. Not only was it worth it, it was a moment of rededication to next year!

Go Wando!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Featured Photographer: Ashley Brokop

Photography by Ashley Brokop
Makeup by Pamela Lesch

As I think about Ashley Brokop and her photography, one word recurs: moments. She's about them, she catches them, she's in them.

I've worked with Ashley twice, but with someone like her who wears her heart on her sleeve, it feels like I've known her much, much longer. Maybe it's the mommy-factor we have in common; maybe it's the yearning to be here in Chucktown (I live here, and I yearn for it!). But she falls into that inexplicable category of Kindred Spirit.

Ashley's photography has a distinct, photojournalist feel to it. Her military photography background has a unique ambience; when you look at her work and see someone with a wide smile or head tilted back with eyes closed or some other small movement, you just know she immortalized a moment.

One of the first things I noticed about her is that she kneels a lot and gets shots from angles that would never occur to me. I also love that she likes to shoot my makeup and the process of getting a bride ready. There's something of a mess that I make when I'm in the zone and doing my thing . . . brushes, eyeshadows, pencils, all askew. She considers that a moment and clicks away.

The hour or so before a bride puts on her dress are some of the most intimate, closely-knit moments in a woman's life. Usually, only those in her innermost circle are around her, readying her for this occasion. It's one of the things that draws me to the bridal aspect of my line of work. That's a special time, and I get to be a part of it. Ashley's work actually captures those fleeting moments. They are precious, she knows it, and she gets it.

Ashley is based out of Sumter, SC, but she travels extensively. Please check out her website at

Thanks also to lovely bride, Kimberly Mrachek :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Eyes Have It!

"Makeup may not change the world or even your life, but it can be a first step in learning things about yourself you may have never discovered otherwise."

This Kevyn Aucoin quote sums up why he is my favorite makeup artist; it emphasizes that what makes someone truly beautiful is internal. Makeup is a means to enhance the external. Aucoin's bestseller, "Making Faces," is a must-have reference for any makeup fan. The celebrity models are amazing. . .some have been transformed into beauty icons of days-gone-by such as Marlene Dietrich and Marilyn Monroe.

The photo above, of another Georgia native Julia Roberts, is my all-time favorite makeup photo. The directions for this shot are all about the eyes, but I like the lips just as much. The nudeness of her lips draws further attention to her eyes. Because there is so much drama around them, the rest of her face is very much downplayed. Her skin is smooth and flawless, blush is light and apricot. There is a side note that her eyebrows were bleached in order to soften the overall affect of the face.

What's most endearing about this book to me, is there's enough how-to guidance to help us achieve any of the looks he's crafted. The photos are full-page so you have a great reference to try to copy. Kevyn has endorsed no particular line of cosmetics, but gives great descriptives of colors and tones to help us recreate these looks. Therefore, the reader could go into any Wal-Mart, Target, or CVS and purchase the products based on his descriptions and the wearer's tastes.

There are a few tools he uses that I'm not particularly fond of, such as sponge-tip applicators. But this is my bias which goes back to my early makeup days when I didn't throw anything away and the true colors of eyeshadows were lost because of the cakey build-up on the sponge-tips. Where he recommends sponge-tip applicators, I'd simply use my trusty MAC #219 ("pencil") brush.

The subtle trick behind pulling off this look is BLENDING; no harsh lines and a concentration of color on the outer corners of the eyes. . . and then going back and blending more. Although this is not an everyday look (at least not for me), it's one I reference often for going-out or date nights or a special evening occasion.

Julia Roberts, photographed by Peter Lindbergh.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Rollin' in my Robin's. . .

The more I think about jeans, the more I have to share. The next in my Denim Lineup are my Robin's Jeans.

I find these Robin's Jeans fly a bit under the radar. As a matter of fact, the company website is still in development. They don't quite get the press as the Joe's or Sevens or Diesels. And to my knowledge, they haven't crept up in any TJ Maxx or Marshall's yet. They truly still have their "boutique appeal." Robin Cretchien, the creator/designer of this line, has been in the fashion biz for quite a while, with an affinity for denim. That's great news for us denim consumers.

I have only one pair. . . this was a splurge. But again, worth it to me because I wear them so often. These jeans are plenty long, fit snugly against the hip, and did not need any alteration. The pair I own have the wings logo in black on a dark denim wash. But it's the black studs that line the pockets and back side that make them unique. Mine were purchased at a great shop here in Mount Pleasant called Style Exchange.

The website will be up and running soon. Check back often.

Friday, November 6, 2009

A Georgia Peach who is Forever in True Religions!

What makes you feel good? I mean REALLY goooood?

Makeup makes me feel good every time I put it on. . . on myself, on someone else, every time I look at it in its packaging. You know I love my MAC. I love the simple lines of its sleek, uncluttered, minimalist plastic. But as far as packaging goes, I'd have to say that Benefit Cosmetics offers some pretty amazing stuff. Simple in it's cardboard containers, but it's the artwork that makes it so beautiful. I love my Georgia Peach blush. And I must admit, that I bought it purely, sheerly, only for the packaging. That peach looks so. . . edible.

Alas, I digress because what's really on my mind is what I package myself in. . . my favorite package of all time. . . my jeans. I love denim. I could tell you how I love my Levi's. . . they're a classic. They fit me beautifully and you can't beat the price.

But I'm in love with my True Religions. They fit me BEST. They sit and snug in all the right places. Just as important, they give in all the right places. They bend, and they conform to ME. I know my size and indeed, it's True every time. I can actually justify the price tag because I wear them constantly. They are a winner. . . a knock-out. And I can spot a pair (real or knock-off) a mile away: the thick stitching. . . those pockets! That little Buddha on the label. The hardware. I love it all. There's nothing I don't like about them. They are LONG enough for me to wear with my highest heels. On the flares, I crave the way that seam twists from my inner knee to the outside of my ankle. If you wear them or have ever tried on a pair, you know what I mean. There are Bobbys and Joeys and Billys. My new fave is a dark wash, white-stitch, knee-length skirt.

And you know the drill: dress them up or dress them down. Either way, I feel good in my True Religions.