Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Walk Down Memory Lane

Every now and then, someone will ask me how I came into this line of work . . . makeup. For those people who've known me for any length of time, they will attest to the fact that I've been a product junkie as long as they could remember. It doesn't matter if it's makeup or hairspray or shampoo or lotions. I've always had an affinity for all things cosmetic.

But today, I really started thinking back to the roots of it. My earliest cosmetic memory was when I was three. I was standing in the bathroom with my mother, watching her get ready to go out with my dad, and studying her routine. Curlers, hair pins, hairspray, powder, red lipstick. I was fascinated with the lips. She sat down and I crawled onto her lap, and I have a very sensory memory of taking my little finger, wiping it across her lips, and transferring some of her red lipstick onto my lips. For some reason, that tickled her and that's where my love affair with makeup began.

Then there are my memories of my grandmothers' cosmetics. Mostly, for them, they were perfumes and hair products. Small bottles with scripty writing like "Lanvin" or anything Avon (To a Wild Rose, Topaz). There were aerosol cans of hair lacquer, Final Net, jars of Dippity-Do, and a stray compact or two. Their lips were usually a taupe or plum color. They had reached an age where they felt they were past their "red lip days." They'd leave that to my mother.

Speaking of Avon, what an icon that was. Growing up in rural Georgia, the Avon Lady calling was a BFD (big freakin' deal)! They were the first to cater to people my age. . .the 'tweeners. Who remembers the solid perfumes that came on a lapel pin (ginger bread man or ice cream cone)? What about those tiny tubes of lipstick samples that were inherited from our moms? Sweet Honesty was one of the first perfumes targeted directly to teenagers in love! I wasn't quite a teenager, but I sure wanted to be. . . and I definitely wanted to be IN LOVE. Great advertising. All from the Avon catalog and a couple of well-placed television commercials. One of my all-time Avon faves were a couple of kitschy lip glosses. . . the pair of Red Lips (go figure;) and the hamburger. . .both you opened to reveal a duo of frosty and shiny glosses. And the smells were divine.

The Avon days gave way to the Maybelline days. . . specifically the Kissing Potion days. Those clear, roll-on lip glosses were a hot commodity. If you had one (or two!) of those, you had Street Cred. I can remember waiting for my bus to pick me up at school and people passing around the Kissing Potions (now, I shudder to think we were all sharing so freely). Cola and Cherry were my favorites, but there was every flavor imaginable. We had the shiniest, wettest lips ever!

As memory serves, after the Kissing Potion days waned, Bonne Bell made an appearance on the lip scene with their Lip Smackers. Who remembers those gigantic lip balms in every soft drink flavor there was? Dr. Pepper ruled. About this time, the roller skating craze was taking hold and any well-presented young lady at a skating rink wouldn't be caught dead without her Lip Smacker and large comb for her Jordache jeans back pocket. I digress. . . fashion is a whole 'nother story.

Can I get a shout out for Love's Baby Soft cologne? How about Gee, Your Hair Smells Terriffic! or Body on Tap or Faberge (And So On, And So On. . .) shampoos?

Gosh, I'm only up to about 8th grade. But I'll save some other old-school talk for later. In the immortal words of Led Zep, I could "Ramble On" about this stuff forever.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tea? Deep Steep!!!

I first became acquainted with the Deep Steep line of products in 2006. My Gurl Lil and I decided this line of body care products would be a great addition to our retail inventory at our day spa, Whole Woman Wellness. This line never left my radar, because once I've fallen, I'll always have a soft spot for it. Flash forward a couple of years, and while perusing the "beauty aisle" at Whole Foods, I see Deep Steep has a prominent placement at the entrance of this section. As well, it should.

This is one of those rare gems. . .locally made on Johns Island (yay! love Love, LOVE patronizing locally), organic, cruelty-free, and the most AMAZING scents I've ever smelled in body care. This line consists of foaming hand washes, bath teas, body butters, moisturizing sticks, body washes, and bubble baths. And I can't stress how delicious the scents are!

The bath teas are what hooked me. . .this was a new concept to me, and I bought it hook, line, and sinker. You run your warm bath, toss one of the bath tea bags into the running water, and let it steep as you would a regular cup of tea. Only you are going to let your body steep in it, too. The aromas are heavenly and your bathroom will smell delish for hours.

If you leave one of the foaming hand washes at your sink, people WILL ask you about it, where you got it. My dry skin loves the body butters, especially after a bath tea soak. And for problem dry-skin areas (heels, cuticles, pregger bellies), be sure to check out the moisturizing sticks.

Grapefruit-Bergamot and Honeydew-Spearmint are my favorites, but you could never go wrong with any of the others: Lavender-Camomile, Rosemary-Mint, or Tangerine-Melon.

Check out the entire line:

Saturday, October 24, 2009

MAC Paint Pots

As I was driving to meet my bride today, I was thinking about the eye products I use consistently, almost always: MAC Paint Pots.

A Paint Pot is a highly pigmented eye color that goes on creamy but dries to an intense, vibrant finish. It's long-wearing, without creasing or caking. It is an excellent primer for building color, and making powder shadows and eye liners last longer.

There are 16+ shades, but the two I use most are Painterly and Groundwork. I like these colors because both are matte, which looks good on every skin texture. . . smooth or not-so-smooth :) Paint Pots dry fairly fast. There's not a lot of play-time so I swirl it on quickly, in small, circular motions, from lash line into the crease. My favorite MAC brush for this application is a #224. It's soft and fluffy and gives a buffed finish.

If you've ever experienced oil-production on your eyelids that cause your shadows and liner to crease, this is the product for you. And when I say "long-wearing," I mean 12-14-16 hour wear. You'll need an eye makeup remover to take it off.

If you have blue eyes, Groundwork (a mid-tone neutral taupe), will instantly make your eyes "pop." Nearly every eye color can wear Painterly (a nude beige), and you can either keep the look light and soft, or build a smokey eye from there.

Any Paint Pot may be worn alone or used as a base/primer for layering powder shadows.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Featured Photographer: Brownie Harris

How fortunate I am to have worked with this man. Brownie is a combination of creative genius, gentleman, proud father and husband, and fascinating Man with a Story.

I met Brownie when he shot the Polley-Cutler wedding at the Market Pavilion Hotel in Charleston (AMAZING, no detail was spared). Brownie had done the hotel's marketing photography, so he knew most of the people on staff. This knowledge of people behind the scenes, I would eventually learn, is pivotal in his work.

This summer, he brought me on board for a photo shoot of the Kiawah Island Development Partners. Downtown at the KDP office, as well as out on Kiawah, I was able to see a more sustained version of what he does. It entails so much more than pointing and clicking.

Brownie takes the time to get to know his subjects, clients, the landscape, whatever he's shooting. He talks and asks questions and has this way of putting people at ease; making them laugh, finding common threads. It was really something to see all these interactions unfold. Just when I thought I couldn't be more impressed, I got to see the finished product. . . the proofs.

That's where you see the transformation between two people who are essentially strangers and an obvious connection that has been made, expressed through art.

Please check out his website, and I'm sure you'll understand why I feel so lucky to have crossed paths with this man. I think it will always be a thrill to check my e-mail and see a note that says "from Brownie Harris."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Good First Impression

I've always prided myself on my ability to make a Good First Impression. I feel like it's something that's been vital in every area of my life, and I hope I can continue that here on my very first BLOG!!!!

When I think back on my most important relationships, the ones that have lasted the longest, whether personally or professionally, I think those first impressions really stuck. They laid the foundation for what we share today.

I'd like to begin by thanking some important people. First and foremost, my husband, Jim. Without his love and support, my business venture would not be possible. . .he is a humanitarian and the best person I know; my children who seem to get a kick out of me and all the things I have going on at once; my Mama for giving me a good work ethic combined with a sense of spontaneity; my "Gurlfriends" who always come through with a word of encouragement and praise; David for his encyclopedic knowledge of all things make-up and other-worldly; Makeup Art Cosmetics (MAC) for the training and belief that true beauty knows no boundaries; and my new bud and technical guru, Jon, for his unyielding patience and belief in the karmic realm ;) I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge my bro-in-law, Keith, for lighting the fire under me to "be everywhere" and get it done!

So, welcome. My aspirations for this are to impart some knowledge and (qualified) opinions on a variety of topics: makeup, beauty (inner and outer), fashion, new products, old-standbys, art, photographers, various service providers, and a host of other blog-worthy things.

With an open heart and best of intentions,