Thursday, January 28, 2010

Petite Grandeur

Grand things may manifest in many different ways. November 21st was a day of "petite grandeur." Such was the case with bride Wendy. Her Kiawah Island wedding was intimate (13 guests), yet exquisite.

Wendy is a petite package of determination and someone who makes things happen. This is a woman who knows what she wants and how to get it. That kind of decisiveness is a huge attraction for me.

She was on the original team of Kiawah Island employees who built the Cassique Club. For those who may not know about the low-key splendor of Kiawah Island, suffice it to say, Cassique is its world-class golf facility. . . from the exquisitely manicured greens and fairways to the spectacular club house to the vast amenities it offers its members. . . it's top notch. This bride/client was an integral part of all that.

Wendy managed to put together an intimate wedding in a couple weeks' time. But that's what people who know their resources and are prepared can do. And don't get me wrong. . . this wedding and all the preparations were lovingly put together. . . not thrown together as "a couple weeks" may suggest. You see, this wedding was to be Wendy's swan song from Kiawah. Her beloved, Mike, was to whisk her off to their new home in Texas.

But that's what Love will do. It'll turn your world upside down. Love will ask you to leave a job that your heart and soul are invested in; Love will ask you to take your only child out of her school and away from the friends she knows; but Love will also promise to lift you up and move you on to newer and better life situations. And for all this, Wendy did what Love asked.

This couple was special to me for several reasons. They represented new beginnings at a time traditionally thought of as "in the middle." Also, Wendy's groom was game for being airbrushed. You can tell from the photos, Mike does not appear to be wearing makeup, but simply has a nice, evened out skin-tone. I have a soft spot in my heart for the grooms who are willing to sit for the 5 minutes it takes to de-shine and airbrush them. Their photographers love them as well.

And speaking of photographers. . . Jennie Beard of JB Fresh Photography was a delight to meet and work with. She managed to capture so much of the emotion that saturated the air that day: Wendy's farewell to her home and work-family, as well as the faith in what the future holds for her, her daughter Sidney, and Mike.

Houston will no doubt receive this new family with open arms. But Charleston will always love you, Wendy.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

You'll Be Glad You Washed Your Face!

One of my earlier "makeup moments" came when I was about ten years old. My mom's friend, Helen, who had been her matron of honor at her wedding, came for a visit. As I was always apt to do, I wanted to hang out with the ladies. . . hear their conversation, drink in whatever I could from the Gurlz Club (my mom was an original member:)

This particular conversation began when my mother was admiring her friend's beautifully maintained skin (they were both in their 40s at the time). Helen leaned in closely as if to reveal the big secret. And what she said has stayed with me ever since then:

"Clean your face, she said. No matter how tired you are at the end of the day, no matter WHAT, wash your face with a wash cloth. It doesn't matter if you're about to fall asleep at the sink, your face will thank you if you clean it every night."

And by "thank you" I know now that she meant my facial skin would be healthier, longer. These have been words to live by. Right up there with my "do unto others. . ."

So, from that point forward, I've always been a face-washer. Starting at ten, it made me feel like I was doing something grown-up. . . an investment of time that would one day pay off. How many nights I've wanted to flop in my bed and fall asleep. . . all through high school after sweaty cheerleading nights. . . all through college and sorority house nights when all you can do is flop. . . all through the flight attendant days when all you want to do on a layover is fall in your bed and let the exhaustion overtake you. Thank goodness I always had Helen's voice in my ears, "wash your face!" It's an ingrained part of my daily ritual.

Even last night. At about 9:30 p.m. I slipped off the last two stair steps after tucking in my daughter. What a klutz. . . I sprained my ankle. This morning I have a "golf ball" on my left ankle as I sit here and type. So, as my dear husband helped collect and put me to bed to ice my ankle, once again I heard Helen's voice, "wash your face." And I hobbled in and did just that. Guess what. . . I slept better just knowing my face was clean.

So, what about the two products shown above? They are both magnificent, inexpensive, and available at most drug stores or "super centers." Both products have appeared on Allure Magazine's "Best of Beauty" list in recent years. Purpose Facial Cleanser is clear, pure, and gentle. You definitely need a wash cloth for this cleanser. The Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Cleansing Pads are very convenient. No wash cloth needed. They foam on one side and exfoliate and scrub on the other.

So, to all my clients who ask me what they can do for their skin. . . what facial or treatment or cure may exist for their skin conditions, I say begin by washing your face. . . every night.

Thank you Johnson & Johnson.

But most thanks go to Helen. I wish she could know how much her advice has meant to me throughout the years.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

For the Love of Music. . .

I usually don't write about current clients, but this is different.

Kimberly came as a referral from a previous client. We've spent a lot of time corresponding and getting to know one another. When I arrived at her place for her trial run (also the day of her engagement photo shoot), I was still riding high off my experience with Warren Haynes' Xmas Jam in Asheville. This was the later part of December.

When I arrived at their place, I was greeted by a man's voice and a smiling face from a balcony. He said, "are you the makeup lady?" I smiled to myself as he saw me collect my gear from my trunk and make my way up to their home. That's a pretty standard response from the male perspective when I see my clients. "Yes, that's me," I said.

When I walked in, I met Kimberly first. Alex, her fiance, introduced himself after our balcony meeting. We did the standard routine. . .looked for the best lighting. Once we decided where that would be, I went about my business of setting up: open cases, lay out palettes, make color choices and (insert record scratch noise here eeeeekkkk. . .) HOLD THE PHONE!!!! I looked up. And I kept looking around me. And then I stepped out of my nook and looked some more.

As far as my eyes could see was the most magnificent concert poster collection I've ever come across. Someone has been to a lot of concerts. . . moe., Widespread Panic, Phish, Govt. Mule, XMAS JAM!!!!, and soooo many others. Not only was the sheer volume of posters impressive, but the love in which each had been framed and preserved, was magnificent. The dining room, the living room, the bedroom. . . this home is a virtual shrine to many hours of great music, concerts, amazing artists, and countless hours on the road to go see them.

Of course, the connection was that I had just done makeup for many of the artists who had performed at Xmas Jam, and by the way, were hanging on this couple's walls. moe. struck me first. I smiled at this because these guys are way-back friends of my brother-in-law, Martin Lesch. They all went to school together at University of Buffalo. . . they go back to formation of the band days. . . campus competition days. Back before they decided a lower-case 'm' and a period at the end of moe. were the way to go.

I think Alex was impressed that "the makeup lady" knew of these bands. Of course, I told him about my experience a couple of weeks prior. . . that December 11-12 weekend in AsheVegas. And wouldn't you know, he and Kimberly were there at the Asheville Civic Center. Then I got the grand tour. Alex is, with good reason, very proud of his collection. It's expansive and beautiful.

But I saw the coffee table on my own. The scores of ticket stubs from years of concerts; every jam band imaginable, all music festivals I have ever and never heard of. And then the first names like Paul, Trey, Dave, and group names of side projects. They were all there under a piece of glass. . . some frayed edges, some stained from the good times and pockets they had seen.

I could have stayed there and talked music for hours. I felt I was with kindred spirits. Alas, we had business to do. These soon-to-be newlyweds had to make an appointment with their (amazing!!!) photographer, Evan Laettner.

My wish for this couple is that music and concerts always be a part of their lives. From one concert lover to another, may you always "see the music."

Engagement photos above are courtesy of Evan Laettner. Poster & coffee table photos are courtesy of Alex & Kimberly.

Peace and love,

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I Love a Satisfied Client. . . and Technology. And here's a Satisfied Client who is Tech-Savvy.

Have you ever met someone and clicked right away? I love when that happens. Sometimes the 'click' may take a little while. . . you "dance the dance" and get to know one another. . . and that's great too. But I got a real kick out of this lady. We hit it off immediately.

She knows what she likes and is not shy about communicating that. Rather than me rambling on, just click the arrow and watch. She took the time to send me a video message that re-capped our trial run for her wedding makeup.

I think she's happy. That makes me happy :)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Featured Planner: Fleur / Luke Wilson Special Events

The first time I walked into Luke Wilson's north King Street office, I was struck by the beauty of his new work-home. My eyes went first to the wide wooden floors, then the plethora of fabric and rug textures, lighting, books, and furniture. This building was at some point someone's home. Now, Luke Wilson has made it his home-away-from-home. And for good reason: he spends a lot of time there.

What I have come to understand is that like his work surroundings, Luke puts this same touch on the events he coordinates. He knows his venues and finds a way to meld their character with a bride's vision of her wedding day. The results are spectacular.

Luke and his associate, Megan Morgan, know each other from their Johnson and Wales days of culinary arts. Each went their own way after graduating, gaining professional experiences that would ultimately lead to their work together today. Luke Wilson Events offers two ways to go: Full Service Event Design or Day-of & Design Coordination.

My first meeting with Megan was quite impressive. Organization skills such as hers. . . attention to the smallest of details. . . is nothing short of miraculous to me. Each bride / event gets their own notebook. Every note, conversation, swatch of fabric, color sample, menu, venue, really anything having to do with the event, is recorded. The options that are made available to clients are amazing. Add to all this professionalism, Megan's kindness and sweet nature. . . it makes for delightful working conditions.

Luke is gifted not only with an eye for details, but for seeing the big picture first. He also manages to keep a sense of humor and an "in-the-grand-scheme-of-things" attitude. I think this is hugely important because it keeps everyone (brides, moms) calm and reassured. And isn't that what any bride wants on her wedding day. . . to know that everything is going to be wonderful? With Luke, it'll be so much more than that. . . it'll be phenomenal.

The photos above are ones I specifically asked for. They are my personal faves, but they represent only one aspect of his artistry. I have a 'thing' for trees and lighting. I also love, Love, LOVE the idea of transforming an outdoor area into a comfortable living space, even if just for an evening. The whole "transformation for an evening" is stuff fairy tales are made of, isn't it? Just look at what he can do with some branches, candles, and a well-manicured lawn!

I think what it boils down to is that Luke Wilson knows how to live well. Therefore, he knows how to celebrate well.

Thank you, Luke.
Thank you, Megan.

Please check out this website. It has magnificent photographs (many, compliments of Kim Graham Photography) and lots of information about this team of creative spirits.