Friday, April 30, 2010

Beautiful Bride; Phenomenal Photographer

Where to begin? These two people were equally resplendent in their own right. I'll begin with Bride Sara because I met her first.

Sara is the walking, talking personification of a Country Queen. . . and I'm not talking the Reba kind, but more along the lines of the Carrie kind (as in "Underwood"). She was beautiful when she sat down with not a stitch of makeup on her face, but the transformation as we enhanced her natural beauty was astounding. Her sister, Chrissie, was with her and she wept as she saw this take place. But even all this physical beauty wasn't what was really special about her. . . it was her kind, sweet heart that shone through. This girl was Love walking.

I had had some correspondence with her photographer, Richard Ellis, days before the wedding. I knew I was going to like him immediately. This is a guy who is on it. . . no moss gathers on him. On day one of our e-mails, I had requested some photos from her bridal session, and on day two, there was a disc in my mailbox. Please check out his website and his impressive resume. However, it's his polite, calm demeanor and the easy conversation that happens with this gentleman that makes him special. That, and his assistant Gillian (his daughter), make working together a joy. OK, all that and the amazing photos he's able to get.

Thank you to the McCants and Southard families for your loving hospitality.
Thank you to Richard Ellis for your talents, conversation, and willingness to share. (And, Richard, your stationery is impeccable:)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Self-Tanners: A Primer for Beginners, Like Me

I'd like to preface this entry by saying that even though I've posted pics of my not-so-even tanner application, this is about learning from my mistakes and doing it right the next time. And there will be a next time because I really like this product.

My friend Kelly wafted into our lunch meeting back in March all goldeny-bronze and gorgeous. It was a subtle tan, but it was enough to make me comment on how "WOW!" she looked. Mostly because March here in Charleston was still fickle in its weather-settings. So all at once my thought process was "she looks so good with her tan. . . when did she have time to sit out and catch some rays. . . gosh, she's a trooper with this weather." Her secret was L'Oreal Sublime Bronze Tinted Self-Tanner.

Kelly smiled and told me about her self-tanner and gave me a quick run-down on her methodology. She's got this down, but as you can see from the photo of my own feet, I need more practice.

So, in a nutshell, if you're like me and meet any of these criteria, a self-tanner would be great for you:

1. You're heeding the advice of every physician, beauty expert, television show, and magazine article and staying out of the sun because of the myriad of awful complications that go along with overdoing it.

2. You want a tan now!

3. You just feel better/healthier/sexier "with a little color."

So here's how the rest of the story goes. . .

I went to Wal-Mart and purchased L'oreal Sublime Bronze Tinted Self-Tanning Lotion. It's in a tube, it cost around $8. This is the product my friend had used, and it looked great on her. . . no orangey stained residue.

But here are some tips that the label on the tube doesn't tell you:
* You can use this tanner anywhere. . . I started out using it on my legs, arms, and chest.

* Exfoliate first. This includes shaving your legs.

* Apply lotion to the creased areas. . . ankles, knees, behind knees, elbows, wrists, etc.

* Use latex gloves if you have them. . . this is actually very important because the tanning lotion will stain your hands. And speaking of hands, you do need to methodically, and carefully apply some tanner to the backs of your hands. This is where it gets tricky as you still need those latex gloves so as not to stain your palms or pads of your fingers. And you must be meticulous in this area. . .spreading tanner evenly. One method of applying to the backs of hands is to remove gloves, apply a small dollop of the tanner to the back of one hand, and run the backs of the hands together.

* Let tanner dry before putting on any clothes. This is vital to it not streaking or staining your clothes. So, that means, do this process when you have time; don't do it as a part of a get-ready-quickly routine.

As you can see, I have some practice to do, especially around my feet. I look at this picture and see that I should have spread the tanner more carefully farther down the sides of my feet and more evenly on my toes. I'm willing to invest this amount of time getting this routine down so that I don't have to "bake and turn" out on a beach. Those days are bygone. . . and my dermatologist is one happy lady.

One last note: this tanner comes in two formulations: "Medium/Natural Tan" and "Deep Natural Tan." I went with the Deep Natural because my skin tone could handle it. If you are fair and want the most natural look, go with the lighter shade. It's buildable and a few applications could make you look your tanned best.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Strong, Decisive Women

One of my favorite kinds of people in this world is a decisive woman. I had the distinct fortune to be around 3 such ladies a couple of weeks ago: The Bride (Allison), her FSIL (future sis-in-law, Elizabeth), and the Photographer (Liz).

Each of these ladies knows what she wants. . . how she wants it. . . and when & where. Such precision on a plethora of subjects from all aspects of planning a wedding, to makeup, to true artistic vision. It was a joy to work with these ladies.

Have you ever been with the right combination of people where you know that combo could conquer the world? That was this trio. I won't ramble on, but suffice it to say that because of this nucleus of women, one beautiful wedding was pulled off.

I could be fast friends with each of these ladies.

Photography by

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Citadel Wedding and A Princess Bride

This past December, I was fortunate to be able to be a part of Kara's wedding preparation to her Citadel Cadet, Pete. This bride was particularly special because she had planned her entire wedding from their home in Hawaii where they are stationed. Pete is a Citadel grad and wanted nothing less than a Summerall Chapel wedding for his bride.

Even though the weather was in doubt, the sun shone through. The Citadel's photographer, Russ Pace, managed to capture not only Kara's beauty, but also the playful side of this couple. The Citadel is a sacrosanct institution here in Charleston. . . but not without a sense of humor; they love their football!

Congratulations to this wonderful couple, and as all of Kara's correspondence began and ended, "Aloha!"

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Belle Couture & King Street Photo Weddings: A Picture-Perfect Day

Recently, I had the privilege to work on a photo shoot with some creative, talented individuals. Michel Berda of King Street Photo Weddings had the idea to photograph models on location through large portrait frames. Michel is a man on a mission when he shoots; and always has a story to tell, which keeps rapport easy and flowing. His vision had stunning results.

Thanks to Sarah Black and Kelly Greene of Belle Couture Bridal for showcasing some of their amazing gowns. That store is full of dresses that are stunningly beautiful and not run-of-the-mill. These ladies are detail-oriented and cater to their clients lovingly.

Havens Frames of Mount Pleasant provided the large frames.

Boone Hall Plantation was the backdrop on a lovely day. Spectacular scenery that captures the essence of a Southern Wedding.

And the models. . . this was a tri-fecta of lovely ladies. None of us had met prior to that day, but each contributed to what was to be a true team effort by all. Thank you to Angela Finley of Charleston; Angela Turner of Greenville, and Emily Breeze Ross of Charlotte. Each of these striking ladies can be found on Facebook and Model Mayhem.

Thank you all for making this a wonderful day with great results!

All makeup by Pamela Lesch, Makeup Artist Charleston.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Longlasting L'oreal Lipglosses

"Barely Nude"

With compliments to my FB/blogger friend, "Lulu Darling". . . holla!!!!

I have ongoing, electronic/internet relationships, based on MAKEUP, with several different like-minded gals. My Nashville friend, Melissa (aka "Lulu Darling"), has turned me on to a line of L'oreal Infallible lipglosses that last up to 6 hours! They are readily available at any CVS, Wal-Mart, or Target.

Indeed, they do last a long time. And who would have thought that a true GLOSS could have such lasting power and great pigment, too!

My pal suggested I try the shade "Sangria" (her personal fave) which is a deep, rosy pink. . . it's a great match for a lot of brunettes with naturally deep-pink shaded lips. I've grown to love this shade best.

The other shades in my current Infallible rotation are: Petal (a light, frosty pink), Suede (a goldish-nude), and Barely Nude (a pinkish-nude). I've labeled each color under their respective photo.

Thanks, Lulu Darling, for the recommendation. Please check out this talented fashionista/yogini's blog. . . and encourage her to write more!

Thanks, L'oreal, for the great product.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Equal Lip-Time for Blondes!

Last week I had the privilege of working with a very makeup-savvy bridesmaid, who is blonde. This was someone who knew exactly what she wanted (colors, coverage, etc.), and so we struck up a great conversation. I'd say she was an amateur pro. She was makeup friendly, has tried lots of formulations and colors, and had definite opinions on what looked best on the traditional blonde haired, blue-eyed gal.

One of the things I looked into after our conversation was the product pictured above. Loreal's Color Juice in "Pina Colada." It's the perfect nude lip for blondes. . . just a hint of color, and divinely glossy. Not to mention it can be found in most drug stores.

So, thanks, Elizabeth! I appreciate the advice, enjoyed our chat, and LOVE the look. Blondes. . . if you would prefer your baby-blues be the focal point of your makeup, go out and buy this great spring/summer shade for your lips.

(If you'd like a little more staying power, I'd recommend MAC's soft lip liner, limited edition, in a shade called "Naked" applied underneath.)

Thursday, April 1, 2010


First of all, let me state for the record, that I am no Hair Stylist. But, let me also say that I am "hair-friendly."

The more photo shoots I work, the more I realize how handy it is to incorporate a few other skills. . . this is where my hair-friendliness comes into play. I've held lighting equipment for photographers, clamped clothing for stylists, and the list goes on. I think it comes down to being willing to jump in and help wherever needed; being a part of a team.

Make no mistake: my passion and talents lie in makeup artistry. But back in the day, I can remember my sisters, father, mother, and grandmothers lining up for haircuts, styles, and Toni perms. I don't know why they thought at 12 or 13 years old, I could do it, but they had confidence in me, so I did it. And those Toni perms (on my grandmother) lasted. . . somehow, I even made sure the hair ends were covered with those little papers and neatly wrapped around the rods. No frizz on my watch!

Anyway, this role came back to me last week at a photo shoot. Thank goodness for a comb, hurricane-proof hairspray, and bobby pins.

Like I said, make no mistake: I am hair-friendly, but by no means a hair stylist. THAT is an art form in itself, and my hat's off to those wonderful stylists who make hair gorgeous every day.

All photos courtesy of Michel Berda; shot on location in Belle Couture Bridal Salon (Thanks, Sarah & Kelly). Stay tuned for a forthcoming blog about that glorious day.