Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Let it Glow, Let it Glow, Let it GLOW!

My most recent Make Up For Ever haul from its NYC Boutique

"I love makeup!  It's great when you ID new or innovative products on your blog.
Kelly"  (a Fall 2011 bridal client)

Thank you Kelly, for giving me the kickstart I needed to discuss some great products that I've been trying for a couple of months now!

Today's feature is on a Make Up For Ever product called Uplight.  This is a tremendous product that I've been using on clients in these drier autumn months to help create the illusion of luminosity (in the absence of the Charleston humidity that gives us that all-too-natural glow:)

I LOVE this and many other MUFE products.  It's a face luminizer gel that can be worn under foundation (I apply prior to airbrushing), over foundation (as on my own face over MUFE's High Def liquid foundation), or all alone (with a hint of concealer to even out any dark areas).

Although there are a dozen or more shades, I'm currently working with 3 shades in my kit:

#11 is a dewy, pink beige (great for pinky or red-undertone skin)
#12 is a dewy, golden beige (lovely on skin with golden undertones)
and #22, a pearly, pink flesh. . . pretty on most every skin tone.

Apply with fingers or a flat foundation or concealer brush: tap over the highest point of your cheekbones; circle around the outside of the orbital bone (near outer edges of eyes).  I also like to dab a bit at the height of my eyebrow, closest to the arch.

This product can be found at Sephora, Ulta, and Make Up For Ever boutiques.

Happy Glowing!

Friday, December 2, 2011

I Wore Red Lipstick

Under blue lights on the Ryman stage

Glen signs Robert's photo; His wife Kim looks on.

Me, Glen & Jenny

Me, Glen & Robert

Robert holding his freshly-autographed poster

I feel the urge to write about one of the most amazing things that's ever happened to me, but I also feel torn about the medium I'm using: my makeup blog.  How do I relate this to MAKEUP???  Here goes:

I had one of the most full-circle experiences of my life two days ago: I had the amazing good fortune to be able to meet my all-time favorite music icon, Glen Campbell.

Glen Campbell is my first musical memory.  In 1969 my dad put me on his shoulders at the Kentucky State Fair in Louisville so I could see over the heads of all the other people to get a look at my early childhood idol.  I remember looking over the crowd and seeing a redheaded flop-top bound on to the stage with an acoustic guitar.  I don't remember what he sang; I mainly remember the utter joy that I felt then, at age 3, seeing this man who until that point, I had only seen on his Good Time Hour tv show.  That same exact feeling washed over me two nights ago at the Ryman Auditorium when I got to stand next to him and meet him.

I'll be the first to admit. . . this is a Daddy-thing.  Gordon McCully's love of Glen Campbell's musicianship (in his opinion, the best guitarist ever), his collaborations with Jimmy Webb (songwriter extraordinaire), and his down-home good-mannered way. . . all trickled down to me.  I loved Glen as much, if not more than my dad.  Compound all this with the fact that my dad was a redhead as well, both men took/take great pride in our Scottish heritage, and both Daddy and Glen were born in the same year, 1936.  I feel like I have all kinds of karma with Mr. Campbell.

Toward the end of my dad's life, he had become something of a homebody.  He didn't care to wander too far away; he preferred the creature comforts of his own surroundings.  But in 2006 we both celebrated milestone birthdays: his 70th and my 40th.  It was a momentous occasion that called for a big celebration, just the two of us.  So he agreed to go on a road trip with me to Nashville and the Ryman Auditorium to see our all-time fave, Glen Campbell.  It was to be the last trip my dad and I would spend together, and it was the best quality time I've spent with him as an adult.  He bragged about that trip to anyone who would listen.

Since then, Glen Campbell has publicly announced his diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease.  He and his beautiful wife have spoken candidly about it, and he has embarked on this Goodbye Tour that's scheduled far into spring, 2012.  This diagnosis strikes home as well, because of my mother's recent diagnosis.  Again, worlds collide, and I just sit and wonder at the workings of it all.  When I heard about his Goodbye Tour, I knew I'd make plans to go see him, and this time my sister Jenny would come along.

Jenny and I met up with my dear friend Robert Kearns, who is a touring musician and also a Glen Campbell fan.  Robert has a distinguished musical resume, and although he is never quick to drop a name or the fact that he's the bass guitarist for Lynyrd Skynyrd, well. . .it has its perks.  He has always made fast friends, and it should have come as no surprise that Glen Campbell's road manager would be  one, but I honestly had no idea that would actually get us some place on November 30.

Robert came prepared with an old photo he'd had made with Glen, while he was touring with the Brad Paisley camp.  Glen remembered him and was especially pleased after learning of Robert's current gig.  I was standing there, just drinking in the fact that I was merely inches away from my icon.  Introductions were made and there I was shaking hands and smiling face-to-face with Glen Campbell.  Still the most gracious, sweet-natured man I imagined him to be.  Only now I was aware that there was a camera man standing nearby filming this.  I remembered my sister standing next to me, so I grabbed her wrist and pulled her in close to me so I could introduce her and here's what happened:

Me:  "Glen, I'm just a lifelong fan, and I can't tell you what a pleasure it is to meet you.  This is my sister, Jenny."
Glen:  "What's her name?  Jenny??"  Then he started singing a song that jumped out of the recesses of my mind. . . "Jenny, Jenny, won't you come along with me. . . Jenny, Jenny, woooooooh, Jenny, Jenny..."

It was a Little Richard song that we had on an album in my home growing up, called "The Georgia Peach."  I KNEW THAT SONG and before I realized it, I was joining in and singing with him, hitting that high note "woooooooh. . ."  Glen looked at me and smiled.  Jenny and Robert looked at me as if to say, "Really???"  And I just laughed.   As we walked away from our meeting Robert said, ". . .you do realize you just sang with Glen Campbell?"

Well, the guy with the camera approached us as we walked back across that famous old Ryman Auditorium stage.  He told us that they were filming a documentary about Glen's life.  He asked Robert to say his name and contact info so he could get permission from us if they use it in the finished project.  And before I knew it, I asked if I could tell him about my Glen Campbell back story, and he said of course.  So I did, starting with my 3-year old memory, and my voice broke and I kept talking nearing the verge of tears.  And he looked at me from behind his camera, and said, "Wow.  How did tonight's experience match up to your memory of 1969?"  And I told him exactly what I felt: it was simply the same JOY I felt then.  The exact same, only it had come full circle.

Flash back to a few hours prior: as Jenny and I were getting ready in our hotel room for the show that night, I made a very conscious decision to wear red lipstick, which I rarely do.  I wanted "a look."  So I opted for my NARS "Cruella" Velvet Matte Lip Pencil.  I felt sassy, and look what it got me :)

Love and Light to my father (who I know was there with me); my sister Jenny; Robert "don't-ever-doubt-the-Kearns" Kearns; and Glen Campbell. . .who has brought me and my McCully family more joy in our lives than he'll ever know.

Thank You and Good Night.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

MY Unforgettable Day with Smitten: An Inspiration Shoot

Decadence.  Indulgence.  Grandeur.
These were the themes for Smitten magazine's inspiration shoot featured in its latest e-glossy edition.  Looking at these photos, I'd say they hit their mark.  We shot and filmed inside The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island.  The Presidential Suite, no less.  
Photographer, Corbin Gurkin
Style Directors:
Della MacNicholas of The Wedding Row & Lindsey Nowak & Elle Principi of Maddison Row
Stylist: Alexandra Styles
Video by Michael Reed Films
Shot on location at The Sanctuary, Kiawah Island
Behind-the-scenes photography, Shannon Michele
Hair by Charlotte Belk
Models, Tout Talent
Pamela Lesch Makeup

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Secret to Successful Concealing

Meet MAC's Pro Longwear Concealer.  It's my new best friend (and my tired, stressed-out, sleep-deprived clientele's, too).  I could do an whole blog on this entire line of MAC Pro Longwear. . . I happen to love this stuff!

I'm going through more of this concealer than any I've used on any clients before now.  Its consistency is perfect for that oh-so-delicate skin that's just under eyes.  Its pigment is opaque enough to hide dark circles and red areas.  Yet it's non-drying like some other pasty concealers.  I love it as a prelude to a light misting of MAC's airbrush formula foundation.

I'm also using it personally. . .it's in my makeup drawer in my own dressing room.  Which seems to be a test of makeup that I just can't do without in my kit.  A tiny dab will do. . . blend in small circles with a fluffy eyeshadow brush that you dedicate to your concealer.

Looking to switch things up a bit with your concealer?  I'd highly suggest this!  Remember, concealing rules have evolved: Gone are the days of "reverse raccoon eyes" (you know, where your under-eye makeup is way too light).  The secret to successful concealing is matching your own skin tone, nearly exactly.

Monday, October 17, 2011

When Real Brides Look Like Models

She's real.  She's beautiful.  She understands her makeup.  

Meet Alexis.  She's one of those decisive women who knows just how she likes things.  She's a makeup maven who knows her product and how she prefers to use it.  (Concealer and eyeliner are her faves:)

Now, go check out her photographer, Andrew Stephen Cebulka.  This was my first time working with Andrew, and I was super-impressed.  Not only with his amazing shutterbug skills, but with how he works a room full of women in the throes of pre-wedding flutter.  He's calming, assuring, and in control.  I'd be willing to bet he's one of those people his friends call "a great guy."

Thanks to you both for making this such a fun experience. . .with phenomenal results!


Monday, August 22, 2011

Head Shots

So. . .I needed some new head shots but I knew there was a lot of work that had to go into this undertaking first.  Here are some of my thoughts on my process whether you are considering doing this for yourself for professional or personal reasons.

My first step was deciding I needed to update my look.  That entailed the decision to go to a short haircut.  That was not such a stretch for me as I had been going progressively shorter for the past couple of years.  I'm nothing, if not someone who loves the shock-value of changing things up a bit.  And after all, hair grows. . . I'm lucky that mine grows pretty quickly.  But even that's jumping the gun: I happen to love my short hair.  It works for me, and as a makeup artist, I find it provides the perfect excuse to raise the bar on my own applications.  Enter my dear friend, Tanesha Dupree.  We were working a photo shoot about a month ago and I looked at her and asked, "Do you think I could carry a short pixie cut?"  She didn't hesitate in her answer, "Yes!"  My next question was, "would you cut it for me?"  Her reply: "you've given me goosebumps. . . of course, I will!"  Tanesha and I are professional soul-mates.  I know her work and trust her ethic and skill, blindly.  But I knew I had to contact the stylist whom I patronize:  The Fabulous Kim Jones of Salon 101 Spring.  I spoke with her briefly and although she was not available to do the cut, she confirmed my idea: yes, I could do a pixie.  Side note: I'm a very lucky lady to have the friends and be privy to the talented artists in this industry that I do.  However, once I've made up my mind that a big change is in order, it needs to be done yesterday.  I'm an instant-gratification gal that way.  Thank you, Kim, for giving me the courage to proceed.  And thank you Tanesha, for executing the cut I longed for.  Although I see Tanesha work in a mostly bridal and editorial capacity, each time amazed by her hair artistry, she's a Master Barber by training.  I now know why.   I dearly love both of these super-talented women.

Then comes the process of planning your look.  Knowing why you are doing head shots is of primary importance.  For me, it was a means of communicating to my potential clients.  I needed a photo that conveys confidence and trust; something that says, "I'd love to do your makeup, and I'll do it expertly."

Enter Diana Deaver, photographer of souls.  Her mantra matches mine: "I'd love to do your portrait, and I'll do it expertly."  I've blogged previously about some of my experiences with Diana.  She's simply someone who loves beauty in its many manifestations, and someone I fall into easy banter with.  I knew I had to be super-chill for the best results, and I thought Diana would be the person who could help me get there.  Even now, I could sit and write about the sensory experience of being photographed by Diana.  The rain forest incense from her home is still with me, hours after picking up my proofs.  And that's a great metaphor for Diana: she lingers.  Her words, her essence, her heart . . . it's just out there.  I'm tuned in to her.  Thank you, D.

There's so much more.  Maybe even worthy of another blog entry.  The lessons I learned from each of these ladies, along with the "be prepared" credo.  I'll be thinking on that, too:)  Oh, and the makeup?  By Yours Truly.  My makeup is very indicative of how I approach my clients.  I know that I'm more of a "naturalista" and those types tend to gravitate toward me.  Don't get me wrong. . . I can beat down a face with the best of the makeup divas, but the ladies who like "Me. . . just an enhanced version. . ." are people I understand.


p.s.  A shout out to Kira Elizabeth Designs for the lovely earrings I was able to wear in the third photo. Kira is a featured designer in Charleston Fashion Week's Bridal Expo, as well as a house designer for Belle Couture Bridal.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

PRTTY PEAUSHUN ("pretty potion")

I was first introduced to "PRTTY PEAUSHUN" by a client of mine.  I was struck by the packaging: eco-friendly, sleek, and oh-so-squeezable.  Then, I opened the cap and there sat the most beautiful dollop of lotion just asking to be squoze out ;)  So, I did, and it was love at first sight.  

This peachy-pearlized lotion is very light and a perfect companion for bare summer skin: legs, shoulders, decollete, arms.  It gives the perfect amount of shine and light.  I buffed it in with one of my MAC buffer brushes, and the effect was simply amazing!

My research began.  And so did my correspondence with its creator, Bethany Karlyn, a Hollywood makeup artist.  I was sold by the beauty and simplicity of this product.  And the name is so clever: I loved the alliteration (P's are my fave) and I loved the unusual spelling (peau is French for "skin").  I also loved that I had "discovered" a product that I had not seen in the Charleston area.  Brazen little blogger that I am, I decided to contact the California people of Prtty Peaushun.  I introduced myself as a makeup artist in Charleston, SC, and told them how much I loved their product. . .

What I did not expect was a series of e-mails with the creator herself.  Bethany Karlyn, who can boast a clientele of some of Hollywood's elite (including fitness guru Tracy Anderson whose torso and legs appear above) took the time to correspond with little ol' me.  She told me about PP's many different uses, including priming a clean face with this stuff for the softest, most photo-friendly glow.  She also told me how many on-location hairstylists are using just the teeniest dab of it as a finish over their styles for a touch of hair-glow.  Simply stunning!

I'm on a mission to tell all my clients about this phenomenal product.  If you like your bare arms, shoulders, and legs with a dash of shimmer and healthy glow, this is a must-try for you.  It comes in a range of 5 shades, with "medium" being the most universal.  

Thank you Bethany, for a staple product in my kit, and for your kind generosity in sharing your experiences with me.  My clients LOVE it!  

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Personal Note: My Mama

She is the reason I do what I do, why I love what I love.  My mama was my first and most important inspiration in my life, especially for all-things makeup.  My earliest makeup memory is that of my mother getting dressed to go out with Daddy.  Her beautiful, dark hair, golden complexion, and red lips.  I remember her being so pretty and not wanting her to leave.  No babysitter could take her place; no one  could make me feel so comfortable or loved.  I wanted her to keep her rollers in place a little while longer.  The hard rollers with the stick-pins that held them in her hair.  The can of aerosol hairspray that would shellac her short bouffant.  She'd laugh and patiently wait as I swiped my little finger across her red lips in order to put some on mine.

It was a surreal experience to pack away those same old rollers two weeks ago.  As I stood in her bathroom and put together all her personal belongings to make their way to her new home, I flashed back to that first bathroom of hers that I could remember.  The one where I was three years old.  Those rollers.  Those pink stick pins.  She still uses the AquaNet spray.  I was a little dumbstruck how she held on to all the upscale makeup I have given her over the years, nearly untouched, and yet her Maybelline and Revlon and Max Factor bottles were nearly empty.  Some habits die hard, I suppose.

My mom's new home is a nursing home.  Her physician said it was time.  Her dementia said it was past time.  Mama's moments of clarity make this one of the hardest transitions of both our lives.  At 78, her miraculously-still-brunette hair with only a few grays at her temples, seem almost deceiving in a sea of white to blue hair.  It's one of the reasons she feels she does not belong there.  At her core, she's still a proud woman, vain in her appearance.  Lipstick is her pick-me-up.  A tweeze of a stray hair lifts her spirits.  A dab of Frances Denney's Interlude or Hope perfume behind each ear, makes her feel polished.

Mama has a standing appointment at the facility's beauty salon each week.  Shampoo and set.  God bless the nail technician who volunteers her time each week to come in and paint these ladies' fingernails.  My mom is right in line and makes the chit-chat as she waits her turn.

Lots of changes going on.  Some funny, some heart-wrenching, but all are part of this new chapter in her story.  And through it all, she's still one of the great beauties of my life.  I love you, Mama.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Worth Repeating: L'Oreal Infallible 6-Hr Lip Gloss

"Blush" #115

"Coral Sands" #405

I'm going through more of this lipgloss than any other I've ever used this bridal season.  
And there's a good reason:  it LASTS.  
It may not stay on the full 6 hours it says it does, but it really does last a good 2-3 hours:
and that's unheard of for a lip gloss.
Best of all, it's easily accessible (CVS carries the best selection), and reasonable.
The colors above are the two I use the most:  Coral Sands and Blush.  
Also check out Suede, Sangria, and Modern Mauve.

Lip Love:  L'Oreal Infallible!


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Carolyn Evans. . .Forty Beads. . .Kiawah Legends Shoot

We share most every great thing that comes our way: a recipe, clothes, a great hair stylist, a bottle of wine.  That was the back story when this amazing photo shoot landed in my lap courtesy of 
Kiawah Legends magazine.  

This photo shoot would encompass an evening fresh off an early-autumn beach stroll, cocktails-to-dinner, and languishing pool- and fire-side chats.   These girlfriends were celebrating the publication of Carolyn Evans' new book, Forty Beads.   The background was one lovely beachfront home on Kiawah Island, and the feel was that of an upscale GNI:  Girls' Night In.

What morphed out of this was my own friendship and easy communication with Carolyn Evans and this method of hers for "The Simple, Sexy Secret for Transforming Your Marriage."  It's a quick-read and a real fire-starter for those of us looking to keep the fires burning in our marriage.

Makeup details for Carolyn:
MAC Mineralized Skin Finish, Medium
MAC Rubenesque Paint Pot
MAC Teddy Eye Kohl
MAC Springsheen Powder Blush
L'Oreal Voluminous Mascara
Trish McEvoy Nude Lip Gloss

Forty Beads by Carolyn Evans can be found at Barnes & Noble,, and a whole host of indie book stores.  Check it out!

A special thanks to the editor and staff of Kiawah Legends Magazine, and the spectacular photographic artistry of Ben Williams.  I'm so proud to have been a part of this project.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Kelly & Steve + Red Shutter Studio = E-sesh Romance

I was awestruck when these proofs floated into my inbox.  They are some of the most romantic Charleston engagement session photos I've seen.

Kelly and Steve are planning their October wedding in Charleston via Washington, DC.  If these photos are any inclination of what they are in for. . . well, they're in for something spectacular!

This is my first time working with the amazing talent that is Red Shutter Studio: Rod and Tara Pasibe.  I'm looking forward to being a small part of making beautiful "eye candy" for these photographers.

Kelly's makeup details:
MAC Pro Airbrush Formula: NW15 + 2 drops NC10
Make Up For Ever Full Cover Concealer #4
Eyes:  MAC's Dangerous Cuvee Paint Pot, Copper Plate, Kid, and Black Tied e/s on lids; Buried Treasure liner + Black Tied e/s along lash lines; Andrea #108's + individual lash bundles on outer eye corners.
Cheeks:  MAC's Springsheen + Dollymix
Lips: MAC Boldly Bare liner + Trish McEvoy's "Sexy" gloss