• Rocky Romance Styled shoot: The making of a bridal styled shoot

    I have been involved in my fair share of bridal styled photo shoots over the years, and have even put one together in the past with a large crew singlehandedly..but it's been a few years and my creative brain was itching to plan another one of my own. As you can imagine, it takes an army to create something beautiful sometimes, which is why I solicit the help of amazingly talented local wedding frien-dors (Wedding vendor friends) whom I love to surround myself order to execute it! I wanted to write this blog mainly to go over the process of putting a shoot like this together, and also to show off and introduce you to some of the fab vendors I work with. 

    First off, it takes inspiration and an idea! I have always been very inspired by nature and the outdoors, so I knew I wanted to have it in a place that was unique and beautiful. One of my favorite places to hike is in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. I have roots there. I learned to ski the second I could walk at Boston Mills/Brandywine which is right around the corner. The hiking trail behind Happy Day's Lodge is absolutely breathtaking, and I knew I wanted that to be our location. The stone stairs and moss covered cliffs would make you beleive you were somewhere other than Ohio. I also pull lots of inspiration from Pinterest..seriously..what did people even do before this site?! Here is the link to my inspiration board for this shoot. I invited all vendors involved so they could also pin their inspiration based on mine.

    I wanted to give each vendor the creative freedom to take my inspiration and run with it, based on the color palette, textures and vibe of the shoot. This can always go one of two ways..people get it..or people don't. Sometimes you have to buff out missunderstandings with these things..for example: This shoot was taking place in the woods which may lead people to beleive the theme is rustic, but I wanted to make sure the vibe was more romantic, and less rustic. I think as creatives we are very visual people, so it helps to have visual aides in this case. Creative freedom is so important to me because I feel the more you put your trust into someone and just let them do their thing, they will produce their best work. 

    After creating my inspiration, I go through a period of up to two months prior to the actual shoot date to put the feelers out on which vendors might be available to help and when. The end goal of these types of shoots is to get them picked up by wedding blogs and featured so readers can get inspiration of their own for weddings, or even potentially hire the vendors involved for their own weddings. The people involved will also get copies of the photos from the shoot for their own personal use. Styled shoots are a great way to build or update your business portfolio. After a few months of trial and error with nailing down vendors for each specific category, we choose a date and set a time. The more vendors involved, the more detailed the shoot will be, and the more likely it will be featured since there are more details!

    About a week or two out from the shoot date, I make sure to organize pick up and drop off times with the vendors supplying me with goods for the shoot, and make sure the people who will be present for the shoot know all of the final details. The more details communicated the better, so everyone can be prepared espeically on an outdoor shoot where the weather could be less than ideal. 

    Photos by Emily Millay Photography

    After a day or two of running around to collect the items needed to make the shoot perfect, I send out one final email confirming the address and time. These things rarely go on without a hitch, so of course after ordering the perfect ring box to display the rings..I left it at home nearly an hour away from the shoot location. A week before the shoot..I also realized we needed a cake or at least a decoy cake. I had to scramble to find someone with availability to make us one last minute, which was not easy..but I did it! Listen, if that is the most that goes wrong..I consider myself lucky. Howeverrrr we had one other little hiccup..the park ranger approached us as we were just finishing setting up and ready to shoot.. to let us know we needed a permit to shoot in a national park. Who knew!? He also let us know he had gotten multiple complaints since we were blocking the natural staircase with our pretty set up. He asked who was in charge and of course I had to own up to it, and he said he had to take my social security number and give me a warning. I had no intention of leaving quickly after he warned us, so luckily he didn't swing back around. I'm pretty sure he knew we were harmless and just wanting to create pretty photos! is me getting written up while holding lipsticks to touch up our model..

    The hike back to the location was about 10-15 minutes, with no bathrooms and no place to change. Sometimes you have to rough it and bring sheets to make your own changing room :P

    After some final touches and touch up's..we were ready to shoot! Set up took about an hour and a half, so we had to get moving in order to keep the park rangers happy. 

    Above: One of the park rangers taking a photo of "Violators" to share with his next training class. Also not giving an F and finishing the model's lipstick. Once you put so much into a shoot..there is no way someone is bringing you down! We shot for a couple of hours, and packed up shop and got out of there before dark! Great success! Not everyone was able to actually attend the shoot, but here is a photo of those who were after we were able to say "That's a wrap!"

    Above: Chris of Storybox Cinema, Lauren & Lauren of A Charming Fete event planning and design, Our models Dom & Lindsey, Mishell of The Red Twig floral design, Myself of MKleinmanArtistry, and behind the camera, Emily of Emily Millay Photography.

    If you want to know who was involved in this stunning shoot which I cannot share just are their business names and links! It never sceases to amaze me how much talent there is in this city and how fortunate we are that they are all so sweet! I can't thank this crew enough for all of the hard work they put in to making my vision come to life. It is always so gratifying to see things come together better than you could have even imagined. Without further is the list of these rockstar vendors!

    Photography: Emily Millay Photography

    Emily has always been a dear friend and favorite vendor of mine. Her photography skills are second to none, and she creates the dreamiest of photos. She has a real eye for catching moments you may not realize are even happening, and making them pure art. I went on a once in a lifetime trip with Emily & Haley (below..of Lather a Salon) last April to Iceland, Ireland and France to capture styled shoots in each country and it was truly an amazing experience that I will always be thankful for! I am excited to say she will be photographing my wedding in September :)

    Videography: Storybox Cinema

    I met Chris through a photographer friend of mine, and was immediately obsessed with his work. The minute I watched one of his wedding films for the first time I got serious goosebumps and cried. No joke! He just moved to Cleveland recently from Seattle, and we are all here to welcome his talent with open arms :) I will also be using his services for my wedding..and I can't wait to see the detail he captures!!

    Styling: A Charming Fete

    This was my first time working with Lauren Hibbard of A Charming Fete on a shoot..and let me tell you she knocked it out of the park! I always love working with Team Fete because they are so well organized and have simply amazing style and taste. You guessed it..I am also using them for day of event coordination for my wedding!

    Makeup: MKleinmanArtistry

    My bio on website :)

    Hair: Lather a Salon

    Haley has been cutting my hair for a few years now and is a master at all things hair. Her fun personality and eye for detail is truly impressive, and I love working weddings side by side with her! She also attended the trip with Emily & I last April..and nailed each style for every shoot perfectly.  She offers many different services, so be sure to check her out if you are in need of a new stylist!

    Suiting/tailoring: Davide Cotugno Executive Tailors

    Marisa of Davide Cotugno Tailors and I met at a bridal event a few months back, and I just knew I needed to involve her in the shoot somehow. They offer custom suiting among many other menswear options at their shop. If you are looking for custom work for your wedding..look no further!

    Dress: BHLDN

    What can I say..always a favorite for wedding gowns and accessories!

    Florals: The Red Twig

    I met Mishell at a bridal event a few months ago and was wowed by her floral installations. She is so talented and has a wonderful eye for floral design.

    Rings: Wanderlust Jewelers

    I have had my eye on Wanderlust for a couple of years now, and knew I had to include their beautiful work in this shoot. They make custom engagement rings and wedding bands that are so unique and different.

    Hair accessories/earrings: Entwine Bridal

    I met Lisa at the Cleveland Flea's bridal event, Local Union a little while ago and took her card knowing I would contact her for this shoot. Her bridal accessories are so delicate and intricate as well as perfectly handcrafted. If you are looking for accessories for your hair or need to check her out!

    Stationary/calligraphy: Kimprinted

    I've known Kim for a while now, and was so excited when she told me she was interested in participating in this shoot. I love her writing style and her style in general. If you are looking for custom wedding invites, signage, or other calligraphy Kim is your go to gal.

    Cake: A Cupcake a Day

    Shawna and I have known each other for a few years now, and she totally saved my butt on this shoot with a last minute cake! Check out her fab cupcakes and confections in Medina square :)

    Textiles/linens: Drift Lab Textile Co.

    I met the ladies of Drift Lab Textile Co. just a few weeks back at Borrow Rentals open house. They hand dye fabrics with natural materials to create beautiful pieces for your home or wedding. They can custom dye to match your wedding colors!

    Lipstick: Ice+Jam

    I carry Ice+Jam to sell to my clients and love their genious packaging and hydrating lipsticks. They are so pigmented and moisturizing, and come with a little mirror in the cap! See..I told you..genious!

    Models: @mimoedm @linds_spit

    You guys saved my butt when I was having trouble finding a couple to model in the middle of a Monday thanks a million!!

  • DIY Gift Guide

    With the holiday's right around the corner, I figured it would be the perfect time to share my DIY gift for my girlfriend's this year. If you know me personally, ***SPOILER ALERT*** you know I hate surprises and secrets, so sorry if you are one of my besties reading this because now you know what you're getting! Hah! I have decided to make "Girl's Night In Emergency Kits" because you all know we need a little "me" time every now and then. I'm going to break down with photos how to put it together, what products I used, how to use them, where to get them and how much they cost. As we get a little bit older, and see certain friends less because hey, that's life..I figured we really don't need to be spending more than $30 on each other..heck..less than that if we can make it work! Times are a changin' and we're trying to save for our here's my budget friendly gift idea! Enjoy!

    What's inside?

    Hair Masque: Sally Beauty Supply $1.69.

    Hair Masque: Wet hair. Towel dry so it is still wet/damp. Apply masque all over hair favoring ends. Comb through with a wide tooth comb to evenly distribute masque. Leave on while using other products in this basket then wash out :)

    Headband: Target (On sale) $3.35 for 5. Divide that by 5 and it's .67 cents per person..not bad!

    Headband: To keep hair out of your face while using your face mask!

    Face Scrub: Target $3.89

    Face Scrub: how to use- wet face with warm water and use a pea sized amount of scrub in a circular motion all over face avoiding eyes for about 30 seconds. Rinse with warm water.

    Pore Cleansing Strips: Target $6.09 for 14. Divide that by 4 people (and I'll keep two for myself..hehe) Roughly $1.50 per person for 3 strips. (I'm no math I may have screwed that up somewhere but who's counting?)

    Deep Pore Cleansing Strips: Wet nose and inner cheeks with warm water. With dry hands, peel backing from strip and apply to nose making sure there are no air bubbles. Leave on till fully dry, then peel off slowly. Remove any excess product with warm water.

    Lip Balm: Target $2.99.

    Lip Balm: Leaves lips silky smooth after your mask :)

    Face Mask: Sally Beauty Supply $4.99. This is my favorite face mask of all time!! Works wonders and makes your skin feel amazing for under 5 bucks! Can't beat it.

    Face Mask: Apply a generous amount all over face and neck avoiding eyes, eyebrows and lips. Let dry completely then rinse with warm water.

    Hand/Face Towel: Target $3.49 for 2. $1.75 per person.

    Towel: To dry your pretty face!

    Basket to put it all in: Target $3.00 at the dollar spot. I also bought some cello bags to wrap it all in at Deals, our local dollar store for 2 for $1.00. .50 per person!

    The grand total for this totally adorable DIY gift that I would for sure love to get is a whopping $20.98 per person! Totally killed the budget game on this one. This is a great office gift swap idea or white elephant gift idea. When it was all said and done before wrapping in cello bags with bows/cards it looks like this...

    Now go fouth and make great DIY gifts!! :)


  • Nordstrom Anniversary Sale/Fall Fashion

    Each year, Nordstrom holds one of my favorite sales ever, Nordstrom Anniversary. If you're like me, you only really hardcore shop twice a year when seasons change, and like to get it all out of the way at once.  (Ok..maybe you shop a little bit here in between too.) I am a huge Fall fashion fiend and honestly hate summer clothes. When I heard about Nordy Anniversary, and saw the gorgeous catalog, I knew there were some key peices I'd have to have. Going into the sale the first day (like a champ, b/c hey, all the good sizes/stuff would be gone if I didn't, right?!) it was like heaven on earth. I would say I don't have one particular type of style because I like it all, but this fall I am crushing on shades of grey, lots of texture, and jackets & booties of course! I took screen shots of some of the items I purchased because they are cool and casual, and very unique! Just what I look for when I'm shopping. You will see the Anniversary price in the screen shots compared to the normal price (which will go up August 4th.) It's totally worth shopping during Anniversary because you get tons of designer items for less before anyone else grabs the seasons hottest items. Who wouldn't love that?! Check out some of my faves, and get to shopping!

    Love, love, LOVE this jacket! This is the peice I went to the sale for, and left with way more..but you know that tends to happen sometimes. I love the quilted texture and the shearling lining is super on trend for fall. This jacket looks great paired with your favorite skinny jeans or a cute printed dress.

    This genuine leather moto jacket is the softest most plush leather I have ever felt, for a dynamite price. Just the jacket I've been looking for to go with absolutely anything.

    The picture of this sweater doesn't do it justice. I picked this up because it has a really cool ribbed texture and went perfectly with the leather moto leggings I'm going to post below!

    These leggings are super cool. The moto trend is in for fall, and I love this with the sweater above. The model in the picture is actually wearing the sweater with the leggings, which I had no idea til after I bought it! I guess I know some stuff about style? :) These are great because the front is the faux leather and the back are streatchy thick leggings.

    This grey circle scarf is the perfect companion to a relaxed white tee and leather or denim bottom. Also goes great with your favorite jacket or sweater.

    I was on the fence about this top, but it was so cute on I had to get it. I really love the laser cut trend. You can pair this top with a bandeau top, black bra or tank underneath. I am thinking I want to find a pencil skirt to wear with it.

    I love this top because it can so easially go from work with a blazer to happy hour with nothing over it. Super cute and work appropriate!

    This model does not rock this top like it should be rocked, but it is a super cool one! I had to take a picture of the front and back to do it justice. The gold lame reminded me of a top my grandmother had that she used to wear on crusises in the 80's, which is why I loved this top. I could see wearing this for new year's eve with a killer skirt and some ankle strap pumps.

    This cardigan cought my eye in, you guessed it, black at first, but I saw this gorgeous olive color and couldn't resist! It comes in grey, black, taupe and olive, and I seriously wanted them all. The fabric is a really beautiful quality jersey and is heavy enough to wear as a jacket on a cooler day but also light enough to throw on over something on a warmer day. One of my favorite finds!

    I was originally looking for regular blue denim moto jeans, but these cought my eye and go so great with the olive jacket above and pretty much everything else I bought! I couldn't pass them up because they fit so well. I am a jeans a basic tee kind of gal, so I thought the texture at the knees would spice up my regular jean+tee game.

    Favorite shoe purchase right here! These Joe's cutout booties are the perfect neutral shade that go with anything for fall. I could see these paired with a long sleeved skater dress or skirt, and for sure will be wearing them with my favorite skinnys! The cutout is actually comfortable, and not irritating like I had imagined. If you know me, you know I HATE heels, which is why I opted for the thicker heeled bootie instead of a stiletto heel. Sooo much more comfy :)

    I really wanted a cute leather wrapped boot that was casual, and found the perfect one. These booties are also super comfy and have a casual, worn in look and feel. Love them!

  • COLLECTED 2014

    I received some fantastic images from a styled shoot I was on a few weeks back, and wanted to share on the blog! Collected is a styled shoot concept by Mallory+Justin Photographers, that came to life with a variety of talented people all helping together to make it cohesive and fabulous. Here's a little inside info..

    The Location: Mallory's parent's beautiful home in Waynesburg, Ohio.

    The Inspiration: Industrial, modern-vintage, rustic, elegant, hip, outdoor, wedding!

    The Vendors: Florals by Fair Rarity Fetching Flowers

    Furniture + Accesories + Styling by Borrow Rentals

    Creative Styling by With Love & Whimsy Events

    Make Up by MKleinmanArtistry

    Paper Goods by Baci Designer

    Baked Goods by Salvino Dolci

    Headbands by Little White Feather Shop

    Photographers: Heather - Inlux Photo Lisa - Brightside Photo Lane- Lane Baldwin Photography Carolyn - Carolyn Ann Photo Mallory + Justin.

    I am going to preface these beautiful photos by saying that I love taking part in themed styled shoots, and I think every creative should do it at least once! It is such a wonderful creative outlet and it's really great to be around like-minded people that work so well together. Collected was so laid back and wonderful, and everyone did their part to work together and make these images complete perfection using their own unique touches. I am a huge supporter of small businesses that are locally owned, and for me it really doesn't get much better than having a bunch of small business owners come together to do what they are all best at. It's really inspiring to be a part of something like this. Ok I'm done being a check out the photos! Also..big thank you to Mallory and Justin for having me on board!

    (Also, be sure to check out Inlux Photo's blog coverage of this shoot for some more photos at and Mallory's blog coverage at Both of those blogs showcase more vendors, while my post is going to be geared more towards my styling work!

  • Drugstore Vs. Department Store brand cosmetics

    As a professional Makeup Artist, one of the questions I get asked most is "Does it really matter how much you spend on your makeup?" The answer is YES! Higher end cosmetic brands do cost more, but are much more effective at creating the look that most women lust after. I decided to do a little test for myself, because as most artists do, I got tired of my same old daily routine and wanted to test some of the drugstore brands that are constantly blogged about and on Pinterest. I went to Target and yes, I did spend less for everything I purchased compared to hundreds on my regular products, however the products (just as I had suspected) did not hold up or give the same effect as my higher end brands. Don't get me wrong, on a budget, these products are great! (Which is another reason I am writing this post, because on a budget, they are probably the best that the drugstore has to offer.) Please stay tuned for pictures of these products and some reviews!
    I'm going to start this post by saying sorry for any spelling and gramatical errors in advance! I'm also going to start this post with my more pricey, daily faves followed by my drugstore finds. I do want to mention that just because I feel this way about these products, does not mean you will as well. Everyone has different needs for their makeup, as well as has different skin. I want to mention that I have combination oily skin that usually needs some powder touch up's through out the day. I typically put my makeup on anywhere between 6am and 10am depending on the day. I need my makeup to stay fresh all day with minimal touch up's due to the nature of my job seeing clients at different times of the day. Most of the products I use are considered "long-wearing." Some of you may not need that, however, I can't see why anyone wouldn't want their makeup to last all day! Ok...done with all the precursors and now on to the fun stuff!!!
    Product: Dr. Jart Black Label Detox BB Cream $36
    Where to get it: (They no longer sell this formula in stores)
    Coverage/ Wear/Finish: Full coverage/semi-long wearing/natural finish
    Review: 4.5 stars: Out of all the BB creams I have tried, this one is by far my favorite! I love it because it provides a lightweight full coverage with a skin tone adjusting shade. It also provides SPF 25. The detox factor in this BB cream as opposed to the regular Dr. Jart one really makes a big difference. I had some moderate acne scaring by my jawline that this has almost completely reversed. It boasts to help with scaring or age spots, and it for sure does. The only downfall about this product in my eyes is that the shade adjusting feature in it is better for fair to medium skin tones. When I get darker during the spring and summer I sometimes mix this with the next two products I am reviewing below.
    Product: Too Faced tinted beauty balm $34
    Where to get it: Ulta or Sephora
    Coverage & Wear: Medium coverage/not long wearing/dewey finish
    Review: 4 stars: This BB cream is great for when I want more of a glow to my skin. Since I am more oily, I still need to set it with a powder but through out the day my natural shine keeps the glow in this foundation just right. I like that it is lighter weight and tinted. It comes in a variety of different shades and offers SPF 20. It is more hydrating than the Dr.Jart BB cream. The downfall to this product is that it tends to slide off if I don't powder it. I like this one in the winter when I am a little more dry, or in the summer when I want a glow. It is great mixed with a heavier foundation to sheer it out.
    Product: Revlon Color Stay foundation $11.99
    Where to get it: Drugstore/Target/Walmart/Ulta
    Covereage/Wear/Finish: Full coverage/long wear/natural matte finish
    Review: 5 stars: Ok ok, I know I said I wouldn't throw in drugstore products til after the higher end ones..however..this foundation holds up better than any higher end one I've tried. I love love LOVE this product. I discovered this while I was working at MAC because I was sensitive to the foundation they had. This foundation is great for sentitive and ance prone skin, is super long wearing (15 hours), has a beautiful finish on the skin, and has two different options for skin type: Combination Oily or Combination Dry that come in a wide variety of shades. It does oxidise a bit so I always tell people wanting to try this foundation to buy 3 shades that look close to your skin tone and try swatching them outdoors from your jaw line to neck. Return the shades that don't work. When I need a foundation to last all day and not have to worry about touching up at all, even with powder..I wear this one. I sometimes will mix it with one of the two BB creams above to sheer it out when I don't want the full coverage. This is by far my favorite every day wear foundation. There is no SPF so it photographs decently as well. I would recommend this product to everyone, just make sure that you get the type that best suits your skin (combo-oily/combo-dry.)
    Product: MAC Prep&Prime transparent finishing powder (loose) $25
    Where to get it: Your local MAC store or
    Coverage/Wear/Finish: Transparent coverage/medium wear/natrual finish
    Review: 5 stars: This powder is my favorite by far. It also comes in a pressed version, as well as skin tone adjusting shades, but I prefer the classic transparent loose. I really love that this powder gives a more natural finish as opposed to a matte one that most powders give. It works best when pressed and rolled into the skin with a brush. I also love that it blurrs large pores and imperfections on the skin. I have a thing for transparent powders as opposed to ones with color because it just adds a finished look to my skin without all the color and heavy powdered look. I use this powder every day on set for photo shoots and for Brides. Great product!
    Product: Bobbi Brown Tinted eye brightener $30
    Where to get it: Nordstrom, Saks, Sephora
    Coverage/Wear/Finish: medium to full coverage/long wear/natural finish
    Review: 5 stars: This product is great for people with dark circles! It comes in a variety of different shades, but I love Bisque 3 for me because it's salmony pink undertone cuts the dark right out from under my eyes. I like this product mixed with my concealer when I am wearing a full face of makeup, but I also wear it alone on days when I wear hardly anything at all. It lays smoothly and doesn't give a caked on or creased look under the eyes at all. A little bit goes a long way with this one.
    Product: MAC pro longwear concealer $19
    Where to get it: Your local MAC store or
    Coverage/Wear/Finish: full coverage/long wear/natural finish
    Review: 4.5 stars: This is the best concealer I have ever tried. I love the consistency and long wear that it gives, as well as the coverage and the fact that it doesn't crease..AT ALL! Again, a little bit goes a long way. The bad thing about this concealer is the packaging. I hate the pump because usually too much comes out and it is easy to waste product. I love it for under eyes as well as on the face for blemishes. This little sucker packs a big punch!
    Product: Bobbi Brown face touch-up stick $26
    Where to get it: Nordstrom, Saks, Sephora
    Coverage/Wear/Finish: Full coverage/medium wear/natural finish
    Review: 5 stars: This concealer stick is great for blemishes or imperfections, but not under the eye area. It blends flawlessly into the skin on top of foundation or without it. The shade range is impeccable and the consistency is fantastic. I beleive it has some type of clay in it that also helps to heal acne. It is great for combination skin. Great to take on the go in your bag.
    Product: MAC mineralize blush in Warm Soul $27
    Where to get it: Your local MAC store or
    Review: 5 stars: This is my absolute favorite blush for every day wear. It glides on the skin and blends beautifully as well as gives a soft and subtle glow to the cheeks. This blush does have shimmer in it, so if you aren't into that, don't get it! (PS..this is what the bottom of the blush looks like, not how a new one should look..I'm almost out!) I also love that it is the perfect blend of pink and peach with a hint of a nude tone in it. I don't love this in photos or for Brides, but for every day it looks beautiful.
    Product: Urban Decay anti-aging eyeshadow primer potion $24
    Where to get it: Sephora or Ulta
    Review: 5 stars: This is literally the only eyeshadow primer that works on my greasy lids! This and the original primer potion by Urban Decay are fantastic for under any shadow. It comes in a neutral shade that in undetectable under any color shadow, but makes all shadows look their best. I cannot stress an eyeshadow primer enough in your makeup routine. It makes a huge difference in the wear of the shadow, as well as the color of the shadow. I have literally gone jet skiing in lake erie, fallen in with this stuff on under my eyeshadow, and it totally stayed put. If that isn't a testimonial, I don't know what is! Get it! (I am not going to write about eyeshadows in this post, because I won't wear anything other than higher end brand shadows, therefor there is no reason to compare them to a drugstore brand..because there is no comparison!)
    Product: Anastasia brow powder duo $23
    Where to get it: Ulta or Sephora
    Review: 4 stars: I like the fact that this powder has two different shades so I can shade my brows from light to dark, or however I want. I use this product with an angle brush and a spoolie brush. I'm sure everyone has their own favorite when it comes to brows, but so far I dig this. I only started filling in my brows as of 2 years ago..I know..crazy right? But it makes such a huge difference that I can't not fill them anymore! Brows really shape and frame the face, and finish off a makeup look. I like that you can change them up, too! I didn't find a less expensive comparison for this product. I won't skimp on brows! Like they say..don't let people with bad eyebrows tell you shit about life!
    Product: MAC fluidline in Blacktrack $16
    Where to get it: Your local MAC store or
    Review: 5 stars: This eyeliner does it all. It is a gel formula that is waterproof, but not waterproof enough that you couldn't get it off in the shower alone with your cleanser. It is a very deep dark shade of black that is so easy to apply it will make your head spin! People are intimidated by the fact that you need to use a brush with this bad boy. However, it makes your life 10 times easier if you just give it a try! I love that it really stays on and does not smudge or transfer. It is not labled safe for the waterline, however if you are super careful and use the right brush and technique, it will stay in your waterline all day. (Just don't get it in your eye! Ouch!) It also comes in a variety of other shades. I like that you can use it to get a solid line or you can smudge it before it sets for a smokier look.
    Product: MAC Haute & Naughty too black lash mascara $21
    Where to get it: Your local MAC store or
    Review: 5 stars: There is one thing I know and that is that women are married to their mascara. Once they find a brand or type that works, they stick with it! I will preface this with the fact that I have naturally long lashes, but this mascara would work for people with shorter lashes as well. This is the holy grail of mascaras ladies. I mean it! This mascara can be used two seperate ways. It has one brush but two different options: 1. Length/volume/drama/(going to the club mascara) 2. Length/natural/sleek (grocery store mascara). I love to use the more dramatic side, do 2-3 coats, then if needed seperate them with the natural side. It works wonders! This mascara also comes in a normal black as well as the "too black" which is super dark black. I love the dark black because it really makes the color of my eyes pop..and go big or go home..right?! This has been my favorite for a few years now. Runner up favorite is Chanel La Volume, but it is pricey, so that is a once a year splurge for me and I still like this one better!
    And now...for the less expensive product options!!!
    Products: Maybelline FIT me foundation & concealer $5.99/$5.49
    Where to get them: drugstore, Target, Walmart, Ulta
    Coverage/Wear/Finish: medium coverage/medium wear/natural matte finish
    Review: 3.5 stars: This is my runner up drugstore foundation. I see these two blogged about constantly and pinned on Pinterest as some of the best drugstore products. I do like the feel of it on my skin, however, it does sink into lines a bit so you have to be careful not to use too much. As far as the concealer goes, I don't love it but I don't hate it. Again, be careful not to use too much as it falls into lines easially. The wearability of the concealer however for a drugstore brand is exceptional. I still love my MAC pro longwear more! The bottom line..for the price of both of these products..I would give them each more of a 4 than a 3.5.
    Product: Maybelline Dream Lumi Touche (under eye brightener or highlighter) $6.49
    Where to get it: drugstore, Target, Walmart, Ulta
    Review: 4 stars: This is another highly blogged about product. People on other blogs compare this to YSL touche eclat or similar highlighters. I wouldn't go that far to compare it to YSL or even my Bobbi Brown highlighter, but it isn't a bad alternative at all. I bought this in two colors because I didn't know how it would come out. I am actually glad I did, because one is perfect for under my eyes to brighten, and the other is perfect for highlighting down the nose or other places on the face. I think I'll keep these! The only downfall in my opinion is that it shows a tiny bit more texture under my eyes than my Bobbi Brown one. I actually dig this product for a drugstore brand. I would say it is worth more than $6.50. Heads up, I would mix it with a concealer or wear it alone if you don't need the extra coverage. A little bit goes a long way, it's pretty pigmented!
    Product: Rimmel London Stay Matte long lasting pressed powder (translucent) $3.99
    Where to get it: drugstore, Target, Walmart, Ulta
    Review: 3.5 stars: Yet another blogged about drugstore product, Rimmel did an alright job with this powder. I chose the translucent shade because of the same reason I mentioned above in the MAC Prep&Prime powder post. This powder kind of just sat on top of my skin after applying, but as the day went on it settled and looked pretty decent on my skin. I would say it is for sure worth $3.99, but I wouldn't use it on camera, only for daily use. I didn't have to touch up as much with this powder, so it does really "stay matte." I wore this over the FIT me foundation, which was a good combo. On a budget, this powder gets the job done, just don't use too much.
    Product: E.L.F Shimmering Facial Whip $1
    Where to get it: Target
    Review: 2 stars: Ok..2 stars is generous when it comes to this cheap-o facial highlighter. I have seen this compared to some pretty high end stuff, and it does not even come close. Don't waste a dollar on this stuff. Seriously..just don't. Choose only a higher end highlighter like MAC Lustre Drops or MAC mineralize skinfinish if you are going to put shimmer on your face. I will leave it at that folks!
    Product: E.L.F HD Blush in Headliner (right) and Superstar (left) Each $3
    Where to get it: Target
    Review: 3.5 stars: Just when I thought E.L.F was a total flop, they came back and TOTALLY REDEEMED THEMSELVES! Ok I don't know about totally but I just felt like saying that. (Jeez this post is long..I'm starting to get a little loopy.) This liquid blush comes in sweet pump packaging and is highly, I mean HIGHLY pigmented. I was surprised to find that it stayed on decently for most of the day. I would for sure recommend this for $3 if you are looking for a liquid blush that blends easially into the skin without looking streaky. It comes in 4 colors.
    Product: Physicans Formula shimmer strips custom eye enhancing kohl kajal eyeliner trio (whew, that was a mouth full) $11.99
    Where to get it: drugstores, Target, Walmart, Ulta
    Review: 4.5: I first read about this eyeliner in Cosmo last summer, and thought heck I'll give it a go. Their review was stellar, and they nailed it. I LOVE this liner! Do not, I repeat, do not use it in your waterline. It was shimmer in it which equals glitter..and glitter in your eyeball equals not a good time. I use this liner almost every day when I want a smokier line and not a straight line. I use it with a pencil brush on my upper lash line and lower lash line and then smudge it. It is buildable so you can use it heavily for a more sultry look or lightly for some definition. These liners come in a variety of different color choices with 3 different colors in a pack. I usually only use Black or Brown. The best thing about this liner is that once it sets, it doesn't budge. It is waterproof and smudgeproof. Give it a try, it's especially great for the hot summer months!
    Product: Maybelline the Falsies mascara $5.99
    Where to get it: drugstore, Target, Walmart, Ulta
    Review: 4 stars: I really like this mascara. The brush is fantastic and really seperates the lashes while giving them lots of length and volume. The only downfalls to drugstore mascara, and this mascara are that they tend to dry out faster than pricier mascara, and they make your lashes feel kind of crunchy and not so soft and touchable. I do like that this mascara also holds curl well. For the drugstore, this ones my top contender. The waterproof version isn't half bad, either.
    And there you have it, folks! My reviews on my favorite higher end and drugstore products! I hope this was helpful and that you go shopping and try some of these for yourselves. I also would love to help you personally find products that are best for you, and teach you how to apply them and help to create a custom every day look that you feel comfortable in. There's nothing better than a fresh face forward..and some new makeup! E-mail me to schedule a lesson. If you have any questions about this post or makeup in general..please feel free to reach out to me via e-mail at Thanks so much for reading!
  • First Q&A Blog post: Highlight & Contour 101

    Today, I answer my first great reader question...How the heck do you highlight and contour your face, and what are my favorite products to use to do it? Great question! Highlighting and contouring is for sure a challenging topic that many women want to know more about to acheive that beautiful, sculpted look. However, with a little practice and knowledge of your bone structure, you will find it is pretty simple. I will start with a little step by step how to, then get into products to use.

    1. Take a minute to really study and look at your face in the mirror. Notice the spots where light hits it and reflects, and notice the spots where the light is not so prominent and recedes. Now take your hand in a fist, and turn it so the pinky side of your fist faces you. Gently, (I don't want anyone punching themselves in the face!) place the fist on your cheek bone till you find it, and move it slightly underneath so you feel the hollow of your cheek. You found it! Now this is where you want to contour. You will also find other spots on your face that recede, such as the crease above your eye lid, jaw line, temples, the space under your lip above your chin, and the sides of your nose.

    2. The key to a natural looking contour is to make it soft, yet defined. I will just talk about cheek contouring in this post to keep it simple. Now that you have found the hollow of your cheek, you should be able to better understand where the contour should be placed. A great starting point is the tragus, better known as that little part of skin in the center of your ear that sticks out. Place your brush at the hairline by your tragus and brush forward along the hollow of your cheek and stop where the outer corner of your eyebrow and eye stop. That is how far forward you want to go. You can go a tiny bit further to blend the edge out, but any further and it starts to look super fake. Now brush back and fouth in a fluid motion to get a nice, even blend of color in your contour. There! You did it!

    3. Now on to highlighting. Remember the parts of your face that the light bounced off from? Those are your highlight spots. Some examples are your under eye area, the bridge of your nose, forehead, tip of the chin, the "C" shape above your cheek bone to around the eyebrow, and the cupid's bow above your upper lip. We will just talk about the under eye area and the "C" shape.

    4. Under eye concealing can be tricky and you really have to pay attention to your own individual skin type and coloring under there. Some people can be a darker, more purple tone under the eye, where others may have more red tones, and so on and so fouth. Some people may be super dry and dehydrated under the eyes, and others may not have that problem at all. Finding the right concealer and/or corrector takes paying attention to YOUR individual under eye area. I will use myself as an example in this case, but that does not mean you are the same :) I am pretty dark and semi dry under the eyes. I will use La Mer's eye cream first then M.A.C's pro longwear concealer and Bobbi Brown's corrector mixed together to get my perfect under eye hue. Take your ring finger and gently press your concealer and/or corrector from the inner corner of the under eye, in a "V' shape or what I like to call "the triangle of light" to your outer corner of the under eye and fill in the space between by gently patting the product there. This should give the eye a more awake appearance.

    5. Highlighting the "C" shape of your cheekbone is the perfect soft touch to compliment your contour. Place your highlight right above the contour, but make sure you softly melt the edges together when you blend. Start at your hair line again, but above the contour, and move the brush forward above the contour. Again, make sure to stop where you stopped your contour, then move the brush back softly to blend. You can take the brush up the side of your face and wrap the highlight around the side of the  brow for a more dramatic look. The picture above really shows a great example of where to start and stop your highlight in that "C" shape. And your done! Now you should be able to acheive a soft, highlight and contour effect on the cheeks.

    On to products. Some of my favorite products to contour with are the M.A.C pro sculpting powders and creams. I know these are not available to everyone so some other great alternatives are any bronzer that is going to be matte and more brown, not orange or red toned. I love to highlight with M.A.C Pearl Cream Colour Base as well as M.A.C Mineralize skinfinish in soft and gentle. A less expensive option for a highlight would be Physician's Formula shimmer strips in Vegas Strip.

    I hope this post was semi-helpful to you! Please let me know if you still have questions!

  • Follow up to yesterday's Coconut Oil post :)

    Ok, so here's the scoop on how the Coconut oil hair mask went! I put the mask on my hair over night..and washed it out when I got up in the morning. It took two washes to get it all completely out of my hair, but after drying and styling it like normal, it was extra shiny and soft. I am very pleased with how it worked and will for sure continue to do this as part of my weekly beauty routine! Tonight...on to trying it out as a makeup remover. :)

    Update! Used it as makeup remover tonight and I am equally amazed at it's ability to remove makeup! I mean even all of your mascara. I typically wear a 24 hour foundation as well as a long-wearing concealer, so the fact that it cut right through that with ease is awesome. I tested this out by using my usual nightly cleansing method..M.A.C makeup wipes, post Coconut Oil makeup removal..and the coconut oil really did get just about all of my makeup off. There was hardly any on the makeup wipe I used, and those things are heavy duty!

  • Coconut Oil and it's many uses!

    So I have been dying to try what people say is the best natural treatment for hair and a long list of other uses- Coconut Oil - for quite a while now, and finally picked some up today. I picked up a 16 oz. jar of organic virgin coconut oil at Trader Joe's for $5.99. A great price for something with so many uses!

    I have heard nothing but great things about it. I've been told there are more than 101 uses for the stuff..which makes me even more interested in it! Some of my favorite uses that I plan on trying are using it as a makeup remover, hair mask, as lotion, as shaving cream, as an intensive night time moisturizer, and as a natural tanning oil with spf 4. Tonight, I am starting a new weekly ritual of using it as an overnight mask for my hair to help with growth, split ends, shine and frizz.

    The Trader Joe's organic virgin coconut oil is a solid form which melts upon contact with heat. It takes just a few seconds for it to melt in your hands enough to rub on any surface. I used a few table spoons, let it melt, and ran it through my hair from root to tip, concentrating some extra oil on the ends. I plan on leaving it on over night and washing it out in the morning. I will let everyone know in tomorrow's blog post how it went and how my hair feels. Can't wait to see the results!

  • Spotlight on Something White Bridal Boutique

    ***Calling all Brides, Bridesmaids, and soon to be Brides!!!***
    I want to take a moment to spotlight a truly fabulous Bridal Boutique in Independence, Ohio called Something White. I stumbled upon the boutiques owners, Karin and Rebecca about a month back at an art gallery and noticed their booth immediately by the pinterest-esque feel that it had, and the dress on display. I quickly headed over to chat with the ladies about their small business, and immediately fell in love with what they had to offer. I took their card and checked out their website, which I encourage all of you to do as well! Their story was so inspiring, starting a business in their hometown, reflecting their own personal style and customer service expertise to give the Bride a one of a kind experience. I also love that they travel to New York City twice a year to pick up some of their favorite pieces for the shop to keep it fresh and current, and that you can customize almost anything in the store to your liking! Yesterday I met with Karin and Rebecca to share a bit about myself and my Bridal services, and Rebecca got to test drive the Bridal trial experience. With all of the swoon-worthy gowns in the shop just waiting to be tried on, I of course made Rebecca re-live the experience and try on a few gowns with her makeup done. She looked stunning in the new age Hollywood gown she chose. We chatted and had a few laughs and I took some pictures of the shop to share with you. I will do my best to describe to you this beautiful shop, but I recommend you check it out and see it for yourself! When you walk in the door, you feel like you are walking into a live Pinterest Pin board. Everything is displayed so beautifully and it is very easy to shop through everything they have to offer. The first floor has a great selection of re-wearable (I really mean it!) Bridesmaid dresses, and Mother of the Bride dresses and beautiful vintage feel bridal jewelery with lots of pearls, "diamonds" and lace. Take a walk upstairs to the second floor, where the magic happens. Upstairs is where tons of Brides have been so lucky to try on and find their dream gown. At the top of the stairs, Karin and Rebecca have pictures posted of some former brides in their gowns from the shop, which I felt was a great touch. Turn left and there is a beautiful dressing room. Turn right and you are in Bridal gown heaven! The upstairs has a ton of natural light that lets in the most perfect glow to the room, and highlights the gowns just right. The gowns are categorized with descriptive words like, "Rustic, Classic, and Vintage," as well as many others. They hang from birch tree branches around vintage furniture and other baubles. I will post some pictures so you can see it for yourself, but honestly, you need to make the trip to see these ladies! When I get engaged one day, I know I will be trying on gowns at Something White! I cannot speak highly enough about this shop and these ladies!