Top 5: Emmy’s Red Carpet 2017

The 69th annual Primetime Emmy Awards took place last Sunday, and as per usual Hollywood’s best arrives dressed to impress for the big night. From classic to on trend, here are my 5 favorite looks from the evening:

 

1. Julianne Hough in Marchesa

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The flowing black tulle and signature Marchesa floral details are romantic and sheer in all the right places. The soft pink embellishments are in complementary contrast to the tulle, and cascade in feathery feminine touches.

 

 

2. Halston Sage in Zac Posen

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The details are key when appreciating the beauty of this white Zac Posen gown. The all-over texture, cinched waist, and off-the-shoulder draping work together to create quite the visual stunner.

 

 

3. Jessica Biel in Ralph & Russo

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The darling of this gown on Jessica is everything! The plunging neckline and thigh-high slit are sultry yet chic, and the soft peach set with the silver sequin gives the perfect contrast to make this such a beautiful look. I loved Jessica on “The Sinner”, and even though the finale fell a bit flat for me, it was such a great limited series!

 

 

4. Leslie Jones in Christian Siriano

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Why are more people not talking about how incredible Leslie looked in this amazing gown?! Christian Siriano never disappoints, and it’s clear why he has ultimately become a fave of the star. The sparkling black mixed with sheer elements is artfully and masterfully constructed, providing great visual impact. Leslie looks so statuesque and on trend; I love it! Sidenote: If you are a “Game if Thrones” fan and haven’t caught any of her commentary, then you are truly missing out.

 

 

5. Susan Kelechi Watson in Cristina Ottaviano

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The “This is Us” star looked glamorously chic in this metallic champagne gown. The off-the-shoulder number featured a textured, swirling bodice detail and transitioned into a more sheer material with corresponding metallic details. Susan accessorized with a pair of chandelier earrings and evening shoes by Aldo. Who else is excited for the “This is Us” season two premiere on Tuesday?!

I would love to hear who you thought was best dressed last weekend. Let me know your picks in the comments. Who do you think will be ruling the red carpet this awards season?!

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Top 3: Jennifer Lawrence’s Mother! Press Tour

I love me some J.Law! I mean, I can’t remember a time I didn’t love this lady, so I am always excited to see her on the red carpet. She recently did a press tour for her new film, Mother!, and looked as stunning as ever. I’ve picked my top 3 favorite looks to share, and I’m sure you’ll agree they are absolutely crush-worthy.

1. Sally LaPointe separates at a TIFF press conference.

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I am all the heart eyes loving the vibe of these separates. The crop top and high-waisted trouser complement each other on J.Law’s lean figure, and that pattern is absolutely amazing. Delicate jewelry and a tousled center part do round out the ensemble.

 

2. NYC Film Premiere in Dior

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Are you picking up all the Romantic bohemian goddess vibes lady is putting down?! I am obsessed with soft tulle and chiffon skirts right now; I love the movement and texture they give off visually. The wrapping of the bodice here is very Grecian, and J.Law adds a bonus romantic goddess touch with the flowers pinned into her hair. 

 

3. Atelier Versace at the U.K. Premiere

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Holy Smokes! (does anyone even still say that?!), the details of this sheer gown are insane in the most amazing of ways! The intricacy of the webbed effect is so beautiful aesthetically, and Jennifer looks so statuesque and edgy-chic in it. The smokier eye makeup and perfectly imperfect upstyle completes the look on point.

Did you have a favorite look?! Jennifer and her team always knock it out of the park and they know it. The film was released in theaters yesterday and the husband and I have a day date tomorrow to see it. Anyone else planning on seeing it on the big screen? I think I’m equally excited about m&m’s and a concession cherry coke 😉✌🏻

Congratulations Kate!


I was working on a blog post about our week at the beach, but I had to put a hault on that to give a shout-out to my should-be-best-friend Kate Middleton since Kensington Palace announced she was pregnant with her third child.

This was the last photo taken of Kate in public before the pregnancy announcement came.

 

The Duchess is reportedly less than 12 weeks pregnant, but was compelled to make the announcement when she was too sick to attend a scheduled event. Of course, everyone is already floating the idea of twins and placing odds on names. For a girl the top picks are Alice, Elizabeth, and Victoria; for a boy, James, Arthur, and Phillip. Either way, I know I am excited for the new royal baby!! Kate always has such impeccable maternity style (and style in general), even when she’s feeling unwell, so I’m going to love to see what she wears this go round!

Congratulations Kate + Will!! Cheers!!

Kelsea Ballerini: Seeing Red

We are only a good two days into our beach vacay, but an incoming storm has put a damper on our plans for the next day or so. To pass the time I thought I would scroll through all of the red carpet looks from last night’s VMA’s since I wasn’t into actually watching the awards this year (this mean I’m getting old?!!). I was hoping to see some beautiful and spectacular pieces, but what did I see?  Nothing impressive, ugh. Then, like a little saving grace of fashionable proportions, I came across this photo of Kelsea Ballerini from this past Wednesday’s ACM Honors in Nashville:


I do not normally gravitate towards red, but this gown by Dennis Basso was just so chic and beautiful that I had to take notice. It’s no secret that Kelsea is one of my faves on the red carpet; I’m a huge fan of her overall style, and this is a great example why. She leans towards more feminine tailored pieces with special details and embellishments, that always come across either dreamy, on trend, or both.

I love both the silhouette and ankle grazing length of this look, especially paired with the plunging neckline and it’s floral embellishments. The thigh-high front slit elevates the trend level of the overall look, and her matching red heels and minimal jewelry tie everything together for a successful styling. 🌹

Review: Marc Jacobs Eye-conic Palette

Who doesn’t love a good palette?! I was so excited to receive this complimentary Eye-Conic Multi-Finish Eyeshadow Palette by Marc Jacobs Beauty; even more excited when I opened up the box to see that I had been gifted the Glambition palette (one of the six palette options), which is packed with shades of bare and bronze, from soft champagne to deep brick.

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Each palette contains 7 shades with 4 distinct finishes including velvet (soft + matte), satin (shimmer), silk (sparkling), and lame (metallic), allowing for endless looks when you layer and blend to customize. All of the shadows have a buttery soft feel, which is definitely attribute to the eye for style held by the Marc Jacobs brand. Marc, himself, is known for his meticulous style, often making last minute adjustments before he sends a look down the runway, and these palettes were inspired by textiles and layering such as you would see in a runway show.

Long-lasting and buildable are a few key words I need to throw out there. I always recommend a primer with any eye look, but even on their own these shadows hold up with minimal creasing. They are also buildable, so you can apply a subtle wash of color to your lid or layer on the pigment for a more dramatic impact. Along with being buildable, these colors are also blendable, which is so important when creating seamless custom looks. I’ve swatched the colors in this palette, just so you get an idea of the payout they give with just one swipe. Just look at how deep and rich that darkest brown is, and how beautiful that champagne shade would also be as a highlight:

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Something else that I thought was such a special detail with these palettes is that when you read the color names from left to right you get a little poem: “She was infamous; known for seeking the most over the top glamour”. I mean, how unique is that! I need to actually go back and read what each palette says now.

The eye-conic palette retails for 49$, so it’s right in line with other prestige brands, and you can shop them at marcjacobsbeauty.com, Sephora, Neiman Marcus, and Net-A-Porter. I can’t wait to transition this palette from summer to fall as the colors are so timeless and versatile. Have you tried any of the eye-conic palettes? If not, what palettes are you loving right now??
#TheDressedEye #contest @influenster @MarcBeauty

Let’s Talk About: Mentoring

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This post has been floating around in my mind for some time, mostly inspired by my own experiences over the years. I think seeking out a mentor when you are first setting out in a particular field is one of the most beneficial things you can do. It’s almost like a shortcut to success because you are learning  tips and tricks and skills from a trusted individual in your given field. Notice that I say “trusted”. Please, vet the person you choose as a mentor.When I first started in makeup artistry some ten years ago I thought that having a mentor was the greatest thing in the world. I thought it was going to be a chance to develop a relationship with someone in my field who would not only teach me and guide me through the process, but who would also inspire me and motivate me to excel. It didn’t quite work out like that.

My father had passed away about a week before I began my first interaction with my first “mentor”, so I would like to look back and think that maybe my judgement was clouded as my emotions were still all over the place. I was approached on a site for artistic professionals about assisting on a small local shoot. The makeup artist had a great portfolio for the time, and seemed genuinely invested in bringing up another artist on a path to success. I made it through my first session with her, taking notes and being as hands on as she would let me. I left feeling good about the direction things were going in, and was increasingly becoming excited about future opportunities. Shortly after our first meeting she offered me to assist on a more involved shoot, and although extremely nervous, I was also excited to continue learning from someone who seemed so influential and artistic. I showed up and was not greeted warmly at all. It was like every first impression was out the window. I was basically bossed around the entire day, and belittled in front of the photographer and clients for my lack of skills. Keep in mind, this was only my second encounter with someone who was professionally involved in the field I wanted to be a part of.

When we left that day, the “mentor” tossed me a 20$ bill and said she would be in touch. I never heard from her again, except for a random email basically calling me a terrible person and saying she wished me well, but was sure I would never amount to anything. I was devastated. It’s was like being broken up with and not given the closure. I was so defeated, I has no self-esteem, and I was beginning to think that everything was a mistake as far as my place in the industry was concerned. I decided that I didn’t want to pursue another mentor, (did I mention that this lady also told me on set that she didn’t love what she did, she just knew she was good at it and it paid the bills), I instead took to YouTube, books, and every other tool I could get my hands on to learn and refine my skills. I practiced and practiced and practiced on anyone that would let me. One day I received a message from a local photographer who said I was referred to her by the photographer that ran that very first photo shoot I ever attended. I took the job she was offering me, and although my nerves were immensely on edge, the makeup for my first session with her was a hit. I wasn’t the failure I was made to feel I was destined to be. I developed such an amazing relationship with this photographer. I honed all of my skills, worked with a variety of clients, and even learned about photography.

Eventually I was getting calls from personal clients for bridal consultations, homecomings, and other photo shoot opportunities; thus, my business continued to grow and I was becoming a known name in the area. It was such a good feeling to be recognized. Come to find out, that “mentor” that didn’t treat me so hot in the beginning was still telling others that I wasn’t a quality artist, and those photographers were telling me in turn. It’s sad to think that sort of thing happened, but it does, especially in creative industries like this. Luckily, my quality work and personality have made a name for themselves, and I was showcased on theknot.com, so it wasn’t a huge blow to my self-confidence after all. When you find your tribe of creative kindred spirits you know it, and you hold on to them, and, believe me, things work out! Turns out that this “mentor” has left a bad taste with several people of various capacities in this industry, but who am I to say anything.

I have also had the opportunity to step into the shoes as a mentor, so I already knew what kind of person I wanted to be in that role since I had the experience that I did. I always made sure to sit down and have an actual conversation with potential mentees before actual getting them into a hands-on situation. I wanted to know what they already knew, what they needed help with, where their skills currently were, and so on. I have had mentees decide that this was not an arena for them after all, and I have had those who I have brought on jobs with me, and who are currently working for themselves, whether they credit me or not. You don’t get to pick and choose what people go and do with the time and training you invest in someone, but you do get to decide if you want to be in a mentoring position to begin with. If you can’t be supportive, motivating, and helpful then maybe being a mentor isn’t for you. If you enjoy teaching, inspiring, and helping to build the future of your given field then I encourage you to consider being open to such an opportunity.

I know I am referring to all of this from a creative standpoint with the makeup artist industry, but it crosses over into every field of business out there, as far as the mentoring relationship goes. If you are going to be a mentor you need to commit the time to get to know who you are working with and be willing to pass along your knowledge and expertise to help them grow. If you want to be mentored, be a mentee, you need to be committed to preparing for the experience and taking action when it’s required of you. You need to be prepared for constructive criticism and all the ups and downs of the learning process as you learn and grow. There needs to be trust on both ends of the relationship or you won’t be making the most of the opportunity. When you are mentoring someone you want them to feel stronger and more knowledgeable because of the time with you, so, likewise as a mentee, you want to walk away from the experience feeling hopeful, capable, and empowered.

Having grown my professional network as such, I still have people I can message with questions, or who can message me. The lines of communication are open, and we aren’t cutting each other down to get ahead. That’s not the kind of person I want to be. I value the trust and honesty of these relationships. Some of the people I work with have become such good friends. We’ve seen each other through weddings, babies, and what have you. Only you can decided if the community you’re in is a good fit. If you aren’t comfortable reaching out then maybe it’s best to reevaluate your situation and see if you can graduate to a niche that fits you best. Maybe it’s just me, but I want everyone to succeed when they put in the work.

I also want to add that learning is not conclusive. You don’t just reach a point and say, well, I’m done, there’s nothing left to know. I have found myself, to this day, entering into new ventures where I am recruiting some of my trusted friends to serve as a mentor to me. I value their experience and success and know that they can teach me something that will only better me. I have no problem asking them for help, and that’s the thing; you cannot be afraid to ask for help. I much rather have someone trusted guide me through a situation than to brave it on my own without the proper knowledge. If you are passionate about something, but maybe aren’t as skilled as you would like to be/need to be, then reach out to someone.  Reach out to several someones! Invest in yourself and be open to learning and working hard, and you will go places. I look back and see how far I have come and it blows my mind sometimes. Don’t let one “no” hold you back from the hundreds of “yes’s” that are waiting for you.

If you have an experience as a mentor or mentee and would like to share, please do so in the comments!! I wish you all lots of success and happiness. Let’s be good to each other!!

Life with Jude: Summer Updates

Good afternoon and how the heck are you?? I have not been as diligent about updating the blog, I know, but I have just been too busy loving the time with my son, husband, and family. I commend all of you that do keep up with such, and if you want to keep up with us more frequently head on over to Instagram and follow along: @dinos.and.dogwood.

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I am currently obsessed with photographing Jude in front of fun murals and textured walls, so expect to see much more of this!

Family wise, we have had quite the busy summer so far, and are looking forward to all we have planned to come. We try to take Jude to do something as a family every weekend, even it’s just a small, new experience for him. We spent the weekend on the Eastern Shore for some quiet beach time, we visited an Alpaca farm where the owner hand spins her own yarn, we’ve visited Busch Gardens (although lately it’s either been too hot or rainy to go), and we’ve stopped by several other local hangs to just do the things. We have also started painting rocks, and let me say, Jude has quite the artistic touch!

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I love that as parents we get to make our son take all of the more cheesy, staged vacy photos like we were once made to take.

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Jude might have been less than thrilled about taking this photo, and shortly after he attemped to grab the alpaca by the face; the alpaca thus became less than thrilled.

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We don’t all three often appear in photos like this, unless they are professionally taken, so when a kind man leaving our fave restaurant on the shore offered to take this I couldn’t say no.

If you follow along with any of our social media platforms then you know that as a family we are quite obsessed with dinosaurs (if the name + handle didn’t give it away). We went to a small dino expo back in March when my aunt and uncle gifted Jude tickets for his 2nd birthday. (We always love experience gifts!) When we found out that Jurassic Quest was coming to a venue near us we knew that it was going to be a must. We had an amazing family day (minus my brother-in-law who is admirably serving our country), and I loved watching Jude, as well as my niece and nephew,  get excited and explore and play.

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Jude loves being outside, maybe even a little too much! He is constantly looking for means to get someone to take him out whether it’s day or night, rain or shine. I love his curious, playful spirit as it is the perfect companion to his loving, kind nature. We are thriving off of experiences as a family. Even if it’s something that my husband and I have experienced before, it becomes new again seeing our son experience it and get excited. Naturally, we have our trying toddler days so let’s not chalk it all up to cotton candy and moonbeams, but realizing that being this little boy’s mom is my jam is perhaps the greatest thing on the planet!

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I love that living on the coast, by the water, gives us this backdrop to raise this little guy.

From first dentist appointments to first rides on the teacups, and everything in between, I have felt extra pressure to work every opportunity that comes my way to support these adventures. Justin is as busy as ever with his career, and while I have the blessing to be home with Jude I do still work to keep hustle strong! I am still an independtly contracted editor, but with summer being my slow season as far as that goes I have been putting a lot of effort into my online store, which you can link to in the menu above. If you’ve visited you’ve seen that it is currently full of witty and subversive cross stitch designs, but I already have been expanding with a line of hand lettered tote bags, key chains, wall hangings, and a few more gems, that should be making their way up there in the coming weeks!

To top it all off I am also just out of my first month in direct sales for the It Works global brand. To all of you skeptics I have to say, reconsider. I have been using the products on and off for a while, but after losing 30 pounds in the last three months I knew I had found something golden. If anyone is ever interested in what I am doing and using, or wants recommendations on a product or regimen that would work for them, please reach out! I want anyone and everyone to find the sweet spot like I have. It’s never too late to get fit and healthy! After seeing how strong and capable my body was in giving birth to Jude, I knew that I was going to make changes for myself and for my family, so the journey continues on that front!

If you’ve been wondering, what about the makeup?, let’s touch on that too. Do I still do makeup and styling? Yes. Do I do it full-time? No. I love all of my clients and peers, but my weeks are dedicated to Jude and other boss-babe areas. I do book weddings and photo shoots on the weekend, on a first come first serve basis. In fact, just this past month I worked with a dear model friend of mine to collaborate a series of hair and makeup looks for a photo shoot of promo images for an up and coming jewelry line, Ally Bling Couture. The photos from that amazing collaboration should be available soon, and I can’t wait to share them with you!

I know there are a million things I haven’t mentioned or updated, but when in the toddler whirlwind of life you are along for the ride in all capacities! I wish each of you a blessed summer and many memorable adventures as we too plan for our next holiday! Stay tuned here for more celebrity fashion posts and reviews on brands such as Urban Decays and Marc Jacobs. For now, we break for lunch! Let us know in the comments what you are up to this summer!!

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Sofia Carson: Black, White + Wicked

Admittedly, I loved the first Descendents movie on Disney, so I am ready (along with my sister and niece) for tomorrow television release of Descendents 2. To celebrate the premiere I thought I would share this look that Sofia Carson, who plays Evie (daughter of The Evil Queen), wore at ‘Despierta America’ in Miami a couple of days ago:


She attended the event in this black and white pencil dress by David Koma (Spring 2017 collection), looking as chic and youthful as ever. The white pencil dress featured unique loop button details in contrasting black, as well as a black belt cinching in her narrow waist.

Sofia kept the accessories at a bare minimum, opting to pair the look with a pair of chunky black heels. Her hair was styled long, sleek, and glossy with a side part, and her makeup was fairly neutral with a dewy complexion.

Tune in tomorrow night for the premiere of Descendents 2 on the Disney channel.

Bella Hadid: Sheer and There. 

When Bella Hadid attended the Dior Exhibition Launch on Monday, July 3, at the Musee Des Artes Decoratifs in Paris, she arrived in a look that was so on trend that it passed being extra and circled back to crush-worthy:


Dressed all in Dior, Bella wore a sheer tulle dress, with metallic dot embellishments, over high-waisted logo trimmed briefs and bralette. The dress overlay features additional details of assymetry at the neckline, a whispy-trailing hem, and subtle bell-sleeves. The black and white designer undergarments complimented the black tulle, and looked super chic and on trend.

She paired her it-girl look with black pumps and a mini bag with top handles; hair styled in a classic twist, and fresh makeup. We can expect to see the logo undergarments making a continued run on the red carpet, and tulle is as classic as ever on the runway and in street style. I am really applauding this look on Bella for making me fall in love with something more unexpected.

Lily James: Baby Driver Baby Blues

Lily James is one of my red carpet faves, especially since her style greatly elevated after her starring role in the live-action remake of Cinderella. Her current role in Baby Driver brought her to the red carpet for the film’s European premiere in this baby blue gown by Burberry:


The fitted gown featured all over crystal floral embellishments, an alluring thigh-high slit, and black straps that cascaded down her back:


Lily kept her jewelry thoughtful and paired the look with a pair of strappy black heels to offer a grounding contrast to that Cinderella-blue. Her hair remained down is loosely styled waves, and her makeup was soft and natural, marking her as a picture of elegance.