Today I choose the work I want to do.

This did not happen overnight. 

In 2001, I was working retail in the Mall of Louisiana, at an Aveda Salon. I was still learning and sharpening my makeup skills, and learning to work with different types of people.  I can't tell you how valuable that was. After graduating from college and the Aveda Institute, I moved to Los Angeles to start my career as a professional stylist is 2004.

Fast forward to today, 2017, I am a full time, self employed stylist who work on jobs that I truly love. Getting paid (well) to do work that I love is really a dream come true!

People ask me all of the time, how I got into this work and how I get to work on these cool jobs. 

Part of it is years of experience and crafting a unique skill set. But one thing that you need to be able to do this work is your own kit! 

You can do the same thing!

I will show you exactly how I did it.

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Now the time in between 2001 and now, there was a lot of growing pains. I learned A LOT of lessons. Most of those lessons I learned the hard (expensive) way. And I always wished there was just a book I could read, or a class I could take!

Today, there are so many more resources where you can learn makeup skills and more.  I developed a resource based on all of the experience that I have picked up in the last 15 years that has allowed me to work on projects that make my heart happy and pay my bills! 

This is the shortcut that I wished that I had when I started!

(Secret truth)

I have been working on this course for a LONG time. The content has been created but I was dragging my feet, afraid that it wouldn't be good enough. But that is not true, because the truth is that this is what I did to be successful and I have shared it with many other people who have also become successful. I challenged myself, as a birthday gift to myself, to put it out in the month of October.  So here it is! You can find more info here. 

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P.S. This whole kit building process is a lot of work, its a slow grind. Im not going to lie. That is how you know its worth it. Creating this course was also a lot of work but you can tell from the short video below, we had a lot of laughs while creating this content for you. I hope you enjoy it as much as Cassie (of Cass and Co Films) and I did creating this labor of love.

Do you have questions? A lot of people asked some already that I answered on a special page. You can even watch the Facebook live to see me answer them! Or just read them yourself. Whatever floats your boat.


3 Products to keep you Camera Ready

You have probably noticed from social media that the color for May is PURPLE!

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Its that time of year again! The time when we are taking lots of pictures, either in professional sessions with my girl, like with my girl, Sarah Kane Photography. She is slammed with Spring mini sessions right now!  Or you are in front of the camera, instead of taking the pictures, for family celebrations like Mother's Day, weddings or graduation. Either way, you want to look your best. 

Here are a few of my favorite products that help keep you looking fab, even after you step outside into the heat. I always have these on hand for commercial jobs to keep people fresh. 

This one is NEW!

Shimmer Me Blonde

This one can be used in wet OR dry hair.  It doubles as a treatment (when used wet) and acts as a light toner, with the purple counteracting unwanted brassy tones.  Spray it in damp hair and blow dry it into the hair AND/OR use as a finishing spray to help eliminate flyways and smooth out that mane. That is one of my pet peeves in photos, wild hair that could have easily been managed with a little product. 

This is your new bff. 

A repairing shine treatment with colour enhancers, optical brighteners and natural softeners moisturise, restore and refresh lightened, highlighted and blonde or grey shades.

How to use: Apply to damp, towel-dried hair or dry hair. Twirl before use. Do not rinse; leave to dry naturally or style as desired.

Benefits: Radiant shine, Counteracts Yellow and Gold Tones, Strengthens, Nourishes, Moisturises

Younique 3D Mascara & Eyeliner

Defining the eyes and putting a little color/shine on the lips will take you from, "I woke up like this" to "I'm ready for my close up!". I think those are the 2 most important steps to complete your look, regardless of whether you are all about that au natural look or if high fashion glam is your signature look. 

My go to is the black pencil liner from Younique in Perfect with the amazing 3D Fiber lash mascara. You can see in the video below the before, during and after results. 

As always you can touch base ( with any questions about what colors or products would work best for you. I can send you a link to order things that come straight to you or you can get in on one of my group orders to save on shipping, if you are local to Richmond. 

Blotting Papers

This is an inexpensive and super easy way to to retouch your makeup on the fly. These are a must, especially for summer, because who wants to pile more powder on your face when temps start rising. You don't even need to be looking in a mirror! You just press or blot (no wiping) these thin sheets onto your nose, forehead and chin to sop up the shine. The easiest way to freshen up!

Other uses for blotting papers....

  • Dry shampoo! Ok not as good as the real deal but rub a sheet into your hairline to absorb excess oil. This is awesome for my girls with bangs!
  • Wipe the yucky face print off your phone. Yeah, you know that greasy smear that you just gets nastier when you wipe a Kleenex over it. 
  • Tone it down! Blush is one of my favorite things ever but if you over do your application, a blotting paper is a great way to blend a heavy handed mistake. A quick blot will sheer it down to the look you were going for. No need to shower and start from scratch.
  • Set your makeup to make it last longer. This is a great trick for cream products (shadow, lip color or blush). Apply the cream color, then blot with your papers to remove excess oils and reapply a second time. The color will be locked in so you can dance the night away with no worries that your makeup is compromised. 

If this seems like too much work,  you can always book an appointment with me and I will do your hair and makeup for any event. Do you want to do it yourself but think you lack the skills? I have lots of options for lessons, from a mini session to a full on 3 lesson series called Beauty School Drop In.  Lets chat if you are interested. 

Questions about what to wear and how to dress your family for group photos so you look like a stylish crew without getting to matchy-matchy, check out this post from my go to girl for all things style related, Joanna Avant.    Did you know that she will come make over your closet and pick out new outfits from your existing closet inventory? Or she can shop for you! Perfect for my busy girls who just can't sneak out to the mall.           

Spring Cleaning

If you follow me on Instagram (@thereallifebeauty), you may have seen portions of this newest YouTube video in my Instagram story last week. I get asked this question often, how do I clean my makeup brushes, so here is a short little how-to.

This is a crucial step that I make sure to cover with my Beauty School Drop-In students. If you are interested in Beauty School Drop-In sessions, there will be 5 available for Mother's Day. Subscribe to the email list here to get the first chance to snag one.  Contact me for more info on these 3 personalized sessions.

There are SO many people who confess to me that they rarely or never clean their brushes. This is not good! Brushes are expensive and they are tools you are using to create a flawless face. You want to wash them with a gentle cleanser and let them air dry. Ideally, you would do this weekly but you should at least be doing it 1-2 times per month.  

Proper cleansing and care will insure your brushes are not harboring yucky bacteria and they will last you a good, long time. 

If you like this video, subscribe to the channel. Give it a thumbs up and leave me a comment on this post and/or the YouTube video to let me know what you think. Is there anything you would like to see? Let me know what your questions are and I will answer them on social media or the blog. 

7 must have items in my pro makeup kit

That just happen to be pink!

Today is the last day of February, the shortest month and the one that happened to be themed with all pretty pink things. While I could go on and on about all of the fun Kevin Murphy products that have pink packaging, I ran out of time! 

In the Kevin Murphy line, all of the thickening (plumping) products have pink packaging. One of my new favorites is the Powder Puff! When I first started with the line, I didn't understand how to use this one and after a few failed attempts at trying to figure it out, I gave up!

1. Powder.Puff Volumizing Powder

It wasn't until my sales rep told me about the awesome tool on their website where you answer a few questions about your hair and it gives you product recommendations with these super cool videos that I started learning how to use them. 

You can do the quiz here and watch the video on Powder Puff here. 

Needed an instant poof in a jar! A look that is a favourite for bedroom hair. To create a messy casual volume, gently tap a few shakes on the hair that you want body on, and the powder morphs into a product that holds.

How to use: Shake to create! Sprinkle onto damp or dry hair at the roots to create volume and texture.

Benefits: Creates Volume, Dry Matte Texture, Weightless, Metamorphosis Product, Apple, Plum, Cranberries and Citrus extracts, Setting lotion encapsulated in a sphere of powder

2. Blotting Papers 

I keep these in my set bag when I am working and I always have them in my handbag to retouch my own makeup. I love that you can knock down the shine and freshen up your complexion without packing more product onto the skin. You can find these anywhere from CVS to higher end department store brands.

3. Lint Roller

I have these everywhere! I keep these little ones in my car, at work and always in my set bag. I picked these up at H&M last week. Cute, right?

4. Tweezers

These are totally a must for every artist to keep in their kit but every regular Jane, especially of a certain age, will want to keep a pair in her purse and/or in the car. The natural sunlight is the best place to spot those stray hairs, especially when you are at a red light! Snatch that sucker out as soon as you see it!

5. Ink Pen

Bonus points if its pink and has a unicorn on it! I always find myself in a situation where either I need a pen or a client is asking me for one. Have a cute one so its harder for people to walk away with it. 

6. Single Use Nail Polish Remover Pads

You can see that these are inexpensive from CVS and total life savers when you are see a chipped nail and just need to get the polish off quickly before you can get in for a manicure. Models are usually good about having no polish or very nude polish, unless a darker shade is requested, but on occasion there will be a situation where you need a quick fix of polish remover. Stock these in your in case of emergency kit. 

7. Lip Well

This one is from Japonesque, it holds 35 colors! This saves sooooo much space and makes it easier to create custom blended shades in a less time, since you don't have to sift thru 10,000 tubes. You can also keep a drugstore shade next to a department store shade and you don't have to worry about label snobs judging your kit. 

All of the other items have a place in both the professional and the real girl's beauty bag. The lip well is the only one of these that may be in the pro only category. Unless you just LOVE lip color and that is perfectly ok too!

The same day I was on set and pulled the 7 products mentioned above for this post, I also posted a pic of my 4 favorite men's grooming items on Instagram. Mehron, Skindinavia and Makeup Forever are very high quality products that I use regularly and would recommend you stock in your pro kit. 

Tomorrow starts a new month, March! And a new color theme, can you guess what it is?

Keep your eyes on Instagram (@thereallifebeauty) to see the announcement! I have some fun things planned to share.  At least once per month, I am going to be sharing some things specifically for my fellow pro artist. If there is anything you want to know, please drop me a comment and I will be sure to cover it on the blog or social media.