Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Styled Shoot at Breaux Vineyards

Hi all,

I organized my second collaborative styled shoot last week and I am at the edge of my seat in anticipation for the pictures, so I thought I'd share my experience in the meantime. On top of the organization and direction, I also did the makeup for the lovely models @thisisvictoriachang and @mrgeorgekhouri. I was completely inspired by Breaux Vineyards stunning grounds and was lucky enough that all the other vendors that joined were just as inspired too. They're contributions were essential for getting the variety of shots to complete the theme. I was just so excited/ecstatic that Claire La Faye wanted to provide a dress from her newest collection for the shoot!. When Claire sent me pictures let me choose the dress that would best fit the vision, um, it was a dream come true. Not only was the dress insanely beautiful, it was also quite fitting with the theme.

The incredible vendors made organizing and showcasing their talent extremely easy. We all had a great time watching Bonnie work her magic and while the sunset right over the Virginia mountain range. The weather was crisp and cool and it had just rained two days prior, so all the vines were especially green. We were all excited to pop open the wine and tear into the cakes from @tartandcraft, but in the end we managed to resist and snacked on rosemary crackers instead (Note to self, bring more food to styled shoots). Once you see these pictures, I have no doubt you'll be packing your bags for a picturesque trip to Breaux this fall. I can't tell you the theme just yet, but you'll know soon enough! Hint: It is very specific to Breaux. More pictures by Bonnie Sen coming soon...

In the meantime, I AM sharing the products I used to create the romantic and dreamy look on Victoria.

Bonnie Sen Photography
Beauty Breakdown

24 hour Eye Primer - M.A.C
Bountiful Brown Eyeliner - M.A.C
"Snake" Eyeshadow - Makeup Forever
Woodwinked Eyeshadow - M.A.C

Pillow Talk Lip Cheat- Charlotte Tilbury 
Pretty Natural Lipstick - M.A.C

Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheer 
Melba Blush - M.A.C
Giorgio Armani Master Primer
C4 Face & Body - M.A.C
Medium Dark Mineralize - M.A.C

The Vendor List

Breaux Vineyards, Kathleen Britsch, event coordinator
Photography: Bonnie Sen @bonnielikesphotos
Female Model: Victoria Chang @thisisvictoriachang
Male Model: George Khouri @mrgeorgekhouri
Floral Designer: Meg Dodini @succulentsandsaffron
Stage Designer: Carmela Sangalang @luckycarms5
Hair & Makeup: @styledbyannafazio and @realdollmakeup
Calligraphy: Michele Hatty Fritz @meanttobedc
Cake: Andi @tartandcraft
Bridal Dress: @clairelafaye 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Boost Your Pre-Event Pretty

Getting ready for a big event can be stressful because everyone wants to look their absolute best. Makeup can do wonders, but it can't do it all. Here are my pre-event tips that I highly recommend to boost your pretty.Start practicing these and you'll be glowing in no time. 

  1. Hydrate - And start a week before the event, you won't reap the benefits if you do it the day of. Lemon, cucumbers and mint are great flavorings when you get tired of drinking plain water. 
  2. Nourish - Your skin. Look for a "day of" mask to prep your face before the event. You don't want a mask that is purifying, but one that hydrates or preps before your makeup. 

  3. Eat well - Don't try any crazy diet plans, but stay clear from too much alcohol, caffeine, carbs or sugars. This will lead to less inflammation on your skin and less bags under your eyes. In other words, skip the soda, have a unsweetened green tea. (I've personally visited a popular soda factory once, the ingredients in their were enough to corrode the concrete floor when spilled. Imagine what it's doing to your delicate skin!)
  4. Before Bed - Make sure you remove all traces of makeup before you go to bed (use makeup wipes!) and be sure to apply a good eye cream every night. Continue your normal regimen. 
  5. Get Mild Exercise - Again, nothing crazy if you don't normally exercise. Just some light stretches and walks. Get that blood flowing!
  6. A word on Waxing - This is so tricky. Make sure to leave plenty of time for irritations to go down. FYI - Retinols will make your skin burn with wax, so be sure to stop use or tell your wax professional if you are using it. 
HOPE THESE TIPS HELP :) What is your favorite Pre-Event Prep Tip?

Friday, July 31, 2015

My Top 5 M.A.C Picks for Modern Indian Bridal Makeup

Bridal makeup takes on a fun approach when its an Indian bride. In addition to all the pretty, glittery and beautiful-ness of the bride, I get to do not one, but two bridal looks in one day! That is like makeup artist gold. That means, two different eye looks, two different foundations, two different lip colors, you get it! Imagine the possibilities...

I don't do Traditional Indian bridal makeup, but I like to call my approach Modern Indian Bridal Makeup. If you've followed my work, you've seen most of my South Indian brides will have softer, contoured skin during the day, with full lashes and a red-ish lip to compliment their wardrobe. The eyes aren't subtle, but they aren't completely bold until the evening. My bride, Priya, from this Saturday wore All Fired Up! by M.A.C which is seriously the most flattering magenta/red lipstick I've seen in awhile. I also like Russian Red by M.A.C but sometimes that is too close of a match to the dress. At Priya's reception, we re-did her entire look minus the eye makeup, which we built on by adding more golds, black liner and added corner lashes on top of her morning pair (Demi Wispies, Ardell). I also changed up her foundation in the evening to add a dewy look by mixing Prolongwear NC42 and Face & Body from M.A.C. I also defined her eye brows more. Priya wore a coral outfit, so we used Impassioned Lipstick to compliment the dress. Hair stylist Anna (@styledbyannafazio) made a last minute decision and picked a rose similar to the color to add to Priya's hair. It totally completed the look!

Also, the bridesmaids sari's are equally as extravagant, so bring on the bold lashes! Laura Henderson expertly applied the lashes and Magenta lip liner and Dear Diary lipstick (both M.A.C) to create a a custom hot pink/purple shade on all 8 bridesmaids. Thank you Laura!

It was a busy day that started at 6:30am to 8pm at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington DC but I can't wait until my next Indian Bridal party! Incidentally, it will be at the same location for a really good friend of mine in August.

My Top 5 M.A.C Picks for Indian Bridal Makeup

Thursday, July 2, 2015


Hey Dolls, 

Makeup For Ever just sent me a few bottles of the Ultra HD foundation and I could not WAIT to try them! The new formula is replacing the old formula, however, Sephora is still selling the original formula as of today. So, if you're a die-hard fan, I'd purchase it while you can. I hear the new release is coming soon in July.

How it's different:
  • Ultra HD is much more fluid than the original. 
  • Ultra HD has significantly more shades to choose from
  • Ultra HD works with 4k technology 

How it's the same:
  • Both formulas still contain no sunscreen (yay! I love adding my own,where appropriate)
  • Both formulas glide on smoothly
  • Both formulas provide buildable coverage

The greatest thing about this new formula is the fluid texture. It blends immediately into the skin without a ton of extra work. My skin instantly looked more refined and hydrated. I feel this gave a dewy-er look than the original formula which seemed more matte, but that may just be the humid weather.

I used my fingers to pat a small amount into the skin, starting in the center. I'd recommend >1 pump for the entire face, after moisturizer and primer, and building up coverage as needed. By the way, I recommend the BLUE Makeup For Ever Primer, especially for Yellow Skin tones, I love the slight illuminating effect it gives. I was really happy with the coverage of >1 pump because I really like see-through skin.

If you love velvety smooth finishes to foundation, this foundation is a buy for you.
Check our Wayne Goss's Tutorial video, I found it very helpful, hope you do too!

Also, Ultra HD will be introducing Foundation Sticks. Great for contouring, will have to try it to compare to my Tom Ford Foundation Stick, which i LOVE.

Stay Pretty!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Seaside Shoot Makeup - Get the look!

Photo Credit - Reverie Supply
This seaside shoot was really fun to work on and not only because of the beautiful sunrise on the remote pebbled beach. The vendor team was incredibly talented and I was so fortunate to work on this collaboration. Check out all the lovely details on Style Me Pretty

The models entire makeup look was done in the pre-dawn dark, just before the sunrise. My only light source was a itsy bitsy flashlight! Big thank you to my husband who woke up at 4am to drive me to the location, help set up decor and held the flashlight! Talk about support, I am a lucky girl :)

Get the details on the products I used for this models glowing summer skin:

M.A.C Fix +
M.A.C Strobe Cream - Bronze (Limited Edition)
Giorgio Armani CC Cream #5
NC 42 Prolong wear Concealer 
M.A.C Mineralize Powder, Dark & Med Dark
M.A.C Stay Pretty Longwear Blush
M.A.C Sundrop Lustre Drops

Makeup Forever Aqua Gel
M.A.C Clear Brow Gel

M.A.C Blonde Gold Pigment
M.A.C Medium Mixing Gel
M.A.C Rich Experience Eye Liner

M.A.C Bare Again Sheen Supreme Lipstick

Summer Skin

Ready for the warm up? Ahh, I love the heat, but I hate makeup meltdowns or overly powdered skin, don't you?  Where is the happy medium for glowy skin in the summer you ask? Well to begin, your daily regimen should include sunscreen coverage & antioxidants. The most common mistake I see is over- powdering the face in hopes of achieving a matte look all day. What you're left with is a very plain look with no life in it. Try using a mattifying primer in your T-zone area after you lightly moisturize. Then, mix a drop of long wearing concealer with a drop of your favorite sunscreen. Rub gently between your fingers and pat into the skin, starting in the center. If you really love a matte look, you can apply a sheer blot powder in the center on your face only. I like to apply a light dusting of bronzer (I love M.A.C; Matte Bronzer or NARS; Laguna) to contour and make it look like I've been at the pool all day. Oh, and carry blot sheets or a sheer blot powder - you'll need it for touch-ups.

Sometimes it seems logical to skip moisturizer when it's really hot out. I do not recommend this, as foundation needs a smooth base to roll over. So you don't feel greasy, choose lightweight moisturizers, and apply heavier creams at night.

Light touches look best in the summer, so keep your look fresh by using minimal product and sheer washes. Below are my tested and true products for a hot summer day.

Happy Summer! And don't forget a wide-brimmed hat when your outside. Reversing the signs of sun damage is pain in the butt!

Makeup Forever Step 1 Matte Primer

M.A.C Cosmetics Pro Longwear Concealer

Mario Badescu Oil Free Moisturizer - SPF 30 with Green Tea & Aloe

What are your favorite summer skincare products for every day wear?

Friday, April 17, 2015

Add this to your weekend look.

Call them cheap thrills, call them instant gratification! These goodies are great for a classy, colorful  & low maintenance look that still looks like you put some effort in your beauty routine.

Flirty lashes that look natural. Apply on the outer corners of lashes - $3.99, Ardell

Easy application & rich pigment in seconds (My fav is Red Square!) - NARS Lip Crayons $26, Sephora

Defined, Bright eyes that last, with no sharpening required  - MAC Technakohl Liner, $16

Win a FREE Technakohl Liner!!! Add yourself on my instagram @realdollmakeup and comment on a post this weekend. One lucky girl gets a color of her choice.

Monday, April 6, 2015

My Nightly Skincare Routine

Skin first, then makeup. A clear canvas makes way for endless possibilities, so invest in products that work for you. My skin is typically breakout prone/combination and moody! After years of looking for the holy grail of skin products, these products and tips have definitely won my affection. For me, it's just as much fun to take off my makeup as it is to apply.
Use nightly.

Step 1. The Pre-Wash - Wipe off the day

Step 2. The Cleanse - 1 minute/with Clarisonic every 2 days or so

Step 3. The Rinse - cool to warm water ( never hot!)

Step 4. The Night Treatment -Wait for skin to fully dry to reduce irritation

Step 5. The Moisture - Add some moisture back to your skin to keep it fresh for the AM

What do you use to get clear, glowy skin?

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Foundation Files: Tom Ford Traceless Foundation Line

I was really excited to try Tom Ford foundations after I saw @allanface (An amazing artist- check him out on Instagram) use it on his clients. Since I have recently found myself in the middle of a very expensive foundation shopping spree, I decided to just go for the gold!! At $80 a pop (yikes...), was it really worth it?

Tom Ford Foundation Stick

Coverage: Medium to Full 
Finish: Matte
Best Applicator: MAC #130
My color: Natural

Sorta. This foundation really does cover while being "traceless", which is it's main selling point. I found it lasted from 12 hours with minimal touching up, even on my oily/combo skin. Tawny was an ok color medium olive skin tone, nothing too yellow or pink. I like a luminous, natural look so I use it only as an under eye concealer and for spot coverage around the nose. If you prefer a full coverage look, this is perfect for you, especially for those who like to contour because the product stays put.

Tom Ford Traceless Perfecting Foundation

Coverage: Light -Medium
Finish: Semi-Matte
Best Applicator: Beauty Blender
My color: Bisque

LOVE! This foundation is totally my style and is my new everyday foundation. I really adore this product, it is incredibly smooth and literally melts into skin, true to it's "traceless" name. And, there is zero drying effect but my makeup looks set. It feels very lightweight and wears all day. It's easy to layer this product for my coverage. Perfect for a natural look. Below is an example of the foundations on my skin.

My favorite aspects about Tom Ford Foundations are the textures and colors. It was so easy to find my color and the product goes on well without a ton of blending.
What foundation have you tried recently?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Kiehl's Love

Searching for great skincare is overwhelming. So. Many. Choices. Although I've tried many brands, I find Kiehl's products, as a whole, really deliver. Their products have the perfect blend of fancy and natural ingredients, made mostly for sensitive skin. I love that their website explains what the ingredients are and how they can help your skin. I've seen really incredible results from continual use of the products below. Here are three game changers.

A little about me.

My skin: Normal/Combo. I break out easily and I use retinol, so my skin is really sensitive
My hair: Super Dry & Curly. Thanks to years of blow drying and just recently, highlights

Deeply Restorative Smoothing Hair Concentrate

Why I love it: This hair oil makes my hair much stronger and healthy looking, especially for my bleached ends. My curly, dry hair is transformed just after 2-3 uses.
How I use it: Two ways. I'll add a pea size amount rubbed between my hands and smooth over dry hair as a pre-conditioner a day before I blow dry or I'll use the same amount on wet hair before styling.
Tip: A little goes a long way! Don't get oil happy or you'll have greasy locks.
Price: $25
Super Multi-Corrective Cream
Why I love it: Using retinol has really dried out my skin. This cream deeply hydrates without looking or feeling greasy. It's also helped lighten up stubborn dark spots and made my skin brighter. Great under foundation.
How I use it: Morning or night, after washing.
Tip: Use when skin is slightly damp for better absorption. 
Price: $62

Creamy Eye Treatment
Why I love it: It's green color and odd texture is so unique, I always remember to apply it. It moisturizes and reduces the fine lines I get from dry weather or staring at my screen all day. Must have before concealer.
How I use it: Morning and night, after washing
Tip: Use your ring finger to tap the product on the skin, lightly tapping to work product in. Let the product sit and absorb instead of rubbing it in.
Price: $28.50

Have you tried any Kiehl's products? What did you think? I'd love to hear your opinions.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Spring is FINALLY here!

It's time to change up your makeup, but learn to make it fast, warm weather will be waiting for you outside soon enough. Here are my recent favorites to get ready quick.

 I really enjoy applying Makeup Forever HD Foundation using a Beauty Blender. Maybe it's the color of the sponge or the application. The quick, bouncy motions spread the foundation like second skin on my face and is so fun to use! It's nearly a magic trick with how lovely this combo works. I use the blender for my contouring too when I am in a rush, the CoverFX formulas are creamy enough. Just make sure to wash your Beauty Blender after each use. I'll use face wash to lather and rinse it out but the Brush Cleaner from Beauty Blender works great too.

As far as eyes go, light definition for the brows with the M.A.C pencil & a few swipes of Makeup Forever really give me a break from my standard liquid winged liner. Plus, to dress it up, all I need is a NARS Lip Pencil in a bright color like Red Square. Oasis blush gives me a light, rosy pink shade on my olive toned cheeks. Not easy to achieve, fyi! It's easy to find peachy tones that work well , but I find most pinks I try aren't ever that perfect rose neutral. 

Those are a few of my recent favorites for my low maintenance look. Next post will be about my newest acquisition, Tom Ford Traceless Foundation Sticks!

What have you tried lately? I'd love to hear your new go-to's!

Monday, March 16, 2015

March Madness

Wedding season has started so early this year! Is anyone else feeling that way?! I just completed my 4th bride of the season, Cristina. Her sister, Isabel, works at Jewel Hair Design. I am so lucky to work with great hair stylists that recommend me (Thank you Julie!). Great hair and makeup squads are important, so having the best recommendations for my clients is always a plus. This wedding was at the Westin Dulles, VA and it was 11 girls :O. Luckily, I had the help of Laura Henderson to help prep the girls and do lashes. Couldn't have done it without her help!

We started hair and makeup at 9am, and by the time the wedding was ready to start at 5pm, we'd felt like we'd only been there a few hours. The energy in the room was so positive and fun. I had a great time chatting with the bridesmaids, talking about makeup and listening to country music. Isabel did all the ladies hair, which were incredible up-do's. She was the last to get her makeup done but she still looked amazing, even after standing up all day. Enjoy the pic from this weekend.
Product details below.

Client: Cristina, bride
Prep: Fix+, M.A.C 
Kheil's Multi Corrective Moisturizer
Makeup Forever Step 1
Foundation: Giorgio Armani Luminous Foundation #5
Powder: M.A.C Mineralize, Medium
Blush: M.A.C, Stay Pretty
Bronzer/Highlighter: NARS, Laguna; MakeupForever Uplight
Brows: M.A.C Lingering
Eyeshadows: M.A.C Blondes Gold, Orb, Mulch, Shroom
Lips: NARS, Belle De Jour