Testing with a great team of talent… A Beauty Shoot

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to team up with the super talented photographer Kate Ignatowski and gorgeous model, Noelle, who is with Modelogic Wilhelmina for a fashion shoot. This entire project was organized by Kate and her vision came together flawlessly. I am honored that she reached out to me to do hair and makeup for Noelle. Here are some of my favorites from our day.

Warning! There are a lot!

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Between the first and third one, which do you think would fit best on the website.To see how the portfolio is laid out, check it out here. 

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Which of the two black and white above do you like best?

Can you help me pick which ones I should add to the website? I can probably add a few poses from each wardrobe/hair change. But I am going to need your help narrowing it down!

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What about these two? Eyes to camera or away?

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Just gorgeous, right?

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Which of these in the red hat is your favorite?

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What about these?

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 I LOVE this one! Right?

As if you weren’t already impressed by Kate’s mad photography skills, all of this was shot on film. Remember that stuff? It came on rolls that you had to load into your camera and actually know what the heck you were doing because you couldn’t just take 1,000 shots hoping you get a few goods ones and then delete the terrible ones. No instant gratification here! But totally worth it!

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Closer in or a bit more background? Which do you like best?

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We were blessed with a stunning model, thanks Noelle! And super impressive light from the heavens. Basically, it was the perfect day.

I’m really going to need your help deciding which of these need to go on the website.  Can you do me a favor by commenting with your favorites? Also, if you want to see Kate’s favorites, check out her blog post on here.

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I am thinking about this one for the new home page image. What do you think? I like the black and white image that is on there now but I think it could be fun to rotate between a couple of different shots.

Thank you for your help! I look forward to your comments!

Contact me for rates and availability for your next project.

Our latest gender reveal party!

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How can you not just love this guy!?!? I hit the jackpot when I landed this dude. Even though he is much more practical and not at all into my (sometimes) crazy, over the top antics, he goes out of his way to get excited about the little things and make everything super special for me.  He doesn’t even flinch anymore when I ask him to pose for pictures like this!

Pink or Blue!

Pink or Blue!

When I was pregnant with Silas, my fabulous girlfriends threw Jeff and I the best gender reveal party to find out if we were having a boy or a girl. We knew the party was coming, but they surprised us with all kinds of things, like including our mothers via Skype. That was HUGE for us since they both live out of state, it was incredible to be able to share that with them and few close friends. The next morning, I shared this video on YouTube and other social media to share the news with our friends and family who are scattered all over the place.

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As you probably picked up from my last two posts, it has been quite insane around here! Getting the website up took a lot out of me, but I was so proud to announce it here and so grateful for all of your support. My last post shared my other 2 goals for this year, which are also biggies and super important to me to make happen before baby #2 gets here.

But you have to have a little fun to go along with all of this work, right? Last week was my birthday! If you know me, you know I LOVE birthdays a lot. My incredible husband has done some pretty amazing things for me the last 7 years that we have celebrated my birthday together (I couldn’t believe we had 7 years under our belts but he reminded me!). We have jetted off to Napa Valley, Ireland, Memphis, Philadelphia, Austin, the Outer Banks (Duck!) and this year we hit up Kansas City for our dear friends big Greek wedding.  My mom came on Wednesday to watch Silas so we could have a much needed adult only trip (and get some sleep!).

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We had our 20 week ultrasound just before I picked mom up from the airport and had the tech put the results in an envelope for us to peak at a bit later. Our gender reveal for Silas was so fun but this time we pictured something a bit more low key and private. I wasn’t sure if we would look at it when we were in Kansas City or if we would wait a few weeks. It had been so busy, I honestly hadn’t really thought of how we would do it. I should have known that my husband, a totally thoughtful dude, had crafted a wonderful way to surprise us both.

Thursday was my birthday and the day we were leaving for the trip. Our flight didn’t leave until 2pm so he left that morning to go work out and take care of some things before we left. Our trip went very smoothly, and we arrived at the hotel just in time to head out for dinner. When we sat down, he gave me a small box and a card. Being an excellent writer, the card brought me to tears and also gave me a clue that inside the small box was something that would tell us if this baby was a boy or girl! I asked if he knew already and he said no.

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He had gone a few weeks before and picked out two things and let the ladies in the store know that he would come by that morning with the ultrasound and have them wrap something up to surprise us both. How freaking sweet! I couldn’t open it, I just needed a little more time. Everyone thinks I’m crazy, and they are probably right,  but once you know then you never don’t know again. While I could never wait until the birth to find out, I did like the mystery of having the information in the envelope but choosing to let it be a surprise for just a little longer.

We enjoyed dinner and talked, enjoying the last bit of time to be excited before we found out. For the longest time we had both been very confident that this baby was a girl. We call it a girl and talk to Silas about when his sister comes The last time my mom came, we did the ring test, which in my family is the gospel truth and trumps any other way of telling the gender, including ultrasounds. My mom says it is NEVER wrong.  The ring test is where you tie your wedding ring to a string and hold it over the belly, if it swings in a circle its a girl and back and forth means boy. It was right for Silas and for this baby, the ring test said girl with the worlds biggest circle seen here: IMG_5756  As you seen in the video, I am not a fan of the “its probably twins” comment!

I asked him one more time what he thought before I opened the box and he said he had thought girl but this week thought it may be a boy! We both would have been happy with either. Honestly, I was thinking how easy it would be to have 2 boys. We already have everything! But I knew that Jeff really wanted a girl. He didn’t have a sister and I think he finds them fascinating because they are so damn different from boys in everyday, from day one!

Just then it occurs to me that I didn’t write a letter to this baby, like I did to Silas the night before we found out he was a boy. I had been so busy that I hadn’t really had time to think at all, much less put the thoughts down on paper.

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We went back to the hotel and decided to go up to the rooftop bar to open the box. I asked the waitress for a dessert menu and was VERY sad when she told me that the kitchen was closed.  She did take a picture of us with the box still wrapped and a few minutes later, when Florence + the Machine started to play, I knew it was time to find out. This song was in one of the trailer’s for our wedding video, the part where we were all getting ready for everything to begin. It was a sign. It was time. YouTube Preview Image

Here it comes…

It needs to be resized to fit someone for modern times. Estate jewelry is famously tiny, right? Or maybe I'm enormous.

It needs to be resized to fit a modern day lady. Estate jewelry is famously tiny, right? Or maybe I’m enormous.

Diamonds and pink sapphires…A baby girl it is! And we couldn’t be happier.

The waitress asked me what I had gotten and when I explained the gift and that is was my birthday, she promptly when to the kitchen and got us a dessert to celebrate! Love her!

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I have been celebrating being 23 for about fifteen years now. Lately I have joked that I have aged about 10 years since having a child, so it may be time to up it. When I turn 40 in a few years, I think I will start claiming to be 50, so people can say how great I look for 50! It just may be time to retire being 23. Being a mother and a wife and a successful business owner, I feel a little more accomplished and experienced, so I am feeling like being 28 for awhile now.

Thank you for celebrating with me. I think its going to be fabulous to be 28 now!

I would love any words of wisdom for being a mama to a little girl. Having two kids under two is pretty terrifying so I may need some encouragement there too! Share your excitement and more in the comments!

Looking forward to the next chapter of the days of our lives, with this handsome devil and our two little ones.

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Wish us luck!

Time to create digital products!

Like I mentioned in my last post, the one celebrating the relaunch of my website, that was one of my three goals I have been working to get crossed off in 2014.  Yay! I think it came together quite nicely, if I do say so myself. Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway and helped me proofread and get everything perfect. Congrats to Kelley and Nell, the winners of the 2 Smashbox kits that I gave away on that post.

A few people have asked what is next? What are the other 2 big things I am trying to accomplish this year? Well, both involve April Bowles-Olin with Blacksburg Belle, a fellow creative lady entrepreneur also in VA.

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One of the things I want to do is more personal than professional, I am looking to launch a lifestyle blog that is more of a creative outlet and something to do in all my non-existent spare time. Just as soon as I can sit down for 5 seconds, I am going to take April’s Creative Live Course on how to Build a Successful Creative Blog.  This is an older class of hers that I have already purchased and will be using all the info she dishes to launch the new venture. Im thinking that she is probably going to have plenty of magic sparkles of genius for me to incorporate there and also jazz up this old blog and probably Money Making Makeup Artist too!

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Speaking of Money Making Makeup Artist, that is what my next project is about! That was born just before I got pregnant with Silas and was thinking of ways to work a little differently than I had been doing for years before. I am constantly getting messages on social media and emails from girls and guys who want to start their own successful businesses as stylists/ makeup artists and want to know how I have done it. I LOVE to talk business and entrepreneurship strategies! I love it as much or more some days, than doing hair and makeup, if you can believe that!

Without much a plan, I decided I was going to create a program to help people do exactly what I have done. I launched said program and it was pretty successful, but much more work than the passive stream of income I was hoping to generate. Thru some trial and error, which is the way I approach most things, I learned that what I needed first was to create some digital products that people could buy and do on their own before committing to 6 weeks of Emily bootcamp. The program was great but it was not inexpensive and required a big time commitment from both myself and the participants. It was a big chunk to take on. Which brings us to…

Why I want to learn how to create and sell digital products?

1. People want and need this information!  People are adding onto the email list MMMUA and emailing me everyday for help and I need to create a way to efficiently give them this information in a way that is easy for them to access.

2. I have already created the content! I think the program that I had created before was awesome but too much to bite off for someone just getting started. So I have reformulated it into snack sized portions so people can digest little by little and get the information as needed. If they have the digital info this way, they can do it in their own time and not need me to walk them thru it.

3. Selling digital products will help me help more people without them making a huge investment! Don’t get me wrong, I think you need to invest in yourself if you want to grow into that dream you’ve got. But I want to get this information to as many people as possible and having a big ticket 6-8 week course wasn’t getting the info into as many hands as I had hoped.

Being a freelance stylist and makeup artist is an awesome job and I am so grateful for all the cool experiences that I have had because of it. BUT I am not as young and spry as I was a decade ago and I find myself wanting to be home a bit more, especially as our family grows.

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You may have caught this mentioned in the about me page of the website or on the contact page, but this guy is going to be a big brother early next year! Which means that now more than ever, I want/need to get this created so I can have this income stream to help me stay at home a bit longer with Baby #2.

Here I am, sharing some things I’ve been keeping to myself. This bump, I’ve been hiding under voluminous clothes for the last 4 months. And my last 2 goals, which if I don’t share publicly, I fear will fall by the wayside in my endless list of chores and other work. These things are important, so thank you for letting me share them with you. And for being excited with me, even on days when it feels like too much.

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UPDATE: We found out the gender this weekend!!!! See that news here!

A few months ago, I applied to be in the live studio audience for April’s Creative Live Course, Create Digital Products While you Sleep.  I was shocked that I was accepted to be a part of such a cool experience! I was even more disappointed when I had to decline the opportunity due to some previous bookings and family commitments that don’t make travel to San Francisco that week possible.

Since I can’t be there in person to take this course (I am seriously so sad b/c it was kind of my birthday wish to be able to go), I am going to be camped out in front of my computer to do it as live as possible from my home office. That is the next best thing, right?

Please feel free to comment and share your thought on the website or the 2 goals that I just shared. I would love to hear words of advice or encouragement!

If you are a creative entrepreneur, blogger or just like a fun blog to follow, check out April at Blacksburg Belle. She is a delight! Thanks so much, April, for sharing your knowledge and hosting this fun blog tour (my first!) so we can all get to know each other.  Check out the list of other creatives who are participating in the tour here. 

Are you ready to make your creative work more lucrative, stable, and sustainable in the long-term? Join April Bowles-Olin for an introduction to digital products and how they can enhance your creative business. This course will show you how to produce and position viable products for generating multiple revenue streams and passive income. RSVP right here to watch it live and get access to the workbook for FREE. This post is part of the Create Digital Products blog tour.April_Bowles-Olin_Google-_1000x566-620x350

It is FINALLY here! The website update is live!

Can you tell that I am a little excited!?!?! I am trying to play it cool but with MUCH sweat and tears, mostly tears, the new website is FINALLY here and I am pretty darn proud of it.

As a creative person and super busy working artist,  I am not a techy expert. I really struggle in this department. Thankfully I pulled in some support from good friends who gave me their perspective. Between that and searching for answers in the Squarespace forums, emailing them for help and spending hours on the phone with tech support, it is done.

Some things you may notice are new images in the portfolios, it had been awhile since I had added new images. The old website wasn’t on the easiest platform for me to manage. Squarespace is MUCH easier. My last website and blog had my photo from 2010 and I had long dark hair with purple bangs! I have probably had 1,000 hair changes since then. Shouts out to my husband for taking a nice photo of me to add to my about me page. 

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This was one of 3 big projects that I am trying to work on before the end of the year. I will update you on the last two when they are complete. I am on a roll now! Im hoping to get the next one started before my birthday, at the end of the month.

In honor of my birthday month, and accomplishing this big goal, I want to give you a treat. Some really great Smashbox makeup goodies!!!

All you need to do is check out the new website here. And leave a comment to let me know what you think. Feel free to point out any spelling errors or broken links or anything that I need to get cleaned up.

Congrats to Nell and Kelley! The 2 winners of the Smashbox kits that we gave away this week!!!!!

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I want to give a big old thank you to my dearest of dear friends who took the time to edit and proofread to catch my spelling, grammar and punctuation errors. Why is it that you can reread your own writing 1 million times and not see that you typed the twice or spaced things weird. You need those fresh eyes to catch those mistakes that your eyes just won’t see. THANK YOU FRIENDS!

Have you missed me here? When my son was born last year and life got so busy after I went back to work, I neglected the blog. I used to post daily but now I am going for 1-2 solid posts per month. I would love to know what type of posts or videos you would like to see from me now? I am also working hard to update content at Money Making Makeup Artist.

Are you interested in working together on an upcoming photo or video shoot? Send me a message here and I will check availability. Thanks!

Smile Brilliant, Custom DIY Teeth Whitening Trays

Having a pearly white smile is far more appealing than having your grill show the after effects of your love of coffee and red wine (two of my guilty pleasures!). For most of us, getting pricey cosmetic treatments in a dentist office are not ideal or realistic. Those professional whitening services are great and may give you more results than using Crest White Strips at home but most won’t actually commit to having that done.

You can imagine how excited I was when Smile Brilliant, the latest development in DIY whitening, reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in reviewing their product. I couldn’t say yes fast enough!

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I wasn’t really sure what to expect but a few days later, I got a little care package in the mail from Smile Brilliant with detailed instructions and I couldn’t wait to get started. First I watched this YouTube video here, which gave me a little more of an idea what to expect. Once I watched, I felt really confident in making my own trays.

DSC_0265 DSC_0266 Simply mix the purple base paste with the white catalyst paste and knead together until you get the pretty lilac color shown below. DSC_0267 Keep going!DSC_0268 Thats it!DSC_0269 Press the paste into the tray, then the tray onto your teeth and close your mouth. You have likely had this done at the dentist office, if you ever had braces. Give it a minute to mold, then wiggle it out of your mouth.DSC_0270 Do this on both top and bottom. Then place your molds into the pre-labeled packaging that came with your kit. Send it off and wait for your very own, custom trays. DSC_0271

In a short time, I had my very own custom whitening trays, desensitizing gel, whitening gel, and a nice little case for them (think of the case that your post-braces retainer came in…but a sleek, black, grown up version). Time to start whitening!

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They sent 3 syringes of the desensitizing gel and 3 syringes of the whitening gel. One syringe is 3 full applications so 3 syringes will give you 9 applications total.  I was unclear on if I should use both each time. Since the instructions say that the desensitizing gel can be used 20-60 minutes each time and the whitening gel is recommended for 20 minutes to 3 hours, I was mostly worried that this was going to be a real time suck. Don’t get me wrong, beautiful white teeth are worth some investment of your time, but I am the working mother of an incredibly active 14 month old boy so when was I going to squeeze this in!

I emailed the company and they promptly answered my question (great customer service!) and let me know that I only needed to use it if I had sensitive teeth. So I did a little experiment, I used it the first time before I whitened. Then the next time, I went straight to the whitening step. My teeth didn’t seem to be sensitive or feel any pain after, so I didn’t use the desensitizing gel again.

Here is my before:

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And here is my after:photo-1 photo

 

Here is my honest review of this product…I love it. And here is why.

1. The gel really coats your teeth on all sides and works on the stains that are in between teeth. I feel like if you are a daily coffee and/or red wine drinker, that is where you seeing the most staining over time and it is really hard to get rid of. Crest White Strips, which I love, can miss that.

2. You can do this in your home, on your own time. Not that I have too much spare time, but I can put these trays in when my son is taking a nap. I can use them when I have 20 minutes or several hours, not that I often get several hours to do anything. But you can whiten while doing laundry or other household duties.

3. One thing that was not cool about other whitening products that Ive used before is that they do not whiten any bonded or fake teeth, only natural teeth. So if you have one or two falsies, or veneers, your real teeth will whiten and the venners will stay the same. And when next to your new whitened teeth, the veneers look really stained! I was excited when I watched the video on the product that Smile Brilliant will bleach your veneers too! I won’t tell which one but one of my top teeth is a falsie.

4. The results are pretty darn instant. I think my smile was considerable brighter after each use, which is total motivation for keeping it up.

There are always some cons, so here are my dislikes…

If you over use the gel, it will squeeze out of the tray. Obviously, it has to go somewhere. It tastes foul and is strangely foamy when it reacts with your saliva. Just be careful with that, only because its annoying. Not because it will kill you or anything.

So overall, way more likes than dislikes when it comes to this product. I highly recommend that you order this product and try it for yourself.  As I mentioned, I do not have much time, like most folks, so to be perfectly honest it took me several weeks to use the product 9 or 10 times. I think if I had used it every day or even several times a week, I would have gotten better results, more quickly. But I am satisfied with this product and will continue to use it.

Are you ready to get started on your own custom DIY trays? You can use the affiliate link the company made for us here and order your own now!

A huge thanks to Smile Brilliant for sharing their products with me so that I could try them out. I am a HUGE fan and am so happy to have found a great product that I can use at home and get professional whitening results. Follow Smile Brilliant on Instagram and Twitter for updates.