If It’s Pretty, I Will Buy It

I think I may be developing a bad habit.

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

Exhibit C:

Exhibit D: The unphotographed Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance palette that just came in the mail and I literally am chomping at the bit to try it out. Something tells me that testing out a palette at 1 AM (when I’m actually writing this post…) is not the most necessary of moves, though, so I shall wait…

I think we’re going to go ahead and file these under the category of #DONTTELLSEAN and move on… to the usage of these newly acquired beauties. I filmed my second makeup tutorial using my new Anastasia Beverly Hills Moonchild Glowkit, which you can check out on Youtube now!

I did this one as a voiceover tutorial (as opposed to the talk-through style of my first video) and I’d love to know which type of video you prefer! Happy makeupping!

Channeling Something New

Happy New Year!

It’s 2017 and a full of year possibilities is ahead of us. I have a lot that I want to do this year, and I’m hoping that by jumping in full-force, I’ll actually be able to say I’ve done a lot of it by this time next year!

I’ve openly admitted that I’m a starter of projects, but not all that great at finishing them. (Pretty sure it’s smack-dab at the top of my “About” page, lol.) I know that makes me sound flaky, but it’s just part of my personality that I’ve come to understand. I’m a passionate person, and I get excited easily. As such, I love jumping into things full force, and I love following my passions wherever they may lead. Unfortunately, what that sometimes means is that a new passion might steer me away from a previous one (see: Zumba, knitting, and my unfinished book sequel…). This ended up with me feeling guilty about leaving unfinished business behind (even if just temporarily.)

Worse than the guilt of knowing I’ve left loose threads dangling, however, is the fear of what people might say about it, say about me. Blogging and working for Yelp has definitely thickened my skin, but I can still be hyper-sensitive to criticism and critique. I’m also a Monica Gellar-level people-pleaser.

But, c’mon, I’m 28 years old! I can’t live my life based on the fear of what others might say about me. And anyway, I’m growing up… kinda! While I’m pretty sure I’m just as passionate and excitable as ever, there are a lot of steady, firm, decidedly not-flaky parts of my life as well.

The average length of time I spent at all of my previous jobs was exactly 1 year. And then I found Yelp, and now I’m fast-approaching my 4-year anniversary! I’m a married lady with two fur-children, I’m older, and, hey, maybe even a tiny bit wiser.

I mentioned in a previous post that one of the things that I’ve been continuing to get more and more interested in is makeup. I’ve been getting more experimental and showcasing my looks on social media more often. I actually have received a few inquiries about whether I’d ever considered making tutorial videos, and the truth that I’ve actually considered it quite a bit. But, you know, the timing wasn’t right, or I wasn’t well-equipped, or it just seemed like too much work… and I didn’t want to start another thing that would just peter out and disappear.

Alas, all of those things might still be true, but as part of my “resolution” (I kind of hate New Year’s Resolutions, so I use that word with caution), I’m taking 2017 by the horns and testing the waters anyway! I went ahead and filmed my very first makeup tutorial video! It’s kind of a mess — evidently putting me in front of a camera makes me unable to pronounce words anymore, and the amount of times I uttered the words “uh,” “like,” and “anyway” made me want to punch myself.

That said, if you’re in any way interested in seeing what goes into an everyday glam look for me, you can check it out on my Youtube Channel:

And we’ll see where it goes from here! If I stick with it, awesome! And if not, hey, I’ll probably have chronicled at least a couple of really cool makeup looks, so that’s still cool.

80 Days Around the Blogosphere

UHHHHHHH, how did I go from 129 days to 80 days until my wedding?! I mean, I know how, like, time works, of course, and I hate to sound cliche, but these weeks are seriously FLYING by. Oyyyyy.

All right, so, given that it’s been over a month since my last post, I probably have a lot to catch you up on (especially if you don’t follow me on Instagram, hahaha.) Basically, my life is just one big mashup of modpodge, glitter, events, and schnauzers. On the event front, Sean and I recently got to attend two friends’ weddings (on back to back weekends! October is obvs the new May when it comes to weddings), and they gave me serious #weddinggoals to aspire to.

And last week I had the opportunity to travel up to Pittsburgh for work to help out at my coworker’s big Halloween event. They had this awesome makeup artist at the event who transformed me into Zombie Pirate Gretchen, and it was, well, see for yourself:

 
 

Hehehe.

Today is actually Sean’s birthday, (my old man is 31 today!), and we went out for an early birthday dinner to celebrate with his parents on Sunday. I would have a photo of my amazing steak from Ray’s the Steaks, but I ate it too fast. I’ve been working out more lately with the goal of looking less squishy in my beautiful yet strapless wedding dress, and apparently it has turned me into an even more ravenous version of myself. Or maybe it’s just a testament to how awesome my steak was — if you’re in the DC area and haven’t been to Ray’s yet, you are missing out on life!

Anyway, the most exciting development on the wedding front is that the invitations went into the mail yesterday! Squee! I can’t wait to show them to you guys. I know I’m sending them out a little on the early side (according to traditional ettiquette, invitations should go out 6 – 8 weeks before the wedding), but with Christmas and everything, I figured that sending them out earlier (with an earlier RSVP deadline) would lessen the chances of the invites getting lost in folks’ holiday mail.

 
 

In other developments, after lots of hemming and hawing over whether or not I should do my own makeup for the wedding, I had finally decided that I was, in fact, going to do it myself. After all, I know my own face, I do my makeup a lot, it would save money, etc. But then, because apparently making final decisions is NOT my strong suit, I decided to go in for a makeup trial anyway, just to be really sure that’s what I wanted to do. I figured, if anything, it would help solidify my decision to do my own makeup, since every other time I’ve gotten my makeup done by someone else, I haven’t really loved it.

So I went in for a makeup trial with Marquia of Blend Makeup Artistry, and this happened:

  
 

I L-O-V-E-D it.

I felt so beautiful! Marquia used airbrush foundation, which felt like air on my skin and gave me amazing, flawless coverage. Plus everything she did was beyond waterproof — and believe me, I put it through the ringer when I got home. I watched the first 5 minutes of Up, read back through the most heart-wrenching parts The Fault in Our Stars, AND watched the ending of Moulin Rouge. It didn’t budge! Marquia also used individual false lashes on me instead of a lash strip and they felt absolutely amazing.

So, long story short, I reneged on my original decision to do my own makeup and opted to book Marquia instead, lulz. I ended up asking if we could do a little bit of a stronger brow and slightly darker eyeshadow on the actual day of (gotta go big for the camera!), but overall I was so surprised at how much I loved the way I looked.

I gotta say, airbrush makeup is clearly the way to go. It didn’t come off on anything, which gives me a lot more confidence too, since my veil is gonna be right up on my skin, hehe. Once I decide which veil I’m actually going to be wearing, that is! I made several, hehe:

Turns out that making a birdcage veil is ridiculously easy (I’ll post a tutorial later!), but even so, I’m still pretty proud of myself for pulling these puppies off. I made an ivory veil in both traditional comb and bandeau styles, as well as a gold one. I’ve got my first dress fitting in a couple of weeks, so I’ll bring them to figure out which one I want to go with (although I think I already have a pretty good idea.) I’ve gotten a few of my other wedding accessories too, and can’t wait to finally see my whole look come together!

 
 

Speaking of things coming together, I am having so much fun working on the nitty gritty stuff for the wedding! I joke about having nightmares of being attacked by giant bottles of Mod Podge, but in reality, you guys know I love this crafty crap, hehe. That said, I still have a lot to do, and it does stress me out a bit when I start thinking about it all at once.

 
 

But as long as I take it a little bit at a time, I’m thinking I’m still in pretty good shape! After all, even though it feels like time is speeding up the closer we get to the end of the year, I know I still have almost three months until the big day, which is more than enough time to get all this done… right? RIGHT?!

Well, as long as we’re starting to spiral out of control, we might as well get to the part where I post the ridiculously long checklist of wedding-related stuff. Hopefully this list is of moderate interest to any other future brides (or just folks who are really invested in my wedding planning process), but even if it not, I’m gonna keep updating it since I keep misplacing any pen-and-paper checklists I make. So here’s where the ever-growing wedding checklist stands as of right now:

Date: ☑

Venue: ☑

Dress: ☑

Caterer: ☑

Photographer: ☑

Videographer: ☑

Flowers: ☑

Ceremony Musicians: ☑

DJ: ☑

Cake: ☑

Day-of Coordinator: ☑

Save the Dates: ☑

Invitations: ☑

Bridesmaid Dresses: ☑

Bridal Accessories: ☑

Wedding Rings: ☑

Groomsmen Tuxes: ☐

Dress Fittings: ☐

Registry: ☑

Hotel room blocks: ☑

Shuttle/Transportation: ☐ (Still trying to determine if we have the budget for this. Are we jerks if we don’t provide transporation to/from the venue?)

Welcome Bags: ☐

Wedding Signage: ☑

Program & Menu: ☐

Seating Chart: ☐

Alcohol: ☐

Honeymoon: ☑ (Yassss!)

Centerpiece Bottles: ☐

Ceremony Backdrop: ☐

Card Box: ☐ (I’m making something very special and annoying to make for this, heh.)

Additional Random DIY Projects: ☐

Eventually this list is going to get so long you guys are all just going to stop reading, hahaha. I mean, this doesn’t even include all the super specific stuff we have yet to figure out, like who our ceremony readers are going to be, the ceremony music, writing our vows, our final menu choices, our first dance song (I already know what I want it to be, but I guess I should confer with Sean about it ;)), and more. And so we press forward!

For now though, let’s put all that aside and finish on a non-whiney note, shall we? I’m extra excited about wedding stuff this week because my bridal shower is happening this weekend! My sister and sister-in-law are keeping all the details under wraps, so I have no idea what to expect, but I’m just so excited to have the first official wedding event take place! This ish is gonna get REAL starting on Sunday! I promise I will try really hard not to wait another six weeks before updating you on it all. 🙂

And, finally, let’s go ahead and give an update on the schnauzer part of my life, which, even with all the other exciting stuff going on, is obviously still the very best part:

 
 

Yeah, they’re still pretty great. My little schmoopiees. I love them. (And as a reminder for those who might be confused as to why there are three little bearded faces, Pixel is technically my brother’s dog.)

Well, I think that pretty much catches us up to now. Things definitely aren’t slowing down this week: I’m seeing Joshua Radin in concert on Wednesday, my sister and nieces come into town on Friday (yay!), I’ve got the bridal shower this weekend, plus a couple more Yelp events scattered throughout the next couple weeks.

And in two weeks, my whole family is heading to Houston so Sean and I can participate in a traditional Chinese tea ceremony for my grandmother who can’t travel and won’t be able to attend the wedding. We’ll also be spending a couple of days in New Orleans with my brother and sister-in-law on the way back! I’ve never been to NOLA, so I’m excited to try some authentic beignets, hehe. If you have any recommendations for must-visit places in New Orleans, let me know!

Okay, I feel like if I don’t cut myself off now, I’m just going to keep prattling on forever, so I’ll say goodbye for now. Guess this just goes to show that I really need to blog more frequently — apparently I still do have a lot to say, hahahaha. See you guys on the flipside!

Make Me Over

Happy Monday, folks!

I hope you all had a stellar weekend. Mine was wonderful but busy!

It started with Sean and I taking engagement photos with Ben and Taylor:

This is a preview photo, and I am SO excited to see the rest of the shots! We went down to DC and took some pictures by the Botanical Gardens and then some in another part of DC that I can’t waaaaaait for you to see.

And the weekend ended with a seriously baller workout as part of my Yelp Elite Event yesterday:

The event was at The Worx by Maia, and it was a bootcamp-style workout that had us doing everything from battle ropes (pictured above) to tire flips to wall sits to box jumps to… whoosh!

Suffice it to say, it was cray, and I can already feel my muscles hating me (which admittedly doesn’t make me super excited for how I’m gonna feel TOMORROW, haha.)

Anyway, in between those two bookending weekend events, I did some bridal makeup for blog reader Ashley’s big day!

 
Her wedding looked so beautiful! I feel like I have so much appreciation for all the little things that go into weddings now that I’m planning one of my own. And the whole time we were helping her and her bridal party get ready, I just kept thinking how much fun it’s going to be when it’s my turn, hehe!

Of course, while I was there doing makeup for Ashley and her bridesmaids, the inevitable question came up as to whether or not I was going to do my own makeup for my wedding. In the beginning, I thought it would be a no-brainer that, yes, I would definitely want to do my own makeup, but now I’m actually a little torn!

See, the dilemma comes from this: I love makeup, doing makeup, prettifying myself, and prettifying others. I own a lot of makeup (a LOT, hahahaha), and I’ve done makeup for quite a few bridesmaids and a couple of brides at this point.

But, that being said, I feel like most women want their wedding day to feel special and different. And having someone else do your makeup most definitely gives you that pampered feeling. Plus, this way I would definitely have someone there to do the makeup for my bridesmaids who might not want or know how to do it themselves (since I probably won’t really have time to do everyone else’s makeup on my own wedding day, haha.)

Plus, face makeup is not really my specialty (I’d say eye makeup is where I’m strongest), and I especially like the idea of getting airbrushed foundation, especially since I get red-faced suuuuper easily.

But! On the other hand, it obviously costs money to hire someone to do makeup, so there are budgetary concerns. Plus, you hear these stories about women who get their makeup done professional and don’t like it, so they end up redoing it all themselves anyway. I mean, I’d do a trial to make sure I was happy, of course, but there’s still that risk.

Anyway, so this is my current dilemma. I know it’s probably nothing I need to decide RIGHT now, but since I just did bridal makeup this weekend, what can I say? It’s on my mind. I’ll let it percolate a little bit more, but I’d love to hear from you guys on what you did or didn’t do with regard to your wedding day makeup!

Did you get your makeup done on your wedding day? Or did you do your own?

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Last night I celebrated an early Halloween with my 2nd Halloween-themed Yelp event since I’ve been in this (totally rad, rocking, still-can’t-believe-it’s-real) job. Soooo many folks on my Elite Squad brought some serious costume game to the table — Shrek & Fiona! Flo from Progressive! Cleopatra and gypsies and pirates, oh my! — and it was a rockin’ good time.

Personally, I decided to design my costume around my latest hair color, and graced the event as none other than Elphaba, aka the wholly misunderstood Wicked Witch of the West! (Elphaba is her name in Wicked — the book and the musical — for those who don’t know. Fun fact: the name is a play off of the intials of L. Frank Baum, the original author of the Wizard of Oz!)

I think the costume was a big hit (be proud of me, guys, I only burst into song once throughout the whoooole party!), but I gotta admit, I really share Elphaba’s pain in wishing desperately for de-greenification. Even after my shower last night, I’m still finding residual green… everywhere. However, given that Halloween is right around the corner, and all things considered, this was a pretty easy costume to pull off, I did document the greenifying process in case anyone wants to try and replicate it for themselves!

I did a little research and found out that the actual makeup they use in the Broadway production of Wicked is from MAC! The product is MAC Chromacake in Landscape Green. Just a little bit of online shopping and — just like magic — I found it!

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The chromacake is the main component of this makeup/costume look, of course, but I did need a few other things as well. Luckily, I already owned everything else I needed to complete this look — primer, green eyeshadow, purple eyeshadow (for contouring), and red lipstick!

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Primer is the first step, which just happens to also be green. My primer is formulated to counteract redness (I have suuuuper red cheeks!), but doesn’t actually go on green, just to be clear, haha. Anyway, knowing that I was in for a full night of running around at the event, I wanted to make sure the green makeup was able to stay put as much as possible. Then it was just a matter of getting green!

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In order to apply the chromacake, you just add a tiny bit of water and paint it on. It’s like watercolor! The more water you use, the less concentrated the color and consistency. I used a little too much water at first, so as you can see, it took several layers. Make sure to let the makeup dry in between each application!

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Once the final layer of green is dry on your face, you can apply additional makeup. I used a green eyeliner stick to line the inside rim of my lower eyelid, and a shimmery dark green shadow on top. I also did an exaggerated winged eye using black liquid eyeliner and add false eyelashes later (not pictured in these photos though.)

I also used purple eyeshadow to contour my cheeks — adding some to the hollows of my cheeks, and around my forehead and chin line to make my face shape a little more enhanced. When you paint your whole face green, is loses a lot of its natural dimension, so I highly recommend this step.

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Finally, I did a bright red lip to finish off the look. In the musical, Elphaba’s makeup is actually done with a dark green lipstick on the lips, but I didn’t want to A) buy another product I’d only use once and B) you KNOW I love a good red lip. 😉

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Once the face is done, it’s time to paint up the rest of you! Neck, ears, chest, hands, and arms. I didn’t do as many layers on my hands and arms since, well, it takes a loooong time to paint your whole body with a foundation brush. I’m just saying.

Once you’re all painted up (and down and all around), just toss on the rest of your ensemble! Again, this was using clothing items I already owned (except the hat). I wore a black dress, black tights, black booties (from Seychelles), and, of course, my witch’s hat! My one tip is to PUT YOUR TIGHTS BEFORE YOU PAINT YOUR HANDS GREEN. Just take my word on that one, k?

So there you go! Green Gretchen, for all the world to see. I think the general idea behind this makeup would also work for a Hulk or She-Hulk costume, Shrek or Fiona (as two of my Elites did last night!), Poison Ivy, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, the Green Giant, or, of course, other green thing you can think of. Just be prepared to take multiple showers to get it all off.

Even though Elphaba may be gone for now, though, the witchiness of this week is not over quite yet! Tomorrow Sean and I head down to Orlando, FL for the trip of a lifetime! We’re meeting my sister, bro-in-law, and niece to visit Universal Studios and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Disney World, and then the two of us head out on a 3-day cruise out of Port Canaveral over the weekend to celebrate Sean’s big 3-0!

Stay tuned to my Instagram if you want to keep up with our Floridian adventures, otherwise I’ll be seeing you after a week of Butterbeers, Bernie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, Minnie Mouse ears, endless eats, sunshine, and happiness. 🙂