Thursday, July 19, 2012

Quick Tip

For all you full figured women out there.  Hate to wear dresses or skirts because your thighs get sweaty and chaffed?  Well, since we don't have the luxury of not having our thighs touch, there isn't much you can do about it, until now!  Here is a little tip...when you are getting ready in the morning and you put on your deodorant,  put some between your thighs.  Put a little on each leg and it will create a smooth, sweat proof barrier that prevents chaffing and smells nice.  I actually discovered this on my own one morning.  I used to use baby powder, but it wore off very quickly and made a mess.  I thought, if deodorant can do for my thighs what it does for my underarms, this may just work.  And it does, like a charm.  I use dove invisible solid, but I think any solid will work. Your thighs will thank you.

Pin Curl Versatility

I'm starting to understand the benefits of spending so much time pin curling your hair.  If you take care of it, it can last for days.  After yesterday's style, I decided to see what would happen if I re-pinned my hair in larger sections and slept on it.  I chose to do the larger sections because I didn't want to redo the small sections because I'm lazy, and I was hoping that by doing larger sections the curls would not be so tight.  It worked out very well and it took much less time.

So, this mornings hair style is very similar to a style I recently saw on Dita Von Teese.
Me (left) Dita Von Teese (right)

I created victory rolls on the sides and a small roll in the front.  This is more of a 1940's look.  And because I don't want to reinvent the wheel and she does it so well, here is a tutorial on how to do a victory roll by one of my favorite Youtubers: Cherry Dollface.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Another Attempt at Pin Curls

I wanted to give the pin curl another try so I spent an hour last night pin curling my hair.  I have a new respect for my grandmother and the fact that she did this every night before she went to bed. I used Lotta Body and a much more sheer scarf around my head than the one I used on Buffie.  This helped with drying.  And after lots, and I mean lots of brushing with a bristle brush, here is the final result.  I think grandma Collins would be proud.

The result of pin curls and lots of brushing.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Water for Elephants Project: Hair & Makeup

I did some research about the hair and makeup created for the movie before I started this process.  I found a video tutorial created by the actual makeup artist and used the same techniques to create my look.  I also collected images of the hair from the movie and other styles from women in the 1930's.  I used Lotta Body setting lotion to make the finger waves and pin curls.  I had never used that product before, but it worked really well and I would recommend it to anyone trying to achieve the same style. I also used the book Vintage Hairstyling as a guide for the finger waves and the pin curls.

After the Lotta Body was diluted with water and generously applied,
clips were used to hold the finger waves in place until they dried.

After the finger waves were created, I made pin curls all around the head, concentrating
them at the nape of the neck.

After the hair was set, I wrapped it in a bandanna to protect the hair while Buffie slept.
I did the hair the night before to give it time to dry.

I created a smokey line along the lashes with a black eyeshadow, then applied the shade
gunmetal (last on the right) to the eyelid. I applied the color virgin to the brow bone and added a
dab of white to the middle of the eyelid to create dimension.  I also added individual false eyelashes
to the outer corner of the eyes and rounded and extended the eyebrows to give it that 30's look.

This is how the hair looked when I let out the pin curls and brushed through.  I then used
bobby pins to give the hair a bobbed look.  You can see the final hair style in the photo shoot photos.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Water for Elephants Inspired Project: The Results

Well, it's finished. I couldn't have done it without the help of Brad, Buffie, & Christy.  It actually turned out to be a very nice day without any issues.  Buffie came over the night before so I could finger wave and pin curl her hair.  Then, we got up bright and early and drove to Christy's house, Always August Farm, where we were greeted by Bourbon, Doe, and Roscoe, Christy's dogs.  We drank mimosas and ate donuts while Brad took photos.  He is a wonderful photographer.  After all the prep work, I think that result was worth the effort.  We were able to recreate the feel of a star performer at the big top in the early 1930's.  Below is a slideshow of the final pictures.  I will be uploading more photos of the process later.  Enjoy!

iphone and ipad users please click here.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Water for Elephants Inspired Project

I recently watched the movie Water for Elephants for the first time and was very inspired by Reese Witherspoon's costumes and style.  This movie is set in the early 1930's and is set at a circus.  Reese's look is a homage to the starlets of the time like Jean Harlow and Mae West. She wears a period specific finger wave with pin curls and is a beautiful light blonde.  Her costumes are wonderful too.  She switches between wearing sequined leotards and tutus to slinky satin dresses.

I happen to have my own "starlet" on hand, my friend Buffie, who is always generous enough to allow me to dress her up and take photos.  We haven't done this in quite some time so I thought this would be a great opportunity to use this inspiration and hopefully create something wonderful.

We have a photo shoot scheduled for Saturday and we are going to my step-niece's horse farm so that we can take photos with some horses.  I thought that horses would probably be better to use than exotic animals considering we live nowhere near any and I don't want Buffie to get eaten during the shoot.

I've been collecting and making items for the shoot for the last few days and hope to create a look worthy of the inspiration.  This can sometimes be difficult on a budget, but I think so far it has been successful.

Photo shoot items:
  • Nude & black leotards
  • White & black tights and black & nude fishnets
  • I created two tutu bustles, one black and one white (pictured below)
  • I created a crown (pictured below) 
  • I already had a small sparkly top hat, a pink feather stole, and satin gloves in different lengths and colors
  • I created bows as adornments for the shoulders (pictured below)
  • My husband (Brad) and I created structure out of pvc pipe to hold two red curtains.  I think this will look very dramatic when it's set up in a field.  (pictured below)
  • I also borrowed a few things from my sister
I always keep my Halloween costumes and remnants from sewing projects, so by now I have amassed quite the collection of wigs, boas, gloves, hats, ribbon and fabric. I am very excited about this project and will be taking photos as I do the hair and makeup.  I will also share the final product of the photo shoot.  More to come...

I made this crown with card stock, metallic paint and rhinestones.

I made these no-sew tutu bustles and ribbon adornments.
My husband Brad helped me make the curtain structure out of pvc pipes. Thanks Brad.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Get Inspired to Try New Hairstyles

You don't have to wait for a special occasion to spice things up. A new hairdo can do wonders for your mood. This doesn't mean you have to dye your hair a different color or cut it. There are lots of things you can do with a few tools.
  • Steam Curlers: I use Caruso steam curlers to create soft curls. I've had the set that I use for over 15 years. It's the first type that came out and requires salt in the water to make it work.  They have become more user friendly over the years and don't require the salt anymore.
  • TopStyler Ceramic Shells: My husband bought me the TopStyler ceramic shells for Christmas and they are really cool. They create a nice wave in your hair.  It's basically like creating a pin curl. You create the curl with your finger and then put the clam shell over it.
  • Curling Iron: It's good to have at least two sizes, a 1 1/2" and a small barrel (1/2").  The 1 1/2" barrel creates volume and body and the 1/2" creates tight curls. Many times I will use the large barrel and pin each curl to my head after I make them.  I will then do my makeup and let them out after about 10 min.  This allows them to cool and set and creates more volume.
  • Styling Products: Lately, I've been using Bumble and Bumble products on my hair.  If I want to create volume and make my style last longer I will layer on Tonic Lotion, Styling Lotion, and Thickening Spray. Any you can't forget the hairspray.  I'm not going to recommend one because it changes every time I go to the store. Other accessories that I use are lots and lots of bobby pins, flowers, bows, and scarfs.
  • Hairdo Inspiration: If you need ideas for styles to try, here are some great resources:
Faux bangs (left) and Finger waves & pin curls (right)

Bumper bangs and victory rolls (left) and Soft curls (right)

Rolled under faux bangs (left) and Rolled Pompadour with a pony (right)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Making sure that you have the proper shape of eyebrow can be one of the easiest and cheapest ways to make yourself beautiful. Too often I see women who have either over plucked, misplaced their arch, or took too much off the front or the ends. At some point I actually think that having bushier eyebrows can be better than a misplaced arch. There are some very simple rules to follow to make sure that you have the correct shape. It's all about proportion.

1. Take a pencil and line it up with the side of your nose, not outside of the nostril, but on top of it right outside of the ball of your nose. This is where the brow should start. 

2. Take that pencil from the same spot and rotate it while looking forward to the right of the pupil. This is where the arch should be.

3. Finally, rotate the pencil to the end of the eye. This is where the eyebrow should end. You can also see from the photo below that the eyebrow should line up horizontally.

Another tip if you aren't sure how it will look, is to use concealer on your brows all the way around to block out the shape you want, then if you like it, pluck only the hairs covered in the concealer.  It helps to see which hairs need to be plucked and prevents over plucking.

I've also included an example of how eyebrow shapes have changed throughout the years.

Eyebrow proportions and eyebrow shapes throughout the years.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Louis Vuitton Madonna

I wanted to share one of the ways that I combine fashion and art.  This is a self-portrait I made that I call Louis Vuitton Madonna.

Louis Vuitton Madonna, Pastel by Ali Williams

Makeup Staples

I thought I would share the things that I use almost everyday to make myself up.  I have a lot of makeup, much of it I only use on special occasions, but here is a list of items that I find that I cannot go without on any given day.

  • My favorite foundation: Makeup Forever HD Invisible Cover Foundation
    I apply this with a brush and buff it into the skin.  It provides good coverage, but is still very light.  They also have a good color selection.  I'm #117 which is very light, with a yellow undertone.
  • My favorite powder: Makeup Forever HD Microfinish Powder
    This powder is white and goes on colorless.  It is so fine that it floats in the air like silica and you almost feel like you aren't putting any on your face.  It only takes a little and lasts forever. It does a good job of keeping the shiny face at bay while still allowing your natural skin to show through.
  • My favorite mascara: Benefit Cosmetics BADgal Lash Mascara
    I love the fat wand and the rich, black color.  It makes your lashes big and sexy.
  • My favorite eye shadow palette: Urban Decay Naked Palette
    This palette offers a great selection of neutral colors.  It also offers a selection of matte and shimmery colors too.  Some of the matte colors also work great for contouring.  My favorite is the color Virgin.  It is the lightest color in the bunch and I use it as a highlighter for the brow bone.
  • My favorite blush: Tarte Cheek Stain
    I used a different color of the same brand for years, but it was discontinued.  I find that the color Flush offers a very natural, healthy, rosy cheek.  I also like the consistency of the product because it isn't a powder.  It keeps your face looking dewy and fresh and it blends well.
  • My favorite lip product: Urban Decay Lip Junkie Lipgloss
    I actually got a sample of this when I bought something else from Sephora and it had me hooked.  I knew I needed to buy the full size when I found myself squeezing the trial size for the last drop.  I am not a fan of a bold lip because I usually put the emphasis on the eyes.  The color Midnight Cowboy is a shimmery nude sparkle that cools your lips when you apply it.  It also claims to plump, but I'm not sure that any lip products actually do that.  It does feel nice an tingly though.
I am also obsessed with eyebrows and use a Laura Mercier brow wax, but it isn't sold at Sephora anymore, at least not online. Eyebrows are something that I feel very strongly about. The most beautiful woman can go horribly wrong if her eyebrows are bad.  In fact, that might be the next thing I write about...the proper way to shape your brows.  Stay tuned...

Monday, July 9, 2012

Style Influences

My love for fashion and most likely for vintage as well came from my grandmother, Melba Collins.  She was always polished.  She had strawberry blonde hair like me and pin curled it every night before going to bed for her entire life.  She wore scarves when she went out to protect her hair and had matching nightgown sets. When my sister and I were teenagers we would raid her closet.  She always had the most unique style. I recently found a photo online of Marilyn Monroe when she was 12 and it reminded me of Melba.  Here are their photos side by side.

Marilyn Monroe (left) photo courtesy of suntimes and Melba Collins (right)

My First Post

I want to start with my first post by explaining why I decided to make this blog.  I know what you must be thinking...the last thing the world needs is another person blogging about beauty.  I am not an expert on beauty by any means.  I am just a girl who loves makeup, hair, art, and design.  I also have an affinity for all things vintage.  I am a graphic/web designer and if I wasn't doing that, I would probably be working in the beauty industry, but I'm too chicken to go to beauty school.

Anyway, I am constantly scouring the web for new ideas for hair and makeup and there are several really great resources, but none that combine all of my loves.  As I gather my lists of websites that I visit, I will post them so that you can use them too.  But I will also be adding my own hair and makeup tutorials and sharing with you the things that I love.

So for my first collage, I will share with you a few pieces of my "Dream Salon" that I'm building in my mind, just in case the day finally comes that I gather up the courage (and finances) to go to beauty school. I think I will name it Bouffants, after one of my favorite hair styles.