2000s Beauty

It’s the last post of the Decades of Beauty series! It’s cool that it only took me five years to finish it, right? That’s not that long in the scheme of things. I mean, I covered nine decades in five years. That’s actually quite impressive.

This post will cover beauty trends up through 2010. That decade is called the “aughts”, which is a weird word. It sounds like something a person trying to be cool would say. Like “Bro, you remember that time in the aughts?” I personally prefer “the early 2000s” or “the previous decade.”

Anything after 2010 is part of the decade we are in, so I can’t write about that for another three years. Maybe I’ll be on schedule for that post. Maybe.

Although I lived through it and started my career as a makeup artist during the previous decade, it is difficult to write about in a way because we are not far away removed from that decade to see all of what was cheesy, weird or trendy. Some of what became popular 10 or 15 years ago is still popular today. But other trends–zig zag parts, anyone?–were short-lived enough to easily write about. So I’m gonna give this a go.

Ten years made a big difference in what was considered an attractive skin tone for Caucasian women. In the early 90s, pale skin was attractive. Even if foundation made your skin a little lighter, that was no big deal. By the early 2000s, tanning beds, self tanner and bronzer were mad popular. Bronzed beauties (that’s the magazine world’s term, not mine) like Jennifer Lopez and supermodel Gisele Bundchen were emulated. Self tanner and bronzer continued to get less orange-y and better formulated, which is a positive. But the rise of tanning beds/booths brought about “tanorexics,” or people addicted to the tan they got from those machines. In the areas of the country I lived in between 2000-2010, there were tanning salons in every section of each city. Melanoma occurrences increased significantly between 1990 and 2010, which I think could be partly due to fake tanning. Those who were lucky enough to not get skin cancer from regular fake tanning almost certainly have some skin damage today. I am kicking myself for tanning in high school and college. I didn’t do it regularly, but I’ve had five pre-cancerous moles removed in the last six years, and I think tanning booths/beds played some part in that.

Okay, off my soapbox. My point is that tanned skin became a desirable look in the early 2000s and is still part of the beauty world today. If it was out of fashion, there would be a much smaller self tanner market and spray tan techs would be struggling. I get it–I am one of those people who likes to (safely) look tan. I get a spray tan a couple times a year, and I’m a pretty regular Jergens Natural Glow user. I say it’s because I think tan skin looks better with my coloring–dark eyes, hair and eyebrows–but maybe I’m more influenced by the tan trend that I thought.

For women of color, ten years made a huge difference in what was available for foundation shades. More lines developed shades that would match all skintones. Some lines, like IMAN Cosmetics, were specifically created for darker skin. There are still some companies today that need to catch the hell up and add some darker colors to their lines, but the options have definitely improved and continue to grow.

Mineral makeup became big around 2005 due to the success of the bareMinerals line by Bare Escentuals. It seemed like for a while there, everyone was swirling, tapping and buffing. I always ask clients what they normally use for foundation and although I still hear “bareMinerals,” I hear it less than I did a few years ago. I think that’s because women are getting less afraid of liquid foundation, as there are so many great ones now on the market. (Some gals have also gone down the BB or CC cream routes.) In the last decade, we said goodbye to the days of only full coverage, all pink-undertoned shades available.

The trendy eyebrow of 2000 was a lot thinner than the trendy eyebrow of 2010. It was fuller than the early 90s brow, but not quite Cara Delevingne level. One of the big differences between the brows of ten years ago and today is the level of brow powder or pencil used. Filling in brows wasn’t a thing for the average woman in 2006, but as you may have noticed if you’ve ever been on Instagram, it’s almost standard now.

Whatchu know about the smokey eye? This trend became extremely popular in 2007 and stuck around for several years. It was hands down the biggest request I got when I started working as a professional makeup artist in 2008.  I still get the request, but now it’s more like “Can you make my eye makeup a little smokey?” A true smokey eye is shades of eye makeup done on a gradient. So the darkest color is closest to the lashline and the colors used get lighter as you move towards the crease. (On the lower lashline, it’s darker at the lashline with a lighter color or colors under that.) The smokey eye started in the 1920s, so this trend, like many others, is a recycle of something that’s already been done. The difference between 2007’s smokey eye and 1927’s smokey eye was that a) There were many more eyeshadow colors and textures to choose from in 2007 and b) Brows weren’t the thin, low, drawn-in brows of the Jazz Age, and brow style makes a huge difference in how a smokey eye looks.

Lashes started getting a lot of love (and sometimes, abuse) by the end of the early 2000s. False lashes have been around since the 1920s, but other than a resurgence in the mid 1960s had been mostly the domain of models and celebrities. I don’t know the exact statistics on this, but I feel confident that false lash sales have increased dramatically since 2010. Lash extensions are also very popular and using Latisse to increase lash growth had its moment. New mascaras that promise the world come out every day, and the creation of new, supposedly groundbreaking mascara wands–many of them garbage–started around 2006. The desire for long, full lashes became so strong that cosmetic companies were using false lashes in their mascara ads and got called out on it. That is true false advertising. (Ohhhh! Killed it.) Companies now have to put disclaimers on ads saying the model is wearing “lash inserts.” I think that happened because I bitched about it so much on Facebook and this blog…

Your lipgloss be poppin’? You know it was if you were under 35 between 2000-2010. The glossy lips trend gained traction in the late 90s and went strong up until the past few years. The trend now is matte lips, although I keep seeing runway trends of glossy lips trying to be a thing again. (It’s all cyclical, folks.) Nude lips were also very popular during the previous decade, especially when paired with a smokey eye.

Acrylic nails, particularly with a French manicure, were the go-to look for nails up to about halfway through the previous decade. By 2010, 63% of nail salons were offering the new popular nail polish option–gel manicures. This type of polish, if you can even call it that, was invented in the 1980s but due to some product flaws and limited education on the service, faded out for 20 years. From what I can tell–and this could just be the part of the country I live in–gel manicures are now considerably more popular than acrylic nails. In the almost 40 weddings I have personally done this year, I have seen acrylic nails exactly twice. Everyone else has had gel manicures, which tells me this 2010 trend is still going strong.

What was hair looking like in the last decade? Up through 2005, chunky highlights, zig zag hair parts and two-toned hair–think Cristina Aguilera during her “Dirty” era–were big. Flat iron mania hit around 2008. The flat iron itself had existed for over 100 years, but with its ceramic plates and adjustable heat settings, the flat irons of the later part of the last decade were far superior to their predecessors. And so, flat ironed hair became popular. Smooth, sleek and shiny was the goal, and a good flat iron and the right products could deliver.

Hair extensions had been used on models and actresses forever, but during this decade, that secret came out and they became mainstream. African American women had been getting weaves (sewn or braided-in extensions) for years, but the hair extensions I’m referring to were mostly clip-in, glued-in or taped-in extensions. Extensions are still popular today. Just ask the legions of guys who have put their hands through their girl’s hair and felt a clip, bead or tape.

While having a lot of hair on your head was a good thing during this decade, having hair elsewhere became undesirable to many. Chances are you never even heard of a Brazilian Wax–unless it’s some type of candle I don’t know about–before 2000. But starting around the beginning of this century, it became a common service offered by many salons and spa. Laser hair removal, which can be done on any body part, became popular. The majority of hair removal service clients are women, but some men have jumped on board too. Steve Carell’s chest waxing scene in The 40 Year Old Virgin comes to mind…

Injectables like Botox, Juviderm and Restylane became mainstream in the middle of the last decade. Chemical peels and lasers that reduce pigmentation also grew in popularity. More dermatologists and estheticians came out with their own skincare lines and regular facials became more commonplace. A greater emphasis was placed on clear, youthful skin during this decade, and that has only increased in recent years.

There are a lot of other areas related areas I could get into–YouTube beauty tutorials, the creation of Instagram and its influence on the beauty industry, the effect of HD filming, the start of the extreme retouching era, etc.–but I suspect you’ve had enough.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and any of the other Decades posts you may have read. I love learning about the trends and backstories of those trends from different decades. But when it comes to trends, I say don’t follow them because you feel you should. Choose products, looks and styles that best flatter and work with your features, skintone, coloring, hair type, etc. Looking and feeling your best will always be in style.

Have a beautiful day🙂


My Perfect Day

The Ghosts of Past, Present and Future. Future Ghost does not represent death because she is wearing black. She's just very chic and lives in NYC.
The Ghosts of Past, Present and Future. Future Ghost does not represent death because she is wearing black. She just lives in NYC and is very chic.

Six years ago, I wrote an email to my friends describing the perfect day I hoped to have once I was running my business full-time (which happened six months later). Reading it now, some of it was spot on but other parts were way off. Remarks from Present Day Allison are in bold. It’s not the perfect day I would have if I was a lottery winner–although I would still work if I was–but rather my perfect realistic day. You’ll see what I mean.

Below that is what I hope my perfect day will be in another six years. I may look at this post in 2022 (or will it just transmit into my brain when I think “blog”?) and say, You crazy, bitch!, but hopefully some of it is accurate. This is sort of a time capsule blog post, with appearances from Past, Present and Future Allison. Future Allison is my favorite, because she’ll have even more experience and wisdom and her skin will look the same as it does now because of retinol.

June 2010

Job Status: Two years into running AB Beauty part-time. Working full-time as an Office Manager at a construction company Monday-Friday.

Living In: Newport

When I roll out of bed on a weekday, the first thing I do is count how many days until Friday. I like my job as much as I can like a non-makeup job, but that still doesn’t make me want to go every day. When I roll out of bed for a makeup job, my first thought is, Let’s do this. In the next few years, hopefully I’ll be rolling out of bed to go to makeup jobs on weekdays and weekends.  You will, but you’ll spend the majority of your time running your company. Also, don’t use the word “roll” so much.

In the meantime, in the spirit of the law of attraction, You loved that book, didn’t you, Past Allison? I’d like to share with you my perfect daily schedule.

7:00am: Wake up. I don’t mind waking up earlier for a makeup job, but if I don’t have something super early, I’d like to wake up at a decent hour.  Your “decent hour” is now 6:00am. You’ll start preferring earlier wakeups as you get into your 30s. You’ll like that it gives you more day.

7:05am: Check emails, respond to anything urgent. Yes, you will do that before rolling out of bed. (There you go. One “roll” per day. That’s the new rule.)

7:45am: Go for a long walk. I have no problem walking five or six miles, and I much prefer it to running. The reason I don’t do that walk now is because running is quicker. But if I double or triple the amount of time I’d run and go for a walk instead, I think the calories-burned scoreboard will be even. It’s a lovely idea, but as usual, I think your calories math is off. But you are correct that running is more time-efficient, so you’ll aim to do that for 45 minutes or so most days, during the evenings in the summer and late morning in fall, winter and spring. Don’t worry, you’ll get in plenty of walking for your errands and back and forth to your OFFICE/STUDIO, which you start renting in 2013. You thought that would take many years to get to, but you (as usual) reach your goal ahead of deadline. 

10:00am: Shower, spend a solid hour doing my makeup. Create something new and beautiful or interesting every day. More often you work from home in your pajamas and don’t even make it into the shower before 12:00pm. You only do a full face of makeup if you have clients, meetings or appointments. That typically takes 20-30 minutes, and you do it while watching “Chelsea” (Chelsea Handler’s new show that you will be obsessed with) or comedy specials on Netflix (look up Amy Schumer right now and go see her!).  You still love doing your own makeup as much as ever, and yes, you still use Diorshow.

11:30am: Become a makeup machine. Trials, photoshoots, event makeup. Bring it on. I’ll fuel up on Zone bars and eyelash glue fumes. The middle part of your day during the week is sometimes spent doing makeup, but more often spent running the business. (Fridays – Sundays are straight weddings and trials from April until November.) Also, you switch to Quest Bars. But don’t worry, you are learning to get balance in your life. You have started doing this new thing where you dip out mid-afternoon once or twice a week to meet a friend for a drink. Still vodka and club or Stoli Doli cocktails, because the classics never go out of style. 

7:30pm: Go home, work on writing.  You are usually either getting back from a run or still working (sometimes from home, sometimes from your office/studio). Writing at this time of day is not advised, as your brain is mush from working all day. Your creativity peaks in the morning, before the tasks of the day have taken over.

11:00pm: Nuh-night. You try to end your work day by 8:30pm or 9:00pm. Sometimes you fall asleep at 10:00pm, but your body clock normally defaults to an 11:00pm shut down, so that doesn’t change much. 

Now obviously my days will be different depending on the type of jobs I’m working on and what my social schedule is It’s minimal but improving, but I’m looking forward to working seven days a week. Good! Because that’s what you will do. Or not. If I want to take three days off to go on a long weekend trip, I’ll be able to.  Hahahahaha. NOPE! Who is going to run your business while you’re out gallivanting, you ding dong? Also, you’ll have shit for money until around 2014 so the only trips you will be taking are to your mailbox to see if any client payment checks have come in. You’ll be able to kind of start taking vacations in late 2015 but you’ll still have to do varying amounts of work while you’re away. True “time off” is not a reality yet in 2016. Another great thing about being my own boss is if I need to go to the doctor’s, get an oil change, or even run out to grab a coffee, I can do it without asking permission first. Absolutely. And you are forever grateful for that freedom. That may not be a big thing to some people, but it’s huge to me. I need freedom in my life. If you cage me in, I’ll break out at some point. Still true. Maybe more so. 

June 2022

Job Status: Running AB Beauty full-time. Operating locations in multiple cities with the help of several Office Managers, a Social Media guru and a giant team of top notch makeup artists and hair stylists.

Living In: Newport from May – October, Charleston November – April

6:30am: Wake up slowly. Stretch it out, say a little thank you for my awesome life and gently get myself out of bed. I like to ease into the day.

6:45am: Check email reports from the capable and self sufficient Office Managers at the various branches of AB Beauty. Confirm that everything is going smoothly at all locations. Smile.

7:00am: Drink my coffee (like so standard, which has replaced the term “basic”), do some writing. Maybe put on a face mask because a 2019 study showed that multi-tasking prevents cancer.

10:00am: Shower, apply my makeup, half ass do my hair. Create the perfect look for my outfit and my mood, using all products from my insanely successful makeup line.

11:00am – 7:00pm: A mix of coming up with or executing The Next Big Plan for my beauty empire, meeting a friend/relative for coffee, lunch or dinner, teaching a business class or makeup lesson, going for a run and doing volunteer work for my non-profit, Bring Real Hip Hop Back.

8:00pm: Go to a comedy show or a private Biggie hologram concert.

10:30pm. Another thank you for my bomb-ass life and all the people in it. Then lights out.


I think that is attainable, don’t you? (I plan on finding and befriending a hologram maker in the next two years, so that Biggie concert is not as difficult as you might be thinking.) From past experience, I know that some of what I think may happen in Future Allison’s life might wrong, but the general ideas are probably close. Looking at what I wrote in 2010 and what my reality is now, I underestimated how much time I would be able to take off and how long my work days would be, but everything else was accurate or damn close. So I feel confident that I’m not too far off with my 2022 life.

And now, Present Allison needs to end the writing portion of her day and get going. She feels good about both her current life and what’s to come. She wants to take a second to thank Past Allison for her hard work and ask Future Allison which eyebrow shape is trending in 2020.

Have a beautiful day🙂



Just Throw It In The Bag

The best makeup bag that ever did it, courtesy of my fly friend, Necia.
The best makeup bag that ever did it, courtesy of my fly friend, Necia.

It’s been a while since I’ve told you what I have in my personal makeup bag, so I’m sure you’ve been patiently waiting for this post. I’ve done a few of these posts over the years, and some of the products in my bag have never left me (except to be replaced by new, full versions of themselves). Others are new to the crew and may or may not make the cut.

Here’s what we’ve got.


Neutrogena Oil Free Moisture SPF 15. This moisturizer is affordable, gentle and great for normal to oily skin in the warmer months. I usually switch to a richer moisturizer for the fall and winter when my skin gets dry and flaky, but I don’t know if I’ll need to do that now that I use face oil. Time will tell. Until then, I’m sticking with this tried and true product.

MAC Face & Body Foundations in C2 & C5. I use a mixture of shades C2 and C5, depending on how much self tanner I have on. I absolutely love this sheer foundation (which can be built up to medium coverage by simply rubbing it into the skin for longer). I also sometimes use the darker C5 on my ghostly legs because I don’t feel the need to make people aware that I’m 25% Irish. My freckles and propensity to Irish goodbye a party take care of that.

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer. This is still the best primer I’ve ever tried. I use this when I know the makeup I put on at 6:00am needs to stay strong into the evening. Laura Mercier also makes hydrating and oil-free versions of this primer for dry and oily skin. If you want your makeup to last all day, you have to use a primer. There is no way around that. I think it’s actually a law in most states.

Make Up For Ever Sculpting Kit in Shade 2. Shade 2 of this powder highlight and contour duo suits my light (but not super fair) skin. I’m not big on highlighting my own face, so the contour powder gets more love. I don’t like a strong contour, but I was in the wrong line for “good bone structure” when features were being given out, so I can use a little help. (I did, however, accidentally get in line twice for “tiny feet” and “thick hair.”)

MAC Powder Blush in Pink Swoon. This matte, soft candy pink powder blush really brightens up my face. I use this particular shade on a lot of clients too. If you are tired, sick or hungover, an even skintone and a pop of pink blush will make a world of difference. So unless you are a teetotaler who always gets eight hours of sleep and never even catches a cold, you should have good pink blush in your makeup bag.

Benefit the POREfessional. This pore minimizer is a must for She of the Large Cheek Pores. I also use it to blur the slight forehead lines that have developed in the past few years (from wisdom, obviously.) I have been buying this product since it came out and I don’t intend to stop. If you have no visible pores or lines on your face, you probably don’t need POREfessional. Also, we can’t be friends.

Clarins Multi-Active Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 20. I don’t use this every day, but if I’m going for a walk or run during the day in the summer, I apply it first. It doesn’t leave a white cast (my sunscreen pet peeve) or break me out like many others. But it does smell similar to the Raid I once used to kill a bee from 10 feet away (I’m allergic and it was in my house! Not sorry), so I get a little flashback anxiety when I put it on.

Rimmel Stay Matte Powder in 001 Transparent. This pressed powder has been with me since AB Beauty makeup artist, Jen, recommended it to me. It does a good job of setting my foundation and eliminating shine without caking. I would like it even more if I didn’t consistently drop and break the cover within two weeks of buying it. That’s not Rimmel’s fault though. That’s on me, rushing around in the morning and knocking things over with my butt (apparently I got in line for that twice as well).

MAC Pro Longwear Concealer in NW20. My undereye coverage godsend. This stuff masks my dark circles, lasts for hours and doesn’t cake. I use this concealer on clients as well for those reasons. It’s not thick or dry and as long as you prep the undereye with a little moisturizer first, it applies smoothly. It’s a real winner.

Charlotte Tilbury Mini Miracle Eye Wand. I usually use the MAC Pro Longwear Concealer for undereye coverage, but this two-sided pen–moisturizer to prep the area, concealer to do its thing–saves me about 10 seconds because it’s an all in one. I sometimes I feel like that will make a difference in my day. You either know exactly how I feel or think I’m crazy for saying that, but either way, I’m doing it.

Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Marine Boosting Mist. Someone gave me a sample of this spray which is supposed to be a primer, setting spray, hydrating mist and skin refresher. That’s too multi-use for me to believe, so I use it as a skin refresher. That means I spray it on if I think my foundation is looking cakey (not Face & Body, but sometimes when I try a new one). It helps dilute the foundation so it doesn’t catch on dry patches. I won’t buy a new one when it runs out, but it’s nice to have until then.


Too Faced Shadow Insurance. My Holy Grail of eye primers. Without this, my eyeshadow fades and creases within hours. (One more thing I got in line for–oily eyelids.) Whenever I do my eye makeup without applying this first, I regret it.

MAC Eyeshadow Quad. I bought a MAC empty quad duo and filled it with Brun, Espresso, Wedge and Brule (all matte formulations). Brun is a muted blackish brown I use for shadow liner and to fill in my brows; Espresso is a muted golden brown I use for the lid, outer V or as a shadow liner; the soft beige taupe Wedge is my crease go-to color but also sometimes my all-over lid color and Brule is a light creamy beige shadow I use on my lids. These four shades work well with my brown eyes, which I like to pretend are hazel.

MAC Eye Kohl in Costa Riche. This dark brown shade of pencil liner has red undertones, which help bring out the green in my eyes. (The other thing that somehow makes them look more green is crying, but that’s not as pretty.) I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect brown pencil eyeliner since Topshop discontinued my beloved Sable, and Costa Riche is my latest attempt. It goes on smoothly–no tugging on the lid–and is easy to blend out, as a kohl liner should be. Plus, I love that it brings out my green like Sable did (it had tiny reddish glitter flecks which did the job). I haven’t experienced any undereye smudging or crease transfer and the color payoff is great, as is the case with most MAC products. I wish it was maybe a tiny bit darker, but that’s a preference thing, not a product downside.

Dior Diorshow Mascara. This is my true homegirl of makeup products. Maybe we don’t talk for a bit (aka I try a new mascara) but we always reunite. She is simply the best. And I know Diorshow is a She because a He mascara would be much more flaky and wouldn’t stay around as long.

Clinique High Impact Extreme Volume Mascara. This is my current top layer and bottom lash mascara. I like how black and inky it is, but it does sometimes smudge a tiny bit under my eyes. I generally really like Clinique mascaras for my top layer and bottom lashes, so I’ll try a different one next.

Ardency Inn Punk Eyeliner. I’m not usually a liquid eyeliner gal, but someone gave this to me so I’ve been using it. It’s a liquid liner pen with a hard tip. It’s more of a gray black than an inky black, which I don’t care for. It doesn’t move once it’s dry, but it also fades quickly. Once I’m through with this one, we’ll part ways. (Also how I approach dating.)

Topshop Waterproof Eyeliner in Ebony. “Blackest black pencil eyeliner and waterline best friend.” That would be this eyeliner’s epithet. If I’m being honest, the liner splits its time between my makeup bag and my handbag, because waterline eyeliner is something that needs to be touched up. It’s waterproof and sets quickly so I don’t like it for lashline liner (I like something I can smudge a little), but for the waterline, it’s bomb.

MAC Chromographic Pencil in NC15/NW20. It’s technically an eyeliner pencil, but I’m also technically in my mid 30s and have blue streaks in my hair, so I’m not really one for doing things the way you’re supposed to. I use this off-white color on the waterline to make my eyes look bigger or more awake. True white is too obvious, but off-white gives the desired effect in a natural way.


Too Faced Lip Injection. I have very little top lip to speak of. So when I want to temporarily make my lips fuller and am in the mood to endure five minutes of stinging, I apply this plumping gloss. Say what you will, but this ish works. It has a rosy tint to it, which I don’t love because straight rosy tones don’t look great on me, but I apply the color I want after the Lip Injection has absorbed.

Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pillowtalk. There is something about this pinky-peachy nude lipliner that allows me to slightly overdraw my lips without looking cray cray. The shade and velvety texture work better on me than any other lipliner I’ve tried. It’s a keeper or, as Charlotte herself would say, it’s “divine.”

NYX Soft Matte Lip Creme in Istanbul. This was an impulse buy at CVS. You know, when you go in for contact solution then you see what looks like the petal pink lip color you’ve been after for years. It turns out it wasn’t the exact color I thought it would be once it was on my lips, but it’s still decent. I find it to be a little too drying and slightly sticky, so I mix in a tiny bit of Glossier balmdotcom to make it more comfortable to wear.

Clinique Chubby Stick Intense in Heftiest Hibiscus. I had a client who was looking for a specific lip color for her wedding day, but it needed to be in a moisturizing formulation because her lips get dry easily. I knew Chubby Sticks had a good reputation for being comfortable to wear and I saw one in the color she loved so I grabbed it. I also grabbed one in Heftiest Hibiscus, a pinky red, for myself. I don’t operate on a one-for-you-one-for-me philosophy–I would have never turned a profit as a freelance artist if I did that!–but I needed to make sure the formulation was comfortable to wear. So I tested mine out for a couple weeks and it passed the test. I really love this product and will definitely re-purchase it when I run out.

Revlon Colorburst Lip Stain in 040 Rendezvous. This is one of my summer go-to colors. It’s on the orange side of coral, so I use it when I want to brighten up my look. Crayons are easily to apply, and this formulation is comfortable to wear. No complaints here.

Korres Lip Crayon in Delight. And then sometimes, I want a light pink shade. This one delivers on that desire, and I do wish it hadn’t been discontinued. Life can be so disappointing…

Lipstick Queen Rouge Sinner. This baby is my go-to fall red. (My summer red, MAC Lady Danger, is still in my purse, because I’m holding on to the last days of summer.) It’s what I call a vintage red. It’s got a slight rose tone to it, but in a muted way. If it was 1948, this color would be sold out everywhere. Every LQ lipstick I’ve ever tried is long-lasting, pigmented, non-drying and has beautiful packaging. Owner Poppy King truly knows lipstick.

Tom Ford Lipcolor Sheer in 10 Rose Soleil. My cousin, Saint Maria, gave me this beautiful rose pink that’s shot through with shimmer. It’s the perfect every day polished-but-not-high-maintenance lipstick. I love how it looks layered over the Pillowtalk lip liner (as I mentioned, pure rose doesn’t look great on me but works when it has other tones mixed in). And I want to live inside that white with gold-trimmed packaging.

That’s it (for now). I realize I have more products than the average person, but what did you expect? If this post only included a tube of Maybelline Great Lash Mascara and a Clinique lipstick I bought in college, my clients would be in trouble. Part of being a good makeup artist is trying new products. The ones that pass the test get purchased (brand new, of course) and introduced to a million new friends in my pro kit. The ones that don’t pass the test get tossed in the trash, never to be spoken of again.

Maybe this post will help you if you are looking for new products for your own makeup bag or will inspire you to take a good hard look at what you currently have. Or maybe it will help you kill time waiting at the dentist’s office. Either way, thanks for reading.

Have a beautiful day🙂

Song that played in my head as I wrote this: https://youtu.be/zJOeXh6HyvU


Being a Boss, Part 3b: The Good Outweighs The Bad

Sullivan's Island
Me in Charleston, SC, where I’ll be spending my winters. I couldn’t have ever done anything like that before I was an entrepreneur.

It’s the finale! I’m going to miss writing these. If you’ve enjoyed reading these half as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them, then this series has been a success. If you haven’t enjoyed reading them, then what are you doing back? I’m sure there are some Buzzfeed “articles” out there waiting for you.

So let’s finish out this Pros and Cons of entrepreneurship list. After reading these four posts, you should know exactly what you want to do with your life. I’m playin’! But if something I say kicks your ass into gear, then I can and will take the credit.😉

Job Satisfaction

Pros: You get to do something you enjoy. If you start a business, you hopefully choose a career that involves something you enjoy. Being passionate about something–or at least being very interested in it–is way better than working in a field you have zero interest in. There may come a point when you stop doing what the popular business book The E-Myth Revisited calls the “technician” work–in my case, doing makeup–but as the entrepreneur, you are still in the industry you want to be in. In my experience, working in a field you love makes everything considerably easier. I’ve had my company for 8+ years and I still love opening a new mascara, knowing it could become my new favorite. I still love watching YouTube makeup tutorials and learning different techniques. I still love discovering a new use for a product. And I really still love the feeling I get when someone looks in a mirror after their makeup is done and genuinely smiles. I didn’t have that kind of passion about real estate, air quality testing, the administrative side of education, food service or any other industry I previously worked in. But the beauty industry? That’s my jam.

Cons: It can take away some of your passion. As an entrepreneur, particularly if you are doing a lot of “technician” work, you may find that after a while, you like that part of your job less than you did when you started. It’s probably not that you really like it less though. It’s more likely that you feel weighed down by the business side of entrepreneurship, which requires a lot of energy. I think particularly in creative fields, having enough energy to both create and to manage, market and grow your brand can be very challenging. Speaking for the hair and makeup industries (and I think this example can be adjusted and applied to any creative job), it takes a lot of energy to listen and understand the ideas a client has and successfully execute those ideas so they are happy with their look. A lot can be lost in translation, but a good makeup artist or hair stylist can sort through it. When you give your all to creating what the client wants and then repeat that several times a day, you’re likely drained when you’re finished. But as a business owner, you probably have emails and calls to answer, invoices to send, products to order and a million other things to do after you finish with clients. For some people, that takes the joy out of doing their creative work. Everyone has their own balance they can handle, and the key is to figure that out. In the creative field, you can sometimes find a way to do more technician work than “business” work by working for an agency or as an Independent Contractor for a company. In those situations, you still have to build your brand and do some business work, but the agency or company you work for will offer you the jobs and coordinate the details in varying degrees. (If you hire others though, you immediately step into a managerial role unless you hire a manager.) If you want your business to grow, you will eventually have to find people to do most of the technician and managerial work, but eventually, you’ll have to spend more of your time on being the big picture entrepreneur. (I’m again referencing The E-Myth Revisted. Anyone who owns a business or is thinking about opening one should read this.)

No Supervisor

Pros: You don’t have to answer to anyone. If you have a great idea, you can implement it without being impeded by policies or waiting for approval from your supervisor. No one is going to ruin your day by giving you a shitty yearly review or declining your request for one telecommuting day a week. You set your dress code, you do any hiring and firing and you decide how to handle every situation. You don’t have to worry about your boss’s micromanaging or hot and cold personality. When you own a business, you (hopefully) learn from your mistakes–because you will make plenty–instead of worrying those mistakes will get you fired. No more heart-dropping-into-your-stomach feeling when your boss says they need to talk to you. I’ve had some great bosses and some horrible ones, but the one in the mirror–even with her shiny t-zone and thin upper lip–is hands down my favorite. She lets me do what I want and blasts DMX when she’s angry, so I know we understand each other.

Cons: You have a bunch of mini bosses. Each client/customer is your boss in a way. (This may be more applicable if you offer a service.) If they book services or buy products from your company, they are essentially hiring you. And if they decide to no longer use your company’s services or buy your products, they are essentially firing you. You could have several mini bosses at a time and it’s literally your job to please all of them. You need to be disciplined. It’s easy to slack off when no one is over your shoulder. If you are not self-motivated, your business will crumble. Sorry, but it’s the truth. You may find it’s easier to be self-motivated when you are interested in your job, but if you still think you would need a constant push or the threat of someone who could fire you, stay away from entrepreneurship. This rarely happens now that I’m in my mid-30s, but in my 20s, I caught some crap from friends when I declined invites to go out on weekend nights. I very much wanted to be with them, but I also owed it to my clients to show up to their wedding awake, not hungover and sans shaky hands (never a good thing when applying eyeliner). If you are the type of person who will not only consistently go out the night before an early job but will stay for “just one more drink” each time, your business will feel like a 5 star hangover. Except instead of killing your Sunday with its headache and nausea, it will kill your whole company.

Entrepreneurship is not for everyone. And that’s okay! There is no shame in being an employee. You can be fulfilled and happy with your career whether you work for yourself or someone else. If what I describe as benefits don’t sound that great to you, or the bad seems to outweigh the good, then this probably isn’t your path. If you hate your current job, it doesn’t mean you should quit and open your own business. You may just need to be in a different industry. If your heart is in music but you work in banking and are miserable, see what steps you need to take to break into the music industry.  It might take a while, but so what? Here’s where I insert one of my favorite quotes: “Don’t give up on a dream because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”

Personally, my worst day working for myself is still better than my best day working for someone else. In the years I spent as an employee before I knew what I wanted to do for a career, I felt a great sense of despair. I knew what I was doing was so far from what I enjoyed, but until my friend Caroline suggested Esthetics school, I didn’t know how to take something I loved and turn it into a job. In the two years I spent working for other people after I had opened my company, I felt frustrated. I so badly wanted to be out on my own but couldn’t do it yet financially. Now that my company is established and I’m financially stable, I feel hopeful, excited and determined. There is a lot of opportunity and I have big plans. I have days that I’m angry that my website is down or annoyed that I can’t get an answer that I need from someone, but it’s rare that I stay like that for the entire day.  I think the difference is that I don’t dread my job now. I don’t wish away days. Sure, there are some jobs or clients I know will be more challenging, but nothing is ever so bad that it makes re-think my whole career.

I love that I can basically do what I want. To get to that point, I did have to do a lot of what I didn’t want–doing unpaid shoots early in my career to build my portfolio, working 14 hours on set then four hours running my business when I got home, fighting with my accounting software–but the longer I am in business, the more I can turn down work I don’t need or want and hire other people to do the things I don’t like. (In fact, I have stopped doing or outsourced all of those examples.) And that’s not a hedonistic tactic. Freeing my time of the things other people can do–just as well if not better than me–is smart. It allows me to focus on expanding and growing the company, coming up with the big ideas and then making them happen.

I think it comes down to what you value. An important value for me–which you may have picked up on–is freedom. I need to be able to create a life I want without being held back, and entrepreneurship is the only way I could see to make that happen. Things might have been easier if I loved my previous jobs or not felt this deep need for freedom, but that’s not how it worked out. I know without a doubt that I’m happier as an entrepreneur than I could have ever been as an employee.

In the Usher/Lil Kim collabo “Just Like Me,” Kim raps “If I had one wish in the world, I swear to God, it would be for girls to rock pearls, straight out the oyster.” I don’t feel that strongly about pearls, but I do feel strongly about career satisfaction. Work takes up such a huge chunk of time for most of us, so I truly hope that you have found or will find what makes that time the most enjoyable, lucrative and flexible for you, whether it’s as an employee or entrepreneur.

Have a beautiful day🙂

Being a Boss, Part 3a: The Good Outweighs The Bad


In the studio, popping bubbly.
In the studio, popping bubbly.

Psst, come here. I have to tell you a secret. Closer, closer. Whoa, not that close! I don’t know you like that.  But your pores look very clean. Ready for it? There is no perfect job. I hit you with some mind-blowing shit on this blog, so tell your friends. I’ll let you compose yourself before I continue.

Are you doing okay? Yeah? Then it’s time for some real talk. The truth is, you would be hard pressed to find a job doing something you love that provides benefits and as many days off as you want along with a stable, high income, no liability or responsibility for the company plus complete control of your schedule and location. I’m sorry if I just shattered your dreams like Big Pun. (If you got that reference, please leave a comment with your favorite cocktail so I can take my new best friend out for a drink.) But let me make you feel better. I do think you can check off many of those things if you have success and several years in business as an entrepreneur. However–here’s where I knock you back down–even if you form a corporation and the legal liability is still personally off of you, you are ultimately responsible for the reputation and success of your business. My point is that leaving a company you work for to open your own won’t solve all of your problems, nor will closing the doors of your own company to work for anyone else. As someone who has been an employee and a business owner, I can speak to both sides.

That paragraph was an emotional roller coaster ride, wasn’t it? Get ready for more of that. Also, be warned that this might be a 10 minute read. But the best 10 minute read you’ve ever had, baby.

I am approaching this post from my perspective and particular experience, seeing as though I can’t get inside anyone else’s head. (Once they develop that technology though, my first stop is inside Lil’ Kim’s head to find out whyyyyyyy?) I currently run my business as a sole proprietor, soon to be an LLC. I have no administrative assistant or office manager. I do this job full time, which I believe means 70+ hours a week. My company provides services, not products. I require specific talent and professionalism in my service providers, so it’s not something I can cheaply outsource like you can do with some product-based businesses. I am not part of a franchise, so I can’t speak on that. I have Independent Contractors–not employees–which is not necessary or appropriate for all industries. So a two person partnership running an S-corp that sells products and has employees, including an administrative assistant, may have a completely different view on things. (If you are that person, I’d love to hear your views on entrepreneur life. Hit me up.)

I’m going to address some of the big factors in a Pros and Cons fashion. Because who doesn’t like that format? Probably only sinners and people who read magazines back to front. I will be heavily generalizing employee jobs here. I realize they are all different and depending on the position and company may have some of the entrepreneur Pros or Cons I discuss. My knowledge of employee jobs comes from the seven jobs I had before I opened my company and the things I have heard from family, friends and clients about their jobs.

Aight. Let’s do this. I have to break Part 3 into two posts because although I’m aware of the benefits of long form blogging, I’m not sure it’s what my readers want. You’re welcome.


Pros: You can make your own hours. Dentist appointment next Monday? You don’t need to use sick time. Want to leave for a trip on Thursday afternoon instead of Friday night after work? Go for it. Your cousin wants to meet for breakfast? Tell her to name the time. Schedule flexibility is one of the huge entrepreneur benefits in my book. Even when it comes to simple things like going for a run at 12:00pm in the winter instead of after work at 6:00pm when it’s dark out, or going to the grocery store during “off hours” to avoid the crowds of people who don’t understand how to move their cart of the way, I am grateful. But the best part is being able to see my family and friends when I want (as long as I’m not booked, anyway.) I live in the same town where I went to college, so I have college friends who will make a quick trip here if they are in the area. Sometimes they can only meet for lunch or for a coffee before they get on the road. When I worked at other companies, I couldn’t dip out for a 2:00pm Stoli Doli* date with my friend who I otherwise might not see for another year. I also couldn’t do things like going to my parents’ house a few days early to help with our giant Italian family Thanksgiving prep. (A table for 40 doesn’t set itself.) I couldn’t have left work to bring my father to doctor’s appointments an hour and a half away. But now? I don’t have to ask anyone or pretend I’m meeting a client. I just fucking go. This control of my hours–essentially control of my life–is one of the greatest advantages to me. This is the only Pro for this category because it’s such a big one and encompasses a lot.

Cons: You’ll work crazy hours. I work more now than I ever did as an employee. Most of this is related to the business owner part of my job. I have a very particular way that I approach my business with policies, same day responses and regular followup, which is time consuming. I have a strong dedication to my business, which is reflected in my hours and what I prioritize. So the amount of hours I work–which I think falls under the “schedule” umbrella–is often double what I put in when I worked for other companies. I don’t take full days off because I don’t have anyone else who can answer my emails or calls, but this will change as soon as I can hire a full-time, rockstar admin assistant who I can trust with this important part of the business. You don’t necessarily get to choose all of your exact hours. When I’m doing makeup, I get to choose whether or not I take a job but I don’t get to choose the start time for a wedding (I started one at 5:15am last weekend) or a film shoot (4:42am is not my favorite call time, but I have had to report at that time before). Those early wakeups can feel brutal, but still better than having to wake up at 6:00am Monday through Friday for the rest of my working years.  There is no clocking out. I remember practically jumping up from my desk and cartwheeling out the door (psych, I can’t cartwheel) at 5:00pm or whatever time my work day ended when I was an employee. I never had the type of job that required me to do work after business hours and this was also before people had email access on their phones. Those hours from 5:00pm until whenever I went to sleep were mine and work did not follow me home. If you are someone who likes a definite end to their work day and a complete separation of work and personal life, run the hell away from any thoughts of entrepreneurship. The first thing I do when I wake up and the last thing I do before I go to bed is see if there are any work emails or texts to address. If they are urgent or time sensitive, I have to respond. Again, this will change once I have an admin assistant, but I think it’s something that every entrepreneur will experience to some degree.


Pros: You run the show. When you own a business, you call the shots. You decide how to market your company, what service(s) or product(s) you will offer, which clients or customers you take, who (if anyone) you hire, where your location will be (if you own a brick and mortar business) and a million other things. I am someone who generally likes and does well with responsibility. Some may call that “having control issues,” but this is my blog, so I get to decide what to call it. (See how I worked that example in?) I have always been the planner for family and friends–I have a group of friends who would still be waiting to see The Fast and the Furious in 2001 if I didn’t coordinate it–so that part of my personality lends itself well to the responsibility involved with planning, coordinating jobs and running a business. You earned it. I feel a great sense of pride in my company. It has by no means done well solely because of me–I wouldn’t be where I am with my awesome Independent Contractors, my supportive family and friends, my clients and those who have referred me–but I can give myself some of the credit. I am proud of what my company has become and it’s a really good feeling knowing I had a part in building it.

Cons: You’re accountable for everything. Your specific legal liability will depend on the business entity you form and insurance you carry, but unless you are in a partnership, your business is all you. Someone who works for you angers a client? You take the fall. Water damage at your business location? You may have some help from your insurance company (and landlord if you rent), but you’re dealing with the cleanup, the phone calls, rescheduling appointments, replacing any damaged items, etc. If you go away on vacation, you have to either arrange coverage or be available for anything that comes up. If you’re an employee and someone sues your company, you might be out of a job if it causes the company to close–which is recognize is a risk–but I think that is pretty rare. If you are a business owner and someone sues your company, even if you’re an S-corp, you’ve got many sleepless nights ahead thinking of ways to recover your business (if possible), what you will do if you can’t, how to pay for the legal costs and some added anxiety if you have people working for you who depend on you for their livelihood.


Pros: You have unlimited income potential. Like Biggie said, sky’s the limit. When you own a company, your next raise is only one killer idea away. That idea doesn’t have to be groundbreaking. It could have to do with bringing on more people, improving or creating a new product/service, going after a different market, etc. Unless you are an employee who works on commission, you probably won’t have the same opportunity to increase your salary.  You may be able to get promotions or raises, but in many cases, you can only get so far as an employee. Entrepreneurship allows you to potentially make as much money as you want. I am not rich–yet–but I am considerably better off financially than I ever was as an employee. I’m not a big status or “things” person, but having a good income and no debt a) Eliminates the stress I used to feel about being able to pay for things and b) Allows me to have certain experiences I couldn’t have before. I had to turn down a lot of invites from friends–a Chelsea Handler standup show, a girls’ trip to Vegas, several birthday night out celebrations–in my early years as a business owner. It was a sacrifice, but I knew I had to invest my “extra” income into advertising, marketing and better beauty products. Those things were necessary to grow my business and bring in the income needed to never have to say no to an invite because of my bank account.

Cons: You’re going to go through broke stages. No one opens a business on a Monday and is rich by Friday. It normally takes a while to turn a profit. There are variables–whether you have a brick and mortar versus an online business, how you obtained your startup funds, which industry you are in, how saturated the market is, etc.–but the average amount of time needed that I have heard and found in my research is two years. Even when your business becomes profitable, you are probably “ramen profitable” at first. That means you make enough money to cover your business and living costs with just enough money left for ramen noodle-level meals. (To my gluten-free peeps: Consider this “Larabars profitable.”) Again, the amount of time you are financially limited will depend on your living costs and business expenses, but it’s safe to expect you will be struggling at some point. If you are a freelance boss, you’re going to have slow months where you get few (or no) job calls until you build up your business and reputation. If you offer a product/service people want and know how to run a business–unless you are putting in minimal effort and spending your money foolishly–this is likely a temporary stage.

I’ll leave you there, in anticipation of Part 3b. I’m sure you can barely stand it.

Have a beautiful day🙂

*A Stoli Doli is pineapple infused vodka. Drink it on the rocks if you’re gangsta like me.

Being a Boss, Part 2: Making It Happen

The face of an entrepreneur who didn't expect her company to grow so fast.
The face of an entrepreneur who didn’t expect her company to grow so fast.

You might not think it by looking at me, but I get giddy. And when that happens, it’s best that I am by myself because it’s a ridiculous reaction. When a thought about something I’m really happy about first comes into my mind (or an old school jam I haven’t heard in a while is on the radio), I get so overwhelmed with how good it is that I break out into a giant smile and I squeal. Yes, squeal. Picture a 6 year old on Christmas morning, but make them a few inches taller and wearing a Biggie shirt and red lipstick.

This giddy feeling hit me on the daily mid-winter of 2011 when I became a full-time business owner. I felt a freedom that I had never felt before and I was elated. But I was also terrified, because my entire income came from my business and I had to actively bring it in. I had always put my all into every job I ever had, but part of me knew I could have put in less effort and I still would have gotten a paycheck. That’s not the way I do–my genetic code won’t allow me to half-ass anything–but I think I would have had to really mess up or consistently do small, crappy things to get fired. I knew that when I opened my business, I would have to work hard to earn every penny someone paid me. That was a less scary thought when I had a regular source of income from a day job, as I did for my first two and a half years in business. But in winter of 2011, shit got real.

When I left you last, I jumped from my decision to open my own business to the fact that it took 2+ years to do it full time. That gap of time, although somewhat financially stable, was tough for me because I knew what I wanted to do full time but couldn’t do it yet. That’s a frustrating feeling for someone with an ambition addiction. I had opened my business without taking out loans, receiving seed money or grants and I as mentioned in Part 1, no sugar daddy (or sugar mama, unless you count my friend Julie who used to cook me delicious meals and let me use her washer and dryer because I couldn’t afford the laundromat). I had no savings because the “extra” income I made went towards college and Esthetics school loans and the credit card debt I wracked up as I built my business. I had no roommates because I don’t play well with others, so no one to split living costs with. I also had no business partner with whom I could divide responsibilities and startup costs. I was running my business nights and weekends when I was not at my day job, but I was making only a supplemental income from it. It would have been financially foolish to quit my day job and go full time with my business during the first 2.5 years. So I (impatiently, and with much bitching to my family and close friends) waited until the time was right.

In 2011, I started hiring Independent Contractor hair stylists and makeup artists because my company was growing too much to be a one woman show. This was a huge turning point for me. I actually didn’t start out intending to build a company. I wanted to work in film and do wedding makeup on the weekends (which I now realize is an absurd plan). I thought 5 or 6 years into it, I could bring on another makeup artist and maybe a hair stylist. I now have 11 rockstar artists and stylists and am hiring. The Weddings component of my business grew so quickly that it demanded too much of my time to be on a film set for 12+ hours a day. Without purposely intending to, I pulled away from building a career in film (something I only did on a small level) and went full force into running my company. Around 2013, I stopped feeling like a freelancer and starting feeling like a business owner (both are boss status in my book though, as I mentioned in Part 1).

When I got enough work that I could go full time in 2011, I was beyond excited to be out on my own. But it was a struggle to exist financially. I never defaulted on my bills or paid my rent two months late, but I lived what Oregon Trail would call a barebones lifestyle. I rarely went out to eat, never bought clothes, didn’t go on any trips (unless I had miles and a free place to stay) and freaked out when it came to Christmas gift buying time. There were times when money was so tight that I felt paralyzed. I remember once getting towards the end of a tube of toothpaste, looking at my bank account and thinking, Shit. If I had lived with someone or didn’t have even half of the debt I had, it would have been a completely different story. But I made choices that put me in that situation, so I dealt with it the best I could. Sometimes that meant getting in my bed and crying, but it mostly meant working harder to bring in more business. By 2014, I started pulling in the income I needed to make me feel like a real adult. Fast forward to current day, where I am completely debt-free and will be living in a warmer location for the winter because I can. And I can buy as many tubes of toothpaste as I want without even glancing at my bank account. Straight out ballin’. Although I struggled hard for a few years, I am now in the best financial position of my life. I’m no millionaire–that was never my goal–but I don’t have the financial stress that weighed heavily on me for so long. It’s an amazing feeling.

But yo, the workload! To this day, some people assume I have the day off if I don’t have a wedding or a shoot. WRONG. The majority of my time is spent running my company. Emails, contracts, schedules, invoices, advertising, accounting, managing my team–that’s me. From the smallest errand to the biggest decision, it’s all my responsibility. Out of printer ink? Staples run. Need a new logo designed? I have to find the right person, hire them, come up with ideas, look through proofs, approve and then pay for the work.  A bridal trial with one of my hair stylists and makeup artists? I coordinate everything. That’s a location, date and time that works for all three parties. I now coordinate 100+ trials per wedding season. Plus the logistics of every wedding, photoshoot, corporate shoot and event we do. As the owner, I’m also responsible for coming up with the big ideas, which I’m not even going to hint at because I’ve got so many things in the infancy/prep work stage. I am growing a beauty empire here, my friends. If all of that is your version of taking a day off, then you’re a weirdo.

Luckily, my passion for makeup and my desire for the type of life I personally can only get through entrepreneurship keeps me going. I still love the transformative power of makeup. When someone looks in the mirror after I do their makeup and says “I love it!,” I have to keep my giddyness under control. And the lifestyle entrepreneurship has given me–control over my schedule, which allows me more time to see my family and friends and financial freedom, which makes everything a little bit easier–is something I wouldn’t change for the world.

When I started my company, I knew my freedom and business success would bring me the confidence I needed in life. Confidence was not something I had in my teens or most of my 20s, but my intuition told me my business would change that for me. And it did. I realize part of that could be just growing up, getting infinitely wiser by the day. But I believe the confidence and self awareness I have now comes from opening and successfully running a company. I have learned a lot about myself–both good and bad things–since opening AB Beauty.

I am a goal-oriented person. You know what tastes as good as a Three Olives Cherry Vodka, club soda and a splash of cran on a hot summer day? Accomplishment. I love reaching–nah, crushing–goals. I revel in it, I celebrate, then I move on to attack the next one. There is always a next one (or 50) and they are on my To Do list, waiting for the sweet sound of pen hitting paper, crossing a line through something I slayed. I’m guessing most successful entrepreneurs feel the same way. (And by “successful,” I mean an established business that grows each year. I don’t think you have to own a Fortune 500 Company to be considered successful.)

I didn’t start my company to be well-known or filthy rich. Those things don’t motivate me. What motivates me is efficiently running, constantly improving and growing a company. I strive to provide my team with as much work as they want and give my clients the kind of service that makes them hug me. My goal has been to create a career that I not only enjoy, but one that allows me to spend time with the people I love. I’m not the perfect business owner by any stretch, but I do my best and I’m happy with what I have. I am very thankful for my team, my clients, people who refer my company and my family and friends who have supported me. I recognize that I have something really good here and for that, I am immensely grateful.

Have a beautiful day🙂



Being a Boss, Part 1: The Inception

Me at age 24, pictured here not having a panic attack.
Me at age 24, pictured here not having a panic attack.

I believe life is too short to wish time away. We get a limited amount of time here and it’s a damn shame to hope all of the days until the weekend/a vacation/a move fly by. I mean, it’s natural to look forward to something you’re excited for, but I don’t like the idea of consistently living life like that. Yet that’s what I found myself doing before I owned my company. When I worked at other jobs–no matter how flexible my boss was or how awesome my coworkers were–I always found myself hating Mondays and living for the weekends. I wanted to hit fast forward on the hours between 9-5, Monday through Friday, and I wanted my nights and weekends (except for time spent at the gym or running) to slowwwwwly pass. Unfortunately, this is not how time works. I knew if I wanted to be happy, I had to find a way to take back my time, but also make an income because Daddy doesn’t fund my life and I’m not cut out to be a sugar baby. (I would rather wear rags that I paid for than a Versace dress that someone else bought for me.) So I opened my own business, which means not only do I no longer wish away days of the week, but I seldom even know what day it is. That’s the short story.

This is the longer story, which you’ll need to know to understand what I’m going to throw down in this series of posts. I moved from New England to south Florida solo after graduating college. I spent two years there, mostly getting tan and avoiding palmetto bugs. I worked as an office manager at two companies, something my 7 years working for the small business my father owns had prepared me for. While I made some fantastic lifelong friends in some of my coworkers, the jobs I was doing were not making me happy. I did, however, learn some valuable customer service skills and admin systems that I use now. I also saw examples of how to be a bad business owner–screaming at your employees, writing angry emails to clients, jetting off to Miami for three days and neglecting your business–which I subconsciously filed away and remembered when I opened my business.

The summer I moved back to New England was a tough one. I luckily found work as a full-time school secretary and a part-time admin at my father’s company, but neither job was what I wanted to do. The problem was, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I could only pinpoint the fact that if I was going to spend the majority of my hours working, it needed to be something I enjoyed. What did I enjoy? Writing always came to mind. I had harbored fantasies of being an author since I was young. That summer, I signed up for the equivalent of an online writing course (this was actually done via the mail, because I’m old), but it was more as a hobby than in preparation for a career. I knew making a living from writing was a rough path and I was still at the point where I needed stability and consistent income. So what should I do?????? This question was the cause of my daily freakouts. (Other causes: stupid boys, gaining one pound, having debt, stupid boys, thinking a friend was mad at me, bad hair days and stupid boys.)

This big question was eventually answered by my close friend and bombshell Italian actress lookalike, Caroline. You would think I would clearly remember this defining moment of my life, but what I have instead is a vague memory of what I think happened. I believe we were sitting in her driveway on lawn chairs, having a wine party. (She lives on a dead end and her husband is too nice to run us over, so we were safe.) I was hardcore venting to Ca–as I still do–gearing up for another freakout about what I was going to do with my 24 year old life. She reminded me how much I loved makeup– something I had been into since I was 5–and suggested becoming a makeup artist. We talked about Cosmetology school, but I wasn’t interested in doing hair. She then mentioned that our friend Lauren was looking into Esthetics school, something I had only first heard of earlier that summer when a psychic told me I would be going to Esthetics school. (Did you just get the chills?) I didn’t make a definitive decision then, but this is the first memory I have of thinking, I could do that and like it. I may be wrong about the details (Paesana, please correct me) but when I think of how this whole career of mine started, this is what I go back to. The moral is if you don’t know what you want to do with your life, have a driveway wine party and let one of your best friends figure it out for you.

So I jumped into action the next morning, right? Nope. Because first, I had some serious shit to address. I had been feeling sick and exhausted for a while and when it got to the point where walking from one desk to another in my father’s office was taxing, I knew I had to do something. But doing anything was so hard, because I had zero energy. Luckily my parents stepped in and got me an appointment with Dr. Qutab, a naturopath and MD who approaches health issues from an Eastern medicine and ayurvedic perspective. I had been to plenty of Western medicine doctors who would run a few tests and say that I was fine. After extensive testing with Dr. Qutab, it turned out I was in no way “fine.” I had several health problems–from hormonal to un-diagnosed allergies to pre-cancerous issues–and we immediately began to correct those with diet changes and supplements. To say that he changed my life is a giant understatement. I am telling this part of my story because I know that if I hadn’t gotten help with my health issues, I wouldn’t have had the energy to take the steps to start my career. I firmly believe that if you don’t physically feel well every day, you won’t have the emotional and mental energy and the motivation to make big changes in your life.

Even though I was feeling a million times better and shedding that weight I had been struggling with for years–turns out some of the issues I had were keeping that from happening–I wasn’t a complete Suzy Sunshine ball of energy. I had struggled with depression in college and I was, at this point of my life, much more of a pessimist than an optimist. Not feeling horrible every day certainly helped, but I still had intense worrying sessions. How would I pay for Esthetics school? (Sallie Mae.) Would I like it? (At times.) What if I failed the state licensing exams? (Oh, please. No math is involved.). What would I do after I got licensed? Work at a spa? Makeup counter? For a cosmetics company? (It’s going take you a bit to figure that out, but “no” to all of those.) I don’t know if it was that I was in my mid-20s and everything feels hard then, or if my Type A personality made it that way, but I certainly was not carefree and confident in my decision.

Because I had, at some point, made my decision. I would move back to Newport, RI–the town I had fallen in love with when I went to college there–and enroll in the closest Esthetics school. I would work an office day job and go to school on nights and Saturdays. I did move to Newport, but I ended up going to school 8:00am-4:00pm Monday-Friday and waitressing nights and weekends. I graduated and got licensed in July of 2008 and embarked on my new career. A few years before, I had been adamant about never owning my own business, as I had worked in several and seen how hard it was and how much responsibility fell on the owner. But I realized that because of my stubborn,  independent nature and my desire to not be stifled creatively if I wanted to enjoy my work–the whole reason I went down this road–I would have to go out on my own.

It would take me two years of working at full-time jobs not in the industry to do that, but I got there. That’s for Part 2, which I’m sure you are dying to read.  That will explain my early years in business, because this post is already too long. Part 3 will be a comparison between entrepreneurship and working for someone, as I see it. So if you are considering making the jump into entrepreneurship and are more of the analytical type, you may want to wait for Part 3.

I want to be clear about one last thing before you leave me for Snapchat. When I use the word “boss,” I mean because I am my own boss. I am technically not the boss of anyone who works for me, as they are all independent contractors. I’m more of their agent, procuring work and setting it up so they can do the magic they do. In my view, one person doing freelance is as much of a boss as the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. If you are making all of the decisions for your career–the jobs you take, the hours you work, the way you market, etc.–and the responsibility of it all ultimately falls on you, you’re a boss. So go on with your bad self.

Have a beautiful day🙂

1990s Beauty

Ah, sweet victory. It was late August of 1994 and I had won the biggest battle of my life so far: my parents had finally allowed me to wear makeup to school. And wear it I did. I did not go with a “no makeup-makeup” look. I had been stocking up at CVS for years and I was ready to show the world that I was someone who could and would wear makeup (and lots of it). The 1990s was my new favorite decade.

This Beauty Decades post is the first one I can write about from experience. I was born in the 80s but as a child, I didn’t really know what was going on with hair and makeup trends. (Which is fine, because I wouldn’t have wanted my formative beauty years to be based in 80s looks.) But my teenage years–aka when you try all the makeup and make all the mistakes–were in the 90s, a decade that my brain still thinks was about 8 years ago.

In the early 90s, matte makeup was the thing. Brown and wine colored lipsticks were in (I’m looking at you, Revlon Coffee Bean and Blackberry), and lipliner was a must. I’m talking two-shades-darker-than-your-lipstick lipliner. There was also a trend of wearing dark lipliner with a light beige lipstick and I was definitely feelin’ that one. By the late 90s, lipsticks were frostier and lip glosses were everywhere.

Foundations had improved since the 80s, but the majority of them still had a pink undertone. Although more and more formulations hit the market every day, they were usually matte and medium or full coverage in the early and mid 90s. Tinted moisturizer become popular in the late 90s, finally giving an option to women who wanted some coverage but not a full face of foundation.

Blush didn’t get much love in the 90s. It was probably because most of it had been striped on people’s cheekbones in the 80s, or maybe snorted up by accident.

Early 90s eyeshadows were primarily warm matte browns. Black eyeliner was the go-to color. In the mid to late 90s, shimmery white and opalescent shadows were popular, particularly with teens and young women. And if you went to high school between 1996-2000 and claim that you never wore white eyeliner on your top lashline, you’re lying.

Colored mascara had its moment, but other than that, there wasn’t a huge emphasis on lashes. False lashes were not popular and although lash extensions were invented in 1916, they didn’t hit the mainstream market until after the 90s.

Thin eyebrows were the bomb in the 90s. Sure, you saw the occasional Cindy Crawford full and arched brow, but most were tweezed into thin little lines. It personally was too much work for me to get my brows that thin, as they are robust, Italian brows, but looking back at my photos from middle school and high school, I see that many of my friends were tweezer-happy. Brows got thicker and more stylized in the late 90s but were still on the thin side, at least compared to today.

Bronzer of the Oompa Lompa variety was popular in the mid to late 90s. A rise in the popularity of tanning booths soon followed. Those evil machines have been the cause of so much skin cancer and skin damage and are surely one of the most deadly and damaging beauty trends of the 20th and 21st centuries. I understand the desire to look tan and I definitely went in tanning booths before proms and spring breaks. But I didn’t know how bad they were, and I cringe at the thought of them now. On the positive side, this obsession with looking tan forced the market to create better self tanning products, bronzers and the spray tan. Jergens Natural Glow was created in the 90s and it’s still a popular product today.

The grunge scene had a huge impact on makeup, particularly in the early 90s. It was all about dark, thick, smudgy eyeliner rimming the eyes and in the waterline and greasy or bedhead hair. Mascara was swiped on like the wearer was in a rush to go to a Pearl Jam concert. If foundation was used it was the same color or slightly lighter than skintone. Blush and bronzer did not exist in this world. Lips were either bare or dark and matte.

The hip hop culture of the 90s heavily influenced the beauty and fashion worlds (at least in my life). Dark lipliner around the lips filled in with light lipstick was a big look, as Kim Mathers can attest to. The black pencil eyeliner at the lower lashline was about the same thickness as the popular over-tweezed brows. High, tight ponytails gave an instant facelift. Curls were gelled to within a crunchy inch of their life.  Baggy jeans and a tight top or an oversized Fila or Looney Toons t-shirt really brought the look home, in case you want the full picture.

Skincare became more important in the mid to late 90s. Facials and spa treatments–once reserved for wealthy women only–became more accessible. Estheticians and dermatologists were frequently interviewed for magazine beauty articles and the general realization that good skincare was key emerged.

Nail polish was big in the 90s. Hard Candy and Essie were crazy popular and the Chanel Vamp shade was often sold out. Deep, dark colors were in but really any matte color had its moment. Acrylic nails and French manicures were for the classy ladies. And you want to put some rhinestones on those claws? Do it to it, homegirl.

Streaky highlights were so 90s. The Rachel, the cut Jennifer Aniston had on Friends, was everywhere. Frosted tips on short hair–for women and men–were in. Zig zag parts were super popular, as were plastic accordion headbands and blingy (I hate that word) barrettes. In the early to mid 90s, there were a lot of scrunchies and baby barrettes being sold.

I think the 1990s is when our culture became truly celebrity-obsessed, which had a major impact on the beauty industry. Between magazines and the new Internet thing, people were seeing more celebrity faces outside of film and television. Celebrity endorsements of beauty products became commonplace and instead of models on magazine covers, you saw actresses. In interviews in women’s magazines, it was pretty standard that an actress would be asked about her beauty routine. Whether she answered honestly or not was one thing, but you better believe if Jennifer Lopez said she used a certain bronzer, that company’s sales were about to go through the roof.

As cheesy as some of the looks were, 90s beauty was in my opinion–which is correct–a lot better than 80s beauty. It was more flattering and less-in-your-face than the previous decade and product technology improved in a huge way over those 10 years. There was a marked difference between the foundation choices available in 1999 versus 1990.  And the beginning of the shift towards taking care of your skin instead of just using makeup to (try to) hide imperfections and damage was a game changer.

I hold a special place in my heart for the 90s, my coming-of-age years. This was when my childhood love for beauty products blossomed, as I finally had a small income and was allowed to wear makeup to school. Most importantly, I was able to experiment with different looks. The past few decades had made this possible. If I was a teen in the 40s, I would have had pretty strict rules about which colors to wear, which haircut was best for my face shape, how much makeup a “classy” girl wore, etc. But the country changed in the 60s (read about it here http://wp.me/pZuuY-v1), allowing women to have some choice over a lot of things, including how they looked. That continued into the 70s (http://wp.me/pZuuY-vB), where the free-spirited hippy and later disco cultures encouraged people to play around with their looks. That brought us into the 80s (http://wp.me/pZuuY-AJ), where self expression and an anything-goes take on colors was the norm. I’m grateful that I grew up in a decade where I had the freedom to try different looks and figure out what worked for me. (Frosted blue lipstick and shimmery lilac eyeshadow does not.) So thank you 90s for this and for what I consider the Golden Age of Hip Hop.

Have a beautiful day🙂




1980s Beauty

I was born in the 80s but I’m not an 80s Girl. The music, the clothes, the hair, the makeup–not my thing. I like some movies from that era, but if you send me a Facebook invite for an 80s party, I have to Ignore.

So, have I been excited to write this post? What do you think?

The one thing I have to give the 80s beauty props for is the try-anything philosophy. Neon green eyeshadow and electric blue eyeliner with fuschia lipstick? Sprayed-until-crunchy permed hair? Boy George? People were playing with their looks and into self expression and for that, I can not fault them. But esthetically, the 80s were not a pretty place. So many unflattering looks and styles on so many people. The term “cringe-worthy” comes to mind.

Which color eyeshadows were popular in the 1980s? All of them. Often at the same time. Purple, pink, green, blue and make them frosted. Orange? That’s cool too. If you want to do an 80s makeup look, make sure to apply your eyeshadow up to the browbone and throw some color blocking in to keep it interesting.

Heavy bottom lash eyeliner in navy and hunter green were work appropriate in the 80s. Thick brows, a la Brooke Shields, were also in. These brows were soft but thick, different than the heavy and defined Instagram brow trending (for better or worse) now. Blush was bright, heavy and striped onto the cheekbones. Foundations were full coverage and often lighter than the person’s skintone, with the goal of creating a blank canvas.  Lipliner liner was a girl’s best friend in the 80s and overlining the lips was totally rad. Fuschia and hot pink lipsticks were popular, as were orange reds.  The 70s punk makeup–lots of black liner and light foundation–continued into the 80s and got heavier than the previous decade.

Nails were long, squoval and often fake (what up, Lee Press On’s?). Neon polish colors were popular with the younger crowd, while frosted raspberries and mauves spoke to the more mature ladies.

80s hair was sprayed with AquaNet and bangs were tall. Perms were popular, as was crimped hair and side ponytails. On women with short hair, the slicked back with gel look was en vogue.  Hair bows, headbands, banana clips and scrunchies were all the rage. Things were a little better in the punk scene, with asymmetrical cuts. Mohawks were also very punk.

“Natural” was not the keyword of the 1980s. I think “cocaine” was. The idea seemed to be to play up every feature at once, but not in a flattering way. I think 80s hair and makeup looks are helpful because they show us what not to do.

Have a beautiful day🙂

20 Things About Me

“Things About Me” lists are a popular blogger thing to do, so although I can’t imagine many people would be interested, I’ll jump on board. I’m going to include personal things that I don’t think I’ve mentioned much or at all on this blog before. A lot of people do a list of 25 or 50 but I won’t put you through that eye strain.

So if you want to know a little more about this blogger/entrepreneur/makeup artist/Biggie fan, read on.

  1. I swear I lived a past life in the 1920s. When I see a show or movie from or based in the 20s, it seems so familiar. I felt something close to nostalgia when I watched Boardwalk Empire, and the party guests in The Shining always looked familiar to me. Even my company logo was inspired by a 1920s Art Deco ring. If I had to guess, I would say I owned a speakeasy or was the madam of a brothel (but a high class one).  1920s
  2. I have a weird obsession with the South. The accents, the weather, the music, the big hair. I’m really into it.
  3. I am super close to my family. I communicate with my mother, my father and/or my brother almost every day. I lived in Florida for two years after college and talked to my parents nightly. I couldn’t have asked for a better family and I’m grateful for them every day. I am very aware that I more than lucked out in this area.
  4. I can not drive with a coat on. I feel constricted in layers.  I am my best self in a dress and sandals (or bare feet if I can). Layers weigh me down physically, which makes me feel sluggish and bummed out. I feel happier and lighter when I can dress for warm weather.
  5. I think birthdays are a big deal. Saying “Happy Birthday!” is really saying “Hey! I’m happy you were born!” If the existence of someone you love or like is not a reason to celebrate, I don’t know what is.  Go Shawty
  6. I believe if you combined Lesley Knope and Amy Schumer and added a pinch of Liz Lemon, you would get me. I won’t pinpoint the traits I share with each, because I like to cultivate an air of mystery.
  7. I have a bad habit of not closing drawers completely. Writing this, I see two partially open dresser drawers in my room. I don’t do it on purpose, but I guess I have bad follow-through in some areas. Or, maybe I’m making things a little easier for Future Allison Who Needs Something Out of a Drawer.
  8. I chew gum or brush my teeth after I eat anything. Those Trident commercials in the 90s really affected me. 
  9. The only people I am judgmental of are judgmental people. If someone walks into a room and your first impulse is to comment on how they look, my first impulse is to consider you an asshole. If you think people should or shouldn’t live a certain way, even though it’s not hurting anyone, I don’t have much respect for you. So that’s how that works. Don't Judge
  10. I’m a huge bookworm. I haven’t owned a TV for 13 years, but I read every night before bed. I would like a home library some day, although my family and friends won’t see me much if that happens.
  11. 112 is my lucky number. I see it almost every day in different ways. 112 likes on a post, 112 word count in a Microsoft Word doc, 112 on a license plate, etc. A psychic once told me 112 is the number of manifestation so if I see it a lot, it means I am manifesting the things I want. I like that theory.
  12. My go to cocktail is vodka (preferably Three Olives Cherry Vodka), club soda, splash of cran. But I will very rarely turn down champagne.

    Three Olives Cherry
    My go to cocktail
  13. I can remember the year many Golden Era hip hop songs came out but often can not remember where my car is parked in a big lot. I am okay with this trade-off. 
  14. I hate when people are  late. I’m not talking about 5 minutes late, or the person who got stuck in traffic because of an accident.  I’m talking about when someone texts 5 minutes before they were supposed to arrive to say “Just leaving now,” and they live 30+ minutes away. Or doesn’t let you know at all until you check in. I find it extremely rude and inconsiderate. Being chronically late tells me someone is either horrible at prioritizing or time management—not qualities that I admire. Or, they think their time is more important than other people’s, a thought that enrages me so much I need to end this section.
  15. Sometimes my dreams literally come true.  I’ve dreamt of friend’s engagements, pregnancies, car accidents, moves and other big things, only to hear the next day that they have happened.  I don’t have premonition dreams often, but enough that I’ve been requested to tell my friends when they appear in my dreams, even when it’s some crazy shit like “You and I were in a jungle, but it was your house or something. Anyway, Joshua Jackson was there and he was going to do a concert…”
  16. My wrists are 5 inches around. Most bracelets look stupid on me but that doesn’t stop me from wearing them. It’s amazing that I can do a push up without immediately collapsing.
  17. My one true regret in life is that I sold my ticket to see Eminem at the Worcester Palladium in 1999 so I could buy my Junior Prom dress. It was a small venue at the beginning of his career and I missed it. My only consolation is that not only do I still fit into that dress, but it’s now big on me. (That’s me in the red.) Jr Prom
  18. I am an overcommunicator.  Whether it’s with my friends, family, clients or team, I normally give more information than is needed. It’s because I like to be prepared and would rather have too much than not enough information, but I’m sure some of these people could do without my novel-length texts and emails. I’m like the human version of Mapquest, telling you how to get out of your own driveway.
  19. I graduated from college magna cum laude. But make no mistake–I was equal parts geek and partier. I think it was the one time in my life I had balance.
  20. If I wasn’t a makeup artist and entrepreneur, I would be a writer. I write to communicate, to clear my head, to figure out how I feel and because I love to. There is something that takes over when I write and it focuses me in a way that only one other thing can. The other thing is doing makeup. This blog allows me to combine my two passions, and it’s a damn shame I can’t get to it more often.

Now you know everything you need to know about me! I’m sure you feel fulfilled and have a renewed sense of purpose as you go through your life. (#21 would have been “My second language is Sarcasm,” but it I wanted to keep the list to 20.)

Have a beautiful day🙂