The Sweet Taste of Freedom

I’ve often said that one of the best things about entrepreneurship is the freedom. I’ve been a ladyboss since 2008, but it was really 2011–the year I was able to stop working other jobs to get by–that I really felt the freedom. For me, the ability to make my own schedule is invaluable. You could offer me a job making three times what I make now, but if I had to work off a schedule and answer to someone else, forget it. Keep your own (restricting) money, I’d say.

I want to get into the nitty gritty of what types of freedom I have, thanks to my boss (me). If you are considering opening a business or going freelance and the idea of schedule freedom is part of why you want to do that, read on.

Sleeping In. I know, I know–I’ve talked about this before. A lot. But as someone who is a shitty, unproductive person when she is sleep deprived, I really value the opportunities I get to sleep in. And I don’t mean until 11:00am. To me, sleeping in is waking up when my body wants to. Sometimes that’s 7:00am. Sometimes it’s 8:30am. I usually don’t make it past the 9:00am mark but hey, if my body wanted to do that one day and I didn’t have morning clients or a meeting, I’d do it. After having to wake up earlier than my body wanted to for all of elementary school, middle school, high school, some of college, esthetics school and every job I worked before I opened my business, I’m over it. Sleeping in feels like luxury, but it’s really just a job perk.

Booking Flights. For the most part, I am able to book flights on the cheapest days. For example, say I wanted to go to Nashville next fall (which I do, because I always want to go to Nashville). As long as it’s far enough out and my calendar hasn’t been filled in too much, I can choose my dates based off the cheapest flights. 11:00am on a Thursday $100 cheaper than 5:20pm on a Friday? Late morning on Thirsty Thursday it is.Β  I’ve probably saved a couple thousand dollars in flights thanks to my business owning ways.

Sick Days. I don’t get paid sick time and there are times when I have do jobs even when I am sick because I am under contract or have no one to cover me. But when I am sick for a longgggg time–like I have been this fall–being my own boss has allowed me to take time to rest for weeks at a time without using up all of my sick time or going on medical leave and taking a pay cut. I mean, yes, I’ve still had to work running my business, but I can answer emails and phone calls from bed, and I can keep those to a minimum outside of wedding season. With my recent illness, I didn’t have to ask anyone for permission to leave work for the many doctors appointments I’ve had. When I’m sick, I just take care of what I need to take care of, do only the urgent or time sensitive business things I need to do, and rest as much as I can, without worrying about using up all of my paid time off.

Workout Schedule. There are some workouts I do at home, and I do those whenever. I can get off a phone call then do crunches on the middle of my office floor without anyone reporting me to my supervisor, which is nice. But whatΒ  I really love is that as a half-ass runner (usually only a couple miles per run), I can go out on my runs depending on the weather. Rainstorms rolling in at 4:00pm? No problem. I’ll head out at 2:00pm. When I worked at 9-5 jobs, I could only run at night (6:00am workouts made me want to vomit, so evenings were the only option). On the evenings that were rainy, snowy or brutally cold after the sun went down, I’d have to skip my run. Now I just check weather app radars and hourly forecasts so I have no excuse.

Running Errands. Ah, the other kind of running I do. I like to be very efficient with my errands, because, I mean, I’ve got work to do. Creating my own schedule means I can run those errands when places aren’t busy. Grocery shopping at 12:00pm on a Tuesday takes half the time as it would the same time on a Saturday. In fact, I do most of my errands mid-day during the week. I don’t have to scramble to get out of work and through rush hour traffic to make it to the dry cleaner’s by 5:30pm. I just stroll on over at 1:00pm, enjoy no line and take that white sweater right on home. It’s glorious.

The freedom that entrepreneurship is huge to me. It means I can build my days–and therefore my lifestyle–the way I want. I can’t think of a better job perk.

Have a beautiful day πŸ™‚


AB Beauty 2018 Weddings Highlights

We’ve had a fantastic, busy, fun, record-breaking wedding season this year! And it’s not over yet–we’ve got two more this month.

In honor of our lovely clients and the stellar work my team has done this wedding season, I’d like to share a few great photos. I am still in the process of getting professional photos from this season so we have a lot more to come, but since this year is just about over, it seemed fitting to do this now.

Thank you to every bride, bridesmaid, Jr. Bridesmaid, mother, grandmother, aunt and Flower Girl we worked with this year. Thank you to the wedding planners, venues, past clients, friends and relatives who have referred us. Thank you to the photographers who have let us share their photos. And as always, thanks to my rockstar team. For the 2018 season, that was hair stylists Alex, Ana, Ann, Candie, Emily, Jen G., Kerri and Liza and makeup artists Ainslie, Alexis, Candie (pulling double duty), Chantal, Emma, Jen S., Katie and Kristin.

Have a beautiful day πŸ™‚


Photos: Katie Lovaas Photography
Hair: Emily Buffi for Allison Barbera Beauty
Makeup: Jennifer Smith for Allison Barbera Beauty













Photos: Ludwig Photography
Hair: Allison Barbera Beauty
Makeup: Katie Gallogly for Allison Barbera Beauty











ImPOREtant Stuff: How To Minimize the Look of Large Pores

I’m sure you were dying to see a closeup of some pores today.

Back in the day, the only skin concerns you heard about were acne and wrinkles. Women’s magazines focused on wrinkles, while teen magazines were all about preventing or covering acne. The only times you heard the word “pores” was when an article told you to splash your face with cold water after cleansing to close the pores. (And hey, it doesn’t work that way–cold water will temporarily stop the pores from producing oil, but they don’t completely close up from it, which is a good thing.)

Then, in 1996, Biore Pore strips happened. “Pore” became a dirty word. Everyone wanted the gunk (technical term) ripped out of their skin and shown satisfyingly on a piece of what appeared to be hardened cotton. Cleaning out pores wasn’t just a fad. It became an obsession in the beauty world, later followed by the need minimize those clear–but still visible–pores.

We’ve all been strippers.

And I get it. Clogged pores cause blackheads and other kinds of acne, and pores are more obvious and look bigger when they are clogged. And large pores–even when they are cleaned out–don’t make for a sought-after skin texture, hence the creation of pore minimizing makeup.

If you are engaged in a war with your pores, I may be able to assist with your battle strategy. I got your plan all laid out.

Cleanse. First of all, you gotsta cleanse every night. Remove your makeup first then cleanse your skin (or use an oil cleanser and kill two birds with one stone). What do you think clogs pores? A lovely mix of dirt, oil, makeup, dead skin cells, sweat and bacteria. Properly removing your makeup and cleansing will get a lot of that junk away from your pores, so if you skip this important step, you’re making your pores vulnerable to attack.

Exfoliate. Dead skin cells are like that last guest at your party–they won’t leave until you make them. They stay on skin and hide inside pores, and the only way to get them out is by exfoliating. You can use a physical exfoliant (aka a scrub) or a enzyme exfoliant, but either way, regular exfoliation–2 – 3 times a week–is an important part of keeping your pores un-clogged. Salicylic acid is an exfoliating ingredient that works especially well with clogged pores, so keep that one in mind. (Skip this step if you use a retinoid or any other product that is contraindicated with exfoliation.)

Get A Facial. An esthetician will do extractions during a facial, and those extractions will get rid of any clogged business you couldn’t get out yourself. It’s best to have extractions (the manual emptying of blackheads and whiteheads) done by a professional, because many a “I can do this myself” extraction has resulted in scarring.

Extractions done right.

Pore Minimizer. If your pores are clean but still visible, a pore minimizer will be your best friend. Pore mimimizers temporarily fill in pores without clogging them so that makeup can apply smoothly over those areas. I use a pore minimizer on myself and many of my clients, and it really does make a difference.

Matte Liquid Foundation. I’ve found that sheer liquid foundations are much better on those with large pores than powder foundation. As long as a pore minimizer has been applied first, a sheer liquid foundation won’t sink into pores and highlight them the way a powder foundation can.

Stipple Your Powder. You can still use a pressed powder (more lightweight than a powder foundation) to set your foundation if you have large pores, but you’ll get the best results if you use a sponge and stipple/press a thin layer of powder over those areas as opposed to applying it with a brush.

I hope my battle plan serves you well. Godspeed, Pore Warrior.

Have a beautiful day πŸ™‚


The Beauty Gifts Guide

Or how about some setting spray?

You know what time (of year) it is. If you are still working on your holiday shopping–I know I am–and you have someone in your life who is into skincare and/or makeup, I’ve got some suggestions for you. (Or maybe you want to add these to your own holiday wish list!)

In no particular order, I present the strongest players in the beauty game.

Josie Maran Argan Cleansing Oil. Oil cleansers are THE best way to remove makeup and cleanse the skin.

Josie Maran Pure Argan Oil. Face oils restore moisture to the skin like nobody’s business, and this one is the OG of face oils.

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5. The best hydrator out there. Apply this to damp skin after cleansing or showering, then follow immediately with moisturizer.

Neutrogena Oil Free Moisture SPF35. Great for normal and combination skin.

Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micellar Water. If you prefer not to feel like bees are stinging your eyes when you remove your eye makeup, you’ll love this gentle makeup remover.

Clarins Beauty Flash Balm. My favorite face mask. This can also be used as a tightening primer under makeup.

Too Faced Shadow Insurance. What to use if you like your eyeshadow to stay on and not crease.

Dior Diorshow Mascara. The way to go if you want to pump up the volume on your lashes.

Clinique High Impact Mascara. For length and inky blackness on your lashes.

MAC Studio Face & Body Foundation. If you like your skin too look like skin when you wear foundation, try this makeup artist favorite.

MAC Pro Longwear Concealer. Great for both undereye and face coverage.

MAC Oil Control Lotion. An oil minimizing product for the shiny peeps.

MAC Conceal & Correct Duo in Pure Orange/Ochre. Perfect for concealing hyperpigmentation on deep skintones.

MAC Lipstick in Lady Danger. A cult favorite red lipstick.

MAC In The Flesh Eyeshadow Palette. A solid array of neutral eyeshadows.

Rimmel Stay Matte Powder. A quality drugstore pressed powder.

Algenist Green Color Correcting Drops. Use this under foundation to cancel out redness.

Algenist Apricot Color Correcting Drops. An awesome dark circle color corrector for light and medium skintones.

Bobbi Brown Perfectly Defined Gel Eyeliner in Truffle. I use this dark brown eyeliner on most clients.

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer. I use this on anyone whose makeup needs to last alllll day.

Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray. Everyone should have this.

Stila Convertible Color. I use these primarily as cream blushes, but you can use them a lipcolor too.

Benefit Hoola. This matte bronzer is another cult favorite. Hoola Lite is better for fair to light skintones.

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector. These powder highlighters come in several shades to compliment all skintones.

Ben Nye Banana Powder. If you are trying to conceal dark undereye circles, this should be your final step to lock in your undereye color corrector and concealer.

I hope this helps with your shopping. Happy Holidays!

Have a beautiful day πŸ™‚