Secrets From a Pro Makeup Artist

It’s okay! You can share these secrets.
Hand photo created by asierromero – www.freepik.com

A list of things that are automatic for me:

Sending thank you cards for gifts

Planning things so that they are the easiest and most efficient for everyone involved

Blowing out my hair after I wash it

Scanning YouTube every night for new clips or interviews with comics I love

Tailoring my responses to each person I talk to in my personal life in a way that I know my words will be best received

Cleansing my face every night, without fail

Being extremely attuned to how much space I am taking up in a public space and moving if I think I could be in someone’s way

Answering direct questions (which seems to be a lost art)

I’m so used to the way my personal world works that it never crosses my mind until someone says something to me, or I hear someone else say something, that I realize something I do is weird or I’m not in the majority. That applies to the beauty world too.  I’ve been doing makeup for so long and was obsessed with beauty even before I was a pro artist that I forget that beauty tricks and techniques that are automatic for me are actually unknown for a lot of people.

And how do I know that? Because they tell me. Over the last 10+ years, I’ve shared countless tips and tricks in person, on social media and in this blog. Sometimes I think, I shouldn’t even say this. People already know. Then I get a comment or message that proves me wrong.

So now we’ve got another list. This one is of all things I can think of that I’ve shared over the years and someone has said “I didn’t know that!” or “I was doing that all wrong!” or “Wow, that’s a game changer!” Maybe you’ll see something here that helps you. And that’s all I’ve ever wanted.

SKINCARE

Oil Cleanse The Right Way. Oil cleansers are meant to be applied on dry skin, not damp skin like most cream cleansers. After applying an oil cleanser and massaging it in, you add water, massage it in more, then rinse. If you apply oil cleanser to damp or wet skin, it won’t do its job. I remember putting this tip on the Allison Barbera Beauty Facebook page last year and someone said they were glad they saw it because they had been doing it wrong.

Don’t Forget Hyaluronic Acid’s Soulmate. If you use hyaluronic acid on its own (not already in another product), you have to apply moisturizer immediately after to make it work. For more on that, peep my reviews of The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid.

The ultimate hydrator.

Pretty Much Everything About Retinoids. Just read this, one of my most shared and referenced blog posts.

Patch Test Everything. Got a new skincare product, body moisturizer or self tanner? Give it the ol’ patch test 24 hours before applying it as directed. Applying a small amount of the product before you use the full amount will let you know if there are any ingredients in the product that your skin finds irritating or is allergic to. I do my skincare patch tests behind my ear so the area is hidden if I have a reaction, and my body products and self tanners on my stomach for the same reason. One of the only times I didn’t do this, I had a bad reaction to a St. Tropez tanner all over my legs (red, itchy bumps). Lesson learned.

EYESHADOW & LINER

Crease Work. I do not recommend applying shimmery shadow to the crease of the eye. Shadow is generally applied there to make the crease look more contoured/recessed. If you want an area to look recessed, you use a darker color as it reflects less light. But shimmery shadows reflect light, so they bring things forward or make them look bigger. Since that’s not typically what you want to do in the crease, using a shimmery shadow there defeats the purpose. You follow me?

Waterline Magic. Want to make your eyes look bigger? An off-white pencil applied to the lower waterline will give the illusion that the whites of your eyes are bigger, since you are matching your eyeliner to that color and cancelling out the pink or beige tones naturally present on the waterline. You are welcome.

Eyeshadowliner. All you need is an eyeshadow and an angled brush or a fine gel liner brush for this trick. Simply apply the shadow where you would normally apply your eyeliner and enjoy your soft-focus-but-still-defined liner.

See her bottom lashline? Eyeshadowliner.
Photo: Joe Laurin Photography Makeup: Allison Barbera

Blend It, Baby. The difference between good and bad eye makeup is often in the blending. If I can see where shadow you used stopped, you didn’t blend (or blend it enough). Use a fluffy eyeshadow brush, like the MAC 217, to blend just the edges of where one color stops and the next color starts or where it meets the skin. You don’t need to blend the whole area where you have applied the shadow, as that will fade all of it, which is not the point. This can take a little practice, but I know you can do it.

MASCARA

Mascara Cocktailing. I use two mascaras: One for volume and one for length. I am doubtful of mascaras that claim to do both, so I found that using them together gives me what I want, what I really really want.

Rare Waterproofing. I personally only use waterproof mascara for the same two occasions my father steps foot in a church for: weddings and funerals. I’m likely to tear up or cry at both, so on those days–and those days only–I reach for waterproof. Waterproof mascara requires a more vigorous mascara removal, which is fine once in a while. But that kind of removal on a daily basis will damage your lashes, causing breakage and sadness. If you have problems with mascara smudging, there are other options. Do your lashes a favor and put the waterproof down.

Giving my Maid of Honor speech (not singing) at my brother’s wedding. I definitely wore waterproof mascara that day. Photo: Trevor Holden Photography

Totally Tubular. If every non-waterproof mascara you’ve tried smudges, consider a tubing mascara. Tubing mascaras like Blinc encapsulate the lashes instead of coating them, and whatever it is that makes the product encapsulate also keeps it from smudging. Tubing mascaras typically don’t give as much volume and length as regular mascaras, so that’s something to be aware of. If you want to tube, I suggest first trying it on your bottom lashes, as that may be where the smudging is coming from.

The Mascara Two Step. It’s the easiest dance you’ll ever do. For more volume, wiggle the mascara wand at your top lash roots then pull up. For more length, hold the wand horizontally at the mid-point of your top lashes, then lightly blink into it (which will coat the tips of your lashes). Because I use two mascaras, I wiggle with Diorshow and blink with Clinique, but you could do this two step with one mascara.

FACE MAKEUP

The Waiting Game. Some makeup artists will disagree with me, but I’ve found that a good foundation primer like Laura Mercier Foundation Primer does make a difference in how long face makeup stays on. BUT, you have to let it do its job. That means letting it fully absorb before applying foundation. If you apply foundation immediately after primer, you are likely removing some of the primer as you apply your foundation, as the primer is still absorbing for a minute or so after it’s on. So I do face primer, back to something on the eyes for a minute, then foundation. I suggest you do the same 🙂

Like With Like. Face makeup falls into two main texture categories: creams/liquids and powders. And I’m not saying they’re rival gangs, but they prefer to chill with their homegirls. So primers, liquid or cream/stick foundations, pore minimizers, cream blushes, cream bronzers and contour products and liquid/cream highlighters work well when layered over each other. Powder blushes, highlighters, bronzers and contour products also tend to blend into each other more easily when they’re with their friends. This doesn’t mean you can’t wear both liquid and cream products though. I’m about to give you another tip that some other pros will disagree with: I suggest that you apply setting powder after all of your cream/liquid products are on but before applying powder products. I call setting powder  the great equalizer. It helps keep the cream/liquid products in place so that they aren’t disturbed when a powder product is blended over it. Got it?

Lock In That Under Eye Concealer. If you are using a cream/liquid concealer under your eyes, chances are it will benefit from being set with a little bit of powder. Concealer that has not been set with powder has a tendency to a) Fade throughout the day and b) Eat away at lower lash mascara, causing smudging. Why risk it? Just make sure to be light-handed with under eye powder, as overdoing it can lead to caking.

Get Cheeky. Blush makes a huge difference in a makeup look, but you have to make sure your placement is right. It should go on the apples of the cheeks, blended ever so slightly upwards. You don’t want to apply blush too close to your nose because that can make your features look kind of squished in, and applying blush too low will make your face look droopy. There are slight application variations depending on your face shape, so here’s a picture to help.

LIPS

Whose Line Is It Anyway? When using a lip liner, I line the edges of the lips and fill them in with the liner. Not only does that give the lipstick something to adhere to, but it won’t showcase the telltale “I only lined the edges of my lips” outline that can happen when your lipstick fades off.

The Cupid’s Bow Trick. Want to make your top lip look fuller? Use a lipliner that matches the lipstick you’re going to wear to line over your Cupid’s Bow. So instead of tracing the natural curve most people have there (it can be very slight on some), draw the liner straight across from top of one those little peaks to the other, which gives the illusion of more fullness.

Lipliner Double Duty. Have a lipliner you love the color of? There’s no reason you can’t wear it as a lipstick. Just line and fill in your lips, then top it with a little bit of gloss or balm so your lips don’t feel dry. It’s almost too easy.

Flash That Smile. Lipstick on the teeth–we’ve all experienced it. But there’s an easy way to prevent it. It seems weird, but if you put your index finger in your mouth after you’ve applied lipstick then pull it out, it will take with it the lipstick that migrated to the inside of your lips and would have eventually made it to your teeth. It really works.

This doesn’t need to be your life.

Have you learned anything new today? Sure you have. But if you already knew all of these tips and are not a pro makeup artist, I may have a job for you at AB Beauty…

Have a beautiful day 🙂

 

 

Product Review: Bobbi Brown Perfectly Defined Gel Eyeliner

Bobbi Brown does it again.

There are 397, 845 (made that number up) eyeliners on the market. And a lot of them are crap. Yeah, I said it. I’m frequently disappointed when I try a new eyeliner. I often find liners to be too smudgy, not pigmented, or, if they’re a pencil or crayon, too uncomfortable to use. What, you’ve never felt the cruel pull of a too-hard pencil or crayon liner on the delicate eye skin? Then consider yourself lucky.

When I found the Bobbi Brown Perfectly Defined Gel Eyeliners though, I was impressed. I keep Scotch, a brown with bronze gold shimmer and Chocolate Truffle, a dark brown, in my pro kit. I buy several at a time because there’s not a wedding that goes by when I don’t use at least one of them.

The Perfectly Defined Gel Eyeliners are not gel liners in the traditional sense. They’re more what I consider to be crayon liners, but I guess Bobbi Brown considers them to be a sort of solidified gel liner. Semantics, you know?

I use these liners primarily at the bottom lashline because not only do they give soft definition, but they stay in place. Bottom lashline liners are generally more prone to smudging because when the eyes tear up or water, that thing called gravity pushes tears over the ridge of the bottom lashline, passing over any makeup there. But the Perfectly Defined Gel Eyeliners are waterproof, so once they are on and have set, they are there for the long run.

See that soft definition at the bottom lashline? That’s Chocolate Truffle. Photo: Move Mountains Co. Makeup: Allison Barbera Hair: RaNew Salon

I say “once they have set” because you do have about 30 seconds after applying the liner to soften or smudge it with a brush. I like to do this with a small pencil brush, as I’ve found that gives me the control I need to soften the liner without removing it or dragging it down and thickening the line. Especially at the bottom lashline, I think it generally tends to be more flattering to have a soft focus effect than a harsh line.

The Perfectly Defined Gel Eyeliners are not too hard, so no pulling on the skin. And they are not so soft that they break off when you apply the tiniest bit of pressure. Their consistency is just right, says Goldilocks. They are also pigmented enough that you don’t have to draw them on six times to see color payoff. (I will say that Scotch is the much more subtle of the two, but it is pigmented.)

You can use the Perfectly Defined Gel Eyeliners on the top lid too. For my client purposes, I usually prefer a gel liner at the top lashline, as it’s more intense and helps give a more flattering shape to the eye in photos. But you could certainly use these liners at the top lashline.

They are $27, which I know seems pricey if you’re used to $9 drugstore liners, but if you’ve been struggling to find a long-lasting, comfortable, pigmented liner, maybe it’s time to try a Perfectly Defined Gel Eyeliner. They’ve got six colors to choose from, and you can find them at Bobbi Brown counters and online, as well as at Sephora and Sephora.com.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

 

My Newport Recommendations

The Newport Bridge, aka the prettiest way to get onto Aquidneck Island.

I did a post a while back about my Charleston recommendations, and now it’s time to bring it back to my roots. Not all the way back to my hometown roots of Worcester, MA, but to the roots of my adult life, which started in Newport, RI the fall of 2000. I’ve spent the majority of the last 18 years of my life in Newport, so I think/know I’ve got some good suggestions for you.

Whether you’re in town for your wedding, a bachelorette party, honeymoon, mini-moon, babymoon, full moon or just a day trip, I’ve got you covered. If I have any, I’ll post my personal photos taken at each place, mainly because that’s more fun for me.

Let’s start with breakfast and brunch.

Diego’s (downtown Newport location). I love Diego’s for brunch, lunch, dinner and drinks, but I’m placing it in this category because you won’t find another brunch menu like their’s in Newport. This is a downtown hot spot that’s always busy in-season (technically Memorial Day until Labor Day, but has been stretching into October in recent years), so get there early or make reservations if you can. This is my home away from home, so if you see a short girl with blue-tipped hair, a Biggie Smalls necklace and some kind of tequila drink in front of her, that’s me!

Corner Cafe. Full disclosure–I’ve never had brunch at Corner Cafe, but it’s a Newport favorite so I had to include it. People rave about this place and after looking at the menu, I understand why. I always see a line at this locals’ spot when I drive by on weekends, and they don’t take reservations, so that’s something to keep in mind for your planning purposes. Corner Cafe is on Broadway, so not downtown but close to Upper Thames Street. It’s BYOB, so something to be aware of if “brunch” really means “mimosas” to you.

Broadway’s busiest breakfast spot.

The White Horse Tavern. Now here’s a place I have brunched at many times! This is a quintessential Newport restaurant, established in 1673. So if you like your eggs with a side of ghost stories, which the bartenders are usually happy to share, this is your spot. The food is fantastic, and it’s one of the few places in Newport that I think has a good  Bloody Mary. (I got snobbish about Bloodies after drinking so many fantastic ones in Charleston.) It’s close to both Upper Thames and Broadway, so if you’re onto day drinking post-brunch, this puts you in a good location. Definitely make reservations if you want to go, as it gets busy on weekends.

It doesn’t get any more New England than that, does it?

Atlantic Grille. If you’re staying in Middletown near the beaches, this is a great nearby breakfast option. Friendly servers, great, consistent food and plenty of space if you’re with a bigger group. They’ve usually got some awesome specials (I still–sometimes successfully–order the Firecracker Omelette, a buffalo chicken and cheese omelette they used to frequently have as a special back in the day.) If you’re going on a weekend, be prepared to wait if you don’t have a reservation.

And now I’m craving the discontinued Firecracker Omelette.

Gary’s Handy Lunch. For basic, cheap breakfast food and fast service, you can’t beat Gary’s. This 50s style diner on Lower Thames is a Newport staple for both locals and tourists. A cheese omelette and a chocolate milk at Gary’s was my hangover remedy in college, so I’ve been there countless times. (However, this is not the place to get a hangover, as they don’t serve alcohol.) If you go on a weekend, you might have a wait, but tables typically turn over pretty quickly. FYI: This is a cash only establishment.

The perfect we-are-heading-out-of-town-but-want-a-quick-breakfast spot.

Franklin Spa. It sounds like a place where you’d get microdermabrasion, but I promise you, it’s a restaurant. This former pharmacy turned diner is in the center of downtown but it’s one block up from Thames, so it’s a semi-hidden gem. They don’t take reservations and it’s small so it gets packed quickly, but it’s a solid breakfast spot seven days a week, year-round.

Worth the wait.

Ready for lunch?

Smoke House. “BBQ and summer cocktails”–that’s what their website homepage says. Add “people watching” to that, and you’ve got the perfect description of one of my favorite summer spots. This seasonal, half open air restaurant and bar is smack in the middle of downtown. The front section has a three sided bar (is that what they’re called?) in the center, and seating around the perimeter of the room. If you can grab a stool there, you’ll be looking right out onto America’s Cup and Thames Street. And oh, the interesting outfits you’ll see! Smoke House keeps the plastic window flaps down if it’s raining, but if it’s not, you’ve got direct access to the hoards of people who walk by every second. It’s usually open from April until early October, so don’t be mad at me if you go in March and walk up to a boarded up building.

The Port. Even though this restaurant is technically on Thames, it’s pushed back from the street, so unless someone has told you about it or you’ve read a helpful blog post like this, you might not see it if you are just walking around Newport. That means it’s sometimes a little easier to get into than the restaurants that face Thames. The Port is right on the water and they’ve got enough space for bigger groups, so it’s a good lunch choice if your crew rolls deep. I don’t eat seafood, but my foodie brother and sister-in-law loved their Steamed Mussels.

Brick Alley Pub & Restaurant. This Newport staple on Upper Thames has something for everybody. The food is consistently great, the cocktail list extensive, and they might have the friendliest servers in Newport. The warm atmosphere and fun decor of Brick Alley really differentiate this restaurant from any other place in town. People I’ve brought there have especially loved the lobster roll, and I spent my college years obsessed with Louie’s Chicken Nachos and Key Lime Martinis. Brick Alley is always busy, so I’d recommend reservations.

For the record, I was not that pale and Julia was not sunburned. Weird camera flash situation.

Portside at 22 Bowen’s. This is 22 Bowen’s outside bar and restaurant, and it is perfect. The food is always good, and Portside bartenders know how to make a cocktail. There are I think ten seats at the bar, and ten or so tables on the patio. The waterfront location (like any closer and you’d be on a boat) is beautiful, and the people watching potential–right in the middle of Bowen’s Wharf–is off the charts. I bet this is exactly the kind of place people think of when they think of Newport, and while Newport has several different vibes (depending on where you are and who you ask), it is part of our City by the Sea fabric.

Summer in Newport at its best.

Pour Judgement. If you like clever names, beer and good burgers, you’ll love Pour Judgement. This Broadway bar and restaurant has been around since 2006, which is a long time for a place in Newport, so you know it has to be good. It’s a locals’ spot, so here’s one of those other vibes I was talking about. If you’re staying near Broadway or want to venture there from downtown (it’s very close to Upper Thames), this is a solid lunch choice.

You’d be using good judgement if you went here.

And now for some day drinking. Let’s pub crawl our way through this list.

The Deck. If you’ve got a big group and you want to sit out by the water, here’s your spot. I host a couple day drinking events each year (usually one for my birthday and one for my business anniversary), and this is always where we start. The tented outside area is huge, with a big center bar and a smaller one off to the side. There are tables under the tent, and more out on the uncovered deck area. People come right off their boats into The Deck, so that’s how “waterfront” it is. You’ll love it.

Kickin’ off Summer 2016 at The Deck.

O’Brien’s Pub. Right around the corner from The Deck on Thames and Waites Wharf is O’Brien’s, a year-round Irish pub. They’ve got a big inside area with booths, tables and a bar, as well as a tented outside bar and dining area, and a patio area beyond that. The patio is usually pretty packed during the summer with families, bachelor and bachelorette parties and lots of dogs. If you’re on Lower Thames, this is a good day drinking spot than can accommodate big groups.

The place to go for casual patio day drinking on Lower Thames.

Surf Club. Now let’s make our way towards the center of downtown with a stop at the outside bar and dining area of Surf Club. It’s close to Newport’s iconic wave statue at the busy corner of America’s Cup and Thames, so there is plenty of great people watching. Surf Club is new-ish to Newport (within the last couple years), but they are already well-liked by locals. The cocktails are awesome (they had or have a Jalapeno Margarita that I love) and the servers are always friendly. This is a perfect summer day drinking spot.

If you’re standing in front of this, just look to your right and you’ll see the Surf Club outside bar and dining area.

The Black Pearl. If you take a left out of Surf Club and walk for about three minutes (give it four in heels), you’ll get to Bannister’s Wharf on your left. As soon as you turn down that Wharf, you’ll see a patio with red umbrellas. That’s the patio at The Black Pearl. If the weather is nice, this is a prime location for good cocktails and lots of people watching (can you tell I like that?). The Black Pearl restaurant is known for their clam chowder, but the patio is known for their frozen Mudslides. Cheers!

Just look for the red umbrellas.

The Landing. Things are about to get rowdy if you’ve made it to this waterfront bar and restaurant on Bowen’s Wharf. The lower level has a big main bar, a raw bar where you can also get drinks, and a few tables. There’s usually live music happening by the main bar. There are more tables and another bar on the upstairs deck. The Landing is a seasonal bar for the public, but I believe they do private events inside the restaurant off-season. I can’t verify this, but I would guess that 90% of all summertime bachelor and bachelorette parties that pass through Newport make a stop at The Landing.

Vanderbilt Rooftop. Now let’s get classy. Cross over to Thames from Bowen’s Wharf, then go left onto Thames. Take a right onto Mary Street and you’ll soon see the gorgeous Vanderbilt Hotel (formerly called the Vanderbilt Grace, then the Grace Vanderbilt). Their rooftop bar has stellar views and fantastic cocktails. It’s got a low key vibe and isn’t stuffy or pretentious. It’s open during the summer season only (I mean, who wants to be outside during the cold weather anyway?) from 4:00pm – 10:00pm on weekdays and 12:00pm – 10:00pm on weekends.

Talk about a bar with a view!

Dinner, anyone? You really should get some food in you.

The Red Parrot. It’s a tourist hot spot, but I’m a local and I still go there (especially when I’m craving their Sexy Steak & Gorgonzola Salad). The food is consistently good, and they’ve got some awesome cocktails. This is another great spot to go with a group, not only because they can accommodate a lot of people, but because their menu is huge–one of those menus-in-a-binder–so everyone can find something they like. Red Parrot is at the beginning of Lower Thames, so location-wise, it is perfection. Walk ten minutes up or down Thames from there and you’ll go by several other bars, restaurants and shops.

At the downstairs bar on a freezing winter night with my friend, Carina.

The Mooring. This is a classic Newport restaurant. I’ve never had a bad meal at The Mooring, nor has anyone I’ve ever gone with. The Mooring is known for their seafood, but I also love their Chopped Salad and their burger. Even though I can’t eat their famous Bag of Doughnuts appetizer (lobster and shrimp fritters that come in a paper bag), I have to mention it because people get obsessed with it. If you get seated on the deck in the summer, you can enjoy the ocean view, but the inside dining area is nice too. Definitely make reservations here, especially during the summer season.

A very nice server at my cousin’s bridal shower a few years ago.

Perro Salado. This cozy Mexican inspired restaurant by Washington Square (near Upper Thames) is one of a kind. It’s in an 18th century house that was transformed into a unique and awesome restaurant. Their Cilantro-Jalapeno Margarita is probably my favorite cocktail in Newport, but they have several other great cocktails if you’re not into cilantro or jalapeno. The menu has changed since I last had dinner there, but I see several great options on the current menu. They have an outside patio that’s always bumpin’, and live music at I think 9:00pm (I’m not sure if that’s every night). Perro Salado is a really popular spot, so I definitely recommend making reservations.

I went here on a first date with a guy who spilled his entire margarita on my lap, but I didn’t mind because he had an English accent and that British sense of humor.

22 Bowen’s. Listen, it’s impossible to get a bad meal or bad service at this Newport staple. From wine to steak to seafood to desserts, 22 Bowen’s knows what they’re doing. It’s on the fancier side, so go ahead and rock that cocktail dress, ladies. This restaurant is (obviously) in Bowen’s Wharf, which puts you right in the middle of things. As with every restaurant in downtown Newport during the summer season or during weekends most of the rest of the year, reservations are a good idea.

You fancy, huh?

The Wharf Pub. If you’re looking for something more on the casual side but still want to be where the action is, look no further. Comfort food and craft beer is their thing, but even a tequila drinker with Celiac disease (that’s me!) can be happy there. I really love their burger (with no bun), and other people I’ve gone with have loved their tater tots appetizer. Their outdoor seating is great for people watching in the summer, and they have live music on weekends.

One of the two bars at the Wharf Pub.

Is it time to go out? I’m in my mid 30s so I’m usually home by 9:00pm, but I’ve lived in Newport long enough to be able to help you here.

The Pelham. You can’t talk about going out in Newport without mentioning The Pelham. This cash only bar on Upper Thames is low key during the day in the summer season (they don’t open until the evening during the winter), but things get crazier by the hour at night. They have live music on weekends and maybe during the week in the summer (I can’t remember and can’t find it on their website), so expect a cover charge some nights. The Pelham has three bars, a pool table, a dartboard, ping pong, and a shuffleboard table, but the most important thing I want you to know is that even though their sign and their website says “One Pelham East,” no one calls it that. It can get a little shitshow-y at this bar, but I think that’s the point. It’s the perfect spot for bachelor and bachelorette groups, which is evidenced by the special bachelorette package they offer. Did I paint a good picture for you?

Dockside. If live music and dancing at a waterfront bar is your thing, Dockside is your place. This summer season hot spot is perfect for large groups. And it’s close to The Deck and O’Brien’s, so you can stumble around between the three and have yourself a very Newport summer night on Waites Wharf. They charge a cover, so get yo cash ready. Have fun! (I’ll be in bed.)

The scene at Dockside.

Newport Blues Cafe. Another one of the live music spots downtown Newport has to offer. There’s plenty of room for dancing by the stage, but if you’re more of a music-appreciator than a dancer, you can watch from the second level. (Don’t worry–there are bars on both floors.) The crowd varies depending on the band, but it’s not unusual to see a group of people in their 50s dancing next to a group in their 20s. There will be a cover, so prepare yourself for that. If you want to dance and the band is playing your type of music, Newport Blues is a great choice.

Dance the night away at Newport Blues.

Forty 1 North. I call the waterfront outside bar and restaurant at this downtown hotel “Miami,” because that’s what it looks like. (I just learned they call this part of the hotel “The Pavilion,” but I’ve never heard anyone refer to it as that.) I’m more of a day drinker, and I love Forty 1 North for that during the summer, but I know people like going there at night too. I don’t know if they still do this, but they used to have a DJ (and a cover) on summer weekends. Even if they don’t, it’s good night out spot to go to because it’s big, it’s gorgeous and it’s got beautiful views. It’s on the fancier side, so think “night out” outfits, but it’s not stuffy.

A Newport waterfront hotspot.

The Cooke House. Its real name is Clarke Cooke House, but no one calls it that. This is a restaurant with a few bars and a basement level club call “The Boom Boom Room,” but I am far too old for that now. I stay on the upper levels and I’m fine with that. The Cooke House is on Bannister’s Wharf, so it’s always busy during the summer season. The servers and bartenders are great, and while it can get a little rowdy, it doesn’t get out of control. At night, I would say it’s more of a 30s and 40s crowd than a 20s crowd. The Cooke House is also a good spot for brunch, lunch, dinner and day drinking, so it’s worth putting on your Newport To Do list.

How’s that for thorough? This post took me forever to write, so you better like it 😉

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Product Review: MAC Pro Longwear Fluidline in Blacktrack

A makeup artist fave.

Another week, another MAC product review. What can I say? They make good makeup.

I’ve been using MAC Pro Longwear Fluidline in Blacktrack, a flat black gel eyeliner, for years, so I was surprised to find that I hadn’t done a post about it. It’s a pro makeup artist fave and every MUA I know has it in their kit.

The Fluidline liners come in a little glass jar with a black top. A word to the wise with any gel eyeliners or cream shadows that come in similar packaging–once air gets into the jar for too long, the product will dry out and become useless. So make sure you close the lid tightly after using, unless you like to be wasteful. A tiny bit of gel liner goes a long way, so this little jar should last you a while if you keep the lid closed tightly.

The most hygienic way to use a gel liner is to scrape some out with a clean spatula, put it on a palette and use a fine liner brush to apply it. That’s the way I do it 100% of the time for clients, absolutely no exceptions. But most non-pro’s will dip directly into the jar with a brush, load the brush up with liner then apply. This will not only usually give you more product than you need (and good luck coming back from a too-thick line of gel liner), but unless your brush is always sanitized and you don’t double dip, it means you are transferring the bacteria from your lid into the product. And guess what happens when you securely close the lid, as you have been taught, after that? I’m not saying anything bad about bacteria molecules’ lifestyles, as they can be with whoever they want, but these gals and guys get down, and they multiply in that dark, enclosed environment. So if you double dip and/or use a dirty eyeliner brush, the next time you use your gel liner, say hello to their (millions) of little friends, who are now going to live on your eyelids and lash roots.

A Ben Nye makeup spatula.

But let’s pretend you are applying your gel liner correctly. Fluidline liners are great because they can give you a very defined look or a soft focus look, depending on how you apply. You can get a graphic, liquid liner type of look if you apply it perfectly then let it set (dry). Or you can apply a thin line then pull it up with angled brush before it sets, diffusing it but still keeping definition. That is my favorite way to use Blacktrack, as soft focus is generally more appropriate for the type of makeup I do. I then usually top the liner with black eyeshadow to give it more intensity with the blackness without making it too harsh.

Blacktrack is definitely black, but it’s a soft black, which I like. I’d rather have the option to make it more black with shadow than have it look too harsh, which is how an intense black liner can look on those with lighter coloring.

Some gel eyeliners (honestly, usually the cheap ones) are not very pigmented, so not only will you have to apply a few layers to get the color payoff you want, but you’ll see a kind of watered down or patchy looking line if you draw it on thick. Blacktrack won’t do you like that. The pigment is there and you’ll get a consistent line as long as your brush is properly coated.

I used Blacktrack on this beautiful bride then traced over it with black eyeshadow. Photo: Sarah Bastille Photography

Fluidline in Blacktrack is one of the staples in my kit, and I think it has a place in everyone’s kit or personal makeup bag. But what do I know? I’ve only been doing this for over a decade…

Have a beautiful day 🙂