The Rhode Island Coalition of Wedding Vendors

It’s been a whirlwind eight days! I’ll tell you how it started.

I got back to Newport on March 18, prepared for the fact that AB Beauty would not have work during the rest of March and all of April due to stay at home orders, group size restrictions and the closure of close-contact business. I also knew that I would not be leaving my house much for that whole time and wouldn’t be able to socialize with anyone in person.

I braced for it, but by mid-April, I buckled. I felt really hopeless and was crying a lot. Like, a lot, a lot. All of our shoots for the foreseeable future were cancelled, and most March, all April and some May bridal trials had been cancelled or rescheduled (RI mandate currently prohibits the operation of close contact businesses, which applies to everyone in the beauty industry, until at least May 8). Not only had March, April and early May weddings been rescheduled, but the remainder of May, most June and some July weddings had rescheduled, many of which to 2021 (and hardly any new inquiries were coming in for 2020 or 2021). Having the majority of our revenue delayed for two or three months was one thing, but having the majority of it delayed for a year plus? That can kill a business.

I was really struggling emotionally and my financial future wasn’t looking too bright either. I had been checking in with my wedding vendor friends to see how they were doing, and on 4/16, I spent an hour on a call with a wedding planner I love and work with frequently. We vented, cried and talked about how hard we were being hit as an industry and how we needed help. Later that day, I talked to my father, who got me laughing for the first time in days. He also suggested doing something to make the state aware of the impact COVID-19 is having on the wedding industry. I spun those two conversations around in my brain and decided to email a very intelligent friend who has worked in politics to see if he thought a letter or petition could be effective. He suggested a letter signed by as many RI wedding vendors as possible and sent to all state representatives.

I figured a Facebook group would not only help me collect signatures for the letter, but it would serve as a forum for those RI wedding vendors looking for guidance, input or wanting to share something they learned. So I started The Rhode Island Coalition of Wedding Vendors on 4/17. I invited the 35 or so wedding vendors in my Facebook friends and encouraged them to do the same. Eight days and 555 members later, we are a force. With the help of my intelligent friend, a second intelligent attorney friend and my mother (who has written letters to many a state representative), I came up with a letter that I then shared with the group. Whoever wanted to sign it could do so. I sent emailed that letter individually to all 75 state reps, our governor, the head of the Department of Health and some senators. Due to the connections of Intelligent Friend #1 and two group members, three local news channels interviewed myself and some other members of the group and ran stories on the impact of COVID-19 on the wedding industry. I was also part of a conference call with a RI senator yesterday to discuss what is being done on a federal level.

We are still very much hurting as an industry, with little to no revenue coming in and weddings as far out as October being rescheduled. Many of us don’t qualify or aren’t getting approved for the business loans–big or small–out there, no to mention that those funds have been getting depleted very quickly. Some of us have been able to get unemployment, but the payments are a small percentage of what we would normally bring in during our busy season, yet many of our expenses remain the same. That math doesn’t work out.

I realize that we’re not the only industry being affected, and I know that those of us who have our health and our loved ones are very lucky. But for now, other than staying home and following all state mandates, the only thing I can do is try to help my industry (which of course helps my business as well–that is not lost on me). So that’s what I’ll continue to do. It’s given me a purpose and made me so busy that between that and the daily wedding reschedules or back up date checks, I’m as busy as I would normally be this time of year!

And now, back to it. I’ve got emails to read, new wedding contracts to send and maybe, if I’m lucky, an episode or two of something funny to watch.

Have a beautiful day 🙂



Your Burning Beauty Questions Answered

I’m almost 12 years into being a licensed esthetician and a makeup artist, so I’ve been asked countless beauty questions, and I’ve gotten many repeat questions. In case you share some of the same questions, I’ll post them here.

Bear with me, please. This won’t be my most well-written blog post because I just don’t have it in me.

Where does bronzer go?

If you want to use bronzer for its intended use–to make your skin look sun-kissed–it should go on the “high planes” of your face, aka where the sun naturally hits most. This can vary by person, but in general, the sun hits the tops of cheekbones, the bridge of the nose, the center of the forehead and the center of thin chin. So if I’m trying to create a sunkissed look, those are the areas where I apply matte–not shimmery–bronzer in a shade one or two shades deeper than a person’s skin.

How often should I wash my face?

If you have anything other than truly oily skin, you can wash your face at night only, as long as you use a good cleansing balm or oil cleanser than both removes makeup and cleanses the skin. If you have oily skin, you can add in a morning cleanse to remove some of the excess surface oils, but I would use a gentle cleanser for this cleanse.

Do I need to wear foundation?

You don’t need to wear any type of makeup! But if you want to even your skintone and can’t get the desired results from a tinted moisturizer/CC cream/BB cream or concealer on its on, you might want to try foundation.

How do I cover a zit?

The real answer is that you can’t. Makeup covers color, not texture. So you can color correct the red (from an active blemish) or brown (usually from a blemish that is healing or from an acne scar), but you can’t cover texture. Properly erasing the color will make the blemish barely noticeable, but it won’t make it disappear.

What’s the best way to do mascara?

For volume, hold the wand horizontally as the base of your lashes and wiggle it up towards the ends. For length, hold the wand horizontally towards the tips of your lashes and blink into it. For optimal results–and this seems obvious, but a lot of people don’t know this–use a volumizing mascara for the volumizing wiggle and then a lengthening mascara for the lengthening blink.

What color blush should I wear?

I could tell you by looking at you, but my best advice for you to figure it out on your own by trying different shades. Try a peach, a light pink, a bright pink, a deep pink, a terracotta, a berry, an orange and a red. I’ll give you some guidance: In general, peach will look better on warmed toned skin and pinks and reds are tough for those with rosacea. Oranges and reds are best for deeper skintones. The right blush color will make you look awake and may even make the whites of your eyes look whiter.

Why does my eyeliner always smudge?

I’m going to answer that question with this blog post.

How can I make a matte lipstick not dry out my lips?

Matte lipsticks are often drying, but the formulations have improved over the last few years. Still though, the best way to avoid this is to start out with smooth, moisturized lips. If you know you are going to wear a matte lipstick the next day, use a lip scrub that night, and apply a thick layer of lip balm before bed. Apply more balm in the morning, right up until it’s time to apply your lipstick. Blot off what’s left of the balm, then go for the lipstick. It won’t catch on any dry patches because you’ll have exfoliated them off, and you’ll have some moisture there from the balm so the lack of moisture in the matte lipstick won’t have as much of an effect.

Okay, that’s all I’ve got for today.

Have a beautiful day 🙂


Time Killers: The Beauty Edition

Trying to make the days go by faster so we can get back to normal life when we all didn’t have time to do anything? Beauty distractions can help.

It’s safe to say that some of us are finding ourselves with extra time on our hands this month. You might not be in that position if you work in an essential business (thank you) or have children at home (God bless you), but I know I’m not the only one who is looking for some ways to kill some time. I can only work so much (literally–I have a vestibular disorder that prevents me from looking at screens for too long) and my apartment is already clean and organized, but these days feel long as shit, and I need to make the time pass by quicker and/or keep myself distracted. So naturally, I’ve been upping my beauty game.

I’m going to first tell you about the things I’ve been doing, then give you some other suggestions of things I’ve done in the past or don’t need to do now, but think they could be helpful if you’re looking for some time killers or distractions that will also make you look better or improve your beauty life.

Brushing Up On It. I’ve been using this bath brush on my body a couple times a week before getting into the shower. Dry brushing is supposed to rev up circulation, which I am half sold on, and exfoliate skin, which I am fully sold on. Here’s some info on how to do it. This video doesn’t show it, but I recommend doing your stomach and back as well. I personally skip the chest area because that skin is more delicate, but you do you. Time It Kills: Two minutes.

I’d say there’s about a 50% chance that you own one of these.

Put The Lotion in the Basket (Or On Your Body). Normally, I’m the valedictorian of face moisturizing but am a solid C student when it comes to body moisturizing. I come up with all kind of excuses for myself not to do. “It’s too cold when I get out of the shower!” (in the winter), “I don’t want to to attract bees to my scented lotion!” (in the summer), “I don’t have the time!” (up until mid-March 2020). I did get a little better with it in Charleston this winter because I have more time during my Charleston months and it’s usually not cold, but I’ve been extra good with it since I got back to Newport. I don’t think I’ve missed one day. I’ve been using The Body Shop Body Butter in Coconut, and once I finish that, I have half a tub of their Mango Body Butter to get through. You can’t really see it in my pajamas and hoodies, but I know there’s soft skin there. Time It Kills: Five minutes.

It’s like buttah.

Olaflexin’. I get my roots colored to cover the gray (I don’t have a ton of it, but enough to be obvious), the bottom third of my hair is blue (and needs to be bleached twice a year to get there) and up until recently, I blowdried my hair straight once a week (now I mostly let it airdry and be curly, because no one sees it). That’s a lot of damage to my locks, so I keep them in the best shape possible by using Olaplex Hair Perfector No. 3 every other time I wash my hair. It’s like a suped up leave in conditioner, but it does more than those do. It rebuilds the broken bonds that are caused by heat styling and hair color. My hair looks and feels considerably better whenever I use Olaplex. It says to leave it on for a minimum of 10 minutes, but I usually do 45+ minutes, and I know people who leave it on for hours or overnight. I sometimes don’t have time for this extra step during my busy season, but since things have changed, I certainly have the time. Olaplex 3 is really a miracle worker, and is one of my all time favorite hair products. Time It Kills: It only takes a few minutes to apply and a few more to wash out, and you can do other things while it’s on. I’ll call it a 10 minute total time investment, since you can multitask while it’s processing.

The good stuff.

Multi-Masking. When I’m being my best self, I do a face mask once or twice a week. I guess I’m being my best self now (minus the daily crying), because I’ve been great with the masks. I alternate between the FRESH Rose Face Mask and Clarins Beauty Flash Balm. I can tell the difference in my skin when I’m regularly masking it, so the effort does pay off. Time It Kills: It depend on the exact mask you use, but the whole process will probably eat up about 15 minutes.

Good cop/good cop.

Keepin’ It Tight. I used the NuFACE Mini 5 – 6 times a week for three months as directed, but now I’m past that and into the maintenance phase, where they say to just use as needed. Once or twice a week seems to keep my face tight and toned, so that’s what I do. Time It Kills: Five minutes to use the device, plus a minute or two before to apply serum or aloe and a minute after to remove it if desired.

Personal training for my facial muscles.

Then there are things I already do regularly but you might not. I’m not calling you out, but as a beauty professional, I do some things now that I didn’t do before I was a makeup artist, so I get it.

It’s Come to an End. No, not the world (although it sometimes feels like that). Some of your makeup and beauty products are expired, and you need to get rid of them. If you don’t know when to toss what, have I got the blog post for you! Time It Kills: I’d say 15 – 30 minutes, depending on how much of a product hoarder you are.

Sort It Out. Now that you’ve thrown out the products that are older than your kindergartner, you’ve got something o work with. I suggest sorting them into two piles–the I Use This and the Forgot I Even Had This pile. Sort your makeup brushes and skincare devices too. I’ve got a project for you after this. Time It Kills: I’ll give you 15 minutes.

Play Time: Part 1. Look at that pile of makeup you don’t use. No, really look. Open each product and ask yourself “Why?” Maybe you’ve got a vampy merlot lipstick you’d never wear, but try it on. Now try it on with a different color shirt. Now try it with your hair up or down. Now blot it with a napkin to make it a stain. Does any of that make you like it? If it’s still not you, try layering a nude or pink lipstick over it to make a new color. You might find a way to wear it that you actually like. You can do a similar thing with eyeshadows and blushes. You can mix two colors together to make a new one. You can play around with eyeshadows and eyeliners, using a light shimmery color that’s too much on your whole lids on just the inner corners, or applying a thin line of the electric blue liner at the bottom lashline but using your regular black liner on top.  Makeup comes off, so go crazy! You might find a new way to wear a product you didn’t think you’d like, or you may just realize that no matter how hard you try, terracotta blush does not look great on you. Knowledge is power, boo. Time It Kills: I can see a whole hour disappearing while you play around with makeup.

Go ahead. Have some fun!

Play Time: Part 2. Now it’s time to attack your skincare products, brushes and devices. I’d start by sorting them into three files: Doesn’t Work, It’s Okay and Not For Me. In the Doesn’t Work pile, put your splayed and shedding makeup brushes, your cleanser that never gets all of your makeup off and that Clarisonic that you dropped and has never quite worked the same since. Toss all of that while saying “You’re dead to me.”

The It’s Okay pile should be products and device that work fine, but you don’t really love. So maybe a face oil that makes your skin soft but you’re not wild about the texture, or a body lotion that does the job but takes for ever to absorb. Ask yourself “Can I re-purpose this?” Maybe you designate that body lotion as a foot cream that you use then put socks on, so you can’t really tell how long it’s taking to absorb. And how about using that face oil on your hands, which are dry and cracked from excessive hand washing and will be happy for the healing properties of the oil and won’t care about the texture? (Yes, I did just make your hand sound like their own people.) You can move these products to other places. It’s not a bad idea to have cleanser at the office for a night when you’re working late and know your future self will be so happy not to have to cleanse when you get home, exhausted. Or maybe keep that body lotion at your sister or parents’ house (if they allow it) if you ever spend the night there. Less stuff to pack, you know? If a product or device is good enough for occasional use, keeping it somewhere else (even if it’s just in the downstairs bathroom that you don’t often use) where you may use it is worth it.

The Not For Me pile is for products and devices that you know you will definitely never use or they work but you really can’t get past the scent or texture. If they haven’t been contaminated, you can try passing them off to someone you deem worthy. That’s means don’t give anyone an eyelash serum with a wand that’s touched your lashes or a tub of moisturizer you’ve dipped your hands into, but if you’ve got something that you’ve only touched the outer packaging to–like a bottle of moisturizer with a pump dispenser or a squeeze tube face mask–then go for it. They can disinfect the packaging with a wipe or alcohol, but most beauty products themselves can’t be disinfected. Time It Kills: A good 45 – 60 minutes, depending on how many products you’ve accumulated.

Tubby Time. You should be washing your brushes every 7 – 14 days if you’re using them. You can use a specific makeup brush cleaner or baby shampoo if you only use your brushes on yourself. After you wash your brushes, put them on a counter top or table with the bristles hanging over the edge so they don’t dry with one side flattened. While you’re at it, sanitize any tweezers you have with alcohol. Time It Kills: 10 – 15 minutes.

So fresh and so clean, clean.

New Look. Who Dis? Always wanted to try winged liner, a smokey eye or a red lip? This is the perfect time to practice and perfect! If there’s a technique you want to perfect, there’s a tutorial out there for it. Just make sure you watch tutorials from professional makeup artists, not beauty gurus who aren’t pros. I recommend checking out the YouTube channels for Pixiwoo, Lisa Eldridge and Wayne Goss. KatieJaneHughes on Instagram is also fantastic. Time It Kills: Between watching the tutorial and doing the look, you can easily kiss 45 – 60 minutes goodbye.

Get Buff. Going polish-less while in lockdown? You can still show your nails some love. Buffing is an easy way to make your nails look better without having polish on. Time It Kills: 5 minutes.

It’s your time to shine.

Now Hair, Hair. A leave in conditioner or hair mask can work wonders on dry or damaged hair. If you’re home all day and you’re not in a Zoom meeting and don’t have children climbing on you, maybe you can help your hair out with some repair/moisturizing/color enhancing. There are lots of different hair masks and leave in conditioners out there, so if you don’t have one but want to try one, see if your salon or any local salons have one that you could have shipped to you, dropped off or picked up curbside. Then you can support a local business and improve your hair. A win-win. Time It Kills: 30 – 60 minutes, depending on the products.

I don’t know about you, but I feel better when I look better. I’ve barely worn makeup since March 18, but my skin, hair and nails are looking and/or feeling healthy. And any non-work project–whether it’s using a hair treatment, applying a face mask or buffing my nails–is a distraction and a way to make the day seem a little shorter and a little more enjoyable. That’s reason enough for me to keep up these habits.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

In Like a Lion, Out Like a Monster: The March Recap

I’m sorry, the post title isn’t accurate. The beginning of March was great for me. I was still in Charleston, having a grand ol’ time with my friends. My parents were in town the first week of March, and we had lots of delicious meals at Charleston restaurants. It was warm enough for me to wear open-toed shoes most days, and that’s one of my favorite things. So March was more “in like a golden retriever” for me.

Of course, things started to change around mid-March. I was supposed to leave Charleston on March 31, but due to the uncertainty of flight cancellations, I left on March 17. It’s heartbreaking for me to leave Charleston each year even when I’ve planned to, so cutting my winter short was really sad. However, it was the smart thing to do, and it’s nothing compared to what a lot of people are dealing with. I got a credit from my cancelled flight and I’m hoping to use that to make a late spring or early summer trip to Charleston once things are back to normal.

So, I’m two weeks into being back in Newport. I’m doing my part and staying home. I’m happy to be back in my awesome Newport apartment (which is 4x the size of the place I was living in in Charleston) and I’m grateful that I can run my business from home. I’ve been dealing with a lot of reschedules for spring weddings and man, do I feel for those couples, as well as for the couples who are holding out hope that they can still have their wedding as scheduled. We’ve been able to accommodate 100% of our wedding reschedule requests, and hopefully it will be the same case for our rescheduled corporate shoots. We’ll take some hits, as all small businesses will, but I do feel that we’re one of the lucky ones in comparison to many other small businesses.

It was quiet for a bit with new wedding inquiries for 2020, but fall inquiries are starting to trickle back in, as are 2021 inquiries. The wedding industry will recover, and those of us who are wedding vendors will likely have a very busy late summer, fall and winter!

There’s no denying that this is a shitty time in the world. But I refuse to believe it’s the end of civilization. So that means that each day is one day closer to things being back to normal, even if that normal is a little different than it has been. Businesses will re-open, postponed weddings and events will happen, and people smarter than me say that the stock market will eventually stabilize.

If you’re in the medical field, work at a grocery store, work for a delivery company or doing any other essential job, thank you for your dedication. This is a scary time to be interacting with the public, and I’m sorry that your job requires you to do so. If you or a loved one are sick, I hope that you recover soon. And if you’ve lost someone, I am truly sorry for your loss.

I’m looking forward to the day when things start to get better for everyone. Hopefully it will come by the time I do my April recap. Until then, I’ll be staying home, keeping as busy as possible and thinking about throwing a summertime combined birthday party for all of my spring baby friends whose birthdays got corona’d.

Have a beautiful day 🙂