This Year Is Finally Almost Done: The December Wrap Up

*THIS WAS SUPPOSED TO BE POSTED ON 12/26, BUT GOT STUCK IN DRAFTS*

December was a quiet month for AB Beauty. All of our weddings postponed, trials were scarce and corporate shoots are still on pause. We’re getting a lot of inquiries for fall 2021 and early winter 2022 though, so I’m grateful for that.

I got to (safely) see my immediate family this month, which was the best part of December for me. I’m off to Charleston for the winter very soon, so I think about that, oh, only every five minutes. I’m very ready for warmer weather, my Lowcounty friends, and grits.

December is the time to look back, right? And although much of this year has been absolute dogshit, there was some good there in my life. My niece was born in the summer, and she is the center of my family’s world now. I met some new friends in Charleston In January and February and strengthened my friendships with some New England friends. I connected with a lot of RI wedding vendors and got my business through a year that could have crushed us.

I realize things won’t automatically get better as soon as we usher in 2021, but I do think things will improve as the year goes on. I have a good feeling about that, and I will not be swayed.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

The End of The 2020 Wedding Season: The November Recap

Keeping with the spirit of gratitude that I associate with Thanksgiving, I’ll start by saying I’m grateful for the awesome–if shortened–wedding season we had this year. There was a point early on when I was afraid we wouldn’t get to do any 2020 weddings from March on, but that luckily wasn’t the case.

We had a few weddings this month, as well as several trials, new 2021 wedding bookings and 2022 wedding inquiries. I hired a new hair stylist, LuWayne DeMoranville, and I’m so excited to have her on the team.

Personally, I’ve been laying low socially, but am very much looking forward to my Charleston winter, which starts after Christmas. I’ll be ringing in the new year in my favorite city. (Not that I’ll be going out, but at least I’ll be in a place where grits and Southern accents are never too far away.)

I don’t love November in Rhode Island, with its bare trees, cooler temps and short ass days. But at least I have my family, my business and my Newport/Charleston life. For that, I am truly grateful.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Maasai Jewelry

This is my cousin Brooke (pictured below with two of the jewelry makers). We’re more like sisters than cousins. She is extremely intelligent, caring and generous.

This is Brooke’s husband, Sam (pictured below with Brooke). He’s like my brother. Everyone who meets Sam loves him. He was born in Kenya and is part of the Maasai tribe.

Sam and Brooke took a trip to Kenya in 2019 and had an amazing time. That was Brooke’s first time there, and she fell in love with Kenya.

Sam and Brooke brought back a bunch of jewelry handmade by Maasai women. They gave me this bracelet, which I love and wear all the time. Whenever Brooke, Sam and I wear our Maasai jewelry, we get compliments on it.

Several months ago, I told Brooke and Sam that I bet other people would be interested in buying the jewelry, and they said they’d been thinking the same thing. They decided they’d like to sell it and give all of the profits to the jewelry makers in Kenya.

So, that’s what they’re doing. I’m helping by posting photos of this gorgeous jewelry. It’s a great way to support Kenyan artisans and also own or gift something with a cool story. Enough with Amazon and big businesses! I’d personally rather give my money to hardworking, talented people who actually need it than multi-millionaires and billionaires who don’t.

The new WordPress format that I hate is not letting me insert photos where I want to, so they’re all below.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

PRICING

Bangles

$15 for one bangle

$24 for two bangles

$10 each when you buy three or more bangles

Earrings

$10 each

Suggestions Welcome

In 2018, I committed to publishing one blog post each week for the entire year. I met my goal that year, then thought, Why not continue it for 2019? I repeated that thought process for 2020, too. This is not an unusual way of thinking for me, and is how I made Dean’s List every semester in college. That’s not a brag! It’s an example of how my mind likes things to be categorized and consistent and how I figure if I can achieve a goal one time, I can do it again.

But when it comes to blog post ideas, the well has run dry. Starting in 2021, I’m either going to write one post a month, or maybe even bring it back to the pre-2018 days when I posted sporadically.

So you tell me, what do you want to read more of? Skincare tips? Makeup tips? Product reviews? Business stuff? Let ya girl know!

Thanks in advance.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Fall Is In Full Swing: The October Recap

A week ago, I was wearing sandals. Today, my heat is on. If that isn’t fall in New England, I don’t know what is!

October has been as good of a month as a month can be in a pandemic world. We had seven weddings, which is less than half of what we would have done, but better than nothing! Our October brides were all lovely, beautiful and fun to work with, so we lucked out there.

We had a lot of trials this month for 2021 brides, and it’s been great to meet everyone. We think 2021 is going to bring us a much more normal wedding season, so we’re very happy about that.

Personally, I got to (safely) see some of my family and friends, which was great. I secured my Charleston winter apartment, and you know I have a countdown going. I bought (some would say too much) decor for my Newport home, started re-watching Community and voted. A good mix of productivity and socialization, right?

And now, time to schedule trials for my August 2021 brides. If you’re an AB Beauty bride who hasn’t done or scheduled a trial yet and your wedding is before August 2021, let’s connect.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Things I Love: The Fall 2020 Edition

While I may not love 2020 (who does?), I’ve found things I love about this fall. To not share them with you would be wrong, don’t you think? So here we go, my little leaf-peeping, sweater-wearing friends.

Vegan Rob’s Turmeric Crisps. I’ve tried turmeric chips before, but these bad boys might be my favorite. I don’t know if it’s the black pepper or the Pringles can, but I’m really feelin’ these. Props to Vegan Rob.

Coconut Oil Pulling. Whenever I have sugar (really just in my Coffeemate) or alcohol (which I’ve had maybe a little more of than usual, in that pandemic way), my tongue turns either a little or a lot white. Weird, right? I mentioned that to a friend, and she said the same thing used to happen to her. She started oil pulling with coconut oil, and it got rid of the problem. So I got me some coconut oil, starting pulling, and I’ll be damned if it didn’t work. I do it every day now, and it’s really made a difference.

Fur Ingrown Concentrate. I’m super prone to ingrown hairs, and nothing has ever helped. When I saw an ad for the Ingrown Concentrate, I thought it looked interesting, so I did my own research. It had great reviews across the board, so I went for it, and I’m glad I did.

My ingrowns are down by probably 80%. It started working within days. The Ingrown Concentrate contains coconut oil, tea tree oil, tamanu oil and chamomile extract, and the moisturizing-astringent-antimicrobial-calming combination, along with the adorable mini-exfoliating mitt it comes with, really does the trick. This little bottle of smoothness has earned itself a permanent home in my post-shower routine.

InBooze Spicy Margarita Cocktail Kit. I’m into tequila and I’m into spicy, so the Spicy Margarita Cocktail Kit from InBooze was a no brainer. It’s almost too easy to infuse your tequila with this dried orange, lime, grapefruit, pineapple and jalapeno magic. You simply put the pouch in a covered container (like a Mason jar), pour in some tequila, let it sit for a few days, and you’re done. It’s easy, tastes fantastic and allows you to support a black-owned, women run small business. What’s not to love?

Total Blackout Window Film. During the day, give me all the natural light. My Newport apartment has lots of windows and skylights in every room, and I thrive in that shit. But at 6:30am, when I’ve only been asleep for five or six hours, my relationship with natural light is much different. I don’t need to see the sunrise because there are enough pictures of it on Instagram, and I certainly don’t need it to rudely interrupt my slumber.

Back when I used to be a big Amazon shopper (I try to avoid it now), I bought the Total Blackout Window Film. It took me about a year to remember to ask a friend who was visiting to help me, but I finally did recently (thanks, Jenn!). You cut out the size you need, spray the window and the back of the paper with a soap and water mix, press it on, smooth out the bubbles, and enjoy a later wake up time. My eyes have not opened before 7:30am since the window film went up, and a couple times, I even slept until almost 9:00am! A well-rested Allison is a happier Allison, and that’s worth the $15.99.

UnREAL. I had heard good things about this show a while back, so when I stumbled upon it on Hulu, I figured I’d give it a try. I’m so glad I did, because I love it. It’s a drama about the filming of a The Bachelor-like reality show. It’s dark, it’s suspenseful and it makes you kind of like characters you know you should hate. I’m on the last season now, so I’m bummed about that. All shows should have unlimited seasons waiting for us until this pandemic ends.

My New Favorite Salad. I’ve been on watermelon kick since mid-summer, often eating it with a little salt, which is a gamechanger. I had a watermelon, jalapeno and some kind of cheese salad at Mezcal in Worcester, MA that I loved and I’ve been recreating it, with some changes, at home. I use arugula then add in watermelon, japaleno, feta cheese, mint and sometimes grilled chicken. I could eat this every day, and some weeks, I do!

That’s all for now. We’ll see what other little joys this fall brings. A new show? A new skincare product? A new president? Only time will tell…

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Our One Month Peak Wedding Season: The September Recap

We don’t have any pro photos from our September weddings yet, so I’ll use this stock photo of a bride trapped in a parachute.

In normal years, our peak wedding season starts at the end of April and ends in early November. We still often have some weddings before and after that, but the bulk of our weddings happen during that time. This year, our peak season started September 1 and ended September 30. Thanks, COVID!

We still have weddings in October, November and December, but September had almost double the amount of any other month this year. It’s been nice to be back into our normal weekend schedules, even if “normal” now includes PPE, spaced out setups and extra sanitizing.

We’ve been pretty busy with trials and new 2021 wedding bookings too, which is great.  No new corporate or commercial shoots yet, but since some film and television shows are now back in production, that’s a good sign.

Personally, I got to see some friends and family this month and got to hold my baby niece for the first time. She wasn’t too thrilled about that, but I was!

The weather is starting to get cooler, which normally bothers me, but this year, I’m looking at it as a sign that 2020 is starting to come to a close. I know it’s not like everything will go back to normal on 1/1/21, but I somehow think putting this shitshow of a year behind us will at least give some temporary mental and emotional relief.

And now, I’ve got some fall and winter trials to schedule.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Some Things I Need to Get Off My Chest: The Beauty Edition

I’ve got some things to say.

The title says it all. Let’s get right into it.

Beware of Lash Serums. We all want long, full lashes, but at what expense? There are some lash serums out there that cause the whites of the eyes to turn yellow. I’ve seen it happen to several clients, and I don’t know that the yellowing goes away after you stop using the product. I personally feel safer using castor oil on my lashes, but you do you, Ol’ Yellow Eyes.

Stop Highlighting The Tip of Your Nose. I don’t know who started this trend, but I hate it. When you highlight an area, it looks bigger. Why would you want the tip of your nose to look bigger? If your answer is “I like the bulbous nose look,” then proceed. Otherwise, skip this foolishness.

You Don’t Need That Much Product. Eight pumps of foundation is too much for a human face. Twelve different eyeshadow shades are unnecessary. Five layers of highlight? Get outta here with that disco ball shit. If you put on drag queen amounts of makeup and you’re not performing, you’re going to look crazy in broad daylight. If that much makeup makes you happy, then go for it. But if you’re trying to enhance your features and let your skin show through, cut down on the product amounts.

Learn to Recognize Photoshop. We can all recognize an obvious editing fail–an extra hand in a group shot for a magazine cover, an impossibly small waist on a model in a clothing ad–but in my experience, few people can recognize editing done in makeup and skincare photos on social media and in ads. So much of what I see on social media is heavily, heavily edited. Those photos then get shown to makeup artists, with the expectation that we can duplicate what was essentially created by editing software. It’s very frustrating. I imagine it’s equally frustrating for the consumer who purchases a beauty product, thinking it will give them the same effect they saw in the ad, only to find out they can’t even get close to that. I guess the moral is this–know that what you often see is unattainable, and lower your expectations of what beauty products and makeup artists can do.

This is not a natural look. Neutral tones, but not natural.

Know What “Natural” Means. I can’t count the amount of clients who’ve told me they want a natural makeup look, then have shown me a picture of a Kardashian. Or someone with a black winged eyeliner. Or a beauty guru with lots of full coverage foundation on. To a makeup artist, natural means using a sheer foundation that lets the skin show through, with neutral toned eye makeup that enhances eye color and shape, no strong contour and certainly not loads of shimmery highlight. It’s okay to want more of a full-on makeup look, but just know that heavy foundation, a glittery eye, a winged liner and an ombre lip are not natural.

 

And that’s all I have to get off my chest…for now.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

 

Busier Than Expected: The August Recap

August is normally a very busy month for AB Beauty. Weddings, trials, shoots and frequent inquiries for the next season usually have me working 12-14 hour days and thinking, Why do people say summer is such a relaxing time?

In February, we had around 15 August weddings booked and were on track to book 5 – 10 more. By July, due to all the COVID postponements and cancellations, we were down to two. By September, we will have done eight August weddings. Let’s hear it for last minute bookings!

In August, we also did a ton of trials and one wedding proposal hair and makeup. And we booked a TON of 2021 weddings, as well as a few new September weddings. I’ve been a lot busier than I expected this month.

AB Beauty celebrated 12 years in business in this month, which is crazy. Can’t say it’s our best year in business, but we will make it through.

On a personal note, my month was good because I became an auntie! My niece was born earlier this month and boy, is she perfect. I look at pictures of her 19 times a day.

Unless something insane happens–which is entirely possible–September will be our busiest weddings month of 2020, so I’m gearing up for that.

And now, back to my inbox. The craziness awaits.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

It Doesn’t Feel Like Summer: My July Recap

July mood.

July is the first full month of summer, but it hasn’t felt like any summer I’ve ever known. This past month was a rough one for me emotionally. For much of the month, I felt unmotivated and less creative than I’ve ever been. I’ve since come out of that rut and am grateful for that, but it wasn’t fun.

I normally really like July. Warm weather, lots of daylight and usually some friend visits. The past two Julys, I’ve gone to the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal, which I love and have so much fun going to. Out of the peak wedding season months, July normally tends be slower, which gives me a break between the craziness of June and August.

This July has of course been much different. No friend visits, no JFL and no full weddings (just one minimony/bride only services wedding that I didn’t personally do). July did pick up a lot for my company, as makeup services became allowed again in RI, so our makeup trials started back up. I ‘personally did a handful of them and got to work with some of the nicest people. I also did the makeup (and AB Beauty hair stylist, Leah, did the hair) for two branding shoots with Hilary B. Photography. It was a little challenging at first getting used to the PPE Rhode Island makeup artists are now required to wear (N95 or KN95 masks and eye protection), but once my nurse friend, Jenn, got me some masks that fit my child-sized face, I felt much better.

We booked a lot of 2021 weddings in July. We now have several dates that we are fully booked, due to the new inquiries and all of the 2020 brides who postponed to next year. It’s going to be a crazy one!

Once my creativity came back, I accepted a writing challenge my gentleman friend gave me and published two articles on Medium. This one is about my parents, and this one is about my snowbird life in Charleston. I’ve been wanting to pick up some freelance writing work for a while, and Medium has given me that opportunity. If you would be so kind as to read my two articles and give each one a clap or two (clap icon is to the left of the story), I would really appreciate it. Even if you’re not Medium member, you can read two free articles a month.

In family news, my sister-in-law is having a baby any day now, and I cannot WAIT to meet my niece or nephew! Every time I get a text notification, I hope it’s news that this little bambino/bambina is coming. My whole family is on baby watch right now.

Between my upcoming Auntie status and a few plans I have next month, I think August will beat July. You’ll find out in about 31 days…

Have a beautiful day 🙂