Insta Makeup Trends: What I Really Think

Instagram: the place where good, bad, ugly and just plain weird makeup looks have a platform. I follow a lot of cosmetic companies and pro makeup artists, and I love seeing some of the stunning, creative and retro looks they post. But I sometimes get wind of Instagram makeup trends that aren’t quite so well done. You’ve seen some, right?

I’m going to go over some of the popular Insta makeup trends of the past year or so, and I’ll let you know exactly what I think (as if you had any doubt about that).


The trend: Faux freckles.

What it is: Using eyeliner or eye shadow to draw on fake freckles.

What it looks like on Instagram: Faux freckles

My professional opinion: Pro makeup artists have been doing this for years. I think it gets overdone on Instagram (and I’m not even referring to the glitter faux freckles trend), but it can be done in a more subtle way. For a pro take on this trend, check out the end of this tutorial from Nic of the Pixiwoos.

The trend: Clown contouring.

What it is: Using contouring, highlighting and color corrector products, as well as blush (and sometimes lipstick) drawn on like clown makeup to sculpt the face.

What it looks like on Instagram: Clown contouring

My professional opinion: Like many of the non-clown contouring techniques out there, that is a lot of makeup. (Keep in mind those highlight, contour, color corrector and blush cream products are put over foundation, then powder goes on top of them.) Like with any contour tutorial you follow, you have to make sure the makeup artist or model has the same face shape and eye shape as you do, or else you could end up accentuating the features you are trying to minimize. From what I understand, clown contouring was started as a sort of creative challenge between some beauty influencers and wasn’t meant to be taken seriously. I say, go with that attitude. If you want to do clown contouring for fun, do it to it. But if you want to learn how to contour for your own face shape, check out my Shape Up series (Part 1Part 2Part 3 and Part 4).

The trend: Glitter lips.

What it is: Using a glitter-infused lipstick or patting glitter on top of lipstick.

What it looks like on Instagram: Glitter, glitter lips, glitter lipstick

My professional opinion: Due to my 2006 One Particle of Glitter Lodged In My Eyeball incident, I hate glitter. If you give me a birthday card with glitter, I’ll stop responding your texts. That being said, I don’t hate the look of this trend. However, I have to assume it would not be comfortable to wear and would dry out your lips very quickly. Glitter has come under some heat lately for its negative effect on the environment. (Most types contain micoplastic–tiny pieces of glitter that end up in the waterways, harming fish and hanging out in our water supplies.) There are biodegradable glitters that don’t hurt the environment, and there are also edible and non-toxic glitters which you might want to consider if you are putting something on your lips. Because, you know, you’re going to end up eating some of it. So if you are going to try glitter lips, be smart about it!

The trend: Baking.

What it is: Leaving a translucent powder on the skin for 5-10 minutes to really set into areas you want to highlight. This technique has been used in the drag community for years.

What it looks like on Instagram: Baking, makeup baking, powder highlight

My professional opinion: Again, it’s a lot of makeup (but you might have guessed that when I said “drag community.”) It requires several layers of product–both creams and powders–which can easily cause caking. (Baking, caking–am I writing a food blog now?) Especially if you are dry in any of the areas you are going to bake, you’ll likely see the powder adhere to the dry patches. And if you’ve got large pores or fine lines and you’re baking over those, you can expect to see some of the layers of product settle into those pores or lines. If you’re going to try baking, I recommend making sure your skin is well exfoliated and moisturized first, and prepped with a pore minimizer if enlarged pores or fine lines are a concern.

The trend:  Lollipop lips.

What it is: Intentional lip color smudging outside of the lips, to mimic what I think is how a child looks after eating a lollipop.

What it looks like on Instagram: lollipop lips, Instagram makeup trends

My professional opinion: Why????? I’m all for messy makeup, but not to this degree. I prefer a blurred/stained lipcolor, which has a similar effect but doesn’t make you look like you did your makeup after five cocktails…in the dark…with mittens on. That blurred/stained look I’m referring to can be achieved by applying a lipstick, blotting on a tissue, then patting the edges with your fingertips. It’s okay to go slightly over the natural lipline since the lipstick would be soft and undefined, but “slightly” is the key word. If you want to be a Lollipop (Lips) Kid, don’t let me stop you. But if you’re wondering what I think of this look, I don’t approve.

The trend: Feathered eyebrows.

What it is: A part down the middle of the length of each eyebrow, with the brows hairs then smoothed down by brow gel, pomade or glue (yes, glue stick glue.)

What it looks like on Instagram: Feathered eyebrows, Instagram eyebrows, Instagram eyebrow trends

My professional opinion: Points for creativity, but I can’t see this look being flattering on anyone. Can you imagine having a normal conversation with someone whose brows looked like that? You know you would be looking at their brows the whole time. If you’re into statement looks and you don’t mind some “What the hell?” stares, go for it. It’s not what I consider a wearable look, but to each her own.

The trend: Doing makeup with weird shit. (I mean, can you think of a better description?)

What it is: Using things other than makeup brushes and tools to blend or to guide the lines for contour, highlight and eyeliner wings. Some objects I’ve seen beauty influencers use: spoons, tampons, fidget spinners, silicone bra inserts, hard boiled eggs and condoms.

What it looks like on Instagram: Weird Instagram makeup trends, hard boiled egg makeup

My professional opinion: Ridic. I guarantee an actual makeup brush or sponge does the job better than any of these weirdo ideas. This one annoys me the most so I’m stopping it at three sentences.

I’m all for being creative and having fun with makeup. My issue with some of the Insta beauty trends is that people aren’t learning how to correctly apply makeup, or they are going for super overdone looks that aren’t going to translate well in person. Play around with makeup all you want, but remember that a lot of these Insta trends aren’t wearable. If you want to improve your makeup game, watching a tutorial from a legit pro makeup artist like Lisa Eldridge is a better use of your time than trying to figure out how to use a fidget spinner to contour your face.

Have a beautiful day 🙂


2018 Game Plan

I’m not big on New Year’s Resolutions. I figure if I want to make a change, I’ll just start the day I think of it. But since it’s early January and I have some things I want to do, I’ll get in on this Resolutions action. Except I’m calling them goals, because as we all know, “resolution” is Latin for “only do until February.”

Why share these goals instead of keeping them to myself? Because I am a lot more likely to do something once I put it in writing. (Also, see my first Business goal.) And I think some of these goals–most likely the beauty ones–might be helpful to some people.

Let’s get this 2018 Game Plan going.


Mask Appeal. A good face mask works wonders. Whenever I use a mask, I think Ooooh, my skin looks so good! after. Then I forget to do another one for several weeks. Makes no sense, right? Part of the problem may be that I only currently have one mask (Clarins Beauty Flash Balm), which I also use as a primer. I think if I buy a few more–and put them somewhere where I can’t forget about them–I’ll do better with this one. If you regularly mask, good job. You’re an inspiration to me.

Lotioned Up. I am great at keeping my face, neck and chest moisturized, but it’s like I forget I’m not just a mannequin from Esthetics school. I have a torso and four limbs too! I have been actively trying to be better about using body lotion every day, so I’ll continue working on that. Anyone else with me on this?

Esthetics school mannequin
Note to self: You are more than this.

Massage Envy. Facial massage is fantastic because it boosts circulation, which gives a glow to the skin. When more oxygen is brought to the surface of the ol’ dermis, it helps increase collagen, aka the genetic fountain of youth elixir our bodies naturally produce. To do a facial massage, use some face oil, massage into your skin for 5-10 minutes, and watch dull skin disappear. I know this, and I do it, but not often enough. I must do better.

Brush It Off. Ever heard of dry brushing? It’s when you use a body brush on dry skin to rev up circulation, exfoliate, and stimulate lymph flow. I do this when I remember, but my skin will benefit if I do it more often. Doing this regularly in combination with body lotion will help me shed any winter dryness. If your body lotion isn’t quite doing the job, consider adding dry brushing to your routine.

Tame Those Claws. I get my nails done maybe three times a year. I get a gel manicure, because why do any other kind? But regular gel manicures can weaken the nail bed and make a dent in the bank account. So what I should be doing is simple: keep my fast-growing nails filed down and buff a shine into them once a week. But what do I do? File them only when I break a nail and buff them maybe once a month. I can, and will, change my shameful pattern of nail neglect. I hope you are better than me with this (and by the looks of it, most people I see are!)


Get Blogged Down. I love writing these blog posts! But I need to do it more frequently. One of my goals for January is to write a bunch of posts to stockpile for a regular post publishing schedule. I’ve been doing better lately (have you noticed?) so I think I’m off to a good start.

Template Time. I dare you to find a successful business that does not utilize some level of templating and automation. I’ve been using templates for years in my business communication, but it’s time to polish them up. This month, I’ll be reviewing and revising all templates. This will be helpful to my future admin assistant, who I daydream about daily.

Socialize. My social media game could use some help. I’m not horrible at it, but I know I could do better. So I’m taking some workshops so I can step it up and make the AB Beauty brand stronger.

Social media guru

Be a Teacher. Makeup lessons are one of my favorite services that we offer, and I don’t do them often enough. I love teaching other people how to do their own makeup, because I think it’s a helpful skill to have. My goal is to book more makeup lessons to help others emphasize the beauty they already have.

Grow, Girl. I’m tryin’ to expand this beauty empire, you know? I have some specific goals and tasks I’m working on, and hopefully they will lead to a big announcement in 2018. That’s all I’m going to say about this one. How’s that for cryptic?


Give Thanks. I am well aware of how great my life is. I am grateful for my supportive family and friends, the success of my business and the freedom it gives me, how I get to live in two really awesome cities (Newport, RI and Charleston, SC), my health, and a million more things. So when I get frustrated, upset or annoyed at anything, I have been trying to remind myself of what I have. I find it tough to do that when I’m in the middle of what I consider a crappy situation, but I am making an effort to think of all the good to pull myself out of the bad mood spirals.

Love It or List It. I don’t own either of the apartments I live in, so I can’t list anything. (I guess the equivalent HGTV show for renters would be “Love It or Break Your Lease.”) I prioritize my beauty studio but have spent some time, effort and money making the bathroom and kitchen/living room in my Newport apartment look prettier. My bedroom, however, is U-G-L-Y. It’s a mishmash of furniture from college, past apartments and my studio before its makeover. It’s time to transform my bedroom into a room I want to spend time in instead of a room that makes me cringe. I’ve got a Pinterest board of dream bedrooms and a friend with a good eye for home decor, so I’m hoping to Love It in 2018.

Overreact Much? Sometimes I catch myself making a bigger deal out of frustrating situations than I need to (mostly when I’m tired). That’s so unnecessary and doesn’t help anything. In my experience, things always work out. I have been trying to remind myself that the outcome is always fine, so I shouldn’t freak out in the interim. I was tested with this today. It’s my second full day in my winter apartment in Charleston. I have a friend visiting, and we were both planning on working from home this morning then we’d go out for lunch. But we woke up to frozen pipes and a cold apartment (even with the heat turned up high all night). My property manager said nothing could be done about it until the weather warms up. Normally, that would be maddening for me, especially because there have already been a few issues with the apartment. But today, I stayed calm. My friend and I decided we would go out for breakfast instead of lunch, and now we are at a cute little coffee shop in my neighborhood. The pipes won’t stay frozen forever, so eventually I’ll live in an apartment with running water again. Until then, there’s nothing I can do. This is a tough pill for a Sicilian Gemini to swallow, as patience isn’t our thing. But I’m trying!

Listen Up. My mother is a really good listener. So good, in fact, that during phone conversations I often have to ask her if she is still there. I try to channel my Inner Mom when I’m having a conversation. If I realize I’m thinking of my response instead of listening when someone is talking, I try to snap myself out of it. I’ll be extra conscious of this going forward. By 2019, they’ll be calling me Allison “All Ears” Barbera.

Win Big. Without a doubt, this is the year I win the HGTV Dream Home. I have only missed one day’s worth of entries so far, but I won’t let that happen anymore. I try for this every year, but 2018 is going to be the year I finally get it.

HGTV Dream Home, Seattle
My future great room.

I’m going to review this post next year and hopefully I’ll be able to say I made progress with all of these goals. You can hold me to it.

Happy New Year! And have a beautiful day 🙂


Things I Love: The Summer 2017 Edition

What makes you this happy?

When I love something, I really love it. Things are either my favorite or they are dead to me. It’s part of my charm! So for your reading pleasure, I present the current Things I Love.

Tequila. It’s a tale as old as time: I once had a bad experience with tequila then didn’t touch the stuff for ten years. I slowly started getting into it again last summer and now it’s become my favorite. I feel fantastic after I drink this nectar of the gods. All other alcohol gives me a foggy kind of buzz, but a tequila buzz makes me feel sharp. Vodka Allie makes half-assed plans and loses lip balms. Tequila Allie will create a Google calendar and schedule your dentist appointments for you. I almost never have more than three drinks (my max is normally two), but when I have even one vodka cocktail or glass of wine, I can feel it the next day. It’s not a hangover, but I wake up and I think Oh, I had a drink last night. When I wake up after drinking tequila, I feel great. Also, anything but tequila makes the faint lines on my face much more noticeable for a few hours. Those lines aren’t as noticeable post tequila. Tequila Allie runs shit and her skin looks good doing it? That’s a win-win.

The Moto Leigh Jeans by Topshop. There are certain clothing styles that do not work on my body. Cap sleeves, A-line skirts and peplum dresses are not for me. And until (somewhat) recently, jeans were in my “What Not to Wear” category. I had tried on rough 7,000 pairs in my adult years, but could never find any that didn’t make me look ten pounds heavier and unhappy. Then one summer day a while back, Vodka Allie went shopping. She bought an animal print winter coat that she felt very boss in. It fit great in the store, but when I (back to regular Allie now) tried it on the next day with a sweater–as one wears in the winter underneath a coat–I discovered that the sleeves were too tight. So I returned it, but could only get store credit. As someone who believes that if you put enough effort into something you can usually succeed, I decided to use that store credit to give jeans another try. I approached the store’s display of jeans with trepidation and a sliver of hope. I tried on a gray pair of Topshop Moto Leigh skinny jeans and was shocked. They fit! And looked good! They became a staple in my wardrobe and were later joined by their sisters Moto Black Leigh jeans and Moto Dark Blue Leigh jeans. I wear the hell out of these pants and I’m going to order some more right now. Interested? Let me save you some Googling: The Perfect Jeans

Drybar Hair Products. Last year, some kind soul gave me the Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo. As a once-a-week-hair-washer, dry shampoo is an essential in my hair product arsenal. Some dry shampoos are garbage, but the Detox is a keeper. Next in my foray into Drybar products was the Triple Sec 3-in-1, which extends your blowout, gives a tousled look and adds texture. Oh, so the trinity of hair perfection? I’m sold. Their Detox Dry Conditioner, my most recent acquisition, makes Day 6 of my blowout look polished and smell fantastic. I’m not usually big on hair products because I’ve got enough steps in my beauty routine, but these products are so good and so easy to use that I have no excuse.

My Coffee. I’m about to get real basic on you. I drank coffee throughout college and in my early 20s but stopped in my mid 20s because the caffeine was triggering panic attacks. So then I was tired and anxious, but no more heart palpitations! Two years ago, I was often exhausted from working a ton (status now: the same) and since I hadn’t had a panic attack in years, I thought I would give coffee a try again. I started by getting half decaf coffees, then small regular coffees and eventually worked my way up to mediums. Once I realized how much money I was spending at coffee shops, I decided the smart choice would be to buy my own coffee pot. I went with an old school no frills Mr. Coffee model. And now coffee from pretty much anywhere else tastes sub par to me. I drink New England Coffee Colombian Supremo with Coffee-mate Italian Sweet Creme (give me a break, it’s the one bad thing in my diet). I’m embarrassed to say how much I look forward to this magical beverage. Sometimes when I go to bed at night, I actually think I can’t wait to drink my coffee tomorrow! Maybe that’s ridiculous, but I’d much rather go to bed excited to wake up for something then go to bed dreading what I have to wake up for.

My Morning Ritual. I’ve read several articles/posts about rituals and habits in business, and how starting your day off the same way every morning makes a huge difference. That makes a lot of sense to my Type A personality. So unless I have a job/clients early in the morning and only have time to shower and put on a little makeup before I get on the road, I follow the same ritual. My eyes open and I check my phone to make sure my personal and career worlds have not fallen apart in the last seven hours. I take my probiotics, some supplements, then make my coffee. While my coffee is brewing, I do some crunches, lunges, squats and a quick arm workout with weights. Then I work on a blog post–I’m in the middle of this ritual now–while I drink two cups of coffee. After the post is done, I drink my whey protein shake while watching some kind of comedy–a standup special, an interview with a comic or comedic actor I like, part of an episode of a funny show–because I like to start my day off with laughter. I used to dive right into emails (and I still answer anything urgent when I wake up), but I now prefer to ease into the day. If I’m laughing, I’m in a good mood. That makes me much better equipped to handle the work day. I take the rest of my supplements during this time, then figure out how the remainder of my day should go. There are certain tasks I do on designated days, but I can’t put too much structure into my day because it really depends on the emails and calls that come in. I really enjoy my morning ritual and believe it starts my day off right.

Castor Oil. Over the past year, I’ve noticed that my eyelashes and eyebrows have been thinning out a little. I looked into lash serums, because I’ve seen great results from them, but learned that many of them have the terrifying aftermath of lash loss when you stop using the product. I had heard about using castor oil on lashes and brows for a while and after my research confirmed that there are no side effects, I went for it. (I also ran it by my ophthalmologist and we had a great five minute conversation about eyelashes.) I started using it on my lashes and brows in mid-April. I’ve done it most nights since then and sure enough, it’s working. It’s not a huge change, but I can see a difference in both my brows and my lashes, and I get more “Are your lashes real?” questions/compliments that I used to. I’ll write a detailed blog post about castor oil at a later date, so keep an eye(lash) out for that one.

“Congratulations” Podcast. You know how I said I love to laugh? I wasn’t joking. I have a blog post in the works about my favorite comics, but I love comedy so much and want to do that post justice, so it’s taking me forever to write. When I finally finish it, there will be a big section about Chris D’Elia, because he is one of my favorites. He has a podcast called “Congratulations” that comes out on Monday nights. I listen on Tuesday mornings while I’m doing my makeup and I look forward to it as much as–maybe more than–my coffee. I laugh out loud several times each “Congratulations” episode, and I know you will too. If you’re looking for a great podcast, this is the one.

Relax Rain App. Two apartments ago, I had an elderly downstairs neighbor who was hard of hearing. He looked like Santa Claus and was very nice, but I hated him at night. He put his TV on full volume and it sounded like the History Channel (his channel of choice) was filming a show in my kitchen. SO LOUD, and it made me have nightmares about World War II. I bought a sound machine, but I would sometimes forget to bring it to overnight trips. My friend Jen told me about sound machine apps, which would solve my problem. I’m partial to rain sounds so when I found the Relax Rain app, I knew I had to download it. It’s got all of the basic rain sounds you could wish for (“Rain on Leaves,” “Rain on Window,” “Light Rain at Night”) plus some for the more adventurous rain listener (“Home in the Rainforest,” “Tent in the Rain,” “Inside the Caravan.”) Now I am safe from loud neighbors and am always surprised when I wake up and see that it has really rained overnight.

Mermaid Kisses Body Wash by Shore Soap Co. This body wash smells fantastic but not in an overpowering way, and due to the absence of sulfates, it doesn’t strip the skin dry. It’s also paraben-free and won’t break the bank at $12 a bottle. For those of you who know what these things smell like, here’s the list: golden amber, musk, sparkling citrus, pink jasmine and lily of the valley. All I know is that that combination is amazing and I will keep buying this body wash. (Along with a lot of other people, as it’s Shore Soap Co.’s most popular body wash.) If you’re in Newport, you can stop by their cute little shop at 302 Thames Street. If not, it’s 2017 so you can order it online.

My Standing Dates. I’m not proud of this, but I’ll work until I drop unless I have plans with someone. For that reason (and because I love them) I very much look forward to the time I spend with my friends and family. But you know how it goes–it can be hard to get together because of work schedules and family obligations. I have a few friends I have standing weekly plans with and we really try to stick with those commitments. These hangouts go in my calendar like work appointments, because I take them that seriously. On Tuesday nights, I chill with my friend (and awesome insurance agent), Julie. We order Thai, watch Southern Charm on Bravo and catch each other up on what’s happened in our lives since the previous Tuesday. On Thursdays or Fridays, I meet up with my friend Greta for late afternoon/early evening drinks. Her boyfriend, Chris, who I’ve also become friends with, meets us after he’s out of work. I always leave our weekly hangouts with my face hurting from laughing so much (and also usually with a little buzz). I really love these “appointments” and I think they save me from small business owner burnout.

My Two Homes. Ever since I opened my business, I knew that I wanted to live somewhere warm in the winter. No one appreciates the summer and fall like a New Englander, and I don’t think there is anywhere better to be than Newport during those six months, so that’s absolutely where I want to be for part of the year. But winter and that bullshit called “spring” that is really just winter with more daylight? No thanks. This past January and February, I lived in beautiful Charleston, SC. (Okay, Mt. Pleasant if we’re being technical.) I can run my business from anywhere and I had coverage for my makeup jobs thanks to my rockstar team, so there was no reason not to go. I already had a crush on Charleston after my visits there over the past few years, but I fell in love with the Holy City after living there for about 12 hours. The people, the weather, the architecture, the grits. You ever get that “This is exactly where I’m supposed to be” feeling? I had it for two straight months. But Newport was my first true location love, and that love is still going strong (for half of the year, anyway). I feel incredibly lucky that I’m able to live in what I think are two of the best places in the country. Working snowbird 4 lyfe.

My Life. This is not a new Thing I Love–it’s a constant. I have a dope life. Part of it comes from luck/circumstance/birth and part of it comes from hard work. I’m grateful for my supportive, loving, funny and smart family and friends. I’m grateful for my team at AB Beauty and the success my company has had. I’m grateful for my health, for the fact that I can walk and my life isn’t filled with doctor’s appointments and hospital visits. I’m grateful for the circumstances and career success that allow me to run from the cold in the winter. Whenever I catch myself bitching about something, right after I’m done with that (or sometimes halfway through) a little voice in my head says, Are you kidding me?!?! I know that I have it good. Like really good. Part of me feels bad saying this because I know lots of people don’t have it so good, often due to factors they can’t control or change. But to deny what I have would be absurd. I’m not trying to rub it in, but I don’t see anything wrong with acknowledging and showing gratitude for what I have.

I would love to hear other people’s favorite things too. (Unless one of those things is “Tupac’s albums.” If so, you’re reading the wrong damn blog.) So go ahead, leave a comment.

Have a beautiful day 🙂



So Two Thousand and Early

Beauty trend predictions
She’s already got the thin eyebrows of 2027 BECAUSE SHE’S PSYCHIC.

I’m super tight with Future Allison. I consult with her every day about a variety of things. What should I do when my lease is up? What’s my next big business move? Can I take a trip to Ireland soon? (Please say yes.) I look at the facts and the financials and sometimes bring in Past Allison to remind me of previous mis-steps. Future Allison is good at showing me a pretty clear picture of what’s ahead. I may not always know the details of my next decision, but I have usually have an idea of what my life will look like later on, thanks to Future Allison.

I also seem to have a little bit of the sixth sense. (Anddddd several readers just closed this window.) I think we all have it, but skeptics would disagree. I occasionally get premonitions about things or dream situations that actually happen, so I can’t write it off. I’m no Rhode Island Medium, but between Future Allison, this minor crystal ball ability, my almost nine years in the beauty industry and what I think is strong intuition, I feel like I have a little peak into what’s ahead.

And so I bring you my long term beauty trend predictions. Here’s what I see for our collective faces (and bodies) in the next decade.

Eyebrows. They are absolutely going to shrink. Five years from now, we’ll look back at the dark, thick, blocky Instaglam brows and the less-stylized-but-still-full-editorial brows and say “Oh my God, so 2017.” I don’t think we go back to the pencil thin brows of the 30s or early 90s anytime soon, but some celebrity or model who has naturally thin brows will come onto the scene, and people will start tweezing a little more.

Highlight. Shimmery highlight/illuminator is just about at the top of its bubble, and bubbles always pop. (Science.) Shimmery highlight will still be on the scene in a few years, but in a much more subtle way.  Something so overly trendy can’t not implode. It may first happen by people switching to matte highlighters, then forgoing them completely. Anti-shimmer talk will abound. Mainstream American cosmetic wearers will learn that shimmer particles settle into fine lines, blemishes and scarring and accentuate them and people will get skirred.

Lips. This has already started—glosses are getting popular again. In ten years, I say we are back to the every- female-over-14-has-a-lipgloss-in-her-bag days of the late 90s and early aughts. The futuristic glosses will claim to do several things—hydrate, plump, provide sun protection, do your laundry—and cosmetic companies may finally find a way to make glosses shiny and long-lasting but not sticky.

Blush. Cheek color has been quiet for some time now, so I predict that will change. Blush will become more obvious and will be touted as the number one way to look more awake and youthful. Powders, creams, gels and liquid formulations will continue to be available, along with some new formulations like spray. There will also be some tool or technique that is said to be new, but is probably something only new to the masses.

Mascara. More ridiculous wands will be created. Bottom lashes will get a little more love. People will still want long, full lashes, but I also foresee glossy top lashes becoming a thing. That’s right–shiny, vinyl finish black lashes. Mascara wands and different shades have been done to death, but textures–other than fiber formulations–have not been explored as deeply. So that will happen.

Contour. Contour is already gone from some circles but in 10 years, you will rarely see contour tutorials and cult favorite contour kits. Professional makeup artists will still use it in a more subtle way–as they have been doing for decades–but the average woman in 2027 won’t be all about it.

Eyeshadow. Cream shadows will become more popular for the everyday woman, as these formulations are easy and quick to apply. There will always be more complicated Instaglam eye makeup looks but if we are talking real life, the easier a product is to apply and the less time it takes, the more the average American woman will like it.

Eyeliner. Eyeliner will always be a staple and for good reason–it’s a product that can really define the eyes, which are the feature many women want to draw attention to. Formulations will continue to be improved to make the liners last longer, as smudging is still the number one complaint from eyeliner wearers. I predict a trend of colored eyeliners at the bottom lashline in shades that bring out people’s eye color.

Skincare. There have and will always be two camps of skincare maintenance: The Diehards and The Little As Possibles. The Diehards will continue to try new products and regularly say things like “regimen,” “serum,” and “hydrating mask.” The Little As Possibles will continue to try products that claim to “do it all,” allowing them to spend minimal time on their skincare routine. Lasers, Botox and procedures like microneedling will become more commonplace as we head into the future.

Body Makeup. Mainstream America will start embracing body makeup as cosmetic companies find a new way to capitalize on insecurities–bruises, redness and dull skin on arms, legs, back and decolletage–that we didn’t even know we had. Body makeup will become more available at the drugstore level. Highlighting and contouring the face might be less prevalent, but get ready for some collarbone highlighting and contoured cleavage tutorials.

Hands vs Brushes. There are a million brushes and sponges on the market, and now some beauty influencers and YouTube product junkies are using things like hard boiled eggs (gross) and condoms (more gross) to blend their foundation. I’d say the ridiculous point has already been reached, and I do hope you agree. Something that’s so trendy–in some circles, anyway–will eventually implode, and this will. I predict that more people will start using their hands to apply face products, cream shadows and even lipstick.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Who wants to check back with me in 10 years to see what I got right?

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Which Team Are You On?

Kylie Jenner, Kendall Jenner. Kylie makeup
The Jenner sisters are often used as an example of what Editorial and Instaglam makeup looks like side by side.

I’ve mentioned this topic in some blog posts and Allison Barbera Beauty Facebook statuses, so it’s time to explain myself. Or rather, explain the current division between Editorial makeup and Instagram makeup. I’m not going to disclose which team I’m on right now (but a quick glance at my work would clue you in). My goal is to make this post as objective as possible and help clearly explain the differences between the two types. This will probably be most helpful to beginner makeup artists and Cosmetology and Esthetics students. You’ve got to know your craft, my friends. Types of makeup might be referred to by a client, photographer or director–either as something they want or do not want–and it’s your job to know what they are talking about.

Before social media, editorial makeup was really the only reference. For the purposes of this post, editorial makeup encompasses not just what you see in magazines, but runway and red carpet makeup as well. I would also include most feature film and non-reality television makeup. If you love the work of Lisa Eldridge, Pat McGrath, Billy B, Mary Greenwell, Val Garland or Charlotte Tilbury–all veteran professional makeup artists with decades of experience–you’re on Team Editorial. Not sure what Editorial makeup is? Let’s break it down in everyone’s favorite list format.

  1. I’m Focused, Man. Editorial makeup typically focuses on one feature. There may be a “supporting actress” feature as well–the peachy cream blush that compliments the smoldering, beachy, bronzey eye–but that generally means the rest of the makeup is downplayed. (Think a sheer foundation and muted lip color with that bronzey eye and peachy cheek.)
  2. Do You. Editorial makeup takes the individual into account. Their coloring, skin type, features, eye color, etc. are all taken into consideration when the look is created. Even on the runway when each show has a certain look, one model may have, for example, the yellow eyeshadow that is the focus of the look winged out a bit to flatter her eye shape.
  3. For Real. In this type of makeup, skin looks like real skin (or it did before some overzealous retoucher got a hold of it). You may see some freckles, pores, evidence of the eye sockets most people have, texture of the skin, etc.
  4. Texturize. Not only is there balance between the focus put on each feature, but the textures used. Unless it is to spotlight a trend, you don’t see a fully shimmery or a fully matte face. So you may see a matte wine colored lip but the foundation has a glow to it or the eye is glossy. Or in that bronzey eye example, the lip is probably if not matte, at least not glossy or shimmery. Mixing up the textures “anchors” the face.

Below are some examples of editorial makeup.

Alexa Chung, blue eyeliner, winged eyeliner
A look created by Lisa Eldridge on Alexa Chung. The focus is on the winged blue eyeliner, which is complimented by glowing skin and a natural lip color.
Pat McGrath
A look by Pat McGrath. The wine color lip is the main focus, but the lashes play a secondary role.
This cat eye look was created by Charlotte Tilbury. Yes, you may notice some contour and the light lip, but it’s clear where the focus is.

Instagram makeup, aka Instaglam makeup, encompasses both Instagram and many YouTube tutorial looks. It tends to be the domain of newer or younger makeup artists and product junkies. There are also “beauty influencers,” who are usually not trained makeup artists, but people who create and post looks they’ve done on themselves. If you’re on Team Instaglam, you may follow people like @amrezy, @iluvsarahii and @mac_daddyy. Want to know the basics of Instaglam? Read on.

  1. I Just Can’t Choose! Instaglam focuses on several features at once. Looks featuring full coverage foundation, heavy contour, strong highlight, a majorly shimmery or cut crease eye, winged liner, thick brows, overlined lips and matte lipstick seem to be the norm.
  2. We’re All One. Instaglam makeup tends to assume everyone has the same face shape, skin type and features. So contour is often placed under the cheekbones, jawline and down the sides of the nose regardless of bone structure and face shape. Brows are typically thick and stylized, with less fill in at the front. Highlight is normally very generously applied to the cheekbones, Cupid’s bow and tip of nose. The Instaglam lip that I see most often is matte, ombre and overdrawn to varying degrees. A grayish lilac shade seems to be popular, but reds and deep or intense colors are big too. Winged eyeliner is prevalent with Instaglam makeup and false strip lashes are usually included. Foundation is matte and full coverage (regardless of skin type) and “baked” with powder, disguising the skin’s natural texture.
  3. Photo Ready. Instaglam makeup is meant for Instagram. These looks are created with the sole intention of being photographed, so the creator can influence lighting and posing, as well as retouching and filters. I’ve read posts where Instaglam beauty influencers were interviewed, and they’ve said they don’t wear the looks they do in “real life” because it doesn’t translate well. It’s similar to theatre makeup, which looks fantastic on stage but crazy town in person.

These are some examples of Instaglam makeup. I’ve chosen popular photos on Instagram which best illustrate the things I’ve mentioned.

Instaglam makeup
Glittery eyeshadow, heavy liner, strip lashes, filled in brows, full coverage foundation, visible highlight and contour, slightly overdrawn lipliner and ombre matte lips on this look by @nikkifrenchmakeup.
Kasey Rayton, Instaglam, cut crease
In this look by @kaseyrayton, full coverage foundation, highlight, contour, a cut crease, strong winged eyeliner, stylized brows, false strip lashes and a matte overdrawn lip are featured.
@amrezy, Instaglam makeup, illuminator, winged liner
A look by @amrezy showcasing full coverage foundation, highlight, contour, a cut crease, dramatic winged liner, stylized brows and light lips.

Hopefully you now understand the differences between Editorial and Instaglam makeup. Feel free to comment with questions.

Have a beautiful day 🙂


Label Conscious

Beauty blogger

I’m a First Born, Only Daughter and Sibling of One. I’m a Two Time Maid of Honor who was voted Most Considerate[1] in high school. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in American Studies and graduated Magna Cum Laude. I’m an Entrepreneur, a Makeup Artist and an Independent Contractor. I’m an INFJ[2], HSP[3] with Type A tendencies. I’m a Temini[4] who is either a Generation X-er or a Millenial, depending on your source. I’m a licensed Esthetician and a Class 10 Driver who has let her real estate license lapse. I’m 75% Italian, 25% Irish and 100% not doing DNA testing because I need to attribute my emotional outbursts and stubbornness to my genetics. I’m a Bad Boy Magnet[5], an Old School Hip Hop Head and a Runner. I’m a Gluten-Free[6] Vodka Drinker, formerly a Vegetarian and Bacardi Bitch. Not into labels? Wait, I’ve got one more: Makeup Girl. And that’s the most important one for this blog.

I’ve been inconsistently doing blog posts for almost six and a half years, and I recently realized that my new followers might want to know a little about me. (Should I add “Self Important Blogger” to my labels?) Maybe I’m alone in this, but I like to know why people blog about the topics they choose. Is it part of their job? Or are they writing because they are passionate about certain subjects or think they have information that could help others? (All of those are my motivating factors.) If it’s not a work requirement, I want to know what got them interested in the industry, hobby or part of life they write about. If you’re like me and want to know about this little blogger, read on.

I started “A Pretty Addiction” because I am a Makeup Girl. Yes, I’m also an Entrepreneur who knows every good business has a blog, but that wasn’t my main motivation. This blog allows me to combine two of my biggest passions: beauty and writing. As a born Makeup Girl, I have always loved trying new products and techniques. There is nothing quite like feeling of opening a new product and wondering if it will be my new perfect lipstick/mascara/eyeliner. That moment of hope and anticipation is so sweet, and when the product meets or exceeds my expectations, I’m damn near ecstatic. And writing is my favorite way to communicate, so why not combine the two passions?

I’ve also always loved reading about beauty. Production recommendations, application techniques, new ingredients and product technology, how looks were started and evolved over the years–all of that and more. And I know I’m not the only one who feels that way. There are a ton of beauty publications (both magazines and online) and the US beauty industry brought in $62 billion in 2015.

But what I noticed once I started working as a makeup artist was that there is a huge gap in consumer knowledge. People are buying products–often blindly–but they don’t know how to use them. Many people don’t know their skin type or how that affects not only the skincare products but the makeup they use. They don’t know where to test foundation to see if it’s a color match (on the jawline), how to apply mascara (run the wand back and forth at the lashline for volume, blink into it for length) or why they need a color corrector for dark circles (because the darkness will show through the concealer if you don’t cancel it out first). As a licensed esthetician and makeup artist, I think I can help fill in this knowledge gap. It seems crazy and selfish to not share what I have learned over the past eight years.

So if you like product recommendations, application tips and look how-to’s, you’re at the right place. I also do some posts about entrepreneurship, as the idea that almost everyone needs to be a 9-5 employee is changing, and some of us are meant to ride that wave. I love to hear about other business owners’ experiences and I know I’m not alone with that.

If you are new to “A Pretty Addiction,” you may notice I throw in a healthy amount of hip hop references (or you may not notice and wonder what the hell I’m talking about sometimes). You have to know who you are dealing with here. I am an old school (90s and early 2000s) hip hop girl to the core. I sometimes think in rap lyrics so it’s natural for me to communicate that way. Much like I was born loving makeup, I was born loving rap. It is as much a part of me as my deep set eyes or my freckled arms.

I hope these posts are informative, helpful and fun to read. If you’re a Makeup Girl: Welcome, soul sister. And if you’re not, maybe you do have an inner Makeup Girl who needs to awakened. Let’s bring her out to play!

Have a beautiful day 🙂

[1] I suspect that was because I had a big pool party every year that people wanted be invited to.

[2] INFJ is my Myers Briggs Personality type. It’s Introverted iNtuition Extraverted Feeling.

[3] Highly Sensitive Person. It’s a thing! Look it up.

[4] It’s what they call those of us on the Taurus/Gemini cusp.

[5] But I think they are really just “jerks” after age 22.

[6] Legit allergy, not a diet choice.


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 🙂



Celebrity Makeup Looks: A How To Guide

It’s helpful when a client shows pictures of celebrity or model makeup they want for their wedding or an event. The pictures are sometimes all over the board in terms of similarities, but with a proper breakdown, I can always pinpoint what they have in common (i.e. glowy skin, black winged liner, berry stained lips, etc.) In this way, inspiration pictures are great because a client may not know how to explain what they want in makeupese but I can figure it out from the pictures and a thorough consult.

The problem comes in if the client expects me to make them look exactly like the celebrity/model in the picture. Sometimes the client has a completely different skintone, eye color, eye shape, bone structure and/or hair color, so even the exact same makeup used on that celebrity/model is not going to look the same on the client. And beyond that, that celebrity/model has access to or income for things the average person does not. Let me say that again–celebrities/models have access to or income for things the average person does not. It’s unfair and pretty ridiculous to compare yourself to someone when you are not starting out on a level playing field.

Still convinced you can look like Gigi Hadid? Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine. I’ll tell you how you can get there.

  1. The Basics. You have to do all of these things.          Consistently. These are do-able, but what follows probably isn’t for most people. You’ve been warned.
  2. Open Up Your Wallet. I don’t believe most celebrities are totally honest about their beauty regimens, but sometimes you get a peek into what they do. I recently read an article about a 16 part face and body anti-aging skincare treatment that Jennifer Aniston does. This is some of what it includes:
    • Pre-treatment skin evaluation
    • 45 minutes wrapped in a full-body heating pad to sweat out impurities
    • Cleansing and facial massage
    • Hydrotherapy tub treatment
    • Body massage
    • Wrinkle-reducing LED therapy
    • Skin-firming collagen mask
    • Body contouring treatment to smooth cellulite

    Each session takes about three hours, costs $900 and should be done once a week. That’s $3,600 a month.

    So when you see celebrity makeup/model you like in a picture, on TV or in a film, remember those many of those people have access to treatments like that as well as the Botox, fillers and cosmetic surgery they don’t talk about.

  3. Hire a Team. If you see an editorial photo, be it in an article or ad, know that the woman had her makeup done by a pro artist who might have taken 2-3 hours to do it–which is more time than most people want to budget for their wedding or event makeup. If she is an actress or model, she may have started out with genetically good skin (many models do) and/or have access to stupidly expensive beauty treatments like mentioned above. A makeup artist is there for constant touchups during the shoot. The lighting and film is used to further flatter the actress/model. Then, the picture is passed on to someone who retouches it. They might enlarge eyes, whiten teeth, make lips look fuller, make cheekbones more pronounced, make pores disappear, straighten a nose, etc. What many people think is makeup is actually Photoshop. The cost for this team will make your $3,600 monthly skin treatment budget look paltry.
  4. Maybe It’s Maybelline? Doubtful. The makeup that is used on celebrities and in advertisements is usually high end. If you want to look like Jennifer Lawrence did at the Oscars you are not going to get there with all CoverGirl makeup. I find that a lot of people want a celebrity makeup look but they want it on a budget. Here’s a secret–they often don’t use the makeup from that line in the ads that you see for drugstore makeup. And it gets edited like crazy anyway. I have a few drugstore products I like but overall, the color payoff, longevity, texture and packaging is not as good as higher end products.

So when you see celebrity makeup you like in a picture, on TV or in a film, remember they have access to high end skincare treatments, lighting (don’t underestimate the power of this one), frequent touchups from makeup artists and some serious retouching if it’s in print. Even if you are consistent with your own skincare routine, you can’t compare yourself to the Beyonces and Scarlett Johanssons of the world if you aren’t doing what they do. I’m not suggesting that you do, I’m just saying it’s an unfair comparison.

I understand wanting to have the clear skin or full eyelashes that you see on a celebrity/model, but remember that it took effort and money for them to look like that. If you can’t put in the same effort and money, then you don’t compare yourself. I know I am being repetitive, but that’s because I don’t think most people really understand these huge differences.

And can we as a society stop trying to look like certain celebrities or models? How about we applaud true talent and sure, appreciate beauty, but not try to look exactly like them. I think it’s much more interesting (and genuine) when someone has their own look and doesn’t follow trends. I say take care of your skin, play with makeup until you find what looks good on you and then be done with it. Be happy that you can walk outside with no makeup on and not end up on the cover of a magazine with the headline “Is She Dying Today? Sure Looks Like It*.”

Have a beautiful day 🙂

*That would be me on less than 6 hours of sleep or the morning after I’ve had three drinks. 


New Year, New You: Part 2

Here I am, back with Part 2. In case you missed Part 1, please note my disclaimer that I by no means think I’m perfect. But since I consider most New Year’s resolutions as mini-self improvement plans and I personally love reading about what other people do to improve their lives, I want to share some things I do.


Understanding my finances and having a plan really makes me feel in control of my life. There was a time when I didn’t do a budget and was unclear on where I stood with money and it was very frustrating. I made an effort to change that and keep on top of things and that made a huge difference. I know it’s uncomfortable for some people to discuss money so if you are one of those people, maybe skip this section. But I also know there are some people who could use guidance–I was and still am one of them–so I’m passing on what I have learned.

For My Golden Years. As a self-employed person, I am responsible for saving for my own retirement. I have some real estate investments that will help with that and am now in the process of starting an actual retirement fund. If you’re not self employed, you might not have to worry about this. But I think it’s a good thing to do–and something I should have started a while back–for those of us who are our own bosses.

What Now, AmEx?!?! I’ve been working on paying off credit card and student loan debt for the past two years. I have only one out of three credit cards and one out of three school loans left to pay off. The amounts I owe aren’t huge and I should be able to be debt-free by the end of 2016, which will be an awesome feeling. In terms of what to pay off first, I initially went after the credit card that had the highest interest rate (which also happened to be the credit card with the highest balance). After that, I attacked a student loan because the remaining amount was so small I knew I could knock it out in one payment. That psychologically helped me feel better about my debt before I went on to conquer the next highest interest rate credit card. When all my debt is gone, my monthly expenses will have decreased significantly and my credit score will go up. 

Get Rewarded. I have a credit card that gives me airline mile rewards, which I love. I put all of my monthly business expenses on that card (making sure to keep track of that amount and consider it in my monthly budget) and I pay the card off in full each month. I have more than enough miles for a free flight anywhere in the continental US right now, and I’m building good credit. This year, I plan on taking some time to better understand the perks my credit cards offer and take advantage of the ones that make sense for me.


There are a few other things I do that make my life better. They don’t fall into any of the other categories so they’re going here.

Lost Without You. Google Calendar is my saving grace. It gives me peace of mind knowing I won’t miss appointments, tax bill due dates, dinner plans, etc. With everything that goes on with my business and my personal life, there is no way I could remember everything. Not only do I put every appointment in my calendar, but reminders to do regular business tasks (i.e. confirm appointments one week out, update my Mileage Log, send invoices, etc.). They pop up on my screen and get emailed to me so there is no ignoring them. I learned about Google Calendar from my boss at my last job outside of the beauty industry and I can’t thank him enough for that.  

Baby, I Can Be Your Motivation. When I have an idea of something I want to do to improve my life, I dig into it full force. For example, once I decided I’m at the point in my career where I can finally live somewhere warmer during the winter, I immersed myself in that plan. I researched weather, housing and the job market in areas I wanted to move to. I made connections in those places, followed Facebook pages of area attractions and read novels set in the city/towns I was eyeing. Doing all of this got me psyched up to arrange my life so that a snowbird move is possible. That and the final rap battle scene from 8 Mile get me mega-motivated.

Material Girl.  I keep a list of long term things I want for my house, my personal makeup bag and my future library. I know they are just “things” and won’t make my life better, but I like making my apartment look the way I want it to, I like splurging on the occasional expensive beauty product for my own use and I am a bookworm who reads book several times so I would love a library someday. I don’t get myself these types of gifts very often, but it’s nice to chip away at the list a few times a year.

A Serene Space. As a child, I had many dream jobs.  “Professional Organizer” was one of them.  Although I love the look of an organized space and I think labels and storage areas are important, what I’m really big on is getting rid of clutter. If I don’t use or wear something and it doesn’t have true sentimental value or make my house look nicer,  I donate it, pass it onto a friend or toss/recycle it. I absolutely believe that if you walk into your home and are greeted by clutter, you are going to feel frazzled and overwhelmed. I’m also into the Feng Shui principle that says getting rid of clutter will bring more positivity and peace into your home. The theory is that objects hold onto negative energy (emotions, situations and conversations you had around those objects do it) so getting rid of what you can part with will take some of that negativity out of your palace. If that sounds too crazy for you, I think you can at least agree that walking into a room that is clutter-free is more likely to make you feel calm than a room full of crap, which sometimes makes life feel more chaotic than it is.

Maybe some of my self/life improvement plans will resonate with you, or maybe you’ve got way better ideas. I’d love to hear what other people do so feel free to comment.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

New Year, New You: Part 1

Hello, 2016! I hope everyone’s year is off to a fabulous start. It’s New Year’s Resolutions month. So much hope! Tabula rasa! A new you! I assume you are reading this on the treadmill at the gym after making a list of places you want to travel to in 2016.

Some people make what I call external resolutions–to start volunteering, spend more time with family, meet new people, etc. I’ve made two external resolutions in recent years: 1) Donate to a different charity every month (2012 but kept it going) and 2) Send a snail mail birthday card to all of my friends (2015). This isn’t a humble brag–I wasn’t donating huge amounts and I missed a friend or two this past year–but rather examples of what I see as external resolutions. Things that hopefully help or make someone else feel good, but I think the feeling you get from doing those kinds of things also makes you feel good. A win-win.

Internal New Year’s Resolutions, or what I consider mini-self improvement plans, are more common. Exercise regularly, eat clean, get out of debt, etc. Things that make you healthier, improve your quality of life or reduce stress. Fantastic! I’m a big proponent of self improvement not just because you are the only person you are guaranteed to spend your entire life with, but because I think you can give more to your family, friends and career if you have your shit together and you physically feel good. So I want to talk about some things I have been doing to try to improve my life.

Let me preface this saying I am very, very, very, very far from perfect. I’m impatient. I’m an inconsistent flosser. I give input to friends without being asked. I have re-dated many past flames (fool me once…). I only make my bed about 50% of the time. I send stupidly long texts. I don’t like the person I am behind the wheel. And that’s just a tiny part of the list. But I do regularly put effort into improving myself and different areas of my life. I consider it to be helping out Future Allison.

None of these are groundbreaking ideas, but maybe reading about mine will bring up something you used to do or want to start doing.


Let’s start here, since this is a beauty blog and you might want to stop reading after this section.

Freezing My Face in Time. This is not new for me, but it’s important enough to mention again. Using retinol is probably what helps the most with my anti-aging gameplan (what’s up, Future Allison?). Rather than go over it here, check out this post. Then come back.

Protect Yourself. I blowdry my hair straight every 4-6 days and I often using a curling iron on Day 3. (That gives me different curls than I naturally have, so yes, it does make sense.) I trained myself to use a heat protectant spray pre-blowout a while back, but because the Day 3 curling is newer, I was forgetting to use it pre-curl. My ends started looking damaged, so my hair stylist, Jennie Kay Plumb, reminded me to use the spray before curling too. What a difference that made! If you are heat styling at all, a heat protectant spray is a must. I like Moroccan Oil Heat Protection and Philip Kingsley Daily Damage Defence.

Slow Lotion For Ya. I am consistent with putting moisturizer on my face, but sometimes I neglect my body. But especially in the colder months, it is important to use body lotion. It takes what, three minutes? More like “fast lotion,” but I wanted to fit in a Juvenile reference. I like Palmer’s Cocoa Butter and anything that smells like coconuts or the beach, but there are a million out there to choose from depending on your needs and preferences.

Sleep Right. I am, by nature, a side sleeper. Fetal position 4 lyfe. But because of the whole gravity thing, sleeping on one side–because most side sleepers do have a favorite side–can eventually cause sagging on that side of your face. It can also contribute to undereye puffyness on the chosen side. So I have been putting in a real effort to sleep on my back, which has not been easy. But when I wake up on my back in the morning, I feel pretty proud of myself knowing Future Allison will look a little bit better.

It’s No Snake Oil. I have been using oil cleansers for a few years and I can’t imagine going back to any other formulation. In my humble opinion, nothing removes makeup like oil. And oil cleansers leave my skin feeling way softer than milky, gel or cream cleansers. So when Jess at Jennie Kay a Beauty Parlour recommended that I use a hair oil twice a day, I was sold. I have been using Sachajuan Intensive Hair Oil for a few weeks and my hair started looking better almost immediately. Hair oil has become an important part of my daily beauty routine.


Taking care of my health is huge to me. I spent many years of my life feeling sick and fatigued and it wasn’t until I went to a naturopath nine years ago that I started to address that. He figured out everything that was wrong with me–from minor things to issues that were close to becoming very serious–and together we addressed and fixed everything. Here’s what I do to stay healthy:

Body Awareness. I am super aware of my body and how I feel. I know right away if something is off, and if I can’t “trace it back” to something I did recently, I know it’s time to get it checked out. For example, if my knee hurts after I’ve done a few consecutive days of longer-than-usual runs, I figure it’s due to that. So I take a few days off from running and see if it feels better. But if I wasn’t doing anything different or the problem persists, I make a chiropractor appointment. I think in many cases, body awareness is part of early detection of major illnesses, issues or disorders, so paying attention to and addressing changes can help in the long run. If something feels or looks different to me, I get it checked out.

Eating Right. I know, super obvious. But how many people actually do it? I am a big believer that some foods can cause sickness and other foods can help heal. I have a hard time understanding how you could put a bunch of junk in your body and think that will have no negative impact on your health. The foods that will make you feel your best and keep you healthiest may be different from the foods that do that for someone else, so I think it’s worth going to see a doctor or nutritionist for guidance if you are serious about this.

Lying to Myself & The Little Things. I try to fit in a good 30-60 minute workout every day because I know that won’t happen. Hear me out. If I aim for 7 days a week and then I get one 14 hour shoot, that day is gone. Down to 6. Then maybe another day, I plan on going for a run but it rains all day and my stupid computer won’t play any of my workout DVDs and I lose motivation. Now we are at 5. See how that works?

I also try to walk to as many errands as I can. This is possible for me because of where I live and how my city is laid out–one of the big reasons I choose to live here. I have a P.O. Box–1.7 mile round trip walk to the post office–and I am constantly back and forth to my studio two blocks from my house, so I usually get in two miles of walking if weather permits. There are a lot of stairs at both my house and my studio and I am up and down them more than I need to be because I frequently forget something after I have already reached the bottom of the stairs (I definitely don’t swear and stomp back up the stairs when that happens). This daily stuff is not an effective weight-loss workout program, but it’s a solid heart-healthy amount of exercise, and at least I get some movement in on my non-workout days.

But What Can I Do Now? Like I said, I make an appointment to get checked out if something is off. I also grill my doctors, dentist and chiropractor about what I should be doing proactively to prevent certain problems. They have that info, but sometimes you have to ask for it. This is me really looking out for Future Allison.

Me & Mr. Sandman. There is nothing that helps my skin, mood and energy more than a good night’s sleep. I aim for seven hours a night. It doesn’t always work out that way, but I like to have goals. I’ve been trying to avoid looking at my phone and computer for an hour before I go to bed, because I do believe the screen lights make it harder for me to fall asleep. I’m going to put extra effort into that this year because sleep does make a big impact on several areas of my life.

Peep This. I am nearsighted, and not just a little bit. I didn’t have contacts in college, which means I had glasses that I decided to only wear in class and while driving. My vision is bad enough that when I was out with friends at a bar–so most nights senior year–if one of them told me a guy across the room was cute, I would say “Describe him to me.” Seriously. Because all I could see was a blurry face and hopefully not hair with frosted tips (this was 2003/2004, after all). As bad as my distance vision is, my up close game is on point. Every eye doctor I have ever gone to has told me to not wear my contacts for reading if I can help it. So I wait as long as possible to put them in in the morning and I take them out as early as possible in the evening. I do a lot of computer work the first few hours and last few hours of the day so not having my contacts in during those times works well. And guess what? It really helps. My vision has improved at each of my last two eye exams.

In the interest of your eyesight, I am going to end this post now. I’ll be back with Part 2 soon.

Have a beautiful day 🙂