December 28, 2010

Obsessive Airbrushing

Winter is my off season and I always have a list of things I want to accomplish during that time.  Topping the list this year is to work on my airbrushing and take it to a new skill level.  I decided that formal instruction would be helpful (you know I love my makeup classes!) and why not learn from the best.  Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics (OCC) creator David Klasfeld is considered an expert on the subject and an authority in the industry.  To say that he knows about airbrushing is to say Steve Jobs knows about computers.  I also am in love with the actual airbrushing makeup OCC has formulated.  It looks fresh and beautiful on the skin, whereas some just look thick, lifeless, and mask-y. 
 Our instructor was the wonderful Michelle Coursey, a working artist with an amazing portfolio and a long-time airbrush user.  She talked to us about the various ways she utilizes airbrushing in her work and the kind of results it provides.  Between her, David, and the other OCC staff, there were a lot of really helpful discussions - from the super technical to the philosophical. 
The class was completely hands-on and we spent the day doing various exercises to hone our skills.  We practiced airbrushing on paper which allowed us to really examine our work against the white background.  Unevenness, heavy handedness, and splatters were all exposed! 
 Zeroing in on blemishes with airbrushed dots...
Arcs for contouring, experiments in air pressure variations...
Watch and learn: the perfect application of airbrushed foundation, blush, highlighter, contour, and a light eye color contour.
 We rounded out the day by airbrushing on a partner, trying to utilize the color-matching and application techniques.  
I cannot say enough good things about this class.  The other artists and I left feeling inspired, motivated, and much more savvy.  Thank you Michelle and OCC!

December 23, 2010

Happy Holidays 2010!

I'd like to wish you, dear reader, a very happy holiday season.  This year has been one of the best and busiest of my life.  I had the opportunity to meet and work with so many incredible people, the opportunity to learn really useful and amazing things, and lots of family fun and craziness with friends thrown in between.  Reflecting on this year I realize how truly blessed I am.  Cheers to all the adventures and memories we will make in 2011! 

November 30, 2010

The Little Mermaid of Tappan Hill Mansion

Courtney's wedding was one big party. When I arrived the morning of the wedding, it was still going on from the night before!  I don't think I've ever had so much fun... 

We had a tight beauty schedule that day mixed in with lots of shenanigans and crazy stories.  Since I did all of the makeup and hair for the whole party (including mom) we had to get started pretty early.  Coffee and red bull helped pump up the gang for the beauty fest. 

We were aiming for makeup and hairstyles at 8AM that would still look good at 8PM and beyond.  It can be a challenge for people to asses evening makeup in the bright morning sun, but as the evening set in and they donned their black dresses, everyone looked perfectly glamorous.

The bride chose a simple nude, flawless face with an espresso lined and smudged eye and an emphasis on lashes. We added waves and body to her straight hair with a touch of retro inspiration to the shape.
Her gown had this gorgeous body-hugging mermaid shape and we were all in awe when she put it on.  When she turned around and said "Well, what do we think?" her attendant and uber comedian Joey burst out into spontaneous song with the theme from The Little Mermaid.  Another bridesmaid joined in and then another and then another. I've always loved the song so I sang along as I touched up her hair.  As it echoed throughout the rotunda, more people stepped in to join the chorus and by the end there were about twenty people belting out this Disney song at the top of their lungs.  Courtney laughed until she cried as she surveyed the scene that was really like something out of a movie.
The wedding took place on the former estate of Mark Twain at the stunning Tappan Hill Mansion of Tarrytown, NY. The entire place is one big photo op and the superstars from J. Ferrara Photography captured the day so beautifully.  Thanks for sharing these images with us!  Good luck Courtney.  A lot of great memories were made that day!

November 19, 2010

Winter Nude Palette Inspiration Board

With all of the twinkling lights and holiday displays, how you can you resist adding some sparkle to your makeup?  The nude-colored fashion offerings of the season consistently attract me so it's no surprise that I chose a nude gold shimmer for my little wintertime treat.  Tarina Tarantino's Sparklicity Pure Gold shimmer powder, with its shiny gold top and box, is a sophisticated and finely milled (no glitter chunks here) powder.  It's SO shimmery that a fluffy brush tapped lightly before applying helps keep it toned down.  I like adding it to the inner eyelids of a grey smoky eye, alone on lids with lengthening mascara, or mixing it into a plain nude gloss.  It can even be used on the body (again - fluffy brush is key).

Speaking of nude glosses, if you have a friend who is also attracted to sophisticated nudes or loves high fashion, Burberry Lip Glow in No. 9 Nude Beige would make an outstanding little gift.  The Burberry packaging is some of the best I've ever seen: heavy, patterned gunmetal, classic and sleek.  The gloss color is universally flattering (a good thing when buying makeup for someone else) and is thick enough to have substance while still feeling light and smooth.  It's almost as if the texture were universally flattering too.  

November 12, 2010

The Best Concealer and Primer I've Ever Used

Right before I got married I asked my boss at the time if he had any advice for me before I ran off and tied the knot.  "Don't drink the Dom" he said.  Come again? He explained that someone was bound to give us a bottle of Dom Perignon as a gift and that I'd better not even try it because I'd love it and I could never go back to drinking the cheap stuff after that.  I've found his advice to be true with a lot of things including beauty products.  Sometimes they're so amazing I wish I'd never tried them. Cle' de Peau concealer had intrigued me for ages, winning Beauty Best awards left and right, but I steered clear due to the whopping $70 price tag. 

I mean, it's concealer - how great could it be? But one tiny swipe of the beige color while perusing a cosmetics boutique and I was stunned.  The saleswoman actually laughed and said "Perfection, isn't it."  I had been mixing two concealer colors together for years and I still never felt like I had a perfect  color match like I did on this day, let alone the feeling.  The texture is so interesting.  It's light but it covers.  It's solid, but one touch turns it into a smooth-gliding cream that's moist enough to use under the eyes but dry enough to use on the face (usually you have to use two separate concealers for these areas).  After I took it home I realized that I needed to prep the eye area with a lot of eye cream for it to look smooth.  Still the finished look was worth the extra step. Then I read a tip in Lucky Magazine by the fab beauty editor Jean Godfrey-June who said to try using L'Oreal Studio Secrets Professional Magic Perfecting Base under the eyes before applying concealer and it will look "1,000 times less crinkly."  I was already obsessed with the L'Oreal primer but had never tried it under the eyes.  That combo really is perfection.  

Two years ago I spent countless hours scouring every makeup and skincare line looking for a primer that was thick (think spackle) that I could pat into the deep wrinkles of my mature clients.  The best I could find was that smooth silicone-feeling stuff but it was too thin and barely washed over lines and bumps.  L'Oreal's primer is thick and scoopable.  It's velvety texture gives the skin a diffused soft-focus look, even without makeup on.  I use this on almost every client and definitely on myself.  Try a light touch if you just want makeup to go on smoothly and stay on longer or use more to fill in nooks and crannies.  It's perfect for all skin types and luckily sells for around $12!

November 8, 2010

At Last...A Website!

I am very excited to announce the launch of the Cassandra Kennedy beauty website! So many friends helped me while putting it together and so many generous photographers were willing to share their work with me.  Thank you all! 

October 11, 2010

Real Life Rapunzel

Jen is like a tiny little doll with this amazing mane of long shimmery red hair.  When I held the hair in my hands I thought "Wow, I'm sure this  is worth more than my car!"  She made excellent choices for her wedding day look that really emphasized her natural beauty.  Her hair cascaded down her back in big loose waves and her makeup was peachy and natural toned and sheer enough to show off her beautiful freckles.  Come to find out, she was living right down the street from my old house in Alexandria, VA, so I got an update on the old 'hood and found that we had many favorite places in common.  I really enjoyed seeing all of the details of her elegant wedding unfold. 
Her organized and cheerful bridesmaids were not only beautiful but seasoned professionals that anticipated her every need.  I was assisted by Nancy Geldres who did all of the bridesmaids' makeup and tag-teamed with me on their hair.  I love these fun group portraits of them.
Jen has the SWEETEST mother you could ever know.  She was so nervous about getting her makeup done but I was able to talk with her at length during the trial and assure her that I would keep it natural and light.  One of my favorite moments of the day was seeing her mom's astonishment as she looked in the mirror. She hugged me and asked if I would come and do her makeup like that every day for her.  Another favorite moment was with her brother.  I know when I got married I was so worried that my brother would show up in a concert t-shirt and jeans (whew - he didn't).  I'm guessing her brother gave her a hard time about wearing a tux (see how brothers are!?) and she had resigned herself to seeing him in something else.   So when he stopped by the room that morning to deliver something she was absolutely stunned and overcome with emotion at seeing him in his tux.  He just smiled like "heh heh!"  
I want to wish Jen and her husband the best of luck as they start their new life together in a new place (Texas, no less!).  I know it will be a wonderful adventure together!  Thank you very much to The Artist Group for sharing these lovely photos with us.  

September 10, 2010

New Hampshire Beauty Haul

I'm just back from a GLORIOUS vacay in New Hampshire where I enjoyed a refreshing trip to the beach and loaded up on some new beauty goodies.  The source of my treats was none other than New Hampshire goddess Joanne McDonough of Joya Beauty.  Joanne is my "it girl" and I want to be her someday when I grow up!  Not only is she super talented and generous with all of her knowledge but she has this amazing studio where she does all kinds of things like makeup lessons and spa treatments.  One of the things that sets her apart is her custom makeup blending.  Knowing that I have a product that's made especially for me that no one else has gives me such a little thrill.  Ok, I am really LOVING the souffle' she whipped up.  They are little frosted glass pots of whipped jelly cheek color that give off this gorgeous luster.  Such a nice way to freshen the face and offset the powdered down t-zone.  I'm also trying her shimmery eye creams that dab on ever so lightly with a wand to wake up tired eyes.  Joya Beauty also carries other hard-to-find lines like Three Custom Color and I scored two of their Mood Lighting Shimmer Cremes. I am totally obsessed with the paler color Afterglow, although the golden On Fire color is great for the times when I'm more tan or for those with medium to dark skin tones.  The problem with highlighter creams is that they tend to be overly frosty or shimmery.   The pale ones  often have a pinkish tone that I'm not a big fan of. You want one that just blends into the skin and makes it look glowy without anyone detecting a streak of frost.  The cream-to-powder feel of it is exquisite and these are sheer enough for anyone to use with ease.   I think I like how light it feels and how it really isn't too powdery after it sets.  Thanks Joanne!  You never steer me wrong :)  People, if you are in New Hampshire or even passing through, you need to set aside a little time to visit Joya Beauty!
 My favorite vacation photo of the kiddos...

September 7, 2010

Polish Beauty

We may have been in Brooklyn, but getting ready for Edyta's wedding was like a mini trip to Poland.  Polish parents and relatives, polish language (which sounds really hard to understand by the way), Polish breakfast, and even Polish water (fizzy and refreshing).  I loved this family so much and Edyta was one of the most relaxed and down to earth brides that I'm sure I will ever meet.  When I saw a photo of her drinking a can of Miller Lite in the limo on the way to the wedding I just smiled and thought "That's my girl!".  Edyta's face has a kind of beautifully intriguing and mysterious quality about it that I can't really describe.  I really enjoyed studying it and collaborating with her on the look for the wedding. 
She wanted her eyes fully lined in grey but we did it in a light and shimmery way that would look fresh for a daytime ceremony and pictures.  Her skin and lips were softly flushed and just happened to match one of my favorite bridal bouquets of all time.
She wanted a nice voluminous updo with movement and texture- something that looked like she had a lot of hair - with intricate curls in the back.  The relatives loved it and said it looked very "aristocratic", which made us chuckle.

Another beauty I got to work with was Edyta's mother. She wanted to keep hair and makeup simple and natural which I thought was a great choice.  I mean look at that amazing skin - why cover it up?!
I got such a kick out of her Maid of Honor who happened to live in Japan during the same years that I did.  We spent time during the trial and the wedding day reminiscing and trading wacky tales from our unforgettable time there. She is also getting married this year so it is wedding mania for these two friends.
I heard everyone had a wonderful time at the wedding and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the photos.
Thank you very much to Kimberly Salem for sharing them with me. You can see a few more details from this wedding such as the yummy Polish cookie favors and the gorgeous flowers on her blog.  Good luck to you Edyta! And you too, Misato! I wish you both all the best in your marriages and in life.