You know that scene from Finding Nemo where the turtle is all like “Whoaaaaa!” and then is all like “Whoooooooa”? That’s totally been our year here at Amelia C & Co. There were some totally righteous WHOA’s and a very tearful whoa… So here we go.
(I’m not entirely sure, but I think I just made a haiku…)
I get all kinds of worked up at the start of the year, there’s so many possibilities and so much to look forward to. In a fit of eagerness, I decided it was a great idea to do 30 shoots in 30 days, and dubbed the project #30daysgorgeous. The ‘Co was a little scared, but like the troopers they are they rallied and we made it happen. It was an intense month- organizing and phone calls and concepts and models and locations and wardrobe… I need a nap just writing about it. But, hey, I don’t have to! You can just swing by the archives and marvel that we made it out of 30 days with 26 shoots! Yea, so we fell short. But here’s something you can cross-stitch and put over the mantle…”Aim for the moon and if you miss, you’ll be among the stars.”
In the spring, we got a friendly email from a hair and makeup artist inquiring about joining the team. After scanning his credentials and looking at his impressive portfolio, I couldn’t wait to meet him. In April we officially welcomed Tyler to the team, and we just love him! Our brides and clients do too – he is sweet and funny and just has this completely comfortable vibe about him. You feel immediately like you’ve known him for years and want to hear about how his dog is doing, when he’s going home to Ohio to visit family. He’s just incredible and we couldn’t be happier that he reached out.
June was a huge month of hello’s and goodbyes. What I mean to say is, I pretty much cried my way through it.
On June 1st, we welcomed our fist boy Kids of the ‘Co, Kade. Hayley and her fiance George had an absolutely too-cute-for-words, blue-eyed baby boy. He is just the sweetest baby and always so happy. Now that Kade is here and healthy, it’s all about the wedding planning! Dress shopping has officially started for Hayley, and she’s getting wifed up in November 2015!!
And then, on June 26th, Alana did her last wedding with the ‘Co. An amazing opportunity for her husband required them to move to Hawaii with their beautiful daughter and, we later found out, soon to be baby boy. Alana had been with the ‘Co since the very beginning, so it was a rough time. I’m not gonna lie, I literally sobbed for a week. But, at the same time, I’m so happy for her and her growing family. Besides, you can’t get too upset with someone for moving to Hawaii!
Oh, and in the middle of all the arrivals and departures of loved ones, Melissa F and I flew to San Francisco to do a long-time clients hair and makeup for her wedding! Our bride Rochelle had a gorgeous wedding on an old mission-style vineyard just outside of the city. We decided to bookend it with a few days to play in the city and had a lovely time with our husbands joining us for a quick mini trip.
Wanting to get our hands a little gory for Halloween this year, we staged a photo shoot in July with our buddies from Orange Soda Photo featuring sugar skulls and zombies. At the very last minute, one of our zombies had to cancel so Chief Dude Rob stepped in and was the baddest zombie ever. Until he tried to eat me. And glamour me. Yup, when his eyeliner wouldn’t come off he tried channeling Bill. Ask him how it went sometime.
In August among fashion shows and more zombie requests and weddings, Rob and I escaped for a quick trip to SoCal to meet new artists for our expanding region and do a couple weddings. We are READY for you, San Diego Brides! And getting more ready by the day! So if you’re getting married in San Diego and need professional wedding makeup or hair for your big day, give us a call!
September and October flew by as they always do. Las Vegas is just positively perfect for an outdoor wedding that time of year, so naturally it’s our busiest. November 1st & 2nd we co-hosted our fourth year doing the Patriotic Pin-Ups fundraiser, helping raise more than $7k for homeless veterans in two days! And now we are official in that we actually have a Facebook Page. Spots go fast, so go right now and like the page so you know when next year’s fundraiser is.
Later that month we did our annual company photo’s for 2015. We were super lucky to have Mindy Bean behind the lens. That woman is magical, and we are just absolutely obsessed with how she managed to capture us. Thank you Mindy, you are a rockstar and we love you!!!
2014 was absolutely incredible. And you know what? I have every intention of making 2015 even better.
We love our hottie lezzies!! Ok, we love our fabulous gay boyfriends too, but trust me when I say that every gay man I’ve ever known who wanted to wear makeup is already doing it. So as wedding hair and makeup artists, I’m pretty certain that it’s all about the lesbians for us! And we couldn’t be more excited that same love is legal and here to stay in Las Vegas!
Back in October when the race to marriage equality was finally breaking the barrier, I stood outside the marriage license bureau with Brit, Gina, Courtney, and Sandi waiting to greet the newly licensed couples. Brit’s the real trooper- that girl was out there ALL morning long with signs and balloons, just waiting to congratulate that first couple. Brit and I had long been talking about doing a gay styled wedding shoot, and for a couple months there we just couldn’t find the right couple. Chatting it over with Courtney from MEET LV, turns out she had a couple of gal pals that were actually a couple. She asked them if they’d be so kind as to model for us and got a big YES! We all were so stoked to finally make this happen. Our models, Keriann and Lacey, are in that super romantic, dreamy fresh love phase of their relationship. Fun fact; I vaugley knew Keriann! Back in 2009 I assisted hair and makeup for Suessical the Musical, and she was Thing One. So cool
Brit and her awesome-super-fab-rockstars Gin and Angela rallied the troops and pulled together an amazing team for the shoot. Putting together a styled shoot requires a whole team to pull it off right, and her list of all-stars was enough to turn any brides to be into fangirls!
It’s BACK!!! Patriotic Pinups 2014 is happening November 1&2nd, just in time to be a special gift for the holidays! If you’re new to this event, allow me to give you the sassy low down. PPLV is an annual fundraiser featuring Las Vegas pinup photography for two full days of kick-up-your-pumps lovely. The fundraiser is the brainchild of our ‘Co friend, Sue Altenburg of Altenburg Studio. Sue and I go waaaayyyy back. As in, she was the first photographer to give a me a chance as a makeup artist. I’ve worked with her for years at her portrait studio, and so when she came to me in 2011 with the idea of doing a pin-up fundraiser to support the US Vets organization, I was all over it! How could we not? Two full days of victory rolls and red lips? Bring it! The idea was that for a significantly reduced cost, women could sign up for a mini-portrait session as a pinup. Our company would provide the hair and makeup, we’d have a load of pinup wardrobe to choose from, and Sue would have several different sets from which the darlings could choose to be photographed on. Sue partners and shares studio space with Catherine Guillotte of Portraits by Catherine, and she jumped at the idea too! Now, four years later, the trio that we are have received wonderful support from so many different local business’s and are ready to do it again in 2014! 100% of all the proceeds raised over the event are donated to the US Vets organization. You’ll look amazing, and for such a wonderful cause! Reservations are limited and the event is two days long, so the appointments go fast. And I mean fast. You can sign up starting Oct 1st, this Wednesday get those credit cards out and be sure to call Altenburg Studio at 702-252-7557 to secure your session. See you in November, darlings!
In tandem with our Sugar Skull shoot, we wanted some Zombies. Call me crazy, but after a decade of doing beautiful brides I really haven’t had a ton of opportunities to work on my fake blood skills. Only in recent years has this proven to be a liability on my part- apparently, everyone from CEO’s to ravers wants to look as though they are ready for their cameo on The Walking Dead. Being this close to Halloween and having an epic special effects makeup supply store in town definitely helped us create some undead in a hurry, sans bite marks or axes. Somehow, I talked my darling friend Jessica* into roping her husband into working with us. He’s the real deal- a practiced zombie if you will. Once inside the studio we (hesitantly) got to work on some zombie Halloween makeup. Hesitantly being the operative word here- several times I came quite close to trying to make Michael pretty. Melissa was working right next to me on Chels and kept telling me to knock it off and make him dirty, grungy, scary. Apparently I was the only artist in the room who was on struggle street with this one, but the team rallied and our zombies definitely looked menacing.
However, this small triumph of mine is nothing compared to the sheer joy of two unplanned things that came from our shoot- First, one of our models had to cancel at the last minute, which meant Chief Dude had to become a model! Imagine that- our Rob, our one man in a company of woman, in Bianca’s makeup chair! He even sported the sweet t-shirt I scored for him at the thrift store: Property of the Science Club. Appropriate, right??? When I got home after the shoot he came downstairs very upset- even after a shower his eyeliner remained and he couldn’t figure out how to get it off. Suddenly, he grabbed me and in a deep, raspy voice said “Sookie!” and then tried to Glamour me… I’m dying just thinking about it!
The second moment of sheer joy came in the form of a sweet, blue eyed baby boy. Chris and Alicia just had a handsome baby, and he was in tow with his mama when Chris arrived to do the photography for our apocalypse (huge shout-out to Orange Soda Photo!). Now follow me on this- zombies are cool. Babies are way cool. Get a couple of zombies to eat a baby? Um, YES! Is there ever a more perfect opportunity to earn cool points ever???
Talk about a snack attack!
*Jessica is an amazing, exquisitely talented caricature artist. Sure, we are talking about zombies in this post, but there’s all kinds of holidays fixing to happen and you’ll need some custom art done! Check out her website and get ready to be illustrated!
Three cheers for Brittany! Our dazzling friend and model has won another title- Ms. Nevada United States 2014! Brittany has been a face for the ‘Co since before it was even an official, real-deal company. We met first at a clothing catalog shoot back in 2009, and have been buzzing and weaving and crossing paths ever since. She is one of my go-to, know it’s gonna look amazing models I call on when I’m working on a collaborative project. Even though she’s absolutely stunning, what I love the very, very most about her is how down-to-earth her personality is. Anyone can be gorgeous, I would know- but it takes a special person to be truly beautiful, and that’s precisely what she is. When she wanted to compete in the most recent pageant to add another crown to her collection and move forward on some of her charitable initiatives, we fully supported her and knew she would earn that crown. I say earn, not win, because let me tell you- I’ve worked with plenty of beauty queens as a hair and makeup artist and those girls WORK for that title! To give you a peek into the world of beauty pageants, even though it’s a lot of work to become a beauty queen the work doesn’t stop when the crown has been placed. At least, the work doesn’t stop if your doing it right. Since Brittany is old hat at this whole crown-wearing thing, she sprinted into action. One of the first tasks at hand was to do a portfolio spread of her reign, complete with crown. A couple of calls later we were shooting with the bad-ass commercial photographer, Brian Brown. Concepts went flying and before the first shoot had even started we all made plans to meet back at the studio for a full-day session with multiple looks. This is what happens when you put several creative minds, a hot model, a bad ass photographer, a couture gown designer, and me in a studio for 6+ hours.
I’ve got a robust ass that would make Becky’s tiny flat posterior flap in shock and appall. It’s got dimples and creases and is starting to lose it’s perky lift, and I love every single inch of it.
Every cue we get from the media and general population at large tells us we gotta do something about our not-so-smooth ass. Smear a cream on it, Photoshop it, leg press it till you walk funny for three days. While I’ll admit to doing two of those three things (I’ve never felt the need to buy into a dream that rubbing some kind of potion on my butt will do the trick), it’s never to get rid of my hard-earned dimples.
At least three of those dents come from eating paklava for breakfast. No, not baklava, but Paklava, as my Armenian mother would correct me. See, I’m adopted, and have only a vague idea of what my actual ethnicity is. When my Mom took me in at 17 and became everything to me that a mom should be, she taught me her mother’s recipe for Paklava. Because the recipe makes a giant pan, there was always lots left over and that made for an excellent breakfast. She even figured out how to make it vegan when I gave up dairy. Maybe three of those dimples is being conservative, it’s probably more. At any rate, I wouldn’t give up my mom’s traditional paklava for a firm ass on any given day.
I’m sure a few of those creases and probably some of the sagging is due to the long hours I spend sitting on my lovely tush while I figured out how to run a successful hair and makeup company. I never went to college save for a few courses Mom insisted I take, I couldn’t build a website to save my life, and customer service was never my strong point. Long before we had a team of artists, I sat on a cheap office chair for hours on end trying to learn how to run my very tiny, one person hair and makeup business. Over a decade later we’ve got a team of 10, including my incredibly smart husband, and we have the worlds best clients and true, amazing friendships that all were a product of those grueling desk hours that my ass took the brunt of. Sorry, NOT sorry.
Some of those divots came from late-night wine with friends where the good times just kept rolling. And, some from solo wine parties where only a glass…or two…or three would help me turn my brain off long enough to recharge my creative spirit. I know for a fact some dimpling was earned eating amazing meals that warmed my heart with a joy no admiration from strangers on a beach could replace. Then there was all the potato chips and Oreo’s and pasta that filled my belly when we first went vegan and I didn’t know what to eat, let alone cook. It helped tied me over till I found my groove in the kitchen and on menus again.
It’s true, I’ll probably never have an ass that our fitness-crazed and over-retouched society approves of. That’s not to say I’m not fit- in reality, I’ve got an extraordinarily healthy diet and strongly advocate physical activity as part of a daily routine. However, the goal is not necessarily to win the approval of someone else. (Unless that’s your profession, and if it is, I’ve got no shame in saying so. If you get paid to look a certain way, just like any other profession, you better own it and do your best.) The real goal, for me, is to have the highest quality of life possible. That requires me being physically fit, but it does NOT require me to try and obliterate my bottom into some kind of self-depreciating ideal that would mean giving up everything that it’s been gifted. And yes, I’ve been gifted,in so many loving ways.
This wonderful, dimpled, slightly sagging bubble butt of mine shows signs of a wonderful life. It tells the story of being loved as a daughter should be loved and learning family traditions. There’s evidence of hard work and perseverance, and yes, many times that requires the focus of sitting on your ass for long hours. There are memories in the creases that are filled with love and laughter and stories and friendships and memories.
Would I trade all that for an ass that impresses a few strangers and can crack a walnut? Not a chance.
When the Viva Las Vegas shindig comes to town, the pin-ups come out with all their red-lipped, winged liner glory… it’s the quintessential rockin’ good time for greaser boys and pinned up girls! When ‘Co friend and partner Sue over at Altenburg Studio told us she had an opportunity to work with Felina Vie, who was in town for Rockabilly Weekend, we were all over it like corsets on a waistline. One of our resident hair and makeup artists, Tyler, got a chance to work with the infamous Felina to create her signature pinup hair and makeup look. While the rest of the cool cats were jump, jive, and wailing, this trio was in Sue’s studio garden area kicking up heels complete with hammocks and pink flamingos.
Felina’s dress was a signature Bettie Page by Tatyana creation, our local go-to for all things pin-up and retro. From slinky wiggle skirts to full swing dresses, the Bettie Page boutique has all the hot dolls looking their finest. I personally own a few of her pieces, and the cut of her clothing is perfect for more robust derrieres like mine. We are ultra lucky to consider the boutique as our partners for our annual Patriotic Pinups event that we host ever year with Altenburg Studio. For two days, would-be pin-ups can get their hair rolled up, their lips put on, don a Bettie Page dress and have Sue take their portrait. The end result is a super-sweet poster of each participant as a pin-up, and it makes such a cute gift! We donate ALL of the proceeds to our local US Vets organization, who helps rehabilitate and house our homeless veterans. This time of year, especially so close to the Fourth of July, they are in our hearts.
In a previous post, we gave up the goods from our amazing shoot with Bridal Spectacular. In the past three years, we usually did just the one shoot for the magazine, but this year we scored and got invited to be a part of a second shoot as well. And when we heard that we’d be working with Stephen Salazar, it was just icing on the cupcake! The set was out at Lake Las Vegas, a swanky yet quiet area just a few minutes out from the main hub of the city. It’s pretty much the perfect location for a destination bride that doesn’t want the “Vegas” wedding. I’m not sure if you can even see the strip from there! The entrance is tucked between a row of palm trees, and about five minutes down the road you start to see some really upscale resorts surrounding a winding lake. Although it’s definitely off the beaten path, the views and peacefulness of the area is absolutely worth the trip. The beauty of light colors, the flow of the lake, and the stunning backdrop of the area was just perfect for our rendezvous with Chelsea Dawn.
Daileny and Kay were the bridal hair and makeup team for this shoot, and we took inspiration from our surroundings. LLV is lux all the way, so we brought in that same kind of refined luxury into the hair and makeup but still keeping it fresh and modern. A french twist got a little sassy with the addition of a braid in front and lots of texture. Kay proved that classic wedding makeup doesn’t have to be boring, using strong nudes and dramatic eye liner while keeping Chelsea’s face clean and time less. Stephen has a fashion photography background, so getting to work with him on this project had us pretty jazzed. We just knew that he was going to really get the essence of the look we had created, and as usual, he bowled us over with stunning results!
Most of the time when I have to say good byes, it’s usually more like “Good Riddance!” As much as I’d like to think I’m some kind of super wise and uber svelte soul that can peacefully send someone on there way, they’ve usually done something that left me so disenchanted I showed them the door. So, having to say good bye to someone I really don’t want to say goodbye too is a rare thing. This whole well-wishing on those Hallmark cards that you buy for someone starting a new journey? Yea, I’ve only had to buy a couple of those in my life. And, thank God, because this feeling sucks!
Alana is moving to Kauai on June 25th. Our Alana, the first hire I ever made, our sweet, funny, talented Alana is moving. As in, won’t be in Vegas anymore. As in, won’t be part of the ‘Co anymore. SOB!!! (Seriously, I flat out cried into my pizza a couple weeks ago. It was ridiculous and I’m pretty sure I wasn’t wearing waterproof mascara.)
Let’s time warp till a far away land in history- the great city of Las Vegas in 2011. I was just starting out as an agency after spending the first 6 years of my career with another company and another year all by myself (sing it with me!). I didn’t want to be all by myself annnnyyymooooorrrreeee! I put an ad up and Alana called- and I was about as awkward as it gets. She reminded me recently how I would call her all the time, because I would forget to tell her something while we were talking, and then immediately call her back once I remembered announcing myself as “guess who?”. I didn’t have my act together at that point as an agency, so there were lots of dropped balls, fumbling, and basically faking it like I knew what I was doing. I guess she liked me enough though, because she kept calling back till I finally got it together and officially hired her. For three solid years, we’ve laughed, cried, celebrated Christmases, annoyed each other more than we would probably admit to the other’s face, made it through the *very few* doozy brides that occasionally sneak into our calendar. (If you’ve ever asked us, you know most of our brides are amazing!) Company nights and early mornings, new hires and unfortunately, a couple of fires too. More has happened in the past three years, both with the ‘Co and with our own lives than I could possibly fit into a single blog post. It feels like so much longer than just three years.
Though I openly admit I am heartbroken, I’m also excited for her. I mean, who DOESN’T want to move to Hawaii!?! Her husband got an incredible career opportunity out there and it was simply too amazing to pass up. So, as sad as we all are to see her go, she’s got a bright and beautiful new chapter of her life about to unfold. For all the laughs, all the love, and of course all the beautiful brides she made up- we wish her nothing but the happiest of happy days on her new adventure. Cheers to Alana, her husband Shane, and their adorable daughter Abby. Thank you, so much, for having faith in me! I really couldn’t have done it without you. And, just to keep hope alive, it doesn’t hurt to mention you ALWAYS have a place in the ‘Co. A hui hou, Alana G.
If you grew up in Vegas, you know that the Bridal Spectacular show is where it’s AT for brides. I remember being little and hearing their signature jingle, “If your a bride to be, the place to be is the Spectacular Bridal Show!” Now that I’m a grown woman running the amazing Las Vegas wedding hair and makeup team that is the ‘Co, I actually get to be a part of the bridal fair. It’s pretty surreal! We got our very first booth at the bridal show in 2011- and just to show how human we are, here’s a very incriminating photo of how rough around the edges we were. Yea, it was pretty bad. Thankfully, it only took one botched show for me to figure out that it’s better to hire one of the amazing floral designers in town to do your booth.
Booth swagger aside, there’s also another element that the Bridal Spectacular pulls together. Every late fall, sometime before the holidays but after the big wedding season (October is our busiest month!), the show producers put on a big shoot out. They corral a few stunning models in exquisite gowns, pick some prestigious venues, pull from Las Vegas’s finest wedding vendors, and stage a styled shoot. Of course, you probably didn’t hear much about this on our Facebook page, because the images are all kept very hush hush until the new Spectacular Bride magazine comes out at the following show. For the past three years, we’ve had the privilege of being invited to these well-done photo-shoots as the bridal hair and makeup team. The rush of making incredible images doesn’t get any less with time, if anything, it gets stronger. The original concept for the shoots was to showcase how one bride could be portrayed so differently depending on what photographer was capturing her image. (It’s really incredible how much artistic license impacts how the photo turns out!) And from there it just evolved and flourished, time and time again.
This year, stoked beyond belief, we were invited to not one, but TWO different shoots! Two amazing opportunities to work with super high-caliber photographers, get published, and get some amazing images for our book. In this post, I wanted to share with you the second of the two shoots. It thrilled us to bits when we found out Alex, the cover model for the 2012 issue, was one of our models. We also had a chance to work with Eriko for the first time, and she is as beautiful on the outside as she is on the inside. Both professional models, you could probably put a trash bag on them and they’d make it work. Fortunately, there was a ton of beautiful, curated gowns to choose from. These images come from three different photographers, and are some of the most beautiful photo’s we’ve ever helped to create. Thrilled to be sharing with you!
Photographer Credits, in order of appearance: