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’m a known avid reader. My idea of a hot date night would probably involve Barnes and Noble. I get my hands on anything I can, except I’ve never been able to make it through an entire Forbes magazine.
A couple years ago at an industry convention, I signed up for this 10 magazines a month deal for dirt cheap, something like 20 bucks a month. It had all the goodies in there… Vogue, Glamour, Allure, and more. Add in a few more gift subscriptions and I was getting 14 magazines a month. If I had all the time to read those, I would have been unemployed.
I got the magazines to educate myself and stay on top of trends. For me, it’s actually a tax write off because it’s considered research, and rightfully so. Where else should I get hair and makeup ideas, beauty tips and tricks, other than a monthly magazine devoted to exactly such topics? Seemed like a good idea at the time.
After a few months of getting these amazing vessels of information, I was starting to notice a trend. If these magazines are designed to target women like me, then the people who run them must think I’m overweight and desperate to improve my sex life. Oh, and that my vagina and breasts take turns having issues.
It seems like every single month, there’s 99 new ways to turn him on, or ground-breaking research of our feminine parts, or new no-fail diet plans. There’s a whole slew of people whose careers are devoted to finding out what we women want to read about. With all due respect to them, I only have so many orifice’s and therefore I doubt there really are hundreds of new things to do with them every year.
And of course, there’s some editorial spreads stuck here and there that tell us all about OPI’s new seasonal nail color, and the hot lipstick now. I can get behind that, and usually end up going thru the mag at lighting speed ripping out the precious few articles to do with beauty. These tear sheets then lay scattered across the table till I realize that if I took the time to read them, I wouldn’t have time to read the other things I find important and then into the compost bin they go.
I hate to say it, but I’m knocking the beauty mags. While there may be pearls of wisdom hidden between the condom expertise and the vagina monologues, digging thru to find the diamond in the rough has become a chore. And, what’s more, if I had more time to waste reading about the latest fad food system I might actually do it. Thankfully, I am lucky enough to be kept busy with work and by default don’t buy into half the crap that ends up in my mailbox. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with the dishing out of sex advice. Women have fought long and hard (pun intended) for the right to display their sex knowledge in bold pink in the checkout aisle. I’m just saying that if I pick up a beauty magazine, I want to read about… beauty.
If your really wanting to get some great beauty advice, I got a couple idea’s for you. Check out The Green Beauty Guide. While author Julie Gabriel is so far on the eco side that she’s beyond even my zip code for green, she provides a plethora of information that even the laziest environmentalist can do. I love reading her recipes. They combine my three favorite things: Cooking, Reading, and Beauty. Another fantastic read is Gorgeously Green by Sohpie Uliano. This book contains more than just good beauty advice, but at least it’s supplements aren’t laden with some neo-feminist assertions. I also like Paula Begouns series. This chick is not joking around, she’s going to dissect just about any product you could imagine. I’ve got more up my sleeve, but those three have the most worn binders on my shelf.
Everyone has their thing. That thing you do that’s your own dirty little pleasure where the only value gained is a mental break from reality. And if reading these glossies is yours, then definitely go for it. But take it from the professional: Don’t get your real beauty advice from there. It’s like the pretty boyfriend you once had. Totally fun fling, but with no substance. Enjoy the fun, and when your ready for the real deal, move on.
Oh the choices, the choices! The ring is on, the feverish calls and excited “Congratulations” are rolling in! That dreamy fantasy that was once reserved for your mother’s closet and vanity has now come alive with websites, stores, and bridal shows as you piece together the look of a lifetime. For some women, it’s all about the deep desire to be “The Bride,” the replica of the holiday-edition Barbie’s from childhood complete with dazzling jewelry and lush fabric. For other women, the idea of being over-the-top sexy and glamorous, the intensity of his gaze, is her only objective. However you visualize your wedding day look, it always comes from the feeling you want to create when you first glimpse at yourself in the mirror, fully ready to make the vows that last a lifetime.
I can tell you with absolute certainty that a woman is at her most beautiful two times in her life: When she is madly in love, and when she is excitedly expecting. After doing thousands of weddings, I’ve learned that there’s one thing above all else that makes a woman beautiful- that is being in love. It’s not the blush or the necklace or the flowers or the cocktail napkins- it’s the feeling you get when your lipstick is being applied, when you tap the water off your bouquet, that fills-your-soul breath you take right before you walk down the aisle. That’s what you’ll remember. You’ll remember that feeling. You won’t remember the lip color used, but you’ll remember how pretty you felt. You won’t remember the name of the designer dress, but you’ll remember the thrill of slipping it on. When you’re daydreaming about your ultimate bridal fantasy, leave room to daydream about the feelings that come with it, all in anticipation of marrying the love of your life. Use those feelings as a starting point when you’re looking at hair styles, makeup ideas, wedding gowns and jewelry. When the cakes been cut, the bouquet has been tossed, the last dance danced… that feeling will stay with you long after. There isn’t a potion in the world that can duplicate the glow that comes from the heart, flushes the cheeks and brightens the eyes. Love really is beautiful, in every way.
Amelia C & Co
If you’ve been hanging around us for any time at all, you know we are all for a good band-wagon ride. This year, we once again took the steering wheel (or reigns? do bandwagons have power steering?) with Altenburg Studio for our second-annual Patriotic Pin-Ups and we gotta say- we knocked our own socks off!
The event kicked off at 9am on Saturday, June 30th. Our two day event is a once-a-year opportunity to channel your inner Betty Page and become a very real pin-up girl. An interesting tid-bit we learned this year from our co-conspirator and sexy friend Kiti Kobain: “The term pin-up was coined during WW II. Men would bring photos of their girl or their favorite actress and “pin them up” in their sleeping quarters.” The sweet style was so sexy and so appealing it outlived the War (Thank God!).
So what does this have to do with our bandwagon? Two years ago, Sue Altenburg volunteered at a charity event for the homeless veterans in the Las Vegas Valley- and left heartbroken. So many men and women who served our country do without even food or shelter. Inadequate therapy and follow-up care upon returning back home drove many of these veterans to alcohol and drugs. Some simply lacked the life skills it takes to survive out of the military. The US Vets organization exists to “serve those who have served”, and we are only too happy to support their cause.
Sue, Master Photographer and owner of Altenburg Studio, specializes in boudoir and pin-up photography here in Las Vegas. Wanting to do more, Patriotic Pin-ups is her brain-child to bring funds to the US Vegas organization. She rallied fellow studio-photographer Catherine Guillotte of Portraits by Catherine, Bettie Page Clothing, Models Kiti Kobain and Tiffany Rose Thomas, and of course, yours truly, to put on a pin-up themed fundraiser. To say it was a success would be like saying the Grand Canyon is nothing more than a crack. In 2011, we raised $6,500 for homeless veterans. This year we exceeded $8,000 and the numbers are still rolling in!
Plans for next year are already underway! and YES, we DID sell out and we sold out last year, so if your ready to be a pin-up I suggest you go like our pages! We will announce on Facebook when appointments for next year open, you’ll want to be the first to know! For Amelia C & Co, visit www.facebook.com/ameliacandco. For Altenburg Studio, visit www.facebook.com/altenburgstudioinc
Last year, we raised $6,500 in TWO DAYS benefiting the homeless military veterans of Las Vegas! This substantial amount was enough to help get the new Radcliffe Building open, a temporary housing facility to get our vets off the streets and into stability. Be a pin-up and be a patriot, come join us for our annual fundraiser to say THANK YOU to the men and women who have served our country. ALL PROCEEDS BENEFIT NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION US VETS.
There are quite literally millions of beauty products on the market today. We’ve got entire mega-stores devoted to making sure that you look your best, whatever society has determined what “best” means at that time. I’ve built an entire company on making women looking good, and I’m not the first and will certainly not be the last.
However, no matter how big the store, how expensive the cream, how good the artist, there is not a single thing outside of you that can make you pretty on the inside.
Being pretty on the outside can’t be bought. You can’t hire someone to do it for you. It doesn’t come in a jar and can’t be applied with a brush. The closest you can get to a “pretty on the inside tutorial” it is the two-page articles in beauty magazines squished between this seasons white capris and some new spread on the sex positions you knew about three years ago.
Some of the most beautiful women I’ve ever worked with haven’t been “attractive” by your media-driven standards. And I also know women who have had the most expensive aesthetic surgeries yet remain so ugly there isn’t a thing in my kit that can help them. I avoid those women like the plague.
Pretty on the inside is about who you are, what your soul is all about. Kindness and compassion go much further for your looks than the perfect lip-color. Love, empathy, and joy add a sparkle to your eyes that no eyedrops can duplicate. If your brimming with conceitedness and envy, sweetheart, you need a more than me. You need a psychiatrist.
I am not writing this post under the delusion that some witch of a woman will read it and see the error of her ways- no, I am not that dim to assume they would have even made it this far. Rather, I’m writing it to make a statement for myself. My personal manifesto, if you will, that reminds me that who I am on the inside is significantly more important that the new shadow collection I just had to have.
Feel like your soul is in need of a brush up, a make over? As a professional, I recommend the following:
1- Find a charity you can get behind and donate or volunteer at least once a month. You can find some great options at Charity Navigator
2- Next time you feel wronged by someone, be generous when explaining their behavior. You may think you know why they did what they did, but chances are, you are just making the story worse that it really is. You don’t know what’s going on inside their head or their life. I’m not saying become a doormat- footprints don’t look good on anyone. What I am saying is before you get forehead wrinkles from scowling and talking smack, why don’t you consider the possiblity that the story is different than what your imagination made it out to be?
3- Consider the possibility that your a soul with a body, instead of a body with a soul. Do some quiet reading, start exploring who you are instead of what you are. Even just for a few minutes a day. Download a podcast from Oprah’s Spirituality Channel. Pick up a Deepak Chopra book. Drop in on a meditation class. Do something, every week, that preens your soul and keeps it growing beautifully.
Ugly and Beauty are action words. They require doing something. What you do in the morning to get ready for your day is less important than the way you act during that day. There isn’t a thick enough concealer to cover up someone ugly on the inside, and there isn’t a lipstick in the world that can make a beautiful soul any prettier.
This year has been…incredible. On January 6th, I officially launched my independent Las Vegas hair and makeup business. On my own, nail biting and all. As I sit here on the very last day, hours even, of 2010, I’m feeling somewhat sentimental as I realized all the amazing things that this past year has brought me.
The fact that I was not the only one to wish 2009 good riddance actually made me feel better about the whole thing. At least I wasn’t the only one wallowing in some kind of despair that only a national recession can create. And have you ever noticed that when you don’t FEEL successful and confident, the rest of the world just kinda… sucks?
I set out for 2010 to be different, and it was. I didn’t even know what an empty vessel I was for information, but I hope that I always remain that way. It feels good to get filled up with new experiences. So, here’s what this amazing year has taught me:
1) Most people need to feel taken care of. Make someone feel good about themselves, and let them know how very important to you they are. And, be genuine about it. It will take you miles further than any product or service.
2) Don’t spend hours agonizing about something you may-or-may-not have screwed up. You never know that the one thing you stressed so much about may be the very thing someone praises you for later. Unless someone directly tells you that you screwed up, just drop it.
3) You will not make everyone happy. That’s OK As long as you can leave the situation feeling good about yourself and the choices you made in that situation, then it’s fine. And sometimes, there isn’t the “right choice”, there’s just “I made the best decision I could at the time” choice. That’s cool, too.
4) Never miss an opportunity to shut the hell up. This tidbit it worth it’s weight in gold.
If experience is the best teacher, I’ve been enrolled in his class for a year now and can vouch for him. Getting out there, taking a risk, and doing my thing has been huge. There’s so much that I thought would be a BIG deal, like some sort of long, hard, overwhelming task I would have to endure and struggle with. I had built it up in my mind to be something way more elaborate than it really was. Then the weirdest thing happened… the stuff that seemed insignificant, the stuff that required me to focus and be consistent on day to day tasks, were the ones that required the most of me. The big leaps were easy. I just had to jump. And jumping covers way more ground than walking in the same amount of time.
So, for 2011, it’s time to jump. Stretch, reach, leap. Momentum is powerful, once you put it into play.
Wishing you a very, very best New Year.
Oh… wait… this is supposed to be a blog on beauty… tip: Urban Decay’s Red Revolution. The most perfect red lipstick I have ever found. And you’ll need it for the retro inspired looks parading down runways and wedding aisles.