Flash

Trying something. Stay with me here.

If I had to describe my life to a complete stranger … Most accurately:

Imagine you’re standing on top of what seems to be the highest mountain looking down into a bunch of little valleys. You keep feeling like you see something flashing in the corner of your eye but every time you turn in that direction to see what it is, it’s dark and it looks like nothing has ever been there. Nothing could survive there … yet that fuckin flash man ! You could swear you see something there. 

That flash girl… it’s me ….hayyyyyy
I know that sounds desolate but I’m confident in my little flash.

Basically things are crazy here. More than just normal mom/single mom, mid twenties, toddler chasing crazy. And just pretending the crazy isn’t happening … isn’t possible.  And while I would prefer to not have the added outside stressors … might as well deal with it and keep my sanity intact.

I don’t want to keep putting the drama on my destiny’s child sized group of friends so how can I deal with some of these issues without dangerously internalizing stress?

That little flash. For me, that flash is a positive thought.  Soooo cheesy.

So instead of unleashing my everyday complaints on the world to receive some form of a bigger world problem that is even higher on my scale of shit I can’t solve… I’m trying to meet each complaint/problem I have with something positive that relates to it and outweighs it. It sounds … unrealistic I’m certain.

Example:

Issue: a $200 speeding ticket is gonna jam up my grocery budget.

New solution: I have a coupon for the Justin’s almond butter so I can feel better about buying a $12 spread … kinda

It’s simple yet ridiculously so complex because it’s easy to get bogged down by many stressors at once that you have no choice but to acknowledge that little flash that’s keeping you from completely loosing your god given sense. It might be extra money from something you sold on letgo … or that you got out of a conversation with the ol “nod and smile” with your earbuds in, trick. Knowing damn well your phone has been dead for at least 25 mins now.

It honestly could be sitting in the car seat in the back seat of your car… no not your kid. The pack of fruit snacks they dropped getting out of the car at daycare and now you’re five mins from work and STARVING. That’s a win for everyone really. Hungry moms arent to be tested.

Seriously though. It took someone this week to really tell me to remember me. So even though it seems like I am flying a dangerously overweight aircraft, I cannot forget that I’m the pilot of this bitch and the damn thing wouldn’t have gotten off the ground without me. You can’t get to where you want to be if you aren’t treating yourself the way you deserve whenever possible.

So just in case you had a January like mine let me throw out some words of encouragement to get us to Valentine’s Day at the LEAST.

  1. Your SnapBack is real girl, go ahead and post that selfie
  2. Everyone’s car looks/smells like that. (Blame the child)
  3. Scandal is coming back this week. So even if your world is crashing down … it’s handled.
  4. Hair wraps are “in” so sleep in girl no one knows there’s naps under there.
  5. No one will even notice that dent. But I would park somewhere else … just in case
  6. Candy sales are about to be so so so real.
  7. If none of these work– play “best I ever had” by Drake and belt out the part where he says your pretty. And know you’re better than who ever he’s talking to because you don’t even have a roommate to be sneaking around #grown

-eb

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Interview and Makeover with Kris James, MUA

 

A few posts back I posted a photo of an awesome makeover I got while I was in Southern Maryland visiting family (Feedback from Fi -Pt 2) and I promised to post all the details. The makeup artist is a great friend of mine who has perfected her craft over the years and it is truly impressive.

Like I have mentioned in previous posts, I LOVE LOVE LOVE makeup but I am super picky about how my foundation looks and how my eyeshadow looks and my lips have to be on point! Kris killed it. It was seamless and she kept me super involved in the process. I know that not all of my followers know Kris and the one who do may not know that she has decided to start her own business and do this full time (awesome right? You know I love a hustle!)

So I wanted to give her a spotlight on my page, One: because she is great at what she does.
Two: Because she is taking leap and starting her own business, that takes some true passion and dedication.
And three: Because she is an all around amazing person. I know first hand she will drop what she’s doing and come save you no questions asked. She is an awesome mom with ambition which is admirable to anyone.
This is beneficial to anyone thinking of changing things up or taking new chances and need a bit of inspiration.

So after we finished all the glam and took photos I had a lot of questions!

eb-So for people who don’t know you…tell me about you. How long have you been doing makeup? 

KJ-Hi readers! My name is Kris James.

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 A mommy who likes to play in makeup with my three-year-old, a company freelance makeup artist, a college student, overall clean freak, and an owner of a business still in its infancy. I’ve been a beauty advisor for about 5 years at various retail stores, a freelance artist for 2, and this is my first year solely dedicated to my own artistry as a profession. I’m accredited through two major companies, but I’m looking forward to going back to school to learn the workings of independent artistry as a personal business and always excited to broaden my experience in technique. Bridal is my main squeeze, but my career has encompassed prom, boudoir, runway, and various other photo shoots/events. 

eb-What made you want to break out on your own?

KJ- I think it was a combination of needing flexibility between my home life, work, and school, and the pushiness that comes with retail. At a counter, you’re given sales goals to meet each day–ones that are often way too lofty for the foot traffic coming in the door. You’re constantly acutely aware of what products you need to push in order to meet this goal and appease your boss under the consolation and guise of making “commission” (often an extremely small percentage of the sale), which makes for a stressful day and creates beauty advisors akin to the people at the kiosks in the mall, just trying to sell you anything and everything in an abrasive way. We all know and avoid one; I never wanted that to be me. I always struggled with that–I often found that when customers came to my counter, they were often doing so in a very vulnerable state; whether that was in the form of an embarrassing skin condition, an evident lack of self-esteem, or their trust in me to create a certain look for them on an important day. Customers really open up to you and take your advice and expertise seriously; you’re often their last ditch effort in a long journey of trying and buying on their own, only to meet disappointment in the mirror again and again. To try and capitalize on that just to meet a daily sales goal is beyond wrong and extremely burdensome on everyone in my opinion; by all means, if I have a product in mind that I truly believe will help you with your concern, I’ll suggest it regardless of the price. People go shopping to spend some money. But any sale I make should be because I stand behind that product, not in fear of my monthly sales review. Product loyalty got a little sketchy for me too–don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love at least 80% of the entirety of any brand I’ve worked for, but I know what works better and might cost less across the department and I don’t want to be beholden to a brand so as not to give the best recommendation possible. This line of work runs on a sense of intimacy, acceptance, and understanding, and I love that about it–but when you sell product instead of your time, it is hard for both the customer and the advisor to ensure purity and truth at the counter 100% of the time. Now that I am selling a service instead, I’m free to be “real” with each and every client, and I’m free to find out what works on my own as well, too. There’s a whole new world outside of what you find in your neighborhood Macy’s–and a lot of really great stuff inside of it too–but skincare and makeup is never a one-size-fits-all, and no brand will ever fully encompass that in my opinion.

“My personal business gives a whole new dimension to my passion, really liberating.”

eb-You’re a mom too, was it hard for you decide to take the leap to leave your job and start your own business? 

KJExtremely. I wrestled with this decision for at least a year before finally leaving, and admittedly still question it sometimes during my business’ slow weeks. If nothing else, retail gave me not just a steady paycheck, but my coworkers made up the majority of my adult interaction during the week and the commute to work was my “me” time. I could bump obscene music the whole 30 minute ride instead of Disney’s hits from movies neither my son nor I have ever seen, and best of all was the private bathroom I could use ALONE. I really coveted my job because it gave me a taste of my individuality back–at the risk of sounding like a terrible mother, it was like stepping into a time machine back before I had Tristan as I had worked there long before he was born and I was so comfortable and familiar there being the “me” I was before it was “we.” I feared that if I quit, the house and all its cleaning needs would rise up and consume me, my son would contract separation anxiety suddenly like a contagious disease, every bit of homework I stayed up until three in the morning to complete would be devoured by the dog and we’d all be miserable as the walls closed in. Melodramatic, I know, but a genuine dread nonetheless. Being a parent is my most important job, however, and it was time to examine my hierarchy of time spent. Of course raising Tristan was at the top of the list no matter what, but anyone who works retail will tell you that if you’re also a student, in a relationship, or have any other facets of your life that you deem important other than obsessively monitoring your ever-changing work schedule, the lines can get pretty blurry pretty quickly. It took me six years to get one associates degree–ironically the same amount of time spent working retail. Obviously that is my doing, but the correlation was clear in my mind–this job, however much I loved it, often made it difficult to manage other aspects of my life, and I was tired of my own irritability with my man and child after coming home from the night shift, never having a free Father’s Day to spend with my elderly grandfather, losing my motivation to sit down and write that essay, etc. I will forever be grateful for it though, as I could not possibly be doing what I’m doing now without the experience it taught me. Its certainly one I believe everyone should have, as it truly gives you a swift kick in the time management.

eb-When it comes to running a business when you’re selling your talent and time… how do you balance your input (like materials) with your profit? 

KJ-This can be a slippery slope and is one that I’m still working on climbing. Retail and company freelance don’t give you much experience with this obviously, so its really been a learning curve for me. I think first and foremost you need to consider your location. Being in rural Southern Maryland and really just beginning to get my business out there, I have to be aware of what is reasonable for my area–you can’t be charging typical L.A. prices in Mechanicsville, nor do I ever want to overcharge period. At the same time, most of what I use in my kit is professional grade and either requires extensive travel to acquire or must be ordered, so my prices have to reflect that. (As a disclaimer, I have absolutely nothing against drug-store products; there’s some out there that are just as good if not better sometimes than high-end.) I try to take inventory of what I will need within the next month after every job, so that there’s never a need for a huge and costly haul all at once. It’s a big reason that I charge a retainer at the trial run–the trial is free as it’s my opportunity to prove myself to the client and for them to get a good feel for me, but the retainer ensures that not only is the client’s date secured, but any product they request or I need to restock will be readily available.

eb-What tips would you give other people just starting out or thinking of starting a business of their own?

KJ- Believe you can do it. Cliche, I know–but critical. There will always be someone with more experience, a better portfolio, a more interactive website, lengthy lists of certifications you haven’t gotten yet, a more advanced kit. But we all start somewhere, and your personal journey takes place the minute you’re inspired and motivated enough to make a change, even if you don’t know how to do it just yet. Stay humble, but don’t sell yourself short. When you run your own business, its important to be just as cognizant of your abilities and rates as you are your self-worth and what you have to offer; losing focus of that is the ONLY thing that can lead to “failure.” Don’t lose the qualities in yourself that clients are attracted to in a race to further your business or get your name out there–that’s for the mall kiosks. Remember we’re all human and you’ll get there when the time is right, with the right strategy and attitude. Be different and compare yourself to no one, especially in this industry–its your uniqueness that is your ultimate business card and will get you noticed.

^^^^^Read that TWICE^^^^^

eb-What is the proper etiquette for a client when working with a professional makeup artist?

KJ-NO KIM K. REFERENCES WHEN TRYING TO EXPLAIN THE LOOK YOU’RE GOING FOR. Just kidding! (But not really.) Its really all in the preparation for the event. If you’re getting a wax–anywhere–do it no sooner than three days before the event; if you’ve ever tried to put foundation on after you’ve gotten your eyebrows done, you know what I mean, not to mention the possibility of breakout or irritation. Be upfront about any skin issues you have–your makeup artist, waxer, hairstylist, dermatologist, etc. have all seen way worse than your current zit or cold sore, we’re people too and it happens to all of us in some way or another–but rushing in without notice heightens the risk of spreading, improper sanitation, bad coverage, and a whole slew of other nastiness. Give your makeup artist and yourself ample time to work comfortably when possible; when we’re both rushed is when miscommunication happens. Be realistic about your goals, but let the artist know the minute you’re not 100% with what’s being applied–we’d much rather be kindly redirected towards your vision than have to backtrack and still get you out of the chair in time. Put your phone down, please and thank you unless absolutely necessary. And don’t try to constantly cut deals–your makeup artist has calculated rates down to a science, all while trying to give you the best deal possible; take it for what it is when its quoted and honor that the day of the event. Its appreciated when clients discuss their budget and a general idea of what the contract will entail, but try to keep your number of bridesmaids relatively consistent and don’t spring on an extra three people because we had time left over unless you’re willing to pay the same rate. Take care of your skin as best you can beforehand, as makeup will always look its best on skin that is been ritualized even if you’re in the midst of a breakout or experiencing redness. I know this can be a lot to consider on what may already be a hectic day, so I often try to put some guidelines in my contract so the client will know not only what is expected of me, but what they can do to help as well.

eb-What are your long term goals? 

KJ-Eventually I’d love to travel to do my work, really for any occasion. Bridal is my comfort zone, but I had the opportunity to do runway and I fell in love with it. Boudoir is a big new interest for me right now that I’d like to hone in on long-term. I definitely try to branch out with every job–it is very easy to get stuck in ruts whether it be in trending technique or the type of shoot/event you’re doing and I never want my portfolio to seem stale. Further down the road I’ve considered opening up an actual salon or teaching others, but that’s rather over-zealous right now as I still consider myself a baby and will always have a lot of learning to do. I’ll forever be a student, but I hope in the long-term I’ll be able to inspire others to be comfortable in both their natural beauty and in the freedom to experiment with new things. If Lisa Eldridge ever reads this, I want to be you when I grow up! (YouTube her, seriously.)

eb-Makeup, I feel, is tricky… because everyone has their own style … how are you able to satisfy every request when it comes to skin tones and different face shapes and skin textures? 

KJ- It certainly can be! I think the most important part of making sure every client walks away happy is creating an accepting environment and simply LISTENING. You have to really get to know them on a personal level–how they take care of their skin, what they absolutely cannot use, what products they love, the vision they have for the overall event you’re getting them ready for. And you have to take each and every skin tone/texture into account when building your kit–don’t skimp on being inclusive with your product range, because while some foundations/formulas will certainly get more play than others, you WILL have that Becky with the good undertone that you never thought you’d use and now can’t match. Sometimes, however, it’s not as easy as a simple consultation or trial run. So often I have clients who bring me in a picture they found on Instagram that they want to identify with, not taking into account their own features or skin tone/texture, etc. This is where I must rant, and hopefully intelligibly. I absolutely love when clients bring me pictures of their vision that they found on social media–it really gives me an idea of what they want, while I’m taking into account what’s in my chair. There can absolutely be a balance that the client will be happy with–but it can never be mimicked. I repeat: it cannot be completely mimicked. Unless you’re willing to walk around with your face wrapped in color-tinted cellophane and attach a particular light to your head, it will never look the same. That’s those Instagram filters we love so much but forget to take into account when we look in the mirror. The right makeup application can do wondrous things, but if you walk away the same blue tone in person as gratuitously given off by “Hudson” or “Nashville,” small children will run screaming and I’ll be out of work forever. While we’re on the subject of “Instaglam” or “YouTube celebrity,” its important to know its history–the household terms we’ve come to cherish so much that major companies have scurried to product-perfect such as “contour,” “highlight,” “cut crease,” “color-correct,” etc. are derived almost entirely from drag technique; that is, transforming what is deemed masculine features into a feminine face. That process of transformation is overdone to really exemplify and/or reshape certain features, such as cheekbones (read: contour/highlight) or to provide a literally blank canvas of a face for color (read: cut crease/color-correct). It’s drastic. It’s not every day. When you’re a female client, naturally having an already “feminine” facial structure, you do not need to completely restructure your face with eight pounds of too-dark foundation and 6 pounds of highlighter that reflects into outer space. It is equally as important for the makeup artist to assess and know how to navigate different face shapes and skin tones as it is the client to have a realistic expectation. And its not to say that I have extreme disdain for what’s exhibited on Instagram or Youtube (Jaclyn Hill is just my favorite ever, love her, watch her all the time), its all artistry, its all beautiful, its all talent. I have so much love for extreme color and transformation that I’ve considered getting into body paint as well. But it is not always realistic. Ask any drag queen (I have) if they think these copy-cat techniques are appropriate for bridal; we’ll laugh and laugh and then get back to reality. It shouldn’t take some arduous process to bring out your best features and conceal what you’d like to hide; you already have the raw materials, its my job to bring them forward in any light–not just a filter. As an artist, you have to be real with clients about this, as our society through social media or company branding will have you quickly believing otherwise. Its great to take inspiration from what’s trending right now; that’s the nature of our business. But your style is your own. Again, its never a one-size-fits all.

eb-As a mom, what are some products you would recommend to other moms for an easy yet glam look?

KJ-When I’m not on a job, I try to keep it as minimalist as possible–all my moms out there can relate, and now its summertime so its REALLY about the bare necessities in this always-pleasant humidity. Nothing grinds my gears worse than stepping outside into the would-be rainforest and foundation melting away just enough so that my child’s handprint from whatever he just HAD to touch my face for is clearly evident. That doesn’t mean that we can’t still have some fun in color though, ladies. My go-to’s for easy and heatwave-withstanding would have to be Lancome’s Genefique serum or any other brightening-without-bleach treatment on bare skin (you know, to attempt to treat those dark circles we all cherish so much), a good tinted moisurizer such as Clinique’s Moisture Surge foundation or Urban Decay’s Naked Beauty Balm (both with sunscreen, which is a must in any season), either a quick cream blush (Revlon is oddly my favorite right now) or earth-tone bronzer to add a little color on the cheekbones, Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz is always a staple, Benefit They’re Real mascara for a noticeable yet buildable cover for lashes, and a pop of color with a tinted lip balm or gloss (pair with a nude lipliner if you have the time, it prevents color bleeding and makes the lips look larger no matter what color you put over top). Scrap the highlighter for a few dabs of your brightening serum over top of your blush or bronzer, and don’t cake with powder when you could use a setting spray, dependent on your skin type. Keep it simple!

Thanks again Kris!
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Feedback from Fi -Pt 2

The second round of tales from my tot. Again…Completely fictional. But she is 100% as dramatic.  

When mom says no…. 

“Boys only want love if it’s torture”👸🏼

Sadly… Based on a true story. 

Mom: 1     Fi: 0

… When BET is on and the remote is hiding … 

(Look out for a video introducing “Mellie” coming soon)

Sorry it’s been so long (like a week. Long in my mind)
This week has been swamped. I’ll save you the mind numbing details and just give you a photo recap

We went to the beach

After hanging out in the mountains…


Stumbled across some great finds in a recipe book from Ollies (full review coming soon)

Got an awesome “beat” from southern md based make up artist Kris James (full detail and photos coming soon)


Tried some new protective hair styling (peep the wrap). Mixed reviews (mixed between sweet and racist as hell
I have posts in the que for this week so stay connected by following our fb page, Instagram, and now Pinterest. There are usually discounts and freebies I post all around that don’t fit in my blog posts. 

Love to the world,

-eb