Day 5 in Austin as a #SoloTraveler

Day 5 in Austin as a #SoloTraveler

#LIMELIGHTPALOOZA2017

About 2 years ago I began looking for a makeup line to sell in tandem with my freelance makeup artistry. I was annoyed with sending my clients all over Timbuktu sourcing out products to buy, and wanted to find a line that I could get behind, not only as a makeup artist (meaning great products), but as a human (great company).

Then came LimeLight by Alcone thanks to Sherry Bae Restifo. Not only is she a respected makeup artist in the Tampa Bay Area, she is a really good person. I mean- a straight shooter, but kind and genuine. And I knew she wasn’t going to waste her time on either crappy products or a poorly run company, so I was intrigued.

I’ve now offered LimeLight by Alcone products to my clients for over 1.5 years and about 3 months ago I booked tickets to the yearly conference- really with the intention to meet makeup artists from all over the country and grow my network. I’d probably learn a thing or two about direct sales tactics, or what collections/products are on the horizon too, but really I was on the hunt for makeup talent.

What I didn’t expect was what happened. Yep, the collections and upcoming products are on point and pretty exciting. And yep, I enjoyed listening to people tell their stories on how to sell products without ever touching someone’s face. But, for the most part, I felt like the Universe brought me here so that I could find myself. Sounds almost absurd to say about a makeup line- but as any good makeup artist knows, finding someone’s true self- even just represented in something as simple as wax and powder- can light up a room. We don’t make people beautiful- we give people a tool to that allows themselves to reveal the beauty they already have.

The opening speaker was from Project Concern International and Women’s Empowerment talking about how the new LL charity, Brighter Together, will give thousands of women in poverty the tools to start their own businesses. Naturally, I was hooked from the first sentence.

Next, we heard from inspirational speaker Martha Beck. I’m not one for inspirational speakers…mostly I find them commercialized and a bunch of BS. But, I swear to the stars, this lady was there to talk directly to me. 1800 women in the room, and I felt like I was the only one there. By the time she left the stage, I was just short of dumbfounded with my hands shaking in my lap.

In the breakout sessions, I probably heard the word ‘sell’ 5 times. The word I heard closer to 500 times was ‘authenticity.’ And by the time I was done with the 10 hours of constant stream of information, I was overwhelmed, exhausted and taken aback. And I realized that the reason I picked this company was not because of their products (however much I love them) but because they got it. They understand that being true; and empowered; and having tenacity; and never giving up; and being strong; and being scared; and being real; and not backing down is what make people successful. Actually, it’s what makes people, people. And the Universe sat me in those chairs not only to hear the message, but to be surrounded by 1800 people who supported it. And, for that, I am so thankful.

I went back to my room, ordered room service, packed my bags and slept hard. Really, really, hard.

My take on Austin:
I found a bit of myself in Texas.
I’m not going to eat for a week.

Day 4 in Austin as a #SoloTraveler

Day 4 in Austin as a #SoloTraveler

 

8:00a: Breakfast and coffee off the beaten path at Lazarus– always listen to the locals! Migas taco and a lovely coffee made my morning pretty nice.

 
9:30a: Off to check out the Hope Gallery, otherwise known as graffiti park. How flippin cool is this place? There was a group of kids painting away, alongside adult graffiti artists shaking paint cans and spraying the ground. I was so captivated by all the messages and images! And to think of how many layers of paint are on those walls! 😱


11:00: Another recommendation from my new friend from dinner last night sent me to Juiceland, which was the perfect pick me up from the oppressive heat and spicy breakfast… pretty sure I’m going to need to detox when I get home from all the eating!


12:00: I left my beloved Air B&B and checked into the Marriott to begin the process of the conference: LimeLightPalooza. I walked in to a lobby filled with makeup artists! It was amazing, intimidating and overwhelming all at the same time!


1:00p: Knowing my tourist time was coming to an end, I set off again to the Capitol building. This was the last thing on my list to see and it was so worth it! A beautiful park and an awesome historical building! Snagged a local beer and some chicken tacos at Eureca! It was a nice cool spot with a great lounge chair to chill out in.


3:00p: LimeLight check in!! Picked up my badge and my swag bag- I love swag bags!
4:00p: Back in the hotel for sometime to work and to take a nap. I’ve very much enjoyed my daily naps. Lol!! 😴😴


7:30p: Time to put some makeup on and head out with the LimeLight people for dinner! Can’t say this was my favorite meal cuz I ordered a boring salad… but I won’t lie- it sure was nice to eat something green!!


10:00p: I couldn’t resist the suggestion to go back to Rainy St!! This time we went to the Container Bar and yes it was a whole building structure made out of shipping containers! The vibe was awesome, and the people watching was literally priceless! The crazy mix of tourists, Texans and hipsters just made for serious entertainment! Thank you Austin!! 😂

Take on Austin: I would weigh 900 lbs if I lived here….

I am sad to say goodbye to being a tourist, but excited to see what fun LimeLight has in store for Friday! 💄

 

Thanks for reading.

Be pretty powerfully alive.

Day 3 in Austin as a #SoloTraveler

Day 3 in Austin as a #SoloTraveler

Theme: Talk to strangers.

9:00a: got a late start to the day after having an amazing night sleep. Walked down to Biscuits + Groovy for breakfast that included probably the best bacon I’ve ever had.


10:00a: Posted up at Barton Springs Pool. Had my ear phones, iPad and a slice of grassy hillside overlooking the pool and I couldn’t have been more content. Eventually this unbearable heat pushed me down to the pool: the 68* spring fed pool! Gorgeous and cold and soooo refreshing. As I sat on the edge, I started chatting with a lovely girl who was visiting the states with a group of friends from Ireland. We chatted for a long time about her trip, where I suggest her to go next time, and the brilliance of Air B&B and Uber. She’s been all over the world and I would put money on the fact she’s quite a bit younger than me. Inspiring and so fun.


1:30p: Finally decided it was time to be active again and headed down to the SUP rental spot. Before I knew it, I was off on the river, snaking up along the Austin skyline. I got some great quiet time, a good workout, some awesome views, and one hell of a sunburn! Whoops! 🌞


3:00p: Stopped for some fish tacos and mint Prosecco at Austin Java on my way home and cooled off under the misters.


4:30p: Out of the heat and back in the Air B&B for some work time. And a nap…sunburns make you tired.


8:30p: Head out for dinner. Followed a recommendation from a cyclist to do sushi at Lucky Robot on S Congress and it not only was killer sushi (and reinforced my lack of interest in straight sake), but I met another solo diner and off we went to Rainy St! What fun! We found a really a great live duo acoustic guitar/singer at Lustre Pearl and learned their story while playing corn hole on the back patio. Drinking Elijah Craig bourbon under stringed patio lights and being nothing more than a part of humanity was so fantastic. I have to say, the people of Austin are very friendly and just plain flippin’ cool. 🍱🍶🥃

Take on Austin- Hopeful Tampa will continue to grow in this direction. There’s so many similarities, and we’re just a few good decisions behind.

 

Thanks for reading.

Be pretty powerfully brave.

 

Austin Day 2 as a #SoloTraveler

Austin Day 2 as a #SoloTraveler

7:00a: Awesome group ride out of Mellow Johnny’s Bike shop. About 30 miles of punchy climbs, with at least 30 people followed by breakfast and sparkling mineral water (how chic) at the shop cafe. It was the most fun I’ve had on a bike in a long time and everyone was super cool! (And I wasn’t in the back of the pack! Whooo!!) 🚴🏻‍♀️💪🏻
10:00a: Shower and work time. 🤓
12:00p: off on the bike again to find food and check out Barton Springs. Hit up a food truck for my very first Acai bowl! It’s literally 5 million degrees here, so that was perfectly refreshing! Rode the bike around the park, got a little quiet time under a tree while checking out the Botanical Gardens, and spied an outdoor theater set up for their summer series- Wizard of Oz. (Ok, yawn) Couldn’t really experience the pool because I had the bike…so that went back on the agenda for tomorrow.


4:00p: Returned the bike rental and got a little pep in my step with a cold brew coffee. Uh, yum.


5:00p: Waited what seemed like forever for the bus that was going to take me to Gourdough’s Big. Fat. Donuts. I may feel mildly guilty about what I did there, but not really. #DirtyBerry 🍩🍓


5:30p: Back to Air B&B for a cold shower- holy sweat! And some down time…that ride (maybe if my bike didn’t have a layer of dust on it at home, this wouldn’t have been a problem.) and this heat whooped me! Caught up with some friends and, you guessed it- worked.


8:30p: Walked to dinner at Ramen Tatsu-ya thanks to the universal recommendation of the cyclists. And waited in a line out the door! But geez-Louise, was it worth it! Drink: Sake with Sparkling Thai Basil lemonade and basil seeds. Mi-so-not ramen: Unbelievable. Seriously…the Ramen egg was to DIE for! 🍜🍶

Today was a little quieter than yesterday. I listened. I absorbed. I looked around. I took in the world around me. I felt my heat rate and my legs burn on the bike. I watched a train go by. I spent time with myself, not by myself. It was refreshing and liberating.

And I did a lot of amazing eating/drinking. Diets are for home.

Current take on Austin….I don’t find it weird at all, and I’m pretty sure that says more about me than it does about Austin.

 

Thanks for reading.

Be pretty powerful and feel the world around you.

Day 1 in Austin as a #SoloTraveler

Day 1 in Austin as a #SoloTraveler

 

4:30a: Alarm for 7:00 flight. Ouch.

 
9:30a: Land and seek out the first coffee shop with organic eggs (duh) and avocado breakfast taco: Seventh Flag Coffee. Spent a little time getting some work done at. ☕️

 
10:30a-2:30p: S Congress Ave. So thankful to the my lovey new friend at CoStar boutique for keeping my travel backpack for 5 hours while I roamed. 🛍


1:00p: Street Taco and Wholly Mole taco at The Taco Joint on E Riverside Dr. 🌮🌮


2:30p: Check into THE MOST AMAZING Air B&B! A whole studio in a stand alone building that’s almost all windows and drapes. ❤️ Check it out here.


3:00p: Out cold to the world NAP! 😴 Followed by a little more work time. As a freelancer, business doesn’t stop. But it’s so hot here that I can’t complain about a little forced inside time. Plus, I feel like I’ve earned my sightseeing time if I’ve also booked gigs that day! #worklifebalance


5:00p: Jumped on the bus to hit up Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop. Rented a bike to join a group ride tomorrow!! 🚴🏻‍♀️


7:00p: Ate my weight in BBQ at Terry Black’s. Thanks to the bike mechanic who said- it’s amazing and you need to eat there. 🍺


8:00p: Rode my rented bike home and beat the storm that is making the most beautiful sound on the tin roof. 🌧

My take on Austin so far: 😍
My take on traveling solo: It sure doesn’t suck. But I’m also thankful for technology that allows me to chat with friends at home so easily too.

 

Been to Austin? Tell me your story!!

 

Thanks for reading.

Be a pretty powerful explorer.

 

In Good COMPANY

In Good COMPANY

It’s been 3 weeks since we sang our last Bobby chord in COMPANY and I still haven’t really been able to find the words to express my feelings towards this experience in my life. Sure, it’s a show. In a lot of ways, like any other. Some can argue- it’s Sondheim! Those diehards who obsess over every bazaar chord, time signature, or word written by the composer. Some can argue- it’s a show! Those performers who do one or two productions a year alongside their full time jobs and experience every moment associated with it akin to drinking nectar from the gods. Others say- it’s just a high you’ll come off of. Those non-theater people who no matter how sensitive or loving they are will never really understand what it’s like.

But, COMPANY was special. It was more special than I intended it to be, and let me tell you, it was intended to be special. I had auditioned for MAD Theatre 3 times now, and I was damned if I wasn’t going to be cast somewhere in a show that had 8 female characters in it. So, during intermission of Bridges of Madison County, I returned a phone call (that’s professional, right??) to find out that I had been cast as April- a dumb flight attendant who sings (and I still feel this way) a really boring song about going to Barcelona. Most recently described (and I do feel I need to give credit here) by Ricky, our brilliant Bobby, as “Bar’s- so-low- now”. I laughed out loud to that one.  Anyhow, honestly, I didn’t  know the show other than the basic plot and some of the songs, so I had a moment- ‘Jesus, is that how people see me?? The dumb girl??’ Followed quickly with, ‘Who gives a damn- you’re in.’ I’m so glad I got to play April, I just love her now. #PoorApril will be apart of my life forever. She’s just like the rest of us…trying to get by. Trying to connect. Trying to find her place in the world- albeit only shown only through the moments we all have of utter embarrassment; moments when you find your foot lodged squarely in your mouth. That’s #PoorApril.

But it wasn’t the brilliance of the composer. It wasn’t the simple fact it was a show. It wasn’t just a high. (However, it was one hell of a high.) It was the people. We could have been doing the dumbest of children’s shows to 10 audience members and I would still be walking away forever changed by it. Never once in my life have I been in a room with 14 people +/- crew/directors/board members that I have been so goddmaned head over heels for. I can start with their performing talents, sure, becasue, sheesh, there’s plenty of that. Songs I would just sit and listen to; scenes I would watch over and over again; lines that will forever be embedded in my mind; chords that made me giddy. But it was their spirits that made me feel at home. That dressing room became an oasis away from the world where I was not only allowed, but embraced and expected to be unabashedly present, and excited, and emerced as myself. I wonder how many people have ever felt this way- or more so, how many people have never felt this way.

And all of this happened despite the fact it took us almost the entire rehearsal process to actually get to know each other. Since Bobby is the only character on stage the whole time, we did a lot of individual scenes and really weren’t all in the same room until just a few weeks before opening when we really started to run the show. Not to mention, when you start running a show, you’re so absorbed with the “WTF happens next” feeling that you aren’t exactly making jokes and bonding. Therefore, it wasn’t until we loaded into the theater that we began to fall madly in love with each other.  It happened fast and intensely and if I could have seen the future, I would have given us that bond on the very first day so we could have squeezed every last drop of it. This all might seem ridiculous, but I’m pretty sure each person would agree with it. Those 3 weeks in that dressing room will go down in my life history as some of the best times. And it has led me to set the bar at that level, dangling somewhere along the stars, really. Nonetheless, inspiring me to live every day with the goal to find the authenticity; be completely present; and make the truest of connections. Because now I know it exists.

Thank you is a word that is used when someone simply holds a door for you, so I don’t feel it expresses the extent of how I feel about the organization that brought me all this. I am so thankful to MAD Theatre for fitting me in their puzzle. I am so thankful for the humans who have entered my life, some of which have already risen far above the surface level of new friendships and have propped me up, gave me strength, and pushed me forward. I can only patiently wait for a chance to repay them. Sometimes The Universe plops people in your life who swiftly proceed to change your life. I’m not sure I changed any of other their lives, but they sure as hell changed mine.

“Lots of Company, Life is Company, Love is Company.”

Goodbye, COMPANY. Hello, life long friends.

Thanks for reading.

Live pretty powerfully in good company.

Show Promo:

April production photos:

Nightly Cast Photos:

Rehearsals:

Shenanigans:

Backstage:

Character Creation

Character Creation

The thing that catapulted me into being a makeup artist was my love of theater. More specifically, my utter fascination of people who can change themselves into someone completely different. I’d spend weeks working alongside people in rehearsal, only to have my jaw hit the ground when the character finally emerged from within them when they walked on stage in full costume, hair, and makeup.

I found that I loved creating those visuals and makeup became my medium.

One of my favorite examples is Hedwig and the Angry Inch. I was hired to do Hedwig’s makeup for a month run of the show with a professional theater in town. The man playing hedwig was not your typical emaciated, lanky, overly feminine, person. Spencer had a 2 o’clock shadow, and looked liked you could find him at an Irish bar throwing back Guinness with the owner on any given night. Instead, every night, I would watch as Hedwig emerged from within Spencer. We’d start with the ‘Uncle Fester’ look, blocking out the bushy eyebrows with wax and filling in the hair follicles with foundation. Then, as we added the iconic eyebrows, glitter blue eye shadows, sharp cheek line, and of course the perfectly drawn red glitter lip, ‘She’ would arrive. Small mannerisms, a change in the voice, even a change in the choice of words would begin and by the time I’d hand her the wig, I was standing in front of a wonderfully sassy, slightly vulnerable, undeniable Hedwig. It may have been one of the most ongoingly satisfying repetitive jobs I’ve ever done.

But while something like Hedwig is very obvious because the makeup and hair is so necessary to the character, I find that all characters are expressed though the makeup choices. And since I currently have the great pleasure to play April in COMPANY right now, I will use her (and by default, me) and an example.

Makeup Design: ‘April’, COMPANY

April is self-professed ‘very dumb.’ She’s a flight attendant, and she’s dating (casually or with the intent of more depending on what character in the show you ask) the leading man, Bobby. I’ve translated April as maybe not the sharpest tack in the box, but a pretty astute manipulator, especially when it comes to controlling men in the bedroom. You’ve got to give her credit to the fact that she has a legit job and lives in New York City, so, she’s no southern debutante waiting for a man to control her. On the other hand, she’s no future rocket scientist either.

I started where I normally do- the eyes. The eyes alway tell people’s life story. It’s the gateway to the soul and if you can trick someone you can send them to your character’s soul. In the case of April, I wanted her to have wide eyes and one of the physical ticks I give her is that I blink a lot- conveying a sense of cluelessness that also buys her time to control the situation. Therefore, I started with the lash- a #35 from MAC lash to be exact. This lash is longest directly in the center and if you put them through a lash curler, you can get a nice wide-eyed look. They’re very long, but the hairs are brown (despite the picture), so they aren’t dark enough to make it blatantly sexy.

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Then I moved to eyeshadow. I wanted her to have warmth. I truly believe that all she wants is to connect with Bobby- or anyone really. She wants a deep rooted relationship that she can be comfortable and confident in. For this, I wanted warm colors deeply blended and soft- only there to enhance how big I could get her (my) eyes. So I used a pastel matte pink lid color, a peach crease color that deepened into a mahogany outer contour color. I then added a creamy yellow shadow with a hint of shimmer to it in the inner corner of the eye to open it up just a tad more. I mixed black and brown liner as to not make her harsh in any way and added white eyeliner to the inner rim of the bottom lid as one last attempt to get all the good out of the wide-eyed look.

We perform in a blackbox theater, so while I don’t wear this much makeup on a daily basis, I would also not consider it true stage makeup. I used a matte full coverage long wearing foundation, as I see her as someone who would be very concerned with how she looked. To me, April hasn’t realized yet that people don’t fall in love with you because you look pretty, so it’s very important to her to be put together at all times. An attribute her employer no doubt supports. I contour with a warm terra-cotta bronzer that has a slight sheen to it to continue the theme of warm and soft. A pink shimmer highlighter is brushed on the cheek bones to enhance their height reinforcing her attempt at being ‘perfect.’ Then I finish off with a bright pink blush that gives her a lot of color to her face and makes her sexy from a healthy and excitable perspective.

Lastly, we have her lip. I contemplated this for a while, thinking I would again soften her with a berry color. But when I saw my navy blue suit with blue, white and red striped satin scarf to tie around my neck, I knew I needed a red lip. But I didn’t want it too gaudy or clashing in color scheme to the rest of her face. I chose a deep red stain. It’s not flashy- she wouldn’t be flashy, there’s not quite enough confidence in her for that. The stain is great because from a design perspective, it looks like her lips, not something sitting on top of her lips; and from a practical perspective, it doesn’t transfer all over poor Ricky during the bedroom scene. Bobby would be thrilled to have lipstick on his face I believe….Ricky, the actor, not so much. We spend a whole song liplocked and he has about 30 seconds to reset for the next scene, so I needed something that wouldn’t make a mess.

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While I’m not playing the most deeply studied character in theater, or one with an iconic look, I still believe in finding motivations, desires, and intentions in every character I’m given the opportunity to become. It’s not as obvious as Hedwig, and I’m quite comfortable in my costume and face to be just me- but I feel like I’ve made her someone to relate to, feel sorry for, and laugh along with. And I think that’s the point of theater. To watch pieces of ourselves find their way through the story. They teach us, they reinforce us, and they make us feel like we aren’t alone. It’s a beautiful thing.

Most people don’t even recognize that makeup can play an integral roll in how we connect with a person. It’s why I love my job- I get to help people put their best foot forward before they even say their lines, sing their songs, or dance their routines. And, as Shakespeare wrote, ‘All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.’

 

 

 

Thanks for reading.

Act pretty powerful.