Friday, December 23, 2011

My Beauty Must-Haves for 2011

Wow! The last month has flown by so quickly. Christmas is my favorite time of year, but this month was packed with some major events that made everything rush by so quickly. Yesterday was a whirlwind! By the time I sat down on the plane to fly home to Utah, I felt so bleh...and irritated. The morning started out with a conference call with an Italian vendor. For anyone who knows me, I am NOT a morning person. So...even though they spoke English, their accent was extremely hard to follow. And from there I was running trying as always to fit too much into one day. I got caught in a lengthy training on our new office printer (production quality graphics that will totally make my life easier) but I definitely didn't have time for that on my last day in the office for two weeks. From there it was rush of designing last minute flyers and requests until I was packing, delivering Christmas gifts and then rushing to the airport. My shoulder bag was like 30 lbs...I swear! My scarf was totally choking me and my hair was stuck in my lip gloss to make matters worse. I could only sit back on the plane and think that this is just an example of what a day in the beauty life really is:). But now, I am home with my parents and so excited to be here. I can finally take a deep breath and reflect on the year.

I was thinking about the products that I love and would recommend to you all. Since I have been designing products for 10 years now (eek!), I use most of these makeup creations everyday...but what about all of the other beauty products that set the stage for fabulous makeup? I thought I would take a moment to share my favorites of 2011.

#1. One of the biggest issues I faced with beauty over the past years is acne. I went through several dermatologists before I found someone who could help me. So, he gave me different ingestibles and creams for my face which have almost totally cleared it up. However, there was an OTC product that truly made a recognizable difference. Neutrogena Oil-free Acne Wash Cream Cleanser is a very refreshing wake-me-up in the morning. I use it twice-a-day which really made the difference. It refines my skin and totally limits any blackheads or extra oil. The great thing is that this cleanser is super inexpensive. You can find it at any drugstore or online for around $4-6.

#2. Another skin product that makes my skin look amazing is Image Skincare Ageless Total Skin Lightening Serum. Whenever I use this product consecutively, I get so many compliments on how smooth my skin looks. I feel like it minimizes pores and overall provides a brightening effect to the skin. This is a very gentle product and so I use it twice-a-day to really make an impact. It can be combined with most moisturizers or used alone. Image Skincare is a professional line, so it can be found in spas or online for various pricing.

#3. Since I think everyone should wear color on their lips and am a big advocate for lipstick, it is important to not have dry, chapped lips. I recommend Image Skincare Balancing Lip Enhancement Complex. I truly cannot live without this product!!! Whenever I am desperate for something on my lips and I use another chapstick, I instantly regret it as it totally dries my lips out. This lip treatment fixes all chapping and really makes my lips look great!

#4. I don't know about you, but my eyes are very sensitive to many eye creams and eye makeup removers. I have to be very careful. For years I have been using Clinique Anti-gravity Firming Eye Lift Cream. It always make my eyes feel so good and really assists in makeup application.

#5. Over the years, I have come to realize that I am a bar soap girl. Body washes are really just annoying to me no matter how much I try to like them. My absolute favorite soap is Dove Gentle Exfoliating Bar. I love this bar soap because it smells great (not like my Grandma's flowery scented soap) and it doesn't leave residue on my body or in the bathtub. I also use this soap to shave. It protects my skin but still allows a close shave.

#6. Along with Dove Exfoliating Bar, I choose Venus Breeze Razor for my shaving needs. I don't like the disposable razors, instead I like these refillable cartridges. The Venus Breeze has shave gel bars making it great for travel when you don't want to be carrying shave gel or soap. The 3-blade system really provides a close shave. Love it! It is available at any grocery store for around $10 for the razor and then $15-30 for the refill cartridges.

#7. My favorite new brand that I have tried this year is Mama Mio body care. Mama Mio offers products that have special ingredients aimed at addressing different areas of the body. Each area of the body is unique and should be addressed as such. I have received two different products in the swag bags from CEW (Cosmetic Executive Women) events. LOVE both of them! Total winners. First is called Boob Tube Bust and Neck Firmer. I have to say, ladies, that my decolletage has never looked more moisturized and pretty. The next is Get Waisted Body Shaper. This is a 30-day treatment that is said to make your stomach feel firmer. And it does! I definitely felt better when I would use this product over regular body lotion. Plus..both products smell so good. You should definitely try them...but be ready for a hefty price point. Boob Tube is $45 and Get Waisted is $54. Mama Mio offers many other products, but you might break the bank to outfit your entire body.

#8. And finally, my favorite seasonal body butter is from the Body Shop called Candied Ginger. I LOVE anything with ginger in it. It is a scent that truly calls to me. And it feels great on the skin too!

So, that wraps it up! What have been your favorite products this year?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I just arrived at Los Angeles International Airport to fly home to Utah for Thanksgiving. In LA, you never know what the traffic will be like on the 405, so my policy has always been to arrive super early rather than take the chance of missing my flight. Much to my dismay, there were probably 10 people in the baggage line. I made it through security in less than 15 minutes! Normally, I would be so happy, but now I have 3 HOURS to kill! So, I figure it would be appropriate to spend some time thinking about the people who have helped me succeed at Mirabella. I wouldn't be who I am today without the influence of several key people.

First and foremost, thank you to Christy Thurston, Founder of Mirabella, who started me out on the path of makeup. Christy is such a beautiful, inspiring woman, and I wish you all had the opportunity to meet her. I adopted many elements of Christy's personal style that still influence me today. Christy taught me about work ethic...that great things can happen if you believe and work hard enough to make them happen. She taught me never to settle for less than perfection. I can't say that my standard will ever be as high as Christy's...but it is pretty high:). This reminds me of our very first holiday collection that we launched after partnering with Maly's West. It was called Merry Mirabella and was packaged in a monochromatic purple striped box with orange ribbon. Christy's philosophy was that everything looks better with ribbon...which I totally agree...most of the time. However, I can positively say that the Mirabella employees that tied hundreds of ribbons for Merry Mirabella would never do it again! There were a few seconds of mutiny when she wanted to flame the ends of the ribbons. That did NOT happen:).

When I first moved to was a VERY difficult transition for me. It was the first time I lived away from home and I had no family or friends. I think back to that time, and I still feel anxiety when I think of how difficult it really was. I had never even seen a real warehouse, so let's just say that my eyes were opened real fast! I floundered for the first six months or so until Mike Seiser, COO of Maly's West at the time, took me under his wing. Mike Seiser was an interesting guy...super tough to people on the outside, but very helpful to those few that made it to his inner circle. I was lucky enough to be one of those people for a year or so. I am thankful to Mike because he taught me about streamlining operations in a warehouse. He gave me my first lessons on inventory levels and purchasing. He taught me to be a stronger person...that I wasn't in this business to have everyone like me. A lesson that has been super beneficial over the years. Since I didn't have many friends, I would bake on the weekends. Mike ate hundreds of chocolate chip cookies over that year just to make me happy! But most of all, he taught me how to maintain a balance in my life between work and home. That is the lesson that I value the most. He encouraged me to get interests outside of Mirabella which totally helped me create a life in California.

The next person who really influenced me was Adrienne Kramer. She came to Mirabella after Christy left and she really taught me to dream and think big. At the time, I would want to create something but would immediately think of all of the limitations and reasons that it wouldn't work. Adrienne changed that. She told me to decide on what I wanted and then map out the steps that would help me accomplish my dream. Adrienne was instrumental in helping me be a better negotiator and really helped me to understand how product development really works. I wouldn't be the Creative Director at Mirabella had I not listened and learned from Adrienne.

Now I have the opportunity to work daily with John Maly. He consistently amazes me how calm he stays in all aspects of business. His philosophy is that he will give you a long rope and you can either run with it or hang yourself. So far...I am running with it! This allows for so much creativity. John allows us to try new ideas. Not only allows it, but expects it...which always keeps me on my toes. But most of all, John has created a nice environment to work in. I enjoy going to work each day and he always treats me with respect. Thank you, John.

And finally, I have to throw in a quick note for my BFF, Lyndie. Lyndie is such an amazing friend. It is such a great opportunity to work with your best friend. She knows me inside and out and always builds up my confidence. She is a truly loyal friend and I love her for it.

These 10 years at Mirabella have been a great growth experience. I am truly grateful for my job and love cosmetics. I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


For the past week, I have spent a lot of time looking at beautiful images trying to create inspiration boards for next year. Thank you Pinterest for making it easy to categorize beautiful images. It makes large projects like this SO much easier. No more tearing out magazine shots and putting them in folders. No more glue sticks. No more hanging file folders with images you never really look at again after you cut them out. Seriously, so much easier. If you haven't dived in, it can be super fun!

Since I have planned so many different promotional themes and classes over the years for Mirabella, I never really stop to think about what my own personal style really is. I know that I always lean toward more classic styles, but after this past week, I KNOW that my style is pretty one dimensional. We were creating bridal boards and looking at thousands of bridal images attempting to categorize them. It was really difficult for me to look past my own personal style and taste to get images that were inspirational across all different brides. Interesting! I have never really understood just how much my personal taste really affects Mirabella in general until now. I am sure that this helps keep things consistent since I do not jump all over the board, but it is very important to have people you can trust with different view points to help put some perspective on everything. You just cannot do it alone. Thank you, Jamie Richards, for always being a willing partner in crime. I have to say that our bridal inspiration boards really turned out stunning. I can't wait for next year! So many fabulous ideas on the table:).

So, the day after I spent hours with Pinterest, I came to the office to find the Nordstrom holiday catalog on my desk. Can I just say that I LOVE Nordstrom catalogs! I immediately starting flipping through and realized again that my style is very classic. Take a look at the images I found inspiring.

Oh my gosh! LOVE this bag. So pretty. LOVE the snowflake Chanel branded zipper pull. LOVE the shape, LOVE the glosses. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!

These shoes are AMAZING! Why can I not afford them? Rgh!

I totally want a statement ring. Either of these would be lovely!

I think this Nars gift set is super creative. LOVE the pots and brush. Not sure how functional...but very cool.

Both these pics were an actual spread in the catalog, and it really took my breath away when I flipped the page. LOVE the monochromatic feeling.

Now I just need a boyfriend who will buy me these things...ha, ha! I can only dream:). What is on your holiday wish list?

Friday, September 30, 2011

My most exciting custom project...

It is finally here!!! My very own custom hand mirror:). This is a dream come true since the moment I received control of product development for Mirabella. I wrote a post awhile back the day I received the first sample of the mirror. I am so excited to say that it finally debuted at the fall trade shows and received amazing feedback. Here are a few pics...

This is my first and most exciting completely custom idea come to life! Almost 1-1/2 years ago, I challenged my new rep at HCT Packaging to present me with some custom ideas rather than stock (which is available to all companies). HCT Packaging is the leader in cosmetic packaging for innovation and is credited with fantastic designs such as the Urban Decay pop up eyeshadow palettes and all of MAC's custom packaging, plus many more.

From this challenge, HCT really went above and beyond to push the limits with their factories. This gorgeous mirror really shows fantastic metal work...something that HCT is very excited to promote. I can't wait to have an HCT press release featuring this mirror sent to all cosmetic companies that they work with. I feel like I have finally made it:).

Why everyone MUST have this mirror? My favorite design elements are:

1. I insisted that there be two-tones of silver...brushed and shiny, to really create dimension on the back of the mirror.
2. The logo is debossed (etched in) to the back of the mirror which ensures that it will not rub off. This was very difficult since our logo type is so skinny and precise. HCT did an amazing job making this happen. It was a deal breaker for me.
3. The ribbon handle gives a romantic twist to an otherwise modern design. The design really captures the Mirabella brand. Thank you, Chris Tarling!
4. The weight of the mirror makes it feel super exclusive when you hold it. You wouldn't think that weight is that important...but it really adds to the overall prestige design.

I absolutely LOVE holding this mirror when I am getting ready...and I know you will too! Check out the Mirabella website. Next week, you will be able to get a discount on the hand mirror when you purchase fabulous Mirabella products. Stock up on your favorites and don't forget to grab this mirror while supplies last. Enjoy!

Graphic Liner - Spring 2012 Trend from Fashion Week

This week I have been immersed in planning for our first big media launch to the National Beauty Editors that is scheduled on Oct. 17th at the prestigious Antonio Prieto salon in NYC.


So much planning to be done...the point of this launch is to introduce the Editors to the Mirabella brand and take them through our next product launches. I literally have to get up and talk about the history and highlights of Mirabella. I'm totally nervous...eek! Seriously. I feel like I have to pump myself up to actually get through all of these nerve racking yet thrilling opportunities. So, I will be making 5 presentations to groups of Beauty Editors throughout the day...and then, that night we will be hosting an event for the top beauty bloggers.

And this is where my creative juices start flowing. We will be traveling with four of our top makeup artists (Natalie Sparrow, Brian C. Hawkins, Lisa Hickerson, and April Genshaw) who will be on site to create fabulous custom looks for both events. For the bloggers, we decided to create mood banners showing three hot runway trends. One of the trends that I totally love is graphic liner. This is going to be so hot for spring 2012!! We found this awesome picture from The Blonds runway show. LOVE it!


I immediately wondered how easy this would be to recreate the look. Would it actually be totally scary or really fun? So this morning I took my time getting ready and tried it out. Here are a couple of pics...

Thank you to Mirabella's Magic Marker Eyeliner, I was able to get this graphic look. Marker pens are the latest cosmetic technology for liquid liner. I tried this technology for the first time over 6 years ago. At first, the marker pens dried out too quickly. But, I can now confidently say that all issues have been worked out development wise...AND I cannot believe it took so long to reinvent the difficult liquid liner. Now everyone can get the precise lines that liquid liner is known for...and you can avoid flaking, skipping, and shaky lines by using these new pens. It is a new staple in my cosmetic bag!!

For this particular look, I started with Smoke Eye Definer pencil to lightly mark the areas that I wanted to have the graphic liner. The pencil was much more forgiving and provided a great guideline when I actually worked with the marker.

Would I do this look everyday??? Probably not. But it sure was fun to experiment and would be great for a special night out with the girls. Not sure that you can pull it off? Check out InStyle's spotlight on graphic liner that features much more wearable looks.

Meet Josephine...

Oh my gosh!! I just arrived at work to the most fun surprise I've had since Christy decorated our offices as Jabot Cosmetics from Young and the Restless over six years ago. Tiffany Coffey (Accts. Payable at Mirabella) totally decorated my dress form for Halloween:). I LOVE IT!! Thank you, Tiffany. I needed a pick me up:). Can't stop smiling...

Meet Josephine..

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Ginnifer Goodwin

So, I came across this cool pic of Ginnifer Goodwin and I am totally digging her use of bold color on the eyes! Such a great combination with her green shirt (which I probably never would have put together BTW). It totally fits her spunky hair style and color.

I immediately wanted to try the look on myself. So an hour and 20 pictures later, I finally took a photo that I could post and not cringe:). This is a such a new departure for me to be on videos and posting my photo is taking me a bit to adjust. Plus, it is difficult to take photos of yourself. Thank you to the iPhone 4 that has the dual that phone:). Anyway...this is how it turned out.

Get the look with Mirabella's Haute and Kristique Eye Colours, Pure Finish Illuminate, Glowing Blush Colour Duo, Shy Lip Lustre Liner, and Allure Colour Shine lip gloss.

It was totally fun to try something new...but I am wishing I had brown eyes and cute spiky hair to complete the look (at least for today that is).

Be bold...try something new! I want to see your pic!!!


Monday, September 19, 2011

Hey, there! The past week I have been working on a huge project for our fall classes that are being taught by our lovely educators at trade shows and in stores nationwide. Suffice it to say that I thoroughly combed through the September issue of every fashion/beauty magazine on the rack! HUGE much advertising is totally crazy!!! Throughout my search, two different ad campaigns really caught my eye. And I wanted to share them with you:). First, St. John created a FANTASTIC ad campaign with Kate Winslet. It totally speaks to me...

I love the extra touch at the bottom "Starring Kate Winslet". Perfect. And finally...this Chanel bag is a total LUST for me! I want it!! Ha..ha!

Needless to say...I totally stopped in my hunt when I saw both ads! So classy! What say you? Do you agree with me?

Monday, September 12, 2011

NYFW - Spring 2012 Ivana Helsinki

Ivana Helsinki was definitely a different experience than Anne Bowen. It was higher stress with more action backstage...which is always exciting!! The makeup look was definitely not for every intense tribal theme with black paint on the brows and under the eyes. The designer really wanted to dip the models hands in black paint for the show...and you could tell Brian C. Hawkins had some misgivings about how this would actually work and play out. In the end, you have to conform to the each model dipped their hands in the paint right before they came out on the runway. What a mess!! I can see that it added dramatic effect to the show. The entire venue was white floors and the black paint dripped all over the floor as the models came down the runway. Watch your shoes! Kandee Johnson's boots got a couple of splatters during the show. The black paint drops would then smear across the floor as the other models walked through the paint. The poor cleaning crew:(. Not to mention that several models smeared that awful black paint all over the beautiful clothes. Brian knew this could be a problem, but the designer totally insisted. Wow! It was crazy. Catch the recap video below...

When I first arrived backstage, Brian Hawkins was working on the one and only Jessica White (a Maybelline spokesperson and revered supermodel)!! She was STUNNING! And, it was so fun to hear her tell us about her career. She closed the show and you could tell that she was a higher caliber of model all of the way. Her walk was hands down the best...just the right amount of attitude!

Day 2 - New York Fashion Week

We started day 2 of our NYC Fashion Week trip pounding the pavement!! Kandee Johnson, Jamie Richards and I headed out to enjoy the city. My favorite part was standing in Times Square...there is a certain trash can that you can stand by and be seen on the screen up above you. It was funny because you feel like a total idiot at first, but then it becomes so much fun. A guy will wave back at you and the screen will totally zoom in on you if you stay there long enough! We stopped and bought t-shirts for Kandee to sign as giveaway prizes...I swear, she is like a magnet for people. Everyone gravitates toward her. It is a true gift and I loved seeing it in action. Of course, you cannot be in NYC without visiting Magnolia Bakery. We took a break to discuss our thoughts on the Anne Bowen show and stuff our faces with delicious red velvet cupcakes. SO MUCH FUN!!...You can catch some footage of our city tour below:).

Fashion's Night Out

Oh WOW! Fashion's Night Out was so so so much fun!!! Jamie Richards and I hit 5th Avenue in NYC on September 8th to take in the sights and sounds of Fashion's Night Out. Such energy!! It seemed every store had something going on...most especially loud music. We first headed to Saks 5th Avenue and the cosmetic department on the 1st floor was hopping! It was so fun to see everyone getting makeup touch-ups. Such a crowd...Jamie even spotted Naomi Campbell. She was gorgeous!!! I swear she was like a foot taller than everyone there.

We headed to the women's section and there were several activities going on there. We chose to park ourselves in line at the Rebecca Minkoff braid bar. They were weaving leather into fantabulous braids. We waited what seemed like FOREVER (my feet were so hurt after such a long day)!!! In the end, we decided we were much more inclined to spend time on 5th Ave than stuck in line. Lesson #1: Go early to Fashion's Night Out!!! Especially if you actually want to get a service that is being offered.

So we gave up our spot and headed back out on the streets. My sore feet became my sole focus and I had to find comfortable shoes and FAST! Lesson #2: Do not wear any sort of heel to Fashion's Night Out and then stand in a line forever! I finally found some flip flops at GAP. Thank goodness. My mood improved immediately once those flip flops were on my feet. From there we took in several cool sights. Drake, the rapper, was out in front of Versace. As we were trying to get closer to see him in the crowd, we ended up by the store windows. All of sudden we realized there were live models in the window!! It was so cool!

Loved every minute of it! I really hope I get another chance to go again sometime:).