LULA is going on an adventure!

Robyn Van Dyke Photography

Robyn Van Dyke Photography

 This year has been everything I hoped it would be, and then some.  

I started out 2014 having just quit my day job to pursue a more balanced life with work I love.  Providing beautifully personalized hair and makeup styling for ladies – be it for a wedding day, a special date, prom, a photo shoot, or one-on-one consultation – is just a part of why I have fallen even more in love with this job.  I get to meet people, hear their stories, and be with them during special moments.  For a brief time, they sit in my chair and trust me with an intimate part of who they are.  We get to chat and dream.  I get to be one of the makers of the vision of a special moment, a special day.  

I always say that hair and makeup is just art in which no two canvases are the same.  Each canvas has its own set of beautiful, natural features to work with.  Finding beauty isn’t hard, you just have to have an eye that appreciates what is already there.  That is why I love what I do!  There’s not a person who sits in my chair who isn’t amazingly beautiful.  I just get to play up what’s there, while chatting and laughing and dreaming (and sweating… *cough* I mean glistening!)

Work also gets to be one of my joys because, well, it’s just that – ONE of my joys!  Where we do not depend on something or someone for our joy, that thing just gets to be what it is, and we just get to love it for what it is.  I am so thankful for work that has allowed me to be all me, and a huge outlet for my creativity.  

From September through December of this year, my husband and I are taking some time to pursue some different joys and adventures around the world.  We will be in Europe and Africa with a missions organization which focuses largely on orphan care and aid for the impoverished.  I am so excited!  

I am a huge believer in living life, and letting that life inspire your work – instead of letting work rule your life.  I am so excited to take in all the sights, smells, tastes, textures, colors, sunsets, skin tones and smiles, challenges, and even discomfort!  “A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.” – William G.T. Shedd

 

With that said, LULA will not be taking any work or answering to any new inquiries from September – December 2014. We will resume responding to inquiries for limited bookings in 2015!  

I’d love to answer any questions before then, so just shoot me an email or send a contact form, and I’ll try to get back to you as soon as I can!  Please note that after September 14th, I will not be responding to any new emails until January 1st.  Thanks for your understanding during this exciting time!  If you are inquiring about a date in January or February, please send an email with your date in the subject line.  For any other 2015 dates, please email in January and we can discuss booking from there!  

Also, you are invited to keep up with my personal instagram & personal blog for photos and updates from our journey!

Robyn Van Dyke Photography

Robyn Van Dyke Photography

 

With love and excitement for the things to come!!

Samantha

 

So you’re thinking about hiring a MUAH stylist for your Wedding Day…

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(First things first – MUAH is just a fun, slightly cheesy way to abbreviate makeup and hair!)

So, you’ve got the ring, you’ve got the date, and maybe even a few other details have been crossed off of the grande wedding to-do list!  But what about your look??  You’ve briefly scoured Pinterest and have successfully become completely overwhelmed in the boo coos of “wedding day hair and makeup” pins.  Half up?  All up?  Clip?  Veil?  And before you know it, you push those details to the back of your mind to focus on the other, more pressing details of the day.

Here’s some great news, bride-to-be.  MUAH artists are here to help you make ALL of those decisions!  And there are ways you can help us help you in the BEST way possible, so we can be your trusted Team on your wedding day.  The majority of my advice is to help you have realistic expectations of your wedding day before the ceremony – the timeline, the space, the people in it – so that we, as stylists, can give you the best service possible, and for you to feel the most at ease and stress-free on your special day.

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1.  I know I want a MUAH stylist for my day – so where do I start?

There are a few things we’ll need to know to be able to quickly assess if we can help you on your big day!  If you think through and gather this information prior to contacting, we can move super quickly and smoothly with our planning and booking!  We get lots of “Hey!  I’m interested in hair and makeup for my wedding!” initial emails, and then have to wait weeks, even months before the bride has a definite on details we need to even assess if we can do her wedding, and book from there.  These should help you get the mental ball rolling for planning the wedding day!

-Preparation Location and Venue Location (Where are you getting ready?  Is it at the venue?  Is it at your parents house, or a hotel room?)

-Time of pre-ceremony photos.  (AKA – completely done with hair and makeup time!)  Your photographer has specific time needs to be able to do their best job for you on your wedding day.  They will know what time pre-ceremony photos should be.  This is typically 1.5 to 2 hours before the ceremony start time, but you’ll need to check specifics with your photographer.

-Any Pinterest boards or inspiration pictures you’ve gathered of looks you like.  Don’t worry if they’re not all the same look!  We can help you decide based on your hair type, length, skin type, and other elements like dress style, flowers, whether your ceremony is indoors or outdoors (and what time of year), and color scheme.  Actually, it’s really great if you let us help you decide!  We have tricks to help short hair seem long, to help thin hair seem full, but we also know when something can’t be done on someone, or it isn’t in their best interest.  We want to help you look like your best you!

-Exactly how many women need services, and which services they want.  Hair?  Makeup?  Both?  Bridesmaids, flower girls, moms, friends… Go ahead and ask them!  We will need to know ASAP, because we’ll need to secure our assistants or co-stylists for larger parties, and be able to plan a very precise wedding day timeline to help protect your time, your photographer’s time, and our time.  Which brings me to my next point…

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2.There are only so many hours in a day – even your wedding day. (The importance of, and science behind, a kick-@$$ wedding day timeline!)

Brides tend to plan, plan, plan every single detail of the wedding, and stay on the “wedding planning timeline” for just about everything, except the wedding day itself.  Your hope is to make it to the week-of, or day-of, and have planned out everything so well that you can just show up, coast, and enjoy!  One very big, very helpful word of advice from a seasoned day-of vendor: PLAN YOUR WEDDING DAY TIMELINE.  I’m talkin pre-ceremony, pre-pictures.  To the hour.  To the minute.  And for each section, add several minutes (10-15) of “wiggle room.”  DO make sure every member of your bridal party, guys and gals, has a copy of this timeline.  Overkill?  I assure you, it’s really not.

There are essentially 2 vendors you will actually be working with on the day of the wedding – your MUAH stylists (she’ll be all up in your prep space, beautifying you and your girls), and your photographer.  They will help you with the timeline based on your needs, and our needs.  The MUAH stylist passes the timeline torch to the photographer so we can make sure you and your party are all queued up and on (or ahead of) schedule for walking down the aisle.  We plan extra time to allot for bathroom breaks, eating food, worst-case scenarios, and most importantly, a peaceful pace for you to enjoy your day, where you can rest in the knowledge that everyone knows where they should be and when.  Why feel like there’s not enough time, like no one is ready, like you haven’t eaten all day, or like people are still looking to you to tell them where to be and when, when it’s YOUR wedding day?  That doesn’t have to be you!

For us to respect your time and your photographers time, as well as for you to respect our time, we need a very detailed and realistic schedule for the day.  We work with you on that!  We just need you to know that, although we have a secured day and space to get ready in, the hours go fast while we’re getting you and your girls ready!  We need time to set up in the space (dealing with varying elements like lighting, outlets, counter space) and we do need time to do the hair and/or makeup.  If there are only 2 of us working on a bridal party of 8, with all of the girls wanting hair and makeup – it takes time.  Be realistic in your expectations about this.  A good MUAH artist will help you figure an exact timeframe she needs to be able to do the services you’ve requested on the amount of girls you’ve listed.

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3.  Imagine, and prepare for, the Wedding Day prep space scene

Another pro tip for enjoying your wedding day with your stylist is to have realistic expectations of the preparation space.  The first step is to have that timeline nailed down, and then envision your preparation space on your wedding day.  I’m a very spacial person.  When it’s an important day, I like to know when I’m going to eat, that I’ll have a few minutes to steal away and take a 5-minute walk outside, or that I will feel some semblance of order on a somewhat chaotic or busy day.  This is good to talk through with your bridal party and set their expectations of this as well.

You know you have a space set aside – your parents house, a hotel room, or a bridal suite at the venue.  Now envision you and all your girls getting ready in it.  Yay!  Happy times!! Now, envision each girls’ things – bags, dresses, shoes, jewelry, robes.  Still good – a little tighter, but still good if everyone can kind of keep it neat.  Now, envision your stylists in it, with their things (makeup kit, brushes, irons, hairspray – all the things we need to do our job!).  Ok, it’s getting tight.  Now, envision your mom and mother-in-law in it, Aunt Susan who just got to the venue and wants to see you, the food you ordered for 15 people along with plates, cups, drinks, and the photographer wanting to take some photos of preparation time.  ALL THE STRESS!   We feel it, too!

One of the biggest stresses I feel on a wedding day is not whether I can do something to someone’s hair or makeup – it’s feeling the stress of the bride over details that are not within my control.  This is where you can be a top-notch planner, and be realistic about your spacial needs.  If you don’t want any Aunt Susans or cousin Lucys or other drop-ins, spread the word to your mom, your bridesmaids, and your wedding planner, so they can set others’ expectations.  If you have 5 bridesmaids, plus you, everyone’s dresses, bags, shoes, stylists, food, and music – and you’ve only booked one hotel room – it will be crowded and chaotic.  We’ve been in those rooms!  We still make it happen, but I can’t say those have been my happiest times or my best looks.  This all leads me to my next tip…

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4.  The Bridesmaid Pep-Talk – A note to the maids from one who has been in many-a wedding day preparation scene

I don’t want to have to give you the pep talk, but I will if your dear friend, the bride, doesn’t.  I’ve seen it more often than not.  Bridesmaids who think the bulk of their work is over once they hit wedding day – you helped the bride plan, you bought your (kind of really expensive) dress, shoes, jewelry, you threw showers and attended the others with gifts in tow.  So you made it to W-Day, and all you have to do now is look pretty and be on emergency stand-by.  Well, not really.

The wedding day is the ULTIMATE day for bridesmaids.  This is why your friend chose you!!  This is your grand day to shine as an amazing friend – not just by getting dressed up and standing beside her physically at the altar and being in one million pictures with her.  This is your day to be beside her emotionally and physically, serving her, all day long.  One of the top issues that I see my brides getting stressed out about on their wedding day is their bridesmaids.  Can I get an amen from my other MUAHs?  Bridesmaids who show up late, or say things like “I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing… I’m just here,”  or bridesmaids who slander the sacred Wedding Day Timeline with statements like “Whyyyy are we hear at 9am when the wedding isn’t until 3?!?!” and then proceed to wait until 1 to get ready.  I see and hear these things too often.  I just have to say, NOPE!

The best thing you can do as a bridesmaid on the wedding day is to take initiative to know where you’re supposed to be and when.  It goes such a long way and is not unnoticed!  Know beforehand what your hair and makeup is supposed to look like – if the bride has any preferences, or not.  Ask if the bride needs anything – water, a snack, or to run any last-minute errands or messages – on multiple occasions.  Make sure she has her post-reception bag all together.  Help keep the space neat and orderly as much as possible.  This blesses her on her day, and assures her that everything is taken care of!  GET READY EARLY.  This is not your day to wait until the last hour before pictures to do your hair and makeup because you want it to look fresh.  I’m sorry!  The bride is the one who reserves the right to do that.  She does not need to feel like her maids are rushing around last minute instead of focusing on her in those precious moments.  This sends the message, to her delicate bridal mind, that everything is going to be off-schedule!

This really is your ultimate moment to be the friend she chose you for – the one to be with her in those special moments of her wedding day!

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5.  Let us help you make your look decisions!

I find that brides aren’t as sure of an exact look they want, as much as how they want to feel.  They want to feel the most beautiful they’ve ever felt, and the most themselves they’ve ever felt.  This is where the contradicting descriptions come into play, i.e., “I want to look really natural and myself” and then they show me a photo of winged eyeliner and false lashes.  Brides want to strike a balance between supermodel and sweet, fashion statement and simple, and it is our job to help you figure out what that actually looks like on you.

I definitely suggest gathering as many hair and makeup inspiration photos as you can to let us peruse over together.  A good MUAH will be able to spot common themes in the photos, as well as looks that won’t match with your hair/skin type, your dress, or your venue.  A good MUAH will be able to say “no” as well as “yes.”  You want someone who will be up front and honest with you, and willing to bend over backwards to make you comfortable with how you look.  Trials are great for that reason!

The most important thing to remember is that YOU are beautiful, and you WILL be absolutely stunning on your wedding day.  Unless you walk down the aisle with a potato sack over your head, there is no hairdo or makeover that will “make” or “break” your look.  Be confident and at ease in that, and it will help us do our job to the best of our ability!  You can be choosey, or you can be chill – we don’t care, as long as you’re confident in YOU.  

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What we want most as your hair and makeup stylists is for you to feel as peace-filled as possible on your wedding day!  Even if things get a little cray-zay (and they do, for even the best planned weddings!) we are prepared to work hard, work fast, and work efficiently, and even laugh a little, too (in between our in-the-zone faces) :)

 

love,

Samantha

 

 

The Golden Rules for le Bikini Wax

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We’ve all been there – Memorial Day weekend comes, which means swim time – finally!  You don your perfectly picked out swimsuit, head out in the sun, and suddenly hear the ghastly horror movie screech as the patches of hair your razor conveniently missed come into FULL, grizzly view!  You swore you gave it a good once-over, but those tricky little hairs (which had all winter to grow wild and free) had other, more rebellious ideas.  If you’re like me, the skin in your nether-region reacts to a razor like an angry wild cat reacts to a bath – pure hatred.  And we have the awful, irritated, sensitive red skin bumps to prove it.  That plus a tight swimsuit and ocean water?  REAL nice.

SO – a bikini wax it is!  Is it fun?  Heh heh.  A relaxing time at the spa?  HECK no!  BUT the result is 100% worth it for baby smooth, non-angry bikini-line skin, and the peace of mind that no one is getting an unwelcome look at our grizzly lady hairs for up to 4 weeks.  And if you choose the right place and follow the golden rules for a less painful wax, you’ll be walking out on cloud nine (OK — 50% because it’s over, 30% because it wasn’t as bad as you thought it’d be, and 20% because you know you won’t have to have last-minute panic about your lady hairs poking out of your swimsuit!)

 

1.  Nix the caffeine

Caffeine in coffee, soda, or other caffeinated beverages heightens our body’s nerve reactors.  That plus waxing?  No thank you!  If you schedule your wax in the morning, that’s a little easier.  Forego your first-thing-in-the-morning joe and grab a celebratory cup post-wax.  Or just make sure you resist for at least 2 hours prior to waxing.

2.  Hydrate with good, ol’ fashioned H2O

Resisting caffeine isn’t enough – you’re gonna want some extra H2O for your body to be in tip-top shape for quick skin recovery post-wax.  Drink a little more than usual the day before to prep.

3.  Pre-wax ibuprofen

30 minutes to an hour before your wax, pop in a dose of ibuprofen.

4.  Just say NO to strip-waxing!

Remember the olden days of hot wax, strip of wax paper, and rrrrip?  And your skin being ripped off with it??  These days, there is the less painful and more effective hard wax.  It goes on soft, hardens, and becomes the strip which is pulled off.  It is significantly less painful for you and better for your skin.  By far, European Wax Center has the best I have tried!  AND they offer your first basic bikini line wax for free!

5.  Don’t be shy

Have questions?  Ask.  A painful past experience?  Explain.  That’s what the pros are there for.  Any thoughts, issues, or trepidations you have, let them know!  They can adjust their techniques accordingly.  I personally like the countdown-to-takeoff so I can breathe in and out and be prepared for the pain, but some people prefer the conversation method (aka:  let’s pretend we’re just old chums talking about the weather while you rip out my bikini line hairs so I am distracted from the immense pain!)

6.  No really… DON’T be shy!!

If you’ve had a bikini wax before, you probably know that the paper thong provided is there to make you feel less awkward about being in butterfly position, otherwise completely nude “down there,” in front of a total stranger.  It’s not there to cover you up!  And you become exceedingly aware of that truth the moment you assume the position on the waxing table.  My advice?  Go commando from the get-go.  Many places don’t even offer the courtesy paper thonglette anymore.  Just embrace it and know it will help the esthetician be able to do her job better.  She has your best interest in mind – NO rogue hairs sticking out down there!

7.  Schedule wisely

It’s best to plan a lady-wax right after your period, when your skin is least bloated and sensitive down there.  Also keep in mind that exercising and swimming are PROHIBITED for 24 hours after your wax.

8.  BREATHE

It is our natural reaction to hold our breath when we know pain is coming.  FIGHT this tendency!  I like to breathe in right before the rip, and out as the wax is pulled off.

9.  Exfoliate

The night before your wax, give that area a good scrub with a loofah, dry brush, or washcloth to remove any dead skin cells that might otherwise make the hairs less accessible for the wax.

10.  Let it grow

It’s impossible to wax hair that has just been shaved down.  Let your bikini hairs grow to at least 1/8th of an inch so you can get the best, smoothest, most beautiful skin for your swimsuit!

 

HERE HERE to a lovely summer season!!

Sincerely,

Samantha

April to May

April to May

 

My home is lit with candles, placed sporadically atop pieces of our mismatched furniture.  I’m sitting, looking out our opened sliding glass door.  The leaves are turned upside down on this gray morning, rustled every so often with a bustling breeze, telling of storms to come later today.

Quiet.  It’s my favorite sound ever.  Not silence, just quiet.  The birds chirping to each other outside.  The sound of the washer swooshing our laundry.  The absence of mind clutter, which takes a little more intention (denying the junk-food-snacking urge to gobble up our social media things – and then compare ourselves, sometimes mercilessly or judgmentally, to the images of others’ lives).  In our homes, in our hearts, we always have the option of creating peace places.  The same attitude with which we approach a getaway, we can approach our daily lives, our homes.  We all know it can’t be all vacation or all quiet all the time, but I think we too often forego any peace at all in leui of the burdensome “I have to” mindset.  I have to fold all of our mountains of laundry.  I have to answer 100 emails.  I have to run a million errands today.  I have to do more than I can actually do and maintain sanity.  I say this as if I’m good at it… I am not.

A sweet woman in my life began a practice some time ago of starting her day with listening.  You know those moments between first rousing and actually stepping foot to the floor?  They can be filled with all sorts of things.  These first fruits of our day can be the pacemaker of peace in our days, if used with life-giving (not “I have to…”) intention.  She would greet God, and then listen.  She would write what she heard.  Whatever she heard in her heart, whatever Scripture came to mind, whatever she felt was pressing on her heart – which was the Lord speaking still and soft as He does – she would write down.  But only, actually, for 10 minutes.

Sometimes I think we believe we need an overhaul of our lives to create the kind of lifestyle or atmosphere we truly desire.   But I believe that, more often than not, it’s just a series of small intentional actions that we can start to implement in our lives that will create sustainable change in the direction we want to go.  Small changes can be the hardest.  We like overhauls because they pump us up, we get hype, and hype is an easy wave to coast on… until it tuckers out.  It’s easier to endeavor to just change it all, the whole kit and caboodle all at once, than to make small, sustainable changes over time.  We think we will get more immediate change or gratification, when what we really get is the disappointing crash. Crash diets versus gradual additions of colors into our meals.  “I’m gonna read the Bible in a year!” versus I am going to read my Bible at all, even for 5 minutes, for each day for a week.  Then when we do crash, we feel worse for the wear because we “couldn’t do it.”  We couldn’t keep it up.  OR our goals become our slave-drivers, instead of the changes we wanted in order to give us more.  More peace, more time with our family, more health, more joy… whatever our hearts were longing for in the first place out of need.  Satan loves the crash, because he loves watching us kick ourselves around.  He uses hype, because he doesn’t like when we actually make changes that uproot easy footing for him in our lives.

I endeavor to make the small, hard changes.  To give 10 minutes or 5 minutes or 2 minutes of my day to listen and let that be a pace-setter of the heart behind the rest of my day.  I endeavor to have grace for myself and for others.  Whatever goals I have for this coming month, I want to come from a place a peace, from the Holy Spirit of the Living God.  I have enough stuff in my life, enough voices wrangling for time and attention, and sometimes the best place to start is just sitting in the quiet.

xo

Samantha

 

april in instaphotos

 

LULA’s Picks – Best Everyday Lip Products

Everyday Lip Favorites

 

I don’t know about you, but I have to have something on my lips during the day, no matter what I’m doing.  Nothing is worse than licking your lips, realizing you need a little moisture, and not being able to find any lipstuff in your bag/car/pockets.  Frantic searching ensues, and then you resign to just nabbing whatever they have in the grocery store check-out line.  Over the years, I’ve purchased my fair share of emergency lip things, and these are my tried and true favorites for everyday lip moisture – small enough to fit in your pocket but potent enough to ward away constant lip-licking and a chapped, flaky pout.  Happy smiling!

1 // Burts Bees Tinted Lip Balm

soft, sheer moisture with a pop of light color

2 // Minted Rose Lip Balm

a very hydrating formula that smells amazing (and it doesn’t hurt that it comes in this lovely tin as well)

3 // Vaseline

my favorite tool for chapped lips, dry nose, or dry cuticles.

4 // EOS Lip Balm in Lemon Drop with SPF 15

easy to find in your purse because of the fun and unusual shape, smells amazing, with SPF – no more burnt lips!

5 // Benetint Rose Tinted Lip Stain

I put this on in the morning for a deeper hint of lip color, and top it off with another essential – like the C.O. Bigelow Mentha

6 // Hoola Ultra Plush Shimmering Lip Gloss

when you’re looking for more of a glossy look, this nude color is so flattering and subtle

7 // C.O. Bigelow Mentha Ultra Lip Shine 

smells amazing, feels amazing, looks like MAC’s Lipglass at a fraction of the cost

 

Spring Look Four + MEET SAMANTHA

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It’s the last Monday in March, and I wanted to provide a little something special for the last look of the Spring Styled Series! (Click here for Look One, Look Two, & Look Three!)

First – I chopped my hair a couple of weeks ago (!!!) and wanted to give a few tips on textured, beachy waves – which I am LOVING on my fresh, long-angled bob – and I wanted to give a bit more of a face behind LULA Hair & Makeup.

My name is Samantha Ray, and LULA was born out of my love for helping women find, appreciate, and rock their natural beauty, and helping them feel confident in their own skin.  I love threading the link between something as simple as hair & makeup into a larger aesthetic – the weather, the season, the occasion, the outfit, and most importantly, the woman living it all – her natural inner and outer beauty.  Read on to get to know the girl behind LULA, or skip down to the bottom for textured beach wave tips!

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Getting to know the gal behind LULA – Samantha Ray

the basics:

  • born & raised in Raleigh, NC
  • married to husband of 2 years, John Bennett Ray (who loves UFC & has longer hair than most – like Braveheart, but better)
  • 3 older sisters – lots of makeup & hair things to play with from the start
  • has many passions, one of which is hair & makeup styling, and getting to know many wonderful women along the way…
  • the others of which include (but are not limited to):  making music, travel, baking, writing the great american novel/poetry anthology, loving God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength, and aspiring to love others as myself.

the favorites:

hair & makeup background:

  • loved all things creative from an early age (writing plays, building teepees in the woods, learning to “harmony” while listening to Spice Girls, & of course, playing with hair and makeup)
  • went to school for music, creative anthropology, and creative writing (why should I have to pick just one??) & continued to freelance with hair and makeup styling along the way
  • steadily built up a portfolio from client work, including prom looks, weddings, styled shoots, photography workshop shoots, & personal styling consultation
  • decided to give my work a name inspired by my beautiful grandmother, Lula Saphonia Whitfield Crowder
  • kept receiving inquiries from more and more beautiful women to help with their hair & makeup – kept saying YES!
  • eventually, the work became too much to juggle with my other day jobs, so I studied the trade more intensively, continued saying yes to as many opportunities as possible, and then took the leap into full-time hair & makeup styling.

my hair & makeup philosophy is:

  • less really is more
  • find, affirm, and rock your naturally stunning assets (yes, YOU have them!)
  • femininity is not a weakness
  • be an encourager, not a critic
  • imperfections and oddities are beautiful.  they hold stories, show of battles won and strengths acquired along the way.

the looks I love to create are:

  • fresh
  • organic
  • in tune with the larger aesthetic – season, weather, occasion, decor, person
  • fun!
  • soft
  • radiant
  • real-life achievable

A Beautiful Thing...

Textured Beach Waves

 

Looking forward to sharing more how-to series with you all!

With sunshine & a tall glass of iced water,

With love, Samantha

Spring Styled Series – Look Three

LULA Hair & Makeup Spring Style

Good morning ladies!  Grab a cup of coffee or tea, get comfy, and enjoy our third look in the Spring Styled Series!  (Click here for Look One & Look Two!)  I love this subtle, soft, & undoubtedly gorgeous look for spring.  The fact that the curls are super-voluminous but un-coiffed, paired with the light smokey eye and nude-pink lip, make this look super versatile.  It could compliment a beautiful dress for a special event, or played down with jeans and simple tee for a trip to the farmer’s market.  It all hints at a sweet sexiness without being overtly va-va-voom.

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Quick tips for Bombshell curls

  • Bigger is better!  These are a lot like the “fussless” curls from Look One.  You will want to curl your hair with a bit of a thicker barreled curling iron (3/4″-1″).  Pull up your top layers of hair and curl one layer at a time from the bottom up, in 1-2″ sections of hair.  Bigger barrel + bigger sections of hair = bigger curls.  Just like the fussless curls, we will clip up the curls to your head with clips or roller pins, and leave them to set for 15 minutes (or more!)
  • Don’t pick sides while setting the top. Once you get to the top-most layer of hair, which should be the crown and top of your head, you will curl right down the middle section of hair, regardless of your part.  Tease those curls lightly with a basic rat-tail comb (or regular comb) at the scalp, and pin them away to set.
  • Curl away from the face.  Especially on those sections of hair on the sides of your head, closer to your face (just underneath the topmost layer of hair).  This really flatters the face and gives the curls a natural look.
  • Comb out with your fingers.  After you take your curls out, set with a light spray (we love Rusk W8less, which you can find at Target) and wait for 5 minutes.  Then comb through your hair with your fingers for that natural, tousled look!

Quick tips for a springtime smokey eye

  • Use earthy neutrals instead of blacks, bold colors, or grays.  Smokey eyes don’t have to be night-eyes. So, we’re thinking golds, champagnes, pinks, lavenders, and shades of brown.  These tones are a bit softer and more appropriate for springtime.  You can find warmer or cooler shades of each that can go well with your particular skin tone.  The Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette has great shades for this look!
  • Darker in the crease, lighter on the lid.   Take the lighter of the shades, like white, cream or champagne, and sweep all over your lid, crease, brow bone, underneath the lower lash line, and into the inner corner of the eye (where things tend to get shadowy.)  Take the middle shade and sweep all over the lid.  Save the darkest color for your crease, and wing a little bit up onto the hood of your eye (mostly towards the outer corner) and outward from there ever-so-gently.
  • Take the color onto the hood and underneath your lower lash.  This is the icing on the cake that really makes it happen.  Take some of that mid or dark shade, and sweep it lightly into and beneath your lower lash line, connecting it into the outer wing of color.  Then extend that same color lightly onto the hood of your eye (that part that is above your crease but not quite your brow bone.)
  • Assess your progress by making your normal face in the mirrornot your “I’m-putting-on-mascara-and-my-eyebrows-are-REALLY-far-up” face.  We all need that face for getting the color in there nicely, but you will want to assess your normal face every so often, and how that changes the shape of your smokey eye.  You are probably not walking around making your mascara-face at people, so make the smokey eye something that will stand true as you are walking about, chatting with friends.

Quick tips for the subtle pink lip

  • Don’t be afraid to pick a lipstick shade slightly lighter than your lip tone.  Your natural lip tone is still going to show through, so the mix turns out to be really nice and natural looking.  This is also true for a light nude color.
  • Contrast with concealer.  Take concealer and very lightly outline your mouth (particularly the corners) with it, mixing it in with the tip of your ring finger.  This will help make the light pink still pop.
  • Glossy glossy!  If you go with a lipstick as the base, top it off with a light pink or peach gloss, or use the gloss alone.  We love Mac Tinted LIPGLASS in Razzledazzler

Any tips you want to know more about?  Questions about your particular hair type or skin type in achieving parts of this look?  Let us know!

With sunshine & lipgloss,

Samantha

Spring Styled Series – Look Two

LULA Styled Series

Another March Monday has rolled around, and we are so excited to share our second look of the Spring Styled Series with you!  We hope you enjoy this soft, romantic look on Courtney!

Courtney Spring Look Two

This look is feminine, fresh, and versatile for an array springtime soirees.  Whisk the curls up into a messy updo, like the one shown, and enjoy attending that outdoor wedding.  Or, leave the curls down and meet some friends for Saturday brunch.  Use this look to inspire you to try something new, and maybe you will find a look you love on you!


Quick Tips to achieve Whimsical Curls:

  • Thinner curling iron = tighter curls.  Use a curling iron with a 1″ width or less.  If you have longer hair, use a 1″ barrel – if you have shorter hair, go for a 3/4″ or 1/2″ barrel.  Starting from the bottom of your hair and working up in layers (pin the top hair as you are styling the underneath layers), curl 1″ sections or less of hair and set with a styling cream before working on the next layer of hair.  Once set, pull apart the curls to create 2 or 3 thinner, whispy-er curls from there, and set your final look with a light spray.  You can leave these curls down or whisk them into a messy updo.
  • Wrap the hair around the barrel.  For this type of curl, we love to wrap the hair around the barrel instead of clamping it into the iron (such as with a traditional curl).  To do this, take a 1″ section of hair, and start wrapping the top of the shaft of hair with the bottom of the barrel (near the handle), and wrap-wrap-wrap the whole strand to the top of the barrel.  It helps if you point the iron downwards.  It does take a little practice to get the muscle memory down if you have never tried wrapping before, but is so worth it for everyday curl styling.  Wands are great for this curl, but a traditional iron works just as good and produces an even softer curl!
  • Use a styling cream.  When you are creating the curls, we recommend using a styling cream (such as Rusk “Wired”) to set the curls before curling the next layer of hair.  Use a pea-size amount, rub it with your fingertips, and style the curls from there.  This gives a bit of a softer look than spray.
  • Choose the right pin for your hair.  Courtney has naturally fine, wavy hair, so it was easy to get those messy curls swept up using simple “U” pins and a few small bobbies.  If you have longer or thicker hair, and want to sweep some of those romantic curls up, we recommend using a mix of large Roller Pins and small bobbies.

Quick Tips to work soft, romantic pinks:

  • Embrace the pink.  Many women shy away from pink-pink blushes and lip colors, though they tend to love the look on others.  They may fear that it is too feminine for them, or unnatural for their coloring.  Can we just say, pinks are universally flattering on women of all shapes and colorings!  Go for it!  It gives a beautiful flush, and does not have to be too overpowering.  If you are concerned about matching your coloring, take a friend with you to Sephora and try some shades out, or ask a consultant at a makeup counter.  That’s what they’re there for!
  • Use a cream blush.  We love NARS Matte Multiples (specifically in “Laos”), but you don’t have to break the bank either for a great cream blush.  Maybelline Dream Bouncy works wonderfully (“Pink Plum” is super flattering) and is available at drug stores.  Using the tip of your ring finger, dip into the color and spread gently into the apple of your cheek, moving up-and-out toward your temple, using your cheekbone as a guide.  You can build on to make the color pop more, or keep it nice and simple.  Creams give a natural flush look and have a bit more staying power in warmer weather.
  • Don’t limit to cheeks.  Dab a bit of that pink onto the very center of your eyelid, use a light pink gloss, or both, for an instant romantic look.

Quick Tips for Billowing lashes:

  • Go natural!  Ok – who doesn’t love long, soft lashes, especially for spring?  Mascara is magic on any day for any woman.  It’s the one thing I put on when I’m dashing out the door and have zero time for anything else.  We love when lashes take center-stage on eyes, and there are a few ways to pump them up without getting spidery.  Pick a mascara with a thinner wand.  This will allow you to get every-single-last-lash.  Brush 3 times towards the inner corner of your eye, then 3 times back towards the outer corner.  Then, take the tip of the wand and brush up individual lashes to make sure they are covered.  And this is our game-changer: get really into the outer-corner lashes (where the top and bottom lashes meet) – try to get all those little whispies in there, whether they are top or bottom lashes!  We also like to brush the top side of the top lashes.  Gently twist the wand to curl those top lashes up and out even more.
  •  (and add a few individual falsies if you are up for it!)  We love individual lashes for giving a little extra somethin-somethin on the outer corner of the eyes, as shown on Courtney.  So soft and billowy without being overtly “fake” looking.  You can find these at most drug stores or beauty supply stores, along with the glue (which is different than strip-lash glue!)  We recommend using tweezers to pick up the lash, dip the teensy bottom into a tiny dot of glue (you can put the glue on the back of your non-dominant hand), and stick right in the lash line near the outer edge of the eye.  Use 3-4 sets of individuals, and blend into the natural lashes with mascara.
  • Let them take center stage. Go for a simple, soft black line and understated shadows.  For a soft black line, use a basic black pencil and work into the top lash line using short “dashes,” and, if you’d like, top off with a powder-line with an angled brush from there.  For understated shadows, think creams, pinks, champagnes, and grays.  Use that champagne color to highlight the brow bone, the inner corner of the eye, and tap a tiny bit right into the center of the eyelid.

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How do y’all like it?  Are there any parts you would like to try?  Let us know!  If you have questions along the way, we are here to answer!!

With joy and a cup of coffee,

Samantha

Spring Weekender Essentials

Spring Weekender Essentialsone // Sloane Ranger Weekender Bag in Denim Stripe

durable, roomy, chic, and has adjustable straps on the side to fit everything in just right.

two // Anthropologie Sea-Song cat-eye sunglasses

classic, and can dress up or down – perfect for wearing in the car with the windows down

three // Posietint cheek & lip stain by Benefit

small & simple so it won’t crowd your bag, and potent enough for easy, natural flush.  also layers well so you can choose the depth of the shade.

four // Patricia Nash ‘Venezia’ Crossbody day bag

big enough to stash your essentials (phone, journal, iPad) but compact enough to wear while adventuring.  it’s important to me to have both arms free.  i especially love the gentle shade of nude pink – updated neutral.

five // Dansko “Sam” Clog in Sand

Wear with a skirt, shorts, or jeans.  They add a little height to elongate the legs, & most importantly, they’re comfortable.

six // Mari Mi Coptic Stitch Journal

a place to keep your thoughts when the inspiration comes (and it will when you least expect it)

seven // Boden ‘Darcy’ sweater

easy, lightweight, comfy, and pretty

eight // Crate + Barrel single-serve tumbler in Grey City

i can never finish the amount of coffee in a traditional tumbler, so this single-serve is perfect – and it still fits in the car drink holder  

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Here’s to spring weekend trips to come!

Samantha

Spring Styled Series – Look One

LULA Styled Series

Happy Monday, ladies!  We are so excited to share this first look with you all.  About a month ago, I sat in one of my favorite local coffee shops, and had an outpouring of creative vision for this series.  This time of year, we’re all looking forward to upcoming weddings, formals, dinner parties, date nights, and a slew of other fun events that come out with warmer weather.  Whether or not you are already thinking of your hair and makeup for those events,  I wanted to provide several looks which could be used as inspiration for you, if even a little, for this coming season.   I used different women of different ages, and played up their natural assets to create a look that is great on them, great for spring, and versatile enough for several events.

Spring Look One

I have been loving the “Bardot” eye for spring, which is essentially a bold, winged top line, made soft by the rest of the subdued look.  Steph has naturally big, gorgeous eyes and we wanted to play with that shape – but the Bardot is especially great for gals with smaller or inset eyes, because it brings the illusion of the eyes up (bigger) and out (wider).  The pink lip pairs well with the bolder eye, and brightens up the whole face with a playfulness perfect for spring.  The curls take a little extra time to prep, but once done, they look soft and bouncy, and have super staying power.  Just like anything in life, give yourself grace and a little bit of time when trying something new, keep practicing, and make any adjustments that you like.  Let us know what you think!

Quick tips for the Bardot Eye:

  • Layer up the liner!  We used 3 (yes, 3!) different types of black liner for this look – a basic black pencil, a gel liner (you can use liquid), and an angled brush with black powder liner (you can use black eyeshadow).  Start with the pencil, using small strokes into the top lash line.  Then use your gel or liquid liner, and define the top line further, all the way from the inner corner of your eye to beyond the outer corner into the wing –   just think Thin – Thick – Thin for the wing shape.  Then, soften the line with your powdered liner (or black eyeshadow) using an angled brush.  The different liners ensure that you can flub and fix without stressing.
  • Don’t be afraid of the false lash.  It’s a little intimidating, but these days, there are plenty of natural looking false lash strips out there.  Our favorite brand is Ardell in “Natural” – and guess what?  You can trim the width of the strip before applying to fit your eye specifically, so it doesn’t look like your eyes are about to start flapping and take flight.
  • Highlight! Use a highlighting eyeshadow (any cream, white, or champagne color will do) after completing your liner to brighten things up.  We applied it to Steph’s brow bone, the corner of her eye, along her bottom lash, and along the bottom of the “wing” of the liner.

Quick tips for your Poppy Pink Lip:

  • Brighter in the tube, lighter on your face.  For those of us who tend to shy away from lip color, just remember that the way it will look on your face (and especially in photos) will be a little lighter than it looks in-store in the tube.  Take a trusted friend with you to Target or Sephora or wherever,  and hold the tube up to your face to discuss which pink will be a good match for you.  Bright pinks look fantastic for spring, and on any skin tone!
  • Prep your lip.  Just like with a red lip, we like to gently brush concealer on and around the lip before applying the color, which helps the color stay put a little longer.

Quick tips for Fussless Curls:

  • Straight tresses?  Never fear! Steph has straight, silky hair, but her fussless curls did not take an army to achieve.  Working up from the bottom of the hair (just pin away the top hair as your style),  curl 1-2″ sections of hair with a curling iron.  Any kind of curl will do.  Once you’re done, roll the curl up towards the scalp, and pin it using a clip or bobby pin.  Work your way up your hair, and let the pinned curls sit for 10-20 minutes before removing.  We like to curl and pin, then work on makeup, then go back and take the pins out.  (**If you have naturally curly hair that is thick, do not pin, just straighten your hair before curling.  If you have naturally curly hair that is thin, pin the curls but only allow to set for 5 minutes, and use a styling cream when using your fingers to comb out/define the curls a little.**)
  • Comb out the curls with your fingers.  Especially if you use the steps above, those curls are gonna be bouncy when you un-pin them.  Do not be put off, because they will fall into more gentle curls, but still maintain their shape for at least 1 cha-cha-slide, 10 “I haven’t seen you in forever” hugs, and 1 round of “Shout”
  • Pin ‘em up or leave them down.  Soft curls are easier to play with, while still maintaining their shape.  We pinned some of Steph’s up (and THEN hairsprayed the heck out of it) but they would look great down for a more simple occasion!

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THANK YOU to all of you who entered the Spring Pick Giveaway!

 Congratulations to Ashley Scott for winning this awesome loot!  Email me at lulahairandmakeup@gmail.com to claim your goodies!

With sunnies and open windows,

Samantha