Trial Run 101

 You’re Engaged! Great now what?!

Once the newly engaged bubble pops and you are ready to start planning, booking a Hair and Makeup Artist is on the list! So how do you go about deciding who’s right for you and your party?

Do Your Research

Find out prices, and availability BEFORE you fall in love with your HMUA! Seems silly, but there’s nothing worse then hitting it off with a vendor only to find out they are booked. With that being said, start looking at the 1year-9 month mark to get an idea if they fit your budget, then reach out and check their availability. Once that’s set, schedule your trial run and send your deposit so they hold your date!! Also double check their policies to insure you can reclaim your deposit if it isn’t a good fit. Some, but not all, will offer a return if you cancel before the “no return” date.

Preparing for Your Trial

Once you’ve booked your stylist you’ll need to start preparing for the actual trial run. The bride has a big part in making the trial a success. One of the first steps is to address any skin or hair issues. If you are a long time acne sufferer, now is the time to seek professional help. Whether that means stepping up your skin care routine, visiting an esthetician regularly, or seeking medical advice from a dermatologist. Now is the time! While a makeup artist can cover a blemish, texture is a whole different thing. On a day that timing is everything you don’t want your artist spending hours just trying to prep your skin. The same goes for hair. A month before your wedding is no time to drastically change your color! If you want to be a blonde bride, start planning in the months leading up to your date, rather then having unrealistic expectations about what can be done in one appointment!

*Pro Tip-Not all stylists are wedding stylists! Just because your girl rocks your balayage, does NOT mean she is prepared or able to handle a wedding. Same goes for your girlfriend who’s great at makeup. A wedding is a completely different animal then your girls night out. Hire a professional!

What to Bring (and not to!)


Most stylists have a love/hate relationship with pictures. The reason why is because very rarely does one picture encapsulate everything a bride wants. So when creating your Pinterest board think about what you love or hate in each picture. Then be clear about the parts you’d like to see or avoid. A clear vision can be the make-it or break-it of a successful trial. You want a Kim K beat face, then say so. Looking for a natural glow, speak up! Also, it never hurts to show your stylist a picture of you in the dress, it helps get the creative juices flowing!

Bring an Open Mind

Remember you hired a pro for a reason, but there’s always a middle ground. If the style you loved on Pinterest just doesn’t translate the same on you, be open to your stylists suggestion of how to tweak it based on your hair, length, texture, and face shape.


It’s always a good idea to bring any hair pieces, veil, clips, flowers, or extensions with you for the trial. For the stylist, seeing the accessory ahead of time helps craft the final product with your piece in mind.

This is a perfect example-this bride came to her trial with the head piece and I created a space for it to be attached as I put her hair up. She also came prepared with earring she thought she might want to use. The end result was a great trial and a perfect wedding day look.



Yup that’s right. Unless it’s already clear in your contract, the trial is not free! Many stylists are behind the chair working for someone else, even if they are on their own for your wedding, so you still have to pay for their time and products.

Which brings me to what not to bring…

Unrealistic Expectations! I CANNOT stress this enough. A trial is just that-a try at nailing the look. It may not be perfect, but it helps us all understand the desired goal. Typically trials are only booked for an hour each, hair/makeup. While it does happen, don’t expect to walk out of your trial ready to walk down the aisle. We take notes, and pictures during the trial so we can NAIL it on the day. Schedules just don’t always allow us to “perfect” the look at a trial. Don’t bring too many people with big opinions.  Maybe a friend or your mom, but if you think their input will just confuse or be in conflict with what you are looking for, leave them at home!







Wedding Day Stress

It’s about attitude and emotions

Weddings can be stressful. On more then one occasion I’ve had a Bride, or more commonly, the Mother of the Bride, freak out during the planning process. When emotions, budgets, and bridesmaids are high, things can go wrong. I once had a bride rip out all the orange flowers from her bouquet, because they were “too orange”.  A bridesmaid get so stoned before her makeup, that I eventually had to skip the lip stick because she kept wiping it off while I was applying it because it “tickled.” My point is not to terrify you of all the things that could go wrong, but simply to enlighten you that something might go wrong! Fortunately, however it is typically only the Bride that is aware of “too orange” flowers, and the Bridesmaid did sober up by picture time. Watch any blooper show and you’ll surely find brides tripping, Dads passing out, or little ones having melt downs. These are all the things that bring character to a wedding. In a way, it makes it uniquely yours.

As a wedding guest and a professional, I have seen a variety of things go wrong. But one thing that always goes right, at the end of the day, you’re married. You’ve gotten to stand next to the person you love, and in front of family and friends promise to ride it out together. That’s what a wedding is all about. Not an over priced caviar tray that nobody touched, or an over zealous step mom showing off on the dance floor. It’s about celebrating your love. I think far too often in the InstaWorld with clever hashtags and picture perfect poses, some of the character in a wedding gets lost. Some of the best weddings aren’t perfect, but that doesn’t make them less special. Not every wedding gets a feature, or looks like a styled shoot. Real weddings have style, character, and drunk uncles.

The thing that separates, these potential disasters, is attitude. If it’s your wedding, and you decide let it ruin the day, it will. It’s a matter of choice and attitude. The Bride with “too orange” flowers, she had an overly emotional response. It wasn’t nearly about the flowers, as it was emotions. She needed something to release on, and unfortunately, the buds took the brunt of her stress. Ultimately, her friends helped clean up the bouquets and fill in the gaps left by her aggression. She calmed down and moved on to marry the man of her dreams, even with a “too orange” boutonnière.

If you set yourself above things going wrong, they surely will. But if you craft the right attitude about how or who will help you fix the wrong, you will be able to sit back and enjoy the day. Simply put, don’t sweat the small stuff! Cliche I know, but there’s a lot of truth in that statement. Take solace in knowing it never goes perfectly, but you’ll get by with a little help from your friends, even if they are stoned.




The Beauty of your Special Day

One of the things I’ve always loved about a special event, is getting ready for it! I love planning out the outfit, and the to do list, but to be honest, I normally plot my makeup look first. Depending how that turns out, I’ll have a good idea of what I’d like to wear. If I nail the most perfect winged liner, I might opt for that funky dress I wasn’t sure I could pull off. I love pulling out old favorite shadow palettes, and rediscovering my old favorite colors. It was during this recent discovery that I had a total déjà vu from my wedding day, which got me thinking about this post….

Planning your Wedding Day Look

Whether you’re  doing it yourself, or hiring a makeup artist for your wedding, remember to think about comfort. You will be heavily photographed, and “on” all day, when all other things are maybe not so comfortable; dress, shoes, undergarments, public speaking… make sure your makeup is! You want to feel like yourself, just your absolute best self! It’s ok to experiment with different looks, but do test runs well before. If you’re thinking about trying a bright pink lip, test run for a few days in the weeks leading up to your wedding. Ask yourself, “How do you feel wearing it?” Are you thinking about it, or worried about how it looks, are you wearing it, or is it wearing you?? If it’s something you are thinking, or over thinking about, you may want to skip it. Try something that makes you feel good, not worried. Something that compliments your best features, rather then squelches your confidence. You will look your most beautiful self, if you believe you are beautiful, and part of that comes from owning your look. Incidentally, I see this a lot with boudoir shoots. We all have things we don’t love about our bodies, but the best boudoir pictures come from the women who let go. The ones who look in to the camera with the same look they’d give a lover, and stop obsessing over thigh gap or lack there of.

Creating My Look

My favorite palette, with my favorite colors was from MAC. I was all about the browns and golds, Tempting, and Retrospeck. They paired perfectly with Vanilla and Carbon. I created a look for myself, and I called it…..Champaign Pop. No, seriously.

It was 2011, and I came up the my perfect wedding day look, Champaign Pop. I tested it over and over again, until the look was perfect. Then I scheduled a trial run with a local artist, explained my look, and waited to be amazed. Truthfully, I was impressed, at least with my skin. She had used cream blush, which was new to me and blended it out beautifully. My skin was flawless but not caked on. The eyes, however, just didn’t work  for me. It wasn’t Champaign Pop. The light was too white and the Champaign was too flat. Ultimately, I decided to do it myself, thankfully on the day of our wedding I loved it! It was my perfect Champaign Pop! (Still can’t believe that was my name.) And while this was before the explosion of You Tubers telling us all how to contour and highlight to the hilt- using the actual Champaign Pop, I knew enough to ensure my skin was glowing in all the right places.

So play around, schedule trails, and don’t be afraid of a new suggestion, or color. Just make sure you feel confident and don’t wait to the day of to test it out!

“A Smile is the BEST makeup a girl can wear.” -Marilyn Monroe








Hello Blush+Mane Beauties!

Happy New Year and thanks for joining! With nearly (gasp!) 15 years of experience, I am finally bringing my love affair to you! Makeup!! Well, really all things beauty, but my heart really lies in makeup. Whether it’s with Special FX, Bridal, or an Intro to Makeup Class, I love changing the way people see themselves. Creating the total package, styling hair, and adding the final touches on a look, that’s what fuels my soul.

So if you’re like me, wanting to create something beautiful, whether it’s for yourself or someone else, follow along, pick up some tips and tricks, and create something beautiful.