Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Great Budget-Friendly Holiday Party Hostess Gifts!

I am sure you have a holiday party, or two, to go to this year. Maybe it's an old friend, maybe someone new, or a even a friend or co-worker of your spouse. You want to bring that perfect thank you for extending the invitation your way!

I found some great gifts that are inexpensive, yet super cute! Any hostess would be excited for any of these fun items!

First off, if you don't already know, Neiman Marcus has paired up with Target to give us some great gifts for this holiday season! Known designers (DVF, Jason Wu, etc.) have designed special clothing and products (from dresses and sweaters to stationary and letter openers) at Target prices!

Amongst all the goodies, one of my favorites, at $40, is the Tracy Reese Dessert Plates (set of 4). They are cute, designer, and fun for any one. Being that there are 4 different patterns, they can be used as dessert plates, accent plates on a decorative table, or for serving cookies or tea bags. LOVE!

Another great gift, for under $25, is the Mine Design Chalkboard Candle! It's a candle where instead of being in a glass jar, it has a chalkboard exterior! You can write names, saying, greetings, table numbers and more! The hostess can use the candle in the future with their own sayings.
Just like a regular chalkboard, you wipe off and can re-write whatever comes to mind!

If you were interested in getting something consumable (because maybe you don't know what they like, or you don't know the decor of their home), great chocolate is another way to go!
Instead of going to your local Lindt or Godiva francise, if you are in Westchester County, NY, or the surrounding area, Chocolations in Mamaroneck has even better chocolate and way better prices! Owned by Maria Valente, you can purchase handmade chocolates of all kinds! She is known for her chocolate barks and truffles, but she has everything from snowman marshmallow pops to plain bars of chocolate shaped in numbers, letters, baseball bats, wreaths, and more! Unless you need something specific, or need a large quantity of items, you don't have to order in advance! Her shop is always filled with goodies for yourself or others!
We BOTH Won Best of Westchester for 2012!!!!

Maria Valente, the owner and chocolate guru herself! =)


Chocolate Dipped Pretzels top left, Truffles in center

Monday, December 10, 2012

Tuesday's Tip of the Day: Estee Lauder's Double Wear Powder!

This powder is any one's saving grace! I use it on EVERYONE! And if anyone asks me to recommend a great powder for every day - or for an evening out - I say Double Wear!

Estee Lauder has their Double Wear line, and if you aren't familiar with it - you need to be! Every product in this line lasts 8-10 hours. They have liquid foundation (great for oily skin), foundation powders (pressed and loose), eye liners, lip liners, etc. - and you will be happy with all of it. I especially love their Double Wear Pressed Foundation Powder. It is what I use everyday and is always in my makeup kit!

It is exceptionally great for people with oily skin (it negates all shine and won't slide off from the oils on your skin), but it also fantastic for normal to dry skin, because it doesn't flake - ever! (as long as your skin was properly hydrated beforehand - which it should be)


As long as you have properly hydrated your skin after cleansing it, and I recommend using a primer as well, apply the powder with your favorite brush and your skin is ready for the day. You can use this powder alone for every day, or on top of foundation tinted moisturizer, or BB cream to set it for a night out or special event. It evens out skin tones, fills fine lines, and leaves a flawless canvas for the rest of your makeup! And the best part, it's under $35 - you can't beat it!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Jene Luciani's Hair Color - Love the Changes!

Jene Luciani - my good friend and client - LOVES change =) She is the author of The Bra Book, as well as a fashion and style expert & bra guru!!

Jene on BravoTV's Mad Fashion

Anything new and fun, she is totally in - and I love that about her - and since I do her makeup and hair, I always get to go along for the ride!

Fun Photoshoot with Lynda Kwartler Photography
Hair and Makeup By Me =)

Apart from her normal blonde in the summer and warmer brown tones in the winter, not long ago, she opted to turning into a redhead for fall - LOVE that, because no one expected it (I think it was even a last minute decision for her!)

LOVE RED! So Pretty <3

Now that is getting to be winter, even though the weather here in NY may think otherwise, she decided to do a warm reddish-brown - which looks amazing! (We just did it yesterday, so photos will follow!)

As you can see Jene has a light to medium skin tone with olive undertones. No matter what skin color you have, you can try different hair colors, you just have to make sure it's the right shade and tone for your skin and eyes. Work with your hairdresser to come with something new ~ especially for the New Year! It's always fun to try something new!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Tuesday's Tip of the Day: Holiday Makeup Quick Tips!

Instead of one tip today, I thought I'd give a few quick tips to great makeup! Holiday parties are creeping up upon us (some may already had one already), these tips will help keep your makeup fresh all night long!

1. If you are doing a full face of makeup, you want to fill in your brows a little. Unless your brows are super dense to begin with, you want to shade in parts where the hairs are sparse.

2. If you aren't used to doing your eye makeup, your eyes may tear or get irritated from all the touching. Use eye drops to help clear them out. But remember, use a brand you have used before, so you don't have any sudden reactions to something new.

3. You need blush! Even if you feel your cheekbones feature themselves enough, you want to accent them to finish the look. Apply a subtle pink or warm bronze to feature them some more. Your makeup will look incomplete without a little pop of color on those cheeks.

4. Use waterproof makeup. Any product that can be purchased in waterproof, should be - liner, mascara especially. If the party you are attending has dancing, or may be warm due to the amount of people in a space, you want to make sure your makeup doesn't melt down your face - not attractive!

(I know this is a little dramatic, but you know what I mean)

5. And lastly, do your eyes first, then your face makeup. Any makeup you use on your eyes, especially shadows, the powder will fall onto your cheeks. So much easier to clean up when you haven't done your face makeup yet. So save yourself the time and energy, do your eyes first, then face, then brows!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Quick and Easy Slicked-Back Bun

Being that your social calendar for the holiday season is probably already almost filled up - you want hairstyles that will compliment your style, yet can be done rather quickly.

I love the slicked-back bun. This style is weather-proof. No matter the temperature or if there is precipitation, your hair will look amazing until you take it out!

To create the basic Slicked-Back Bun:

1. Divide dry hair to create a center part, then apply a small amount of shine serum with your fingers, then brush through.

2. Flat iron any fly-aways that you may see, then comb, all of your hair into a sleek low ponytail where your neck meets the back of your head. Use a tight elastic to secure.

3. Take the ponytail and wrap it into a coil around its base, then tuck in ends under. Use bobby pins to secure the ends and any shorter pieces that may be popping out.

4. Once secured, use a firm hairspray for bun and rest of head for a style that will last all night!


For side buns, use the same steps, just secure ponytail to which ever side you would like your bun.
You can also do this in a "messy" way, by not making hair so slick, leave it au natural, or curl it. Just remember to bobby pin any pieces that may fall out completely.
You also don't have to create a part if you like your hair to go straight back.


This is just a guideline, use your imagination to create different variations of the same concept!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

My Current Obsession: Kim Kardashian's Bouncy Locks!

OK so Kim's hair looks perfect every. single. time. Not fair.

She also happens to have so much of it. Not fair either.

But no matter how much hair you have, you can still give others the illusion that you have that same, perfect hair!

This is what makes clip-in extensions my favorite! You can have long hair 3 days in a row, and then you can forget about it for a month. You can put them in whenever you want that amazing, voluminous hair. Maybe it's for special events only, or maybe it's for every day - clip-ins let it be up to you!

A few simple facts about clip-in extensions. First off, you want REAL hair. You can't style and apply heat to synthetic (fake) hair. Yes, synthetic hair is much cheaper, and that is exactly the reason why. If you try to put any type of heat on synthetic hair, it will fizzle, melt, matte and turn into a disgusting mess, and can, and most likely will, ruin your own hair in the process. Stick with "Remy Hair", it is the best kind, and most versatile. It blends well with your own natural hair, and you can apply heat on it for blow drying, flat ironing or with a curling iron.

Once you purchase your extensions, you will need to bring them to your hairdresser so that they can be clipped in properly and cut accordingly. They need to match your haircut, so that they blend and look real - only YOU should know they aren't ;)

Your hairdresser can then show you how to put them in and take them out, because once they are cut and shaped to blend properly, each piece will have a specific place on your head where it needs to be clipped.

Once all clipped in, style accordingly with your own hair. You want to do this so they blend, and vua-la! Bouncy, Perfect, Voluminous hair!

My hair without my clip-ins ~ flatter, not as bouncy


Back of my hair with my clip-ins ~ much more bounce!
(with VH1's MOBWives star Ramona Rizzo)

Holiday Fashion Show Benefiting TAPS @ NoMa Social in New Rochelle, NY

Last night I hosted my first EVER Holiday Fashion Show at NoMa Social in the Radisson Hotel in New Rochelle, NY. It was benefiting TAPS - a great charity that helps families who lost a loved one in the line of duty.

All the models, Jene Luciani in Blue, Me in Pink, Maria in Pattern and Marcella in all black to right

April Marin Custom let us borrow the fashions for all of the models, and ICE Jewelry by Randi let us use their jewelry to glam up each outfit! My company, Makeup by Heather A. did all the makeup and PlushBLOW did all the hair - it was an amazing time!

Models in April Marin Clothing

We had a Special Guest Model, Jene Luciani of White Plains - Celebrity Stylist and author of The Bra Book!

Many people help make this event happen, and I am thankful to each and every one of them! Maria with 3PR, she is amazing! As well as Marcella Milio of Vestiti by Marcella, who styled each of our models.
Joe with Brett Joseph Photography and Paul with the Image Maker photographed this fantastic event.

Maria, Me, Marcella

We had an amazing Raffle Basket, valued at $800! Full of products, gift certificates, jewelry and more!

All in all it was a fabulous event, many people came out to support the show as well as the cause - and I thank you very much for doing so!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Tuesday's Tip of the Day: Beyonce's Bouncy Volume? Angelina's Height? Style it high!

Do you see celebrities in magazines with amazing height in their hair?
Or maybe just someone walking past you, and you think, how did she get that volume on top? Or better yet, how did she make it stay, its 3pm already!?

It's not as hard as you think. 

To reproduce the classic height on top of your head, which has been around for decades, you need either one of these two tools: A large-barreled curling iron, or large-barreled hot rollers

I personally love the curling iron, but for people with finer hair, the hot rollers seem to help with keeping hair in a style for longer.

You want to lift each section vertically, I usually start at the front, and spray with a dry texturizing spray, I love Oribe's, and/or hair spray. Then use the curling iron, create a large curl that folds towards the back of your head, then spraying again once your done.

If you are using hot rollers, you want to make sure they are as hot as they can be before putting in your hair. Once in your hair, let them sit until they are fully cooled down - can take up to 20-30 minutes or so. Then spray again before removing from hair.

Style how you want them to stay, then spray again.

**If you have ultra-fine hair, I recommend teasing at the root after you've curled the hair, then style and spray again - this will help hold the hair in a curl for a longer period of time.

You want to spray enough to keep the hold, but not too much where your hair looks crunchy or the spray creates flakes. Find your happy medium!

1st Annual Holiday Fashion Show at NoMa Social in New Rochelle, NY

It's going to be a great event benefiting TAPS
A Fashion Show, Appetizers, Raffles & More!

Thanks to:
NoMa Social in New Rochelle, NY as our Venue
Clothing by April Marin Custom
Styling by Marcella Milio
Hair by PlushBLOW
Jewelry by ICE Jewelry by Randi
Special Guest Model Jene Luciani
Photography by Brett Joseph Photography
& hosted & makeup by Makeup by Heather A.

Hope to see you all there!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

The people and places you surround yourself with, are what make you who you are. No matter what stresses are in your life, always know that it will get better, and no matter how bad you think it is, it could always be worse.

Enjoy this day with whomever you call family - and make it as special as possible!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Tuesday's Tip of the Day: Perfect that Winter Self-Tanner Application

Everyone wants that summer glow all year long, but the price of fake tanning just keeps going up, literally and figuratively. So how can you get that glow you want without going under those harmful fake rays?

When purchasing your self-tanner, do your research. Check out what your friends use, see what the reviews are online, knowing the product will help you figure out whats best for you.

Once you have the product, use the tips below as guidelines on how to apply it so that it looks as real as possible. Remember, don't go overboard when applying, you don't want to be 50 shades darker than your natural color in December. After too many applications in a row, it will end up looking orange and fake, no matter how amazing the product you purchased is.

1. DON'T RUSH! Just like a dentist appointment, mark it on your calendar. You want to apply slowly and make sure you cover all the skin – no one likes a blotchy tan!

2. Make sure to shower & shave well before tanning. Doing this will make sure your skin is smooth and ready for the application.

3.  After showering, moisturize skin extremely well. Tanner doesn't blend or set well on flaky or dry skin.
4. Don't forget your back! Especially if you wear low back dresses, or tops that are see-through or have slits. Use a long handled sponge applicator or ask a friend or beau to do it!

5. Make sure you have the adequate drying time for the product you purchased. Some say 20 minutes, some say a couple of hours. If it says wear loose clothing afterwards, don't put on spandex and run to the store. Following the directions incorrectly will give you different results from what the package states. Then you can't be angry when your tan doesn't look great once your done.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

My Current Obsession: Jiffy Esteam*

Who hates ironing? Me!
Whose not a fan of using clothing dryers because they shrink and fade clothes? Me!

I was flipping through my November 2012 issue of InStyle Magazine about how to make your wardrobe last longer – something that definitely caught my eye!

#5 on their list was the Jiffy Esteam Travel Steamer. For under $60, you can own this amazing product that safely takes out wrinkles on any fabric. This particular one is for traveling (but I'd use it for everyday!) warms up faster and is smaller than a full sized clothes steamer.

"No ironing board needed" is probably one of the best phrases EVER!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Tuesday's Tip of the Day: Making Costume Jewelry Last

Not everyone can afford the high end jewelry, especially if it's for a trend that probably won't be in style longer than two months.
When you purchase costume jewelry, especially cheaper, or less expensive jewelry, you want it to look like a million bucks each time you wear it!

For fake gold, usually as you wear it, it starts to turn to a bronzey tone before it almost turns black or green. To keep this jewelry looking its best, you want to make sure you don't wear it in the shower, and to store it in air tight bags when you are not wearing it. This will slow down the turning process of your jewelry, getting the most you can out of it! (Same with Tiffany's, their silver always turns, if you keep it in air tight packaging while not wearing it, it will stay shiny much longer!)

I don't know about you, but for me, cheap earrings don't mix well with my pierced ears. They either hurt after a while, or can cause an infection after extended wear.  I always apply Neosporin on the posts or hooks of the cheap earrings before inserting them in my pierced ears. This always helps with the pain - I don't have any - and I try not to wear cheap earrings numerous days in a row, but if I have to, Neosporin definitely helps not to cause an infection.

Friday, November 9, 2012

That time of year again! Makeup for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade!

Every year, at the beginning of October, I receive my letter notifying me that Thanksgiving Day is just around the corner!

I immediately call in and register for the first meeting. This isn't any meeting, it's the meeting that allows me to be one of the Emmy Nominated Makeup Artists for the Clown Makeup in the Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade!

The meeting is held at Macy's on 34th Street in Manhattan, right where it all began!

Floats from the first years of the parade...

A float from recent  years....
And what would a parade be without clowns? There around approx 1000 clowns in the Macy's parade, and I get to be one of the makeup artists working on those clowns, starting at 5am Thanksgiving Morning! So as you are just getting up to prepare your turkey's to go in the oven, I am up and already in NYC for no later than 445am to make sure each clown is accounted for and ready by 815am - that's when the last bus for the clowns leaves the New Yorker hotel (where we get them ready) to get to the beginning of the parade route.

Even though the parade may seem as if it is just a bunch of people waving and walking a route, it is sooooo much more than that. As soon as the holiday season is over, Macy's parade committee starts to think about the following years parade.
And in recent years, the Thanksgiving Day Parade was nominated for an Emmy for the makeup artistry of the clowns! Love that I was, and still am, part of that group!
Hope that you all watch this year - if it's just for the background noise - it really is a great show to see! Starts at 9am Thanksgiving Morning!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

My Current Obsession: Laura Mercier & MAC Brush Sets

Like my most previous blog post said, your brushes are the key to great makeup!

I mainly use MAC brushes, however there are many other brushes that do the job just as well.

If you want to start stocking up on great brushes, but don't have the funds (because they can be pretty pricey), now is the time to do it! Most of the brands bring out great brush sets during the fall/winter seasons because they make great gifts.

MAC has amazing brush kits that come out only for the Holiday Season. The $49.50 sets includes the essentials that will help you execute that perfect look!

What I love about these sets is that the brushes are short handled, which lets them fit into makeup bags much easier, and then they are fun colors - what other great brushes are fun colors? Right, I couldn't think of any either!

If you are looking for a little more extensive brush set, that includes more brushes in one set, Laura Mercier Deluxe Travel Brush Collection is the way to go! It's a special set out now, for $95 you can create a flawless look with the 9 amazing brushes that are included in this kit. This kit may not look as "fun" but it definitely very practical.
The double-sided brushes make it great for travel, and the case that they come in includes a mesh-zippered pouch that can stash some of your makeup goodies, as well as other slots for other brushes you may own! This is a great gift for the makeup junkie - you can never have too many brushes, especially when they are great ones!