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"I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing...kissing a lot. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls."
Audrey Hepburn


Monday, January 26, 2015

The Best of 2014

When we get back to formula on Lisa Freemont Street, I will be doing a weekly post, showcasing all that happened on my channel and on social media during that week. So stay tuned for that. Until then, this post is dedicated to last year and I'm sorry it's running so late. I know some of you look forward to this post and honestly, I do as well. It's fun to go back and take stock, so to speak, of your year, determining what things remain the most memorable and which ones deserve top honors.

So let's get started.

1.Product of the Year:FAB Eye Duty Triple Remedy
Since I started my job at Dillard's department store, I've had the liberty of trying a lot of products and really boosting the quality of my current skincare routine. My favorite product this year was the First Aid Beauty Triple Eye Remedy. It's a too-wordy name, but this little product packs a very solid punch and I still use it daily. See more about the Eye Remedy here, in this post.



2. Favorite Book:Foxfire-Anya Seton (1953)

I lived up to my ambition last year and visited the library quite a few times. There are a few books that I enjoyed this year, but the one I enjoyed the most was Foxfire, by Anya Seton. If you're not familiar with Anya and her brilliant works of historically based fiction, you'll do well to consider her. If you've ever seen the Vincent Price/ Gene Tierney film 'Dragonwyck', you're familiar with her gothic style, as the novel was written by her. Foxfire is similar, in that the hero of the story is a dark and brooding sort, but takes place mostly in the desert southwest of the U.S. during the Great Depression. Again, her descriptive capacity and means of engaging the reader in the evolving storyline, is palpable. I believe this is the last of her books that I haven't read...I'm strongly considering reading them all again.


3. Favorite Album:Metamodern Sounds in Country Music-Sturgill Simpson

Of all the year's albums that I have discovered, this one stayed most frequently at the top of our Spotify playlist. We have heard it too many times to count and are even more avid supporters of this artist. Sturgill's rendition of 'When in Rome's' classic song, 'The Promise', is the stuff of dreams. Seriously...it will make you cry.


4. Favorite Television Show: Parks and Recreation

I got rid of my satellite service in 2014, so we have mostly been enjoying classic re-runs of Good Times, All in the Family, and the like. It's a rare thing for us to stream a new television show on Hulu or Netflix, so I think it bears mentioning that Parks and Recreation is the only one that I've really attempted to 'keep up' with. After all, when you have no option for recording via DVR, you tend to lose your motivation to watch something...unless it's really good. And this show is REALLY good, as most of you know. I think Ron Swanson is even more a hero, in the newer seasons, and April & Andy remain one of my all time favorite comedy couples.



5. Favorite Live Musical Performance: Graveyard-Hitone, Memphis

I saw a few live performances this year but Graveyard remains my favorite. It's a tough call too, because Muddy Roots was especially great this year, as was Viva Las Vegas. But there is something about seeing this group of not-so-attractive fellas do something so great with their genre of seventies influenced rock and roll. In spite of standing for a significant amount of time, I wasn't ready for it to be over and that's really saying something. Let's just restate the obvious here: the Swedes understand music and they understand how to pay homage to the past without sounding dated. This was an incredible performance and the sound at the Hitone has really upped the game, in Memphis.


6. Favorite Movie:Mockingjay Part 1

While there were definitely better movies to be released this past year, this remains my favorite. It proved that the 'Part 1', 'Part 2' trend for final movies in a planned trilogy is not always a bad choice. While some critics labeled it as slow, I thought it was perfectly cast and well paced. It brought the viewer into the story deliberately, methodically, and with a sense of dread that really showcased the skill of the director, Francis Lawrence. The performances, score, and cinematography also increased the momentum of the franchise. I felt it was the best yet, in the series.


7.Favorite Clothing Purchase: Whirling Turban Wing Bust

It has been a privilege and an honor to represent Whirling Turban for the past few years at Viva Las Vegas, and 2014 was no exception. My favorite item of clothing of the year, was this spectacular wing bust evening dress that Katherine custom designed for me. The brocade and lace combine to make it an eye-catching but entirely period authentic piece. And the fit, is perfect as always.


8.Favorite Photo:Bellows Rouge Test Shot

Since I don't post photos of my children online, typically, I will leave my actual favorites out and settle for another shot that makes me very happy. This was a 'test shoot' for a new photo adventure that I'm embarking on for the coming year. It's a project/ collaboration with Memphis photographer Jerry Plunk, that will aim to re-create the best in Old Hollywood Glamour portraits. Taking Inspiration from famous Hollywood head shots as well as the unmistakable style of George Hurrell, Bellows Rouge intends to make every lady or gent feel as though they are ready for their close-up, in the truest sense of the expression. It's the next step in my styling endeavors, and I couldn't be happier with our 'trial run'.


9.Favorite Beer: Scottish Ale by High Cotton

I don't remember being as impressed this year with another beer as I was with the Scottish Ale by High Cotton Brewing. The fact that it's local gives it a bit of an edge as well.



10.Favorite Moment:The Wedding of a Moose

I had a lot of good and great moments in 2014. But seeing two of my favorite people join their lives was a definite highlight of, not only the year, but of my life in general. Words can't express how happy I am for the both of them. In addition, my dear friends from California got to join in the merriment! How could I not be overjoyed?


11.Favorite Tutorial of Mine: Jane

It was great fun and very motivating to get back to my Starlet Series. This one turned out pretty well, I thought.



12.Video Tutorial of the Year:

Kayley Melissa is someone I just started following this past year and she did a SPOT ON rendition of Cersei Lannister's 'Purple Wedding' hairstyle from the Game of Thrones television show that blew me away. Not only does it showcase a great amount of skill, as a self-taught hair artist, but she got the technique down by simply looking at photos, from what I understand. As someone who does this on a daily basis, and has for years, I can vouch for how difficult such a thing can be. She, quite simply, nailed it.



So that's my year in a nutshell. See you next time, Dearies!!


xxoo,
Ashley


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Tuesday-Wednesday on Lisa Freemont Street

Tuesdays are Temptation Days on Lisa Freemont Street.

This week, I couldn't help but share this rediscovered 2010 creation by the incomparable Alexander McQueen. The dress has such a classic Dior feel about it but the lace overlay gives it almost a Giger-esque quality that I absolutely love. It's modern and sleek and insect-like and still timeless.



Wednesday is usually a day for product shares but I missed that post yesterday on social media. So I thought I'd throw in a suggestion here on the blog that might be helpful to some of you.

Right now I'm really loving Estee Lauder eyeshadows. In spite of the pricey downside, the shadows themselves are creamy, blendable, and gorgeously pigmented. This palette especially pleases me since the brown is not a typical one, having a sort of reddish quality that really comes off beautifully on blue eyes. The lighter taupe shade is also a beautiful brow shade for blondes. Definitely a winner:


That's all for now. Looking forward to FINALLY filming a tutorial today and getting back on the YouTube train!

'Til Next Time,

So Long, Dearies!!

XXOO,
Ashley


Monday, January 12, 2015

Monday on Lisa Freemont Street

I realize that a lot of you who read this blog don't really frequent some of my other social media formats, like Facebook and Instagram. So while I have 'themes' for those sites, for just about every day of the week, you all sort of miss out on that. So because lengthy blogging is already an issue for me, I thought short dedicated posts like this one might brighten your day a bit and still keep us connected. I'm nice that way. :)

My Instagram Mondays are dedicated to all you self-stylists out there. I have a hashtag going that has really become so inspiring for me...it's #wedontneednostinkingstylist. So if you are Instagram, please continue to submit your photos because I choose a 'Poster Girl of the Week' there, featuring some of my favorites. This week's #lfstpostergirl was CaptainBringDown, and here is the photo she entered under the hashtag.


I just love the caption she posted with it, something along the lines of her husband feeling she looked 'crazy' but she knew it was amazing. And she's right. Great example of using a bumper bang to compliment a hat.

On Facebook, I do 'Music for Monday', where I share a live performance or vinyl copy of a great song. This week, I couldn't help but share the great Sister Rosetta Tharpe again, since well, she's just about as good as it gets. It is a performance of her's from the 1960's, in Manchester England I believe.



I hope you enjoy these quick inspirational entries.

And as always,
So Long, Dearies!!


Friday, January 2, 2015

Fashion Flashback Friday: Pierre Balmain

I have been doing a Fashion Flashback feature on Facebook and Instagram for a while now, but there are always so many great photos to share. So I decided that starting in 2015, I'd devote a blog entry to the week's featured designer as well.


This week, it was Pierre Balmain's vintage designs.


Four facts about Balmain:

1. He was quoted as saying that 'Dressmaking is the architecture of movement'.




2.Balmain worked closely with Dior and credited the conception of 'New Look Fashion' to himself, although ultimately the credit has remained with the former.



3.Classically designed ballgowns were one of his signatures, showcasing exquisite detailing and extravagantly full skirts.


The above masterpiece is credited to Balmain much of the time but I am still uncertain, since the internet is notorious for misleading folks in this respect. Regardless, it definitely speaks of his style and it is fascinating, so I included it here.



4.Balmain also designed for theater, ballet, and film, as well as royalty. Queen Sirikit of Thailand commissioned him to design her 1960 wardrobe for her visit to the US.







Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Few of my Favorite: 'Clarins' Things



As of November 1st, I am managing the Clarins counter at my local Dillard's department store. I think a lot of people were under the impression that I was 'assigned' to this counter after having 'paid my dues' at the Edge Shop area of the store (the Edge shop is like a mini Sephora, carrying a number of familiar brands). But no, I actually chose Clarins, having been researching and coming to love the products over the course of the summer and early fall.

For those of you who don't know about this brand (I was surprised by how many people I consulted did not), Clarins was established in 1954 by Jacques Courtin-Clarins, an avid skincare enthusiast and cosmetician who wanted more natural products to be available to the public. The brand focused on using plant extracts in place of manufactured ingredients and still does today. By 1962, he was making huge advances in the skincare industry, developing the first 'sculpting cream' for the body.
In 1974, Clarins began a worldwide distribution campaign and ten years later, the company appeared on the Paris Stock Exchange and became a major contender in the field. 1991 saw the company developing color cosmetics as well, with the focus still being on purity and natural skin health. Since then, the hugely popular Double Serum, mens' skincare line, and anti-aging foundations have helped launch the company into barefaced competition with other luxury beauty brands.

I was first drawn to Clarins by a lipstick: Clarins Red. I loved the feel of it, the shade, and the beautiful gold tube. Since then, I've come to love the skincare more than any I've tried. Below I've listed my ten favorite Clarins products, by far the hardest list I've made. There is seriously SO MUCH this brand has to offer, to the extent that the wonderful red lipstick that initially drew me did not even make the list.

After reviewing the list, feel free to check the embedded video featuring some of my favorite Clarins products and my newly developed 'No-Makeup Makeup-Look' that I created for my non-makeup-wearing skincare customers. So far, the look has a 100 percent success rate among ladies who previously had no interest in wearing makeup at all!

FAVORITES:

1. SKIN ILLUSION FOUNDATION:

Topping the list is the fabulous 'Skin Illusion' foundation, my current 'all-time' favorite foundation to use. I first gave it a try when an oily skinned girl prone to blemishes asked me for a good makeup base. Usually, I would use an oil-free mattifying foundation, but something about her skin texture scared me away from that idea, since I feared it would look 'cakey' instead of clear. I tried the Skin Illusion and started a new love affair. Instead of covering up her blemishes and texture issues, it seemed to just blur and diffuse them, lending a softened and still youthful look to her skin. The finish is satiny smooth and only slightly luminous, so it's not too dewy for the oily skins. The fragrance, derived from plant extracts and not perfumes, is the best of any foundation I've tried, almost a cucumber-melonish quality. I have begun using it exclusively for work and although I still incorporate some of my old favorites for other occasions, I almost hate to abandon it for any reason. It's just that good.

Price: 39.00 retail

2.DOUBLE SERUM:

An all inclusive anti-aging serum, Double Serum combines 20 plant extracts to create one concentrated treatment method for all skin types. It smells delightful, absorbs quickly, and has notable results. After a few weeks of use, the majority of women polled agreed that they like it better than their previous serum, a study that I didn't really care about until I noticed how much I liked it myself.

Price: 85.00-115.00


3. WATER COMFORT ONE-STEP CLEANSER:


This product was truly innovative, in my opinion, and a completely new concept for me. It is marketed as a one-step cleanser for normal or dry skin that uses peach essential water to make skin feel soft and supple without rinsing. It also removes light makeup and impurities with one swipe. I'm a cold cream or cleansing oil lover when it comes removing my makeup at the end of the day, but I decided to try this first thing in the morning, since I read recently that it isn't necessary to lather and rinse your skin in the morning, especially for maturing or dry types. I'm so glad I did. I feel like my skin is every bit as clean as when I was using a foaming cleanser in the morning, but it feels significantly softer and my moisturizer and makeup apply more evenly. I just can't praise it enough.

Price: 35.00

4.BEAUTY FLASH BALM:

I'll admit I was a little confused by this product at first. Is it a mask... a primer... a moisturizer? What I did know was that it was the single best seller in my counter history and ladies absolutely loved it. So I studied up on it and it turns out, it's sort of all three. As a mask, it tightens, hydrates, and brightens skin in minutes. As a moisturizing primer, it minimizes the appearance of pores, providing a smooth and supple base on which to apply foundation. I love the Instant Smooth Makeup Primer as well, but being a dry skinned girl, I am far more attracted to this one.

Price: 46.00

5.EXTRA FIRMING FOUNDATION:

Featuring the same clean cucumber sent and satiny finish as the Skin Illusion foundation, this one is created for the mature crowd and works beautifully when it comes to evening out redness, improving texture, and increasing the elasticity of aging skin. My mother has rosacea and this foundation improved the appearance of her skin in merely one use, not only by evening the tone, but giving it a good healthy glow that was very noticeable.

Price: 45.00

6.LOTUS FACE TREATMENT OIL:

Clarins is known for their treatment oils for body and face, but this one has the most impressive track record. Rebalancing oil of geranium and rosemary help to calm the overproduction of sebum in oily skinned people, minimizing the appearance of pores and conserving the 'healthy oils' that the skin naturally produces. Blemish prone users may see a noticeable improvement in skin's smoothness and have reported that blemishes decreased significantly, not only the existing variety but also the reoccurring.

Price: 52.00

7.CLARINS CLEANSING MILK:

Available in three formulas, the Clarins Cleansing Milks are world famous for their simplicity and effectiveness. They cleanse without drying, utilizing natural plant extracts to treat and pamper all skin types. My favorite is the green one, for normal to dry skin, since it uses sweet almond, marshmallow, and linden to soften and maintain moisture balance in a delicate but effective way.

Price: 34.00

8.INSTANT SMOOTH GOLDEN GLOW:

While I personally don't have the need for sunless tanners, and that's one of the things Clarins does best, I had to be a third party observer on the effectiveness of this. What I noticed is that, just as the Instant Smooth primer fills in pores and lines to create a flawless foundation base, the Instant Smooth Tanner does the same for a tan. No orange cast, just a lovely sunny glow and super smooth skin. Very impressed.

Price: 36.00

9.VITAL LIGHT NIGHT CREAM

Clarins has a TON of brilliant moisturizers, so this was a very hard choice. The Vital Light is marketed and geared towards mature skinned ladies who want replenishing radiance, but I've discovered a large number of 30-somethings purchasing and loving it too. It has a refreshing feel on the skin and truly seems to brighten and hydrate the skin overnight so that it looks its best in the morning. Therefore, it got top moisturizer spot on this review, after much deliberation, and it will be the one I turn to when I finish my Multi-Active Night Cream...also a great product.

Price: 93.00

10.HYDRA-QUENCH CREAM GEL

Geared towards those who want straight-forward moisture without anti-aging benefits (much like the Moisture Surge line in Clinique), the Hydra Quench Cream Gel makes a great supplemental moisturizer for dehydrated skin and an excellent foundation primer for dry skin. It hydrates a little longer than my beloved Moisture Surge, so I felt I had to include it here in this countdown although I'll admit that the strange smell is somewhat off-putting to me. It's almost a 'Fruit Loops' smell and from my research, it seems that many users have issues with the fragrance. That said, Clarins responds that there are absolutely no 'perfumes' in this product and that the fragrance is due to a subtle change in the extracts with which it is formulated. Either way, in spite of the smell, I think it's still a bang-up product and the rest of the products in the line are impressive as well. For instance the Hydra-Quench Cream-Mask really did hydrate my skin all night, whereas the Moisture Surge Mask was literally GONE within an hour.

Price: 49.50

So that's that.

Below is my 'No Makeup' tutorial and as always, feel free to ask me anything you like about these products in the comments. I look forward to interacting with other fans of this brand!



xxoo,
Ashley


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Fitness Mountain

Today I did this workout, or at least I tried. There are moves I simply couldn't finish, but I suppose that's what the 'fitness mountain' is all about. From what I understand, you never really are supposed to be able to scale it.



Every December, I sort of take stock of my fitness and how I've managed when it comes to reaching my goals. I rarely have been very successful. I think it's because I don't have a lot of motivation in the cooler months and so when the weather starts to change, so does my workout regularity. I hope to be more consistent now since I've sort of found a 'magic hour' for me. After I drop the boys at school, and before anyone else is really up and active, I force myself to do my workout, even if I have limited time. On the days I have to be at work at 10am, I do a super quick ten to fifteen minute routine. For the days I don't have to be at Dillard's until one, or the days I'm off, I power through a 45 minute blaster. This helps keep me from plateauing, I feel, but it also keeps me working out regularly, which is even more important in my book.

I've also been mostly sticking to workouts I enjoy doing, ones I don't dread. Barre and Pilates are my favorites and I think they're what I need to get me where I want to be physically. But I do try to incorporate a high impact cardio in there every so often to exercise my heart more thoroughly.

Working away from home has been awful for my diet...I tend to eat a lot of junk on the nights I get home later because, who knows why, I feel simply FAMISHED when I work late. Even if I eat dinner, I want 'second dinner' when I get home.
I'm thinking that investing in some low-calorie snacks for those late night cravings will help a lot. I've made a pretty valid success of upping my water intake as well and I'm losing weight, regardless of the late night junk food, because of my increased activity. Who knew that running a makeup counter would be an 'active' profession? I sure didn't.

So that's an update on my fitness routine and progress. I still haven't reached Barbarella status, but I always have that as a goal...heck even when I'm in my eighties, I'll likely wanna be Barbarella
Psychadella.



xxoo,

Ashley


Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Starlet Series Episode 1-1920

After the success of my initial Starlet Series,back when I first started filming tutorials for Youtube, I decided that I missed the challenge of recreating looks worn by my favorite Starlets in their heyday. My 'Diamonds and Dames' series is an all-request situation so it isn't something that necessarily caters to my own favorites. Therefore, I decided to revisit that original endeavor year-by-year, instead of decade-by-decade.

Choosing a film heroine from 1920 was relatively easy. The only film from that year that came to mind immediately was The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, the first successful movie of the 'horror' genre.

About the Film:


The story follows a young man named Francis as he tells a friend about some grisly and mysterious adventures he and his fiance' Jane experienced at a local fair. According to Francis, a man named Dr Caligari visited the fair to show the 'talents' of an ominous-looking 'somnambulist' (sleepwalker) named Cesare. In the exhibit, Cesare predicts the death of Francis' friend Alan, which comes true, beginning to rouse suspicions against he and the doctor.
Jane becomes the next intended victim, but is saved by the investigative efforts of Francis and the staff of a local asylum. The story culminates in what is one of the first 'twist' endings of cinema.


Robert Wiene directed the film, as well as more than 35 others between 1915 and 1938. This was his most acclaimed, though the film opened to booing and unimpressed audiences initially. The surrealistic mood of the film, coupled with the unexpected ending was something movie-goers did not understand or appreciate at first. However, after re-marketing the film as a horror film, German and other audiences began to respect and enjoy these changes. The story, written by Hans Janowitz and Carl Mayer, was seen as something that provided the perfect collaboration between writer and director, using props and performances to create a dreamlike atmosphere. The sets were created from paper, much like a stage production, with shadows painted on the walls. Even today, the stark shapes and structures are impressive and memorable.

While I would normally rate films with a scale of 1-10, I don't feel that this film qualifies. It is not as much entertainment as it is historical art, to me, so I will simply state that it should definitely be seen if you have interest in film at all.

The Tutorial:
For my first episode of my newly revived Starlet Series, I decided to do an homage-look inspired by Jane of the film, as portrayed by actress Lil Dagover:

Although her look in the film varies by scene and according to her state of mind, I love the previous photo because it showcases an ethereal and strange beauty that was not really revisited in many films. Only her top lip is accentuated, to lend a forlorn quality to her face, the lashes are longer and fluttery (a fact I overlooked, actually, in my tutorial), and the hair is long and unstyled, in keeping with the trend of the earliest part of the decade.

Here is the youtube tutorial, followed by a written list of the products I used and an explanation of why. Enjoy!



The hair was pre-set with Hot Sticks and installed hair extensions by Tressmerize. The length should actually have been longer, but these were the longest I had. While not curling them would have resulted in a more authentic look, I felt that the whimsical aspect of the character needed the curls. However, the style can be done without them certainly, and with great effect. My top hair was parted in the middle and pin curled in opposite directions so that the root hair waved a bit before cascading into the curls. I wanted to incorporate a tiara into the final look, to be more directly indicative of the inspiration photo, but knew that I wouldn't get much personal use out of one, so chose not invest in one at this time, opting instead for a simple beaded headband from Claire's. The effect is similar but subdued. Drawing the widow's peak in was an afterthought but one I felt helped promote authenticity as well. And it was super easy to do!!

For makeup:

Primer: Clinique Moisture Surge

I use this as my primer due to my dry skin and the heavy coverage of my foundation, which needed a smooth base. For oily skin, use a perfecting base to give more of a velvet finish, if you wish. I love the Clarins Instant Smoothe Perfecting Touch makeup primer for filling in pores and lines too!

Foundation: Double Wear Foundation by Estee' Lauder

Although there is a bit of SPF in this product, the coverage is remarkable and legendary for brides and photo shoots. I don't know what makes it different but I'm an avid fan. My shade is Ecru, but there are a ton of shades to choose from and for lighter coverage there is a 'Light' option and also a super heavy coverage option that is similar in finish to Dermablend.

Concealers: Maybelline Concealer Stick in White, Cover Fx Concealer in Light

The white concealer makes a good highlight for photography as well as a great means to cover brows opaquely. The Cover FX is super heavy coverage with an emollient quality that makes it perfect for dry skin. It can crease a bit after application but covers splendidly.

Powder: Dermablend Original Setting Powder

The best setting powder ever. Hands down. The same quality as that HD stuff by Makeup Forever but really cheap, at 25.00 for quite a lot of product. It sets concealer, lipstick, eyeliner, whatever you need. And if you press your hands into it right afterward, all the original finish of the product comes right back. I adore it.

Eyeshadows: Although I mention the Toofaced and Naked palettes in this video, because that's what I used, I don't necessarily recommend any specific ones. I could just as easily used Wet N Wild or Nyx. Just make sure that you are using a good matte shadow, in both a charcoal gray, a taupe, and a warmer nude. Layering these colors will give that 'dusky' quality to the final black and white photos that simple grayscale won't do. Going back over the applied shades, layering the colors and blending, will also add that hazy look.


Lashes/ Mascara: The Lash Doubling Mascara by Clinique is my current favorite and it worked well for this look. I love the tapered wand since it makes it easier to do mistake-proof application to the lower and inner lashes. For falsies, go for longer whispy lashes like the Ardell Wispies, or maybe even some lower single lashes to get a more accurate look to the inspiration photo. This is the one area I wish I'd taken that extra step, instead of just grabbing my nearest natural lashes that had that sort of voluminous 1920's look to them. The lashes of Dagover were not really typical for the era and I should have embraced that.


Lipstick: I chose my old standby by Besame, which is old and has developed that crayon smell. I need to replace it. However, any dark burgundy or brown lipstick will work, as long as it is low-sheen. Make sure to set it with Dermablend powder though, to prevent it transferring to the blank bottom lip.


So that's that! Thanks again for watching and reading...I hope to be more active here in the future.

xxoo,
Ashley