makeup monday: fantastical floral


Happy Monday, everyone and happy fall, too! Now that we’re a week into the official autumnal season, I’m getting all sorts of excited for impending cooler weather and fall holidays. Of course, it still feels like summer in Texas, so today’s post is sort of my final farewell to this year’s sunny spring/summer style.


A couple of months ago, I did this soft, pretty makeup look on Cassidy for an outdoor photo set with local photographer Nick Bruner. The results are beautiful and vibrant, and I think this look is simple and versatile enough to instantly make anyone look and feel a bit rosier.

Product details at the bottom of the post!


•I filled in Cassidy’s brows with a brown powder (by Anastasia Beverly Hills) and angled brush, but did not alter the shape or use harsh lines. The goal is to simply amplify natural features for this look, rather than too much contour or illusion.
•Use a felt-tipped liquid eyeliner pen for faster, cleaner, more user-friendly cat eye application than you’ll get with a brush or gel liner. Need tips for perfecting your cat eye? I’ve written a post about that!
•A rosy pink or peach blush with a little bit of warm gold shimmer will flatter all skin types and brighten up your whole face, making it perfect for a fresh and feminine look like this.
•Choose a lipstick and gloss combination that’s close to your natural lip shade, but slightly brighter and a couple of shades darker. Dusty pinks look great on fair skin, and more bronze/tan neutrals work well with darker complexions.


•brows: Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Powder Duo in Caramel
•eyes: Kat Von D Ink Liner in Trooper + Rimmel Pin-Up Tease mascara
•skin: Bare Minerals powder foundation and mineral veil
•blush: NARS Orgasm
•lips: Sephora lip liner in Royal Rose + Too Faced Melted Lipstick in Melted Peony

I hope you dig this look! I absolutely love the way the makeup colors and Cassidy’s dress and hair color blend perfectly with their surroundings. They found these amazing flowers in south Austin, near St. Edwards University, and I’m incredibly happy with the magical finished product.


makeup monday: how to rock a red lip

Photo credit: Ricardo Acevedo

Since the first recorded accounts of humans tinting their lips red with crushed gemstones and minerals in ancient Mesopotamia, red lipstick has continued to evolve and gain popularity through the ages. By the time cosmetics were popularized in Europe during Elizabethan times, lip stains were much safer and easier to make. Today, modern makeup lovers continue the quest for the coveted perfect red lip, and we have an immense variety of products to help us achieve it for any occasion.

I hear so many women — both friends and clients — express frustration with wanting to rock a red lip, but feeling overwhelmed by obstacles and options (color, finish, durability). We have it way easier than our primping predecessors did! Hopefully this post will help you to navigate the world of lipstick and find the red that’s right for you.


First, some info about my red lip photos. I’ll also impart a few of my go-to red lipstick application tips, and finally, I’ve included a great casual red lip tutorial video at the end of this post that’ll help you get acquainted with trying red lipsticks, as well as a lovely neutral look for the rest of the face so your lipstick can take center stage.


PHOTO NOTES (from top to bottom)
The photograph at the top of this post is a portrait of me by an amazing Austin artist, Ricardo Acevedo.
My lipstick is OCC Lip Tar in Maneater, a vibrant shimmery orange-red. I am absolutely in love with this color, and will be wearing it frequently this fall.

Second photo down is one of my omg-my-makeup-looks-nice-today selfies, when I’d just gotten the aforementioned OCC Maneater and couldn’t wait to try it on. Both of the top two photos show this warm lip color paired with a dark neutral smoky eye, nothing too dramatic, but certainly not the sort of fresh and minimal eye look you’ll see in the video below.

Third, the side-by-side photos are of my gorgeous friend and bride-to-be makeup client, Emily. She never usually wears red, and is going retro glam for the wedding, so we used Stila liquid lipstick in Beso, which will stay put all day and doesn’t really require any maintenance once it’s applied. We paired the statement lips with a simple, bold cat eye. Doesn’t she look like she should rock a red lip, like, all the time?!

Time and experience, along with really getting acquainted with your own face, will improve your ability to pull off the precise look you’d like to achieve. Along the way, keep these tips in mind for a better overall red lipstick experience, regardless of your mouth shape or color family.

Use liner! Always! Lip liner helps keep your lipstick from bleeding or feathering. Choose a color that matches your lipstick, or get a versatile neutral red that can be used with either cool or warm lipstick shades, and draw a line around the perimeter of your lips. Afterward, fill in the lips, holding the pencil at about a 30 degree angle, to create a base layer. This will keep everything in place and looking fab much longer.

Clean up the edges. It’s not easy getting those edges crisp and pretty like the plethora of perfect Pinterest lips you aspire to have. Over time, as with any precision work, it becomes more natural to maintain a steady hand, but you’ll still mess it up from time to time. Concealer is your best friend, and can heal (almost) all wounds. If you go outside the line or need to correct a wobbly edge, first carefully wipe the excess with a Q-tip (which you can dip in makeup remover if the lipstick is longwear or otherwise not budging). Then, using a small, flat eyeshadow or concealer brush, dab on a tiny bit of product that best matches your skin tone, and blend it out into the rest of your skin. Take a wee bit more concealer and brush on a thin line right along the entire edge of your lip. Blend out away from the lip, into your face. This step makes such a noticeable difference, but please skip it if you’re in a rush! It’ll take some time and patience to master.

Give it time to set. After you’re all done applying lipstick, blot on a tissue or napkin for good measure and then LEAVE IT ALONE. Try to refrain from eating, drinking, or otherwise disturbing your lipstick for a little while. 20-30 minutes is usually plenty of time. Don’t let this discourage you from wearing bold lipstick all together if you’re about to indulge, but is a good idea to keep in mind so you can avoid rubbing off your freshly applied makeup as often as possible.

Ready to try it yourself?! Not yet? No worries.
Here, watch the process in action. This video from Shameless Fripperies is full of all sorts of helpful info on now only applying the makeup, but also comparing and selecting the right color for you. Check it out!

If you try the tips included here and learn something new, please tag us in your pics or comments on Instagram (@thiscreativelife @jenheartsart) and/or Twitter (@thiscre8ivelife @jenheartsart)!

wednesday wisdom: it is what it is


I happened upon this simple, beautiful typography print from Etsy seller Coco And Dee, and was inspired to share a little bit about a topic on which I’ve been working in my personal life recently: acceptance. Accepting the world around us isn’t always easy, and accepting ourselves is often even harder. “It is what it is,” is a statement I’m known to use often when discussing external situations or problems, but applying that same understanding to myself has been a significant challenge throughout most of my life. I know I’m not alone in this; many people experience the same difficulty and it holds us back from being our best, most satisfied selves. A few moments of digging online will produce an ample selection of resource options, though, so there’s definitely hope for us!

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” – e.e. cummings

Accepting oneself does not necessarily mean approval of where one is in life right now. You can still recognize area for improvement, have goals and ideals, and have a plan in place to help you achieve those goals (which, of course, means changing something about where/who/what you are), but you don’t have to beat yourself up along the way. Acceptance simply means no longer struggling against your reality, which will actually make it easier for you to attain results and make lasting changes.

In a Tiny Buddha post on the topic of self-acceptance, author E.K. Bradley explains, “No one can attain happiness if they are hung up on what is lacking; we must transcend the need to compare ourselves to others and let go of our apparent flaws and shortcomings. This frees us from self-imposed judgment and the need to fit into society’s standard of what we should look like, be, act, and do.” (The site has lots more great content on acceptance, by a variety of writers, FYI.)

In acceptance lies empowerment, happiness, and freedom. Be kind to yourself and consider your weaknesses, without making excuses, when beginning a new journey to improvement. Making small, realistic, quantifiable actions toward your chosen goals will help you achieve lasting lifestyle changes — but don’t forget to love who you already are along the way.

You are who you are. And it is what it is.

wednesday wisdom: teamwork

When people cooperate to achieve a common goal, amazing things can happen. Even for those of us who prefer solitude to being around others much of the time, the benefits of connecting with fellow humans — both in personal and professional contexts — affect not only the group, but also the individual in positive ways. (Of course, if you are an introvert, this may require a little creativity and a pretty thorough understanding of your boundaries, but there are tons of innovative digital resources these days that make it easy to collaborate with a team on your own terms.)

Working together, at home as well as work, boosts morale and yields higher efficiency when each person focuses on his or her contribution to the whole by offering their respective strengths. Even better? Practice makes perfect, so practicing a specific task diligently (as opposed to handling a whole project on your own, spreading your attention thin) will ideally create new, stronger strengths for you. Practicing teamwork also teaches improved conflict resolution and communication skills. According to research, cooperation can even make you more intelligent!

Together. It’s a powerful concept. We are stronger together than apart, and history has proven the power of organized groups of people passionate about the same causes.


In my personal life, I’ve begun implementing team-building practices into our household routines, and am continuing to seek solutions that seem fun for the kids and easy for me to maintain. The goal is to encourage generosity, solid work ethic, social skills, and balance. We’re still attempting to design the perfect chore chart for my family’s lifestyle, one that makes it easy to keep track of goals and how/when/how much each member acts in the interest of achieving them.

When it comes to art and business, I find myself doing my best work with a team, despite not considering myself much of a “people person.” I’ve found many ways to create awesome things that are integral to their projects without being confined to an environment in which I’m not comfortable enough to thrive. I paint theatrical set pieces in solitude, usually while rocking out to 80s-90s music and getting quite a workout, which are then combined with the fruits of the actors’ and theatre staff’s labor to produce wonderfully entertaining shows. I make custom accessories at my desk at home for clients who are overseeing team-powered projects and events of all kinds, and am always thrilled to see the finished product, once it’s all pieced together. Being an important little part of an awesome bigger picture is exhilarating and inspiring to me, so there’s an effect on my momentum going forward as well.

Even for this blog, Renée and I each contribute posts that highlight our individual interests and areas of expertise. We both have busy daily lives, and have each experienced our share of significant family and personal obstacles that serve as setbacks on the path to some of our professional ideals. If one of us is overwhelmed when life gets in the way, the other always tries to make certain the ship stays afloat.

Knowing we have a caring support system helps soften life’s blows. Having a cohort who shares your vision is an invaluable resource, making it more likely that we’ll get back on track after we stumble. I know there are areas in my life wherein I’d like to be a better teammate, and wherein I’d love to influence those around me to do the same.

Do you manage a team or a busy family? If so, what tips and insights would you say have been particularly motivational or helpful? Leave us a comment below!


makeup monday: blue bliss



I had the pleasure of working with Loghry Photography this past weekend, contributing my makeup services to her nature shoot with multi-faceted artist and musician Meganoke.

I was eager to help, as I’ve known Naomi (the photographer) and have wanted to work with her for quite awhile. Her work is amazing and I urge you to contact her for portrait, fashion, and editorial photo services. I was mega-inspired to hear we were focusing on a blue-green color palette. Meeting Megan was an absolute pleasure, and she looked fierce and stunning. All in all, we’re all happy with how these photos turned out, and I hope you’ll enjoy them, too!

Product and technique info further down in this post, as well as photo credits.


The photo shoot took place outside on a warm, sunny day, in a beautiful wooded area of west Austin. The color scheme, lighting, and angles used complemented one another to create a variety of dramatic images, each one full of emotion and depth.


For Megan’s makeup, I went with a warm glowing base, dramatic contouring, and a vibrant stylized blue-green eye. On her skin we used a combination of Sephora liquid foundation and bareMinerals mineral powder foundation. Contour was created using colors from Kat Von D’s Shade & Light palette, and to highlight Megan’s cheeks I used NARS blush in Orgasm. She has the most adorable freckles and a natural sunny glow, so I was careful to try and let some of that show through.

On the eyes: navy eyeshadow in the crease of the eyelid, neutral beige for brow bone highlight, and sheer bright green on the inner corners of each eye are all from the Sephora Color Anthology palette. The shimmery teal color you see on most of the model’s lids is Ulta Mineral Powder Eyeshadow in Marine, which I mixed with Mehron’s barrier spray to create a liquid eyeshadow to brush across the lower half of the top eyelids. I used first a black liquid liner at the base of the top lashes, followed by a navy gel eyeliner to soften and smolder it up a bit. We applied black false lashes, but then applied Maybelline’s Totally Teal mascara to the tips of those lashes, as well as to the bottom lash line, for a subtle blue effect when seen in the sun.

The brows are intentionally bold, and quite blue, too. I used a combination of navy eyeliner pencil and powder eyeshadow with an angled brush to create the shape. Once happy with the overall brow look, I finished them off with a bit of metallic water-based body paint from Wolfe FX. We added some slightly sparkly bronzer to Megan’s shoulders, a pretty rosy pink lip, and the rest is history.


All photos by Loghry Photography.
Model: Megan
Makeup: Jennifer Cunningham
Concept & hair: Loghry Photography
Assistance: Derrell Rodrigues & Tim Goelz
Jewelry: Gay Isber Designs

Visit Loghry Photography’s Facebook page to see the rest of this gorgeous photo set!

art scene: nerd alert!

Austin Nerd Cave Showcase is back, and better than ever! Join us Sunday, May 17th, for a one-day spotlight on geeky local artists, plus a whole lotta fun. Renée and I will both be there with our nerdiest art, accessories, and gifts.

The event takes place at Spider House Ballroom from 1pm – 6pm, and is packed full of things to see and hear, including, but not limited to an art exhibition, a live nerdcore hip-hop showcase, an arcade tournament, live podcast, and lots of live art being created all the while.


Featured artists:
Matthew McCoy
Shane Campos
Jennifer Cunningham
Jeremy The Artist
Paulo Hernandez
Francisco Salinas
ShoNuff Studios
Mariano Castro
Robo Roku
Strange Kids Club
Lou Pons
Chepo Peña

Live painting by Tom Britton

These bronze dice, created by Matthew McCoy, will be on display for the first time at this weekend’s event! Awesome, right? He’s got work in a variety of media, but the metal sculptural pieces always stand out and look amazing.


Live musical performances by:
The Millipede
Bad Barry
Damp Heat
D.J. R.O.C.K.M.A.N.
Johnny HackNSlash


Live Podcast with Straight Outta Austin!

Arcade Tournament hosted by The Austin Toy Museum

Rad Batman illustration by Jeremy The Artist, one of many new works he’ll be showing on Sunday:


RSVP for the event, share with your friends, and like our Nerd Cave page on Facebook for updates and announcements!)

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