Castiel Cosmetics French Lavender Soap

A few days ago I received a lovely new product to review! What an amazing treat it was to receive a liquid hand soap that was hand delivered to me by Enoch Pacheco, founder of Castiel Cosmetics. As a business owner I really take notice when another business owner goes out of his way to hand deliver something. It speaks such volumes that this person obviously cares about his product and the people who will be using it. 

He had me sold on his product right from the start, solely because the beautiful lilac liquid soap labeled “French Lavender" was delivered in a clear glass liquid soap dispenser and not some plastic bottle. Actually the soap dispenser was nicer than mine, so I went ahead and replaced mine immediately upon receiving it.  So my boyfriend Laif used it first, and his reaction was, “Holy shit baby. This is awesome”.   Ok, if a guy can get that excited over hand soap, well then there must be something in the product! That's just the thing, it's made from all natural ingredients. The product has a beautiful lavender scent that is not over powering like some artificial scents can be. 

You know how some soaps can feel heavy and take forever to wash off your hands, and barely wash off in cold water? Well this soap is quick to lather up, creating that squeaky clean feeling.  Then, it washed off in a second, leaving my skin feeling moisturized and smelling fresh! I didn’t have to use a lot of product to get my hands feeling nice and clean. 

Ok. So, I did some research on the product and Enoch takes pride in creating a line that is 100% plant based  and biodegradable with all natural ingredients. No colorant added, no artificial smells, no harmful chemicals that will go on your skin or down the drain and eventually into the ocean! His website explains exactly what is in the product and what is NOT. No harmful chemicals means I would feel comfortable washing my face with it, and even baby Angus’s face when he comes to visit. =) Enoch with Castiel Cosmetics is selling the French Lavender soap for just $5 that comes in that soap dispenser or you can get the refills for just $3. You are getting a chemical free, all natural plant based soap that is made right here locally in SF. 

I am beyond grateful to Enoch for seeking me out and offering his fantastic soap to my home. I completely support this product and what it stands for. Great job Enoch and Thank you!

Check out Castiel Cosmetics French Lavender Hand Soap at http://www.castielcosmetics.com

Behind the Mask

Many of you know I have a very beautiful, successful sister who lives in Seville, Spain.  My sister, Cristina Hall has been dancing flamenco for the past 14 years throughout the world. I have had the honor to watch her grow over time, both as an artist and as an amazing and passionate young woman.  It has been a journey indeed, at times very strenuous and complex on her uphill climb to success….one that has been filled with tears and pain along the way.  In her dedicated endeavor to reaching her goals as a dancer, Cristina has always been a seeker of self knowledge and truth.  She has always been very sensitive emotionally yet embodies a controlled fire that is unleashed when performing.

Whenever Cristina and I come together to create a concept for a shoot, its like that feeling you get after having way too much coffee.  You know, the anticipation and nervous excitement that takes place where you can’t focus on just one idea….because with her, there are always hundreds!  It’s like she sees the world in lines, shapes and colors that are tied to movement. She analyzes things with her heart and a story can always transpire.  We sat and conjured up about 4 looks, then had to break it down to just 2 for timing purposes. Cristina had the idea of using masks as a prop …..what happens when the mask comes off?….our true nature is exposed. If you ask her about it she will tell you that she feels she is heard the most when she is on stage. It’s where she can drop the disguise and really be her authentic self.

During her last visit, I noticed a confidence in her that was stronger in both her dancing and in the way she spoke.  It made sense in my mind that the looks for our shoot had to be both intricate in detail and bold as well as incredibly sexy.  If you ask my sister, she will tell you that sexy is just not the way she would describe herself…however, I wanted the photos to show strength of her femininity as well as the seriousness of her art.

Cat Nguyen, our master of Photography, found a performing arts warehouse with built in stage lights to create the mood for the shoot and we put Cristina on a ladder to shoot her “Bata De Cola” (a long flamenco skirt) that we shot in some of the photos. Styling her was fun!  I weaved in extension hair pieces to create a Victorian hair style. This was complicated because it was almost like wig making, which felt a bit pressured and unrehearsed. For cost purposes I used synthetic hair, which means no heat styling, so it was all molding with product and verbally coercing the hair to stay in place. (meaning lots of cuss words when things didn’t go right…hehe)  Cristina has beautiful pale skin and I wanted to enhance that in the photos. For the first, look her makeup  was a fun red smokey eye that made her intense green eyes pop and a classic blood red lipstick that took on a 19th century vampire-like character. The second look was a bit more relaxed. I took her look into a more Bridget Bardot direction. I had fun with the 60′s winged eyeliner and pale lips, and although I have done this look a hundred times, it looked very different on her.  I took out the extensions and teased the crown of her head for height and thickness.  This gave her free slow movement and added a very sensual vibe to her look.  Her movements were soft and snakelike with a modern flare, allowing Cat to capture the poses as her subject would shift.  Although she may never admit it….yeah, I saw her working the camera! =)

Check out the photos….

Cristina Imgaes

Cristina’s Facebook

http://www.catherinenguyen.com

PR Maven

December 11th, 2012

I am proud to say that I come from a family of creative thinkers, outgoing personalities and innovative trend setters.  One in particular that comes to mind is my incredibly gorgeous style savvy cousin Natalie Shirinian.  Natalie is a Los Angeles based Public Relations Representative for some of the big name stylists such as Mary McDonald, Rachel Horn, Tobi Tobin and more.  Her recent achievements have been two of her clients on the show Bravo’s Million Dollar Decorator, and setting up her clients in magazines such as Vogue, Departures, House Beautiful, and ELLE DECOR. Natalie takes pride in being selective in who she chooses to work with, then offering an undivided level of attention to artist exposure.  She is the Founder of one of my favorite sites called Femme on Feast, featuring female chefs around the world and a blog called The Confessionals.tv.

When Natalie called and asked me to fly to LA and style Ashley and Andrea of I Heart Design By Avenue, founders and stylist of LA’s newest up and coming design firms, I got on a plane and was off to Beverly Hills.  It was a pleasure working with such fun Artists with clear direction on what they wanted.  The wardrobe styling was amazing and the Art direction flawless.  I had a blast hanging out with the two stylish entrepreneurs and there was never a decent in creativity with the makeup and hair.

Natalie stopped in on the shoot towards the later part of the day and livened up the vibe when we were just starting to get tired.  Watching her interact with her clients really brings customer and client relationships to a whole new level.  What can I say accept I am so proud to be related to this gal….keep an eye out kids, this PR Maven is definitely on a path that goes straight up!

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http://nescreativeservices.com/nes_creative_services.html

The Confessionals.tv

http://www.femmeonfeast.com/

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Makeup and Hair Styling by Melisa Hall

http://www.iheartdesignbyavenue.com

 

New Toy!

I just stopped into West Coast Beauty Supply the other day to pick up product and couldn’t resist. For years I have been working with less than awesome cheap blow dryers from Walgreen’s and I just couldn’t take it anymore.  The newest addition to my hair kit is the super light weight Solano 3500 lite Dryer.  Its an Ionic dryer which cuts drying time in half and minimizes static electricity in the hair.  Infrared heat dries hair from the inside out for overall healthier hair. It has a 3 level heat switch and a cold shot…..AND….sigh….IT IS LIGHT!!!!! I love it. It barely adds any weight to my hair kit.  So what now?  Off to wash my mane so that I can test out my fabulous dryer!  Blow out anyone?

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Is It Airbrushed?

My recent Bride. Kaiya Reeve had done a trial with me almost a year before her big day. Her skin was flawless. The type of skin every woman wants.  Initially we had gone with the airbrush foundation for a more mat finish, however we decided on a different look for the day of just weeks before the wedding.

I used the Luminous Silk Foundations by Armani and blended a cream blush color that I created using the  Makeup Forever Flash Color Palette.  I then added a touch of her cheek color to a  neutral lip shade by Tom Ford called “Indian Rose”.  The results were a very flawless “perfect” dewy skin. I couldn’t be happier with how amazing she looked up close and in photos.

Luminous Silk...

July 18th, 2012

I woke up this morning to a big package on my doorstep. BIG SMILE!     I decided to splurge and add another high end line to my kit….Armani’s luminous silk foundations.  After doing a lot of research on a few high end lines, I hit makeup counters and got samples of a few different lines I was considering, and Armani won by a long shot.  Sure its pricey at about $60 a bottle (I bought 8), however this sheer foundation leaves the skin looking absolutely flawless.  What I love most about it adds such a beautiful glow to the skin without it being to heavy or greasy.  Not only does this foundation look amazing up close but it photographs really well.  =)

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Blushing...

I just got back from working on a 3 day shoot in Napa Valley about an hour ago.  Exhausted and feeling a bit down, as we all can from time to time, I was quickly uplifted by a very touching email sent from a Bride I worked with on my Birthday!  I immediately got a rush of energy and reassurance as to why I truly love what I do.  Nothing pleases me more than to see a smile of gratitude on a Bride’s face.  There is no amount of money in the world that can give me that warm sensation in my heart that I feel watching a client  take in an exciting breath as she sees herself in the mirror, and how beautiful she is.  I get to be there. I get to hold the space with her in a way that is more than just beautifying her.  I get to be apart of a memory that will always be hers.

This is one of the most thankful emails I have ever received and I am overjoyed and so pleased we got to work together on a special day for both of us!

Melisa,

I want to express my  sincere appreciation for the fabulous manner in which you applied my makeup and styled my hair.  I can’t say enough how truly happy I was with the outcome.  Your work is beyond fabulous and what is even more impressive is that in addition to a superb job, you extend genuine kindness and

thoughtfulness to your clients.  Thank you for going above and beyond the norm and for making my special day one which can never be forgotten. I’m still in awe that I was fortunate enough to work with you on your birthday – I am extremely grateful and thankful that you accommodated me so graciously. I must say that because of your excellent work – my photographs look amazing. I received a few shots and they look fabulous – thanks to you.  I have received countless compliments by others on my hair and makeup. Everyone is in awe at how beautiful they both came out.  At work, some have gone as far to say that they can’t even believe that’s me. I know, I’m offended, but I’ll get over it.    You can be sure that many are the ears which have heard mention of your incredible talent. I’m already thinking of reasons as to why I need to go back west, just so that I can do another photo session and have you style and apply my makeup.   Your talent and kindness are truly unmatched and I feel so blessed that I got to work with you on your very special day. Your open candor and that magnificent quality you have of making others feel at ease at such a nerve wracking moment is truly refreshing and heaven sent.

Thank you again for everything and for the truly exquisite manner in which you styled my hair and makeup, it was flawless and I am eternally grateful to you.

Sincerely,

Katherine

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Caroline Lizarraga Portrait Shoot

I had the pleasure of working with amazing Decorative painter / Designer, Caroline Lizarraga, .  All I can say is this woman is AWESOME!  The shoot was not only super fun to work on but inspiring for me as an entrepreneur.  I got to hang out on set all day with Caroline and share stories of life, relationships and creativity.  A full time single mother with a full time designing career, Caroline manages to keep a laid back attitude and strong sense of self, embodying a down to earth real beauty inside and out.

The concept of the shoot was put together by my two very favorite photographers Cat Nguyen and Sonya Yruel.  Especially after meeting Caroline and understanding her work and her couture fashion sense of style, the idea of having a straight “head shot” didn’t really appeal to any of us.  We wanted the photos to tell a story of who Caroline truly is.  Not only can this “bad ass” gal create a Picasso painting out of a white wall, or turn your bland coffee table into a Gothic modern work of art,  but she isn’t afraid to get her hands drenched in paint and plaster while doing it!   She lived and learned to perfect her craft in Italy and not only was I completely infatuated with her positive energy but let me just say that I couldn’t stop drooling over her beautiful European clothes and Italian made shoes!

Check out Caroline’s work….

Caroline Lizarraga

Cat Nguyen Photography

Sonya Yruel Photography